Chapter Versus Book

Slide18

PLAY 19, DAY 19 – Chapter Versus Book

AT LIGHTS UP, ROBERT peers through venetian blinds,
highlighting his face like a noir tough guy and playing
also to an image of Malcolm X, “By any means necessary.”
PATRICIA enters.

PATRICIA:
Robert, what’s with the gun?

ROBERT:
Are the boys asleep?

PATRICIA:
Completely tuckered out after whatever that nonsense was.

ROBERT:
It wasn’t nonsense.

PATRICIA:
What would you call it, then?

ROBERT:
A warning.

PATRICIA:
You think they’re out there?

ROBERT:
Sure, they’re out there.

PATRICIA:
What, have you seen them?

ROBERT:
They don’t let you see them.

PATRICIA:
I thought I was just paranoid.

ROBERT:
No. They want you to feel it. That’s what they do.

ROBERT:
Hence the gun.

PATRICIA:
Do the police think this was connected with the acid?

ROBERT:
They’re still listing the acid as random vandalism.

PATRICIA:
Twenty years of this. Gunn, they had wanted posters made up; Britton, they gunned him down with a bodyguard to boot. That off-duty officer. Poor Barnett, shot with a high-powered rifle in his home,
Tiller they got in his church.

ROBERT:
It’s tapered off, over the last twenty years. It’s gotten down to just harrassing my kids on their way home from school.

PATRICIA:
And the acid.

ROBERT:
That’s nothing. They fucked with my kids.

PATRICIA:
This is why I’m worried about the gun. I’m afraid you’ll use it. That they’ll goad you into using it. I closed the office. Called Robin, she’ll call the others.

ROBERT:
That’s probably best. I always feel like they win.

PATRICIA:
Naw. They make a statement. That’s what they want. Recognition of the raw power of their zealous devotion to a cause. Not thinking you might be zealously devoted to yours.

ROBERT:
It’s your cause, too.

PATRICA:
Hey, I didn’t quibble with you for hating them harassing your kids.

ROBERT:
Hate. So strange. I try not to hate them. From their point of view, they’re the freedom fighters.

PATRICIA:
Yeah. Who made our kids cry on the way home from school. I mean, I wonder about that freedom fighter crap. They kill people in the name of God’s love. If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, seems like religion is the first refuge.

ROBERT:
On the other hand, they strike me as no better than Halloween pranskters. Neighborhood bullies.

PATRICIA:
Potentially lethal Halloween pransksters. Murderous bullies.

ROBERT:
Potentially. Are the boys alright?

PATRICIA:
Robby said they’d seen those pictures before. Gene was more quiet than usual. He said he’d seen those pictures before, too.

ROBERT:
Good.

PATRICIA:
Make you a sandwich, while we’re up?

ROBERT:
Yeah. No, I’ll come to bed in a minute.

PATRICIA:
If you’re not there in ten minutes, I’ll come make you a sandwich.

PATRICIA exits. ROBERT as before. BLACKOUT. END OF PLAY.

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