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Dutchman

AmiriBaraka
1964

CHARACTERS
CLAY,twentyyearoldNegro
LULA,thirtyyearoldwhitewoman
RIDERSOFCOACH,whiteandblackYOUNGNEGRO
CONDUCTOR

IntheflyingunderbellyofthecitySteaminghot,andsummerontop,outside.Underground.Thesubwayheaped
inmodernmyth.

Openingsceneisamansittinginasubwayseat,holdingamagazinebutlookingvacantlyjustaboveitswilting
pages. Occasionally he looks blankly toward the window on his right. Dim lights and darkness whistling by
againsttheglass.(Orpastethelights,asadmittedprops,rightonthesubwaywindows.Havethemmove,even
dimandflicker.Butgivethesenseofspeed.Alsostations,whetherthetrainisstoppedortheglitterandactivity
ofthesestationsmerelyflashesbythewindows.)

Themanissittingalone.Thatis,onlyhisseatisvisible,thoughtherestofthecarisoutfittedasacomplete
subwaycar.Butonlyhisseatisshown.Theremightbe,foratime,astheplaybegins,aloudscreamoftheactual
train.Anditcanrecurthroughouttheplay,orcontinueonalowerkeyoncethedialoguestarts.

Thetrainslawsafteratime,pullingtoabriefstopatoneofthestations.Themanlooksidlyup,untilheseesa
woman'sfacestaringathimthroughthewindow;whenitrealizesthatthemanhasnoticedtheface,itbegins
verypremeditatedlytosmile.Themansmilestoo,foramoment,withoutatraceofselfconsciousness.Almostan
instinctivethoughundesirableresponse.Thenakindofawkwardnessorembarrassmentsetsin,andtheman
makestolookaway,isfurtherembarrassed,sohebringsbackhiseyestowherethefacewas,butbynawthe
trainismovingagain,andthefacewouldseemtobeleftbehindbythewaythemanturnshisheadtolookback
throughtheotherwindowsattheslowlyfadingplatform.Hesmilesthen;morecomfortablyconfident,hoping
perhapsthathismemoryofthisbriefencounterwillbepleasant.Andthenheisidleagain.

SceneI

Trainroars.Lightsflashoutsidethewindows.
LULAentersfromtherearofthecarinbright,skimpysummerclothesandsandals.Shecarriesanetbag
fullofpaperbooks,fruit,andotheranonymousarticles.Sheiswearingsunglasses,whichshepushesupon
her forehead from time to time. LULA is a tall, slender, beautiful woman with long red hair hanging
straight down her back, wearing only loud lipstick in some body's good taste. She is eating an apple, very
daintily. Coming down the car toward CLAY. She stops beside CLAY'S seat and hangs languidly from the
strap,stillmanagingtoeattheapple.ItisapparentthatsheisgoingtositintheseatnexttoCLAY,and
thatsheisonlywaitingforhimtonoticeherbeforeshesits.

CLAYsitsasbefore,lookingjustbeyondhismagazine,nowandagainpullingthemagazineslowlybackand
forthinfrontofhisfaceinahopelessefforttofanhimself.Thenheseesthewomanhangingtherebeside
himandhelooksupintoherface,smilingquizzically.
LULAHello.
CLAYUh,hi'reyou?

