GUTTER PORN

GUTTER PORN

JAY CRISOSTOMO IV

We’re all in the gutters,

but some of us are looking at the stars.   

-Oscar Wilde

CHARACTERS:

MAMI, An old tramp

PAPI, An old tramp

SETTING:

 

A strip of city street. The majority of the performance area is the side walk in front of a cozy warmly-lit café. A street lamp to the side. If possible, only light from these two sources be used to light the performance. Them and the stars.

THE PLAY:

 

(MAMI enters. She looks cautiously to her left and right. Having been satisfied by her solitude, she takes a seat on the glass. She lets her cheek rest on its cool surface. She stands and looks within.)

 

MAMI:

(To herself) Warm embrace of soup tickling the throat, filling the stomach, exuding a happy light on the cheeks. (Licks her lips) Look at them. They take the soup in as if all the soup in the world is theirs. (Watches an unseen costumer carelessly slopping soup to his mouth) No don’t spill! Don’t waste… (It spills) Nooo! It spilled…

(MAMI all-out mourns for the wasted spoonful of soup.)

 

MAMI:

Mine! It could have been mine! You could have given it to me! But now it’s just a spot on your shirt! (And so on)

 

(PAPI enters. He sees MAMI weeping. He pounces onto her like a dog in heat.)

 

MAMI:

Ay don’t touch me there!

PAPI:

Come on, you look so beautiful when you’re sad.

 

MAMI:

(Pushes PAPI off) So I’m not beautiful when I’m happy?

PAPI:

I don’t know.

MAMI:

What? How dare you! I am beautiful.

PAPI:

I don’t know because I’ve never seen you happy. I try and I try but…

MAMI:

When else am I beautiful?

PAPI:

Oh! You’re beautiful when you’re asleep.

MAMI:

I’m ugly when I’m awake?

PAPI:

No. You’re ugly when you start talking. Talking and talking, always mad! And then your nose hairs flare out and then you look like you have a big bushy beard! (Laughs)

 

MAMI:

Stop talking! That’s no way to talk to a beautiful lady.

PAPI:

(In mock copy of a gentleman) I apologize, madame for hurting your sensitivities.

MAMI:

You should learn how to appreciate a woman’s charms.

PAPI:

Oh I do. I do. Let’s fuck.

MAMI:

(Gasps) It’s not even dark yet. There are still people in the café.

PAPI:

They don’t see us. The poor are dogs to the rich. They don’t care. (Howls)  Aw-aw-awoooo! See no one cares.

MAMI:

Stop philosophizing, Papi. There are people around us.

PAPI:

Come on. Let’s be dogs. (Mimes a coitus more ferarum position) Come my bitch, let’s fornicate! Ferarum style!

MAMI:

What?

PAPI:

You don’t know Ferarum? Ferarum is doggie.

(PAPI pounces on MAMI again. He sticks his hand inside MAMI’s skirt.)

MAMI:

Wrong hole! Wrong hole!

PAPI:

(Mouth watering, a perverted sigh) Ahh… So tight. Like a virgin. Ferarum!

(MAMI struggles and finally detaches himself from MAMI. She then kicks him on the groin. PAPI falls to the ground, nursing his crotch.)

 

PAPI:

Why are you hating on me!

MAMI:

You put your dirty finger in my ass!

PAPI:

Ha! My finger’s dirty? What about your bunghole?

MAMI:

Perverted geezer!

PAPI:

Prudish hag!

PAPI:

You told me you liked it there! Moaning and touching yourself. “Deeper, Papi, put your finger deeper until it hurts! Fuck me harder!” Screaming like a bitch in heat.

MAMI:

And what happened after that?

(Silence. PAPI becomes grim, and fixes himself.)

 

 

PAPI:

Never mind.

MAMI:

Sorry.

PAPI:

It doesn’t matter.

MAMI:

(Changes subject) So how did it go today?

PAPI:

Nothing much.

MAMI:

People like us shouldn’t have children.

PAPI:

If you can’t feed them, don’t make them.

