THE TRUTH ABOUT PARENTS

My very earliest memory is of climbing up on a chair that was sitting next to an ironing board in our apartment in Falls Church, Virginia. The iron itself, all mirror-pretty and shiny, was sitting up on its side like a begging dog. Naturally, I reached out to rub the smooth surface, and cried when my fingers got burned. Mom rushed over and, seeing what had happened, immediately found the butter dish, cut off a pat, and rubbed it on my sore fingers. “This will take the pain away and make it all better”, she said soothingly. Well, no, it didn’t, on either count, and I hated the greasy feel on top of the pain.

Lessons learned-

1) Keep the chairs away from the ironing board
2) Moms lie

 


I was playing in the sandbox with a friend, and for some reason we were naked. Dad got out the Brownie Hawkeye camera, and took a shot of us standing in the sandbox looking at the camera and smiling, our boyhoods proudly waving in the breeze. Naturally, every chance they got, the folks would pull that photo out and embarass me in front of guests.

Lessons learned-

1) Parents are cruel
2) Nowadays, that photo would get Dad jail-time
3) Sand will find its way into everything, everywhere


We were living in Oklahoma City while my Dad attended classes at the FAA Training Center. I was 5. One Saturday morning, I was watching cartoons with a friend while Dad and my friend’s father got ready to go fishing. They were readying the tackle box on a table next to the TV, and on the screen was a cartoon bird pulling a reluctant cartoon worm out of a hole in a cartoon tree. Seeing what I was watching, and conveniently having a plastic worm in his hand, Dad hid the worm in his fist, and reached over to the TV screen. He then pretended to pull the worm out of the TV screen and held it up, shaking his hand to make the lure appear alive. “How did you do that, Dad?”, I asked. “Magic, son”, and he and his friend laughed.  Though I was suspicious about the laughter, I believed Dad had pulled that worm out of the cartoon for the rest of that summer, and remember trying at least once  to repeat the act and slapping the screen in frustration.

Lessons learned –

1) Dads know magic and
2) they will take advantage of a son’s trust for their own amusement
3) You can’t de-rail a train by putting a cardboard box on the track, But that is a different Oklahoma City Story


After six months in temporary housing, we got permanent housing in Oceanview, an FAA enclave on the northwest coast of Guam, where we lived for two years in the early sixties. Shortly after the move, we got a dog, whom I named Patty. Patty was splotched brown and white, and very much a mutt. Our last dog had been part Collie, like Lassie, and I wanted Patty’s heritage to be at least as well-defined. To assuage my curiousity, Dad told me that Patty was part Marianas Beagle(Guam is the largest of the Marianas Islands), and part Guamanian Hound. Dads are so smart, I thought, and I was glad that Patty was not just a mongrel. She had two breeds in her. I told kids at school what dad had told me, I wrote about it in class, I shared the knowledge with Lonnie, my best friend.

An indeterminate number of months later, we had company for dinner. Some woman, the wife of a co-worker of dad’s, complimented me on my pretty dog. “She’s part Marianas Beagle, and part Guamaniam Hound”, I declared proudly. The woman’s puzzled glance at my father, and his shrug of the shoulders in return, made me realize I had been conned. I never listened uncritically to anything Dad said after that.

Lesson learned –

1) Parents will say anything to get a kid to stop asking questions
2) Mixed-breeds are the best dogs ever


Still on Guam, one evening we were watching TV in the living room. I was on the floor, my attention divided between Hennesey and a catalog of novelty toys. One item, a box of magnets caught my eye. One hundred  1/4″ X 1/4″ square magnets. The picture showed a delighted kid stacking them up, but the perspective was skewed, making the stack look almost as tall as the boy himself. “Wow, Mom!” These magnets would be neat to have. Can I get them for my birthday?” Mom reached into her purse, and pulled out a box, which she handed to me. It was the same magnets featured in the ad. I was speechless. Parents really can do magic.  “How d__ how..?”I sputtered, looking from one the other. Before I could look in the catalog for more instantaneous gratification, Mom explained that she had bought these for me for Xmas, but was disappointed by their tiny size, and never wrapped them. They sat in her purse until providence intervened with a chance to get a quick laugh from my shock. I did not mind the diminuitiveness of the magnets, and played with them all summer.

Lessons learned-

1) Parents have no idea what kids will enjoy playing with, but
2) They do their best

 


 

 

CAN YOU, MY DARLING, CAN YOU PICTURE THIS?

prince serling

HE WAS BORN TO RUN

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    Who should be our next President?

