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￭ Escape Gates
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2012-11-20 | |
fat Swiss. The Cat’s Gorge
Next to the Centre, on their corridor, Harry and Paul. In front of them and behind them, everything is extremely white. Nothing else.
Harry: Here you are dying again.
Paul: And so are you.
Harry: Not me. You.
Paul: You, you.
Harry: Not me, you.
Paul: You. Not me.
Harry: You crazy one, you are not four years old anymore.
Paul: How old am I?
Harry: Stop it.
Paul: You should stop it first.
Harry: Shut up, fuck you.
Paul: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.
Harry: Paul, I mean it. You still believe in something, don’t you?
Paul: Fuck your question, it is always the same. I am in the twenty-eighth week before coming back. I am bored to death, yes, bored …
Harry: Paul, we shall meet here again some seventy years from now on. It is a simple question. A direct question.
Paul: It lasts longer and longer.
Harry: They call it "increased life expectancy”. You, bastard! Why did it fall upon me to make my shifts with a …
Harry: A mediocre and vulgar guy.
Paul: You could have chosen Homer.
Harry: Good joke. I could have chosen fucking....
Paul: I believe …
Paul (moving away from him): In…
Harry, now Gore, o possible rotation.
Gore: I was born in my father and mother’s family. The same father and the same mother. Childhood. The same childhood and the same adolescence, with petty differences. When I am twenty years old, I turn into something else. Now I am a doctor. A few words about patients. Almost all of them expect me to make wonders. About me. I learnt enough to afford a central practice, well lit, paved with marble slabs, full with paintings. And how I like to look at it. I learnt enough to be able to understand colours. Not necessarily, the forms. About diseases. Some can be cured by themselves, others can never be cured. Light is very important. I am not very good at light. There are specialists who know where it has to fall. For every shade there is an angle. Knowledge. Never, never will he have a practice downtown, he is too much into bacteria, and his words are cheap. My words are heavy. Yesterday I whispered to a patient, "You will die if you do not have surgery. If I do not operate on you, your chances dwindle.” Knowing that I like painting, he brought me a Chagall. If he is operated on, I do not give him more than a year. You must have a chance. In this comeback, my dream is to collect all the Chagall. Emotionally, I am an orphan. What a mess! I have a superb Albanian wife. She knows about my mistress, as I know about her bald man. He fucks her at my place, on Monday and Thursday. When I am on duty at hospital. Such a wretch! Otherwise ... she is always lost in her thoughts. She keeps having unbearably painful temples which I, the great medicine man, cannot cure. We both throw things. We often pay visits to our personal shrinks. Top shrinks, of course. They have downtown offices paved with marble slabs, full with paintings.
Paul, now Dusan.
Dusan: Two shots into one’s nape. Do not be sorry for them. No pity for them. No mercy. I could have been in the same class with one of these suckers at the Polytechnic School. We might have listened to some rock concert in the capital, we might have been roommates. In fours, in that hostel with wardrobes stinking tallow. In fours. But with almost no patriotic feelings ever since. Too many whores and jerks. I used to think, while studying about the foundations, there, at the Polytechnic School, how I, Dusan, the skinny student, one of the four Christians without a scholarship, would improve everything. In the army, as an officer, or in the Party, I, Dusan, the skinny student, might have improved everything. Don’t put the barrel on your skin. You risk getting hurt. Or worse, your hand will smell burnt gunpowder. I like to do it slowly. I sit here on the terrace with a cognac, I light my pipe while I look into their eyes, then I show them the note. Apparently, a liberation certificate. Full of trust and hope, they all rush to that narrow and long alley. I like very much the alley, as it is, bordered with dwarf shrubs and full of sparrows. At its end one might expect to hear the little metal gate banging and frightening the frail birds, as usual. When the boys are about to get to the big boulevard, I give them a short slap on their necks. Doctor! I have not begun this war. And if we have to do the cleaning now, why wouldn’t you work as well? Pull that trigger, fuck you. You are not better than me, at all.
Harry, now Gore.
