(We are in Abel's office once again. Abel, wearing the costume of the Chief Executioner is studying along with Lilith the text of a document in his hands-it is clearly the Scroll as seen in the previous scenes. They are so absorbed in what the are studying that they seem oblivious to the presence of the of the Interviewer at stage right. She is sitting on an office chair talking on camera and is the anchor person for the TV program The World of Work. The role is performed by the actress who has been playing Eulalia. There is no attempt to disguise her, but Abel and Lilith react to her without any sign of recognition.

INTERVIEWER: (Speaking into microphone with the special unctuous tone of a lady broadcaster) Welcome to another segment of the World of Work, the unique view that W O W makes it its business to present. We strive as you know always to do the unusual, but this time we think we've outdone ourselves in providing an insightful view of an important aspect of our lives. We bring you an in depth picture of the world of the Chief Executioner, Mr. Abel Cain, and his assistant, Lilith.

(Interviewer has gone over to where Abel and Lilith have been conferring and sees to it that each have little lapel mikes are attached to their clothing.)

INTERVIEWER: (To Abel) Sir we are grateful to you for this chance to talk with you. What you do is so important to our society, and I have been assured that you are one of the most accomplished Executioners in the world. WE thank you for taking the time to enlighten us.

ABEL: You're kind to say all that, but I want to emphasize at the outset, that I did not seek this interview.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, that's true. We had a tough time getting your assent to this. It just shows once again that you are one of those really GREAT men who are genuinely modest. (Looks around the office) So this is where you deal with these life and death matters, The World of Work is just dying--that was a bad choice of words-is most eager to find out about the actual details of what you do.

ABEL: (Sighs) There is a lot to do here.

INTERVIEWER; And you're the one to get the work done. Mr. Cain, I believe it has been a year since you assumed the robes of office as Chief Executioner. There must be a great deal you can tell us about what you do here.

ABEL: Very well Madam World of Work, (deliberately) my duties require that…I kill people.

INTERVIEWER: A forthright answer, but we do need to ask you for details.

ABEL: It is so completed…

INTERVIEWER: {wheedling) If you only could see the letters…

ABEL: But where to begin?

INTERVIEWER: Could you describe the executive structure of your office.

ABEL: I think that wouldn't be very interesting, and it would also be irrelevant. You are making the kind of mistake that most people do. Please don't confuse mine with the usual executive functions…after all mine is the most executive of executive positions…I execute!

LILITH: And don't let them tell you there is no mystery, romance or passion. We have passion tempered by discipline. Mystery quenched in the tempering bath of science. (Pantomimes gesture of thrusting a sword into a tempering solution)

ABEL: (Proudly) That's very well said. Thank you my dear.

INTERVIEWER: You are a harmonious pair.

ABEL: Yes, we are, and that's one of the reasons that our clients get the most harmonious treatment.

INTERVIEWER: You consider the people on death row to be your clients?

ABEL: Think of it logically…since we are professionals, and they are our reason for being in attendance to them as professionals, they therefore are….clients.

LILITH: We always tell them that it isn't a personal matter.

INTERVIEWER: How do they respond to that? Seems to me that they would be offended. What is more personal than putting someone to death. How are you different from murderers.

ABEL: Oh, if we did it for fun, but we don't. We're public servants. For sure that might seem to be an appropriate thing to say. But the prisoners--most of them understand right away, and the rest do after we introduce them to our program.

INTERVIEWER: Suppose I was one of your clients. What would you do with me.

ABEL: First we would establish a working relationship.

INTERVIEWER: What does that mean?

ABEL: We open up channels of communication and that forms the basis for our selection of the means of execution.

INTERVIEWER: Selection of the means? What criteria do you use?

ABEL: There are many. For example, if the client should be scrawny, we've found that hanging isn't suitable. The client's weight in relation to his build isn't enough to assure a good neck break, and the client might strangulate slowly-and that isn't a good performance. For a skinny client I would probably use decapitation.But that doesn't mean that hanging is right for a short stocky client. He might not have enough neck. So we might rule out both hanging and decapitation…a short neck is a poor target.

INTERVIEWER: What might be an alternative?

ABEL: Perhaps shoot them from a cannon. I believe that the Turks used that method sometimes.

LILITH: It was the Chinese.

ABEL: Yes, you're right. And it would be a complicated to use. We would have to be sure that there was a good trajectory for a landing on a spiked pad. (Makes a facial grimace) Too complicated. Perhaps flaying would be better for such a stocky client. Not much surface to worry about then.

INTERVIEWER: I get the idea that you have made a study of a great many execution methods.

ABEL: Yes, a great many, and I've studied their advantages and disadvantages.

INTERVIEWER: What are some of them?

