The Magic Hummingbird

Episode 2 (of 6)— Skeleton Rose

January 11, 2022 Jozefius Season 1 Episode 2
The Magic Hummingbird
Episode 2 (of 6)— Skeleton Rose
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 Episode 2 “Skeleton-Rose”

Francisco gets stranded, finds a new community and begins to learn of his past and purpose.

 — El Colibrí Mágico — The Magic Hummingbird ... A California Story 

Story: Joseph Martin Waters

Book: Joseph Martin Waters, Gustavo Alcoser, Michael Gillis

Contributions by Lauren Haughton & Amy Hecht

Lyrics & Music: Joseph Martin Waters

Additional Music: Gustavo Alcoser, Jr. (Eso y Màs)

Dialogue adjustment: Jim Bible

Script tuning: Richard Morrison


© 2018-2022  Joseph Martin Waters

Episode 2 “Skeleton Rose” 


  • Eso y Màs (Gustavo Alcoser, Jr)
  • Who Will Win
  • The Answer
  • We
  • El Pajaro Carpintero (Ra Ta Ta Tat)

Characters and Cast

  • FRANCISCO: (Rudy Alexander Giron) Chicano teen, inwardly sensitive,  naturally & unusually cheerful, exuberant, charismatic, intelligent but not well read, serious but unfocused, lives with his mom, from a conservative Mexican family. [Francisco was born in Mexico but does not know it].  He is fun loving, embraces an outward easy-going masculinity; openly gay;  is great at music and popular among his classmates; is notoriously location challenged [always getting lost, relies on others to find the way, loses his car in parking lots]; outwardly confident, inwardly riddled by doubt . He’s sincere though naive. He’s naturally an enthusiastic and outspoken team player, who openly embraces and supports what he feels strongly about, without necessarily having thought it through on his own.  He tends to trust the values of the group, and tends to channel his charisma to rally others around core beliefs.  Understands but does not speak Spanish; is a rock musician [metal/rap/norteno]; senior in high school. Guitarist & singer in band “Border Patrol” w Franklin & Clara
  • CLARA:  (Rebecca Jade) best friends with Francisco; American, strong-willed, outspoken, sexually active and curious, bilingual, likes to dress like guys, post-feminist, naturally warm, empathetic, politically active [parents are liberal social-democrats]; likes to read, naturally intellectual, gently cajoles Francisco & Frankln when they spout defensive & dismissive doggerel; but senses that they are different people underneath and likes those people; sings in a band with  Francisco & Franklin; same age as Francisco & Franklin. Is the gravitational center of the trio, the most focused, most adventurous, most stable, least fragile. Fiercely independent, strong moral compass.
  • FRANKLIN: (Leonard Patton) Francisco's rival and “best” frenemy; outwardly smooth, w big, quick smile but edgy & sporadically quick-tempered. Conceals his inner insecurity with sarcasm and swagger. He’s from a white trash background, non-religious, a bit cagey, manipulative, secretly jealous of  Francisco’s natural talent and seemingly effortless charisma; is flirtatious, slightly evasive [something about his explanations is always “off“], slightly secretive. He senses the unconscious gap in understanding that separates Francisco & Clara, and exploits it in small ways. He lives on & off with his dad,  who has shady, slippery operations.  He’s sexy, seductive, with an edge — a bad boy. Inside he often feels desperate and empty.  Franklin struggles against his father and his upbringing, and his resultant internalized world view.  This has given Franklin a sarcastic surface. He covers his insecurity by being insensitive.    Although he seems negative, deep inside he is a survivor, a hero child, unconsciously seeks to escape his negative milieu.  His unconscious struggle is to find a way towards becoming a positive, life embracing person.  Also a musician [vocalist and rapper]; same age as  Francisco and Clara, raps & sings in band “Border Patrol” [w  Francisco & Clara].  In love with Clara, and secretly desperate for her attention..  Clara knows this and realizes that she has tremendous power over Franklin.  She does not abuse it.
  • ELIAS:  (Gustavo Alcoser)  Honduran caravan refugee leader. kind, calm, clear, strong, a natural leader. Wise beyond his years.  Gay but in hiding, due to extreme homophobia in Honduras & Mexico. Meets Francisco in Tijuana; becomes  Francisco’s partner, collaborator and soul mate … Older, mid 20s-30s … He’s also a musician (plays panpipes, sings and plays guitar), has invisible feeling communications and connection with Apollonia (though he has never actually spoken with her in words… it’s more of a dream connection, that he is aware of and believes in, but which is also mysterious to him…)
  • APOLLONIA  (Karen Garcia) curandera [Mexican shamaness] – a mystical being, part human and part plant ..  Her spirit possesses Francisco, guides him … she appears in visions and in person…
  • THE PREACHER - (Charles Coleman) Cult leader - white separatist survivalist gang based in east county, San Diego… brilliant, crazy socio-path… craves power - is charismatic - has read Machiaveli - believes in the augaries of Roman mythology - 
  • IXAZALUOH (Karen Garcia) four year old member of the Honduran refugees, whose mother was recently killed at the camp by vigilantes. 
  •  SKELETON-ROSE: (Kathleen Waters) - ageless mystical being encountered by Francisco in the catacombs of St. Francis church in Tijuana
  • THE CROW: (Clyde Kimball) Franklin’s father: survivalist cult shaman, tied in with gang,  drug addict - has done jail time ... single father: low self esteem, isolated from self, prone to sudden outbursts of violent anger, abuse and bullying… but has a mystical side - is a shaman - and speaks the language of the crows 
  • ARNOLD (gangster): (Jim Bible) white separatist gang member and enforcer 
  • FLASH  (gangster): (John Young) white separatist survivalist gang member and enforcer, minor role 
  • POOL PARTY HOST (Susan Haynes) 
  • STAGE MANAGER (Olivia Graeve) at TJ punk club 
  • PLANT SPIRITS: (Mariam Mouawad, Philip Gomez, Cat Rojo) mystical beings connected with Apollonia
  • BORDER GUARD 1 (Rafael Zamir Waters
  • MEAN BORDER GUARD 2 (Jim Bible)  
  • Human Trafficker (Pollero) (Daniel Castro)
  • FRANCISCO’S MOM (Karen Garcia) strong, loving Mexican mom 
  • Macaw: (Brazil) companion and confidante of The Preacher
  • Narrator: Joseph Martin Waters
  • Musicians: Geoffrey Burleson (piano), Todd Rewoldt (saxophones), Ian Buss (tenor saxophone), Daniel Castro (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, mandolin), Daniel Pate (percussion), Christopher Jon Allis (percussion), Antonina Styczen (piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute)

