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Chicacabra Reloaded (Ch3) King of the Jungle

June 4, 2011


A Telenovela on Crack


Yoly Solis

Based on the Novel CHICACABRA

             The chicas surround Gisela’s kitchen table…
             Except Maria Elena–she’s slamming kitchen cabinets in
             search of food.
             Gisela blows her nose and…
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Let’s call the Coast Guard
                           again. There must be some
             Cristina flashes her an incredulous look. Tia shrugs.
                           I called. They said his boat,
                           El Jamonero, is still docked in
                           Coconut Grove. He must have
                           gone on Pepe’s boat. Waaaaah!
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Well, that’s easy…where does
                           Pepe keep his boat?

                           I don’t even know if Pepe has a
                           boat. I don’t even have his
                           phone number. I don’t even know
                           his last name!
                                      MARIA ELENA
                                (mouth full)
                           Isn’t he a roofer? We’ll just
                           look up roofers in Miami named
                           Pepe. How many can there be?
             Community are-you-freakin’-kidding-me stare.
                           If we find Pepe, we’ll find
                           Paco. I’m sure of it.
                                                       CUT TO:
             Patient Examination Room:
             A Chica Patient lies on an examination table, draped in the
             obligatory tissue robe…pedicured toes wiggle in the stirrups.
             A Man faces the sink, turns…he wears a Doctor’s lab
             coat…embroidered on his chest: DOCTOR PEPE.

             Below his lab coat…work boots, saturated in black, gooey,
             roof tar.
             He snaps on gloves. Heads for the stirrups, opens his arms
                                      DOCTOR PEPE
                           Open, open sesame
             Back at Gisela’s Kitchen…
             The chicas still sit at the table. Maria Elena points at a
             phone book…
                                      MARIA ELENA
                           There must be a million Pepe
                           No shit, Danno.
                           He’s dead, I know it! The love
                           of my life, my one and only, is
                           dead. The sharks are nibbling
                           on his beautiful body. WAAAAH!
             The chicas smile…as if picturing a lovely sunset.
             Maria Elena races back to the kitchen cabinets…
                                      MARIA ELENA
                           Is there anything to eat in
                           this house? I’m starving.
             Gisela blows her nose; joins her in search of food.
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                                (whispers to
                           Did you get them?
             Cristina digs inside her purse, slams a stack of photos on
             the table.
                           I swiped them from Conchita la
             They scrutinize each photo in hiding.

                           Look! You can see the puta’s
                           license plate.
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           You know what you have to do.
                           I don’t know what I have to do.
                           As a matter of fact, I don’t
                           have to do anything.
             Maria Elena munches on a bag of chips…Gisela plops back
             in her chair. Cristina shoves the photos back inside her
                           My poor Paco…he didn’t take
                           his sunblock. He’s floating in
                           the ocean, his beautiful calvo head
                           sizzling in the hot sun like chicharon.
             The chicas smile again.
                           We’d better start calling
                           everyone–let them know Paco is
                           missing. This is a horrible,
                           terrible tragedy–friends and
                           loved ones should know.
             The chicas share an “oh crap”  look.
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Why don’t we wait a little
                           longer? Paco could show up at
                           any minute.
                           And call Padre Roberto. I need
                           spiritual strength in my
                           darkest hour.

             Inside a Miami Beach Condo’s Bedroom…
             Lacquered furniture, mirrored walls. A picture-window
             overlooks the bay.
             JUANA, sizzling caliente chica, wears her clothes tight–
             what little she has on. She purrs into the phone.

             Paco, Gisela’s estranged husband, pops his head inside the
             bedroom. He scowls.
             She turns away, phone still pressed to her ear.
                           Oye, Juana! Who you talking to?
             Juana rolls her eyes.
                                (into phone)
                           Si, Tio…I’ll have to get back
                           to you.
                           No, I won’t forget.
             She hangs up.
             Paco storms inside the bedroom, points an accusing finger.
                           You talking to another man?
             Juana spins around, sucks in a deep breath.
                           No, papi. There’s only you. No
                           one but you. Te amo, baby.
                           You’re lying!
                                (rolls eyes again)
                           There’s only you. No one but
                           I see everything…I know
                           Ay, si…you know everything.
                           Unbelievable. And to think, I
                           was going to take you to the
                           Amazon Jungle with me.

                           No, papi. There’s only…Amazon
                           Jungle? I thought you were
                           taking me to Hawaii.
                           We will live like royalty. Paco
                           Perez is king of the jungle.
                           I’m not going to no Amazon.
                           I’ll play Jungle Juana in
                           Miami…thank you very much.

                           Aha! So you are cheating on me.
                           No, papi. There’s only you. No
                           one but you.
                           You will regret this day! Even
                           if you beg forgiveness on your
                           knees, Paco Perez, King of the
                           Amazon, will never forgive you.
                           Give me back the tennis
                           bracelet I gave you.
             She wraps her fingers around her diamond-clad wrist.
                           Sorry, papi…no refunds.
                           Besides, there’s only you. No
                           one but you.
             He snatches his luggage and cash-heavy briefcase…
                           You will regret this day for as
                           long as you shall live.
             He storms out.
             Juana crosses her arms, waits.
             Paco races back in.
                           You will regret this day.