LULAI'mgoingtositdown....O.K.?
CLAYSure.
LULA[Swingsdownontotheseat,pushing'herlegsstraightoutasifsheisveryweary]Oooof!Toomuch
weight.
CLAYHa,doesn'tlooklikemuchtome.[Leaningbackagainstthewindow,alittlesurprisedandmaybestiff]
LULAIt'ssoanyway.[Andshemoveshertoesinthesandals,thenpullsherrightlegupontheleftknee,betterto
inspect the bottoms of the sandals and the back of her heel. She appears for a second not to notice that
CLAYissittingnexttoherorthatshehasspokentohimjustasecondbefore.CLAYlooksatthemagazine,
thenouttheblackwindow.Ashedoesthis,sheturnsveryquicklytowardhim]Weren'tyoustaringatme
throughthewindow?
CLAY[Wheelingaroundandverymuchstiffened]What?
LULAWeren'tyoustaringatmethroughthewindow?Atthelaststop?
CLAYStaringatyou?Whatdoyoumean?
LULADon'tyouknowwhatstaringmeans?
CLAYIsawyouthroughthewindow...ifthat'swhatitmeans.Idon'tknowifIwasstaring.Seemstomeyou
werestaringthroughthewindowatme.
LULAIwas.ButonlyafterI'dturnedaroundandsawyoustaringthroughthatwindowdowninthevicinityof
myassandlegs.
CLAYReally?
LULAReally.Iguessyouwerejusttakingthoseidlepotshots.Nothingelsetodo.Runyourmindoverpeople's
flesh.
CLAYOhboy.Wow,nowIadmitIwaslookinginyourdirection.Buttherestofthatweightisyours.
LULAIsuppose.
CLAYStaringthroughtrainwindowsisweirdbusiness.Muchweirderthanstaringverysedatelyatabstract
asses.
LULAThat'swhyIcamelookingthroughthewindow...soyou'dhavemorethanthattogoon.Ievensmiled
atyou.
CLAYThat'sright.
LULAIevengotintothistrain,goingsomeotherwaythanmine.Walkeddowntheaisle...searchingyouout.
CLAYReally?That'sprettyfunny.
LULAThat'sprettyfunny:"..:.God,you'redull.
CLAYWell,I'msorry,lady,butIreallywasn'tpreparedforpartytalk.
LULANo,you'renot.Whatareyoupreparedfor?[WrappingtheapplecoreinaKleenexanddroppingitonthe
floor]
CLAY[Takesherconversationaspuresextalk.Heturnstoconfronthersquarelywiththisidea]I'mpreparedfor
anything.Howaboutyou?
LULA[Laughingloudlyandcuttingitoffabruptly]Whatdoyouthinkyou'redoing?
CLAYWhat?
LULAYouthinkIwanttopickyouup,getyoutotakemesomewhereandscrewme,huh?
CLAYIsthatthewayIlook?
LULAYoulooklikeyoubeentryingtogrowabeard.That'sexactlywhatyoulooklike.Youlooklikeyoulive
inNewJerseywithyourparentsandaretryingtogrowabeard.That'swhat.Youlooklikeyou'vebeen
readingChinesepoetryanddrinkinglukewarmsugarlesstea.[Laughs,uncrossingandrecrossingher
legs]Youlooklikedeatheatingasodacracker.
CLAY[Cockinghisheadfromonesidetotheother,embarrassedandtryingtomakesomecomeback,butalso
intriguedbywhatthewomanissaying..eventhesharpcitycoarsenessofhervoice,whichisstillakindof
gentlesidewalkthrob]Really?Ilooklikeallthat?
LULANotallofit.[Shefeintsaseriousnesstocoveranactualsombertone]Iliealot.[Smiling]Ithelpsme
controltheworld.
CLAY[Relievedandlaughinglouderthanthehumor]Yeah,Ibet.
LULAButit'strue,mostofit,right?Jersey?Yourbumpyneck?
CLAYHow'dyouknowallthat?Huh?Really,ImeanaboutJersey...andeventhebeard.Imetyoubefore?You
knowWarrenEnright?
LULAYoutriedtomakeitwithyoursisterwhenyouwereten.[CLAYleansbackhardagainstthebackofthe
seat,hiseyesopeningnow,stilltryingtolookamused]ButIsucceededafewweeksago.[Shestartsto

laughagain]CLAYWhat'reyoutalkingabout?Warrentellyouthat?You'reafriendof
Georgia's?
LULAItoldyouIlie.Idon'tknowyoursister.Idon'tknowWarrenEnright.
CLAYYoumeanyou'rejustpickingthesethingsoutoftheair?
LULAIsWarrenEnrightatallskinnyblackblackboywithaphonyEnglishaccent?
CLAYIfiguredyouknewhim.
LULAButIdon't.Ijustfiguredyouwouldknowsomebodylikethat.[Laughs]
CLAYYeah,yeah.
LULAYou'reprobablyonyourwaytohishousenow.
CLAYThat'sright.
LULA[PuttingherhandonCLAY'Sclosestknee,drawingitfromthekneeuptothethigh'shinge,thenremoving
it,watchinghisfaceveryclosely,andcontinuingtolaugh,perhapsmoregentlythanbefore]Dull,dull,dull.
IbetyouthinkI'mexciting.
CLAYYou'reO.K.
LULAAmIexcitingyounow?
CLAYRight.That'snotwhat'ssupposedtohappen?
LULAHowdoIknow?[Shereturnsherhand,withoutmovingit,thentakesitawayandplungesitinherbagto
drawoutanapple]Youwantthis?
CLAYSure.
LULA[Shegetsoneoutofthebagforherself]Eatingapplestogetherisalwaysthefirststep.Orwalkingup
uninhabitedSeventhAvenueinthetwenties2onweekends.[Bitesandgiggles,glancingatClayand
speakinginloosesingsong]Cangetyouinvolved...boy!Getusinvolved.Umhuh.[Mockseriousness]
Wouldyouliketogetinvolvedwithme,MisterMan?
CLAY[TryingtobeasflippantasLULA,whackinghappilyattheapple]Sure.Whynot?Abeautifulwoman
likeyou.Huh,I'dbeafoolnotto.
LULAAndIbetyou'resureyouknowwhatyou'retalkingabout.[Takinghimalittleroughlybythewrist,sohe
cannoteattheapple,thenshakingthewrist]Ibetyou'resureofalmosteverythinganybodyeverasked
youabout...right?[Shakeshiswristharder]Right?
CLAYYeah,right....Wow,you'reprettystrong,youknow?Whattayou,aladywrestlerorsomething?
LULA What's wrong with lady wrestlers? And don't answer because you never knew any. Huh. [Cynically]
That'sforsure.Theydon'thaveanyladywrestlersinthatpartofJersey.That'sforsure.
CLAYHey,youstillhaven'ttoldmehowyouknowsomuchaboutme.
LULAItoldyouIdidn'tknowanythingaboutyou...you'reawellknowntype.
CLAYReally?
LULAOratleastIknowthetypeverywell.AndyourskinnyEnglishfriendtoo.
CLAYAnonymously?
LULA[Settlesbackinseat,singlemindedlyfinishingherappleandhummingsnatchesofrhythmandblues
song]What?
CLAYWithoutknowingusspecifically?
LULAOhboy.[LookingquicklyatCLAY]Whataface.Youknow,youcouldbeahandsomeman.
CLAYIcan'targuewithyou.
LULA[Vague,offcenterresponse]What?
CLAY[Raisinghisvoice,thinkingthetrainnoisehasdrownedpartofhissentence]Ican'targuewithyou.
LULAMyhairisturninggray.AgrayhairforeachyearandtypeI'vecomethrough.
CLAYWhydoyouwanttosoundsoold?
LULAButit'salwaysgentlewhenitstarts.[Attentiondrifting]Huggedagainsttenements,dayornight.
CLAYWhat?
LULA[Refocusing]Hey,whydon'tyoutakemetothatpartyyou'regoingto?
CLAYYoumustbeafriendofWarren'stoknowabouttheparty.
LULAWouldn'tyouliketotakemetotheparty?[Imitatesclingingvine].Oh,comeon,askmetoyourparty.
CLAYOfcourseI'llaskyoutocomewithmetotheparty.AndI'llbetyou'reafriendofWarren's.
LULAWhynotbeafriendofWarren's?Whynot?[Takinghisarm]Haveyouaskedmeyet?
CLAYHowcanIaskyouwhenIdon'tknowyourname?
LULAAreyoutalkingtomyname?
CLAYWhatisit,asecret?

