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Dash #6: Gush (2010)

The characters:
Roy
Dean
Gina
Nina

GINA I was talking with Roy. Or someone very like him.
DEAN What’s he up to?
GINA He said he had been experiencing the need to murder.
DEAN Did he mention anyone that he had in mind?
GINA No. He said that it was rarely personal.
DEAN Ah.
GINA He said that his anger was of a generalised nature and, in consequence, he felt no need to particularise.
DEAN Except, of course, at the last minute.
GINA At that point, I grant you, it does become rather personal.
DEAN Is Roy still even-handed?
GINA He says that it is of no consequence whether he murders a woman or a man.
DEAN Which is refreshing.
GINA It is. So often we hear of men concentrating on women.
DEAN He is a misanthropist – no more, no less.
GINA Less fucked up.
DEAN Oh yes.
GINA He said he might pop round.
(A KNOCK AT THE DOOR)
That may be him.
THE DOOR OPENS AND A FIGURE ENTERS.
AS HE DOES SO A LARGE AMOUNT OF BLOOD CASCADES ONTO HIM FROM A TANK ABOVE THE DOOR. THE TANK IS UNOBTRUSIVE. IT HAS A QUICK RELEASE MECHANISM OF SOME SORT WHICH IS ACTIVATED WHEN THE DOOR IS OPENED.
THE FIGURE IS VERY BLOODY INDEED. MUCH BLOODIER THAN ANY CHARACTER HAS BEEN IN DASH DASH DASH SO FAR.

GINA Roy. How nice to see you.
ROY You too.
GINA You remember Dean?
ROY Of course.
DEAN Good to see you again, Roy.
ROY And you. (TO GINA) Gina, can I freshen up?
GINA Be my guest. (SHE INDICATES AN UPSTAGE AREA)
ROY FEELS (NECESSARILY) HIS WAY TOWARDS A WHITE TILED AREA (SITUATED AS FAR UPSTAGE AS POSSIBLE).
HIS PATH IS BLOCKED BY A WHITE SOFA, WHICH HE FALLS AGAINST THEN CLIMBS OVER, LEAVING BLOODSTAINS ON THE UPHOLSTERY.
GINA Don’t worry. I do it all the time!
ARRIVING IN THE TILED AREA HE WIPES HIS FACE WITH A TOWEL.
LOUD, BANGING TECHNO IS PLAYED.
ROY DANCES WITH ABANDON, SPLATTERING THE TILES WITH BLOOD.
HE REJOINS THE OTHERS DOWNSTAGE.
DEAN Gina tells me you’ve a lot on your mind.
ROY It comes and goes.
GINA Is it controllable?
ROY That’s not really how I look at it. They are just desires.
DEAN Can you satisfy them?
ROY Absolutely. I evacuate them.
GINA Which reminds me: Nina is on one of her rare journeys.
ROY Do I know her?
GINA She is an interior decorator.
DEAN She took one of my outer areas and enclosed it.
ROY That’s not easy.
DEAN She should be here momently.
A VERY LONG PAUSE. THE LONGEST PAUSE IN THE DASH DASH DASH SERIES SO FAR.
A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.
PAUSE
GINA Who is it?
SFX OF A TERRIBLE, DEAFENING, GROANING ROAR.
BLACKOUT
ENTER NINA
GINA Nina?
NINA Gina?
SOUNDS OF NINA FINDING HER WAY ROUND THE SPACE.
A LOUD BANG AND A TINKLING OF GLASS.
LIGHTS UP.
NINA IS STANDING IN THE CENTRE OF THE ROOM.
GINA Nina!
NINA Gina!
DEAN (INDICATING ROY) This is Roy.
ROY I’m Roy.
NINA How are you?
GINA Roy is a man of some turbulence.
ROY I’m sure Nina doesn’t want to hear about that.
NINA Private is as private does.
DEAN Nina is an interior decorator.
ROY How’s it going?
NINA It’s tremendous.
ROY It must be very satisfying to have an interior.
NINA Are you not of fixed abode, Roy?
ROY I find them labour intensive.
GINA Which is where you come in, Nina.
ROY Where does she come in?
DEAN She comes in with her portfolio of skills, Roy.
GINA She is able to weigh up a person then outfit their personal spaces.
ROY Outfit?
DEAN Fit out. Bedeck.
GINA Adorn.
