(FOC): Scene 13

 

Scene 13: New York

A badly batter’d Joe Frazier is in a hospital bed, unconscious. At his bedside is Marvin. A female nurse & a male porter are outside the room, watching Frazier through a window.

Porter
Well there it is, in black & blue, Ali’s
The greatest fighter e’er to walk this Earth,

Nurse
You been taking your patients’ drugs again?
Joe Frazier will be shinin’ soon enough
Knowing he’s number one, your ‘Greatest’ down’d
With the most elegant punch ever see
Ali’s just a ropeboy in a cradle
While Frazier’s a fighter, a real fighter

Enter Muhammad Ali

Ali
Frazier’s not a great boxer, but that thing
He got going, he sure is great at that

Porter
Champ!

Ali
Don’t call me champ, for he’s the champ now

Porter
How ya feeling’

Ali
My jaw is killing me

Porter
Not physically, I mean, but up here

Ali
Whats the big deal, its just a fight that’s all
I just got paid two-point-five million
For having my ass whupp’d

Nurse
Dat good money

Enter Dr. James Giuffre & Dr Ferdie Pacheco

Dr. James Giuffre
Muhammad Ali, its a great pleasure,
& a great fight, a classic one could say
As much a worth of art as French ballet
In style & structure a liturgical
Ritual of accidental beauty
To watch the two of you in contention,
The killing ground of immortal fighters,
Then see you slammin’ canvas made me feel
Just as I did when Doctor King was shot
Tonight the bad guys won, or so it seem’d
I too oppose the war, & your defeat
Intensified into personal loss

Ali
I will be back to right this royal wrong,
Can count on it like summer runs from spring

Dr Jones
I sure do hope to see you champ again
But in the meantime…

Ali
Of course

Dr. James Giuffre
Nurse Johnson…

Dr. James Giuffre enters Frazier’s room with the Nurse

Dr Pacheco
Your X-rays say ya gonna be OK
But best to rest, to stay in overnight
& shoo away exhaustion’s wolfen claw
Which could the dangerous wound yet inflict

Ali
I sure am tired, one helluva fight, right?
But I sure aint stayin’ in overnight
I want it unrecorded the days
Of future poets writing songs & plays
That Smokin’ Joe did plant me in the wards
No! I’m goin’ back to the New Yorker
To lick these wounds & contemplate my fate
Don’t worry Ferdie, my beloved friend,
We aint thro’ yet

Porter
So what happen’d tonight?

Dr Pacheco
It was astonishing to say the least
I’ve never rated Frazier in the ring

Ali
Me neither, but my jaw says different

Dr Pacheco
Ya lucky that it aint broken brother

Porter
Well I never saw it coming myself

Ali
As I, too – I got so big I became
Intoxicated with so-call’d ‘greatness’
Thinkin’ I’d only need three miles a day
Of runnin’ for the fight, I did not try
As hard as I once did, convinc’d myself
I’d get by my talents natural
That would have simply prosper’d on the night
With princely prowess & a kingly claim!

Marvin emerges from the room with the nurse, visibily upset

Marvin
What you do to my daddy Muhammad

Ali
Hey, son, calm down… how’s yer daddy doin’

Marvin
Ehm – ehm

Ali
Look, what I said before the fight
It wasn’t real, I respect Joe Frazier
He’s just another brother workin’ hard
His family to feed, a genuine
Fella in the swamps of ungenuine

Marvin
I don’t think my daddy can hear my voice

Ali
He will, son, & soon – where ya goin’ now

Marvin
To get some candy

Nurse
Let me come with you

Exit Marvin & Nurse / Ali looks crestfallen through the window at Frazier / Dr. James Giuffre emerges

Ali
How is he

Dr. James Giuffre
He was very close to death
The pressure of his blood could rockets raise
His face spasming into bloody pulp
He was very close to death
The pressure of his blood could rockets raise
Stratosphere’d one-sixty over ninenty

Ali
Is that bad

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, it should be one-twenty,
While see that inflammation of the eye
Its practically an island

Ali
It looks bad
How’s his retina – has it been detach’d
As with Leotis Martin

Dr. James Giuffre
That is just rumour, his eyes are intact
With a healing period undisturb’d
All ends well should

Ali
Don’t tell him I was here

Exit Ali

Porter
Wow

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, something else aint it

Porter
It sure is

Dr. James Giuffre
Dont think we’ll ever see a fight as good
As that, they fought tonight like stallions
Enraged

Porter
This century aint over yet
& the seventies have only just begun

Exit Porter & Dr. James Giuffre in different directions / part one ends with poignant music & Frazier in a deep sleep, on his own in his bed


AND SO ENDS PART ONE OF THE GODS OF THE RING

THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s