LULAI'mLenatheHyena.
CLAYThefamouswomanpoet?
LULAPoetess!Thesame!
CLAYWell,youknowsomuchaboutme...what'smyname?
LULAMorristheHyena.
CLAYThefamouswomanpoet?
LULAThesame.[Laughingandgoingintoherbag]Youwantanotherapple?
CLAYCan'tmakeit,lady.Ionlyhavetokeeponedoctorawayaday.
LULAIbetyournameis...somethinglike...uh,GeraldorWalter.Huh?
CLAYGod,no.
LULALloyd,Norman?OneofthosehopelesscolorednamescreepingoutofNewJerseyLeonard?Gag....
CLAYLikeWarren?
LULAwDefinitely.JustexactlylikeWarren.OrEverett.3
CLAYGag...
LULAWell,forsure,it'snotWillie.
CLAYItsClay.
LULAClay?Really?Claywhat?
CLAYTakeyourpick.Jackson,Johnson,orWilliams.
LULAOh,really?Goodforyou.Butit'sgottobeWilliams.You'retoopretentioustobeaJacksonorJohnson.
CLAYThassright.
LULAButClay'sO.K.
CLAYSo'sLena.
LULAIt'sLula.
CLAYOh?
LULALulatheHyena.
CLAYVerygood.
LULA[Startslaughingagain]Nowyousaytome,"Lula,Lula,whydon'tyougotothispartywithmetonight?"
It'syourturn,andletthosebeyourlines.
CLAYLula,whydon'tyougotothispartywithmetonight,Huh?
LULASaymynametwicebeforeyouask,andnohuh's.
CLAYLula,Lula,whydon'tyougotothispartywithmetonight?
LULAI'dliketogo,Clay,buthowcanyouaskmetogowhenyoubarelyknowme?
CLAYThatisstrange,isn'tit?
LULAWhatkindofreactionisthat?You'resupposedtosay,"Aw,comeon,we'llgettoknoweachotherbetter
attheparty."
CLAYThat'sprettycorny.
LULAWhatareyouintoanyway?[Lookingathimhalfsullenlybutstillamused]Whatthingareyouplayingat,
Mister?MisterClayWilliams?[Grabshisthigh,upnearthecrotch]Whatareyouthinkingabout?
CLAYWatchitnow,you'regonnaexcitemeforreal.
LULA[Takingherhandawayandthrowingherapplecorethroughthewindow]Ibet.[Sheslumpsintheseat
andisheavilysilent]
CLAYIthoughtyoukneweverythingaboutme?Whathappened?[LULAlooksathim,thenlooksslowlyaway,
thenoverwhere.theotheraislewouldbe.Noiseofthetrain.Shereachesinherbagandpullsoutoneofthe
paperbooks.Sheputsitonherlegandthumbsthepageslistlessly.CLAYcockshisheadtoseethetitleof
thebook.Noiseofthetrain.LULAflipspagesandhereyesdrift.Bothremainsilent]Areyougoingtothe
partywithme,Lula?
.
LULA[Boredandnotevenlooking]Idon'tevenknowyou..
CLAYYousaidyouknowmytype.
LULA[Strangelyirritated]Don'tgetsmartwithme,Buster.Iknowyoulikethepalmofmyhand.
CLAYTheoneyoueattheappleswith?
LULAYeh.AndtheoneIopendoorslateSaturdayeveningwith.That'smydoor.Upatthetopofthestairs.
Fiveflights.AbovealotofItalians.andlyingAmericans.Andscrapecarrotswith:Also.[Looksathim]
thesamehandIunbuttonmydresswith,orletmyskirtfalldown.Samehand.Lover.
CLAYAreyouangryaboutanything?DidIsaysomethingwrong?
LULAEverythingyousayiswrong.[Mocksmile]That'swhatmakesyousoattractive.Ha.Inthatfunnybook

