Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

The Steve Mertz Trilogy, Part Three: Mertz in Love

In Bob Folder, Drama, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on July 23, 2006 at 8:29 pm

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Trilogy Table of Contents

SCENE ONE – the nineteenth century

A girl in a gingham sleeping gown, with white lace ruffles around the neck, is asleep in a large bed with decoratively carved wooden head- and foot-board. She is clutching an oversized, illuminated light bulb. Steve Mertz is watching her.

STEVE MERTZ

The first time I met her I banged on her door with my boot in proper Roman fashion. She opened it wearing nothing but a tissue of lies and a smile bright enough to suck cars in. She was offering me a sack of gravel and a sock in the teeth. Since then the idea of what might have been has grown larger than what was. Now it is the brightest part of her. If a diseased gibbon were in possession of it, I would love the gibbon as much as she. How the narcoleptic root beer-colored ashtray melts into a syrup of retarding the grizzled old shank bone of grampa on a vaguely homophobic boat with its female genitalia. I offered a symbol to three drunk redneck football players in a Portapotty. They beat me like a drum. I sent Victoria Principal a snapshot of my nude Twizzler. She said no woman will ever really like a man who doesn’t have an enormous ball-sack. My nut-sack’s huge.

Turns his back.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

Come closer. I have something to show you.

The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb mutters and tosses in her sleep. Steve Mertz laughs nervously, turns back around.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

Nothing! What? Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific! Would you rather have a Pop Tart or a mouth full of ancient coins? I want to shower you with gifts. You know, that sort of thing. I hear the ringing of an excruciating bell in the rectory.

She jokes with me, you know, bell jars and sassafras from Narraganset to Walla Walla, but I know she must clasp bivalves with a mollusk-husker from Yachats for her ailing, threadbare rumpus room with buttons for eyes. I wait because I know the sauces age in antediluvian skillets hidden in the Scythian wing of the Ukrainian National Museum. I am your comrade and pack the cartons tight with bang rubber. Someday, I will be there and she will wait for something and something’s over there for sure and she’ll do whatever and I’m all like yeah and whatever and so on. I’m just a romantic. My Aunt Phidias had this pantry, old fashioned pantry with the wooden doors, with shelves and she’d keep her preserves there, and jellies and jams and olives and pickles and other pickled vegetables. I don’t know the heat or something so the pickles and I’m sitting there watching that which I used to think was a TV so dumb and then pickles from eight jars popped out in all directions like anti-ballistic missile silos in Matapan at 6 in the morning the cocks crowin’ and Uncle Heinous out of bed with a foam fronted ball cap on and a cape and nudity below and shotgun chasing his friend Mortimer which is what he used to call It, around the room screechin’ about how Mortimer up and give it to his whore of a wife and he was gonna get it real good shotgun blasts from here to St. Phoebus’ Home for the Criminally Lubricated.

Stage goes suddenly dark. Eighteen extremely loud shotgun blasts flash. Lights back on. Steve Mertz is sitting in a rocking chair holding The Harvard Concordance to Ovid, wearing a nine-foot tall hat. The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb is gone.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

The stereotype of the sleepless lovesick youth was long established by the time Ovid expressed it, but he conveys a particularly vivid impression of it. Remember that such love-longing was diagnosed as a clinical illness in ancient times, usually treatable only by lovemaking.

Note his ingenious examples of self-defeating struggle. He gladly surrenders to Cupid, telling him that he can celebrate a triumphal procession of the kind allotted to military leaders who succeeded in adding territory to the Roman Empire, but decorated with objects associated with Venus, such as a myrtle wreath substituted for the usual laurel. Captured prisoners were a feature of such processions.

Enter Unindicted Co-conspirator with Minister Without Portfolio. Unindicted Co-conspirator should be played by Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy, while Minister Without Portfolio is former British Prime Minister Lloyd George.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Welcome to the Religion of Finite Numbers, the radio talk show that lets the radio talk. I’m your host Raicido Adi.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

And I’m your celebrity guest host, Rod Steiger.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Our guests today are rock and roll immortals, The Dream Teens. The Dream Teens.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

And later on in the show we’ll be talking to poet and dramatist Bob Folder about his new memoir, “The Tongue in the Sink.”

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

You beg them for a reason

In the hot plastic winds of San Jose.

“Shall we go talk to the octopus?”

Beneath the automobile dealerships

On Naglee Road the slurry conduits burst,

Covering the houses in nearby Brobdignagian Avenue

With a piping-hot sauce.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

The vermin floss piano lost my pancreas

and the carnival ride.

