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speak cantonese

 

Speak Cantonese

 

(or Irreconcilable Differences)

 

 

 

 A play in 31 scenes

 by

 

 Peter Ramon

 

 

 

 

  

For Elise 

 

 

©  2007 Peter Ramon




CAST OF CHARACTERS

(in order of appearance)

CUSTOMS OFFICER  Customs officer 
MARGERY   Rich American widow
VICTOR   Margery’s advisor and  “companion”
 MRS . MA 
 BILL 
 BELLBOY 
 LUCY 
 JIMMY 
 LILLY 
 JONNY 
 LEILA 
 STORE CLERK 
 MR. WANG 
 INSPECTOR CHANG
 POLICEMAN 
 MESSENGER 
 MR. LI 
 COMRADE X 
 SCHOOLGIRLS 1 & 2 




SYNOPSIS OF SCENES

 

The action takes place in Hong Kong and environs.  The time is circa 1948, during the Communist revolution.

 

SCENE 1:         The airport.  A Customs Officer interrogates Margery and Victor, much to their consternation.

 

SCENE 2:         A boarding house.  Mrs. Ma shows Bill the rooms.

 

SCENE 3:         Suite in a fancy hotel.  Margery and Victor engage in heated debate with the bellboy.

 

SCENE 4:         Banquet room in a Chinese restaurant.  Lucy listens to Victor and Bill and snaps a photo.

 

SCENE 5:         Mr. Wang’s office.  Jimmy waits while Lilly works.

 

SCENE 6:         Margery’s suite.  Margery is upset by Victor’s news.

 

SCENE 7:         A street in Hong Kong.  Jimmy wanders alone.

 

SCENE 8:         A jewelry store.  Margery and Victor go on a buying spree with the help of a complaisant store clerk.

 

SCENE 9:         Jonny’s apartment.  Jonny and Leila are interrupted by Inspector Chang, who makes an arrest.

 

SCENE 10:       A conference room.  Bill instructs Lucy and Lilly in the intricacies of economics.

 

SCENE 11:       A car.  Margery and Victor witness an unfortunate accident.

 

SCENE 12:       A street in Hong Kong.  Lucy rescues Jimmy and Margery loses him.

 

SCENE 13:       Lilly’s apartment.  Bill and Lilly find each other interesting.

 

SCENE 14:       Lucy’s room.  Jimmy and Lucy have breakfast.

 

SCENE 15:       Margery’s suite.  Margery, Victor and Bill end up with a dead bellboy.

 

SCENE 16:       Lucy’s room.  Lucy and Jimmy hang out in bed.

(played concurrently)

SCENE 17:       Lilly’s room.  Lilly and Wang get it on.

 

SCENE 18:       Margery’s suite.  Margery is carefully questioned by Inspector Chang and Bill makes an appearance.

 

SCENE 19:       Wang’s office.  Bill makes an emotional appeal to Mr. Wang.

 

SCENE 20:       Jonny’s hideout.  Jonny is working undercover for Inspector Chang and Mr. Wang makes an appearance.

 

SCENE 21:       Wang’s office.  Margery, Lilly, Bill and Victor have a confrontation.

 

SCENE 22:       Lucy’s room.  Lucy and Jimmy are discreetly at it again.

 

SCENE 23:       Wang’s office.  Mr. Wang is visited by Inspector Chang, Mrs. Ma, and Bill, in that order.

 

SCENE 24:       Lucy’s room.  A messenger delivers a radiogram to Lucy who shares it with Jimmy.

 

SCENE 25:       Mr. Li’s laundry.  Lilly and Bill make a special appeal to Mr. Li.

 

SCENE 26:       Jonny’s apartment.  Jonny and Leila receive a visit from Mrs. Ma and something terrible happens.

 

SCENE 27:       Wang’s office.  Margery and Wang meet and something terrible happens.

 

SCENE 28:       Railway train.  Lucy and Jimmy experience the ride of their lives.

 

SCENE 29:       Grounds outside a hospital.  Lilly attends to Mr. Wang.  Bill makes a brief visit.

 

SCENE 30:       Street in Hong Kong.  Margery and Victor rescue Jonny.

 

SCENE 31:       Street in Hong Kong.  Mr. Li reflects, Bill and Comrade X congratulate each other, Margery is reconciled with Li, Inspector Chang is thrilled.

 

“The detective story is a particularly good example of the force of genre conventions:  the assumption that characters are psychologically intelligible, that the crime has a solution which will eventually be revealed, that the relevant evidence will be given but that the solution will be of some complexity, are all essential to the enjoyment of such books.  In fact, these conventions are especially interesting because of the large place they grant to the irrelevant.  It is only at the level of solution that coherence is required:  everything deviant and suspicious must be explained by the resolution which produces the key to the ‘real’ pattern, but all other details can at this point be set aside as of no consequence.  The conventions make possible the adventure of discovering and producing a form, of finding the pattern amid a mass of details, and they do so by stipulating what kind of pattern one is reading towards.”

— Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics





SPEAK CANTONESE 

(or Irreconcilable Differences)


SCENE 1:  Airport Customs.  Table, chairs, desk.  A CUSTOMS OFFICER is on duty.  Enter MARGERY and VICTOR with luggage.

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

Beyond this point you must not go.  Please, may I see your passports?

 

               (They give him passports.)

 

MARGERY

Are there many formalities to go through?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

How much baggage do you have?  Do you have any more besides this?  Whose suitcase is that?  What is inside it?  It has to go through customs.  (He opens the suitcase and rummages through it, strewing flimsy negligees and other clothing about.)  Why is it such a mess? 

 

MARGERY

Can it be overweight?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

(closing suitcase)  It has been inspected.  Too much baggage.  Fill out this form. (handing her forms)

 

MARGERY

These procedures are so complicated.  Which forms have to be filled out?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

Who is this man?  Is he your schoolmate?  Are you a married couple?  Is he your friend?  He looks like you!  Ha ha.  What is he holding in his hand?  Do you have a Letter of Introduction? (taking paper from VICTOR)  What is written on this piece of paper?  (He reads the letter.) 

 

MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  What is the situation on the mainland?

 

VICTOR

(to MARGERY)  Things are really confused there.

 

MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  I promise you I won't go.

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

(looking at VICTOR's passport) (to VICTOR)  This passport is no good.  Your nationality isn't clearly indicated and your photograph is too old.  (aside to audience, showing VICTOR’s passport photo)  That man looks ugly as the devil.  There are whiskers all over his face.  (to MARGERY)  Have you filled them all out?

 

MARGERY

It is about finished now.

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

(to VICTOR)  This is the formal procedure for applying for a passport.  You have to take several different kinds of injections before you go to Hong Kong.  For urgent matters, use air mail.  (Roar of an airplane is heard overhead.)  Keep your eye on that plane.  That plane can't find an airfield to land. 

 

(Roar of airplane is heard again.)

 

VICTOR

Can you see that plane at such a distance?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

The captain of that plane is an American.  (roar)  There is a flag at the rear of the ship.

 

                              (sound of plane crashing)

 

MARGERY

(covering her ears and closing her eyes)  Has the plane landed yet?  I'm not feeling well today.  I'm not accustomed to the weather here.  I haven't gotten used to it yet.

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

On what business are you going to Hong Kong?

 

MARGERY

I want to go directly to Hong Kong with him on the next plane.  (to VICTOR)  Which hotel do you want to go to?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

Have you bought a round-trip ticket? 

 

VICTOR

It has been arranged.

 

               (VICTOR slips CUSTOMS OFFICER some money)

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

(counting money)  How sad it is…

 

VICTOR

(to MARGERY)  Are you sleepy?

 

MARGERY

I should call him by long distance telephone.  (to CUSTOMS OFFICER)  Where can I make a long-distance call?  Is Hong Kong time different from the United States time?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

It is different this time from the last time.

 

VICTOR

We had better not go.

 

MARGERY

This is very simple, Victor.  At approximately what time do they start work?  Have you copied down his address?  I wish to visit him tomorrow.

 

VICTOR

I don't agree with that idea, Margery.

 

MARGERY

(aside to audience)  What a mess!  He can't manage it!

 

VICTOR

(to CUSTOMS OFFICER)  I am not interested in history!  I wish to see Mr. Wang.

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

Will you please wait for a while?

                             

               (Exit CUSTOMS OFFICER)

 

MARGERY

Did you have any difficulty?  Did you find him there?  How many schools are there in Hong Kong?  Do you know where the school is?

 

VICTOR

This is the newest map of China.  Can you see Hong Kong on the map?  (showing her a map)

 

MARGERY

I can see Hong Kong but I can't see Kowloon.

 

VICTOR

When you arrive in Hong Kong you'll see Kowloon.  Remember to take these letters with you. 

 

               (VICTOR searches his pockets for the letters)

 

MARGERY

How many pockets do you have?

 

VICTOR

I forgot to take my calling card with me.  (still searching)  I have written several letters today.  After I arrived in Shanghai I stayed at the Peninsular Hotel.  When I went in, he looked at me.  I took those letters out of my pocket.

 

MARGERY

Oh, Victor, you are really very clumsy.

 

               (Enter CUSTOMS OFFICER)

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

You are really lucky!  After rain, the sky is always clear.  If you don't have a car, you may rent one.  Take good care of your money when going from place to place.  In order to avoid mistakes, think before doing.

 

VICTOR

According to the Constitution, what are our rights and what are our obligations?

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

I have done my best to fulfill my duty.  You can apply for a passport without going to the passport office in person.  I am very sorry for having used so much of your time.  Put all your heart into your work.

                             

               (Exit CUSTOMS OFFICER)

 

MARGERY

This has been a very good memory.  What is the name of that officer?  I would like to have his advice on many things.

 

VICTOR

He speaks not only Cantonese, but also Mandarin.

 

MARGERY

(gathering her bags)  People in this country are not equal.  Is the airfield far from the hotel?

 

VICTOR

Yes, you remember it well.

 

MARGERY

Why don't we take the elevator?

 

               (VICTOR rings for the elevator)

                                            

VICTOR

There is no electricity for the elevator.

 

MARGERY

Is Kowloon a peninsular?

 

               (Enter CUSTOMS OFFICER)

 

CUSTOMS OFFICER

Come!  Follow me.  It has been arranged.

 

               (ALL Exit)

 


SCENE 2: A boarding house.  A room with a door.  Round table, rectangular table, bookshelves, chair, plate of cookies.  MRS. MA, the landlady, is showing rooms to BILL.

 

MRS. MA

The landlord lives on the ground floor.  The bathroom is next to the kitchen.  This set of furniture is beautiful and inexpensive.

 

BILL

I like the round table.

 

MRS. MA

This table is not as good as that table.

 

BILL

This bookshelf is new and pretty.  This bookshelf is extremely big.

 

MRS. MA

The newly bought one is better.  Have you seen all the furniture?

 

BILL

I would not like a kitchen that's too small.  (He opens door to the kitchen and goes in.)  (offstage)  There isn't enough light in the kitchen, Mrs. Ma. 

 

MRS. MA

How many bulbs do you want, Bill?

 

BILL

(entering)  How much do they pay for electricity every month?

 

MRS. MA

Approximately five dollars.

 

BILL

The lamp light winks.  Please change it for a new one.

 

MRS. MA

Would you like to rent the second floor?  Whoever lives here has to pay the rent.

 

BILL

The rent of the second floor is too expensive.  Is there just a room for rent?  I just want one bed and one sofa.

 

MRS. MA

There are five rooms.  One on each floor.  Would you like to see a room?

 

BILL

I want to check the rooms one by one.

 

MRS. MA

Very good.  I'll follow you.

 

(Exit BILL and MRS. MA stage right.  Pause.  Enter BILL and MRS. MA stage left.)

 

BILL

Among these five, which is biggest?

 

MRS. MA

Please, go figure it out.

 

BILL

Where can I buy a watermelon?

 

MRS. MA

Do you like to eat sweet things?

 

BILL

I don't like to eat anything peppery.

 

                              (MRS. MA gets plate of cookies from the table.)

 

MRS. MA

Assorted pastry, very tasty.  You give it a try.

 

                              (He takes one.)

 

BILL

In fact, it is not bitter at all.

 

MRS. MA

Do you care for fried noodles?  A dish of fried fish?

 

BILL

I'm afraid I don't have any cash with me today.  I have some money deposited in the bank.  A new account has been opened.  I gave a check to the Western Tailor Shop today.

 

MRS. MA

Where is that Western Tailor Shop?

 

BILL

Right next to the Post Office.

 

MRS. MA

I have walked by that store.  That store sells many varieties of small things.  Some things are sold at a high price, some at a low price.  I often have tea at Gamlung Restaurant.

                                            

BILL

This house is very quiet.  Today's weather is very clear and pleasant.  Is it all right to sit here?  I can't stand up.  (BILL suddenly collapses into a chair.)

 

MRS. MA

(aside to audience)  Finally, he said OK.

 


SCENE 3:  Margery’s suite in a plush hotel. It has a couple of doors and a window.  Telephone, chairs, mirror, other hotel sitting-room furniture.  Enter MARGERY and VICTOR followed by BELLBOY with luggage.

 

MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  He believes it is right.

 

VICTOR

Have you ever met him?

 

MARGERY

It's too noisy here.  (to BELLBOY)  Where is the manager?  Please put all the things on the shelf one by one.  (to VICTOR) I have made up a list of things I want to buy tomorrow.

 

VICTOR

We have only a little time.  We must hurry to get it done today.

 

MARGERY

There is not enough time for me to do it today!  Given such a little time, how can it be done?

 

VICTOR

(to BELLBOY)  Can you get it done in such a short time?

 

BELLBOY

I think I have enough time to do it.

 

MARGERY

We can't get it done on time because we don't have enough time!

 

VICTOR

The train is leaving in 20 minutes.  You have to hurry up.

 

MARGERY

Is there a simpler way?

 

VICTOR

This part isn't as hard as the other part.

 

MARGERY

I — I almost forgot.

 

VICTOR

Don't be afraid.  There must be a good one among them.

 

MARGERY

I would not do it if it was not for your sake!

 

VICTOR

We'll have some snacks after the meeting.  We'll discuss it while eating.

 

MARGERY

Please be yourself and shut up.  These problems pertain to geography.

 

VICTOR

Well, these problems are not solved yet!

 

MARGERY

Please do as you like.  You don't have to accompany me anymore.

 

VICTOR

(to BELLBOY)  You may go to the station by car.  We shall follow you and arrive in ten minutes.

 

BELLBOY

It is impossible for me to catch it!

 

MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  Can he catch the train?  I wrote down the address on a piece of paper.  (handing paper to BELLBOY)  It is about 3 o'clock.  I have an appointment with him for dinner.  I've invited three couples.  He has already begun doing it — that thing.

 

VICTOR

Too much has happened.  I have told him very clearly.  The whole world knows!

 

MARGERY

Please keep your voice down.

 

BELLBOY

(aside to audience)  If this situation continues, surely it will be dangerous.

 


SCENE 4:  A banquet room at a restaurant.  Table, flowers, potted plants, tray of hors d’oeuvres, rubber comb, camera.  LUCY is dressed as a hostess.  She is holding a flower.

 

LUCY

This little flower is very pleasing, but it has faded, alas!

This rubber comb looks very much like an ivory comb.  The comb I use to comb my hair is bone. 

There are chairs all around this room.  I haven’t been able to arrange all the seats for the banquet tonight.  Ten persons will sit at one table.  The wine is a good brand.  I would like to have an egg salad sandwich.  I will be more happy when I have a family.  My address has changed recently.

Now I will go to the inner sitting room and arrange for tea.  (She crosses downright, leaving the flower on a nearby table.)

Whoever comes first eats first.  More than 300 would be too many.  The majority of Americans are very tall.  They may sit here or there as they please.  Miss Hong Kong of the year will be here.  She is a good and obedient girl.  I have promised to give her a doll.

                             

(Enter BILL and VICTOR from opposite sides of the stage.  They shake hands.)

 

VICTOR

I wish you a very happy New Year!

 

(Still shaking hands.  They continue to shake hands throughout the dialog that follows.)

 

BILL

Best wishes for your prosperity!

 

VICTOR

Eat as much as possible.  Which do you like, oranges or tangerines?

 

BILL

I just had cake.  I can’t eat a thing.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Do you feel dizzy?

 

                                                                           BILL

You are very thoughtful.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Is Confucianism a religion?

 

                                                                           BILL

I don’t know.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Without faith you cannot do anything.

 

                                                                           BILL

May God bless you.  Do you know whom this farewell party is for?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

 

The Minister of Finance who is leaving soon.  Even though he is old, he is strong.  How do you like the Chinese bamboo-leaf dumpling?  Oh ho, Miss Li!  Please take a picture of us.

 

                              (VICTOR crosses to LUCY, gives her the camera and returns to BILL.  They                               pose for a photo.)

                                                                          

                                                                           BILL

(aside to audience)  He really knows how to enjoy life.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(She snaps a picture. She hands the camera back to VICTOR.)  I am glad to help you.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(shaking BILL’s hand again)  I have a social engagement tonight.  (to LUCY)  How many days are there in a month according to the Old Calendar? 

 

                                                                           LUCY

Today is October 1st by the New Calendar on the 28th day of the 8th month by the Old Calendar.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to BILL, still shaking his hand)  Communication is very important for commerce.  What do you want to be in the future?  Learn it step by step.  Wishing you safety and happiness.

 

                                                                           BILL

Yes, good luck.

 

                              (Exit VICTOR)

 

                                                                           LUCY

He speaks loudly.

 

                                                                           BILL

I wish to change my American dollars into Hong Kong dollars.

 

                                                                           LUCY    

Walk half way up the street, then you’ll see the Post Office.

 

                                                                           BILL

(aside)  Her eyes are round and beautiful.

 

                              (Exit BILL)

 

                                                                           LUCY

He is an open-minded person.  He is good-hearted.  No wonder everybody likes him.  Can you tell that he is an American? 

Many things are predestined.  Yet the string is loosely tied.  Visiting one place after another, eating one bowl of rice after another, time flies unnoticeably; another month is gone. 

We keep three dogs and one cat in my house.  We get up at daybreak. 

 

                                                                           OFF-STAGE VOICE

Please hurry up and serve the meal!  The bride and bridegroom are already cutting the cake.  They are burning firecrackers now!  (sound of firecrackers)

 

                                                                           LUCY    

I haven’t set the table yet!  I almost forgot!

