Category Archives: Bombardment

Speaking of History’s Unstoppable Power…

…though events in Libya and Tripoli have twists and turns to go before the country moves into its next phase, this is what the irresistable wave of history looks like as it crests. For the sake of Libya’s people, here’s hoping events take a different course than the second act of “Bombardment.”


Bombardment, Episode 21: Everything Stops

Splattworks concludes its presentation of Bombardment, a two-act drama by Steve Patterson.

Thank you all, over these last couple of weeks, for reading, for your support, and for your gracious comments. It has been a terrific pleasure watching the play’s readership rise and expand far beyond its humble beginnings, and it’s been great fun for me to spend time with the play again. Your comments, observations, etc., are welcome. If you would like to reach me off the blog, my e-mail is splatterson@mindspring.com

[EPISODE 21]

The wind dies down. Lights gradually rise. CARMELITA and PLACID hunch over, hanging on the lines like prisoners shot at the stake. ARETHA and CORNO stand with their backs to the audience.

ARETHA/CORNO: Hello? Hello? Anyone there? Hello?

ARETHA and CORNO face the audience. Their shades are gone, their eye sockets hollow. Blood streams down their faces. They stagger forward, fingers outstretched, becoming caught in the lines.

ARETHA/CORNO: Hello? Can you hear me? Can you help me? I can’t see. Help me, I’m caught. I need help. Please. I’m caught. Please, please, please….

They continue calling “please” as they struggle with the cords. Their calls take on a synchronous, mechanical quality. A chant. An incantation. The sounds of planes begin, steadily rising. Chant and airplanes rise to crescendo. Blackout. Everything stops.

End of play.


Bombardment, Episode 20: A Cloud from Above

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 could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.

[EPISODE 20]

CARMELITA: Not me!
PLACID: Yes! Yes, you do! Remember? Remember his smile? His hair? Think how he felt. Filling up a room. How he kept you warm. How you were never cold.
CARMELITA: This is what we fought against. What we fought to stop.
ARETHA: My wrath.
PLACID: His smell. His taste. How he infected your senses. Remember how he playfully tugged your hair? Whispered your name into your neck? All the times you wondered if he loved you, if he loved you or was just pretending. Those lips told the answer.
CARMELITA: You don’t know what you’re doing. Stay away! We don’t want you!
CORNO: My lips on her neck.
PLACID: And the others. The ones who let you down. Who seduced you and used you. For your body. For your kindness. For your good will. Was he one of those?
CARMELITA: You weren’t there!
PLACID: Did he abandon you? Lead you into disaster? Knock you up and take your money? Take your pride? Leave you strung out in the tenement hotel room? Trust me, baby. Trust me. I love you. Look into your eyes and lie, lie, lie.
CARMELITA: We’re free of them, Placid! Don’t throw it away!
PLACID: Lying eyes. Lying lips. Lying tongues. Licking your hands. Licking your face. Probing your inner crevices. Your private secrets.
CARMELITA: Placid!
PLACID: What everybody wanted. What all the world wanted.
ARETHA: All the world.
PLACID: His touch saved. His touch relieved. Turned to fire. Turned to light. Steam. Wind. Feel it! Feel it, Carmelita!
CARMELITA: Don’t touch me!
PLACID: The swelling of your breasts. The trembling of your leg. The clenching of your calf.
ARETHA: The clenching of the calf.
PLACID: It’s there. It’s still there. You want him. You want him still.
ARETHA: You want him. I can feel it.
PLACID: His lips on your neck. His hands on your breasts.
CARMELITA: No, Corno–Placid! No, Placid!
CORNO: My hands on your breasts. My smile in your eyes.
PLACID: His weight and his scent, a cloud from above, and your body making way, moving on its own. Guided by his will. Beyond your control. Your legs spreading wide. At a touch. You can’t stop it. At a touch. He’s inside you! He’s inside you now!
CARMELITA: (Screaming) No!

Lights out.

[Next…the conclusion]


Boombardment, Episode 19: Dying Without Your Grace

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 could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.

[EPISODE 19]

CARMELITA: You’ll fight the killers and crazies and soldiers with their guns? You’ll fight the mothers defending children? Urchins with bony, grimy fingers? Beggars and blown up men on scooterboards? You’ll fight and fight ’til there’s no one left to fight?

