Eugene O'Neill

The Hairy Ape — second half (scenes V through VIII)
by Eugene O’Neill, 1922

CHARACTERS

ROBERT SMITH, “YANK
PADDY
LONG
MILDRED DOUGLAS
HER AUNT
SECOND ENGINEER
A GUARD
A
SECRETARY OF AN ORGANIZATION
Stokers, Ladies, Gentlemen, etc.

SCENES

SCENE I:  The firemen’s forecastle of an ocean liner — an hour after sailing from New York.
SCENE II
:  Section of promenade deck, two days out — morning.
SCENE III
:  The stokehole.  A few minutes later.
SCENE IV
:  Same as Scene I.  Half an hour later.
SCENE V
:  Fifth Avenue, New York.  Three weeks later.
SCENE VI:  An island near the city.  The next night.
SCENE VII:  In the city.  About a month later.
SCENE VIII:  In the city.  Twilight of the next day.

TIME — The Modern.


Scene V

SCENEThree
weeks later. A corner of Fifth Avenue in the Fifties on a fine, Sunday
morning. A general atmosphere of clean, well-tidied, wide street; a
flood of mellow, tempered sunshine; gentle, genteel breezes. In the
rear, the show windows of two shops, a jewelry establishment on the
corner, a furrier’s next to it. Here the adornments of extreme wealth
are tantalizingly displayed. The jeweler’s window is gaudy with
glittering diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls, etc., fashioned in
ornate tiaras, crowns, necklaces, collars, etc. From each piece hangs
an enormous tag from which a dollar sign and numerals in intermittent
electric lights wink out the incredible prices. The same in the
furrier’s. Rich furs of all varieties hang there bathed in a downpour
of artificial light. The general effect is of a background of
magnificence cheapened and made grotesque by commercialism, a
background in tawdry disharmony with the clear light and sunshine on
the street itself.

  Up the side street YANK and LONG come swaggering. LONG is dressed in shore clothes, wears a black Windsor tie, cloth cap. YANK is
in his dirty dungarees. A fireman’s cap with black peak is cocked
defiantly on the side of his head. He has not shaved for days and
around his fierce, resentful eyes—as around those of
LONG to
a lesser degree—the black smudge of coal dust still sticks like
make-up. They hesitate and stand together at the corner, swaggering,
looking about them with a forced, defiant contempt.

  

  LONG—(Indicating it all with an oratorical gesture.) Well, ’ere we are. Fif’
Avenoo. This ’ere’s their bleedin’ private lane, as yer might say. (Bitterly.) We’re trespassers ’ere. Proletarians keep orf the grass!

  YANK—(Dully.) I don’t see no grass, yuh boob. (Staring at the sidewalk.) Clean, ain’t it? Yuh could eat a fried egg offen it. The white wings got some job sweepin’ dis up. (Looking up and down the avenue—surlily.) Where’s all de white-collar stiffs yuh said was here—and de skoits—her kind?

  LONG—In church, blarst ’em! Arskin’ Jesus to give ’em more money.

  YANK—Choich, huh? I useter go to choich onct—sure—when I was a kid. Me old man and woman, dey made me. Dey never went
demselves, dough. Always got too big a head on Sunday mornin’, dat was
dem. (With a grin.)
Dey was scrappers for fair, bot’ of dem. On Satiday nights when dey
bot’ got a skinful dey could put up a bout oughter been staged at de
Garden. When dey got trough dere wasn’t a chair or table wit a leg
under it. Or else dey bot’ jumped on me for somep’n. Dat was where I
loined to take punishment. (With a grin and a swagger.) I’m a chip offen de old block, get me?

  LONG—Did yer old man follow the sea?

  YANK—Naw.
Worked along shore. I runned away when me old lady croaked wit de
tremens. I helped at truckin’ and in de market. Den I shipped in de
stokehole. Sure. Dat belongs. De rest was nothin’. (Looking around him.) I ain’t never seen dis before. De Brooklyn waterfront, dat was where I was dragged up. (Taking a deep breath.) Dis ain’t so bad at
dat, huh?

  LONG—Not bad? Well, we pays for it wiv our bloody sweat, if yer wants to know!

  YANK—(With sudden angry disgust.)
Aw, hell! I don’t see noone, see—like her. All dis gives me a pain. It
don’t belong. Say, ain’t dere a backroom around dis dump? Let’s go
shoot a ball. All dis is too clean and quiet and dolled-up, get me! It
gives me a pain.

  LONG—Wait and yer’ll
bloody well see—

  YANK—I don’t wait for
noone. I keep on de move. Say, what yuh drag me up here for, anyway? Tryin’ to kid me, yuh
simp, yuh?

  LONG—Yer wants to get back at her, don’t
yer? That’s what yer been saying’ every bloomin’ ’our since she hinsulted
yer.

  YANK—(Vehemently.)
Sure ting I do! Didn’t I try to git even wit her in Southampton? Didn’t
I sneak on de dock and wait for her by de gangplank? I was goin’ to
spit in her pale mug, see! Sure, right in her pop-eyes! Dat woulda made
me even, see? But no chanct. Dere was a whole army of plain clothes
bulls around. Dey spotted me and gimme de bum’s rush. I never seen her.
But I’ll git square wit her yet, you watch! (Furiously.) De lousey tart! She tinks she kin get away wit moider—but not wit me! I’ll fix her! I’ll tink of a way!

