Splattworks continues its presentation of Bombardment, a two-act drama by Steve Patterson. The author will attempt to post an installment each day, but, if events intercede, installments may occur a day or so apart. So please be patient.
ACT I, SCENE II
Lights up. CORNO sits. Behind him, ARETHA and PLACID lay limp, twisted, broken. CORNO pulls a pipe and packet of tobacco from his coat pocket. As he speaks, he breaks down the pipe, cleans it, puts it back together, pretends to load it.
CORNO: My house. I’ll smoke if I want. Used to smoke cigarettes. Playing Bogart. Man, how he could roll a ciggie, turning it in the flame. The measured inhale, squinting against the smoke. Exhale seeping between his lips. Pure love. Love flowing between his fingers and heading toward heaven. Love even in the way he squinted through the smoke. You knew she was looking back. Plus it kills you. With every single breath, you’re one step closer. One man’s stupidity is another man’s defiance. I smoke! I choose! That cloud above my head declares: I live!
CORNO lights his pipe, draws, and sits back, savoring the experience. Exhales demonstrably. There’s no visible smoke.
CORNO: For now.
CORNO rises and inspects the bodies.
CORNO: My kingdom. My subjects. Do you hear dissent? They dream of peace. Have they not been pacified? (To the audience.) Ah. You look at me, fixing me in the crosshairs of your judgment. Behind the chintz curtain you call conscience. A good king would never bomb his own people. Never turn his troops and machine guns against the hungry and the ill. Naïveté as a yardstick. You only see the smallest piece. Can only compare it to your limited morality, circumscribed by law. My law. Thus, you who counsel mercy for others condemn me with a glance.
CORNO drifts back toward PLACID. Rolls him onto his back with his shoe. CORNO looks through the weapons bag. Picks up the tire iron. Handles it like a golf club.
CORNO: There was a time when I was a mighty feared man on the green. Yes, yes, we made some deals out there. They thought a pampered boy like me wouldn’t hold up, my butler shooting all the toughies. Hah. We learned for sport. True sport knows not mercy. What makes it fun. Poor bastards never had a chance. (CORNO steadies PLACID’s head with his shoe. Eyes the shot.) Rough lie on this one. I think maybe a nine-iron. A gamble in this wind, but you only live once. Or twice. Knees bent. Elbows cocked. Measuring the green. (And. . .he can’t do it.) Well, bub, you play this through without me.
CORNO Drops the iron with a clang. Ambles over to ARETHA.
[To be continued]