Friday, March 25, 2005

Titus Moronicus, act three

New episodes in the remarkable chronicle of
Titus Moronicus, a history play
or dark light opera
or what you will-
Brought to you by
The Dick Times: News that Bites!

Scene one
Keystone Street, in front of Casa Blanca
late at night
A single figure stands before the gates.
It is a woman, clad in a wet tee shirt
bearing the logo “Joe’s Garage”.
At her feet is a heap of lemon peels torn from the fruit
on which she continuously sucks. It is Risotta, a striver
for office in the near circle of Dubus.
She sings, between bites from a fresh lemon:

Risotta: Oh dearest Dubus!
Never was a name so sweet,
your name upon my lips a drop of nectar
( spits out lemon seeds )
To speak it brings a lightness to my feet
( kicks pile of lemon rinds )
But if I’m posted to a foreign sector
I’d cut my wrists and die here
bleeding in this street.

Two figures approach, in conversation:
they are Croftus and the chief
of Casa Blanca’s guards, Colinus.

Croftus: Stay, good Colinus, what figure here
comports herself in such immodest disregard
for hour, dress,and musicality?

Colinus: And littering, as well... But look,
those lemon peels beneath her feet bring only one name
to this sleuthing mind: Risotta! Climber, schemer,
sycophantish sourpuss, and actress wannabe upon
a larger stage. A driven and ambitious wench
who seeks the eye, the ear, the hand, I’ve heard it said,
of Dubus!

Croftus: The latter of her missions sure to fail,
for he is bound by love and need for care
to fair Laurinia.
( to Risotta ) It’s two o’clock and all’s not well, Risotta.
Why dost thou linger in this public place at such an hour?

Risotta sings: The flower of my youth I’ve given
in the service of my lord
and someday he will see me as I am,
beneath the garb
of able functionary
clothed not in drab attire
of loyal secretary
but raised in noble robes to sit beside him
as I help to guide our nation to its destiny
my services I freely give to him alone.

Colinus to Croftus: Has Dubus never
thrown this bitch a bone?

Croftus: He’s unaware of her existence
despite her most annoying
and obsequious persistence.

Colinus to Risotta: Dear lady, sucketh not upon
these sour fruits if it be your wish to catch a prince.
Only sweetness will attract your prey
and sour visage cannot win the the lover’s day.

Risotta: What’s that you say?

Colinus: Thy angry face is graceless to a fault,
a public witness to the sour fruit you eat.

Risotta: Begone, you meddling fools!
Advise me not
nor feign concern with my affairs!
Your two familiar faces those of one eyed jacks,
a duck and shuffle for your masters
as you scrape through cracks in Bigsville
seeking crumbs that fall from tables where you serve!
Your betters know you both for grasping minions
pining for the good opinions of the op-ed writers
in the pestilential press!

Croftus: Such undisguised aggression is ill-suited
to a creature of your sex and age.

Risotta: Oh condescending bureaucrat, you vex me
well beyond my limits! Now take this as a token
of my rage!

She drives an ice pick into the center of his forehead.

Colinus: Most malignant murderess! You’ve killed
this humble servant of the state!

Risotta: Thus does fate turn history on its head
as major players in their plot enriching roles
are prematurely dead!

Colinus: I’ll have you now in chains
for this most heinous deed! ( He tries to restrain her )

Risotta: Keep off! I’ll feed you ice pick number two!
(She stabs Colinus in the chest, and he falls to the ground )

Colinus: I die and leave my prince at risk
of this most maddened witch’s schemes. ( Dies )

Risotta: So die, Colinus, and as you both depart
my dreams shall now expand!
I’ll rise to fill the void your deaths create
by rushing to the side of Dubus
to become his mate and premiere counsel
through what storms may lie ahead! ( Risotta exits )

Enter three sanitation workers carrying brooms
and pushing a wheeled garbage can.
They are the three minstrels, Goofus, Doofus, and Bandoneon

Doofus: The night’s still young and life begetting sun
still hours away!

Goofus: Let’s find some fresh detritus
that the revelers of Bigsville have discarded
in their moonlit fun!

Doofus: Our work of putting polish
on this pit of infamy has hours to go
before it runs its course.

Goofus: What’s worse, here lie before us
on the public way two drunks
in stupors as a team,
inebriate companions who must drink
and dream as one.

Goofus: What! Two drunks
unconscious of the need to keep the sidewalk clear.

Bandoneon: Draw nearer, fellows, and observe that
they’re not drunks, but empty shells, their souls
now risen to their maker’s side!
Two bodies, stabbed, it seems, and left here
where they died!
Their dreaming’s done
unless continued on an astral plane.
We witness double murder here!

