Grail Green

by Merle Molofsky

AUTHOR’S STATEMENT AND EDITOR’S STATEMENT

Author’s Statement: “Grail Green” was written in 1970. I was 28 years old, taking a playwrighting course taught by Jack Gelber, when I was a graduate student in the M.F.A. Creative Writing program of Columbia University School of the Arts. I wrote two one act plays, “Grail Green” and “Three Street Koans”, both with the same main character, “Douglas”, under the umbrella name “Kool-Aid”.

In 1971, “Kool-Aid” was produced at what was then called the Forum Theater, at Lincoln Center, directed by Jack Gelber. Somehow I never retained a copy of the manuscript. After close to 40 years, using Google, I discovered that the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center had in its archives an original manuscript of the play, non-circulating, but accessible. The library provided me with a CD of low resolution jpegs of every page of the original manuscript. I am thrilled to recover and rediscover my work – and thrilled to rediscover something about myself, my creative process, my interests and concerns and perspective.

At the time I wrote “Grail Green”, I had not yet known anyone who had an interest in psychoanalysis, and was not in any form of psychotherapy. Several years later I began my own psychoanalysis, which eventually led me to begin my psychoanalytic studies at the Training Institute of NPAP.

Merle Molofsky

Editor’s Statement: As the founding editor of Other/Wise, it brings me great pleasure to present Merle Molofsky’s play, “Grail Green.”

Other/Wise is a psychoanalytic journal that publishes scholarly, theoretical, research, and clinical articles, and also publishes art work, poetry, short stories, and other creative work with psychoanalytic resonance. “Grail Green” is set in a treatment facility for adolescent boys, and much of the action takes place in counseling sessions. I believe this manuscript is of sufficient interest, historical value, and so accurately reflects one of the many routes by which we come to psychoanalysis that I have independently decided to publish Merle’s wonderful contribution.

Richard Raubolt

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Excerpts from “Somnabule Ballad,” Federico Garcia Lorca, The Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca, edited by Francisco Garcia Lorca and Donald M. Allen.  New Directions Paperback, New York: 1961.

CHARACTERS

DOUGLAS ONE, OR THE BOY:  A 17 year old boy living in the mountains with his spiritual mentor.  He is a projection of Douglas Two.

DOUGLAS TWO:  A 17 year old boy living in a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed adolescent boys.

THE COUNSELOR:  Douglas Two’s therapist at the residential treatment facility.

THE GIRL, OR MAYA:  An adolescent girl running away from a dangerous home situation toward the forest.  She is an incarnation of Maya.

THE MASTER:  The Boy’s spiritual mentor.

BRIAN:  A friend of Douglas Two, an adolescent drug addict.

SETTING

The one-act play takes place in three locations: THE COUNSELOR’s office in a residential treatment facility, the grounds just outside the office and Security House, a high security building in the residential treatment facility; a mountainous area where THE MASTER and THE BOY live and meditate, and the pathway from their hut descending the mountain into the woods; Brian’s apartment in the city.

The stage is arranged in a series of levels, the highest level being the dwelling place of THE MASTER, the stage floor being THE COUNSELOR’s office.

GRAIL GREEN

The stage is arranged in a series levels, the highest level being the dwelling place of THE MASTER, the stage floor itself being THE COUNSELOR’s office.  Any background detail can be provided by painted stage sets or projected images.

In the opening scene THE MASTER is standing before his hut, while THE BOY, DOUGLAS ONE, is facing him.

In THE COUNSELOR’s office, THE COUNSELOR is sitting in an armchair, while across from him, separated by an imposing  desk, DOUGLAS TWO sits in a straight-backed chair. DOUGLAS TWO is twiddling with an electronic device, playing snatches of music, a confusing medley of sitar raga, hard rock, salsa, and Bach.

THE MASTER

The end of a quest is always a retreat.  If the hero lives, he retreats from death.  If he dies, he retreats from life.

(THE BOY, DOUGLAS ONE, is silent, as one is always silent upon hearing words of wisdom.  THE MASTER shares his silence.)

Do you understand?

THE BOY

O yes, I understand.  I always understand.  But I do not believe.

THE MASTER

Such passion.  Ah well, it is only words I have spoken and only words you have heard.  My wisdom is nothing but my own life.  And you of course must lead your own life?

THE BOY

You are laughing at me?

THE MASTER

I’m laughing.  And you my son are leaving.

THE BOY

Yes.

(DOUGLAS TWO lights a cigarette. He blows smoke rings.)

DOUGLAS TWO

I like to achieve the impossible.  Like that.

THE COUNSELOR

Like what?

DOUGLAS TWO

Like the smoke, bro.  The smoke, the smoke rings.

THE COUNSELOR

That’s not impossible.

DOUGLAS TWO

(Leans forward and blows a haze of smoke into THE COUNSELOR’s face.)

Can you do it, baby?

THE COUNSELOR

No.

DOUGLAS TWO

Then, amigo, it is impossible.  For you.

THE COUNSELOR

I could learn.

DOUGLAS TWO

But you won’t learn, Counselor.  You won’t learn.

(HE pushes his chair back, extends his legs, tilts his pelvis forward.  HE is wearing cowboy boots.  HE lets his cigarette dangle from his lips, from the left corner of his mouth. HE slits his eyes against the smoke.)

Douglas pushes his chair back, extends his legs, tilts his pelvis forward.  He wore boots.  He lets his cigarette dangle from his lips, from the left corner of his mouth.  He slits his eyes against the smoke.

THE COUNSELOR

Douglas pushes his chair back, extends his legs, tilts his pelvis forward.  He is wearing boots.  He lets his cigarette dangle from his lips, from the left corner of his mouth.  He slits his eyes against the smoke.  He is wearing boots is better.

