Vesti la Guibba

Vesti la Guibba

A Story by Adilene

As Jack comes to the realization of his wife's infidelity, he learns that the mime, Randel, may not be what he may seem. Reference to Ruggero Leoncavallo's "Vesti la Guibba" of Pagliacci.

"Rosemary," Jack whimpers as he holds his wife's photo in front of their bedroom dresser. “You betrayed me, Rosemary.”

            With wrinkles upon his forehead"for he had grown old over the years"his titled light-brown eyes rested just above his lower eye-lashes. As he looks down upon her image, her ocean blue irises contrast a sense of infidelity, and her red-colored lips on that curved smirk hackles in laughter at his saddened face.

            “What an utter pity,” Randel ticks in the darkness of the corner of the bedroom, with his back against the wall, his crossed legs and arms folded. His keen smile cracked the silence of the bedroom, and his cynical green irises and clear white eyes shackled the walls. “This was as expected soon, for after all, she is a tart.”

            In a split second, Jack rushed towards him and Randel’s body was thrashed against the wall; his shirt tightly locked into Jack's fists. Randel's white paint across his face caused him to grow crows' feet as he gave out his notorious grin. Jack's eyes extended from his eyelids, and his lips were sucked in as his teeth cracked in multiple grinds.

            “Do not ever repeat that, you fool! Do you understand?” Jack's face reddened. “She is no loose women from the street! She is my wife!”

            “Well, my Jack"”

            “Shut your bloody mouth up! I've been tempted to end your life, and now I am more pleased to do so more than ever! All of this has been brought from the likes of you! You've come to an intrusion of me. You've intruded my job, my relationship, and me! You've intruded my every thought, my every word, and my every action! And now, my beautiful and beloved woman has fled with another man and has left me as a result of your coming! You must leave out of my existence!”

            “My, my Jack,” Randel chuckled. “You seem rather angry. It is not an intrusion to your privacy if I had been welcomed into your arms since the beginning.”

            “I never welcomed you! I've wanted to get rid of you since the first day you've walked into my door, with your queer, ragged striped shirt and that ridiculous paint across that monstrous look on your face! You're a mime! You should not even be uttering a single word from those black-painted lips of yours!”

            “I must tell you, brethren,” Randel stretched his arm out and slowly shoved Jack's hands from his gripped and wrinkled shirt, in an operatic and gentle manner, as though trying to foreplay an opera monologue. “It has been you that has allowed me to take play in the dialogue.” In confusion, Jack's grip had come to an end and he stood there tentative to Randel's lyrical words.

            “What are you referring to, Randel?” Jack demanded.

            “You do not see, Jonathan?” Randel walked away from the wall as Jack had let go of his person. He walked towards the other corner of the room, where the record player had been placed atop of a furniture drawer. Randel opens the top drawer, and flipping in search in the numerous records, and with sigh of ecstasy, he comes forth of a very dilapidated record, reading:


            Vesti la Guibba”, recording by Enrico Caruso, 1904. Ruggero Leoncavallos' Pagliacci.


Placing the record onto the record player, with the tap of the pick, Caruso's marvelous voice echoed the barren bedroom. Randel's arm extends as he acts out Canio's movement and words:


            Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio,
            non so più quel che dico,
            e quel che faccio!


            (Act! While in delirium,
            I no longer know what I say,
            or what I do!)


            “Oh, Canio. Poor Canio, how you feel so agonized. But, fortunately, Caruso really captured your character quite perfectly. But, Jack, I feel as though you could have portrayed Canio much more swiftly. It is as though he speaks your very heart.”

            “I still do not understand. Get to the direct point, Randel, or I may grow impatient with you.” Jack began with an irritable look upon his face.

            “You see, my dearest Jonathan, you have seized your sense of action and thought. You no longer uttered a word, nor took any movement. Thus, you have left me in charge.”

            “What? I still grow this misconception. Stop speaking in figurative terms.”

            “What I speak is not figurative, but literal. You ask why I speak. Even if I appear as the mime? The truth is that it is not I who is the silent one of the two. You are the silent one. You are the mime, not I.” Randel continued to pace around in Canio's movements.


            Eppur è d'uopo, sforzati!
Bah! Sei tu forse un uom?
Tu se' Pagliaccio!


            (And yet it's necessary... make an effort!
            Bah! Are you not a man?
            You are a clown!)


