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Ga-go, a Filippino play, by a not Filippino man. (Other) by Jeremi B. Handrinos
FADE IN: EXT. SKY -- DAY Puffy clouds hang in the sky like fresh cotton balls. In the distance, silver specks start to fall slowly. As they grow closer, we realize they aren’t raindrops – They’re handfulls of COINS. EXT. COURTYARD -- DAY -- PHILLIPINES, 1986, SUMMER SPLUNK! Silver coins drop into a large fountain. We pull back, revealing a huge estate. Streamers are strung across the courtyard. Tables are full of fresh fruit, piping hot dishes, and luscious desserts. Children run and play, and fly kites in the sky. Men and women sip wine and chat casually. A huge BANNER above the fountain reads: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GENERAL FERDINAND CORTEZ EDMUND CORTEZ, 19, Handsome and thin, walks into the courtyard. PETER, 19, walks at Edmund’s side. Both he and Edmund are dressed in matching MILITARY UNIFORMS. PETER Are you sure this is okay? EDMUND shoots Peter a reassuring glance PETER But I wasn’t invited, Edmund. EDMUND You’re with me, and that’s invited in my family, Peter. Edmund, and Peter, grab appetizers & drinks on the fly. They pass a CLOWN doing tricks for a group of children. PETER I’m still nervous He downs a glass of champagne, and grabs another. Edmund gives Peter a squeeze on the shoulder. EDMUND It’s going to be fine, Peter. Getting drunk, I'm sure, will help. PETER Are you sure? They both laugh at the joke and share a moment. EDMUND Yes. PETER Okay. (Beat) Do you really think I’ll get a chance to meet him though? EDMUND Yes, Peter. I do, so relax. PETER I’m at the mansion of the great General Ferdinand Cortez, Edmund. (Beat) One of the children pops a balloon, and Peter jumps. Relaxing isn’t an option. AUNTIE Oh, Edmund! AUNTIE, 50, rushes over to Edmund with a noticeable limp and Wobble, showering him with kisses. Edmund gently pushes her away and straightens his uniform. EDMUND Careful, Auntie. AUNTIE So it’s official, then? EDMUND Yes, we both enrolled today. AUNTIE Congratulations. EDMUND Auntie, I’d like you to meet my good friend, Peter. Peter and Auntie shake hands and kiss cheeks. PETER It’s a pleasure to meet you. AUNTIE Likewise, Peter. (Beat) Edmund speaks quite highly of you (beat) Would you just look at how handsome the two of you look? PETER Thank you. EDMUND How’s Grandpapa? AUNTIE Oh, (beat) he is resting in bed. EDMUND But it’s his birthday. AUNTIE I know, Edmund, (she shoots him a sharp look) You know how he can be... He has good days, and then there are his bad days. EDMUND Can we see him? AUNTIE You want to show off your new uniform, do you? EDMUND I want to make him proud. Auntie smiles and touches Edmund’s face. AUNTIE You will, Edmund. You will. INT. MANSION – DAY Auntie leads Edmund, and Peter, down a long hall with fine, and highly glossed marble floors, Beautiful antique furniture and portraits aline both sides. Ornate vases spilling over with flowers are upon every table. AUNTIE I’m afraid you’ll have to keep your visit short though Edmund, because the General isn’t well as of late. EDMUND You’re worrying me, Auntie Ida. I just saw him last week, and he was fine. AUNTIE Well, he had a fall three days ago. They reach two large doors to a Bed chamber. AUNTIE Perhaps it’s best if just you go in, Edmund. EDMUND But I promised Peter he could meet… PETER (Cutting Edmund off) It’s okay, Edmund. AUNTIE The General has been asking to speak to you Every day since the accident Edmund, I think it's better if just you went in for now, because of the accident. EDMUND You are probably right? AUNTIE Yes, I am. EDMUND (Nervous) What does he want to see me about? AUNTIE I don’t know silly, what do men talk about when they are alone? Auntie opens the big door and nudges Edmund in. AUNTIE We’ll be in the courtyard. (Beat) Come, Peter, I’ll introduce you to the rest of Edmund’s family. PETER gives EDMUND a supportive squeeze on the shoulder (Imitating the one Peter gave him earlier, grinning) He follows Auntie back down the hall. INT. MASTER BEDROOM -- DAY Edmund walks into the huge room and stands motionless For a full minute or two frozen in contemplation. Lying in a large bed is FERDINAND CORTEZ, 70. Weathered and tempered by years of responsibility. Despite his frailty, he exudes an aura of strength, and stability. FERDINAND Were you planning on standing there all afternoon, Edmund? EDMUND (Startled out of a daydream) Grandpapa? FERDINAND chuckling. Opens his eyes and