Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Hillbilly Jamboree: A Play

In Drama, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on February 13, 2005 at 3:24 am

A CAFE AT MID-DAY

Two men sit at two separate tables along a window, facing one another, both reading newspapers and cutting articles out of them. The two men, Nobu and Nunn, are of indeterminate age but have long since gone to seed, unkempt and mildewy. Nobu has a beard made out of crushed walnuts and honey. Nunn has a stack of grimy spiral notebooks.

NUNN
Speak obliquely.

NOBU
I’ll try.

NUNN
This is strict reportage, no figures of speech.

NOBU
OK.

NUNN
It’s an exercise.

NOBU
I understand.

NUNN
I’ll start.

NOBU
Alright.

NUNN
Says here millstones were found at Ur.

NOBU
Got a gravy job in Portland.

NUNN
No, no. Microscopic scrapings of a grain whose closest modern relative is quinoa. See, quinoa is a South American grain. This must mean that the ancient Near East had commerce with South America 5000 years ago. The implications are obvious.

NOBU
You ever read “Chariots of the Gods”?

NUNN
Right, now you’re getting the hang of it.

NOBU
I thought it was fun to read.

NUNN
What are you doing?

NOBU
I liked that “Kon Tiki” too, or Thor Heyerdahl. Well that’s the same thing. Or, well, you know what I mean.

NUNN
Look, if you don’t want to do this, fine.

NOBU
No I do. I’m sorry. I just liked the book.

NUNN
Says here music has a Maori footprint. How the colonials saw the Maori, of course, but also how the Maori worldview effected the colonists and how the Maori saw the newcomers and how the Maori saw the world in general, both before and after the arrival of the Europeans. Hence, music has the stamp of Maoriness. This according to an expert.

NOBU
I need to go to the eyeglass shop.

NUNN
What’s the point? The eyeglass shop is always closed.

NOBU
It’s open right now. Look.

He gestures out the window.

NOBU (CONT’D)
The optometrist is in there right now, fitting a young woman for a set of eyeglasses. I can see them.

NUNN
Maybe. But by the time you get there it will be closed. In fact, it will never have been open.

NOBU
Do you think so?

NUNN
Very sincerely.

NOBU
I really need to get my eyeglasses fixed. And it would only take me 30 seconds to move from this chair to inside the eyeglass shop.

NUNN
Let’s say it were open. You would be fitted with blocks of wood or with hula hoops. Because that’s all they sell there.

NOBU
I can see the display of eyeglasses, right there in the window.

NUNN
It’s a waste of time. Let’s get back to the newspapers.

NOBU
Did you know he’s got a new girlfriend?

NUNN
The optometrist?

NOBU
Yes.

NUNN
No I didn’t know that.

NOBU
He’s got a different girlfriend with a different black and white dog.

NUNN
I wonder why.

NOBU
Love is hard to understand.

NUNN
You think it has to do with love?

NOBU
It might.

NUNN
What did she look like?

NOBU
Who?

NUNN
The first girlfriend.

NOBU
Just like the new one.

NUNN
I’m not familiar with either one. Does she look like this?

He holds up a white placard with a black square.

NOBU
No, not really.

NUNN
Like this then?

He holds up a placard with a triangle.

NOBU
Sort of. She had darker hair, though. And a nose.

Nunn holds up a placard with a circle on it.

NOBU (CONT’D)
Yes, that’s her.

NUNN
That’s my daughter.

NOBU
I didn’t know you had a daughter.

NUNN
Neither did eye, until I saw the picture.

NOBU
Are you in contact with her?

NUNN
No I’ve never met her.

NOBU
That’s sad.

NUNN
I have no regrets.

Silence. Nunn returns to his newspapers. Nobu looks out the window.

NOBU
Well, what do you know? Isn’t that a Blavatsky?

NUNN
What’s a Blavatsky?

NOBU
You know, the Hungarian cartoon character. Kids are crazy about it.

