ACT 1: VICTOR'S MANOR

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DR DOWNING

My good sir, brace yourself. Death has come a-knocking.

VICTOR

Tell him to come back another day, I'm far too busy.

DR DOWNING

Death waits for no man.

VICTOR

Oh, he will if one is forceful enough.

DR DOWNING

I see you still have your wits about you, but that wit will whip those laughing lips.

VICTOR

Let it whip. I long for laughter.

DR DOWNING

Be serious, good man. Prepare to meet your end.

VICTOR

I will prepare for nothing, except my evening port. Fill my glass, good doctor?

DR DOWNING

Death is no joke.

VICTOR

Aye, it is grave indeed, and if I were on my deathbed I'd be drowning my low spirits in stronger spirits.

DR DOWNING  

It is a sorry man that refuses to look death in the eye.

VICTOR

Death may turn his ugly eye on some other mortal.

DR DOWNING

You are quite mistaken. The writing's on the wall.

VICTOR

But the ink is not yet dry.

DR DOWNING

You are a fool!

VICTOR

If a fool is a dreamer then I am as foolish as they come.

DR DOWNING

A fool indeed. But mark my words, your days are numbered.

VICTOR

I count my lucky stars. It would be dreadfully hard to keep track of them should they not be.

DR DOWNING

You hear me not. My medicine can do no more.

VICTOR

No, man's medicine is quite insufficient. I shall turn my cap to a more competent Healer.

DR DOWNING

You mock the hands that heal you!

VICTOR

I thought your healing hands were through with me?

DR DOWNING

Aye, indeed they are. Your time has come.

VICTOR

Your clock can't catch me.

DR DOWNING

Victor, within twenty four hours you will die. Fire will devour your bones!

VICTOR

Cremation is for heretics who wish to be consumed by fire and brimstone twofold.

DR DOWNING

Bah! Then you will be worm's meal before the day is through!

VICTOR

The worms shall feast on some other beggar. Close your casket, kind doctor. These limbs shall not forsake me yet. I have a great future in store for me.

DR DOWNING

With eyes that do not see? Legs that do not walk? A heart that barely beats? The only future awaiting you is six feet under! You are at Death's door. If you refuse to open it, he will have no trouble turning the handle.

VICTOR

Nay, that handle gets somewhat stiff.

NURSE MAY enters

NURSE MAY

How is the patient?

DR DOWNING

Delirious! He thinks he's he will survive his death.

NURSE MAY

Aye? They do say that hope is the greatest cure for all ailments.

DR DOWNING

They say nothing of the sort! And with that foul mouth, you will ruin my career!


That year:

The doctor slipped straight through Death's door

While Victor lived two decades more.

For even when the neck is bound by a rope

It is never too late, there is always hope.

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