Written by PP Rega
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Saturday, 1 September 2012

image for Nibbles - A short gruesome play on cannibalism

Act One

Mitchum
Mr. Thwaite?
Mr. Thwaite?


Thwaite
Yeah…What is it?

Mitchum
You OK, Mr. Thwaite?

Thwaite
I ain't bloody dead yet, mate.

Mitchum
I wasn't suggesting that…

Thwaite
Oh, I'm sure you weren't, mate. However, your verbal demeanor had a bit of anticipatory delight there.

Mitchum
How's that, Mr. Thwaite?

Thwaite
You were hoping that I cashed in and you could begin nibbling on some of my juicier body parts.

Mitchum
Oh, sir, I'd never…

Thwaite
Oh come off it, boy-o. I'll be doing that very thing when you're "Brown Bread."

Mitchum
How could you be…?

Thwaite
C'mon…man up.

Mitchum
But….

Thwaite
How's that?

Mitchum
I couldn't….

Thwaite
Couldn't? I doubt that. Your eyes are a wee bit close for my taste. You've been thinking on it. There I'd be all green and black and maggoty and there you'd be figuring which of my appendages would be the safest and tastiest to eat.

Mitchum
Oh, stop, sir. Stop! That's torturing both of us.

Thwaite
C'mon, mate. Be honest. You have to be contemplating it. It's not that it hasn't happened before, has It.?

Mitchum
Uh….

Thwaite
The truth now. We're here on this blasted spit of an island. Stranded and dying. It's not proper for two men of the world to lie to each other when we only have a day or so of existence. You have been thinking about it, haven't you?

Mitchum
Well…

Thwaite
A bit. Only a bit. It's quite natural. It has crossed your mind a time or two.

Mitchum
Well, only lately.

Thwaite
Ahhh….Of course, my boy. Of course. Why, it's only natural.

Mitchum
It's wrong, but you're right.

Thwaite
It's perfectly right. Even acceptable in extreme circumstances. I'll be making a feast of you when you cast off your mortal coils. Qualms I'll not have. After all, it's survival.

Mitchum
Mr. Thwaite?
Mr. Thwaite!

Thwaite
What is it now?

Mitchum
You think I'm going first?

Thwaite
Inevitable.

Mitchum
You're so positive?

Thwaite
Of course. People of my station endure. Have to, you know. Besides that, one must always have a positive attitude, mustn't one?

Mitchum
But there's no guarantee.

Thwaite
You're correct there. No guarantee.

Mitchum
So, you agree it's possible I may be feasting on your corpse instead.

Thwaite
Definite possibility. In fact, I'm dying faster now than before this fruitless conversation of yours began. In fact, your chatter is tantamount to homicide, if I may be so bold.

Mitchum
I'm sorry, Mr. Thwaite, but…

Thwaite
In fact, if I knew where my pistol went to after we capsized, I'd give it to you to put me out of my misfortune faster than what you are doing now to me.

Mitchum
But I'm only suggesting….

Thwaite
Here, fill this canteen and just let me lie here in peace and conserve my strength.

(No response after a reasonable period of time)

Oy, mate! Did you hear? Fill the bloody thing up. You know, I can't use this leg.

Ah, I see you're catching wise, eh?

Mitchum
Well, Mr. Thwaite, mind you, I'm only suggesting….

Thwaite
Let's hear it.

Mitchum
Well, it's an interesting ethical and moral dilemma. If I don't bother to fill your canteen, then your disintegrative processes will quicken. You die. I live.

Thwaite
Bugger off, then. I'll not plead with the likes of you. Rodent-faced murderer.

Mitchum
Please, sir. Follow me on this exercise. It needn't be called murder. Let's simply say "survival of the fittest." Darwin and all that.

