Wednesday, April 28, 2010

THE PROFESSOR IS INSIDE HIS FATHER'S GINGERBREAD HOUSE


THE FIRE IN BRADFORD. ACT IV Scene Four.

WE ARE INSIDE WHAT MUST SURELY BE A GINGERBREAD HOUSE BUILT BY MR. LOHAN, A MASTER CABINET MAKER TURNED BUILDER, WHOSE TYROLEAN STYLE COTTAGES HAD REALLY CAUGHT ON ON HAMILTON MOUNTAIN. HE IS A SHORT ENERGETIC MAN WHO STILL HAS AN ACCENT, BUT NO FOOL AND AS A FATHER, REALLY DISAPPOINTED IN HIS SON'S PROGRESS IN LIFE.

MR. LOHAN (WHO IS IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING BREAKFAST FOR HIS SON, THE PROFESSOR)

So, boychik. Prodigal son come home. Gonna make you some good omelet. Can't solve probelems on an empty stomach.

THE PROFESSOR FIDGETS A BIT WHILE SITTING IN A KITCHEN FULL OF NAIVE BAROQUE CUPBOARDS AND ALMOST DOLL-LIKE FURNITURE, HIMSELF FEELING SOMEHOW LIKE HANZEL, OF HANSEL AND GRETEL. BUT THIS WAS NO WITCH PREPARING BREAKFAST FOR HIM. HIS MOTHER IS AWAY TODAY, AND HE WAS GLAD IT WAS HIS FATHER HER NOW, HIS WONDERFUL, GIFTED FATHER, WHO COULD CREATE, DO ANYTHING, CERTAINLY COOK.

MR. LOHAN

So you have lost your Celia...No loss. Lots of Celias in the world...Losing your wife. Now that's a loss. How did you let that happen? How did you lose your family?

PROFESSOR:

I went to Mexico to write a book. I behaved foolishly. Laura divorced me.

MR. LOHAN.

I know, I know. Then you went right off the scale, Don Juan, one woman after another...until you meet this Celia..And she turned you into the woman in the relationship..It's all coming back on you. First the Don Juan thing. Conquest after conquest. It was you who had been serving the drinks. Now you've been offered a real vial. Now you have shit yourself with women.
Damn, why don't you deal in houses? You deal in women. Did I raise a pimp? What are you doing Don Juan?

THE PROFESSOR IS STILL FIDGETING.

Looking for true love, I guess.

MR LOHAN

True love? What are you, eighteeen? You need a woman for life, not love. You need a person to live with not a Loreli.
This Celia of yours is surely a siren. Hang you up on a rock....and she did. Look at you! Search for easy conquests, or the Loreli will get right inside you, make you mad with desire and turn you into a piece of bread.

PROFESSOR.

I am a piece of bread.


MR. LOHAN:

Worse than that. A fool. You would probably sign over your entire inheritance to her just to get her back...Wouldn't you, now wouldnt you? She's right inside you. Your obsession now. Hate say it, son, but you've become a Don Juan in hot pursuit of the queen, whom you can't have because of the King, and for all your thinking and fornicating in the past, you've ended up in a Platonic relationship...Hell, not even that...you're getting nothing at all out of it...And then you beat the shit out of the king. Oh Don Juan with the bent weapon...

THE PROFESSOR:

Dad,

MR. LOHAN

Oh, I know. You are my son. Old Dad has some secrets too. I've been where you are. But life was too hard at forty. I had to design, build. There was no more time for foolish romances.
That's what you must do now. Design. Build, before it's too late. Build on her, or the image of her if you have to, but build. You have now reached mature years. What's with all this high school confidential?

PROFESSOR.

I don't know how to explain it. It seems that I had finally found the woman. That woman. The one.

MR. LOHAN

...And you shit yourself. Lost all your money and half your sanity.

MR LOHAN HAS FINISHED MAKING THE WONDERFULLY SMELLING MUSHROOM AND BACON OMELET. HE TAKES THE PAN OUT OF THE STOVE, GOES TO THE TABLE, WHICH IS COVERED IN UKRAINIAN EMBROIDERY, AND DISHES OUT THE BREAKFAST.

MR LOHAN

Well, like I told you in the past, you can always come home. Fridge always full.

THE PROFESSOR REALIZES THAT HE IS REALLY HUNGRY. HE TUCKS IN.

MR. LOHAN.

Eat. You can't solve problems on an empty stomach.

PROFESSOR

Heh. I'm starting to feel better already.

MR. LOHAN:

You're going to feel a lot better after I tell you how I'm going to solve your problem. I am going to give you forty thousand dollars. Put that in your pocket and you won't give a shit about this Celia....She represented conquest and money to you in the first place. Didn't she. Now didn's she? Upper class whore.

