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Published February 15, 2012

Godly Acres

Setting:  Godly Acres, the world’s premier rehabilitation center for gods and goddesses.

At rise:  Six chairs are arranged in a circle.  DIONYSUS, god of wine, HERMES, god of wealth, ARES, god of war, CRONUS, former ruler of the universe, and ZEUS, who has nasty red sores all over his face and is current ruler of the universe, are dressed in togas and sandals (except for Ares, who is dressed in battle armor), waiting for group therapy to begin.

 

ZEUS

I can’t believe Mom is making us do this…it’s really cutting into my getting laid time.

 

CRONUS

            You could’ve stood up to her and said no.

 

ZEUS

Yeah, but when she gives me the whole “if it weren’t for me, your father would’ve eaten you” guilt trip, it’s hard to say no to her.

 

(WILLOW, a bubbly twenty-something, enters holding a notebook and a pen.)

 

WILLOW

                        (annoyingly upbeat)

            Hello, everybody!  How are we today?

 

ZEUS

            I’m great…why don’t we get out of here and go somewhere a little more private?

 

WILLOW

                        (uncomfortably)

            I don’t think that would be a good idea.

 

ZEUS

            Of course it would.  Come on…I’ll let you buy me a drink.

 

WILLOW

            You’re being inappropriate.

 

ZEUS

            It’s what I do.

 

WILLOW

                        (taking a seat)

Let’s get started, shall we?  Why don’t we go around the circle and introduce ourselves?  I’m Willow.

            (pause)

You’re all supposed to say “Hi, Willow” now.

 

DIONYSUS, HERMES, ARES, CRONUS, AND ZEUS

                        (unenthusiastically)

            Hi, Willow.

 

WILLOW

Hi!  I’m new to Godly Acres, and this will be my first time leading group therapy.  I’m twenty-six years old, have two sisters-

 

ZEUS

            Nice!

 

WILLOW

            And I enjoy scrapbooking and knitting sweaters for my cats.

                        (pointing to Dionysus)

            Your turn!

 

DIONYSUS

            I’m Dionysus, and I’m an alcoholic.

 

WILLOW, HERMES, ARES, CRONUS, AND ZEUS

            Hi, Dionysus!

 

WILLOW

            When did you first realize you were an alcoholic?

 

DIONYSUS

Pretty recently.  I’ve always enjoyed alcohol-I’m the god of wine, I don’t really have much of a choice-but I was mostly a social drinker.  Somewhere along the line, it stopped being about fun, and it got to the point where I had to have it every day.  Everyone around me wants to party all the time, so it’s pretty hard for me to avoid alcohol.  After a particularly wild party resulted in me getting a tattoo of Pegasus on my lower back, I thought it would be a good idea to try to quit drinking.

 

WILLOW

            Thanks for sharing, Dionysus.  I’m glad you decided to join us.

                        (pointing to Hermes)

            Would you like to go next?

 

HERMES

            Sure.  I’m Hermes, and I’m a kleptomaniac.

 

WILLOW, DIONYSUS, ARES, CRONUS, AND ZEUS

            Hi, Hermes!

 

WILLOW

            How long have you had this problem?

 

HERMES

            Since the day I was born.

 

WILLOW

            I’m sure it just feels that way.  How long has it really been?

 

HERMES

I’ve literally been stealing since the day I was born.  When I was six hours old, I snuck away from my mother and stole most of Apollo’s cattle.  Cows, goats, you name it, I stole it.

 

(Willow stares at Hermes in disbelief.)

 

HERMES (cont’d)

            I was a very smart baby.

 

WILLOW

            I don’t doubt that.

 

HERMES

Once I started, I couldn’t stop.  It was exhilarating!  Even when I got caught, I never got in trouble, so of course I kept doing it.

 

ZEUS

            That’s my boy!

 

HERMES

I’ve stolen tons of great things: Poseidon’s trident, Dad’s scepter, Apemosyne’s virginity…

 

 ARES

            Don’t forget you also stole my favorite sword, you son of a bitch!

 

HERMES

            To be fair, you were trying to cut my head off with it!

 

ARES

            You knew I wanted the last piece of pizza and you ate it anyway!

 

HERMES

                        (sarcastically)

            Yeah, that’s a totally valid reason to decapitate someone!

 

WILLOW

            Okay.  Let’s move on.

 

ARES

                        (yelling)

            I’m Ares, and I have problems controlling my anger!

 

WILLOW, DIONYSUS, HERMES, CRONUS, AND ZEUS

            Hi, Ares!

 

ARES

            Shut up!

