Maj 402. Modern english literature professor George Mitrevski contents

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BERNARD: Oh, gee, I was afraid you left already!

WILLY: Why? What time is it?

BERNARD: It’s half-past one!

WILLY: Well, come on, everybody! Ebbets Field next stop!

Where’s the pennants? (He rushes through the wall-line of the kitchen and out into the living room.)

LINDA (to Biff): Did you pack fresh underwear?

BIFF (who has been limbering up): I want to go!

BERNARD: Biff, I’m carrying your helmet, ain’t I?

HAPPY: No, I’m carrying the helmet.

BERNARD: Oh, Biff, you promised me.

HAPPY: I’m carrying the helmet.

BERNARD: How am I going to get in the locker room?

LINDA: Let him carry the shoulder guards. (She puts her coat and hat on in the kitchen.)

BERNARD: Can I, Biff? ‘Cause I told everybody I’m going to be in the locker room.

HAPPY: In Ebbets Field it’s the clubhouse.

BERNARD: I meant the clubhouse. Biff!

HAPPY: Biff!

BIFF (grandly, after a slight pause): Let him carry the shoulder guards.

HAPPY (as he gives Bernard the shoulder guards): Stay close to us now.
(Willy rushes in with the pennants.)
WILLY (handing them out): Everybody wave when Biff comes out on the field. (Happy and Bernard run off.) You set now, boy?
(The music has died away.)
BIFF: Ready to go, Pop. Every muscle is ready.

WILLY (at the edge of the apron): You realize what this means?

BIFF: That’s right, Pop.

WILLY (feeling Biffs muscles): You’re comin’ home this afternoon captain of the All-Scholastic Championship Team of the City of New York.

BIFF: I got it, Pop. And remember, pal, when I take off my helmet, that touchdown is for you.

WILLY: Let’s go! (He is starting out, with his arm around Biff, when Charley enters, as of old, in knickers.) I got no room for you, Charley.

CHARLEY: Room? For what?

WILLY: In the car.

CHARLEY: You goin’ for a ride? I wanted to shoot some casino.

WILLY (furiously): Casino! (Incredulously.) Don’t you realize what today is?

LINDA: Oh, he knows, Willy. He’s just kidding you.

WILLY: That’s nothing to kid about!

CHARLEY: No, Linda, what’s goin on?

LINDA: He’s playing in Ebbets Field.

CHARLEY: Baseball in this weather?

WILLY: Don’t talk to him. Come on, come on! (He is pushing them out.)

CHARLEY: Wait a minute, didn’t you hear the news?

WILLY: What?

CHARLEY: Don’t you listen to the radio? Ebbets Field just blew up.

WILLY: You go to hell! (Charley laughs. Pushing them out.) Come on, come on! We’re late.

CHARLEY (as they go): Knock a homer, Biff, knock a homer!

WILLY (the last to leave, turning to Charley): I don’t think that was funny, Charley. This is the greatest day of his life.

CHARLEY: Willy, when are you going to grow up?

WILLY: Yeah, heh? When this game is over, Charley, you’ll be laughing out of the other side of your face. They’ll be calling him another Red Grange. Twenty-five thousand a year.

CHARLEY (kidding): Is that so?

WILLY: Yeah, that’s so.

CHARLEY: Well, then, I’m sorry, Willy. But tell me something.

WILLY: What?

CHARLEY: Who is Red Grange?

WILLY: Put up your hands. Goddam you, put up your hands!

(Charley, chuckling, shakes his head and walks away, around the left comer of the stage. Willy follows him. The music rises to a mocking frenzy.)
WILLY: Who the hell do you think you are, better than everybody else? You don’t know everything, you big, ignorant, stupid... Put up your hands!
(Light rises, on the right side of the forestage, on a small table in the reception room of Charley’s office. Traffic sounds are heard. Bernard, now mature, sits whistling to himself. A pair of tennis rackets and an overnight bag are on the floor beside him.)
WILLY (offstage): What are you walking away for? Don’t walk away! If you’re going to say something say it to my face! I know you laugh at me behind my back. You’ll laugh out of the other side of your goddam face after this game. Touchdown! Touchdown! Eighty thousand people! Touchdown! Right between the goal posts.
(Bernard is a quiet, earnest, but self-assured young man. Willy’s voice is coming from right upstage now. Bernard lowers his feet off the table and listens. Jenny, his father’s secretary, enters.)
JENNY (distressed): Say, Bernard, will you go out in the hall?

