The Accident at Christmas features the characters of COREY and JACK; the circumstances surrounding their respective Christmas celebrations, and the impact their meeting has on the remainder of their holiday. This is a story of Christmas lost and Christmas redeemed, and the choice to pursue the real meaning behind the holiday.
The Accident at Christmas is a monologue-sketch hybrid for two people. While props can enhance the drama, they are not necessary as much of the action can be pantomimed to communicate the heart of this piece. This is a stand-alone piece originally written for and performed at Northwest Assembly of God.
COREY – female (who can also sing acapella) – casual winter attire
JACK – male – casual winter attire
VOCALIST – male/female – dressed in black
COREY and JACK begin monologues on opposite sides of the stage. Lighting switches from side to side as they speak.
Alex left a couple weeks ago. It’s been pretty hard on us – especially Joey. How do you explain to a four year old that their daddy is overseas, fighting in a war they can’t see or understand . . . especially at Christmastime? I have to make this Christmas special for Joey, to somehow make it easier that his daddy won’t be home to see him on Christmas morning.
So Felice and I are standing in the kitchen last Thursday amazed at how quickly December’s gone, and then out of no where she starts talking about how excited she is about the “surprise” I’ve been planning for Christmas. Surprise?!? I hadn’t even bought her a Christmas present yet! Surprise is right, Jack. Surprise! You’re in a mess!
So what I decided to do was put together what money I could and go to that specialty hobby shop at the mall and get him a C130 Cargo, a replica of the exact plane Alex is flying. Yeah it’s going to be a little more money than I originally planned to spend. But I know it would mean a lot to Joey . . . and to Alex.
So I’m at a complete loss for what to do. Do I buy her dinner and roses? Jewelry? A Christmas sweater? Who knows! The fact of the matter is that I’ve never actually succeeded in buying her a present she was really excited about. Where she got the idea that this year would be different, I have no idea. So now because I can’t let her know there’s no surprise – yet – I have to go shopping all sneaky-like before choir practice. Which reminds me, if you’re not doing anything Christmas Eve, stop by the Community Center . . . I’ve got a big solo this year.
The day the plane was finished, it was really snowy. Traffic was bad and the plows weren’t going through. Salting was a luxury the weather and rush hour just weren’t allowing . . .
There’s this little store in the mall that Felice mentioned one time. I couldn’t tell you what they sell there, but I figured if she mentioned it, she had to have thought it was important. The last choir practice just happened to be on the snowiest day yet this month, but it was the only time I could make it to the store before Christmas. I made an excuse about how we were going to be running my solo early and tried to leave as quickly as I could to make it to the store and to practice on time.
It was the most beautiful plane I’d ever seen. I knew Joey would love it, and I knew Alex would beam the moment he saw Joey playing with it. It was perfect . . . absolutely perfect . . . and I had plenty of time to get it home for Christmas.
I pulled into the parking lot seven minutes to seven. Seven minutes to seven, and I still hadn’t even made it to the store when “grandpa” in his ’95 Buick tank comes pulling right in front of me. All I kept thinking was how I’m never gonna make it to practice on time! Man! Between the Buick and the snow I can’t see a thing!
Blackout. JACK and COREY are now speaking as if they were at the scene of the accident. They come closer to center stage. Lights up.
JACK: Good night! Don’t you look where you’re going?
COREY: Sir . . . I was just trying to pull out of my parking spot.
JACK: Yes that’s obvious to everyone. The problem is you weren’t watching where you were going.
COREY: I . . .
JACK: If you were just paying a little more attention this would never have happened. I had the right of way you know.
COREY: Look, let’s just exchange insurance cards so we can go home.
JACK: (to himself) It’ll be just my luck she doesn’t have insurance.
COREY: (seeing the plane) No! Not the plane!
JACK: What’s the problem? You know I do have somewhere I was supposed to be (looking at his watch) fifteen minutes ago!
COREY: Please . . .
JACK: Look, it’s cold and . . .
COREY: Listen. This is not convenient for me either. I just spent more money than I should have on a present for my son so he could remember his father this year for Christmas and now my son’s plan is cracked and I don’t have the money to go buy him another one. So if you wouldn’t mind giving me one minute, I’ll have what you need so you can get out of here.
Blackout. JACK and COREY return to their original positions and go back to their separate stories.
So much for trying to do something nice at Christmas. Now I’ve got to figure out how to tell my wife I got into an accident in the parking lot of the mall – not the Community Center, and that I don’t have the “surprise” she’s been hoping for. (Looking at his watch again. Grimaces.) The choir director is going to kill me!
It’s broken. The wing is crinkled at the end and one of the wheels in the landing gear broke off. I know it’s just a toy . . . but it’s so much more than a toy . . . to me. But there’s not much else I can do. I’ll just try to smooth out the end of the wing and crazy glue the wheel back on. Joey will understand. He’s such a trooper. He always understands.
VOCALIST begins quietly singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem“. At the second line JACK begins his lines. VOCALIST continues humming the melody softly.
O Little Town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
I didn’t make it to the Community Center on time . . . and that director . . . he gave my solo away to the understudy because I was half an hour late. Apparently there’s some rule that says if you’re not there for the practices the week of the performance you’re a no go, even if you have a good reason. Ten weeks of rehearsal gone right down the drain! I can’t begin to explain to you how aggravating this is . . . and I still don’t have a present for my wife. And my car! This is sure turning into a Merry Christmas.
VOCALIST continues softly humming “O Little Town of Bethlehem underneath COREY’s next set of lines.
All I could do was go home. The radio was on when I started my car, and I reached to turn it off because I didn’t want to hear another cutesy meaningless holiday song, but just as I was about to flick it off, I paused. The melody reminded me so much of a song I used to sing as a kid . . .
VOCALIST humming fades so COREY can sing part of the song.
“How silently, how silently the wondrous Gift is giv’n! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heav’n. No ear may hear His coming; but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
It’s so funny how a song can do that to you. I haven’t sung that song in ages but every word of every verse came back to me. It’s been a long time since Christmas has been special . . . the kind of special that you know there’s something else to be excited about. Especially with Alex being gone it’s been really hard to focus on much of anything at all.
But in that moment, Christmas was simple . . . less about me . . . and more about that little child in a manger.
COREY continues singing.
“O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.”
I looked over at the seat and the plane was still broken. I still needed to call the insurance company, but I left the radio on. There was more to sing about this Christmas.
“O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.”
Lights fade. COREY, JACK and VOCALIST exit.