In Due Time

Article Index

PRATT, frothing. Great doom! Great doom! The prostitution of climbing! For the buck, he puts up a shuck! The game must be played well or not at all - to ascend is not to maul! We follow the natural line as free as can be, then nail to the extremity. A bolt or two if we must, but only after our balls we bust! And cameras and press go to hell! They show not the truth but what will sell! Climbing was our last escape in a country bent on rape. Now you bring the rape to us! My God, whom can I trust?
ROBBINS, hurriedly before HARDING can speak, and grabbing at PRATT and HERBERT. Then off the edge!
HERBERT, screaming. Mercy! I'm with child!
FROST, seriously. He's with child!
From the darkness toward the north, a chorus of voices can be heard to sing out:

See how decadent this lot!
They cry for mayhem
And their fiber is rot!
Look! How with ego fraught.
Now down with them
To the death they've bought.

ROPER, incredulously peering northward. WhattheholymotherofJesuswasthat?


A mob of bushy young climbers, powerful, gymnastic in build and carrying torches, emerge from the darkness. Their leader, with a profusion of locks, steps forward.

CHOUINARD. An apparition!
PRATT. Apparition, hell! Pink elephants!
ROBBINS, stumbling toward the LEADER. Name your game!
LEADER. To ascend! To ascend! To ravage the walls, ascent on ascent!
ROBBINS, coming closer to the LEADER. You're on!
PRATT, to ROBBINS. These are your children, fresh from the schools. Wash your hands of them.
ROBBINS, still staring down the LEADER. Too late. Too late.
FROST, shuffling. O happy days.
HERBERT, amiably, trying to reduce tensions. What a night for a bash. At 4 there's booze and hash.
HARDING, seemingly unruffled. I can dig it!
LEADER, ignoring all but ROBBINS. Do this! He starts to cartwheel.
ROBBINS, also cartwheeling. It's easy!
LEADER, fiercely handspringing. And this!
ROBBINS, with some effort. Not bad!
LEADER, flapping his arms and flying. And this!
ROBBINS, flapping, but earthbound. O No! I'm had!