The Film-play Roxanne Stratou
copyright 1999 by Roy Culver
11362 Kipseli
Athens, Greece

The Second Play of the Parthenon Trilogy

Cast of Characters            
ACT ONE                                           

As to whatever titles and credits are used, they can be imposed on items in the first scene bedroom, sculptures, paintings, photos, as the camera wanders through the dim light to come to the two lying in an entangled embrace on the bed. The sound that comes on with the softly pulsing music is the woman in the bed saying, "Par the non eh" as in her sleep, the camera closing in on her face, on her eyes while her lips again softly mutter "Par the non eh" and an effect of sunrise takes over everything, the sun on the lip of the world, the great tongue of the day announcing itself and the fully restored Parthenon- with all its fantastic coloring, the richly exuberant reds that circled it and all its marvelous roofing as when in its greatest glory -rides like a great ship in the screen and then with a gushing, very slow-motion explosion, the center of it bursts upward in smoke, flames and confusion until, all settling down into the magnificent ruins of today with a pulsing music of expectancy and sustained power, the woman's face dimly seen huge in it all, as the view of Athens today starts from the Acropolis down, the cars in super speed of the camera mixing in the streets, super speed legs of pedestrian traffic while she continues at the right moments the whispering "Par the non eh" and cash is seen counting out in hands at counters here and there, cash, cash, cash, billboards, billboards, billboards, dancing Greeks putting down their musical instruments, the legs of television-watching Greeks taking over the screen, Greeks entering cars, cash counted out on car roofs, pedestrians rushing by forms lying on the sidewalks, arms exposed and needles injected as she whispers "Par the non eh" and Greeks in the subway basement at Omonia, the pulse of the music throbbing like a heart, Greeks in the subway basement at Omonia, large numbers of Greeks lost in somnambulant delusion as the pulsing music becomes stronger with the final word "Par the non eh" and a door opens and Roxanne Stratou comes into the bedroom. Here we can have the effect of a stage curtain opening and the play beginning.

It is a bedroom with outlines of sculptures around the walls, walls which may exist, stage-wise, or not according to how the projection screen is installed. Hanging on the possible walls are large drawings, paintings, photographs of sculptures but every image is now seen as only an outline. Within each outline are seen the words "Ways of Loving Her". Also hung about are photographs of loved ones only showing their outlines within which are the words "Loved Ones".

Under the bed is such a massed heap of flat packets that the bed is lifted rather high by it. On every packet can be seen the words, "Ways of Loving", each with a different year beginning with 1973 and coming up to date.

Roxanne enters stage left wearing a light yellow raincoat. her hair slightly out of order and glistening as if it's raining outside. From beneath her hem large streamers trail behind on each of which are the words "USING PEOPLE". She is accompanied by five cameramen, very small people almost like midgets, three of them using Nikons and the others using professional video cameras. She is carrying a note pad which, after looking about in a dazed way which shows some fright that's in her, she flips open and studies like a tourist a map.

She approaches the bed with entourage.

Roxanne-[softly]-Roy! Roy! I need you awake.-[He turns a bit and throws his arm about Vika.]-Roy, please wake up! I want you to tell about these dreams we are having, all these dreams about the opposite sex and Jesus.

Roy-[rising on an elbow to stare at her]-Roxanne? Roxanne, is that you?

Roxanne-[coming closer]-Oh yes. Your dreams are on show, Roy. They're putting your play Sweet Jesus on at the Rex Theatre.

Roy-What? They said they wouldn't do that. Clay Kason said he wouldn't do that.

Roxanne-They are. A major production and I need your dream testimony, word for word what you discussed of world sex changes with Serafim.-[At the name of the beloved uncle Serafim, a large photo lights up on the walls of Serafim in bathing trunks, leaning stylishly on a cane beside the sea smirkng as always with cigarette in hand, while wearing a Panama hat and a finely tailored white jacket.]

Roy-Ha! Are you still trying to restore Serafim's beautiful name with your art criticism? Ha!

Roxanne-Not with criticism, no. Not now when the world has learned not to condemn a man for different ideas of sex and they can all stop looking down on Serafim and see what he told them was not bad at all. I just want to know how this gentling of Jesus craze goes with what you two discussed at the sea that time.

[Moving images on the large screen take over looking down on Serafim and Roy in swimming gear in a convertible Mercedes on a sunbright day zipping along with the Mediterranean seaside sparkling past. Serafim is driving. Roy has his bare feet up on the glove compartment.]

Serafim-You like to act so manly but you just don't seem like too much of a man to me, Roy.

Roy-I put myself into war, I taught myself the 20mm canon, I put myself on an aircraft carrier at Okinawa. You didn't do any war, just let yourself get the hell beaten out of you on that stupid island.

Serafim-I'm not criticizing you, Roy. Everybody always thinks I'm being critical. Here-[He digs into the glove compartment under the other's heels.]-look at this magazine Roxanne writes for.-[hands Roy the magazine]-There are wonderful people in that magazine and you can't really tell what sex they are except by the clothes they're wearing.

Roy-[tossing the magazine out of the car toward the sea]-You know I can't read Roxanne's Greek crapola, Serafim.

Serafim-[screeching the car to a halt to jump out]-What did you throw it away for? I wanted you to look at the pictures!-[We see him running back behind the car, picking up the magazine and, holding it lovingly, dusting it off and pressing it protectively with both hands under an arm then point out over the sea.]-There's Vouliagmeni! Remember Vouliagmeni, Roy?

Roy-[getting out and staring across the water. The beautiful point of land spreads out before them covered as it is now by hotels, tavernas, bistros, pay-for beaches, marinas and their yachts everywhere]-God, what have they done to it, Serafim? It was purely wild just twenty years ago. Nobody came out here. That beach, that great beach was empty sand and free. What happened?-[The camera zooms out across the beaches and hotels to the far side of the point, scooping down to where Serafim is standing on the steep edge, whirling his arm up and over as he dives into the sea after laughing and shouting:]

Serafim-Don't you know that all the world is changing, Roy? Including you and me!

Roy-[back in the bed again talking to the intruding Roxanne]-Yeah, sure, you want to spoil my dreams by going back over what I've recounted to you and others again and again. It's no good, Roxanne, nobody will ever give him justice now.

Roxanne-Roy, it's different now. Everybody's looking at sex life in a new light. Serafim came to understand it because I work with so many men in art that have different sex lives and he began to see what no one else could see.

Roy-You're just trying to get this under your control like everything else you do. Why don't you go away and let me sleep in peace?

Bud's voice-Be nice, Roy.

Roy-[sitting back up]-What?

Bud-[Her image lights up]-You be nice now, son.

Roy-Mom! Mom! Come on, mom! Me be nice to an art critic? Ha! An art critic, Roxanne! That's all your shallowed-down life amounts to now, and I'll never let anyone who makes art superficial, art critic, gallery owner, historian, none of your like, you understand, into my dreams, so just go away, you and all those clingers-on around you there! The whole silly bunch of you, get out!-[He flops back down and tries to sleep.]

Roxanne-[first scolding the camera people off the stage then turning back]-But, Roy, you forget I heard you quoting Ibsen.

Roy-[coming up again]-Oh?

Roxanne-Hah-hah? You do remember.

Roy-[with some sarcasm]-Oh yeah sure. You must never judge a woman in a world made by men for men. You're not going to use that to use me, Roxanne. Not because I believe in that.

Bud-[to shake her finger at him, reaching forth an arm that is covered with silvery shimmering leaves that are like feathers]-Don't you talk to Roxanne like that, son. You be nice!

Roy-Ah, Mom! She's a goddam art critic! They take all the richness of living a creative life and make fancy, maybe even mysterious explanations of it for the rich so to get control of it and of everybody in their petty little screwed up world. Mom, they've even got a union and get a fucking pension from the government! Talk about fixing up a petty little screwed up existence!

Bud-Did Roxanne make it be like that?

Roy-Do you know her, Mom? How d'you know her?

Bud-You forget we were to her house and ate there with her and Serafim. She had such nice cheese! So I'm here now to tell you be nice to her.

Roy-[throwing himself back in the bed to turn away]-Aw quit it, will you? Can't you just quit it?

Bud-D'you want me to go away, son?

Roy-[spinning around and sitting, his arms out]-Oh no, Bud, sweetheart, the great, great, great friend of life for me? Oh Mom, d'you know how I miss you?

Bud-[drifting full-figured from the photo, her elfin-like body shimmering with the silvery covering, all as lithe as a dancer as she circles him and returns to the frame]-All right, all right, son. You're all right now. You've got your Vika and you need her more than me.

Roy-[reaching out toward her in the frame and laughing happily]-It's so good to see you. You look so young and great. Let me tell Vika.-[turning]

Bud-No! No! I'm leaving now. You just be good to Roxanne, you understand?-[Her image fades out.]

Roy-Ah, Mom! Hey! God, Roxanne, wasn't that beautiful? Wasn't that just wonderfully beautiful?

Roxanne-Roy, I'm caught up in such a clash of things. Nobody wants to hear of Serafim at all anymore and it's the time now. I know this is the time. But I've begun seeing things. All the young today are sealed up in such a package of style and grabbing everything on the run and I've begun seeing things that are driving me wild. All these articles I want to write about all these galleries and museums, these cities and languages. And all the time this structure here just as Serafim said it would keeps changing like some Protean volcano.

Roy-Yeah, and you critics try to hold it down, right? You try to freeze it and sit on it so it will all belong to you, right?

Roxanne-Don't talk to me like that. You've no idea what Greek criticism has accomplished. You're just like all the others and I can't stand it. I want you to help me because Serafim was right and they treated him like he was some sexual abomination, calling him every kind of thing to shame him, making scandal, scandal, scandal all around his name and now today, now that so much has come out in the open and it's known now how people do accept it without going crazy they should finally come to see how right he was.

Roy-What others are you talking about, who are these others talking to you the way I do?

Roxanne-Larry Beinhart.

Roy-What? Who? You mean the writer they got "Wag the Dog" from? You talked to him?

Roxanne-He was an old friend of Serafim's and agreed with everything he said. And he said that Serafim and I had one of the best marriages he ever knew.

Roy-Larry Beinhart said that about you?

Roxanne-But he also says worse things than you about critics and I can't stand it. I want to get him to help people know how wonderful Serafim was, but how can I when you so many of you talk so badly about the job I've got. I didn't invent it.

Roy-But you stay with it and you could quit.

Roxanne-Other people respect it, people who know the good we do.

Roy-Art is the greatest way of loving in pure fire. Pure fire, Roxanne! And real art is the struggle to have a life completely consumed by that fire but none of your people can begin to live in that mystery, because you all represent the city and the city is the surrender of life's great quest! "Art is torches thrown in the burning city," said Yeats and you people earn your keep putting the fires all out.

Roxanne-No! We further cultivate the fires so anyone can be warmed by them. Anyway, you're borrowing that from Pater. And he was an art critic, as everyone knows.

Roy-Pater my ass! That's sophistry, Roxanne, altogether gummed-up sophistry. What d'you think Larry Beinhart would say to that?

Roxanne-[throwing her hands about her head while at the same time a sworl of images whips up around her hands]-Larry said worse things! Worse things! And I've not been able to get them out of my head since.-[The sworl takes over the large screen, Roxanne's face and figure enlarging with it so that she is caught in the confusion of Los Angeles streets, Sunset Boulevard, the HOLLYWOOD sign, street lights, palm trees, car-gluts and expressways around her with devilish faces of all races jeering from car windows. A large hand, the hand of Larry Beinhart, reaches into it all and takes her hand.]

Larry Beinhart-[walking with Roxanne, who is now garbed in California-style afternoon wear, along a J. Paul Getty museum corridor.]-Now I'm going to be kind to you, my sweetest of sweet Roxannes. Just for old time's sake, you understand. For the stakes are high, and we're not the only ones who could be left draped on our crosses bone-dry, crucified like the Shepard kid out in Wyoming who got caught right in the doorway of what our Serafim said it is all about.-[He swings a door open on an exhibition of the Jesus photographs of Bettina Reyms where young people, in the most fashionable fashions are crowding around, only the young.]-Here we have the kindest of the kind. Presentations of the sex change happening at the core of our world.-[The camera makes a quick tour of the exhibit.]-Here are the meanings Serafim offered us but presented for the nonce in the gentlest way possible by the gentlest of women, Bettina Reyms of France, but so confined to the straight jacket of fashionable design that the cowboys galloping insanely through the now dead century to preserve the final vestiges of manhood are unable to see it exists. Why? Because the starved forms of Reyms' naked women coming straight off the Christian Dior runway are no sexier to them than the sleek lines of a Coca-Cola bottle. It's like naked mannequins waiting for merchandise in store-front windows. Now here-[and they are passing through a door into a clinic where people in surgical apparel are administering breast implants.]-Now we are nearing the touch-off point where people really start getting killed. The holy, sacred, beloved breast is manipulated here and though they won't express it, the Aryan-brained, Master Race enthusiasts get some upstarting rage here.-[They watch as breasts grow like balloons around them.]-Tampering with sex, so that now-[And his hand is held high; at the tip of it taking over the screen is the direct image of male gonads which are suddenly removed and a complete vagina with pubic hair is placed in situ instead.]-The ultimate unbelievable alteration takes place.-[The two of them are seated at a small table in a bar, the camera at table level looking up at them with fancy drinks and coffee there for them. He points at her.]-You become a man and I become a woman. Ha! Now in your deep involvement in international pools of art which are all so fundamentally and entirely as insipid as the Reyms' models on the runways, this sort of thing was, is and always has been totally unimpressive to you, but think how it was for Serafim, one of the manliest of the manly. I mean the bastards that tortured him on that island had to celebrate his courage afterwards.

Roxanne-I thought about it, Larry. Don't think for a minute I didn't.

Beinhart-Yeah, but a carefully kept woman like you could never know the shocks a man goes through adjusting to alternate styles of sex around him, but Serafim was such a basically polite human being that he told no one anything. But he showed me, Roxanne.

Roxanne-Showed you?

Beinhart-Did you ever see Serafim in a rage?

Roxanne-I guess I didn't. He seemed incapable…Do you mean?

Beinhart-You bet. With me he stomped about, broke plates and kicked the furniture over to get it out of him. And I watched him absorb it all with that calm face reasserting itself as the understandings came.

Roxanne-All these developments today that are pushing up the surface so it's cracking everywhere. He felt them coming. He made the mistake of talking about them.

Beinhart-It was no mistake, Roxanne. He talked to people who used his thoughts later so that understanding resulted from him. Here now-[He reaches out an arm and moves their screen aside to reveal another in which we are given a glimpse of a broad view of Nazi German soldiers marching across some wide square in Europe before he abruptly returns our view to him and Roxanne.]-But wait. Wait a sec.-[He settles back and looks at her, taking a sip of something while he studies her.]-I want to know something if, and it's a pretty big if.

Roxanne-[smiling at her friend]-Anything I can do for you, Larry. Anything at all.

Beinhart-I get such a feeling of being with Serafim when I'm with you. It's like, well, you're not anyway him, but there it is. He was such a comforting human being and, Roxanne, you give me that in almost exactly the way he did.

Roxanne-[laughing with the happiness Beinhart gives her and reaching out to touch his arm as she laughs]-Do you know, Larry, what he once said to me? I've never told anyone because it's so precious to me but because you say that, well, he once told me of what he called a "core-bore".

Beinhart-Corebore?

Roxanne-He said it was from when they drive a shaft down into ice, say in the Arctic, and bring up a long sample of the ice to study for the effects of other times. He had such a memory of us, of what he said was for him the quality of every day, of all the different qualities of all our different days and he could look at me and do a "core-bore" back through time to when we first fell in love, and when I learned to do that, when I did that with him, it was as if I gathered the reality of him into my heart and this living contact with him through all our days went with me to stay with me forever after that.-[She laughs again her appreciation of Larry Beinhart's statement and this time he laughs with her.]-And I never feel I'm without him, my Serafim…well, our Serafim, Larry.

Beinhart-[with a certain determination as he sweeps the screen to show the marching Germans]-Everybody's Serafim! You see these people? He knew they marched and murdered and terrorized the entire century because they fear and hate not only the kindness of heart that he represented but even more the sex change that he said is coming on all humanity.-[The hysterical music and shouting of the murderers of the century takes over.]-They did not hate Jews. That was their excuse. They hated anything that was not stomping on the necks of others to help them make the change stop happening. The worst treatment they gave to their own people. Certain wise men measured the height to which bloody hands reached in all the torture rooms of the camps and nowhere did they go at all so high as in the camps where they tortured Germans.-[The scene cuts to two cowboys from Marlboro shots racing across a valley in an explosive display of super manliness]-But now in the West, it's all gone underground and why do you think the powers behind the cigarettes want so to destroy everyone who is so weak and easily subjugated as to follow their smoke signals? For money? Ho-ho-ho! Not for money, really, but because they have this terror in them of what any weakness means to them, just as the medication they give for AIDS kills off the ones they believe should die rather than saving them. But I know you don't believe that part of it and neither did Serafim. That's just my hinge and my friends in the laboratory.

Roxanne-Why did you start believing him? You never seemed to before. You never seemed to love him the way you have since he died. Why didn't you write about him? You could have saved him so much sorrow.

