Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scene 34

Setting: Tinsmith’s office


(The camera focuses on the picture of the Tinsmith hanging on the wall behind hid desk. A puff of smoke flies past the picture. The camera gradually goes back until it gets to the Tinsmith in the same pose and in the same proportions as the picture was. The Tinsmith puffs away at his cigar. Eventually, he walks from behind his desk and paces briskly in front of his desk, as Jose stands next to the Tinsmith’s desk, picking his teeth.)

Jose: Suppose they just have an accident, boss.

Tin: No, no, no. You know how these stupid Christians are. They’ll come by the thousand from all over Portugal to venerate their little (making quotation marks with his fingers) “martyrs”. No. It won’t do. (Stops pacing and walks to Jose, with his cigar in his hand) Now look, Jose, These are just kids, right?

Jose: Yeah, boss.

Tin: It can’t be too hard for worldly men like ourselves to outwit ignorant peasant children, would it?

Jose: No, boss, you’re right.

Tin: You bet, I’m right. That’s why I’m administrator of this dump. Brains run in my family.

Jose: Yeah, that’s right, boss.

Tin: And soon, once we get rid of this superstitious nonsense, (puts his cigar on the desk, causing a small paper fire) all Portugal will come to us and say, “Thank you for releasing us …

Jose: Uh, boss?

Tin: I’m not finished, Jose. releasing us from the bonds of medieval ignorance…

Jose: Uh, boss, your desk...

Tin: Ah! (Jose puts the fire out with a vase of flowers. The Tinsmith picks up his cigar, looks on it with disgust, and throws it on the floor.) Anyway, where were we, Jose?

Jose: You were telling me how smart you were, boss.

Tin: Ah, yes. So, how do we stop them, Jose?

Jose: Let’s kill the brats.

Tin: No.

Jose: Break their kneecaps, then.

Tin: No.

Jose: Sic the hounds on them.

Tin: No.

Jose: Cut off their thumbs.

Tin: No.

Jose: Shove a red hot poker up their toenails?

Tin: No.

Jose: Poke them in the eye with a sharp stick?

Tin: (after giving it about eight seconds serious consideration) Mmmmmmmmmno!

Jose: How about a couple of black eyes?

Tin: No.

Jose: Pinch them so it leaves a red mark.

Tin: No.

Jose: Make them listen to your poetry?

Tin: (after an anguished look, looks at Jose for a couple of seconds) Ahem! No, Jose, we don’t want to reward them, either. Oh, no. We just need to get them to admit they’ve been lying, or to tell us this so-called secret of theirs. (A light bulb that happens to be over his head turns on, walks to Jose) Jose, why don’t I send them a nice letter “inviting” them to come to Ourem for a visit. I don’t suppose one of them has ever ridden in a nice motorcar like I have.

(Tinsmith sits behind the desk and pulls out a fountain pen and paper, fills the pen with ink) I’m sure they’ll jump at the opportunity. What are their names, anyway?

Jose: (pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket) Wait a second boss, let me get my reading glasses. (takes off sunglasses and puts on smaller sunglasses) Their names are: Bread, milk, cider, eggs, tomatoes, artichokes, onions, and something for junior’s rash.

Tin: (Threw his pen I the air when Jose started) I’m guessing that’s not their names, Jose. What idiot would give his kids ridiculous names like that?

Jose: Well, you named your kids Victor Hugo, Liberty, and Democracy, boss.

Tin: Just find their names, will you?

Jose: Oh. (pulls out another piece of paper) Uh, Lucia dos Santos

Tin: (nodding, writing it down) That’s right.

Jose: Jacinta Marto and her brother Francisco.

Tin: Yes. Now we’re getting somewhere. They live in Aljustrel, right?

Jose: That’s right, boss.

Tin: (thinks for a moment, then gets a silly grin on his face) My dearest Lucia. (starts laughing) This is like taking candy from a baby. Jose, pour me some ale, will you.

Jose: (laughing) Right away, boss. (Jose pulls out two large mugs and fills them with ale that is kept in the cupboard while the Tinsmith is writing.)

Tin: It would be my privilege to have you come to the administrative… palace. (laughing, and grabs the mug from Jose.) Cheers, old friend.

Jose: (Laughing) Cheers, mon capitain. (They click glasses and drink.)

Tin: (never lets go of the mug) This is too easy. Please come on Thursday morning around ten. We would also like it if your adorable little friends Jacinta and Francisco were to tag along. I’ll give you a ride in my fancy new motorcar, and we will have lots of games and surprises for you all. See you then. (to Jose) Should I make this seem formal, Jose?

Jose: Yeah. Maybe you could send it by decree or something.

Tin: Good thinking, Jose. (writing) Decreed by Artur de Oliveira Santos, Administrator of Ourem, August 9th, 1917.

Jose: Maybe you’d better put the time on it, too.

Tin: (He turns his left hand to check his wristwatch, spilling the ale all over the letter. A moment or two of disgust) Maybe you’d better just pay them a visit tomorrow, Jose.

Jose: Right, boss.

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