“A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES & MURDER & MAYHEM – Episode 5

Have you ever wished a Hallmark Christmas Movie could be more like a telenovela? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mashed-up a Telenovela with a Hallmark Christmas Movie?? Well, now’s your chance… Look for a new episode every day of my telenovela “A Season for Magic & Miracles, and Murder & Mayhem… “

EPISODE 5 – “A TIME FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES … AND MURDER & MAYHEM”. — Yet Another Stranger Comes To Town

(A TELENOVELA COMBINED WITH A HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIE)

We are in a dark alley. There are remnants of snow around, but basically, the snow is so old and dirty that the alley looks like a dirty ashtray. A caption tells us we are “Unpleasant Point,” New York.” Suddenly, we hear the footsteps of someone being chased – it’s a very handsome and mysterious man (“ANTONIO”). He stops at the edge of the alley – maybe he has escaped. He is scruffy and kind of beat-up, which somehow makes him look even more handsome.

As he catches his breath, he puts his gun back in his jeans pocket and looks around. Except for the sound of a dirty sax playing “Marry Christmas Baby,” coming from a nearby strip club, there is nothing at all Christmas-y about this dark, damp alley. Antonio hears the voices of the men who have been chasing him, so he begins to run towards a neon blinking “Unpleasant Point Bus Terminal.” He is stopped by a beautiful and mysterious woman who emerges from the shadows, and asks him for a light. This woman is “SANDRITA,” and she does not have a cigarette, which Antonio points out to her. “What is it you want me to light,” Antonio asks Sandrita. “My heart, mi amor – set me on fire.” Antonio ponders this odd yet intriguing response, assumes that this beautiful and mysterious woman was speaking figuratively, and excuses himself because there are men chasing him who want to kill him.

Sandrita watches Antonio run into the bus station, lights a cigarette and says to herself, “See you in Ciderville, mi amor.” Under her coat, we can what looks like the collar of a Christmas sweater.

The inside of the Unpleasant Point Bus Depot is even more grim and less Christmas-y than the alley, if such a thing is even metaphysically possible. Antonio makes his way to the lone cashier, who is dozing and eating at the same time. A small portable TV behind him plays “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.” Antonio comments that he’s happy to see something for the holidays here – for awhile he thought Unpleasant Point didn’t celebrate Christmas. At first the cashier is confused, then tells Antonio it’s the only tv station they can get this deep into the mountains of upstate New York – the signal comes from a town called “Ciderville,” and they show Christmas movies 24-hours a day. He only has the TV on to keep his dinner warm – and points to a casserole dish sitting on top of the TV. Antonio, who keeps looking over his shoulder, asks for a bus ticket for the next bus out of town – doesn’t care where it’s going. Without missing a beat the cashier tells him “You’re in luck Santa – you’re going to Ciderville.” He takes Antonio’s cash, hands him a ticket, and points to the lone bus sitting in the terminal. “It’s just about to leave – better hurry up.”

Antonio takes the ticket, runs to the bus, but stops to give an elderly blind man with a red bucket some money. After Antonio drops a big wad of cash into the bucket, he wishes the old man a Merry Christmas and hurries to the bus. The elderly blind man removes his sunglasses, looks at the cash in the bucket and watches Antonio get on the bus.

The two men who have been chasing Antonio arrive just as the bus pulls away. They ask the old (not really blind) man where that bus is going, and the old man tells them “Sacramento.” Defeated for now, the two men shoulders’ slump and ask where the nearest rental car business is. The old man points to the car rental office in the terminal, but adds that it’s closed for the night, and they had better make themselves comfortable …

MEANWHILE…

Back in CIDERVILLE, LUPITA runs up Main Street, where she runs into OSCAR, who is running towards her. They both have to dodge groups of carolers dressed like Dickens characters handing out cups of hot cider and Christmas cookies to passers-by. Lupita has just escaped the Ciderville “El Generalissimo” General Store, while Oscar has just escaped the Ciderville Christmas Candle-Inn. They have never been so happy to see each other, and bring each other up to date on the lunatics they have just managed to escape from. The two of them compare notes:

In a flashback, Lupita describes the disturbing encounter with the very handsome LEONARDO, who is GABI’s brother, and apparently one of GINA’s enemies. Lupita tells Oscar how Leonardo made a beeline for her, and insisted she was his wife! Oscar interrupts to ask her if this Leonardo thinks she is this FERNANDA too, but Lupita says, “NO!! HE CALLED ME LUPITA AND INSISTS WE ARE MARRIED!!”

