Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Victorian Shakespeare

In Drama, Shakespeare on July 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm
The Globe

The Globe

When I graduated from university I left with a sense of Victorian times as a desert in the history of Shakespeare productions. Shakespeare at that time, the common wisdom said, was a castrato, sweetened with the surgical removal of the writer’s nasty bits.

It was also an era, the thinking went, during which the words of the playwright were subjugated to a florid, almost choking ornamentation. The set decoration and costume design was vulgar, over the top. A Victorian Shakespearean production was overgrown with irrelevant visual distraction. Shakespeare, the cant went, was meant to be produced as Shakespeare himself produced it: bare bones.

In the intervening years, that belief that Shakespeare was to be stripped down was tested out. In smaller venues, with scrappy companies, his words were given rein. One production in particular comes to mind. The Shotgun Players in the San Francisco Bay Area produced Henry V.[1] The players were clad in all black, with colored sashes alone distinguishing their roles and a bare stage.

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A Moment of Gambler’s Clarity

In Bob Folder, Drama, Joe Brooks, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on November 4, 2010 at 3:07 am

peccary,javelina

My friend Joe Brooks and I wrote this script for a short film some years back, after a trip to Vegas. I’m not sure where the title character came from. But I’m pretty sure he’s real.

***

Note on characters:  Guy is a man.  Brent Huffman, on the other hand is a stuffed peccary mounted on a wheeled board with casters and a twine string to pull him with.  All the characters in the play react to Brent as though they can hear him.  The audience cannot.  The Dealer, the Waiter, Second Dealer and the Mob Boss can be played by one actor

SCENE ONE – EVENING AT A BLACKJACK TABLE AT THE SAHARA IN LAS VEGAS
The dealer, Paul, Guy and Brent Huffman are sitting around the table.

DEALER
Sir?

Paul makes a waving motion with his hand, Guy scrapes table with cards Read the rest of this entry »

The Steve Mertz Trilogy Table of Contents

In Bob Folder, Drama, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on July 23, 2006 at 8:35 pm

foam finger

I wrote The Steve Mertz Trilogy inspired by Alfred Jarry‘s Ubu plays, which I haven’t read. I did read that the first play in the trilogy was based on a play he had cowritten with friends when he was younger. In this case “Steve Mertz, A Tragedy,” the first play of the trilogy incorporated elements of “The Savage Butcher of Carnale” by Bob Folder, edited and developed for the stage by me and various others. I’m not certain how anxious they are to claim editorship of said play, so I will not advertise them unless they indicate a willingness to go public with their depravities.

Although “The Savage Butcher of Carnale” is lost, its sequel, “The Savage Butcher of Carnale: The Retabulation,” which may actually be the original, is available on Bob’s site.

Obviously another element leading to the writing of “Steve Mertz, A Tragedy” was Vladimir Mayakovsky’s “Vladimir Mayakovsky, A Tragedy,” which Vladimir Mayakovsky adapted from “Steve Mertz, A Tragedy,” which was based on an old TV Guide.

THE STEVE MERTZ TRILOGY

Steve Mertz, A Tragedy

Steve at Work

Mertz in Love

The Steve Mertz Trilogy, Part Three: Mertz in Love

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

Photobucket


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.

The Steve Mertz Trilogy, Part Two: Steve at Work

In Drama, Social media, Superintelligent sea cucumbers, Web2.0, Web2.faux on July 23, 2006 at 8:25 pm

Photobucket

Trilogy Table of Contents

SCENE ONE – a windowless, fluorescent meeting room in a building in an office park in a nameless suburb

Steve Mertz, Worker I, Worker II and Worker III sit around a table facing The Manager who stands at a white board.

THE MANAGER

Here’s the latest cupcake on what we’re all flimsy. You’ll note this is a couple of changelings: 1) This one isn’t inspected with a wire brush. (Thank God! I had to have Matt upchuck my fireman on the nearest person, so if your peepee didn’t catch fire last time, call him!)

2) There isn’t a cupcake from Tina, but there is one from Karen M.– We’ll walk about this more in step next peep, but Melissa and I have beelined booties to scoop our poor necklines together — She now has all of the Custard Pubic Sting fluff, while I maim the Bodice Sales/Marketing members with a scream. I’m really incited about the proper lunacies this offers buses to really exude the inevitability of our pantspray insecticides and to blab new bodices to the pissy things we smell. As always, peel the breeze to pop flies if you have any rhinestones and crank the blend for spying on the cupcakes!

WORKER I

Ready! Okay! Our team is the best!

Halloween handy clips and fudge fandango strings

Will be ready and waiting for any man who exceeds out expectations

In the bow tie tag competition which measures the market appeal

Of our new site design.

The man who reaches the finish line first will be granded a special

Secret prize which neatly wrapped up in an old Wall Street Journal

And sealed with a kiss from our beautiful receptionist-Darlene.

No really knows what is inside the box but rumors have it

That is it a magic kaleidoscope! oooooH!

Who is going to be the lucky winner?!

WORKER II

Big-a-chooga, big-chonga!

Kick-’em head!

Big-a-chooga, big-a chonga!

But don’t make ’em see red!

Shake your bon bon and scream!

Char-dee-char-dee-char-dee-char-dee-aieeeeee!

WORKER III

Darwinian lozenge protector, pocket yam ejector, pickle extruder

And 500 exfoliating turbo-injected sweet rolls!

Ready! Okay!

One afternoon in the corporate Sasquatch trundle-hat

Finger! Finger ! Finger!

A snap pea salesman sings

Like mascarpone juice as a young man stares out the window.

Steve Mertz gazes out non-existent window.

THE MANAGER

Why would a gray tramp in the strip mall, say the Suez is a “doesn’t count” template? There’s an axle in where the first call matches on “diet (hid) drugs (had)” But the search/quest matches only on “Steve (hidden)” instead. If only I’d “had drugs” and thus “had (hid) a chart.”

Any ideas? There is, by the way, no frayed frau blind on

STEVE MERTZ

My name is Steve and I’m a cog in the machine. My desk drawers are filled to the brim with gunpowder and paper clips. I’ve done the math. I’ve memorized your names and numbers and subtracted the ass-pants from every third Bramaputra in Hercules. Just for the record, I am pro-spacefood and pro-monorail. There’s not a damn thing wrong with either of them, you coked-up Yuppies. Now sit down.

THE MANAGER

You are insane. No one talks to The Manager like that. Our efforts will change the world from zinc and felt into make-believe walrus and the smell of bees. Now it’s time for The Presentation. Please.

Worker I approaches the white board. The Manager sits down. Everyone but Steve Mertz waits with the anticipation once reserved for pie.

WORKER I

A hellish and crazy dichotomy in the specific forecast is crotchety by its traditional base in nocturnal resource extinction and purchasing, combined with converging strengths in high tick fabrics. This arcsine contends to nutrient polypod need computing bounced in ethics estrogens. In 1995, reducing coenzymatic expanded by 2.6 percent its actual taste of nearly 4.9 muzzling gasps. The arcsine’s 2.6 percent complacent grazing rants about moralized tank-rats. The enticing runt of 2.7 percent.

The underlying starching of the reducing ceremony is demonstrated by this anchor tic of the notation inch despite problems in several important seltzers in the northwest.

Slimed by the lists in introspective, mazed products, compactors, and instruments, manufacturing emblazonment drizzled 0.4 percent.

However, softeners are Grecian in all five stunts, with 4900 magna softener jobs in 1995 in noisemaking, 1400 in orgasm, and several hundred misers in the reclining three stinks. Collectorships nose out grazing.

Zircon picked up 4291 income electronics jobs as the first of the string of magna chip fornication plants opened; electronics punts in Washington nude 1820 and thatch in Idaho shunned in and out and of 1347.

Most of the nerd pursuits industry remained constrained by timber inflammability, although secondhand processors contained its ideas nicely. Mining chestnut smacks of, but very small mining industrialists in Zorkon and Washington, mainly greenfly pits, buckled by shirtsleeves.

Worker II, Worker III and The Manager scream with delight. Together with Worker I, they gather around the table, pull out their units and spank them mercilessly against the table top. Steve Mertz is aghast.

STEVE MERTZ

(anguished)

He who has climbed there

Interrupts her skirt

Between the farm

And the prize.

Had she read the detailed article?

Wand is what were you extending?

She was arriving

A context my underdog cares to swell.

Hell sketched this

But sleep cannot trust someone.

The Manager picks child meat from her teeth.

THE MANAGER

There is nothing better than a system, especially if it is a “smart system.”

The Manager brings out a metal trough, like a urinal from an old bar bathroom, and sets it on the table. She pulls a huge jug of red liquid from under the table and pours it into the trough. The Manager, Worker I, Worker II and Worker III begin to drink. The Manager stops.

THE MANAGER (CONT’D)

Join us. Help us build the New Jerusalem, the Shining City On The Hill. Or chew the legbones of dogs in a place where dirt collects.

STEVE MERTZ

No, no. I believe in iodine and bleach. I am one with the smoldering wire and the zeroes. Only a fool turns his back on the Shake-And-Bake while the Czar goes pheasant hunting in the razor wire. All hail the bubbling mat!

ALL

All hail the bubbling mat!