NUNN
Why haven’t I heard of this? I read all the papers.

NOBU
I don’t know.

NUNN
What’s it look like?

NOBU
Well, look right there.

NUNN
Where?

NOBU
Right there in the intersection, next to the railroad tracks.

NUNN
I see no one.

NOBU
You don’t see the six-foot-tall, canary yellow catfish with red eyes and ears like a lynx?

NUNN
I see nothing. What are you talking about?

NOBU
You don’t see him, standing right there under the tamarack, waving to passing cars?

NUNN
I see nothing. Have you gone mad?

NOBU
No.

NUNN
Are you on medication?

NOBU
No. Well, I had cough syrup. But that was last night. I had a sore throat.

NUNN
Well, you see, that’s it. You’re hallucinating.

NOBU
Am I? I don’t think so.

NUNN
No, you definitely are. It’s a side effect. It’s not your fault.

NOBU
But he’s standing right there. Did you see? He just put on headphones.

NUNN
I wish it were so, but it’s just the cough syrup. It doesn’t agree with you. Let’s return to our newspapers. Concentrate and it will go away.

NOBU
You think so?

NUNN
I’m sure of it.

NOBU
Thanks. You’re a good friend.

NUNN
We must look out for one another. This kind of thing can spiral out of control. And it leads to disappointment. I don’t have to tell you, we’re too old for any more disappointments.

Silence.

NUNN (CONT’D)
Says here they just did the first successful pants-lung transplant.

NOBU
Did they? That’s interesting.

NUNN
That reminds me of a certain conversation I had once with a Mr. Barbecue Goat.

NOBU
(interrupting)
You know Mr. Barbecue Goat?

NUNN
It was in the Sixties.

NOBU
The Sixties were good.

NUNN
Oh, sure.

NOBU
Good times, good times.

NUNN
Yeah.

NOBU
So you had a conversation with him.

NUNN
Yeah, yeah.

NOBU
That’s quite a coincidence.

NUNN
How so?

NOBU
What?

NUNN
It cannot possibly be a coincidence, as it is what happened. And it happened quite naturally as an inevitable result of the actions I took beforehand.

NOBU
It is too great a coincidence to be accidental.

NUNN
Precisely. I’ll call in some minutes. All will be clarified. And by clarified I mean, not clarified.

NOBU
That’s what I tried to tell the police.

NUNN
I loved a girl once. But she died.

NOBU
I’m sorry for your loss.

NUNN
Well, she didn’t die. But she left. I felt bad.

NOBU
Well that happens.

NUNN
It does, it does. You’re right. Still, I became tragic. And dramatic.

NOBU
Beats working any day.

NUNN
You got that right, brother.

They laugh.

NOBU
Amen.

NUNN
Yeah.

NOBU
Yeah.

NUNN
I got no regrets, though.

NOBU
What, like you were wrong?

They laugh.

NOBU (CONT’D)
Like your whole life has been wasted?

They laugh.

NOBU (CONT’D)
Like your failure of nerve cost you any hope of happiness? Like the deformations you allowed in your soul in order to shrink away from any possibility that you would have pain again have made you into a kind of a monster?

A grim silence is followed, eventually, by forced gaiety.

NOBU (CONT’D)
Nah!

NUNN
You’re funny. But you’ve got a lot to learn. I pity you really.

NOBU
I’m stupid.

NUNN
I think we’re getting a little off track here. Unless I’m very much mistaken, we’ve got quite a bit of work to do.

They turn back to their papers. Silence as they read and cut.

NUNN (CONT’D)
The look in her eyes when she left, though. It was what was gone from her, what was missing from her eyes when I looked into them that morning, the morning she went away, and the sure knowledge that I was responsible for that.

Silence.

NUNN (CONT’D)
I have no regrets, though.

From offstage comes the prolonged sound of pots, pans and silverware falling into a sink.

NOBU
Says here that the Fatimids developed the first go-carts.

