Empty Bowl by Martin Heavisides

Either hoeing the garden
or washing bottles at the well,
making soup for a sick man
or listening to someone else's child
studying books, stacking logs
writing to the local paper
or pulling that stubborn lamb
into our world, I know
the song which carries my neighbour
from one thing to the next:
Earth feeds us
out of her empty bowl."
--Peter Levitt

____________________When I was young,
I had not given a penny for a son
Did not the poet
Sing it with such airs
That one believed he had a sword upstairs;
--W.B. Yeats

inch foot

Indistinct murmur of voices. The stage is in blackness except for a follow spot on a pair of feet in pointe slippers. which--against a sudden terrific howl of wind--step, the left foot first and then the right, from a platform about fifteen feet above the stage floor to a glimmering tightrope wire. Hesitant at first and then more purposeful steps.

"Are you ready?" says a voice out of the murmurs, its last syllable jolted by a clap of thunder with reverberant echoes, the seventh and last of which is no more threatening than the sound of distant gunfire. Step by step as the wind subsides beneath a rising patter of rain, the illuminated feet move cautiously forward. Murmurs, rising roar of wind and rain.

"Can they fire you for that?"
"You don't take Visa?! That's the most horrible thing I ever heard!" "heaped in every direction, bone showing through"

Very faintly, gone almost before it's heard, the tinkling of a little bell. "colour of their blood and the colour of our money"

Lashing torrential rain, whipped by a rising fury of wind. Slow but steady movement of the light across the wire.

"Man, old Zeke was whalin'!"
"Who do you like as the killer?"
"revolutions of the sun"
"if you become... naked"
"heaps of love and hunks of sugar"
"I don't think I like your tone." Gunshot.
Rain and wind have subsided somewhat beneath the rising tide of words. "Fifty million dollars! why--that's a small fortune."
"piles of money to be made and no competition but idiots"
"I'm not saying we won't get our hair mussed. (static) ten to twenty million dead, tops! Depending
on the"
Static now rises, an arrhythmic pulse beat, above the subdued noise of wind and rain and voices.
Small battered phrases nevertheless struggle up to audibility here and there. "don't believe anything they" static
"but the light vanished" static "coping but it's tough" .. . "portents and dreams".. . "did you hear about. .. ?" ...
"know her all that well but even so--can you imagine?"... "can you imagine?" ...
"can you imagine?"

Static accompanied by shrieks and wails in waves that crest and trough. Slow steady footsteps. The light and the tightrope walker follow the wire off right. In the blackness onstage, static, wind, rain-ÂÁ sudden silence.

Act I

Scene i Ainu, Eshun, Nobunaga See Me Now

Spotlight up just to the right of Mid Stage Centre on Hakuin, a Zen master in front of a brazieer on which a tin pot comes to a boil. He is preparing tea--before him is a glazed red teapot and two small glazed yellow cups without handles.

He begins to run through some variation of the tea ceremony and continues with it at a slow, stately pace as Ainu, Eshun and Nobunaga each appear in tum.

Spotlight Down Stage Left into which steps a man in a Japanese kimono, rough grey peasant variety. The right sleeve is empty and pinned to the shoulder. The left arm holds a crutch, without which he couldn't stand because his left leg appears to be empty as well.


I have not always been as you see me now. Once I wore peasant garb much like this, but i filled it out better with the full human complement of limbs. Went on day after day, two arms, two legs, all the eyes anybody could ask for or usually gets, gamboling, disporting, happy-go-lucky in the hours of riot and frenzy rescued from the typical bleak day's march of backbreaking toil, which paid for the disporting, never enough of that, always too much toil, never enough happy oblivion in the arms of a woman or a saki bottle. Yes it's true! (shakes empty sleeve) even the saki bottles had arms then or seemed to if you'd taken enough cups. Why could I never land a job crating saki and carrying it to market for some ambitious merchant? The work's no easier perhaps, but the chief goal of working--to forget for a few precious hours that you have to, until you have to again--can be purchased more easily transporting rice wine than in the fields of rice destined for conversion.

