Scene 3: Amber versus Envy
This scene opens with Amber standing in the College of Business, staring at a list of exam scores. It’s Monday. She follows the names to the scores with her fingers. She sees that she got a 75% on the exam, and follows the name “M. Stanton” to a score of 100%. She frowns, withdraws her finger, makes a fist and punches the brick wall—medium hard. She turns around and storms out of the empty college. We follow her as she jogs briskly across the campus to her sorority house. She rushes into the living room and nobody is there. She plops down on a couch and opens up her book bag. Brenda enters the room with her backpack and notices that Amber is upset.
BRENDA: (moving to take a seat on the couch, concerned) What’s wrong, Amber?
AMBER: (quickly) I blew that big midterm in Marketing. Now there’s no way I can get an A, and that’s just going to be one more insult to my GPA.
BRENDA: Oh, I’m sorry. But your GPA is still over 3.5, and there are plenty of jobs you’ll be able to get with your Bachelor’s in Business!
AMBER: (incredulously) In THIS economy, Brenda? We’ve been best friends since the third grade—you really don’t have to lie to me!
BRENDA: Well, you’re right. It might be hard to get a job, but I have confidence in you!
AMBER: Maybe I’ll be able to find a job by the time we graduate in seven months… but you know what makes this all seem worse to me? Melissa Stanton got 100% on that test! She has a 4.0, little Miss Perfect. I bet she finds a job on her first interview! (snorts) Probably already has one.
BRENDA: Amber, I love you, sis… but you’ve been angry with Melissa ever since she stole your first boyfriend in the eighth grade. Don’t you think it’s time to forgive her?
AMBER: (rolls her eyes, sarcastically) Oh no… I feel another Bible lesson coming on.
BRENDA: (pulls her Bible out of her backpack) You know I try not to beat you over the head with this, but you know that I love the Lord, and it is my fervent desire that you find life in Jesus, too. You know, the Bible does say in Matthew (flips through pages) …right here, Matthew 22:37-39, He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. So the second greatest command is that you love the people around you. I think Melissa counts… Amber, I know you used to be an atheist, but you recently told me that you think there might be a God. In fact, you told me that you thought that maybe the very same God that I believe in and serve is the real God. You know, only God can reveal Himself to us. I think God is starting to work on your heart. What do you think?
AMBER: (nervously) Ummm…. Well, I, uh… am still not so sure about all of this. So you want me to admit that I am a sinner? Yeah, I have no problem admitting that. I’ve never broken any major laws, but I know if this God is real, He would not like many of the things I’ve done over the years. But hell? Would that loving God throw me in hell for a few minor things? I don’t know about that…
BRENDA: (looking encouraged) I just read this passage in Luke the other day. In it Jesus teaches that hell is real, and it’s severe. (flips to Luke 16:19-31) Do you want to read it?
AMBER: (takes the Bible and reads) “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was left at his gate. He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. ‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’
“‘Son,’ Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.’
“‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house— because I have five brothers—to warn them, so they won’t also come to this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'” (looks horrified and flips the Bible closed) Well, that was certainly… uh, sobering!
BRENDA: So what do you think?
AMBER: Well it seems scary. That’d be one place I wouldn’t be able to fight my way out of (holds up fists in a mock fighting stance, then drops her arms). Your little impromptu lesson has given me a lot to think about this time. I’m going to go to my room and think about that and study. Don’t you have your Photography class now?
BRENDA: (reaches into her backpack and pulls out her Nikon D3S with AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G lens, has a huge smile) Oh yeah! I can’t wait to shoot the world with this bad boy camera and lens! (sobers a little) Amber, I am still praying for you. Don’t forget we have that Mortification concert to go to Friday night. You still want to go with us, right?
AMBER: (mockingly) What? You think I’d miss this chance to hang out with you and your church friends at an Aussie thrashcore concert? I wouldn’t miss that for the world! (has a big smile)
BRENDA: Excellent. You can take Robert with us girls, too. We’ll have room in the car now. Anyway, I’ll see you after your taekwondo class… don’t make any more boys cry!
Amber heads toward her room and Brenda leaves to go to her class. We follow Amber into her room. She sets her bag on her bed, pulls out some textbooks and puts them on a shelf. Then she takes one of them and a Bible and sets them on her desk and opens the textbook and begins reading and highlighting text with a Sharpie. Fade out and fade in to show some time has passed. Then she starts using her computer. She gets online and sees a story about Melissa Stanton on the campus newspaper. She quickly reads the story, which is all about how good Melissa is, and she starts to fume. She stretches, a little, looks back at her monitor, very angrily, then looks at her mouse and keyboard and pauses.
The demon representing Envy walks into the room and shuts the door. He is a young man, dressed as a nerd, with glasses and a pocket protector. At hearing the door shut, Amber hops out of her chair and whirls toward the demon. Her hands are at her sides, though she has them clenched into fists.
ENVY: (smugly, with a high-pitched, whiny voice) Ah! Your old nemesis, Melissa Stanton… How did you like that article? I thought they did a nice job polishing up that spotless image of hers. Look how they bragged about her 4.0 GPA, and all the volunteer work she is doing. Next to her, you look like nothing. A bum.
AMBER: What is the point of this? Yeah, I read it, and it sure was a pro-Melissa article. I don’t believe half the stuff in there that it said about her, but why are you here?
ENVY: You know. You know very well. This offers you an anonymous way to libel her—to trash her! You’ve been waiting for something like this since the eighth grade! Go ahead and post an anonymous comment to that article and tell the world what you really think of sweet, perfect Melissa Stanton! First, start with the truth, tell the world all the bad things she has done to you and others, then get creative. She’s been a thorn in your side for years… go ahead and make up some hurtful charges about her. It’ll be anonymous, so there’ll be nobody rebutting or attacking you. True, your comment will probably be deleted by the editors in an hour or two, but at least you can blow off a little steam and put a little bit of a dark cloud over that shiny reputation.
AMBER: I am a better person than that… and I am starting to believe in God. If He is real, He wouldn’t want me to do that!
ENVY: Surely God isn’t real! There is no afterlife. When we die we just wink out of existence. For you are dust, and you will return to dust. (Genesis 3:19) There will be no consequence for you doing this to Melissa. Only benefit. You will get to set events in motion that might cause her fall from grace. And that is exactly what you want!
AMBER: No, really, I don’t. And how can you say there is no God, and use the Bible in the same sentence? I have been reading that Bible a bit, and I know that Psalm 14:1 says the fool says in his heart “God does not exist.” So what, then, are you? A demon?
ENVY: The time for talk is up. (has two rattan short staffs secreted behind his back, quickly pulls them out and holds them at his side, menacingly)
Not waiting to be attacked, Amber rushes in and begins striking Envy before he can even get his sticks to a defensive position. The fight is vicious, as Amber is a particularly brutal taekwondo fighter. Amber blocks many of the blows with her arms and legs. No matter how many times Amber strikes Envy, he keeps up his persistent fight and finally starts landing blows with his sticks. Eventually, an exhausted Amber is knocked down and kneeling on the floor. Envy wastes no time and lands a finishing blow to Amber’s head. Envy disappears. The room is as normal.
Back to where Amber was staring at her mouse and keyboard, she clicks on the article and starts her biting anonymous comment. Scene fades out as she is rapidly typing out her frustrations against Melissa.