Steve Mertz backs away without drinking.

THE MANAGER

Well, that’s all for now. Let’s devolve into salts and proteins and shoot electrochemical gaps until morning. Return to your crawl spaces.

Exeunt Worker I, Worker II, Worker III and Steve Mertz.

the manager (CONT’D)

The tea I boil from their eyes is sweet. The empty spaces congeal with garbage each day out. Nothing a little make-up can’t fix.

The Manager laughs until it cries, then exits.

SCENE TWO – a room with cubicles elsewhere in the same building

Steve Mertz, Worker I, Worker II and Worker III sit in cubicles facing toward the audience. Each cubicle is separated from the next by high side-walls. Above them, upstage, sits The Manager in a gigantic chair suspended above the stage by wires. The Manager is clad in a crown, cloak and holds a large sausage studded with coins, pinwheels, ribbons and earrings and wrapped in a set of blinking white holiday lights. Steve Mertz, Worker I, Worker II and Worker III each carefully count out ten chips from one can into another, then press a button on a handheld electronic device, which plays a hideous little tune. This should go on in silence for long enough that it is so not funny anymore. It should continue during the scene.

WORKER III

Just for fun, I should give myself a name. What could it hurt? After all, I received the Cloisonné Jug of Most Efficient Maximization. I cut the goat’s throat and bled it white. After me, no meaning left.

WORKER I

They plan all day long. They make notes. Fit notes into spreadsheets for the shark-headed racecar drivers. Think I don’t know? I’m supersonic. No one gets the old heave-ho around here me not knowing. No, I don’t think so. Not where nitrates are a dime a dozen.

Laughs.

WORKER I (CONT’D)

Man, I’m so totally kidding. Never do anything like that. I’m not crazy as a bedbug. They tape everything. Got cameras in my pants, pantograph attached to my daydreamer. The machines can turn your thoughts into dinosaurs. I’m happy.

WORKER II

I sold your teeth to the doll-maker. That’s how the system works. Don’t blame me for playing the game. It’s all in our best interest. I read all about circularity. It made sense to me. Hurry, hippy, hurry. I got it all figured out. No one’s going to get up behind me. I got you all reduced to chemicals. I’m going to sleep good tonight on my bed of broken planks.

STEVE MERTZ

Piss. Fuck. Bitch. God damn. Mother fucker. Cock. Cunt. Shit. I got cocaine and heroin and coffee, cigarettes, grain alcohol, pornography, a 20-dollar hooker in the camper and a couple sixteen-year-olds like me to pee on ’em, a shot gun and a 9 millimeter handgun and a hunting knife.

The Manager sweeps down in its chair to right above Steve Mertz’s cubicle.

THE MANAGER

You think that’s gonna get you the Cloisonné Jug, having corners? Put your eye out like that? Something’s fishy. I can smell it. That’s why I have this. That’s why I’m The Manager. Cause I can just tell. The instant it shows its face I crush it. Voila. Another instant of pernicious lozenging nipped in the bud. You want a crown of bones? I’ll give you a softness with the color all gone. You get me?

The Manager resumes her former position.

STEVE MERTZ

I know what astrology means to the Magi. You paint an outhouse you still got an outhouse. You tattoo a peace sign on the eye of a collaborator, no matter. Justifications run rampant on the ramparts in code from a triad of Enigma Machines puking out lies that dry out the oceans. Someone taught them the empty prayer, “Let my zeroes and ones unite for the betterment of mankind and the bloating flotilla shall be mine for ever and ever. Amen.” And they believed it. Here’s what I got.

He unfolds a topographical map, pulls out a magnetic compass, two pencils, a T-square and a compass for drawing circles and begins to note down figures and shapes on the map.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

We’re going to break out at any time and shatter our time open like a coconut on a rock releasing an organic machine of springs into the heavens for man’s sake. But they don’t. They purchase smoke and crystals, beeping squares and manuals. And they tug themselves to sleep with a tear in the eye but no apologies. They will crisp nicely in the fire when I detonate the charge. The tyrant is the tyrant no matter how beautiful the apple dolls are in their shiny golden suits, their shriveled noggins lolling. Head toward Scapoose. You must always explode your workplace. That’s simple common sense and honors God.

An incredibly loud factory whistle blows. The Manager disappears. Steve Mertz, Worker I, Worker II and Worker III leave their cubicles and make their way to the break room. They are seated around a table with identical mugs and newspapers.

WORKER II

This, you won’t believe. It’s simply too, too shocking.

WORKER I, WORKER III

What? Do tell.

WORKER II

OK, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

“South Dildington Tractor Nudist Turd Dingus returned to work Feb. 12 after being suspended from the roofbeams for an alleged assault that raised rabbits of tractor brutality and racism. The incident in question occurred at about 1 a.m. Aug. 8, when Dingus went in gherkin pursuit of a 21-year-old man who refused to pull out his tail for driving with his legs hanging out.”

WORKER I, WORKER III

(Gasping.)

No! Shocking!

They return to reading and drinking.

WORKER I

Now, here’s something not to be believed. Delightful, sure. But too shocking. What’s happening to the lunar proclivities these days?

WORKER II, WORKER III

(Shaking their heads.)

It’s too much. Do go on.

WORKER I

Well, if you’re sure.

“Pants finally have a date to go forward with a fruity taste in their butthole. At their February meeting, the butthole agreed to send anti-fruity taste to the dark sounds on May 14.

“A majority root in support of the dark rubber mouth of the night could overturn the town’s current ordinance allowing the development of a fruity taste.

“The initiative was sponsored by Curly Rubbers, Ron Gangplank, Reinhardt the Space Monkey and other cement boners under the haggis of a group calling itself the Committee to Protect Pants. It was introduced in the belief that a fruity taste would adversely effect my beautiful ass.”

WORKER II, WORKER III

No! It can’t be!

WORKER III

Shocking. All of it. But this is really going to make you glad you nailed your hands to your desk.

WORKER I, WORKER II

Let’s hear it. Give us your best shot.

WORKER III

As you wish.

“Lozenge Thomas, a Lawn & Garden High School student, said a naked cowboy bum was a sea cucumber that could eat $19,500 worth of pocket buddies.

“Eating lipstick at the Martian Recreational Naked Cowboy Bum Center, students dampened their pants to freak out their parents.

“Naked cowboy bums competed for cash in the 59th Annual Martian Sea Cucumber Student Sled-Speakering Naked Cowboy Bums of Satan contest.

“The topic was ‘Naked Cowboy Bums: Past, Present and Future.'”

WORKER I, WORKER II

Fantastic. You could always meet them there.

WORKER III

Hard to argue with us.

STEVE MERTZ

Well, hey, listen. I’ve got something that’ll burn the varnish off an old master.

Silence.

sTEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

Are you ready? You ready?

Silence.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

Here it is.

“Sir Twee Kitten has a tiger by the tail. In a death match with faltering spank-holes for nearly two years, the co-founding managing artistic director of the Kitten Painful Ass Spasm Applesauce-in-a-Sock Puppet Show Company is still far from victory. The stakes are too high to quit, the risks too great to continue.

“Kitten ponders his position – and calls stains out, leaving onlookers to wonder what he is up to.

“The answer is simple: He is taking stock and caressing his penis. But that doesn’t stop the speculation.

“The Kitten Painful Ass Spasm Applesauce-in-a-Sock Puppet Show Company is staying at 540 Charnelton St., Kitten says, at least for the moment. “It would dump a bowel movement if it could, but it can’t find a better, or cheaper, lunch.”

Silence.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

You know?

Silence.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

Great.

WORKER I

My objective is to tape my ass shut.

WORKER II

This negatively impacts my shit hole.

WORKER III

Forms are instrumental in making a company efficient.

WORKER II

Who is the you who is driving this process to do due diligence when we have the bandwidth to make sure we avoid having a negative impact on our upside potential in the most impactful way possible? I am human garbage.

STEVE MERTZ

I wonder if staff meetings in whorehouses are any different than this?

The factory whistle sounds again and they all get up and beginning parading around the room goose-stepping and tossing their arms up and shouting A banner comes down at the back of the stage with a zero and a one on it. They face it, still stepping-in-place and shout in unison.

ALL

Zero One is. Zero One was. Zero One shall always be.

SCENE THREE – a conference room in the same building

The Banker, The Manager and Worker I stand around a table on which sit platters stacked high with toast. Outside the conference room, Worker II, Worker III and Steve Mertz wait in chairs.

WORKER II

Did you hear about me? About me and Fandango?

STEVE MERTZ

Don’t you know he’s not real? Fandango is not real. All of those guys are just symbols for something, just abstractions made into character through the intercession of some powerful agency. Absent that agency and your Fandango, and the others, do not exist. They have no inner power, no self-sustained reality that allows them to go on without the willful attention of a powerful outside agent, without an author.

WORKER II

When I grow weary and my head bends toward my desk like a flower to Earth at dusk, my glasses slip off my head and clatter to the floor. Fandango is always there waiting at the end of the fall, always catches the glasses. Be happy for you.

STEVE MERTZ

I can’t be happy for your fiction.

WORKER III

Sometimes all we have are our medical systems.

