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LA HOODRAT Chapter 4: Purdy Pedal Pusher

July 22, 2012

The moon’s glow sears into the horizon, grows small…smaller…spins until it spits out of the velvet sky, its white fire lands, cools…and becomes a single pearl of Eida’s necklace.

Novus blinks furiously.

CINDY leans on a cane at the front door.

I thought I heard your voice, Novus.

She glances at Eida, smiles.

You brought a friend home from school. Hi, come in.

NOVUS: She’s not my friend.

CINDY: Novus!

NOVUS: She’s leaving.

Novus shoos Eida away. She ducks under his arm,enters the…


EIDA (to Cindy) My abuela has a cane, too. Aren’t you kinda young to have a cane?

Cindy smiles. Novus frowns.

CINDY Are you going to introduce me to your friend, Novus?


EIDA He’s so moody. How do you put up with him?

CINDY He’s moody, but also very cute.


CINDY Introduce me to this lovely young  woman, Novus.

Eida grins; she’s flattered.

EIDA (bats eyelashes)  I look better with my eyelashes.

NOVUS (big sigh) Her name is–

EIDA Eida Eugenia Maria de los Santos Gutierrez.

CINDY Oh. Well, Hi Eida…I’m Cindy.

EIDA You’re pretty, too–even without makeup.

Novus shoves Eida out the door…

NOVUS She’s got to go.

Eida breaks free.

EIDA Nah, I can hang out a while.

To Novus’ astonishment, she sits.

CINDY So Eida, do you go to school with Novus?

EIDA Yeah. But I hang out with the smart kids.

Novus grunts.

EIDA So what’s your story? Did you get into a car accident? Slip and fall? Are you suing somebody?

CINDY No, I have MS…multiple sclerosis. It comes and goes.

EIDA Multiples, huh? Gonna sue the doctor? I got an attorney you can use if you give me a cut.

Cindy smiles, which turns into a wince…

NOVUS Mom, you’d better get to bed.

He throws her arm over his shoulder, heads to the hallway…

CINDY: Nice to meet you, Eida.

They disappear. Eida looks the house over with calculating eyes.


Novus holds open the front door.


Eida sits. She ain’t going nowhere.

EIDA: Looks like your Mom could use these…

She points to tiny liquor bottles lined atop the coffee table.

NOVUS: Actually, uh, they’re for me.

EIDA: Uh-huh.

NOVUS: Uh, thanks…uh, I gotta go drink now.

He wags the open door…

EIDA: I’ll put it on your tab.

NOVUS: I’m not paying you for that fake I.D.

EIDA : Wanna bet? I’m guessing you couldn’t get her medication so you tried to steal little bottles from the liquor store…like this stuff is gonna help.

Stunned Novus shakes his head.

NOVUS: Get out of my house.

EIDA: Won’t be your house for much longer, will it? How you gonna pay the mortgage?

NOVUS: How did you–

EIDA: Eida knows everything.

NOVUS: We’re done.

EIDA: I don’t think so. I know your secret.

Novus’ eyes widen. A confused pause.

NOVUS: You don’t know anything.

EIDA: I think you and I can do some business.

NOVUS: Business?

EIDA: Yeah. But first, let’s get your mom her medicine.

Surprised stutter…

NOVUS: How are we gonna do that?


Salsa music pulses inside the overstocked family-owned pharmacy…

Eida navigates through the narrow aisles, heads to the rear of the store. Novus trails behind.

A line, six deep crowd the counter…Eida waves him over.

EIDA: Your mom got insurance?

NOVUS: Yeah, but I don’t think this pharmacy is covered.

EIDA: Give me her insurance card and the prescription.

He hands them over. Eida cuts to the front of the line.

EIDA: Oye, Pepe…you take this HMO?

PEPE, (70’s), peeps at the ID card over his glasses, shakes his head.

NOVUS: What am I supposed to do?

EIDA: We’ll figure it out. How much money you got?

Novus digs inside his pocket…

EIDA: Pepe, how much for each pill?


EIDA: What are you, loco? I’m a regular. My abuela buys all her medicine here.


NOVUS: All I got is six dollars.

Sigh, eyeroll and condescending stare all at once.

Eida dials her phone; chats in Spanish. Novus shuffles from one foot to another under the glare of pharmacy patrons.

EIDA (to Pepe): Zoraida, Dr. Felipe’s nurse, is faxing you a prescription for my abuela tomorrow morning. But you need to give me the pills tonight–a month’s supply.

Pepe hesitates…eyes Novus suspiciously.

EIDA: What are you waiting for, viejo?

Pepe shrugs, fills the prescription as ordered. Novus’ eyes widen with amazement.

EIDA: I’ll add it to your tab.

NOVUS: But you’re not paying for the meds.

EIDA: Oh, so I should tell him not to fill the prescription, Mr. Cheap-ass?

NOVUS: Um, no, that’s okay. Yeah, put it on my tab.

EIDA: Thought so.


Later, back in Novus’ living room…

Eida sorts through mail scattered on the coffee table…Novus appears from the hallway, snatches mail out of her hands.

EIDA: You got collection notices up the butt.

He grunts, shoves paperwork in a drawer.

EIDA (sits): Your Mom took her medicine?

NOVUS heads for the front door: Yeah….thanks for the meds. I hope she’ll sleep tonight.

EIDA: You can’t do this on your own. You need me.

NOVUS: Uh, noooo.

EIDA: How you gonna pay me?

NOVUS: I’ll get a job.

EIDA: I’ll get you a job. We can help each other.

NOVUS: What are you–a crooked politician?

EIDA:  I‘d make a great politician. I’m very polished and well-spoken. I’ll consider it once I get my paperwork straight.

NOVUS: Paperwork? Are you illegal?

EIDA: I’m an expat.

NOVUS: A what?

EIDA: Do you live under a bridge? Oh, yeah, you will be soon. Expatriate, you fool.

NOVUS: You aren’t an expatriate…a bridge?

EIDA: When an American chooses to live in another country, he’s an ex-pat. But when someone from another country chooses to live in America, they’re an immigrant. Homeless people live under bridges…duh.

NOVUS: You’re delusional.

EIDA: No, I’m not. I’m an expatriate.


EIDA: Are we gonna talk business or what?

NOVUS: I’m not paying you for that fake ID.

EIDA: Oh, yes you will.

(infomercial voice)

You need me…I’m here to help.

NOVUS: Uh…noooo.

EIDA: Listen, bobo, there’s no way you can pay the bills, take care of your mother and escape that nasty school principal–

NOVUS: How did you–

EIDA: You went coco loco in public–everybody’s talking about it. Not to mention…if the Department of Children and Family Services finds out, you’ll be torturing innocent Foster parents.

Jaw percolates, red blotches engulf his cheeks…

NOVUS: You blackmailing me?

EIDA: I ain’t black. I’m roasted chestnut caramel.


NOVUS: What do you mean by twenty-percent?

To be continued…

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