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Matthew Paris
 

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Post Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:54 pm - The Consumers
Matthew Paris
645 E. 14th St 9E
New York, New York 10009
212-995-0299
Holycity@juno.com
<br>


The Consumers
<br>
A Play About September 11th
<br>

<br>

by Matthew Paris
<br>


Introduction
<br>
Theatre is a great paradox of a ritual; a rite and sharing more often about the mortal events that come and go rather than elements of eternity Koheleth sagely advises us to honor while we embrace the harvests of the seasons. This September 11th play is about one day in American history; it may date as the hula hoops of the past inevitably do. Whether or not it will hold any interest in a year or a decade or even now I donít know.
Itís always struck me as mysterious what dates, what doesnít. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes and Euripides never date; they are always utterly modern no matter what the age is. Yet with Aeschylus in particular everything he did was produced probably in a hurry about an event in history for a national patriotic occasion. Weird and idiosyncratic as his work is, Shakespeare never dates either. All his causes are dead; he lives.
Without naming names, in general nearly all American theatre dates so much that the best productions of nearly the whole repertoire to the present emphasizes its museum quality as a strength; as it goes at timelessness these mummified elements seem like weaknesses. Why American theatre dates as quickly as it does, why the careers of American playwrights are consequently as short as they are, I donít know.
I would guess that nobody has defined in this culture what might be beyond the freshness and then staleness of anything, whether it is a play or a hamburger.
Since theatre like warriors does well to conceal its weaknesses, the physical need for one set if possible has been the physical impetus for many plots using the lack of ability of stage play as a strength. There are plays that are built around a dinner or a party. The festivities conceal the disinclinations of the actors to leave the set. Once they do the play is over.
For that puissant reason some dramas like The Last Mile, Only The Valiant and Athol Fugardís The Island take place in a prison cell. Brendan Behan uses the same penitentiary device in The Quare Fellow. I donít think anybody feels as a result confined by the constricted action; living in all sorts of jails, themselves, the audience accepts the stage itself as a one more prison.
In a variant stratagem, Sartreís No Exit occurs in a locked room in hell. Samuel Beckett uses the stage itself as a metaphor for the closed and enigmatic landscape of life; in Waiting for Godot the two protagonists threaten to leave but donít leave. Beckett used similar devices in End Game and Krappís Last Tape; the paralysed and blind lead actor in one and the senile one in the other donít abandon the sage for obvious reasons.

In such plays the characters necessarily lack the heroic physical resources to change their lives. Using detailed realistic sets itís really difficult for a playwright no matter how armed with craft to offer a central character who is locked up, deeply physically crippled, labial or otherwise unable to act to take up his intents. It is an argument for bare stages and epic theatre.
We tend to write off people who cannot leave a room as hopeless cases and shrug fatalistically as we do when we visit terminal wards. We canít do anything for them either anymore than they can help themselves. The audience is liable not to care very much what characters say or do in an insane asylum; it is too painful to be other than detached.
OíNeill wrote several plays set in bars; his characters are able physically to depart but for various reasons donít want to leave for the real world. The Long Voyage Home is set on a ship; the cast has no where to go but jump in the ocean. Hughie is set in a hotel lobby; the protagonist is afraid to go upstairs to his bare room or walk into the equally empty street. Such vegetative worlds can be funny; William Saroyan wrote a comedy set in a bar in The Time Of Your Life which conceals its static nature with comedy and plot-driven action. The usual solution in plays is to make everyone very talkative. The labial nature of the character can be concealed by vulgarity. Jack Gelber keeps his articulate and meditative low lifes in a room waiting for a heroin delivery in The Connection. He puts off the main action for almost the whole play. So does Samuel Beckett; his main action never happens.
The underlying physical goad for such drama is the static nature of the stage itself. Sometimes the playwright produces a domestic drama because he knows families commonly stay together in a room for a long time. Clifford Odetsí Awake and Sing and Neil Simonís Brighton Beach Memoirs takes place in such an apartment. Sometimes it helps to set oneís plays in winter. It may be too cold to leave the set.
One of the solutions most intriguing to this dilemma of craft is the genre of kidnappers and kidnaped. Sometimes one sees shards of it; a gunman holds the cast at bay with a weapon, saying crass and terrible things to everybody. The classic example of this type of play is Robert E, Sherwoodís The Petrified Forest. A criminal escaped from jail, Duke Mantee, keeps a cast in a room nearly the whole play as he is being hunted down. It was Humphrey Bogartís vehicle on stage, in the movies and on early television. Sherwood uses this metaphor as a way of describing the history of the Old and New World; Mantee is savage but vigorous and energetic, the Old World is weary, decadent.
A variation if less breadth in its metaphorical scope on this main action is The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes. The kidnapper, again played by Humphrey Bogart in the movie, holds an ideal American father and family man, played by Frederic March, at bay for the course of the play. Hayes gets some mileage out of the counterpoint between the calculating and manipulation of the family man and the sheer naked power of the violent criminal. Yet in both plays the main action is faulty. Leslie Howard and Bogart in The Petrified Forest trash each other, Frederic March and Bogart are no less amiable in The Desperate Hours, but in truth they are passing each other, have nothing really to say in these dialogues that changes each other or reveals anything major.

If the playwright can't make the characters interesting out of some ancillary complication or make it a metaphor for a sermon on a social structure such plays must fail. There arenít that many ways one can make intrigue out of threats and cat and mouse games over a full evening.
The craft of the confined set of characters has entered into films that were never plays. The John Houstonís movie High Sierra, again with Bogart has the character of a play; its center is the hideout and the relation of violent people trapped in a single room. Quentin Tarrentinoís The Reservoir Dogs was filmed almost entirely in a garage in which an undercover agent is caught in a hideout of a gang of crooks. Like Sherwood and Hayesí plays this movie was dependent on subtle acting of quirky characters to conceal the slender main action. Another such well known movie, The Usual Suspects, offers the same device; the hideout, the criminal gang is concealed somewhat by the violence of the characters, the very bloody denouement with chases and hunts. Again, the action and metaphysical character of the denouement conceals the lack of reason for the characters to spent extended amounts of time together they do in this film in the first place.
Many mystery novels, plays and films keep the characters in a single setting because once the murder is committed. Nobody who is a suspect is allowed to leave the premises. Plays like The Bat of Daphne du Maurier or Ten Little Indians of Agatha Christie use that instrument to keep the characters from leaving the set. The inspector or detective who tells the assembled guests they will be arrested if they depart is acting as much for the playwright as the law.
In the 70s James Kirkwood mounted a sensational play, P.S., Your Cat is Dead; it seemed to foal a subsequent gaggle of kidnapping plays of the same superficial ilk. One of them was a bit of sensational feminist claptrap in which a woman trapped by a man takes revenge on him. It was pitched then as a fantasy for all angry women. Still, once the initial sequestering move of the kidnapper is in place, nothing much happens or can happen but furious or sinister invective on both sides. There could be revelations, complications from a visit of the postman or a friend; it is hard to move the action forward beyond the killing of the kidnapped, the departure or demise of the kidnapper.
Sherwood, Hayes and Kirkwood tried to get mileage out of the difference between the kidnapped, representing some sort of order that had been invaded, was weak to begin with; the kidnaper was a force of action and terror that had vigor but was usually defeated by the larger designs of order in the society. In the end the kidnap play is about order and threats to order. It is as well a critique of orders that allow themselves to be invaded and taken over; it may be equally unsympathetic to the focused violence of the kidnapper.

It seemed to me after September 11th that one might write such a play with a variant idea to The Petrified Forest in which it wasnít clear who of the two life styles, Western and Arab, had kidnapped whom and the resolution might be blurred. Unlike any of these models I decided to make this play something of a comedy. Thereís nothing funny about kidnapping or any other violence; my characters themselves, standing for western values and Arabic ones, seem to me to be, in the face of how many definitions we can have of ourselves and our intents, how many enthusiastic actions we are capable of, inherently amusing.
The first time I had that wonderful resonant moment when a playwright smells a play was the instant I realized while looking at description of the suicide bombers that nearly all of them were educated men born to money who had been in the West for several years and had lived with and savored all the pleasures of Europe and America.
They werenít ignorant bedouins from the desert; they were jaded urbane martialists who had made a conversion around thirty to a fundamentalist faith after several years of rampant hedonism. Then, exhausted, they found Western civilization empty. It occurred to me that they werenít all that different from many who werenít at all Arabs but who lived the same way in the West.
The lines are very blurred in this play, not only about kidnapping but who might be in control of whom. Kidnapping is after all a metaphor for the most ordinary of experiences. We are all tethered by borders, definitions of ourselves, countries, even fashionable views of reality. A murky world of domination by life, electricity and minerals nurtures intriguing notions of whom the masters and slaves might be, or whether the masters or the slaves have any reality at all.
This play clearly was inspired by the pseudo-posthumous life of Zekarias Mousoari, one who literally didnít get to the bombing because he was lamentably in the slammer for other reasons.
Iíve divided this play into two acts; it is one long scene. Doing it as a single act would cut down the break in the forward motion of the play, the sense of contrivance and artifice that any drama of more than one act has. Obviously it could be played without an intermission if the director thinks an audience could stand for watching a single action probably over two hours.


Time- 9:00 AM, September 11th, 2001
<br>
Setting: The living room of Jack Cade deep in the American suburbs near an airport.
<br>
Characters- Jack Cade
Jill Cade
Abu Hassan
Gamiel bin Sharif
Will Elderberry
<br>


Act One



(Enter Jack Cade. He sits down in front of a television set and turns it one with a remote control. He then turns on two more. The entire scene is played with a background noise of laugh tracks, news program flashes, the sounds of guns going off, noises of lovemaking. There are occasional loud sounds of airplanes going past the house. Enter Jill Cade with throwaway brochures in her hand. The subsequent business might be serving coffee, doing breakfast and morning things. Jack mostly stares at various television sets while he talks.)
<br>
Jill- Itís more junk they shoved under the door. Jack. Ads for underwater real estate, mutual funds, Tasmanian restaurants, Venezuelan condominiums, supermarket sales on canned salmon.
<br>
Jack- Let them do it, honey. Itís hard on trees; good for us.
<br>
Jill- It hurts my back to get this trash off the floor.
<br>
Jack- Take a pill. Throwaways keep people working printing those four color brochures, delivering them, sneaking around, shoving it under peopleís doors, then coming home and finding somebody did it to them.
<br>
Jill- We donít need this ad for toe fungus, do we?
<br>
Jack- Throw it away, Jill. What the hell do we need toe fungus for? Wow, look at that explosion. Took out a whole city block!
<br>
Jill- You have taste for the epic, Jack. You really were made for retirement.
<br>
Jack- Look at that commercial for underwater real estate. What the hell can you do after three weeks in a diving bell on a coral reef?
<br>
Jill- Make educational discoveries? (The phone rings. Jack picks it up.)
<br>
Jack- Hello. What? I donít need galactic catastrophe insurance. Why donít you get a job selling gourmet ice cream? You could make people happy. )He slams down the phone.)
<br>
Jill= Who was that?
<br>
Jack- The Astral Trust. Iím not afraid of a comet.

Jill- They call every day. New voices too. There must be quite a turnover there, I think.
<br>

Jack- Itís a merry-go-round that keeps somebody on salary, everybody else on unemployment insurance. Damm it, I donít know how I ever worked, Jill. When I figured out how easy it was to get fake credit cards under a hundred names, I said goombye to labor, hello baby to magic plastic.
<br>
Jill- We sure have more dough now than when you were working, Jack. I wish the kids were as smart as you were.
<br>
Jack- Theyíre rebels; they want to make a contribution to society. Let them. I say.
<br>
Jill- What is society?
<br>
Jack- Two people getting a third helping of all you can eat salad. Weíre consumer, honeys; weíre all shopping mall freaks if weíre privileged. Everybody else cleans the latrines, rings up the bills, puts the Asian plastic raincoats on the racks.
<br>
Jill- Iíd rather die.
<br>
Jack- I say, give them all the morons ATM cards under fictitious names; thatís why I gave myself. Hey, look at that planet blowing up there! I hope they knock off the whole damned galaxy. Goddamn it; they interrupt it every three seconds for a commercial for soy flakes. I hate the stuff.
<br>
Jill- itís supposed to be good for you. It cures toe cancer.
<br>
Jack- They say.
<br>
Jill- We never got toe cancer; it must be true. The kids used to love those soy flakes. Now donít appreciate your insights, Jack; they donít even like to come here; they canít stand the constant noise from the airplanes. They think we never should have moved near an airport.
<br>
Jack- Thatís what made the price on the house so cheap; theyíre hoping for a posh standard of life I never wanted.
<br>
Jill- Theyíd live in a helicopter above a shopping mall if they could.
<br>
Hack- Whoís that on the lawn?
<br>
Jill- A salesman. They always come this way pitching Swedish seaweed vitamins.
<br>
Jack- (He picked up a gun and shoots the salesmen through the window.) Thatíll teach the son of a bitch to invade my property. I know what poverty is, Jill. I lived in a two bedroom elevator apartment in the city once with a White doorman. Most people thought it was paradise; I knew better.
<br>
Jill- That guyís bleeding to death. I think you killed him.
<br>