The cords wind around them, sewing them into their armchairs. Lights begin to flash. Wind rises.

PLACID: It’s. . .life. It’s time. The way it goes.
CARMELITA: It’s not the way it goes. You can break it. You can let them in.
PLACID: I know them. They’ll kill me.
CARMELITA: You have to lead them, Placid. You’re like them. Understand them. They’ll sense that. Trust you. They’ll be grateful.
PLACID: It’s been going on so long!
CARMELITA: Time means nothing to a leader. They’ll crown your head with laurels. They’ll give you all you want in a way that you deserve. Out of gratitude. Out of love. Reward them, Placid. And they’ll reward you. Give them not the back of your hand, but your palm.
PLACID: (Looks down at the cords.) It’s too late.
CARMELITA: It’s not too late. Get up. Lead them.

PLACID makes a move but the cords tie him in. Lights flash faster. Wind grows louder.

CARMELITA: Placid? Placid!
PLACID: It’s the law!
CARMELITA: It’s a lie, Placid. It means nothing. You can do it.
PLACID: It’s too hard!
CARMELITA: No, Placid. It’s so easy.
PLACID: They’ll kill us! I’m afraid!
CARMELITA: Don’t say it!
PLACID: It’s too scary! We need them!
CARMELITA: Don’t say that! Don’t let them know!
PLACID: It’s too hard! It’s too scary! We need them back!
ARETHA/CORNO: We don’t want to come back.
CARMELITA: They don’t want to come back.
ARETHA/CORNO: We been wrong too long.
PLACID: You have to come back! They’ll kill us if you don’t!
ARETHA/CORNO: We’ve come. We’ve gone.
CARMELITA: This is wrong, Placid!
PLACID: We’re scared! You have to take care of us!
ARETHA/CORNO: We can’t see the way for you.
PLACID: You have to! We’ll die! We’ll die without you!
ARETHA/CORNO: We have ended.
PLACID: We’ll die without your grace!
ARETHA/CORNO: We want but silence.
PLACID: But they’ll get in! They’ll get your stuff! Your dress and your pipe!
ARETHA: My dress.
PLACID: They’ll carry it off! Cut it up for bandages!
CARMELITA: Placid!
CORNO: My pipe.
PLACID: Your pipe and your shoes! Come look at your shoes!

Lights flash violently. Wind howls.

CORNO: My suit. My tie.
PLACID: It’s yours! See? Come back and take it!
CARMELITA: This is wrong! This is crazy!
PLACID: But you want him.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 18: Five Feet Off the Ground, Heels Clickin’

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 could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.

[EPISODE 18]

PLACID: You call it yours, they want it. They want these chairs and that pipe, that knife and this paper. Your bracelet, your necklace. They’ll rip it from you, never mind the cuts. That dress. Gone. They’ll steal the underwear right off your ass. And they want this space. That’s what they want most of all. The dry air. The heat. Feel it. Nice and warm. Not like outdoors. Warm in winter, cool in summer. What they dream of. Out there. Freezing. Faces breathing on the glass. Lips open. Teeth yellow. All you can see are eyes. Glowing. They see in the dark. Fly through the air. Breathe under water. They’ll do anything to get what you have.
CARMELITA: It’s not true.
PLACID: The hell you say.
CARMELITA: Not the poor. I know the poor. They’re too busy staying alive.
PLACID: That’s what they want you to think. They’re so vibrant! So alive! They make couture out of dishrags! Turn plate scraping’s into high cuisine! Give ’em two spoons and a empty oatmeal box, and you got an orchestra! And they love! How they love! Love, love, love all the time. In a way we’ll never know. In a way we can’t imagine! I’ve heard it all!

PLACID backs CARMELITA onto an armchair.

PLACID: I’ve heard it, and it’s a lie. Like all shows of respect are a lie. Yes, sir. No, sir. You know best, sir. I know because I’ve done it. Said it. Felt the cut. You say it because you have to. Because you don’t want your raise jerked. Your job jerked. Your life jerked. There’s a cord ‘round your neck, and all it takes is a tug, whoop, you’re five feet off the ground, heels clickin’. You want to know why? You really want to know why? Because at the heart of it, it’s gimme’. Gimme’ your house, gimme’ your job, gimme’ your position. Your leverage. Gimme’ one little thing, and I’ll take the rest. Because, babe, I’ll never be satisfied. The second I’m satisfied, the rest of them catch up. You’re lucky. You just wander past the outstretched hands, and wonder why everyone acts the way they do. I’ll tell you. We’re animals. All of us. Whether we’re rich or poor, whether we hide it or not. That’s all there is. And I like it. I’m good at it. It’s why I breathe, why I eat, why I get up in the morning. Gimme’, gimme’, gimme’!

