Anton Chekhov’s ‘Wario,’ by Alex Firer
Few know that Wario, the beloved fourth choice for favorite Mario Kart 64 character, did not originate as a video game character but in the works of Anton Chekhov. The character premiered in the great playwright’s The Serf’s Dilemma, soon retitled Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins for the Moscow Theater. “What is Super Mario Land? Why is this the second one!?” stuttered Chekov, to little avail. The play was scuttled off quickly only to be rediscovered recently. We present to you an excerpt from Anton Chekhov’s Wario.
(The stage is disheveled. The samovar is tipped and dented. Aleksandr Warinsky, his transformation into WARIO now complete, enters, his white gloved hands covered in blood. He gazes at the heavens. WALUIGI enters, broken, but in dress still ever the refined doctor.)
Wario: Oh God, judge me by my own standard not by yours, I beg of you.
Waluigi: Brother. Are the rumors true? Have you committed a cardinal sin from which none may make the journey back?
Wario: All I did was even out the odds.
Waluigi: Your gloves. Covered in blood.
Wario: Well, a mill owner will never reach glory through sweat of brow; he must take it. I shamed that man. That pawn who took my Daisy from me as if she were another statue to decorate a mansion with.
Waluigi: The blood on your fists—is it yours or Luigi’s?
Wario: A mixture of both. Money can buy you a home, a hat — but dignity? No. You take dignity. Pull it from its pit and throttle its throat with your mangy fingers!
(WARIO throttles the air, shocking WALUIGI.)
Wario: Oh, does this shock you, brother? It doesn’t matter…I’ve shown the man I once idolized with hate and loathed with awe that he is— (He removes his cap, he turns it upside down resembling an M) just flesh and blood. Serf and land-owner are flesh and blood alike. A man of medicine such as yourself can appreciate this, surely.
Waluigi: The only thing you’ve done is show yourself to be a beast at the table of man. You’ve disgraced us. A duel is with pistols; once the pistol misfires, you do not beat a man’s face so deeply. I’m afraid my time in this village must be over. I am sorry to leave on such terms.
Wario: Then leave on my terms! Begone, you filthy git! I’ve no love lost for you. Take this (WARIO gives WALUIGI a hat with an upside-down “L” on it.) and spit on the legacy we could have had as the Wario Brothers. Not Warinsky. Wario.
(Waluigi pauses, takes the hat, and leaves. Wario explodes in rage.)
Wario: Graceless beast! I have raised you since you were an infant! Since our own mother threw us into the wild, forcing us to fend for ourselves. Grass to eat, mud to bathe in! I am an animal? Nay, it is you who are animal! You! You! You!
(WARIO hits the samovar. It spills out six golden coins.)
Wario: Six Golden Coins. Six…the boy is right. I cannot remain here anymore. Six…golden coins. Enough to start a new life away from here. Where serf is a meaningless title, where no one knows — I will become a new man. Not Wario, not Warinsky— something undiscovered!
(MARIO enters. He is a behemoth of a man, his silken red overalls and M-laden cap untouched. With bountiful gregariousness, he grins enormously.)
Mario: Ah, my darling Wario. Wherever could you be going with your mansion such a mess? Why, do you not need a castle to amuse your many admirers?
Wario: Mock me not, Mario. I’ve won, don’t you see? You will never make me look the fool. I’ve proven you mortal. If you bring me to rot in a cell I will do so head held high.
Mario: Luigi will survive. You’ve beaten him, but he is a fool after all, and dogs have nipped at his heels since he was a child. This is not his first beating. But this is your first attempt to step out of your class. Every peasant’s tried it and they’ve all learned the same thing. (MARIO straightens a painting.) That landowning is not just a title or a deed. It is blood, how you walk through public, how the world knows you are a lord of the Earth. When you pout the world feels sorrow, and when you grin even the toothless beggar feels joy. These are things some are born to give. Things your mother whispers in your infant ear. Things Marios are born with.
Wario: I am a human being, I will not be spoken to otherwise!
(MARIO strikes WARIO.)
Wario: You’ve acted as beast as well. You are no better than I.
Mario: When I act as beast I elevate beast to man. When I act as beast it becomes the new law. You will never be beast or man. Your greatest curse is you will always be yourself. At best you can repeat your errors in another guise. You know what you must do.
(WARIO sees a Red Turtle Shell hanging on the wall and takes it down.)
Wario: In a world of few possessions the Red Shell was with me from birth. Fitting it’s here now.
Mario: Would you like me to leave the room?
Wario: No. I can do this anywhere, I suppose. Farewell.
(WARIO leaves the stage. We hear the Turtle Shell fly around and hit WARIO.)
(Mario’s butler, YOSHI, runs in.)
Yoshi: Master Mario, a man killed himself in front of the mansion! We must get a doctor!
Mario: No, Yoshi, worry not. If we leave him be, in a few days not even the wolves will remember he was ever there.
Alex Firer has written for The Onion News Network and The Devastator but recently spends his time hiding in fear from The Hand That Comes Down For Me. The Hand shall crush all who go against its holy way and Alex’s Twitter feed is @AlexFirer where he tweets okay jokes.
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