Jack- Donít call the hospital; he probably hasnít got medical insurance. Donít calls the police either thereís no way they can steal from him even if they go through his pockets. Heís obviously broke.
<br>
Jill- I guess his family wonít care either. His ex-wife is going to miss that child support check.
<br>
Jack- Let him perish. I am a man; I am programmed to pillage strangers. My ancestors have seen them as prey for a million years.
<br>
Jill- With all those illegal aliens sneaking into America anybody can have a White doorman.
<br>
Jack- I can open my own doors. I do. You remember when I got that fancy Hong Kong degree in Psychiatry; I became a stock therapist, sort of a combination of a shrink and a broker.
<br>
Jill- You were great. You made strangers happy.
<br>
Jack- Youíll be surprised how many people I cured of the blues with the right investment advice.
<br>
Jill- They keep on sending you cases of cheap whiskey every Fourth Of July. I have to give the rotgut stuff away to the local hospital. Look at that commercial for oat bran cookies.
<br>
Jack- Well, I thought stock therapy was high class stuff. Then I got into plastics. I can make plastic into a dildo, a lover or a credit card, maybe into God.
<br>
Jill- We couldnít have religion with plastic gods. Plastic can't reproduce.
<br>
Jack- Some gods make people in their own image, honey. We arenít any less plastic than they are. Wow! Those green old women are beautiful, arenít they? They can't pull off their clothes fast enough can they? Too bad theyíre robots. Look at that; theyíre trying to sell us South polar ice.
<br>
Jill- itís purer than pure, as they say. Thatís the educational channel. Theyíre penguins.
<br>
Jack- Well, theyíre something.
<br>
Jill- Those educational programs make your mind loose sometimes, Jack.
<br>
Jack- Education was always like that honey. It used to be expensive too. Now I can go nuts for nothing. Hey, look at those girls with the prune flavored vodka. Which are they selling?
<br>
Jill- God, I wish your parents could see you now. They never appreciated your gifts, Jack. They deserved living in a cheap Florida condominium with a chintzy tacky little lobby.

<br>
Jack- My parents watch the same things; they donít understand half of what theyíre seeing. They used to think Ronald Reagan was president, not an actor. Thatís why we can't talk really. We just bump into each other. Hey, they can see me anytime they want if they take a plane from Florida. They have better air conditioned things to do.
<br>
Jill- Donít we all?
<br>
Jack- Theyíre ferocious shuffleboard addicts. They love those Leave It To Beaver Marathons; they donít want to miss their favorite television programs. I canít tear either of them away from those middle of the night Charley Chan reruns. Maybe we can have television hookups and they can watch us here, live.
<br>
Jill- I donít knew whether I want to see them either. I donít have anything to say about shuffleboard. They like the shuffleboard Olympics.
<br>
Jill- Nobody wants to see us. Not even terminal patients in hospitals and Death Row inmates. Iíve done hospital volunteer work; I know. We might get a few takers from the local insane asylum maybe.
<br>
Jack- If you have a loved one locked up somewhere theyíre never too busy to see you. Not for long though. They might miss the news. God, Look at that barracuda. Iíll bet it cold eat up half of Cuba.
<br>
Jill- Iíve seen worse. My ex-sisters ex-children like the porno channels. They learn so much.
<br>
Jack- Yeah, we forgot so much. Whatís our son doing, eating that third helping of dessert in the cafeteria at the medical school?
<br>
Jill- Heís a little chubby; heís not out of control yet. He needs those sugar cookies to keep him alert when he does brain surgery.
<br>
Jack- I think theyíre selling barracuda juice. Itís suppose to be good for the heart. Are his grades any better?
<br>
Jill- I never heard of anybody guzzling barracuda juice getting a heart attack. He used to be a proctologist at the bottom of his class. Now itís a mail order school; he doesnít know whom or what heís competing against.

Jack- He kills every damned cat and dog he cuts open. Why doesnít anybody catch on? I got him that veterinarian degree from Panama along with a lifetime supply of bananas as a gift from General Chavez; I hope heís eating the bananas.
<br>
Jill- He loves bananas; you know that.
<br>

Jack- What kind of damned experiments is he doing?
<br>

Jill- Arachnid brain surgery. Donít ask me to explain.
<br>
Jack- The kid doesn't know anything; for him everything is research into the unknown. Wowie, look at that monster shark? Iíll bet it eats the whole resort before they get him with an atomic harpoon.
<br>
Jill- He says heís working on brain tumors in rats.
<br>
Jack- Making them or curing them? I donít think he can do either one.
<br>
Jill- Rats are the original illegal aliens, Jack. They were here even before us in America. Rats are our tradition.
<br>
Jack- Suppose the kid hurts a rat? You can't get sued by a rat. I think. Who would listen? Only our daughter. Sheís a big rat lover.
<br>
Jill- Theyíre not even white rats; theyíre grey Norwegian rats. At least our daughter is happy. Itís too bad Robinís not our kind. Look at that lobster. I didnít know they could move that fast underwater.
<br>
Jack- Thatís an alien from Pluto. They burrow through the ice. Robinís a very intelligent rat, Jill. Just because heís been dead and resurrected doesnít mean he isnít one of us. He just smells bad.
<br>
Jack- She got lucky at the right cemetery.
<br>
Jill- I think Robin committed suicide. I believe in the right to kill yourself, Jack. As they say in that death commercial, if people want to drop dead, they should do it in peace.
<br>
Jack- Hey, look at the tits on that girl. She could work solo in a milk factory. If the rats want to drop dead now they are going to have cremate themselves privately; thatís fair, isnít it? You can get a fairly cheap job in Cuba.
<br>
Jill- I always knew communism was good for something.
<br>
Jack- I donít know whether I want to be resurrected. I never like those religious programs. If God talks with a Mississippi accent I wouldnít even understand him in heaven.
<br>
Jill- He just wants contributions and likes to wear billowing rhinestone cloaks; you can understand that. Those rats shop just like us, Jack, sort of. They just donít seem to like root beer.
<br>
Jack- Well weíve got a sort of a son-in-law for one now.

<br>
Jill- Iíll treat him like family as long as he lasts.
<br>

Jack- Say, howíre our grandchildren doing in Indianapolis? We havenít gotten a telephone call in years telling us they love us. Look at that; that girl has no teeth.
<br>
Jill- Thatís a commercial for false teeth. Thatís not a girl anyway; thatís our presidentís left foot.
<br>
Jack- Well maybe it was a crazy shoe commercial; these new Seattle slippers have zircon teeth. I donít know why our foster children married and moved to Indianapolis. So there were jobs in volume there for undertakers after the nuclear plant exploded.
<br>
Jill- When youíre an undertaker these days you follow the epidemics. (They is a sound in the chimney.) Whatís that? Are the Tadewskiís invading us again?
<br>
Jack- Johnny Tadewski and his friends dug through the cellar. Iíve still got there bodies down there; it sure does stink.
<br>
Jill- Jack, go to the chimney; I think it might be a Tadewski. (Jack gets up and fires a round into the chimney.)
<br>
Jack- it was Ching Wu. You know the cousin of the Wuís we met last Thanksgiving. His body is stuck up there.

Jill- Weíll set a fire later. Weíre smoke him.
<br>
Jack- Look at that orangutan. Our grand kids just donít how to put people in the ground.
<br>
Jill- Thatís a baboon. As long as they know how to use a shovel they can always make a living.
<br>
Jack- Theyíre morons. They donít like words anymore. They growl. English somehow insults them. Even a newspaper is too much for them. Traffic lights threaten them; they complain theyíre too complicated.
<br>
Jill- At least they all love us. We know that for sure from the yearly telephone calls.
<br>
Jack- thatís a hell of a giant anteater. What the hell good is love?
<br>
Jill- Maybe they love us too much. Thatís why they have nothing to do with us. They can't stand the passion. (The phone rings. Jack picks it up.)
<br>

Jack- No, we donít want any puree of granite. Why donít you get a real job selling condoms on the moon? (He hangs up the phone.) Honey, the grandchildren are indifferent to us. Weíre stale to them.
<br>
Jill- Iíve heard their medicinal shopping mall shoe story about the mad pharmacist about fifty times. (The phone rings. Jack picks it up.)
<br>
Jack- Whoever you are, fuck you. (He hangs up.) I wish theyíd became priests. They could just mumble a few prayers in fake dead languages. They wouldnít have to learn how to talk.
<br>
Jill- If you think of whatís out there in the world, itís always good to have a shovel and know how to use it.
<br>
Jack- Maybe we should go out to make some friends; our family is the pits.
<br>
Jill- I donít want to talk to the Tadewskiís anymore; I think we killed them all. Anyway all they ever liked to do is play pinochle with blank cards; I think they were into some kind of weird cult.
<br>
Jack- I know they were weird; they were egg vegetarians. They ate everything with goose eggs. Do you want to invite The Wuís over for a drink or two? At least they arenít going to tell us their damned shopping mall stories.(The phone rings. Jack answers it.) Fuck you. Whoever, whatever you are, fuck you, you son of a bitch. (He hangs up.)
<br>
Jill- Thereís a new throwaway under the door, Want me to pick it up?
<br>
Jack- Hold everything. He runs to the door with a gun, opens it, lets loose a barrage of fire.) Die, asshole, die. God itís a pleasure to knock these guys off.
<br>
Jill- This was for a new take out. Ever hear of Jersey City chicken?
<br>
Jack- No. I think this is the one The Wuís were always telling us about, The Monster From Patchogue. Itís part of the suburban Black monster series. The Wuís know the plots in every detail of those horror flicks theyíve watched on a Belgian satellite channel. They arenít even Chinese; theyíre fake.
<br>
Jill- Fake what? When youíre a fraud youíve got to be imitating something, Jack.
<br>
Jack- who knows? I have tapped into their e-mail. Theyíre part of a Korean avocado cult.
<br>
Jill- I donít begrudge them their religion. I love their avocados. Youíll never get an avocado riper.
<br>

Jack- When they arenít eating guacamole the Wuís are awfully tedious, arenít they? At least we know they wonít mug us.
<br>
Jill- Maybe theyíre too weak to come after us. You donít get much muscular strength from an avocado.
<br>
Jack- You know, maybe Iíve been watching too much t-v myself, not n the language of the Wuís of course. You can go nuts sitting in a chair. Wow, look at that alligator! I that a commercial for Stanley Stutzes?
<br>
Jill- You watch the history channels; you know much more about them than I do, Jack. You like to reminisce too; I can't remember most of my own life. Maybe thereís nothing to remember.
<br>
Jack- Does that feel like an earthquake or is there something borrowing into our house from the cellar? I thought I nocked off all the Tadewskis? Look at that ass on that girl! She must work out in a gym five hours day to get her buttocks like that.
<br>
Jill- Those muscles could be painted in. I donít think anybody could have a rear end hard as that.
<br>
Jack- Her feet look painted too. Your past was okay; you just got into more important things, thatís all.
<br>
Jill- You mean talking to the dead? The dead are usually as interesting as we are, Jack.
<br>
Jack- Didnít you have a conversation with that famous Australian chiropodist once? He invented the all meat diet?
<br>
Jill- I talk to ordinary people from Altantis. Theyíre easer to get on the Ouija board.
<br>
Jack- there must be a lot of anonymous spirits out there waiting for a celestial telephone call.
<br>
Jill- You have to wait eight months to talk to Napoleon.
<br>
Jack- Really. Does Napoleon want to talk to anybody? What is there to say?
<br>
Jill- He complains he has fattening cakes named after him. Iíve heard from Alzheimer and Parkinson theyíre furious everybody thinks they were mad scientists who started diseases.
<br>
Jack- Iíd hate to have even a minor epidemic named after me. Even a hangnail. Look at that commercial for fake toenails. They can't even get rid of it for free.
<br>
Jill- Most of the dead are enraged, Jack. Something went wrong in their life; they canít do anything much about it.
<br>

Jack- We canít do much more about anything when weíre alive.
<br>
Jill- They usually regret sleeping with somebody in public school when they were twelve. Thatís a hell of a brontosaurus.
<br>
Jack- As Shakespeare says, let the dead bury their dead; you can quote me.
<br>
Jill- Thatís an Albanian caterpillar. We live forever, Jack. Weíre always going to have an existence somewhere.
<br>
Jack- Whatís so good about that?
<br>
Jill- Nothing.
<br>
Jack- What have they got there, communism? Thatís no caterpillar; itís a Japanese magnetic train.
<br>
Jill- I donít know. I never asked. I notice the dead never talk about politics.
<br>
Jack- Even live people donít anymore. Is it different?
<br>
Jill- In the next world thereís no hope.
<br>
Jack- I wonder what the hell your dead really are. (The phone rings. He answers it.) Yonkers chicken? Fuck you, you creep. (He hangs up.)
<br>
Jill- Theyíre just common spirits. Thatís an Icelandic super model?
<br>
Jack- Sheís awfully African looking for anybody from Iceland. Maybe itís paint. I donít think Iím a spirit, Jill; Iím a machine like these television sets. Iím the master machine, of course; I turn them on; they donít turn me on. Maybe something or somebody up there in the stars turns me on and then turns me off.
<br>
Jill- You think weíre just robots?
<br>
Jack- Yeah, weíve never really been alive in the first place. Itís okay. Nobody else has either.
<br>
Jill- Bullshit. Somebodyís selling somebody something.
<br>
Jack- Machines do it; they do it in color. Iím the big cheese ; they do it for me.
<br>
Jill- Whatís the matter with that?
<br>
Jack- Nothing. Later you can throw me in the trash and get another husband. Maybe IĎll dump you in the landfill and keep on sputtering commercials and dancing a little while longer.
<br>

Jill- This place stinks. You think itís all the Tadewskiís youíve knocked off in the cellar.
<br>
Jack- No, itís Ching Wu. Heís smoking; of course he smells bad. Hey, look at that herd of elephants. I wouldnít like to be in the way of those damned animals, I can tell you that. I can almost smell them. Ever take a whiff of elephant dung? Itís just short of exhilarating.

