BETTY’S HOUSEIt is morning and Betty and Nicolas are getting ready for their first day of work. Nicolas asks Betty to tell him if he’s dressed like a Vice President, and Betty smiling replies by asking him if what he wants to know is whether he looks good for la peliteñida, then the answer is yes, he looks good! Oh, that’s good, because she hates me, Nicolas says, but I still have to project a good image so that she can see what she missed, an elegant man who was there for an elegant and distinguished woman. Smiling they both exit Betty’s house.
A SIDEWALK IN BOGOTAPatricia is whining to herself, as she walks up an overpass. She is talking outloud wondering how she is going to get to Ecomoda, since she hardly has any money. Her cellular phone rings, and it startles her. It is Marcela.
Patricia-Marce, how do scare me like this, Marce?Marcela-Where are you?Patricia-Here, on a dangerous overpass, wondering how I’m going to get to EcomodaMarcela-I’m very sorry, but you can no longer have the luxury of getting late to work. Look don’t give Beatriz a reason to get rid of you. At least come early today. You could do that when we were running the company, but if you wanto to keep your job now, don’t get here late!Patricia- But Marce, the money I have is not enough!, you are going to have to give me some for a taxi!Marcela- Ah no!, everyday I give you money for a taxi.Patricia-But Marce, all I have is coins, I would have to go by bus!Marcela-Perfect, come by bus! and she hangs up.Patricia-Marce, Marce!. She looks at her phone and then says, “Me in a bus?”
THE HALLS OF THE COURTHOUSESantamaria is talking to Armando and to Betty’s lawyers. Santamaria explains that he has already given the paperwork to the judge, and that now he (Armando) Beatriz, and Mr. Mora need to talk to the judge. Betty’s lawyer Sanchez explains (after bragging about how good a friend he is of the judge) that the judge is very upset because he does not understand what they are trying to do. Armando asks Sanchez to explain further but in clear words, because he is nervous about this; is the judge not going to accept the conciliation? Armando asks. Sanchez-ok I will explain. In the far background you can see Betty, Don Hermes and Nicolas approaching. Betty is dressed very much like an executive. She is wearing a gray suit, with a pale blue blouse. She is wearing clear hoses and high heels. As she walks towards the group, in a typical Betty Pinzon move, she stumbles a bit, having to hold to Don Hermes’ arm, she does a little one of her laughs but quietly, as she looks at her father. Don Hermes also smiles as he holds her! By this point the are right behind Sanchez. Armando and Santamaria are facing them. Sanchez hearing them, turns around and says-Dra. Pinzon, what a pleasure!, how are you? as he shakes her hand.Betty-How are you? she shakes his hand and then his partners’.Sanchez then introduces himself to Don Hermes as they also exchange handshakes. While these greetings are going on. A SEMI-DRAMATIC MUSIC IS HEARD, A CLOSE UP ON ARMANDO’S FACE. HE IS MESMERIZED BY BETTY!. HE IS LOOKING AT HER, CLEARLY MOVED BY HER APPEARANCE. BETTY ALSO LOOKS AT HIM NERVOUSLY, AS SHE TRIES TO AVOID HIS EYES. AS SHE IS LOOKING AT THE OTHERS THERE IS A CLOSE UP ON HER FACE AND ONE CAN SEE THAT SHE IS VERY AWARE THAT ARMANDO’S EYES ARE UPON HER. ARMANDO WHO HAS BEEN QUIET UNTIL NOW SAYS:Armando-Betty, Hello!Betty-Good morning doctor. (she takes a quick deep breath)Armando eyes move from her face downward, as he stares in obvious admiration. Don Hermes is noticing, and Armando senses this, as he adds.Armando-Good morning Don HermesDon Hermes-How are you sir?Armando-Fine, but I think we are going to have problems. The judge is undecided about our reconciliation.Betty-Why?Sanchez-Excuse me doctors, as he steps between Armando and Santamaria literally pushing them a bit. Excuse me, (he continues) but I want to explain to the little doctorcita (Betty) Pinzon- As I was saying earlier, I am a friend of the honorable judge that’s running this case, and he feels that your are playing with the judicial system. He doesn’t understand what’s happening here, but I think the best thing to do here is to go inside and explain things to him, I’ve been a very good friend of his for many years, so I could convince him, I have had many cases with him previously…(as he is glorifying himself Betty is clearly not very convinced by his words, neither is Armando as he asksArmando-and have you won those cases?Sanchez-Ehhh Ehhhh, well let’s hope we have better luck with this one. Let’s go inside, let’s go.
They all go to see the judge and Sanchez pulls his partner to the side and asks him why he has been so quiet and has not helped him. The partner explains that he is very distracted thinking of Patricia. Sanchez explains that to be able to continue to see those two beautiful women at Ecomoda they have to keep this case.
THE OVERPASSPatricia is talking to her self outloud. She is asking why, why she has to ride a bus. Then she wonders which bus she has to take. A stranger passes by her and she asks him to explain how to get to Ecomoda. The guy doesn’t even know what Ecomoda is. She then explains the area of town and he indicates which bus she should take. As such bus is arriving she has to run (in her high heels) to get the bus. She cuts in line in front of everybody, disregarding them, and she then has to ask how much it costs. She begins to talk loudly complaining about “how expensive” it is. She is holding the line of people trying to get on the bus and the driver tells her so. She pays, and the bus driver tells her to go to the back as he touches her leg. She gets very upset with him threatening to sue him. She is bumping into other people (because the bus is really full) as she puts a face of panic!.
JUDGE’S CHAMBERThey are all sitting facing the judge who sits behind his desk. Betty and Armando are sitting next to each other in the front. The judge is looking over papers as he says:Judge-Definitely I don’t understand either one of you representatives of either side.Armando looks at Betty, as she is focusing on the judge, who continues…Judge-Terramoda uses the courts for justice. It asks this office to go on with the process, and as we are about to enter the “remate” phase, you come here and ask for a reconciliation?, Please!Betty’s attorneys in the background begin to speak at the same time, and the judge is clearly not happy as he motions with his hands for some order. Betty and Armando give them a look also. The men soon quiet when a lady comes in and begins to give them each some coffee. Armando turns back to face the judge and says.Armando-Your Honor, we have reached an agreement. We want to have a reconciliation.Judge-Yes, I know, you want it for six months. Looking at Betty. Are you sure?Betty-Yes Your Honor, Mr. Armando and I reached an agreement.Judge-Well, then in the next six months Ecomoda is in the obligation to pay Terramoda every month it’s responsibilities that were made in the agreement.Sanchez-Definitively, I agree…Judge-Excuse me Doctor (talking to Sanchez) I’m talking.Sanchez-Doctor forgive me. (as he sits, Sanchez pours booze into his coffee).Judge-Thank you, very kind of you. He then continues. Should you have any additional problems, or try to use the court to do your job, there will be no more exceptions and there will be no more reconciliations and the court will do the “remate”.Betty’s lawyers and Don Hermes all begin to talk at the same time, trying to assure the judge that that won’t be the case. Betty and Armando seem a bit exhasperated by their behavior, as Armando looks back at the judge and says.Armando-Your Honor, we have simply gotten to an agreement, that we consider will be definite. And we have gotten to an agreement with LA DOCTORA PINZON… (he has difficulty saying this words, he kind of stumbles on the words as he looks at Betty) He then moves his hands which he has been using while he talks towards the arm rest of his chair and ACCIDENTALLY TOUCHES BETTY’S HAND. AS IF HIT BY ELECTRICITY BETTY RETIRES HER HAND QUICKLY PLACING IT OVER HER LAPS. ARMANDO QUICKLY LOOKS AT THEIR HANDS AND BACK AT THE JUDGE AS HE CONTINUES…Armando …and I think this is definite, right? He asks Betty.Betty- (now it is she who speaks kind of hesitant at first) Yes, both of us reached agreements, which are clear and definite.(Don Hermes pats Betty’s shoulder showing his support)Judge-Well in that case I will not delay this any longer.They all get up to leave, except Betty and Armando who are kind of staring at the judge, as Sanchez is trying to invite the judge out to lunch. The judge explains to Sanchez that he has a hallway full of cases waiting. Betty and Armando get up simultaneously, and Armando lets Betty walk in fron of him.
STAIRWAY IN THE COURTHOUSEBetty and Armando head the group as they come down the steps. Sanchez (who sounds tipsy) says:Sanchez-I hope the judge’s decision has remained absolutly clear to both of you. There must be lots of peace! Lots of Love among you!He stops them at the middle of the stairs, as the rest of the group continue pass them.Sanchez-Reconciling is a golden rule of the modern laws… Right Don Hermes? (Don Hermes is passing by Betty at this point, and he says yes, yes, but hearing that SAnchez is like giving a sermon, Don Hermens continues walking away from them. Armando is quiet listening, as Betty is also looking in disbelief at Sanchez who is inspired, giving them the lectureSanchez-…The reconciliation should be among both of you a sacred act!, an act of faith!, and act of comprehension that should be translated into an act of mutual respect!Both Armando and Betty keep looking at Sanchez and then in front of them (avoiding each other’s eyes). They are both silent.Sanchez- …We only have six more months to get out of this my dear doctors, thus, lots of peace, lots of love, lots of love!Betty-(looking at Sanchez) yes, yes, Doctor, thank you veery much for everything, everything is going to end well. She turns to leave as she kind of widens her eyes, and Sanchez stops herSanchez-Excuse me my dear little doctora, am I sensing a kind of good-bye here? Betty stops and looks at him seriously.Sanchez-With all the respect you deserve me, I want to remind you that as long as this case is opened, I continue being the attorney of this noble cause!Armando continues just standing there at the stairs staring at Betty. Betty continues looking at Sanchez waiting for the point to be made.Sanchez-…therefore, I respectfully will need to remind you that I will need to continue to be given my humble payments.Betty-Of course doctor!, she assures him.Sanchez-Well good, my dear doctora, although you are not giving me an upfront payment today, to continue matters (Armando looks at him in disbelief widening his eyes) …but it’s ok, no problem, everything is fine!Betty turns to leave once again and this time her other lawyer Rosales, stops her.Rosales-My dear doctora, I would like to ask you a favor, could you take this small present to that blonde you have as a secretary?Betty-(taking a small box with a card) Ah, Patricia Fernandez?Rosales-Yes, exactly her!. Please tell her that it is sent by Jose Ambrosio Rosales, and that my card is included with all my phone numbers. Betty is speechless as she smiles a bit, and he excuses himself to leave.Betty-Yes you are excused, go on.Rosales goes and grabs Sanches by the arm as he updates him on what he has just done. Sanchez then tells him that he is going to have to catch up by trying to do something sweet for his dear Amazone woman.(Sandra), but now, lets dedicate ourselves to celebrate (go drinking) because we are still employed. They both leave kind of arguing about who is going to pay.
