We're doing something a bit different here beyond the baseline today. Instead of writing about tennis, we're going to do a dramatic re-enactment instead. (If anyone is foolish enough to want to make this film, you know, call me.)
This is called 'His Name Is Rogelio' and it goes out to the Federbitches.
SCENE 1 [INT]: INDIAN WELLS LOCKER ROOM
RAFA sits on a bench, looking sad and lonely. He has a towel, which he is twisting between his hands. He is very sweaty - he has just come off court after playing a long, gruelling match.
Enter IVO. He doesn't look at RAFA. He is too busy tweeting about how he just lost. He exits. RAFA sighs. He is alone. Until...
Enter ROGER, who crosses to his locker.
ROGER: Hi, Rafa.
RAFA's face breaks into a huge smile.
RAFA: Hola, Rogelio! How are you? What is going on? What are you doing here? I just played a match! When do you play a match? Where have you been?
ROGER: How did your match go?
RAFA: I won. Just. Is impossible to win easy, no?
ROGER: That's great!
A silence. ROGER and RAFA look at each other, and then giggle like little schoolboys for approximately fifteen minutes. Eventually...
RAFA: What are you doing here? hee hee hee.
ROGER: Oh, you know how I'm playing doubles with My Friend Stanley?
RAFA's face darkens.
RAFA: Yes. Hey, remember how we played doubles at the Rally for Relief? We should do that in a tournament sometime!
ROGER: Maybe. I like playing with My Friend Stanley. Are you crying?
RAFA (sniffing): No.
ROGER: Well, I have a yellow shirt and he has a blue shirt. He wore a yellow shirt yesterday, so I think it's my turn to match him. I asked Nike to send me a blue shirt.
RAFA: I have a green shirt. You would look so nice in green.
ROGER: Thanks, Rafa. You are a nice boy. How's your doubles going?
RAFA: It's fine. Hey Roger, want to play -
ROGER: Anyway, I just came to see if my new blue shirt - you know, so I can match My Friend Stanley - has arrived.
ROGER opens his locker. 45 blue shirts fall out.
ROGER: Wow! I guess Nike really like me.
RAFA: Nike really like me too! We are Nike bros!
ROGER: Yes, Rafa, we are totally Nike bros.
ROGER: Anyway, I should take my shirts and go. I'm off to dinner.
RAFA: Where are you going?
ROGER: Oh, I don't know. I'll let Mirka decide. It'll be nice. A real family dinner. Me, Mirka, the kids... and My Friend Stanley. Bye, Rafa!
RAFA sniffs. He is near tears.
RAFA: Is impossible for him to like My Friend Stanley as much as likes me, no?
Enter OTHER LOPEZ
OTHER LOPEZ: Hey Rafa, want to come to late late Spanish dinner when you've done your press and stuff?
RAFA: Not this time, Other Lopez.
OTHER LOPEZ: What do you mean, no? I'm your doubles partner! I'm your bro! I'm Bropez!
RAFA: I am tired after my match. Tired and sad.
OTHER LOPEZ: Why can't we be BFFs like Roger and My Friend Stanley?
RAFA: ROGER IS NOT BEST FRIENDS WITH MY FRIEND STANLEY HE IS BEST FRIENDS WITH MEEEEEEEEE!
OTHER LOPEZ: Whoa. Chill. Later, dudelio.
Exit OTHER LOPEZ.
RAFA stares into the middle distance, trying not to cry. After a moment, enter NOLE
NOLE: Hey Rafa, want to play an awesomely badly timed and inconveniently located exho with me in Bogota the day after the final?
RAFA: What? No! That was a NO-WHATEVER, not a YES-WHATEVER, Nole!
Exit RAFA after NOLE, running.
SCENE 2 [EXT] - CENTRE COURT, INDIAN WELLS
Enter RAFA and OTHER LOPEZ. OTHER LOPEZ is dressed identically to RAFA, except for his shoes.
OTHER LOPEZ: Are you excited, Rafa? I'm excited! Remember how we won here last year?
RAFA: Is impossible for me to remember, no? I have won so many things.
OTHER LOPEZ: Well, it was awesome! We're awesome! We're the best team ever! Rafa and Bropez RULE, man!
RAFA: That was a yes-whatever. We, um, rule.
OTHER LOPEZ: VAMOS! Let's play tennis! Let's beat those Swiss cheeses!
