É Inertia Magazine - Ken Buswell - Issue Six
Ken Buswell
        

Transubstantiation


Scene 1
Setting: the bank of a lake. Billy and Andy are sitting on folding lawn chairs, drinking cans of beer.
Within reach of Billy is a cooler of beer.  A few poles are propped up, with lines leading offstage; each
pole has a bell clipped on near the tip. On the ground are two tackle boxes, a small grill or camp stove, 
and a box of moon pies with one left. Also scattered about are a few beer cans and moon pie wrappers. Billy 
is taciturn and a slow talker. Andy is animated and gregarious.

Andy: Maybe the fish just arenít awake yet.
Billy: Yep.
Andy: At least the sunís out. Tell me isnít this worth lying to your boss about?
Billy: Sure is. 
Andy: Toss me another moon pie, would you?
Billy: Last one.
Andy: At least we still got beer.
Billy: Yep.
A pole next to Billy starts to twitch, ringing the bell on it.
Andy: Looks like we got lunch calling.
Billy gives a tug and reels a bit of line in, then stops.
Billy: Damn. Lost it.
Andy: Itíll be back for more.
Billy: Hope so. See anyone around?
Andy: Why? You gotta take a leak?
Billy: Nope. Just wondering.
Andy: I do believe we got the whole lake to ourselves.
Billy gives a grunt of assent then opens his tackle box and pulls out a large pistol.
Andy: What the hell is that?
Billy: My new baby.
Andy: Is that a nine millimeter?
Billy: Yep. East German, metal alloy, double action, semi-automatic.
Andy: Damn, thatís nice. Whereíd you get it?
Billy: Germany.
Andy: What the heck you bring it for?
Billy: Try it out.
Andy: What you gonna try it out on, a bass?
Billy (tracking something flying offstage): How Ďbout that duck?
Andy: Shit, you canít hit that duck.
Billy: Bet I can.
It approaches on a path to fly overhead.
Andy: You know, I donít think thatís a Ė 
BANG! They watch as a large, blue-feathered mass falls onto the ground next to them.
Andy: What the hell?
They stand around it, Andy nudging it with a toe.
Andy: That sure ainít no mallard.
Billy: Looks like a giant bluebird.
Andy: It sure does. Ha! You dumb sonofabitch! You done killed the bluebird of happiness!
Billy: Thatís gotta be some bad luck there.
Andy: Hell yeah! I think thatís a whole lifetime of bad luck.
Billy: Maybe itís like Santy Clause Ė you kill him, you got to take over his job.
Andy: Shit. (Taking a closer look at the bird) It kinda looks like a giant parrot.
Billy: You know what it looks like to me?
Andy: What?
Billy: Lunch.
Andy: Lunch?
Billy: About the size a duck. We dress it like one, and grill it up.
Andy: Well, we are outta moon pies.
A shrieking call is heard offstage.
Andy: What the hell is that?
The call is heard again.
Billy: That Enis?
Andy: Aw, hell. You better put that gun away.
Billy does so. The call is heard again.
Billy: What about the bird?
Andy: Shit. Put it in the cooler.
Billy does so, but leaves the cooler open so the bird is in sight. Enis, a conservation officer, enters
with a turkey call or similar item. He is efficient and a bit stiff. As he approaches, Billy straightens
himself up some, perhaps licking a palm and patting down his hair.
Enis: Good morning, Andy. Good morning, Billy. 
Andy and Billy (with Billy giving a little wave): Morning, Enis.
Enis: You arenít planning on causing any trouble out here, are you?
Andy: Now why would you ask us a thing like that?
Enis: Just doing my job. I see youíve already been through a few.
Andy: A fine day like this, how could we not?
Enis: Well, just as long as you take things easy. 
Andy: Donít you worry about us, Enis Ė we wonít cause no trouble. Ainít that right, Billy?
Billy: Weíll behave.
Enis: Thatís good to hear. You catch anything yet?
Andy: Nothing yet.
Enis: Well, maybe the fish just arenít awake yet. Tell me, gentlemen, you havenít seen a Hyacinth Macaw
