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Persians 2K6: Tragedy in the Hood

Directed by Scott Sedar

CHORUS: We are the parents of southeast. Xerxes, the king, son of Darius, picked us cuz we’re the best ones to watch over this rich and golden mansion on the hill. When are Xerxes and his street soldiers coming back to the ghetto? Our hearts are full with sadness because the only young men we have are gone. And nobody, not the mailman or the newspaper, is telling us anything. People are complaining because they don’t know what’s going on.

CHORUS: We fear that our king is dead. Yeah, I said it . . . dead. We are waiting alone, but we still have our Queen Atossa. She has everything a queen is supposed to have – beauty, strength, and plenty of change in her pocket. And when I say change, I mean she’s wealthy. If I was her, I would spend all of Darius’s money. She is like a soldier that never gets knocked down and believe me when I say it. She ne-ver gets knocked down just like her husband, the late King Darius.

CHORUS: King Darius never let anything put him down. He was a wonderful king. He wouldn’t let swords take him down. Everyone of his fellow people loved him. He wanted everyone in Southeast to be treated with respect and equality.

Enter ATOSSA with attendants

CHORUS: The King’s mother, Queen Atossa, stands! Southeast, y’all need to bow at her feet, then rise with one voice and salute her. Hail our Queen! The noblest woman in all of D.C., Darius’s wife and Xerxes’s mother.

ATOSSA: I hear y’all in here bragging about Darius and me. All the stuff you said about Darius is true. If you threw him in a chamber and fed him to a lion, Darius would still get up and say it’s all good. When I go to sleep, I can see him calling me from the heavens above. He says, “Atossa, Atossa, my beloved queen. I can see you and you can see me. Make sure you know something bad is about to happen.” Tell me, chorus, what is he talking about? Did something bad happen in the war? Is something going to happen to the people and soldiers of Southeast?

CHORUS: We haven’t heard a word. But, we can tell you how Xerxes and his soldiers left. They stormed through big cities and counties, including PG County and Baltimore. Xerxes’s street soldiers flowed eastward in their Cadillacs and H2 Hummers and ridin’ on motorcycles by the thousands. The footmen from Trenton Park, Barry Farms, Wahler Place were marching in his stiff ranks of war.

CHORUS: Anthony, master of weapons and armor was a sight to harden the soul. Shaq’s tank moved rife with death. Jamal was a brave sniper, a fearless assassin. Tony’s four humvees rode in his firm control.

CHORUS: On the Anacostia, more of Xerxes’ men gathered – Delante, Michael, Shawn, and Will. Those skilled gunmen marched with the rest of the street soldiers. Four army vehicles advanced, filling every person’s face with fear. Xerxes and his men vowed to bring their enemies down.

CHORUS: We watched the pride of Southeast, our young men, march away. Our land that raised them, now grieves with serious thoughts. Man, we count each empty day and their long delay. Since Xerxes led his destroying ranks over the Anacostia and through Maryland, against the whole earth. The darkness was in his eyes as his thousands advanced.

ATOSSA: Since my son and his soldiers went to fight their enemies, every night dreams come to me. Last night, I had a vision of Xerxes getting hurt in a car accident. Listen, two women nicely dressed, one in gothic style and one in hip hop clothes appeared. One was from Southeast and one was from Southwest. These two seemed suspicious. Somehow they provoked each other into a fight. My son broke them up and pulled them into his car and drove off. The gothic woman cooperated, but, the hip hop woman tried to break her way out of the car. My son looked back and crashed the car because he wasn’t paying attention. The car got smashed in the front, which made Xerxes fall out of the car. That was such a dream last night. When I got up, I washed my face and took a shower. Then I went to church and prayed for someone to save me from evil. As I prayed, I sat by the window watching. An eagle flew past my house, I was shocked with terror. Then a pigeon on steroids came and grabbed the eagle with its claws by the head. The eagle was flapping his wings, but, it stayed there, not resisting the pigeon, leaving itself to scars.

CHORUS: That’s crazy!

ATOSSA: These signs are very unusual and make me think with dread. If my son fights, he will be the talk of the town. But if he fails, they will hold him accountable. Winner or loser – he is still the king of Southeast. My husband is dead. I wish he wasn’t dead cuz I need a little help. It is so bad.

