Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Goose and Tomtom

by David Rabe

David Rabe, the celebrated playwright of Hurlyburly, explores the struggle between hope and anguish in the human spirit in this story of two small-time jewel thieves.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date April 01, 1987
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5193-3
  • US List Price $7.95
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9694-1
  • US List Price $7.95

About The Book

The author of Hurlyburly again explores the struggle between hope and anguish in the human spirit in this story of two small-time jewel thieves united in a strangely unsettling friendship and the constant fight to prove to themselves and others how tough they are. But when their frantic scheming suddenly begins to betray them in mysterious ways, they find themselves trapped into kidnapping and a murder over which they seem to have no control. Or do they? David Rabe’s language creates and re-creates reality in constantly surprising ways, magically dramatizing the danger of the power of illusions—and the illusion of power—with force and insight.

Excerpt

ACT ONE

TIME: This was recently.
PLACE: An apartment in the underworld.

The interior of what appears to be a small apartment. Stage right is a tiny kitchen, with a table, some cabinets. Center stage and stage left is a living room, with a couch, armchair, and hassock, all of cheap construction and design. The floor is partly covered with a rug. In the wall of the living room is a doorway to the bedroom, covered by curtains. The bedroom doorway must be prominently placed so that all entrances and exits are instantly visible, and someone merely standing in the doorway would have a powerful stage position. Somewhere along the stage left wall, or perhaps in a tiny little cubbyhole downstage at the farthest point of the stage left area, is a desk and chair on wheels. There are maps and notes, maybe a globe. There are crates piled near the desk. There are crates piled in other areas about the stage, wherever there is an empty upstage spot. The wallpaper is tattered, the cracks of the concrete cinder blocks behind the wall and wallpaper showing through in places.

The front door is in the kitchen, and there are many locks on it. Perhaps there is a mirror at the desk, some toilet articles and travel cases. In the kitchen is a window, the blind drawn fully down. Suitcases and crates are piled about in the upstage left corner, and in the desk area, if it is separate from the kitchen area. It might be best to have the desk in a corner of the kitchen and the office chair on wheels located at the kitchen table, enabling Tomtom to scoot back and forth between the kitchen table and the desk. Coats and hats hang on a coat tree by the door or on hooks on the wall there.

Lights up. Tomtom lies on the couch, sleeping. He twists suddenly, struggles, groans, and yelps, sitting up. He is a large man, in his forties. He pulls a pistol from a shoulder holster and leaps to his feet, looking warily around. He hurries to the bedroom door and, flattening himself against the wall, is about to slip into the bedroom when he hears a position himself behind the door, it opens. In comes Goose, younger, slighter, carrying a newspaper. He looks around, sees no one.

Goose
Hey.

Tomtom
Hey! (Kicking shut the door, he jams the gun in Goose’s face.) How you? ’At’s what I been waitin’ for. I been onna edge a my chair.

Goose
So I’m here. (They hug, pat each other down, Tomtom’s hug evolving into an arm around Goose’s neck, a knuckle on the top of Goose’s head.)

Tomtom
Yeh. ’At’s good. It’s good. How you doin’? You want some coffee?

Goose
You got some coffee?

Tomtom
I could make some.

(He flicks on the switch of a hot plate on which a teakettle sits.)

Goose
’At’s what I like about you.

Tomtom
What?

Goose
You know.

Tomtom
(Threatening to clip Goose) You could tell me.

Goose
I don’t wanna.

Tomtom
(Threatening to clip Goose): ’At’s okay.

Goose
’At’s what I like about you.

Tomtom
(Patting Goose on the cheek) So how you doin’?

(Tomtom goes to the mirror for cologne, Binaca, Goose following along.)

Goose
Hey, terrific. Terrific. I’m doin’ terrific. I come by. You’re here. I was in the neighborhood. I come up the stairs. The door’s open. I don’t even knock. It ain’t locked. I come in. I’m hopin’ maybe I’ll come in on you, and you an’ Lorraine’ll be onna floor fuckin’. I can watch. It ain’t goin’ on, though. You’re just here. So we start talkin’. You’re sittin’ there. I’m standin’ over here. We’re talkin’. I feel good. You ask me how I’m doin”‘, I tell you fine. I’m doin’ fine. How you doin’?

Tomtom
Hey. You’re lookin’ at me. How do I look?

(Crossing to sit down in the armchair, he grabs Goose’s newspaper.)

Goose
’At’s what I mean. You got an opinion about dreams? I had this fuckin’ dream.

Tomtom
Sure I got an opinion.

Goose
What is it?

Tomtom
You really wanna know?