BERNARD: What is that noise? Who is it?

JENNY: Mr. Loman. He just got off the elevator.

BERNARD (getting up): Who’s he arguing with?

JENNY: Nobody. There’s nobody with him. I can’t deal with him any more, and your father gets all upset everytime he comes. I’ve got a lot of typing to do, and your father’s waiting to sign it. Will you see him?

WILLY (entering): Touchdown! Touch — (He sees Jenny.) Jenny, Jenny, good to see you. How’re ya? Workin’? Or still honest?

JENNY: Fine. How’ve you been feeling?

WILLY: Not much any more, Jenny. Ha, ha! (He is surprised to see the rackets.)

BERNARD: Hello, Uncle Willy.

WILLY (almost shocked): Bernard! Well, look who’s here! (He comes quickly, guiltily, to Bernard and warmly shakes his hand.)

BERNARD: How are you? Good to see you.

WILLY: What are you doing here?

BERNARD: Oh, just stopped by to see Pop. Get off my feet till my train leaves. I’m going to Washington in a few minutes.

WILLY: Is he in?

BERNARD: Yes, he’s in his office with the accountant. Sit down.

WILLY (sitting down): What’re you going to do in Washington?

BERNARD: Oh, just a case I’ve got there, Willy.

WILLY: That so? (Indicating the rackets.) You going to play tennis there?

BERNARD: I’m staying with a friend who’s got a court.

WILLY: Don’t say. His own tennis court. Must be fine people, I bet.

BERNARD: They are, very nice. Dad tells me Biffs in town.

WILLY (with a big smile): Yeah, Biffs in. Working on a very big deal, Bernard.

BERNARD: What’s Biff doing?

WILLY: Well, he’s been doing very big things in the West. But he decided to establish himself here. Very big. We’re having dinner. Did I hear your wife had a boy?

BERNARD: That’s right. Our second.

WILLY: Two boys! What do you know!

BERNARD: What kind of a deal has Biff got?

WILLY: Well, Bill Oliver — very big sporting-goods man — he wants Biff very badly. Called him in from the West. Long dis-

tance, carte blanche, special deliveries. Your friends have their

own private tennis court?

BERNARD: You still with the old firm, Willy?

WILLY (after a pause): I’m — I’m overjoyed to see how you made the grade, Bernard, overjoyed. It’s an encouraging thing to see a young man really — really... Looks very good for Biff — very... (He breaks off, then.) Bernard ... (He is so full of emotion, he breaks off again.)

BERNARD: What is it, Willy?

WILLY (small and alone): What — what’s the secret?

BERNARD: What secret?

WILLY: How — how did you? Why didn’t he ever catch on?

BERNARD: I wouldn’t know that, Willy.

WILLY (confidentially, desperately): You were his friend, his boyhood friend. There’s something I don’t understand about it. His life ended after that Ebbets Field game. From the age of seventeen nothing good ever happened to him.

BERNARD: He never trained himself for anything.

WILLY: But he did, he did. After high school he took so many correspondence courses. Radio mechanics; television; God knows what, and never made the slightest mark.

BERNARD (taking off his glasses): Willy, do you want to talk candidly?

WILLY (rising, faces Bernard): I regard you as a very brilliant man, Bernard. I value your advice.

BERNARD: Oh, the hell with the advice, Willy. I couldn’t advise you. There’s just one thing I’ve always wanted to ask you. When he was supposed to graduate, and the math teacher flunked him...

WILLY: Oh, that son-of-a-bitch ruined his life.

BERNARD: Yeah, but, Willy, all he had to do was go to summer school and make up that subject.

WILLY: That’s right, that’s right.

BERNARD: Did you tell him not to go to summer school?

WILLY: Me? I begged him to go. I ordered him to go!

BERNARD: Then why wouldn’t he go?

WILLY: Why? Why! Bernard, that question has been trailing me like a ghost for the last fifteen years. He flunked the subject, and laid down and died like a hammer hit him!

BERNARD: Take it easy, kid.

WILLY: Let me talk to you — I got nobody to talk to. Bernard, Bernard, was it my fault? Y’see? It keeps going around in my mind, maybe I did something to him. I got nothing to give him.

BERNARD: Don’t take it so hard.

WILLY: Why did he lay down? What is the story there? You were his friend!

BERNARD: Willy, I remember, it was June, and our grades came out. And he’d flunked math.

WILLY: That son-of-a-bitch!

BERNARD: No, it wasn’t right then. Biff just got very angry, I remember, and he was ready to enroll in summer school.

