Monday, February 21, 2005

Titus Moronicus, part three

A few scenes from those remaining in the
Dick Times Morgue, previously published as an email
to a select group of elitist literattae and now made
available to the vast masses at no charge.
Our story, a dark light oprea, will soon be augmented
with fresh material, new characters,
and more stuff that really bites.
If you care to send a note to the author, thus encouraging him
to get on with the project, you may translate
this e mail address: malldotenteractatrcndotcom
Without your response there is no way of knowing
if anyone is watching. Remember, this service is free.
"And worth it!" ( Dick )

scene one: a diner, The Airplane, in Potomia. Late at night.

Three grifters are in a booth with Seema, a fortune teller.
The waitress, Lily, approaches the table and addresses Seema:

Lily: Watcha havin’, hon?

Seema: Nothing for me, thank you, dear.

Lily: Fellas?

Grifter one: I’ll have a short stack.

Grifter two: Gimme the hamburg. Hold the mayo.

Grifter four, a new character, a swarthy, porcine individual: Oast-ray eef-bay, ashed-may otatoes-pay, reen-gay eans-bay, ASAP-pay, okay?

Lily: eBay o-fay abbu dabi, kemosabe.
( She departs with the order)

Grifter two: Now then, Seema, betimes methinks thee less a teller of fortunes than a fortune huntress, such has been thy quest for pellets of gold from these communal pockets ( gesturing to the grifters there assembled ) as well as golden nuggets of information, a commodity oft more marketable than a harder currency.

Seema (sings): Diner info confidential.
My opinions influential.
Dubus thinks I have potential
to make dough.

Work both sides against the middle!
Let that fool play second fiddle,
sit around and finger-twiddle,
do some blow.

Grifter one: Okay, so we give you the dope on the Croftus scam, you twist it into a pretzel so Dubus gets only part of it and chokes on the rest, then goes off and thinks he’s in on the whole deal and starts screwing it up for everyone.

Seema (sings) : Such is art of fortune telling!
Must be half true, what we’re selling,
otherwise the rube starts yelling
wiggles loose!

Feed the suckers tasty dope,
let them kindle faintest hope,
watch them as they knot the rope
make a noose.

Grifter four: Ub-day un-way ig-bay ool-fay.

Grifter two: Thou speakest a mouthful with thy mouth full, vulgarian.

Just then, Ralph Lauren enters the diner and goes to the table where the grifters and Seema sit. He is wearing white flannel trousers and eating a peach.

R.L.: I say, chaps, who’s for a chukker?

Grifter three: O-may o-fay! Am-scray, ook-may.

Grifter two: Indeed, sirrah, begone! Begin thy beguine upon the beach, and eat thy peach in solitude most riparian. (Ralph Lauren exits)

Grifter one, aside, to his compatriots: So here’s the deal: we give Seema twenty K and half of the Croftus story, she clues Dubus on the switcheroo, he opts to pop his pappy and Titus, they suspect Croftus put him up to it, the four of them start a war and we walk with the loot. About a hundred mil! Is that a beaut?

Grifter two: Oh, what bitter fruit for those our most pathetic marks to swallow. (to Seema) : We’ll follow through with our agreed arrangement. (he passes her a large envelope which she eyes greedily) A token taken by your hand assures us that you have his fullest confidence, and Dubus will your words and guidance heed with neither waver, weave, nor turn from this most crooked path you map for him.

Seema (sings): Dubus brushes teeth at night upon my nod.
He ties his shoes and crosses streets upon consulting.
If you believe he gets directions from some god,
then take your money back! Don’t be insulting!

Wife of old time Ronus guy did Seema’s bidding.
Never let him do a thing without my wink!
A can of ancient worms that you’re unlidding:
those times are best forgotten, don’t you think?

Grifter one: Amen squared to the fourth gigabyte, Sister!

Grifter two: A dark and ill-timed omen! For did not some who closely served that honored master find imprisonment was their reward, while he stepped free of scandal’s fetid breath? The memory of Bucksania’s collective mind now pays him homage, while stains still soil many who once warmed themselves within the orb of his avuncular smile. Nor has any leader since left such a drift of criminals
within our ship of state’s broad wake!

Grifter one: Right on, home!

(Lily returns with the check) Lily: So how was din-din, boys?

Grifter one: Whole batch down the hatch slick as slime or I’m not hip to hot potatoes, cutie!

Grifter four: Itto-day, illy-yodel-ay!

Grifter two: A most welcome and gastronomically sufficient repast dost thou provision, thee, a purest vision and fairest Lily of the garden.

