L’Ape musicale

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Scene 5

[The next day, sunset, the main camp. Jack is peeling potatoes when Ennis comes in with a coyote hide.]


Shot him this mornin at first light. Big son of a bitch. Big as a wolf. [Grins at Jack.] But he’s a coyote.


How about a drink to celebrate?

[He picks up a bottle of whiskey from the stump and passes it to Ennis who takes big swallows. Jack puts the potatoes on the fire to cook. They sit near it and drink whiskey, smoke cigarettes and talk while the potatoes cook.]


I wanted to be a champion bull rider. That was my boyhood dream.

But I always known I had to get away.

I always known I was goin to leave.

From my window I could see a blue mountain.

Hundred miles away.

It was Brokeback Mountain. I saw it shake with storm.

I always known this mountain. And now I’m here.

[pause, then Jack speaks]


Your folks religious?


They was. Yours?


My mama’s Pentecostal. She walks with Jesus. My old man don’t walk with nothin. [pause]

Your folks treat you ok when you was a kid?


Pretty much. Yours?


My old man beat me black and blue until I was big enough to fight back.

He don’t mess with me now about nothin.

Pass me that bottle. [Takes a good slug, stretches, gets comfortable]

Ahh. You know, it’s pretty nice up here, aint it?


Like we’re on another world. The old world is way down there.

[cry of a redtailed hawk]


Starry nights.

ENNIS [Struck by a world-view thought]

We look down on them hawks.

We look down on them pine trees.

We’re like eagles, Jack.


This eagle could eat some of them potatoes.


They probly ain’t done.


Who the hell cares.


I do. Another few minutes, ok?

[The hawk cries again.]


Sounds like that hawk is sayin “Free. You are free.”


Up here we are free.

[They continue to drink. The fire burns low.]


I ever tell you how I come to get into bull-ridin?

ENNIS [yawning]



My dad never showed me a thing. He never once come to see me ride.


Yeah. You told me. [Suddenly] GODDAMN!

[Looks in the potato pot, pokes with a knife.]

Them potatoes is burned. [Hurls pot of potatoes away.]

Guess we drink whiskey for supper.


Fine with me. Moon’s comin up.

[A half-full moon rises behind the mountain’s shoulder. They pass the bottle back and forth. Jack gets up, staggers around, trips and falls next to Ennis, making body contact.]

ENNIS [Making no move to push him away.]

You must be drunk. I know I am. Too drunk to go up there. I’ll sleep by the fire…


That ain’t smart. Come in the tent. Plenty of room.


I’ll ride out at first light…


(throws hands up as though appealing to higher powers.)

Have it your own way. Freeze!

[He goes into the big tent. Ennis lies beside the dying fire. The light fades as the fire goes down until the stage is almost dark. Distant coyote howls. Time passes. The moon moves down the sky and the wind rises, its howl mixing with those of the coyotes. Brokeback begins to assert its power; we hear its deep snarl and a kind of eerie power seeps into the scene.]


[sitting up, shivering]


Cold to the bone!

Ice in my veins.

Freezin cold. So cold, so cold.

[In the dark the mountain’s power swells and throbs. Then the flap of the big tent is flung aside and Jack comes out. He yanks Ennis to his feet, wordlessly pulls him into the tent and the mountain goes with them.]


Git on in here!


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