What’s with that get-up?
My new boyfriend, Saum,
Thinks that it’s unbecoming in a woman
To wear revealing things. It’s a chador.
So, what, are you converting?
No, not yet.
But how am I to sell items of fashion
With you decked out like that, it’s like a drape?
Maybe you’d rather work where they sell linens
Instead of fine apparel.
All of this is immoral, selling this.
How can you work here, then, if you agree?
He says it’s not illegal if the buyers
Aren’t of the faith, just like, or so he says,
The faithful may not drink, but can sell liquor.
So you believe it?
Not decided yet.
It’s not illegal here, to buy or sell.
That’s why it’s called Land of the Free, Clarice.
But sometime it’s too free, with all the drinking
And smoking that goes on.
It’s not so much.
It’s your imagination that’s so fervid.
Anyway, I can’t stop you working here,
But if you look like that, you’ll drive away
Customers. It’s a disembodied ghoul
Working behind the counter, like a trick
To call attention to yourself but in
A way that’s most unflattering. When a woman
Comes in she wants to think about a purchase,
Not about you. A salesgirl needs to blend
Into the background; or at best show off
How good the merchandise presents itself
Upon her youthful figure. Now instead
They’ll only think on death, like bellowing
Into their ear, you’ll soon be in a shroud,
Laid in a coffin, while your ghastly ghost
Fritters about the nether land bewailing
The vestiges of life unlived, untasted.
Really, that’s so dramatic. I mean mello-.
But Saum told me, that this idea is catching,
All across Europe, to the Netherlands
Which you have mentioned, and America.
But is it necessary? We have women,
Exclusively women come in here to shop,
Or on the few occasions there’s a man
He’s frittering about his wife or girlfriend
And not especially giving into lust.
Your boyfriend didn’t force you to do this,
Did he, Clarice? You said you’re not converted.
For God’s sake you’re not married, are you, dear?
I think you’re on the rebound,
Because your boyfriend cheated on you. Honey,
They’ll do it over there, the same as here.
Then if you haven’t been committed,
Lock, stock and barrel to each tenet of
Your new found faith, or would be if you find it,
Then can you find it in your heart, to listen
To reason and compassion, like a doctor:
“First do no harm.” To do this you will harm me,
By damaging my business. Please, Clarice.
Okay. Should I just scrounge in back for something?
No, take an hour. Go home and bring back a bag
Of clothes you can switch into—take an hour,
I’ll keep you on the clock, but any longer
I’ll have to dock you. Swiftly.
Thank you, Lorna.
Thank you for listening to the voice of reason.
Whew! What’s she come in for? Do you sell those?
Really we serve a varied clientele.
My wife came in here. She returned an item
And now she wants it back. It was too dark,
But now in retrospect she thinks the shade
Charming and not so somber after all,
Certainly not so somber like that ghoul.
I can’t recall the item.
For God’s sakes.
She can’t come in herself because my car
Is on the fritz again—it’s a Mercedes--
So I’m driving her jeep, while she’s marooned
As on a desert island, on our farm,
Only she has our horses to console her,
One colt and filly, they’re Arabian,
Beautiful creatures like you never saw.
Wait, horses. I believe, yes I remember.
This was the article, as I recall…
I still have the receipt, now let me see
Her name’s Evangeline.
Yes, that’s my wife.
Sometimes our minds play tricks on us and what
We took to be one thing is something other
Tell me about it. Put it on the card.
We both love horses; but I hardly have
The time to spend, so busy doing business.
Of course I work downtown, so it’s no trouble
Picking an item up. She wants to wear it
For our upcoming celebration of
Twenty-five years of marriage. We were young,
So I know that it shocks you, with my hair
Displaying nary a trace of gray. Your name?
Pretty name. Wife asked to get it;
Told me she spoke with somebody called Claire,
But I’ll report, ’twas no one there but Lorna
(Just between me and you, I am not kvetching:
My Lorna Doone I find is rather fetching).
If I had money for each time some man
Compared me to a cookie, then I wouldn’t
Need to be working here.
I thought I might
Leave you a card. If ever you work late
And need someone to talk to, over drinks,
Give me a call. I won’t be back again,
Unless I’m in the market for a shroud.
Charming for all of that. Twenty-five years.
I’m sure there are adventures in the saddle
He’d like to share. I’ll put this in my purse.
I thought I didn’t want her but I do.
A woman isn’t like a piece of clothing,
To take and then discard then put back on.
It’s got to be a grafting to your soul,
At least that’s how a woman sees it, if
It’s different for a man.
It is but I
Regret I gave her up, for a cheap thrill.
I really love her.
I believe you, Oswald.
I miss you round the house, a cheerful voice,
Always a word uplifting to inspire
My spirits, and the new boyfriend is not
Suitable for her. I won’t even meet him,
Let alone have him over to my house.
She’s busy learning Farsi, so enamored
With every little custom, every whim
Which he presents her like the Gospel truth,
Like how rice should be cooked and only his way,
And how she ought to dress, in a chador--
It’s like a prison, though she finds it freeing--
It’s all like mind control; but you’re bad news.
The mention of your name incites a riot.
I think you hurt her deeply and she still
Harbors great feelings for you. I forgot,
I owe you something for what you supplied me,
Replenishing my stash, the way you do.
It’s always on the house, because you loved me
The way a mother, and the angels, do.
When I was hungry so you fed me, and
When I was homeless so you sheltered me.
I feel for you the way a mother would,
But you’re not keeping me so well supplied
Merely to keep tabs on Clarice’s doings?
Not to say that I have no interest but
This is for you. I’ll never win Clarice
Bribing her mother, though she hates me so
She may interpret friendship as a bribe.
You hurt her, and she loves you deeply, Oswald,
But it may now be past all reparation.
I know, but that won’t change a thing between us.
I’m living with my uncle, for the while,
I promised him I wouldn’t steal his TV.
I just can’t seem to get a better job.
It isn’t easy. Times are tight, I know.
Call me if you need more. I’ve got to go.
He misses her, and I miss him, his uncle,
But seldom do we get the thing we want,
Or if we do, fulfilled desire is fleeting,
Vanished before we grasp a hold of it,
Or even realized that we have held it.
Oswald is staying with my Betsy’s brother.
You’d think he would have learned—not that I hold
An angry grudge till perpetuity
Against my son. If Patrick’s more forgiving
Then it’s because he also has sinned more,
No stranger to illicit con or theft,
So he is less inclined to disapprove,
Or to pass judgement. Not that I subscribe
To eye-for-eye philosophies: our Lord
Said that you must forgive an umpteen times,
Seven times seventy or some large number,
But it is not well to set up conditions
In which one might be victimized again.