flying around, have you?
Andy: A what?
Enis: A Hyacinth Macaw. You may know it by the Latin name: anodorhynchus hyacinthinus. Itís a parrot that
lives along the rivers and swamps of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
Billy: Would that be the Pantanal area?
Enis (impressed): I believe it would.
Andy: How on earth would you know that?
Billy: Read it in a book.
Enis: Anyway, it feeds on fruits and nuts and itís noted for its blue color and large size.
Billy: Large - like duck-size? 
Enis: Well, itís thirty-five to forty inches in length and weighs around four pounds, so you tell me.
Billy: Thatís about duck-size.
Andy: You said itís blue?
Enis: Bright blue. Hyacinth blue, in fact. Excuse me.
Enis makes the call again. 
Andy: Jesus, is that what it sounds like?
Enis: How the heck should I know?
Andy: Then why are you - 
Enis: This was all we had at the office.
Andy: Huh. Now why would one of them be flying around here anyway?
Enis: It escaped from the zoo. They thought it might fly south, back to its native habitat. Theyíre pretty
anxious to get it back. Itís an endangered species.
Billy: Endangered?
Enis: Yep. I guess theyíre cutting down the rain savannas or something. Thereís not many Hyacinth Macaws left. 
The zoo is offering a reward for it.
Andy: A reward?
Enis: Yes sir.
Billy: Dead or alive?
Enis: No, I canít imagine it would do them any good if it were dead. Well, if you see it, let me know. We can 
split the reward. Just joking. Iíll take ten percent. Ha ha. Well, Iím going to keep looking for that macaw. 
Make sure you clean all this up before you leave. Good luck with the fishing.
Andy: And good luck to you too, Enis.
Billy (giving a wave): Bye, Enis.
Enis walks off while making the call again. 
Andy: Jesus. You done shot an endangered parrot. 
Billy: Didnít know that at the time.
Andy: Do you know what that makes you?
Billy: Some kinda eco-criminal?
Andy: It makes you the most bad-ass hunter in the state! Think about it Ė who else has shot a Hyacinth Macaw?
No one around here, thatís for damn sure.
Billy: Thatís one way of thinking about it.
Andy: Well, heck Ė we got to eat it now.
Billy: We do?
Andy: Something that rare, it gots to be good.
Billy: I donít know.
Andy: I say we eat it as God intended and grill it up right now. Whadya think?
Billy: I think I have shooterís remorse.
Andy: What?
Billy: Ainít like shooting a regular duck. Thereís thousands of them. 
Andy: Well itís too late for that now.
Billy: You kill a duck, thatís one thing, but this Ė this here is something else.
Andy: Billy?
Billy: Figure a duck has to expect it. But a Hyacinth Macaw?
Andy: Billy, what the hell are you talking about?
Billy: Maybe we should turn it in.
Andy: What, and tell Ďem it was an accident? It just happened to fly in front of the bullet? Like it was 
trying to commit suicide? Itís an endangered species, Billy. Shooting one has to be against some kinda law.
Billy: Maybe itís okay because itís from a different country.
Andy: So what, you shoot a Mexican and you donít go to jail? Thereís only one thing to do here, Billy. Heck, 
we might be the first people in the world to ever eat one of these things. Weíre making history here!
Billy: I donít know.
Andy: Billy, the deed is done. We canít bring it back to life. We oughta put it to some kind of use. 
Billy: Guess the deed is done.
Andy: Hell yeah, it is.
Billy: Well, alright. But I call a drumstick.

Blackout.

Scene 2
Same setting, later in the day.  The grill has been moved to center. There are blue feathers scattered around, 
and the ground is littered with more beer cans. There are bones next to the chairs, or perhaps a picked-clean 
carcass on the grill. Andy and Billy are stretched out in their chairs, licking their fingers, picking at 
teeth, or gnawing on bones.

