“A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES.. AND MURDER & MAYHEM!!”

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined a Telenovela with a Hallmark Christmas Movie?
Well wonder no more… Merry Christmas!!!

“A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES… AND MURDER & MAYHEM.”

(EPISODE 7)

When we last left off, JAYCEE was about to kiss LUPITA under the mistletoe he’s been dragging around all night. Lupita pauses, to again make Jaycee confirm that they are not Brother & Sister. Jaycee does, and is about to go in for the kiss, when his mother BLANCA’S bloodcurdling scream pierces the night. Not unreasonably, Lupita is now sure that they ARE Brother & Sister, based upon Blanca’s scream.

But no, that’s not it.

Blanca is screaming for help, because either her Husband PABLO or her Brother-in-Law ROBERTO is DEAD! Killed on the front porch of the Ciderville Village Town Hall. The Santa, Mrs. Santa, and Elves that dominate the Christmas decorations on the porch were shot too; Rudolph’s Red Nose is shattered.

MAYOR LUIS & SHERIFF RICARDO immediately take over the crime scene, and protect it with decorative Christmas ribbon because they don’t have any Crime Scene tape, because they have never had a Crime Scene in Cedarville.

Now, there is only one twin remaining – but they mystery is Which Twin Is It? Since Pablo and Roberto were so identical, and wore matching Christmas sweaters to the Ciderville Village Hall, who is dead, and who is alive? The Twin Left Alive insists he is Pablo, but Blanca is not so sure, and looks at him through narrowed eyes. The Twin Who Insists He’s Pablo tells Luis and Ricardo he didn’t see who shot his brother – that someone ran up to them in a Santa Claus mask, shot Roberto several times, then jumped into a waiting car. Pablo doesn’t know if it was a man or a woman, can’t give a height/weight description, and was too startled to notice the clothes, or make/model of the car. Basically, Pablo says “I heard shots, saw nothing.” (A phrase that people who work in law enforcement in Chicago will recognize.) Luis & Ricardo are very unhappy with the complete lack of information provided by the only witness to the murder, who happens to be the identical twin of the victim…

MEANWHILE… Back at the old, abandoned mansion…

SANDRITA and ANTONIO are still locked in in the attic bedroom, and their only source of light, the Christmas Candle, is about to die out…Sandrita suggests that they share the sleigh bed to keep warm until help comes. Antonio is tempted, but does not want to give up trying to get out of there. As he continues to pull hard on the locked door, at that very moment the door opens easily, and those force of physics throws Antonio backwards onto the sleighbed with Sandrita.

FERNANDA opened the door from the outside, and is amused at the sight of Antonio and Sandrita in bed together. Fernanda demands to know “QUE HACES AQUI?!?!” But Antonio turns the tables and demands to know of her “Y TU, QUE HACES AQUI?!?!?”

MEANWHILE … Back at the CIDERVILLE GINERBREAD VILLAGE HALL, Sheriff Ricardo think it would be a good idea to move the Homicide Investigation into the Ciderville Police Department, which is the room next door, but an anxious FRANCESCA reminds him the Police Department is not available because all of the Christmas presents for the Orphanage are there – there’s no room for anything or anyone else. Mayor Luis stops Francesca as she tries to leave, reminding her that there is no orphanage in Ciderville, because there are no orphans in Ciderville. Suddenly, twin boys appear in the doorway of the Village Hall, and announce that there are Two Orphans in Ciderville … “We are Roberto’s sons… and now that he is dead, we have no parents for Christmas…”

This IS news!!!!

MEANWHILE… Back at the Abandoned Old Mansion…

Fernanda tells Antonio and Sandrita that she has been living there… what are they doing there? Antonio demands to know who else is living there – he saw Fernanda in the window leaning over someone sitting in the rocking chair and he also heard shots. Who shot who, and where is the person sitting in the rocking chair?

Sandrita pulls out a badge and announces she is with Interpol, and has been following Antonio – and demands that Fernanda answer Antonio’s questions. And then leave her and Antonio alone to discuss the case. In the bedroom.

Antonio sees Fernanda is trying to stuff something into her pocket – it’s a SANTA MASK!!!

Antonio pulls the Santa Mask away from a worried Fernanda, and looking directly at the Santa Mask says “Mira nada mas… QUE HACES AQUI?!?” (“Well, well, well, look who’s here … What are you doing here?!?”). Fernanda looks scared. And Guilty.

MEANWHILE … Back at the Village Town Hall … in the Kitchen

A worried GINA finds a more worried VERONICA hiding in the kitchen, preparing more hot cider and trays of Christmas Cookies. Gina asks Veronica “Que haces aqui?!?!? Veronica tells her it looks like it’s going to be a long night, and everyone could probably use more cider and cookies. Gina doesn’t buy it, and says, “No, I mean what are you doing here, hiding in the kitchen?”

