Act 1. Scene v.
(The covered terrace of the Cricketers. CHLAMYDIA at one table, with pub GIMPS. SULIMAN at the other table, also with pub GIMPS, although he is again reading poetry rather than bantering with those fellows. Enter SLEAZE. Ignoring SULIMAN, he addresses himself to CHLAMYDIA)
Chlamydia, we met outside the shell
of the Montpelier Snail.
That’s Slime, Sleaze.
Sooth, he trails that vile commodity
where’er he crawls, which makes mud stick to him.
Well Luvvertory like a dingleberry 5
sticks to the gastropod, and by coarse hints
insinuates some unbecoming vice,
the threatened ooze of which unmans that Snail,
preventing the eviction which I’ve urged.
That must be deeply inconvenient. 10
Indeed, I could not bear that bearded git
who reeked of patchouli and of rotten eggs,
and made my home a den of ketonauts.
And now to find, when I move in with Slime
the limpet does outstay his welcome there. 15
Have you any intimation of
the basis of this blackmailing of Slime?
That Snail for his part doth provoke unease.
He has a little tablet, which betimes
he privily extracts from’s draw-string bag, 20
and then will gaze at bulbous-eyed for hours.
Know you at what the snail’s antennae stare?
He keeps his tablet very close, essaying
never to afford the briefest glimpse
of business pixellated thereupon. 25
Habitually he’s very back-to-wall,
and does disdain all close proximity.
Nevertheless, I did once see …
A fleeting glimpse …
Which disturbéd your repose.
Say nothing. I do understand. There’ve been rumours. 30
Hell is the shell within the coils of which
Slime bathes in his lubricious sweating ooze.
What came to my ears - I forget exactly how -
is that Slime’s trail glistens all the way
to Horfield Prison, where he shared a shell 35
with that companion of your step-son Little Shit.
Fukboi: a more conniving, vicious pimp
never disgraced the slums of Brislington.
I fear for Little Shit.
perhaps. If I may draw you back to Slime, 40
I heard - although I don’t remember when -
that Slime, from bunking down in Fukboi’s cell,
did graduate with honours garlanded,
when knowledge of his research came to light,
to that sequestered institute or wing, 45
where live the persecuted hierophants
of that most recondite of disciplines,
I blush to speak its name.
A sex offender then.
And this is Luvvertory’s hold on him?
I’m only passing on what I have heard, 50
for you to make deductions as you please.
One day I’ll with amazement ask myself
how I did come to lodge with such a pair:
that nonce and that stinking blackmailing brute.
Slime’s not the only one. That Sufist there: 55
he lives next door to me in Brislington.
Concerning him, the rumours do abound.
Pray, do not furnish the particulars
of his depravity. Slime’s trail’s enough;
to share the shell of that degenerate! 60
Fate’s lately dealt you several knavish cards.
Have you considered the alternatives?
I offered you a job,
don’t you remember it?
I’ve absolutely no experience - 65
you do realise of course?
Of course. To me,
it sounds as though you in Catch 22 -
to whit, no job without experience,
and no experience without a job.
You did say it’s respectable …
It is 70
a therapeutical environment,
appealing to a nice, mixed clientele
of spiritual seekers, new age freaks,
yoga-mums on pampering weekends,
and ordinary decent naturists. 75
Sounds slightly weird, but still. Quite sure
no funny stuff?
I acknowledge it’s been billed,
as Sacred Sexuality, Chakra
Realignment By Our Therapists.
That doesn’t mean that it’s a knocking shop; 80
we approach th’erotic with deep reverence.
I’m frankly dubious, but anyway
it can’t be worse than living with those two.
Save for these two conditions, I agree.
I keep my kit on, and don’t offer hand 85
(SLEAZE & CHLAMYDIA shake hands)
Most happily this business ends!
I will betake myself directly to the Snail
and extricate my personal affects
from his foul vaselined, adhesive clutch.
My machinations will quite soon ensure 90
that she’ll be dancing to a different tune.
I wonder at this Persian straying from home,
who hates and spurns the profane vulgar mob.
If he’d intelligence of what’s to come,
he’d stick close by those nubile girls of his. 95
I’ll go straight home to see what ludic mice
get up to in the absence of the cat.
I came here seeking a brief hour’s respite
from Fort Apache Brislington. Yet here too,
drinking at this table set for gimps, 100
I find myself assailed by lunacy.
A vast interconnected web doth link
all of Bristol’s web-fingered denizens.
I’m sure that with that local personage
Sleaze was discussing me, and this same Sleaze 105
will be discovered as the poisoned well
from which is drawn that sewage effluent,
which lately has begun to wash about
my ears. I have now the presentiment
that I must hasten homewards, and repair 110
the breaches of my dammed up decency.