Episode 3: A Wizard Did It

[SCENE I. GAVIN’s house. GAVIN is on the telephone with MELISSA, lounging on the couch and listening to records.]

MELISSA: I just thought I’d stop by tonight to return those DVDs I borrowed.

GAVIN: Sure, come over whenever. I’m just relaxing tonight. Day off and all that.

MELISSA: Great. I’ll see you then.

(MELISSA hangs up the phone. GAVIN puts his hands behind his head and lies down, apparently quite content. Then, without anything in the way of warning, there is a puff of smoke and a wizard appears in his living room. We can tell he is a wizard by the traditional pointy hat, beard, and wizard robes, all of which are blue and covered in stars. He has a wooden staff and looks very confused.)

WIZARD: I think something went wrong with my spell.

GAVIN: Are you a wizard?

WIZARD: Yes, I–oh dear. I was trying to summon my evening’s meal.

GAVIN: I think you might have miscalculated a little.

WIZARD: Yes, I see that . . . tell me, where am I, please?

GAVIN: Portland, Washington. It’s, uh, the year 2011.

WIZARD: Anno domini? Oh dear. I don’t even know what a Washington is.

GAVIN: Could you just undo the spell?

WIZARD: Yes, I suppose I could try . . . . (He attempts to cast a spell. There is a flash and the room seems to warp momentarily, but nothing else happens.) No, it’s no use. I can’t go home if I don’t know where home is.

GAVIN: Well, I’m happy to help a wizard in need. (An idea strikes, and his eyes light up.) We don’t have wizards here in Portland. I’m sure that with a little help you could make a fortune here, doing your wizard things.

WIZARD: Really? But where would I find someone who could provide me with such aid? I am a stranger in a strange land.

GAVIN: I will help you, my wizardly friend. I’m wise to the ways of this world, and you are a master of the eldritch arts. Together we can go places. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

WIZARD: I–I will have to consider this.

GAVIN: You can stay here until you’ve decided. It’s the least I could do.

WIZARD: Thank you, young man. You are a credit to your people. (Scene.)

[SCENE II. MELISSA’s house. She is putting on a jacket and is carrying a small suitcase as well as her handbag–she looks like she is off for a weekend trip. On the mantle there is a bowler hat and a raspberry-shaped trophy. SARAH is seated on the couch, looking listless.]

SARAH: Off so soon?

MELISSA: I have some things to drop off at Gavin’s before I go. You’re sure you don’t want to come? Lina will be happy to see you.

SARAH: I’ll be all right. Tell her hi for me, though. And have fun in Seattle.

MELISSA: I will. Stay out of trouble until I get back.

(She walks out the door and drives to GAVIN’s house, then knocks on the door. There is no response, so she tries the bell and knocks again. After an uncomfortable wait, it opens a crack. GAVIN looks out.)

GAVIN: Yes?

MELISSA: Hey, I was just dropping off those DVDs I mentioned.

GAVIN: Oh, right. (The door opens wide enough for him to stick his hand out.) Thank you.

MELISSA (handing him the DVDs): Sarah and I also got some raspberry swag at the festival. Mr. Johnson was so grateful I saved those children and his bees he gave me basically whatever I wanted. (She pulls a plastic bag out of her suitcase.) So I brought some stuff I thought you might like.

GAVIN (accepting it): Yes, thank you. (It is clear he is eager to get rid of her.)

MELISSA (catching on, hoping to figure out what’s going on): Do you mind if I come in? I’m heading to Seattle to see my sister and–

GAVIN: Sorry, I’m quite busy. Drive safely.

(He closes the door. MELISSA is left standing, looking puzzled.)

MELISSA: Gavin, when I get back in town we are going to have words. (She gets back in her car and leaves.)

(Cut to GAVIN, looking out the peephole until she is gone. Then he turns back inside, where the WIZARD is reading a newspaper.)

WIZARD: Who was that?

GAVIN: Melissa is . . . a friend of mine. I’m worried she might try to take advantage of you if she saw you.

WIZARD: You really think there is such danger?

GAVIN: Well, Melissa is one of the most meddlesome people in this town. The other one is that reporter, Sophie Swanson. Uh, a reporter is like–

WIZARD: Sophie Swanson. She writes this paper of news, yes?

GAVIN: Yes, exactly. (Sighs.) But Sophie’s on vacation this week and apparently Melissa is going to Seattle. You picked a good time to get stuck here, my friend.

WIZARD: I see. I don’t mean to be a burden, but do you have any food? As I said, I was trying to prepare dinner when–

GAVIN: Say no more! I will take you to the Jaded Old Crone. (Scene.)

[SCENE III. The Jaded Old Crone. GAVIN and the WIZARD have a corner table. The WIZARD is still in his wizard hat and robe, though he has left the staff behind. The Crone is more or less empty, though there is a coterie of GOTHS giving the wizard dirty looks.]

WIZARD: This is all a lot to take in.

GAVIN: Think of it like visiting a foreign culture. A very foreign culture, where everything from the economy to the tools they use in their daily lives are vastly different.

