SCENETwilight of the next day. The monkey house at the Zoo. One spot of clear gray light falls on the front of one cage so that the interior can be seen. The other cages are vague, shrouded in shadow from which chatterings pitched in a conversational tone can be heard. On the one cage a sign from which the word gorilla stands out. The gigantic animal himself is seen squatting on his haunches on a bench in much the same attitude as Rodins Thinker. YANK enters from the left. Immediately a chorus of angry chattering and screeching breaks out. The gorilla turns his eyes but makes no sound or move.
YANK[With a hard, bitter laugh.] Welcome to your city, huh? Hail, hail, de gangs all here! [At the sound of his voice the chattering dies away into an attentive silence. YANK walks up to the gorillas cage and, leaning over the railing, stares in at its occupant, who stares back at him, silent and motionless. There is a pause of dead stillness. Then YANK begins to talk in a friendly confidential tone, half-mockingly, but with a deep undercurrent of sympathy.] Say, yuhre some hard-lookin guy, aint yuh? I seen lots of tough nuts dat de gang called gorillas, but yuhre de foist real one I ever seen. Some chest yuh got, and shoulders, and dem arms and mits! I bet yuh got a punch in eider fist datd knock em all silly! [This with genuine admiration. The gorilla, as if he understood, stands upright, swelling out his chest and pounding on it with his fist. YANK grins sympathetically.] Sure, I get yuh. Yuh challenge de whole woild, huh? Yuh got what I was sayin even if yuh muffed de woids. [Then bitterness creeping in.] And why wouldnt yuh get me? Aint we both members of de same clubde Hairy Apes? [They stare at each othera pausethen YANK goes on slowly and bitterly.] So yuhre what she seen when she looked at me, de white-faced tart! I was you to her, get me? Ony outa de cagebroke outfree to moider her, see? Sure! Dats what she tought. She wasnt wise dat I was in a cage, tooworsern yourssurea damn sightcause you got some chanct to bust loosebut me [He grows confused.] Aw, hell! Its all wrong, aint it? [A pause.] I spose yuh wanter know what Im doin here, huh? I been warmin a bench down to de Batteryever since last night. Sure. I seen de sun come up. Dat was pretty, tooall red and pink and green. I was lookin at de skyscraperssteeland all de ships comin in, sailin out, all over de oithand dey was steel, too. De sun was warm, dey wasnt no clouds, and dere was a breeze blowin. Sure, it was great stuff. I got it aw rightwhat Paddy said about dat bein de right dopeony I couldnt get in it, see? I couldnt belong in dat. It was over my head. And I kept tinkinand den I beat it up here to see what youse was like. And I waited till dey was all gone to git yuh alone. Say, how dyuh feel sittin in dat pen all de time, havin to stand for em comin and starin at yuhde white-faced, skinny tarts and de boobs what marry emmakin fun of yuh, laughin at yuh, gittin scared of yuhdamn em! [He pounds on the rail with his fist. The gorilla rattles the bars of his cage and snarls. All the other monkeys set up an angry chattering in the darkness. YANK goes on excitedly.] Sure! Dats de way it hits me, too. Ony yuhre lucky, see? Yuh dont belong wit em and yuh know it. But me, I belong wit embut I dont, see? Dey dont belong wit me, dats what. Get me? Tinkin is hard [He passes one hand across his forehead with a painful gesture. The gorilla growls impatiently. YANK goes on gropingly.] Its dis way, what Im drivin at. Youse can sit and dope dream in de past, green woods, de jungle and de rest of it. Den yuh belong and dey dont. Den yuh kin laugh at em, see? Yuhre de champ of de woild. But meI aint got no past to tink in, nor nothin dats coming, ony whats nowand dat dont belong. Sure, youre de best off! Yuh cant tink, can yuh? Yuh cant talk neider. But I kin make a bluff at talkin and tinkinamost git away wit itamost!and dats where de joker comes in. [He laughs.] I aint on oith and I aint in heaven, get me? Im in de middle tryin to separate em, takin all de woist punches from bot of em. Maybe dats what dey call hell, huh? But you, yuhre at de bottom. You belong! Sure! Yuhre de ony one in de woild dat does, yuh lucky stiff! [The gorilla growls proudly.] And dats why dey gotter put yuh in a cage, see? [The gorilla roars angrily.] Sure! Yuh get me. It beats it when you try to tink it or talk itits way downdeepbehindyou n me we feel it. Sure! Bot members of dis club! [He laughsthen in a savage tone.] What de hell! T hell wit it! A little action, dats our meat! Dat belongs! Knock em down and keep bustin em till dey croaks yuh wit a gatwit steel! Sure! Are yuh game? Deyve looked at youse, aint deyin a cage? Wanter git even? Wanter wind up like a sport stead of croakin slow in dere? [The gorilla roars an emphatic affirmative. YANK goes on with a sort of furious exaltation.] Sure! Yuhre reglar! Yuhll stick to de finish! Me n you, huh?bot members of this club! Well put up one last star bout datll knock em offen deir seats! Deyll have to make de cages stronger after were trou! [The gorilla is straining at his bars, growling, hopping from one foot to the other. YANK takes a jimmy from under his coat and forces the lock on the cage door. He throws this open.] Pardon from de governor! Step out and shake hands! Ill take yuh for a walk down Fif Avenoo. Well knock em offen de oith and croak wit de band playin. Come on, Brother. [The gorilla scrambles gingerly out of his cage. Goes to YANK and stands looking at him. YANK keeps his mocking toneholds out his hand.] Shakede secret grip of our order. [Something, the tone of mockery, perhaps, suddenly enrages the animal. With a spring he wraps his huge arms around YANK in a murderous hug. There is a crackling snap of crushed ribsa gasping cry, still mocking, from YANK.] Hey, I didnt say, kiss me. [The gorilla lets the crushed body slip to the floor; stands over it uncertainly, considering; then picks it up, throws it in the cage, shuts the door, and shuffles off menacingly into the darkness at left. A great uproar of frightened chattering and whimpering comes from the other cages. Then YANK moves, groaning, opening his eyes, and there is silence. He mutters painfully.] Saydey oughter match himwit Zybszko. He got me, aw right. Im trou. Even him didnt tink I belonged. [Then, with sudden passionate despair.] Christ, where do I get off at? Where do I fit in? [Checking himself as suddenly.] Aw, what de hell! No squakin, see! No quittin, get me! Croak wit your boots on! [He grabs hold of the bars of the cage and hauls himself painfully to his feetlooks around him bewilderedlyforces a mocking laugh.] In de cage, huh? [In the strident tones of a circus barker.] Ladies and gents, step forward and take a slant at de one and only[His voice weakening]one and originalHairy Ape from de wilds of[He slips in a heap on the floor and dies. The monkeys set up a chattering, whimpering wail. And, perhaps, the Hairy Ape at last belongs.]