SCENE: The stage is bare, except for Storyteller Penn, who stands in a ragged white cloak, marred with dirt, leaning on a staff, his hair flowing about his shoulders. On either side of him are the CHORUS of MEN and the CHORUS of WOMEN, all in black togas, unsmiling masks on their faces. A troupe of minstrels, their faces painted blue, have made their way through the audience at this point, tossing coins into the audience and beating wildly on tambourines, a tall puppet figure of a man being manipulated by them with long poles, they pass by Penn and out of the koilon. Penn raises his head and looks at the audience a long time with a knowing smile, then grabs his staff and draws a circle in the ground.
The field of war is cleared now of its bloody harvest
Debbie Gibson has been dragged away, after her dispatching
If there had been a shell upon the boardroom floor
Theresa would have used its edge to cut the flesh from her very bones.
There is nobility in fighting for survival, to purchase the cup of life
From another's hands, for this a warrior is made
But the soldiers on this field are wounded through
Mortally their wounds sing blood, and in their death rage
They give the killing blow, not to save their lives,
But to die in greater company.
And so Debbie has fallen
By Theresa's hand, by Theresa's hate, and Theresa, wounded
Fights only for another night around the campfire of her luxury hotel room
[He flourishes his staff, toward scaffolding above the stage, and a flare of fire bursts just beyond the scaffolding. We see silhouettes of three men at a long table, hacking away with butcher's knives at what appear to be the scattered parts of elephants and giraffes.]
—in his mercy, has disturbed the ranks. The army of women
Mingles with the army of men, and has demanded
That they sing the joys of walking, make a tribute to stepping
To the clear eyed Queen of Walgreens, the uneasy Alison Sweeney
That aging Hercules, Lou Ferrigno, sought to win the day with sadness
Forgetting that packaging is the portrait of the smiling man
There are no crying faces on a box to sell, no sobbing child
Has yet sold a single box of Cheerios, yet Lou insisted
And told his tale of woe. To the boardroom he is called.
That mighty slaughterhouse in which the tongue does butchering
In which the long-slain corpse of dignity is trampled into dust
And with him he shall take Dee Snider, that aged face
Austere as the face of Rome, its gentle eyes like unto generations
Of Roman grandmothers, who have peered into the cradle
A black veil over their white hair, their mouths dripping sweet
as they sing the gentle lullabies to their Roman grandson
Their womanly cloak conceals a dagger, and should they be roused to battle
Even the great Leonidas could not persuade them to surrender
And too Ferrigno has called, that Goddess of Love Dayana
Foolishly parading once more the woman Trump himself has crowned
The most beautiful in the Universe—
[There is a shrieking in the WOMEN'S CHORUS. A figure moves through the chorus, casting off her mask. It is the HAG LISA LAMPENELLI. She scuttles forward, circling PENN.]
THE HAG LISA LAMPANELLI:
You too, Penn? I had thought your eyes too sharp
To be so deceived by as soft a pillow over an asp
As that smooth-fleshed fool Dayana. I had thought
You of all tellers would cry the deceit God has rendered in that face
Pouring into the grandest of chalices the thinnest and sparest of wine
Tell me, do you not discern? Have your eyes become too clouded
By the incense of her myrrh-smoothed limbs
By the light caught in the harlot's hair?
I am discerning, O Hag Lisa, and as I look at you
Your eyes as soft as the fairest young maiden's, and yet their glance
They flit to and throw, sentries for a jealous mind, and everywhere
They see attacking armies where only forest stands.
You are infected with a bitterness toward this girl
Even unto killing her, you would think yourself justified
This girl who has done nothing except be born in the shape
And the image of love.
THE HAG, LISA:
You and I had been yoked like oxen
We had carried a load of imbeciles, her lash we felt together
Is it my hell, like Cassandra, to be the only one who can see her evil?
She is a fire in which I stand, and I cry out to the orchid-filled room
I cry out to my comrades, bending over their tall Mac computers
And no one comes to my aid. If I had that face, oh! There, there is the pain
There is the blade that emerges from within. If I had the shape of her chalice
You would know my wine is sweeter than honey, in its dark amber is suspended
The richest sunlight grown from the purest stem, intoxicating in its richness
And yet you will never drink it, Penn, for the bottle
Is marred, is muddied, has lain too long in the gutter—No!
It is enough. But I will not hear you call her that name, Goddess of Love!
There is no doubt in me of you virtues, Lisa
But you do not lay them down as tribute, you hold them hostage
Like they were your children, and you Medea, ready to slit their throats
And let their blood spill out, your own blood, to spite the enemy.
This is bitterness, Lisa, this is your shame: You drink from a cup of poison
And wait for Dayana to die.