PLACID kisses her savagely.

CARMELITA: Placid, that’s not it at all. We should open the doors.

PLACID: You’re crazy!
CARMELITA: Let those people in. It’s cold out there.
PLACID: They’d strip us out in five seconds!
CARMELITA: We can break it. Can’t you see? It’s a cycle. It goes on and on until someone puts a stop to it.
PLACID: Let someone else put a stop to it! I’m gonna’ live!
CARMELITA: How long can you live like that?
PLACID: I’m livin’ to be old and rich.

CARMELITA: Are you? You said it yourself: they’re all struggling to get in. You think you can keep them out forever?
PLACID: I’ll fight ‘em.
CARMELITA: Every single one, Placid? You’ll fight them all at once?
PLACID: If I have to.
CARMELITA: All the time? When you’re sick? When you’re sleeping? You want to be rich. You want to grow old. How will you fight them then? When your bones snap if you fall, and the fat hangs over your belt, and you can’t catch your breath? You’re fight every man Jack of them? Young guys? Guys as strong as you are now?

Like an old man, PLACID sags down in an armchair.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 17: A Bomb Finds Its X

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 could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.

[EPISODE 17]

CARMELITA: So?
PLACID: Now it’s us. We got the stuff, and all them hustlers and upstarts want what we got. They’re the ones gunning for us. Plotting. Closing in. Checking out the scene.
CARMELITA: There’s something here, Placid. But I don’t think–
PLACID: You can’t see them. Not ‘till they’re ready to make their move. Remember back? Remember us?
CARMELITA: I never planned any moves.
PLACID: Don’t be funny.
CARMELITA: I’m not being funny. I never planned.
PLACID: You never?
CARMELITA: What would I plan for?
PLACID: You can’t mean that. Of course you planned.
CARMELITA: I haven’t planned a thing since the day I was born, and someone planned that for me.
PLACID: I save and plot and eat shit. You just go along, and it happens?
CARMELITA: Don’t feel bad. Please don’t feel bad. It could of gone the other way. Easy. Oh, Placid.
PLACID: Makes me feel like a moron.
CARMELITA: It’s luck, that’s all. It has nothing to do with being dumb or smart. You’re smart. You’re just not lucky yet.
PLACID: Yet?
CARMELITA: Luck comes. Because you haven’t had it before doesn’t mean it can’t find you. Look how smart you must be, getting here without luck. You must be the smartest person I know.
PLACID: Smarter than Mr. Corno?
CARMELITA: I don’t know a Mr. Corno. Not anymore. I knew him once, but that was then. We sent him away! We did. With your smarts and my luck! You think I could have done that by myself? You think I could have planned it?
PLACID: Would you have?
CARMELITA: How do you mean?
PLACID: I don’t know that you would have without me.
CARMELITA: Well, Placid, what I would or wouldn’t do doesn’t matter much, because we did, didn’t we?
PLACID: That’s what you don’t understand.
CARMELITA: See? You gotta’ be smart, the way you can talk at something without saying it.
PLACID: There are a lot more like me out there than there are like you.
CARMELITA: How do you mean?

In the background, ARETHA and CORNO mirror each other with slow rhythmic movements.

PLACID: They’re out there. Millions of them. They’ve been raised to want it. It’s all they know and all they want to know. Like a missile, they’re preprogrammed. Until they reach that target, you’re either in their way or out of it. A clock tells time, it don’t ask what time is. A bomb finds its X, it don’t care who’s standing there.

ARETHA’s and CORNO’s movements gradually propel them forward. As they advance, thin cords unspool from them like webs from a spider. They begin to circle PLACID and CARMELITA, drawing them into the lines.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 16: Sometimes a Pipe is Just a Pipe

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 could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.

