Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sheriff of Laredo

....a spontaneous unfinished play....

Fern Gibson
Sam Littlefoot
Barbara Mellowfield
Rushing Batewell

All stand in a curved line side by side, evenly spaced so as to take up the middle of the stage. There is no other scenery, and a ladder can be seen off to the side. A man whistles backstage.

They are holding the scripts, not reading them, but looking at them, eyes not moving, as the lights come up.

A few minutes pass and Fern starts to dart his eyes around at the others nervously. He fixes on Barbara. He gestures with his head…

Fern: Well go on then.
Barbara looks at her script and then at Fern.
Barbara: What?
Fern: Go on then, you’re first.
The others smile with relief, lowering their scripts to their sides.

Barbara looks down again.
Fern: Go on then. And stop that whistling will ya?
Whistling trails off comically.

Barbara looks down and begins to read after a couple seconds, addressing the audience directly.

Barbara: Under the vast sky we pull daisies in accordance with nature’s plan. We fill our woven baskets and sell what we do not need in the town square and transportation centers. It is to you, the daisy buyers, that I dedicate this song….

A piano plays an arpeggio and Barbara finds her note….

In the land of milk and honey
They say you got a lots a money
When the well runs dry what will you do??
Cause its all goin down
Yeah its all goiin down
Yeah its all goin dooowwnnn the tuuubeeeessss

Fern butts in suddenly, the piano crashes a note.

Fern: hey hey come on the people didn’t come to hear this doom and gloom, they want a snappy show, something to send them home with a little smile on their faces, right???

He looks out at the audience for support.

Fern: Okay so how about Sam, what you got there, I think you have the next line, isnt that right???

Sam looks right at Barbara as he begins, the two of them start acting… a man brings out scenery little by little as the scene unfolds between them….

Sam: And then you were a bird?
Barbara: Yeah, a big yellow bird flying over the city, it was amazing!!
Sam: Wow, where can I get some of that stuff?
Barbara: I don’t know, some guy just gave it to me in a bar.
Barbara laughs stupidly like a ditzy blond.

Sam: I see. Well anyway its nice to have such a cool new member of the Super Team.
Barbara: Super Team?
Sam gets out the newspaper and shows her the add for the room.
Sam: Yeah, like in the add. Looking for new member of Super Team. See?
Barbara: Sure, but I just thought…

Suddenly the other two actors burst in in their Super Team costumes, music crescendos.

Rushing, dressed as Super Jinx Man, comes to the front of the stage and addresses the audience.

Rushing: I, Super Jinx Man, come to your fair city in good faith, do not misunderstand me and my ways. They are old and steeped in a long tradition of martyrs and saints, shamans and half man half wild boar people. Your only option is to submit to my spells of dexterous impediment if you indeed are of the criminal mind. You shall stumble and fall into the pit of hell….

Fern, dressed as Super Sticky Man, pushes Rushing to the side and begins his own address…

Fern: I, Super Sticky Man, shall foil the sinister elements of this fine city by plastering them in their tracks with my super sticky sleuth goo.

Fern, laughing, acts like he is squirting them with a sleuth goo gun.

Sam, sitting at a small kitchen table now, rubs his eyes of the tears of laughter.

Sam: Oh dear, this western life, oh dear.
Barbara: But we’re from the East.
Sam: What you mean?
The super men come to the table and help themselves to the coffee. Barbara begins…

Barbara: From the East, apparitions, ghosts. That’s what we are. We are products, manufactured, don’t you get it? We are made!! We from the East are made for those in the West, that’s the idea, I think.

Sam takes a bite of a donut.
Sam: So let me get this straight, we are made. But who made us? Can we meet them?
Barbara: You will never meet them, not really. Not unless you go nuts.
Barbara shrugs as if to say she had seen it happen before.

Fern: You mean?
Barbara: I was at The Met, Troilus and Croissantia, and Brutalus literally went off on his soliloquy about how he wanted to fuck the pope and all kinds of stuff. Stage hands had to cart him off…

They all look at each other in fear.

Barbara: But hey don’t you all worry, I’ve seen this kind of set before, its one of those mimimalist plays, I cant see there being any violence or pain for you to worry about for the next hour or so. I’d say be prepared for anything boys!!!

Barbara quickly gets up and walks across the stage and exits. The others sit at the table in disbelief, looking after her. They look over at the fallen scripts on the floor in the middle of the stage. Suddenly they get up and run for them, fighting over the scripts and then quickly perusing them for any bad stuff…..

Barbara comes back in dressed as a film director. She has a quick meeting with them to explain the shot. As she talks to them, a campfire scene is set up like in the old west. Sam stays behind while Fern and Rushing leave the stage after Barbara finishes the little meeting huddle.

Barbara: In this, the campfire scene, the cowboys are beginning to feel lonesome. They have been on the trail for many moon, killing buffalo and Indians until they are piled up in mounds. They begin to think there must be something more to life than rustling, eating beans and massacaring villages.

Barbara motions for Sam to go sit by the campfire and the other two exit. Barbara assumes the Director’s chair and gets ready to call Action…

Barbara: Action!!

Sam sits alone at the fire, poking it with a stick. He begins to hum Home on the Range….

Sam’s soliloquy:

Would that this fire keep me alive in body but dead in spirit, her flames lick my brain and scorch my heart, leaving me the shell of a man. The fortunes of men depend on my killing spirit, the destiny of a country on my willingness to become an animal.

Fern enters, zipping up his pants.

Fern: Ahhh I think that little Pocahontas is starting to like it, ha haaa….!! Say partner, what’s on your mind, you look a bit melancholy.

