David Swartz "RELIGION WITH AN EDGE"
biblicalfictions.com
Poetry for the Curious across the Religious Spectrum
CLIPPERS

                               or 

                        The Moth   

 

 

A barbershop, small town, U.S.A., summer, 2016 AD.

 

 

HARRY FLINT ((((( barber, late fifties, thinning buzz hair, cheaply dyed

 

MORT MORTIMER ((((( neighbor, late thirties, neurasthenic, robot-like hair, compulsively clipped

 

ELLIOT FINCH ((((( hairdresser, adjoining salon, gay, early thirties, ponytail, strangely macho

 

ELLIE FINCH ((((( Elliot's mother

 

 

Numerous lascivious young things, walk-pasts from the  tanning parlor down the street

 

 

ART ((((( the postman

 

Several elderly ladies

 

A MALE STATUE, ANATOMICALLY CORRECT

 

Three plain-clothes intruders

 

 

 

ONE ((((((((((((( the shop, 10:51 AM

 

 

Harry and Mort are sitting in the two barber chairs, looking out the window.  There are about three minutes of Country and Western music, no conversation.  Harry breaks the ice.

 

 

Would you like a haircut?             (( HARRY

 

You just gave me three last          (( MORT

Week.

I can't pay you none anyways.

Besides, I'm getting pretty damn tired of looking

     Like this.

What you need is a customer.

 

You don't have to pay me             (( HARRY

Nothing.

It's a freebee.

 

But I don't need a haircut.            (( MORT

You just gave me three

Last week.  Three haircuts.

I got a rash on the side of my head from all

   Those haircuts.

 

You COULD use a trim.              (( HARRY

 

That's crazy.                                   (( MORT

That's crazy as hell.

Nobody comes in here all week, and you get bored,

Bored like hell, and you end up cutting my hair.

I don't know why I come in here anyways.

Maybe I'M bored.

Got to be bored to talk to you all day.

Horny old redneck—that's what you are.

Hate everything that walks, even yourself.

Hate your own mother.

No damn wonder nobody wants to come in here.

 

It ain't me, Mort.  It's this new       (( HARRY

Fad.

Everybody wants long hair now.

It's worse than the Sixties.

 

 (a sweet young thing passes out front)

 

Get a load of those titties.

 

That's what I mean, Harry.             (( MORT

You're horny as the biggest damn gun-kissing

                                                               Redneck

I ever seen.

Can't you say something nice?

 

I don't understand a thing you're   (( HARRY

Saying.

This cutie passes, and I pass a remark

About her tits, and you got something to say.

Hell, you're in your thirties,

And you act like a college professor.

Like a liberal.

Where you been all your life?

 

Been sitting here talking to you.     (( MORT

 

     (the phone rings; Harry jumps as if he's been shot,

      trembles the receiver to his ear)

 

Barber shop.  Harry here.                (( HARRY

WHO?

CLINT EASTWOOD?

 

 (hangs up)

 

Wise ass S.O.B.

Goddamn creep.  Commie fuck.

I hate these calls.

Waiting all morning for the right call, and somebody

     Fresh rings up.

Wise ass.

You watch the shop.

Listen for the phone.

 

     (picks up a magazine and steps through a rear door

 into the toilet)

 

What'd I say?                                  (( MORT

 

(as if to himself)

 

Horny old redneck.

 

(then . . . )

 

What'd I say?

 

     (Harry, beyond the door, turns on a faucet full blast; we hear his voice, muted, somewhere near the floor)

 

Eat it, Mort.                                     (( HARRY

Just pipe down.

I'm busy in here.

 

                                               CURTAIN

 

 

 

TWO ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later

 

 

Again, Mort and Harry are seated in the two barber chairs, Country and Western music in the background.

 

 

Tell you what.                               (( HARRY

 

Tell ME what?                              (( MORT

 

You come over and sit in this       (( HARRY

Chair,

And I get the clippers out and pretend to be doing

     Your hair, just a trim, see,

Only I won't be doing nothing at all,

Just pretending,

And nobody the wiser.

 

You must be losing your mind.     (( MORT

What's the matter with you, Harry?

Giving ME a pretend haircut.