  LONG—(As disgusted as he dares to be.)
Ain’t that why I brought yer up ’ere—to show yer? Yer been lookin’ at
this ’ere ’ole affair wrong. Yer been actin’ an’ talkin’ ’s if it was
all a bleedin’ personal matter between yer and that bloody cow. I wants
to convince yer she was on’y a representative of ’er clarss. I wants to
awaken yer bloody clarss consciousness. Then yer’ll see it’s ’er clarss
yer’ve got to fight, not ’er alone. There’s a ’ole mob of ’em like ’er,
Gawd blind ’em!

  YANK—(Spitting on his hands—belligerently.) De more de merrier when I gits started. Bring on de gang!

  LONG—Yer’ll see ’em in arf a mo’, when that church lets out. (He turns and sees the window display in the two stores for the first time.) Blimey! Look at that, will
yer? (They both walk back and stand looking in the jewelers. LONG flies into a fury.)
Just look at this ’ere bloomin’ mess! Just look at it! Look at the
bleedin’ prices on ’em—more’n our ’old bloody stokehole makes in ten
voyages sweatin’ in ’ell! And they—her and her bloody clarss—buys ’em
for toys to dangle on ’em! One of these ’ere would buy scoff for a
starvin’ family for a year!

  YANK—Aw, cut de sob stuff! T’ hell wit de starvin’ family! Yuh’ll be passin’ de hat to me next. (With naïve admiration.) Say, dem tings is pretty, huh? Bet yuh dey’d hock for a piece of change aw right. (Then turning away, bored.) But, aw hell, what good are
dey? Let her have ’em. Dey don’t belong no more’n she does. (With a gesture of sweeping the jewelers into oblivion.) All dat don’t count, get me?

  LONG—(Who has moved to the furriers—indignantly.)
And I s’pose this ’ere don’t count neither—skins of poor, ’armless
animals slaughtered so as ’er and ’ers can keep their bleedin’ noses
warm!

  YANK—(Who has been staring at something inside—with queer excitement.) Take a slant at
dat! Give it de once-over! Monkey fur—two t’ousand bucks! (Bewilderedly.) Is dat straight goods—monkey fur? What de hell—?

  LONG—(Bitterly.) It’s straight
enuf. (With grim humor.)
They wouldn’t bloody well pay that for a ’airy ape’s skin—no, nor for
the ’ole livin’ ape with all ’is ’ead, and body, and soul thrown in!

  YANK—(Clenching his fists, his face growing pale with rage as if the skin in the window were a personal insult.) Trowin’ it up in my face! Christ! I’ll fix her!

  LONG—(Excitedly.) Church is out. ’Ere they come, the bleedin’ swine. (After a glance at YANK’S lowering face—uneasily.)
Easy goes, Comrade. Keep yer bloomin’ temper. Remember force defeats
itself. It ain’t our weapon. We must impress our demands through
peaceful means—the votes of the on-marching proletarians of the bloody
world!

  YANK—(With abysmal contempt.) Votes, hell! Votes is a joke, see. Votes for women! Let dem do it!

  LONG—(Still more uneasily.) Calm, now. Treat ’em wiv the proper contempt. Observe the bleedin’ parasites but ’old yer ’orses.

  YANK—(Angrily.) Git away from me! Yuh’re yellow, dat’s what. Force, dat’s me! De punch, dat’s me every time, see! (The
crowd from church enter from the right, sauntering slowly and
affectedly, their heads held stiffly up, looking neither to right nor
left, talking in toneless, simpering voices. The women are rouged,
calcimined, dyed, overdressed to the nth degree. The men are in Prince
Alberts, high hats, spats, canes, etc. A procession of gaudy
marionettes, yet with something of the relentless horror of
Frankensteins in their detached, mechanical unawareness.
)

        

VOICES—Dear Doctor
Caiaphas! He is so sincere!

What was the sermon? I dozed off.

About the radicals, my dear—and the false doctrines that are being preached.

We must organize a hundred per cent American bazaar.

And let everyone contribute one one-hundredth percent of their income tax.

What an original idea!

We can devote the proceeds to rehabilitating the veil of the temple.

But that has been done so many times.

  YANK—(Glaring from one to the other of them—with an insulting snort of scorn.) Huh! Huh! (Without seeming to see him, they make wide detours to avoid the spot where he stands in the middle of the sidewalk.)

  LONG—(Frightenedly.) Keep yer bloomin’ mouth shut, I tells
yer.

  YANK—(Viciously.) G’wan! Tell it to Sweeney! (He swaggers away and deliberately lurches into a top-hatted gentleman, then glares at him pugnaciously.) Say, who d’yuh tink yuh’re bumpin’? Tink yuh own de
oith?

  GENTLEMAN—(Coldly and affectedly.) I beg your pardon. (He has not looked at YANK and passes on without a glance, leaving him bewildered.)

  LONG—(Rushing up and grabbing YANK’S arm.) ’Ere! Come away! This wasn’t what I meant. Yer’ll ’ave the bloody coppers down on us.

  YANK—(Savagely—giving him a push that sends him sprawling.) G’wan!

  LONG—(Picks himself up—hysterically.) I’ll pop orf then. This ain’t what I meant. And whatever ’appens, yer can’t blame me. (He slinks off left.)