WIZARD: Yes. I will have to be careful. But it is exciting! I have dedicated my life to learning new things. New people, new cultures, new lore–do you think it would be unwise to simply plunge myself into your world?

GAVIN: Hm. Avoid plunging, I think. Maybe a tentative dip. Watch and learn first.

WIZARD: Yes, of course.

GAVIN: And remember, you’re a wizard. People here don’t have magic. Think of the things you could do. You’re a thinker, I can tell. When you learn about this world, think of how you might fit in.

[At their table, the GOTHS begin muttering darkly.]

WIZARD: Yes, you mentioned that I could use my talents to achieve great fortune. But so many things I once did are handled by these strange machines you have built! It is remarkable. Especially these–what did you call them? Smart phones?

GAVIN: Smartphones, yeah. They–

WIZARD: A device that thinks for you! So much of what I did in my former home was act as a “smart phone” to my king. Now you tell me everyone carries a wizard in their pockets. What can I do in such a world?

GAVIN: Any product just needs the right spin, my wizardly friend. Trust me on this one.

WIZARD (dubious): Very well. (Scene.)

[SCENE IV. A park at the waterfront. The GOTHS are sitting about, looking gothy and perhaps smoking cigarettes. They are three in number. Only two of them, ELDER GOTH and YOUNGER GOTH speak. The third has the decency to look embarrassed.]

ELDER: I am deeply troubled by what we overheard at the Crone, sisters.

YOUNGER: That false wizard knows nothing of real magick! And that boy–

ELDER: Gavin Roderick.

YOUNGER: –wants him to use his fraudulent powers for gain!

ELDER: Yes. We must settle this as they did in times of old.

YOUNGER: You don’t mean–

ELDER: I do. One of us must duel him in the town square.

(From the looks the other two goths give, it is clear that ELDER GOTH is the one to perform the duel. She is just modest enough to sigh resignedly. She is not modest enough to make the following line sound remotely sincere.)

ELDER: I suppose I can bring the wizard to ruin with my eldritch magicks, if I must.

YOUNGER: Oh, definitely. Everyone knows you’re the best.

(At this moment, the WIZARD can be seen walking along the beach, in full wizard regalia–staff, hat, robe. He is apparently engrossed in a smartphone as he walks. As he approaches, ELDER GOTH rises to her feet.)

ELDER: You! Wizard!

WIZARD: I say, how do you know I’m a wizard?

ELDER: I heard you talking with Gavin Roderick at the Jaded Old Crone.

WIZARD: What do you want, young lady?

ELDER: Don’t you “young lady” me! According to the ancient traditions of our order, I challenge you to a duel of magick, at the town square, in three hours’ time!

WIZARD: Oh dear. What order is this?

ELDER: You don’t know? He doesn’t know!

WIZARD: (sighs, puts the smartphone back in his robe) I would rather duel right here, if we must. I was going to enjoy the “happy hour” of one of your local restaurants in three hours’ time.

ELDER: Fine. You don’t deserve the sacred traditions of our order.

WIZARD: Would one of your friends be so kind as to tell me when to start? (He points at YOUNGER GOTH, who flinches, but quickly steps forward.) You there! Count us to three, would you?

YOUNGER: All right. One . . . .

(ELDER GOTH begins drawing a circle on the ground. WIZARD yawns.)

YOUNGER: Two . . . three!

(ELDER GOTH vanishes in a puff of smoke. Where she once stood is a small, angry-looking bushtit.)

WIZARD: Oh dear, a bushtit again? She was meant to be a toad. I believe toads are traditional.

YOUNGER: What did you do!?

WIZARD: Oh, she will be fine in an hour or two. Though she might have an appetite for spiders for a day or so, so perhaps keep an eye on her?

SILENT GOTH (under her breath): Wouldn’t be much of a change.

WIZARD: Anyway, it was nice meeting you ladies, but I really must be going. Good luck in the future! (He departs.)

YOUNGER (now holding the bushtit in her hands): Do you think we should let her eat bugs and things now?

SILENT GOTH (wistfully): I think I want to be a wizard.

(Scene.)

[SCENE V. GAVIN’s house. The WIZARD is seated on a lounge chair, looking at the floor. He looks troubled. He does not look up when GAVIN enters.]

GAVIN: Why the long face, my wizardly friend?

WIZARD: Some consumptive girls challenged me to a magical duel. I turned one of them into a bushtit. (Beat. As an afterthought.) She’s probably better by now.

GAVIN: A bushtit?

WIZARD: I have decided that I want to see this new world of yours. I have been studying and I believe there is this thing that you do called a “road trip?”

GAVIN: But what about our plans? We were going to make it big, you and me!

WIZARD: I am sorry, Gavin. You were kind to me when you had no reason to be. You taught me of “smart phones” and “greasy spoons.” But there is a world out there, and I do not want anyone to fear me for what I am. So I will take my talents to the road.

GAVIN: All right. It was good knowing you. If you’re ever in Portland again–

WIZARD: I will not hesitate to call you on your “smart phone”. (He rises and steps outside. GAVIN accompanies him.) Farewell, my friend.

(They embrace. The WIZARD summons a motorcycle and rides off into the sunset. Fin.)

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