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- Feb 8,

2010 Mon

Description

CADAVER BY ALBERTO S

FLORENTINO (SCRIPT) Characters: Torio,

Marina,

Carding Time: Afternoon

Carding: (leans forward and feels Torio’s temperature) Your whole body is on fire

I guess it’s the tiny wound on my foot

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,

and cardboard patched together— threaten to collapse any minute

A door,

leads to the outside and another,

Upstage center is a small window

At right corner is a cot placed diagonally across the room

Two fruit boxes,

serves as a table where an oil lamp gives off the only light in the semi-darkness

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

He crosses to taps him in the shoulder

) ______________________________________________ Carding: (as Torio seems to wake up) Were you asleep,

Carding: Maybe you didn’t go to the dispensary as I told you

It’s nothing serious

(pulls his foot under the blanket)

Torio: No,

Carding,

I was not…

Torio: Maybe if I got there

But do you think he’ll take the trouble of coming to me

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

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,

Carding: Nothing serious

! If it can put a man of your size and strength to bed,

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

Carding: He must come

He’s paid to take care of the sick…wherever they are

Torio: But will he come

! (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

I even helped you built this one

Torio: When it was burning,

did the firemen come to put the fire out

the came— but only up to there

! (points through the window) When they found out it was only my house burning,

pretending it was only a grass fire they saw…Now,

? Don’t I deserve to be treated like any other citizen

? Carding: (jocosely) maybe they found out that you never once brought a cedula

Torio…

Thinking about it will not make you feel any better

Carding: (looking out the window) We’re never sure of our fate,

Strange things happen to us when we least expect them

Torio: Could you forget it if everything you had in the world went up in flames

I’ll remember that to my dying day

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: (pauses at the door,

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,

we’ll move you to the hospital

Torio: To the hospital

! 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

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,

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: (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

Torio: But why

? Have you found an easier way of making a living

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

! It did not even bleed a drop

Carding: You know what old folks say about those accidents

? Carding: They say…if one gets wounded—or even only scratched—by the bones of the dead…

Torio: And you believe that

! Torio: (laughs) You’re just a child

Besides,

! 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

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

Carding: (straightens up)I’d rather offend living people— Torio: And if they catch you,

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,

Carding: Oh…here comes Marina

sloppily dressed in a formless,

) 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

Marina: (crosses to Carding downstage

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,

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: (to Marina) Why couldn’t he come

Carding: I’ll take care of that

Marina: No,

(feels Torio’s temperature) Your temperature is still rising

Torio: What do you want a jeep for

? (sarcastic) Are you two eloping

? Can’t you wait ‘till I’m dead

Carding: (to Marina) What did he say

Carding: Torio,

we’re taking you to the hospital

Marina: He wants us to take Torio to the dispensary

Torio: You’re not taking me anywhere

Carding: How

Torio: Who says I can’t even sit up

! (tries to sit up as Marina cries out: “Don’t

) I know I can… if I really try

Carding: Torio,

Torio: Oh,

? You speak as if you own my body

! Carding: Because I know it’s for your own good

Carding: That doctor must be crazy

Torio: But I don’t want it,

I don’t need it

! Don’t tell me I can’t refuse anything for myself

Torio: The doctor’s afraid that,

I would beg from him

If he came,

I would have really begged from him

Carding: Torio,

Be reasonable

You’re sick

If you refuse to go,

we’ll drag you if we have to

Carding: Are you sure you tried to make him come

Torio: Just try,

Carding…

! I’ll fight you with my last strength

Marina: Of course I did

Carding: Torio—

Torio: You’re both afraid I might die

For all you know,

I might outlive both of you

(smiles and starts murmuring to himself)

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,

I won’t insist

! (Sits down) Marina: Torio please…

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

! Torio: You were never really happy with me,

? I know you’ve grown tired of me

!— 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,

I can imagine how you must feel inside… Marina: Torio,

? 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,

Carding: Don’t mind him

He’s gone mad

? (to Marina) I’ll tell you what kind of business we have

Carding

! Torio: It’s a business that requires no capital

All you need is a good,

strong stomach— Carding: (shaking him) Torio,

! Torio: (pushing him off) Why

? Are you ashamed to let others know that the dead have been supporting you all along

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,

Marina: Torio

Carding: 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—

Torio: I robbed the dead people around us… (Carding,

sites at doorway and looks out)

Marina: Torio

! He’s our only friend and you dare speak of him like that

He doesn’t know what he’s saying

Marina: (shocked) What

Carding: Don’t worry

I understand very well

Marina: (hardly able to speak) And you stole from them

? And you…sold what you found

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

Marina: What business does he mean Carding

Torio: I was one of those who force open the graves in the cemetery

Torio: Yes

? Rich people are always being buried with something valuable on them

! Why let such treasures rot under the ground…while above that ground people like us are starving

! Marina: Torio…you didn’t do that

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’s too slow for them

But with the dead,

The dead do not report to the police,

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: Stop it

! (sits down) Oh…the poor sacred dead…

Marina: Oh…what you did is a horrible sacrilege

heaven will surely not receive your soul…Yes,

even hell would refuse your damned soul

Torio: What so sacred about them

Torio: (mad) Why do you always say “if you die” “if you die”

? Do you really want me to die

Marina: (almost crying) Torio…we had nowhere to go,

We erected this house on their land

They did not complain,

they did not call us “squatters”,

And what did you do in return,

Marina: No,

Torio: I hate them

? Did they ever try to harm you

? Torio: (pointing through the window) Look at them

! Doesn’t that sight infuriate you

They lie there day and night,

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,

A strong rain overtook me

I ran for shelter to the nearest tomb,

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,

soaked to the bone and shivering,

with a cardboard roof that leaks even in the lightest rain

! I have more right to the things wasted on him,

? 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

Torio: (vehemently) You really want to get rid of me,

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 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

I dare all the dead whom I offended to take me

shouts through the window) Take me if you can

that you were all alive now and suffering in life

Marina: (rushing to him) Torio

! 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

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

? Carding: (comes to his view) I’m still here

Torio: I thought…

you had left… You are not mad at me…are you

I’m not,

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,

suddenly his head and his arm fall over the edge of the cot) Marina: (screams,

! (flings her body on him and cries over the body for a time

Carding pulls her away and covers the body as Marina,

-CURTAIN-