 

                              (Exit LUCY)

 

SCENE 5:  Mr. Wang’s office.  A door and window upstage.  Chairs, desk, telephone, typewriter, file cabinet, various papers.  JIMMY and LILLY.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I wish to see Mr. Wang.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Would you please wait for a while?  (pause)  Do you know how to change a tire?  (He shakes his head, No.)  Too bad!  My front tire is flat.  (looking at her watch)  I guess he won’t come today.  (pause)  Are you a member of the Association?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I didn’t attend the meeting last night.  (pause)  I wish to take this opportunity to talk business with Mr. Wang.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Do you know Mr. Wang well?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I can recognize him, but I am not very familiar with him.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(pause) The civilization of the West is very different from that of the Chinese.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I know a few of the people’s habits here.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(pause)  Are you happy?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Not everybody likes social activity. 

 

                                                                           LILLY

Do you go to the gymnasium very often?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I have athletic drill every morning.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Why don’t you have your glasses on today?  (pause)  The branch factory is very far away from here.  Tell me, what do you want to be in the future?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I stayed home the whole day yesterday.   My room number is three.  I haven’t shaved for two days.  I can’t manage it!  I paid five dollars as deposit.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Do you have a cold?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I vomit, but I am not sick.  I feel a little itching in the throat.  (He coughs.)  I don’t want to get up after having lain down.

 

                                                                           LILLY

How long have you been coughing?  Are you sweating?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Some patients are not hospitalized.  The light was shining in my eyes so I couldn’t sleep.  All of a sudden it was very noisy outside.  An ambulance came to help the wounded.  It was fortunate that the ambulance unit arrived so quickly.  Perhaps it will rain tonight.  I’m not sure.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Do you feel dizzy?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I only have two dollars left in my pocket.

 

                                                                           LILLY

How could such a thing happen?  (pause)  He may come this evening. I’m not sure.  Do you like to eat shrimp dumplings?  Mustard, together with vinegar, makes a good flavor.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

My address has changed recently.  I know how to make tea, but I don’t know how to cook rice.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Tea is the best drink to alleviate thirst.  And aspirin can relieve pain.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

What medicine should I use to stop bleeding?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Without faith, you can’t do anything.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Is Confucianism a religion?

 

                                                                           LILLY   

Many Chinese people do not believe in a religion but they worship their ancestors.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Can you name any religion besides Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam?

 

                                                                           LILLY   

Christ is the savior.  (phone rings)  Excuse me, it is my duty to answer the phone.  Hello, Mr. Wang’s office.  Lilly speaking.  (pause)  Certainly I will do that for you. (pause)  Is this a true story? (pause)  You are really lucky!  To live peacefully is a type of happiness.  (aside to JIMMY)  He works for the government.  He is a 100% Cantonese.  (into phone)  The train has just left the station.  Sometimes the locomotive pushes the train from the rear.  (aside to JIMMY)  Everybody respects him. (into phone)  Do you know what it is he objects to? (pause)  What are their office hours? (pause)  Don’t forget the traffic laws when you drive.  (aside to JIMMY)  He caught a cold last night. (into phone)  Please give my regards to your wife.  (She hangs up the phone.)  He is too old for physical labor.  His wife is practically the boss of the store.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Is his disease very serious?

 

                                                                           LILLY

(looking at her watch)  He must be there by this hour.  (She dials a number.  Speaking into phone)  Has he left his office?  (pause)  Did you see them one by one?  (pause)  Which paragraph are you reading?  (pause)  Did you study it in detail?  (pause)  Is it fixed now?  (pause)  You want me to cheat, eh?  (glancing over at JIMMY)  He looks fine.  (pause)  He fell down, but nothing serious happened to him. (pause)  I don’t know whether he has a fever or not. (pause)  I urged him to go home.  (pause)  He did not sleep enough last night.  He has recovered from diarrhea.  I guess he has typhoid fever.  It has not been decided.  (to JIMMY)  He wishes you to have a physical examination at the hospital.  You must go there as soon as possible.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I wish to have someone to keep me company.  Can you accompany me there?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Please go downstairs and wait for me. 

 

(Exit JIMMY)

 

(speaking into phone again)  He has just gone. (pause)  It is very difficult to explain it.  (pause)  He is quite a clown.  As far as I know he has many short stories to tell.  (pause)  He was not only sea sick, but also had a headache.  This incident happened the day before yesterday.  (pause)  He came to see you around two P.M.  (pause)  Is cheese made of milk?  (She hangs up the phone.)  (aside to audience)  I am leaving now to spend as much time as possible with him.  His illness is acute.  I warned the boy not to go there but he didn’t listen to me.  There has been no epidemic disease here for years. 

 

(She sings)

 

Because of the big storm at sea

He got sea sick.

The water is deep green.  The water is very deep. 

There is a ferry boat in the harbor.

You can see dark clouds above the bay.

 

Who is that boy?

Why does the boat lean so much?

Don’t cry, mother will be back soon.

Don’t cry, mother will be back.

 

It starts from here and ends over there.

It is an oriental product.

People come from different circles.

There are mirrors all around that room.

A mother’s love is also unlimited.

 

Who is that boy?

Why does the boat lean so much?

Don’t cry, mother will be back soon.

Don’t cry, mother will be back.

 

(aside to audience)  Mr. Wang is really experienced in doing business.  His son is not so experienced.  Even though he is 18, he still depends on his parents.

 

                              (Exit LILLY)


                              SCENE 6: Margery’s hotel suite.  VICTOR and MARGERY.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

You matchmaker!  You have done very well.  They are going to get married!  They have exchanged engagement rings.  Everyone is full of joy.  He has put an advertisement in the newspaper to sell his furniture.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

When will be their wedding date?  Please make a list for me.  I want two boxes.  One big and one small.  Have you ever met her?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Whenever I see her she is reading a book.

 

                                                                           MARGERY          

What is his attitude on my opinion?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

He said that you wouldn’t agree with him.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Tomorrow will be Mother’s Day.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

After the rain, the sky is always clear.  He has done his best to fulfill his duty.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It was a pity that what he said was untrue.  Some men don’t even know how to sew on a button!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

He didn’t remember you when I mentioned your name.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I didn’t sleep at all last week.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

I attended church services with them on Sunday.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

A two-year old child doesn’t know how to button and unbutton his clothes for himself!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

He is planning to study abroad.  This wealthy man offered him a big salary, but he didn’t want to work for him.  His average grade last semester was 95.  Though he is young, he is reliable.  He saved a kitten from the river.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Chinese rules of good manners are different from America’s.  Did they ever meet each other before?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

He didn’t know her very well.  She has promised to teach me how to dance.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please fetch a pencil for me.  I don’t know how to write with a brush. 

 

(Exit VICTOR) 

 

In order to avoid mistakes, think before doing.  Either oppose or agree.  He doesn’t want to see anyone.  Not even his own mother!  It was an accident!  I didn’t mean to hurt him.

 

(enter VICTOR.  He hands a pencil and paper to MARGERY who writes some lines on the paper and hands it back to him.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(after reading)  I cannot understand the meaning of this poem.  I know no foreign languages. 

 

                              (He hands it back to her.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

You must work hard in foreign languages.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

If you invite him, surely he will come.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I wish to buy a bracelet for her.  Where is my coat?


SCENE 7:  A street in Hong Kong.  Night.  JIMMY in a tattered coat with a knapsack.  Aluminum pot, dead flowers, rattan mat.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This street is very quiet.  I can see reflections of houses on the water.  The weather is warm though the tree leaves turn from green to yellow in autumn.  I have been settled here for quite awhile living a very simple life.  Strangely, it is conducive to good health.  I’m interested in both hiking and swimming.  It’s very late at night now.  (sound of crashing garbage cans)  Who is making so much noise in the middle of the night?  (sound of dog barking)  That big dog scares me half to death.  (He takes a deep breath.)  It is a good thing to take a deep breath. 

People in this country are not equal.  In the summer many of them sleep outside on rattan mats.  The conflicts among men cannot easily be solved.  A younger brother should obey an older one.  It is easier to grow a tree than it is to train a student.  (He laughs.)

I’m so tired, I can’t even move.  My hands are very cold.  I want some steamed bread. 

All the bridesmaids wore earrings.  The bride wore an embroidered gown.  I didn’t know what present I should buy for them.  The hostess said, “Thanks for coming.”  I went on tip-toes.  I walked along the sea coast.  It was not crowded there at all. The road there is not level.  I passed by here on my way.

This mat cost me seven dollars.  Really very expensive.  I have one blanket but I need some sheets for a bed.  Also I need two pillows.  Perhaps I’ll go by ferry and visit my friends in Kowloon. 

 

(He takes an old, beat up pot from his backpack.) 

 

Could I use this aluminum pot to cook some rice?  Rice is a kind of food that is easy to digest.

The doctor gave me a blood transfusion this morning.  He wants to analyze my blood.  He said I could leave the hospital tomorrow, but tomorrow is today!  My parents come to visit me in school once in a while. 

 

(There is a flash of lightning and clap of thunder.) 

 

It looks like lightning.  Definitely it is thundering far over there.  Oh well, it won’t rain everyday.  I slept enough last night.  I was awakened by some noise.  I am looking for my exercise book.  There are fifteen lines on a page.

Do you believe in equality?  This is the new President’s political policy.  Nine tenths of it is useless.  

 

(He takes two or three dead flowers from his backpack.) 

 

I have flowers but no flowerpot.  Too bad!  What shall I do? 

 

(He throws the flowers over his shoulder.) 

 

Let’s go for a picnic in the park, OK?  We won’t need to lock the door. 

Do you like to play soccer or volley ball?  Some girls play tennis very well.  All boys like to play ball.

 

(He suddenly looks at something offstage.) 

 

I suddenly turned my head and saw a man passing by.  Do you like taking photographs?  Are you going to see a movie?  Don’t sit too closely to one another!  Say after me:

Have you paid the rent?

Have you paid the rent?

Have you paid,

Have you paid,

Have you paid the rent?

Speaking of population, there are too many people in this country.  My father named me Jimmy.  My parents are not living now.  Speaking of this complicated matter, as the saying goes, it is a long story.

One, three and five are odd numbers.  Two, four, six and eight are even numbers.  I have studied Cantonese seriously for one full year.  Do you like canned fruit?  As soon as you open a can, you have something to eat!  I like summer because in summer I can swim.  The earth and the moon are both moving.  What is the Milky Way?  Is it really a river of milk in the sky?  Or is it merely a concentration of a large number of small stars that we can’t distinguish with the naked eye?

Well, I’m sorry I have to go soon.  The bank opens at nine o’clock.  After I’ve drawn out some money, I’ll take you to the movies.

 

                              (Exit JIMMY)


SCENE 8:  Interior of a jewelry store.  Display counter with various articles of jewelry, lamp, mirror, and gift boxes.  Enter MARGERY and VICTOR.

 

                                                                           VICTOR 

The counter is on the right side.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

There is nobody at the counter.

 

                              (Enter CLERK)

                             

                                                                           CLERK

Which clerk do you wish to see?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I wish to see Mr. Wang.

 

                                                                           VICTOR 

(aside to CLERK)  Let them talk face-to-face.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He is my translator.  He has learned Chinese customs since his childhood.

 

                                                                           CLERK

(in a loud voice)  On what business are you in Hong Kong?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR )  He speaks loudly.  (to CLERK)  Please say it in a low voice.

 

                                                                           CLERK

(looking around nervously, speaking in a low voice)  I live in Kowloon…  A government should not allow the people to suffer hardships…   Good environment makes for good work...  

                                                                          

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR )  Children in this country receive no education.  (to CLERK)  My thought was different than yours.  What is economic freedom?  We are a product of the twentieth century.  This is the century of democracy.  (to VICTOR )  Light up a cigarette for me, please.  We are discussing the political party system.

 

                                                                           CLERK

The people of Communist China are practicing a new system.  According to the Constitution, we have freedom of religion. 

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(taking cigarette from VICTOR)  We are a peace-loving people.  History is continuously changing.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to CLERK)  She studies international law.

 

                                                                           CLERK

We studied philosophy last semester.  What do you think about the political situation at present?  (MARGERY takes a puff from her cigarette.)  What is in your mouth?  A puff of smoke? 

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Does the moon have a human face?

 

                                                                           CLERK

My father is going to preach in church tomorrow.  There are many missionaries in China.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  What does this signal?  (to CLERK)  What is there inside that paper box?

 

                              (He opens the box and reveals its contents — oranges.)

 

                                                                           CLERK

I have just picked a few oranges from the tree.   It never snows in the South.  Do you have enough money to buy an ice-box?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I wish to buy a jade ring.

 

                                                                           CLERK

There is lots of jewelry in the safe. 

 

                              (Exit CLERK.  VICTOR starts looking around in his pockets.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

What have you lost?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

I lost my wallet.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Look for it carefully!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Oh no, I lost my key!

 

(He is distraught.  He stretches his hand out to her, as if seeking her support.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Don’t stretch out your hand to me!  There are many insurance companies in Hong Kong.  Have you paid the rent for this month?  (aside to audience)  He was wounded in the head.  His nickname is “Old Head-In-Cold-Storage”.   He doesn’t want to run a factory.

 

                              (Enter CLERK)

 

                                                                           CLERK

Congratulations!  You’re in luck!  I just saw the boss in his office.  Take a look at this bracelet.  It is a really good buy.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

This bracelet is inlaid with diamonds.  I guess this diamond is more valuable than that one?

 

                                                                           CLERK 

This necklace is really pretty.  Furthermore, here is a long strand of pearls.  All these are worth 1000 dollars.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I must say, the price is not too high.

 

                                                                           CLERK

Help yourself, please.  Don’t be formal.  Buy as many as you like.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please pack all these things in a box.  Please deliver it to my hotel room.

 

                                                                           CLERK 

The things you bought are well selected.  All right, we’ll pack them up for you and also deliver them to your address.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Have you bought the pillow cases and window curtain?  These are the things we need for our daily use.

 

                                                                           CLERK

Those things you can buy at the Sincere Company.  The Sincere Company is having a big sale today.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Oh, that store has a sale everyday.

 

                                                                           CLERK

Other stores are also advertising a big sale.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Do you have any records by Beethoven?  Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is really beautiful.

 

                                                                           CLERK

Have you received your bill yet?  Here’s the invoice.  Please sign your name.  The annual interest is five percent.  The monthly interest would be six percent.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

How much is your salary?  Can you represent the bank?

 

                              (MARGERY looks around anxiously.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to CLERK)  She is looking for her handbag.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Oh my, it seems I’ve left my purse in my room.

 

                                                                           CLERK

This is not what a good Christian is supposed to do.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Basically, there is no problem.  Her brother does business in South Asia.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please check what time it is.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

It doesn’t matter if you are a little late.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(shouting out the door to the street)  I’m coming right away.  (to VICTOR)  He insists that I pay ten cents more.  I don’t want to argue with him about ten cents.  (to CLERK)  Say goodnight to Mr. Wang for me.

                             

                              (Exit MARGERY)

 

                                                                           CLERK

Business is getting better and better.  There is a boss in every family.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

How much is that all together? 

 

                                                                           CLERK

All together that comes to eight thousand dollars and ninety-six cents.

 

                              (VICTOR takes out a wad of cash and counts out bills to CLERK.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Please select a few pieces for me.  I didn’t have enough time to select the things I like best.


SCENE 9:  Jonny’s house. A room with a door.  Chairs, settees, cocktail table, etc.  JONNY is seated in a dressing gown, smoking a cigarette through a long holder and reading the newspaper.  LEILA is reading a book.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Bobby Cho who was at school with me is getting married tomorrow.  Has he sent me an invitation?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Yes, you’ve had an invitation from him.

 

                                                                           JONNY

What time’s the ceremony tomorrow?  And who’s the bride?

 

                                                                           LEILA

The wedding’s at eleven o’clock.  The bride’s Miss Chen — she’s from my school.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Who’s going to be best man?  Fatty Yang?  (He laughs.)

 

                                                                           LEILA

Although the beginning of this novel is interesting, it soon becomes dull.  (putting book down)  Do you read the newspapers every day, Jonny? 

                                                                          

                                                                           JONNY

Yes, I read the papers every day, Leila.  We have been winning battles the last few days.  The war news is very good.

 

                                                                           LEILA

What other news is in the paper today, apart from the war news?

 

                                                                           JONNY

(putting paper down)  I received a letter from my brother yesterday.  He tells me he hasn’t enough money to pay his school fees.  What is the postage for a letter to England?

 

                                                                           LEILA

The postage to England is fifty cents and it takes three weeks to get there.  You can send your brother a telegram.  It won’t cost very much. I think it’s fifteen cents a word, minimum nine words.  A night letter telegram is still cheaper.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Leila, darling, could you bring me the toothpaste and toothbrush from the bedroom?  I want to rinse my mouth. 

 

                                                                           LEILA

Aren’t you going to have a bath?  Here are your washcloth, towel, sponge, comb, hair-cream, cologne, brush, razor and duckie. 

 

                              (She piles it on his lap.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

Thank you.  Just wait until I’m dressed, and then we can go out for a walk.  It will only take me ten minutes.

 

                              (Exit JONNY)

 

                                                                           LEILA

There’s no hurry.  I’m quite comfortable here in this room. 

 

(As they talk, LEILA searches the room.  She looks under the couch, behind the drapes, in the dresser, etc.) 

 

Did you know, darling, that if you start from a certain point on earth and keep traveling in one direction, you return to the place you started from?  Is that true?  (searching)

 

                                                                           JONNY

Yes, and if you stand on the seashore and watch a ship sailing towards you from a distance, you will see the sail first.

 

(sound of running water)

 

                                                                           LEILA

Which goes to prove that the earth is round not square. There are lots of volcanoes in America, aren’t there, Jonny? (searching)

 

                                                                           JONNY

Yes, and lots of waterfalls.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I am told that Mr. Wang is fond of sweets.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Which Mr. Wang do you mean?

 

                                                                           LEILA

I mean the very tall Mr. Wang. (searching)

 

                                                                           JONNY

I don’t know him.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I saw an eclipse of the moon last night, Jonny.  Can you tell me what causes it?

 

                                                                           JONNY

When the moon moves into a straight line with the sun with the earth in the middle, there is an eclipse of the moon.  (sound of water stops)  I’m stepping into the bath now, Leila.  I like to lie in the water a few minutes first.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I’m sitting at the writing desk writing a letter, Jonny.  I picked up a pencil from the chair. (still searching)

 

                                                                           JONNY

Hey, there’s no soap in the bathroom!  I don’t know why I spent such a big sum of money on this place!

 

                                                                           LEILA

The Queen is coming to Hong Kong next month.  Have you ever worshipped at the temple of the Goddess of the Sea?  (searching)

 

                                                                           JONNY

By the way, Leila, I noticed that the front of the car was damaged.