waves Edmund over to the bed. FERDINAND Such a dreamer just like your father. EDMUND I thought you were asleep. How did you know I was here? Did you hear me come in? FERDINAND A man must know his surroundings as well as himself if he wishes to survive the perils of a military career, or politics for that matter... (Beat) Apparently a decision that you have already made I see. EDMUND What do you think, Grandpapa? Perhaps one day I will have as many medals as you. FERDINAND Perhaps. Edmund, will you sit down with me, here (He pats the bed) for a moment? EDMUND What is it, Grandpapa? Is something troubling you? Now, closer to his grandfather EDMUND can clearly see the bruise and stitches that his grandfather obtained in his most recent fall he imagines. FERDINAND Do you know how old I am today, Edmund? EDMUND Seventy, ah, something. (Embarrassed) FERDINAND Seventy-three. (Beat) Seventy-three, of which I’ve spent the majority serving this great country. EDMUND (Enthusiastically) That’s why you are a hero. FERDINAND To some, I suppose. EDMUND Grandpapa, you are the greatest General in the history of the Philippine’s Military. Who could possibly not believe you to be a hero? Ferdinand takes Edmund’s hand in his own and squeezes it. FERDINAND Me. EDMUND I don’t understand. FERDINAND I remember the day I began my military career. I was a little younger than you, but I had the same zest then that I see in your eager and bright eyes today... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. PREP SCHOOL -- DAY -- SPAIN, 1919 A classic automobile chugs to a stop in front of several gorgeous buildings. YOUNG FERDINAND CORTEZ, 12 years old, slips out of the car and stares in wide- eyed wonder at the massive Spanish architecture before him. Ferdinand’s MOTHER and FATHER, both 40, take young Ferdinand by the hand and lead him up the walk toward the school. Huge peering gargoyles loom from above. While gigantic stone lions guard the entrance below. FERDINAND (V.O.) I remember as if it were yesterday. I’ll never forget the stirring anxiety that I felt in my little belly. Butterflies and hiccups, (he laughs) as my parents escorted me to my new home and future. INT. PREP SCHOOL – GYMNASIUM. MORNING Ferdinand and other boys stand in a straight line. Most of the other boys are Spanish and Caucasian. Everyone is practically larger than Ferdinand. FERDINAND (V.O.) I was shocked to discover that I was the only Filipino boy at the entire school. An INSTRUCTOR marches up and down the line, eyeing the boys, and making check marks on his clipboard. Methodically with the eyes of an eagle. FERDINAND (V.O.) Many of the other boys had never even seen an Asian before. Boys in line snicker and point at Ferdinand. A Blonde BOY pulls the skin back on his face -- making his eyelids slanted. FERDINAND (V.O.) I had no idea of how difficult this was about to make my life. INT. BUNKS -- NIGHT Ferdinand crouches by his bed, unpacking his suitcase. He carefully transfers his neatly folded clothes into a bedside dresser drawer. Ferdinand takes a framed picture of Jesus, rosemary, And a Bible, and places them on his night stand. BLONDIE, the blonde boy from the gymnasium, notices the display and approaches Ferdinand. BLONDIE What do you think you’re doing newbie? FERDINAND What do you mean? BLONDIE Why are you putting that up? FERDINAND I’m Catholic. BLONDIE Really? FERDINAND Yes. BLONDIE I think you’re lying. Boys quickly gather around Ferdinand and Blondie. FERDINAND I’m not. BLONDIE So Jesus is your savior? FERDINAND Yes. BLONDIE That’s funny, because, I don’t ever remember reading about Jesus visiting China Do you guys? The Boys all laugh and shake their heads no. FERDINAND For your information you don’t have to have white skin just to be a good Catholic, and I'm having a hard time believing someone that thinks in those terms could read. BLONDIE Well for your information you can’t have yellow skin if you think you’re going to fit in around here whether I can read or not. Blondie snatches the picture and rosemary off of the night stand and him and the other boys play keep away from Ferdinand. FERDINAND Give it back! WHACK! Blondie smacks Ferdinand in the face. Everyone stops surprised by the sudden challenge, and blatant insult to see what Ferdinand does. Ferdinand pounces on him and the two boys wrestle on the ground. The blond boy clearly gets the better of FERDINAND and we hear Ferdinand crying and begging for him to stop...

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