Short Play: Praying For Onions


Image via Tumblr.

Kiong is 32 years old. Single.
Peng is 27 years old. Androgenous. Wheelchair Bound.

Act one scene I

Peng and Kiong are in the living room. Peng is trying stunts in his wheelchair and Kiong enters, farting loudly.

Peng: Hey gasbag, will you have some consideration and stop farting! You’re either gurgling your spit like a boiling pot or you’re walking around making sounds! You’re a fucking accordion!

Kiong farts and burps simultaneously and breaks out into a hearty laugh. He scratches his belly with his wart-adorned arm.

Kiong: Dude, will you just relax! I’m only human.

A fart punctuates his sentence. He bursts out laughing again.

Kiong: At least it doesn’t smell bad! Must have been the cabbages I had for last night. It’s making me gasy. You know flatulence or whatever they call it!

Peng: You’re a filthy barbarian! Stop blaming it on your diet!

Kiong is completely oblivious about how offensive his mannerisms are. He picks up the daily papers to read.

Kiong : Woah, a freak accident occurred. Some one got bowled over by a genetically modified onion, the size of my head! I wish we could have the past back. The onions we have don’t even make us tear anymore! It’s huge, but it doesn’t really taste like onion. I don’t even know what it tastes like!

Peng: The guy must have been quite stupid to have not seen the onion coming! That’s the way things are these days. Bigger is better. The misconception of paying more for quality isn’t always true. The money just goes to fancier ads where super models and celebrities command ridiculous amounts of money.

Kiong: Well, money makes the world go round. Life is never fair. You win some, you lose some. But this giant onion business is quite disturbing I must say. We’re losing foothold.

Peng: That’s ‘cos climate changes have left beds of onions rotting underground or growing badly. Before we know it. We’ll have cucumbers the length of our arms, peas the size of our eyeballs and what not. Think about it. I think it’s going to be damn scary! What is the world coming to? We forget ourselves too often!

Kiong: Welcome to the real world! And I think it’s ironic that you’re in the very same industry pushing capitalism to the forefront, promoting sweatshop labour and the creation of mutant foods to make more money! So don’t even begin by acting all shocked and surprised. It’s all about sales, generating revenue, pioneering events.

Peng: Hey watch what you say. At least these folks in the poorer countries work hard and have food to put on the table. And Man is constantly striving to improve himself, so giant vegetable or not, nothing to do with the industry. But, you said it yourself. Life isn’t fair. Advertising is the primarily lubricant of capitalism, but it moves the world, it facilitates globalisation.

Peng is pensive, Kiong gurgles some spit and eats a dandruff flake.

Kiong: Ah well. Whatever floats your boat. Hey, let me ask you a riddle. I just read it just the other day in the old English Exeter Book. ‘I’m a strange creature, for I satisfy women, a service to the neighbours! No one suffers at my hands except for my slayer. I grow very tall, erect in a bed. I’m hairy underneath. From time to time, a beautiful girl, the brave daughter of some churl dares to hold me, grips my russet skin, robs me of my head and puts me in the pantry. At once that girl with plaited hair who has confined me remembers our meeting. Her eye moistens.” What am I?

Kiong chuckles to himself and picks his teeth with his long fingernailed pinkie.

Kiong: Hazard a guess.

Peng: What?!?! You’re not just a barbarian, you’re a bloody pervert! Stop playing lecher! You’re the epitome of the ugly, lecherous, depraved male! And while I’m at this, please get a fucking haircut, you look like a cross between a mole and a skunk!

Kiong: Hey Mr critical, you don’t know what you’re missin’. This mullet is in vogue. So, stop picking on my personal grooming habits. (Touches his mullet and looks all proud.) This is what every gentleman in town should aim for – business at the front, party at the back. Strokes his hair.

Kiong laughs loudly and gurgles some spit and swallows it.

Kiong: Back to the pertinent issue. Give up?


Peng: On you, yes!

Kiong: Hey chill man! I was referring to the riddle!

Peng: The answer? A cock. Pause A damn sexy cock.

(Peng sniggers.)
Kiong smiles and shakes his head.

Kiong: Tsk tsk. Take your mind out of the gutter love. Give up?

Peng: Yes. No time for your silly games. What is it?

*rolls eyes* (PAUSE)

Kiong: An onion of course!

Peng: That was quite clever I must say. Speaking of onions, it’s been ages since we had any normal ones to eat. I miss tearing when I cut onions… And that pungent taste and smell. We’re losing our roots! What’s with all the fucking genetically modified shit? You think people really eat those onions the size of my head?

