The United States of the World​​
The world must get rid of all racism, all religious bigotry, all fanaticism, all national borders, all terrorism, all ignorance, all intolerance, all poverty, all tyrants, all corrupt politicians, all injustice and establish in Washington in the District of Columbia a strong central world government uniting us all under a constitution that will allow us to live magnanimously and freely in democratic states and to once again make our world green. 
Click on World Unity for more.


Heading 3

                 The Body Is a Legal Drug
                                          A Play in 2 Acts




       World premiere was July 18 2015 at the Davenport Theater       
       45th Street,New York, NY. Contact for new productions:     
       dmcneillstuff@gmail.com

                                   
                                              Daniel F. McNeill

THE PLAYERS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Maureen Connolly - 41, a real estate agent employed by Jerry Parker.
Nick Godefanno- 53, the former husband of Maureen Connolly.
Jerry Parker - 41, a real estate businesswoman.
Carleton Parker - 34,Jerry Parker’s brother, married to Nathan Mauer.
Nathan Mauer- 70, a world-class writer, author of 28 books, married to Carlton Parker.  
Cornelius Murphy - 52, a gangster from Miami Beach.
Barbara Rosenfeld - 36, Murphy’s girlfriend.
Olivia Parker - 63, the mother of Jerry and Carleton Parker.

ACT ONE: the main room of a condo in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. About noon on a summer day in 2004.

ACT  TWO: about 6:00 PM the same day.

H
                                                   ACT ONE

( A large living room of a condo in the summer at Provincetown, Massachusetts. An entrance door to the right. To the left a door to other rooms and to the deck. Forward on the right a bar with chairs. To the left a sofa and chairs and various furnishings. It is about noon of a clear summer day. Maureen Connolly and Nick Godefanno enter. Maureen is an attractive woman of 41 dressed casually in summer clothes. Nick is 53 with a solid presence. He is also dressed casually. Nick puts down a suitcase and looks around.)

Nick: Very nice. If there’s enough Grand Marnier in the bar I may stay a while.

Maureen: (She points towards the entrance to other rooms.) You can put your suitcase in my room.
(Nick picks up his suitcase and exits.)

Maureen: (Shouting) The second door on the left.

Nick: (He comes out from the exit after putting his suitcase in a room. Smiling) Your room has a nice double bed. I’m sure it won’t disturb the moral standards of the gays and lesbians of Provincetown if tonight neither of us sleeps alone.

Maureen : Be cool. I’m having a lot of trouble deciding where things fit. I’m under a lot of pressure from Jerry Parker, the woman I work for. She’s told me she’s in love with me.

                                                            (Silence a moment.)

Nick: I never thought much about being in love with you when we were married. I just took it for granted. Then the day when I received the divorce papers and I knew it was final and that you were gone forever, I suddenly felt such love for you it hurt. And now a woman is in love with you. Are you in love with her?

Maureen: Jerry comes on so strong she overwhelms me. I’m attracted to her but at the same time I’m afraid of her. I decided on a kind of impulse I had to call you and get you to come here to protect me from Jerry Parker and also to see what  we might still feel for one another. Does that make any sense?

Nick: Sure, as long as you don’t expect me to hang around while a lesbian hits on you.

Maureen: Your suitcase is in my room and now I feel a lot better.Jerry Parker is very nice but she comes on so strong it upsets me. She’s in real estate. I work for her. This is her place.

Nick: She pays the freight.

Maureen: Not exactly. I pay some rent and I share the apartment with Jerry’s brother Carleton.  But she makes the rent reasonable.

Nick: I’m sorry I never provided us enough money when we were married.

Maureen: We had enough love to build a marriage but you never worked. You had that teaching job in a community college and you left it just like that. For what? To study in a PHD program for a doctorate in the philosophy of education?

Nick: It paid me a stipend.

Maureen: That you spent in bars.

Nick: I’m still going to get that PHD degree. I worked finishing my thesis while I was in Florida. Murphy has a big Lincoln town car. He drove me to a nice air-conditioned library every morning in downtown Miami to write my thesis.

Maureen: What did the two of you do in the afternoon? (A pause) Never mind. Don’t tell me.

Nick: We pursued an adventurous lifestyle.

Maureen: You free-loaded off Murph’ and drank all afternoon.

Nick: You don’t freeload off a friend. Murph’ and me we go way back. When we were kids we used to steal hubcaps together in South Boston. But you’re right. We did a lot of drinking.

Maureen: You were the same old Nick. You enjoyed yourself in Miami and you got by without working.

Nick: I never made any money but I made you happy. I can make you happy again.(He takes her hand.) I need you.

Maureen: I’m pregnant.

                                                         (Silence a few moments.)

Nick: You’re pregnant?

Maureen: Yes.

.Nick: Who’s the father?

Maureen: He’s a married man. I’m not going to tell him.

Nick: So you have to get an abortion.

Maureen: I decided not to. I’m 41 and it’s probably the only chance I’ll ever have to be a mother. I’ll live with you here and marry you again if you’ll be the father.

Nick: Me?

Maureen: Why not? If you need me why can’t you take the baby along with me?

Nick: Because it’s some other man’s baby.

Maureen: Who doesn’t know he’s its father and never will.

Nick: You have to tell him. It’s wrong to let a man live his life without knowing he’s someone’s father.

Maureen: I won’t. I’m going to go it alone. So you don’t want me pregnant.

Nick: I’m unemployed.

Maureen: I’m scared, Nick. I’d do anything so my baby could have a regular home and a father.

Nick: A false father. A substitute father. I don’t  think I could even be a real father let alone a substitute one.

Maureen: So we’re right back to where we were when we were married. You still don’t want to take on any real responsibility for me.

Nick: I don’t have any job or any money. If I leave here I’d have to go back to Boston and stay with my parents. You want me just like that to be a father? I have barely enough money in my pocket to buy you lunch.

Maureen: (Intense) I have a seed growing in me. Anyone who wants my body is going to have to take my seed along with it.

Nick: You’re not talking about us anymore. You’re talking about money. You’re talking about something I don’t have. Our marriage could have worked if we had money. It isn’t enough to have a seed growing in you. The seed needs money to be born properly. Life isn’t free and money buys everything. This Jerry Parker is trying to buy you with her cheap rent on her condo and her job she gave you. What kind of love could you have for her if you’ve been sleeping with a married man?

Maureen: I don’t love Jerry Parker.

(The door opens rear and Jerry Parker walks in. She is a big, well-dressed, handsome woman of 42. She is dressed casually in summer clothes.)

Jerry: Hi Maureen. It’s me.

(Jerry walks quickly forward and stands before Maureen. She embraces Maureen kissing her eagerly on both cheeks. She turns and faces Nick.)

Jerry:  Hello and welcome. You’re Nick Godefanno. Maureen’s spoken of you.

Nick: Unflatteringly I’m sure. (He shakes hands with her quickly)

Jerry: Not at all. She’s spoken of your good qualities.

Nick: None of which predispose me to Lesbians.

Jerry: I hope you’re not so disposed since you’re straight.

Nick: You just kissed someone who has many times given what I have that’s straight intense pleasure.

Jerry: Maureen and I appreciate one another in a way that a man of your tastes might find ambiguous.

Nick: Where I come from ambiguous is synonymous with perverse.

Jerry: Welcome to Provincetown where being straight is perverse.

Nick: I better stay off the streets or I might get arrested.

Maureen: It’s safe to be straight on the streets.(Laughing politely) It’s in the bars that it’s dangerous.

(The door right opens and Carleton Parker comes in nonchalantly. He is an “openly” gay man of 34 who looks younger than his age. He walks forward and stands among them carrying a package.)

Carleton: Hi all. It’s me. There was a UPS package. It’s for Nick Godefanno from Miami, Florida.

Nick: That’s me.

( Carleton passes Nick the package which is about a foot square. Nick puts it on a coffee table, sits, opens it and discovers a note.)

Jerry: Nick, this is my brother Carleton.

Carleton: Hi.

( Nick gets up and shakes hands with a note in one hand.).

Nick: Nick Godefanno.

Maureen: (Anxious) Is it from Murphy?

Nick: (Reading) Yuh,from Murphy. He wants me to keep this package safe for him.

Maureen: What is it?

Nick: I don’t know. (He looks into the package and feels inside with his hand.) It’s some clothes. (He looks again at the note.) Hey,he says he’s driving up here with his girlfriend Barbara.