CHORUS: It shouldn’t be that hard.

ATOSSA: O God, there is too much going on right about now. Somebody needs to pray for me or help me. Man this is really starting to be very irritating cuz I have to deal with my husband being dead, my son in the war, and these bad dreams. I’m shook.

CHORUS: Missus, we would not speak to make you scared. Neither will we raise your hopes up. Pray humbly to the gods and ask them to get rid of the evil omens you saw, and to fulfill the good for you, your son, and your friends. Tell them demons to stay the heck back. Next, you must visit Darius’s grave. Pour out a little for him and beg him to send you and Xerxes a blessing from the underworld. All your bad dreams will go away. Hopefully everything will be o.k.

ATOSSA: Thanks! Y’all understand what I am trying to say. I awoke this morning at dawn and the sky was red. A lucky omen. Now, my house and I are filled with hope. Y’all are the first to give me guidance in what to do after having these crazy dreams. I hope for the best. I will take some time this afternoon to do what you told me to do. But, tell me, what is everyone on the street saying? Where do my son’s enemies live?

CHORUS: It’s far into Maryland, where the sun sets.

ATOSSA: But why was my son so pressed to get rid of some of those people over there?

CHORUS: Because they once jumped someone from Southeast. Some small beef is the cause of everything that happens.

ATOSSA: Do they have a good army? Are they skilled at guns?

CHORUS: Well, they killed all of southwest. But, fighting’s more of their thing than guns. They use pit bulls, brass knuckles, rocks, bricks, and sticks, other than that, no guns.

ATOSSA: Are they rich?

CHORUS: They have loads of jewelry and a lot of drugs to sell.

ATOSSA: Are they skilled in archery?

CHORUS: No, they fight dirty.

ATOSSA: And, who is their master?

CHORUS: Master? They ain’t servants.

ATOSSA: Without a master, can these enemies fight and protect themselves?

CHORUS: Yes! They jumped Xerxes and his whole army.

ATOSSA: This news will scare the mothers of Southeast whose sons are street soldiers.

CHORUS: If I’m not mistaken, the truth will come out and there will be no way to deny it.

ATOSSA: I feel bad for the people in the army.

CHORUS: If I’m right, you gon’ find out the truth. The messenger coming is a for real Southeast courier. He’s gon’ give us good news.

Enter Messenger

MESSENGER: Look everybody, sorry to burst y’all bubble, but it’s over! Almost everybody’s dead. Dang, the streets of Southeast! Our beloved army was caught with its pants down. One bad thing makes the whole city bad. One thing destroys one person’s happiness. All the youth have fallen. And the only way to get to the good news is to tell the whole truth!

CHORUS: Back to the sadness and sorrow again! Dang, dang, dang!

MESSENGER: Yes! All hope is lost. Xerxes’s soldiers came from the roughest and nastiest parts of the hood. Most of ‘em suffered, yet I see the truth, and hope is suddenly coming back cuz some of them survived.

CHORUS: How did they survive?

MESSENGER: I was there man. I can recap it for you detail for detail.

CHORUS: For crying out loud, we made a mistake fighting the enemies. But, mourn all you want. We went strong, we died strong. That’s it. The enemies were also strong in their hands, their guns, and those fists they use.

MESSENGER: The coast, alleys, parks of Maryland and all the neighborhoods are full of bodies.

CHORUS: The way they fought us, made us go straight to the hospital.

MESSENGER: Our fists, cadillacs, humvees, and soldiers were no good. They were better. They just messed us up.

CHORUS: Is this what fate brought us to? What? The gods hate us now?

MESSENGER: What name is more hateful than Maryland? Maryland, the most hateful name in history.

CHORUS: Who can ever forget that name? Who can forget how they took our women’s hope and made them lose their husbands, boyfriends, brothers and more!

ATOSSA: Man, I have kept my mouth closed for a long time. And, I’m afraid this news is too much. I know we are angry for what happened to our comrades. But tell the truth, even if you cry, who is dead and who is not dead? And who should we cry for?

MESSENGER: Your son, Xerxes is still alive.

ATOSSA: Now hearing that Xerxes is still alive is like when Martha Stewart got out of jail. There is still hope left.

