Contents I II
IV V VI
SCENENearly a month later. An I. W. W. local near the waterfront, showing the interior of a front room on the ground floor, and the street outside. Moonlight on the narrow street, buildings massed in black shadow. The interior of the room, which is general assembly room, office, and reading room, resembles some dingy settlement boys club. A desk and high stool are in one corner. A table with papers, stacks of pamphlets, chairs about it, is at center. The whole is decidedly cheap, banal, commonplace and unmysterious as a room could well be. The secretary is perched on the stool making entries in a large ledger. An eye shade casts his face into shadows. Eight or ten men, longshoremen, iron workers, and the like, are grouped about the table. Two are playing checkers. One is writing a letter. Most of them are smoking pipes. A big signboard is on the wall at the rear, Industrial Workers of the WorldLocal No. 57.
YANK(Comes down the street outside. He is dressed as in Scene Five. He moves cautiously, mysteriously. He comes to a point opposite the door; tiptoes softly up to it, listens, is impressed by the silence within, knocks carefully, as if he were guessing at the password to some secret rite. Listens. No answer. Knocks again a bit louder. No answer. Knocks impatiently, much louder.)
SECRETARY(Turning around on his stool.) What the devil is thatsomeone knocking? (Shouts:) Come in, why dont you? (All the men in the room look up. YANK opens the door slowly, gingerly, as if afraid of an ambush. He looks around for secret doors, mystery, is taken aback by the commonplaceness of the room and the men in it, thinks he may have gotten in the wrong place, then sees the signboard on the wall and is reassured.)
YANK(Blurts out.) Hello.
YANK(More easily.) I tought Id bumped into de wrong dump.
SECRETARY(Scrutinizing him carefully.) Maybe you have. Are you a member?
YANKNaw, not yet. Dats what I come forto join.
SECRETARYThats easy. Whats your joblongshore?
YANKNaw. Firemanstoker on de liners.
SECRETARY(With satisfaction.) Welcome to our city. Glad to know you people are waking up at last. We havent got many members in your line.
YANKNaw. Deyre all dead to de
SECRETARYWell, you can help to wake em. Whats your name? Ill make out your card.
YANK(Confused.) Name? Lemme
SECRETARY(Sharply.) Dont you know your own name?
YANKSure; but I been just Yank for so longBob, dats itBob Smith.
SECRETARY(Writing.) Robert Smith. (Fills out the rest of card.) Here you are. Cost you half a dollar.
YANKIs dat allfour bits? Dats easy. (Gives the Secretary the money.)
SECRETARY(Throwing it in drawer.) Thanks. Well, make yourself at home. No introductions needed. Theres literature on the table. Take some of those pamphlets with you to distribute aboard ship. They may bring results. Sow the seed, only go about it right. Dont get caught and fired. We got plenty out of work. What we need is men who can hold their jobsand work for us at the same time.
YANKSure. (But he still stands, embarrassed and uneasy.)
SECRETARY(Looking at himcuriously.) What did you knock for? Think we had a coon in uniform to open doors?
YANKNaw. I tought it was lockedand dat yuhd wanter give me the once-over trou a peep-hole or somepn to see if I was right.
SECRETARY(Alert and suspicious but with an easy laugh.) Think we were running a crap game? That door is never locked. What put that in your nut?
YANK(With a knowing grin, convinced that this is all camouflage, a part of the secrecy.) Dis burg is full of bulls, aint it?
SECRETARY(Sharply.) What have the cops got to do with us? Were breaking no laws.
YANK(With a knowing wink.) Sure. Youse wouldnt for
woilds. Sure. Im wise to dat.
SECRETARYYou seem to be wise to a lot of stuff none of us knows about.
YANK(With another wink.) Aw, dats aw right, see. (Then made a bit resentful by the suspicious glances from all sides.) Aw, can it! Youse neednt put me trou de toid degree. Cant youse see I belong? Sure! Im reglar. Ill stick, get me? Ill shoot de woiks for
youse. Dats why I wanted to join in.
SECRETARY(Breezily, feeling him out.) Thats the right spirit. Only are you sure you understand what youve joined? Its all plain and above board; still, some guys get a wrong slant on us. (Sharply.) Whats your notion of the purpose of the I. W. W.?
YANKAw, I know all about it.
SECRETARY(Sarcastically.) Well, give us some of your valuable information.
YANK(Cunningly.) I know enough not to speak outa my
toin. (Then resentfully again.) Aw, say! Im reglar. Im wise to de game. I know yuh got to watch your step wit a stranger. For all youse know, I might be a plain-clothes dick, or somepn, dats what yuhre tinkin, huh? Aw, forget it! I belong, see? Ask any guy down to de docks if I dont.
SECRETARYWho said you didnt?
YANKAfter Im nitiated, Ill show
SECRETARY(Astounded.) Initiated? Theres no initiation.
YANK(Disappointed.) Aint there no passwordno grip nor nothin?
SECRETARYWhatd you think this isthe Elksor the Black Hand?
YANKDe Elks, hell! De Black Hand, deyre a lot of yellow backstickin
Ginees. Naw. Dis is a mans gang, aint it?
SECRETARYYou said it! Thats why we stand on our two feet in the open. We got no secrets.