Beinhart-No I couldn't. I'd have only made it worse for him then. No one was believing me even when I believed myself then.

Roxanne-But why didn't you write about him. Never anything? And I know you thought him so unique.

Beinhart-Look, sweet little Greek, I only understand Americans. I generally don't take to Europeans in any way at all though I never thought of Serafim as that. No. There was this thing I never thought I could understand and maybe it was really what is Greek, the Greek who was looking out over the world in Homer's time and the Greek that'll be watching when the last lightbulb burns out. Somebody once said that when the bombs fall the last figure seen will be a Greek. Dancing. With a rose in her teeth. I dunno. Those things stick in my craw but I can't deal with them. Maybe still too much of the Jew in here but more American than all that other crème de menthe. Take Serafim and then take a guy like Bob Redford, my real American. Bob I admire like gang busters and want to watch him plowing through the waves like the mermaid on the bowsprit for with him it's all gung-ho! gung-ho! But beyond all that, out there beyond the horizon, I see the great eyes of the Greek. You know the eyes I mean. Serafim's eyes. Only his sister Vika has such eyes now. How he looked as if he were staring out into eternity out of those huge, never-blinking skull-sockets as if he stared from the mind of Zeus. It's just beyond me, Roxanne, just as the unwavering skies of the old Greeks are there with us Westerners no matter how we turn our backs on them, touching us somehow so that Asians coming here, signing onto our ship, learning all the ropes and thinking they know all about us, get left outside the real guts of things always because they can't believe the Greek is still alive in us. Because they've not got it engrained in them to see in the skies the eyes of Serafim watching from over the horizon. D'you just see how confused it all gets when I try to bring him into my thinking? I wanted to. Oh, you can't conceive how I wanted to. But Serafim was like the Ulysses they'll still be talking about a thousand years from now when my kind, the producers and bit players and special effects Einsteins will be dust in the wind.-[They are in a long car, a limo now seen from above as he's talking, the vehicle winding up a park-like drive and it's coming into a huge California-style prison.]-But you've got to see the ship we're all on here in America, and you art critics, Roxanne, you the most self-satisfied and like in the belly of the whale middle-class organized, can't ever allow yourselves to see it, but I'm going to show it to you because today I have to visit the boy-man they're going to execute and I can take you in with me so you can see that the ship we're all on here is a pirate ship. And we're all killers and murderers trying to look like saints. Yeah, we're all trying to look like saints even in the execution chamber and that's the reason for the Ken Starrs and the Jessie Helms. Even on a pirate ship, Roxanne, you've got to have discipline and your own kind of law and order and here she is! Our own Doctor Theo Colborn-[They are greeted by this tall Vanessa Redgrave type beauty of a woman who is wearing a widely flaring, cape-like dress that billows around her and goes tight at her ankles. They are before the entrance to the prison with huge barred gates, a guard standing in one holding it open for them.]

Dr. Colborn-[very enthusiastic and happy to see them]-Larry, you came! I'm so glad you could come! And who is this lovely creature?

Beinhart-Dr. Theo Colborn this is Roxanne Stratou, remember, the wife of Serafim Stratous?

Dr. Colborn-Oh yes, the art critic. I have read some of your work, my dear. Larry told me to do that to get some feel of how your wonderful Serafim thought, and I must say I find it helpful.

Beinhart-But did you get us in? Can we see him? All of us?-[They are passing now through parts of the prison and it's much like the passages Oliver Stone gives in Natural Born Killers. So give Stone credit.]

Dr. Colborn-Yes. Yes. We can get in. And do you know why? It's unbelievable, but it works. He has got religion! He has been born again! It's as if he made the whole prison happy and they're all abuzz abut Capolta finding Jesus.

Roxanne-Who are we talking about? Who are we visiting on this other side of the moon?

Beinhart-Lee Capolta.

Roxanne-[stopping, aghast.]-The murderer? The rapist of those little girls? You want me to meet such a person? No!-[She starts back to get away.]-I have so many things to do in America, Larry, and going to see some monster in his last days on death row is absolutely not on my schedule. I'm getting out of here now!

Beinhart-[blocking her in a fury]-Oh no, you don't. Here's where we come down to your real bones, little bourgeois art critic from the hick town of Athens, down to your bones, you who pretend to keep Serafim's core-bore alive in you, his core and yours all one. All one, right? Down in the core of you, right, Roxanne? Well, honey sugar candy, your insides are showing and if we're seeing Serafim, if you really want Serafim's name in its rightful glory, you're going in with us right now.

Roxanne-But what has this got to do with him, these horrible places you Americans love to build everywhere?

Beinhart-You think you haven't such places, like Koridaloss? How about where they kept Serafim and beat him in the sunlight until he was burned and bloody day after day and dunked him in the sea with his hands tied behind him and a cat in the bag to claw him to pieces? Where is he now in you, sweet little girl? Let's see that core now.

Roxanne-[turning past him to go with him on down the corridor, clenching her fists together, her face full of pain but willfully set to go ahead]-What has this got to do with my Serafim?

Dr. Theo Colborn-I didn't meet him, Roxanne. But I was influenced by his thinking and others like him to pursue what seemed the impossible.

Beinhart-Dr. Colborn is one of the leaders of the Wingspread, Wisconsin, group. She co-authored the book Our Stolen Future which justifies everything Serafim ever said.

Roxanne-Oh, doctor, of course. I'd forgotten. I'm so sorry!-[There is shouting now and they turn a tight corner with some guards at a little table and barred doors opening almost on one another as they pass through and come to Lee Capolta who has only now been somehow fighting the guards and they have penned him to the bars through which his face is staring and shouting:]

Capolta-But I've seen the light, I tell you, fellas, I've seen our dear lord Jesus! Doctor Colborn, you came back! And you brought friends! Hey, fellas, lemme go! I got visitors!

Guard-All right, Lee, you little asshole, but you try that one more time and we'll denut you!

Capolta-You don't have to denut me, Kafka! I've been done by nature! Isn't that totally right, sweet Doctor Colborn?

Beinhart-[to Roxanne]-Hypospadias.

Roxanne-I know. They brought it up in his trial.

Capolta-[hearing them]-You read it? You know about me? You're my sister! Yes! Yes! She's my sister, fellas. In Lord Jesus' name she's my sister!

Second Guard-Knock off that shit, shithead! You just shut your stupid mouth about Jesus, y'understand? Jesus hates queers like you!

Capolta-Jesus hates? Where did you come from? Monstersville? Jesus loves me! And look, my brothers and sisters are here for my homecoming! They all love me, my brothers and my sisters. My brothers and my sisters! My brothers and my sisters! Hey! Hey! Hey!-[He turns through the bars and grabs Larry Beinhart who grabs him so they are in an embrace the guards struggle to break up.]-You came back, dear brother! D'you know what this means to me? You came back to see me, to greet me at the homecoming of my soul, and it's so wonderful to have you come here to greet me when I take on a real body, the beautiful body of the lord.-[He turns and grabs the Second Guard.]-Aren't you saved too, man? Aren't you my brother in Jesus' name? C'mon, say it! You'll assume his body, too! So you're my brother in Jesus' dearly beloved name, you're my brother, you're my brother, you're my brother, you're my brother!

Second Guard-[holding him off]-No! No! I'm no brother of no goddamn penis-less queer!

Capolta-[clutching his crotch and dancing]-I've got a penis, brother! I've got a penis! It just isn't all there!-[He rams his face in the face of the guard.]-And the pain, man, the pain! You can't begin to know what it's like. And my brothers and my sisters are all here to be with me at my homecoming when I become the same, the same finally, dear Lord, the same as all of you!-[Rams his face in the face of the guard again]-Aren't you my brother in Jesus' beloved name?

Second Guard-[the others restraining him from attacking Capolta in an eruption of fury]-Never! I'm never the brother of any shit alive like you! And if you use the name of Jesus again, I'll stomp your worthless head off! Jesus will never belong to your kind!

Roxanne-[to Beinhart]-Oh, yes, Larry! It's what Serafim said! And it's all so crazy!

Third Guard-[to the second guard]-Shut up, Ray, you fool. The man's been saved. This man's soul is in Jesus' hands now!

Ray, the Second Guard-[to the other guards]-He's my brother? This piece of total wormshit is my brother? That's blasphemy! What you're saying, that's nothing but blasphemy and you stop it! All of you, stop it!

Third Guard-[in his face]-It's Jesus' words, Ray.-[His face lights up]-Don't you believe in the word of Jesus?

Ray, the Second Guard-[totally confused now]-Of course! Of course I do! But you're all giving way to these shit people taking over everything, and we've just got to execute them, execute them, Maynard! Don't you understand? We've got to fulfill Jesus's words and send them all to damnation. You know I believe in Jesus.

Capolta-[exultant, throwing his arms around Ray and kissing him so that the guard throws himself away from him]-But Jesus has saved me, don't you see? We are all brothers. Brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus. We're all brothers, all brothers, all sisters and sweet brothers-[dancing now]-Brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers, all brothers and sweet sisters in the name of the lord.-[turning to the guards]-In the name of the lord, brothers?-[They are all holding Ray now, whose hatred and fury is barely controllable, but they nod in forced agreement.]-Brothers and sisters in the name of the lord! All brothers and all sisters, brothers and sweet sisters in the name of the lord.

A prisoner in another cell picking it up-Yea, brother, we all brothers and sisters in the name of the lord. Brothers and sisters, yea!

[It spreads and soon the prison is rocking with it, the figure of Capolta dancing center screen while the guards are caught up in the mania too dancing and singing, all except Ray who is left raging alone.]-Brothers and sisters! Brothers and sisters! Brothers and sisters in the name of the lord!-[It all becomes a vortex around Roxanne's head so that it diminishes and disappears into her as she stands in the bedroom looking at Roy. He has dressed and is putting on socks. Vika is sitting up in the bed.]

Roxanne-And I don't know how to deal with all this but for Serafim, I must, and it's all so much like Clay Kason in your play at the Rex right now, so I want you to take me there, Roy, and let me talk to him for I believe he knows about these things like no one else.

Roy-You be careful of a guy like Clayton Kason. He's bad news for a woman like you any time.

Vika-Oh Roxanne! This must all be so terrible for you!-[She is Lea DeLaria all over again, coming out of the bed now to reach for Roxanne who pulls herself apart. They are two distinct individualities of very differing natures.]-I've always felt you were my sister!

Roxanne-[holding back]-But I have a sister. I don't want another sister. But I told you that. Are you forgetting everything again? You choose to forget! I know you do it intentionally. You choose to forget everything that's really important to other people, so that it's impossible to be around you at all! It makes it impossible to be around you!

Roy-Yeah, that's just because you'd have to write about Vika's sculpture and you just don't know enough about living with the immeasurable, infinite and eternal, everlasting reality of art to do it, Roxanne. You have to reduce it to the terms of those counting money.-[His mother's picture begins to light up but fades again with Vika's words.]

Vika-She wrote about me, Roy. She wrote quite beautifully about me. You see, Roxanne, I don't forget about that.

Roy-Only because your uncle made her. If she'd believed what she wrote then, she'd have been writing about you all the time and liberating the human soul but now that Serafim's gone, nothing. She's still jealous of how Serafim loved you and I don't blame her because I was jealous of how he loved you too. But you know, Roxanne, Vika has never told me she loves me. She says it must stay a great mystery. She easily speaks of her love for Serafim and you others, dammit, but for me it must remain mystery!-[Bud's picture lights up again and she starts to reach out an arm toward him, but fades again as he rises, to swing an arm out toward the Dionysus piece which now lights up.]-But I don't give a damn, because everything Serafim ever thought, he derived from what he called your psychology, Vika. Your way of seeing things. "If your details are all in place, the psychology is compelling," he said. Right? He said that every work of yours is a new psychology of the spirit that deals with those mental and emotional processes that are outside the continuums and is the sum of all the actions, traits, attitudes, thoughts and mental states of anyone while they genuinely respond to it.-[He goes over to the Dionysus piece.]-You see out of all the fiery agony of the time emerging the pure form of the innocent god that Serafim and Oddyseus Elitis both told us would come to free us from all the separations money makes, giving us innocence and beauty for a new form of humanity, and these position-hunting art critics are only concerned with status quos and to hell with the changes falling all around us. They don't give us the glory of living, living in the real mystery of love that's available to everybody in art. They give us cemeteries!

Roxanne-You don't know what you're talking about! You've no idea of the research and work that's been done and you should just keep your mouth shut!

Roy-Then why are you here, tell me.

Roxanne-I just can't deal with this scrambled thinking of you Americans. Serafim was never chaotic like that. How did he talk to you at Vouliagmeni?

[We see Roy falling against a pure blue sky as he dives from the cliff at Vouliagmeni or any place we can use for Vouliagmeni. His head comes up beside Serafim's laughing.]

Serafim-You hit bottom that way.

Roy-[holding up bloodied fingers]-Do you have to know everything?

[Serafim laughs and dives. Roy follows him and the camera goes under showing how beautiful the colors of rock and seagrowth are or at least were at Vouliagmeni as Roy searches for Serafim but doesn't find him. He comes up, looks around then goes under again. At a point of the cliff under water he looks under an overhang of rock and sees on the sea floor a splotch of sunlight. He goes up again, looks around and, seeing no Serafim, he plunges once more to where he can see the sunlight under the rock and goes under the cliff. He swims beneath the rock, having trouble holding his breath but having now to persist until suddenly he emerges in a small pool surrounded by the cliff where Serafim is lounging on a boulder beside the water's edge.]

Roy-[laughing derisively as he comes out of the water]-You didn't think I'd find you, did you!

Serafim-You found Vika.

Roy-[trying to cover up his near exhaustion and the near panic he'd felt underwater]-Any man would.

Serafim-Were there many after her when you found her?

Roy-Well, Serafim, she doesn't fit the package that magazines and the movies make for the kids to be like.

Serafim-So why didn't you want the package?

Roy-You forget I came out of the woods not the city streets.

Serafim-You talk as if in columns.

Roy-Do you like that?

Serafim-I like putting the columns together with a roof. Like building the Parthenon.

Roy-[exulting in the heat of the sun on his body, shaking the water from his head, rubbing his skin with pleasure and splashing an arm down in the water]-Did you ever feel you could have built the Parthenon?

Serafim-I feel I am building a new Parthenon.

Roy-[lying for a time looking up at a lone pine tree growing at the edge of the Vouliagmeni cliff, for a moment he was looking up at a stone horsehead, powerful of eye and jaw, coming over and then he was looking across at the cleancut figure of the Greek basking on the boulder]-Is that why you always seem to be looking so far away?

Serafim-[smiling]-I have to do that.

Roy-You mean you have no choice?

Serafim-[rolling over and looking at the other man]-I have to look beyond this time for Roxanne's sake, Roy. I must not treat her the way I've done my marvelous sister all her life and the way men do women everywhere I go.-[a pause while Roy looks at him waiting]-I must rise above this as the poet Elitis says.-[He swings around and sits with his feet in the water to speak.]-He says that this world is for throwaway. You must throw it all away and build another out of innocence and beauty. I see it as a man throwing away the life he had with his sister and building a new life around his true love.

Roy-So?

Serafim-You can see this world as the hideous and horrible ring of slaves which man's history created, history initiated by the Greeks, yes, Herodotus, Homer all that they made it to be or…yes, I have thrown away the murderous world of man, the mother-murdering heroes of Aeshcylus, Sophocles, and all the rest. Elitis comes walking out of the ancient world, leaves one marvelous footprint in this time and then goes on to the innocent future, and that is what I want for Roxanne. That will be my Parthenon, Roy.

Roy-Ha! Parthenon! Virginity is not innocence. It's just hatred of sex.

Serafim-The word did not mean virginity before the killers took over. It meant a woman in all her ripeness but without murder. And that's my Parthenon for Roxanne, innocence and complete ripeness.

Roy-You're talking about an art critic?

Serafim-You may never know Roxanne, Roy. A different creature from your Vika altogether, and maybe that's why you do her such great injustice.

Roy-[leaping to his feet to dive away]-Ha! Let's get outta here!-[He disappears in the water, the splashing of it all taking over the entire screen and coming together in the face of Roxanne in the bedroom speaking in protest.]

Roxanne-Yes, why are you so unjust to me? Why?

Roy-I am not, dammit! I am in no way unjust to you. You live and thrive on the very edge of the real greatness of human existence and you make explanatory nonsense of it all as if to show others the way into it when you have no real idea of its nature or that it even exists as it does for all of us who keep it alive and growing in spite of your petty, petty, ridiculous avocation. Ha! You didn't know Olga Peripetalou, did you?-[At the mention of Olga, her image in a group shot on the wall lights up and enlarges so she is standing in a cut-out mannequin manner on the stage.]-She was an artist with really wonderful ability. Her life was on the surface miserable and lonely.-[We see Olga with the certain beauty of face and form that she had, sitting with others in her arrogant manner, her eyes showing a certain suspicion of everyone of which she was never aware that it could be seen.]-We helped her go to America to study-[The projections will show Olga among others and making her art.]-Her art had great potential and she impressed many, receiving awards and marrying another student who became a professor.-[She is seen in happy circumstances with her man.]-But she had the belief she should be given the greatest honors, and she treated those who did help her terribly, demanding more from them and more. A very sweet old Jewish lady very rich, helped her some and Olga believed she was really bad not to dish out everything she had to Olga. She lost her husband, became horribly isolated and died not long ago here in Athens, Roxanne, alone and without children. But she had a greater life than you critics will ever know, Roxanne, because she lived in the flames of her art and from that she gained her own glory so she knew her life as one of real splendor in spite of everything. She met with other artists regularly and exchanged with them her realizations so that she made her world and life beautiful regardless of a world that would have denied it to her. This is what is available to everyone and I am not unjust when I demand that you people who want only to control it for yourselves get the hell out of the way and leave it free!