Veronica tells Gina it is too upsetting to be so close to Roberto’s dead body, especially in the Christmas sweater that she knitted for him. Gina is surprised to hear that – she didn’t know that Veronica had knitted that sweater herself. Something about that bit of news does not make sense, but before Gina can think it through, Veronica tells Gina that maybe Mayor Luis is right – maybe they should sell the “Ye Old Ciderville Christmas Shop” to Lupita now that Roberto is dead. The two women stand in the doorway of the kitchen, and watch Sheriff Ricardo interrogate Jaycee and Lupita together, as they hold hands, which is not something usually allowed in an interrogation…

Gina reminds Veronica that Lupita still denies that she is The Very Busy and Unhappy Career Woman Who Hates Christmas And Has Come To Ciderville To Buy It and Destroy It.

Veronica, watching Jaycee and Lupita together, while Jaycee still holds the mistletoe, reminds Gina that Gina knows exactly who Lupita is… and that she sure doesn’t look like a woman who hates Christmas…

MEANWHILE … back at Roberto’s body still surrounded by Christmas ribbon…

DR. DE LA FA LA LA LA LA (“DOC”) is examining Roberto’s bullet-riddled body. DOC is the town doctor and was also elected Ciderville Town Coroner, but since the town of Ciderville has never had a mysterious death before, this is Doc’s first time as Coroner.

Mayor Luis and Sheriff Ricardo watch Doc count and describe the bullet holes, as LAS COLOMBIANAS take notes and are all business. They have been Deputized by Sheriff Ricardo to be Special Assistant Deputies in this Homicide Investigation. They have a lot to say as Doc runs down the entrance and exit wounds, and speculates about where the shooter shot from.

LA COLOMBIANA notices a suspicious white powder at a corner of Roberto’s mouth. She looks down at it and mumbles “Que haces aqui?!” To the powder.

THE OTHER COLOMBIANA bends down for a closer look, and removes a bit of it from Roberto’s lip, and tastes the powder.

“POISON!!!” She announces.

“He was dead before he hit the ground!!!”

Everyone looks at each other, extremely suspiciously…

Except for Doc, who looks thoroughly confused…

To be continued …

“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…

EPISODE 4

“A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES … AND MURDER & MAYHEM!”

When we last left off yesterday, GINA was at the door of the Ciderville ‘El Generalissimo’ General Store, and GABI was not happy to see her, while LUPITA was still reeling from the events of the day so far,and she had only been in town for a few hours!

Gina is holding a snowglobe filled with Dalmation puppies, and still in her Christmas sweater.

An angry Gabi asks her “QUE HACES AQUI?!?!? (What are you doing here?!?)”

Gina responds that she is there to see FERNANDA. Lupita insists she is not Fernanda, and wants to know why everyone keeps calling her ‘Fernanda.’

For the umpteenth time that day (so far) she tells Gina in no uncertain terms that she is NOT this ‘Fernanda,’ and adds for good measure, that she is not here to buy the town of Ciderville, either.

She then adds, to both Gina and Gabi, that she is NEVER going to wear a Christmas Sweater, and that when people in The Big City wear them, they wear them as jokes, for ‘Ugly Sweater’ contests.

Gina and Gabi bless themselves.

Gina asks Gabi for a moment of privacy with ‘Lupita.’ Gabi is reluctant to do so, but Lupita insists it’s ok, and so Gabi goes to the store-room to unpack more Christmas sweaters, which is also an excellent listening post.

Before she goes, she asks if anyone wants any hot cider, but no one does.

Gabi pretends to go into the store-room, but she stands in the doorway, where she can hear everything.

Lupita asks Gina what she wants, and demands that Gina explains why Gina, Veronica and Roberto kidnapped her earlier that day.

Gina reminds her it was more in the nature of an “Unlawful Restraint,” and not a full-blown Kidnapping, but agrees it was wrong and apologizes and begs Lupita for her forgiveness. Lupita says she forgives them, but wants to know WHY??? Gina tells her that the Town of Ciderville is very important to all of them, and they heard that a Busy Career Woman From The Big City Who Hates Christmas was coming to Ciderville to buy the town to destroy, and that she and her partners had decided to hold The Career Woman hostage until after Christmas, so that Ciderville could have “One Last Christmas,” but that when they saw the Career Woman was Fernanda, they just couldn’t do it.

In the middle of the conversation, they hear the screech of tires, and Gabi, Gina and Lupita run to the windows of the shop, where they see the long, black limo we saw at the end of yesterday’s episode has stopped in front of the store. The tall, very handsome, elegant man in a perfectly tailored Italian suit emerges from the back of the car, and again removes his photo of “Fernanda” from his wallet, then looks directly at the faces of the three women in the window. Lupita shows no emotion, Gabi’s face breaks into a big smile, and a stunned Gina drops the Dalmation snow-globe, shattering it into a thousand pieces. And then faints in case anyone missed the point.

The man – LEONARDO – begins walking up the Candy Cane Lane to the shop… Taking his time… Enjoying this moment…

MEANWHILE…

NADIA and OSCAR are still day-drinking, at a different Cantina in town, the “Ciderville Christmas Candle-Inn.”

The Cande-Inn has no artificial lights, is entirely lit by Christmas candles, and the bartender dresses like Santa Clause, the Bar-backs dress as elves, and the waitresses dress like Mrs. Clause. But not a “Naughty’ Mrs Clause – more like a Hallmark Mrs Clause.

