A short play

Claudia Ramos Jordán
Boston University '16

CLAUDIA: Why is Columbus Day a holiday? Like, it makes no sense. Everyone was chillin’ on this side of the world until goddamned Colón came, and he was all like, “Ah, yes, perfect, undiscovered land…with people. With people who aren’t Catholic, oh my God! I’m so happy to be the first one to see that these people need to be saved!”

PATRICIA: And then just like that…all of Latin America is 90 percent Catholic. Ahhhhh, Imperialism. Remember that bullshit song the teachers taught us in Elementary school?

Colón, Colón, Colón
América descubrió
El 12 de octubre
América descubrió
Tres carabelas tenía
La Pinta, La Niña y la Santa María

CLAUDIA: Hah! I remember! The little dance to it was hilarious!

PATRICIA: I think it was screwed up. Why would the teachers want us to celebrate someone who sought out our land to colonize and convert into an entirely different culture? Our nation has been swayed for far too long. Nenes de teta. As if this side of the world was on display to become Europe’s private country club. Bitch, please.

CLAUDIA: I honestly think it’s important that we question the celebration of this day. It’s just…it celebrates the colonizer. It celebrates CO-LO-NI-ZA-TION.

PATRICIA: Once upon a time, there were a group of ants that built a community step by step, all on their backs. They each shared the weight of their own to contribute to the anthood around them.

CLAUDIA: And one day, a big, fat lion arrived and stepped on a lot of them. He stepped on their diligently built houses, and he spread all of the food they had organized in corners.

PATRICIA: Can I get an Amen?

CLAUDIA: Amen, sista!

PATRICIA: And our poor little island. Colonized once, shame on you. Colonized twice? Shame on all of us! And yet we’re still here. In the in-between, a Spanglish abyss.

CLAUDIA: Ugh, screw this. I wish people would make up their minds.

PATRICIA: I don’t think that’s the problem. People are just…they don’t give a damn about anything!

CLAUDIA: As long as ca-ching, ca-ching!

PATRICIA: Highest grossing…



CLAUDIA: Walmart!

PATRICIA: Forever 21! Borders!

CLAUDIA: (Mockingly) Oh wow, that’s impressive!

PATRICIA: Disgusting.

CLAUDIA: Don’t forget Walgreens!


CLAUDIA: “I pledge allegiance to the flag…”

PATRICIA: The dollar bill! Ca-ching, ca-ching.


PATRICIA: As long as they feed us.

CLAUDIA: As long as they feed us.

BOTH: Papa Colonizer. Papa and Mama Colonizer.

CLAUDIA: One too many invasions.

PATRICIA: One too many colonizations.

CLAUDIA: I don’t feel goddamn free.

PATRICIA: ‘Cause you ain’t on the land of the free.


PATRICIA: Hammertime?

CLAUDIA: No, no, I just realized something.


CLAUDIA: Everyone on this damn island is blind. Blinded by its beauty, blinded by its stores, blinded by its weather.

PATRICIA: And in that moment, I swear, we were dominated.

CLAUDIA: But, people need to wake up. Puerto Rico has to remember who they are.

BOTH: ¡Coño! ¡Despierta Boricua!

(Pause. The girls look at each other. And then look to the audience.)

CLAUDIA: And last–

PATRICIA: But not least–

CLAUDIA: We’re going to take it back–

PATRICIA: To some of the many atrocities made against the people of this island of enchantment.

(The next few lines are delivered as if they were reporting the news, matter-of-factly)

CLAUDIA: 1931 – Sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads deliberately infected several Puerto Rican citizens with cancer cells.

PATRICIA: 1937 – Ponce Massacre, police slaughter. 19 dead, 150 injured.

CLAUDIA: 1948 – The US Navy commenced bombing in an island municipality, which continued for 55 years. Over those years, more than 22 million pounds of military and industrial waste was deposited on the island.

PATRICIA: 1950 – Puerto Rican women were used for experimentation in the making of the first birth control pill. These women were not told the pill was experimental and were not told the negative effects the pill could have on them.

CLAUDIA: 1950 through 1970 – Radiation experiments

(They break away from their newscaster stance)

PATRICIA: Come on, man!

CLAUDIA: Are you kidding me?

BOTH: And you still want to be a state?

CLAUDIA: I don’t know if this is fair to mention–

PATRICIA: Since it’s been so long…

CLAUDIA: It’s a different time now.

PATRICIA: What about you?


PATRICIA: I don’t know, something that affected you in some way.

CLAUDIA: (Thinking. Pause.) Ah! I got it.

(Breaks into flashback, PATRICIA plays CLAUDIA’s high school music teacher.)

PATRICIA: I think it’d be great if you sang the National Anthems for Graduation!

CLAUDIA: You mean I have to sing the U.S. one, too?

PATRICIA: Yes. Of course.

(Claudia stands center stage. PATRICIA lingers behind her humming the Star Spangled Banner while CLAUDIA tries to sing La Borinqueña, Puerto Rico’s National Anthem. Eventually CLAUDIA’s singing takes over with hopeful pride as PATRICIA’s humming dies down.)


(End of scene.)


Any opinions expressed here are the author's own.