Only the hallway
is illuminated and merely by a brace of shaded orange wall Night has descended
upon San Basilica. lamps. Outside in the moonlight, a small orchestra can
be heard playing "Charmaine". KEVIN and LENA enter from the right, slowly,
silently, a sheet of tension between them. As they pass Lenaís room, SHE
stops, but KEVIN continues to his room without glancing back.
(THEY enter their
respective rooms, switching on the lights. KEVIN ambles wearily to the
window and gazes out. But Lenaís plaintiveness has turned to anger. SHE
kicks off her shoes and flops on the bed but still has her purse tied to
her wrist. The more she reviews the situation, the angrier she becomes.
SHE leaps from the bed, hurling the shoes against the wall. Then SHE races
through both bathroom doors into Kevinís room.)
(Having got that
off her chest, SHE runs back through the two bathroom doors, slamming them
hard behind her. KEVIN goes to the bed and sits with a heavy sigh)
So Dr. Bellagio, what do
I do now? Here I am in a situation which is---well, kind of perfect. I
mean, I know thereís an explanation for it somewhere, but just in surface
terms itís a love addictís dream. All those gorgeous young things at dinner!
The conquests I could have made! Like the tall sultry one with the crimson
headband. Of course, those flat bras---what a damned stupid style! Maybe
thereís more excitement when you finally get them alone and unhook the
thing--- WOW! Oh, God, the glory of it all! No guilt, no consequences,
no Phyllis! Not even contraceptives. I mean, they couldnít very well have
a son in nine months whoíd be seventy years older than his father. And
if one was married, like Miss Tall, Sultry, Crimson-Headband, what could
her husband do? Shoot me? When I havenít even been born? I could have trailed
her down to the Franciscan gardens, grabbed her behind a rhododendron and
whoosh! I could become the Stud of San Basilica! And what do I do? Get
mixed up with that silly, addle-headed flapper! Silly, addle-headed flapper---Iím
beginning to sound like them. All that drivel about Ceylon and sultry moonlit
nights! And I believed her! Just because we landed on the bed together,
I started getting all involved. Itís a good thing the dinner bell rang.
(LENA, whose anger
has been building again, now recharges through the bathroom doors.)
(KEVIN takes a small
notepad from his jacket pocket, opens the laptop and begins transferring
Go back to your room. I have
work to do.
You got a nerve criticizing
me! ME! While all the time at that beautiful forty-foot hand-carved Spanish
mahogany dining table, youíre embarrassing me like I ainít never been embarrassed
in my life!
(Lunging at her,
HE wrests the purse from her wrist.)
You get your grubby paws
Filling this thing with everybodyís
(Turning the purse
upside down, HE lets pieces of sweets fall to the carpet. SHE rushes to
You lousy bull-shoveler,
youíre getting them all fulla germs!
"Gee, you hardly touched
your dessert." "Gee, you hardly touched your dessert! And you! Hey
there! You---you at the end of the table, you hardly touched your dessert."
I get hungry late at night.
There may not be much in
my time, but in 1920-whatever-the-hell-this-is, there was class and manners
and social graces. Whatíd they teach you on that plantation anyway? No
wonder that Eurasian housekeeper hated your guts. You probably used to
filch all her almond cookies.
Donít you dare! Donít you
dare say a word about what I told you in the strictest confidence! And,
as for me finishing their desserts, itís because I hate waste! I hate waste,
and so does Mr. Huomo!
Oh, you and your Mr. Huomo!
Yes, me and my Mr. Huomo!
When he finds out what you were doing at that table. Heíll probably have
a stroke or somethiní! Asking all them nice well-dressed people for "pertinent
facts" so when you get back to "the present", you can look them all up.
And telling everyone to put out his cigarette because second-hand smoke
will kill ya. And as for manners, you second-hand hunk oí cheese, the only
man at the table without a dinner jacket! You know what all those refined
people thought? Well, I can tell you what they thought! They thought you
were tetched---tetched in the second story!
Now Iím telling you and Iím
telling you only once more. I come from another time! The present! This
is the past, and you are the past. And in my time, you, Lena Martina, if
you hadnít already done yourself in on chocolate eclairs and pineapple
cheese cake, you would be waddling your big fat ass down the hallway of
some crappy retirement home in a pair of purple slacks, your gray hair
hidden under quarts of orange henna, asking all the other residents whether
they were gonna finish their Jell-O pudding!