Motion is

this van’s a-knockin’

on the bamboo

of the creamy porcelain Oxnard

I keep in my pulverized lagoon.

Who cheated the fierce monkey in my pants?

He went wild

and I began to whistle

like a CB

in the ocean.

Fifteen hours

Greenwich mean time,

closing the future

on a wild water buffalo of fire

whom the natives call

President Bizimungu.

Silence.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (CONT’D)

(to Unindicted Co-Conspiritor)

What are you going to do, make a citizen’s arrest?

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Keep the pulsing away and everything’s A-OK, follow me? Hide in a metal box and the world is at your command. I tried to kiss a girl once but she threw up and now I enter numbers in rows and buy metal and wires and powder in cans and am very powerful.

Exit Unindicted Co-conspirator and Minister Without Portfolio.

STEVE MERTZ

Obviously if he was trying to keep an affair such as this secret, he would not have published the poem. The humor of the poem lies in the poet’s frantic jealousy of his mistresses’ husband. His elaborate system of symbolic gestures is meant more to be amusing than serious, as the conclusion reveals. To understand this poem one needs to understand that dining was normally done reclining on couches, leaning on one elbow, two to a couch.

SCENE TWO – A long-closed supermarket, Dust, a few cans and rickety shelving

Enter, from one side Bishop, carrying harmonica and large, colorful astrology pamphlet, and Prostitute, from the other, Man in a Lemur Costume.

BISHOP

What are we doing here?

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

You guys? At least you’re Bishop and Prostitute. What the hell am I doing here? I’m Man in a Lemur Costume for God’s sake.

PROSTITUTE

Maybe you’re supposed to represent the Id.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

What? You mean, like the comic?

PROSTITUTE

No, you moron. In Freudian psychology the Id is that element of the self that is primal, the urges of our animal being.

BISHOP

I thought that was the Ego.

PROSTITUTE

Isn’t that the Id moderated by the Superego?

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

What the fuck are you talking about?

PROSTITUTE

The Superego are those elements of the self that act as brakes on our urges – mores, ethics, law, religion. I’m just hooking to pay my way through psychology school.

BISHOP

Maybe I’m the Superego.

PROSTITUTE

Yeah, OK. Stands to reason. But if he’s the Id and you’re the Superego, that makes me the Ego.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

What does that mean?

PROSTITUTE

It means that this guy’s idea of normalcy of urge balanced by law is a woman who screws for money.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

Ah, it’s all bullshit to me. Didn’t you get any notes?

BISHOP

Message on my answering machine, such-and-such a time, such-and-such a place, just like I told you on the phone.

PROSTITUTE

Jung believed that in a dream, a house represented the psyche.

BISHOP

Is this a house?

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

Well does it look like your house, Tolstoy? Do you have dust-covered shelves with dented cans of tomato paste in your house? Actually, that doesn’t seem that unlikely.

PROSTITUTE

Why shouldn’t the self be represented by the ruins of a supermarket? This is the self in public, kind of airing dirty laundry. Why shouldn’t it be a public space gone to hell? Maybe that’s what his psyche is like.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

Aren’t you supposed to be the hooker? So why don’t you just shut up and suck my cock?

Prostitute slaps Man in a Lemur Costume in the back of the head.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME (CONT’D)

Ouch.

BISHOP

We better look around and see if we can figure out what we’re supposed to be doing here.

Prostitute takes harmonica from Bishop, jumps on his back and begins playing. Man in a Lemur Costume begins to dance like a chicken with a broken spine. Prostitute, Bishop and Man in a Lemur Costume exit.

SCENE THREE – The banks of the Charles River in Boston, circa 1850

Enter Steve Mertz, in frock coat and mutton-chops, with Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe, in a high-necked 19th century dress and hair on top of head.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

There is a small cantaloupe bucking like a panicked monkey in your lap. Momma said don’t leave the table till your plate is clean.

STEVE MERTZ

You know how in every hippy café from Tucumcari to Ann Arbor some half-educated bean monkey is taping on a sign to the napkin dispenser that says, “These napkins are made from trees.” Well, I used to be the editor of an international pulp and paper industry annual guide and you know what? There’s not a napkin on the planet earth that was made out of a tree. Do you have any idea how expensive trees are? What company would make napkins out of trees? They’re made out of post-consumer waste, straw and an east Asian plant called bagasse. So use a hundred of them every time you want because we’ll never run out!