It’s one of the most popular places in town, because everyone looks great in candlelight.

In between steamy embraces, in their corner booth, Oscar asks Nadia about the town – specifically, what’s with the cider, and where’s the snow? Nadia is about to answer some of his questions, but changes her mind when “La Murga” comes on the jukebox, and she can’t resist the Christmas salsa music. She pulls Oscar onto the dance floor, and even though the two of them have been drinking all day, they don’t miss a step.

Everyone in the bar begins to clap around them as they take over the floor, yelling “Eso!!”

Just like Mark Anthony.

The music ends with an abrupt scratching-sound, when the doors to the bar open, letting in daylight and two figures of two men standing in the doorway, whose faces are blocked by the sun.

The two men come towards Oscar & Nadia.

Nadia’s eyes open in terror when she realizes it’s JOSE and JOSUE, now in matching Christmas Sweaters.

Jose says to Nadia – “Mira Nada Más” (“Well, Well, Well, Look Who’s Here…”) “Go on, my love, why don’t you tell your new lover about the cider?”

Josue adds, and “And don’t forget to tell him about the snow, too!”

Jose and Josue laugh diabolically and crowd Nadia, who pulls herself up bravely to her full height (approximately 5’3”) and demands to know “QUE HACES AQUI?!?!?”

Josue brings his face very close to Nadia’s, and tells her “We’re here for you.”

“And for some hot cider,” Jose adds.

Oscar believes this a good time for him to leave the bar, to go find his Patrona Lupita, but Jose and Josue block his exit, which leads Oscar to rethink his exit, and instead orders “Hot Cider all around!!” This breaks the tension, and everyone has a good laugh, until Josue leans right into Oscar’s face, demanding to know “Que Haces Aqui?!?!?!?!?”

Oscar replies that he’s only passing through town with his Patrona,

but Jose corrects him and says “No, I mean what are you doing here with MY WIFE?!?!?”

He then crushes the cider goblet in his hand, never losing eye contact with Oscar…

MEANWHILE-

Back at the Ciderville Village Hall made entirely out of gingerbread, MAYOR LUIS and and SHERIFF RICARDO walk into the small conference room where LAS COLOMBIANAS wait for them, drumming their extremely decorated and very long nails on the table. They are wearing Christmas Sweaters, but because they are Colombian, the sweaters are actually crop-tops that just look like Christmas Sweaters.

The crop-tops are also decorated with small candles that are actually lit, but because Las Colombianas are Colombian, they are not afraid of wearing lit candles.

When Luis and Ricardo walk into the room, Las Colombianos demand to know “QUE HACES AQUI?!?”

To which Luis responds “I work here. The better question is “QUE ESTAN HACIENDO AQUI??!” (Which means, “What are you doing here, (plural)?!?!?”)

Ricardo then tells them to put their sweaters out, because this is a “No Smoking” building.

LA COLOMBIANA points at LA FRANCESCA, The Deputy Mayor and Chief Deputy of the Ciderville Police Department, who is spying on them from the doorway, and smoking. La Colombiana demands to know why La Francesca is allowed to smoke, and Luis explains that La Francesca’s grandmother founded the town, so she’s grandfathered in on smoking. And Ricardo reminds them that Francesca is also the Deputy Mayor and Chief Deputy of the Ciderville Police Department, so she can pretty much do whatever she wants. THE OTHER COLOMBIANA objects to the corruption of the Ciderville town government, and also wants to know if she and La Colombiana can have some more hot cider please.

Luis tells them that they can have as much cider as they want once they explain what they are doing there without an appointment.

Las Colombianas explain (In very fast Spanish, in a very strong Colombian dialect that sounds kind of Chinese to an untrained ear, like mine) that they are there in the spirit of Christmas, and want to work with Ciderville to end waste, and to that end, they have a suggestion: After Christmas, they volunteer to take whatever is left of the Gingerbread Town Hall and ship it all to starving children.

Their organization is called “A Nosh for Los Ninos.”

The ladies add that they want to create a Christmas Talent Competition to raise funds for the organization, which will take place on Christmas Eve, and that since they are very talented themselves, they should not be excluded from the competition.

Luis and Ricardo try to catch their breath from the long and fast verbal assault from Las Colombianas, which is just how they talk. But the Mayor and Chief like the idea.

And they like Las Colombianas.

Luis calls for Francesca to bring more hot cider for everyone, and while the four of them toast happier days ahead for their relationship, Francesca watches from the doorway, smoking, and pulls out her phone.

When whoever she is calling answers, Francesca says “My love, I have some very interesting news for you… But it will cost you… Meet me at the Christmas Cantina. …

No! Not that one, the other one!”

MEANWHILE…

Back at the Ciderville “El Generalissimo” General Store, Lupita is trying to revive Gina, while Gabi fusses over LEONARDO with hot cider and cookies, and she holds different Christmas sweaters up to him, trying to decide what will suit him best.

Leonardo really likes those cookies, and doesn’t stop eating them.