MESSENGER: Naww. Jamie was seen lyin’ dead in the Anacostia. Brass knuckles murked Delante and now he be haunting at his auntie’s house. Anthony, Xerxes’s general, and his crew got messed up. They got jumped with rocks. There were like twenty thousand men. Some came out of caddies wit bats man! They had bulldogs! They took them off the leashes and the dogs started attacking and biting our men. Those you know who were hurt are Shaq, Jamal, and Tony. Those soldiers you know who are dead are Michael, Shawn, and Will.

ATOSSA: Oh my God! This is like the world just ended. Southeast is full of shame. All of these people are dead. Rewind and tell me, how many cars and tanks were there that dared to challenge our men.

MESSENGER: As many cars and tanks as there were, we still could have won the war. There was like thousands of cars and tanks, not counting the people that came wit rocks and dogs. Your son, Xerxes, had a thousand men in front and two thousand and seven in different hiding places.

CHORUS: As much men as we had, we still lost. We can’t keep these streets safe by ourselves. The gods need to help us.

ATOSSA: What safe are you talkin’ about? These streets ain’t safe.

MESSENGER: While our men are home, it’s safe. But without men, no.

ATOSSA: Ok, but in the war, who drew first blood?

MESSENGER: Well, this dude from Maryland came and told your son that once night time comes, their army was going to roll out. Xerxes told all his Southeast leaders, “when the sun goes down, they’re rolling out, after that we’ll jump them before they do.” Our soldiers stayed overnight, through morning, and the next day. But, the enemies still didn’t come. The next day, our soldiers left, and the enemies came. They blasted their war music and started rapping it. Soon their crew came out and said, “We are here to fight to the death!

MESSENGER: We came out with our weapons. They drew first blood. They came on every side of us. First it was a huge gang. We resisted, but, soon we were surrounded. We were jammed in between them. Every man was for himself battling. Suddenly they came from behind us charging. The town was full of chaos. Everything was broken and torn down. Some people were dead, some retreated. Soon the sun went down. Everyone rolled out and the darkness covered the bloody scene. If I could tell you everything, it would take me more than ten days and ten nights. But know this, never before in history, in one day, did so many men die.

ATOSSA: Oh snap! We are in trouble! It is terrible how all our great men are dead! Terrible that this great destruction is taking over Southeast Washington, D.C. and er’body on the block. What’s coming next is harder than what just happened. What could top that? How we gonna get stronger to beat all our pains?

MESSENGER: Listen there’s more and its horrible. Shut up, I’m not finished!

ATOSSA: My peoples, this bad stuff I hear is more than we can take. How can there be more to this awful tragedy?

MESSENGER: The weight of Southeast has decreased. It is now like food on a tray getting eaten by every little ant. And, all the trouble should be blamed on . . . dare I say . . . Xerxes. He has caused all of this trouble. I don’t mean to give you a heartache. But, I am going to tell you what happened. He went from city to city and county to county, destroying high and low. The war is not a tragedy, Xerxes is. He has caused his own beloved Southeast trouble. He went everywhere committing terror. He destroyed people’s hopes, statues, churches, and he even killed people. The enemies haven’t caused the war, Xerxes has.

ATOSSA: Why would Xerxes and his army cause all of this trouble?

CHORUS: He destroyed everything in sight.

MESSENGER: Then the war got worse. Ok, our army was in they hood ya know. So they came at us like it was War of the Worlds 2. But, we was packin’ and we would punish ‘em in a minute. That was a fatal mistake. When we was wreckin, summin’ went wrong. The heavens hated us for some reason.

MESSENGER: They was all around us man, taking up the whole battlefield. We ain’t have nowhere to run. First, they threw rocks at us. Then, they threw ‘em harder. And then, at last they came at us wreckin’ and stealin’ us, cuttin’, stabbin’ us, ‘till the last man was standing. Xerxes saw the gory disturbing images of people dying, yelling, bleeding, never forgetting what had happened. He saw his elite force being dominated. It’s sad. He retreated quickly with his army, tryin’ to get them outa there.

ATOSSA: Now, he done crushed our hopes. Those soldiers that passed at the battlefield wasn’t enough. Man, Xerxes gave us a loss and pain, instead of a win and gain. Xerxes did not bring revenge, but a world of suffering. Tell me what happened to the soldiers who got away. Where’d they go? Do you know anything for sure?

