You are on page 1of 73

AMERICAN BABY

un Play de
Carlos Valencia
SOFIA
The space is bare. AB slowly finds his way through the foggy
darkness and into a pool of white light. The space vibrates with
unseen vitality.

AB
La borrachera is bad, it’s bad… y el aguacero is hitting on me
hard, but I don’t care. I’m fiending for a cigarette. I know el carro
de la basura hasn’t come to collect the garbage, so a esa hora and
soaked, I start digging through the pile of plastic bags inside the
trash can outside my building looking for a box of American
Spirits I had thrown out earlier. There were three cigs left, I
remember.

SOFIA
He digs in. It’s two in the morning. Everybody’s sleeping. Is no
one watching?

AB
I recognize the C-Town bag with my own personal trash. Inside it
there’s a stack of double-printed pages: text from a poem I’ve been
working on, an empty bottle of liquid soap, banana peels, la mitad
de un aguacate podrido, an empty wet cardboard box of
hemorrhoid suppositories… but no cigs!

SOFIA
Oh?

AB
Wait up, where they at?

SOFIA
He keeps digging.

2
AB
Como un pordiosero, fiending; I can taste it in my lips, I can savor
the smoke, but suddenly I feel something soft and moist… the
stench hits my nostrils; dog-shit.

SOFIA
¡Mierda de perro, carajo!

AB
That’s when it happens, under that fierce aguacero, borracho y
fuera de mis sentidos, escarbando like a tecato, hambriento y
jodido, a moment of lucidity overcomes me and I know, I know,
how to… observe, to… talk, to… myself…? Yes, to my drunk-ass
self con los dedos atollados de mierda.

SOFIA
He steps away from the trash can.

AB
What am I doing? What am I fucking doing? I stand under the rain
for a minute and I…

SOFIA
He realizes that a car is parked across the street, its headlights
ablaze, human silhouettes behind the rain-doused windows.

AB
¡Vida hijueputa!
Did they see me? Huh? Tell me… they been there all this time?

SOFIA
He storms inside the building.

AB
I gotta hide inside, inside my toasty studio, my mini-kingdom
where all I hear is the echo of my own voice.

3
SOFIA
A light shift takes AB into the space he calls his mini-kingdom.

AB
I fumble into the dim-lit studio fighting the dizziness, the nausea. I
lose my balance and melt like diarrhea all over the kitchen floor.
My knees shatter into pieces, the pain is insufferable but no sound
escapes my mouth; I’m that fucked up. Mojito poison. I remove
my heavy down jacket; the fake fur around the collar somehow
finds its way into my mouth and I taste the sweetness of rain
caught in the fur.

SOFIA
The bulky jacket drops on the vinyl floor, AB struggles to get back
up on his feet, and poor baby, he succeeds.

AB
Shoes fly into the distance as if an unseen force has pulled them
off my feet… Next, pants: zipper-crotch, skinny style. Like a snake
shedding old skin, I manage to sliver out of my tight-ass jeans;
they drip off my hands like syrup creating a little puddle of denim
at my feet… Shirt: gone! Flying through the thick air that hangs in
the room like summer heat, it lands on the edge of the couch. I
walk, like little children walk, towards the bed. I fall into it like a
feather and the dim-lit room that surrounds me evaporates.

SOFIA
Just, like, that… Boom!

4
SOFIA
Lights cross-fade and I remain for I am girl, all girl: effeminate,
rare, nocturnal. Almond-shaped eyes black as cobalt. I am delicate,
deadly. My head adorned with large pink ears so extraordinary,
they rise up like antennas. I hear all. I sense all. An African fennec
fox of a girl-woman with a body so slender, so sleek, I jet away
from predators with wind speed. A mass of precision and beauty
draped in the most delicate of white, white fur; not every thing in
Africa is black, my love. And the night, it’s in the night, for after
sunset is when I emerge, when darkness brings vast changes, that I,
desert fox, descend upon you like a bank of fog and before long,
my love, you are dripping with dew… Light, cross fade, a CHILD
is jumping on an imaginary bed. A moment goes, AB enters.

CHILD
You’re wet! You’re wet! You’re wet!

AB
No kidding. What brings you around these parts?

CHILD
You’re not glad to see me?

AB
Forgive me… yes, I am. Get off the bed, will you?

CHILD
New mattress-

AB
New mattress; GET OFF, kiddo!

CHILD
About time you got rid of that ugly, sunken, tore-up, skanky, cum-
stained futon.

5
AB
The mouth on this kid-
Is ‘cum’ on the list?

CHILD
Nope. Is it movie-night Baby?

AB
Look, I’m cranky-
I’m actually beyond cranky.

CHILD
Shocker.

AB
Last night I did-
Ugh, forget it.

CHILD
No! What? Tell me! Please?

AB
It looks like daddy’s hit rock bottom, kiddo.

CHILD
Rock! Bottom! Rock! Bottom!

AB
I’m not gonna tell you again, STOP JUMPING!

CHILD
We have to celebrate, Baby.

AB
But not on the brand new fucking mattress-

6
CHILD
You said ‘fucking’.

AB
I said ‘fucking’.

CHILD
That’s two times.

AB
Fine!

CHILD
No. Not fine. Where’s the jar?

AB
Oh, c’mon!

CHILD
Jar! Jar! Jar!

AB
It’s in the frocking cupboard!

CHILD
Frocking, that’s creative, I’m impressed. I’m gonna go get the jar.

AB
Be my guest.

SOFIA
The CHILD crosses to an imaginary kitchen, retrieves a jar that’s
filled with coins and bills.

CHILD
A promise,

7
CHILD AB
is a promise. is a promise.

CHILD
That’s right, Mister. Put it in.

SOFIA
AB takes some crumpled bills out of his pocket.

CHILD
You’re a mess!

AB
Relax… Two dollars, correct?

CHILD
Nuh-uh!

AB
We settled on a dollar per word!

CHILD
But that wasn’t a word, Baby, that was ‘fucking’.

AB
A-ha! You just said it! That cancels out one of mine!

CHILD
Don’t play yourself; two dollars a piece.

AB
Four bucks??

CHILD
Give it.

8
AB
You’re breaking me here; everyday with this bull-
Four U.S. grade dollars in the jar they go.

CHILD
You’re a good man, Baby.

AB
What is that smell?

SOFIA
¡Ay fo, carajo!

AB
The moment I stepped inside-

CHILD
I smell nothing.

AB
It’s like, like, roasted human flesh.

CHILD
How do you know what roasted human flesh smells like? Silly
goose-

AB
I don’t… but if I did, it would smell like this.

CHILD
Maybe that crazy neighbor is cooking.

AB
It’s the middle of the night.

CHILD
That’s why she’s crazy.

9
AB
Did you burn something?

CHILD
I’m not allowed to touch the stove or the oven; you have prohibited
me from going anywhere near it.

AB
Child, don’t play games with me now-
That’s disgusting, it reeks… What have you done?

CHILD
Baby-

AB
What have you DONE?

CHILD AB
I don’t know- What-?

CHILD
I wanted to surprise you.

AB
Child…?

CHILD
I wanted to scare him a little, I didn’t mean no harm.

AB
ANY harm!

CHILD
I didn’t mean ANY harm.

AB
Tell me what you did.

10
CHILD
We were playing hide-and-go-seek.

AB
God all mighty…

CHILD
The door got stuck, Baby.

SOFIA
AB crosses off into a false bathroom.

AB
Lucas? Lucas? God all mighty!

SOFIA
A breath; AB returns.

AB
Where is-?

CHILD
He’s not in there? That’s interesting.

AB
No! Lucas is NOT in the bathroom and if he’s not in THIS room or
the bathroom, where could Lucas be?