WILLY (surprised): He was?

BERNARD: He wasn’t beaten by it at all. But then, Willy, he disappeared from the block for almost a month. And I got the idea that he’d gone up to New England to see you. Did he have a talk with you then? (Willy stares in silence.)


WILLY (with a strong edge of resentment in his voice): Yeah, he came to Boston. What about it?

BERNARD: Well, just that when he came back — I’ll never forget this, it always mystifies me. Because I’d thought so well of Biff, even though he’d always taken advantage of me. I loved him, Willy, y’know? And he came back after that month and took his sneakers — remember those sneakers with »University of Virginia« printed on them? He was so proud of those, wore them every day. And he took them down in the cellar, and burned them up in the furnace. We had a fist fight. It lasted at least half an hour. Just the two of us, punching each other down the cellar, and crying right through it. I’ve often thought of how strange it was that I knew he’d given up his life. What happened in Boston, Willy? (Willy looks at him as at an intruder.)

BERNARD: I just bring it up because you asked me.

WILLY (angrily): Nothing. What do you mean, »What happened?« What’s that got to do with anything?

BERNARD: Well, don’t get sore.

WILLY: What are you trying to do, blame it on me? If a boy lays down is that my fault?

BERNARD: Now, Willy, don’t get...

WILLY: Well, don’t — don’t talk to me that way! What does that mean, »What happened?«

(Charley enters. He is in his vest, and he carries a bottle of bourbon.)
CHARLEY: Hey; you’re going to miss that train. (He waves the bottle.)

BERNARD: Yeah, I’m going. (He takes the bottle.) Thanks, Pop. (He picks up his rackets and bag.) Good-by, Willy, and don’t worry about it. You know, »If at first you don’t succeed...«

WILLY: Yes, I believe in that.

BERNARD: But sometimes, Willy, it’s better for a man just to walk away.

WILLY: Walk away?

BERNARD: That’s right.

WILLY: But if you can’t walk away?

BERNARD (after a slight pause): I guess that’s when it’s tough. (Extending his hand.) Good-by, Willy.

WILLY (shaking Bernard’s hand): Good-by, boy.

CHARLEY (an arm on Bernard’s shoulder): How do you like this kid? Gonna argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.

BERNARD (protesting): Pop!

WILLY (genuinely shocked, pained, and happy): No! The Supreme Court!

BERNARD: I gotta run. ’By, Dad!

CHARLEY: Knock ‘em dead, Bernard!

(Bernard goes off.)
WILLY (as Charley takes out his wallet): The Supreme Court! And he didn’t even mention it!

CHARLEY (counting out money on the desk): He don’t have to — he’s gonna do it.

WILLY: And you never told him what to do, did you? You never took any interest in him.

CHARLEY: My salvation is that I never took any interest in anything. There’s some money — fifty dollars. I got an accountant inside.

WILLY: Charley, look... (With difficulty.) I got my insurance to pay. If you can manage it — I need a hundred and ten dollars.
(Charley doesn’t reply for a moment; merely stops moving.)
WILLY: I’d draw it from my bank but Linda would know, and I...

CHARLEY: Sit down, Willy.

WILLY (moving toward the chair): I’m keeping an account of everything, remember. I’ll pay every penny back. (He sits.)

CHARLEY: Now listen to me, Willy.

WILLY: I want you to know I appreciate...

CHARLEY (sitting down on the table): Willy, what’re you doin’?

What the hell is going on in your head?

WILLY: Why? I’m simply...

CHARLEY: I offered you a job. You make fifty dollars a week, and

I won’t send you on the road.

WILLY: I’ve got a job.

CHARLEY: Without pay? What kind of a job is a job without pay? (He rises.) Now, look, kid, enough is enough. I’m no genius but I know when I’m being insulted.

WILLY: Insulted!

CHARLEY: Why don’t you want to work for me?

WILLY: What’s the matter with you? I’ve got a job.

CHARLEY: Then what’re you walkin’ in here every week for?

WILLY (getting up): Well, if you don’t want me to walk in here...

CHARLEY: I’m offering you a job.

WILLY: I don’t want your goddam job!

CHARLEY: When the hell are you going to grow up?

WILLY (furiously): You big ignoramus, if you say that to me again I’ll rap you one! I don’t care how big you are! (He’s ready to fight.)
CHARLEY (kindly, going to him): How much do you need, Willy?

