AS HE LIKES IT
A VEB Play in One Act
DIRECTED BY KENNETH BRANAGH
ENTER an old man.
If in my words a somber note you find—
it is not the squalorous tone of those
who, in the darkest hour, wandered Womack-ward.
Or armed with best intent picked out prospects
to stoke the fires roaring in a Hot Stove.
It is the pale cry of a man deceived
you detect in hidebound reminiscence;
I, a scout of the highest discernment
fooled by the tools of an infielder's trade,
the feat of a man, and the glove on his hand.
I've lasted all these years on bottled rage;
my story, never put to soothing page.
But when those jerseys I do see
They spark a haunting reverie—
Scene: La Russa's office.
ENTER La Russa and Schumaker
Skip, you've been into my office bidden;
despite the task remaining as yet hidden.
Curious I have as ever been,
but inner grit keeps ungood thoughts within.
But still we Cobblers, scrappy though we be,
Must sate our need to know eventu'ly!
So pray tell if it is within your purview,
the secret way in which I am to serve you.
As you're aware, kind Skip my faithful servant,
the Prez is gone, and no one knows where he went.
Our myst'try spot the Keystone, descended
once more into a bay of braying pigs!
But a shepherd such as I—
You doubt me?
When 'tis my duty, bound and sealed, to
Hustle the farrest outer fields, do
I have any place within this drama?
Yours, I promise, fairest Skip, is the lead—
A role in which you chew the scenery,
and with the Gen'ral Mo none the wiser,
turn the twin-kill, masked, for none to see.
A deception, here—and I a Cobbler,
bound by blood to truth, to grit, to hustle.
Pulled at both ends I snap here in the middle—
Quiet, song of the Italian siren!
Your glove I'll wear, although it virtue deadens,
Reason another day, Skip;
explaining is the tool of smaller minds.
Come to the field, the morrow, as always,
and loose our plan upon the inner fields.
A plot, and I, here, by chance, hear something—
the fates spot me cleaning out my locker,
and give me this with which to refill it.
To Mozeliak I ride, on the next Greyhound.
Scene: Palm Beach, Florida.
Here afield, a day's new battles burgeon,
for second base awaits the strongest person.
I say—Greene, is the morning breeze afoot,
or have you toed the batter's box too soon?
You're light on your feet, Joe, or should I say,
your feet behind me lack that worryin' tone...
Hello, fellas, but aren't we presuming,
that the Italian hasn't a new scheme
with which to retire the three of us?
Your worry is touching, if somewhat misplaced—
no other's around, out to carry your spear.
Your spot is still safe, on the next Memphis van,
—who is it out there, that mustachioed man?
Dear friends, a humble infield man am I,
near-twins we are, to any layman's eye.
Our tunics soiled, our fandom young women—
our hustle, we comrades, a hundred and ten!
He tries too hard—
And even that banter
smacks of a familiar teacher's pet.
The Colonel came with his concerns, relayed
through plot-bound messengers: we pitchers, locked
in our dread dalliance with contact pitches,
detect a rotten stench within the air.
All grounders through him seem to roll for hits,
No! I'm too young for this— —