MESSENGER: Whoever was left of our crew suffered a horrifying loss, thirsty, starved, exhaustion, loss of blood. Some of them struggled to get to a corner store, where they bought water and stuff. Some got to Kenny’s cousin’s house, half dead, beggin’ for food. Most of ‘em died from being hungry or thirsty. Man, most people was praying to the gods. They prayed uncountable times.

MESSENGER: Xerxes’s soldiers started to cross the Douglass Bridge. Those who crossed the bridge before the sun rose again survived. Those who waited, had waited too long. The sun came out, they tried to run, the traffic got tied up and they got hit by cars. Fords, Cadillacs, Porsches, Hondas, BMW’s breakin bones and stuff. The people’s that saw watched, astonished and in shock. So our block was weepin’ cuz of the soldiers that died. I’m keepin’ it real with you, but I ain’t done yet. Your son survived, with his clothes torn, blood drawn, tears shed, army no more – gone into the light.

ATTOSSA: Man, they done messed our army up. O vivid dream that lit the darkness! Those dreams warned me of disaster. You didn’t tell how bad this actually was. Y’all told me to pray and I’m going to pray. Then, I’m gonna beg to Darius. What has been done, is done, can’t do nothin’ about that. But, I’m going to sacrifice anyways, hoping that a little bit of time will get us back on top. Man, y’all need to get it together. If my son gets here while I’m out, make him feel at home in our mansion. If you don’t, he’ll feel worse than before.

CHORUS: Zeus done messed up man. The streets are filled with grieving people. The women and young girls are crying a river. And young, new brides are crying because their new grooms have died. Their hearts are broken and we just about as sad as they are. There are people accusing Xerxes in the street – accusing him of the war he started, the people he got killed, the pain he caused us. A whole lot of people are blaming him. No more cursing, the people of Southeast shall have freedom.

ATOSSA: Wassup? Don’t ya’ll kids know about struggling? This struggle we go through is like a tsunami. We shouldn’t be feeling this; we should be treated fairly. But instead we fear for everything that comes around the corner.

Those who have felt the pain know dis:

When gangstas blow windows out and every life dat is taken, a new one is brung into the world, and every new life brings terror and downfall and hope and faith. It’s like the Titanic when it hit the iceberg, then, when you feel better it’s like you won the lottery. My head is filled with this unnecessary mess. I have this bad news in my head that messed up my mind.

This means I must bring nice things for Darius. These things will soothe him, even though he’s nothing but a soul. I bring him jerseys, Jordans, mostly everything that starts with a “J.” And more gifts: flowers, pictures of him and the family, and a big heart balloon. With these gifts, we will bring my man back from the dead. Now, I want ya’ll people to help me. As I pour a little drink out, to sink into the greedy ground, I want ya’ll to say some words to the people down below.

CHORUS: We got your back!

Wake up, black brotha,
For me, your sons, and your motha.
For me, you will see,
Darius, wake up!
We know you hear us, boy. Get up!
We need you to help us, all right?
We love you Darius, and you need your sleep,
But just get up!
Come and get those eye boogers out your eyes...
We need to believe you have the answers.

Our gifts are fried chicken, for good lickin’
baked potatoes or tomatoes
and a large ice tea-lemonade mix,
and maybe a box of Kix.

She wants her husband to rise from the dead
So he can kiss her in the head
And then they’ll lay in the bed
Just remembering what life was like before he was dead.

She says, hey guys, help me say a chant.
I want my man back to pay the rent
and my child support.
The guys say, “We’ll help you girl—
It ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.”

We see fearless people who have fearless souls that are sent to hell. Come back, man. Come back with your favorite outfit, bro’man. Wear the suit with the Now & Later gators, the black and red 23’s and those nice hoodies, and the gold chain that says “The king is here” and one silver diamond earring.

(Darius returns.)

DARIUS: I hear you, Dawg. Don’t be scared, it’s me—your homie, your dawg, Darius. I’m back like Cracker Jack.

Why is my land shot up and beat down? I see my wife sitting here crying, while pouring this wine out on my tomb. You’re at my grave site weeping. Help my spirit. Hurry up and say what you got to say. I’m about to leave, cause I need my sleep.