MAMI:

School. Toys. Books. We can’t afford that. We can’t even afford to feed ourselves.

PAPI:

But we can love, can’t we, Mami? We can love the hell out of him. Poor people can love too.

MAMI:

Love is expensive, Papi.

(Silence.)

 

PAPI:

(Rubs his groin) That really hurt.

MAMI:

You deserved it. I am a respectable lady, after all.

PAPI:

(Disbelieving) You a lady! You like it in the ass!

MAMI:

You want another one?

PAPI:

No. No. I was just joking around.

MAMI:

You’re always joking around.

PAPI:

What else is there to do?

(A car is heard passing by.)

 

MAMI:

I’m sorry, Papi.

PAPI:

I’m sorry too.

(The streetlamp flickers.)

 

PAPI:

They should really fix that. A city like this and they can’t even fix their streetlamps. What do they do with all the taxes?

MAMI:

You don’t pay taxes.

PAPI:

Well, I am a concerned citizen. (Shouts out to basically no one) Listen here Mayor so-and-so, you better get your act together if you want to stay in office!

MAMI:

You better shut up.

PAPI:

I told you. That’s the beauty of poverty: Invisibility.

MAMI:

You and your crazy ideas. One day, they will be the death of us.

PAPI:

We’re in the biggest city in the world. Look at all the sight. Smell all the sniffs. It’s all free. And the best part of all this. Invisibility.

MAMI:

Yes, the biggest city in the world and we don’t even have money for a single meal.

PAPI:

You don’t have to pay. Everything here is for the taking.

MAMI:

Ah. We talked about stealing, Papi!

PAPI:

Who said anything about theft? We might be poor of money but we are rich in moral fortitude!

MAMI:

You’re talking about the trash.

PAPI:

Exactly. The biggest eat all you can buffet the world has ever seen!

MAMI:

Eat all you can is right. Eat all you can and then vomit.

PAPI:

Come on, Mami, beggars can be choosers too! Let’s just pick what’s fresh.

MAMI:

Freshly thrown away, you mean.

PAPI:

What are you in for? Japanese? French? Italian? All the five star restaurants are open to us. I’ll get you something.

MAMI:

No. No. I think I’m past hungry. I just want to sleep.

PAPI:

Come on. Have some appetite for life, woman.

MAMI:

Yes, I’m hungry. Starving actually. I can’t eat because I’m worried.

PAPI:

Don’t you worry. He’s had three dinners already. I’m sure of it. The little piggy’s had his fill.

MAMI:

Let’s just sleep. So we can forget at least for tonight. (Lies down)

PAPI:

You’re such a negative person.

MAMI:

There’s nothing to be positive about.

PAPI:

You’re not just looking at the right direction. (Lies down beside MAMI) Look up. What do you see?

MAMI:

Buildings.

PAPI:

Beyond those.

MAMI:

Smog.

PAPI:

Beyond that.

MAMI:

The sky.

PAPI:

(Agitated) What about it?

MAMI:

It’s dark, and cold, and lonely… like my life.

PAPI:

No, Mami, out there are stars.

MAMI:

So what?

PAPI:

Well… Here in the city everyone else is busy with their lives, no one is looking up. No one sees those beautiful stars and like us they become invisible but they’re not alone. And because they’re not alone, neither are we.

MAMI:

Hmmm…

PAPI:

You know, why I like those stars so much.

MAMI:

Why?

PAPI:

Because when I look at them, I feel that hoping isn’t stupid.

MAMI:

But he’s probably dead.

PAPI:

Or maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s looking at those same stars.

MAMI:

I miss him.

PAPI:

You barely knew him.

MAMI:

Yeah, I can’t explain it either.

PAPI:

I’m trying my best, Mami. That’s all I can do now. We better hope, better try, cause if we don’t, we’re as good as dead.

MAMI:

I know you’re trying. Trying too hard to be happy and hopeful for the both of us.

PAPI:

Look at me smile. I’m so happy I can spend the night with my family. (He starts crying)

 

MAMI:

Papi, don’t cry. If you cry, I’ll cry too.

