by Edward Crosby Wells


SETTING: The Post Office. MAN is applying for a passport from the CLERK.


CLERK: Married or single?

MAN: Excuse me?

CLERK: Married or single?

MAN: Why? Why do you need to know?

CLERK: (Shuffling paperwork.) Do you want a passport or not?

MAN: I want to go to France.

CLERK: You'll need a passport for that, sir.

MAN: Yes, I know.

CLERK: Then, are you married or single?

MAN: Married.

CLERK: And your wife's name is?

MAN: Harold.

CLERK: Sir, your wife's name is Harold?

MAN: Well, he's not exactly my wife.


MAN: Harold.

CLERK: Then you are not married!

MAN: Of course I am. We had a civil union.

CLERK: Where are you going with this?

MAN: France. I want to go to France.

CLERK: No. Where are you going with this nonsense?

MAN: We had a civil union. We're married.

CLERK: No, you're civil unionized.

MAN: Well, it's the same, isn't it?

CLERK: Is it? How do you get from civil union to marriage?

MAN: Well, it is when two things--in this case, two human beings--merge into one . . . a kind of galvanization.

CLERK: You and another man are galvanized--together? Was it painful?

MAN: You're being flippant at my expense. Harold and I are legally married. We had a legal civil ceremony and that is all there is to it.

CLERK: Do you know how many marriages end in divorce?

MAN: Probably fifty percent.

CLERK: Well, what are you going to do when you want a divorce?

MAN: I don't plan on having a divorce. We don't plan--

CLERK: Consider yourself lucky. You can't get divorced 'cause you're not married. That gives you some kind of special right, doesn't it?

MAN: I don't want special rights. I just want equal rights.

CLERK: What about the children?

MAN: What children?

CLERK: The children you are going to confuse and dumbfound.

MAN: I don't know what you're talking about.

CLERK: If you're not married you can't get divorced. If you can't get divorced you'll slip into polygamy and there you have it!

MAN: Have what?

CLERK: Special rights!

MAN: I don't plan on getting a divorce.

CLERK: Then, are you going to get de-unified, de-galvanized?

MAN: We just got married.

CLERK: Sir! You are not married! Only a man and a woman can be married! You've been civil unionized!

MAN: Call it what you will, we're married! And by the way, is there a wife in your life?

CLERK: There certainly is. I'm what you legally call married in the eyes of Man and God. No special rights for us.

MAN: I see, big church wedding, the Bishop was in attendance, aye?

CLERK: Nope. The Bishop went to prison for diddling little boys. It was a quiet civil ceremony down at City Hall.

MAN: I see. Then you are not married. You're civil unionized, too!

CLERK: I am no such thing, sir! I am a man and she is a woman! We are married. You and Rudolph . . .

MAN: Harold.

CLERK: You and what's-his-name, on the other hand, will never be married. You are civil unionized and that is all there is to it.

MAN: Well, it's the same thing.

CLERK: No it isn't!

MAN: What about the marriage of two elements of Nature blending to make one union in the eyes of God?

CLERK: Nonsense! You're a fruitcake! So, let's see...married or single? (Checks box on application.) Single!

MAN: I want to go to France.

CLERK: Then you will have to change your marital status.

MAN: What are you talking about?

CLERK: Sir, there is a line behind you.

MAN: I'm not leaving here till you accept my application for a passport.

CLERK: And you are not going anywhere until you marry a woman or get de-unionized from Raymond.

MAN: Harold.

CLERK: Whatever.

WOMAN: (Entering.) Hey, buster! I've been waiting in this line for twenty minutes and my lunch half-hour is almost up. Are you going to get on with it or what?

MAN: I'm trying to get my passport.

CLERK: Are you married, lady?

WOMAN: What's it to you?

CLERK: It's this box, madam. It says, "married" and it says "single." And we have to fill out every box on this application.

WOMAN: Married.

CLERK: Your husband's name?

WOMAN: Martha.

MAN: Excuse me, but I believe this gentleman was waiting on me.

WOMAN: Think so, do you?

CLERK: Stand aside, sir!

MAN: I want my passport! I want to go to France.

WOMAN: Hey, buddy! Did you hear the man?

MAN: I heard, but he isn't done with me yet. I'm not leaving till he accepts my application.

CLERK : Please stand aside, sir. The Postmaster will have to examine your case.

MAN: What case? I only want to go to France.

WOMAN: (Pointing.) And I want you to go over there and shut up!

MAN: I want to see the Postmaster.

CLERK: He'll be here a week from Thursday.

MAN: I can't wait that long!

CLERK: Stand aside! (MAN stands aside and mumbles.) Okay, lady. Now, let's see. Married or single?

WOMAN: Married.

CLERK: And your husband's name?

WOMAN: Martha.

MAN: What kind of a name is that?

WOMAN: It's a perfectly good name. She was named after her Grandmother on her father's side.

CLERK: Her grandmother?

MAN: On her father's side?

CLERK: Are you saying that your husband is a woman?

WOMAN: No. My significant other is a woman.

CLERK: So, you are single.

WOMAN: No. We had a civil union--has all the benefits of marriage.

CLERK: Except for the fact that you're not married, and if you're not married you're single! And if you are single you are living in a state of sin! There is no box on this application for your current arrangement! Either you are married or you are not married! What is with you people and your special privileges?

MAN: Sounds to me like you and Martha have been civil unionized, lady.

CLERK: Yeah, like this guy and his wife Herman.

MAN: Harold.

WOMAN: Just cut the crap and approve my application. We've got to get to Spain!

CLERK: I'm afraid you've just missed the running of the bulls.

WOMAN: Look, Martha and I are going on our honeymoon whether you like it or not--in Spain!

CLERK: Without a passport they won't let you in Spain, lady. And, sir, they won't be letting you in France either.

MAN: I've got to get to France!

WOMAN: I've got to get to Spain!

CLERK: How do we know you're not terrorists?

MAN: What has being married or not being married have to do with terrorism?

CLERK: Everything! You people multiply and multiply and push and push and pretty soon there is nothing left that is sacred anymore. When nothing is sacred, you people are capable of anything.

WOMAN: And a passport is sacred?

CLERK: (Holding up application.) The box says, "married" or "single." You are one or you are the other! Look, why don't the two of you marry each other and let Harold marry Mary?

WOMAN: Martha.

MAN: This is ridiculous! I want my passport and I want it now!

WOMAN: So do I!

CLERK: I'm trying to help you here. It's all about paperwork! It's all about preserving our institutions! It has nothing to do with your absurd plans for special privileges! One last time! Married or single?

MAN & WOMAN: Married!

CLERK: And your husband's name?

WOMAN: Harold.

CLERK: And your wife's name, sir?

MAN: Martha.

CLERK: See? That wasn't so hard, was it? (Rubber-stamping the applications.) One last question--was this a civil union or a marriage?

MAN & WOMAN: Marriage!


End of Play


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