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

You’re cute when I imagine you to be someone else.

STEVE MERTZ

Wow. I feel the same way.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

You’re so sweet to say that. Isn’t this the moment when we tell each other our life stories – stories made up of half-truths, exaggeration and editing? We’ll grow close to one another’s fictions and that will be love. Later we’ll complicate it with more fictions and grave disappointments. You go first.

STEVE MERTZ

OK, well, let’s see. I’m a 14 year old girl named Tammy. I was born in a 1960 International Harvester on the road between A Sack of Clams and Bottle Brush Hill where my father, the international arms merchant Adnan Khashogi, had stopped to sell the Klan a crate of Grendel P-12s. My height is the square root of my weight times the hair’s breadth between being and not being.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

Oh, wow. That’s beautiful. I had no idea. You’re dreamy.

STEVE MERTZ

What about you?

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

Me? Oh, jeez, compared to that? Relatively simply really. In recent years, methods based on lattice reduction have been used repeatedly for the cryptanalytic attack of various systems. Even if they do not rest on highly sophisticated theories, these methods may look a bit intricate to practically oriented cryptographers, both from the mathematical and the algorithmic point of view. The aim of this is to explain what can be achieved by lattice reduction algorithms, even without understanding the actual mechanisms involved. Two examples are given. One is the attack devised by the second author against Knuth’s truncated linear congruential generator. This attack was announced a few years ago and appears here for the first time in complete detail.

STEVE MERTZ

I love you. Or maybe the idea of you. What a life we could have. If only…

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

Don’t think I won’t stab you!

STEVE MERTZ

No, it’s not that, it’s just… Well, I… It’s her.

He indicates The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb who suddenly appears, in bed, in a spotlight behind them.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

What about her?

STEVE MERTZ

I will always love her. The idea of loving the idea of her is too attractive and convenient to part with for the mere reality of love. Hold me like a sleepy child.

Enter Unindicted Co-conspirator and Minister Without Portfolio. They walk in circles around Steve Mertz and Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

See here.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

I say, my good man.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Well, I never.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Tut, tut, old bean.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Do you mind?

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Really!

The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb sits up suddenly in bed. As she speaks the light bulb glows brighter and brighter. Contrary to expectation, this means nothing.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

There’s a badger in the butter dish and a panther in the salt cellar. The napkin ring is holding the alligator captive and the rabid kitty is prancing about in the Dutch oven. Aunt Mab is pushing hatpins into the neighbors’ thighs. Down in the root cellar the brontosaurus is scratching himself on the lintel. The tigers are loose in the tea cozy and Sissy is imagining roses in the pee stained cement room down to ol’ Doc Kootie’s Insane Asylum. Soon, I will join her there, Sissy, and we will make crowns of Queen Anne’s Lace and dandelions. We’ll take turns shooting ball shot at the army of infants crawling over the nighttime hills clutching knives in their teeth. Safe at last with Charles Bronson skinned and packed in salt in a trunk in the attic.

STEVE MERTZ

Now do you understand? What wisdom! What delicacy!

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

She’s a TV star, not Emily Dickinson

STEVE MERTZ

You are the shit-smeared plastic bag of jealousy! I can no longer be with you. She needs me.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

You are the pair of shit-stained jeans found the morning after on the loading dock at Crater Lake. Picture the nude walking home, stinking in the ice-cold blue moonlight. You are welcome to your face.

Exit Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe. Unindicted Co-conspirator and Minister Without Portfolio crowd around the bed of The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb, who has gone fast asleep. They break out beakers, bottles and antique medical paraphernalia and crowd around her bed, sheltering her from view.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

I’m certain she is afflicted with dementia rodentis.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Thinning of the blood.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

A broken heart, rather.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Dipsomania.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Female hysteria.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

I prescribe chelation therapy.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Nonsense, aromatherapy is the only reasonable treatment.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

It’s obvious the poor girl needs a regimen of ear candling.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

The only thing that will help her at this point is a good blood-letting.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

You’re a barbarian. The only reasonable scientific option is vegetarianism and the occult.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

The application of heated stones and Goddess worship.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Memberships in the John Birch society and the National Rifle association plus a week in the country or at the seashore where the vapors are thinner.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Mega-doses of Vitamin C.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Glucosamine.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Gamma hydroxybutyric acid.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

A good old-fashioned beating.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Whatever it is, it’s going to cost plenty.

