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(LOTSI enters)

CELIE: So you’re off work today?

LOTSI: Yes. I thought I’d take the speedboat out on Lake Arrowhead. Want to go?

CELIE and RUTH: No thank you.

LOTSI: All right. Inga can go with me.

CELIE: That’s what she’s for.

RUTH: I feel a little sick.

CELIE: Ginger ale’s good for that. (Goes to the bar to get her one)

RUTH: I don’t like it.

LOTSI: Try Coca-Cola.

RUTH: Oh, yes.

LOTSI: Everyone likes Coca-Cola. It’s good with rum.

CELIA: Is it?

LOTSI: The slaves that built the South American pyramids chewed coca leaves. The slaves of Hollywood drink Coca-Cola.

CELIE: It’s a little early for rum.

LOTSI: But it’s so relaxing.

(LOTSI starts to massage CELIE. RUTH exits discreetly during the following.)

CELIE: I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

LOTSI: Such a tragic fate for such a nice girl.

CELIE: I have to share you with the whole world, that’s my fate.

LOTSI: The world got the best part of me. The part that goes onstage. You ended up with the worst part, the offstage part. That’s what went wrong with us, isn’t it?

CELIE: Are you in psychoanalysis again?

LOTSI: I’m just trying to understand how things ended up this way. It’s not how I wanted it to be.

CELIE: It’s not fair, is it?

LOTSI: No! I’m old-fashioned, I don’t understand this American mania for divorce. It used to be better when a man could just have his wife, and then have friends, you know, not always having to choose between one and the other. And it was so much less expensive.

CELIE: Divorce is expensive. So is alimony.

LOTSI: It’s ridiculous. I’m an honorable man, you know I’ll take care of you for the rest of your life. I don’t see why we have to bring lawyers into it.

CELIE: We may as well do it all properly, as long as we’re going through with it.

LOTSI: I’ll do whatever you want. You’ve been very good about this, very patient.

CELIE: What I don’t understand is why she’s insisting on marrying you.

LOTSI: I think it has to do with Bogie marrying his girlfriend. Now she wants to do it. A double wedding is what I think she has in mind.

CELIE: You could save a little money that way.

LOTSI: I don’t think that’s part of her plan.

CELIE: But it probably doesn’t look good for you to be living together.

LOTSI: It really doesn’t.

CELIE: Though the public seems to love adultery. The Hollywood movies are full of it. It’s so romantic, forbidden love.

LOTSI: I think I’ll just take her to Las Vegas and marry her there.

CELIE: Then you’ll be a real American couple.

LOTSI: Let’s not talk about it any more.

CELIE: You really would prefer to just be married to both of us at the same time, wouldn’t you?

LOTSI: Isn’t that the most civilized solution? Look, it’s been done that way in Africa, China, Arabia, Utah. How come European men only get one woman at a time?

CELIE: Isn’t this what Bibi calls “the bourgeois problem”? How about Bibi, has he made any progress on that script he’s supposed to be writing for you?

LOTSI: He gave it to me yesterday.

CELIE: It’s finished?

LOTSI: Not really.

CELIE: Poor Bibi. He’s not used to working by himself. I’ve never known a writer who went through so many assistants. Why does he have to keep getting them pregnant? Well, he’s lucky he has you to keep him and his wife and children and his mistresses and their children from starving to death.

LOTSI: Do me now.

CELIE (kneading him): That girl looks sick to me. I hope he hasn’t given her a disease. Has she been to a doctor?

LOTSI: I don’t know. Do it harder. Harder than that.

CELIE: I’m tired, Lotsi, I’ve been up all night cleaning this million-dollar hovel of yours.

LOTSI: I’ll put you to bed. Come. (As they exit they run into INGA, who goes to the bar for a glass of liquor. LOTSI stays.)

INGA: Does he have to come here?


INGA: Bibi.

LOTSI: He’s an honored guest here. He’s the greatest living playwright in the German language. And he’s my friend.

INGA: As long as you can do something for him.

LOTSI: Inga.

INGA: I don’t like him. Last time we were there he put his hand up my skirt. And you were right there!

LOTSI: Well, he’s like that.

INGA: Oh, it’s all right with you?

LOTSI: You have to take him as he is.

INGA: You really wouldn’t mind if I went to bed with him, would you?