Goose
I’m askin’.

Tomtom
They’re a buncha shit.

Goose
You think so?

Tomtom
It’s clear as day.

Goose
A buncha shit.

Tomtom
That’s what I said.

Goose
A buncha shit.

Tomtom
(standing up) You asked for my opinion.

Goose
How long you had this opinion?

Tomtom
(Shoving Goose in the chest so Goose goes flying) What else you gonna think? What the hell else you gonna tell me? You gonna tell me somethin’ else? I mean, you’re layin’ there, am I right so far? You’re layin’ there flat on your back, you got all this stuff like, these things like, goin’ on under your hat. What the hell else it gonna be, you see what I’m sayin’? I mean, Goose, you was sleepin’ you had this dream, right? I mean, this was a dream you had you was flat on your ass. I mean, that’s the kinda dream we’re talkin’ about.

Goose
Yeh.

Tomtom
So what else it gonna be?

Goose
But I remember it.

Tomtom
Big deal. I remember a lotta shit. But it don’t mean a fuckin’ thing. This green fuckin’ witch, she come into my house. I was little. Scared the crap outa me.

Goose
Whatta you talkin’ about?

Tomtom
This green goddamn witch. You never heard a such a thing?

(Silence.)

Goose
Yeh, sure.

Tomtom
You have, huh?

(He hits Goose on one side of the head with the newspaper.)

Goose
Yeh. Sure.

Tomtom
When?

(He hits Goose on the other side of the head with the newspaper.)

Goose
Whatta you askin’ me?

Tomtom
(Gesturing at Goose, who flinches) Whatta you sayin’ to me?

Goose
You heard me.

Tomtom
(Hitting Goose on the side of the head) What’sa matter you don’t know what I asked you?

Goose
Yeh, I know. I heard you.

Tomtom
(Clipping Goose again) So whatta we talkin’ about?

Goose
I got a headache. You got a headache?

Tomtom
So can I tell my fuckin’ story?

Goose
Where’s the coffee? You says there was coffee.

Tomtom
What are you, a wise guy? Don’t be a wise guy, Goose!

Goose
I want some coffee, I got a headache, you oughta offer some aspirin. I hate aspirin, but I got a headache. (He clutches his head.) Oh, oh, oh. It’s like a clangor in it, bangin’ in this bell. And you’re callin’ me an asshole. It’s all upsettin’. I’m gonna take a nap. I’m gonna lay down. Take a nap.

(He flops down on the floor.)

Tomtom
I got excited.

Goose
You hurt my feelings.

Tomtom
I got excited.

Goose
You don’t have a headache, huh?

(Tomtom takes a bottle of aspirin from some downstage crates and tosses the bottle to Goose.)

Tomtom
(Crossing to the coffee to prepare two cups) No. So can I tell my story?

Goose
It’s okay. I apologize. You was sayin’?

Tomtom
So this green goddamn witch come into my house. I was little. I could walk, I wasn’t crawlin’, but I fell over a lot. That was the age I was: where you fall over a lot. And so into this room I was in comes this green goddamn witch with eyes like full of little beehive holes and she’s got this snake in her hand; it’s wigglin’, hissin’ like a witch’s voice—you want cream?—and she stood lookin’ at me. I was playin’; her face was green, her lips had these wrinkles like grooves. She was starin’ at me. I fell over backwards. She scared the crap outta me and I fell over backwards.

(He sets the two cups of coffee on the kitchen table.)

Goose
(Moving to join Tomtom) A witch, huh?

Tomtom
Yeh.

Goose
I saw a witch once. She wasn’t green. She put me in a sack. She tied the top. I was in there. She screamed at me. Her hair was like oil. I was in this sack. Then she dropped me in a buncha water. I was gonna drown. I couldn’t get outa the sack. The water was comin’ in. Then she took me out and I was almost dead. She was lookin’ into my eyes, and she says to me, “You are almost dead.” I says, “I am, yes. You’re right.”

(Tomtom stares, thinking. They sit.)

Goose
(Looking around) We’re just sittin’ here.

Tomtom
I’m not.

Goose
Sure you are.

Tomtom
Naw. The sun come out this mornin’ an’ I saw it.

(Startled; he is just remembering what he saw.)

Goose
I didn’t see it.

Tomtom
I saw it comin’. The clouds were like funnels, all furry, and I could see like specks of phosphorous and hydrogen. These swirls of like blood and these clouds stretchin’ out over this flat blue land, a hard dirt, like it was glass it was so hard, and the dawn was comin’, I could see it, and this light ran the length of the blue hard dirt before the sun was there—I didn’t know what it was. “What’s that?” I says.