Narr: Episode 2 “Skeleton-Rose”

 After performing at a Tijuana punk club, Clara, Francisco and Franklin find themselves lost in a storm and drawn into a mystical experience…

North of the border, Franklin’s father, a shaman in a militant cult, has been summoned to force his son into performing a gang initiation ritual ..

But, transformed by plant spirits, Franklin never makes it home after the gig… 

Instead, the vocal trio awakens next morning on the Mexican shore… snuggled together in the sand …

FRANKLIN: (yawning) what happened? I feel like a different person.
CLARA: Yeah … we’re in another place, even though it’s the same world it’s … somehow … different…
FRANKLIN:  Something’s been lifted ...
FRANCISCO: (yawns) I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well … was it sleep?
CLARA: I feel _safe_ the earth feels … strong … like a … a mother…
FRANCISCO: Yeah like a … a mother… holding us in her lap...
FRANKLIN:  I feel lighter, like …. like a lead casing ... has been removed ... from around my heart. … I… I’m sorry … Francisco … I’ve been a jerk … I … I’ve been a jerk for awhile…
CLARA: yeah, your inner dragon has been on the loose lately…
FRANCISCO: (yawns) .. Thank you Franklin… No worries, I’ve been a space cadet… I mean, the … the… mm .. that woman, those …. plant?…. persons? … uhh! I mean they, I think ... they’ve been … reaching out somehow… We’re … we’re just at the beginning of something…. .I love you guys…
FRANKLIN:  yeah… It’s like … I don’t know… I mean … wow! …. Did that really happen?
CLARA:  (smiling)... hey we’re back — somehow we are a _group_ again. Ahh!! … And I’m famished actually… Let’s head up the beach, maybe we can find something …
FRANKLIN:  (lightbulb going off) hey, we need to make a song out of this!
FRANCISCO and CLARA together: Yeah!
FRANCISCO:… Soon as we get back to San Diego….
CLARA: … I can almost hear it…
NARR: Later that morning they arrive back at the border crossing… there’s a protest  ..

