Friday, March 11, 2005

Titus Moronicus,continued

The last of our archived scenes, to be followed by new stuff, ASAP
Scene five of the second act now begins!
Act Two, scene five: the large and sumptuously appointed Bigsville office of Croftus, Official Legal Leader In Extremis (OLLIE) of Bucksania. Croftus is conferring with Gregor, one of his deputies. They are standing at a table piled high with bulging sacks marked with dollar signs.

Croftus: As garbage on the turning tide doth wash ashore to stick most mulish stubborn on the bank, so do these monies float our way, unbidden but, my oath upon it, not unloved!

Gregor: But from which quarter comes this flow of un announced munificence?
What treasuries are thus diminished by an equal sum? What paper trail, what footprint by some cashier’s grate, what note, what nod, what wink could lead a careful sleuth from this money’s font to Dubus?

Croftus: None, I’ll warrant, for it be washed and double washed, and triple washed, and, finally, four times pressed through scrubbing bubbles in the finest sieve and whirled three continents round in blind accounts!

Gregor: And what amounts?

Croftus: When last we looked the books were writ to eighty million dollars. We hope that when the final tally’s in the number will be rounded to one hundred, and of this sum but twenty goes to Dubus, the highest limit of his expectations.

Gregor (aside): Hmmm, methinks one hundred million but an eyelash on the elephant of graft that sits athwart this capitol, and donkeys made of all by some who sit behind the stage’s somber backdrop, pulling strings. But what of Croftus in the scheme of things? A player or the played?

Gregor, aloud: Dubus! What a noble soul, to ask so little in return for vast beneficence bestowed on all who need but ask!

Croftus: I know, I know, his kindnesses the wonder of this well known cynics haven. The maven of generosity!

Gregor (aside): Preposterous, but outside the jurisdiction of my office.
(aloud, to Croftus): And for yourself, good Croftus? A table crumb, a scrap, some fat trimmed from the leaner, more expensive cuts? (Aside): He’s got big nuts if he says naught for me.

Croftus: Naught for me, for in my western homeland we were taught that service is an honor and an obligation. My reward will lie in (blah, blah, blah,...the sophisticated reader to fill in the blanks with cliches etched in memory over years of listening to this kind of self-serving rubbish. It’s just too gross! [ed.])

Gregor: Well, you’re the boss, and there’s an end to it!

Croftus: A trouper, thou, and sure to be acknowledged in a more material manner, if thy feet keep to the pure and humble path that Dubus walks!

Gregor: I’ll do my duty. (aside): And the envelope, please!
Scene five of Act Two has concluded!
Scene Six of the Second Act Now
Ye Swampe Crossings, a development in unincorporated suburban Bigsville, at the cathedral ceilinged Tudor style mini-manse of Gregor and his wife, Kristus Bellus, the postmistress of Potomia. Gregor has just come from work and the couple is seen in the cherry cabinet lined, granite counter- topped kitchen of their all electric model # 38 “The Baskerville” home.

Gregor: Ah, at last, my castle!

Kristus Bellus: Wet your whistle?

Gregor: This’ll do it! (he hoists a bottle of beer)

Kristus Bellus: How are things in higher Bigsville altitudes than those I toil in ?

Gregor: These jobs of ours may come at prices far too high to pay.

Kristus Bellus: Uh-oh, tough climb today, huh?

Gregor: Croftus breathes a thinner air than I and drives few pitons in the ice for those who follow.

Kristus Bellus: And often it’s a slippery slope with neither rope nor map nor hope of helping hands if you should fall.

Gregor: And worse, for those who come behind would have you slip and leave a new position in the climbers’ line! The ones above seek only that the glory of the summit’s purchase be for them alone, without a shadow of an aiding arm upon the snow beside them.

Kristus Bellus: But who then takes the photo of their victory?

Gregor: In politics, self-portaiture is practiced from the earliest, most halting steps to lowest offices. The self- absorbed absorb all light around them and keep companions in the dark.

Kristus Bellus: But Croftus, on whom our patronage depends, presents an image of humility and loyalty to higher forces.

Gregor: And I suspect he pays himself too well for all these sacrifices. And now he uses my good name to cover his complicity with Dubus. He’s put me in a corner.

Kristus Bellus: He’s on your case? Gets in my face, too, but no compunctions stay me from completing my appointed rounds of sticking Dickus!

Gregor: Dickus! He’s but the smallest thorn that’s borne upon the hide of these jackals. One cipher in a magnitude of zeros adding up to who knows how much?
An insufferable typer, a journalist without portfolio, not a gnat but some mere protozoan creature, a low bacterium, crawling through Bucksania’s gut!

