The Bull Before the Game

The Bull Before the Game – 1987

Every Saturday morning the boys get together to play soccer in a park in New York City. The players begin arriving, some fortified by coffee to help with their crippling hangovers, and the great events of the world as well as the little events are discussed until enough players show up for the game to begin. The players come from various countries and social strata and educational experiences. As the various sized events are discussed, the players express the perspectives from their various economic, social and educational backgrounds. The bonds between them can have multiple links as the players connect sometimes as men in physical contest, sometimes on intellectual planes, and sometimes in humor. Girlfriends come and go, the players themselves come and go, but the game always goes on. It’s Saturday and it’s time to play soccer!



John E. Leahy


Abdul              Moroccan

Armando       Chilean

Francesco     Italian

Jean                Senegalese

Julio                Guatemalan

Nikos              Greek

Pedro              Brazilian

Rainer             German

Richie             American

Sergio             Peruvian

Tom                 American

Stage note- Throughout the play, all members are constantly stretching out or kicking a ball when not involved in dialogue.

Scene I

A park in New York City during the 1980’s. Goal posts and a soccer field. Nikos is stretching out. Enter Jean carrying gym bag. Jean looks around and asks timidly-

Je-  Excuse me sir. Is this where they play soccer?

Ni-  Yes. (Continues stretching and Jean looks around.)

Je-  What time do they come?

Ni-  They’ll be here soon. (Pause) Do you have a ball?

Je-  No.

Ni-  Somebody should be here with a ball soon.

(Both stretch out.)

Je-  Where are you from?

Ni- Greece.

Je-  Ah. A very nice place.

Ni-  It’s all right. I like it better here in New York. You can make more money. (He rubs his thumb against his first two finger tips.)

Je- Oh, I see. What is your profession?

Ni-  I’m a painter.

Je-  Oh, I see.

Ni-  Where are you from, Haiti?

Je-  No, Senegal. In Africa.

Ni-  Oh. (Nods his head as if uninterested. Pause) Who told you about this game?

Je-  Francesco.

Ni-  Oh yeah. The commie.

Je-  Yes. He is a Marxist economist. We have many interesting conversations.

Ni-  Yeah? I think he’s full of shit.

(Enter Abdul, Pedro and Julio.)

Ju-  Hey Malaka! (Shakes Nikos’ hand.)

Ab-  (To Nikos with one hand around his head.) Hello my friend.

Ni-  Hello you crazy bastard.

(Abdul winks and proceeds to Jean and shakes hands.)

Ab-  Hello my new friend.

Je-  Hello. It is very nice to meet you. My name is Jean.

Ab-  Abdul. Do you want to smoke some hash?

Je-  (Startled) No thank you. I do not use drugs!

Ab-  But this hash is wonderful. (Big smile, voice almost squeaking with emphasis.) You must try it.

Ni-  Leave the guy alone you degenerate Ay-rab. How can you guys get high at 11:00 in the morning?

Ju-  Hey man! It’s the only way to play.

Ni-  That’s why you guys can’t afford a ball. You never work ’cause you’re always high.

P-   No, you Greek redneck. We get high because we always work.

Ni-  I hope you work faster than you run.

P-   When you have skill like the great Pedro, you don’t need speed.

Ni-  Oh gimme a break.

Ju-  Pedro thinks he plays like Zico.

P-   I teach Zico everything. (To Jean.) You know Zico. The best player in the world! From my country, Brazil.

Je-  Yes, I have seen him on television. He is very good.

Ab-  (Has been preparing his pipe and now offers it to Pedro.) Here Pedro. Now you will have some talent.

(Pedro, Abdul and Julio smoke hash pipe and cough occasionally. Enter Rich and Sergio.)

Ni-  Hey Rich, where’s your ball?

Ri-  I left it in my car and my girlfriend took it to go play golf.

Se-  Hey I smell something good! (Joins hash crowd.)

Ju-  Golf! Your girl friend plays golf?

P-   Of course. Everybody’s girl friend plays golf. The first thing I look for in woman. She must look good in plaid Bermuda shorts! Right Abdul?

Ab-  Even my boy friends must look good in plaid Bermuda shorts.

Ri-  Christ! You guys get so fucked up every day you can’t tell the difference between men and women.

Ab-  Who cares as long as they’re wearing plaid Bermuda shorts!

P-   Nikos would look good in plaid Bermuda shorts.

Ni-  You’re too late Pedro. I’m already married.

P-   (Puts arms around Nikos’ neck and his head on his shoulder.) Nikos, you never told me.

Ni-  (Shaking him off and laughing) Get out of here!

Ri-  Where is everybody? What time is it Ay-rab?

Ab-  (Looks at watch) Hey, my watch is broken!

Ni-  Now you’ll have to steal another one.

Ab-  I wear this watch all the time. Even when I fuck.

Ni-  Why do you need a watch when you fuck? Do you time yourself? So you know when your 60 seconds are up?

Ab-  60 seconds or 16 thrusts, whichever comes first.

Ju-  Richie only needs one thrust. Just like Rambo Reagan. Gringos are so big, so strong. (Richie is standing with legs firmly planted, hands on hips, looking down at them. Julio, while speaking, grabs one elbow and pats Richie’s belly with other hand. Richie maintains poker face.)

Ab-  You can’t waste time when you want to control the world.

Ri-  You fucking Third Worlders would be lost without Americans around to run things.

P-   Filho de puta! Only Americans say that. Man you guys are blind!

Ni-  Richie’s right. If it wasn’t for the Americans, the commies would take over everywhere.

Je-  (Has been taking an interest and suggests tentatively) In point of fact, that perhaps would not be the worst case scenario for the less developed countries. (Everybody stares at Jean. Nikos hits his forehead with his palm and turns away, shaking his head scornfully.)

Ni-  Shit!

Ri-  Who the hell is this?

P-   (Laughs, throws one arm around Jean’s shoulders.) You hear that? We would all be better off without you. (Pointing at Richie.)

Ri-  (To Jean) Where the hell did you come from?

Je-  I am from Senegal. My name is Jean.

Ni-  He’s from Africa for Christ’s sake!

Ri-  (To Jean) I hope you were joking.

Je-  I do not say I am a Marxist. But for these underdeveloped countries it may not be the worst situation.

(Enter Francesco.)

Ni-  Here comes the other commie. (Francesco smiling, shakes Nikos’ hand.)

Fr-  Hello Malaka. (Sees Jean) Hello Jean. How are you?

Je-  (Shaking hands) Very well thank you. And you?

Fr-  I am fine. (Shaking hands all around)

P-   Come estai Italia?

Fr-  Va bene. Look at this! Eleven o’clock in the morning and smoking hashish! Have you no shame?

Ab-  We assure you Italia, we feel nothing but shame.

Ri-  Francesco, are you responsible for inviting this other commie? (Pointing at Jean)

Fr-  Yes everybody. This is Jean. He is very nice and a very good player. But he is not a Marxist. I’m the Marxist. (Everybody laughs) Hey Rich, where’s your ball?

Ri-  You see that? When you need something, where does everybody turn? To an American!

Ju-  You gringos have everything because you steal everything from our countries.

Se-  Hey, this is a good country! If you don’t like it, go back home to Guatemala.

Ju-  Huevon! I can’t go back to my country. They’ll kill me! The soldiers paid by the fucking gringos.

Se-  I wish we had more gringo money in my country, Peru. Those crazy indios, Sendero Luminoso, how you call it in English, The Shining Path, those motherfuckers man, they’re blowing up everything down there. If we had Rambo…(pretends he is shooting machine gun) bababababababa!

Je-  Excuse me my friend, but guns are not the solution.

Se-  Yes it is. We will kill them.

Je-  But then you will be left with the same conditions of poverty and misery that created guerrillas in the first place. If the United States sent the equivalent value of aid in the form of agricultural or industrial technology instead of military equipment, the developing countries would be able to make more progress.

Fr-  That’s it exactly!

Ni-  Horseshit! You’d end up in some commie concentration camp.

P-   Que gatinha gostosa! Olha a menina! Look at that girl! (Points left, offstage. Everybody turns and stares at a girl who is walking by.)

Ri-  Nice legs!

Fr-  Madonna! Che bella!

P-   Hey American girl. Do you want to play soccer?

Ab-  Do you want to smoke some hash?

Ni-  For Christ’s sake! Why don’t you guys knock it off and behave yourselves.

