Death of a Mercenary: Act 1 - Scene 5


ACT I- SCENE 5



LA TASCA CLUB -- ONE HOUR LATER

SEAN and CAMACHO, both smoking cigars, are the only players left in the game. Between moves, they play a dangerous cat-and-mouse game of bluffs and words. CASIANO, FREDDIE, CHEWY and a small but captive audience have gathered around to watch.

CASIANO is the acting card dealer. He deals SEAN a card from the top of the card deck. Sean recovers the card from the table and studies his hand. With a dignified look, he combs the ends of his mustache giving Camacho an affirmative nod.

CAMACHO
(Eyes revited on Sean)

¡Una! [one more]


CAMACHO picks his card, looks at it, then back at Sean. Sean returns the stare and his eyebrow arches in comic fashion. Camacho curbs one corner of his lips into a smile and signals for another card. He picks the card and inspects his hand. Satisfied, he looks again at Sean and smiles.


CAMACHO

Me quedo [I stay]. A ver, let’s see what you have.


SEAN
(Tasting his drink)

Um… You know Camacho, I’ve heard rumors that you have a reputation for being a mean old bastard -hombre, no offense!


CAMACHO
(In a "congenial" tone)

None taken. Those are just stereotypical slurs by Yankee-gringos who expect everyone to kiss their white-ass. No offense, eh? (laughs)


SEAN
(In a “amicable” tone)

Oh, none taken. But as a white-ass gringo I have to tell you -and this may come as a shock to you, I think you are a real sport!


CAMACHO
(Amused)

Oh?


SEAN

No, really! I mean it! After the way you been losing tonight, you are taking it like a true gentleman. A real caballero! (at the crowd) ¿Verdad, amigos? [Isn’t it so, my friends?]


CAMACHO
(Teeth flashing in a forced smile)

Thank you, señor. Such deep and deserved praise is very generous of you. (then) Now, could you do me one great favor?


SEAN
(Look of innocence)

Certainly!


CAMACHO
(Coldly)

Could you please cut the bullshit and get on with the game?


SEAN
(Very "accommodating")

Oh, pardon me! How inconsiderate of me! Hum... Let’s see what we have here. (then, with a great show of “surprise”) Sweet Mother of Jesus…!


SEAN lays down his hand and Camacho stares at it in disbelief. Camacho, in a rage, throws his cards against the table.


CAMACHO

¡Maldito sea éste cabrón! ¡Coño!


SEAN
(Gathering his winnings)

No one tell me. I think I know what he said. I won, right?


CAMACHO
(Loud and clear)

I said, God-damn-you-sara-man-bish!


SEAN
(Blinks once)

I’ll take that as a yes! (then, organizing the bills) Camacho, my friend, have some Pepto-Bismol for that temper of yours. That shit does wonders for me. (puts the money on his shirt pocket) Well, my peoples, it has been a pleasure. We must do this again some other night.


CAMACHO
(“Charming" mode)

¡Mi amigo, un momentito! [Just a minute my friend] Me and my friends would be greatly offended if you leave now without giving us the opportunity to win back our money. (big smile)


SEAN
(On his guard, serious)

Your money…? You have no more money. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Tonight, you lost. (then) If you will excuse me, I really have to get going.


As SEAN tries to leave his seat, CAMACHO pushes the table toward him forcing him to sit down again.


CAMACHO
(Wide smile, menacing eyes)

Maybe I didn’t make myself clear.


SEAN grabs the sides of the table, rises ominously, but before anything can happen, AGUSTIN steps out of the crowd from behind Sean and places a hand on Sean‘s shoulder.

AGUSTIN (29) is dressed in dark pants, western boots, and white shirt with cuffs rolled up his arms, and a brown leather vest. His long hair is gathered into a ponytail.

CAMACHO gives Freddie, Casiano and Chewy a questioning look but they seem as puzzled as he does. None of them has ever seen Agustin.

CAMACHO
(Curious but cautions)

Who is this guy?!


AGUSTIN
(His most "endearing" act)

I am a tourist.


SEAN
(Murmurs)

How long have you been here?


AGUSTIN
(Smile fixed on Camacho)

Long enough.


SEAN

Did you see what that scumbag was trying to pull?


AGUSTIN (Softly at Sean)

Ah, ah, ahhh…! No need to get excited. (then, at Camacho) I think what we have here is a communication problem. ¿No es así, señor Camacho? [Isn’t it so, Mr. Camacho?]


CAMACHO
(Surprised but delighted)

¡Vaya, caballero! You are absolutely right. No need to get excited! Señor, your ac-cent… Cuban? Nah. (concentrating) Puerto Rican, right?


