Disclaimer: See first three chapters.

The Bear

Scene: Still CARLOTTA's drawing room.

Enter CARLOTTA.

CARLOTTA: *her eyes downcast* Sir, een my solitude I have grown unaccustomed to the masculine voice, and I can't stand shouting. I must ask you not to disturb my peace.

ERIK: Pay me the money and I'll go.

CARLOTTA: I told you perfectly plainly; I haven't any money to spare. Wait until the day after tomorrow.

ERIK: And I told you perfectly plainly I don't want the money the day after tomorrow, but today. If you don't pay me today, I'll have to hang myself tomorrow. And I have the noose right here. *pulls out PUNJAB LASSO*

A script flies out and hits ERIK upside the head.

PS: SCRIPT!! STICK TO IT!!!

CARLOTTA: *continuing* But what can I do eef I haven't got the money? You're so strange!

ERIK: Then you won't pay me now, eh?

CARLOTTA: I can't.

ERIK: In that case I stay here and shall wait until I get it. *sits down* You're going to pay me the day after tomorrow? Very well! I'll stay here until after tomorrow. I'll sit here all the time... *jumps up* I ask you: Have I got to pay the interest tomorrow, or haven't I? Or do you think I'm doing this for a joke?

CARLOTTA: Please don't shout! This eez not a stable!

ERIK: I wasn't asking you about a stable, but whether I'd got my interest to pay tomorrow or not?

CARLOTTA: You do not know how to behave before women!

ERIK: I do know how to behave before women!

CARLOTTA: No, you don't!

ERIK: Yes, I do!

CARLOTTA: No, you don't!

ERIK: Yes, I do!

Backstage...

RANDOM PHAN: *studying script* Aren't you going to stop them? This isn't in the script.

PS: No way. This is WAY too much fun to watch.

Onstage...

CARLOTTA: No, you don't!

ERIK: Yes, I do!

CARLOTTA: This eez ridiculous! You are a rude, ill-bred man! Decent people don't talk to women like that!

ERIK: What a business! How do you want me to talk? In French? *losing his temper* Madame, je vous prie... How happy I am that you don't pay me... Ah, pardon. I have disturbed you! Such lovely weather today! And how well you look in mourning! *bows*

CARLOTTA: That's silly and rude.

ERIK: *teasing her* Silly and rude! I don't know haw to behave before women! Senora, in my time I've seen more women than you've seen sparrows! Three times I've fought duels over women. I've refused twelve women...

CARLOTTA: Really?

ERIK: Phans. *continuing* And nine have refused me.

CARLOTTA: Which ones?

ERIK: Raoul fans... *murmurs* ...and Christine. *continuing again* Yes, there was a time when I played the fool, scented myself...

CARLOTTA: *snickers*

ERIK: ...used honeyed words...

CARLOTTA: *giggles*

ERIK: ...wore jewelry...

CARLOTTA: *snorts*

ERIK: ...made beautiful bows. I used to love, to suffer, to sigh at the moon, to get sour, to thaw, to freeze... to love passionately, madly, every blessed way, devil take me; I used to chatter like a magpie about emancipation, and wasted half my wealth on tender feelings. But now--- you must excuse me! You won't get around me like that now! I've had enough! Black eyes, passionate eyes, ruby lips, dimpled cheeks, the moon, whispers, timid breathing--- I wouldn't give a brass farthing for the lot, senora! Present company always excepted, all women, great or little, are insincere, crooked, backbiters, envious, liars to the marrow of their bones, vain, trivial, merciless, unreasonable, and as far as this is concerned *taps forehead* excuse my outspokenness, a sparrow is smarter than any philosopher in petticoats you'd like to name! You look at one of these poetic creatures: all muslin, an ethereal demi-goddess, you have a million transports of joy, and you look in her soul--- and see a common crocodile! *grips back of a chair; the chair creaks and breaks* But the most disgusting thing of all is that this crocodile for some reason or other imagines that its chef d'oeuvre, its privilege and monopoly, is its tender feelings. *throws broken piece of chair down in frustration* Why, confound it, hang me on that nail feet upwards if you like, but have you met a woman who can love anybody except a lapdog?! When she's in love, can she do anything but snivel and slobber? While a man is suffering and making sacrifices , all her love expresses itself in her playing about with her scarf and trying to hook him more firmly by the nose. You have the misfortune to be a woman; you know from yourself what is the nature of woman. Tell me truthfully, have you ever seen a woman who was sincere, faithful, and constant? You haven't! Only freaks and old woman are faithful and constant! You'll meet a cat with a horn or a white woodcock sooner than a constant woman!

CARLOTTA: Then, according to you, who eez faithful and constant een love? Eez eet the man?

ERIK: Yes, the man!

