Category Archives: Oregon Book Awards

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.


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 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]


Bombardment, Episode 11: Mirrors with Beveled Edges

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 11]

CARMELITA: No, ma’am.
ARETHA: Yes, you did! Don’t argue with me! You killed him!

ARETHA begins striking CARMELITA.

ARETHA: Unfaithful bitch! I let you in, but you’re treacherous! All of you! Let you into my home, my life! Rescued you from dirt, disease, rivers rotting with corpses! Gave you a room! Gave you pink wallpaper with curlicues, white enamel vanity, mirrors with beveled edges! Perfumes, powders, oils! What do you give me? How do you pay me back?

ARETHA grabs CARMELITA’s coat.

ARETHA: Give me this! My coat! From my animals! My skins! Without me, you wouldn’t know which arm goes where!

In trying to escape the blows, CARMELITA lets ARETHA have the coat. ARETHA catches her by the throat. Forces her to her knees.

ARETHA: This is ours! We give you a little! Pacify you! Your peace, our profit! But don’t think we can’t take it away! If we don’t get back what we put in! We’ll just give it to another! Fresh meat! A body that hasn’t learned to think!

ARETHA throws her on stage. Grabs the tire iron.

ARETHA: Spoiled trifle. Put your eye to the keyhole. Seen what you couldn’t imagine, but now you want. Once that germ takes hold, you can’t be trusted, you or your whole fucking people, and you ought to be wiped from the planet!

ARETHA raises tire iron to strike. Deafening sound of planes, screaming in.

The sound paralyzes ARETHA. CARMELITA crawls away, grabbing her coat and wrapping herself.

ARETHA: They’re coming! God, they’re coming back! What are we going to do? Don’t you hear them? Once they let the bombs loose, they fall everywhere. They don’t just fall on me. They fall on everyone. They fall on everything.
CARMELITA: There’s nothing you can do.
ARETHA: No! Before I took you in, you survived!
CARMELITA: Lie down. The shrapnel might go over your head. Everything else has.
ARETHA: I rescued you. From dirt, disease. Rotting bodies floating in the river. Pink wallpaper with curlicue patterns. Table. Desk. Perfumes. Powders. I rescued you? Or did someone rescue me? Someone took my hand. But what happened–

CARMELITA backhands ARETHA.

CARMELITA: Kneel.

[To be continued]


Bombardment Episode 6: A Glittering, Crystal Price Tag


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 6]

CORNO: Evening, dear. You look a fright. Nothing to say? You? The old silent treatment? What could I have done? Too much time at the office? Neglected your delicate filigree of need? Philandering? Me? Come now. Why would I want anyone else? You’re a goddess. Very nearly. (Sits beside her.) Perhaps you weren’t always a goddess. Maybe I wasn’t always a god. Even those born to it must be proven. As must those, my dear, who have risen to their esteemed positions through more circuitous routes. Through sweat or marriage or combinations of the two. Perhaps you feared, from experience, that you could be replaced by firmer flesh and more malleable aspirations. A tactical error. Happens when one brings intrigue into nostalgia. If anything about that formless creature attracted me, it was her resemblance you! Ah, strike that. Um, well, um…the wench had already been paid for! I was supposed to let that go to waste? You know how you feel about waste. I did as expected. As taught. If a grape dangles above one’s mouth, one eats. With savor. Ever seeking perfection. It’s right there. Waiting. Dangling. A glittering, crystal price tag. Hell. Let us simply kill the damned servants and start anew! No shame in admitting a mistake! There’s plenty to pick from, and they cost a pittance! A nice polished skein of muscle for you! And for me. . .for me, a creature of…ice. Whose very touch would freeze. Who is there but to look upon, as to say: as perfect as you are, you’ll never come even this close to my true desire! My purest love! That’s you, dear. There is a time for a man to grow up. Accept his place. I have arrived at that crossroads, and realize I was…perhaps miscalculating. So just. . .pull yourself together. We’ll go on as we’ve always gone. The choice is yours. That’s an order. Get up, Aretha. Quit playing around! (Shakes her.) Get up, goddamn it! It’s morning! It’s past-morning! I’m not lying to you! (Pulls her into his arms. She’s limp.) Goddamn, woman, this just isn’t done! Sleeping in all day! What will that cook say? Only one for breakfast, sir? What about the guests? They’ll long to see you. You know how they are. The way they talk. Then the pictures. The rumors. Rot in the magazines. Goddamn it! I can’t do this alone!

CORNO shakes her. She doesn’t respond. He lets her sink down. Lights fade to silhouette the players. In the background, the sounds of planes return.

CORNO: Ah. That will be fine. Your services are no longer required. Presently. (Planes louder.) Abort your mission. That’s your commander-in-chief talking. (Planes louder.) I said your presence…. Hello? Will no one in this kingdom play the slightest attention to their…? Those are my planes? Surely a radio problem. A failure to communicate. Misplaced coordinates. Friendlies about to correct their…. (Planes deafening.) Or. Perhaps not.

