Sangre Grande by Two by Ronald Amoroso
The curtain rises on a modest living/dining room, pleasantly furnished and tidy in
On one side a door leads to a verandah beyond which can be seen a small flower garden.
On the other side, another door leads to the bedrooms.
It is a rainy night.
The sounds of traffic rushing along a nearby highway can be heard.
Adrian, a young man of about eighteen, is studying at the dining table.
He looks intense and withdrawn.
His mother, Martha, enters silently.
MARTHA: Still studying, son?
ADRIAN: I haven't finished my revision yet, Ma.
MARTHA: No use worrying at this stage. You should be in bed, resting your brains
for tomorrow. Remember, you have to be up early to get there in time.
ADRIAN: (Distressed) I still have so much to cover.
MARTHA: Here, drink this! Hot chocolate. I put plenty milk in it, to fortify your
body. I'll be glad when it's all over. You're losing too much weight.
He tries to concentrate on his books.
MARTHA: I polished your shoes and put out a clean shirt and underwear. And
Adrian, I want you to pray tonight like you never prayed before.
ADRIAN: (Pleading) Ma!
MARTHA: Sorry. I shouldn't disturb you. It's just that the one thing I want on this
earth now, is for you to win that scholarship. So you could get out of here and stand up
on your own two feet. Lord, it's not too much to ask for. Help us, please! Come on, finish
your drink before it get cold.
ADRIAN: It's O.K. I've had enough.
MARTHA: You feeling nervous?
ADRIAN: A little.
MARTHA: Go rest yourself. I'll stay up till he comes in.
ADRIAN: As soon as I finish these notes.
Martha looks out the window.
MARTHA: Such a wild night! I wonder what's keeping him out so late? And he
promised to drive you to the college in the morning. The wrestling must have finished
late. He always has to remain arguing till the last light's out.
ADRIAN: It was postponed. The rain washed it out.
MARTHA: You think he got in an accident? It's so dangerous when the highway's
wet and slippery.
She sits down and starts a game of cards. After a while she sighs.
MARTHA: Just my luck! Nothing turns out right.
ADRIAN: What's wrong now?
MARTHA: This game! It will never come out.
ADRIAN: What's that you're playing?
MARTHA: The usual. Patience. All I need is a jack to fit next to the queen.
ADRIAN: Well re-arrange the cards a little bit.
MARTHA: No, it's not right.
ADRIAN: Pa does cheat all the time, even when he's playing with Mr. Lio and Miss
MARTHA: Hush boy! That's your father's privilege.
ADRIAN: He just can't stand to lose.
MARTHA: Is just his way. He don't mean no harm.
ADRIAN: (Irritated) Excuses, excuses. You're always defending him. You want to
bet he's neither at wrestling nor football, nor cinema nor speeding on the wet slippery
road to Grande? You want to bet that when he comes, its either 'big traffic jam because
the road flood', or 'ah just stop for a few beers with the boys'?
MARTHA: He never used to drink regular before. But is like a compulsion with him
now. Ever since the accident last year.
ADRIAN: Everything is a compulsion with him now.
MARTHA: Adrian! Don't talk about your father like that! He works hard night and
day to provide us with food and shelter and clothes. At least you could show some
ADRIAN: I know you really don't mean that. You just feel it's your duty to say so.
MARTHA: You don't understand him Adrian. He had it hard all his life. You think
it's easy to hit that road from Port of Spain to Sangre Grande, rushing backward and
forward, day after day, eh? Picking up all types, friend and foe, priest and criminal?
Staring death in the face a thousand times in the blazing sun or on cold and soggy nights
like tonight? No, Adrian. Don't judge him by the little wrongs he does commit from time
to time. Look at the other side of the coin. He's a good father and provider. He loves you
and has your interest at heart.
ADRIAN: And what about you?
MARTHA: I don't count. Everything is for you. All I look forward to, is hearing him
call you Dr Forde one of these days. Dr Adrian Forde.
ADRIAN: Dr Adrian Forde! You'll never hear that name.
MARTHA: (Alarmed) What you mean? But…but I thought you always wanted to do
medicine? To help the sick and the wounded.
ADRIAN: I haven't changed my mind.
MARTHA: So what foolishness you're talking?
ADRIAN: It's the name. Ah'm going to use Modeste, in the future.
MARTHA: My name! But why?
ADRIAN: Because I'm ashamed. He'll never understand how I feel, whenever I have
to fill out those forms with 'Father's name - Rufus Forde', 'Mother's name - Martha
Modeste'. What does he care so long as he could boast about his son's going to win the
MARTHA: He'll say is my fault. He'll say I put that in your head.
