Mobius - An Exploration of Evil
A loud clapping sound called for attention. The group of men gathered near the center of the stage turned and gazed at the director whose voice was brisk, efficient and all business.
“This is a read-through, people. I want you to get used to the script, the pacing and your character. The set is minimalist - very few props. I'll decide the final blocking of the props based on today's walk-through. Tomorrow I want a full run-through in costume so today is the time to ask questions and make notes. We open next Thursday night, so concentrate."
Finrod had been cast as Max, the starring role in Martin Sherman's "Bent: The Play". This was a plum for him since it was the central character in an emotionally charged and challenging script. He had convinced other members of his family to audition and several of them had also been selected for roles in the play.
To his left, leaning against the back of the couch, was his brother, Orodreth who would be playing the role of Rudy. He usually didn't enjoy participating in these smaller theatrical productions but the script had fascinated him. Rudy was a dancer in a small nightclub located in 1934 Berlin. Orodreth had told Finrod that he was 'quite looking forward to prancing in front of an audience'. The older elf smiled as a picture of an earlier Age inserted itself into his mind. There was nothing quite like his little brother indulging his elvish nature while sashaying around on a stage.
Glancing to his other side, he caught Curufin winking at him. He and his sometime lover often worked together in stage productions. They had shared small community theaters, some off-Broadway locations and even a few Broadway plays together. In this production, Curufin played the role of Horst. He didn't appear until late in Act 1 but his role was intensive in Act 2. His role was both pivotal and gut-wrenching and would push his skills and emotions.
One additional elf was cast for the play – his lover's son, Celebrimbor. The youngest elf was standing off to the side flirting with David, an elegant transvestite who was playing the role of Greta. As a second-string character, 'Wolf' would die early in Act 1. Celebrimbor would then change costume and rejoin the cast as one of the ubiquitous and anonymous Nazi guards that had non-speaking or minimal speaking roles throughout the remainder of the play.
Finrod sent a quick mental reminder to the other three elves. Remember to reinforce your glamour. The others must not see us as elves – no pointed ears or uncommon physical attributes. Curufin rolled his eyes in response, just as the director clapped his hands again calling for attention from the cast members.
“OK, from the top. We'll work this through one scene at a time. Max, enter from stage left. Rudy, give him time to show how poorly he feels, then walk in.” The director turned and made his way down the side steps into the darkened auditorium, finding a seat near the center.
The rest of the cast moved off stage into the wings, awaiting their cues. Finrod stuffed his script into his back pocket along with a pencil to make notes as things came up during the rehearsal. Then as Max, he walked onto the stage. He entered the living room from the bedroom off stage, walking to the couch where he sat down heavily, cradling, his head in his hands. He moaned, giving evidence of a morning hangover. Rudy (Orodreth) entered shortly afterward, holding a cup of coffee. He handed the cup to his pained lover, then leaned over and gave his head a quick kiss.
While Rudy began watering a row of plants with a nearby watering can, he and Max proceeded through their opening dialog. They discussed Rudy's irregular dancing career and their lack of money to pay the rent. Max complained that he ached and realized he was bruised from the previous night's adventures which he admitted, he couldn't remember. Rudy poked one of the bruises, pointedly telling him that he had been so drunk he had climbed up onto a table to complain about their landlord's attempt to collect the rent. Then, his balance failing, he had fallen off the table, landing on top of a large man who was dressed in leather.
Both actors suddenly stopped speaking and looked towards stage left as Wolf (Celebrimbor) walked into the room. He was naked and stretching as he walked towards them, as if he was slowly awakening after an overindulgent night.
Wolf walked up to Max, and cupping his head, kissed him thoroughly. Releasing Max he walked past Rudy to the bathroom. Rudy called after him, pointing out that a bathrobe was hanging on the door that he could use. A quick discussion determined that the naked man was the leather-clad man Max had fallen on top of in the nightclub. Wolf reappeared on stage dressed in a short bathrobe. The three characters talked with one another. As the conversation progressed, it became obvious that Max had lied about everything he had told Wolf at the nightclub the night before. No, actually he was not rich. No, he was not Polish but rather was German. No, there was no car nor a country house. Quailing under the stare of the stranger, Max finally admitted that he had a habit of getting drunk and making things up.
MAX "… There is no money… sometimes I find people to invest in business deals, sometimes… I'm good at it… But right now, nothing. Rudy and I can't pay our rent. This rent. Right here…"(1, 1, p 16)
A loud knock sounded at the door.
