“A Season For Magic & Miracles & …Murder & Mayhem”

And here it is… Episode 3 of my mashup of a Telenovela and a Hallmark Christmas Movie -The adventure that you never knew you needed, because you totally don’t!

“A SEASON FOR MAGIC AND MIRACLES… AND MURDER AND MAYHEM” – EPISODE 3

When we last left Lupita, she was in the Ciderville El Generalissimo General Store, when her romantic and dance-filled reunion with JAYCEE, the extremely handsome man her driver Oscar almost killed earlier in the day, was interrupted by a scary and angry BLANCA, who called Lupita “FERNANDA,” and demanded to know “QUE HACES AQUI?!?” – “What are you doing here?!?

Of course, Blanca stopped all music and dancing in the store, which made GABI, the beautiful proprietess of the store very angry. Gabi came out from behind the counter wearing a Christmas shawl (that was also for sale), and demanded to know from Blanca – QUE HACES AQUI?!?!?

Everyone backed off, because no one ever challenges Blanca.

Blanca narrowed her eyes and told Gabi “My husband owns this store, remember?” However, Gabi did not back down at this not-unreasonable answer, and doubled-down with her response: “Yes, that’s true, it is your HUSBAND that owns this store, not you. And I am certain that your husband would not want you intimidating his customers, and also calling them by their wrong names. (Gabi points at Lupita) This is Lupita, not “Fernanda!” And if you came in for a new Christmas sweater for Jaycee, I have some new ones that just arrived that come in all sizes, including “Extra-Handsome.”

As Gabi brought out a new pile of Christmas sweaters, Blanca slowly approached Lupita, and Jaycee stood behind Lupita, which served two purposes: He could appear to be on Lupita’s side, yet he was not in his mother’s way. Blanca stared at Lupita with narrowed eyes, and said to anyone listening “Of course this is Fernanda – don’t you think I would know my own DAUGHTER?!?!?” The scratching sound of a record is heard, interrupting the Christmas music again.

Jaycee moves away from Lupita quickly, and asks Lupita “You’re my sister?!? QUE haces aqui?!?”

We leave Lupita’s stunned and still beautiful face for …

A WAREHOUSE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF CIDERVILLE

The warehouse sits, on a river, at the edge of town.

Ice skaters dressed in Victorian costumes ice skate on the river, while a group of cheerful women pour mugs of steaming Hot Cider to the ice-skating residents of Ciderville.

We move inside of the warehouse, to a dingy office decorated for Christmas. PABLO has been looking out of the window at the ice skaters, and turns to the two other men sitting at a small table in the office, waiting for him to give them his attention. These two men, JOSE and JOSUE look pretty sinister.

Pablo sits down, finally and announces that no matter how much it costs, it is worth it to keep the river frozen at Christmastime. He tells them that skaters dressed as Dickens characters drinking as much Hot Cider as they want is what Christmas is all about. He then asks JOSE and JOSUE how they plan to get rid of Lupita, The Woman Who Wants To Buy Ciderville To Destroy It. They tell Pablo that they have a better plan… And even though they don’t describe any of the details of the “Better Plan,” all three laugh in a very sinister fashion when Pablo says he likes the sound of that.

We leave them for…

THE CIDERVILLE VILLAGE HALL-

The Ciderville Village Hall is the most beautiful building in all of Ciderville. The crest of the town, which is Santa Clause drinking a from a mug of steaming Hot Cider, is emblazoned over the front door. The Village Hall is a Gigantic Gingerbread House, which residents are allowed to eat bits of all year, and then every January, the town builds a new one. However, there is an anti-waste group building strength in town, headed by the beautiful Columbiana, “ known as LA COLUMBIANA,” and her sister, equally beautiful, known as “THE OTHER COLUMBIANA.” Their presence in the town, and efforts to stop the waste of the Gingerbread Town Hall, are creating tension in Ciderville, especially between LAS COLUMBIANAS and The Mayor of Ciderville, LUIS , and RICARDO, the Chief of Police.

Chocolate Christmas Trees decorated in gumdrops, strings of popcorn and candy canes line the halls of the Village Hall, as we find ourselves in the Meeting Hall. As cheerful workers prepare the room with folding chairs strung together with garland and throw tinsel everywhere, other volunteers serve Hot Cider and home-made Christmas Cookies. MAYOR LUIS and CHIEF RICARDO stroll into the hall, surveying the work and workers. Ricardo says that the hall looks perfect, and ready for the big town meeting taking place in a few hours.

Luis says there’s not much more to do now, all they can do is wait to see how the meeting goes. Chief Ricardo caresses the gun in his holster and responds that sometimes “waiting” isn’t always the best course of action – they they “waited” to see what Las Colombianas were up to, and now it’s too late. Luis smiles, and tells Ricardo he knows better than that, and removes his own gun from his shoulder holster. He eyes his gun admiringly, and then takes a big bite out of the barrel, reminding Ricardo that it’s never too late, or too early, for a good piece of Christmas chocolate. Ricardo then takes a big bite out of his gun too, and they leave the workers to finish getting the Hall ready. As they walk out eating their guns, FRANCESCA who is always dressed in evening wear and smoking, runs up to them, panicked. “QUE HACES AQUI???” She yells at both of them, and Luis and Ricardo yell right back at her “QUE HACES AQUI?!? – We work here!”

Francesca reminds them that she does too – as Mayor Luis’ Chief of Staff and Chief Ricardo’s Deputy.

Luis reminds Francesca that there is no smoking allowed in the Village Hall, especially since it is made out of Gingerbread, which people will be eating.