He eats and waits for Gina to wake up, and stares at Lupita. Lupita finally revives Gina, and when Gina comes to, she asks Leonardo, “Leonardo, Que Haces Aqui?!?!?”

Gabi reminds GIna that Leonardo is family – her brother – and the better question to Gina is “What are you still doing here?”

Lupita watches them while they argue, and Leonardo interrupts them both with a “Shut Up,” which they obey immediately.

Leonardo begins walking towards a nervous Lupita, who walks backward as he walks forwards, and she nervously asks him what he wants.

Leonardo responds “You, Lupita, I want you – my wife!”

Gina and Gabi bless themselves, and Lupita slaps Leonardo, hard.

And then slaps him once more, in case he didn’t get it the first time.

STAY TUNED FOR EPISODE 5!!

#Telenovelas

#HallmarkChristmasMovies

“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…

“A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES (AND MURDER & MAYHEM)” – Episode 2!

“A TIME FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES (AND MURDER AND MAYHEM)”

-A combination of a Telenovela and a Hallmark Christmas Movie

-Episode 2 – Lupita Shops For Christmas Plates And Her Own Town …

In the Christmas shop “Ye Olde La Casa de Christmas”, Lupita gradually wakes up and begins to focus on the worried, yet sinister, faces of Gina, Veronica and Roberto hovering over her. Gina lovingly wipes the blood from Lupita’s forehead, while Veronica fixes Lupita’s hair, so that she looks as beautiful as she did before the Christmas bell over the doorway came crashing down on her head, knocking her out.

Roberto pushes the two women out of the way and yells “Que Haces Aqui?!” at Lupita, which means “What are you doing here?!” Lupita, now on her feet, announces that she is there to buy Christmas dessert dishes, and that she heard La Casa de Christmas had the best Christmas accessories in Ciderville. As she looks around the store, which is packed with Christmas goods, her request does not appear to be unreasonable. But then, she realizes the blinds are drawn and the store is closed.

Lupita demands to know if she is being kidnapped. She begs them not to cover her head in a burlap bag, because she’s not sure if they are ever washed in-between kidnappings. Gina explains that there is no need for a burlap bag because you only need those when you don’t want the person being kidnapped to know where they are going, and also adds in a rush that this is not a kidnapping. Veronica adds that what they are doing is closer to the crime of “Unlawful Restraint,: but that if they move her into the stock-room, then that would technically be a Kidnapping.

Lupita demands to know what the three of them want, and Roberto informs her that her days of making demands are over – that they demand to know if Luptia is The Rich Woman Who Has Come To Buy The Town Of Ciderville To Destroy It, Because She Hates Christmas?

Lupita looks scared, and Roberto, Gina and Veronica look like they already know the answer to that question…

MEANWHILE…

Across town, Jaycee is limping his broken bike back home, when a black Mercedes sedan pulls up quickly beside him, but not before almost hitting him, which would be the second time that day he would have been struck by a luxury sedan with tinted windows.

The tinted window comes down, revealing the beautiful yet angry face of BLANCA, who demands to know “QUE HACES AQUI?!” (“What are you doing here?!”). Jaycee thanks Blanca for not killing him, and explains that earlier in the day a different sedan belonging to a different rich woman almost struck and killed him, and destroyed his bike. Blanca’s already kind-of-narrow eyes narrow even more, and she asks Jaycee “Is it her? What is she doing here?” Jaycee tells her that is between Blanca and his father, which is when we learn that Blanca is Jaycee’s mother!! And just to drive the point home, she orders him to get in the car and leave his bike out on the street – she’ll buy him a new one for Christmas.

As Jaycee debates this offer, Blanca’s sinister driver, REYNALDO, gets out of the car and advises Jaycee he had better do what his mother tells him to do. Reynaldo walks over to the bike, takes it away from Jaycee and tosses it on the side of the road…

MEANWHILE…

Back at La Casa de Christmas, Lupita demands to be released. Veronica moves quickly through the store, opening the blinds and the store, while Gina insists that Lupita was never “kidnapped,” they just wanted to show her the “Glow-In-The-Dark Garland that is new this year. Roberto approaches Lupita with the garland, wrapping it around his hands as if it was a scarf he might use to wrap around her throat, but then he releases the garland, cracks it like a whip, which makes the garland light up. Roberto tells Lupita it’s their biggest seller this year, for kids of all ages, and that as a sign of good faith, she should buy some garland. And The Christmas Dishes. Lupita has a staring contest with the three shopkeepers …

MEANWHILE…

Back at the Ciderville Christmas Cantina, Oscar (Lupita’s Driver & Bodyguard) is enjoying another egg-nog, when an attractive woman in a very low-cut animal-print sweater that is already two sizes too tight for her, leans over Oscar with a cigarette and asks for a light. This is NADIA. As Oscar brings his hand close to her cigarette, Nadia takes his hand and moves it even closer, in a subtle yet obvious caress. Oscar is surprised at how forward Nadia is, even though she is alone in the Cantina wearing a too-tight leopard print sweater.

