Dirt Under My Nails

December 18, 2009

Sung when Gary confronts Anton about his suspicions concerning his illegal activities. Anton sits quietly listening to the list of allegations. When Gary stops speaking and demands a response, Anton laughs. The orchestra creeps over his laughter and then he sings:

I’ve been in this business for many long years
And I started with high hopes for my life.
Just like you I was naive and full of ideals,
But soon poverty stuck in its knife.
Still I thought that I would,
Be thanked for being good,
As the honest and trustworthy are.
But one day I realised,
Honest diggers get penalised;
Being bad is better by far.

Now I’ve dirt under my nails and it’s a permanent stain,
Though I scrub like MacBeth with bloody hands.
No one can see it but me: it will always remain.
Though I fled to far distant lands.
It’s the combined effects of my crimes and my fears
So as my conscience forever it stays,
Getting ever more black with the passing of years,
Like the portrait of Dorian Gray’s.

When I decided a life of crime was for me,
I threw myself into its influence.
If I found a gold coin I’d consider it my fee,
And never once did my actions have consequence.
I once found a gold torque,
Which I swapped for a fork,
In the site small finds tray.
Someone else got the blame,
And was thrown out in shame;
I laughed for the rest of the day!

Now I’ve dirt under my nails and it’s a permanent stain,
Though I scrub like MacBeth with bloody hands.
No one can see it but me: it will always remain.
Though I fled to far distant lands.
It’s the combined effects of my crimes and my fears
So as my conscience forever it stays,
Getting ever more black with the passing of years,
Like the portrait of Dorian Gray’s.

All the finds that I took, they have paid me so well
I’ve got a big off-shore account.
A few things I keep but mostly I sell,
For a staggeringly sizeable amount.
You may think it unethical,
And not quite respectable
So you carry on digging your ditch!
You see I am what I am
And I do all I can
To become unfeasibly rich!

At this point there is an instrunmental break in which Anton dances manically round the room opening drawers and cupboards to reveal secret hidden treasures and the odd trap-door. Gary stares in shocked silence and appears to realise now that he may be in physical danger and looks edgyly towards the door. From the last door that Anton opens two droogs spring out and grab hold of Gary. Anton stops prancing round and resumes his monologue:

All this crime and deceit, it has left me so cold
That of changing there’s really no hope.
My nails scratched through dirt in my pursuit of gold
It won’t clean off with water and soap!
So even if I repent
And decide to relent;
Wash my hands of the criminal track,
The damage is done
And the devil has won
And my nails will always be black!

Now I’ve dirt under my nails and it’s a permanent stain,
Though I scrub like MacBeth with bloody hands.
No one can see it but me: it will always remain.
Though I fled to far distant lands.
It’s the combined effects of my crimes and my fears
So as my conscience forever it stays,
Getting ever more black with the passing of years,
Like the portrait of Dorian Gray’s.

Gary manages to struggle free and runs out of the room as the last strains of the orchestral track are playing.
 

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