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Corporate Jungle (Ch 6) Picasso on Crack

March 19, 2011

            

                                                 CORPORATE JUNGLE

                                                        A Novella 

                                                              By

                                                           Yoly Solis

             Inside a rotting, third-world jail cell…
 
             Janice grasps cell bars…rakes a metal cup against steel.
 
             A Chica PROSTITUTE with bulging breasts, rolls her eyes.
 
                                      JANICE
                           I am an American citizen! You
                           can’t do this to me. I want my
                           phone call.
 
             Chuck marches in; José hides behind him.
 
                                      JANICE
                                (points to José)
                           You! You left me here.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Calm down, José is
                           sorry…aren’t you, José?
 
             José shrugs.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           José ran over to the Cantina
                           and asked me to help you.
                           Right, José?
 
                                      JOSÉ
                           Si. After many cervezas.
 
             Janice scowls.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Get me out of here, right now.

             WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!…
 
             Capitán swats a walking stick…black eye patches cover
             both eyes.
 
             Instead of facing the cell, he faces the wall…
 
                                      CAPITÁN
                           You are not going anywhere, you
                           crazy lady. You will face
                           charges for assault and be
                           sentenced to a maximum security
                           prison.
 
                                      JANICE
                           It was an accident…
 
             Capitán turns around, faces Chuck instead of Janice.
 
                                      CAPITÁN
                           My daughter is to marry this
                           Saturday…My ugly, fat, bad
                           tempered hija, who I thought I
                           would never get rid of. And
                           now, I will not be able to see
                           the union of my sweet release.
                           Thanks to you!
 
                                      JANICE
                           I’m sorry, I really am…
 
             Capitán follows her voice but she’s pacing…His nose slams
             against the steel bars.
 
                                      JANICE
                           I…I think I want to see my
                           attorney, please. And uh, I’ll
                           need a phone so I can call–
 
                                      CAPITÁN
                                (facing wrong way
                                 yet again)
                           Where do you think you
                           are,Seattle? In this country,
                           you are guilty until proven
                           innocent.
 
                                      JANICE
                           But at the trial I’d get an
                           attorney and–

                                      CAPITÁN
                                (faces José)
                           Trial? I am your judge, your
                           jury. Your flesh will wrinkle
                           and drop off your skinny bones
                           by the time you see sunshine
                           again.
 
             José cringes in fear.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Oh, really? I want to speak to
                           the U.S. Embassy. Now. This
                           minute.
 
             Chuck rolls his eyes…signals for Janice to shut up.
 
                                      CAPITÁN
                                (he’s talking to the
                                 wall again)
                           U.S. Embassy? You think a
                           Special Forces tactical team
                           will swoop in and save you? You
                           think they will wave machine
                           guns and break you out of
                           prison? You think–
 
             Chuck wraps an arm around Capitán’s shoulders…
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Capitán, you look like you
                           could use a drink. Let me buy
                           you a cerveza.
 
                                      CAPITÁN
                           She is so annoying…more
                           annoying than my hija gorda.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Yes…yes, she is.
 
             He glances back to meet Janice’s glare, places a finger to
             his lips.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Where do you think you’re going?
 
             Chuck guides El Capitán forward; they turn the corner,
             disappear…
 
             José glances at Janice, glances down the hallway, looks
             back at Janice again…runs for his life.

                                      JANICE
                           José! Come back here right now!

                                        **
 
             The next morning…
 
             Chica prostitute yawns, hands Janice a roll of toilet
             paper…
 
             Janice sobs, rips off a long strip…blows loud enough for
             ships to enter port.
 
                                      JANICE
                           …I couldn’t tell you when I
                           fell in love with him.
 
                                      PROSTITUTE
                           And they say Chicas talk a lot.
 
                                      JANICE
                           You don’t understand, this is
                           all my fault.
 
                                      PROSTITUTE
                           Jess. I believe so.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Horatio wanted to leave but I
                           talked him into staying,
                           because…I, I wanted
                           to…seduce him.
 
             Chica prostitute rolls her eyes.
 
