EXTRACT only. For the complete stageplay, please visit: www.australianplays.org
The Last Post-Hiroshima Romance
© Tim Gooding January 1977
Blackness. A large loud explosion. It fades.
Upstage: a Rock-Ola jukebox begins to glow. A vintage bakelite mantle wireless hangs from its cord, spinning, as if it has fallen but not reached the ground.
Downstage: 9 gold rings lie scattered.
VELVET is twisted in her seat, collapsed against the jukebox. Clad in WW2 vintage flying gear: leather jacket, flying cap, blue scarf. Large headphones plugged into the Rock-Ola.
PAGLIACCI, in flying gear, white scarf, lies centrestage. Clown face makeup. He clutches a small transistor radio.
ANGEL SUGAR, pilot, slumps in another seat. White scarf. Painted nails and face, large diamond ring. Car-seat radio beside her.
One empty seat.
The seats are identical, mobile, resemble sports car bucket seats. Angel’s seat has simple flying controls attached.
JET de LUXE staggers from the darkness: another airman, white scarf, alto saxophone in one hand. He is dying..but might also be precariously dancing.
Behind, upstage, a pair of ground lights illuminate. Then another pair, slightly further apart. Then another pair. And another..until we are looking down a tarmac by night.
JET executes a cool James Dean wave, and talks to the moon.)
JET’S LAST NUMBER
VELVET, ANGEL, PAGLIACCI hum “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” as JET delivers a deep, heartfelt Elvis-like monologue.
JET: And you know it’s gonna be all right.
ALL: (sing) “Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo..”
JET: Drifting across the darkened paddock on the edge of town, in the kerosene glow of Pagliacci’s tent, alone and empty because the circus has moved on:
ALL: (sing) “Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo..”
PAGLIACCI: (sings) “Tra la la la la la li lo..”
JET: And in Sugar’s last whisky bar where the waiters have wiped the spills and ash and all gone home, to the slow rhythm of the fan which turns all through the night:
ANGEL: (sings) “Sha la la la la la la..”
JET: And in Velvet’s lonely room:
VELVET: (sings) “Ooobie doobie doobie doo..”
JET: You know it’s gonna be all right! You’ve left the final reminder, honey, and that can never die. Down the hallway, down the road, everywhere, dimly, the music sings. A stranger like a shadow, with a transistor in his hand and a shiver down his spine. He holds it to his ear and he can hear the city roar. Out of Enola Gay came The Bomb, and out of The Bomb came the Stranger like a Shadow, and out of the Stranger like a Shadow came the Healing Music, and oh how we danced. The Healing Music! Makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame and the dumb to walk and talk!
(JET shudders. A pulse runs through his body.)
(Tarmac lights reappear.
SFX: Aircraft engines, rising in volume.
A pulse runs up the tarmac as if something, or many somethings, are taking off and flying overhead.
The pulse accelerates.)
(A call and response which rises to crescendo.)
(JET races down the tarmac, drops to his knees and slides, sax to mouth.
SFX: Aircraft scream
As he plays a wild sax solo.
Sometime in the not-so-distant past..
VELVET, melancholy baby, leans on the jukebox.
ANGEL sits, touching up makeup, car-seat radio by her.
PAGLIACCI lies downstage, transistor radio to his ear, surfie kitbag nearby.
JET sits under the mantle radio. Wearing the ten golden rings.
ANGEL: Sometimes I wish I was Bobby’s Girl. Dig this. I’m parked in a gin house run by a fat bald daddy-O with a scone like a blistered beach ball who calls himself Papa. Papa Oo Mau Mau. Jesus. He’s one hip fat man. He’s Mr Obese Man. Meanwhile some no-talent bum on the jukebox is yodelling “Why Why Why Delilah?” and I’m muttering “Run Samson Run”. (sings) “I’d sooner trust a hungry lion than a gal with a cheatin’ heart..” Too right. And this Bandstand refugee is backed by the usual quartet of creeps in the usual Prince Valiant haircuts and the usual pastel bodyshirts clashing with the usual primary coloured acne as they sing in the usual K Blunt Minor key. And right about the usual time, the drunkest and creepiest Valiant slithers over and asks can he buy me the usual drink, to which I respond with the usual “Drop off, Junior”, or words to that usual effect, so he slopes off back to the usual mates with the usual summing up of his predicament: “She’s up herself. I reckon she must be frigid or something”. Then along comes Velvet. Like a Mouseketeer among Hell’s Angels. Like, hi, Toots, pull up a pew.
VELVET: Hi. I’m Velvet.
ANGEL: (as Mouseketeer) Hi! I’m Angel Sugar! Can you do the mashed potato?
ANGEL: No. Right, little sister, hi fi your history. Like, what’s a nice girl like yousville?
VELVET: Are you a widgie?
ANGEL: Got it. On occasion. I am sporting my widgie face tonight. Dragged it screaming out of the medicine cabinet. Dig the beehive, honey.
VELVET: Yeah. Neat.
ANGEL: Neat? Flip, baby. Flip. Vintage? Model and year.
VELVET: 1950. Twenty seven big ones.
ANGEL: A nymphette yet. I remember twenty seven. Sailor Sam? You got a man?
VELVET: No. Got the blues.
ANGEL: You sure you can’t do the mashed potato?
ANGEL: Yeah? Honeychile, you in big trouble. Drink this.
VELVET: (drinks) Oh, yeah! Oooweeee!
ANGEL: Ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang. (drinks) Da doo ron ron, Da doo ron ron. Let me tell you about –
VELVET: Ooo poo pah doo?
ANGEL: Doo bah bah barp.
VELVET: (sings) “Oh doo bop she dum dum.” Watusi?
ANGEL: Like little Lucy. (sings) “Na, na na na na, na na na na, na na na na na na.” Watch me now!
VELVET: (sings) “Oobie doobie doobie doo.”
ANGEL: (sings) “Oobie doobie doobie doo.”
VELVET: Oobie doobie doobie, doobie doo doo.
ANGEL: Doobie doo doo.
VELVET: Doo doo.
ANGEL: Doobie doo.
VELVET: Doobie doo.
ANGEL: Flam! The lang-a-widge of love. Wham-bam thankyou ma’am, skin me daddy-O, fab fab fab, do you go all the way?, I’m in with the In Crowd, zip-ah-dee-doo-dah, zip-ah-dee-ay, see the girl with the red dress on, a Purple Heart and she’s gone gone gone, and will you still love me tomorrow?
VELVET: Peachy-keen and neat-O, Jet, so far out I think you’re groovy, bamalamaloo wanna catch a movie?, hop in my car I think you’re fine, bye bye baby, you’re out of time, dance dance dance and fun fun fun, I just wanna make love on the run.
ANGEL: The Saturday night swindle. Oo oobley oo.
VELVET: I don’t suppose you can fly a plane?