THE INFINITE LINE BETWEEN, ME, LOLO AND LOCO Conrad A. Panganiban RIZAL: 20s. Male. Filipino-American. Hip-hop head and skater. Grandson ni Lolo. LOLO: Mid 60s . Male. Filipino. Appears to be going into Dementia. Rizal's grandfather. LOLA: 50s-60s. Female. Filipino. Lolo's wife and Rizal's grandmother. A special lights up RIZAL, while his LOLO (grandfather in Filipino), is still in the dark sitting at a small table. On the table sits a coffee cup and a cereal bowl with a spoon. RIZAL Word! My Lolo... that's grandfather for you non-Filipino types out there, is going a little crazy. Actually, more like cray to the tenth! But I still got mad love for the man. Cuz, it's just me and him so I gotsta take care of him the best I can, know what I'm sayin'? Even if that means I have to jump into his level of cray a couple of times. (Lights up on the rest of the stage to reveal LOLO at the kitchen table.) LOLO I once climbed on top a bull, grabbed his horns, and raced through the streets of Pamplona with me on top waving to everyone around! RIZAL (To Audience) See what I mean? (To LOLO) Sounds so exciting! Grape or strawberry this morning, Lolo? LOLO Rizal, I'm telling you that the bull was white and very big. Immense in size! He didn't smell as bad as I thought he would. I felt his solidness between my legs. RIZAL Wow. Um... so let's try grape, then. LOLO I think Strawberry Jam today. RIZAL You got it. You want some more Sanka? LOLO CafÇ Americano. (RIZAL walks over and takes Lolo's cup to refill it.) RIZAL You got it. One cream, five sugars. (RIZAL pours some coffee into his Lolo's cup. Grabbing the cup and the toast lay out on a paper towel, he returns to the table placing the items in front of him. As RIZAL sits in front of his bowl of cereal, LOLO takes up one of the slices of toasted bread, rolls it width-wise, and dunks it into the cup before placing it into his mouth.) So what be the plan today, Lolz? LOLO I once caught a thousand pound Marlin off the Coast of Cuba. RIZAL Okay. Fishing it is. There should be more squid in the freezer. LOLO Houndfish. The squid won't be enough to attract the Marlins. RIZAL What are houndfish, Lolo? LOLO It's a fish about this long... RIZAL That's pretty long. LOLO Oh, yes. And it has lips that are... this long. RIZAL You're kidding, right Lolo? LOLO No, it's lips are really that long. And they have razor sharp teeth, so you have to be careful when you hook it. RIZAL Then I think we'll just stick with the squid. Like how you taught me. I hope that the pier isn't as crowded as yesterday. LOLO Then let's try going to Kalk Bay. RIZAL Isn't that near Santa Cruz? LOLO Near Cape Town. RIZAL South Africa? (LOLO stands up and starts waving his hands in the air.) LOLO Come into shore now! It's not safe. RIZAL It is safe, Lolo. LOLO No it's not! I know. I know those clouds. Look! 30 minutes ago they circled starboard side at 20 knots. There's a storm coming. Nay. A Typhoon. RIZAL Then we should go inside now, Lolo. Come on... LOLO Not with them still out there. Help me! Rizal, help me! Call for them. You have a bigger voice! (RIZAL puts down his spoon and stands next to Lolo.) Stroke harder! The storm is coming! THE STORM! RIZAL (To audience.) Well, here we go. (RIZAL gives a look to LOLO, with hands waving in the air, looking forward, and shouting over the howling storm winds.) RIZAL Hey. Hey!!! The storm! It's behind you! Hey! LOLO Tang ina! [M*thr F*ker!] Hurry up! RIZAL Here they come Lolo! Look over there! They made it! They're safe! Everyone from the village is coming out to help them. LOLO Do you see anyone else out there? RIZAL I can't see! We have to go back now! LOLO Not until all the boats are back! I cannot leave until they are here! RIZAL The storm is getting worse! LOLO Not until they are all back! RIZAL There! There! Over the break! That looks like The Cebu Darling! LOLO Number One or Two? RIZAL It looks like the Number Two! That's the last one! LOLO I can't see out there, did they make it?! RIZAL Yes! YES! They made it. They're tying up now and walking back up the shore. Let's go meet them! (RIZAL takes LOLO in his arms and walks him back into his chair. RIZAL rubs LOLO's arms with his hands and gives him his cup of coffee with LOLO takes between his hands and shivers a little between sips.) (RIZAL takes in what just happened with a sigh and sits back down at his cereal bowl.) LOLO I should have never left. RIZAL Left where, Lolo? LOLO Kalk Bay. RIZAL There was a storm. Remember? We were just on the shore. Waving The Cebu Darling in. LOLO That was my home. RIZAL Well, this is your home now. LOLO You don't understand, Rizal. RIZAL Lolo, your coffee is getting cold. LOLO No! You are the one who is cold! Your Lola is back there. In Kalk Bay! RIZAL No, she's not, Lolo. She's here. LOLO I left her there. I have to go back. RIZAL No, Lolo. Believe me. She's here, yo! LOLO Then where is she? Leonora! Leonora! Where are you? Come here! RIZAL She can't come here, Lolo. LOLO You just said that she's here! You