NUNN
True, in 12th century Egypt to help them transport millet to the pyramid builders.

NOBU
Interesting.

NUNN
But there’s more.

NOBU
You don’t say.

NUNN
Ah, but I do. During the celebration of the scrubbing of Thoth, the Ibis-headed god of thunder, celebrants would strap a strapping youth to one of these go-carts while a crawfish named Dandy would flambulate his wikiup with his snapping pinchers in order to keep him in a properly turgid motif.

NOBU
Intriguing.

NUNN
In medieval Cairo there were professional farters.

NOBU
Indeed!

NUNN
(standing)
Ladies and gentlemen! May it be known that the Sultan has issued the following edict. Tomorrow the people of Cairo are to assemble at the Birhat al-Fil to witness a marvel of indigestion, a miracle of colonic prestidigitation — the Golden Fart

Nobu gasps and puts his hands to his mouth.

NUNN (CONT’D)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that Golden Fart, the creature that rises like the Phoenix from the ashes of the bowels of one of the select only once in a millennium beneath the blue moon of summer.

Nobu claps. Nunn bows and returns to his seat.

NUNN (CONT’D)
My theory is that in between selling dope and guns to the Saudis, pimping infants to cannibal kings in Namibia and Ghana, and mewling about the Palestinians, the Dutch are clamping their shrivelled schroeders between handfuls of stolen mail in the only release that still remains to their jaded and perverted sexual lives.

NOBU
This is part of your work, then?

NUNN
Yes. I have entitled it “The Supervest Indices” and I have chosen an author.

NOBU
Really. Who?

NUNN
He was a half-Maori, half-Polynesian kid from the Auckland slum of Otara.

NOBU
I found a lightbulb.

NUNN
He was a poor kid who made good, rose on his wits out of the ghetto to an air-conditioned super-pad in a rotating skyscraper at the corner of Cahuenga and La Cienega, just up the block from the snowcone pile where the fairy burglars crawl and bungle and the junkies bugle, crying into their junk, where the little people congeal in grey clots on the skin of coffee in discarded Styrofoam cups and the dogs, barking, stalk through ghost forests behind liquor stores.

NOBU
As a consequence of wave-particle duality, all quantum fields have a fundamental particle associated with them. The particle associated with the Higgs field is called the Higgs boson.

NUNN
What?

NOBU
Nothing.

NUNN
Oh.

NOBU
Fibonacci and the original problem about rabbits where the series first appears, the family trees of cows and bees, the golden ratio and the Fibonacci series, the Fibonacci Spiral and sea shell shapes, branching plants, flower petal and seeds, leaves and petal arrangements, on pineapples and in apples, pine cones and leaf arrangements.

NUNN
What?

NOBU
Nothing.

NUNN
But…

NOBU
I said…nothing.

NUNN
Fine, suit yourself.

NOBU
I will.

NUNN
Good.

NOBU
Good.

NUNN
Fine.

NOBU
I wore a hat of broken melon.

NUNN
I wore zucchini boots.

Nobu leaves the stage, then returns pulling a white board on wheels. With a marker he writes: “f(n) = f(n-1)+f(n-2) if n>1”. Nunn shakes his head sadly, then rises, takes the marker from Nobu and writes: “1.61803”. Nobu adds a negative to it (-1.61803). Nunn adds a positive (±1.61803). Nobu writes “±0·61803”. Nunn writes the Greek for “phi.” Nobu clenches his fist angrily. Nobu writes 6.023×10 to the 23rd, then turns to Nunn with a look of smugness. Nunn verges on tears. Then, a look of hope slowly dawns on his face. He rushes to the board and writes “xn + yn = zn”.

NUNN (CONT’D)
I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain.

NOBU
Whatever.

They both return to their papers. Silence but for pages turning and the snip of scissors.