ROY What sort of space is that has no roof, no walls, just an accumulation of effects?
NINA Is that your place, Roy?
ROY Well, it is.
NINA What would you keep in it?
ROY A shallow tray. A small number of maps. Some liquids. An old photograph, not of anyone that I knew. A telephone book. A foot stool. A packet of clips. A hand mirror. Some stones. My socks. My coat. A hat that I would sometimes wear. A nail scissors. A tongue cleaner. One or two ointments. A brush for hair. A brush for clothes. A brush for teeth. A brush for floors. A brush for dishes. Some dishes. My cup. A torch. A ball of twine. A ticket. A pass. A small pot of earth. A mat bearing a crest. A frame containing a reproduction. A magazine rack containing copies of ‘This Car’ and ‘That Place’. The cans have no labels. The card of the packets is rubbed. The vodka is half full half empty. Pennies. Halfpennies. Some bags. A plaid and wheeled shopping cart. A volume of the Forsyte Saga. Newspapers that I have studied. ‘The Bugle.’ ‘The Herald.’ ‘The Clarion.’ ‘The Beacon.’ ‘The Brightness.’ ‘The Planet.’ Reference books with a great deal of facts and information. Certain weapons. Some wax.
NINA Roy.
NINA GOES TO ROY AND EMBRACES HIM. THEY KISS AND FONDLE EACH OTHER WITH INCREASING PASSION, OBLIVIOUS TO THE OTHERS.
NINA’S CLOTHES AND EXPOSED SKIN ARE STAINED WITH THE BLOOD THAT COVERS ROY.
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GINA I’ll find some biscuits.
DEAN (LOOKING TOWARDS THE DRESSER) I see a tin from here.
GINA GOES TO THE DRESSER AND, ON TIPTOE, REACHES FOR THE BISCUIT TIN WHICH IS UP ON A HIGH SHELF. SHE INCHES IT TOWARDS HER AND EASES OFF THE LID, WHEREUPON ITS CONTENTS, A QUANTITY OF BRIGHT BLUE PAINT, SPILL ONTO HER HEAD AND SHOULDERS.
SHE PUTS THE EMPTY TIN ON THE DRESSER.
GINA I know they’re somewhere.
(SHE OPENS A DRAWER AND FINDS A PLATE BEARING SOME PLAIN DIGESTIVES.)
Ah!
(SHE TAKES THE PLATE OVER TO THE SOFA ON WHICH ROY AND NINA ARE STILL EMBRACING. SHE PLACES IT ON THE END OF THE SOFA.)
I’ll leave them here.
GINA WALKS UPSTAGE AND STEPS INTO THE TILED AREA WHERE A CLEAN WHITE TOWEL AWAITS HER. SHE MAY NEED TO WIPE HER FACE.
LOUD TECHNO MUSIC.
GINA DANCES FORCEFULLY, SPLATTERING THE TILES WITH BLUE PAINT.
THE MUSIC AND DANCING STOP.
DEAN Gina! I’ll make some cupcakes!
GINA Dean! You’re so fucking handy!
DEAN My mother was firm but practical. My father was weak and unable to satisfy her.
DEAN MAKES HIS WAY TO THE DRESSER
GINA Is that nature or nurture? I get so confused. Can you find everything?
ROY AND NINA STOP EMBRACING.
ROY IS NOW QUITE COLD AND INTIMIDATING.
DEAN IS SEARCHING FOR THE EQUIPMENT HE WILL NEED (A MIXING BOWL, SOME FLOUR ETC).
ROY (WITH QUIET MENACE) Are you saying, Dean, that there is more of your mother in you than there is of your father?
DEAN I don’t know how one might substantiate it, Roy, but that is my feeling.
DEAN FINDS A TIN ON A HIGH SHELF. BEFORE REMOVING IT HE OPENS THE LID. FLOUR CASCADES FROM THE TIN ALL OVER HIS HEAD AND SHOULDERS.
TO THE STRAINS OF MOURNFUL VIOLIN MUSIC DEAN, BEAUTIFULLY BACKLIT, SHAKES HIS HEAD AND BEATS THE FLOUR FROM HIS GARMENTS. IT RISES IN CLOUDS AROUND HIM.
ROY If I felt, Dean, that there was a woman in me, I would fuck myself. Do you see me fucking myself?
NINA Roy – Dean speaks figuratively, I suspect.
