This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
FLORENTINO (SCRIPT) Characters: Torio, Marina, Carding Time: Afternoon Scene: The interior of a squalid dwelling located on the edge of a cemetery in Manila. The walls and roof—made of empty fruit boxes, tarpaulin, bamboo, and cardboard patched together— threaten to collapse any minute. A door, upstage left, leads to the outside and another, right, to the kitchen. Upstage center is a small window. At right corner is a cot placed diagonally across the room. Two fruit boxes, standing on their sides, serves as seats, and another, flat on ground, serves as a table where an oil lamp gives off the only light in the semi-darkness. (Torio is lying on the cot, a manta blanket covering him to the waist. He is around 28 years old, with a square jaw and well-developed body. He is sick, his eyes being closed as if in sleep.) (Carding, a frail-bodied, slow-moving man, in dirty pants and T-shirt, enters. He crosses to taps him in the shoulder.) ______________________________________________ Carding: (as Torio seems to wake up) Were you asleep, Torio? Torio: No, Carding, I was not…..sit down. Carding: (still standing) So you’ve been sick. I didn’t know it until Marina told me. Torio: Where did you see her? Carding: She passed by the house just a while ago. Torio: Damn that woman! So she insisted on seeing you. I told her not to bother you! Carding: Oh….it isn’t any bother at all, Torio. I was even chiding her for not letting me know right away. (Takes a seat at foot of cot) She was so excited when she showed up, at first I thought you were dead or dying! Torio: Don’t you let that woman alarm you again! There’s not a time when she doesn’t worry about something. Sometimes, I even think she worries about what will worry her next! tries to laugh but end up coughing) Carding: But she has reason to be worried. You look very sick. Torio: I’m a just a bit feverish, that’s all.
Carding: (leans forward and feels Torio’s temperature) Your whole body is on fire! How did you get that fever? Torio: I don’t know. I guess it’s the tiny wound on my foot. (exposes his right foot, bandaged in dirty rags) Carding: Maybe you didn’t go to the dispensary as I told you. It’s nothing serious. (pulls his foot under the blanket) Carding: Nothing serious! If it can put a man of your size and strength to bed, it is something serious! But you need not worry. I sent Marina to the dispensary. Torio: What for? Carding: I told her to ask the doctor to come and look you over. She should have thought that before. Torio: Are you dreaming? Do you think the doctor will come when we have no money to pay him? Carding: But you don’t have to pay him anything. He’s the public doctor. He’ll treat you for free. Torio: Maybe if I got there. But do you think he’ll take the trouble of coming to me? What do you think I am, a congressman? Carding: He must come. He’s paid to take care of the sick…wherever they are. Torio: But will he come? Hell, no! (Mumbles to himself) Nobody comes to me… no body. Not even those firemen…they did not come… Carding: What firemen are you talking about? Torio: (with bitterness) do you remember the house we had before this that was burned to the ground? Carding: I remember. I even helped you built this one. Torio: When it was burning, did the firemen come to put the fire out? No! Oh, yes, the came— but only up to there! (points through the window) When they found out it was only my house burning, they drove away, pretending it was only a grass fire they saw…Now, why would they do that? Don’t I deserve to be treated like any other citizen? Carding: (jocosely) maybe they found out that you never once brought a cedula! (Laughs; rises
and paces about) Oh, Torio….try to forget that. Thinking about it will not make you feel any better. Torio: Could you forget it if everything you had in the world went up in flames? I can’t forget that. I’ll remember that to my dying day. Carding: (pauses at the door, looks out, and turns around) Torio…why don’t you move out of this cemetery? Maybe it’s the place that brings you bad luck. Why don’t you out up a house somewhere else? Anywhere but here… You live all alone here.. among all these dead… Torio: (continues to mumble to himself) Maybe, just because we live here with the dead, people think we’re as good as dead… Carding: (walks to foot of cot: tires to divert his thoughts..) If the doctor does not come, Torio, we’ll move you to the hospital. Torio: To the hospital! To the free ward? Oh no! Carding: So what if it’s a free ward? You know very well we cannot afford to be choosy. Torio: I was there once. Do you know how they treat you there? They will neglect you until you’re on the brink of death. Then they send young doctors to practice on you… . Not for anything in the world would I go there again. Carding: (sits down and leans forward) Look, don’t you want some pretty nurses hovering about you like butterflies? Oh, how I wish I would get sick just to be bear them. I would hate to get well. Torio: Don’t try that kind of talk to me; I won’t fall for it. I won’t let those nurses or anybody else touch me…If I’ll die, I’ll die in spite of all the doctors and pretty nurses in the world. Carding: (rises and walks a little) My God, you should be in the hospital now…and not here, arguing with me. Torio: You’ve got a chicken’s heart. You’re just like my wife. I get a tiny wound and a little fever…and she thinks I’m dying. Can you imagine me dying of a tiny wound like this (puts out his foot)—at this age and with this body? During the Japanese Occupation I had a bayonet wound that deep. (demonstrates with his fingers) Does it look as if I died of it? Is this a dead man’s ghost you’re talking to?
