Gus, a skater punk, and Mr. Cloudhanger, a transient, make a few bucks cleaning up a neighbor’s yard….
Mr. Grandamnus’s music fades in. Both men exchange glances and hurry back to work. Mr. Grandamnus approaches as Mr. Cloudhanger and Gus toil.
Mr. Grandamnus: Well. They’re letting you work again.
Mr. Cloudhanger and Gus look up, look at each other.
Mr. Grandamnus: I mean, it is quite a surprise.
Gus: Sir-dude, what is?
Mr. Grandamnus: Seeing you out, of course.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Is he talkin’ to you? Who are you talkin’ to?
Gus: You’re not talkin’ to me, sir?
Mr. Grandamnus: You’re talking to me.
Gus: No, sir. I’m replyin’.
Mr. Grandamnus: Sounds like it.
Mr. Cloudhanger: It does.
Gus: Hey! You’re on my side!
Mr. Grandamnus: Is there a side?
Gus: Well, there’s not a “side.”
Mr. Grandamnus: Which side are you on?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Yeah, which side?
Gus: I’m not on either side.
Mr. Grandamnus: Then you’re neutral.
Gus: Not exactly. I mean, I’m not sure what—
Mr. Grandamnus: You must be either on one side or neutral. You can’t be both.
Mr. Cloudhanger: You’re a solution or a problem.
Mr. Grandamnus: You’re with us or against us.
Mr. Cloudhanger: You’re a cure or a disease.
Gus: I don’t even know what a side is.
Mr. Grandamnus: Moral equivocation is just another name for amorality.
Gus: That’s like where you don’t have morals?
Mr. Grandamnus: Correct.
Gus: But it’s not where you have bad morals.
Mr. Grandamnus: It’s not where you have good morals.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Not a good moral to his name?
Mr. Grandamnus: I’m afraid not.
Gus: I got all kinds of morals. Like you shouldn’t lie or cheat or bear false witness or—
Mr. Cloudhanger: When did he get out?
Mr. Grandamnus: I don’t know. I didn’t even know he was. Quite a shock with the sentence he received.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Was that the…?
Mr. Grandamnus: Yes, yes, the young one. You would have thought they’d thrown away the key.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Thrown away the key? Should have oiled up the chair!
Mr. Grandamnus: That’s what many said.
Gus: Guys, I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, but I haven’t been released from anywhere.
Mr. Grandamnus: You’ve escaped?
Gus: I haven’t been anywhere to escape from!
Mr. Cloudhanger: You don’t think there’s a bounty out—
Mr. Grandamnus: Perhaps we should speak over here.
They take two steps away from Gus.
Mr. Cloudhanger: You don’t think there’s a bounty out on him, do you?
Mr. Grandamnus: If he’s escaped.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Well, that would be, I mean…how much would that be?
Mr. Grandamnus: I urge you to consider the beastly crime.
Mr. Cloudhanger: And he’s on the loose.
Mr. Grandamnus: Precisely.
Mr. Cloudhanger: No one’s safe.
Mr. Grandamnus: No one.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Women and children.
Mr. Grandamnus: Children.
Mr. Cloudhanger: The innocents!
Mr. Grandamnus: For now.
Gus: Guys, I’ve never been to prison.
Mr. Grandamnus: Never?
Mr. Grandamnus: You were paroled without serving time?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Good God!
Mr. Grandamnus: Monstrous.
Mr. Cloudhanger: An abomination!
Gus: I’m perfectly innocent.
Mr. Grandamnus and Mr. Cloudhanger laugh heartily.
Mr. Grandamnus: You have been convicted, my friend. You have had your say.
Gus: I’ve never even been accused!
Mr. Grandamnus: Oh, come now. Even if you were an innocent man being railroaded, as you so ridiculously claim, a charge would have to be levied. After all, what would be the point?
Mr. Cloudhanger: After all.
Gus: Damn it, you’re accusing me!
Mr. Grandamnus: Of what?
Gus: I don’t know!
Mr. Grandamnus: I’m accusing you of something but you don’t know what it is?
Gus: Uh, uh, uh…yes!
Mr. Grandamnus: A bit slanderous of you, don’t you think?
Mr. Cloudhanger: And a slanderer.
Mr. Grandamnus: What’s another offense once you’ve slammed that revolving door?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Like a dog what’s killed pheasants. Once they taste that blood—
Mr. Grandamnus: They want everything under glass.
Gus: I’m not who you think I am!