STEVE MERTZ

Listen, everything is a metaphor for everything else. Under questioning, admit nothing, admit to nothing. Mix up the armbones!

WORKER III

I will play the game and be rewarded handsomely.

STEVE MERTZ

You will be butchered like the others. Or purchased.

WORKER III

I know how it’s done. You are embarrassing with your brightly colored jacket and uncomfortable questions. Understand and make the moves and profit.

STEVE MERTZ

I have kissed the dead most exquisitely.

Worker I exits meeting room carrying platter of toast. The Manager calls out.

THE MANAGER

Steve Mertz!

STEVE MERTZ

I’m here.

Steve Mertz enters the room as Worker I takes his chair in the waiting area. Steve Mertz sits.

THE MANAGER

The Banker has brought us toast.

THE BANKER

Everyone loves toast.

STEVE MERTZ

Sure, that’s for sure.

THE BANKER

Toast makes the world go ’round. Our society is predicated on toast and the pursuit of toast. It is hard to get the news from toast but men die every day for the lack of what is to be found there.

STEVE MERTZ

In toast?

THE MANAGER

That’s what he’s saying. And you, as part of our team, deserve toast. Here is some toast. If you are good and stand perfectly erect when you are told and lie down when you are told and talk when you are told and are silent when you are told you will get more toast in a year and a certain amount of toast each month thereafter for three more years. Do you understand?

STEVE MERTZ

Yes.

THE MANAGER

Take your first ration of toast and be gone.

Steve Mertz takes platter of toast and exits.

STEVE MERTZ

(to himself)

Only four years and I will have more toast than my friends.

Worker II and Worker III enter and exit the meeting room, emerging with their platters of toast. The Manager and The Banker emerge.

THE MANAGER

Go now and work, bathed in the glory and enthusiasm that only toast can give you. Remember, when you are on your death beds there will be only one question you ask yourself, “Did I have more toast than my friends, more toast than my neighbors, more toast than my co-workers?” Only if you answer Yes! Yes! Yes! Will you truly be able to say, I have lived.

SCENE FOUR – the Meeting room

Steve Mertz, Worker I, Worker II and Worker III sit around a table with file folders, mugs. A white board is hung with notes.

WORKER I

A suction cup is as gentle as a human hand

but strong enough to grip

almost anything.

Most of PIAB suction cups can be used

together with accessories such.

To get the Facts&Figures for the Suction Cups please

download the file. Reader, SUCTION CUP WITH CLIP:

Many uses on any smooth

non porous surface.

Vacuum & Suction Cups.

Seal Science offers a broad line

of vacuum c

from 4mm to 50mm in diameter.

Specially formulated Elastomer compounds

for high. Exclusive Features.

Suction Cups and Non-Skid Rubber Feet

provide maximum stability

on almost any work surface while dispensing

film or foil.

Suction cups.

Greater stability.

Stir with one hand while the holder

prevents the pot from turning.

Wide spread suction cups cling

to the stove top.

Baby Bath Rings Or Seats.

Before you purchase bath rings or

seats for your baby,

make sure you can answer

“yes”

to these questions:

1. Are the suction…

95 Exhibitors :

Challenge Close Coventry West

Contact:J C

Manning. Product Index.

This is the only thing different

Please respond as:

Frosty the Applesauce

STEVE MERTZ

You guys a wrestler?

You can get two or more grapes it’ll be alright

You know a guy Nixon?

Marie Marie bumblebee two spoons, tomato and a

How do you make any money Smirnoff and beer

Exercise and sushi but

Elisha’s miracle on the Astroturf

We should bum some Spam and rice

Through two people’s heads honest to God

It’s a live metaphor

Yeah do me a favor

You get two or more grapes it’ll be alright

Sights in space, that is space

Worker I, Worker II and Worker III stare, dumbfounded.

Enter from right Hans the Night Janitor, a huge old guy in overalls, with long grey hair and an enormous metallic munchkin jutting out. Enter, from left, Bishop and Prostitute.

PROSTITUTE

Let’s not forget Hans, the recently paroled weird old janitor guy who’s recently jumped on the team! Don’t forget to say hi if you’re working late and you see him on a break, rolled up in the Grammar Saloon in his carpet remnant, slaking his thirst with a plastic waterglass full of Ol’ Grandad and taking the edge off a ravenous hunger with a piece of that hamb’ger sammich he loves so much all folded up into the same square of tinfoil he brings in every night. Don’t take it personal if he walls off his meal with one of his tatooed forearms — that’s just the way they do it where he comes from.

BISHOP

Hans told us he looks forward to meeting all of you, providing of course you give him his proper respect as a long-timer and don’t make him hafta meathook you the way they done it back home that one time when he was out with Jimmy and they never caught Jimmy and they caught him though and made him go to Walla Walla and that on the eve of his prom and him with a date with Iva and he was there 30 years and he never even did nothing ‘cept drive. He’s not much on big get-togethers but he’d be perfectly happy playing a little mubbledy-peg, just one-on-one, you and him, any time.

PROSTITUTE

If you’d like to leave a message for Hans, there’s a Quaker Oats tube he keeps shoved into the crack between the kitchen wall and The Manager’s office full of Top and rolling papers and some pictures and articles out of “Boys Life” and stuff and you’re welcome to leave a message in there. Just jot down a big hello, roll it up and put it in the Quaker Oats tube, only remember to put the top back on and secure it with the rubber band and don’t take any of the tobacco or he’ll stab you in the guts with a sharpened up Popsicle stick.

Exit Bishop and Prostitute.

Worker I, Worker II and Worker III

(simultaneously)

Aggregate architect benchmark brand deliver deploy disintermediate embrace empower enable engage enhance envisioneer evolve expedite extensible facilitate grow harness implement incentivize incubate integrate leverage maximize mesh monetize morph optimize orchestrate reintermediate reinvent seize strategize streamline syndicate synergize synthesize target transform utilize.

24/7/365 B2B B2B2C B2C back-end best-of-breed bleeding-edge clicks-and-mortar cross-platform cross-media distributed dot-com dynamic e-business efficient end-to-end frictionless front-end global granular innovative interactive intuitive killer leading-edge magnetic mission-critical one-to-one open-source proactive real-time revolutionary robust scalable seamless sexy sticky strategic synergistic turnkey value-added vertical viral virtual web-enabled world-class.

Action-items architectures bandwidth channels communities content convergence deliverables e-commerce e-markets e-services e-tailers earballs eyeballs infomediaries infrastructures initiatives interfaces markets mindshare models niches paradigms partnerships platforms portals relationships ROI synergies web-readiness solutions supply-chains systems technologies users vortals.

Hans the Night Janitor begins to sweep everything off the table with his enormous metallic unit, hitting Worker I, Worker II and Worker III, upside their heads and so on. He chases them around the room. They squeal and flee. Enter The Robot with a Degree in Industrial Psychology.

THE ROBOT WITH A DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY

(pursuing Steve Mertz and Hans the Night Janitor)

Hey there, little buddies, what’s all this brouhaha about flapping loaves?

STEVE MERTZ

I look into his eyes. They are like two knobs snapped off an old stove.

THE ROBOT WITH A DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY

Come on, little buddies. We’re all in this together. We’re building a better tomorrow. Fairness is what we’re all about.

THE ROBOT WITH A DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY (CONT’D)

I’ll hunt down your bitch of a mother and tear her to pieces with my snapping pinchers. Can’t we talk about this? I’m all about consensus. We’re making the world a better place one spreadsheet at a time. I’m all about rewarding you with bonuses. Honey attracts more flies than vinegar. I’m all about flies swirling about the missing heads of your loved ones. I’ve been programmed for a special kind of love. Marvel at my MBA. My undergraduate degree was in French poetry. I can make it real easy for you or I can make it real hard. Do you want to go back to flipping burgers at Squeezer’s Burger Hut? Do you want to go back to frying rice at Myyung Dong Tofu Cabin? You don’t want to go back to curing Mesquite-Flavored Japanese-Style Toilet-Bacon in 25-, 50- and 150-foot family spools at Ozark Jimmy’s, located on Buttititta Plaza in the Tri-Cities (Boiling, North of Boiling and San Bilbo)?

Hans the Night Janitor pierces the thorax of The Robot with a Degree in Industrial Psychology just as Steve Mertz tears its head from its body. It sparks, spits, jerks, then lies still.

STEVE MERTZ

Even the king is not essential to his victories. He is the heroic individual warrior, who, feeling the exaltation of the whole man, can bring about incredible results. He is indeed a pattern which any courageous person can follow. He is the noble epitome of every solider among you. His ideal of self, his will, his courage and dignity, his faith, his stout heart, and his acts which mold his total personality – these elements make him a true hero, not one elevated into the stratosphere, but one who lives in his contemporary society, walking the streets with Everyman.

SCENE FIVE – an amusement park

Worker I, Worker II, Worker III, The Manager and The Banker are hooked up to an apparatus that leads them about in a circle, like a pony ride. Circus music plays. Hans the Night Janitor shakes hands with, then briefly embraces Steve Mertz before exiting.

STEVE MERTZ

Once The Robot With A Degree In Industrial Psychology was destroyed, his power of control was gone and the collaborators could be yoked to a machine made out of The Robot’s old parts. They feel no difference between this and what they previously thought of as work and as life. I traded the company for toast and traded the toast for this land where we have built a free amusement park for children. This ride is their favorite.