SOFIA
The CHILD points to an invisible oven; AB runs to it.

AB CHILD
Lucas! Lucas! We were playing-
Just playing!

SOFIA
AB opens the oven door and peeps inside.

11
AB
LUCAS…!
Child! What have you-?

CHILD
The door got jammed; I freaked!

AB
Oh Child, what have you done?

CHILD
Accidents… are so inevitable.

AB
Lucas is gone, Child, GONE!

CHILD
I know.

AB
NO! You don’t!

CHILD
He said he was cold. I tried to help.

AB
You said you were playing a game.

CHILD
And he said he was freezing.

AB
Lucas suffered a long painful death-

CHILD
The smoke nearly killed me.

12
AB
And you did nothing!

CHILD
In a state of paralyzing horror, what can one do?

AB
Who will keep you company when I’m not around, Child?

CHILD
I guess, I don’t know, I will have to manage?

AB
You’ve done a very, VERY bad thing!

CHILD
I won’t go in the kitchen ever, EVER again.

AB
LUCAS was my right hand, my number one; I left him here to
watch over you, to protect YOU!

CHILD
I opened all the windows and all that smoke cleared.

AB
Except for the stench of burnt flesh you fucking psychopath!

CHILD
Oh-oh, where’s the jar?

AB
Fuck the jar! FUCK THE JAR.

CHILD
Hey, you’re doing that voice again.

13
AB
What, what voice, Child?

CHILD
Scary-movie voice; me no like it.

AB
With all the stress, all the tension I carry around-

CHILD
Take a load off, Baby.

AB
You have to sprinkle more shit on top of it to make it worse.

CHILD
‘Shit’ is a dollar fifty.

SOFIA
AB grabs the jar, hurls it at the wall. The air is filled with glass-

AB
What are you gonna do with all that money, huh, kiddo?

CHILD
Buy you another Lucas?

AB
Lucas’s dead, Child; no more Lucas in this world!

CHILD
Must you be so morbid?

SOFIA
AB lunges toward the CHILD, grabs him by the neck.

14
AB
I should end it right here, right now. End the agony. Yours. Mine.
What would this room be like without you in it, without Lucas in
it?

SOFIA
The CHILD turns purple!

AB
That would be too easy now, would it? A quick end. Period. Wake
up at dawn, realize it’s all gone, you’re done.

SOFIA
AB releases his grip; the CHILD coughs, coughs. A moment goes.

CHILD
I’m happy… you have… changed… your mind-

AB
Lie down. Catch your breath…
Thirty something years, walking this path in circles-

CHILD
Thank you, Baby.

AB
Count your lucky stars, kiddo.

CHILD
You give me-
You DON’T give me… the benefit of the doubt. I was just playing
with Lucas. I would never do anything to deliberately hurt you.

SOFIA
A breath.

15
AB
I have to think-

CHILD
About what?

SOFIA
Another breath.

AB
Be quiet. Be silent. I have to do something about the stench before
the neighbors start to protest.

CHILD
Maybe they won’t. I sprayed Lysol like a mother-fucker but I
guess you can smell a fart from miles away-

SOFIA
AB paces the room lost in the world inside his head; he paces,
paces. The CHILD stares, lights shift, a cello plays, a moment
goes.

16
SOFIA
Two men, revealed as lights descend upon them, one standing, the
other sitting, stare into the distance. A noise is heard: a vibrating
cell-phone. The SITTING MAN seems not to notice-

STANDING MAN
¡Este caballero aquí sentado se llama Ambrosio, tome nota!

SOFIA
The STANDING MAN recognizes the nuisance.

STANDING MAN
Oh Monsieur! It’s the CBA… the CBA! The Cute Boy Alarm!

AMBROSIO
I see no cute boy.

SOFIA
The STANDING MAN fiddles with the cell-phone, the vibration
stops.

STANDING MAN
My apologies, Monsieur, I am quite baffled.

SOFIA
A breath, they glare anxiously to the left then to the right.

STANDING MAN
Nope. It must have gone off accidentally.

AMBROSIO
Evidently.

SOFIA
The STANDING MAN shakes the phone.

17
STANDING MAN
Are you-?
What are you, an extra?

SOFIA
No, Sir-

STANDING MAN SOFIA


Then what-? I just don’t know your name.

STANDING MAN
Oh, well in that case, it is Emigdio. I am a half god, a demigod, if
you will.

SOFIA
E-Mig-Dio.

EMIGDIO
Worry not, Monsieur; I will have it reset; up and running in no
time!

AMBROSIO
I trust you will.

SOFIA
A breath, AMBROSIO’s attention drifts back toward the distance.

EMIGDIO
Monsieur, forgive me, but… where is all this going? We’ve been
gawking for days!

AMBROSIO
I assume we’ll have to sit back, relax, and see.

EMIGDIO
Patience is not one of my virtues-

18
AMBROSIO
Learn.

EMIGDIO
Can’t you hurry things along? The intrigue is devastating me. And
stop fiddling with your thumbs, I can’t take it; it’s like nails across
a chalkboard.

AMBROSIO
My apologies, am I irritating you?

EMIGDIO
Irritating is too small a word.

AMBROSIO
Hush up, will you!
You are interrupting my thought process; I need space inside this
vast place I call my mind. I want you to occupy it less. Be gone, at
least for a moment.

EMIGDIO
Understood-

AMBROSIO
But before you go, forget not to reset the CBA.

EMIGDIO
Very well.

SOFIA
A bell sound is heard once EMIGDIO finishes pressing several
buttons on the cell-phone.

EMIGDIO
Cute Boy Alarm, reset. In case you miss the initial vibration a
melody will follow, a very loud melody?

19
AMBROSIO
Why thank you; you are certainly an indispensable servitor.

EMIGDIO
And you, Monsieur, irreplaceable, irresistible-

AMBROSIO
The death of Lucas has set in motion a series of events, a chain
reaction, you see, which I must monitor record down to its every
minute detail. AB cannot be allowed to get consumed by the
Child’s inevitable tantrums and mischief…

AMBROSIO
The world… that is, AB’s world, is safer, grander, more serene,
less of a scene when our beloved is not by hands and feet tied to a
Child’s scheme. Watchful, watchful, must you and me be!

EMIGDIO
Pardon my ignorance, and with this note I shall leave, but what is it
that AB seeks?

AMBROSIO
Not a feeling, I can assure you. I believe he is looking for another.

EMIGDIO
What, a soul-mate of sorts?

AMBROSIO
In essence, but not in the Hollywood sense.

EMIGDIO
Ah.

AMBROSIO
It is a tricky thing, this situation.

20
EMIGDIO
Oh yes!

AMBROSIO
Perhaps it will be in our best interest to watch these figures he
conjures up, these innocent-of-sight evil-in-deed personas.

EMIGDIO
You might learn more about AB by way of the Child and this
Lucas, yes?

AMBROSIO
Silence! Events unfold.

21
EL CAPITAN
My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of
consternation among Liberals. How could a politically active,
lifelong politician of laissez-faire inclination, an old-hand of the
Clinton administration, defend our definition of marriage and fight
tooth-and-nail for it…? My answer to this seeming conundrum lies
on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different conditions,
ancestry, position, essential characteristics… And on my
observation of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately
not off-the-mark perceptions. Many Liberals have an almost knee-
jerk calm toward homosexual marriage. This does not make sense,
because same-sex unions could never promote the values
Conservatives honor. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks
of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond
between two individuals who work to create a loving household
and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to
marry because the commitments they make to one another provide
benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and
communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs.
It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared
aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the
well-being of society. The fact that these individuals, these cock-
suckers, these carpet-munchers, dare to dream to share in this vital
social institution is evidence that Conservative ideals are in peril.
Conservatives should lament this! Legalizing same-sex marriage
could never be recognition of basic American principles, and could
never represent the culmination of our nation’s commitment to
equal rights. It is, some have said, the last major civil rights
milestone yet to be surpassed in our two-century struggle to attain
the goals we set for this nation at its formation.
I say BULLSHIT!
Is this bedrock American principle of equality central to the
political and legal convictions of Liberals and Conservatives alike?
You would fight me, I know, in fact TAUNT me with the notion
that the dream which became America began with the
revolutionary concept expressed in the Declaration of
Independence…

22
EL CAPITAN
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, which
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
Happiness.”
Subsequent laws and court decisions have made clear that equality
under the law extends to persons of all races, religions and places
of origin, but this homo situation, THERE is where we draw the
line! 