Carding: (looking out the window) We’re never sure of our fate, Torio. Strange things happen to us when we least expect them. Torio: I’ll bet you, in a few days I’ll be well and strong. Then we will continue our work. We’ll make up for the time we lost since I got sick. You haven’t tried doing it alone have you? Carding: (turns to him) No, I— Torio: It’s all right. I know you couldn’t do it. Not alone. You need me…But don’t get impatient. I’ll get well sooner than you expect. Carding: You don’t get what I mean, Torio….I’m giving it up. Torio: (surprised) What? You’re giving it up? You’re joking! Carding: I’m not joking, Torio. Torio: But why? Have you found an easier way of making a living? Carding: I’m frightened, Torio. See what happened to you. Suppose it happened to me? I’m not even half as healthy as you are. Torio: Oh! So this little wound had you really scared huh? Why, it’s only a scratch! It did not even bleed a drop. Carding: You know what old folks say about those accidents! Torio: What do they say? Carding: They say…if one gets wounded—or even only scratched—by the bones of the dead….he will die. Torio: And you believe that? Carding: Of course! Torio: (laughs) You’re just a child. Besides, it was an accident! A corpse did not rise from his tomb to plunge one of his ribs into my foot! Nothing like that happened….so there’s nothing to be scared of! Carding: Even then. You got that wound in a cemetery…(leans toward him) Torio. Let’s not offend the dead any more. It’s so frightening. You’ll never know what they’ll do to punish us. Torio: What can they do except haunt us? And who is scared of ghosts?
Carding: (straightens up)I’d rather offend living people— Torio: And if they catch you, what do they do? They throw you in jail. The dead are more kind Carding. Carding: I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since we started that thing. It’s seems so mean and ugly—just like stealing candy from an innocent baby. Torio: Carding, if you start being sentimental in this world, you’ll starve to death. Carding: Oh…here comes Marina. (Marina enters, a plain woman of 25 or 26, sloppily dressed in a formless, tunic-like gray dress.) Carding: Where is the doctor Marina? (looks outside) Marina: He’s not with me. Torio: (with a cynical triumph) See! I told you so I would have died in surprise if he came! Carding: (to Marina) Why couldn’t he come? Was he busy? Marina: No, he was not. (feels Torio’s temperature) Your temperature is still rising. Carding: (to Marina) What did he say? Marina: He wants us to take Torio to the dispensary. Carding: How? He couldn’t even sit up. Torio: Who says I can’t even sit up? I can! (tries to sit up as Marina cries out: “Don’t!” but he fails.) I know I can… if I really try. Carding: That doctor must be crazy. Torio: The doctor’s afraid that, instead of paying him, I would beg from him. If he came, I would have really begged from him. (laughs) Carding: Are you sure you tried to make him come? Marina: Of course I did! Now, what shall we do? Torio: You’re both afraid I might die. For all you know, I might outlive both of you. (smiles and starts murmuring to himself)
Marina: (crosses to Carding downstage; speaks low) Listen to him. I’m afraid the fever has touched his brain. Carding: Let’s take him to the hospital. Marina: It’s not as easy as that Carding. He hates hospitals. Carding: We’ll drag him to it…if we have to. Marina: We can’t make him do anything that he hates. Carding: (touches his arm) But we just can’t leave him alone, Marina. He’s really more sick than he appears to be. It is only his will to live that keeps him going. He’ll break down soon and it may be too late then. Torio: (notices them conversing) Hey! What are you two doing there…whispering like two lovebirds? Carding: (loud enough for Torio to hear) You’d better go down to the street and get a jeep. Marina: We haven’t even a centavo to pay for the driver. Carding: I’ll take care of that. Torio: What do you want a jeep for? (sarcastic) Are you two eloping? Can’t you wait ‘till I’m dead? Carding: Torio, we’re taking you to the hospital. Torio: You’re not taking me anywhere! Carding: Torio, we don’t have to ask you. Torio: Oh, no? You speak as if you own my body! Carding: Because I know it’s for your own good. Torio: But I don’t want it, I don’t need it! Don’t tell me I can’t refuse anything for myself. Carding: Torio, listen to me. Be reasonable. You’re sick. If you refuse to go, we’ll drag you if we have to. Torio: Just try, Carding….just try! I’ll fight you with my last strength! Carding: Torio— Torio: Carding: you’re my friend. Don’t do anything I hate. And don’t worry, I’m in my right senses.
