Episode 13: Nicholas Hayes vs The Sea Monster

[SCENE I. The Port of Portland. NICHOLAS is walking along with his little sister, KELLY. They don’t look remarkably similar: NICHOLAS is gaunt and dark-haired, and generally looks brooding; KELLY is shorter, curvy, and has short blonde hair, wears flannel, and has a nose ring. She is somewhere towards the end of high school.]

KELLY: I’m just saying, you’ve been pretending not to like her for forever.

NICHOLAS: Melissa is a complicated woman, Kelly.

KELLY: I think you’re just a pussy. I bet I could get her to go on a date with me.

NICHOLAS: What? No. Don’t do that.

KELLY: I’ll bet you twenty dollars.

NICHOLAS: No. Leave me alone.

KELLY: My big brother is so kind and supportive.

(As they continue, they notice DIMITRI XENAKIS with his new MegaYacht 3000.)

KELLY: Isn’t that Melissa’s dad?

NICHOLAS: Yes, but–

KELLY: Hey! Mr. X! (Waves.)

DIMITRI: Hello! Come aboard the Regret, won’t you?

(KELLY climbs aboard eagerly; NICHOLAS follows with some reluctance.)

DIMITRI: It’s Nicholas, isn’t it? Melissa’s friend? And I’m sorry, I don’t remember your–

KELLY: It’s Kelly, Mr. X.

DIMITRI: Right, right! I was just working on my new MegaYacht 3000. Got to put some personal touches on the interior before we go sailing.

NICHOLAS: I didn’t expect this to be so nice.

DIMITRI: Always get kraken insurance if you’re anywhere near kraken-infested waters. The payout’s well worth it. (He looks NICHOLAS over as if deciding something.) Actually, I have a few other boats. Speaking of krakens. If you guys have some free time?

KELLY: Oh, we’d love to!

NICHOLAS: (Not fast enough.) Actually we’d best be going.

DIMITRI: Great! Time to take the Regret out for a spin, eh?

(The MegaYacht 3000, apparently called ‘Regret,’ sails out into the water for a while, and arrives at a rocky island that looks unremarkable until DIMITRI hits a button on some remote he carries. It opens up into a secret dock, which closes behind Regret as it enters. A few other boats float there, most of them looking like civilian boats that have had serious weaponry strapped to them. One of them appears to be a submarine of some variety.)

DIMITRI: My kraken-hunting fleet! When I came here, I thought–but Ana said no more kraken-hunting. Even after one almost ate our daughter. ‘Surely, to make Melissa happy and feel safe in the ocean again?’ I said. ‘I couldn’t stand losing you to those beasts, Dimitri.’ So they sit here. I keep them maintained but they see no use. (He sounds sad.)

NICHOLAS: Did, uh, Melissa say anything about wanting revenge on the Kraken?

DIMITRI: Ah. She would never admit it–too proud, you see–but at dinner after she told us, she had a few glasses of wine, said she wanted it stuffed and mounted. (He lowers his voice.) You didn’t hear this from me, eh?

NICHOLAS: If you could find a crew for your kraken-hunting fleet . . . .

DIMITRI: It takes a lot of bravado, a bit of luck–were I a young man I would have found a crew and set off to its lair.

NICHOLAS: So if I wanted to–

KELLY: (Amused.) You want to go kraken-hunting for Melissa?

NICHOLAS: What? No! I just want some adventure, is all.

KELLY: Right.

DIMITRI: The submersible requires a crew of three. But if you had three willing souls–I feel in my bones, the krakens are after Xenakis blood. I would rest easy knowing some brave young men were out there fighting it. (A long pause.) Anyway, I should let you get back to what you were doing.

KELLY: Thanks for the tour, Mr. X!

(NICHOLAS appears lost in thought as the boat departs the secret lair. KELLY leans over and whispers in his ear.)

KELLY: Still don’t want to bet? Fifty dollars if you can get Melissa on a date before me?

NICHOLAS: Ha! You’re on. And no, you can’t help me fight the kraken.

KELLY: I’m a lover, not a fighter.

NICHOLAS: You just aren’t bright enough to think of it first.

KELLY: That’s the spirit, Nick! Build up your teenage sister’s fragile self-esteem!

NICHOLAS: Shut up, Kelly.

[SCENE II. The Jaded Old Crone. NICHOLAS has gathered GAVIN and JEREMY, who are giving him an incredulous look.]

GAVIN: You want us to help you hunt krakens in order to win the heart of the woman who has dumped you at least six times?

NICHOLAS: It’s all a game to her, and she cheats. So I have to cheat back, by killing a beast for her.

JEREMY: It worked for the cavemen!

GAVIN: Nick, Melissa is a Greek goddess.

NICHOLAS: Out of my league?

GAVIN: Well, that, too. But I meant: she is dangerously unstable and prone to inflicting horrible and bizarre punishments on those who displease her.

NICHOLAS: I know the risks, Gavin. I want to do this.