    The Democrats can’t get it together, republicans are heartless crooks, libertarians are selfish, corporate-worshipping bastards, and Willie Nelson is too old. Bloomberg? No, he’s too smart, doesn’t need the headache. Elizabeth Warren? Democrat leaders are afraid a president Warren might worry too much about the American people at the expense of their major donors. Jill Stein? I know, I never heard of her either.

    That leaves one man, one who is young enough, vibrant enough, and tough enough to handle the pressure. Yes, of course, I refer to the Boss,  New Jersey’s finest export.  He’s clean, he’s lean, he’s the rock and roll king,
    BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!!!!

    Sure got quiet there…. okay, some of you may be saying, “Greg’s lost it”, or “the doctors were right”, or “who’s on Leno tonight?”. But I mean it, and here are the ten reasons he is qualified:

    1) He was Born In The USA

    2)He can work a crowd like nobody else. Ever seen that HBO special? Day-um!

    3)His songs celebrate the working man. Other candidates celebrate the working man, but do They have songs?

    4)The great saxophone solo in “Jungleland”. OK, it was performed by Clarence Clemons. But Bruce hired him, and that shows that he can delegate effectively.

    5)The evolution in his songwriting, from the speed-rapping, pseudo-dylanesque stylings of his first two albums, to the concise, sparse yet effective voice represented on the “Born to Run” album is nothing short of remarkable.

    6)No history of drug use. Well, maybe a couple of joints in the ’60’s….

    7)His wife, Patti Scialfa, would be an effective and personable campaigner for her husband without being, you know, too equal. C’mon, you know what I’m saying, not pushy,  with her own agenda, like you-know-who. Hint, Patti could actually Sing “Stand By Your Man”. And she would. Stand by her man, not sing it, but she might do that , too.

    8)Would Steve Van Zandt have ever been considered for the role of Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, if he hadn’t been the Boss’ lead guitarist? I Think Not!

    9) He’s the man who won’t cop out, when there’s danger all about…no wait, that wasn’t him (note to self, fire fact-checker).

    10) He’s a tramp, like us, baby.

BECAUSE HE NEEDED A CAMPAIGN SONG

THE TRUMP SONG with apologies to Van Halen

——

My numbers go up, and they never come down
You don’t like it? Tough! Your skin must be brown
And I’m here to make us great again
But I’m gonna have to break eggs and lose a few friends
——

On my own, I got this far
Without assistance from the party Machine
Some say that I’m kinda mean
even downright obscene
——

Whatever, vote Trump!
c’mon, elect Trump (Trump!)
dump the losers vote Trump
——

boo hoo, hey you
Yes, I said that,
Did I give offense?
Too bad, I’m still a shoo-in
because the public’s so dense
——-

People are so desperate,
They don’t care if I philander, bully, or lie
If they’re promised the sky,
So tell the Mexicans goodbye
——

After you elect Trump!
Build that wall, Donald Trump!
Make ’em pay for it, Trump!
Then nuke Iran, Trump!

I think it’s time for Trump to play the woman card… — Pouring My Art Out

via I think it’s time for Trump to play the woman card… — Pouring My Art Out

POP! GOES THE EGO

Maggie put down her glass of iced tea, looked across the table at me, and spoke in a ruminative tone, “You know, Mel, it’s a funny thing..”, She paused to get her thoughts in order, then continued, “The three most important men in my life, the ones who mattered most to me personally, ….” Another pause.

I waited for her to finish. Maggie and I had lived together for a time several years earlier. The awkwardness of the break-up had been more or less forgotten. Eventually, we resumed being the friends we were before the feelings blossomed and subsequently withered, like a plant that fruits only once, yet lives on. On this particular day, I had been helping her and her 6 year-old daughter move into a government-subsidized housing development. Jessica was in the living room watching cartoons while we were on hiatus. The talk had turned to remember-whens about old friends and times. I sipped my own tea and watched her gray eyes, bright with positive memories.

“My life would be completely different, not for the better, either, although I guess you just never know….” I sat up straighter, curious as to who the other two men might be.

“All three, and it’s so strange what’s in common, Well, not strange, but coincidental.” Lordy, she could stretch out a story. What was it? Quirky sense of humor? Black hair? Or something more,  personal, more intimate?

“They were all named Dave. Isn’t that something?”

A DARK KNIGHT IN LONDON

Cast of characters:

Bruce of Wayne Manor
Alfred, his butler
The fair maiden
Sheriff Gordon
Mayor Westfordchesterhampshire
‘ardie  –    two
 ‘enry  – ruffians
And an assortment of thieves, brigands, n’er-do-wells
and others, whose revealing at this time would
negate the suspense due upon their subsequent
appearance as our story unfolds. 
 
———————————–
Act I, scene one….
 

