L’Ape musicale

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Scene 9

[Next morning, first light, main camp. The wind is blowing hard and the sky is dark blue-black. There is a rattle of hail. It’s cold. Jack crawls out of the tent pulling on his jacket, starts the fire, fills the coffee pot from a canteen, puts it on the fire.]

JACK [to the approaching storm]

It’s over, ain’t it!

It’s over.

[Pours coffee for Ennis emerging from tent dragging his feed-sack bag, packed now with his extra shirt and jeans. He is not wearing a jacket, only a shirt.]


It can’t be over.


Seems like it is, Jack.

JACK [making desperate last attempt to persuade]

Can’t we work somethin out?

You and me work somethin out.

My folks’ place, get it into shape? Build a little cabin?


Jack, I got to live a regular life. Alma’s waitin for me. Find a job. Like you just said, Jack, this is over. [determinedly] It’s got to be over.


I hear you talkin. But real life ain’t talk.

You and me been together all summer.

And I know that whatever you talk, you loved what we done. Together.


Son of a bitch! I told you, I AIN’T THAT WAY.

JACK [flat and hard]

I was there, Ennis.

[Ennis swings at Jack, coffee cups go flying, they fight, Ennis connects and Jack goes down. Jack puts his hand up to his bloody nose.]

ENNIS [alarmed and contrite]

Jack! Jesus, I’m sorry, Jack. [Tries to staunch the blood with his shirt sleeve. For a moment they hold each other, then pull apart.]


I guess that makes your point. It’s over.


Blood on my shirt. Where is my other shirt?

[He seems dazed, perhaps from the fight, perhaps because the summer and its dark, private nights are over.]

Jack, I’m sorry. I feel like hell.

[Jack stands stiffly still. Ennis bends over as if in pain for a few seconds, then grits his teeth and cowboys up. Rummages in his feed-sack bag and pulls out a wrinkled work shirt, puts it on, dropping the bloodied shirt on the ground. Ennis picks up his saddle and hurries offstage to put it

on his horse, to get away from saying goodby. Jack picks up the bloodied shirt and stuffs it into his rodeo war-bag.]

ENNIS [calls from off-stage, still trying to express regret]

Aguirre and his guys is comin up the trail. Jack, can you get that tent down by yourself?

JACK [still mopping at his bloody nose]



I’m sorry, Jack.




Well. See you around.



[Aside] What do I do now? Back to Texas and the rodeo, I guess.

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