Thwaite
Darwin and you can call it what you will; I calls it murder and a low caste murderer you'd be. That's the real difference between your kind and mine. Honor. We have it. Integrity. That too. It's what we are when confronted with disaster. We'll not do anything that would violate our honor or compromise our integrity. We'd sooner face eternal damnation than violate our intrinsic code. So if you're going to justify my murder by calling it survival of the fittest or simple a sin of omission then don't fill my bloody canteen and be done with it. But I'll not be helping you and assuage whatever conscious you may be blessed with.

Mitchum
Oh, don't go off that way, Mr. Thwaite. I'd say this was only a philosophical exercise or hypothetical discussion we'd be having. I'll be filling your canteen. I was just pondering….

Thwaite
Pondering were you? I'm detecting more plot than ponder. In any case, whatever you may or may not undertake, my physiognomy will probably outlast yours. I have caches of energy I haven't used yet.

Mitchum
That may be true. That may be true…

Thwaite
I'll not thank you for filling my canteen…for fulfilling your human obligation.

Mitchum
If you pardon, sir…then I won't be wasting my cache of energy by saying, "You're welcome." But remember that all those cells of yours may be so used to pudding and pork that this shock might send them all to generalized apoptosis.

Thwaite
Apo…what?

Mitchum
Apoptosis. A physiological situation when cells essentially do themselves in because there's nothing left. Cellular suicide. Education is not an activity unique to the upper class, if you don't mind me saying. My cells are habitually used to some degree of deprivation. Yours are not. Therefore, they are, to my way of thinking, more likely to go on to apoptosis than mine.

Thwaite
Fine, mate. Whatever you say. But please remember my final words.

Mitchum
Being?

Thwaite
Bon appétit, mate. Bon appétit.

(Time to ponder)

Mitchum
Er….Mr. Thwaite…..

(No answer)

Mr. Thwaite!

Thwaite
C'mon, laddie. Leave me be now.

Mitchum
I was thinking.

Thwaite
Enjoy.

Mitchum
I mean, I was really thinking…..
About all this….
It doesn't have to be like this…..
I said it doesn't have to be like this….

Thwaite
Like what?

Mitchum
Like this. What we've been discussing. Cannibalism. It doesn't have to get to the point where one of us eats a dead flesh of the other.

Thwaite
It doesn't?

Mitchum
No. It doesn't have to be you or me.

Thwaite
What exactly are you saying?

Mitchum
Each of us doesn't have to wait for the other to kick off so that the bloke who's left can live by chewing on him.

Thwaite
Go on. You're beginning to fascinate me, mate.

Mitchum
I mean we both could live a little while longer with a few sacrifices.

Thwaite
Stop being so fucking inscrutable.

Mitchum
Ah, I'm starting to view that soft flesh under your carapace. I'll try to be more direct. You agree we're dying; right now; right here?

Thwaite
Fine. And….

Mitchum
We're dying. We're dying, Thwaite. We're dying. And it's agonizingly slow. We have the water but we lack the basic elements of life, the protein, the carbohydrates.

Thwaite
Where are you going with this?

Mitchum
Follow me. You agree we're dying.

(No response)

You agree?

Thwaite
I agree.

Mitchum
….And cannibalism may be the only alternative eventually?

(Again no response)

Right?

Thwaite
Yes, yes…. We are on the same page there.

Mitchum
But you've also acknowledged that neither of us really knows for sure who will be chomping on whom.

Thwaite
Yes, but I prefer to think that it will be I who will be dining on your sweetmeats.

Mitchum
Please leave the hubris aside, Thwaite.

Thwaite
Hubris?

Mitchum
Hubris. False pride. Hubris.

Thwaite
Please know that I know "hubris". I'm just surprised you know it. T'is a shame you'll soon be dead. A loss of a fine education, I'm sure.

Mitchum
Will you shut the fuck up? This is serious business I'm getting to and I'd appreciate it if you would listen seriously.

Thwaite
You can talk to me like that because of my debility. But you wouldn't have dared two weeks ago.

Mitchum
I apologize, Mr. Thwaite. But that is exactly my point. We're both dying. And we don't know who'll be first.

