Excerpts from Frankenstein
I conceive it, it’s already born. We create only the name for what has already slipped from between our thighs.
And then we see it. Why will I startle, gag, vomit in horror at its living face?
Because of the cosmetics? Because I see how it may complicate my schedule?
Because I face my own gaping mouth and see a womb within me that this is the spawn of, and the smoke rising, and I’m appalled?
Questions later. Now it’s time.
You bastard, it’s time. Wake up. Wake up. It’s time. It’s time!
Victor lunges at the Creature, shakes it, begins pumping one arm. The other arm swings, floors him.
He goes to the other arm, pumps it. The Creature lurches in a sharp pirouette, knocks him sprawling.
Victor rises, enraged, runs into an outstretched arm: pratfall. He tries a full nelson.
You bastard... Wake up... It’s time...
The Creature bends at the waist, flipping him over the shoulders. He lies flat on his back, looking up.
Stunned. The sheet falls away. The Creature straightens. He is handsome, long-haired, baffled: an adult’s body, the mind of a two-year-old.
Victor ... Frankenstein...
Victor and Captain recoil in slow motion. Their responses, from shock to dismay to terror, are broadly melodramatic.
They start to flee. Victor falls to his knees and vomits.
I’m hungry. Where’s Mama?
The Creature reaches to Victor, who flees in slow-motion horror.
Love me? Love me?
Terrified at abandonment:
He moves toward us, pleading.
Mama? Mama? Mama?
Victor beats the Creature with his hat until he is exhausted.
“A sublime ecstasy fills my soul.”
She dances off, imagining herself in Victor’s arms.
I have appointments. We’ll have lunch together sometime.
You see me as a father. Then I’ll give you a father’s advice: disappear.
Responsibility. Does responsibility require me to live with the consequence of my stupidity? Buy it every toy in the store in a frantic effort to keep it smiling?
That’s not convenient.
Yes, that sounds contemptible. “I will not cross the street to save the bleeding child.”
But where does responsibility end? If my responsibility has no bounds, then it can’t be sensed. So how do I guide myself except by my own convenience?
Is that so strange? I meet a beggar, I give him a quarter, or I don’t. Does either decision change his life?
I give him a quarter because I find it more convenient than to give him ten thousand dollars. My decision is based solely on how, at this moment, it makes me feel.
The Creature hands him a letter.
You’ve learned to write. Sloppy spelling, but no worse than my students.
He reads. Reacts violently.
What? You want— “Give me a wife.” That’s obscene. Obscene.
To create a freak like yourself, a squeezed, scarified, dribbling female to pant after you and breed desolation?
To breed? To breed?
The Creature suspends Victor by the back of his collar out over the precipice.
Give me a wife.
Gruesome as me.
Then we go.
Not be seen.
Not a chance.
Love each other. Touch me.
Love me, like mama.
There’s no mama. Never any mama.
The Creature dissolves in agony. Victor breaks free. The Creature bellows.
Control yourself. That’s enough. Big boys don’t cry.
Victor claps his hand over the Creature’s mouth. The cries stop. Release. Bellow. Hand. Stop. Release. Bellow. Hand. Stop. Exhaustion.
Very well. I’m moved by your pain. Or I feel my responsibility. Or I don’t fully realize the implications. Or right now it’s more convenient to do as you ask.
I’ll do it. You’ll say thank you. And leave me. We’ll be in touch.
The Creature reaches out to Victor, who disappears. He drags the cloth from the table, embracing it. Black.
Victor wipes his hands on his chest, finds his way back to the chair.
I hardly remembered his face, so he must not have been that horrible.
I didn’t really look, I opened the door, and there was a horrible creature standing there. It may have been a mirror. And naked I ran to the night.
Was I playing God? Did God loathe His children? Did He thrust forth His Will, then recoil nauseated, appalled?
Or was the Will achieved? I created life, half-born, the skull wedged at the hip bones, crying out of the womb, screaming for love, then pushed back into its prison.
The world is full of these felons, locked in the womb, half-born. He might have been an angel, for all I know.
But he looked like a man. That was the loathsome thing. He looked perfectly human. He could lug more weight, perhaps, but I had done nothing more than my mother did for me. I created only myself.
I see it now. We must taste our life and let it pass. Create from the roots of desire, fingers dug deep in the earth. Open the channels, ride the crest. Speak into the eyes, the swallowing pupils, and meet them in joy.
If I could only—
A rubber-masked Monster brings in the corpse of Clerval, flops it down over Victor’s lap, goes out. Victor tries to comprehend what he sees.
Henry, my playmate, my friend, my brother. I’ve put you through such torment.
But we’ll grow old together, talk of our foolishness. Let’s go to lunch. I’ll pay.
He looks at Henry. No response.
Henry? Henry, talk to me.
Victor sets him up on his knee. Suppressing desperation, he animates him as a ventriloquist’s dummy.
“Nice weather we’re having.”
Don’t talk about the weather.
“Well I can’t feel much of it.”
How was your day?
“Well I met a monster and he killed me. Other than that, not bad.”
We used to play monsters.
“You made a good one. That’s a joke, Victor. Laugh.”
“Laugh. Huahh. Huaahhhh—”
The corpse, like a mad carnival doll, begins to laugh and gesticulate on its own.
Huahhhk. Huaaahhhk. Huaaahhhk...
The screaming laughter continues. Victor strangles him into silence. Black.
I’ve been gone so long, I’ve been in hell, I’ve put myself on trial for murders—
Suddenly he focuses madly, bangs on table.
You are accused of the deaths of your sister Wilma, her nursemaid Justine, your friend Henry, and a large number of people found mutilated in motels and alleyways! How do you plead? Guilty!
Will you marry me?
He can’t hear her. Creature appears with a bottle of wine.
Remember we used to play together at the stream. Throwing little sticks and flowers, and you cried watching them drift away.
Creature approaches with wine. Victor waves him away.
Thank you. Elizabeth, I want you to be my wife.
I will be your wife.
You are my source of creation. Be my wife.
It’s been hard for you. I know I’ve lost your trust.
I trust you. I love you.
But if you could believe in me—
If you could say you love me—
I love you.
But you can’t, I know.
You don’t see the darkness. A secret so thick I can’t open my eyes. I must tell you.
Banging the table:
Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!
Are you ready to order?
Breaks down utterly.
Please marry me!!!
He collapses in agony.
The Creature puts Victor onto the ground, looks down at him.
You cry. Ice eyes. No baby. No mama. Be dead.
Victor is on his knees, crawling forward, then on his stomach. The Creature walks beside him, then goes to the ground, crawling forward with Victor.
They twist on their bellies. Now they crawl toward each other with great effort. They reach to one another, nearly touching fingers. Freeze.
Sing, we’re alive, alive and we die, give birth—
Give birth to fingers, to flowers.
Give birth to Mama.
Elizabeth turns, walks upward over the frozen figures, her arms outstretched.
Mama, it’s sweet.
She embraces the full moon.