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The Verge

The Curtain lifts on a place that is dark, save for a shaft of light from below which comes up through an open trap-door in the floor.  This slants up and strikes the long leaves and the huge brilliant blossom of a strange plant whose twisted stem projects from right front.  Nothing is seen except this plant and its shadow.  A violent wind is heard.  A moment later a buzzer.  It buzzes once long and three short.  Silence.  Again the buzzer.  Then from below—­his shadow blocking the light, comes ANTHONY, a rugged man past middle life;—­he emerges from the stairway into the darkness of the room.  Is dimly seen taking up a phone.

ANTHONY:  Yes, Miss Claire?—­I'll see. (he brings a thermometer to the stairway for light, looks sharply, then returns to the phone) It's down to forty-nine.  The plants are in danger—­(with great relief and approval) Oh, that's fine! (hangs up the receiver) Fine!

(He goes back down the stairway, closing the trap-door upon himself, and the curtain is drawn upon darkness and wind.  It opens a moment later on the greenhouse in the sunshine of a snowy morning.  The snow piled outside is at times blown through the air.  The frost has made patterns on the glass as if—­as Plato would have it—­the patterns inherent in abstract nature and behind all life had to come out, not only in the creative heat within, but in the creative cold on the other side of the glass.  And the wind makes patterns of sound around the glass house.

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 No. 299
 Posted on 8 June, 2006
 
 
 
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