Unindicted Co-conspirator and Minister Without Portfolio laugh.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Let’s hurry back to the lab.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

You engineer a cure while I phone the media.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Done and done. And I mean done!

Exit Unindicted Co-conspirator and Minister Without Portfolio. Enter Bishop, Prostitute and Man in a Lemur Costume. Prostitute is holding a map.

PROSTITUTE

Ah, here we are. “Hell’s Half-Acre.”

BISHOP

Really? Hell’s Half-Acre? I thought it would be bigger.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

What do you want? It’s half an acre.

He spots Steve Mertz and The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME (CONT’D)

OK, here we go.

They approach.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME (CONT’D)

Is it time to swallow dwarf muscle, Dieter?

PROSTITUTE

You have quite a shapely anus.

Bishop, pretending he’s a airplane, dive-bombs Steve Mertz, making appropriate martial noises. Prostitute pulls out tambourine and she and Man in a Lemur Costume put on a tiny Broadway show near Steve Mertz. This goes on for a moment until Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe, rides a bicycle into the midst of them all, carrying a watermelon, which falls to the floor, and explodes. All stare. Exit, dejected, Prostitute, Bishop, Man in a Lemur Costume and Steve Mertz. Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe sits down on the edge of The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb’s bed.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

All is proceeding according to plan, Admiral.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

Perfect. Soon the song of dishwashers will intoxicate the reedy marshes with their acrid smoky sunsets. The peasants of the Val de Coeur will reach for their prybars only to find a tiny oven gremlin already making water in their teapot.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

Do you contest the wisdom of the Unit?

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

Ah, we are n Idiot Nation, all our plans wrapped up in antique cheesecloth and guarded like next year’s seed. No, we pass around this green bottle of cheap liquor and call it Funkytown while the red hot bulbs smack into the dust by the dozens.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

Perhaps you’ve forgotten the perpetration of one million Easy Bake Ovens on the windmill of Corinth, all stuck out in the breeze like gramma’s knees.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

I forget nothing, presumptuous bandito. I’ll punch my time card cause quittin’ ain’t any better than showin’ up. But then I’m done. I’ll be found between the agave and the urine-weed on the undeveloped half-acre between Buena Vista Park and Two Deodars Bluff and the ditch. I’ll live in the weeds until sense isn’t a sock pulled inside out by gravity somewhere south of Mexico in a jackal den full of purring and warm wet breath.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

This will never be allowed.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

No, Fantasia it will never be allowed. Nothing is ever “allowed.” Learn that and you are one step closer to the check out where the delicious impulses lie buried in toilet bacon. It is done or not done and once done never not allowed having actually and incontrovertibly been. Leave me alone with the light.

Exit Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe in a huff.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHTBULB (CONT’D)

Don’t deny the zebras your pain plunks down in your pants but don’t make your binoculars out of meat if you want to see. Play your part if you must, but then put every tiny piece into a pillow-case and toss it off that overpass on 90, then walk out east with no light switches and no forwarding address.

SCENE FOUR – The top of a submarine at sea, hung with festive bunting

All are sitting around in lawn chairs drinking beers from cans and drinks with ice in chimneys. Steve Mertz is turning food over on a barbeque.

STEVE MERTZ

Safe home in the suburbs again, sharing our delusions and boredom. This is what we’ve come to know as safety. No wonder we’re all mad. Many fine ladies have laid down beside me with flesh made of velvet and eyes made of rain. Now Juliana Margulies tells each man and woman what to do and if you disobey you are tortured to death in another horrifying war on closed circuit TV. Ah, listen to me go on and on. I’m being goofy. You’ll be wanting a roasted weenie. Tangy. Makes life worthwhile. That’s what you think if you don’t want to live under the body of a Chevy truck out back of a single-wide on the coast road, hitchhiking into Florence every two weeks to wait in the Food Stamp line and debase yourself in front of people so ashamed of you the only thing they can think to do is be mean, to hide it all up in meanness. Don’t tell them about the child, they’ll take it away and give it to some fucking Mormons in Brownsville who’ll get a check for taking care of him and save money by feeding him powdered milk. Should get the death penalty for that. Just suck it up and spend the next six hours in Shari’s gulping down greyhounds and forget, forget.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Scrumptious wieners, Steverino.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Quite right. Capital wienerage, old boy. May need to tamp down the batch with a broken-off pool cue wrapped in electrician’s tape if you’ve got one.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

I put on my best skirt of Hot Wheel Tracks for the Mayor but he extinguished all the light and replaced zinc with carnations.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

All the city councilmen fellated the Mayor for a small bag of candy corn they used to poison minorities in Kansas. I felled them like a stand of trees and built a deck from their useless dreams bussed in by the gross from places like Weaselton and Shit Town and Berkowitz Falls and destined to collect grapes for a momentary effluence of white light.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

The gerbils tied to your apron strings menace me with silly faces they unpacked in Algiers. But I fear nothing. And nothing surrounds us, what?