Roxanne-You did not know Serafim! I see that now! He made his own glory out of his great mind and he gave it all to me and to every socially sane person who cared for him, but you are the most completely anti-social human being I've…I've…Outside of America. Outside of…Oh, Roy, the chaos! There's nothing but chaos in America! [About her head come the sworls in which we see first Lee Capolta being executed, the foam of death poisons bubbling from his open mouth, his lips in an exultant smile, his eyes wide and joyously fastened on the face of Jesus while the face of Ray is seen between prison bars which he is clutching as he exultantly watches Capolta die and is cheering on the agony as all the screen is being taken over by the charging U.S. cavalry, swords and rifles at the ready while they storm down on a settlement of Cheyenne or Dakotah which is already being hit by cannon fire and the slaughter is graphic as men, women, children are dismembered by the heroic soldiers with the same look on all their faces as the prison guard, Ray, exulting and rejoicing, hacking out souvenirs from the unpitied bodies, all of it fading into a bleak scene of a river levee at night the only thing visible against the lower, only a little lighter sky being a small neon saying "Nick's", as the rock music of Robbie Robertson, Mohawk, takes over and we have him doing a complete production of Crazy River. At the end of it, Roxanne and Roy are alone on an empty landscape, the sky behind them entirely filled with the eyes of Vika of which Roxanne is completely unaware while Roy, looking always back at them is captured in awe, astonishment, love.

Roxanne-Where is this, Roy? Where are we?

Roy-It's okay, Roxanne. We're okay. Don't be afraid. There's nothing here to fear.

Roxanne-[completely asserting herself and assured.]-I'm not afraid of anything. Never, never have I been. Nothing can stop me from doing the things I believe in, and none of your dreams you drag me through will affect my vision of life as I see it and as I want it. You are in no way any whit larger than I am, though you would make the world think you are.-[The great eyes behind them blink slowly and when they re-open they are an eternal marble stare which seems to register nothing and seems to know everything. Roxanne turns on him angrily.]-I know that I represent the rational effort to achieve sanity in human life and make it as available to others as human endeavor possibly can so we may all rise to all life's challenge. We construct a comprehension of creative existence which everyone can share in, not just you wild ones dancing out on the mountain crests. We can't all get out there. Some of us have to keep the water running out of the faucets and the air in all the tires, the houses warm and the children not just fed but well fed, happy and able to respond to your creations and there's nothing you or anyone can do to make me believe something is wrong with all that.

Roy-[turning to the eyes, which soften now and become lovingingly tender as they gaze on him armspread and basking in the light of her.]-It's just that you're missing so much that we all really need, Roxanne. We all really need it.

Roxanne-[pulling out a notebook that unfolds until its pages are streaming around her feet]-The necessities of life are something I intend to keep in order and well understood all my life.

Roy-[turning to her]-You know, one of the things Serafim, I'm sure, admired in you was how you are, in that respect, so much like his mother. Vika used to tell me how Anastasia was always out in the market the first thing in the morning-[We get a shot of Anastasia leaning over the produce and choosing things.]-to get the best fruit and greens for her family, the best and the freshest, and always a great businesswoman.

Roxanne-My parents were much the same. But these are traditional ways of providing those things which all of us need, but you and everyone like you pretend you're free from it all. We let you have that freedom, and that is what you never understand, the same as your Olga. We all around her gave her the gifts she indulged in while demanding more from us. Yes, you demand, you demand, and we give, we give but when you have drained us dry, then what do we do, pray tell? We reject you the way she was rejected and we let you live out your lives in your personally contrived dumps just as she did.

Roy-[turning back again to the eyes, which are a mixture of eternal marble and soft womanliness while definitely being Vika. But while Roxanne and Roy are having their comparatively pedestrian exchange, Vika's hands have brought the huge edge of a plaster sculpture into view and she is working on it,]-So in all this self-satisfaction you build up, you make your abyss between us unchangeable. And that is, to us, from your fear.

Roxanne-[angry]-If I fear anything, it's for others that I fear, never for myself. But why must you make everything so trivial? Oh Roy, why did I ever come to you? You make yourself so small when you try to do it to me.

Roy-[stomping about]-Dammit, dammit, dammit! I've never done anything that measures up to Vika-[He gestures toward the eyes]-From the beginning, when I first met her just a half-assed Injun out of Oklahoma, everything I've done I've done to impress her. Love letters. Poems. Crazy lying stories to get her sympathy. And plays. You're right. The more I diminish you, the smaller I'll be in her eyes.

Roxanne-Whatever made you imagine you belonged anywhere near her in the first place?

Roy-Big ideas I have of myself. Always these big ideas so many storming around my head that I have to make myself, force myself, command myself to be so great that Vika can belong to me. [At this point the table or whatever it may be that Roxanne and Roy are on seems to get in Vika's way and her immense finger-tips come up the other side of it as she shoves it indifferently aside, dumping the two small figures from view while she applies more plaster to her piece. The Roy figure comes scrambling back up and onto her shoulder. She scratches there as if bothered and he grabs her hair, positioning himself on her ear which she then scratches, trying to concentrate, keeping her eyes on the sculpture as she touches it here and there. He hangs to her hair and then returns to her ear when it's safe.]

Roy-What is that you're working on?

Vika-Oh, you don't know? Gustave Moreau has his Helen on the Walls and I am going to have mine. Now go away and stop bothering me. I don't bother you when you're making something.

Roy-You've been doing this piece for twelve years, so what's the urgency?

Vika-[applying plaster]-I see a new space has come to embrace my details in an unending light caressing them all around and this all aroundness of the details gives them the infinity every sculpture must show. What Cezanne tried to do with a painting but hardly ever managed. To see the actuality through the details all around. But I haven't got them in their places. Around her there you see, there are so many details that are not in place. And at this moment that is the only necessity.-[She brushes him off and he tumbles away into a maelstrom where Roxanne is whirling. She seizes him and plants him on his feet in the presence of Larry Birnheim. They are standing in the lobby of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.]

Roy-Larry Birnheim?!

Birnheim-Hello, Injun. Tchee!-[He speaks as though Roy stinks.]

Roy-What are we doing here? The capitol building in Washington?

Roxanne-We want Serafim's memory exonerated, don't we? Isn't that what we want?

Roy-But nobody knows Serafim in this place.

Birnheim-But they have in this place the greatest knowledge now of anywhere in the world how you cannot destroy a man because he has different ideas of sex than you believe in. Serafim said that all our ideas of sex have to change and this is where it has happened on every talk show and editorial page, this tremendous change forced upon everyone in America by the freely functioning will of one headstrong man and the one heroic memory and you can't save anyone from these things changing all of our minds about sex. So this is where we can have the most effect. Pardon me, Senator Abrams, but are you aware of the number of American males who were born last year with feminine oviducts?

Abrams-Oh, yes. I have that information right here.-[He whips a statistics sheet out of his briefcase and holds it before Birnheim's eyes.]-We are getting on that right now today in committee. Glad to hear you are so interested, Mr. Birnheim. Nice to see you. Bye.

Birnheim-Bye bye, Senator. You see, it's sticking out, or rather sticking in like feelers from the walls all over Washington. No one's afraid to come out with it any more the way Serafim came out with it years ago and was treated like he was some sexual maniac.

Roy-But neither of you seems to understand one most vital of all vitals. You can't put on a presentation anymore where people learn, actually learn, anything. The lies they've told about Serafim in scandals are burned into public memory and you can't save him now. It's history written by all those who hated him for what he did, just as Mike Milken is hated still because he stole information from the rich and gave to the many.

Birnheim-Professor Davenport, could I have a moment, sir? Do you remember a man named Serafim Stratous?

Davenport-Well, Larry Birnheim. Good to see you, Larry. Stratous? Serafim Stratous? Yes. Yes. Of course, well, it's most interesting you bring that up. My, yes. Why, with all these recent things that have shown basic alterations in all of us today, why, you know as I recall it's much what got that fellow into trouble and now it's just common knowledge. Well, I should say he has a lot of credit due him. Yes-[walking away deeply ruminating.]-that's really something we must give some thought to.

Roxanne-You see? You see, Larry? All you have to do is say his name! Bring his name up and the change begins. Now is the time, Larry! We don't need Roy. All we need do is say his name!

Birnheim-Roxanne, when you're in the middle of a dream, don't dump the dreamer.

Roxanne-Oh! Oh, yes. Well, let's see, now. Hmmmm!-[She locks arms with Roy and Birnheim, smiling encouragingly.]-Not to rock boat, right? Hmmmm!-[sotto voche, staring askance at Roy]-Larry, how do we get out of this?

Birnheim-[enjoying the novelty]-Got any ideas, sweetheart?

Roy-Why don't you ask me? I just could be some help. Maybe.

Birnheim and Roxanne-How?

Roy-Hmmmm! As you so aptly put it, Roxanne. Hmmmm!

Birnheim-The friggin Injun's playing games with us.

Roy-You're both so modern, y'know. So up to date on us all.-[They don't take the bait.]-You're wrong because of that. Because Serafim is not of this place just as Elitis wouldn't come when invited. Serafim and Elitis are of eternal worlds with the Greeks' eternal eyes and they were not distressed by the changes coming. They saw it all as a comparative good like a calming of the earth's great hurricane toward some final peace. So what if they praise either of them here, either Serafim or Ilitis? Or curse them as they're always doing Greeks while kissing the ass of Turks who enjoy all their blessings while they daily murder innocents in Kurdistan? So? You've said, Larry Beinhart, you cannot comprehend the Greek. Well, I know that one thing you guys will never understand is that the true Greek home is the sea and Serafim is praised by every curl of wave that laps on Aegian shores. So let's go back to the sea, Roxanne, and kiss everybody here goodbye.

[He and Roxanne are at once standing alone on a beach on Hydra.]

Roxanne-[indignant]-I don't want to come here! This is Hydra, my home, and I don't want to come here! Take me back out there to Larry! Out there is the world and there is where we must find Serafim his place!

Roy-[sarcastic]-No, that's where you want to have a place, Roxanne, with people like Larry Beinhart, and as long as you stay caught in that flypaper made of jazzy photo calendars and nothing else, no sense of Greek eternity, you're abandoning everything so wonderful in your home.

Roxanne-Take me out of here! I want to go where life really matters.

[Immediately they are standing on Times Square, New York City.]

Roxanne-Oh! Oh, yes. Well, this is…more to the point.

Roy-Uh-huh! But back there, on Hydra his island, is where Serafim wanted his eternity.

Roxanne-Serafim's body is buried there, but his spirit is always everywhere, always out here in the world. And don't you offer to tell me about Serafim! He is beyond you as he is beyond everyone! And he is mine! I forbid you to say another word about him!

Roy-Okay, we stop this thing right here. The dream is over.

Roxanne-Wait! No. No. You must go on. Tell me. Tell me what more Serafim told you that day.

Roy-He told me to tell no one.

Roxanne-Even now?

Roy-Okay, I've waited long as I care to. We had been walking by the sea watching eight fishermen bringing in an enormous net they had spread across the entire width of that huge beach.-[We see the beach and the men.]-We watched as they brought in no more fish than would fill a small desk drawer so we bought them and had them cooked at a taverna on the sand there. We were having the fish and some coffee with the fishermen at some tables by the sea when one of them said he had been on the torture island with Serafim and Serafim had saved his life.-[We see the island with many men along the coast and a small, official-looking boat approaching.]-It seems that Serafim was underwater that day gathering octopi for the men to have something to eat. He was always the great swimmer, every day providing them with seafood and he loved the job.-[We see Serafim deep down.]-He had no weapons so it all had to be improvised, like biting into the eyes of an octopus to kill their brain.-[We see him doing this with some other octopi already stuffed into a mesh bag when his head and eyes turn upward.]-He said he heard this terrible noise of guns firing on a boat that had come up. So he went up.-[Serafim's head breaks surface and he sees a small British gun boat confronting the island with an English soldier firing a machine gun into the helpless men running away now on the beach, some falling, an English officer standing on the deck directing the action as another man fires a rifle into the crowd. Serafim goes under and comes up again in back of the boat, rising up on board behind a British lookout who is watching the killing up front. As the figure of Serafim comes up, it is transformed into a Steve Jobs type cartoon hero which uses an octopus to strangle the guard and take his pistol. He immediately fires on the man at the machine gun, all about now becoming cartoonish as the gunner topples over. The Serafim figure attacks the man with the rifle, firing into him several times. The officer is drawing his weapon when Serafim, gun empty, attacks him, disarms him, kills him and turns the machine gun on the man in the bridge who is now shooting at Serafim, who kills him and in firing into the bridge sets the boat afire. Throwing himself from the boat as it all explodes, the Serafim figure picks up a line from the burning boat to drag it toward the shore while he wades in to where he casts the line aside and is then walking among the wounded, caring for them when the fisherman whom he speaks to in Vouliagmeni reaches up and takes his hand as someone reaching up to a deity. But before the hands can meet, the face of Roxanne breaks through between and then she is standing, commanding center stage and waving all these images aside.]

Roxanne-Stop this! Stop it! Words, written words make everything fiction, only in written words would anyone say "The leaves fall upward" but cartoons are terrible and all this is the kind of cartooning Clayton Kason is using in your Sweet Jesus so you're making all this up. I want to know what Kason has to do with Serafim and your Sweet Jesus so stop your comic strip creations and take me to him.

Roy-This is my dream, Roxanne, and I'll dream it any way I want.

Roxanne-Not with Serafim, you won't! Serafim never killed anyone in all his life and he wouldn't. He was the gentlest, the kindest man who ever lived, and it was innocence he wanted for the world, not the murdering and killing men have built human life upon since history began. You're making cheap, comic-book fiction out of the great truth of his wonderful life, and I will not permit it. So take me to this Kason right now!

[Immediately they are being pushed about in a tumultuous crowd rushing into the front of the Rex theatre in downtown Athens. All about are posters of the play Sweet Jesus.

Clay Kason in Sweet Jesus with stage photographs and photos of Kason looking like a very long-faced Bogart with raincoat collar. People are hurrying out of limos, officials with tiaraed escorts and generals in costume, all wanting not to be late. Cries of "It's starting!" "We'll be late!" are heard.]

Roxanne-[to Roy]-Now what have you done,

Roy-He's in there but it's starting up. We'll have to wait until the first act curtain. We'll catch him in the green room.-[They hurry off as the opening chords of the production within are heard, a great stomping, exhilarating dancing going on with midwest country music mixed with Reggae as well as a huge audience applauding and cheering as the curtain for the first act of this play descends.]

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO SCENE ONE

[A rhythm begins. This rhythm should continue, as much as it is appropriate through all the second act. If we can't get the UB40 rhythm and flow of the First Song of Volume One of The Collection, then something like it with a midwest country taint, but now and then in only the faintest way, must come a touch of Nazi marching music such as the Horst Wessel.

[High in the central separation between the curtains abruptly appears the head of Midge. He is baby-faced and wizened like a bronze elf, scrawny and tough as a monkey. He sports a pin, a piece of jewelry, stuck through the partition of his nose. His hair is scrubby and ill-cut. He wears a sleeveless pullover which has wide blue and white horizontal stripes and sports on the left side a gaping hole that vanishes into his pants. His pants are light color, rumpled but clean, while his shoes are dirty sneakers.

Midge-[As he speaks he swings on the curtain edge]-Get yourselves ready. The play is about to begin! Don't think you've ever seen the like of many of these people in your life before. We've arranged a new production of a cast of which maybe none of you ever could love but what does it matter since all you may know already that this is the way the future must go!-[With the word Go! the curtain parts and carries Midge off clinging to one edge as the music heard at the end of the first act strikes up, music mostly made up of UB40 reggae but touched up with whatever hoedown can go in and the applause of the audience comes up. Through the glass windows of two saloons located each side of the central apartment building, brightly colored dancers can be seen cavorting so impossibly that it is obvious they are cartoon figures of the kind we have seen before. When the curtains reach the proscenium edge, Midge drops free, whirls into a dance to center stage throwing his arms and legs wide then becomes a small ball on the steps of the apartment building and the louder music and the dancing are abruptly cut off. The gentler rhythms continue.