 

(sound of toilet flushing)

 

                                                                           LEILA

(still searching)  Have you ever seen a dragon boat race?  On that day, the people make a great deal of noise by beating drums and gongs. The atmosphere during the Dragon Boat Festival is not like that of the Mid-Autumn Festival.  During the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the moon is brightest, it is an Oriental custom that every family has a gathering to enjoy the moonlight.

 

(She finally finds what she was looking for:  a gun.  She quickly hides it before JONNY enters.  Enter JONNY dressed in a suit.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

I want to buy a new suit before I leave Hong Kong.

 

                                                                           LEILA

What color do you prefer?

 

                                                                           JONNY

Do you want to live somewhere else?  Move to England?

 

                                                                           LEILA

I would rather move to — New York.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Live in the City?  (suddenly)  How did you know I was going?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Don’t get angry.  I didn’t speak with anyone.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I will definitely ask you to go next time.

 

                                                                           LEILA

New York weather isn’t the same as the weather of Rome.

 

                                                                           JONNY

It isn’t as cold here as it is there.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Even if you go, it will soon be hopeless.  Sit a bit.  I haven’t cried for several days.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I’m not going anywhere today.  Aren’t you tired?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Quite tired.  (pause)  Is he buying it?

 

                                                                           JONNY

No.  (pause)  The old lady that came from New York is my mother.  The one who came yesterday is my other brother.  He is the good student.

 

                                                                           LEILA

It wasn’t I who told him!  It was you who invited him!

 

                                                                           JONNY

He is going back to Shanghai tomorrow, not today.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Isn’t his business in Russia?

 

                                                                           JONNY

She is in Shanghai.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Has he been there before?

 

                                                                           JONNY

He lived in Shanghai for a long time.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Has he ever written a book?

 

                                                                           JONNY

He studied at Yale.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Funny that we’ve never met before.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I’ll never say anything about my private affairs to him again.  Only two hours ago he phoned me.  He wanted to get more money from me.  His wife went away.  My father talked to him.  Unless he divorces his wife he cannot inherit his father’s fortune.  He resigned and is moving to another place.  The thieves were arrested by the police.  His real name is…

 

                              (Sharp knocks are heard at the door.)

 

                                                                           INSPECTOR CHANG

(offstage)  Open up.  It’s the police!

 

                                                                           LEILA

(loudly)  Is this a formal meeting?

 

                                                                           JONNY

(sotto voce to LEILA)  Unless strictest secrecy is kept about all his movements we cannot carry out our plans.

 

                              (LEILA opens the door.  Enter INSPECTOR CHANG with a POLICEMAN.)

 

                                                                           CHANG

(to POLICEMAN)  Escort him to the station, please. 

 

(He winks broadly at JONNY as he’s led away. Exit JONNY and POLICEMAN)

 

(to LEILA)  All right, how did he do it?

 

                             

 

                                                                           LEILA

He told me that his mother left yesterday.

 

                                                                           CHANG

What’s the matter with you?  You are stupid about everything you do!  You don’t even have a modicum of brains!

 

                                                                           LEILA

Please get out.  I want to lie on the bed and take a rest.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I haven’t finished inquiring.

 

                                                                           LEILA

(putting her fingers in her ears)  I can’t understand what you’re saying.

 

                                                                           CHANG

(showing her a file of photographs)  Who is this man?  What is his nationality?  Is he an American?  What is his child’s name?  Whose child is this?  Is his surname Wang?  Which is the French lady?  What is your nationality?

 

                                                                           LEILA

I have a question:  Do you read American newspapers?  He reads American newspapers everyday.  He also reads Chinese newspapers.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Where does Mr. Wang come from?

 

                                                                           LEILA

He comes from Kowloon.

 

                                                                           CHANG

What did he come here to do?

 

                                                                           LEILA

He came here to do business.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Where are you going from here?

 

                                                                           LEILA

From here, I am going to England.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Are all of them going?

 

                                                                           LEILA

No, none of them are going.

 

                                                                           CHANG

How are you going there?

 

                                                                           LEILA

I am going by plane.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Isn’t it expensive to go by plane?

 

                                                                           LEILA

No, I don’t think so.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Who is coming here from Japan by ship?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Mr. and Mrs. Wang are coming here from Japan by ship.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Why don’t they come by plane?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Because they can’t afford it.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Do you understand what I’m saying?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Isn’t the money his father gives you sufficient?

 

                              (He slaps her face.)

 

                                                                           CHANG

Today I represent Hong Kong.  (coming up close to her face, angrily)  Have you ever met him?


SCENE 10:  A conference room.  Table, chairs, screen, projector, tape recorder (or record player), papers, etc.  BILL at the screen with a pointer, LUCY and LILLY seated in folding chairs facing BILL.

                                                                          

                                                                           BILL

(pointing at screen)  “Communication is the Key to Commerce.”  In Hong Kong there are many refugees.  (image of refugees)  Macao is 40 miles from Hong Kong.  (map of Macao)  Hong Kong doesn’t produce coal.  (picture of coal)  North China produces coal.  Southeast Asia produces a lot of rubber.  (map of North China, Southeast Asia)  Railway trains are transporting many things to Hong Kong every day.  (picture of train)  All cars in Hong Kong are imported from different countries.  (map of different directions)  Many Chinese women like to worship the goddess of Mercy.  (picture of Goddess of Mercy) 

 

                                                                           LILLY

(aside to LUCY)  This foreigner speaks Chinese fluently.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(aside to LILLY)  Many Westerners in Hong Kong speak Cantonese.

 

                                                                           BILL

Soviet Russia and China are communist countries.  (maps)  Many South American countries are influenced by communism.  (map)

 

                                                                           LILLY   

(raising her hand)  Sir, could you tell me which is the largest one:  Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America or South America?

 

                                                                           BILL

(ignoring the question)  In the past, many Chinese women came to Hong Kong to work as maid servants.  (picture of maid servant)  Hong Kong also exports many items of bamboo and wooden furniture.  (photos)  The main product of this textile factory is undershirts.  (photo of factory)  They make both long-sleeved and short-sleeved undershirts.  (pictures of undershirts)  They give prizes to encourage the good workers.  (photo of blue ribbon)  This woman worker is weaving with a new machine which we bought from America. (photo)

 

                                                                           LILLY

(to LUCY)  I don’t know how to sew with a machine.

 

                                                                           BILL

The management of this workshop is more strict than the others.  (photo of management)  All the things they did were very successful.  (sales chart)

 

                                                                           LUCY

(to LILLY)  In which department will you be working?

 

                                                                           BILL

Don’t speak so loudly please.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(to LUCY)  We’ll speak in a low voice.

 

                                                                           BILL

Trucks are not allowed to go through this street.  (picture of truck)  You leave your work at noon for lunch.  (picture of clock)  These workers are good at manual work.  (picture of “chain gang”)  This factory has more than a hundred workers. (photo of various workers)  They have both men and women workers. 

 

                                                                           LILLY   

Who are those old people?

 

                                                                           BILL

That old man and woman are brother and sister.  Even though old, they are very strong.  This is a temporary job for them.  (pause)  The government has half the stocks of this textile factory.  (company logo)  This is a corporate business.  (He turns on the tape recorder, which plays patriotic music.)  If one has a broken arm or leg it may be very painful at the time, but we have very good surgeons, who can set it in a short time.  And in a few weeks you will have completely recovered.  Fortunately, you can get yourself vaccinated and inoculated beforehand as a precaution.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(standing)  The members of my family are all very healthy.  But a few minor mishaps and ailments cannot as a rule be avoided.  Headaches or a touch of fever are of no importance.  But sometimes somebody suffers a toothache so that he must go to the dentist to be examined.  As a matter of fact, there are always a great many sick people.  Most pitiable are those who cannot speak, or cannot hear or see, or have something the matter with their legs and feet, that is to say:  the deaf and the dumb, the blind and the lame.  The members of my family are fortunate indeed.  Nobody suffers from such terrible diseases.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(to BILL) She has a very good memory.

 

                                                                           BILL

(aside to audience)  Of these two, I like the other one.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Are there many formalities to go through?

 

                                                                           BILL

This meeting of ours will be held in the next room.  There are chairs all around the table there.  It is a square table.  The table has been measured.  You may sit here or there.  Immediately, after I speak, the meeting will be adjourned.  (He hands out some test papers.)  If you don’t have enough time to finish it now, you can finish it tomorrow.

 

                                                                           LILLY

There isn’t room to write down so much on this paper.

 

                                                                           BILL

In this way you should divide the paper into a number of squares:  Take a pencil and draw a great many horizontal and vertical lines.  Then with a pair of scissors cut along the lines and make a great many squares out of the paper.

 

                                                                           LILLY   

This method is quite marvelous!

 

                                                                           LUCY

I have finished writing.

 

                                                                           BILL

(to LILLY)  What did you dream last night?  Do you smoke?

 

                                                                           LUCY

My watch is four minutes and fifty-three seconds slow. I think we should go to the station now.  Au revoir.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Yes.  Thank you very much, but it is getting late, and we must go and get our train for the city.   When you are in town please come by and visit my home.

 

                                                                           BILL      

When I go the office tomorrow, I will come your way.

 

                                                                           LILLY

All right.  Thank you, goodbye.  (shaking hands) 

 

                                                                           LUCY

If you study your Cantonese hard, you will surely master it.  (shaking hands)

 

                              (LUCY and LILLY cross downright and wait for train.)

 

                                                                           LILLY   

I did not want to come to class today.  Is he married?

 

                                                                           LUCY

He is an actor.  (pause)  Children shouldn’t play with matches.

 

                                                                           LILLY   

He has been very helpful to me.

 

                                                                           LUCY

In the first place, he’s too old.  In the second place, he comes from another country.  In the third place, I don’t quite like the man.

 

                                                                           LILLY

He has been working in China many years.  He is a learned man.

 

                                                                           LUCY

This lesson is not difficult.  You cannot make good candy with bad coconuts.

 

                                                                           BILL

(downstage left)  I feel very nervous.  My hand is a little shaky, and my voice falters a little.  This won’t do, I must pull myself together.  I must put everything back in its original place.  (He straightens up the meeting room, agitatedly.)  Now I must tie my shoelace.  I do not feel well.  I feel a little giddy.  I feel a little cold, my hands and feet are numb.  When I put my hand to my head, it seems hot.  I have fever.  Is this what love can do?

 

                              (sound of train arriving)

                                                                          

                                                                           LUCY

Ah, the train has arrived on time.  Today I’ve been busy all day long.  At half past six I got up and at eight o’clock I hurried to the station to meet you.

 

                                                                           LILLY

No wonder you’ve been tired all day.

 

                              (Exit LUCY and LILLY.  Sound of train leaving.)

 

                                                                           BILL

(smoking a cigarette)  My memory is not very good.  The longer I smoke, the shorter the cigarette becomes.  Finally there remains a very short end.  If I go on smoking, I shall burn my lips.  (He hurriedly stubs out the cigarette.)  I am in the habit of smoking a cigarette as an aid to digestion.  (He throws up.)


                              SCENE 11:  VICTOR and MARGERY in a car.  VICTOR is driving.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

This road becomes slippery when it rains.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

This is a very safe way of doing it.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

The car is running down the slope now.  If the footbrake doesn’t work, use the handbrake.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Margery, do you usually drive with one hand or two hands?

 

                              (He casually drapes his left hand over the back of MARGERY’s seat.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Don’t forget the traffic laws when you drive!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(swerving suddenly)  Did the car hit anyone?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

With regard to traffic regulations, you had better inquire of a police officer.  Only a few people are interested in having life insurance.  (pause)  The doctor will not give a diagnosis today.  (pause)  Both of them, mother and son, came to my house yesterday.  We had congee for lunch.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Please don’t lean on the window.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Love is one of the best ways to eliminate the hatred between people.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

The sanitary conditions in this town are very bad.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It seems to be very far away, but it is actually in front of you.  You are only aware of present convenience, without thinking of any future change.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Did you know a fire broke out at the store next door to the Post Office yesterday?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I heard about it.  They lost a lot, didn’t they?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

The fire brigade got the alarm too late.  By the time they arrived the top two stories had burnt.         

                                                                           MARGERY

They must have been insured against fire?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

They were insured for ten thousand dollars but lost more than that.                           

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please, don’t race when driving a car.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Do you think I have to drink liquor every day!

 

                                                                           MARGERY

There will be no fresh air if the window is not open.  (She opens the car window.)  The view of Hong Kong at night is really very picturesque.  I could take the whole picture of it into my mind.  Chinese people know how to make good chinaware.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Chinese people call San Francisco “Big Port.”

 

                                                                           MARGERY

How many departments do they have in the hospital?  The operating room is very well equipped.  Where is the New Territories?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

It is ten kilometers from here to there.  There are many chicken farms in the New Territories.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Can you accompany me there?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Now it is well past eight o’clock.  It is already dark.  It has grown late.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

My bowels have not moved for two days.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

For the next two days you must not go out and you must drink plenty of boiled water.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Just out of curiosity I would very much like to use chopsticks for once, just to find out exactly how they are used.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

It is easier to eat with chopsticks than with a knife and a fork.  You just have to learn.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

There is a great deal of traffic on this road, cars following one after another, one overtaking another. The traffic light has just turned green.  One car is not overtaking correctly so that it’s going to run into the car in front of it.  (sound of car crash)  Now the driver of the front car has pulled to the curb but hasn’t noticed there is a bus in front of him.  (sound of another car crash)  Through lack of attention the two vehicles have collided.  The glass in the back of the bus has been shattered to pieces.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Fortunately there are no passengers in the back of the bus, so at least nobody was hurt.

 

                                                                           MARGERY          

Now the drivers have gotten out of their cars and people are gathering from all sides.  Among these are people who have seen with their own eyes the accident.  (yelling out the window)  It was not his fault!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Here comes a police officer to investigate the case.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Here comes an ambulance to help the wounded.  (yelling out the window)  I wish you good health throughout the year!  (suddenly noticing something)  Whose bicycle is that?  Who is that boy?  Is he sweating?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

What is the disease he got?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Jimmy!  Jimmy!  (to VICTOR)  That’s right.  It is he who is standing outside.  He’s holding a bottle of water in one hand and a glass in the other.  He slowly pours the water out of the bottle into the glass, then sip by sip he drinks the water which he has poured out.  Now he lowers his head, thinking.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Is he the one with the humped back?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He left without saying goodbye.  (She bursts into tears.)  He is insane.  His illness is incurable.  Jimmy!  Jimmy!  (She tries to open the car door but the door handle is jammed.)  They look at him as if he were drunk.  He is smoking a long pipe.  Jimmy!  Jimmy!  (shaking door handle)

                                                                          

                                                                           VICTOR

In my opinion, he is very stupid.  Who would have thought he would suddenly draw a gun and threaten to kill me?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Are you not going to help me?  If you had been nice to him on that evening, everything would have been all right.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

If he had not failed the examination, everything would have been all right.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He did not even say one word, he did not even write one letter.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

And you’ve never heard from him since then?

                                                                          

                                                                           MARGERY

Jimmy!  Jimmy!  (She finally wrenches the door open, gets out of car and runs off stageleft.) 

 

                                                                           VICTOR

This young man is not only poor, but also sick.  (calling to MARGERY, offstage)  Don’t forget this is not what he promised you a month ago.

 

                                                                           MARGERY          

(offstage)  Jimmy!  Jimmy!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(aside)  If only he did not always look down on other people and think that only he was right.  For him, an ideal solution is impossible.  But my plan will materialize one day.  Everybody is his own boss, so to speak.


SCENE 12:  A street in Hong Kong.  Night.  JIMMY, wearing a tattered, patched coat, and LUCY.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(shivering) This overcoat is very old.

 

                                                                           LUCY

On what day does your school start, Jimmy?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I have read the biography of a great man and will be following his example.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Who is that great man?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

He escaped from prison.  Every day he gets stronger.  Every day his knowledge increases.  Every day his temper gets more violent.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(aside to audience)  His behavior gets worse.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

The days now are shorter.  Food becomes scarcer.  This is a true story, not a game!  It’s a question that nobody can answer.

 

                                                                           LUCY

We can discuss this matter when you come to my house. 

                             

                                                                           JIMMY

It is a matter that interests me very much.

 

                                                                           LUCY

That is a very polite reply.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It is better to take risks than to cancel my plan altogether.  And yet a rash action could endanger the whole project.

 

(He takes a thoughtful pose.)

 

                                                                           LUCY

 

(aside to audience)  It’s no use talking to him.  He is deaf.  Being kind to him won’t work.  He’ll only do it if I force him.  (To JIMMY)  If you are not careful you will burn your nose. 

 

                              (LUCY lights a match and holds it under his nose.)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Ouch!  What did you do that for?

 

                                                                           LUCY

I had a dream about you. 

 

(She sings)

 

The days become shorter

Now that winter has come.

All the leaves have fallen.

The sky is very cloudy.

It gets dark very early.

The river is often frozen.

It snows heavily

And when the weather grows bitterly cold

One cannot get warm at all,

One cannot get warm at all,

One cannot get warm at all.

 

You might easily catch cold if you stay outside here too long.  You’re coming home with me.

 

                              (She grabs his arm.)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

People who have cars are not all rich.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(leading him offstage)  Is that true?

 

                              (Exit LUCY and JIMMY.  Pause.  Enter MARGERY)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Jimmy!  Jimmy! (wandering about, aimlessly)

 

                              (Exit MARGERY)

 


SCENE 13:  Lilly’s apartment.  Evening.  There is a leafless tree downstage where Bill enters.  The apartment’s exterior door leads into the interior space.  A phone.  BILL and LILLY.

 

(Enter BILL)

 

                                                                           BILL

(walking along the street at night)  It’s queer, it’s strange, to be willing to blame, to seek a fruit or an outcome.  Yet nevertheless in order to rest, to establish peace, to be alive, a good person can become a bad one and a bad one a good.  They are on equal footing.  (He stops for a moment to gaze at the tree.)  This tree is very old.  I hope it will bloom again.

 

(He knocks on the door.  LILLY enters and lets him in.  They kiss.) 

 

I had a dream last night and dreamed of you coming home with me to America.  (They kiss again.)  How many hours did you wait for him last night?

 

                                                                           LILLY

What time is it now?

 

                                                                           BILL

8:45 PM.

 

                                                                           LILLY

What day of the week was yesterday?

 

                                                                            BILL

Wednesday.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Too long! 

 

                              (They kiss again.)

 

                                                                           BILL

Do you know what the difference is between animate and inanimate objects?  The animate beckon with their hand, they join together, they dream, they enjoy.  It is their duty and responsibility.