ROY Nina – I have searched your mouth hungrily with my tongue. I have felt you tremble under my heat. Out of a sense of decorum – not something to which I normally succumb – I have refrained from sliding my hand between your pale, taut thighs. I knew that you were out there, Nina, not in my fucking mind.
NINA Roy – I have opened myself to your questing appetites. I have bucked against your fuckmoves. I have felt the hot urgency of your rigid resolve. But a stoat cannot shag a zebra, Roy. If we were not already attuned to the presence of our opposites in ourselves then all our intimacies would be shit on a stick.
DEAN Nina, Roy – I have watched your eager coupling from across the room. I have heard the moans and fractured breaths and I have seen the hot feels as they were openly enacted. And I said to myself: what more evidence is required to substantiate the proposition that in every woman is the shadow of the male and in every man vice versa?
GINA Now, Dean – that is psychological!
DEAN Yes – it does pop out sometimes.
ROY Dean, Nina, Gina – with the greatest respect: fuck that shit! I have holidayed in the Falklands, I have shaved with my fingernails, I have camped out on cold coasts under polythene. Would this have been possible if I carried within me not even the shadow but the slightest trace of woman?
GINA Roy! I am sure none of us here wishes to impugn your scorched hardness. Your reputation for emotionless butchery is continental in its breadth.
ROY Let us say that I became aware that there is woman within me. (TURNING TO NINA) I believe that when I was inventorising earlier I mentioned my knife.
NINA Yes.
ROY I would take that knife and cut into myself and I would search myself with that blade until I came upon woman and I would cut it out and I would cast it down.
DEAN Fuck.
ROY And you would be wise to do similar, Dean. Looking into yourself there is something that throws into blur all that is sharp. What do you say?
DEAN I’m not sure.
NINA Roy, there is man in me and I am relaxed with that.
ROY So – I am homosexual.
NINA This is not my view.
ROY But I’m afraid it is, Nina. I have just lain with you hotly and with thrust movements. Yet there is man in you. Somewhere between the glistening arteries , tubules and cavities of what you call your interior is the acrid merciless metal of man. Have I been lying with that man, Nina?
NINA It is that man who understands the man that is you, Roy.
ROY I am not understood by men!
DEAN Roy, perhaps a cupcake would help.
ROY Fuck your cupcakes! I crush your cupcakes!
NINA PRODUCES A BASEBALL BAT (OF THE STYROFOAM ‘FUN’ VARIETY)
NINA I’m afraid I made a mistake, Roy. I was bewitched by your earlier itemisation. Now I see what you are.
SHE SWINGS THE BAT AND DELIVERS A BLOW TO THE BACK OF ROY’S HEAD.
ROY STAGGERS AND DRAWS A LARGE HUNTING KNIFE.
HE RUSHES AT GINA (NOT NINA) AND SEIZES HER, HOLDING THE KNIFE AGAINST HER THROAT.
DEAN Roy – it’s just a question of interpretation!
GINA SEIZES ROY’S NUTS AND SQUEEZES. HE ROARS WITH PAIN.
SHE ESCAPES HIS GRASP.
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GINA Nice cupcakes, motherfucker!
ROY LASHES OUT IN THE DIRECTION OF DEAN, WHO RETREATS UPSTAGE AND TAKES A ROLLING PIN FROM THE DRESSER.
NINA TAKES ANOTHER SWING AT ROY AND CONNECTS AGAIN.
NINA It’s the man in me, dickbrain!
DEAN (BRANDISHING THE ROLLING PIN) Come on, Roy – you know you want some!
ROY DASHES UPSTAGE TO ATTACK DEAN.
DEAN KNOCKS THE KNIFE OUT OF ROY’S HAND WITH THE ROLLING PIN.
THE TWO MEN GRAPPLE IN THE TILED AREA.
GINA Go for his eyes, Dean!
NINA Gouge the fucker, Dean!
WITH GREAT EFFORT ROY MANAGES TO PUSH DEAN OFF.
AT THE POINT THAT THEY DISCONNECT, A TANK ABOVE THEM IN THE TILED AREA IS ACTIVATED, COVERING BOTH COMBATANTS IN BRIGHT YELLOW PAINT.
NINA & Yella yella smelly fella
GINA Up your arse like a rolled umbrella!
Fuckin mustard fuckin busterd
How’d you like to fuck dis custard?