You think youíre the catís
pajamas, dontcha? Well, youíre just small potatoes. Of all the cheesy ways
I ever heard to attract attention---telling people youíre sixty years younger
than anyone at the table---including Mr. St. Clairís nine year old nephew!
Get out of here, will you?
I ainít budginí till I had
You stay right where you
are and so help me God, Iím gonna do to you what Iíve been longing to do
to Phyllis for the last eleven years!
You just try! You---just---try!
I could lick any boy in the fifth grade in the whole state of Kansas!
You prove one thing, Lena
Martina. Women were always ball-busters.
Yeah! Come on. Try and sock
Why do we have to fight all
God only knows! I loathe
fighting. Dr. Bellagio tells me I should stand up for myself more than
Ya couldnít prove it by me.
If I did, I could cope with
those goddamned twins of mine.
What a way to talk about
your own children! If Mr. Huomo could only hear you.
Mr. Huomo. Mr. Huomo. Iím
beginning to think there isnít any Mr. Huomo.
You stop that kind of talk.
Well, was he there? At dinner?
Of course he wasnít at dinner.
He had too much work to do. But he was there in spirit.
If by spirit you mean those
eighty-five different paintings of him and his mother, he was there all
And his secretary was there.
Mr. St. Clair. You saw him yourself.
Mr. Huomo has as many secretaries
as self-portraits. What I want to see is Mr. Huomo in the flesh.
Maybe youíre not worthy to
Youíve seen him?
Yes, Iíve seen him! Many
I canít tell you. I canít
talk about it.
Get too choked up, is that
Now you listen here----!
Tell me about Mr. Huomo,
I just told you. I canít
talk about it.
I donít mean about your seeing
I mean about the man---his
Everyone knows his story.
Ah, but which version?
Never mind. Just make believe
Iím a visitor from---from out of the past. Iíve never even heard of Cyrus
J. Huomo. So you have to tell me. Start from the beginning. Please.
(KEVIN seats himself
in the large armchair. Spotlight falls on Lena. SHE relates the story with
great feeling and compassion.)
Many, many years ago, in
the reign of Zachary Taylor, a group of happy pioneers was heading westward
through the endless desert and the plagues of locusts and the long, long
nights and the long, long days. One long, long night while they were fast
asleep dreaming of a land where the sun would shine and the crops would
grow, suddenly out of nowhere descended a band of ugly redskin savages---screaming,
scalping, massacring---leaving not a breathing thing. Not a breathing thing
except one small baby---one tiny breath of lifeóall alone to be scorched
by the sun or devoured by the great sweeping vultures. Days passed, and
how the little baby stayed alive is one of the Good Lordís great miracles.
Then one day another train of happy pioneers passed some miles away. In
one wagon was a young handsome childless couple, Maude and Stanislau Huomo.
It was Maude---lovely delicate, sensitive Maude---who heard, as if in a
dream, the cries of the Little Baby Cyrus. Because she pleaded and begged,
Stanislau Huomo left the train and rode---rode like a demon toward the
cries Maude heard. There they found the Little Baby Cyrus, hungry, thirsty,
close to death, on the verge of being eaten by a bald eagle. Not an American
one---a Mexican one. A Mexican bald eagle. And so Maude and Stanislau took
the Little Baby Cyrus and nursed it back to health and brought it with
them to California.
(looking toward Kevin for approval)
Is that all right?
Stanislau and Maude Huomo
were very, very poor and lived on a tiny farm, which is still enshrined
at the foot of Casa Imperioso Hill. There the Little Baby Cyrus grew up,
healthy and strong and loved to pieces. He was called Honest Cy because
he could not tell a lie. Once he chopped the barn down, and when his father
returned home and said, "Who chopped the barn down?", Little Baby Cyrus
said, "It was I, Papa. I cannot tell a lie."
And why did he chop the barn
Oh, I forgot. Thatís the
most important part. He chopped the barn down for his motherís operation.
You see, his mother was desperately sick, and when the doctor was called,
he told the Little Baby Cyrus, "Little Baby Cyrus, either we operate immediately
or your mother will die." What was Cyrus to do? His father Stanislau was
away selling chicken livers around the countryside. And what a dark and
stormy night it was without enough light for the operation. So poor little
Cyrus had to make light. He chopped the barn down, hauled the wood into
the house and set up a mirror across from the fireplace, then set the wood
ablaze, and the mirror reflected the light, and thus it came to pass that
the doctor was able to operate and his mother was saved.