Then I was a warrior in resplendent armour--foot soldier, not the gleam and glitter of a samurai, flame red breastplate so blood won't show, streaked with gleams of pure gold hammered and spun into thread, mailed brass, bronze and iron to delfect sword, spear and sometimes arrow. I rose no higher than the rank of archer--less anonymous than a foot soldier in outfit ofleaden grey which is how I began, our blue identifying tunic had its own resplendence in the eyes of widows we met with in our travels. It was a good life in some ways, the wages mostly looted which is a feast and famine proposition but you'd be surprised how well it pays when you sack a good-sized town with hiding places for considerable hoarded treasure. The shell master (general in disguise) who recruited me didn't mention it would cost an arm and a leg.

The right eye pops out revealing a red socket. and a little more besides.
Tries clumsily to reach it with his crutch. Knocks it ping! somewhere into the first rows.

If one of you find that I'd appreciate getting it back. I can't afford a replacement (Cackling.) They cost an arm and a leg.

This is spoken as his spotlight fades and another comes up, Down Stage Centre, on a woman in the robe of a Zen Buddhist nun.


I have not always been as you see me now, and soon my appearance will change more radically still. This last change will not be of my choosing. I resemble many others in this.

A girl about seven in identical robe runs out from behind her skirts.

First I was a little girl, as we all are in the beginning except those who are little boys, and often remain only that though their frames heighten and fill out in every direction.

The little girl giggles and runs off left.

I was rescued from a fire that killed my parents. The skirt of our servant's kimono was already alight when she tossed me to someone in the crowd who caught me up. She jumped next--the fall wouldn't have killed her even if no one had caught her, but she was already alight head to toe, a human lantern. Hair blazing, skin bubbling, I don't know why as soon as I could understand speech people insisted on cramming my little brain with the details. Not my guardian Nobunaga, he would have spared me 'til I was older ifhe could, but there was no way to isolate me completely--which wouldn't anyway have been wise.

I often think of that girl. I owe her my life--she ws my second mother in a way. (Sings)
I knew my ro---obe would fit me well
I tried it o---n at the Gates of Hell.

As her spotlight fades and another comes up on a Zen monk sitting cross-legged facing the little girl from previous scene, also cross-legged, both attentive to their small bowls of rice. She squirms now and then and sometimes has to cover her mouth in a failed attempt to suppress a giggle. They are seated at an angle which makes it possible for him to look at her and, over her shoulder, make eye contact
with the audience he addresses.


I was not always as you see me now. People speak of reincarnation as if it invariably involved the transmigration of the soul into a new body, but I have no memory of such a death and rebirth and never met anyone who did--not anyone who seemed a credible witness at least. If it happens then, it appears there's an impenetrable cloak over the proceedings.

You have a very long nose.

I grew it that way especially when I heard you were coming to stay with us.

I like you best of all the monks.

I like you best of all the little girl orphans it's our duty to raise. If there were more than just you, forty or fifty say, I'm sure you'd still be in the top ten.

Huh! Top two or three. Top one.

Yes I expect so. Must work harder on detachment.

But do people live just one life in the one body we know with certainty they walk about in? How many find one identity firmly enough they could be said to be the same person even moment to moment? And how many live a life of great consistency in one direction, as I did once--many masks but one firm face beneath them--only to change so completely and abruptly you could speak of the soul finding a new home in its old familiar body? This is uncomfortable at first, the skin doesn't fit, the organs, nerve endings, joints keep misreading cues, many people don't complete such transformations because of the discomfort and even pain involved. Painful to discover a way of life that seemed logical and inevitable was simply a mass of avoidable traps and snares, for others and yourself. There are better ways.

As Hakuin brings the small glazed yellow cup with its steaming tea to his lips, his spotlight fades.

This is good rice. It's the best way to make it.