             Storms out again.
             Juana checks out her manicure.
             He stomps back in.
                           You have no idea…none…of
                           what you’ll be missing.
             Storms out again.
             Juana waits until the front door finally slams shut…
             Dials the phone…
                           Hi, papi…you in the mood for
                           some jungle boogie?

             Chatting Chicas percolate throughout Gisela’s house. Padre Roberto
             enters like a kitten entering a pit bull’s cage.
             He makes his way to the bedroom, hesitates…
             Peeks inside the doorway…
             A crowd of chicas chatter…a manicure station is set up–
             the line if five deep.
             Gisela lies on the bed, a compress rests on her forehead.
             Pastry boxes, wet tissue litter the bedspread.
             She spots Padre Roberto’s head peeping out of the doorway,
             bolts upright, the compress tumbles onto an empty pastry
                           Ay, Padre…thank you for
                           coming in my darkest hour.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                                (crosses herself)
                           Let us pray. Let us all pray
                           for Paco’s soul.

             Chatting chicas ignore her.
             Left with no choice, Padre Roberto enters the chica lair.
             Cristina follows.
                                (to Padre)
                           You should tell her.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           You can’t lie, you’re a priest.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           Not my job.
                           You going to let her think
                           Paco’s dead?
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I can’t divulge what is said to
                           me in confession.
                           Paco never goes to confession.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I can’t say whether he does or
                           he doesn’t.
                           Padre, will you begin the
                           prayer, please?
             Her hands are poised for prayer, tears spill from her eyes.
             Padre clears his throat with authoritarian flare. Chica
             chatter continues without interruption. He shrugs, opens
             his bible.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           Our hermana, Gisela, is living
                           through a moment of
                           difficulty…a trial
                           of…Cristina has something to
                           tell you, Gisela.
             Cristina’s jaw drops.
                           No wonder Protestants hate us!

             The rectory’s lights filter through a half-open window…
             Padre Roberto sits across from Father Mulrooney; a battered
             desk sits between them. Padre Roberto buries his head in
             his hands.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I can’t take it anymore.
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           The life of a priest is
                           difficult. Thank God we’re
                           allowed cocktails.
             He pours Padre a glass of wine. He pours himself a glass of
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I’m living a never-ending,
                           badly-written, poorly-acted
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                                (gulp, gulp)
                           Yes, my son.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           You don’t understand,
                           Father…they…they use me
                           like a made-in-China Dr. Phil.
                           They think my confessional is a
                           free psychotherapy clinic. I
                           can’t remember the last time
                           someone came to confess their
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           That means you’re in touch with
                           your congregation–that’s a
                           good thing.
             GULP, GULP…
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           A woman comes to confession
                           every week to talk about her
                           hemorrhoids. Another woman
                           comes in to talk about her
                           annoying mother-in-law. Another
                           woman complains that her
                           husband is impotent. Another–

                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           Uh…listening is the greatest
                           gift you can give.
             Serves himself another…
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I’m going out of my mind,
                           Father. I’m Christ’s soldier;
                           I’m here to fight evil, face
                           the devil, fight to the death.
                           I am a warrior.
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                                (gulp, gulp)
                           Aren’t we all?
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           To top it off, even after hours
                           of non-stop whining, they won’t
                           drop a measly dollar in the
                           collection box.
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           Cheap bastards.
             He shoves aside the wine; pours Padre a scotch.
             Padre gulps it down in one swallow. Slams the glass on the
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I can’t take it anymore. I’m
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           I’m going to become a
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           Are you nuts? Those people
                           don’t drink!
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           Protestants don’t lock
                           themselves in a closet with
                           crazy people. They know how to
                           control their congregation.

                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           Listen, man…They. Don’t.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           Their preachers talk and talk,
                           never allow an interruption. So
                           smart…so very smart. Sure,
                           they let them sing, scream out
                           a few amens, and that’s it.
                           They’re gone–outta there
                           before the whining starts.
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                                (pours a double)
                           Before you take a dive into the
                           Protestant abyss…let me get
                           you in touch with some real
                           sinners–over at the jailhouse
                           for some part time counseling.
                           There’s a waiting list, but I
                           think I can squeeze you to the
                           front of the line. You’ll feel
                           better after chatting with hard-
                           core criminals.
             Padre looks at him in disbelief…
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           Don’t tease me, Father.
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           I’m serious–I’ll get you in.
                           Not full time, of course.
                                      PADRE ROBERTO
                           Of course… Father, I’m
                           grateful. My heart bursts
                           with joy.
                                      FATHER MULROONEY
                           Can’t let you go to the other
                           side. You’re our best pitcher.
                           We’ve got to win the series
                           against the Lutherans this
                           year. Beating the Mormons has
                           given us momentum, but without
                           you, it won’t be enough.

To be continued…

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