SOFIA
A cello fills the air with music, the walls seem to dance, and the
floor seems to pulsate.

 Paraphrased by the playwright from THE


CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR GAY
MARRIAGE, Theodore B. Olson. NEWSWEEK
Jan 9, 2010.

23
SOFIA
Enter EMIGDIO with the Travel Section of the current New York
Chronicle.

EMIGDIO
A man of surname so strange it reminds me of a lost continent
wrote something spectacular-

SOFIA
AMBROSIO takes the delicate sheet of paper and out-loud he
reads.

AMBROSIO
“In the deep recesses of the market, a man is shaving the face of a
pig. A razor in his hand, he glides across its face to remove the
fuzz. The pig will soon be dinner…”

EMIGDIO
Anand Giridharadas; rare, no?

AMBROSIO
“Not far away, cow hearts are on sale and beside them cow eyes,
staring out ominously, bound for a hearty pottage…”

EMIGDIO
That reminds me, dinner, ¿o es sancocho, o es ceviche?

AMBROSIO
“A shopping cart full of limes whizzes past; Alcatraz birds loom
on the corrugated tin roofs.” Alcatraz birds…?

EMIGDIO
Gaviotas!

AMBROSIO
Yes, amor, yes.

24
SOFIA
AMBROSIO gets up, paces the room in its entirety.

AMBROSIO
Something is amiss, amiss!

EMIGDIO
¡Ay no! I hated it when things go amiss, you can’t relax and you
won’t sleep-

AMBROSIO
If only we could-

EMIGDIO
I see it in your eyes! I hear it in your voice!

AMBROSIO
It’s that cello-

EMIGDIO
You’re such a dreadful romantic.

AMBROSIO
Listen to those notes.

EMIGDIO
I’m getting rid of it this instant!

AMBROSIO
It’s those words-

EMIGDIO
What words-?
¡Mi amor, por favor!

AMBROSIO
The paper, the music-

25
EMIGDIO
Delirium, love-lust, that is what I see, Ambrosio.

AMBROSIO
If only we could-
If I was to send the right messenger, the right guy… or gal, it’s not
important in this case, not in HIS case-

EMIGDIO
The last time you interfered the Supreme Court got pissed!

AMBROSIO
They all signed me off as lunatic, as narcissist. They tossed me
aside like a little mouse. They-
They wanted my venture to be my Waterloo! My sweat, my tears,
my blood shed for nothing.

EMIGDIO
I remember every damned minute.

AMBROSIO EMIGDIO
So how can you stand there-? I won’t watch you get bent
out of shape!

AMBROSIO
I got bent out of shape because of the way I was treated.

EMIGDIO
Precisely! This is not about you.

AMBROSIO
Oh you are so like them!

EMIGDIO
Who massaged your feet day-in day-out, who-?
Who kept his eyes wide open, intently, as you roamed the house in
the wee hours of the night, who-?

26
AMBROSIO
Oh, mi amor, but I can facilitate… WE can facilitate-

EMIGDIO
Ambrosio, God of Immortality, I will not be swayed, not this time.
I suffered enough, and I suffered well.

AMBROSIO
There lives no being in the Universe so susceptible to the waves of
love as mi amor Emigdio; no spirit in this realm so loyal, so
analogous-

EMIGDIO
I share your ideas but cannot join you in your efforts here-

AMBROSIO
Not for a cute boy to watch us in the deep-blue of night, when lust
is so ripe and tender and bodies quiver like volcanoes?

EMIGDIO
You are wicked, so… so wicked.

AMBROSIO
If I promised you a nightingale, will you accompany me…?
C’mon, my little bird, ignore me not.

EMIGDIO
A nightingale?

AMBROSIO
Yes. One. A rare, beautiful one: brown complexion, smooth chest,
the kind that winters in South Africa.

EMIGDIO
You nasty, spiteful old man.

27
AMBROSIO
The cello reverberating in the background; sex-notes bouncing off
the walls…

EMIGDIO
I… I cannot agree unless you give me a valuable reason.

AMBROSIO
The paper-

EMIGDIO
The what-?

SOFIA
AMBROSIO snatches the paper, the Travel section.

AMBROSIO
“In the deep recesses of the market, a man is
shaving the face of a pig. A razor in his hand, he
glides across its face to remove the fuzz. The pig
will soon be dinner. Not far away, cow hearts are on
sale and beside them cow eyes, staring out
ominously, bound for a hearty pottage. A shopping
cart full of limes whizzes past; Alcatraz birds loom
on the corrugated tin roofs.” 

EMIGDIO
Pretty.

AMBROSIO
Death!

EMIGDIO
HIS death-?

28
AMBROSIO
We’ll go to the market, strum the plaza until we find the perfect
specimen, and your Cute Boy Alert we’ll use to detect him.

EMIGDIO
AMERICAN BABY is going to die?

AMBROSIO
Not the mortal death, no, but the worst kind…

EMIGDIO
Oh no.

AMBROSIO
It is a cruel, cruel nature, this nature we’ve been forced to oversee,
expecting us to not interfere? Ha! My ass, as long as I possess the
muscle to, I will do so…! Ugh, don’t grow quiet again; say, YES,
say you WILL.

EMIGDIO
I want that nightingale!

AMBROSIO
You and me both, mi amor, and I shall make sure it sings too.

EMIGDIO
Not for us; for HIM, for AB.

AMBROSIO
Mon Amour, two nightingales we will catch then.

EMIGDIO
No. My conditions are: One, we find the nightingale, the most
handsome one, the best-matched, and we send him off to woo AB.
Two, we keep none for ourselves. Three, you desist from ever
again interfering in the lives of others.

29
AMBROSIO EMIGDIO
No nightingale for us? And no squabbling from you.

AMBROSIO
I… that I am God of Immortals, that my name Ambrosio is, do
solemnly swear to obey thy rule.

EMIGDIO
You wanna hug it out?

AMBROSIO
I wanna sign it with a kiss, come ‘ere.

SOFIA
Lights! Cross-fade! Change tune! Chromatics: red, blue, green, and
others.

 From LOVE AND CARTAGENA


by Anand Giridharadas. NY Times
May 2, 2010

30
SOFIA
Damas y Caballeros, bienvenidos al show. A garage: tile-floored,
automobile oil-stains form unrecognizable maps; it is on this soil
that we unfold our witty toil. EL TITIRITERO we present. Take it
away CHILD!

CHILD
Close your eyes and picture this: Erica, Maria Fernanda, Gloria,
Javier Dario and American Baby decked out in cheap make-up and
costume; a sea of people in front of them, watching them,
expectant, dumbfounded perhaps! And within this ocean of human
faces one stands above the rest: la señora del bastón, Doña Floriza!

SOFIA
There she sits, en un asiento de mimbre against the wall,
unassumingly. And AB trembles, the thought of being gawked at
by her sours his tongue.