Carleton: I hope he gets here in time for the party tonight.  I want you and your friend and everyone to share my excitement.

Jerry: Carleton got married two weeks ago and our mother is coming today to celebrate with us his wedding. She wasn’t pleased at first with the marriage but now she’s decided it’s okay.

Maureen: We’re planning a small party for her.

Nick: Who’s the lucky girl?

Carleton: The laws of the great state of Massachusetts allowed me to marry a man.

Jerry: Carleton married Nathan Mauer, the writer.

Carleton: I’m still thrilled. I feel like a bird. I feel sometimes I’m floating in the air.

Nick: I once met Nathan Mauer.

Jerry: He has a house here in Provincetown.

Nick:  He’s done a lot of macho writing Nathan Mauer. He’s going to have to rewrite some of his books. He’s going to have to give some of his characters sex changes.

Carleton: (Gravely) He’s a man of a generation that had a lot of hang-ups.

Nick: I spent a night drinking with him once when I was in college.

Carleton: He’s a man of soul and feeling who always sought liberation.

Nick: I meant I spent some of the night with him. I didn’t spend the whole night, just some of it.

Maureen: Where was this?

Nick: In Boston. I went to a talk he gave at Boston University. It was a long time ago. It was in the sixties.

Carleton: Nathan is from another generation and he’s seventy years old but his age is irrelevant to me. I married a body with an immortal spirit.

Nick: The body. I remember what Nathan said to me that night about the body. I still remember word for word what he said. He looked at me across the table where we were drinking and said, “Nicholas, you think very perceptively but I fear that like most intellectuals your passion for the spirit blinds you to the fundamental truth about the extensive and constant pleasures that a body can offer the hands and other members of a sophisticated lover. The body is a legal drug.”  I remember he had a kind of weird look in his eyes when he said that.

Carleton: He was always a force for sexual liberation.

Nick: He invited me to go drinking with him. I was a nineteen year old kid. The body is a legal drug, he said. So you and him have made the legal drug officially legal.

Carleton: We’re blowing a hole through all the traditional ideas about marriage. We were on the Boston television stations last night. Nathan and I are going to a televised interview this afternoon that will have national coverage. Our marriage has changed his  identity as a writer and as a man. It’s a revolution.

Jerry: Let’s all have a drink to celebrate the revolution.

(They move to the bar and wait as Jerry serves drinks.)

Nick: Make my legal drug a Grand Marnier. (When he gets his drink, he holds up his glass) Let’s use the hole that is our mouth to drink to Carleton’s h...

Jerry: (Interrupting quickly): Happiness.

Nick: Happiness.

Carleton: I like your wit. I make Nathan Mauer wholly happy (They laugh politely.) I’m planning to write a book about Nathan’s works and his life and this wonderful change in his identity. What else do you remember about that night you spent with him?

Nick: I remember that Nathan Mauer’s big idea then was the mystical orgasm. I was at the talk he gave that night at Boston University. I found it weird that any grown man could stand before an audience and talk and talk the way he did about orgasm as though it had some intellectual problematic. I almost started laughing out loud sitting in an audience where everyone was embarrassed and silent. Nathan was dressed in military fatigue clothing and he had a beard like Fidel Castro or Che Guevara. I remember he said that the mystical orgasm was a punctuation mark, an exclamation mark that a pure spirit longs to reach when it’s said its last word. What nonsense!

Carleton:  You’re taking it out of context. You’re not allowing for the many nuances he’d have been sure to add.

Nick: In those days he was really coming on strong. He was fierce. After his talk I stood in this small group waiting to speak to him. I remember how fiercely and hatefully he looked at this girl who had asked him a question. I didn’t get what she asked him but he growled at her with a look of contempt and spit out, “Baby, have you ever had a mystical orgasm?”

Jerry: It’s interesting, though, that by daring to speak publicly about orgasm, something most men wouldn’t dare talk about openly, he had the courage also to question publicly his identity as a man.

Carleton: That’s right. He was questioning publically everyone’s identity.

Nick: I drank with him for a couple of hours and ,speaking of orgasm, later that night Nathan had an orgasm with a young lady in circumstances that didn’t seem to me at all mystical. Far from it.

Carleton: What happened?

Nick: We did some drinking together in a bar called “The Sidelines”. A girl he met in the crowd after his talk came with us to the bar. Then later she brought another girl over to our booth and made it a fourth-some. The reason I hooked up with Nathan was because of a literary inspiration I had. You see, on one side of Boston University there’s  a long walkway along the Charles River. To reach it you have to walk over this cement footbridge with traffic going by below. One morning they found the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, asleep on the footbridge. Dylan got completely drunk. He passed out and went to sleep on the footbridge. I love Dylan Thomas. We used to go there sometimes late at night to the spot on the footbridge bridge where he passed out. I’d be with friends in the bar and we’d be singing and drinking and sometimes we’d say when the bar closed, hey let’s go over to Dylan Thomas’ spot and recite one of his poems. It was a fun thing to do. I got a chance to speak a few words to Nathan Mauer after his talk. I told him about Dylan Thomas and how he passed out drunk one night right behind Boston University. I suggested to Nathan that he might want to visit the spot. He was very interested in my story.  First we went to the bar and then later we did go over and visit Dylan Thomas’s spot near the river.

Carlton: Nathan will be here in a little while. I’m sure he’ll remember you.

Nick: He may not. I left him and a young lady that night on the footbridge under circumstances that required me to make a quick exit.

Carleton: What year was it?

Nick: 1969

Carleton: I’m going to visit that spot at the Charles River. It could perhaps have a place in my book. Nathan had the guts to take on the world, to speak openly of sex, to drink and laugh with you, to boldly make love to a woman and in a wider sense to fearlessly face the birth of a strange new America.

Nick: When I left him he was on the ground and the only thing he was facing was some young lady. (A pause as they drink. ) Why is Nathan Mauer coming here?

Carleton: He lives here.

Nick: Nathan lives here?

Carleton: With me. Maureen and I share this condo. Nathan and I are here until we can get our own place. In fact I met Nathan right here for the first time. He was dating Maureen. I came in that door one night. Our eyes met at once. It was soulful. It was electric. It was like even though we were meeting for the first time we already knew each other. It was as though we immediately recognized that we were already connected.

( The door opens and Nathan Glasser steps in. He is 70, short, stout, grey-headed,dressed in expensive jeans and a lavish white embroidered shirt. He has his right arm around a flower box. Carlton rushes up to him excitedly as though to throw  himself into his arms, but stops a few steps before him hesitantly.)

Carleton: Nathan!

Nathan: (He speaks with a heavy tone in an overly-serious, overly- educated English that gives off a sense of false affectation.) Here I am indeed.

(Nathan and Carleton approach one another, embrace, kiss each other’s cheeks and then walk down into the room towards the bar arm in arm. They stop at the bar and stand looking at one another.)

Carleton:  I love you. I’m not afraid to admit it in front of everyone. A power inside you grabs me and pulls me to you. I love you with my whole heart and soul.

Nathan: (Evenly) I love you and I need a drink. So do you.

Carleton: You’re patronizing me. I can’t be quiet about my feelings. You do something to me. You move me. If you love me tell me again you love me for everyone to hear.

Nathan:(With feeling) I love you. I bought some roses for you to put in your hair.

Carleton: What a wonderful idea. (He takes the box eagerly, opens it, quickly takes out roses and fixes them in his long hair. He admires himself in a mirror and then walks here and there daintily.) I’m a flower child. Look at me. The age of the flower children is back.

Nathan:(In a tone of witty nonchalance) I recall the children of the sixties without nostalgia. Their flowers were eloquent, but their hair was shaggy and their talk was fraught with anxiety. Their political frivolities dimmed their love and skimmed the froth from their passion.

Maureen: Nathan, this is my ex I’ve spoken about, Nick Godefanno.

Nathan: (He and Nick shake hands.) Pleased to meet you.

Nick: We actually met before. We had some drinks together once after a talk you gave at Boston University.

Nathan: I gave so many talks, at so many universities. But I do remember going to Boston University. What year was it?

Nick. It was in the sixties. I think 1969.(Excited) Do you remember going with anyone at night  to the banks of the Charles River to visit the spot where they found the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas one morning sleeping off a drunk?