DOUGLAS TWO

Maybe.  It’s not as subtle.  But I, Counselor, am creating this life, this Douglas, this story, this stage play, and he wore boots.  The Counselor’s legs are hidden behind his hiding desk.  Douglas presumes the Counselor has no feet.  Douglas figures that if ever the Counselor wears shoes, they would be black and white saddle shoes with corrugated rubber soles.

THE COUNSELOR

I am wearing black oxfords.  Why do you refer to yourself in the third person?

DOUGLAS TWO

I don’t.  I call myself Douglas.

THE COUNSELOR

That is the third person.

DOUGLAS TWO

There is no third person.  There is only Douglas and the Counselor.

DOUGLAS ONE, THE BOY

There is myself, Master.  I am myself.

THE MASTER

You are yourself.

THE BOY

I feel trapped within myself.

THE MASTER

All those who call themselves I feel trapped.

THE BOY

I am still young.

THE MASTER

Yes, my child.

DOUGLAS TWO

There is no third person.  There is only Douglas and the Counselor.

THE COUNSELOR

There is the Douglas in the story, in his stage play, and there is the Douglas telling the story, writing and acting in the stage play, and the Counselor.

DOUGLAS TWO

Four, Counselor.  There are four people.  There is the Douglas in the story, and the Douglas telling the story, and the Counselor in the story, and the Counselor telling the story.

THE COUNSELOR

How many Douglases are there, really?  How many Douglases do you think there are?

DOUGLAS TWO

Tricky, tricky, tricky.  These walls are green, the desk is in the middle of the room, you sit on one side without any feet, though they are probably encased in black and white saddle shoes with corrugated rubber soles that you insist on rewriting as black oxfords, and I sit on the other side, my back to the door.  There are windows to the left of you, but those same windows are to the right of me.  The sermon for this morning is, are they the same windows.  If I turn my back to you, Counselor, will we share the windows?  You know I have feet, for Douglas pushed his chair back, extended his legs, et cetera.  He means to be insolent.  Douglas is a mean lad.  Out the windows there are trees, Counselor, and a lawn.  Inside, here in this green room, without your green feet, inside my green eyes, it rains green rain, painting the walls a greener green.  Is there a legend about a prince who pretended he was mad, or pretended he was pretending to be mad, or was he really mad or only pretending to be?  There is such a legend.  Douglas, prince of Denmark, slaughtered his uncle because he was too well bred to slaughter his father, but everyone died before he could grab his old lady and play naughty-naughty before the eyes of all those who came to see.  That was a lousy playwright.  I wouldn’t write plays like that.  I would let the eyes see all the fucking.  Why don’t the eyes just stay home and fuck themselves cross-eyed?  Do I sound schizophrenic?

THE COUNSELOR

You didn’t answer the question I asked you.

DOUGLAS TWO

Because it was tricky.  And you won’t answer the question I asked you, because it too was tricky.  There is nothing to be learned from questions and answers, Counselor.  Nothing to learn.  You too, with your questions and answers, like to achieve the impossible.  If you think you’ve learned something, then you too, like me, think you have achieved the impossible.  But the impossible, by definition, cannot be achieved.

THE COUNSELOR

You are a sophist.

DOUGLAS TWO

You categorize.  Shall I tell you stories, shall you tell me stories?  Shall we agree on definitions?  Shall it continue to rain green upon this room, shall it continue to rain trees and lawn upon the window?  You are living a life, Counselor, telling yourself your story.  I, the Counselor, now arise, for the dawn has come, rosy-fingered, to my sleeping chamber.  The inside of my mouth tastes like shoe leather, like a sewer, like a cow’s asshole, like the afterbirth of a rained rabbit, like a simile.  I ache all over.  I feel fine.  I have a big piss hard-on.  The floor is cold to my bare feet.  I, the Counselor, I, the bare feet, I, the continuing story.  In your story you have feet, Counselor.  I, Douglas, in all my persons, am living my life.  I tell my own stories.

THE COUNSELOR

I don’t tell myself the details of my life as if it were a story.

DOUGLAS TWO

You’re lying.

THE COUNSELOR

I am not lying.

DOUGLAS TWO

You’re lying to yourself.

THE COUNSELOR

You think you know what I’m thinking, Douglas.

DOUGLAS TWO

I know what you’re thinking, Counselor.  I am the playwright.  You are the playwright.  Shouldn’t we know what each other is thinking?  Do you know what I’m thinking, Counselor?  I wish one of us was a woman.  I wish we could touch and fuck and squirm and get close and wet.  A little action, dig it, amigo?  Not all this talk, talk, talk, words, words, words.  Yeah, Counselor, I wish I were a woman.  I’m too tough to be a man.

THE COUNSELOR

Why don’t you want to talk?

DOUGLAS TWO

I do.  I really do.  I am talking.  I love to talk.  I also love to fuck.  Can’t fuck, might as well talk.  Why don’t you ask me why I wish I was a woman?

THE COUNSELOR

All right, Douglas.  Why do you wish you were a woman?

(THE COUNSELOR surreptitiously consults his watch.)

DOUGLAS TWO

I already told you, amigo.  So we could fuck instead of talk.  Because I’m too tough to be a man.  Because I’ve never been a woman.  Counselor, you think I’m in trouble.  You think I need help.  You need help.  You don’t wish you were a woman.  Counselor, I make you a woman.  You are now a woman.  If you was a good looking woman, I’d fuck you.  I’d love you up real nice.  But girl, you is ugly as hell.  You look just like a man.  I know, I know, I remember.  I remember your face.  Time is up.  Right.  Right as green rain.

THE COUNSELOR

Time is up.

DOUGLAS TWO

Time is up.

THE BOY

I am leaving.  What is time?

THE MASTER

Time is not up time is not down.  Time is not right time is not left.  Time is not north south east west.  Time is yours.

