Monday Night at the Movies

Monday Night at the Movies, performed by Wild Bill, liquor store stickup man, who either has a photographic memory or hides out in theaters. Tonight we near the end of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly with its Tooly-ooly-ooo Wah Wah Wah musical plot announcements. Bill squats center-stage, back against the bars, us on our bunks, theater in the round.

— Ok y’all remember from last week they out in the desert in the civil war the union dug in on this side an the two-inch deep river and the federates on the other an the captain of the union army tells Clint the battle for this rinkyass bridge don’t mean nothing they all going to die.

We remember. Last week I asked him where this desert was they fought the Civil War in.

“Fuck if I know, you the college boy.”

—so BOOM everybody charging both sides of the river to the bridge, camera gets up close on the hole in the end of the cannon, then it jerks up close BOOM, cannon rocks back, smoke dust, den spouts in the water where the cannonball hits, the greys charging toward the middle of the bridge and the blues going at them the other way, an Clint watching, eyes like this and the little cigar out the left side of his mouth, always just the left side, and he says

—[Clint Eastwood voice] “Never seen so many men wasted so badly.”

—An Tuco says, “Blahndie, the mahney’s on the other side of the reever.” Cause everytime in the movie they get near the money, the civil war comes in on them and fucks up their plan.

—[Clint] “What if somebody blew it up?

—[Tuco] “Yeah, then they go sahmwhere else to fight.”

—They see this box marked EXPLOSIVES on the side in stencil paint. Everytime they need something, it’s there and everytime they don’t need something it’s there too. They look at each other and the music goes into Plan music. BUT, just then two soldiers bring in a wounded man, blood on his face and his chest you know there’s a big hole in it, Clint looks down an it’s the Captain. SAD music. Clint turns the Captain’s head, shakes his head, gives him a bottle of whiskey which looks like one of them straw wine bottles.

—[Clint] Take a slug of this, Captain.

—But they need a stretcher and they can’t take the one out from under the Captain, so two soldiers come running with another wounded Blue guy and go behind these sandbags so Clint and Tuco follow them, knock em out, dump the wounded guy (you don’t see this so it’s ok), put the dynamite on the stretcher and run down to the bridge. Now they right in the middle of the war excep it’s silent, no fighting, you think everybody’s dead. They run past the bodies; they boots go squish squish in the water, now they under the bridge which is made of trees, tree trunks with the bark still on it, and built on big square blocks of rocks.

—Closeup on Tuco’s face while he’s tying the dynamite on the tree trunks and passing the fuse to Clint under the bridge. His eyes go back and forth, so you know he’s thinking. He says

—[Tuco] “Blahndie, you realize we’re reesking our lives.”

—[Clint] “Yeah. If I die you won’t get your hands on all that beautiful money. Yeah, Tuko. Pity.”

I can’t help myself. “Bill, if everybody’s dead, why don’t they just walk across the bridge?”

“Be cool, Missouri. I said you think everybody’s dead. Clint and Tuco they might get killed out in the open like that, and you couldn’ hear what they say and shit.”

—Tuko says they should tell each other their half of the secret, but who should tell their half first? Clint says “No I think it’s better you start” with that squint that makes who he’s talking to do whatever he wants em to do cause that’s a muscle type squint, so Tuco tells him where the cemetary is and Clint says

—[Clint] “The name on the grave is” and you wait and you wait, “Arch Stanton.”

—Tuco’s eyeballs go back and forth and they sweat. He don’t really believe Clint, and you don’t either, I don’t know why you don’t, maybe it’s the name Arch Stanton, which sounds phony, and anyway if Clint gave him the real name you figure Turco’d shoot him right there under the bridge, and he doesn’t, and he gave the name of the cemetary so fast you’re not sure he said the right name either.

— Clint lights the fuse which is about a inch long and they run all the way back to the union side and jump in these sandbags. The bridge blows up, man, it’s like Vietnam on color TV, orange flaming napalm smoke and slow motion, smoke goes up and trees and branches and planks all fly down like feathers. Now, what do Clint and Tuco do? This is cool. They fall asleep while everybody on the Blue side and the Grey side finish killinachother. See, Missouri, you only thought they was dead.

— Yeah. They blow eachother away all day all night anyway even with no bridge to blow eachother up about. Oh I forgot, the Captain dies happy before all this cause he thinks the stupid fighting is over when the bridge is blowed. Clint and Tuco wake up the next morning and hear birds singing and everybody’s stone cold dead all the way from where the bridge was to the top of the two hills on both sides. Not one, well one, but I get there in a minute, left alive, man, it is amazing. Clint and Tuco walk across the river

I wonder why a bridge was ever needed when they can walk across the river. I don’t ask.

—dead bodies all the way up the hill on the Federate side til they get to a little church-type-of-bombed-out building and there laying out is a dying federate soldier, white boy like you, Missouri. Clint narrows his eyes, lights his little cigarillo, hands it to the boy, lets him drag on it. Then he takes off his sheepskin vest that he wears under his trenchcoat and puts it on the boy, the kid takes three drags on the cigarette and dies, so Clint takes his vest back. You don’t know where Tuco’s been at all this time, but you seen a horse through one of the windows, only live horse in the whole place an just as the kid dies, Tuco jumps on the horse an rides away, you see him through the window, heading hot for the cemetary and you think, now he’s got Clint stranded, boy is our man in trouble right? wrong, cause here comes the Tooly-ooly-ooo Wah Wah Wah trick-gonna-happen music and you see that Clint is leaning on a Confederate cannon which is aimed right at where Tuco is going to be the minute the cannonball — which leaves the cannon after the fuse burns down which Clint lights with the cigar he gave the dying kid to smoke— hits. Get it? BOOM, Tuco's knocked off his horse onna a rock and you think for a second he’s dead, but what is the rock, it’s a gravestone of the cemetary where the gold is buried, this bigass cemetary in a circle

On and off flicker of lights.


Loudspeaker. “Lights out. Cell check.”

Monday Night at the Movies is over.

I wake early in the morning. Everyone asleep. Half-awake I think, I like it here.

Like it?

When I wake up again the mood’s gone, like the weekend at the Benedictine monastery in Ithaca. Woke up when matin bells rang across the snow, silence not of this world and thought the same thing - I like it here. The next day I had to get out fast — a spiritual prison, old priest showing slides: my trip to the Vatican, look, there I am kissing the Pope’s ring.