Goose
I didn’t see it.

(Tomtom runs to the door as if to look for what he saw. He looks out the door, out the window.)

Tomtom
I’m tellin’ you. It’s the sun. And then it was big and red as a wheel of blood slippin’ up outa the earth to light down this tunnel I was standin’ in, these chambers of cloud, and that was the sunrise. “It’s mornin’,” I says.

(He slams the door shut and locks it, using all the locks.)

Goose
And it was?

Tomtom
It was amazin’.

Goose
I wish I’d seen it.

Tomtom
(Peeping out the eyehole, as if to make certain nothing is there) But I tole you; I tole you. ’At’s my point.

Goose
I was sleepin’.

Tomtom
I’m glad you’re my friend, Goose.

Goose
I’m glad you’re my friend, Tomtom.

Tomtom
You got your gun?

Goose
Oh, yeh.

Tomtom
(Pulling out a huge long-barreled pistol from his shoulder holster) I got my gun.

Goose
I got my gun.

(He pulls out a glistening pistol from his jacket pocket.)

Tomtom
Look at ’em. Look at ’em . . . guns.

Goose
Bang, bang.

Tomtom
Bang, bang.

Goose
Tell me about the sunrise again, Tomtom.

Tomtom
You wanna go shoot somebody? We could go shoot somebody.

Goose
You wanna?

Tomtom
Who you wanna shoot?

Goose
(Looking around the room as if to find somebody there) You wanna?

Tomtom
We could find somebody.

Goose
Sure.

Tomtom
(Playing with his gun as if Goose might be the person to be shot) Sure. There’s lotsa people.

Goose
You know what I would like to do? I would like to find out what fuckin’ Bingo’s up to.

Tomtom
That bastard.

Goose
He’s a turd. Nobody’s arguing that fact. But what’s he up to?

Tomtom
He’s up to somethin’, huh?

Goose
I saw him.

Tomtom
I used to love that guy.

Goose
Me too. Who didn’t? He was a beautiful guy. I loved that guy, and then he went an’ did what he did—havin’ Fuckin” Eddie iced.

Tomtom
He was the one who did it.

Goose
Absolutely. He didn’t pull the trigger, but he put the money in the handa the muscle that squeezed the fuckin’ trigger.

Tomtom
For no reason.

Goose
There was a reason.

Tomtom
No reason.

Goose
There was a reason.

Tomtom
I know Eddie was bangin’ Bingo’s sister, but that is no reason to burn the kid.

Goose
That’s not the reason.

Tomtom
So what was the reason, for crissake?

Goose
I am not at liberty to say.

Tomtom
You are not at liberty to say. You know the reason but you are not at liberty to say. So what is it?

(He takes out a blackjack.)

Goose
It’s information I have been sworn to secrecy about.

Tomtom
(Stalking Goose) Goose, I tole you about the sunrise. You wouldn’t even know it was daylight, I hadn’t tole you how the sun come up. You wouldn’t know how the light got here. You wouldn’t know if it was day or night. So gimme a break.

Goose
Bingo was fuckin’ his sister, too.

Tomtom
Bingo was bangin’ his own sister, is what you’re sayin’, and then Eddie started bangin’ Bingo’s sister too, and this for Bingo was intolerable, so he had Eddie iced? That is interesting. I thought it was protective, you know what I mean, but it wasn’t even business. That is interesting. What other secrets are you not at liberty to say?

(Tomtom has his arm around Goose’s head.)

Goose
Nothin’.

Tomtom
Nothin’. Like hell.

Goose
Nothin’. But I would like to know what Bingo’s up to, however.

Tomtom
(Rushing off to a pile of crates) We could wire his rooms. I got the equipment. We could listen on his phone, steam open his mail.

Goose
You wanna start doin’ that?

Tomtom
I’d like to bang his sister; wouldn’t you like to make her say “Bingo?”

(Tomtom paces away, as Goose digs into the crate, coming out with headphones, which he puts on.)

Goose
We could keep a list a who’s comin’ and goin’ outa his doorways. Front and back.

Tomtom
We’d figure it out.

(Tomtom has a folder taken from the desk. He has a map of the city.)

Goose
We could get a line on what he’s up to.

Tomtom
(Making a note in the folder): I can smell it.

Goose
I think he’s tryin’ to expand on his area influence.

Tomtom
He’s got enough.

Goose
I’d like to fuck his sister. We could get her up here, tie her up, put a gag in her goddamn mouth, keep her in the closet.