PAPI:

We’re just mongrels in the big city. We don’t have a home. We have nothing to eat.

MAMI:

At least we’re together. I am… very happy we’re together.

PAPI:

Are you sure?

MAMI:

Life may be hard for us but you never left me. I know sometimes I’m just a burden to you.

PAPI:

You know when else you’re beautiful?

MAMI:

When?

PAPI:

When you look at me like that.

MAMI:

Like what?

PAPI:

You always take care of me, Mami.

MAMI:

You’re right we’re the luckiest people in the world. Because the stars have us, and we have the stars.

PAPI:

(Cheering up) Yes, we are very lucky, aren’t we?

MAMI:

(Stands) So stop crying. We are in the biggest most wonderful city in the world. And, I, for one, am absolutely famished.

PAPI:

(Stands with renewed vigor) All you had to do was just ask.

MAMI:

Feed me, universe!

PAPI:

Close your eyes.

MAMI:

Why?

PAPI:

DO you want to eat or not?

MAMI:

Eyes closed, sir (Closes her eyes with enthusiasm)

PAPI:

One. (Looks off-stage for the café back door)

MAMI:

(Excited) Two. Three!

(A waiter shouts from off-stage: Incoming! A trash bag is thrown to his arms.)

PAPI:

The universe provides.

 

MAMI:

(MAMI opens her eyes) What? Why? How?

PAPI:

Shhh… Questions ruin the magic.

MAMI:

Then go on. What are we having for dinner?

PAPI:

Well let’s see… (Opens the bag puts his hand in and reveals) A half eaten sandwich. (The sandwich is already on a paper plate)

MAMI:

What else?

PAPI:

Pasta. Oodles and oodles of noodles!

MAMI:

Oooh!

PAPI:

(His hand in the bag again) And finally, what do we have here? Is it? Oh I think it is… (Reveals) A meatball!

MAMI:

So romantic!

PAPI:

Bon appetit! (Hands the plate to MAMI)

 

MAMI:

(Drops the plate) A cockroach![1] (Hides her eyes with her hands)

PAPI:

(Runs away from the bag) Where? Where?

MAMI:

Kill it! Kill it!

PAPI:

But I’m afraid!

MAMI:

Kill it!

(PAPI takes off his boot and tries to hit the cockroach. The entire time, his eyes remained closed.)

 

PAPI:

Did I get it?

MAMI:

I have no idea!

 

PAPI:

Are your eyes closed?

MAMI:

Are yours?

PAPI:

How the hell would we know if it’s dead?

MAMI:

(Peeks through her eyes) It’s flying!

(MAMI and PAPI run around like a couple of idiots until the cockroach lands on the trash bag.)

 

MAMI:

Throw the trash bag!

PAPI:

Throw it where?

MAMI:

Anywhere!

(PAPI throws the trash bag to the audience area, hopefully hitting no one. They fall silent looking at the trash bag. The trash man comes to take away the bag. They watch silently as their dinner is taken from them.)

 

PAPI:

Hey wait.

(The trash man stops.)

 

(PAPI picks up the plate that MAMI dropped and walks towards the trash man. He puts it inside the bag.)

 

MAMI:

An entire feast gone. Just like that.

PAPI:

Sandwiches, chips, meatballs…

MAMI:

When do you think our next meal will come?

PAPI:

I can walk to the dump and pick something out for us.

MAMI:

No… I’ve lost my appetite.

PAPI:

Me too. I guess we can wait for lunch tomorrow. People are generally more generous during lunch.

(The café lights close.)

 

MAMI:

They’re closing now.

PAPI:

Everyone’s full and happy.

MAMI:

They’re going home to their perfect children.

PAPI:

Who go to prestigious schools.

MAMI:

And will eventually eat in this café, spending their well-earned money, trying to ignore the next bum who’s going to claim this spot.

PAPI:

I wonder why the manager doesn’t send us off.

 

MAMI:

You’ve already said it. They don’t see us.

PAPI:

Or maybe it’s just too much of a bother to deal with people like us.