Little Cyrus worked very,
very hard on the farm, but was so hungry for learning, he would walk twenty
miles to school in the cold wet snow. Once we walked fifty miles to return
a nickel to a man he had accidentally overcharged when selling him half
a dozen chicken livers.
At the age of 18, he fell
in love and married lovely, delicate, sensitive Wilma Rutkin. But alas
in four years she contracted tuberculosis and died leaving Cyrus grief-stricken
and celibate for life. Then the Great Muskegon Wars came, and Cyrus volunteered
to fight in the service of his country against the same redskin savages
who had massacred his real parents. With a portrait of beloved Wilma Rutkin
in a locket around his neck, he rode off and soon rose from Private to
Colonel in six short months by dint of courage and hard work. Of course
everyone knows the Great Muskegon Wrestling Match.
After months of bloodshed,
Cyrus Huomo went alone and unarmed to the Muskegon camp and told the Evil
Red Chief, Manaloosa, "Manaloosa, the only way this can be settled fairly
is man-to-man. Bring on your bravest warrior." And Manaloosa brought on
his bravest warrior, six feet seven with arms like ham hocks. And Manaloosa
said, "Now you bring-um on bravest warrior." And Cyrus answered, "I am
not bravest warrior, but I shall fight as best I can." The fight lasted
four hours until at last, both men beaten and exhausted, the Redskin was
pinned to the ground, and the war was over. And so Cyrus returned to civilian
life and the tiny law practice he had begun. But he was not a successful
lawyer. He was too honest to be a successful lawyer. But honesty was soon
rewarded in the guise of Mr. Pietre Jones. To Cyrus Huomo, Mr. Pietre Jones
was just a little wrinkled old man who wanted someone to help him across
the street. Little did Cyrus realize that in only a few months Mr. Pietre
Jones would die leaving his great fortune to the kind young stranger who
had taken his arm and led him safely across the corner of Old Post Road
and Maple Avenue. And thus Cyrus Julian Huomo became a wealthy man. But
never once did he forget kindness and truth and honesty. And he dedicated
his life to founding libraries, helping the poor, the sick and the maimed
putting a copy of the Bible in every bar in America and---- Youíre laughing
(Lights come up full
now, and KEVIN is indeed laughing at her.)
I never would have believed
Youíre detestable! Laughing
at one of the most touching stories in the world!
(rising and going to her)
Lena, I was only trying
to find out what---
Donít touch me! Is that why
you had me tell you the story, so you could laugh at it! Miserable sewer-rat!
(SHE marches to the bathroom door in tears, then turns.)
Do you know why I even
bothered talking to you? Because Madame Spinoza at the Solvang Fair said
that in the smaller house of the great house Iíd meet a strange dark man.
And, boy oh boy, youíre the strangest dark man I ever met in my life!
(SHE slams both doors
and retires into her bedroom.)
I didnít mean to hurt her.
But hell. What a legacy to leave the world---flat bras and Cyrus J. Huomo!
Itís 8:35. By this time I should have been back in L.A. But what can I
do? I guess Iím stuck here. But for how long? And what will Phyllis say?
Oh, screw what Phyllisíll say. Thereís something about this place---something
so---evocative. It wasnít this afternoon---anyway, it wasnít like this.
Everything smells here. A dozen scents in the air---all mingling together
like several brilliant colors on an artistís palette. And the food! Iíve
never tasted food that so---tasted! Of course, when you think that all
that stuff I put in my stomach---when you think how it would be seventy
years later with all that bacteria---it makes you a little nauseous.
(From the left of
the corridor come HOUSEBOY and INEZ. HOUSEBOY motions toward Kevinís room.)
(SHE pulls out a
bill, hands it to him. HE regards it with delight, begins to exit backwards,
Donít "thanky" me. And for
Godís sake stand up straight. This place will one day be yours.
and goes off as INEZ taps at Kevinís door. KEVIN opens it. INEZ barges
past him, looks right and left to make sure no one else is there, then
breathes a sigh of relief and closes the door.)
Iíve got to make this fast
before they barge in. I hate unnecessary words, and I detest lies. So level
You can drop the act with
me. Iíve read The Book.
The Book! Capital T---capital
I havenít glanced at The
Bible in years.
The Bible! You are the living
end. You wonít let down for a second. What do I have to do, show you my
What other Card is there?
