Valentine’s Day: A Tragedy - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Valentine’s Day: A Tragedy

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Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 5:40 am | Updated: 6:37 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

(Ancient Rome. A prison cell. VALENTINE talks to BECKY through the iron door while TED, another prisoner, drinks in the opposite corner.)

BECKY: Oh, Valentine! You are my life’s true love! Why can we

not be together?

VALENTINE: Oh, Becky! I am a priest! In prison for performing secret marriages! And your father, the jailer, is scheduled to

execute me soon! (Pause.)

BECKY: It’s me, isn’t it? That’s why you keep making these excuses.

VALENTINE: Not at all!

TED (Drunk): He thinks you have some very nice qualities!

VALENTINE: Also, I have a roommate.

TED: Don’t mind me! I’m over here, counting bugs!

VALENTINE: My dearest, I am poor and my time is short. But take this as a symbol of my purest love.

(He slips a paper under the door. BECKY opens the paper and reads it.)

BECKY: What lovely sentiments! “… From your Valentine.” (Pause. She shakes the paper.) Huh …

VALENTINE: What?

BECKY: (Shrugs.) Nothing, it’s just —

VALENTINE: What?

BECKY: It’s very nice …

VALENTINE: But ... ?

BECKY: I don’t know. You couldn’t include a little something?

VALENTINE: Like what?

BECKY: (Sighs.) I have to tell you? A tennis bracelet? Flowers? Candy, at least?

VALENTINE: I’m in prison.

TED: And it’s been crazy here over the holidays!

VALENTINE: They don’t let prisoners out to shop.

BECKY (tearfully): Anytime there’s a problem, you blame your “job.”

TED (whispering): Val! Give her this!

VALENTINE: A bug?

TED (whispering): Pull the legs off, and it looks like a truffle!

VALENTINE: No! Dearest, my note is a token of my heart! Maybe one day, all people will express their affection in such honest, thrifty ways! Because

real love shouldn’t carry a dollar value! It is the priceless communion of souls!

(A Roman guard appears and opens the door.)

GUARD: Valentine, I heard your noble thoughts and was moved!

VALENTINE: So you’ve come to set me free?

GUARD: No, we’re executing you now. It’s the middle of the month, and we are SO far behind I could scream. But I will establish a holiday in your

name — one that preserves the priceless essence of love!

VALENTINE: I go to my death! But my spirit lives on, through ... what is your name, sir?

GUARD: Crassus. Crassus Commercialus.

VALENTINE: To the gallows!

(Guard leads VALENTINE off to death, as TED watches and BECKY weeps. Pause.)

TED: ... Want a truffle?

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