Andy: My god, that may be the best thing I ever ate.
Billy: Yep.
Andy: That was like eating something straight outta Godís own freezer. Makes me wonder if other endangered 
species are that tasty. I bet you thatís what happened to the dodo Ė it just tasted too damn good. You know 
if that zoo has any snow leopards? Are you even listening, Billy?
Billy: What?
Andy: Are you okay there? You been kinda quiet.
Billy: Just feeling a little funny.
Andy: Hey, if youíre gonna hurl, at least hurl in the lake.
Billy: Ainít gonna hurl.
Andy: That meat was pretty rich. Maybe you just need to wash it down with another beer.
Billy: Maybe so.
He reaches into the cooler.
Billy: Shit.
Andy: What?
Billy: Last beer.
Andy: Shit. Well, you take it. 
Billy: You can have it.
Andy: I donít know if I want another right now.
Billy: Weíll save it.
Billy puts it back in the cooler.
Andy: You know, Iím starting to feel a little funny myself. Kinda like I got a bird flying around in my head.
Billy: Thatís the feeling.
Andy: You think it was something we ate?
Billy: Could be.
Andy: Is it normal to have a bird in your head?
Billy: Where else would you keep it?
Andy: Thatís a good point. Iím going to gather up its babies.
Andy starts to pick up the beer cans.
Andy: Here, chick, chick, chick.
Billy begins to collect the moon pie wrappers.
Billy: Andy?
Andy: Yep?
Billy: Why are they called moon pies?
Andy: I think Neil Armstrong invented them.
Billy: Think thereís any moon in them?
Andy: Naw, they save that for Twinkies. Thatís why they float.
Billy makes a little nest out of the wrappers, perhaps using a jacket or shirt to help keep them all together. 
Andy puts the beer cans in the nest. They take a moment to admire their work.
Andy: Theyíre cute when theyíre sleeping.
Billy: Sure are.
Andy: Youíd make a good mother, Billy.
Billy: Maybe one day.
A fishing pole starts to twitch, causing its bell to ring. 
Andy: I think you got a bite there.
Billy: What?
Andy: The pole.
The pole twitches more, then the line becomes taut.
Billy: About time.
Billy picks up the pole and starts to reel the line in. 
Billy: Feels like a big one.
Andy: Maybe you got a big olí catfish. 
Billy continues to reel in the line. Enis enters, with the line ending in his mouth. As he is reeled in, he 
jerks his head around, as if fighting the hook.
Andy: Jesus Christ! Reel him in! Reel him in!
Billy: Iím trying!
When Enis gets close to the bank, he falls down and flops like a fish. His flops lessen with time until they 
become infrequent spasms. Andy and Billy watch for a moment.
Andy: What the hell are we gonna to do with him?!
Billy: Donít know.
Andy: You gotta throw him back.
Billy: Ainít throwing back the biggest fish I ever caught.
Andy: Well I sure as shit ainít eating him. I donít care how good he might taste. 
Billy: Maybe I could have him mounted.
Andy: Youíre gonna fuck a fish?
Billy: What?
Andy: Cause if you are, I ainít watching. Not this time.
Billy: Ainít nobody gonna Ė
Andy (bending down to push Enis back): Címon, help me push him back.
Billy (pulling him up): Stay away from my fish!
Andy: You canít keep him!
Billy (going to the ground, hugging Enis protectively): Itís my fish!
Andy: What the hell are you doing?
Billy (rocking back and forth): My fish! My fish!
Andy: Itís a fish! It canít love you back!
Billy: Yes it can!
Andy (trying to pull Billy off of Enis):  Itís time to let go, Nemo!
Billy: Donít you touch my fish!
Andy: It ainít your fish!
Billy: You canít have it!
Andy: Donít make me do this, Billy! 
From offstage, the bird call is heard. Andy and Billy freeze. The call is heard again.
Andy: What the hell?
The call is heard again. They look at Enis, then offstage. The call is heard again. A giant Hyacinth 
Macaw enters.
Andy: Oh, shit.