CHORUS: Yo, Darius. We got so much respect for you we ain’t even gonna look at you or talk to you. We’re just gonna rise and wipe our weeping eyes.

I’m so sorry, but I just can’t stare at a royal face. I just got too much love for you, man.

DARIUS: Man, fools, get up! You want to beg and plead, but you guys need to hurry up and tell me what you want to say.

CHORUS: Even if you tell us to, we’ve got to much respect to look you in the face.

DARIUS: Atossa, baby, talk to me. In a normal voice, not in pain. People are crying on the face of the earth. I just want to say SILENCE. And my ears grow with my years. Atossa, go ahead and talk, because they ain’t making no sense.

ATOSSA: When you’re happy, your friends will be happy. You’re just blessed like that. You’re good, you’re lucky, you’re like the sun—you shine. You have lived long years in Southeast. We admired you then, and death hasn’t hurt you not one bit. But I hear you. I’ll be brief, so hear me out. Our neighborhood is destroyed.

DARIUS: But how? Was it a hurricane or the bird flu? Or did our boys all kill each other?

ATOSSA: No, but our boys went out looking for trouble, and they found it.

DARIUS: Talk to me—which of my sons went out looking for a fight?

ATOSSA: Who do you think? It was that hothead Xerxes. When he gets crazy, can’t nobody stop him.

DARIUS: Stupid fool! Did he drive or take the subway?

ATOSSA: He did both. He kind of advanced. He tried to take over all of D.C. and Maryland too.

DARIUS: How did he get so many of his boys across the river?

ATOSSA: He blocked up the whole Douglass bridge.

DARIUS: Get outta here—you’re lying. Took out the whole bridge? Now that’s winning. That’s my boy!

ATOSSA: That’s what he did. Some god must have helped him.

DARIUS: Must have made him lose his mind.

ATOSSA: He lost his mind and more. You should see how much he lost.

DARIUS: So where are his boys at? The ones you cried for?

ATOSSA: Wiped out. They got hit from all directions in this land of death.

DARIUS: Wiped out? Was our OG’s killed with their Glocks to the last homie?

ATOSSA: The land is as empty as a popcorn bag.

DARIUS: Our youngens died. A great army is gone, basically the bouncers of the land, to keep us safe.

ATOSSA: Condon Terrace, Barry Farms, all of Southwest. Our best youngens, they’re all dead. This mess ain’t even fair.

DARIUS: To my li’l boy, who’s a punk, to lose all my gangstas.

ATOSSA: The bama alone, we hear. With just a few others—

DARIUS: What the hex happened to him? Is that fool dead too?

ATOSSA: He knows he done messed up, but he’s still kickin’. He got back across the bridge and made it to the big chair.

DARIUS: He back in Southeast?

ATOSSA: He a-ight.

DARIUS: I knew it would happen, but I never thought it would be so quick! Everything I ever did wrong, I’m being punished for now, by my stupid son. Well, the gods know what they’re doing, even if they’re breaking my heart. But Xerxes, he don’t know what he’s doing, and can’t nobody tell him.

I worked hard for everything I ever had, worked overtime and weekends, too. And now Xerxes, who never worked at anything but some little summer job, he comes and blows up all my dreams. He think he big. He think he bad. He think he can run the whole hood and the whole city, too. He think he can run the Maryland people’s business. But he done thought too big, and now it’s all gone.

ATOSSA: He’s just a young fool. He listened to all that he-say, she-say about how his daddy was a big man and he was nobody. Behind his back they were saying that Xerxes a punk, cuz he ain’t never won a fight and he never made his own money. He listened too much to everybody talking about him.

DARIUS: And he just went and blew up the whole world. It’s like a hurricane, a tsunami, and 9-11 all over again. In a few years they’ll be making a movie, and Xerxes will be the bad guy. Our whole history is gone, and we have to start over again.

Malcolm was the first leader of the gang, then it was his homeboy Tony, who was the smart one, then Tommy was the third. Then finally it was my turn to take over. I had me a lot of homies and we had a lot of shootouts that I led, but man, I never let my neighborhood look like this. Xerxes, man, he’s young...well, basically he’s stupid. He forgot everything I taught him.

CHORUS: Then Darius, what will happen? How do we take everything that’s gone wrong and make it right again? How will we fight back?

