Monday, January 19, 2015

Waiting for Rosa

“Only a gifted writer such as Dennis Siluk, Poet Laureate of Peru, would be able to portray the complexity and poignancy of life with such simplicity and ease. This moving short story arouses the reader’s empathy with its clear crisp diction, light humor and subtle yet provocative emotion (‘The Dogs in Cherry Park’)” 1-12-2013  
—Gail M. Weber, Editor-in-Chief, Exploring TOSCA magazine

Waiting for Rosa  

(A short two Act Play—a surreal comedy)

  By, Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c.
                              International Latin Poet Laureate, and Nine Time Poet Laureate in Peru (Recipient of the Gran Cross of San Jeronimo)

Revised Edition Edition/2015

Waiting for Rosa
(A Short Play in Two Acts)
 Copyright, December 7, 2012 © By, Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c.

The Play:
Waiting for Rosa
(A Two Act play—a comedy in Surrealism)

Act One
(A blind understanding is when someone can see and hear, something or someone, other folks are unable to see and hear. Sometimes it is due to: innocence, or perhaps more an imaginative mind, or simply someone allowed in…; children often have  that ability, and when one grows old, it can show up likewise; in any case, Lee has that blind understanding,  has always had it, and it is more than a faint gleam !)

From the Roof of Lee’s house, looking down into Cherry Park

Lee, he is standing on top of his patio roof, and looking down into the park across the street, at the dogs, there are eight of them, big dogs, and they’re behind the fence moseying about in the park, Cherry Park, in Lima, Peru; a Catholic Church in the background. He rests his elbows on the edge of the roof’s extended handrail. He's a little exhausted.
You hear a noise as if one of the stools or garden chairs has been moved. You don't see anybody though. It's presumable that it is Oscar though. In the center of the patio is a terrace roof table with an umbrella in the middle of it.

Lee: Is that you Oscar?
Oscar: Yes. (Lee is pointing down at the dogs in Cherry Park)
Lee: You see?
Oscar: Oh yes, I see what you're pointing at.
Lee: Those dogs always make a bloody mess.
Oscar: It's nothing to fret about.
Lee: Why you say that?
Oscar: Where else can they go, they're all mutts and strays.
Lee: Far away-into the Pacific Ocean, for all I care.
Oscar: I'm tired of hearing it! (Pause.) Let's go.
Lee: We can't.
Oscar: Why not?
Lee: I'm waiting for my wife.
Oscar: Ah! (Pause-thinking.) Wait, watch, wait watch!
Lee: Yes, that's what we do!
Oscar: Let's find something else to do.
Lee: Is that all you can say?
Oscar: There are eight big dogs down there, lazy as the day is long.
Lee: Not one little cat. (Pause.)They come at night.
Oscar: So they do; I guess I never have seen one myself.
Lee: You mean, never ever?
Oscar: That's what I said.

Lee fumbles in his sweater pocket, pulls out his cellphone, and checks the time-11:28 a.m. Shows it to Oscar—in that he extends his left hand outwards (there really is no one there), and stands still as if Oscar is examining it. But Oscar is a voice, not physical.

Lee: It doesn't have a smell, so stop sniffing at it!
Oscar: It has a silver and black smell.
Lee: That's silly, it's just a plain cellphone.
Oscar: I like the color blue!
Lee: Then don't look at it.

Lee quickly puts the cellphone back into his sweater pocket.

Oscar: Go get the latté your wife made for you, it's in the thermos downstairs in the kitchen.

Lee doesn't move, he stands stone-still looking down over the edge of the railing into the park area, sees one of the dogs crossing the street, two are simply roaming about in the park, two laying down, one chewing on a bone.