 

                                                                           LILLY

It is difficult to find, astonished, elated and amazed as I am, making loving speech together with you to light a lamp and assemble a wonder in the midst of night, to weave a cloth fiercely of liberty and equality in the interest of our duties.  (aside to audience)  Almost everybody says he’s a genius and that he can do many things.

 

                                                                           BILL

What’s the signal?

 

                                                                           LILLY

“Good luck.”

 

                                                                           BILL

Have you any news?

 

                                                                           LILLY

No, I haven’t any.

 

                                                                           BILL

Please don’t make me guess!  Whom do you suspect?  Do you suspect him?

 

                                                                           LILLY

As a person he is quite kind.  All his friends love him.  He is a poet.  That is, he writes poetry.  He has a natural talent for the seven-syllable line.

 

                                                                           BILL

I won’t rest till I understand fully.

 

                                                                           LILLY

If you don’t understand today, I will explain again tomorrow.  Then I will give you a good many examples.  Sometimes you Westerners think things are too difficult and feel hopeless about it.  But we have now made good progress.

 

                                                                           BILL

I haven’t sent the telegram to New York yet.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Did you take him home?

 

                                                                           BILL

He walked home.  He left with the money.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Let’s talk about it on the way.  Please drive the car out of the garage.

 

                                                                           BILL

Wait here for me.  (He tries to open the door, but it’s jammed.)  I can’t get out!

 

                                                                           LILLY

How come you are so stupid? 

 

(She crosses and opens the door.  Exit BILL.  She crosses to the phone and dials a number.) 

 

(speaking into phone)  We searched for a long time but didn’t find it.  (pause)  If we don’t finish the work, we can’t leave.  (pause)  Can we get going tomorrow?  (pause)  I don’t understand what you’re saying.  (pause)  Originally.  (pause)  Some foreign country.  (pause)  Yes, I’ll be late.  (pause)  We won’t go anywhere.  I don’t want to do anything at all.  (pause)  How many are there?  Not many.  (pause)  I haven’t heard yet.  (pause)  I don’t think there is anymore hope.  (pause)  During those two years they were in business, weren’t they?  (pause)  Now that he knows her, he’s become an adult.  (pause)  Either he or his elder brother wrote it.  (pause)  I didn’t know until you told me. (pause)  He’s been everywhere.  Even to London. (pause)  Yes, in my opinion he’s very able. (pause)  Oh, you’re too modest.  (pause)  His father looked at me like he had never seen me before.  His mother looked very ill.  (pause)  This is a sacrifice on his part. (pause)  If he does survive the operation he will always be a sick man. (pause)  I will consult an encyclopedia.  Science is always advancing.  (pause)  Be kind to her.  (She hangs up the phone.)  (aside to audience)  From now on I will never see him again. 

 

                              (Enter BILL) 

 

Mr. Wang is going back this afternoon.

 

                                                                           BILL

Is the man well?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Yes, he is well.  He is free from anxiety.  He is our host, we are his guests.

 

                                                                           BILL

His courage is very great.  He is a brave man.  A good reward is a bad reward to him.  Suppose he wants us to discuss the basic question, what shall we say?

 

                                                                           LILLY

I have already told them not to discuss those things at next week’s conference.  Authorities cannot agree, differences of opinion exist, not much is known, no one is sure of the beginning or end, other than the fact that it’s a great adventure!

 

                                                                           BILL

I am so tired, weary.

 

                                                                           LILLY

It is necessary.  Do you doubt them?

 

                                                                           BILL

Is this your superior’s command?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Yesterday he went to Washington, D.C. by plane.  He will be back the day after tomorrow.

 

                                                                           BILL

I remember very well what he said about you, what he did in Paris, what he taught us last week, what he voted for at the meeting yesterday.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Next time, don’t climb trees with your good pants on!

 

                                                                           BILL

There was nobody to consult.  He never came back from London.  And I have not been able to go on.

 

                                                                           LILLY

You started a fight right away!  I will never invite you to my house again.

 

                                                                           BILL

Make use of his knowledge.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Where is his wife now?

 

                                                                           BILL

I’ll answer you tomorrow morning.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Aren’t you able to speak?

 

                                                                           BILL

Let’s not fight.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Why is it you came back?  Tell me that.  What don’t you want?

 

                                                                           BILL

I don’t want anything.

 

                                                                           LILLY

What did you go there to do?

 

                                                                           BILL

Nothing.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Please say that again.

 

                                                                           BILL

Nothing!  Nothing was bought yet!

                                                                          

                                                                           LILLY

(pause)  I don’t have time to go with you tonight.  I don’t want to go to his place.  Which day was it that you moved here?

 

                                                                           BILL

As soon as I came in, I knew that you were sick.

 

                                                                           LILLY

You didn’t write to me anymore.  Where were you?

 

                                                                           BILL

Do you realize it has grown late? 

 

                                                                           LILLY

If you can’t do it quickly, then don’t do it at all.

 

                              (She rips open her bodice and he kisses her breasts passionately.)

 


SCENE 14:  Lucy’s room.  JIMMY is seated at the kitchen table. Table, chairs, bowl of fruit, pot of rice on the stove.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

There is a dish of fruit on the table.  I should like to eat some.  Shall I have an apple or a pear?  The apple looks very nice.  I think I’ll have the apple.  But first I’ll fetch a knife.  (He stands and crosses left.)  I stand.  I rise.  I walk.  What is this whole body?  Is it the upper and lower parts?  If I explain it in more detail, shall I say:  head, neck, shoulders, armpits, arms (upper and lower), elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, chest, back, stomach, thighs, knees, calves, feet and toes?

 

                              (Enter LUCY)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Do you feel better today, Jimmy?  (She feels his head.)  I should advise you to go to a hospital.  They will have nurses to take care of you there.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

That is very kind of you.

 

                                                                           LUCY    

Will you think it over?  Do you understand what I am saying?  Is there anyone at home?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

What time did he not go by air?  Tell a story.  Work in the country.  Speak Cantonese.  Teach the youngest son to stand up, please! Teach the youngest son to stand up, please!  What’s your name?  Who knows?  Some are mute outside of school. 

The older brother. Sell to him.  I am here.  When I was small I liked to study very much.  He is drawing you.  Others are busy too.  It is difficult to learn.  I know how now.  How about you?

He comes often.  The intelligent one, the one who wears a hat, the one who has a Chinese dress, the one who eats here, the one who went to work.  Don’t leave!  Don’t leave!  But he has already left. 

Your home is well provided with food.  Please toast some bread for me.  I like to drink a cup of tea and eat a piece of toast.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Some rice is already boiling in the pot.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

The way you arranged your home looks very nice. 

                             

                              (LUCY serves him some rice.)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Eat as much as possible.  You can sit here or there, as you please.

 

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(sitting)  Which do you like, oranges or tangerines?

 

                                                                           LUCY

May God bless you!

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I’m afraid I’ve disturbed you too much.  I am going to leave.  (He exits.  He enters.)  I came back.  I don’t speak Chinese very well.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Let’s talk about that after breakfast.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(sitting, eating rice) I am neither tall nor stout.  Have you ever stayed in a hotel?

 

                                                                           LUCY

(sitting at the table with him)  Yes, I have, but I didn’t like it.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Have you met Mr. Wang?

 

                                                                           LUCY

I can’t recall.  But I respect him.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I look down on him.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Well, wartime and peacetime are different.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Your method and mine are practically identical.  The difference is, I drink more than I eat.

 

                              (JIMMY stops eating and leans forward to LUCY.)

  

                                                                           LUCY

(looking into his eyes)  It’s much easier to ride than to walk.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

The road is shorter than that.

 

                              (They draw closer to each other.)

 

                                                                           LUCY

You are much more clever than I.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(drawing even closer)  How far is it from me to you?

 

                                                                           LUCY

I don’t know.  We are extremely close.

                                                                          

                                                                           JIMMY

It is much closer to here (kissing one side of her face) than to here. (kissing the other side)

 

                                                                           LUCY

I am five years older than you.

 

                              (They give each other little kisses during the following dialog.)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Isn’t it hot today?  (kiss)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Yes, compared with yesterday.  (kiss)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

What are you thinking doing this afternoon?  (kiss)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Rather than going to a movie, I would rather see an ordinary play.  (kiss)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It makes no difference to me if I see a film or a play. (kiss)

 

                                                                           LUCY

I have not been to the theater for a very long time. (kiss)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Before I go to bed I usually drink a cup of tea. (kiss)

 

                                                                           LUCY

The clock has stopped.

 

                              (They kiss and fall to the floor in a passionate embrace.)


SCENE 15:  Margery’s hotel suite.  MARGERY and VICTOR.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(putting on earrings)  What show is playing tonight?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(on the phone)  Let’s see how the situation is first.  We shall give you an answer tomorrow.  (He hangs up the phone.)  I don’t want to go out this evening.  I woke up from a dream feeling very tired.  That dress suits you very well.

 

                                                                           MARGERY          

There are two shows this evening.  I need some small coins to give tips. 

 

                              (VICTOR reaches into his pocket and gives her some coins.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Be sure to come back early.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Can you tell the difference between nylon stockings and silk stockings?  (She shows him her legs.)  The theater was full of people last night.  The actors performed wonderfully well.  The show tonight will not start until eight o’clock.  Have you ever seen the play “The Patriotic Tear”?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

No, please tell me the story of that play.

 

                                                                           MARGERY          

It tells a story about school life in China.  I have bought two tickets.  Please go to the theater with me tonight.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

The first show has finished.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

The second show hasn’t started yet.  It’s still early.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

It’s long past time.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Have you ever been to Peiping?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

About two years ago.

 

                              (There is a knock on the door.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Did you hear that?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Yes.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Perhaps he came to say goodbye.  Will you ask him in or shall I?  (another knock)  Come in.

 

                              (Enter BILL with a newspaper)

 

                                                                           BILL

May I trouble you?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  I invited him.  (to BILL)  What are you holding in your hand, Bill?

 

                                                                           BILL

Have you read this afternoon’s paper yet?

 

                              (MARGERY and VICTOR read the newspaper.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

You wrote this very well.

 

                                                                           BILL

Do you understand all it says?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

What it says is extremely interesting.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Where has Mr. Wang gone?

 

                                                                           BILL

I have already spoken with Lilly about that.  When he reached the station, the train had already left.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

He used to be an Englishman.  How about now?

 

                                                                           BILL

(to VICTOR)  May I ask what your nationality is?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He used to be an American.  I asked him to buy this.

 

                              (She opens a box and takes out two necklaces.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Don’t give it to him.  Sell it to him!  (to BILL)  Which one do you want?

 

                              (BILL looks at the necklaces with a jeweler’s loop.)

 

                                                                           BILL

Some are good.  How many dollars?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

We want half your money.

 

                                                                           BILL

Say, what is this?  (to MARGERY)  Is it yours or his?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It’s become more expensive now.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

It used to be too cheap.

 

                                                                           BILL

The bank has already closed.  As long as I live you’ll have nothing to fear.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  But for him, I should have gone to prison.  He did not even answer one question.  (to BILL)  I am going to the theater to see a play.  In my opinion you’re very nice.

 

                                                                           BILL

People either love me or hate me.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Of course we must remember that most difficulties can be overcome by a compromise.

 

                                                                           BILL

Rather than submit to their humiliating conditions, we shall fight to the last man.  We shall never make a temporary peace.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

In spite of further loss of life?

 

                                                                           BILL

Unless you know the language of the country, you cannot understand the mind of the people.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

We cannot change the rules.  Even if we all cooperate and every one of us does his utmost, we cannot achieve victory.  You are very stupid and can’t understand anything.

 

                                                                           BILL

Yes, only a flower can turn and follow the sun.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

The principle upon which the economic policy of the Chinese People’s Republic is based is the Principle of the People’s Livelihood.  The Chinese well understand the disadvantages of industrialization.  But they have to improve their standard of living and therefore industrialization is necessary.

 

                                                                           BILL

China is an agricultural country. 

 

                                                                           VICTOR

But she will become an industrial country in the near future.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Did you know, Bill, that it was reported on the wireless at nine o’clock last night that Brazil had invaded Peru?

 

                                                                           BILL

Judging by its geographical position, Peru seems to be very much at a disadvantage.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Yes, but their left flank is strong and protected by air cover.

 

                                                                           BILL

True.  I should think Brazil will find an attack very difficult.  Yet Peru’s artillery and trench defenses are well “sited”.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

I’ve heard that Brazil is going to adopt an offensive strategy.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Yes, I should imagine that Brazil will concentrate on a frontal attack first and then make a pincer movement to attack from the rear.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

This is a small war and should be over in a week.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It’s a good thing no gas bombs were dropped yesterday.  I’m afraid the casualties would have been worse.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

So few people have gas masks.

 

                                                                           BILL

I hope they organize a commission so that in the future questions may be solved peacefully.  Margery, has your luggage been sent off yet?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

The shipping company has collected my luggage but I don’t know if they put it on board yet.

 

                                                                           BILL

Victor, have you been to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply for a passport?  I believe it’s a rather complicated procedure, isn’t it?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Yes, I’ve been there twice.  They say my nationality is uncertain and my photograph’s too old.  They asked me to get another one taken.  In the last meeting I reported on the situation.

 

                                                                           BILL

(suddenly)  Please don’t move.  Please close the closet door.  (He reaches down and picks up the telephone line.)  This wire was cut by someone.  How  many pairs of scissors do you have?  What is that thing under the table?

 

                              (VICTOR tries to open door to bathroom but it’s locked.)

                             

                                                                           VICTOR

The bathroom is occupied.  (loudly)  Who is in the room?

 

                                                                           BILL

Don’t yell so loud!  If he’s not in the living room, he’s sure to be in the kitchen.

 

                              (Exit MARGERY)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(offstage)  Eeek!  There’s somebody underneath the bed!

 

                                                                           BILL

Please turn out the light!

 

(Blackout.  Two shots are heard.  Lights up.  The BELLBOY is lying facedown on the floor with a bullet hole in his back.  MARGERY is screaming.  VICTOR is standing center stage with a smoking gun in his hand.  BILL is nowhere to be seen.)

 

 

 


SCENE 16 and SCENE 17 are played concurrently

 

SCENE 16: Lucy’s room.  Bed, gramophone, cigarettes.  LUCY and JIMMY are talking in bed.

SCENE 17:  Lilly’s apartment. LILLY in a negligee before a mirror.  She is brushing her hair, polishing her nails, etc.  MR. WANG is offstage until the end of the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LILLY

Mr. Wang, we haven’t seen each other for three weeks.  When did you come back?

 

WANG

(offstage)  I came back yesterday.  I had been spending a very pleasant New Year.

 

LILLY

Did you have chicken or duck on New Years?

 

WANG

I usually have chicken or duck but this year I had goose.

 

LILLY

Did you go dancing and have something to drink?

 

WANG

Yes, I drank a bottle of whiskey and danced till two in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LILLY

Last night, when the enemy planes came to bomb us, did you go to the shelter, Mr. Wang?

 

WANG

No, I slept all night through.

 

LILLY

I had a bad dream.  I could not go on with my work.   For intellectual workers longer working hours do not necessarily produce better results.  (pause)  Mr. Wang, rather than always asking for little sums, I would prefer to be paid a yearly amount granted in four installments.  After all, it’s your mother-in-law’s money. (pause)  As soon as it is time, we’ll eat lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WANG

Have you ever been to Japan?  I’ve been there three times.  Before the war, things were cheaper.

 

LILLY

Is Mrs. Wang returning to her country?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WANG

It is uncertain whether I am going tomorrow or not.  Is all depends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LILLY

How many airplanes are there in their air force?

 

 

 

 

WANG

I know nothing about the military situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(MR. WANG enters the room in boxer shorts, socks and garters.)

 

WANG

How much prettier you’d be if you took off that negligee.

(He rushes to embrace her but she playfully eludes his grasp, giggling.  Exit LILLY followed by WANG.)

 

 

 

                              LUCY

What are we going to do right now?

 

                              JIMMY

Go to sleep.

 

                              LUCY

There are very many people in the world.  Isn’t that strange?  Isn’t that very strange?

 

                              JIMMY

It isn’t strange at all. 

       

(He sings)

 

A ruler, a doctor, a peck of rice uncooked

A chicken egg, a piece of cloth, a hotel

A glass of wine, a sound, a voice, a noise

At most, at least, a world, a life,

To help, to burn, to roast, to raise

To respond, to answer, to laugh, to weep.

A bank, a doctor, a patient, a prescription.

 


                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                              LUCY

Do you have any American cigarettes?

 

                              JIMMY

A few.

 

                              LUCY

How many?

 

                              JIMMY

Not too many.

 

                              LUCY

How much is not too many?

 

                              JIMMY

Not too much.  (They light up cigarettes.)  Your house is clean and neat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                              LUCY

The police came to investigate you.  No one mentioned the accident that happened yesterday.  He’s in critical condition because of a heart attack.

 

                              JIMMY

He really didn’t enjoy his trip to England.

 

        (Violin music begins playing offstage.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                              LUCY

The one who is playing the violin is my youngest brother.  (pause)  You have to take good care of yourself.

 

                              JIMMY

I am very impatient by nature.  I read the newspapers every morning.  I sit in a chair and take up a newspaper.  When I read the foreign news it is always the same.  There is inevitably some alarming news.  Country A starts a revolution, Country B suffers an economic breakdown, Country C delivers an ultimatum to Country D, Country E attacks Country F.  Then I go on to read the local news and stock prices as well as market reports.  Finally I read the advertisements.  Among the advertisements there are houses to let, houses wanted, cinema and theater advertisements, advertisements for drugs, situations wanted, educational advertisements, etc.  When I finish reading the paper, I fold it up.  And in fact after a few moments I am myself again.

 

                              LUCY

Would you like to profitably employ this time by listing to gramophone records?

 

(She winds up a gramophone and places the needle on the record.)

 

                              JIMMY

Place the needle carefully on the record.

 

(Sound of music is heard. Meanwhile, the violin keeps playing.)

 

                              LUCY

By listening to records not only can we train the ear, but by listening to a record a number of times, we can nearly know the record by heart.

 

                              JIMMY

Your ear is remarkably acute.

 

                              LUCY

Oh, you know how to talk!  (aside to audience)  He likes me now.

 

 

 

 

 


                              JIMMY

What is your surname?

 

                              LUCY

My surname is Li.

 

                              JIMMY

(aside to audience)  She doesn’t know what my surname is.

 

 

 

 

 


                              LUCY

Is your mother English?