Oscar asks her “You know that move? Even here in Ciderville,?” To which Nadia responds, “Baby, we all know that move.” She then pulls away from him suddenly and demands to know “Que Haces Aqui?!” (“What are you doing here?!”). Oscar tells her that he is drinking as much egg-nog as he can because he loves it, it’s impossible to find after the holidays, and so he is loading up on the best egg-nog he has ever had. From behind the bar, MANNY, the sinister bartender, beams with pride.

Nadia corrects Oscar, and says she means What Is He Doing Here, in Ciderville, because he looks like he is from The Big City. Oscar insists he’s only in it for the egg-nog, but that his Patrona, Lupita, is here in Ciderville to buy some Christmas dishes…

With that, Nadia looks back at Manny, and they share a secret smile Oscar can’t see because he basically has had too much egg-nog at this point.

MEANWHILE…

Back at “La Casa de Christmas,” Lupita has selected a beautiful set of antique Christmas dishes that are The Jewel In The Crown of the store. As she approaches the cash register with the dishes, Veronica quickly takes them out of her hands, hands them to Roberto, and Gina starts crying and announces that they were her grandmother’s dishes, and they are not for sale. When Lupita replies that they were in the window with a price tag of $500, Gina tells her it’s a mistake – they are priceless. Lupita insists they are $500 – and insists Gina look on the price sticker on the back of the plates. Gina tenderly asks Lupita if she really likes the dishes, but before Lupita can answer her, Gina hugs Lupita and whispers that she should get out of town, while there is still time, or else do her Christmas shopping at the rival Christmas store in town, “The Ciderville Generalissimo Store.” Veronica approaches Lupita with some homemade Christmas Cookies and Egg-Nog, but Roberto interrupts and tells them that “they had better make that EggNog to go. Lupita isn’t welcome in “Ye Olde La Casa de Christmas” anymore.

MEANWHILE…

Back at the Ciderville Christmas Cantina, Nadia and Oscar share a cigarette and a lot of double-entendres, until Manny interrupts and reminds Nadia that there’s no smoking allowed inside any of the businesses in Ciderville, for the kids’ sake. Nadia apologizes as she approaches Manny, and dies out her cigarette on his hand. As his screams pierce the Cantina, Nadia suggests to Oscar that they go somewhere more quiet, like the Bed & Breakfast she runs in town. As they stroll outside down the Candy Cane Lane to his car, he tells Nadia that he is here with his Patrona, and they are not spending the night in Ciderville. Nadia accepts this news, walks over to his car, and punctures the tires with a gigantic stiletto she keeps in her purse. “You are now,” she tells him. At which point he takes her in his arms and they make-out like crazy.

MEANWHILE…

Lupita finds Oscar and Nadia, and pulls Oscar away from Nadia, demanding to know where he’s been and yelling at him for abandoning her. She tells him she was kidnapped, threatened, and was not allowed to buy the Christmas dishes she wanted. Nadia watches Lupita, with her hand inside of her purse, caressing her stiletto. Nadia and Lupita are off to a bad start, which does not get better when Oscar tells Lupita that “someone” has slashed the tires to their car, and so they have to stay at Nadia’s B&B tonight. Nadia adds she only has one room available, which means that Oscar is sleeping with her….

MEANWHILE…

Blanca’s sedan pulls up in front of a gigantic mansion, and she and Jaycee emerge from the car and walk up the magnificent front porch. The Christmas decorations are exquisite and abundant. Jaycee tells his mother she outdid herself this year, and she’s sure to win the “Ciderville Christmas Competition,” to which Blanca answers with a sigh and a faraway look, that Christmas is the saddest part of the year for her, and that it hasn’t been the same since … since…

The front door opens suddenly, and standing on the other side of it is a man who looks exactly like Roberto from “Ye Olde Casa de Christmas,” except he is even angrier and scarier, even in his MATCHING CHRISTMAS SWEATER. The first words out of his mouth to Jaycee are “Que Haces Aqui?!” (“What are you doing here?!) to which Jaycee replies “I love here.” “Not any more!,” says his father PABLO. Blana slaps Pablo hard, and demands to know “How many more children do I have to lose?!” Which shuts everyone up.

Then, Blanca’s eyes grow very very narrow, almost too narrow to see out of, and she demands to know of Pablo where he got that sweater from. Pablo responds he found it in the attic!!! This news shocks everyone, even the housekeepers standing by, who bless themselves. When Blanca demands to know of Pablo “What were you doing in the attic,” Pablo responds “I live here.” The housekeepers bless themselves again.

After a long minute, Jaycee extends his hand to Pablo, asks for his forgiveness, for his mother’s sake, and announces that he wants to come home for Christmas.

The housekeepers bless themselves again.

Blanca hugs Jaycee, and Pablo accepts his apology, but Pablo adds that Jaycee is going to need a Christmas sweater. When Jaycee says “No problem, I’ll go find one in the attic,” Blanca screams, the housekeepers bless themselves again, and then Blanca tells him that everything in the attic has been eaten by the moths – let’s go to town, I’ll buy you a new one. She adds cryptically “For Tonight…”

MEANWHILE…

Lupita, Oscar and Nadia stand shoulder-to-shoulder, in front of another Christmas shop called “ EL GENERALISSIMO GENERAL STORE.” Except for the fact that it’s directly across the street from “Ye Olde Casa de la Christmas” it could be it’s twin. As Lupita and Oscar walk up the lane lined with lamposts out of Dickens, Nadia says she’ll wait for them outside. (Basically, if Nadia was a Vampire, Christmas stores would be daylight.)