Max walked to the door and opened it with a flourish, expecting his landlord to be on the other side trying to collect the rent money. Instead a Gestapo Captain and a Nazi officer in uniform stood in the partially opened doorway. Max quickly turned around, shutting the door in their faces. The door then shattered as the two men forced it open and entered the room. The Gestapo Captain pointed at Wolf who shrieked and ran off-stage followed by the two soldiers.
“BANG!” a gun sounded from off stage. Max grabbed Rudy's hand and pulled him through the splintered front door, each of them only dressed in bathrobes and pajamas. Two soldiers entered, pulling Wolf back into the room and the Captain slit his throat.
“Drop the lights, spotlight on Greta,” the director called out.
While Greta had her scene the four elves gathered backstage.
“Evil has never truly been vanquished, has it Finrod?” Orodreth asked. The subject matter and time period of the play was bringing back memories of the many encounters with evil that each elf had over the past Ages.
“No, my brother. It is always present in every Age and in every nation. Arda is grievously marred.”
Curufin spoke up. “Do you remember when Morgoth's siege forces finally broke down the walls at Minas Tirith, Orodreth? The fear and desperation that we all felt during that terrible night?”
“I remember as if it was yesterday. We fought for our very lives. I would have entered Mandos that very night if you had not pulled me away from that orc trying to sever my leg. If you hadn't been visiting the fortress I wouldn't have survived to stand at Finrod's side in Nargothrond.”
Curufin nodded. His eyes had a far-away gaze as he remembered the events of that bloody night so many long Ages before. “Yes, it was a battle hard fought and desperate. Orcs were pouring over the broken walls into the keep and Morgoth's balrogs were entering from the north. So few of us made it out that day.” He turned slightly and clapped his son on the back. “I thought I would never see you again, Celebrimbor. I was beyond relief when we came upon you awaiting us in the next valley, unharmed and accompanied by several of our best warriors...”
“And you came as fast as possible to me at Nargothrond where I gladly opened my gates to you,” Finrod said quickly before the others lost themselves on the paths of memory. “I was so happy to have my brother as well as my childhood friend and his son safely in my home.”
"Have I thanked you today for your hospitality, Fin?" Curufin asked as he pressed a hand to the back of Finrod's head, pulling him closer for a hard and thorough kiss.
Both Orodreth and Celebrimbor rolled their eyes.
“Evil continued to flourish, eventually even coming to Nargothrond. It continues to grow even today, sprouting up like a garden weed in two places whenever it has been plucked from one. Nazi Germany was a great work of the Dark,” Orodreth said, trying to pull the elves back into the present.
The elves looked at each other, their acknowledged memories of their multitude of battles against the Dark retreating in their minds once more. Turning back toward the stage, they refocused their attention on the play as the director's commands helped push them back into their roles and the script.
As the morning progressed, the director instructed and interrupted, paced and sat broodingly, and jumped up with commentary, corrections and suggestions. Finrod's script was acquiring penciled notations along the margins as they worked through the dialog scene by scene.
Within the context of the play, Max and Rudy become increasingly desperate as they tried to hide from the Nazis within a camp of resistance fighters. Although homosexuality had always been illegal in Germany, it had been conveniently ignored. Under the new regime, however, it had become a death sentence after the Night of the Long Knives when it had visited them personally with the murder of Wolf in their own living room. Now most captured homosexuals were brutally beaten and those who survived were sent to the labor camps.
The two lovers had no food, no money, and no prospects for escape. Out of options, Max managed to contact his long-estranged family and arrange a meeting with his Uncle Freddie. Freddie, speaking for the family, offered him safe passage to Amsterdam and new identity papers if he left with him immediately. But the papers were only for a single individual. Max felt obligated to turn the offer down because it Rudy was not included. He tried to bargain for Rudy's addition to the paperwork, but Uncle Freddie turned him down without recourse.
UNCLE “... Do you love him?”
UNCLE “The dancer.”
UNCLE “Do you?”
MAX “Don't be stupid. What's love? Bullshit. I'm a grown-up now. I just feel responsible.”
UNCLE “Fluffs can't afford that kind of responsibility. ...” (1, 3, p 24-25)
Max returned to Rudy who was camping in the forest with the Resistance. After an argument over food Rudy told Max that he loved him Then, since Max had no ready response to such a baring of Rudy's feelings, he joked with him instead, finally getting Max to smile. Holding hands, they began to sing, “Streets of Berlin, I must leave you soon, Ah!” Suddenly voices from the darkness surrounded their campfire, announcing that they were under arrest.
