Excerpts from Code Red
What are we now, Code Orange?
It was Code Yellow, then it went to Code Orange.
Orange is the norm.
Is it safe to have sex?
When do we get to Code Red?
That’s when it’s really serious.
It’s really serious right now.
What’s safe is Code Black. That’s really safe.
I read where they were proposing chartreuse, mauve, lavender, cinnamon. That was funny.
Lotta clowns out there.
So what are we now?
I don’t like to throw stuff at you. This is your first time on the Zoning Board.
Yeh, well I think people should take responsibility, and I like to help the community...
Well, Stella was going to do the shamanic journey.
Shamanic journey? Isn’t this the meeting of the Zoning Board?
Well we like to get centered. Like Congress starts with a prayer, but Robin is Unitarian, so she suggested a shamanic journey, which is more bipartisan. I mean the way things are going in the world, everybody’s just totally overwhelmed, and angry and afraid, and we need to tap into some kind of special energy if we’re going to deal effectively with permits and variances.
I never led a shamanic journey. I mean I did a workshop once on business communications...
Same thing. It’s like a business trip. Here’s an outline. Just kinda take us down a hole, and talk about the scenery, and we come to a crossroads, that stuff, then we find our power animal and get back to the meeting. Try to keep it under ten minutes.
Well the old-time shamans took all night, but they didn’t have babysitters. Just follow the script. Ok, so I think the Zoning Board is all laid out.
Something’s on your mind.
No big deal.
Hon, why don’t you just out with it, and whatever, and then we’ll enjoy our apple pie.
Well, it’s just—
It’s no big deal—
Ok. All right. So ... We might have to kill the Johnsons.
I had this dream. It was a peace march. Not here, but like in Omaha, kind of a subtropical Omaha. And there were cops along the street, and helicopters, but it was really festive, because the news was that the President went on national television and admitted he was totally wrong and that he had masterminded 9/11, and he started to take off his clothes—
And I turned it off just before he showed his private parts, thank you Jesus. And we were out in the sun, blue sky—
Everybody was dancing and just laughing hysterically—
And the cops all eating cotton candy—
Getting stickier and stickier, and nobody could find water anywhere. People started to get mean. You could hear birds—
Above the helicopters, hovering, waiting for meat in the streets below.
Dull thuds, like explosions under water—
Why did I find this surprising?
It was a peace march.
And we got to Civic Center, we were all so very old.
It was a peace march.
With candles, and the sun went black.
And the birds began to fall.
I love Mama.
I’m smart, Mama. I can spell cat. I can do two plus two. I can do m.c. squared. I can sing.
He sings several bars of The Halleluia Chorus as the couple continues working.
I can do books.
He recites the beginning of “To be or not to be...” MAN returns with meat.
Here’s all we got.
They don’t love me, Mama! I need more!
I don’t want goat meat, I want Macdonalds. I want a Big Mac, and fries, and a giant Coke, I want a Happy Meal!
We don’t have that stuff.
Because you’re dumb. Make food for me then you’ll get some too! Get a job! Go to work!
We work hard!
Make stuff I need! I need shirts. And running shoes. And computers. A whole buncha computers. Work!
Ok ok! to Woman Work!
They start doing assembly line work. BABY curls up by BIG MAMA, whimpering.
They don’t love me. They hate me. I’m watching’em. I got long-distance eyes.
Was he born that way?
Got dropped on his head.
I know you hate me. Just remember if I wasn’t creating jobs you wouldn’t have anything! Love me or I’ll kill you. I can kill better than anybody. This is boring. Entertain me. Make me laugh.
They start into a comic dance duet.
That’s stupid. Do something beautiful. I want beautiful stuff.
They begin a Martha Graham ballet.
That’s sissy stuff. I want sports. Super-sports. War!
They go into a slow-motion prizefight, continuing.
I’m too hungry. I’m too fat. I’m hungry and I’m fat. I need exercise. Somebody help me exercise.
MAN and WIFE work his limbs.
What’s the matter with me? I should be happy. I’ve got running shoes. I’ve got freedom. I am so fucking awesome! ... I’m such a disgusting person.
I won. I actually won.
I called the number I was supposed to call, and actually a human being answered and said, indeed, hello, congratulations, yes, and all you have to do is go to such and such a travel agent, and they will make the arrangements, an all expense paid week in Hawaii, anywhere you want to go. You don’t just have to go to a hotel in Waikiki, anything you want.
I could go to Maui? You could go to Maui.
So I said thanks. I’d never won a prize before.
So I go to the travel agency, and there’s a nice, kinda middle-aged blond woman sitting there, I give her my confirmation number, and congratulations, where would you like to go, and I said I would like to go to Maui.
She said fine, very good, and gets on the keyboard, what kind of hotel, would you like a car, so on...
And finally she said ok, I’ll print out your electronic tickets and reservations. So she prints it out, gives it to me, says well enjoy your stay in Omaha.
Have a nice vacation.
Funny, I thought you said enjoy your stay in Omaha.
She said, be sure to visit the Stockyards.
If you notice, this is not the ocean. This is our pool. There’s a half dozen eggs lying there. Damned monkeys, they’re laughing their asses off.
This might be historic. The first time we’ve swam for freedom. Sure, round and round, but the world is round, and so we swim around. Because we are free birds, and we are making our swim to freedom.
We are swimming in circles, we are starving, and that egg is history.
You think too much. Go with it. There’s fifty-three of us in here. We can’t all be nuts. It’s freedom. It’s going home. It’s having something to believe in. And if we just swim harder—
And we’re spinning and spinning faster, we create this vortex, this waterspout rising up, over the elephants and the zoo and the fucking monkeys, and the gawkers yell out, They’re flying! The penguins are flying!
Gradually their arms extend out into broad wings, and they are flying. Ad lib.
No penguins fly.
The illusion collapses. They swim.