Escenario 14

Escrito por Joe D.
Place:  South Beach Miami, El Capital de Latino America
Time:  A Saturday, mid afternoon
Scene:  A spectacular swimming pool and gardens surrounded by swaying palm trees, all discretely gated from the white sands of South Beach and the azure ocean.  The weather is post card perfect. Even though it was early by the South Beach clock, beautiful people (underscore beautiful) were already lounging by the pool.
Just inside the gate to the beach we see a man dressed not unlike one of his personal heros, Sonny Crockett of the late gringo telenovela de tiempo primero, “Miami Vice.”  This man with a stubble of red beard looked every bit the 80’s undercover cop in his pastel chino pants, matching colored sport jacket and purple Tshirt. 
Yet, while this man certainly looked like he was part of the South Beach scene, he was not “one of them.”  What set him apart from the rest of the tan bikini clad denizens was his paleness, a telltale sign that Miami, or any where with sun, was not his home.  The man did not choose to hide the fact he was not a full time member of the beach party scene.  Not with his faded old school “University of Detroit Titans” snapback trucker hat affixed over his balding head and boots better suited for shoveling a sidewalk of snow than walking a sandy sun kissed beach.
“Tio Teem!” yelled one of the buxom, and severely underclad, party goers.  Immediately the attention of the entire pool snapped to the gated ocean entrance.  “HOLA TEEM!” they shouted in unison.  
Our pasty white man in pastel surveyed the scene.  While his eyes were focused on the decadence in front of him his mind kept slipping back to his other life  The mundane one where he was a substitute school teacher living in a place that Madison Avenue scores demographically as “other.”  Sure he married well – and thank god his daughter took after his mother.  But his family, along with all his exceptional siblings, their extended families, all his students and all his friends were all constant reminders of how “uncool” how people perceived him to be.  
What his family, students and friends did not know is that in this alternate universe Tim was considered to be very cool.  His one-time bizzarre and frankly unhealthy preoccupation with telenovelas eventually led to a part-time job with Divertido Universial Mundo Producciones (or to its detractors, DUMP), a major supplier of product content to the Spanish speaking television world.  Over time Tim’s nerdy hobby led to him becoming a successful television executive with all the deserved trappings and benefits that the regular world only dreams.  As he surveyed the pool he was checking those benefits out now.
“God, I love this country” he mumbled to himself.  “To the winner, the spoils.”
Tim made his way by the pool toward the mansion.
“Mimosa, Tio Teem?” one of the hotties tempted.
Oh, Tim thought, if it were just any other day.
“No, guapita.  Nada para mi.”
Guapita put on her best frowny.  “But Teeeeemmmm!!!”
But Tim had already strode past.  The down side of living the life in the greatest country on the planet is sometimes the bill is due and work has to get done.  Today was one of those days.  Today’s problema was Amor Asqueroso.
Scene II:  Tim walked through the palatial doors of the estate and to the office of his boss, the patriarch of DUMP, who literally was called by everyone “El Jefe.”  As Tim got to the waiting area he becomes cognizant of a two-member film crew silently following him around and filming him.
Tim reached for his cell phone and looked at his text message from the day before:  AMOR ASQUEROSO…Consigue tu CULO aquí abajo!   First time he had ever received a message like that from El Jefe.  He was on the corporate jet first thing in the morning.  Probably should have thought of a better of excuse to his wife than “Honey, going to go try to find a paper.”
For the record, the telenovela Amor Asqueroso, or “AA” for short was not Tim’s creative idea.  When the treatment for AA crossed his desk Tim thought the concept, put forward by some complete nut job named Pepino Suave, was a complete non-starter and deposited it in his circular file.  But somehow it hit the desk of El Jefe who liked the premise for some insane and unexplainable reason.  So Tim decided it was in his best interest to become the adoptive parent of AA; loving and nurturing the show in much the same manner parent would a child – a child that they had absolutely no control or influence over.  
Not to say that Tim was completely hands off with the AA production.  Tim solved a significant problem when some busy bodies from the Estado Durango and some Slavic nation in Eastern Europe joined forces to hire some environmental “whack job do-gooder” named “Ms. Manion” to represent them over the fall out of the bombings that occurred in episodes Seven and Pasqua.  He eventually bought her off for two Red Sox tickets, some Tequila, and an introduction to a young gun Bostonian to play center field for her co-ed softball team.  The cleaned up enviornmental report meant no law suit and everyone, including Ms. Manion’s softball team, ended up a winner.
Other than external issues like the environmental issue, Tim had no real role in the story line of AA although he was titled the show’s executive producer.  Sure, he did have to remind the office romantics that “Pechos y amor son iguales” when they kept clamoring about “Where is the ‘Amor’ in ‘Amor Asqueroso’?” but Tim did that for all his shows.  As long as the show got ratings, and it got ratings because it brought what any decent telenova should bring to the party, breasts and violence, Tim didn’t pay it any mind.  At least until the text from El Jefe yesterday.