Oscar is very surprised at this, and tries to ask Lupita if it’s possible that she married this LEONARDO somewhere and forgot? Lupita agrees that anything is possible during the magic of Christmas, but she’s pretty sure she’d remember marrying a man as handsome as Leonardo. Lupita adds that when she tried to convince Leonardo that they are not married, Leonardo confessed to her that Lupita was in a “Conscious Coma” when they got married, and that is why she doesn’t remember.

Oscar then shares his story with her – we see it unfold in flashback – that he had really fallen hard for this NADIA, and confesses he allowed her to puncture the tires to the car so he could spend the night with her, but then tells Lupita that while he and Nadia were in the cantina, two very dangerous criminal-types came in, JOSUE and JOSE, and that one of the criminals (Oscar doesn’t know which one because their names are vey similar and they were both wearing Christmas sweaters) announced that Nadia is his wife. Oscar says that Nadia insisted it is not true, but when the man broke a beer bottle on the bar, after crushing a glass in his hand, Oscar thought he had better leave, with Jose, Josue and Nadia chasing him down Main Street. He adds he was only able to get away because a group of very small people dressed as elves were walking up Main Street looking for Santa’s Village, which Osar wants to visit before they leave.

Oscar looks down at Lupita’s brightly colored Christmas shopping bag that reads “HAVE A MERRY CIDERVILLE CHRISTMAS – FOR ALL OF THE WISHES YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD!!!” Oscar asks “What’s in the bag?!” Lupita answers his question by pulling two Christmas sweaters out of the bag – His and Hers.” Oscar shakes his head NO, but Lupita insists – they need to wear them to blend into the big town meeting tonight at the Gingerbread Village Hall. Lupita reminds him that this is why they came all this way – they have to wear these sweaters tonight – they have to be at the big meeting!! Plus, Lupita adds that there will be hot cider and homemade cookies. And that Nadia will certainly be there, since she owns the Bed and Breakfast in town! Lupita promises Oscar that she will keep Jose and Josue busy so Oscar can talk to Nadia and straighten the whole married/not married issue out. Oscar reminds Lupita that she has the same issue to figure out for herself, but agrees to go to the meeting, and wear the Christmas sweater.

As Lupita and Oscar hash out the details of their plan, GINA hovers nearby, spying on them from the side of the building they are next to. In fact, it’s hard to see how Lupita can’t see her, but if she would just look a few more inches to her right, or pay attention to all of the people wishing Gina a “Merry Christmas” as they walk by her, Lupita might realize that Gina has overheard everything she and Oscar said…

As Oscar and Lupita walk away in search of a room somewhere other than Nadia’s Bed and Breakfast, and a place to try on their Christmas sweaters, Gina emerges from the shadows and watches them walk away. “Be careful, mi amor,” she whispers. LEONARDO has been spying on them too, from the other side of the building, and when he hears Gina say “Be Careful, Mi Amor,” he stops, and approaches her very seductively. “Are you talking to me?” he asks. “Well who else would I be talking to?” responds Gina. Leonardo offers Gina his arm and asks her if she’ll join him for a hot cider. Gina accepts with pleasure, and they two of them sashay down Main Street together. As they pass by the window of the Ciderville “El Generalissimo” General Store, GABI watches her brother walk arm-in-arm with her archenemy, takes a chocolate Santa Clause off of the tree, and bites off the head.

MEANWHILE … Back at the Ciderville Village Hall…

LAS COLOMBIANAS are very busy chatting, chattering, and decorating the Town Hall, getting ready for the big meeting tonight. They have brought Arepas for everyone, claiming that since they are Colombian, they can’t live on Hot Cider and Cookies alone. Somehow, they are able to dance while they work, but once Maluma’s version of “(Baby Please) Come Home For Christmas” starts playing, all work stops as the two lead a Zumba lesson.

MAYOR LUIS and SHERIFF RICARDO watch Las Colombianas and agree they are in love with them, even though they can’t understand most of what they say, and they would feel a lot more confident if they knew who this “Parce” fellow was.

They toast each other with an Arepa and watch the Christmas Zumba lesson Las Colombianas give to the rest of the group.

MEANWHILE… Back on the bus to Cedarville…

Antonio watches the towns roll by as the bus travels towards Ciderville. A big happy family at the front of the bus sings Chrismas Carols, while another woman hands out homemade Christmas Cookies, and pours everyone a little hot cider from her gigantic thermos.