Thwaite
OK.

Mitchum
And the one who's left may be too weak to eat.

Thwaite
Are we getting to some sort of plan?

Mitchum
I'm getting to it. I have an idea that might prolong both of our lives. Maybe long enough until help arrives.

Thwaite
I'm listening.

(Quiet)

I'm still listening.

Mitchum
Why wait until one of us is dead to eat?

Thwaite
What?

Mitchum
Where is it ordained that we have to wait until death to eat someone? I mean why don't we work on a plan to get our proteins and carbohydrates now?

Thwaite
How do fix to do that?

(No answer)

C'mon. Let's have it all.

Mitchum
Let's do a little nibbling on each other now.

Thwaite
Are you daft, man?
It's the sun… and no food. That's what making you say this.

Mitchum
I'm not daft. I'm being perfectly logical.

Thwaite
You want that we should start eating each other now? While we're still kicking?

Mitchum
It's the only logical step. I eat a bit of you; you eat a bit of me. That might be all we need to do to sustain both of us long enough until help comes.

Thwaite
Go to bloody hell, boy-o. I'm no bloody heathen. Eating another man's flesh while he's still alive.

Mitchum
Fine, Mr. Thwaite, fine. It's a close-minded attitude like that that made the blooming dinosaurs fucking extinct!

Thwaite
But I'm saying…..

Mitchum
Fine.

Thwaite
But….

Mitchum
Sir, I do not wish to continue further. I can cope with the lack of food. I can cope with loss of water. But I cannot cope with your persistent……

Thwaite
Ehhhh…..

Mitchum
Tut!

Thwaite
Ehh….

Mitchum
Tut…tut….tut!

(Long Pause)

Thwaite
Er….um….what is your name, by the way?

Mitchum
Mitchum….now you ask!

Thwaite
Well, you raise some interesting points, eh….Mitchum. What you may consider obtuse, some might consider deliberate. I did not get where I am by jumping into things.

Mitchum
Fine, Mr. Thwaite, but I no longer care to discuss. It's a needless expenditure of my energy.

Thwaite
No need to be thin-skinned about it. How would you go about it?

Mitchum
About what?

Thwaite
The eating thing.

Mitchum
What eating thing?

Thwaite
Now who's being obtuse, eh, Mitchum?

Mitchum
Well, I'm not going to get into this just for the sake of flapping me gums.

Thwaite
I agree. We have to be serious.

Mitchum
You're serious?

Thwaite
I'm serious.

Mitchum
Yeah?

Thwaite
Mitchum! Get on with it!

Mitchum
Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking on it……You are serious?

Thwaite
Mitchum!

Mitchum
Just checking. We have to picks parts that are easy to get to but are also sufficiently nutritious and are not sufficiently vital.

Thwaite
Well, I'm not sacrificing my Willy.

Mitchum
Most assuredly, sir. We'll need Willy when we make it off this damn island.

Thwaite
Better believe it, laddie.

Mitchum
No, no, no. I mean things like fingers and toes first.

Thwaite
Fingers and toes?

Mitchum
First.

Thwaite
First?

Mitchum
Well, we start with them and then we progress with our parts that are a wee bit more difficult to spare…but only as the need arises.

Thwaite
Makes some sense, I must say……I can't believe I'm saying that!

Mitchum
Yes, sir. I know it's difficult but we must have an open mind about this. It's survival. But we have to be smart about it. We just can't be cutting off fingers and toes willy-nilly. Certain digits are more important than others after all. Agreed?

Thwaite
Yes, indeed. Keep our index and thumb at all costs. That's what makes us human.

Mitchum
Right-o, Mr. Thwaite. Now you're getting into the spirit of things. I propose we start with the fifth digits of each of our limbs and then the fourth and so on.

Thwaite
Yes, yes. But we start with the toes. Toes first. No need for the little buggers. So greater emphasis on the toes.

Mitchum
Yes…I think that sounds right. Toes. Fifth and fourth. Both feet. And then go one to the fingers.

