Flowers are everywhere, which of course is the obvious nature of the place because it is a flower shop; however, it is subtle too, don’t forget that, because there are so many flowers in the flower shop that it is stuffy and difficult to move between them—if there is such a thing as between in this flower shop. TOTER moves subtly among the flowers. He quite enjoys it until he arrives at a pristine and clear desk that is empty of everything except a notebook and a pencil, which RUBE is holding as he stares and notates in the book while mumbling to nowhere.

TOTER:          Hello. Pause. Rube.

RUBE:            Does not look up from his notations and mumblings. Yes.

TOTER:          I’m here.

RUBE:            Oh?

TOTER:          Yes. Indeed.

RUBE:            Indeed. Yes.


TOTER:          Listen—

RUBE looks up from the book for the first time.


 RUBE returns his stare to the book.

TOTER:          I want a rose—no. No. I demand a rose.

RUBE:            We have plenty of—

TOTER:          With thorns. Lots and lots of thorns.

RUBE:             A rare request.

TOTER:          Not a request: a demand.

RUBE:             2.95.

TOTER:          Demands. I demands. He demands. I am demanding. Demanded? Not really—well kind of but I’m still demanding. Is the demand over? Ah. Demand. The demand.

RUBE:             2.95.

TOTER:          I don’t like to be obvious.

RUBE:            I have to be: 2.95.

TOTER:          I have a gun.

TOTER pulls out a gun. It is a rotary phone, not an actual rotary phone, but a toy rotary phone. It is probably red.

RUBE:            Guns these days. Culture. No. Politics. You know.

TOTER:          No I don’t.

RUBE:            Yes you do.

TOTER:          No I don’t. Look… I… well… you see… It’s quite shiny.

It’s not actually shiny. It is a very old toy. Ancient. Wonderfully ancient.

RUBE:            Yes. Very shiny.

TOTER:          It kills.

RUBE:            Good for you.

TOTER:          It will kill.

RUBE:            Too abstract.

TOTER:          You will be killed.

RUBE:            Well, isn’t that obvious?

TOTER:          No it isn’t.

RUBE:            Yes it is.

TOTER:          No it isn’t.

 RUBE:            Shoot me.

TOTER:          Everyone only ever says I’m a criminal. Well, I’m a person too—a subtle person. Shouldn’t someone, somewhere acknowledge that? That I am a person and not only a person but a subtle person. An adjective is a perfectly good word to include in someone’s personhood. Why are we so against adjectives?

RUBE:            Hello. Pause. Person. Pause. 2.95. Pause. Subtlety.

TOTER grabs the red rose with lots of thorns.

TOTER:          Give me the rose or the rose gets it.

RUBE:             It can’t get that.

TOTER:          Yes it can.

RUBE:            No it can’t.

TOTER:          Yes it can.

RUBE:            Precious!

A thorn pricks TOTER.

 TOTER:          Blood.

RUBE:             Now that’s subtle.



 RUBE is sitting at the desk; he is writing deliberately and pensively. He reads what he writes. It is strange that he does that; but, it is his preference and he is accepted for it—well, to be perfectly honest, he is not that accepted for it. He is often mocked and slapped around for it. Oh, I hate to be slapped. But, I love to slap. A conundrum—what a conundrum!—that is deeply and spiritually accepted.

 RUBE:           Dear Rose (I will not mention your plentiful thorns even though you like when I highlight them for all to hear and to see and finally to know), It has been three months since I saw you last. I don’t know if this letter will ever reach you. But, the FPO ensures me that it will. So: Hello. How is the Soiled Witness Program? I am told the Subtle Flower Syndicate that Repudiates the Obvious, only Using the Obvious When Necessary, will never find you. When you are steeped in that much soil, as the FPO ensures me that you are, how could anyone find you? Will I ever find you? Have you finally now been used for someone else’s love (alas never your own)? How does that feel? To be used? Like that? I—


Rube looks to the rotary phone that is not actually a rotary phone but a toy rotary phone. It may be yellow, like a banana–not a bruised banana or an unripe banana: a banana. He reaches out to it, then recoils his hand.


RUBE reaches out again and lifts the receiver and dials. Immediately:


TOTER:          Off-stage. Shots fired. Shots fired!