Ju-  Relax man! We’re just being friendly.

Ni-  You probably scared her to death, you dumb spic. Especially after she saw your ugly face.

Ju-  Fuck you Malaka! (Chases Nikos, who is laughing. Grabs him from behind and lifts him off the ground. They wrestle a moment and laugh.)

Je-  What is this “Malaka” that I hear?

Fr-  It means masturbator in Greek. (Jean looks shocked.)

Ab-  Jerk off, wanky wank. (Gestures with hand) What we do at night when we think of Big Richie in his tight shorts.

Ri-  That’s right. You Ay-rabs and spics worship me.

(Enter Tom carrying ball.)

All- (simultaneously) Hey! All right! A ball! About time! Una pelota! Now we can play!

Ri-  Tom, where the hell have you been? Even the spics got here before you did!

T-   Hi guys. Here’s a present for you. (Tosses ball to someone)

Ju-  (Rubs his hand on Tom’s bald head.) Now you’ve got two balls, huh baldy!

Ni-  Yeah, just like a real man.

T-   (Shaking Julio’s hand off his head.) Hey come on. I’ve got a wicked hangover.

P-   You got drunk last night gringo?

T-   Oh man, I was out with Rainer till 6 o’clock this morning. I don’t think he’s going to show up today. He got trashed. Julio’s cousin won’t speak to him.

Ju-  That crazy maricon! She wants to get married.

T-   I think Rainer’s got it bad. The man’s in love.

Ab-  Gentlemen. A moment of silence for our lost comrade.

Ri-  (Yelling) Come on! What is this shit? Are we going to play or is this a fucking tea party?

Ni-  Yeah, let’s go!

Fr-  Poor Rainer. Nobody has sympathy when it’s time to play soccer.

Ri-  All right Francesco. You and Pedro choose up teams.

Se-  How many we are? Uno, dos, tres…nine. Falta uno. We need one more.

Ab-  No, we can play 4 against 5 until more people come.

P-   Why don’t we smoke another bowl of hash?

Ju-  Yeah, give some to Tommy. We have to fix this gringo.

T-   (Groans) No, I don’t even want to think about it.

Fr-  OK, listen. I’ll take Jean, Nikos and Tom.

Ri-  What! You’re sticking me with all the lunatics!

Ni-  I don’t want to play with these commies.

T-   Nobody wants to play with you Malaka. You never pass the ball.

Ni-  If I give you the ball you lose it. Besides I don’t dribble as much as Pedro.

P-   I dribble because that’s what the people want to see. The people want to be entertained. They all come to see the Great Pedro do his tricks.

Ri-  All right. We’ll take the Greek redneck and you take Abdul.

Fr-  No please. Look, we’re already down one man.

Ab-  (Puts arm around Francesco’s shoulders) Francesco, don’t you love me any more. (Francesco laughs)

Fr-  But Abdul, last week you left the defense to smoke some marijuana.

Se-  Yeah and you didn’t give me any!

Ab-  I’m sorry, but it was just a tiny little roach.

Ju-  I don’t want to play with Rambo.

Ri-  Come on Julio! What’s the matter with you guys?

Ju-  I want to play against Rambo. We’re going to beat the gringo.

Ri-  No Julio, you’ve got to play over here.

Ni-  Yeah, shut up you crazy spic. You, me and Richie’ll take on all those slobs.

Fr-  OK, this is it. Here comes Armando. (Points offstage) Jean, Tom, Armando, Abdul and myself go down there (Points left) and the rest of you go there. (Points right)

Ni-  OK, let’s go. (Exits right with Pedro and Julio. Francesco, Jean and Abdul exit left.)

T-   Hey Sergio, did you see Roma against Liverpool on TV last week?

Se-  Yes I did. It was beautiful.

Ri-  Come on Sergio, you asshole. (He drags Sergio off right. Tom exits left.)


Jean is on stage stretching out and running in place. He glances at his watch several times and goes to corner of stage and looks out to see if anyone is coming. Enter Julio smoking the end of a joint. He is carrying soccer shoes.

Ju-  Hello Africa.

Je-  Hello Julio. (Julio sits down and changes shoes.) Doesn’t the game start at 11:00?

Ju-  Yeah, but everybody comes late. Everybody has hangover.

Je-  (Shocked) Oh, I see. (Pause) I have been waiting for 15 minutes.

(Enter Nikos. Enter Armando and Sergio speaking amongst themselves in Spanish.)

Se-  Puta madre! No me digas!

Ar-  Si señor. Bien jodido.

Ni-  Stop talking that damned gibberish.

Se-  Hey fuck you Malaka!

Ar-  Yeah shut up you redneck.

Ni-  (To Armando) You crazy spic, look what you did to me last week. (Shows lump on shin.)

Ju-  Hey, it’s beautiful! Such nice colors!

Ar-  That’s because you dribble too much.

Ni-  Ah! (To Armando) We ought to send you back to Chile so Pinochet can cut your balls off.

Ar-  Hey you think that’s funny, but three of my classmates died in Pinochet’s jails.

Ni-  No. Really? Three of your friends?

Ju-  Yeah man! What do you think? That guys a motherfucker.

Se-  I’m sorry Armando. But sometimes you have to be tough. The communists are always trying to take over.

Ar-  Bullshit man! We just want freedom. We want the fascists and the military out.

Je-  May I ask a question? (Everybody looks at Jean.) Why do you fear communism so much? It is merely an economic system which attempts to provide for everybody.

Ni-  Oh come on! You’ve got to be kidding. You ever hear of Siberia? What do you think that is? Vacationland?

(Enter Abdul and Rainer, who is dressed very punk with punk sun glasses. They are passing a hash pipe.)

Ab-  (With a big smile) Good morning my friends.

Ni-  Hi Ayrab. Where’d you find the Nazi commie?

Ab-  I had to drag him out of bed. His roommate said he came in at 5 in the morning, stinking drunk and speaking in Spanish. Then he smashed all the plates in the kitchen. (Rainer does not acknowledge anyone. He maintains poker face with sunglasses while putting on soccer shoes.)

Ju-  (Wagging finger at Rainer) I told you man. She wants to get married. She’s not American girl.

Ar-  Yeah, Catholic girls. They break your balls.

(Enter Tom. He is very animated.)

T-   Hi guys!

Ju-  Hey gringo.

Se-  Hello Tom.

T-   I went to an amazing concert last night. This group of Indians playing this wonderful music from Bolivia. It was like a mystical experience. You guys from South America must get to hear this indigenous music all the time, huh, Sergio?

Se-  What do I look like, a fucking Indian?

T-   Hey come on. I bet you guys have grown up with some real wild stuff. The music you heard every day on the streets in your countries must have been really exotic. Julio, what was your favorite kind of music in Guatemala?

Ju-  John Lennon man. I always liked John Lennon.

Ar-  I liked Pink Floyd!

Ab-  All this rock is too hard on the ears. I only listen to jazz.

Ni-  Hell! It’s all a lot of bullshit! Music is just a bunch of goddamn sounds. You guys are full of shit!

Ju-  Que pajero!

Ra-  (Without smiling or looking up) Nikos has brought ignorance to a new zenith.

Ni-  (Comes up behind Rainer who is still sitting, putting on his shoes, and puts his hands on his neck as if to strangle him.) Go back to dreamland, Kraut.

Ra-  (Violently shaking him off) Get away from me idiot! (angrily)

Ni-  Ooh. The Kaiser is touchy today.

Ju-  I told you man. That girl wants to get married.

Ar-  Watch out. Rainer’s going to break someone’s leg today.

Ab-  Why should today be different?

(Rainer ignores them)

T-   Come on Sergio. Tell me the truth. Didn’t you hear a lot of Inca music in Peru? It must have been fascinating.

Se-  Hell no. I don’t listen to that crazy shit.

(Enter Pedro)

Ju-  Hey Pedro.

P-   Hey cara.

Ar-  Hey Pedro, did you hear that Brazil lost to Argentina?

P-   Yes, I can’t believe it. They are too old. I called my brother in Rio this morning and he told me his neighbor tried to shoot himself with a gun, but he was crying so much that he missed and hit his grandmother in the ass.

Se-  Oh shit! (everyone is laughing except Rainer who ignores them)

P-   Guess what my friends. The great Pedro is going to get married!

Je-  Congratulations!

Ni-  Come on. What girl would marry you?

Ju-  She must be crazy.