(THE MASTER kisses THE BOY on the forehead.  THE BOY bends his head over THE MASTER’s hand, kisses the hand.  THE MASTER sits before his doorway in an attitude of prayer.  As THE BOY descends the mountain, DOUGLAS TWO representing another boy much younger in time is climbing the mountain toward THE MASTER.  The two, DOUGLAS ONE and DOUGLAS TWO, do not recognize each other.  THEY are not in the same time.  THE BOY reaches the bottom of the Mountain.  To his right is a wild Forest.  To his left is the City. Before him a spring gushes forth from a rock. HE drinks the green water and sits at the Crossroads in an attitude of prayer.  Green it rains upon him.

DOUGLAS TWO returns to the lower levels, sits outside THE COUNSELOR’s building, outside THE COUNSELOR’S  office, upon the lawn beneath the trees in an attitude of prayer.  A light green drizzle falls.

Indoors, at his desk, THE COUNSELOR pushes his chair back, extends his legs, tilts his pelvis forward.  THE COUNSELOR, through with a hard day’s work, assumes an attitude of prayer, regarding DOUGLAS TWO sitting in an attitude of prayer beneath a tree outside the window.  THE COUNSELOR flexes his legs three times. HE considers the shine of his shoes. Rising, HE reaches for his jacket, puts it on, buttons it.  HE walks across the room and switches off the light.  HE crosses to the window, and in the twilight HE looks out the window at DOUGLAS TWO.  DOUGLAS TWO lights a cigarette, blows smoke rings.  THE COUNSELOR leaves the room, locking the door. On his way home he walks past DOUGLAS TWO.

DOUGLAS TWO

Counselor!  Let’s blow smoke rings, you and I.  A light rain is falling.

THE COUNSELOR

(Without breaking stride.)

I don’t smoke.

(HE exits.  It is almost night.)

DOUGLAS TWO

It rains green!  Counselor!  It rains green!  It rains green upon my scene.  It rains dawn upon my lawn.  It rains night upon my sight.  It rains upon my pains.  Rain rain go away, little Douglas wants to play.  Go home, Counselor!  Go play on your own block!  You can hear me!  It rains green!

(Pause.)

Douglas, come in out of the rain.

(Pause.)

Is it dinner time?

(Pause.)

Yes.

(Pause.)

All the boys in the Home eat dinner at this hour down at Green Cottage.  Douglas.  Don’t you know enough to come in out of the rain?

(DOUGLAS TWO exits.  DOUGLAS ONE, THE BOY, sits in an attitude of prayer.  THE GIRL comes from out of the  City to the spring at the rock. SHE is dressed in an adolescent’s fantasy of Indian costume, crossed with something vaguely Arabian Nights, something a belly dancer might wear, something diaphanous and embroidered, something showing a lot of cleavage, gauzy harem pants, a golden girdle encircling her waist.  SHE carries food in a basket, covered with a white cloth.  SHE kneels before THE BOY, unpacks the basket, setting the white cloth before THE BOY’s feet.  Upon the cloth SHE places tiny bowls of food.)

THE GIRL

Eat.

THE BOY

Thank you.

(HE eats sparingly.  SHE folds up the cloth without shaking out the crumbs and places dishes and cloth back in the basket.  SHE cups her hands and offers him water from the spring.  HE drinks. SHE drinks the few remaining
drops left in her cupped hands.)

Go home, girl.  It is raining.

(SHE throws herself before him in an attitude of supplication. Her perfumed hair trails along his feet.  THE BOY springs up in horror.)

What do you want?

(HE waves his hands before his face.)

Go away!

THE GIRL

I live in the City.  Are you going to the City?

THE BOY

(Wildly.)

No!  No, I’m not!  The City is a sinful place filled with thieving men and wanton women.  I’m going into the wild Forest, there to meditate and to become wise.

THE GIRL

(Slyly.)

Ah, you’ve made your choice.  It is a good one.  I am leaving the sinful City.  We can travel through the wild Forest together.  That is, if you will allow me to seek your protection, O Master.

THE BOY

No!  No, you cannot come with me!

THE GIRL

You would leave a poor maiden to travel the wild Forest alone, without protection?  I fear the jackal’s teeth, the tiger’s fangs.  I am but a poor maiden, defenseless and alone.  And I am a maiden, Master.  I have never known a man.  Never have I yielded myself, quivered at a man’s touch upon my girlish skin, spread my legs to allow a man to tear into me, to make himself known to me by rocketing his seed into my very being.  I am virgin.

THE BOY

But why are you telling me all this?

(DOUGLAS TWO and THE COUNSELOR re-enter, sit at the desk.)

DOUGLAS TWO

I have fantasies, Counselor.  I have fantasies about sex.

THE COUNSELOR

But why are you telling me all this?

THE BOY

Go home to your City, girl.  Go back to your home.  Go back to your mother and father who love and cherish you.

THE GIRL

Alas, holy man.  My mother is dead.  I have just buried her.  At home my stepfather made ugly and falsely brave with drinking wine and smoking hashish all day waits to ravish me when I return.  He finds me irresistibly beautiful.  Only my mother has prevented him from consummating his unnatural lust, and how she is dead.  Alas.

(SHE begins to weep.)

THE BOY

Do not cry.  I cannot bear to see a woman cry.

THE GIRL

Ah, take me with you, take me with you.  If you will not I shall go into the wild Forest alone and unprotected.  I would rather be torn apart by wild animals than submit to my stepfather’s unnatural designs.

(SHE flings herself upon THE BOY, weeping.)

THE BOY

Very well.  I will take you with me.

(HE pushes her roughly away.)

Only you must not touch me again.  You must never touch me.  I have taken vows.

(HE begins to walk into the Forest, never looking back to see if SHE is following. SHE follows behind him picking the crumbs from the white cloth and tiny bowls as SHE walks, smacking her lips as SHE eats.)

THE GIRL

Still, it seems to me that if you are really a holy man you should be able to suffer my touch without feeling desire.

