Buteonine

by Jeff Goode

copyright © 2001

Buteonine was originally written for a project called Word Games which involved pieces based on words picked at random from a dictionary. Although it was intended only as a writing exercise, the script received its first production in February 2001 when I discovered that Original Works [Los Angeles] was looking for short pieces to fit the theme "Backwards Ass Country Folk".

Cyril and Owen sitting out on the front porch. Owen is reading the newspaper.

OWEN
Did you see where they did a study, and come to find out 80% of people surveyed consider themself to be ďof above average intelligenceĒ?

CYRIL
That sounds a bit high.

OWEN
Seems like a lotta folks got the wrong idea about theirself.

CYRIL
Well, you know folks.

OWEN
Work in a feed store, donít I?

CYRIL
Always like to think theyíre smarter than they really are.

OWEN
Like to think theyíre smarterín the next fella is what it is.

CYRIL
You got that right.

OWEN
Like that one fella. ĎMember him?

CYRIL
What fellaís that?

OWEN
You know the one Iím talking about.

CYRIL
I reckon I might, if youíd go on and tell me.

OWEN
Now donít start with me.

CYRIL
Iím just saying, I ainít a mind reader, if thatís what youíre thinkiní.

OWEN
I know you know who Iím talkiní Ďbout.

CYRIL
If itís who I think it is, then no I donít.

OWEN
You was standiní right there when it happened.

CYRIL
That wasnít me. I was down to Clifton that day.

OWEN
Oh, thatís right, you was.

CYRIL
On account oí the new Starbucks.

OWEN
I must be thinkiní of somebody else.

CYRIL
Sophie wanted to try one oí them cappuccinos, and it being our anniversary and all.

OWEN
Took her to town, did you?

CYRIL
No, we didnít go to town till we got back home.
They share a bawdy laugh.

OWEN
Thatís Italian, you know.

CYRIL
What? Starbucks?

OWEN
Cappuccino.

CYRIL
You donít say. What about Starbucks?

OWEN
Thatís Battlestar Galactica.

CYRIL
Learn something new every day.

OWEN
Ainít that the truth. Anyway, thatís the fella.

CYRIL
What fella?

OWEN
The one I was telling you about.

CYRIL
Oh. Thatís who I thought it was.

OWEN
He sure thought he was a heck of a lot smarter than he turned out to be.

CYRIL
Buteonine.

OWEN
Now donít start with me.

CYRIL
Iím just sayiní thatís the fella, ainít it?

OWEN
Thatís the fella. Called me buteonine.

CYRIL
No call for that.

OWEN
Didnít even know it was a word.

CYRIL
He musta knowed it was a word. Used it in a sentence, didnít he?

OWEN
Iím talking about me.

CYRIL
Oh, you. Didnít know it was a word, huh?

OWEN
Didnít know you needed a word.

CYRIL
You got that right.

OWEN
If I come across a fella beiní all buteonine, Iím gonna come right out and tell him to his face: ďYouíre just like a buzzard.Ē

CYRIL
ďBuzzardlike.Ē

OWEN
Thatís right.

CYRIL
ďBuzzardish.Ē

OWEN
Thatís right.

CYRIL
ďDownright buzzardesque.Ē

OWEN
Now donít start with me.

CYRIL
Iím just sayiní, itís like you said.

OWEN
Point is, we got plenty oí words right here in plain English, without we gotta go makiní up new ones in Latin.

CYRIL
(scoffs) Buteonine.

OWEN
I mean, thatís all well and good if you end up in a emergency room feeling kinda buzzard-like, and you wanna make sure the doctor understands your condition. But other than that? Just day to day? Walkiní down the street?

CYRIL
Or sittiní at the bar chattiní up a fellaís girlfriend while heís in the washroom?

OWEN
Now I told you how she was dressed.

CYRIL
Canít blame you for tryiní.

OWEN
Canít a fella pay another fellaís gal a compliment without we gotta have words?

CYRIL
How is Sarah, by the by?

OWEN
Gettiní on good. Homesick, time to time. Misses the city.

CYRIL
Thatís natural. Take her down to Clifton, why donít you?

OWEN
Thereís a idea. Get us one oí them cappuccinos.

CYRIL
Extra foamy.
They share a bawdy laugh.

CYRIL
You know, Owen...

OWEN
Whatís that?

CYRIL
Now hear me out...

OWEN
Donít start with me.

CYRIL
Iím just sayiní, what if that was all it was, was a compliment?

OWEN
What was?

CYRIL
What the fella said.

OWEN
A compliment? He called me a buzzard.

CYRIL
He called you buteonine.

OWEN
It does sound purty, now you mention it.

CYRIL
The buzzard is a noble beast.

OWEN
The buzzard? I think youíre thinking of somebody else.

CYRIL
Desert beast. Stately. Noble. Lord of the sandy skies.

OWEN
They eat you when youíre dying, for cryiní out loud!

CYRIL
No, sir. They wait. A buzzard will not eat you till youíre all through dying. Theyíre patient, that way. Polite.

OWEN
I still donít like Ďem circliní over me when Iím starviní to death.

CYRIL
Well, what do you want they should do? Wait a couple days for the rot to set in? They wanna get you while youíre fresh, donít they?

OWEN
I reckon so. Guess there ainít no harm in that.

CYRIL
Thatís right.

OWEN
So a buzzardís got taste. Discretion.

CYRIL
Got a certain buteonine quality.

OWEN
I still donít see as that fella meant it as a compliment.

CYRIL
You donít think so? Something about the way he said it?

OWEN
Something about the way he said, ďGet a dictionaryĒ when I asked him what he meant.

CYRIL
He was a smug one, that one.

OWEN
He thought he was a helluva lot smarterín all of us.

CYRIL
You got a dictionary, didnít you?

OWEN
Mavis had one behind the bar.

CYRIL
That old hard-bound ďWebsterísĒ up on the cupboard? That thing is so old, I didnít know it still had words in it.

OWEN
Well, it did. ďButeonine: Of the nature of, or resembling a buzzard.Ē

CYRIL
Boy, I bet he was smug.

OWEN
Oh, that fella thought he knew just about everything.

CYRIL
Bet he didnít know you could beat a man to death with a hard-cover book.

OWEN
No, I reckon thatís one thing they didnít teach him in college.

CYRIL
You learn something new every day, I guess.

OWEN
Ainít that the truth.

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