“There were Four of Them, Officer (And I Think I Love Them All…)” by Richard F. Yates

four of them 1

The vital instinct. Hardly any leaves left (which means they stayed…) Partly to blame for the event were the sickening lights that blindeded ed the on-lookers (and look-onners, though there were fewer of those.) That night the fog…

“What you’ve reached here,” the narrator said to the audience, “is a point at which a decision must be made: to commit to continuing or to abandon (all hope) and move on to other phenomena. You have been warned (by others, not by us.) Words are not always what they seam. Under certain conditions (in the rain or while dreaming) we see what we say and think what we believe we don’t. That is the time of the now.”

There were four beings that exited the craft. Although the moon was covered by a think blanket of cloud, it’s shallow presence hummed quietly behind the trees and behind the clouds and in front of most of the space and nothingness. There were four beings that exited the craft, but we’re in the city now. The only trees are artificial and the sidewalk is wet from fear (it hadn’t rained in days. The clouds were holding the raindrops ransom… It was…)

There were four beings that exited the craft.

A Play (of Sorts)

[Stage is dark. A thick fog bubbles and rolls across the ground. A single lamp post with a very dim bulb, red or dark orange, stands in the middle of the stage. A WOMAN enters stage left walking backwards and being as quiet and careful as she can be. An OFFICER enters the stage from the right, also walking backwards with his gun drawn and moving with great care not to make a sound. The two continue towards the lamp post in the center of the stage and nearly collide.]

WOMAN: Oh! Cheese and crackers!

OFFICER: [Points gun at the WOMAN then quickly lowers it.] Sorry about that, ma’am. But, you shouldn’t be out here tonight. Strange things are afoot!

WOMAN: Heart attack. Nearly a heart attack…

OFFICER: Sorry, sorry. But why aren’t you home. It’s almost midnight!

WOMAN: Turpentine. I needed turpentine to finish dinner.

OFFICER: Uuummm….

WOMAN: [Seems to come to her senses. Straightens herself.] Officer, I’d like to report a strange incident.

OFFICER: Did you say turpentine? Like for paint?

WOMAN: Never mind that now! I’ve just seen something horrible, in the alley down the street.

OFFICER: Hold on. It’s almost midnight, and you haven’t finished your dinner, and you need turpentine to finish it.

WOMAN: In the alley! Just a few moments ago! There were these lights and it landed in the alley.

OFFICER: [Pats himself over as if he’s looking for something and can’t find it.] Where’s my radio?

WOMAN: Would you listen to me? There were four of them, officer, in the alley just down the street!

[Suddenly, from off stage, we hear the sounds of horses, neighing and hooves clopping. Then, from stage right and pulled by wires or cables invisible to the audience, an old-fashioned wooden cart rolls onto the stage. The WOMAN and the OFFICER watch as the cart slowly rolls, as if pulled by invisible horses, from stage right all the way to stage left and EXITS. The OFFICER and the WOMAN look at each other and each appears to be very concerned.]

WOMAN: I’ve forgotten a very important appointment that I must get to.

OFFICER: Yes, and I have a guitar lesson in ten minutes.

[The pair shake hands and then slowly begin walking backwards towards the sides of the stage, the WOMAN moving backwards towards stage right, the OFFICER moving towards stage left, his gun drawn and ready. Once they have each EXITED, strange, unsettling music begins to play while spotlights of various colors begin swirling around the stage and a series of black lights come on. The spotlights turn off one by one, leaving only the black lights, and once this is all the illumination left, four actors in strange, INHUMAN costumes, mostly black but with odd, monstrous figures painted in fluorescent colors, creep onto the stage. They walk towards the front and center of the stage as the strange music gets louder and louder, until they are right at the edge of the stage. Once they reach the very edge of the stage the lights, music, and everything go off.]


When considering the effects of nonsense on a mind trained from birth to accept nothing but rationality, the perpetration of the non-rational or nonsensical upon this type of audience can be conceived of as a form of emotional abuse. The audience will most likely reject the proceeding as an acceptable form of entertainment and may even become angry or even violent. (See various riots caused by Stravinsky, Suicide [the band], Dada, etc…) However, what is considered over the top, unpalatable, and unacceptable by one generation can, with the correct amount of saturation and explanation, (VERY scientific—the EQUATIONS must be perfectly calculated,) will often become commonplace for the next generation. (Consider the Sex Pistols, once banned throughout England and America because of their ferocity and extreme lyrics, but now a rather tame listening experience compared to other contemporary popular performers.)

This is the role of nonsense, of the avant-garde, of the cutting edge. Weeeeee! Ah yah! Hiiiiii ho!

New Henpeck Chronicle, Aug. 4th, 1884.
According to Alice Pennypickle, a strange series of lights set the hills behind her farmhouse aglow just before midnight on August 3rd. She and her husband, Bill “Chalk Outline” Pennypickle, saw the lights and heard a weird sound. Her husband, along with their hunting dog, Boots, went to investigate and never returned. Sheriff Smeltzer and a volunteer group of around 40 men and women searched the hills all day, but found no trace of Bill, Boots, or whatever it was that caused the lights. Mrs. Pennypickle is offering a massive reward, $4!!!, for the return of her dog. If her husband is found she would be okay with that, too.

“There were four of them,” the WOMAN said, then whispered to herself, “and I think I love them all…”

four of them 2

—Richard F. Yates

About richardfyates

Compulsive creator of the bizarre and absurd. (Artist, writer, poet, provocateur...)
This entry was posted in absurdism, aliens, art, art theory, dada, digital art, drawings, fake news, humor, micro-plays, nonsense, punk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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