CARLOTTA: The man! *laughs bitterly* Men are faithful and constant een love! What an idea! *with heat* What right have you to talk like that? Men are faithful and constant! Since we are talking about eet, I'll tell you that of all the men I knew and know, the best was my late husband... I loved heem passionately, with all my being, as only a young and imaginative woman can love. I gave heem my youth, my happiness, my life, my fortune. I breathed een heem, worshipped heem as eef I were a heathen, and... and what then? The best of men shamelessly deceived me at every step! After his death I found een his desk a whole drawer full of love-letters, and when he was alive---eet's an awful thing to remember--- he used to leave me alone for weeks at a time and make love to other women and betray me before my very eyes. He wasted my money and made fun of my feelings... And een spite of all that, I loved heem and was true to heem. And not only that, but now that he eez dead, I am still true and constant to his memory. I have shut myself away forever within these four walls and will wear these weeds to the very end...

ERIK: *laughs contemptuously* Weeds!......... I don't understand what you take me for. As if I don't know why you wear that black domino and bury yourself between four walls! I should say I do! It's so mysterious, so poetic! When some tame poet goes past your windows he'll think: "There lives the mysterious Carlotta who, for the love of her husband, buried herself between for walls." We know these games!

CARLOTTA: *exploding* What?! How dare you say all that to me?

ERIK: You may have buried yourself alive, but you haven't forgotten to powder your face!

PS: Anyone know how this got from business to personal?

ERIK & CARLOTTA: *to PS* QUIET!!!

PS: *meekly* Okay.

CARLOTTA: *to ERIK* How dare you speak to me like that?

ERIK: Please don't shout! I'm not your steward! You must allow me to call things by their real names. I'm not a woman, and I'm used to saying things straight out! Don't you shout, either!

CARLOTTA: *shouting* I'm not shouting! Eet's you! Please leave me alone!

ERIK: Pay me and I'll go.

PS: Here we go.

CARLOTTA: I shan't give you any money!

ERIK: Oh, you won't?

CARLOTTA: I shan't give you a farthing, just to spite you. You leave me alone!

ERIK: I have not the pleasure of being either your husband or your fiancé, so please don't make scenes. *sits* I don't like it.

CARLOTTA: *choking with rage* So you sit down?!

ERIK: I do.

CARLOTTA: I ask you to go away!

ERIK: Give me my money... Ah, crap! *aside* Oh, how angry I am. How angry I am!

CARLOTTA: I don't want to talk to impudent scoundrels! Get out of here! *pause* Aren't you going? No?

ERIK: No.

CARLOTTA: No?

ERIK: *roars* NO!!

CARLOTTA: Very well then! *rings a bell, enter BUQUET* Joseph, show this gentleman out!

BUQUET: *approaches ERIK* Would you mind going out, monsieur, as you're asked to! You needn't...

ERIK: *jumps up* Shut up! Who are you talking to? I'll chop you into pieces!

BUQUET: *clutches at his heart* Oh, Lord!......... What people!......... *falls into a chair* Oh, I'm ill, I'm ill! I can't breathe!

CARLOTTA: Where's Dasha? *shouts* Dasha! Pelageya! Dasha! *rings bell*

BUQUET: Oh! They've all gone out to pick fruit... There's nobody at home! I'm ill! Water!

CARLOTTA: Get out, now.

ERIK: Can't you be more polite?

CARLOTTA: *clenches her fists and stamps her foot* You're a boor! A coarse bear! A Bourbon! A monster!

ERIK: What? What did you say?

CARLOTTA: I said you are a bear, a monster!

ERIK: *approaching her* May I ask what right you have to insult me?

CARLOTTA: And I suppose I am insulting you? Do you think I am afraid of you?

ERIK: And do you think that just because you're a poetic creature you can insult me with impunity? We'll fight it out!

BUQUET: Dear Lord!......... What people!.........Water!

ERIK: Pistols at dawn!

CARLOTTA: Do you think I am afraid of you just because you have large fists and a bull's throat? You Bourbon!

ERIK: We'll fight it out! I'm not going to be insulted by anybody, and I don't care if you are a woman! One of the "softer sex", indeed!

CARLOTTA: *trying to interrupt him* Bear! Bear, bear, bear!

ERIK: It's about time we got rid of the prejudice that only men need pay for their insults. Devil take it, if you want equality you can have it! I challenge you, Madame! We're going to fight it out!

CARLOTTA: With pistols? Very well!

ERIK: This very minute!

CARLOTTA: This very minute! My husband had some pistols... I'll bring them here. *is going, but turns back* What pleasure it will give me to put a bullet een-to your thick head, Devil take you! *exits*

ERIK: I'll bring her down like a chicken! I'm not some little boy or a sentimental puppy; I don't care about this "softer sex".

BUQUET: Gracious sir... *kneels* Have pity on a poor old man and go away from here! You've frightened her to death, and now you want to shoot her!

ERIK: *not hearing him* Well that's equality of the sexes for you! I'll shoot her on principle! But what a woman! *parodying her* "Devil take you! I'll put a bullet een-to your thick head." Eyes flashing, accepts my challenge! I've never seen such a woman in my life!

BUQUET: Go away, monsieur, and I'll say prayers for you every day of my life!

ERIK: She is a woman! That's the sort I can understand! A real woman! Not a sour-faced jellybag, but fire, gunpowder, a rocket! Pity I have to kill her, really.

BUQUET: *weeps* Dear... dear sir, do go away!