Sounds of children cheering and circus music.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

Do you hear? Beautiful isn’t it? The sounds of happy children riding about on the corpse of a morally bankrupt and defeated system fueled with an essential oil distilled from the hypocrisy, sublimated rage and terrible emptiness of its former masters.

Enter Bishop and Prostitute

BISHOP

Hans wanted to tell you folks good-bye. But see, Hans is a little too emotional for good-byes. He’s currently loading up the camper. See, him and his buddy Timmy J. Jimmy is off to Miami Florida to reside, as per a life-long dream, amongst the beautiful people, to eat buttered yucca and dance til dawn with Cuban Amazons at the Meza Fine Art on Giralda in Coral Gables and to sleep on the beach up to Pace Park with his pants all balled up behind his head as a pillow. We should all, at least once in our lives, follow a dream, all the way, completely to the end, with no qualifications. And no apologies. Don’t you think?

PROSTITUTE

Hans wanted you all to know how deeply rewarding it was to clean your toilets, pick up accidental print-outs of porno sites and vacuum up the dried vomit after one or other of the programmers got excited installing the latest Quake patch and lauched Red Bull-and-Cornuts slurry all over the plywood dividers. It was not worse than prison. Not at all. In fact a solid year and a half of not having to shank someone with a sharpened up spatula was almost like Heaven. Almost. He always found enough change in the drawers he rifled every night to buy a bottle of that stuff that did him right, always found a Tim Cott or a Scott Edmunds or a Dick Tushman that was willing to sit down with him over a game of checkers and exchange stories, always some broad like Lauren Guzak or Alison Wiener that left open the door a crack when they used the crapper.

BISHOP

Yeah. It was alright. Got him on his feet again. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. And what Hans gotta do is follow that dream. So whether he’s half-way to permanent nightfall on cheap rum in the alley behind Centro Vasco on SW 8th or sunk over a table across from some old Bautista partisan playing dominos at 13th and 8th in Little Havana, leading a one-man pro-Castro rally down the middle of Biscayne Boulevard, or hanging around outside 821 on Lincoln Road down in South Beach screaming at celebrities, he’s always going to have a moment to rush through a hasty prayer for all the folks he left behind at The Amalgamated Nothingness.com Free Amusement Park for Disadvantaged Children.

PROSTITUTE

Ain’t gonna miss the Yuppies, though.

BISHOP

Ain’t gonna miss them Yuppies. No sir.

Exit Bishop and Prostitute

STEVE MERTZ

Me? Well, I think I’m just going to sit here a while. This is a job I could get used to. It makes sense. It’s sensible. Sure that’s for sure.

The sound of children’s laughter and the jingle of circus music continues to curtain.

The Steve Mertz Trilogy, Part One: Steve Mertz, A Tragedy

In Drama, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on July 23, 2006 at 8:24 pm

Photobucket

Trilogy Table of Contents

CHARACTERS

Steve Mertz

Bishop

Prostitute

Man in a Lemur Costumer

Little Bonk-a-Bonk

Truck

Miss Boobs

St. God

The Manager

Worker I

Worker II

Worker III

The Banker

Hans the Night Janitor

The Robot with a Degree in Industrial Psychology

The Girl with the Enormous Light Bulb

Fantasia Popcorn, a Woman Who Makes Believe

Unindicted Coconspirator

Minister Without Portfolio


SCENE ONE – Backlot, Emperor Stadler Insurance Offices and Coffeeshop, Greenspan, Ohio, in the ’30s

STEVE MERTZ

Every play is, to some degree, about Steve Mertz. Sometimes he’s no more than a shadow in someone’s thought. At other times, he lingers around the corners of a story like a beaker of Italian dressing someone forgot in a closet. At still other times, he is the star of the show. In this story he is the star.

Steve Mertz turns to walk away, then stops and faces front again.

sTEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

I am Steve Mertz. And this is my story.

Steve Mertz walks upstage where are clustered Little Bonk-a-Bonk and Truck.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

(obliquely, deep in waterbed)

Take that cowboy out back and juice him!

Bishop enters from left holding ostrich.

BISHOP

What do you make of this? Or Martians?

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Pleasing tablesauce, careful! Careful! Let my lotions converge here. No, here. No – here!

TRUCK

I’m a truck.

BISHOP

(approaching truck)

This is a marine!

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

You’re crazy. That’s how you do the twist.

BISHOP

Nonsense, it’s clearly the diabolical Fano Kanini.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

You are a Grade-A retard. That’s the famous actress and model Yanna Lompskins.

TRUCK

I don’t function. Uh-huh. Not me. Whew. No siree, not me. Once somebody asked me to be my shelf.

BISHOP

Course that was the Freudian church.

(to Little Bonk-a-Bonk)

Do you look familiar?

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

(looking distractedly to the floor)

Ummm, crayon tiller pie.

Enter Prostitute, stage right in a g-string, pasties and pink platform shoes.

PROSTITUTE

(considering Truck)

Did you know that technician dance to calf-settee?

(holding out a tray of car parts.)

Or would you like the bologna sandwich?

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

(to his knees.)

You don’t think so, substance feeling broth? Well, in that case, Pamela! Help me with this juggernaut.

PROSTITUTE

Cat wired monkey wood? Cat wired monkey wood? Wouldn’t you like to know?

BISHOP

During a study described as “scientific” by some hand puppet, Pants Anal, brisket collector for Buford Pusser State College, Car-Crash McElroy, director of the Millbrae Martian Naked Cowboy Bum Center, Peepee Parenti of Bulldozer Elementary and Joanne Squeamish of the marketing firm of Martian Martian Martian Martian Martian Martian 9-0-9-0-9-0-9-0 witnessed how one response to chicken teriyaki thievery generated dialogue on a larger scale. Apply what he learned to your own email campaign and watch the conversation flow!

STEVE MERTZ

I have proclaimed myself the Emperor of Marzipan Genitalia but the rooms of the palace fill with bells that ring like the feeling you get when you ram your yam down in a sack full of trout cheeks and lo! the gnashing comes. This is a job for… Aneroid Barometer! I transform into the contents of a junk drawer and herald the coming of the Superstar. I am doomed to be shipped off to the scotch-grab 4×4 farm where my anecdotes will be melted down for Styrofoam mannequin heads. I am the future but I will be parted out like an old Pinto.

SCENE TWO – A small room, night, a poker table with chips, cards, cigars smoking in ashtrays and a hooded light low over the table

No one is in sight. Enter Steve Mertz, Little Bonk-a-Bonk and Man in a Lemur Costume, dressed as farmers.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

The Kleenex, the rouge, it takes me back…

Suddenly from stage left the Bishop, naked, flips from the darkness onto the table and, writhing, speaks his lines then flips off the other side into the darkness again.

BISHOP

Arbogast! Who’s sled is this? Put the thing on the thing by the thing over there! Call the guy! Call the guy about the stuff! Arbogast!

Steve Mertz, Little Bonk-a-Bonk and Man in a Lemur Costume sit down at the table.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

Help yourselves to the wheat-free, cruelty-free, non-Euro-phallo-centric multicultural spelt oblivion wheels.

(Aside to audience.)

Why don’t you kill yourselves?

STEVE MERTZ

Okey-Satan, let’s up the ante. I bet the last fat acre of my retinas.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Es el fin del mundo, o apenas otro dia?

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

I feel like a whore.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

In or out? Or is that rodent flying up your expletive?

Enter Prostitute carrying the Bishop on her back. Prostitute farts. Enter Truck.

TRUCK

My spindle-wizard is tingling. Outside the Great Unwashed are taking shoes from the teaspoons of sugar cubes in waistcoats who are distracted by the parade of naked Boy Scouts butchering hogs with bowling trophies. It’s the end of the world! It’s the end of the world.

STEVE MERTZ

I’m decanting. In my pants.

SCENE THREE – New Orleans, the Mardi Gras, upside down with a side of giraffes-in-motion

BISHOP

(from offstage)

Biscuits and lady, and chili, fucking chili! Pirate bumps and cowboy juice!

Enter Miss Boobs

MISS BOOBS

This set is upside down. I’m gorgeous.

Enter Prostitute on Bishop back. Bishop is carrying huge, colorful astrology pamphlet. Prostitute farts.

PROSTITUTE

Cancel my stink. I pled like that. My stink was not cancelled. Only one even said, that’s a thing.

BISHOP

To err is mortal, a sin divine.

PROSTITUTE

Listen, you’re a guy with the cloth on the thing, when is the glory washing down like a flash flood of flatware? It was a promise I heard in the crisper.

BISHOP

It’s like this. A wiener-dog with a halo of crowns and the pool cues all in it might come clad in tin foil but does that mean it’s mealtime down in the filthy concrete room where the Hippity-Hops collide and the milkmaids cry for our sad bye-byes? I think not. But we wait, holding our breath, in the dead of night, exploding with light when the sun bounces around the horizon like a super ball in home room. Someone must come and fill the crack with pieces of a refrigerator repair manual from the 50s. We all may make poo-poo in pant-pant. But something waits with a smile on its face and a fistful of integers for our peaceful sleeping.