Ab-  I don’t believe it. Pedro, the great ladies man, is in love.

Ar-  Love, bullshit! Pedro wants a green card.

P-   That’s right. I’m going to become an American.

Ju-  Hijo de puta! Another gringo.

Ar-  How much do you have to pay?

P-   One thousand dollars.

Ar-  That’s cheap.

P-   She is nice. She wants to help me.

T-   How much does it usually cost?

Ar-  Usually two thousand.

T-   Wow! How long do you have to be married?

Ar-  Two years.

T-   That’s amazing.

Ar-  A lot of people do that.

Ju-  Yeah. Everybody wants to live in this beautiful country.

Ni-  Yeah because there’s no work in your country. So you come here and bitch about this country all the time.

Ar-  Economic development is difficult when the United States supports military dictators and then gets rich while we are paying back our loans.

Ni-  Horseshit! The only way to develop is to get off your ass and go to work. All you lazy bastards know how to do is take a siesta. And don’t give me this crap about capitalism. The only reason capitalism doesn’t work is because people are lazy and don’t want to work.

Ar-  There is no work because there are no jobs. There are no jobs because all the money is going to American banks.

Ni-  Well who asked you to take out those loans that you can’t pay back?

Ar-  The military buys weapons that we don’t need from American companies and the people are the ones who pay because they get stuck with no jobs.

Je-  In point of fact, much of the foreign aid from the industrialized world has been self-serving more than helpful.

Ni-  Oh come on! What are you talking about? The Americans go out of their way to help you and this is the gratitude you have?

Je-  They give tractors to farmers that can not afford petrol. Fertilizer from American chemical companies which requires irrigation that neither the farmers nor the land can afford. They send us food because the best land is used for cash crops for export to industrialized countries instead of for food crops to feed the people. The colonial powers took the best from our countries and now make us pay back loans while we try to develop with whatever we have left.

Ju-  Tell him Jean!

Ni-  Well you don’t expect them to help you for nothing, do you? Everybody wants a free ride.

(Enter Richie with ball under arm)

Ju-  Hey Rambo, we’re waiting for you.

Ri-  (Swaggering with bluff self importance) OK you guys. I had some business to take care of with my girlfriend, but now the star is here. The game can begin.

Ni-  Just give us the ball. We don’t need you.

Ab-  Yes. Go home and do some more business with your girlfriend.

T-   Guess what, Richie. Pedro’s going to become a legal resident here.

Ri-  What! What are they doing, letting in subhumans now?

P-   And after three years, I’ll become a citizen.

Ri-  No way! There’s got to be a mistake. We don’t want you here. Go back to Brazil. We’ve got to deport this guy quick. We’ve got too many of you damn Third Worlders fucking up the country as it is!

(Sees Rainer ignoring everybody, goes up to him and grabs one cheek with one hand and pats the other cheek with his other hand.)

Hey Rainer kid! How’s the lover boy?

Ra-  (Exploding into a furious rage, pushing Richie away.) Get out of here you fool! You are a typical, stupid, arrogant American! You are always telling the rest of the world what to do. You always think you know what is best for everybody else. You have all these people from other countries living here in your country and you don’t even know anything about them. You manipulate all their countries and you don’t know anything about them. All you know is this myopic vision of the world as seen by Americans.

(Rainer turns away fuming. Richie is standing with mouth open, stunned.)

Ri-  What’d I say?

Ju-  Catholic girls, man.

Ra-  Piss off!

Ju-  Hey Rainer, tranquilo man! We’re your friends here man.

T-   Leave him alone. He can work off his aggression in the game.

Ni-  That’s what I’m afraid of. He’s going to kill somebody. Julio, you’ve got to talk to your cousin.

Ju-  What am I supposed to do? Her mind was fucked up by the nuns.

Ar-  Fucking nuns!

Se-  Hey! Don’t talk like that.

Ar-  Shit Sergio. Don’t you ever think about anything?

(Enter Francesco)

Fr-  Buon giorno.

Ab-  Hello my friend. (Hugs Francesco with a big smile. Francesco winces and shakes Julio’s hand.)

Ju-  Hello Italia.

Fr-  This is what I love. The game hasn’t even started yet and we already have an argument. What a hopeless group.

Ri-  If you really want an argument, go say hello to the Kaiser.

Fr-  (Walking over to Rainer, who is lying down, face up.) Why? What is the matter with you, Rainer?

Ra-  (Without looking up, very firmly.) Go away! (Francesco looks around at everybody with hands held out and shoulders hunched, looking for an explanation.)

Ju and Ar-    (In unison) Catholic girls!

Fr-  (Nods) I understand immediately. (Sees Jean) Hi Jean.

Je-  Hello Francesco. (They shake hands.)

Ni-  Come on. Let’s start the game.

Se-  Let’s wait for some more people.

Ni-  No. Fuck ’em. Let’s get going.

Ab-  Nikos, you and Richie make teams.

Ri-  OK, but I want the Kaiser on my team. He’s going to be dangerous today.

Ni-  No way. I want Rainer on my team. I’m not going against him, the way he is today.

Ri-  Forget it. Rainer’s with me period.

Ni-  Well in that case, I’m on your team too.

Ri-  You can’t be on my team you dumb redneck, you’re the captain of the other team. (Everybody laughs at Nikos.)

Ju-  Eh Huevon! What kind of captain are you?

Ab-  Come on Francesco. Why don’t you pick the other team?

Fr-  Actually, you know I really wasn’t planning to stay. I was on my way to the library. I have a big exam on Monday.

Ri-  Oh bullshit Francesco! What is this crap about exams? Your priorities are all fucked up.

Ni-  Yeah, studying never did anybody any good.

T-   Yeah, you know this is the most important thing in life.

Fr-  (Laughs) You’re right. How silly of me to hesitate even for a moment with this ridiculous idea of studying.

Ri-  Good. Now if you’ve finished wasting our time with your moralizing, will you please pick a team.

Ju-  (To Richie) I’m playing with you today Rambo. I’m not playing against Rainer.

P-   Me too.

Ri-  For Christ’s sake! You can’t all be on the same team.

Ni-  Pedro, you go on the other team. We don’t want you over here.

P-   Just wait till I get my green card. I’m going to become an American before you.

Ni-  I already have my citizenship you fucking asshole.

P-   Well in a couple of years I will too.

Ri-  You guys are going to dilute the gene pool.

Ab-  Can we make some teams please boys?

Ju-  Hey Ay-rab. You got some hashish?

Ab-  (Animated) Yes! Do you want some?

Ju-  Yeah man. (They huddle together, joined by Sergio. During the following dialogue they light and pass pipe back and forth and then down to Rainer, who lifts his head up to smoke pipe and then lies flat again.)

Fr-  Richie, you take Nikos, Rainer, Julio and Sergio and the next man that comes.

T-   Hey Abdul. Please do me a favor and don’t dribble in front of our own goal again.

Ar-  Forget it. Don’t waste your time telling Abdul to do anything logical.

Ab-  (Looking up from pipe.) You have to make the game interesting.

T-   Well I wouldn’t mind winning for a change.

Ab-  Last week we would have won if you hadn’t missed those two easy goals. Remember those passes I gave you?

T-   (Frustrated, dejected, ashamed) Yes. I remember.

Ri-  All right. Come on, let’s get started. Francesco, take your team over there. (Points offstage left.) Come on Rainer. Get off your ass!

(Nikos exits right. Francesco, Tom and Pedro exit left. Abdul and Julio take a last puff on pipe. Rainer lies motionless. Abdul exits left. Julio exits right. Richie is standing with hands on hips looking down at Rainer. Sergio looks at Richie and then down at Rainer.)

Ri-  Sergio, try to get Rainer on his feet for Christ’s sake. (Richie exits right. Sergio bends down and helps Rainer stand up.)

Se-  Come on Hermano. Man, I can’t believe you even came to play today.

Ra-  (Standing and staring blankly at the audience, still wearing his sunglasses.) Today is Saturday. And on Saturday you must play soccer!

(They exit right. Curtain.)


It is cold and raining, overcast and dark. A day when only the diehards will show up. Jean is suited up and doing jumping jacks and running in place to keep warm. Enter Richie with ball.

Ri-  Hello Jean.

Je-  Hello Richie. How are you?

Ri-  I’m cold and my feet are already soaking wet. I just bought these new shoes last month for 60 bucks and they’re for shit. Even when there’s no mud.