Kiong: I guess so. Onions are onions. And not everyone is a size queen like you! I hear they grow them from the ceilings of greenhouses now.

Scratch fat belly. Distracted and starts scratching warts on his arm.

Peng: So, we’re living on a planet with giant onions, mini carrots and square watermelons! Anyway, the onions we consume today are not the same as before. It’s just like comparing a snake and an earthworm.

Kiong: It’s the same. They’re both invertebrates. Same family.

Peng: But they’re not really the same! (PAUSE) You don’t really know your onions, do you?

Fiddles with Kiong’s mullet.

Kiong: Hey quit it! fends off Peng’s attack I’m hungry. You know what I’m craving for? (SMACKS LIPS)

Peng: What?

Kiong: The bulbous roots of course!

Act one Scene II

Kiong walks into the kitchen and pulls his boxer shorts up to his high waist. He peers around the kitchen looking for food. Rattling some pots and pans.

Kiong: I’m really craving for some good food now geezer. Hmmm onion gratin, Chile crumb-stuffed onions, nice crispy oily onion rings! That would be heavenly.

Peng: For some reason, I’m really glad in a way. There are no onions grown like before. ‘Cos you’ll be a fucking gas monster. Biological warfare in this house! How the hell do I cope with those nasty habits of yours? I should be knighted! And for god’s sake, spit out the phlegm in your throat, stop gurgling it and swallowing it after.

Kiong snorts up his mucus, gurgles spit and swallows it.

Kiong: MMmm. I am an organic person. There is nothing wrong in eating bits of myself. I love eating dandruff too. At the end of the day, it’s all going to come out by piss or shit. And don’t forget I take care of you!

Peng tidies up living room and wheels himself into the kitchen.

Peng: Well, you don’t say! Why don’t you try eating up those crispy warts on your arms. Then again, maybe you need to lose that belly to start turning around to eat warts off your arm! And have dandruff flakes in milk instead of Kellog’s!

Kiong fumbles around in the kitchen with pots and pans.

Kiong: So what’s cooking tonight? Shall we try cooking everything with garlic since there are no proper onions and I’m having a craving.

Peng: Jesus Christ! Stop acting like you’re preggers! And no, I’m not referring to that bulge you call a tummy. We’re having sandwiches. It’s been a year since they sold regular onions on the shelves.

Kiong: Can we cook something more appetising please? Sandwiches make me think about sex all the time. And there’s no one to fuck at the moment.


Peng: Ham and cheese sandwiches with lettuce and slices of tomatoes.

Peng goes to the fridge and starts taking out ingredients to make a sandwich.

Kiong grins and has a chicken in a basket biscuit.

Kiong: Eh want to know some interesting bits and bobs?


Peng: Extra mayo for you?

Kiong: Let me tell you something interesting.


Looks up from making the sandwich

Peng: Mayo?

Kiong: Yes please!

Kiong: Well, cavemen used to rub onion juices on their body for protection. The onion even has medicinal values. People used to run onions on their heads to prevent baldness and it is supposedly able to cure warts too!

Peng: What’s with the onion facts and myths? But if it’s true about the warts, then you should really give it a go!

Kiong: I’m craving for normal onions to savour, to cook with. To chop up and tear and feel human. To strip them by the layers, to violate the onion. To fucking rape the bulb!

Peng: Excellent imagery. What else about warts Mr Mullet?

Kiong: Listen. First, we have to cut an onion in half, rub it on the wart, tie the onion halves back together and bury them. When the onion decays in the ground, the wart is suppose to disappear.

Kiong scratches his warts.

Kiong: hey do you think if I got the wart’s scabs off in its entirety, I can embossed my name on the wart scab and have an organic installation of art? Hmmm. How do I love thee (warts) let me count the ways.

(Kiong counts his warts and hums a tune to himself.)

Peng: Sounds plausible, this wart thing. Well, you better start picking at your warts and hide the scabs under your pillow and hope for the wart fairy to bring back normal onions. The lethal pungent onions.


Kiong: Yah. Maybe we should have a ritualistic practice that will bring back our organically farmed onions.

Peng: So what do you suggest? Much as I’d like your warts to disappear, I’m not comfortable with living with lethal farts.

Kiong: Stop being nasty and shut up! You never have any thing nice to say about me anyway.

Peng: Oh come on. Don’t be offended. Tell me more about the ‘onion facts’ search. Cocks head to one side.

Kiong: Well, onions have so many uses. It’s bulbous root that can be eaten and has medicinal values.

Peng: I don’t know about medicinal values. I only know the ginger root helps sooth a cough and sore throat. My grandma used to boil that with rock sugar for me.