Thwaite
Well, maybe even go up to the third toe before we attack the fingers. I don't think it's all that essential. The third toe.

Mitchum
We have to chew on that a bit, I'm thinking.

Thwaite
Good show, Mitchum. "Chew on that." I like your sense of humor.

Mitchum
Hell…I didn't even know I made a joke.

Thwaite
Subconscious. Just came out. But it was good. We need a little levity as we ponder all this.

Mitchum
Yes, a bit. Now where were we? Oh yes, the third toe.

Thwaite
The third toe.

Mitchum
The third toe. Do you really think it's non-essential, Mr. Thwaite?

Thwaite
I do.

Mitchum
Balance. The little fellow might be important for balance. I don't know if two toes can do it.

Thwaite
We'll see. One of us gets to the third toe and we see if it impairs gait. Then we'll know. Sort of an experiment.

Mitchum
Sounds OK. We'll just draw lots to see who experiments. I'm sure we'll be coming to crossroads every now and then.

Thwaite
Exactly. You know, Mitchum, a secondary gain is that by terminating these superfluous appendages we'll be diverting blood flow to the more essential parts of our bodies that are still part of us.

Mitchum
That is a very astute observation, sir.

Thwaite
Thank you, Mitchum. And now that we have figured out the "what" let's consider the "how".

Mitchum
Sharp rock, I should think. None of our possessions have ever washed on shore and even if you find your pistol, it'll be of little use. No, I think we find a sharp rock and then whittle it to a fine edge.

Thwaite
Agreed. Now, the "who".

Mitchum
Well, that's a bit of a sticky wicket, wot. I think we have to look at it from a utilitarian framework as opposed to an egalitarian one.

Thwaite
Meaning?

Mitchum
Well, utilitarian……Now, don't rush off, Mr. Thwaite. I'm only discussing…rationalizing…..

Thwaite
Let's hear it.

Mitchum
Utilitarian. It makes more sense if we feast on your parts initially. Now, don't look like that. Let me finish….After all, there's more meat on the bone, so to speak. We would get more "energy units" per body part from your body parts than mine.

Thwaite
So you want us to eat all of me first and then get to you when time's running out?

Mitchum
Not completely. We can get to my parts periodically. To give you a rest.

Thwaite
I don't think so. I'm more into an egalitarian philosophical mood nowadays. We gnaw on a little bit of me and then we gnaw on a little bit of you. Back and forth.

Mitchum
I thought you might have a fundamental change of philosophy. I'm pretty sure you weren't all that egalitarian in business and social matters, eh?

Thwaite
I've always had an open mind. I'm willing to change my opinion as the needed. I'm not as obtuse as you think I am.

Mitchum
Yes…I see. But it' not really functional though. We'd get a lot more mileage out of your digits than mine.

Thwaite
You know, Mitchum… We could also chuck the whole thing. You go your way. I go mine. I nibble on my best parts. And you can nibble on your scrawny things. Remember, it all comes down to the fact that you need my parts more than I need yours.

Mitchum
You're quite right. Thwaite. Those little appendages of yours are certainly more succulent and, I daresay, more flavorful, than mine. But you fail to consider the importance of the emotional and psychological support we would be providing each other - not to mention the physical one. After all, we'll be engaging in an activity that may be considered…."gauche" in most circles.

Thwaite
Gauche? I'd use the term "bestial". Let's face it, man. This is cannibalism.

Mitchum
Mr. Thwaite, I think if we proceed further down this road we will have to apply a new nomenclature to this endeavor. It's for our own mental health now and later. We must never think of ourselves as cannibals. We're not fuzzy-wuzzies. We're Brits. So let's agree it's not cannibalism.

Thwaite
OK. Agreed. It's not cannibalism. What is it?

Mitchum
I'm thinking………………………….How about "Beneficial Interautophagotism"?

Thwaite
Say that again….

