L’Ape musicale

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Scene 7


[May. Late afternoon. An older Jack has just finished making camp up in the mountains among the pines. There are a couple of stump seats, maybe a big log. Maybe a fire. He is waiting for Ennis. He is a little antsy. He looks at his watch, looks down the trail. Sits for a minute, then up and peering down the trail. Brightens when he sees Ennis below.]


Up here! Take the left fork.


[enters, throws down his gear.]

Dammit Jack, I missed you. I missed you pretty bad.

[They embrace, hug and kiss. Ennis pulls away abruptly, excuses himself, saying]

Still makes me nervous right out in broad daylight.

[He looks around at the camp site]

Nice with the creek just over there. Its runnin high with snow-melt. And noisy.

[jokingly] We can’t hear them bad guys sneak up on us.


Miles a blue sky. When I come in I seen a bear down-trail.


I seen his tracks. And yours.


I hope he don’t decide to join us.


[Stretches.] Feels good to be here. It’s been too long. I missed the smell of wood smoke in your hair, your shirt, on your skin. Missed bein close to you.

[Hugs Jack again inhaling his scent.]


Looked like he was comin right at me. But he crossed the trail and ran off. Better hang up the food tonight.


All the headaches go away when we get back in the mountains. It’s like we’re both kids again with the whole world in front of us. We can do anything. [sits on fallen log]


[sits close beside him, rolls a joint, lights and passes it to Ennis who takes a drag, passes it back etc.]

Jeez, I wish that was true.


Me too. But we’re o.k. Makin the best a what we got. How’s little Bobby doin?


Not so little any more. He’s taller than me. At that smart-guy stage.


I used a want a boy for a kid, but just got girls.



I didn’t want no kids of either kind, but fuck-all worked the way I wanted. Nothin ever come to my hand the right way.


Surprised to hear you say that. Compared to me you made out pretty good. You made a lot of money, Jack. Nice clothes, new truck. [laughs] Still married.

[Ennis slides his hand between Jack’s legs.]


You know what I mean. [pause, response to Ennis’s touch]

Oh yeah.

[They embrace, roll to the ground on the far side of the log.]

[The same camp. Jack and Ennis are packing up to leave.]


Here we go again, sayin goodby. This was one of the best times. Ennis, I wish—


[cutting off this too-familiar wish]

Headin back to Texas now?


Not yet. Guess I’ll go see my folks first. God, I can’t wait until our big horse trip in August.

Ten beautiful days. I’m goin a buy a new hat for the occasion.


[Uneasy, shifting around]

I been puttin off tellin you, Jack.

I can’t get away again until November.

After we ship stock.



November. NOVEMBER!

What in hell happened to August, to our horse trip?

We said AUGUST, ten days.

Christ, Ennis, whyn’t you tell me this before?

You had a fuckin week to say something about it.

And why do we always have to meet in the friggin cold weather?



Jack, Jack…


We ought a go south for a change. We ought a go to Mexico one time.


Mexico? Jack, all the travelin I ever done is goin around the coffee pot lookin for the handle.

I got to run the hay crew in August, that’s what happened to August.

Lighten up.

We can hunt in November. Get a nice elk?

[A very chill silence]


[icy, gathering himself for a showdown]

You know, friend, this is a goddamn bitch of a unsatisfactory situation.

You used to come away easy. Now it’s like seein the pope.


[Apologetically, but a little nettled]

Jack, I got to work. Them earlier times I used to quit the jobs.

You got money. You forget how it is bein broke all the time.

I need this job. I can’t quit it. And I can’t get loose in August.

This week that we just had was the trade-off for August. You got a better idea?


[bitter and accusatory]

I did once.

[Ennis walks away, turns and walks back until he is almost nose to nose with Jack.]



Mexico? Mexico. You been to Mexico, Jack?



Hell yes, I been. What’s the fuckin problem?


[clenched and threatening and even deadly]

I will say this to you one time, Jack, and I ain’t foolin.

[menacing pause]

What I don’t know,

all them things I don’t know

could get you killed

if I should come to know them.

JACK [fed up with the situation]

Try this one, and I’ll say it just one time.

We could of had a good life together,

a real good life.

You wouldn’t do it, Ennis.

What we got now is Brokeback Mountain.

It’s ALL we got boy, fuckin all.



No! It’s more than—


[not to be interrupted]

It’s ALL we got, Ennis.

I hope you know that if you don’t never know the rest.

Count them! The damn few times we been together in twenty years.

Then ask me about Mexico.

Then tell me you’ll kill me for needin it and not hardly never gettin it.

[low and intense]

You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets.

I’m not you!

I can’t make it on a couple a high-altitude fucks once or twice a year.


[ holds out hands to Jack who does not clasp them.]

Stop! No more. Jack, we always git along. We always look at each other and understand.


[Tense with anger]

Not this time.

[There is a long silence while they stare at each other.]



I’m rich enough, Ennis, we could buy a small ranch and some stock. Your goddamn horses. We could do it. But you won’t. It’s the same sorry situation. Don’t you think I got feelins?



Nobody knows better than me that you got feelins.

I wish I could do what you wanted.

I wish we lived in a different world.


We don’t have to stay here.


I belong here.

I don’t fit nowhere else.

I was born here and I belong to this place, whatever it is.

I can’t leave. Not even for you. Not even for us.


[with increasingly bitterness]

Nothin has changed. Nothin can change. [pause]

When I was a kid

I wanted to see the places of the world,

I wanted to go everywhere. To be happy.

I wanted to fall in love. [pause]

And I did. [pause] I did.

[with great intensity] I wish I knew how to quit you.


[devastated at hearing the worst possibility voiced]

Don’t never say that!

[He half-turns toward Jack, puts his hands out again, doubles over, collapses.]


No! No! Ennis, what’s wrong?

[Fearing heart-attack, Jack runs to him, kneels. On their knees they cling to each other, weep.]

I’m here. I’m here.

Close to you, close to you.

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