THE BOY

Well, I can’t.  I’m still young.  I’m not really a holy man.  Not yet.  But I mean to be.

THE GIRL

O horror.  Have you led me into the wild Forest under false pretenses?  Do you intend to seize me and ravish me now that we are alone, where no one can see us, where there is no place to which I can run, no place where I can hide?

THE BOY

No.  Of course not.  And you mustn’t speak to me of such things.  I have taken vows.  What on earth are you eating?  I ate all the food that was in the basket.  Not that I meant to leave you without any supper, but I thought that you were going back to the City, to a happy home and food aplenty.  Not that there was that much food, that I could be called a glutton.  Not that I’m complaining of its paucity either.  It was all right.  How you females do chatter on.  Women talk too much.  What was I saying?  Ah yes.  What were you eating?  Where did you get the food?  Are you a witch?  Were you sent by Maya, the goddess of illusion, to tempt me?

THE GIRL

I am merely eating the crumbs that were left from your humble meal, O Master.  I am not a witch.  Neither am I hungry.  It is said in the City that a woman who can manage to eat the crumbs that fall from the lips if a holy man will then be rendered irresistibly attractive to any man she then meets.  Many are the holy men that I have met at the crossroads.  Many are the men to whom I have proven irresistibly attractive.  It is only by the grace of the goddess of illusion that I am now a maiden.

THE BOY

I know nothing of such legends.  Well, I am not a holy man, at least not yet, so you probably aren’t any more irresistibly attractive than you were a few moments ago.  Now silence.  I wish to hear no more of your frivolous girlish chatter.

THE GIRL

(Dreamily.)

A few moments ago….  Ah, time, what is time?

THE BOY

(Respectfully.)

Are you a philosopher that you know such questions?

THE GIRL

Ah, Master, I am too young in time to be a philosopher.  I am merely a girl.  How dark it has grown.  We have penetrated to the very heart of the Forest.

THE BOY

My disciple, I take pity on your weakness.  In the grassy glen nearby we will rest for the night.

DOUGLAS TWO

What do you think, Counselor?  Pretty horny situation, huh?  I really get hot thinking about that poor innocent boy and that wily woman.  What do you think?

THE COUNSELOR

Tell me more about this story, Douglas.  Who is the boy?  The old man?  And the girl?  Who is this girl?  Where does it take place?

DOUGLAS TWO

It’s not a story, Counselor.  It’s life.  The boy is me, of course.  The old man is my teacher, who could teach me nothing.  He is therefore a good and wise teacher.  The girl is my temptation.  My first big temptation.  I guess it takes place in India.  You can tell by the tigers.  You don’t want me to say it takes place in my mind, in that vast and uncharted wild Forest of the Unconscious, and so on, do you?  You know that’s not true.  You were watching the story yourself.  It takes place in life, amigo.  Douglas is the story.  Douglas has to be the story, and it’s a lousy story, Counselor.  You are obviously a cardboard character in a lousy lousy story.  You know what happens when you walk out that gate, Counselor, and I stay behind in the Home?  You drop off a cliff, man, into nowhere.  No where.  The script says you exit and you disappear into the wings, man, you just plain disappear.  Do you go home to the wife and kiddies, Counselor?  Is she a horny bitch with hair casting strange shadows over her eyes as it tumbles across her face… hair perfumed with all the exotic scents of India, perfumed hair through which her sloe eyes gleam ebon with desire?  Do the kiddies have flies in their eyes?  Show me the photograph of the wife and kiddies, Counselor.  The cardboard wife and the marshmallow kiddies.  Do you have hobbies?  A hobby?  Interests?  I am very well informed.  Eleven o’clock news and all that.  Off a cliff, man.  You want your story to be real life, take me home with you, through the gate.  Into your bed with your photograph of a wife.  Off a cliff.  You wrote yourself a lousy cardboard life, a lousy lousy story.

THE COUNSELOR

You’re trying to get me riled, Douglas.  You don’t want to talk about the fact that you consider your life a fantasy and your fantasies real life.

DOUGLAS TWO

You put it up front, didn’t you, man?  You came right out and stated your lousy little problem.  Oh Douglas, the poor lad, cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality.  Real fine, daddy.  You musta read the book.  Sharp thinking.  Oh, but you’re wrong, baby, dangerously wrong.  I might write you out of my Douglas story, man, right off the cliff, paper dolly.  You might find yourself wandering in reality one fine day, lost in the wild Forest with tigers behind you, tigers before you, tigers all around you, and the real Douglas, the Boy, the Boy, mind you, up the nearest tree with a ten foot blade in his hand, blowing smoke rings through smoke rings through smoke rings.  In the story Douglas crushes your windpipe.  Did you know that, amigo?  He’s practicing.  Or didn’t you read the book?

THE MASTER

Count your heartbeats.

THE COUNSELOR

You’re hostile today.

THE MASTER

Count your heartbeats.

DOUGLAS TWO

I’m jiving you, man.  I wouldn’t hurt a fly.  I’m a holy man, Counselor.  I’m hostile today.  Today I don’t want to be a woman and go down for you.  Today I want to be a man.  I don’t feel mean.  I feel gentle.  I’m in manhood today.  Dig it, Counselor, you got to give me a pass.  I need a woman real bad.  I can’t make that faggot scene in Green Cottage any more.  It rains green down there.  I’m pissing green, that suck-off and up the asshole stuff feels good, but it might be bad for a growing boy’s health.  I don’t know.  I gotta get it into some real pussy, Counselor.  Give me a weekend pass, huh man?  I wanna go down to the City and get laid is all.  No rough stuff.  No rip-offs, no armed robberies, no drugs, nothing like that.  Just a little tender manhood, Counselor.  I wanna dip into some nice pussy, that’s all.

THE COUNSELOR

I’ll think about it.

DOUGLAS TWO

No.  The bastard said no.  You really want us all to go fag, don’t you, faggot.