jacketwithallthebuttons.[Moreanimate,takingholdofhisjacket]What'veyougotthatjacketandtie
on in all this heat for? And why're you wearing a jacket and tie like that? Did your people ever burn
witches or start revolutions over the price of tea? Boy, those narrowshoulder clothes come from a
tradition you ought to feel oppressed by. A threebutton suit. What right do you have to be wearing a
threebuttonsuitandstripedtie?Yourgrandfatherwasaslave,hedidn'tgotoHarvard.
CLAYMygrandfatherwasanightwatchman.
~
LULAAndyouwenttoacoloredcollegewhereeverybodythoughttheywereAverellHarriman.
CLAYAllexceptme.
LULAAndwhodidyouthinkyouwere?Whodoyouthinkyouarenow?
CLAY [Laughs as if to make light of the whole trend of the conversation] Well, in college I thought I was
Baudelaire.ButI'vesloweddownsince.
LULAIbetyouneveroncethoughtyouwereablacknigger.[Mockserious,thenshehowlswithlaughter.CLAY
isstunnedbutafterinitialreaction,hequicklytriestoappreciatethehumor.LULAalmostshrieks]Ablack
Baudelaire.
CLAYThat'sright.
LULABoy,areyoucorny.ItakebackwhatIsaidbefore.everythingyousayisnotwrong.It'sperfect.You
shouldbeontelevision.
CLAYYouactlikeyou'reontelevisionalready.
LULAThat'sbecauseI'manactress.
CLAYIthoughtso.
LULAWell,you'rewrong.I'mnoactress.ItoldyouIalwayslie.I'mnothing,honey,anddon'tyoueverforget
it. [Lighter] Although my mother was a Communist. The only person in my family ever to amount to
anything.
CLAYMymotherwasaRepublican.
LULAAndyourfathervotedforthemanratherthantheparty.
CLAYRight!
LULAYeaforhim.Yea,yeaforhim.
CLAYYea!
LULAAndyeaforAmericawhereheisfreetovoteforthemediocrityofhischoice!Yea!
CLAYYea!
LULAAndyeaforbothyourparentswhoeventhoughtheydifferaboutsocrucialamatterasthebodypolitic
stillforgedaunionofloveandsacrificethatwasdestinedtofloweratthebirthofthenobleClay...
what'syourmiddlename?
CLAYClay.
LULAAunionofloveandsacrificethatwasdestinedtofloweratthebirthofthenobleClayClayWilliams.
Yea!Andmostofallyeayeaforyou,Clay,Clay.TheBlackBaudelaire!Yes![Andwithknifelikecynicism]My
Christ.MyChrist.
CLAYThankyou,ma'am.
LULAThepeopleacceptyouasaghostofthefuture.Andloveyou,thatyoumightnotkillthemwhenyou
can.
CLAYWhat?
LULAYoureamurderer,Clay,andyouknowit.[Hervoicedarkeningwithsignificance]Youknowgoddamn
wellwhatImean.
CLAYIdo?
LULASowellpretendtheairislightandfullofperfume.
CLAY[Sniffingatherblouse]Itis.
LULAAndwellpretendthatpeoplecannotseeyou.Thatis,thecitizens.Andthatyouarefreeofyourown
history.AndIamfreeofmyhistory.Wellpretendthatwearebothanonymousbeautiessmashingalong
throughthecitysentrails[Sheyellsasloudasshecan]GROOVE!

[Black]

SceneII
Sceneisthesameasbefore,thoughnowthereareotherseatsvisibleinthecar.Andthroughoutthesceneother
peoplegetonthesubway.Therearemaybeoneortwoseatedinthecarasthesceneopens,thoughneitherCLAY
norLULAnoticesthem.CLAY'Stieisopen.LULAishugginghisarm.