Lee: No energy to go back down and back up that zigzagging stairway, I wish you could go but that's ridiculous. I mean, I'm sixty-five years old not thirty-five anymore. (Silence.)
Oscar: Exercise, I heard your wife say you needed exercise.
Lee: You heard nothing!
Oscar: Oh yes, I did!
Lee: I've tried everything to include diet, the more exercises, the more I eat. The more I eat, the more I sleep, and the more I sleep, the less I hear you talk-that perhaps is a plus.
Oscar: You don't say; hay, there are two dogs sleeping by your front steps...
Lee: Of course I see them, why, is that a good or bad thing?
Oscar: It just passes the time (he hesitates.) It's our new occupation.
Lee: It relaxes me, looking at dogs, like it relaxes other folks looking at birds, my wife looks at birds, it relaxes her, and some folks look at fish in aquariums, and that relaxes them. Looking at dogs in Cherry Park, relaxes me!
Oscar: It's A-Okay, with me brother, but it's really called, recreation.
Lee: No, relaxation.
Oscar: So you say.
Lee: We do seem to disagree, matter of fact, more so than my wife and I.
Oscar: Okay, okay, let's get back to looking at dogs in Cherry Park.
Lee: We always find something to do?
Oscar: Are you trying to make me feel good or give me the impression I really exist?
Lee: (anxiously.) You could say that.

Lee takes off his hat, it is warm, the breeze that was there, appears to have vanished. Lee walks from one part of the roof/or stage, back to where he was standing, and leans back over the railing.

One of the Stray dogs sitting by Cherry Park

Oscar: Well?
Lee: Too warm for a hat.
Oscar: Funny, the stray dogs don't hurt anyone...
Lee: Is that a question or a statement?
Oscar: Rhetorical fact.
Lee: Not yet, but a few weeks ago one dog growled at a little girl, and then afterwards, someone poisoned two of the dogs in the park.
Oscar: Then you should get rid of the dogs.
Lee: They're too big. Although a neighbor took two of them and drove someplace in Lima, down by the Ocean I think, and dropped them off, I think they came back.
Oscar: Poison them!
Lee: I thought of that, but I can't.
Oscar: Then you'll just have to keep them around and complain.
Lee: That's enough about poison.
Oscar: Okay, but…
Lee: (harshly.) Enough! (Silence.) I should sit down with a back to a chair; my back is starting to hurt.

Lee looks about for a stool, and pulls one over to the edge of the roof, that was placed around the terrace table with an umbrella.

Oscar: Same stool you sat on yesterday.
Lee: No, yesterday I sat in the lounge chair and read.
Oscar: Yesterday you fell to sleep in the lounge chair after you left the stool-
Lee: Whatever I did, I forgot what I did, I guess...

Lee's forearms are resting on the rail, his head and back in an arch, looking down and out, beyond the park, at the church grounds, which the park seemingly blends into …

Lee: Wait, isn't that Farther Marcelo, by his white car?
Oscar: so, so, so who and what?
Lee: (looking to the side of him annoyingly) No, it's not a so and so, or a who- what, if my wife heard you say that she'd cut your throat, he's a priest.
Oscar: (irritable.) You mean, she'd cut our throat!
Lee: (admirable and softly.) I'm the one that would feel it; maybe it's Father Washington?
Oscar: So, so ww-what...!
Lee: Well is it or isn't it, which one is it?
Oscar: You're asking the wrong guy.

Lee shakes his head, gets up off the stool, walks the length of the stage/or roof top.

Oscar: Ah!...
Lee: Ah, what? Which one is it?
Oscar: Ah, he's gone, it's all over the guessing game.
Lee: I really saw him right?
Oscar: If you did, I did and I can't say for the life of me if I did, I'd not put my life on it, although I'd put eight dogs’ life on it, it was him, or the other him.
Lee: I think it was Manuel?
Oscar: Now who in the world is Manuel? I mean how'd he get into this conversation? Let's take a walk, cool you down.

Lee refuses to move, and starts to act as if he is being tugged the opposite way, and he's fighting it, as if an invisible force is trying to drag him away from the railing.

