Antony strides into the spa — boy, this palace has everything! — to tell Cleopatra why he has to leave for Rome. He is wearing a uniform that … — but who cares what he is wearing as Cleopatra comes into view, partially obscured by the ladies applying perfumed ointments to her, dressing her hair, kneading her back, beautifying her hands, beautifying her feet, taking care of all of her.
“My dear queen!”
“I have come to let you know what I purpose.”
“Hmmm? ‘Purpose’? Is that you, Antony?”
“I have to attend to business in Rome, as —”
“Really? No pampering at the spa for you? Some side-by-side relaxation?”
“There are some issues I have to sort out. As much as I’d like to stay, —”
Antony’s resolve is not quite what he thought it would be. He tries not to show it and presses on. “As I said, in spite of our very pleasant time here together, I have to —”
“You don’t have to do anything. You’re Antony.”
“Well, if you put it like that. Still, I —”
“You’ve been here for barely a year.”
“Yes, but there’s some really serious stuff in Parthia and Rome going down, so —”
“You haven’t come to rub my feet? As you like to do?”
“I’m sorry. I have to take care of a lot of other things back home.”
“Isn’t this home to you? Am I not ‘home’ to you?” Careful, Antony!
“Of course, in a manner of speaking …” Oh, no.
“In a manner of speaking?!” Cleopatra is no longer dreamy. Cleopatra is angry. She sits up, only making it worse. Antony is used to verbal sparring and also enjoys looking at women’s breasts, but combining the two is a skill he has yet to master. But no matter, as he has already lost.
“Tell me, my dear Antony, who trusted the bat? The birds or the beasts?”
“The bat first sided with the birds … then with the beasts … then with the birds … then with the beasts … until neither sided with the bat.”
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Leave if you think you have to, Antony. Enjoy your time in Rome.”