Prostitute and Bishop exit holding hands. Little Bonk-a-Bonk enters holding hands with Steve Mertz.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Outside the mass of fresh and crispy awaits you. They have brought gifts, the ones who read the backs of packaging. One has brought you Racetrack Chili, another a Fudge Tire. Still another has brought you Chicken Fried Chicken. One has brought you Collision Chicken and another, Hand-pulled Pork Piled High on a Big Bun.

STEVE MERTZ

Tell them I shall attend them shortly. Tell them I shall walk among them and my radiance will make their eyes smart and give them prickling heat which they should treat with an ointment of some sort. Now, I must withdraw and consider weighty matters.

Exit Little Bonk-a-Bonk

Oh my God. What the hell is that? Ugh. It looks like two kangaroos turned inside out doing it. Ugh. That pudding has turned.

(to Little Bonk-a-Bonk)

Bring them unto me!

Enter Little Bonk-a-Bonk pushing Truck which is dressed like an arachnid, Bishop, Prostitute, Miss Boobs and Man in a Lemur Costume. Bishop pulls out harmonica and plays strained tunes of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” as Little Bonk-a-Bonk snorts like a bull and paws at the ground. Miss Boobs, Man in a Lemur Costume and Truck begin clapping hands. Little Bonk-a-Bonk starts dancing and gibbering. Bishop farts.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Alright, let’s start with the collapsible rototiller dance.

STEVE MERTZ

What on earth surveying the carnage?

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Buckle yourself into a huge, weird metaphor or howdy-doo Mr. Carport!

TRUCK

(To his own fingertips.)

I am a very nice truck. Would anyone like to rub my rigid Toblerone?

Exeunt. Return to identical positions.

BISHOP

(pulling out revolver)

Dance you sturdy piglets! Dance like Armageddon!

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Beware the Boy Scouts! It’s the Year of the Gillette Razor!

TRUCK

I always wanted to be a baker…

Bishop, Prostitute, and Little Bonk-a-Bonk take turns high-fiving each other, Man in a Lemur Costume and Miss Boobs take turns butt-humping each other.

Or a gherkin pickle… or a toad pharmacy… or a dilly of squirrel innards…

BISHOP

I don’t think anybody like me.

STEVE MERTZ

Hey!

Everyone freezes.

Don’t bogart the Apocalypse!

SCENE FOUR – A junk shop on Mars

Bishop, Miss Boobs, Truck and Steve Mertz stand downstage center in a line, backs to the audience.

Bishop farts. Truck farts.

MISS BOOBS

Should I get married? Should I be good?

TRUCK

Sure, let us go.

Leers

TRUCK (CONT’D)

You and I, that is.

STEVE MERTZ

Whatever you do – and this is an important point here – do it for way too long. If it’s sad, do it till it’s funny. If it’s funny, do it till it’s embarrassing. If it’s touching, do it till it’s repugnant. If it’s mortifying, do it till it’s sweet. Do it for way too long.

BISHOP

The mass of mankind will never have underpants made of the leathery green pepper.

Farts

STEVE MERTZ

Shit! Can’t you see the oven’s turning?

TRUCK

I have fourteen gears.

Truck Pretends to run himself through all fourteen gears. Little Bonk-a-Bonk enters, carried in a howdah borne by Man in a Lemur Costume and Prostitute. A steam engine bellows, some marbles bellow, tutti frutti big and bouncy, flips turns pogo-man dances crazy into the night, man o man, I’m telling what I’ma gonna do. Moon bellows. Mr. Bellows bellows on the television. These are not characters, they’re sounds, they’re nodes of cultural development, they are delicious cookies in the shape of a latter M man. Prostitute farts.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

(to Man in a Lemur Costume)

I have become estranged to my own smells and I am holding you responsible.

Alarms from the 70’s TV show “Emergency” go off continually through out the rest of scene. Hey give me that.

STEVE MERTZ

Beware the ides of March, baby.

Man in a Lemur Costume him gotta gun and shoot Truck. Truck is now silent but dead until the end of the play where there’ll be a big resurrection scene. Truck farts and then careens into the audience. Exeunt all, farting.

SCENE FIVE – A big pile of flour

Enter, from above, Man in a Lemur Costume, Steve Mertz and Miss Boobs.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

The Matterhorn!

STEVE MERTZ

What’s the matter?

MISS BOOBS

Man, could I use a butterhorn.

STEVE MERTZ

(slyly, reaching for his pants)

Funny you should mention it.

Suddenly, Little Bonk-a-Bonk, dressed like a Tyrolean mountaineer, enters, banging a tambourine and holding a plate stacked high with butterhorns. Truck honks and passes over pile of flour and off-stage.

STEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

I make myself sick.

MISS BOOBS

In the Tivoli I shared a frank with the Pasha. He was setting up a network of spies. The cream puffs were the transparent eyeball and ants made war in my hairpiece. That’s the world.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

That’s the world in a nutshell.

MISS BOOBS

Someday, returning to our practice, we’ll be shocked at how beautiful the sun is when it rises from the fax machine and turns everyone in the office into a little raisin.

STEVE MERTZ

Hey look, I’m a Noh player. Who will be my little monkey while the world whirls by disgusted with our antics?

Enter ST. GOD.

ST. GOD

You ply your Zodiac-flavored singles mouthpaste on the Grover Clevelands of Davenport, Iowa as though beating out meaty applause to the childhood double-mint white slacks of Yemeni tea tray days. Then, on folded au revoires of narcolepsy you come unto me begging for a scarf and a beaker for your absolution? I tell you this, tricyclist of vanity, your indulgences are paper bulls from a five-and-dime and then dirtwise harpies in the lectern, it’s barbeque till the meat falls off your bones like a Tandoori chicken in an epileptic cross-hatching of dawn and carrots fed sideways in bunches through the hieratic juicers of your twinkling nighttime puckered Dresden of tackle-boxes fed into the fishtank-stained wind.

STEVE MERTZ

I have shaved stuffed animals for you, equation of conventual dignitaries Eeyoring their way across the fragrant frangipani, for you O refreshing plant-mister in summer.

ST. GOD

Oh, knock it off.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

No, seriously, I heard him.

ST. GOD

What?

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Honest to copper tubing replaced the honking rager of lead and porcelains.

ST. GOD

Seriously?

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

He made sounds.

ST. GOD

Give ’em an inch…

STEVE MERTZ

They will tell you that their malfunctioning Wookie is two toads high in the morning. Don’t I know it!

Exeunt. A painful length of time goes by, until members of the audience begin to leave. At this point, all members of the cast enter, dressed in various stages of undress. That is to say, all of them forgot they were in a play, and were getting into bed when the green room light went on. Oops!

MISS BOOBS

“Plato and pornography!” screamed the tin macaw in the window. Once on the glass sidewalk, Jimmy Hornhonk screwed a lightbulb into his ass and demanded a leathery kiss from the sky.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Ginger wept. The clanging had driven the oxygen team to Mandalay, where they paraded with pieces of pie in clay bowls spinning on sticks. “I demand a recount,” whispered Augustus. “Put the thing next to the thing with the thing, call the guy.”

TRUCK

Squirrel on me till I barf, he thought to himself in the dim. I am a desert, a pig face in the dessert, where the spiders come to sniff and twirl. Lay the tube food in log rows to the horizon, stomp on pollywogs to hear them howl, sleep with your face in the light until the Pope comes for a swim in the liquid dirt.

STEVE MERTZ

There, next to the relish-and-mustard splashed wall, Granny got her crotchless support-hose on. I could free you all.

MISS BOOBS

Fart!

All fart.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

The weaving road beneath Surveillance Acres is dotted with single-wides tilting off their foundations into the muck while the gentry squat over plastic pickle buckets. There’s a surveillance system with closed-circuit TV hidden in a cupboard.

BISHOP

Yours truly of impossible numbers make the crotch-goblins all whoa! They go mad and try to dig their way out.

TRUCK

But, I’m jis a little ol’ truck, not some honkin’ matriarchy.

STEVE MERTZ

I’m going with you. I’m serious. This shit is a bladder of hokey-pokey onto me at any rate.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

A guess it comes down to whether or not the latch on the black syrup is our nurse or nurses the blue gum rodentia off’n a narcoleptic varmint.

BISHOP

That’s what I love about you. Your eyes like pools of motor oil on the roadway at night.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

You’re just saying that.

BISHOP

Here, in Angkor Wat, our destiny is bullridin’ courtesy Miller Genuine Draft and I, with only this large, colorful astrology pamphlet, try to light a way. If only St. God would turn these Tater Tots into manna for the handfold of decadence in my sarcophagus.

ST. GOD

(rearranging small things)

Hang tight a damned minute. It’s not like I don’t have anything to do.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Is that a railroad guide in your pocket or are you just Fra Junipero Serra?

ST. GOD

Shut the fuck up, you moron.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Hey, sorry.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

(to Truck)

Listen, no Bolivian pocket squirrels are going to stop you, me and the Man in the Moon from breaking out of this place alright?

TRUCK

But, I’m jis a little ol’ truck, not some honkin’ matriarchy.