Je-  (Shakes his head sympathetically.) That is very bad.

Ri-  It sucks! And my girlfriend wouldn’t let me wash them off in the bathtub so they were caked in mud for a week and just dried up.

Je-  (Shakes head again.) Very bad.

Ri-  (Raising voice irritably.) Where the hell are those faggots? They should be here by now. It’s way after 11 o’clock.

Je-  Do you think people will come today?

Ri-  Why not? It’s Saturday isn’t it?

Je-  Yes, but the weather is very bad.

Ri-  What’s that got to do with anything? Today is Saturday and on Saturday we play soccer. (Pause) I look forward all week to soccer on Saturday, so if these guys let me down and don’t show up, I’ll hate their guts! (Pause) It’s the only thing that makes working at the bank all week worth while.

Je-  Oh you work in a bank. That must be very interesting.

Ri-  (Half yawning) Yeah, I’m a banker. Corporate finance. It pays the bills. I’d rather be playing soccer. (Sudden change to irritation.) Where the hell are those scumbags?

Je-  Here comes Rainer.

Ri-  Rainer! He’s supposed to be in bed having psychotic nightmares.

(Enter Rainer jogging with punk sunglasses, looking alert and energetic.)

Je-  Hello Rainer.

Ri-  Hello Kraut.

Ra-  (Very jovial) Good morning!

Ri-  You look too happy. How come you’re not home smashing up your apartment? Did Miss Guatemala finally break down and give you a kiss?

Ra-  (Brushing aside his romance with a casual wave of the hand.) No. She is still the same. But life goes on. And now it is time to play soccer and forget everything else.

Ri-  Yeah. Where are all those other degenerates that you hang out with? Did you talk to them?

Ra-  Not this morning. But they should be here any minute. I saw Tom and Abdul last night. They both said they were going to play today.

Je-  Maybe somebody should have called everybody by telephone.

Ri-  Naw. We’ve been playing every Saturday for over five years. What do they need, engraved invitations? Real men don’t stay home on account of a little rain. (All three are shivering and wet.)

Ra-  Yes, but with these guys it might be different. (They laugh. Pause.)

Ri-  What time is it now, Jean?

Je-  (Looks at watch in his bag.) 11:38.

Ri-  11:38! Christ! You keep accurate time. You’d make a good German. Better than Rainer here. He’s a fucking commie!

Ra-  I am not a communist, you halfwitted Reaganite! I voted for the Green Party in the last elections because I’m against nuclear power and against nuclear missiles in Germany.

Ri-  What do you think would stop the Russians from just walking in if it weren’t for American missiles?

Ra-  Better red than dead.

Ri-  Oh, come on! Don’t give me that bullshit!

Ra-  Probably the worst thing about life in the Soviet Union is having to wait on long lines to buy bread. I certainly prefer that to nuclear holocaust.

Ri-  (Stunned.) I don’t believe my ears. I can’t believe that we send our American boys out to protect thankless bums like you!

Ra-  Protect! If the United States and the Soviet Union go to war, Germany will be destroyed first and then probably the rest of the world after. You have strange ideas about protection. Besides, the best protection is economic cooperation. The Soviets need our healthy economy. They can’t afford to take us over.

Ri-  You’re crazy Rainer. (Sudden change to irritation.) Where are those sons of bitches!

Ra-  Yes, this is ridiculous.

Ri-  Not only do I have to stand here in the rain but I have to listen to all this leftist horseshit. (Turning to Jean.) How come you’re so quiet today? You’re usually sticking in your two cents worth in this kind of conversation.

Je-  I agree with Rainer.

Ra-  It is better to be alive in the Soviet Union than dead in the United States.

Ri-  Not for me.

Je-  Look! There is Tom.

Ri-  Naw. That’s just some faggot walking his dog. (Pause) Hey! The dog’s taking a shit on the field! (Yelling offstage) Hey you! Get that fucking mutt off the field! Christ! I can’t believe it.

(Pause. They are shivering.)

Ra-  (Dejectedly) I don’t think anybody is coming today.

Ri-  Those bastards! What a bunch of fairies.

Ra-  Oh by the way. Armando’s having a party. Do you guys want to come?

Ri-  I can’t. I have to go to dinner with my girlfriend and some people in her office.

Ra-  How about you Jean? Do you want to come and drink some beers?

Je-  (Alarmed) I do not drink alcohol!

Ri-  Yeah. Don’t hang around with these guys. They’re all perverts.

Ra-  (Laughing) Well you can come anyway. You don’t have to drink beer.

Je-  (Hesitantly) Well, maybe I will come for a little while.

Ri-  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting out of here.

Ra-  Yes. Let’s go home.

Ri-  (As they are all walking off stage together, all shivering.) I can’t believe those bastards let me down and didn’t show up!



(Jean and Francesco are stretching out.)

Fr-  Did you read that article I gave you?

Je-  Yes. It was very interesting. But I disagree with some of the conclusions.

(Enter Rainer.)

Fr-  Hello Rainer.

Je-  Hi Rainer.

(Rainer nods hello and starts stretching out.)

Fr-  Rainer, is it true that you’re in love with Julio’s cousin?

Ra-  Yes. I’m afraid so.

Fr-  You must have very little in common with her.

Ra-  We love each other.

Fr-  But you have a graduate degree from film school and she never went to university. You make avant-garde films and she is a secretary. You are an atheist and she is a catholic. You wear old blue jeans, tee shirts and a black leather jacket while she spends 95% of her income on the latest fashions.

Ra-  It is possible to be different and still be attracted to one another.

Fr-  But she wants to get married. If you just have a physical attraction, that is not a strong foundation for a relationship. You must be able to communicate with each other.

Ra-  We talk together all the time. She may not agree with what I say, but she listens and she is interested.

Fr-  What do you guys do together?

Ra-  Nothing special.

Fr-  Does she like the theater?

Ra-  No. She likes grapes.

Fr-  Grapes!?

Ra-  Yes. When we are walking down the street together, she gets excited by fruitstands.

(Enter Abdul.)

Ab-  Hello my friends. (Abdul shakes hands all around with a big mischievous grin on his face. He stops in front of Francesco.) Francesco, did you see Verona beat Milan on TV?

Fr-  (Wincing) Yes. Please don’t remind me. Milan is playing terribly these days.

Ab-  That Danish striker for Verona is a monster.

Fr-  He is awesome. If we had him in Milan we would be in first place.

(Enter Tom.)

Ab-  (Speaking with a musical lilt.) Hello Tommy.

T-   Hi guys.

Fr-  Don’t you have a ball Tom?

T-   Pedro took it the other day. He said he’d bring it today.

(Francesco, Rainer and Abdul groan.)

Ra-  (Bitterly) You can’t trust Pedro with an important assignment like bringing the ball.

T-   Yes, I guess it was probably a mistake.

Ab-  Tommy. Who was that beautiful girl you were with the other night?

T-   She works in my office.

Ab-  Mmm. She was very tasty. Maybe you could introduce me.

T-   I don’t think she wants to be devoured, Abdul. She’s very professional.

Ab-  Yes, but underneath she’s still a woman.

T-   Well, I don’t think she’s your type.

Ra-  Anything Abdul can get his hands on is his type.

Ab-  (Puts arm around Tom’s shoulder, cajoling. Tom tries to wind away from him.) Come on Tommy. Give me her phone number.

T-   No way. Forget it.

Fr-  Maybe Tom wants her for himself, Abdul. Don’t be so selfish.

Ab-  No. This woman is wasted on Tom.

(Enter Julio and Pedro, passing a joint back and forth. Julio is drinking a beer.)

Fr-  My god! You guys are incredible. Don’t you ever stop?

Ju-  Last night I got drunk, so I need a beer to get out of bed.

T-   (Outraged) Pedro! Where’s my ball?

P-   (Nonchalant) Oh, I lost it.

T-   (Stunned) You lost it!!

Ra-  How totally unlike you, Pedro.

T-   How could you lose it, you moron! (Pedro shrugs and takes another toke.)

Fr-  We need a ball.

Je-  Richie has a ball.

Ju-  (Goes over to Rainer. They shake hands. Julio gives him the joint.) Toma Hermano. (Rainer smokes.)

(Enter Nikos.)

Ni-  Hello men.

Ju-  Hey Malaka.

Ni-  Doesn’t anybody have a ball?

T-   No. Pedro lost mine.