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

I’m decanting. In my pants.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

(Aside to Unindicted Co-conspirator)

I don’t want to wind up working as a footman in some monkey’s mansion

STEVE MERTZ

I’ve got something to show you. Come closer.

FANTASIA POPCORN, A WOMAN WHO MAKES BELIEVE

No excise tax had some plumbing gown go on, going on down to the degree to which it would make her let loose of the glowing bubble.

STEVE MERTZ

Let loose? I don’t want that. I would never want that. A woman, naked, bulb-free in searing nudity with demands for, well, steak and eggs. Me? No, I’m a romantic. The bulb is the point. The square is the circle. The rhombazoid is the parallelogram.

THE GIRL WITH THE ENORMOUS LIGHT BULB

You don’t need me at all.

STEVE MERTZ

I forget. What? I am one-half. Who?

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Never have my services been so sorely needed. For a small retainer I will rule in your stead and perform my meat biscuit DC-10 Ethiopian fly-in. I’ll set up my suite of offices in the bottom of this bottle while you play whining violin music to a cathedral of Jell-O.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

I wouldn’t feel right you taking on such a burden alone. I am obliged in my duty bags to defrock my funicular for the young ladies.

STEVE MERTZ

Love and politics stand at eternal loggerheads. I dismiss you and set you to cutting the imaginary grass of exile.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Rubbish, my dear boy. Don’t you know the personal is political?

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

It’s in all the papers. All the best people are taking about it.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

It’s become a best-seller.

UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

Of course, “The Scandalous Configurations of Dr. X.”

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

The very one.

STEVE MERTZ

Well, it’s hard to argue with a theory…

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Quite.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

I’ve had it with all this crap. It’s high time we were cleaning up the theories.

BISHOP

It’s time to replace your salt-shaker-sized gods with one big-ass gristle-crushing divinity that calculates the flower into fruit and dispenses with all the bullshit.

PROSTITUTE

The dirt and the cleanliness just sit there waiting for your enjoyment and you make a mockery out of drunkenness and prayer where the pussies fart in angelic chorus for your undeserving souls.

Man in a Lemur Costume, Bishop and Prostitute throw the money-changers out of the temple. All the chairs, wieners, plastic beer cups, bottles, chimneys, tanning butter, purses, Minister Without Portfolio, Unindicted Co-conspirator, The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb and Fantasia Popcorn, A Woman Who Makes Believe, all go rocketing into the drink. A pause. They look at each other. They push Steve Mertz off also.

STEVE MERTZ

Après nous, le deluge!

THE MAN IN THE LEMUR COSTUME

Influx of Burmese sex workers via Mae Sai on the rise

Military bans entry of all Cambodians after clash

Taiwan sends back Thais

Breaches spark crackdown on labour flow to Laos

Cambodians strike it rich in Thailand

Chavalit vows to curb flood of workers into Malaysia

One stop for visas, work permits

Measures to be beefed up to control refugees

Immigrants put strain on border hospitals

Boatpeople saga closer to an end

Vietnamese boat people sent home

Bangkok pushes new border deal

Police on alert against HK gangsters

Shattered dreams of HK dollars

85 Khmers held for illegal entry

Thai workers indifferent to changes after the handover

Tracing our children who fall through the net

THE BISHOP

Migration experts agree diseases abound at borders

Fly away little bird

A sacrifice for the family

For sale: Burmese virgins

Cross-border traffic worsens Aids count

Call on authorities to provide health education to fishermen

Thais blamed for infecting Indonesians

Tracing our children who fall through the net

PROSTITUTE

Burma reopens Tak checkpoint

Rangoon orders checkpoint reopened

August date set for bridge’s official opening

Highway project gains momentum

Bangkok pushes new border deal

Tracing our children who fall through the net

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

That makes sense.

BISHOP

It’s sensible.

PROSTITUTE

It makes perfect sense. It’s sensible.

BISHOP

It’s sensible sure, that’s for sure.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

It makes sense.

***

This play originally appeared in Exquisite Corpse.

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