by Duncan Wells
Return To Part One
Recap: Gizella has taken control of escaped convict Morris Fletcher's ability to think clearly. He still does not realize that he is the Brownbird and he will soon become a victim of the game.
Morris falls back in his chair
Gizella: Sir Morris?
Gizella: Are you feeling sick again?
Morris: Uh…I just…I just keep getting that dizzy feeling.
Gizella: You are probably tired. Come here and splash your face with cool water.
He gets up, stumbles but she catches him and helps him toward the basin
Oh! There you are…you are fine…you are just a little weak…over here…watch your step…here you are.
Pause. Morris seems intoxicated.
Morris: Maybe…maybe there's somethin' wrong with the rabbit. How old is it?
Gizella: It is fresh meat sir Morris. I would not feed you something that would cause you sickness. Now, here, let me help you with your jacket.
Morris: Naw…go, I'm fine. I can…I can get my own jacket.
Gizella: Ha! Such an independent one…stubborn like a mule upon a plough
He removes his jacket and soaks his face and hair. She attempts to dry him but he takes the towel from her to do it himself.
Morris: Never mind the insults. You sound like my old man. Just let me take care of myself, ok?
Gizella: As you wish.
Morris: Any idea what time it is?
She takes the robe with her and crosses to the window
Gizella: It is approaching 11 o'clock.
He looks for a clock
Morris: How do you know that?
Morris: See what?
What, the moon? You can tell the time by lookin' at the friggin' moon?
Gizella: The moon, the sun…yes, of course.
Morris: Where the hell did you learn that?
Gizella: I learned it the same way every other child learns to tell time sir Morris. I learned it from my parents.
She walks away
Morris: This is nuts.
Gizella: Oh, stop it please. I have become so tired of listening to you speak about me as if there is something wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with me…there is nothing odd about me…it is you, sir Morris…it is you, not I who has a problem dealing with your surroundings.
Pause. She shakes her head with pity
Morris: Look, ah…what's you name anyway?
She smiles and laughs
Morris: What? What's so funny?
Gizella: Sir Morris, you have thought, finally, to ask my name? After allowing you through my door, after inviting you into my home, offering you food, comfort and escape, it has finally crossed your mind to ask my name?
Morris: Look…just…just tell me, ok? I don't need to get into any big discussion over it.
Gizella: Gizella Bogdan…it is Hungarian.
Morris: From Hungary.
She stares at him
Morris: Well, no, I was just askin'.
Gizella: Well, of course…where else?
Morris: Gizella…ha! Gizella the gypsy.
Gizella: They sound very nice together. Do you not think so?
Morris: Wha'? Yeah…sure…whatever…humph! Listen Gizella, how come you're being so nice to me? How come your so..so, relaxed…so sweet, so…so weird? I mean, what's goin' on? You're not afraid of me. You know who I am…you know everything about me and you're treatin' me as if I'm some kind of house guest.
Gizella: I should be afraid?
He approaches her slowly as if posing a threat
Morris: Of course you should be afraid. I'm a murderer for God's sake. You're a woman livin' alone here in the middle of no where. As it stands I got nothin' to lose. Who's to say I can't go nuts right now? Who's to say I can't wig out and tear this place apart…because I'm nuts remember? I could kill you and…
He clutches his stomach and falls to the floor writhing in pain. Gizella walks away calmly and allows him to get through it on his own. She is smiling. Long pause.
..oh..oh…ahhh God! Oh…hell…damn…that hurts.
Gizella: Sir Morris, are you alright?
He sits on the floor
Morris: Gimme a sec…oh…oh, wow! That ever hurt…like appendix or somethin'. Are you sure there's nothing wrong with that rabbit?
He regains his composure and catches his breath.
Gizella: I assure you, sir Morris, there is nothing wrong with the rabbit.
She offers her hand to help him up. He accepts.
It is your tight clothing. They are causing you discomfort. Here put this on.
Morris: What? I'm not putting that on. It's a dress.
Gizella: It is a night shirt. It is not a dress. It is for your own comfort. You cannot expect to sleep in such confinement as what you have on. Now put-it-on!
He takes it
Morris: Christ! You're not expecting anyone are you?
Gizella: Company? No…no, I am not.
Morris: You better be sure about that because I don't want anybody comin' in here and finding me dressed in this.
She directs him to the other room
Gizella: You can change in there.
Morris: Ok, but nobody's coming, right?
Gizella: I just told you…no.
He exits and speaks from off stage. Gizella fills his bowl again.
…you don't have any asprin do you?
Morris: You know…asprin? I think I'm coming down with something. I have a headache.
Morris: Yeah, ok, whatever…asprin, medication, tylenol, pot, coke.
Gizella: Now who is talking in circles.
Morris: Look, do you have anything or not.
Gizella: No, sir Morris, I do not.
Morris: Well, when you get sick…when you get a cold or a headache, whatta ya do?
Gizella: I have never had a cold or a headache.
Morris: Well, then how about casting a magic spell?
Gizella: A magic spell?