  YANK—T’ hell wit
youse! (He approaches a lady—with a vicious grin and a smirking wink.) Hello, Kiddo. How’s every little ting? Got anyting on for to-night? I know an old boiler down to de docks we kin crawl into. (The lady stalks by without a look, without a change of pace. YANK turns to others—insultingly.)
Holy smokes, what a mug! Go hide yuhself before de horses shy at yuh.
Gee, pipe de heinie on dat one! Say, youse, yuh look like de stoin of a
ferryboat. Paint and powder! All dolled up to kill! Yuh look like
stiffs laid out for de boneyard! Aw, g’wan, de lot of youse! Yuh give
me de eye-ache. Yuh don’t belong, get me! Look at me, why don’t youse
dare? I belong, dat’s me! (Pointing to a skyscraper across the street which is in process of construction—with bravado.) See dat building goin’ up
dere? See de steel work? Steel, dat’s me! Youse guys live on it and tink yuh’re somep’n. But I’m in
it, see! I’m de hoistin’ engine dat makes it go up! I’m it—de inside
and bottom of it! Sure! I’m steel and steam and smoke and de rest of
it! It moves—speed—twenty-five stories up—and me at de top and
bottom—movin’! Youse simps don’t move. Yuh’re on’y dolls I winds up to
see’m spin. Yuh’re de garbage, get me—de leavins—de ashes we dump over
de side! Now, whata yuh gotto say? (But as they seem neither to see nor hear him, he flies into a fury.) Bums! Pigs! Tarts! Bitches! (He
turns in a rage on the men, bumping viciously into them but not jarring
them the least bit. Rather it is he who recoils after each collision.
He keeps growling.
) Git off de
oith! G’wan, yuh bum! Look where yuh’re goin,’ can’t
yuh? Git outa here! Fight, why don’t yuh? Put up yer mits! Don’t be a dog! Fight or I’ll knock yuh dead! (But, without seeming to see him, they all answer with mechanical affected politeness:) I beg your pardon. (Then at a cry from one of the women, they all scurry to the furrier’s window.)

  THE WOMAN—(Ecstatically, with a gasp of delight.) Monkey fur! (The whole crowd of men and women chorus after her in the same tone of affected delight.) Monkey fur!

  YANK—(With a jerk of his head back on his shoulders, as if he had received a punch full in the face—raging.) I see
yuh, all in white! I see yuh, yuh white-faced tart, yuh! Hairy ape, huh? I’ll hairy ape
yuh! (He
bends down and grips at the street curbing as if to pluck it out and
hurl it. Foiled in this, snarling with passion, he leaps to the
lamp-post on the corner and tries to pull it up for a club. Just at
that moment a bus is heard rumbling up. A fat, high-hatted, spatted
gentleman runs out from the side street. He calls out plaintively:
“Bus! Bus! Stop there!” and runs full tilt into the bending, straining
YANK, who is bowled off his balance.)

  YANK—(Seeing a fight—with a roar of joy as he springs to his feet.) At last! Bus, huh? I’ll bust
yuh! (He
lets drive a terrific swing, his fist landing full on the fat
gentleman’s face. But the gentleman stands unmoved as if nothing had
happened.
)

  GENTLEMAN—I beg your pardon. (Then irritably.) You have made me lose my bus. (He claps his hands and begins to scream:) Officer! Officer! (Many police whistles shrill out on the instant and a whole platoon of policemen rush in on YANK from
all sides. He tries to fight but is clubbed to the pavement and fallen
upon. The crowd at the window have not moved or noticed this
disturbance. The clanging gong of the patrol wagon approaches with a
clamoring din.
)

(Curtain)

Scene VI

SCENENight
of the following day. A row of cells in the prison on Blackwells
Island. The cells extend back diagonally from right front to left rear.
They do not stop, but disappear in the dark background as if they ran
on, numberless, into infinity. One electric bulb from the low ceiling
of the narrow corridor sheds its light through the heavy steel bars of
the cell at the extreme front and reveals part of the interior.
YANK can
be seen within, crouched on the edge of his cot in the attitude of
Rodin’s “The Thinker.” His face is spotted with black and blue bruises.
A blood-stained bandage is wrapped around his head.

  

  YANK—(Suddenly starting as if awakening from a dream, reaches out and shakes the bars—aloud to himself, wonderingly.) Steel. Dis is de Zoo, huh? (A burst of hard, barking laughter comes from the unseen occupants of the cells, runs back down the tier, and abruptly ceases.)

        

VOICES—(Mockingly.) The Zoo? That’s a new name

for this coop—a damn good name!

Steel, eh? You said a mouthful. This is

the old iron house.

Who is that boob talkin’?

He’s the bloke they brung in out of his head.

The bulls had beat him up fierce.

  YANK—(Dully.) I musta been dreamin’. I tought I was in a cage at de Zoo—but de apes don’t talk, do
dey?

        

VOICES—(With mocking laughter.) You’re in a cage aw right.

A coop!

A pen!

A sty!

A kennel! (Hard laughter—a pause.)

Say, guy! Who are you? No, never mind

lying. What are you?

Yes, tell us your sad story. What’s your game?

What did they jug yuh for?

  YANK—(Dully.) I was a fireman—stokin’ on de liners. (Then with sudden rage, rattling his cell bars.) I’m a hairy ape, get me? And I’ll bust youse all in de jaw if yuh don’t lay off kiddin’ me.

        

VOICES—Huh! You’re a hard boiled duck ain’t you!

When you spit, it bounces! (Laughter.)

Aw, can it. He’s a regular guy. Ain’t you?

What did he say he was—a ape?

  YANK—(Defiantly.) Sure ting! Ain’t dat what youse all are—apes? (A silence. Then a furious rattling of bars from down the corridor.)

  A VOICE—(Thick with rage.) I’ll show yuh who’s a ape, yuh bum!

        

VOICES—Ssshh! Nix!

Can de noise!

Piano!

You’ll have the guard down on us!