Gore: When I entered here... Here it is my parents’ former house. My house. Dusan, the civilian commander of the camp. My villa, my former paradise, is now an extermination camp. That caddie told me, "Your wife is not coming any longer. She’s returned to her people. To her Albanian people. ” Then he gave me orders, in my own house, "Give me a break, guy, you with your airs that you are a great surgeon. Take your gun and help me get rid of these, at night others are coming. And they will keep coming until we get rid of them all.” It had been a good day, another successful operation, another Chagall; I had listened to the local and the national news. Not a word about any conflict. On the Hunela Street my only neighbor, a reddish woman, waved at me in a timid and funny way. I did not understand then. Of course, the garbage people had passed by, but, shockingly, the container was upside down in a blood puddle at the street end of the alley. Nothing. No suspicion that somebody could have started a war on such a perfect day. That here, in the town where everybody respects me, somebody could have dared to requisition my villa in order to transform it into an extermination camp. I immediately called my friends, my former patients. The chief of the police, the general district attorney, and the mayor ... All their telephones lines were engaged. Dusan threw the wine glass at me furiously, my wine went directly between my eyes, "They are into it, all of them. I belong to the project. Take the gun and do what I told you to do.”
Harry: Haven’t you got in?
Paul: Where the hell is it?
Harry: Where is it, where is it? Would I have been here if I found it? I thought you were luckier.
Paul: Stop fretting about the place. I have not found it, neither have you, nor I. Consequently, it does not exist.
Harry: No, it does not, it doesn’t … Since we were children, we have been told that there is a way out.
Paul: And what does this have to do with …?
Harry: We may not see it, for they are shut up (he points to his eyes)
Paul: And do you still have them shut up?
Harry: Me? Not, at all.
Paul: I opened them as soon as I got away from that terrible rabble.
Harry: I have not closed them at all. I was looking through my eyelashes. Nobody was aware. Although some bent over me several times. They even put mirrors on my nostrils and their ear to my lips.
Paul: Do you want me to believe that you were so professional and were awake all this time?
Harry: Half awake. Ha, ha, ha! Where is it, you fucking man? This is the twenty-eighth week. If I fail this time again, I will kill myself.
Paul: You will not be able. This idea – to kill yourself – is the silliest thing you could say.
Harry: I can barely stand you. You have no will. At least, stretch your hands and touch everything, you may find it.
Paul: Shit. I may find a big shit. Did you play this stupid game when you were a child?
Harry: I am asking you for the fifty-ninth time, “Don’t you think they have double-crossed us all this time?
Paul: What do you mean?
Harry: What if you are right and there is no door?
Paul: I did not mean it.
Harry: What if there is nothing?
Paul: Nothing at all?
Harry: Yes, nothing at all. Look at the thing with the gate, the guy standing there and checking upon papers … what, whom… I have never bought this.
Paul: Neither have I listened to it.
Harry: That is why you are mean whenever you come back.
Paul: And that is why it is worse that I have not felt the need to believe in something, in somebody.
Harry: I have always been in doubt.
Paul: Fuck your doubts.
Harry: And if you opened them immediately, who else did you see over there?
Paul: They taught me to believe. Then they taught me not to believe. Then to believe again. Then again, not to believe…
only I retired in time! As I am the last one, I have no offspring… One of my ancestors guillotined the king. Poets, merchants, scientists
, priests, whores… For generations, my family does the cleaning, for generations we have beheaded. We are hand in hand with Harry: Were they, the Albanians?
Paul: What the hell, fuck you!
Harry: Have you seen any of their women? Staggering, their lips had got blue.
Paul: Shut up, you wretched man. And they did a lot of stupid things. Similarly stupid things were done by others before, all the time…
Harry: One of those children wearing a white fez, sad, and yellow with hunger.
Paul: I can teach you how to forget, scum.
Harry: You fool! Have you forgotten? Here you cannot touch me.
Paul: I can.
Harry: No, you cannot.
Paul: Whom did you see? I heard that five minutes ago Chagall had passed by on the corridor.
Harry: Shit. He passed by a long time ago.
Paul: Nonsense. How can he enter if there is nothing?
Harry: You say your eyes are wide open.
Paul: And so are mine.
Harry: And so are mine.
Harry: If we do not see it, this does not mean that it does not exist. Tell me, please, whom did you see in the other world?
Paul: A lot of suckers from the family. They had emptied half of my wardrobes two minutes after …
Harry: Don’t you tell me?! They scratched all my walls.
Paul: The Armani suits, the Gucci shoes and the Rolex watches, they are all gone. I am as poor as a church mouse.
Harry: Come on … You are not as poor as a church mouse. You have been careful enough to put something away.
Paul: Me? Everything that I have gathered from those tatterdemalions, about half a ton of gold prostheses was left there. I could not take anything with me. I hope to come back or they will get verdigris in the banks of the
Harry: Did the Swiss hide it?