Lights out. Rolling thunder of airstrike. Planes and bombs fade out.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 5: True Sport Knows No Mercy


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 5]

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]


Bombardment, Episode 4: Dallas Style


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 4]

PLACID: Do it right! Make him come to you! Feign penance. Face behind a veil. So he’s sure he’s won. Accepting your proffered hand in his grand benevolence.
ARETHA: Humiliated.
PLACID: Does a spider humiliate? No. She waits. For the prey to relax.
ARETHA: Then strike.
PLACID: Why you need me. The most loyal of loyal. The only one–present company excepted–that he trusts. The one who’s borne the blood. Who’s bashed the heads to pieces. Slit the throats. He slinks home for you. On his knees. Pleading mock repentance. Until my shadow crosses his.
ARETHA: I know this gore and violence thrills you, but must your willie stick up my ass?

PLACID stands her up.

PLACID: Sorry, babe! Got a little excited! Excited…for your triumph!
ARETHA: Sit.

He sits. ARETHA paces.

ARETHA: Ah god.

She sits down and puts her head between her knees.

PLACID: Babe…you okay?

She sits back, obviously pained. CORNO rises from hiding place, vaguely concerned.

ARETHA: Comes in waves, the agony. My eyes. Seeing him. Them. He’s kisses her hair, her neck. She clenches her calves. She drops the platter. It rattles on parquet tiles, oysters splashing. She reaches back. Bunches the pleats of his woolen trousers. Fingers spreading flat. Trembling. . .. In my bed, Placid! My bed! I need murder. Tell me murder!

CORNO eases from one spot to another.

PLACID: Sweet. (Rises. Goes to bag. Takes out a tire iron.) Eh?
ARETHA: Kitchen to garage. Better. He loves his cars. Men love to go fast. Why they always do.
PLACID: Yeah, I love this fucker. Nice and heavy, but a point, too. Let it hang by your side. Come up behind him. Jam! Right through the back of his head!

PLACID demonstrates. ARETHA winces.

PLACID: Skull frags everywhere! Dallas style! Busted pottery! Or. . .–hwack!– uppercut! Hook that soft spot ‘neath the jaw! Give a twist, snap, whole trache rips out! Blood like a Rorschach! Beautiful.
ARETHA: I don’t the implement is properly. . .stylish.
PLACID: This gonna’ be a murder or a tea party?
ARETHA: What about something with a point that doesn’t have to mutilate? A pin? A dart?

PLACID rummages, comes up with a drill.

ARETHA: I believe you need a cord.
PLACID: (Buzzes it.) Batteries.
ARETHA: So…intrusive.
PLACID: You know what? You still love the bastard.
ARETHA: I do not.
PLACID: Yes, you do. You hate him as much as you say, you’d cut his head off–(pulls a hacksaw out of the bag and waves it around)– never mind the glop. Shit. Why don’t you just feed him a cute little Seconal brandy?
CORNO: Prefer coffee.

ARETHA leaps out of her seat. Enraged, she lunges toward him. The lights flicker. Planes return. Bombs fall, thundering. Shatteringly loud. Strobe lights. ARETHA, PLACID, and CORNO all hit the deck and cover up.

CORNO: Aretha? Aretha!

Admist the bombardment, one bomb falls with an especially piercing whine. Lights out with a shattering concussion. Silence.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 3: Just Speakin’ Colorful


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 3]

ARETHA: How do you plan to conduct the administrative action?
PLACID: Well, it’s funny. On one hand, living things are a bitch to kill. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you end up just bashing ‘em till they come apart. But, if you got a little knowledge, get inside, snap the right wire, the whole gimmick goes…click. That’s what we’re shooting for. The right wire. Now. (Reaches into bag, pulls out a carving knife.) Standard number. Sharp, long enough to get to the juicy stuff. Strong, won’t break on bone. Drawback is. . .it’s been done. Million times. Kind of thing a housewife uses to whack her hubby when he’s dipping his wick on the side.
ARETHA: Be very careful.
PLACID: No offense. Just speaking colorful.
ARETHA: Nothing with domestic connotations.
CORNO: Say, could I get some coffee?

The two on stage look up, pause, then go back to what they’re doing.

PLACID: This wouldn’t work then?

Holds up a nutcracker. ARETHA shakes her head.

PLACID: Bummer.

Puts knife, nutcracker on floor. Takes out an icepick.

ARETHA: What did I tell you?
PLACID: Could be a wet bar. Some swanky lounge.
ARETHA: No.
PLACID: Camping?
CORNO: Please, it’s chilly out here. Let’s get a cup for all these good people.
ARETHA: Where do you find it?
CORNO: Just a warm-up. For my loyal, loving subjects.
ARETHA: You find it in a kitchen drawer, right along with the corn skewers and the garlic press.
PLACID: Garlic press. . ..
CORNO: Don’t need any cream! Black is fine!
ARETHA: (Leaping to her feet.) Shut up! Shut up, you bastard! I will not serve you! I will not! Think who I am! Think who you compare me to! I could kill you with my bare hands!

ARETHA lunges for him, but PLACID jumps up, grabs her round the waist. Holds her tight as she struggles to get into audience.

PLACID: No, no, shh. Do it proper.
ARETHA: To hell with proper!
PLACID: You can’t mean it.
ARETHA: Gouge out his eyes!
PLACID: No. Aretha.
ARETHA: With a grapefruit spoon! Pluck ’em out! Stamp ‘em on the ground!

She furiously stamps the stage while PLACID holds her in place. He finally wrenches her back. They both end up in an chair, ARETHA planted on PLACID’s lap.

[To be continued]