“And... drop the lights,” the director instructed the rigger. “Wait for ten seconds, then turn the spot onto the roughened corner at stage right.” He then pulled several of the cast members aside to discuss the next scene with them so the four elves gathered again.
Finrod had a faraway look in his eyes. “The mention of a campfire reminded me of when I first met Barahir. I saw the fire and crept down, then watched for hours before I finally entered the campsite. I sat down with my harp and began to play for them. I think it was my instrument and songs that kept them from killing me immediately when they became aware of my presence." He sighed, "I sometimes miss those days."
Curufin grasped his hand, squeezing it and running his down the side from his little finger to his wrist causing Finrod to gasp. Even after so many Ages his lover's touch could still create desire in him which moved from the back of his neck to his groin. After an exchange of quick smiles alluding to future promises, they separated and stepped apart.
“Are you ready to die, Orodreth?” Curufin asked as he pulled a hand through his sable hair. He turned to face the other elf. “Do you remember what you felt like when you were brought to Nargothrond, badly injured and nearing death?”
“I remember, Curufin. I remember how Mandos' hands felt - the chill of his touch coupled with my own despair. But the Vala is patient – he simply waited, knowing that he would eventually welcome me into his realm.” A shiver ran up Orodreth's spine, even though the stage lights had heated the stage.
Finrod nodded. “Bring that terror into this next scene, brother.” The four elves looked at each other. Of all the actors who were backstage, they were the only ones who had actually experienced death.
The director returned to his seat in the audience. “Places, everyone! OK. Act 1, Scene 5. Lights on. You'll hear the sounds of a train and a whistle will sound twice. Start your dialog after the second set of whistles.”
A single stark spotlight shone upon a corner of rough wood and five people clustered there. Max, Rudy and Horst (Curufin) huddled together with two other actors portraying Nazis standing guard.
Max and Rudy were terrified, watching one of the guards as he walked back and forth. Rudy whispered unintelligibly to Max, clutching at him as the guard approached.
“Give me your glasses,” the soldier ordered Rudy. He reached out and pulled the horn-rimmed frames from his face. “Intelligensia,” he barked out accusingly. Then roughly he grabbed Rudy and pulled him off-stage with him. Rudy cried out, "MAX!" as he left the stage.
Rudy's screams filled the air as he was beaten by the guard, but as Max moved to help him, the third prisoner, Horst, grabbed him and stopped him, telling him that trying to help would only cause his own death as well as Rudy's. As Rudy continued to scream off-stage, Max jerking each time he heard his lover cry out, Horst explained the system of prisoner ranking in the labor camp of Dachau, where he claimed they were heading. He pointed to his own jacket, featuring a pink triangle.
HORST “They took me to Cologne for a propaganda film. Pink triangle in good health. Now it's back to Dachau.”
MAX “Pink triangle? What's that?”
HORST “Queer. If you're queer, that's what you wear. If you're a Jew, a yellow star. Political – a red triangle. Criminal – Green. Pink's the lowest.” (1. 5. p 33)
Horst looked piercingly at Max, instructing him that if Max helps or even acknowledges Rudy in any way, he will also be beaten and killed. “If you can stay separated from your friend, reach the camp and pass inspection, you might survive another day.” Max realized with horror that he had to turn his back on his lover and his past, even his own homosexuality to continue to live.
Rudy was dragged back, semi-conscious and bloody. A guard grabbing him under the arms pulled him upright, holding him while the Officer looked carefully at Max. The Officer tried to get Max to admit that Rudy was a friend but Max denied it. The Nazi then pushed Rudy hard on his chest, causing him to cry out in pain. He ordered Max to hit Rudy, "to prove you are not friends." Max struck his friend lightly, but even that soft stroke caused him to scream out in pain. “Harder,” the Officer commanded. “And again... and again... and again… again… again….” Each time Max hit a bit harder until finally he was punching his former lover with all of his strength. At last, the Officer ordered the guard to release Rudy who dropped senseless on the ground at Max's feet.
Rudy moaned Max's name softly several times, but Max stood immobile staring straight ahead of him, ignoring the bloodied body of his former lover.