Paul: Of course. They take everything. Fuck everybody else! And then, there was no name on the molars, neither Ahmed, nor Khalid. And we left nothing in the capital.
Harry: You mean, nothing?
Paul: Our Minister for Internal Affairs is looking for you by the book.
Harry: Don’t you tell me (going a bit farther)?
Paul: Still I buried something here and something over there (going a bit farther).
Paul: Do you think I am a fool? Nobody will find anything. They are mass … mass places.
Harry: Mass graves, you stupid fellow...
Paul, now Sam, a great oilman, is on the phone in his office.
Sam: It broke. I got it. How deep? Four thousand? Tbe ocean is big … Does it leak? Fuck! What are whales doing in the area where I extract oil? Drive them away! Have them watched by sonars! And the sharks? What about the sharks? … Our news channels should present some cases, people torn to pieces in various places all over the world. What aren’t they? Aggressive? Make up stories! Use an aquatic seesaw! In the countries… where the ecological activists are the angriest. Give them daily as many cases with crazy sharks as possible …. (Long break) Very well, very well! You let me know when you close it down. Bye! Hello … Say it again! What? You are fired! You incompetent donkey! Sun, you take over! Give me Sun! Hello! I will call them! You are the new chief of the platform! No, you will do your best! You will report to me in six hours! Oh, no, in four hours, that you have turned it off. I will call. You must understand, I will not to throw my money into the ocean! Willy-nilly, every hour I pomp into that dank water twenty-seven million dollars! It is unacceptable that I lose so much oil! (Short break.) What is this, ecological problems? Fuck them! Can’t you see that my money is dripping into that endless shit? I will call, now you listen to me carefully! Turn it off. I will take care of everything else. (Short break). Who? CNN? Damn that fucking CNN! This is about national security! Our planes have nothing to swallow! Wait a minute! (He is on another phone). Yes, my dear kitty! (He listens very pleased. Long break). A lot, a lot! Upon my word… Go on, don’t you stop kitty dear! Kitty dear, you are killing me! Kitty dear! Oh, my heart! (He holds his penis in his hand and laughs). OK, over, damn kitty! Go and have a shower! I have work to do. Call me again in three, or no, in two hours. (He wipes his hands on a stack of papers which is on his desk and then he picks up the other receiver). How is it, Sun? I have just checked my pipe … It was a joke. I shall explain it to you when I come on the continent. How is it? Is it a tough one? (Laughing). And here … OK, OK, let me explain this to you. Call the instance people. Just in case. Do your job, I will take care of it. I will take care of everything.
Harry and Paul, on the same corridor.
Harry: The black hole.
Harry: Black … As you heard. We could be in a … black hole.
Paul: Black hole? But everything is white here. What is everywhere? Everything is white.
Paul: And …
Harry: And so what if white is everywhere and everything is white?
Paul: In the worst case there is a white hole.
Harry: You cosmic donkey! It can be black on the outside and white inside. How do you know how a black hole looks inside?
Paul: Do you know?
Harry: Me … Well, it is not… And even if I knew …
Paul: Then stop saying these words. I am afraid.
Harry: Are you afraid of two words?
Harry: No joke, if we are in it, we are done.
Paul: We are done anyhow.
Harry: Black holes do not have openings.
Paul: They do have openings.
Harry: Just imagine. If we are in one, how do we look? Perfect, handsome, surrounded by millions of stars, little stars, planets, little planets …
Paul: Satellites, huge satellites…
Harry: Shut up, you damn fool, you ruin everything.
Paul (He looks around, he is short-sighted): I opened them in vain.
Harry: What do you mean, in vain?
Paul: Just like this, in vain. Describe to me what you can see.
Harry: White, whitish, whiteness, white laundry.
Paul: Is this all you can see? If we saw them, we could see them.
Harry: What, you damn animal?
Paul: Stars, little stars, planets, little planets…
Harry: Can you see me?
Paul: (Looking at him absent minded. Laughs). A big shit I cannot get rid of and here I am at my fifty-ninth coming.
Harry: Rotation. They call it rotation. This means …
Paul: It means …
Harry: That if you see me, we have not lost our sight and hearing and we are in a black hole. And all the stars, the little stars are very small, microscopic, impossible to see with one’s eyes.
Paul (Full of false admiration): Good one. Very good. And we? How is it that you are as big as I am? You are the same toad-eater as me, one meter seventy centimeters tall and eighty-five kilograms heavy.