Editor’s note: This repartee reinforces the socio-anthropological observation that a popular diner’s main attraction is often the sensual promise held out by its wait staff rather than the culinary delights of the menu. In other words, a load of semis does not a good meal make. Eschew the crowded parking lot.

Grifter three enters the Airplane and confronts the group of conspirators.

Grifter three: Arise, friends, walk by my side and look upon a most unsavory sight! This night is filled with portents of the fates that may befall all those who once stood tall among Bucksania’s shining lights!

The group leaves the table and follows Grifter three to the sidewalk where they soon come upon the prostrate body of Albertus. Although he is not dead, his metabolism has slowed to the point at which a rigor-like stiffness has invaded his entire body and disabled his musculature. He cannot speak but merely sighs heavily and utters a grunt-like moan, a protracted “Unnnnnnnnnnhhhhh” sound.

Grifter three: Behold! The bold pretender to the throne of Bushus! Now dragged to earth by heavy chains of unrequited love!

Grifter one prods the body with his foot, trying to get some response or a sign of recognition.

Grifter one: Albertus! Albertus! Can you hear me? Hey! Wake up!

Albertus: Unnnnnnnnnhhhhh.....

Seema (sings): Gored by horns of beast most bullish!
Losing never tasted sweet!
Now he lies here looking foolish,
a dormant doormat in the street.
Touched the sun!
Lost the run!
Now he’s done!

Not asleep but only resting,
a state that’s near to comatose.
And if old lessons need digesting,
here is one: he’s too verbose.
Have a look!
What a schnook!
Close his book!
Get....... the........ hooooooooooook!

Grifter one: Tell it, Sister Seema! Bring it home!

Grifter two: Albertus comes to rest too near our place of rendezvous! Think’st thou, my friends, there be connection, plan, or some design in this?

Grifter three: Some plot, a scheme, a failed attempt to spy, or make connections with the winning side?

Grifter two: Methinks coincidence is much too.........

His words are interrupted by Lily, who runs from the diner toward the group, screaming hysterically.

Lily: Albertus! Albertus! Darling Albertus!

She throws herself on the body, sobbing and repeating the name. Albertus emits another long moan: Unnnnnnnnnhhhhhhhhh........

Grifter two: Lily, calm thyself, for this man dieth not but is in mere faint, a temporary condition. Stand, child, give him room to capture air within his long o’ertaxed lungs! What knowest thou of him?

Lily: He loves me! He was going to meet me here at the end of the shift! We’re getting married!

Grifter four: Ag-gay e-may with an oon-spay!

Grifter one: Yo, mama, the dude’s already married, with kids and a mortgage and major campaign debt.

Lily: I don’t care! He loves me! We’ve been going together for twenty years, ever since he came to Bigsville and met me working here! He promised that if he didn’t beat Dubus in the last election he’d throw it all over and run away with me.
This was going to be our elopement night!

Grifter three: Aha! We witness an anxiety attack! A nervous trauma draining blood from brain and limbs, a hammer-blow brought on by clash of will and need and bald desire to seek one’s destiny beyond the narrow norm!

Seema (sings): Train from Chattanooga jumped the track!
Chances are he didn’t even bed her!
Reporters never put them in the sack,
so what are odds that he would ever wed her?

Grifter three: Ip-zay to a donut hole!

Seema resumes: He lies here on the sidewalk,
and they never went to bed!
What visions of this sugarplum
were dancing through his head?

To leave a wife of thirty years
and chase elusive bliss
would give the lie to TV shots
that lingered on “The Kiss”

The ensemble: The Kiss! The Kiss!
They lingered on The Kiss!
Amiss! Amiss! We thought it was amiss!
To leave a wife
and seek a life
of second marriage bliss
would prove that he was faking
when he lingered on The Kiss!

A statement they were making
when they lingered on The Kiss!

The cameramen were shaking
when they lingered on The Kiss!

We laughed so hard we’re aching!
Some record they were breaking!
We knew that he was faking when
he lingered on The Kiss!
MMMMMMMMM-WAH!( they blow a kiss )

Grifter two: Lily, dear, by thine own words you put
Albertus here this night to seek naught but your affection,
and for no ulterior purpose beyond this trifling tryst.

Lily: He loves me!

Seema: You must look quite young for your age, dear.

Lily: He loves me!

Grifter four: Ee-may, oo-tay, a-by-bay!

Grifter three: None among us denies thy considerable charms, Lily,
and doubtless Albertus succumbed as well, despite what would appear
to be a most unnatural resistance and reserve which oft
would stay his hand from reaching for a grander prize.
No offense, dear.

