To commemorate the 50th article posted on this blog, we present a special literary event. To those of you who've been reading since the start, this is for you. For those who came in later, you owe this enjoyment to the first group of people. Buy them a drink or something. The lesson, because in a perfect world we'd learn lessons from everything: if on your birthday you're providing people with free written entertainment on some sort of pre-determined schedule, you get to write whatever you want. Including Elizabethan drama based on children's movies from the '90s.
Rufio and Juliet: A One-Act Play
Two bands, alike in immaturity
On an island, secreted away
'Tween sheets of land and sky; such purity
Hangs still in time 'twixt the night and the day.
A tribe of boys, bereft their leader Pan,
Hath in fine Rufio confidence shown,
Made him their King although not yet a man,
And 'gainst foul Hook he fights, clove flesh and bone
The markers of their strife. Yet in so much
Squalor there still lives joy: fair Juliet
Waits hand and foot upon each claw and crutch,
Her pain awaits Rufio's touch to soothe it.
So we alight on wings of somnal grace,
And fall with beating wings on war apace.
Scene One: A Path at Night on Nevernever Island
Enter Gregory and Sampson, two pirates.
Gregory: Alert ye!
Sampson: Ho, for which quarry do we seek tonight?
Gregory: For boys! They prowl these woods in twos and threes.
Sampson: And when we find them? Gods of war arise!
Gregory: Gods and rowdy men! Boys, in twos and threes!
Sampson: I mean not to offend, but hungers can be fed. Some favors can be found or bought at camp!
Gregory: Some found in the brush, too! They are like squirrels, the way they scurry.
Enter Mike and Ben, two armed Lost Boys.
Mike: Off with you! These woods are ours by right. Your place, the sea and shore, lies o'er yonder.
Sampson: We'll cut ye to ribbons, as we're sworn!
Enter Rufio on his little steam-powered railroad car.
Mike and Ben: Ho! Ru-fi-o, Ru-fi-o, Ru-fi-oooooooo!
Gregory: In threes, they said, but this one's near a man!
Rufio: A grown-up I'm not; I shant grow to one! But I stand near your size with half the beard! Twice the sword it's safe to say, or thrice! Come hither, I'm eager to prove it. Grown-ups are e'er pirates. We kill pirates!
Rufio lunges forward with sword drawn, as do Mike and Ben. Sampson and Gregory flee.
Ben: They fled so quickly. Do we continue?
Rufio: Indeed, with haste, the night is spent enough. The pirates lair to walk disguised among them.
Mike: The brush, due west! These curs have tramped a path!
The boys exit in the same direction as the pirates.
Scene Two: The Pirates' Tavern
Many pirates fill the smoky room. They're drinking and talking and talking about drinking.
Drunk Pirate: Nights and days wheel round and round, but time stands stopped between each round!
Lusty Pirate: Oy, where could she be? For hours here I've sat, chancing a glimpse of the maid Juliet.
Way Drunk Pirate: Barely more than a girl, snatched off a ship that was burned out at sea. A lovely young woman, she.
Lusty: You ruin our good humor with your casual respect of women. I'll have none of it.
Rufio enters in disguise with an eyepatch and beard. He sits down at an empty seat by Lusty, Drunk and Way Drunk.
Drunk: I say, a stranger here! A fresher face! Give your name, so "stranger" we can replace.
Rufio: A stranger, I? No chance, sir, nay! We've met!
Drunk: Have we, now? I can't recall. So many do come through these halls and vanish here, or die out there. Their names just drift into the air.
Way Drunk: I've seen him, sure. Out on the wharf. His working-mate's a sodding dwarf!
Rufio (laughing): It's true, each word from first to last.
Lusty: Silence, all! Hold tight your mouths. For dawn's bright gaze breaks on our house!
Juliet enters from the bar, dressed like the other workers serving the pirates. She's in her late teens like Rufio, so everything's cool with the law.
Rufio: What in all the world's great splendor is this? An angel fell from Heaven down to Earth! By my mohawk, red and saucy like a cock's crest, I'll have her!
Lusty: Quite a thing, that girl. But every pirate fit to stride the sea covets all that Juliet be.
Rufio (aside): They flap their gums and drink and preen, but Rufio has found his queen!
Captain Hook and Smee enter. Music plays to herald their arrival, and all the pirates, stand and shout for them. Rufio plays along.
Rufio (aside): The villains here, ere I with her can speak! Bad luck, foul play, poor form and all of that. And though night's just begun, I must away. My purpose set, I'll find a way to Juliet.
Rufio gets up from the table and slips out a side door.
Smee (to Hook): Saw you that? The crimson mane? The cheeky grin, un-calloused hands? 'Twas not our man that there did slip into the night, out of our lands.
Hook: I'm Captain here, and good as king in halls
of drink where pirates sing. And yea, I saw
him scurry out. That Rufio, the cur, the lout!
But worry no longer, my right-hand man,
he'll fall with time into our waiting hands.