Lee: Stop pulling at me, I'm getting tired.
Oscar: You'd rather be stuck here doing nothing all day, just waiting for your wife alone?
Lee: Perhaps.
Oscar: That's fine with me.
Lee: Me also!
Oscar: Then I'll go.
Lee: You can't.
Oscar: Why not?
Lee: We're waiting for Rosa.
Oscar: is that so, you mean you are waiting for Rosa.
Lee: You are a cold...
Oscar: Say it?
Lee: No, I better not, the last time I swore at someone I almost got into a fight.
Oscar: With whom?
Lee: a fellow that lives down the block, called Tall Fernando.
Oscar: Now this sounds more interesting than looking at those dogs.
Lee: We come to the roof too early I think, Rosa may not be back until one or two.
Oscar: So what if she comes back at two or whatever time.
Lee: No, no, she's got to feed me.
Oscar: You sound like the birds: feed me, feed me, and feed me more: I heard Peruvian birds eat like elephants.
Lee: Yes, I made that up, and put it in a poem; you're like my wife, always quoting me, I wish I could remember what she remembers, after I write it, I forget it, until she says it, then I remember...
Oscar: Oh, I suppose lunch for you is pretty soon?
Lee: She'll come soon, it is past two p.m.
Oscar: Then just wait until dinner time.
Lee: Then you can go (a pause.) What should we do?
Oscar: Stop complaining, I've had enough we do what we always do, look at the park, the dogs in the park, the church in front of the park, the priests in front of the church, well, today the priests, the ones you think you saw: but point is, you never do anything new with me, I've had a belly full of dogs, dogs and more dogs.
Lee: Then go, go, go...

Lee is putting his white hat back onto his head.

Oscar: Adios...!
Lee: Adios...!
Oscar: I mean, really Adios this time!
Lee: Fine, we've been here for hours, I mean since a little after eleven, and now it is a quarter past two, fine go!
Oscar: It's for good this time. I'm never coming back.
Lee: That's what you always say, but then you come back begging to be heard-

Lee's looking at the park as if contemplating, his hat is on his head now, and a breeze picks up.
Lee: Rosa!
Oscar: What?
Lee: I think I see Rosa.
Oscar: Like you think you saw Father so and so, too!
Lee: They have names: Marcelo and Washington.
Oscar: What?

Lee tries to adjust his eyes, he sees someone walking across the park, it is a little lady, and his wife is small. Lee takes off his hat, waves it at the woman.

Oscar: Is it her or not?
Lee: How would I know, she's too far off, but I think so.
Oscar: Well, does she look like Rosa or not?

Lee moves his head back and forth as if trying to adjust his neck, like a mannequin …

Lee: How silly, I can't tell if she is Rosa or not.
Oscar: That's not so unusual!
Lee: I don't need any humor from you.

Lee's a tinge irked.
Lee: It is her (a pause.)
Oscar: I'm going. (Silence.)
Lee: Will you stop it.
Oscar: Stop what?
Lee: Your little game, I'm going to meet her, she's got my lunch.
Oscar: Never heard of it.
Lee: It's really called 'Attitude'... your game is having a bad attitude!
Oscar: I'm going too.
Lee: Go on then. (Silence.)
Oscar: I can't.
Lee: I know, so that’s enough of your chatter.
Oscar: I'm going!   (He’s gone.)

Lee hastens towards the winding stairway to go down and meet his wife.

Oscar: I'm still here.
Lee: I thought you were going...
Oscar: I was gone but I’m back!

Curtain Down

Act Two

Later on, afternoon, same place

Lee is back on the roof, walks back to the railing, same place he was before, looks down into the park. He halts, a dead stop. It is 3:30 p.m. He is alone-although Oscar's voice will soon appear.

Oscar: You startled me somewhat didn't think you'd be back so soon.
Lee: I usually take a siesta after lunch, but it's so sunny I don't want to miss it.
Oscar: What did you have for lunch?
Lee: I thought you were not coming back?
Oscar: You thought wrong, now what did the little lady bring you for lunch?
Lee: Who?
Oscar: Okay, Rosa, Mrs. Rosa.
Lee: Why do you care?
Oscar: I'm just curious, something different to do, talk about, ask, is that okay?
Lee: Nosy is more like it.
Oscar: so, so, sooo-what!
Lee: A hamburger, she brought me a big fat burger!
Oscar: Drumhead, I mean dumb-head, what else?
Lee: French-fries and an orange soda.
Oscar: Fast-food, haw?
Lee: That's what they call it.

Lee is looking out towards the park, not a dog in sight. He is contemplating where they all went.