Ever since you have taken the decision of consuming those rather, mind-penetrating substances, you no longer know what to do or say. Your sense of character has changed. Your basis of morality has deviated. In this, your beloved Rosemary has fled, for you had begun to mistreat her in numerous, inhuman ways. Why would any woman continue to be victimized of such barbaric acts and words? It is better for her to have left with that lovable man that she had begun sleeping with than to withstand your demonic character.”

            “But that is of no understanding! It was not I who had taken part in the mistreatment of Rosemary!” Jack howled. “It was you! You were the one who threw out the vulgar words! You were the one who threw those chaotic movements! It was you, Randel!”

            “But you see, Jonathan... I am you.”

            Randel ceased the record.

            Jack's eyes and jaw augmented. In skepticism, he asked, “You are me? That is not certain! We are two distinct individuals! How can you say that we are but one person? This cannot be!”

            “Jack, Jack, Jack. Come with me,” Randel escorted him to the mirror of the bedroom dresser. Seating him, Jack faced the mirror, looking at his very own reflection, in unmitigated uncertainty and turmoil. Randel stood behind him. Taking his hands and placing them over Jack's face, he continued in melody, saying, “Look at both you and me. What do you see? Do you see the resemblance even with this tattered paint on my face?”

            Hyperventilating, Jack's creamy face transformed into the palest of white, and his eyebrows arrows towards the center of his forehead, in despair. “This cannot be.”

            “Oh, but it is, Jonathan. Ask yourself these questions: why is it that whenever you spoke of Randel, others grew wry faces in confusion? Why is it that no one has seemed to take notice of Randel but you? Why? It is simple, Jack. You have simply sought out an image of yourself. I am you. You are me. We are Jack. We are Randel.”

            “No, no, NO!” Jack's eyes began to water, and in an instant, he grew a succession of agonizing bewailing and shrieks. His wet face rested into his hands, and his body began to shiver in realization.

            With his eyes shut, Randel's smile stretched from cheek to cheek. Looking at Jack, he removes his attire, and with his striped shirt, he hands it to Jack. “I see you've come to your enlightenment. I believe this belongs to you.”

            In strong and abrupt breaths, Jack removes his collared shirt and quickly replaces it with Randel's. Jack then stares at Rosemary's cosmetology on the dresser.  Randel walks towards the record player, and before commencing the record, he looks back in disbelief as he sees Jack grabbing his wife's face powder and in a moment of desperate thought, he opens the container and throws it onto his face, with trails of tears coming down his face. He then takes a hold of her lipstick, and twisting it, he smudges the color over his lips until the container runs out.

            In parasitic jubilation and entertainment as Jack's audience, Randel commences the record with the most demonic laughter that has ever echoed in the ears of any human being:



            Vesti la giubba,
            e la faccia infarina.
            La gente paga, e rider vuole qua.
            E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina,
            ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà!
            Tramuta in lazzi lo spasmo ed il pianto
            in una smorfia il singhiozzo e 'l dolor, Ah


            (Put on your costume,
            powder your face.
            The people pay to be here, and they want to laugh.
            And if 
Harlequin shall steal your Columbina,
laugh, clown, so the crowd will cheer!
            Turn your distress and tears into jest,
            your pain and sobbing into a funny face " Ah!)

Randel walks towards Jack, and grabs a hold of a towel and smears the white paint off his face. Taking a hold of Jack's collared shirt that had been thrown onto the ground; he puts it on and begins to button it up. Looking into the mirror beside him, Randel points to Jack and continues his utter laughter, saying, “Fool, fool, FOOL! Clown, clown, CLOWN! Who is the fool now? Who is the clown now? He mocks you!”

            Looking at his reflection, with the tainted powder and lipstick all over his face that now covering his facial hair, Jack desperately opens the top drawer of the dresser and pulls out a revolver in tears. He looks at it for a while with a face of fear and regret. He then aims the revolver at his head. He stares into the mirror and takes one last look at Randel.


            Ridi, Pagliaccio,
            sul tuo amore infranto!
            Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!


            (Laugh, clown,
            at your broken love!
            Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!)


Randel whispers to Jack “End it, Canio.”


© 2012 Adilene

Author's Note

This is one of my first short stories. As a teenager and beginner in the writing process of literature, I would highly appreciate reviews on how to improve my grammer as well as my writing.

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Added on September 8, 2012
Last Updated on September 8, 2012
Tags: dissociative identity disorder, alter ego, mime, Vesti la Guibba, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Pagliacci



San Fernando, CA

Hello there! As a young writer, I have just begun to take my time to record what my imagination brings onto paper. I have had a passion for literature in the past, but recently I have come to t.. more..

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