A Play for One person
By David Erdos
This play has been inspired but is not based on what we do or don’t know to be true.
An anonymous Motel Room – Day for night. Curtains drawn, daylight leaking. A bed, a chair and a table. A box like fridge. Bottles, books. X sprawls on the bed. He has gone to seed at age 60. He has a faded charisma, and a slow drawl like drag to his voice. He wears sunglasses. He drinks. He remains still, as if waiting. He clears his throat: silence. Empty oratory. He slumps back, considers. Takes another slurp and then speaks.
It isn’t what you expected, I know. I’m trying to think of it as a trailer. Or as a set, even. Somewhere in the dustbowl, or beyond the far reaches, somewhere forgotten and out there, such as Jupiter’s yard, Pluto’s bay. A place crowned by space: Bumfuck Idaho or Duluth, Minnesota. Bob Dylansville. Misted. Everything bright. Nothing clear.
Would you like a drink? Have a drink. That’s a pretty fine jacket you’re wearing. Brings you right into focus. Your skin’s like paint. Are you Sioux? I knew a Sioux once. Everyone called him Suzie. He never let his soul settle, but he certainly packed away his reserve.
There’s an absence of chairs. For that we’ll have to blame the set dresser. This picture’s a true independent, and the budget is small. So, sit here. Would you care to? Feel free. I can always move across to the window. We could make a fine composition, what with all this milky morning light and thick air. It’ll be like a Vermeer painting, sketched in. How are you on the classics? Or with French. Or on painting? Because you’re like a still life peach standing there. This is where its happening. Here! Move away from the door there. Its a bit of a strain now to see you what with this film on my eyes and heat haze.
You smell like toast. And you’re thin. I got a little fat in my fifties. But I’m certain we’ll look good together, or balance ourselves. Call me X. As in former, or no. As in what’s been cancelled. The man with no name, or maybe, its orbiting now in dead space.
Is that your real name? Means what? They used to call me Skip – I played truant. Then they called me Chase – I was hounded. Then they called me Fox – ran away. Things were pretty tempestuous then. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the play acting. Deny where you came from and you get to pretend night and day. Or the reverse of course. Look, what time is it now? Half past breakfast. I take it you ate. I have biscuits and something still left from last night. Its on the tray over there. I’m still a little drunk. Cold lasagne. Which I’ve discovered to my surprise is delicious, so if you want some, then take some: who wouldn’t want a hunk of cheese laced with meat?
I hope in time you relax. You’re actually the first of the season. Now, that’s a joke but I mean it. This month has been dry, dry as dust. I travel incognito right now, but any set of cogs still needs oiling. So, tonight, you’re my fixit. My rescue trunk handyman.
You fix shelves? Sure you do. You’ve got a fixing shelves kind of body. I’d bet right now you’d build houses if I gave you the bricks. And strip cars. I used to chase cars sometimes when I was wasting myself in dark alleys. I remember a bug black Mercedes cruising those streets and lost roads. Windows open a slit. You’d see only hands, ears. No faces. You’d hear the cat like purr of the engine and the pull of a zip would echo. Those were the days of my youth when I was as thin as you and as hungry. Cold nights. Stars seemed closer. Like you were out there in space..on the ground.
Actually, incognito’s ok, as I get to purposely change my look, or my accent. Often at will. As an actor, I can be Russian or Dutch, as I like. While I was waiting for you I was re-attempting my Scottish. I can do the alphabet for you, or talk about oil rigs, or something. Though it isn’t great. Like my Irish. But tomorrow, they say’s a new day.
I keep these glasses on. Are you young? We’d better check that at the outset. The guy that I called set the limits and I don’t want to be gauche. So, you’re…….? Good. Well, that’s ok,then. That’s fine. Because I’m not one of them, I assure you. I have never touched children and teenagers these days – well, they’re men. Or they think they are. And the girls are all solid women. The girls in hot countries and cold countries too are well formed.
Arthur C. Clarke. You know him? He went all the way to Sri Lanka. Because it was a place they allowed it. 2001. Maybe more. He’d trawl the beaches for boys, in a sarong, which he’d open. Did Stanley Kubrick know? Jesus. Clark’s small eyes in thick glasses and his jowelly face going down! Horrible. Christ. There’s no honour in those who’ve been sanctioned. Or those who’ve been sectioned. Or those who’ve been labelled, discarded, or tarred with the same tousled brush.
You’d like a beer, then? Please do. Open the fridge. Red Stripe. Budvar.I like the Czech beers. Brown bottles. Alcohol Guards man the world. They’re like these real stand up guys, these dark men, silent and cool, hard and glassy. As you’re drinking your beer they stare at you before meeting your mouth at the hole.
Ok,then..Ok. Shall we do something suave with the lighting? Set the scene? Trim the shadows. Focus, adjust, iris in? How are you feeling right now? Would you say you were ready? Alright, well, if you are, then I’m ready. I’m raring to go, wild and free. The light’s sharp. The guard’s up. And this feels like floating..I’m ready now for my close up and my blowjob too, Mr Demille! (HE SMILES) Soon. Anticipate..right? Savour first, age has taught me. And then once you’re older, you tend to forget what you ate. I’m not as young as I was, that’s for sure. How do you feel about sixty? Does it seem too old? You can tell me. I’ve put up with a lot of shit this last year. Fields of it. Bowls. They throw it all back at you once your particular lid has been lifted. If every day brings us sunshine then let it shine through the manholes to show the sweltering sewers beneath. Under us all is a swamp. A steaming pile to walk over. But the shit in us drags us. It hauls us all into place. So, I’ll suck you. You suck me. We’ll gift ourselves worlds of pleasure. In this life of ours, the real treasure is to make each man your brother and to give them something to prize, taste and eat.
Grandma sucked eggs. That’s why Grandpa never went near her. Where Grandpa went I won’t tell you, but it had a sort of hen-house attached. He took me once as a boy. I remember the dark made up faces. Purple breasts. Nipples, like buttons of mud in your eye. ‘This is the world, son,’ he said. ‘This is the land we should conquer..’ Bright smiles. Teeth, yellow. Red at the rim of each glass.
I can do anything now. I’ve granted myself worlds of freedom. I suppose they all think I’ve been punished. But now I’ve got the ultimate space to be me. I know I. I am I. I be I. Its pure Beckett. I can finally become all I’ve wanted and all I needed to do to achieve that was to let go of the work. I can no longer be what I was, or who I was, for that matter. But I’ve still got the money, even if the houses I had can’t be sold. Not right now, anyway. Although there is a curiosity border. Give it a year or three, there’ll be someone who will want to come and actually buy infamy.
This is where he –
Where it –
Where they –
I can’t go back now and live there, so let them now become somewhere else. Some sort of Sex Pestery, or Pervert’s Museum, like Lenny Bruce’s haunt, Hubert’s, where the freaks’ manifesto was written in come and piss everywhere.
Shall I put some music on? I like jazz. Or maybe we should play something eerie. To suit this mood and this moment they haven’t found the right music yet. Its not been written. Bryars? Xenakis or Stan Freberg? Zappa, or Eno? Mozart, or Can? Stones or Kinks? Sodomy’s Requiem or the Cocksucking Concerto? There’s even the Beatles track, Golden Showers..I’m joking, of course. But it fits. Music melds. Music heals. Music stores all the senses. Music will bind us from the moment we met until this.
Alright, so now you can tell me..be frank: have I finally lost my charisma? Do you think sin has bleached me or is there still a flake of gold left? If you come over here I may even lift up my glasses.. Come and see the true me. I’ve been absent. But now that you’re here you’ll help me and I can be blown back into play..
