(The street. CLIENT is 'asleep' on stage — under the Belltower. TOURISTS enter to music.)

TOUR LEADER:  Welcome all to Smith Street
     Named after a famous thief
     A picturesque burlesque
     A risqué place of mischief.

     Now, stick together, please
     don't be wandering off
     the denizens are dangerous
     they're full of rancorous wrath.
     And that's the folk that live here —
     the citizens on the hill
     Don't worry about the street folk
     they can't hate enough to kill.

     Here we have a monument
     a monumental monument
     can anybody tell me
     who's responsible for building this?

CLIENT:  A priapic pile of phallic pride
     a memorial to those who've died
     an excremental pile of crap
     a symbol of great hubris.

(TOURISTS and CLIENT freeze. All others enter running and take up positions. They freeze and then move slowly like automatons. NARRATOR enters. MR CLIPBOARD traverses stage during the following.)
NARRATOR:  Dawn birds taken for police radio
     outside her window
     skin no longer a delimiter
     they tread their beat in her
     and in the real
     Mr Clipboard does his rounds
     old man chafes at his sagging pants

     not even shopping or baggage
     deflects them
     we all look the same in the dark

     they are two sides of the one appetite
     circling    closing
     as small boys
     do wheelies

     "you waiting for a lift miss?
     just checking"

     Smith Street: John Citizen, Jane Citizen
     and every in-between citizen
     everyman, everywoman,
     any woman.

(ALL exit, except ANGEL and NARRATOR.)
NARRATOR:  Starting early today, Angel?

ANGEL:  You gotta get them before work.
     Lowers the tension levels for the day.

NARRATOR:  I've always meant to ask you
     where you come from.
     You just seemed to appear
     a few months back out of nowhere.

ANGEL:  Where do I come from? Who am I? Why am I here?
     A girl from the wrong side of the tracks?
     A farm girl lost in the city?
     An opportunist from St Kilda or the Cross?
     Who knows? What does it matter?
     I'm here and the birds are singing in Smith Street
     and the cops don't come out this early.

NARRATOR:  Not what I've heard.

ANGEL:  They're only barricading in the evenings.
     But I guess it won't be long.

NARRATOR:  I'm off to get some coffee.
     Catch you round.

ANGEL:  Yeah, later.

(ANGEL wanders back and forth between hell and heaven, as if waiting for something. After a couple of turns, she leans up against the belltower and begins to chant the following lines.)
ANGEL:  Though so many people live on this street
     it is rich in trees, grass, and birds;
     there is always a light shining through the night
     in the window of a flat — somewhere someone is awake.
     You are never alone, it's good to feel safe.
     Early morning movers come past throwing papers,
     making deliveries of legal and illicit substances.
     All cast an eye over me, some checking me out.
     I've blown men from all walks of life.
     Each has a technique they think especially cool.

NARRATOR:  Tell me about it!

ANGEL:  Sidling up and taking control
     or standing cow-eyed
     to draw me to their side.
     Then there are the crawlers, who pull you into their car
     before you've a chance to suss them out.
     One guy moved so fast he had me in there
     before I could shout,
     almost strangled me except I finally got out.
     That's when I took up Jack's offer
     to keep an eye on me
     though he takes half the earnings
     and charges me double for powder.
     Here he comes with that sarcastic leer
     wondering if there's any action.

(JACK enters.)
JACK (sung):  I'm the noted name in the robber's game
     I shoot my mouth I take no blame
     I scream my pride my mouth struck wide
     I stream the street I ply my trade
     I sell your meat I deal high grade
     I cut the stash I hawk your gash
     I split the deal the punters squeal
     I strut your stuff I call their bluff
     I fight to show my bluff's not blow
     I strip the park I haunt the dark
     I split their heads I wear cut threads
     I'm the monster mobster macho man
     the street's my gift the sky's my span
     I lunch at dusk I spit the husk
     to livid spies behind privet eyes
     my name is Jack my name is Jack

     I spin the name of the oldest game
     I give a flick don't give a fuck
     you turn a trick hand, hole, or suck
     I hold the bag you make a grab
     you're spellbound by my gift of gab.

     How's it going, Angel? Got some good gear
     coming in this evening, so look sharp.
     I like the morning when the air's clean.
     Though a bit of carbon monoxide
     goes with the territory! Look,
     we gotta watch out today,
     you know there's been some grumbling
     in the community,
     the Residents of the Precinct.
     They want your sort out of here.
     There's a lynch mob forming.
     I've heard a whisper from my contact
     that the wagons'll be pulling anyone
     working this street today. So if you see them,
     just keep walking,
     and turn into the Trinity
     where they can't touch you, okay?

ANGEL:  Okay.

JACK:  Whatever you do, don't carry any gear.
     I won't be far away, but I can't help you
     with the cops. And we can't afford hassles,
     'cause you still owe me for that last batch.
     Even if they lock you up,
     I'll get it out of you.

ANGEL:  I couldn't give a fuck.

JACK:  Oh, you will, bitch.
     You don't mess with me.
     you know that.

(ANGEL exits.)
     I've seen some weird shit
     over the years — people
     melt into pools on the floor,
     and then people forgetting
     they ever were. You know,
     not even obituaries.
     I've seen the bad air
     come out of the neat
     gardens and swallow houses.
     I've seen trees transform
     into people darker
     than the night, sucking
     everything in like gravity.

     The sky turns green the nightbirds scream
     it tears my brain shatters the pane
     gives my pain an altered frame
     my name is Jack my name is Jack
     my name is Jack and I'll be back

(JACK exits. Light onto MRS WALPURGIS and MR CLIPBOARD.)
MRS WALPURGIS (sung): There's a body inside this shell
     A heart beats behind the armour
     Flesh moves beneath the crust
     The carapace that shields my ardour

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Crusts cut off

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Ironed pleats

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Best-dressed girl

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Polished feet!

     I had a friend... did she know me?
     She dressed so strange; what could she show me!

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Pull the shutters down

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Support a closing down

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Drive them off the street

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS: The running feet

MRS WALPURGIS (sung):  There's a body inside this shell
     A heart beats behind the armour
     Flesh moves beneath the crust
     The carapace that shields my ardour

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Despise the deviant

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  A political expedient


Smith Street | Mudlark No. 19
Contents | Act 1, Scene Two