Mitchum
Beneficial Interautophagotism. We are consuming each other to the mutual benefit of both. We share the sacrifice and we share the rewards. How socialistic is that!

Thwaite
Schweitzer would be proud! Maybe we'll even get the Nobel Peace Prize. Might be a problem though. Won't be able to hold it after we beneficially interautophagocytosed ourselves bit by bit!

Mitchum
Thwaite. I don't think we are at a junction that we can afford to be cynical or sarcastic.

Thwaite
Forgive me, Mitchum. But you can't be preaching about socialism and that 'beneficial interauto…' crap and expect me to let you eat me bit by bit first.

Mitchum
You have a point.

Thwaite
I'm willing to search for a compromise though. We need to decide who goes first, but after that we just alternate until circumstances change.

Mitchum
Agreed.

Thwaite
Wonderful. And here, I think is the perfect rock. I found it while you were expounding. I think it's obsidian. Should work well for a couple of chops.

Mitchum
Wonderful. Then I say we draw lots. Even and odd. For the first time and then we alternate between us. We take the same digit of each of us at each round.

Thwaite
Fine. Let's choose now while we still have fingers to choose with.

(Laughter)

Black out.

Silence

Painful scream.

End Act One


ACT TWO

Thwaite
(Singing)

I'm busting out in the morning
While I'm still in me prime
These rags I'll be dumping
Those gals I'll be humping
So get me out of here on time.

(Notices Mitchum's quizzical glare)

What?

(Receives no response and continues singing)

I'm busting out in the morning
While I'm still in me prime
These rags I'll be dumping
Those gals I'll be humping
So get me out of here on time.


Mitchum. When I'm wrong, I admit it. And Mitchum, old man, I was wrong. Your idea - and it was your idea - saved us. If it wasn't for your mutual interdependent phagocytosis or whatever you're calling it this week we wouldn't have been alive when they found us yesterday.

Mitchum
Thanks. That helps.

Thwaite
What the hell is the matter with you, old man? That little bit of protein carried us over the hump. So what if we're missing a few fingers and a couple of toes. Big deal. We're alive. We stayed alive long enough for that storm to blow everything to hell and back including their boat off course and straight into our ever-loving laps. And look at all this. It even churned up the sand and uncovered some of the trunks full of clothes.

Mitchum
And your gun.

Thwaite
Big deal. The gun. We'll not be needing that any longer. Look at the clothes, boy-o. The clothes. They're a bit large, I admit. But we'll grow into them nicely what with roasts and puddings.

Mitchum
And the bullets.

Thwaite
Come again?

Mitchum
Your gun and the bloody bullets.

Thwaite
Can you move on, old sport? We'll be home in a couple of days decked out like proper gents again.

Mitchum
No fingers.
No toes.

Thwaite
Jesus. Get beyond that, would you?

Mitchum
How obtuse can you be, Thwaite?

Thwaite
Listen, Mitchum. Between you and I, I've been extraordinarily lax about proper decorum during this time - what with dying and sharing fingers and toes and what not; but I think we need to preserve past amenities. Mr. Thwaite from now on. I'll call you Mr. Mitchum - to be fair and democratic.

Mitchum
You don't get it, do you, Thwaite. I mean, Mr. Thwaite.
Or Lord Thwaite.
Or fucking Prince fucking Edward Thwaite.

Thwaite
Hear, hear, man… none of…

Mitchum
Did you see how he looked at us?

Thwaite
Who?

Mitchum
Who. The only other person we've fucking seen in the past six months.

Thwaite
Leftenant Peebles?

Mitchum
Leftenant…I don't know his name. I don't care to know it.

Thwaite
What IS the matter with you, son?

Mitchum
Did you see how he looked?

Thwaite
He looked better than we did, I guess. But then we had an excuse. He's been eating fish and chips. We've been eating….

Mitchum
Omigod!

Thwaite
….not to add the fact that he's probably showered and shaved in the past week before the storm…

Mitchum
I can't believe what I'm bloody hearing.

Thwaite
What?