Night falls on the city as quickly as doth drop a maiden’s dress when stands she before Zeus, the Olympian God of gods, who, in guise as a mighty horned beast, contemplates her ravishment. And as the eve grows dark, darker still grows the hearts of those who trod the unlit streets, seeking prey from whom to wrest unearned wealth. Aye, even to dishonor fair maidens, such as the one running warily down the center of the muddy boulevard, avoiding the shadows of doorways and alleys.

Fair maiden: Oi! Announcer, hast thine own feet ne’er trod these avenues? On the good streets, it’s muddy. ‘ere, muddy would be a compliment. Yech!, Say I. At least I had the foresight to doff mine shoes and carry them in me ‘and…

{A voice from the shadows}: And a fine pair of shoes they are, fair maiden. Do be kind and toss them over ‘ere, lass. Make us walk through the muck to get them, and more than the hem of your dress will be sullied. {2nd voice from the shadows} And your handbag, while yer at it.

Fair maiden: Wot? Be ye ruffians then, come to take me shoes and, perhaps, me honor?

‘enry: {Stepping out of the shadows] and the purse, dear lady, Dost thou value it more than thou dost thine honor?

‘ardie: It is my certain belief, that perhaps others, more spry of foot, and less keen of sight, hast relieved the scow of her honor ere we saw her.

Fair maiden: A scow I am then? Nay it is the light, or rather, the poor quality thereof, that doth little to flatter me features. Walk with me to yonder tavern, where over a drink and candle we can discuss me charms.

‘enry: Nay, we shall take thine shoes and thine purse, and leave thee with thine honor.

‘ardie: Aye, for the night has just been aborn. It is fair possible that a fairer, Much fairer maiden be just around the bend. {struggles to take shoes from the Fair maiden]

{Voice from above}: Halt thine brutish activities, varlets!

Ruffians: {in unison}: we saw ‘er first!

‘enry: Find thee your own unprotected wench or other commoner, or, shouldst thou be so fortunate, a wayward nobleman, in search of low pleasures and void of retinue, but not jewels and finery.

{voice form above}: Art thou dense as the Stones of Henge? Stop attacking the woman, or prepare to face my wrath!

ardie: ‘oos bloody wrath?

[A figure swings down from the rafters of the theatre, alights in front of the astonished trio.]

Batman: The wrath of I, the Batman!

‘enry: {snickers}: Ardie, look at this one ‘ere, would yer? A batman? So yer a cricket player. Of what team might ye affiliated?

Batman: No, you doer of evil. Batman, like the creature of the night. I did pick the name and guise for the fear it strikes into the hearts of men.

‘ardie: ‘enry, oim not afraid of a bleeding bat, although I don’t loik them much.

‘enry: I am of loik mind, ‘ardie. Man of the pointed ears, daresay tell us how thou dost breathe in such tightly fitted garments?

‘ardie: Aye, and look at the size of the codpiece. He art deformed in his privates. {the ruffians start snickering, then belly-laughing. The fair maiden, ignored, sloshes away from her attackers and towards her would-be rescuer. The ruffians recover their composure, size up their opponent, he being of sturdy nature, turn, and stride off disgustedly}

Fair maiden: Oi, that was close! Thank thee, stranger of the odd garb. I can only imagine, later on this eve, when alone in my quilts, what may have transpired had you not spared me!

Batman: It is what I do, fair maiden, fight the forces of evil on their own field of battle, the dark streets of this Gotham, striking fear into their wormy hearts, flushing this human waste from its holes, driving them deeper, ever deeper, into the bowels of the city, where they can only prey on one another….

Fair maiden[touching his arm]: Perhaps, my mighty-thewed savior, you could find time to do battle with the fire that rages in me skivvies, a furnace of passion that Vulcan himself would eye warily.

Batman: I cannot comply, for I am true to one lady, and one lady alone. {The Batman looks to the night sky} Justice is her name. {the Fair Maiden follows his gaze, looking puzzled, then turns to her masked rescuer}

Fair maiden: Yer a poof, then?

Batman: I must be going, others will be in need of my services, for evil never sleeps at night. Comely wenches, orphans, honest merchants, peat sellers, collectors of night soil….

Fair Maiden: A bloody fop, you are! Begone then, go and offer succor to a night watchman, or a drunken sailor, whose inebriation makes them less particular about with whom they dally….don’t turn thine back to me! {Batman swings into stage left and is gone}. A fine thing! Mother was right, the good ones are either already bridled or have need of a saddle I will not provide. [curtain]


Act Two, scene one

Wayne Manor, sunrise. A black, low-slung coach, with no visible driver, is pulled past the two footmen by a sextet of black steeds. The footmen close the gates behind the odd vehicle and return to their positions on either side of the driveway leading to the home of Bruce of Wayne Manor, gifted host of elaborate balls and other soirees, and a danger to the ladies, not that they saw it as such.