Santamaria approaches Armando smiling.Santamaria-Well Dr.Armando, if you need anything, I will be at my office.Armando-Thank youSantamaria-Dra.Pinzon, lots of luck!Betty-Thank you.He leaves as he says goodbyes to Nicolas and Don Hermes. Don Hermes, Betty and Nicolas get ready to also leave as Armando who is still there calls.Armando-Betty, could I speak a moment with you?Betty looks at him with doub in her faceArmando-…it’s about some business matters of Ecomoda.Betty-Yes, of course.Don Hermes doesn’t look very happy but he and Nicolas politely leave their side.Armando- I will not speak to you about anything personal, because last night our situation became very clear…Betty nods in agreementArmando…I simply want to speak to you about my situation at Ecomoda. I know you don’t want to see me over there…Betty interrupts- It’s for the best, as she turns to leave.Armando- OK, Betty, OK. I only want to tell you that I can’t remain with just my arms crossed (doing nothing) Beatriz, I have to help regain the capital, to pay the debts…Betty-I know perfectly well what I have to do, Doctor. Thank you very much! She turns to leave againArmando-raising his voice ARE YOU GOING TO LET ME TALK? Don Hermes and Nicolas hear him and look at him. Betty stops and looks at them and then at Armando who realizes what he’s done and he adds.Armando-I’m sorry! He calms down and continues as Betty is listening again.Armando-Beatriz, I wanted to say that this financial disaster was created by me!Betty-Doctor, I have never denied my responsibility in all this, nor in having accepted all the proposals you made to me.Armando-No, but I am not talking about your responsibilities, I am talking about my responsibilities. (by now Don Hermes has come to stand behind Betty and he is listening)Armando-…that is why I need you to help me (Don Hermes goes back to talk to Nico)…I have a business plan a strategy that I know will work, but I am going to need your support at first. I need to have physical access to Ecomoda.(Don Hermes comes back to stand behind Betty)… I need you to lend me an office for a few days, while I find a space elsewhere.Betty- Do you want your office?Armando-No, of course not, I was thinking of Mario’s office, and if you could lend me a secretary for a few days, maybe Sandra, I would appreciate it.Betty-And would Dr. Calderon also be there?Armando-(hesitating on his answer), yes, I am going to need him.Betty- Well, I really can’t deny you entry at Ecomoda, Doctor. You are still an associate and… Betty-(with a sigh) Look Doctor, take Calderon’s office, but (and she looks back to make sure Nicolas and Don Hermes are not listening, she lowers her voice adding) I implore to you, that you remain away from me, please. (she turns to leave again)Armando-I assure you we will only talk whatever is absolutely necessary.Bettty-(coming back towards Armando with an afterthought) Oh you know what Doctor, I want to tell you something. You have a business strategy and I have another one, that I am going to propose today in the meeting at Ecomoda, I don’t want to wait six months to solve this situation, I want to do it in half the time. The idea is to put both strategies to work together so we can get rid of this “karma”(?) as soon as possible.Armando-Yes, don’t worry, I am going to try to liberate us from all this as soon as possible!Betty-I’ll expect you at the meeting.Armando-Thank you very much. Excuse me!Don Hermes- You are excused GENTLEMAN! (then looking at Betty) my daughter, shall we leave?Betty-Yes, of course father.Don Hermes- I will go for the car (looking at Nicolas)take care of her!
Nicolas-What did that gentleman want? (refering to Armando)Betty-I’ll tell you later, but the case is that I’m not going to be as far away from him as I wanted to.Nicolas_And what is that? A gift?Betty-Ah, it’s a small present for your peliteñida (and she laughs-her funny laugh). lolNicolas-How is that?Betty smiles at himNicolas-Betty how is this tie? Does it look good on me?Betty-(smiling and speaking dearly to Nicolas) I already told you that she is going to love your tie.Nicolas-(pulling out his tie from the suit) and what if she uses it to strangle me?Betty-(getting serious she puts her hand in Nicolas’ arm as they begin to leave) Today I have to decide on the future of the peliteñida!
INSIDE THE CROWDED BUSPatricia is holding on to a pole, standing among the crowd when her cell phone rings.Patricia-Marce, what do you want?Marcela-I want to know why you haven’t arrived yet! Where the devil are you?Patricia- In hell, Marce, in hell!. But I’m almost there!Marcela-You better, because nobody has arrived here, yet! (she hangs up.Patricia-Hanging up, filled with anguish says outloud. It seems there is a shortage of gentlemen here!(looking at the men who are sitting)A Man-A shortage of Gentlemen not, of seats! lol lol lolEverybody laughs. A woman in front of Patricia gets up from her seat to leave and a man comes and grabs the seat before Patricia could. She looks at him in shock!
ECOMODAThe elevator opens Freddy walks out looking at his watch. He notices Sandra and Mariana are missing, he then sees Marcela sitting at Patricia’s desk.Freddy-Good morning Doña MarcelaMarcela-(upset)Where is everybody?Freddy doesn’t know. Marcela questions him further, and all he says is that they were out celebrating Betty’s Presidency last night. Marcela then tried to get more information from Freddy who almost gave her more details just as Gutierrez comes to join them. He too is upset that Berta and Sofia are not in either. Gutierrez expresses to Marcela that he feels this is a lack of respect on the part of El Cuartel. She agrees and leaves angry. Freddy becomes very worried.
OUTSIDE ECOMODAEl Cuartel is walking very leisurely gossiping about Betty’s version of what has been happening recently. They all think something more is going on. Berta goes as far as to imply that maybe there was a romance between Betty and Armando, because of the way they were treating each other last night. Inesita stops Berta from making such comments. While they are standing gossiping in front of Ecomnoda, Patricia tells the bus driver to stop in front of the building. When Patricia sees El Cuartel, she tells the bus driver to go on, that she’s changed her mind. (Both, asking the driver to stop and them telling him to continue is a series of exchanges between Patricia and the bus driver, where they argue back and forth because Patricia is complaining and complaining about everything!. Inesita tells El Cuatel to stop speculating about things and that they need to get to work because it’s late and they are going to get fired! Berta replies, “and who is going to fire us?” They all laugh as they go inside the building.
INSIDE THE BUSPatricia is still arguing with the bus driver loudly as the bus is moving down a street. Now that they are not in front of Ecomoda, she wants him to stop to let her down. She yells at him (from the back of the bus) that she used to have a Mercedes, and assures him that she will never ride again on this trashy bus! The bus driver stops the bus and says, “Ciao Mamita I’ll see you tomorrow!” and he thows her a kiss. “Dream about it!” Patricia yells back. You will never see me again!” and as she is getting off a hand holds her hand to help her down. When she sees that the hand belongs to a young man with a huge set of dreadlocks, she screams of fear! “Oh noooo!. Oh my God, I’m not meant to be poor!.” She whines. As she walks on the sidewalk there is a close up of her legs and her hoses are full of runs!
ECOMODAFreddy is trying to apeace Marcela and Gutierrez who are both standing by Patricia’s desk waiting for El Cuartel! The elevator door opens, and you hear laughter! El Cuartel comes out laughing and Sofia is saying loudly (as she walks out of the elevator backwards, failing to see Gutierrez and Marcela)Sofia-Who is going to dare to bother us, if last night we put in our pockets the President of this company!, besides, if they are going to fire us, they will have to fire her, and that’s going to be difficult! (she laughs and as she turns around she bumps into Marcela who is very serious and has been listening to her)Sofia is caught once again, and she tries to lighten things up by complimenting Marcela’s clothes. Marcela is not happy at all and reprimands them for arriving at this hour. Aura Maria tries to promise that it won’t happen again, and Marcela tells her that she is tired of hearing this same old story. Gutierrez then says that they already have two warnings and this being the third means they are all fired! Berta tries to explain that the reason they are late is because they were up late partying with The President! Marcela tells them that there are rules and guidelines that have to be observed and they go beyond any President!You are going to fire us? Berta asks.Aura Maria begins to beg and Marcela tells them that she can’t stand them any more! The elevator doors open and it’s Patricia. She walks in as if she were the President and stands next to Marcela as she says.Patricia-And now what is happening with all these witches? What is the problem?Marcela-That they are going to be given a letter of dismissal.Patricia -(shows a happy face), oh, and why?Marcela - For being late!Patricia’s face looses the smile and she excuses herself (quickly going to her desk). Inesita tries to reason with Marcela, pointing out that they are aware that they did wrong, but wonders if the punishment isn’t a bit extreme! Marcela replies that it is them who have gone to the extreme! Marcela then goes on to point out that ever since Beatriz came to Ecomoda, and took liberties that Armando gave her, they (El Cuartel) took the same liberties with her. Marcela then tells them that what she had forgotten to point out to them is that Beatriz’ Presidency is temporary, that she (Beatriz) continues to be an employee of the company and therefore, she too needs to follow the rules. She tells them that if they chose to go out partying the night before, that’s their problem, but that the guidelines will not change during nor after the Presidency of Beatriz. Berta then tries to point out that they understand how stressed Marcela must be because of what is happening. Marcela says, yes I am stressed, but you mean to tell me that my stress has made me halucinate that you came in late today? Gutierrez then backs Marcela up. Sandra then asks, whether this rules apply to all! Yes, it does!, Marcela replies. They look Patricia’s way, and Patricia begins to make a scene! Marcela leaves.
El Cuartel tells Patricia that as soon as Betty comes she will take care of her. Gutierrez tells El Cuartel to go to his office, and he leaves. El Cuartel then try to get Freddy to help them, and push him to go to talk to Gutierrez. Sofia begins to once again talk in a very assured manner, stating that she’s not worried because as soon as Betty comes, she will fix everything. Patricia tells her that she’s dreaming, that it seems as if they haven’t heard a word of what Marcela said. She goes on to say that El GARFIO can not overide Marcela’s decisions, and that EL GARFIO (the elevator door opens and it’s Betty with Don Hermes and Nico. Betty hears Patricia and stops Hermes and Nico so she can continue hearing Patricia. Patricia, not knowing Betty is there, continues badmouthing her loudly)Patricia…El GARFIO is nothing more than someone who just showed up and got lucky!Sandra-(aware that Betty is listening) What GARFIO are you referring to? (she asks Patricia)Patricia-WHAT GARFIO am I going to be talking about?. Betty!at that moment, out of the elevator comes a Betty with a wide smile on her face sayingBetty:Good morning PatriciaPatricia is shocked!Patricia-Good morning Betty! (with a little fear? on her tone)Nicolas-Good morning (he waves at Patty)Patricia-and what are you doing here?Don Hermes-And why does this woman treat you so rudely!(asking Betty about Patricia), she is not an employee, she is an enemy!Betty looks at him with an I’m not surprised kind of face.Don Hermes-(continues getting a bit angry)I would’t think twice to fire her!Patricia-Nooooooo Nooooooo Don Hermes. Betty what is happening is that I am very agitated because these (pointing to El Cuartel) are taunting me to fight with them, and you know how I get, Betty, and they MAKE me say things that I wouldn’t usually say!El Cuartel-AhhhhhhhhhBetty-(very calmly, still smiling, and not affected at all by the scene)Well, I would like to communicate to all of you that Mr. Nicolas Mora is going to join us as of today.Patricia-(with surprise on her voice) Oh yes?Betty- He will be the new Financial Vice President!Patricia-Magnificent!Sandra-If you have any inconvinience peliteñida, speak now, because since you say that Betty has no authority in this company…!Patricia-Look Giraffe-Old Maid, stop making me look bad in front of Betty! Stop provoking.Patricia begins to walk towards Marcela’s office and she is stopped by Sofia who makes fun of her for having dirty hands! Patricia looks at her hands and they are in fact filthy! and worse, Sofia adds, “…and with runs in your hose!” Everybody laughs, and Don Hermes says “El Diablo es Puerco!” Patricia runs to Marcela’s office screaming Nooooooo Noooooooo. Betty tells everybodyBetty-Please, please, don’t speculate about decisions I haven’t yet made. Unfortunately, I still haven’t decided what I am going to do with Patricia.Sofia then says, you may not know what you are going to do with Patricia, but as far as Gutierrez and Doña Marcela go, they do know what they are going to do with us… Berta finishes the sentence by saying “Betty, they fired us!”