NUNN
Somewhere, deep in the archives, I have a photo we took in Hamburg of an ancient wig shop by the Rathaus. There, behind the amber-tinted window, among the filthy Styrofoam wig stands and atrophied pink rubber heads, was the “Heino” model — so marked with a shaky felt pen on the wig stand — wearing the trademark shades and a “mod” scarf tied about the neck.

A phone rings. As Nobu answers it his reaction should be too fast to be a result of the caller. That reaction is bug-eyed terror, which he renders standing, facing rigidly ahead, and holding the phone off from his head. The headset of the phone should not be attached to any phone, and it should be an old-style headset, not a portable phone.

NOBU
C-c-c-c-c-coyotes!

In a long moment of silence following Nobu’s outburst, (and in which his reaction is unchanging) a bishop, replete with robes and mitre, rides in from stage right on a unicycle, rides across the stage extremely slowly, the wheel squeaking with each revolution, and off left. Halfway across the stage he lifts his mitre to reveal a snow-white kitten perching on his head.

NOBU (CONT’D)
(pointing)
C-c-c-c-c-coyotes!

Nobu falls over in a dead faint, the phone clattering to the ground. Nunn turns back to the papers.

NUNN
Says here that 90% of Americans can’t name the capital of their own states. Americans scored 295th out of 300 countries surveyed in geographical knowledge.

Nobu’s eyes pop open.

NOBU
I know the state capitals.

NUNN
That’s my boy. Let’s hear them.

Nobu stands up and returns to his chair.

NOBU
Rapid City.

Nunn nods.

NOBU (CONT’D)
Los Angeles.

NUNN
Uh-huh.

NOBU
Metropolis?

NUNN
Good, keep going.

NOBU
Addis Ababa, Dushanbe, Berkowitz Falls, Shit Town… Uh…

NUNN
Nebraska?

NOBU
Arkansas?

Nunn nods his head encouragingly. In the following recitation, Nobu gets more and more animated, standing up, pacing, punching the air for emphasis and winding up in a posture of joyful triumph like a sports star at the conclusion to a successful game.

NOBU (CONT’D)
Honolulu, Walla Walla, St. Louis, Nuuk, Austin, Oregon, Port Crumbly, Juneau, St. Paul, Iowa City, Idaho City, Albany, Marietta, Pol Pot, pot roast, tool shed, tricycle, Danville, Detroit, flambeaux, Fat City, Jawbone Acres, Louisiana, Puerta Vallarta, Canada, Providence, Provincetown, Little Rock, Butte, Asheville, Denver, Topeka, fish sticks, Gropius, Santa Fe, Santa Claus, Tallahassee, Pierre, Fifi, hopscotch and… Lansing!

Nunn claps enthusiastically. Nobu bows to the audience and returns to his seat. They both turn immediately to the newspapers.

NUNN
Says here Jimmy Two-Tongues and Vincent Scallopini dumped Pepe Lautremont in Waffle Diaper Slough. Now his brother-in-law Seamus O’Cabbage Pants has called in Aubergine “The Rugged Chalice” Abramowitz and his crew.

NOBU
He’s brought the Kleenex box cozy in from the parlor where Sasquatch churros twirl in the golden boil, as they say.

NUNN
Says here they’re going to raise the water rates.

NOBU
Water should be free. Water is nature. They’re charging us for the same as air.

NUNN
This is what happens when the yuppies get in power.

They shake their heads, then return to their papers. Enter Somme, a man of a certain age, not young exactly, but not old yet, not quite.

SOMME
I was just around the corner from some light for a long time. I think I missed my chance.

NOBU
It’s better in the end. Otherwise the sorrow is incalculable. Failing is hard work, I know. But consider the alternative.

NUNN
Success is for losers.

NOBU
You’re better off here. We talk about the newspapers. We try not to indulge in too much theory. It makes you feel sick after a while. Sometimes you just want silence. But you know, if you don’t have much to do, you get pretty good at reading the papers. I think it’s a natural thing, to want to do something with what you get. But I stopped working a long time ago. It was too hard. Then I got some theories about why you shouldn’t work. Then I thought maybe it was wrong, but by that time it was too long. I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t figure out how to do it again.