The macaw flaps its wings and calls again.
Andy: What the hell you think it wants?
Billy: Ainít getting my fish.
In a menacing fashion, the macaw takes a step towards Andy, flaps its wings and calls again. 
Andy (trying to shoo it away): You get outta here! Go! Shoo!
The macaw doesnít back down. Andy and the macaw start to circle each other.
Billy: Maybe itís looking for its baby.
Andy: What are we supposed to do, puke it up? Go on! Git!
Approaching closer to Andy, the macaw flaps and calls again.
Andy: We gotta do something! I think the sonofabitch is gonna eat me!
Giving a vicious call, the macaw leaps at Andy and knocks him to the ground. It straddles Andy and 
starts to choke him.
Andy: Get it off! Get it off!
Billy: What am I supposed to do?
Andy: The gun! Get the gun!
Billy gets the gun and points it at the macaw. The macaw continues to accost Andy.
Andy: Shoot it! Shoot it!
Billy stands there, frozen.
Andy: Just pull the damn trigger!
Billy (lowering the gun): I Ė I canít. 
Andy: The hell you canít!
Billy: Already shot one of them today. Canít shoot another.
Andy: Do something for Christís sake!
Billy looks around, then goes to the cooler. He pulls out the last beer. The macaw immediately stops and 
looks at the beer.
Andy: Throw it at it!
Billy slowly waves the beer. The macaw warily gets up, keeping an eye on the beer.
Andy: What are you doing?!
Billy: Trying to save you!
Andy: Youíre not giving away our last beer!
Billy slowly walks to the nest, keeping an eye on the macaw. The macaw follows.
Andy: Billy?! Billy?! Donít you do it!
Billy puts the beer in the nest and backs away.
Andy: What are you doing?!
The macaw goes over to the nest, circles it a few times, then squats down on the nest.
Andy: Aw, Jesus, no! 
The macaw shifts some, getting comfortable.
Andy: Iím getting my beer back.
Andy takes a step towards the nest, but Billy holds him back.
Billy: You canít Ė thatís the avian form of Mboi Tui. 
Andy: The what?
Billy: Mboi Tui Ė Itís one of the gods of the Guarani tribe in the Pantanal.
Andy: Itís a god?
Billy: Yep. The protector of wetlands.
Andy: Shit, I ainít messing with no god. 
The macaw shifts around again, then straightens up. 
Andy: What the hell is that god doing?
Billy: I think weíre witnessing the miracle of life.
The macaw shudders. The sound of a can being opened is heard.
Billy: Awwww.
Andy: Did it just hatch that beer?
Billy: Yep.
The macaw gives a shake, then stands up. It looks at Billy and Andy, flaps its wing and gives a final call. 
It exits.
Andy: That was the last beer! What are we going to do now?
Billy: Nothing we can do.
Andy: But the beer!
Billy: Mboi Tui was angry. Had to have a sacrifice.
Andy: Couldnít we have just sacrificed some moon pies?
Billy: Needed something precious.
Andy: Well, yeah, but beer? Thatís a lot to ask of a man.
Billy: We can get some more.
Andy: I guess so. At least we didnít have to have a human sacrifice like them Lutherans. We better get that 
fish back.
Billy: Canít throw it back.
Andy: Billy, we have to let him go. It canít live like that.
Billy: What if we built a big tank for it?
Andy: You think it would be happy living like that?
Billy: Guess not.
Andy: This is the only way, Billy. You got to sacrifice something precious to Mboi Tui too. Címon, we can 
push it out together.
They push Enis into the water. Enis starts to flop around, then exits.
Billy: Bye, fishy. Come back soon!
Billy watches it go, then falls to his knees.
Billy: Itís gone. Itís gone.
Andy kneels down and hesitantly puts an arm around Billy.
Andy: You had to let it go, Billy.
Billy: It wonít come back, will it?
Andy: It might. Youíll just have to be patient.
Billy: Andy?
Andy: What?
Billy: I think I love Enis.
Andy: Heís a good man, Billy. Heís a good man.