AX #1: Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You
Enter ROGER, in slow motion. The wind machine starts up and blows his chocolate curls back. In slow motion. RAFA stares at him, lovestruck.
ROGER: Hi Rafa! Like my new blue shirt?
RAFA: You look... beautiful.
OTHER LOPEZ: Rafa, why have you fallen to your knees? Is that why you injure them all the time?
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Yeah Rafa, why?
MY FRIEND STANLEY emerges from behind RAFA.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Don't Roger and I look great, Rafa? Don't we look like... best friends?
RAFA: I'm ranked #1 in the world.
RAFA: Sorry, Roger! I did not mean to offend you! For me you are the greatest player, you know -
ROGER: What, were you saying something before? I just meant, dude, get up, we have to start the match.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Yeah, me and Roger are going to kick your arse.
RAFA: I won't let you, My Friend Stanley. You can't intimidate me.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Roger likes me more than you.
RAFA: Prove it.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Hey Roge, who am I?
ROGER: You're My Friend Stanley! Come on, let's play!
MY FRIEND STANLEY: That's right. I'm his friend Stanley. And who are you...?
MY FRIEND STANLEY and ROGER walk to their side of the net. RAFA stares after them, a tear in his eye.
OTHER LOPEZ: Rafa, come on! We have to start the match!
RAFA: His name is ROGELIO.
SCENE #3 [EXT] - CENTRE COURT, INDIAN WELLS
A tennis montage. ROGER hits some awesome shots, mostly in slow motion, chocolate curls flying artistically. RAFA hits a few monstrous forehands, a few right at MY FRIEND STANLEY. MY FRIEND STANLEY reciprocates with some backhand winners. OTHER LOPEZ tries to get RAFA to notice him.
End of the first set. RAFA is serving. It is deuce, deciding point. If RAFA wins this point, the set goes to a tiebreaker. If he loses, ROGER and MY FRIEND STANLEY will win the set.
RAFA throws the ball in the air for his first serve... and suddenly we are in his mind.
SCENE #4 [INT] - RAFA's mind
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Roger likes me more than you!
ROGER and MY FRIEND STANLEY sit next to a campfire, warming their hands. Gradually, slowly, ROGER moves his hands so he is warming them on MY FRIEND STANLEY.
ROGER: My Friend Stanley...
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Yes, Roge?
ROGER: Can I call you... My Best Friend Stanley?
SCENE #5 [EXT] - CENTRE COURT, INDIAN WELLS
MY FRIEND STANLEY grins evilly at RAFA, who grits his teeth.
RAFA: No. I will not let him defeat me.
OTHER LOPEZ: Come on, bro! You can do it!
RAFA: Who are you again?
OTHER LOPEZ: Dude, I'm BROPEZ!
RAFA throws the ball in the air to serve again, and... he looks into ROGER's eyes.
SCENE #6 [INT] - RAFA'S MIND
RAFA: And what are you going to give me? for the present?
ROGER: I'll give you the first set.
RAFA and ROGER giggle like little schoolboys.
RAFA: We are bros, no? BEST bros?
ROGER: Totally. And bros give each other presents, don't they?
SCENE #7 [EXT] - CENTRE COURT, INDIAN WELLS
UMPIRE: Game, first set, Federer and Wawrinka, seven games to five!
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Woo! Yeah! Hopp Suisse! We are the Swiss! The mighty mighty Swiss! See you soon! On the moon! We are the best, aren't we, Roger!
ROGER: We rock, My Friend Stanley!
OTHER LOPEZ: Dude, what were you doing?
RAFA: For you, Rogelio. The first set, it was for you. My gift.
SCENE #8 [EXT] - INDIAN WELLS, CENTRE COURT
Another montage. ROGER and MY FRIEND STANLEY clearly have the upper hand. OTHER LOPEZ is alternately flabbergasted and trying to make RAFA remember he's there. RAFA is distracted by the slow motion wind machine glory going on near ROGER.
Eventually, MY FRIEND STANLEY is serving for the match. RAFA hits a huge forehand which MY FRIEND STANLEY cannot get to. RAFA does a double fistpump.
UMPIRE: Forty thirty.
MY FRIEND STANLEY serves to OTHER LOPEZ, who loses the point.
UMPIRE: Game, set, match, Federer and Wawrinka, two sets to love. Seven five, six three.
OTHER LOPEZ: Dude, I am SO SAD we lost. Rafa and Bropez are out of the tournament. What are we going to do?