Truth to tell, if my son ever again
Brushes with the police, I wish he’d die
Or have a lifetime sentence behind bars--
Terrible as it is, I’ve given up
Hope for his rehabilitation, even
If he’s been working steady for a while.
He’s a bad seed, and fell upon the rocks,
Alas our only one. Far better to,
As with a horse or some dumb animal
That’s causing trouble, do not hesitate
But put it down—the world has need of glue--
And find replacement with a well-behaved
Exemplar of docility. You might
Not find the criminal stuff that makes good soldiers,
But Oswald even lacks that discipline.
I and the guys I work with most have served
In the marines, or some branch of the service,
And there you’ve got to mind your Ps and Qs,
Discipline yourself to keep up with chores
And keep yourself immaculately groomed.
Oswald’s incapable: “Here, hold that end”
You tell him on a job, but before long
His mind has let attention wander and
He’s left off, let you down—the only venue
In which I’ve seen him focus, concentrate,
Is playing video games. But good hard skills,
Beyond those of a sleight-of-hand con artist
He never sought to acquire. I love my son,
But tough love, demarcating a clear line,
Is what we have to show them. Oftentimes
The rescuer gets pulled beneath the surf
Trying to save some fool that was too lazy
Or else incompetent to learn to swim.
I strove to teach him skills, to practice, hone
Setting new goals—but now he’s on his own.
It’s been a splendid lunch. I don’t mind paying.
Patrick has been divorced, I’m sure you know,
Hardly inclined to settle down to one,
But you’ve been steady—I believe he’s happy,
And now he’s going to take you on a cruise.
How wonderful. Bill calls it frivolous,
And there’s been times we had to help him out,
But who says being careless, free and easy,
Isn’t the better way to be? Our father
Died broke or in debt, a drunkard—yet nobody
Remembers him except with fondness. Patrick
Takes after him, even as Oswald does
His uncle Pat.
He is a charming man.
Don’t trust him, though.
Sometimes you like to hear
Pleasant frivolities about oneself.
It’s a good time, when I’m with Patrick, always.
Have you met any of his children?
All in the realm of Oswald’s age—adult,
More or less learning how to fend the world.
Too bad Clarice gave up on him, I say.
But she’s her own life, and she has to choose
Which path to follow.
If the boy she’s with
Likes to control and domineer her as
You say, she’ll tire of it before too long.
The luster of infatuation passes,
And, if you’re lucky, there’s no marriage or
Cause to be married, forcing a decision
That’s premature. Her eyes will clear.
I hope so.
There’s just a little time. Her shop is near here.
Maybe you’d like to sashay over there
Before I have to get back to my job.
Even if I’m late coming back from lunch,
They’ll understand, excusing it, because
My years of dedicated service and
Meticulous prompt punctuality.
No, it’s your lunch break; but I came downtown
For a job interview. It’s secretarial.
I hope that I can make a good impression.
Your dress is fashionable, both smart and pert,
But yet you have the look of someone who
Has other things to think of besides fashion.
You’ll wow them, even as, if I dare say it,
As I suspect, my brother Patrick’s wowed.
Thank you for saying that. After it’s done
I’ll stop to see her just to say hello.
It’s best that I’m not tardy. Being late
Just gives them an excuse. Why push one’s luck?
I’ve pushed it far too many times.
I mean, from what my brother’s told of you,
You’ve had a life not short on its adventure.
No, don’t feel bad. I hope he didn’t tell you
How once I was imprisoned in Belize
After a failed attempt to smuggle dope.
No, none of that.
Well, I was young, naïve--
A friend asked me to carry him a package.
Enough on that. I’ve got to focus now.
You look back on things after twenty years
And laugh about them—but when they’re occurring
It’s the worst thing could happen in the world.
I’m sure you’ll make the grade or pass the test.
The interview will happen splendidly.
I don’t think that you have to worry
About my brother trying to domineer--
Quite the reverse, all hell might well break loose.
All hell and happenstance, our mother said.
You’ll do well and you’ll have fun on the cruise.
Have a good afternoon.
You do the same.
It’s not that I feel envy—not a twinge--
But marvel at the contrast of my life--
So staid, serene—with hers, a wild wild ride.
Envy does not sit well in woman’s breast.
Oswald, this is the first time that I’ve seen you
Outside the office. With your extra pay,
I guess you feel that it’s okay to splurge
For lunch outside, instead of eating in.
Bagging it can grow old. We’re over budget,
But I felt fighting for an extra dollar
Warranted in your case, and Mr. Gacy
Approved it, after going o’er your stats.
You’ve been on time, and never fail to click--
But what a fool I am, it’s your lunchtime.
Don’t feel like you’re obliged to sit with me.
I just get tired of fixing up a sandwich.
Tell me about it. Every now and then
I like to get off of the premises,
Think about other tings. Oh, what are these?
These are my little tracts. It’s personal business.
Sometimes my eyes feel bleary after looking
Constantly at that screen.
Tell me about it.
It’s good to get a break and take some food.
Tell me about it. After twenty years
The breaks expand in their importance. These
Are little tracts—you see, I go to church.
Then when I leave, I’ll leave them here behind
For someone else to see. It’s a small thing,
But something I can do to help the world.
I’m not allowed to talk about my faith
While on the premises, but am I any
Less of a man of faith the while I’m working?
Why don’t you keep them. This one’s very good.
I didn’t know there was this side to you.
The church and state are separate, I agree,
But can you separate a man from God?
No, when I’m killing vermin, even though
I’m not allowed to say it, my mind reels
With hallelujah, hallelujah Oswald,
Each time at day’s end when I tally up
The fruits of a day’s labor—terrorists
Deverminized because we have good workers
Who care about the task. It’s not a game.
To me it’s like a game. I like my job.
That’s manual dexterity. You like that.
Me, I prefer the psychological impact,
Knowing that, one moment, a terrorist
Is unlocking his car door and the next
He’s blown to smithereens. I like that feeling.
And what you do all day, I get to see
On multitudes of screens—euphoria
Couldn’t describe my job any more aptly,
Despite the tediousness of crunching numbers.
I wish our supervisors were more zealous.
I’m glad that you’re cleancut. Not naming names,
But there are those in our department who
Worry much more about fine wine and dining
Than the condition of their souls. That’s why
I said a young man focused and determined
Deserves an extra dollar for his effort.
It’s not enough—the best that I could do--
But I’m not running the department, Oswald,
And he has his priorities. I’ve heard
That his new secretary’s going to start soon,
But she’s off to Aruba on a cruise.