A lethal plot I've set into motion
Will land our man beneath the briny ocean.
Curtain falls on the tavern. Scene ends.
Scene Three: An outhouse on the edge of the Pirate camp
Rufio enters in the remnants of his disguise; he has shed all but the clothes.
Rufio: Foul luck is better than foul play, 'tis true.
For though my ventures were cut short tonight,
The escape with life and limb I'll take!
But now dilemmas do abound; what ought
I do, what ought I seek? Defeat of Hook?
His men? Of Smee? Or do I look inside
My heart, pull back petals red and irate
To find the molten core hid deep beneath?
The stamen swells, the nectar runs and I,
Not boy nor man, know not quite where to turn.
Juliet's voice: Ay, me.
Rufio: But ho! What's this? A siren sings tonight!
Juliet (inside a privy): Who speaks? I hear a voice somewhere out there
But can't be sure inside this tomb. And yet
I hear a gentle tone that skips a beat
And begs a swoon; who art thou, beneath the moon?
Rufio scampers up to the door, near the port, and presses his ear to it.
Rufio: But stank, what stench through yonder portal breaks!
Pirates drink from dawn's first breath to her last gasp.
And beer, we know even among the Boys
Concocts a mist both pale and foul, offense
To all the senses! What brings you hither?
Juliet: My purpose is my own; though soon enough
It plummets out, into the world. But what of you?
A pirate? No. If else, than what? A Boy?
One of the Lost? Absurd. You stand and move
as though a man! Both fine and strong, it's sure.
Rufio: God, it pleases me to hear you say it!
For here I came, driven out by foul Hook,
In search of you! I knew not where to look,
But something in the night did bid me traipse
Across the swamp and through the black morass
Perchance to find you hear and then to gape.
Your beauty shines and cuts through dark and wood,
Through privy doors and lonely moon-starved nights,
I ask, presumptuous always, for a chance
To look upon it in the light of day.
Juliet: You're not a pirate, that much is certain.
But who? The men around the camp are pirates all.
A boy! THE boy, the one they fear! Your name
I cannot now recall. The boy that crows,
The loudest...yes! You are called Rufio!
Rufio: The very same! Though I'll confess, I heard
Your name back in the camp. It was so rough,
The way 'twas said. Say it again, perchance?
Juliet: You flatter me, King of the Boys. My name
Is as good from one mouth as another.
But I'll give it you, as we've just met:
The maiden, the servant Juliet.
Rufio: You've made me a happy man. Not a boy,
Not least tonight, though in the building morn
I'll have no beard to mark the Moon's passage.
I fear I must away, back to my own
And you as well, I fear and hate to think.
I'll not let long elapse before I come
To camp and beg from your pale hands a drink.
Rufio exits, headed back to the Boys' camp.
Juliet: Oh Rufio! I ache inside. This night feels empty
And alone, where once was full. My heart doth
Align with my bowels, to shed the old and
Seek the new; to fill with life and loving.
Juliet emerges from the outhouse and exits towards the pirate camp.
Scene Four: A jungle path on Nevernever Island.
Enter two armed bands: Lost Boys led by Mike and Ben, Pirates led by Smee.
Mike: Whip your blades and kick your heels high! There's enough and more, all armed as we, so now's the time for bravery!
Like gnats they be, and swat we shall! Their little screeches all
around! Let none survive; we'll feed the rest to crocodiles! Hearts
The parties battle. In the melee, Smee and Mike find each other. They begin to duel.
Spoiled youths, your numbers dwindle! Even now I see the wounds.
You'll run dry of teenaged soldiers...turn to children someday soon!
Mike: We've half your strength but twice the heart.
Smee strikes Mike, who falls.
Smee: Their captain's slain, hah! Twice the heart? I count just one, and here it fades. Say your goodbyes to endless days.
Rufio swoops in on his super cool railroad sail cart. He has paint grenades from the last battle scene in "Hook."
I've brought them all, my hearts, the paint grenades! For pirates,
know we all, despise them so. But what is this! I am too late; love
hath delayed my hands and feet. I come too late to win the day; it is
decided in defeat.
Ben: My friend, my lead, my King in all but name; see here, inglorious: Mike is slain!
Rufio (dropping the paint and drawing his sword): The one called Smee; I demand satisfaction.
I fear I bear ill messages today: no satisfaction to be had! Just
death, and grief, and all the many-splendored flavors there within. My
steel sings to thee, Rufio! Heed my bloody siren and come hither.
fight. Rufio injures and disarms Smee, who drops to his knees. The
remaining pirates retreat and the remaining Lost Boys stand silent,
Rufio: Mercy, ask you?
I'd be quite obliged. But this is folly. A pirate I will always be,
but there's no price for dignity. Gold doubloons or pearly strands?
Would you like that, mohawked Pan? Do as you will, and Hell may swallow
Rufio delivers the killing stroke. Smee falls.
