in Polish




The Fourth Sister | Antigone in New York

Hunting Crockroaches






Serb-Comic I 2 Men

Sasha: a Russian immigrant, homeless, 40-50

Flea: his sometime companion, 40-50

The Setting: Thompson Square Park

Sasha and Flea have made a home out of Thompson Square Park where life can be harsh for the city’s homeless. Here, they share stories of their respective homelands.

FLEA: Listen, Sasha. Listen, listen. I know you’re mad at me but look. I have something for you.

(Flea fishes a bottle with a little wine left in it out of his clothes. Tries to hand Sasha the bottle.)

I saved it for you. Here. Take it. Some Nightrain. It’s not as sweet as Cisco. Here. Take it. It’s for you. I added some sterno to make it stronger. It’s really good.


FLEA: (Upset.) What do you mean “no”? You’re kidding, aren’t you? What’s wrong with it? It’s good. Okay. It’s not Wild Irish Rose but it’s good. Taste it.

(Sasha shakes his head. He takes a final look around to be sure he7s gotten everything.)

SASHA: I’m done. (Picks up his box.)

FLEA: Don’t talk like that. You’re making me nervous. (Tries to take the box.)

Sasha, you can’t leave like this. You are my best friend. We’ve had so many good times together. You want me to confess? Okay. I’ll confess. I’ll tell you the truth. Other people will lie to you and try to cheat you but not me. I’m not that kind of guy. You know me, right?

SASHA: I know you. Let go of my box.

FLEA: (Takes his hands away extravagantly.) Okay okay. I was in the boiler room last night.

SASHA: (Sarcastic.) Really? I can’t believe it.

FLEA: Yes. And you know what else? I drank the Nightrain by myself except for this, which I saved for you.

(Grabs the box away.) I won’t let you go.

SASHA: Give me that back.

FLEA: (Holds the box away from him.) What else do you want? You want to spit in my face? Okay. Go ahead. Do it. Please. Please. Do it for me. Go ahead. Spit.

SASHA: I want a hamburger.

(Sound of a man howling miserably from the background. Sasha grabs the bottle out of Flea’s hand and drinks. Then he sits down and stretches out comfortably on the bench. Flea happily puts the box down.)

SASHA: (Relaxed, listens to the howling.) You know a lot of people do that. During the day they are very docile but at night they start running around yelling, arguing, getting agitated.

(Listens to the howl.)

That’s that Jamaican. You know, two weeks ago he pushed a twelve-year-old girl in front of a bus and she died but three days after they put him in Bellevue they let him out. They said he was too psychotic to keep.

(The yelling continues.)

FLEA: I think it has to do with the outdoors.

SASHA: I hear people yelling from their apartments.

FLEA: But not like they do outdoors. I think it has to do with nature. There was a guy in my village who’s family was all killed by the Germans and he was very quiet and shy all day but at night he’d leave the house and you could hear him yelling from both sides of the river.

SASHA: When I lived in Leningrad...

FLEA: St. Petersburg.

SASHA: When I lived there it was Leningrad. I lived with my family in a big room with a kitchen. The next apartment over belonged to the KGB. They did interrogations there.

FLEA: Do you hear anything?

SASHA: Sure. People yelling.

FLEA: It was those cheap communist buildings. The walls were too thin.

SASHA: No. It was old.

FLEA: Then they had to really yell loud.


FLEA: Did they yell at night?

SASHA: Day and night.

FLEA: More than one shift. Well, during the day it’s not so bad because people are at work.

SASHA: I was at school during the day. We had dinner at six o’clock. Whenever my father came home from work he’d turn on the radio and play loud music to drown out the yelling.

FLEA: So he liked music.

SASHA: He hated it but it was better than the yelling.

FLEA: I like yelling myself.

SASHA: My father liked paintings, especially Bosch and his Musical Hell.

FLEA: Musical Hell? What’s that?

SASHA: That’s what one part of Bosch’s triptych was called. You know Bosch painted people crucified in hell on musical instruments: G-clefs tattooed on their asses, people upside down in drums with flutes in their assholes.

FLEA: (Laughs.) I like that. That’s good.

SASHA: Father thought that in the 16th century Bosch had predicted our apartment in Leningrad.

FLEA: What?

SASHA: Because he used music to drown out the screaming of the condemned. That’s how my father felt anyway.

FLEA: Bosch?

SASHA: Hieronymous Bosch.

FLEA: Jewish?


FLEA: Sounds Jewish.

SASHA: Ah shut up. Flea. How can you be so stupid?

FLEA: You think so?

SASHA: Absolutely. The triptych is in Madrid and my father was always dreaming about going there but they wouldn’t let him so he begged his cousin in Israel to go and then write to him about it. After she went she sent him a postcard which said “I saw Bosch. He’s anxious to see you and he’s waiting at The Prado. Then when my father was arrested for formalism the KGB asked him how much Bosch had paid him and who his other contacts were.

FLEA: So did he turn him in?

SASHA: Flea. Flea. Fuck it. Bosch died four hundred years ago.

FLEA: Then why did he protect him?

SASHA: (Disgusted.) Hieronymous Bosch a Jew. He would have liked that.

FLEA: Why are you so touchy? All you Jews are like that. Jesus Christ, if I was an anti-semite would I be sitting on the same bench with you for five years? Fuckin’ kike. I don’t have anything against Jews.

SASHA: When I was born my mother showed me to one of our neighbors. She nodded her head and said “so tiny and already a Jew.”

FLEA: You see? People are sympathetic. Was she Polish?

SASHA: No. Russian.

FLEA: You know during the war a few Jews in our village were denounced to the Nazis. But mostly they were the ones who’d escaped from the trains and were all busted up anyway. Then it turned out there was a man in our village named Masiak Antoni who, without telling anyone, hid a Jew in his barn. No one found out. And then, when the war was over, the Jew came out and went to Israel. Then he started sending Masiak packages and money. Masiak was practically drowning in the stuff this guy sent him. Unbelievable. Masiak bought a car and every Sunday you could see him driving to Church wearing a permanent press shirt. And his wife and two daughters all had nylons on and the people who had denounced Jews watched them go by and cried and beat their heads against the trees. And since then, let me tell you, no Jew will ever be denounced in Poland again. At least not in my village.

(During his speech Sasha lies down and tries to sleep. On the next bench Flea does the same.)


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