MARCELA’S OFFICEPatricia comes in complaining about Nicolas and how Don Hermes is also here. Marcela tells her to get used to them because Nicolas was one of Betty’s conditions and Don Hermes works there too. Patricia can’t believe it and she tries to put things in Marcela’s head about what they are all saying outside about her. She is saying to Marcela that she allowed El Cuartel to influence her to give her (Patricia) a warning that now goes in her record. Marcela tells her “You deserved it!” How many times did I not call you this morning to tell you not to be late? Patricia then tells her that she has no idea ABOUT HER HUMAN DRAMA that she lived this morning!Marcela-and what drama is that?Patricia-Today I came by bus! Today I had to come by bus!Marcela is not moved by her “human drama” and Patricia goes on to describe the experience. She shows Marcela her dirty hands, her torn hoses, and how she, Patricia Fernandez who has Seis Semestres en La San Marino and was married to Mauricio Brickman had to ride a bus. Marcela asks her about what she is going to do tomorrow? Patricia says. it’s not going to be the same, because how can Marcela’s best friend be riding buses? Marcela tells her to get used to it, because she is no longer going to be able to be her fairy godmother. She tells her that now things are also difficult for her financially and that if there is anyone who can help her now, it’s going to have to be Betty! Patricia can’t believe what she is hearing and she tells Marcela that Betty is outside with El Cuartel who is trying to convince Betty to fire her. She also says that they are outside saying that Marcela is “a nobody” now and that the only decisions that count are Betty’s.
MeanwhileBerta is telling Betty how Marcela told them that Beatriz is not the one who handles things and that her Presidency is temporary. Sandra adds that Marcela just wants to act superior. Aura Maria says, no, she just wants to humiliate you again, Betty! Inesita tries to calm them and asks them not to put things in Betty’s head. The rest of El Cuartel don’t agree and as they are trying to convince Betty of what happened as well as to what she ought to do, Gutierrez comes saying no no no, I don’t need mediators (referring to Freddy). When he sees Betty who is sitting he greets her and says to excuse them, but that he has summoned a meeting with the ladies in his office.(el cuartel).Aura Maria-Oh noo we are going to the slaughter house!EL CUARTEL- Ayyyyyy Bettyyyyyyyyyyyyy!Betty-(gets up) One moment Dr. Gutierrez, they have informed me what has happened, and I don’t accept that decisions like this be taken without my consent!Gutierrez-Excuse me, but hey broke the rules! and Doña Marcela…Betty-(interrupting him) You heard me Dr.Gutierrez. Nothing will be done without my concent. We will take this up at the meeting today, and there it will be discussed with all the other board members, but before then, nothing will happen!Gutierrez-As you wish, doctora.Betty-(changing the subject tells Gutierrez) He is Nicolas Mora and he will begin today as Vice President.(they shake hands)and this is my father, Don Hermes Pinzon, and at the request of Mr. Roberto, he will do the accounting for Ecomoda.as they shake hands.Betty-(Talking to El Cuartel) Girl, I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try.Betty then tries to send Mariana to tell Marcela that the meeting should begin shortly, but Mariana politely tells her that until the situation is settled in the meeting, Marcela is not going to allow her in her office, as in her eyes, she is fired!Betty-Don’t worry.(Betty sees Patricia coming back to her desk)Betty-PatriciaPatricia-WHATTTT!. When she catches herself, she changes her tone and says, yes, Betty?Betty-Please tell Doña Marcela that the meeting is starting shortly. Patricia with an attitude goes.Betty-(to Gutierrez)-Dr.Gutierrez, we need to see their offices (pointing to Nicolas and Don Hermes) and mine.Gutierrez-Of course, of course que yes! This way please.He motions with his hand and Don Hermes and Nicolas go first. as Betty follows them, passing in front of Gutierrez, she quickly senses that Gutierrez is LOOKING at her in an inappropriate manner. She quickly stops, turns around catching him in the act, and says:Betty-Dr. GutierrezGutierrez-Yes Doctora?Betty-Quiero pedirle un favor. deje de mirarme asi!Betty-I want to request a favor-Stop looking at me that way!Editorial-To me this was the best moment tonight! Betty being very assertive to a man who deserve to hear what she told him!Gutierrez-(Surprised, but not really stopping what he was doing replies, as he is following after her) But of course Doctora!, but let me tell you that you are very very beautiful! (and a grin is seen on his face and then he shakes his head with admiration!
MARCELA’S OFFICEPatricia-(exagerating the truth) Marcee, Dra. Pinzon send me to inform you that she has arrived and to get ready for a meeting and that it is an ORDER!Marcela-smiling Ha ha, it’s an order?Patricia-Yes Marce, and I say that by the tone she used!Marcela-And where are the Cuartel?Patricia-Betty ordered them to return to their places to work.Marcela surprisedPatricia-You see, I told you, I told you!. She is not going to allow that they get fired. She is going to go over you like a tractor that flattens things!MARCELA IS LEFT WITH HER MOUTH HALF OPENED.
Betty, Guiterrez, Don Hermes and Nicolas are in Nicolas’ new office, Olarte’s old office. Nicolas is concerned about the changes that need to be made to his office and whether or not he will have a secretary. Don Hermes tells him to stop worry about temptations and to worry about his work.
On their way to Betty’s office Sophia asks if Nicolas is going to be her new boss. Betty informs her that the personnel needs to be reviewed and that no decisions have been made. While they are speaking Hugo comes shouting for Inesita. He ignores Betty and her father and begins speaking to Bertha. He wants to know if the contracts for the models have been prepared. When Betty tries to inform him about the meeting, he puts his finger in his ear as if to clean it out. He asks Sophia and Bertha for Marcela. Betty’s father is a bit irritated with him ignoring Betty and begins to hit him on the arm with his file folder.
Hugo turns to look at him and Don Hermes wants to know if he doesn’t realize that the President of Eco Moda is speaking to him. Hugo answers Don Hermes by saying that he realizes that he is there working under the request of Don Roberto, but he needs to realize one thing, “I am my own boss”. He goes on to tell him that he takes orders for no one and if they don’t like it they can fire him. As he walks away he gives Don Hermes his famous “zzzzzzz”.
After Hugo walks away, Don Hermes wants to know who he is and Betty tells him that he is the designer and not to worry about him because he is “loco”. Don Hermes says, “loco, no loca”. Don Hermes tells Betty that she needs to stand up for herself and make people respect her. Betty reminds him that she warned him that this would not be easy. She tells him that while she has great friends there, looking at Sophia and Bertha, she also has many enemies. She tells him that the company is hard to manage and that she is just beginning, but for him not to worry that she does not plan on being the same embezzle that she was before. She tells those listening at the moment that there are going to be many changes for herself and for everyone that works there.
Betty, Guiterrez and Don Hermes walk into Armando’s old office. Betty sits at the president’s desk and swivels the chair and ends up looking at Armando and Marcela’s portrait. She hurriedly gets up and asks when Armando will be removing his personal items. Guiterrez tells her that as soon as he can he will tell Armando to remove his belongings.
Don Hermes heads back to Betty’s old office followed by Guiterrez. Betty has sat down on the coach. Guiterrez tells Betty that the only available office at the moment for her father is Mario’s. Betty tells him not to touch that office. Betty’s father comes up with the idea that instead of time being used to locate an office for himself, that her old office will suit him just fine. Don Hermes does not realize that he is in the doorway of Betty’s old office. He wants to know where it is located. Betty tells him that Marcela gave her old office to someone else.
Don Hermes asks who worked in that closet, meaning Betty’s old office. After making some other comments about the office Betty confesses that it belonged to her. He wants to know how she could allow that to happen after all the money that he spent on her school. Betty tells him that it wasn’t that bad. It was only meant to be a temporary thing and that it got to the point where Armando needed her at his side all the time. Betty takes her father into her old office and gives him the tour. She explains how the computer is connected to the company’s network and all information is accessible on the computer. Her father wants to know how it works. Betty calls for Sophia to come explain the computer system to Don Hermes. While they are waiting for Sophia, Don Hermes wants to know why he wouldn’t let Guiterrez touch Mario’s office. Betty explains that she made an agreement with Armando for him and Mario to use that office. Her father looks surprised.
Armando and Mario walk into Mario’s office and Mario comments that Betty must not hate them that much for her to allow them to share an office. Armando tells him that it is not about hate, but that he believes that Betty thought it was too excessive not to let him have an office in his own company. Mario makes the comment that it doesn’t matter because the “Tiger” is back. Armando tells him to forget. Betty told him that she didn’t want the story between them to repeat itself. Armando tells him how he has tried to get close to her, but that Betty will not allow it. She believes that he is only doing it in order to keep an eye on the company. Mario tells him not to worry that eventually they will be able to speak to each other little by little. Armando says that he doesn’t know what to do. Mario offers to speak to her. Armando tells him not to be a clown. Mario tells him that if he can’t make her believe that she loved her before then he needs to let her know that he is in love with her now. He tells him “attack, attack, attack”.
Armando, his voice getting a little higher, tells him that it is not that easy. He tells him that she is a wounded woman. He tells him about the conversation between himself and Betty the previous evening. Armando says that Betty has no confidence in him. He doesn’t know how to tell her what he has been feeling since she has been gone. Mario asks if he really thinks that Betty’s feelings for him has changed. He asks, “How long does it take a man to get a rid of a woman that is in love with him.?” Armando answers that with everything that he has done it was sufficient. He says that while she was gone all he could think about was how to get her back and all that she did was forget him.
Mario tells Armando that he feels very deceived by him. He believed that Armando knew how a woman worked. Mario says that when a woman has been hurt by a woman, she loves that man more. He says when they cry, they live, they are revived and feel like women. They call their friends to tell them how depressed they are, they don’t eat, drink, work or sleep. The woman finally admits that they are in love with that man. Mario asks, “How many times have you seen a woman cry due to happiness”. Armando shakes his head no. Mario says, “That only happens in the telenovelas”. Mario goes on to say that someone that has been hurt as bad as Betty doesn’t stop loving from one day to the next. Armando wants to know if that is true why didn’t Betty marry the first guy that hurt her. Mario answers that it is due to the fact that he caused her more hurt than the first guy. “The more suffering the more love.”
Armando says that on he would like to be the voice of the town and tell him what they all want to tell him and that is that he is nothing but a rat. Mario laughs. Mario asks if he really believes that Marcela is in love with him because he is the most wonderful person on the earth. He goes on and says that they have been together for more than three years and she has been suffering like a crazy. He assures him that he if were to propose to her right now she would accept. Armando won’t look him in the eye. Mario asks if they have not spoken about marriage, or is he incorrect. Armando says that he is wrong. He has not caused Marcela half the amount of pain that he has caused Betty. He tells him that he does not know Betty, but that he does. She is not a conventional woman. He tells Mario that he can go on believing as he does, but for him when a woman makes a radical decision it is made. Unfortunately, Betty has decided against him.
