Codeine: Parts 7 – 10


Formication n. 1. a sensation, real or imagined, of insects crawling on the skin, your skin; 2. the idea; 3. the very idea; 4. cause for cessation of opiate indulgence (you’re not Alistair fucking Crowley, you know); 5. soon, you must shit; 6. or die trying.

Fortuna s. the arbitrary goddess of fortune (Rom. Myth & hobo legend).

– Seven Pillows of Wisdom, (ch.7: Sermon of the Fire Ants)

In the epic now known capriciously as,
“Codeine: Your Foster-Foster Mammy and All the Comforts Therewith”

the stage is black, except for some shiny wetnesses here and there, as though the stars have come poking out. a short row of teeth-like apparati hang from the uppermost stage curtain, as a corresponding row forms a fence along the stage-front floor, behind which all the “action” takes place.

(enter Pyjamela, dressed as Henry David Thoreau, serenading an enormous onion, which is festooned with massive eyebrows.)

Pyjamela: your foot agin’ mine
lak the velveteen!
inna many ways
i jus’ seen:

rivers all bin boiled dry,
trees cut down
an’ lef’ tuh die.
smoke done fill
th’ black, black sky
– but gasoleen is 20 cents! –
so we, yes you and i,
we die-e-e-e-e-e-e-e!

let the itching begin. it’s time to seriously consider retirement.

the onion (somehow): whatever can you mean? (exeunt.)

(enter two gi-normous white tablets, with legs like RKO dancers)

Pill 1: water! water! a glass of goddam water!
Pill 2: a thousand cups and a blanketful of water!

(enter Pyjamela and the onion. she/he dances with the Pills. the Pills attempt a sandwich manoeuvre. Pyjamela rebuffs their advances.)

Pyjamela: let the itching begin in earnest!

(enter Pills 3 & 4, who join in the dancey pursuit of Pyjamela about the stage.)

the onion (somehow): 8000mg? that seems ill-advised.

(Pyjamela, attempting to dodge the Pills, begins to lose control of the enormous onion.)

Pyjamela: the place is a mess–who will clean the place?
the onion (somehow): everywhere’s a mess – do be careful! the ghost of Sputnik yet orbits the Earth – watch it! – an eyeless skull going ‘round and ‘round. who shall clean the heavens?

(enter Pills 6, 7, 8 and 5. they join in what is now a moshing of Pyjamela.)

Pyjamela: my armpits, my crotch, my head!

(enter Pills 9 – 16. the stage is filled with white light.)

the onion (somehow): i’m falling! (the onion shatters. all movements cease.)

Pyjamela: (reciting to the fragments of the onion)
almond, vanilla:
to bed and to pillow–

(the Pills drop to one knee, mourners now.)

Pyjamela: to pillow, to pillow,
though seas bump and billow —

All: oh, damselfish fellow,
to bed and to pillow.

(the Pills become prostrate.)

Pyjamela: (gathering pieces of the onion in her/his arms) in the face of the leviathan we fight for our happiness. is this the point of living?

the onion (somehow): not likely. when we fail, what counts most is what we settle for. all this flailing, struggling:
the comforts of the shallows are preferable
to the terrors of the depths.

the Pills: (gleeful, like radio jinglers) chasms! caverns! abandoned places!

the onion (somehow): failure.

the Pills: failure!
Pyjamela: the foundering ruins in our souls: error, haste, fear, sloth, even lust—it’s failure that really counts.
the onion (somehow): failure, it stains the soul.
Pyjamela: failure.
the Pills: (taking off their pill forms to reveal bearded, haggard men) failure.
Pyjamela: it lasts a lifetime.

(from the rear of the stage, an all-encompassing tongue, probably red-purple cloth, emerges to cover the scene. curtain, as lips.)

In Which We Return To Simpler Times (approx. 6pm)

Marzipan: whew, what a day at the store!
Pyjamela: tough day in the trenches?
Marzipan: i tell ya.
children’s store mannequin: (explosion).
Pyjamela: i managed to get some amoxicillin for my monotuberculasthma —
Marzipan: i’m glad! we should start buying bullion —
Pyjamela: — and an entire bottle of codeine for these darn headaches.
Marzipan: headaches? what headaches?
Pyjamela: hah?

Marzipan: oh?

red thread

everywhere i look

screw cap wine

in a motel 6.


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