[What we see is a late afternoon street scene in St. Louis, Missouri, quite realistic but we can tell it's cartoon, showing in center a brownstone apartment house such as are being demolished continually all over the north side. It is flanked by small saloons, each of which has a window and door, the doors being next to the apartment building. Seven whitish apartment steps flanked by stumpy, thick, gritty-brown walls with white slab tops come down from the door on the stage-right side of the building. A battered but clean 1994 Caddy convertible, not a cartoon but the real thing, is parked before the apartment to stage-left of the steps and obscures much of the stage-left saloon. Above the car, through the wide windows, a real man can be clearly seen pacing in the first floor apartment just above street level. He is carrying a baby. A balcony passes above door and windows with potted plants in the balcony railings, all green with no blooms. Tree branches fall into view from offstage above the two saloons, through the windows and glass doors of which can be continually seen a noiseless cartoon movement depicting gambling going on inside there. At times, huge hands might be seen throwing dice, or a croupier's rake pulling in chips or gamblers' long-nailed hands dealing cards. A couple, Clay and Bill very real, are standing on the walk talking at far stage-right. It is all in an Edward Hopper type space, the apartment building and all are Edward Hopper style and all the passersby and any vehicles passing are cartoonish with an erased look about them, more simulacra than actual images, some of them being no more than cartoon animals, the animals always in pairs or three moving together. All of these passersby wear a headset covering eyes and ears and they walk in a coordinate manner in time with the rhythm heard, weaving among one another flawlessly so that it is visible that they are being directed by these headsets and like it. But some groups go by with only the outline of the group with waving arms, legs and heads showing while across chests will be, in one group GANGSTAHS, in another group MOBSTAHS, and in another KILLAHS. When they go by Clay, faces, as of gang members, take over the screen, some waving high-tech weapons such as Stingers as they speak. The faces seen will not be cartoons:

Gangstah member-Hey, Killah, somethin's goin happen here, huh? Somepin real big, huh?-[Then the next group]

Mobstah member-What's up tonight, Killah? You makin it? Suzan, she's into it. Susan, yeah, she knows!-[Then the next group]

Killah member-Eyyyy, Brother Killah! Comin on down, yeah! Right here it comin on fo all de members in alluh duh nation, comin on down fo everybody! Yeah, man!

Very young Killah member-This crow's a Killah, man? This ol crow?

Killah member-One uh the fust, Sparrow! Fust Killah in the hood! And tonight it's fo all de Killah in all de hoods!

[Bill is medium height, dumpy in appearance to the point of being slatternly, her breasts so lumpy that they seem too many. She wears a summer dress with large polkadots over it. But she radiates sex like a nuclear powerhouse and contains a force of nature that grinds through concrete. She is a volcano of sensitivity encased in a sheath of restraint that results from almost complete mental depreciation of whatever might be her own values, allowing her to be terribly hurt without retaliating. At the moment, she is hurt and confused, but has given enough to this man she talks to to feel some right to anger. The man, Clay, is tall and gaunt with an angular jaw and a slightly stooped appearance accompanied by a long neck and a coarse shock of hair. His eyes protrude somewhat and he has a look of intellectual intensity disciplined by a strong and quite self-assured will and an over-riding hunger for something he does not yet clearly know what. He wears an expensive, long, summer jacket that hangs comfortably. From his neck is hanging a set of padded earphones which are connected by eye-covers, this and the wire from it to the black box hooked on his belt allow him whenever he wishes in order to indulge in portable virtual reality. He wears neatly kept slacks, and old, carpet-slipper type leather moccasins. He has a touch of taste with slouchy comfort suggesting some sort of artist, and as the music ends and the dancing stops, he makes a long-armed gesture of finality to the woman while walking away toward his car, digging in his jacket pockets for his car keys.)

Bill-Wait! You can't leave me!

Clay-[Stopping and turning halfway back to study her, grinning and craning his neck at her as if in surprise. He holds a short cigarette holder, empty, ground in his large teeth. He also is angry in a dry, grating manner while turning to face her again, but he gives off a low laugh, something that builds with him until it dominates the stage in the second scene of this act.]-I can't leave you? Huh!-[He jingles his car keys in his pocket, waiting.]-That's pretty good.-[He obviously does consider it "pretty good", an interesting viewpoint.]-And what makes you think I can't leave you?

Bill-[afraid to show her confusion]-For a cockeyed reason like that? No man walks out on a woman for a cockeyed reason like that! You might walk out because of Abe or my smell or you might because of my troubles or something I've done with another man, but that? What crazy kind of reason is that?

Clay-[proud of himself]-For me it's a damn good reason. In fact, I think of it as brilliant!-[He seems to watch the word "brilliant" rise up and take its place among the stars.]

Bill-Oh, Clay, don't play your great philosophy off on me.-[She realizes this is the wrong approach and veers off.]-You don't make sense, honey. What'd I ever do to make you act like this?

Clay-You didn't do anything. For Christ's sake! Can't I make anything clear to you?-[with violent exasperation]-I thought you could see things for what they are! Not like most characters. Did I give you a minute's cause to think I belonged to you or that I was hangin around for anything but just my kicks?

Bill-[stunned but knowing better than to show it]-Well, I did have some idea that I was something special to our grand virtual-reality painter's ideas of the extra-grand and extra-special.

Clay-Well, it so happens that it's not a damned thing other than my idea of kicks. An if you can have any idea I might leave because of that smell you've got…Ha! Ho! That's the greatest reason you pull a guy around like a compass needle-[He is holding up the empty cigarette holder flat on the air like a compass needle and beating the air with it. As he does so, all the cartoon figures moving on the street step with that beat while he gazes into the viewing part of the headset}-One, two, three, four!-[He reverses the direction of the cigarette holder and when he does all the drawn figures reverse direction stepping with his beat.]-One, two, three, four!-[Now he changes the direction of the holder back to the first position and the figures all reverse, continuing now as they had been going before the interruption, and when they do, he laughs happily, all the time looking into the set.]

Bill-[staring about in alarm]-What's happening? Clayton, are you trying to make use of my life again! You want to use people, use people, and I hate it. What are you doing now?

Clay-[holding the headset for her to look in]-I want to fine-tune this new piece of mine. You see what great shapes I've got moving here? What new colorings of different spaces? I really like it! But I haven't got it yet. I haven't got all the details in place.

Bill-[staring in]-The Niagara Falls, a rocket liftoff, a reggae band and Adolf Hitler? You think I belong in a composition like that?

Clay-[laughing harshly]-To reach beyond mountains with violence of forms that could in true dimensions be no larger than a cockroach but hit your mind with turmoil and emotion beyond any size and beyond any age. Like the Laocoön that threw Michelangelo into a spin. I intend to throw the whole world into a spin, and somehow, Bill, you and that terrific body odor of yours play around at the very heart of it.-[He pulls his head away from the viewer and rams his face down between her breasts then shouts upward.]-Yeeouuu Haw! You get to me every time!

Bill-[pushing aside his hands]-Oh come on, Clay. When are you going to make a big creation out of my diaries an all the things that've happened to me like you said you would? You can't run out on me now when you said you'd get my name up there where yours is in the American Internet. I want America to know me like it knows you.

Clay-[looking into the viewer]-You're forgetting that it's all going to be my production, my way. In fact, if I hadn't thought you saw things the same way as I, I'd not have looked at you twice even though you reek and you fuck like a dinosaur of sex.-[He finishes with a proud flourish in his words, his voice always dry and aloof, part of his attention given still to the cartoonish passersby.]

Bill-[offended]-You said you'd never call me that again.

Clay-[hesitating but not regretting]-Yeah, yeah, I know. Okay. Well, goddammit, now I've had all I can stand of you and I'll not call you anything any more.-[He turns back to her as if for one last chance to get to her.]-But what beats me is how you've gone right along, Bill, and I'd begun to think I'd never meet anybody-not anybody-certainly not here in my old neighborhood that'd see how things are the way I do and accept them the way I do. You've been great!-[Pause]-Yean, really great!-[He says the last with teeth clenched on the empty cigarette holder, pulling his hands from his pockets with keys in one and turning with an arrogant, commanding shake of the set, to his car. As he does, he catches sight of Midge sitting on the steps and freezes as if he had been shot at from ambush. Midge cringes before the buzzard-like figure looming over him.]

Midge-Hello, Clay. Long time no see.

Clay-[with explosive arms]-Midge!-[pointing offstage left]-What are you doing here? Get the hell out, y'understand? You've got no place in my arrangements any more, so get your ass up and get the hell out!

Midge-[getting up carefully, cowed, but prepared to resort to any means to save himself]-Okay, Clay, don't get sore. Just don't get sore.-[He goes slowly off, hands jammed in his pockets, his eyes glued downward and his lean little figure fuming with hurt pride.]

Bill-[when Midge steps off-stage, using her knowledge of Kason's weaknesses]-You shouldn't have been so rough on him, Clayton, acting as if you'd exterminate him. You were too hard on the little guy.

Clay-[grabbing the cigarette holder from his teeth and making a gesture to throw it away but hanging onto it]-I know it! I know it! It's not my style. But he gets on my nerves, pokin' around where he's not wanted and wearin that infernal pin all the time.

Bill-[chuckling]-I thought you liked his little pinned-up nose. Remember when I talked to him all night in the bar and never noticed that pin? I only thought he had a funny moustache!-[She laughs a hoarse, gin-riddled laughter.]

Clay-[smiling in cautious participation, making a wise, sour face, his almost visible mind fastening upon her statement with characteristic intensity]-Ye-eah! That was the first I realized you really had something in your mind, too, something over all the rest. You fit perfectly my dictum that each of us is in himself or herself a creative quick creating your own world outta your own insides, and you've really got the strangest insides, Bill-[He lifts the headset up high as if it is part of his statement.]-Ye-eah! That was allll right!

Bill-[working in]-And that was the night you came up to my rooms, remember, honey? We watched Star Trek together sitting on my coffin and I gave you a full load of everything. Ha! I amazed you and finally you liked it.

Clay-[warming up, taking her arm in one hand]-Yeah, a tremendous night! We must have talked about everything in the encyclopedias, everything under the stars, things you told me I never would have thought. Hell, Bill, you gave me new frontiers-[Again he lifts the earphones]-for how everything should be, just that night. I didn't like your coffin at all. Hell, no! But you showed me it is inevitable and that's really great, knowing it the way you know it really gave me a grip on it all and changed all my art! For the better, too. Gyawd, we talked all night till I conked out while you were frying those smelly eggs.

Bill-[annoyed with his memory]-Sure! All we did was talk!

Clay-And the other things.-[dryly]-But those you take for granted. That's the way it has to be. Especially with you. With you, those things have gotta be taken for granted. Otherwise you get right inside a man and take over an that's never gointo happen with me. Not with any woman anywhere. And you know that.

Bill-I wonder if you really know it.

Clay-Sure!-[He leans one hand on his car fender.]-Now what makes you say a silly thing like that? You think I don't know my own mind?

Bill-[unable to restrain herself]-Then what's the idea of bringing another woman into it and spoiling the whole picture?

Clay-Spoiling the picture?-[lifting the headset]-Hey, it would give another whole dimension maybe two or three to the whole thing! Change all the details of all the scene and give it a new way to go. Anyway, I've told you and told you I'll never expect one woman to belong to me, only to me, and I'll certainly never belong to any one woman. No man like me ever will. But anyway, Suzan is one hellofa gal and would add a whole new perspective to it all. In her own way she's as unique as you are and she wants a lot to see how you've made a good piece of living room furniture out of your own personal coffin.

Bill-And I'll bet you've told your old girl friend everything else about me and everything that I have told you, every ungodly thing I wrote in my diaries. I had to let you read every one, my whole life story. Shit!

Clay-[her protests completely illogical in his mind]-Sure I have, That's how it was meant to be. If Max Beckmann had known you and Suzan, all the question marks in his paintings would have disappeared. And I've told you plenty about her haven't I? And really, your reactions were just perfect.

Bill-[turning away as if she would climb the stairs then catching herself back to him]-Could she know that Abe has come back bringing along his baby?

Clay-Now, how could she know about that when you only told me yourself today? Hell, I never knew he was the father of some baby. What's he bringing his baby around you for?

Bill-[her inner being realizing a deep torment but expressing it only through a tight, defiant smile]-Well, he's talking so crazy and maybe he is crazy. Some things he says scare the bejeesus out of me like his people'll come to burn me with the baby. He actually said that then took it back. He's so out of his mind at first I don't even know if it is his baby. This is the second time he's come with her actually. I didn't want to tell you about it before, but still all I know is she looks like him. And he says she's so much like me, even smells like me, and that I must have put a curse on him and his family that made him have her.

Clay-What a devil of a thing! He's taking it all down those fire and brimstone roads of his.

Bill-His wife made him think that. Her having a baby like me and then saying he caused it, then leaving him to go back to Canada and even telling his congregation so he loses not only her but his calling as well, so all he's got now is this little baby whose own mother won't have anything to do with her. And here he is almost completely out of his mind!

Clay-Yeah, a real nut. Everything I read about him in your confounded diaries says he is. Hey, does Abe know about me?

Bill-Yes, but I didn't tell him.

Clay-How'd he find out then?

Bill-Through them.

Clay-What them?

Bill-Them "confounded diaries".

Clay-You mean you wrote about me in those books!

Bill-Everything!

Clay-Oh, sweet Jesus! Did he believe it?

Bill-He says my diaries are a pack of lies.

Clay-[jerking the cigarette holder out of his mouth and laughing]-Well, that's a good turn. What did he say about it all?

Bill-He said I'm nothing but a weirdo bitch and the first time he saw you he would cut off both your hands with that samurai sword you left up there.

Clay-Oh yeah! My samurai! I'd almost forgotten it. Can't be going off without my samurai now, can I? But what does this preacher know about great swords?

Bill-You should see him swing that thing around, making those broad legged steps like on the t.v. He says there's a Jap instructor who rents the basement of his church and teaches that stuff. But why'd you ever bring that damn thing to my place and keep it there, Clay?

Clay-I got into my mind a big scene in your place where the samurai plays a part. Your place would be ideal for what I'm thinking. But I need some military guy who'd think himself too superior for such a dive. He'd have to think it too low-class for such as he.-[respectfully]-Do you think he really meant that? About cutting off my hands?

Bill-He not only meant it, he'd just be liable to do it. You don't know Abe.

Clay-So he'd jump in and whack off a man's hands, just chop him away from his hands without talking to him first?-[looking at them]-My hands? And I'll bet he thinks my art comes out of my hands!-[He lifts the earphones to look into the eyepiece between them, smiling.]-Hell, I could make it with my nose! I like smells anyway. I could design a whole show with just smells. What kind of preacher was this guy, anyway?

Bill-[proudly]-Oh a big one. Stained glass windows, spired towers, the works! When his Mrs. told them all how he'd been living with me, the rose windows blew out, the towers fell, all of it came down crash and even he says that I did it. All because his wife has a baby with my problems. They all think I'm some kind of witch. If this was Salem town I'd get myself good and burnt for sure.

Clay-[offering good counsel]-He could marry you.

Bill-Well, this is the second time he's come with the baby and he's been calling her, trying to get a divorce but his wife says she won't give him one, not ever. Now he's taken this baby and ran off down to Joplin to show his mother and cry on her lap. Poor devil. I don't know what he's going to do now.

Clay-You're right, Bill. He's really had it.-[Thoughtfully]-Do you love him, Bill?

Bill-[shrugs, but an estranged emotion rises inside her]-I guess I'm supposed to, though I really don't know. But he loves me, that I do know.-[proudly]-He's crazy for me, which is more than I can say for some people.

Clay-That's not my kind of thing and you know it.

Bill-[emptily]-Yes, I know it. You and your Mein Kampf!

Clay-[reaching into his car and digging from under the seat a paper bag containing an obvious bottle]-Well, while he's in Joplin, we might as well go up to your rooms and have a little farewell chat that can be something to remember.

Bill-[with an undertone of desperation]-Why, Clay? You don't have to leave. Do anything you want, but don't-You don't have to leave.

Clay-All right. Let Suzan join our party. She's really interested in you and thinks she can do you a lot of good.

Bill-[sarcastically]-Why? Does she think I'm curable? Is she one of those?

Clay-She's a social planner, some special kind of juvenile mobster psychologist. She's a big power player against sending kids up and knows all the gangs around here like she's a member. Hell, she got picked up in a gang fight herself last year and every gang member in the area came to court as witnesses to get her off. A real especially designed feminist Zarathustra like I've never known before, and she's interested in you. I already told her to come over here.

Bill-No! No! Do you want me to feel like a freak? Like some odd insect in somebody's collection? Clayton, just stay with me. Come on up and stay with me. Star Trek's on tonight. We could watch the t.v. and make some love.

Clay-[laughing]-What makes you go for that show? It's hardly like you at all.

Bill-It's such a perfect world they live in. Everybody does things just right and nobody's there who doesn't belong.

Clay-[taking her arm and going with her to the steps]-Come up, yes, stay, no. Bill, you want to take a family way toward me, don't you. Watch television and keep cozy. But you can bet on it I'll never be seen in any family portraits. by anybody.

Bill-[hesitating on the steps]-It's not like that.

Clay-Besides, I'm not hanging around for some lunatic to mess with my hands. What's the matter?-[Bill does not move as he pulls at her but stands rigid on the steps, pondering a thought. He senses something and becomes tense.]-What's the matter?

Bill-I dunno. Something's wrong. I can feel it.-[She registers a tangible dread]-Could he have been lying to me?-[As she speaks, she moves across the steps to where she can lean over and look into the apartment window. At the first glimpse of Abe, furiously pacing inside, clutching the child, she falls back in fear.]-Ohhh God! He's in there waiting for us! He's there!-[Shushing Clay while drawing him to the far side of the steps and down]-He lied to me. He didn't go to Joplin at all! He set a trap, don't you see? He even bought a train ticket to fool me and he's back and he knows I'm out with you now. He knows it! What's this guy fixing up for me, Clayton?