 

WILLOW

            Whoa, Ares, why so angry?

 

ARES

            I’m the god of war, what do you expect?

 

WILLOW

            It can’t be that simple.  Tell me about your childhood.

 

ARES

It was typical, I guess.  I was one of thirty-five or forty kids, and even though I was one of the few that Dad actually had with his wife, I really had to work for his attention.  He paid more attention to the kids he had with random women-even mortals-than he did to me!  Fighting was the only way I could get him to notice me…and I still always felt like he didn’t like me.

 

WILLOW

            I’m sure that’s not true.

 

ZEUS

No, he’s right.  I never liked him.  He was quite a bastard, even when he was a baby.

 

ARES

                        (dryly)

Thanks, Dad.  Maybe if you hadn’t been cheating on Mom my entire life, I would’ve been a little nicer to you!

 

ZEUS

That may be true, but you weren’t nice to anyone.  Why do you think you’re the least popular of all the gods?

 

ARES

I’m not!  That would be Hephaestus…why else would Mom have thrown him off of Mount Olympus?

 

ZEUS

She didn’t do that because she didn’t like him.  She did it because he was ugly…and because she’s a bitch.

 

ARES

Whatever.  These guys like me…right?

 

(Dionysis, Hermes, and Cronus look at the floor uncomfortably.)

 

ARES (cont’d)

                        (yelling)

            Well, I don’t like you either!

 

CRONUS

            It’s not that we don’t like you…it’s more like we’re afraid of you.

 

ARES

            Why, Grandpa?  Do you really think I’d hurt you?

 

CRONUS

            I think it’s possible.  Frankly, you seem really unstable.

 

ARES

                        (jumping out of his chair)

What?!  I can’t believe you think that!  Screw you, old man!  I’m gonna kick your ass!

CRONUS

            Do it!  You’re just going to end up in jail again!

 

WILLOW

            Calm down, Ares!  There’s no fighting in group therapy!

 

ARES

            Well, if I’d known that, I wouldn’t have worn my armor!

 

CRONUS

                        (scoffing)

            Please…you sleep in your armor!

 

(Ares throws his chair across the room.)

 

ARES

                        (growling)

            Ares mad!

 

WILLOW

            Ares, I need you to put that chair back where it belongs and have a seat.

 

ARES

                        (yelling)

            No!

 

WILLOW

            Do it or I’m sending you to art therapy.

 

ARES

            Ugh!  I’d rather go back to jail!

 

WILLOW

Take a seat, Ares.

 

ARES

                        (pouting)

Fine…but I won’t be happy about it!

 

(Ares stomps over to the chair and picks it up.  He stomps back over to where he was sitting originally, slams the chair down, and sits, sighing loudly.)

 

WILLOW

            Thank you.  Are you done?

 

ARES

            For now.

 

CRONUS

            I’ll go next!

 

WILLOW

            Good!

 

CRONUS

            I’m Cronus, and I have an eating disorder.

 

WILLOW, DIONYSUS, HERMES, AND ZEUS

            Hi, Cronus!

 

ARES

                        (mocking them)

            Hi, Cronus!

 

(Willow shoots Ares a dirty look.)

 

WILLOW

            What kind of eating disorder do you have?

 

CRONUS

            I’m an overeater.

 

WILLOW

            How long has this been going on?

 

CRONUS

            Since my first child was born.

 

WILLOW

Let me guess.  Your wife wasn’t paying as much attention to you once the baby came, so you used food as a substitute for the comfort you were no longer getting from her.

 

 CRONUS

            Actually…

 

(Willow crosses to where Cronus is sitting and takes his hand.)

 

WILLOW

            Remember, Cronus: food isn’t love.

 

CRONUS

I know.  I ate my children because a prophecy said one of them would overthrow me…it had nothing to do with feeling neglected.

 

WILLOW

                        (hurriedly retreating back to her seat)

            You ate your children?!  That’s not an eating disorder-that’s cannibalism!

 

CRONUS

Well, yeah, but I threw them up a few years later, so wouldn’t that technically be bulimia?

 

ZEUS

I don’t think it counts as bulimia if you only threw up because someone poisoned you.

 

WILLOW

            You were poisoned?

 

ZEUS

            Mom told me to do it!

 

WILLOW

            You poisoned your own father?

 

ZEUS

            I had a good reason!

 

CRONUS

                        (muttering)

            Should have made sure I ate you

 

WILLOW

            If you ate all of your other children, why didn’t you eat him?

 

CRONUS

I thought I did!  Turns out his mom wrapped a stone in blankets and told me it was Zeus!

 

ARES

            How dumb are you?