Sam: I’ve just been thinking, this is no life, I’ll never be able to wash the blood off my hands.

Fern, lighthearted and more brutal, sits down next to Sam, and puts his arm around him.

Fern: I still got some of that powder the old woman gave us, you know, makes you feel like you are a big yellow bird, flying over the prairie? Come on, you remember what we saw last time ??

Sam: No thanks, I want to keep my wits about me this time. I’m gonna talk to the trail boss tomorrow, see if I can get a different assignment or something, plate washer or bean cooker or something, maybe just help stack all the skulls…..something different.

Fern: Suit yourself, tonight I’m flying over the camp and seeing who’s doing who!!!

Fern takes a bit of the substance and kicks back as if waiting for the effects. Sam goes back to poking the fire. We hear the hoot of an owl and the howl of a coyote as the two sit silently. Slowly from backstage, a rumbling like thunder begins and they look up at the sky. A few flashes of light come from back center stage and a bit of dry ice smoke starts to come out of the back curtain. They get up to look at it, backs slightly turned to the crowd. They watch as a large Indian wearing a poncho comes out of the smoke, on a conveyor belt, head down to his chest like, looking like a cocoon. The cowboys draw their guns and fire a few times but we hear the ricochet of the bullets as they spend all the cartridges. The apparition laughs loudly and throws back the poncho to reveal a gold plated suit, like an old sci fi movie astronaut suit. Four lights come out on either side of him like the lights on Pl Espanya.

Indian: The four winds now converge on your twilight prairie scene, conjuring the demons you have created. They are thirsty and seek vengeance but they are sly. That is their nature, and patient too. They will not settle for a the blood of a few hapless cowboys, they have devised a bigger plan for you two…..

The ghost points his long bony finger at them and the music crescendos, tympanis pounding like thunder.
Fern, tripping by now, is on his knees in supplication to the Indian ghost, folding his hands in front of him on the verge of tears. Sam stands defiant and interested, unafraid of the ghost.

Sam: This plan, oh great one, does it…..hurt?
He winces a bit…

Indian: Only a little, but be not afraid. Your destiny is mapped out, you have only to step into these boots and you shall be……Sheriff of Laredo….

A pair of new boots comes out of the smoke on a mini conveyor belt, resting in front of Sam.

Indian: Go on then, put them on.
Sam: Hmmm let’s see if they fit.
Sam puts on the boots while Fern cowers on the ground in fear, not taking in any of this, but tripping like crazy. Sam gets them on and gives the ghost a satisfied look.

Sam: It be true, oh great one, I heard tell old Bill Middlestone was running for re-election, but his recent scandal with the Jimson Gang has made people a little suspicious of his criminal ties. Fifteen years of Middlestone style sheriffing could come to an end--the whole history of the west could change if someone could wrest power away from that one man…...

Sam is pacing around a bit, thinking over the possibilities, looking up at the moon, he begins a short soliloquy….

Sam: These winds do blow good news! Swept up in her current, I will sail over the grasslands to my glorious project. There, in Laredo, at the crossroads of East and West, the power center will shift. And am I not worthy of this destiny? True enough my daddy was a blacksmith and my mommy was a whore, but this emptiness never sat comfortably in my soul, I knew there was something more. Marauders come and go, and slaughter loses its appeal on such a small scale. These winds blow me to greater battles, into the memories of the Seven Generations, into the myth realm of collective consciousness. If Middlestone can be ousted, oh great one, then these boots shall be enshrined in glory and fame.

Indian, pulling his poncho closed, begins to recede into the smoke…

Sam looks down at Fern, lying on the ground still.
Sam: oh hey great one, hold on, what about him??
Indian: oh, he’s gonna be your deputy, of course!! So it shall come to passsssss……

He disappears backstage…
Fern slowly rouses himself, looking really disoriented.

Fern: Whaaa….what happened?? I was flying over the wagons, I saw Billy Boy and the Big Russian, then whamO I don’t remember a thing, how long was I out??
Sam: Ten minutes? I don’t know, it was more than a lifetime to me. We must surrender to our fate, soon you shall see the trail that has been mapped out for us to Laredo…
Fern: LarEdo??? Whaaaaa????

Barbara, who we have forgotten about, suddenly stands up….
Barbara: Cut!! Print!! It’s a wrap, ten minute break….
They all come out of character, mumbling and walking offstage.

The curtain closes……Rebecca Enters from the side to address the audience in between Acts.one and two.

Rebecca: hello everyone!! This is not an intermission, they’ll be back in a second with Act 2, at the saloon in Laredo, so hang on…I don’t know about you, but I don’t really like the theater you know, just between you and me, it’s a bit pompous. People who go to the theatre are kind of well, stuck up and think they…ahh sorry not you all of course, no I mean, this is alternative theater, independent theater, you all are very cool for coming…..but anyway I have no idea whats going on in this play, they just wanted me to kill some time in between Acts, I think I do this between every act, ah we’ll see….

Anyway, lets recap…the cowboys had a vision and one of them is somehow going to be the new Sheriff of Laredo. Hmmm something sounds familiar about all this, I’ll have to think about my old lit classes from college. Hero journeys and stuff like that, perhaps they are metaphors for something else, who the hell knows!!! In any case, its kinda zany, you never know whats going to happen, so that’s better than those slow drawn out dramas people seem to go for these days….gimme something with a little variety I say….besides, we’re all friends you know so im just trying to help out….ta taaahhh!!

Rebecca begins exiting the stage as the curtain opens on the saloon scene. Honky tonk piano chiming in the background, Barbara as the Madame, Rushing as Sheriff Middleton

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