Harry: And you are an idiot, yes, an idiot … (He goes away). But for your dick, you cannot penetrate science. They are much too small in comparison with us. Big in the outer space, small in the black hole.
Paul: What a question!
Harry: This is what I believe in.
Paul: Yes, what a question! Still I do not believe that…
Harry: Now do you understand? There is a way out, invisible for those who mean nothing. For us, something great must come.
Paul: You beat about the bush. There is no black hole, there is nothing. Have you taken all of them?
Harry: If you have taken even one, I will break your fingers, one by one, like this.
Paul: Give me a square answer. How many have you taken? How many were there?
Harry: The day I felt that terrible pain in my nape and, for a few moments, a choking smell in my nostrils only one was missing.
Paul: You never said anything about this. But I felt the same terrible pain in my nape and a choking smell. This I how I found you here. Did you get here sooner?
Harry: Both of us were on the terrace. (He bursts into tears).
Paul: Listen, my friend. This place is not so bad.
Harry: You were admiring the Chagalls, outside it was cold. You stood up and covered me with a blanket and then I got that terrible pain in my nape.
Paul: I do not know what to say.
Harry: The blanket was in the other room. I did not hear you go out.
Paul: I had got out. You were dozing.
Harry: Wasn’t I sound asleep?
Paul: When I got back, you were no longer. I thought they called you back, to the clinic ...
Harry: They should have … that night, the night of the last Chagall.
Harry, now Sun, an oil engineer.
Sun: You capitalist blockhead! Scum! (Imitating Sam). Repair it, Sun! In six, no, in four hours! You poor devil! I will sink it for you, you ramshackle! I couldn’t have done it the first time. The pipe leaked a bit, the pressure pump should have broken the pipe of the general tank, and I failed a wonderful explosion. But I will make you come here, you imperialist devil! You, with your little pipe under repair by Eastern European females! Nobody can see your hunger sated, you Eastern Europeans females! Nobody can see you satisfied with the dollars you have. When they attacked my country throwing bombs like mad, the fillings from my teeth got away. When you attacked my country, my nice and good country belonged to no axis. We used to go on happily with our communism and our life. When you attacked my country, our supreme commander, our lives‘light ordered me, "Sun, go at sea and kill them all! Cut their hot dog! “ And then you attacked my clean, orderly, working, loving, buttoned-all-the-way-up homeland … buttoned all the way up to its neck… It was enough for our supreme commander who told me, "Sun, go at sea and have that wreck sink down! Cut their supply lines! Send it to the bottom of the ocean with Sam and everything! Sam is behind everything!” (His telephone rings). Yes, boss! I will wait, of course … Of course … Of course… They will do it, of course… Sure … yes, sir … I will wait for you on deck. I am getting out from among the pipes … I know, I know, I got it, it was just a joke. I can see them. Your helicopter with the eagle on its muzzle.
The voice and her voice.
The voice: I can see you perfectly.
Her voice: They are very small.
The voice: Apparently.
Her voice: Is everything OK?
The voice: Perfectly.
Her voice: Then …
The voice: We meet next week.
Her voice: Thank you.
The voice: Welcome.
Harry and Paul, all burnt up, in the same white corridor.
Harry: What is the matter with these flashes?
Paul: They hurt.
Harry: Have you got burnt?
Paul: You smell fire.
Harry: They have grilled you.
Paul: They have grilled you on the skewers.
Harry: When could they have grilled us? I did not sleep at all.
Paul: Neither did I.
Harry: They have such an advanced technology. … They grilled us as if we were at KFC.
Paul: Who grilled us?
Harry: Who, who … The devils, the fiends, with their boss, Satan.
Paul: You are scaring me.
Harry: Am I? Look how we are.
Paul: It is obvious, this is not a black hole. It is nothing, i.e. the other place.
Harry: Do you remember when I asked you?
Harry: What do you believe in?
Paul: And what have I answered?
Paul: I am telling you again. Nothing.
Harry: Tell it as you want. We’d better try and remember how we got like this.
Paul: We were in the helicopter and we were landing, kitty, my little kitty was still on the line.
Harry: The cement stopper could not hold. The pressure inside the pipe…
Paul: What stopper?
Harry: What helicopter?
Harry: Does meow have any connection with a certain kitty?
Paul: Cat … I do not raise cats. I am allergic.
Harry: Neither do I.
Paul: Then stop it, I am completely disoriented. I am trying to remember.