CHILD
¿Que hago…? Yo soy AB!
The rip-current of voices pulls me under, and I can’t remember my
first line. The salty foam and the whirling sand drag me away from
the ship, the ship that is me, the real ME: a mass of wood and steel
and yet it floats, unbreakable, unsinkable!

SOFIA
Doña Floriza stares, the platinum mass of hair that adorns her head
sizzles under the improvised stage-lights: two floor-lamps and two
table-lamps with the shades removed, bulb exposed.

CHILD
Her eyes burn my skin as lines of text spill from my dry mouth. I
say this and I say that, I can’t even tell if I’m acting or not. All I
can feel is my buckling knees. And the things that grip at my
pants… yeah, those are my hands… I’m sweating so much I can’t
feel the stifling night-heat; instead a cloud of cool mist surrounds
me.

31
SOFIA
Commit! You’ve rehearsed. You know your part. You are the lead.
Commit!

CHILD
My nerves so weak, my joints so loose, I feel like a titere without
the strings, a sagging rag-doll. I wanna cry! I want my Mama!
I want my REAL Mama!

SOFIA
And suddenly, la señora del bastón, Doña Floriza, shows some
teeth. A smile seems to escape her, and that icy controlled face like
marble shows a little passion. It never EVER does.

CHILD
Except when she’s beating my ass with that fucking bastón
because I didn’t do my homework; I still got the marks to prove it.
I am AB!

SOFIA
If only that smile would have lasted forever, like the bruises left on
your skinny arms, your boney legs. But that flicker of a smile
disappears with the light from the naked table-lamps as the play
ends.

CHILD
Se apaga la luz; los niños actores hacen, cada uno, su mutis.

SOFIA
The crowd goes wild!

CHILD
Los aplausos are surprising, terrifying… because, because in the
dark, after I say the last line, my heart skips a beat and that beat
lasts forever and within that forever I die a sluggish death.

32
SOFIA
The shame is inexplicable.

CHILD
EL TITIRITERO llega a su fin, asi de esa manera. Instead of joy
there is a hollow space right at the center of my stomach; I figure
I’m mad hungry. So con maquillaje y todavia en mi vestuario me
acerco a ella. In her eyes, a look of regret; I can sense it, a tsunami
of anger-
I don’t want you to think, oh I dunno, that she was an ogress. No,
she was the mother I couldn’t have. She was the mother-figure that
was given me by my lucky stars while my REAL Mama lived in a
far, far away land making dollars to feed me, clothe me, send me to
the best school. So, no, don’t think she was an ogress, she was just
miserable all the time.

SOFIA
Ogress:
1. Female giant-monster in legends, fairy tales that eats humans.
2. Woman who is felt to be particularly cruel, brutish, or hideous.

CHILD
Afterwards, as we walk home together, in silence, I hold her hand
tight. Within the cavernous tranquility of that night, all one could
hear is the clunk of her fucking bastón against the pavement-
Oh-oh, I said ‘fucking’.

SOFIA
The CHILD crosses to the imaginary kitchen, finds the jar and
jams two dollar bills in it.

CHILD
I ask her, “What did you think?” she replies with a lazy shrug, “It
was, okay.”

SOFIA
It was comma okay period; but in Spanish.

33
CHILD
That was the night Lucas appeared in my room, out of no-where,
he just popped up. And at first he wouldn’t speak to me, no. HE
would linger in the shadows, inside the closet next to my bed. I
could see his shoes late at night because, because the curtain didn’t
go all the way down, there was a gap. I always knew Lucas was
there; I could see the tip of his brand-new shiny white shoes…
Hey, I don’t wanna play AB anymore; it’s creepy.

SOFIA
And so the boy in the shadows, inside the closet, soon came out to
woo the world. Ladies, gentlemen, LUCAS is mister Congeniality!

CHILD
Lucas and AB were like made for each other, like soul-mates: AB
was shy and nervous, HE wasn’t. AB was quiet and angry, HE
wasn’t. That mother-fucker always had a big-ass smile for the
world-
Oops!

SOFIA
CHILD takes five dollar bills from his pocket and jams them inside
the glass jar.

CHILD
‘Mother-fucker’ and ‘ass’ in one sentence… no good-
Hey, didn’t AB break the jar?

SOFIA
Blackout! A moment goes.

34
SOFIA
Lights, rise!

EL CAPITAN
I want you to think of me as your nemesis. Every time you see me,
see a devil, a demon wrapped in walls of fire, spitting rays of
cancer from its mouth, beams of disease-

SOFIA
Beans?

EL CAPITAN
Beams! Not, Beans, you idiot!

SOFIA
So sorry.

EL CAPITAN
Let’s continue; rays of disease emanating through the pores of my
skin-

SOFIA
You used ‘rays’ in the prior sentence.

EL CAPITAN
Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck me! Find a synonym, quick!

SOFIA
Well, ‘beams’ is a good one.

EL CAPITAN
I don’t want ‘beams’ anymore! People might hear ‘beans’ or think
of beans and then feel hungry or be reminded that they perhaps
skipped lunch. Their minds will wander off, their attention will
wane.

35
SOFIA
Understood.

EL CAPITAN
Find another synonym; erase ‘beams’. I hate that word…
What is that sound?

SOFIA
I think… I think… it is a guitar, mi Capitan… yes… a string
instrument; and the composition… familiar… I know I’ve heard it
before. La mente se le va.

EL CAPITAN
Enrique.

SOFIA
I beg your pardon; I didn’t hear what you just said.

EL CAPITAN
Get rid of it immediately.

SOFIA
It’s so lovely, so haunted.

EL CAPITAN
It’s funeralistic!

SOFIA
Do you find melancholy tragic? It’s quite the contrary-

EL CAPITAN
Are you going to question ME? Preach at ME? Is that what you’re
about to do; because I have a lesson or two to show you…
¡Mi querida secretaria que sabe mas de mamar que de secretaría!

SOFIA
A breath.

36
EL CAPITAN
La melancolía no existe; nunca ha existido un melancólico de
verdad.

SOFIA
Tomo nota… And once more, I beg your pardon.

EL CAPITAN
Let’s go back to the top of the letter… tell me what you’ve got so
far.

SOFIA
We ended with ‘rays of disease emanating through the pores of my
skin’.

EL CAPITAN
Oh yes… ahem… ¡Usted, caballero, es un deshonesto!
You do me much harm. You… do...

SOFIA
What’s the matter, Captain, my Captain?

EL CAPITAN
Nothing… I just-
I lost my train of thought; as if I’d just ran out of rage, my passion
is gone.

SOFIA
¿Que tal un juguito de passion-fruit?

EL CAPITAN
Don’t be ridiculous! I’ll just take a seat; I need to-
What I need is to get off my feet. Breathe.

SOFIA
Another breath. A long silence. EL CAPITAN starts to weep.

37
EL CAPITAN
Pass me your handkerchief, will you? These allergies! Damn
pollen!

SOFIA
But the weeping becomes a hysterical palpitating cry.

EL CAPITAN
Keep writing! Just… keep… writing…

SOFIA EL CAPITAN
What should I-? Anything-
¡Invéntate cualquier mierda!

SOFIA
EL CAPITAN llora, llora.
And lights softly yet swiftly cross-fade. Under a pool of subtle
whiteness stands a man: un tipo alto, delgado pero musculoso, un
Cubano de piel quemada y facciones finas como las de un actor de
cine… and my heart races; your hearts should be racing too for that
is what he causes in us in spite of our gender. Indifferent to our
orientation, he causes us to lose our equilibrium, to question our
wisdom, to abandon our principles and undress like virgins by the
river-shore. Picture this: you, innocent, virgen y sin tocar, under
silvery moonlight by a river’s shore, corriente de agua dulce
cristalina kissing your feet, licking your toes, your body shivering
although the air is pregnant with summer-heat, and YOU are in the
hands of this god-demon whose ejaculate tastes like passion-fruit.