  YANK—(Scornfully.) De guard? Yuh mean de keeper, don’t
yuh? (Angry exclamations from all the cells.)

  VOICE—(Placatingly.)
Aw, don’t pay no attention to him. He’s off his nut from the beatin’-up
he got. Say, you guy! We’re waitin’ to hear what they landed you for—or
ain’t yuh tellin’?

  YANK—Sure,
I’ll tell youse. Sure! Why de hell not? On’y—youse won’t get me. Nobody
gets me but me, see? I started to tell de Judge and all he says was:
“Toity days to tink it over.” Tink it over! Christ, dat’s all I been
doin’ for weeks! (After a pause.) I was tryin’ to git even wit someone, see?—someone dat done me
doit.

        

VOICES—(Cynically.) De old stuff, I bet. Your
goil, huh?

Give yuh the double-cross, huh?

That’s them every time!

Did yuh beat up de odder guy?

  YANK—(Disgustedly.) Aw, yuh’re all wrong! Sure dere was a skoit in it—but not what youse mean, not dat old tripe. Dis was a new kind of
skoit. She was dolled up all in white—in de stokehole. I tought she was a ghost. Sure. (A pause.)

        

VOICES—(Whispering.) Gee, he’s still nutty.

Let him rave. It’s fun listenin’.

  YANK—(Unheeding—groping in his thoughts.)
Her hands—dey was skinny and white like dey wasn’t real but painted on
somep’n. Dere was a million miles from me to her—twenty-five knots a
hour. She was like some dead ting de cat brung in. Sure, dat’s what.
She didn’t belong. She belonged in de window of a toy store, or on de
top of a garbage can, see! Sure! (He breaks out angrily.) But would yuh believe it, she had de noive to do me
doit. She lamped me like she was seein’ somep’n broke loose from de menagerie. Christ, yuh’d oughter seen her eyes! (He rattles the bars of his cell furiously.)
But I’ll get back at her yet, you watch! And if I can’t find her I’ll
take it out on de gang she runs wit. I’m wise to where dey hangs out
now. I’ll show her who belongs! I’ll show her who’s in de move and who
ain’t. You watch my smoke!

        

VOICES—(Serious and joking.) Dat’s de talkin’!

Take her for all she’s got!

What was this dame, anyway? Who was she, eh?

  YANK—I
dunno. First cabin stiff. Her old man’s a millionaire, dey says—name of Douglas.

        

VOICES—Douglas? That’s the president of the Steel

Trust, I bet.

Sure. I seen his mug in de papers.

He’s filthy with dough.

  VOICE—Hey, feller, take a tip from me. If you want to get back at that dame, you better join the
Wobblies. You’ll get some action then.

  YANK—Wobblies? What de hell’s
dat?

  VOICE—Ain’t you ever heard of the I. W. W.?

  YANK—Naw. What is it?

  VOICE—A gang of blokes—a tough gang. I been readin’ about ’em to-day in the paper. The guard give me the Sunday Times. There’s a long spiel about ’em. It’s from a speech made in the Senate by a guy named Senator Queen. (He is in the cell next to YANK’S. There is a rustling of paper.) Wait’ll I see if I got light enough and I’ll read you. Listen. (He reads:)
“There is a menace existing in this country to-day which threatens the
vitals of our fair Republic—as foul a meance against the very
life-blood of the American Eagle as was the foul conspiracy of Cataline
against the eagles of ancient Rome!

  VOICE—(Disgustedly.) Aw hell! Tell him to salt de tail of dat eagle!

  VOICE—(Reading:)
“I refer to that devil’s brew of rascals, jailbirds, murderers and
cutthroats who libel all honest working men by calling themselves the
Industrial Workers of the World; but in the light of their nefarious
plots, I call them the Industrious Wreckers of the World!”

  YANK—(With vengeful satisfaction.) Wreckers, dat’s de right dope! Dat belongs! Me for
dem!

  VOICE—Ssshh! (Reading.) “This fiendish organization is a foul ulcer on the fair body of our Democracy—”

  VOICE—Democracy, hell! Give him the
boid, fellers—the raspberry! (They do.)

  VOICE—Ssshh! (Reading:)
“Like Cato I say to this senate, the I. W. W. must be destroyed! For
they represent an ever-present dagger pointed at the heart of the
greatest nation the world has ever known, where all men are born free
and equal, with equal opportunities to all, where the Founding Fathers
have guaranteed to each one happiness, where Truth, Honor, Liberty,
Justice, and the Brotherhood of Man are a religion absorbed with one’s
mother’s milk, taught at our father’s knee, sealed, signed, and stamped
upon in the glorious Constitution of these United States! (A perfect storm of hisses, catcalls, boos, and hard laughter.)

        

VOICES—(Scornfully.) Hurrah for de Fort’ of July!

Pass de hat!

Liberty!

Justice!

Honor!

Opportunity!

Brotherhood!

  ALL—(With abysmal scorn.) Aw, hell!

  VOICE—Give that Queen Senator guy the bark! All togedder now—one—two—tree— (A terrific chorus of barking and yapping.)

  GUARD—(From a distance.) Quiet there, youse—or I’ll git the hose. (The noise subsides.)

  YANK—(With growling rage.) I’d like to catch dat senator guy alone for a second. I’d loin him some
trute!

  VOICE—Ssshh! Here’s where he gits down to cases on the
Wobblies. (Reads:)
“They plot with fire in one hand and dynamite in the other. They stop
not before murder to gain their ends, nor at the outraging of
defenceless womanhood. They would tear down society, put the lowest
scum in the seats of the mighty, turn Almighty God’s revealed plan for
the world topsy-turvy, and make of our sweet and lovely civilization a
shambles, a desolation where man, God’s masterpiece, would soon
degenerate back to the ape!”