 

CRONUS

            It was a baby-sized stone!

 

ZEUS

That’s what happens when you swallow your kids whole-if you’d learned to chew your food, you would’ve been able to tell the difference between a rock and a baby!

 

CRONUS

            I will eat you right now, smartass!  Don’t test me!

 

WILLOW

                        (abruptly)

            So Zeus, why don’t you tell me about your problem?

 

ZEUS

            I’m Zeus, and I’m a sex addict.

 

WILLOW, DIONYSUS, HERMES, ARES, AND CRONUS

            Hi, Zeus!

 

ZEUS

            I’ve slept with a lot of women-I’m really good at it.

 

WILLOW

            Are you currently married?

 

ZEUS

            Why?  Are you interested?

 

ARES

                        (rolling his eyes)

            Yes, he’s married…not that it matters to him.

 

WILLOW

            Do you love your wife?

 

ZEUS

            Of course.  She’s my sister, I have to love her.

WILLOW

                        (visibly creeped-out)

            Your sister?  You-

                        (shuddering)

            You had children with your sister?

 

ZEUS

            So?  Dad had plenty of kids with his sister, and we all turned out fine!

 

WILLOW

            If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.

 

ZEUS

We’re only here because Mom wants us to get along better…and it turns out it’s a great place to meet women.

 

WILLOW

            Zeus, if you love your wife, why do you cheat on her?

 

ZEUS

I can’t be expected to sleep with one woman for the rest of my life-you might as well ask me to die!  And I can’t-I’m immortal!

 

WILLOW

            That doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to be unfaithful.

 

ZEUS

Don’t blame me-it’s not my fault women find me irresistible!  I didn’t ask for this body!

 

(Dionysus, Hermes, and Ares laugh.)

 

ZEUS (cont’d)

            What?

 

ARES

Irresistible?  I’ve lost count of how many women have disguised themselves as animals because they thought that would stop you from sleeping with them…and it didn’t stop you, did it?  You have a serious problem!

 

ZEUS

            Come on…how many of you can honestly say you’ve never violated a goat?

 

(Everyone else in the room immediately raises his or her hand.)

 

ZEUS (cont’d)

            Liars.

 

DIONYSUS

            Every woman you’ve slept with has been tricked into it-even the mortal ones!

 

HERMES

If you didn’t have the ability to transform yourself into things women don’t run away from, you’d probably still be a virgin!

 

ZEUS

That’s not true!  Hermes, your mother slept with me dozens of times, and I never had to disguise myself.  But to be fair, she slept with pretty much anyone who asked…

 

(Hermes jumps out of his chair and lunges at Zeus.  Dionysus and Cronus grab Hermes and pull him back.)

 

HERMES

                        (yelling)

            My mother is not a whore!  Take it back!

 

ZEUS

            No!  She gave me syphilis!

 

HERMES

            That is a filthy lie!

 

ZEUS

            No, it isn’t!  Why do you think I have these sores all over my face?

 

HERMES

                        (screaming)

            My mother does not have syphilis!  You’re the whore!

 

ARES

                        (amused)

            Learn to control your anger, man.

 

DIONYSUS

What are you complaining about, Hermes?  My mother’s dead because of him!  At least you have a mother!

 

(Dionysus pulls a flask from the folds of his toga and drinks from it as if he will die if he doesn’t.)

 

WILLOW

            I know you’re upset, but alcohol is not the answer.

 

ZEUS

I didn’t mean to kill her!  She asked to see my true form-how was I supposed to know it would make her burst into flames?!

 

DIONYSUS

                        (crying and drinking)

            Oh, god!

 

ZEUS

            I’m sorry!

 

DIONYSUS

It’s your fault I turned out this way!  Maybe if I’d had a mother to guide me, I wouldn’t have to use alcohol to make me feel whole!

                        (crying hysterically)

            I’m so alone!  All I want is for someone to love me!

 

ZEUS

                        (hesitantly)

            I love you, Dionysus.

 

(Dionysus stops crying and puts his flask down.)

 

DIONYSUS

            Really?

 

ZEUS

            Of course.  I love all my kids…except Ares.

 

ARES

            You know what, Dad?  I hope you get goat herpes!

ZEUS

                        (proudly)

            Already got ‘em!

 

(Dionysus runs to Zeus and jumps into his arms.)

 

DIONYSUS

            I love you, Daddy!

(Hermes looks around, then picks up the flask and slips it inside his toga.  Cronus takes this opportunity to slip out of the room.)

 

ARES

This is ridiculous!  If you guys are gonna start acting like a bunch of girls, I’m leaving!

