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From Plays for Strolling Mummers, edited by Frank Shay, New York: D. Appleton and Company; 1926; pp. 37-54.



A Gastronomical Fantasy

By Theodore Pratt



The Scene is a well-known interior, more easily recognizable not from its appearance as from what is going to take place in it. The appearance, however, is very pleasant, clean, bright, and cheery. It gives, indeed, a first and lasting impression that it must belong to some very nice person, who believes in neatness and scrubbing. This impression becomes a certainty when we note the details of the interior. The walls are of a pleasing yellow, smooth and round at the back and at the sides, which come down and around to the edges of the opening in front, which we see in such a manner that it seems we are looking into a huge egg with part of one side cut away. At left, rear, there is an open chute which extends up into the left wall and disappears into an opening there. This is the entrance from the outside world, a much inferior world than the one on view, though, as we shall see, the inhabitants of this one, transient and permanent, do not seem to appreciate it. At rear, right, there is a small door. Above this door is a sign, “Entrance to the Digestive Tubes,” in large 38 letters, and below, in smaller letters, “Follow the Black Line.” There is a couch, with orange and yellow covers, at left, and another at right.

It is just before the arrival of dinner, the chief event in the day of this interior. The light, which gives a shadowy effect of unreality to the place, shows us everything there is to see. On each of the couches there seems to be something or some one lying down. In a moment the object on the couch at right stirs, moans, and sits up. It is YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE. He yawns and stretches his arms, and after looking about throws off a long orange cover and jumps to his feet. He is clad in a costume of yellow, goldenrod, gold, bronze, and burnt orange, with splashes of vivid scarlet and bright rose here and there. He proceeds to jump about a bit to limber himself up. He looks at the object still recumbent on the couch at left and then returns to his own couch and obtains there a perfume atomizer. He goes to center and begins to spray the air. While he is doing so the object on the couch at left goes through the motions of slowly coming to life in a rather feeble way. He throws off the things which have been covering him and sits on the edge of the couch, his eyes tightly closed. This is OLD GASTRIC JUICE. He is dressed in the same fashion as YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE, except that the colors of his costume are faded and pale, like OLD GASTRIC JUICE himself, and he has a white beard.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Yawning and stretching.]   Oh-h—uh, oh-h-h. . . .

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Still spraying.]   Get up, old man. It’s time for work.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [His eyes still closed.]   Oh-h—is that you, my boy?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [A little impatiently.]   Yes, yes. You ought to be up. It’s nearly dinner time.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   What are you doing?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I’m getting the air ready. Come on, hurry up; you’ve got to help.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Oh—ho. . .   [He gets his eyes open.]   There! I’ve got them open!   [Hunting about on the couch for his atomizer.]   Dinner time again! What a life!

[He finds his atomizer, gets up in a very leisurely way, begins also to spray the air.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Well, you don’t think I like it any better than you do, do you? Slaving down here in this hole, three meals a day, year in and year out!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Oh, I don’t kick about the work. I’ve been at it too long. We were made for it and we’ve got to do it. If you’re a gastric juice, you’re a gastric juice, that’s all, the same as if a person’s a man, he’s a man.   [Contemptuously pointing upward.]   Like this one.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   You’re always kicking about him, and his stomach. What’s the matter with them?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Stopping his work and looking at the YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.]   What’s the matter with them? What’s right with them? This frail, puny thing—ah, my boy, you are very young—

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [With a wave of the hand, youth’s deprecation of being accused of youth.]   Oh, well. . . .

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   If you could have lived in the times I have lived in, and worked in the stomachs I have worked in!


YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Where they much better than this one?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Much better? My boy, there was no comparison. I once worked in the stomach of Mark Antony! There was a stomach for you! What a beautiful spot it was! And what times we used to have there!   [Adding a condition.]   That is, when he was home. For when Mark Antony was in Rome he did as the Romans did, but when he was in Egypt he did what the Egyptians did.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I’ve read about his Egyptian trip. Wasn’t there a woman mixed up in it?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   My boy, there is a woman mixed up in everything. The only thing I didn’t like about Cleopatra was the stuff she used to feed Mark Antony. It kept us working day and night, and then we didn’t know what to do with most of it. Peacock’s brains, crocodile’s liver, hornet’s feet, plover’s breasts, and the throats of buzzards—ah! They were almost as bad as the things this man sends down.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Why did she have all those strange things to eat?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Because she was beautiful.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Must a person eat such things to be beautiful? Why, the first job I ever had was with a beautiful girl, and she didn’t have things like that. In fact, she was trying to get a part as an actress and some days she didn’t have anything to eat at all.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Peacock’s brains were not strange in the days of Cleopatra. Ideas change, my boy, through the ages, like government, or religion, or clothes. There is only one thing that never changes. That’s love.



OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Have you ever been in love?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   No—I can’t say that I have.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   You have never loved anybody?


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   What a happy soul is here!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Inquiringly.]   Why do you say that?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Because, my boy, love is a terrible thing.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   What happens when you are in love?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Everything. Nothing. A lot of things you never expect could happen.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   It must be very interesting.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Sometimes it is. I once was in love with a chicken-wing, a pretty little thing. She had the bluest of eyes and the whitest of skin. I was young them, like you, and I adored her—until she ran away with a piece of turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Then there was the Irish potato I fell in love with. We promised eternal devotion and an hour later she eloped with a fried egg. Women are fickle things, my boy. Take my advice and never fall in love.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [A little eagerly.]   I should like to know how it feels. Tell me more about your love affairs.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   No. Let’s talk of something pleasant.   [Contemptuously, and looking upward.]   Such as what he’s going to send down to us to-night.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I hope he hasn’t gone to the Presto Lunch again.

[There is a sliding noise from above.]

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Here comes something.

[They turn to look at the chute at left.   BAKED POTATO 42 slides down the chute, lands in a heap at the bottom, and climbs awkwardly to her feet, dazed. She is stumpy and heavy in appearance, with odd-shaped eyes on all sides of her.]

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   A baked potato.   [To YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.]   He must have been invited out to dinner.

POTATO.   [In a cracked, old women’s voice.]   Oh! Oh! What has happened to me? Where am I?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Going to her.]   You have arrived in the stomach, madam, where the gastric juices will entertain you—

[He sprays her with his atomizer.]

POTATO.   [Backing away, right.]   Oh! Oh! Don’t do that!    [YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE sprays her with his atomizer.]   Oh! Oh! You are killing me!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.    [Standing at her right.]   There! That’s all for the present. We’ll stand you here to soak a bit.

[Baked POTATO, ill and miserable, stands dejectedly moaning and groaning and looking about in all directions with her queer eyes. YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE begins to go left, and as he does so PIECE OF CELERY slides down the chute and lands in a fragile white heap on the floor. She springs, wide-eyed, to her feet near old OLD GASTRIC JUICE. PIECE OF CELERY is a slim, pretty girl clad in long streamers of white, with a dainty headdress of waving ostrich plumes .

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Spraying her with his atomizer.]   A nice little piece of celery.

CELERY.   [Shrinking back.]   Where am I? Oh! You hurt me! You hurt me! Why did you do that?

[As CELERY backs away from OLD GASTRIC JUICE to YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE, YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE 43 raises his atomizer to spray her. As he does so she turns and their faces meet. Their eyes hold each other for a few silent seconds, and YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE lowers his atomizer.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Why—why. . . .

CELERY.   [Looking at him.]   You won’t hurt me, will you? Say you won’t hurt me!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Slowly, looking at her.]   I won’t hurt you.

CELERY.   Oh, thank you! He hurt me terribly, and you won’t—?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Fascinated by her.]   I don’t want to hurt you.

CELERY.   Oh, I like you!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I wouldn’t hurt you for the world.

CELERY.   I’m sure I like you! And you—do you like me?


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Who has been watching them, interrupting.]   Be careful, my boy! You are walking on dangerous ground. Here—I’ll spray her a little. . . .

[He makes as if to do so.   CELERY gives a cry.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Springing before her.]   No! Don’t touch her!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   My boy! My boy! Do you know what is happening to you?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   It doesn’t matter. I don’t want you to touch her.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   And why not? Tell me, why not?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Because—   [He looks at CELERY.]   I love her!

[OLD GASTRIC JUICE bursts into laughter.]


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Oh, ho-ho-ho-ho! Ha! Ha! You have found love very soon.   [They pay no attention to him, but look at each other steadily.]   Ha! Ha! Ha! Then I shall have to spray the potato again.

[He moves toward her.]