(He grins and reclines.)
I wonder if worms know they’re worms? And if they do, do you think they find themselves as disgusting? I suppose you could say the same thing about spiders, snakes in the grass, slugs and hogs. All of the indescribable things that help to power the planet. Just as we do. As I have. With money and fame and all this. Now they hate me. That’s fuel to reinstate the moral code they’ve forgotten. I’m the example; the slimy shriek slinking at the fear sodden edge of each eye. When you’re alone in your room and its deathly still and slow quiet. You imagine you see the thing, sloping, human eye raised, as it slides. An inseminoid pulp. A giant slug-rat-snail combination. Hauling itself on its haunches to make you want to throw up on your life. I’m a disease now, I find, having been tarred; a once angel, in so much as they worshipped and praised me from afar and up close. Now I’m something obscene; worse than they ever feared or expected. Young men would wake with me on them, my kiss having soiled their sunk bones. Was fame just my shield? Was what I did its own Updike? That famous quote with its eating of celebrity flesh as the cost? It gave me license, I guess. Were you a fan of my movies? Did you see me on stage? I was something. Did we ever meet in a Park, dark and late?
Come over here. Feel my heft. I’m going to sweat all across you. Be my sands. Let me stifle. Be my mirage. I’m your pool.
(His opens his legs.)
I can feel you move now, oozing on me, like spread butter..Stars find their purchase when warm summer skies cover this..
(His back arches.)
The sea..such as it is..swells about me..Criss-crossing waves swirl around me, lapping my flesh..saving me..
Uh..Uh..! Move your hands higher..
Now that one place under..right under there..
Now, your mouth…
Put your mouth there..
The sea. Can you feel it approaching? The waves of night follow, lapping the shore.. bathing me..
Sing to me..
Can you hear it? Its rising! Can you taste my approach? Waves and stars!
(He jolts and comes.)
Uh! I am dust and come.. I am driftwood! Take me away! Take me further! Part the chosen sea! Storm the world!
(The orgasm continues as darkness falls.)
The same. But X is now x and is scattering collected leaves from a bag all across it. There is a stretch of barbed wire, a tin pail, a crate and torn chair. As he scatters, he cleans with a worn out broom. He’s play acting. It takes some moments before he speaks out.
Is he back yet? You’re clean. Nobody said I’d get dirty. I’ve been trying to feed all the chickens, but its always the same ones that keep pushing their way to the front. Fat bastards. Like you. You’ve been all the way into town. I can smell it. I keep going on at Mom. She won’t let me. Dad wants me at home. You’re just sly. I reckon if I cheated like you, I could have them all crawling after. All the girls. All the college, and the high school, too..most of them. That’s if I had a car, or a friend with a bike. I could do it. I hate you all over. You never have to do any chores.
This grass is dry. Look at it. Its dead men’s hair. Dead dogs also. With God’s grits between it; great soupy globs of blown mud.. I’ll get myself out of here soon, get myself away. You won’t see me. Screw this grass. And I’m hungry. Mom said I had to save the last cob for you.
Have you see him? He drunk? Aunt Mae said he kissed her. Stole up at night, forced the window and then walked straight through to her room. Said he’d been drinking all night and most of the day placed before it. Said his hands felt like irons, branding her skin. Titties! (GRINS)
Did he make you do this? Did he? When? Have you ever been to a cathouse? What’s it like? Did they like you? Or do they turn from you and let you do what you want, anyway? Tom in class says they do, not that he knows what he’s doing. ‘One Tit Tom’ they all call him, on account of his mom being sick.
I hate these leaves, hate this yard. I hate this house. I hate Daddy. My back is sore from his ribbing. My legs are bent from his boot. You’re getting out of here soon but I ain’t signing up to no army. I’m aiming higher. The city’s for me. Not all this. I’ll go to school. I’ll speak right. I’ll be stocking wine in dark cellars. I’m all set for people who know how to see and make art. I’m going to have a house full of books where I’m going to be with people who read them. Not like this. This fat silence is where the heavy and dumb slide and die.
I can hear the truck. He is back. Because if he is you should tell me. Its right I know. Look I’ve finished. I can’t do anymore with this crap. Its like I’m raking his head. His hair’s dead leaves. His scalp’s flaking. I hate his skin. He’s mud slitting. He’s nothing but rock, cold and mean.
He won’t dream much, I bet. You need some sort of brain to keep dreaming. He’s not mmuch more than some grizzly, lost in the woods, losing hair.
Fuck Mom, too. Did you do that? She turns from him, so he finds me. I’m as soft as she is, soft and warm.
Sometimes I feel his hands in the night, tracing my back with a finger. His eyes are black with a pin-prick, a pin-prick of light, from outside. Moon in his eyes and some of my blood in the river. If I could I’d kill him. If I thought it would help, I’d destroy.
You don’t see anything. You’re like a ghost. You’re no brother. If I’m Spring, you’re Summer, wrapped up in itself, like heat’s toy. Spring is still crisp. Spring still has cold in it somewhere. You’re just what’s frying, whereas I’m what’s been frozen, slowly wrenching its way back to life.
Ice on me like cake. Ice on me, like icing. But inside the cake’s stale and rotten and the white isn’t ice, the white’s –
I don’t want who we are. I don’t want anybody. No-one I know.
Grass is dying.
I don’t want where I’ve come from. I’d have chosen more.
Tell me why.
The room, as was. Late at night – early morning. X is still in sunglasses and paces the now darkened room. He is on the phone, angered, loud and then censoring his own volume. He checks at the window, before moving off, frantically.
I’ve been trying to get you all night – the least you could do is talk to me! We bloody came up together, so why am I the only one going down! You owe me, Frank! Oh, you know.. Now that you’re shitting rose petals. Call someone. Help me. Get me on a plane somewhere hot. Or somewhere cold. I don’t care. I’ve been loosening my balls in this shitbox! Its like a fucking coffin with windows, and I am far from being dead, Frank! Real far!
Get me on Pinky’s plane..yeah..you know who I mean, I mean Pinky.. Mister P. Call him. Get me on his Airbus of cock, right away…Get me on his big orgy ship because I’m cold and I’m hungry and I’m stuck in the old and the stale. I need some relief. You think I don’t know what they’re saying? Or, about all the shit that’s been written; all of the lies and spiked tales? They’ve got photos they say and a book’s worth of confessions..from people I met once at a party, or passed by in a street! Maids and waiters.. Cops, Chefs..its like a sea of fact out to get me! A hurricane whirl of fiction battering down every door! (HE LISTENS:) Yes! Of course, yes! They force me to read.. and I never once read the critics! But I read them now! They’re all critics! Well, lucky for you, Frankie! Great! And what they don’t know can’t play, not unless someone tell them! That’s right, Frank! Well, listen, when your back’s at the wall, you reach out!
You don’t think I would, Frank? I would. So, let me break that illusion. How do I sleep, Frank? I’m up, Frank! I think I’ve been up for a year!
How’s your wife, by the way? How does she like her bedroom? You painted it up like she wanted..? Tell me, is it the same size as yours? Or does she need it bigger, maybe.. in order to make her adjustment..further from you and your children.. How are your boys, Frank? All good? Your boys are good..Good.. the boys are good..glad to hear it.. So, what was the ring made from, plastic? And does she sound proof her walls to help drown –
Fuck you! Blow me! Oh,no, you did that already..To make me feel better? Because you wouldn’t normally stoop – !
(He throws the phone and screams out. And stands there, near frantic. A moment of helplessness strikes him, before he rushes back to the phone.)
