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Chapter 3: Little Miss Sun-Chine

July 8, 2012

LA HOODRAT

CHAPTER 3

Little Miss Sun-chine

A wall clock hangs high. Its oversized second hand rounds the PM time track, bitch slaps the minute hand. Move out the way…

Principal Stanley (50’s), chubby, bald–save for three way-too-long strands sliding down his scalp–sits at his desk, tears off eyeglasses…

Novus sits across from him, mutilates a paperclip.

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: You’re missing a lot of school, your grades have dropped substantially, and now you’re shopping for a drug dealer.

NOVUS:  Uh, that was just a dare, a joke. I’m really not looking–

PRINCIPAL STANLEY:  You fit the profile. You’re withdrawn, you don’t participate in class, you–

NOVUS: I don’t take drugs, Principal Stanley.

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: I should suspend you.

NOVUS: Okay.

Pause…

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: I tried calling your mother.

NOVUS: Yeah…there’s a problem with the phone line.

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: I need to see her.

Novus focuses on his paperclip.

Principal Stanley leans into Novus…

PRINCIPAL STANLEY:  I think I know what’s going on.

NOVUS:  Uh…you do?

PRINCIPAL STANLEY:  It’s tough being in the minority, isn’t it?

NOVUS: Huh?

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: That’s why you’re acting out, isn’t it?

Confusion…confusion.

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: If it makes you feel any better…I’m in the minority, too.

More confusion…

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: I know your frustration…I live it everyday…here, under Miami’s  sun-chine.

Novus’ eyes bug out…

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: Okay… because of the extenuating circumstances, I’ll postpone any action until I meet with your mother.

NOVUS: Uh, you don’t have to do that, you can suspend me now.

PRINCIPAL STANLEY:  Tell your mother to meet me Tuesday at 3:00 P.M.

He hands Novus a note…

We’ll talk about it then.

NOVUS:  Uh, she can’t take time off work, she–

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: If she doesn’t show up, I’m going to your home to speak with her personally. Make sure she keeps the appointment.

Crap.

PRINCIPAL STANLEY: I look forward to meeting your mother, Novus. There’s too few of us left. We must stick together.

                                                             **

Novus tentatively opens the door of Madre Mia Liquors, peeks inside. KLING…KLING….Copper bell rings.

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA sits behind the register, engrossed by a Vanidades magazine.

His eyes search the liquor store, void of patrons. He heads for the counter, drops a box of school-issued chocolates on its surface. Looks around one more time…

NOVUS: Would you like to buy chocolates for my school?

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: Chocolates? Hmm. I don’t know…I’m on a very strict diet.

She digs her hands inside the box anyway. Novus spots miniature liquor bottles sitting on the counter.

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: How much?

NOVUS: Uh…a dollar.

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: Each? Look at how small they are.

NOVUS: It’s for a good cause.

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: Since when is stealing my money a good cause?

KLING…KLING…Copper bell rings. Two semi-smashed CHICOS stumble through the door.

SEMI=SMASHED CHICO #1: Oye, mi gorda…got any rum?

(Hey, my fat woman)

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: Of course I got rum–you know where it is.

SEMI-SMASHED CHICO #2: Jou show us…and then jou show us jou hot masas de carne.

(hot meaty morsels)

Double-wide giggles, struts away from the counter. Hips sway side-to-side, nearly knocks over vodka aisle. Trio heads to the back…

Novus looks around, reaches for miniature liquor bottles sitting on the counter…

RRRRRING, RRRRRING…bike chime sings…Crap. He freezes; hands floats over the bottles, he turns…

OUTSIDE MADRE MIA LIQUOR STORE…

Eida parks her shiny, pink bike next to Novus’ beaten-up, worn bike. She spews an ugliest-bike-ever look.

A HOMELESS GUY sits sprawled on the ground, wrestles an empty paper bag…

EIDA: What’s wrong with you? Get a job.

BURP!

She scowls, clutches a pink bag half her size, reaches for the door…

Novus reaches for the tiny bottles, lifts them in the air and…

KLING! KLING!…copper bell rings…

Startled Novus drops merchandise…bottles scatter on the countertop, tumble to the floor.

Eida crosses her arms, rolls her eyes…

Novus trembles–he might go into convulsions. Suddenly, he races out the door…KLING, KLING!

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: Hey, where’s my chocolate?

Too late. Chocolate boy has left the building.

DOUBLE-WIDE CHICA: (to Eida) What’s wrong with that boy?

EIDA: He’s weird. I’ll help you pick up this mess…

Eida proceeds to pick up bottles…Double-wide reads her magazine. Eida sets a few bottles on the counter, shoves half a dozen or so inside her bag–along with a fistful of beef jerky.

Eida struts out of the liquor store, bottles clang in her bag…

EIDA: (to homeless guy) Here…

(tosses beef jerky)

Eat something…

(tosses a business card)

Call me. I can use another bum on the payroll.

She hops on her bike…RRRRRING, RRRRRING…peddles away.

With one eye shut, he reads the card. BURP!

**

Novus’ squeaky bike wheels peddle up his neglected driveway…His eyes widen…

Eida blocks his path–arms crossed, cheeks sucked-in–the chica warrior stance. Even her pink bike looks angry.

EIDA: Time’s up.

Novus cocks his head…How did she get there so fast?

NOVUS: Forget it.

He marches past her.

EIDA: Excuse me?

NOVUS: You heard me…Little Miss Sun-chine.

EIDA: What are you talking about?

He stops, faces her.

NOVUS: Florida is the Sunshine State…not the Sun-chine State.

EIDA: What’s the difference?

He pulls out his keys…

EIDA: Everybody spells it like that.

NOVUS: Not in this country.

EIDA: Ah-ha! You think you can take advantage of a poor immigrant, eh?

NOVUS: Yeah, right.

EIDA: I don’t appreciate your attitude. Besides, you think a little typo is going to get you out of paying me?

NOVUS: Hell, yeah.

EIDA: That was Tío Gustavo’s best work. Nobody stiffs Eida…nobody.

NOVUS: Why do you refer to yourself in the third person?

EIDA: Hey! There’s only two of us, moron. How do I talk to three people?

Eye roll; he inserts the key.

EIDA: Pay me now or I’ll kick your ass.

NOVUS: Go for it.

He grasps the door handle. She whips out her phone…

EIDA: I’m calling my posse. You’ll regret the day you ever messed with Eida.

Novus turns, about to say…

Door swings open…

CINDY: (leans on a cane) I thought I heard your voice, is everything okay?…

Cindy glances at Eida, smiles. Eida smiles back. They turn to Novus, await their respective introductions…

Novus sighs…

TO BE CONTINUED…

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