“I am sick of meetings; cannot a man turn his head without he have a meeting?” —Putnam, The Crucible.
“Yip, yip, bark, shit-fuck-shit.” —Anonymous Tourette’s Sufferer.
Betty Parris’ Bedroom
(The room is packed with people praying. Reverend Parris is praying the loudest. He mutters, then mumbles, then seems about to tic; then he mutters, then mumbles again, but his daughter does not stir on the bed.)
Parris Oh my God! Betty. (tic) Dear child. (tic–tic) will you wake, will you open up your eyes? (tic-tic-tic-mutter-mutter-mutter). (His niece, Abigail Williams, enters.)
Abigail I want to open myself! (All turn to her startled.) I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!
(As she is speaking, Betty is rising from the bed, a feverish gleam in her eyes, and picks up the chant.)
Betty I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil! (to Parris) Back off, you miserable old goat blower!
Parris She speaks! She speaks!
(He rushes to embrace Betty and slaps her repeatedly on the side of the head.)
Hale Well, jerk my gherkin! It’s buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-bro-bro-broken, they are free!
Betty (calling out hysterically and with great relief) I saw Goody Twoshoes with the Devil!
Putnam The marshal, I’ll call the marshal!
(The curtain begins to fall. The actors try to hold it up while Parris is barking out a prayer of thanksgiving.)
Putnam Let the marshal bring irons!
Hale Let the marshal bring all manner of household appliances!
Abigail I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil!
Betty I saw Goody Booth with the Devil!
Abigail I saw Shirley Booth with the Devil!
She tweaked the Devils twinkie!
She licked the Devil’s wick!
She waxed the Devil’s bean!
She varnished the Devil’s pole!
She banged the Devil’s clanger!
She ground the Devil’s tool!
(while they cry, bark and mutter in ecstatic cacophony—curtain.)
Judge And where is Tituba? How cometh she to be absent here?
Elizabeth ‘Tis her time of the month, sir. Methinks she wears the bulky roll.
Putnam The lying tart speaketh the truth, sir.
Judge And where is Goodman Wiley?
Elizabeth He hath crotch crickets real bad, sir.
Judge Alright then, bringeth in Goodman Booth.
Parris Sorry, sir. He’s calling on Rosie Palm and her five daughters.
Judge Swell. And where is thy other witness, Parris? A dose of old Joe, perhaps? Elf-shot in the giblets? Home from school with the flu? Zounds, man, we need a witness!
Putnam Shall I wake up old Hornington?
Judge No, let him lie there. He’s been a little down lately. Look—here cometh Arthur Dimswit!
All the Women in the Room (longingly) Arthur Dimswit!
Elizabeth (aside) Phew—what a trouser anaconda he sporteth. Ah, would but that I could resist my love’s burgeoning truncheon.
Dimswit (to Elizabeth) Hie thee hence!
Elizabeth (Looking puzzled, as if she doesn’t know what this means, nods and exits.)
Parris (to Dimswit) What do you do to them? That’s what I want to know.
Dimswit Hey, I’m a sensitive New World guy.
Abigail (whispers) Hi, Arthur. Care to chase me around the dunking stool? Slam the clam? Stick the ferret in my fur bonnet?
Dimswit Thou swell, thou witchy—away!
Abigail Have a dumpling Arthur? A bit of homemade slit pie?
Dimswit That’s Dimswit to you, Miss Merrylegs!
Judge Speak plainly, woman. Hast thou now, or hast thou ever, done the Posturepedic polka with the Prince of Darkness?
Dimswit Strumpet tail! Tart! Thrill dame!
Judge I repeat—hast thou ever signed the Devil’s slam book?
Dimswit Thou shagstress! Round-heeled wench, yes-girl, alley apple, warm bit, willing tit!
Abigail Well, aren’t we Jack Nasty-Face this morning!
Dimswit Flax wench! Flag about!
Judge I caution thee to remember where thou art—the Temple of Low Men.
Abigail Sir, he goeth like a belt-fed motor,
(At this point juror Chuffnuts begins to swoon.)
Chuffnuts Oh stable my naggie!
Judge Easy now, Chuffnuts. Take thyself in hand. Continue, Mistress Abigail.
Abigail There they were, sir: howitzers, butterbags, loblollies swayin’ in the wind. ‘Twas a real Mazola party. Then the Devil speaketh in a dry voice, “Open wide, for Chunky!”
Judge Take part, did ye, in this everythingathon?
Abigail O nay sir, on my oath, I am a good Christian and proud below the navel.
Dimswit This trial is a travesty of justice!
Judge Tell me, woman, on thy oath, who put thee up to this pull party?
Abigail Uh . . .
Judge I ask thee again, woman.
Abigail It was . . . Arthur Dimswit.
Women in Room Arthur Dimswit!
Abigail Yes! Yes! Verily, on my oath, there standeth the captain of the cream team!
Judge Arthur Dimswit, thou art the Devil’s fishmonger! Satan’s stable boss! Beelzebub’s whoops boy!
Dimswit Thou lying wench!
Judge Peace, sir! We have evidence. Bring in the Lewis triplets!
Putnam Sawest thou, girls, any remarkable events at the Dimswits’ house?
Mercy Sir, they plow the furrow on sabbath day.
Mary They wink at the scriptures.
Betty They cook with PAM.
Judge. And this statement from Goodman Wiley, Dimswit, do you deny it? ‘Tis the most damning of all! I quoteth, “I cometh to his dwelling and he offereth me not so much as a cold drink. He could put something out, for God’s sake—someone drops in, and he has neither chips nor pretzels.”
Elizabeth ‘Tis a lie. There’s some M&Ms downstairs in a dish!
Parris Sir, thou art a capering roisterer . . . a rapering cloisterer . . . a pandering usurer . . . a . . .
Judge Oh, do shut up, Parris.
Dimswit Bull gravy! Gentlemen of the court—believest thou this harlot in my stead? This strumpet, this hat-rack, this overnight bag?
Dimswit They hang Goody Hazel this morning.
Elizabeth Not Hazel, the Baxters’ charlady?
Dimswit Aye. Can there be justice in the world when they hang an innocent charwoman? (Tears well up.) She was brave. The last thing she said to me was, “Be seein’ ya, Mr. D.!” And now, dearest, I must follow.
Elizabeth Oh, Arthur! Must ye be so proud?
Dimswit On my oath, I, Arthur Dimswit, have sworn to uphold the rights of the innocent and weak! (Henry Fonda-like) Anywhere there’s a brawler beatin’ up a boon-dagger, I’ll be there. Anywhere there’s a ruffian roughin’ up a nelly-boy, I’ll be there! Anywhere there’s a hooligan messin’ up an Armenian upholsterer, I’ll be there. Anywhere there’s a mob stringing up a Jew . . . uh, give me a second . . .