 

 

 

 


                              JIMMY

I don’t know.  She won’t tell me.  (pause)  Chinese like to say “thank you” a lot.  Is that right?  (pause)  Everyone has friends.  I have one or two.  (to LUCY) Look at me! Look at me!  Very pretty, but not too good-looking.  Do I want it?  Yes, I do.

 

                              LUCY

Whom do you look at? (turning her head away.  But he turns it back to him.)

 

                              JIMMY

I want to look at it.

 

                              LUCY

Look at what?

 

                              JIMMY

 

        (He sings)

 

Still, yet, again, even more

A child by the seashore.

Be good, be well,

Be cute, be fun,

Be pleasant to listen to, be pretty,

Be strong, be fierce, be severe,

Be black, be dark,

Be very, be quite,

Be river, be drink,

Be afterwards, and then

Be back tomorrow and

Be bed.

 

Don’t worry.  Don’t get excited.  This is really, truly so.  I shall leave school.  We will go abroad.  We will visit my brother in America.  We will never lose our temper or despair.

 

                              LUCY

You must first pay your debts.

 

                              JIMMY

He should not have married this terrible woman!  He should have told her about his nationality long ago.

 

                              LUCY

He ought not to have left you before you completely recovered.  In my opinion, he is very cunning.

 

                              JIMMY

Jealous?  Don’t criticize rashly until you know the facts.

 

                              LUCY

This room is not warm enough.

 

                              JIMMY

My brother is seven years older than I.  He and I are not the same height.  His methods and mine are slightly different.  My brother runs faster than anyone else.  He went to France to study painting.  I think my father will return home soon.  He was angry for a long while.

 

                              LUCY

You have been sick for three weeks but now you are well.  You can send your brother a telegram and ask whether he received the money you sent him.

 

                              JIMMY

I have to go to the Post Office to fill out the form and draft the message, don’t I?

 

                              LUCY

Yes, and for coded messages you have to pay extra.

 

                              JIMMY

I think a plain telegram will do.

 

                              LUCY                                  

Did you telephone him yesterday asking him not to go again?

 

                              JIMMY

No, I didn’t.

 

                              LUCY

Are your new shoes comfortable?  Are they size 7 1/2?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                             

                              JIMMY

I have almost forgotten your name.  Is it Lucy?


SCENE 18:  Margery’s hotel suite. Tray of refreshments.  MARGERY and INSPECTOR CHANG, who writes in a note pad. 

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Having finished breakfast we hired a taxi and went to a store to buy a lot of things.  We had been asked to lunch by my uncle who lives a long way out of town.  My uncle wanted us to stay on for tea but to our regret my friend’s aunt had already invited us for supper at her house.  So we talked a little while and hurried back to town.  After an enjoyable supper we went together to the cinema.  I had originally meant my friend to stay with me for a few days but he insisted on going back that night.  So I accompanied him to the station to see him off.  When I reached home it was already midnight.

 

                                                                           INSPECTOR CHANG

No wonder you feel rather tired today.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Don’t say it that way.

 

                              (Enter BILL)

 

                                                                           BILL

What’s happened?  What’s wrong?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to BILL)  Bill, what have you come here for?

                             

                              (CHANG looks at BILL)

 

                                                                           BILL

Don’t look at me.  I didn’t say anything.

 

                                                                           CHANG

(to BILL)  Was it yesterday or the day before that you came?

 

                                                                           BILL

I went to her house for dinner.  It was Margery who invited me.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I invited you for a drink.  (pause)  Have you already read the newspaper?

 

                                                                           BILL

This morning’s paper?  No, not yet.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Where was it that you gave him the money?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

When was it that you came?

 

                                                                           BILL

My brother came to see our father.  He came yesterday.  It was yesterday that I went to Kowloon by train.

                                                                           CHANG

 

We hear that you spoke with him.

 

                                                                           BILL

We chatted and then left.  Let’s talk about it tomorrow.  I am on the verge of crying.  I must be going.  It’s almost time to eat.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to BILL)  I will come presently.

 

                              (Exit BILL)

 

                                                                           CHANG

(Aside to audience)  She will sing shortly. (to MARGERY)  Sit a bit.  Become happy.  You can speak now.  It’s hopeless.  Broken.  You will be broken soon.  Think it over.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It’s almost twelve years now.  He once had no money, but now he’s rich.  He used to like to drink, but now no more.  Open the window a bit and be seated.  (CHANG opens the window and sits.)  I have been writing letters for quite a while now.

 

                                                                           CHANG

For how many weeks has he been searching?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Eight months already. 

 

(She sings)

 

This morning, this year, this week.

Last year, last week, last month.

Next year, next week, next month.

In two months, in two years, in two days.

Last Wednesday, this August, every day, in three days, on the third day.

We’ll have a little snack and chat

And then do it again tomorrow.

Afterwards, for a long while, I wait.

I sit here, in the parlor, behind the door.

Come out, run back, move it here, bring it there.

In your hand, in your pocket.

Pick it up, put it down,

Pick it up, put it down,

Pick it up, put it down.

We’ll have a little snack and chat

And then do it again tomorrow.

 

We moved to America.  I don’t cry anymore.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I brought this along to give to you.  Recognize it?

 

                              (He shows her JIMMY’s tattered overcoat.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Perhaps.

 

                                                                           CHANG

It may be important.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside)  I must act stupid, be clumsy.

 

                                                                           CHANG

May I be clear about my meaning?  The day before yesterday you arrived at or reached the goal of your action.  Of course, naturally, you couldn’t take or bring along on to a boat or a ship, an automobile or car, to ride in or get around in, in the city or its parts.  However your arrival there did indicate that your plan was to go out and wait, be low, be underneath your place and plan.  Am I right?  Am I correct?              

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Excuse me.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t understand a thing or word you said.  The most I know is that yesterday he left.  He had already signed the Agreement.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Do you know the police are waiting outside the door to arrest you?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

When we got there, the man was dead already.  The guests had all gone.  And the wire had been cut.  Thieves had come and stole all my belongings, broke my desk open and removed all my letters.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Do you have a servant with a red nose?  Do you know a young man with a straw hat?  A gentleman in a blue suit?  An old man with a beard?  (aside to audience)  Who would have thought that two people so different in temperament and social standing would get married?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I remember what he told me at the end of last year.  He almost was drowned.  I sued him for the money.  I will never again believe a word he says.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Do you not know the latest news?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He has gone bankrupt and offered his resignation?

 

                                                                           CHANG

He has sold his property and left the country.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He was a rich man and he was very unhappy.  He was very fond of the children of women he never married.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I have a question.  Are both of them yours?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

They are all of them excellent.  Those boys—

 

                                                                           CHANG

Oh, now I understand!  Previously he could only speak English.  Later he came to speak French also.  Where is he working now?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I believe he is teaching Chinese at a school.  I heard that you were chatting with him.  He hasn’t even a penny.  In his home they eat with bowls and chopsticks.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I drink soup with a spoon.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It was Wang who wrote the letter.  They did not.  Mr. Li didn’t take the money along.

 

                                                                           CHANG

What did Wang sell in his store?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I can’t recall.

 

                                                                           CHANG

He says women speak three times faster than men.  Is that true?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Everyone speaks faster than I do.  (She picks up JIMMY’s tattered coat.)  Besides this overcoat he has two others.  Last summer he planned to go to Africa, but his father wouldn’t let him.

 

                                                                           CHANG

It would be best for you not to leave until he has returned.  The fact that he is doing that sort of work causes his friends and family a lot of worry.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Even a rich man such as he can’t afford to buy love.

 

                                                                           CHANG

You can stay at this hotel or at your friend’s house, as you please.  It is impossible to predict what the Communists will do in the name of reform.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

What you said is quite meaningful.  Please tell him that for me.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I help you, you help him, he helps us.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Are they in distressing circumstances?

 

                                                                           CHANG

They are in very distressing circumstances.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to audience)  He has a lot of leisure.  I wonder why he’s not willing to help me?  (to CHANG)  Feel free to smoke.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I don’t smoke, thank you.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please have some candy.  Do you drink wine?  This is a chicken or a duck egg.  This is soybean sauce.  Do you want any? 

 

(CHANG bursts out laughing.) 

 

Don’t laugh!  Don’t laugh so loud!  Whom are you laughing at?  Please answer me!

 

                                                                           CHANG

His parents have already passed away.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

When did they pass away?

 

                                                                           CHANG

Stretch out your left hand.  I want to look at it.

 

                              (MARGERY stretches out her left hand.)

 


SCENE 19: Wang’s office.  BILL and MR. WANG

 

                                                                           BILL

There will never be another you, Mr. Wang.  Please let me explain.

I hope to transform, to melt, to help, to teach, to assist them to endure the bitter instructions that come from you with the will to die, to receive, to collect the dead, to be dead far from field or farm, to crawl, to climb, in brush or stubble, to order, to command the lungs, the body, the fat, the flesh, to hate, to be brave, to bear, to shoulder, mutually, reciprocally, all of a sudden, suddenly to kill, to put to death, to govern, to rule, to slaughter, to take unfair advantage of, to not do without, great, heroic, to lead along and pull, year after year, age after age, to plant the seed of a new race!

 

                                                                           WANG

If I have the strength, I will certainly help you.

 

                                                                           BILL

A person who is willing to risk his life in fighting for his comrades is not afraid of danger.

 

                                                                           WANG

What is the intention of your superior officer in advocating a revolt at this time?

 

                                                                           BILL

To defend our country’s honor, territory and principles.

 

                                                                           WANG

You are exceptionally eloquent.  I admire your sincerity and earnestness.  It’s a pity to have to smash your pillar to pieces.  Let me state clearly, on no account are you to discuss or criticize, chastise or rebuke, no matter what the circumstances, any flaw or defect in the President of the Party or the ministers of government departments.

 

                                                                           BILL

Supposing the decision has been made? 

 

                                                                           WANG

Then we are moored on the reef of disaster and our ship will sink.

 

                                                                           BILL

Don’t worry.  Our leader is a genius with a natural talent.

 

                                                                           WANG

The times unfold, I fear, and the facts are set.  His son has just come back.  Ask him not to feel bad anymore.

 

                                                                           BILL

Do you think it will be windy this evening?  He asked me last night why you didn’t go.

 

                                                                           WANG

It is very late now.  Please tell him because I had no automobile I did not go.  The truth is, I do not like military music.  Good luck, good fortune. 

 

(Exit BILL) 

 

There is nothing to alter, nothing to correct, nothing to fight over or argue about.  It is fate, destiny, our life, our command, our order.  They have the strength, power, ability, time, and occasion to attack.  Yet they’ve turned the wrong side out!


SCENE 20:  Jonny’s hideout.  A room with a window and a door.  JONNY is dressed in boxer shorts.  He wears a gun in a holster and a pair of binoculars hanging from his neck.

                                                                          

                                                                           JONNY

(pacing the floor)  I’ll go back there in a little while.  I will not wait any longer.  When I’m rested I’ll return home.  (sound of automobile pulling up outside)  I hear a car stopping outside the door.  (sound of footsteps)  I hear the sound of steps.  (sound of three sharp raps on the door)  (aside to audience)  He knocks with his finger.  (shouting)  Come in!  Oh wait, first I have to put on my pants.

 

(INSPECTOR CHANG enters wearing rubber gloves.)

 

                                                                           CHANG

Now is the time for the examination to begin.  (He takes off the rubber gloves.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

(putting on pants)  How stupid of me.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Have they come or not?

 

                                                                           JONNY

They haven’t come back yet.  He has gone.  He paid.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Have you eaten?

 

                                                                           JONNY

Not yet.  He came to see me.  We went to look over some cars.  She didn’t know he was here.  She went downtown to see a friend.  She bought this article downtown. 

                             

                              (JONNY hands CHANG a lacy underwear.)

 

                                                                           CHANG

Did you speak to him?

 

                                                                           JONNY

I wanted to give him all my money.  He didn’t say much of anything.  I can’t speak for him.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Anything else?

 

                                                                           JONNY

We walked there.  I only saw her once.  They didn’t know.  I thought it over again and still didn’t go.  I don’t care to go any longer.  I have stood up!

 

                                                                           CHANG

Did he leave?

 

                                                                           JONNY

No, not yet.  He no sooner got up then we sat down to have breakfast.

 

                                                                           CHANG

That’s just not right!

 

                                                                           JONNY

As soon as it got dark, I went to bed.  Most of the food was thrown out by the children. 

 

                                                                           CHANG

Do you have any money?

 

                                                                           JONNY

No, I don’t.  She likes to buy things very much.  (CHANG gives him some cash.)  Thanks.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Don’t mention it. 

 

                              (sound of knocks at the door) 

 

                                                                           JONNY

Who is at the door?  (Enter MR. WANG)  What is my father doing here?

 

                                                                           WANG

(to CHANG)  He only knows half.  (to JONNY)  Wash your face.

 

                                                                           JONNY

There is no way out!

 

                                                                           WANG

The good and the bad are alike to me.  Your work and mine are not alike.  Not until I say it’s all right is it all right.  Did your mother give this to you or did your wife? 

 

                              (WANG holds up the lacy underwear.)

 

                                                                           CHANG

I’ll leave first.  (He takes back the cash that he’d previously given JONNY.)  Ask him for money.  (to WANG)  Didn’t you hear him say she’s not coming back?

 

                                                                           WANG

Find out what happened.  Quick!  Chop chop! 

 

(Exit CHANG) 

 

(to JONNY)  When you’ve got your passport you’ll have to get a visa to go to various countries.  That’ll take you another day or two.  As a rule we have maneuvers once a fortnight.  I think there will also be a cadet inspection tomorrow.

 

                                                                           JONNY

My wife very much likes to watch Chinese boxing.

 

                                                                           WANG

Tell me, Jonny.  What is your height?  You must be taller than I am.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I am five foot eleven and a half.  But I have a friend who is very short.  He is four foot eight inches tall.  He is mute and can’t hear either.

 

                                                                           WANG

I think blind people are worse off because no one can teach them to see.

 

                                                                           JONNY

But the School for the Blind can teach them to read.

 

                                                                           WANG

The weather was very good the day before yesterday.  Where did you go?

 

                                                                           JONNY

I got up in the morning and went for a walk in the park.

 

                                                                           WANG

You also subscribe to a lot of magazines, don’t you, Jonny?

 

                                                                           JONNY

Yes, I have subscriptions to three or four periodicals.  These magazines have pictures and they also all have news value.

 

                                                                           WANG

Are they literary or scientific?

 

                                                                           JONNY

They are of two kinds.  One dealing with sport and the other with the cinema.  They are all very interesting.  I read the advertisements too, because sometimes they enable you to buy things that are hard to find.  Look, I bought these dozen tennis balls after reading an advertisement.  (JONNY holds up a bag of balls.)  You’re very inquisitive.

 

                                                                           WANG

Ah, I’d almost forgotten to give you a check.

 

                              (WANG writes a check and gives it to JONNY.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

You did not always give me useless presents.

 

                                                                           WANG

You did not always criticize people.

 

                                                                           JONNY

You did not always tell lies.

 

                                                                           WANG

You did not always prove unworthy of my confidence.  (aside to audience)  He has been run over by a car but was only slightly injured.  (to JONNY)  The crisis is over but the political situation is still very tense.

 

                                                                           JONNY

From now on, I’ll never take risks again.

 

                                                                           WANG

You did not even apologize.

 

                                                                           JONNY

He made no attempt to resist.  I did not even ask him to sit down.  I remained silent.  I did not know what to say.  I did not ask him where he was going.  I even forgot to say goodbye.

 

                                                                           WANG

(aside to audience)  He is the most intelligent brother of all.  (to JONNY)  The Cabinet simply must resign!


SCENE 21: Wang’s office.  A plate of sauces, scissors, papers.  LILLY, seated at desk, and MARGERY.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Is he alone?

 

                                                                           LILLY

He doesn’t want to see anyone.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I have a question.  Why didn’t he come?  Why didn’t you go?

 

                                                                           LILLY

The man who didn’t come yesterday will come tomorrow.  He drinks tea with milk and sugar.  How about you?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Do you have any leisure, Lilly?  Are you busy today?

 

                                                                           LILLY

I am very sorry.  I have no leisure now.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Don’t deceive me.  Don’t deceive anybody!  All swindlers are dishonest.  No honest person would be a swindler.  He is a man without any conscience.

 

                                                                           LILLY   

There are two roads outside.  One is short and one is long.  Do you know how to drive an automobile?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I came here on foot.

 

                                                                           LILLY

He is not going abroad next year.  If you have offended him, he will certainly get even with you.  Recently he has been reading too much.  At night he can’t fall asleep.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I came here last fall.  I will go back next spring.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Can’t you see?  He speaks, I speak.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

And what does he say?

 

                                                                           LILLY

He speaks Chinese.  You don’t speak Chinese.  He is smart, elegant and handsome.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Where is the radiogram?  Please tell me.

 

                                                                           LILLY

He has malaria.  And is very sick.  He has written a letter on your behalf.  It is said that the shareholders will have a meeting next month.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I can’t afford a maid to do my housework!

 

                                                                           LILLY   

Every student has to learn to play ball.  Make it into a useful thing.

 

                              (MARGERY notices a letter on the table and grabs it.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

For whom is this registered letter?

 

                                                                           LILLY

You speak either too loudly or too softly. 

 

(LILLY tries to snatch the letter back from MARGERY, who eludes her.  They circle each other warily.  LILLY grabs a pair of scissors off the desk.)

 

                                                                           LILLY

Do you want a haircut or a shave?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

How about a haircut and a shave?

 

(MARGERY kicks the scissors from LILLY’s hand and puts her in a headlock.)

 

                                                                           LILLY

Give me the letter and I will speak to him.  He is a busy man.  I only arrived yesterday.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(choking LILLY)  Did he write this or his elder brother?  You can sing or we can talk, it’s up to you.

 

                                                                           LILLY   

I asked him to write… (choke choke)  He was teaching English here… (choke)  She was in China… (choke)  The most difficult thing is foreigners who understand Chinese… (choke)  The matters I told you about — it’s not what I told you… (choke)  We hadn’t spoken for a long time… (choke)  He didn’t come home for many years… (choke)  He has become very impolite.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I want to look at those pictures of his.

 

(MARGERY drags LILLY over to the filing cabinet and takes out a folder of  pictures.)

 

                              (Enter BILL)

 

                                                                           BILL

Those pictures are not for sale!

 

                              (MARGERY releases LILLY.)

 

                                                                           LILLY                  

This is his idea!

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Who wants to teach in England?  (waving pictures at him)

 

                                                                           BILL

(to MARGERY)  You were formerly beautiful, but now you are ugly.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to audience)  Is he the Englishman or the American?  Which one is good?