Ni-  (Sneers at Pedro.) You stupid scumbag. A real American wouldn’t do such a dumb thing.

P-   Oh yeah? Well I have an announcement to make. The great Pedro has set a date to go downtown and get married. On the 25th we sign the papers. Then I will be an American just like Nikos.

Ju-  (Laughs) Another Gringo.

Fr-  The 25th! That’s next week. Do you have enough time to get ready?

Ni-  Yeah. Pedro needs two weeks just to learn how to sign his name on the dotted line.

(Enter Richie.)

Ri-  Hi guys.

Fr-  Richie, where’s your ball?

Ri-  I left it in my car. Tom’s ball is better.

T-   Pedro lost my ball.

Ra-  Tom was naive enough to let Pedro take it.

Ri-  Tom, how could you give your ball to this Brazilian halfwit? (Takes car keys out of pocket.) Here, Pedro, go get my ball from my car.

P-   No way.

Ri-  (Turns to Nikos.) Come on, Nikos, you go get it then.

Ni-  Fuck you!

Ju-  Go get it yourself, Rambo.

Je-  I will go.

(Everybody protests.)

Fr-  No, Jean.  Stay here.

Ab-  Are you crazy?

T-   Don’t let Richie take advantage of you.

Je-  I really don’t mind.

Ri-  (Gives car keys to Jean.) It’s a blue Volvo parked by the entrance.

Ju-  (Grabs keys and puts them back in Richie’s hand.) Come on, Rambo. Go yourself.

Ri-  Oh all right. I’ll take the responsibility on myself. In times of trouble, you know who you can always count on.

(Enter Armando with ball. He is limping slightly.)

Ni-  Hey, here’s a ball!

T-   What’s the matter with your leg, Armando?

Ar-  Francesco kicked me last week.

Fr-  (Puts arm around Armando’s shoulder.) I’m sorry Armando. But you would have scored a goal if I hadn’t butchered you. You know you would have done the same thing yourself.

Ar-  (Laughs) That’s true.

Ni-  Armando, you’re starting to get fat.

Ar-  (Pats his belly.) Yes. I have to cut down on the beer. By the way, Abdul. My wife’s brother is going to work in Morocco for six months.

Ab-  (Animated) How wonderful! He’s going to love it. Morocco is a beautiful country.

T-   You know I went to Morocco a couple of years ago, and I had the worst time of my life. Every time you walk down the street, people hassle you. They want to sell you something, they want to be your guide, or they just want money. But they never leave you alone.

Ab-  Tommy, it’s called poverty. These people don’t have jobs and they don’t have money. When they see you, they know you have more money in your pocket then they earn in a month.

T-   Yes, but I’m not bothering anybody. I just want to look around and learn about their culture.

Ab-  But Tom, you are not walking through the zoo. These are people living their day to day lives, trying to survive. They are not living in old houses with no plumbing so that you can come and photograph them. They have no choice. There is high unemployment and few jobs. You can’t blame these people if they get sick of tourists. By the way, what’s her number?

T-   What?

Ab-  The girl in your office.

T-   Forget it Abdul. I’m not giving it to you.

Fr-  I have a suggestion. Let’s start the game.

Ab-  Come on Tom. I’ll fix you up with one of Julio’s cousins.

T-   That’s just what I need.

Ri-  Armando, come on. Pick somebody. Let’s make some teams.

Ar-  OK. I’ll take Francesco.

Ri-  Shit! OK, I’ve got Jean. Come over here Jean. You may be a commie, but you’re a damn good player.

Ar-  I’ll take Julio.

Ri-  OK. I’ve got Rainer.

Ar-  Abdul.

Ri-  Who’s left? Malaka, you play with us.

Ar-  I’ve got Tom.

Ri-  Christ! We get stuck with Pedro.

Ni-  Richie, you asshole, why didn’t you take Tom? He plays great defense. All Pedro does is dribble.

Ri-  Yeah, you’re right. I fucked up. Come on, Pedro. We’re stuck with you. But try to play a little defense today.

P-   Fuck all you guys!

(Enter Sergio.)

Ri-  Wait a minute. We’ve got Sergio. You take Pedro.

Ar-  No. Too late. You get the next man.

Ri-  (Throws up arms in disgust.) Goddamn it!

Ni-  You’ve got to move your lazy ass today, Pedro.

Ra-  Yes, try to surprise us.

P-   (Flicks one hand in vexation.) Filho da puta! Eat shit!

Ab-  That’s it, Pedro! Don’t take any shit! Stand up for your right to be a terrible soccer player.

Ar-  Come on. Let’s go. My team over here. (Exits right with Julio, Abdul and Sergio. Richie exits left with Jean, Pedro, Nikos and Rainer.)

Fr-  By the way, Tom. Friday is Jean’s birthday. Do you think we can organize some kind of party for him? I think he’d like to be accepted as part of the group.

T-   (Animated) Sure! We’ll have a surprise party. You arrange to bring him to my house and everybody will be there. Or at least everybody except Richie and Nikos. They hardly ever party with us. But I’m sure everybody else will come. They all like Jean. He’s such a nice, polite guy. Julio has to get permission from his wife, but that’s no problem.

Fr-  That would be wonderful. He would be very happy. He doesn’t know anyone here in New York.

T-   Well, we’ll take care of him. We’ll get him drunk and Abdul will get him high and we’ll call up some girls. Maybe we can hook him up with a nice lady.

Fr-  I don’t know. He is very shy. But he will like it anyway.

(Enter Armando.)

Ar-  Are you guys going to play today?

T-   Yeah, we’re coming. (All exit right.)


(Abdul and Sergio are putting on their shoes and stretching out.)

Ab-  That was a good party last night.

Se-  Yeah man, great.


Ab-  How long have you been here in the United States, Sergio?

Se-  Eight years.

Ab-  Are you planning to stay here?

Se-  Yes. I like Peru, but I have a good job here and the money is good.

Ab-  Where do you work?

Se-  I’m a bank teller.


Ab-  Yes. It’s a good country here, America. You can work. You can make money. You can do whatever you want to do.

Se-  Yes. I like it. But I want my kids to know about their heritage. I want them to know Peru and speak Spanish. My oldest kid, Gustavo, only wants to speak English. I talk to him in Spanish and he answers me in English. When we went to Peru last year he hated it. All he wanted to do was play baseball and talk about the Mets. Sometimes I get pissed off at him.

Ab-  Yes, I can understand. I want to live here, but I will never forget Morocco.

(Enter Armando.)

Ar-  Buenos dias.

Ab-  Hello Armando. We are talking about our countries. Do you miss Chile?

Ar-  Of course I miss Chile. It’s my country. But I can’t go back until they change the government. I would be arrested there now.

Ab-  Why?

Ar-  I was a student political leader in my university. I went to Argentina three days before they arrested all my friends. The police came to my house at 2:00 o’clock in the morning. I was studying for my doctorate in math and now I drive a cab. And this country supports that government, but they would never let that kind of thing happen here. (Pause) By the way, that was fun last night. (Laughing) And we got Jean really drunk.

Se-  Yeah man. He couldn’t even stand up.

Ab-  Did you know he even smoked some hashish?

(Enter Julio and Tom.)

Ju-  Buenos dias Hermanos.

Se-  Buenos dias.

T-   Hi guys.

Ar-  (Puts hand on Julio’s shoulder.) Julio, did you sleep on the floor all night? (Julio is wincing, but laughing.)

T-   Yeah, he was passed out cold. I tried to wake him up after everybody had left, but it was impossible. Finally I just threw a blanket over him and left him there.

Ju-  Too much tequila. And my wife is angry. She thinks I was with another woman.

Ab-  Let’s not be ridiculous. (Everybody laughs at Julio’s expense.) Speaking of woman. (Slight pause.) Tommy…

T-   (Puzzled, but suspicious) What, Abdul?

Ab-  When are you going to give me the phone number of that ravishing friend of yours?

T-   Abdul, forget it! I’m never going to give you her number.

Ab-  You didn’t even bring her to the party last night.

T-   I called her, but she was busy.

Ab-  What do you mean, she was busy.

T-   She was busy.

Ab-  She went out with another man?

T-   (Squirming) I don’t know. What she does is her business.

Ar-  Do you really like her, Tom?

T-   Yeah, I like her. But we’re just friends.

Ab-  (Disappointed in Tom.) Oh Tom. You are never going to get anywhere with her. You can either be her friend or her lover. Why don’t you just give me her phone number.

