Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nowhere Town: Act ONE Scene VI

Act ONE Scene VI: The Lost And Found

Stage is divided into two parts. Stage-right we see the platform as the stage set for the Fagsmoke gig at The Lost And Found, instruments set up but in darkness. Far right is the dorrway. Stage-left a table and chair are set up as a domestic kitchen. The table has a cloth on it. PUCK stands at the table holding a record.

PUCK exits stage-left, returns without the record. We hear something that sounds very much like the opening of "TV Eye" from The Stooges’ Fun House album: Iggy screams, the first bar of guitar kicks in and then the record jumps back to play the first bar. It keeps on jumping. PUCK exits stage-left again, returns with the record and throws it down on the table in disgust.

A piano starts playing the same riff, but much slower and in a minor key. Gradually this becomes Puck's Theme from "Junkie For The Sound", but in a melancholic version.

SONG: Another Day

Soft and melancholic for the verses, heavy guitar for the chorus, this song is shamelessly Emo.

PUCK:

Another day, another pound of flesh
Ripped off in a nowhere town
Another kick down to the ground
In a world that’ll grind me down
Cause every day, in every way
It’s like there’s no-one to hear my prayers
And I can’t say, I’m glad to be - [chokes off last syllable]
Cause there’s no-one around who cares -

I’m going to drive myself insane
I’m going to tear myself apart
Can’t take this fever in my brain
Can’t take this feeling from my heart

Another curse under my breath
Another chance I just let go by
They call this life, I call this death
Because there’s nothing can make me cry
And even when his hand reached out to me
And I see something in his eyes
Well I say nothing, I just freeze
Please somebody tell me why -

I’m going to drive myself insane
I’m going to tear myself apart
Can’t take this fever in my brain
Can’t take this feeling from my heart

Enter the FATES, stage-right, as if customers at the gig at The Lost and Found.

Another day trapped by these fears
And a day with no hope, but no tears
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
Another day without release
And I just want just one day of peace
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
Another day, another pound of flesh
Ripped off in a nowhere town
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
And I can’t take another day
Please someone just take this away

PUCK slumps down on a chair and puts his face in his hands.

PUCK [quietly]: Cunts.

The piano returns to the riff which echoes that first bar of TV Eye. It plays the same bar, repeated and repeated again as PUCK stands up, paces the room, then slumps back down in the chair. He stands up, leaning on the table, hanging his head,

PUCK: Can’t even… [he makes a choked sound - frustration at his own inabilities]

He shoves the table and kicks at one of its legs. He is at the end of his tether, trapped between rage and despair. He picks up the record, looking for the scratch, like he’s looking for some small scrap of hope… and not finding it. He puts it back down gently and slumps in the chair again, stares blankly out at the audience.

Lights go down very gradually to a single spot on PUCK.

The Lost And Found REGULARS – punks, goths, crusties and generally alternative types - start filing on stage-right. On the platform, JACK and JOEY are barely visible in the gloom, setting up.

A spotlight goes up on the piano. JACK moves to the centre of the platform.

SONG: This Nowhere Town

Jack’s Theme. This song is full-on Emo: building gradually from the repetitive tinkly-plonk piano, slowly the bass guitar comes in, then the rhythm. It's only after minutes of this that Jack begins singing.

JACK:

You know that you’re strange.
You’re thinking, when will this change?
It seems your world is ruled by jocks.
They got you bound and gagged.
Every day’s a drag.
Think outside the box.

A spotlight comes up gradually on JACK.

You’re caught in an endless dive
Into a dead-end life.
There’s only one way to go.
So turn that frown
Upside-down
We’re gonna burn this nowhere town.

Nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn, burn, burn this nowhere town

PUCK stands up. He takes the belt out of his trousers.

When you’re just a kid
It’s like they try to get rid
Of every thought that’s in your head.

PUCK steps up onto the chair, then onto the table.

They rip your dreams away;
Nothing gold can stay.
Might as well be dead.
You’ve lost your heart and soul
Just an empty hole
But no-one here gets out alive.

PUCK throws down the belt and jumps down from the table.

Because what goes around
Comes around.
We’re gonna burn this nowhere town.

PUCK throws the table over and exits stage-left.

Nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn burn burn
This nowhere town

Enter PUCK, stage-right, through the doorway. He walks round the front of the platform to join the crowd.

Cheer up, they say,
It might never happen.
But it already did
So fuck all your platitudes
I got my attitude,
Lost and found
When I was just a kid

JACK sees PUCK and begins singing directly to him.

You’re caught in a cage
That’s made of all of your rage
Against the system that they’ve built
You think there’s no way out
From the fear and doubt
That, my friend is guilt.
But listen, you’ll hear me call
Another brick in the wall
Lightning can strike in the night
And from the underground
There’s a thunder sound
That’s gonna bring this nowhere town
Tumbling down.

Nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn burn burn
This nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn burn burn
We’re gonna burn burn burn
We’re gonna burn burn burn
This nowhere town

CHORUS enters quietly to remove the table and chairs from stage-left.

JACK:

All right. If you’ve just arrived, we are the incredible, inimitable, insufferable Fagsmoke, so called cause I’m a fag and they’re just smokin. That’s right, boys and girls. We got Johnny Narcosis on guitar, Mary Jane on bass. We got Bert Finkle tinkling on the keyboards, howlin’ Don Coyote on drums and, of course, your oh-so-humble singer, yours truly Jack Flash…

JACK gives a royal flourish of a handwave.

As if you give a fuck. Do I care? I have free beer, a cigarette and a microphone, so I’m happy; fuck you. Anyway, this next one is dedicated to… let’s see… you over there at the door [points at Puck]… yeah, the one who walked in halfway through my [puts hand on chest in mock tragic gesture] cry from the heart… aye, you. This is another deeply heartfelt song and I hope, I pray that it just… touches you as it touches me. Because if I can touch just one person here tonight (but not him over there cause he’s one ugly fucker) but if I can touch just one person here tonight (you are over sixteen, right?) Anyway, if I can touch just one person here tonight… I’d like it to be you

JACK winks and points a finger at PUCK like a Vegas showman.

OK, this is one of our quieter, more sensitive numbers. It’s called "Suck Me, Fuck Me, Chuck Me."

SONG: Suck Me, Fuck Me, Chuck Me

Straightforward punk of the bounciest, most popular variety.

1, 2, 3, 4.
5, 6, 7, 8.
9, 10, 11, 12?!
13, 14, 15, 16.

I guess I don’t know anything about you.
But I’ve seen you and I’d like to.
Would you like to like to too?
Would you? Could you? Should you?

Suck me. Fuck me.
When you’re finished you can chuck me.
I’ll be – happy –
With just an hour or two or three.

Don’t want to waste time on infatuation,
But I’m tired of masturbation.
Would you like to like to be
With me, with you in me?

Suck me. Fuck me.
When you’re finished you can chuck me.
I’ll be – happy –
With just an hour or two or three.

JACK jumps off the platform into the crowd, starting a mosh pit. He climbs back up on the platform just in time to sing the last chorus.

Suck me. Fuck me.
When you’re finished you can chuck me.
I’ll be – happy –
With just an hour or two or three.

JACK bounces around on stage as the band brings the song to a close.

JACK: Okay, that’s us, but hang around, because Moondog’s gonna be here shortly, [crowd cheers] and they will rock your kasbah. Anyway, we have been Fagsmoke, and you have been… an audience.

The crowd breaks up and spreads into the left-half of the stage. JACK and JOEY and the rest of the band exit stage-right. PUCK walks forward to face direct to audience. The REGULARS mill around waiting for the main band and chatting. FAY comes forward stage-left, chatting to one of the REGULARS.

FAY: So what’d you think?

REGULAR: I dunno. What are they trying to be? The Ramones or fucking Joy Division? That second-last song went on fucking forever.

FAY: I liked it. New direction. Maybe our boy is finally growing up.

REGULAR: Nah. Teen-angst bullshit, man. I thought they were better on the balls-out bubblegum moshpit numbers.

FAY: You have no fucking soul, man. You have no fucking soul. [She spots PUCK]. Hey, amigo. [to the REGULAR] This is my best customer, man.

PUCK [distant]: Uh… hi?

FAY: So what did you think of the band, then?

PUCK [defensive]: What do you mean?

FAY [in an isn’t-it-obvious tone]: Um. Did you like them?

PUCK: Yeah. Good. I - [he shrugs]. I don’t know. I liked them.

FAY: Don’t think it went down too well with the rest of the crowd, right enough. Not exactly their cup of tea.

PUCK [offended]: They were good! [backtracking] Well, I mean, I don’t know. I liked them.

FAY: Chill. I was just curious. Singer’s a mate. I’m sure he’ll be asking for an in-depth report on his potential fan-base.

REGULAR: In full fucking technocolour, no doubt. Come on, let’s get to the bar before it’s fucking mobbed.

FAY: Alright, alright. Catch you later, uh…?

PUCK: Uh, yeah. I’ll… see you later.

PUCK turns away, looking relieved at the effort of conversation being over. FAY shrugs and wanders off stage-right, as JACK, JOEY and GUY enter stage-left.

FAY: Fuck me, it’s like drawing teeth with that boy.

GUY: Listen, I do think you chaps have got something. Raw… Needs a bit of work, but… if you’re serious.

JACK: I’m never fucking serious, mate. Fuck that shit.

JOEY: You think we have a chance at… you know?

JACK: Fucking course we do, mate. No fucking problem.

GUY: Absolutely. I think you still need to - I don’t know - find your sound a bit, but we can work on that. It’s just the odd song here or there that kind of… breaks the flow?

JOEY: Well… there are a couple of songs, you know, I’m not sure if they work so well. Some of the slower numbers.

JACK: Hey, hey, wait a minute. I know where this is going.

JOEY: Come on, Jack. It’s one fucking song.

JACK: We are not fucking dropping "Nowhere Town".

GUY: Jack, you can’t go from "Punk Music Makes Me Feel Big", or "Where’s My Fucking Record Contract?" to "Nowhere Town" and then back to "Suck Me, Fuck Me, Chuck Me".

JOEY: You can’t mosh to Nowhere Town. Everything else is fucking [banging his fist into the palm of his hand]… 1, 2, 3, 4! Bang! Right, uh... Guy, was it?

GUY [nodding]: It’s a good song, but it doesn’t have the same punch. It doesn’t have the same… tongue in cheek, glint in the eye thing that the other songs have. I mean, take "Suicide Pact". That’s really vicious, but it’s... you know… funny… sick, but funny.

JACK: It’s a fucking throwaway.

JOEY: Jack, fucking listen to the man. He knows what he’s –

JACK: Bollocks. The one fucking song with any fucking meaning in it and you want to drop it.

GUY: It’s not Fagsmoke, Jack. It’s not… I don’t know.

JOEY: "Fuck you; let’s make some noise."?

GUY: Exactly. You guys are great, but don’t try to run before you can walk. Sure, four, five years down the line – I’m telling you – you’ll be able to do whatever the hell you damn well want.

JACK: I can do that now, mate.

JOEY: For fuck’s sake, Jack. Listen to the man.

GUY: Three, four years down the line… there’s always the – I don’t know - the breakaway Emo album.

JOEY [laughs]: Aye, that would be Jack’s solo album.

JACK: Fuck this shit. I’m going to the bar. Beer? G’n’T? Right? OK. Back in a tick.

Exit JACK.

JOEY: I’m sorry, man. I’ve been trying to tell him this for fuck knows how long.

GUY: Look. I really think you guys have got something. Honestly. I’m sure I can sort out some more gigs for you. And I can think of at least two, three record labels that I think would snap you up. But… you need to focus on where exactly you’re going with this… right now… here and now... You need to nail down the sound. You need to focus on what works… and what works for you just now is fast, furious and funny. That’s what Fagsmoke is. Not ten-minute emo epics.

JOEY: Mate. I’m not the one you have to talk to. Fuck me, I don’t know what his problem is. It’s just a fucking song.

The piano starts again, and the crowd becomes muted – still chatting casually, but it’s just as if someone turned the volume down. Lights fade to a spotlight on Puck, still transfixed, stage-left and front.

A solitary horn picks out the "Nowhere Town” backing refrain, three times, like a distant bugler playing “The Last Post”.

SONG: One More Chance

This takes the melody for the verses of "Nowhere Town", slows it down and weaves in the melody of "Junky For The Sound". The big medley number. Get the hankies out now.

PUCK:

I never thought I’d find
This kind of peace of mind.
Suddenly everything’s still.
I don’t what this is.
Feels like my heart’s been kissed,
I who had nothing until…I found
You with your foolish songs.
Maybe I’m right, I’m wrong,
I think I’m in love with your sound.
You don’t know my name,
But I know your flame
Is gonna burn this nowhere town.

Enter JACK, stage-right.

JACK [weaving in the melody from "Junky For the Sound"]:

I know your voice, I know your face
[FATES: Another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
I know where you come from, this lonely nowhere place
I don’t know if a song can say enough
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
But I know in this nowhere town that all you need is love

JACK walks up to PUCK and the two look at each other, heads cocked, quizzical. JACK offers his hand and PUCK shakes it. Neither of them lets go.

PUCK:

Nowhere town
And I know your words
Like they were waiting to be found
Nowhere town
Like a thought unheard
And something stirred
We’re gonna burn, burn, burn this nowhere town

JACK [coming in on “town”]:

Let’s just get out of here,
You and me disappear.
We could be something, I know.
[FATES: This nowhere town]
I know you understand
Just have to take my hand [both look down at their joined hands, only just noticing]
We could find somewhere to go
[FATES: This nowhere town]
Where the music that’s in your eyes
Don’t have to be disguised.
Shine on and never go down
With a spark so bright
And a soul alight
We’re gonna burn this nowhere town

JACK pulls PUCK by the hand and they exit stage-right out of the doorway. As the instrumental break goes all sweeping and flourishy, the crowd moves up onto the platform, singing the “nowhere town” harmony. CHORUS enters, replacing the table and chair but in a different position -- JACK's home rather than PUCK's. He places the doorway centre-stage, places a telephone on top of the table then exits.

