LES: Géza, get up, there’s discipline here, this is a workplace, there’s no loafin’ here!
(Géza is intimidated.)
What do I tell the German if he doesn’t see you here, what do I say to him, who’s watchin’ out for safety, you realize what the German’ll do to me then, you realize what he’ll do, he’ll boot me the fuck out, ’cause of you he’ll boot me out, ’cause I couldn’t find anybody for safety!
GÉZA: Workplace, discipline, discipline, workplace, the German needs safety, the German doesn’t wanna pay, the German knows how to grab the money, that he knows. Even though it’s all the same what I do, ’cause I don’t have to do anythin’, I’m stupid, like the dogs barkin’ in the yard, that’s how stupid I am, arf, arf… (Meanwhile makes his way to his chair.)
LES: Cut it out, Géza, I told you why you’re doin’ this, see, I told you, if there’s a problem, then you’re needed, see, ’cause that’s safety, that’s what the insurer tells the German, and the German tells me.
GÉZA: There’s been no problem, so far there’s been no problem, what am I here for, what for, if there’s no problem, if there won’t be any problem…
LEWIE: You’re in charge here, Géza, see, you’re the boss, even more of a boss than Uncle Les, ’cause only you can stop the belt if there’s trouble.
GÉZA: The dogs are gods in the yard, they’re dog kings, dog gods, they’re stupid, stupid, stupid…
(The belt starts, Géza is in the chair.)
LEWIE (goes to the pile of rocks with Stevie, out of earshot of Géza): Somethin’ needs to be done with Géza.
LEWIE: I don’t know.
STEVIE: That’s the problem.
(They go out, the barking of a dog is heard, explosion, sounds of falling rocks, dog howl, rumbling.)
STEVIE’S VOICE (from outside): Look out, Lewie, fallin’ rocks, look out, for chrissake!
LEWIE’S VOICE: I’m lookin’ out, but that stupid dog stayed there.
STEVIE’S VOICE: Clear out, get the hell outa here. Whose big mother of a dog is that?
LEWIE’S VOICE: He’s been around here for about a week, probably ran away from somewhere.
STEVIE’S VOICE: Clear out!
(Sounds of falling rock, dog whimpering, Stevie and Lewie enter.)
Well, that’s the end of him, that stupid dog, what the hell did he stay there for, what the hell for?
LEWIE: Listen, Stevie, listen here, Stevie, I got an idea, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before, for chrissake.
STEVIE: What do you wanna do?
LEWIE: Here’s this dog, this dead animal, see? Covered in blood.
STEVIE: No, I mean I know what you mean, but whaddya mean?
LEWIE: That there’s this dog here, dead, get it? Smashed by the rocks.
STEVIE: It’s dead, so what?
LEWIE: Well, for Géza, see, on the belt, the belt could take it, see?
STEVIE: We should put the dog on the belt for Géza, is that what you mean?
LEWIE: You shout, whoa Lewie, what happened to you, whoa Lewie, see, then the kid sees the dog on the belt…
STEVIE: He sees you turned into a dog or what for chrissake? He sees the dog bein’ carried in and I yell, whoa Lewie, you turned into a dog, or what the hell you talkin’ about?… The boy can see it’s a dog, the boy’s not stupid, you know, he can see…
LEWIE: Listen, we get the pieces together, we wrap it all up in my shirt, then stick it in with the rocks, then you yell, see?!
STEVIE: Oh! That’s really good. Chrissakes, we’ll put one over on Géza, we’ll put one over on Géza.
(They gather the cadaver, cut up and trample the shirt.)
LEWIE: Here’s my jacket, stick that in too, so he doesn’t figure it out.
STEVIE: Okay, this is done, it can go.
(They throw the dog remains on the belt.)
LEWIE: I’m gonna split now, you take it from here!
STEVIE: Okay, get goin’, hurry up. (Shouts.) Whoa Lewie, oh no, what happened to you, oh my God, oh my God, oh goddammit, what happened to you!
LES: Géza, Géza, watch the belt, Géza!
GÉZA: I’m watchin’, I’m watchin’, but there’s nothin’, nothin’!
LES: Watch it, Géza, did the belt catch Lewie?
GÉZA: I don’t see him, wait, there’s blood, off!!
STEVIE: Press that button, Géza, what’re you waitin’ for!
GÉZA: I pressed it, I pressed it, I already pressed it, that’s the momentum, it’s stoppin’, it’s stoppin’ right now. What happened to Uncle Lewie, what happened to him, to Uncle Lewie, what happened?!