LOTSI: I know you wouldn’t. Fifteen years ago, maybe. But not the way he is now.

INGA: So he wasn’t always this hideous.

LOTSI: Women really liked him. Men too. He just lived like a devil, he could do anything he wanted and get away with it. But now the only ones who’ll tolerate him are the ones that really love him. And there are less and less of them.

INGA: I’ve heard that he’s really not as good a writer as they say he is. He finds people who are good writers and seduces them and gets them to write his plays for him.

LOTSI: That’s old gossip.

INGA: No, you know who told me that? Kurti.

LOTSI: My God.

INGA: And he should know, shouldn’t he? Kurti says Bibi likes to pretend to be a proletarian artist who doesn’t care about money, but it’s just an act, he hides all his money in Swiss banks and pretends to be poor so he can sponge off his friends. But it’s the fact that he takes all the money and credit and lets other people do all the work that’s the worst part. No wonder his girlfriends are so ugly--they’re all writers.

LOTSI: Oh, Inga.

INGA: How can Ruth stand him? He stinks. Literally, he smells bad, he doesn’t wash. I don’t know how she can stand to kiss him, he never brushes his teeth. She must always be getting infections. I don’t like being in the same house as a woman who’d touch that man. (Sees RUTH coming, exits.)

LOTSI (to RUTH): Good morning.

RUTH (picking up script): What’s this?

LOTSI: The script your lover is writing for me.

RUTH: He’s here?

LOTSI: No, I met him in town last night.

RUTH: Why didn’t he come to see me?

LOTSI: I suppose he was busy writing. He must have a lot of projects he’s working on, he obviously hasn’t spent a lot of time on this one.

RUTH: Let me see.

LOTSI: I’ll be frank, I’m disappointed.

RUTH: He must have typed this himself. It’s terrible.

LOTSI: No, he’s not a very good typist.

RUTH: Can I borrow your pen?

(LOTSI gives her his pen. RUTH starts reading through script)

LOTSI: You’re not going to mark it up and change it. I don’t know if he’ll like that.

RUTH: Oh, yes, he likes it, I do it all the time.

LOTSI: Do you? (Takes a couple of pills, washing them down with liquor)

RUTH: What are those pills you’re taking?

LOTSI: You want some? It’s not dope, if that’s what you’re afraid of. It’s just medicine to help my nerves a little.

RUTH: Maybe I should take some.

LOTSI: Help yourself.

RUTH (taking pills with a sip of LOTSI’s drink): Oh, this is dreadful.

LOTSI: I hate to say it, there’s no producer in town who’d take a property this bad.

RUTH: Not when it’s in this condition. Do you have a typewriter?

LOTSI: Not here. My secretary has one.

RUTH: Could you have her send it over?

LOTSI: I don’t think retyping it’s going to help. But if it makes you happy, a woman in your condition should be indulged. (Starts dialing phone)

RUTH: And then will you call him for me? I’d call him myself but his wife keeps hanging up on me.

LOTSI: Poor Ruthy. (To his secretary on the telephone): Hello. Listen, can you come to the beach house? Bring your typewriter and as much paper as you can get. Yes, right away, this is a vital moment in German-American literature. Goodbye! (Hangs up.)

RUTH: Is it true you studied psychology with Freud in Vienna?

LOTSI: Oh, no, don’t believe everything you read in the movie magazines. Back when I first came to America some publicist wrote a press release saying that the reason I’m so good at playing scary murderers is that I’m a student of criminal psychology. And then some silly writer in a fan magazine wrote that I studied psychology with Freud, and suddenly everybody was saying I was a Freudian psychoanalyst who went onstage and started imitating his crazy patients. It’s ridiculous. I never went to university, I barely finished high school. But I do know a lot about psychotherapy. I’ve had enough of it.

RUTH: I was hoping you could give me some Freudian insights I ended up here in this desert.

LOTSI: You mean, with Bibi.

RUTH: If only I was with Bibi! But I’m not, that’s the trouble.

LOTSI: It’s always the trouble.

RUTH: I get the feeling you’ve seen all this happen before.