Carding: (irked) All right, all right, I won’t insist! (Sits down) Marina: Torio please….listen to us.. Torio: Why are you so worried about me? Marina: What a silly question! Torio: That’s not a silly question! Why should you worry that I might die? Haven’t you always wanted me to die? Marina: Torio! Torio: You were never really happy with me, were you? I know you’ve grown tired of me. Marina; No, Torio!— Torio: Don’t be ashamed to admit it. I wouldn’t mind. I confess I also get bored sometimes. But where I could always seek change, you cannot. I can imagine how you must feel inside… Marina: Torio, whatever gave you those ideas? Torio: So if you think I’m going to die, don’t take this all trouble of pretending you don’t want it to happen. Just let me alone to die. This could be your chance to get rid of me and take another man. Carding, for instance— Marina: Torio! Torio: Carding hasn’t taken a wife yet. And he’s quite a man too. Even before I’m dead and gone, he has started to lay his hands on you— Marina: Torio! He’s our only friend and you dare speak of him like that! (to Carding) Carding, you must forgive him. He doesn’t know what he’s saying. Carding: Don’t worry. I understand very well. Torio: See? I’m not yet dead and you have taken his side against me! Marina: Torio— Torio: Do you think he can take care of you as I have been doing? He cannot even earn enough money to support himself. He cannot take over our business when I get sick— Marina: What business—? Torio: how much more if he had you take care of? He’d starve you to death. Marina: What business does he mean Carding?
Carding: Don’t mind him. He’s gone mad! Torio: So I’m mad huh? (to Marina) I’ll tell you what kind of business we have. Carding; Torio! Torio: It’s a business that requires no capital. All you need is a good, strong stomach— Carding: (shaking him) Torio, stop it! Torio: (pushing him off) Why? Are you ashamed to let others know that the dead have been supporting you all along? Marina: What does he mean, Carding? Carding: Don’t listen to him. He’s out of his mind. Torio: really? (to Marina) Do you want to know where the money I bought home came from? Do you believe I really earned it by breaking my back at the waterfront? I’ve fooled you so well you never suspected, did you? Marina: What did you do? Torio: To put it plainly— Carding: Torio! Don’t— Torio: I robbed the dead people around us… (Carding, exasperated, sites at doorway and looks out) Marina: (shocked) What! You mean— Torio: I was one of those who force open the graves in the cemetery. Marina: (hardly able to speak) And you stole from them? And you…sold what you found? Torio: Yes! Why not? Rich people are always being buried with something valuable on them. Rings, earrings, necklaces—even gold teeth! Why let such treasures rot under the ground…while above that ground people like us are starving! Marina: Torio…you didn’t do that! Torio: But I did! You can ask Carding. He was with me all the time. At first he was scared to death.—He would tremble and perspire—but later on— Carding: (turns to them) I didn’t want to—
