ACT ONE, SCENE TWO
Time: The 1980s
Place: Jungle clearing in South American Country
(Estrallita is at back of stage left, squatting at the side of a creek, taking clothes from a basket and beating them against a rock, then rinsing them in the creek and hanging them on a clothesline. The clothesline is strung from a tree at left and runs offstage left to a tree not visible to the audience. The clothes are all mens', khaki and jungle green-and-brown military shirts, olive drab T-shirts, khaki pants, boxer shorts, and fatigue hats, which she fastens with clothes pins. Her face is expressionless.
(Manuel is guarding outside the General Villaneuva's tent, his rifle butt on the ground, letting it lean on him while he lights a cigarette. Arnie enters from stage right, gives the General Villaneuva's tent a curious glance, and approaches Manuel.)
Makes you horny, doesn't she? (Manuel does not respond). She's quite a piece of work. (Manuel picks up his rifle and starts to pace about the tent flap, cigarette dangling from his mouth.) Let's see what you're smoking here.
Arnie takes the cigarette from his mouth and puffs it, then throws it on ground and grinds it under his boot.)
Here, have a Phillip Morris, Americano. (He gives it to Manuel and lights it.) Better flavor, right?
Here, take the pack of 'em. Go on, there's more where they came from.
Go on, you know you like 'em. (Manuel looks around guiltily and puts them in his shirt pocket.) Say, did you ever think about coming to America?
I saw New York on television. Very tall buildings.
I could probably arrange for you to visit some day, you being so close to the General and all that. You fly for free as my guest.
(Takes pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and hands them back to Arnie.)
I cannot accept.
Oh, go on, they're only cigarettes. (He stuffs the pack back in Manuel's pocket.) So, standing around out here all day, what do you think about? (Manuel doesn't reply.) A young bull like you, you must have some dreams for the future. (Manuel does not reply.)
I know what you dream about and I'm gonna tell you.
(Estrallita pauses in her work, she takes a while to hang each shirt so she can listen to what Arnie is telling Manuel.)
If you were to look in a gypsy fortune teller's magic ball, I bet you'd see a house by the ocean with a woman in it - someone maybe like her, full-bodied and beautiful, a house with electric lights and running water and an indoor johnny and screens on the windows, so no mosquitoes, no dengue fever. Maybe a back yard with grass and a couple of boys to kick a soccer ball around with you.
I saw Pele play once on television.
(General Villaneuva emerges from tent unseen by Arnie and Manuel and listens. Estrallita sees him and resumes her work.)
Your own television. Sit on a big sofa with your feet up on a hassock and when you want a beer you call to your woman, "Conchita, bring me a cold one, and some corn chips and salsa!"
(Manuel smiles and Arnie slaps him on the back.)
Of course, you want it. Scratch a revolutionary and underneath you find a guy hungry for middle class creature comforts. Hey, I'll bet we're gonna become great friends, you and I. (He shakes Manuel's hand as General Villaneuva steps forward.)
Manuel, you are on guard. Act like it.
Just a little friendly conversation.
My guard has no friends, only me, and that's how it's going to remain.
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Performed August 23, 2002, with Clinton Johnson as Manuel; Sherwood Ross as Arnie; and Trent Westbrook at General Villaneuva.