Glasgow Central
Lawrence Russell

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glasgow central

Young man, chemo look, shaven head, loose clothes, shuffling back and forth on the pavement, cell phone to his ear: aye, I'm outside the pub... aye, I'm walkin'... aye, I hear ye fine... aye, same here... aye, it might rain... aye, that's brilliant... aye...

Young man, single cutaway acoustic, doorway near Glasgow Central, singing Lennon's classic, I'm Just A Jealous Guy.

Gaggles of young girls prowl the concourse of the train station with cell phones, excited, laughing, spinning... pigeons forage the marble floor, startled, fly up into the heavy steel spans of the glass roof... people ebb and flow like the tide, the years.

TVs in window, all tuned to the same show, Pinball Warrior, battle of the robots... Steg 2 flips Iron Aw into "the pit", is bushwhacked by Matilda, the house robot... Steg 2 counter--attacks with a concealed hammer... bullets ricochet off its armoured plastic skin... Mortus vs. Crusader 2 (who has more processing power than the lst space shuttle)... but Mortus has an all-kelvar body shell and a lethal robo drill which mortally wounds Crusader, leaves him destroyed and burning as the spectators roar in the stands and in the street...

direct to video: Allah Akbar!

The Middle-East farrago continues. Terrorist armed (he says) with TNT threatens to blow up a Heathrow-bound Boeing 777-200, 40 British passengers, plus a member of the Saudi royal family... aircraft diverted to Bagdad... Bin Laden is blamed.

In Gaza City a mock coffin with Clinton's picture is shouldered through a screaming mob of Palestinian youths wearing sweatbands and waving 9 mm pistols.

Two Israeli soldiers (part timers) wander by mistake into the Arab sector. One is lynched, the other torn apart... muzzle flash... body part goes missing. Direct to video.

In the lobby of the Millennium Hotel the elevator music is like dust in the air... ambient, the smell of coffee, scotch and cigarettes.

Floods in England. Scotland watches and waits.

devoted to the dead master

Evening. Hotel room. Johnson, naked except for jockey shorts, lies on top of his bed flipping through the TV channels with a remote. Boswell, fancy stripped robe, sits at a bistro table nearby, smoking, reading a newspaper.

Enter "13" with a flourish.

13: I realize we're had a false start here, gentlemen... let me make amends.
B: How?
13: I too am devoted to the dead master.
J: Aren't we all.
13: That's my line, I believe.
B: He's not dead.
13: Come on... my best informant tells me a) he's deceased, b) his ashes are in Glasgow.
B: He faked his death.
13: Are you guys employed by the University of Washington?
B: Why would we be?
J: University of Wash holds a collection of Trocchi mss.
13: Indeed they do. I know they want his ashes... they've put out a contract before.
B: We're not here for ashes, 13. We're here for him.
13: Trocchi has a great turn of phrase but he isn't Jesus Christ. He's dead.
B: Fuck, you're worse than TV, man.
13: Your problem, pal.
B: Well didja bring us a joint?
13: With your intense skepticism and hostility, think I'll keep my joints to myself.
J: Pay no attention to him, 13. Have a seat. Help yourself to a beer.
13: Good cop, bad cop, eh.

13 sits down, lights up a joint.

B: (watching TV) Is this how the British see life?
13: (passing him the joint) How, what?
B: The commercial. Did you have a car accident... did you have a work-related accident... did you trip or fall... then you might be eligible for some free freakin' money, gouge the fuggin' system, phone this fuggin' number....
13: True, some people are looking for freebies.
B: Regional soap-operas, game shows, cop dramas, tabloid newscasts... yikes, how can you stand it?
13: Fortify myself with Stella beer and McCoy potato crisps -- fuck, yer askin' me?
J: No different in North America. Hucksterism and freak shows.
B: Fewer laugh tracks, is all.
13: Fewer laughs?
B: American sit-coms use laugh tracks.
13: Boswell -- is that your real name?
B: Well, uh, how real is "13"?
13: The reason I'm asking is, do you know who "Boswell" is?
B: I am "Boswell"... Mr. Rizzio.
13: My friends call me David.
B: How about Dave?
13: No, I prefer David. You can call me Rizzio if you want.
B: Italian.
13: Distantly.
J: Like Trocchi.
13: Aye -- like Trocchi.
J: So who calls you 13?
13: That's just a nick-name.
J: I like it. I'll call you "13".
13: Suit yerself.
J: So are you a relative of Trocchi?
13: Might be. Might be a cousin.
J: How about Alex Nails -- you know him?
13: (pales) No such person.
J: Really? He knows you.
13: No such person, I'm saying.
J: No kidding. I must've spoken to a phantom, then.
13: You spoke with him?
J: Yeah. He said you were a crook... a con artist.
13: (a stiff laugh) Haw haw -- you jest, sir. Old Glasgow has infected you with its karma.
J: So Mr. Nails is just some old guy who hangs around cemeteries, shakin' down the dummies, eh.
13: You saw him at the Necro?
J: Don't matter where I saw him, 13. Just don't jerk us around -- dig?
B: Maybe we underestimated you.
13: (coughs) All I want is a second chance.
B: Alright -- you know who Leni Riefenstahl is?
13: I know Leni, sure.
B: Familiar with her work?
13: As an actress? Movie director? Photo-essayist? I can get you her new African book.
B: Mmm... o.k. dope, by the way. How about her secret sex journal?
13: I have something better.
B: What -- you got coke?
13: An unpublished ms. by Trocchi.

Johnson sits up.

J: What is it?
13: A story... could be a fragment of his journal.
J: You got it with you?
13: Why do you think I'm here?

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© Lawrence Russell

Culture Court 2000