Bite Me

Imagine a long, bare stage with an ornate proscenium arch. This is a 1920s era palace theatre. Rot pervades, vandalism abounds. On stage, TWO MEN are hit with a white-hot spotlight. A fog of dust wafts through the beam. One of the MEN, dressed to the nines, stands center stage; beside him, the other, clad in rags, is down on all fours. Both remain stock-still until the MAN on his hands and knees turns and sniffs the STANDING MAN’S right leg. The STANDING MAN commences to tremble and perspire; a stream of urine darkens his trousers, dampens his socks, and pools on the stage around his loafers. Sensing (and smelling) the fear, the DOG MAN growls and abruptly bites the STANDING MAN’S leg. The STANDING MAN bursts into a fit of laughter. The DOG MAN looks up at the STANDING MAN with an inquisitive double take; then, as if seeking assistance, he looks out over the empty, ripped up seats of the auditorium. Finally, he tugs at the STANDING MAN’S trousers. The STANDING MAN continues to laugh hysterically.

DOG MAN
Um… Excuse me.
[He clears his throat.]
Excuse me, sir? Sir?

STANDING MAN
[through his fit]
Yes? What is it?

DOG MAN
Well, um… It’s just that…
I just bit you!

STANDING MAN
[laughing, nonetheless]
Yes! Yes, I know!

DOG MAN
You do understand that when a man is bit on the leg he is not expected to laugh?

STANDING MAN
[stops laughing]
No. No, I suppose not.
[starts laughing]
But here I am…!

DOG MAN
[starts laughing despite himself]
Yes! Yes, there you are!

[They both have a hearty laugh. The STANDING MAN pats the DOG MAN on the back. The DOG MAN bites the STANDING MAN’S left leg. The STANDING MAN screams in agony. Then, silence.]

STANDING MAN
Well. Satisfied?

DOG MAN
No. The other leg tasted better.

STANDING MAN
Oh, come now. It’s not flavor you’re after.

DOG MAN
I suppose not.

[The DOG MAN bites the right leg again, thus sending the STANDING MAN into another fit of laughter. The DOG MAN growls and tears at the STANDING MAN’S leg and trousers.]

STANDING MAN
[laughing hysterically]
Stop it! You’re killing me! Stop! I can’t breathe…!

[With the DOG MAN’S jaws firmly clamped to his leg, the STANDING MAN shuffles off into the darkness, his laughter roaring. The EMCEE enters from the opposite wing. He limps cautiously to the center of the stage.]

EMCEE
Who took my cane? Who took it! Did one of you snatch my cane? I’ll whack you with it…! Once I find it…

[Upon reaching center stage, he awkwardly shifts himself to face the empty auditorium. Pause. He sneezes. Snot runs down his nose. Desperate for a handkerchief, he frantically shoves his hands down all of his pockets, but to no avail.]

EMCEE
Pardon me.

[He awkwardly shifts himself around to face upstage. Once positioned so, he wipes his nose on his sleeve. With shamefully exaggerated histrionics, he sighs once, twice, and then, after a delay, a third time. Once satisfied, he awkwardly shifts himself around to face the auditorium.]

EMCEE
This is a New Subject. This New Subject is substantially fresher than the Last Subject. It is, in fact, packed with new ideas and new wonders. It will provide new solutions to old questions as much as it will beg new questions of old solutions.
[Pause. Muttering:]
Yes. That’s right. “Old solutions to new quest…”
[Pause.]
No, I said it right.
[Projecting:]
Continuing. Here is one question that might arise from delving into this so-called New Subject: “How will knowledge of this New Subject affect my current view of God and the Universe?”
[Pause. Muttering:]
Right. “How will God view the knowledge of this new univer…” No, I said it right--
[Projecting:]
But here is the most important question of all to ask: “What exactly is this New Subject about?”
[Pause.]
Hm?

[The EMCEE stands stock-still, albeit painfully so, while the curtain slowly descends upon him.]

(Revised from a May 3, 1993 / 11:12:59 post meridiem journal entry.)


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