1st footman: {Looking ahead, talking out the side of his mouth} Odd thing, is it not? This Batman, visiting the master near every morn?

2nd footman:{also without turning his head} Not really, such close friendships are the stuff of legends and poetry, even in the low art of theatre, plays doth feature such stories.

1st footman: Aye, because of the rarity of such an occurrence. And furthermore, how is it that the twain are ne’er seen together, by either house or yard staff?

2nd footmen: Wot? Are you saying, and I be daft for speaking it, that Master Bruce and this Batman are…not really friends?

1st footman: From what height unto the cobblestones werst thou dropped headfirst as a child? No, my comrade in service to the Master, canst not thou thinkest of another reason that either the Master or the Masker is present, but never both?

2nd footman: That the Batman Is the Master? That he roams the night, smiting evil, and not, as his reputation would have it, gallivanting with the ladies of the court?

1st footman: Finally! Thou hast formulated for thineself a cogent thought!

2nd footman: Though intriguing, my friend, it cannot be

1st footman: And mayhap would thou enlighten us as to how you deduct this conclusion?

2nd footman: It is quite simple, my good man and fellow thinker, for the Master has not pointed ears.

1st footman:  {turns head and looks at his fellow footman}

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Act II, scene two

Library of Wayne Manor. Alfred, the butler, is dusting a globe when Master Bruce enters the room.

Alfred: Master Bruce! The angels rejoice at your safe return, and the ladies of the court would be e’er grateful, did they but know why you fail to arrive at so many dalliances these days. So, how fared the night?{Alfred removes the cape from his Master as Bruce talks}

Bruce: I didst well, friend and butler. The virtue of a woman was saved for another day, I did run off thieves who were beating a night watchman, saved a drunken sailor from a band of brigands, and did battle with thieves attempting to make off with a cartload of nightsoil.

Alfred: An odd thing, that. Nightsoil thefts are on the rise, according to the Crier. Of all valuables to steal, and the least valuable of all becomes the swag of choice.

Bruce: Could it not be that, being of such malodorous material, and bearer of such stigma, that it is among the least protected of substances?

Alfred: But Master! The populace pays to be rid of the matter, not to accumulate it. And it would appear, from your own experience, Master Bruce, that members of the Ruffians Guild are behind this curious wave of criminal activity.

Bruce: Aye, the Ruffians Guild. And I hear they have a new leader, one whose qualities of mercy stay well hidden. Well, Alfred, after tea and a sporting encounter with Lady Vale, I shall give due consideration to this affair.

Alfred: Shall I summon the string quartet?

Bruce: Yes, Alfred, and instruct them to play something adagio with a building crescendo. M’lady Vale doth make announcement of passion’s peak with a hearty voice indeed.

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Act II, scene three

The headquarters of the Ruffian’s Guild. A man with his back to the audience, sitting at a desk, listens as Guild members voice their complaints.

Ruffian #1: And so I left the cart behind…

Voice: Because a masquerading fool stands in your way, you come to me empty-handed?

Ruffian #2: ‘e was a big guy, guv’nor.

Ruffian #1: And angry, when he talked in that deep voice….

{The man behind the desk jumps up walks around the desk, revealing a hideously scarred face, pale make-up, exaggerated lips and painted ghastly smile, and greenish hair}

Ruffian #1: Jester! Please! We will go get the cart posthaste!

Jester: Do that, my fine fellows. {As the two journeymen ruffians leave, the Jester paces the room alone}

Bodkins! This Batman has become a minor nuisance, and I laith a nuisance, tha more minor  ’tis. I hae grand plans for the city, my focus must nae waver.

Howsomever, as my men seem incapable of stemming this one-man do-gooding force for right and justice, mayhap ’tis time to demonstrate to these short-memoried louts just why I am the head of this guild. “ardie! “enry! Hie unto me posthaste!

{The door opens and the two would-be shoe thieves enter the office}

Jester: ‘ardie, tell me again. You two did not run from him, nae, but did laugh at his garb?

‘enry: ‘at’s right guv, ‘e looked loik a gargoyle come to life. I

{The jester slaps ‘enry ‘ard, I mean hard}

Jester: Speak not unless thou hast been in turn spoken to. ‘ardie?

‘ardie: yah, ‘e was right poofy-looking, but ‘e ‘ad some size to ‘im, tha’ he did.