Are you still there..? Are you.. Oh. Ok. Look, I’m sorry. But you have to accept, Frank… I’m desperate. I don’t know what to do.. Help me. Try.
I’m at the waterfront here, but there isn’t any front left, or water. I used to be something. And you’re the only one I can ask, Frank. You know.
No, I’m frightened..I don’t understand how this happened and maybe they can track me with this… (LISTENS:) Alright, then. One hour. Get me that plane, car. Call Pinky. And then once you’ve done that let him call. No bags. No fuss. All I really need is a shower…
Not the kettle on the wall in this shitcan. Something with tiles, TV, all. The old life. My life. The kind we’ve grown used to. Not this small ruin, this little man shanty town of my own. Please. I implore. I beg. I’m a kitten. Think of me small and fluffy, dirt in my paws, glass in eye. Splinters, Franks. Shards. I’m flecks of glass. I’m sharp pebbles. I’m salt and sand. I’m sand blasted… Yes, I’m a little high! Wouldn’t you?
Alright, then. Ok. Ok, Frank. One hour. You won’t forget? I’ll be waiting. I’ll be climbing the walls. I’ll fall..near.
(He puts the phone down. Silence. He moves across to the window. He parts the drapes slightly.)
The moon’s not my friend. Spies and stars.
(He takes the phone, dials. )
Yes, this is Mister Thirteen. Need another. Blonde. Around twenty. Big as your arm. Forearm. Nice.
(He puts the phone down. He stands, then checks himself in the mirror.)
We are as he made us. But sometimes he rushes and those are the times your lose face.
Morning. The same. X is eating from a bought in McDonalds. He stuffs his face, binges, as he confronts his next guest.
So, you want to be an actor? That’s cool But would you first like some breakfast? Most people want that, and then when the rest has been cleared, they want fame. But fame’s like a wind coming in to save through hot weather; when things get close you look for it but if that wind just keeps blowing then you want some time away, some repose. Its all repose in this place. Its all time away. Its hot shelter. And even if that breeze has stopped blowing then I know what it means or meant to take heed. Acting, too, is a wind. A whirlwind for some. It consumes them. For most its a draft, then a trickle, a dribble of air; for me, storms. For you, too, I’m sure. You’ve got a good face for the camera. Your chin’s slightly lacking, its not as defined – but your eyes! Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Good. Its happening. There’s no worry. The line of your chest. Legs. Your posture,. And now, look at this! Nice big hands. Do you play the piano? I do. I did. Play piano. Also guitar, drums, uke, fiddle.. well, I can make a sound. Saxophone. I’m a talented guy. I also paint watercolours. I write too. Poems, screenplays. Stageplays, too. I direct. Acting, as was. Not much chance of that at the moment. Or in the future, until wounds heal over and all of this fades away, or dies down. Then you do the talk shows. Years pass. Maybe you’ve been to prison. You have that worn look that you cover, but the seediness still seeps through. Too much soap. Too much grease. You get to look like a lizard. And you’re fatter, too. Or you’re thinner and look haunted and lost and grave grey.
Perhaps it’ll never die down. Once the sign is up the winds beat it and even if the rains come to steal it, there’ll still be the self same hole in the ground where it stood. Maybe they’ll cover that hole, but they can’t burn the films and the movies. They can burn the books and magazines, maybe, but what about all of the others in there? No, I’ll hang about like a stain, my face still a part of the picture. Pixelate and they’ll ruin, like colouring Chaplin, or making the singer Tom Waits clear his throat.
No, I’ll be there. And that’s the way I’ll keep working. I’ll always be playing in someone’s home..on TV.. And I know people. I know. And they know that I know them. And that I know all about them, all of them in the know..
Psuedonyms can be fun. Maybe I’ll write all of this as a movie! Or disguise it away in a novel: My life in sin, or in darkness: Down a ladder of cocks, sir, I fell..
Talking of ladders..undress. Or let me do at least it for you. Wake up and my face will be on you.. the drugs will probably start working soon. If you come to my room, they’re like dust in the air: the drugs settle. Like the skin on milk. Look, your Pepsi has a layer of white over it. A tincture. A taint. Its a medieval ruse, a love potion. Imagine, this was romantic once, this was classic. This is what they did to feel real. You can be the Princess. I’m the Prince. Or it can be the other way round if you want that. I’m not all that choosey, that’s if you want the God’s honest truth.
Ah, but is He? I am. That’s why I’ve cut my restraints and am running. I’m far but free. I broke orbit from the star path of old. I’m in space. The astronaut cord has been cut and now I’m spinning out beyond planets…
My last gulp of air has been frozen and I am newly filled with star-stuff. Black star gas stains my throat and galactic sperm has rebirthed me. I’m swallowing sky. Sucking Saturn. I am wings and warp. I am rim. You know, its pretty wild being me. This is a totally mind blown sensation. Suck me in. Absorb from me. Accompany me now, on my trip. You’re going to be a proper Star Lord in space. You’re going to see God in sharp atoms. You’re going to reach a new understanding about what it really means to be fucked. Shed you skin. Split your heart. I’ll put your cock in my pocket. Give me your shit. Look, I’m silver! Give me your hand. Its a claw! We’re changing now, you and I: the human equation has ended. We are part of space. We’re space phantoms: Ghosts in the glass. Space spice. Spume! Spunk in me. Succumb. Astral storms are now raging. Become like them! Transit to the unset shore has begun!
(He stands, having reached some point of renewal. He shakes. Its disturbing. All at once darkness falls.)
Evening. The same. A line of light from the offstage bathroom. A cellphone on the bed begins ringing. The sound of a toilet flush, off. X enters and stares. The phone carries on ringing. He looks around, moves towards it. The phone instantly stops. X sighs, moves away. The phone begins ringing. He looks around, paniced. He moves to the phone. The phone stops. Now he frantically starts to check every corner. He is tearing books, papers. The phone begins ringing. His checking goes on..
In the darkness, the sound of the phone is quickly replaced by that of a bust bus station. Traffic and chatter. A possible distant plane flies.
An ugly light rises. X is dressed in shabby clothes and sits on a toilet in an unkempt cubicle. He is eating cheese from a pack and has a Dictaphone or small tape recorder. He speaks into it, keeping quiet, or as much as he can, anyway.
Dante had Hell. I had room 317. Dear Diary, I’m writing. Dear Dairy, I hate you, as because of you I got fat. It is September 8th and it has been a year since life ended. I am despised and alone, suicidal, and yet if I give them death they will win. And they will not win. I’ll find my way back through the orchard of low slung poisoned apples and snakes in the root of each tree.
Who can truly know what will be? I am in my mind. Am I evil? I am watching myself, checking factors. If I were a monster would I be aware of what’s monstrous, or see myself simply and only in terms of myself? Can anyone out there discern or distinguish themselves from all others? Or do the people who really think they’re on a higher plane; Manson, Hitler..or the moguls of old and new really know? What do Paedophiles lose? Are rapists just rage and implosion? Are murderers conscientious or simply careful and kept by their sin? Most priests fuck kids: how many kill them? What are the rules of the riot when that first riot ends? Diary, I’ve never felt so alone, so am entertaining the options. Everything’s abstract. Am I peeling like paint? Where’s the –
(He stops and listens. The sound as someone enters. A man coughs, then pisses. X remains frozen and held, listening. The man takes a while. Coughs, spits; disgusting. X preens. The door opens, closes. He records on.)
I ask you, is that normal? Is that what normal people are? Then screw that!
To be..or not. Yes, this is my suicide talking. Eden’s snake has already started its eating and at such moments the apple is never going to be the main course. Where does it end, though? To tempt is to torture sensation. Is evil endless? Or once the coming has gone, are you sane?
