GENERAL BLISS by Rita Valencia

General Bliss

Characters:

Santa Anna, the General of the Mexican Army

Rosa, a hot woman

Sound: throughout the dialogue, muffled thunder, gradually amplifying as gun and cannonfire. The Baroque music of Scarlatti plays quietly behind this.

Inside the tent of Santa Anna. Post coital.

The General lies on the ground in his underwear, exhausted.

Rosa stands over him with fingernail clippers. She wears a dirty petticoat and a torn camisole.

ROSA
All advice old people give you is bad advice.

My brother says that.

They lie.

You are the exception.

(She looks at her fingernails, clips one or two)

My brilliant career.

The truth costs you nothing

I wouldn’t say you’re honest…

“man of action”

The charnel grounds, my brother.

It has always been my fanstasy

to lord over a man like you

a killer of men–he ate human flesh–

but the reality is boring.

I am hungry so I will not eat

It is—yoga.

Is it indecent to wear the skin of the dead?

To urinate in a parked car?

GENERAL

Tell me Rosa, was your brother

somehow…disabled?

ROSA

When the famine is on the land

The families cannot bring rice pap

to the charnel ground with their dead.

A country so poor there are no

sheets to bind the corpses.

He flayed the the corpses

and used the skin for clothing.

His happiness was pure.

GENERAL

You want my advice?

ROSA

He tied his hair with a snake

and girded his loins with tiger skin…

he killed every man in the valley

and mated with every female

and they became subdued

and the gates of hell closed.

GENERAL

Is that all?

ROSA

He ate their flesh and drank their blood.

GENERAL

A lapse in governance.

Lack of structure.

No more dumbass questions!

Silence. He sits up and starts playing with his Iphone.

ROSA

How long has it been since you stood at attention?

GENERAL

I can listen if that’s what you want.

It isn’t in my nature but I guess I owe you.

ROSA

My mother and father wept.

But they had little choice.

It makes him happy, and he won’t be caught

he is very accomplished

and beyond your understanding.

GENERAL

All my men. All — my — men.

The sound of it.

I have seen bravery.

Savages wrapped in rope and filthy sheets.

Boiled until their bones and flesh

release their nectar

and it pours all down through me.

That is how I love.

ROSA

This tent is translucent with sweat.

The fragrance of the battlefield

rises from it. The morning fires

shine through it.

What will history say?

GENERAL

I love the music of Scarlatti.

My favorite color is red.

You can’t make these things up.

ROSA

Am I supposed to remember?

I would write it down and bury it in a rock

but I am…at a loss for words.

Lick me.

GENERAL

I was never an admirer of guns.

The din is appalling. The men,

they become repulsive

in love with their own fear

if you could call it that

love–not the girl–not the woman.

the demon–the love demon.

Ha Ha. that was a joke

at your brothers expense.

You put him up in front of you.

Is this creature something to be

proud of?

ROSA

I have no brother.

I am nothing.

Rarely do I breathe, but when I do

death cannot be far behind.

GENERAL

You have a brother.

He was the one who sold you to me.

ROSA

I am bound by an oath.

What comes next?

I can clean your ears.

If you have socks, I can sew up the holes.

I can load your gun.

I can get you a tequila.

I can groom your horse.

A storm is gathering.

It won’t be like the last time.

There are zombies now,

who appear to speak,

in voices propelled by the gases

of their own decomposition.

(pause)

I know I am just a woman

chattel sold to you for–

for I don’t even know how much we go for,

these days–

but I have seen things

and you know how times shift

ebb and flow

yellow fever

money changing hands

slaves driving the economy.

GENERAL

That brother of yours

A good looking kid.

He had a funny way of talking.

Did he always talk like that?

He smelled good though. Give him that.

ROSA

My brother bathes in the sebum of cows.

He is a bone farmer. All his ways are

superior, so that to speak of him

is blasphemy.

GENERAL

You Texian women think you’re hot stuff alright.

ROSA

I’m from Connecticut.

GENERAL (putting his hand on her)

Stay with me. I figured out what I want

you to do.

ROSA

If I were real, I would scream and

run away, naked as I am

throw myself on the back of the nearest pony

and ride away down the wash.

GENERAL

I want you…to fry me…an egg.

silence

ROSA

General, are you ready for death?

the end.

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