CLAYTheparty!
'
LULAIknowit'llbesomethinggood.Youcancomeinwithme,lookingcasualandsignificant.I'llbestrange,
haughty,andsilent,andwalkwithlongslowstrides.
CLAYRight.
LULA.Whenyou.getdrunk,patmeonceverylovinglyontheflanks,andI'lllookatyoucrypticallylickingmy
lips.
CLAYItsoundslikesomethingwecando.
LULAYou'llgoaroundtalkingtoyoungmenaboutyourmind,andtooldmenaboutyourplans:,.Ifyoumeet
averyclosefriendwhoisalsowithsomeonelikeme,wecanstandtogether,sippingourdrinksand
exchangingcodesoflust.Theatmospherewillbeslitheringinloveandhalfloveandveryopen
moraldecision.
CLAYGreat.Great.
LULAAndeveryonewillpretendtheydon'tknowyourname,andthen...[Shepausesheavily]later,when
theyhaveto,they'llclaimafriendshipthatdeniesyoursterlingcharacter.
CLAY[Kissingherneckandfingers]Andthenwhat?
LULAThen?Well,thenwe'llgodownthestreet,latenight,eatingapplesandwindingverydeliberately
towardmyhouse.
CLAYDeliberately?
LULAImean,we'lllookinalltheshopwindows,andmakefunofthequeers.Maybewe'llmeetaJewish
Buddhistandflattenhisconceitsoversomeverypretentiouscoffee.
CLAYInhonorofwhoseGod?
LULAMine.
CLAYWhois...?
LULAMe...andyou?
CLAYAcorporateGodhead.
,
LULAExactly.Exactly.[Noticesoneoftheotherpeopleentering]
CLAYGoonwiththechronicle.Thenwhathappenstous?
LULA[Amilddepression,butshestillmakesherdescriptiontriumphantandincreasinglydirect]Tomyhouse,
ofcourse.
CLAYOfcourse.
LlJLAAndupthenarrowstepsofthetenement.
CLAYYouliveinatenement?
LULAWouldn'tliveanywhereelse.Remindsmespecificallyofmynovelformofinsanity.
..
CLAYUpthetenementstairs.
LULAAndwithmyappleeatinghandIpushopenthedoorandleadyou,mytenderbigeyedprey,into
my...God,whatcanIcallit...intomyhovel.
CLAYThenwhathappens?
LULAAfterthedancingandgames,afterthelongdrinksandlongwalks,therealfunbegins.
CLAYAh,therealfun.[Embarrassed,inspiteofhimselfJWhichis...?LULA[Laughsathim]Realfuninthe
darkhouse.Hah!Realfuninthedarkhouse,highupabovethestreetandtheignorantcowboys.I
leadyouin,holdingyourwethandgentlyinmyhand...
CLAYWhichisnotwet?
LULAWhichisdryasashes.
CLAYAndcold?
LULADon'tthinkyou'llgetoutofyourresponsibilitythatway.It'snotcoldatall.YouFascist!Intomy
darklivingroom.Wherewe'llsitandtalkendlessly,endlessly.
CLAYAboutwhat?

LULAAboutwhat?Aboutyourmanhood,whatdoyouthink?Whatdoyouthinkwevebeentalkingaboutall
thistime?
CLAYWell,Ididn'tknowitwasthat.That'sforsure.Everyotherthingintheworldbutthat.[Notices
anotherpersonentering,looksquickly,almostinvoluntarilyupanddownthecar,seeingtheotherpeoplein
thecar]Hey,Ididn'tevennoticewhenthosepeoplegot
LULAYeah,Iknow.
CLAYMan,thissubwayisslow.
LULAYeah,Iknow.
CLAYWell,goon.Weweretalkingaboutmymanhood.
LULAWestillare.Allthetime.
CLAYWewereinyourlivingroom.
LULAMydarklivingroom.Talkingendlessly.
CLAYAboutmymanhood..
LULAI'llmakeyouamapofit.Justassoonaswegettomyhouse.
CLAYWell,that'sgreat.
LULAOneofthethingswedowhilewetalk.Andscrew.
CLAY[Tryingtomakehissmilebroaderandlessshaky]'Wefinallygotthere.
LULAAndyou'llcallmyroomsblackasagrave.You'llsay,"ThisplaceislikeJuliet'stomb.
CLAY[Laughs]Imight.
LULAIknow.You'veprobablysaiditbefore.
CLAYAndisthatall?Thewholegrandtour?
LULANotall.You'llsaytomeveryclosetomyface,manymanytimes,you'llsay,evenwhisper,thatyoulove
me.
CLAYMaybeIwill.
LULAAndyou'llbelying.
CLAYIwouldn'tlieaboutsomethinglikethat.
LULAHah.It'stheonlykindofthingyouwilllieabout.Especiallyifyouthinkit'llkeepmealive.
CLAYKeepyoualive?Idon'tunderstand.

.'<'"
LULA[Burstingoutlaughing,buttooshrill]Don'tunderstand?Well,don'tlookatme.It'sthepathItake,that's
all.WherebothfeettakemewhenIsetthemdown.Oneinfrontoftheother.
CLAYMorbid.Morbid.Yousureyou'renotanactress?Allthatselfaggrandizement.
LULAWell,ItoldyouIwasn'tanactress...butIalsotoldyouIlieallthetime.Drawyourownconclusions.
CLAYMorbid.Morbid.Yousureyou'renotanactress?Allscribed?There'snomore?
LULAI'vetoldyouallIknow.Oralmostall.
CLAYThere'snofunnyparts?
LULAIthoughtitwasallfunny.
CLAYButyoumeanpeculiar,nothaha.
LULAYoudon'tknowwhatImean.
CLAYWell,tellmethealmostpartthen.Yousaidalmostall.Whatelse?Iwantthewholestory.
.
LULA[Searchingaimlesslythroughherbag.Shebeginstotalkbreathlessly,withalightandsillytone]All
storiesarewholestories.Allof'em.Ourwholestory...nothingbutchange.Howcouldthingsgoonlike
thatforever?Huh?[Slapshimontheshoulder,beginsfindingthingsinherbag,takingthemoutand
throwingthemoverhershoulderintotheaisle]ExceptIdogoonasIdo.Applesandlongwalkswith
deathlessintelligentlovers.Butyoumixitup.Lookoutthewindow,allthetime.Turningpages.Change
changechange.Till,shit,Idon'tknowyou.Wouldn't,forthatmatter.You'retooserious.Ibetyou're
eventooserioustobepsychoanalyzed.LikeallthoseJewishpoetsfromYonkers,wholeavetheir
motherslookingforothermothers,orothers'mothers,onwhosebaggytitstheylaytheirfumbling
heads.Theirpoemsarealwaysfunny,andallaboutsex.
CLAYTheysoundgreat.Likemovies.
LULAButyouchange.[Blankly]Andthingsworkonyoutillyouhatethem.[Morepeoplecomeintothe
train.Theycomeclosertothecouple,someofthemnotsitting,butswingingdrearilyonthestraps,staring
atthetwowithuncertaininterest]
CLAYWow.Allthesepeople,sosuddenly.Theymustallcomefromthesameplace.
LULARight.Thattheydo.
CLAYOh?Youknowaboutthemtoo?