My Daddy beat me. Old tears produced in blood, frozen rivers. This chill fed all senses until there was ice in my nails and my touch. I craved all contact per se in order to soothe and bring comfort. I did not discern. I was impulse. If I wanted to fuck then I fucked. I wanted to pin all men down to the point where all man began to feel grounded. Luckily I was gay, so I fucked them. I gaggled on cock. I groped, kissed. I turned men to clay and worked in my hands, sculpting, moulding, until they were in my control, then forgave them, kissing Dad away in all men. But men are not clay. Men are not fruit for others. I sucked them dry to find nothing but old bits of skin in my guts.
Bearing down on a cock is like suppressing the sound of an echo. Expression is swallowed and in the imagined sound chamber you are drawing each reverberation and ripple, each passing wave to a close. In the journey you map there is only the need to keep going. But there is no destination, just so many miles on the road. You are making each stage of your quest the same quest and forging the chain of old legends. Just like the planet standing on turtles: Turtle on turtle and so it all proves: cock on cock. Girls flick a switch, but with men its connection. A jack to a port. It seems different, even if, in truth, it isn’t. Even if it actually is all the same.
What did I do? I fucked men.
Not all were conscious. Or willing.
I took advantage. Had power.
I molested, abused.
I was Rome.
I was Britain.
I was Nazi Germany.
I was Mugabe. And those men were..what? Switzerland?
And now its indescribable. Look, I’m talking to you, diary, tell me; Am I wrong? Am I ugly? Am I sick and sin? Am I..shade?
Not even literature helps. Maybe I should paint a picture or something,. Do a little dance. Sing. Whatever. Or sit here and let them find me here caked in crap.
They’ll take me to trial. They’ll convict. And I’ll go to Prison. Where I’ll be a relatively big cheese, as I’m news now and get to fuck who I want, or get fucked. I’ll have cock but no love. Is that a punishment for me? Or do I need a new way of being, something to feel now, or be?
Acting’s no use. Or not any longer. As has been proved, its just hiding. And now I’m out in the light, in the shade.
They already think they know me, or know what I am, so that’s over. I have to be that. I can no longer be what I made.
Then what should I be? I’ll fuck dogs. Can one go any further? Cats. Birds. What else is there? Can I carve from this shadow, this semblance of shit, a new throne? Who can help me? Not Frank. And not even Pinky. There’s been nothing from there but more silence, which goes to show me that from some past and dark congress, those exiled fast are alone.
I should probably brave it. Find light and take off these glasses. Hire a suit and just sit there, filling my face somewhere grand. Do you think they’d throw me out? On what grounds? I have not been convicted. I am not on the run. I’m just hiding, because I chose to disobey their commands!
If they didn’t want me, what choice and what option was there? To become what they think, a pariah? A cockroach, a cunt, a conundrum? Someone they don’t want to try and understand, only fear? Or condemn, come to that. So tell me what to do, dearest diary. Nobody loves me. But life is love. And I live. Do you love me? Confirm. You are a white mirror, shining. You are a redrafted heart. You are endless. You are the white and light. Fill me up. I am ready. I’m here. If you are the sword, I’m the silence. You are the storm across oceans and I am the lurk from below.
If you want me to say it, it’s shame; shame in deep places…
If I –
Enough of this poetry. Fuck it. What does it matter now what I say?
When you reach the end, it –
(He stops at the sound of the door, as someone else enters. There are no other noises. X remains still and nonplussed. He listens. He stands. He undoes his trousers. He waits. All is silence. He pulls his trousers back up.)
Is someone there?
Well, this cubicle’s busy. Try the burger place if you’re desperate. I’m going to be a while..feeling sick.
Dead sick. Dog sick. Sick in the head. Are you out there?
The red light’s stuck, buddy. There’s work here.. in progress.
There’s an overhaul of my guts going on..
Really. So –
Shit. I can’t even talk to my diary..! What the fuck is this!
Busy! Did you hear what I said? Busy here!
Are you just going to stand there..? For Chrissakes.. (HE STRAINS) You see, I can’t even hear what you’re saying! And I’m telling you now, I’m not rushing! A man’s gotta do..all the time. So, if you’re saying you’re going to wait, then you will. But you’ll need a good book, or something. Put some music on. Whistle. Just so I know you’re alive.
It’ll act as a deadline, Ok? But I mean, that’s the best I can give you. Some sort of limit, as we ride on through to the end! Just like Tonto and his chief, the spotless and white lonely ranger..they must have shared stuff together, both shitting around the same pot. Or a distance from it. Cactus. Way out in the prairie. Under the stars like spent lovers, dodging the kicks and the pricks.
With only a horse to give comfort.
That, or each other.
A man’s right hand man.
There’s some graffiti here. Ha. There always is in these toilets. Phone numbers. Drawings. Little cave painting cocks everywhere. Do you think the guys who do this are gay or is it just part of that secret thing men face upto when they’re separated from women and alone in the dark with a pen? The john’s are confessionals, right? Letting out the full darkened spirit. Releasing dark angels, with cum stained wings, on stale air. You can say anything. Scrawl out your hidden desire. And so the men who come in here are sinning and saving; they’re the imp and the bottle. They’re the lost and the priests all in one..
Of course, there’s power here too, in all this of male conversation. What do men want? Each other. And for those who can’t face it, there’s the ultimate distraction of girls. They called them broads in New York, or way out west. Watch the movies. And broads they were, so expansive. So hard to maintain or keep hold. So hard to track. While men are singular only. Men are all arrows. The long straight line. The curved short. Its so much simpler with men. Women need understanding. But the language is different and to someone like me; alien. I never listened, or cared. I shared my world. I was happy. I never judged them. Not like now. They judge me.
If you’re one of them, say. I can defend any action. I was allowed them, because of the license of fame. Fame is the key to an usettled people. They need their heroes to rise above them.
Fame is real. Fame is love. Fames makes you feel like a woman. A very beautiful woman, hoisted on her pedestal. You can do all you will because of your distance from people. You’re looking down at them in the fairground. Welles’ little black dots that keep moving in The Third Man’s famous speech.
You’re the third man this week. Does that make you feel special. Now I’m free I’m rapacious. Now I can eat. So I eat.
So, is this what I think it is? Is it that? You may want to change your mind if this opens. The door here is romance, but only, of course, if it’s shut. Once it opens, its me. My face. My future. Crossed, creased, rewritten because of the dirtied lines of my past. So, maybe we can enjoy this. Come on. Tell me a little something about you. We can get to know something somehow about who we both are, or can be. Talk to me. Speak. Once I was liked and respected. I’m civilised, educated. We can talk about films, music, art..
Talk to me. Call me X. You’re Y, that’s for certain. We can make this work, baby! If we really want, we can try!
If this is a game friend, it’s done, as I really don’t feel like playing. I’ve been fooling myself, if I’m honest, for far too long. No more games.
So, are you’re going to say something? Speak. Because this sure as hell isn’t funny. What are you, police? I’ve doing nothing. I’m just taking a shit. Then a bus. Zeiwataneho’s the place, just like in The Shawshank Redemption. That’s where I’m going to find that ocean of dreams and blue hope.
