In darkness, ominous music: a pastiche of “The Beast” by Jóhann Jóhannsson. Two explosions, far away. FORLORN tries to hum the Marseillaise, in Russian. The result is coughing. Lights on two men in lab coats, and their patient/guinea pig. APOTH. is pushing a wheelchair, WESSON sitting in it. She has a black pillowcase over her head. Downstage, FORLORN is about to throw up. Music fades.
Here we are, home of the dissidents. I’ll show you around. There’s Robert! Hey, Bob! What’s up, man?
(WESSON turns her head frantically from left to right. FORLORN is retching.)
He’s the boss. Must have found something beautiful down there. Find a flower, now, did you, Bob?
Don’t call me that. Leave me be. F-fuck’s sake!
I beg your pardon! Terribly sorry, I am. His holiness is in a cranky mood. See what I have to put up with? Mr. F-word, if you’d be so kind to tell us what happened. Would you like to share? You didn’t swallow it by any chance? The, um, seed? Did you?
Something in my throat, stuck in there. My lungs, they are a…
I see. It’s a lesson in anatomy.
… collapsing. It’s a lesson, all right. To Live Is to Die.
Hey, what’s with the morbidity? You trying to drag us back to school, yo? Won’t happen. Oh no! Can’t push us around the way you done an innocent child! Feeding us your oppressor lies…. I’m a man now! You hear? M-O-N! I’m Muddy Waters, Sugar Ray… yeah, that’s right! Sugar Ray Leonard has come to take you out.
(APOTH. shadow boxes, fighting invisible adversaries. Meanwhile, FORLORN has regained his composure.)
Hey, boy! Come back… I know you. Hey, maybe not. He looks familiar, though. Son of Sam, that’s him, mystery solved: David Berkowitz, following the advice of his neighbor’s dog. Was it the Devil that spoke to him? Or God? “Kill those people. Shoot the fuckers.” And here’s Chatty.
(He peeks under WESSON’s hood to confirm this.)
Hey, sweetie, how you doin’? Right, nobody home, could be expected. Gone conversing with the future generations again, Chatty has. The future, dear audience, that’d be you. Chatty here, she can’t think straight, let alone speak. Is why I’m here: I’ve got you covered. Chatty needs a medium, someone to figure out what she’s saying, trying to say, put forward. Well, here I am: Robert Forlorn, Ron Jeremy Lovelorn, at your service.
I’d love to sit on top of a column and be incoherent. You know, like Nim Chimpsky, the chimpanzee. “Tell us, O monkey, what’s going on? What is right and wrong!” Do the Ad lib schtick… but, you know, the way it works, someone’s got to put food on the table. In the manner of speaking, see what I’m saying? No? I’ve found my dream job, teaching table manners to dogs. The Demon Dog, he just wouldn’t listen.
(Nods at WESSON)
Look at her.
(He grabs the wheelchair and turns it so that WESSON is facing the audience.)
The boy who’s wrestling with his demons as we speak, all he’s asking from you, my fellow Americans, is a moment of silence, a moment… in memory of a remarkable talent who’s also a poet.
Fun. We gonna have some, right? Tonight.
Lord have mercy!