Nathan. Yes. (Excited) Yes, I do. I remember the night, the darkness, the lights along the river, the footbridge where they found poor Dylan. I’ve even thought sometimes of going back back to that spot. So it was you who took me there?

Nick: Yes, and we didn’t go alone.

Nathan: I remember. I do indeed. It was a risqué evening, wasn’t it?

Carleton: We were hearing Nick’s story about it just a little while ago. I’m going to visit the spot sometime. I need to explore for my book every clue to the person you were then.

Nathan: In the sixties I was dealing with a lot of stiff people.(Suddenly intense) I stiffed them all just as hard as they stiffed me.

Carleton: Nick remembers you said to him that night, “The body is a legal drug”.

Nathan: (Laughing) The body is a legal drug alright but since the sixties America has tried to make it illegal.

Carleton: Did you use that line in any of your books? I don’t remember reading it.

Nathan: (Holding his drink) “The body is a legal drug”? No, I never wrote that.

Nick: But you said it. I remember well. It impressed the girls we were drinking with.

Nathan: I said it often in those days. I was even thinking of calling the talks I gave at colleges, “The body is a legal drug.” but I changed my mind. I’m not even sure if it was a sentence original to me or to some other writer. But I never used it in any of my writings. Maybe I said it while we were drinking to help you impress the girls.

Nick: I didn’t need your help. One of them was coming on to me pretty strong.

Nathan:  The body is a legal drug and it’s doubly intoxicating when the soul gives the body form and beauty. (Laughing politely) I probably said it in front of those girls to help get Nick laid.

Nick: (Intense) Imagine that. A fagot has been dating my former wife and before that he helped me get laid.

Nathan: Don’t call me a fagot.

Nick: How long have you known you’re one?

Nathan: As long as you’ve known you’re a loser. Maureen’s told me about you.

Nick: You should have married a woman then because I’m not a loser.

Nathan: I did. (Intense) The nuance of femininity is more important to me right now than the reality. You move me, Carleton. (He puts his hand softly behind Carleton’s neck.)

Carleton: You move me.

Nathan: Keep your roses for our appearance together at three o’clock with the TV reporters. They’re setting up a feed into tonight’s national news.

Carleton: Fabulous.

Nathan: (Suddenly intense and angry. Looking at Nick) Don’t you try to nail me to the cross of identity. I’m not a fagot and I’m not anything else that can be identified with one word or a few words. I haven’t become a world-class writer and published 28 books by stupidly nailing myself to the cross of some common identity.

(A long silence.)

Maureen: I need a new identity.  I feel depressed with my present identity. I feel sad all the time.

Nathan: (He moves to Maureen’s side.) Maureen, you have to stop trying to deal with your depression on your own. You have to see a doctor and get treatment.

Maureen: A doctor can’t treat what I have. Nothing can treat it. It’s what I am. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy even when I’m having fun, when I’m eating, drinking, when I’m having sex.

Jerry: You need to break out of your loneliness.

Maureen. Of course I do. But I can’t. I feel trapped. I’m suffocating. (She collapses softly into Nathan’s arms in tears.) Help me Nathan. (Silence. Then she cries) What am I going to do? What? (She breaks away suddenly angry) What?  (Loud, nearly screaming) You’re a great man. You wrote 28 books. You married 4 women and now you married a man. What? What am I to do? (She collapses into his arms sobbing.)

Nathan: (Calmly) You’re going to see a doctor. My daughter Cecile suffers from depression too. I know a doctor who can help you.

Maureen: (Somewhat soothed in his embrace) Do you think he can help me? Really?

Nathan: Yes.

(The doorbell rings. Maureen leaves Nathan’s embrace and walks up to answer it. Murphy walks in.)

Maureen: (Loud) Cornelius Murphy

(Cornelius Murphy steps in, stops and looks around. He is a huge man of 52, over 6 feet, around 250 pounds. He is dressed in Bermuda shorts and sporty summer clothes.)

Murphy: How’s it going Maureen?

Maureen: I’m okay Murph’. How are you?

Murphy: I’m all right, but I got action. I’m cooking on four burners.

(Murphy embraces Maureen fully.)

Maureen: How’s Barbara?

Murphy: She’s cooking on eight burners. (He puts his arm around Maureen Then he releases her and takes a small package out of his pocket.) Here Maureen. Here’s a present for you. (He passes the package to her and the two walk down to the bar towards the others.)

Carleton: (He offers his hand to Murphy and they shake.) Hi. I’m Carleton Parker.

Murphy: Cornelius Murphy.

Nick: (He puts his hand on Murphy’s  shoulder as a greeting.)  This is Nathan Mauer, the writer. (They shake hands.)

Murphy:  How you doing there?

Nathan:  Cornelius.

Murphy: The name’s Murph’.

Maureen: This is my friend Jerry Parker, Carleton’s sister.

Jerry: (They shake hands.) Hello.

Murphy: Pleased to meet you.

Nick: What’re you drinking Murph’?

Murphy: I’m off the booze.

Nick: You’re off the booze? You’re off the booze the Pope is not a cardinal.

Murphy: I’m not drinking anymore. We got action stations. The Murph’ is strutting his stuff on new turf.

Maureen: (She holds up rosary beads in front of her in view for all.) Murph’, these are beautiful. They’re rosary beads.

Murphy: I bought them from a Jewish lady in Hialeah who won them in a bingo game on an Italian cruise ship.

Maureen: Rosary beads for me?

Murphy: Hey, you’re catholic. Go for a shake. (A pause. To Nick)  I’ve had it with Barbara. Six years with her I’m telling you it’s like I’m working 24 hours a day in a machine shop except, you know, it’s not a machine shop.  It’s bedroom action.  But still it’s like working for someone. It’s like being on call all the time. I can’t get her off my back unless she’s out shopping or something. Bedroom action, there’s never enough for her. She doesn’t know what the word enough means. I can’t stand any more living like we do.

Nathan: To change and find a new identity is to live truly. If we don’t change, the price we pay to stay as we are is a slow death.

Murphy: You’re right. I’m dying and’ she’s dying and’ we’re all dying. The whole of Miami Beach it’s like some huge cruise ship with people all dressed up full of booze and’ drugs and’ sex and’ partying and’ it’s all nothing but like a big trip to a cemetery. I’m getting off the boat while I can. (A pause. He turns to Nick.) I have go get Barbara from the car. But first  I got some big action for you.

Nick: Action stations.  Go ahead.

Murphy: I had a lawyer write this up in Miami. It’s all legal. (He takes out a legal document and hands it to Nick.)

Nick: What is it?

Murphy: My house in Miami Beach. You just bought my house for a dollar. And here’s something more.(He takes a check out of his wallet and passes it to Nick.)

Nick: (Examining the check closely.) This is a check made out to me for 350,000 dollars.

Murphy: I love you Nick and you need to be a rich man. You got my house and my money and you can have Barbara too if she wants you and you want her.

Nick: I love you too, man, and I don’t want anything that’s yours. You’ve gone round the bend.

Murphy: I’ve gone round the bend and I’m on my way to the other side of the moon. I have to get Barbara from the car. ( He rushes to the door. At the door he stops when he opens it and shouts back.) Nick, Maureen and all you guys, you gotta back me up. Action stations.

(The door closes.)

Nick: (Examining the papers) He’s gone crazy. He’s giving me his house, his money.

Jerry: Let me look at those papers for you. I do real estate closings all the time.

(Nick passes Jerry the real estate document.)

Carleton: Just like that you’re a rich man.

Nick: A check, a real estate transaction. It’s pieces of paper. It doesn’t change anything.

Jerry: (She passes Nick the document.) It looks perfectly legal to me.

Maureen: (Very excited, impulsive.) This means you’re rich. You own a house. You can marry me and help me bring up my baby.

Nick: He’s my friend. It’ll always be his house. It’ll always be his money.

Maureen: He doesn’t want them. He’s given you legal title to his house. You have no excuse now not to marry me.

Nathan: Who is the father of your baby?

Maureen: You.

Nathan: Are you sure? There was no one but me?

Maureen: No one. You’re the father.

Nick: You should not have told him.

Nathan: You’re crazy. You want a woman to have my child and have it grow up without me knowing it?

Nick: I can’t marry her and bring up your child.

Nathan: I’ve never had a son. It could be my son that Maureen is carrying.

