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Scene Three


The stage is dark. A spotlight falls on Lena and another on Kevin in Lenaís room in approximately the same positions we left them. Only the chairs they are tied to are no longer the ornate antiques of the past, but simple, ordinary, functional wooden chairs. Except for them, the room is bare, having been stripped of all its finery.
 
 
KEVIN
Lena?

LENA

Huh?

KEVIN

What are you thinking about?

LENA

The same as always.

KEVIN

You still believe.

LENA

Heíll come, and heíll save us.

KEVIN

Itís been a long time, and he hasnít come.

LENA

That doesnít make any difference.

KEVIN

Itís difficult to say how long a time itís been.

LENA

They never let the light in.

KEVIN

Even so, what has it been---a century, a decade, a year, a weekend? And---when youíre not thinking of him---what do you think about?

LENA

Things.

KEVIN

What things?

LENA

(shrugging) Things.

KEVIN

Tell me, Lena.

LENA

I canít.

KEVIN

You must tell me. Iíve never had so much time to think before. And it frightens me. I donít like what I think about. No, that isnít quite true. Itís more that I donít like not thinking about things. At first I still tried to apply logic. I wanted to know where everyone outside was, where your father was, and why didnít he save us if he knew where you were, and he should have known where you were because he asked Mr. Huomo to let you stay here for the weekend. But then if there is no Mr. Huomo, how could he have asked Mr. Huomo---therefore he didnít know where you were and therefore he couldnít save us. So you see why I gave up logic. Logic can always be defeated by logic. Then, after I gave up logic, I thought of Phyllis and the twins and Dr. Bellagio and Versailles Villages. But they couldnít sustain me for long. Then I thought of everything thatís happened since the bus left me here at San Basilica---of Inez Gouterman and Les Farnsworth and The Huomo Myth and the Bas-Relief Scroll. I thought maybe because of what we sometimes overhear in the hallway and outside, I thought maybe time can pass at different speeds in different places. Like in this room itís still the weekend and in the next room itís a century later. But all that makes me very dizzy, and in a way it frightens me. And so the void comes, the emptiness---and that is more frightening. But you know what sustains me? You know what I fill the void with?

LENA

What?

KEVIN

Ceylon.

LENA

What?

KEVIN

Ceylon with its sultry moonlit nights and languid palms. Ceylon with its orange sunsets and emerald mornings. I make up stories, I rearrange the facts. What if the note had not fallen into the hands of Anna Sing? What if Hans was the one who betrayed you? What if he had been in love with Anna Sing?

LENA

Hans in love with that skinny, slimy, slit-eyed Chink? Whatsamatter, you crazy or something?

KEVIN

Thatís the trouble, Lena. I donít know where to go from there, and thatís why the emptiness, the void. You see, I have no imagination. Outside of my own hostile world---in which I review and re-review all the things I should have said and done that I didnít---outside of my sexual fantasies---I have no imagination. The real world had to be the real world, and the make-believe world wasnít even for children anymore. And we did this to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We also protected ourselves from beauty, romance, involvement. I would trade any part---any part of that real world I knew for one evening---just one evening---with you in Runaway Wives or Carlton Manor or on that non-stop solo flight from Cincinnati to Orange, New Jersey. I hear someone coming.
  (HOUSEBOY, HOUSEBOYíS WIFE, GARDENER, GARDENERíS WIFE, GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW and STEWARD enter from stage right led by INEZ. All are dressed differently. Asians no longer wear the costumes of servants, but conventional unstylish business clothes. INEZ, however, is in a wide skirt, a Persian wool Cossack hat and matching Persian wool jacket. The lights come up in Kevinís room. It, too, has been stripped of all its finery and now contains a low Japanese table with cushions surrounding it and a myriad assortment of artificial flowers choking every corner of the room.)
 
INEZ
Yes, my comrades, we are returning to the room in which our empire was first conceived. What a fitting place to celebrate our anniversary!
  (SHE leads them into the room. THEY take places around the table. GARDENERíS WIFE goes to a corner, removes glasses and sake from a cabinet and proceeds to pour and distribute.)
 