SOMME
But what about love?

NUNN
Love? I have no time for that. My work is for the ages.

SOMME
What work?

NOBU
He’s writing a book.

SOMME
A book? What kind of a book?

NUNN
Tell him.

NOBU
It’s a book of his life experiences.

NUNN
It’s a book of everything I know, of everything that is knowable. Looked at in a different way. I am assembling it from articles clipped out of newspapers and my diaries, in which I note the smallest detail of radio broadcasts and the new paradigm of the Internet.

SOMME
Can I hear some of it?

NUNN
It makes no sound.

SOMME
Can you read me some, then?

NUNN
It’s my vision.

SOMME
Can I see it?

NUNN
The world is not ready for it.

NOBU
He’s a genius.

NUNN
I am just a man.

Nunn and Nobu resume reading and clipping their newspapers. Somme stands awkwardly.

NUNN (CONT’D)
Pull up a seat over here behind me. We’ll figure out the configuration later. Here are some newspapers and a pair of scissors and I think I have a manila envelope in my pack that you can reuse.

Somme sits down unsure of what to do. Nunn and Nobu resume reading their papers.

NUNN (CONT’D)
Says here God is dead.

SOMME
No, that’s not true. I saw him in the woods.

Nunn and Nobu regard Somme in stunned silence with a mixture of affront and anger.

NUNN
Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. It says here in the newspaper that God is dead.

SOMME
I know but the reporter must have got it wrong. I came up through the woods over here from the river and I saw God churning up the tracks. He was wearing a parka and had slacks on and deck shoes. He was like five minutes ahead of me. Maybe you saw him.

NOBU
Was he yellow?

SOMME
Uh, no. I don’t think so.

NUNN
The reporter must have got it wrong? Kid, there is no reporter. There is no getting it wrong. There is only the newspaper. If it says that God is dead then God is dead and if he isn’t then he better fucking kill himself fast.

NOBU
I saw the Buddha on the road once. Killed him real good.

NUNN
Did it say here the Buddha was killed on the road?

Silence.

NUNN (CONT’D)
Did it?

NOBU
I don’t know.

NUNN
No it did not. It said Buddhism in long decline. So you see, you did not meet the Buddha on the road and you did not kill him. He is dying of old age. God is dead and you didn’t see him anywhere. Now get back to clipping.

They return to their papers. Somme tries halfheartedly to follow suit, clipping randomly and stealing glances at Nobu and Nunn. Enter Ain.

AIN
I am a woman.

Nunn and Nobu begin to violently plunge hatpins into their thighs, moaning and weeping piteously. Somme stares, transfixed. Nobu looks at Ain again and stops, registering a look of recognition. He picks up the placard with the circle from Nunn’s table and holds it up, comparing it to Ain.

NOBU
It’s your daughter.

Nunn stops short.

NUNN
I’m not married.

NOBU
This woman is your daughter, though.

NUNN
I never even knew she was sick.

NOBU
Still…

NUNN
Do I have a daughter?

NOBU
That’s what you said.

NUNN
Did I? When?

NOBU
Earlier.

NUNN
Was I on drugs? They can have an effect, you know.

NOBU
Yes, I remember, but no, no drugs. I don’t believe so, anyway.

NUNN
Who is she again?

NOBU
Your daughter.

NUNN
How do you know?

Nobu holds up the placard.

NUNN (CONT’D)
My word. That is her. This is you. And this is my daughter. Therefor, you are my daughter.

SOMME
Will you marry me?

AIN
That would be incest.

SOMME
How?

AIN
That’s for me to know and you to find out.

SOMME
Make me the happiest man in the world.

AIN
This is the Ulysses whose marble am.

SOMME
You’ll do it then? You’ll be my wife?