Jester: But fear him? Nae, you did not engage a troublesome fellow because, well, it was only shoes, right?

‘ardie: Tha’s roit guv, ‘e wasn’t worth the bother… {The Jester slaps him, twice, because he likes this one}

Jester: “Ardie, ‘ardie. You fail to look at the whole canvas, all the elements of a picture must be in harmony

‘ardie: So we’re going to knick a painting then?

{The Jester slaps his minion once more}

Jester: Never mind the big picture, oaf. This spoiler o’ thievery could unite the masses against us. We must keep the respect and fear o’ the citizenry. On this eventide, I shall join you two, my bravest men. We sha’ create mayhem until this Batman doth show his face. {The Joker laughs, an evil cackle. The two henchmen join in, until a look silences them.}

[curtain]


Act III, scene one

{the town commons, a week later. }

Town Crier: hear ye, hear ye! The Batman has struck another blow to the forces of night, foiling the unlawful takings late last evening of Lord and Lady Hemphill’s coach and horses. He did throw a wooden bat from on high, which did strike the lead culprit upon his pate, and a subsequent bat figurine did bruise his hand, whereupon he did challenge the thrower of bats to come down from the rooftops. The Batman replied forthwith with a flurry of flying bats, irritating the brigands and startling the horses which did bolt from the scene. Lord and Lady Hemphill wish to thank the Batman and request of him his appearance at their next soiree.

Hear ye, The King has announced that he will sound the bell that signals the collapsing of the old water tower, which stands behind me, as it has stood there for 203 years.

Hear ye, The kind benevolence of the Tiger’s Tail Tavern hath been essential in these cries being made available to you. Their ale is pale, their lager warm, and the mead thick and hearty.

Mayor Westchesterhamshireford: The populace is more interested in the escapades of this Batman than in His Lord’s impending visit to our fair Gotham-on-the-Tertiary, sheriff.

Sheriff Gordon: He has given the people hope. Hope that the night can be taken back from the crime guilds, whose power overwhelms my own limited department.

Mayor Westchesterhamshireford: Would that be another implied plea for an increase in the department’s funding? Be lucky that thine funding has not decreased. These foreign wars, colonization, and the building of my second summer castle hath drained the treasury to an alarming degree. {sighs}Ah well, I may have to require more tribute from the guilds, as the Ruffians have raised their own contribution to me. And Gordon, please tell me that this Batman gets no support from you or any in your department, for those funds must keep coming.

Gordon: He is a vigilante, Mayor. I have nothing to do with him.

Mayor: Keep it that way. if he becomes a problem for us, you may have to write his pass for a trip on Charon’s boat across the River Styx.

Gordon: The guilds pay those tributes by committing more mayhem, Mayor.

Mayor: It is how things are done. Yet, odd it is that this ruffian’s guild would be the spur to the increase in tribute, as their new Guildmaster has no reason to enjoy the giving of a share of his tribute to the King.

Gordon: Right you are, Sire. I heard he made veiled threats against our Lord when he was relieved as adjutant Jester at the court, due in the main to a paucity of humor. And that a fire, which some say he set, at the court did fuse his make-up to his face, creating a ghastly visage.

Mayor: Aye, but his ire must have waned in the ensuing years. Why, he has even requested that his men be added to the security detail. What say ye to that, Sheriff?

Gordon: Sire, It is an idea that creates great consternation in mine breast, I’m afraid.

Mayor: I, in turn, am afrighted that thine opinion matters not. Your men would be thus free to patrol the crowd, seeking out the pickpockets, whose guild payments are in arrears. The ruffians, for their                    suggested duty, shall keep the crowd at a safe distance from the tower, should it deign to perform its part ere its own festivities have begun.

Oh, and do extend my gratitude to Bruce of Wayne Manor, for the invitation to his home for dinner, which you will attend in my place on the morrow.

Gordon: I shall consider it an honor, sir. {exeunt, opposite ends of stage}

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ACT III, scene two

Ruffian Guild headquarters–The jester is alone, brooding. The door opens, and a young kid walks in.

Jester: Robin! My protege and heir, did ye perform tha task I requested of you?

Robin*: Aye master Jester. The mayor has his tribute, and we have but little left. And night-soil thefts have yet to affect the ledger in a positive manner.

Jester: And that is nae its purpose, as you well know. As to tha dwindling funds, a scheme has hatched in me brain.

Robin: Master, I never doubted not even for a moment, that you would solve for our favor in this matter.

Jester: Bruce of Wayne manor is having a dinner to raise alms for the poorhouse, there will be purse’s a bulging with ill-gotten coin looking to make amends.