The train continued to travel down the tracks and the spotlight dimmed, then expanded to show the coming of morning. Light now shone on those in the transport car. Rudy was still lying at Max's feet without moving. The Officer returned and ordered Max off the train. He then kicked Rudy, declaring him dead. Max and Horst left, prodded by the rifle of an armed guard.
The spotlight dimmed then came on focused at the opposite side of the stage. A large barrel stood in the center of a cleared area, tended by a prisoner wearing a green triangle. He held a large ladle in his hand and bowls were stacked nearby. A short line of prisoners, including Horst and Max who was now dressed in a prison uniform, stand near him.
Horst walked up to the green prisoner who was ladling out soup. He looked in his bowl and began complaining that he had only received watery broth without vegetables but that the Jew before him had gotten soup from the bottom of the barrel. He was pointedly ignored, then pushed aside. Finding an empty piece of floor along the wall, he sat down with his broth. Max joined him a short time later. Horst noticed that Max's uniform had a yellow star, not the pink triangle he had expected to see. Max gave some vegetables to Horst and they began to talk.
HORST “...How'd you get the yellow star?”
MAX “I'm Jewish.”
HORST “You're not Jewish, you're a queer.”
MAX “I didn't want one.”
HORST: “Didn't want what?”
MAX: “A pink triangle.”
HORST: “Didn't want one?”
MAX: “You told me it was the lowest. So I didn't want one.”
MAX: “So I worked a deal.”
HORST “With the Gestapo?”
HORST “You're full of shit.” (1.6. p 38)
Eventually Max confessed that he 'proved' that he wasn't a homosexual to the Gestapo by having sexual relations with the corpse of a girl that had just been shot.
MAX: “... they said… prove that you're… and I did… prove that you're… lots of them, watching… laughing… drinking… he's a bit bent, they said, he can't… but I did...”
MAX: “I don't… I don't… know. I wanted...”
HORST: “To stay alive.”(1.6. 40)
Max sat, drained by his confession and the realization of how far he would go to survive. Horst reached out to touch his face and Max pulled away, stunned. “Don't touch me, I'm a rotten person.” Horst persisted, touching Max again who retaliated by hitting him. After a short time, Horst crawled away leaving Max alone. The spotlight faded into black. It was the end of the first Act.
The director stood up and walked to the stage. “Gather around, people. That was strong, well done. Take sixty to get your feet back under you and grab some lunch. We'll start working through Act 2 in an hour.”
“Whew! That was draining,” Finrod said as he joined the others backstage.
Curufin embraced him. “You're shaking, Fin. It's just a play.”
Finrod whispered, “For a moment I was back in Sauron's dungeon trying to keep my companions alive and protect Beren. Do you know what I held dearest while I was in that black hole?” He put his arms around Curufin's neck and rested his forehead against the other elf's.
“No, you never speak of those black days. What?”
“I kept reliving that single afternoon that we shared in the back garden off my rooms in Nargothrond. That one time that we came together in that life. Remembering you pulled me through the horrors and the terror until my death. Even after my rebirth I found couldn't forget that one day, that single afternoon.”
Orodreth turned to Celebrimbor. “He'll be lost in the past for the full hour. Come on, let's get some food.” The two of them left, walking through the side door into the street beyond. Curufin and Finrod remained behind, hidden in the shadows. They were the only two people left in the theater.
“That one afternoon,” Curufin said softly, pulling them farther into the drapery-clad, shadowed wings. “I also cannot forget it.”
Finrod felt a strong, capable hand cup the back of his head, pulling him forward against Curufin's body. Insistent lips found his and his lover's tongue ran across his lower lip, demanding access. His own lips opened and as their tongues began to explore each other's mouths, his arms went around the former smith's solid body attempting to pull them closer. The denim of his jeans strained and he gasped while Curufin's lips trailed down his neck to his shirt collar. Their groins rubbed together, each one feeling the erection the other had caused. Their mouths were still entwined, and their breathing hitched, becoming faster and shallower.
Curufin's hand moved down to unbutton the top of Finrod's jeans, his hand snaking inside the front placket. His hand cupped the former king's crotch, his thumb moving over the small wet spot that his pre-cum had left on his cotton briefs.
“Valar! Curu... ,” Finrod whimpered as he lost coherent thought, hoping that Curufin's hot mouth would move down to surround his cock and how incredibly good it would feel.