Grifter one: Yo,daddy, chill! Cat loves the fox-ee lay-dee!

Grifter two: So now the fog of mystery clears itself, and
we need fear no threat from this unhappy quarter!
Away, then, to groves where we may cultivate more
tasteful dates. (the Grifters and Seema exit)

Lily: He loves me!

Albertus: Unnnnnnnnhhhhhhhh.......
End of scene one of the Second Act
Scene two, further down the block.

Grifter four:Thus did I find him lying as I approached the diner only moments ago, made late for our appointment by a messenger from Croftus.

Grifter two: What news of that fellow?

Grifter three: O-may o-fay, yellow jello! (Spits into gutter)

Grifter four: His promise of a larger cut made good with this! (hands an envelope to Grifter three)

Grifter three: The twenty K returns un beckoned, and we recover our first interest on the scam much sooner than we reckoned!

Grifter one: But not enough to cover the Colombian outlay! We’re still way short!

Grifter number two: May fortunes lengthen with the day as we move up the chain and seek out Bushus! Off, now, and sleep, for dawn may bring a challenge greater than these weaker links that we have thus far met.

Scene three, the cave of the sorceress Bonitia, that same evening.

Dickus and Bonitia are in deep conference over a long and richly finished table which seems to glow with an inner light.

Dickus: Most excellent! Each puppet jumps to but the lightest touch of string, from Titus down to these four roustabouts! And pawns we’ve also made of Seema and the paltry postal clerk! Loser, indeed! Although her hunk assessment may tend to soften my appraisal of that lady...

Bonitia: In thy dreams, Dickus.

Dickus: A joke, Bonitia, though thou knowest more than any that the mind of Dickus has no focus save for bringing down this evil axis. Until then, sex is off the table!

Bonitia: On the floor then, if thou fearest higher planes?

Dickus: On the back burner, should we seek a wider range of options!

Bonitia: Then would we each be too hot to handle!

Dickus: As thou art now, a match head made in heaven! Now stop, please, for banter eases tension, and we walk a high wire with this grasping group! Any slackening of purpose could tip our hand and trip our feet.

Bonitia: So you would win this contest by default?

Dickus: Then I yield to you, as always, and bear the fault myself. (to himself) upon the shoulders of a hunk...

Bonitia: I heard that, fool! Thou hast forgotten in thy inflated self-appraisal that in our bond there are no bounds! I can read your mind!

Dickus: Oops!

Bonitia: Oops, indeed, and oops for many other times I’ve held my eyebrows at an even level.

Dickus: Ah well, I knew you were the best! The ants come with the picnic.

Bonitia: Say “Uncle” then, and end it!

Dickus: Touche’, touche’, it’s all relative! I give! (he bows deeply)

Bonitia: Then back to business!

They resume their examination of the table top, which appears to hold the destinies of all our players in its dark reflections, like the deep pool of an ancient and forbidding grotto filled with the souls of all who have ever lived. ***************************
end of scene three, act the second
Scene four of the Second Act
The sunlit patio of Just Desserts, summer home of Bushus and Barbarosa at the exclusive seaside community of Puerto Bunka, where only very expensive yachts are allowed to sail. Bushus and Dubus are reclining on canvas sling chairs, and each wears an ill-fitting white terry bathrobe embroidered with a “Ralph Lauren Polo” shield and coat of arms.

Bushus: Sure am glad you could make it up this weekend, son. Don’t see enough of ya these days.

Dubus: I like to spend my birthdays here, dad. Mom always makes my favorite cake, and I get to take the robes back to Bigsville when I leave.

Bushus: Sam’s Club, Dubus. Get ‘em by the bale. Give ‘em to everybody!

Dubus: But this one was in gift wrap on my bed...

Bushus: That’s your mom, Dubus! A penny saved, ya know? And there’s still the cake, just for you! Have to order it a week in advance!

Dubus: Mom says she makes that cake!

Bushus: Makes the call, son. Only the call. Can’t stand to be around those girls in the kitchen!

Dubus: Who, Maria and Sonia? Why, mom raised those two like her own daughters, didn’t she?

Bushus: You were off at boarding school then, son. Read that homelife garbage in the magazines. All show! Girls lived in tool shed I cleaned up for ‘em. Slept in a wheelbarrow. Found ‘em down in Texilia one night out on the highway, and your mom says, “let’s take ‘em home, need the help!”

Dubus: But they seem so grateful and faithful!

Bushus: Illegals, Dubus. No cards, no documentation! Treat us like royalty so we won’t turn ‘em in!