AIN
Of course I will silly, of course I will.

Nunn and Nobu step up.

NUNN
You, taken of Somme this woman to be its wife, have and to keep as of this front day, for better or worse, richer or poor, in the illness and the health, to love and caress, until the death that you patch?

AIN
I do.

NUNN
Do you take of Ain this man, to be your husband, to have of this day, for better or worse, richer or worse, in the disease and health and to hold, like and estimate ahead, until you distribute a death?

SOMME
I am.

NOBU
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

NUNN
(to Somme)
Now I am your father also.

SOMME
Undeniably.

AIN
(picking up the placard)
But this isn’t me. This is my sister.

NUNN
This isn’t you?

AIN
No, it’s my sister.

NUNN
So I am not your father.

AIN
No, you are my uncle.

NUNN
I see. So that means I am not your father either.

SOMME
Unfortunately, no.

NUNN
I regret not having a family. I deeply, bitterly regret it. I would have liked to have had children. Still, I have no regrets. I regret nothing. I have my work.

NOBU
Were you not the eye doctor’s one girlfriend?

AIN
No, that was my sister as well.

NOBU
So you have two sisters, then.

AIN
No, just the one.

NOBU
I see. Well, were you the other girlfriend, then? The one he has now?

AIN
No, that’s not me either. That’s also my sister.

NOBU
(increasingly suspicious)
I see.

AIN
He did make these spectacles for me, though. That’s got to count for something, right?

NUNN
Yes, she’s right. Certainly that must count for something.

NOBU
(considering)
Yes, yes, I suppose so. The only problem is…(jabs his finger accusingly) You aren’t wearing any glasses!

AIN
(exploding into tears)
Oh, God, it’s true! It’s true, it’s true! I’m not wearing any glasses! I am a fraud! A fraud! Please forgive me. Won’t you all please forgive me?

NOBU
(very pleased with himself)
Well you see now, that’s the thing. I would forgive you if it were up to me, but it’s just not. It’s really all up to my friend here.

NUNN
(tears in his eyes)
I forgive you. I forgive you… my… daughter

They fall into one another’s arms, weeping copiously.

AIN
Father!

SOMME
They’re fog-packed, so you know they’re good.

Nobu now has an edge on Nunn, his first in many years, and he feels good about it. Now, he’s going to give Nunn a taste of what he’s endured all this time.

NOBU
Here, now. Here, here. Now, now. That’s right. Let it all out. And… we’re done. That’s enough of that, see? We’re done, OK? You need to sit down and get back to your work. There is work to be done, you know. That hasn’t changed. Arbeit macht frei. And it’s fry you shall be mocked, rest assured.

NUNN
But, my daughter…

NOBU
You’re thinking of her sister and that’s no concern of yours. Your friends, on the other hand, are perfectly welcome, as long as their not averse to a little work. Our work has no place in it for bourgeois sentimentality.

Nobu forces Ain into a chair at a table to his right.

NOBU (CONT’D)
And you, here.

He sits Somme down at the table he was at before, to the left of Nunn. He places newspapers and scissors on Ain’s table. Nunn looks regretful, but cowed, and goes back to his papers. Ain and Somme look at one another questioningly. Nobu sits at his table and picks up a paper.

NUNN
Did your mother ever sing you any cradle songs?

NOBU
What kind of songs?

NUNN
You know, lullabies.

NOBU
What a stupid question.

NUNN
My mommy used to sing me one.

He begins to sing.

NUNN (CONT’D)
Hush little baby don’t you cry
Momma’s gonna bake you a pumpkin pie
And if that pumpkin pie don’t sing
Momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
If that diamond ring’s catatonic
Momma’s gonna drain the Miskatonic
And if that river don’t dry up
Momma’s gonna fetch her favorite gun
If that unregistered gun don’t shoot
Momma’s gonna stuff your hole with fruit
And if that fruit don’t taste too good
Momma’s gonna put an end to food
And if you do not starve to death
Momma’s gonna avoid arrest
And if the cops don’t lock her up
Mamma’s gonna taint your Jello cup
And if that Jello don’t prove fatal
Momma’s gonna beat you with a ladle
Drop you in the estuary
Move to Dallas and remarry

We were poor but we never knew it.

