Episode 5

Sofía asks to speak with Betty before she leaves. Betty asks Armando to leave her alone with the Cuartel and he leaves [Merci: poor guy, they’ve got him so well-trained… Beth: note, the word used means “well-trained” in the sense of a performing animal or such]. The Cuartel, their tails between their legs, tells Betty they aren’t coming to ask for her help but rather to beg her pardon for what they did, and to say they want to continue being her friends. Betty tells them they not only cheated the President of EcoModa, they cheated a friend. They reply that they know they did wrong. Betty says they should’ve trusted her, that if they’d told her what happened, maybe she could’ve fixed it. Inestia tells her that maybe they can try to save the deal. Betty replies that as she (Inesita) is the most sensible of the group, she has to know there is no way to fix things with Fashion Group now, they’ll never take EcoModa seriously as a company. Sandra asks if they can fix things, would Betty forgive them? Betty stands, looks thoughtful, and replies that if they can manage it so that EcoModa comes to an agreement with Fashion Group, she would not only forgive them but reconsider their dismissals. Sandra tells her that Aura María has the solution to the problem in her hands. Aura María is astonished when they say that Kenneth’s invitation to dinner would be that solution…

Outside we see Freddy, complaining as always, and Wilson telling him he, Wilson, will place the call to Fashion Group for Freddy. Freddy replies that he has to maintain the image of a man with beautiful secretaries… The Cuartel emerges from Betty’s office and comments how it’s all Freddy’s fault that now Aura María has to go out to dinner with Kenneth to try to fix the problem. Freddy gets all jealous, asking if this is a business meeting or something else and starts in on his tired old story: That the gringo is crazy about Aura María. Just then the phone rings and Wilson answers - he tells them all it’s some guy “Kenny Rogers” or something and he’s calling for Aura María. Obviously it’s Kenneth Johnson and she happily takes the call. Freddy tells her to pass it to him afterwards so he can talk to Kenneth. Aura María arranges for Kenneth to pick her up at 8pm at EcoModa to go out to dinner and says ‘goodbye’ in the patented manner of our darling Blondie-Barbie [Patricia]: ‘‘‘kay, ‘kay” and adds a warm “bye-bye.” Freddy asks why she didn’t give him the phone so he could speak with Kenneth and what does she mean by the “‘kay, ‘kay” and the “bye-bye.” She explains that she was invited to dinner because they have to talk. Freddy wants to know why they can’t talk at EcoModa, in his presence, or better yet, all three of them go out together. Aura María tells him she’s going alone, that it’s a business meeting. Sandra explains to him that the only chance of their getting their jobs back -jobs which they lost mostly due to his idiocies- depends on this dinner. Freddy says in that case he’ll just have to loan them the use of his girlfriend, so they can all keep their jobs. But he himself would prefer to lose his job rather than his darling queen. Mariana tells him not to worry, that if Kenneth, who she describes as a “bizcocho” [word means ‘sponge cake or finger’ - i’m not familiar with the slang but would guess here it means ‘tasty bit’], had asked her out instead, she’d’ve gone in a heartbeat. Adding insult to injury, Bertha adds that since Aura María was the one Kenneth was eyeing, they had no choice. Sandra then reminds Freddy that he was the blabbermouth who’d claimed to be President of EcoModa, and the even bigger blabbermouth who had introduced them all as executives, and the biggest blabbermouth of all who had invited Kenneth and Gabriela to EcoModa. Freddy is all downcast and sits down next to Wilson, who very tenderly puts his hand on Freddy’s shoulder, which hand Freddy immediately removes [Merci reminds us of Wilson and Gutiérrez at Betty and Armando’s wedding…]. Freddy then asks if it would be possible to speak to his Pookie-Wookie without the presence of his co-worker “sisters-in-law.” The couple goes to the conference room where Freddy keeps up his usual lament, but not before opening the door to find the rest of the Cuartel and Wilson with their ears glued to it. They excuse themselves by saying that Armando and Betty had been there. Freddy wants to reassure himself that Aura María isn’t going to do anything with Kenneth, that he, Freddy, is her fiancé. She asks him what fiancé, since they haven’t set a date for the wedding, nor has he given her an engagement ring… He says that the ring is in his nightstand along with the invoice for the musicians and as soon as the little job thing is worked out, they can set a date for the wedding. Aura María tells him that she doesn’t have a fiancé, that he’s the same trickster he’s always been. But she does say she has a boyfriend…

Armando: Yes, Calderón. I know you came to Colombia only to take care of the deal with Fashion Group… but what can I do? Well, I -OK, yes… [Betty enters] I’ve already fired those people, the EcoModa employees - I fired them. But I’m going to give them a new opportunity. That’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Yes, look - I’d pay for those tickets with pleasure [?? this might be some sort of catchphrase with which i am not familiar - the word used for tickets is in the sense generally used for airfares or train tickets. i’m not sure, he may be telling Mario he’d have no trouble picking up the tab for his and Fashion Group’s airfares for coming to Colombia, or he might instead be saying he wasn’t too upset at having to fire the Cuartel & co - ‘i’d pay to see that…’ ?]. Armando turns and notices that Betty is standing there.