Robin: Is this perhaps the wrong time for such a move, Master? Bruce of Wayne Manor is close to the mayor, whose favor thou seekest.

Jester: Correct you are , my adopted son, and were anyone connected to the guild involved, it would ruin that cozy friendship with the corpulent, big-pocketed, pig-eyed, buffoon. So I have contacted some lads from me home town of Glasgow to do the job.

Robin: Beyond clever you are, like a master of chess, you see three, maybe four moves ahead.

Jester: And never forget, my sycophantic toady, the goal of the game. {evil laugh}

*I have always hated Robin, thought his outfit faggy, and the relationship a little weird, so I made him the bad guy’s partner. Hey, it’s my story.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

ACT III, scene three

Wayne Manor, night of the dinner party. Guests mingle after the dinner, and wait for the pitch for charitable funds

Sheriff Gordon: An excellent repast, my good man, one the chefs on Mount Olympus would have trouble matching.

Bruce: I have an unfair advantage, sheriff, since the Olympians have not our eel and kidney pies.

Gordon: an excellent point{lower voice} It is fortunate that the Mayor chose me too replace him at this dinner, as I have news for our friend.

Bruce: I shall see him soon, he will be glad of the communication

Gordon: The Mayor sees the Batman as a possible danger to civic harmony. To wit, you are upsetting some of his supporters

Bruce: Good of you to tell me, Sheriff, this is valuable news

Gordon: I wish I could have told you sooner. we need some way to get your notice

Bruce: Aye, a signal of some sort

Gordon: a light, shone on the smoky clouds

Bruce: With a silhouette of… {The front door breaks in, six men in kilts, wearing burlap over their faces, enter the room, brandishing clubs and daggers}

Scot #1: Dinna a body move, or fair sound’ll  be yer thrashin’.

Scot#2: Wae ta tha man wi’ bannocks n barley ta resist

{The intruders wave their knives and cudgels before them, and push the cowed partiers to the back wall. Gordon looks around, but Bruce has vanished.}

Gordon: What is the meaning of this effrontery? Dost thou not know who I am?

Scot #1: Tha first ta meet tha Maker, if ye don’t hie ye back o’ the wall!

Scot #2: Na, eens ta front an ears on ma words. Fair quick wi da coin ere an purses ere, in a jimply manner, better fa baggin an takin, eh?

{Nobody moves}

Scot#2: Tent me mind, southies, i nae gad all dae.

Scot #1: We’d be nae laith ta drain your dearest vein, shood ye nae complae

Gordon: We would gladly complae, eh comply, were you to tell us in the King’s tongue just what the bloody hell you want.

Scot #1: Your coin, sir, your jewelry, those nice shoes on your feet, too, nae get ta ‘t!

{Behind the lead thieves, black-gloved hands reach out and pull the other Scots into the wings, one by one.}

Gordon: {smiling} Good Scottish sirs, perhaps you should attend to a matter that is transpiring at your backs as we attempt to make sense of your brogue

Scot #2: Danna try tha ol trick, nae on this canny highlander, gad eens inna bak o me hed, me ma’s boy does.

{Batman pushes the second Scotsman into the first, and quickly ties them up with a strong cord.}

Batman: Bruce of Wayne did bravely seek my aid, at his peril.

Gordon: Fantastic bit of work masked man. {walks up to the lassoed men} Care ye to make this easier on you? A word, maybe two, will give me your employer’s name, and you a year off a horrible sentence.

1st Scot: Fie! ta ma tom’ go I ‘for a tellin!

2nd Scot: An’ dubble fa me, tha! The jester wi’ reward us fa…shad!

Gordon: The Jester, did you say?

2nd Scot: nae, sneezin’, I wa’.

Gordon: O, how worse were the world to be, if those of greater intelligence than these e’er turn to crime.

Batman: Right you are, Sheriff. I shall patrol tonight, seeking an audience with this Jester. But now, i shall see what is keeping the master of Wayne manor from his own party. [exit]

1st Scot: Archibald, I wi’ make o’ ye one fine haggis, wan comes tha chance.