SOMME
Why not?

NUNN
Because we were happy.

SOMME
Weren’t you hungry?

NUNN
Sure, sometimes.

SOMME
And filthy and ill-clothed?

NUNN
Oh, yes. But that didn’t matter, because we were happy. We didn’t need much. It’s not like it is now. People chasing around after material gain. No, that was a simpler time.

SOMME
Weren’t you cold?

NUNN
Only in the winter, and part of spring. In the fall too, of course. But we didn’t know it.

SOMME
Is your mother still alive?

NUNN
No, no, she died some time ago of exposure and malnutrition, clad only in a filthy rag, died in the gutter next to a bank on Main Street. She was dead but we never knew it, still kept us together and loved us. Not like it is now.

SOMME
You have brothers and sisters?

NUNN
I did, yes. We were a family then.

SOMME
What do your brothers and sisters do?

NUNN
Look at what you’re doing. You’re defining people by how they serve the economic engine. For you and your generation people are only jobs — good people have good jobs, they are good jobs. Poor people are bad because they don’t have money.

SOMME
OK, where do they live then, your brothers and sisters?

NUNN
They’ve passed on.

SOMME
Oh, I’m sorry, is this recent?

NUNN
Yes. It was around the same time as my mother. We were all dead but we never knew it. Oh, how we used to gather around the table and laugh. I had to wire them to the chairs to keep them from falling over, but we didn’t think of that as an inconvenience, it was just the way things had to be. I’d trade all my life since for just one more night around the table with them. But things change, you know, people fall apart, government agencies intervene, you go off to a “special school” where doctors tell you what to think. It’s a damned shame is what it is.

SOMME
Well, I think the world is alright as it is. I don’t mean it’s paradise or anything, it’s just that I don’t think it was ever really different than it is now.

NOBU
You’re a young man so your stupidity is so stupid.

SOMME
I hear the great unending prayer, scattered over every hand, every leaf, every cry, salutation and imprecation, in the cities I hear it in each taxi door shutting, window rasping open, every metal shutter rolling up over a store, in every phone call, traffic whistle, horn honk, in each snapping back of a newspaper on a subway car, and in the country, in every dog bark and horse’s whinny, each shout that carries over a field, every song in every radio of each car that drives by with its window down, in the distant roar from every luminous nighttime ball field, every wave breaking on the shore, every beat of a basketball against a sidewalk or backboard, the hiss of flames in a suburban barbecue, the ring of the spatula against the grill, a baby crying from a fifth floor apartment, each hooker’s coo and cop’s curse, the ring of belt buckles against the iron bedstead as teenagers disrobe for their first sexual experience, every doorbell and each book dropped down the chute of a Brooklyn branch library and the rush of the wind through the needles of the jackpine on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

NOBU
You must stop your ears with wax. What you hear is siren song and you’ll be called to death upon the rocks.

NUNN
I heard that prayer once and almost died. Take heed and know this: What you are hearing is actually “Heartbeat – It’s a Love Beat” by the De Franco Family.

AIN
Our thing’s better than yours because it’s not yours but rather ours. Oh, the things we’ll experience together as our lives dilate.

SOMME
There comes a man in every Time-Life when he ceases even to make mistakes. It will be comforting to stare down that long nothingness together with you. A squeeze from your warm mitt will be the only thing that is when the absence of everything clicks in like a blank, unending wall.

AIN
Eventually all the fires go cold, no matter how hot they burn at first. That’s called entropy. I am looking forward to the airless cold of exponentially increasing disappointments with you, my love.

NUNN
You sicken me.