LES: Get down off the chair, Géza, get down.
GÉZA: I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me, Uncle Les, it wasn’t me, I stopped it, Uncle Les, I did.
LES: It’s not your fault, Géza, I know it’s not, it’s not your fault.
GÉZA: Uncle Lewie, how did he go apart like that, he blew up, Uncle Lewie blew up or what?
STEVIE: You stopped it just fine, kid, you did just fine, but it didn’t matter any more to Lewie, see, you couldn’t help it. For chrissakes.
GÉZA: I pressed the button, I pressed it.
LES: Go home, Géza, go on home, this was enough for one day for you, go on, get on the bus and go home. If you want, you can stay home tomorrow too, if you want.
GÉZA: I’m comin’ tomorrow, Uncle Les, I’m comin’ tomorrow, that’s my job, I can’t help it, I stopped it, I stopped it. I’ll be here tomorrow, Uncle Les.
(At home in the afternoon.)
GÉZA: Hello, Mama, I came home.
AUNT ROSIE: What happened, dear, what happened?
GÉZA: I stopped the belt, I pressed the red button, and I stopped it.
AUNT ROSIE: Why did you stop it, dear, why?
GÉZA: I stopped it.
AUNT ROSIE: But why did you have to, dear?
GÉZA: It’s my job, Mama, it’s my job, that’s why. I pressed the red button, and the belt stopped, it stopped the way it was supposed to.
AUNT ROSIE: But why did you have to press the button?
GÉZA: I stopped it, ’cause that’s my job, but it didn’t make any difference to Uncle Lewie, it didn’t make any difference to him, to Uncle Lewie.
AUNT ROSIE: Why didn’t it make any difference to Uncle Lewie, what happened?
GÉZA: The explosion tore Uncle Lewie to pieces.
AUNT ROSIE: What? What happened?
GÉZA: To pieces, Mama, like a piglet in the winter, the way father used to take a piglet apart, that’s how he was taken apart.
AUNT ROSIE: Oh my God, my God, what happened there…
GÉZA: Mama, it wasn’t my fault, I stopped the belt, I stopped it the way I was supposed to, right away, I pressed the button, and the belt stopped.
AUNT ROSIE: It wasn’t your fault, of course it wasn’t, you knew what you had to do. My God!
GÉZA: But Uncle Lewie is completely done for, completely.
AUNT ROSIE: Poor thing, he was probably drunk, that’s probably why, you couldn’t help it if he blew up, you did what you had to.
GÉZA: It wasn’t the belt that took him apart, Mama, not the belt, but the carbide, that’s what tore him up so bad, like chopped meat, so bad.
AUNT ROSIE: You did what you had to do, you did. Lewie, my God, Lewie in pieces!
GÉZA (in an increasingly tormented monologue): Mama, I pressed the button on time, he was already in pieces when he fell on the belt, all I wanted was to have a job, to be worth somethin’, to watch the rocks, I watch the rocks all day, all I wanted was to have somethin’ to do, I never wanted anythin’ bad to happen to Uncle Lewie, I never wanted that, I’ll tell Aunt Ilona it wasn’t my fault, I’ll tell her I pressed the button, and all I wanted to do was work, so I could be doin’ somethin’ too, that’s why I sit there, but what happened to Uncle Lewie, I didn’t want that, and maybe it’s better this way for Aunt Ilona, ’cause she was so mad at Uncle Lewie for drinkin’ in the tavern all evenin’, and not goin’ home to fix the pig pen, it’s better for Aunt Ilona this way, but I can’t help it, I only thought a lotta times how bad it must be for Aunt Ilona, ’cause Uncle Lewie doesn’t love her, but I never, ’cause I loved Uncle Lewie, and he always asked me what I’m takin’ for lunch, Uncle Lewie always asked me. I loved Uncle Lewie.
AUNT ROSIE (pulls Géza to her, tries to calm him down): Lie down, my little son, lie down!
GÉZA: It wasn’t me, not me.
AUNT ROSIE: Lie down!
(Géza becomes a little calmer, and stretches out on the kitchen day bed, brief silence, then suddenly becomes agitated again. From here, their interaction becomes increasingly tense, rough gestures increasingly accompany Géza’s speech.)
GÉZA: Aunt Ilona won’t be mad at me, I couldn’t help it, I shut it off…
AUNT ROSIE: Rest, rest…
GÉZA (suddenly sits up): The bus is comin’ now, it’s stoppin’ now, they’re gettin’ out now, they’re comin’ with the news now…
AUNT ROSIE: Stay! Nobody’s interested in the bus. Stay!