Jill- Those arenít elephants; theyíre Martian zebras. Youíre getting nearsighted.
<br>
Jack- Maybe I am. Iím seeing something, maybe. Whatís the difference whether itís a Martian zebra or an elephant?
<br>
Jill- We arenít just robots, Jack. We hunger for things; we hope, we complain a lot. You ever hear a machine say it felt lousy about nothing?
<br>
Jack- The mineral world is more civil; it never complains. I respect a good toaster more than I do most people. It can spend its whole life not making a single slice of toast; itís never even mildly unhappy.
<br>
Jill- Weíre not minerals Do you want to imitate a refrigerator?
Jack- If God wants me to. The son of a bitch is a sweaty middle aged television producer with a big cigar. He runs the biggest marathon of them all; these old Godzilla bashes are nothing compared to what that big cheese does with a couple of holograph machines.
<br>
Jill- You sound like a mineral evangelist.
<br>
Jack- God has dark glasses, drinks four martinis at lunch, stays at fancy hotels anonymously, gets his panatellas from Cuba, donít ask how, always has a few starlets on both knees.
<br>
Jill- On their knees, you mean. Look at these Siberian beavers. Iím glad somebody still has the work ethic.
<br>
Jack- God loves beavers. I understand God; thatís more than anybody else on this lightless planet does.(the phone rings. Jack picks it up.) Bottles of water? You think I would buy bottled water? You are not only wasting my mortality; you are crazy. Whatís next, air, fuckface? (He hangs up the phone.) You donít think those big lights out there are real do you?
<br>
Jill- You mean the stars? Sure theyíre real. I can see some of them, sort of.
<br>
Jack- The stars are Godís television studios, honey. He has a zillion channels.
<br>

Jill- Youíre a bit of a lunatic. Next thing youíll be telling me is weíre living on the back of a turtle.
<br>
Jill- Sometimes you can't tell the difference between me and television. I think you touch me and want me to disappear.
<br>
Jack- I donít have to do that, Jill. Youíll disappear soon enough. So will I.
<br>
Jill- Thatís why you played Horatio in Hamlet at the community theatre?
<br>
Jack- I figured Iíd rather be an actor than somebody in the audience.
<br>
Jill- I hate to learn lines. I just nod off in the shadows.
They love you there. You were awfully good as Tevye.
<br>
Jack- that was the version some hack wrote for Arnold Schwartzenegger; he pummels and kills off most of the cast. Next year we do the complete plays of Eugene OíNeill. I get killed in every one of them, often by myself.
<br>
Jill- You ought to throw out those old costumes in the cellar. Thereís blood all over them from the corpses. Those Tadewskis sure do bleed.
<br>
Jack- I like to keep them downstairs. Itís like trophies in a bowling league. Donít worry about the blood; thatís what Laundromats are for. You know, Jill, I think those damned things are blue buffalo!
<br>
Jill- Those are giant marsupial rats.
<br>
Jack- No, theyíre buffalo all right. In Asia the buffalo are blue sometimes. Itís a strain you only see around Cambodia. I learned that on educational television. You know the blue buffalo of Cambodia? .
<br>
Jill- Iím not even there is a Cambodia is. Doesnít it sound like a fake country? People are always changing the maps on me.
<br>
Jack- These map makers are restless. Maybe they need a pill to calm them down.
<br>
Jill- I always watch the programs on spiders. I know all about them; I donít know even the first thing about buffalo.
<br>
Jack- Well, I guess we can live without a lot of information.
<br>

Jill- ItĎs not that buffalo bore me; itís that I guess I donít like to watch them on t-v They leave a lot of turds all over the ground; they stink. A spider is a relatively clean animal. You probably think theyíre robots too. The one rings Jill answers it.) Now, I donít want any take out bulgar pasta. Thank you. (She hangs up.)
<br>
Jack- Maybe theyíre works of art.
<br>
Jill- That would make this whole planet like an art museum.

Jack- Why not? We donít feel like a painting; does a painting feel like one?
<br>
Jill- No. Maybe. You think when we make love itís like two computers slipping off the rack at midnight.
<br>
Jack- Iím a luxury item, baby; Iím semi-conscious. You donít get a cheap machine running a house or paying taxes to Washington.
<br>
Jill- (Embracing him.) You are semi-conscious, Jack. Thatís what I like about you most really.
<br>
Jack- You think that girlís tits are real? I say theyíre authentic silicon. They come up from the wrong angle. Her nipples are green.
<br>
Jill- Those are authentic Canadian nipples. Theyíre having an epidemic.

Jack- Yea, I always said, you can't even drink the water in Canada. Wow! Do you here the noise of that plane overhead? Sounded as if it was going to land in our backyard. God to hear; you never know when you have to make a big getaway.
<br>
Jill- Take me with you, Jack.
<br>
Jack- Most places are like every other place, honey; you drive along looking at the ads for shaving lotion on either side of you. Thereís no place to go really. Wow, there goes another one plowing into the sky. Probably taking the passengers toward some fancy McDonaldís in Paris.
<br>
Jill- About a half hour ago you were watching that silly movie about the World Trade Center being blown up by planes.
<br>
Jack- I was insulted, sort of.
<br>
Jill- What was that World Trade Center program about?
<br>
Jack- A phony documentary: very dumb stuff. You know: we interrupt this program to tell you that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been blowing up by three planes of suicide bombers; a forth plane grounded in Pennsylvania with everybody killed.
<br>
Jill- Sounds like a Japanese disaster movie. Did it have subtitles?
<br>

Jack- I turned it off, switched to another program about friendly viruses. Jill, I never knew anything that small and alien could be so smart. (She hears the sound of an explosion.) Whatís that damned noise?
<br>

Jack- Airplanes making words in the sky with their exhaust, honey. Let me see. BUY DOCTOR SCHMUCKERíS NECK CREAM. I donít think I can bring that down with the guns I have here.
<br>
Jill- Whatís neck cream? Maybe I need it. Jack, you look uncomfortable in that chair. Can I get a pillow for you?
<br>
Jack- I am feeling a little restless. I thought I might do some chores around the house.
<br>
Jill- We donít need you to do anything. We get Chinese noodles or pizza delivered here three times a day Jack. The lawn is moved by a machine you got from Colonel Yagamotu of Peru when you put his grandparents on social security.
<br>
Jack- I could always go to the garage, get some tools, tinker with the roof. We men are good at mechanical things like that.
<br>
Jill- I know the roof leaks; if we move the corpses and costumes into the corner we can always move to the cellar.
<br>
Jack- Hey, look at those young Eskimo girls with a rhinoceros; I must have switched to the porno channel.
<br>
Jill- Youíre getting nearsighted; thatís an Turkish recipe program.
<br>
Jack- I guess I should know something about Turkish quiche.
<br>
Jill- Donít bother going to the garage. You canít do anything with the car; itís all computerized.
<br>
Jack- Wow, look at that giant shrimp kill that cop. Iíd sure hate to work for the police in that city, I can tell you. Itís hard enough trading shots with regular human beings.
<br>
Jill- One cop is as good as another. They can be replaced.
<br>
Jack- See, there are more cops coming out of those cars to kill the shrimp.
<br>
Jill- You could never be a cop; you could never pass the exam.
<br>
Jack- Iíd be better off applying for a job as a shrimp. (The phone rings. Jack picks it up.) Bottled what? Fuck you. (He hangs up the phone.) You answer it the next time.
<br>

Jill- Iíve been watching the history channel; You know what most of the history of the worldís been like? People working; people complaining about not having any work. Now we need somebody to man the shopping malls. Arenít they mostly Mexicans now?
<br>
Jack- Mexicans, Koreans, Indians, a whole lot of Arabs. Itís sad that all these people can't find a shopping mall to work in back home, I always say.
<br>
Jill- I feel bad for the Arabs. Theyíd probably be happy with riding horses, smoking hashish, drinking yogurt. Instead they have to put up with the hamburger joints and ice cream parlors we put up in the sands.
<br>
Jack- History is going one way; our way. Weíre going to make them all rich and comfortable. Hey, look at George Washington beating up on these Englishmen. Iíd hate to meet him in a bar. Wow, the guy has a hell of a left hook to the groin.
<br>

Jack- Say, look at that guy walking across a lawn. Isnít that Omar Sharif? I loved him in War and Peace. Heís great at doing Russians.
<br>
Jack- He understands the Slavic soul.
<br>
Jill- Whoís he with, some drinking comrade from the Steppes?
<br>
Jack- I am crazy about these Russians; they have a cheap sorrow about them that makes me want to cry.
<br>
Jill- Wait a minute, thatís our window; itís not a television set. These bozos arenít Russkies; itís two Arabs in jalavahs.
<br>
Jill- Theyíre at the door (They hear a door bell ring.)
<br>
Jack- Let them in, baby. Theyíre car probably stalled on the road to the airport. You know Arabs; they probably ran out of oil.
<br>
Jill- Weíll give them a case that cheap booze from General Stockhausen of Bolivia to put in their engine. (The bell rings again.)
<br>
Jill- Itís funny, Jack. Theyíre strangers; IĎm not even a little scared. This isnít the godamned inner cities; itís the suburbs. Nothing dangerous happens out here.
<br>
Jack- Yeah, the worst is you might fall asleep from the tedium. Itís no big deal; you just wake up again.. (Jill opens the front door. Abu and Gamiel walk into the entrance cautiously.) You guys arenít insurance salesmen, are you? We arenít buying.
<br>
Abu- (In an Oxford accent) Hardly, we were trying to fly on a plane at that airport beyond you; sorrily we got stuck on the road. Thereís terrible traffic out there.

<br>
Gamiel- (in a deep Memphis accent. He sounds somewhat like Elvis Presley.) Weíve missed the flight; we need quite badly to call some friends to let them know we arenít coming. Would you mind, míam, if we used your phone?
<br>

Jill- No, not at all. Youíve got your choice of a thousand phones here. We have eight of them in this room alone.
<br>
Abu- Yes, one never knows when an errant machine might perish. Who are those dead bodies on your lawn?
<br>
Jack- Salesmen. Nobody you want to know.
<br>
Jill- If you want privacy use one of a bunch of them in the cellar behind the video games and computers next to the electric ping pong table. Just push the Tadewski corpses out of the way. If you donít mind us overhearing you, try the one on that table.
<br>
Abu- What is a Tadewski?
<br>
Gamiel- Never mind. Thank you míam. There will be a special place in paradise for you adorned with mangos and coconuts as a celestial harvest forever for your common charity. (He walks to the phone, picks it up, dials a number. He frowns; he hears no answer.)
<br>
Jack- Whatís your name anyway?
<br>
Gamiel- Gamiel. This fellow is Abu.
<br>
Jill- Weíre Jack and Jill Cade. Weíre really friendly people; you guys look Arab. I guess Anybody can wear those costumes.
<br>
Abu- We are indeed. Of course, were we not Arab we would say the same thing, wouldnít we? We are from Yemen and Saudi Arabia respectively. Donít be fooled by our accents; ignore our relatively un-Semitic looks. We Arabs are known by the world as great travelers.
<br>
Jill- You two boys are a long way from home. You want a few cold spare ribs we have left over from breakfast?
<br>
Gamiel- Much obliged; no thanks, míam.
<br>
Abu- Allah has informed us if somewhat repetitively in his most sacred lore he prefers the faithful to abstain at least on Earth from the uncomely flesh of swine. Iíve lived in England for a while; of course Iíve met sensible people who believe otherwise.
<br>
Jack- Pigs were made to be eaten, buddy; take it from an old pig eater.
<br>

Abu- Though I admire American masters of the banquet, I often take my dietary advice from God.
<br>
Jill- These ribs are Chinese; they arenít really pork.
<br>
Jack- We have millions of Chinese here now; they all cook ribs. Itís more American than apple pie. Youíll find egg rolls in Websterís dictionary. You should meet our neighbors the Wuís, Chinese or Koreans or something. Theyíre like you Arab boys, happy to be here. I donít think the poor bastards ever got a good meal under communism.
<br>
Jill- Jack, youíre always saying nasty things about communism. Donít be such a bigot.
<br>
Jack- They certainly go back for seconds and thirds at the old corral. You boys probably didnít do any better eating figs in the desert sands, did you?
<br>
Abu- Mr. Cade, there are classical virtues in austerity; ask any monk. Rather sorrily, a dearth of goods and pleasure is really all that stands between many of the seemingly virtuous and an etude in affluent perdition.