T-   Bullshit Abdul! We communicate and relate with each other very well. That’s very important.

Ab-  But you don’t fuck. That is also very important.

T-   Jesus Abdul. Give me a break.

Ju-  What’s the matter gringo? Ay-rab’s breaking your balls today?

(Enter Richie with ball. Swaggers in with smirk.)

Ri-  Hello you degenerates. Did you have a good party last night? Did you all fry your little Third World brains with lots of drugs?

Ar-  Jesus, what an asshole! (Everyone is groaning except for Richie who is grinning.)

Ri-  Except for Tom. Tom doesn’t have a brain. He’s been brainwashed by the liberal fags. Hey, where’s the nigger commie?

T-   (Shocked) Come on Richie! Don’t talk like that!

Ri-  Why not? Have you got a guilt complex? We make fun of everyone else, so why spare him?

T-   It’s different. Besides he may not know that you’re just kidding around.

Ri-  Oh bullshit. He’ll learn. Besides, you want to make him feel like part of the gang don’t you. That means you have to treat him like shit like everybody else. (Everybody has been listening guardedly to Richie, who is enjoying himself immensely, but now everyone laughs.)

(Enter Jean and Francesco.)

Ri-  (Without missing a beat.) Jean buddy! Happy Birthday! (Jean is grinning shyly, obviously pleased but still polite and reserved. Everybody claps him on the shoulder.)

Ju-  Hey Africa! How you feel this morning?

Ar-  You were drunk last night.

Se-  Yeah man. You were fucked up!

Ab-  But you loved it didn’t you.

T-   Hi ya Jean.

Je-  Yes, yes. Thank you very much. Last night I enjoyed myself. But today I am very tired. I need some aspirin.

Ju-  You should have a beer.

Ri-  Hell, you’ll sweat it out in the game. I told you not to hang out with these degenerates.

Je-  Actually everybody was very nice to me. I will remember this birthday.

Fr-  Yes. We took good care of him. We made sure he got drunk. You should have come Richie.

Ju-  Yeah Rambo. Where were you last night?

Ri-  I had to go out with my girlfriend and some guys from the office. We went to Ramon’s Cafe.

Ab-  So Richie, you went out to a fancy restaurant with some yuppies instead of coming to a party with your soccer friends.

Fr-  Yes, shame on you. And Ramon’s Cafe does not even have good food.

Ri-  It’s bad enough I have to associate with you guys when we play soccer, but I wouldn’t be caught dead with you otherwise.

Ab-  Richie, you know we are your best friends. We are the only ones who know what a jerk you really are.

(Julio turns his back to the audience as if he is going to pee.)

T-   Julio! What are you doing?

Ju-  I’m taking a piss, man. What do you think?

T-   (Grabs Julio by one arm.) Well, do it on the side.

Ri-  (Pushing Julio.) Yeah, get off the field you pig. (Tom and Richie push Julio off the stage with Julio protesting and laughing.)

Ju-  Come on man. What’s wrong with you guys?

T-   I don’t want to go sliding in your urine.

(Enter Nikos carrying cigars.)

Fr-  Hello Malaka.

Ar-  Hi Redneck.

(Nikos hands out cigars to everyone. He is in a very good mood.)

Ni-  Hello boys.

Ri-  What’s with the cigars?

Ni-  My wife’s pregnant. We’re going to have a baby.

Ab-  That’s great Nikos. Who is the father?

Ni-  Very funny Ay-rab. We just found out this morning. We had to go to the doctor. My wife was in the doctor’s office by herself for a really long time and I was starting to get worried. I thought I was going to miss the game.

(Reenter Julio.)

Ju-  Hey Malaka.

Ni-  Have a cigar Julio. I’m going to be a father.

Ju-  Oh no. Another gringo.

Ri-  I can’t believe it. How did you manage to put the right thing in the right place? I didn’t think you had it in you.

Ar-  Yeah, we’re all very impressed, Nikos.

Fr-  (Gives Nikos a big hug.) Congratulations Nikos. I’m sure you will have a wonderful child. And if it is a little boy I’m sure he will grow up to be a rotten soccer player just like his father.

Ni-  Thank you, Francesco. That was beautiful.

Ri-  Tom, isn’t it against the constitution to give birth if you have a single digit IQ?

T-   (Laughs) Congratulations Malaka. (They shake hands.)

Se-  (Claps Nikos on the shoulder.) Congratulations. Your first kid, right?

Ni-  Yes, the first one.

Ri-  Nikos, I’m sure any kid of yours is going to be uglier than sin, but congratulations anyway. (He shakes Nikos’ hand.)

Ni-  Thank you Richie. I’m really touched. You guys are the greatest.

Ri-  That’s true. We are the fucking greatest.

Ar-  For once, Richie, I agree with you. We are the greatest.

Ri-  Wait a minute. What am I saying? You guys are Third World scum. I’m the greatest.

Ar-  I knew there had to be something wrong if I was agreeing with Richie.

Ni-  Yeah. I take it back. Richie, you’re a disgrace to us fellow Americans. The rest of you guys are the greatest. (Looks offstage.) And speaking of fellow Americans, Here comes Pedro.

(Enter Pedro. He is subdued, depressed.)

T-   Hey Pedro. Where were you last night?

P-   I was busy.

Ar-  Were you out on your honeymoon?

P-   Not exactly.

Se-  You missed a good party.

P-   Oh yeah. Happy birthday, Jean.

Je-  Thank you very much Pedro. I am sorry you could not come.

P-   Yeah. I had some problems. (Looks strained.)

Ni-  (Puts arm around Pedro’s shoulder.) Come on asshole. What’s the matter?

(Pause. Pedro is struggling with himself, very upset.)

Fr-  Is something wrong Pedro?


P-   (Trying to control himself and appear cheerful.) Actually I came to say good bye. Today is my last game.

Ri-  Oh Christ! I thought it was going to be bad news!

Ab-  What do you mean, your last game? Don’t you like us any more?

Ni-  At last. We’ve been trying to get rid of you for years.

T-   What do you mean, you came to say good bye, Pedro?

P-   (Trying to mask his disappointment.) I’m going back to Brazil on Wednesday.

T-   Why are you going back to Brazil all of a sudden? You just got married so you could get a green card and live here permanently.

Je-  Is a member of your family ill?

P-   No. Nobody’s sick. I’m just going to go back to Brazil. It’s better this way.

Fr-  Pedro, this doesn’t make sense. You always said you wanted to live in the United States. You’ve been here five years illegally and finally you get an opportunity to become a legal resident and you decide to go home. Ma, che cosa fai? (Makes Italian gesture of putting both hands together in front of him with fingertips together, pointing upwards.)

Ar-  Weren’t you going to the immigrations interview when I saw you yesterday?

Ab-  What happened, Pedro? Did they find out you weren’t really married?

P-   (Strained but wearing the mask.) Well, I had some problems there. But you know I haven’t seen my family in five years. It will be good to see them.

Ni-  What is this bullshit about your family, Pedro? I’ve never heard you talk about them before.

P-   I came here by myself when I was 19 years old. I haven’t seen anyone in my family since.

Ar-  I understand about missing your family. I miss my father and mother.

Ab-  A lot of us miss our families. Before I got my green card I didn’t see my family for four years. But why all of a sudden, Pedro? What happened?

Ju-  What happened at the immigrations hearings?


Fr-  They found out you weren’t really married, didn’t they?

P-   (Pause, embarrassed, looking down) Yes. They found out.

Ju-  Hijo de puta! The immigrations are mother fuckers!

T-   I don’t understand. What’s going on?

Ar-  They interview you to see if you’re really married. They’re really tough.

Fr-  Yes. They ask you very personal questions in great detail.

Ab-  Yes. Even what kind of toothpaste does your wife use.

Ar-  If you both give different answers they throw you out, right Pedro?

P-   (Bitterly) Shit!

Ri-  So Pedro fucked up his interview, huh?

Ni-  Come on Pedro, tell us. You fucked up didn’t you?

(Pause. Pedro nods his head ruefully.)

P-   (Softly) Yeah man. I fucked up.

Ni-  Jesus! Typical! You dumb Malaka.

P-   Fuck you!

Fr-  Didn’t you meet with your wife and learn the facts about her life?

P-   Yes. We met for an hour before the interview.

Ju-  (Explodes in laughter.) Que Huevon!

