The Great Man T-Shirt

Int: Mooney’s Pub

It is a pub, dark and rather dank: the bar is dark, oak, perhaps; a good, old bar with a huge dusty mirror behind it.  Shamrocks taped to the mirror. Tiny white lights strung up along the walls provide most of the light. A stage, at the back, is empty, but holds a few instruments in thier cases, a drum set,  a tamborine on a chair. There is a juke box by the door, an old one, but not antique; perhaps a 60’s box.

Saul Matthews sits hunched at the bar, his populene jacket pulling up at the back, his socks shining white as light-house beacons, a tiny warped canvas hat directly on top of his head. Peter Monday, in stark contrast, grips the bar and bends an elegant wool-blazerd body in gasping laughter.

Saul: Peter, I tell ya. She was MAD!

Monday, laughing, wiping tears away: Hooboy. Saul man.

Saul: C’mon Monday, I’m telling you I can’t go home now!

Monday, gasping for breath: Saul you’re fucking KILLING me!

Saul stares at Monday, mystified, shaking his head. But when their eyes meet, Saul gives a laugh.

Saul, nodding and shaking his head simultaneously: You’re a heartless mutherfucker, you know that?

Monday: Well, Saul: yes. Yes I do know that. And you’re whipped.

Saul: Jesuz. Jesus krist you’re mean.

But this makes Monday laugh some more.

Saul: Monday? You fuck?

Monday: What?

Saul: What the hell am I going to do?

They both laugh. Saul shaking his head sadly over his drink. Monday placing a hand on Saul’s bony shoulder.

_________________________________________________________________

Int: The Autumn Leaf, a health-food restaurant. It is brightly lit. The tables are pale wooden blocks. Noises from the kitchen are overly loud.

Sydra and Rita are picking through the bean sprouts and talking. At first we can’t hear what they are saying. We only know that Sydra looks upset. Rita suddenly laughs and then we can hear the dialog:

Rita: I’m soh-a. I’m really very. I. Soh. Ree.

But Rita can’t seem to get the sympathy part out until she’s wiped her own tears and caught her breath.

Rita: I’m sorry Syd. It’s just so ridiculous! Of course Saul’s not having an affair with that girl! C’mon! And jeezus. Nobody would ever be that stupid about it anyway! C’MON! Sydra? Oh, really!

Sydra is sobbing violently now.

Sydra:: Well then wh-why was sh-she wwearing his fucking T-shirt th-th-then!

Rita: I’ll bet it’s just like he told you, Syd. I’ll bet that silly story is dead true. It’s more like Saul to sell one T-shirt to a thrift store to stop you throwing it out, then for him to have an AFFAIR. C’mon! Sydie? You know it is!

Rita: Mmm, (sniff), maybe.

____________________________________________

Ext: We are outside of the library of a college campus. The building is an ugly modern thing with no distinction. The girls are sitting on cement stairs, or leaning on the cast iron railings.

Asha, standing: Great T-shirt.

Mary Anne, sitting: Yeah, I didn’t even know who it was. Do you?

Asha: No. Hegel?

Mary Anne: Yeah. I didn’t know. I called it the great man t-shirt because you can tell by his beetled brows and his squared jaw and the fact that he’s on a T-shirt. Professor Matthews laughed at me. But boy, he wasn’t laughing long! His wife came along and gave his arm a yank and then it was cluck cluck cluck the whole distance to their car. I could tell by the way she moved her head and then she stopped like this (Mary Ann puts her fists on her hips and wags her head).

Asha, eyes huge: Wow! Why?

Mary Anne: I don’t know.

Asha stomps a giant shoe with impatience.

Asha: C’MON! You must know somthing!

MA: Mattews was laughing at me and then he noticed that the shirt was pink and he said wow it was his! He’d washed it with colors by mistake and sold it to the thrift store about three months ago. And then just as he was saying he couldn’t believe his graduate students couldn’t recognize Hegel, along comes his wife to give him what for. That’s all I know.

Asha: But, what? You couldn’t hear a thing?

MA: No. He’s whipped anyway.

Asha: When was this?

MA: You know! That party Reese had. You know: get us all aquainted, show us that philosphers know how ta parTAy.

_________________________________________________________

Int: Monday’s house. It is an old Victorian, but Monday has applied all modern furniture, a la Frank Lloyd Wright. He sits, slumped and bored in a chair facing the chess board. Both have rocks glasses beside them. Saul, on the other hand, looks intense — riveted. It’s his move…

Monday looks up at the cieling and then back at Saul.