Maureen: (Beside herself, very angry, yelling.) The child is in me. It’s my seed. It’s part of me. I’m me and I don’t need either of you. Nick has his house and his money and you. Nathan, you’re married to a man who gives you your nuance of femininity. I don’t need either of you.

Nick: I can’t be a father to the child of a fagot.

Nathan: (Very strong.) A man with enough seed to make a son or daughter grow in a woman’s womb is not a fagot.

( Silence. Then the door opens and Murphy and Barbara step in. Both look grim. She is a very attractive woman of 36 with a full stature and forceful movements. She is dressed in a very expensive, bold summer outfit. She and Murphy stop and look forward at the others.)

Barbara: (In a loud, calm voice) Hello Maureen. Nick. Hello people. (She turns to Murphy and indicates him with her hand. Loudly, screaming at full voice). Here is the biggest phony-baloney asshole scumbag piece of shit that a woman ever loved. I love the dirty sonofabitch. (She starts slapping and punching Murphy with all her might.) I love him. I love him. I love him. (Murphy protects himself from her punches but finally retreats away from her towards the others near the bar. He stops and looks back at her. Still loudly but with tears.) Six years I gave myself to him every hour body and soul. I did everything for him. I would have swum with him all the way to Bermuda if he asked me and now he’s throwing me away like I’m nothing but an old piece of pizza. (She stops and stands staring at him.) Why don’t you just strangle me to death? I love you you piece of shit. I can’t live without you.

Murphy: You don’t love me. You love yourself. The only thing you love is what I give you in bed.

Barbara: (Weakly for the first time) All right. (Begging) I won’t ask you to give me anything ever again. But don’t just throw me away.

Murphy: I’m tired of living the way we do. I can’t do it anymore.

(Barbara breaks out fully into tears. They all stand around embarrassed. Finally Jerry goes up to her, puts her arm around her and leads her to the sofa.)

Jerry: I’m Jerry Parker. Come over here Barbara and sit down. (The two sit. Jerry puts her arm around her warmly.) I know how you feel.

Barbara: (Sobbing) I love him. The asshole doesn’t know what love is. Every time I go shopping I buy something for him. I buy him socks, underwear, jackets, pants, always something. I make sure he has the best food, that the house is always clean and well-furnished. I’m always thinking of ways to make him happy but now he doesn’t want that.

Murphy:(Strongly)  Because that doesn’t make me happy. It makes you happy but not me. I’m getting off the whole merry-go-round once and for all. I’m leaving the circus and’ the animals and’ the magicians and’ all the clowns for something that’s real.

Barbara: (Loudly, bitterly)  I’m real. And you’re a real asshole.

Murphy: (He walks over and stands in front of her threateningly. Loud .Angry)
I am not an animal. You live like an animal. All you do is shop and eat and fuck and talk and you never say anything real. I don’t love you. And you don’t love me. (He points to the bar.) Look over there. Look. You wanna see someone I love? I love Nick.

Barbara: I love Nick too. Big deal.

Murphy: I love him so much I just gave him my house and all my money because I found out there’s someone I love more than Nick. I found someone I love more than anyone or anything in this rotten stinking world that’s nothing but a living hell.

Barbara: Who did you find?

Murphy: God.
(Silence.)

Barbara:(Evenly) You gave away your house and your money and you’re leaving me for God? That’s what you’re telling me? My grandfather was a rabbi and an Irish-catholic from South Boston is leaving me for God? Gimme a break. You’re hakn a tshaynik  because you got some young bimbo stashed away somewhere. I know you, you slimit.

Murphy: Well let’s see then if I’m just hakn a tshaynik or I’m cooking with gas.
Nick, where’s the package I sent you?

Nick (Pointing to the coffee table) Right there.

Murphy ( He walks to the table. He opens the package and takes out clothes as he talks.)

Murphy: I’m going to be officially received in a ceremony as a novitiate in 3 days at the Cistercian Abbey located right down here in the town of Chatham.. These are my clothes I’ll need for the ceremony. (He brings out a long monk’s robe from the package and carefully puts it on over his sports shirt and Bermuda pants.  All watch in silence. Finally he is dressed in his monk’s robe.) This is what I’ll wear when I become a monk. I’ve chosen the name Paul because it was by reading Saint Paul’s epistles that I was changed completely when I felt for the first time in my heart a deep love so pure and so mysterious that it could only have come from God.


                                                      Curtain



                                                  ACT TWO


(Later the same afternoon around 6:00 PM.  Barbara and Jerry are sitting on the sofa alone in the condo.)

Jerry: I’ve had a few break-ups in my love life but no one ever left me for God.

Barbara: If it was some bimbo, at least I could find the bitch and spit in her face. You can’t spit in the face of God.

Jerry: I don’t think you’d want to.

Barbara: I’d spit in anyone’s face to get back what I’m losing.  Murphy was a real man before he found God. He was always bringing to our house high-rollers and politicians and entertainers. I dressed like a movie star. I had an exciting life.

Jerry: It’s hard but you have to think of your future.  How about the possibility of some new relationship?

Barbara: You mean with you, don’t you?

Jerry: Yes.

Barbara: I never thought before of having a relationship with a woman. But I guess it’s possible. If a big guy like Murphy can give up Miami Beach for God, anything is possible. (She reaches out and takes Jerry’s hand.) I like you.

Jerry: Can I put my arm around you?

Barbara: Go ahead.

Jerry: (She draws closer to her on the sofa and puts her arm around her.)
You don’t mind?

Barbara: No (A pause) It’s nice to be touched.

Jerry: Where are you staying tonight? Do you plan to stay with Murphy in your motel?

Barbara: When he comes back with the car, I’m leaving for Miami. He’s already had his lawyer put the car in my name, the bastard, and he’s given me a bunch of credit cards that his lawyer is going to take care of. But Nick has Murph’s house in his name and I’m not going to give it up. It’s my house. Nick and I have a lot in common. We’re both lazy slobs who hate to work. We agreed to drive to Florida tonight and live together. I know he’ll never throw me out of his house and I know ways of making him happy, if you know what I mean. We women always have ways as a last resort to keep a man happy.
 
Jerry: So you and Nick are leaving tonight?

Barbara: Yes

Jerry: I was going to invite you to stay tonight at my condo. I”d like to get to know you better.

Barbara:  That’s a nice thought.( Then excited)  Well, what about coming with Nick and me to Miami?

Jerry: Really? I’d like that. That’s exciting.

Barbara: You think you could do it?

Jerry: I think I could.
Barbara: I’ve got a car and credit cards and Nick’s big house in Miami Beach and all the time in the world.

Jerry: You’re free. You make me feel free. What the hell, let’s go to Miami.

( They laugh holding one another. The doorbell rings. Jerry walks up and opens the door. Olivia Parker steps in. She is a slim, attractive woman in her early 60s. She and her daughter embrace.)

Jerry: It’s great to see you. You’re looking well.

Olivia: Where’s the bride?

Jerry: (Irritated) The bride? Don’t call Carleton a bride.

Olivia: What should I call him then?

Jerry: I don’t know but not the bride. A bride has to be a woman.

Olivia: What’s Carleton? Is he a man or a woman? He has to be one or the other. If he married a man, he’s a woman.  He’s a bride.

Jerry: OK. Whatever. The happy bride is out with the groom at a TV station for another interview.

Olivia: Where’s Maureen?

Jerry: Maureen is taking a drive with her ex-husband Nick and with this woman’s ex boyfriend who is giving up being a gangster and leaving her to become a monk. Barbara this is my mother Olivia Parker.

Barbara: Hello. Nice to meet you.

Olivia: Hello. Why is he leaving you to become a monk?

Barbara: I don’t know. Maybe he just doesn’t like me anymore because I put on weight.

Jerry: (With a kind of false joking tone) That’s it. He’s leaving you to become a monk because you put on weight.

Olivia: (Dumbly) You don’t look overweight.

Barbara: (Hard, fighting her sorrow) I’m not. I watch my weight carefully. I have a special exercise room in my house in Miami Beach.

Jerry: Have a seat, mom. (She sits on the sofa at one end. Barbara remains on the other end and Jerry sits in a chair. Now  very seriously.) Barbara has just found out about a big change in her life. She’s breaking up with her boyfriend, Cornelius Murphy.

Olivia: I’m sorry.

Barbara: Don’t be sorry. It may lead to something better.

Olivia: (Moody) I wish I could feel my son Carleton was headed for something better.