Lupita makes Oscar walk in first, and watches the bell over the door carefully as she walks in after him. The song the bell plays is “24 de Diciembre” by Juan Gabriel. Suddenly, a beautiful woman comes from behind the counter, welcomes them to her store and spontaneously begins dancing with Oscar, who cannot believe the great day he is having.

Lupita joins in, clapping and yelling “Eso!!!” Just like Marc Anthony.

The woman is “Gabi,” and unlike everyone else they have met, she is happy and normal. And Super-Good Looking. Suddenly, the door opens again, and in comes JayCee.

Time stands still when he and Lupita see each other again, and the music seems to slow down. He takes Lupita in his arms, and they begin dancing to the joyful Christmas song as it returns to it’s regular, extremely bouncy beat.

The door opens again, but this time the music makes a loud record-scratching sound.

The dancing and fun stops.

It’s Blanca, who is saying “How long does it take to find a Christmas Sweat-“

She stops in her tracks when she sees Lupita.

Blanca walks up to Lupita and yells “Fernanda!!! QUE HACES AQUI?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

…. STAY TUNED FOR EPISODE 3

“A Season For Magic & Miracles (And Murder & Mayhem)” Episode 1

Ever wondered what would happen if you crossed a telenovela with a Hallmark Christmas movie? Well, now is your chance to find out…

Since I have moved to Mexico City, it has been almost impossible for me to write about telenovelas because no one in Chicago is watching the telenovelas that are on here,

and when I write about the novelas on Netflix, I’m asked not to “spoil” the novelas for those who haven’t watched them yet.

And I have already written about all of the novelas that are on “Telemundo Internacionale” here.

So, with that in mind, and because we are coming up on Christmas, I have decided to try writing a mini-novela of my own, that is a combination of a telenovela and a Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movie.

And since it’s my fantasy , I get to cast it anyway I want…

So today, here is the pilot of my HallmarkNovela: “A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES (AND MURDER & MAYHEM)”. Hope you like it!!!

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“A SEASON FOR MAGIC & MIRACLES (AND MURDER & MAYHEM)”

A Telenovela/Hallmark/Lifetime ‘Television For Women’ Christmas Story…

“CHRISTMAS DAY – TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO – THE OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS”

When the story opens, we’re in a simple, humble little house, decorated for Christmas with home-made decorations. Dalmation puppies cavort around a giggling little girl, still in her pajamas, as she opens the few homemade presents under the tree. The little girl is about two-three years old – too young to really understand what is happening, but perhaps just old enough to remember everything.

From the little girl’s perspective, the scene looks foggy, like a dream or a memory. A pair of dusty, worn shoes, belonging to man, come into the room and stop right where the child sits, surrounded by puppies and gifts. The man asks the child “Que haces aqui?” which is Spanish for “What are you doing here?” The little girl stops what she is doing and looks up at him, terrified. Then a pair of woman’s shoes, high-heels, red sandals, come in right next to him. We never see their faces. The man speaks in a harsh voice, and tells the woman to “hurry up and get her dressed.” The woman, crying, half-heartedly refuses, but swoops up the silent little girl and wraps her in a winter coat and boots over the Christmas pajamas the child wears. Both the coat and boots are too big for her – clearly hand-me-downs.

Meanwhile, the man answers an insistent knock at the door – it’s another couple, about the same age, but they are dressed in better clothes and appear more prosperous. The little girl watches the male half of the couple hand the man a big wad of cash, and the woman hands over the little girl to the female half of the couple. The female half of the couple strips the little girl of her winter coat and boots, spitting out that they have much better clothes for her. Now the little girl begins to cry as they take her to a waiting car, which speeds away. The man slams the door to the house closed, and tells the woman “Stop crying – it’s better this way. Now get rid of those puppies next.”

The Dalmation puppies, without the little girl, wander around under the tree and whimper, looking for their little friend…

CUT TO:

TODAY, “CIDERVILLE”

CIDERVILLE is a magical small town, decorated for Christmas on every corner. Plastic Santas with their reindeer descend from rooftops all over town, giant candy canes line Main Street, every house and business is decorated inside and out for Christmas, trees wrapped up in sparkling lights, a gigantic Christmas tree dominates the town square, gold and silver-wrapped boxes with red bows sit under the tree, lampposts wrapped in twinkling lights and holly … you know the drill. The only thing missing to make it all perfect is SNOW. (As I said, you know the drill.)

A black sedan drives fast up Main Street, failing to stop at Ciderville’s only Stop & Go light, and hits a handsome young man on a bike. The car stops, and LUPITA, a beautiful, solemn and highly-accessorized young woman emerges from the back seat of the car, yelling at her driver, OSCAR, who tries to help the bike-rider. The bike is damaged beyond repair, and the driver pulls out a wad of cash and hands it to the bike-guy who is banged up, but ok. The bike guy is JUAN CARLOS, known to all as “JAYCEE.” Jaycee swears and throws the cash back at Oscar and limps off with his bike, which looks broken beyond repair. As he goes, he looks back at Lupita with the “1,000 Yard Stare,” which is a cross between an alluring come-on and a murderous glare. Lupita returns that look with a small, mysterious smile.

