December 5, 2009


promkings.jpg(With deepest apologies to Henrik Ibsen and his play GHOSTS )

Andrew. Yes, yes; well, listen to me, Charles, You are very strong-minded, I know. Sit quite quiet when you hear what I am going to tell you. You mustn't scream or flounce. Will you promise me that, Charles?

Charles Johnson. Yes, yes, I promise -- tell me what it is.

Andrew. Well, then, you must know that this fatigue of mine -- and my not being able to think -- is not really the illness itself--

Charles Johnson. What is the illness itself?

Andrew. What I am suffering from is obsessional; it--(touches his crotch, and speaks very quietly)--it lies here.

Charles Johnson (almost speechless). Andrew! No--no!

Andrew. Don't flounce; I can't stand it. If I was man enough to have comments I’d ban you. Yes, I tell you, it lies here pulsing in my groin, waiting. And any time, any moment, it may break out.

Charles Johnson. How horrible --!

Andrew. Do keep quiet. That is the turgid state I am in--

Charles Johnson (springing up). It isn't true, Andrew! It is impossible! It can't be that!

Andrew. I had one erection while I was abroad and away from your handy handle, that pony tail. But with some manipulation it passed off quickly. But when I learned the condition my condition was in this dreadful haunting fear of flaccidity took possession of me.

Charles Johnson. That was the fear, then--

Andrew. Yes, it is so indescribably horrible, you know. If only it had been an ordinary mortal disease Juan the bell boy could have re-erected me in your absence, safely of course. I am not so much afraid of flaccidty; though, of course, I should like to boing-boing! as long as I can.

Charles Johnson. Yes, yes, Andrew, you must boing-boing!

Andrew. But this is so appallingly flouncy. To become like a helpless child on my uncle’s lap again -- to have to be fed, to have to be frittered. Oh, it's unspeakable!

Charles Johnson. Hush, hush, sweet Andrew. We shall progress progressively in our progress united as close as two can be. My child has his Charles to tend him....

Andrew (jumping up). No, never; that is just what I won't endure! I dare not think what it would mean to linger on you like that for years--to get old and grey like that. And you might die or your handy handle pony tale fall out before I did.

(Sits down in CHARLES JOHNSON'S chair. Gives Hugs.)

Because it doesn't necessarily have be fatal flaccidity, the doctor said; he called it a kind of softening of the brain not glutes -- or something of that sort. (Smiles mournfully.) “Softening... of the brain…” I think that expression sounds so nice. It always makes me think of cherry-coloured velvet curtains-- something that is soft to stroke.

Charles Johnson (with a scream). Andrew!

Andrew (jumps up and walks about the room). And now you have taken Sharmuta from me! If I had only had her, she would have given me a helping hand, I know.

Charles Johnson (going up to him). What do you mean, my darling boy? Is there any helping hand in the world I would not be willing to give you?

Andrew. When I had recovered from the flaccid attack I had abroad, the doctor told me that when it recurred -- and it will recur -- there would be no more hope. Not even from the most progressive hand job I could buy.

Charles Johnson. And he was heartless enough to --

Andrew. I insisted on knowing. I told him I had arrangements to make--. (Smiles cunningly.) And so I had. (Takes a small box from his inner breast-pocket.) Charles, do you see this?

Charles Johnson. What is it?

Andrew. Cialis.

Charles Johnson (looking at him in terror). Andrew -- my boy!

Andrew. I have twelve of them saved up--

Charles Johnson (snatching at it). Give me the box, Andrew!

Andrew. Not yet, Charles. (Puts it back in his pocket.)

Charles Johnson. I shall never get down on this!

Andrew, You must. If I had had Sharmuta here now, I would have told her quietly how things fail to stand with me – and asked her to give me this last helping hand. She would have helped me handily, I am certain.

Charles Johnson. Never!

Andrew. If this horrible thing had come upon me and she had seen me lying flaccid, like a baby, past help, past saving, past hope--with no chance of resurrection --

Charles Johnson. Never in the world would Sharmuta have done it.

Andrew. Sharmuta would have done it. Sharmuta was so splendidly light in her high-heeled loafers. But alas she would very soon have tired of looking after an flaccid flouncer like me and thus downdinged my ding-dong.