Ar-  (Shaking his head in disbelief.) Oye, Pajero. What’s wrong with you man? You know you needed more than one hour. Those motherfuckers are sharp. If you don’t know your shit, they’re going to catch you for sure.

T-   (Sympathetically) Oh Pedro. I can’t believe it.

Ri-  (He and Nikos are laughing.) Way to go, Pedro kid!

P-   (Defensively) I was working a lot in the restaurant. I didn’t have much time to talk with her.

Ar-  Bullshit! When something is important, you make time. You have to get your shit together, man.

Se-  What did they ask you?

(Pause. Pedro is squirming.)

Ab-  Come on Pedro.

P-   They didn’t ask me anything.

Fr-  What? Pedro, you don’t make any sense.

Ri-  We’ve known that for years.

Ar-  Didn’t you go to the interview?

P-   Yes, I went there.

Ar-  So what happened, man?


P-   (Very embarrassed) Well, because I didn’t have much time to talk with my wife, I wrote everything down on a small piece of paper. But when I went into the room for the interview, I dropped it and the immigrations officer picked it up and read it. (Everybody except Tom and Jean howl with laughter.)

Ri-  That’s our Pedro.

P-   (Nodding his head ruefully.) Yeah. Very funny.

Fr-  Incredible! Only Pedro would do such a thing.

Ar-  So now they’re going to deport you?

P-   Yes. Now I have to go back to Brazil.

Ab-  (Still laughing, puts his arm around Pedro.) Pedro, we’re going to miss you.

Ni-  You know Pedro, This just goes to show you. You’re not good enough to be an American like me. You deserve to be a Third Worlder. You’re a fuckin’ loser. Americans are winners. (Pedro nods his head ruefully.)

Ri-  Yeah, just look at Nikos. You can tell he’s a winner.

Ju-  No more dreams of being a gringo. No more good job with Yankee dollars. No more green stuff.

P-   Yeah, in Brazil there is no money. There it will take me six months to earn what I make here in a week.

T-   So what are you going to do there?

P-   I have some money saved up. Maybe I will visit my family for a while and then try to come back here. Or if they don’t let me back in, maybe I’ll go to England or France.

Fr-  What about all your stuff?

P-   I have to sell it. Anybody want to buy my stereo and TV cheap?

Se-  How much for the stereo?

P-   $150.

Se-  Make it $100.

P-   Come on Sergio. I’m already losing a lot of money.

Ri-  Pedro, how could you be such a jerk as to drop that piece of paper right in front of the immigrations officer? (Pedro shrugs his shoulders.)

(Enter Rainer.)

Fr-  Hello Rainer.

Ju-  Hey Hermano, say good bye to Pedro. He’s getting deported.

Ra-  (Shakes head sympathetically.) Tough luck Pedro. They found out you weren’t really married?

P-   Yeah.

Ra-  Yes, well maybe I go back to Germany too.

T-   Why Rainer?

Ra-  Well, I think it’s time for a change. And my relationship isn’t working out.

Ju-  I told you, man. You shouldn’t have gotten so involved with her. But that doesn’t mean you have to go back to Germany.

Ra-  I need a change. I have to preserve what’s left of my sanity. Last night, after I walked her home, your cousin told me I was crazy. I said of course I’m crazy. She is making me crazy. Then she got very petulant and angry. I can’t stand it anymore. It’s better if I go back to Germany for a while.

Ri-  What the hell’s going on here? Rainer, you can’t leave! Who’s going to play defense with Tom?

T-   Yeah Rainer. Besides, you’re my drinking buddy.

Fr-  When are you going to leave?

Ra-  Oh not immediately. In a few weeks.

Ri-  Come on. Let’s start the game before somebody else decides to go home.

Ni-  I’m going back to Brooklyn.

Ri-  Yeah. Stay there! Let’s make some teams.

Ab-  That’s right. What are we here for anyway?

Fr-  Yes. It’s time to play soccer. I’ll take Jean and Armando. Richie, you take Julio and Nikos.

Ri-  Pedro, since this is your last game, you go play defense on the other team.

P-   Bullshit. The Great Pedro is going to have one last glorious game and score ten goals before he retires.

Ni-  That will give you a career total of ten. (Pedro puts one foot in front of Nikos’ ankle and pushes with one hand behind his shoulder, tripping Nikos, who hops away laughing.)

Fr-  OK. I will take Pedro and you take Rainer and Sergio.

T-   (Pointing offstage.) There’s that Irish guy that played with us last week. (Shouting offstage.) Hey! Do you want to play?

Fr-  Excellent! He is a very good player.

Ni-  Not bad for a Mick.

Ar-  When did Greece ever win the World Cup?

Ni-  Eat shit motherfucker!

Ri-  All right, let’s go. My team over here. (Exits right with Julio and Nikos.)

P-   What team am I on?

Ar-  We’ll write it down on a piece of paper for you. (Exits left with Francesco and Jean.)

Ra-  Pedro, you’re with them. (Exits right with Sergio. Pedro turns his back to the audience and poses as if urinating.)

T-   (From offstage) Pedro you jackass! Get off the field if you want to take a leak!



(Nikos and Tom are stretching out. A ball is lying on the ground.)

T-   You must be excited about becoming a father.

Ni-  Yeah. It’s great. You should get married and settle down.

T-   Oh I’m not ready yet. I’m going to wait a few more years.

Ni-  What do you want to wait for? You’ve got a good job working with those computers. You have a couple of kids and you teach them all how to use computers.

T-   Well, maybe someday.

Ni-  I’m going to teach my kid. You’d better believe it. As soon as he’s five years old I’m going to give him his first paint brush, and he can’t watch TV until he can paint a straight line.

T-   You’re going to teach him to be another painter?

Ni-  Fuckin’ A! When he gets big enough he’s going to come work with his old man. And someday, when I’m ready to slow down, he can take over the business.

T-   What if he doesn’t want to be a painter?

Ni-  What? Are you kidding me? What’s wrong with being a painter? You learn a profession and you and you can make some money and take care of yourself.

T-   What if he wants to be a ballet dancer?

Ni-  Shit! No kid of mine’s going to be a faggot ballet dancer! I didn’t come to this country and slave every day like a dog to bring up a kid who can’t work.

(Enter Armando. He is drinking a bottle of wine.)

Ar-  Hello Malaka. Hi Tom.

T-   Hi Armando.

Ni-  (Pointing to the bottle.) Is this your breakfast?

Ar-  No, this is lunch. Brandy was for breakfast. I’ve got some relatives visiting, so we’re doing a lot of partying.

T-   Have you seen Sergio or Francesco?

Ar-  I haven’t seen either one since they had that fight last week.

T-   Man, that was terrible.

(Enter Abdul.)

Ab-  Hello my friends.

Ni-  Hello Ay-rab.

Ab-  Do you think Sergio and Francesco are going to come?

Ni-  That was one hell of a fight.

Ar-  Yeah. Sergio was going crazy.

T-   So was Francesco. You remember the look on his face?

Ab-  I still don’t even know what happened.

Ar-  I didn’t see it start. Francesco kicked the ball downfield and everybody was watching the ball. Then the next second they’re trying to kill each other.

T-   But they’ve been friends for years.

Ni-  Yes, but they both have tempers sometimes. Remember when Francesco and Julio had that fight last year?

Ab-  Yes. It’s just part of the game. These things happen sometimes. Everybody is playing hard and then you get kicked and you get frustrated and angry.

Ni-  It fucks up the game. Now this week they might be looking for each other and get into another fight.

T-   Oh, I don’t think so. They’re both nice guys. They’re both civilized.

Ar-  I don’t know. It’s hard to tell sometimes when something gets into these hard heads.

Ab-  Today we must talk to them and make them shake hands and forget it. By the way…Tom…

T-   (Slight pause.) No Abdul. No. Give it up. Besides, she told me she only likes intelligent men so you’re definitely not her type.

Ni-  She probably also wants a man with a penis, Abdul.

Ab-  Well, maybe I can borrow yours Nikos. It seems to be functioning well lately.

(Enter Julio.)

Ju-  Hey Colegas.

T-   Hi Julio.

Ab-  Hello my friend.

Ju-  Hi Ay-rab. (Sees Armando’s bottle.) Mmm. Vino.

Ar-  (Hands Julio the bottle.) Toma, brother. (Julio drinks wine.)