 

It'll be good for business.             (( HARRY

People come by and see you sitting there

They want one too.

Got it?

 

Nobody wants no stiff-assed         (( MORT

Haircut

Like you give.

That's your whole problem, Harry.

They come in here and ask for what they want,

And it don't matter none

WHAT they ask for,

You give them the same cut.

Army style, just like mine.

And then you tell them all those sick jokes,

And you laugh like a hyena,

And you expect them to come back.

They ain't never coming back, Harry.

You might as well

Close it down.

Or go back to school and learn it all over.

 

That's crazy, Mort.                       (( HARRY

 

You got to rethink it,                     (( MORT

Understand.

You got to rethink it fore it's too late.

You're getting on, you know.

How old ARE you, Harry?  58?

 

57.  But I act younger.  Look        (( HARRY

Younger, act younger.

Hell, I'm in my prime.

They can't teach ME nothing.

 

What about this new guy that       (( MORT

Moved in next door?

What about Finch?

What about HIM, Harry?

He don't have no problem.

 

Finch's a hair STYLIST.              (( HARRY

I'm a BARBER.

Besides, Elliot Finch can't cut hair.

He just cuts around it, like the fag he is,

Mort.  He don't understand haircuts.

Useless as tits on a steer.

 

How much is he knocking down     (( MORT

For one of those haircuts?

 

Hair-Do's, Mort.  Hairdo's.            (( HARRY

He don't know hair-CUT.

 

Hairdo, haircut, how much is he     (( MORT

Knocking down?

75 for a 15 minute job?

I bet it's at least 75.

Maybe 90 with the tip.

When's the last time you got a tip?

Hell, when's the last time you cut HAIR,

Sides MINE?

 

Not my fault people growing          (( HARRY

Their hair long.

Not my fault.

Just have to hang in here till the fad goes.

That's all it is, you know.

A crummy fad.

Pretty soon it'll change.  It's got to.

 

  (the phone rings; Harry jumps as if he's been shot,

 grabs for the receiver)

 

Barber Shop.  Harry here.

 

(winded)

 

What's that you say?  Barber Shop.

That's right.  Ain't no other in this county,

So I called it Barber Shop.

What's your problem?

15 for the regular.  25 for a style.

There's nowhere cheaper.

No.  I AIN'T coming down.  Not for nobody.

The prices are firm.

I got overhead, you know.

You don't want no haircut anyways?

Suck my ass.

 

(hangs up)

 

Commie sicko.  Creep.  Why do those guys always

Call me?

Ain't there no NORMAL people in this world?

 

See what I mean, Harry?                (( MORT

You got no class.

Can't be talking to customers that way.

Even POTENTIAL customers.

No WONDER nobody comes in here.

People refined these days.

Your type dying out.

Go back to school.  I MEAN it.

 

Ain't going back to no fag              (( HARRY

School.

It's just a fad, I tell you.

It'll change.

 

                                               CURTAIN

 

 

 

THREE ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later

 

 

                 Mort is seated in a barber chair, Harry fussing at his hair with the clippers.

 

 

You said you wasn't going to        (( MORT

Cut none.

 

I GOT to cut some to make it       (( HARRY

Look real.

 

Nobody looks in here.  Nobody    (( MORT

At all ceptin Finch and his mom.

And the mailman.

Art—he looks in.

And some of those sweeties from the tanning

Parlor down the street.

I don't know how

You even pay your rent.

 

  (they lapse into silence; then . . . )

 

You goin to the Reunion this        (( HARRY

Year?

 

Me?  Hell no.                                (( MORT

Last time I was up there

I lost a shoe and pissed myself,

And they hauled me back in the bed

Of a pick-up,

And my old lady threw me out.

 

Had fun though, didn't you?         (( HARRY

Mud up every crevice.

Mud up your whatsit and in your ears.

Pumping and humping like a robot.

I heard about it.

Just like the old days

Since this AIDS thing been cleared up.

 

That's the whole problem.            (( MORT

Homosexuals coming out of the walls

Like cockroaches.

Ten behind every tree up there.

Never knew when one

Was going to slip it to you unawares like.

Enough to make you paranoid.