yeah.AboutthemmorethanIknowaboutyou.Dotheyfrightenyou?
CLAYFrightenme?Whyshouldtheyfrightenme?
LULA'Causeyou'reanescapednigger.
CLAYYeah?
LULA'Causeyoucrawledthroughthewireandmadetrackstomyside.
CLAYWire?
LULADon'ttheyhavewirearoundplantations?
CLAYYoumustbeJewish.Allyoucanthinkaboutiswire.Plantationsdidn'thaveanywire.Plantations
werebigopenwhitewashedplaceslikeheaven,andeverybodyon'emwasgroovedtobethere.Just
strummin'andhummin'allday.
LULAYes,yes.
CLAYAndthat'showtheblueswasborn.
LULAYes,yes.Andthat'showtheblueswasborn.[Beginstomakeupasongthatbecomesquickly
hysterical.Asshesingssherisesfromherseat,stillthrowingthingsoutofherbagintotheaisle,beginninga
rhythmicalshudderandtwistlikewiggle,whichshecontinuesupanddowntheaisle,bumpingintomanyof
thestandingpeopleandtrippingoverthefeetofthosesitting.Eachtimesherunsintoapersonsheletsout
averyviciouspieceofprofanity,wigglingandsteppingallthetime]Andthat'showtheblueswasborn.
Yes.Yes.Sonofabitch,getoutoftheway.Yes.Quack.Yes.Yes.Andthat'showtheblueswasborn.
Tenlittleniggerssittingonalimb,butnoneofthemeverlookedlikehim.[PointstoCLAY,returns
towardtheseat,withherhandsextendedforhimtoriseanddancewithher]Andthat'showblueswas
born.Yes.Comeon,Clay.Let'sdothenasty.Rubbellies.Rubbellies.
.
CLAY[Waveshishandstorefuse.Heisembarrassed,butdeterminedtogetakickoutoftheproceedings]Hey,
what was in those apples? Mirror, mirror on the wall", who's the fairest one of all? Snow White,
baby,anddontyouforgetit.
LULA[Grabbingforhishands,whichhedrawsaway]Comeon,Clay.Let'srubbelliesonthetrain.Thenasty.
Thenasty.Dothegrittygrind,likeyouroldragheadmammy.Grindtillyouloseyourmind.Shake
it,shakeit,shakeit,shakeit!OOOOweeee!Comeon,Clay.Let'sdothechoochootrainshuffle,the
navelscratcher.
CLAYHey,youcomingonliketheladywhosmokeduphergrassskirt.
QULA[Becomingannoyedthathewillnotdance,andbecomingmoreanimatedasiftoembarrasshimstill
further]Comeon,Clay...let'sdothething.Uhh!Uhh!Clay!Clay!Youmiddleclassblackbastard.Forget
yoursocialworkingmotherforafewsecondsandlet'sknockstomachs.Clay,youliverlippedwhite
man.YouwouldbeChristian.Youain'tnonigger,you'rejustadirtywhiteman.Getup,Clay.Dancewith
me,Clay)
CLAYLula!Sitdown,now.Becool.
LULA[Mockinghim,inwilddance]Becool.Becool.That'sallyouknow...shakingthatwildrootcreamoilon
yourknottyhead,jacketsbuttoninguptoyourchin,sofullofwhiteman'swordsChrist,God,Getup',
andscreamatthesepeople.Likescreammeaninglessshitinthesehopelessfaces.[Shescreamsatpeople
intrain,stilldancing}RedtrainscoughJewishunderwearforkeeps!Expandingsmellsofsilence.Gravy
snotwhistlinglikeseabirds.Clay.Clay,yougottobreakout.Don'tsittheredyingthewaytheywantyou
todie.Getup.
CLAYOh,sitthefuckown.Hemovestorestrainher]Sitdown,goddamnit.
LULA[Twistingoutofhisreach]Screwyourself,UncleTom.'ThomasWoollyHead.[Beginstodanceakindof
jig,mockingCLAYwithloudJ~r~edhumor]ThereisUncleTom...Imean,UncleThomasWoollyHead.
Witholdwhitemattedmane.Hehobblesonhiswoodencane.OldTom.OldTom.Letthewhiteman
humphis0I'mama,andhejes'shuffleoffinthewoodsandhidehisgentlegrayhead.0I'ThomasWoolly
Head.[Someoftheotherridersarelaughingnaw.ADRUNKgetsupandjoinsLULAinherdance,singing,
asbesthecan,her"song."CLAYgetsupoutofhisseatandvisiblyscansthefacesoftheotherriders]
CLAYLula!Lula![Sheisdancing'andturning,stillshoutingasloudasshecan.TheDRUNKtooisshouting,and
wavinghishandswildly]Lula...youdumbbitch.Whydon'tyoustopit?[Herusheshalfstumblingfromhis
seat,andgrabsoneofherflailingarms]
LULALetmego!Youblacksonofabitch.[Shestrugglesagainsthim]LetmegotHelp![CLAYisdraggingher
towardsherseat,andtheDRUNKseekstointerfere.HegrabsCLAYaroundtheshouldersandbegins
wrestlingwithhim.CLAYclubsthedrunktothefloorwithoutreleasingLULA,whoisstillscreaming.CLAY
finallygetshertotheseatandthrowsherintoit]

