Tuesday, October 14, 2014

EC 431 / 5   Smartass John
Eso A.B.
Smartass John and Crazy Jane
Scene 4: Slaughter in the Hayloft
Translated by © Eso A.B.

Synopsis: The Old Witch Ra-Zhanna, aka the Sun incarnate, takes revenge for being slighted by neo-Latvian youths, but is tricked by them, and is slighted all over again. The reader discovers how the Peace of Westwhaplia eliminated both God and the Devil, and replaced them with fantasy institutions such as the Supreme Court, the Central Bank, and.not least, a New World Order for idiots. Smartass John and his brothers escape from Old Ra-Zhanna by the skin of their teeth. However, before long, Smartass John decides to replace the dead Crazy Jane with Princess Wonderful Daughter of King John First Evermore, little realizing that the latter may be another  lesser reincarnation of the Sun Goddess Ra-Zhanna.

Choir of Six Brothers:
Are you telling us
our brides will die?

Smartass John:
The Old Witch Ra-Zhanna
will come with an axe
and chop off any man’s or woman’s head
she sees sleep
next to the boardwalk. Comprende?

Choir of Six Brothers:
Do not forsake me, O my darling!
We waited for our wedding day
twenty years.

Smartass John:
There is no other way.
If you wish to stay alive.
Misfortune Herself decrees
that your brides remain your fists.

The Poet:
After Crazy Jane and her sisters
came to the hayloft,
everyone of them
snuggled up to her man.
Smartass John took Crazy Jane to the bar
and presented her with a glass
of Riga Bubbly.

After Jane’s glass was empty,
he took from her head
her wreath of Johns Flowers
and put it on his head.

Crazy Jane:
Ha, ha, ha!
It fits you well.
Then still on her feet,
she fell asleep.

The Poet:
Smartass John laid Crazy Jane
in the passage between the hay piles.
He had little doubt that
when Old Ra-Zhanna came swinging her ax,
The head of Crazy Jane would roll painlessly.

As such and like thoughts

went through his head.
The door to the hayloft creaked.
Someone was heard coming up the stairs.
All of Ra-Zhanna’s daughters
slept and snorred.
They saw nothing, heard nothing, knew nothing.

Smartass John hoped that he could trust
that the secret Crazy Jane
had entrusted to him was the honest truth.
Or his head, too, would soon leak
egg yellow and red.

Old Ra-Zhanna came up the stairs
like the whirlpool of a wind.
A window shutter banged and creaked
 “shnyek”, “shnyak”, “shnyek”, “shnyak”.
No other sounds were heard.
Not a minute had passed
before all the heads
had rolled like ripe apples
Off the shoulders of the young witches.
Old Ra-Zhanna, seeing her work done,
Let go of a bloodcurdling scream:
Ra! Ra! Ra!

Choir (right):
All seven brothers
Jumped from the haypile
and ran for the loft window.
Whence they dived or pushed each other
into the black of the night.

Choir (left):
Below the barn window
Was a huge pile of cow dung.
It softened the fall
of the seven brothers,
but their socks got wet.
The horses in the stall neighed
and cows mooed.
Near the outhouse,
an owl hooted her flute.

Choir (right):
Smartass John pulled on Rozinante’s four legs
the Devil’s own boots.
Then he jumped into the saddle
and was off.

With Rozinante leading the way
the crickets turned horses raced home
to the Baltic Sea and the homes
of their proto-Latvian forebears.
An old moon, thin as an overused scythe,
kept open a narrow slit of her only eye.
While the moon spied,
the brothers were soon halfway home.
Then Smartass John
Pulled in Rozinante’s reigns.

Smartass John:
We are safe now, he said.
The Old Witch has not enough
poison mushrooms left
in her rucksack
to energize her further on.
So, let us catch our breath,
reorganize, and rethink our strategy.
I would like to turn around
and ride to the Sun Mountain
and ask the Sun
to lead us to another set of brides.

Choir of Six Brothers:
Have you gone mad?
We just escaped Ra-Zhanna’s axe.
Who do you think the Sun is?

Smartass John:
The Sun is whoever
she wants to be:
sometimes mother, sometimes witch,
sometimes whore, or a Goddess.
Many envy Her.
Yesterday a Supreme Court justice
in Washington,
tied the marriage knot
for two Gays.
It’s nothing special for the Sun
to replace Crazy Jane
with Princess Wonderful
Daughter of King John First Evermore
the Tax Collector.

Choir of Six Brothers:
By the grace of the Peace of Westphalia
Lawmakers are our priests now,
and Supreme Court justices are our cardinals.
God and his Own Devil
are but termites of our brain.
If you wish to chase crickets, termites,
or horse flies that’s not for us.
We are riding home to the Baltics
The lands of the ever better off.
True believers in the European Central Bank
and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The Poet:
Smartass John turned Rozinante toward the East.
Then he tickled her ribs with his heels.
Zhanna, Zhanna, Zhwoom!
Rang the harsness bells, and
Smartass John left his brothers
in a cloud of dust.

Choir of Six Brothers
(As if speaking to themselves :)
If you seek Princess Wonderful
Daughter of King John First Evermore
The Tax Collector,
before you crawl into bed with her
make sure her name is not Crazy Jane.
If it’s her, you will not be rid of her
before she has your head by its hair,
and has raised you up to her eye level
to check the color your eyes.

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