( Silence a few  moments.)

Jerry: Barbara and I have become friends. She’s invited me to drive down tonight with her to Miami Beach. I just decided I’m going with her.

Olivia: You won’t go off to Miami Beach with Barbara just like that. You’re too much like your father.

Barbara: How is she like her father?

Olivia: Marston Parker was very conservative. He always thought everything through before he acted. He never did anything impulsively.

Jerry: I’ve thought it through. I’m going to Florida.

Olivia: You’ve got too many things to keep you here. Your real estate business. Carleton.

Jerry:  Carleton doesn’t need me because now he’s got Nathan Mauer. As for my business, I can take care of details every day with a phone call to Sally Burke in my office.

Olivia: (Struggling to make sense) But it’s so impulsive. It’s not you. It’s like something Carleton would do. He has his father’s dreamy and poetical nature.

Barbara: You just said his father was very conservative. I guess that proves that any kind of father can produce any kind of son.

Olivia: No. It doesn’t prove that because Marston Parker wasn’t Carleton’s father.

Barbara: I didn’t know. (To Jerry) So you’re Carleton’s half-sister?

Jerry: (Moved) I didn’t know either. I was raised as his natural sister. (She gets up greatly moved. She walks over and stands before her mother.) What in the name of God are you saying? Will you please tell me what you’re talking about?

Olivia: (Calmly ,assuming a certain new importance)  Marston Parker was your father but not Carleton’s. His father was another man.

Jerry: Who?

Olivia: I thought it best to raise you both as a natural brother and sister. Your father was dead a year before Carleton was born. I thought it would give Carleton a stronger sense of his identity if I didn’t tell him Marston Parker wasn’t his father.

Jerry: Who was Carleton’s father? Did he go along with your decision?

Olivia: I never told him about Carleton.

Jerry: Why?

Olivia: I lost contact with him.

Jerry: Why?

Olivia: (Losing her confidence) It was just a brief affair.

Jerry: How long did it last?

Olivia: (Breaking to tears) It was a one-night stand.

(She sheds tears. Barbara moves over on the sofa to comfort her by putting her arm around her.)

Barbara: It’s all right. You had a one-night stand. Good for you.
    
Jerry: You didn’t do anything wrong. You were young. You were lonely. You were a widow.

Olivia: It was on a crazy, way-out night. It was in the sixties and we were all into drugs and protests and turning off from regular society. But it was a wonderful night. And it created such a wonderful child, my dear Carleton.

Jerry: Who was his father? (Worried) You know who he is, don’t you?

Olivia: Yes. He’s been dead many years.

Jerry: Well?

Olivia: He was a famous writer, a poet.

Jerry: What poet?

Olivia: (Full again of importance) Let me answer in this way. Carleton has been married now for two weeks. I didn’t go to his wedding because I was so angry. Now I’m ashamed I didn’t go because I realize that Carleton has always been weak and it’s not his fault he can’t accept his natural identity.

Jerry: What is Carleton’s father’s identity?

Olivia: (Weakening) You’re so matter-of-fact about it.

Jerry: I’m not. I can’t wait to know.

Olivia: (Weakening to tears) It’s not easy for me to just come out with it. I swore to God I’d never tell anyone and now I’m betraying my own integrity.

Jerry: I understand. But now you have to tell me.

Olivia: (More calmly) I will but I’ve decided I’m going to tell Carleton first tonight as a wedding gift.

Barbara:(Ironic) What a wedding gift!

Olivia: I don’t want him to find out from someone else first. I’ll tell him as soon as he gets here and then you’ll all know. (She gets up, hurries up towards the door, and takes a gift-wrapped package of 4 books out of a bag.) To make the wedding gift extra special I’ve bought him the complete works of his father. I’ll give him his father’s books as soon as he gets here. When he examines the books, I’ll tell him that their author is his real father.

(Silence. Olivia stands near the door. She puts the package of books back in the bag. She walks back to the sofa, puts the bag on the coffee table, and sits.)

Jerry: (Snidely) Maybe you could recite one of his father’s poems while we’re waiting for Carleton as a clue.

Olivia: You’re trying to be funny.

Jerry: (Evenly) I’m not.

Olivia: You know, I do know his works very well. I’ve read all his poems many times. You can perhaps both understand, you’re women, that reading his words has been like tying together the two of us by the threads of a spiritual marriage. It’s been like even though we’re separated in time, we’re united in eternity.

Barbara: To each his own. I wouldn’t want to be united to some of the bozos I’ve been with for eternity. Some of them weren’t worth being with for more than a half hour.

(The door opens. Maureen, Nick, then Murphy walk in.)

Barbara: (Loud and angry) Hey, monk, how you doing? Where’s your monk dress?

Murphy: It’s at the motel. (He throws her car keys that fall to the floor near her.) Here’s the car keys. You should leave right now if all you’re gonna do is yell at me. These people don’t wanna hear you anymore hakn a tshaynik.

Barbara: (She picks up the keys.) I got business here. And it’s not with you.

Maureen: (She has recognized Olivia and embraced her as a greeting.) Olivia, this is my ex-husband, Nick Godefanno.

Nick: (He shakes her hand.) Pleased to meet you.

Maureen: And this is his friend, Cornelius Murphy.

Murphy: (He waves his hand standing back.) Hey there.

Olivia: (Dumbly) You’re the gangster who’s leaving Barbara to become a monk?

(An embarrassed silence for a moment)

Murphy: (Restraining himself politely)  Lady, whatever you heard about me don’t pay attention to it cause from now on I’m nothing and I want to be nothing. My friend Nick here says I shouldn’t go to the other side of the moon. But that’s the only place I want to be, the other side of the moon.

Olivia: (Dreamingly dumb) The other side of the moon is a long way away.

(Silence a moment)

Nick: (Standing close to Olivia) You look familiar. Did you ever study at Boston University?

Olivia: I did my Masters there in the sixties.

(The group moves towards the area of the bar and the sofa and chairs.)

Nick: I went to BU for 8 years to get my BA. I spent a lot of time at a little bar across from BU called “The Sidelines”. Have you ever been there?

Olivia: (Quickly) I’ve been there a few times. Sure.

Nick: It’s in the basement of a building. You have to walk down steps to get in.

Olivia: I know the place.

Jerry: I was there in Boston with her as a child. Mother did her masters at BU in Education and English and became a teacher.

Olivia: It was so exciting then. I was a mother and a student and a flower child all at the same time. The way we dressed then. I can’t believe what I looked like.

Nick: I’m trying to imagine what you might’ve looked like. Do you have any pictures of yourself from then?

Olivia: I do but not with me.

Nick: I bet I ran into you at “The Sidelines” bar.

Olivia: It’s odd that you mention that bar because, I might as well tell you all, that’s where I met Carleton’s father. I pretended for years that his father was Marston Parker, but he wasn’t. I just told Barbara and Jerry that as soon as Carleton gets here, I’m going to tell him his real father’s name.

Nick: So Carleton and Jerry are stepbrother, stepsister?

Olivia: Yes.

Nick: And you met his real father at “The Sidelines’”?

Olivia: Yes. And to tell you the truth, I’m not exactly proud of the state I was in when I met him.

Nick: You were high. You could almost get high some nights on marijuana  in “The Sidelines” by just breathing.

Olivia: I had just been to what we used to call in those days a pot party. I did some marijuana and then on my way home from the party, I stopped in at the bar on an impulse.

(The door opens and Carleton and Nathan walk in. Carleton still has flowers in his hair. They stop after coming forward a little and look at the others.)

Carleton: The interview was a great victory. And it’s going to be on national television. Nathan was like a divine oracle bellowing out the truth in the face of an evil gang of nonentities.

Nathan: They kept jabbing at me here and there with innuendos and every time I got an opening, I punched them right in the face with the truth.

Carleton: (He hurries to his mother and hugs her.) Hi, mom. (He steps away from her and points out Nathan back near the door.) Look at the great man I married, your son-in-law, Nathan Mauer. Feast your eyes on a great writer of the American nation, an eagle of truth.

Murphy: (Evenly and sincerely) What was the truth you punched them with Nathan?

Nathan: I told them that life is a riddle and if you don’t solve it, your life turns into a monster that tries to kill you.

Murphy: What’s the solution to the riddle?

Nathan: There’s no one solution because the riddle itself keeps changing. When you’re a child, you have to solve one riddle to become a young man, then another to become middle-aged, then you have to solve a new riddle to become an old man.