INEZ
We had some difficult times, comrades, but look how weíve come through! When I think of the humble beginnings---how we had only an ideal and a dream--- No, I will take nothing but the most meager credit. I was the guide, so to speak, but you, my dear comrades, were the power. Yes, itís true that I contributed the fortune my father left when he choked to death at the breakfast table on a buckwheat pancake---a fortune in that opiate for the masses, player-pianos---and itís true, also, that I kept the factory running and producing those ghastly babbling instruments in order to pour funds into this---the Great Utopia---and itís true that most of the real ideas were mine. But no! I shall take no credit. It is you, my dear comrades, who achieved it all---by following my directives. Oh, we had our conflicts and disappointments to be sure. At the beginning we thought it would be fine to invite all your relatives and friends from all parts of the world to live here at Ing Pandawan, which, as we all know, means The Peopleís Blood in Mindanoan. And it would have been perfectly harmless had all your relatives and friends not brought their relatives and friends. But no matter. After the initial civil strife, starvation and bloodshed, we realized we could not live at Ing Pandawan and draw a curtain around us to protect us from the corruption and filth of the outside world. We know, also, that the land could only provide us with a certain amount of sustenance---and to maintain our strength and our dream, we must industrialize. Oh, we had many false steps. We found that the antique cotton gin, the only machine we could then afford in the world market, did not do all we hoped it would do. Mainly because we could separate the cotton quicker and cheaper by hand. As a result, many of our fellow comrades accused us of exploiting them. But I shall say no more about those dear, departed cotton-pickers. For equally as important was the gradually increasing knowledge that cotton doesnít grow in this climate. Ah, but no matter. Step by step, trial and error, one bounces back higher than before. And we did bounce back! Converting all the bathtubs at Ing Pandawan into distilleries may not have been a complete success, but nor was it a complete failure. It was doomed, I think, only by our enthusiasm. We should have left at least one tub for bathing. Since you, my dear comrades, are of a finer, more sensitive race with a far keener and deeper olfactory sense, I realize that the smell of unwashed flesh for so long a period of time, while I hardly noticed it, asphyxiated at least a hundred and fifty of our dear workers, Ah, but live and learn! It was when we sat down, exhausted, hungry and overworked, and, if you will permit a momentary nudge of sleeping dogs, just a trifle testy, it was then we figured scientifically chart by chart what the world outside was crying for---it was then, dear comrades, that we hit upon the commodity that not only has true meaning for us and the world, but which has also made us rich, famous and happy, happy, happy! And that commodity, of course, is artificial flowers! Artificial flowers---our artificial flowers---which have carried artificial flower making to its apotheosis---flowers which look more real than real flowers, last forever, and smell better than real flowers because they do not smell at all. No, they do not smell at all and fill a house with heady odors which lead to the three esses---sin, sex and sinusitis. But although we have cornered the artificial flower market of the world and have more money now than the rotten capitalists who owned Ing Pandawan before us, ours has remained a cause---not a mere bourgeois racketeering self-interested monopoly. Our artificial flowers have done what no other industry could achieve! They have freed the worldís gardens for the production of FOOD! To you, dear comrades. The toast is to you!
  (ALL lift glasses and drink. INEZ gags, clutches her throat and drops to the floor dead. When the Servants speak, they all speak in perfect, unaccented English.)
 
GARDENERíS WIFE
Well, I thought she would never drink.

GARDENER

(to Steward) Take the body away. It still smells of the distillery days.
  (STEWARD drags body out the door and into the hall, then exits stage right.)
 
HOUSEBOY
(toasting sardonically) To all us happy, happy comrades.

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

We were happy once.

GARDENER

When we were building and struggling, but now it is day unto day, worse than long ago when we were nothing.

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

Silence, Fumiko! We must not speak so. Someone shall overhear us.

GARDENER

Who can overhear us besides the two in there?

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

We are expecting many visitors---visitors who look up to us, who have come to see the way we live and what we have achieved.

HOUSEBOY

Let them come! Let them see!

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

You have had enough to drink.

HOUSEBOY

Look who dares to tell me I have had enough to drink---I, your leader!
  (HE laughs uncontrollably, sadly. STEWARD returns, reseats himself at the table.)
 
GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW
Fool! (to the others) Which brings us to the two in there.
  (In Lenaís room, SHE and KEVIN are straining to hear each word.)
 
HOUSEBOY
What of them?

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

They have served their purpose.

GARDENERíS WIFE

Yes, it has been very wise to use them as an example of the old decadent way of life.

HOUSEBOY

Then we let them go.

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

Are you mad? One does not let enemies go.

HOUSEBOY

But if they were enemies once, they are powerless now.

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

It is thinking like that which makes strong communes weak.

HOUSEBOY

But they would have let usgo.

GARDENERíS WIFE

That is why they are where they are.

HOUSEBOY

No, I am sick of killing and bloodshed.

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

I am sorry to hear you say that, Hifu. Because you have been chosen to kill them.
  (LENA and KEVIN react. HOUSEBOY jumps to his feet.)


HOUSEBOY

Never!

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

Do not make Ohu do it---

HOUSEBOY

I am your leader! (ALL except HOUSEBOYíS WIFE laugh.) I am! Your leader!

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

You are a fool! (withdrawing a pistol from her tunic) It is either them---or you.
  (SHE rises. OTHERS follow.)


GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

We will give you exactly seven minutes.
  (OTHERS exit leaving Houseboy alone. HE paces the room, deeply troubled, attempting to work up enough courage. Lights rise further in Lenaís room.)
 