Mr. Grandamnus: So we’re coming to realize.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Too bad, too. He seemed a nice fella.
Mr. Grandamnus: So often the case.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Kept to himself.
Mr. Grandamnus: And oh so quiet!
Mr. Cloudhanger: Although….
Mr. Grandamnus: Yes?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Just a little earlier….
Mr. Grandamnus: Yes?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Well, I don’t mean to be castin’ any dispersions.
Mr. Grandamnus: This is a free society. We speak as we please.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Well, earlier, someone was makin’ some sounds about Ms. Brasso havin’ it in for him.
Mr. Grandamnus: Is that so?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Crazy stuff about her watchin’ through a rifle’s telescopic scope.
Mr. Grandamnus: Paranoia.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Whilst she was practically stark nekkid.
Mr. Grandamnus: Oh dear.
Gus: That wasn’t me, Cloudhanger! That was you!
Mr. Grandamnus: Completely paranoid.
Mr. Cloudhanger: He’s sick, all right.
Mr. Grandamnus: You could almost feel sorry for him.
Mr. Cloudhanger: If he weren’t so dangerous.
Mr. Grandamnus: Of course.
Gus: Don’t listen to him! He’s a known meatball! And you—
Mr. Grandamnus: Everyone’s just out to get you, aren’t they?
Gus: As a matter of fact—
Mr. Grandamnus: And none of these terrible, heinous things you’ve done are in any way your fault, given the strikes against you.
Gus: I haven’t done anything terrible or heinous!
Mr. Cloudhanger: Denial?
Mr. Grandamnus: You see?
Gus: What? You want me to confess?
Mr. Grandamnus: It’d be better for you.
Mr. Cloudhanger: You could live with yerself.
Mr. Grandamnus: We could cut a deal.
Mr. Cloudhanger: We could make it easy on you.
Gus: I can’t confess to something if I don’t know what I’ve done!
Mr. Cloudhanger: Insanity defense?
Mr. Grandamnus: Obviously.
Mr. Cloudhanger: You heard what he said. “I’ve done.”
Mr. Grandamnus: So he knows he did it.
Mr. Cloudhanger: But he doesn’t know what he did.
Mr. Grandamnus: Blocked it out.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Trauma.
Mr. Grandamnus: It’s no surprise given how ghastly it was. How could you face yourself?
Gus: I haven’t done anything!
Mr. Cloudhanger: Yes, son. We know.
Mr. Grandamnus: We’re here to help.
Mr. Cloudhanger: So don’t you worry.
Gus: Oh shit. You’re both nuts.
Gus goes back to planting flowers.
Mr. Grandamnus: I’ll make the call.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Yessir. You can count on me, sir.
Mr. Grandamnus: I know I can. And you know society shall remain forever in your debt.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Done out of civic obligation. As part of my place in the web o’ individuals.
Mr. Grandamnus: And that’s why the good people must be recognized, even if only through a gesture. And those good people, my friend, are you.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Yer embarassin’ me.
Mr. Grandamnus: In fact, as Good Person, I daresay other Good People might well attempt a fitting recompense for your services. In a manner reflecting our well-established tradition of values.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Yeeeaaahhh. Yes sir. Bless you, sir. I will do what I have to do! (Wiping away a tear) Um, what do I have to do?
Mr. Grandamnus: Just keep an eye on him.
Mr. Cloudhanger: I’ll keep both eyes! What if he tries to leave?
Mr. Grandamnus: To escape?
Mr. Cloudhanger: Yeah.
Mr. Grandamnus: Well, we’ve established he’s dangerous.
Mr. Cloudhanger: I ‘member.
Mr. Grandamnus: And cunning.
Mr. Cloudhanger glances questioningly at Gus.
Mr. Grandamnus: Cloaked as an innocent.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Oh yeah.
Mr. Grandamnus: And we can’t have his sort at large in a vulnerable society.
Mr. Cloudhanger: Absolutely one-hundred percent cor-rect.
Mr. Grandamnus: So. I suspect you’ll use your head and deal with the situation as it arises, using the resources at your disposal to the best of your abilities.
Mr. Cloudhanger: I will?
Mr. Grandamnus: Be brave, citizen.
Mr. Grandamnus exits. Mr. Cloudhanger goes back to quietly raking. Whistling, he rakes in a wide circle until he is behind Gus. Mr. Cloudhanger hefts the rake, aiming at the back of Gus’s head. Lights out.