Harry: In the other place, the fire is burning forever.
Paul: Doesn’t it ever burn out? What do they put in it?
Harry: Suckers. Suckers like us. If we were smarter and flattered the big boss, now we would be at ease. We would not be two chunks of cold grilled meat, inhabitants of nothing.
Paul: We are trying to flatter him now.
Harry: Too late.
Paul: I have read some books in my life. I remember that somewhere it is written "The last will be the first”.
Harry: Do you think this is true?
Paul: Under the circumstance, I would flatter any one. We take him in and once we are beyond, we diddle him.
Harry: Still, you believe in something. Beyond … meaning … But how do we diddle him?
Paul: How? How? Once we get beyond, we undermine his authority and if we are a bit lucky, we take his place.
Harry: Do you think we could take His place?
Paul: Yes, we could be Jesus Christ, the Good Lord … Whatever his name! There must be somebody who cleans and takes care of that place. Is your mind softening?
Harry: You are a dirty dog … And a fool … Still, if he exists, shall we remove Him who carries all the evil in the world? Can you see how much work is to be done over there? We have a good life over here.
Paul: I do not remember what we should do in order to draw his attention.
Harry: Is my mind softening? Deeds. Good deeds. You need as many as possible.
Paul: In this wilderness? With what, for whom?
Harry (Laughs): For instance, for me. Scratch my back.
Paul: Do it yourself. (Going away). I remembered a trick. I am small, you make me big, and I am weak… How the hell was the poem? Can you help me? I am so weak… or very weak.
Harry: You have turned to poetry. Help yourself, you stupid man. But you used to say that you believed in nothing.
Paul: You are.
Paul: You, You, you, you … (Exit).
Harry, now Ion.
Ion: I bought a Mercedes, but I keep it in the shed, under the fodder. Cousin Tase has brought it from Berlin. Fucking Germans! Who taught them to make such jewels? They sided with the aliens. This is UFO technique. You move your ears and the music is on. You cough and the windows open. Tase got it from the garage of a Gerhardt who had two more. He will not miss it. I had none. Before, I used to take, at night, from under the fodder a poor liftback Dacia. Stealing was slow. Speed is vital. I got elected mayor twelve years ago. And poverty is huge… Children have to be sent to schools, money, money, money. My wife is away, in Italy, economy is bad, there is nothing left for me but stealing. I steal from the villagers every night. Sometimes on weekends, Tase takes me with him to Paris, Berlin… Well, I have visited with him, all the rich capitals. Wow! I was about to tell a lie. We have not been to Moscow. Tase says it’s better like this. Do not take anything from the Russians. I have just arrived this night. I had a bad time. Four hens, one guinea hen, two drakes, and six small pensions. Small like the pensions of the peasants who used to work in the kolkhoz. It’s bad. A guy called Pantelimon, a former team leader in the kolkhoz, felt he had to go out and piss while I was searching under his mattress. What could I do? I strangled him. Then I put his belt around his neck. Tomorrow he will be in the five o’clock news. I have never got into such trouble. I usually make those whom I am going to “operate” on do community work. They dig a ditch, they repair a bridge. And at night they are dead tired. There is also something else with this Pantelimon. Brehuescu, his son, is in the French Legion. He is coming home now, for the festivals. If he smells a rat, if he realizes it was me, I am dead.
Paul, now Pantelimon. He sleeps, dreams.
Pantelimon: I know I am dreaming. The fields are full with corn and I have just left Floarea, Buzosu’s wife. Foul woman… I had to jab her into the ribs. I have had a lust for her since last year, when I saw her naked in the clover. The black van took Buzosu to prison about three months ago. I did not say too much to the comrades… Only that he was anti … and this, and that. They took him and he was gone. Till now I cleansed the cooperative of nineteen sluggards. Yesterday I fucked Romica, Fluture’s wife. She likes it. She told me straight, like a good comrade, that she would be a good woman and would not steal from the kolkhoz any longer. I spite all those who steal from the kolkhoz. Comrade president has been dead for a long time. What a good man… And Ion, his son, who is the mayor now, is also a very good man. (He wakes up). Ion! Is it you? ... (He dreams). What a strange thing! It was as if I had woke up … Good Lord, holy Paraschiva, what kind of dream is this? I see myself, devoid of my body, in bed, my throat hanging tight from my belt. Good Lord! I, the other one, hit the lamp nail hanging from the ceiling with my back. I wish I went out in the open air. But I, the other, had left no window open before falling asleep. For fear! Gossip runs that a thief, a criminal might be around.
