A “Knock, Knock” Joke
[Lights up on WOMAN, sitting alone in a room reading a book, and MAN, standing on the other side of a door to the room. A sign above the scene reads: A “Knock, Knock” Joke. After a moment MAN knocks twice on the door.]
It’s your Uncle Nathan! I’ve been out here for six hours, just knocking, waiting here in the rain for you to let me into the warmth of your home, an act which would be especially appreciated on a night like tonight, since I am cold and soaked to the bone after my long journey. I set out through a dense forest of trees so gnarled and broken from age and solitude that they had grown bitter, and did not take well to visitors. I felt as though I had disturbed a delicate balance, millennia in the making, a pained deal struck between God and his unfaithful angels at the start of Time to allow the Earth to forget the quarrels of Heaven and Hell. Every step of mine upon the wet ground was met with angry rustling from above, the attempt of the inanimate to make their displeasure known to the living. I tried with earnest to escape those dark woods, and in my haste I became lost and found myself standing at the edge of a swamp of considerable size, the Swamp of Treacherous Dealings and Unkind Destiny, where light turns to dark and men cry for their mothers in the depths of the loveless night. The Swamp of Eternal Agony and Abandoned Dreams, of Unrequited Affection and Unrealized Hope. The Swamp of Needless Suffering and Unforgivable Offenses. Indeed, the Swamp of Death! The Swamp of Evil! Home to Lucifer! Dwelling of Beelzebub! Final resting place of the Leviathan! And the evil of the swamp was matched by nothing but that of the troll that tended to it! Evil creature! Monster! Demon of Untold Cruelty! Sadistic Ghoul from the seventh circle of Hell! Pitiless Beast of Satan, knowing nothing of love! Master of Horror! Gatekeeper of the Abyss, whose very existence is the ultimate act of blasphemy! As I passed through his dark domain I felt his eye upon me, and I forgot joy. Love was a thing of the past, and hope an unimaginable occurrence. I regret to say that I feel part of me was forever lost to him, and my peace of mind shall never be my own again until I meet my Creator at the end of my days. Please, won’t you take pity on me and grant your uncle a night of hospitality? I require no food or drink, no conversation and no money. All that I ask is a momentary relief from my loneliness. Give me your company and share with me the shelter of your house for just a few hours so that I may find it in myself to go back into the harsh world without losing my mind!