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Chicacabra Reloaded (Ch 9) Greed, Lies & DNA

August 21, 2011

          

            CHICACABRA  RELOADED

A Telenovela on Crack

By

Yoly Solis

Based on the Novel CHICACABRAS

           

            Outside Juana’s Art Deco Beach Condo…
 
             Manny stands behind a white BMW, checks his notes. Yes, the
             plates match.
 
             He races up the stairs, checks his notes again, knocks on
             the door–unit 4A. No answer. He knocks again…this time
             with his fist.
 
             Door swings open. Juana stands wet from a shower, draped in
             only a towel.
 
             She looks him over; likes what she sees.
 
                                      JUANA
                           Hmmm. What are you selling,
                           guapo?
 
                                      MANNY
                           I’d like to speak with you regarding
                           Paco Perez.
 
             Rolls her eyes.
 
                                      JUANA
                           Did he send you?
 
                                      MANNY
                           Do you know where he is? It’s
                           very important.
 
             She eyes him suspiciously.
 
                                      JUANA
                           Why would I know where he is?
                           And why do you want to know?
 
             He hands her a business card…
 
                                      MANNY
                           I’m an attorney–his wife’s
                           attorney. Paco embezzled money
                           from the–
 
                                      JUANA
                           Money? That idiota has money?
 
             She yanks on his arm; drags him inside.
 
                                  **
 
             
             Manny sits…Juana wears a leopard print robe, paces…

                                      MANNY
                           So you see, it’s very important
                           that we find Paco. Otherwise,
                           they might hurt abuela and–
 
                                      JUANA
                           How much did he steal?
 
                                      MANNY
                           The police think it’s several
                           million. Maybe more.
 
                                      JUANA
                           Y parece idiota.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Do you know if he left the
                           country? Will you help us find
                           him? We don’t have much time.
 
             She’s thinking, thinking…
 
             She grabs his arm, ushers him out the door.
 
                                      JUANA
                           I’ll call you.
 
                                      MANNY
                           But–
 
             Door slams in his face. She leans against it, grins.
                     
                                     **
 
             Inside Manny’s Office…
 
             Gisela files paperwork while the phone sits attached
             to her ear.
 
                                      GISELA
                           He’s following up a lead. No,
                           he didn’t tell me…Oh wait, I
                           think someone’s coming. I’d
                           better go, Tia.
 
             Door swings open.
 
             Strange Chica…Wonder Woman body, Mickey Rooney face,
             struts inside as if she owns the place.


 
                                      GISELA
                           Can I help–
 
                                      STRANGE CHICA
                           Who are you?

                                      GISELA
                           I’m–
 
                                      STRANGE CHICA
                           You the new secretary?
 
                                      GISELA
                           Well…yes–
 
                                      STRANGE CHICA
                           Where is he?
 
                                      GISELA
                           Do you have an appointment? Is–
 
                                      STRANGE CHICA
                           Oye, I asked you where he is.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Uh, okay…I’ll call him. What
                           is your name, please?
 
                                      STRANGE CHICA
                           I’m his wife.
 
             Gisela’s pen floats poised over a notepad. She frowns; her glossy
             lips begin to quiver…
 
                                      GISELA
                           Um…how do you spell that?
 
                                       **
 
             Inside the disheveled Hialeah Warehouse…
 
             The thugs huddle together like frightened kittens. Abuela
             still isn’t gagged.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Jou know jou want it. I know,
                           jou know, jou want it.
 
                                      UNI-BROW CHICO
                           Mang, do something. She’s
                           turning me. I’ll never be with
                           a woman again.
 
                                      SCARFACE WANNABE
                           Five hours, thirty-five
                           minutes, eighteen seconds.
 
                                      UNI-BROW CHICO
                           I won’t last. Shoot her, mang.

                                      SCARFACE WANNABE
                           I can’t. That vieja will come
                           back from the dead and haunt us
                           forever. No despojo will get
                           rid of her.
 
             Abuela sniffs her armpits.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Chicos, time for my sponge bath.
 
             The chicos look at each other. Nod. Uni-brow chico cocks
             his gun. They approach…
 
                                         **
 
             
             Gisela sits on the on Tia Margarita’s plastic-wrapped floral sofa.
             She blows her nose…the chicas surround her, make a lazy attempt
             at comforting. THRRRUP! Maria Elena’s thunder thighs friction-smack
             against the sofa’s plastic.
 