 

WILLOW

                        (with tears in her eyes)

            Go then.  We don’t need you ruining this beautiful moment.

 

ARES

            Fine!  By the way, Dionysus, your mascara’s running!

 

DIONYSUS

                        (tearfully)

            Shut up!  You’re just jealous!

 

ARES

            I hate all of you!

 

(Ares storms out of the room.)

 

WILLOW

            See?  You don’t need alcohol!  You have the love of your father!

 

DIONYSUS

            That’s all I’ve ever wanted!

  

WILLOW

                        (excitedly)

Dionysus, you have made a huge breakthrough today.  I think you’re ready to get rid of that flask!

            (chanting)

Throw it out! Throw it out!

 

WILLOW, HERMES, AND ZEUS

            Throw it out!  Throw it out!

 

DIONYSUS

            I don’t know if I’m ready.

 

WILLOW

            You can do it, Dionysus!  I know you can!

 

DIONYSUS

            You’re right, I can!

 

(Dionysus heads toward the spot where he left the flask, then stops abruptly.)

 

DIONYSUS (cont’d)

            Where did it go?  I could’ve sworn…

 

HERMES

            It’s a miracle!

 

ZEUS

            Hermes…did you steal Dionysus’ flask?

 

HERMES

            No!  When would I have had a chance to do that?

 

WILLOW

            Stealing during group therapy?  You should be ashamed of yourself!

 

ZEUS

            Don’t be so hard on him.  He knows he has a problem.

 

HERMES

            Yeah, I’m trying to quit!

                        (to Dionysus)

            Do you want it back?

DIONYSUS

Keep it.  I don’t need it anymore.  I realize now that my life isn’t as bad as I thought it was…sure, I’ve got some problems, but at least I’ve never screwed a goat!

 

ZEUS

            You don’t know what you’re missing, son.

 

WILLOW

                        (holding back tears)

            I am so proud of you, Dionysis.

 

(Willow hugs Dionysus.)

 

ZEUS

            I’m going to stop cheating on my wife!

                        (fake crying)

            I’ve hit rock bottom!

(Willow releases Dionysus and goes to Zeus.)

 

WILLOW

The first step is admitting that you have a problem…and you’ve done that, so you’re heading in the right direction.

 

ZEUS

                        (wailing)

            I slept with Medusa, for god’s sake!  What’s wrong with me?  She’s hideous!

 

WILLOW

            Zeus…

 

ZEUS

            Don’t look at me!  I hate myself!

                        (pause)

            Can I have a hug?

 

(Willow hugs Zeus, who smiles and winks at Ares.  Cronus enters, carrying a roasted chicken and eating a drumstick.)

 

CRONUS

                        (with a mouth full of food)

            What’s going on?

 

(Willow lets go of Zeus and approaches Cronus.)

 

WILLOW

            Where did you get that chicken?

 

CRONUS

            What chicken?

 

WILLOW

            The one you’re eating.

 

CRONUS

                        (looking down at the chicken)

            Oh!  That’s not a chicken-my wife just had another baby.

 

WILLOW, DIONYSUS, HERMES, AND ZEUS

                        (gasping)

            Cronus!

 

CRONUS

            I’m just kidding, it’s a chicken…but I had you going there for a second, didn’t I?

 

WILLOW, DIONYSUS, HERMES, AND ZEUS

                        (amused)

            Cronus!

 

(They all have a good laugh.)

 

WILLOW

            So you don’t eat babies anymore, right?

 

CRONUS

            I’ll eat just about anything, but I’ve given up babies…they make me gassy.

 

WILLOW

            Well, that’s a step in the right direction.

 

 CRONUS

I know.  I’m not leaving Godly Acres until my eating disorder is under control.  My overeating started out as a way to stop my children from taking me out of power, but once I regurgitated them and they overthrew me, I ate because I was depressed.  But you know what?  I stopped being depressed a long time ago.  Now I just really like food…and I can learn to control that.

 

WILLOW

            Good for you, Cronus!  That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

 

HERMES

            I’m going to stop stealing!  I’m a god, I can have anything I want!

 

WILLOW

            That’s right!  You don’t need to steal!

                        (seriously)

I’m amazed at the progress we’ve made today.

 

HERMES

            I think this calls for a group hug!

 

(Willow and the four gods hug and then break apart.)

 

WILLOW

This is where the road to recovery begins, and you four are on the right path.

 

(Zeus starts patting his toga frantically.)

 

ZEUS

            Hey, where’s my wallet?

 

(Hermes races out of the room as the lights fade to black.)

Copyright ©2005

By Crystal Smith

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