Lee: Where did all the dogs go?
Oscar: Some are sleeping under the trees by the bicycle man's house, a few over by the dog lady's house, one by Jenny's house, two by some bushes. I wish you'd get better glasses.
Lee: (calmly.) I can't see too well nowadays, I'll grant you that. (Lee bows his head he's a little embarrassed.)
Oscar: Yaw, I know, there's not a thing you can do about it either, for it's called getting old and wearing out all those bolts and screws in your head, our head you could say.

Lee scans the park with his eyes, his hat on his head tightly fitted, as he leans over the railing, the sun is hot, and there is a long silence.

Lee: Do you see anything moving?
Oscar: Like what? (A long silence.)
Lee: (loud.)Dogs! What do you think?
Oscar: No! You should get better glasses or binoculars.
Lee: (turning his head.) What?
Oscar: Bad vision, you have bad vision (loud.)
Lee: I can hear you, I got bad vision, yes, I know, not bad hearing!

Lee resumes his watching of the dogs...

Lee: Pest!
Oscar: un-punctilious dog!
Lee: Who, what?
Oscar: You that is what you are.
Lee: (anguish.) Go on, go on, go on and get out of here!
Oscar: Yes! Yes! Yes! I get the Picture.
Lee: Go, go, go, and get out of here! You’re like an old broom all worn out. No, we’ve become a two-banana head! Better yet, we’ve become a double-yoked egg!
Oscar: I'm marooned...
Lee: That's an original! Never thought of it that way.
Oscar: Baboon...
Lee: Cocoon...
Oscar: Croon...
Lee: Balloon...
Oscar: Monkey see Monkey do!
Lee: You already said that: rat-tat-too, or tattoo will do …
Oscar: No more, let's stop, and make up?
Lee: O.K.
Oscar: Where is Rosa?
Lee: Went to the Post Office.
Oscar: Boy, she's always busy. (Silence.)
Lee: What should we do now, I mean, when you get old, all you can do is look, sit and listen, droop, drop or flop...
Oscar: Is that one of your dizzy poems?
Lee: No, not really, but other than watching birds, fish or dogs, what else is there?
Oscar: Waiting for Rosa, and talking to me, or dogs, watching dogs!
Lee: I'm not waiting for Rosa, per se! (Silence.)
Oscar: I know per se, you're waiting for the dogs you can't see, —where did you pick up this 'per se' thing?
Lee: I could do some exercises, like you suggested.
Oscar: Better not, your wife will have a fit if you break a hip; blame me, especially after eating that so called: big-daddy of a burger!
Lee: She doesn't know you exist, you know.
Oscar: Oh, that's right, off we go to nowhere: incidentally, I expected as much...
Lee: That's enough I can't have another race with words.
Oscar: Sit in the one of those plastic chairs, with a back to it. Rest your eyes, take in some deep breathing, and forget the dogs for a while.

Lee: Let's just look at the dogs for balance.
Oscar: What you doing?

Lee is staggering about on one leg, as if it is sore...

Lee: I'm getting a touch of the gout in my right leg, I think the burger got to me.
Oscar: Red meat, that'll do it; ask God to take it away.
Lee: Don't be funny, that's why I have colchicine.
Oscar: What's that?
Lee: A pill, it stops, rather halts its progression... oh, you wouldn't understand.
Oscar: God, who is he?
Lee: God is God.
Oscar: Well that doesn't help; a dog is a dog also.
Lee: Maybe so, but God made the dog.
Oscar: Who made me?
Lee: Me.
Oscar: God forbid, how was that so?
Lee: I'm kind of kidding.
Oscar: I'm kind of kidding also, can you talk to God like you talk to me?
Lee: Kind of, in a way-
Oscar: Do you hear him?
Lee: Kind of, sometimes, I sense his presence if that's what you mean.
Oscar: I'm not sure what I mean, does he talk back to you?

The sun is starting to set (stage lights dim)

Oscar: Why not feed the dogs a few bones?
Lee: I have, I've fed them turkey bones, and steak bones, and now they sleep on our front doorsteps.
Oscar: Oh, bad idea.
Lee: They fight half the night away!
Oscar: You say you saw eight large dogs this morning?
Lee: Yes.
Oscar: And last week there was only five?
Lee: Yes, and before that someone poisoned three dogs.
Oscar: Long, gone, Ah?
Oscar: I guess so.