Rufio: It's done, for now. Bear our dead back swiftly. Mourn them, tend them, lay them in stony ground.
Ben: And what of you, my prince?
Rufio: I cannot say, but I will see you soon. Your prince would be your king, but needs a queen.
By my troth, we do always as you say. But will you not reconsider?
Dangerous times we seem to see. The Captain will not hear lightly what
you've done to his dear Smee. Perhaps it's best to stay at home: more
time to bide, more wounds to mend? For I have a premonition this sortie will be your end.
Rufio: Ends we have, dear Ben, and ends we must face.
Every one, even in this magic place
Where days run on and long and never end.
You've never been aught but the truest friend.
Rufio exits. The Lost Boys collect their fallen.
Scene Five: The hold of the pirate ship
holds Juliet, bound, as a hostage. Two other pirates wait with them.
There are sounds of fighting. Rufio storms in through the door. He
fights the pirate goons and kills them because they're just henchmen and
he's awesome. He approaches Hook and Juliet.
Rufio: How knew you this, of hers and my embrace?
It matters not. Too many of your men
Fell tonight by my hand, that needn't have.
They died bravely, Captain, safeguarding you,
But we will have our fight the same, I think.
Release my love, draw steel and then prepare
To meet the end. The curtain falls, I swear.
Hook (releasing Juliet and drawing): Your first question: fair, I thought. But Smee,
The poor lamented soul with coil shuffed loose,
And I did spy you in our camp last night.
Your manner, my good boy, and most! your hair
Did tip their hands into our silk pockets.
The girl was plain, for if I know just one
True thing 'bout ways of men, it's that their wicks
Can burn so hot, the smoke wafts up and clouds their brains!
Men like you, for indeed you've killed enough
To earn the claim, think with one limb of two
And never with the twain.
They fight. During the duel, they speak. Juliet struggles with her bonds on the deck.
Hook: A strong arm, a quick wrist! Young men train themselves so well and readily.
Rufio: You jape and cackle, wicked man. But I match you stroke for stroke; our blades ring out and neither bend.
Hook: I question, sir, if you truly understand how things are done?
grabs a lit lamp and hurls it at Rufio, who dodges. The lamp bursts on
the ground near Juliet and she scrambles away from the flames as they
lick out. Straw on the floor is catching fire.
Rufio: Look what you've done! In your own house you've laid
A brick of sorry shame. This ship will lie
Upon the ocean's wine-dark breast in time!
Hook: Little you've seen and less you know, brave Rufio!
Wood ships go up in flames so commonly
For just this cause. How many times have I
Re-built my ocean carriage o'er the years?
A dozen? Or more? Convenient fires
Doom my vessels, as they do the plot advance.
This time and always we will build again.
continue to fight as the fire spreads to the door. Much shouting is
heard. Eventually, Rufio out-maneuvers Hook and stabs him.
Rufio: For all the many Pans that ever were!
For all those, yours and mine, who fell today.
A right was done, a wrong unmade and all
May conclude: amor vincit omnia.
Hook dies. Juliet has freed herself and runs over.
Rufio: No last expulsion, cruel old man? I'd think
After our time together, and before,
With all thy savage wicked legacy,
A last cross word might cross thy lips. History!
You have some humor; it is hard to see.
Juliet: O Rufio, your triumph comes too late!
The flames have crawled all the way to the door.
We cannot escape! And even could we,
Hordes of pirates, red with rage and lust for
Blood wait outside, arms aburst with weapons.
I am no warrior; would that I were,
And we two could stride through flames towards our
Bitter enemies. Our strength and skill serve
To carry us through on bright golden wings.
What a dream! I am sorry for us both.
Rufio: Nay, lady, place a smile on your face.
We'll be together at the last. You've said
The truth, I can't deny it. Let's enjoy
The time we have, it's been so brief but well! That's life.
Juliet: The fire spreads on toward the powderkegs!
There's consolation, I suppose: we won't
Suffer near the end. And many pirates
Who now do shout and call the Captain's name
Will travel with us on our merry way.
Braver men I've heard tell of, sweet Rufio,
But never one I thought to someday meet.
We've lost, I know, but I'd have been your queen.
Mother, too, for all the boys you lead.
Rufio: It is not so important that we win.
The best, the strong, the wisest know there comes
A time when victory mustn't be chased.
The battle's over. All my boys are back
At camp and in their cots. Inside their heads
Bright dreams do chase each other, round and round.
It makes me laugh to think of it, but ne'er
Once did I your name to my charges speak.
It is a shame: the team we would have made.
We cannot know what history we've wrought,
But time's long arc remembers what it ought.
They embrace, smiling. The curtain drops and a mighty explosion is heard.
A hazy peace with embers like red flies
Alights on the island that Time forgot.
The Sun comes up veiled like shame from a lie;
Charred spars of lumber left ever to rot.
For never was a story of more woe,
Than this of Juliet and her Rufio.