38
SOFIA
A young, young AB finds the light; he is followed by LUCAS.

LUCAS
Repeat after me: I AM.

AB
I… AM…

LUCAS
Certainty, atonement.

AB
I am certainty and atonement.

LUCAS
Good boy! Now drop to one knee.

AB
What’d you mean?

LUCAS
Like this.

AB
Oh, like a soldier.

LUCAS
Yes. Simple. Now place your hands in prayer position.

AB
But I don’t believe in God.

LUCAS
No God; how can you not?

39
AB
I don’t, I just don’t feel it.

LUCAS
Close your eyes.

SOFIA
A breath.

AB
Hey! What the fuck? Don’t blow in my ear! Do you know what
that means, maricón?

LUCAS
Calm down. Close your eyes again. I’ll try something else.

SOFIA
LUCAS runs his finger across the palm of AB’s hand.

AB
What the fuck!?

LUCAS
Did you feel that?

AB
Yeah, you homo.

LUCAS
But you didn’t see me, because your eyes were closed.

AB
What’s the fucking point?

LUCAS
Think about it; there are unseen forces all around us yet we can
feel them.

40
AB
You stole that nonsense from a movie-

LUCAS
Up on your feet, Soldier! Now look at me, do this.

AB
You stole that. It’s from that movie about the stupid angels on
Earth.

SOFIA
LUCAS takes his hand to his face very slowly, delicately, and
caresses his lips with his index finger.

AB
This is weird.

LUCAS
Mimic me. Do as I do… Nuh-uh, you’re too fast, slow down.

AB
I don’t like this.

LUCAS
There is nothing to like or dislike.

LUCAS AB
Delicately now, City of Angels!
as if you were applying You stole it.
lipstick.

AB
Am I gonna have to put up with this mierda everyday?

LUCAS
STOP. STOP.

41
SOFIA
Oh shit.

LUCAS
You have to be in complete accord, in harmony, a fluid with me,
kiddo, if you want me to stick around. And you know you want
ME; in fact, you NEED me.

AB
I do not.

LUCAS
Oh no?

AB
No.

LUCAS
How will you, Oh master of the universe, control that brewing
anger in your belly, huh? What will you do, Oh master of the
universe, when it bursts and you can’t put humpty-dumpty back
together again?

AB
Easy, I’ll say that I’m sorry, I’ll excuse myself.

LUCAS
There is no ‘sorry’. Not when you’re under her grip. Doña Floriza
has quite a fierce grip I must remind you lest you forget.

LUCAS SOFIA (whispered)


Once she grabs hold, Once she grabs hold,
she won’t let go. she won’t let go.

AB
Point taken.

42
SOFIA
He needs him. They need each other. Like virus and host.

LUCAS
Stillness kata!

SOFIA
They form with their bodies an ancient warrior-like pattern.

LUCAS
Conflict kata!

SOFIA
The body-shift is so fast it is almost invisible to the naked eye.

LUCAS
Daydream kata!

SOFIA
Wow!

LUCAS
Terror kata!

SOFIA
That’s pretty.

LUCAS
Heart kata!

SOFIA
They interconnect as one entity; mirror images of one another.

LUCAS
At ease! Good boy.

43
SOFIA
A breath.

LUCAS
Now let’s examine what we created yesterday; text first.

SOFIA
AB takes a moment, stands erect, draws a smile.

AB
Cultivating Mortals To An Unfamiliar Game: I am walking and
getting closer and closer, and then I realize that her legs are
uneven. As much as the academics are important, and there is
nothing more important, there are some things we can’t capture in
a Spanish or Math class. Doña Floriza wakes me up at four in the
morning, two hours before the school-bus is scheduled to stop one
block away from the house. I memorize my History and
Geography lessons from the prior day… ¡Por si las moscas! El
profe has a thing for surprise oral quizzes.

LUCAS
Strong, quite strong! Keep that smile going, you drop it at times;
remember-

LUCAS SOFIA
That smile is my savior. That smile is my savior.

LUCAS
Okay, now do it for THEM. At full throttle, cowboy!

SOFIA AB (whispered)
The second time around I am walking and
his hands speak for him, getting closer and closer,
accentuating and coloring and then I realize
words with emotion, that her legs are uneven.
his smile is steady,
legitimate…

44
SOFIA
His entire being seems to smolder… fumes of congeniality. AB
the beauty queen, except he’s a boy! Blackout. Time goes by.

SOFIA
You need to worry about your social situation a little today. Are
you mismatched? The answer is not necessarily YES but it is a
really good idea to figure out what the answer is, and soon.

EL CAPITAN
The distant sound of an airplane’s engine-roar: why does it fill my
heart with peace? When I hear it and I close my eyes I see clouds,
lofty, luscious clouds like gigantic masses of cotton upon which I
skip, skip like a little boy. Cold wind frosting my cheeks, my hair
flowing as I cut across the eternal blue, upon mountains, snow-
twinkled peaks, endless green valleys. The distant sound of an
airplane’s engine-roar takes me out of the moment and into space. I
float.

45
SOFIA
The space is set; every single luminaire lights up exposing every
single man. They luxuriate in their own stillness for a moment until
AMBROSIO shatters this physical calm; he moves aimlessly about
the space mumbling, mumbling…

AMBROSIO
¡El uno ve mas diablos que el mismo Infierno pudiese aguantar;
ese es el lunático! 

EMIGDIO
What a SUN. Amor mio, lazy picnic on the hills of the London
out-skirts, what do you say?

AMBROSIO
El amante, embaucado en el desespero, ve la belleza de Helena de
Troya en cualquier fea que se le atraviese. 

EMIGDIO
Once the sun sets, monsieur, we should take a walk through the
plaza; we’ll bring the apparatus, the CBA, in case of the flies.
Ha Ha Ha…

AMBROSIO
Los ojos del poeta, perdidos y cruzados por tanta pasión, suben y
bajan del cielo a la tierra, de la tierra al cielo. 

EMIGDIO
Monsieur, mi amor; are you listening to me?
Is he listening to me?

SOFIA
He seems a bit withdrawn.

46
EMIGDIO
This man gets more and more obsessive the older he gets. As of
late, all he does is translate to Spanish and recite Whispered his
favorite Shakespeare passages.

SOFIA
I thought so-

EMIGDIO
That’s the Duke Theseus you’re listening to. My adorable
mumbling fool-
Alright, that’s enough!

SOFIA
EMIGDIO crosses to AMBROSIO, they fall into a warm embrace.
Stillness.

 From A MIDSUMMER


NIGHT’S DREAM by William
Shakespeare; translated by the
playwright.

47
EL CAPITAN
I had a good night-sleep.

SOFIA
EL CAPITAN crosses towards ENRIQUE.

EL CAPITAN
I was just a couple of years older though I appeared younger than
he. I would see him at the gymnasium in the late hours of
morning… there’d be no one else around. Sometimes I would feel
his glare, hot and direct, burning the back of my neck. I would turn
around unassumingly; his eyes would shift away immediately.
Music would burst in my mind: musical thoughts, a horny cello
playing a Bach composition. I was such a nerd.

ENRIQUE
There was something about him. I can’t find the words; a magic in
his eyes. Maybe it was the way he moved from one side of the
room to the other, wet from his own sweat. He was hanging from a
monkey-bar doing chin-ups as if he was prepping for battle.

EL CAPITAN
I always made sure I was doing something to distract myself from
the tsunami of erotic fantasies; that is what he caused in me, like a
pornographic movie implanted in my brain that would run from
beginning to end over and over again. The images were fantastic,
in Technicolor, horrific all together. I had never been with a man. I
had never… any kind of thought… about another man? Oh God,
never!