stupid son-of-a-bitch! How can you lie to me like that about her? Oh, my darling from Cebu. Rizal, my apo [grandchild], I can feel her here! I can even smell her! I know the lotion that she uses! So, don't tell me that she's not here! Can't you smell it?! It's in the air... it's in my clothes! Her scent is everywhere! RIZAL Lolo! She's in Colma! All right!? Okay! She's buried there, because she's dead. Last year, she had a stroke and fell down the backyard steps. I was there. Remember?! So give up that she's in Kalk Bay. Because, she's here in the United States. In California. In Colma! Dead. (Still angry, RIZAL gets up, grabs his bowl and puts in the sink. Then he approaches his grandfather.) RIZAL Are you done? (LOLO doesn't say anything. His gazed is affixed forward. Taking that as a, "Yes," RIZAL takes his cup and the paper towel with another piece of toast on it and goes back to the counter.) LOLO Can we visit her? I'd like to visit her. We can take some of her Roses from the backyard. The white ones. She will like to see her favorites again. Pause. RIZAL Sure, Lolo. (Enter LOLA dressed in white with her long hair down staring at Rizal. RIZAL sees her and is frozen in his tracks. LOLA pulls the hair from in front of her face to behind her ears.) LOLA Rizal. RIZAL Lola? LOLA The truth. (RIZAL is starting to freak the eff out!) LOLA THE TRUTH! RIZAL I can't. LOLA Tell him. RIZAL Look at him. He won't be able to handle it. LOLA You have to. RIZAL Have to what?! LOLA You know. RIZAL I don't know what you're talking about. LOLA It is because of you that I am here. You are the one who did this to me. You! RIZAL I... I... I didn't mean it. LOLA How many times did I tell you, huh? How many times?! RIZAL How was I supposed to know? LOLA Supposed to know what? RIZAL That you were going to go back there. LOLA Who else is going to take care of my roses? You? RIZAL That's not what I meant! LOLA So you didn't mean to leave your skateboard on the back porch? RIZAL It was for only a second! LOLA That one second has led me to an eternity here waiting for you to tell him. RIZAL Tell him what? It was an accident? (As LOLA recounts what happened during her demise, RIZAL's actions are synchronized with her recount.) LOLA An accident? Are you talking about the accident of you lying about me having a stroke or the accident of you leaving your skateboard outside which made me fall down the steps? I saw you, you know. I saw you run down the hall and step into the white light leading out into the back when you heard the noise of my falling body. You just looked at me and didn't even utter a sound. Instead, you picked up your skateboard and threw it over the neighbor's fence. And then, you called out... RIZAL Lolo. Lolo! LOLO!!! It's Lola! She fell down the steps! She's not moving! She's not...! LOLA And. You. Just. Watched. You didn't even know if I was still alive while you just stood there. At the top of the steps watching, as I lay there... dying. RIZAL You didn't even... (LOLA moves behind RIZAL.) LOLA Move? Oh I did. Because as my body lay there, I was right behind you. (LOLA blows air into Rizal's ear. RIZAL reacts.) That breeze was my spirit and I made sure you felt that. RIZAL Go away. LOLA I can't. RIZAL What do you mean you can't? LOLA I can't, because you have imprisoned me in here. RIZAL In where? (With LOLA still behind him, she leans into his ear.) LOLA In Your Head. RIZAL No!!! Go away! Go AWAY!!! (LOLA begins to laugh maniacally while RIZAL covers his ears!) LEAVE ME ALONE!!! (Still in a devilish laugh, LOLA exits. LOLO gets up, grabs RIZAL by the arms and sits him down in a chair. RIZAL rocks himself with his hands still covering his ears.) Make her stop! Make her stop... (LOLO goes over to a cabinet, finds a pill bottle, pops the lid, spills a couple of pills into his palm, walks them over to a rocking Rizal and places them into RIZAL'S open mouth) LOLO Open. Rizal open. Good. Now swallow. Good boy. Your Lolo's here. (LOLO goes over to the phone, picks it up and dials. RIZAL begins to slow down his rocking motion.) LOLO Hello. Dr. Gaulet please. Thank you. (pause) Dr. Gaulet. This is Ciriaco Sering. It's happening again. Yes. I put the medication in his cereal, but it's only getting worse. One minute he's yelling into a storm and the next he's yelling at someone in his head. I don't know what to do anymore. His grandmother knew what to do, but now it's only me here, and... and I don't know... I think that it's time. I can't take care of him anymore. (Yes.) Okay. Okay. We'll be here. See you soon. (LOLO hangs up the phone as he watches over his grandson. As the lights begin to fade out, LOLA's laugh can be heard off-stage.) END OF PLAY

Article by Conrad

Conrad's a San Francisco Bay Area Playwright. He loves long walks upon the concrete and rainy days. Aside from writing words for actors to regurgitate into an audience's ears and eyes, he loves sports, 90's R&B, and learning.

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