             KNOCK, KNOCK…Cristina swings open the door.
 
             Manny races inside.
 
                                      CRISTINA
                           Murderer!
 
             She whips out the infamous machete from her purse. Manny
             jumps aside.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Waah! Go away! Go away! You’re
                           no better than Paco.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Gisela, please, listen–
 
             Tia Margarita wraps an arm around Gisela.
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           You heard her. Leave now.
 
             She shakes her head–signals for him to stay.
 
             Confusion. Confusion.
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           What are you waiting for? Go
                           now.
 
             Shakes her head again.

                                      MANNY
                           Gisela, I meant to tell you.
                           She’s a client. She was going
                           to be deported and I…helped
                           her out.
 
             Pause…
 
             Gisela snorts in tears…
 
                                      GISELA
                           So, you’re really not married?
 
                                      MANNY
                           Well, no. Not r-e-a-l-l-y.
 
             Cristina slices the air with her machete.
 
                                      CRISTINA
                           You never consummated the
                           marriage?
 
                                      MANNY
                           You should put that thing away–
                           it could hurt someone.
 
                                      CRISTINA
                           Aha! So you did have sexual
                           relations with that woman.
 
             Manny shuffles from one foot to another.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Well…
 
                                      GISELA
                           You slept with her?
 
             Manny sports a blank look.
 
                                      CRISTINA
                           I knew it. How many times, eh?
                           Were you on top or was she? Did
                           she–
 
                                      MANNY
                           Gisela, it didn’t mean
                           anything. It was a…mistake.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Waaah!

                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Why didn’t you lie? All men
                           lie, bobo.
 
                                      MANNY
                           She came back because she
                           applied for citizenship.
                           Immigration needs to verify the
                           marriage. She’ll be gone in–
 
              GASP!
 
                                      GISELA
                           She’s living with you?
 
                                      MANNY
                           Um, just until–
 
                                      GISELA
                           Waaah!
 
                                      MANNY
                           Gisela, I don’t love her. I
                           love you.
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           You hear that, Gisela? He loves
                           you.
 
                                      GISELA
                           I want nothing to do with you.
                           I have no more room in my heart
                           for betrayal. Go. I never want
                           to see you again.
 
                                      MARIA ELENA
                           He can’t go. Who will handle
                           our case? We can’t afford a
                           real attorney.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Please, Gisela, listen to me.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Waaah! It’s a sign–a sign from
                           God!
 
             WHOOSH! Machete slices the air, misses Manny’s face by a
             centimeter.
 
                                         **
 
             BAck at Juana’s Condo…
 
             Paco stands at the door, smiles, holds a jewelry box. Juana purses her
             artificially plump lips, crosses her arms.
 
                                      JUANA
                           I thought you’d be swinging
                           from a vine somewhere.
 
                                      PACO
                           I can’t live without you,
                           Juana. Te amo, baby.
 
                                      JUANA
                           What’s in the box?
 
                                      PACO
                           I need you, Juana.
 
             She arches an eyebrow–words are not enough.
 
             He hands her the box; she flips it open, smiles…
 
                                      JUANA
                           Nice. My papi deserves a prize.
                           Let’s play a game of Tarzan and
                           Jungle Juana…
 
             She grabs his hand, drags him inside.
 
                                   **
 
             Flood lights spill over a strip mall’s empty parking lot.
 
             A Security Guard comfortably dozes in his faux police car.
 
             A black SUV drives up. A man gets out, looks around. He
             flips open the back door, heaves a stuffed garbage over his
             shoulder.
 
             THUD. The bundle drops on the pavement…in the handicapped
             parking spot.
 
             SUV speeds off.
 
             The bag lies there, motionless. Then…
 
             It begins to shift, move…a tear rips through the plastic.
 
             Blue-gray hair pops out.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Oye! Where jou go? Come back!
                           Come back!

                                      **
            
             
             Gisela sleeps.
 
             DING, DONG…DING, DONG…Doorbell.
 
             She fights off the sheets, fumbles to the living room…
 
                                                       
             Swings open the front door…wearing a very short, pink
             teddy.
 