Kiong: Yea, I had those too. But I discovered so much more about onions. My greedy cravings led me on to a “research.” Uses his 2 fingers to illustrate inverted commas. The Egyptians regarded this root as a sacred symbol of the universe. It’s 9 layers representing eternity and, and that peeled away, left 2 stem buds as the naked beginnings of a new life.

Peng: Eh, maybe you should get a haircut. Layer that fucking mullet. It’s a like a figurative manifestation of the onion. And you’ll have a new beginning with no warts and REAL onions to eat. Sounds good eh?

Kiong: Well that makes sense. Let’s get to work.

Act one scene III.

Music in the background.

Kiong: Ok this will be how it should work. We shall collectively pull together all our experiences with onions from childhood till now and I’ll choreograph a dance for this ritual. We are going to pray for onions.

Kiong: Ok you start first. What is your first onion memory?

Peng twirls his hair.

Peng: I used to help out in the kitchen. But onions always made me cry. So I wore swimming goggles to help mom cut onions.

Kiong: I remember using onions to do vegetable prints at art class because I was lazy making shapes with carrots and potatoes, but the onion plant has its own beautiful layered contours. And I like the shiny hues of purple onions.

Peng: Fed the guinea pigs onion shoots because we ran out of veggies.

Kiong: Did they like it? It might have been too tasty for their rather bland diet.

Peng: They didn’t like it that much but nibbled at parts of it. Good source of antioxident maybe?

Peng shrugs his shoulder.

Kiong: Hurry up! We haven’t got all day. I’m suffering from onion withdrawal.

Kiong tickles Peng’s foot. Peng stabs him with a toothpick.

Peng: I got it! When I was growing up, we didn’t have that many toys, so I created a little animal farm with vegetables. And the camel was represented by an onion because it has a little hump.

Kiong: That just gave me an idea! Go on. Don’t stop thinking!

Peng: Don’t be a fucking slave driver and share your ideas! It might help to come up with a better one!

Kiong: Ideas are all raw right now. You’re like the clothesline and I’m the peg that holds up the wet laundry. Come on, team work. You facilitate my thoughts. You know I can’t talk about ideas until I’ve gotten them like a film reel in my head.

Peng: Yea… yea.

Kiong: I wonder how onions have sex. You know how plants have genders and the males don’t bear flowers or fruits.

Peng: Yup. But I wonder if onions functions the same way. Damn we could really do with a horticulturist right now! The onion is the root, so I think both male and female onions exist, but the female ones bears flowers.

Kiong: I wonder if they get orgasms.

Peng: Fuck off. Stop thinking about sex all the time, you stinking lecher! You need to get rid of those warts before anyone could be paid for a cuddle.

LAUGHS. And rolls eyes.

Kiong: Ok this is my onion memory. I went to the market and
bought a kilo of Mackerel. That night, my mom threw a party and we were baking the fish by the fire garnished with herbs, butter and just about 50 bulbs of onions. On my way back, I caught the eye of a cobbler in the corner and he hissed at me. Taken aback, I tripped on an uneven patch of concrete and skipped all the way home to disguise my embarrassment.

Peng: 10 points for being random!!! What has that got to do with onions?


Kiong: Well, it was an onion memory. I’ve never cooked with 50 bulbs in my life! And we’re talking about a motherload of onions! Maybe I should have thrown some onions at the nasty cobbler. But I was only 10, didn’t have the courage. Felt like a truly Oliver Twist on the streets.

Laughs and pulls Kiong’s mullet again.

Peng: Hey you know I can say I have a pet. Your fucking mullet! Ok I digress. We have now 5 memories. What happens now, Hecate? What’s brewing man?

Kiong rubs his hands together and does squats.

Peng looks at him completely puzzled, laughing at the ludicrious situation.

Peng: Trying to stifle his laughter. For fuck’s sake. What are you doing now?

Kiong: Bursts out laughing. This is called multi lateral thinking!

Peng: Well good luck! You’re so full of shit. I hope u get your bowels moving and some brilliant ritual can be organised and we can have good old onions like before!

Act one Scene IV

A table lined with animals made form cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, garlic and other vegetables on toothpick legs. A little farm. Peng & Kiong are wearing goggles sketching out layers of big purple onions.

Kiong: Right? Ready. This is our prayer for onions. Repeat after me.

Peng bows his head and Kiong gets on his knees. They both say a prayer ‘our father. Hail mary.’ Guan yin bless us with onions.


A giant onion smashes through the kitchen window and crushes Kiong’s leg. He moans and collapses.



Image via Pichaus

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