Clay-[pulling her to stage right and looking back]-What d'you think he'll do?-[He glances into his headset as if looking for the answer, wiggling his cigarette holder beside his head in a twitchy way.]

Bill-He's out to kill me, Clay! He'll kill me for sure! Oh, what'll I do?-[catching herself and then going back to the steps]-But what'll he do to the baby?

Clay-He wouldn't hurt his little girl, would he?

Bill-Clay, he doesn't know whether to hate her or love her. My father was the same.-[She starts up the steps but he grabs her back down.]-Let me go. I've got to see about her.

Clay-[automatically recovering his usual attitude upon this interesting development]-You mean you're going in there? To save his baby from him?-[He lets her go, admiring her.]-Hey, Bill, that's goddam human of you.

Bill-[very offended]-Whattayamean by that?

Clay-Well, I just…it's only…

Bill-D'you think I'm not? You look at me and you don't say human? D'you think of me as some freak, some kinda clone at's made just for throwaway? Is that how you look at me?

Clay-[intrigued, the most cold-blooded side of him rising]-You think that I'm like that, that that's really the way I am? You think it's possible? But no…no…Bill, I've painted you up and made you just like everybody else in my presentations. I even painted your smell into it and that really knocks people out, so it's just not so.-[He is glancing into the eyepiece and gesturing to it.]

Bill-[really angry, seizing the set from his hands and looking into it]-I've seen enough of these 3-D's of yours. And yes-yes! Dammit it all to hell! It's as if I infect everybody else in the scene. On the side toward me, each one looks as corrupted as Dorian Grey!

Clay-[caught up in the realization, fiercely interested as he takes back his instruments to stare]-Yeeeah! Yeeeah! That's right! Critics've said things about that, and that's when they say they get most the presence of the artist. But you're not in so many, so so what?

Bill-[humiliated]-It's what you throw out so spontaneously for the world to see and that's the way you show me, dammit! It's like it's why you come around me, you…you…And it seems it's always there no matter who's in it. There's always somebody in your paintings or whatever they are, even your yellow Jesus, the one you call sweet, who could be your feeling shaped by me, sometimes two or three, like Midge or other offshoots, maybe a whole creation full of them like some Max Beckman mob scene. And always you make me something I don't like. Why do you have to do me this way? Do you love me, Clay?

Clay-[taking the cigarette holder out of his mouth and grinning in her face]-I love you, Bill.

Bill-[grabbing him and staring into his eyes]-Let me see. Let me see the love in you. Now say you love me.

Clay-[putting the holder back in his mouth and turning his head]-Fuck off, dammit!

Bill-[throwing herself away into the street and pointing an arm at him accusingly]-The way you said that, that you love me. I want to know where is the love in any of you people. The way you said that, I feel you really could hate me!

Clay-What?

Bill-[turning away from him with a deep feeling of fear]-I hadn't wanted to say that. I didn't want ever to say that.

Clay-[taking her shoulders in his long fingers, not out of affection, but curiosity, nothing but curiosity for what she is saying]-Hey, Bill, you really fascinate me. I told Suzan that and she's gung-ho to know you.

Bill-[turning on him]-And you think that's love? You think this fascination you have for me is love? You're just using me, dammit, using me like some shovel you'll throw away when you're through! Have you told this Suzan that you love her?

Clay-[starting to speak then jamming hands in his pockets to walk away to turn back]-So what if I have? So what?

Bill-That's something I don't think you'll ever find out, Clayton. I just don't think for any man like you it's anywhere in you.

Clay-What's that that's not in me?

Bill-Love.

Clay-Look, I've got everything in me that's in everybody else, see! And I've got it in spades! All I need to make the greatest, most compelling statements yet made. The critics, the ones that know all my work say that I can tell the world about everything that's in any human. Everything!-[He has his hands in his jacket pockets holding it out to the side like the wings of a bird.]

Bill-[tiring of this, softening, coming up to him]-Come on, Clay. Come on. Let's not go this road, okay. Let's be loving anyway, just be loving? You can be so nice.

Abe Meadows-[From inside the rooms, his deep, baritone singing can be heard, and we see him rocking his baby and moving about in a near dance.]-I'm going to lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riiiversiiide. Gointo lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside. Gointo practise war no more. Oh Oh Oh. Gointo lay down my sword and shield, lay down my sword and shield, lay down my sword and shield, I'm gointo lay down my sword and shield and practise war no more.

Bill-Oh hell, he's not gointo hurt his little baby.-[thinks a bit]-Clay, give me a ten or even a twenty, okay?

Clay-[pulling a billfold from a pocket, his eyes on her in a calculating manner]- What for?

Bill-I'll go get some baby clothes for her and tell him I was out shopping for the baby. He's not going to do anything crazy. I think I can manage him.

Clay-[Looking at her and tapping the flat billfold on one bent thumb]-How's he going to think you got any money?

Bill-Oh he knows I hoard things up. And he'll be touched I thought to get her something.

Clay-[giving her a bill]-Yeah, you can handle him, Bill. Guys like him you can always handle.

Bill-And you're going to leave me now?

Clay-[putting the billfold in a back pocket so he hitches up his jacket like a bird again while staring straight up at what he can see of Abe moving about in the rooms. While he finally speaks, he goes to sit on the upstage rear door of his car.]-No, I don't think so. I might as well fill myself in on how this turns out. This could be worth seeing. You just go on and I'll be here when you get back.-[Curtain begins to close.]

Bill-You don't need to worry about Abe. He doesn't know what you look like. Never looks at any art magazines. Never reads any news magazines.

Clay-[flopping back over the door into the back seat, his arms gesturing in disgust toward the figure of Abe visible in the windows]-What a fucking dummy!

END OF SCENE I, ACT II

CURTAIN RE-OPENS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ON

SCENE II, ACT II

[Same scene only now some cartoonish kids are playing ball in the street. They have headsets on and sometimes the ball stops in midair, turning in another direction, making them laugh hysterically. Kason is lying in the back of his car with his headset on, the back of his head to the audience. His arms are up and he is conducting the action. He laughs with the kids. As the curtain is halfway open, he rolls about stretching an arm toward the edge of the curtain near him so the curtain stops. He is not looking at it but is looking into his headset. He holds the curtain for a second then flips his hand for it to finish opening while he rolls back, still conducting. Abe is standing in the window without the baby looking down at Kason with curiosity, his hand rubbing his chin as he ponders something. He is powerfully built and forcefully handsome. But Kason makes a two-handed gesture, one hand pointing toward Abe and suddenly Abe in the window is covered with a huge comic-strip dialogue balloon saying OUT! and an explosion of shouting and complaining is heard as, in the saloon that is almost hidden by Kason's car, The Minstrel is expelled by the Bartender. Everything the Bartender says is never heard but is seen in comic-strip balloons which appear as Kason gestures them into being.]

Bartender-[He is a sleeves-rolled-up drawing of aproned muscles that speaks always in balloons that are large and appear everywhere about the screen, never in the same place]-Out! Out! Stay out of here! You're finito here! Get out! Get out!

Minstrel-[He is a cartoon duck. Fat and squat. No Donald, no Daffy, this is a fat, squat duck with a ukulele which he strums all the time. As he sings the following, we hear Kason, who is looking into his headset, laughing as he enjoys the Minstrel.]-I lost! I lost! Lemme back in where I can win cause I lost, star-crossed; I gotta get my money all back and my Jack Spear elocution pin, pin, pin!-[He tries to reenter but is seized by the neck in an enormous fist and readily extending arm that slams him against the top of the screen then against the left side of the stage and then the right to finally slam him to the floor downstage of Kason's Caddy. Kason has begun laughing wildly each time the Minstrel gets smashed. Now we get Kason's character's laugh. It is like someone in the back of the movie house who dominates everyone else's laughter.]

Bartender-[in balloons]-Can't you take a HINT? Get the hell OUT! Y'got no MONEY so stay OUT! OUT! OUT! ALL OUT! Get the idea? OUT!

Minstrel-[When he hits the floor, he bounces like a coil spring, strumming and singing]-Why is it that you do me this way? I have to go back inside and play!-[But Clay Kason, his headset around his neck now, has reached from the back seat of his car, laughing out of control, and seized the duck to bounce him really viciously and laugh like a maniac.]-Ow! Ow! Now cut that out! You bust my waterworks, the juice'll run out!

Clay-[howling and sitting on the back of his seat to clutch his stomach and laugh]-The juice'll run out? The juice'll run out? You pooty-fruity, you've got no juice!

Minstrel-[strumming and dancing]-Oh don't you know! You don't know! You guys think you got it all right, that I got no heart and I got no feeling. Somebody made me, somebody made you an what you guys got, I just might have too!

Clay-[Climbing out of the car, laughing more quietly, tucking his cigarette holder into a shirt pocket and sitting on the stage beside the Minstrel, he pokes the duck in the middle with a long hard finger.]-You've got feelings?-[He laughs as the duck winces]

Minstrel-Ow! Ow! That hurts!

Clay-You've got no more feelings than a stack of drawings because that's all you are!

Minstrel-[tears running from his eyes]-Whatta you know? I'm a creature-You're a creature. How'dyou know everything about how I'm created and what's in me? You just don't want to think about me or anybody, so look at me. I'm a personality, right? I happen to know I'm more a personality than most, and being a personality just may mean I have feelings you don't know anything about. You're playing a role, I'm playing a role. Maybe the one who created me put more of his real feelings and love in me than the one who did you ever cared to. Huh?

Clay-[jabbing him with a stiff finger and laughing]-Where in this stack of shabby sketches is a feeling? Eh? Just ask your anyone that. Where? Where?

Minstrel-[smashing Clay in the face with his ukulele so that his nose spurts blood]-So where with you? Where with you, actor? Where are the feelings now, ho! ho! ho! In the player or the part he plays?-[Clay tries to grab him but can't]-I'm a made-up thing. You're a made-up thing. How you gointo feel with your nose in a sling? Aghhh!-[Clay has caught him, laughing hysterically again and stands with the duck in his hands. He bounces the duck like a basketball.]]

Clay-You mean who feels the bust-up nose, the actor or the part he plays, the truth or the fiction?-[laughs convulsively]-Maybe a little inside-out duck can tell me how that feels.-[But as he shoves his arm down the duck's throat, an explosion of lights and fanfare takes place in the stage-right saloon and the Airman comes forth. Airman is played by the same actor who played Ray, the prison guard in the first act, but now he is a cut loose whirlwind of a man. He comes out prancing, knees high, his air force uniform jacket hanging below his barely supported butt holding an impossibly huge handful of bills aloft in one hand and a girl's shoulder in a roughly shaking clutch in the other while grinning in the face of a second girl who is grinning back and keeping up with him.]

Airman-[Shoving the bills up high]-Money! Hey hey hey! Big, I said Big, Big Money! Hey hey hey!-{He flaps the second girl's face cruelly with the wad of bills.]-You gotta play for the biggety biggesty big big biggesty money hoss, baby!-[He throws his hips from side to side Elvis style, glaring fiercely at the audience and the general stage as he exults]-Lucky, lucky lucre. Lucre is my middliest middle a-hole name! I'm the Lucre dust twin, both of em. Dust for the satellite stars!

First girl-[giggling high-voiced, trying to goad him]-Why don't y'go back in, win some more big money, Airman?

Airman-[He throws the hand holding the money around the second girl, pointing all about with a free forefinger.]-Bang! Bang! Bangetybang! Shoot your way out! Shoot your way out of the old time saloony like Billy the Kiddy Kiddy and the head em all off at good ole eagle pass posse Amerrrrrrican style! Hop straddle yo hoss an don't let any of em git yo money! Hey!-[He crouches and shoots with bare forefingers.]-They got me surrounded. They're burnin the place down. Ha-ha! Bangety bangety bangety bang! I got em all now where's mah hoss?-[He grabs the girl and hunches her about the stage.]-Whatta you want? You want my money?-[He catches sight of the bartender who has followed them out, another version of the one on the other side but in different costume and colors. The Airman shoots a forefinger at him.]-You want my money! You want it all back, right?-[He exults and looks across the stage at Clay while stuffing the money in his pockets.]-He wants all his goddam money back! Hey!-[turns in surprise confronting Clay]-I know you! You're that…You're that…Ha! Ha! Ha! You're that sonofabitch the other night at the governor's reception in Jefferson City! You're Kasoon! Ha!-[He shoves the girls away, shoves his money into his tunic in one sweep and, spreading his arms wide, hands down hip level, confronts Clay.]

Clay-[leaning on the downstage side of the Caddy. He is now wearing The Minstrel duck like a muff, having stuffed his arm down its throat.]-Ha!-[Then he bends over and goes into his wild laughter. In the window above, center stage, Abe is watching.]

Airman-Ha-ha!-[coming down on Clay with widespread arms and almost dancing steps]-You're that sonfuhbitch I'd a fight with the other night-[He falls back against the Caddy laughing]-and we tore the cheap little, ticky-tacky mansion of the governor of Missouri all to gory, god awful, gory and completely useless as bloody hell hell!-[He bounces out from the Caddy, challenging Clay.]-C'mon! Les do it again! Hey-[grabbing Clay and pointing]-Les go in that bar and tear the place all t'hell! Jus like Randolf Scott and John Wayne in Nome, Alaska, the classiest-ass classic!

Clay-[shoving him off with The Minstrel on his arm]-I told you at the reception and I'm telling you now. I've got no play with you uniformed all the sames.

Airman-[pushing up to Clay]-All the sames? All the sames? Hey, you artsy-fartsy queerios, we got uniqueness patented and fullerbrushed. See these medals? Each one's for uniqueness nobody else could equal.

Clay-You calling me queer?

Airman-What else but fairy fairy? Try finding Private Ryan sometime, tootsy fruitsy! One touch of gore and you'd swoon, sweetheart?

Clay-[holding out the duck on his arm who is still strumming his ukulele, his huge eyes staring about]-Yeah? D'you ever eat a duck raw?

Airman-[laughing]-That's no duck. That's a toon!

Clay-But this is a toon that feels like you and me. See?-[He whips his arm across at the Airman and turns the duck inside out so that its entrails and other parts swing bloodily about the inverted form stretched as hideously as possible out in the air with blood dripping that never touches the stage. Clay goes into his wild laughter which makes the Airman, after a look of wonder, echo him, stomping his feet and pounding his knees. The two girls stare and then fall over in a faint.

One girl-Aaaaaaaaaagh!-[As she falls, she makes a sound "Plop!"]

Other girl-Aaaaaaaaaagh!-["Plop!" Clay and the Airman both point at them laughing and then the Bartender keels over.]

Bartender-Aaaaaaaaaagh!-["Plop!" And now a cartoon dialogue balloon appears above the entrance to the other saloon.]

Balloon-Aaaaaaaaagh!-[And this is followed by another dialogue balloon that says "Plop"! Pointing at the balloons over the other saloon, Clay goes insane with laughter, shaking the awful duck straight up so it rolls back rightside out and Clay lets go of it so he can roll back and forth the length of his Caddy laughing.]

Minstrel-[circling the stage like a toy spinning top and strumming before leaping on the grill of the car and taking the Mercury pose of a hood ornament. The two girls and the visible bartender recover and stand during this.]-An aspirin! An aspirin! Give me every performance a little aspirin if if if if if I gotta do this every time! Olé!

Clay-[heading for the Minstrel while rolling up his sleeve laughing]-Let's us do that just one more time this time.

Minstrel-[leaping down, strumming, half-dancing but running off-stage left, Clay after him]-No that's enough enough just now! Enough enough enough enough! Enough enough enough olé!-[Exit]

Clay-[stage-left, laughing, catching sight of the audience to then swing elbows left and right and dance downstage then over toward the Airman while laughing crazily]-Nagasaki!Hiroshima!Nagasaki!Hiroshima!Nagasaki!Hiroshima!Nagasaki!Hiroshima!

Airman-[catching on and joining in, both laughing riotously]-Nagasaki! Hiroshima! Nagasaki! Hiroshima! Nagasaki! Hiroshima! Nagasaki! Hiroshima!-[then turning to pound on Clay's chest while laughing]-What a showman! What a famous artist! Won't you be my Michelangelo?

Clay-[holding his headset of earphones and visor up out of harm's way]-Let's not get on top of me, okay? You know what delicate equipment is?

Airman-[pulling at the headset to see inside]-This where you got your famous paintings? I read about them. Great stuff, they say. C'mon, let me see!

Clay-[softening, letting him look]-Just a peek, okay.

Airman-[jerking his head back and aside after looking]-Whoo Haw! That's a mind ripper!-[looks back again]-But it's this place.-[He looks around him and back again]-Like in other dimensions. You're using this place? But why the cable car? You have to have a cable car?

Clay-Ha! That's your conscience. You're putting it in. Ha!

Airman-Oh well, what's a cable car or two between friends?

Clay-[Pulling at the earphones so they spread along with the visor and both of them can look and listen together, he puts the set on both their heads. They start walking around the stage and pointing at things.]-I've not been able to get it all under the right kind of control. Like you and your cable car! These trees now, the leaves might fall-[The leaves fall on all the trees.]-But that doesn't give anything.-[The leaves float back up onto the trees.]-And this guy in the window-[pointing at Abe]-I'm trying to work him into it only he's totally uncontrollable the way he is now. I just don't know what's gointo happen with him and you know, that's good. That's where I learn the new stuff.