Dubus: But it’s been thirty five years, dad!

Bushus: No social security, no pension, save a bundle there, son. Mom runs a tight ship! Gotta give her credit!

Dubus: Jeez Louise!

Barbarosa enters and tips over the lounge chairs the two men are seated in.

Barbarosa: Feet off the furniture, imbeciles!

Dubus: But mom, these are lounge chairs with footrests built in!

Barbarosa: Go to bed if you’re so goddam tired! And take off that bathrobe! Open your presents when the cake comes out! Spoiled little brat, can’t wait to grab, grab, grab, like those two in the kitchen! Gave ‘em everything, and it’s not enough! Now they want to go back to Texilia and find their family! Hah! We’re their goddam family. Dubus, get one of your people on this case! Immigration, I.R.S., whatever! Miserable ingrates! Make ‘em pay!

Bushus: Now, Rosa, hon, stuff rubs off, ya know. Too close to this one. Best to let it go, bite the bullet, swallow that pride of yours, sweetie.

Barbarosa: Swallow this, you gutless jackass!

With a sweeping gesture, Barbarosa lifts a water tumbler from a small table and throws its contents at her husband. He ducks, and the water hits Dubus, soaking his Ralph Lauren Polo Sam’s Club terry bathrobe.

Dubus: Aw, mom, my new robe!

Barbarosa: Not yours until the cake! The cake! Jee-sus Christ am I sick of you two imbeciles! (Barbarosa exits)

Dubus: Aw, shoot! Now I’m all wet!

Bushus: Sun’ll dry ya right up, kiddo. Here, let’s set these chairs back up and stretch out a bit.

Dubus: But mom said...

Bushus: No sweat, there, bud, she’ll forget all this in two shakes. Up to the bathroom, grab a smoke and a couple of shots and it’s back to Mayberry!

A cell phone rings and Bushus reaches into the pocket of his robe.

Bushus: How ya doin’!

Titus: Titus, here, guy. Can you talk?

Bushus: No can do, chief. Family event today. Love fest! Big birthday gathering!

Titus: Oh, god, that’s right! Dubus has a birthday this weekend! How in hell has he lived this long, anyhow, not run over by a bus or thrown off a horse? Or more likely vice versa!

Bushus: No idea, pal. Wonder the same thing. Mysteries of the universe.

Titus: Do you think he could have fallen from the crib as an infant?

Bushus: More likely a drop than a fall, mommy-wise.

Titus: He right there, now?

Bushus: Arm’s reach.

Titus: Well, okay, just wanted to tell you that it’s smooth sailing out here. Croftus and his four clowns are churning up the feed lot for the penny ante action, and Dubus is still so focused on that little ant hill that he can’t see the mountain being carried away underneath it. That your take on things?

Bushus: That’s my boy! (He winks at Dubus, who smiles broadly and waves back.)

Titus: Great, then. Over and out!

Bushus: Roger that, pal! (He rings off and puts away the phone)

Dubus: Who’s Roger, dad?

Bushus: Not a Roger, kiddo! Your Uncle Danno, called to wish you a many happy!

Dubus: Uncle Danno! Golly, I haven’t talked to him for weeks! How’s come you didn’t put me on the phone, pop?

Bushus: Wanted to, son, but he ran out of quarters and the Seven Eleven manager wouldn’t give him change. Said Danno shouldn’t be using the phone on company time.

Dubus: Oh, heck. He tell you they gave him a raise and then took it back because he drank too many of those Slurpee things?

Bushus: Yeah, the poor guy just can’t get ahead, can he?

Dubus: Well, gee, dad, with me the leader of the free world and all, I wish I could give him a really big job someplace in government! I ought to be able to help my friends. How’s come you say I shouldn’t?

Bushus: Son, you’re helping them more than you’ll ever know!

Dubus: In a spiritual way, you mean, right?

Bushus: And what could be more important than that, son? Why, that’s absolutely everything worth living for, isn’t it?

Dubus: You and Titus always say it is, and so far you’ve never been wrong.

Bushus: Hold that thought, kiddo, hold that thought.
Curtain, end of scene four of the second act


job opportunitya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Mall said...

Dear Blog spammer,
Thanks for trying. Too bad your opportunitya has expired. In the future please remember that opportunitya and the commisars who grant it are all subject to the laws of suplyitkoya and demanditskya. As they say in the Russian marines, goodski lucksi ( and goodnightski ) and have a nice dayski.
The Dicktimeski, news that bites-ski
and see you at Vail next year.