7 December 2013
Ext. – Tijuana back road - morning
Far away from town, down a dirt road, there is a small shack with a porch. An older gentleman, short in height with lots of meat on his bones, grasps Rosary beads in his hands that have wear and tear on them.
He has worked his whole life and just by his hands you can see the adventures he had to endure. He sheds a tear, holds the necklace in his fist and stands tall. He goes inside of his casa with determination.
Int. – Shack – morning
The man finds a duffle bag in the closest and starts throwing clothes and shoes and valuables in the sack. He wraps the rosary beads around his neck and grabs his wallet.
He looks in to find $13 dollars within it. He grabs the money and throws the wallet down. The ID in the wallet reads: DIEGO SANTINES PEREZ
Ext. – Dirt road – morning
DIEGO leaves his house and starts walking. We have no idea where he is going or why but he is on a mission. He walks all day into the night. He is tired. A few miles from the United States/Mexico border, he stops and runs to a hiding place after seeing headlights.
The driver notices DIEGO because he is not a very stealthy man and runs like a penguin. The car pulls over and DIEGO panics.
Hola brother! Can I lend a hand?
DIEGO slowly stands up and starts to come out of the bush. To his surprise, it is not the border patrol, it is not even a police officer, it is a fellow Mexican man with a bandana wrapped around his head driving in a dirty, dark blue Volkswagon Beetle.
Perhaps. I am traveling north. Know of a way to get across the fence?
With a smile on his face, the driver gestures DIEGO to get in the bug.
DIEGO tries to get into the passenger seat but obviously he has never been smuggled across the border before. The driver opens the trunk and DIEGO crawls in.
Int. – Trunk – night
Getting bumped around and feeling some sort of liquid on his back, DIEGO holds tight to the Rosary beads and says a prayer.
He can here the driver and the border patrol exchanging words but cannot make them out. He is sweating and tries to remain as quiet as possible.
The car starts moving again.
DIEGO hears music playing from the inside of the car. It is “A Whole New World” from Aladin. The driver is singing along and DIEGO is getting mad that he is still in the trunk. He eventually falls asleep.
Ext. – Downey, CA – morning
The driver opens the trunk and DIEGO blinks his eyes to get use to the flooding light that is coming into his dark bedroom.
Welcome to CALIFORNIA. I did not know how far you wanted to go but I’m starving so I pulled over to eat. How was the ride?
What was the liquid I was laying on?
Tequila! Want some?
They take a shot together and walk up to a taco stand called Taco’s Raul.
The driver goes around back and talks with only who we can suspect as “RAUL.” RAUL laughs as the driver is telling him some sort of story. DIEGO gets gestured over and meets RAUL.
Yea, this is the guy I’m talking about. Meet DIEGO Santines Perez!
Ay, ese. How goes it? You guys had a long trip, let me cook something up for the homies.
DIEGO stands with a bewildered look upon his chubby Mexican face. He tries to get down to business with an important question first.
Hey. How do you know my name?
You dropped your wallet while you ran to hide behind the bush. I noticed it after I put you in the trunk. I guess I never introduced myself formally. Oh, and here’s your wallet. I’m FELIPE. People call me EFFE.
Pleasure to meet you EFFE. Why did you help me out? … And how did you make it across the border no problem?
Two very qualified and outstanding questions! First off, by your obvious horrified waddle behind the bush was a deep call for my help. I’m the type of guy to always lend a helping hand. TWO! I’m also the type of guy that knows people. I do runs across the border for RAUL every now and again. Chill, nothing illegal. Except for bringing illegal aliens into the country.. But I made friends with most of the border patrol at that station. I give them tacos.
Trying to take this all in and understand how this angel of a young man has been sent to him. He pulls the rosary beads out from his undershirt and mouths “thank you” while looking up at the sky.
Now what’s your story friend?
It’s a long story. If you didn’t keep me in the trunk the whole time, I would have been able to tell you.
Some tensions build as DIEGO stares down EFFE. EFFE looks nervous but cracks a smirk and shrugs. DIEGO breaks the tension by laughing out loud because he was just joking. He can’t be mad at the guy who is helping him.
RAUL comes back with what looks like a feast of tacos, burritos, rice, and beans. DIEGO’s mouth starts to water.
I wanna hear the story after we eat Mr. Perez
EFFE and DIEGO attack the food like a couple wild wolves devouring a fresh lamb carcass. RAUL looks on and tries to grab a taco without his hand being gnarled off.
After each and every bite was finished, the trio leans back to let their gut hang out, and DIEGO compliments the chef.
RAUL.. Sir.. You have a skill. I haven’t had rice cooked and seasoned that well since my mother. Why isn’t this place overflowing with people
Before RAUL has a chance to open his mouth, EFFE jumps in to answer.
CUZ OF DAMN CORPORATE AMERICA! This is the most genuine Mexican taco stand in the city if not EVER. But ever since that Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo popped up across the street, basically on the curb, nobody notices this place anymore.
