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A Parody Outline of History(25)

2006-09-07 21:56

  Scene III

  Same as Act 1, Scene 1 except for the changes made in the city street by a year or more of peace.

  The arch across the thoroughfare still stands, although it has become badly discolored and dirty; the inscription "For the Freedom of the World" is but faintly visible. As the curtain rises workmen are busy at work tearing the arch down.

  Enter the Angel and the Professor's Son.

  The Angel——Stand over here, out of the way, and you'll see the last of your cronies——Pat, the Streetcleaner's Son—— enjoying the gratitude of the world.

  The Professor's Son does not answer.

  Enter Pat. He has on an old pair of corduroy trousers, with his brown army shirt, and shoes out at the heel.

  He looks as if he had not slept for days certainly he has not shaved for a week. He approaches one of the workmen.

  Pat——Say buddy any chance for a job here?

  The Workman——Hell no. They was fifty applicants yesterday. (Looking at his army shirt) Most of them ex-soldiers like you. Jobs is mighty scarce.

  Pat——I'll tell the world they are. I'd almost join the army again, except for my wife and kid.

  The Workman——God——don't do it.

  Pat——Why——was you across?

  The Workman——Yes, God damn it——eight months. Next war I'll let somebody else do the fighting.

  Pat——Same here. The wise guys were them that stayed at home and kept their jobs.

  The Workman——I'll say they were.

  Pat——(Growing more excited)——And while we was over there fighting, nothing was too good for us——"brave boys," they said, "we shall never forget what you have done for us." Never forget——hell! In about a year everybody forgot there ever was a war and a fellow has a hell of a time getting a job——and when you mention the war they just laugh——why God damn it, I've been out of work for six months and I ain't no loafer either and my wife has had to go back to her folks and I'm just about all in——

  During this speech the work on dismantling the arch has steadily progressed. Suddenly there comes a warning cry——"Look out"——as the supports unexpectedly give way. Pat is too engrossed in his tirade to take heed, and as the center portion of the arch falls it crushes him beneath its weight. After the cloud of dust clears, he is seen lying under the mass. By a curious twist of fate he has been crushed by the portion of the arch bearing the inscription "For the Freedom of the World." His eyes open for an instant——he reads, through the mist of approaching death, the words, and he laughs——

  Pat——For the Freedom of the World——Oh Christ!

  His mocking laughter is interrupted by a severe fit of coughing and he sinks back dead.

  The Professor's Son——Oh God——take me somewhere where I can't ever see the world.

  The angel——Come to heaven.

  CURTAIN

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