Tomtom
(Grabbing up a map, studying it): Monkey Murphy’s up to somethin’ too.

Goose
He’s a fake. He ain’t up to nothin’.

Tomtom
I been watchin’ him. An’ he’s up to somethin’. I ain’t got a line on it yet, but I will. And Connie the Hook over on Elm Street, he’s up to somethin’.

Goose
All these fuckin’ guys, man.

Tomtom
Yeh.

(The door opens and Lorraine steps in, putting away her keys. They whirl, ducking, pulling their guns and pointing them at her.)

Lorraine
(Walking up to Tomtom, as if to kiss him) Hey. So you’re here. I was lookin’ for you.

Goose
Hey, Lorraine, you look beautiful.

Tomtom
We been talkin’. Did you see the sunrise?

(Pushing her aside, he walks to the door, which she has left open. He locks it up again.)

Lorraine
(To Goose) So how you doin’?

Goose
(Bragging) Hey, all right. I mean, I come over. I come up the stairs, I’m thinkin’ this, I’m thinkin’ that, I don’t know what I’m doin’. So I knock on the door. Tomtom’s here. So we’re talkin’. There’s this sunrise. He’s standin’, I’m sittin’. He’s sittin’, I’m sittin’. You ain’t here. He’s standin’, I’m standin’. We’re both sittin’! I got this fuckin’ headache. He’s yellin’ at me. We have some coffee. (While Goose is speaking, Lorraine moves near Goose, quite flirtatiously removing her jacket, her gloves, her scarf.) Everybody’s up to somethin’, we don’t know what it is. We’re tryin’ to figure it. Bingo, Monkey, Connie. Eddie. Who iced him. Dumped him in the river. What it is everybody’s up to? Somethin’. All of ’em. It’s nervous. We don’t know what it is. We got our guns, though. He’s got his. I got mine. (He whips out his gun.) We don’t give a fuck. You come by. You wanna know how we’re doin’. All right. Hey, hey. So I’m tellin’ you. You’re standin’.there. We got our guns out. Tomtom’s got a .38 magnum. I got a .38 special. You’re standin’ there. You ain’t smilin’. I’m talkin’ on and on. I’m . . . noddin’ my fuckin’ head. Up and down. (He is.) So how you doin’, Lorraine?

Lorraine
So how you, Tomtom?

Tomtom
(Crossing away from her and toward Goose) Hey, I’m all right. You know what I mean—Goose comes in. I’m here, you know, I had a rough night—I’m restless, Goose comes in, I ain’t feelin’ good and Goose comes in, I’m tryin’ to decide about some coffee, and in comes Goose—I ain’t even thinkin’ about him—there was this sunrise and it was beautiful—so I’m thinkin’ about it and Goose comes in—I’m wonderin’ about you—how are you feelin’—in comes Goose—you know, you’re out all night, it ain’t my business, but I worry. It’s a bad fuckin’ city. So Goose comes in. He surprises me. So we start talkin’. He’s got a headache. We’re figurin’ Bingo’s maybe after us, but we don’t know. He’s a bastard; he’s a bastard. So you come in. You wanna know how I’m doin’. I’m okay. I been better an’ I been worse. I’m tellin’ you, right? I’m tellin’ you. I ain’t doin’ bad. All right!

(He ends up with his arm around Goose’s head.)

Lorraine
You fuckin’ guys. You’re a great coupla guys.

Goose
All right.

Tomtom
Hey.

Lorraine
I mean, Sally and Linda and Darlene and Carla, they was all talkin’ about you. What a great coupla guys! And Sally says, “Goose is tougher,” and Darlene says, “Tomtom is tougher.” They get into this argument over you guys. Can you see that? So I figured out a way a figurin’ it out, let these poor girls have a REST—you got ’em goin’ crazy.

Tomtom
Goose is awful tough.

Goose
You’re tough, too, Tomtom.

Tomtom
I ain’t no tougher than you, Goose.

Goose
I’m awful tough, too. I know that. I scare myself sometimes.

Tomtom
I scare myself too, Goose. Sometimes, I scare myself awful, how tough I am.

Lorraine
So what I figured, we’d have this contest and see who was the tougher by sticking pins in your arms.

Tomtom
(Interested): Yeh.

Goose
All right.

Tomtom
So we stick some pins in our arms and see who’s tougher.

Goose
All right.

Tomtom
That’s a good idea, Lorraine.

(This may be the best idea he’s ever heard in his life.)

Goose
Goddamn, Lorraine. Broads, huh, Tomtom?

Tomtom
They got these ideas, Goose. Broads. They got these goddamn ideas.