  VOICE—(To YANK.) Hey, you guy. There’s your ape stuff again.

  YANK—(With a growl of fury.) I got him. So dey blow up tings, do
dey? Dey turn tings round, do dey? Hey, lend me dat paper, will yuh?

  VOICE—Sure. Give it to him. On’y keep it to yourself, see. We don’t wanter listen to no more of that slop.

  VOICE—Here you are. Hide it under your mattress.

  YANK—(Reaching out.) Tanks. I can’t read much but I kin manage. (He
sits, the paper in the hand at his side, in the attitude of Rodin’s
“The Thinker.” A pause. Several snores from down the corridor. Suddenly
YANK jumps to his feet with a furious groan as if some appalling thought had crashed on him—bewilderedly.)
Sure—her old man—president of de Steel Trust—makes half de steel in de
world—steel—where I tought I belonged—drivin’ trou—movin’—in dat—to
make her—and cage me in for her to spit on! Christ (He
shakes the bars of his cell door till the whole tier trembles.
Irritated, protesting exclamations from those awakened or trying to get
to sleep.
) He made dis—dis cage! Steel! It don’t belong,
dat’s what! Cages, cells, locks, bolts, bars—dat’s what it
means!—holdin’ me down wit him at de top! But I’ll drive trou! Fire,
dat melts it! I’ll be fire—under de heap—fire dat never goes out—hot as
hell—breakin’ out in de night—(While
he has been saying this last he has shaken his cell door to a clanging
accompaniment. As he comes to the “breakin’ out” he seizes one bar with
both hands and, putting his two feet up against the others so that his
position is parallel to the floor like a monkey’s, he gives a great
wrench backwards. The bar bends like a licorice stick under his
tremendous strength. Just at this moment the
PRISON GUARD rushes in, dragging a hose behind him.)

  GUARD—(Angrily.) I’ll loin youse bums to wake me up! (Sees YANK.) Hello, it’s you, huh? Got the D. Ts., hey? Well, I’ll cure ’em. I’ll drown your snakes for
yuh! (Noticing the bar.) Hell, look at dat bar bended! On’y a bug is strong enough for
dat!

  YANK—(Glaring at him.) Or a hairy ape, yuh big yellow bum! Look out! Here I come! (He grabs another bar.)

  GUARD—(Scared now—yelling off left.) Toin de hoose on, Ben!—full pressure! And call de others—and a strait jacket! (The curtain is falling. As it hides YANK from view, there is a splattering smash as the stream of water hits the steel of YANK’S cell.)

(Curtain)

Scene VII

SCENENearly
a month later. An I. W. W. local near the waterfront, showing the
interior of a front room on the ground floor, and the street outside.
Moonlight on the narrow street, buildings massed in black shadow. The
interior of the room, which is general assembly room, office, and
reading room, resembles some dingy settlement boys club. A desk and
high stool are in one corner. A table with papers, stacks of pamphlets,
chairs about it, is at center. The whole is decidedly cheap, banal,
commonplace and unmysterious as a room could well be. The secretary is
perched on the stool making entries in a large ledger. An eye shade
casts his face into shadows. Eight or ten men, longshoremen, iron
workers, and the like, are grouped about the table. Two are playing
checkers. One is writing a letter. Most of them are smoking pipes. A
big signboard is on the wall at the rear, “Industrial Workers of the
World—Local No. 57.”

  

  YANK—(Comes
down the street outside. He is dressed as in Scene Five. He moves
cautiously, mysteriously. He comes to a point opposite the door;
tiptoes softly up to it, listens, is impressed by the silence
within,
knocks carefully, as if he were guessing at the password to some secret
rite. Listens. No answer. Knocks again a bit louder. No answer. Knocks
impatiently, much louder.
)

  SECRETARY—(Turning around on his stool.) What the devil is that—someone knocking? (Shouts:) Come in, why don’t you? (All the men in the room look up. YANK opens
the door slowly, gingerly, as if afraid of an ambush. He looks around
for secret doors, mystery, is taken aback by the commonplaceness of the
room and the men in it, thinks he may have gotten in the wrong place,
then sees the signboard on the wall and is reassured.
)

  YANK—(Blurts out.) Hello.

  MEN—(Reservedly.) Hello.

  YANK—(More easily.) I tought I’d bumped into de wrong dump.

  SECRETARY—(Scrutinizing him carefully.) Maybe you have. Are you a member?

  YANK—Naw, not yet. Dat’s what I come for—to join.

  SECRETARY—That’s easy. What’s your job—longshore?

  YANK—Naw. Fireman—stoker on de liners.

  SECRETARY—(With satisfaction.) Welcome to our city. Glad to know you people are waking up at last. We haven’t got many members in your line.

  YANK—Naw. Dey’re all dead to de
woild.

  SECRETARY—Well, you can help to wake ’em. What’s your name? I’ll make out your card.

  YANK—(Confused.) Name? Lemme
tink.

  SECRETARY—(Sharply.) Don’t you know your own name?

  YANK—Sure; but I been just Yank for so long—Bob, dat’s it—Bob Smith.

  SECRETARY—(Writing.) Robert Smith. (Fills out the rest of card.) Here you are. Cost you half a dollar.

  YANK—Is dat all—four bits? Dat’s easy. (Gives the Secretary the money.)