MAMI:

Or maybe because they like seeing us. A startling reminder of them and us, that line that no one will ever cross. I’m hungry.

PAPI

Me too.

(Silence.)

 

MAMI:

What do you think it will be like?

PAPI:

Like to what?

MAMI:

You know, be one of them. Have a house. Have a yard. A room for a baby.

PAPI:

You know what, I think it’d be boring. Plain boring.

MAMI:

To not have to lie to your stomach that you’re full. Or your head that you’re not going crazy. Or your heart that you’re happy.

PAPI:

We are happy aren’t we? You said it earlier.

MAMI:

That’s what we tell ourselves. It maybe the truth but considering everything, Papi, not that I’m blaming you, I think we’re not. I think our happiness is a lie we tell ourselves. I think hope is stupid. You go looking for him, but I really don’t believe that you will ever find him.

PAPI:

(Stopping his anger) Please stop it. That’s your stomach talking.

MAMI:

Oh. What do you think it is not to have to lie to yourself every conscious second?

PAPI:

I don’t know! This is the way of the world. They won’t help us. We can’t help ourselves. My father died poor. I will die poor. He… He will die poor.

MAMI:

That’s the wrong way to phrase it. He’s already dead.

 

PAPI:

Are you sure?

MAMI:

Mother’s intuition.

PAPI:

(Balling his fist) This is the good life. We’re free from all responsibility. Even our kid is dead. Isn’t this just grand.

MAMI:

Don’t you just wish he isn’t? Look at your beautiful stars and wish he’s still alive.

PAPI:

(Has reached boiling point) Shut up! Just shut up!

 

MAMI:

What did you say?

PAPI:

I told you to shut it! All this isn’t my fault. It’s also yours. We had nothing to give him, and now he’s probably rotting somewhere. We failed him. We’ve failed ourselves. So just shut the fuck up.

MAMI:

(Challenges) Or what?

PAPI:

Or I’ll kill you! (Beats MAMI up, the street lamp flickers violently) I’m sorry I was born like this. I’m sorry for everything. No I don’t think they’re better than me. They’re just lucky sons of bitches. Everything was offered to them and everything was taken away from me and what did I do? Nothing. I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything to save him from all this!

(MAMI hides in a corner.)

 

I’m sorry that was all I could do. You were hungry, cold, and lonely. That’s all I could do. Beat you up so you’d forget the pain.

MAMI:

You wanted to pretend you were strong. Strong enough for all of us. But really you’re weak, as weak and miserable as I am. It was a good lie but there’s just the time you have to face the facts. We’re already down, and we’re still going down. All we can do is look up.

(PAPI cries. MAMI walks away, fixes herself up, and wipes away the tears.)

 

MAMI:

I’m sorry.

PAPI:

For what? For telling the truth?

MAMI:

No. I’m sorry for losing hope. You have your flaws but you are a beautiful person.

PAPI:

I don’t deserve you.

(Silence.)

 

MAMI:

Let’s go looking for him together tomorrow.

PAPI:

If we find him. So what?

MAMI:

Then we’ll be together.

PAPI:

And then what?

MAMI:

You’ll figure something out. You always do. Anyway, enough drama, let’s go to sleep. (Lies down)

PAPI:

Why?

MAMI:

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

PAPI:

What’s happening tomorrow?

MAMI:

Tomorrow we’ll eat lunch, and when it gets dark I’ll get tired and then I will return to this spot. Then you’ll return. And then, we’ll play games. And then, you’ll beat me up. And then we’re going to sleep.

PAPI:

Or maybe we’re going to find him. And then let’s go far far away.

MAMI:

But we’re in the best city in the world. Look at all those lights.

PAPI:

Those lights are nothing compared to stars. Somewhere there will be a field for us, and there, there would be no buildings to block the sky.

MAMI:

You know what, Papi?

PAPI:

What?

MAMI:

I’m happy you’re my Papi.

PAPI:

(Kisses her on the cheek) I love you too.

(The light from the street lamp flickers out.)

 

 

END| MARCH 2014

 

 

 


[1] The cockroach need not be real. Actually, preferably so.

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