“Let’s camp out in the yard.”

Saul: Tch.

He starts to make a move, but then changes his mind, withdraws the hand and looks at Monday.

Monday: I’m serious. We’ll take the whisky. Flashlights. It’ll be fun.

Saul looks at the board again. “The neighbors will call the police.”

Monday sits perfectly still. He is a lizard on a warm sunny rock. He is Lincoln big and brass.

Saul shakes his head at the pieces and makes his movel: Check. You got a tent?

Monday doesn’t  move: Yep. Got one.

Int: The Beechum’s: it’s also a Vicorian house and it’s done in overly quaint vicorian style.

Mrs Beechum moves the lace curtain aside. She looks out on Monday’s lawn where there sits a child’s tent, bent and wobbling, it’s primary colors oddly forbidding.

Mrs. B: What do you think they are doing?

But her husband sits there as if taking life from the television.

She puts the curtain back, scratching her psoriosis and moves to the kitchen.

Mrs B: Mick, you might go out and get some milk for the morning.

Mick Beechum scratches. What the hell are these commercials supposed to be about? It was easy when Mr. Whipple squeezed toilet paper to show how soft it was. There was a point. Now it’s all these dirty kids saying stupid stuff– and what the hell is that about? He gets up.

Mick: Milk.  Anything else?

Mrs. B: You know.

Mick: Milk and you know… Probably what that ad was a-god-dam-bout.

Mick Beechum stops just outside the aluminum screen door, looking across his own messy yard into Monday’s perfect one. Flashlight. Laughter.

Mick, kicking an edging shovel away from the car tire: Fucking wierdos. Goddamit what the hell? This one’s talking about cheese and that one’s talking about money and for godsake its an ad for jeans or something now isn’t it? Out of control. All of them. Whole got-dam…

Becham gets into the car.

Mick: a Ford lately

He stops to stare some more at Monday, now running around.

Mick: Acting something out. Charades? On the nose.

He slams the car door. Monday looks out at him.

Mick, mumbling as he starts the car: Yeah. Look at ME. I’m a grown-up with a fucking Ford. Never grow up these days. Milk and you know. Fucking can’t say it but she’ll sure as shit make me buy them. And she’s at that window again. Nosey as all fucking get out

Beeping loudly, he waves at his wife as he drives off…

_______________________________________________________________________

Ext: the girls in front of the Library again

Mary Anne: Asha, you tell her. I’m tired of re-telling this story and I don’t even know the ending.

Asha: Look, it’s probably not even anything. Let’s go to Mooney’s.

Ingrid: Well I knew it was Hegel anyway. I hope Mattews doesn’t think we’re ALL dopes.

Mary Ann: Thanks, Ingrid; I’ll let him know I’m the only one who didn’t recognize this face. Now can we agree on a venu?

Asha: Hey, I knew it was Hegel.

Mary Anne: OKAY! I’m the only fucking one! Alright? Let’s go to Mooney’s then.

Ingrid: Okay. Mooney’s. We can stuff a few dollars into the juke box. Play “It’s a Wonderful World” about twenty times. Then they can’t play that awful Kenny Rodgers.

___________________________________________________________________________

Monday and Saul are at Mooneys Pub.

“That’s right. You just go home now. And tell her she’s nuts.”

“Now that I stayed out she’ll be more sure than ever.”

“Yeah. Sure she’s nuts.”

“Ya think?”

“Saul. It’s over. No one believes you’re porking Mary Ann Engle anymore. No one.”

Silence. Then:

“Well. Put it that way. Now I’m sort of disappointed.”

“That’s the reality settling in. Like a pillow. Clasped tight over our faces.”

The girls enter Mooneys

“Jeez. Always with the Christmas lights these local bars.”

“Syntax, Mary Anne?”

“Yeah, Asha. Like you’d know anything about THAT. You forget: we heard your paper on Hiedegger.”

“Not fair. That’s SupPOSED to sound like nonsense.”

“Oh, now she admits it. You had him singing your fucking praises. At our expense. Hey: Sam Adams on draft.”

“Hey! Hey boys!”

Asha whispers to Ingrid, “Oh JEEZus: I can’t believe her!”

Ingrid: “Professor Matthews, Monday: hello!”

Asha: “Hey”

Monday: “Hey. What are you girls having? Saul will buy ya.”

Mary Anne: “Sam Adams”

Ingrid: “Sammy.”