Jill- You sound like Shakespeare, Abu. How would you guys like a cold American beer?
<br>
Gamiel- Sorry, míam, much obliged but we donít drink alcohol either.
<br>
Jill- I can't imagine the two of you networking at a barbeque. You can't get through life cold sober.
<br>
Jack- You donít have anything against potato salad and cole slaw, do you?
<br>
Jill- You sound a little bit like Elvis, Gamiel.
<br>
Gamiel- I should. I first learned English in Yemen from old Elvis records. My Western languages teacher was a Muslim convert from Nashville. He used to play steel guitar at the Grand Old Opry.

Jack- Hey, buddy, Iím sure as hell not going to step on your blue suede shoes.( He laughs.)
<br>
Jill- You boys havenít got nothing against a coke, have you?

Abu- Even if you had immaculately clean beef or chicken, we would prefer that it would be Hallel, Iím afraid. I think there might be more ways than you think to eat, drink or even use the toilet, Mrs. Cade.
<br>
Jill- Call me Jill. We are neighborly people here in the suburbs, Abu.

<br>
Abu- We Arabs are a paradox even to ourselves in the West. We try to be courteous to women; quite sadly we end up being merely formal. Lamentably, we donít have much congress with them in our native country. We learn more about females in London than in Mecca.
<br>

Jack- You just hang out with the boys.
<br>
Jill- Weíre half the human race, Abu; you might be missing something.
<br>
Abu- Well, we get to know the other half better, more intimately. One can't know everything and everybody. You havenít seem anything remarkable on the news this past half hour, have you, Jack?
<br>
Jack- The usual stuff. A parade of celebrities carted off to the slammer. Look at that lavender cucaracha!
<br>
Jill- Honey, you donít hate women, do you?
<br>
Abu- We Arabs donít often like having near naked women walking through our streets; it might distract us from our congress with heaven. You have perhaps less seraphic vigils. We abjure liquor and spare ribs with the same dour freedom of preference, Iím afraid.
<br>
Jack- Everybody who wants nothing should have nothing. This is a free country; thatís freedom. (The phone rings. Jack picks it up.) Now, I wouldnít want to adopt a loveable tarantula. (He hangs up.)
<br>
Abu- I am no high advocate of poverty. I was after all born to wealth, put as a child in an English public school, a prize student at Oxford, a pupil at the London School of Economics; as a consequence, Mrs. Cade, I have a somewhat diverse view of history that comes from evidence as well as the Koran. I might easily surmise it might be at a profound variance with your own.
<br>
Jack- Hey, Iím all for celibacy and poverty. I just want people to want it real bad, thatís all. Look at that Brazilian preying mantis!
<br>
Abu- I have become half a Westerner myself, Iím afraid; I have a great charity for those who learn who they are, where they are, from fashion mandarins babbling fiats from the magic of a ghostly media engine; there is something in gaudy elevations from the deserts on a rung of silicon too.


Jill- Weíre really like you, Abu; we can always turn our sets off; thatís how damned real they are to us. (She brandishes a remote control at one of the television sets.) See, there it goes, the whole jungles of Jupiter, snow leopards of Pluto, starry mermaids on Arcturus, everything. Woooosssh!
<br>
Jack- Theyíre still there. Honey, you need a new battery.
<br>
Abu- Thatís why I returned to Allah in the end; I couldnít believe Creation and God was as empty as television or, I confess, my rather extravagant life in London.(He takes the phone from Gamiel and dials a number.)
<br>
Gamiel- Any airplane crashes lately on the t-v, Mr. Cade?

Jack- Jack to you, Gamiel. God, boy, you sound like Elvis. You could make a fortune doing impersonations at bars and truck stops. You guys might have gotten lucky. We see about two crashes here a year and a lot of near misses. God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, as Shakespeare put it.
<br>
Gamiel- Allah Bismillah.
<br>
Abu- (He hears a faint tinkle.) Thatís my party, I believe. (He talks in a disguised voice to the phone.) Mustapha. Salaam Aleichem...le, le...Bumper to bumper. Consequently, most lamentably I missed the plane. Bad traffic. What could any of us do?...I canít be the only one who was stuck at an intersection for three hours; did the plane take off? ...Really...Now I havenít heard. Of course I wasnít afraid; who wouldnít want your guaranteed ticket to paradise?...I thank God that all my comrades but me are in heaven now...I consider them metaphysically lucky...theyíll be delighted for all eternity...whatís that?...you too. (He hangs up the phone angrily.)
<br>
Jack- I thought youíre name was Abu.
<br>
Abu- It is. I donít want them to know who or where I was for reasons Iím afraid are all too obvious. Theyíll be going out to kill Mustapha. Heís dead already in the fires of one of those planes; theyíll never know it.
<br>
Jill- Iím afraid that program you watched about the planes hitting the World Trade center and Pentagon was real, Jack.

Jack- If you watch enough television eventually something has to be real. I never thought Iíd live long enough to have a real disaster. It didnít even happen to you. You guys couldnít even kill yourselves. Nobody in your bunch knows youíre alive, right, Abu?
<br>
Abu- My Party of God donít. Some other people will make some cunning guesses; theyíll have no proof. The FBI will question drivers on the road who saw us in my car; theyíll guess we might exist.
<br>
Gamiel- Can I use the phone too?

<br>
Jack- Sure. You two are together, arenít you?
<br>
Abu- No, lamentably we are complete strangers. I saw Gamiel here looking very unhappy whilst hitchhiking on that terminally clotted road to the airport. He appeared to be in his garb as well as demeanor something of an Arab like myself; he looked rather dismal, almost as unhappy as I was. I picked him up of course out of Allahís charity. We were utterly immersed in gridlock; we both never got anywhere.
<br>
Gamiel- Whatís the use of calling them, Abu? Theyíd never believe me. Maybe theyíll try to kill us both as spies. You know everybody in your organization, right?
<br>
Abu- Well, hardly everybody. Nearly everybody. Society has levels within levels, Gamiel. There are elevated social circles I may be restricted from and may not even know it, I should auger.
<br>
Gamiel- I know pretty much damned everybody, Abu, even the old guys who have heir arms chopped off who clean the latrines. Theyíll be after me. I donít know whoíll get me first, Abu, the cops or my own party.
<br>
Abu- They trust you, Gamiel. You sound like a sort of fake Memphis populist. Iím a rich boy, a fop, half a Westerner.
<br>
Gamiel- Arabs love guys with English accents. They usually offer them money.
<br>
Jill- Why donít you fellow kill yourselves and go to paradise?
<br>
Abu- Allah hates suicides unless you killed his enemies. I was lucky to get a chance from my Party of God to go to paradise. Originally, since I was a rich boy, I was the only Arab who knew how to fly a plane. Then two of my confederates got into a Florida flying school; I thought I was out of paradise altogether. I think my Party of God kept me on because they thought I was the Great Satan; they wanted to kill off the devil.
<br>
Gamiel- When they like you they kill you; when they hate you they knock you off the same way.
<br>
Jack- If they donít get you, Allah gets you. Somebody gets you.
<br>
Gamiel- Iím fed up with my Party of God; they spend most of their time killing each other. I wish Iíd worked for a cultivated Party of God like you, Abu.
<br>
Abu- We arenít so much sophisticated as jaded. We decadents arenít any different than your Party of God,, really. We are rather less bellicose in a tea room, I suppose.
<br>
Gamiel- We never go to a tea room.

<br>
Abu- Your Party of God tried to kill off my Party of God last month.
<br>
Gamiel- That was in revenge for the massacre your Party of God ran at my part of God in Yemen last year. Of course I donít blame you; we knocked off most of your Party of God back in Saudi Arabia with a bomb two years before that.
<br>
Jack- Your God sure knows how to throw a party.
<br>
Abu- Luckily for a decade we were both working together to knock off another Party of God like us in the emirates. Whatever happened to them?
<br>
Gamiel- They left the emirates to go on a jihad against some other Party of God in Syria.
<br>
Abu- I had thought the Syrian bunch had departed to knock off that Party of God in Pakistan.
<br>
Gamiel- They were; we werenít the best map readers; nobody could find Syria or Pakistan. Theyíd followed that r Party of God they all were looking for to Afghanistan.
<br>
Jack- Wow, what the hell were you guys up to?
<br>
Abu- Iím afraid we are all you surmise and much more, Jack. If you pay rapt attention to your television set I should imagine they will be interrupting their regular programming in a moment to tell you that some of us, all of us, has blown up the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and dispatched your eminent president by plowing a hijacked plane into the White House.
<br>
Jill- Eminent? That son of a bitch is a junior high school drop out.
<br>
Jack- I think they might be Arab Democrats.
<br>
Jill- One talks like Elvis the other like Oscar Wilde. Theyíre probably actuaries.
<br>
Abu- I wish we were. I donít think actuaries blow up your national monuments.
<br>
Jack- Hey, you guys are better than television. Did you really do all that? The towers, the Pentagon and the big red cheese too. Thatís something, let me tell you.
<br>
Gamiel- Maybe we missed the big red cheese.
<br>

Abu- Thatís the trouble Jack. Weíre innocents. We never got to the airport, either of us. We;íre from two different organization who planned the same coup on the same day. Perhaps there were five other parties of God with the same idea; if so, most of them killed each other. These catastrophes should of course be momentarily on your television set.
<br>
Jill- You donít want to kill us, do you?
<br>
Abu- Donít be silly, Jill. We are terrorists, not assassins or kidnappers. You two are bystanders. To slay you would be a crime that would send us straight to hell, not to heaven.
<br>
Jack- Youíd shut down a whole plastic world if you knocked us off, Abu. Itíd be hard on any Arab selling silicon.
<br>
Abu- We are not killers; we are cleansers of evil. The calculation of all our Parties of God was that anybody working for the World Trade Center and the Pentagon would all be in the plots of the Great Satan. Even some churl selling doughnuts to these clerks are metaphysical criminals; we were acting as the hand of Allah to remove their evil from his realms.
<br>
Gamiel- We canít take you out, Jack, according to the Arab laws of hospitality; we are your guests. We will one day in heaven douse you with gifts and other tokens of our gratitude.
<br>
Jack- We donít need anything. Siliconís like putty; it turns into anything you want. Could make you feel like Allah, kid.
<br>
Abu- Well, enough of these deep meditations; I am trying to fashion some plans which you, Gamiel, may find amenable to your interest or not as you please. It is of course hard and unseemly to scheme to survive in a world which an hour ago one was sure one would leave directly for heaven.
<br>
Jack- Hey, itís like a letter from the governor freeing you from a brothel. It must be awesome.
<br>
Abu- Iím afraid it may be even more complicated than you surmise, Jack. You see, there will be certainly several Parties of God looking imminently for both of us. To begin there are zealous cabals you have heard us talking about located in Yemen, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia along with another two in Tunisia and Algeria, all of whom will be very unhappy to find out we are alive.
<br>
Gamiel- We have information about them and others that might want to be buried with a shovel.
<br>
Jill- Our children are expert with shovels.

Jack- Turn in the son of a bitches. These hooples busted up America. The hell with them, Abu. We have an old saying here: do it to them before they do it to you.
<br>

Abu- They will assume you are our confederates, know everything; they will slay you too.
<br>
Jack- Thatís terrible, Abu; Letís get into my car and get the hell out of here.
<br>
Abu- I suspect the CIA and FBI will be all over the roads; you donít want to be associated with Arabs who had one way plane tickets on these jets but never showed up, believe me.
<br>
Jack- Youíre right, Abu; we could be in big trouble.
<br>
Abu- The safest course Iím afraid for all of us is to stay here. Itís not kidnapping, of course; weíre all kidnapped, so to speak. Perhaps we always have been, by gravity or mortality itself.
<br>
Gamiel- We have to hide out somewhere; this house is as good as anywhere else.
<br>
Abu- We shall try to make you glad to have us as your guests; if youíve never heard our repertoire, we have funny jokes to tell. They lose a little translated from classical Arabic, of course.
<br>
Jill- We didnít do anything, Jack; nobody can arrest us.
<br>
Abu- Doubtlessly; would anybody in America believe you? You have harbored two failed suicide bombers in your home from two different radical Parties of God sworn to bring America to destruction? You donít know the justice system, Jill.
<br>
Jack- Iíd go kicking and screaming to the lethal injection chair, believe me. They arenít going to take out Jack Cade without a fight.
<br>
Abu- Your own lawyer would muscle you to accept thirty years in jail and disappear into the prisons system rather than face a more lethal injection. This is high treason.
<br>
Jill- I donít want to be a Lesbian. I hate prison.
<br>
Abu- A life of perverse lovemaking wouldnít be the worst of it, Jill; the humiliation of being thought of all over America as the biggest traitors in its history would follow your grandchildren into the future forever like a horrible odor.
<br>
Jill- My grandchildren are good with shovels.
<br>
Jack- Heís right, honey. The damned justice system would sink us, just as he says. Thereís nothing any of us can do about it but kill ourselves and itís clear you guys can't even do that.
<br>
Jill- Weíve all sort of kidnapped each other. Could we unkidnap each other?
<br>