THE COUNSELOR

I didn’t say no.  I just said I’d think about it.  Don’t try to pressure me, Douglas.  Give me a chance to think it over.

DOUGLAS TWO

Oh shit.  I pulled too much of that schizo talk, huh?  Counselor, you know I’m a bright boy.  Remember you was always telling me I was such a bright boy, so well read, when I first came here, before you figured out it wasn’t any good, talking like that.  You had me pegged as just a trouble-maker, a little disturbed but not schizo.  You were right.  And I’ve learned.  I’m not looking for any trouble, just a piece of ass.  I was putting on that schizo talk.  I hear it down at Green Cottage all the time.  You got me in with some real lulus.  Well, think it over, Counselor.

(DOUGLAS TWO backs his way to the door, his eyes on THE COUNSELOR.  HE stands at the door with his hand on the doorknob, staring at THE COUNSELOR.)

I mean, I know you got feet, man.  Black oxfords, right?  Get me that pass.  There’s a tiger on one side and a cliff on the other.

(DOUGLAS TWO runs outside, whirling, jumping, on fire.  HE sits down under a tree in an attitude of prayer.)

THE MASTER

Your heart beats.  Your feet are suddenly hot and cramped and sweaty inside your shoes made of animal hide.  In the inner pocket of your jacket hide the miniature images of your wife and children, and they grin in the dark.  Outside a green sun blazes in a sky of blue.  The children whine to the wife, Mommy, why is the sky blue?

THE COUNSELOR

Damn that Douglas.  He left the door open again.

(THE COUNSELOR  sighs, pushes his chair back, rises. HE closes the door, leans his head against the cool of the door.  HE crosses the room again, puts on his jacket, buttons it.  HE locks his desk drawers.  HE exits, locking the door behind him.)

Got to get the wife to sew the button back on my jacket.

(HE passes DOUGLAS TWO, jingling his keys in his hand and whistling as HE walks.To himself….)

He’s masturbating.  Never saw him do that before.

DOUGLAS TWO

(Cheerfully)

Just jerking off before the weekend.  Beautiful green day, ain’t it, baby?

(THE COUNSELOR exits.  In the Forest a jackal howls.  THE GIRL throws her arms around THE BOY’s neck.)

THE GIRL

O Master, I am so frightened.

THE BOY

(Unwinding her arms.)

I have told you not to touch me.  It is not right.  I have taken vows.

THE GIRL

But I am so afraid, holy man.  See how my breast heaves.

(SHE discards an article of clothing.)

I am breathing rapidly.  That is fear.  I feel waves of flashing fire here.

(SHE strokes with both hands the curve of her belly.)

That too is fear.  My heart beats too loud, too quickly.  Feel it as it pounds.

(SHE swiftly grabs THE BOY’s hand and places it on her bosom.  Then SHE pushes his hand away.)

Forgive me, Master.  I forgot it was forbidden for us to touch.

THE BOY

That’s all right.  Just don’t do it again.

THE GIRL

But I am so afraid.

THE BOY

I will teach you to conquer fear, little sister, to conquer fear as I myself have done.  I will teach you a magic that will keep you safe from fear, that will keep you safe from the attacks of wild beasts.  Now you must sit as I sit.  Place the heel of your right foot upon the thigh of your left leg, and conversely place the heel of your left foot upon the thigh of your right leg.   Thus.

THE GIRL

O it hurts.  I am supple, I know many positions, but this one hurts.  I cannot do it.  Help me.

THE BOY

I am not to touch you.

THE GIRL

But your Master helped you.  I know he did.

THE BOY

Yes, he did.

THE GIRL

We no longer are man and woman, but teacher and disciple.  You must aid me.

(HE helps her into the lotus position.)

THE BOY

Raise your hand thus, little sister, so that the palm of your right hand, parallel to your shoulder, faces me.  Raise your other hand thus, little sister, so that the palm of your left hand, parallel to the center of your breastplate, faces the ground.  Now fill your mind with pure and holy thoughts.  The animals will not harm you.

(DOUGLAS ONE, DOUGLAS TWO, and THE GIRL are all sitting in the lotus position. There is a long pause.)

THE GIRL

O Master, I cannot fill my mind with pure and holy thoughts.  I don’t know any.

THE BOY

Empty your mind.

THE GIRL

O it is empty, it is empty.  But I cannot help thinking of the violence of wild animals.

THE BOY

(Firmly)

Empty your mind.

(THE GIRL frowns, makes all sorts of strange and terrible faces.  SHE then
smiles beatifically.)

THE GIRL

My mind is very empty now.

THE BOY

Good.  Now fill your mind with pure and holy thoughts.

THE GIRL

I have a good one!  I’m thinking about the mystic union of Shiva and Shakti, their holy god-bodies locked in pure and holy embrace.

THE BOY

That’s a good thought.  I guess.  But you’re not supposed to think aloud.  Keep your thoughts to yourself.  I have my own thoughts to think.

THE GIRL

I’m sorry.  But I keep thinking it.

THE BOY

I know, I know!  And if you keep thinking it out loud, it’ll be the only thought that I’ll be able to think too.

THE GIRL

I can’t see how you can have any other sort of pure and holy thought.

THE BOY

(Wearily, in exasperation)

Neither can I.

(Perhaps, as THEY meditate upon the pure and holy union of Shiva and Shakti, great beasts creep from out of the depths of the tangled wilds and depths of the Forest.  As shadows they appear, their eyes glowing flame, green within gold, their black and orange stripes muted by the mantle of night.  Perhaps the animals surround the PAIR,  cover them with great licks of their tongues, baptize them with animal spittle. Perhaps the animals are seized with awe, form a ring around the holy PAIR, MASTER and DISCIPLE. Perhaps the beasts copulate in a circle around THE BOY and THE GIRL, then disappear back into the shadows. Perhaps.