Lorraine
So I’m gonna stick these pins in your arms, and the one who yells first ain’t the tougher.

Tomtom
All right.

(Crossing to the couch, he sits and starts rolling up his sleeves.)

Goose
Fuckin’ broads, man.

Tomtom
The one who yells ain’t the tougher.

Goose
How many pins you got there, Lorraine?

(Moving to the couch, he starts rolling up his sleeves.)

Lorraine
Twenty.

Goose
That’s ten apiece. She’s gonna put ten fuckin’ pins in our arms, Tomtom.

Tomtom
(Putting his arm around Goose)
All right.

Lorraine
(Crossing to stand behind them) Here we go. (She sticks a pin into Tomtom’s arm.) One.

Goose
How you doin’, Tomtom? Can we talk, Lorraine, or is talkin’ yellin?

Lorraine
(Pacing behind them): And one for Goose. . . . And two for Tomtom, and two for Goose. . . . And three for Tomtom and three for Goose. Talkin’ ain’t yellin’. You can talk, as long as you don’t talk loud. Three for Goose and three for Tomtom.

Tomtom
You’re so beautiful, Lorraine. You’re so goddamn beautiful. I love you. I love you.

Lorraine
And four for Goose and four for Tomtom.

Goose
I love you too, Lorraine.

(Goose tries to get away every now and then, but Tomtom holds him.)

Tomtom
I’m happy to be doin’ this, ’cause it’s you doin’ it.

Lorraine
Five for Goose and five for Tomtom. You guys are tough.

Tomtom
We are both tough.

Goose
We are maybe equally tough.

Tomtom
(As she sticks number six into both) I am very tough.

Goose
Oh, Christ, I love you, Lorraine. I love you.

(Goose tries to get away.)

Lorraine
Seven for Tomtom and seven for Goose.

(Goose breaks loose, and Tomtom catches him, drags him back, holds him.)

Goose
This is some fuckin’ contest, huh, Tomtom.

Tomtom
(Loving it): All right.

Goose
All right! So how you doin’?

Tomtom
All right.

(He really loves it.)

Lorraine
Eight for Goose and eight for Tomtom. Nine for Goose and nine for Tomtom. (Silence. She stands looking at them.) Ten for Goose and ten for Tomtom.

(Silence. Released by Tomtom, Goose almost falls over, as Lorraine studies them, awaiting a reaction.)

Goose
I’m gonna go to the bathroom. Okay?

(He staggers off. Lorraine paces to the kitchen table, where she sits, taking from her purse a nail file.)

Tomtom
(Crossing to her menacingly): So I was wonderin’, Lorraine, last night, I was sleepin’, or I was layin’ there maybe half awake, or somethin’, I don’t know what I was doin’—you didn’t come in, did you, like in a green mask sorta, and you didn’t come in and whisper to me real soft and secret how you loved everybody else more than me&mdashhow you loved Connie and Monkey Murphy more’n me, an’ how you loved Bingo more’n me, an’ your voice real whispery; that didn’t happen, did it? You didn’t do that, did you, whisperin’ you was never gonna love me ever again?

(He ends up rooting through her purse.)

Lorraine
No.

Tomtom
(Grabbing her by the arm) Did you?

Lorraine
Last night? No.

Tomtom
Some other night? Ever?

Lorraine
No.

(She pulls away as Goose appears, coming out of the bedroom.)

Goose
(As Lorraine goes storming past him into the bedroom) Is the contest over or you gonna get more pins?

Lorraine
You guys are both tough.

Goose
We’re very fuckin’ tough.

Tomtom
Whatta we gonna do now?

Goose
Whatta you wanna do?

Tomtom
How’s your headache? Fuckin’ broads, man. Jesus.

Goose
I mean, I thought I was gonna scream. Did you think you was gonna scream?

Tomtom
I thought you was.

Goose
I knew I wasn’t gonna scream, but I was maybe gonna throw up.

Tomtom
Fuckin’ broads, man—she’s gotta stick pins in our arms.

Goose
I mean, she’s gotta stick pins in our arms. She’s outa her skull, man. I mean, how crazy you gotta be, you come into a room and stick a buncha pins in a couple guys’ arms.

Tomtom
You gotta be very crazy.

Goose
More’n that, man.

Tomtom
There’s somethin’ very unfuckin’ natural about broads.

Goose
How you gonna trust ’em? I mean, I ask myself that all the time. All the goddamn time.

Tomtom
I love to bang ’em, man. They got the plumbing, you know what I mean?

(He grabs his crotch to show how he loves to bang ’em.)