WILLY: Charley, I’m strapped. I’m strapped. I don’t know what to do. I was just fired.

CHARLEY: Howard fired you?

WILLY: That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named him Howard.

CHARLEY: Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.

WILLY: I’ve always tried to think otherwise, I guess. I always felt that if a man was impressive, and well liked, that nothing...

CHARLEY: Why must everybody like you? Who liked J. P. Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he’d look like a butcher. But with his pockets on he was very well liked. Now listen, Willy, I know you don’t like me, and nobody can say I’m in love with you, but I’ll give you a job because — just for the hell of it, put it that way. Now what do you say?

WILLY: I — I just can’t work for you, Charley.

CHARLEY: What’re you, jealous of me?

WILLY: I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why.

CHARLEY (angered, takes out more bills): You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool! Here, pay your insurance. (He puts the money in Willy’s hand.)

WILLY: I’m keeping strict accounts.

CHARLEY: I’ve got some work to do. Take care of yourself. And pay your insurance.

WILLY (moving to the right): Funny, y’know? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.

CHARLEY: Willy, nobody’s worth nothin’ dead. (After a slight pause.) Did you hear what I said? (Willy stands still, dreaming.)


WILLY: Apologize to Bernard for me when you see him. I didn’t mean to argue with him. He’s a fine boy. They’re all fine boys, and they’ll end up big — all of them. Someday they’ll all play tennis together. Wish me luck, Charley. He saw Bill Oliver today.

CHARLEY: Good luck.

WILLY (on the verge of tears): Charley, you’re the only friend I

got. Isn’t that a remarkable thing? (He goes out.)

(Charley stares after him a moment and follows. All light blacks out. Suddenly mucous music is heard, and a red glow rises behind the screen at right. Stanley, a young waiter, appears, carrying a table, followed by Happy, who is carrying two chairs.)
STANLEY (putting the table down): That’s all right, Mr. Loman, I can handle it myself. (He turns and takes the chairs from Happy and places them at the table.)

HAPPY (glancing around): Oh, this is better.

STANLEY: Sure, in the front there you’re in the middle of all kinds of noise. Whenever you got a party, Mr. Loman, you just tell me and I’ll put you back here. Y’know, there’s a lotta people they don’t like it private, because when they go out they like to see a lotta action around them because they’re sick and tired to stay in the house by theirself. But I know you, you ain’t from Hackensack. You know what I mean?

HAPPY (sitting down): So how’s it coming, Stanley?

STANLEY: Ah, it’s a dog’s life. I only wish during the war they’d a took me in the Army. I coulda been dead by now.

HAPPY: My brother’s back, Stanley.

STANLEY: Oh, he come back, heh? From the Far West.

HAPPY: Yeah, big cattle man, my brother, so treat him right. And my father’s coming too.

STANLEY: Oh, your father too!

HAPPY: You got a couple of nice lobsters?

STANLEY: Hundred per cent, big.

HAPPY: I want them with the claws.

STANLEY: Don’t worry, I don’t give you no mice. (Happy laughs.)

How about some wine? It’ll put a head on the meal.

HAPPY: No. You remember, Stanley, that recipe I brought you from overseas? With the champagne in it?

STANLEY: Oh, yeah, sure. I still got it tacked up yet in the kitchen. But that’ll have to cost a buck apiece anyways.

HAPPY: That’s all right.

STANLEY: What’d you, hit a number or somethin’?

HAPPY: No, it’s a little celebration. My brother is — I think he pulled off a big deal today. I think we’re going into business together.

STANLEY: Great! That’s the best for you. Because a family business, you know what I mean? — that’s the best.

HAPPY: That’s what I think.

STANLEY: ‘Cause what’s the difference? Somebody steals? It’s in the family. Know what I mean? (Sotto voce). Like this bartender here. The boss is goin’ crazy what kinda leak he’s got in the cash register. You put it in but it don’t come out.

HAPPY (raising his head): Sh!


HAPPY: You notice I wasn’t lookin’ right or left, was I?


HAPPY: And my eyes are closed.

STANLEY: So what’s the...?

HAPPY: Strudel’s comin’.

STANLEY (catching on, looks around): Ah, no, there’s no — (He breaks off as a furred, lavishly dressed girl enters and sits at the next table. Both follow her with their eyes.)

STANLEY: Geez, how’d ya know?

HAPPY: I got radar or something. (Staring directly at her profile.) Oooooooo… Stanley.

STANLEY: I think that’s for you, Mr. Loman.

