Scene: a clean coffee shop, so clean; soft cloth and smooth wood; people walk by in self-possessed silence, as if in a photo gallery. Dramatis Persona: Beth, a woman of means, quick of breath, intelligent, of smooth bare arms and clean legs, dressed in red and black. Bartram, a young man of supple strength, quiet wit, deep eyes, quick smile, dressed in browns. Act One of One Act Beth. Tell me. Bart. Yes, the street seems like another country. Those are its actual colors, vivid, alive, the threat of accidental beauty—solid bieges and grays with patches of blue, red, orange, and pigeons flying irridescent in the sunlight around an old man in gray with a bag of seed, not of our time. Automobiles in metalic against a pastel backdrop of buildings, blue sky. Sun glints on glass and chrome. Beth. My favorite word is yes. And you? Bart. Me. Beth. You are so sweet. Bart. Please. Beth. Here. Bart. Yes. Beth. How can you tell? Bart. You inspire me. . . . She was blind. They called him Marceau. Beth. I had this dream. You were here and you asked me . . . Bart. Like this? Beth. Yes, but lower. Bart. The button . . . . Beth. Yes. . . . I asked Grace if she had heard of it, and she said it was about a blind woman who married a gangster. His hands were smooth so she thought him a gentleman. Your hands are smooth. Bart. Your skin is so clean. I'm not a gentleman. Beth. In the dream, my back hurt, and when you touched me there, a thrill went up into me, embraced me. Move a little closer. Bart. He was good to her but she did not understand him. Such is tragedy, a moral lesson of the forties. You wouldn’t . . . ? Beth. I might. Bart. I would. The pigeons . . . Beth. Mmmmm. I think I wouldn’t wait. Bart. Let’s not. Let’s . . . Beth. Would you like something to eat? Bart. If you are offering. Beth. Something sweet.. finis

1 July 1981