Abu- Believe me, youíve kidnapped us, on the other way around. If you donít believe me, walk out that door and drive off anywhere. We wonít stop you. Youíll see youíll be talked to by cops about anybody who drove down this road who looked like us. A lot of drivers saw us. Hundreds of them saw Gamiel trying to hitch a ride. Iíd say fifty or more of them watched us drive off the road; who knows who many of your neighbors saw us on the lawn entering your house?
<br>
Jill- Not the Tadewskiís; theyíre always staring at blank cards.
<br>
Jack- Probably the Wuís. Theyíre always looking out the window.
<br>
Jill- I donít think the Wuís would rat on us, Jack.
<br>
Jack- Look, I feel sorry for you guys, but your buddies probably killed about five thousand people, mostly clerks who werenít bothering you; they probably went to American public schools and werenít exactly sure where Araby or anything else is. They couldnít attack you; they donít know about you.
<br>
Gamiel- We Arabs have nothing against them. We donít try to kill people so ignorant theyíve never heard of us.
<br>
Jack- You guys are lucky. If I did flew into the White House and tired to kill the president, Iím an American citizen; itíd be treason. You and your pals didnít commit treason. you arenít Americans. You are just ordinary serial killers.
<br>
Abu- Thatís absolutely not true. Weíre innocent. Allah stopped us. We werenít on those planes.
<br>
Gamiel- Iíd be upset too if you guys tried to blow up Mecca, but weíve done nothing wrong even by your laws, Jack.
<br>
Jack- You were going to kill yourselves in a suicide bombing attack. Even to think it must be a crime. You just werenít any good at it.
<br>
Jill- Thoughts are okay in America, Jack. Itís doing things thatís bad.
<br>
Abu- We all have thoughts of blowing up places in a male lifetime, Jack. Rage is a natural feeling for a man. Sometimes Allah himself in his mercy stops evil people like us from doing evil.
<br>
Gamiel- There is no evil. Allah is everything. In the end the Great Satan is an illusion. He is Allah in disguise.
<br>
Abu- Jack, Allah started that traffic jam and prevented us when we couldnít stop ourselves. Allah brought us here too. Canít you see that thereís a divine level to our very ineptitude? We all were meant to live by Allah, Jack.
<br>

Jack- For what damned reason I donít know.
<br>
Abu- Do you know why youíre alive? It was to be here to shield us. Allahís will is at once strong and inexplicable, Jack.
<br>
Jack- Theyíve probably intercepted e-mails all over Araby featuring you as a big heavy.
<br>
Abu- Iím afraid youíre right. Still they all think including the FBI and CIA we disappeared to paradise on those planes. You might say in a remarkable way I am living posthumously, as it were.
<br>
Jack- Youíre making our life difficult, Abu.
<br>
Abu- I must apologize in the name of Allah. Iíve probably hurt you than anybody in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. Paradoxically, youíve tried to help us. I personally wanted to plow a plane into the White House and dispatch your dastardly president even if he were sitting on the toilet reading the Enquirer. Youíve shown me the American spirit of charity and forgiveness You Americans deserve better than me. We should go to jail, Gamiel.
<br>
Jack- Thereís no television in a maximum security prison, Abu, but one educational channel. Itís a Disney operation. They show Donald Duck marathons. Itís on the ceiling; you can't even turn it off.
<br>
Gamiel- We should have been on that plane and dead.
<br>
Jack- Are you more evil in your religion if yon do harm you mean to do or you if itís an accident?
<br>
Abu- This is a very subtle point of doctrine. Since Allah is utterly and benignly responsible for the world, there are of course no accidents. Yet we are in an oxymoronic way very much accountable ourselves for both intents and our deeds. I would say rather cautiously though many mullahs might claim otherwise, many others find the question itself satanic that intent to maim another unless they are an enemy of Allah is much more wicked.
<br>
Gamiel- You can't hide from Allah; he knows your thoughts.
<br>
Abu- You canít as well fool Allah into thinking you didnít know what you were doing; you injured somebody by an accident. On the other hand, since Allah made you and he created everything, the accidents and the intents, even the mistakes, it is ultimately Allah himself who seems apparently wicked. Of course, this is an wretched illusion; Allah is good and great.
Therefore what is seemingly evil is always good if one has the eyes to discern its virtue.
<br>

Gamiel- Abu, you can't really speak for Allah. You are trying to judge Jack as if you are Allah; pleasantly you are somebody quite different from Allah. It is a damned satanic arrogance for you to assume that you can read the mind of Allah when this insight in his Creation can only go one way.
<br>

Abu- If the prophet can speak for Allah, perhaps others can too if not with certainly. A god that is totally inexplicable and offers no illuminations to anyone at all might be wicked, either to make himself so complicated or ourselves so simple to be ignorant of virtue and truth.
<br>
Gamiel- You are full of pride for claiming to mirror the wishes of what is unknown.
<br>
Abu- You are equally arrogant is assuming that Allah is not capable of giving me, the very lowest of his creatures, one shard of insight into his motives. You think Allah is inexplicable; he cannot be completely unknowable and at once transmit his wishes on all and everything to his prophet, Muhammad.
Gamiel, you are denying the faith we have in the prophet, the value of the Koran, the doctrines if Islam itself if you claim that Allah is always beyond comprehension. My Party of God always rightfully regarded such satanic dogmas you babble as worthy of death of all of your sinister Party of God.
<br>
Gamiel- You are not even worthy of death. Abu. God has spared your even that murky boon because he is patient with your stupidity. Clearly he wants to exile us from heaven as long as he can. He is merciful; it may be more of a mercy to keep the faithful in paradise away from you.

Abu- That was your opinion of your mullah a year ago when we discussed the matter with our sheiks in a Baghdad cafe; we had other many subtle differences of beliefs that inspired all of you rounders to a bellicosity that kept us at war ever since. I can't fathom how Allah can be at his heart utterly incomprehensible, a God with a million opinions, if he has offered not only to Muhammad but the entire body of the faithful, a clear record of his table talk.
Perhaps you think in your imbecility this very paradox is at the heart of the mystery of an ineluctable God I have failed to penetrate.
<br>
Gamiel- Your mendacious confessions of humility on these central matters of truth donít fool a high student of God like me for even a moment, Abu. You argue with the wiliness of the Great Satan himself, probably learning these skills from his cadres working in the schools of the rich in England. Youíre much too Western. I can understand all the better why my Party of God wanted to kill you. Sad to say, you are a living spirit of infamy.
<br>
Abu- I might be even worse than that.
<br>

Gamiel- You admit you are the Great Satan?
<br>
Abu- Gamiel, I am much more malevolent than this dusky angel. Itís part of the wisdom of Allah to have a balance in Creation. Somebody has to be evil. Whether or not I am the avatar of the ultimate shadow or merely a shard of some impish design beyond your churlish imagination I leave up to you.
<br>
Gamiel- You;íre mocked me, Abu. I am child of Allah and you make fun of me. You deserve to die.
<br>
Abu- Metaphysical felonies can only be prosecuted in other world, Gamiel. Here I am innocent.
<br>
Gamiel- You are bout to go elsewhere. (He pulls out a gun, shoot it, it clicks and nothing happens.)
<br>
Abu- You canít even kill me. Allah or your own infernal stupidity protects me. You are the most ineffectual assassin in Allahís Creation; you cannot kill yourself, me or anybody else.
<br>
Gamiel- This is a toy gun. Who gave me this gun? My own Party of God. They meant to assassinate me.
<br>
Abu- Let me help Allah, Gamiel. (He pulls out a knife and swipes it over Gamielís throat.)
<br>
Jill- This is a butter knife. Look at those initials. You stole it from a Burger King cafeteria.
<br>
Gamiel- You try to kill me with a butter knife? Iíll strangle you. (As he puts his hands on Abuís neck, they fall away. He grabs them.) Help me; Iíve got a terrible cramp in my elbows, my wrists, my shoulders.
<br>
Abu- Iíll spray this vial of poison over you. Allah demands it. (He sprays a can of venom at Gamiel.)
<br>
Jill- Thatís Preparation F.
<br>
Abu- What is Preparation F? Somebody sold me this cheap cologne.
Jack- Somebody sold you Preparation F. Itís not poison. Thatís false advertising. You ought to take it back and complain.
<br>
Abu- Never mind; Iím starting to wonder about my own future. Thereís no sense blowing myself up in a plane anymore. Like being born one can only do that once or not at all.
<br>
Jack- You guys are lucky you got born. I sure as hell hope you never join our army.
<br>
Jill- They might be good cooks. Arab cooking is famous.
<br>

Abu- I can't live as an Arab in the United States anymore; the police will be picking up every one of us for questions on sight. I might make it as an Italian White man with a bit of a suntan.
<br>
Jill- Your English accent will help if you do some telemarketing.
<br>
Jack- You might teach in the public schools. They will hire anybody, no questions asked.
<br>
Jill- Volunteer to work in a junior high school; theyíll like that.
<br>
Jack- Why donít you become a Pentagon security guard? After all these bombings theyíll be a flood of jobs for people like you.
<br>
Jill- Youíre good looking; you can always spot an Arab.
<br>
Abu- Jack, Jill, I know you know your way around America; otherwise youíd both be working for a living. I have to rethink my entire life now; so do you, Gamiel, if you want to live.
<br>
Gamiel- Iíve been trying to kill myself; I tried to kill you. Look what happened. We can't die, Abu. Itís not an option.
<br>
Abu- Allah doesnít want us in paradise. He hates us.
<br>
Jack- You need a new plan, Abu. There are other places to look forward to besides heaven.
<br>
Abu- I am always rethinking my life even if I am asleep. Do you think this parlous situation inspires me to more audacity than dawdling in Mayfair and sniffing sunflowers over a cup of tea?
<br>
Gamiel- I need to get away from five Islamic Parties of God who want to kill me and avoid the FBI, the CIA and a woman I met in Florida who wants to garnish my salary for child support. I told her I donít have any salary.
<br>
Jack- Thereís only one thing you guys can do if you want to live. Disappear. Youíve got to become invisible, real fast.
<br>
Gamiel- We canít vanish like a television program, son; we arenít good at turning into nothing.
<br>
Jack- I can help you two to do anything short of that, son.
<br>
Gamiel- You must be the opposite of Allah.
<br>
Jack- Almost. Iím the master of plastic. I will make you a set of ATM cards; youíll always have money. Jill, we are going to make these people rich.
<br>
Jill- Youíre going to give them the platinum card too?
<br>

Jack, Gold, platinum, the whole shebang. Theyíre have a line of credit that Allah would like to have.
<br>
Jill- Jack, the costumes. You can make them into Eugene OíNeill characters.
<br>
Jack- Youíre gonna fit right in, boys. We all have to be a little deceptive here to stay even.
<br>
Jill- (to Abu) You donít seem like the kind of guy who would be a radical. Youíre too smart, Abu,. What the hell happened to you?
<br>
Gamiel- He became a Westerner. Heís more evil than the Great Satan himself. What that is, I donít know.
<br>
Abu- You arenít the first to wonder that about me, Jill. Many women have said the same thing. In fact Iím sort of an Arab banality. Most of our Party of God are about thirty or so, born wealthy, spent several years in the West, have date books filled with telephone numbers of many Western woman, have drunk alcohol, savored the dreaded taste of pork now and again.
We arenít newly rich emirate oil bourgeois who have come in howling from the desert with swords to exterminate the infidel. We once believed everything you do.
<br>
Gamiel- Thatís right. Weíve done it all. Over and over again too.
<br>
Abu- Weíve been treated hospitality by Europe and America; weíve had our pick of beautiful women, every dainty among varied cuisines, all the amusements your wonderful machines can offer young people as redemption or common momentary entertainment.
<br>
Gamiel- We have to be grateful for that.
<br>
Jack- It passes the time better than starving to death, son.
<br>
Abu- We donít think of you as evil or corruptors of Araby anymore. We must let Allah judge you, not ourselves.
<br>
Jill- Let Allah judge me. Iím ready.

Abu- I was never happy with terrorism; what is it? A dream of Allah.
<br>
Jack- Donít confuse me, Abu; Iím a simple man. Just because a man is rich in America doesnít mean heís intelligent.
<br>
Abu- We were looking for the Great Satan, Jack; we couldn't find him. Heís an elusive angel. We wanted to flush him out. We couldnít even flush ourselves out.
<br>
Jack- You are one hell of a terrorist. You should have been a lawyer.
<br>
Jill- You donít seem like a suicide bomber.

<br>
Abu- I was one. Obviously Iím something else now. I had this metaphysical disdain in me, more of it than you could imagine. Even the most intense spasms of abandoned carnality seemed utterly unworthy of me. I was unhappy with the most ferocious amusement. Even heaven seemed foolish, minor, brainless and inconsequential.
<br>
Jack- I know the feeling.
<br>
Abu- I didnít think Allah thought so little of us that all he wanted for us was to be momentarily happy.
Jack- You were always trying to do something. You damned radicals donít know the importance of doing nothing.
<br>
Abu- Then there were your oil companies. I didnít want all of Araby having a wonderful time in a world vacation spa and then collapsing in a stupor.
<br>
Jack- You look thirsty with all that talk. Jill, go get this man a coke. You drink coke, donít you.
<br>
Abu- Of course we drink coke.