Tricky to disentangle, modify and simplify your life.

As his spotlight fades down and another Up Stage Centre shows Wabi, a poet,

Scene ii Wabi, Tamago, Minaki, Taki, Eshun Fulcrum

sitting cross-legged before a begging bowl, holding a tiny gong in one hand, striker in the other, with which he marks stanza divisions by a sharp rap, and particular beats by softer ones perhaps, as he intones the Begging Song



If you drop a coin or rice in my small bowl
The Gods will smile on your day-to-day endeavour.
If you pass by and leave my receptacle empty
The Demons of the Underworld will rend you.

He is in the middle of a fairground with strollers in kimonos sometimes drab, sometimes elegant, colourful, dazzling. They study the wares on offer in wagon carts or barrows which line the right and left border of the stage. (Gong)

Why should it matter to Gods if a dealer in verse is fed?
Poets are the fulcrum on the gleaming scales of balance
That weigh and judge life, universe and all.

To the left are displays of turned pots, jewellery, finished garments hanging in rows and belts of fine cloth; to the right, meat, drink, produce and dividing all the stalls, a curtain leading to a tavern/bordello off right, whose madam emerges to stroll, dressed in a kimono of silk so fine it whispers as she walks, in a pattern that mingles emerald green and crimson.


You have no idea the cumbrous invisilbe weight across my back!
Think the scales of balance shift only rarely? No!
The glide as first one tipping pan, then the next, is favoured
By a little extra weight, this is monotonously steady!
Deeds wrong or right, secret or open, even mere featherweight
Shift the balance of the pans and tip the rod they balance on.
The weight in either pan is half all that is, more or less.
Each time it shifts, the muscles in one or the other shoulder tighten
Knot upon knot, callous upon callous, be thankful none of you Know song, and therefore judgment, so intimately.

Minaki, an artisan peasant wife, vends at a barrow beside her husband, who also produces pots finely crafted but in other respects, due to experiences in battle none but he could speak of, and he can no longer speak, is a perfect mooncalf--stolid, oxlike, gentle, dim.

Ainu, in coarse peasant kimono as before, but with limbs and eye restored, strolls and pauses, as does Eshun, to listen.

Why should the Demons care if scales are maintained?
Aren't they in love with dissipation and chaos?
The Gods want our fine-tuned balance,
Demons our instability.
They bribe us with Hellfired rice cake to bring this about.
Pours a small cup of Sake out of a tiny serving bottle.

They still haven't learned this only oils our engines of judgment Taps side of head. Ainu nods enthusiastically.
Sharpens our knotted muscles' nuance of balance. We'd fail in our duty refusing such bribes. (Pours another.) We barely succeed as it is, fail a little each way Perpetually, but if once our shoulders collapsed
Both pans would tip, fling lose and all that is Scatter itself in the void of all that is not.

Trust me, a coin of substance in my small bowl Is no act of charity, only self-preservation.
Many would see the Universe destroyed to get at a particular enemy
But few would wish themselves overthrown in the same calamity.
Wisest to wish the best even for your enemies
You don't know their place in the tap'stry of existence
What may unravel if they are undone.

Holding gong and striker together in one hand, takes bowl up in the other.
Mournfully shakes it.
No sound.
Tamago, beside Eshun, whispers something that causes her to draw away, keeping a distance of two full paces between them.

Tamago scowls.

I see you fairgoers fear neither God nor Demon Poet nor Chaos. (Sighs.)
Wind feeds us
Out of her twirling bowl.

Eshun sets a rectangular coin made of clay, with charcters inscribed Into the bowl Wabi holds in outstretched hand.

He eyes it hungrily, snatches it up, stashes it inside his tattered kimono.)

Don't spend it all on Hellfired rice cake.
The Universe would not appreciate trickling off into void
Merely for the pleasure of one poet's overbinge.


I've often wondered what a bird's eye view Would be of that illimitable chaos
Supposing birds or eyes could yet exist
Vast bird, galactic eye that took in depth breadth height
Of all that was no more.
What would it resemble?
Anything we know or ever could?