“Not so fast, lover. If you remember that afternoon clearly, you also remember how you pulled away from me, ordering me out of your garden after we had satisfied each other.” Curufin's hands rebuttoned Finrod's pants and he kissed his lips lightly. “Push the frustration you are feeling now into your character and our interactions on stage. Focus, my love, focus. I promise we'll carry things much farther after we return home tonight. I want your taste as much as you want my mouth.”
“Ouch! It's very unfair of you to bring me to the edge like this, leaving me to deflate on my own. I might just have to spank you tonight.”
“Promises, promises,” Curufin chuckled. “Now, let's grab a quick lunch and then get back. We don't want the dictator – oops, I mean the director – angry with us.”
The two walked out of the door, passing the first of the returning gaffers as they left. They glanced at each other, smiling with the knowledge that their timing had been perfect.
After lunch the cast gathered on stage once more. “Now we come to the second act, the crux of the play,” the director said. There is only a single set for all five scenes. There are two piles of rocks, one here, another over here. There is a fence across the back and the shadow of a guard tower overlooking everything. Let's play this out, with only small breaks between scenes.” He clapped his hands as he returned to his seat in the audience. “Places, everybody.”
Max leaned over, took a rock from one pile and walked slowly to the other pile where he put it down. Walking back to the first pile, he repeated the procedure. He was dressed in a striped uniform with a yellow star and was wearing a hat.
Horst entered from the side, escorted by an armed guard. The guard tells Horst that he will be working with Max who will explain the process. He emphasizes that he will be in the guard tower and will be watching at all times.
Max explained that they take a rock from one pile and carry it over to the second pile. When the rock pile has been moved completely, they will reverse the sequence. Every two hours they get a three-minute rest period when they must stand at attention without movement until the bell rings. This continues each day.
Horst looked over at a darkened area, a deep pit nearby that contained bodies. He shook his head, trying to dispel the stench. "Where do all the bodies come from?" Max explained the 'hat trick'.
MAX “Sometimes a guard throws a prisoner's hat against the fence. He orders him to get the hat. If he doesn't get the hat, the guard will shoot him. If he does get the hat, he'll be electrocuted.” Horst rolled his eyes and thanked Max reluctantly.
MAX “I spent money getting you here.”
MAX 'Yes, I bribed the guard.” (2. 1. p 48)
Horst was angry and told Max he wished he had stayed hammering rocks in the quarry instead of moving them. He refused to talk to Max, who ended the scene by expressing his frustration, “I thought you'd be grateful.”
Three days later Horst began to talk about the weather, finally apologizing about how he had acted like everyone else – without humanity. They continued talking about nothing, but talking while moving rocks all the time. The bell rang and they put down their rocks and stood at attention.
Their conversation passed beyond generalities, suddenly shifting to a new level. “I snuck a glance at you,” Horst admitted. They stood next to each other and could not look at each other directly, but Max was surprised by the admission.
Horst continued, “You look sexy. Without your shirt. Your body's beautiful.”
“I exercise,” Max responded. At an unbelieving grunt from Horst, he continued. “At night, I do push-ups and knee bends in the barracks.”
“After twelve hours of moving rocks?”
“Yes, you've got to keep your body strong. That's how you survive here.” Max admitted that he had snuck a few glances of Horst too and told him that he was also good looking.
The conversation moved around to the topic of sex and whether Max missed having sex or not. After a bit of back and forth, Max admitted that he missed sex.
HORST “We're here together. We don't have to miss it.”
MAX “We can't look at each other. We can't touch.”
HORST “We can feel...”
MAX “Feel what?”
HORST “Each other. Without looking. Without touching. I can feel you right now. Next to me. Can you feel me?” (2. 2. p 54)
Horst took the lead and started getting verbally intimate with Max. “I'm touching you. I'm kissing you – your eyes, your lips, your mouth. Inside your mouth. Down, down your chest. I'm kissing your chest. Hard. Down, I'm kissing your cock. Do you feel my mouth?”
Max was breathing more irregularly. “Yes, do you feel my mouth?”
Horst pushed farther. “Do you feel me? Do you feel me inside you? Strong. Stroke. Oh. Oh... Oh... I'm going to.”
Max responded in kind. “I want you inside me. I have you inside me. Strong. Hold. Strong. I feel us both. Strong. Feel. Feel. More... Now... Now! Oh! Oh! My God!” He had an orgasm.
Horst quickly followed with his own orgasm.