PROFESSOR

Dad...

MR. LOHAN.

Don't Dad me. You're the one with the education. You're supposed to have wisdom.

I will put forty thousand dollars in your pocket. That is wisdom. Just don't blow it. Don't give it to a whore.

THE PROFESSOR FEELS A HUGE LOAD OFF HIS SHOULDERS. THE WONDERFUL AND GENEROUS FATHER SEEMS TO HAVE ACHIEVED THE TRICK.

...end scene

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

She tried to take me upstairs for a ride




SCENE THREE ACT FOUR. INT. DAY.

A STRANGE BEDROOM.

THE PROFESSOR IS LYING IN BED WITH SOMEONE. IT IS UNCLEAR AS TO WHO SHE IS, AS THE PROFESSOR's HEAD SEEMS TO BE RESTING BETWEEN HER ANKLES. THE WOMAN STILL HAS HER SOCKS ON, AND SHE IS TALKING UP TO THE PROFESSOR FROM DOWN BELOW...

MUSIC IN BG. HONKY TONK WOMEN. BY MICK JAGGER AND KEITH RICHARDS:

I met a gin-soaked bar-room queen in Memphis
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
She had to heave me right across her shoulder
'Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind


MUSIC TO FADE.

MUFFLED VOICE FROM DOWN UNDER THE COVERS.

I dunno prof. Nothing too much happening down here.

THERE IS THE SUDDEN EMERGENCE OF A BRUNETTE FLOOZY LADY. BUT, APPARENTLY FOR THE PROF AT LEAST, ONE WITH A HEART OF GOLD

FLOOZY LADY:

Well, I tried to be Isis and help you get over that Medusa chick, you'd talked about all night long, but it looks like you've been alone and without a woman for a long time....Not too much happening. Kinda lost it.

THE PROFESSOR

Je suis mauduit. I think I'm going to have to take up the priesthood.

FLOOZY LADY.

Nonsense. You're just out of practice.

THE FLOOZY LADY NOW GOES TO HER SIDE OF THE DOUBLE BED. SHE TURNS TO THE WALL. THERE IS NOW A HIGH PICHED SOUND, LIKE A HAIR DRYER.

PROFESSOR:

What are you doing?

FLOOZY LADY:

Finishing myself off....Here, you want to try it?

PROFESSOR:

That's physiologically impossible. I think a guy would need at least a Hoover or something.
Mechanical aids!


FLOOZY LADY.

Take a walk on the wild side.

PROFESSOR

How did I ever have the luck to meet you? I was going to suicide. I swear!

FLOOZY LADY (TURNING OFF THE VIBRATOR)

Come on now. We've both been alone for a long time. One knows the other. Now let's go dowstairs and get some lunch.

...end scene.

Monday, April 12, 2010

ACT FOUR, Scene Two...A Mouthful of teeth. THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.


EXT. NIGHT.

THE PROFESSOR IS WALKING ALONG TORONTO'S
WEST END ON EGLINGTON AVENUE. HE HAS A NOTEBOOK IN HIS HAND. HE IS CHECKING IT.

PROFESSOR

Celia Horvath.
Bathgate Gambini.
Where the hell are they?

IT IS FALL AND THE VOTERS' LISTS ARE UP, BLOWING LIKE UPSIDE-DOWN BOOKS ON THEIR KIOSKS. He stops in front of a kiosk where registered voters are listed. He turns up two pages to have his finger touch an address.

HE STANDS BEFORE A KIOSK. TRIES TO HOLD THE PAGES DOWN IN THE WIND. HE TURNDS TWO PAGES OF G'S. HIS FINGER POINTS TO AN ADRESS.

PROFESSOR.

Aha. Gambini, Bathgate 288 Winona Ave
Gambini. Celia. 288 Winona Ave.

PROFESSOR

Oh God!

HE COLLAPSES THE VOTERS' LIST AND STARTS TO SHUFFLE DOWN THE STREET SHOULDERS HUNCHED.

HE NOW PASSES A GREEK RESTAURANT, TO PAUSE AT A WINDOW THOUGH WHICH A SWARTHY MAN INSIDE SEEMS TO BE WAVING AT HIM.

THE PROFESSOR DOES A DOUBLE TAKE.
BUT THE MAN SEEMS TO BE WAVING, AS IF TO INVITE HIM IN.