You see it mimic'd everywhere about you.
All form of whatever kind your eye makes out
Is a thin skin on shell stretched over
Chaos and void: the collapsing Universe
Would look just like that with the skin off.

To the sound, off, of a loudly rapped gong, a rope uncoils from above, touching down just behind an as yet untended table

Center on which stand three transparent half-globes, in the middle one of which is a mandarin orange.

Scene iii Eshun, Wabi, Nobunaga, Tamago, [Nobunaga, Eshun], Minaki, Taka, Strollers, Hakuin

We Fight for Freedom

Seeing that it's Nobunaga rappeling down the rope, Eshun, disturbed, hurries off right. Wabi, scrabbling possessions together, hurries off the opposite way. About to exit between two stalls, looks back over his shoulder at Nobunaga, jumping the foot or so the rope doesn't reach to the stage.


Somebody always has to come up with a topper!

Notices the hand, with long elegantly tapered fingernails, of Tamago on his shoulder. With her other hand she places in his disarrayed bowl two triangular coins. By the bugout of his eyes it's apparent the worth of these is considerably more than that of Eshun's coin. They fall out of the bowl and clatter to the stage. Nobunaga, setting into place his resplendent burgundy robe, gold and purple brocaded, turns
to the sound of the noise.


(speaking down at Wabi grabbing up the coins, effectively at her feet)

Have all the Hellfire rice cakes your heart desires, I have no bonded urge to fence and inhibit pleasure. Or come see my girls, some still in training could be had for so slight a fee.

Nobunaga stares intently at Tamago, who notices and aggressively returns his gaze.


I doubt anyone I'll meet at the fair today could afford a virgin. Wabi scrambles off right.

No discount if it's the second or third time? I've heard of one sweet innocent girl who was sold on those terms a dozen times, and might a dozen more if by poor management her 12th customer hadn't proved to be her 1st all over again, a high ranking official who'd not be put off by stories of twins unless you could produce her sister in the same room and a qualified physician to examine the rupture?

He wanted to examine it himself. He suffered quite a rupture down the middle himself--from the sword of a warrior--Nobunaga?

TINY ESHUN(off, claps hands eagerly)

You're going to pull a fast one on all of them aren't you?

Because he wouldn't tell where he kept a close-locked treasure box?

Shh! All this happened long ago.

Nobunaga turns slowly from Tamago

But I can see it quite clearly right here, right now.
who watches a moment as he begins to switch about the half globes at practice speed.
I even saw the woman all grown who looks like me, who I hide in sometimes.
She ran away though.

Then Tamago begins to stroll about the fairground again

Make sure you do see and understand quite clearly.
With hasty whispers Tamago entices one or two stroling men

You were wicked back then weren't you?

to enter--looking about in the hope they're not observed--the curtained partition leading off right.

I understood a few things very well and thought I knew the spring and gearbox that wound up and drove the Universe. Wicked's the least of what was wrong with me.

Was it fun?

Ainu when approached turns out the pockets of his kimonos to show they're empty.

(gathering speed)

Be a little careful what you ask, child!

NOBUNAGA (onstage, his shuffling)

Tamago taps Ainu's chest with a fan. He draws from inside his kimono a bundle wrapped in tissue

I've taken a vow to give you only truthful answers, but if you ask the wrong questions Tamago appraises the likely value of the contents--four or five rectangular coins
My answer may still play you false.

Shakes her head with a sad smile, turns and walks away.

You're going to fool them with the think-you-can-see-through trick now aren't you?

Ainu starts to study the movement of the hands over the glass half-balls, patting thoughtfully the stake he's tucked away inside his
kimono once more

Be a little careful, Eshun!

The speed at which he shuffles them increases, the orange visible as a moving blur, TAka has blundered from his table, fascinated like
Ainu by the movement, the ascending speed, and Minaki, half an eye still on their vending stall, follows along to watch out for her husband.
She too is fascinated, and Tamago's shrewd appraising eye begins to stray that way as well.