Goose
(Grabbing his crotch) I love to fuck ’em, too. Who’s talkin’ about that? I mean, like Bingo’s sister, keepin’ her in the goddamn closet. Tie her up in there, hang her from the hook, take her out, pump her, man, put her back; she wouldn’t know what she was doin’, but she’d like it.

Tomtom
She’d love it.

(He leaps to his feet, pulling his gun.)

Goose
You got a feelin’ anybody watchin’ us?

Tomtom
No. You?

Goose
No.

Tomtom
Like who?

Goose
I don’t know.

Tomtom
(Whacking Goose) So what’d you say it for? You makin’ me nervous.

Goose
Bingo.

Tomtom
That jerkoff. What about him?

Goose
He could be watchin’ us. Watchin’ us could be part of what he’s up to.

Tomtom
Bingo? No way!

Goose
Says who?!

Tomtom
He don’t even know where we are.

Goose
I mean, I think we gotta watch him. I mean, he could be watchin’ our every move; he could be recordin’ our every goddamn word—I mean, like that goddamn conversation we had before, he coulda heard it all. I mean, I don’t feel so good. How you think things are goin’?

Tomtom
All right.

Goose
All right. So we got pins in our arms, so what.

(He is sweating, nervous, a little sick.)

Tomtom
What conversation?

(He’s very suspicious.)

Goose
Before. We was talkin’. We was worried.

Tomtom
Yeh.

Goose
You remember. You think we could take the pins outa our arms or would she get pissed off?

Tomtom
She’d get pissed.

Goose
Sure. I know.

Tomtom
She’s a broad, you know what I mean.

Goose
The best, though.

Tomtom
The best. You better believe it.

Goose
The best goddamn broad in town.

Tomtom
You think I’m arguin’? Do I sound like I’m ar-guin’?

Goose
She’s a fuckin” queen, is what she is! So is there anything to drink around here?

Tomtom
(Perhaps pulling out a bottle from a hiding place in the couch) You want some Scotch?

Goose
How about some bourbon?

Tomtom
(Heading for the kitchen) Have us a little pop.

Goose
So, Tomtom, you know what I mean? It don’t really matter if Bingo’s after us—is that what you’re sayin’? We can handle it.

Tomtom
You sayin’ we can’t?

(Tomtom is setting them up at the kitchen table.)

Goose
Gimme a double. So if I was to say what I’m won-derin’—and I ain’t said it yet—but if I was to say it, you got any idea what you would think a me?

Tomtom
What?

Goose
I got this thing I ain’t said it yet.

Tomtom
I know you ain’t said it yet.

Goose
I mean, you gonna be mad at me or not?

Tomtom
Fuck no.

Goose
You’re mad already.

Tomtom
Goose, have another drink.

Goose
It’s okay.

Tomtom
You’re such a secretive fuck!

(He pours his bourbon in Goose’s crotch and shoves Goose back into the armchair.)

Goose
Yeh, well, it’s embarrassin’ to have been a frog.

Tomtom
No it ain’t.

Goose
Was you ever a frog?

Tomtom
What?

Goose
I mean, sometimes I still got like these frog feelings from when I was briefly a frog.

Tomtom
Hey, so you think you can’t talk to me about that?

Goose
I was wonderin’.

Tomtom
So you were a frog. So what? Am I your friend or not?

Goose
’At’s what I would say.

Tomtom
You think I don’t know about stuff like that? I been around, man. Who you think you’re talkin’ to?

Goose
Tomtom.

Tomtom
And you’re Goose.

Goose
You’re tellin’ me.

Tomtom
Right.

Goose
I know that.

Tomtom
Aw right. So when was this?

Goose
You’re awful interested. So maybe I don’t wanna talk about it.

Tomtom
Am I makin’ you nervous?

Goose
No.

Tomtom
You look nervous.

Goose
No. It’s just my expression sometimes I got it on my face. It don’t mean nothin’.

Tomtom
You’re sayin’ the expression on your face don’t mean nothin’?

(He moves near Goose and looks into Goose’s face.)

Goose
Naw. Nothin’. it’s just there sometimes. You know. It’s just there. These expressions, I don’t know about ’em. I don’t even think about ’em. They’re just there, you know.

Tomtom
(Still staring into Goose’s face) I’m feelin’ a little nauseous.

Goose
Whatsamatter?

Tomtom
I’m feelin’ a little sick to my stomach. I should lay down.

Goose
You can lay down. Maybe you’ll feel a little better.

Tomtom
It ain’t nothin”, though. It’s just very sudden. I’m standin’ there talkin”. We’re just talkin’, it comes over me.