Mario continues and says that when a woman says no she means maybe and maybe means yes. Armando gets a little frustrated and tells him that Betty has come back as a different woman. Mario tells him to do something, “did you tell her that you love her”. Armando says that he did and as they were talking his telephone rang and guess who it was, Marcela. Mario recounts the conversation that he and Betty had outside of the restaurant. He tells him that the only thing that he has accomplished is her allowing them to use Mario’s office. Mario reminds him that it will be for six months which leads Armando to explain that Betty wants the company solvent half of that time. Armando, himself, is also hoping for the same. They began discussing their shared office space and Armando tells him to have his boxes removed as they will need the extra space. Mario asks if he has removed his items from his office. Armando shrugs and says not that he still has to and then there is a look as though he just remembered something.
Betty is watching from the door of her old office as Sophia explains the network system to Don Hermes. She goes back into her new office and glances at Armando and Marcela’s photo. She then begins to open drawers to a desk stand and finds the gifts that Armando had given her. Guiterrez walks in to inform her that he has found an office for her father. Don Hermes decides to stay in her old office. If she were capable of working those long hours in there, then he can. Betty tells him no. He sends that he prefers to stay that way he can have her close by. Betty tells him to do what he wants and picks up the telephone to arrange her meeting with the executives. Patricia picks up her telephone with Betty on the other end. Betty request that she ask Marcela to join her in the board room so that they can meet alone before everyone joins them. Betty also requests that she track down Armando. Right before she hangs up Patricia makes a face to the telephone.
Patricia goes and informs Marcela that Betty wants to meet with her. However, Patricia has translated the manner that seems as though Betty is ordering for Marcela to meet with her. Marcela gets upset and informs Patricia that Betty does not order her. On her way to the meeting, Patricia tells her to put an end to Betty and if she is not able to take care of her position. Otherwise her debt to Marcela will be internal.
Betty exits her office and finds Aura Maria standing behind Bertha’s desk. Betty tells her that she should be down in the reception area and that she should not be looking for anymore problems. Aura Maria says that is exactly her reason for being there. She explains to them that Freddy is downstairs, upset, accusing her of being unfaithful. Aura Maria and Bertha inform Betty that they are worried about their jobs. Betty asks Bertha for a report that list all of the administrative personnel. Marcela comes around the corner with an attitude, “You needed me”? Betty explains to her that she does need to speak to her and Marcela asks why didn’t she go into her office instead of sending orders to her. Betty tells her that the meeting will be held in executive conference room. Marcela tells her that she had heard that Betty wanted to speak to her alone. Betty nods yes and informs her that their meeting alone is part of the executive meeting. As Marcela enters the meeting room she says, “Come in and let’s see what you want”. Aura Maria, Bertha and Sandra don’t like the way that Marcela is treating Betty. Bertha tells Betty that Marcela is sweeping the floor with her and making it seems as though Betty being the president is a lie. Sandra is rubbing Betty’s shoulders and telling her to go in their and be done with her. Betty nods in agreement.
Betty enters and Marcela is sitting at the head of the table, in Armando’s old chair. She points to a chair beside her and tells her to sit down. Betty goes to the other end of the table and sits at the head chair. Marcela wants to know what she would like to talk about. Betty answers that the company, of course. Marcela answers “of course”. Betty begins to talk and tells Marcela that she asked to meet with her. At this point Marcela interrupts and tells her that she wants to make it clear that Betty does not give her orders. She tells her that she may be president, but that she has a long way to go before she is above her. Betty asks why doesn’t she assume the presidency so that no one can tell her what to do, she can do as she pleases and they won’t have to worry about possible confrontations. Marcela asks if she’s threatening that she is going to resign. Betty answers no and that all she is doing is leaving the road open for her to do as she pleases. Betty gets up to leave.
Marcela points a finger at her and tells her “Look, you can’t resign. However, if you want my head why don’t you ask me for it?” Betty says that all she wants is for Marcela to respect her. Betty tells her that they put her as president to save the company, but if they believe that they will be able to continue to treat her as before, they are mistaken. Betty tells her that she won’t allow them to continue to humiliate her. Marcela tells her that she expects the same from her. She goes on to say that she will not allow Betty to come in from one day to the next with her friends and family and change the company routine. She also won’t allow her friends to come in at any time that they wish and disobey her orders because their friend is the president. Betty goes on to say that she is not going to allow her to get fire the Cuartel. Betty also gives examples of what each one is living through at the moment and the time that they have put into Eco Moda. Marcela just shakes her head back and forth. Betty tells her that she is in agreement that they can not continue to come in late. Marcela tells her that it is obvious that they will never agree and that they need to come up with a solution to this problem.
Betty tells her that she is correct. Neither of them want to be there, but they are both pressured to be there. She goes on to say that Marcela never had intentions of firing the Cuartel. She tells her that Marcela has always defended them and they see her a just person. She realizes that she is not upset for the tardiness, but for the simple reason that she is upset that they were out celebrating her presidency. Had she been upset with the lateness of their arrival then Patricia would also have to be fired because she arrived later as always. Marcela tells her that she realizes this is a game of if the Cuartel gets fired so does Patricia. If Patricia stays, so does the Cuartel. Betty tells her no. She says that the company can not continue to be managed in the same manner as previously and in order to put a stop to it they will need to communicate directly. Betty says that Marcela has said some strong words about her and that the versions that they are both receiving are not the most reliable. Betty tells her that a war is being rage outside those doors and that their relationship is about to explode by itself without them being able to talk to each other directly.
Marcela asks if she is suggesting that they forget what happened with the Cuartel and to allow them to continue arriving late. Betty says no. She suggests that they are giving a warning, deduct a day of pay, put a copy of the warning in their file and informing them that they will be fired the next time. Marcela asks if this is only for the Cuartel. Betty says that it also applies to Patricia. Marcela rolls her eyes. Betty tells her that they cannot continue to play favorites or things will never change between them. She reminds her that Marcela said that the law is the law and Betty says that it should apply to everyone. Marcela wants to know what her plans are for Patricia. Betty says that she would like to review all of the secretaries situations. Betty puts her head down and begins to review her report. Marcela has a surprised look and stares at her.
Sophia comes around the corner and catches Bertha, Aura Maria and Sandra trying to listen to the conversation behind the closed doors. Sophia wants an update, but Bertha has not been able to hear anything. Patricia comes around the corner and threatens to go in and tell on them. The Cuartel leads her to believe that she will be the one getting fired. Patricia tells them that it won’t happen to her. Sandra says that she is correct especially since she and Betty get along so well. As Patricia begins to walk away Sophia starts giving her hard time about hose. After Patricia leaves, Sophia says that she doesn’t want to hear that the are the ones that get fired and Patricia stays. Aura Maria tells Sophia that they torment her until they find out what is going to happen. Patricia returns to her desk where she continuously repeats, “They fired me. They fired me.”
Betty calls Patricia and asks they she inform the remaining executives to join the meeting. Betty can tell that something is wrong and Patricia tells her that she knows that Betty has fired her. Betty wants to know who said it. Patricia tells her the Cuartel. Betty tells her that they will inform everyone of the decisions that are being made. Marcela wants to know what is happening and Betty tells her. Marcela then mentions that she was not aware that Armando would be attending the meeting. Betty tells her that she believed Armando would have told her. Marcela answers “no”. Betty informs Marcela about Armando having a plan that he wants to propose to them and that he requested the use of Mario’s office. This part surprises Marcela. She was not aware that he planned on working at Eco Moda. Betty assures her that she is keeping her part of her promise to her. However, if Marcela does not like the idea of Armando working there then that is something that she will need to discuss with Armando. Marcela gives her a look that says I don’t believe you.
Back in Mario’s office Armando is telling Mario that he hasn’t informed Marcela about his having an office at Eco Moda. He also says that if he has to tell her everything he is going to go crazy. Patricia opens the door and then knocks. She tells them that the Doctora Pinson is ready for them. Armando wants to know why she shows so much respect towards Betty. Patricia says that know that she has been named president is that the way she’s suppose to be called. As she is heading out the door Mario and Armando laugh at the tear in her stockings. Mario blesses Armando before the leave his office.
Upon entering the meeting room Armando heads straight to Marcela to give her a kiss. Mario follows, but Marcela receives it coldly. While Armando sits Mario proceeds to Betty, places his hand on her shoulder and greets her. As he is heading back to his chair Betty stares at him. Mario is uncomfortable. After sitting down Betty gets out of her chair, yanks Mario out of his and throws him on the table. (Armando and Marcela are surprised. Marcela gets out of her chair.) She tells her that he better never touch her again. She has enough to deal with Armando’s dirty looks. Armando looks at Marcela. Marcela stares at Armando and hits him on the shoulder. Mario tells Betty that he hasn’t touched her. Betty tells him that she felt as though he had. She reminds him of all the cards that he wrote and that he makes her nausea. She throws him to the floor. BETTY’S DREAM IS OVER.
Armando and Mario are very uncomfortable and they ask at the same time where the rest of the people are and Marcela’s answers that they are coming. Armando begins to explain to Marcela his reason for having an officer at Eco Moda. She tells him not to bother that Betty has explained it. As Armando continues to speak she cuts him off. Marcela says that she was not aware that he planned on working there. He gives her his reasons for having an office there. She tells him that she understands. She just thought it was odd that he didn’t mention it.
Patricia orders Bertha and Sophia to enough Guiterrez and Nicolas about the meeting. They remind her that she won’t be there much longer and Patricia informs them that Betty already told her that she was staying. Patricia explains that she distributes the orders that are given to her . Sophia and Bertha still refuse to help. Patricia informs Guiterrez, but does not want to talk to Nicolas. Sophia refuses and she has no other choice.
Nicolas is in his office and talking to Patricia’s picture. Patricia informs him that his girlfriend is ready for him to join the meeting. Nicolas explains that Betty is not his girlfriend and that he is now alone and single. Patricia tells him that it doesn’t interest him. Patricia head s to Hugo’s where he informs her that she doesn’t take orders from anyone but Marge and he tells her to go tell her. On her way out, Hugo makes fun of her hose. Inesita tells Hugo that she believes that he should attend the meeting. Hugo tells her Betty can fire him as far as he is concerned. He can’t believe that Betty has been named president and he cannot accept it.
Patricia goes to the meeting room and repeats what Hugo said. Betty says ok that they will meet without him. As Nicolas enters he bumps into Patricia and she tells him that she will never forgive him for what he did to her. Betty has Nicolas sit by him. Marcela gets up and rushes towards the telephone.
Hugo is in his office blowing bubbles with one of those soapy bubble kits. The telephone rings. Marcela yells at him and tells him to go to the meeting room. On his way out, he gets his sunglasses and a magazine to read during the meeting. Hugo is upset that she is yelling at him and tells her that he is glad that he is not her husband.