Airman-[dodging out of the viewer]-Hey, you gotta put that behind you, man. We got to have everything coordinate or we'll be tipping left when we should be right, know what I mean? Everything coordinate.

Clay-You mean you want me to control you and these others, everybody?

Airman-Somebody's got to be in charge, man, or all the squad will hit the cliffs.-[He gets back into the earphones and viewer.]-I want to see how the whole thing goes, all right? Show me the next scene.

Clay-[jerking it away from him]-Hey! I haven't done enough with here yet. Not even the style of it all.

Airman-[getting back into the set]-What style? It's all the same, isn't it?

Clay-[changing the entire set flamboyantly as he speaks, one arm around the Airman's shoulders in a comraderie manner]-I might decide to go Jackson Pollock, see?-[The set goes Jackson Pollock.]

Airman-Experiencable! That's entirely experiencable!

Clay-Or I could do a bit of Van Gogh!-[Now Van Gogh]

Airman-A wallowing feast! Wallowing, wallowing, wallowing feast!

Clay-Monet? Like a bit of old cathedral in the sunlight?-[again]

Airman-Oooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaawwwww! Do you know what you can do, man? You can do it. You can give us all a world of perfect order like on Star Trek! Think of it, man! We're all ready for virtual reality. We all want to live a perfect American life like on the good ship Enterprise. All we need is to put on your headset every morning and we're like on the Truman Show. We'll never need anything. We'll never fear anything. We'll have perfect American freedom, and you can do it for us now. You can make all the American skies free of all the trash that's in our lives right now.

Abe-[from the window]-Hey! Hey! What do you roughnecks think you're doing down there?

Clay-[with a wave of his hand clicking everything on stage back as it was. Speaking to Airman]-You see what I mean? I've got to understand this joker. He's a real wild card. I want to read him right before I put him in the deal.

Airman-No, no, man. You're coordinate as you are and we can all do it your way now.

Clay-I'm not the leader. No führer me, fellow.

Abe-D'you hear me down there? Don't tamper with this neighborhood, you understand me? This neighborhood is about to be cleansed of all your filthy sort!

Clay-Just quiet down. You'll get your turn.

Abe-Is that so? Well, I think I know you.-[disappears from the window]

Airman-Hey, he's threatening you!-[slips something onto his hand]-Want me to brass-knuckle him?

Clay-[putting his headset and the sack containing the bottle in a safe place in the front of the car and getting into the back seat, stretching out to wait]-No no, get over the other side the stairs and watch. You'll enjoy the hell out of this.-[He watches as Abe comes rushing out the door, down the steps and disappears into the stage-right saloon. Kason sits up.]-You see? I can never tell about him.-[The Bartender has gone in with Abe. The girls also.]

Airman-[coming out from beside the stairs]-He dove in the dive to snatch some Dutch courage.

Clay-Can you get that from beer? Bill says he drinks beer forever.

Airman-Who's Bill?

Bill-[comes running in stage right with a shopping bag]-What's happening?

Clay-Abe just ran out and down into that bar.

Bill-With the baby?

Clay-Hey, yeah, the baby! I clean forgot the baby. No, he didn't have the baby.

Bill-He left the baby alone? That crazy preacher!-[She runs into the doorway of the apartment and disappears.]

Airman-You going to answer my question?

Clay-Which one?

Airman-Who the blue britches is Bill?

Abe-[coming out with a beer bottle in each hand, taking a swig from one]-Wilma, God bless her!-[bearing down on Airman, face to face]-And who are you to have her saintly name in your blasphemous mouth?

Airman-God almighty's avenging angel, that's who I am!-[And he swings his brass knuckles in Abe's face, who simply looks to the side, lets it go by and smashes a beer over Airman's head, who goes down.

Abe-Blasphemer!-[He proceeds on to Clay without further pause.]-Ye be all of ye infamous blasphemers!

Clay-[reassuming his position sprawled in the back seat as he laughs at Abe]-You talk like some fucking preacher that's had his ass-kissing ass kicked out by his congregation and wants to start a witch hunt to get it back!

Abe-[seizing open the door across from Clay]-What are you saying? What are you saying, you originator of devils? Yes! Yes!-[throwing an arm up as if suddenly inspired]-It was probably you who put the curse on Bill that made me have that baby! You originated my baby!

Clay-Wilma!

Abe-What?

Clay-Not Bill, Wilma! You're forgetting your lines, preacher, but what was that you just said? You said that I put the curse on our saintly Wilma that made you have that baby? You have a fucked-up baby with a woman I never saw in my life and you say I caused it? Man, you are one totally fucked up mothah fuckah!

Abe-[starting to pile in on him then thinking better of that and going round the back and starting up there but Clay has turned toward him and he comes on round to the downstage door, swinging it open.]-I'm going to send you back to hell, you profoundest of scourges. I've read about you!-[Bill appears in the window above with the baby and stands watching.]

Clay-Don't believe anything Time says, and Newsweek is every week full of idiot shit!

Abe-I never read those stupid rags written by commoners for commoners like you. No, I read all about you in Wilma's blessed diaries!-[He backs away from the open door and gets up on the hood to stomp it while the Airman is rising behind him.]

Clay-[relaxed]-Well, I'm thinking uh getting a 1980 Bentz tomorrow so bash away, fat-ass!

Abe-Fat-ass!?!-[leaping across the windshield onto the front seat and on across toward Clay who stands to meet him, seizing his shirt front, smashing the man flat against his chest and taking him back with him onto the rear seat, holding him relentlessly close where Abe's flailing, smashing fists can't touch him.]-I got you!

Airman-[landing on Abe's back and rolling out of the car with him, the back door swinging open to accommodate them]-Who you got, Cholly Hoss? Pound you to pieces an make dental floss!

Abe-[gripping Airman's arms and fiercely shaking him then throwing him, smashing, stunned against the Cadillac and down again]-Out of my way, you lesser demon!

Airman-[holding his head]-Oooooo! Must be Burt Lancaster!

Clay-[still seated, confronted by Abe again, offering the other man his hands]-What was it you said you would do with my hands?

Abe-Oh yeah! Oh yeah! The hands!-[He goes for the hands, but as before, Kason grabs his shirt and pulls him in on top, holding him there while Abe flails fiercely, smashing his fists all around Kason.]

Abe-[After three figures, two young men and a girl, come running on from stage-left and stop around the Cadillac. They are not cartoons, but darkness flashes from them, drifts from them like smoke and unites them as in one body. They are uniformly thin, violent looking and carry unlit torches. Two wear headsets. Abe looks up and speaks to them.]-What are you doing here? It's too early.

Girl-The others are coming.

Bill-[from the window]-Abe! Who are those people?

Abe-[struggling to get free of Kason's grip]-My congregation! Let go of me, you fiend from some outer hell!

Clay-[laughing forcefully]-Let's first do some hands, whatayasay?

Abe-[swinging to hit him and smashing the car door instead]-Owwo! My hand!

Clay-[enjoying himself]-Now the other one, fat-ass!

Abe-Fat-ass!?!-[He swings the other fist and obligingly smashes it on the car door.]-Oweeee! Oh, my hands! My hands!-{Kason releasing him, he sits up on the back of the car mourning over his hands.]-Ow, that's terrible! I've broken my hands!

Clay-[turning to rise and stand over the three newcomers]-And here have come the worshippers of true righteousness to their heavenly services, spreading the benefits of salvation, right? What's that you're carrying, my little holierthanthouers? Could this be a traditional American style witch hunt?-[The three put the torches behind their backs and retreat a bit but they are still flashing a menacing darkness and glaring up at the figure of Kason as if they are looking at Satan himself.]

Bill-Abe! Who are those people and what are they here for?

Abe-[sitting on the car and close to tears, looking around in a kind of terror at the three. As he speaks, he puts his face down into his wounded hands.]-They've come to burn you, Wilma.

The Three-[lighting the torches and holding them high]-Yes! Burn, witch! Burn in your damnation!

Bill-[in a near scream]-Yes? And the baby?

Abe-[now openly weeping]-Yes! My baby, too!

Bill-[giving off a scream that is the outraged cry of a full-sized elephant that makes everyone on stage either step back or register some kind of startled shock]-Where is love in you people? You have a god who would burn this innocent child for being born like me? Where is the love in you people?-[On top of her protestations the rumble of the lynch mob fills the theatre and the darkness of their figures and the flames of their torches come on the stage from both sides, the Airman backing up into the front of the car so that the only completely lit place now is in the car with Kason, Abe and the Airman.]

The Mob-[in their darkness, here and there can be seen, as if printed on some costumes, 666. Many wear headsets.]-Witches! Devils! Burn the witches! Burn the unclean demonic creatures, everything hated by God!-[Across the entire screen on which the action is visible come close-ups of their hate-filled faces screaming]-Devils! Witches! Burn all the witches for sweet Jesus' sake! Burn the perversions off the face of God's earth!

Abe-[standing in the car seat and raising his hands]-No! No! You can't do this terrible thing!

The Mob-Burn, too, you lover of perverts! Burn!

Abe-Can't you forgive us?-[waving upward to Bill and the baby]-Can't you forgive them for what they are? You act like people of hate who never heard of Christian forgiveness! Jesus forgives!

The Mob-Blasphemer! Blasphemer! Burn with the evil that you love!

Clay-[standing on the near edge of the car and putting an arm around Airman]-Hey, folks! Are you gointo burn me, too, and every air force man who offers his life and everybody else's life too for America?-[Airman bows to them all.]

Bill-Clayton, can't you do something about this craziness?

Clay-[bending in the front seat and making a vague gesture for his equipment]-Yeah, I could close the curtains, but I can't seem to find the buttons right now.

Bill-Close the curtains? Close the curtains? Are you responsible for all this? Are you trying to get me burned?

Clay-[laughing a little]-Not really, Bill. Some things just take their own natural course, you know.-[A flash of strong light from stage left falls like a wave of power down upon the mob's darkness. They are struck back as by a tidal force and with screams and protests they are washed to the left edge of the stage entirely as Suzan comes on stage right with radiance issuing about her and with huge flashing wings that swing above her head.]

Suzan-Amscray, you lowlife!

Abe-It's the avenging angel!

Suzan-Damn right! Avenging the innocent against you! And all you chauvinist pigs! I should run you out too! All of you!

Clay-Suzan, what are you doing with those goddamned wings?

Airman-[in a sort of sotto voice]-Careful, it's a fucking angel!

Clay-Horseshit! That's just Suzan.

Airman-No! No! I know em when I see em.

Clay-[laughing]-What do you know about angels?

Airman-We shoot em outta the skies all the time.

Abe-You shoot angels?

Airman-Yeah, we got to keep the American airways clear, you see. But it's old military history. Miles Standish's guys shot a bunch of em with their blunderbuses. They screw up American history terribly, just like Monica.

Abe-Monica? An angel?

Airman-See what I mean? They really screw up American history. So watch your step with this one.

Clay-C'mon, Suzan. What're you doing with those goddamned wings? You don't have wings!

Suzan-I kept them rolled tight, Clay, even in bed.

Clay-Maybe that's why you're such a lousy lay. And what d'you think you're doing now?

Suzan-[lifting her arms and sending flashes of light from her wings]-Victory! Victory for the innocents and the beautiful of this world over you patriarchal hypocrites!-[She rises to the window where Bill is standing.]-Give her to me, Bill sweetheart, and I'll take her to a better place by far!-[Bill, open-mouthed, hands her the baby which Suzan holds high in triumph.]-Victory at last for our kind! Victory!-[Exit upwards.]

Airman-[to Kason while digging the other man's equipment out of the front seat and handing it to him]-You see what I mean? You see what I mean, man? You've got to stop all this wild card action. You've got to shut up the air locks and keep everything rigged tight for space flight.

Clay-[mouth open and staring up at Suzan as he seizes the headset and puts it around his neck, hanging its box to his belt as he turns in a fury on all those standing on the stage]-Who let this goddamn angel get into my production? Uh?-[leaping out of the car and seizing one of the crowd]-Who let a fucking angel get into this? C'mon goddammit, I wanna know!

Crowd Member-Whatta I know, Clay? I got nothing to do with anything!

Second Crowd Member-Yeah. Whattaya think you're doin, Clay? This isn't being very professional!

Clay-[grabbing the Second One]-What are you talking about, professional? You cheap, fucking flunkies that'll do anything just to get a part. Who d'you think is shaping this world around you? Look in your goddam headset, fuckoff! It's my world you're in and I wanta know who stuck that motherfuckin angel into my production!

Second One-[He clobbers Kason with a big fist so Kason almost falls then turns to the others.]-D'you hear that? Let's just get outta here afore we all lose our Guild licences.

Another Crowd Memeber-Yeah! This is serious!-[The crowd exits stage left.]

Clay-[swinging a long arm up over his head and down to stomp his foot]-Aww! Aww!-[He yells upwards.]-Suzan! You come back here goddmmit!-[pause]-Aww!-[He stomps his foot again then straightens up in a dejected way, but then slumps against the side of his car scratching his head.]

Airman-[hopping down and throwing an arm around Kason]-Never mind, pal. She won't get far.

Abe-Whattaya mean, flyboy?

Airman-We got black helicopters'll bring her down.

Clay-[catching him by the front of his uniform in his long fingers]-Not above this city you don't, buster! The gangs all over everywhere are ready to take them out with Stingers like swatting flies.

Airman-Ha! Don't you be so flab-brained trusting, Michelangelo. We got black helicopters up all over this country.

Clay-Ha, yourself, padjo! This country's too big for you military would be's to fill out the forms of your fairy tales. You know nothing about what's going on with our gangs in now among your men, all of them ready now. What we do have is armed gangs all over this country all of them the working class ready to comb you military out of our hair right now, but hey! What's this now we got happening?-[He throws his arms around to each side then looks up again and yells upward toward Suzan.]-And you get it straight, Suzan, angels are not women, y'understand?

Abe-[waving upward]-Is Wilma a woman?

Wilma-[starting to scream and then cutting off to look upward again in amazement, suddenly comprehending what is being said about her]-I heard that Abe Meadows! I heard what you…

Abe-[waving up again feebly then crying into his hurt hands]-Is my baby a woman?

Clay-[looks into his headset yelling]-What's going on here?-[He stomps twice, then walks, slumped, over to the car, to clamber in over the door and sit down beside Abe on the back of the seat.]-Did you bring that goddam angel on? Was that your idea?

Abe-What do you mean? I never had anything to do with angels in all my life. They don't really exist. Don't you know that? They just don't really exist!

Clay-[leaning in on Abe and speaking sotto voice]-Do you think that smell is maybe the smell of an angel? Suzan kinda smelled like that in her own way.

Abe-[lifting his hands before his face with a look of amazement]-Oh no! Oh no! No, no, no, no, no! Get out of my mind, you substitute demon you!

Clay-[nudging him with his shoulder]-Hey, how're you doin with your hands, fella?

Abe-[holding them up and looking at them]-They hurt like old style billy hell, man.

Clay-[calling up to Bill as he gets out over the back of the car to open the trunk]-Bill, you got any ice up there?

Bill-[still looking up toward Suzan]-What? What'd you say?

Clay-Ice! Have you got any ice for this man's hands? And maybe some beer?

Bill-Oh! Yeah, sure, why don't you come up?-[She turns her eyes back up toward Suzan.]

Clay-[bringing out three bottles of Scotch and some video tapes stacked up with a coil of rope, speaking to Abe]-Whattaya say, Elmer Gantry? D'you like a beer or two?

Abe-[standing]-Well, I guess I do need something after that.

Clay-[as the curtain is closing, coming around to Airman, having trouble with his load]-I think right now at this point in space and time, we all could use a little Hitler and a little whiskey. I've always felt that Adolph was the genie in these old tapes waiting for just this kinda thing. Just the genie in the bottle. But right now let's us guys, all of us, you two and me, just go up to Wilma's and on top of all that has just transpired, let's just get ourselves stone drunk! Whattaya say?

Airman-[helping Kason with the bottles and tapes]-What's the rope for?

Clay-Well, you never know when the sex'll turn kinky, y'know.

Airman-Oh sure sure sure. But you've get a genie in a bottle named Adolph? You're gonna let him loose? We could really use somebody named Adolph about now.

Clay-[his arms around the other two as they head up the stairs]-Right now, let's us guys just go up together and get ourselves putrid, blind, absolutely rotten stone drunk, okay? I really do think that's what we all need along about now. Right, fellas?

CURTAIN ON ACT II, SCENE II

ACT II, SCENE III

[Bill's apartment. Furniture rundown. A large television set is near stage center left playing Kason's tapes made from old Nazi movies of their huge demonstrations with the band music and mob noises. Balancing off the t.v. stage center right is a full-sized wooden coffin, standing upright its lid open and on hinges like a door. Airman is inside it bound and gagged, his eyes staring furiously about. All of the people in this scene are living actors, no cartoons. At this moment three gang members are bringing in folding chairs and setting them in front of Airman and the coffin to create an audience. Already some of the crowd people are sitting in chairs watching the t.v. or looking into headsets or talking to one another. All around are hanging large paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, the Missouri hometown painter. Kason is sprawled in an overstuffed easy chair, his headset on, staring into it happily. He laughs but it is a laughter of concentration and enjoyment of his own ingenuity while waving an especially long samurai sword in one hand and singing the Horst Wessel song. He leaps to his feet with a triumphant exclamation in a tense moment of inspiration, knees spread, feet in opposite directions, head turned hard right, arms spread and looking like an African idol before he goes into a long-legged, long-armed dance.]