 

                                                                           LILLY

I asked him to give me some money.  He said, “I am busy.  Goodbye.”

 

                                                                           BILL

How much do you know?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Just a little.  He doesn’t think that his mother knows.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Some things I understand and some things I don’t.

 

                                                                           BILL

I’ll leave after he gets here.

 

                                                                           LILLY

He has been gone quite a few days.

 

                                                                           BILL

How many days?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Quite a few days. 

 

(BILL draws a gun and starts looking around the room.)

 

 Where are you going?

 

                                                                           BILL

(crossing upstage to a closed door.)  Nowhere.

 

                                                                           LILLY

For whom are you looking?  There’s nothing in that room. 

 

(He jerks the door open and enters the room.) 

 

(aside to MARGERY)  He told me that he didn’t know.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to LILLY)  You didn’t tell me that her name was Ma.

 

                              (Re-enter BILL)

 

                                                                           BILL

This war is even more severe than the last.  (He holsters his gun.)  (suddenly)  What are those things on the table?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Those are salt, pepper, mustard, sauce and vinegar.  Also a saucer of sugar.

 

                                                                           BILL

I want to order a bowl of noodles with shredded meat.  (aside to MARGERY)  I can’t drink strong wine but I can take a little port.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I think both sides should disarm, so they won’t fight again in the future.

 

                                                                           LILLY

I hope it won’t rain or be too cloudy.  There is an eclipse of the moon tonight.

 

                                                                           BILL

I shall certainly wait up to see it.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

The telephone’s a very useful thing, Bill.  Have you had one installed?

 

                                                                           BILL

I had it fixed last week but it still needs repairing.  (to LILLY) What time is it by your watch?  I think my watch is too slow.

 

(Suddenly VICTOR enters, holding a gun.  BILL makes a move for the gun in his holster, but VICTOR stops him.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Drop the gun, Bill!

 

                              (BILL drops his gun.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Victor, you’ve escaped!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

I ran away at once.  I even forgot to leave a tip.  Ha ha.

 

                                                                           BILL

I thought one day you’d suddenly draw a gun and threaten to kill me.  The weather can change so suddenly.  (aside to LILLY)  Talk to him without witnesses.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to LILLY)  Ask him for money.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Come in and join the party, Victor.  Margery has decided to return to her country.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to LILLY)  You’re a lousy liar, Lilly.

 

                                                                           LILLY

You can’t please everyone.  I change every year.

 

                              (VICTOR snatches pictures from MARGERY.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Now I have these!

 

                                                                           BILL

His older brother is in China now.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Is his mother coming?

 

                                                                           BILL

Yes, his mother is coming too.  He is not sure of returning.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

And you’re staying here for how long?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  It is best if you left.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to MARGERY)  Who told you that his automobile was out of order?  He drove it to town just two days ago.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I can’t recall or don’t remember.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(to VICTOR)  You cheap, mean, low, worthless man!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Whom did I kill?  What did I do?  Who is your personal enemy, Lilly?  Are you going to avenge your father?

 

                                                                           LILLY

You are completely wrong.  We are very lucky to enjoy the rights of citizens.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  What you said was not quite correct because you hadn’t heard what she said.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Have you finished speaking?

 

                                                                           BILL

We’re on the right side!  Even now the way is level.  Don’t be afraid of difficulties.  Don’t be afraid of him.  There is a way out!

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It’s an important problem.  (to VICTOR)  Do you agree?

 


SCENE 22:  Lucy’s room.  JIMMY and LUCY are in bed underneath a blanket.  All the dialog takes place under the blanket.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Where are you? (searching for LUCY)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Here I am.  Where are you?  (searching for JIMMY)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Here I am.  Where are you? (searching)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Here I am.  Where are you?  (searching)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Where are you?  Here I am.  (searching)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Here I am.  (searching)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Here I am.  (searching)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Where are you? (searching)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Where are you? (searching)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Here I am.  Here I am.  Here I am.  (searching)  Where are you?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I am here. (searching)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Oh, there you are.  (finding him)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Here I am.

 

                                                                           LUCY

You are here!

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I am here.  Are you here?

 

                                                                           LUCY

Here I am.  (They burst into giggles.)  Isn’t it strange?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It is very strange.

 

                                                                           LUCY

It is very strange.  (moving)  Isn’t it strange?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It is very strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

It is not at all strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It is not at all strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

It is not at all strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It is not at all strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

It is very strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It is very strange. (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

That was good.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

That was excellent.

 

                                                                           LUCY

That was excellent.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

That was good.

 

                                                                           LUCY

I believe in God.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I too believe in God.

 

                                                                           LUCY

I too believe in God.  I do believe in God.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I admire you very much because your temperament is good. (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

I admire you very much because you speak very clearly. (moving)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I admire you very much because you speak very clearly. (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

I admire you very much because your temperament is good. (moving) You have your life, he has his life and your lives are not the same.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I have my life, he has his life and our lives are not the same. (moving) What kind of bird is this?   Whose bird is that? (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

What kind of bird is this?  Whose bird is that? (moving)

 

                              (They giggle.)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

What is this called?  What is that called? (moving)

 

                                                                           LUCY

What is that called?  What is this?  (more giggles)  There is no such thing as that!

 

                                                                           JIMMY

There is no such thing as this. (moving)

 

                              (They start to make love.)

 

                                                                           LUCY

This. (humping)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

That. (humping)

 

                                                                           LUCY

That. (humping)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This. (humping faster)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Take it easy.  Don’t go so fast.

 

(humping slower, then faster and faster, with lots of heaving breathing, groaning, ecstatic cries, etc)                          

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(humping)  The beauty of Miss Universe is to be expected. 

 

                                                                           LUCY

(humping)   You weren’t very good at the beginning, but you’re at the top of the class now!

 

                              (They climax together.)

                             

                                                                           JIMMY

Although I am poor, I am reliable.  (breathing heavily)

 

                                                                           LUCY

You are a soldier in every sense of the word. (breathing heavily)

 


SCENE 23:  Wang’s office.  MR. WANG

 

                                                                           MR. WANG

(on phone)  Hold on to what you’ve got.  Put the needle in and screw it tight.  Start the machine.  (pause)  What are you arguing about? (pause) Don’t be careless — not for a moment. (pause)  Write it down.  Write it down.  You do not want to receive a reminder. (pause)  Pour a little water on it.  Press it gently, gradually with your hand. (pause)  The sky has become cloudy and it may rain immediately.  Sometimes it rains and snows simultaneously. (pause)  It’s getting rather foggy. (pause)  As a matter of fact, there are always a great many sick people.  The most unpleasant is tuberculosis. (pause)  Lock it up!  Lock it up! (pause)  Take the key out.  Close the door again. (pause)  It is all right.  They will not fight. (pause)  Everything must be parallel.  Sharpen your pencil very well with your knife. (pause)  I’ll see you in a few days. (pause)  It’s long past time.  (WANG hangs up the phone.)

 

(Enter INSPECTOR CHANG with an envelope.)

 

                                                                           INSPECTOR CHANG

Read and understand. 

 

(CHANG hands WANG the envelope.  WANG opens it and reads the letter.) 

 

Shall we turn eastward or westward?

 

                                                                           WANG

The fish prepared by the mother was eaten by the cat.  West!  We cannot fight the world.  Let’s be clear about what happened.  A student might think this affair might be the same as previously but one need not to inquire to what degree we should be worried.  My method is to be happy.  In this way, day after tomorrow, we’ll be finished and have some leisure time.  But afterwards there will be room to be fierce and severe, measure for measure.

 

                                                                            CHANG

What does the letter say?

 

                                                                           WANG  

Would you like to read it? 

                              (WANG hands CHANG letter, who reads it.)

 

                                                                           CHANG

We are not too tired.  They are.

 

                                                                           WANG

Where did you come from?

 

                                                                           CHANG

I came from Kowloon.

 

                                                                           WANG

You have the right idea.  Ask him to do it for you.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Both of them?

 

                                                                           WANG

No, the other one.  What’s the date today?

 

                                                                           CHANG

Friday the thirteenth.

 

                                                                           WANG

Tomorrow isn’t Sunday.  What day will he arrive there?

 

                                                                           CHANG

The seventeenth of December.

 

                                                                           WANG

This is my idea.  Go to the city.  Eat there.  Don’t write anymore.  Go to work.  Take a look.  All of his friends will be drinking at his home.  He’s the one who most likes to talk.  Where are his children?

 

                                                                           CHANG

On the plane. 

 

                                                                           WANG

Good.  Take a car to his house.  Don’t go to the store.  Come towards me.  (CHANG comes close to WANG, who whispers something in his ear.)  Do it this way.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Since he knows, I’ll ask him.

 

                                                                           WANG

He doesn’t know the directions.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Are all women smarter than men?

 

                              (Exit CHANG)

 

                                                                           WANG

When foreign people come to China they have to be very careful.  Traveling is so inconvenient these days.  But I’m not keen on going to the movies either.  There haven’t been any good films lately.  I like to stay home and play poker with my friends. I didn’t sleep well last night.  Why is the room so cold?  Everything is interchangeable and borrowed.  Everything’s burnt out.  An undefended town must not be bombed.  The bombing should be limited to military objectives.  (knock on door)  Come in.  The door’s open.

 

                              (Enter MRS. MA with a basket of fruit.)

 

                                                                           MRS. MA

I have come to see you, Mr. Wang, because I hear you’ve been ill for a couple of days.  I have brought some fruit for you.

 

                                                                           WANG

That is very kind of you, Mrs. Ma.

 

                                                                           MA

Have you got a headache, do you feel cold, or have you got a temperature?  Did the doctor feel your pulse?  Are you able to eat?

 

                                                                           WANG

He did feel my pulse and it was very fast.  Please sit down, and have a cup of tea before you go.  (He serves tea.)  Did your family send you some money?

 

                                                                           MA

Yes, father sent me five hundred dollars.  The remittance is drawn on the Bank of China.

 

                                                                           WANG

Can you write out a check?  (As MA writes a check, the phone rings and WANG answers it.)  He has gone.  He left just a few minutes ago.  (pause) They haven’t come back yet.  I think he is too tired. (pause)  No, I haven’t bought a car yet.  Keep in touch. 

 

(He hangs up the phone.  MA gives him the check.) 

 

When do you move there?  It would be better to come a little earlier.  Leave quickly, enter slowly.

 

                                                                           MA

As soon as the house is ready we will move in.

 

                                                                           WANG

Thank you for this exchange of ideas.  I will talk to my colleagues about your problems.

 

                                                                           MA

I have climbed a mountain and lost my watch!

 

                                                                           WANG

Yes, I wish you hadn’t spent all the money.  You must never tell him a secret because he will tell all the others.

 

                                                                           MA

I am going to the bus stop to catch a bus.  I will listen to the news on the wireless.

 

                                                                           WANG

Take one day off. 

 

(Exit MRS. MA) 

 

Who’d have thought that he’d be taken prisoner while driving his car?  Sometimes right conclusions can be drawn from wrong premises.

 

                                                                           BILL

(loudly offstage)  Well this little boy doesn’t care for candy!

 

                              (Enter BILL)

 

(to WANG)  My landlady not only doesn’t believe in God, but also has no religious belief.

 

                                                                           WANG

What can I do?  It’s her father-in-law’s house. 

 

                                                                           BILL

Unless everything is prepared down to the last detail we cannot succeed.

 

                                                                           WANG

He has already been taken to the hospital.

 

                                                                           BILL

Did you know he pawned my gold watch and her pearl necklace?  Then the house caught fire.

 

                                                                           WANG

This man does not cause me any trouble so there is no reason why I should interfere.

 

                                                                           BILL

After I received the news, I sent a telegram to his mother.

 

                                                                           WANG

Once he has recovered he will go South.  He has written a very rude letter.

 

                              (WANG hands the letter to BILL, who reads it.)

 

                                                                           BILL

He told me a lie.

 

                                                                           WANG

That’s a matter that interests me very much.  Did he commit suicide or was he poisoned?  To review:  A farmer is one who plows fields.  Although he is clever he is dishonest.  Yesterday he intentionally tried to harm you.  There are five fingers on a hand.  The middle finger is the longest.  He went to the country very early this morning.  His health is better than mine.  My health is better than yours.  Can you tell me what changes have taken place here since last Tuesday?

 

                                                                           BILL

One is good and one is not good.  Everybody has come.  But still he doesn’t speak.  He has been raised on high to a lofty station but now he manifests a new road or path and teaches a new religion to correspond and follow a far distant appearance, a dot, a speck, a light, a bell, and a clock which he uses to employ reason as the cause for a fast, quick, happy, easy method to hope.

 

                                                                           WANG

There are schools in the city.  There are also schools in the country.  I guess he is the person who did it.  Was anyone wounded?

 

                                                                           BILL

Fortunately, he was there at that moment.  He opened the door intentionally.

 

                                                                           WANG

I see the President’s trip to Europe is front page news.

 

                                                                           BILL

She is working as a maid at his big house.

 

                                                                           WANG

I know that she won first prize.  I wonder who won the second and third prize?  Be nice to her.  After all, she is her sister.  Please give some attention to this matter.  We have a big family and many relatives.

 

                                                                           BILL

With that amount of money he can buy two shares of stock.

 

                                                                           WANG

I don’t want to argue with you about it.

 

                                                                           BILL

Have they come back?

 

                                                                           WANG

No, they haven’t.

 

                                                                           BILL

The swine!  To act as they do…  They exceed the errors of their faults.

 

                                                                           WANG

It is late.  You’ll be tardy.  Thanks, Bill. 

 

(Exit BILL) 

 

Now to keep him informed.

 

                              (He picks up the phone and dials it.)


SCENE 24:  Lucy’s room.  JIMMY and LUCY.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(brushing his teeth)  I hate using toothpowder.  As a rule I use toothpaste.  I want to kill all the germs in my mouth, on or between my teeth.

 

                              (Enter LUCY in her hostess outfit)

 

                                                                           LUCY

Are your bowels all right?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Apparently there are unseen passages.

 

                                                                           LUCY

You need to relax.

 

                              (sound of knocking on the door)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Someone’s knocking at the door.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Who is it?

 

                                                                           MESSENGER

Western Telegraph Agency!

 

                                                                           LUCY

Come in.

 

                              (Enter MESSENGER)

 

                                                                           MESSENGER

I carry a message in my hand.  A radiogram for you, Miss Li.

 

                              (LUCY opens envelope and reads radiogram.)

 

                                                                           LUCY

You need not wait.  There is no need for an answer.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I haven’t a penny. 

 

(Exit MESSENGER.  LUCY hands the radiogram to JIMMY to read, but he hands it back to her.) 

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Please read it aloud and translate in English.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(reading) “Dear Lucy, I am fond of reading novels.  When we use them we must take great care of them.  They are only stitched together by a thread.  As a rule Chinese paper is quite thin and one sheet cannot be printed on both sides.  It can only be printed on one.

I forget very easily what I have learned.  Suddenly I hear the sound of music in the distance.  The sound comes nearer and nearer.  There is a sound of trumpets and drums, both of which I can distinguish.  I lean out of the window and look out.  It seems to be a military band.  The musicians come nearer and nearer.  The sound grows louder and louder.  Soon the musicians pass before my eyes and gradually the sounds become softer and at last I can no longer see the musicians or hear the music.

All these points you must pay attention to.  Only then will it be all right.  These words I am writing are not so easy.  The day is fixed for the last day of the month at 4 P.M.  When I enter the hall, I will first bow to him and express my thanks to him.  I will enquire about his health.  Then I will shake hands with him.  There will be a good deal of talking and laughing and we’ll all be very cheerful.   I will drink tea and eat cakes.  Suddenly the bomb explodes!  I will go on eating cake.

Altogether I must walk down twenty floors.  When I reach the second floor, I will go on walking down.  When I reach the ground floor I will walk over to the front door, open it, and walk out…

I am tired of walking.  I will go to my room to rest.” (to JIMMY)  What time is it?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

It will soon be two.

 

                                                                           LUCY

There are still two hours to go.  It’s almost time.  (She continues reading.)  “I am a student, you are a student, and all of them are students too.  I can’t help but question, why?  Why did they have to die?  Chinese all like to say thank you.  Is that right?  Do they understand?  No, they don’t understand very well.

I am thirsty.  I have eaten enough.  I can’t come back.  I will finish writing so you will know I can’t be bought.

Time runs too fast.  I am going out to have some fun and then I will go into the city.  Say hello to mother.  This child who is writing is tired now.  Respectfully, your elder brother.”

 

                                                                           JIMMY

That is a beautiful radiogram.  Your English is really good to listen to.

 

                                                                           LUCY

I am afraid there is something wrong with his brain and that someday it may develop into insanity.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Let’s have a cup of tea and watch the boat races.

 

                                                                           LUCY

I am afraid we don’t have time to watch them.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I saw newsreels of the war.  They were very good.

 

                                                                           LUCY

When will you be joining up, Jimmy?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Everybody likes to see the newsreels.  There are some who don’t like musical movies.  I was deeply moved by the drama.  How sad it is.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Was that movie American made?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I couldn’t say definitely.

 

                                                                           LILY

It’s hard to support a big family.  He put as much money as he had into the business.  I don’t have much appetite today.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Today’s temperature is about 50 degrees.

 

                                                                           LUCY

I need two gallons of kerosene.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

What is kerosene used for?  An electric stove is better than a kerosene stove.

 

                                                                           LUCY

Some people burn firewood for cooking.  Turn on the radio and let’s listen to the news.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Ideas and culture have a very close relationship. 

 

                              (He turns the radio on.  Sound of static as he turns the dial.)

 

There’s a reason for this. 

 

(More sound of static.  He shakes the radio, pounds it, drops it on the floor.  Static abruptly stops.) 

 

                                                                           LUCY

Is it fixed yet? 


SCENE 25:  Mr. Li’s laundry.  Piles of dirty laundry everywhere.  BILL and LILLY are standing at washtubs, scrubbing shirts on washboards.

 

                                                                           BILL

(pausing for a moment) This bowl of meat soup is spoiled. I’d better throw it out.

 

(He smells soup and pours it out.)

                                            

                                                                           LILLY

Why don’t you eat something else?

 

                                                                           BILL

I had oatmeal and coffee for breakfast this morning. 

 

                                                                           LILLY

You don’t know anything about washing clothes, do you?  Have you had your lunch?

 

                                                                           BILL

I don’t have a great deal of money.  (He looks down at his wrist to see the time.)  Ha ha.  I sold my watch.  If I had only told them about my true identity, everything would be all right.  I did not even fire one shot!