  SECRETARY—(Throwing it in drawer.)
Thanks. Well, make yourself at home. No introductions needed. There’s
literature on the table. Take some of those pamphlets with you to
distribute aboard ship. They may bring results. Sow the seed, only go
about it right. Don’t get caught and fired. We got plenty out of work.
What we need is men who can hold their jobs—and work for us at the same
time.

  YANK—Sure. (But he still stands, embarrassed and uneasy.)

  SECRETARY—(Looking at him—curiously.) What did you knock for? Think we had a coon in uniform to open doors?

  YANK—Naw. I tought it was locked—and dat yuh’d wanter give me the once-over trou a peep-hole or somep’n to see if I was right.

  SECRETARY—(Alert and suspicious but with an easy laugh.) Think we were running a crap game? That door is never locked. What put that in your nut?

  YANK—(With a knowing grin, convinced that this is all camouflage, a part of the secrecy.) Dis burg is full of bulls, ain’t it?

  SECRETARY—(Sharply.) What have the cops got to do with us? We’re breaking no laws.

  YANK—(With a knowing wink.) Sure. Youse wouldn’t for
woilds. Sure. I’m wise to dat.

  SECRETARY—You seem to be wise to a lot of stuff none of us knows about.

  YANK—(With another wink.) Aw, dat’s aw right, see. (Then made a bit resentful by the suspicious glances from all sides.)
Aw, can it! Youse needn’t put me trou de toid degree. Can’t youse see I
belong? Sure! I’m reg’lar. I’ll stick, get me? I’ll shoot de woiks for
youse. Dat’s why I wanted to join in.

  SECRETARY—(Breezily, feeling him out.)
That’s the right spirit. Only are you sure you understand what you’ve
joined? It’s all plain and above board; still, some guys get a wrong
slant on us. (Sharply.) What’s your notion of the purpose of the I. W. W.?

  YANK—Aw, I know all about it.

  SECRETARY—(Sarcastically.) Well, give us some of your valuable information.

  YANK—(Cunningly.) I know enough not to speak outa my
toin. (Then resentfully again.)
Aw, say! I’m reg’lar. I’m wise to de game. I know yuh got to watch your
step wit a stranger. For all youse know, I might be a plain-clothes
dick, or somep’n, dat’s what yuh’re tinkin’, huh? Aw, forget it! I
belong, see? Ask any guy down to de docks if I don’t.

  SECRETARY—Who said you didn’t?

  YANK—After I’m ’nitiated, I’ll show
yuh.

  SECRETARY—(Astounded.) Initiated? There’s no initiation.

  YANK—(Disappointed.) Ain’t there no password—no grip nor nothin’?

  SECRETARY—What’d you think this is—the Elks—or the Black Hand?

  YANK—De Elks, hell! De Black Hand, dey’re a lot of yellow backstickin’
Ginees. Naw. Dis is a man’s gang, ain’t it?

  SECRETARY—You said it! That’s why we stand on our two feet in the open. We got no secrets.

  YANK—(Surprised but admiringly.) Yuh mean to say yuh always run wide open—like
dis?

  SECRETARY—Exactly.

  YANK—Den yuh sure got your noive wit
youse!

  SECRETARY—(Sharply.) Just what was it made you want to join us? Come out with that straight.

  YANK—Yuh call me? Well, I got
noive, too! Here’s my hand. Yuh wanter blow tings up, don’t
yuh? Well, dat’s me! I belong!

  SECRETARY—(With pretended carelessness.) You mean change the unequal conditions of society by legitimate direct action—or with dynamite?

  YANK—Dynamite!
Blow it offen de oith—steel—all de cages—all de factories, steamers,
buildings, jails—de Steel Trust and all dat makes it go.

  SECRETARY—So—that’s your idea, eh? And did you have any special job in that line you wanted to propose to us. (He makes a sign to the men, who get up cautiously one by one and group behind YANK.)

  YANK—(Boldly.) Sure, I’ll come out wit it. I’ll show youse I’m one of de gang. Dere’s dat millionaire guy, Douglas—

  SECRETARY—President of the Steel Trust, you mean? Do you want to assassinate him?

  YANK—Naw,
dat don’t get yuh nothin’. I mean blow up de factory, de woiks, where
he makes de steel. Dat’s what I’m after—to blow up de steel, knock all
de steel in de woild up to de moon. Dat’ll fix tings! (Eagerly, with a touch of bravado.)
I’ll do it by me lonesome! I’ll show yuh! Tell me where his woiks is,
how to git there, all de dope. Gimme de stuff, de old butter—and watch
me do de rest! Watch de smoke and see it move! I don’t give a damn if
dey nab me—long as it’s done! I’ll soive life for it—and give ’em de
laugh! (Half to himself.) And I’ll write her a letter and tell her de hairy ape done it. Dat’ll square tings.

  SECRETARY—(Stepping away from YANK.) Very interesting. (He gives a signal. The men, huskies all, throw themselves on YANK and
before he knows it they have his legs and arms pinioned. But he is too
flabber-gasted to make a struggle, anyway. They feel him over for
weapons.
)

  MAN—No gat, no knife. Shall we give him what’s what and put the boots to him?