GAVIN: Jeremy, your thoughts?

JEREMY: This could be a big win for science. I say we go for it.

GAVIN: Hm. All right. I am going on record as saying that this is completely inadvisable, but I have pity for our bee-stung friend.

NICHOLAS: Your confidence inspires me.

[SCENE III. The Port of Portland. NICHOLAS, GAVIN, and JEREMY have just met with DIMITRI XENAKIS, who leads them on board the Regret and takes them out to the secret cave.]

DIMITRI: Don’t worry about the safety of the equipment, lads. It’s kraken-insured. (Beat. As an afterthought.) But be safe out there. Don’t take any stupid risks!

NICHOLAS: Thanks, Mr. Xenakis.

DIMITRI: It is no problem! Enjoy your first command, Captain Hayes.

(NICHOLAS swells with pride at being called ‘captain.’ The effect is not that impressive. He and the others board the submersible and vanish beneath the waves.)

[SCENE IV. Underwater. NICHOLAS is at the helm, with JEREMY navigating, and GAVIN monitoring some sort of radar-like device.]

JEREMY: According to the maps, that’s Useless Island up ahead.

NICHOLAS: It looks so much more ominous from underwater.

GAVIN: Keep the faith, Captain!

(The submersible finds the underwater cave, and enters it without hesitation. A kraken-shaped shadow swims behind the island. Eventually the submersible surfaces in the cave NICHOLAS discovered previously.

NICHOLAS: Now we just need to activate the kraken-bait. (He hits a button on the dash.) And now we wait.

(They wait for a while.)

GAVIN: So, remind me again. When you went camping and got your impressive sunburn, it was on Useless Island, yes?

NICHOLAS: Right.

GAVIN: And the reason you almost died of sunstroke is because your boat was eaten by a kraken, right?

NICHOLAS: That’s right.

GAVIN: And did you actually see this kraken, or is it something that Portland’s craziest Greek woman and her suspiciously cheerful counterpart either made up or hallucinated after dashing your boat against the rocks due to an acute state of intoxication?

NICHOLAS: I actually saw it, and I’m pretty sure at least one of them was sober.

GAVIN: So why is it that after activating this bait of yours there is nothing in this cave, even the baby krakens you told me were here?

NICHOLAS: I have no idea.

(As they are talking, several dots appear on the radar. JEREMY, however, has started reading a book in the meanwhile. The others are too busy talking to notice.)

GAVIN: I ask this because I had expected at least some sign of–(The boat rocks suddenly. JEREMY puts his book down and looks at the radar.)

JEREMY: Uh, krakens at all the o’clocks.

(The boat rocks some more, considerably more violently.)

NICHOLAS: Fire everything! (He hits buttons on the dashboard. Cut to the outside. Small krakens are swarming the submersible and trying to tear it apart. The full-sized kraken is approaching in the distance.) We can take them all down!

GAVIN: You can’t win this fight, Captain. (His hand hovers over a big red button labeled ‘EVACUATE AND SELF-DESTRUCT (also destruct all nearby krakens)’.)

NICHOLAS: All right, do it.

(GAVIN hits the button. The crew are ejected onto the cave, and an audible countdown begins. All three of them run for the surface. They are thrown off their feet by a large explosion and a surge of water not long after. A long silence follows before NICHOLAS pushes himself to his feet.)

NICHOLAS: I think we got them. We should check.

GAVIN: Are you sure? There might be more of them on the surface, waiting in ambush.

NICHOLAS: Come on.

(They go back to the cavern. There are bits of tentacle, blood, and ink covering everything. The large kraken is floating dead in the water. After a moment of staring in shock, JEREMY runs forward and begins collecting samples.)

GAVIN: Not to cheapen our victory, but how were we planning to get home after our ride self-destructed?

NICHOLAS: I’ve got the best plan.

[SCENE V. The surface of Useless Island. GAVIN and JEREMY are sitting on the beach. Both of them have bags that are now bulging with bits of kraken. NICHOLAS is standing and pacing on his cell phone.]

NICHOLAS: Hey, Mel?

MELISSA: Melissa. What do you want, Nick?

NICHOLAS: So, it’s possible that Gavin and I are stranded on Useless Island. I thought maybe you could–

MELISSA: What, you went back? How stupid can you be?

NICHOLAS: So you’ll give us a ride back?

MELISSA: Fine. I’ll borrow the Regret. But you are officially out of favors. (She hangs up.)

NICHOLAS: Well, that conversation could have gone better.

GAVIN: I’m sure you’ll be fine. Hey, Jeremy, you know what islands always remind me of?

JEREMY: What’s that, Gav?

GAVIN: Circe. It’s just such an iconic story. Odysseus’ men show up on the island, piss off some Greek goddess, everyone gets turned into pigs for their troubles.

JEREMY: Did they piss her off? I thought she just did it because she was crazy.

GAVIN: Who knows? