Dramatis Personae.

First Tailgater, season-ticket holder

Second Tailgater, season-ticket holder

Chris Snee, Giants guard and son-in-law to Coach Coughlin

Eli Manning, quarterback

Antonio Pierce, linebacker

Plaxico Burress, receiver

- - -

Act I, scene i.

New Jersey, early Sunday. A parking lot.

First Tailgater
Forsooth, I warrant favor shall be ours.

Second Tailgater
Dost thou doubt it? We are as giants clad.

First Tailgater
Yea, though titans, too, would claim the peak.

Second Tailgater
Fear not this clash: they are but elder gods,
And we, the wearers of the minted crown—
Usurpèd from the false patriot king—
Shall with vigor hold the vaunted title.

First Tailgater
Hold thy tongue and bring the eyes to bear—
Is’t not a man-o’-line approaches?

Second Tailgater
True to sight, honest friend, thou reckon’t well.


Good rev’lers all, valu’d be thy throats.
The hour is most early to be rous’d.

Second Tailgater
Offensive creature, be thee not offended;
For the rouse, we would fain keep stricter time,
But rousing potions note the hour not.
Beguiling in the morn as in the dark,
They lead the sun and night alike in sin.

Is’t a jest?

First Tailgater
Nay, sir, he speaks mean truth.
But ‘tis wise you tether caution to thought,
For when arous’d, thou art, we know, a threat.

How now?

First Tailgater
Drape thy restful eyes, yet lie not abed,
Or fair Jersey should our gentle guard accuse.
The charge? Stabbing, though his sword be blunted.

Acquit thyself!

Second Tailgater
Fair; art thou not a Snee?


Second Tailgater
E’en so, thy prick is mortal danger.

Devils, I am most wrongly us’d!

First Tailgater
Wrongly is one us’d when thou art rous’d,
And doubly wrong’d, she who first is whetted.

She? What she?

Second Tailgater
None but the coach’s daughter.

O villain!

First Tailgater
Art thou not wedded to the very same?

Aye, though well I fear the thoughts ensuing.

First Tailgater
Let fear govern, for it withers thy weapon
And blocks thee from tumescent blitz
Upon the progeny of our dear coach.

Second Tailgater
Sheath thy snee, Snee; confine all grunting
To fields on which thy snee’s by scabbard cupp’d.

First Tailgater
Yet guard, right guard, that thy deprivèd love
Be not in fever by Antonio pierc’d,
Nor by Justin tuck’d, nor, save us, by Eli mann’d.

‘Sblood, I am for you! But, no, forbear—
I am just stay’d by thoughts of darkest tinge.
For though great vict’ry heralds each new week,
Still our team wants not for further scandal.
Enough, I am away;
Blessèd be, if scoundrels may.


First Tailgater
These pregnant words do shade my mirth in black
And dull the sheen which graceth New York blue.

Second Tailgater
Let beggars fret—our repeat title’s fate.
Now let us hie. The Meadowlands await.

Act III, scene iv.

The Meadowlands, locker room.


O Miasma, rank with sweat unlaunder’d!
Effluvium most foul, I have thee ponder’d.
All my vict’ries—aye, today’s included—
Are, with odors stale, at last concluded.
Always thus: to men of great conceiving
Parasitic stench is ever cleaving.
Could Alexander, in his conquest wide,
Lack e’er the scent of flesh’s crimson tide?
Or awesome Khan, unmatch’d in worldly earning,
Escape the fetid balm of Asia burning?
And so, unslak’d, each triumph of ambition
Is companied by fragrance of perdition.
Verily, this soul is parch’d with wanting—
Plaxico, thy glory is my haunting!
I have a brother’s shadow overstepp’d,
And from repute to fool so stead’ly crept.
The barber has with insult grown absurd,
And obsolete the writer’s scornful word.
But, though I’m toasted past what thirst could bear,
The spirits are a swill I cannot share.
Alas, that nature is so firm affix’d,
And not with wisdom’s fairer visage mix’d!
But by the very devil am I urg’d
To fast assure that Plaxico is purg’d;
And, being to my cause so tightly bound,
I hereby cease to plead the wav’ring sound.
Forsooth, this loaded gun shall serve as arm
By which his head is lock’d in crux of harm.
I wrap it now in semblance of a gift
And set it in our locker room adrift,
Where’pon it be discover’d and display’d
And as a nameless gift to him convey’d.
And bless us, Fortune: dimly Plaxico
Shall bear the arm unwittingly, and so,
In time unholy, wholly walk red-handed,
Likewise caught, and as a sinner branded.
Tolerance would not be further carried—
A vain receiver’s legend thus is buried!

And, should this hatchèd plot take wing and fly,
I am the apple o’ the Apple’s eye.

Act V, scene ii.

A club.


Though in younger days these pulsing rhythms
Did most fittingly echo my own heart,
Now, honest Antonio, I am chang’d.
Indeed, I can scarcely name my image
In the looking glass. And so circumstance
May transform self, though body be unwarp’d.

What strange words are these, friend of my own heart?

Consider them not gravely. I am one.
‘Tis only that of late my bygone sins
Do clarify in harshest hues of white,
And, lo, I see such knavery unmask’d.
Would that I might speed to the commission
And prevent them ere they were transacted!
Yet time gives to man but one direction,
And so must I seek the world’s acquittal
In all the earthly moments not yet spent.

It doth me passing well to hear such speech.
For though thou know’st I am ever yours,
Still, ’tis meet that Giants seek ascension.
Thy transfiguration doth secure it.

May it be augur’d. Ah, I have forgot!
A gift did I receive this weekend past.
No sender’s name, but I knew Eli’s hand
In the address: a loopèd O confess’d.
Let us have it, and be indebted.

Egad, a firearm!

What ho! Be not alarmed, good Antonio.
It is surely jest—but of what stripe, pray?
Shall it spill water, the very life source?
Or mayhap a flag of hum’rous message?
We do observe.

A shot.

Alack, thy thigh is struck!

Take me to the hospital!

O grievous night,
That would reformèd souls old sins requite!