a short play written on the occasion of the assassination of osama bin laden

by Holly Derr

cross posted on her blog

This Mother Jones article about how much we still don’t know about what happened in the Bin Laden raid reminded me of the short play I wrote that weekend. I was frustrated at how certain the media seemed of the narrative, particularly when their version of it confirmed their preexisting biases, and wanted to write something that reflected the real uncertainty not only about what had happened, but also about what it really signified.

Most of the details in the play come from early press reports. Most of them were later disproved. Enjoy.

A SHORT PLAY WRITTEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE ASSASSINATION OF OSAMA BIN LADEN

Scene one

OBL, YOUNGEST WIFE, and COURIERS are having tea. NAVY SEALS storm the compound.

NAVY SEAL
Surrender!

OBL grabs his YOUNGEST WIFE, uses her as a shield.

OBL
Never!

NAVY SEALS shoot him in the head.

Scene two

OBL, YOUNGEST WIFE, and COURIERS are having tea. WAR PROTESTORS, led by CINDY SHEEHAN, storm the compound.

CINDY SHEEHAN
Surrender!

OBL grabs his YOUNGEST WIFE, uses her as a shield.

OBL
Never!

CINDY SHEEHAN shoots him in the head.

Scene three

OBL, YOUNGEST WIFE, and COURIERS are having tea. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, in Mission Accomplished garb, storms the compound.

GEORGE W. BUSH
Hot damn.

OBL grabs his YOUNGEST WIFE, uses her as a shield.

OBL
Never!

GEORGE W. BUSH shoots him in the head.

Scene four

OBL, YOUNGEST WIFE, and COURIERS are playing cards.

YOUNGEST WIFE

I don’t know why people say they didn’t like the dress I mean it’s Westminster Abbey she had to cover her décolletage and I thought the lace was a classy way to do that she was saying “I’ll follow your rules but I’ll do it my way” but I really thought the sister was the star of the show so sweet and devoted and pretty in her own way and Harry really seems to like her even though he brought that party girl as his date I mean why didn’t he just ask Paris Hilton you would think the Queen would have put her foot down about that but I guess after Diana we all know that we just don’t know the half of what goes on behind closed doors

DONALD TRUMP storms the compound.

THE DONALD
Give me all your money!

OBL grabs his YOUNGEST WIFE, uses her as a shield.

OBL
Never!

DONALD TRUMP shoots him in the head.

Scene five

OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE are watching Three Kings.

OBL
I mean how hard can it be to find Arabs who can act. What, did they have a cattle call in Falluja and call it a day?

The doorbell. OBL opens it. A COURIER enters. The COURIER shoots OBL in the head.

Scene six

OBL is sitting at a writing desk.

OBL

Dear Ayman al-Zawahri,

I should be wanting in common civility if I did not thank you for your kindness in letting me know of an opportunity to send “postage-free.”

The wife and I have been peeling apples for her to make us an apple pudding. The man I bought her from said she was of a quick but limited intellect and she made puddings perfectly.

I guess that this day in a few years we shall all be in this drawing room comfortable. I hope it may be so. Azza guesses we shall all be gone somewhere comfortable. We hope it may be so indeed.

Yours in Allah,

OBL

OBL wrings a bell and a COURIER appears. The COURIER takes the letter and then shoots him in the head.

Scene seven

The NAVY SEALS gather round the bodies of OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE.

NAVY SEAL
You sure that’s him?

NAVY SEAL 2
Oh yeah. That’s him.

NAVY SEAL
Well. I guess that’s that.

The WAR PROTESTORS enter in mid-protest and are stopped in their tracks by what they see. After an awkward pause, the WAR PROTESTORS erupt into cheers and lift the SEALS into the air, celebrating them. They stop just as suddenly as they began. After another awkward pause, they go back to protesting, calling for the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. They forget about the SEALS, who gather back around the body of OBL, say a silent prayer, and then, as pallbearers, carry it out. The body of the YOUNGEST WIFE is left on stage with the PROTESTORS, who ignore it.

Scene eight

The sound of helicopters. OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE enter from the bedroom. She is in lingerie; he is fastening his robe. They rush to the window where we see lights from helicopters. More helicopter sounds, wind. A huge, window shaking bang. Silence. OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE continue to stare out the window.

OBL
A rare event.

YOUNGEST WIFE
Indeed.

The doorbell. OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE look at one another.

OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE
You get it.

Scene Nine

The NAVY SEALS gather round the bodies of OBL and YOUNGEST WIFE.

NAVY SEAL
It’s weird.

NAVY SEAL 2
What?

NAVY SEAL
I thought he would look older.

Long pause.

NAVY SEAL
This how you thought it would feel?

Pause.

NAVY SEAL 2
Not really.

Pause.

NAVY SEAL 3
Pretty much.

End of play.

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