From “The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus

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?

Gus: No.

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.


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