Clay-Keedlee Bah Pooh Pah Pooh! Keedlee Bah Pooh Pooh!-[leaps to the right, turning his head and dragging his left foot under him]-Keedlee Bah Pooh Pah Pooh! Keedlee Bah Pooh Pooh!-[leaps to the left reversing everything.]-Keelee Bah Pooh Pah Pooh! Keedlee Bah Pooh Pooh!-[starts bouncing without moving his feet]-When we're a marching outta the fatherland y'know, shwartz brownish maidens KEEP YOUR ASS IN THE HOUSE!-[He starts marching then hits the idol pose again, singing.]-Keedlee Bah Pooh Pah Pooh! Keedlee Bah Pooh Pah!-[and marches off into the kitchen then suddenly pirouettes, pirouettes, pirouettes with savage shouts across the stage laughing to then cross again in jettes or whatever you call the long-legged leaps and disappear.]

[Bill and Abe are downstage arguing. Abe has both his hands plunged into a bucket of ice. Bill has a black eye.]

Abe-[commenting on Kason]-That guy's dangerous; can't you tell that?

Bill-But why'd you hit me in the eye, goddammit! Here I was helping you with your goddamned hands and the minute you stick them in the ice you elbow me right in the eye!

Abe-It was just a knee-jerk reaction to the pain, Wilma. I'd never hit you like that. You know that.

Bill-Oh yeah! You think I forget everything? You beat me terribly when we were staying at your mother's house, all the while telling me you were trying to make a good home for me.

Abe-All of us need a good home, Wilma.

Bill-You mean all you men need a good home kept by a security-mad female you clap inside four walls to be your imprisoned homekeeper like your poor helpless sap of a mother. But drive on by me, mister, cause I got more important work than shining her shell collections and her silverware.

Abe-You think I don't know you? You want to think your difference makes you a very unusual woman, something special and especially free, especially significant and even especially modern. That every amazing detail of your life will be a small treasure when put into print, your magnanimous gift to the world in some best-selling book. But out there down that hall, underneath your floors, in the apartments above, women are right now giving up their time, their pleasures, and all your sort of freedom for what? I'll tell you for what. For love! Each shaping her own small world according to her dream of love gathered from kisses and sentimental songs and anything that moves her heart. That lovely vessel of sweetness and dream, the heart of a woman. And the home she makes for a man is just that, an image of her own sacred heart. A holy haven for the man she really loves.-[He breaks down crying in self-pity.]-And I had it and I lost it. All for the sake of you. I gave up everything for you, Wilma. And I don't really know why? Why? Is it that crazy smell you put off that gets into my blood and makes me become a tiger? That crazy smell! You're still driving me crazy, Wilma, Bill, and I can't get away from you. You're dragging me into hell with you, and I feel like I want it. You hear that? I feel like I want it!

Bill-You want to blame me for everything. And those people tonight, you knew they were coming. Why didn't you warn me away?

Abe-I couldn't really believe they would come, Bill…Wilma. I couldn't believe it.

Bill-[eyeing him with some fear]-Are you sure you weren't agreeing with them? Even for your own baby? I don't see you upset now that she's been carried off by that…that impossible creature. You're glad she's gone. I can see that/

Abe-Somehow it's all God's work, Wilma. You have to have faith.

Bill-Yeah, sure, and wouldn't you have said the same thing if they had burned me? Good grief, Abe! You'd have said the same thing!

Abe-You have to have faith in the will of God, Wilma, dear. If it's God's will, then surely he would cleanse your soul and you would be a saint with him. We have to obey him and act out his will whatever the cost.

Bill-I could hate you when you talk like that. It's so mean. So cruel. So without any ounce of real love.

Abe-Wilma! Bill! We have to help God cleanse this world of the evil in it, all the perversion!

Bill-Yeah, I've heard that all my life. And always I'm the perversion and now your baby is another example. And we are the innocents, she and I, while you people? Where is the love in you people? Where in all of you is the love?

Abe-If it's the ordinance of God, Wilma! Bill! We cannot go against the laws of God. None of us!

Bill-And you'd stand there and let them burn me and your own baby? You'd do that, you insane shepherd of murderers?

Abe-It could cleanse you and cleanse my child so you'll be in the arms of God, both of

you saints forever! Holy, clean and normal like everyone else, forever! You have to think of the greater possibilities.

Bill-[crying so hard she wails]-Normal! Normal! You people think the only blessed ones are the normal. You make me so afraid. The way my father made me feel when he was threatening to throw me out and finally did, without a penny!

Abe-[caressing her protectingly:]-Wilma, honey, I'm sorry about that. I'd do anything in the world to keep those things from happening to you or any woman. It's beyond me how any man can be so cruel.

Bill-Abe Meadows, you are the godawful end! What do you call this eye? Is this your balm in Gilead to soothe all the pain of beholding this miserable coal mine of a life your God has given me and everyone like me? You walk around assuming the role of God's gift to womanhood, their very own red-cross shield against sin and corruption. I've never lived through more hell than this personal inferno you keep burning for me in the name of your love.

Abe-But you do know I love you! You know it damn well!-[getting wild]-Hell, I'm crazy for you! You drive me out of my mind!-[He kisses her crushingly. When he releases her, she pulls back in terror of his outburst.]-And I am sorry, terribly, terribly sorry, despite anything else I may say, that ever I hurt you. I'd never allow so much as a rough word let alone a rough hand near you if your…if your…if your abnormal ways didn't drive me so wild. But really…the truth is… all you do is you mock me. You take a superior attitude over everything I do. You, living here in this slovenly place. You don't even know what it is to have a good home. And after I've given up everything for you, all for my love of you, you always mock that love. All the time writing down everything you don't like about what I do and say.

Bill-That's not true. On those pages, whatever the hurt and whatever the cost, I've set down besides every twist of the knifeblade, every brief blossoming of love you've ever given me. For whatever it's worth, it's there along with the gory tracks of all the other angry, hungry men who've reached out for me. For whatever it's worth, all the loneliness and despair, the laughter and that little bit of love. It's got to be worth something. If only people will take it and make a beautiful book out of it to put on family's shelves in their, snug little homes and in places around the city. Then I'll feel like I belong somewhere. They've got to want it. They've got to give it a place in their lives.

Abe-You think people will take that filth into their homes for their children to sometime read and be influenced by?

Bill-But children need to learn the truth, especially children that are like me that no one explains anything to and no one wants to know about. So where do we go with our lives? Out into empty space, like shot off the earth in a rocket? Better to live in Clay Kason's visions of virtual reality where everybody accepts everybody else.

Abe-Sounds like the old equality, liberty, fraternity.

Bill-That's what he said. Exactly that.

[At this point, gang members burst in with boxes of headsets which they scatter around the room, giving them to those who don't have them.]

Spuds, a Killah-[to Bill and Abe]-Heeyah, you two, these're yours! Courtesy of the Flyboy and his winnings. These are the new ones, all coordinate with the satellite up there, all America coordinate with the big box up in the sky. It's like the Truman Show, y'see? We got an electronic paradise!

Bill-What? For me? Can I watch t.v. on it? And Clayton's productions and everything?

Abe-I'm not part of this insanity!-[taking the headset anyway]

Spuds-Hey, bruther Killah! We got the headsets an we sent the messages, like you said!

Clay-[spinning in from the kitchen and nipping the band off Airman's mouth with an expert flip of his samurai]-Y'hear that, flyboy? You ready to die!

Airman-Whattaya mean, man? Hey, I'm with you, pallio. We're on the same side. Didn't you use my money for all that equipment? All that money! Yeah, but it's okay! It's okay, I tell you. You got some great equipment, huh? Right?

Clay-Yeah, thanks to you we paid for communications to all points tonight. Very generous of you.

Airman-Yeah, sure, okay, and I promise I'll not say anything again, not another word about this rat's nest of a place you're girl friend lives in okay, just don't gag me anymore. An what's the dying part, uh? Nobody's going to die, y'know. It's just a manner of speaking, right? We're all right about that, right? Cause we have got to use some logic, don't we? Hasn't there got to be at least some logic to this, buddy? Right, buddy?

Clay-Yeah, sure, it's all buddy-buddy and pally-pally until you clip our cable car down and then we hear no buddy-buddy, no pally-pally. No, then you are the special kind the same as dear little Kenny Starr that the law cannot touch. The law can drive our president out of his family, out of his office and into the poorhouse just because he was caught fucking. You get caught violating orders and killing twenty people just like the Congressmen get caught but the media all lie for your kind and celebrate you. You're none of you any pals or buddies of ours, right, everybody?-[He speaks to his audience in the folding chairs.]

The Audience-[enough of them]-Yeah, sure!

Clay- Hey, get it all straight right now, fella. Who are we, huh? We are the Bill Clinton people your kind could not fool. Our man? Bill Clinton. Our man. Because your kind caught him fucking and could prove it but nobody caught your kind fucking because they weren't after you with forty million dollars, just frolicking around at a low attitude and killing some lower order of tourists-that's your kind. Your kind said in your ass-kissing media that you could lynch Clinton and take his office. That has as much logic as to say he was caught shitting but nobody caught your kind shitting. That's how much sense you made. We stood up and said not to touch that office for it belongs to us, right everybody?

His Audience-[in a scattered way]-Right!

Clay-But your kind said it belonged to only the special such as you like Kenny Starr always above the law. Hell, all you had to do was take a quick look outside your airplane and you could see clearly how low you were, but no, you had a faulty altimeter. That's your logic. So logic says we have to show how right we, now, are. We are the guys who put your planes together and get them up there for you and do all the real fighting and war winning but we don't do it for you. We do it for the kind of living we do and we believe in. So tonight we are calling our pigeons home everywhere in all our country. It's roosting time in the good old U.S.A. Spuds? You say all the contact points responded?

Airman-What are you ever talking about, man? What are you raving about? You know I haven't anything to do with all that.

Clay-No. No more than you had to do with the cable car, right? Well, you and your kind have shown the people what you are, and we, all the many millions of us, have shown you special, above the law people what we are.

Spuds-Everybody's got their military man at the point, Killah! All across the country, the military at the point.

Airman-Hey, look! Look! Yeah, I agree. You see? I'm really very, very agreeable, and if you'll just let me go, just untie me, I'll never say another word how you people below the poverty line live, even the governor of Missouri, y'understand? So you're not up to American standards? That's okay. That's okay. We'll just look the other way, y'understand? Not a word! Not a peep! Just let me go, okay?

A lady of advanced years sitting among the others-Listen to the guy. Listen to his American standards. Why don't you just do the good ole Mel Gibson thing and kill him.

Airman-What'd y' say, Ma'am? Don't say that, okay? What'd y'say that for?

Lady-You! I heard you. You come in here and first thing you insulted this lady in her own home. I heard you. By golly, I wish I could live in a place this good. But you don't want to hear about that now do you? Well, I've always found the military disgusting. They're all, generals and the lot of them just plain old, down home, dirty-brained disgusting.

A man like her-Right, disgusting is the word. Yeah, just kill him.

The Audience-[in a wave of agreement]-Yeah, disgusting.

Another lady-Why? Why d'you want to kill that nice young man?

Another man-You think they wouldn't kill us without even asking our names?

First lady-Right. Just had some order to drop some bombs, you know. Whooom goes a whole apartment block with all of us and our babies in it.

The other man-Yeah, whooom! D'you hear what that one said about the Iraqian soldiers, all the huge army the bombers caught out in the valley that day?

Other lady-Yeah, he said it was like going into your kitchen at night and catching cockroaches all over your floor and stomping them.

Another lady-And that one in Vietnam saying how easy it was to gun down the natives from his little fighter plane.

Airman-Oh, come on, folks, I'm your man. Don't you know that? I represent you.

Little lady-No, Bill Clinton represents us. We want Bill Clinton and we don't want your kind nor anybody like you.

Airman-But goddamit, you people aren't making any sense!

Clay-Look, just shut your mouth about these people, you got that? These are my people and this production's going to go any way I want it to and I don't give one damn what kind of sense it makes any more than those green with envy little Republicans and Starr gave a damn as long as they could lynch the greatest man in Washington, D.C., on the cover of their asskissing news magazines and in their misinformaton histories. No! I'm going to bring this to the conclusion I want just as they twist all of history to get what they want and to hell with the hindmost. You got that, cable snipper?

Airman-I didn't snip that cable!

Clay-No, but you wiped out the video tape.

Airman-How did you know that?

Clay-I had to go back because I forgot my cigarettes.

Airman-What's that supposed to mean?

Clay-Any damn thing you like. Hey, Spuds, are we about ready?

Spuds-[on his mobile]-Yeah, the center is holding.

Airman-What center? What's he talking about?

Clay-We've got the Web. And all the guys are in their barracks ready on the Line.

Airman-My God! You're gointo take over? It's a putsch? You're doing the Hitler thing?

Clay-Hitler couldn't scratch his ass in this league, buster. Not him and his whole, small-souled kraut nation. Hell, he couldn't even get into an art school. Talk about dumb! I've got a master's degree and he couldn't even get into an art school. And he thought war was the way, war and the military. But it's the people that are the way and we're gointo chop the whole stupid idea of military all over the country right now, tonight. Then we'll all be coordinate, just as you said we should. We're all Americans gointo be coordinate in a world of perfect art. Only the military are gonna be cut out of it. All of them. You guys ready?

Spuds-[on the phone]-You guys ready? Yeah, Killah, all ready!

Clay-[expertly slipping the samurai into a slit on the coffin door which directs it in toward the Airman]-Okay, tell them to give it the chop!

Spuds-Give it the chop, everybody!-[as Kason swings the lid over, the last we see of the open-mouthed Airman or hear is a great and final CHOP!.]

Clay-[The music starts up and Kason, turning to his audience, raises his hands]-Everybody put on your little headsets now. Entertainment time. Time for your own guaranteed wonder world a la the production that brings our own entertainment adoring Americans finally and triumphantly into the everlasting, Rancho Santa Fe, behind the comet Star Trek. Hop your little surfboards, everybody, and let's just all fly away into our own painted blue heaven together!-[Everybody, including Kason puts on the headsets.]

Bill-[putting on hers]-Oh, Abe! It's the world I've always wanted. Like Snow White and Star Trek all rolled into one!

Abe-[throwing aside his headset and expanding Bill's and getting into it with her so they are looking head to head]-Okay then! Okay, Wilma, Bill, what's heaven to you is hell to me so we'll just all go down to Kason's Walt Disney hell together.-[And as blood seeps slowly out at the bottom of the casket, a pink and rose curtain comes down with bluebirds and butterflies on it and the Walt Disney theme sung by Snow White, Some Day My Prince Will Come, takes over Dolby. There is a rising roaring accumulation of applause and cheering, at least from Dolby.]

END OF ACT TWO

]

ACT THREE

[Back to almost the same scene as Act I with the same sculpture outlines and photos, but now the bed is nowhere to be seen, Rather there is living room furniture about, none of it of any quality as furniture except things that are hand-me-down. Anywhere there is a surface, a sculpture stands or sits. There is a sofa and coffee table and beside the sofa is a fax-phone of noticeable size. Vika is standing at a light table and drawing freely in a large projection on the wall. As always, her lines are a proof of absolute quality at least to those at a level capable of responding to them. With her present equipment she turns the drawings three-dimensionally so they are as all-around as her sculptures, and as with all her sculptures, the contours, from whatever angle they are seen, are exaltingly beautiful. She is playing Leonard Cohen singing Dance Me to the End of Love. Roy comes in. On his entrance we are looking down as from a high ceiling and at each side the door he enters are two columns entwined with leafy vines with flowers and grapes. These columns are repeated down the walls, the projection of Vika's drawing is seen between two of them. Nothing of these columns is visible before his entrance or after the view drops again to eyelevel. But as we look down, looking down as if to show that someone is watching all of this action from this higher viewpoint, we also, if we are watchful, can get a view of what would be the stage-right end of the room as being in a strangely smokey turmoil as if the result of a huge explosion. None of this is evident when our view is at the eyelevel of Vika and Roy.]

Roy-Hey, magnificence! I got rid of her!

Vika-[not really listening to him]-Got rid of whom?

Roy-Roxanne!

Vika-Roxanne who?

Roy-The art critic!

Vika-You mean Roxanne? What did you do with her?

Roy-Left her with Clay Kason.-[laughs]-Ha! She'll learn a few things from him!

Vika-Why'd you do that, Roy? You know he's fiendish.

Roy-It's what she wanted. What she insisted on. These critics think they can interview Beelzebub and be appreciated. But you should see what the bastard has done to my play. He's taken it over completely and it's like the Turks blowing up the Parthenon. It's as if he just blew the second act all to hell. Hey! I see you got your PlayStation III installed. Looks great!

Vika-What Act II?