{curtain}

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>INTERMISSION<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Town Crier: hear ye, hear ye! The Loyal Order of Nightsoil Carters, local 341, has declared a work stoppage due to unchecked ruffianism and brigandry upon their members,…{hands reach through curtains, pull crier back through them. Shouts and thudding noises, the curtains billow, and the crier is shoved back into view

Town Crier: Hear ye! No brigandry was afoot, as your Crier has been kindly informed here of late by the Guild of Brigands & Vandals , only ruffians were involved in the outrageous…{hands pull him back behind curtain…shouts, thuds, shove}

Town Crier: (somewhat disheveled) Hear ye….hear ye…Your Crier has made an error, as only the lowest of yobs, punks, and the like…{Curtains, shouts thuds, whimper, Crier crawls back out on stage}

Hear…ye, The Federation of Punks, Gobs Ouch! Sorry! Yobs, and the Like, would like me to announce that they are innocent of these crimes and that Ruffians are (sob!) Little girls….Nooooo! { hands pull him back behind curtain}

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ACT IV, scene one

That night, on a dark and foreboding street. A lone, rather broad-shouldered figure wearing a dress and a hooded cape, walks down the middle of the mucky avenue

Lone figure: Oh alas!…that I, a poor and frightened young woman, should be alone, …all alone….alone….

{a whisper from the shadows}:  and unprotected

Lone figure: and unprotected…..

{whisperer}: I am weak and frail

Lone figure: Oh, sorry to ‘ear that guvnor! ‘ave you tried those powders that some apothecaries keep in stock? They make yer..

{whisperer}: ‘ardie, you moron, that’s your line.

‘ardie: O….just ‘that’s your line’? Or the ‘you moron’ part, too?

Jester: {not whispering anymore} You incurable dullard! {runs out on stage and commences slapping and kicking his henchman}

‘ardie: Ow! guvnor, oim sorry! I’m weak and frail! right! {Jester keeps kicking him}

Jester: Right! {grabs ‘ardie by the throat and pulls ‘ardie’s face close to his}And ‘enry will attack you and the Batman will try to save you and… Ow! What hit me? Ow!

‘ardie: piece of wood, sire, looks loik a bat.

Jester: Ssh! Talk like a maiden!

‘ardie: {in high voice} I said it looks loik a bat, sire!

Jester: {slaps ‘ardie, another wooden bat flies down, hitting him in back} Fie on thine toys, Man of the dark, fly thee to me and fight, not as a bat, but as a man.

Batman: {swings down and knocks the Jester to the ground.} Offer accepted, guildmaster Jester

{‘enry runs onto the stage and hits the Batman in the head with a length of wood. The Batman falls to the ground unconscious.}

Jester: Well, at least one a ye can think on his feet. ‘ardie, wouldst thou help your more capable friend here hoist this inert form, this legend a-borning no more, like a rosebud that opens too early and is killed by a late frost, nipped ere his promise could be fulfilled, into that cart and taketh him to the quay on the south end of the city. That should keep him from getting back across town ere my plans have borne their own fruit.

‘ardie: Can’t we just kill ‘im and be done with ‘im?

Jester: {reaches a hand out to ‘ardie’s face. The Ruffian flinches, but the Jester just pats his face affectionately} My dear fellow, we are ruffians, not pickpockets, not highwaymen, and especially not killers. The Assassins Guild would be up in arms if we dared encroach on their enterprise. I will take on the King, that bitter, humorless man. But I have not the heart, stomach, nor any other major organ for a battle with the guild that kills for a living, nor do I wish to spend the ever-more rare funds we possess on killing this oaf. {Jester exits}

‘enry: {quietly, to ‘ardie} Maybe if we were ‘oarding corn, or cotton, we could ‘ire a ‘it man. Oof! ‘e’s ‘eavy.

‘ardie: noitsoil, I don’ know. No one needs more. I ‘ope the master knows what ‘e’s doing. Wot? did you ‘ear a whistle?

‘enry: I thought it was you, passing foul.

‘ardie: twasn’t me!

‘enry: Oi think it was. {the pair pushing the cart disappear in the wings stage left. A moment later, a driverless black coach pulled by six horses crosses the stage right to left.}

{curtain}

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ACT IV, scene two

{later that morning, at the site of the old water tower being guarded by the ruffian’s guild. A line of ruffians carrying buckets passes by the Jester, and they hand the buckets up to others on a ladder that goes up to the top of the tower.}

Jester: How much longer until the tank has been topped?

Robin: In one hour and twenty minutes, well before Phaeton’s chariot has begun his fateful ride.

Jester: Eh? When is that?

Robin: Ere Re, the Egyptian God of the Sun, flies from East to West, lighting the earth with his fiery head.

Jester: Stop thine discoursing in similis that incorporate ancient myths and legends. It soundeth forced and pretentious to mine ears.

Robin: But….all right

Jester: And the gunpowder we heisted from the armory?

Robin: it is in place. O, what a spectacle, Pompeii’s name shall hitherfore not be sung alone. Nay, that burned, buried, storied metropolis shall have a twin, in scope and vision, if not…Ow! Forgive mine enthusiasm, Jester.