INT SCENE. GREEK RESTAURANT AND BAR

THE PROFESSOR OPENS THE HEAVY OAKEN RESTAURANT DOOR AND GOES IN. THERE IS A LONG BAR AT THE END OF WHICH SITS THE STRANGER HE HAD SEEN CELIA WITH AT THE KISS'N'RIDE ENCOUNTER. THE STRANGER NOW HAS A FRANK ZAPPA MOUSTACHE AND NO BEARD. BUT THE PROFESSOR RECOGNIZES HIM BY HIS YUPPIE GEAR, THE TWEED JACKET WITH THE ELBOW PATCHES.

IT IS DEFINITELY BATHGATE GAMBINI.

THE MAN SMILES, SILENTLY BIDS HIM SIT DOWN.
THE PROFESSOR ORDERS A BEER FROM THE LADY AT THE BAR, PICKS IT UP AND GOES TO BATHGATE'S TABLE.
BATHGATE SAYS NOTHING. HE SEEMS EXPANSIIVE, AN OPEN GESTRE OF HIS OPEN PALM SUGGESTING WELCOME.
THE PROFESSOR SITS DOWN NOW IN THE OAKEN CHAIR ACTOSS FROM BATHGATE AT THE BROWN FORMICA TABLE.

BATHGATE IS STILL SMILING, SOMEWHAT MYSTEROUSLY.

PROFESSOR NOW AT THE TABLE

Are you Bathgate Gambini?

THERE IS AN ALMOST OBSEQUIOUS SMILING NOD.

THE PROFESSOR SUDDENLY STANDS UP HIS FIST SWINGS OUTWARD FROM HIS CHEST AND HITS DOWN
ON THE SEATED GAMBINI. GAMBINI STOPS SMILING, SHOCKED BY THE BLOW. HE STARES UP AT THE PROFESSOR.

PROFESSOR

That was for that Molotov Cocktail you laid on me at my home last week. I'm still fixing the place.
This is to make sure you don't do it again. I now know where you live, firebug.

THE BAR LADY GOES AROUND TO INTERVENE.

BEFORE SHE GETS TO BATHGATE" CORNER TABLE, THE PROFESSOR WAS ALREADY WALKING WAY, BACKWARDS WHILE GAMBINI RUBS HIS JAW.

THE PROFESSOR, NOW OUT IN THE STREET, WALKS DOWN TO ANOTHER BAR ALONG EGLINTON AVE..IT IS FALL BUT STILL WARM. HE OPENS THE BATWING DOORS AND WALKS IN. THERE IS A PAY PHONE ALONG ONE WALL. HE PASSES THE PAYPHONE AND
GOES TO SIT AT THE BAR.

PROFESSOR TO GREEK BARTENDER.

Triple C.C. on the rocks.

BARTENDER

You sure. Seems like you just want to get drunk.

PROFESSOR.

You got that right.

THE PROFESSOR PICKS UP HIS DRINK FROM THE HASTILY WIPED OAKEN BAR. HE DOWNS IT, ORDERS ANOTHER.

BARTENDER.

I worry about you guys who want to get drunk too fast. What's your hurry.

PROFESSOR.

No hurry. I just need to make a phone call right now.

HE LEAVES THE SECOND DRINK AT THE BAR, STANDS UP FROM HIS STOOL AND GOES TO THE TELEPHONE ON A WALL OPPOSITE THE BAR.

HE DIALS.

PROFESSOR

Hello. Hello. Is this Celia?

VOICE ON PHONE

You're damn right it's Celia, David. Leave me alone. Leave my husband alone.

PROFESSOR

He come back with a black eye or what? Looks good on him

CELIA.

Leave us alone! Leave me and my husband alone!

PROFESSOR.

He set fire to my place.

CELIA.

I heard about it. It wasn't him. Were it him you wouldn't be talking to me right now... Probably some political enemy of yours.
...And you've got to stop hitting people. Next time it'll be mistaken identity again and some poor Greek dishwasher is going to get it full in the face...You're crazy, David.

Leave us alone. Leave me and my husband alone.

THE PROFESSOR SLOWLY HANGS UP. He goes to sit at the barstool and orders another triple scotch.

PROFESSOR (SITTING AT THE BAR)

Husband. Damm!

HE GETS ON THE PHONE AGAIN. DIALS.

VOICE ON PHONE

Two. Two of us.
Leave the two of us alone.

THE PROFESSOR SLOWLY HANGS UP.

HE GOES BACK TO THE BAR AND SLOWLY FINISHES HIS DRINK.

THERE IS AN IMAGE OF A WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE CELIA REFLECTED FROM A WALL IN THE BARROOM MIRROR

FADEOUT.