Aruba, that could almost be Arabia,
Those are the devil’s people. Hear me, Oswald,
The race toward Armageddon is more serious
Than you ever imagined. Right away
I would have made a different choice because
Cruising’s concomitant with sexual wildness,
But not being the head of our department,
I—I who needs one—have to do without
Any assistant, secretarial aide,
And, not to mention any names again,
There’s someone will be trying to hike her skirts up
Instead of our priority number one.
I think I’m going to take a walk.
Sitting down cramps me up. I need to walk.
Enjoy yourself. Excuse if I’ve unburdened
Myself more freely than I could inside--
This is all personal, with no import
Nor bearing on the work we do inside.
I understand that. I take seriously
This kind of literature. I’m keen to read it.
I’m actually keen to go and have a smoke,
But why apprise him of the salient fact.
You may find it enlightening. After hours,
Feel free to broach the topic. Not at work.
See you in half an hour. Don’t get lost.
Sometimes I feel I’m ridiculed at work--
People don’t talk but whisper it obliquely,
My personal conviction made a stigma,
But I believe that Oswald understands
With a maturity belying his years
And may prove sympathetic to my cause.
I’ve meant to come in here for quite some time.
We’re closing now.
Is Claire here, or Clarice?
I sent her home—are you her mother?
Friend of her mother’s, rather.
Well, she said
Her mother had just gotten a new job
As secretary for some bigwig in
A governmental office in the area.
Good, then she was successful. And Clarice?
Clarice is working here.
I realize that,
But what I’m asking is, it’s not to pry,
Has there been any news on the horizon?
Like I said, I’m a friend so you can tell me.
No, nothing much to tell.
Well, that’s too bad,
Or maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know.
But what’s the point to gossip when there’s none.
No, but please come back
Tomorrow if it’s not an inconvenience.
I was just passing by. I work nearby.
So I surmised.
I’d heard about the shop.
You have some nice things here, though truth to tell
I’m not much of a fashion hound myself.
Yes, I surmised.
What, are you trying to say
There’s something wrong with how I dress myself?
Conservative, but for the working girl
It’s inoffensive, and it offers comfort.
I don’t think girl would be the word I’d use,
And I find it offensive to my eye.
Why don’t you try on this, or try on this.
This one’s five hundred, that one seven-fifty.
Say is the reason that you’ve come
To get a little gossip, or to buy.
I knew before you walked into the shop
You wouldn’t spend a penny, or what’s maybe
More accurate to say, you are the type
That spends a penny but not any more,
And that explains your manner of attire.
And what is that?
Three seasons past at Wal-mart.
I don’t think that I’m fond of what you carry.
I’m never coming back. You tell Clarice
I’m never setting foot in here again.
I don’t know why I did that. It’s not good
Practice to be offensive to the clients,
Even if such a cheapskate would not ever
Throw down a penny, as I knew right off.
Still, Claire will hear about it, and I must
Apologize somehow. I’m in the wrong.
It’s just I closed up early because I
Expected him to come, my new man friend.
He left his card, and foolish me, I called.
He said he’s pick me up, to go for drinks,
But I’ve been waiting, with my windows dark,
And still he hasn’t come. I closed up early,
And insulted a woman for no reason.
That’s how men are. Well, he can go to hell,
I work for my money. It’s not far.
Who needs a man to drive me to a bar?
To be or not to be is not
The question for a girl,
But with which man to throw her lot,
To watch her dreams unfurl--
No other choice holds such import,
It’s lifelong, or a while,
No one wants to sell herself short
Settling for motley style.
Staid and secure is very fine,
That’s dullness with a vengeance,
No question but that he is mine
Nor revving of the engines;
Or else to choose uncertainty,
Forever being jostled,
Which, letting my heart choose for me
Is what I’ll get from Oswald.
To say “I do” or not to say
The question for a man
Remains, right up till wedding day,
A riddle that but can
Be understood in retrospect
When husbands and their wives
Discover thus that they have wreckt
Their erstwhile glorious lives.
Perhaps if I control my mind
And meditate upon it
In haze the answer I will find
Enough to write a sonnet.
I love the pleasures of the flesh;
Clarice is not ideal;
If I inhale, perhaps they’ll mesh
Whereby may dreams congeal.
For fear of losing her I will
Propose the question quickly,
My pulse will race, my tears will spill,
My skin will rise up prickly.
“Clarice,” I’ll say, “if heaven bless
Will you become my bride?”
To the proposal I’ll say “yes”
Although torn up inside.
Love first unites and then divides us:
The meaning of romance
Till death us part, forever thus
Except some circumstance,
For in the world of me, all things
May happen, hearts be riven,
For when occur such happenings
Love may from love be driven.
Congratulations, Josephine, you have
Completed one whole day, and I’m convinced
You have the makings of an A-class helper,
Secretary or else administrative
Assistant—you will not be making coffee,
But here and there I will have other tasks,
Preparing invitations for a party,
That kind of thing. O, it’s strictly legit.
When I say party, which it is, it’s also
A function—that’s the grease that turns the wheels
Of government, you understand?
You’re a sly cookie. I can see that well.
Goodness, I just forgot. We worked so late
I blew off an appointment by mistake--
No matter, it’s a trivial thing. The party
Will beg to have another chance with me.
Relax, the day is done, let’s be informal.
I’ll get my things together then.
I didn’t make a deal of this before,
Or issue but your resume has gaps.
Spotty deficits. It’s not important.
We had discussed that, and I hired you, Jo.
D’you mind if I refer to you as Jo?
My wife’s Evangeline but that’s a mouthful.
Go ahead. But if what you’re saying is
That my credentials are somehow amiss,
I’d like you to speak clearly what they are.
No, no. We have a thorough background check.
And you passed with flying colors, Jo.
Your resume is not a problem, Jo.
What I was leading up to, was, we had
Multiple applications for the job,
And all the candidates were vetted by
A variety of people. All in all,
You were among the finalists. That’s all
That I was trying to say and nothing more.
I’m glad that I was hired; and so with hindsight
I guessed that I had been—a finalist.
I’d almost thought you teasing. What I wonder,
Is this position’s vacancy was not
Broadcast or published widely. How did you
Hear that we were accepting applications.
I heard it from a friend.
What kind of friend.
Someone who keeps abreast of goings-on
In governmental offices.
But I won’t try to pump an answer from you.
What I’ve been trying to say, was I selected
You from amongst the final competition.
I would expect that, sir.
No, call me John,
Or else JW as my best friends do.
Everyone calls you Mr. Gacy.
Fine with the surname too, but in close quarters,
Late in the evening, when the rest are gone,
Why don’t you call me John.
It’s fine with me.
You were collecting up your things. I’ll help you.
It’s cause to celebrate.