Antonio realizes his seatmate, an older woman wearing a headband with reindeer ears and a Christmas sweater pulls an apple out of her bag and offers it to Antonio. He refuses it at first, but she tells him she has an extra-one and he looks like he could use it. She reminds him it’s a long way to Cedarville and he needs to eat. This woman is CLARA. Antonio gratefully accepts the apple and they start talking. Clara suggests that Antonio buys a Christmas sweater as soon as he gets to town, or else he’ll stick out, and whoever is chasing him will be able to find him. Antonio asks Clara what makes her think he’s being chased, but Clara just gives him a knowing look and tells him that unless that gun in his waistband is made of chocolate, which are the only guns allowed in Cedarville, he better stash it somewhere before he goes into town.

Antonio sheepishly looks down at his fun, stuffs it deep in his pocket, and joins in with Clara and the Carolers, as they belt out “Feliz Navidad.”

The bus rolls through the dark New York hills… It’s snowing, but when the bus pulls into Cedarville, there is no snow anywhere…

MEANWHILE… Back at the Ciderville Village Hall…

Mayor Luis and Sheriff Ricardo help Las Colombianas as they build a Kissing Booth. The Kissing Booth is creating tension between Las Colombianas and Luis and Ricardo, because Luis and Ricardo do not want Las Colombianas kissing anyone but them. And another thing creating tension is that neither Luis or Ricardo can remember either one of their names, and now it’s too late to ask, so they refer to them as LA COLOMBIANA and THE OTHER COLOMBIANA, and to make matters worse, they’re are not even sure which Colombiana they are talking about at any given time, nor can either one of the two men remember which Colombiana they like. And the tension definitely increases when the girls begin talking about a guy named “Parcero,” who Luis and Ricardo are pretty sure is “Parce’s” hermano (“Brother”).

As Luis and Ricardo watch Las Colombianas prepare themselves for the kissing booth by repeatedly checking their lipstick, and blowing out the tiny candles on their crop-top Christmas sweaters so they can light them again, an anxious Fernanda spies on them from around the gingerbread corner, smoking with one hand and eating bits of the buttercream windowsill with the other…

As the crowd begins to pour into the Meeting Hall of the Village Hall, the atmosphere is festive, EXTREMELY CHRISTMAS-Y, and ripe for some very big hijinx…

Lupita and Oscar stroll in in their new Christmas sweaters… Lupita wears a crown of garland covered in tinsel, so she clearly thinks there is some kind of prize for “Best Costume,” – not realizing this is a pretty standard look for the women of Ciderville. There’s Nadia, flanked by Josue and Jose… She has thrown caution and tradition to the wind by wearing a red mini-dress a la Scarlett O’Hara at the Ball in Atlanta…

In strolls ROBERTO flanked by Gina and Veronica, followed quickly by JAYCEE, flanked by his parents BLANCA and PABLO. When Pablo and Roberto face-off, not only are they identical twins, but to add to the confusion, they are wearing identical Christmas sweaters… In comes Leonardo escorting his sister Gabi – he has traded his finely-tailored Italian suit for a Christmas sweater too. Gabi wears a Christmas sweater-dress, which every woman in the Hall is envious of.

Fernanda is wearing a silver mini-dress with tiny Christmas sweaters sewn all over it, and because she thinks this is a formal event, she has placed her cigarette in a holder.

The room is buzzing with competing Christmas get-ups, hot cider, Christmas cookies, and even though it looks like a party, they are all there for a very important purpose – to discuss what to do about “The Busy Career Woman From The Big City Who Wants To Buy Ciderville To Destroy It Because She Hates Christmas.”

As Mayor Luis tries to call the meeting to order, he bangs on the gavel and people gradually take their seats, except for Las Colombianas and the men (and a few women) lined up at the Kissing Booth.

An angry Sheriff Ricardo breaks up the line at the Kissing Booth, declares it officially “Closed,” and order everyone to their seats. For the first order of Village Business, Mayor Luis moves to ban Kissing Booths, Sheriff Ricardo “Seconds” the motion, and Mayor Luis orders Las Colombianas to his office to await further instructions from him and Sheriff Ricardo.

The room finally begins to quiet down, when Mayor Luis, still at the podium, sees Antonio standing at the back of the room. All eyes follow, and the room goes very quiet, as everyone stares at yet ANOTHER stranger who’s come to town. Finally, from the podium, Mayor Luis yells, “ANTONIO, QUE HACES AQUII?!?!?!?!?” (“Antonio, what are you doing here?!?!?!”)

Antonio stares at Luis for a moment, and then pulls out his gun… Everyone ducks…

And no one sees FERNANDA, standing right behind him…

… To Be Continued…

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