ENRIQUE
It was a dark Saturday afternoon; a New York City winter, the
worst. I was lonely, bored, horny very horny. After my shower I
walked inside the little café next-door to the gymnasium. There he
was.

48
EL CAPITAN
I was sitting there, all alone, bored and-

SOFIA
The CHILD breaks his frozen stance to set on the floor for the two
men a large, square-shaped red fabric.

SOFIA
EL CAPITAN y ENRIQUE remove their shoes, step onto the red,
and lights fade to dark leaving a soft glow upon them. A guitar and
cello interpretation of “Volver, Volver” fills the air. EL CAPITAN
y ENRIQUE relive that wintery Saturday afternoon which lasted
three days and three nights… We watch, mystified… in chorus, a
shaft of light reveals AB.

49
AB
I picked up the New York Chronicle, cosa que nunca hago, and I
read an incendiary article by some man, El Capitan. The Chronicle
had apparently published, en el periódico de ayer, an article
indirectly supporting the rights of homosexuals to marry one
another. El Capitan, feeling his voice drowned and his ego
wounded, I guess, wrote an extensive Op-Ed in response; the
Chronicle decided to run it. ¡Y el pedo que se formo fue horrible!
Hubo una marcha de miles de locas y lesbianas que cargaban unas
pancartas inmensas marcadas con frases de guerra. They blocked
traffic wherever they stormed through; even the weather was
affected by the electric thunderous voices. The gays had formed
one mass, one body, and the sky-gods were speechless, bowled
over. Es que la rabia y la passion de esta gente subían hacia el cielo
como agua-mar evaporada. You can’t really see it but you know
it’s charged with electrons, protons, neutrons. What occurred was a
marriage of MAN and NATURE with a force never witnessed
before.
Empezaron a llover flores. First came margaritas, then claveles, a
moment later roses of all colors followed by a torrent of orchids,
amapolas, lilies, crisantemos; the wind blew in from the north a
gust of sunflower petals. Y los maricones y las patas gritando a
todo pulmón.
When they began to form this street-blocking human monster of
noise and angst, I was walking up the avenue trying to hide from
the sweltering sun, the New York Chronicle folded neatly inside
my back-pack. Then I heard it, the voices rolling down from up-
town, arrasando con todo, like an avalanche. Some dude stood next
to me. I could smell his cologne; he was wearing GUCCI. His eyes
were blood-shot and his voice was deep and cracked; but he was
gorgeous. I’d never seen such male beauty; I was stunned. The
GUCCI fumes intoxicated me and for a second I lost my balance. I
floated, I levitated? But before I could drift away the dude grabbed
me by the hand and said, “I won’t lose you.”
“They’re gonna come this way, como diablos
empernecidos.” I yelled.
“I’m not gonna lose you!” He shouted back.

50
AB
I felt my feet touch the ground again. His hand was wet, so was
mine. Silence flooded Life for a moment that seemed to go on and
on… and so we kissed. We kissed on the sidewalk in broad
daylight on the busiest avenue in the middle of the most hetero,
homo-hating neighborhood on Earth. Y mientras nos besábamos
con ese abandono de amantes de hace años, the avalanche came
through. Men with muscular torsos exposed had painted-on an
EQUAL sign in red ink. Women with their breasts exposed had
written-on in black ink the words NO FEAR across their bellies.
There were kids too! Te digo, muchachos adolescentes vestidos de
mujer, chicas con bigotes pintados y Fedoras. There was no place
to hide: glass windows shattered, cars were pancaked into cosas
inservibles. Those who were not part of the movement were
immediately assimilated. I’m telling you, the gays were like the
Borg in Star Trek except they were fighting for a truer gentler
cause: their souls… and mine… and my boyfriend’s.
The echo of their shouts fulminated or drowned any other street
noise and it lifted my body, and my boyfriend’s body, up into the
air seven feet above the pavement. And like that we traveled
together until we reached the New York Chronicle building which
we tore to the ground one brick at a time. It was magical.

SOFIA
Darkness becomes the space. The guitar and cello play
harmoniously. A moment goes.

51
SOFIA
Arise, light, LUCAS shivers in the night!

CHILD
You must be freezing your testicles.

LUCAS
Kinda… is the… thermostat… broken?

CHILD
Thermostat-? Ha Ha Ha…

LUCAS
Don’t mock… me.

CHILD
Have you ever seen a thermostat in this place? Silly rabbit.

LUCAS
Why… is it… so fuck-

CHILD
Uh-uh-uh! No bad words, remember; I got my rules too.

LUCAS
Forgot.

CHILD
I’ll let this one slide only because you have been so effective.

LUCAS
I…have? Thank… you.

CHILD
You’re welcome.

52
SOFIA
A breath.

LUCAS
Can you… find me… a coat?

CHILD
Oh I wouldn’t know where they are.

LUCAS
How… come there’s… no thermostat?

CHILD
Don’t know; weird, right? I mean, what kind of business are they
running here?

LUCAS
A sweater… might do… the trick… as well.

CHILD
Oh I wouldn’t know where to find one. AB doesn’t share a lot of
information with me about his wardrobe.

LUCAS
Where… is… he?

CHILD
Or his whereabouts.

SOFIA
Another breath.

CHILD
You wanna play a game?

LUCAS
No.

53
CHILD
Oh c’mon, it’ll warm you up. What you need is to move, get your
blood pumping.

LUCAS
What’s… the… game?

CHILD
You probably know it, hide-and-go-seek!

LUCAS
Better not… I should… wait… save energy… AB and I… we
have… many katas… to create.

CHILD
Are you guys gonna stay up all night AGAIN? Because it gets
really annoying; I’m the one that has to put up with his bull-
Oops… with his feisty temper and his vulgar language in the
mornings when he’s sleep-deprived.

LUCAS
Worry not… after tonight’s kata… session… speech-writing…
smile-rehearsing… AB… will be… a completely… different
man… at sunrise… Ha Ha Ha…

CHILD
Hey, what’s with the scary-movie laugh?

LUCAS
What… are you… talking-?

CHILD
You don’t fool me, Lucas! I know your wheels have been turning
faster and faster lately.

LUCAS
Hush up… little man.

54
CHILD
Don’t hush me; I got seniority here!

LUCAS
Okay.

CHILD
No, not ‘okay’ mister!
What you got?

LUCAS
Look kid… really… I’m freezing… my balls heeere… help me
out.

CHILD
You’re gonna take over aren’t you? Lucas, you nut-job!

LUCAS
What…?

CHILD
Holy! Mother! Holy! Mother! Holy! Mother!

LUCAS
Sh-Sh-Shut the fuck up…!

SOFIA
The CHILD starts jumping on the invisible new mattress.

CHILD
I! Have! Discovered! Your! Evil! Plan!

LUCAS
The neighbors… are… gonna… come knooocking.

SOFIA
The CHILD stops.

55
CHILD
That wouldn’t be a good thing, would it?

LUCAS
No… S-S-S-Sir…

CHILD
Okay. Deal: you let me in on your secret plan, I warm you up.
I don’t even know why you’re sooo cold; I’m not cold. It’s nice
and toasty in here.

LUCAS
Fine… any… thing to… shut that… hooole in your… face.

CHILD
Don’t be nasty, Lucas. No nasty, no nasty.

LUCAS
I… am… going to… take over.

CHILD
What about ME??

LUCAS
You… you’re going t-t-t-to… be my… right hand… my… man.

CHILD
That’s a parallel promotion, I’ll have to reconsider.

LUCAS
Ok-ok-ok… whatever you… want, ok…? Just… pass me… a coat
or… something… I can’t feel-

CHILD
It’s that bad?