[EPISODE 16]

CARMELITA: I see him on his boat. Wearing his thick sweater, his plush woolen trousers. His hands upon the wheel. Steering. Turning. The prow cutting the waves. The spray. He’s standing in the sun. He’s standing in the sun, and he’s got that smile. Wind catching his hair, but he’s got that smile. The brilliant, too-large teeth. The trembling lips. His eyes squinting at the sun, at the wind, and you see through his eyes. You see tomorrow. It’s bright and it glistens in the wind, sharp and brilliant with promise. Oh yes. It’s right there in his eyes. In his smile. It’s there. There. It is right there. It’s still there. Oh god, it’s still there. Here. It’s here. He’s still here! Dear lord, he’s still here!

CARMELITA’s breath breaks into moans. PLACID continues reading. In the background and from opposite ends of the stage, ARETHA and CORNO slowly emerge from darkness. Dressed like PLACID and CARMELITA in Act I. Distant. Cool in shades. They are invisible to PLACID and CARMELITA. Everyone should be in place just as CARMELITA is about to orgasm. Suddenly, she stands.

CARMELITA: No! No.

Carefully, she places the pipe back in the rack. She grabs the carving knife.

CARMELITA: It’s here. The beast is here. I can smell it. Thought the smell was something else. Placid. Placid!

CARMELITA walks in front of PLACID, and cuts his paper in half.

PLACID: What the hell was that?
CARMELITA: Stock split.
PLACID: You know what that was? That was the newspaper. That was the last newspaper. There won’t be any more. That means we’re out of news. We won’t know what’s going on.
CARMELITA: What’s happening is–
PLACID: Wind.
CARMELITA: Wind? What wind?
PLACID: Winds of change. Yeah. Winds of change blowing. We got to be ready. Gotta be prepared.
CARMELITA: Or what?
PLACID: Or else we get blown away, babe. Plain and simple.
CARMELITA: A regular hurricane.
PLACID: That’s right. We’re right in the eyes and–
CARMELITA: Eye.
PLACID: Huh?
CARMELITA: Eye. Hurricane’s only have one eye. Go ahead.
PLACID: We’re right in that eye. Here, it’s calm. Real calm. But out there, right out there, it’s the worst midnight on the worst road of the worst winter. Believe you me. Right out that door it’s trees pulled out of the ground, roof tiles flying like hatchets, little girls and their dogs carried off.
CARMELITA: So we stay in the eye? We never move because of this hurricane?
PLACID: No. The hurricane shifts. Today it’s here, tomorrow it’s over there. And the eye moves with it. The stuff. We got this stuff now.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 15: Phosphorescent Love Lines

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.

[EPISODE 15]

CARMELITA’s handling of the pipe becomes a caress.

CARMELITA: Corno. What a name. Cornpone. Cornball. Quick with a joke. Oh yeah. That time in her bed. Some joke. Guess he treated me decent. Decent as she did. She could be nice. On occasion. Course, she needed me. She had everything she wanted, everything she thought she needed. She ended up more alone than she’d ever been. Blindsided by the unanticipated: she didn’t need a maid. She needed a friend. Oh, but Corno. He couldn’t let that go. What if, finding a companion, she didn’t need him? What if she found other ways to be? Found the conduct she revered was as arbitrary and capricious as that she disdained. Why the very foundations of this house might tremble! So Corno just. . .rearranged the players. Put you over there, me over here. Did what he did best. What we all loved him for. He “took care” of things. Problem was, we loved him best when he “took care” of someone else.

CARMELITA begins rubbing pipe against her face, her neck.

CARMELITA: The way she looked at him in those days, Placid. You should have seen her. Her eyes, alive. Had to see him. All of him. He knew it. He had the thing. The magic. He knew and wasn’t afraid to show he knew. Not like ones who never knew, or ones who kept it inside. He shone. In a way that said we all could shine. As long as he shone brightest. I still smell him. His library, his den. His smell through the carpets, books. This pipe smells of him. Not his tobacco. Him. I imagine his hand against the bowl. The way his hand loved the things he held. The way love glowed trailed from his fingertips. Phosphorescent love lines drawn upon all he touched. Upon my skin. When he touched me.

CARMELITA slips the pipe down her neck. Lower. She slowly sinks behind PLACID’S armchair.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 14: Thoughts Traveling in Straight, Efficient Lines

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.