Harry and Paul fall on the floor.
Paul: You pushed me, you idiot.
Harry: It was you who pushed me.
Paul: It was you who started.
Paul: You, you.
Harry: Please, not again. Listen. Somebody is crying.
Harry: Worse. The frost is biting.
Paul: Now he is laughing.
Harry: Warm. The sun has come out. Warm and well. Maybe a bit too warm.
Paul: Have you felt anything like this?
Harry: Very wet.
Paul: Wet and slippery.
Harry: Listen, there is something.
His voice, her voice. In the background, the noise of the balls during a tennis game.
His voice: Does it hurt?
Her voice: No.
His voice: Will you?
Her voice: Yes.
His voice: How was it?
Her voice: As usual.
His voice: Have you eaten?
Her voice: Little.
His voice: What?
Her voice: A yoghourt.
His voice: Simple?
Her voice: No.
His voice: You use chemicals.
Her voice: It was only a small box.
His voice: Was it enough?
Her voice: Yes.
His voice: Colleagues?
Her voice: OK.
His voice: Tomorrow …
Her voice: Can you shut up?
His voice (Laughs): No.
Her voice: Can you be tender?
His voice: Yes.
Her voice: Then …
His voice: This situation stresses me.
Her voice: We leave it for some other time.
His voice: No.
Her voice: Then…
His voice: Why don’t you shut up?
Her voice: Wow. They have moved.
His voice: Maybe it bothers them …
Her voice: I have read about this. Never does it say that it might bother me.
His voice: They may be listening to us.
Her voice: You have ruined everything. Shall we go out?
His voice (Laughs): I have done it already.
Her voice (Laughing): Jerk.
His voice: I am taking you to a movie. One with an oil man who …
Her voice: "The Oilman and the Koreea Man”, I saw it two weeks ago. After last night’s news I will not be curious about anything for a while.
His voice: What was it?
Her voice: The mayor from … I do not remember where, somewhere in Moldavia, he used to steal his electors night and day. His voice: What can I say?
Her voice: Well, the son of a Pantelimon, a nice old man whom the mayor strangled. The son was abroad, he was in the Foreign Legion …
His voice: Big deal. What can I say? They are men with four pairs of … That’s why they are in the news daily.
Her voice: He finds out who killed his father and cuts his head. The mayor’s head. Now it is impossible to find him.
His head: The head?
Her voice: The son, my dear.
His voice: The world is crazy. I liked the movie, I would like to watch it again.
Her voice: You like anything.
His voice: Don’t I have criteria?
Her voice: Perfect question.
His voice: I am wondering: do I like anything because I am rudimentary or retarded?
Her voice: …
His voice: You, what do you like?
Her voice: Predictable, as usual.
His voice: Boring goose, fat cow …
Her voice: Blockhead.
His voice: She-goat.
Her voice: Rudimentary, and add … uneducated.
His voice: I am getting out by myself. (Can be heard slamming the door).
Paul: Get out, you son of a bitch, you bore me to death.
Harry: Rudimentary and uneducated.
(Both of them laugh).
Paul: This place is wider.
Harry: What about this stupid discussion?
Paul: These voices seem familiar to me.
Harry: They seem familiar to me, too. Where can I hear them from?
Paul: From beyond the wall.
Harry: Left, right, up, down?
Paul: All the windows were shut up.
Harry: I found my gloves by the bed. They had my monogram. I had taken them off in order to make the knot.
Paul: Double knot?
Harry: Did you hurt yourself badly in the nail from the ceiling?
(Get out laughing).
Harry, now Antonio, a serial criminal, on the corridor with the cells of those sentenced to death.
Antonio: Today I shall die again. I have no more fear; mother blessed me in the morning. She is the only family who visits me. She has always believed. Not me. Not because… Today is Wednesday… Everything started in the North, seven years ago. I am a pedophile, a serial criminal, drug addict. A nothing. I am nothing. At the end of this corridor, the guillotine is awaiting for me. And we, the modern convicts sentenced to death, pet it calling it “the cat’s gorge”. As everything started in the North seven years ago, let us return to that day. It was also a Wednesday. It was then that I killed Frederic. My favourite student. He was only sixteen. My mother, who is a devout believer, begged me this morning that I believe, at least, one minute before putting my head through the gorge. Frederic shouted at me angrily, “I shall hate you from today!” He was too young for hatred, much too young for love. Since that day almost every minute of my life has been touched by nothing and death. I was desperate to be something else, desperately did I wish I believed. Today I shall die. And my mother, who knows that I am like this and I cannot be otherwise, loves me. Today when I shall put my head through the cat’s gorge, for a minute, for her … shall I believe?