Mitchum
I don't mean how he looked. I mean HOW he looked.

Thwaite
And you call me obtuse.

Mitchum
Let me try to set the stage so even you can comprehend.

Thwaite
Fine. Do that. You don't mind if I pack while you're expounding pretentiously, do you?

Mitchum
Feel free.

Thwaite
Thank you.

Mitchum
No problem. But be ready. I'm going to ask questions.

Thwaite
Socratic Method, ay?

Mitchum
In a manner….

Thwaite
I'm ready. Shoot.

Mitchum
I wish….

Thwaite
Steady……

Mitchum
Oh alright. I apologize……

Thwaite
Apology accepted.

Mitchum
OK. Now listen carefully….How do you think we looked when that storm blew in?

Thwaite
I'd say we both looked rather scared; after all we were both holding on to each other and the palm tree. Yes; scared; I'd say we looked scared. Indeed.
Right?

Mitchum
Indeed. 100%. Couldn't have described us better myself. We were scared shitless. Now how do you remember Leftenant Pebbles?

Thwaite
Peebles.

Mitchum
Peebles. How do you remember him when we came upon the lad on the beach?

Thwaite
Scared. Yes…scared. After all, he wasn't certain what the hell happened to him being washed overboard and all that in the storm. He was lost at sea in the first place and then into the Deep Six. Probably thought he would die. I'm sure they all thought that.

Mitchum
OK….OK; now let's continue…

Thwaite
Go on….

Mitchum
And then he saw us.

Thwaite
Oh yes, I remember. We saw each other at the same time and we all began jumping up and down. It was marvelous.

Mitchum
Exactly. He was happy.

Thwaite
Delirious, I should say.

Mitchum
Fine. Deliriously happy. We were all happy.

Thwaite
We were dancing.

Mitchum
And he still had that radio so he could tell his men on board ship about us.

Thwaite
He was even happier when that happened.

Mitchum
Jumping around?

Thwaite
Indeed.

Mitchum
Doing the Irish jig?

Thwaite
Certainly. To be expected.

Mitchum
My point. Of course. It's expected.

Thwaite
Well, yes. We're human, after all. Aren't we?

Mitchum
You're hitting on it.

Thwaite
On what?

Mitchum
Go with me further on this track.

Thwaite
Right-o.

Mitchum
Then we collapsed.

Thwaite
Well, sure…we were exhausted. Happy and exhausted.

Mitchum
Exactly. And then he took a good look at us.

Thwaite
We were a sight, I bet…until we found that trunk of clothes.

Mitchum
Exactly. And how did he look?

Thwaite
Tired. We were all…

Mitchum
Tired. I know. And then he looked us over.

Thwaite
Well….yes, he did.

Mitchum
And he saw the bandages on our hands and feet?

Thwaite
Right and he asked what happened. "Gangrene," he asked? As I recall.

Mitchum
You recall correctly, sir. And how was he looking when he was asking?

Thwaite
Concerned? Yes, concerned. I'd say he was concerned. Wouldn't you say he looked concerned?

Mitchum
OK. I'll give you that. In fact, I'll go one sentiment further. He was sympathetic. No pity. Sympathetic.

Thwaite
Indeed. A veritable gentleman. No pity from him. He was truly sympathetic.

Mitchum
Yes. We're agreed. He was sympathetic……
And then you had to tell him.

Thwaite
Tell him what?

Mitchum
He asked the question and he even proffered a credible answer.

Thwaite
Answer? Which answer?

Mitchum
Gangrene. He asked, "Gangrene?"

Thwaite
Yes, that's right. Gangrene. I remember now.

Mitchum
And we could have just gone along with that. "Yes, mate. Gangrene. They all fell off because of gangrene, but we're OK now." And be done with it.

Thwaite
But that wasn't the case.

Mitchum
That's true, Mr. Thwaite. It wasn't the case. And so you made sure we all knew it wasn't the case.