Am I a fool or mad? To play the shell game among such sharp-eyed strollers with transparent shells! how can I win? how can you lose? step up, place your bet and take my money. That man must be mad or he has more money than he knows what to do with! (Tiny Eshun, off, giggles.) You sir--want to risk

Taka, sensing dimly that this is directed at him, points at himself and smiles a smile almost as blank as his previous neutral expression.
Minaki shakes her head at Nobunaga who turns his attention to Ainu--notices his gaze has strayed to the curtain leading off right.

You sir, want to risk a little wager on a sure thing?

Ainu clutches the bundle inside the breast of his kimono and sighs. All this time Nobunaga continues to shuffle the 'shells' about on
the table at speed.

Keen for a little sport with the ladies? Need a little top-up to your pay packet? This man is crazy! the prize hides in plain sight, how can you lose? Money is potency, guaranteed not merely to stiffen your erection but direct it precisely where you wish it to go.

Tamago, standing a little off to the right, hides a small laugh behind a fan.

A girl's got to eat. (Eyes Nobunaga's crotch.)

I must be running a charity operation for the fleshpeddler's benevolent society! Step right up, take my money and enjoy the gleaming treasure of your choice in tented bed.

He stops shuffling the half-globes. The orange is under the one to the right. Ainu's eye strays nervously between its two focal points. He
clutches more tightly the packet in the breast of his kimono.

I'll even give you odds on the bet (sets down a triangular coin). This aganst one of much lesser

Ainu, eyes almost popping, slams a rectangular coin on the table and points at the half globe to the right. Starts to grab up the two coins
but is stopped by Nobunaga's restraining hand.

Let's see if you picked the right shell first, that was the wager remember?

Lifts half globe and orange along with it. Setting it down behind him he shows there was nothing under the shell. Ainu, Minaki, Taka stare
in surprise. Tamago, still at an aloof distance, opens wide and then shuts her fan. Nobunaga collects the two coins.

There was some trick here. I don't know what it was.
Nobunaga, having rapidly replaced the mandarin shell, shuffles them at speed once more.

Whatever the trick is, only a fool would place a bet now. (Sets down a rectangular coin.) We've done well this morning. You can't win if you don't play. (Looks uneasily at their vendor's barrow, but the merchants on either side are both keeping an eye for a moment. Nobunaga places down his triangular coin. She picks the one showing the orange and the same trick's repeated.) I don't believe this! How could that happen twice?

Others are clamouring to play. Tamago parts two of them and sets down her bet: three triangular coins. Nabunaga, to cover her bet
with odds as before, puts a pile of ten or twelve triangles on the table.


(Shuffling aobut his half shells)

I'm not sure I know what you mean. Say when. She nods. He stops shuffling. She points to one of the empty shells. Eyes locked on hers, he lifts

Bad Luck.
Her hand comes down on his as he starts to sweep up the coins.

TAMAGO (eyes locked on his)
That depends on the final outcome. She releases his hand. He breaks eye contact, not without difficulty, stores his winnings, begins shuffling once more.

Can you believe the luck I'm having? Who'll break my streak? The game is simple, I've made it simpler: clear as crystal. I give favourable odds! Step right--

Piercing high pitched scream off right. A woman whose kimono lays tattered to her waist runs through the curtain right, followed almost
immediately by a samurai with sword out which he swings above his head, crowing like a rooster.


Nobushige stares at him puzzled a second or two then

Nobunaga! Fallen on hard times? Playing your old game of cheat with the see-through balls? (Swings his sword above his head in three slow, sweeping ceremonial circles.) Come play a man's game.

Nobunaga smiles, opens the skirt of his kimono to reveal a Samurai sword in black silk sheathe with intricate Japanese writing in gold--draws it with a sinuous swish and swings it in three slow, sweeping ceremonial circles above his

I haven't lost the knack.