That's the word for it, ain't it?

 

Scared of the dark.  The                (( HARRY

Unknown.

 

Or 9 ½ inches up your rectum.     (( MORT

Hell, I was half panicked.

 

Well, did they pork you?               (( HARRY

 

Who's that?                                   (( MORT

 

One of the gay guys.                     (( HARRY

Somebody like Elliot.  You can tell me.

 

HELL no.                                      (( MORT

Leastwise, I come home intact.

All but the shoe gone

And stinking of piss.

 

No hemorrhoids?                           (( HARRY

 

HELL no.                                      (( MORT

 

You got lucky then.                       (( HARRY

 

Maybe.  I hope so.                         (( MORT

One thing's sure I ain't going back.

 

Did you have some reefer?           (( HARRY

Or some of that new stuff?

Spirals, they call it.

 

Dervish.                                           (( MORT

Spirals and Dervish.

Can't say I really know.

The whole 3 days was a blur.

 

Pumped your brains out.  Right?   (( HARRY

 

Like I said, I don't remember         (( MORT

That much.

Maybe you ought to take it in this year.

Give you something to talk about

To your paying customers.

Wherever they are.

 

     (the phone rings; Harry jukes, in panic, goes

 for the receiver)

 

Barber Shop.  Harry Flint here.      (( HARRY

What's that?

Hell no.

I ain't giving no money out to no AIDS crisis.

It's been over 2 years.  Finished.

All right.  All right.  OK.

You ring up Elliot Finch at 4097.

253-4097.

He'll give you a bundle.

All right.

You're welcome.  Later.

 

(hangs up)

 

You know you're pretty damn       (( MORT

                                                                Nervous.

Something on your mind?

 

No.  Just expecting a call,               (( HARRY

And these retards on the line.

AIDS crisis?

Hell, this is 2011 AD, and THEY'RE talking

About a AIDS crisis.

Whole world banging away like it went out of style,

     And THEY'RE collecting.

Don't make sense.

 

What does, Harry?  What does?     (( MORT

 

                                               CURTAIN

 

 

 

FOUR ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later

 

 

           Harry fusses, almost delicately, with Mort's hair.  A young thing switches past.

 

 

See those nipples, Mort?                 (( HARRY

Christ sake, big as the end of your finger

Or a big fucking eraser.

See that?

 

Didn't see nothing                          (( MORT

The way you got me turned to the wall.

 

You missed it.  Jesus H., you          (( HARRY

Missed it.

 

There'll be more.                            (( MORT

 

(they lapse into silence; then . . . )

 

How about the pigeon shoot this year?

 

The pigeon shoot?                         (( HARRY

 

     (experimenting with ways to comb Mort's remaining hair)

  

Harry, you go every year.             (( MORT

Hell, some weeks it's all you talk about.

Slaughtering pigeons with a 20 gauge

Remington.

 

Ithaca Featherweight.                    (( HARRY

 

OK.  Ithaca weight.                       (( MORT

When is it, Labor Day?

 

I guess so.                                      (( HARRY

 

You GUESS so?                            (( MORT

Last year you'd be pumped up by now,

Salivating, just to think of it.

What's wrong with you?

 

Well, it's a long ways off.             (( HARRY

 

The first Monday in September.   (( MORT

And we're in July.

That's not far.

Just a couple weeks, just like the Reunion.

What's all this stuff about

The Reunion

If you can't even look forward to the Pigeon Shoot?

Gunning to your heart's N.R.A. content,

Little girls with cute asses picking up

The twitchers and breakin

Their necks.

Feathers and guts a hundred yards in every direction

    And 3,000 souls hollering

To beat the soul out of Jesus.

Come on, Harry.

For Mr. Flint, this is big time.

 

I guess so.                                      (( HARRY

 

     (the phone rings; he jukes as if shot, grabs the receiver)

 

Barber Shop, Harry.  Mr. Flint here.

No, it AIN'T the MILWAUKEE ZOO.

No, lady, it AIN'T THE ZOO.

GOODBYE!!!!

 

     (slams down the receiver, bursts into sobs)

 

Christ, Harry.  What's eating at    (( MORT

You?