Charles Johnson. Then thank heaven Sharmuta is not here!

Andrew. Well, now you have got to give me that helping hand, Charles.

Charles Johnson (with a loud scream). I!?

Andrew. Who has a better right than you?

Charles Johnson. I! Your Charles!?

Andrew. Just for that reason, bicycle boy.

Charles Johnson. I, who gave you your upding?!

Andrew, I never asked you for updings. And what kind of a upding was it that you gave me? I don't want it! You shall downding it!

Charles Johnson. Help! Help! (Runs into the hall.)

Andrew (going into the hall). You shan't go out. And no one shall come in. (Turns the key in the lock.)

Charles Johnson (coming in again). Andrew! Andrew!-- my powerful progressive puppy!

Andrew (following him). Have you a lover's heart -- and can bear to see me waggling this unspeakable flaccid terror?

Charles Johnson (controlling himself, after a moment's silence). There is my hand on it.

Andrew. Whew… and will you --?

Charles Johnson. If it becomes necessary. But it shan't become necessary: No, no--it is impossible it should!

Andrew. Let us hope so. And let us live together as long as we can. Thank you, Charles.

(He sits down in the armchair, which CHARLES JOHNSON had moved beside the couch. Day is breaking; the lamp is still burning on the table.)

Charles Johnson (coming cautiously nearer). Do you feel calmer now?

Andrew. Yes.

Charles Johnson (bending over in front of him). It has only been a dreadful fancy of yours, Andrew. Nothing but fancy. All this upset has been bad for you. But now you will get some rest, at home with your own Charles, my darling boy. You shall have everything you want, just as you did when you were a little child. -- There, now. The flaccidty is over. You see how easily it passed off! I knew it would.--And look, Andrew, what a lovely day we are going to have? Brilliant progressive and utopian sunshine. Now you will be able to see your home properly. (He goes to the table and puts out the lamp. It is sunrise. The dancehalls and bars of Provincetown are seen bathed in bright morning fight.)

Andrew (who has been sitting motionless in the armchair, with his back to the scene outside, suddenly says:) Charles, give me the sun.

Charles Johnson (standing at the table, and looking at him in amazement). What do you say?

Andrew (repeats in a dull, toneless voice). The sun--the sun.

Charles Johnson (going up to him). Andrew, what is the matter with you?

(ANDREW seems to shrink up in the chair; all his muscles relax; his face loses its expression, and his eyes stare stupidly. CHARLES JOHNSON is trembling with terror.)

Charles Johnson What is it! (Screams.) Andrew! What is the matter with you! (Throws himself on her knees before him and shakes him.) Andrew! Andrew! Look at me! Don't you know me!

Andrew (in an expressionless voice, as before). The sun -- the sun.

Charles Johnson (jumps up despairingly, beats his head and tugs on his pony-tail with his hands, and screams). I can't bear it! (Whispers as though paralysed with fear.) I can't bear it... I Never! (Suddenly.) Where has he got it? (Passes his hand quickly over Andrew’s pants.) Here! No, no, no! -- Yes! -- no, no! Who? Who shall pay for our room!?(He stands a few steps from him, his hands thrust into his ponytail, and stares at Andrew in speechless terror.)

Andrew (sitting motionless, as before). The sun--the sun.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 5, 2009 7:39 AM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

If I remember correctly, the Lord Chamberlain's Office went into a prolonged swoon at the very thought of allowing a performance of Ghosts in England. Today one might call that reaction "Sullivanesque."

One of these days you should publish a Greatest Hits collection.

Posted by: CGHill at December 5, 2009 8:38 AM

"Oh, baby. You is so good. And they is so *dumb*."

Posted by: Charlie Martin at December 5, 2009 9:38 AM


But I am *such* a carping bitch.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 5, 2009 9:47 AM

Well? Who pays? WHO FINALLY PAYS for the ROOM? I'll tell you who, Gerard! WE PAYS! We all pays for the room, that's who pays.

Posted by: Jewel at December 5, 2009 10:22 AM

ROFLOL...devastating and funny.

Posted by: Barnabus at December 5, 2009 11:07 AM