This is all very fanciful.  Perhaps nothing happens at all, except for a pause in which the heavy breathing of THE BOY and THE GIRL can be heard. Perhaps if all this happens, it happens as a projected set of images, slides or film.)

THE GIRL

O my aching back.

SHE unfolds her legs, massages her neck, then falls flat on her back, raising her arms over her head and spreading her legs slightly.)

O that was truly glorious.  How nice it is to feel no fear.  You know, I have heard stories told in the City of bands of wild men, bandits and outcasts, who live in this wild Forest.  It is said that they rape each in turn and sometimes in unison unwary maidens, even matrons with children, even old hags, all helpless women who wander into the Forest unawares.  But now I am not afraid of them at all.

THE BOY

Of course you’re not.  For this same magic that tames wild beasts surely would tame the most uncouth of men.

THE GIRL

Let them come.  Let them come.  Let them all come.

THE BOY

Hush.  Someone might hear you.  Besides, you are not to talk to me like that.

THE GIRL

Yes, yes, you’ve taken vows.

THE BOY

I suggest you meditate once more, girl.  Your words are foolish.

THE GIRL

O yes.  It was such a lovely meditation.

(As THE GIRL speaks, DOUGLAS  TWO leaps to his feet, runs up the Mountain into the Forest, pushes DOUGLAS ONE, THE BOY, out of his position and takes over himself.  DOUGLAS ONE, THE BOY, somewhat bewildered, walks down the Mountain and takes his place in THE COUNSELOR’S OFFICE.  THE GIRL doesn’t notice a thing.  Neither will THE COUNSELOR.)

And the tigers were so nice and friendly when they came to us in our meditations.  They licked us all over with their great tiger tongues, and forming an enchanted circle about us, copulated in their fashion, inspired by the mystic union of Shiva and Shakti.  They were so nice and friendly, for such big beasts.  I didn’t feel the least bit ticklish.  And when they were gone they left behind an erotic and pungent perfume, the odor of tiger rut.  O I love to meditate.  But I think I prefer to meditate in this position, upon my back, my face turned to the velvet night sky, my arms over my head, my legs slightly spread.  Master!  O Master!  I am having a vision!  Shiva and Shakti, twined in a very intricate embrace, one which I would have great difficulty in imitating, although as a novice I am willing and eager to try, are telling me that we must evoke their god-bodies with our own pure and holy bodies.  Master, the stars in heaven are reeling!  We must join in mystic union.

DOUGLAS ONE, THE BOY

(DOUGLAS ONE has taken  the place of DOUGLAS TWO. HE fiddles with an electronic device, finding music that  ranges from sitar to rock to salsa to Bach again, before speaking.)

Well, Counselor, it was one shit weekend for me.  Hope you got yourself a nice little piece of nookie.  All I got was a Green Cottage group leader pep talk on the dangers of homosexuality and one lousy blow job.  Your old lady give you a blow job this weekend?

THE COUNSELOR

We’ll talk about your weekend, Douglas.

DOUGLAS ONE

Right off the cliff, right, Counselor?  You go out the gate and into your car and drive right off a cardboard cliff.  From Friday into oblivion.  No wife, no kiddies, no hobbies, no interests, no blow job.  Just this green room, these green walls and green tiles, the green lawn and green trees and green Douglas from Green Cottage, green sunlight, green rain.  I had a shit weekend.  I need a pass for this coming weekend or I’ll blow this fucking shit hole apart.  I’ll jerk off in the middle of that green cardboard lawn and rain enough green come to drown the whole mess.  I’m opting out of your story, mother.  I got a life waiting for me in the forest with a broad who’s just dying for it, man.  She’s ready to put out for me so bad.  I got her so horny with that don’t touch me jive.  Weekend pass, Counselor.  She’s got her legs slightly spread, she don’t wear no panties, you can just smell it, amigo, through the gauzy weave of her clothes, and she’s waiting for me and Friday night.

THE COUNSELOR

I’ll think about it.

DOUGLAS ONE

Counselor, Counselor, Counselor.  You better put me in Security House because I’m going to bust out of here if I don’t get a weekend pass soon.  My cock is going to fly me clean out of here, and on my way to the wicked City I’m going to wander into the wild Forest, where I’ll find a certain cardboard cunt and her marshmallow kiddies, and she’s going to get one taste of real live living cock before that photograph in your wallet tears itself to pieces.  Hey Counselor, give me a break.  I had an unhappy childhood.

THE COUNSELOR

Why do you mention your unhappy childhood?  You think it’s just Officer Krupke jive but you want to talk about it.  You really want to talk about it.

DOUGLAS ONE

Yeah, but to my mother, Counselor, not to you.  I want her to feel real guilty and hug and kiss me while I get my hands down her dress and up her dress and snatch me some nice soft grabs while we both examine our tragic past.  Is that what you want me to do to your mother, Counselor?

THE COUNSELOR

No.  No, I don’t.  Tell me about your mother, Douglas.

DOUGLAS ONE

On the streets if some guy called me a motherfucker I’d break his head.  You calling me a motherfucker, Counselor?  No, I ain’t gonna talk about my mother.  Let’s talk dirty about your mother, Counselor.  Let’s talk dirty.  Let’s pretend you’re the daddy and I’m the mommy, and play dirty.  Wanna hear who’s screwing who down at Green Cottage?  Which one of us fags do you think is the prettiest?  We’re all fags, you know.  You do know.  You keep us fags, man, cause you like us like that.  Horny kids, born for trouble, locked up here with no women.  You got real fag heads, you guys, locking us up here with no gash around.  On the streets we were dipping plenty.  You guys can’t dig that, can you?  You want us up here eating cock in the shower rooms, right?

THE COUNSELOR

I’ll have an investigation of homosexual activity in the Home, Douglas.  It really does concern me.

DOUGLAS ONE

You really are homophobic, Counselor.  You don’t want us to have any sex.