Lee's looking over the edge of the roof into the park area, he sees a few dogs roaming about looking for food.

Oscar: Give the dogs a good beating, they'll keep their distance.
Lee: You mean throw stones?
Oscar: Good idea!
Lee: Some neighbors have tried, it doesn't work.
Oscar: Good idea, bad results.
Lee: You said it before, the best way would be to poison them, with something that will not cause long suffering, but I can't.
Oscar: And you suppose what?
Lee: Let's not waste any more time on the issue, I'm not going to be involved with such crudity.
Oscar: you mean, cruelty; you got to do something.
Lee: Let the neighbors come up with an idea, they don't take mine seriously anyhow.
Oscar: I know it's a cruel fate, but...
Lee: Yes, it's a cruel outcome.
Oscar: What do you say?
Lee: I already said it: it's a cruel way to die.
Oscar: What are we doing here, isn't that a worthy question?
Lee: One thing is clear, not sure if that is a question or statement, but we are watching dogs.
Oscar: You mean, waiting for dogs to appear, and then watching them!
Lee: Ah? Perhaps that is more correct.
Oscar: on the other hand, you're waiting for Rosa to appear so you can get rid of me.
Lee: I've never thought of it that way, but perchance there is more truth than fiction to that, if you think so, it must be; right or wrong, it sounds correct.
Oscar: I'm not sure.
Lee: No, you're more right than wrong.
Oscar: One thing is for certain, the minutes would be long without me.
Lee: You're just a habit: a figment of my imagination.
Oscar: No doubt. Maybe you were born mad; you know I've been around longer than Rosa.
Lee: I wouldn't say that.
Oscar: But it's true.
Lee: I'm just bored with old age so I let you talk, or rattle on, created you out of nothing, and so you think now you have become something.
Oscar: You mean, old age has taken a bigger bite out of your energy, and now you're bored so you talk to me more, so I've taken on a bigger role in your life. And by the way, didn’t God create you out of nothing?
Lee: There is no denying that.
Oscar: I understand one has to do what one has to do.
Lee: That sounds like some old dry philosophy you overheard.
Oscar: I hear a dog barking (in the background a dog is barking)
Lee: They're probable fighting over a bone.

Rosa shows up on the roof

Rosa: Who you taking to?
Lee: Go to hell...

He turns about, sees Rosa, he hadn't seen her come, while he was talking to Oscar
Lee: I didn't mean you Rosa.
Rosa: I hope not, but who then?

Lee is standing stone-still, silent for a moment trying to get his state of mind; Rosa is holding onto a wool like sweater walking towards him...

Lee: Myself, I'm talking to myself.
Rosa: Here, I brought you up a warm sweater; the evening is cooling down some, you'll catch your death.
Lee: Don't worry about me, I'm fine.

Lee stretches out his hands and hugs his wife, as Rosa puckers up her lips for a kiss; it is starting to get gray out, the lights of the stage are dimmed, and perhaps a few other lights that look like park lights, go on…

Rosa: Oh, gosh look at all those dogs down there.
Lee: I know they're there, but I can't see them unless they move, it's getting a bit too dark, too dark for my eyes to spot them. (Silence.)
Rosa: You didn't take your nap today, did you?
Lee: No, I guess not, I got mooing about up here, but I am sleepy.
Rosa: Yes, take a nap; I put new clean cool sheets on the bed for you, they always help you to sleep better.
Lee: That's true.
Rosa: Yes, you look awful tired. Did you lose something?
Lee: What do we do now?
Rosa: I got to go clean the front steps, those dogs made a mess, you take a nap.

That's not what Lee meant, but he leaves well enough alone... a slip of the tongue, as if he forgot Rosa was there, for he was talking to Oscar.

Lee: It's been an amusing day.
Rosa: Really (she looks odd at her husband) what did you do to pass the time of day away?
Lee: I talked to Oscar.
Rosa: And who is Oscar?
Lee: Nobody really. (He smiles as if he has a secret.)
Rosa: Sounds like a ghost story is in the makings.
Lee: Yaw could be: Oscar's kind of a cloudy fellow! I mean mysterious.