Completion of day one. I’m not so crude
As to suggest, on day one, that we go
Stop off for drinks—I’ll take you for a ride
In my Mercedes if you like, it’s faster.
Downtown is safe. It isn’t that,
But as a courtesy I thought I’d offer.
The day you interviewed I had
Five others—not to beat around the bush,
But most of them were younger, sweet young things,
But I’m impressed with competence before--
Here I’ve put myself in a bind: the word
Almost across my lips, attractiveness,
Certainly does apply to sweet young things,
But I don’t want it taken as an insult.
You have a way of carrying yourself
That puts those sweet young things to shame,
My point is not an inquisition on
Attractiveness, comportment or whatever,
All of which you have, but competence.
Feminine beauty, while a lovely thing,
Is not qualification for a job,
And I wanted to make it clear to you
The reason that I hired you was because
Through your comportment, you seemed competent
Despite lacunae—gaps—within your history,
And not because of your attractiveness.
I think I’d call it beauty,
Speaking here off the record, just as friends.
Please, my daughter’s expecting me at home.
Jo, I’m not blocking you. Feel free to go.
I’m confident that you’re not misconstruing.
You wore a skirt that day, and as a man
It’s hard to not let eyes rove up a thigh.
Here, sit back down. You had your legs apart.
You had to know it.
Even if I did,
Would that be pertinent?
It is to me.
Your background check came back without a blemish,
And other, younger girls seemed to possess
The latest, most advanced qualifications,
But I felt that experience trumps a novice.
You sat like that, and I restrained my hand
From creeping up inside and underneath.
You are voluptuous in a way some girl
Can scarcely comprehend, what fulsome breasts,
Your neck, your neck, your neck, O scented heaven,
I feel the perspiration underneath
Your bra like it is wanting to come off,
Hungry to come off, and your panties, please,
Did kisses ever taste so sweet, or fine?
Sweet sexual maven, clandestinely mine,
I think you understood that when I hired you
It was because my body’s heat desired you,
And you, without compunction, arbitrage,
Leaned forward to reveal your décolletage,
O sweet enticement, and I knew I had
To have you or I would be driven mad,
I think you understood that.
If I did,
What is that to you even now, I wonder.
Still playing coy? I’m ravishing your body,
And you’re withholding—what? It’s by your leave
My hands are free to roam your sweet terrain,
But what is it, an idea in your brain?
Do you think to withhold thereby a soul?
A soul’s not what I want, if I could have it,
But this obsequious, O how I crave it.
I think I heard a noise out there.
Listen, let’s grab your things, and we can go.
I’ll put you in the back of my Mercedes,
And give the special ride reserved for ladies.
It’s funny, but my wife and I arrive
To wedded bliss next month of twenty-five;
Our anniversary. When a couple marries
It’s lucky they don’t wind up adversaries,
And I’m in love with her, Evangeline,
But right now I prefer you, Josephine,
And I’m incapable of understanding.
Bennett, is that you? Bennett, are you working?
There’s always someone in the shadows lurking.
Here’s an old trick my father taught me when
I was a boy: you take a sheet of paper,
Perform some rudimentary folds, voila!
You have an unmanned aircraft. Hit the basket.
My husband’s girl is going to help us with
The invitations: twenty-five years of marriage
Is not something to sneeze at, or take lightly.
He showers me with blessings, and with gifts;
The horses that he bought me are a joy,
Annabelle and Sir Charles, I love them both.
But what I want is for him to be here,
Riding with me. It’s that infernal job,
Manning the program of the unmanned drones.
Security’s at stake, I understand that.
If he got booted out, where would we go?
It’s such a specialized field. He has connections.
Up in his den he even has a photo
Of himself—with some dignitaries round them--
Shaking hands with the President. But I
Want to go riding; we have an estate
And we have neighbors that reciprocate.
Truth of the matter is, I’d rather have
Company of my friends, than have my husband’s--
But I wish he stayed under my surveillance:
It’s all stealth operations, what they do.
I’m glad the new girl’s older. He has run
Into some trouble with his roving hands,
Though tries to be discrete about it. Well,
This Josephine and I should have a talk.
It needs both a good wife and secretary
To handle his affairs, a man like that.
Got a fag, love?
You’re being funny, Oswald.
I stepped out for a smoke.
One of mine. I try to keep far away
So no one from our building can observe me.
Thank you, me too. I hope nobody minds.
We’re okay smoking, up on stage, but that’s
Because what we do here is all illusion.
How is it going with Gacy?
His wife and I are always on the phone.
She keeps good tabs on him, I think she knows
But doesn’t say directly, how he is.
I mean his hyped up, sexual overdrive.
How is Clarice?
She’s serious about this guy.
I think I’d like to see her, maybe ask
If she’d consider taking up again
More seriously, I mean.
I’d like to have it.
You know, this guy, he isn’t very friendly
And I don’t think she truly loves him, Oswald.
But stop on by. Send me a text before.
I’ll let you know if time is opportune.
He’s never there, don’t worry. I won’t have
A man I don’t approve of in my house.
We miss you, Oswald, both of us I think.
What time is it.
You have five minutes.
He gets in my affairs and I don’t like it.
Gacy. When this planning for
The wedding thing is over, or I mean
“Renewal of their vows” (what crock of hogwash)
Then I’ll be glad because I won’t have his
Personal little tasks on top of business.
It’s all about the budget. Costs are shifting,
But not to make the workforce feel more happy.
I’ll be behind you in a minute.
It’s just as well. He doesn’t know I know you.
Bennett, my supervisor is a whack-job,
Even worse than hers is, but I can play him.
He thinks that I’m a smart, upstanding guy,
Not the kind who would be caught doing this.
I take extended breaks. He asks me why.
I say I got absorbed, lost track of time
Reading the books he lent me—crazy stuff,
About how Satan has set powers against us,
Arrayed forces for battle, set the field.
I talk to him about it, and he lets
Me slide if I come back a little late.
Crazy stuff, but there might be some truth in it.
Why are you bringing me this stuff?
Take it away. I don’t want his junk here.
He isn’t welcome in my house.
I told you
Those who give in to Oswald burn their fingers.
You’re the one who should be responsible.
Patrick, my son is not a juvenile,
Legally he’s considered an adult,
Even if I still see him as my son.
I’ve never had cooperation from
The family on this: all of you give in.
“Be stern,” I said, “you have to set some rules,
Boundaries or else he’ll walk all over you.”
He crossed the big line this time.
What’s he done.
You’re going to have to pony up this time,
Or we’ll call the police.
Go call them, Patrick.
I won’t touch this affair. I told you not to
Invite him in your home: “There will be trouble”
I told you, not that there’s an offhand chance,
Some possibility that’s so remote
Possibly something bad might come of this.