Could you kill him just this one time? Every other time you let him live.

Nobunaga, with a wild cry, charges, and Nobushige is caught off guard, but dodges at the last second. Nobunaga, propelled forward by the impetus of his thrust, narrowly evades a thrust from the side. To regroup, he faces Nobushige with a sweep of his sword to make him draw back. Nobushige makes a similar sweep, they study each other's defenses, pacing in circles. Thrust, parry, lunge--they cricle. Various inconclusive movements, some clash of swords. Nobunaga at last successfully dekes Nobushige with a feint and his sword is pointed at Nobushige's neck.

Drop the sword!

Finish it!

Hungry for blood even if it's your own?

Grabs Nobushige's wrist and squeezes until, unable to grip any longer, it releases his sword which falls to the stage with a clatter.

Nobunaga tosses it with the pile of his goods behind the table.

It was such a peaceful fair 'til you came. Perhaps now your are gone it will be again.

Draws back his sword but keeps it pointed at Nobushige 'til he's escorted him Down Stage Left, where Nobunaga surreptitiously slips two triangular coins into Nobushige's hand.

Come to my tent at the encampment tonight for return of your sword.

Nobushige, with a wink and a broad grin, exits stage left. Nobunaga strides back in front of his table Mid Stage Centre. Notes with an appreciative laugh that someone in the meantime has liberated the orange from under its half sphere. Tums to confront fairgoers who are all attentive. With pace, rapid striding movement and by the sweep of his eyes he holds the attention of both audiences.

Yes, friends, I hope you'll forgive my modest deception. I'm not a carnival huckster, I'm a general assembling an army--Nobunaga!

Taka flinches.

AINU(to Minaki)

MINAKI(to Ainu)
Beats me.

My army is ragtag and improvised, and I risk reprisal from government agents even speaking to you thus openly. (Strollers regard each other suspiciously.) But our cause is just, the oppressions imposed by this provinces rulers are entirely in excess of requirements. I want men to march with me. Danger?
Certainly. Glory? Always in the past, I can't see why this time should be any different. Pay? Well ... a small sum on account, we tend to pay ourselves as we go and you'll be expected to do the same.


Nobunaga nods.


Nobunaga nods. A few of the female strollers, and Minaki, are disconcerted. Tamago hides her response once more behind her fan.

Can I bum my home village to the ground every stick?

NOBUNAGA( chuckles lightly andnods)
If it lies in the path of our army, I don't see why not. I cna promise you there will be villages to torch and in good conscience since we fight for freedom. It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!

I don't know--six of one, half dozen of the other if you ask me.

NOBUNAGA(appears to grow angry)
Are you MEN? or cattle to be herded, penned, slaughtered! Do you quietly live with oppression 'til it chokes the life out of you, since it's long squeezed the juice of manhood which your masters keep in special jars to toast your gullibility and acquiescence? Or do you rear up and face them, even at overwhelming odds, charge, smash, slice, section, batter, attack attack! reclaim. Who's with me for death or victory this very week?

Ainu steps forward and salutes.

NOBUNAGA(retuming salute)

Gives Ainu back the rectangular coin he won from him earlier.

An advance on your pay. Come to my encampment, midnight at the latest or you'll be declared AWOL! on the second hill beyond the north gate of the city. (Salutes.) Dismissed!

Ainu salutes and steps back. Nobunaga addresses Minaki Will you enlist with me?
Light begins to narrow.

Do I look like I'd be good with spear, sword or archer's bow?

You fire pots well. Do your skills extend to cooking with them also?

For how many men? More before a major battle than after I'd imagine.

Men die in combat of course, but I'm a skilled and economical commander. I've ridden troops of men into situations where none could have been expected to survive and some always have.

I bet the ones that come back are extra hungry. How many times a day would I have to be raped? Tamago whispers something in Minaki's ear--she draws back, startled but it seems intrigued.