Jill- One coke. Be right back, honey. (She exits.)
<br>
Jack- You guys arenít going to make it as a real American like Arnold Schwartzenegger. You might pass as being Jewish. Iíve got just the costumes for you. Any of you see Maurice Schwartz as Tevye? I patterned my own performance after him; what an actor!
<br>
Abu- Was Maurice Schwartz Jewish?
<br>
Gamiel- Iíd rather kill myself than be even Italian. I will never be Jewish.
<br>
Jack- Youíre no good at suicide. You might be better at being alive somehow, some way, Gamiel.
<br>
Abu- Mr. Cade is trying to help us, Gamiel. I donít know whether we can convince anybody weíre Jewish. Iíve seen a lot of Woody Allen movies; I donít think I can imitate him.
<br>
Gamiel- Woody Allen! Iíd be better as Elvis. ( he sings) Bless-a my soul, whatís a wrong with me.
<br>
Jack- Elvis is dead: everybody knows that.
<br>
Abu- You mean well, Jack: I suspect your brains are a little loose form watching too much television.
<br>
Gamiel- This damned satanic masquerade is at best an infamous joke. Abu, arenít we are against Jews?
<br>

Abu- Perhaps not. Gamiel, in pretending to be Jewish we Islamics will raise the abysmal moral level of Jews on this Earth. It wonít be real of course but isnít that am ambition worthy of Allah?
<br>
Gamiel- You think Allah loves deception. No wonder eleven Parties of God wanted to kill you.
<br>
Abu- You think Allah abhors a floral complexity in Creation. You think God himself is some kind of Donald Duck imbecile. It is why thirteen Parties of God tried to assassinate you and ended up blowing up mostly bystanders.
<br>
Gamiel- Nobody in this world is innocent. All those little babies deserved to die. So do I for that matter. Allah kills them and keeps me alive; he is inexplicable.

Abu- Thirteen Parties of God and I myself canít dispatch you even when they try. We should all take up peace.
<br>
Gamiel- Abu, let me help you in your infamy; how can we know what Allah wants or thinks about? If it were up to you all Arabs should pretend to be Jews for the same reason. Your reasoning is absurd; no wonder five Parties of God in Islam tried to kill you.
<br>
Abu- Do you in your arrogance know what is on the mind of Allah? Why couldnít it be unreality as well as reality? Do you think that God is so narrow as to confine himself to sanity and truth? Not our God, Gamiel. He encompasses all things in Creation, even lies, deceit and madness. Even evil itself. It is all pure Allah.
<br>
Gamiel- You think Allah is evil. I canít wait to tell this to some less inept Party of God or other, it doesnít matter which one anymore.
<br>
Abu- I will turn you in first to the CIA and FBI quicker than you will turn me over to these jackals, Gamiel.
<br>
Jack- They arenít any good either. They might be more inept than your Parties of God. Theyíre just American bureaucrats picking up that weekly pay check; they let this happen, didnít they?

Abu- Then Iíll turn you over to the boy scouts. You would diminish Allah to mere virtue and honesty in a Creation plainly rife with wickedness and lunacy and much worse. Do you think Allah is only to be found in a few sanctorums of virtue? He would be one very weak and small God if it were so, Gamiel.
<br>
Gamiel- He has the power if he is all powerful to diminish himself, not be all and everything, or be all and everything as well as be, you damned infidel.
<br>

Abu- Gamiel, rather sorrily, you are spouting satanic paradox. If anything at all including evil would help Allahís purpose, why shouldnít he or we do it? It is you. Gamiel, who are evil in your narrowness and lack of audacity when Allah himself has equipped you to learn the immortal power of using darkness as an instrument to garnering the fabled light of heaven.
<br>
Gamiel- You would impute upon Allah your own craven narrowness and cowardice.
<br>
Abu- I would. It is all Allah.
<br>
Gamiel- Abu, I didnít say Allah was like me. I didnít say either I was like Allah. I would be arrogant indeed if I were to compare us, Abu.
<br>
Abu- You are still a wretch Who ever tried to hitchhike to an airport to be a suicide bomber? What were you doing, saving carfare? You should have taken a helicopter to perform Allahís holy commands.
<br>
Gamiel- If I had taken a car I would have been in the same traffic jam. Like you.
<br>
Abu- Enough of your sophistries. We will form a new band of fake Jewish Arabs into this cause. Maybe it isnít entirely pretense. Now I know this is the reason Allah has spared us.

Gamiel- You are mad and wicked, Abu. I would kill you myself if I could as the mere visible arm of the God who loves both our spirits if Allah didnít love you or hate you enough to keep you alive improbable. You are metaphysical scum.
<br>
Abu- You can't kill anybody. If you tried to step on a cockroach youíd miss it. You are a child of Allah too; Allah loves idiots like you.
<br>
Jack- Gamiel, you can do more for the world and Allah as a Jew right now than you can as an Arab.
<br>
Gamiel- Well, if you put it that way, maybe it is Allahís purpose; how should I know?
<br>
Abu- We donít know anything about Judaism. Weíll have to stay here and study kosher laws for a month.
<br>
Jack- Donít get deep when the world is shallow, Abu. Life is about clothes, not spirit. I just happen to have some authentic Jewish costumes in my cellar.
<br>
Gamiel- You arenít Jewish, are you?
<br>

Jack- Nobodyís Jewish in the suburbs, buddy, not even the Jews. Anyway Jews donít live near airports. Itís in the Talmud somewhere. Youíll pass. Youíll walk out of here real but invisible. Youíll have a new life; youíll never have to worry about any Party Of God again.
<br>
Gamiel- Iím going to miss my past.
<br>
Jack- We talk that jive but nobody really does, Gamiel. Letís go down to the basement; Iíll fit you out with the costumes.
<br>
Abu- I hope Allah will recognize us. The world may be coming to an end; he will be looking for the faithful elsewhere.
<br>
Jack- Allah can read your minds, canít he? Do whatís easy and acceptable; thatís what everybody does.
<br>
Gamiel- You want us to flee Allah.
<br>
Abu- We wonít even exist really except as ghosts haunting ourselves. Allah may hate us.
<br>
Jack- Abu, sometimes in America even Allah canít find you. (Exit Jack, Abu and Gamiel.)


Act Two
<br>


The doorbell rings. Jill comes out of the kitchen with a glass of a coca cola, puts it down on a table and answers it. Enter Will Elderberry, standing at the door. He is dressed in a very clean cut, almost starched way that identifies him as an FBI man. He carries a briefcase; it has a laptop in it.

Jill- Hi. Sorry, buddy, we donít want any eggbeaters or insurance. Try the Wuís next door. I donít think the Wuís want any either.
<br>
Will- (showing his credentials from a wallet.) FBI, madam. Weíve had a phone call from the Wuís next door; theyíve been watching your house. You might want to turn off your television; we need to have a serious talk. (Jill presses her remote control buttons a few times; all the television sets go off.) Thank you very much, Mrs. Cade; some dialogues need a background of silence. They say two people looking like Arabs entered it about an hour ago; they havenít left since. I guess youíve been watching the bombings on t-v; you know why Iím here. Might I ask, is any truth to the Wuís allegations?
<br>
Jill- Arabs? I donít think so, really. The Wuís obviously can't tell the difference because Arabs and Jews. We have had a couple of orthodox rabbis whoíve dropped by; my husband Jack is downstairs with them in the cellar discussing the Talmud. Sit down, Mr?-
<br>
Will- Will Elderberry, madam. Youíre Jack and Jill Cade, arenít you? Cadeís not often a Jewish name.
<br>
Jill- We arenít Jewish. Weíre to Americans simply fascinated by the Talmud. Ever read it?
<br>
Will- Iíve never even read the Bible. I like books that make me laugh. I love to read but Iíve always had a taste for comedy.
<br>
Jill- It might narrow your perceptions, Mr. Elderberry. Some things arenít funny.
<br>
Will- You know twenty Arabs blew up the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon about an hour ago? They ran two planes into the towers, another one into our military headquarters in Washington. A fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania; the passengers must have give these Arabs a fight. Iíd like to barbeque those rats some warm summer night, believe me.
<br>
Jill- Do you want this coke?
<br>
Will- Donít mind if I do. You probably think the Wuís turned you in because they donít like the dandelions on your lawn. Theyíre patriots, Mrs. Cade. They come from a country that hasnít got our freedoms; unlike our late Arab guests they know what theyíre protecting.

<br>
Jill- So do I: themselves.
<br>
Will- Weíre all survivors here, Mrs. Cade, just like the Wuís. We all come from some nightmare but we escaped. Or our fathers or grandfathers. We are a nation of people who learned how to walk backwards. Thatís why the whole world is jealous of us, Mrs. Cade. We are champions of the Olympics of flight. You notice the flow of people goes one way: our way. If they bomb us out, we wouldnít know where to go.
<br>
Jill- I donít blame the Wuís for being patriotic, Mr. Elderberry. I donít blame you either. We Cades might be a suburban center for destroying the United States for all either of you know.
<br>
Will- A lot of people in the suburbs donít know what they have. Or rather what they donít have.
<br>
Jill- Iíve traveled to Canada. I know how bad it can get, Mr. Elderberry. Maybe we need a common enemy again like the Apaches.

Will- Weíve got several Arabs now, Mrs. Cade. I like to hear some patriotic appreciation for us. We are the one country where people make themselves miserable.
<br>
Jill- I know the planet wants to be like us. Theyíre tired of other people hurting them.
<br>
Will-Thatís good to hear, Mrs. Cade. We have a lot of people in our big cities and colleges who always feel otherwise. For them America is always wrong. If they had to spend three months in the countries that are always right theyíd kill themselves flying a plane into a rain forest or a mosque.
<br>
Jill- I understand that very well, Mr. Elderberry. Iím going to go next door and thank the Wuís for turning me in after a little while. I think I should tell you that theyíre communists. They always have a Red flag over their fireplace.
<br>
Will- Mrs. Cade, these days, communism is okay if itís Red Chinese communism. You know what the Reds do for us? They make everything we eat, wear and put on our feet. They do it for nothing too. Communism is what makes us strong, healthy and free. We just have to keep it over there, make sure it never shows up much here.
<br>
Jill- In that case, Iím amazed we ever hated communism.
<br>
Will- The Wuís are smart. They came here to enjoy the fruits of communism. You ought to have a Red flag over your fireplace too.
<br>
Jill- I donít have a fireplace but Iím starting to love communism.
<br>

Will- Communism is something you want other people to love.
<br>
Jill- Well, then Iím glad other people love it; I hate it.
<br>
Will- The worst thing that could happen to anybody is to both be communist and love communism.
<br>
Jill- Well then, I hate communism.

Will- On the other hand, Americaís always lived off the desperation of other people. Anybody who has a lousy life some place who has any sense comes here.
<br>
Jill- Then I love communism. It brings us the best people.
<br>
Will- yes, thatís why Americans are running the world. We have the worldís best people. Weíre occasionally just a little out of breath from running away.
<br>
Jill- Well then, I really love communism.
<br>
Will- You should love fascism too; it does the same thing.
<br>
Jill- I never thought of it. I love fascism even more than communism.
<br>
Will- I love them equally. This is a country that believes in equality. I hate them equally too.
<br>
Jill- I thought you FBI people were against communism and fascism too.
<br>
Will- We were against communism; since Nixon went to China thirty years ago we been for communism.
<br>

Jill- You ought to make up your mind. You confuse people, Mr. Elderberry.
<br>
Will- I have. I love communism. For now.
<br>
Jill- I never know anymore who the friends and enemies of my country are.
<br>
Will- Mrs. Cade, after adolescence you should never got too mad or too cordial with anybody.
<br>
Jill- We donít have time to even get neighborly; people move every three years.
<br>
Will- You should never be too angry at an enemy; he might become your friend. You can't be too nice to your buddies either; tomorrow theyíll be dropping bombs on your skull.
<br>

Jill- Maybe tomorrow weíll both hate communism.
<br>
Will- This is a good coke. The classic taste.
<br>
Jill- Drink your coke. Itís got caffeine. Itíll give you a tad more energy for the day.
<br>
Will- Itís not pep I lack, Mrs. Cade. Iím feeling blue on blue. This is unfortunately a very sorry day for the FBI.
<br>
Jill- You mean with all these suicide bombers blowing up American buildings?
<br>
Will- We should have known; we didnít know; the CIA should have known; they didnít know. We should have had these people under surveillance in Araby, Florida, London, Madrid, Hamburg, everywhere. The horror is we had the data we needed; nobody processed it. It sat there on peopleís desks, got stained with coffee, shriveled up and died.
<br>
Jill- Drink your coke, Mr. Elderberry. Youíll feel better.
<br>
Will- You perish twice in Washington, once in a file cabinet and once for real.
<br>
Jill- Itís hard enough to be born and die even once.
<br>
Will- Whatever happened, in fifteen minutes we looked at the data, found twenty of the bombers, who their friends were, what Al Qaeda was; now weíre making about five thousand arrests. Weíll find out about your supposedly Jewish friends in a moment.
<br>
Jill- Youíre a little late on the arrests, arenít you, Mr; Elderberry? You canít put dead people in jail.
<br>
Will- We know their base though. Afghanistan. Pakistan. We are going to bomb the hell out of their operations there We are going to muscle Pakistan, a few other operations we are going to hurt badly everywhere from the Philippines to Somalia.
<br>
Jill- Itís nice to know what Iím paying my taxes for.
<br>
Will- We know where they trained in Florida, with impunity from us, who trained them, a few bums we have in the slammer. We donít have deep penetration into their organizations.
<br>
Jill- We all want deep penetration.
<br>
Will- These rogue cabals were all Parties of God. Weíre hoping that we can pick up a couple of them that didnít make the planes because of a traffic jam, get them to tell us a things or two. If they talk, they walk.

