DAVID RUSH
Writer
Scene from  "Billy Budd"
During a quiet moment, Claggart approaches Billy to try to determine a weakness;


                                                            CLAGGART

Where to, Budd?  You’re not on this watch.

 

                                                            BILLY

No, sir.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

Where to then?

                                               

                                                            BILLY

… I like to sit on a yard and watch the waves, sir.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

The waves?

 

                                                            BILLY

Yes, sir.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

You see them all day every day, lad; what are you talking about?

 

                                                            BILLY

… I don’t know. They’re peculiar.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

They’re wind and water, Billy.  Clear and simple as a rock. 

 

                                                            BILLY

Hard to explain, sir. They’re all alike and all different at the same time.  I don’t know how to say it.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

You’re blocking my sun standing up there, lad.  Come down where I am.

 

(BILLY hesitates.)

 

                                                            CLAGGART (ctd)

Don’t be afraid, lad.

(BILLY climbs down.)

 

                                                            CLAGGART  (ctd)

Why this fascination with waves?  Do they undulate and make you think of women?

 

                                                            BILLY

No, sir.  It’s.. it’s… you see, up on the top, where they rise and fall, some are lower or higher or faster or slower or smaller or bigger, but down fathoms down, they’re all deep water and dark and very still, like maybe pudding on a Christmas platter.  I like to wonder how far down you’d have to go to find the plate and what it looks like.  I told you I don’t know how to say it.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

Exactly like people then, Billy?

 

                                                            BILLY

…I don’t know, sir.

(A little pause.  BILLY uncomfortable, CLAGGART studying)

 

                                                            CLAGGART

… It looks to be a fair day.

 

                                                            BILLY

Aye, sir, it does.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

God willing, we’ll catch ourselves a Frenchie today.

 

                                                            BILLY
… Aye, sir.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

…Have you seen battle yet, Billy?

 

                                                            BILLY

Aye, sir.   At St. Vincent, aboard the Captain.   I was a powder boy.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

And how did you acquit yourself?

 

                                                            BILLY
Sir?

 

                                                            CLAGGART

Were you afraid?  Did you hide?

 

                                                            BILLY

No, sir.  No time to be afraid. No place to hide.  I was wounded though.  The mainyard  (“m’n-yurd”) fell, a piece hit my leg.   When we met the Rights of Man, they put me there.

 

                                                            CLAGGART

Out of the line of battle.

 

                                                            BILLY

Aye, sir.  For the time being, it turns out.           

                                                            CLAGGART

That was good fortune, lad.

 

                                                            BILLY

No, sir, for I left good friends behind. 

__________________________________________

HOME    BIO      PLAYS     RESUME    BOOKS    INDUSTRIALS     ARTICLES    VERSE    CONTACT ME

 

Website Builder