 

Skip it.                                          (( HARRY

 

Skip it?  Christ, you're a               (( MORT

Complete

Wreck.

Tell me, Harry, tell Mort.

What is it?  Get it off your chest.

 

Mort,                                             (( HARRY

 

(turning back to embrace the other chair)

 

There's something on my liver.

That day I was out.  Remember

Last Thursday?

And the Thursday before that?

Remember all the trouble I've had with my stomach?

Burping and pains and stuff?

Well, they did a upper GI and a sonogram.

And they found something on my liver.

And then, just last week,

The second Thursday,

I had to go in for one of those big ones.

They used to call it a cat scan.

 

Why didn't you tell me?                 (( MORT

 

Hell, I didn't even tell my wife.      (( HARRY

I'm scared, Mort.

They say they're growths or something.

Fact is, could be anything.

The Doc just crossed his arms

And looked

Down his nose through those thick glasses

At me like I was a goner.

And then the weirdest thing happened.

 

What was that?                                (( MORT

What was that, Harry?

 

Well, you lay in this big machine   (( HARRY

Buck naked,

And you drink this stuff like dog puke

And they put a needle in your arm

And feed you more

Of the same dog puke,

And they run you up and down

Through this tunnel, feet first, like into a coffin,

And out, and I looks up,

Mind you,

And it's fluttering and batting

Against the grid,

And it can't get out, and YOU can't get out—

     You're stuck in this tube

With the dog puke in your gut and veins,

And the technician is smiling kind of,

Like he knows something you don't

And all of a sudden you know you're going to die,

That they found

Something on your liver,

And you're going to die.

It's CANCER, Mort.  The big C.A.  I know it.

 

How do you know?                         (( MORT

How do you know?

 

The moth, Mort, don't you see?     (( HARRY

It's called a symbol.

It's like a big black ugly bird or something.

Something evil,

And you're going to die.

 

But who told you?                           (( MORT

Who told you it was cancer?

 

The moth told me.                           (( HARRY

Christ, Mort, don't you get it?

 

I don't get nothing.                         (( MORT

Is that why you been peeing yourself

Every time the phone rings?

Is that it?

You're waiting for the NEWS.

RIGHT?

 

Mort, I don't need to wait.              (( HARRY

It's C.A.

 

You don't know WHAT the         (( MORT

Fuck

It is.

You don't know from nothing.

Hell, you're acting like a goddamn baby, Flint.

Like a fucking infant.

Get a hold of yourself.

It could be just a mix-up.

It could be anything.

Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

Get a hold of yourself.

 

 

He grabs Harry's shoulders and shakes him, slaps his face.  Harry Flint sinks to his knees, blubbering, and crawls toward the toilet, closes the door.  There is the sound of retching.

 

 

                                            CURTAIN

 

 

 

FIVE ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later

 

 

                Mort is in the back, rapping on the toilet door.  There is muted sobbing.

 

 

Harry?  HARRY!!!!                      (( MORT

Come on out now.  Stop that blubbering

And come on out of there.

 

Never coming out.  Not this guy.  (( HARRY

 

(muted through the door, punctuated by sobs)

 

Sorry I slapped you, Harry.          (( MORT

Come on, Harry.

You want I should break this door down?

 

(the mailman steps into the shop)

 

Where's Harry?                            (( ART

 

He's in the toilet.  He thinks he    (( MORT

Has cancer

And he thinks it's serious.

He thinks he's gonna die.

 

No shit, Mort.                                (( ART

Harry, I got some mail for you.

Come on out, Harry.  HARRY?

It's the plain brown envelopes again.

Your favorite.

 

I don't think he hears you.            (( MORT

Christ, look out there.

 

(three elderly ladies have appeared with signs)

 

Harry, the pickets are back.

HARRY, THE PICKETS, THE OLD LADIES,

THEY'RE BACK.

RIGHT OUT FRONT.

 

Read him one of them signs.        (( ART

 

You do it.  I can't see so good.     (( MORT

 

Listen to this one, HARRY.          (( ART

HARRY.  LISTEN UP. THIS ONE IS A WINNER.

"HARRY FLINT IS A PERVERT."