ABEL: Let me see. (Starts out slowly and picks up speed as he goes on) Breaking on the wheel, burning, burying alive, crucifixion, defenestration-that is throwing out of a window, closely related to precipitation-that is throwing off a cliff. And then there is dichotomy--cutting into two parts, which is to be subsumed under dismemberment, of which the most elaborate version is drawing and quartering. And then there are exposure to the elements, exposure to wild beasts, flogging, garroting, gassing, impalement, the iron maiden, injection of opiates and other toxins, gauntlet, paine forte et dure-i.e. strong and slow torture (which is not strictly an execution but might be used as a preliminary measure}, the rack, shooting, stabbing, stoning, strangulation, suffocation, the thousand cuts, the water method, and, and…(weary of the exercise) many, many more.

LILITH: I don't think you meant to leave out electrocution.

ABEL: Yes, of course. But it really isn't a significant method.

INTERVIEWER: Why isn't it…significant? And could you name one that is.

ABEL; What I mean is that some methods have become so banal they aren't really interesting to experts. On the other hand I have been advocating more attention to methods like the iron maiden…the establishment resists it.

INTERVIEWER: Why do they resist it?

ABEL: A misunderstanding. They think that the iron maiden is old fashioned but they don't see that it provides an opportunity to return to some of the classic spirit of our profession. Shouldn't we all strive to make full use of the tested classic methods of the past. Furthermore there is something powerfully symbolic about the method. The client is going into the "body" of the iron maiden, and the virginal state of the maiden gives it a deep meaning, A specially poignant kind of execution.

INTERVIEWER: I suppose such unusual methods require special approaches to your clients.

ABEL: In fact, we have devised approaches to the clients that work regardless of the method involved. It is really just a matter of taking time and trouble.

INTERVIEWER: And your clients don't mind the time you take?

ABEL: No, actually we find that they don't mind at all. But that's probably because we have devised a way to keep occupied. Most of the credit for this should go to Lilith. She' s the one who developed the newsletters.

INTERVIEWER: Newsletters?

LILITH: The idea came directly out of standard social techniques. Each client is unique. Each has his own value system, so we strive to immerse each one in his own program.

INTERVIEWER: And each client participates in the process?

LILITH: Yes, that's the whole point.

INTERVIEWER: What are the newsletters like?

LILITH: It depends. Some are factual and newsy, some more philosophic. They have to fit the client's value system.

INTERVIEWER: And how often are they issued.

LILITH: At first on a weekly basis, then as we get closer to the time we change it to a daily basis, and then an hourly affair. During the last hour it is to be issued minute by minute. The clients, the dears, become so absorbed in the unfolding story, that they forget everything else.

INTERVIEWER: Remarkable. And if you are so accomplished in the auxiliary aspect of the office, Mr. Chief Executioner, how very efficient must be the way you perform the main task.

ABEL: Main task?

INTERVIEWER: Yes, your ultimate duty, the executions.

ABEL: That is something we don't usually talk about.

INTERVIEWER: That's certainly understandable, but the main point of this interview was to get some insight on how you fulfill your professional duties.

ABEL: Yes, but you see, there may be a problem there.

INTERVIEWER: Just give us an example or two. We are running out of time.

ABEL: Let me see (Making a show of looking through some folders) There doesn't seem to be anything that I can cite for you just now.

INTERVIEWER: Surely Mr. Chief Executioner, after a whole year, you would have quite a few examples to cite. You mean to say, you haven't any to tell our audience about.

ABEL; Yes, I understand your surprise, but I just don't have any right now. There were reprieves, stays, commutations, reversals of sentences…(voice dies out)

INTERVIEWER; A whole year. Don't you have even one? The World of Work audience will be very disappointed, and I think also shocked.

ABEL: I realize that, and I'm sorry.

INTERVIEWER: At least give us an explanation. We're entitled to that.

ABEL: Alright, I'll tell you and the audience the truth…even though it probably means the end of my career. (Pauses to get a grip on himself) It is because I was always seeking the perfect method…and there were so many to choose from. I was never willing to go for one without making sure that it was indeed the best…and that took a lot of time. So much time that a whole year went by without my having performed one execution. But I was seeking the best…because as this Code of Ethics declares, (Holds up the Scroll) that is the one way to achieve greatness.

INTERVIEWER: What it amounts to is that as a public servant you have failed to serve. This Code of Ethics, can I borrow it? I'd like to study it and se it to provide my audience with a basis for understanding your behavior. (Abel reluctantly hands her the Scroll)

INTERVIEWER: {Turning away from Abel and speaking to the camera reverts to the original tone) TheWorld of Work program has brought you live another candid view of a significant aspect of our lives. We'll be back with you next week, with still another look at the World of Work


Scene 7 - Back to the Nest




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