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Sons and step sons

(Peter has just told Eli

that their gay marriage

is to be annulled and

that Peter is going to

adopt Pretty Boy

and disinherit his

own sons from a

previous marriage)

 

You have to be kidding!

Are you losing it Peter?

Why all the changes?

 

I don’t think you will do it.

It is another one of your plots

Lady love, I will do it – – –

with all my heart.

 

Your sons are part of you.

 

Like warts and goiters, and I’m having them

removed.

 

We’ve raised them. They’re our boys.

 

I know, and good God, look at them. Jeff…

there’s a masterpiece. He isn’t flesh, he’s

a device. He’s wheels and gears. And Joey…

was his latest treason your idea? I caught him

lying, and I’ve said, “he’s young.” I found

him cheating, and I’ve said, “he’s just a boy.”

I’ve watched him steal and whore and yell at his

servants, and he’s not a child. He’s the man

we made him.

 

Don’t share Joey with me.

He’s your accomplishment.

 

And Dick is your favorite step-son.

How could you send him

off to deal with Phil?

 

I was tired. I was busy. They were friends.

 

Eli, Dick was the best. From the sixth year,

you cradled him. I never had a chance.

 

You never wanted a chance.

 

How do you know? You took him.

Separation from your husband

you can bear, but not your son.

 

Whatever I have done, you made me do.

 

You threw me out of bed

to spoil Dick.

 

Not until you threw me out for Rosebud.

 

It’s not that simple.

I won’t have it to be

that simple.

 

I adored you.

 

Never.

 

I still do.

 

Of all the lies,

that one is the most terrible.

 

I know.

That’s why I saved it up for now.

 

(They throw themselves into each other’s arms)

 

Oh, Peter,

we’ve mangled

everything we’ve touched.

 

Deny us what you will, we have done that.

Do you remember when we met?

 

Down to the hour

and color of your stockings.

 

I could hardly see you for the sunlight.

 

It was raining, but no matter.

 

There was very little talk, as I recall.

 

Very little.

 

I had never seen such beauty.

I walked right up

and touched it.

God, where did I find the gall

to do that?

 

In my eyes.

 

I loved you.

 

(They kiss)

 

No annulment.

 

What?

 

There will be no annulment.

 

No?

 

No, I’m afraid you’ll have to do without.

 

Well, it was just a whim.

 

I’m so relieved.

I didn’t want to lose you.

 

Out of curiosity, as intellectual to intellectual,

how in the name of bleeding Jesus can you lose

me? Do we ever see each other? Am I ever near

you? Ever with you? Am I ever anywhere but

somewhere else? Do I write? Do we send messages?

Do tugboats bearing gifts smoke up the Hudson for you?

Are you remembered?

 

You are.

 

You’re no part of me. We do not touch at any

point. How can you lose me?

 

Can’t you feel the chains?

 

You know me well enough

to know I can’t be stopped.

 

I don’t have to stop you. I have only to delay

you. Every enemy you have has friends in Albany.

We’ll cost you time.

 

What is this? I’m not moldering; my paint’s

not peeling off. I’m good for years.

 

How many years? Suppose I hold you back for one;

I can — It’s possible. Suppose Pretty Boy dies; —

How old is Daddy then?

Where will you find another son? Alabama? Kentucky?

What kind of spindly,

rickets-ridden, milky, wizened, dim-eyed, gammy-handed,

snagly-toothed, limpy things will you get?

 

It’s sweet of you to care.

 

Or when you die, which is regrettable but necessary,

what will happen to frail Pretty Boy?

You can’t think Dick is going

to wait for your grotesque adoptee to grow?

 

You wouldn’t let him do a thing like that?

 

Let him?

I’d push him through the bedroom door.

 

You’re not that cruel.

 

Don’t fret.

We’ll wait until you’re dead

to do it.

 

Eli, what do you want?

 

Just what you want… a CEO for a son. You

can make more, I can’t. You think I want to

disappear? One step-son, Dick, is all I’ve want, and you

can blot him out and call me cruel? For these

ten years, you’ve lived with everything I’ve

lost, and loved other men through it all,

and I am cruel? I could peel you like a pear,

and God himself would call it justice.

 

I will die sometime soon. One day I’ll argue

too slow, and at Wall Street, they’ll sing out

“long live the CEO” for someone else. I beg

you, let it be Pretty Boy.

 

I am not moved to tears.

 

I have no sons.

 

You have too many sons.

You don’t need more.

 

Well, wish me luck. I’m off.

 

To Rochester?

 

That’s where they keep the Good Bishop Sheen.

 

You don’t dare go!

 

Say that again at noon. You’ll say it to my

rear-view mirror. Lamb, I’ll be rid of you by Easter!

You can count your days!

 

When you go to Rochester,

we’ll rise against you!

 

Who will?

 

Dick, Jeff, Joey and Eli of the loft.

 

The day those stout hearts band together is

the day that pigs get wings!

 

There’ll be pork in the treetops come morning!

Don’t you see you’ve given them a common cause:

new sons? You leave the country, and you’ve lost it.

 

All of you at once?

 

And Phil, too. He’d join us.

 

Yes, he would.

 

Now how’s your trip to Rochester sound?

Oh, I’ve got you,

got you, got you.

 

Should I take a thousand lawyers,

or is that showy?

 

Bluff away.

 

Ah, poor thing. How can I break the news?

You’ve just miscalculated.

 

Have I? How?

 

You should have lied. You should have promised

to be good while I was gone. I would have let

your three boys loose. They could have fought

me then.

 

You wouldn’t keep your sons locked up?

 

But I could fire them

from the company.

 

You wouldn’t dare.

 

Why not?

Let them file for unemployment

with the rest of the nation.

 

I forbid it.

 

He forbids it.

 

Did your father sleep with me,

or didn’t he?

 

No doubt

you’re going to tell me

that he did.

 

Would it upset you?

 

What about a thousand other men?

I say be slutty and to hell with it.

 

Don’t leave me, Peter. I’m at rock bottom.

I’ll do anything to keep you.

 

I think you think you mean it.

 

Ask for something.

 

Eleanor, we’re past it, years past.

 

Test me. Name an act.

 

There isn’t one!

 

About my fornication with your father – – –

 

Yes, there is one act. You can expire.

 

You first, old man. I only hope I’m there to

watch. You’re so afraid of dying. You’re so

scared of it.

 

Ah, poor Eli. If only he’d lied.

 

He did. He said he never loved your father.

 

I can always count on you.

 

I never touched you without thinking of him.

 

The day you hurt me, I’ll cry out.

 

I’ve put more horns on you

than he ever wore.

 

Am I supposed to care?

 

I’ll kill you if you leave me.

 

You can try.

 

I loved your father’s body.

He was beautiful.

 

It never happened.

 

I can see his body now.

Shall I describe it?

 

Eli, I hope you die!

 

His arms were rough,

with piercings here and there.

 

No!

 

I can feel his arms!

I feel them!

I feel it!

 

AAH! AAH!

 

Have I hurt you?

 

(Hurling more hurtful things as he exits)

 

We did it!

You were in the next room when he did it!

(Peter stumbles out into the corridor.

 

Well, what family doesn’t have its ups and downs?

I’m cold. I can’t feel anything. Not anything

at all. We couldn’t go back, could we, Peter?

 

Tomorrow Next Post:  THE PENALTY BOX

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