POTATO.   [Running left in terror.]   Oh! Oh! No! No! Oh-h. . . .

[OLD GASTRIC JUICE captures her at left and sprays her again. She moans and groans and seems to wilt.    OLD GASTRIC JUICE leaves her and returns to YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE and CELERY.]

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   What! Still looking into each other’s eyes! She doesn’t love you, my boy. She only pretends to so we won’t spray her with our acids.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Without taking his eyes from CELERY. questioningly.]   You—?

CELERY.   I love you!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Center; skeptically.]   Ha-ha!

[YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE leads CELERY tenderly to his couch at right. There they sit, looking into each other’s eyes.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   You are very beautiful.

CELERY.   Your eyes are flames that burn a warmth in me.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   You are like a white rose petal.

CELERY.   The moment I saw you my fibers trembled with joy.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Your lips are like cherries with dew on them. I love you.

CELERY.   I love you.

[They kiss. OLD GASTRIC JUICE has gone left to BAKED POTATO, who still moans. He sprays her again and she groans louder than ever. He stands there, looking at the lovemaking of 45 YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE and CELERY and adds his laugh to the lamentations of BAKED POTATO.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I will love you for ever and ever!

CELERY.   I will love you for ever and ever!


[There is another arrival by way of the chute.   SMALL STEAK slides down, falls heavily, and gets up aggressively. The lovers pay no attention to him.]

STEAK.   What the hell is this?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Going to him.]   Merely a place for small steaks like you to come and rest awhile.

[He sprays him. No effect is noticeable.]

STEAK.   What’s the idea?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I am preparing you for the Digestive Tubes.

STEAK.   Huh! You can’t hurt me!   [Roaring.]   I’m tough!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Most of you are. Especially those of you this man eats.   [He sprays him again.]   There! Did you feel that?

STEAK.   The prick of a pin!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [To YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.]   My boy, we’ve received another shipment of—   [Looks doubtfully at SMALL STEAK.]   steak. Stop your lovemaking. I need your help.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Looking at CELERY.]   Dearest, I must leave you for a moment.

[Their gaze lingering even as he leaves her, he goes left, and with OLD GASTRIC JUICE, sprays SMALL STEAK.]

STEAK.   Ha! You can’t hurt me! I’m tough!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   We’ll see. We’ll see.    [To YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.]   The potato is ready.


[They go to BAKED POTATO, spray her through her moans, and then take her to the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes at rear, right. Here she balks and groans loudly, but they spray her once more, open the door, and thrust her in. she gives a cry which is cut off with the closing of the door. YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE returns quickly to CELERY, while OLD GASTRIC JUICE goes to SMALL STEAK.]

STEAK.   [Who has watched the proceedings.]   Do you think you’re going to put me in there?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Spraying him.]   Shortly. Shortly.

STEAK.   Ha! I’m tough!   [OLD GASTRIC JUICE sprays him again and this seems to be felt.]   Sa-ay, lay off that!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I wondered what love was like, and now I know.

CELERY.   You are like crisp brown leaves in autumn. I want to lie in your arms.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Taking her in his arms.]   You are like a warm rain that falls upon my face.

CELERY.   I am very happy, and very tired.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Then you must rest. Lie here and rest and I will cover you with a robe of gold.   [He gets up; she lies on the couch and he covers her.]   I have work to do, but when I am through, I shall lie beside you.   [He bends and kisses her.]   I love you.

CELERY.   I love you.

[He gazes at her. She sleeps. Something slides down the chute, and he turns. It is SLICE OF BREAD. SLICE OF BREAD is a thin, timid girl, frightened and awed by this strange place. She gets to her feet and looks about bewilderedly.]


BREAD.   Oh! Where am I?

[Without taking the trouble to answer, OLD GASTRIC JUICE sprays her.]

BREAD.   Oh! Oh! What are you doing to me?

[He sprays her again and she cries out in pain.]

STEAK.   [Manfully to the rescue.]   That’s a fine way to treat a young girl! You—    [OLD GASTRIC JUICE sprays him and it seems now to take effect.]   Sa-ay!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Spraying BREAD again.]   A little more.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Spraying her. She cries out again and wilts.]   She’s ready.

[They take her to the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes and thrust her in. She gives a frightened chirp as she disappears into the blackness. As she does so, two new members arrive down the chute and fall in a heap together on the floor. They are SLICE OF CUCUMBER, a tall, skinny, disagreeable man, and GLASS OF MILK, his wife, a short, squat, disagreeable woman.