While they are waiting for Hugo, Guiterrez offers to get a drink for Betty. Once Hugo arrives he wants to know what Armando and Mario are doing there. Marcela orders him sit beside her. Hugo asks if he can be named president since there is no requirement. Marcela tells him that he is correct. She says that no qualities are required to become president. Nicolas glances at Betty. Armando gets a tad upset and asks if they should start the meeting. Betty tells them of her mission to put the company back in order in half the amount of time.
Betty informs the committee meeting that Eco Moda’s international sales need to be strengthened, particularly at the unprofitable Palm Beach location. A belligerent Marcela objects. Betty, in a conciliatory tone, suggests adding a warehouse to handle additional volume, thus increasing their presence in the market. They could then supply additional boutiques in the area and increase sales. She gives the floor to Nicolas, who explains the advantages of adding a warehouse in the area, since the government is offering attractive export incentives.
Hugo bristles at this suggestion, claiming that his exclusive designs will be available on every street corner. “Exactly” replies Betty “Eco Moda can’t have the luxury of only exclusive designs. We need to move volume”.
Armando agrees and goes on to say that Betty’s plan meshes well with the new strategy he and Mario have devised. His new strategy is to sell Eco Moda franchises all over Latin America. He states that despite its financial problems, Eco Moda’s image is intact in the marketplace. He mentions that Eco Moda’s distribution system is an integral part of being able to market itself internationally.
Marcela’s hostility increases when Betty mentions that they also need to make fundamental changes in the way Eco Moda brands their product and in their advertising strategy. Marcela starts to object, but, at Armando’s insistence, agrees to listen to what Betty has to say.
Meanwhile, Sandra tells Freddy to move some boxes out of Mario’s office. Freddy is offended at having to do grunt work and claims the Cuartel is out to get him because he broke up with Aura Maria.
Back in the conference room, Betty is saying that, up to now, Eco Moda has been very conservative in the way it does business. Hugo huffily says that Eco Moda is what it is today only because of his designs. “You may have gotten rid of the glasses, shaved your mustache and murdered your old hairdresser, but that doesn’t give you the right to teach ME about fashion! What? Now I’m going to have to design for ugly women?” he bristles.
“Yes, that’s the idea” replies Betty calmly. “That’s the new strategy.”
Hugo pales, grabs at the chair and staggers against the blinds. “Get me a valeriana….It can’t be….Inesita…” He manages to sit down. Betty asks him point blank if he doesn’t feel capable of designing for less than perfect women. After all, she proceeds to say, there are many more plain women in the world than there are beautiful women. Hugo replies that the sheer numbers of ugly women are what make his esthetic stand out and be so exceptional.
As Betty continues to expound her ideas, Marcela starts to look interested, in spite of herself. Mario and Armando look at Betty in admiration. Gutierrez nods off. Betty explains how Eco Moda must address the needs of the average woman by making designs that fit and look well on a less than perfect body. She suggests adding a fashion consulting service in their stores to help women choose the most becoming designs. This idea, she says, makes good business sense and will ultimately increase sales.
Hugo has calmed down and makes a valid point: that women are vain and will not purchase a dress unless it is modeled by a beautiful woman. He goes on to say that Betty can’t change established fashion concepts overnight. Betty agrees, saying that she simply plans to target the average woman and meet their needs as consumers. Marcela asks if she’s done a study to support this. Betty replies that it’s based on the experience of thousands of women, herself included. She goes on to describe her own humiliating shopping experiences as an ugly woman. Her sad story doesn’t seem to affect anyone except Armando, who looks as if Betty just sunk another dagger into him, by indirectly emphasizing his heartlessness and cruelty towards her.
As Betty finishes, Armando enthusiastically backs Betty’s plans, stating that in conjunction with his franchise idea, Eco Moda now has a viable and attractive business plan.
Hugo is still offended, however, and continues to refuse to design for ugly women. Betty craftily pulls his strings by suggesting that he does not have the ability to rise to the task.
Hugo swallows the bait “Look, doctora, I have all the esthetic requirements to design for any woman!”
“Yes, I know you can. And Eco Moda must show the world that we can make an ugly woman look fashionable”.
“And exactly how do you want me do this?” asks Hugo.
“By dressing the Cuartel de las Feas!” Betty answers, as jaws drop around the table.
Sofía and Bertha hear a strange sound emanating from the boardroom, like a high-pitched strangled yell, and speculate on what it could be … they likely attribute it to Hugo Lombardi. Of course they are right … Hugo has just reacted to Betty’s plan to design for El Cuartel. Freddy and Sandra come by with the tall stack of boxes Freddy has removed from Mario’s office [eating spinach lately, Freddy? :o)] and Sandra asks him to set them down in front of Bertha’s desk while they await further direction on their permanent relocation. Out of the boardroom comes Hugo yelling for his tea (valeriana), and Inesita comes running to the rescue with a cup in hand. After taking a sip, Hugo goes back into the boardroom.
Hugo (disdainfully addressing Betty) – Very well, I won’t resign and I’m going to show everyone of you what my genius is capable of producing. If I have to dress witches, I’ll dress witches and leave them to you as an exposition, but I’ll warn you that when this collection is over, I’ll resign from this company!! But in order to work I have one condition, I want my fitting room model. What happened to the ‘pupuchurra’? Did you hire her again?
Betty – Don’t worry about that, Don Hugo, I’ll take care of it.
Hugo (getting ready to leave) – Well then, I won’t ask anyone’s permission to leave because there’s no one in this company from whom to ask permission. (Then he addresses Gutierrez). Excuse me, Guti-Gut!
After Hugo leaves with a flourish, Betty tells Gutierrez that she would like him to go over the restructuring of the stores with Nicolás. Gutierrez asks her what Nicolás’ salary should be and about the expense account of the president. Betty responds that Nicolás will earn the same salary that Olarte used to earn and as to her expense account … she will assume all costs because the company is going through austere times and the president should set the example. Gutierrez would like to know one more thing: did they reach a decision regarding the employees that arrived late? Marcela tackles this question and tells Gutierrez that no one will be fired, some of the positions will be changed that’s all. Mariana will become receptionist, Aura Maria will become her secretary, Sofía will be Dr. Mora’s secretary, Sandra will be secretary to both Armando and Mario, and Bertha and Inesita will remain in their current positions. “And what about Patricia Fernández?” Gutierrez asks. Marcela answers that Patricia will now be her secretary … we see a sly smile illuminate Armando’s face. :o) Gutierrez is further informed that each one of these employees, including Patricia, will be docked one day’s pay for their tardiness and a corresponding comment will be included in their personnel files. Marcela then asks if the meeting is over and Betty informs them all that there will be a future meeting to approve the proposals laid out at this meeting. Marcela’s reaction is, “To study the proposals, not to approve them!” Betty immediately disavows her of this notion and tells her, “To approve them. Otherwise, my remaining as president of this company makes no sense.” After this is said, Betty tells them all that the meeting is officially over.
Betty walks into her old office, now Don Hermes’ office, as her father is finishing up and getting ready to leave. He tells her that he’s gone over all of the figures and they seem to be fine. Betty tells him that he doesn’t have to be in such a hurry to do it all, but he reminds her that it’s always better for everything to be clear. He asks Betty how everything went in the meeting, and Betty avoids an answer with specifics by just answering, “Fine, father.” She accompanies Don Hermes out.
Outside in the hallway, El Cuartel is speculating about what took place at the meeting … were they fired? At the same time, Patricia is on the phone with her father telling him the same thing … that her future at EcoModa is uncertain. As Don Hermes and Betty come out and pass Patricia, Patty makes an effort to be nice to him and says a nice goodbye [she certainly knows where here bread is buttered :o)] As Don Hermes is about to walk into the elevator, he bumps into Jenny who is coming out of the elevator … Don Hermes can’t help but notice Jenny’s attributes as she excuses herself. When he leaves, Jenny can’t hold back her curiosity and asks Patricia about the identity of Hermes. Patricia tells her that that is Betty’s father and Jenny smiles. She tells Patricia that she will wait to speak to Betty. What does she have up her sleeve?
Betty asks El Cuartel to come into her office to discuss what happened at the meeting. Once there, Betty tells them, to their great relief, that they weren’t fired (smiles break out all around), but that they will receive a punishment: one day’s pay will be docked from their paycheck. Some start to whine, but both Mariana and Inesita step up to bat and thank Betty for sticking up for them and saving their jobs. The rest have no alternative but to follow suit. Then Betty informs them that their jobs will change a little and informs them that Sandra will be Mario and Armando’s secretary [Sandra comments that she will have to get earplugs to tune out Don Armando’s screams :o)], Sofia will be Nicolás’ secretary (Sofia is happy at the news … she seems to like Nicolás), Aura Maria will become Betty’s secretary, Mariana will move down to reception (but she is assured this is only a temporary move until a new division is created in the company for which she has Mariana in mind), and Inesita and Bertha will remain in their current jobs. Everyone will retain their same salary. As El Cuartel is heading out the door, Sandra asks Betty who will sit next to her if Mariana will move down to reception? They are sure that the Peliteñida has been fired! But Betty explains that she was not, and that she will now be Doña Marcela’s secretary and will occupy Mariana’s spot. El Cuartel is shocked to hear this and Sandra can’t believe that her worst enemy will be sitting next to her. I can only imagine the battles these two will have! Overall, though, El Cuartel is grateful and Inesita makes a special point of thanking Betty again as she closes the door. Betty asks Sofia to stay behind … she has something she’d like to discuss with her.
In the meantime, Marcela tells Patricia that she will have a new job … she will no longer be ‘secretaria de presidencia’, she will now be her secretary. Patricia, of course, is not happy with the move … especially when she finds out that she will be sitting next to Sandra.
In Presidencia, Betty tells Sofía that that Jenny will come back to work at EcoModa … Hugo Lombardi almost quit during the meeting and that was the only condition that he put to his staying. Betty asks Sofia for her understanding and cooperation because her hands are tied. Sofia, though extremely unhappy at the news, has no choice but to accept Betty’s decision.
Out in the hallway right outside the boardroom, Gutierrez asks Armando to remove his things from Presidencia because Betty wants to start using the office right way. Armando tells him to get someone to remove them for him.
Jenny comes out of Betty’s office and immediately heads over to Jenny, who is still waiting to see Betty, and tells her that Betty will see her now.
Gutierrez tells Freddy that Don Armando’s things must be removed from Betty’s office and to please tell someone from the technical department to remove Don Armando’s computer and bring a new one for Dra. Beatriz. Freddy leaves to do as he’s bid. Gutierrez then turns around and spies Nicolás, who is standing around, and tells him that he will be at his service. When Gutierrez leaves, Nicolás starts rubbing his stomach [it’s obvious he misses Doña Julia’s cooking :o)] and Bertha asks him if something is wrong. He answers that he’s only a little hungry and asks Sofía to order him the following: jugo de mora, two buñuelos and two empanadas. As he turns around to go back into his office, he tells Sofia to remember the order because that is his everyday snack. When Nicolás leaves, Bertha remarks that it seems that Nicolás eats more than she does … how does he manage to remain so thin? :o)
In Presidencia, Betty tells an exhuberant Jenny that she has been rehired at EcoModa as a fitting room model for Don Hugo. As Sofía smiles and thanks her, Betty warns her not to bother Sofía and to make sure to leave her alone. Jenny rises to leave and Freddy and the technician [who’s at eye level with Jenny’s attributes and can’t help but stare :o)] arrive. Betty asks Freddy to remove everything single belonging of Don Armando and she goes to sit on the couch while he starts the job. The technician advises her that he’s also taking the computer away and will bring her a new one. Betty tells him that fine and continues making notes on the sofa. Meanwhile, Freddy has packed Armando’s pictures, his oversized jacks, and a few files in a box. He tells Betty that he thinks he is done … or is there anything else she can think of? Betty immediately rises from the couch and tells him that there is. She heads over to the file cabinet, opens the bottom drawer and takes out the black garbage bag. She hands it over to Freddy and tells him to get rid of it.