“There will be trouble,” Patrick, you remember.
I want to talk to Betsy. He’s your son!
Not some offhand acquaintance.
Give you a different answer than I do.
We’re a united front. We’ve talked about it.
I won’t stand by and let you get away
With this I’m going to call up the police,
File a report, then he’ll get thrown in jail,
How would you feel about that?
I’ll feel fine.
Do it. Here, use my phone. That boy is trouble.
I don’t want him in jail. I want my money.
Bill, show compassion for your only son.
Not an ounce of it. That last time, the dealing
Illegal drugs—somehow charges were dropped,
Or when he set fires at my job, that cost
Me lots of money, pee wee arsonist.
He was a juvenile then. The expense
I’ve borne because of that bad seed, let’s say
Two hundred thousand dollars over time,
Will not be added to.
Bill, that’s a number
You’re only making up.
Send him to jail.
I’m glad he’s gone, and I won’t intervene.
Why, should I be concerned because bad things
Might happen in the jail cell? Sure they will.
But I’ll have peace of mind—without the worry
He’ll set fires at my job. The union saved me,
But these are different times. Or if not that,
Completely without any kind of warning
I’m blindsided by some irrational deed,
It’s like a drone attack, and I don’t know
Where or when will the next one come. Prediction’s
Impossible with Oswald, but I know
“There will be trouble.” That’s the only constant..
Why, he stole your TV but yet you let
Him back into your den it’s like a wolf
Into the chicken coop, I told you, Patrick.
At least, if he’s in jail, I won’t be hit
By some recrimination, accusation.
Oswald’s a grown boy now, and all this stuff
If it’s inside my premises makes me
Liable for any action he commits.
I’ve checked it with the lawyer, he’s my son.
They’ll take away my house, my savings, all
I’ve worked for all these years, when what I want
Is to look forward to peaceful retirement,
Without any new liens or garnishments
Borne of a son’s devilish and thieving ways.
Take it back with you. See those filthy shoes?
How could you let that monster in your house,
He’s hardly civilized. No, Pat, Pat, Pat,
I warned you and I warned you. Now unless
His family makes its mind up not to let
Itself get bullied or cajoled or shamed
Into another rescue, maybe Oswald
Will have to face the consequences for once.
I’ll throw it out.
I want my piece of mind.
Corinne is livid. Now somehow he took
Her credit card, and charged a lot of things.
Report it stolen.
Bill, they know who took it.
It’s pay up or else let the sheriff take him.
Bill, you don’t want the boy to go to jail.
Suddenly out of nowhere for no reason
I’m subject to a sudden consternation.
I can be mildly viewing the TV,
Peaceful in my tranquility until
The phone rings, then the first words that I hear,
“Your son…” I know it’s like another bomb,
Another thirty thousand or whatever.
What did he spend?
It’s several thousand.
Some of the charges paid an escort service.
Maybe Oswald was
Depressed but wasn’t saying anything.
Sure, he’s been working steady, Bill.
The way to cure depression is by working.
But Oswald isn’t making any money,
Bill, not the kind of money you can spend.
He’s putting forty hours in, at the end
Of all of that he hasn’t made enough
To pay for an apartment. You don’t want
Him on the streets, Bill, those streets are a jungle.
I tried to get him to sit down and focus.
I brought him to the job, to learn a trade,
And he requited me by starting fires.
He’s got to suffer his own consequences.
Bill, the wage he earns, how is he to
Socialize? Women want a guy to pay.
Oswald’s not stupid, he knows how the lay is.
You’ve got to have the habit so you pay.
It’s cheaper to pay for an escort than
Get tied into a money-sucking pit.
What are you doing with Corinne? It’s like
You can’t make up your minds. You were divorced,
Then living with each other, then you’re not,
Then suddenly you’re cruising to Jamaica
With someone else, and now Corinne is back?
With such examples close to hand, no wonder
Oswald has gone astray. So, prostitutes,
What are the other charges?
Well, the largest
Is for a department store, not specified
What article he purchased. Bill, I think
You ought to talk to him. He’ll come around.
Here, leave that stuff on my back porch, you can
Tell him it’s here, I want it cleared away.
When he comes by I’ll have a word with him.
She went shopping, I believe.
I think I hear her now. Let’s not rehash
The business till I’ve had my word with Oswald.
Pity the man with an ungrateful child.
I don’t see how you wound up with the apple
That’s bad—my children haven’t caused the grief--
Yet Oswald is more like me than they are.
Must be inherited from my old man
Through Betsy anyway. How are you, sis?
Patrick, what brings you here?
The usual troubles.
Trouble with Oswald.
O that boy.
Bill, after years of working, scrimping, saving,
Denying myself every simple pleasure
Abstemiously, if not renunciation
But sleeping on my boards just like a nun,
I don’t know what came over me, but I
Suddenly felt the need to splurge and buy
Some of the things that I denied myself.
Beautiful things. Why, look at this dear blouse.
I’ve other packages out in the car.
That’s a fine bracelet.
Made of cowrie shells,
That’s what they use for money in some countries.
Countries we’re prob’ly bombing with our drones.
Can you boys help me get the rest of it?
Bill, don’t look so surprised. It’s ostentatious,
But I’ve worked for it, now we can go out
And I’ll be looking pretty, not so drab.
It looks like Oswald’s on the street again.
I won’t have all those dirty things polluting
My house when they belong out with the trash.
They’re going on the porch, till Oswald comes.
We’re going to have a chat.
Let’s get them there,
Then we can bring in my things from the car.
Mother, wake up. I brought some pizza, Mom.
Drinking after work. It’s an excuse,
But at least, in this case, I think a good one,
Instead of randomly, for no good reason.
Mom, wake up. I’ve got pizza.
I’m burnt out from the day. There’s so much work.
When you start out at a new job, it’s fresh,
But fairly early on you settle into
What seems like autopilot. I’m a drone,
Droning away my suicide while others
Watch but don’t care because they’re droning too.
Mom, you’re not making sense. The pizza’s there.
I’ve got to change.
I can’t get used to it,
That duffle bag you walk around in, like
God didn’t bless you with beauty to show.
It’s old potatoes like myself who ought
To be shrouded away like that.
I think after I’m married, if I don’t
Need it I’ll quit my job at the boutique.
We still have men come in and I don’t like it.
What did you say, not like men coming in?
I’ve got to change. There’s pizza on the table.
I’ll let him know she’s home. He said tonight
He planned on stopping over. It’s absurd,
She’s young and pretty, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Why cover up your attributes? Christ said,
If there’s a light then let it be revealed.
It’s not immodest to wear decent clothes.
Those men that bind their women—just a wrist
That’s caught a glimpse of, sends them into frenzy.