Jester: Understandable, I suppose. {to audience} it is a brilliant plan, one that twines revenge and profit in one sweet package. As the King makes his speech, and pulls the lever allowing water from the new tower to fill the sluices, I shall light the trail of gunpowder that leads to the charges strapped to the supports of the old tower, causing it to topple, and the malodorous contents will inundate the royal reviewing stand with the commoners’ nightsoil. Who will speak against that as being the jape of the epoch? I, whose very name means ‘one who is employed to tell jokes and provide entertainment’, not funny? And, in the ensuing confusion, my men will be at the ready to seize jewels, furs, and other finery from the fleeing royalty, and whatever other booty avails itself of the taking. I, the Jester, will be the most respected guildmaster in all the Underworld! And the richest, for no one will dare empty a chamber pot, if it doesn’t go into a bucket that gets emptied into a cart that is pulled by a carter that pays tribute to me. And I will collect tribute from… Everyone! For there are no exceptions to the necessity of my services in a modern, bustling metropolis built with no thought as to sewage disposal and treatment. Eh, what is it lad?

Robin: Forgive me, but whilst thou soliloquized, the King arrived, and the moment draws near.

Jester: Make haste, then. Get the men into position, for although the panic in those royal breasts will hasten their stride, we must be swift in relieving them of their heavy baubles, as that much fleeter of foot will they be in their race against the tide. {Evil laugh} Ow! What was that?

Robin: A piece of wood, oddly carved, thrown from above as if a thunderbolt hurled by the great Zeus hims…

Jester: A wooden bat? But how….

{Batman swings down on a rope, landing in front of the startled crime boss}

Batman: Easy, Jester. my team of horses I hath trained to follow me at a distance both safe and discreet when I give a secret whistle. When your men left me on a deserted dock, I gave another whistle, and the team approached the cart in which I was bound. I did manage to free from a pouch on my belt a lump of the sugar I feed them. I succeeded in rubbing the sugar on my bonds between my wrists that Budgerigar, my lead horse bit the ropes in twain. Once freed, I did hasten to arrive here ere your mischief, was begun. And what mischief! O, what evil lurks in the hearts of men, that such a scheme could even be imagined, much less brought to a point of fruition. It is because of this rampant wickedness that I realized I could no longer be a spectator to the pernicious evil that threatens to…

Gordon: Batman! The Jester has a torch!

Jester: Yes Batman, your soliloquy, stirring to the heart though it was, gave me the chance to save my scheme from your meddling. Good of you to call Sheriff Gordon, another witness to my evil genius! And when I touch this fire to this gunpowder, it will write my name in history!!!

Batman: reaches under his cape} Not yet it hasn’t!

Jester: Another wooden bat? My hero, throw it, lalalala! It doesn’t hurt!

Batman: {throws object} not for long, anyway

{The jester is struck by the object. He drops the torch, and falls to the ground, unconscious}

Robin: {runs up to the Jester’s inert form, picks up what was thrown} A cast-iron bat! This Batman has more advanced technology than we had anticipated. Perhaps it is time that I took stock of my situation, one which does not look fortuitious in the slightest as long as I am assumed to be a part of the jester’s crew. {Robin kicks the torch away from the line of gunpowder as Gordon and Batman run up}

Robin: Aye, that was close, a spark, a chance wind, and the metres that separated the torch from its intended duty would have mattered little. Closer than Daedalus to the sun with his waxen wings flew and to a death most sad, and viewed by the father who saw his first breath be drawn.

Batman: Yes, you acted in a manner both swift and daring. Who might you be?

Robin: I am Robin, a prisoner of the Jester these many years, saved from worse than scrivening drudgery by my natural aptitude for numbers and scientific inquiry, skills which I have longed to put to good use.

Gordon: Batman, I must warn you, this fellow…

Batman: …has been through a lot, Sheriff. I will assume responsibility for him. Now come with me, lad. I have a nice place where you can try to put yourself together again, release from your mind those awful memories.

Robin: O, I do hope your beds are feathered with eider-down, goose-down can be so bunchy sometimes. {They walk off stage right, Batman’s arm around Robin’s shoulder. Onto the stage from the left wing comes a figure.}

Fair maiden: Oi, the King, e’s a long-winded one. Glad oi was of a chance to ‘ave a smoke. {Spies the Batman walking off with Robin.} There y’go, oi knew ‘e was poof, and ‘e’s got ‘im a young one. {Draws on her cigarette} Bah, seeing that handsome man walk away is tragic, Oi could ‘ave ‘ad ‘im, oi could. {The Fair Maiden throws her still-lit butt onto the ground, and it lands, of course, on the trail of gunpowder} If only something would happen to take me mind off me romantic difficulties.

{Curtain}

The End?

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