DARIUS: By not fighting at all. Even if it’s ten of us on five of them. We got to mind our own business and stick to our own streets. We can’t win when we fight on a strange block. Even the streets fight against us.

CHORUS: What do you mean? How do the streets fight against us?

DARIUS: It’s their neighborhood. They know where everything is. They have buildings and houses and corner stores, and they know the places they can hide. The know all the hiding spots.

CHORUS: But we still have lots of friends. We can get guns and there’s more young soldiers left out there who know how to fight.

DARIUS: Well, even the ones that are still alive won’t make it back home in one piece.

CHORUS: Huh? Can’t we go back the way we came?

DARIUS: Look, Xerxes is king, and when kings do something they do it big. This isn’t some small thing, like he parked his car in the bus stop. Xerxes messed up big time. He went through every neighborhood for miles around and burned their churches and robbed their carry-outs and wrote “Xerxes was here,” on every building. Nobody is going to want to forgive him. He even disrespected their grandmothers. Whenever people hear his name in D.C. or Maryland or even Virginia, all they’re going to think about is revenge.

Xerxes thought he was so big that the rules didn’t matter for him. He was just too full of himself. He got greedy. So he broke the rules and broke the law and sinned before God and man. Now the only thing we can do for him is be sorry about all he did wrong.

Atossa, baby, you my wife, you his mother. Go home and get him some good clothes. He can’t look all tore up. Say something nice to him. Only his mother’s voice can get through to him now.

Now I gotta go back to the underworld. Ya’ll better enjoy life while you got it because, believe me, death ain’t nothin’.


CHORUS: I hear my people suffering. My poor people. And it’s only going to get worse.

ATOSSA: I need to pray. Lord! I come to you right now. My heart done been hurt many times, but this just takes the cake. To see my son looking all raggedy. He got some jacked up clothes on his body. I’m going to get that Old Navy outfit he took pictures in. My boy about to look hip. I’ma get ready to help my baby when he needs me.


CHORUS: When Darius was lookin’ over the hood, man we was gettin’ money. No other hood could touch us and we had respect. Darius ruled over Southside like he was a godfather of the Italians. He got what he wanted all the time. That man got all the other hoods wit us without even leavin the Southside! Trenton Park, Yuma Street, 4th Street and Atlantic. Congress Park, Condon Terrace, MLK and everywhere. Mothers popped their sons’ lips for using his name in vain.

Anybody he saw starting too hard or shining too bright, he put ‘em in check.

But all that’s gone now. Without Darius, we’re weak, and the hood is taking us under. Trust and believe we’re all goin’ out like nothin’ in here.

Enter XERXES, his clothes torn, with one or two soldiers.

XERXES: Ain’t it dirty how fate keeps plotting on me behind my back. When bullets is flying, where’s my refuge? Cry now, for the death that destiny has put me up against without warning. My legs are shaking, I’ve frozen up at the sight of all the dead youngens. Oh God! I wish I was dead too.

CHORUS: It’s not you we’re sorry for. It’s all those youngens you got killed.
It’s all those no-limit soldiers whose blood you spilled.
And all those men—I forget their names
Who got killed for nothing, what a shame.
A rack of our best young men got shot
By other gang’s macs and TECs and glocks.
Their shotguns and pistols brought us to a halt
And all we know is—Xerxes, it’s your fault.

XERXES: Everybody hates me and pities me, so they don’t even listen tome for acting a fool. I deserve it, I know. I’m hated all over.

CHORUS: Wassup. You just gettin’ back? Yeah, that music you hear sounds all sad. We welcome you back with funeral music.

XERXES: You don’t have to rub it in. I’m sadder than you can ever know. All my money and happiness have left me and sadness has replaced them both.

CHORUS: Our hood cries with sorrow. Her heart is broken and her voice is sore;
She’s crying because her sons went off to war.

XERXES: There is a blood harvest upon our land. Everywhere I’ve ever been, there’s nothing left but a murder scene.

CHORUS: Come on, tell us what happened. We want to know the whole story. Where are all the tightest people that stood by you when you needed them? Where are Markus and Reggie, Disheka, James and Brittany, the kings and queens of Southeast?

XERXES: I had to leave them where they died. They’re on the ground, on the grass near the river. Banged up. Dead on the rocks and dust.