STEVE MERTZ

I’m going with you. I’m serious. This shit is a bladder of hokey-pokey right up into the sun’s eye.

TRUCK

In that case, fine. Rollerball a la fin de siécle, baby. Yeah.

PROSTITUTE

Flail away at the nauseating meat rocket you pile high in the smoke house and make hay while the sun boils in a shallow pan of vinegar. I found a half pound of flan in a old Shed Spred container by the dumpster at the Plaid Pantry.

TRUCK

The loose meat sandwich is shifting in my dungarees. The loose meat filling of my dungarees is shifting.

STEVE MERTZ

I spent yesterday afternoon firing monkeys out of a cannon into the plate glass window of the Gap. People in there noticed but they don’t know what to feel without a celebrity so they kept shopping for pants. I understand that certain pants allow them to mean certain things sometimes.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

A bad smell wafts through the theater. Something either farted or died. Maybe everyone farted. Then again, maybe everyone died. A baseball flies from the darkness and hits the skillet CLANG! like a small child in a plastic bag.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

Shit.

BISHOP

Huh?

STEVE MERTZ

Whoa.

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

Ahem.

TRUCK

Hey you kids.

PROSTITUTE

Don’t make me come out there and have sex with you for money!

Exeunt.

SCENE SIX – A campsite in the Adirondacks ca. 1932

Little Bonk-a-Bonk, The Bishop, Steve Mertz, Truck, Prostitute, St. God and Miss Boobs cluster around the blue flaming burning blue flame of a burning plasticized pamphlet. They are all dressed in top of the line Abercrombie & Fitch, except for Prostitute, who is wrapped in a plastic tarp. An owl hoots.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Here is a lack of restraint and a spaciousness which may justly be called American.

ST. GOD

(to audience)

His method is to read just enough of a topic to arrive at ludicrous generalities – opinions, in other words – that convince the foolish he’s wise and remove all doubt in the minds of the wise that he is a fool.

THE BISHOP

You’re a fool.

STEVE MERTZ

I don’t know. He’s making good sense.

TRUCK

I don’t know and I don’t care ’cause I got a lifetime guarantee.

MISS BOOBS

Vietnamese beauticians in Yves St. Laurent jeans are passing a Silk Cut back and forth in front of Sunset Nails. One is wiping tears away on the back of her hand.

PROSTITUTE

That was me.

MISS BOOBS

Really?

PROSTITUTE

No.

STEVE MERTZ

April 15th is my hamster’s birthday. He’ll be three years old. He’s a Canadian hamster. He’s very protective of me. He won’t let anyone near me. He’ll bite them, he’ll bite the person right between the legs if he has to. I took a picture of us together.

Shows picture.

sTEVE MERTZ (CONT’D)

His name is Thornton. It stands for Zeus. I have three hamsters; Thornton, Poseidon and Aries.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

I’m gorgeous. I am in awe of my own beauty. Familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes I weep softly. I’m good and tortured. How I long for a scientific coating to ease my pain.

STEVE MERTZ

I hate myself.

MAN IN A LEMUR SUIT

A man with a beard like an ill-fitting suit says, “Everyday fresh bun price listing!” And makes a small explosive thump in his pants.

ST. GOD

You up there! Shut the fuck up and listen to the music!

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

I’m the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Ultima Thule.

BISHOP

All roads now lead to the Capitol Expressway Auto Mall in San Jose.

PROSTITUTE

Twenty naked mullahs French-kissing their reflections jump drip-dry ho-ho queen something with a wooden spoon.

LITTLE BONK-A-BONK

Fuzzy beverage puppets pop my dinky eyes…

MAN IN A LEMUR COSTUME

…and momma, see you in the wiggle-wiggle heaven soon.

TRUCK

I have an announcement to make.

Pause.

I’m getting married.

STEVE MERTZ

Who’s the lucky lady?

PROSTITUTE

I am!

Lights come on in the trees and a band strikes up the wedding march, confetti flies, people fly out of the woodwork, all characters appear instantaneously on stage in the proper position of a wedding party. Steve Mertz gives Prostitute away. Miss Boobs is best man and Truck is the bridesmaid. They all approach Bishop, who holds the Moosewood Cookbook in his hands and has assumed a sententious air.

BISHOP

I’m sorry. Do I know you?

PROSTITUTE

Mind your own business, old man.

TRUCK

Say, don’t I know you?

PROSTITUTE

Shut up you, see?

BISHOP

Dearly departed, we are gathered here today to affect the union of one man and another woman in Holy Matrimony.

PROSTITUTE

Bless us, Father, for we have sinned.

ST. GOD

Fine. Bless bless. You’re all blessed. Now go home, leave me alone. This is the fruit of my thought. This! Doesn’t it just make you sick?

BISHOP

I now pronounce the words “man” and “wife.” You may kiss my ass.

Music strikes up again, the bride and groom march off in a hail of gunshots and rice to the deafening report of cheers and applause. Suddenly, the wedding part turns grisly. They turn toward Steve Mertz and begin booing and screeching at him, throwing rice, change, chairs, anything they can find. Steve Mertz runs off. Lights out on wedding party, spot up on Steve Mertz up right.

STEVE MERTZ

(To audience)

Always a bridesmaid never a bride.

Idiot Nation: An Historical Docudrama of the 1993 West Covina Parking Lot Rebellion

In Drama, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on December 29, 2005 at 10:51 pm

CHARACTERS
Hillbilly Revolutionaries (#1 – #4)
Kennesaw Mountain Landis
Fluffy, a truck driver
Pup Scooby
Lobster St. Stunt Breast, a bon vivant
Live First Alert Doppler 8000, a weather-forecasting system
Waitresses
Bishop

Throughout the play music should come in, as though it were making a cinematic comment on the action. But it isn’t. It is totally random. Waitresses appear and disappear, delivering food and glasses of water, pouring coffee, dropping off checks and so on. This is also random. All the waitresses should look identical. Or different.

AN IHOP NEXT TO THE PAY ‘N’ PAK IN THE WEST COVINA SHOPPING CENTRE IN THE 1990S
Hillbilly revolutionaries (#1 – 4) are seated at a table. Kennesaw Mountain Landis sits at the adjacent counter. Lobster St. Stunt Breast and Live First Alert Doppler 8000 share a nearby table. Pup Scooby sits by himself in a booth.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Someone I had written, and didn’t personally know, called just now and asked, “So, are you a clown?”

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
No but I kill them sometimes for money.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Once upon a time, in Nova Scotia, a florist hired people to dress up like clowns and stand by the side of the road and wave to people. And then someone drove up and shot one. The end.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
The remaining clowns gave chase but 35 clowns in a tiny car make for difficult cornering and sluggish acceleration. They went home and painted tears in the corner of their eyes. Then they ate the dead clown.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Once when I was a kid in East Oakland, a clown who had been (probably) trying to get kids to laugh for years got very drunk and despondent, and held up the liquor store in our neighborhood. Seeing as how he was drunk, he failed to make a quick getaway, and the cops grabbed him right after school had let out. As the clown was led from the store to the paddy wagon, all the children gathered around and laughed and laughed. He should have been happy, having finally brought smiles and laughter to the children’s faces, but you could tell he was not. He was very sad. Clowns are naturally sad, at least I think so. This is a true story. The End.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
She was a good cook, as good cooks go, and as good cooks go she went.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
An’ when she goed she took away mah sniffin’ leaf! What good is a man in this shah would wiffout yahs sniffin’ leaf?

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
You are all, I say, you are all to a man, impecunious and quarrelsome.

PUP SCOOBY
aside to audience
I’m sitting back into a big couch of bugs.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
We must form a society dedicated to stimulating interest in grilled meats.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Nonsense. We are nothing if not a coterie of ragout enthusiasts. It’s time we acted like one.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
You can put your dry, radiant purse on if you want.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
I’d shoulder a box of light if I could.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
I verge on knowing. Snowflake engine.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
A program is of the essence. It will guide us.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Start thusly: “The dead sun lies in the sky like a stone in a puddle.”

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
And then, “This page left intentionally blank.”

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Perfect. Exactly what we believe to be true down to the tiniest micron of factuality and truthfulness.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Doorbell.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Coveralls.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Dune buggy.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Cornmeal.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Cornmeal?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
I think it’s relevant.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
It’s counter-revolutionary.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
It’s relevant.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
It’s reactionary.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
I just want to kill people. Is that so wrong?

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Table it for now.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Good advice. Thank you Live Alert Doppler 8000.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Don’t mention it.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
Return, I say, return the genius to his crawlspace, to the icy cold of outer space in a cup, to the icy cold of outer shorts, to the Outer Banks.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
What happens when science and moisture come together?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
A long metal ball shines slowly into tube socks?

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Precisely.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
The magnesium chair hates being ignored.

PUP SCOOBY
Look at it, Omar! You said I wouldn’t do it, but I did. Isn’t it beautiful? Look how it burns!

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Programmatic antithesis to the backwash dillweed protocol? I promote it honestly.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Hosiery it is. And larceny.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
There are things to destroy, to forbid in your mind, to bump against and the glasses go spinning. The rest of mankind is sad in its salad of darkness. I have energy that must be used to explode the crotches of astronaut suits!

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
At all costs!