Christ alive.. Is this..? (LAUGHS) What are you..Death? You’re not love. Then bugsy, I’m Max Von Sydow. In The Seventh Seal. I’ve got chess here. Yeah. I’ve got a special app on my phone. Which I should probably lose right away. In fact, I’m going to have to give up phones altogether. Give up the century, also, seeing as how it’s seen fit to throw me, or cast me away, far away. Yeah. I’m a man out of time and toilet paper. But I’m not coming out. So who are you? Because it’s not wrong to ask you.. I want to know who you are. It’s only normal, so say.. And that is not just a town in Wyoming. Even if that is a place where I’m heading. The state, not Wyoming. It may not be where I started but its certainly where I want to end up. Somehow. So, say! God knows I’m willing. Does he know? You can tell him. If you’re something bad from the sky..or the dark. Some sort of demon. So, speak. My legs are dead. You can tell me. I’d like to know. Its the end here. Or feels like the end. This bowl’s cold. This bowl. This seat. This endless water. Which washes out deep below, before its all turned to ashes or small jets of steam, down in Hell…
Help me out, will you please? You’re a tough crowd. One person. I’m not used to small crowds, I tell you. I used to command, not comply.
I’m not a follower..right? Tell me that you understand that. I’m like a leader..in exile. Napoleon maybe. Though, I’m not about to say Jesus Christ. Jesus loved men. The Bible only mentions two women: Madonna, Whore. That’s the template, and convenient, too, to my mind. Surround yourself. Get involved until the closest betrays you with a telling kiss or a story on an old piece of parchment or in a glossy tabloid.
What are we doing here, friend? Are you the first or last of the Romans? Or is there a whole gang of you out there, silently filing in, one by one?
Sounds nice. Sounds divine. Like a football team, ready. To take me on and abuse me. A whole black male chorus line. Not that the Romans were black. I like men from all nations. The slaves were black. And the Eunuchs? Well, who gives a fuck about them! (HE LAUGHS) That’s a joke. I’ve never dealt with a eunuch. I’m sure you’d run across some in Frankfurt or some club in old Amsterdam. Ready and wild for the wind. They’re keen on those wide open spaces. Makes them feel at home, all that absence. Those spaces within and between. Dark alleyways. Pods. Cubicles, even. Like this one.
Who are you? Have you come to take me away?
The jig, boys, is up. I did all I could to a deadline. Set each day: how much was there? How much time to plot and prey did I have?
Prey with an e. I guess that’s what it is they’re all writing. But nobody knows about Billy. And Billy and Daddy and me. And Grandpa, and.. Jim, the Mayor of Wyoming. Bumfuck Idaho. Jacob. Ohio at night. New Orleans. Nobody knows and now no-one cares. I’m forgotten. Will they remake the films with Zac Ephron? Or Jesse Eisenberg? Sure they will. I’ll be rewritten. Recast. Replaced. Scrubbed, deleted. I’ll become a slur. Smears will have me. So, what should I do? Grow a beard? A beard might suit me: grey, long. I could look like Walt Whitman! He was gay. No-one bothered. I wonder who Walt tried to fuck? ‘Let me sing A Song of Myself..’ it must have been from ‘Cabaret,’ maybe. Or ‘The Boys in the Band,’ or from Sondheim, thinly disguised. I could try. I could start the beard now. Slide food under the door, pal, I’m staying. Let people come. News and cameras. I’ll stay behind the door. Howard Hughes. Tapering fingernails, claws. ‘Watch him lose it guys! He’s gone crazy!’ A new thing on Netflix; the slow but carefully streamed suicide.
Have the other guy had all this? All he seems to do is eat dinner. In a baseball cap and fat joggers. And he’s grown a beard too, so I see. I glimpsed a paper in here. I’ve just wiped my ass on it. I no longer need information. Damned as I am, I’m still free.
Come on in, if you’re death. There’s not much room. Do you need much? Perhaps you don’t. There’s no landscape to an open vein or stopped heart. All you need is a breath. Often, not even that. Half a shadow. A shimmer.A shudder. A cold little pulse. A deft look. If it be your will then come in. You’d save me a whole heap of trouble. I could die on this toilet like Elvis, or failing that, Lenny Bruce. Bruce was hounded. I’m not. I am reviled. There’s no movement. They sit in their rooms and judge me and all the while, I escape. I go to Motels, wear thrift store clothes and eat hot dogs. I change my former rules and my rule book. The sticks and the stones turn to gas. I become a myth. I’m the night, or a small part of it somehow. Another shadow. A ripple seen in the movement of leaves in the dark. A crow shrieks. Locusts whirr. And the eye of the moon is a psycho. It seems to swelter in the coldest night. One world ends. So, you can come in. You can come. I won’t do a damn thing to stop you. I am resigned to accepting what I am doing now and have done. I can survive anything. They can come and cut me to pieces. For what..sex? There’s no murder. What makes one fuck hurt and one heal? I don’t understand it. I can’t. God gave us these bodies… Or did you? You still out there? Is that what death is; our own God? Does he come to each of us at the end, as a kind of Santa Claus for the adults..and spirit us away before judging..? Is that what this is? Come on in!
Or are you my last, parting gift; are you one of the hordes? My own angel. Sent down to beguile me and seduce me away from my harm. That and the pain I have caused, which you will paper over with pleasure. I’ll open the door. That sounds perfect. If I open the door stream on in. Flood me. Find me. Whip my skin with bright feathers. Shit on my soul. Suck and save me. Bare me away, free but far…
I mean it! I do. We could follow some of the things written on here. Diagrams and instructions. If these are things you didn’t know, you will soon… We can be experts of sex. Maybe that’s why I mixed my confession. I wanted people to know I was conscious of all of my untidy parts and dark ends. I wanted to show them out there, that there are demons to fight on all levels. Fame can’t displace them. Cash will never bribe them away. We each of us have our need, each has a call to be answered. All fame is scant cover. Its a bulletproof shield, full of holes.
I’m waiting, he said. This is my heart. Look, its leaking. They’ll say I stole something when the real truth about us is that everything we have or make is borrowed. Every system. Each way. We should have stayed in the ocean. As soon as we felt the sunlight the truth scorched straight though us and our transparency was exposed.
(He stands and opens the door. There is nobody out there.)
Oh, its you.
So, what’s it going to be…gun, or rose?
Some sort of holding cell. A lamp, a chair, a small table. A back door is open. X waits, fingers drum. He stands, looks around and then goes to the doorway. He edges it open. Peeks his head out, grows concerned.
Senor..? Comrade.. Christ.. I wish I could speak this fucked language. Are you there, sir? Where is this? They drugged me and cast me adrift.. yes, they forced me.. onto an odd, rusted sea… Senor, I bobbed like bad fruit in a tepid barrel of water. Drifted here, like spent flotsam, or one of those solo sailing films they now make. Hanks, Redford, Firth. Let each honoured face test survival. And therefore grow more religious, when they’re religions themselves, each of them!
Do you agree, sir? Come back. You still have my passport. I need it, sir. You don’t need it. You know who I am, with this face.
Is anyone out here who can help..? I still have my rights, sir.. a phonecall. I’ve shown you my bags. Nothing in there. I have someone to call, sir. A friend.
I can assure you, Senor, this needn’t be an Embassy issue. I doubt that mine want to see me, or at least, not until.. But I would still like to call. I have certain things to arrange, sir. So if you wouldn’t mind.. is there someone? Its as if there were nothing but carpets and ghosts everywhere..
(He comes back in.)
Those three might help, albeit not directly. If they’re religions, I’m what – alternative medicine maybe. Once I was white. Now I’m darkened. Back then, I was magic. Whereas all I am now is Voodon’t. There’s a curse on me now. That much is certain. Especially now I’ve crossed borders. I could be an epidemic of one!
(He turns to someone else.)