Carleton: I’m his solution to the last riddle.

Nathan: You are. But the riddle keeps changing and so does the solution. You never know if you’ve solved it until you gamble on a change in your identity and jump into the unknown where you find either the monster again or the solution which is the sudden end of death, a kind of new and endless life.

Murphy: I’m going right now to begin the new identity I found by gambling on God. Good-bye everyone. (He embraces Nick.) Enjoy yourself.

Nick: Your house and your money will be there for you whenever you want them.

Murphy: I don’t want them. You and Barbara use them. Barbara Rosenfeld, how about a hug good-bye for Cornelius Murphy, the monk?

Barbara: (She comes towards Murphy.)  The hug is not for you. I never hugged a monk before and I want to try it. (They embrace. Then softly) I love you. (She pulls back into the group holding back tears.)

Murphy: (Loudly) God bless all in this house. (He leaves shutting the door.)

(Silence a few moments)

Olivia: I’ve got a monster on my back.(Pause) Oh, I don’t know maybe it’s not a monster but whatever it is, I’m going to gamble by speaking about it.(Pause) Well it’s not really a monster on my back. It’s a gift for Carleton, a wedding gift.(She gets the package of books from the bag and passes them to Carleton. She stands before him.) This is for you but it’s not really the whole gift. It’s just part of the gift.

Carleton: (Examining the package) What is it?

Olivia: It’s a clue to who your real father was.

Carleton: (Stunned) My real father? Marston Parker wasn’t my real father?

Olivia: No. He wasn’t. (She breaks to tears and embraces Carleton.) Your real father, I’m sure he’s someone you can be really proud of.

Carleton: Who was he? Why didn’t you tell me before who he was?

Olivia: I wanted you to have a secure background and a secure identity. Your real father was a great poet. Open your gift and you’ll see what I mean.

(Carleton works to open the package. Finally he takes out one book.)

Carleton: (Looking at the book) “The Map Of Love” by Dylan Thomas. (He examines the other books.) They’re all books by Dylan Thomas. (He turns to his mother. Nervously) What does Dylan Thomas have to do with what you’re saying about my father?

Olivia:  Dylan Thomas was your real father.

Carleton: Dylan Thomas? How could Dylan Thomas be my father?

Olivia: I met him just by accident one night at a bar. I was high on drugs. One thing led to another. I’m not proud of what happened.

Carleton: What bar?

Olivia: It was at “The Sidelines”, the one Nick just mentioned. It’s right across the street from Boston University.

Carleton: What happened?

Olivia: I was walking home high and in a great mood and when I came to ‘The Sidelines”, I just went in on an impulse. I was standing having a beer at the bar when a girl went by who knew me from one of her classes at BU. I didn’t know her very well, I don’t even remember her name, but she stopped at the bar to talk. We started laughing and giggling about some crazy thing or another and she invited me to sit in a booth with her. She was with two guys. They were having this intense talk about something very intellectual and at first they didn’t  pay much attention to me. I found out from what they were saying that one of them was a writer who had just given a talk at Boston University.

Carleton: He was Dylan Thomas?

Olivia: Yes.

Carleton: So you went to bed with Dylan Thomas?

Olivia:(Weakening to tears) No. (A long silence) What happened was - and I don’t remember it all that clearly- we left the bar the four of us and I guess Dylan had this crazy idea of reciting one of his poems out loud somewhere. So we went across the street and then behind the main building at Boston University and then across to the banks of the Charles River. It was dark with the moon and the stars and the river and all the lights from the city off in the distance.

Carleton: So I was conceived on the banks of the Charles River?

Olivia: Not on the banks exactly. (Nervous almost to tears) When we were walking back, we had to go over this cement footbridge. When we got to the middle, right over a road below with a lot of traffic, that’s where Dylan Thomas recited his poem. Then we separated. The other two went off ahead and left us alone. Dylan suddenly became very passionate. He threw himself at me. He was like a whirlwind of desire, like a strange wind suddenly blowing fiercely. He swept me off my feet. I couldn’t resist.

(A long silence)

Carleton: Dylan Thomas was my father. (Pause) I was conceived by the wind and desire of a poet’s imagination.

Nick: (To Olivia) What was the other girl’s name?

Olivia: (Feeling calm and important) I don’t remember at all. I never saw her again. (A pause) I’m so glad I’ve spoken. How do you feel Carleton?

Carleton: I’m alright, I guess. But I’m stunned.

Nick: What did she look like the girl? What color was her hair?

Olivia: Oh, I really couldn’t describe her. It was 35 years ago. I think she was a brunette.

Jerry: What year was it?

Olivia: 1969.

Nathan: Then Dylan Thomas couldn’t have been Carleton’s father.

Nick: He wasn’t alive in 1969.

Nathan: Of course.

Jerry: I thought you said you read all of Dylan Thomas’ poems, that you read them over and over? You must have known when he died.

Olivia: (Beginning tears) I never read any of his poems. I lied about that. I’m sorry.

Jerry: And you don’t know who Carleton’s father was, do you? Be honest.

Olivia: (In tears) I guess I don’t if Dylan Thomas wasn’t alive then.

Nathan: (He puts his arm on Carleton’s shoulder.) Let’s look through the books. It should have the date of Dylan’s birth and death.

(They look through the books.)

Nathan: (Examining a book) Here it is. Born 1918, died 1953.

Carleton: (To Olivia) So who was my father?

Olivia: (Struggling) He was someone I met at that bar.

Carleton: What did he look like?

Olivia: Oh, I don’t know. It was so long ago.

Carleton: Try to remember.

Olivia: I remember he had a beard. He was just average height but heavy.

Caleton: What was he wearing?

Olivia: He was wearing  khaki army fatigue clothes.

Nick: Everyone wore those clothes then. A lot of people had beards. It was in style.

Jerry: But not everyone was a writer. Are you sure he was a writer?

Olivia: (Hesitant) Yes, he was a writer. At least that’s what I understood from what they were saying.

Jerry: But you’re not sure.

Olivia: Yes, I’m sure.

Nick: We should just drop this. It was 35 years ago.

Carleton: I want to know who my father was. If it’s possible.

Nick: It was too long ago. She was high on drugs. We can’t be sure of anything.

Maureen: Olivia, was it with the guy who was the writer that you were involved, with the one you think was the writer?

Olivia: Yes.

Maureen: So if you were with the one you thought was the writer, it’s an easy thing to check back in the newspapers and so forth and find out what writer was there in 1969.

Nick: But what month in 1969? Maybe there was more than one writer there that year.

Nathan: We can check back 9 months from Carleton’s date of birth.

Carleton: May 14, 1970.

Nathan: Was Carleton’s birth premature?

Olivia:  No.

Nathan: So it was in October 1969.

Nick (To Nathan) I don’t know why you’re pushing this. You’re a writer. You were there in 1969. You were at “The Sidelines” bar with two girls. And I was with you.

Carleton: That’s right. You said you remember Nick and you remember being with two girls.

Nick: And you also remember going over with the three of us to the Charles River to visit the spot where they found Dylan Thomas dead drunk sleeping off his hangover.

Nathan: So what’re you saying then? You want to gamble? You want to gamble that I’m Carleton’s father?

Nick: I don’t want to gamble. I don’t want to have anything to do with this.

Nathan: I do. I want to gamble. I want to know the truth. (To Olivia calmly) Olivia, am I Carleton’s father?

Olivia: I don’t know.

Nathan:  Do I look in any way familiar to you?

Nick: She seemed familiar to me as soon as I saw her.

Carleton: Oh my god I could be married to my father.

Nathan: Let her speak. Could I have been one of the men?

Olivia: Yes and no. The man had a beard. And he was wearing a hat.

Nathan: What kind of a hat?

Olivia: A hat like revolutionaries wore. An army cap like Che Guevara wore.

Nathan: I used to wear that kind of a hat.

Carleton: Oh my God what have I done?

Nathan: What have you done?

Carleton: (Nervous, losing control) I’ve married my father.

Nathan: (Intensely) You don’t know that. Only your mother knows that.

Carleton: You were wearing a Che Guevara hat that night. You told me and Nick you were wearing one.

Nathan: That’s right. And I had intercourse with a girl that night on a footbridge.

Jerry: This is too awful. You’re Carleton’s father. This is horrible.