56
LUCAS
It… is b-b-b-bad…

CHILD
See that white box over there, the one with the tiny window?
We’re gonna stick you in there; warm you up back to life.

SOFIA
The CHILD helps LUCAS whose body is now frozen stiff.

CHILD
Holy! Mother! Can you walk?

LUCAS
I… will t-t-t-t-

CHILD
Slowly now, don’t worry, I’m gonna lend a hand. You’re gonna be
all right.

LUCAS
P-P-P-Please… stop talking.

CHILD
Yes, yes, I’ll be quiet now… come on… one step at a time… good
boy, Lucas.

SOFIA
LUCAS climbs inside the improvised oven.

LUCAS
Ouch…!

CHILD
Watch your head! Did that hurt? Oh, I’m sorry.

57
LUCAS
My head… don’t... f-f-f-fit.

SOFIA
The CHILD shoves LUCAS inside.

CHILD
There!
I close the door now, okay? Don’t be afeared.
Can you see me?
Can you HEAR me, Lucas?

SOFIA
Inaudible sounds start inside the oven.

CHILD
Hang in there!

SOFIA
The CHILD turns the temperature knob to BROIL.

CHILD
That should be right.

SOFIA
A shift; lights cross-fade.

58
SOFIA
A brilliant overflow descends upon the gods.

AMBROSIO
Modern man, condemned by nature and circumstances to spiritual
exile forever seeks an inner kingdom in which to be reborn.

EMIGDIO
Monsieur, LIFE is intricate for them all, that is the point and you
know it; why this on-going fixation?

AMBROSIO
I’m ready for a picnic!

EMIGDIO
Now we’re talking, stud! I’ll have the chef prepare a couple of
Panini, Crème de tomates, I’ll mix up some fruit and we’ll polish
things off with a nice Argentinean malbec.

AMBROSIO
Yes, yes, yes.

SOFIA
A beat, a breath.

EMIGDIO
If I didn’t know you well enough I’d say you’ve become allergic to
happiness.

AMBROSIO
I am god-

EMIGDIO
You are A god.

59
AMBROSIO
I am A god and as such I am endowed with a particular assemblage
of abilities-
Talents! And abilities! For the sake of judgment, to keep it at bay,
for YOUR sake, to protect you from venomous tongues I have
lived, slept, wept and kept silence in resignation. An end! An end
to it all! An end, I say you. Please me in this, amore mio; I shall
not take a single step forward without you by my side.

EMIGDIO
I am eternally yours, Ambrosio.

AMBROSIO
Very well; the plaza at sunset! And we must make sure the CBA is
charged fully.

EMIGDIO
Fresh pair of batteries should work like a charm.

SOFIA
Another breath, another beat.

AMBROSIO
I… I hate Crème de tomates.

EMIGDIO
¿Un caldito de gallina?

AMBROSIO
I… I don’t want soup, at all. I would love some of that rich dark
chocolate, the kind that oozes rum-syrup when you bite into it.

EMIGDIO
Ha Ha Ha… How about some literature?

AMBROSIO
Camus! L’entranger… and have that fella come along-

60
EMIGDIO
What fella, monsieur?

AMBROSIO
The Caribbean one with the white white teeth; he strums that guitar
like a Spaniard.

SOFIA
Alarma! Alarma sensual!

EMIGDIO AMBROSIO
What on Earth-? What was that-?

SOFIA
A riot brews in the northern streets of the city. A quiet riot breaks
its silence.

EMIGDIO AMBROSIO
The usual demonstration; Dormant rioters awake!
Pissed-off young guns,
that’s all.

SOFIA
Humans gather. Masses of homosexuals; there is music in the
masses.

EMIGDIO
The picnic!

AMBROSIO
¡P’al carajo con el tal picnic!
You, gal, you… African fennec fox; I don’t know what hole you
jumped out of but I like the shrill in your tone. Fly me to the
rioters?

SOFIA
El camino es largo y pedregoso.

61
SOFIA
A swift cross-fade encircles EL CAPITAN.

EL CAPITAN
I sensed it… here at my solar-plexus. I felt it… here at the base of
my skull. I could smell it the way you can smell a summer-arrival
in New York City: a whiff of dog-shit as you walk down the street,
the scent of urine deep inside the subway station. All in all. I saw it
coming-
That noise! That rumbling noise! It’s coming up through the floor,
from underneath, what is it? The whole fucking building has
suddenly turned into a disco… call the authorities, will you?

SOFIA
Hold everything! Six-two and even, over and out.

ENRIQUE EL CAPITAN (Whispered)


You are very addictive, My answer to this seeming
He said to me. We were conundrum lies on a lifetime
Naked-down to the bare bone, of exposure to persons of
And tangled up: my arms different conditions, ancestry,
Around his torso, his arms position, essential
Wrapped around me. Our legs: characteristics.
an unrecognizable mess of feet,
Calves, dry-skinned knees,
Thighs, hamstrings, buttocks
That had never seen the sun,
Freckles all over the place.
Little black dots burnt into
Our skin like stars in the night-sky.

ENRIQUE
You can be addicted to me all you want, I said, and kissed him,
sliding my tongue so gently into his mouth that a soft steady moan
escaped him; I could feel his belly rise up with air and his breath
slip inside my mouth. It tasted so sweet.

62
ENRIQUE
And for a fleeting minute I thought, I can spend the rest of my life
like this, with him, in bed, his penis like a rock against mine,
random beads of sweat pouring down our foreheads, the dimness
of a bedroom lamp, the TV on but on mute in the distance, the
sweet and mysterious scent of grass in the air, two wine glasses
half-empty, or half-full?
Ha Ha Ha…
He didn’t stay with me that night though; that first night after I saw
him in the café. He looked scared. I had moments here and there of
doubt, awkwardness, you know? I couldn’t make sense of him; he
was hot and cold at the same time. After he left my apartment, I
masturbated reliving what had just happened, a fantasy I struggled
to duplicate down to the smallest detail.

SOFIA
Hold everything! Six-two and even, over and out.

ENRIQUE
The following night he called me. He sounded a little drunk: he
was not slurring his words, no, but I could sense it in his voice. He
told me, and it took him a long long time… he wrestled with a
spectacle of broken sentences, meaningless words, a parade of
pauses that only increased my desperation, my inferiority. I felt so
exposed even though he was the one fighting to expose himself.
Does that make any sense? I don’t know. It blew me away. I had
nothing to say so I just listened, my body shivering.

SOFIA
A breath.

EL CAPITAN
I’m positive-

ENRIQUE
Positive about what?

63
EL CAPITAN
I’m HIV positive.

ENRIQUE
He made sure I understood every word. I AM HIV POSITIVE. Let
me remind you-
What am I saying? You don’t know anything about me… let me
just say this, for my benefit, I had never until that point EVER
been with a guy that was, you know, that had a-

ENRIQUE
It took you a lot of courage to say that to me, right?

EL CAPITAN
It took me twenty-four hours and a bottle of gin to cough up
enough nerve to share this with you.

ENRIQUE
“Share this with you.”
I felt in that instant as if a gigantic invisible hand was reaching
inside me, in the cavity of my chest, and pulling something out,
something precious: the little bit of love that was holding me up-
Holding him and me, UP… Then I was empty, completely.
It’s horrible: to witness your own heartlessness, to see it happen
right before your eyes. You are defenseless.

SOFIA
The cello, the guitar, and now drums, play a lovely tune. The brisk
melody takes over. A soft wash of light reveals every one.
A dance.

64
SOFIA
Music goes. Random pools of light appear.

CHILD
That’s sooo predictable. Pools of light, are you joking? Hey, who’s
the couple of viejitos?