 

                              (Enter MR. LI)

 

                                                                           MR. LI

The shirts that have come back from this laundry look as if they have not been washed at all!  (aside to audience)  I hope he doesn’t find out about my secret.  (To BILL and LILLY)  I don’t always speak so softly…  (aside)  I should have taken my holiday this week…  (To BILL and LILLY)  Before I make a decision I think the matter over for a few days.  (aside)  It looks as if it’s going to rain...  (To BILL and LILLY)  I make a list of the things I might forget.  (aside) Any kind of failure can cause discouragement…  (To BILL and LILLY)  I smoke a cigarette.  (aside)  The workmen have gone on strike…  (To BILL and LILLY)  I look right and left.  I talk to experts.  I ask their advice.  I meet friends.  I drink a good cup of coffee.  I get accurate information.  I consult reference books.  In this way I review several times a day what I have not mastered.  Others are soft and yielding.  I am hard and firm.  Do you know what the five basic metals are?

 

                                                                           BILL

No, but I know what the four seasons are.  Spring, summer…

 

                                                                           LI

The Chinese call them gold, silver, copper, iron and tin.  I am gold.  You are tin!  These are all Chinese army uniforms, not American navy uniforms.  Will it do?  It won’t do!  On the contrary, it’s a nuisance!  (aside)  I really need a vacation. 

 

                                                                           BILL                     

(aside to LILLY)  The air here is not very fresh.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(aside to BILL)  He is very bitter.

 

                                                                           BILL

(aside to LILLY)  He is incapable of sitting down.

 

                                                                           LI

Why do you smirk?

 

                                                                           LILLY

(aside to BILL)  As soon as it is time we’ll eat lunch.

 

                                                                           LI

It would be best for both of you not to go until I have returned.

 

                              (Exit LI)

 

                                                                           BILL

(to LI as he exits)  We have no free or leisure time!  (to LILLY)  I don’t like him very much.  He is very bad.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Who is very good?

 

                                                                           BILL

Everyone is better than I…  I have never slept on the floor before.  I don’t know how to make Chinese food.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Drink a little water.

 

                                                                           BILL

I don’t have enough to eat.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Can you sing American songs?

 

                                                                           BILL

I’ve studied at Yale.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(She sings)

 

Yankee Doodle went to town,

A-Riding on a pony…

                                                                           BILL

(He sings)

 

He stuck a feather in his hat…

 

                                                                           BILL and LILLY

(They sing together)

 

And called it macaroni!

 

Yankee Doodle, keep it up,

Yankee Doodle dandy;

Mind the music and the step,

And with the girls be handy!

 

                              (They laugh uproariously. Enter LI)

 

                                                                           LI

Everybody’s having a good time except me!  Here are two categories I use:  the Blind and the Lame.  It’s like going to the zoo.  Here’s a monkey and there’s a kangaroo.  It’s like a house that needs furniture.  (He taps BILL on the head.)  You must want to have your supper very late tonight.

 

                                                                           BILL

I don’t have supper at a regular time.  Sometimes I have it at eight, sometimes at noon.  (pause)  None of us can finish this work in two hours!

 

                                                                           LILLY

What he said is correct.  The number of workers is too limited.

 

                                                                           BILL

Don’t be angry.  We don’t mean to offend you intentionally.  When a country’s population is numerous, many problems tend to arise.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(aside to BILL)  His temper is extremely bad.  Don’t talk to him.  He has been like this since childhood.

 

                                                                           BILL

(to LI)  Are you the father of Lucy Li?

 

                                                                           LI

(aside to audience)  The truth has now been revealed and the situation following it is beyond expectation.

 

                                                                           BILL

Mr. Li, I have a dream.  A dream of a Chinese republic.  A dream to enjoy rights, our rights, as sovereign human beings, to enjoy liberty, to enjoy equality.  A dream of a nation, a flag, an identity.  A dream of you, a dream of me, a dream of you waving your hands.  Is this irresponsible?  To dream?

 

                                                                           LI

(aside to audience)  He is quite elated.  I am not so elated.

 

                                                                           BILL

The military headquarters of the revolutionary troops needs one one-horsepower, three six-horsepower, and five two-thousand-fifty-eight-horsepower machines.

 

                                                                           LI

Can you ride a horse?

 

                                                                           BILL

I can ride a bicycle.

 

                                                                           LILLY

I can ride a horse.  My younger brother’s colleagues all live in the city.

 

                                                                           LI

Perhaps he is right, perhaps he is not right.  Are you capable of finding the railway station?  How much American money do you have?  How much Chinese money do you want?

 

                                                                           BILL

I have a great deal of American money.  I want very little Chinese money.

 

                                                                           LI

How much rice do you want to buy?

 

                                                                           BILL

A mountain, higher than the sea.  (aside to LILLY)  I am not really afraid of him.  I am only afraid of God.

 

                                                                           LI

Remember, you’ll be in enemy country, surrounded by enemy troops.  Are you prepared to die?  Are you prepared to extinguish, to destroy, to exterminate, to conquer and win?

 

                                                                           LILLY

How many people are there inside the house?

 

                                                                           LI

The restaurant is in front of the house.  (to BILL)  What was it that he said to you this morning?

 

                                                                           BILL

“I washed it but couldn’t get it clean.”

 

                                                                           LI

He is a modest giant.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Is the house near the school?

 

                                                                           LI

It is much nearer to go straight ahead.

 

                                                                           BILL

If we do not stop the bleeding, they will certainly die.

 

                                                                           LI

The most important person is the man before your face.  Be sure all your sentences make sense.  He often laughs at people.  Don’t tell jokes!  If this war does not come to a speedy end, we shall face great difficulties in the future.  If you are not careful, you will be thrown into prison.

(giving them items)  Show him Mrs. Wang’s comb, his mother-in-law’s letter, his daughter’s handbag, his son’s shoes, and my grandfather’s photo.  Tell him that you never met me before.  I have to attend this important meeting.  Then I intend to go abroad.  Unless we all cooperate and everyone does his utmost, we cannot achieve victory.  I will never set foot in this place again.

 

                              (Exit LI)

 

                                                                           LILLY

He left the Party long ago.

 

                                                                           BILL

It’s good that he’s returned.

 

                                                                           LILLY

He expresses his political views properly and I do not mind if they are liberal or conservative.

 

                                                                           BILL

He deserves a vote of thanks.

 

                              (They salute, facing the audience.)

 

                                                                           LILLY

We can eat now.


SCENE 26:  Jonny’s house. LEILA is drinking tea and reading a book.

 

(Enter JONNY swigging on a bottle, looking disheveled and plastered with leaves and dirt.)

 

                                                                           LEILA

Did you fall into the river?

 

                                                                           JONNY

No, I fell out of the window.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Please don’t upset the tea.

 

                                                                           JONNY

It isn’t everyday I go bankrupt.

 

                                                                           LEILA

You’re drunk!

 

                                                                           JONNY

Shut up or I’ll break this chair over your head!  I should be run over by a car…

 

                                                                           LEILA

In a year’s time the economic situation will have changed completely.  The houses shall all be rebuilt.  She will come of age.  He will have resigned.  The Agreement will come to an end and you and I shall travel around the world.

 

                                                                           JONNY

We simply must pack our cases.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Please, take your medicine.  You’ll feel much better.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Don’t contradict me!

 

                                                                           LEILA

I had the fire on all day, but I still couldn’t get the house warm.  With whom did you have a row?

 

                                                                           JONNY

My brother left for France two hours ago. 

 

                                                                           LEILA

That’s really unfortunate.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Only when I understand completely will I be satisfied.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I have questions all the time.  I work very hard at learning.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I am both hungry and angry.  My whole body perspires.  He is already three days late.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Sometimes he is very smart.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Yeah, every other week.

 

                                                                           LEILA

What can we do?

 

                                                                           JONNY

We could take a plane.

 

                                                                           LEILA

You can’t go from here to there.  (aside to audience)  Why can’t he sit down?

 

                                                                           JONNY

He is surely on board ship.

 

                                                                           LEILA

There isn’t anyone who has any money.  He has said “goodbye”.  You must say “goodbye” too.

 

                                                                           JONNY

It doesn’t really matter.

 

                              (sound of knocks on door)

 

                                                                           LEILA

Did you hear that?

 

                                                                           JONNY

Yes.

 

                                                                           LEILA

We have been there before, haven’t we?

 

                                                                           JONNY

I’ve been there twice before.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I’ve been there three times. (to person at door) Come in.  The door is open. 

 

                              (Enter MRS. MA.   LEILA runs to her.) 

 

Mother!  I am really sorry.  Come in and eat.  You don’t have to go home.

 

                                                                           MRS. MA

Tell him to go.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I’ll be in the kitchen.

 

                              (Exit JONNY)

 

                                                                           MA

Don’t ask him anymore.  He went to see her, didn’t he?  How many days has he been gone?  What did you ask him?

 

                                                                           LEILA

It was on that plane that he came.  I asked him if he had any brothers.

 

                                                                           MA
Who’s inside the house?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Nobody.

 

                                                                           MA

Did he return Tuesday?  Which store is he working at right now?  Isn’t it expensive to go by plane?

 

                                                                           LEILA

No.  He is a rich man.  He lost a large amount of money in business last year, but he is making money this year.

 

                                                                           MA

Our friend is not only capable but clever.

 

                                                                           LEILA

He was unwilling to go.  He didn’t take the money along.  I’ve spent $126.50 so far.  Now I don’t have a penny.  Not a single person came.  He was not very good to us.

 

                                                                           MA

You are the favorite daughter of mine.  You are good-looking.  He is an Italian.  He likes that younger sister of yours very much.  The meaning of this sentence and the previous sentence are practically the same.  The letter he wrote was thrown out by his wife.  Don’t leave tomorrow, OK? 

 

                                                                           LEILA

Only when he arrives will I go.

 

                                                                           MA

You came together.  Why don’t you go together?

 

                                                                           LEILA

We didn’t come together, so we are not going together.

 

                                                                           MA

I am glad.  It is advantageous.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I know where he lives, but I don’t know him.

 

                                                                           MA

Your older brother will know.  Be joyous!  These men of war are not only very secure, but are big and strong.  Endure and be courageous.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Let me analyze the situation.  He is a very active person.  Is there any flaw?  Whose place is he taking?  Suppose the Chairman doesn’t come?  Who will be the acting Chairman?

 

                                                                           MA

A man as frank and capable as he is, is certainly difficult to find now.          

 

                                                                           LEILA

It is necessary for us to order and cause the people and citizens to allow us to join together duty with responsibility completely.  Yet the profit-interest blows fiercely.

 

                              (Enter JONNY.   He crosses to the outside door, as if about to go.) 

 

Have you drunk enough?  Are you going?

 

                                                                           JONNY

I have finished eating.  Where is the railway station?

 

                                                                           MA

Please wait a moment.  This actually proves what I was saying.  He didn’t catch it because he was out of breath.

 

                                                                           LEILA

The thief had a gun but did not fire.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I looked for it everywhere.

 

                                                                           LEILA

All of a sudden I heard the sound of a whistle.

 

                                                                           JONNY

All of us knelt down to pray.

 

                                                                           LEILA

As I was keeping my eyes on the baggage, I forgot my hat.  Consequently, my hat was stolen.

 

                                                                           JONNY

It was as if spirits were at work!

 

                                                                           MA

How could there be such a thing?

 

                                                                           LEILA

There were heaps of papers everywhere.

 

                                                                           MA

The police have yet to put this incident into the record.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I made a copy of the letter.

 

                                                                           LEILA

Midway, the car ran out of gasoline.

 

                                                                           MA

Where was he at that time?

 

                                                                           LEILA

The ship hadn’t docked yet.

 

                                                                           JONNY

It was the first day of the year.

 

                                                                           LEILA

I went to see him off at the airport yesterday.

 

                                                                           JONNY

There is one Chinese acre of land around the house.

 

                                                                           MA

Who is the owner of the land?

 

                                                                           LEILA

Mr. Wang.

 

                                                                           MA

Could you tell me in detail how the army is organized?

 

                              (Suddenly there is a flash of light and a tremendous explosion outside.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

Get down!  They’re bombing us!


SCENE 27:  Wang’s office.  MARGERY and MR. WANG.

 

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Wang, are you in?  I’ve come a bit late, I‘m afraid.

 

                               (Enter MR. WANG)

 

                                                                           WANG

Margery, how nice to see you.  I’ve heard that you’re planning a holiday trip to West Lake.  It really is a beautiful place, you know.  Does the government know the reason you’re going abroad?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Yes.  The reason is one which the government has sanctioned.  As you can see, Wang, this road is very long.

 

                                                                           WANG

I suppose there is a finishing point

 

                                                                           MARGERY

What time does tomorrow begin?

 

                                                                           WANG

I think you’re certain to win.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Will your brothers and sisters be coming home?

 

                                                                           WANG

They all want to come home.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Sunflowers like the light, don’t they?

 

                                                                           WANG

Yes, but it’s late in the year and the plum blossoms have faded.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

For what reason did you want to see Mr. Li?  There are no return tickets on this bus.

 

                                                                           WANG

It won’t take us long.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It is very stuffy in here.  Can we open the window?  (He opens the window.)  I went to the Post Office yesterday to send off a book.  I’m told it was a very valuable parcel I was sending.  And I would like to have it insured.

 

                                                                           WANG  

Is that right?  When you send anything by post you’ve got to wrap it up.  Did you seal it with wax?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

No, but they gave me a receipt.

 

                                                                           WANG

Margery, do you know the difference between an island, a peninsular and an archipelago? 

 

(Suddenly there is a flash of light and a tremendous explosion outside.) 

 

Get down! They’re bombing us!


SCENE 28:  On a train.  JIMMY and LUCY sitting with knapsacks on their laps. Sound of speeding train, flickering lights.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This train travels faster than the others.

 

                                                                           LUCY

(looking out train window)  The ice on the river has melted.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

In a short time it will be summer.

 

                                                                           LUCY

There is great hope for the future.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

My pulse is beating very rapidly.  I want to rub my whole body clean.

 

                                                                           LUCY

In telephoning him, did you put the call through?

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Why can’t we go to Nanking by boat?

 

                                                                           LUCY

Going by boat is very inconvenient.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

How old is your father this year?

 

                                                                           LUCY

He is sixty-four years old now.  He is really dependable.  You can ask him to do anything for you.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

I forgot to tell you.  Yesterday I received a long letter from my older brother.  He dislikes the wet winter weather in Shanghai but he says he has made many new friends.

 

                                                                           LUCY

His moral nature is truly good.  He has taken great pains to help us.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

He was born in America but grew up in France. 

 

                              (JIMMY takes out a piece of paper.)

 

                                                                           LUCY

What kind of notice is that in your hand?  Is it a draft notice? 

 

                                                                           JIMMY

(putting paper away)  Although I would like to go, I am busy now, so how could I go?

 

                                                                           LUCY

I like Nanking better than Shanghai.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Did you hear yesterday where he said he was going?

 

                                                                           LUCY

I heard him say he wanted to go to the city.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

He came from the city.  I saw him go in and out.

 

                                                                           LUCY

He goes to the city everyday.

 

                              (sound of train going faster)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This express train is much faster than the local train.

 

                                                                           LUCY

It is extremely, exceedingly fast.

 

                              (sound of train going faster and faster and faster)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

What do you think his shortcomings are as a man?

 

 

                                                                           LUCY

Don’t you think this train is fast?

 

                              (sound of train going yet faster)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

Yes, it is.  This train is quite fast.

 

                                                                           LUCY

This train is very fast.

 

                              (sound of train going still  faster)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This train is unusually fast.                         

 

                                                                           LUCY

This train is especially fast.

 

                              (sound of train going even faster and faster)

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This train is really fast.

 

                                                                           LUCY

This train is terribly fast.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This train is excessively fast.

 

                              (sound of train going full speed)

 

                                                                           LUCY

This train is way too fast.

 

                                                                           JIMMY

This train is going to crash!

 

(Flashing lights, sounds of train crash.  JIMMY and LUCY are thrown from their seats.)


SCENE 29:  The grounds outside a Hong Kong hospital. LILLY is pushing MR. WANG in a wheelchair.  He is blind and wears a large, floppy hat to protect him from the sun.

                             

                                                                           LILLY

How are you feeling, Mr. Wang?

 

                                                                           WANG

We’re all fine.

 

                                                                           LILLY

What do you want to read?  Do you read papers or books?

 

                                                                           WANG

We all read foreign papers.  Having read the papers, we all drink some tea.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Mr. Wang, I think the best thing is…

 

                                                                           WANG

I am a very old man.  But I am not a beggar!  The book he writes, Lilly, if I were you — I’d hurry up and speak to him about it. 

 

                                                                           LILLY

Please eat some more.  You ought to do less drinking.  Walk a bit.  (WANG rises with LILLY’s help and totters forward.)  Poor man.

 

(Enter BILL walking backwards, disguised as a doctor.  He wears a hospital mask and surgical gown and is consulting a medical chart, in.  He suddenly whips around, tears of his mask and reveals himself to LILLY.)

                             

                                                                           BILL

The old gentleman wears a big hat.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Bill!  Where did you come from?

 

                                                                           BILL

I came from Kowloon.

 

                                                                           LILLY

When did you get back?

 

                                                                           BILL

I have been studying you for three days…  Two out of three of those letters are mine.  Remember?

 

                                                                           LILLY

I recollect…

 

                                                                           BILL

It’s not only that he needs to eat, Lilly.  I need to eat too!

 

                                                                           WANG

(to LILLY)  Tell him to come again next month.

 

                                                                           LILLY

(to BILL)  How long has he been angry with you?

 

                                                                           WANG

I like no one.

 

                                                                           BILL

I have to leave soon.  My time’s almost up.  Wait for me.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Twelve days ago I might have said yes.

 

                                                                           BILL
I’ll leave my piano here for you.

 

                                                                           LILLY

When you see him tomorrow, please give my regards to him.

 

                                                                           BILL

I am thinking of going to Peiping next year.  I want to learn Mandarin before I go so I can speak with the Mandarin people there.

 

                                                                           LILLY

With faith you can do anything. 

 

(Exit BILL) 

 

Gambling is a bad habit for him.

 

                                                                           WANG

He can’t go anyway.  Kowloon is a peninsula.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Now I understand the meaning of the word “clever”.

 

                                                                           WANG

(sitting down in his wheelchair)  I can’t for a moment recall his full name.  Why does he want to be a soldier?  Do you hold him in high regard?

 

                                                                           LILLY

He advocates that we should only love our country.

 

                                                                           WANG

This big war is the end of an epoch.

 

                                                                           LILLY

They claim they deliberated for a long time but couldn’t find a good way to manage it.

 

                                                                           WANG

Why do you rebuke yourself?