Finally the door opened to El Jefe’s office.  Tim walked inside and the camera crew followed.  The office was spectacularly appointed in fine Corinthian leather with the exception of two lawn chairs that looked woefully out of place.  Finally it dawned on him, the chairs from AA’s episode 10.  Tim appreciated the irony.
“Teem, please seeeat!” said El Jefe motioning to the chairs and looking right at the camera.  Tim sat in one of the lawn chairs.  Behind El Jefe’s desk was a bank of television sets, today all posted to various sporting events.  El Jefe was a degenerate gambler and loved to put his money where his mouth was.  Playing to the camera, El Jefe pointed to the center console.  
“Today Teem, we bet big on your equipo the Michigan Lobo-ines!  They play at “La Casa Grande” and los idiotos in Vegas give me points!  This is money for free!”  Tim wondered why his beloved Michigan, one of his alma maters from his mundane world, would be the underdog at home but immediately he focused back at the meeting at hand.  His early analysis:  this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  
El Jefe looked under his desk and pointed at Tim’s boots.  “Forget your sandals again!” El Jefe barrel laughed.  Tim started to relax and thought it might be time to get on the cigar and cocktail program after all.  Tim glanced to his right looking for the cigar box and saw two good size boxes on the boss’s otherwise immaculately clean desk.  
At this moment, El Jefe sat up in his chair and spoke sternly.  “Teem,” he intoned as he moved the closest of the boxes in front of him, “you have a problem.”  El Jefe tilted the large box forward so Tim could see inside.  “This box contains a lawsuit brought against us by Senor Will Ferrell.  Our attorneys say he is going to ruin our company and it is all because of your stupid show.  Your treatment of him, one of Norte America’s greatest gifts to the world, has been rude and unfair!” 
Tim was speechless.  Tim actually liked and admired Will Ferrell.  Besides, his wife confided in him that Ferrell was her favorite actor, particularly after she saw his naked bottom in the movie “Old School” and she told him that she thought Ferrell’s tush reminded her of Tim’s.  And now he was getting blamed for Pepino Suave’s treatment of Ferrell?  
“Teem, you must redeem yourself and fix your mistake.  I want you to make amends to Senor Ferrell immediately and bring this Amor Asqueroso to an end.  I want Senor Ferrell satisfied and Amor Asqueroso finished and I want it done NOW!
Not like anyone could tell, but the blood had run completely from Tim’s face.  He sat there in silence with sweat starting to drench his JMU Fighting Dukes t-shirt.
El Jefe then pulled over the second box.  “In this box are all the props that your friend Senor Pepino has supplied us.  Use them as you will” he said with a flourish.  “Or burn them!”
Tim sat transfixed as El Jefe continued gravely, “If you do not move on this problem starting this very instant and complete the task I assigned you, you will be FIRED!  FIRED I SAY!”  El Jefe said this as he was looking straight into one of the cameras.  Then El Jefe paused as the camera switched positions and he looked at the camera again from the other direction and repeated himself with the same verve as before “…you will be FIRED!  FIRED I SAY!”  
“Cut” said one of the camera men and El Jefe smiled broadly at Tim.  “Teem, you are going to star in our first programma realidad!  Isn’t this exciting!!!”  
El Jefe grabbed a cigar, a bottle of Cuban rum, slapped Tim on the back and headed pool side.  Tim stood up and started fumbling through the box.  He didn’t doubt for a second the wishes of El Jefe.  He briefly checked out some of the contents as he fumbled through the box:
  • A limp cucumber
  • A dog collar
  • A urinal cake
  • A small cup size bra
  • A clearly unread hardcover edition of “Applebee’s America”
  • Several timing detonators 
  • A garden gnome with the biggest breasts he had ever seen
Tim collected himself.  He looked up and his eyes wondered to the big screen in the center.  He focused just in time to see a caravan of football players dressing in shock trooper full white uniforms barreling down the field toward one of the end zones.  As soon as the player passed the end line the score appeared on the bottom of the screen:  1:27 2nd Quarter, Boise State 34, Michigan 0.  The camera flashed from the end zone celebration to the dejection of the blue and maize on the field, on the sidelines and in the stands.
The totality of the events reminded Tim of a book he used to read his daughter only slightly paraphrased to capture his current situation: “Tim and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
Tim dropped his eyes back to the box.  Something caught his eye.  Something he had not seen before in any of the prior episodes.  Perhaps this might be the key to bringing this entire bad dream to a close.  The something that caught his eye was a picture.  He picked it up and studied it further.  A small, but real, smile started to crease his lips, accompanied with the slightest sense of relief.  
“And so the journey begins…”  Tim, the TV executive, was back in the saddle again.
(Camera focuses on picture)

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