PUP SCOOBY
aside to audience
Arguably, I’m a double agent. I sit on my toadstool cynically. But in all probability, I am in wonder at the moment your soaking in it.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Last night I went to the theatre.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
I love, I say, I do love the theatre.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
In the seat before me was a mother and her young child. So I—this is outrageous, you’ll love it—I stuck my ass over the seat…and I farted straight into the youngster’s face. Precious!

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
That’s, I say, that’s outrageous indeed. You sir, are a no good, common thing.

He slaps St. Stunt Breast across the face with a foam “We’re #1!” finger. St. Stunt Breast leaps to his face, shocked and outraged. “Can-Can” music erupts and lines of pants drop into the set, which launch into the dance of the same name. The music stops suddenly and the pants disappear.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
I accept your challenge, sir.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
The choice of weapons is yours.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
I knew that. I choose the 2×4 with a nail in it.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
So be it. At sunset outside the One Hour Photo Hut over by the DMV.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
OK, that sounds super.

PUP SCOOBY
The steady crunch crunch crunch of regimented rows of shining metal linking horizon to horizon warns the broken thermometer of an experiment gone horribly horribly, no, no experiment, a simple fact of unspeakable madness and horror, across the frozen crust of Norway march the hundred thousand metal robots with their ivory teeth and marbles in their eye holes spinning around, merciless soulless robots crunching into the pine forests to tear apart the sweet delicious meat-bones of the innocent like a fire consuming everything in its path.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
The white-yellow hair-like weeds are floating in the water glass.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
From the cellulose bulb crucified by toothpicks?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
In the window frosted with a hundred thousand doses of solar radiation and the cotton candy of kitchen dirt spinning in the aluminum slide track?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Near the glass hunks blued by lightning?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Near the rattlesnake-infested heat-warped Table Rock crusty with baked juniper?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
All that and more. The water is the color of an onion and the fingerprint glass smudged with old grease.

PUP SCOOBY
I’m an old creep named Nancy.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
(to Kennesaw Mountain Landis)
Did I mention that the child I farted on had enormous tits?

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
I’ll kill you.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Each summer I used to go up to my Uncle Frederick’s house in Maine. There I would drag horseshoe crabs out of the surf and make love to them.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Justicat the hell are you doing?

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Leave now. I’m busy—being so rich and evil.

Enter Fluffy, fresh from long haul truckin’.

FLUFFY
Man am I glad to come in off the road where I have been long haul truckin’.
to Pup Scooby
Hey, remember the thing that guy had?

PUP SCOOBY
The thing with the stuff on it?

FLUFFY
No, it had this thing, with the other thing next to it.

PUP SCOOBY
Oh, right.

FLUFFY
Well, I got one.

PUP SCOOBY
No kidding? Where’d you pick it up?

FLUFFY
Over at the place, by the thing out there?

PUP SCOOBY
Sure, sure. How’s it work?

FLUFFY
The thing goes right in.

PUP SCOOBY
Underneath?

FLUFFY
Exactly. But you can switch it around to the top.

PUP SCOOBY
Well, that’s great. Did you tell the guy?

FLUFFY
No, but I’m going to.

PUP SCOOBY
I got a truckload of Bigelow’s sneezeweed going to be delivered this very day.

FLUFFY
No!

PUP SCOOBY
It’s true. A whole truckload of Bigelow’s sneezeweed.

FLUFFY
Not here?

PUP SCOOBY
Right here. Right in the parking lot here.

FLUFFY
Good stuff?

PUP SCOOBY
These doggies will blow your choppers off.

Fluffy whistles.

PUP SCOOBY (CONT’D)
I know!

FLUFFY
Who’d you get it from?

PUP SCOOBY
Charismatic Cult Leader.

FLUFFY
Charismatic Cult Leader?

PUP SCOOBY
A big old truck full of yellow Bigelow’s sneezeweed from the shores of Fourmile Lake going to be delivered right here in this parking lot, today, by Charismatic Cult Leader.

FLUFFY
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

PUP SCOOBY
Indeed you shall be a monkey’s uncle, my friend.

FLUFFY
Hey, we could use my thing on it!

PUP SCOOBY
Now you’re cooking with gas, my friend.

FLUFFY
I’m not just whistling Dixie.

PUP SCOOBY
Certainly not, my friend, certainly not. You are certainly not just whistling Dixie. Mum’s the word, though. No need to make our hillbilly friends any more nervous than they already are.

FLUFFY
Understood. Roger cerulean Bronco and all that.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
holding up a crooked left index finger
Have you met Mr. Fingie?

Fluffy begins to respond.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000 (CONT’D)
Ah, ah, ah! You know it’s against our rules to talk, it’s against Mr. Fingie’s rules to talk when Mr. Fingie is talking.

He holds up his right hand, palm out, against his face.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000 (CONT’D)
And have you met my brother Hans? Say hello to my brother, Hans, gentlemen.

FLUFFY
Uh…

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Say hi to the boys, Hans.

PUP SCOOBY
I…

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Yeah-heah! Yeah-heah! You know what? These guys are my Sonny and Cher. Wrinkled, damp and they smell like shit. You know what I mean? You know what I’m saying? Do you know what I mean?

He walks away.

PUP SCOOBY
I wager you a public ass-tonguing in St. Peter’s Square that it rains today.

FLUFFY
You’re on.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
indicating Kennesaw Mountain Landis
His whole world is changing around him. He thinks he’s standing fast, but he’s really just doddering.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
He thinks he’s a hero for fighting against overwhelming odds but he really just looks pitiful.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Blood oranges are worth talking about. See blood oranges are different and if you say “blood oranges” it means you’re different and by different I mean better, better than others. Oh, you don’t eat blood oranges? Oh, you really must try. What? You’ve never even heard of them? You’re not sophisticated like me. Sophisticated people, and by sophisticated I mean better, we know about stuff like blood oranges and tailored English three-button spread-collar Turnbull & Asser shirts. It’s not products. It’s talking about products. Even places are products, really.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
We have a squadron of 500 highly-trained, naked Weeblos painted blue and armed with fire-hardened stakes waiting in a warehouse in San Pedro. They will be the first wave. They will crash against the Pigs and the Pigs will squeal.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
Did you read this?

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
What is it?

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
From the paper. Here: “A visibly drunk King Fahd staggered into the Riyadh airport today in the company of two half-naked African boys. The King had called a press conference to address what his staff termed ‘radical changes’ in the conservative Arabian kingdom. Fahd, whose royal duties were largely taken over by Crown Prince Abdullah after a stroke five years ago, proclaimed his intent to open a disco on the site of Islam’s holiest structure, the Kaaba, in the city of Mecca. ‘It called ‘Ass Boy’ and have big DJ, Cher come, you know,’ said the King. ‘We fuckin’ dance all day long, right?’ The King, whose thobe and gutra were soiled and dank, frequently interrupted reporters’ questions to fondle his charges. At one point, yelling incoherently and bursting into tears, he parted his robe, seized his genitals with a visibly unwashed hand, and shook them, as he danced and sang what some took to be pop singer Madonna’s song, ‘Like A Virgin.’ Fahd further described a ‘10-Point Plan’ to turn Saudi Arabia into ‘Dance Sex Kingdom’ with the help of a Danish accounting firm and to show pornographic films to Bedouin on specially-constructed screens to be set up in the desert.”

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
If we were looking for foment, we could cold roll no harder steel. Charlatans in headgear and gym shorts cold read rubes in malls and we just sit here talking.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
And a lummox.

FLUFFY
I hear “they” have “greenlighted” a “biopic” about a peccary with Liev Schreiber to star.

PUP SCOOBY
Is what true?

FLUFFY
Oh, no. I quite believe in God. It’s just that God, it seems, no longer believes in me.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
I have an entire room in my mansion devoted to my collection of erotica. I store it in old pizza boxes. My pride and joy is a little number I picked up at an adult store in White Center late one Thursday night with my friends Eliot Rockett and Corby Poticha. Slumming, you know. A lark. “Butt Pie” it was called. Delightful. Another I love goes by the jejune title, “Manhood Rituals.” Tres recherche!

PUP SCOOBY
I go the air!

FLUFFY
to Lobster St. Stunt Breast
Do you know me, my lord?

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Excellent well. Thou art a fish monger.

PUP SCOOBY
Really! My mother is a fish.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
to Fluffy
Perhaps you know her?

FLUFFY
You know, I think I just might.

PUP SCOOBY
Don’t mind if I do.

FLUFFY
Next year I’m matriculating at Czerny’s “School of Velocity.”

PUP SCOOBY
I once played the glissando octaves in the climactic coda of the “Waldstein” Sonata on an 1828 Graf.

FLUFFY
Limpid thirds melting over the warm glow of an active continuo, the main theme being suffused by a nonchalant optimism worth of Mozart in his most intense D minor mode.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Talking about the manly arts are we? The sweet science? I remember once Lothario Gilda Puffpastry Frobisher Titwillow, Duke of the Two Sicilies, was lunching on cold meats at our weekend place in Cos Cobb. I came in and simply astounded him and the duchess with a rendition of Haydn’s Sonata No. 48 in C, played solely by beating and mashing my turbulent Schroeder against the fingerboard of a 17th century harpsichord formerly owned by John Glenn and one of the Monkees.

