L’Ape musicale  

rivista di musica, arti, cultura

 

   

Scene 8

[Early autumn, downtown Riverton, in front of the post office. Townspeople—a few ranchers, a cowboy, mix of people, come out and go in. Ennis comes out, holding mail, magazines, paper, a few envelopes. A cowboy walks up.]

COWBOY

Hey Ennis, how you doin?

ENNIS

Good enough. You?

COWBOY

Just scrapin along. Stoutamire hirin?

ENNIS

Maybe in the spring. Calvin time. Fence work after the snow’s gone.

COWBOY

I’ll check in. You take care, now.

ENNIS

You bet.

[Stands at the bottom of the steps near the trash bin and sorts the mail, tossing flyers and catalogs away. He discovers the postcard he sent Jack the week before. Turns it over, looks at both sides, then sees the red stamped message across the address.]

ENNIS

[Puzzled, then, as he understands the meaning of the unusual word, devastated.]

Deceased? Deceased. DEAD! NO! NO! JACK, NO!

[He drops the card, wind blows it and he has to scramble on all fours and crawl around to retrieve it. Everyone has stopped and is looking at him.]

CHORUS OF TOWNSPEOPLE, INCLUDING COWBOY

What is wrong with him?

Who is he?

Works for Stoutamire.

Bad news, bad news.

He keeps to himself.

Somethin not right.

He is a hard man.

Always gets in fights.

That’s him, always lookin for a fight.

Somethin different about him.

Bad news, bad news.

Somethin not right.

[During all this gawking and questioning Ennis shakes and trembles, near panic, spins looking for a phone. He sees the phone booth, goes to it, pulls out his wallet and finds Jack’s number. Drops the wallet, drops the post card again. Leans against the phone and tries to get control of himself.]

CHORUS

Somethin not right.

Nervous. He’s had bad news..

Who was his people?

Killed in a car wreck long ago.

Over in Sage. Del Mar!

Somethin not right. Long ago.

[They follow Ennis to the phone booth and eavsesdrop as much as they can, constantly shifting position. In the phone booth Ennis has calmed enough to dial Jack’s number. Lureen answers. We hear her cold little voice.]

LUREEN

Hello?

ENNIS

[trembling voice]

Can I talk to Jack. I need to talk to Jack. Please!

CHORUS

[sinister, mocking]

Please. Please.

LUREEN

Who? Who is this?

ENNIS

Ennis Del Mar? His fishin buddy? We’re old friends. Please put him on.

CHORUS

[sneering]

Old friends. Old friends.

LUREEN

[in command]

I’m sorry to tell you this but Jack passed away in July.

An accident. Couldn’t notify his friends. Didn’t know how to get in touch.

ENNIS

[in pain, trying not to sob, keeping up the pretence they were just buddies]

What happened? How? I seen him in May and he was—[wrenches this word out] beautiful.

CHORUS

Beautiful. Beautiful.

LUREEN

A freak accident. They said he pumped up a tire on some back road. They said the rim flew up, broke his jaw and knocked him out. They said he drowned in his own blood. A lonesome road where nobody came by.

ENNIS

Oh God. Drowned in his own blood!

CHORUS

Drowned in blood. Drowned in blood.

LUREEN

Would have let you know but I didn’t have your address. [Pause] He was only thirty-nine years old.

ENNIS

[His voice steadier, mastery over self achieved]

Is he buried down there?

CHORUS

Buried down there? Buried down there?

LUREEN

He always said he wanted to be cremated, scatter his ashes on Brokeback Mountain.

I sent his ashes up to his folks.

I thought Brokeback Mountain was up there.

Somewhere.

ENNIS

[choking up]

We herded sheep together one summer on Brokeback.

[We get the presence of Brokeback Mountain now.]

CHORUS

One summer on Brokeback. One summer on Brokeback.

Beautiful. Beautiful.

LUREEN

He said it was his special place.

ENNIS

His folks still up in Lightnin Flats?

CHORUS

Lightnin Flats. Lightnin Flats.

LUREEN

They’ll be there until they die. You get in touch with them. Maybe a good idea if his wishes were carried out.

ENNIS

I’m goin up there. Now.

[Interlude]


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