Armando and Mario are in Mario’s office getting settled in. They are discussing Betty and how she seems to have come in with a great deal of confidence. Marcela comes into the office to see if Armando is leaving. He informs her that he and Mario have some errands to run. Just then, Freddy comes in with a box that contains Armando’s belongings from his office and the infamous “black bag.” Marcela sees the black bag and asks him why he stills has it. Armando informs her that she was the one who brought it to his office. After some more of Marcela’s recriminations, Armando instructs Freddy to put the black bag in the trash! Marcela continues and tells Armando that she wasn’t pleased with his agreement regarding all of Betty’s propositions. Armando tells Marcela that she herself knows that Betty’s ideas are good and they’re just what they need.
Nicolas and Betty are in her office talking. Nicolas suggests that Betty make her mom the supervisor of the cafeteria in EcoModa. He misses her cooking. Betty dismisses the ides. Betty asks Nico to accompany her to buy a new car. This one she tells him will be more in accordance with the austerity program at EcoModa.
Aura Maria is moving all her things and complains about the lack of gentlemen to help. After some coaxing, Freddy comes to her aid. When Aura Maria arrives at Patricia’s desk to put her things down, she notes that Patricia hasn’t yet moved her things out. They get into a confrontation. The phone rings and Aura Maria and Patty fight over who should answer the call. Patty finally commandeers the phone and answers it. Patty gives the phone to Aura Maria. Betty is on the phone and wants her to get a hold of Catalina Angel.
Betty speaks to Cata and updates her on everything that has happened to her. Dona Catalina can’t believe that Betty is the new president of EcoModa and promises her to go see for herself. Betty asks Cata to come help her with the launching of the new collection.
Yenny and Nicolas run into each other and Nicolas introduces himself as the new vice president of finance. Yenny is her usual flirtatious self. Patty is on the phone talking to her dad about her difficulty getting to work. She is trying to convince him to give her a lift to work each day. She sees Nicolas and tells her dad she’s just seen the man who is responsible for all her troubles. She gets off the phone and gives him a lengthy discourse on how he lied and cheated her. Nicolas tells Patty that he still remembers her. Patty asks Nicolas to hold the box she is carrying. When he does she smacks him hard. Nicolas continues flirting with Patty and she asks him to hold the box again—but this time Nico says no.
When Patty gets to her new desk, she and Sandra have a go at it. Sandra draws a line on the floor separating their work areas and tells Patty she best not step over it. They get into an altercation and start choking each other. Betty and Nicolas are walking toward the elevator and observe the exchange. Betty tells them that she will not permit this type of behavior. Both Sandra and Patty tell Betty that they are just welcoming each other. They smile and pretend to be hugging each other.
Nicolas and Betty leave to look at cars. Marcela walks out of her office and Patty runs toward her and asks her what’s happening. Marcela tells Patty that she believes that Armando and Betty are going to meet each other somewhere.
AT THE ELEVATOR
Patricia and Marcela are continuing their conversation, in which, Marcela had asked where Betty had gone and then commented about her suspicions that Armando and Betty were planning on meeting outside of the office. Patricia doesn’t understand what she is talking about, but Marcela tells her that she knows perfectly what she is talking about. Marcela, angry, takes off and as Patricia tries to follow she is stopped by Sandra.
IN FRONT OF PATRICIA’S NEW DESK AND SANDRA’S DESK
Sandra jumps out in front of Patricia and she halts her in her tracks. Sandra wants to know where they had left off . Aura Maria butts in, pokes Patricia on the arm and wants to know where they left off. Patricia turns around and pokes her on her chest, Aura Maria looks surprised, and tells her to be careful. She faces Sandra and informs her that she will return and they can continue their conversation. Sandra warns her not to delay.
IN MARCELA’S OFFICE
As Patricia bursts in, Marcela is watching a fashion show. (In the background Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Huey Lewis’ are singing their new song. The one that has the words, “If you want it, you got it, forever”.) Patricia, with her speedy voice, demands to know if she believes that Armando and Betty have begun seeing each other again and if Betty has broken her promise. Patricia says that she would not find it strange if she broke the promise.
Marcela turns around from watching the television and admits that there are some strange things happening at Eco Moda. First, Betty allows Armando to have an office when she claimed that she wanted him as far away as possible. Second, Armando agreed and backed all of her reforms for marketing. (Patricia’s eyes grow wide and you can see the white portions of her eyes.) Patricia is shocked the Betty has gone into Marcela’s department. She asks Marcela, “Did she go into your area”? “Yesss”, Marcela answers. Patricia wants to know if Marcela just sat there with her arms crossed. Marcela reminds her that she just informed her that Armando backed Betty’s reform plans. Patricia asks who is Armando, he does not exist and he is not President. According to Patricia, he is just someone watching from the sidelines.
Patricia tells Marcela that she needs to do something. Marcela informs her that there is nothing that she can do, because Betty threatened to quit. Patricia tells her to let her. Marcela says that she doesn’t understand, Betty can’t leave. Patricia looks a little taken aback and tells Marcela that she can “capture and understand it”. What she can also capture and understand is that Betty is trying to humiliate her, bore her, take her out of the company, but most of all she want’s Armando back. Patricia gets up to leave but before doing so she says, “She’s finished with you! She tore you into pieces! She buried you!” (Patricia does the sign of the cross as though blessing Marcela.) Marcela tells her to stop mortifying her. Patricia tells her that she is doing it to herself. Wasn’t Marcela the one that just told her what Betty had done to her in the meeting, that Betty is not finished with her and her suspicions that Betty and Armando could be deceiving her again.
Patricia tells her that Mario left with Armando and Nicolas with Betty. Marcela says of course, Mario probably made the date for Armando and Nicolas is covering for Betty. He already admitted that he had previously done so. Patricia doesn’t want to be reminded of Nicolas. Marcela tells the story of how Freddy was sent by Betty to Armando’s office with the black trash bag full of the gifts that he had given Betty. She tells her that he instructed Freddy to throw it away. Patricia wants to know what she thinks of this act. Marcela thinks that it is a way to provoke him and then they both leave the office. She finds it all too strange.
ON A STREET IN BOGOTA
Betty and Nicolas are walking and Betty is explaining to Nicolas why she returned the bag to Armando. Nicolas asks her why she didn’t she throw the bag away. She explains that those items were her life, she loved them and they were sacred to her. (Nicolas puts his arm out to help Betty down the curb and cross the street.) She tells him that it was a hard decision for her to make, that is why she decided to return them to him. Let him make the decision. (Nicolas again puts his arm out to help her up the curb.) Nicolas tells her that with Armando being at the office it is going to be very hard on her. Betty assures Nicolas that she did not permit Armando to stay at Eco Moda in order to have him close by. She had promised herself never to seek vengeance against him and not allowing him back into the office would kill him.
Nicolas tells her to that she needs to recognize that Armando, with a stubborn head acted like one of those “galans in the telenovelas” and backed her plan. She said that it benefits him to do so. She tells him that she doesn’t want any of them to think that she is taking advantage of her position and that is why she wants to purchase the car with her own money. She wants to be able to move and escape Eco Moda whenever the need arises. They continue into the dealership’s showroom and the salesman approaches them and Betty asks to see a certain car that she had previously viewed.
AT THE MINISTRY
(Armando and Mario are going down the stairs.) While Armando is telling Mario how hurt he was to have to throw away his gifts to Betty, Mario has turned around to look at a girl that has passed by him. Armando continues by saying that he realizes that the gifts meant nothing but deceit to Betty, but to him they were memories and had turned into honest things. Mario talks about how all his literature was thrown away. He gives Armando compliments on the cards that he wrote. Armando tells him to stop bothering him and that he can’t stand the thought of having to give Betty up for the rest of his life. He is starting to second guess the decision of having an office at Eco Moda. Mario says that they are poor and Armando tells him that they need to spend the least possible time at the office.
Armando’s telephone rings and he shows Mario that it is Marcela. Marcela begins asking all types of questions, where are you, who are you with and where do you plan on going next. Armando answers her questions, but wants to know why she wants this information. Marcela gets upset that he asks why. She says in order to organize her life. He tells her not to get angry. He tells her that if she has the right to ask him those questions, then he has the right to know why. He finally tells her that he is on his way to Eco Moda and then they can go to her apartment if that is what she wishes.
Patricia wants to know what he said. Once she tells her, Patricia wants to know if she was able to prove what he was saying was true. Marcela is curious as to how she would be able to prove if he was lying or no. Patricia tells her that it is easy. She tells Armando that her battery is running low and then she needs to call him at a telephone at the Ministry’s office. Marcela tells her that she is not going to play those games. Marcela sits down, frustrated and throws her hands to her head, she says that she can’t take this hell anymore. She’s tempted to take all her belongings and resign. Patricia says that if she resigns, she resigns and asks Marcela to take her with her and not to leave her there.
AT THE MINISTRY
Armando tells Mario that he doesn’t know what Marcela wants or is planning. She also didn’t ask that he and Mario be together. Mario reminds him that for Marcela that is not a guarantee and that he also isn’t going to be with Betty, since she is at Eco Moda’s.
IN FRONT OF AURA MARIA’S NEW DESK
Aura Maria is telling her Freddy problems to Sandra. Patricia shows up and Sandra gets upset because she has crossed the line. Patricia becomes upset and begins to clean the line off the floor. While she is bending over, almost showing everything, two young male workers are staring at her butt from the elevator. Patricia notices and asks what they are looking at. They get into the elevator and leave.
Sandra becomes upset that Patricia is erasing the line and begins to redraw the line. Sandra warns her that she will kill her if she crosses the line. Patricia draws a second line and threatens her life. They begin to fight over the piece of chalk.
As they are fighting Marcela walks by and notices the line. She demands to know who drew it in order to sanction that individual, neither answer. Marcela threatens that if they are fighting and going to tear up the reception area she will impose a sanction and move them to different departments. Patricia tells her that they are not fighting. Sandra informs her that they are taking measurements in order to make both of them more comfortable. Marcela orders that they clean up the line.
BY THE ELEVATOR
As Marcela heads towards the elevator the doors open. Sophia, Bertha and Mariana are in the elevator laughing. As they come out they greet Marcela and Bertha notices the line and wants to know what happened. Marcela again orders for them to clean up the line.