PUCK and JACK re-enter stage-right. JACK leads PUCK through the doorway and, inside JACK’s home, they embrace, kissing against the table.

The lights altenate slowly between gold and blue, day and night.

CHORUS [introducing the theme from "Tango For The Dead"]:

Love, to whom time has no meaning
With every moment fleeting
So precious and so frail
Love, a promise of forever
A fragile never-never
A bitter fairy-tale

Exit CHORUS. The music carries on, but muted as JACK and PUCK speak the next few lines.

JACK [shaking his head in disbelief]: I wrote you a sonnet, you know.

PUCK: A sonnet?!

JACK [laughs]: A fucking sonnet. Three days with you and I'm writing fucking sonnets.

PUCK: Go on, then. Let's hear it.

JACK: I can’t believe I’m doing this.

PUCK: Jack, you can do fucking anything.

The music fades to nothing. JACK runs his fingers through PUCK’s hair.

JACK:

My heart is deep, much deeper than I knew.
If I look down into it when you’re not around,
I face a void as empty and as blue
As the abyss of heaven, empty of air, empty of sound.
And yet it fills, it overflows, with breathless soul,
With scatterings of constellations, points of light –
My far-flung hopes. And, roaring from the hole,
It fills my blood, my thoughts, my lungs, this vacuum night.
I never knew the distance of my love
Until I held it close, asleep in my embrace,
Until, above the well of emptiness, a dove,
I looked down from your light into an unknown place.

My heart is deep, much deeper than I knew,
Vast as the hollow times and spaces between me and you.

Silence for a moment.

PUCK: Fuck, I’ve gotta go.

JACK: Stay.

PUCK [shakes his head, smiling]: I wish. It’s been three days. [sniffs his armpit] My clothes are fucking stinking. I’ll call you, OK?

They kiss again, and Puck steps back, through the doorway. JACK holds on to his hand for a second then lets go. They turn from each other and, as JACK goes to stand by the table and PUCK walks stage-right, the music swells.

ALL:

Nowhere town

PUCK:

And I don’t even care
Because from nowhere came his sound

ALL:

Nowhere town

PUCK:

And I could kiss the air
I hear it everywhere [Exit PUCK]
[offstage] I want to burn, burn, burn…

ALL:

This no-

And a car horn klaxon trumpet sound blasts in on “no”, ripping through the song. The note sustains, growing louder as JACK stands looking at the telephone. The sound cuts off abruptly and the music kicks into the Death melody as JACK picks up the phone and listens. Lights go down to a spotlight on JACK, who has a look of shock on his face as he sits down, still holding the phone.

JACK puts the phone down gently and stands up. Enter CHORUS from the back, stage-left.

JACK:

Death, who enters unexpected,
His quiet hand extended
To tell you that it’s time.
Death, who leaves us all defenceless,
So meaningless, so senseless,
A theft that’s not a crime,
No reason and no rhyme.

JACK turns, walks over to the platform and sits down. The lights come up, blue. The crowd disperses around the stage, changing scenery until we're back at the No Exit Lounge and Bar. CHORUS sits down beside JACK.

Enter PUCK as his own ghost, in ripped white jeans and sleeveless tee, punk-style chains, the FATES behind him. He stands behind JACK on the stage, reaching for him, but unable to touch him as if separated by some gulf. JACK seems unaware of him but CHORUS is ignoring him – not callously, but looking down, as if fighting some inner desire to help.

JACK [singing Puck's Theme]:

Another day, another drink
Another night alone, and left with time to think
Another day without romance
And I’m a junky for your sound and I just want one more chance
One more chance

PUCK: Jack, I love you.

JACK [not hearing]: And you know what the worst of it is?

PUCK: I don’t know what I’d do without you.

JACK: You know what the fucking worst thing is?

PUCK: I used to hate this fucking town and everything in it. I mean, I still do, but…

JACK: It wasn’t the fucking shithole of a nowhere town that killed him…

PUCK: I used to hate my life. God, it seems crazy, now, but I came so close to just fucking ending it…

JACK: I mean, suicide I could understand. If one of those fucking little shitheads had - I don't know - stabbed him or something, I could fucking understand it. I’d have fucking killed the fucker but I could… understand it.

PUCK: And it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t care about any of that shit. Not when I’m with you…

JACK: A fucking accident. Some fucking cunt gets behind the wheel of a car drunk and...

PUCK: You and me, Jack. Fucking forever.

JACK: Bang! [He clicks his fingers and the “No” on the “No Exit” sign lights up. The FATES grab PUCK, who struggles in panic] He’s just… gone

The FATES drag PUCK offstage, screaming and sobbing hysterically, full-on method bugfuck crazy mental.

PUCK [howling like an animal with rage and frustration]: NO! NO! NO!

***

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