CHORUS: Son! Where are Monae, Luqman, and Maryum? All our VIPs. And Renita, Ashley, Aaron and Steven? We want to know the details.

XERXES: They didn’t stand a chance. Their dead bodies are watching over me like a curse.

CHORUS: Man, all our Mos Def youngens went with you. Don’t tell me you lost Yasmin and Marche? too. Did you leave Nichelle and Shama? and Antoine dead on the ground too? Man, the D.C. streets gonna be filled with tears.

XERXES: Stop, man, with all these questions. Those people were my friends. My heart is ‘bout broke from all the death and killing. You making me mad with every memory you give.

CHORUS: But there’s more. What happened to our hardcore kingpins—Cherish, Byonka, Tionna and Bruce? Why aren’t they with you?

XERXES: They were hardcore. But they’re gone now.

CHORUS: Son! So many dead young homies. When will the madness stop?

XERXES: Death, death, death, death for me. I might just kill myself cuz I was the cause of this tragedy.

CHORUS: We never expected this. Everyone was against us, and God too.

XERXES: And we’ll never get over this defeat. Not in a million years.

CHORUS: We are no longer on top. We’re on the bottom of the bucket.

XERXES: I’m the one who got us beat. My pride is gone, and shame takes its place. I lost the greatest army ever.

CHORUS: And all our power. Everything is lost.

XERXES: See how messed up I look? I had on a tight outfit when I left. I was large and in charge. Now I’m small and about two feet tall.

CHORUS: Is there anything left? Anything at all?

XERXES: All my homies are dead. You need great people to be great. We have no greatness left.

CHORUS: You gotta get down or get laid down. And if you get laid down you neva gettin’ back up. Did you see the whole thing go down?

XERXES: I couldn’t do a thing. I had to watch it all, and yet I gets no love.

CHORUS: You need to suck it up. What can we say to make you feel better?

XERXES: There’s nothing anyone can say. I feel worse than I look.

CHORUS: Our tears of sorrow could fill a book.

XERXES: And all them haters are laughing at us.

CHORUS: They’re driving Benz’s and we’re riding the bus.

XERXES: I got my best playaz killed and my life is ruined.

CHORUS: We can’t keep on doin’ what we been doin’

XERXES: All this beef ain’t called for.

CHORUS: The streets are full of blood. We don’t want to beef no more.

XERXES: I’m crying cuz all of my people are dying.

CHORUS: It’s pitiful how we fight each other. It’s a shame when a brother kills a brother.

XERXES: Get down on your knees and beat your chest like King Kong.

CHORUS: If that’s what you want us to do, we’ll do what you say, man.

XERXES: Weep in sorrow like there’s no tomorrow.

We weep for us and we weep for you, too. We weep for our whole sad city.

XERXES: Get down and cry like a baby.

CHORUS: We’re crying. Can’t you see our tears?

XERXES: Cry and weep until you drown in your tears.

CHORUS: Oh boo hoo hoo. Oh boo hoo hoo.

XERXES: We started something we couldn’t finish.

CHORUS: We thought we was killaz and we got killed.

XERXES: Beat your head against the wall and sing a sad song like at a funeral.

CHORUS: Ow! It hurts! It hurts so bad!

XERXES: Pull the hair out your head

CHORUS: Oh! We’re pulling out our hair and beating our fists against our heads.

XERXES: Cry in sorrow like punks.

CHORUS: We cry like punks and crybabies.

XERXES: Tear your clothes off.

CHORUS: Is you crazy? We pulled the hair from our heads and cried like babies. Oh dear. Oh dear.

XERXES: Cry. Cry some more.

CHORUS: We cry and cry and cry and cry.

XERXES: Go to your homes in a dark corner and cry out loud.

CHORUS: Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no.

XERXES: Let’s all cry until the streets are wet with our tears and cars have to turn on their windshield wipers.

CHORUS: We’re so sad we can’t even walk. It’s like every step we take is on the grave of someone we loved.

XERXES: Oh, my poor dead soldiers. It was my foolishness and pride that got them killed!

CHORUS: Come with us now, you sorry loser. You used to be our leader and we still your dawgs. We’ll cry a river of tears to float you back home to your lonely, empty mansion. You can sit in your room forever and think about what you did wrong.


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