Inesita comes calling for the Cuartel tells them that Hugo needs them in his workroom. They yell, “Us!”. Marcela tells them to go. Patricia wants to know if she is required to go. Marcela says no and again orders them to clean up the line. After Marcela leaves, Patricia tells Sandra that she needs to clean it up. Sandra tells her she’d rather die first. Sandra informs her that by the time she returns from Hugo’s she expects it to be cleaned up. Patricia tells her to keep dreaming and that she wasn’t born to clean floors but that it fits Sandra
Hugo is measuring Jenny and telling her how much he missed her. She then tells him that she missed him. Jenny grabs his cheeks to pinch them and he tells not to touch him because he is liable to poke her with the pin. He tells her that he is all nerves and she wants to know why. He says that he is having to do something that goes against his style.
The Cuartel walks in and Inesita informs him that the girls are there. “Girls”, says Hugo, “my grandmother”. He orders them to take off their jackets and shawls. (Sandra covers up with her jacket.) He tells them that he wants to see very little clothing on them. Bertha, with a big smile, wants to know what they are going to do to them. Hugo tells them that he wants to see them naked and laughs. (Jenny joins in his laughter.) He immediately tells them not to be crazy that he does want to end up blind. He orders Inesita to rapidly take their measurements. They want to know why. He tells them so that they can appear in National Geographic. (Hugo and Jenny laugh again.)
He tells them that he has taken on a job of the same magnitude as the Titanic. He is too dress them well. “What!”, thet all say in unison. He says that he realizes that it is crazy and absurd, but he has to do it. He says that his imagination is going to be at its maximum. He asks Inesita to take the measurements because he doesn’t want to touch them.
Sophia tells him to wait a minute. Is he saying that they are badly dressed. Each one of the Caurtel explains how she believes that she is dressed in style. (Hugo is laughing.) They are upset about his comment. Hugo says with a tone that is apologetic, “No, no, no, I have never said that you dressed bad.” (This makes the Cuartel a bit happier.) Hugo continues, “You don’t even get dressed. You just throw rags over yourselves to cover your bodies.” (He and Jenny laugh.) He informs them that this is not his idea, but Betty’s. Sophia wants to know what is going on with Betty and Bertha comments that Betty must know think that she comes from a better family. Inesita tells them not to misinterpret what Betty is doing and that the Company is going to dress them in nice clothing made by a famous designer. Hugo tells Inesita that she will also be dressed. “Me”, say Inesita.
Hugo asks if they agree to accept. He tells them if they don’t that would take away numerous problems away from him and he would be thankful. Sandra says that they accept, but that Betty will have to explain. Hugo asks for some large instrument in order to measure Bertha.
Patricia walks in and wants to know why the Cuartel is meeting with Hugo. After Marcela explains, Patricia says that they can’t do this to her. She says that it would have been easier to fire them and hire women that have more class. Marcela tells her to explain it to Betty. Patricia wants to know if they are going to dress her. Marcela explains that Betty does not believe that she is dressed badly and since Eco Moda’s clothing is not her style. Patricia tells her that was another period and she is her best friend. Now she rides the bus, she’s bankrupt and her hose are torn.
Patricia says that if Hugo dresses her, he will have to design outfits that are exclusively for her because she can’t wear the same uniform as the rest of the Cuartel. Marcela tells her to tell Betty and see if she will include her in her plans. She asks her to leave her office so that she can work. She also tells her that the next time she sees her desk she expects that line to be wiped off of the floor. Patricia insulted, tells her that instead of asking Hugo to dress her why doesn’t she ask Guiterrez for one of those aprons that they provide for the housekeeping crew. She leaves Marcela’s office crying.
BY BERTHA’S DESK
Guiterrez is by her desk on his walkie talkie want to know what has happened with the rat poison.
The Cuartel is on their way back and Sandra is commenting on how they have to be careful with Hugo. Just as he is capable of making a woman beautiful, he is also capable of making her ugly.
Guiterrez yells to Bertha and demands to know why Mario’s boxes have not been removed from in front of her desk. Bertha says that she didn’t know what to do. Guiterrez then yells at Sandra and asks if he did not order her to review the boxes and throw away what was not needed.
Mariana is wondering if they will have to pay for their clothing. Sophia says that she can’t afford it. Aura Maria says that if they plan on dressing them on a daily basis the Company will have to pay for it. Sophia asks Sandra her opinion (Sandra is reading some of Mario’s documents with a strange look on her face.) Sophia continues to say that with Sandra being so tall, lots of material will be needed and that will cost the Company a great deal of money.
They ask her what she is reading. Sandra says that he doesn’t understand but it is a budget from the last meeting. She is reading a letter from Mario to Armando, “My Dear President, Here are the instructions so that you can continue your routine of horror with Betty……….
In this folder also was the infamous letter from Mario Calderon advising Armando Mendoza on how to conduct his so-called “campaign of horror” to win and maintain the loyalty of the “ugly monster” that was his assistant and who had power to destroy Ecomoda and everyone that depended on the company. (Recall that when Betty spotted this same letter, she began her careening ride down a roller coaster that immediately plunged through a tunnel of horrors and illusions from which she can not yet see the light of day.) Prompted by Bertha, Sandra begins to read the letter out loud …but just above a whisper … to Bertha, Mariana, Sofia, and Aura Maria, who are gathered in front of her.
SANDRA: “My esteemed President, Here are the instructions so you can continue your horror routine with Betty …”
SOFIA: “¿Qué es eso?”
AURA MARIA: “¿Qué más dice?”
SANDRA, looking nervously about, continues: “Aquí, hay otra parte que dice…” [“Here is another part in which he says…”] “… writing these cards was harder than ever, because at least with the other ones you would tell me what had happened the night before. The pitiful kisses, the words when making the horror, I mean love, with her …”
In shock, the others exclaim in unison: Ahhhhhaayyy!
AURA MARIA: Betty made love with Don Armando?
The others turn around and say: Shhhh, Aura Maria, for God’s sake …
Then they all turn back towards Sandra, and Bertha, reaching for the letter, says: This is TOP SECRET. Let me have it.
But Sandra turns away, clutching the folder with the letter to her chest, saying: This is confidential … for MY boss.
SOFIA: What is confidential? Hold your tongue!
BERTHA: What was confidential that falls into the hands of the cuartel, now becomes public domain. And you, you can’t be so “desgraciado” as to deny the rest of us the opportunity to feast on this delicious piece of gossip. Give it to me!
SANDRA, clutching the folder even tighter with her chin tucking it under: Nooo, I’m afraid.
Then, like piranhas, all of them turn on their friend.
SOFIA: Afraid of what? Get off of it, BOBA.
MARIANA: You have to be brave.
AURA MARIA: YES !!!
BERTHA: We [the cuartel of feas] are the strong ones. Do it!
BERTHA, SOFIA, and AURA MARIA: DO IT !!!
SANDRA: Yes, we have a lot guts. For that reason, I am not going to read any more.
GUITERREZ: What happened with the boxes?
All of the cuartel who are present SCREAM ... and Guiterrez jumps back while the others form a wall between Sandra and him.
GUITERREZ: Do me a favor and don’t scare me by screaming all at once ! Don’t you have work to do? Bertha, what about the boxes? [of files ]
BERTHA: We are taking care of it, Doctor, as you can see. …
GUITERREZ: Um hmm. I am going down to production. When I return, I want this area to be absolutely clear?
CHORUS: Um hmm …
Guiterrez walks by the “cuartel wall”, which still shields Sandra, on the way to Production. Then suddenly, he spins around and says: Alright! And the cuartel screams again, but not so loud this time. Guiterrez departs.
The cuartel decides that the office is too public a place to discuss Top Secret information. Leaving the phones for Patty to answer, they retire to the Ladies Room.
Lorna Cepeda is an excellent actress. She makes her character, Patricia Fernández, just abrasive enough to make everyone else look good, including Guiterrez, That is most obvious with her infamous expletive, desgraciados, which I hear pronounced not with an “e”, but with a Hispanic “a”, and with the “d”’s similar to the soft “th” we hear in the word “the”. Phonetically, it sounds to me like : “thaaahs-graaaah-seeeeee-AAAH-thos “ which I interpret to mean LOW-LIFE of whatever economic strata. Lorna is really describing PATTY herself, ¿no es verdad? With that commercial over, back to the story. As the cuartel proceed to the “sala de juntas de las feas,” Patty pops out of the hallway and confronts them in her characteristic stance.
PATTY: Ah so! So there goes the ugly bunch. Do you think that I will answer your phones, or what?
AURA MARIA: Yes, yes! We are going to be very busy meeting … concerning the vice-presidents of Ecomoda. My dear, cover the phone calls, please.
SOFIA: Yes, let’s go.
PATTY, playing with her hair: What’s with those “daaahsgraciiiiiados”?
In the Ladies Room, Sandra continues to read parts of the letter to the others.
SANDRA: … Drink some whiskey and take her to a hotel apartment, and, if you can work yourself into it, take her to bed … [ the cuartel all gasp in astonishment ] … Yes, yes, yes, yes, I can just picture your pitiful face of the martyr as you read this …
BERTHA: Hah… like the face we have …
SANDRA, continuing: But you don’t seem to be quite as horrified as before regarding your going to bed with her …Apparently, you’ve been immunized so just do it tommorow and get it over with. She’ll be happy, and you can get rid of her for a few days
AURA MARIA: Aye … could it be … did they go to bed several times?
BERTHA: But, aren’t you listening? The “horror” that is happening is with her …
[ then to Sandra: ] Let’s see … Go on !
SANDRA: But, it’s that … I won’t let you use my apartment again … no sir … you’ve ruined my reputation … Not just ruined it, you’ve torn it to shreds, … even the doorman made fun … how ugly the woman with you was.
MARIANA: Or it my be that he took her to the apartment of Don Mario ?
SOFIA: They lend their apartments for that ?
SANDRA: Don Mario did not call it an “apartment,” instead “the center of executions.”
SOFIA: Oh yes ! [then looking at Aura Maria] What kind of a place is this “apartment?”
AURA MARIA: Boba! And as if I were there?
MARIANA: Don’t tell me that Don Mario hasn’t taken you …
AURA MARIA: Well … no … Perhaps you all believe everything you read … That is a joke … a piece of gossip … You actually believe that Don Armando went to bed with Betty ??? Besides, she is described as Betty la fea that we once knew , not the beauty she is now…
[At this moment, the cuartel doesn’t seem to have a clew about when this letter was written]
SANDRA: Girls, I don’t think it is a joke. Instead, it just got into the folder of this report to the Board of Directors. [for the last meeting]
SOFIA: Oh … about Betty … when that happened … she was going out with Nicholas Mora … oh no !!!
BERTHA, grinning from ear to ear: Then, they [Armando and Betty] were both unfaithful … like she really was ugly [when that took place] rather than beautiful …Poor Nicholas !
MARIANA: Of course, that’s it…
SOFIA: It is for that reason, they say that the beautiful wish for the luck of the ugly
AURA MARIA, sadly: Yeah …
Meanwhile, Betty and Nicholas are at the new car dealership that sells Favias. The salesman takes them over to a red model.
SALESMAN: This Favia is European, unique in its class, listed as the car of the year in England, Germany, the Federal Republic of Czechoslovakia, in Austria, and in Colombia it is listed as the car surprise of the year.
BETTY: Yes, that is what I read in the magazine.