Asha: “Dewars, rocks”

Saul: “Real men don’t drink Dewars.”

Asha: “Oh? What do they drink?”

Saul: “Glenfiddich.”

Asha: “No, that’s RICH men.”

Monday: “Saul’s not rich.”

Asha: “Then he’s fooling himself.”

Mary Anne: “Asha!”

Ingrid: “Is this where the faculty hangs?”

Monday: “Sam, Sam, Fiddich… Let the man fool himself,” winks at Saul, “if only for a tiny while.”

Mary Anne: “Professor Monday, I hear you’re doing Derrida next semester. Why? All that LANGguage shit. Why not Zizek? Much more fun.”

Monday: “Because that ‘language shit’ is my bag, baybee.”

Saul: “Yeah. Go get fucking — excuse me: get  Munchkin to do Zizek.”

They all laugh.

Asha: “He’s teasing you about your independant study.”

MA: “It’s with Ecles. Munch has nothing to do with it.”

Asha: That’s not what Munch says. He says you come by about twenty times a day with questions. Says you ought to give him a byline.

MA: Bastard. He’s just pissed because I didn’t do game theory with him. He thinks I should keep a philosphy independant study withIN the department.

Monday: “Well, MaryAnne: it is a disgrace! I mean, AMERICAN Studies! They all get paid to sit around watching re-runs and playing video games.”

Saul: “Mr Open-minded here. I’ll do Zizek.” (Monday spits up. ) “Why not?”

Monday: “Because you HATE postmods.”

Saul: “So. I’ll tear into him.”

MA: “Lord. Get a load a’ the old guys.”

Ingrid: “Really.  Monday, man. You better read up ‘cause all the kids read Zizek.”

Monday: “I’m working on it.”

Ingrid: “Oh well, only kidding. The only thing we’re all reading these days is Heidegger. ”

Monday: “Whatever for?”

Asha: “Mann’s metaphysics class. Required.”

Saul: “Required. Metaphysics. Lord.”

MA: “Just what I said.”

Asha: “No one would disagree except Mann.”

MA: “And his cronies. C’mon: Dalton and Fisher want all of the canon COVERED.”

Ingrid: “Still, how did he get it to be a requirment?”

MA: “He declared it a survey, and poof: it seemed indespensible to the Fisher crowd. And you know how Reese never says no to the majority”

Asha: “One small step for Mann, one giant leap for Mann’s kind. Hey, Ingrid. Didn’t you say it was poetry tonight?”

“Yeah. I know. So what’s with the instruments?”

Monday: “You gonna read, Ingrid?”

Saul: “I am.”

Asha: “No!”

Monday: “Yeah: he’s going to read from his latest pisshouse edition: Mina’s phone number and qualifications, by Saul Matthews.”

Saul: “MONday!”

Mary Anne: “Who’s Mina?”

Saul: “A running joke.”

Monday: “Saul’s ex-wife.”

Saul: “Like I said.”

Now a small man in grey khakies and a putty windbreaker comes in and starts setting up for a band on the stage. He goes about his tasks with a attitude of vexation, swift and abrupt in his movements.

Int: a generic classroom

MA is sitting on the desktop. She speaks to Ecles at the blackboard. He’s just drawn the usual game theory quadrants.

MA: Munch says he’s not speaking to you.

Ecles: No. I’m not speaking to him.

MA: Why.

Ecles: He’s screwing a student.

MA: Since when is that a reason to be angry at anyone?

Ecles: He’s screwing a student whom I fancied.

MA: Three little words and the whole story changes.

Ecles: MaryAnne, aren’t you curious about who it might be.

MA: Well, it’s Asha, of course.

Ecles looks at her, dumbfounded.

MA: C’mon. It’s been obvious for a long time.

Ecles: I never heard anything.

MA: You are so square. Nobody SAYS anything. Anyway, why should they?

Ecles: Why should they not?

MA: So. Now. (She’s looking at Ecles mischieviously)

Ecles: Yeah. I wanted Asha.

MA: Asha said you guys did it.

Ecles: Jesus. You know, MaryAnne, you’d think this wasn’t dangerous stuff.

MA: It shouldn’t be.

Ecles: Yeah well. Look, let’s just drop this. And you don’t say anything about this conversation to Asha. Kay?

MA: Why not.

Ecles: Better to leave it alone. It’s not anything I can’t drop.

MA: But you won’t talk to Munch.

Ecles: That bastard.

________________________________________________

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