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La HoodRat: Chapter One

June 24, 2012

CHAPTER 1

NOVUS & EIDA

A spinning Sherwin Williams sample paint wheel comes alive as it melts over the homes of this ethnic-tinged suburban street.

A Miami-Dade school bus screeches to a halt in front of a crappy, single family home…

NOVUS WILLIAMS, age fifteen, hops off the bus…

He projects classic geek, yet handsome features confound the stereotype.

He adjusts his backpack, heads for a teetering mailbox…digs a hand inside, shuffles a stack of envelopes…tears open a “Final Notice” envelope…

RRRRRING, RRRRRING…RRRRRING, RRRRRING…

Hey!

EIDA, also age fifteen, rides a hot-pink bike, rings its chime…attached to the handlebars, pink & white tassels sway in the balmy breeze.

Eida hops off a pink glitter bike seat, slams down the kick stand…and stomps forward…

She’s petite; bangs frame a cute doll-face, which highlight her innocence, her sweetness, her…

EIDA: You avoiding me or what?

NOVUS: How did you find me?

EIDA: You think I do business with people and don’t know where they live? You think I just got off the boat? You think I got sand between my toes? You–

NOVUS: You’ll get the money next week.

He clutches keys, heads for the front door.

Hell-of-an-attitude mini-chica follows. If only she’d smile.

EIDA: You think I’m an imbecile. I’m connected, man. No one messes with Eida. If you don’t–

NOVUS: Okay, I’ll have the money tomorrow–I promise.

She looks him over; wrinkles her itty-bitty nose, twirls faux pearl necklace. She scans the house.

EIDA: This place is a dump.

NOVUS: Thanks. Look, I got to go.

EIDA: I need collateral. I’ll go in with you, see if I find something.

NOVUS: Tomorrow.

She crosses her arms, taps a tiny foot.

EIDA: Listen, Novo–

NOVUS: Novus.

EIDA: Huh?

NOVUS: My name is Novus.

EIDA: What kind of name is that?

Shrug.

EIDA: Okay, Novus…I’ll give you until tomorrow ’cause I’m a generous on-tow-pennure.

Confusion…

EIDA: (wags finger) If I don’t get my money, you’ll never work in this town again.

NOVUS: Uh…I don’t work.

EIDA: Exactly.

Confusion…

EIDA: And don’t even think of leaving town.

NOVUS: Okay.

EIDA: No one messes with Eida.

Little chica sucks in her cheeks; circles him like a hyena stalking prey, looks him over, up and down, up and down…

Novus suppresses an eye roll.

NOVUS: Are we done?

She hisses…sports one last dirty look, hops on girly bike, peddles away…

RRRRRING, RRRRRING…RRRRRING, RRRRRING…

EIDA: That fool better not screw me over. I’ll kick his butt, teach him a lesson. No one messes with Eida…

Novus can still hear her rant.

He waits until she turns the corner, unlocks the front door…disappears inside.

.                                                      **

The Living Room…Dark, sparse…second-hand, Rooms-to-Go style furniture. Novus gawks at the crumpled letter in his hands…

Novus?

He shoves paperwork inside his pocket.

A woman, draped in a shadow, sits half-lying, half-sitting, on a sofa.

NOVUS: Mom, why aren’t you in bed?

CINDY WILLIAMS (30’s) forces a smile through pain streaked, flawless features. She clumsily sits up, winces, pats short, chestnut hair in place.

CINDY: How was school, baby? Did you have a nice day?

Wince.

Novus spots her fisted hands, points…

NOVUS: What’s that in your hands?

CINDY: Hmmm?

NOVUS: Can I see, please?

Cindy reluctantly obliges–a prescription bottle sits inside her palms. Novus shakes the empty bottle.

NOVUS: How could you run out? It was a 30-day supply.

CINDY: Uh…

NOVUS: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.

CINDY: But–

NOVUS: Mom, I said I’ll take care of it. C’mon, you need to lie down.

He wraps her arm over his shoulder; lifts her up…

CINDY: Did you see your grandmother’s letter? It’s addressed to you.

NOVUS: Yeah. I’ll get to it later.

                                                       **

Novus faces a grumpy, 50’s male PHARMACIST. CHICA CASHIER works the register.

NOVUS: Is Maria here?

PHARMACIST: We let her go.

NOVUS: Huh?

PHARMACIST: Yeah. Now I’m stuck here, in this store, where no one speaks a lick of English…

Glares at chica cashier…

Or pretends not to–until we can find a new pharmacist.

Chica cashier rolls her eyes.

NOVUS: Oh.

PHARMACIST: What can I get for you, kid?

Novus hands him the prescription.

I need a refill.

PHARMACIST: Is this prescription in our system?

He taps the keyboard before getting an answer.

NOVUS: She has an appointment with the doctor, so–

PHARMACIST: This is a controlled substance. She’s not due for a refill for another twenty days.

NOVUS: Well, you see…

PHARMACIST: Even if I could refill the prescription, I can’t sell it to you–you’re a minor.

NOVUS: Maria always gave it me and uh…I’m eighteen…

Whips out his wallet. Pharmacist frowns, snatches driver’s license,holds it up to his nose…

NOVUS: Uh, you can see the date of birth–

Chuckle, chuckle…

NOVUS: Wha-what’s so funny?

PHARMACIST: Next time you buy a fake I.D., make sure the forger can spell.

NOVUS: What?

PHARMACIST: Florida is the Sunshine State–not the Sun-chine State–an ‘S’ not a ‘C’.

Novus gawks at the misspelling…

CHICA CASHIER: That no how jou spell sunchine?

PHARMACIST: See what I gotta deal with?

NOVUS: Look, my Mom really needs the medication, she’s in a lot of pain–

PHARMACIST: Those are the rules, kid.

Pharmacist hands Novus the prescription; goes back to business.

Chica opens her palms in what-an-asshole solidarity.

RRRRRING! RRRRRING! Bike chime rings. Crap.

Novus snaps his head back, frustration clouds his face until…He turns, lumbers down the aisle, snatches a couple of bottles of NyQuil, a bottle of Tylenol.

To be Continued…

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