AGUSTIN inclines his head expressing both respect and assent.


CAMACHO
(Tapping on the table)

A blood brother! And I can tell that you are also an educated man. Being one myself, it’s refreshing finding another person with whom one can hold a meaningful conversation. (then) Have a drink!


CAMACHO pours Agustin a drink and one for himself. AGUSTIN (a non-drinker) takes the drink.

CAMACHO
(Raising the glass)

¡A su salud!


AGUSTIN
(Tasting the drink)

¡Muy bueno! (then) Now that we are friends, how about telling me what the problem is.


CAMACHO (“Confused”)

Problem? There is no problem! -Only a minor misunderstanding. (then, with a look of concern) You see, all we want, mis amigos y yo, is señor gringo here, to give us la re-vancha [a makeup game]. Eso es todo [That is all].


SEAN
(Not understanding)

Somebody light a candle! What the fuck is he saying?


AGUSTIN
(Still smilling)

Mr. Camacho and his associates want a chance to regain their losses.


SEAN
(Murmurs)

Like hell they will!


AGUSTIN
(Tapping Sean on the shoulder)

Ah, ah, ah…! (then, at Camacho) Señor Camacho, I believe that this, eh... -white ass gringo, has the right to leave the table since you have run out of money.


CAMACHO
(Collected)

Compadre, you are missing the point. We don’t mind losing. That’s part of the game. (then, unable to hold his back his anger) It’s the way he kept on winning!


AGUSTIN
(With calm rationale)

Bueno, el es un Americano de sangre Irlandesa. [He is an American of Irish blood.] The Irish are… very lucky people.


CAMACHO
(Unconvinced)

No one is that lucky unless he cheats!


AGUSTIN
(Thoughtful)

I see. (then) Did anyone see him do anything wrong?


CAMACHO
(Frustrated)

That’s the problem! We are sure he did it! We just can’t figure out how he did it!


AGUSTIN

Señor, be reasonable! You can not accuse a man of cheating without proof. People are going to say that you are just a bad loser! So what do you say if we just say good night and forget about the whole thing. (big grin)


CAMACHO
(“Hurt”)

>¡Ave María Purísima! I can not believe my ears! (playing the crowd) Did you hear that? Ah? I find it hard to believe that a man like you, who is one of us, can take sides with this gringo norteamericano!


AGUSTIN
(Taking a deep breath)

Señor Camacho, let me explain. This gringo happens to be one of my best friends. We are like family. Mi casa es su casa, and his problems are my problems.


CAMACHO
(Taken aback)

Coño, hombre, where is your pride? These are the kind of friends you have?! What kind of a Latino are you?


AGUSTIN
(Choosing his words carefully, smiles)

I am a man who happens to be muy puertorriqueño, and, like all Puerto Ricans, a loyal U.S. citizen. I think that makes me… an improved Yankee?


CAMACHO
(Laughs)

My friend, I admire your sense of humor and your loyalty. You also got some big cojones! So I’ll tell you what we’ll do. You can turn around and walk away and I’ll forget this whole incident. Friends, eh?


AGUSTIN
(Smile, raising his glass)

I’ll drink to that. ¡A su salud!


CAMACHO

¡Bueno! (they drink)


AGUSTIN

Now, if you excuse us, we’ll be on our way. (placing his glass on the table) Thank you for the drink. Let’s go, Sean.


CHEWY draws a weapon and points it at Sean. A nervous JULIO joins the spectators; JIM positions himself close by.

CAMACHO
(Cold grin)

Señor, I said you could go. The gringo stays.


SEAN
(Throwing himself back into the chair)

Oh, fuck!


AGUSTIN
(Calmly argues)

Compadre! Guns?! This is not good. You’re going to give Texans a bad name. What will the “brothers” say?


CAMACHO
(Chuckles)

They’ll say that you’re a fool if you stay. (mocking him) You know, I’m beginning to understand why you are so attached to the gringo. (He eyes lasciviously run up and down Agustin) Forget this guy. You can find another mariposa [homosexual] for the night in no time at all. Eh?


CAMACHO blows him a kiss and burst out laughing. THE CROWD laughs. AGUSTIN joins in the laughter as he turns around scanning the crowd. Suddenly, he pulls a Walther PPK pistol from behind and points it a Camacho’s forehead. CASIANO and FREDDIE pull 9mm pistols and aim at Agustin. Nobody moves for a couple of beats.

AGUSTIN

Damn you, Sean! See what you made me do?


SEAN
(Defensive)

Me? He is the one who called you a fag!


AGUSTIN

He was talking about you!