Nathan: Maybe. But the horrible thing is we’ll never know for sure. Maybe she had intercourse with me that night or maybe it was with Nick. Maybe I had intercourse with the other girl.

Nick: I didn’t make it with anyone that night. When I left you and whoever it was on that footbridge, you were already starting to go at it.

Carleton: My own father. I married my father.

(Nathan goes up to Olivia and holds her gently. He speaks directly to her in a kind manner.)

Nathan: Olivia, if this is what it looks like, it’s going to get out. Everyone’s going to know. My whole life, my career as a writer, will be in ruins. Who knows what could happen to Carleton. I may have married my own son.  Am I Carleton’s father?

Olivia: You may be. But I’m not sure.

Nathan: Did you have sex with anyone else about that time? Even if I had intercourse with you, I still might not have been the father.

Olivia: I didn’t. I’m sure of it.

Nathan: (Deeply) Please help me. You’ve put a monster on my back and you’ve got to help me get it off.

Olivia: (In tears) I don’t know what to say. I’d like to help.

Nathan: (Still holding her)  If I was there that night ,you said I was talking in a booth to someone, a man. You said there was some sort of intellectual talk. What was the talk? What did you hear?

Olivia: I wasn’t listening very closely. It was all philosophical talk. It was all beyond me.

Nathan: But just something from that talk, even some bits here and there, could perhaps help us. If I don’t remember something that was said, maybe Nick can remember it. I’m a writer. I know exactly the way I write and my talk, even my talk in those days, like my writing, has a definite identity that I can recognize.

Jerry: Try to think of something that was said.

Carleton: Please, mom. This is so important.

(Silence)

Olivia: I remember hearing the name “Dylan Thomas” several times so I guess he wasn’t there and they were just talking about him. And, yes, there was something that the writer said that I remember. It was a short sentence. I’ve always meant to read through the works of Dylan Thomas to see if he wrote it somewhere but I never got around to it.

Nathan: What was the sentence?

Olivia: It struck me then and even now as a really crazy idea. I still don’t have any idea what it means.

Nathan: Did the writer say it, the one you thought was the writer?

Olivia: Yes. The writer said to the other man, “The body is a legal drug.”

(A long silence.)

Carleton: (He is standing about six feet from Nathan. He looks at him squarely.)
I married my father.

Nathan: I married my son.

(Silence. The two stare at each other eye to eye as though examining one another deeply. Then they rush into one another’s arms.)

Nathan: (Deep in the embrace) I love you.

Carleton: (Breaking into tears) I love you. (They hold the embrace a long time. Then Carleton breaks away from Nathan’s embrace roughly and moves back a few steps looking at Nathan with a look of hatred. He screams.) You violated your son. Don’t ever touch me again. You raped your own son.

Nathan: I didn’t know what I was doing.

Carleton: But that doesn’t excuse it. You still did it.

Nathan: I did it and I’m sorry. You should pity me.

Carleton: I do pity you, but you disgust me. Don’t ever touch me again. ( A very long silence. Carleton finally puts both palms of his hands over his eyes and weeps deeply. Silence. Then he speaks through the tears barely getting the words out.) I love you Nathan. I’m proud that you’re my father. But don’t ever touch me again.

Nathan: I love you and I’ll never know now where my love for you comes from, whether it comes from me and my heart as your father or from the monster within me that controls my desires.

Carleton:(Still covering his eyes) Don’t talk to me, your son, about your desires. Just stay away from me.

Nathan: I love you. (Breaking almost to tears, barely controlling himself) I don’t want to stay away from you.

Carleton: (Dropping his hands from his eyes. Angry) You raped my mother too. Why did you stay away from her? (He puts his arm around Olivia who is standing near him.) What did you do just throw her away when you were finished with her?

Nathan: I never claimed to be a saint.

Olivia: I never thought of it as rape.

Carleton: It was rape. Did you take her back with you to your hotel?

Nathan: No. We just walked together back over in front of Boston University.

Olivia: I don’t think we really said anything at all afterwards.

Nathan: I left her in front of BU. I said good-bye and walked away.

Carleton: You raped her. And then you took no responsibility for your action.

Nathan: Responsibility? Nobody used a word like that in the sixties.

Carleton: (Very angry,shouting) You created a child who needed you and who you needed to take responsibility for but you abandoned him and let him grow up without you and then when you met him by accident, your monster in you that you keep talking about told you you desired him. You lusted after your own child, and then you went even further, you married him, your own son, which was a legal way of raping him, of raping your own son over and over again. I hate you. You’re a disgusting evil old man. I have to get out of here. I can’t stand looking at him. I can’t stay in the same room with him.

Nick: (He comes up to Carleton and puts his arm around his shoulder.) Don’t be so hard on him. He’s your father. He loves you.

Carleton: I hate him.

Nick: (He keeps his arm around Carleton.) Let’s go out on the deck and get some air.(The two walk to the rear and go out the door on the left that leads to a deck. Olivia follows them out. Silence. Maureen puts her hand on Nathan’s shoulder to comfort him.)

Jerry: Nick, Barbara and I are going to Florida together. Maybe Carleton can come with us.

Barbara: That’s a good idea. He needs to get away.

Jerry: Let’s  go out on the deck and invite Carleton to come with us to Florida.( Jerry and Barbara go up to the rear and out the door left to the deck. Maureen and Nathan sit on the sofa. A long silence.)

Nathan: I’m cursed, Maureen. I’m ruined. (A pause. He takes her hand. Weakly) Will you help me? Will you stay with me?

Maureen: Yes.

Nathan: It would be so terrible now to be here all alone.

Maureen: I’ll be here.

Nathan: (Near tears) I left my house, my great and beautiful house in this town I love so much. I left my wife and our life together with our daughter and all my memories. I left it all. I threw it all away to marry my own son. I’m cursed. I’m ruined forever. (Silence) I was so powerful and so sure of myself this afternoon at the television interview. I humiliated  the people who interviewed me. I made them seem low and vulgar and stupid with their Mickey-mouse questions about morality and straight marriage. Now they have me on the ground. The media and the right-wing religious fanatics will jump on me and kick me while I’m down till they kill me.

Maureen: You still have your life as a writer. You can write books. You can defend yourself.

Nathan: What will I write? That my own seed destroyed me? That I never repressed my seed as their Mickey-mouse morality and their brutal narrow-mindedness preached that I should and that my own seed, the seed that I spread wildly wherever my freedom allowed, took root and grew and then when it appeared before me bodily for the first time, as Carleton, it both aroused my desire and fouled my life forever? I can’t write that. That’s just ammunition for the guns of my enemies.

Maureen: You could make some public confession that you did wrong and that you’re sorry.

Nathan: I did do wrong and I am sorry. But to give way and confess that to the people I’ve fought against all my life, it would be like taking away from myself all the last breaths of air in my lungs.  I’m sorry for what I did but I’m against all religions that just preach guilt and don’t preach life. I believe in endless possibilities for everyone. My religion is life.

Maureen: You married the child of your own seed without knowing it and your seed has also created a child living within me. That’s something we have in common.

Nathan: I’ll do everything I can to help you bring up my child.

Maureen: I was thinking I’d have to raise my baby alone without a father but now, after what happened, maybe that’s all changed. Your marriage with Carleton is over and I need to create a home for my baby.

Nathan: You’re still young and you’re beautiful. I’m an old man and alone.

Maureen: I’m alone too. I don’t want to be alone with a child.

Nathan: You know how I am in bed.

Maureen I don’t care.

Nathan: Sex has never been for me or for my partners what I’ve always expected from it. I kept changing wives to try to find fulfillment but I never did. And now I’m old. I don’t have much left to offer a young woman (Weakening almost to tears) I don’t think I can ever satisfy you as a woman, not as a man should be able to satisfy a woman.

Maureen: I need a father for my child more than I need good sex. I like you a lot Nathan. You’re a great soul, a great person.

Nathan: (Breaking to tears)  I’m not great at all. It was the love of my own son that made me believe I was gay. Now I don’t know who I am or what I am. Am I gay? Am I straight? I don’t know how to decide who I am.

Maureen: I’m a pregnant woman. That’s who I am.

Nathan:  I’d marry you in a minute if that’s what you want.

Maureen: That’s what I want.

Nathan: Our child will be the son or daughter of the famous writer Nathan Mauer who married his own son.

Maureen: I don’t care. I believe like you in endless possibilities. Anyway we don’t have to live in America. We can go somewhere else.

Nathan: We can.

Maureen: We can begin a new life.

Nathan: Yes. (He reaches and takes her hand.)  Will you marry me then?

Maureen: Yes.

( Back to the rear Nick,Jerry, and Barbara, come in from the door left. They stand together near the door right.)

Barbara: (Loudly) Maureen, Nick, Jerry and I have decided to leave right now for Florida. Come down and see us sometime.

Maureen: (Loudly) Maybe I will

Nick: ( He comes out from the entrance left with his suitcase. He puts it down and walks and stands before Maureen) I’m off for Florida. I never unpacked my suitcase.

Maureen: Goodbye.

Nick: (With feeling) I’m sorry I couldn’t be someone strong enough to make our marriage work. It hurts me to leave you.

Maureen (Breaking to feeling) It hurts me too. But I’m  carrying Nathan’s child and we’ve decided to marry.

(Maureen rises and they embrace strongly. Nick leaves her and shakes hands with Nathan.)

Nick: Goodbye Nathan. I’m sorry I called you a fagot. You’re a man and Maureen needs a man. Keep gambling.

Nathan: It’s what I am, a gambler. I can’t stop.

Nick: I like what you said about not nailing yourself to the cross of a fixed identity. Look at me. Suddenly I’m a rich man and I’m off for Florida with two women.

( Olivia and Carleton enter from the patio Nick goes away to his suitcase and then to the door. Jerry, Barbara and Nick leave. Olivia stands to the rear. Carleton comes forward and stands before Nathan at the sofa.)

Carleton: I’m not going to Florida with them. You’ve got to get your things out of our room and get out of my life.

Nathan: (Standing, angry) I’m in your life. I’m your father, I love you. I can’t ever get out of your life because I love you.

Carleton : All you ever wanted from me was my body. You wanted your filthy pleasure.

Nathan: You did too and you were happy to give pleasure. Now that’s gone. Now we’re rid of all need for pleasure and purified. We’re still free to love and because we desired one another in that foul way perhaps now we’ve been purified by what we found out and we’re free to love one another as no father and son have ever loved one another.

Carleton (Angry, yelling) That’s exactly what we’ve done, you filthy old man, loved one another as no father and son have ever loved one another.

Nathan: (Caught off guard, weakening) That’s dead in me. I don’t desire you anymore like that. I only love you.

Carleton: Your love is nothing to me. Your love is nothing but desire. You want my body and that’s all you ever wanted. You want my body even now.

Nathan: I don’t. That’s all past me now. I just want to love you.

Carleton: (He comes closer to him. In a seductive tone) What kind of love do you feel? You’ve written about all kinds of love in your books. What kind is this you feel? (He stands very close almost touching him.) Is it the kind of love that goes with touching? Can I touch you father? (He touches him.) What do you feel now that I’m touching you? Do you feel love for me in your soul or do you just feel your son’s body near you and ready to satisfy your lust?. (He puckers his lips.) How about kissing the son you love? Would you like that? Would you like to do that and then do something more?

Nathan (He pushes him away rudely, shouting.) That’s all gone from me. I don’t need that anymore. I swear it. I only want to love my son as a father should.

Carleton. That’s not possible. What we used to do in bed killed that forever.

Nathan:  No. My love for you lives. I love you. And you love me.  Finding out who we really are changed us. It purified us and made us free to love in a way that was never possible before.

Carleton: It hasn’t purified me. I want to go to bed with someone and give my body to them for pleasure. That’s what love does to me. It thrills me. It fires up my veins and pushes my blood through me full of desire. I don’t love you. But if you want to know the truth, I still desire you. I do. That’s how I love you, you filthy old man, with every physical feeling my body can feel. And that’s why you have to stay away from me now and forever. (He walks away towards the area behind the sofa.)

Nathan: (Soulfully) Please. My dear Carleton. My dear son. Please don’t kick me out of your life. I love you.

Carleton (He has stopped. He is now moved almost to tears.) I love you too.

Nathan: We could be a family. You could still live here. We could each have a separate room like in a real family.

Carleton: I would like that. Yes. I would. But it’s not possible

Nathan: Why?

Carleton (With feeling, not angry) Because I still love you as before. You still thrill me. I need you.

Nathan: I know. But we can overcome our desires. I’m going to marry Maureen. I’ve just now accepted to be the father of my child she’s carrying.

Carleton ( A thoughtful pause, then calm, a little ironic) It could be my brother or my sister.

Nathan: Yes.

Carleton: (He comes back to the area in front of the sofa. Softly. Reasonably.) So you’re not gay anymore?

Nathan: No.

Carleton: You’re going to marry Maureen and be straight and happy?

Nathan : Yes.

Carleton: And I could be your straight son. Is that what you want?

Nathan: Well, whatever you want to be, gay or straight, as long as we’re father and son.

Carleton: Yes, I see. I can act straight if you can act straight. It’s so convenient. All you have to do is move your things out of our room and into Maureen’s room. And maybe we could drive up together to Boston sometime to a Red Sox game, father and son out on the town just like everyone else. After the game we could go to a bar and drink a few beers with baseball fans man to man.

Nathan (Taking up a little the argumentative tone) Yes. We can do things together. Why not?

Carleton: Why not indeed. You’re not gay anymore. You’re the macho writer Nathan Mauer again. And you want me here living with you so we can be a family and you can love me like a son and not want to go to bed with me anymore. So what would I be then? Would I be gay or not? If you’re not gay anymore, why do I have to be gay? Why can’t I be just like you, is that it, gay one day and not gay the next day?

Nathan: You can be whatever you want.

Carlton: So what was I then when you desired me? What was I when you married me? What was I when you were in bed with me and taking your pleasure? Was I straight or gay?

Nathan (Confused) I don’t know.

Carleton: So I suppose you didn’t know who you were then in bed? When we joined? When you took your pleasure off me? What did I feel like then at those moments? You’ve had lots of women. Now Maureen is your woman. Did I feel like a woman? Was it just like it was with a woman when you felt the pleasure I gave you?

Nathan (Confused) I don’t know. I can’t say.

Carleton.  You do know. You can say. (Very intense) You left your wife for the pleasure I gave you. You left your house and your daughter for what I gave you. Don’t you tell me you don’t know what you felt.

Nathan: I felt love for you. I love you now.

Carleton: But you’re marrying Maureen. You’re finished with me. You don’t want the pleasure I can give you anymore. You just want to love me.

Nathan: Yes.

Carleton: (Very loud and forcefully) I’m gay. I am what I am and no amount of your love will change that. Your love that you say you now feel for me as a father sickens me. It makes me want to vomit because you’re trying to change just like that as though it had no value and was unreal what I am and what the two of us experienced making love and what we were and still are: two gays in love. I desire you. Do you understand that once and for all?  I’m gay and I can’t be anything else and I don’t want to be anything else.

Nathan: But I’m only trying to

Carleton: Change me. Make me be the son in the image you would have had of me if I had ever been your real son that you provided a home for and brought up and educated and not the gay man you fell in love with and desired. The body is a legal drug, but this body, your son’s body, is not legal for you anymore. (He walks up to the rear.) I’m going to a bar to bring back someone to sleep with me who’s my age and can’t possibly be my father and want to love me like a father.

(Carleton walks towards the door right where his mother is standing.)

Olivia: Carleton, I know how you feel.

Carleton: You don’t . No one knows how I feel.

Olivia: This is a chance to change your life for good. This is your chance that God is sending you to start acting like a man.

Carleton: I’m a homosexual. I don’t want to act like a man. I only want to sleep with a man.

Olivia: You can change.

Charleton: I love you mom but you’re a stupid woman who has no idea how the world works or how I work. (He goes to the door. He waits as his mother goes by him and out. He turns back and shouts to Nathan.) Get your stuff out of my room. (He leaves.The door shuts.Nathan sits again on the sofa beside Maureen. A long silence. They look ahead in thought.)

Maureen: I just remembered something. I have the rosary beads right here that Murph’ gave me. (She takes out the rosary beads. She holds them in front of her examining them fondly.) I think I’ll wear them around my neck until I give birth to see if they bring good luck to me and my baby.

Nathan: And to me.

Maureen: (She puts the rosary beads carefully around her neck.) To the three of us.
                                                      Curtain












eading 3