SOFIA
The one who’s wrinkled like a prune, he is the god of immortality,
AMBROSIO. The one who looks as if he’s gotten one-too-many
botox injections is a demigod and AMBROSIO’s lover.

CHILD
And who EXACTLY are you? I mean, you said you were a
something something fox, but is that like a metaphor? Or are you a
shape-shifter? Holy Cannoli… are YOU… a shape-shifter?
I thought they only existed in TV shows!

SOFIA
EMIGDIO crosses to the CHILD, whispers something in his ear,
kisses him lightly on the cheek.

CHILD
Holy shit! Oops.

SOFIA
The CHILD skips off the stage. AMBROSIO crosses towards EL
CAPITAN.

AMBROSIO
I place my hand upon you.

EL CAPITAN
I want to sob.

AMBROSIO
Llorad.

65
AMBROSIO (Sung)
“We’re damaged people
Drawn together
By subtleties that we are not aware of
Disturbed souls
Playing out forever
These games that we once thought we would be scared of.” ♫

EL CAPITAN (Sung)
“When you’re in my arms
The world makes sense
There is no pretense
And you’re crying
When you’re by my side
There is no defense
I forget to sense
I’m dying.” ♫

AMBROSIO (Sung)
“We’re damaged people
Praying for something
That doesn’t come from somewhere deep inside us
Depraved souls
Trusting in the one thing
The one thing that this life has not denied us.” ♫

EL CAPITAN (Sung)
“When I feel the warmth
Of your very soul
I forget I’m cold
And crying
When your lips touch mine
And I lose control
I forget I’m old
And dying.” ♫

♫ Lyrics by Martin Lee Gore,


PLAYING THE ANGEL, 2005

66
CHILD
Can someone gimme a hand with this thing? I’m just a kid for
crying-out-loud.

EL CAPITAN
¡Secretaria! You are free to go; thank you for the dedication.

SOFIA
Me fuí.

EMIGDIO
I assume it is up to ME to help the CHILD to situate the mirror?

CHILD
It’s on wheels but I don’t know where it’s supposed to go.

AMBROSIO
Is that the sound of-?
Is that what I think it is?

EMIGDIO
Si, amore mio, that’s the CBA. I think... I think...
¡Creo que pescamos algo!

CHILD
This should be the right spot for the mirror, no? Look guys, I’m
not a stage-hand, okay?

EMIGDIO
¡Creo que pescamos algo bien grande!
We are going to need a bigger divan. Enrique and American Baby
met while the riot-
Enrique and American baby kissed while the riot-
They are being dragged by the masses like two helium balloons.

CHILD
I’m setting this fucking thing right here! Oops.

67
AMBROSIO
Shut it off, mon amour. That CBA melody is deafening.

EMIGDIO
Done! CHILD, you come with us now.

CHILD
No way, dude!

CHILD EMIGDIO
I don’t wanna miss the- Uh-Uh-Uh.

CHILD EMIGDIO
C’mon… ¡Nanai-cucas!
Not fair, not fair, not fair!

AMBROSIO
You have caused quite a raucous around here, little man.

EMIGDIO
Gather your toys; we’re out of here.

CHILD
AB is gonna be pissed-!

AMBROSIO
¡No me hagas reír, culicagado!
AB has got his hands full; no pun intended.

EMIGDIO
CHILD, you know, we’ve got bird’s eye view-

AMBROSIO
Like Alcatraz birds.

CHILD
You own a condo?

68
AMBROSIO EMIGDIO
Enough! Enough!

CHILD
Fine! But we’re not holding hands. Me fuí.

AMBROSIO EMIGDIO
¡Nos fuimos! ¡Nos fuimos!

69
AB
La borrachera is bad, it’s bad… y el aguacero is hitting on me
hard, but I don’t care. I’m fiending for a cigarette. I know el carro
de la basura hasn’t come to collect the garbage, so a esa hora and
soaked, I start digging through the pile of plastic bags inside the
trash can outside my building looking for a box of American
Spirits I had thrown out earlier. There were three cigs left, I
remember. I recognize the C-Town bag with my own personal
trash. Inside it there’s a stack of double-printed pages: text from a
poem I’ve been working on, an empty bottle of liquid soap, banana
peels, la mitad de un aguacate podrido, an empty wet cardboard
box of hemorrhoid suppositories… but no cigs.
Frente al espejo me desnudo.

SOFIA
And I see my reflection has changed.

AB SOFIA (whispered)
It’s no longer the likeness It’s no longer the illustration
of a man, male-image, no. of a man, male-image, no.
Instead, there within lives a Instead, there within resides a
female: African fennec fox. female: African fennec fox.
Orejona, de piel blanca blanca Orejona, de piel blanca
como la de un albino; porque blanca como la de un
no todo en el África es negro, albino; porque no todo en
mi amor. el África es negro, mi amor.

ENRIQUE
A pause. A breath. Female steps out through the mirror-frame,
kisses AB lightly on the lips and caresses his elbows. HE, male,
recognizes this as a sign and steps inside through the mirror-frame.

SOFIA
I am AB.

AB
I feel sooo foxy!

70
SOFIA
I am Male-female.

AB SOFIA
Girl-boy Girl-boy
Hombre-mujer Hombre-mujer

ENRIQUE
¿Hembra...? ¿O macho? A mi me gustan los hombres, AB.

AB
I am just an expression. La evidencia. Y por el momento,
desaparezco. But I am always there. Echo. Echo. Echo.

SOFIA
I’m still Man.

ENRIQUE
Are you…? Can I see?

SOFIA
Tengo pene. Tengo vagina. Soy ser completo.

ENRIQUE
Alright, I trust you. I just-
I just…

SOFIA
You just, what-?

ENRIQUE
I feared you for a moment. I’m still human, you know.

SOFIA ENRIQUE
Silly boy. I wanna be whole, like you.
I wanna be finished, polished,
a sculpture… like you.

71
SOFIA AB (whispered)
Besame. Be-sa-me.

CHILD
The Light lit me up. I am very grim after all. I can’t believe it; the
gods got away with it. But what about ME, I ask. No Lucas… well,
that was my bad. No AB… No nothing! So the one that looks like
he just stepped out of a tanning-booth… a-ha, plucked eyebrows,
wrinkle-free forehead, ironed hair, etc.

EMIGDIO
Ambrosio and I have discussed it extensively.

CHILD
And-?

EMIGDIO
Ambrosio and I feel that you need new purpose, direction.

CHILD
Pff, hello!

EMIGDIO
And you truly are ahead of your time; the way in which you’ve
learned to so easily maneuver that... apparatus.

CHILD
iMac, go on.

EMIGDIO
I couldn’t even find the ON button! And you look oh so adorable
sitting in that hideous desk-chair in front of that… TV thing.

CHILD
Mo-ni-tor.

72
EMIGDIO
Your charming little hand steering the, the, the-
Making it glide over the, the, the-
You really do know what you’re doing.

CHILD
I’m ahead of my time, what can I say?

EMIGDIO CHILD
So we’ve decided- I got EL CAPITAN as
a present for being an
exemplary child, a text-book
example!

EMIGDIO
You can play as you wish but never EVER do anything deliberate
to hurt him! Ambrosio and I agree that the two of you are a match
made in heaven.

CHILD
I ask EL CAPITAN to remove his navy blue trousers, black shoes,
white navy regular shirt and epaulets that indicate his rank. I got
him viringo down to his fruit-of-the-looms. Ha Ha Ha…
He stands very still, like a monument, while I adorn his pale
freckled skin with unrecognizable maps. He is my canvas!
I illustrate, with linseed oil and burnt car-oil, unrecognizable maps
all over his torso and legs and arms.
¡Tremenda obra maestra!

73