Six People 1.19

Silence.

Maggie:  So what are your thoughts about the memorial?

Roberto:  Chihuahua, mija.  That is a tough one to answer.  Let me think.

He thinks.

Roberto:  Well, If pressed, I would say that it would have to tell my story which is one of opportunity.

Roberto:  Whatever is built would have to reflect everything that I am and all that I have lost.

Inwardly he reflects about the life he might have had.

Roberto:  I’m not sure that any building can capture the height of my dreams.  I think I would build a simple lawn with two trees on it.  No buildings, just two trees.  Trees are simple, roots that go into the soil and branches that reach for the sky.

He raises his arms outstretched to the sky.

Roberto: (looking at SirIsaac) How about you?

SirIsaac:  I had not given it much thought.

Spencer:  Where are you from?  What’s your background?

SirIsaac:  (embarrassed) I hardly know.

SirIsaac lifts his arm slowly to stare at the color of his skin.

SirIsaac:  I’m what you call a half-breed.

Ellen:  A half-breed of what?

SirIsaac:  I didn’t fit in.

SirIsaac:  I wasn’t white enough for the Ritz, and I wasn’t black enough for the ghetto.

Six People 1.18

Maggie looks to Ellen:  Why do you hate America so much?

Ellen:  I don’t hate it; I hate what it has become.

Roberto:  But you’ve had all the breaks.  Look where I came from.

Ellen:  And where is that?

Roberto:  From nothing.  My father brought us here from Honduras.  We landed in Miami where we lived in a cardboard box on the street.  That was our house; but you know something, it was better than what we had in Honduras.

Maggie:  Why was that?

Roberto:  Because the cardboard box had a door to a better world.

Roberto shakes his head in certitude.

Roberto:  There was no chance for us in Honduras.

He remembers now his childhood.  He can see his family in color, standing on the sidewalk, a sunny day, blue sky, green grass, poor.

Roberto:  Mi papa cut lawns, and mi mama made tacos.  Soon we were off the streets and into a small apartment.  I helped my mom make tacos at the restaurant she worked at.  The cooks taught me how to cook because I made them laugh.  I was a little Jay Leno making fun of their bosses, and they liked that.

Roberto:  For part of the year we became migrant workers.  We’d pick crops on different farms around the Northeast and other parts of the country.  That’s how I got to Nueva York.

Spencer:  New York.  It’s New York.

Spencer sees himself as the guardian of the English language and culture.

Roberto:  Yes, New York.

SirIsaac:  And you love it?

Roberto:  I love it.  I love this country.  So many of you take it for granted.

Six People 1.17

Spencer:  It is bullshit.  The people of the United States do not play games with other countries.

Addis:  You are right, the people do not.  How about your government?

Ellen:  Our government is everywhere.  Everywhere in the world.

Spencer:  You’re damn straight we are.  To civilize it.

Spencer feels content as if he has revealed to the world Newton’s Laws of Physics.

Spencer:  These people are animals, man.

Ellen:  Fine, believe the bullshit.  Believe the Nazi gestapo.  Never challenge anything.

Spencer:  (incredulous) We don’t have gestapo in the United States.

Ellen:  Really?

Ellen laughs out loud.

Ellen:  What do you call the FBI, the IRS,  the ATF?  Friends?

SirIsaac:  The people they go after need to be taken down.

Spencer:  Aye, aye, SirIsaac.

Ellen:  So we live in a free country, huh?

Spencer:  I think we do.

Ellen:  Then go out in the street and call for the overthrow of the government.  Try not paying your taxes.

Spencer:  Why would I do that?  I love this country.

Roberto:  But what if you didn’t?

SirIsaac:  Then we’d leave.

Ellen:  Sure.  Now, excuse me while I laugh my ass off.

Six People 1.16

SirIsaac:  That’s the way it is.

Again, silence.

Spencer:  Okay, what is the best way to honor the people who have died?

SirIsaac:  You mean us.

Spencer:  Yeah.

Ellen:  Well, doesn’t much of that depend upon what we feel this attack represents?

SirIsaac:  That’s a good point.

SirIsaac:  Okay, I’ll begin.

SirIsaac:  For me, the attack is much more than just the loss of civilian life; it’s an attack on our American way of life and the values upon and for which this country stands.  As such, this land at the World Trade Center is sacred ground and should be honored as such.  It should be a national park like Gettysburg.

Spencer:  Amen, brother.