LOTSI: It’s true, I’ve known Bibi for quite a few years. And I’ve met a lot of the ladies who’ve loved him. And it seems to me that they’re all very smart, and very accomplished, and very adventurous. And Bibi is their idea of an adventure. But the problem with Bibi is, you can’t get enough of him. He doesn’t give you enough. So you keep going back for more of him, and you’re still not satisfied, so then you’re back again.

RUTH: It’s like an addiction, really.

LOTSI: God, let’s not talk about addiction. I’ll try another metaphor. When we love, Bibi and I love like lions. Only the finest lionesses seek us out; we don’t choose them, you see, they choose us. And not just one lioness. Because women are so cooperative, they form a pride around us. The best lions aren’t easy to find, so they share us communally. Lions are Communists too, you know. And if our lionesses want us to father their cubs, we’ll do it, and if they give us the lion’s share of their kill, we’ll eat it up. Someday we’ll be old and mangy and they’ll bite us and chase us away. I’m not looking forward to that. But now I’ll call your Bibi for you.

RUTH: If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t call him.

LOTSI: But don’t you want me to?

RUTH: I do.

LOTSI: All right, I’ll call him. And whatever happens, you’ll have only me to blame. (Makes call) Bibi? Call for you.

(LOTSI gives phone to RUTH, exits)

RUTH: Oh, my God, how did you manage to get to the phone before she did?...Oh, really? Listen, if she’s not there, you should come here.... Yes... Right now.... Well, bring the script. We’ll work on it together.... Not, I don’t have a typewriter, but Lotsi’s getting one for me.... I doesn’t matter. I’ll write longhand. There’s got to be some paper around here somewhere.... Well, bring some paper with you. It doesn’t matter. Just come see me! You know where I am, don’t you?... I’m at Lotsi’s house.... Which one? The one by the ocean... No, that’s where Celie’s living. I’m at the other one. Lotsi says you’ve been here before.... Yes, that’s the one. You should come, it’s nice. We could go to the beach.... Bibi, the baby misses you... Yes, he does.... Yes, he’s a boy. A son, Bibi.... I know you already have a son.... HOW MANY sons?... Oh Bibi... Yes.... All right, I’ll have Lotsi call you.... I love you, Bibi. The baby loves you.... All right.... All right.... Yes.... I will....Yes, I’ll be good. I’m being very good. Are you? Being good?... Bibi? (Realizing he’s hung up on her)

Scene 6: That evening. LOTSI is drinking, CELIE is dusting. RUTH enters.

RUTH: He’s here!

(BIBI enters. RUTH kisses him)

BIBI: You taste like a mother.

RUTH: What does that taste like?

BIBI (to LOTSI): So what do you think?

LOTSI: What do I think?

BIBI: Of the play I wrote for you.

RUTH: He likes it.

BIBI: Likes it? He likes it, lucky for me. Maybe I’ll be the first person in Hollywood to actually make art for a living, rather than being a whore. Lotsi, your next assignment will be to draw up a list of actors you think would be right for the cast. I don’t know who the most famous stars are in America, and I really don’t care, so long as they’ll work for me, for next to nothing. And we’ll need at least three months for rehearsal. How’s the money situation, do we have any backers yet?

LOTSI: We don’t have a script yet.

BIBI: We could always do the show without bringing the capitalists into it. We could use your money.

LOTSI: I don’t have that much money. To put on a Broadway play you have to be a millionaire.

BIBI: You’re a movie star.

LOTSI: I’m not a millionaire.

BIBI: How much do you make a week?

CELIE: Bibi, what a question. You don’t ask--

BIBI: Celie. Don’t interrupt me, please, I’m talking to your husband. (To LOTSI, as CELIE exits) Why don’t you sell one of your houses? You’ve got four of them.

LOTSI: I’m already using them to house all your women and children.

BIBI: Well, what else do you have to sell? You’re an actor. You sell yourself. Look at you, you’re not doing anything right now. Who’s that actor who works like a whore and has a houseful of French paintings worth a fortune?

LOTSI: He’s in debt up to his ears, just like me.

BIBI (to RUTH): Did you see those movies he made before the war, about the little Chinese detective?

RUTH: I loved them.

BIBI: Everyone loved them. Why don’t you make more of them?

LOTSI: He was Japanese, not Chinese.

BIBI: Which means he’s in a concentration camp now. Unless he managed to run away to Japan and join the war against the Americans. He can be an evil detective like Fu Manchu. I loved those pictures. I could write a screen treatment for you and you could sell it to your studio boss. Giving me full credit, of course.

LOTSI: You have no idea how the movie business works, do you?

BIBI: It works like any other business. By theft, murder and prostitution.

RUTH: Bibi, I typed a nice clean copy of your play for you.

LOTSI: Oh, yes, go get that, please.

(RUTH exits)

BIBI: Where’s that girl of yours, Lotsi?

LOTSI: Inga? She’s swimming.

BIBI: You can’t find girls like that in the theater anymore, they’re all going into the movies. And that’s why you’ve got to help me.

LOTSI: What, get you women?

BIBI: Yes, that and sell my screenplays.

LOTSI: You know I’m your man.

BIBI: Then prove it. Why don’t you set me up with Inga?

LOTSI: Bibi.

BIBI: Tell her it’ll make you love her even more.

LOTSI: Even if she was that kind of girl, she doesn’t like you.

BIBI: She doesn’t know me very well.

LOTSI: She’s heard things. She says your girlfriends write all your plays for you. You take credit for their work.

BIBI: Where did she hear that?

LOTSI: Kurti told her.

BIBI: That bourgeois bastard. No wonder I’m having trouble getting work, if he’s spreading stories like that around town.

(RUTH comes in, gives BIBI script)

LOTSI: Thank you, Ruthy.

BIBI: Get me some coffee, will you?

(RUTH exits)

BIBI: How do you get all the most best-looking women, as ugly as you are?

LOTSI: There’s no accounting for women’s tastes.

BIBI: I always get stuck with the medium pretty ones.

LOTSI: Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been smothered in beautiful women. I’d be proud of a girl like Ruth.

BIBI: She’s over the hill.

LOTSI: She’s my age. I’d take her in a minute if I could afford another woman.

BIBI: That’s your secret, you pay for them.

LOTSI: That’s not a nice thing to say.

BIBI: You think Inga would look at you if you didn’t have four houses and your face up on ten thousand movie screens every week?

LOTSI: Probably not.

BIBI: You’d be like me. Stuck with women like Ruth.

LOTSI: You don’t like her very much, do you?

BIBI: She’s just like the rest of them. Always wanting something.

LOTSI: She’s in love with you, Bibi.

BIBI: She isn’t faithful to me. How do I know that’s my baby?

LOTSI: You’ll see when it comes out, won’t you?

BIBI: I guess I could do a blood test. Not that it matters. I’ve told her, she’s on her own with that baby.

LOTSI: She told me you promised to marry her.

BIBI: I’d never do a stupid thing like that. I can’t marry every woman who shows up with one of my children.

LOTSI: You should use birth control, Bibi. I keep telling you.

BIBI: I can’t stand wearing a rubber.

LOTSI: Make them wear a diaphragm, then.

BIBI: But then they’ve got douche bags hanging all over everything.

LOTSI: It’s better than getting them pregnant.

BIBI: But they like getting pregnant. It’s something they can hold over my head. “See how big and ugly I am, and it’s YOUR fault.”

(RUTH comes in with coffee for BIBI and LOTSI)

LOTSI: Thank you, Ruthy.

BIBI: Are you planning to stay in Hollywood after the war?

LOTSI: No, I’m going back to Germany.

BIBI: Really.

LOTSI: God knows they’ll need artists. They’ve killed off all the good ones.

BIBI: Aren’t you afraid to go back there?

LOTSI: Why should I be?

BIBI: Well, when you consider how many of your people they’ve killed.

LOTSI: The Germans are my people. Why should I be afraid of them? Am I afraid of you?

BIBI: Maybe you should be.

LOTSI: Where are you going after the war? You’re not staying here.

BIBI: Not a chance. I’m definitely getting out of Hollywood. I’ve got friends in Moscow, maybe I’ll go there. You should go, too.

LOTSI: I couldn’t be a Communist any more than I could be a Nazi. I wouldn’t last a day in Russia. I’d say something somebody didn’t like and I’d end up in a death camp.

RUTH: There aren’t any death camps in Russia.

LOTSI: Of course there are. Do you think Hitler invented them? He’s a plagiarist; he stole the idea of the master race from the Ku Klux Klan and the death camps from Stalin.