Morning Execution

Scene: The Absurd Choice

Setting: A bare, concrete room. Three metal chairs are the only furniture. A single, harsh bulb hangs from the ceiling. LUCIEN, a wiry man with haunted eyes, sits hunched. INES, a woman with a defiant chin, paces the room like a caged animal. ANTOINE, portly and sweating, mops his brow. A GUARD, impassive, stands by the door.

Guard: (Flatly) You have one hour. Discuss amongst yourselves.

He exits, slamming the door. A heavy silence settles.

Lucien: (Voice raspy) Absurd, isn’t it? Choosing how to die. Like picking a restaurant where the main course is your demise.

Ines: (Scornful) Don’t be theatrical, Lucien. It’s a mockery, true, but a mockery we can twist. A final act of defiance.

Antoine: (Whining) Defiance? What good is defiance when you’re staring down the barrel of… (He trails off, unable to voice the word)

Ines: Silence, Antoine! We have options. The guillotine, swift and “clean,” they say. A lie, of course.

Lucien: The noose? A choking spectacle for their amusement. What a degrading way to leave the stage.

Antoine: (Muttering) Maybe the firing squad. At least it’s…

Ines: (Snapping) Quicker? A bullet to the back like a dog? No dignity there, either.

Lucien: They want us to choose. To pretend we have control over this absurdity.

Ines: Then let’s not play their game. Let them choose for us.

Antoine: But that means… surrendering…

Ines: We’re already condemned, Antoine! Surrendered the moment they found us “guilty.” This… this is a choice they dangle before us, a choice so hollow it becomes an insult.

Lucie: (Eyes flashing) Don’t you see? This is their game! They dangle this illusion of control, hoping we’ll play their farce.

Ionesco: Farce? This is existence stripped bare, my dear. We are condemned, and now, condemned to choose the manner of our own demise.

Antoine: There’s no winning here, Ionesco. We either choose and validate their authority, or refuse and let them choose for us.

Lucien: But to refuse… won’t they just…

He gestures vaguely, unable to finish the thought.

Ines: They’ll do what they will regardless. Refusing is the only defiance we have left. Let them scramble, let them see our rebellion in the face of the inevitable.

Antoine: (Wringing his hands) But what if they make it worse? Torture… solitary…

Ines: They’ll do that anyway if it suits them. We have no guarantees, only this: a chance to spit in the eye of their so-called justice. We are condemned, yes, but we are not without choice. We choose how to face it.

Lucien: (Slowly) You’re right, Ines. It’s the only scrap of meaning we have left in this… this existential wasteland they’ve created.

Antoine: (Small voice) But…

Ines: (Firmly) No buts, Antoine. We stand together. We refuse their game.

An uneasy silence hangs, then Lucien nods with a grim smile.

Lucien: Together.

Ines: (Looks at the guard) One hour. We have our answer.

The guard opens the door, his face unchanging.

Guard: Decision?

Ines steps forward, her voice ringing clear.

Ines: We refuse your “choice.” Take us however you see fit.

The guard stares at them, then shrugs. A flicker of something – annoyance, perhaps? – crosses his face.

Guard: As you wish.

He turns and exits. Ines lets out a harsh laugh.

Ines: There. We defied the absurd. Now, for the rest of the absurdity.

The door slams shut. Lucien and Antoine exchange a look, a mixture of fear and defiance in their eyes. The harsh bulb shines down on them, casting long shadows in the bare room as the weight of their decision settles i