He’s right. We have local, dedicated costumers but that
shit showed up overnight about a year ago and fast food will always beat tasty food.
I’m sorry to hear that but thank you so much for the delicious meal. I only have a few bucks on me but I’m willing to pay for my food.
Don’t worry DIEGO. I saw your “few bucks.” I’ll cover you this time.
Thank you so much. I don’t think I’ve ever met such a nice young kid like yourself before.
Yea well I was raised right by my mother. And I want to hear why you wanted to come to California so bad.
Haha, shut it EFFE, you know you and your friends always eat free here.
Yea but he didn’t know that! Now tell me your story.
DIEGO smiles at the conversation he just witnessed. By the facial expression he has, he is happy to have met these two young men. Realizing he is in good company and they are willing to help, DIEGO tells them his mission. RAUL and EFFE lean in with anticipation.
When I was about your age EFFE, maybe a little younger, the love of my life and I had been given a little surprise and she became pregnant. We were very young but I knew I loved her with all of my being. I was planning on asking her to marry me right after the baby was born. I told her my plan thinking she would be excited but I was mistaken. She became anxious and asked her parents for help. They already didn’t like me because I never had a steady job and always bounced around doing odd jobs. As soon as they heard of my plan, they packed up the family and left. No word from them, I have no idea where they are, I have never seen my child. Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter, I just want to meet them. It’s been twenty years and I never heard from her. A few weeks ago I got a letter in the mail. It was horrific news about her death. I was crushed and had no idea who sent it. All I know is that she was living in Los Angeles and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale. I wanted to come visit her. (beat) …On top of that, I really want to find my child.
EFFE sits across from DIEGO with a half opened mouth looking down at the ground. RAUL, being the big baby he is, starts crying and runs away.
I know exactly where Forest Lawn is if you would like me to take you there.
EFFE, thank you, but you have done too much already. I really think I need to worry about this by myself.
No.. really.. I need to take you.
DIEGO hears the sternness in his voice and decides to let the young man take him. They walk to the car and DIEGO stops four feet from the trunk.
I’m not sitting back there again.
They share a laugh and get in the car.
INT. – Car – afternoon
The drive was a pretty long one. The two remain pretty quiet. EFFE has all of a sudden become timid and shy. DIEGO has too many things on his mind to talk. They sit in silence.
While the sun is beating down on his arm sticking out the window, DIEGO tries to take all of Los Angeles in during the drive.
From the beautiful weather to the exotic plants, the mountains that surround the city to the hundreds of beaches along the coast, and of course the abundance of Mexican restaurants and diversity of the population, DIEGO understands and accepts that this is where the love of his life needed to live.
Where did you grow up EFFE?
Okay… How do you like it around here?
Greatest place to live. I couldn’t have asked for a better life or a better mother.
I bet she is very proud of you and the young gentleman you have become. I hope my child is somewhat like you.
EFFE clings his jaw and his eyes water up, but he is able to hide it while DIEGO keeps looking at the window.
EXT- Forest Lawn Cemetary- afternoon
The car pulls into the cemetery and DIEGO is in awe over how big and beautiful it is. They park and go inside of the flower shop.
What kind of flowers should I get? She liked them all.
Think about it a little. You’re about to say something you’ve wanted to say for the past twenty years. You have definitely thought of this conversation a thousand times in your head. You probably didn’t think it would be to a grave though. Get some flowers you think she would appreciate if you were taking her out on a date.
Daisies. Simple and sweet. She never liked extravagance things. That’s one reason I loved her. She was just happy being with me. Simple and sweet.
DIEGO pays for the twenty daisies, one for each year he wasn’t with her. He walks outside to meet up with EFFE.
Hey, I’m ready. Should we ask someone where she is located?
No, I want to show you something first.
DIEGO is reluctant but he follows EFFE into a chapel looking building. DIEGO turns the corner inside and sees one wall of the building is the last supper beautifully crafted in stain glass. He pulls out the rosary beads and starts praying. EFFE kneels with him and they pray together.
EFFE reaches for DIEGO’s hand and motions for him to follow him. DIEGO, with tears in his eyes from the overwhelming feeling goes with EFFE. They walk down a hall and EFFE stops in front of a tombstone. He lightly touches it with his hand.
DIEGO looks over to see what it reads:
Rosie Martina Ortanga
1976 – 2013
Beloved Daughter, Sister, and Mother
DIEGO slowly starts to cry as he looks over the granite stone. He puts the flowers in the holder and keeps touching them with his hands. After a moment, he realizes EFFE is right behind him crying.
How did you know where she would be?
My full name is Felipe Martinez Ortanga. She was my mother.
The tears abruptly stop and DIEGO stands there with his mouth open. He looks up at his son and grabs a hold of EFFE’s shoulders while looking into his eyes. He smiles from ear to ear and starts laughing. DIEGO gives EFFE an embrace that only a father and son can share.