Its a good job you’re here. Do you write? You could set this all down for me, somehow. Chart my decline. Map my progress as I try to become something else. I might find sanctuary here. I’m love’s immigrant, seeking shelter. I should wear pink pyjamas. Or a flower in my hair. Or my ass. Lenny Bruce died for this. He died for all of the things I like doing. Now kids kill each other. So its knives and its cocks in a duel.
(The sound of passing footsteps. He moves back towards the open door.)
Ok.. maybe now there’ll be something… Am I to be refused, or accepted? And where can I go if I’m not?
Brazil. Paraguay. We can take the place of those Nazis who infrequently littered the forests with guts and gunbelts from their evil deeds, masked by leaves. They say that Mengele moved to goats. They were fields of bits in his quarter. Farmed by old Corporals and one or two Commandants. Hiding out. Honing in, the world makes its legends. So, what will we be? Not legends. Nightmares, perhaps. Of the day.
They’re going to have to let me stay. I’ll be good. And everyone likes the films. Many love them. There will always be what I am now and what I once was on the screen. Those things don’t change. Your sin doesn’t strip you of talent. I’m bound to dine again. Just in shadows. Maybe I could have some sort of surgery here…Botox? Tits?
Lift my eyes. Change my nose. Do something bold with my jawline. Straighten my spine. I’ll look taller. I could try and lose weight. Or gain more. I should go vegan, maybe. Scrape out the last of the meat and cheese from the barrel. Jog. Or go drastic…
Do you think I could I really do that..change sex?
Do you think I could be a woman, maybe.. Surely I’d know that already.
What do you know? Be honest. How was it for you?
What are you?
I’m joking. Its fine. I know that already… But what are they doing? Why are they keeping me? If they keep me waiting too long, they’ll find bits of chrysalis scattered. My new wings are busting, straining against the sticky cage and old cells..
Or rather, this cell..this room.. I think I must have been hibernating. All I was before was beginning. But this could well be it; the true me. In African tribes they have codes. They fuck and eat countless children. So, where is the difference? Or is it just Geography? Is that all? It must be. It can.
(SHOUTS) BECAUSE I HAVE NOT BEEN CONVICTED! I REPEAT! OR ARRESTED! I have been refused! Nothing more!
But I won’t be coming back, that’s for sure. I will never return. That is certain. There’s black rings framing my eyes and my armpits; I can’t seem to get rid of the smell under there. It was never like that before. So much has changed. I’ve grown darker. Make someone an outcast and an outcast they become right away. Even their body adapts. I can smell it now. I’m decaying. My moral incline, in sinking, is dredging up all manner of murk from the depths. I am now a fat butterfly. The bough will break at my birthing. I will slime and slurp. There’s no flying. I will smother and seep. I’ll not soar. I’ll be like Cronenberg’s Fly, or Laughton’s shit eating hunchback. But quite without pathos. I’ll be separate to all sympathy.
What do you think? Shall I run? If no-one comes.. Like a movie! I never really made a film like that. Now I could get to play Judas Bond! Of course, there’d be no girls for me and no Moneypenny. Just the chase and the darkness and the thing at the end of the pun. That odd, sour taste that needed the pun in the first place. I could be someone out there, with a new and unsavoury world as my guide! What do you think? Is there..? Hey..
(He moves to the doorway. It suddenly closes. He stands there, taken aback. Silence. )
(The darkness descends like slow rain.)
Another cell like space. The light looks bleached. The room empty. X has a small cloth or flannel to cover his genitals.
Quarantine’s fun. At the very least, you feel special; singled out for a purpose that anyone on earth understands. I take it you can hear me alright? The sound is passing through the partition? What is it, glass here, or plastic? This mic is so small, also fun. Its like the old days on set, or what they do these days in the theatre. Some of my previous fellows are past it. Very few would believe it, but they get their lines fed through the ear!
An appealing actress I knew was doing a pretty big show in London. Do you know the West End of London? Its like Broadway for us, but just small. Although the theatres are huge. Unbelievably so, and quite daunting. And this lady had someone sat in the front, mouthing lines! Can you believe that? Like fish. Like cartoon fish, mouthing, micing. With the voice in her right ear and the lips for that mouth straight out front. I can’t even imagine the scene.. for the other actors. A kind of automation running. And then that slight delay: its inside it that the reality goes, slips away. Suddenly you’re off beat, like a time signature of 13/8 in a pop song. You’re at a remove but you’re still there. I’m in a remove now, sitting here.
Can you hear me?
You can..? Tap on the glass, I can’t hear you. This little ear piece you’ve given is – Oh, right, I see..there you are…
Yes. Yes, I am.
Is this water fresh? It smells slightly..
Rust, is it? Jesus. What are you trying to do, poison me?
I’m in a bubble, a bind. This glass of water’s my window. Silence. Light. Shadow. With the fading of feet, no echoes. The door is open, then closed. No breeze can filter in. There’s no moonlight. We’re in a permanent midnight. The Cicadas stick in the wind. Locusts scream.
Its a proper weirdness, a warp. Are you saying now I’m infected? That a moral sickness is something you can stand up and catch..like a germ?
I said I was gay. Now I’m game. I said I did something bad. Sought connection. I thought it was honest to try and describe what I did..
Did I think they all were?
No..no. I was talking about my own actions!
Well, yes.. when they said that… But this was about me, only me!
Gay is not –
No. Gay is not pederasty. Or ism. Isn’t. And could of course never be.
Well, that would depend on the –
No, I never supposed it. I –
Yes. That’s why they, yes, of course.. they’ve condemned me..without a trial..
Oh, I see. You mean as well as the actions?
So, I’m like a.. what; Supervillain?
So, do I get a cape, a bent crown?
Because if you’re saying –
Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying!
Well, look at this, what you’re doing! Just look at me sitting here!
Am I supposed to clean myself with this rag or simply hide myself from you? What do you want from me? Tell me!
You want me to stand? I won’t stand!
I won’t be treated like this! I have not been charged! I remind you! There’s nothing on me, but rumour..testimony, yes..nothing real!
Well, can language be proved? What one person says can be fiction. Memory. Jesus. I know. I’m an actor. A writer of words. Singer..
Yes, they did..
Yes, they have. So why have I not been convicted? Or is this it, this probing? You want me spiked? Barbequed?
Titus Andronicus me down to blood sausage..bake me in a pie of roast tumour, where the slightest flick of a tongue tastes like ash..
Because I’m already ruined. I’m soiled. This is about society, somehow.. others jerk off before women, betraying their own poetry. Whereas I did what men do who love other men wholly.. sometimes without invitation..so, I’m impolite, maybe..base. But does it warrant this?
Where am I?
What am I an abandoned dog, is that it? What am I to you; a stray monkey? Food for the research now, like rabbits..Are you going to start testing industrial pollutants on me? The scientists are done now with mice, so they’ll test their shit on the captives. Is that it? On the foresworn and rejected..on outcasts like me.. Criminals. That’s what I am now. I see. I misused the gun of desire. Even if we all have one stashed inbetween the porn and the bibles hidden away in locked drawers.
Invitation. Lack of.
So, this is about lost decorum?
Rapists have no manners. I was well raised. Finally. I had to do the main work on my own because nobody taught me. I was raised in a swamp with crocs, toads and beetles and my granddaddies hand on my ass.
You’re not sure you believe me? Screw you. And screw everybody. In fact, fuck anybody because everyone deserves to get fucked. Or fuck up. Or fuck. Or get fucked up, lets be honest: is there anyone here among us, or on your side of the glass who does not?
Because you are really fucking with God if you’re a pharmaceutical, baby. Creating death. Playing checkmate with the symptoms and signs that cause that..
