The Crown of Bañals

SCENE ONE:

A stage in a crappy New England theater. A sloppily made bed “stands” (figuratively)  stage left. A lamp, some other furniture. A copy of Bonjour Tristesse and a bottle of buffered analgesic “stand” (figuratively) on the night-stand table. A silent 5-year old squirms weirdly in a  corner. He can be played by an adult if you don’t have convenient access to 5-year-old actors when you’re staging this play. Make sure no one from the theater company comes out and says anything before the play starts, no matter how imperative they make their fundraising/development efforts sound.

Someone named GRASS-FED CRABGRASS struts all sexy-like onstage, sits down at a desk, opens her white Apple laptop. She’s a regular woman in a red bustier, except she’s wearing a giant papîer-mache  frog-person mask. Close on her heels is an ELDERLY GREMLIN, WITH GNARLED WALKING STICK AND TOGA.

GRASS-FED CRABGRASS: I hate your blog.

ELDERLY GREMLIN, WITH GNARLED WALKING STICK AND TOGA: I do, too.

GFCG: Well… it’s different that I hate it. Since I’m the “audience.” [Runs finger absently, erotically across her laptop’s roof]

EG: How you know you’re the audience? Maybe I’m the only audience I care about.

GFCG: Clearly that’s not true. Otherwise there’d be way more nudity and self-involvement. It’s clear from the way you write that you care a lot about whoever your “audience” is. Me. [Heterosexual, North American pornography is projected on the wall behind EG and GFCG]

[A long pause.]

GFCG: I’m bored. With this blog. With this… “demimonde.”

EG [Plaintively, pleadingly]: I am, too! What should we do?

CG: We’re not doing anything. There’s no “we.” I’m just telling you this. You do whatever you want. I’m going to the FastHaus. [The FastHaus is a trendy nightclub where no food or drinks are served, where supersexxy urban dwellers go to not ingest any calories, to dance, to make sex with each other, to lose weight. NO PETS, NO DRUGS, reads a flashing neon sign]

EG: This is depressing. I’m all alone, and you’re right here. You’re so close, but I cannot touch you. [Begins doing fake/funny mime-moves with his hands. “Invisible wall,” “Frozen cowboy,” etc.]

CG: You’re depressing. I’m a skinny fridge filled with low-cal pudding. I’m gorgeous. I’m empty. But for the pudding. The pudding is what I feel. And I almost feel… that you…. You. Are my pudding. My “pud-pud.” [A teensy pause.] This is fucked up.

SCENE TWO

A library. William Flesch, a professor of English Literature at Brandeis University and author of two books, Comeuppance and Generosity and the Limits of Authority, sits at a desk, writing long-hand with great concentration. His legs are crossed, and he wags his ankle.

The elderly gremlin walks in. He watches Flesch write for a few moments, then turns and plaintively addresses the audience.

EG: Is it somehow illegal for me to include the real-life figure of William Flesch, whom I’ve never met, in this fiction? Surely Flesch will find this web-page — perhaps an enterprising toady will forward it to him. A web-savvy loved one will alert him to its presence. Its presence will rear itself, immutably, in the snack bar of a bowling alley on a lightless afternoon. I don’t think I’m breaking any laws. But am I being an asshole? I haven’t read his work. I just wanted to point out that I think it’s “funny” that he wrote this book, Comeuppance, which is about the “biological components of fiction,” and that his name is Flesch. Surely a man of his apparent erudition (based only on his C.V., I guess) has already come up with a multitude of hilarious puns and careful witticisms about his name. He’s probably been getting comments about his name at least since high-school, or even earlier. Anyway, that’s the only reason we’re here: His name is Flesch, and he wrote about the biological components of fiction. Gah.

[Flesch sets down his pen, cocks his head thoughtfully, then rises to exit. He and the Gremlin spar playfully for a moment. Flesch throws a few skilled roundhouse kicks and Muay Thai elbows, before he exits, stage right.]

SCENE THREE

A coffee shop on a college campus. Everyone is naked.

JEAN: I like it best of all of us! Of the three of us, I’m the one who likes it best!

PAULA: Poppycock! I think it’s tops! I regard everything, always, that peers into my purview, and of all that multipicity I swear to Christ it’s I who dig it most!

PRISCILLA: Eff that, bitches! Tis I, tis I, tis I who wants to hug the monolith with maximal, earnest vigor!! Gahh!!!!!!!!!!!

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7 thoughts on “The Crown of Bañals

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