And the one in the middle—

"HARRY FLINT PICKS ON ELDERLY LADIES."

And this—

"HARRY FLINT IS BAD FOR THIS TOWN."

What do you think of that, Harry?

Harry.  HAARRRRYYYYYY!!!!

These old biddies say you're a prevert.

 

 (the toilet door opens; Harry enters, wiping his eyes)

 

Shoo em out of here, Mort.             (( HARRY

Tell em I'm calling the troopers.

GET OUT OF HERE NOW.  GO QUIET

AND THERE WON'T BE NO PAIN.

JUST GET OUT OF MY LIFE.

 

     (steps out onto the sidewalk and shakes his fist; the old women scatter; Harry steps back in; the mailman heads on down the street)

 

                                               CURTAIN

 

 

 

SIX ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later

 

 

Mort is over by the window with the envelopes.  Harry has taken a seat on one of the barber chairs and is rubbing his eyes with a paper towel.

 

 

You got some new books here,       (( MORT

Harry.

 

God knows I need em.                    (( HARRY

You know your time's up nothing gets you active.

Nothing under the sun.

God knows I need something HOT.

Something SPECIAL.

What do you got?

 

    (Mort tears open one of the envelopes)

 

Pretty sick stuff.                              (( MORT

Flat out sick.

 

What did you expect, READER'S  (( HARRY

DIGEST?  LADIES HOME JOURNAL?

Put them under the counter for now.

Don't let those WITCHES see them.

 

What d'they got against you,          (( MORT

Harry?

The old dimes trick?

Or the paycheck envelope?

Which one was it?

 

Well, it was Farley's idea, not         (( HARRY

Mine.

That guy'd put me up to anything.

Gluing down dimes on the cement

For the old biddies to go for.

Quarters, a half a dollar.

A couple stones in a paycheck envelope

Out on the walk for them

To grab at.

Just fifteen minutes of thinking they're rich,

With lots of tape on the envelope

Till they got it open and there was nothing

But smelly old rocks.

Coated with his own faeces.

HAaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Gaaaddamn . . .

 

     (taking a seat, rubbing his forehead with a paper towel)

 

You go out there and tell them I'll have

The troopers on them,

They come back.

 

  (Mort sticks his head out the door)

 

I think they got tired for now.       (( MORT

They just climbed into a Lincoln down the block.

 

The one across the street?             (( HARRY

That unmarked car?

 

On down.  The other's                   (( MORT

Been there all morning.  Same

Guys in and out.

Born agains.  Mormons.

Tom Landry types.  Remember him?

Jehovah's Witnesses.

Could be cops.

Maybe they want to buy you out.

 

Well keep an eye on them.            (( HARRY

I'm taking a nap.

 

(closes his eyes, leans back on the chair)

 

Get the phone.  If it ain't the doctor

Tell them to eat one, I ain't here.

 

(a period of silence)

 

Whatever happened to Farley?      (( MORT

 

Damn it, Mort.  I'm sleeping.       (( HARRY

                                                                    Who's that?

 

Farley.  The guy that set you on    (( MORT

To it.

 

He got pissed off at this town        (( HARRY

And moved out.

The Ford agency wanted him to cut back

On his hours,

And then there was that thing with the F.B.I.

 

The F.B.I.?                                    (( MORT

 

Somebody, I ain't saying who,     (( HARRY

Phoned

In that Farley had threatened the President,

And they came and took him away.

Took him out screaming

And grilled him for three months

And let him out finally,

But he was never the same.

That and the agency—they dumped him when he turned 55.

 

He ever phone you up?                 (( MORT

Write you?

 

Farley?                                           (( HARRY

Hell, he hates the ground

I pee on.

Word was I put them onto him,

But it just ain't true,

But you couldn't convince Farley.

Deadbeat anyways.

I don't miss him.

No sense of humor when the joke went against HIM.

Old Farley—sour as a fart in a Space suit.

I don't miss him, not this guy.

He was one ornery S.O.B.

 

Well , you get some sleep, Harry.   (( MORT

I'll keep an eye out.

 

Yeah.  Never can tell when you're  (( HARRY

Going to get a customer.