[Sound Design: Border crossing facility background sounds]

Song:  “Who Will Win?” 

REFUGEES,  FRANCISCO & FRANKLIN (4 part canon (SATB) verse, w Norteña refrain)


Who will win? 

Will it be the guards 

who sit behind the desk 

and watch the homeless 

waiting for a chance

 to cross the border 

and begin their life 

or will it be too late for them?

NARR:  Franklin & Francisco jump right in: 

Who will win? 

will it be the homeless 

or the children of the refugees

 who sit in cages 

waiting for their parents to return 

and take them safely cross the border 

to a safe house in the sun 


Who will win? 

Will it be the guards 

who sit behind the desk 

and watch the homeless 

waiting for a chance

 to cross the border 

and begin their life 

or will it be too late for them?

REFUGEE 2 (soprano)

Who will win? 

will it be the homeless 

or the children of the refugees 

who sit in cages 

waiting for their parents to return 

and take them safely cross the border 

to a safe house in the sun 

REFUGEE 3 (Baritone)

Who will win? 

Will it be the guards 

who sit behind the desk 

and watch the homeless 

waiting for a chance to cross 

or will it be too late for them? 

Too late for them? 


La La La La La La la la la la  la la la la 

NARR: The  border erupts into an ocean of dancing bodies… 

Oh here we go o o o o 

Why don't we know 

 We never never know 

why we ever take the risk 

of growing 

never knowing 

who will win 

BORDER AGENT 2: NEXT  … are you three together?

BORDER AGENT: (gloating) YOU ...ARE...AN ...ILLEGAL…

CLARA andFRANKLIN:  (calling to Francisco)  What’s going on? Francisco?

BORDER AGENT 2: Step aside sir … over here please … 

SOUND DESIGN: Door Opening, closing, crowd sounds fade as door closes, replaced with fan hum...

FRANCISCO: What?!!?!? My parents—

BORDER AGENT:  Where are your parents? Give me their address and—

FRANCISCO: Are dead and my friends …  are my ride home after we cross the —

BORDER AGENT:  You’re not crossing anywhere.

FRANCISCO: But I have—

BORDER AGENT:  You’re not crossing anywhere…

  You’re lucky I’m in such a good mood this morning, boy. Otherwise, I’d have you in cuffs already for fake documents ... You wanna go to jail? Huh?! Do you? Naaah… I didn't think so 

FRANCISCO: Can I have my ID’s back.


SOUND DESIGN: Door Opening, crowd sounds return

BORDER AGENT:  get outta here, you pinche pendejo! 

CLARA: (tussling with border guards) Let go of me!

CLARA: let my friend come across - this is ridiculous… 

 CLARA and FRANKLIN:  (calling to Francisco) What’s going on? Francisco? What’s happening...Let him through—

FRANCISCO: (shouting) they say I can’t cross back...Go home… go home…. I’ll be alr…

CLARA: Francisco, come on, come with us … :You’re letting us go but you’re now letting him go?!! THIS IS CRAZY .., Come on .. we came over here together .. how are we not gonna be able to leave together?  This is ridiculous  …

CLARA: Come on!!! 

NARR: … out on the street .... starts to text 

FRANCISCO:“Mom I’m stuck in Tijuana…. I’m so sorry”  

NARR: erased

FRANCISCO:“How could you never tell me…”.