THE MASTER

O reeling stars.  Shiva, does your heart beat?  World, are you yet locked in timelessness, caught between one cosmic heart beat and the next?

(DOUGLAS ONE springs across the desk and throttles THE COUNSELOR. THE COUNSELOR tries to break the death grip. THEY BOTH topple over onto the floor.  THE COUNSELOR breaks free and hits an alarm button. The alarm begins shrilling. DOUGLAS ONE knocks THE COUNSELOR down, straddles him, keeps trying to choke him, moving his body up and down in a simulation of sex. The alarm stops ringing as DOUGLAS TWO and THE MASTER, EACH wearing a Security Guard cap, rush in. They wrestle DOUGLAS ONE away, straitjacket him. THEY help THE COUNSELOR to his feet.)

THE MASTER AS SECURITY GUARD

You all right, Counselor?  You should have had a man at the door if you knew this kid was the violent type.

THE COUNSELOR

(Rasping, his hand at his throat.)

He never was any trouble before.  He was talking about Security House for himself just before he attacked me.  Trying to warn me that he was in trouble.

DOUGLAS TWO AS SECURITY GUARD

Yeah, well, you got a wife and kids.  You gotta think about them, you know.  Can’t take any unnecessary risks.  You keep a man at the door, next time, with a kid like this.

(THE “SECURITY GUARDS” drag DOUGLAS ONE to Security House.  The strait-jacket is removed.  DOUGLAS ONE is left alone in a padded cell.  The padded cell could be indicated by two cloth walls dropping from above. Or not.)

DOUGLAS ONE

Oh man.  Padded.  What will they think of next.

(HE presses the walls gingerly, then runs full tilt into them, bouncing from one wall to the other. HE leaps for the ceiling, rolls on the floor.)

Oh, mama.  Do it again.  Counselor!  Counselor!  Green and soft she awaits me, she embraces me, she bends to me.  Fuck the weekend pass, man!  This room is woman enough for any growing healthy boy.  Hey, Counselor, remember the Garcia Lorca poem I told you I loved so much?  “Green, how much I want you green. Green wind. Green branches.”  How he says, “She lingers on her balcony, green flesh, hair of green, dreaming of the bitter sea.”

(DOUGLAS TWO returns to the Forest and THE GIRL, and THE MASTER to his hut.)

THE GIRL

O Master, do not hesitate.  Obey the commands of the divine Shiva and his consort Shakti.

DOUGLAS TWO

(Turning his back on THE GIRL.)

Your posture is indecent, your words are blasphemous.  The gods would not command me to break my vow.  Begone, witch.  Begone, handmaiden of Maya.

THE GIRL

(Adopting a more modest position.)

O do not spurn me.

(SHE weeps.)

DOUGLAS TWO

Didn’t I tell you I cannot bear to see a woman cry?  I do not spurn you.  I spurn the forces of Maya working through you.

THE GIRL

Do you not find me beautiful?

DOUGLAS TWO

Beauty and ugliness are illusion.  Pleasure and pain are illusion.  Good and evil are illusion.  So it has been taught me.

THE GIRL

But not for me, holy man.  I am not holy.  I find you beautiful.  I desire pleasure with you, and I know that pleasure to be good.  Pity me.  I am not holy as you are.  Keep me warm against the night.  Make love to me in this Forest of terrors.  If you are so holy as not to feel desire, not to feel pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness, good and evil, then our union can be of no concern to you.  If all things are the same, then you can caress me or not caress me.  No harm would befall you.  But I, I am trapped by illusion.  The goddess binds me to her with all her seductive wiles.  Pity me.

DOUGLAS TWO

(HE kneels on the ground, beats the earth with his fists, tears at his hair.)

Leave me alone!  I am not a holy man!  I am young!  I still have much to learn!

THE GIRL

Learn from me.  Learn with me.  You cannot thrust aside desire, that most bitter of fruit, until first you have succumbed to its sweet taste.

(SHE creeps to him, begins to soothe him with caresses. HE whimpers, then lays his head on her breast. SHE guides him into a  love-making posture, seated face to face, the cradle of the lotus. THE COUNSELOR walks past them.)

DOUGLAS TWO

Just screwing until the weekend, Counselor.

THE COUNSELOR

No thank you, Douglas, I don’t smoke.

DOUGLAS TWO

It’s not impossible, Counselor.  Shiva and Shakti do it like this.  Face to face, the cradle of the lotus.  Tigers do it like doggies do.  Have a cigarette?  Blow a smoke ring for me.

THE COUNSELOR

But I can’t, Douglas.  She got lost in the green dark of the alligator wallet inside the inner pocket of my jacket with the missing button.  Cardboard rips, anyway.

(THE COUNSELOR exits.)

DOUGLAS TWO

O witch, you have made me break my vow.

THE GIRL

All men break vows.

DOUGLAS TWO

But it was my first, my only vow.

THE GIRL

All the better that you should break it while it was still young and pretty.  No one likes to break an old and ugly vow, a vow wrinkled and sterile, dusty and forgotten.  Vows are Maya, anyway.  All is Maya.

DOUGLAS TWO

Who are you?

THE GIRL

I am the daughter of Maya and your Master.  The young lad toiling up the Mountain as you ran down will in a few years break his first vow with me here in this wild and green-lit Forest.  And you will be elsewhere in time learning other things.  Perhaps one day you too will be a holy man with a daughter.  No man is holy unless he has a daughter.

DOUGLAS TWO

Never.  You shall never corrupt other young men as you have corrupted me.

(HE throttles her, still in the posture of love. THEY rise, struggle, roll into THE COUNSELOR’s office, where HE kills her, so that her body is sprawled across THE COUNSELOR’s desk.)

DOUGLAS ONE

(In a fetal position in Security House.)

Yes she will.

DOUGLAS TWO

Yes she will.  She will be reborn.  We all will be reborn.