 

Yeah.  Things could turn.                (( MORT

 

(Harry Flint covers himself with a newspaper)

 

You sleep tight.

 

                                               CURTAIN

 

 

 

SEVEN ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later

 

 

                      The phone rings.  Harry jerks erect.  Mort picks up the receiver.

 

 

Give me that, give it here, Mort.    (( HARRY

Barber Shop.  Harry here.

The AIDS crisis?

Hell, one of your guys just called here.

There AIN'T no AIDS crisis no more.

They got it solved.

In Africa?

That's their problem.  Not yours,

Certainly not mine.

Call 253-4097.

Elliot Finch.  He'll give you the whole bundle.

 

(hangs up; suddenly there is a disco bass through

 the walls, competing with their radio)

 

Speak of the devil.

In there with all his Jew friends

Shaping, mind you, shaping hair.

Even Art—you see how his hair was?

Down to his shoulders.

Now how the hell am I supposed to make a living

When the U.S. Postal Service

Lets their best men

Sprout all those stringy locks?

You tell me.

 

     (the booming increases in intensity; Harry hammers on the wall; moments later a flamboyant redhead appears in the entrance way; she is past 60)

 

If you have a problem, Mr. Flint,   (( ELLIE FINCH

JUST AIR IT.

We don't need that racket in our salon.

 

We don't need YOUR racket          (( HARRY

In ours.

Listen to that booming through the plaster.

 

Simple enough.  You make a          (( ELLIE

Request

Like any refined young man that I'm sure you are,

 And I'm certain Elliot will give it

ALL the weight that it's due.

What would you prefer—that farmer music?

 

Just can the talk about farmer         (( HARRY

Music.

I don't make fun of that stuff Elliot

Entertains his friends with.

It's just too loud, that's all.

Relay that message.

And while you're at it, what's this about having

A naked statue with the gonads showing

In your hallway next to my shop?

What's the statue for?

You're grossing out my customers

With it all hanging out like that.

While you're at it, make the politest little request

For a little decency

In YOUR shop.

Your dear son can bang away all he likes on his own

     Time, but he don't be needing

To advertise.

Not right next to my window

Where every soul walks by can see it hanging.

 

That statue you refer to is an        (( ELLIE

Exact replica

Of one we saw in Greece.

Why it's a Praxiteles.

 

I don't care if it's Moses long       (( HARRY

As his

Wang's sticking out.

It ain't decent.

 

And YOU, SIR, are                       (( ELLIE

UNCOUTH!!!!

 

(she exits; Harry reaches under a counter and pulls

 out a long-barreled Colt revolver)

 

And this goes right up your          (( HARRY

Son's ass

If he don't BEHAVE HIMSELF.

 

(more to Mort than her vanishing form)

 

Tell you something about that fag.

Rub the wrong guy he's bon voyage.

Mort, the day they call here and confirm it?

 

Yeah, Harry.                                  (( MORT

 

I ain't saying.  Not right now.       (( HARRY

 

No.  Go ahead.                               (( MORT

 

The day that phone rings               (( HARRY

And that Jew doctor

Fag tells me I'm on my way out,

I take a fairy stylist with me.

 

(pounds on the wall with his empty fist)

 

Finch goes with me.

I swear to Lord Jesus and the Virgin

I'll drill the son of a bitch.

 

(sits down with the big revolver, cradles it, weeps)

 

                                             CURTAIN

 

 

 

EIGHT ((((((((((((( the shop, 45 minutes later

 

 

                                Harry Flint is alone in his shop, eyes on a magazine, restless.

 

 

Where the fuck did he go?            (( HARRY

I send him out for a hero and coffee

And he stays out over 40 minutes

At the least.

What's he up to?

Mort Mortimer.  What kind of name is that?

Sorriest S.O.B. I ever seen in THIS life.

Have to be to put up with Harry Flint.

Oh, we had our times, even old Farley

And me,

Practical joker he was, but then . . .

I wonder if Mort likes me or's just lonely.

I know my wife can't stand my ass

For a minute,

No matter how hard I try to please her.

Last time we had oral sex, must be years

Now.  I said, "It's your duty,"

And it worked, but that was the end of it.