NARR: erased

FRANCISCO:“I’m an ILLEGAL???? How could you”— 

NARR:  … phone dies … checks his wallet…. Nothing .... 

FRANCISCO:  (let’s out a sigh) What am I gonna do? 

  • MUSIC CUE (piperTune: chorus of “Elias’ Magic Tune”

Elias (piper) (w echos): If you want to find me … Follow the music…

Hummingbird motive floats over the top of the panpipes…  

  • MUSIC CUE: Hummingbird motive (solo Alto Sax)

… he starts to walk and then jog … 

  • MUSIC CUE Gustavo Alcoser Mariachi fragment - instrumental)

…  it’s a bustling Saturday … Mariachis on the plaza … He rounds a corner ....

At a short distance is the Church of San Francisco De Asis …  Leaning against a street lamp … pipes dangling on his chest …The Piper sends a big smile 

PIPER (ELIAS):  Looks like you’ve had a tough night? 

FRANCISCO: I mean… yes??? And … (laughs gently…) … well here I am!  … like you said… I..

PIPER (ELIAS): (finishing his sentence)  … followed the music!

FRANCISCO: (worried) ... it looks like I’ll be here for a while… I’m kicked out… 

PIPER (ELIAS): … there are dangers.. well I’m glad you found me! looks like you had quite an adventure…

FRANCISCO:  … I think it’s just beginning … 

PIPER (ELIAS): I am Elias.

FRANCISCO: I’m Francisco … I… I need to find a way back across the border… 

PIPER (ELIAS): Why don't you join us?  We’ve got the same goal… 

FRANCISCO: … last night on the boardwalk… can you expl..

PIPER (ELIAS): (cutting him off)  later … at least as much as I know… it’s just stories… old ones ... the fabric is complex ... many loose threads… some unraveling … the loom is moving… 


Toma el tiempo learn 

Another tongue

To-ma el tiem-po lis-ten 

Toma el tiem-po can-ta ot-ra can-cion 

See what you’ve been mis-sing

PIPER (ELIAS): what did you find last night in the storm?

PIPER (ELIAS): WHOA…shhhhhh…. just breath…. here ...

FRANCISCO: … it all just hit me I thought I was OK… it’s too much.. too much....

FRANCISCO: You have such beautiful eyes…..

PIPER (ELIAS): (laughs). (earnestly) please tell me … I need to know... 

 FRANCISCO: Finding out I’ll never go home… or maybe that I never was home… or that this is my… the plant creatures... Apollonia ….

PIPER (ELIAS): Apollonia spoke to you? 

FRANCISCO: yes …! Who … what.. is she?  Well… sort of … she sang into my … dreams…the body of a giant snake …. a magic tunnel … about you ...

PIPER (ELIAS): (mystified looking at him, as if he were looking at the messiah) Perhaps you are one of the threads… that we have been looking for, hoping for …  to guide us ... lead us out of here…. 

FRANCISCO: Lead who?

PIPER (ELIAS): (sighing) we’ve come a long way .... tracing vapor trails… like butterflies in migration…  trusting something we feel deeply in our bones  …. Fleeing a vacuum… desperate… a dying land… carrying only our clothes and stories… rumors… tell me … what happened in the storm?  

FRANCISCO: (searching)  I can’t ….

FRANCISCO: (searching)  I can’t really remember … I danced … and sang … with plants …. It was _so_ ... natural… joyful … they were around us … in us … on our tongues… we were in them... . they poured out of us… we poured out of them … I don’t … I don’t remember… 

…. But … uh ... how can I? I mean it was just a… I mean .... who am I? ... to _lead_ anyone?