Ni-  You alcoholics! (Julio gargles some wine and spits it at the feet of Nikos.) What pigs! We should send you with Pedro back to the continent of pickpockets.

Ar-  Hey, if you don’t have a job you have to survive somehow.

Ni-  I could go to any country in the Third World and paint houses.

Ju-  Who’s going to pay you? People with no jobs and no money?

Ar-  Yeah man. You can go paint all you want, but if you don’t get paid, it doesn’t do you any good. And the governments can’t make many progressive changes because so much of their money goes to gringo banks to pay external debt.

Ju-  Yeah, the bankers got too greedy.

Ni-  Oh, it’s all the bankers’ fault now.

Ar-  No, not completely. They share some of the blame with our military dictators who borrowed the money and the rich countries like the United States who supported the dictators because they gave them good trade agreements. They should have known they were creating an impossible situation.

Ni-  Here we go. It’s always the capitalists and the imperialists. What a bunch of bullshit!

Ar-  Well, even though we Latin Americans like to complain about imperialism, we practice a kind of imperialism domestically as well. A small minority controls the wealth and the military to protect their wealth. There are a lot of millionaires in Latin America.

Ni-  Another goddamn commie. You want to take the money away from the people who are successful and give it to the losers who just want to get drunk in the streets.

Ju-  You better watch out gringo. If there are no jobs in South America, we’re all going to come to your country.

Ni-  No way! I won’t let you in.

(Enter Francesco. There is a tension.)

Ar-  Come estai Italia?

Fr-  Tutto va bene.

T-   Hi Francesco.

Fr-  Hello Tom. Hello everybody.

Ab-  (Goes up to Francesco with a grin and takes his arm.) Francesco, did you come today to play or to fight? (Julio and Armando laugh.)

Fr-  (Very serious.) God damn it! I was waiting for someone to say something like that. You didn’t waste any time. I tell you, if Sergio kicks me again today I will kill him. (Francesco is very angry. He is working himself up into a rage.)

Ni-  But what happened last week?

T-   Yeah, nobody knows what happened.

Fr-  I kicked the ball and the son of a bitch tackled me from behind. Look at this cut on my ankle. (Francesco furiously pulls down sock. Everybody looks and is horrified.)

Ju-  Oh Shit!

Ar-  Yeah, that’s a bad one.

Ni-  That must have hurt.

Fr-  Of course. That’s why I’m going to kill him if he touches me again.

Fr-  (Very excited.) Look Tom, first of all, he tackled me from behind. That’s already bad enough. He could have broken my leg. Second, he was too late. The ball was already gone. What was he trying to do? What kind of stupid thing is this?

T-   But you’ve been friends for years.

Fr-  Even more reason why he shouldn’t have done that. And he better watch out today or I’ll break his face! (Francesco brandishes his fist.) If he wants to play like that, I can play like that too.

(Enter Sergio. He looks at the group a little hesitantly. Then he walks in and stands by himself to one side. Francesco turns his back and tensely begins putting on his shoes.)

T-   Hi Sergio.

Se-  Hi Tom.

Ab-  (Goes over to Sergio and pulls him to one side.) Sergio, what happened last week?

Se-  I was trying to get the ball and Francesco went crazy.

Ab-  Did you foul him?

Se-  (Pause) Yeah. Maybe. I guess. But he didn’t have to punch me. If he does that again, I’m going to kick his ass.

Ab-  Come on Sergio. This is ridiculous. It’s time to forgive and forget. Maybe today it will be someone else that kicks you. Besides, you’ve been friends for a long time. Why don’t you tell him you’re sorry you kicked him and shake hands. (Pause. Sergio looks off into distance.) Come on Sergio. Don’t be stubborn. (Another pause then Sergio nods his head.)

Se-  OK. (He goes tentatively over to Francesco who looks up at him. Everybody is watching them.) Francesco, I’m sorry I fouled you. I guess I was kind of late. (Francesco goes to Sergio and hugs him. They hug each other.)

Fr-  Forget it, Sergio. I apologize for hitting you. I just went crazy after you kicked me.

Se-  Yeah, me too. Maybe it was just too hot. (The tension is broken. Everyone is smiling.)

Fr-  Yeah, sometimes you just get too excited.

Se-  How’s your leg?

Fr-  I’ll survive, but please don’t do that again.

Se-  Are you sure? You don’t want me to do the other leg too?

Fr-  (Laughing) No please.

Ni-  That’s it boys. Kiss and make up.

Ab-  Yes. That was very mature. We’re all very proud of you.

(Enter Richie. He doesn’t have his usual bluff and swagger.)

Ju-  Hey Rambo.

Ri-  (Subdued voice) Hi guys.

Ar-  What’s the matter with you Rambo? You look tired. Did your yuppie friends get you drunk last night?

Ri-  (Subdued but still joking.) No, I got drunk by myself last night.

Ab-  Where was your girlfriend?

Ri-  Studying. (Pause) She’s going to law school in Dallas this fall. So I’ll be all alone. (He is strained but covers up with bravado.) I’ll have to start hanging out with you degenerates.

Ju-  You’re going to join us Third Worlders, Rambo?

Ni-  Traitor. You should only hang out with Yanks like me and Tom. And even Tom’s not a real Yank. He’s a liberal fag.

Se-  Where’s Dallas?

Ar-  Hey Maricón. Don’t you know anything?

Ri-  That’s what I love about you guys. When I really need you, you’re there.

Ni-  Forget about this faggot emotional shit. It’s time to play soccer.

Ab-  So Richie, does this mean you’re breaking up with your wonderful girlfriend?

Ri-  I don’t know. It’s a long way to Texas. Longer than my penis can stretch.

Ju-  Shit. You gringos fuck every country in the world, but Rambo can’t fuck Texas.

Ri-  Actually, I guess it’s more like she’s breaking up with me. It’s hard to understand. We’ve been living together for three years. Now all of a sudden she wants to be a lawyer more than she wants to live with me. So what can you do? (Nikos takes Richie’s hand and Julio puts his arm around Richie’s shoulder. Richie maintains poker face.)

Ni-  Don’t worry Richie. You’ll always have us. We love you.

Ju-  Yeah man. You can always play soccer.

Ab-  (Facetiously) Women come and go Richie. The boys you fight with and yell at every week are always here.

Se-  Yeah Richie. Don’t cry. We’re with you.

Fr-  That’s right. Women may leave you, but you can never get rid of us.

Ar-  Unless he breaks your legs.

Ni-  (Coyly) We will always be here darling.

Ri-  Christ! You guys are making me sick. Let’s start the game. Where the hell is Jean?

Fr-  He is out of town for a conference. He will be here next week.

T-   Wait a second Richie. Just because your girlfriend wants to go to law school, you’re going to break up.

Ri-  Well she’s made up her mind that that’s what she wants to do so what am I supposed to do? Tell her not to be a lawyer? She’s got her life to live. She got a good deal at a good university and she wants to go. So that’s it.

T-   But you spent three years together.

Ri-  Yeah, and it was great. But now she’s going to Texas and my job is here in New York.

(Enter Rainer.)

Ra-  Good morning.

Ar-  Hi Rainer.

Ju-  Hey Hermano! (They shake hands.)

Ra-  (Talking to Julio.) I got the tickets yesterday. I’m going back to Germany in three weeks.

Ju-  Jesus Christ man! You’re really going to do it.

Ra-  Yes. Your cousin and I broke up officially on Thursday. She’s going to find a nice Catholic man, and I have to regain my sanity.

Ju-  I told you, man. Don’t mess with that kind of girl.

Ra-  I prefer my lessons the hard way. But there are no hard feelings. She’s a nice person. We just didn’t work out.

Ju-  Well, I’m going to miss you, Hermano.

Ra-  You should come visit me in Germany. I’ll show you around Munich and take you down to the Alps. It’s beautiful there. You’ll really like it. And you can drink some good German beer.

Ju-  Well, you know Hermano, I’m not the travelling type. I’ve got my job and my wife and kid. So I don’t think I’ll ever make it over there. Not enough green stuff.

Ni-  Come on, let’s start the game! Rainer, you’re with Armando and Julio, you’re with Francesco.

T-   Hey, there’s that Irish guy. (Yells offstage) Hey Sean!

Ni-  Hey Irish!

Ri-  Come on you Mick!

Ju-  (To Irishman offstage.) Hey man. You look tired. Did you get drunk last night?

Ri-  Come on, let’s go! Let’s start the game!