They start walking towards the back of the stage, where supposedly the steps might be, their backs are to the audience (or can be)...

Rosa: Well? (Pause.) What is there so wonderful about today?
Lee: Let's talk about something else, I mean, something more meaningless.
Rosa: I was just going to suggest dogs, what a mess they made in my garden.
Lee: No harm in trying, but I'm not up to talking about dogs, so please don't, talk about anything else but dogs, please… (They are out of sight now).
Rosa: O.K!
Oscar: Thank God for little FAVORS! (Loud.)
Rosa: Who said that?

Rosa turns around looks at the audience with an inquisitive face... then back to Lee.

Rosa: That wasn't your voice-was it Lee? I mean I know your voice and it wasn't your voice, was it? Unless you're a ventriloquist and I think I'd know about that after nearly thirteen years of marriage, wouldn't I? (She looks at Lee a little panicky, a little strangely hoping for confirmation)
Lee: (turns about surprised himself, an eyebrow up) Eh? Well, I'll be... I suppose that was Oscar, isn't that something... but to tell you the truth… (With an odd kind of smile on his face, as if she had somehow taken on his mysterious realism, or stepped into his role-playing of sorts, and his stream of thoughts. Nonetheless, Lee, is dumbfounded himself, that Oscar spoke, unprovoked by him. Was if it was an automatic reflex response from his subconscious...? And since he doesn’t know the truth, he leaves his sentence blank…)
Rosa: Oscar, I thought you said he was... (She doesn’t say a made-up ghost, but she’s thinking it, and you can see it on her face.)
Lee (looking at his wife): Don't say it, I know what was said; let's just keep going... I'll have to talk to Oscar about this tomorrow…
There is a shadow in the middle of the stage (and a light cast over the shadow), although it at first looks like Lee’s, it increases in clarity, rather than growing fainter and fainter as Rosa and Lee start to walk to the side of the curtains, off stage, as if walking to nowhere in particular, Rosa seemingly grey with a tinge of bewildered suspicion, and a little fearful glancing at Lee, a bit stirred: Lee remains calm, smiles back at Rosa…
Lee turns his head back just before going behind the curtain, looks towards the shadow it is still there (as is the light over it) and then Lee looks towards the audience, and then back to Rosa, with that same solid but joyful contented smile, which seems to oddly comfort Rosa, they are momently at a standstill and then start back up to walk (after both are off stage, the shadow disappears, but you can hear: the pitter-patter of feet: fainter and fainter, and then—silence.)

Curtain down

“Waiting for Rosa” a Short Play in Two Acts, with Three Characters-out of Lima, Peru
 Copyright © December 7, 2012, by Dennis L.  Siluk, Dr. H.c.  (No: 980)
Original name: “The Dogs in Cherry Park” Revised.

Back of Book

The story, although it is called “Waiting for Rosa” and that is exactly what Lee is doing, it performs to have a strong if not at times puzzling connection if not impression on dogs which is really Lee’s part of his pastime, along with the protagonist’s invisible and strange companion, Oscar which is really the story’s alternate ego, or character, in this surreal plot, and sequent of events. Although Rosa can hear Oscar, on a few occasions, she cannot see him, this is called blind understanding for the most part; Lee can both see and hear him. The play has a modest and humorous refrain, with a tinge of magic realism.
Written on December 7, 2012, and revised in January, of 2015, the play is really a one act play, made into two acts, like a double-yoked egg! Coated in surrealism.

Dr. Siluk is the author of 48-books, a half dozen plays, along with 46-chapbooks, for a total of: 94-books to his credit.  The dog in the photograph on the back of the book, is named Pauper, a neighborhood stray that visits the author now and then at his home in Lima, at the dog’s suitability.

Dr. Siluk is a Minnesotan, and lives in Lima, Peru, and Huancayo, with his wife Rosa. He is presently working on six other books. He is Poet Laureate in Peru, and has lived there for the past ten-years consecutively.  He has no personal pets, and is a world traveler.