GÉZA (sits back down, then after a brief pause gets agitated again): But I have to go down to the tavern. I have to go!
AUNT ROSIE: You’re not goin’ to the tavern now, you’re not goin’.
GÉZA (falls back on the day bed, then after a brief pause sits up): But I am goin’ to them, so they don’t think it was my fault, I paid attention, I pressed the button.
AUNT ROSIE: Stay!
GÉZA: I have to go! I have to!
AUNT ROSIE: Stay, you hear?! You’re not supposed to go away now... the doctor said so! You’re supposed to rest at times like this, at times like this…
GÉZA: The doctor told Uncle Stevie he’s gonna die in six months, and Uncle Stevie’s still alive, I have to go down now. (Jumps up and is about to go to the door.)
AUNT ROSIE (grabs him): Stay home!
GÉZA (shoves her away as he did Sappy earlier): I have to go down, the bus just came. I have to go down. (Bursts out of the kitchen.)
(Evening in the tavern, spirits are high.)
LEWIE: Then I said to Stevie, let’s throw the carcass on the belt to give Géza-boy somethin’ to do, so he doesn’t think he’s sittin’ there for nothin’.
BÉLA: Then you threw it on?
LEWIE: Well, we wrapped the mangled pieces in my shirt and threw it on, good and bloody, and Stevie yelled, whoa Lewie, what happened to you, he yelled, almost blew out his tonsils, the kid of course shat himself when he saw the bloody mess, boy did he shit himself.
SAPPY: He shat himself, for real?
STEVIE: He shat himself, he pressed the stop button, he was shakin’ like a leaf, he was so scared.
LEWIE: I don’t think he’s gonna wanna stop the belt anymore.
BÉLA: I think he’ll be glad if he doesn’t have to do anythin’ there any more.
LEWIE: He was just starin’ bug-eyed at those pieces of bloody meat.
(The door opens, Géza enters.)
Les said to him, go on home now, Géza, go on, you did a good job.
(Géza stands there staring at Lewie.)
BÉLA, SAPPY: Lewie, (poking him) Lewie, look, in the doorway.
SAPPY: Look, Géza’s over there!
LEWIE: Come on, Géza, come on over!
(Géza does not move.)
The whole thing was a prank, see, c’mon Géza, don’t be hangin’ out in the doorway!
GÉZA (does not move from the doorway): He’s dead, Uncle Lewie’s dead, taken apart like a piglet, Uncle Lewie’s dead…
LEWIE: Here I am, boy, can’t you see?
GÉZA: He’s dead.
LEWIE: The whole thing was a prank, see, cut this out now, Géza, c’mon over here…
GÉZA: Uncle Lewie’s dead, he died, he died, I’m not goin’ there, I’m not goin’, ’cause Uncle Lewie isn’t there. There is no Uncle Lewie. (Suddenly turns on his heel and hurries away.)
NEIGHBOR’S WIFE: So what’s goin’ on, isn’t Géza goin’ to work?
AUNT ROSIE: He doesn’t want to any more, he doesn’t want to.
NEIGHBOR’S WIFE: It’s better for him here at home, it’s better for sure.
AUNT ROSIE: Everythin’s gonna be the way it was back then, that’s how everythin’s gonna be.
NEIGHBOR’S WIFE: It was good this way too, Rosie.
AUNT ROSIE: I missed him when he wasn’t home.
NEIGHBOR’S WIFE: I believe you, Géza’s a nice boy.
AUNT ROSIE: I missed him.
(At home, Géza is sitting by the stove. Géza and Aunt Rosie’s dialogue is slow; both the questions and answers seem to be on time-delay).
AUNT ROSIE: What is it, dear?
GÉZA: Mama, the problem with these kitchen tiles is…
AUNT ROSIE: Tell me, dear, what is it?
GÉZA: That it’s useless watchin’ them, I can’t figure out if the white is on the black or the black is on the white, I can’t figure out which is the belt and which is the rock.
AUNT ROSIE: That can’t be figured out, Géza, it can’t be done.
GÉZA: Does God know, does he know, Mama?
AUNT ROSIE: For sure, my little son.
GÉZA: And if somethin’ goes wrong?
AUNT ROSIE: Like what?
GÉZA: Let’s say, on the earth, somethin’ goes wrong.
AUNT ROSIE: What then?
GÉZA: Does he make it right?
AUNT ROSIE: I don’t know, dear, (brief pause) maybe not.
Translated by: Eugene Brogyányi
Tags: János Háy