Monday, February 07, 2005

Titus Moronicus, a history play

Here follows the serialized republication of Titus Moronicus,
a dramatic effort that was interrupted two years ago ( a case
of Titus Interruptus ) and has not yet concluded. More episodes
will be posted as they are written.
From Lincoln Avenue,



The players:
Titus Moronicus, a purveyor of fragrant oils
Dubus, his bagman
Bushus, father to Dubus
Barbarosa, wife to Bushus
Croftus, an evil schemer and
water carrier to Dubus
Dickus, a noble scribe
Laurinia, a concubine
Bonitia, a sorceress
Ronus Balonius, a ghost
Goofus, Doofus, and Bandoneon, three minstrels
The Cattae, two house pets
Kristus Bellus, a postmistress
and assorted drifters, grifters, and innocent gapers

The place: Bigsville, capital of Bucksania, a country truly blessed
The time: this afternoon

Scene one:
Dubus is lying on the grass in front of Casa Blanca, a large white mansion which Dubus thinks of as his own, but which was actually stolen by Titus Moronicus in a Florida land swindle.

White fluffy clouds float across the sky, and Dubus, a fellow of rich and fanciful imagination, tries to assign anthropomorphic names to the cloud shapes.

Dubus: Popcorn, cotton candy!.....No,, scoop of vanilla, yeah, that’s the ticket! Dubus loves vanilla!

The Cloud: No, Dubus, not ice cream, but I, Ronus Balonius, ghost of Casa Blanca past and mentor to thy father, Bushus.

Dubus, in disbelief: Get the (*) outta here!

Ghost: No, Dubus, I communicate only the truth, or I am not a world war two combat veteran.

Dubus: You’re not anyhow! You just played one in the movies!

Ghost: Just as you, Dubus, have only played at being chief of Casa Blanca, while it is well known that your father, Bushus, appointed Titus to run Bucksania. You are but a figurehead, like those wooden carvings on old sailing ships, or like a wooden cigar store Indian, or like Pinocchio, Charlie McCarthy, Jerry Mahoney, Howdy Doody, or....

Dubus: All right! So what? Who cares, anyhow?

Ghost: Very few care now, Dubus, but Dickus is trying to engage the public in a critical dialogue regarding thy faux stewardship in Casa Blanca. Do you know Dickus?

Dubus: That old fool? Who listens to him withal.

Ghost: His audience grows, Dubus, and with it his daring and ambition! Take precautions to guard thyself from his pernicious mischief.

Dubus: A viscous handkerchief? A vicious indian chief? What's that to me? He's just some crackpot with a pen. Why, down in Texilia we'd have him thrown off a cliff. Or frame him for tax evasion. Or inject him in the Big House!

Ghost: You're not in Texilia anymore, Dubus. Guard thyself! Guard thyself! Guard.....
The voice fades as the cloud drifts off and dematerializes in a vaporous and insubstantial haze, its natural state.

Dubus, appearing anxious and somewhat agitated, arises from the lawn and exits while speaking to himself: Must tell Laurinia, must tell Laurinia.....

Scene Two, in which we meet new characters in a new venue,"Just Desserts", an elegant but tastefully restrained villa in Puerto Bunka by-the-Sea, the summer home of Bushus and his wife, Barbarosa.
These two are found seated at an umbrella shaded table, drinking sun tea from a recycled institutional size Sam's Club kosher pickle jar.

Bushus: Tea tastes kinda funny, Rosa.

Barbarosa: Well, that goddam new maid we brought up from Texilia keeps breaking the crystal tea jugs! We should fire the stupid bitch!

Bushus: Can't do it, hon. Need the Texilia vote in the box for Dubus come next election. Can't go on counting on a cracker meltdown forever.

Barbarosa: Goddammit! Look at that rotten little mongrel! He's digging in the zinnia again! Go get the shotgun, you idiot!

Bushus: Now, hon, bad press, there. Can't do it. Too much noise and blood. Folks out there like their pets.

Barbarosa: Stinking little dog! Half witted son, Dubus! Idiot husband! Do I deserve all this crap?

Bushus: Rosa, hon, you've been just the best wife and mommy a family could ever hope for. We all love ya, Rosa, hon. Do anything for ya.

Barbarosa: Then drop dead, you pathetic fool!

Bushus: Can't do it, hon.
Scene Three, a street corner in Potomia, Bigsville's most notorious slum.
Croftus is in serious negotiation with three degraded and disheveled looking men dressed in tattered chalk stripe suits and greasy yellow "power" ties. Croftus wears a curious headpiece made from a skullcap with a bill-like curved eyeshade projecting form its lower edge. The front of the cap is decorated with an illumination which bears the legend “Feces occursum est”.

Croftus: Bless you, brethren, but thy lucre,
though certainly filthy enough,
is vastly insufficient to the task at hand.

Grifter number two: Croftus, thou deceitful hypocrite! This fortnight past did’st thou extract from us four stone’s weight of purest Colombian as good faith on the prospect currently to hand, and now the price has risen threefold! And by thy whim or fancy,
but for no cause beyond thy most capricious greed!
What sayest thou to this charge
of most pernicious perfidy?

Croftus points to his hat.

Grifter number two: Speak, mute,
hold not thy tongue from twisting in upon itself
to form an auger which shall only serve
to bore more holes through further tales
of self- incriminating obfuscation.

Croftus points to his hat.

Grifter number three: Croftus, thy cap doth prove thee false,
for what a man weareth tells nothing of the inner self,
while hats that talk can but make sport of truth’s divinity!

Croftus points to his hat.

Grifter number two: Forsooth, thou art forsworn
by such a juvenile adornment!
Speak aloud! Give natural voice
to all the lies that Dubus bids you to convey!

Croftus points to his hat.

Grifter number three: Would that some exalted god
whose wisdom fathoms far beyond
the depths that we mere crawling, mewling worms
can comprehend now whisper to my ear
the reason why a crown of such exalted excellence
should lie upon a head so low as that of Dubus!

Croftus points to his hat.

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