             Manny.
 
             He gawks. Gawks some more.
 
                                      GISELA
                           What are you doing here?
 
                                      MANNY
                           Wow.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Manny?
 
                                      MANNY
                           Huh? Oh yeah, they found abuela.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Thank God! Is she okay?
 
             His eyes roam over her body.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Uh, yeah…I think so.
 
             She jumps in his arms.
 
             He savors the moment.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Ay, ay, ay, Gisela…
 
             Tia Margarita stomps from the hallway.
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Oye, get a room, you two.
 
             Gisela pulls away. Manny is out of breath; clears his
             throat.
 
             Gisela grabs a hand-knitted throw from the sofa, wraps it
             around her.

                                      MANNY
                           You’re still irresistible.
 
                                      GISELA
                           You’re sure abuela is okay?
 
                                      MANNY
                           Get dressed. I’ll take you to
                           the hospital.
 
                                       **
 
             Gisela, Manny and Tia Margarita race through the glass
             doors of the hospital lobby.
 
             Burly, chico detective, arms crossed, stands waiting for
             them.
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           Hold up.
 
                                      GISELA
                           I need to see abuela. She’s–
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           Very convenient rescue,
                           wouldn’t you say?
 
                                      MANNY
                           What are you talking about?
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           There’s not a scratch on that
                           vieja.
 
                                      GISELA
                           That’s wonderful!
 
             Hard stare.
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           Either you paid the
                           ransom…from the money you
                           stole, that you claim not to
                           have…or this has all been a
                           set-up to make you look
                           innocent. Which means you know
                           where Paco is–you’re working
                           together, just like always.

                                      MANNY
                           That is absurd, detective. My
                           client doesn’t know the
                           whereabouts of her husband or
                           the money he stole.
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           Then how do you explain that
                           old lady upstairs? Where did
                           you keep her? The Hilton?
 
                                      MANNY
                           You should be asking abuela
                           about the kidnapping.
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           She is the perfect alibi. That
                           vieja is demented.
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Yes, she is. And loca.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Abuela isn’t demented…she’s a
                           little hard of hearing–
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           She claims she was raped.
 
             EEEW!
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           Yes, demented. And loca.
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           In light of this new evidence,
                           we’re recommending the judge
                           revoke bail. Mrs. Perez is a
                           flight risk. Especially with
                           all that cash she’s got hidden.
 
                                      MANNY
                           You don’t have any evidence. I
                           can vouch for Mrs. Perez…I’ve
                           known her whereabouts and can
                           assure you she’s innocent.
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           You seriously buy this story,
                           amigo?
 
             CHUCKLE, CHUCKLE…

                                      MANNY
                           Are you done, Detective? Mrs.
                           Perez is anxious to see her
                           abuela.
 
             Detective steps aside, the trio enters the elevator.
 
             Detective points a finger-gun at Manny…
 
                                      DETECTIVE
                           You’re being taken for a ride,
                           counselor.
 
             A glimpse of doubt crosses Manny’s face just before
             elevator doors close.
 
 
             DING…Elevator doors swoosh open. The trio head out…
                                      
                                      MANNY
                           Gisela, can I speak with you
                           for a moment?
 
                                      TIA MARGARITA
                           I’m going to call the chicas
                           and meet you in abuela’s room.
 
             Tia Margarita dials her phone, stumbles away.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Can we talk later, please? I’m
                           anxious to see abuela.
 
                                      MANNY
                           It will only take a minute.
 
             She nods.
 
                                      MANNY
                           It is strange that abuela was
                           returned by the kidnappers
                           without a scratch. Don’t you
                           think?
 
                                      GISELA
                           It’s not strange. It’s a
                           miracle!

                                      MANNY
                           And it’s strange that you
                           handled the accounting for
                           those clinics yet you didn’t
                           know the money was gone from
                           those accounts.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Well, I told you that I knew we
                           were having problems with
                           collections but–
 
                                      MANNY
                           And it’s strange that you
                           didn’t know your household
                           accounts didn’t have any money,
                           and you handled those bills
                           also.
 
                                      GISELA
                           I, I…I told you…Paco
                           changed the address and–
 
                                      MANNY
                           And it’s strange that you
                           thought Paco was dead at sea
                           when he never left port.
 