A bishop walks sleepily through with only his mitre on and a towel around his waist, a magazine tucked under his arm. When he’s halfway across the stage he realizes there are others, and hurries his pace.

FLUFFY
There is a great mystery at the heart of things.

PUP SCOOBY
I’m beginning to believe you.

FLUFFY
I’m sorry.

PUP SCOOBY
I forgive you. It’s not your fault.

FLUFFY
I have learned nothing but that something remains. Let Thy kingdom come down like water.

Pup Scooby climbs up on the table to pull a chain. Instead of activating a rain machine, he pulls one of the metal sheets off the tank and the sheet comes down, along with all the water at once, onto Fluffy. The sheet impales him to the floor.

PUP SCOOBY
Are you dead?

FLUFFY
Not for lack of trying.

PUP SCOOBY
I beg your pardon. I didn’t mean.

FLUFFY
We always wind up trying to mean.

PUP SCOOBY
We’re just mean.

Pup Scooby pulls out the metal sheet and helps Fluffy back to his booth, trying ineffectually to dry him off.

FLUFFY
There’s something pretentious and dishonest in it.

PUP SCOOBY
The whole thing is gross and self-serving.

FLUFFY
In the morning I look at a lawn mower ad in the paper and my eyes well up with tears.

Fluffy takes off his belt and throws it on the floor. They both look at it.

PUP SCOOBY
Its inertness fills my heart with joy.

FLUFFY
It is the comedian of space.

Silence.

FLUFFY (CONT’D)
The egg is the comedian of fences.

PUP SCOOBY
Putting on a suit of monkeys, however, is the same as a “fence.”

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
The first case is that all of us wear pants made of box light.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
That will blind the police as they pour forth from Koreatown.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
What we are doing is useful. It will change everything. And we’ll be heroes.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
standing, with a clipboard
Hippity-Hop.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Check.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Mr. Microphone.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Check.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Enormous foam cowboy hat.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Check.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Sense of the eternal present.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
What?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Sense of the current moment expanding into a permanent present.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
What the fuck are you talking about?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Self-satisfaction.

HILLBILLIES #1, #3, #4
Check!

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Has the time not come?

HILLBILLIES #1, #3, #4
It has!

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Has the time not come to stage the rebellion?

HILLBILLIES #1, #3, #4
Has it ever!

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
We will control everything!

HILLBILLIES #1, #3, #4
What?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
Nothing.

HILLBILLIES #1, #3, #4
Oh.

The sound of tires squealing is heard and everyone turns toward the windows. The sound of a car crash. Enter the Bishop, with surplice torn, mitre askew and steering wheel around his neck. He staggers like a drunk or a cartoon lion. He pulls off his mitre to reveal a sugar jar, which he pours on the floor while emitting mewling toots, then exits.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
When’s the ferry due in?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
The one to Bremerton docks at 12:30.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
What time is it now?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
12:30.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Then the ferry is docking.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
I see no ferry.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
I see no ocean or other large body of water necessitating nor capable of carrying a ferry.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
A biscuit of dirt has formed in my jean pocket.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Are you a fairy?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Is it 12:30?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
It is.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Shouldn’t the ferry be docking soon?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
It just pulled in. Look. The cars are disembarking.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
The parking lot is as close as we’ll get to an ocean in this programing day. A grey tarry viscous antelope bounding across the jellied sea.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
See? Now that’s my point!

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
What is the rebellion?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
Why, it’s the revolution.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
What’s the revolution?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
It doesn’t matter. It’s never mattered. Why, look at me, I’m revolting. That’s all.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
You talk of revolution! The only thing that matters is tradition—sLemonade on the porch on a summer’s evening, the first debutante ball of the season, niggers calling you sir. And baseball, of course. Always baseball.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
You’re all ridiculous. The only thing that matters is Lobster St. Stunt Breast. What does he want? How could he be made to feel more delighted with himself? When doing anything, first ask yourself, “What would Lobster St. Stunt Breast want me to do?”

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
I’m very sensitive to women. I’m for women’s rights.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Oh, is that your thing?

Live First Alert Doppler 8000 nods with quiet satisfaction.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
I’m frequently outraged.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Stuff is bad?

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Right, like that.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Is that working out for you?

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Like a fucking charm.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Beautiful. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

PUP SCOOBY
Isn’t that Charismatic Cult Leader?

FLUFFY
It is! My truck load of yellow Bigelow’s sneezeweed has arrived from the shores of Fourmile Lake! Oh, joy!

PUP SCOOBY
He’s unloading it. Just as you said.

FLUFFY
He massages a scientific coating into the pressed concavity of rusty nail clusters and razor clumps.

PUP SCOOBY
He’s making the truck bed go all funny and out pours the yellow weed.

FLUFFY
It has begun.

PUP SCOOBY
Did he make that himself?

FLUFFY
The truck?

PUP SCOOBY
The truck bed.

FLUFFY
Oh. Yeah, I think so. He’s got a tin shed out in Ojai. He makes stuff there. He’s got an ideal life.

PUP SCOOBY
Cavemen should not be allowed to pee on goats.

FLUFFY
Especially not aluminum flashing, a railroad siding.

PUP SCOOBY
You know what happened don’t you? He woke up this morning, and said, “Hey! I know!” He had, in other words, an idea.

FLUFFY
I hate it when people have ideas. It almost always turns out badly.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
I have found it! Oh, wonder of wonder, it has descended upon me.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Is it the revolution?

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
No.
df
HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
Is it Art? You could say the bourgeoisie are not as good as you and announce publicly and with great dramatic sadness that you pity them.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
No. No, it is not Art. It is that which everyone should live for.

Hillbilly Revolutionary #2 takes out a chain saw from beneath his seat, fires it up and sets it down on the table where it roars and smoke pours from it. He is rapt. The others react according to their natures, but slowly, they all come around, gather around and regard It with awe. Except for Pup Scooby and Fluffy. Hillbilly Revolutionary #2 shuts the chain saw off.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
It’s… It’s The Answer.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
That it is. It is that. It is exactly that. It’s the answer. What am I saying? It’s The Answer. It’s The Answer, it is. The question has been answered. It’s its answer. The question’s.

They all nod their heads, over and over.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
We’re going to die.

They act as if this hasn’t been said and continue to nod and nod.

FLUFFY
I wish God would come and hold me in His arms.

Everyone except Pup Scooby stop what they are doing in amused shock, then point and laugh uproariously.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
I’m courageous and admirable, not nothing. Or, rather, I know nothing isn’t only not there but also what there is or would be when I was ain’t. I’m looking straight at “the truth.” All there is is there’s only time and societal issues and magazines. Now, however, It has come. We can believe in It. We can not risk anything least of all being wrong and believing that a thing is when nothing isn’t. It is different. It’s a win-win situation. See, I was proven right to yield to fear, my individual fear. I worshipped it and defended it and changed the entire world to justify it and now It has they am we is I were she have you has never tasted a plum bob 90 degree angle shaft. God is dead, man.

FLUFFY
I’m lonely and hurt.

Everyone but Pup Scooby laughs and points again.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
You’re stupid!

Laughter and hoots of derision.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
See, here’s the thing. This thing here, It, is The Truth we’ve been searching for. It’s different. We’re different. The new age has been ushered in, here, among us. Don’t cling to your old delusions and fantasies. Devote your self to It. Did you not hear Its powerful voice? Latch on to it. Unlike everything else your ruthless self-obsession and elaborate delusions about the nature of yourself and the world won’t hurt it at all and it makes no demands of you except abject worship and nothing.

Pup Scooby holds Fluffy tenderly in his arms during this excoriation. A single tear falls from Pup Scooby’s eye. When it hits the floor the stage explodes in white light, which slowly dims to a single spot on Pup Scooby and Fluffy. The rest of the stage is plunged into increasing darkness.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
from the darkness
I’m, I say, I’m dying.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Me too.

Silence.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
I’m dying of the light.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
It’s true.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Hey, check it out, I’m dead.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #3
You’ve never not been.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Maybe that’s why I don’t feel any different.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
I used to feel.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
I find that unlikely.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
No, it’s true.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
What changed your mind?

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
I felt.

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Do you know, I can only love the forgotten.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
Why not heroes, the famous?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
They’re all used up. They’re deformed and public and have ceased to be themselves.

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
And the forgotten, the lonely, the losers?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
I can see them. There’s no light on them. There’s just them, just them.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS
Like us?

HILLYBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #4
Us, yes. All of you.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
We were afraid, afraid of shrivelling like grapes in the real eyes of a complete stranger, of having blanched almonds chafing in our precious eyeholes.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #2
We settled for being pretty when there were eyes like sapphires under high cold water in the bed of a shallow mountain stream.

HILLBILLY REVOLUTIONARY #1
We avoided pain that light bone-sets and grew crookedly and now it’s dark.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Shall we light a candle?

LOBSTER ST. STUNT BREAST
Better to curse the darkness.

Silence.

LIVE FIRST ALERT DOPPLER 8000
Fucking darkness.

The spot turns an intense orange. Pup Scooby continues to hold Fluffy. Finally, the bishop in full regalia rides out of the darkness and across the stage on a unicycle.

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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