Torio: But he had to—because he had to eat— even from a dead man’s hand. When he tries to rob the living, he always get caught. He’s too slow for them. But with the dead, once he got used to it, it was so easy. The dead do not report to the police, they don’t fight back, they don’t even scream! Marina: Stop it! How horrible! I can’t stand it! (sits down) Oh…the poor sacred dead… Torio: What so sacred about them? They’re dead! Marina: (almost crying) Torio…we had nowhere to go, we moved into their place. We erected this house on their land. They did not complain, they did not call us “squatters”, they did not drive us away. And what did you do in return, what! Torio: I hate them! That’s why I robbed them! I hate them! Marina: Hate them? What did they do to you? Did they ever try to harm you? Torio: (pointing through the window) Look at them! Doesn’t that sight infuriate you? Look! Nothing worries them. They lie there day and night, sleeping like babies, mocking our sufferings… Carding: (at doorway) Marina, stop listening to him…if you want to keep sane. He used to tell me that over and over again. Maybe that’s why he made me do what he did. Torio: One night, as I was coming home, A strong rain overtook me. I ran for shelter to the nearest tomb, that one near the road, belonging to a dead millionaire. It was so beautiful. It looked more like a palace than a place for a dead. It had thick marble walls and a roof and festive lights. Inside it was a dead body in a coffin. It was dry in the rain and comfortable even in death. Why should that dead merchant have marble walls and a roof to protect him from the rain, while I was outside, soaked to the bone and shivering, waiting to go home, to a dark, dank place, with a cardboard roof that leaks even in the lightest rain! Why? He’s dead and I’m alive! I have more right to the things wasted on him, don’t you think so? Don’t you think we need thick walls more than the dead? Marina: He must have seen you… Torio: Who could’ve seen us? We used to work after midnight…when everyone was asleep.
Marina: it was God who saw you Torio. He keeps eternal watch over the dead. Torio: Why should God keep watch over the dead? Why not you and me who are still alive? Marina: Oh…what you did is a horrible sacrilege! If you die, heaven will surely not receive your soul…Yes, if you die, even hell would refuse your damned soul! Torio: (mad) Why do you always say “if you die” “if you die”? Do you really want me to die? Marina: No, why should I? Torio: (vehemently) You really want to get rid of me, don’t you? (Marina, throughout, tries to interrupt—in vain) Now I see that you two have been waiting for me to die so you could live together! Maybe a little wound like this can put me into bed. You’re praying—praying that I will die. But I’ll disappoint you both! I will live on and on if only to punish you by denying you the chance to live together! I’m still young! I have hundred years before me! Not all the dead in the world can drag me to the grave! (his raving rises in pitch) I dare them! Yes, I dare all the dead whom I offended to take me! (raving mad, shouts through the window) Take me if you can! I despise all of you! Oh, that you were all alive now and suffering in life! (suddenly collapses). Marina: (rushing to him) Torio! What happened? Carding! Carding: (at Torio’s side) Torio! (to Marina) Get some water quick! (Marina gets water as Carding tries to revive him. Then makes him drink.) Marina: Torio…are you all right? Torio: (he comes to, sees Marina and speaks between gasps) I’m all right…They cannot take me…I’m not willing to go yet. (looks around blindly) Where’s Carding? Has he gone? Carding: (comes to his view) I’m still here. Torio: I thought…. you had left… You are not mad at me…are you? Carding: No, I’m not, Torio. Torio: I didn’t mean it…what I said about you. I had a drunken feeling…I just said anything„, Carding: You don’t have to explain. I understand very well. Try not to talk…you need rest.
Torio: Yes, I feel tired…You two talk together…I’ll take a short nap… (to Marina) Wake me up when he’s ready to leave, Marina… Marina: Yes, Torio. (Torio closes his eyes; suddenly his head and his arm fall over the edge of the cot) Marina: (screams, shaking him) Torio! Wake up, Torio! Wake up! (flings her body on him and cries over the body for a time; later, Carding pulls her away and covers the body as Marina, now calmed, watches.) -CURTAIN-
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.