RAFA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever.
OTHER LOPEZ: Which whatever was that?
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Hey Roge, do you think I was on fire? Want to warm your hands on me?
ROGER: Not today, My Friend Stanley. I'm a bit tired.
MY FRIEND STANLEY is crestfallen. Slowly, a huge smile spreads over RAFA's face.
ROGER: Good match, Rafa.
RAFA: Thanks, Rogelio. Good luck for the final.
ROGER and RAFA shake hands. They hold hands for a moment longer than is strictly appropriate. They stare into each others' eyes, sympatico on every level.
SCENE #9 [INT] - INDIAN WELLS LOCKER ROOM
ROGER, MY FRIEND STANLEY, RAFA and OTHER LOPEZ are all towelling down and doing that kind of thing after the match.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Hey, there's a note in my locker! It landed right on top of Homer Simpson's head!
OTHER LOPEZ: Rafa, you never leave notes in my locker.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: This is so sweet, Roge.
ROGER (doing his hair): Mmm? It's not from me. I was too busy reading The Elegant Universe to write notes.
OTHER LOPEZ: What does it say?
MY FRIEND STANLEY (unfolding the note): 'Dear My ENEMY Stanley, is impossible for Roger to like you more than me. Has he ever played exhibitions for charity with you? NO. Did you play doubles and ping pong tennis with him in Australia? NO. Do you have the GOAT bromance? Do you have a gigglefits video? Did you hug him and nearly make out with him when you beat him in Australia in 2009? NO. You may be His Friend Stanley, but I am HIS BROTHER, no?'
A silence. Everyone looks at RAFA.
RAFA: I didn't write that. Doesn't even sound like me, no?
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Of course it was you! Who else could it be?
RAFA: All right, it was me - because I am the ONLY ONE he does those things with. ROGELIO LIKES ME THE BEST.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Um, NO, bitch. Has ROGE ever let you take a picture of him with Homer Simpson sitting on his cap brim? NO.
RAFA: Well, I don't play with dolls, LOSER. And anyway, Fedal sounds WAY cooler than Fedrinka. What is that? It sounds like something you use to fix your sink!
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Yeah, well, Fedal sounds like something you would eat for dinner! With rice!
OTHER LOPEZ: Why don't you ever fight over ME, Rafa?
Exit OTHER LOPEZ.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Um, who is that guy again?
RAFA: Other Lopez. Bropez. Something. I can't remember.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Anyway, fighting again. How many gold medals have you won, bitch?
RAFA: Um, ONE.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: How many have you won WITH ROGE?
RAFA: His name is ROGELIO!
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY grab each other and throw down on the floor of the locker room.
ROGER (giggling): Oh boys, don't fight over little old me!
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY stop fighting.
ROGER: Hello, Mirka.
ROGER kisses MIRKA's cheek.
MIRKA: What is going on here?
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY stop fighting and look sheepish.
MIRKA: On your feet, both of you.
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY stand up.
MIRKA: Were you two fighting over who Roger loves the most again?
ROGER: Guys, you know I love you both.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: But I'm Your Friend Stanley! You love ME!
RAFA: But we have a fine bromance!
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY: Sorry, Mirka.
MIRKA: We've had this conversation before. No more fighting over Roger. He worries that you'll get hurt and it musses up his hair.
RAFA: Nothing could muss up your hair, Roger. That's why I got my hair cut just like you.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Loser.
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY: Sorry, Mirka.
MIRKA: We've talked about this, remember? Roger is very good friends with both of you.
ROGER: Yeah, love you guys!
MIRKA: But when it comes to who he loves most, the answer is...
AX #2: Drumroll.
RAFA: Please choose me, Rogelio.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: I love you so much, Roge.
MIRKA: ...me. Guys, haven't you figured that out yet?
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY both look crestfallen.
MIRKA: Come on, Roger. Charlene and Myla have woken up and I need another pair of hands to change nappies.
ROGER: Isn't she the best? See you guys.
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY stare after him mournfully.
MY FRIEND STANLEY: Well, if Mirka's #1, then I'm #2.
RAFA: No, I'm #2, no?
MY FRIEND STANLEY: I'm #2!
RAFA: I'd be a better #2!
NOLE: I thought I was the one fighting to be #2.
RAFA and MY FRIEND STANLEY: SHUT UP!
Roger: older and not quite out
4 months ago