KING LEAR springs off his chair and kicks the FOOL in his chest. The latter falls heavy on the floor with a groan. The former paces about him, his eyes trying to gnaw Fool’s flesh.

You! Who shall not stand while I stand. Shall not speak while I speak. Shall not breathe without my permission, let alone eat. Then what delivery coerced you to defy me?
With his hand still pressing against his stomach, the Fool struggles to get up.

O’ the master of words. Before whom even the wit yields. I beg your forgiveness for if even such a despicable thought brews in my own.

Lear stops and after a few seconds pause, again delivers a kick to his groin. Fool, who has just regained his breath, screams and returns to his dilapidated state that Lear threw him in a few moments ago.
Suddenly a scream permeates OFF SCREEN. Lear points in that direction.

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The earl is righteousness and brave. I appreciate such traits. But these are lean straits. A little misstep and there won’t be any grace. He protested me and look how I returned the favour. I coerced his loveable bastard to pluck his both eyes.
The fool closed his eyes and shut his ears to shut out the horror. Lear forcefully pulls Fool’s hands off his ears.

LEAR (cont’d)
O’ object of my amusement, have some fear, else you won’t have any life to spare.
Lear spins on his heels and throws his hand in the air.
LEAR (cont’d)
I’m Lear! Winds whisper my name! Mountains bow down to my might. I’m women’s jewel. I’m the greatest sight!

And the women are now about to throw it away.
Lear stares Fool for a moment or two and then bursts into laughter.

Fool, your precocity amuses me. How could I’ve hoped for you understand the weight of my initiation?
With the support of his trembling hands, the Fool stands up and peers right into Lear’s eyes.

So prudent are you in the ways of the world, my lord. A hermit. Alas! A fool cannot match a fool’s wit.
Lear’s boundless grim disappears all of a sudden and he smashes a vase on the Fool’s head.

Now you will remember this agony whenever you will fool with me.
A streak of blood flows along the Fool’s cheek and tears tumbles down his eyes.

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(Wipes tears)
Remember? O’ yes, I remember you becoming the one they want you to become.
The Fool throws himself on the ground and grabs Lear’s feet.
FOOL (cont’d)
I comprehend that the time is rot and the conscience declined, but O’ the one who derives respect, I beg you to realize your path, or else the God will have his wrath.
Lear bent down on the Fool. His eyes narrow down.

NO. No. If I don’t liberate you, only then the God will have his wrath upon me.
Lear retraces his step back to his chair and makes himself comfortable in it.
LEAR (cont’d)
There’s a saying that the dying perceive God in his final moment. O’ Fool. The deranged one. Humour me, what do you see?
The fool wipes the amalgam of blood and tears off his face and turns his eyes on Lear.

I see a fool meeting a fool’s end.
Lear waives at the two guards standing by the door. They come and drag Fool away by his hands. Lear sips the red wine from his glass.

by Nishant Verma