Bertolt Brecht - Happy End

(Thud of a newspaper hitting the front door. ALL duck. NAKAMURA motions to BABY FACE, who cautiously goes to the door.)

BABY FACE. Hey, da paper’s here.

(ALL relax. He brings paper in.)

BABY FACE. I got dibs on the funnies. (Unfolding paper, glance at headline.) Hey, look at this: “BAXLEY GANG ROBS TRAIN.”

(Everyone reacts. BABY FACE reads.)

BABY FACE. “Niagara Falls, New York – special dispatch. Concerned citizens looked on in horror yesterday evening as the infamous ‘Gorilla’ Baxley gang robbed the Chicago-Buffalo express train of over twenty thousand dollars in cash and gold bull-lion.”

(By this time ALL are on their feet and moving towards BABY FACE. On “twenty thousand dollars” they ALL stop dead, in unison.)

SAM. Twenty thousand dollars!

PROFESSOR. Wait till Bill hears about this!

BABY FACE & REVEREND. (REVEREND is now looking over BABY’S shoulder.) Sh! “This gang of bullies further outraged respectability continued on page fourteen.”


REVEREND. Well, turn it, lunkhead!

(BABY FACE turns page. ALL are now clustered around paper.)

BABY FACE & OTHERS. “by boarding the train at Niagara Falls depot disguised as a wedding party. This mockery of the Christian sacrament was compounded by the repulsive Baxley himself being costumed as the bride. It is time, surely, for a new reign of law and order.”

SAM. Twenty thousand dollars!

BABY FACE. Bill’s gonna explode!

PROFESSOR. He hates Baxley’s guts anyway.

REVEREND. Baxley, Baxley, Baxley. Why don’t we get breaks like that?

NAKAMURA. Calm, gentlemen. Our turn yet to come.

REVEREND. Sure, like Christmas.

NAKAMURA. Do not mock, Reverend. Important news arrive soon.

SAM. That’s right, the Fly said we had a big job coming up.

REVEREND. Well. We know her idea of a big job – shaking down some kraut druggist for six bits and a bottle of Sloan’s Liniment. I ask you, what kind of professional crime is that?

NAKAMURA. (Firmly.) Promote calm on troubled water, Reverend.

REVEREND. Calm? This gang is so calm it’s got rigor mortis. You’d think it was impossible for a crook to earn a decent living. But it’s not: Look at Gorilla Baxley. I have to admire a man like that, even if he is our competition. He has enterprise; he aims high. And as my sainted mother used to say, a man who aims high is a great man. Not some penny-pushing gunslinger like our Bill. Gorilla Baxley is a great man. Gorilla Baxley is ambitious, Gorilla Baxley is imaginative, Gorilla Baxley is . . .

BILL. (Who has come in unobserved during this. He is holding a battered hat. His face is bruised.)


(BILL goes to the hat rack and hangs the hat with the other hats. He takes a piece of chalk from his pocket, and chalks above the hat the initials ‘G. B.’)

BILL. That’s for you, Reverend. Yesterday a great man – today a little inkblot in the Book of Life.

(GANG crowds over to shake BILL’S hand and congratulate him. MIRIAM throws him the keys to the bar.)

BILL. Thanks, sweetheart.

NAKAMURA. A fine achievement, Bill. Congratulations. Fly isn’t going to like this at all.

BILL. Stick the Fly. I can handle her. I can handle the both of youse . . .

achievement – /accomplishment/ wyczyn
to admire – podziwiać
to aim high – mierzyć wysoko
battered – sponiewierany
break – szczęście
informal; a lucky opportunity that one gets to achieve something, eg. I went to the audition and got a break performing Romeo.
bruised – posiniaczony
bullion – sztabka
bully – tyran; zbir
cash – gotówka
cautiously – ostrożnie
to chalk – pisać kredą
to cluster – skupić się (wokół)
competition – konkurencja
to compound – pogłębiać
formal; to make a problem or difficulty even worse, eg. The death of the Queen only compounded Hamlet’s tragedy.
concerned – /worried/, zatroskany, zaniepokojony
crookinformal; kanciarz, oszust
decent – przyzwoity
depotAm.E.; dworzec
dibsinformal; forsa; prawa do czegoś
W tym znaczeniu – uwielbiam (I have dibs on . . .)
disguised as – /dressed as/ przebrany za
dispatch – depesza
druggistAm.E.; aptekarz
to duck – uchylić się
to earn a living – zarabiać na życie
enterprise – przedsiębiorczość
funniesAm.E.; komiksy
to glance at – zerkać na
gunslingerslang; uzbrojony bandyta
to handle – radzić, poradzić sobie
hat rack – wieszak na kapelusze
to hate sb’s gutsinformal; serdecznie kogoś nienawidzić
headline – nagłówek
imaginative – twórczy, pomysłowy
in unison – zgodnie, w tym samym czasie
infamous – /notorious/ niesławny (znany z czegoś złego)
inkblot – kleks
krautslang, offensive; Szwab
liniment – mazidło
lunkheadAm.E., slang; kretyn
to mock – kpić
mockery – kpina
to outrage – pogwałcić, np. prawo
penny-pushinginformal; „za dychę”
repulsive – /disgusting/ odrażający
rigor mortis – sztywny (jak trup)
shake downAm.E.; szantażować, zastraszyć
stickslang; do licha (z kimś)
thud – głuchy odgłos
to unfold – rozwiązać, rozwinąć

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