They celebrated together, still standing at attention without movement. Horst said, “They're not going to kill us. We made love. We were real. We were human. We made love. They're not going to kill us.”
Max responded, “I never thought we'd do it in three minutes.” They laughed as the bell rang.
The spotlight went off.
Curufin moved closer to Finrod and whispered “Those images you were sending me, the time of our meeting in your garden and other times more recently when we came together in heat and passion; they helped make my reactions authentic, but they were almost dangerous.”
Finrod chuckled, a sly smile across his beautiful face. “If we get any true orgasms out of the way during rehearsals maybe we'll be safe during the actual performances for an audience, don't you think?”
Curufin just growled softly and licked up Finrod's neck from his collar to just below his ear. “I think I'll just have to try to reverse the experience for you in tomorrow's rehearsal.” Finrod shivered and his cock twitched. Yes, he would enjoy their back and forth in this scene.
The spotlights came on again. The scene was set two months later and once more Max and Horst were standing at attention. This time they discussed suicide and insanity. Horst's barracks had been forced to stand outside all night because one of the prisoners had committed suicide.
The bell rang and they bent down and started moving the rocks. Max told Horst that he should never have arranged for his transfer from the quarry to the rock piles. Horst admitted that he was crazy, but said that it was because he was in love with Max.
HORST “Because I love you. [Silence.] I do. I love you. When I'm not dreaming about rocks, I'm dreaming about you. For the past six weeks, I've dreamed about you. It helps me get up. It helps me make sure my bed is perfectly made so I'm not punished. It helps me eat the stinking food. It helps me put up with the constant fights in the barracks. Knowing I'll see you. At least out of the corner of my eyes. In passing. It's a reason to live. So I'm glad I'm here.” (2. 3. p 60)
Max begged Horst not to love him, but Horst said it was his secret and it made him happy. He rubbed his eyebrow telling Max when he does that, it meant that he loves him. Then he started to cough.
Max still asked Horst not to love him. “Queers aren't meant to love.” Horst began coughing again. He admitted that it was probably because he had stood in the cold throughout the night. He coughed again, slipped and fell on the ground.
Max took two steps toward him.
HORST “Don't move! … If you help me they'll kill you. Get back to your rock.” (2. 3. p 61)
Horst pulled himself up and took up his rock, moving it toward the pile. He reminded Max that they can't help each other.
HORST “You don't even love me, so why are you going to help? We save ourselves.” (2. 3. p 62)
The lights go out, then come on again. It is two months later.
Horst's cough hadn’t gotten better. Max asked him about getting medicine from the kapo of his barracks but Horst turned the topic to discuss the cold instead. Max admitted that he no longer does push-ups in his barracks, instead he moved his fingers up and down, one at a time for a half hour to help stave off frostbite. They returned to the topic of Horst's health. He claimed that he has nothing his kapo would want, so he can't get medicine. The bell rings and they stand at attention.
Max said he'll warm Horst up by making love to him. Horst complained that he had a headache and can't. Max said Horst will feel the warm.
MAX “I'm kissing your fingers.”
HORST “They're numb.”
MAX “My mouth is hot.”
HORST “They're cold.”
MAX “My mouth is on fire.”
HORST “My fingers ...”
MAX “Are getting warm.”
HORST “Are they?”
MAX “They're getting warm.”
HORST “A little.”
MAX “They're getting warm.”
MAX “My mouth is on fire. Your fingers are on fire. Your body's on fire.”
HORST “Yes.” (2. 4. p 65)
They continued their interchange. Max bit Horst's nipple and he complained about Max hurting him. Max claimed that sometimes rough can be wonderful but Horst asked him why can't he be gentle.
MAX “People liked it when I was rough. Almost everyone. He didn't.”
MAX “The dancer. But everyone else did. Just a little rough."
HORST "Did you like it?"
MAX “I don't remember. I could never remember. I was always drunk. There was always coke. Nothing seemed to matter that much.” (2. 4. Pp 66)
Horst asked once more “Be gentle with me?”
MAX "Yes. Touching. Softly… I'm touching you softly… gently… You're safe… I'll keep you safe… and warm… You're with me now… You'll never be cold again… I'm holding you now… safe… and warm… As long as you're here, as long as you're with me, as long as I'm holding you, you're safe…" (2. 4. p 67)
The lights go out again, and when they come back on it is three days later.
Horst was still coughing but it sounded a bit better. Max had gotten medicine for him by giving oral sex an SS captain. He had told the officer that he needed the medicine for himself. They speculated about whether the captain was queer, but finally decided that it was possible.