SEAN

Fuck him!


AGUSTIN
(Calm, Serious)

Never mind. (at Camacho) Tell your men to put down the weapons.


CAMACHO
(Hissing in contempt)

You don’t have the balls to pull the trigger.


AGUSTIN
(Calmly amused)

Never tried that before! (he cocks the gun’s hammer; his face turns cold and deadly) I always use the finger.


CAMACHO
(Hesitation, then)

¡Hagan lo que dice! [Do as he says!]


FREDDIE and CASIANO lowered their weapons. CHEWY hesitates, looking at Camacho as if to confirm the order.

CAMACHO
(Through his teeth, calm irritation)

Chewy! (Chewy does as he was told)


AGUSTIN
(At a nervous Julio)

Julio, put them away. (Julio grabs the weapons and carries them off)
Sean, put all your winnings on the table.


SEAN
(Shocked)

Say what?!


AGUSTIN
(Weary)

I am really pissed at you, so just fucking do as I say.


SEAN puts the money on the table grumbling at him.


AGUSTIN
(The charm returning)

Now, gentlemen, each one of you is going to draw one card from the top. Winner takes all. Is this agreeable to you, señor Camacho?


CAMACHO

As long as you have a gun pointing at my head, I find it hard to disagree.


AGUSTIN
(As if just noticing the gun)

Oh, how inconsiderate of me! Please forgive my bad manners.


AGUSTIN uncocks the weapon and calmly places the pistol on top of the table. Then he crosses his arms over his chest and stands back. CAMACHO stares in disbelief.

AGUSTIN

Now, do you agree?


CAMACHO

Yes, I agree.


AGUSTIN

Good! We have a game! (then) Señor Camacho, you may shuffle the cards.


CAMACHO picks the deck of cards and shuffles them. He places the deck at the center of the table. SEAN picks a card, looks at it, smiles, and shows it around. -A Ten of Spades. Camacho picks his, looks at it and starts to laugh. He throws his card on the table, a King of Spades, and the crowd erupts in cheers. AGUSTIN recovers his pistol and pulls Sean away.

CAMACHO
(Happy again)

¡Eh, mi amigo! Have a drink with us! No hard feelings, eh?


SEAN
(Murmurs to Agustin)

Nothing that a baseball bat won’t fix!


AGUSTIN
(Pushing Sean along)

¡No hombre! Some other time!


CAMACHO
(Curious frown)

Tell me something, would you have pulled the trigger?


AGUSTIN takes out the pistol, aims at the ceiling and pulls the trigger several times. The gun is empty.

CAMACHO
(Surprised and confused)

You are either a very brave man or a very stupid one.


AGUSTIN
(With a look of amusement)

Me? (he shrugs) I am a Puerto Rican.


AGUSTIN signals Camacho to direct his attention towards Jim, who had been standing along side, holding his hat in his hand. JIM moves the hat to reveal a Mini-Uzi subma-chine gun. CAMACHO laughs nervously as if all had been a joke. Agustin gives him a mocking smile and a wave of the hand. SEAN grabs his crotch making a gesture. Jim drops money on the bar to cover the tab, and after tipping his hat at Camacho -using his middle finger, joins his friends. They exit the club.

CAMACHO
(In a rage, at the crowd)

¡Qué carajo miran! ¡Lárgense! [What the fuck you’re looking at! Get out of here!]


The room clears. CAMACHO turns to his men.

CAMACHO
(In earnest)

I want those three pendejos! You hear me?


CASIANO
(Hesitant)

Hombre, that’s not going to be easy. Didn’t you recognize the guy with the hat? He works for Gunther. And the rings they wear. I’ll bet they are all Gunther’s men, includ-ing the girl. You don’t want to mess with Gunther.


CAMACHO
(Grabs his shirt, hisses menacingly)

Don’t argue with me, Casiano. I hate it when people argue with me.


CASIANO
(Cautiously exhaling)

We have to work with them on our next job.


CAMACHO
(Letting go as he ponders this)

Is that so? (grins) The jungle is a very dangerous place. Many people don’t make it back. Accidents! Then perhaps, after things cool down, I will pay a visit to that bitch and when I am done with her you guys can have her. (Chewy smiles salivating at the thought)


FREDDIE
(Cautiously)

Jefe, you are angry. Is not a game anymore. Perhaps you should think this over.


CAMACHO
(Grabbing his hair and slamming his head on the table)

No one fucks with Ernesto Camacho!


CAMACHO directs a challenging look at Chewy.

CHEWY
(Raising his hands submissively) )

What ever you say, jefe. What ever you say.



END OF ACT I - SCENE 5




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