[Scene. A bar. M. and A. sitting next to each other. A. in uniform, his hat on the bar. Many empty glasses around M.; a single drink in front of A.]
M. I hate soldiers.
M. They make me sick. [Poking him in the chest] Whenever I see someone in uniform, I want to throw rocks at him.
A. Your brother's a soldier.
M. Like fuck he is.
A. I've seen him.
M. And I hate him for it. [Leaning back] He did it just to piss me off, I tell you.
A. Because he loves you that much.
M. He fucking hates me. He did it just to get away from me, I tell you. And you know why?
M. Because I'm honest, sir. I keep it real.
M. Yeah. I tell him how it is.
A. And how is it?
M. Shit. Everything's shit.
[From the back] Go home, Marie! You're drunk!
M. Like fuck I am! [Turning back to A] My brother, you know. He's full of shit.
A. Why do you say that?
M. He said he's always be there, you know. That'd he'd always be around. That he'd always be there to protect me.
A. [Stirring his drink] Such childish promises.
M. Fuck, we were like – two, you know?
A. Do you really need protecting?
M. Not anymore I don't. It's all over. [She puts her head down on the bar.] It's all – lost – now.
A. Maybe this is his way. Of protecting you.
M. Like fuck it is.
A. What else can he do?
M. And his ghost will be a fat lot of fucking good, I'm sure.
A. [Getting angry] Why do you have so little faith in him? He's not going to die.
A. He's careful. He does all he can, to get back to you.
M. Like fuck he does.
A. It's true.
[Bartender passing by] No. You've had enough.
A. He really cares about you.
M. [Raising her head] What do you know? [A is taken aback] I know you, sir. [Poking him again] I know you.
M. You're just like the rest of them.
A. What does that mean?
M. You know what.
A. That's not –
M. That's why you joined. And maybe it works on the other bitches – but not me! [Poking him] Talking in your pretty little way, wearing your pretty little uniform. And then look what a hotshot you are. Shooting up the streets, killing all the – sometimes I wake up at night and thank God I'm not a man. You spend all your life screaming, screaming out to the emptiness of the universe that doesn't give a fuck! 'Look, I'm honorable! Look, I'm brave! Look, I'm doing something fucking worthwhile –
A. Shut up.
M. – with my piece of shit life.
A. Shut up.
M. [Laughing] Look, that makes him angry. Look, look. He's turning red.
A. [Muttering] You'd better thank God you're a woman.
M. [Laughing] That didn't stop your friend! [Poking him] When I told him – when I told him –
[She always pokes him in the same place. Right over the heart.]
M. – that he was full of shit.
A. I'm not full of shit.
M. Yes you are.
A. I'm not.
M. Yes. Yes, you are.
A. You're full of shit.
M. I can die for my country too. I'd love to die for my country. Just tell me, just tell me – where do I have to stand.
A. Why don't you go home, Marie?
M. You'd like that, I'm sure.
[She puts her head down on the bar again.]
A. It's for your own good.
M. That's what they all say.
A. I'll call a cab for you.
M. If you can drag my dead body. Out of this iron cage.
[They fall silent. Some of the other patrons are talking in the back; about science, or something. A. doesn't look at the mirror reflecting them; instead he stares at the bottles lined above.]
M. There's just one thing – the one thing I can't forgive.
A. What's that?
M. We were always together. Me and him. Him and me and me and him and us against the world, the duo that would tear down the world. It didn't matter if everyone else was dead. We were almost twins, you know? Just me and him, that's all that mattered in the world. [Oscillating] And then what happens? What the fuck happens?
A. He became a soldier.
M. He left me behind, that bastard! He went someplace.
A. Some place cold.
A. Some place real far.
M. Someplace. [Almost a whisper now] Some place I could never go.
A. He did it because he had to. He felt –
M. An obligation?
A. Something like that.
A. To justify his life, somehow.
M. Justice. What a load of shit.
A. [Trying to break through] That's your problem, Marie. You think you're so great, tearing everything apart, tearing everything down.
[She watches him out of the corner of her eye.]
A. But you don't have an alternative. You just think – that everyone should be revolutionary, everyone should rebel against the system –
A. But what kind of world would that be? If everyone just went and did their own thing.
M. A brave new world.
A. Nothing could function, nothing could ever get done if no one ever listened to anybody –
M. Man exists only for war. [Drumming on the bar, lilting.] Man exists only for War. And Woman only for the recreation of the warrior. [Glaring at A.] Worst. Society. Ever.
[A trails off; they sit in silence again.]
A. [After a while] Look, I'm worried about your future.
A. You need to pick yourself up, Marie.
M. They'll have to scrape me off this marble floor.
A. This writing thing really isn't working out for you.
M. This soldier-thing really isn't working out for you. Alex.
A. I'm just worried –
M. I'm just worried about your future.
A. The Party –
M. The G-dash-D –
A. Is taking notice –
M. The Powers that Be –
A. If you aren't careful –
M. The Eye that sees –
A. You'll be arrested –
M. – you'll die in a pool of your own blood. [Emphasizing] With a single hole in your chest. Bleeding like a bitch. Like a pig. Like a dog.
A. [Nearly giving up] Look – at least promise me you'll stop with all this.
M. With all this what?
[For a moment, M. becomes completely lucid.]
[She raises her head.]
M. Look at this guy.
[A longer pause.]
M. [Softly, mockingly] And now he drops out of the sky. [Very softly] Like some raggedy-ass guardian angel, pretending he gives a shit.
[They look at each other; she looks at him like she owns the world.]
A. He flew all the way across the sea, didn't he?
M. To save the girl?
A. The princess in distress.
M. To fight off all the monsters.
A. And the shadows.
M. And the shades.
A. And the phantoms.
M. And the ghosts.
A. [Correcting himself] And the ghosts.
M. Just like he said he would.
A. Just like he promised.
M. Just like. Some kind of. Superhero.
[She buries her head in her arms.]
M. [Completely still.]
M. [Inaudibly] Why?
[A. reaches out to her – and stops. His hand hovers over her a moment; then he lets it drop back down to the bar.]
[They sit for a long while.]
[The door in the back slams open. It sends a cold gust of wind swirling through the room. Another soldier saunters in, spots A.]
Soldier. Hey – [strolling up to the bar] Hey Alex, Jet wants to know –
[He spots M.]
Soldier. [Turning to A.] Is this?
Soldier. Hey. [Before A. can stop him, he goes over to her.] Hey, miss. [Gently shaking her shoulder.] Miss.
[She suddenly raises her head.]
Soldier. Don't you know who this is?
M. No. [She stands up] I don't.
[The soldier steps back.]
M. And I don't want to.
[She walks out; past A., without looking back. The door slams. She's seen walking through window, out on the street.]
[She walks very straight for someone who's been drinking.]