She wised up.

Making all that money with Mabel Leech selling

     Door to door, and the parties.

Too good for me now.

I even goes so far as to take her in by bus

To the NUTCRACKER, was it?

Yeah, by that Russian fruit,

Kikovsky or something.

That had to be the worst damned time of my life.

God, I ached to be out of there.

And we sat it out to the bitter end.

And what's she got to say—I ain't refined enough

To appreciate a ballet.

Christ, did it stink.  Worse thing I ever sat

Through, like a bunch of fairies goosing grasshoppers.

She don't bother me none now

About those excursions of hers anymore.

Has her own company.

Two women twice her age and an old duffer

That couldn't get it up if his life

Depended.

"I ain't sucking you off, Harry."

"But you got to.  It's your duty."

Where the hell is Mort got to?

Can't take 45 minutes to buy two heros and coffee.

So I borrowed the money from him, so what?

He's got it made with the disability

Checks.

Living by himself and such.

What a poor old wasted son of a bitch

And only in his thirties.

I shouldn't of showed him the pistol.

One thing Mort's got's a big mouth.

Well, it don't matter none.

Old Harry's set to cash it in.

How long will they give me?  A year?

Nine months?

Better off putting the Colt in the back of my mouth

And blowing my brains all over the bathtub.

Hell of a mess to clean up.

Maybe then she'd have some regret about things,

The sex and stuff.

Her hoity-toity friends.

Even that old worn bitch of a Ellie got more class

Than Jody Flint.

Where did Mort go?

Christ, I'm going to die and only a sad suck like Mort

     Gives the smallest pinch of shit.

Alone.  That's the word for it.  Alone.

That's one thing you always do alone.

Maybe so, but Finch'll grease the track.

Going to blow his whatsit out through his ass.

Going to put that slug where it hurts.

Slow like, watch him, savor it.

But where is Mort?

 

     (the phone rings; he jukes mightily and goes for the

      receiver; he is trembling, the voice nearly broken)

 

Harry here.  Yeah.  Harry Flint.

Yeah.  Yeah.  Put him on.

Dr. Rosen?

Yeah.  This is Flint.

What'd you find out?

Fatty cysts?

On my liver.

Is that good or bad?

Good?  You ain't just saying that, Doc?

Good?  GOOD?

You mean I ain't going to die?

YOU MEAN?

GOD BLESS YOU, DOC.  Yeah.

Next year another scan, and it's over.

I'M OK THEN?  You mean I'M OK?

Yes sir.  How about my diet?

Nothing to worry about.

Cholesterol normal.

God, thank you, Dr. Rosen.  THANKS.

OK.  BYE NOW.  BYE.

 

 

He settles the receiver into its cradle gently, and stands bent over the phone for about a minute, then springs up and begins to dance across the floor, hollering, screaming, moaning, yelping in utter frenzied joy.

 

 

I'M GOING TO LIVE!!!!  JESUS H. CHRIIISSSTTTTT,

I'MMMMMMM GOINNNNNGGG TO LIVVVVVEE!!!!

HOLY FUCKIN SHIT, I'M going to LIVVVEEEEEE!!!!

 

 

Just then Elliot Finch appears in the doorway with three cold looking steely-eyed men, Mort Mortimer in the background, hiding himself partially from view.  The hair stylist speaks out in a deep hard voice with just the slightest touch of gay in the force of it.

 

 

That's him.  That's the one that    (( ELLIOT FINCH

Threatened the President.

And he's got a revolver hidden under the counter.

That's the guy.  Be careful.  He's dangerous.

 

 

Two plain-clothes intruders rush forward and pounce on Harry Flint, locking his neck and shoving him face down into the rear chair, while the third goes for the gun.  As they drag him out, Flint is hollering in pain and laughter, gales of laughter that resound through the theater.  Mortimer pockets a large denomination bill from Elliot Finch and disappears down the block.  A number of young things from the tanning salon have gathered to witness Harry enter the unmarked car, head lolling on his neck as the door slams and they pull out, laughter, gales of laughter, muted through retreating steel and glass.

 

 

                                                                             CURTAIN

 

                                                                              FINIS

                 

                                                                              1996