KEVIN
And it seems like only yesterday you were singing with him: Oshie got rings on her fingers,
Bells on her toes---
Well, the time is up, Lena. Whatever time it is---no matter how protracted or diminished or convoluted---

LENA

It isnít up.

KEVIN

But I want to say something to you---I want to say---I love you, Lena.

LENA

The time isnít up!

KEVIN

Yes, it is, and we must speak quickly. Do you love me, Lena? Let me die with that knowledge. I say "die," because Iím convinced that I can never get back to wherever it is I was. Therefore wherever I am I remain mortal, and whatever is mortal dies. So tell me if you love me, Lena. Even if you donít, I love you. Iím not just saying that so you can say you love me. I used to do that. But I donít anymore. Iíd like you to say you love me, but you donít have to, because I love you anyway. But do you love me?

LENA

Whatdya talking all that junk for? We oughta be thinking of ways to escape.

KEVIN

Escape?

LENA

Whatdya think I been thinking about all this time?

KEVIN

Well---I---

LENA

While you been wasting all that time figuring out what everything means, I been working.

KEVIN

And?

LENA

I think I got it. When that door opens and in walks the enemy, he says, "Aha!" And you say, "Gimme a cigarette---a dying man has a last wish." Then he gives you a cigarette, and as you smoke it, slowly, slowly, you eye him carefully, so carefully you make him feel uncomfortable, until he says, "Thatís enough smoking!" Then, just as he is about to pull the cigarette from your mouth, you lunge forward and hit him in the belly, making certain the lighted end catches onto his shirt or his trousers or anywhere it can go up in flames. Then you wriggle close to the flames and let them burn through the ropes on your hands---then you free your feet and come and free me and ZOOMO---off we go!

KEVIN

Really?

LENA

Now you got that?

KEVIN

Yeah? I mean yeah.

LENA

Okay---let Ďer rip!
  (HOUSEBOY unlocks the bathroom doors and enters.)


HOUSEBOY

I am afraid I come on a most unpleasant mission.

LENA

(to Kevin) Well?

KEVIN

He didnít say, "Aha!"

HOUSEBOY

Please do not think poorly of me. It is not I who wish to do this.

LENA

(whispering) Gawhead---ask!

HOUSEBOY

I do not enjoy---

KEVIN

A cigarette please? A dying man has a last wish.

HOUSEBOY

Yes. Yes, of course. (HE reaches in his jacket pocket, extracts a cigarette, puts it in Kevinís mouth.) Forgive me. I cannot let your wrists free, (HE lights the cigarette.)


LENA

Slowly---slowly---carefully---
  (KEVIN begins a terrible siege of coughing. HOUSEBOY grabs cigarette from his mouth so that he will not burn himself.)
 
LENA
Whatsamatter now?

KEVIN

I forgot. I gave up smoking.

LENA

Oh, Christ!

KEVIN

We learned how dangerous it is.

HOUSEBOY

You do not know how painful this is for me.

LENA

Yeah, can you imagine how we feel?

KEVIN

But why me?

HOUSEBOY

I beg your pardon?

KEVIN

Why me?

LENA

Here we go again!

HOUSEBOY

You are the enemy.

KEVIN

I donít mean that. I mean everything from the time the bus left me here. Why have I been singled out to witness all this? There must be some reason.

HOUSEBOY

Some reason? Perhaps that is where you make your first mistake. (KEVIN knits his brow in confusion.) Murder is a terrible thing, and I do not approve. But what am I to do? A leader is only a reflection of his people. He does not change his people. He bends with them as a poplar in the wind. I remember you both fondly. We sang sings together--- Dasa long since youíve been away---
But there is no more singing.


KEVIN

Iím sorry, Lena.

LENA

Oh, you---!

KEVIN

Maybe thereís something else I can do.

LENA

Pray!

KEVIN

Pray?

LENA

To Mr. Huomo! Pray hard! Pray for help!

KEVIN

Why not? I still believe he existed. And how do I know The Huomo Myth is really true? Maybe Lenaís version is as true as any version.

LENA

Donít think! Pray!
  (HOUSEBOY raises the pistol. LENA and KEVIN sit with their eyes shut tightly, praying.)
 
HOUSEBOY
Forgive me, my friends---
  (HE raises the pistol to shoot. All at once, one of the beams from the ceiling crashes down on his head. HE drops to the floor. KEVIN opens his eyes in disbelief.)
 
LENA
Hurry! The cigarette!

KEVIN

What cigarette?

LENA

The one he took out of your mouth because you gave up smoking, you dummy! Itís there in the ashtray---still lit. (KEVIN forces the chair bit by bit toward the ashtray.) And all the time you gotta keep saying, "I believe! I believe!"