The women employed in my camp are under my seal of protection. Is Tamago offering you an entry level position in her army? Take which coin you prefer, you might still end up working with us. I may have private arrangements to discuss with her later.

Tamago nods and exits the broad spotlight which encompasses Nobunaga, Minaki and five male strollers jostling each other in line
for their opportunity to take coin and enter service.

Neither offer would be to my liking in a perfect world. Taka would have to come with me--is he protected as well?

Can he cook? (Minaki nods.) Then, yes. Otherwise we'd have to make him a front line footsoldier.

Taka looks about him in every direction, terrified. Seems about to bolt when Minaki soothes and calms him.

Before great battle the safest place for us may be in encampment, well back of the frontline.

I can't gurantee positively lines won't dramatically shift, but for a time at least it's a safe enough hurricane's eye.

Gives her back the coin she lost at the shell game.

I come from a village. I think the odds are better for Taka and I if we don't wait for its torching. Tomorrow night after the fair closes we'll come to you if that's acceptable. Our run of luck's been good, we may sell most of our inventory.

Two more days with the plaguy cook we've got now! I'd hoped to send him out this very night on patrol, see ifl could get him captured and hanged as a spy. Can't be helped I suppose. You'll prepare a first rate feast for the night before we're set to march, three days hence?

If you have the makings.

We'll raid a few barnyards.

She nods, and leads Taka out of spotlight in the direction of their vendor's barrow. Nobunaga begins handing out rectangular coins to the
strollers in line, who keep coming in out of the darkness as others leave.

You didn't flip the two headed coin?

No need. They were eager to line up for the opportunity to act infamously with good conscience.
Fairground crowds on market days are unusually susceptible. The last one in line, holding out her hand, is Tamago.

A different sort of combat suits you I think.

He takes her hand and walks with her under follow spot to the swaying curtain that leads off right. Why did you place such a large bet and then deliberately choose the wrong sphere?
A protruberance at the midpoint of his kimono is rapidly growing.

The game is rigged anyway, it's impossible to win. I wanted to introduce myself in a way that would get your attention. We have business to discuss.

The protruberance is now roughly the size of a broomstick. He looks as if it makes him uncomfortable. Stage lights begin slowly to come up
once more.

I see I have your full attention.

How do you know I'm not planning battle strategy?

I know for a fact you are, but I'm your master and teacher at this sort of combat.

You really want to serve the army?

I want the girls to fill their purses--and mine--with patriotic, freedom-loving coin.

Are we thinking of some sort of group discount rate?

And absolute protection.

It would have to be a substantial discount. After all in the nature of our calling such treasure is often scooped up free of charge.

Men are amusing! Death, maiming, crippling in battle are not too high a price to pay for a modest few unsatisfactory rapes, but money? for consented love in comfortable surroundings with a woman schooled in the art of processing and delivering ecstasy?

I think with a little ironing out of the details we can come to some satisfactory arrangement. I do think it's only fair, since I like to be certain my men are getting value for money---
(strokes her cheek) a little sample? free of charge?

An arrangement perhaps can be made with one of the new girls.
(Studying his broomstick crotch.) If you'll promise to be... gentle.

I was thinking more of someone I know would be rough, and make me promise to be rough. (Fans out three triangular coins.)

For those and two more like it I'd blow you a kiss across the length of a fairground. The stage is no longer a fairground.
More than that. .. well the price would mount as the favours do.

It's completely bare except for a brazier with pot boiling on it that Hakuin, as in scene i, sits in front of. He pours the boiling water into the red glazed teapot.

If I took you by force?

That's not how you want me and if it were--do you think no woman's ever pierced a man's gullet with steel?

You didn't say that to warn me--it would be foolish and you're no fool. You said it to arouse.

(snaps open fan, half hides face behind it)
Can I help if I'm a tease?
Walks off right, through curtain. Nobunaga looks uncertain whether to follow.

Goodnight, general. We'll talk soon, at your encampment.

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