Jill- Where do they walk after they talk?

<br>
Will- After they tell us who the members of the Parties of God are, anywhere. They can walk to Club Med. Or Chinatown.
<br>
Jill- You must be very disappointed in your agency. This is the biggest intelligence failure in American history.
<br>
Will- Not just us, the CIA. Mrs. Cade, weíre all in the can unless we can produce some bad guys fast. The Arabs will be dead; Iíll be looking for a job as a security guard in a Cayman Islands bank.
<br>
Jill- Itís hot down there.
<br>
Will- Covert actions against all the Parties of God all over the world, eliminating them, is about all thatís going to save us. I hope your Jews downstairs are Arabs; we need them as much as they need us.
<br>
Jill- They say theyíre Jews; I hope theyíre Arabs too. How did the FBI get so inept? I thought you FBI guys were fearsome.
<br>
Will- We were. In the days of J. Edgar Hoover we were really tough. Then Hoover died; maybe he was knocked off. It turned out he was one fake hard guy. Among other things he and his boyfriend Clyde Tolson had the biggest porno collection in the world or so we thought at the time. I mean the biggest; it filled whole warehouses; it went back to the administration of Andrew Johnson. Hoover didnít care about their opinions of even his enemies; only their sex life. Nobody wanted to be known as a lover. He used it to blackmail every congressman and president from Warren Harding on. It kept our budgets very fat, I can tell you.
<br>
Jill- Maybe you guys were the only agency in Washington that had a proper budget to do what you had to do.
<br>
Will- That was the idea. The CIA did it with heroin. Trouble is, Russia, Germany. England, France and Italy, even Saudi Arabia got the same idea by watching Hoover.
<br>
Jill- I like porno, especially when itís alien porno. I have no idea what Iím watching.
<br>
Will- Thatís what Hoover and Tolson used to say. Thy have a great Martian collection. Indonesia had even bigger porno collections of earthly worldwide figures; they were catalogued, digitalized with computers; copies could be called up with the right password of the dirt on anybody in the 20th century.
<br>
Jill- It must be a quite a collection. It was a long century.
<br>

Will- After all the enemies of the country became our friends we exchanged data; we put a planetary porno collection into space in 1983. Some people in Libya and Iraq think they can spot it and knock it out of the sky if they had the right missiles. Then nobody would know. Only five people knows where it is. Everybody else only knows itís up there somewhere.
<br>
Jill- Itís history. Itís important.
<br>
Will- Of course itís history. The FBI isnít in the entertainment business yet. Weíre a sort of ghostly museum. We have too much raw data; we couldnít begin to process it. Thatís why we missed that damned Al Qaeda.
<br>
Jill- Have they got a porno collection too?
<br>
Will- We do, Mrs Cade. We can tell you an awful lot about the love life of all those Al Qaeda punks. We have cameras and microphone devices that have been recording everything that happened on Earth outdoors since 1957, every banal conversation in the Sahara between two Tunisian goatherders, every boring lawn party in New Jersey, the moans of dying wild goats in the snows of northern Siberia.
<br>
Jill- Iíd fall asleep if I had to listen to even a ten minute documentary of dying goats.
<br>
Will- Itís the absurdity of collecting what God wants for good reason to fall into oblivion that in the end makes us completely bonkers.
<br>
Jill- You seem to be implying your life in the FBI has been vaguely tragic, Mr. Elderberry. You chose police work; could have always made a career as a plumber.
<br>
Will- Iím very handy with lead fittings and porcelain. Americans need toilets and urinals the way one day they need coffins. Iím not sorry I worked where I have; itís given me a lifetime to meditate on freedom.
<br>
Jill- Itís good to have a job where you can think a little.
<br>
Will- I might have played third base for the Red Sox. We will never know, will we? As an FBI trainee I would come home to my wife on those long drives from Washington, spend a few hours a day by myself on the road thinking about America. I would glide that big car home at nights, see nothing but a few abstract lights on the road; I would think I might not still be on this planet.
<br>
Jill- We never know where we are.
<br>

Will- One starless winter night I thought that a society is measured not only by its sheriffs but whether we can stand its outlaws with the moustaches and black hats. We FBI canít stop crime, cure cancer, joust with the angel of death much less human misery. Weíre often our own enemy; we canít put ourselves in jail. The FBI would like to arrest criminals, believe me; who would be the guards?
<br>

Jill- Why donít we have prisons without guards?
<br>
Will- I think we do. We know everybody is going to have some very intense private woe. Nobody escapes. Iíve had my own, God knows.
<br>
Jill- Mr. Elderberry, you seem a little more content than most people.
<br>
Will- Iíve had a good life as they go, Mrs. Cade. My wife is untrustworthy; my children donít care about me really; they see me as a meal ticket. My parents are living in air conditioned fortresses at opposite coasts of Florida; they can't stand each other. Theyíre happy to be somewhere far from anybody who might hate them.
<br>
Jill- Itís a consolation.
<br>
Will- My neighbors donít break into my house much and steal from me; The only time I notice them is when they play loud Joe Sinatra records while Iím sitting on my lawn thinking about the dead and departed and sipping my fourth martini.
<br>
Jill- You mean Frank Sinatra.
<br>
Will- They played Joe Sinatra. He was an accordionist from Japan. Of course his real name wasnít Sinatra. Iíve had a couple of big affairs myself beside the motel assignations on the job, pretty miserable stuff. One of my girl friends had three abortions; another committed suicide. Iíve got a few too many pounds on me. Sometimes I feel awful for no reason at all; even driving my car on a thruway doesn't work.
<br>
Jill- You should watch more television.
<br>
Will- One day. For now weíve got some real adversaries, Mrs. Cade; they want to turn America into the Second Caliphate after Muhammad.
<br>
Jill- They lock up women like slaves, donít they?
<br>
Will- More like cattle. You know, I donít think the Arabs are our enemies, Mrs. Cade. The past is dead, more defunct than these bombers. These damned Arabs arenít heros, villains, they arenít punks. Theyíre corpses. We FBI people have looked at their profiles on our computers. These twerps all middle class nihilists brought up with big bucks who went to Western schools, speak our lingo and went through a spiritual overhaul.
<br>
Jill- You mean like our brokers.
<br>

Will- They think theyíre courageous. Theyíre just Arab versions of American spoiled brats. What they can't face isnít American greed and capitalism; itís how Western they are inside.
<br>

Jill- I had a lot of boyfriends. I never slept with an Arab. I think.
<br>
Will- They donít know what real bravery is about. Itís drinking your coffee, doing nothing about your woe, knowing that tomorrow isnít doing to be very much different than today or better. Itís finding some compassion for a species that isnít too swift or clever, a lover whoís lost her looks, a wife whoís told you the small treasure of her memory about five times; itís also sitting in an office where ordinary people around you are counting the days like old convicts mumbling in a penitentiary.
<br>
Jill- Youíre sure thatís bravery?
<br>
Will- Iím an FBI man. Iíve seen lots of cheap death; itís easy to die. Mrs. Cade. Healing when you can and enduring what youíve got to take is hard.
<br>
Jill- You have been doing a lot of thinking at midnight.
<br>
Will- We just have to learn to step out of the way when the wardens set the eyeless inmates loose for an hour of recreation .
I only wish these middle class Arab punks were real bad guys; theyíre bystanders in a brawl hoping to be furniture.
<br>
Jill- Maybe we need communism.
<br>
Will- Right now we need some kind of penetration. My specialty is making friends from guys who hate me. I think we have a lot to talk about with these Arabs if we ever find them.
<br>
Jill- They were willing to give up their lives to try to bring down America. What could you say to them?
<br>
Will- The World Trade Center and Pentagon have been hit; the fourth plane didnít kill the president in the White House. That part of their life is over, Mrs. Cade. Obviously America isnít going to go down or disappear because itís lost a few buildings, several people or even a bunch of cities. We could stand to lose all our leaders and nobody would notice.
<br>
Jill- Thatís true.
<br>
Will- We arenít their enemy, Mrs. Cade. All the inventors of Western technology, most of them dead and European by the way, did them in the last century, long before that. Weíre just a momentary stalking horse for a rendezvous with a few organized minerals.
<br>

Jill- I donít think I ever slept with a toaster.
<br>
Will- Imagine a wall opens up in the sky, Mrs. Cade; you see a whole world of machines, citadels, spaceships, little green men walking on parapets in the ether. Then the sky closes again. Kaboom. It all takes three seconds; you are never going to be the same. You know it is possible to live in that once imaginary world. It isnít far away, you might get there, it might drop by and say a whispered hello. You make love; maybe you kick same things; nothing is the same.
Thatís the way it is for these punks, for all of Araby. Theyíve seen the sky open.
<br>
Jill- How are you going to let any of these Arabs walk?
<br>
Will- They can't even kill themselves. They havenít done anything. Conspiracy is hard to prove; itís very circumstantial elusive stuff. Suppose we locked them up or even butchered them. What would that achieve for the FBI or America?
<br>
Jill- You think they would help you turn in their own people?
<br>
Will- This phase of their life is over, Mrs. Cade. There is never any reason for them anymore to blow up a major American building again or try to kill the president. They know themselves now we have other buildings, a vice president, maybe none of whom run the real government. We have lots of people to run them they donít know anything about. So does England or Japan if they ever knock us out altogether.
<br>
Jill- You donít know how much they hate America.
<br>
Will- I donít love America myself; Iím an FBI man, Mrs. Cade. You can't love anything whether itís the moon or an old lover that has such a large shadow; you can only be in awe of it.

Jill- I feel that way about the moon and old lovers.
<br>
Will- The more clever these Arabs are, the quicker they will be working for us. They are pure soldiers.
<br>
Jill- Theyíll blow up Disneyland. Thatíll be the end of Donald Duck.
<br>
Will- Mrs Cade, to paraphrase Mickey Mouse, itís the things you donít do that are the most important things in your life. Iíve thought all the things theyíve been passionate about with the details changed, believe me.
<br>
Jill- Youíve wanted to bring down America, too?
<br>

Will- Every day. The most courageous thing I do is live a lousy life and keep on living it. Cowards start shooting at strangers; either you kill them or they kill you. Thatís easy. Whatís hard is to try to survive with lunatics.

Jill- Whatís the alternative? (Will shrugs.)
<br>
Will- (opening up his briefcase, showing her his laptop.) We know the eighteen men who died on the planes and the two who didnít. Once I get past this first menu Iíll show you their pictures. You can identify them.
<br>
Jill- (She leans over his shoulder to look at the laptop.) What is that program?
<br>
Will- Thatís a digitalized version of my bubble gum cards, my stamp collection, a few baseball rarities and three dimensional version of several cars Iíve owned. Iíll show you. There are stamps of Lybesia and Carolingia. They were issued in Krotx and Rimbooga.
<br>
Jill- I never heard of those countries. I guess things must have been different in the past.
<br>
Will- Thereís my baseball cards. Thatís a vintage Grant Whitley. He stole a hundred and fifty bases in 1950. Thatís my first car, an Algonquin sedan. It was made in Korea.
<br>
Jill- I never heard of it, Mr. Elderberry. It must have been a lemon.
<br>
Will- Here are the pictures of Abu Hassan and Gamiel bin Sharif Saudi Arabia and Yemen respectively. Abuís from London. Gamiel sounds as if heís from Memphis. Every see either of them before?
<br>
Jill- Never mind. Here they come up the stairs now. (Enter Jack, Abu and Gamiel. Abu is dressed somewhat like Oscar Wilde, perhaps carrying a large sunflower. Gamiel looks like rich Memphis White trash like Elvis, perhaps that gaudy gold costume Elvis wore singing in Las Vegas. Jack has an Asiatic robe and turban on himself. All three are carrying skulls. As this action continues Will looks up and dow at the pictures on his laptop and at Abu and Gamiel.) Jack looks like a Turk, doesnít he? He played the fortune teller in Oklahoma. Sam, Eli, this is Mr. Will Elderberry. He is from the FBI. Heís looking forward to meet our two Jewish friends; I donít know what possessed you to put on these costumes.
<br>
Will- I donít remember any fortune teller in Oklahoma.
<br>
Jill- You probably saw the one by Rogers and Hammerstein.
<br>
Abu- itís hard to be Jewish in an anti-Semitic country. Weíve decided to masquerade as an English patrician decadent and a lousy Elvis impersonator.
<br>

Jill- Donít worry; you can be Jewish here, Sam, even more orthodox than you want to be. This is the America; we like everybody. Youíre safe in the suburbs now.
<br>
Gamiel- (To Will.) You arenít anti-Semitic, are you?
<br>
Will- Not at all. I love a good pastrami sandwich with a half sour pickle. Well, glad to meet you gentlemen. Who is Sam; who is Eli?
<br>
Abu and Gamiel- Iím Sam.
<br>
Abu- Weíre both Sam. Iím Sam Eli. Heís Sam Samson.
<br>
Will- Thatís rather a whole lot of Sams, isnít it, gentlemen?
<br>
Gamiel- Not really. Iím two Sams myself: Sam Samson. Altogether weíre just three Sams. Maybe to you, Mr. Elderberry, thatís a whole lot of Sams.
<br>
Abu- To us itís enough. As Allah says, you can't have too few enemies or too many Sams.