CLAYNowyoushutthehellup.[Grabbinghershoulders}Justshutup.Youdon'tknowwhatyou'retalking
about.Youdon'tknowanything.Sojustkeepyourstupidmouthclosed.
LULAYou'reafraidofwhitepeople.Andyourfatherwas.UncleTomBigLip!
CLAY[Slapsherashardashecan,acrossthemouth.ebackoftheseat.LULAsheadbangsagainstthebackof
theseat.Whensheraisesitagain.CLAYslapsheragain]Nowshutupandletmetalk[Heturnstowardthe
otherriders,someofwhomaresittingontheedgeoftheirseats.TheDRUNKisoneoneknee,rubbinghis
head,andsingingsoftlythesamesong.HeshutsuptoowhenheseesCLAYwatchinghim.Theothersgo
backtonewspapersorstareoutthewindows.]Shit,youdon'thaveanysense,Lula,norfeelingseither.
Icouldmurderyounow.Suchatinyuglythroat.Icouldsqueezeitflat,and,watchyouturnblue,on
ahumble.Fordullkicks.Andalltheseweakfacedofayssquattingaroundhere,staringovertheir
papersatme.Murderthemtoo.Eveniftheyexpectedit.Thatmanthere...[PointstoaWELL
DRESSEDMAN]IcouldripthatTimesrightoutofhishand,asskinnyandmiddleclassedasIam,I
couldripthatpaperoutofhishandandjustaseasilyripouthisthroat.Ittakesnogreateffort:For
what?Tokillyousoftidiots?Youdon'tunderstandanythingbutluxury.
LULAYoufool!
CLAY[Pushingheragainsttheseat]I'mnottellingyouagain,TallulahBankhead!Luxury.Inyourfaceand
your fingers. You telling me what I ought to do. [Sudden scream frightening the whole coach] Well,
don't!Don'tyoutellmeanything!IfI'mamiddleclassfakewhiteman...letmebe.Andletmebein
the way I want. [Through his teeth] I'll rip your lousy breasts off! Let me be who I feel like being.
UncleTom.Thomas.Whoever.It'snoneofyourbusiness(Youdon'tknowanythingexceptwhat's
there for you to see. An act. Lies. Device. Not the pure heart, the pumping black heart. You don't
everknowthat.AndIsithereinthisbuttonedupsuittokeepmyselffromcuttingallyourthroats.I
mean wantonly. You great liberated whore! You fuck some black man, and right away you're an
expert on black people. What a lotta shit that is. The only thing you know is that you come if he
bangs you hard enough. And that's all. The belly rub? You wanted to do the belly rub? Shit, you
don'tevenknowhow.Youdon'tknowhow.Thatoldiptydipshityoudo,rollingyourasslikean
elephant.That'snotmykindofbellyrub.BellyrubisnotQueens.Bellyrubisdarkplaceswithbig
hats and overcoats held up with one arm. Belly rub hates you... Old baldheaded foureyed ofays
poppingtheirfingers...anddon'tknowyetwhatthey'redoing.Theysay,"IloveBessieSmithand
don'tevenunderstandthatBessieSmithissaying,"Kissmyass,kissmyblackunrulyass."Before
love,suffering,desire,anythingyoucanexplain,she'ssaying,andveryplainly,"Kissmyblackass."
Andifyoudon'tknowthat,it'syouthat'sdoingthekissing.