You know, I can pretty much imagine you all. You’re twisting Mother nature’s tits and she’s crying. She’s on her knees, man. She’s buckled. Now stick your plastic enema in her ass! Stick your test tube in her mouth and get her to suck on it for you..Force her to do your sick bidding.. inveigle her and seduce!
Or do you not call it seduction?
I do. I truly do. Its seduction. When something has you in its thrall, that’s seduction, whether its a snake set to bite you or someone’s desperate face in your lap..
I’m a snake now. I’ll bite.
This entire things makes me angry..
How dare and who are you to try and do this to me!
(He suddenly rails)
WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK AND WHO ARE YOU!
HOW DARE YOU! WHO ARE YOU? CHARGE ME OR LET ME GO FREE!
I know lawyers far worse.. I know the depraved names and Judges.. I know the perverts, the gimps and the game, all of them! I know the flats and the sharps, the tarts and kinks, whores and holy!
YOU THINK THERE ISN’T COMMUNION OR A NEWSLETTER OF SORTS? WELL, THERE IS!
You didn’t know that, did you? Everyone is connected. Let me out and I’ll tell you.. I will.. Do you know about Pinky’s plane? He has a plane full of men. A mile high cock orgy. Flying over our heads. That’s pollution. Or at least to you..isn’t it?
Everyone knows. We plot it out quite discreetly. You can’t have any two of us doing it in the same Hotel, ever. Try and keep the districts different..or, if you can’t do that, then the blocks.
We do not convene unless called. But there is a connection. A code. Coded signals. Often in films. Things we say. Now imagine the work that entails ahead of a film’s post production! Its release date. Distribution. Just trying to work that out, scene by scene.
No, not all the time. Now and then. Its clever stuff, let me tell you. But those are exceptional moments when something to prize has been found.
I’m almost proud of it, I admit. I don’t mind confessing. The special things, the dark secrets, the vanished truths, holy grails.. all of them, all.. require real effort.. conspiracies even..necessitate energy.
I want some more water. This stinks. I want a pink gin, or martini. I want a beer. I want whiskey. I want consideration! At once!
Because I deserve it!
Accuse. If that’s what you want to do. Point your finger. But do something quickly, or else I’ll fucking walk out of here! Naked, too, yes. You think I care? I’ve gone places. These last few months, this new chapter has taken me everywhere!
I was always resourceful. I changed. I cut the dead roots far from me. I grew again, like a flower, I rose like some great and grand butterfly. Despite the weight of the world and all of the sins placed upon me…I moved! I was shadows, shadows at night. Black on black.
So, prove something. A film. A pain struck face in a photo. An old tape recording or something on a phone. Some fucked blood.
Do you have anything? Because if you don’t, I want trousers. Pants. Shoes. My wallet. A shirt and a coat. Breakfast. Now.
I won’t forget this you know. I’m not hidden away on some shoreline. I’m not under a rock. I’m still out here as plain as the nose on my face. There’ll be no more disguise. No baseball cap. No sunglasses. That I can promise. That I can prove to you right away.
(He removes the glasses at last.)
And now I really am naked. So speak. Or release me. I’m no lab rat chimp. I’m still free.
(A silence. He stands.)
But, if you like, you can think of the men written on me. This is your point of entry. And here is how I disappear.
(He touches his penis. Blackout.)
A neutral space. X has a sheet placed around him. A window is closed but leaks sunlight. X grows in strength as he speaks.
Where am I now? I won’t say. And all it took was one blowjob. That and a picture. But what do I care? They know worse. The world, I mean. Or does now. It’s seen most of my dirty laundry. Hence the briefs. So, I’m cleansing. I am placing my life in the wash.
All borders corrupt and its often the guards who defile them. That one wasn’t even gay, but the kudos of me going down on him proved too great. He could print the photo off and stick it on his DVD covers. Show his friends. Laugh, defile me. Saying, ‘Here’s what they become, famous men!’ Or infamous men. Or men reduced and redacted. ‘They suck on us for our worship until they of course worship us!’
I will not get a job. They have severed connections. So, what do I do now? Who to turn to? What do I become? I’m no who. Until I’m forgiven. Or not. This is a new chain of being. But this isn’t tied to a prison. No, this has been tied to the wind. And that western wind can blow cold without anyone you can turn to. With all doors closed, I need comfort. I needed somewhere hot and new to begin.
Some will wish me a grave, but this will do, for the moment. Its a rolled out grave that’s now ready for the death of all I was before and have lost. Now I’ve new soil and a surfeit of worms moving through me… Clearing veins. Cleansing. From the shit, a new shower and an entirely new sense of place.
I’m talking to you, Dad. At last. I want you to know what has happened. I want you to know how it happened and where it is I’ll end up. I’m coming clean, as I said, after all the subterfuge and psychosis. Which as far as I am concerned is low level. Because let’s be clear about that. I’m not mad. Maybe you were, the fruit of Grandpa’s poisoned apple. Or maybe it was the times or the movies or the lack of any true happiness. I don’t care anyway. We do as we’re bid through what happens. We exorcise through each other just as we exercise our warped rights.
I lay no blame. There’s a light, but very get to see it. There’s also a sound. Dogs can hear it, just as they can smell cancer too. There’s a call, ages old, echoing now through the mountain. An old tune; shrill, constant, stirring in me ancient things.
Did you hear it, you beast..when you were a boy and still tender? And did you have the choices and the boredom that comes from success?
No, you did not. I could already answer that question. Funny how you have nothing and me having it all, equals out.
There’s no success. There’s no prize. All there is is the prising. As the flesh is worked away from bone’s reason great gobs of the soul just spill out. They seep and litter onto the floor and your feet slip and slide, skidding through them. You lose yourself. You’re bruised from that and so you have no choice: you go on. You can’t rewind on a wound, that much is certain and so you press on. Its like anal – once its begun, you go in. Pull out the plug, its a hole..go further in its connection. The two parts locked together, just like that gobbling down of the skin.
A Blowjob breathes air into the other person. A handjob controls them. The gearstick is grabbed. Engines prime.
I had to master all men because of how I’d been mastered. Its not even conditioning. Logic, that’s what it really is in the end. If I was to win, it was never going to happen with women. Mama did nothing. She watched it go on. Turned away. Because of the horror, I know. But that didn’t help me. The child meets the monster. Jonah and the whale become one.
Its not even a cycle. Screw that! I know what I wanted. I’d do it better. I’d do with it style and elan!
Dad, did you have elan? I even doubt you could spell it! The elan has landed, but only on me, Dad! Just me!
God gave me a gift. I had talent. It was the least he could do, giving that. And so I used it, Dad, right? I used talent as transport. And as soon as I could afford it, I got them all on my bus! Sometimes I’d drive through the night, rewriting love’s shape and future.. with pens cocked and ready and a new constitution to find! Here’s to that, Dad! To me! Your ignorance was my lesson! Here’s a light shining for the deaf and dumb and the blind.
I have finally found it, my peace. And here it is, my decision.
Dad, you’re dead. Living will be redefined now, by me!
A small studio. A TV camera positioned. There is a chair and a table and the harshest kind of light shining down. There is subdued noise all around as if others were there at a distance. X enters, suited. He carries a slim plastic folder. His eyes are striking, a touch of mascara, perhaps. There is also something wrong with his face; the signs of disfigurement or infection. Red blotches, swellings. Odd patches are pale. Black decay. Its a shock, certainly. But his manner remains unaffected. In point of fact, he’s proud of it, striding in now, so assured.