Lupita gets back in the car, and Oscar continues to drive through Main Street, but a lot more carefully this time. As the car moves slowly down the street, townspeople stop to stare at it, and no one seems too happy to see it. It’s hard to tell who looks more sinister: Lupita, behind the tinted glass of her black sedan, or the kids who glare back at the car, longing for snow so they could throw snowballs at the car.

Finally, the sedan comes to a stop in front of a small holiday-themed gift shop, called “Ye Olde Casa del Christmas.” VERONICA, an attractive woman in a Christmas sweater goes to the window and studies the car, and announces “She’s here,” to GINA, equally attractive, and not dressed in a Christmas sweater. Gina looks worried, and she clutches a Christmas ornament in her hand as walks up to join Veronica at the window. Veronica looks down at the ornament in Gina’s grasp – it’s a Dalmation puppy. Veronica begins to warn Gina about the danger of the puppy ornament, but she is interrupted when they are joined at the window by a menacing, intense man, ROBERTO who would look a lot scarier if he wasn’t wearing a Christmas sweater too. He asks the women if they are ready. When he sees the puppy ornament he reminds Gina that he’s warned her before and now he’s done warning her. Veronica tells Roberto to shut up – they are ready. Nothing can go wrong. Then Gina silences their bickering with the two scariest words you can hear in a telenovela – “Trust me.”

Gina, Roberto and Veronica watch Lupita as she walks towards the shop and begins to open the door.

The bell hanging over the door, that rings “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano, falls from the wall, striking Lupita in the head and knocking her out cold.

Roberto and Veronica smile at one another, but Gina looks worried. Roberto then quickly drags Lupita’s unconscious body away from the door, while Veronica quickly draws the blinds and puts the “CLOSED” sign in the window. Gina wipes the blood from Lupita’s forehead, while trying to wake her up.

As Lupita comes to, her vision is still cloudy, and the first thing she sees is the Dalmation ornament.

“Mama? “ she cries, weakly. “Mama?”

Roberto covers her mouth with his hand, telling her to shut-up. Lupita wakes quickly after that, and her eyes grow into gigantic saucers once Roberto covers her mouth with his powerful (and hopefully clean) hand.

Meanwhile, back at the car, Oscar grows tired of waiting for Lupita. As he walks up to the shop, he notices the drawn blinds and “Closed” sign.

He’s about to go to the door, to make sure Lupita is ok (since that’s his job) when he notices the “Ciderville Christmas Cantina” across the street, and decides to go there for a drink instead, leaving Lupita at the mercy of three mysterious shopkeepers who clearly will stop at nothing, including wearing some pretty bad Christmas sweaters.

To Be Continued…

I Make Mistakes In México So You Don’t Have To…

I had never before been to Mexico,

I don’t speak much Spanish,

I don’t know The Metric System.

So why not move to Mexico from Chicago to write the Telenovela of my dreams?

What could go wrong….

Listen to my podcast to learn all about my mistake-filled life here, and please give it a great rating even if you have to lie!!

Gracias!!

#podcasts

#mexico

#telenovelas

#travel

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/my-mexican-mistake-s/id1474401635

Not One Decorating Or Travel Tip Here. No Recipes Either.

Why You Need to Stop Decorating And Watch “La Reina del Sur 2” on Netflix

One of my favorite series, “La Reina del Sur 2” is now on @netflix everywhere, and coming soon to @telemundointl here in Mexico!

Only GOT beats it in the ratings, which isn’t surprising because basically LRDS is a NarcoNovela GOT, with it’s own cool acronym too.

There is a lot of driving in #lrds2 – and oddly some of it is by a ten-year old girl driving a Cadillac through the winding streets of Tuscany.

You’ll see things in this great series you’ve never seen before, including American actor (and Julia Roberts’ brother) Eric Roberts, speaking worse Spanish than I do.

The show has a wonderful cast, great music (thanks to @flaviomedinal and his back-up singers @robertowoficial & @lincpal) and is a lot of fun and a Truly Excellent Adventure. @calvatwitt as

“Batmancito” is going to break your heart, plus there’s nothing more fun than watching him argue with a ten-year old. Humberto Zurito is a blast as “The Narco Who Would Be President.”

The only real danger of his Presidency would be that Cabinet meetings could get confusing because he calls everyone “Mijo.”

Watch @reinadelsurtv on @Netflix for a very good time!!

#lrds #netflix #gringanovelera

“Santa Diabla” Is On Again In México!!!

Hello! Today is Sunday July 21 and I’m coming to you LIVE from Mexico City!!

As most of you know I moved here from Chicago about six weeks ago to write the telenovela of my dreams, having been so inspired by the telenovelas I started watching just a few years ago. At first, it was just a crazy experiment, one of the many dangers of living in Chicago during a winter of Thundersnow.

