Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene III
Lights go down to a spot on JACK stage-left. Stage-right, another spot picks out PUCK and the FATES as they enter. The FATES sit at the counter as if at a dressing-room mirror, removing make-up. PUCK stands facing the audience.
FATE 1: Honey, you're too good for this place. You want to get yourself some proper management and move on.
PUCK: They... like me here.
FATE 2: Baby, they like to hear you scream. They want to see you open up and bleed.
FATE 3: You know that nice Mr Chorus was in the audience tonight. Now he wouldn't have you playing the same set-list every night for five years straight.
PUCK: This is what I want to do. This is where I want to be. [quiet] This is where I belong.
FATE 2 [stands, puts her arm round PUCK]: Baby, you've been waiting for your break so long, you've forgotten what you're waiting for. It's time to move on.
PUCK: This. This is what I was waiting for. Don't you see? They love me out there. They fucking love me. They cheer, they clap, they...
Enter the PROPRIETOR, stage-right, quietly and unseen.
FATE 1: Notice you? Honey, you gonna hang around forever in this dive feeling miserable just because people like to see you feeling miserable?
FATE 2: Hear you feeling miserable?
FATE 3: Because they love you feeling miserable?
PUCK: What else do I have?
PROPRIETOR: Nothing, my dear boy. Nothing at all. Are you ladies trying to put ideas in my darling Puck's head again?
The FATES back-off.
PROPRIETOR: Puck, you know I only have your very best interests at heart. Didn't I take you in from the cold, dark night? Didn't I give you somewhere to stay, a roof over your head, an audience to adore you? Haven't I nurtured that frightened insecure little wretch of a lad who came to me so confused, so... conflicted? Haven't I made you what you are today? And all because I saw a... possibility in you, my darling Puck. A certain... spark. A flash of something, shall we say?
FATE 1: Of someone , you mean.
The PROPRIETOR spins round, pointing and glaring malevolently at her.
FATE 1: You can't keep him here forever, you know. Either of them.
PROPRIETOR: My dear, please, let's not worry darling Puck with matters best left unspoken.
PUCK: What do you mean? What does she mean, "either of them"?
PROPRIETOR: It's nothing, dear boy. Don't get yourself in a tizzy. It's just that I'm a businessman and we're always auditioning new acts at the Hellhole. So it so happens that we have a particularly talented performer in the audience tonight. So I'm rather eager to hear him sing. So there's a small, a tiny, a miniscule chance that... well... he'd be such a crowd-pleaser... I mean, I really wouldn't like to let you go, but... business is business, Puck... and he'd be so -
PUCK: You're thinking of replacing me?
PROPRIETOR: Now, dear, it's nothing to get -
PUCK: You are! You're thinking of replacing me.
PROPRIETOR [to the FATES]: Now see what you've gone and done?
PUCK: Please. I don't want -- I can't -- there's nothing else for me. Please... let me stay.
The PROPRIETOR smiles smugly at the FATES.
PROPRIETOR: Oh, Puck. You'll always have a place here. You belong here. And I'm so glad you know it. [looks at the FATES] Unlike some. [walks across stage to look at JACK, still sat in his chair]. Unlike so many.
FATE 1 [quietly, as if worried she'll be overheard]: Honey, you know she's only using you.
PUCK: Shut up.
FATE 2: Somebody has to tell you. This may seem like a dream come true -
PUCK: Shut up!
FATE 2: But, honey, what if it's not your dream?
PUCK: SHUT UP!
FATE 1: You never wanted to be famous.
FATE 3: You never wanted to be a star.
FATE 2: Honey you can't be living in someone else's dream forever. Longer you do the more that dream becomes a nightmare.
PUCK: NO! Don't say another word or I'll have her back in here faster than you can say -- I'll have her in here like that [clicks his fingers]. Fucking lying fucking... This is real. This is real.
He turns and stalks off-stage.
FATE 1: Real fucked-up, honey. Real fucked-up.
Fade to black.