Paul, now Jack, a hangman.
Jack: He writhed all night. Only in the morning, when his mother left, did he calm down a bit and he ate a little. An old and experienced hangman like me! Haunted by the numerous criminal destinies I cut! I think that I have to crush this one like a fly, remorselessly. Yesterday the victims’ relatives dropped by. And they shouted, “Murderer, when you get to the other world, tell your judge, whoever he might be, that we have not forgiven you. Your death is nothing to us”. I myself writhed the remaining hours of the night. What! His death is nothing to you? This odious murderer has to pay. And his severed soul will spread into two opposing directions. One half to the boundless, and the other half to nothingness. The understanding necessary in order to reunite them will not be in this eternity. I shall look into his scared eyes for the last time. Then I shall tell his mother that for a moment he believed. She loves him, she knows that it is like this, and it can’t be otherwise. She believes and she knows that he in whom she believes made her son like this, with a purpose. A hangman philosopher. A philosopher hangman. Ifthe state. All the night he writhed…
Harry and Paul on the corridor.
Paul: I am tired, I stay here.
Harry: We must get out.
Paul: Make up your mind.
Harry: I must, not because I say so, but it is normal.
Paul: I do not want to get out; everything is fine for me here.
Harry: Have you gone mad?
Paul: Have I gone mad? Look at yourself. I am sick.
Harry: I could be sick as well. But let me tell you, something important is about to happen, something great for us.
Paul: We, we … There is no "we”.
Harry: It is as if you lost your head, not me.
Paul: Your head is in its place, thank God.
Harry: Really? Are you..? (He makes a significant gesture with his fingers).
Paul: Are you?
Harry: This is how I want you. This is my companion on this journey. You are right; my head is in the right place.
Paul: Journey to hell! We go round, go round. I do not get out.
Paul: I do not want it.
Paul: Are you dumb? Nothing …
Harry: Am I not?
Paul: Fuck you!
Harry: What has got into you?
Paul: A lot.
Harry: Yesterday you were curious.
Paul: Yesterday? How do you know that yesterday was yesterday and not tomorrow or yesterday?
Harry: I know; we talked something about a knot.
Paul: We have never talked about knots.
Harry: Do not pretend you are crazy! You used to repeat that the windows were closed, all of them.
Paul: I am getting crazy with you. Can you see windows somewhere?
Harry: Come. Let’s try and look for the way out.
Paul: Look for it by yourself, you smart guy. Leave me alone.
Harry: I do not make one step without you.
Paul: Did we come together?
Harry: Good question.
Paul: I found you here. You greeted me with your empty and senseless cue. You told me, "Look, you are dying again”.
Harry: You were here when I entered and I told you the truth. Does the truth bother you?
Paul: Are you exempt from death?
Harry: I shall die as well. But I hope that not at the same time as you.
Paul: Do as you will.
Harry: You can be sure of this.
Paul: I am not getting out.
Harry: You have no choice.
Paul: Are you playing the boss with me?
Harry: Do we start again?
Paul: Fatigue... Do you know how weak I am? And bored?
Harry: I do not care.
Her voice, his voice.
Her voice: When did the world get mad like this?
His voice: A long time ago.
Her voice: I am not kidding. Do you realize when they come?
His voice: It is still OK.
Her voice: Nothing is OK. If I could …
His voice: You are having a breakdown.
Her voice: I am having a … fuck!
His voice: Won’t you?
Her voice: No.
His voice: At least, give it a try.
Her voice: You do choose some moments …
His voice: How shall we call them?
Her voice: Tom and Seth.
His voice: Harry and Paul sound better.
Her voice: In your empty head.
His voice: You are having a breakdown.
Her voice: We should have stopped this story… in time.
His voice: You are going astray again.
Her voice: For you, it is easy.
His voice: It is always complicated … just for you.
Her voice: Tell me about your difficult contribution to this story.
His voice: I admit. I am only a voice. At its end is a pipe, an inlet.
Her voice: Vulgar… pathetic, as usual.
His voice: You must find your own way out.
Her voice: You know it is possible! It would have been more interesting.