NICHOLAS: Come! Come! What kind of motor does this car have?
SALESMAN: That is a very good question. The motor for this car is 1.4 liters and sixteen valves with fuel injection.
BETTY: What does that mean?
NICHOLAS: I don’t know, Betty. But it sounds good.
BETTY: It is a very good motor, right?
SALESMAN: Not only the motor, but the technology … a combination of what is found in the Audi, Volkswagon, Lamborgini, Rolls Royce …
NICHOLAS, excited: Rolls Royce! … The car that I need and always deserved. You know? I will buy one someday, but when they have it in Colombia, not before …
SALESMAN: “Señorita, por favor, siga. “ [motioning for Betty to come over to the driver’s side … on the left ] [Do they drive on the right side of the roads in Colombia?]
Nichols directs Betty to go around the car to where the salesman is opening the door.
NICHOLAS: Go on, go on! Get in the car!
SALESMAN: Of course, this car comes with airbags, turn signals and hydraulic brakes as standard equipment, right? … all the best safety features needed when driving at high speeds like the formula one cars. …
The salesman helps Betty in, closes the door, and walks over to the passenger side where Nicholas is standing. Betty feels the steering wheel and the shift lever ...fastens her seat belt ...
NICHOLAS: You don’t say. [then he squats down to stick his head in the window on the passenger side: ] Betty, be careful, careful … You won’t believe how fast the formula one cars accelerate … before you know it, you’re out of here … before you know it you’ll knock down or run over an old lady or something … as if you were half blind … [the salesman squats down and looks in next to Nicholas …]
BETTY, doing her famous goose laugh: Niiicolaas! I will drive. It can’t be that hard.
SALESMAN: But don’t let it bother you. This car is equipped with intelligent brakes.
BETTY: What do you mean?
NICHOLAS: The car is intelligent like us. You don’t have to press on the brakes. It brakes for you, understand? In addition, when you are about to hit something, it yells, “Look out! Look out! You’re going to run over something.”
SALESMAN: No, no, no, no! That isn’t what an intelligent brake system does. Actually, it adjusts the pressure on the shoes against the drums or on the disc automatically for optimum braking.
BETTY: Um hum … very interesting. What I really don’t like is the color.
NICHOLAS: “Tranquila, Betty, that I understand perfectly. [speaking now to the salesman] But young man, this car comes in different colors to choose from, right?
SALESMAN: Of course! In addition, notice that the radio comes with four preset channels, and the steering wheel adjusts in two directions. [He stands up and comes around to the driver’s side …]
NICHOLAS: But that is serious, it only adjusts in two directions, that is a problem …
SALESMAN: No, no, no, no! That’s not what I mean. “Permíteme, Señorita!”
The salesman opens the door for Betty to get out, and he slides in behind the wheel himself. Betty goes around the car and looks in over the shoulder of Nicholas.
SALESMAN, moving the steering wheel: What I mean, is that you can move the wheel up or down to accommodate the driver. In addition, the car can lock, unlock, and activate the security alarm … all by the remote control in this key case. He hands it to Nicholas.
NICHOLAS: Now I see. Very good. [then walking with Betty toward the far side of the room] Betty, I’ll show you how it works from a distance. Let’s check this out. [he clicks the remote control first from his front, then like a player on a basketball court passing the ball, from around behind his back, from between his legs, all the time commenting:] más o menos, más o menos, más o menos ¿no? Finally he asks Betty what she thinks of the car.
BETTY, as they walk by the car: I like this car very much. It is just the right size for me. It has everything I want. What is your opinion?
NICHOLAS: Well, I still don’t know. Let’s check it out some more. Young man, can we try it out?
SALESMAN: Yes. Of course.
NICHOLAS, handing the keys to Betty: You are a new owner. Get in and start it, “Jefe”. … have to see how it works … [Betty gets in and Nicholas, looking through the passenger’s window says:] Start it … start it …
Betty starts the car and the motor idles quietly as a look of satisfaction and pleasure lightens up her face.
NICHOLAS: Okay, I will check this out as if I am standing at a red light … you are driving … keep your eyes straight ahead while I check this out from over there … [ he goes over to the place from where he checked out the remote control , glances back at Betty in the car, looks away for a bit, then looks back again and returns to the car saying:] Wow, what a woman, yes? You look okay. [he gets in the car and closes the door] Some more tests … Look to the front … you are driving … good afternoon …
BETTY, chuckling softly: Aye, Nicholas, what a game …
NICHOLAS: I still have to check out the back …understand? Continue driving, looking straight ahead … [as he gets out, she looks away into the audience with a slight frown. He gets into the back seat and says:] Wait, I’m in back. Okay, Betty, look ahead … continue driving … from here I can see you up front … a Greek [“prefil” or perfil I can not make it out after listening to my tape almost a dozen times … Anyway, Nicholas finally gives his approval and slides over behind Betty to exit the rear door on her side while she calls out to the the salesman ]
BETTY: WHAT DOES IT COST?
SALESMAN: 33,090,000 pesos. [Betty turns to Nicholas who is leaning in her window]
NICHOLAS: Betty, the car cost 15,000 dollars … seems cheap enough to me …it’s a good buy …
BETTY, to the salesman: Do you have financing?
SALESMAN: Of course, come with me …
As Betty gets out, Nicholas calls out to the salesman: After you, young man, please. Meanwhile back in the Ladies room, Mariana and Sandra are sitting down next to each other and opposite Bertha, Sofia and Aura Maria who are staring solemnly at Sandra who continues to read Mario’s letter.
SANDRA: “Keep up your routine of cards and gifts that I’m enclosing here, because Don Nicholas Mora is still after Betty and Ecomoda. I don’t want to come back and hear the news that you failed to take care of her, and she fell in that guy’s arms; because, that would be the same as giving him the company.
MARIANA: Aye, girls, why is he talking like that … as if Nicholas was dying to get the business?
BERTHA: And in addition, …he talks as though he didn’t know … Nicholas was already Betty’s boyfriend. What a confusing letter.
AURA MARIA: For that reason, I don’t believe that letter is serious. Continue, continue!
SANDRA: I hope that this week won’t be as horrible as the ones you have already suffered with her, and keep repeating in your mind this mantra: “Kiss Betty so that you do not lose Ecomoda. Make love to Betty so that you do not lose Ecomoda.” Imagine that with each kiss, with each tender carress you are assuring that Betty will not play a dirty trick on us.
MARIANA: Aye ! no !!
BERTHA: Does any one of you understand …
SOFIA: The only thing that comes to mind for me is that they were performing some kind of financial balancing act with Betty … very misterious … In addition, Betty’s strange exit [ resigning from Ecomoda] … the dethroning of Don Armando from the presidency … and the departure of Don Mario … they were up to something tricky …
SANDRA: Then … yes, here it is. Listen to this: “… not only to ensure Ecomoda stays solvent, but because we have to force her to doctor the books for the upcoming board meeting. “
BERTHA, SOFIA, and AURA MARIA in chorus: AAH, THAT’S IT !!!
SANDRA: … she has us where she wants us, and if you notice that she is the least hesitant to help us, close your eyes, drink a few more whiskeys, say a few sweet nothings in her ear, and take her to the nearest bed available. Because, let me tell you that there’s no one happier than an ugly woman after making love.”
BERTHA: That’s for sure !
SOFIA: Aye, Bertha! Although that confirms it … these guys signed something over to Betty and that is how they fell into her hands.
BERTHA: Precisely, that is the disaster they brought on the “junta” [board of directors] because if Betty wanted to remain at Ecomoda or demanded … every one was losing their heads …
AURA MARIA: Aye, “muchachas ,“ that would be why I saw the dwarf lawyers here again imposing their lien on Ecomoda.
MARINA: Of course, that is why they made her President .
SOFIA: That is why she made her “ex-novio” Vice President of Finance. [Recall that when Armando, as the fiancé of Marcela, was having an affair with Betty, she asked Nicholas to pretend to be her fiancé to decoy Marcela and the cuartel, who would suspect her euphoria, from discovering that the “other woman” was in reality Betty. It was really comical until the jealous Armando beat Nicholas up, who was blind without his glasses.]
BERTHA: “Muchachas” it’s like Mission Impossible. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
SOFIA: Even so with all that, there is a lot of mystery surrounding the presidency of Betty, right?
BERTHA: As far as I am concerned, I have no interest in the part of this “chisme” that which pertains to the business. What interests me is the part about the romance between Armando and Betty. [ From the look on Bertha’s face, it not only interests her, it delights her. ]
SOFIA: Romance, Bertha? For God’s sake! But don’t you realize that those two guys made love to poor Betty, just to save their own skins?
BERTHA: Oh yes! It was a dirty affair. You know … was Betty aware of what they were doing? Because if not, we have to tell her.
AURA MARIA: Aye what a boba I am! That happened so long ago … Betty quiting the company … the cancellation of the wedding between Don Armando and Doña Marcela …Betty trying to leave Ecomoda as they would say … out the back door … to say nothing of Betty right now behaving very strange toward Don Armando … strange … very strange .
MARIANA: “Sí, sí” …
AURA MARIA: Strange things are happening here, because … why did Mario write this letter to Armando, Why?
SANDRA, with her eyes still glued to Mario’s letter: YES, and why was this put in the folder for the General Financial Statement … ?
Like a diving falcon with its wings folded, the new secretary of the Vice President of Finance, SOFIA, pounces on Sandra and grabs the folder off her lap with such force that Sandra rubs her knees.
SOFIA: Give it here !!!
BERTHA, to Sofia: Keep it with you, analyze it, and later we will call another meeting and then you can fill us in on all the financial gossip…
SOFIA: Yes, we will keep it for us all [ She puts one hand out to the center followed by each of the others joining in the center, the universal pledge of unity. You know the line, “One for all and all for one”]
SCENE: The cuartel are back in the office with the elevators in the background.
SOFIA: “Muchachas” this looks to me to be part of the historical [financial] record. I will get in touch as soon as I look it over and we can have another meeting soon. Until then, let’s split.
A WOMAN IN A SHAWL, saying goodbye to a group of ladies: Okay, girls, we’ll talk more later. Then she gets in the elevator. [kind of a walk-through scene with some “extras” ]
SANDRA, approaching the area shared with Patty, imitating some of Patty’s body language : Hey, Peliteñida, how como you haven’t cleaned up the floor?
PATTY, who was sitting with her back to Sandra, halfway turns in her chair and says: ¿Qué?
SANDRA: Why haven’t you cleaned the floor?
PATTY: Because I’m waiting for you, Cinderella, so you can clean it.
SANDRA: Ha, ha, ha, ha! Like that I care, hear?
PATTY: Well, no problem then … we’ll both get sanctioned.
SANDRA: Hah, I didn’t start this fight.
PATTY: Oh yah, neither do I own the chalk with which the lines were drawn on the floor.
SANDRA Okay, perfect. Then we’ll both get thrown out.
MARCELA, calling from her office: Aura Maria!
Both Sandra and Patty jump up and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to hide the chalk lines they had previously drawn on the floor, and which Marcela had ordered to be cleaned up by both of them. Marcela breezes in and goes right to Aura Maria’s desk.
MARCELA: Aura Maria!
AURA MARIA: Sí Doña Marcela.