It doesn’t solve a problem to conceal them.
Men will be men, they’ve got imaginations,
And it’s what they don’t see that causes problems.
That’s what I would say: much better.
At home I like to be myself. Saum says
A woman can’t conceal it from her husband.
Lorna at work, convinced me not to wear it
When I’m clocked in, but men come by the shop.
Clarice, you hardly sound yourself. It’s not
The girl I raised. This change in you distresses.
I had high hopes for Oswald. He’s been working,
Steady—I know it’s but a pittance, but
He’s proven to me he can be determined,
Set an example for me, really. He’s
Always at his computer hunched there working.
You know he touches you, and in a way
Someone that’s from a foreign culture can’t.
I’m not the one to give advice, for sure,
But I think you should give Oswald a chance,
See if he’s turned a new leaf all around
Like he has with his work.
It’s true I like him,
He has a sense of humor that I miss,
And when he’s sweet, there is nobody sweeter.
That’s what I mean.
But he’s so inconsistent,
It’s like he always wants the easy way,
He’s looking for a shortcut all the time.
If he would woo me properly, I would,
Give him a chance, and probably succumb.
It’s just I went too far too fast with him.
Mom, he was living here beneath our roof:
We slept in separate beds but sleep is sleep.
When you weren’t here, or even when you were
But kept your eyes averted, what went on--
You can’t pretend to me you didn’t know--
We shared the usual lovers’ intimacies,
But it was much too fast, and gone too far
It’s hard to find your way back to a natural
His residing here was not
Unnatural, child, but what’s unnatural is
Walking around so that no one can see you
Except for slits of eyes protruding through,
Or piercing through I mean. It sends the men
Into a frenzy.
Well, I’m not committed,
But want to try it out, and I feel special.
It’s not that I’m ashamed of me before,
But I think, in advance of marriage, maybe,
That bestial aspect should be left to wait.
How far you’ve come already.
It’s the door.
Oswald, I’m glad to see you. Did you bring
The things I asked you to? Clarice, it’s Oswald.
You set me up. You knew that he was coming.
Clarice, I came to say hello,
To have a serious talk. What’s wrong with her?
Clarice, you can come out. It’s only Oswald.
You set me up. You knew that he was coming.
Clarice, he used to live with us, remember?
I have a right to have him in my house.
Clarice, he wants to talk to you. Don’t act
Foolish—it’s not like Oswald’s never seen you!
I can’t believe that you’d betray me, Mom,
When you know how I feel.
Listen to reason. Calm down for a minute.
Settle yourself, then come and have some pizza.
Oswald, there’s pizza here enough for you.
Maybe I shouldn’t have come.
Nonsense. She needs a minute to cool down.
I’d planned on leaving. With her agitation,
I’m afraid she’d interpret it the wrong way.
It’s this new guy she’s seeing, the one I’ve mentioned.
He makes her feel anxiety for nothing.
Okay. Stop laughing at me, Oswald, stop it!
Haven’t you got the courtesy at least
To be respectful, decent, even pleasant?
Clarice, it’s just, it took me by surprise.
I mean, I didn’t think you’d put that on.
Don’t disrespect me, Oswald.
No, I won’t.
The pizza’s good.
I’m glad you like it--
But I got one that’s big enough for two.
Clarice, I’m hardly hungry. And besides,
Didn’t I tell you, I have to go out?
There’s preparations for the Gacys’ party,
Some things I have to pick up from the store,
And best of all, I’m getting overtime.
Some party items. They were at a loss,
But I know where to shop. Evangeline
Had never heard of party stores before--
That’s Mr. Gacy’s wife, Evangeline.
We’ve become friends, as both somehow involved
With this bull in a china shop, her husband.
You set me up, this whole thing was a setup.
Clarice, you know me. I’m contrite, sincere.
You two can finish off the pizza.
Why did you do this to me, Mother? Go.
I might be out a while.
She set me up, and I’m not pleased about it.
Clarice, I’m sorry that I laughed. It’s not
Disrespect, but I’ve seen you in the nude,
I even know where every little mole is,
So I’m not going to get bent out of shape
If I can see your face. Come on, sweetheart.
I want to have a serious conversation,
And sure, I want to look into your eyes,
Gaze lovingly and with intensity--
But isn’t this a bit extreme? I won’t
Kiss you or try to touch, I swear I won’t.
Okay. Give me a minute.
Was not intended, but it’s rather freaky
To see someone you’ve known for a long time
Suddenly change in such dramatic fashion.
For goodness sake, it may not be polite
To tell upon a lady, but Clarice.
What were you saying?
An absent-minded mutter.
That looks much better. Can I give a kiss
To say hello, it’s just a hello kiss.
There won’t be any more, unless you want them.
Oswald, I’ve been involved with someone else.
I know it, but it’s not a problem. Look,
I know we had our differences, I wasn’t
Stable enough, but I’ve been working steady.
Mom tells me so.
So you guys talk about me.
Only in passing.
I was very wrong
To shove you to the side for someone else,
A brief fling, passing fancy, but Clarice,
After soul searching, I’ve reached the conclusion
That there is only one girl in the world
That I would like to spend my life with: you.
I know I haven’t got the greatest job,
Or all the greatest prospects in the world,
But I’m sincere, devoted, and I love you.
Whatever he can offer, I’m sure he
Can’t match the great times that we had together.
I’d like to marry you. I know it’s silly
To think that you would want me after all
The dumb things that I’ve done, but I believe
The heavens want the two of us together.
Haven’t we had good times, Clarice?
Give me a chance. I don’t mean right away,
Give me some time. If you want to be dating,
Instead of in relationship, it’s fine,
Then you can alternate your Fridays out.
One week with him, and the next week with me,
And after a good while, then you’ll decide
Which one is more fun and the better match,
And you’ll see that I’ve seriously changed, for you,
Because I was so scared of losing you,
And even—if you didn’t want to wait
Skeptical and uncertain, I am ready
After much introspection and soul searching
To offer this.
It’s a ring, you dodo.
Put it on. Look, it’s yours to keep whatever.
I’d like it to be an engagement ring,
With better things to follow in due time.
Now it’s my turn to laugh. I’ll keep the ring.
You owe it to me after all the crap
That I’ve endured for your sake. O, I know
You mean it when you say that you’re sincere,
You always mean it, until you forget.
It’s not about that floozy anyhow.
It’s all about respect. You just don’t get it.
That’s what I want. My boyfriend gives me that.
How, bundling you in that black bolt of cloth?
Don’t mock the way I dress.
Those people’s culture,
It’s like there’s devils there. I mean, I’m sure
Your boyfriend is okay and all of that,
I’m sure he’s pretty decent, but watch out,
Clarice, you don’t want to become a mother
To terrorists. I read these things at work,
And people say one thing but mean another.
Like you don’t, Oswald? Take your bloody ring
And get the hell away from me.
Take it and go.
Well, give it to me then.
You owe me for the bad times, just get out.
I hope you never cross my path again.
Suit yourself, bitch. Go crawl into a hole
And never climb back out, for all I care.
You could’ve had the world but turned it down.
I don’t know what’s got into you. The devil.
Something has took possession of your psyche
And you’re not in the driver’s seat, Clarice.
I hardly know you, and what’s worse, I think
You’ve lost yourself.
Get out. Get out. Get out.
Trying to bribe me with this stupid ring.
I’m going to tell my mother, she was wrong.
Her little plan backfired, and has, in fact,
Resulted in the opposite effect.
He underestimated me
To think a brilliant diamond
Would change the course of destiny:
I won’t be simple Simoned.
What Simon says does not come true
Simply because he said it,
His script was calling for review,
I’ve made my final edit.
I will admit I like the glint,
I like the precious luster,
But even if it made me squint
I wouldn’t take it, buster,
As token of undying love
That’s worthy of a sonnet,
If thief nocturnal can remove
My precious ring and pawn it.
Such is the value that I place
Upon dear Oswald’s vows,
His grandiosity and grace:
So choose another house.
Alas, I’ll miss his winsome smile,
(And he was good in bed)
But if he cannot go the mile
His rival wins instead.
The content of man’s character
Is more important than
The tenor of his boasting—cur
In sheep’s clothes such a man;
Or like the tortoise and the hare,
What’s good in the beginning
Soon peters out: beware, beware,
The rival keeps on winning.
He’s turned a new leaf, Oswald says,
Which, if true, is praiseworthy,
But though words be deserving praise
I seek works that are earthy:
False promises float on the breeze,
Corinna’s gone a-Maying,
But come the autumn, reveries
Lie withered, sere, decaying.
Fact of the matter is, temp job
Makes him no bacon bringer,
A wage slave and pathetic slob,
A bee without a stinger.
Alas, it breaks my heart to dash
His servile lovelorn hoping;
My boyfriend, who bought this with cash
Proposed and we’re eloping.
She’s gone and left me in the lurch, Dad.
What were you counting on, some panacea
To all life’s ills, through marrying a girl?
Marriage increases difficulty merely.
Not for a woman.
Oswald, ground yourself.
What do you hope for? What do you expect?
Should Uncle Pat and Aunt Corrine forgive you?
They do, but you can’t wash away the debt.
You have to live with them, with all of us.
It’s called the social fabric, Oswald.
You have to get ahead, and make that money.
De facto I have been advised my job
Holds no hope for advancement; if I am
Destined to be held in a pen forever
With neither hope for comfort nor for shelter,
No better prospects than a Roman slave,
How do I make existence bearable?
I thought, if I just doused myself with liquor
Or smoked sufficient pot, I might believe
That I might find redemption in true love
Which was Clarice’s come on, but she dangled
The hope for an illusion in my face,
Enticing me with her allure besides,
When all she really wanted was a workhorse.
That is the horror of my situation,
To realize, that my last moment with her
Was tearing of the curtain on a nightmare.
Oswald, it isn’t true. You had your chances.
Your mother and myself, your Uncle Pat,
Even Clarice’s mom, all offered you
A shelter and a home, but you refused it.
If I obeyed the rules, draconian rules.
What, that you brush your teeth and that you bathe?
Don’t leave a mess behind you? Wash your clothes?
Contribute to the household? Heft your weight?
Refrain from stealing that which is not yours?
Dad, I can’t be a workhorse. That was why
I trafficked with the escorts. If I was
About to give it all up for Clarice,
A horse about to visit with the gelder,
At least I had to sow my oats before,
But now I’ve made a mess of it.
It was a fit of madness that possessed me;
I felt the diamond ring would gain her love,
And love would conquer all—but I was conquered
By an obscurant enemy unforeseen,
Blindsided by an unexpected foe
Descending from the skies like heaven’s angels.
You sound like me. There’s one thing to be done:
Start once again, and this time do it right.
Begin anew, without the hope for comfort,
Without the promise of success: just work
Expecting to be paid less than you’re worth,
Expecting earnings to be taken from you
In myriad ways, by treacheries unjust.
That is the life before you as a man.
Make your amends; pay off your debts; once square
On that financial front, you can begin
To hunt for a new job. The times are bad.
If you relinquish ethics you have nothing.
Dad, you and Uncle Patrick.
You have to take your things. I wish you well.
Neither of you was always on the level.
It’s scrimp and save, just scrimp and save, like Mom--
But maybe I don’t want to serve that devil,
But feel myself like an atomic bomb
Sent by an unknown carrier, which is God,
Exploding into smithereens.
Already on the route toward that objective.
Dad, help me.
Take your things. They’re on the porch.
You’ve given me your recipe for failure,
I’ve told you mine, which promises success
At best uncertain. There come unknown terrors
Within the life of man; out of the shadows
Suddenly, unexpected comes the killer--
But usually, it falls not from the sky,
But from the shadow side of man’s own heart--
The side that robs, but doesn’t see his victim,
That kills, but will not tolerate the blood,
The kind that murders by pushing a button
Or making an adjustment in a ledger--
These are the devils that you have to watch for.
The ones extraneous are but paltry things.
I’m going to kill the devils, Dad.
Heed carefully the words that I have spoken
And strive to make amends. My final words.
Her mother told me that her daughter’s married,
Suddenly, unexpectedly. It seems
The young man’s doing well, works with computers,
Presented her a diamond ring so big
That she was overwhelmed, and without forethought
They found themselves a justice of the peace.
What’s done is done. Well, maybe Oswald’s lucky.
Bill talked to him; it didn’t sound that way.
Bill talked to him—what use is talk?
You had him stay with you, and you regretted.
But he’s your child—and Bill and you both have
An obligation. If it isn’t legal,
I mean required by law, yet it is moral,
The bonding between kin, parents and child.
You have to let them go. It may surprise you,
But Bill relented in his adamancy,
Said maybe he had been too hard on Oswald;
Said maybe we should let him move back home.
I have worked and worked and worked and worked
A lifetime to create a stable home,
Forcing myself, no matter how I hated,
To get up every morning and go in,
And so has Bill. At last when I’m beginning
To let myself enjoy that labor’s fruits,
To glean a little of the perks from money,
Which I have earned by daily going in,
Putting my docile face on to go in,
Wearing my drab but unpretentious clothes
Conservative and practical going in,
Giving words both polite and meaningless
To someone who behind my back has whispered
Slanders impugning me, so that I may
Have the continued joy of going in--
Into the office, office I abhorred,
Then why should I, upon these later years
When I have come to count on certain comforts,
Jeopardize it by letting a thief in?