Goofus: Corpses lie at Casa Blanca’s gate?

Doofus: Stiffs at Dubus’ doorstep?

Bandoneon: A case of violent intervention
into skin and vital organs. Ice picks stuck them
where they lived!

Doofus: Ice picks! A weapon well suited
to cold blooded murder!

Bandoneon: Let’s look more carefully to this crime:
who might the victims be,
or better yet, who were they when
still breathing in Bucksania’s cherished air?
Well dressed in suits and ties,
but one capped in a baseball hat
with Latin legends thereupon embroidered.

Goofus: Dese guys was moidered!

Bandoneon: The other wears a badge
upon his vest- some law enforcement type.

Goofus: Dese guys was iced!

Bandoneon: The badged official seems familiar-
some face oft in the news...

Goofus: Dese guys was terminally abused!

Bandoneon: It floats now into memory’s scrolling field,
his name and that of his companion now revealed.
Each high in office,
holding in their hands
a pair of Bigsville’s most respected posts.

Goofus: Dese guys is ghosts!

Bandoneon: Croftus and the late Colinus lie before us,
cooled by stones which draw away the last
of any warmth that might have glowed within.

Doofus: Two men of power whose dynamos
spin no more.

Goofus: Such little pinprick holes:
there’s hardly any gore.

Doofus: Well, now they’re finally free.

Bandoneon: If afterlife there be; otherwise,
just darkness, nothingness, no is, no was,
no might yet come.

Goofus: Dat really bums me, man.

Bandoneon sings: These higher instruments of state
have met a fate we lower types are often slotted for/

Doofus: We’re often shown the door by violent crimes!

Goofus: Such guys like these send guys like us
to meet our death in foreign climes!

Bandoneon: And give our lives for
things they won’t explain.

Goofus: That stuff gives me a pain!

Doofus: Men in pinstriped suits invite us overalls
to pluck their chestnuts from the fire.

Bandoneon: And then we’re stuck in some quagmire
and getting shot.

Goofus: Dat’s not so hot!

Bandoneon: The higher ups decree it’s best that we,
the worker bees, are those that go for broke
protecting liberties.

Doofus: While they make certain that we get equipped
with guns their cousins make
or planes their college pals can turn out for the fray.

Goofus: Dat really makes my day!

Bandoneon: They sit on corporation boards
and horde as much as they can grab,

Goofus: While we gotta dab our fingers in a little pot
of nickel/dime. It ought’a be a crime!

Doofus: And if they catch us doing stuff to chill
that they think is a sin,
they really do us in
and stifle us some more.

Goofus: Dat’s really quite a bore!

Bandoneon: In Bigsville lore, these two
were on the ladder’s highest rung,
their lungs filled with the kind of air
insiders sniff,
and now some midnight tiff
has snuffed them.

Doofus: Let’s stuff them in the can
and haul it to the park, away from Casa Blanca.
A thankless job for us if we reveal their deaths
occurred upon this site.

Bandoneon: To thus call in authority
would mark our final night as civil servants.
To leave them here, a dereliction of our nightly rounds.

Goofus: A small dilemma neatly sidestepped
by providing final transport to a spot more restful
and less public.

Doofus: Allez oop! And off then to a some
leafy grove, where shovels and some piled stones
will make an end to this.

The three workers hoist the bodies into their
wheeled garbage can and exit.

Scene two, the lair of Bonitia, sorceress who sees all.
Bonitia and Dickus stand before the clouded table
of mysterious visions, in which all versions of each
alternative future are revealed.

Dickus: What the hell was THAT all about!
We’re supposed to be pulling all the strings here!

Bonitia: Well, there’s string pulling and then there’s
string theory, in which all possibilities are equally probable.
It looks as though we just had our strings jerked!

Dickus: This leaves great holes to fill, dramatis personae
to introduce, and many loyalties to shift and balance
in the drift of politics. Croftus left a team of cronies in his wake
who won’t take kindly to the intervention of Risotta.

Bonitia: We must now play the cards that fall our way
by whatever means of double dealing. There’s no turning
back or wishing for alternatives once bodies have been
covered over and decay has taken root.

Dickus: But I kind of miss Croftus, and he was already rotten.

Bonitia: Don’t worry, there are plenty of other easy
targets out there, and your shotgun approach can’t miss.

Dickus: Is that a diss?

Bonitia: Relax, Dickus, and help me get a grip on all of this.

The two resume their positions at the table’s edge,
peering into its smoky depths, looking for a clue.
End of Act Three, scene two, or wherever the hell we are...


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