Bus Rides to Bicol

I – Outside the Men’s Comfort Room, Araneta Station

Damien is sitting at a bench outside the restrooms. James enters.

JAMES: Fuck. I’m late. (spots Damien) Tol, what time is it?

DAMIEN: 6:10.

JAMES: Okay, I’m not. (sits down) Thought I was. Hi.


JAMES: (pauses) 20 minutes ’til the bus has to leave.

DAMIEN: Right.

JAMES: Going to Bicol?


JAMES: Naga?


JAMES: Me too. Penafrancia?


JAMES: Nice. (beat) 20 minutes then. Lots of things we could do in that time.


JAMES: You know, to pass the time away.


James stands up and goes to the CR. By the door, he pauses and turns to stare at Damien. He goes inside the CR. Damien remains seated for five minutes. James comes back out.

JAMES: You know, you were supposed to follow me.

DAMIEN: Was I now?

JAMES: You’re new at this, aren’t you?

DAMIEN: On the contrary – I’m too old for this.

JAMES: You don’t look a day older than 24. I’m 21 by the way.

DAMIEN: I’m 22 and I’m too old for this.

JAMES: Oh. (sits down) So, I’m guessing no on the CR?

DAMIEN: That is right.

JAMES: We still got twenty minutes.

DAMIEN: Nineteen.

JAMES: I’m James by the way.

DAMIEN: I’m not interested.

JAMES: Oh, come on.

DAMIEN: That whole slutty sex with strangers phase? I’ve done that. I’m over it.

JAMES: You’re all dating, romance, love and shit?

DAMIEN: Not necessarily.

JAMES: That’s the opposite.

DAMIEN: I am not a slave to my basic urges.

JAMES: You want me to believe you haven’t had any form of it?

DAMIEN (raising his right hand): Hi James, I want you to meet my boyfriend. We have regular sex.

JAMES: Well, there is that.

DAMIEN: Could you please leave me alone? I still got 18 minutes here.

JAMES: You got to give me a name.


JAMES: It’s the only way I’d leave you alone.

DAMIEN: Roger.

II – Later. Outside Jollibee, Laguna.

James is smoking by the bus. Damien approaches.

JAMES: Hey Roger.

DAMIEN: You again. (fumbles at his pocket) Shit.

JAMES: A light? (takes out his lighter)

DAMIEN: No thanks.

JAMES: You sure?

DAMIEN: I should really quit.

JAMES: You quit cock, you thinking ’bout quitting cigarettes as well.

DAMIEN: Fine, give me that. (lights his cigarette)

JAMES: We still have a few minutes though. Before the bus leaves, I mean.

DAMIEN: Nothing’s changed, James.

JAMES: I know, I know. Just putting it out there.

DAMIEN: Why do you want to fuck me so bad? Can’t you wait ’til you get to Naga and get on with some of the sluts there?

JAMES: I want to get on with one of the sluts here.

DAMIEN: How needy and pathetic.

JAMES: Hey, I’m sorry. Listen, fine, you want it your way? Give me your number, when we get to Naga, I’ll call you. Let’s make this proper.

DAMIEN: What makes you think I’m interested in you?

JAMES (moves forward to Damien and puts his hand inside Damien’s right pocket. When he fishes his hand out, he is holding a lighter. He flicks it, and there is light.): You had to fake not having a lighter just to talk to me.

III – Central Bus Terminal, Naga City

Damien is rolling in his stroller to an empty chair. James joins him after a while.


JAMES: Well…


JAMES: See, I told you it’d be fun.

DAMIEN: That was one of the dirtiest comfort rooms I’ve been to.

JAMES: But you liked it.

DAMIEN: What did they say about riding a bike? Once you learn how to –

JAMES: – You’d wonder why everyone’s laughing at your outdated mode of transporation.

DAMIEN: (laughs) Thank you for this.

JAMES: Told you to trust me.

DAMIEN: Now, I’m just as much a slut as you.

JAMES: Oh, lay off it. You were always a slut like me. You were just hiding it.

DAMIEN: I see.

JAMES: So, yes, Roger, about that number?


JAMES: You know, so I could call you.

DAMIEN: You mean, this isn’t over?

JAMES: O babe, you’ll never want it to be over.

DAMIEN: The thing is…

JAMES: You still shy?

DAMIEN: Not really…

JAMES: After what we’ve done just there, come on, don’t wanna do it again?

DAMIEN: Well, you see…it’s not that, it’s just…

MICHAEL, a 23 year old man, enters.

MICHAEL: Hey, baby.

DAMIEN: Mikey!

MICHAEL: Hey, Damien, how was your trip. (they kiss)

DAMIEN: This is James, I met him on the bus. James, my boyfriend, Michael.

MICHAEL: Hi, hope Damien hasn’t been eating your ear up.

JAMES (sardonic): Nope. Damien has been a pleasure.

DAMIEN: So, let’s go, babe?

MICHAEL: You waiting for someone, James? I could drop you off somewhere.

JAMES: I’m good.

DAMIEN and MICHAEL exit. JAMES dials a number on his cellphone.

JAMES: Hello, Ricky? You still live in Naga? Guess who’s in town for a couple of days. Hey, babe, how about I crash at your place? I still know how to make you squeel.





THIS IS THE TAROT CHALLENGE, a 78-day writing challenge where everyday I pick out a random card from my tarot deck and write something about, against, inspired by, based on the card by the day’s end. The works can range from poetry to fiction to drama. When the card is from the major arcana, the title of the work should be the card name. When the card is from the minor arcana, the title can be different but the card drawn should be revealed at the end.