  SECRETARY—No. He isn’t worth the trouble we’d get into. He’s too stupid. (He comes closer and laughs mockingly in YANK’S face.)
Ho-ho! By God, this is the biggest joke they’ve put up on us yet. Hey,
you Joke! Who sent you—Burns or Pinkerton? No, by God, you’re such a
bonehead I’ll bet you’re in the Secret Service! Well, you dirty spy,
you rotten agent provocator, you can go back and tell whatever skunk is
paying you blood-money for betraying your brothers that he’s wasting
his coin. You couldn’t catch a cold. And tell him that all he’ll ever
get on us, or ever has got, is just his own sneaking plots that he’s
framed up to put us in jail. We are what our manifesto says we are,
neither more or less—and we’ll give him a copy of that any time he
calls. And as for you—(He glares scornfully at YANK, who is sunk in an oblivious stupor.) Oh, hell, what’s the use of talking? You’re a brainless ape.

  YANK—(Aroused by the word to fierce but futile struggles.) What’s
dat, yuh Sheeny bum, yuh!

  SECRETARY—Throw him out, boys. (In spite of his struggles, this is done with gusto and éclat. Propelled by several parting kicks, YANK lands
sprawling in the middle of the narrow cobbled street. With a growl he
starts to get up and storm the closed door, but stops bewildered by the
confusion in his brain, pathetically impotent. He sits there, brooding,
in as near to the attitude of Rodin’s “Thinker” as he can get in his
position.
)

  YANK—(Bitterly.)
So dem boids don’t tink I belong, neider. Aw, to hell wit ’em! Dey’re
in de wrong pew—de same old bull—soapboxes and Salvation Army—no guts!
Cut out an hour offen de job a day and make me happy! Gimme a dollar
more a day and make me happy! Tree square a day, and cauliflowers in de
front yard—ekal rights—a woman and kids—a lousey vote—and I’m all fixed
for Jesus, huh? Aw, hell! What does dat get yuh? Dis ting’s in your
inside, but it ain’t your belly. Feedin’ your face—sinkers and
coffee—dat don’t touch it. It’s way down—at de bottom. Yuh can’t grab
it, and yuh can’t stop it. It moves, and everything moves. It stops and
de whole woild stops. Dat’s me now—I don’t tick, see?—I’m a busted
Ingersoll, dat’s what. Steel was me, and I owned de woild. Now I ain’t
steel, and de woild owns me. Aw, hell! I can’t see—it’s all dark, get
me? It’s all wrong! (He turns a bitter mocking face up like an ape gibbering at the moon.)
Say, youse up dere, Man in de Moon, yuh look so wise, gimme de answer,
huh? Slip me de inside dope, de information right from de stable—where
do I get off at, huh?

  A POLICEMAN—(Who has come up the street in time to hear this last—with grim humor.) You’ll get off at the station, you boob, if you don’t get up out of that and keep movin’.

  YANK—(Looking up at him—with a hard, bitter laugh.) Sure! Lock me up! Put me in a cage! Dat’s de on’y answer yuh know. G’wan, lock me up!

  POLICEMAN—What you been doin’?

  YANK—Enuf to gimme life for! I was born, see? Sure, dat’s de charge. Write it in de blotter. I was born, get me!

  POLICEMAN—(Jocosely.) God pity your old woman! (Then matter-of-fact.)
But I’ve no time for kidding. You’re soused. I’d run you in but it’s
too long a walk to the station. Come on now, get up, or I’ll fan your
ears with this club. Beat it now! (He hauls YANK to his feet.)

  YANK—(In a vague mocking tone.) Say, where do I go from here?

  POLICEMAN—(Giving him a push—with a grin, indifferently.) Go to hell.

(Curtain)

Scene VIII

SCENETwilight
of the next day. The monkey house at the Zoo. One spot of clear gray
light falls on the front of one cage so that the interior can be seen.
The other cages are vague, shrouded in shadow from which chatterings
pitched in a conversational tone can be heard. On the one cage a sign
from which the word “gorilla” stands out. The gigantic animal himself
is seen squatting on his haunches on a bench in much the same attitude
as Rodin’s “Thinker.”
YANK enters from
the left. Immediately a chorus of angry chattering and screeching
breaks out. The gorilla turns his eyes but makes no sound or move.

  