(He lies down on the couch.)

Goose
(Worried, moving behind the couch near Tomtom to examine him) Maybe you got one a these influenza bugs. They’re around.

Tomtom
Maybe.

Goose
They sneak in you up your nose. They get in there. They start livin’ there. They ain’t invisible, but you can’t see ’em.

Tomtom
So maybe I’ll just lay real quiet.

Goose
You can rest.

Tomtom
Yeh.

Goose
(Worried, looking around) So what am I gonna do?

Tomtom
It’s okay.

Goose
(Hurrying to the armchair by the couch) So I’ll just sit over here on this chair. That’s what I’ll do. An’ I’ll put my hands on my lap. An’ cross my legs. No. No, I won’t cross my legs. It’s you an’ me, Tomtom. I’m sittin’ up an’ you’re restin’.

Tomtom
(Sitting bolt upright) So how come I can’t see ’em? (He leaps up, whipping out his gun.) What? The bugs sneakin’ up my nose. How come?

Goose
They’re little tiny.

Tomtom
Oh. (Pause.) ’At’s scary.

(He collapses back down onto the couch.)

Goose
I’m sittin’ here, and I don’t look alert, but I got my hand on the butt a my pistol, my toes is tensed, I could leap in a second was somebody to come in that door, and I would be on my knees so they would be shootin’ high and missin’ me an’ I could blow a hole in their belly the size of a sewer, their guts droppin’ out like drowned rats.

Tomtom
How come they’d be comin’ in here, Goose?

Goose
To get us.

(He runs around now, making defense preparations, barricading the door, looking out the eyehole, practicing his maneuvers, turning over the armchair to form an L-shaped fortification with the couch.)

Tomtom
How come they’d wanna get us, Goose?

Goose
They’d have their reasons.

Tomtom
Like what, Goose?

Goose
I don’t know. They’d know the reasons, though. I mean, Tomtom, there are people out there got reasons to get us.

Tomtom
Oh, yeh.

Goose
You know that.

Tomtom
Sure. I was just wonderin’ what they are.

Goose
What?

Tomtom
The reasons. I mean, maybe before you shot ’em, you could ask ’em.

Goose
(Hurrying to hide behind the toppled chair) I wouldn’t have time.

Tomtom
As they were comin’ in the door, you could ask real quick, “How come you wanna get us?”

Goose
There wouldn’t be time, Tomtom. You know that.

Tomtom
Yeh.

Goose
(Patting Tomtom) So how’s your stomach?

Tomtom
You wanna talk about the sunrise again?

(Goose flops down on the floor behind the toppled armchair, and Tomtom leans against the front of the couch, so they seem almost two men in a foxhole.)

Goose
So how you feel?

Tomtom
These fuckin’ pins are killin’ me.

Goose
I mean, it was before I lived around here. I don’t know where it was, but I was in this room, and I couldn’t get out. But I don’t give a fuck. It’s happened before. And then, all of a sudden, there’s all this dark behind me that’s different than all the other dark, and in this different dark, there is the reason that it’s different, and the reason is it’s a ghost behind me, and when I turn to look he just moves so he stays behind me, and then he says like into the back of my head, “Don’t you wanna know the secret?” And I say, “No, I don’t.” An’ he says, “It’s a secret about you, don’t you wanna know it?” And I say, “No,” an’ I’m wishin’ he would go away, and he hears my thinkin’, so he’s angry.

(Tomtom spasms, getting sicker, and Goose goes to the downstage crates from which Tomtom got the aspirins. Goose gets a thermometer, a stethoscope, aspirin, perhaps something for the pins. Going back to Tomtom, he tends him.)

Goose
All of a sudden in his anger I can’t move anymore, and then I can, but I can’t stand up, or talk. And all of a sudden I know why all the other little kids in the neighborhood hate me, ’cause they do, and tease me, ’cause they do, and it’s ’cause I’m a frog. ’At’s the secret about me. And now he’s brought it up outa the secret places in me and into my body; this ghost with these eyes has looked at me an’ turned me into a frog in me. (Pause.) Well, I’m cryin’—I’m not afraid to tell you, Tomtom, I’m cryin’ an’ beggin’, I’ll do anything he wants—I don’t know what it is—but I can’t move or speak, all green and spotty. So the night is on and on, and it’s truer than anything else. I belong on my belly. Out of doors an’ wet and cold. Out by green scummy ponds unable to talk all my feelin’s or thoughts but burstin’ with “em. Layin’ inna wet slimy grass, hopin’ to lick some fly outa the air. Worms around me an’ spiders. The night seems so long. As years an’ years. And then there’s light, an’ I see my body’s a person again, ’cause I made the ghost a promise I don’t know what it was. (Slight pause.) An’ sometimes, I still get feelings of a frog an’ I gotta look around and check everything real good an’ make sure I’m not layin’ in green wet grass wantin’ to eat flies, ’cause I’m cold in my heart sometimes. I’m all spotty an’ green in my heart. In my heart I know where I belong, an’ I got big buggy eyes. (Pause.) That fuckin’ promise to a ghost, I made it—I don’t know what it was, but I know I’m keepin’ it. He said I would be a frog as long as he was a ghost, and blood was red and mud wet an’ secrets secrets. You ever made a promise to a ghost? Tom . . . tom?