Thwaite
So? Mustn't be mendacious. We're gentlemen, after all. Civilized.

Mitchum
Wonderful.

Thwaite
Well, he asked.

Mitchum
And you answered with the bloody truth.
"Gangrene, wot? Of course not, laddie. We just nibbled them off one by one. Survival, you know. We'd eat one of mine and then we'd eat one of his. Difficult at first; got better as we went along…."

The bloody awful truth.
You human crapload of pompous assininity!

Thwaite
Here now, I'll not have….

Mitchum
I'm doubling down, Thwaite. You're a ton of a human crapload of pompous assininity. You could have gone along with him and left well enough alone. But no….you had to tell him the truth.

Thwaite
He asked, "Gangrene" and I answered, "No, we ate 'em." So there.

Mitchum
You remember how he looked then, Lord Kiss-My-Blooming-Ass Thwaite?

Thwaite
Can't say that I care to recall anything with that tone of yours….

Mitchum
Was it the same as his "happy" look?

Thwaite
No…

Mitchum
Perceptive of you. Now, was it like his sympathetic look?

Thwaite
Can't say that it was…no…not sympathy.

Mitchum
Then, would you say that it might have been a look more consistent with horror?

Thwaite
Well….

Mitchum
How one would look when one sees a hanging for the first time or seeing a child being run over by a bus?

Thwaite
Possibly….

Mitchum
Possibly, nothing. It was the look of horror on his face. In a blink of a fucking gnat's eye he went from being sympathetic to being horrified.

Thwaite
So?

Mitchum
So where is he now?

Thwaite
Getting back to his ship to get us help and then get us out of here.

Mitchum
He practically ran away right there to the beach right after you told him.

Thwaite
But he'll come back.

Mitchum
Sure, he'll come back. But not before he tells his crew about the two freaks who were eating each other digit by digit. You think that'll create sympathy?

Thwaite
I don't know.

Mitchum
Let me elucidate. They'll all be incredulous, then horrified, and then disgusted. They can't wait to set their eyes on two loyal subjects of the British Empire who turned into bleeding fuzzy-wuzzy cannibals.

Thwaite
That was to survive.

Mitchum
Right.

Thwaite
Your idea.

Mitchum
Right again.

Thwaite
So, we survived.

Mitchum
Yes, we survived but I'm betting that most everyone will be thinking, "Surely, t'was more preferable to die than to resort to cannibalism."

Thwaite
Some might.

Mitchum
All will. Objects of curiosity and scorn we'll be. If there's one empty seat at the Queen's Banquet, they'll be inviting bloody John Merrick before one of us, old chap.

Thwaite
We shouldn't have told the truth?

Mitchum
You shouldn't have told the truth.

Thwaite
Well, if you're right, and I'm not saying you are, but if…..what do we do now?

Mitchum
No "we" shit, bucko. You do what you want. I'm doing what I want.

(He rummages through all the trunks)

Thwaite
What are you doing?

(Mitchum cradles the pistol)

Mitchum
Getting the…… ah, here it is. Like I told you in our days of innocence and survival. Keep the thumbs.
There. All set.
You take care of yourself, Mr. Thwaite, Esq. It's been an interesting experience we shared.

Thwaite
You don't mean you're….

Mitchum
One needs to know when there's no further point to roll the dice.

Thwaite
But….

Mitchum
Take care, Thwaite. I wouldn't come back here afterwards if I were you. At least keep your eyes closed. A .357 Magnum does leave a bit of a mess. But I won't use but one load. You can use the rest. Just cock your thumb inside the trigger guard and squeeze, if you've a mind to.

(He goes behind the bushes.)

Thwaite
Mitchum?

Gunshot.
Sound of a boat.
Sounds of talking and laughing.
Thwaite unravels his hand bandages and staggers to Mitchum's body.
He comes out of cover trying to cock the gun and shoot himself,
He can't.
No thumbs.

(Thwaite looks downstage directly at the audience.)

Thwaite
I got hungry.

The End

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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