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Tamburini on gassing villagers

Rick, Zup & Tamburini at bar. Rick drinks. Tamburini plays himself at backgammon. Zup sketches with his everpresent watercolers. Tamburini shows Rick photos of the war in Ethiopia.

ColONEL TAMBURINI

So. Don’t you get it?  Look at the cattle.  That’s not beauty sleep, Ricky.   See the front door of that church.  It doubles as a school for kids.  It’s not naptime. Mussolini’s putting the gas to Selassie’s villagers.

RICK

What, like mustard gas? Where are these pictures come from?

colONEL TAMBURINI

A guy I know took them. Mustard.  Phosgene.  Benito brought it in by the boatload.  The children I gassed died with blisters on their lungs.

Rick

I thought Versailles did away with gas.

coloNEL TAMBURINI

Europe ends at The Pyrenees, my friend.

rick

Jesus

colONEL TAMBURINI

At the frontline, it’s artillery. At home it’s gas for everyone else — chickens, goats, old ladies, babies at the tit.

rick

How many missions did you fly?

colONEL TAMBURINI

One too many.

rick

So, how many?

colONEL TAMBURINI

One, my friend.

Rick

It couldn’t have been a surprise.

colONEL TAMBURINI

The priest in my squadron said it was the right thing to do.  Unpleasant but necessary.  For their own good.  That priest was fucking Benito’s niece, wants to be a tribune in the new Roman Empire.

Rick

In-flight last rites.

colONEL TAMBURINI

We all know that that cannibal Mussolini would gas The Virgin Mary for his new Roman Empire.

RiCK

Or a piece of the action in Hell’s Kitchen.

colONEL TAMBURINI

Now I have my own way of fighting.  I am not in the ranks or up in the air, releasing deadly poison on the innocents.  Through channels I have cultivated, I see to it that the Ethiopians have a way to resist, a way to fight

back….

Rick

How can you do that?

colONEL TAMBURINI

Through these channels, I see to it that certain pieces of equipment get into the right hands…

RiCK

Weapons?  Ammo? Medical supplies….?

colONEL TAMBURINI

Yup….call it my own way of paying back…nothing will remove those scenes from my mind…the gas…the screams…but knowing I can help in my own way lets me sleep at night?

RiCK

Is that your only reason?  To ease your conscience?

colONEL TAMBURINI

Isn’t that enough?  It is also lucrative my friend

Rick

Oh yes — there is the money part of it

colONEL TAMBURINI

Scoff if you like but I feel like I am helping…those fascists will never stop.  Mussolini’s adventures into Ethiopia are only the beginning.

They pause — staring into their glasses)

ColoNEL TAMBURINI

You know, I could use a couple of good men — someone to help me with the logistics, the details.  There are few people around who I can trust

Rick

Why trust us?

colONEL TAMBURINI

Well maybe because you are both apolitical. You drink. He draws. — maybe because it looks like you could use a job…I dunno….

Rick

Why should I get involved?

colONEL TAMBURINI

Maybe you should ask, Why shouldn’t I?

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