Monday Rewrite: Polling Time

Joe. Mary! The census cards have come.
Mary. What census cards?
Joe. The ones for the voting. We have to go to Bethlehem to register our existence.
Mary. Won’t make any difference. They don;t care. They do what they want anyway.
Joe. Of course. But we have to show willing.
Mary. I don’t want to. I’m sick and tired of all that propaganda they keep putting out about how wonderful things are. I wish we could make a change, you know really make a change.
Joe. Well, maybe that baby you’re carrying will do something. What was it your cousin said? You’re carrying God’s baby?
Mary. Would he want us to register for the Romans?
Joe. I don’t think it works like that Mary. We’re talking about a whole other level here.
Mary. Oh… but it’s not fair. I don’t want to go. Eight months pregnant. I shouldn’t have to.
Joe. You do have to go.
Mary. Why?
Joe. You know why. I have to go and I’m not leaving you here alone with all the gossip going round the town. Things might turn ugly.
Mary sighs.
Mary. Why could it not be more straightforward? People blank me in the street you know.
Joe. Could be worse, you know. That’s why I’m not leaving you here.
‘Mary. Why don’t they get it?
Joe. We’ve seen angels Mary, they haven’t.
Mary. Well, all right, but you can carry all the extras then.
Joe. What extras?
Mary. The extra supplies… you know… the locust vol au vents, the date and fish pasties, the garlic, goat and honey sandwiches. You know how much I’ve developed a taste for those in the last few months. Can’t survive without them, and you don’t want to buy them in Bethlehem, not with the prices there.
Joe. I blame the Romans and their single currency. Not to mention taxing everything in sight. They’ll be putting a tax on fresh air next. Come on. We’d better get ready.
Mary. There’ll be nowhere to stay, the place’ll be heaving you know.
Joe. My cousins will put us up, and if they can’t there’s my uncle.
Mary. Not if they’ve heard the gossip from Nazareth, about me being pregnant. They’ll be ashamed.
Joe. They will not! They’re caring people.
Mary. I hope you’re right. They could easily leave us out in the cold.
Joe. When was a pregnant mother ever left out in the cold? Trust me, the women from all round will be falling over themselves to help you have that baby. You know what they’re like. It’ll be all right. We’ll find shelter, even if it means squeezing in with the animals. God hasn’t given us his baby and then abandoned us.
Mary. I just don’t want to let him down… I wish it were easier. I’m scared Joe.
Joe. Yea I… I know. Me too. Me too.
Mary. ‘He has done great things, and his mercy goes on from one generation to the next.’
Joe. What?
Mary. Oh, I was just thinking about something I told Elizabeth. ‘Each generation will call me blessed.’
Joe. He’ll help us, Mary. He will, like you say, his mercy goes on…

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