Audience - adlib only
Marcia: Welcome, everyone, welcome! To the fourth and final installment of Meander Books' Lyrical Chair reading series. We are very excited to welcome back to our fair city one of our own, Lowell Bateson Corball! A favorite son among favorite sons, Mr. Corball's poetry has been called gritty, both hyper- and surrealistic, and a necessary cross-breeze in the stuffy genre of too-too clever wordsmiths and clinically-dry poseurs. Here to read tonight some selected poems from his latest collection, "Royal Falters", a compilation of verse written about or inspired by this fabulous city. Please welcome to the Lyrical Chair, Mr. Lowell Corball.
(Audience applauds and adlibs excitedly, Lowell walks onto the platform, sits in the chair and opens his book)
Lowell: (very dry) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the nice introduction, Marcia. And thank you for coming to this reading. I'm always surprised that so many people attend my readings, but then I remember that at least eighty percent are here to answer the question: Isn't he dead yet?
(Audience laughter, adlibs)
Lowell: The answer is, despite my unhealthy appearance, "no". I am not dead. I wasn't dead fifteen years ago, and I wasn't dead five years ago; both suicides failed successfully.
(Audience laughter, a little uneasiness, adlibs)
Lowell: So here I am to read a few favorite poems from my new book; a few poems which, like showing up tonight... a few that remind me that I am alive. However unfortunate that may be.
(Audience laughter, a little more uneasiness, adlibs)
Lowell: Starting tonight with the title poem, "Royal Falters"....
(Audience excited, adlibs)
Lowell: In the rusted car, all my silicon dreams came through / busted rubber in the back seat / streetlights pry life from the corners of your eyes / the streets I wandered, the high school never finished / the streets where we found our dreams, lost that same night // Where the junction of west and north / the arteries collapse...
Jimmy: (shouting out from his seat in the audience) You sing it, Lowball!
(some chuckles from audience)
Lowell: (smiling) The arteries collapse and the traffic wishes / to founder downhill, south and east...
Jimmy: You're talking about MacArthur and Prefect, right, Lowball!?
Jimmy: Yeah! Where the hill is, and you can't see shit-all when you're coming in on Pre?
(some shushing from the audience, some uncomfortable laughter)
Jimmy: That shit's dangerous! I been in two accidents there myself!
(more direct adlibs to Jimmy, telling him to knock it off, some laughter)
Lowell: Very dangerous.
Jimmy: Shit, Lowball, you and I got fucked up that one night, sixteen?
(audience adlibs die down as it appears Lowell is not minding the interruption)
Lowell: Seventeen, Jimmy.
Jimmy: Seventeen... shit, we were that young once upon a time, huh, Lowball?
Lowell: Yeah, we were.
Jimmy: You were messed up that night, man! What was it?
Lowell: Whiskey from the micks, weed from the spics.
(some gasps and adlibs from the audience)
Jimmy: Yeah, as usual. Shouldn't have been driving like that, I guess.
Lowell: What, too fast?
Jimmy: Too fucked!
Lowell: Yeah. But, everyone drove drunk and high back then.
Jimmy: I didn't think your shit Ford'd make it up Pre hill going that fast.
Lowell: We we're head-down, air-bound.
Jimmy: (makes loud slapping noise) Slam! Right into her!
Lowell: Sad, sad. That was the girl I would have killed to fuck again.
(more shock, some audience members leaving, adlibs)
Jimmy: But, you just fucking killed her.
Lowell: Shit, never would have known she'd be out that late, by herself? I mean, of all the people in the city, you know, it had to be her.
Jimmy: She was wearing all black too; like she was asking for it.
Lowell: We got out of there fast!
Jimmy: Fucking right, Lowball. Good thing she was light. Got her body in the trunk...
Lowell: Ahh... (laughing) remember we went about a hundred feet further and stopped for her other shoe?
Jimmy: Course I remember, you made me pick it up! I said you're the one fucking hit her, but you were driving; so I guess that was best.
Lowell: Where'd we dump the body? I was so gone...
Jimmy: No idea, Lowball. But, the police never knew either.
(more audience leaving, lots of disgusted adlibs)
Lowell: I have to admit, never would have known she was pregnant.
Jimmy: I can't believe her mom told the papers that! Probably trying to get more sympathy.
Lowell: It bugs me sometimes, wondering.
Jimmy: Hey! If it was yours, Lowball, you took out two problems at once!
(almost all the audience has left, some retching sounds as a few people leave, adlibbing pretty horrible things to both men)
Lowell: Yeah, yeah, I know.
(long pause as Jimmy looks around at the one or two remaining audience members, one black, one white)
Jimmy: Say, you ever hear from Marco any more?
Lowell: The Stone?
Jimmy: Yeah, The Stone had a job for me down in Niggertown... I took care of it for him; fucker never paid up.
(white audience member looks at black audience member, decides to leave)
Lowell: Fucking crooked dagos; they never fork it over when they got the Family backing'em up.
Jimmy: You still married?
Lowell: So to speak.
Lowell: Well, we're not divorced, but she's in a coma.
Lowell: Yep, now I can fuck who I want.
Jimmy: You can still fuck?
Lowell: Well, I've got enough money to pay people to fuck me. So... yeah... in a way, I still got it.
(long pause, Lowell finally addresses the black man sitting alone in the audience)
Lowell: Hey, man, we're done. No more poems. I don't like readings, and I really don't like signing books for these pretentious asses. So, now, I don't have to do either.
Jimmy: What's your name?
Jimmy: You want to join us? Lowball's whole night just opened up for him.
Lowell: We've got some great whiskey in the car. Don't worry, I don't drink like that anymore.
Jimmy: You put up with enough of our bullshit; you win, I guess. Just out on the town for the night? A poet, an actor and the new guy.
Roger: Sure, sure. Sounds good.
(they start to leave)
Lowell: Goodbye, Marcia. We'll do this again sometime?
(Jimmy and Roger laugh)
Jimmy: Let's go, Lowball... whiskey waiting.
(they exit, lights fade on Marcia in her chair on the platform, eyes wide open, blinking in a stupefied manner)