(CharlieParker?lCharlieParker.AllthehipwhiteboysscreamforBird.AndBirdsaying,"Upyour
ass,feeblemindedofay!Upyourass."Andtheysittheretalkingaboutthetorturedgeniusof
CharlieParker.Birdwould'veplayednotanoteofmusicifhejustwalkeduptoEastSixtyseventh
Streetandkilledthefirsttenwhitepeoplehesaw.Notanote!AndImthegreatwouldbepoet.Yes.
That'sright!Poet.Somekindofbastardliterature...allitneedsisasimpleknifethrust.Justletme
bleedyou,youloudwhore,and'onepoemvanished.Awholepeopleofneurotics,strugglingtokeep
frombeingsane.Andtheonlythingthatwouldcuretheneurosiswouldbeyourmurder.Simpleas
that.ImeanifImurderedyou,thenotherwhitepeoplewouldbegintounderstandme.You
understand?NoIguessnot.IfBessieSmithhadkilledsomewhitepeopleshewouldnthaveneeded
thatmusic.Shecouldhavetalkedverystraightandplainabouttheworld.Nometaphors.Nogrunts.
Nowigglesinthedarkofhersoul.Juststraighttwoandtwoarefour.Money.power.Luxury.Like
that.Allofthem.Crazyniggersturningtheirbacksonsanity.Whenallitneedsisthatsimpleact.
Murder.Justmurder!Wouldmakeusallsane.[Suddenlyweary)Ahhh.Shit.Butwhoneedsit?Id
ratherbeafool.Insane.Safewithmywords,andnodeaths,andclean,hardthoughts,urgingmeto
newconquests.Mypeople'smadness.Hah!That'salaugh.Mypeople.Theydon'tneedmetoclaim
them.Theygotlegsandarmsoftheirown.Personalinsanities.Mirrors.Theydon'tneedallthose
words.Theydon'tneedanydefense.Butlisten,though,onemorething.Andyoutellthistoyour
father,whosprobablythekindofmanwhoneedstoknowatonce.Sohecanplanahead.Tellhim
nottopreachsomuchrationalismandcoldlogictotheseniggers.Letthemalone.Letthemsing
cursesatyouincodeandseeyourfilthassimplelackofstyle.Don'tmakethemistake,through
someirresponsiblesurgeofChristiancharity,oftalkingtoomuchabouttheadvantagesofWestern
rationalism,orthegreatintellectuallegacyofthewhiteman,ormaybethey'llbegintolisten.And

then,maybeoneday,you'llfindtheyactuallydounderstandexactlywhatyouaretalkingabout,all
thesefantasypeople.Allthesebluespeople.Andonthatday,assureasshit,whenyoureally
believeyoucanacceptthemintoyourfold,ashalfwhitetrustieslateofthesubjectpeoples.With
nomoreblues,excepttheveryoldones,andnotawatermeloninsight,thegreatmissionaryheart
willhavetriumphed,andallofthoseexcoonswillbestandupWesternmen,witheyesforclean
hardusefullives,sober,piousandsane,andthey'llmurderyou.They'llmurderyou,andhavevery
rationalexplanations.Verymuchlikeyourown.They'llcutyourthroats,anddragyououttothe
edgeofyour.citiessothefleshcanfallawayfromyourbones,insanitaryisolation.
LULA[Hervoicetakesonadifferent,morebusinesslikequality)I'veheardenough.
CLAY[Reachingforhisbooks)Ibetyouhave.IguessIbettercollectmystuffandgetoffthistrain.Looks
likewewon'tbeactingoutthatlittlepageantyououtlinedbefore.
LULANo.Wewon't.You'rerightaboutthat,atleast.[Sheturnstolookquicklyaroundtherestofthecar)All
right![Theothersrespond)
CLAY[Bendingacrossthegirltoretrievehisbelongings)Sorry,baby,Idon'tthinkwecouldmakeit.[Asheis
bendingoverher,thegirlbringsupasmallknifeandplungesitintoCLAY'Schest.Twice.Heslumpsacross
herknees,hismouthworkingstupidly)
LULASorryisright.[Turningtotheothersinthecarwhohavealreadygottenupfromtheirseats)Sorryisthe
rightestthingyou'vesaid.Getthismanoffme!Hurry,now![TheotherscomeanddragCLAY'Sbody
downtheaisle)Openthedoorandthrowhisbodyout.[Theythrowhimoff]Andallofyougetoffatthe
nextstop.[LULAbusiesherselfstraighteningherthings.Gettingeverythinginorder.Shetakesouta
notebookandmakesaquickscribblingnote.Dropsitinherbag.Thetrainapparentlystopsandallthe
othersgetoff,leavingheraloneinthecoach.

VerysoonaYOUNGNEGROofabouttwentycomesintothecoachwithacoupleofbooksunderhisarm.He
sitsafewseatsinbackofLULA.Whenheisseatedsheturnsandgiveshimalongslowlook.Helooksup
fromhisbookanddropsthebookonhislap.ThenanOLDNEGROCONDUCTORcomesintothecar,doinga
sortofrestrainedsoftshoe,andhalfmumblingthewordsofsomesong.HelooksatTHEYOUNGMAN,
briefly,withaquickgreeting]
CONDUCTOR.Hey,brother!
YOUNG MAN Hey. [The CONDUCTOR continues down the aisle with his little dance and the mumbled song.
LULAturnstostareathimandfollowshismovementsdowntheaisle.TheCONDUCTORtipshishatwhen
hereachesherseat,andcontinuesoutthecar]