                                      GISELA
                           But, but I thought he went on
                           Pepe’s boat…
 
                                      MANNY
                           Pepe hasn’t been on a boat
                           since he was picked up by the
                           Coast Guard floating on a raft
                           three years ago. He’s terrified
                           of the ocean.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Wha–how was I supposed to know
                           that?
 
                                      MANNY
                           And what about the jungle
                           camouflage lingerie you
                           purchased?
 
             He whips out a receipt from a file.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Uh, Paco likes that jungle
                           theme, I thought if I could
                           spice things up–

                                      MANNY
                           Or perhaps this is jungle
                           lingerie–for a trip to the
                           Amazon.
 
             Gasp!
 
                                      GISELA
                           You don’t believe me.
 
             Manny looks away.
 
                                      GISELA
                           I’m not a liar.
 
                                      MANNY
                           You’re always in confession.
 
             Gasp again!
 
                                      GISELA
                           How dare you! You’re the liar.
                           You’re a married man, living
                           with your wife and…
 
                                      MANNY
                           And what? You know I have
                           feelings for you. You knew I’d
                           post bail. You knew I’d
                           represent you. You used me.
 
                                      GISELA
                           I am not your dead wife. I
                           didn’t betray you!
 
             She stomps forward…
 
                                      MANNY
                           Gisela, wait.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Go away. I’ll find another
                           attorney.
 
             He catches up to her.
 
                                      MANNY
                           You owe me a lot of money. I’ll
                           see the case through to get my
                           money. I’ll defend you
                           rigorously; it’s my job.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Fine. Then do your job.

             She stomps forward. Manny drops his head, follows her.
 
                                        **
 
             
             Abuela lies in bed. Nervous Vieja, from the nursing home,
             fusses with abuela’s sheets.
 
             Machines are on standby, but nothing is hooked up.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           …and then, he turn me like
                           rotisserie chicken and…
 
             Nervous vieja leans in…
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Bite my elbow.
 
                                      NERVOUS VIEJA
                           Did he bite jou elbow or the
                           pellejo…jou got a lot of
                           pellejo on jou elbow. See?
 
             Nervous Vieja pulls on a sack of wrinkled skin hanging from
             abuela’s elbow…skin stretches out nearly five-inches.
 
             Abuela yanks her arm away.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Jou berry stupid woman, jou
                           know that?
 
             Gisela rushes through the door, followed by Manny.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Abuela!
 
             Gisela embraces abuela…kiss, kiss…kiss again.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Are you okay?
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Jess, mija…yust a little
                           sore…if jou know what I mean.
 
             Gisela doesn’t get it. Abuela rolls her eyes.
 
                                      GISELA
                           I’m so happy you’re okay,
                           abuela. Can you believe they
                           still haven’t found Paco…

             Another cataracts eye roll.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Okay, berry nice to see jou. Go
                           away, por favor, I berry tired.
                           Too much action, jou know?
 
             Gisela still doesn’t get it. Abuela sighs.
 
                                      GISELA
                           Oh, okay, abuela…do you want
                           me to–
 
             Tia Margarita stomps inside.
 
                                      ABUELA
                                (points to Tia
                                 Margarita)
                           And take ugly, fat vieja with
                           jou.
 
             Abuela shields her eyes as if Medusa stood there.
 
             Kiss…kiss.
 
             They all march towards the door…
 
                                      ABUELA
                                (to Manny)
                           Jou, abogado, attorney, stay.
 
             Manny points to himself.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Jess, you.
 
             She bends an arthritic finger, calls him closer.
 
             He leans in.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Jou tell doctors I was violada.
 
                                      MANNY
                           What? I can’t–
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Tell them legal reason I no get
                           rape test.
 
                                      MANNY
                           Huh?

                                      ABUELA
                           Que bruto eres.
 
             Looks him over…
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Jou got a little DNA for poor,
                           little vieja?
 
             His eyes widen.
 
             RING, RING…Cell phone. Manny answers it at lightening
             speed.
                                      

                                      MANNY
                         Hello?…I’ll be right over.
 
             He races out.
 
                                      ABUELA
                           Pfft. Otro pajarito mas.

To be continued…

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