Kristus Bellus: That’s where stuff happens, dear.

Gregor: In narcissist’s delirium he thinks his feet don’t stink. Walks on water, floats on clouds of self-deceipt.

Kristus Bellus: Gee, hon, I don’t care much for the guy either, but goll...

Gregor (sings): Dickus beats his head on walls,
hasn’t got the sweetest clue!
and if a tipster ever calls
he won’t know what to do.

In the soo-wer
covered with man-oo-wer

He spends his whole life chasing wind
and hoping not to catch it!

Loves nothing more than itching
wants the rest of us to scratch it!

Kristus Bellus: A professional whiner.

Gregor resumes: He’s happiest when bitching
and wants to go forever itching
and he can’t get to sleep at night
unless his nose is twitching,

smelling rats,
seeing plots,

hearing whispered conversations
he gets unholy hots for revelations!

Seeking new sensations!

Has no reservations who he hurts,
just blurts out the first thing in his head

and if we lived a few years back we’d call him red,
then his reputation would be dead!

Kristus Bellus: What’s that you said?

Gregor: He’d be dead!

Kristus Bellus: He’d be dead!

The two in duet: He’d be dead!
He’d be dead!
He’d be dead dead dead dead dead dead deeeeeeaaaaaadddddd!

The two suburbanite government workers fall to their knees in the kitchen and begin to smash Michael Graves for Target Stores cookware on the quarry tile floor as they scream “dead, dead, dead” over and over. This hysterical acting-out continues until the heavy brass plated renaissance revival knocker of their front door announces the arrival of a Ye Swampe Crossings development representative who tells them that property values are being diminished in real time due to an open window on the second floor of their house, which creates a disturbing community wide asymmetry and suggests that some owners might not be able to afford to use their central air.
Gregor and Kristus Bellus immediately recover and rush to close the window in an attempt to repair any damage they may have done to their image and their equity.
The end of scene six of the second act. Next follows scene seven!

Act Two Scene seven: following the scene with Gregor and Kristus Bellus at Ye Swampe Crossings:
The Cave of the Sorceress with Dickus and Bonitia in further conference at the mysterious table of fate and destiny.

Bonitia: Oooo, we’ve let those two stray off the screen. They’re turning mean!

Dickus: Threats more to themselves and fellow creatures of the Ye Swampe. But Gregor’s words, though by intent offensive, give no offense to me. He’s but a dog who’s picked up fleas and , undesirous of a bath, goes mad with irritation. It would vanish with application of a collar, a symbol of domestication he’ll not tolerate.

Bonitia: Abidance to an un writ canon where loopholes have no place.

Dickus: Where lawyers fear to tread. And so he wants me dead, at least in my ability to press a case. The pots and pans but painful recognition of his self-betrayal, throwing over grander hopes to buy a Viking range, then to find that they’re all gas!

Bonitia: Pitiable misreading of the ads!

Dickus: Oh, these people see their dreams fulfilled upon a glossy page and can’t go on until an empty carton sits in the garage. Then wonder how the plan went wrong when hunger isn’t satisfied.

Bonitia: It helps to grow the GDP.

Dickus: And clears the forest of the trees.

Bontitia: Be not a preacher here, good Dickus, for I have seen thy face’s other side within these patinated depths. Thou, a hypocrite with forty pairs of shoes and silk ties that would serve to weave a room sized rug!

Dickus: And what would be the knot count of such a lustrous foot pad? A Fereghan or something coarser with the makers’ labels legible? Polos and Armanis, such a carpet made for gods to float above, admiring the sartorial taste that made it possible...

Bonitia: What a vain and banal man in thy most fundamental elements! Scrape but the finest layer of thy epidermis and there lie comic strips and self regard!

Dickus: Ouch! Don’t scrape so hard! Complexity, diversity, a range of tastes beyond the herd. A thirst for justice, love of comfort, sleep, and hot dogs! This, the epitaph of Dickus, carved upon a granite tomb arrayed with angels cast in bronze and chased with swirls of ascending golden cords which pull his soul eternally to heaven, alas, to no avail, there being none.

Bonitia: Always the sarcastic joke!

Dickus: To lift the noisome yoke of all these swarming scenes before us on the table. Have we had enough of give and take, and may we now move on? For Titus and his gang have reached the edge of an abyss and need the slightest push from us. It’s time to pull some puppet masters’ strings and see this drama to an end!

Bonitia: Shifting into overdrive, the visions in my crystal ball now come alive! Bonitia’s conjuring never fails! Beware, thou villains, and take care to cover tails!

The two anti-establishment conspirators exchange a high five and a rock concert whoop and once more lean into the table’s mysterious spinning mists.

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