(DOUGLAS TWO sprawls across THE GIRL’s body, kisses her lips.  HE rises.)

THE GIRL

Violence.  Union.  Murder.  Tenderness.  I am yet a maiden.  I am still alive.  In another greenness of time I am at a Crossroads, offering food to a young man come down from a Mountain.  Now, holy man, and only now, can you begin your quest.

(DOUGLAS TWO joins DOUGLAS ONE in Security House.  HE sits in a lotus position, in an attitude of prayer.  DOUGLAS ONE remains in the fetal position.)

THE MASTER

The end of a quest is always a retreat.  If the hero lives he retreats from death.  If he dies he retreats from life.  Do you understand?

DOUGLAS ONE

O yes I understand.  I always understand.

DOUGLAS TWO

But I do not believe.

(DOUGLAS ONE hurls DOUGLAS TWO to his feet.  THEY stand facing each other.  THEY BOTH hiss “Escape” at each other. THEY begin frantically running around the stage, until DOUGLAS ONE climbs the Mountain and sits at his Master’s feet once more.  DOUGLAS TWO goes to the City,  to his friend BRIAN’s apartment. THE GIRL sits by the Crossroads in an attitude of prayer before the spring that gushes forth from the rock.)

DOUGLAS TWO

Let me use your works, Brian.

BRIAN

You want to buy works?  I got a friend works in a hospital.

(HE hands his needle and syringe to DOUGLAS TWO.)

How’d you get out, man?

DOUGLAS TWO

Made it over the wall.  I got ripped up by some barbed wire.  Here, see?  And here.

BRIAN

Jesus.  You oughta have a doctor look at that.  That’s all infected.  Hey, stupid, clean that needle.  C’mere, here’s some alcohol.  Clean the needle before you use it.

DOUGLAS TWO

Fuck that shit.  You gonna carry alcohol with you everywhere you go?  I can see you in some hallway, man, cops on your ass, and you won’t shoot up ‘cause you don’t got no alcohol.

BRIAN

Hey, Douglas, you’re stupid.  You gonna get you know every nasty disease that way.  Right now, Mary, she’s in the hospital with hepatitis.

DOUGLAS TWO

Which Mary?

BRIAN

Mary, you know Mary.  The hooker, Virgin Mary.  The wop.  The one with the body.

DOUGLAS TWO

Hope she dies.

(HE finds a vein, makes his hit, leaves the needle in his arm.)

BRIAN

You gonna just leave that thing hanging in there?  Pull it out, man.  Hey.  Hey!  You okay?

DOUGLAS TWO

Yeah, yeah, I’m okay.  This make you nervous?

BRIAN

Yeah, Douglas.  Yeah.  It makes me nervous.  You are crazy, amigo, you know that?  Pull it out.

DOUGLAS TWO

All rooms are green.  There is no end to the pain of it.

BRIAN

What?

DOUGLAS TWO

I killed my Counselor before I cut out.  Broke his windpipe.  It doesn’t take a minute.  No sound, no blood.  Very very clean.  Then I made a little detour before I came back to the City.  I went right to his house and raped his old lady.  She was like dying for it.  Never was so happy in her whole life.  I ripped the shit out of her and she begged for more.  I let her give me a blow job.

BRIAN

What?  Yeah, yeah.  You really killed him?  Hey, take that thing out of your arm!

DOUGLAS TWO

Here, don’t get so nervous.  Here’s your fucking needle.  Yeah, I killed him.  He wouldn’t give me a weekend pass so I killed him.  They locked me up in this violent ward, they call it Security House, but I busted out.  Oh, his old lady was so beautiful.  That girl was so horny, she was dying for it.  She was waiting for me.  You listening?

BRIAN

Yeah, yeah, I hear you.

DOUGLAS TWO

You’re nodding out.  Fucking no-good junkie.

(DOUGLAS TWO leaves. HE wanders aimlessly.)

Where is she?  She said she would wait for me.  Where is she?  Yeah, well, anyway, I made vows.  The jackals musta ate her.  She was so beautiful.

(HE sits upon the sidewalk in an attitude of prayer.  It begins to rain. THE COUNSELOR walks by, smoking a cigarette.  HE blows smoke rings in DOUGLAS’s face.)

THE COUNSELOR

Don’t you hear my wife screaming for me to let her out?  I have her locked in a photograph in my wallet, here in my pocket.  You fucking bastard!  You wouldn’t even let me get laid!

DOUGLAS TWO

Make a vow.  The goddess sends green rain.

THE MASTER

The end of a quest.  And you, my son, are leaving.

DOUGLAS ONE

Yes.

(In the City streets a tiger  stalks DOUGLAS TWO.)

THE GIRL

Boy, are you not afraid?

DOUGLAS TWO

A tiger stalks me.  I can see his eyes like two headlights just between that parked car and the far curb.

THE GIRL

Boy, are you not afraid?

DOUGLAS TWO

Yes, goddess, I am afraid.

(The tiger attacks.  DOUGLAS TWO screams.  DOUGLAS ONE  tumbles from the Mountain, rolls dead at the feet of DOUGLAS TWO. DOUGLAS TWO kneels at the side of his own dead body.)

Forgiveness!  But I’m just a child!

THE END

Merle Molofsky is a psychoanalyst in private practice. She serves on the IFPE Board of Directors, is chair of the IFPE Ethics and Psychoanalysis Committee, and editor of Other/Wise. A former Associate Editor of The Psychoanalytic Review, she now serves on the Editorial Board. She trained at NPAP, where she serves on the faculty and supervises. Also, she is former Dean of Training of NPAP. At Harlem Family Institute she serves on the Advisory Board and is a faculty member and supervisor. She also served on the Board of Directors of NAAP, and is former Director of Training of the Institute for Expressive Analysis. She has published in psychoanalytic journals, and contributed a chapter to Religion and Psychotherapy: Many Paths, One Journey. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines.

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