Morris: Yeah, a magic spell. You got one that can fix me up? Make this feeling go away?
Gizella: No, I am sorry, I have no magic spells that can remedy your situation. Some water perhaps?
Morris: What the hell is it with you and your water?
Gizella: It will help you feel better.
Morris: I already had water and lots of it. I don't want any more, ok?
Gizella: As you wish. I was simply offering…that is all.
Morris: Look, you ah…you never told me yet why you're not afraid of me.
Gizella: You will not harm me. This I know for certain.
Morris: That's not an answer.
Gizella: No, you are absolutely right sir Morris, it is not an answer, but it is the truth, is it not? You have no intention of harming me.
Morris: (He sighs) Yeah…alright…I don't…you're right, ok? You're right.
Gizella: Of course I am right. Was there ever any doubt?
Pause. He crosses to the imaginary rabbit, takes a piece and eats it. She smiles.
Morris: So, since we got all night, tell me…what happened to your family…your parents?
Gizella: They passed away…fourteen years ago.
Morris: Both of them?
Gizella: Yes, both of them.
Morris: They both died? Like, fourteen years ago, the same year?
Gizella: The same day.
Morris: Oh…what a car accident, a fire…something like that?
Gizella: No, it was simply old age.
Morris: What, are you puttin' me on? They both died the same day of old age?
Gizella: Yes. Is there something wrong with that?
Morris: Naw, that's too much of a coincidence.
Gizella: You mean it is not normal?
Morris: Aww, man…ha! This is just too weird.
Gizella: What is too weird?
Morris: Nothin'…everything…nothin', never mind. I have to stop actin' surprised at everything because nothin' here makes any sense. It's just…it's just…I dunno, it's like I'm havin' a dream or somethin'…it's just too crazy. I don't…I don't even want to think about it any more.
Gizella: Sir Morris?
Gizella: The robe…it is very becoming.
Morris: I look like one of the Ku Klux Klan.
Gizella: I think it looks lovely.
He picks at the rabbit again but throws it back on the platter.
Morris: You got anything else around here to eat?
Gizella: I could make you a sandwich.
Morris: Yeah? Whatta you got to make a sandwich with?
Morris: Oh for Christ sake knock it off! Is that all you got around here is rabbit and water?
Gizella: Yes it is…I am sorry.
Morris: What about milk?
Gizella: Milk? Never.
Morris: What's wrong with milk?
Gizella: Where would I get this milk?
Morris: From a cow.
Gizella: And why would I drink milk that comes from a cow?
Morris: Will you stop that?
Gizella: But why?
Morris: Because, it's good…it tastes good…it's good for you…I don't know. Hell, what a stupid question, why!
Gizella: Sir Morris, is it not true that cows milk affects the human bone structure?
Morris: Oh great! Now I'm back in my grade seven science and health class.
Gizella: So with this being a known truth, does it not also hold true that as human beings continue to evolve they will eventually succumb to these affects.
Morris: What the hell are you talkin' about?
Gizella: Cow bones, sir Morris. I am talking about humans developing cow bones.
Morris: Cow bones? What the hell kind of craziness is that?
Gizella: Cow's milk is for cows…goat's milk is for goats.
Morris: Ohhh, I see what you're gettin' at. And human's milk is for humans.
He is rambling now
Morris: Precisely…precisely? Oh, man! I'm…I'm dizzy again…I'm…I'm dizzy, I…I have to sit…
Gizella: Let me help. You do not look well…you are weak. vShe helps him. He accepts. He lays his head upon the table. She crosses to the window and stares out. Long pause. Morris tries to lift his head each time he speaks but is forced into laying it down upon the table as if it is too heavy for him to hold up.
Gizella: Sir Morris, you are trying to say something?
Morris: Your…your sister…
He gasps for breath. Pause
Gizella: Sir Morris?
Gizella: You are sleepy.
Gizella: You were asking about Lutheria?
Morris: Um…you, ah…you…you an' her were close…
Gizella: We were sisters sir Morris. We loved each other…we did everything together…we worked together…we played together…we helped with the cooking and the cleaning…Momma taught us everything we needed to know about taking care of the home and how to make things right for Papa…she was a good woman and he was a good man…he was a hard working man…and he loved Lutheria and I…he loved us with all of his heart…Papa was a trapper, sir Morris…he was a trapper, a hunter, a gatherer and a survivor. We were taught much about survival by him, and by Momma too…survival…it is our way of life…it is something we were born into…
Gizella: Sir Morris?
Gizella crosses behind him and rubs his head affectionately. Pause.
Gizella: My poor, poor dear sir Morris…so sweet…so fragile…so weak…so very human…
…Lutheria and I danced…we sang…we played happily as children…as children often do…we danced along our secret pathways through the forest…singing songs and…rhyming rhymes…
Gizella begins her rhyme. Lutheria's voice is heard reciting the rhyme along with her. During the rhyme, Morris becomes aware of Lutheria's voice. He is groggy but desperately struggles to lift his head and to get up from the table.