Betty: Who are you talking to?

Armando: Calderón.

Betty: Ah. I’ll leave you then…

Armando: No, don’t go, my love. We’re not talking about anything confidential [Merci: hmmmmm, how’s this Armandito - “nothing confidential”??] Calderón, look - let’s speak tomorrow, ok? Ok, ok, bye.

Betty: And what did he want?

Armando: Nothing. The guy’s just really worried the deal with Fashion Group won’t go through and he feels like he’s wasted a trip.

Betty: Ay, poor baby… I feel soooo sorry for him. But, you were saying something about an airfare, right?

Armando: Ummmm…

Betty: Do you know - I agree, my love? What’s more, let’s give him a first-class one-way fare [to leave Colombia] out of my salary [Armando smiles]. And send him to… Uganda would be perfect for him. Or how about Tanzania or Kenya…? No! I know! To Rwanda. Rwanda is the place for Mario Calderón! [Merci: this recalls the conversation Mario had with Armando in which he suggested they send Betty somewhere far far away so she couldn’t ruin Armando’s wedding to Marcela…]

Armando: Kigali… is it Kigali?

Betty: Yes, it’s the capital. What’s more, it would be a good deal for him. Rwanda is the most populous country in Africa. He would get along wonderfully with the Hutus and the Tutsis. They share the same customs….

Armando: Tutsis, Tutsis… Yes, my love, I think you’re being a little harsh with Calderón. He has fought for this deal more than anyone. Now all we can do is pray that things go well for Aura María with the gringo tonight and we can do a deal with these people after all.

Betty: Oh, yes, let’s pray that things go well for EcoModa and badly for Beatríz Pinzón Solano.

Armando: Doctora…

Betty: Ay, no - really, my love. The only good thing that could happen is that this deal didn’t have to do with Mario Calderón.

Armando: C’mon, c’mon… [he approaches her, takes her face in his hands and kisses her face]. Look my love, if things go badly for EcoModa, they go badly for us. And then we’ll have to go out and look for work on the street just like everyone else. Like the Cuartel’s going to have to do. Or, of course, Doctora Monsterette, we could go and look into opening a store in Rwanda, for example.

Betty: Monsrete…! [she gives him a kiss on the cheek as she laughs]

In Hugo’s workshop, the Cuartel is dressing and preparing Aura María for her date with Kenneth. Mariana sprays her with a perfume called “Black Magic” that supposedly drives men crazy but Sofía says if it really were that good, Mariana would have boyfriends all over the place. Mariana retorts that if Sofía had used it, the Pushy One [better known as Jenny] would not have stolen her husband. Just then Jenny arrives and wants to know what that smell is. When they tell her, she states that she used that perfume until she met her “Guñi Guñi” [a/k/a Efraín, Sofía’s ex-husband] and now she doesn’t need it any more. Hugo and his little dog Bárbara arrive. He makes his usual comments about ugliness and remarks on the mess the Cuartel and co made by having passed themselves off as executives…. Wilson arrives to tell Aura María that the “Mister” is waiting for her at the entrance to EcoModa. Hugo asks that he [Wilson] not enter the workshop. Jenny tells Sofía that it would be really bad if she (Sofía) were to lose her job, because Efraín doesn’t have steady work and she (Jenny) can’t maintain the kiddies. The Cuartel holds Sofía back so she doesn’t kill Jenny. Hugo tells Inesita that he won’t permit them to let her go, but if they do he will look for a dirty old man for her, a young guy for himself and a boy dog for Bárbara…

Leaving the workshop they run into Freddy, who continues to complain. He whines that Aura María got all dressed up like that for the Gringo and they tell him that when he is earning a paycheck in dollars and has an executive’s job like Kenneth, she’ll do it for him, too. Freddy asks her not to drink, and, after noting that she’s wearing a backless dress, tells her not to let Kenneth see that. Freddy begs the “Pentagon’s” pardon (i.e., the Cuartel) but he’d like a good-bye hug from Aura María, he tells her that he trusts her and not to either look or smile at Kenneth the way she does at him. And, he adds, if Kenneth should proposition her, tell him no! Aura María repeats “NOW” to him, and he clarifies “NO!” Aura María tells Freddy she knows how to defend herself in any language and when a man is propositioning her.

When Aura María leaves EcoModa and Kenneth sees her he says, “Oh, my God!.” He’s hit bad… She calls him “Don Kenneth” and he asks her to call him “Kenneth.” He asks her if she wants to go anywhere special to eat and -surprise!- she says yes, that she often goes to Le Noir (which name she mispronounces). They get into Kenneth’s car and leave. Freddy comes out to see what’s going on, but arrives too late.

The Cuartel and Wilson are on the second floor and are going to wait until Aura María calls to tell them how things went at dinner. Betty and Armando come out holding hands, headed for home and ask them all why they haven’t left. Just then the elevator doors open and there is Freddy all downcast. Armando asks him what’s wrong with him [Merci: Armando got over his rage pretty quickly - he’s no longer the same as before…] and Freddy tells him that its because of Aura María. So, instead of leaving, Armando proposes they all go to the conference room to wait for Aura María’s call.