HORST “There are queer Nazis... Just people. I really believe that. That's why I signed Hirshfeld's petition. That's why I ended up here. That's why I'm wearing this triangle. That's why you should be wearing it.”
MAX “Do you think that SS bastard would let a queer go down on him? Of course not. He'd kill me if he knew I was queer. My yellow star got your medicine.” (2. 5. p 70)
They talked about Berlin, how they would go back someday, together. An SS Captain entered the rock yard and stood still, looking at both Max and Horst. He called out to Max asking if he felt better. Max acknowledges that he is feeling better. “Remarkable,” the captain said and turned his attention to Horst.
Horst coughed. The captain stopped him. “You. Pervert. Are you ill?” (2. 5. p 72) Horst claimed he had something caught in his throat from breakfast. He was dismissed and told to carry on. He picked up a rock, then coughed again. Horst tried by suppress it but coughed yet again.
The captain ordered Max to watch carefully.
CAPTAIN [To Horst] "You."
HORST "Yes sir."
CAPTAIN “Throw your hat away.” (2. 5. p 73)
Horst threw it on the ground, but was told to pick it up and throw it on the fence. Horst looked at Max, warning him not to move or react, then threw his hat on the fence. The fence sparked.
The captain ordered Horst to get his hat. The guard standing next to the captain pointed his rifle at Horst. When Horst was almost at the fence, he suddenly turned and rushed the captain, scratching the officer's face as he falls dead from the gunshot the guard fired at him. Max was ordered to get rid of the body.
Max pulled Horst's body up, grabbing him under the arms and began dragging him to the pit. The bell rang. He stood still, holding Horst close to him.
MAX “It's OK, I won't drop you. I'll hold you. If I stand at attention, I can hold you. They'll let me hold you. I won't let you down. … I never held you before. … You know what? … Horst … I think... I think I love you. … I love you. … What's wrong with that?” He started to cry. (2. 5. p 75-76)
The bell rang. He pulled Horst's body to the pit and threw it in. He walked back to the rock pile and began moving rocks. After moving one, he stood still. He moved several more rocks, then stopped and took a deep breath.
He walked to the pit, jumping in and disappearing from view. He climbed out holding Horst's jacket with the pink triangle sewn on it. He puts it on, looks at the fence and walks toward it without hesitation. The fence lights up getting brighter and brighter. The stage is lost in light, so bright it almost blinds the audience.
Finrod walked off the stage, the others actors gathered around him, many just stroking his back or touching his shoulder before leaving him to his friends. He was shaking, the tracks of tears still evident on his face. Curufin embraced him, rocking him gently. As the director came up the side stairs to the stage level to review the final scenes with the actors, Curufin gently kissed Finrod.
“It's alright, Fin. One afternoon together was all we needed to carry us through our deaths and eventual rebirths. It was only one afternoon, but it was enough.”
“How can you say that?” Finrod exclaimed. “If I hadn't been so stupid, if I hadn't been so pig-headed and stubborn, insisting on waiting for a wife that I knew I wouldn't be happy with...”
“If I hadn't been consumed by my father's dream. If I hadn't spoken in haste, borne by the emotional overload of the moment. If I hadn't been cursed...” Curufin murmured. “One afternoon together was all we were destined to have back then. But the love that was started in that garden, the coming together of our souls, that has never left us. That love has buoyed us up through these many long years and trials as we continue fighting the Dark. Now we have each other again and I will stay this time. This time you will not drive me out.”
“This time,” Finrod said, as he pulled away from his lover ready to join the remaining cast members and listen to the director's critique. “This time I will not let you go without me. If you walk towards that fence, we do it together. Hand in hand.”
“Hand in hand,” Curufin agreed, and they turned and joined the others.
"Bent: The Play" by Martin Sherman was written in 1979 and first performed on the West-End in the same year. The title comes from the slang word "bent" which is used in some countries to refer to homosexuals. The main role of Max was written specifically for Sir Ian McKellen who starred in the original production as well as several additional times over the years. The original 1980 Broadway production starred Richard Gere. In 1997 it was made into a film. It has been produced numerous times throughout the world, always with tremendous impact. I used the edition: Bent: The Play by Martin Sherman, ©1979, 1998 by Martin Sherman. ISBN 1-55783-336-2, Applause Books, New York NY 10023.