Episode 9: Krakens

[SCENE I. The house of Mr. and Mrs. XENAKIS. MELISSA is eating dinner with her parents. It is clear her looks come from her father, DIMITRI XENAKIS. He is tall, athletic and statesmanlike, his formerly dark curly hair graying–he cuts a striking figure. Her mother, ANA XENAKIS, is average height, with soft, kind features and a figure that is probably best described as Rubenesque.]

MELISSA: So, I have some, uh, bad news.

DIMITRI: I thought you said you were doing well.

MELISSA: Well, I’m fine, but your boat . . . may have been eaten by a kraken.

DIMITRI: A kraken! Are you sure?

MELISSA: Yes. They breed in a cave over in Useless Island. I–wait, you aren’t mad? Or a little bit dubious? Usually when I say things like that it’s all ‘Melissa’s been at the shrooms again.’

DIMITRI: After my last run-in with the kraken, I made sure to buy kraken insurance on my boats.

ANA: That’s how your father and I first met! I thought you knew that story?

MELISSA: Apparently not.

[SCENE II. Wavy flashback lines take us back to a younger DIMITRI XENAKIS, somewhere in the Mediterranean. His figure is slightly more athletic, his hair darker and thicker. He wears a Greek fisherman’s cap and, indeed, appears to be the captain of his own fishing boat.]

DIMITRI (in voiceover): It was my first boat. Not very pretty or graceful, but she was mine! I called her Bumble Bee.

(The Bumble Bee leaves its harbor and heads out to the ocean.)

DIMITRI: I was young and reckless then, eager to prove myself to the world. Not unlike my two young daughters! (He laughs.) I had a coastal trawler and thought myself a hero. Ah, youth.

(DIMITRI is in the captain’s cabin, poring over maps. The maps seem to be covered in marks except for one spot, which he is pointing at, arguing with his first mate about something.)

DIMITRI: There was a stretch along the coast that was untouched. My first mate warned me to avoid it. Boats went missing, eaten by horrible monsters. I told him that we would be fearless. We would make our fortune there, and the Devil take the hindmost!

(The Bumble Bee trawls along the coast. It appears to be making quite a lot of successful runs, dragging in lots of large, tasty-looking fish.)

DIMITRI: We did better than we’d anticipated. Perhaps if I were a wiser man I would have taken those profits and moved to safer seas. But I’d had my taste of financial success. I focused my efforts on these so-called dangerous seas. I would be the first, the pioneer.

(The Bumble Bee sails through a storm. An ominous shape looms in the horizon, occasionally illuminated by flashes of lightning.)

DIMITRI: The kraken came upon us in a storm. He dragged the Bumble Bee and my crew to their watery graves. If Ana hadn’t found me on the beach I’d have perished alongside them.

(ANA, younger but no less curvy, walks along a beach and finds DIMITRI lying on the beach. She takes him in and tends to him.)

DIMITRI: She lived on an island not far from the kraken’s lair. The people of the island knew the peril there, and most of them turned their backs on me–I should have known better than to trawl those seas.

(DIMITRI and ANA are eating dinner in a humble cottage. He looks disheartened, but she smiles and comforts him.)

DIMITRI: But not Ana. She helped when I told her I needed revenge–though I suspect privately she was laughing at the silly young man trying to salvage his dignity from the depths of the Mediterranean.

(DIMITRI begins drawing plans to return to the kraken’s lair. The planning seems to be fruitless.)

DIMITRI: Eventually I had a plan. I would send a boat past the lair, filled with explosives. It would explode when the beast had dragged it to the depths.

(A rickety-looking boat full of traditional-looking sticks of dynamite floats out into the sea. The kraken approaches it tentatively, grabs it, and pulls it underwater. After several moments there is a large subaquatic explosion, marked by a gush of water and several enormous tentacles floating to the surface.)

DIMITRI: We killed the beast, and I returned home victorious. But it felt hollow. I had lost my first boat, my crew, my friends, to my own hubris. My business flourished on my reputation as the man who’d killed the kraken, but I grew more and more depressed.

(DIMITRI sits alone in a big house, working on a ship in a bottle quite listlessly.)

DIMITRI: So I did what any man would do. I looked up Ana. We were married the next year.

(After shots of a wedding, wavy flashback lines return us to the present. The meal is over; the family is now gathered in the living room, drinking wine.)

DMITRI: Since the first encounter I have always purchased kraken insurance. And had I known my daughter was sailing kraken-infested waters I would have given her a boat full of explosives to be rid of the nuisance!

MELISSA: I think your daughter would rather not sail kraken-infested waters.

DMITRI: Nonsense! You are young, athletic, quick, ready for anything!

MELISSA: You’re thinking of Lina. I’m the shiftless, lazy one.

DMITRI: Ah. Then I would have sent you to your death. (He kisses her on the forehead.) Though perhaps not! You and your friends survived the kraken, after all.

MELISSA: I suppose. Perhaps it’s best we didn’t blow it up. Sarah would have been devastated about the baby krakens.

DMITRI: Perhaps.

MELISSA: I’m glad you aren’t mad about your boat being eaten.

DMITRI (chuckles): I have been meaning to buy a new boat anyway! (He pushes a magazine towards her. It shows an advertisement for the MegaYacht 3000.) Now I have no reason not to!

MELISSA: Good, good. (Yawns, rises.) I should be getting home. I told Sarah to rescue me if I wasn’t back by midnight. Thank you for dinner.

ANA: It’s no trouble, dear. You should bring your friend next time.

DMITRI: Yes, come by any time!

(MELISSA departs. A silence follows, with DMITRI trying to avoid ANA’s gaze.)

ANA: I know that look. I thought we had agreed, no more hunting legendary beasts.

DMITRI: You heard her! Baby krakens! And they tried to eat our daughter!

ANA: No kraken hunts, Dmitri.

DMITRI: No, you’re right. But there must be something we can do.

ANA: There’s always a ready supply of foolish young men willing to risk everything to impress a lady.

DMITRI: Perhaps. I’ll have to consider it.

[SCENE III. SARAH and MELISSA’s house. SARAH is painting in the corner when MELISSA returns.]

SARAH: You survived! And you don’t appear to be too badly injured!

MELISSA: It turns out the boat had kraken insurance. My dad had a run-in with them before. He’s buying a yacht.

SARAH: Well, that’s good! I guess everyone wins. The kraken gets a healthy snack, you don’t get flogged, your parents get a yacht.

MELISSA: Mm. I note you are painting a little kraken.

SARAH: They were so cute and friendly! And Sophie wasn’t there to blow up the island or something.

MELISSA: Yes. Perhaps we should avoid mentioning them to anyone, just in case.



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