Will- I didnít know Jews quoted Allah.
<br>
Gamiel- Sam Allah. Heís our golf coach. Heís always saying things like that.
<br>
Abu- Heís our greengrocer too. He hawks at times a carious line of life insurance as well.
<br>
Gamiel- We always buy from Sam Allah. Anything at all.
<br>
Will- (looking down quickly at the laptop, then up at Jack) I donít suppose your name is Sam too?
<br>
Jack- Actually my middle name used to be Sam. I changed it as soon as I could. Sam is a good first name; it should never be a middle name.
<br>
Gamiel-- I like the name Sam.
<br>
Jill- Not on a woman, of course; Iíd never name a daughter of mine Sam unless I hated her.
<br>
Will- Whose skulls are those?
<br>
Jack- Theyíre props. Isnít it Halloween? (A sound is heard from the chimney. Will gets up to look into it.)
<br>
Will- I think Santa Claus got stuck in your fireplace.
<br>
Jack- Thatís just Ching Wu. Heís smoking.
<br>

Will- Well, I donít want to lose my focus. What you do in your private life is none of my business, gentlemen. We FBI people are looking for two Arabs who apparently never made it to the suicide planes to the plow into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We think they might be able to tell us something abut the organizations that produced this attack. We have information from the Wuís, the next door neighbors of the Cades that two men in Arab clothing walked into this home an hour ago.
<br>
Abu- Allah Bismillah. They walked in; they walked out. They werenít suicide bombers; they were selling eggbeaters or vacuum cleaners or something door to door. Itís not illegal for anybody to make a few dollars at free enterprise in America, is it?
<br>
Jill- Allen Bismillah is our chiropodist. Sam Allah introduced us.
<br>
Will- (As he talks he looks over the program on his laptop.) I should tell you guys that I have just identified you on my database. You donít have to talk anymore about pastrami and whistle klezmer music under your breath; Iíve got your pictures and case histories right here. Abu Hassan and Gamiel bin Sharif, I presume.
<br>
Abu- You know who we are, Mr. Elderberry. We havenít done anything wrong by your laws as well as our Islamic ones. We have of course thought a few unpleasant things about America; who doesnít?
<br>
Will- Everybody. I do too.
<br>
Abu- You might have our condemnations of America on tape. So what? We havenít so much as jaywalked. You have no legal case against us. You can only prove in court that we should have been more selective about our friends. So should you; so should we all.
<br>
Will- Youíre right.
<br>
Abu- Are we dumb? Certainly. Are we even guilty of loitering? No. Suppose our comrades are felons, serial killers, pedophiles and devils; the very latitude of acceptance of a manís peers, the vague borders of their unthinkable monstrosity and slavering criminal nature argues for the broad range of liberty of honest American citizens.
<br>
Will- You represent the frontiers of American freedom better than I do.
<br>
Abu- Mr. Elderberry, it isnít even a misdemeanor to lack judgment in intimates or to have bad luck in encountering the wrong strangers.
<br>
Will- Itís all true. We need some information from you, Abu. We want to know all about your friends.

<br>
Abu- Which ones? I may have considerably more friends than you think.
<br>
Will- I doubt it. I think both your old friends and strangers are now all your enemies. You have quite a few less allies than you once thought, Abu. I might be one of your new ones.
<br>
Abu- I suppose youíre going to learn what you want to know, then kill us.
<br>
Will- I think that would be uncivil. You guys according to my records here have a lot of reasons for being our friends. We Americans are very friendly.
<br>
Gamiel- No politeness, please, Mr. Elderberry. We know what you are up to, believe me.
<br>
Will- I might surprise you. I am a reasonable man; so is my government. We donít care what your ideas are, what sexual tastes you take up in the night, what brand of leaf you smoke. You are in fact an irritant to us as we are to you. We donít enjoy your friends bombing the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.
<br>
Jill- You should listen to this man, Gamiel. Heís a good guy, a kind of mid-American neighbor we had before the Wuís moved in.
<br>
Jack- Actually, honey, we moved in here after the Wuís; we invaded their neighborhood. Itís no wonder the Wuís and the Changs down the block see us as dangerous aliens.
<br>
Jill- Theyíre the aliens.
<br>
Jack- Weíll all aliens here. Maybe one day weíll be one people because we all watched the same t-v programs all our lives.
<br>
Jill- You always were a dreamer and a patriot, Jack. Even that wonít work.
<br>
Abu- What is your offer, Mr. Elderberry?
<br>
Will- It isnít really my idea; it comes out of this computer. Weíve got a dynamite program here that looks at a zillion scenarios and picks the honey that might suit us the best. It saves us a lot of thinking at the FBI, Abu.
<br>
Jack- You need all the machines you can get, Elderberry.
<br>
Will- My little machine here has noticed that if we donít kill each other, we have the same enemies.
<br>
Abu- Who are they?
<br>

Will- If we arrest you and put your in the slammer, the Parties of God are going to looking for you. They will infallibly fined you and cause you both a lot of damage no matter how we protect you unless we get to them first. I can make you disappear here better than Mr. Cade. For the moment nobody knows you two werenít on those planes.
<br>

Abu- You canít be sure?
<br>
Will- We intercepted their calls; there wasnít any talk about missing bombers. They were too busy to notice. You both speak fluent English; you can be anything, Christian Lebanese businessmen perhaps. We can join three million Arab Americans in this country whoíve had the good sense to flee to the United States.
<br>
Gamiel- You want us to be Christians? We were just Jewish. Isnít that enough infamy for Allah?
<br>
Will- The Christian Lebanese and Syrians donít like Islamics. Youíll never meet anybody among them whoíll recognize you. Not one Party Of God. Think it over. You could also be Syrian Jews. Or Bahais. Youíll like them.
<br>
Abu- Maybe weíll stay Jewish. I donít think I could bear the vertigo of two or more conversions in a day.
<br>
Gamiel- Weíve been fighting the Christians for a thousand years. Iím certain Allah and the Prophet would want us to both stay Jewish.
<br>
Will- We are going to ask your help in a few covert matters. As long as any Party Of God soldier who has known you is extant you are vulnerable to exposure. We need to know who they are all over the world; we already know who they are more or less here. When they all disappear you will be safe.
<br>
Abu- They were trying to kill us even before the bombings. Weíre always been rogues and mavericks who often offend the orthodox with rather scandalous religious opinions, Iím afraid. Weíll tell you everything.

Will- We will be hiring a lot of people in the FBI who are fluent in accentless Arabic. We also have an enormous amount of audio and video recordings along with intercepted telephone massages to be processed by one insensitive to the innuendos of these communiquťs. Some of it is porno, of course. We hope you wonít be offended.
<br>
Gamiel- Porno? I suppose we could do that for you. I hope Allah appreciates the ironies of a life that in the end is only his holy dream.
<br>

Jack- If he doesnít, I do. I know what to feels like to be Allah, Gamiel. Allahís like me; he watches a lot of television.
<br>
Will- You arenít claiming youíre tantamount to Allah himself, are you, Mr. Cade?
<br>
Jack- I wouldnít do that, Mr. Elderberry. Somebody might hold me responsible for all of this. (Exit Will, Abu and Gamiel.)
<br>
Jack- (looking out the window after a pause.) There they go. Thatís a nice car that Elderberryís got. Very new, spiffy. I never knew FBI men drove flamingo colored limousines. They must moonlight as pimps after work.
<br>
Jill- Youíre not a pimp; would you want one?
<br>
Jack- In my business you can never disguise yourself enough, Jill. Maybe I want people to think Iím a pimp.
<br>
Jill- Youíre certainly better than a pimp.
<br>
Jack- You know, I was afraid that FBI man had come here to pick me up.
<br>
Jill- You? What the hell did you do? You arenít trying to bring down America. You love America.
<br>
Jack- I know.
<br>
Jill- Your plastics business is supporting the United States along with you, me and the Weís too. Without it we might all be revolutionaries.
<br>
Jack- Well, I am manufacturing hundreds of identities and plastic cards down there in the cellar. Somebody must be looking for all these fake Americans I invent somewhere. I think. Maybe.
<br>
Jill- Youíre holding up the economy, Jack, You think thereís just one of you? Those plastic machines are all over the country. There must be zillions of people who donít exist just like the aliens they run at us in those television programs.
<br>
Jack- Youíre right. If it werenít for people like us, weíd have a Depression.
<br>
Jill- Youíre just one more chiropodist, thatís all.
<br>
Jack- Youíre right. Why should some money be real; everybody elseís be somebodyís vaporous dream? I am one of the people who makes America happen. (He hears an explosion. He looks out the window.) Wow, look at that action movie; they blew up the car. Thereís a mist of blood floating up into the sky.
<br>
Jill- Thatís not a movie; thatís our window, damn it. Somebody took out Abu, Gamiel, and Mr. Elderberry.

<br>
Jack- It might be a Party of God. Those sons of bitches always know how to throw a party.
<br>
Jill- Anybody walking from that car?
<br>
Jack- Are you kidding? Itís mostly hovering in the zenith. Hey, the steering wheel just landed on the Wuís aerial.
<br>
Jill- Jack, I will bet Mr. Elderberry was a fanatic of some kind. Look, he left his laptop here. An FBI man doesn't leave his laptops anywhere.
<br>
Jack- Thereís nothing inside it. It never was a laptop in the first place.
<br>
Jill- Actually thatís our briefcase. Maybe he did walk off with his laptop. You know, Abu and Gamiel might not have been Arabs.
<br>
Jack- There they go down the street to a Ford Apache. I actually never saw them go into the car. Maybe it blew up the Wuís. It is suspicious, honey, but I donít know of what.
<br>
Jill- How could we accept that Abu was an Arab when he had an Oxford accent or Gamiel was some kind of Yemenite when he mumbled like Elvis?
<br>
Jack- Maybe Elvis was an Arab. (He turns on the television sets with a remote device.) Look at the tits on that girl. They must be silicon.
<br>
Jill- It could be real. Jack, sometimes a tit is a tit.
<br>
Jack- These days a tit isnít a tit.

Jill- Well, theyíre gone, one way or another; it doesn't matter.
<br>
Jack- The tits?
<br>
Jill- Whatís that, the history channel?
<br>
Jack- No the educational channel. I wonder why Washington always likes to kick people in the nuts. Iím glad I wasnít there when Mohammed hit the field on a big black horse and came at the Zunis or Zulus or whatever with that magic curved silver sword.
<br>
Jill- That was probably the wrong Mohammed. A lot of people besides Mohammed are also Mohammed.
<br>
Jack- Remember Abe Lincoln cutting through the Confederate army at Antiem; yowie! He was a heavy hitter with those two pistols that never ran out of ammunition.
<br>

Jill- We need Abe Lincoln back again, Jack. Abe knew how to hurt people.
<br>
Jack- What did Honest Abe live and die for anyway? Freedom. We have more damned freedom with our plastic than he could have ever imagined.
<br>
Jill- We are definitely what Abe was fighting for.
<br>
Jack- One day the whole world will be living here just as we are.
<br>
Jill- Itís better than what these poor Arab bastards have got.
<br>
Jack- Look at that elephant; it sure can move through that jungle.
<br>
Jill- Thatís not an elephant. Canít you see itís green?
(There is another explosion outside.) Another car just blew up down the street, Jack. Maybe itís just vandalism.
<br>
Jack- Thatís an action movie, not a window. I saw Arnold drive away with a smile.
<br>
Jill- That was Jackie. You canít tell the difference between Arnold and Jackie.
<br>
Jack- Maybe there is no difference.
<br>
Jill- You know Jack, they were too mach like themselves to be real.
<br>
Jack- Creation doesn't have to be amusing; thatís why it rarely is. Reality is dull.
<br>
Jill- I guess the hit on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was real. Easy to do if it isnít though. A few computer graphics; thatís it.
<br>
Jack- Bombing of the World Trade Center! Is too interesting. It probably isnít real. (He gets up and takes her hand. They move toward the exit.)
<br>
Jill- You know, Jack, I have wondered how real you are.
<br>
Jack- Why?
<br>
Jill- Itís that every time you go into the cellar you come up with a new costume. Yesterday you were an half of a horse; the day before that you playing third base for the Boston Red Sox.
<br>
Jack- I just have a lot of clothes. I wonder the same about you. Every time you go into the kitchen and come back with a coke, is it the same woman? Maybe. Maybe not, baby.
<br>
Jill- Do you really wonder?

<br>
Jack- I wonder for a moment. Then I realize it doesn't matter.
(Exit Jack and Jill, arm in arm. There are two more car explosions. Then the curtain.)
<br>
The End
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