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Examination and Appearance

It is night and Abaas is at home - praying. He bends over and puts his forehead to the ground and cries.

ABAAS, begging:  Oh God, God please send Mehdi to earth sooner. Oh God! Open our eyes to his pleasant face.  My dear God, let me be his soldier! Please God, respond to my request tonight! And also help me pass the university entrance exams this year. Dear God, you know, I insist because I want to be useful in his great holy Government. If I breathe, itís for his behalf.  I beg you.  Help me, great and generous Being!

Wiping his tears with his hand, he kisses his prayer beads, stands and gets ready to leave. 

A dark street at night. Abaas is in hurry. Obviously he is late. Suddenly, a hand is laid on his shoulder.

ABAAS, without turning back: If youíve been robbed and you've got no money or you've lost your way and can't get back to your village - let me tell you - I donít have any money.  Go get a job.

OWNER OF HAND: No Abaas - I didnít lose my way. I came down here to show you the Right way.

Abaas turns around, astonished. He sees a man wearing a long white dress standing in front of him.

ABAAS: How do you know my name?
MAN: Not only do I know your name, but I know all your life secrets - all of them. Abaas, I am your Mehdi. 
ABAAS, incredulous: You're kidding, right?

The man shakes his head.  Abaas hesitates a minute and then falls to his knees like a dog. He kisses Mehdi's feet and cries. 

ABAAS: Sir, Sir. Where have you been Sir?  Iím your servant Sir. Sir, I will die for you. Sir, Sir.
MEHDI, lifting Abass from the ground: Donít cry Abaas. Itís not a sad day. Abaas - do you know why I've come to you?
ABAAS, still crying: Sir, You are the one who knows everything.
MEHDI: I came to gather 313 disciples. Would you like to be among them?
ABAAS: It's impossible for me to refuse! I live only for you! If it was possible, I would say I have the ability of all 313 people!
MEHDI: Good. Friday, shave your head and go to Revolution Square at 8 oíclock in the morning. When I show myself, you will help me recruit more people.
ABAAS, crestfallen: Friday?
MEHDI: Why, is that too late?
ABAAS: No ... butÖ. but .... I have my entrance exams on Friday.  Can we change it to Saturday?
MEHDI: No, thatís impossible. The will of God is purest on Friday.
ABAAS, scratching his beard: No way. I donít expect you wait until after I get my results. Only until after the exam. Why can't you leave it until Saturday? Youíve been absent for 1254 years and 55 days. Just wait for one more day.  There won't be any difference.
MEHDI: I said itís impossible. Corruption is spreading around the world.
ABAAS: What a spot you've put me in, Sir. Do you know whatís going to happen if you start a revolution tomorrow? We've had one before. First, the revolution takes a couple of years. Next, there will be a cultural revolution. And then, all universities will close. When they'll finally reopen them, 3 or 4 years will have passed. Meanwhile, 2 to 3 million applicants will be added to the competitors. In all, there might be 7 or 8 million students taking the next entrance exams! And that's not counting the foreigners who will be among them. By then, Iíll have forgotten all the material and will have to bury my dreams of studying at university. 
MEHDI: Didn't you pray that I would come back one day so that  you could be my soldier?
ABAAS: I did and still do Sir. But  if I participate in your revolution tomorrow, I will be an uneducated believer. And you'll need educated believers. You werenít here to see the last revolution. That's exactly happened. Excuse me, I donít want to insult you, but my father was fooled in the last revolution. He was a political prisoner before the revolution so he missed university. Then, after the revolution, they appointed him to a position. But later, he was replaced by an expert who swept away the Islamic ideas. I'm afraid of repeating his mistake. 
MEHDI: Your future is Godís will. If you accept to be my soldier, with luck, you will be martyred. 
ABAAS, clearly upset: Oh, now you're getting worse than the Mullahs! They promised us a lot and you saw what happened to everybody then. And now you come and want to put me into a coffin!  Hey look, I donít want to show my anger to you because I love you. But be careful. If you say same thing to anyone else, he'll slap you and tell you: "I have a wife and children". 
MEHDI: But arenít you dying to be a martyr?
ABAAS: A little ... I ... I'd  love to be a martyr. I'd love to be killed. But I wish I had hundred lives. I donít live by myself. I have responsibilities. You know better about what Plato said: "Everyone has a second half which is the best for marrying" Well, if I get martyred, she will be another guyís wife. And because they were not suppose to be married to each other, they will fight and be miserable and  their children will be spoiled. Because of my martyrdom, one generation will have a hellish life. This is only one side of the problem.  That man should have married another woman instead of marrying my halfÖ.

The man turns around to leave.  Abaas grabs his hand.

ABAAS, angry: Where are you going? You think I'll just let you go and ruin my life?

Abaas put his hand in his pocket and pulls out a knife.

The stage darkens. Then the lights flash on and off. 

It is still night. Abaas has finally arrived at his praying meeting. The men sit, each holding a Koran on his head.  Abaas also has a Koran on his head. They pray in Arabic.  Abaas pounds on his thighs with his hands and cries.

ABAAS: God do something so that Mehdi comes to us!

Then he cries even louder.

THE END

* authorís note: I donít know where I read an old discourse that says: "If people would look for me as hard as they look for their lost shoes, they would find me" 

Translated by the Green Party of Iran