Outside the Messenger's Cottage
the following morning. GILES is alone on stage, reflectively leaning against
the wall and smoking a cigarette. In a moment ROLAND enters from the left
Not open yet?
(shaking his head)
How come you're limping?
I may be coming down with gout.
What happened to the infectious pestilence?
Haven't noticed any outbreaks yet.
I've heard, though, it sometimes takes a few days.
In the meantime, you've got the gout
to worry about.
(lighting a cigarette)
It's from all that rushing about---eating
those quick meals at those crummy taverns. All those bangers and gooseberry
An occupational hazard of messengering.
If I'd had any sense, I would have
followed my Dad's advice and gone into highway robbery. But I'm allergic
Looks like you followed your Dad's
What are you talking about?
According to some of our clients,
this is highway robbery.
(after a pause)
I was just thinking. Do you ever
have the feeling that we're on some kind of strange revolving treadmill?
We go hither, thither
And all the scenes we come upon,
I often feel we've come upon
Sometimes you find the faces
And certain things have been
But it's really the same at the
Time's revolving wheels
Seem to slip a gear.
Didn't we do the same
Earlier this year?
Time's revolving wheels
Seem to have a cog;
Patterns will repeat,
Memory will fog.
We tell ourselves our will is
When there's something that we
But character is destiny
No matter what the guise.
We know little or naught
Of the truth life conceals
For all of us are caught
In time's revolving wheels.
You sound like Benedict.
Who do you think I got it from?
(CUTHBERT enters from the right.)
Just you two? Where's Pottesley and
Lyttlebourne and the "done doneth me wrong" girl?
(GILES and ROLAND shrug.)
And no word from Tubney, I gather.
I swear to God trying to run this establishment is like sailing a canoe
into the Spanish Armada. Why did I ever go into this business? If I'd only
been a little taller, I could have been a courtier.
I didn't know they had height restrictions
Yeah. They don't tell you that, but
they do. They want you to keep telling your kids, "When you grow up, you
can be a courtier." Bullshit!
(GILES and ROLAND follow
him to the door. CUTHBERT is about to place the key in the lock when he
sees it is open.)
What the---? Someone's been here!
My God, the safe!
(HE rushes into the room
then into his office. In a moment, HE returns.)
No. It's okay. The blank scrolls
are there---and there are the scrolls for today. I don't notice anything
has been touched, do you?
(AVERY and OSWYN enter from
the left followed by MAUDE still in her male outfit. She appears depressed.
THEY all move to the door and enter the room.)
Well, look who's here! Did any of
you decide to come in the middle of the night?
No, they saideth they were too tired.
I'm not talking about that! I'm talking
about here! Some one broke in last night.
Not that I can tell.
Why would someone break in and leave
everything the way it was?
You tell me! Later I'll probably
find some rival company's planted a bomb.
At least that'll be after we're gone.
Why? You allergic to bombs like everything
Okay. To work now. There's no bidding
today. You'll take what I give you. Except the bear.
Some place in Bohemia. The directions
are on the scroll.
(HE disappears into his office
as the OTHERS look one to the other quizzically. Then HE reappears with
a bear suit.)
How about you, Shoreditch? You like
Only in gowns.
(ROLAND shoots her an angry look.)
What's it made out of?
Whatever it's made out of, you're
probably allergic. Okay. Anyone for bear?
Extra farthings for that?
Look. All you have to do is go there
and eat someone named Antigonus. You'll recognize him because he's leaving
this kid in the desert.
Idiot! You don't really eat him.
You chase him off and pretend you're going to eat him.
That should be an extra three thousand
Jesus God! It's the easiest one of
all. You just come on, say nothing and then disappear. All right. Put the
bear aside for the moment.
(taking a purple scroll)
Here. This is an easy one. I'm
giving this to Ted, because this'll be her first time.
(MAUDE takes the scroll,
unfurls it and begins to read slowly as CUTHBERT hands an orange scroll
to Avery and a red one to Giles.)
Who wroteth this?
I knoweth good writing. And this
(CUTHBERT grabs the scroll
from her and stuffs the bear suit in her lap. Music begins in the background
as we hear "Men Without Faces" played at an accelerated pace. CUTHBERT
then takes the scrolls from Avery and Giles and decides to rearrange them.
As HE is handing out each of them the music builds. Suddenly over the p.a.
system, we hear the voice of Lady Macbeth, very loud and very clear.)
LADY MACBETH'S VOICE
And by tomorrow evening, we shall
see absolute mayhem.