JOSEWULF

CHARACTERS

AVERAGE AMERICAN: Female or male. In the depths of poverty.

BULLY: Ruler of America if not the world. Impossibly wealthy. Despicably egocentric.

JOSEWULF: A citizen of Mexico. Courageous. Fearless. Heroic. Honorable. Strong. Wise. Good.

TIME
The future.

PLACE
Washington, D.C., and Mexico on the U.S. border. ~

AT RISE: Dawn. The mall in Washington, D.C. AVERAGE AMERICAN, dressed in rags, speaks to us. BULLY sits on the Lincoln Memorial marble chair. The Lincoln part of the statue has been removed.

AVERAGE
Lo, honor the Bully
or suffer
wrath.
He brooks no nonsense
suffers not
detractors takes
not prisoners.
Bully bathes in the glory
upon his head
hair-of-amazing-substance
lighted by ego
bright as the sun.
He is the sun, the moon, the stars,
planets, asteroids,
black holes, northern lights, you name it — Bully is all.

BULLY
Over my bed hangs The Motto, framed in gold: I am All.

(SOUND: trumpet salute.)

AVERAGE
Indeed this trampled earth
is his;
indeed the rights to
diamond mines,
oil wells
and miscellaneous mines of everything else are his.

BULLY
Bully owns all.

(BULLY polishes his nails, combs his hair, admires himself in a hand mirror as AVERAGE comes downstage to speak to us.)

AVERAGE
How did this happen?
was it ever
otherwise?
Peasants whisper
the question, but
the answer
has been lost
across ages.
How did it happen that an Evil lord
owns every
scrap
of land, of sea
owns every animal
and bird
owns us.
How, the peasants ask,
but quietly ‘lest
Bully hear.
We suffer,
sleeping little;
slaving day and night for naught.
Children in rags
bellies empty
cry into pillows at night or
would if
they had pillows.

BULLY
(laughing, to no one in particular:) “Build! Build!”

AVERAGE
He gestures toward the southern border.

BULLY
“Build, you dirty devils!” I’ll send the bill by U.S. Post.

(JOSEWULF, apart, is on the U.S. border in Mexico. He wears a Mexican warrior outfit with traditional weapons such as a chimalli [shield] and macuahuitl [staff with obsidian blades]. He shakes a fist in BULLY’s direction.)

JOSEWULF
Like Midas of old
rubbing
hands
piling
wealth upon wealth
that is never enough;
grinding all in
your path
beneath
unfeeling boot.
Die, American monster!

AVERAGE
Why or when it began
we do not know
only that judges were named
laws changed —

BULLY
Bully is Ruler for Life!

JOSEWULF
The Days of Bullydom are numbered.

AVERAGE
Unbeknownst to the
Power-That-Is
a king
of another sort
compassionate sort
a ruler
to the south
amasses troops.

JOSEWULF
Come all ye downtrodden,
demeaned, dismissed
trod
spat upon
join me in a Battle for Good.
Not one more bill will
I accept
for The Wall
he has constructed with the blood
of my people
and those to the north
suffering
beneath his stupendous ego
Pay for his
intolerance
ignorance
ineptitude?
No more!

(SOUND: a call to arms.)

BULLY
(admiring himself in the mirror:)
I’m the richest, most
successful businessman in the world. Everybody loves me.

AVERAGE
They come
they gather,
farmers, laborers, craftsmen
fishermen, potters
peddlers, mothers
fathers
from hills
town
cities
seacoast until
all of Mexico stands beside noble Joséwulf.

JOSEWULF
North, my friends!
Right marches beside us.

AVERAGE
The army surges forward north, toward The Wall.

(The sun is overhead.)

BULLY
Lunchtime. Service please!
American cow patty
American cheese
American bun. Caucasian er vanilla milkshake
Side of non-French fries.
The Frenchies love me but I don’t trust them.
Smart move, tearing down the Statue of Liberty.
Frog woman. Can’t have that in New York Harbor!

AVERAGE
Unaware of the approaching host
Bully dines.

JOSEWULF
The Wall.

AVERAGE
Josewulf and his thousands are over The Wall
like flood waters over a dam
aided by Americans on the other side
in Texas
starving for education,
medicine, food, justice,
equality, the vote. One vote for
a leader who cares.

JOSEWULF
Join us, Americano amigos
together we march
as one we destroy Evil!

(SOUND: a rousing cheer from a large crowd.)

BULLY
(yawns, stretches:)
Naptime.

AVERAGE
As Bully naps
the army heads
north.
Women washing rags
in polluted streams
look up;
children
too weak to play
look up;
men scratching for berries,
for beetles,
for something for dinner
look up
as The Army of the Righteous approaches.

JOSEWULF
They join us
they march with us
strong at the thought
of conquering Evil.

BULLY
Dinner time. Service!