NINA MOVES UPSTAGE AND BEATS ROY OVER AND OVER WITH THE BAT WHILST SCREAMING DEMENTEDLY.
DEAN PRODUCES A SLAPSTICK (’a device made of two flat pieces of wood fastened at one end so as to make a loud noise when used by an actor to strike a person’) AND BELABOURS ROY ALSO.
LOUD TECHNO MUSIC NOW ACCOMPANIES THE SCENE.
THE CRASHBOX (BACKSTAGE) IS USED LIBERALLY AT NON-RHYTHMIC INTERVALS.
NINA ROAMS THE STAGE WITH HER BAT, LASHING OUT RANDOMLY AND ROARING. IF ROY EVER RAISES HIS HEAD SHE BATTERS HIM DOWN.
GINA SIMPLY SCREAMS AND FLAILS HER ARMS.
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ROY WRESTS THE SLAPSTICK FROM DEAN AND WHACKS HIM A COUPLE OF TIMES BUT IS ATTACKED IN TURN BY GINA WHO SEIZES THE SLAPSTICK AND SLAPS HIM ABOUT.
ROY BREAKS AWAY AND STARTS TO CRAWL TOWARDS THE DRESSER.
GINA PULLS DEAN TO HER. THEY EMBRACE PASSIONATELY THEN, AFTER A WHILE, SINK TO THE FLOOR WHERE THEY UNDULATE.
ROY GRASPS THE FRONT OF THE DRESSER AND PULLS HIMSELF TO HIS FEET.
HE SPOTS A WEAPONISABLE BOTTLE ON AN UPPER SHELF AND REACHES UP FOR IT.
NINA SEES WHAT HE’S UP TO AND MOVES ACROSS TO STOP HIM.
AS SHE GRABS HIM, ROY LUNGES FOR THE BOTTLE AND A TANK SITUATED IN THE SHELVING (PERHAPS DISGUISED AS COOKERY BOOKS OR SOMETHING) IS ACTIVATED, SPILLING GREAT AMOUNTS OF BLACK
PAINT OVER BOTH COMBATANTS.
GINA AND DEAN JUMP TO THEIR FEET.
THE TECHNO KNOB GOES UP TO ELEVEN.
ALL FOUR FIGURES MOVE UPSTAGE INTO THE TILED AREA, SHOUTING AND ROARING.
THE TILING IS LIBERALLY SPLATTERED WITH PAINT OF SEVERAL HUES.
THEY STAND ABREAST FACING DOWNSTAGE AND DANCE WITH GREAT AND GRIM INTENT WHILST EMITTING SHORT SAVAGE CRIES AT RANDOM INTERVALS.
THEY DANCE FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES
THE MUSIC IS CUT. THE DANCING STOPS. SILENCE.
THERE FOLLOWS A PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT.
THIS CONSISTS OF THE SOILED FIGURES UNHURRIEDLY WALKING, CRAWLING OR LIMPING TO THE SOFA WHERE THEY SIT GAZING OUT IN THE DIRECTION OF THE AUDIENCE.
THEY WIPE THEIR FACES, EXAMINE THEMSELVES, ADJUST THEIR CLOTHING, SPIT PAINT OUT, PUSH CLOTTED HAIR FROM THEIR BROWS ETC.
THIS CAN TAKE A WHILE. NO HURRY.
THEN, AFTER A WHILE:
DEAN Roy, if you don’t mind me asking…
ROY Go ahead.
DEAN When you seek relief…
ROY I don’t.
NINA Everyone does.
ROY Nina, if it pleases you, speak for everyone, but do not think of me as a constituent of that group .
GINA Are you not as other men, Roy?
DEAN Or women.
NINA (WARNING HIM) Dean.
ROY I do not share your economy, your debits and your credits. Your notions of ‘relief’ I find degrading.
GINA You know, Roy: the ups and downs, the win some, lose some.
ROY It is not a useful system. It presumes a condition of perpetual loss that is construed as a failing of the implacable mechanics of being.
DEAN I don’t think we have much choice, Roy.
ROY This position, Dean, is entirely an effect of decisions made by your group. It is not in any way reflected in the fullness of the Real.
GINA So there, Dean.
ROY A man walked about the streets shouting ‘Fuck!” and ‘Cunt!’ Other men shunned him. He walked into supermarkets, cinemas and swimming pools, places where mothers and children lay with their dogs and goods. And he appalled them with his usage. He is called George. “Good morning, George. How is it for you?” And George looked at him and he said “Good morning, Tony. A packet of Senior Service if you’d be so kind. Cunt!”
