El Sueño Americano


Dora Explora (not her real name) and Dr. Sinclair Mahlon (his “American alias”) emigrated to the United States from Panama when they were in their early 20s. Although fully trained, Sinclair never found steady work as a doctor in America. At least not a legal doctor.

Dora: You could have landed in jail this time.

Sinclair: But I didn’t.

Dora: Only because I let you off.

Sinclair: That’s not my fault.

Dora: Of course it is.

Sinclair: The cops came to you. They could see… You said you didn’t want to press charges.

Dora: You know why I didn’t want to press charges.

Sinclair: Well, you can’t blame me for everything.

Dora: I don’t blame you for everything. I don’t blame you for Hurricane Katrina. Or the price of bananas. But I do blame you for this (points to face.)

Sinclair: Fine.

Dora: What do you mean, ‘fine.’ You need to take responsibility. You need to stand up. Like a man.

Sinclair: Oh don’t you start ragging on me about that again. You know what happened the last time.

Dora: You’re fucking right I know what happened the last time. I got pictures to prove it.

Sinclair: Well, I’m just saying.

Dora: You’re just saying. A real man.

Sinclair: So leave.

Dora: That would teach you a lesson.

Sinclair: That would teach me nothin’ at all. Right? Nothin’. I walk out of here tonight, I can find someone to take your place for the price of a beer. You dig that? The price of a beer.

Dora: Well, at least you can afford that.

Sinclair: You’re damn right I can. Right here, right now. The price of a beer.

Dora: Well, why don’t you stop moaning and get me one. Right here, right now.

Sinclair: Raggin’ on me like I’m your ball boy. I got feelings. You try to beat them outta me but I still got them. They are buried deep down, for protection, but they still there. You can’t beat a man down and still expect to be loved.

Dora: Well, you can’t beat a woman period and expect to be loved.

Sinclair: I’m just sayin’.


Dora: Oh god.

Sinclair: What?

Dora: This eye. I’m not sure I’ll ever see through it proper again.

Sinclair: It’ll be fine.

Dora: Really, Doctor Sinclair. Where’d you get your training? Panama, wasn’t it.

Sinclair: It was a reputable school.

Dora: It had a reputation all right. I told you. There and then. We never should have come to this country. Never.

Sinclair: Live and learn.

Dora: Or die trying.

Sinclair: It ain’t that bad.

Dora: For you, maybe. You out there, living the life.

Sinclair: Living the life. (laughs)

Dora: I’m stuck in here all day. Watching “Price is Right” and tending to my wounds. You out there. Living the life.

Sinclair: Oh, stop it. You make it sound like I’m driving around in a convertible.

Dora: You could be for all I know.

Sinclair: Listen, woman, if I was out there driving around all day in a convertible do you really think I’d come back here at night to be treated like a a-hole. Do you?

Dora: Could be. You always been an odd-duck.

Sinclair: And stop trying to blame me for coming here. We both decided. Right? We both followed the American Dream. Weren’t just me.

Dora: Well, we shoulda known better.

Sinclair: Yeah, of course we shoulda known better. And we didn’t. Just like a hundred million other suckers. But I can’t be taking the blame for all of them neither.

Dora: Just saying.

Sinclair: Just saying.

Dora: So what we gonna do?

Sinclair: Do? What you mean ‘do?’ You think we can go back home? At this age. Go back and start over again? Is that what you’re thinking?

Dora: Maybe.

Sinclair: Maybe baby. And do what. That’s what I’d like to know.

Dora: Well, you could start doctoring again. And I could…

Sinclair: What? You could what? Work as a TV sitter? A benchwarmer? A cat-walker?

Dora: We could stay with your mother.

Sinclair: My mother. She so old now she wouldn’t even know who I was. She so old we’d have to stick a pin in her every morning just to see if she still alive. She so old…

Dora: Okay. I get the idea. She so old.

Sinclair: Damn right she so old.

Dora: So what then? We stay here and beat the shit out of me every night?

Sinclair: Don’t go start ragging on me again. I said I was sorry.

Dora: No you didn’t.

Sinclair: Well, you know I am.

Dora: I don’t know any such thing.

Sinclair: Stop ragging.

Dora: Stop hitting.

Sinclair: Stop stopping.


Dora: Well, all I know is this man asked what we see in our future and we done answered every question but.

Sinclair: Well, maybe he should have asked us somethin’ else. Maybe he shoulda asked us why we livin’ like this. That would be somethin’ people like to know.

Dora: So tell the man.

Sinclair: Tell the man. Tell him we screwed every way but Sunday? Tell him we so far down we eatin’ ketchup soup? Tell him we so far down we got more bugs than nickels? Like that you mean?

Dora: Don’t go raggin’ on me. He the one askin’ the question.

Sinclair: Well, here’s the answer. We don’t got no answers. Dig? How’s that. We got no answers to anything anyone want to know. Anything. You know what we do got? We got a bed, two chairs, one wobbly, a stove without much gas, one juice glass, three knives and two forks, a placemat so old if you put it on the floor you’d slip on it, a lightbulb been flickerin’ since 1969, a freezer that don’t, a AM radio…

Dora: Don’t go raggin’ on me.

Sinclair: I’m just sayin’.

Dora: I hear you.

Sinclair: We done here.

Dora: That a question or you just saying.

Sinclair: I’m saying.

© 2016 James Porteous

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