ADRIAN: You have nothing to do with it.
MARTHA: Doesn't matter. He always blames me.
ADRIAN: Then I'll tell him myself.
MARTHA: (Alarmed) No, you mustn't. Please Adrian, don't raise your father's
temper. You need all the help you can get from him. Keep his name, it will be easier on
all of us.
ADRIAN: I've done made up my mind, Ma.
MARTHA: Lord protect us!
Traffic goes screeching by on the highway.
A plaintive folk song is heard in the distance.
Martha returns to her cards.
A car is heard approaching.
Martha jumps up nervously.
ADRIAN: No. Sounds like a six cylinder.
MARTHA: I wonder who…?
BABSIE: (Offstage) Flash, Martha! We reach.
LIO: Come on, open up! Allyou, playing six o'clock fowl or what?
Martha opens the door.
Babsie and Lio enter noisily. They are in their early forties and complement one another.
Babsie is expensively dressed, although a bit overdone.
They greet Martha warmly.
MARTHA: Babsie. Lio.
BABSIE: Well, we're back in this miserable little island. The greatest in the world.
LIO: Home, sweet home!
BABSIE: Adrian come and kiss the old lady. Don't mind the face getting a lil hard.
Adrian kisses her on the cheek.
BABSIE: Martha, is a big handsome man you have in the house now. Next thing, is
grandchild he bringing home.
MARTHA: He ent have time for that now.
LIO: How the studies going Adrian?
ADRIAN: Exams start tomorrow.
LIO: Oh! You taking the top position this year?
ADRIAN: It's not so easy. Competition real tough.
BABSIE: Don't be so modest. That scholarship is yours.
ADRIAN: I'll try my best. If you'll excuse me, I have to be up early. Goodnight
He packs up his books and exits.
LIO: Nice boy.
BABSIE: The pride of Martha's heart.
Martha points to chairs. They sit down.
LIO: Where's Flash?
MARTHA: Rufus should be here anytime now.
LIO: Still working? At this hour?
He winks at Babsie.
BABSIE: You behave yourself!
MARTHA: So, when did you fly in?
BABSIE: Earlier this afternoon.
MARTHA: And the trip?
BABSIE: Just great! Especially the shopping.
LIO: That woman ran amok through three continents.
BABSIE: Dar-ling, a few odds and ends?
LIO: My wife could lie! She went out of her way to tell everybody that
her dear husband owned several oilfields in Trinidad and a few dozen high rise
condominiums in Mi-Ah-Me. Every con man from London to Tokyo was trailing us.
BABSIE: Why make money if you can't use it to open doors for you?
LIO: Women just don't know the value of money.
BABSIE: You concentrate on making it, dar-ling, and I'll worry about spending it.
MARTHA: (Smiling) You and Rufus are two of a kind where money's concerned.
BABSIE: Where did you say he went?
LIO: Strange! Coming from the airport, we passed him heading east on the
BABSIE: You should've seen them! Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!
LIO: Four streaks of lightning, burning up the road to Grande.
BABSIE: Tyres screeching, exhausts belching.
LIO: Horns blasting open the earbells.
BABSIE: And out front leading the pack, all the sevens. H A Seven, Seven, Seven,
Seven, Seven. A big red streak scattering everybody and everything in its way. I barely
caught a glimpse of Flash, grinning from ear to ear.
LIO: And right behind him, the devil himself.
MARTHA: (Nervously) El Tigre?
LIO: Yes. Last of all, a long grey Honda. The driver's face, grim like a corpse.
BABSIE: No dar-ling, was a white car.
LIO: No, Babs. Was the Honda with the two big headlamps looking like….
BABSIE: Dar-ling, don't doubt me. Was the white one.
LIO: Anyhow, I thought Flash gave up racing after the big accident?
MARTHA: (Disturbed) Who was in the car with him?
MARTHA: (Trembling) WHO WAS NEXT TO RUFUS?
LIO: Hey, take it easy old girl!
BABSIE: (Concerned) Martha, what's wrong? You're looking pale.
MARTHA: WHO WAS SHE?
LIO: We didn't see. The sun was going down. It was almost dark.
BABSIE: You alright?
MARTHA: It's nothing.
BABSIE: Don't give me that. Lio bring a glass of water.
Lio goes to the kitchen.
BABSIE: Now, tell me the truth. It's Rufus?