NINA This is what George said.
ROY George says this a great deal.
DEAN Fuck.
GINA He can’t help it. It’s a condition. It may be related to a chronic imbalance in the secretion of the brain chemicals.
ROY This is where we part, Gina.
GINA It’s deliberate.
ROY Of course.
NINA It’s his brain, Roy.
ROY Of course it’s his brain.
DEAN Surely he does not wish to offend.
ROY George is a man of considerable delicacy. His skill is to see where things are not quite right and then he will make his position known.
GINA He is offering a service.
ROY This does not occur to him.
NINA I have seen these Georges, Roy. They shout ‘Cunt’ at random intervals.
ROY Nina. You have qualities that would be openly admired in the place that I come from. But your vision is narrow.
NINA I feel sure you’re going to enlighten me.
ROY On the one hand: your tics, your twitches. On the other: your composure, your discomposure and your recomposure. Your adjustment, your returning to the balance from the imbalance. Your use of the depot, the HQ, the hub, the place, the point. The point that is so very right there, so much at the heart, so much the seat upon which you were recently reclining.
GINA These are achievements, Roy. They are the ebb from the flow which will ebb which will flow.
ROY Again, your model is risible. Look at the man whose facial muscles jump, whose eyes blink in fusillade, whose shoulders shrug, whose face contorts in spasm. A thousand impulses annihilated in their moment of emergence. Your group pities this incontinence, regretting the fall from serenity. I, however, regret the stifling and the suffocation that so thoroughly extinguish each impetus that its role as guide and escort is barely glimpsed.
NINA Were we, then, to relinquish our guardianship of these electrical excursions, would we, in your view, be led precipitately to places far removed from the hubs and centres that you despise?
ROY Your tic, your twitch…
NINA I have none.
ROY Your serenity, your electrical vigilance, are symptomatic of the corrosive composure that characterises your group. In my group it is recognised that the flesh is the enemy of impulse. I maintain myself void. The impulse flows through me. I do not obstruct it thereby creating the tic.
DEAN Were I, then, to shout ‘Fuck’ as the impulse coursed though me, would I, in your view, be on the road to better living?
ROY You would be on the road. Each impulse propels you further. The roads branch at a tremendous rate. Soon the hub is a distant memory.
GINA Roy, do we become like beasts?
ROY Car radios no longer produce music. Brightly coloured objects stream into the driver’s lap.
GINA Do our thoughts take form?
ROY The thinker herself dissolves. We tumble though vast landscapes of concrete beauty. We never sleep. We move eternally. The world is far behind us.
DEAN Do our thoughts take form, Roy?
ROY Thoughts are peculiar to your group. You should see them as accidental transmissions emanating from the universe of concrete beauty. They pass though us. They have no value. As they pass through, flesh swarms around them. And then the tics begin.
SLOW FADE BEGINS.
ROY TAKES A GARROTTE (TWO WOODEN PEGS JOINED BY A 60 cm WIRE)
FROM WITHIN HIS JACKET.
HE RISES FROM THE SOFA AND STANDS BEHIND DEAN,
DEAN This isn’t spiritual, is it?
ROY No, Dean. Nothing is spiritual.
ROY LOOPS THE GARROTTE ROUND DEAN’S NECK AND STRANGLES HIM.
AS DEAN DIES HIS LEGS KICK WILDLY.
ROY STANDS BEHIND GINA.
GINA I like the idea of all those things.
ROY Things are not an idea, Gina.
ROY LOOPS THE GARROTTE ROUND GINA’S NECK AND STRANGLES HER.
AS GINA DIES HER BODY JERKS FITFULLY.
ROY STANDS BEHIND NINA.
NINA I don’t want to, Roy.
(ROY LOOPS THE GARROTTE ROUND NINA’S NECK)
I don’t want to.
NINA TRIES TO FREE HERSELF.
ROY TIGHTENS THE GARROTTE.
NINA STRUGGLES AND EMITS HOARSE, GRUNTING CRIES.
ROY Fuck you.
(HE PULLS THE WIRE TIGHT.
NINA JERKS AND TWITCHES AND DIES)
Fuck you.
ROY SITS QUIETLY ON THE SOFA UNTIL BLACKOUT.

END

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