  YANK—(With a hard, bitter laugh.) Welcome to your city, huh? Hail, hail, de gang’s all here! (At the sound of his voice the chattering dies away into an attentive silence. YANK walks
up to the gorilla’s cage and, leaning over the railing, stares in at
its occupant, who stares back at him, silent and motionless. There is a
pause of dead stillness. Then
YANK begins to talk in a friendly confidential tone, half-mockingly, but with a deep undercurrent of sympathy.)
Say, yuh’re some hard-lookin’ guy, ain’t yuh? I seen lots of tough nuts
dat de gang called gorillas, but yuh’re de foist real one I ever seen.
Some chest yuh got, and shoulders, and dem arms and mits! I bet yuh got
a punch in eider fist dat’d knock ’em all silly! (This
with genuine admiration. The gorilla, as if he understood, stands
upright, swelling out his chest and pounding on it with his fist.
YANK grins sympathetically.) Sure, I get
yuh. Yuh challenge de whole woild, huh? Yuh got what I was sayin’ even if yuh muffed de
woids. (Then bitterness creeping in.) And why wouldn’t yuh get me? Ain’t we both members of de same club—de Hairy Apes? (They stare at each other—a pause—then YANK goes on slowly and bitterly.)
So yuh’re what she seen when she looked at me, de white-faced tart! I
was you to her, get me? On’y outa de cage—broke out—free to moider her,
see? Sure! Dat’s what she tought. She wasn’t wise dat I was in a cage,
too—worser’n yours—sure—a damn sight—’cause you got some chanct to bust
loose—but me— (He grows confused.) Aw, hell! It’s all wrong, ain’t it? (A pause.)
I s’pose yuh wanter know what I’m doin’ here, huh? I been warmin’ a
bench down to de Battery—ever since last night. Sure. I seen de sun
come up. Dat was pretty, too—all red and pink and green. I was lookin’
at de skyscrapers—steel—and all de ships comin’ in, sailin’ out, all
over de oith—and dey was steel, too. De sun was warm, dey wasn’t no
clouds, and dere was a breeze blowin’. Sure, it was great stuff. I got
it aw right—what Paddy said about dat bein’ de right dope—on’y I
couldn’t get in it, see? I couldn’t belong in dat. It was over
my head. And I kept tinkin’—and den I beat it up here to see what youse
was like. And I waited till dey was all gone to git yuh alone. Say, how
d’yuh feel sittin’ in dat pen all de time, havin’ to stand for ’em
comin’ and starin’ at yuh—de white-faced, skinny tarts and de boobs
what marry ’em—makin’ fun of yuh, laughin’ at yuh, gittin’ scared of
yuh—damn ’em! (He
pounds on the rail with his fist. The gorilla rattles the bars of his
cage and snarls. All the other monkeys set up an angry chattering in
the darkness.
YANK goes on excitedly.)
Sure! Dat’s de way it hits me, too. On’y yuh’re lucky, see? Yuh don’t
belong wit ’em and yuh know it. But me, I belong wit ’em—but I don’t,
see? Dey don’t belong wit me, dat’s what. Get me? Tinkin’ is hard— (He passes one hand across his forehead with a painful gesture. The gorilla growls impatiently. YANK goes on gropingly.)
It’s dis way, what I’m drivin’ at. Youse can sit and dope dream in de
past, green woods, de jungle and de rest of it. Den yuh belong and dey
don’t. Den yuh kin laugh at ’em, see? Yuh’re de champ of de woild. But
me—I ain’t got no past to tink in, nor nothin’ dat’s coming’, on’y
what’s now—and dat don’t belong. Sure, you’re de best off! Yuh can’t
tink, can yuh? Yuh can’t talk neider. But I kin make a bluff at talkin’
and tinkin’—a’most git away wit it—a’most!—and dat’s where de joker
comes in. (He laughs.)
I ain’t on oith and I ain’t in heaven, get me? I’m in de middle tryin’
to separate ’em, takin’ all de woist punches from bot’ of ’em. Maybe
dat’s what dey call hell, huh? But you, yuh’re at de bottom. You
belong! Sure! Yuh’re de on’y one in de woild dat does, yuh lucky stiff!
(The gorilla growls proudly.) And dat’s why dey gotter put yuh in a cage, see? (The gorilla roars angrily.)
Sure! Yuh get me. It beats it when you try to tink it or talk it—it’s
way down—deep—behind—you ’n’ me we feel it. Sure! Bot’ members of dis
club! (He laughs—then in a savage tone.) What de hell! T’ hell
wit it! A little action, dat’s our meat! Dat belongs! Knock ’em down
and keep bustin’ ’em till dey croaks yuh wit a gat—wit steel! Sure! Are
yuh game? Dey’ve looked at youse, ain’t dey—in a cage? Wanter git even?
Wanter wind up like a sport ’stead of croakin’ slow in dere? (The gorilla roars an emphatic affirmative. YANK goes on with a sort of furious exaltation.)
Sure! Yuh’re reg’lar! Yuh’ll stick to de finish! Me ’n’ you, huh?—bot’
members of this club! We’ll put up one last star bout dat’ll knock ’em
offen deir seats! Dey’ll have to make de cages stronger after we’re
trou! (The gorilla is straining at his bars, growling, hopping from one foot to the other. YANK takes a jimmy from under his coat and forces the lock on the cage door. He throws this open.) Pardon from de governor! Step out and shake hands! I’ll take yuh for a walk down Fif’
Avenoo. We’ll knock ’em offen de oith and croak wit de band playin’. Come on, Brother. (The gorilla scrambles gingerly out of his cage. Goes to YANK and stands looking at him. YANK keeps his mocking tone—holds out his hand.) Shake—de secret grip of our order. (Something, the tone of mockery, perhaps, suddenly enrages the animal. With a spring he wraps his huge arms around YANK in a murderous hug. There is a crackling snap of crushed ribs—a gasping cry, still mocking, from YANK.) Hey, I didn’t say, kiss me. (The
gorilla lets the crushed body slip to the floor; stands over it
uncertainly, considering; then picks it up, throws it in the cage,
shuts the door, and shuffles off menacingly into the darkness at left.
A great uproar of frightened chattering and whimpering comes from the
other cages. Then
YANK moves, groaning, opening his eyes, and there is silence. He mutters painfully.) Say—dey oughter match him—wit
Zybszko. He got me, aw right. I’m trou. Even him didn’t tink I belonged. (Then, with sudden passionate despair.) Christ, where do I get off at? Where do I fit in? (Checking himself as suddenly.) Aw, what de hell! No squakin’, see! No quittin’, get me! Croak wit your boots on! (He
grabs hold of the bars of the cage and hauls himself painfully to his
feet—looks around him bewilderedly—forces a mocking laugh.
) In de cage, huh? (In the strident tones of a circus barker.) Ladies and gents, step forward and take a slant at de one and only—(His voice weakening)—one and original—Hairy Ape from de wilds of—(He
slips in a heap on the floor and dies. The monkeys set up a chattering,
whimpering wail. And, perhaps, the Hairy Ape at last belongs.
)

(Curtain)

Click here to read the 1st half of the play: scenes I through IV

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