 

                                                                           LILLY

The workers will have a conference tomorrow to discuss calling a strike.  He is quite elated.  His responsibilities are very heavy.

 

                                                                           WANG

It’s a pity that he can’t come today.

 

                                                                           LILLY

He said he will come to the city next Sunday and see you.

 

                                                                           WANG

I have ridden in boats.  I have never ridden in an airplane.  Do you know by whom the airplane was invented?  (pause)  It doesn’t matter.  Never mind.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Was it an American?  (pause)  The weather is very good today, Mr. Wang.  The sky is clear and it is calm.

 

                                                                           WANG

There are no clouds?

 

                                                                           LILLY

No, there are no clouds.  But it is always unsettled in summer.  We may easily have a sudden shower.  See, it is already clouding over!

 

                                                                           WANG

I spoke with Dr. Cho this morning and he promised to get me into the Municipal Hospital.

 

                                                                             LILLY         

There are lots of patients there, I should think. 

 

                                                                           WANG

I hear you’re going to England.  Are you going by train or by boat?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Neither, I am going by air.

 

                                                                           WANG

I have lost a good many things, the most important being my wallet.  I have reported it to the police.  They asked me a lot of questions and took down my answers.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Was there any money in it?

 

                                                                           WANG

Approximately one hundred dollars.

 

                                                                           LILLY

I’ve got an elder brother who’s a businessman and a younger brother who’s a student and a younger sister who’s a nurse in a hospital.

 

                                                                           WANG

I hope it won’t snow over Christmas.  What kind of games do you most like to watch?  Do you prefer basketball or football?

 

                                                                           LILLY

I prefer basketball, football, volley ball, soccer, tennis, baseball, polo, cricket and golf.

 

                                                                           WANG

How about ping pong and billiards?

 

                                                                           LILLY

Not so much. (pause) Everything is divided into sections, isn’t it, Mr. Wang?  Are munitions factories in China able to produce heavy armaments?

 

                                                                           WANG

No, they can’t make heavy arms.  They can only make rifles, pistols, light arms like that.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Parachutes are very useful things, are they not?

 

                                                                           WANG

Yes, they enable our men to make descents to the rear of the enemy.

 

                                                                           LILLY

What is the most effective thing to use against fire bombs?

 

                                                                           WANG

Sandbags and stirrup pumps.  Those with serious wounds are sent to the hospital.

 

                                                                           LILLY

This town is undefended, the blackout is very strict and the camouflage is also very good, so why does the enemy still come to bomb us?

 

                                                                           WANG

They want to make reprisals.  They actually have no military objectives.

 

                                                                           LILLY

You still haven’t written that letter, have you?

 

                                                                           WANG

Be patient.  He’s very cunning.  Although the information is incomplete, it is very valuable.

 

                                                                           LILLY

Thank goodness I can still look at his wonderful pictures.

 

                                                                           WANG

I frequently listen to his records.  (cough, cough)

 

                                                                           LILLY

This illness is not a cold but diphtheria.

 

                                                                           WANG

Unless he changes his behavior to me, we cannot be friends.

 

                                                                           LILLY

And unless you place full confidence in your doctor, this illness cannot be cured.

 

                                                                           WANG

Once the fire goes out, the room is cold.  Go to the hotel and fetch the case that you left there yesterday.  Then ask him to do something for me. 

 

                              (He whispers in her ear.)

 

                                                                           LILLY

Even if nobody likes him, I shall never abandon him.

 

                                                                           WANG

This book was given to me by your grandfather.  (He hands her a book.)  This is the letter he showed you when he first arrived.  (He gives her a letter.)  His real name is…

 

(WANG clutches his chest, tries to rise from his wheelchair, falls forward and dies.)

 

                                                                           LILLY

I will try to follow his directions according to his words until they prove successful.  So I say this to the old gentleman:  “I am very much obliged to you.”  No matter whether the subject was easy or difficult, no matter whether we were intelligent or stupid, he was patient with us.  He would then encourage us in many ways.  I held him in great respect.  Indeed, he was indefatigable in teaching men.


SCENE 30:  A street in Hong Kong.  JONNY with a knapsack.  He speaks to passers-by.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Could you buy me a bowl of rice and two fish?   I no longer have any Chinese money.

May I enquire?  Which way to the railway station?  May I enquire?  May I enquire?

I have been sick for three weeks but now I’m well.

I haven’t been angry in three days. I have been here for how long? 

What’s in a name? The sentences I say are easy to learn. Is it all right to speak Chinese?

It was on this street that we lived.  We had a lot of fun playing.  The stories he told us were particularly funny.  I don’t plan to pay him back those twenty dollars.

I searched for a long time but didn’t succeed in finding her.  I can’t afford to buy a new car.

What language do you speak?  Is that your newspaper?  Is it a Chinese newspaper?  Yes, I can read it.  I can read a Chinese newspaper.

Excuse me, are you a doctor, a physician?  I have a headache and I’m running a fever.  I think I’m catching a cold.  Do you have some liquid medicine?  Can you write a prescription?

Are you happy?  Why aren’t you very happy?

This is my diary.  (He shows diary.)  The diary of a student, of an inventor, of a cultural ambassador, of a scientist and a scholar.  This is my toothbrush.  (He shows toothbrush.)  It is dependable.  Without a toothbrush I can’t brush my teeth.

I am poor and wretched.  I want to start a business and be depended on.  I love to eat but cannot cook.  I like Chinese food.  How about you?  I eat anything.  I haven’t eaten for twelve days. 

 

(He crosses upstage and falls asleep against the side of a building.  Enter MARGERY and VICTOR.  MARGERY is dressed in a brightly-colored outfit and sports a huge diamond ring on her left hand.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Why are we going so slow?  We must walk a little faster.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I have been here before, when he was little.  (noticing JONNY asleep upstage)  He’s fallen asleep.  Jonny, Jonny!  Speak a few words to me.

 

                                                                           JONNY

(waking up)  What do you want?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I don’t want anything.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Why are you standing?  Please sit down. 

 

(MARGERY and VICTOR sit down next to him on the street.) 

 

Do you want me to say a few words in Chinese?  Who are you?  Who told you I was Chinese?  Don’t you know I am very busy?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Look at me.  If you wore flannel pajamas you would be much warmer. 

 

                                                                           JONNY

It wouldn’t make much difference.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Last time we met, we were in a sweetshop and we were buying sweets.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Yes, I’m fond of sweets.  I still don’t know you.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Tomorrow will be Mother’s Day.                                                             

 

                                                                           JONNY

My father named me Jonny.  He is a physician of Chinese medicine.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

What’s his nickname?

 

                                                                           JONNY

“Old Stove-in-Cold-Storage”.  (They laugh together.)  Every child likes to pull his long beard.  (laughing)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to VICTOR)  His face looks a little rounder.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to MARGERY)  What is the program?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  Three doctors are giving her an operation.  No one saw how the child fell down.  The hospital has taken an X-Ray of her.  I wish to visit her in the hospital this afternoon.  You may stay behind to keep him company.  Please take a picture of us.

 

                              (She hands him a camera.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

I’m sorry, this film has all been used.

 

                              (She takes the camera back.)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

From now on I shall pay attention to him.  I am asking for a divorce.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

You don’t love me anymore?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I should never have gone with you to the cinema.  (aside to audience)  His face is very pale and he looks like he’s going to faint at any moment.

 

                                                                           JONNY

(aside to audience)  She looks like she’s going to cry at any moment.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(aside to audience)  The painting looks genuine, but it is only a very good copy.  (to MARGERY)  Remember, Margery, no attack can attain its objective without sustaining some loss.  We simply must finish this work.  If only he hadn’t left her.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

If only you did not always interfere.  If only you did not always promise more than was in your power. 

 

                                                                           VICTOR

If only you did not always arrive late and did not always interrupt people.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

If only you had not missed the train, it would have been all right.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

If only you had not left the country, it would have been all right.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

If only you had not sold the house!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

If only you had not signed the Agreement!

 

                                                                           JONNY

(aside to audience)  They should not fight.  In my opinion they are very irritable.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Next time, don’t speak until you are spoken to!

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Next time, don’t go to a foreign country before you know the language!

 

                              (She slaps him.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

You must be very careful, Margery.  You’ve already lost a lot.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I’m afraid I’ve caused you a lot of trouble by asking you to come.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Sometimes I do not understand you, Margery.  I stretch out my hand and you shut an iron gate.

 

                                                                           JONNY

It is gradually growing darker and getting rather late.  The most important matter is to be kind.  I have transportation problems.  I don’t know the purpose of my trip.  Where shall I stay overnight?  What do you call the place where the Commander-in-Chief works? 

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Headquarters?

 

                                                                           JONNY

What’s the most poisonous snake there is?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

The cobra?

 

                                                                           JONNY

Which season do you prefer:  spring or autumn?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Spring.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Autumn.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I want a pair of the very best handmade gloves there are.  Where is the home of the United Nations?  Is it Switzerland again?  What is its organic law?

`

                                                                           MARGERY

(to VICTOR)  We really should not worry about the expense.  The important thing is to get his illness treated.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Victor, how many stamps do you think are needed to send this book?

 

                              (He shows VICTOR his diary.)

 

                                                                           VICTOR

I think a five cent stamp is enough to send this book.

 

                                                                           JONNY

If I wanted to send it abroad, would it cost more?  Have you heard that now that the war is over the government is going to restore governing power to the people?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

That is quite correct.  The government and the people are similar but not exactly alike.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Thank you for putting into operation this constitutional government.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Yes.  Both the spirit and the discipline of the Chinese soldier are very good.  This is because their training is generally very strict.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I am going into the Army and will join my unit next month.  I am told that there are several good naval harbors in China that could be used for bases.  Is it true that submarines under water are very easily detected by airplanes?

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Yes, and after discovering the submarine the airplane can drop depth charges that are difficult to dodge.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Yes, our air force is very strong and can keep them at bay.

 

                                                                           JONNY

All Chinese houses have gardens, don’t they?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Only the big ones.  They all have courtyards, though.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Some have special fronts and more than one story.

 

                                                                           JONNY

You can travel anywhere in this country, if you can afford the time and the money.  I can’t swim today because I have boils.  I use this tea kettle to make tea.  (He shows tea kettle.) Want to join me? 

 

                                                                           MARGERY

You will be happier when you’re home.

 

                              (JONNY notices big diamond ring on MARGERY’s hand.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

That stone looks like a human head.  What’s the price?  Is it expensive?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to VICTOR)  There is a mess upstairs.

 

                                                                           JONNY

You can worship God without burning candles.  God will certainly help you if you believe in Him.  Let everyone have a job!  They came to Hong Kong as refugees.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

Indeed, Hong Kong is a commercial port, one of the most famous in the world.  The population is only one million despite worldwide developments in transportation.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Whatever the amount, it should not be considered too much.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to MARGERY)  The more knowledge he has, the more trouble it is for him.

 

                                                                           JONNY

This is a question of society versus the individual.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please rest a little.

 

                                                                           JONNY

Don’t bully me.  Don’t bully him.  Don’t bully anybody!

 

                                                                           MARGERY

This is bitter.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I have already told you many times not to do it.  The principle is very easy to understand!

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Would you like to come to my hotel and chat?

 

                                                                           JONNY

Is it cool there?  Chaos and unrest grow and suffering spreads among the people.

 

                                                                           VICTOR

(to MARGERY)  He is unable to move forward or backward.  He is in a dilemma.

 

                                                                           JONNY

I feel smashed to little bits.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Stretch out your left hand.  I want to look at it.

                             

                              (He stretches out his hand.)

 

                                                                           JONNY

Can you wash it clean?


SCENE 31:  A street in Hong Kong.  MR. LI.

 

                                                                           LI

(speaking to audience)  But I digress.  There is something of great value, something precious that allows us to stay alive.  He is better than I, and I’m not as good as you.  I am between you and him.  Is it you or he?  It is he, not I.

The train came a little late last night.  I like to think, I like to call to mind this event and seek the suitable balance.  I want to be able to forget the season, the rain, the night, the inconvenient, the disadvantageous, perhaps to allow, to promise to return and remember as a gift.

Now I am going to mail these three letters.  Please wait a while for me here.  I’ve enjoyed working together with you and I’d like to extend my admiration and envy at your clean and tidy temperament.  After all, the family is an institution.  Mama, papa, child, youth.  Sound of laughter, peace, repose, good health.  To gather and collect the meaning.  To sigh, to dream, to play.  To lift, to raise a lamp.  To worry, to grieve.  No wonder he wasn’t pleased, no wonder he wasn’t willing to go.   But let’s pass over the past. 

(He starts to go.)  Do you think it will be windy today?  Look, the moon is coming out quite slowly from behind the clouds.  There is a moon in the sky.  There is also a sun in the sky.  Has the rain stopped?  Can you lend me your raincoat and rubber overshoes?

The last train has left and all the tickets have been sold.  All the furniture has been removed.  The town was occupied by the enemy.   He had already left.  I lost my bet.  I ran over the dog.  I made a row.  I overslept.

She ought not to have taken holy vows.

 

(Exit LI.  Enter COMRADE X and BILL dressed in Communist Party uniforms.)

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

One day the airplane will become an ordinary means of communication.

 

                                                                           BILL

The enemy evacuated this town without a fight.

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

I haven’t gone for a walk in a long time.

 

                                                                           BILL

I had completely forgotten he almost didn’t even get there.

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

He had limited opportunity to.

 

                                                                           BILL

But for him, I should have failed.

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

If you are not careful, you still will.  Don’t forget, this is not the first time you’ve had to go to the well and fetch his pail of water.

 

                                                                           BILL

He never came without bringing us a present…

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

The best doctors attended to him…

 

                                                                           BILL

Every day now the weather is getting better…

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

Our coal costs less…

 

                                                                           BILL

We earn more money…

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

Our Party becomes more influential…

 

                                                                           BILL

The district gets bigger…

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

Our airplanes fly faster…

 

                                                                           BILL

His pronouncements are better…

 

                                                                           COMRADE X

When he makes an unprepared speech…

 

                                                                           BILL

Is there enough to eat?  We Americans like to eat candy.

 

                              (Exit COMRADE X and BILL.  Enter MARGERY and INSPECTOR CHANG)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

It was in this school that he learned his Chinese.  Memories.  You can’t buy them for any amount of money.  I want to return home to my native country.  I want to eat food with a fork!

 

                                                                           CHANG

That brother of his — he has some good friends.  Some of his friends are Americans.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Which one?

 

                                                                           CHANG

Tell me, when he wrote the letter after eating lunch, did he look around for it?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He glanced at the book and then put it down. 

 

                                                                           CHANG

(aside to audience)  Fish here, fish there.  I like to fish.  (to MARGERY)  What did he want to buy?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to audience)  I am hearing but I’m not listening.  (to CHANG)  An automobile, a good automobile, an American automobile.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Is your wristwatch made of gold or is it made of silver?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Did he commit a crime?  Is he a criminal?  

 

                                                                           CHANG

(noticing someone in the distance)  Who is that short person? Do you see that short person over there?  Is he any relation?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He is a man of unusual ability.  I have promised him to go.

 

                                                                           CHANG

This story is quite interesting.  What did he beg you to do?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

He asked me to measure him.  He was not very pleased.  It’s almost been two years.

 

                                                                           CHANG

The elder brother had important facts.  His younger brother hoped to re-connect.  It’s clear that was not to be.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Pretty soon, the whole morning will be gone.

 

                                                                           CHANG

I have twelve questions, none of which you’ve answered.

                             

                                                                           MARGERY

(to audience)  I breathe the fresh air.  I feel much better.  I open my lazy eyes.  I know this much.  I will never pass this way again.  (to CHANG)  The temperature is rising steadily.  I feel giddy and out-of-sorts.

 

                                                                           CHANG

What is the trouble?  Do you not feel very well?  (She begins to shiver.)  Please undo your clothes.  I am going to check your heart and lungs.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I must drink a glass of water to moisten my throat.  If you go, then I won’t need to.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Is it the Chinese food you ate last night?

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Please go without comment or persuasion.  When you come back I will fill in some of the gaps and identify items about which you need to ask questions.

 

                                                                           CHANG

Be prepared to tell the story in your own words.  (He checks the change in his pocket.)  I hope that shop will have a discount.  But I really should not worry about the expense.

 

                              (Exit CHANG)

                                                                                                  

                                                                           MARGERY

(aside to audience)  He is very alert and his stance is graceful.  He has very good prospects.  Some of the others are not up to his standard.  (looking around)  What else is there on this street?  Shall we have a look?

 

(Exit MARGERY.  Enter SCHOOLGIRL 1 and SCHOOLGIRL 2, skipping along arm in arm.)

 

                                                                           SCHOOLGIRL 1

Where did you go New Year’s Day?  Did you go to the movies?

 

                                                                           SCHOOLGIRL 2

Yes, and with their varied colors they were lovely too.

 

                                                                           SCHOOLGIRL 1

I went to a dance last night and it was after eleven when I got home.

 

                                                                           SCHOOLGIRL 2

It’s a good thing no gas bombs were dropped yesterday.  So few people have gas masks.

 

                                                                           SCHOOLGIRL 1

On the plus side, death is quick.

 

                              (Exit SCHOOLGIRLS.  Enter LI)

                             

                                                                           LI

(watching SCHOOLGIRLS as they leave)  The walk and skip along arm in arm.  They really are lively.

 

                              (Enter MARGERY)

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I’m glad you could come.  I’ve changed my address.

 

                                                                           LI

Quick.  Come with me!  This is his private car.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I have already given him those letters.  I’ll come when I have time.

 

                                                                           LI

I’m not strong enough to move the piano by myself!

 

                                                                           MARGERY

Since you have done it before, you can do it again.

 

                                                                           LI

Even if you go, it will be too late.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

There is no fighting that is not exciting.  It’s as if a bunch of boys pushed themselves into a small room.

 

                                                                           LI

There are people burning incense every day in that temple.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

A troop can’t go without officers.  (noticing)  Why do those people stand there at the end of the street?

 

                                                                           LI

They wait to leave there for want of food.  If you compel them to do physical work, they will not do it well.

 

                                                                           MARGERY

I am leaving by train tomorrow.  You don’t have to see me off.  I know you will take good care of her and of your own health.

 

                              (Enter CHANG hurriedly with water)

                                                                            CHANG

(out of breath and excited)  I shook hands with him at the intersection.  He didn’t even wear a jacket!  The balconies are filled with people standing and cheering.  (sound of cheering crowds)  Finally, he’s succeeded beyond all expectations!  He has made a very good impression on my soul. 


                                                                          THE END

 

 

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