Once in darkness
Crept a swarthy
He found a-lying
In quinary and alone
From the shadows
Lept upon them
Dagger drawn reflecting orb
Wife and swarthy
Sat that night to feast a gore
And soon the Kris had called upon him
Come young gypsy
Your evils bear
But wife and swarthy
And ravened daughters
Made escape to good satyr.
Morris is out of control. His problem is, he has no strength. He has struggled without success to get up, eventually does succeed, falls across the table pulling all that is with it to the floor revealing the butcher's cleaver which has, until this moment, been concealed by the over hang of the table cloth. Gizella crosses the stage to help him to the chesterfield.
Gizella: Please, sir Morris, it is obvious that you are in no condition.
Morris: She's here, I…I heard her.
Gizella: You heard who?
Morris: I…I heard her…Lutheria…your sister…you heard her…you heard her…
Gizella: Sir Morris, you are suffering delusions. Lutheria is not here. I have not seen her. I have not heard her.
Morris: Your rhyme…your rhyme, I…I heard her…stop this…stop this now…please….
He is now on the chesterfield and gasping for breath
Gizella: The fever is affecting your thinking. Please, be still…you need rest…you are not well.
Morris: But I…I heard her, I…oh…I…heard…her…
Gizella: There, there…you are fine…you are going to be alright…you need rest…lie still…lie still…
She crosses to the basin, wrings out a cloth and returns to wipe down his face
Morris: No…no…stop…get away…
Gizella: Sir Morris…
Morris: Get away I said…stop…stop…no more…no…no more…
Gizella: But I am trying to help…
Morris: Go…go…please…go…Lutheria…Lutheria!! Oh…oh, God…oh God, please…please get me out of this…
Gizella: God will not help you sir Morris..
Morris: Stop it…stop it…please, get me out of this…oh…
Long Pause. Morris catches his breath. Although somewhat restless, he lies quiet and he is listening to her every word.
Gizella: Papa he…he built us a bird house…he built it in such a manner that by unhooking two small latches the roof could be removed…it was quite unique…were only seven years old at the time…the woods surrounding where we lived then, and now…have always been a nesting ground for a particular species of brownbird…a very pretty bird…it was Lutheria's idea that we invent a game…a game in which we could use this bird house that Papa built for us…this bird house with the removable roof …Lutheria had Papa fashion a small door for us…one that would attach to the front of the bird house…and so he did…it slid up and down…up and down over the tiny hole through which a brownbird would fly…in and out…in and out of the bird house…attached to the tiny door was a length of fishing twine…this fishing twine lead from it's attachment to the bird house door through the branches of the tree to the ground below…where stood, Lutheria, with twine in hand…my job was to climb the upper branches of the tree…high above to watch the bird house…to see if a bird had passed through the opening…and when one did, sir Morris…the very second that his tail feathers disappeared inside …upon my signal…Lutheria would pull the string and trap the brownbird inside…sir Morris?
Gizella: Are you listening?
Gizella: Brownbird…yes, sir Morris…brownbird.
Gizella: I would then swiftly cross the branches of the trees to the bird house, remove the roof, reach inside and capture the tiny bird in my hand. I would climb all the way to the ground below, hand it to Lutheria…she would snap it's neck, place it in a basket…and we would do it all over again…
Pause. She crosses directly to him
Gizella: You are not listening sir Morris
She shakes gently shakes him
Gizella: Sir Morris?
Oh, you are not dead sir Morris…your heart is beating….your eyes are opened…you are listening and you hear every word I say…your problem is that you cannot respond…but I understand…I understand as a mother would, wiping tears from the eyes of her child…a child who has done something wrong and who is now looking for forgiveness…I understand…come with me now sir Morris….Lutheria is waiting
Pause. She begins dragging his dead weight body from the chesterfield across the stage to the tree trunk chopping block. She speaks to him throughout the crossing of the stage.
Oh sir Morris…such a sad closing to such a sad, sad tale….is it not? I…the frail and gentle soul…and you the strong…the brutish…the violent…the hate-filled and heartless human being…rendered defenseless by his unwillingness to believe…his refusal to understand what even the tiniest bird of the forest has learned…the wind can carry you only for so long…then you must find refuge among the trees…
She positions him face up across the block with his neck in the middle of the block before continuing. She brushes his face gently with her hands.
Oh sir Morris…sir Morris…I see through your eyes and into your heart the desire you have to reach up and place your hands around my throat…but you know now, that this could never be…and the beating of your heart…the beating of your heart sir Morris…it tells me you are frightened….close your eyes…pretend you are sleeping….pretend you are sleeping…
She gets up from the chopping block and crosses to retrieve the cleaver. As she does she recites the following poem.
I have spied a tiny brown bird.
I have him in my hand
I will bring him to the ground
Do you see what I have captured?
Do you see what I have brought you?
To place inside your basket
Are you proud?
Are you proud?
She returns to the chopping block with the cleaver. Down upon her knees she sings.
Sing a song of sixpence
A pocket full of rye
Four and twenty…brownbirds
Baked in a pie
Cleaver raised. Lights fade