Iíve got sixteen. Discover,
American Express, Bankamericard, my health club, Vonís Club, my Real Estate
License card, Blue Cross, Blue ShieldÖ
(pulling out his wallet and letting the accordion file fall)
God, you give me chills down
my spine! I never heard a spiel like yours before. Coming from the world
of the future! What an approach! Why didn't any of us think of that? Comrade.
Then I was right!
I didnít mean "comrade".
I meant "comrade"?
You mean in case anyone is
No, I meant "Comrade" with
a question mark, because I voted Republican in the last election.
With a question mark or without
a question mark, what difference does it make when one meets a true revolutionist?
Dr. Bellagio, help me!
You mentioned him at dinner.
Dr. Bellagio. What a perfect satirical name!
Itís a street in Bel Air.
You make up the most wonderful
Itís not his real name. His
real name is Fink. I donít know what Bel Airís real name is.
Heís a superb analyst, but
he found it exceedingly difficult when people would ask people at cocktail
parties who their analyst was, and the people would answer, "Aaron Fink."
What a perfect satirical
concept to combat the bourgeois burgeonings of psychoanalytical hogwash!
But itís the truth---
How wondrous to have created
such a consummate fascist ignoramus with no social conscience! Such a complete
purveyor of individualist claptrap in a world crying, sobbing, dying for
What the devil are you
at San Basilica?
Youíre colossal! You ask
me! Iím doing the same thing youíre doing---infiltrating.
In other words youíre a poor
girl---possibly from New Yorkís lower East Side---who has wormed her way
in and is standing by with envy at the rich.
I canít stand it! Youíre
Iím right, you mean.
I mean youíre right in rebuttal---youíre
always right in rebuttal---youíre the most fantastic rebutalist Iíve ever
seen! A poor girl from the lower East Side! You knew all along who I was.
(checking his notes)
Inez. Thatís all I got.
Come on, you got more, you
old genius. You got Inez Gouterman.
I couldnít read the "Gouter"
That doesnít mean anything
I canít get over you---pretending
you donít know!
Herman Gouterman of Goutermanís
Fancy Player Pianos?
Oh, that Gouterman.
I have a feeling this
is another Edmund Carlton.
A poor girl from the lower
Then why, may I ask, are
you a Communist?
Perfect! Test me! Keep testing
Why do I find myself
longing for Lena Martina?
I am a Communist because,
unlike most of the members of the Party, I know the decaying, maggot-infested
capitalistic society from within! I know what itís like to wake up in the
morning and come down a gilded gingerbread staircase into a gilded gingerbread
dining room and sit at a gilded gingerbread table and eat course after
course of rich, heavy, disgusting food wrung out of the lifeís blood of
exploited migratory workers! Rich, heavy, disgusting food which has done
nothing but shorten their lives and make mine a nightmare of crash diets
and layers of fat! I know what itís like to listen to an old contemptible
mossback chiseling profiteer capitalist bastard as he sits at each meal
and gorges himself and uses people and bullies people and calls me "Fatso"
and keeps playing those goddamned player pianos! Ah, yes, my young clever
handsome friend, I know. But enough about me. Itís you who can change everything!
I couldnít have cared less
about you when you first sat down to dinner with that bleached blonde Dumb
Dora. But then you said something---before you spoke of stepping back from
the future. Something about Old Cockatrice.
Come on, please. No more
of that. We havenít got time.
No more of what?
phony bloated plutocrat!
All I said wasÖ
All you said! When Miss Jukes
looked up and batted her big dumb brown lashes and cooed, "Which one of
the paintings do you like best?" and what did you say?
What did I say?
You know goddamned well what
you said: "the one by the outhouse".
Well, yes, I---
Then you know! And you have
Well, there was a book, a
best-seller a few years back. The Huomo Myth: A Portrait in Mass Ingenuousness.
You donít have to give me
that future baloney. Just level with me about Huomo.
I told you. Certain things
have been discovered----
What things? You must tell
me. As long as thereís a lie like this there can be no enlightened America!
(Sounds are heard outside. INEZ advances to the window.)
Damn it, theyíre coming!
Of course here! You absolutely
fascinated them They want to learn more.
(Desperately searching the room, SHE opens the bathroom door and beckons
Quick, in here!
Donít ask questions!
(KEVIN enters the
bathroom and INEZ locks both doors.)
But we donít have time for
me to tell you what I know----
Huomo can wait a second.
Youíre the most intriguing man Iíve met in years. Take me.
Take me---Iím yours!
But the others---itís a two
minute walk up the steps and through the corridor!
So? How long does taking
(KEVINís mouth falls