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.
What are you thinking about?
The same as always.
You still believe.
Heíll come, and heíll save
Itís been a long time, and
he hasnít come.
That doesnít make any difference.
Itís difficult to say how
long a time itís been.
They never let the light
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?
Tell me, Lena.
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?
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?
Hans in love with that skinny,
slimy, slit-eyed Chink? Whatsamatter, you crazy or something?
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.
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.)
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
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.)
Well, I thought she would
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.)
To all us happy, happy comrades.
We were happy once.
When we were building and
struggling, but now it is day unto day, worse than long ago when we were
Silence, Fumiko! We must
not speak so. Someone shall overhear us.
Who can overhear us besides
the two in there?
We are expecting many visitors---visitors
who look up to us, who have come to see the way we live and what we have
Let them come! Let them see!
You have had enough to drink.
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.)
(to the others)
Which brings us to the two
(In Lenaís room,
SHE and KEVIN are straining to hear each word.)
What of them?
They have served their purpose.
Yes, it has been very wise
to use them as an example of the old decadent way of life.
Then we let them go.
Are you mad? One does not
let enemies go.
But if they were enemies
once, they are powerless now.
It is thinking like that
which makes strong communes weak.
But they would have let usgo.
That is why they are where
No, I am sick of killing
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.)
Do not make Ohu do it---
I am your leader!
(ALL except HOUSEBOYíS
I am! Your leader!
You are a fool!
(withdrawing a pistol
from her tunic)
It is either them---or you.
(SHE rises. OTHERS
We will give you exactly
(OTHERS exit leaving
Houseboy alone. HE paces the room, deeply troubled, attempting to work
up enough courage. Lights rise further in Lenaís room.)
And it seems like only yesterday
you were singing with him:
Oshie got rings on
Bells on her toes---
Well, the time is up, Lena.
Whatever time it is---no matter how protracted or diminished or convoluted---
It isnít up.
But I want to say something
to you---I want to say---I love you, Lena.
The time isnít up!
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?
Whatdya talking all that
junk for? We oughta be thinking of ways to escape.
Whatdya think I been thinking
about all this time?
While you been wasting all
that time figuring out what everything means, I been working.
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
Now you got that?
Yeah? I mean yeah.
Okay---let Ďer rip!
the bathroom doors and enters.)
I am afraid I come on a most
He didnít say, "Aha!"
Please do not think poorly
of me. It is not I who wish to do this.
I do not enjoy---
A cigarette please? A dying
man has a last wish.
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.)
(KEVIN begins a terrible
siege of coughing. HOUSEBOY grabs cigarette from his mouth so that he will
not burn himself.)
I forgot. I gave up smoking.
We learned how dangerous
You do not know how painful
this is for me.
Yeah, can you imagine how
But why me?
I beg your pardon?
Here we go again!
You are the enemy.
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.
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
But there is no more
Iím sorry, Lena.
Maybe thereís something else
I can do.
To Mr. Huomo! Pray hard!
Pray for help!
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.
Donít think! Pray!
the pistol. LENA and KEVIN sit with their eyes shut tightly, praying.)
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.)
Hurry! The cigarette!
The one he took out of your
mouth because you gave up smoking, you dummy! Itís there in the ashtray---still
(KEVIN forces the
chair bit by bit toward the ashtray.)
And all the time you gotta
keep saying, "I believe! I believe!"
(as he goes about
the task of raising the rope on his wrist to reach the cigarette)
I believe---I believe---I
With feeling. As if you really
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.)
Quick! Out this way!
(SHE leads him through
the bathroom doors, into his old room. SHE sees the artificial flowers
for the first time.)
(SHE directs him
through the door to the hallway.)
The other entrance!
But where will we go?
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.
Then why dontcha stay here?
Then you know what to say.
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.)
(dropping to his
knees, holding her head in his arms)
I---I love you---
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.)
Quick! Call the guards!
Get her out of here.
and GARDENERíS MOTHER-IN-LAW help carry the body offstage, then return.)
(at the phone in
Corinne, call the guards!
(clicking the base)
The lineís dead.
(grabbing the phone,
then slamming it down)
Quick! Get the guards!
Guards! Guards! One of the
decadent two has escaped!
(at the window)
It is too late. He is past
the foot of Casa Imperioso Hill. Casa Imperioso Hill? Why did I say that?
(to Houseboyís lifeless
What will the visitors say
when they arrive to observe our successful commune?
Perhaps they will say, "Poor
They will say "stupid, incompetent,
No. They will not say that.
They will praise and revere him.
Have you lost your senses?
And they will never say "Hifu".
For his name was not Hifu.
His name was Ohu.
And sometimes Dasa and Oshie
Ohu, beautiful doll,
You great big beautiful
Great noble Ouishil.
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.
He was born in Mindanao.
His mother was an actress.
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.
Every living worker except
the Little Comrade Ouishil.
The Little Comrade Ouishil
was discovered close to death by a poor Mexican janitor who had come to
clean the room.
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.
And the Little Comrade Ouishil
grew up strong and courageous and incapable of telling a lie.
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.)