“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…

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

My Mexican Mistake(s)

I moved here to Mexico City on June 1, 2019, inspired by my love of telenovelas!

And I’d never been to Mexico before a day in my life!

And now I’m making lots of mistakes here, so you don’t have to!

The podcast is now on Apple, Spotify, Anchor and lots of other platforms. It’s somewhat awkward, very silly, occasionally funny, and always commercial-free!

Please give it a listen and a high rating, even if you have to lie.

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

There’s No Law Lesson Like A Telenovela Law Lesson!

Are you watching “Falsa Identidad” on Telemundo?

Because it’s a lot of fun, plus you could learn a lot about the law! Which is basically the opposite of law school.

So Circe and her friend wanted to scare the Battle-Axe on the right, I guess because she’s about to expose Camila and Diego for stealing her identity.

Part of her identity is being mean and unpleasant, but remember that Diego and Camila were on the run from the even more mean and unpleasant Gavino when Diego’s Brother The Mayor and his Guy El Salas gave Camila her identity. (If Diego has The Mean Woman’s Husband’s Identity, he will want to get out of that relationship right away!)

So Circe and her friend dressed up like maids to pay a visit to the REAL Camila to “scare” her.

I’ll be honest- if Circe showed up in my hotel room I’d be terrified, and I’d double my tip.

Circe’s co-worker accidentally on purpose killed the woman by stabbing her in the neck.

They dragged her into the shower and left her to be found, thinking it would look like a suicide, because I guess in Circe’s world, people frequently stab themselves in the neck to avoid talking to her, her father and/or Joselito.

Well, The Real Camila was found by her friend on the left, and even though all he did was find her, he was promptly arrested for Murder!

As a former prosecutor, if the standard for proof is that low, I would love to be a Prosecutor in Novelaville! I might have won more often!

But I’ll tell you what: If the standard for proof is that low, remind me to never tell the police about any dead bodies I may come across in my travels.

This poor guy is now charged with Murder!

I want to be his lawyer and here is why: It’s SUPER easy apparently!

When this guy asked the detective for his lawyer, the detective stopped questioning him, which is very good behavior by the detective.

When he returned to the Interrogation Room a few minutes later, the prisoner asked “Where’s my lawyer??”

The detective took the lawyer’s card out of his pocket, with a message to the prisoner on the back of the card that told him to “Plead Guilty to Avoid The Death Penalty.”

That’s it!!

If lawyers here see this bit, they will be ordering new business cards by the truckload! 😂😂😂😂

Join me on my journey learning Spanish from telenovelas on Telemundo!! I’m about to move to Mexico City!!

S

WHEN WE MET, IT WAS MURDER!!!!

First, I was his fan,

and then I was his friend,

and now Jose Ignacio Valenzuela, aka José Ignacio “Chascas” Valenzuela, has asked me to share his presentation of his thriller “To The End Of The World” at City Lit Books in Chicago on October 6, at 5:00 p.m.!!

Who am I???

I’m #lagringanovelera, also known as Karen Kerbis, a Chicago prosecutor learning Spanish from telenovelas and writing about them every day!

How did a Chilean author & I find each other?

Come to City Lit Books at 2523 North Kedzie Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Logan Square, to hear our presentation of Jose’s first book to be translated into English, “To The End Of The World,” and you’ll learn the answer to that mystery!!

See you there!!!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/el-chascas-la-gringa-novelera-present-to-the-end-of-the-world-tickets-50558444669?aff=utm_source%3Deb_email%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3Dnew_event_email&utm_term=eventurl_text