Penny Century (Beatriz Garcia) is one of the original six Locas, together with Maggie Chascarillo, Hopey Glass, Izzy Ortiz Reubens, Terry Downe, and Daphne (Daffy) Matsumoto. She is one of the several wives of Herve R. Costigan, a mysterious billionaire. She has at least two children during the marriage, but both are fathered by men other than Costigan.
Born around 1961, Penny is the second oldest of the Locas. She is extremely attractive, and has a large bust. Her long hair is naturally black or dark brown, but she often dyes it blonde or silver-white. Penny usually dresses expensively, in dresses that flatter her figure, and she often wears superheroine costume. At home she frequently wears little or nothing, and sometimes does the same when she visits her friends.
Penny is born in a one-room adobe house in the tiny Texas town of Chester Square. Her mother is over sixty at the time of Penny's birth, and has already had several husbands and many children; the youngest of Penny's siblings is twenty years older than Penny.
As a small child of six or seven, Penny has a chance encounter in Chester Square with the reclusive H.R. Costigan, who gives her a token to one of his carnivals as a keepsake. Penny next encounters Costigan in high school in Huerta (Hoppers), California, by which time Costigan has become infatuated with the mysterious girl who keeps reappearing in his life. Penny also becomes a comic book addict in high school, and dreams of being a superheroine. At the same time Penny catches the eye of young Ray Dominguez, who is obsessed by her but too intimidated by her beauty to approach her.
Penny encounters Costigan once more at the age of 18, when she is working at a restaurant. She quickly becomes his mistress, and eventually his latest wife. The relationship between the two is a very strange one. Costigan cannot live without Penny, but he occassionally cheats on her. Penny sleeps with Costigan and clearly has some affection for "the old shoe horn," but she also sleeps with other men whenever the fancy takes her--which is frequently. Costigan cannot give Penny children, so to get them Penny sleeps first with the drummer Tex (Antonio McTeer), and later with Pete, one of her bodyguards. Penny exploits Costigan's wealth outrageously, defacing his first-edition books and driving Rolls-Royces into his swimming pool, but Costigan always forgives her. Costigan cannot make Penny a real superheroine, so to compensate she stages elaborate live action comic-book style fantasy games.
When she is not with Costigan, Penny continues to hang out in Hoppers. There she becomes close to Mrs. Galindo, an aging alcoholic, and the two have drunken parties in the haunted Galindo house. Penny meets Izzy Ortiz and through her the rest of the Locas group. Even in the 90's and 2000's, after the old Hoppers gang breaks up, Penny continues to blow randomly through the lives of her old friends like a cyclone.
Penny's attractiveness would make her distinctive by itself, but her personality really sets her apart. Penny is cheerful, extravagant, reckless, and utterly unpredictable. Even Hopey Glass, no model of responsible behavior herself, is baffled and bemused by Penny's erratic nature.
Unlike Maggie, Hopey, and Terry, Penny is apparently entirely heterosexual. Men find her irresistible, and she devours them voraciously. In the 1980's she has a long affair with Rand Race, Maggie's heartthrob. Race is one of the few men for whom Penny feels really strong emotions, but Race gets Penny pregnant and Penny aborts the child. Despite temporary resentment over this, Penny is still fond of Race and she is deeply upset when he marries another woman years later.
In the 1990's Penny also has an on-off affair with Ray Dominguez, Maggie's old boyfriend. Penny enjoys tormenting men, but she is very generous to her friends; she does her conniving best to keep Maggie and Hopey together, and puts the other Locas up in Costigan's mansions.
Penny's impulsiveness often angers even her best friends, but she is so happily crazy and so amusing that no one stays mad at her for very long. Her friends know that Penny is simply a force of nature, and they have learned to accept her on her own mad terms.