             Chuck and José stumble in, BLIND COP in tow. Janice jumps
             out of her seat.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Finally!
 
                                      CHUCK
                                (whispers to Janice)
                           Please…keep your voice down.
 
             He rubs his forehead. José grabs blinded cop’s hand, guides
             the hand…inserts key into cell lock.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Do you know how many
                           cockroaches climbed over me
                           during the night?
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Ssssh. Inside voice.

                                      BLINDED COP
                                (to Janice except
                                 he’s facing José)
                           Capitán say jou must go
                           away…berry, berry far away.
                           He never want to see jou again.
                           Eh, he say he never want to
                           hear jou again.
 
                                      JANICE
                           I still haven’t filed a missing
                           persons complaint and–
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Quiet… p-l-e-a-s-e.
 
             He encircles her arm, drags her away…
 
                                    **
             
             Janice paces the hotel room, phone attached to her ear…
 
             Chuck sits on the bed, holds his head in his hands. José
             sits next to him.
 
                                      JANICE
                                (into phone)
                           Another meeting? This is an
                           emergency.
                                (pause)
                           Well, transfer me to Brad then.
                                (pause)
                           Ugh. Please leave J.B. a
                           message–Horatio’s been
                           kidnapped…yes, I’m aware of
                           the procedure…
 
             Chuck shoves José aside, falls back on the bed, instantly
             falls asleep.
 
                                      JANICE
                                (into phone)
                           Uh, I don’t have a copy of the
                           police report but–
                                (pause)
                           I realize that. No, no ransom
                           note yet…
                                (pause)
                           What do you mean he probably
                           ran off with some chica? Ugh.
                           Ask J.B. to call me right away.
                           Please.
 
             She slams the phone down. Chuck dozes away…

             SNORE…
 
                                      JANICE
                                (to José)
                           What’s with him?
 
                                      JOSÉ
                           Capitán drink him under the
                           table. He no get no sleep.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Terrific.
 
                                      JOSÉ
                           He save jou life. Capitán like
                           Chocolate so much he let jou go.
 
                                      JANICE
                           You expect me to believe that?
 
                                      JOSÉ
                           Jess.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Ridiculous.
 
             José shrugs.
 
                                      JANICE
                           I can’t sit around here
                           waiting. I’m going to take a
                           shower, get this jail smell off
                           of me. I’ll meet you out front
                           in half-an-hour. We’re going to
                           find Horatio.
 
                                      JOSÉ
                           Capitán say jou must leave
                           CocoLoco right away.
 
             SNORE…
 
                                      JANICE
                                (points to Chuck)
                           And take him home, please.
 
             She grabs some clothes, shuts bathroom door behind her.
 
             José pats Chuck’s shoulder. Nothing. Shakes him a bit…
             snores grow louder.
 
             José shrugs, heads out.
 
             MOMENTS LATER…

             Chuck opens, closes his mouth…unglues his eyelids.
 
             Steam spits out from beneath the bathroom door.
 
             He looks around, stumbles inside the…
 
             BATHROOM
 
             Lifts the toilet lid and…PSSSSS…
 
             In mid-stream, he notices the outline of a very naked woman
             behind a plastic, shower curtain. She’s soaping up really
             well.
 
             He grins, enjoys the view.
 
             Soon enough, she shuts off the water, opens the curtain.
 
                                      JANICE
                           AHHHHHHH!
 
             She tears the curtain off its rod, wraps it around her,
             screams some more.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Ay caramba, that was you?
 
                                      JANICE
                           Get out! Now! You monster!
 
                                      CHUCK
                                (grins)
                           Huh, couldn’t remember where I
                           was. Thought you were some hot
                           chica I picked up or something.
                           Whew, mind blowing.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Get out!
 
             He backs out, smile still plastered on his face, then…
 
             Pops head back inside bathroom…
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Can I tell the chicos?
 
             BOINK! A shampoo bottle crashes against his skull.
 
                                   **
            
 
             Janice peeks inside José’s VW…no sign of José.

             Janice searches the sidewalk, the street. Nothing. She
             spots Arturo wiping down a table at the Cantina…
 
                                      JANICE
                           Arturo…pssssst….Arturo!
 