MARTHA: They're encouraging him, Babsie. He stopped for a little while after the
accident, but of late, the restlessness is building up again, breaking down his control. I
don't know what to do.
BABSIE: Don't give up Martha. You have to do something about it.
MARTHA: (Resigned) It's no use, no use.
BABSIE: Don't talk like that. Stop being nice. Threaten him. Say you'll walk out on
MARTHA: I don't know.
BABSIE: No excuses. You have to break this rusty old chain. Slavery ended years
MARTHA: You have it all wrong, Babsie. Rufus not controlling me. I could leave
anytime I want.
BABSIE: Then why don't you?
BABSIE: Because you're afraid to.
MARTHA: (Shaking her head) No! No!
Lio returns with a glass of water and a beer.
LIO: Here, drink! You refused to offer me a drink of rum, so I helped myself to
BABSIE: Why must she serve you, when you have two big empty hands? And
LIO: In the fridge.
Martha gets up.
MARTHA: Let me get it for you.
BABSIE: You sit down! Never let them develop bad habits. You have to train them
properly. And besides, he's not to drink strong.
LIO: Since you get that ring on your finger, like you changed.
MARTHA: (Surprised) Ring? What ring?
BABSIE: We wanted to surprise you, but Big Mouth had to go and let it out.
Lio returns to the kitchen.
MARTHA: What ring, Babsie?
BABSIE: I'm a married lady now. See!
She shows off her ring.
BABSIE: The most vulgar diamond I could find in Amsterdam.
MARTHA: But all that talk you used to give me about not giving up your freedom ...!
BABSIE: A woman's entitled to change her mind. When Basil send to call me, I
don't want to hear the radio broadcasting, "We announce the death of Babsie
Scantlebury, reputed wife of Lio Thomas. Reputed wife. I would drop dead a second
time. No, my dear, I work too hard to help build up that man of mine, for all his money to
pass on to his family.
LIO: So that's the real reason? And what about all your moaning about how you
were so ashamed because the hotel staff was taking you for a prostitute? You could lie,
BABSIE: Too late! The preacher done tie the knot.
LIO: Ah could always get the lawyer to untie it.
BABSIE: You want me to commit murder?
They laugh. Lio shakes his head and starts to read a newspaper.
MARTHA: (Excited) So tell me about the wedding. You wear long dress?
BABSIE: But of course.
MARTHA: With crown?
BABSIE: And veil. I was all in white.
BABSIE: Milk white. Purity my dear. Imagine that! Ah old battleaxe like me!
Babsie and Martha burst out laughing.
BABSIE: You should've seen me walking down the aisle, bouquet in one hand, Lio
on the other, and long tears streaming down my face. Like Miss Universe.
MARTHA: Must have been beautiful.
BABSIE: Beautiful? You mean painful. The new high heel shoe was pinching my
They burst out laughing again.
MARTHA: Ah really glad for you.
BABSIE: Have patience, your day will come.
MARTHA: No, not at this stage of my life.
BABSIE: Don't talk nonsense. One of these days, you'll see.
MARTHA: Babsie, that trump card will never turn up.
A car approaches and stops. Martha jumps up nervously.
MARTHA: Is he, Rufus.
LIO: High time too.
Martha opens the door. Rufus enters. He is also in his forties. Lio greets him warmly.
LIO: How you keeping, man?
RUFUS: (Shrugging his shoulders) Same as usual.
BABSIE: Flash dar-ling!
Babsie hugs him.
BABSIE: You're soaking wet. Where you been?
RUFUS: (Flatly) Got a puncture coming from South.
LIO: Didn't know you're on the southern route now?
RUFUS: I'm not.
RUFUS: Bring me a jersey, Martha!
MARTHA: Yes, Rufus.
Martha exits to the bedroom.
BABSIE: Got our cards? We sent from all the countries we visited.
RUFUS: Yeah, got them. You certainly wasted a lot of money.
Rufus takes off his shoes and socks.
LIO: Well some people gamble their money, some spread it around. I like to
travel. And now with Babs….
BABSIE: We got married in Toe-Run-Toe, Rufus.
RUFUS: Married? What for? What get into you?
BABSIE: (Sharply) And why not?
RUFUS: You wasn't happy before?
LIO: Yes, but….
RUFUS: So why you had to go and handcuff yourselves together? To prove what?
BABSIE: Well I was tired of unholy bedlock.
RUFUS: Anyhow, that is your concern. MARTHA! WHAT'S TAKING YOU SO
He strips off his shirt and drops it on the ground.
[End of Extract]