YANK(Surprised but admiringly.) Yuh mean to say yuh always run wide openlike
YANKDen yuh sure got your noive wit
SECRETARY(Sharply.) Just what was it made you want to join us? Come out with that straight.
YANKYuh call me? Well, I got
noive, too! Heres my hand. Yuh wanter blow tings up, dont
yuh? Well, dats me! I belong!
SECRETARY(With pretended carelessness.) You mean change the unequal conditions of society by legitimate direct actionor with dynamite?
YANKDynamite! Blow it offen de oithsteelall de cagesall de factories, steamers, buildings, jailsde Steel Trust and all dat makes it go.
SECRETARYSothats your idea, eh? And did you have any special job in that line you wanted to propose to us. (He makes a sign to the men, who get up cautiously one by one and group behind YANK.)
YANK(Boldly.) Sure, Ill come out wit it. Ill show youse Im one of de gang. Deres dat millionaire guy, Douglasó
SECRETARYPresident of the Steel Trust, you mean? Do you want to assassinate him?
YANKNaw, dat dont get yuh nothin. I mean blow up de factory, de
woiks, where he makes de steel. Dats what Im afterto blow up de steel, knock all de steel in de woild up to de moon. Datll fix tings! (Eagerly, with a touch of bravado.) Ill do it by me lonesome! Ill show
yuh! Tell me where his woiks is, how to git there, all de dope. Gimme de stuff, de old butterand watch me do de rest! Watch de smoke and see it move! I dont give a damn if dey nab melong as its done! Ill soive life for itand give em de laugh! (Half to himself.) And Ill write her a letter and tell her de hairy ape done it. Datll square tings.
SECRETARY(Stepping away from YANK.) Very interesting. (He gives a signal. The men, huskies all, throw themselves on YANK and before he knows it they have his legs and arms pinioned. But he is too flabber-gasted to make a struggle, anyway. They feel him over for weapons.)
MANNo gat, no knife. Shall we give him whats what and put the boots to him?
SECRETARYNo. He isnt worth the trouble wed get into. Hes too stupid. (He comes closer and laughs mockingly in YANKS face.) Ho-ho! By God, this is the biggest joke theyve put up on us yet. Hey, you Joke! Who sent youBurns or Pinkerton? No, by God, youre such a bonehead Ill bet youre in the Secret Service! Well, you dirty spy, you rotten agent
provocator, you can go back and tell whatever skunk is paying you blood-money for betraying your brothers that hes wasting his coin. You couldnt catch a cold. And tell him that all hell ever get on us, or ever has got, is just his own sneaking plots that hes framed up to put us in jail. We are what our manifesto says we are, neither more or lessand well give him a copy of that any time he calls. And as for you(He glares scornfully at YANK, who is sunk in an oblivious stupor.) Oh, hell, whats the use of talking? Youre a brainless ape.
YANK(Aroused by the word to fierce but futile struggles.) Whats
dat, yuh Sheeny bum, yuh!
SECRETARYThrow him out, boys. (In spite of his struggles, this is done with gusto and éclat. Propelled by several parting kicks, YANK lands sprawling in the middle of the narrow cobbled street. With a growl he starts to get up and storm the closed door, but stops bewildered by the confusion in his brain, pathetically impotent. He sits there, brooding, in as near to the attitude of Rodins Thinker as he can get in his position.)
YANK(Bitterly.) So dem boids dont tink I belong,
neider. Aw, to hell wit em! Deyre in de wrong pewde same old bullsoapboxes and Salvation Armyno guts! Cut out an hour offen de job a day and make me happy! Gimme a dollar more a day and make me happy! Tree square a day, and cauliflowers in de front yardekal rightsa woman and kidsa lousey voteand Im all fixed for Jesus, huh? Aw, hell! What does dat get
yuh? Dis tings in your inside, but it aint your belly. Feedin your facesinkers and coffeedat dont touch it. Its way downat de bottom. Yuh cant grab it, and yuh cant stop it. It moves, and everything moves. It stops and de whole woild stops. Dats me nowI dont tick, see?Im a busted
Ingersoll, dats what. Steel was me, and I owned de woild. Now I aint steel, and de woild owns me. Aw, hell! I cant seeits all dark, get me? Its all wrong! (He turns a bitter mocking face up like an ape gibbering at the moon.) Say, youse up
dere, Man in de Moon, yuh look so wise, gimme de answer, huh? Slip me de inside dope, de information right from de stablewhere do I get off at, huh?
A POLICEMAN(Who has come up the street in time to hear this lastwith grim humor.) Youll get off at the station, you boob, if you dont get up out of that and keep movin.
YANK(Looking up at himwith a hard, bitter laugh.) Sure! Lock me up! Put me in a cage! Dats de ony answer yuh know. Gwan, lock me up!
POLICEMANWhat you been doin?
YANKEnuf to gimme life for! I was born, see? Sure, dats de charge. Write it in de blotter. I was born, get me!
POLICEMAN(Jocosely.) God pity your old woman! (Then matter-of-fact.) But Ive no time for kidding. Youre soused. Id run you in but its too long a walk to the station. Come on now, get up, or Ill fan your ears with this club. Beat it now! (He hauls YANK to his feet.)
YANK(In a vague mocking tone.) Say, where do I go from here?
POLICEMAN(Giving him a pushwith a grin, indifferently.) Go to hell.