NARR:  He looks up … Elias is floating … changing colors …he morphs into a butterfly…

  • m138 — H —  MUSIC CUE 3.4 (Song: “The Answer” Elias & Francisco)


Look inside…

Who do you see

The answer is waiting there

Waiting there, waiting there

Just waiting to set you free



Listen to the song

Of the earth all around

The panic in your chest

The darkness on your brow



Let them go

Look inside

The answer

Is waiting there

 Waiting, waiting for you

Just look inside

The answer is waiting there

Waiting, waiting for you

ELIAS-butterfly: Now think of your dreams. What do they tell you?

FRANCISCO:  I can’t understand them. I’ve never been able to.

ELIAS-butterfly: Look deeper…


I feel something


Or returning

Not sure

Something inside


Something that’s always been there

Seeds are sprouting 

Feels like I’m emerging

From the ground into the sun


Let it happen 


 Stand in the away

The answer’s inside

Let it out

Let it out

It’s in the air

All around

A new day is dawning

A new you 


Come out.



Let you hidden flower

Bloom in the Morning sun


The answer is there 

Just waiting there 

Come out, Come out, Come out

The answer

The answer is waiting there

 Waiting, Waiting for you 

To set you free

The answer is waiting there  

Waiting waiting for you

Come out, Come out, Come out 

FRANCISCO: (overwhelmed, still half in trance…) what happened… Is that…

ELIAS-butterfly: (smiling gently) … I can’t know… what you saw … what you see… There are many things that we don’t know… 


NARR: … hours earlier… in his rundown shack,  THE CROW teeters on the wall outside his son’s bedroom ...

CROW:  “kid … I said… Get up!”… 

NARR: … Franklin‘s moldy mattress is empty… he stumbles into the kitchen,… nervously bouncing his eyes off the front door ...


NARR: back at the church

FRANCISCO: I’ve had these visions I feel like I am going crazy… 

ELIAS: you need answers… Go into the old church, in the basement are catacombs with the resting bones of our elders… Go into the dark in the quiet… 

Close your eyes… Open your mind… Let the voices enter you….

NARR:  … sees a skeleton is a glass casket …closes his eyes … They’re together in a forest … a wild rose next to a stream … her bone fingers spread above the leaves


Touch her hands, with yours… Each hand has five fingers, do not touch the new ones, they are young and cannot withstand the force of another creature… Instead, go to the old and weathered hands at the back, the ones with freckles, the ones that have seen wind and sun.  Each hand has five leaves - find a hand for each of yours …

FRANCISCO: I’ve been told that plants hate to be touched…

SKELETON ROSE :   It is how they are touched, do you remember getting patted on the head as a young boy by an older man or woman? How much you resented that?  Touch the leaves respectfully, gently, as you would a new lover…  

NARR: she touches him

Like this..

NARR: his heart shimmers

SKELETON ROSE :  but it’s more complicated, she gladly shares her life with you, but it drains it from her… such is all life… constantly rebalancing ... 

NARR: …  He reaches into the rose … the rose becomes the woman of the clouds … 


I am here

With you always

Never fear

I am here

I am you

You are me

We are the wise ones

The gods

 Bless us

We are the clean women 

We are the woman 

Who speaks truth

APOLLONIA:    Lead them through the spirit snake tunnel in the moonlight… enter through its mouth… To open its mouth requires a potion … walk with Elias-butterfly deep into the desert in three nights … watch for a sign … The plant spirits will meet you and teach you the ancient chemistry… 

SKELETON-ROSE: Here is the journey map… close your eyes … see with your fingers …

NARR: meanwhile, out on the street

POLLERO: Elias! Why are you hanging with these chicken shits?

ELIAS-butterfly:  ay yay yay yay….

POLLERO: Los pollos? you are one of us… a chicken wrangler...

ELIAS-butterfly:  Look I was _never_ one of you!  

POLLERO: What do you mean never?     

ELIAS-butterfly: I was starving … I thought you were helping people ...

POLLERO:    We feed on these people.

 If you’re _not_ one of us, then where’s the dinero amigo??  And who’s the new wimp? These … these …. pfppff.. (searches for words) got a little …. p...playmate now?? 

ELIAS-butterfly: No need for that.   

POLLERO:  Where the fuck is the money? 