Roy-What Act II? Of my play Roxanne Stratou. You do remember my play. Vika. Vika, you do remember my play Roxanne Stratou, don't you? Give me a little bit of attention, won't you, please?

Vika-[continuing to create a large drawing across the wall, and speaking from a forcefield of defiance cultivated against the minor stupidities of a world of small-souled work slaves]-I don't remember anything at this moment.

Roy-[beginning desperation with her]-My play? You don't remember my play? You're not even trying! You could at least try!

Vika-How? How do you want me to try?

Roy-Don't put it off on me. It's you who has to remember! I can't do it for you. You don't even try. You just say immediately like waving your hand in my face, "At this moment, I don't remember." Dammit, you have a reason for doing that and not trying. Why do you do that? Are you throwing away all our past? I know you despise everything about this small-souled virtual-reality loving world, but are you forgetting us?

Vika-[continuing to draw]-I don't want to.

Roy-Yes, you do. Something in you wants this to happen. Why? I believed you liked the play and wanted to know the rest of it.

Vika-Give me a hint.

Roy-Give you a hint? Okay, okay, you say you don't remember right now, this moment. So that must mean that some moment later, you will remember. Shall we wait? Now! Do you remember? Shall we wait agaain? Do you really think that at another moment, you will remember?-[He waits for a reply but she only becomes more inense with her drawing movements]-Vika, speak to me! Please, speak to me!

Vika-Don't push me!

Roy-But, but I can't do this any differently. Don't you want me to help you?

Vika-Yes, I want you to help me. But show some kindness.

Roy-But you're putting it all off on me, and you're not trying to remember. Whenever I try to remember something that is difficult for me, I have to work at it, recalling whatever I can that's related to whatever I am after until something connects, and it takes time, but you immediately say "I don't remember anything at this moment" without making any effort at all! So you have a reason, you must have a reason!

Vika-But I want to remember.

Roy-[now desperate]-You lie! You lie! If you wanted to remember you would try!

Vika-You have to help me try.

Roy-You see! You see! You put it all off onto me, that I must do it, that I must try for you, when you are not trying at all!

Vika-If you would stop pushing me, that would help me.

Roy-[relaxing and going into an appreciative laugh]-That's the real truth. Yes. If you would stop pushing me, that would help me. Yes. I believe that. You are the only person I know in this entire waste of a world that is going toward reality, and pushing you only hurts that. You are the only one whose true form is emerging from the plethora of meaningless words that have polluted the known world and you have become completely defiant of anyone or anything pushing you or demanding from you. Yes, I see it! All your life you resisted Serafim demanding of you and your mother demanding of you. And yes, yes, you are insisting upon love as you began when you were a little girl to insist, Yes, I see it because I believe in you before everything else and anyone else in all this insane world. I believe in you!-[At this moment the telephone rings and as Roy picks it up, the fax signal sounds and a fax message begins.]-Damn!-[He gets up and looks at the paper pushing up out of the machine, reading from it.]-"When your details are all in place, the…Hey! It's Serafim's old theme about your work.

Vika-[offering to look, but not letting it interfere]-What's that?

Roy-[reading]-When your details are all in place, the psychology is compelling. When your…Hey! Again! When your details are all in place, the psychology is compelling. And again! When your details are all in place, the psychology is compelling. Who's doing this? There it is again, same thing. There's no identification. And there it is again, same thing, When your details are all in place, the psychology is…Who's doing this? What do they want? There it is again. Same thing, over and over. Come on, whoever you are, what do you want? Again! Again! Nothing else. Again and again! Hey, they're going to use up all our fax paper with this! I'll take the paper out and they'll get an out-of-paper signal that will make them stop or maybe call us.-[He opens up the fax machine to pull out the paper and a very official, demanding voice comes on the speaker-phone.]

Voice-[with a very definite Greek accent]-Who is doing this, please? Who is it at the other end of the line, please?

Roy-Yeah? Yeah? Can you hear me?

Voice-Of course I can hear you. Who are you, please tell me.

Roy-I am the one you are sending this continuous fax to, and if you don't know who I am, how did this ever happen? How did you ever reach me with such a message?

Voice-Yes, I see. I see your name beside the fax number here.

Roy-Well, I would like to know what you mean by here. Where are you and who are you? Vika, you can bring him up on your Sony PlayStation. Key in this guy, bring him in.-[Vika does, and a stilleto-figured, energetically aging Greek detective appears on the screen. He is able to see them and they see him and communicate. Roxanne Stratou' stylish interiors are visible behind him.]

Voice-I am Inspector Petros Pistevos of the Athenian Police, and I am talking to you from the home of Roxanne Stratou, an important art critic, who is now a missing person.

Roy-What? But I only left her a bit ago at the Rex Theatre. How could anyone be a missing person in that short a time?

Inspector-Are you questioning my authority, sir?

Roy-I am certainly not one who could ever question the authority of the Greek police. But I tell you I only just left her at the theatre.

Inspector-So you are then a suspect.

Roy-No, no, I am not a suspect. Of any kind.

Inspector-In my view you just don't seem concerned about Mrs. Stratou in any way, and I call that suspicious.

Roy-What do you mean, concerned? Why should I be concerned about an art critic?

Inspector-Well, it's an important human being we're talking about. The most beloved and well-received art historian and critic we have ever had. And she has disappeared. This most lovely and good-hearted human being. And I must say, it gives me pleasure to be doing so well on this assignment that I have immediately discovered a suspect. Now tell me this, don't you consider art critics human beings?

Roy-Only if you lean a far way backwards for them, and watch out, for if you do, they're sure to give you a good, heavy, Neitzschean shove.

Inspector-I think you'd better meet me, sir, yes. Meet me down at headquarters and explain this to me face to face.

Roy- Why did you send that message of getting your details in place?

Inspector-What message? I sent no message? I do have a message for you and that is a fact, but please understand at this moment that I have not sent you any message.

Roy-But that is why I contacted you. Who then sent the message?

Inspector-Why, sir, would you have such a belligerent attitude toward art critics?

Roy-Is that the message you have for me?

Inspector-Please do not try to cause confusion. You are known for loving to cause confusion, but please desist at this moment. Please desist.

Roy-All I want to know at this moment is who sent the fax, but look, really, if you want to see the truth of all this, we need to meet where the artists are demonstrating.-[Across the entire the screen now behind Roy and the Inspector, we are looking down at wide suburban streets with broad sidewalks and low modern residences set well back away from the streets, residences with wide verandas. We look down at least at one intersection. No traffic but many people in attitudes of demonstration moving together, though not representing any organization with banners or such. Some are holding up works of art for anyone to see.]

Inspector- You mean this sort of thing? But why are they demonstrating?

Roy-If you'll really look at them-[He steps over and squats down among the little figures of the artists in the streets so that it is like Gulliver in Lilliput.]-you'll find that most artists are always doing that. Picasso, Rembrandt, Leonardo, always showing themselves as what the lords and ladies, or whoever can give status could desire, and you see, these are all trying, in the mobs they make up, to be seen by everyone and admired and made wealthy, each for their special genius. There are literally thousands of them in every city in the world.

Inspector-And you see something quite wrong in that, it seems.

Roy-Look, friend, we have in art the one sure way to rise above the soul-defeating ignorance of humanity, to live ever-ascending lives, and these don't do it. These are where the art critics swoop down and take their victims. From among these Titans.

Inspector-I can't really follow you, my good fellow.-[But he does follow, stepping into the streets and squatting down beside Roy to observe the artists.]-You speak of these people as Titans? Are you referring to the Titans who ate Dionysos, and his father Zeus destroyed them in one huge flame?

Roy-Well, look, I"ll have to refer you to someone who really knows.-[He stands along with the Inspector so they are seen now as giants against the sky.]

Vika-[Her eyes and her face appearing immensely, as was done before, on the background screen while she continues her drawing, paying as little attention to the two men as possible]-In the myth, the impure forms of the Titans cascade from the strengthened, rising flame while at the top the pure form of Dionysos emerges. I want to show that all the forms of truly creative art, as much as the critical mind considers them good or bad, all the forms of true art are clear, pure forms. The art made to be sold is the art of the Titans. My art can be sold but in no way is it made for such a small aim. It has been made for the spirit, the clear, pure spirit which can never be sold. And those who don't believe in that must never be allowed to buy it.

I want to think about this life differently from the all-inclusive, all-assimilating conditions known as the main-stream of art, the vanguard and the general consciousness. I want to return purely, completely, entirely to the passion of my youth but a passion that is genuine and strong, based on the undoubted reality of the heart. Now get out of my studio, both of you.-[immediately the demonstrators in the streets take over the screen again.]

Inspector-My goodness, yes! That was quite informative.

Roy-So, you see, the art critics can never come near anyone who lives in the pure flame of art. It's only these running after the cash cows that they can prey upon, inspector,

Inspector-[stomping a foot]-But what's wrong with that? What's wrong with the critics helping these people get what they want?

Roy-But they could be so much more! They could have real glory, the real passion of their youths throughout their lives!

Inspector-These Titans, as you call them? These?-[He bends down among the little artists who crowd around him, holding up books for him to see.]-Maybe they all want the money and recognition that the critics bring to them. Look they've all got pretty books about their work that I'm sure the critics made for them, some of them made even by Miss Roxanne. So what's wrong with that?

Roy-Come on, Inspector. You don't give them a chance! The critics don't give them a…

Inspector-[impatient now]-What are the art critics doing? They're just doing a job, like I am you know, some good, some bad. So what's wrong with that, tell me.

Roy-It's just that… I mean you have to consider… Well… You know, you really do have a good point. In fact, you seem to really come in on me at a good time and maybe you just could provide a hell of a good denoument to this whole thing.

Inspector-I would suppose it is-[he pulls forth a folded piece of paper and opens it]-having much to do with what is written here.

Roy-[trying to read]-What is that? What does it say?

Inspector-It is telling me to ask you how you are going to end your play.

Roy-Don't push me! I haven't decided yet, so don't push, you understand? I can't stand these characters that come up pushing me, pushing me with How are you going to end the play, How are you going to end the play! Never mind! I damned well might not end it at all.

Inspector-What do you mean? How can you not end it at all? There are unwritten laws commanding you, sir!

Roy-Well, I've got all these different ideas, you see. And they're everyone good. I may use every last one of them because they are all so great, so unquestionably ingenious.

lnspector-No, no, no. It is written right here how you must end it. No other way.

Roy-[grabbing but not getting]-Let me see that! Let me! What is that you have there, and where did you get it?

Inspector-You must tell me first your ideas. I will let you see it only after you reveal some ideas of your ending.

Roy-Well, I want the play to be Serafim's Parthenon, you see.-[When he says these words, Roy gestures and the East end of the Parthenon is above and around them, beautiful and in all its colors but then it changes with his next words.]-But not the Parthenon of Pericles and Pythias, no, not the patriarchs, but an immensely greater one from before that, the matriarchal one before the military idiots came marching out of their cowardly river nests in Egypt and Mesopotamia, this far more beautiful one of a far more beautiful world which the military have for centuries striven to destroy!-[So they are surrounded now by a more soaring Parthenon with vines and flowers on its columns and sun shining mistily in through the leaves, beautiful young women in glowing white gowns going here and there among the columns which progress away as if forever in the kind of helix formation so familiar in DNA.]-That's what Serafim wanted. and I want the narked out Greeks dancing in the Omonia digaway.-[Instantly we see the scene in the Athens central subway basement that we saw in the beginning with all the doped out Greeks but the beat of some music like the well-known Zorba material begins and quickly the Greeks are dancing in the new Parthenon amid the columns.]-Because there is an essential happiness among the Greeks which belongs to the earthly, essential nature of humanity which the rest of the world knows only sometimes and then among individuals, get it? It is coming forth now because it is the essence of the meaning of entropy and its time has come. And that is really what any Parthenon has to be made of, the essential happiness of this non-embittered human, the true Greek as Serafim knew in the very heart of him.

Inspector-[looking at his paper]-This says you must not leave out the core-bore.

Roy-What?-[trying to read but denied]-Where did you get that? Only one person knows or cares about anything like that. Are you people trying to make a-ah, hell, you can't make a fool of me because I know I'm a fool!-[He goes and looks in the face of Vika, who ignores him, watching the projected drawing and waving him away.]-How could such as this ever be affected by such as me? Hey, Vika, you want to go back to the passion of your youth! Where does that leave me?

Vika-[giving him no direct attention]-You are the strongest part of the passion of my youth, so leave me alone now.

Roy-[elated]-That was your youth? Even after I came? Yeah, it's this English-Greek word confusion thing. Okay, then why go back, why not love the passion now?

Vika-[at last looking him in the eye and smiling]-You make it every day now and familiar, but then it was new and wild.

Roy-You mean I'm too tame for you now?

Vika-No, maybe it's just that you have made me comfortable in the flames. No, no, those aren't my words. You're putting those words in my mouth. But-but I like them.

Yes, okay, it's familiar because you've made me comfortable in the flames.

Roy-[spinning with a shout]-Olé! Goal! Score!-[He tries to jump over a chair but falls, rolls and leaps to his feet again happy. He is pointing at the projected drawing.]-But why are you fooling with this electronic junk now. You know there can be no presence, no free energy field in such as that.

Vika-[continuing, unimpressed]-It's a new medium and has a certain freedom to it.

Roy-But that's what you are, free energy. You don't need electricians to give you freedom. The first glimpse I ever got of you, I saw that you are your own free energy field. I saw your aura playing all about you and splashed right through it and never after that have I left it. The first time you talked to me you flooded me with it and everything you've ever done was the creation of a wonderful newborn presence. Everything you make is another way of loving you. So how can you get free energy and aura through electric lines?-[He waves at the big photos on the walls of Earth Spirit and Hindu Dancer, both floating in space]-Each sculpture has its beauty of presence, especially floating in space, but it's obvious anyway when they sit or stand, and inside and around all of them you see the quality that is you in all the free energy you leave there. Hell, the Dionysos is all an upflow of it while Shining is all a total presence coming to light-down in free energy like the Olympian victory. What can you do with any of all this insufficiency, this incompleteness of computer thought?

Inspector-Could I have your attention, please? Are you trying to ignore me? We are discussing a serious matter and it seems you are trying to avoid the issue. We want to know where Roxanne Stratou is.

Roy-But you!-[pointing at the Inspector]-You tell me where Roxanne is now! Because that is her writing which you have there, I am sure.

Inspector-[studying the paper and still keeping it away from Roy]-Well, now that's quite possible since I picked it up in her home. Hmmmm. Now why was my eye guided directly to this paper beside her computer? And it says further that we must be guided by the aesthetics of scale. What is that?

Roy-The Aesthetics of Scale? Ah, that's the great thinking of Achilles Hazipavlou which Serafim was always talking of. You approach the Parthenon. From the distance you see little. As you approach you get some of its beauty growing on you, and as you become near, the details start to emerge, each in its place whether it's a complete column or only the stump of a column so the psychology of it all becomes overwhelmingly compelling, but the glass buildings of today remain the same no matter how near you get. Oh! Oh! Oh! I think I see what she's getting at there! Aha! She's saying that all these Le Corbusier structures forcing humanity to fit itself to them like the systems of Sumeria and the Indus River are like cartoons with no depths and no lasting value to any of us. The Parthenon comes to you, comes to you, comes to you, throughout time, throughout the ages, always offering new mentality, new hope, and the freedom of all the distances of light.

Inspector-Yes, but she says here that all your DNA columns are already prepared, each an Serafim core-bore of the mystery of love in each article she wrote about a Greek artist, each the mystery of creativity, no one knowing what will happen there, not even the artist, none of it answerable to any mechanistic Newtonian law but all designed as in all the Parthenons before this to meet high above all common thought in the flow of the spirit-field of the Earth herself.-Hey! Where are you going with that?

Stage-hand-[He has come on and picked up a chair which he is carrying off. Others are following him and getting the stage furniture.]-There's another play that needs this in another theatre!

Other Stage-hand-Yeah. We've got to hurry. The curtain's all ready to go up, The audience is being seated now!-[The stage-hand mob is cleaning off the stage.]

Vika-[as one or more grab up her Sony machine]-Don't take that! I haven't finished!

Stage-hand-Sorry, Miss Vika! There's another artist waiting at the other theatre. Sorry!-[and very quickly everything is gone]

Inspector-[to Roy, standing with him and Vika on an otherwise empty stage that is loomed over with the strongest of colorings by the columns of the new Parthenon which rise to join together somewhere far above.]-Maybe that's what you mean that you won't end it all.

Roy-Well, the way you put it, maybe I'm just not that suicidal.

Inspector-But it says here at the bottom to tell the audience that there is a production of Plautus down the street and they might like the way that ends. Plautus always has great endings.

Roy-Yeah, it is a fact that Roxanne likes Plautus better than any other and you know it is after all, her play and her Parthenon. So?

Vika-So let's give the audience a big hand, shall we? They've been so marvelous, just marvelous all along!-[She begins applauding the audience, followed by the Inspector and Roy and then all the rest of the cast come on stage or on screen, however this all may have been worked out, all applauding the audience. When the Roxanne Stratou figure comes on, she takes center stage with all the cast applauding her and the audience and it's all over.]

END

The Film-play Roxanne Stratou
copyrighted 1999 by Roy Culver
Aghion Apostolon 5
11362 Kipseli
Athens, Greece