ERIK: I absolutely like her! Absolutely! Never mind her dimples! I'm almost ready to let the debt go... and I'm not angry any longer... Wonderful woman!

Enter CARLOTTA with pistols.

CARLOTTA: Here are the pistols... But before we fight you must show me how to fire. I've never held a pistol een my hands before.

BUQUET: Oh, Lord, have mercy and save her... I'll go and find the coachman and the gardener...Why has this infliction come on us...? *exit*

ERIK: *examining pistols* You see, there are several sorts of pistols... There are Mortimer pistols, specially made for duels; they fire percussion- cap. These are Smith and Wesson revolvers, triple action with extractors... These are excellent pistols. They can't cost less than ninety francs a pair... You must hold the revolver like this... *aside* Her eyes, her eyes! What an inspiring woman!

CARLOTTA: Like this?

ERIK: Yes, like this... Then you take aim like this... Put your head back a little. Hold your arm out properly... Like that... Then you press this thing with your finger---and that's all. The thing is to keep cool and aim steadily... Try not to jerk your arm.

CARLOTTA: Very well... Eet eez inconvenient to shoot een a room. Let's go een-to the garden.

ERIK: Come along then. But I warn you, I'm going to fire into the air.

CARLOTTA: Oh, that's the last straw! Why?

ERIK: Because... because... It's my affair!

CARLOTTA: Are you afraid? Yes? Ah! No, sir, you don't get out of eet! You come with me! I shan't have any peace until I've made a hole een your forehead... that forehead which I hate so much! Are you afraid?

ERIK: Yes, I am afraid.

CARLOTTA: You lie! Why won't you fight?

ERIK: Because... because you... because I like you.

CARLOTTA: *laughs* He likes me! He dares to say that he likes me! *points to the door* That's the way.

ERIK: *loads revolver in silence and goes to the door. There he stops for half a minute while they look at each other in silence, then hesitantly approaches CARLOTTA* Listen... are you still angry? I'm devilishly annoyed, myself... but, do you understand... how can I explain this?... The fact is, you see... it's like this, so to speak... *shouts* Well, is it my fault that I like you?! *snatches the back of another chair; chair creaks and breaks* Damn fragile stuff, furniture! I like you! Do you understand? I... I almost love you.

CARLOTTA: Get away from me---I loathe you!

ERIK: God, what a woman! I've never in my life seen one like her! I'm lost! Done for! Fallen into a mousetrap, like a mouse! *drops revolver on seat of chair*

CARLOTTA: Stand back or I'll fire!

ERIK: Fire away! I'd die happily before those beautiful eyes, to be shot by a revolver held in that little, velvet hand... I'm out of my mind! Think, and make up your mind at once, because if I go out we shall never see each other again! Decide now... I am a landowner of respectable character, I have an income of twenty thousand a month. I can put a bullet through a coin tossed into the air as it comes down, and I keep a fine stable... Will you be my wife?

CARLOTTA: *indignantly shakes her revolver* Let's fight! We'll shoot it out!

ERIK: I'm mad... I understand nothing. *yells* Waiter, water!

CARLOTTA: *yells* Let's shoot it out!

ERIK: I'm off my head, in love like a schoolboy, like a fool! *snatches her hand; she screams with pain* I love you! *kneels* I love you as I've never loved before! I've refused twelve women, nine have refused me, but I never loved one of them as I love you... I'm weak, I'm wax, I've melted... on my knees like a fool, offering my hand... Shameful! I haven't been in love for five years, I'd taken a vow, and now all of a sudden I'm in love, like a fish out of water! I offer you my hand. Yes or no? You don't want me? Very well! *gets up and quickly goes to door*

CARLOTTA: Stop!

ERIK: *stops* Well?

CARLOTTA: Nothing, go away... No, stop... No, go away, go away! I hate you! Or no... Don't go away! Oh, eef you only knew how angry I am! *throws revolver on the table* My fingers are numb because of that thing! *tears her handkerchief in temper* What are you waiting for? Get out!

ERIK: Goodbye.

CATLOTTA: Yes, yes, go away!... *yells* Where are you going?! Stop... No, go away! Oh, how angry I am! Don't come near me, don't come near me!

ERIK: *approaching her* How angry I am with myself! I'm in love like a student, I've been on my knees... *rudely* I love you! What do I want to fall in love with you for? Tomorrow I've got to pay the interest and begin mowing, and here you... *embraces her*

RANDOM PERSON: *worriedly* What's he doing?

ERIK: I shall never forgive myself for this...

CARLOTTA: Get away from me! Take your hands off me! I hate you! We'll shoot it out!!

ERIK kisses her. CARLOTTA struggles, then starts kissing him back. Everyone gapes in disbelief.

PS: SCORE!!!

EVERYONE: *stares at her*

PS: What? *goes back to watching the football game*

Onstage...

Enter BUQUET with an ax, the RAT CATCHER with a lantern (why, don't ask me), and various other workmen with various other weapons.

BUQUET: *sees the couple kissing* Good Lord!

CARLOTTA and ERIK jump apart.

CARLOTTA: *lowering her eyes* Joseph, tell them in the stables... Caesar isn't to have any oats today.

The End

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