But almost immediately, telenovelas, and writing about telenovelas, became my true passion and eventually led me here, to live in Mexico.

The first telenovela I ever wrote daily summaries about was “Santa Diabla,” by Jose Ignacio “El Chascas” Valenzuela

on Telemundo.

In #SantaDiabla, nothing was as it seemed, and that was not because I didn’t speak Spanish! The plot of “Santa Diabla” was that a woman named Santa Martinez pretended to be a woman named “Amanda Braun,” so she could marry Humberto Cano (and basically into the whole mean and crazy Cano family) in order to obtain her revenge on him and his family for framing her beloved husband Willy for rape and killing him in prison, but then right after Santa married Humberto, she met his saxaphone-playing, perenially-sad brother Santiago, and fell in love with him.

And then things became super-complicated and mysterious and funny after that.

I never missed one episode of the novela and

I wrote summaries of the show every night!

I did that all on my original Facebook page called “La Gringa Novelera,” and my real name was nowhere to be found.

After Santa Diabla ended, I continued to write about telenovelas daily.

A couple of years after I started, Facebook, even though they helped Russia help elect Trump, took a firm stand on my Facebook page, and insisted I change the Page to my name, so I did.

My telenovela-sensei Irma Lopez had the foresight to help me save my old posts chronicalling “Santa Diabla,” and I found them recently!

And now that here in Mexico, Telemundointl is showing “Santa Diabla” again, I thought I’d resurrect these old posts that I wrote about the show, timing them to the episode that’s playing .

The series just started about two weeks ago, and here’s what’s happened so far:

Santa, pretending to be Amanda, has already married Humberto, drugged him during their honeymoon so she could escape and go visit her son in the hospital, fallen in love with his brother Santiago, got her mom a job as a maid in the Cano house but no one knows it’s her mom; got her sister-in-law Paula a job as a legal secretary at Humberto’s law firm but no one is supposed to know they are related, the idea being to destroy the Cano family from the inside-out.

Meanwhile, Humberto’s sex-machine mistress Lisette is back in town, with their 18-year old son Ivan who Humberto just met for the first time. Meanwhile, another guy in town named Arturo who’s terrified of his racist mother who I call Mrs. Trump, but still wants her to support him, is too afraid to tell his mother that his girlfriend Mara is African-American, so he proposes to Lisette because his mother promised him a lot of money if he’d settle down and get married and give her a grandchild. Even though Lisette is Humberto mistress and lives off of the men she’s involved with, she is a more acceptable daughter-in-law to Mrs. Trump that Mara, who is beautiful, kind, hard-working, honest but African-American.

And in another part of town, The Robledo Family, BFF’s and law-partners with the Canos, have their own set of problems in the form of the madcap and sociopath daughter “Ines,” who is my favorite character on the whole show. Ines has also just returned from somewhere (The Psychiactric Ward?), and instantaneously fell in love with Santiago Cano, except Santiago is already madly in love with Amanda/Santa, who just married his brother Humberto.

Ines was played by the great Ximena Duque – who stole the whole show!!!!!

Got it??????????

Don’t worry – you will!!!

So I am going to try to re-post each one of these old posts to follow along with the series in repeats here in Mexico.

I am not changing or fixing anything, except for typos.

I missed a lot as I wrote my daily summaries of the show a few years ago, and got a lot of things wrong. But I think that made it fun and funny for me!

Let’s see how this experiment goes….

——————————————————————–

(From 21 August 2013)

Hola y buenos noches!

Ok, so “Santa Diabla” was very good tonight, but tomorrow looks even better because it involves a very telling DVD played at the Grand Opening of Humbertp’s new club, with all of the Cano (synonymous with “evil, except for Santiago) family and friends there, so this will cause much embarrassment for the Cano clan! I don’t know what’s on the DVD, but it’s gonna be good!!

Jorge (pronounced “George,” as per George) continues to try to kill his poor (but rich) father-in-law Mr Cano with poisoned Scotch, but Mr Cano knows something is up, so he poured a big glass for George too, poured one for himself, and made a toast. George panicked, dropped his tumbler full of poison scotch, and ran out of the room!

Mr Cano then smiled, and said something I did not understand any of because I DON’T SPANISH!!

For the same exact reason, I cannot tell if Barbara Cano (George’s wife and Humbertos sister) is in on the plot to murder her father.

Humberto and Santa have been married for about 72 hours, and already she has drugged him to get away to visit her secret son who was sick in the hospital, and made out with his brother Santiago at least twice.

But she can be forgiven because she only married Umberto to destroy his family to avenge her husband’s false imprisonment and true murder at the hands of most of the Cano family.

On the other hand, Umberto has already hooked up with his treacherous former mistress and mother of his (grown) son, the always-evil Lisette.

Who is supposed to marry Albert…

————————————————————–

Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!!

My Favorite Street In México City

What’s better than a big street that goes in a big circle??

Here’s Episode 3 of my new podcast!

https://anchor.fm/karen-kerbis/episodes/Theres-Nothing-Better-Than-A-Big-Street-That-Goes-In-A-Big-Circle-e48o75