.....end scene

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Problem. ACT IV, Scene One




Preamble to Act IV, Scene One, my play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

It is sort of a Doris Lessing construct: Five into four won't go. It if obvious that my Celia has taken up with another lover, not the professor, and her husband, Lief, has taken up with somebody else...And the professor is suddenly a fifth wheel; they have made a chump of of old Mr. Chips. ...And he was supposed to have been the intelligent one.

The plot, as they say, thinkens.

So here is Act IV, Scene One of my play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

INT. NIGHT.
WE ARE IN THE PROFESSOR'S STUDY.
HE IS LYING ON HIS LEATHER COUCH IN THE STUDY, READING, STRANGELY, SOREN KEIRKEGAARD'S Either/Or.

THE PHONE TRILLS.
THE PROFESSOR GETS UP TO ANSWER. HE SCRATCHES HIS HEAD AS HE PICKS UP
THE RECEIVER.

VOICE ON PHONE

David.Is this David?

THE PROFESSOR:

Yes. Who is this?

VOICE ON PHONE, SUDDENLY MENACING:

You have a problem, David.

THERE IS A PAUSE

You have a problem, David.
If you don't fix the problem I will.

THE PROFESSOR

Aha. So it's Bathgate! Checked you out on the call display.
What are you doing with a name like Bathgate? Bathgate Gambino...
You trying to be a Wasp with two last names or something?

THERE IS A PAUSE, BUT NO IMMEDIATE ANSWER.

PAUSE.

BATHGATE
...You have a problem, David. If you don't fix the problem, I will.

PROFESSOR

You are repeating yourself, Bathgate. Good drugs, no?

BATHGATE

You have a problem, David. If you don't fix the problem, I will.

PROFESSOR

Come on Bathgate, you can do better than that (HE FLICKS ON THE TAPE RECORDING DEVICE).

BATHGATE

You have a problem, David. If you don't fix the problem, I will.

BATHGATE
AGAIN

You have a problem, David, if you don't fix the problem I will.

THE PROFESSOR QUIETLY HANGS UP.

THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE RING AGAIN ON THE PHONE.

THE PROFESSOR, A LITTLE MIFFED, PICKS IT UP.

BATHGATE ON PHONE AGAIN

You have a problem, David. If you don't fix he problem, I will.

THE PROFESSOR HANGS UP. HE GOES TO LIGHT A CIGARETTE.

THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN.

VOICE ON PHONE

You have a problem, David. If you don't fix the problem, I will.

THE PROFESSOR SLAMS THE PHONE DOWN.

PAUSE.

AGAIN THE RING

THE PROFESSOR SPEWS OUT A CLOUD OF SMOKE.

IT IS BATHGATE AGAIN.

You have a problem, David. If you don't fix the problem, I will...I will, David.

THE PROFESSOR SLAMS DOWN THE RECEIVER AND GOES BACK TO HIS COUCH. HE REACHES FOR A BOTTLE FROM HIS LAZY SUZAN CABINET. HE POURS A DRINK AND LIES DOWN, SMOKING AGAIN

ANOTHER TRILL ON THE PHONE. THE PROFESSOR PUTS ON AN AUTOMATIC SPEAKER.

IT IS BATHGATE'S VOICE.

You have a problem, David. If you don't fix the problem, I will. I will, David.



THE PROFESSOR CLICKS OFF THE RECORDER AND YELLS OUT LOUD

Bathgate, this is from the School of Repartee. Wil you just fuck off!

THE PROFESSOR SWITCHES OFF THE PHONE.

THERE IS ANOTHER RING, BUT THE PROFESSOR IGNORES IT.

THE PROFESSOR TRIES TO GO BACK TO HIS READING.

AGAIN THE PHONE CALL.

THE PROFESSOR SNAPS ONTO CONFERENCE.

VOICE ON PHONE

You have a problem David. If you don't solve the problem I wil....I will, David.

THE PROFESSOR SNAPS OFF THE MACHINE.

HE GETS OFF THE COUCH. GOES TO HIS WORK STATON WHERE THE PHONE IS. IT IS OFF THE HOOK.

HE BEGINS TO TYPE.

FADE

LIGHTS BACK UP.


THE PROFESSOR IS STILL WORKING ON HIS COMPUTER, BUT HE IS SUDDENLY SNIFFING AT THE AIR IN HIS STUDY.

HE TURNS AROUND TO FIND SMOKE COMING FROM HIS REAR ENTRANCE. HE GETS OFF THE MACHINE JUST IN TIME TO HEAR A LIQUID WHOOSH AS FLAMES BURST THROUGH THE BACK DOOR.

HE YELLS:

Jesus Christ!

HE RUNS TO THE FRONT DOOR TO GET OUT AS FLAMES SEEM TO PURSUE HIM.

....end scene.