MILK.   [As they extricate themselves.]   Get off my leg!

CUCUMBER.   Stop kicking my ribs!

MILK.   [On her feet glaring at him.]   I wasn’t kicking your skinny ribs!

CUCUMBER.   I wasn’t sitting on your fat leg!

MILK.   My leg isn’t fat!

CUCUMBER.   My ribs aren’t skinny!

MILK.   They are!

CUCUMBER.   They aren’t!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Going to them and spraying each of them.]   Stop that noise! Stop, do you hear?

MILK.   Don’t do that!



MILK.   Why should we stop our noise?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Because you will wake her.

[He goes to CELERY on the couch and stands looking at her in sleep, entranced. OLD GASTRIC JUICE goes to the two newcomers and sprays both of them.]

MILK.   Don’t do that!


MILK.   I don’t like this place.

CUCUMBER.   He hurt me.

MILK.   I’m glad he did.

CUCUMBER.   I hate you!

MILK.   Oh, you don’t love me any more? Why did you marry me?

CUCUMBER.   Because I loved you.

MILK.   Why don’t you love me now?

CUCUMBER.   Because I married you.

MILK.   How I hate you! You with your skinny ribs!

CUCUMBER.   I hate you—you with your fat legs!

MILK.   My legs aren’t fat!

CUCUMBER.   They are!

MILK.   They aren’t! Skinny ribs!

CUCUMBER.   My ribs aren’t skinny!

MILK.   They are—!

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Going to them again.]   Stop!   [He sprays both of them, and is joined by OLD GASTRIC JUICE.]   We can’t have any more of this!

[They both spray the arguing married couple and steer them to the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes.]

CUCUMBER.   They aren’t! Ouch!

MILK.   Don’t do that! They are!

CUCUMBER.   Ouch! They aren’t!

MILK.   They are! Don’t do that. . . .


[They disappear into the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes, still in hot argument.]

STEAK.   [Coming forward again.]   You’ll never put me in there—I’m tough!   [YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE attempts to spray him, STEAK evades him but is caught by a full spray from the atomizer of OLD GASTRIC JUICE.]   Hey!   [He runs to one side.]   That stuff stings, like pepper.   [Regaining his courage.]   But I tell you I’m tough!

[Some soft, round green objects, like stuffed balloons begin to roll down the chute, one after the other.]

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   A bunch of grapes, my boy. We’ll do it first and then finish him.

STEAK.   No, you won’t! I’m tough!

[The grapes are followed down the chute by the grape-stem, with two or three grapes still clinging to it. BUNCH OF GRAPES is a withered, worried old man.]

GRAPES.   Oh, my beauties! My beauties! Where are you? Where—? They’re taking you away from me.   [He begins to scuttle about, gathering his grapes and fastening them upon himself again, YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE has gone again to his couch at right, where he stands, looking down upon the sleeping beauty of CELERY.]   There! My beauties. . . .   [OLD GASTRIC JUICE sprays him.]   Oh! You stabbed me! I’m an old man, sir, you—my beauties. . . .   [OLD GASTRIC JUICE has sprayed him again and the grapes, one by one, slowly begin to shrivel and dry up.]   You’re doing something to them, hurting them—my beauties. . . .

[GRAPE’S words are reduced to a low mumbling whine as he shrinks into a dried thing under the spray of OLD GASTRIC JUICE. OLD GASTRIC JUICE 50 now leads him to the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes at rear and gently puts him in.]

STEAK.   [Glaring in rage and muttering to himself, he strides toward OLD GASTRIC JUICE, who has his back to him, as if to do a lot of damage.]   Ha-a! You won’t put me in there! I’m—   [OLD GASTRIC JUICE turns about and sprays STEAK just as he reaches him. STEAK recoils, wounded.]   Ow!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [To YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.]   Come, my boy, let’s be done with this tough gentleman. One more spray or two—

[He sprays STEAK again, who then runs out of harm’s way. YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE joins OLD GASTRIC JUICE in the pursuit; they corner him and spray him plentifully.]

STEAK .   I tell you I’m tough! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh-h. . . . I’m still—tough. Oh-h-h. . . .

STEAK remains rather tough, but he is beaten, and they lead him, still fighting, to the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes.]