You’re all keeping your distance, I see. Perhaps you think I’m contagious? Have it how you like. Makes no difference. You know me of old. (HE POINTS SOMEONE OUT.) You I know. How are you? Jon. Jim. Josh? Jon. I remember. You worked on CALL WAITING.. now that show was bad! That’s years back. You had a son. English name. Because your wife came from London..Graham? Nod. Gordon. Oh, Ok Jon. Turn away. But you’re still gripped, all of you. You’re still fascinated. I can tell. I can sense it. I’ve actually grown a little bit psychic. Isolation creates that. You brood on the self, strange winds blow.
Ok, so this is my seat. And this is my speech to deliver. Very few swear words. In fact, I’d say none. I have class. So, it will not censoring. And everyone here’s fascinated. Even if they do keep their distance. The leper of sex. You should spray.
No water? I see. You’d like me at some disadvantage. No doubt that’s a part of the process.. a part of the way this thing works…
Shamed and disgraced, he’s lost even the style he was known for. The elan, yes? The smugness. The thing that used to make my work O so slick.
(SITS) The world watches. Or will. What’s it to be, streamed or broadcast? Uploaded? Or squirreled, kept in some dark little hole on the net.
Perhaps you’re indulging me, right? Like the condemned man, unarrested. Which I remain. That won’t happen. I’ve paid for this space. It will run. And besides, they’ll want to see it for sure. Let’s face it, the entire world wants to see it. Or the entire known world. The western. And bits of the east, too, I bet. Why wouldn’t they, right? Everyone loves a bad apple. The bad apple reminds them in some crucial part of the soul or self what sin is.
Take a bite TV land. The media is the serpent.
Ironic. Wouldn’t you say? (HE HALF LAUGHS.)
(He spreads his papers out, clears his throat.)
You have it on remote?
You mean, you really do fear contagion..or can you smell the shit in me through my teeth? Something from the sewers, no doubt, bubbling up from low chambers..all the way up..staining windows, and getting in the way of that lens..
Fuck you all.
In your shabby rooms and your toilets. In your high class dinner parties and your back room tragedies. Fuck you at work and fuck you too in your gardens. May the leaves be glass on you. May the swamp like lawn boil you down… I’m stronger. I know. I know all about you. This is me coming in from far places and reaching through you until there’s nothing left at all of your face.
I’m ready. Stand back. I suppose this means I’ll get the full hour. Edit me down and I’ll haunt you. While I’m still alive. All of you.
(He adjusts himself and begins.)
(He makes a Spock sign.)
I have come to a decision my friends. You already know who is talking. Or you know who you think is talking. You know who you think I am, or I was. But I’m afraid I never was, not at all. Because you see, all we ever know are illusions. Some call those marriage. Some call them pain. And some, God. So my decision has come after a long consultation. With both myself and those like me, in the snatches of talk we have shared.
We are not going away. We’ll stand proud. We’re a new minority, maybe. Despite the fact that there are millions of us, seemingly everywhere that you go. For many catholics, its priests. For others, it seems, entertainers. School teachers for schoolgirls, and Popstars, too, in the past. And for anyone left it can be family members. Fathers, then uncles. Cousins, as well. Neighbours. All. It isn’t new. Its so old. The Greeks used to praise it. Abuse is survival, just look at the bird or mouse and the cat. Or the dog and the dog. Or the bee and the flower. Or the Politician and public. Or the people of course and the Earth. It is a chain, all of it, and now is the time to be honest. Now is the time to move past things we have come to decide remain right. Now, to be wrong is the very noblest endeavour. Because what seems right is no longer connected to our so called God’s influence. Unless of course, you take in that old testament Santa. The white bearded one flooding the land he had made on a whim. Or asking old Abraham to hold a knife against Isaac. The one who called for believing while he was all of the time testing faith. It isn’t right, is it? Well, just look at Jesus Christ and the temple. He wrenched and ranged. He grew fierce as he pulled at the products of sin. But sin still seeped through. Blood is fuel for sin’s progress. Pornography happens. The pornography I mean, of the soul.
I used to be an actor. I saw the casting couch used on women. I saw pretend heroes suck each others cocks in the dark. Sometimes it was mine. Sometimes I did the sucking. And then we would hoist up our bootstraps and walk into the celebrated night with slick grins. It didn’t matter. You loved. Light shone above us. You received entertainment as we received the means to go on. We could do anything and so we did. We kept going. Once you’re known to be rich, all is given. Money as the actual cost of possession soon forgoes currency. Your acceptance of us is there in the buying of products. And that’s how we own you. We become a crucial part of your lives. Throw us out, we’re still there. You have the memory of us. Your good times are our times, the product I’m sad to say, of pretence. Men who love men pretending through glass to love women. And women of course who love women conceding at times, to want men. Its a charade, all of it. So why are you surprised when its over? Do you really think the world is so simple that everything must be as it seems?
Look at religion: its smoke, blown at you to confuse you.
Look at politics: its a riddle for which no probable answer is found.
Look at sex: well, you can’t.
Look at love: its a construct.
Look at yourself: You don’t like you. You don’t like anything.
Look at the screen: look away. Because that’s what its for. It distracts you. It stops you thinking by reflecting back small ideas. Sex again. Crime. Love without definition. You are not honest because of the ways and means where you hide.
We’re what you talk about or have seen. We are the process between you. We are the river and you are just the roots and the plants on the banks. As we flow along, into night, you can only witness our movement. You will see passing ripples and none of the actual changes beneath.
My friends, this is the watery world that secretes beneath understanding. The dark ink and oil swirled below us, moving underneath the cool blue.
We could do and take what we liked.
Everyone understood that.
We are the water.
All you ever are is the shore.
If you choose to reject us we’ll thrive. We have untold resources. What we have already earned you have paid us and now we have enough to go on. We will invest. We’ll buy stock. We may even become money lenders. Arms, drugs, whatever..properties on your street. These days, you don’t even need the same name. All you need is the money. We’ll be fine. We’re not dying. And now there are no firing squads that we know. We are a community now. We are those who caused disenchantment. The Wizard of Oz was a goblin. A strange little man. We’re erect.
I was a famous actor but now I will be an equally famous nightmare. Both I and those like me will rise up through the ranks into myth. The Pied Piper stole kids, raping and killing them in the mountain. Red Riding Hood’s wolf’s a transvestite psychopath cannibal. Humpty Dumpty’s head splits. The beautiful ducks are all racists. Underneath every culture are the stories it does not understand. All of the time all our charms were forms of strategy, really. We’ll do the work but the pleasure will be something entirely ours to define.
And so a new party is launched. We are calling ourselves The Far Reaches. We will grasp new horizons and grab hold of you from afar. We will kneed your hearts like bread dough. We will enter your skin like an enzyme. We will never go away. There are others to replace all of us. Perhaps a new race begins. Possibly a new form of human. Evolution’s not upwards, but a revolution perhaps, a soul turn. Spin the bottle and dare. Dream about new positions. Admit the full darkness that is gathering deep in your soul. We’ll be martyrs. You’ll see. We will be the new Templars. But we will not burn in fire, because in fire we’re born. We’ll ascend.
And so my friends, here I am, waiting now for the Angel. When he descends I’ll ensnare him and fuck him in the ass and the mouth.
When you next kneel in church and open your mouth for the wafer, think about the far reaches kissing you from within. When you bend to your God, or eat your Sabbath meal we’ll be waiting to wipe your mouth and to show you how the future of love can begin.
I am not sorry.
I know the result of my actions.
These were the prayers beyond language in this new cathedral of skin.
The far reaches await..
Who here is with me?
Forget the world.
Fuck a new one.
Turn the cameras off!
(He stands. The light intensifies on him. We hear the sounds of a riot.
A sudden darkness.