When I’ve accumulated nice apparel,
Begun to allocate my small surplus
To things which bring me pleasure, why should I
Let myself, in effect, become a hostage
To the whims of a proven liar and thief.
These were my thoughts, and I told Bill as much.
How did your son react?
O, I don’t know.
Bill said he took it quietly. I’m resigned
To it if Oswald fails to find his path,
And stays perpetual wanderer all his days.
The social service net will care for him;
God knows Bill and I gave him all we had.
It seems so harsh.
It disconcerted Bill,
But when he asked Oswald to take his things,
Oswald says, “I won’t need them any more.”
Wards of the state have all things given to them,
That’s in a homeless shelter or in prison.
That’s the hard fact, but I’m resigned to it.
I didn’t see his things.
I threw them out.
Well, I’m not pressing charges, and Corinne,
It’s her affair, but whether she pursues it
It’s up to her—she’s gone.
Until the next time.
She’s mother to my children, Betsy; I’ve
A soft spot. Maybe I’m soft in the head.
You take after our father.
We both do:
He loved fancy possessions.
But was careless
In their possession. There we differ, Patrick.
If I see Oswald, I’ll say my door’s open.
“There will be trouble,” as my husband said.
What would life be without a bit of trouble--
The only constant, more assured than taxes.
And after all the trouble, then you die.
Enjoy it while you can.
Betsy, I will,
Trouble and all. I strive to anyhow.
If you see Oswald, tell him that I have
Nothing to say to him, and nor does Bill.
Betsy, you’ll change your mind.
But not my heart.
My heart’s inured to trouble from that quarter.
That’s terrible to say.
But that’s the truth.
That’s the worst part about it, Betsy. If
You hear from Oswald let him know the converse:
I’d like to talk to him, or hear him talk.
I’ll do that, Pat.
Give my regards to Bill.
Oswald, you’ve been so secretive these days.
I’ve talked to both your mother and your uncle,
No one knows where you’re staying.
With a friend.
You’re sure it’s not been on the street? You seem
Disheveled if not in appearance then
I come in to work,
Focus upon the task, the protocols,
And help to make the world safer for freedom.
You seem unglued.
If you need someplace
To stay you’re welcome back; Clarice is gone.
That’s not what it’s all about, Clarice?
The guests are coming. Mr. Gacy
Needed my help in setting up, arranging,
And since I couldn’t do it by myself,
I asked if you could help me carry things.
Go prowl around. It’s such a big estate.
They have two lovely horses. Mrs. Gacy
Endlessly talks about her two gray beauties.
They’re both Arabian. You would learn a lot
About how the elite live if you hung
Around here for a while. Here they come in,
Having been to the stables. There are many
Important dignitaries on the list.
Bennett is here, but it’s like you once said,
The more you study him, you realize
He’s got some psychic issues unresolved.
Don’t tell a soul, but I’ve been privy to
Information, that Gacy’s drone department
Is being restructured; your job is secure,
But Bennett will be out. He’s a nut job,
Just like you told me long ago. Go on,
While the festivities are going on,
Go out and poke about the estate a little.
Josephine, this affair looks marvelous.
Gala events are hard to plan. You really
Knocked yourself out. I’m sure the happy couple
Appreciate your efforts, two love birds.
Look at them. Oswald, have you seen the stables?
I’ve heard about them.
Go and take a look.
Ladies and gentlemen, if everyone
Can stop their conversations for a minute.
Thank you for coming. It was twenty-five
Years ago that Evangeline and I
Got married. That we stayed together is
Due to her tolerance and forbearance
Putting up with a rake such as myself.
How’d you do it?
It has been
Not without trials, as any marriage is,
But John has always been considerate
Of my own point of view and always striven
To make me happy. If you haven’t seen
Annabelle and Sir Charles, you must go look.
They’re like our children. It’s a testament
To John’s broad-mindedness, that while he’s busy
With national affairs of such importance,
He has the time to treasure little me.
That’s what he’s most concerned about, hobnobbing.
Oswald, you know my thoughts. The biggest threat
To national security is our
Own lack of vigilance. The terrorists
Are low sub-human scum, and need to be
Obliterated. I wish I could send a message
To wake him up: a war is going on.
Come down off of your high horse and get busy.
He serves the devil’s party without knowing.
I think that he might be the devil.
Take it from me, if I thought that he were
Then I would strike him down.
I’ll be right back.
Evangeline and I can count our blessings.
First of all, we were blessed that we were born
Citizens of the great, exceptional power,
The last best hope of earth. We cannot fail
But must succeed; and nobly propagate
Our love of freedom to the world at large.
Hear, hear, etc.
Second of all, prosperity is ours.
Who could believe, that all that we possess
Has come into our hands, to safeguard for
Prosperity: there’s no need to go hungry.
A little thrift and industry avail
The world to freedom-loving citizens.
My friends will know, the places where we send
Our robot-driven flyers represent
Some of the most impoverished and forlorn,
Most God-forsaken regions of the globe,
Because they fail to follow the way of freedom.
We’ve bombed them to the Stone Age.
We have bombed
Without the need to sacrifice our own
God fearing men and women, uniformed
And otherwise contracted. We have struck--
Sic semper tyrannis!
My God, it’s Oswald!
He’s brandishing a blade.
What’s all that blood?
His clothes are saturated. Quick, restrain him.
Somebody call security, police.
He’s coming from the stable.
Oh, no no no!
Evangeline! It’s Oswald. I know him.
My God, what’s happened? He’s a lunatic!
Who let him in here? How did he get here?
The forces are arrayed, the devil’s forces,
Horsemen of the apocalypse unsealed,
Pestilence, famine, war and death arrive.
The horses have been slashed. The blood’s still spewing.
John, they’ve been slaughtered, Annabelle and Sir Charles.
Your lovely gift to me, the blood is draining,
Gurgling, why, why, why, why did you do this?
Pull her away from him.
What did they ever do except be lovely,
Beautiful docile creatures, gentle, sweet,
What did they do but show their grace and beauty,
Gentility of spirit—why, O why,
Why did you do this? What is wrong with you.
She’s right, they’re in a pool of their own blood,
It’s horrible, the most appalling sight.
How did this happen, out of loveliness
How did such ghastliness arise, and why.
I’m speechless, numb.
I’m stunned beyond sensation.
Have the police been called? Security?
There is no reason for this to have happened--
Perfidious, cruel, the man must be insane.
The two most lovely horses have been slain.