STEAK.   [Making a last stand.]   I’m tough! I won’t—go in—there. Oh! Oh-ha-aa. . . .   [They thrust him, still spraying, into the entrance. He gives a final roar.]   I’ll raise hell in here!

[He is gone. The two GASTRIC JUICES return down.]


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Looking up the chute.]   I think so. There may be more.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Going right.]   My beloved!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Turning to him.]   My boy!


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Let us—while she sleeps—spray her, too.



OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   It will be better.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   She does not love you.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   She does love me.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I know that she does not.

[While they speak, another person, unseen by them, slides softly down the chute and lands lightly on his feet. It is BONBON. BONBON is a beautiful young man with pale gold hair. He is clad in a wondrous hue of lavender, which clings closely to his lithe form. He looks about, sees the two GASTRIC JUICES conversing at center, and then discovers CELERY on the couch at right. CELERY stirs, wakens, and raises herself on one elbow. The first thing she sees is BONBON. They stare at each other in the same manner she and YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE had stared at each other.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Don’t you think I can tell from looking into her eyes?


YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   From touching her hand?


YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   From kissing her lips?


YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   How do you know such things?

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I know that she is not your kind. I, too, have loved some of the things that have been sent down in the places where I worked, beautiful bits of food from the outside world. But they are not our kind, and we can love only our kind, as she can love only hers. Anything else is false.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Well, we are different. We 52 are alike, exactly alike.   [He turns to CELERY.]   My love. . . .

[He sees her, raised on one elbow, gazing rapturously at something behind him, and stops. He looks to see what it is at which CELERY is looking, and with a start, discovers BONBON. As he stares, BONBON goes to CELERY and kneels by her. ]

BONBON.   You are very beautiful.

CELERY .   Your eyes are flames that burn a warmth into me.

BONBON.   You are like a white rose petal.

CELERY .   The moment I saw you my fibers trembled with joy.

BONBON.   Your lips are like cherries with dew on them. I love you.

CELERY .   I love you

[They kiss.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Wait!   [BONBON leaps up, CELERY starts to her feet, and they stand clinging to each other, looking at YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE. To CELERY.]   You don’t love me?

CELERY .   I think you are very nice.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   You love him?

[She does not answer, but turns to BONBON’S eyes, and they stare at each other.]

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Oh! Do you know that if it is he you love, and not me, that you cannot stay here?

CELERY.   [Staring into BONBON’S eyes.]   Yes.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   That you will have to go—in there?

CELERY.   Yes.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Then you would rather go 53 to death with him than stay with me and live?

CELERY.   Yes.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [With a cry.]   Ah! If this is love then give me something worse than pain!

[He stands, in grief.]

CELERY.   [To BONBON.]   Come. Let us go.

[Together they go rear to the Entrance to the Digestive Tubes and there, without hesitating, go in.]

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   My boy, I am age and you are youth. I gave you advice, but like youth, you refused to take it. You had to find experience for yourself.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Perhaps it is best.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I once said the same thing.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I said that, too.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Well, the only thing we can decide about it is that we’re through work for the day. Nothing to do until breakfast. I hope he doesn’t have eggs again.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Throwing himself despondently upon his couch at right.]   It doesn’t matter! Nothing matters!

[The place is beginning slowly to get dark and continues to do so until a shadowy, waxlike hue suffuses it. OLD GASTRIC JUICE goes to his couch and proceeds to go to bed.]

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Oh-ho! Another day gone.


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I wonder how long I’ll have to work here.


YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I’ll never fall in love again, old man.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   I’ve been here fifty-four years now. He can’t last much longer. . . .

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   I was a fool to tell her all those things.

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   The last fellow I worked in only lived twenty-six years. You don’t always have that luck. . . .


OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Half asleep.]   What is it?

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   [Terribly.]   As long as I live, I’ll never fall in love again. I’ll hate women to my dying day. Do you hear? I’ll hate them, and I’ll never fall in love again!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   Uh. That’s good.

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Never! Never!   [There is a short silence. Both seem to doze into sleep, but in a moment YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE raise himself up and calls out.]   Old man!

OLD GASTRIC JUICE.   [Sleepily.]   Yes, uh. . . .

YOUNG GASTRIC JUICE.   Maybe there’ll be some more celery to-morrow night.



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