Ellen:  Please.

Spencer:  What do you mean, please?

Ellen:  These attacks whether you want to hear it or not were blowback, blowback from the illegal and immoral activities of the CIA.

Spencer jumps forward and jabs his finger in Ellen’s face.

Spencer:  Why, you unpatriotic bitch!

Ellen:  Sticks and stones, baby; sticks and stones.  Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to Osama bin Laden himself.  He said it loud and clear:  The reason we attacked you was to give you a taste of the medicine you have been giving us for the past 70 years.

SirIsaac:  That’s bullshit.

Six People 1.15

Ellen chimes in with her faux Australian accent also:  “What part of no don’t you understand, mate?”

Roberto turns to Ellen:  That’s it, good, good. Rod Laver.  Advantage, Laver.

Ellen:  Okay, Rod Laver;  now shut up.

SirIsaac:  I can do it.  Rod Laver.  Advantage, Mr. Laver.

He really can’t.  His accent is British also.

Addis:  Me too.  Rod Laver.  Advantage, Laver.

Everybody speaks together save Maggie and Spencer:  Rod Laver.  Advantage Laver.  Rod Laver …

Finally.

Maggie:  (screaming) Shut up!

Silence.  Everyone is taken aback.

Maggie:  (softly) Just shut up.

Silence.

Roberto:  What’s eating you?

Again, silence.

Spencer:  Look, we have a job to do.  We’re supposed to review and critique a  memorial, not fuck around with stupid accents.

Ellen:  Why, I thought the design had already been decided by the authorities.

SirIsaac:  The building’s up.

Spencer:  We’ve been asked to review the process.

Ellen:  I don’t want to.

Maggie:  Irrelevant.

Six People 1.14

Roberto looks at Ellen and the others.  He asks them in half-assed Australian English if they had ever been to Australia.

Roberto:  Have you ever been to Australia, mate?

Nobody responds affirmatively.

Roberto:  That’s all I can do with an Aussie accent.  I mean I can do names, and little phrases.  Rod Laver.  Mel Gibson.  Russell Crowe.  Nicole Kidman.  Have you ever seen Nicole in an interview.  She’s always scared.

He imitates Nicole Kidman, dead on.  “Yeah, it was scary.  I was really scared.”

He really stretches out the vowels.

He pauses and then resumes.

Roberto:  Rod Laver.  Advantage, Laver.  It’s tough to do an Aussie (pronounced incorrectly, American) accent.  So to get myself into it, I repeat to myself Rod Laver. Advantage, Laver.

When Roberto speaks like an Aussie, his accent is British with ‘ing’ and ‘r’  and ‘a’ pronounced in the British manner.

Roberto looks at Maggie.

Roberto: Rod Laver, Rod Laver, go ahead and try it.  Rod Laver.

Maggie demurs and looks uncomfortable.

Spencer looks at Maggie uncomfortably.

Roberto:  C’mon, mate (pronounced incorrectly like plate). Rod Laver.  Advantage, Laver.

Maggie:  (getting flustered) No, I don’t want to do it.

Roberto:  C’mon, Mate.

Spencer:  (perturbed) She doesn’t want to do it.

Six People 1.13

Roberto laughs.

Roberto:  Actually, I got that from a movie.

Roberto as Russell Crowe: And if any us bore ill will against you, may the Lord forgive us, and give us the strength to forgive.

Roberto isn’t sure if he got the quote right, but nobody seems to notice.

Spencer:  I don’t recall this line.

Roberto:  Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World.

Ellen:  I don’t remember that movie.

Roberto:  Well, actually, it came out after we died.  I cheated.

Roberto seems contrite and apologetic.  A few moments later he looks upward and closes his eyes as if the movie is bringing back memories.

Roberto:  I love that movie.

Addis:  Why?

Roberto:  I love films about the ships and the sea.

Addis:  Why?

Roberto:  I don’t know why.  I guess because I can lose myself and dream of going to places – like India, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand.

Roberto:  Even though we were poor and couldn’t go anywhere nice, we always had a few dollars for the movies.

Spencer:  What was this movie about?  Master and Commander.

Roberto:  I don’t know, a bunch of Australians sailing around getting into trouble, the Galapagos islands, the usual stuff, battles, jumping on ships.  Who cares?  It was a good movie.

Roberto:  And I love doing the accents.  I walked around the house for six months trying to talk like Russell Crowe.