[EPISODE 14]

CARMELITA: What am I worried about? We got all this stuff! Got a hacksaw and a tire iron and a hi-res panel screen and a convertible and a wet bar and a garlic press and a Lear Jet and all of David Bowie’s records. Got Classics comics and Cliff Notes. Got a flutter in my left anterior ventricle, so I get to take these purple and white pills that make me feel nice and everybody treats me gentle. Got government bonds and municipal bonds and junk bonds, the whole collection. IRA, ERA, MIA, CIA, PCP, EI, EI, O. Let’s do something! For God’s sake, let’s do anything! Let’s. . .go somewhere, see something, get into trouble, save ourselves, make love, make war, make extended negotiations leading to partition of our shared territory, wait twenty years, and reunify amid much fanfare! Let’s do something, do something, do something! Wall Street sucks! Wall Street sucks! (Screams.)
PLACID: The market’s shaky.

CARMELITA repeatedly stabs the air with the knife. Takes off her shoes, places them side-by-side on the table, and stabs the knife into the table so it stands between the toes of the pumps.

CARMELITA: Die, die, die, beast!

CARMELITA picks up CORNO’s pipe.

CARMELITA: Maybe I should take up the pipe. What do you think? A woman smoking a pipe, that’s rare. A mark of distinction. Women acting like men, stretching boundaries of freedom. Suit. Bowler and arm garters. Yass, yass. I think I feel different already. Forceful. Controlled. Thoughts travel in straight, efficient lines. Not muddled up with curves and loops. Why, there’s so much I can do with this pipe. Conduct a meeting. Declare closure. Shred documents. Paint out faces. Rearrange atoms. Nullify time. Why, there’s nothing I can’t do with this pipe. Nothing except. . .things I would have no interest in doing anyway. You there! Bend over and grab those ankles!

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 13: Peace, How We’ve Longed for You

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.

[EPISODE 13]

ACT II

SCENE I

PLACID and CARMELITA sit in the armchairs. CARMELITA’s shopping cart is overturned, her stuff spread all over the stage–balloons, trinkets, gobs of colorful, wadded paper: a toy chest emptied for Mardi Gras. PLACID and CARMELITA have exchanged clothes with ARETHA and CORNO. PLACID reads the newspaper. CARMELITA curls up in her armchair. She has PLACID’s bag of surprises beside her. No matter what she does, PLACID does not react. CARMELITA takes out a pair of pruning shears, plays that they are shark jaws.

CARMELITA: (Singing “Mack the Knife”) Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear/And he keeps them pearly white. . .. (Rummages, rummages. Comes up with a banana. Swims it past her. Singing “Sub-Mission” by the Sex Pistols) I’m on a submarine mission for you, bay-bee. . .. (CARMELITA makes bubble sounds as the banana “submerges.” Puts it back. Takes out a hacksaw. Puts it to her throat.) No. . .please. I’ll tell you where the treasure is! I will! Just don’t. . .don’t. . . arrrghghghghghh. (Her head falls forward. Lets it hang.) Arrrghghgh? (CARMELITA puts the saw away. Takes out an awl, and pretends to tie her arm off and shoot up, but can’t stomach it.) Awful. (CARMELITA returns the awl to the bag. Very slowly pulls out the long carving knife.) Oh, it is a long way to Tipperary. Just an extremely long way. No matter how you try to get there. Whether walking or flying or swimming like a fish. It’s an extremely long, difficult way to go. Wherever the hell Tipperary is. Know where Tipperary is, Placid? Well, I’ll tell you. Tipperary is nowhere. Maybe it was somewhere once, but it’s nowhere now. It’s a song. It’s in songland, and not even a song people know anymore. It’s in the Lower Slobbovia of songland. Peace. How we’ve longed for you. Listening, Placid? (She pricks her finger with the knife.) Ow! Shit. (She gets up, slips into a pair of pumps with stiletto heels. Picks up the knife.) I’m stalking. I’m stalking the beast. Oh, it’s a fierce beast. Got long, jagged teeth. Scaly skin. And, and…it’s invisible! It can eat you, and you’ll never see it. Even when the teeth tear into your flesh. Oh, you see the holes ripping, the blood. You’ll feel it. Definitely. But you’ll never see it, even after you’ve been eaten. Even when you’re deep in its guts. You’ll just dissolve. Become part of it. Then you’ll be invisible too.

[To be continued]