[There is a cry from above the rafters, a figure emerges with hideous demon eyes, snakes of red hair stand out from her head. She gives a piercing shriek and then disappears as a crowd of players walk through the center of the room and past Penn. They are Clay, Theresa, Arsenio, and Paul Teutel Sr..]
For Sharon! For Sharon is this battle won!
[He collapses on the ground for a moment, then rises, sliding sunglasses on.]
From battle are we returned, victoriously honored
The spoils of war wait for us, olives on long skewers and Grey Goose
Sit, my worthy comrades, enjoy this moment of rest
In our long travails, before the next bloody dawn when again
We will have to take up our scarred and heavy weapons.
But where—there is—where is?
[There is a sound like snakes hissing far offstage.]
The victor's camp is not complete, one shield
Does not hang by the campfire of the giant flats-creen TV
On which the victors will gloat over their vanquished foes
There is one missing, a trickster, the painted one.
Yes, where is Aubrey? Did the truths that passed
Across that long table defeat the fiery demon
Who until now could not be quieted?
Did Trump, his lips the soft pink of his garment
Pronounce too heavily the sentence of annoying
On the dancing girl who fell in love with herself?
My Lord Arsenio is a man in the autumn of his years
The warmth of his summer has not passed, in his smile
The warmth of the sun spreads, in his fields is still
A bounteous harvest still waiting to be enjoyed.
The winter of age is still a season away, and he has the
Richness, the warmth of the last summery breeze
That pulls through the reddened leaves of the early autumn.
And like too, those autumn trees, he has not the resistant sap
He has not the resilience against the fires of rage
His anger, when torched, spreads, borne upon the wind
And devours the golden field like a crimson tide of fire
Rushing toward the shore, the dry leaves, the heaped bales
The dried vines of his vineyard are brittle, and only a spark is needed
To consume him entirely in righteous indignation
He had held the flame at bay while the battle raged
But now the sword is dropped, the cleansing heat sweeps through him
Arsenio tonight is a man on fire.
[There is a sound like snakes hissing, and the far-off beating of a small drum, that lets us know Aubrey is circling.]
We did this as a team. No one did this by themselves. Her first word is so arrogant.
Her response to you, and to you or to me is to go to her and ask Theresa? To co-sign for her bullshit? What about what you did to me? How about the shit you put me through?
Talk to us. Talk to me first about what you did to me. Why don't you just punch me in the face and ask Theresa if it hurts!
The heat of rage is a restoring thing, in age it feels like youth
In youth it feels like the certainty of age.
The dancing girl had mocked Arsenio to his face, had mocked the career
Had told him he had walked away from his night-throne.
In this her fate was sealed, for how can those who show no mercy
Demand the honor of a swift kill on the battlefield?
For her own ruthlessness, her blood would be slowly spilled.
I do not understand. Was it a mask he wore?
When Aubrey's quick voice bounced upon our council table
Like the incomprehensible spilling of beads, was he not
Calm and fatherly, did he not restrain his rage so that I
Who knows rage, I looked upon him and through the cold depths
The smooth ice water of the Long Island Sound?
Yet now I understand, 'twas all pretense, like a don
Who kisses the cheek of a man he has hired henchmen to kill
Arsenio waited, kept Aubrey in the battle, and then decided
To make an offering of her blood to our gods of war
He saved her to spill on the altar before Trump, should we not
Achieve our victory. He let her think her games, her glances,
Her clumsy dancing girl's steps had amused him. He made her believe
In her own power, let her dress herself in her own vain glory
And then presented her thus trussed as sacrifice should we lose.
I see now, the wisdom, and yet it terrifies me.
He walks above us like a sure-footed archer
While we cleave each other eye to eye, he will hover and wait for his shot,
With the eternal patience and vengeance of the gods who look down on us
From their sniper's pose in Olympus.
She's not going nowhere in this motherf-cker. Donald Trump has worked all his life to be who he is, and he's not going to take his banner and put it on her stank ass and represent her as a Celebrity Apprentice.
[More hissing sounds offscreen, the drum beats wildly, louder and louder.]
When I Googled you, Theresa, to find out what you were about, it told me about your show, and your culinary desires, your fashion background. When I Googled her a naked picture of her with a gut popped up. F-ck her. F-CK HER.
[The drum abruptly stills at these words, as though a demon has been exorcised.]
– Was Arsenio's spot-on takedown of Aubrey pure poetry?
– Is Lisa fixating on Dayana?
– Penn Teller bringing the Blue Man Group to pop money balloons: brilliant way to attract a crowd or asking for a riot?
– Where do you think Aubrey went?
– Who deserves to be the next Celebrity Apprentice?