             He finally spots her.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Have you seen José?
 
             Arturo points inside the Cantina.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Can you tell him to come out,
                           please?
 
             Too late, Arturo’s gone.
 
            
             Left with no choice, she pops her head through the door…spots José.
 
                                      JANICE
                           José. Psssst! José!
 
                                      CANTINA PATRONS
                           Yanice!
 
             APPLAUSE!
 
             Chuck sits at a table sipping coffee next to a SKETCH
             ARTIST. José nurses a beer, peers at the sketch.
 
                                      CHUCK
                                (to sketch artist)
                           A little rounder. Yeah, like
                           that.
 
             Janice stomps towards José.
 
                                      JANICE
                           José, let’s go…now.
 
                                      JOSÉ
                                (points to sketch)
                           Is almost done.
 
             She peers at the drawing…her jaw drops. The sketch portrays…
 
             A voluptuous, naked woman draped in a shower curtain,
             screaming her head off…her face looks like a Picasso on
             crack.

                                      JANICE
                           How could you!
 
                                      CHUCK
                           The chicos wanted a picture.
 
                                      JANICE
                           You’re an awful, awful,
                           horrible man!
 
             Chuck and chicos mumble their agreement. Arturo hands her a
             shot…she guzzles it down. COUGH, COUGH.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Let’s go, José.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Where are you going?
 
                                      JANICE
                           Not that it’s any of your
                           business, we’re going to find
                           Horatio.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           How?
 
                                      JANICE
                           We’ll go by Kinkos and post
                           copies of his picture–
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Kinkos? In CocoLoco?
 
                                      CANTINA PATRONS
                           Kinkos!
 
                                      CHUCK
                           You need to go home, lady. If
                           El Capitán sees you…uh, hears
                           you, he’ll arrest you again.
                           And no amount of alcohol will
                           convince him to release you
                           this time.
 
                                      JANICE
                           I don’t care.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           You should.
 
             She taps her foot, uncertain…the entire Cantina waits.
             She drops into a chair, snatches another shot, gulps.

                                      JANICE
                           I can’t leave Horatio here.
                           This…this is my fault.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           No kidding.
 
                                      JANICE
                           He wanted to leave.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Let me guess, the indispensable
                           assistant coerced him to stay.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Coerced? You think I’m capable
                           of coercion?
 
                                      CHUCK
                           People are capable of a lot of
                           things. Especially when they’re
                           in love with their boss.
 
                                      JANICE
                           You are a horrible, horrible
                           man. No wonder you’re hiding in
                           this hole. Like a mole!
 
                                      CHUCK
                           Lord Byron is rolling over in
                           his grave.
 
             Chuck stands, rips out the sketch from the pad, nails it to
             the wall.
 
                                      CANTINA PATRONS
                           Ooooh!
 
             Janice is about to say…but her eyes water, her lips
             tremble. She’s about to lose it, big time.
 
                                      CHUCK
                                (gentle)
                           Go to the hotel, pack your
                           stuff. I’ll take you to the
                           airport.
 
                                      JANICE
                           I can’t. I can’t leave Horatio.
                           I couldn’t live with myself
                           thinking…
 
             She breaks down in tears. Chuck sighs.

                                      CHUCK
                           Okay, we’ll make a stop before
                           heading to the airport.
 
             She’s still bawling…
 
                                      CHUCK
                           We’ll stop at El Sequestro
                           Hotel;
                                (The Kidnap Hotel)
                           He’s probably there.
 
                                      JANICE
                           What?
 
                                      CHUCK
                           That’s where hostages are
                           usually held.
 
             Her eyes narrow.
 
                                      JANICE
                           You knew all along where
                           Horatio was and didn’t tell me?
 
                                      JOSÉ
                           Ay, ay, ay.
 
                                      CHUCK
                           I liked it better when you were
                           falling apart.
 
                                      JANICE
                           You will take me to this
                           hostage hotel immediately.
 
                                      JOSÉ
                                (points to sketch)
                           She more scary in person.
                         
             To be continued…

*No part of this novella may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the author.    
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