HAPPY: Look at that mouth. Oh, God. And the binoculars.

STANLEY: Geez, you got a life, Mr. Loman.

HAPPY: Wait on her.

STANLEY (going to the Girl’s table): Would you like a menu, ma’am?

GIRL: I’m expecting someone, but I’d like a...

HAPPY: Why don’t you bring her — excuse me, miss, do you mind? I sell champagne, and I’d like you to try my brand. Bring her a champagne, Stanley.

GIRL: That’s awfully nice of you.

HAPPY: Don’t mention it. It’s all company money. (He laughs.)

GIRL: That’s a charming product to be selling, isn’t it?

HAPPY: Oh, gets to be like everything else. Selling is selling, y’know.

GIRL: I suppose.

HAPPY: You don’t happen to sell, do you?

GIRL: No, I don’t sell.

HAPPY: Would you object to a compliment from a stranger? You ought to be on a magazine cover.

GIRL (looking at him a little archly): I have been.

(Stanley comes in with a glass of champagne.)
HAPPY: What’d I say before, Stanley? You see? She’s a cover girl.

STANLEY: Oh, I could see, I could see.

HAPPY (to the Girl): What magazine?

GIRL: Oh, a lot of them. (She takes the drink.) Thank you.

HAPPY: You know what they say in France, don’t you? »Champagne is the drink of the complexion« — Hya, Biff!
(Biff has entered and sits with Happy.)
BIFF: Hello, kid. Sorry I’m late.

HAPPY: I just got here. Uh, Miss... ?

GIRL: Forsythe.

HAPPY: Miss Forsythe, this is my brother.

BIFF: Is Dad here?

HAPPY: His name is Biff. You might’ve heard of him. Great football player.

GIRL: Really? What team?

HAPPY: Are you familiar with football?

GIRL: No, I’m afraid I’m not.

HAPPY: Biff is quarterback with the New York Giants.

GIRL: Well, that is nice, isn’t it? (She drinks.)

HAPPY: Good health.

GIRL: I’m happy to meet you.

HAPPY: That’s my name. Hap. It’s really Harold, but at West

Point they called me Happy.

GIRL (now really impressed): Oh, I see. How do you do? (She turns her profile.)

BIFF: Isn’t Dad coming?

HAPPY: You want her?

BIFF: Oh, I could never make that.

HAPPY: I remember the time that idea would never come into your head. Where’s the old confidence, Biff?

BIFF: I just saw Oliver...

HAPPY: Wait a minute. I’ve got to see that old confidence again.

Do you want her? She’s on call.

BIFF: Oh, no. (He turns to look at the Girl.)

HAPPY: I’m telling you. Watch this. (Turning to the Girl.) Honey?

(She turns to him). Are you busy?

GIRL: Well, I am... but I could make a phone call.

HAPPY: Do that, will you, honey? And see if you can get a friend.

We’ll be here for a while. Biff is one of the greatest football players in the country.

GIRL (standing up): Well, I’m certainly happy to meet you.

HAPPY: Come back soon.

GIRL: I’ll try.

HAPPY: Don’t try, honey, try hard.
(The Girl exits. Stanley follows, shaking his head in bewildered admiration.)
HAPPY: Isn’t that a shame now? A beautiful girl like that? That’s why I can’t get married. There’s not a good woman in a thousand. New York is loaded with them, kid!

BIFF: Hap, look...

HAPPY: I told you she was on call!

BIFF (strangely unnerved): Cut it out, will ya? I want to say something to you.

HAPPY: Did you see Oliver?

BIFF: I saw him all right. Now look, I want to tell Dad a couple of things and I want you to help me.

HAPPY: What? Is he going to back you?

BIFF: Are you crazy? You’re out of your goddam head, you know that?

HAPPY: Why? What happened?

BIFF (breathlessly): I did a terrible thing today, Hap. It’s been the strangest day I ever went through. I’m all numb, I swear.

HAPPY: You mean he wouldn’t see you?

BIFF: Well, I waited six hours for him, see? All day. Kept sending my name in. Even tried to date his secretary so she’d get me to him, but no soap.

HAPPY: Because you’re not showin’ the old confidence, Biff. He remembered you, didn’t he?

BIFF (stopping Happy with a gesture): Finally, about five o’clock, he comes out. Didn’t remember who I was or anything. I felt like such an idiot, Hap.

HAPPY: Did you tell him my Florida idea?

BIFF: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could’ve torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a salesman for him! And then he gave me one look and — I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been! We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk.

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