Blackout.


Scene 3
Same setting. It is now evening. Andy and Billy are asleep on their chairs. The nest of beer cans and 
wrappers is still on the stage. Enis awakes and stretches. He ambles over to the cooler and looks inside.
Without taking his eyes off the cooler, he backs up to Billy.

Andy: Billy? Billy Ė wake up! 
Billy: What?
Andy: Take a look in the cooler.
Billy: What for?
Andy: Look in the cooler.
Billy looks in the cooler.
Billy: You ran to the store?
Andy: Hell no, I did not run to the store.
Billy: Howíd they get here?
Andy: Iíll tell you how Ė it was that damn bird!
Billy: You think it was real?
Andy: This beer is sure as hell real.
Billy: Thought that macaw was just something inside of you.
Andy: What on earth are you talking about?
Billy: Like you were wrestling with inner demons.
Andy: Well that donít make a lick of sense. If I was wrestling with inner demons, why the hell would you 
see it?
Billy: Hadnít thought of that.
Andy: Besides, why would it be my inner demons? Youíre the one that shot it.
Billy: Guess so.
Andy: All I know is, we got a cooler full of beer. Itís a miracle, Billy, a goddamn miracle. All hail Mboi 
Tui, god of beer!
Billy: Itís the protector of wetlands.
Andy: Itís the protector of our thirst, thatís what it is. Billy, I seen a lot of things. I seen people go 
into trances and shake like they got a disease. I seen people speak in tongues like some kind of lunatic. 
I even seen some crazy-ass snake handlers once. But this here Ė this is the real thing. This is undisputable.
We were tested, Billy. We were tested and somehow we were found worthy. Mboi Tui has graced us with its favor, 
and we must honor it by drinking the sacred water.
Andy opens one and takes a drink.
Andy: Halleluiah!
From offstage, the bird call is heard, startling Andy and Billy, who both look at the opened can of beer.
Andy: Shit! Should we hide it?
Billy: Canít hide from a god.
Andy: Well what the hell are we - 
Enis enters.
Enis: Evening, boys.
Andy: Jesus, you scared the hell out of us, Enis.
Enis: Sorry. Didnít mean to. I see youíve kept things clean around here. 
Andy: Well, uhÖwe wouldnít want to disappoint you, would we, Billy?
Billy: Wouldnít disappoint you, Enis.
Enis: I appreciate it Ė makes my job easier. Ha ha. Any luck with the fish?
Andy: We did catch one thing.
Billy: But we let it go.
Enis: Thatís rather sporting of you. Well, Iím gonna call it a day. It looks like that bird is long gone.
Billy: Maybe it just nested down for the night.
Enis: It is diurnal, so it wouldnít be flying around at this time.
Andy (more to Billy): Yeah - you shouldnít give up on it that easily.
Enis: I guess it wouldnít hurt to look around for it tomorrow.
Andy (giving Billy a nudge): No, it wouldnít hurt at all.
Billy: If you want, I could help you out.
Enis: Well, it would be nice to have some company. How Ďbout eight oíclock at the station?
Billy: Iíll be there.
Enis: Great Ė itís a date. Ha ha. You two be safe getting home. Goodnight, Andy. See you tomorrow, Billy.
Billy: See ya, Enis.
Enis exits, with a bird call.
Andy: Well how about that? It really is a day of miracles.
Billy: Just looking for a bird.
Andy: Yep, but thatís a start. You know what you need to do right now, Billy?
Billy: Pass out?
Andy: What you need to do is take a seat, have one of these sacred beers and enjoy the sunset.
Andy tosses Billy a beer. Billy looks at the can and ponders it for a moment.
Andy: To Mboi Tui.
Billy: To Mboi Tui.
They drink their beer. A pole starts to twitch, ringing the bell on it. 
Andy: Looks like you got a bite.
Billy: Yep.
Andy: You gonna get that?
Billy: Donít think so.
The pole continues to twitch, and the bell continues to ring.

Blackout.










(For performance rights, contact Ken at k_buswell@comcast.net)