KEVIN

(as he goes about the task of raising the rope on his wrist to reach the cigarette) I believe---I believe---I believe---

LENA

With feeling. As if you really believed.

KEVIN

If he can do that, I believe. (At last HE gets the rope to burn enough to separate. Then HE unties his feet, hurries to Lena and unties her.)
 
LENA
Quick! Out this way! (SHE leads him through the bathroom doors, into his old room. SHE sees the artificial flowers for the first time.) Ugh! (SHE directs him through the door to the hallway.) The other entrance!

KEVIN

But where will we go?

LENA

Anywhere---to Solvang---Santa Barbara---

KEVIN

But who knows what weíll find? What era will we wind up in? Maybe theyíve taken over Solvang and Santa Barbara. Maybe as soon as we get past the gatehouse, your face will fall like that woman in Lost Horizon. Or mine! Maybe there isnít anything out there.

LENA

Then why dontcha stay here?

KEVIN

No!

LENA

Then you know what to say.

KEVIN

Yes. I believe, Lena, I believe. And who knows? When we get to Hollywood maybe Thomas Ince will want me for the male lead in Runaway Husbands.
  (In Lenaís room, HOUSEBOY makes a last concerted effort to crawl past the door and into the hallway. HE raises the pistol and shoots. The bullet hits Lena. SHE falls. KEVIN pounces on Houseboy, wrests the gun from him. In the scuffle, HOUSEBOY is shot. KEVIN runs back to Lena.)
 
KEVIN
Lena! (dropping to his knees, holding her head in his arms) Oh, Lena!

LENA

(expiring) I---I love you---

KEVIN

(tears streaming down his face) Oh, no! No! (kissing her lips and rising slowly) But why you? You believed!
  (HE hears sounds of commotion offstage. HE races to the exit to the left. In a moment, GARDENER, GARDENERíS WIFE, GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW, STEWARD and HOUSEBOYíS WIFE come running on from the right. GARDENERíS WIFE goes to Lena; HOUSEBOYíS WIFE to Houseboy.)
 
GARDENER
Quick! Call the guards!

GARDENERíS WIFE

Sheís dead.

GARDENER

Get her out of here.
  (GARDENERíS WIFE and GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW help carry the body offstage, then return.)
 
STEWARD
(at the phone in Lenaís room) Corinne, call the guards! (clicking the base) The lineís dead.

GARDENER

Impossible! (grabbing the phone, then slamming it down) Quick! Get the guards!

STEWARD

(rushing offstage right) Guards! Guards! One of the decadent two has escaped!

GARDENERíS WIFE

(at the window) It is too late. He is past the foot of Casa Imperioso Hill. Casa Imperioso Hill? Why did I say that?

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

(to Houseboyís lifeless body) Fool!

GARDENER

Is he---?

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

Yes.

GARDENER

Poor Hifu.

GARDENERíS WIFE

What will the visitors say when they arrive to observe our successful commune?

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

Perhaps they will say, "Poor Hifu".

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

They will say "stupid, incompetent, bungling Hifu".

GARDENER

No. They will not say that. They will praise and revere him.

GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW

Have you lost your senses?

GARDENER

And they will never say "Hifu". For his name was not Hifu.

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

His name was Ohu.

GARDENERíS WIFE

And sometimes Dasa and Oshie and Allah---

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

Ohu, beautiful doll,
You great big beautiful doll---


GARDENER

Great noble Ouishil.

GARDENERíS WIFE

Ouishil?

GARDENER

Ouishil overcome!
Ouishil overcome!


HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

Ouishil.

GARDENER

They will tell of how Ouishil was born of lowly peasants, poor, oppressed peasants who labored for seven cents a week in a sardine factory in Monterrey.

HOUSEBOYíS WIFE

He was born in Mindanao. His mother was an actress.

GARDENER

He was born in the ladiesí room of that sardine factory during a strike. A gory, murderous strike in which the capitalist bosses and their henchmen police wiped out every living worker in the factory.

GARDENERíS WIFE

Every living worker except the Little Comrade Ouishil.

GARDENER

The Little Comrade Ouishil was discovered close to death by a poor Mexican janitor who had come to clean the room.

GARDENERíS WIFE

This janitor, Arozco Ortega, took the Little Comrade Ouishil home to his wife, his childless wife, who loved the boy as she would her own son.

GARDENER

And the Little Comrade Ouishil grew up strong and courageous and incapable of telling a lie.

GARDENERíS WIFE

And once when his father, the good Arozco Ortega, was out cleaning the sardine factory lavatories, the Little Comrade Ouishilís mother fell ill and they called for the doctor. And the doctor, a poor black man disbarred from the AMA for advocating socialized medicine said, "Oh, Little Comrade Ouishil, your mother must have an operation immediately---
  (THEY are all listening to the story with fascination and awe.)
 

SLOW CURTAIN