NOBU
This is a sickening perversion of God’s natural law.

SOMME
The adventures we’ll have together, you can’t imagine. Who knows which way we’ll turn in our moment of irremediable error? I’m excited to see it when it happens. It’s called fate.

AIN
Perhaps it will look a little something like this.

Ain and Somme clear their throats and straighten up.

AIN (CONT’D)
(to Nunn)
“Hey, Nunn, how ’bout you give me some of that big Albanian cack? Hmm? Nobu won’t mind will you, Nobu?”

NUNN
Madam, your husband is standing right there!

AIN
“Oh, don’t mind him. We’re alternative. We’re not limited by bourgeois notions of respectability.”

Ain starts massaging her breasts.

AIN (CONT’D)
“Somme…! Come to bed and suck my titties! Ungh.”

NOBU
My word. This is scandalous.

AIN
See?

SOMME
Or we might retire to the country. “I say, it surely is wonderful out here in the garden taking tea.”

AIN
“It certainly is. Now that we have started to breed pig-dog goat-suckers commercially we are living lives of reality, unlike those artificial people in the cities with sport utility vehicles.”

SOMME
“It feels very good to be close to the soil. Sometimes we drink lemonade under the parasol, which is a good reward for a life that is no longer theoretical.”

AIN
“Let’s breed humans too. After all, family is so important. Look, here’s our baby. We don’t see that he is a disgusting shit factory with no manners. Let’s indulge every want and then inflict him on our childless friends.”

SOMME
“We should pity our friends, for they are childless. Your life just changes when you have a child. I guess they just can’t understand that.”

AIN
“Let’s get new friends, ones with children. We can talk about vomiting, and agree that it is spiritual.”

SOMME
“That is a really good idea.” Get the picture?

AIN
Or perhaps we can move to the big city. “I love living here in the big city. I’m glad we have taken up popular urban vocations and hang out in new bars and take vacations with discredited European royalty and occasionally go to the Guggenheim. That’s called culture.”

SOMME
Or we can move to a little town and grow old with no children at all and indulge ourselves. “Nothing beats a lecture on how rich people are bad at the local educational institution. Would you like to question internal combustion by walking to the local natural food store?”

AIN
“I would love to do that. But first, let us stroll by the picturesque, petrified river. Only here can you find delicious and enormous organic mushrooms sprouting from the uncontrollable heaps of a thousand failed lives. Ah, bite into them! Luscious!”

NUNN
You call that life? Why, that is death-in-life. Look, here we cut out headlines and discuss topics from the papers.

NOBU
We paste things in spiral notebooks and make charts!

SOMME
(to Ain)
I’ve had it with these fools. If I stay another minute I won’t be able to ever get up. Will you come with me?

Ain looks at Nunn and Nobu.

NUNN
There is no place for women here. They sap your creativity and they try to remake you into bourgeois suburbanites mowing your lawn. They drain your manly energy and feminize you. There’s no place for you here. You’ll want babies and a minivan. That’s bullshit. Isn’t that right?

NOBU
(casting his eyes to the ground)
Right.

AIN
(to Somme)
Of course I’ll go with you.

NUNN
You’re going to miss a life of the mind. Think about it. This is the most important decision you will ever have been making. We are dedicated to the truth at any cost.

SOMME
The human dialogue is always between the mathematical and the unmathematicable. First there is nature. From it, man draws a mathematical vocabulary. Then, he recognizes that the vocabulary he has extracted asserts its own laws in relationship to its parts. He then reimposes those mathematical ideas onto nature. Greek reason produced “symetria.” Then Christianity came, a religion that did not express itself mathematically, then the Church arose, theology and so on, providing a reintegration of Classical mathematics back on the ‘chaos’ or pure spirit of Christianity.

Exit Ain and Somme. Silence. Nunn and Nobu return to their papers, reading and clipping in silence.

NUNN
Says here the Japanese have developed automatic pants.

THE END

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