(The lights have dimmed to evening.)

Tomtom
No.

Goose
You’re lucky.

Tomtom
Last night. I was surrounded by ’em. It was awful.

Goose
’At’s what I’m sayin’. An’ you didn’t make any promises to ’em?

Tomtom
I wish I was a happy person.

Goose
I wish I was a happy person too, Tomtom. I wish we both was. You wish we both was? Or just you was.

Tomtom
I wish we both was.

Goose
Me too.

Tomtom
It would make me too unhappy if you was unhappy.

Goose
Me too. You happy or unhappy right now?

Tomtom
Unhappy. Unhappy.

Goose
Me too.

Tomtom
I mean, Bingo’s got everything goin’ for him an’ everybody’s up to somethin’. I got ghosts in here at night. Lorraine’s gone. You know what I mean? Out on the streets. She’s out there. Doin’ what? I don’t know. Who knows? You know? It scares me how she’s out there on the street. I’m up all night. How’m I gonna be happy? You see what I’m sayin’?

Goose
Sure.

Tomtom
How about you?

Goose
I ain’t happy.

Tomtom
You ain’t happy.

Goose
I wish I was happy.

Tomtom
I wish you was, too.

Goose
I don’t know.

Tomtom
You cryin’?

(He reaches suddenly to turn on a lamp.)

Goose
Yeh.

Tomtom
How come?

Goose
I don’t know.

Tomtom
You wanna put on your cowboy suit? We could put on our cowboy suits.

Goose
Naw.

Tomtom
We both could put on our cowboy suits.

Goose
I don’t wanna.

Tomtom
How about your hat? Put on your hat.

(He hurries to the upstage crates to get the hat.)

Goose
Naw.

Tomtom
C’mon.

Goose
Naw.

Tomtom
C’mon, Goose. You’ll feel better. Just the hat.

Goose
It’s a great fuckin’ hat.

(Tomtom puts the hat on Goose: a Stetson.)

Tomtom
All right!

Goose
How do I look?

Tomtom
Fantastic.

Goose
I bet I do.

Tomtom
I wish you was here an’ that hat on when them ghosts come by last night. I mean—they ask me how I’m doin’? So I tell ’em. Lorraine’s out on the street. I can’t sleep. I’m up all night. Now they’re here lookin’ at me outa these little holes in the hoods they are wearin’, which are black an’ their eyes scary. They’re psychos, you know. Psycho ghosts with evil hearts under their sheets wavin’ in the wind comin’ in the window ’cause I left it open in the hope Lorraine passin’ by on the street below, she might call to me or I might sniff her perfume, I could call to her. How they think I’m doin’? I got ghosts come into my room with evil in their hearts and they glow like the moon standin’ at the foot of my bed. Then they tie me down with invisible ropes, explainin’ how they have come for somethin’ and they don’t know where it is, but they will look for it and find it and they can only look for it and find it if I got this blindfold over my eyes, so they put it over me and I hear ’em moving things which they are picking up and putting down, and one of them says he sympathizes with my predicament, but the only way to do the things they are doing is the way they are doing them. He leans near to me, whispers, and his breath has a stink in it and I cannot follow the line of his lingo, and I try to melt the cold growing in me, and the melting cold comes out of my body in sweat and from my eyes in tears, and they are moving things still, picking things up and putting things down. And I’ll never guess who they are, the one who sympathizes with my predicament says, or what they’re looking for, but when they find it—and they will—they’ll take it and be gone. All this was last night.

(Tomtom has been breaking out crates of weapons, putting the chair back in place and putting on additional shoulder holsters, along with knives and pistols strapped to his ankles. He has hidden weapons in the couch. He has made a Molotov cocktail and hidden it in a drawer. Goose has watched intently all the while.)

Goose
Did you promise ’em nothin”?

Tomtom
(Checking the peephole in the front door) Nothin’.