(BULLY tucks a dinner napkin under his chin. Dusk approaches.)

AVERAGE
Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, Norfolk —

JOSEWULF
Forward!

(SOUND: cell phone rings. BULLY answers.)

BULLY
What’s that?
Advancing northward? Ridiculous. They couldn’t
get over
The Wall.
Besides, they’re Losers
brown-skinned
ignorant Losers
everybody
knows that.
They love me,
but they’re Losers
America doesn’t want Losers.

AVERAGE
A short lesson on Losers is necessary before continuing. If you have the notion that Losers are small, nasty, or un- pleasant in anyway, get rid of it right now. That is propaganda spread by media — controlled by you-know-who. Wipe it from your mind. Losers are often courageous, strong, wise, heroic, and they smell like honeysuckle. Got it?

JOSEWULF
Forward, to Washington to
the White House —

AVERAGE
(correcting him:)
Castle. It’s called the “castle” now.

JOSEWULF
The big white building
emblazoned with letters
in flashing lights.
Forward
to boldly breach
his wall
find
the Evil king in
his lair
and disappear him.

(BULLY holds out a wine glass.)

BULLY
California, New York State, anything but French or Chinese.
Do they have Chinese wine?

AVERAGE
José’s plans could not
one mistake make
nor one slip up
nor one small
moment skip.
Years went into planning,
top secret,
all out,
no holes barred
now or never
planning.

(BULLY has finished dinner. He is wiping his mouth with the napkin.)

Word gets out of the fateful
night.
People gather
up and down Pennsylvania Avenue
would-be voters
if there was voting anymore, now
taking bets
(though they have nothing
to bet with),
praying
(though praying is not
allowed) —

JOSEWULF
Hoping, for they have not forgot hope.

AVERAGE
You have resurrected hope, Joséwulf!

(SOUND: crowd cheers. JOSEWULF holds up a finger for silence, but too late BULLY has heard the mob.)

BULLY
What’s that?

AVERAGE
He flings wide the door to his chamber balcony
sneers at us below.

BULLY
“Stupid idiots!”

AVERAGE
His mouth a hollow cave.

JOSEWULF
Orange hair electric.

AVERAGE
Silken robe
tied tightly below
well-filled belly.

JOSEWULF
No idea that others have brains
can come up with
plans
carry through.
Sees himself as the only
ever,
complete,
be all and end all
of everything.

AVERAGE + JOSE
So he is not afraid.

BULLY
I know you love me I love your love
be quiet
I’ve had a hard day.

AVERAGE
Plumps his pillow and
is soon asleep
dreaming
of eggs Benedict and latte laced
with brandy
French — it’s a dream
dreams of
morning paper filled
with news of
him
and his
grandiosity.

(Silence. Silence. Silence. Night falls. JOSEWULF cracks his knuckles. BULLY snores in his marble seat. AVERAGE AMERICAN has a weapon now. SOUND: suddenly a rousing warcry as the peasant army attacks. BULLY sits up, calls:)

BULLY
911! Everybody to the boardroom! Department of Defense. Department of Anti-Immigration. FBI. CIA. Get in here!

(JOSEWULF faces BULLY.)

Throw him out.

JOSEWULF
I am Joséwulf.

BULLY
I don’t give a damn if you’re the Mona Lisa. Deport him!

JOSEWULF
I do not like you.

BULLY
Everybody loves me.

JOSEWULF
Name one.

BULLY
There’s…
And…
And whatshisname
and here and —
I don’t have to answer to you, disgusting poor person. Loser.

(BULLY grabs JOSEWULF. A fearsome struggle follows between them.)

AVERAGE
I was ready to fight
ready for —

(SOUNDS of raging battle: gunfire, screams of horses, shouts, bombs, cannons, chaos. AVERAGE cuts off the sound. It stops as quickly as it began.)

Bully’s followers
fled like
mice
pursued by
tigers before
a shot was fired. Only these two
Good and Evil
fight
to the death.

(JOSE and BULLY are locked in a fearsome struggle. First it looks like JOSE will win, then BULLY [who of course fights dirty]. Just as it looks like BULLY might win, choking the life out of JOSE with his foot upon JOSE’s throat, JOSE lunges up, grabs BULLY’s arm, and wrenches it loose from the shoulder socket. JOSE waves the torn arm above his head victoriously.)

JOSEWULF
Power to the People!

AVERAGE
Bully
slinks off
to hide
mortified
never to be seen again.

(SOUND: crowd cheers. JOSE and AVERAGE embrace. BLACKOUT.)

– END OF PLAY –

 


Robin Rice is the author of 90+ plays (short, one-act, full-length), produced worldwide — South Korea to Africa, London to Off-Broadway. Publishers include Samuel French and Original Works. The environment, social justice and realizing individual passions are frequent themes. Synopses of available plays: www.RobinRicePlaywright.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will never be published or shared and required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).