His voice: He left everything like this. And it is normal. Remember: It is about Him, not her.
Her voice: Do not be so sure.
His voice: This is certain. It is thousands of years since people agreed upon this subject.
Her voice: I do not believe.
His voice: In what?
Her voice: In this shallow story.
His voice: You are the smartest.
Her voice: It is my choice.
His voice: OK, I do not believe the story about the gate, the guy who stays there and looks at some papers … what with this, what with that… I have never bought it.
Her voice: I have not even listened to it.
Harry and Paul.
Harry: Where have I heard this?
Paul: I seem to …
Harry: Of course. Everything that happens to me, happens to you as well.
Paul: Not at all. We are different. I stay, you want to get out, my name is Paul, yours is Harry.
Harry, now Antonio.
Antonio: It does not hurt. Time is too short and my head tumbled like a ball near the basket. A guard kicked it directly into the twig basket. The jerk thought it was funny and shouted, "Goal! Another one, and it is nil for those from Marseille!” I could see the old hangman’s tears and his tangled beard. Then, by miracle, for a few seconds I believed. Too late? It does not hurt. Mother blessed me at seven o’clock. Less than an hour later a thin guard hit my temple with his muddy boot. It was the temple my mother had caressed. In Marseille, I think, it had been raining all the night. His boots stank of dog shit. The truth was that I had pissed on myself. I feel dizzy. All around, everything is white. I have waited for a while, like a good boy, on the corridor. After cleaning my head of my thickened blood, I put it back on my shoulder. I feel brand new. Where am I? I have been waiting on this corridor for a while. I have been waiting on this corridor for a while… I have been waiting.
Paul, now Jack.
Jack: I died of old age. In my bed. Alone and very scared. It does not hurt. All of a sudden a hole grew under myself. The bed had not been touched; the white sheet shows my long suffering. Seconds before dying, I thought of Antonio. Why? Probably, I shall be another strange case, a disappearance impossible to explain logically, but still, an insignificant disappearance. Like him. I am lost. All around everything is white… In the next room, behind the white wall, somebody is fretting and talking. I call him: “I have been waiting for a while, a good boy, on this corridor. I have been waiting…”
The voice and her voice.
The voice: One is the way round, the other… no. Very possibly, we shall have to use the C section.
Her voice: That’s it.
The voice: Nothing is settled yet. There is still time. Alone?
Her voice: We are no longer together.
The voice: It is a pity. It is not the time.
Her Voice: That’s it.
The Voice: Can you manage?
Her Voice: Of course.
The Voice: Surely? Surely?
Her Voice: I have been through difficult moments.
The Voice: Have you?
Her voice: Yes, but I do not want to talk about this. Good day!
The voice: Good day, then! Be strong and everything will be all right.
Her voice: Thank you. You are right, everything will be all right.
Harry and Paul, still over there … On the white wall, a cut from the right to the left.
Harry: Hurry up. I told you this would happen. And it is for us.
Paul: I do not want it.
Harry: Come on, it is our chance to find out what is beyond.
Paul: What could we find out? Nothing is new.
Harry: If I must, I will take you out by force. Fresh air is coming from the outside and this place is not white at all.
Paul: I have been beyond this stage for a long time. White, black … I do not care. You get out by yourself.
Harry (Gets out and shouts): Paul! It is so cool! Oh Lord, it’s tough!
Paul: Incredible! I have found it!
Harry’s voice: What have you found? Get out!
Paul: The door. It was here, all the time. Open, in front of us.
Harry’s voice: Do not enter through it without me; I want to see it, too. Wait for me!
Paul disappears. Harry enters again through the hole in the wall.
Harry: Paul, where are you, friend? No door, no Paul … Paul!
The voice: Come on, little one, you have to get out, or we’ll lose you. This disappearance is a miracle, indeed. There were two of them. I saw them on the screen so many times. How shall I explain? How can such a phenomenon be explained logically?
Harry: Come on, Paul! Please, it is not nice, stop playing! We’ve had several misunderstandings, but now you can get out, or we’ll suffocate. One cannot breathe here anymore. There is no door. Paul, you are as white as a sheet, is this some kind of magic?
Harry gets out.
The Voice: He is coming, look at him! What a strong boy! And what a nice name you will have! Harry Paul!
Harry’s voice: How shall I live without you? How shall I be…?
The Voice: Harry Paul. You will be a happy man. You will be …
Englishh version by Mihaela Mudure
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