ELIAS-butterfly:We’re going to walk on our own so—

POLLERO: Nobody walks on this desert on their own amigo... We own this fucking desert. You set one foot on it, you pay what we want, or you pay with your shitty little life… comprendo?

ELIAS-butterfly: (Changing tactics to be “one of the gang” laughing) allright allright allright… you're right, no worries, we’ll get the money … I think there may be some extra beers, I was saving it for the party, but perhaps you are thirsty... (his voice trails off as he ushers them offstage)

NARR:    inside the sanctuary,  Apollonia and Francisco unite …


We are the woman 

 Of the dawn

We are the woman

Who swims beneath the sea

We are the woman

Who cannot be caged

We are the woman

Who cannot be

Bought or sold

We are the woman

Who perseveres in the cold

We are the woman who flies above the earth

We are the woman

Who confronts death

We are the woman 

Who cannot be held by walls

We are the woman

Who heals

We are the sap

the milk

We are the woman who nurtures

We are the woman who heals

We are the woman who speaks with the earth

We are the woman who transforms

NARR: As her last words fade she becomes a rose, her fingers become leaves, which wither and fall … Francisco is alone in the cool darkness … skeleton lies quietly, surrounded by scribbled notes seeking miracles … 

He makes his way up the dark staircase … into the fading light …  finds Elias in the park across the street with a group of refugees …preparations are underway … musicians warming up … excitement in the air…

He runs up… 

ELIAS: Let the music begin! 

NARR: Elias sweeps Francisco into a dance ..

ELIAS: Comencia la fiesta! 

m273 — U —  MUSIC CUE 3.5 (Song “El Pajaro Capintero”)


Ra-ta-ta-tat the desert whispers

Ra-ta-ta-tat The desert dances

Ra-ta-ta-tat The desert sings (desierto canta)

Ra-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-tat

Ra-ta-ta-tat The sun is setting (el sol se hunde)

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat The wind is weeping (el viento llora)

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat The ghosts are singing

Ra-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-tat

Deep below the mountain lies a portal in the sand

Buried low by goddess for escape to distant land.

Ra-ta-ta-tat The rifle shouting 

Ra-ta-ta-tat The bullet dancing

Ra-ta-ta-tat Another dies

Ra-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-tat

Ra-ta-ta-tat Coyote calling

Ra-ta-ta-tat The wind is howling

Ra-ta-ta-tat The body shivers

Ra-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-tat

Ra-ta-ta-tat Dead eyes are bulging

Ra-ta-ta-tat Dry skull are cracking

Ra-ta-ta-tat The devil’s dancing

Ra-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-tat

Over mountains high and rivers wide we’ve made our stand

Duck and slide we dance and hide to reach the promised land

Ra-ta-ta-tat Machete slashes

Ra-ta-ta-tat hand grasp the throat and 

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat The heavens dance

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat machine gun flashes

Ra-ra-ta-ta-tat the valleys echo

Ra-ra-ta-tat a lonely silhouette cries out

A man falls Ra-ra-ta-tat 

Ra-ta-ta-tat the serpent swallows

Ra-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-tat 

La la la la la la la la la

Place your ear upon the stone to hear the calling 

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat

La la la la la la la la

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat

Through the serpent’s teeth cold desert breath unleash her tongue

The rattler warning

Ra-ra-ta-ta-tat the children crying

Ra-ra-ta-ta-tat our sister dying

Ra-ta-ta-tat the night is falling

Ra-ta-ta-tat moon goddess calling

Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat ra-ta-ta-ta-tat

Sound Design: crickets

NARR: Darkness has fallen … lanterns illuminate dancing silhouettes 

Sound Design: gunshots

NARR: … polleros return  … refugees flee … in an instant the park is empty … 

End of Episode 2 (Podcast)

Morning After
Border Crossing
The Storm
The Answer
The Crow
Skeleton Rose
The Woman Of The Clouds
Chicken Wrangler
Woman Of The Clouds pt. 2
Ra Ta Ta Tat