Francesca reminds Luis and Ricardo that the town was founded by her grandmother ANTONIA, who allowed a special exemption in the Village Charter for her descendants to be allowed to smoke wherever they want.

The three of them turn towards a gigantic portrait of a woman who looks remarkably like the great actress CHRISTIAN BACH , which dominates the Village Hall. They bow their heads briefly.

Luis and Ricardo have to admit that Francesca is correct, which prompts Francesca to blow smoke rings and announce that LAS COLOMBiANAS are here, and are waiting for them in Luis’s office. Luis and Ricardo walk towards Luis’ office as though they are walking towards the gallows, if the Hangman was two beautiful sisters from Colombia. Luis asks Francesca to bring Las Colombianas two cups of hot cider, Ricardo reminds her “in recyclable cups.”

MEANWHILE…

Back in the Ciderville “El Generalissimo” General Store, Blanca has just accused Lupita of being someone named “Fernanda,” which is making Jaycee very worried that he has just fallen in love with his missing sister.

A shell-shocked Lupita denies that she is “Fernanda” but then gets very dizzy and collapses…

Gabi and Jaycee try to wake her up, but a completely not-worried Blanca grabs a huge snowglobe filled with Dalmation puppies, which plays the theme “Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas.” Jaycee stands in front of Lupita, and begs Blanca not to crush Lupita’s skull with it. Blanca pushes him out of the way and approaches Lupita, eyes narrowed. Blanca then shakes the snowglobe and plays it in Lupita’s ear.

Lupita wakes up.

Blanca, vindicated, announces, “Don’t you think I know what my daughter likes?! Of course this is Fernanda!” A dazed Lupita has to get up off of the floor for the second time that day, and Gabi fusses over her hair and clothes until Lupita looks just as beautiful as she did before the collapse. Gabi yells at Blanca that the only reason Lupita woke up was because Blanca played the music right in Lupita’s ear. Gabi then demands that Blanca leave the store, after paying for Jaycee’s new Christmas sweater. Blanca tells Gabi that she can’t throw Blanca out of her own store, to which Gabi reminds her again that the store belongs to Pablo, not Blanca, and that Pablo has given her permission to do whatever she needs to do, to keep the customers happy. And since Lupita is a customer, and Blanca is not, Blanca must leave.

An angry Blanca walks out, where she notices that Oscar and Nadia are making out on a Christmas bench in front of the store. Blanca yells at Nadia, “NADIA, QUE HACES AQUI?!?!?” Nadia breaks off the kiss at the sound of Blanca’s voice. Blanca walks up the Candy Cane Lane to Nadia and Oscar, as a defiant Nadia reaches for the knife in her purse…

MEANWHILE…

Inside of the Generalissimo General Store, Gabi and Lupita sit at a small cafe table, topped with Christmas dishes and holly-stamped wine-glasses. Gabi serves Lupita a cup of hot cider in a giant mug with a 3-D picture of Santa. Gabi fills in Lupita on who is who in town, and tells her all about Ciderville. Gabi grew up there, and explains that she left for awhile to try The Big City, but her heart belonged to Ciderville, so she returned. Gabi explains that in high-school, she and JayCee were sweethearts, but Blanca didn’t approve of Gabi, so Gabi broke it off with JayCee and began an affiar with Pablo, which has been off-again, on-again until this day. Gabi explained that since Pablo explained he could never leave Blanca and JayCee, especially after the disappearance of … (Gabi trials off her, staring into space, almost in a trance)… Pablo bought the store to give Gabi something to do when they couldn’t be together.

When Lupita brings up “Fernanda,” Gabi begs Lupita to never mention “Fernanda” again.

MEANWHILE…

Back at The Warehouse, Pablo, Jose and Josue have closed whatever evil deal they agreed on, and the three of them laugh and toast each other with hot cider as Pablo walks Jose and Josue to the door. It’s dusk, but twinkling lights that line the river and abundance of portable heaters enable the skaters to keep skating, all courtesy of Pablo. Pablo beams with pride when Jose and Josue again compliment him on what a good thing he is doing – making it possible for even the less fortunate people in town to enjoy Christmas. Pablo accepts their thanks and then reminds them to “Make it look like an accident,” because he “Can’t afford any questions.” The three of them shake on it, and then Pablo disappears back into The Warehouse. At that moment, a shadowy, yet still beautiful, figure emerges from behind the warehouse and approaches Jose and Josue. This woman looks EXACTLY like Lupita, except she has dark hair. The woman asks them “Did he buy it?” Jose responds “Of course he did … FERNANDA!” Then Josue adds “It’s just a matter of time. Let’s go get some hot chocolate, I’m tired of hot cider!” To which Fernanda reponds – “Don’t worry – you won’t have to drink it much longer. You should enjoy it while you can…” And they all laugh, and toast each other with hot cider…

MEANWHILE…

Back at the Generalissimo General Store, there’s a knock at the door and the bell over the door jingles as Gabi and Lupita have a surprise visitor – GINA, from Ye Olde Casa de Christmas.” Gina is holding a snowglobe filled with Dalmation puppies. Gabi is not happy to see Gina and wants to know “QUE HACES AQUI?!?” To which Gina responds – “I AM HERE TO SEE FERNANDA…”

Gina and Lupita stare at each other…

This is a big, unwelcome surprise…

MEANWHILE…

A super-long limo drives up the road towards Ciderville.

Sitting in the back seat is a man, alone…

Very alone, and very handsome, and very well-dressed, and VERY mysterious…

As the driver passes the sign for “Ciderville, 25 Miles,” The Mysterious Man checks his watch, and tells his driver to go “faster…”

He removes a photo from his wallet – it is Fernanda!!!!!

… To Be Continued…

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