The Don and The Capo
(Lights up on the playwright.)
THE PLAYWRIGHT: In the beginning
, all I had in mind was updating some scenes from the bible
. Not rewriting them, mind you, but merely giving them a modern sound and modern context
-- an insight into what was really going on in a given selection.
For instance, the brief little chapter dealing with God’s confrontation of Cain. When you dig around in it, really read it for what’s there and not what you think is there or hope is there, well-- it opens a big wormy can of questions.
You have God, and you have Cain.
(Lights up on the Don, sitting in a leather chair, and the Capo, standing before him.) You have Cain, who’s just murdered his brother. How? We don’t know. But based on something God says--listen for it-- we know it was pretty bloody.
And of course you have God, who as far we’re told, has never witnessed-- never even conceived of-- his greatest creation killing its own kind...till now.
It all takes place in less than eight verses, but in that short span the seeds are sown for a very disturbing theology. And keep in mind, I didn’t sow them; whoever wrote it did. Let’s have at it. The middle of Genesis 4:8-- And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Boom. Pretty straight forward.
Genesis 4:9-- And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?
THE DON: Where’s your brother?
THE PLAYWRIGHT: And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
THE CAPO: I dunno. Was it my day to watch him?
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Genesis 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done?... The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
THE DON: What did you do?...
All this blood. I can still hear your brother’s blood crying like a baby. Christ, it’s everywhere. The ground’s soaking with it.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Genesis 4:11, 12 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand.
THE DON: Everything you touch turns to poison. You poisoned everything I ever gave you with your brother’s blood.
(The Don spits directly in the Capo’s face.)
THE PLAYWRIGHT: When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
THE DON: I’m finished with you. You’re done. Get outta my sight.
PLAYWRIGHT: And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
THE CAPO: Fuck that.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Genesis 4:14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid;
THE CAPO: You gonna toss me out on the street, withdraw your protection?
THE PLAYWRIGHT: And I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth
THE CAPO: So now any lowlife scum who’s got a mind to can come along and put a bullet in the back of my head?
THE PLAYWRIGHT: And it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
THE CAPO: Fuck that.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: And the LORD said unto him,
THE DON: No.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.
THE DON: Somebody puts a bullet in your head, they gotta know I’m gonna put seven in theirs.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: And the LORD set a mark upon Cain--
(The Don grabs the Capo by his hair. By some sleight of hand, a stiletto appears in the Don’s hand. He carves a mark into the Capo’s forehead.
THE DON: There.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Lest any finding him should kill him.
(The Capo reaches up to touch the trickle of blood.)
THE DON: Now everybody’ll know who you are.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
THE DON: You’re mine.
(Lights out on Don and the Capo.
End of play.)