Cradle (Writing Challenge Day 14)

Two men are lying on a bed, a twenty-one year old guy and a teenager. The older one is tied up.

PAOLO

You came too soon.

JOE

Sorry.

PAOLO

No plans of removing my handcuffs?

JOE

Sorry.

(unlocks Paolo’s handcuffs)

PAOLO

Learning fast though. For your age that is.

JOE

Thanks. I try.

PAOLO

Ten more minutes before we have to leave the room. You want to eat some food? Watch some TV?

JOE

I’m good. Water would be nice.

PAOLO

Ref.

JOE

Ouch. Hotel price.

PAOLO

It’s okay, kid. My treat.

JOE

I can’t. You’re always so good to me.

PAOLO

Relax. You deserve it.

JOE

You make me sound like a whore –

PAOLO

What’s wrong with that?

JOE

Still. My dad wouldn’t want that. Always pushing me to do this, to do that. Grades, college, job, the works.

PAOLO

You can always fly away, kid. Be like me.

JOE

That’s easy for you to say. You’re all grown-up, college and shit. Dad gives me a curfew. It makes it harder and harder for us to meet.

PAOLO

Speaking of harder and harder…

JOE

Again? But the time —

PAOLO

I could always extend. One call to the hotel attendant. Give the word.

JOE

I have homework.

PAOLO

And I don’t?

JOE

Plus, entrance exam for Pisay this week.

PAOLO

No big deal.

JOE

I need to get into Pisay. Dad wants me to be a scientist.

PAOLO

That’s so cute. Let me guess, after Pisay, pre-med then med?

JOE

That’s what he said.

PAOLO

Nice of him to plan out your life.

JOE

You didn’t have a plan?

PAOLO

Yeah, but life screwed it up. I also wanted to go to Pisay but I got into Ateneo. Then college, yes, UP PolSci before realizing my life’s dream was Theater.

JOE

You said you’re in Creative Writing?

PAOLO

Life’s funny that way. Can never plan it. Like us. Did you plan on meeting me?

JOE

I only wanted to see the famed Tomato Kick for the first time with my friends —

PAOLO

Exactly.

(beat)

So you’ll stay?

JOE

For a while, I have to text my dad first.

(stands up and looks at the ‘mess’ by his legs)

Shit, towel.

PAOLO

Don’t move.

(exits. offstage)

Big towel or small towel?

JOE

Anything please.

Paolo enters with a small towel and tosses it at Joe

PAOLO

Small.

JOE

I’m sorry I’m not gifted.

PAOLO

Not that but, yeah. It’s pretty average for a boy your age. It’ll get bigger.

JOE

You promise?

(beat)

My bestfriends and I compared dick sizes once. I was the biggest!

PAOLO

Good for you, then.

(lies down)

Come here, kid.

JOE
(snuggling into Paolo)

I like yours though. So long and round. I hope mine gets like that someday.

PAOLO

It’s not the size.

JOE

Let’s not stay too long tonight, Kuya Pao. Dad would get on my case if I don’t review and do my homework tonight.

PAOLO

I’ll help you with your homework. What do you have to do?

JOE

We have to answer some polynomial equations, trivial stuff.

PAOLO

Believe it or not, math was my best subject back then. Let me help.

JOE

I didn’t bring my books.

(beat)

What about you? You said you got homework.

PAOLO

Nothing as fascinating as polynomial equations. I have to read Asterix and write a paper about it.

JOE

Asterix, the comic book? Cool!

PAOLO

It’s pretty funny actually.

JOE

The older people get, the more childish their subjects.

PAOLO

Shut up, kid. You want me to spank you again?

JOE
No.

PAOLO

Really?

JOE

Okay, yes.

(beat)

Kuya Pao, are you my boyfriend?

PAOLO

No, why?

JOE

Nothing

(mopes)

PAOLO

Do you want me to be your boyfriend? But I’m your kuya, Joe.

JOE

I just thought. Nothing. Not important.

PAOLO

You’ll find the right guy out there.

JOE

Maybe.

(beat)

Do you love me, Kuya Pao?

PAOLO

Of course! I’m your kuya.

JOE

I love you, Kuya Pao.

PAOLO

Yeah, thanks, kid.

(beat)

Are you ready now?

JOE

If you say so. Who’s turn is it to be handcuffed?

PAOLO

I just finished. It’s your turn. Are you ready?

JOE

Just. Let’s just do it.

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