At Le Noir, Kenneth asks Aura María how long she’s been a Vice President at EcoModa and she tells him four years. She had told him she studied business administration. The waiter arrives with the drinks and Aura María gets mixed up and tells Kenneth she studied economics. She also drinks her drink very quickly. When he comments she’d said she studied business administration, she replies that the economics was afterward. So Kenneth asks if she has a PhD in economics. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about and asks him how much time she has to answer the question since she hadn’t prepared for it. He’s intrigued to be told that she’s off-guard. And that is when the truth comes out that she’s not who he thinks she is, or the rest of the Cuartel either, and especially not Freddy or Wilson. The waiter returns and Kenneth asks for a double whiskey, no ice, very large [Merci: could it be he learned of the powers of whiskey in the same school as Armando…?]. Aura María asks for one as well…

Back at EcoModa, we see everyone in the conference room - Betty and Armando like a pair of lovebirds and Freddy in the same old same old. Freddy worries that Kenneth is The Competition… that he should’ve gone with Aura María - not out of jealousy but for her security. Armando and the rest tell him to calm down. Freddy worries that Kenneth is another Freddy - a Freddy Krueger…

Once again at Le Noir, Aura María continues telling her tale to Kenneth, about how the real bosses didn’t know anything about the story Freddy and the rest of them had told Kenneth, how they (Freddy & co) hadn’t known how important Gabriela and Kenneth were for EcoModa. The waiter asks if they are want to order, and Aura María says she couldn’t eat anything. Kenneth asks for the bill. Aura María apologizes again, says they didn’t have bad intentions, there was no meeting the next day and that they’re all very sorry about damaging the deal with the real executives. She tells him that it was all a disaster and because of it they’ve all been fired. Kenneth tells her that he would’ve put them in jail. When the bill arrives, Aura María wants to pay and nearly dies when she sees the total. Kenneth insists that he invited her so he should pay. They get up and she repeats that she’s very sorry. Kenneth tells her it bothers him that she only went out with him to fix this problem. Then he asks her if she would go out with him again, and she, cheeky thing [Merci: although, thinking about it again, Mr Johnson doesn’t seem like such a bad catch - definitely better than Freddy], tells him, “Yes, I think so.” Kenneth takes Aura María home.

Freddy continues on tenterhooks, asking why Aura María hasn’t called. Armando tells him they can call Kenneth’s hotel. Freddy freaks out asking if they think Kenneth took Aura María to the hotel. Armando clarifies that they can talk to Gabriela, ask for Kenneth, and even ask for Kenneth’s cel number so they can call him. Freddy then wants Mariana to read the cards [Tarot] and tell him what’s going to happen. She tells him that he is even more insupportable than ever. Freddy says he has to go to the bathroom because he has “sustitis” (“fright-itis”). Then Wilson enters to ask where Freddy was going and they tell him to the bathroom. So he says he doesn’t know about that since there isn’t a bathroom in the elevator and that’s where Freddy was going.

Aura María and Kenneth arrive at her house. He asks if she lives alone and she says no, she lives with two women friends from work, or more precisely, ex-work friends (Sandra and Mariana) and her son. Kenneth asks if the information [about the company] that he and Gabriela were given during their tour of EcoModa was a lie as well, and she tells him no, that it was all true. So Kenneth tells her that as far as he’s concerned, the whole matter of the lie was forgotten and the plan for a business meeting the next day is still on. But… he does have to discuss this with Gabriela. Aura María asks if he can do so that very night and let her know. He replies yes. Freddy arrives in his mega-cycle and sees Aura María say good-bye to Kenneth with a kiss on the cheek. Kenneth is happy as a clam… Freddy says “Bravo! Bravo!” to Aura María. She asks if he knows whether Mariana and Sandra have arrived. He tells her he’s been waiting for her call with the Cuartel, Betty and “Don Armando de Pinzón,” only of course she forgot to call. She says she didn’t forget. Freddy notices she’s been drinking and asks here where she was. She replies that Don Kenneth forgave them all. Freddy asks her ‘in exchange for what?’ and she says, all offended, ‘for nothing.’ She adds that now they have to wait on what Gabriela says. Freddy is upset that Kenneth knows Aura María’s home phone number. Aura María asks Freddy if he expected her to give Kenneth the phone number of her “old cycle” and he tells her that that’s the only thing that’s been faithful to him.

At the hotel, we see Gabriela in bed [Merci: in case people didn’t notice when they showed it last week, this is the same hotel that Armando and Betty went to the first time they were together…] and hears Kenneth arriving since he has the room right across the hall from hers. She gets out of bed and opens the door to ask how things went with the Vice President and he tells her it wasn’t with the Vice President. So she asks him if it was with the Commercial Vice President, since there were so many it was hard to know who was which. He replies that Aura María is the secretary to the President and Freddy is the messenger. Gabriela cannot believe her ears…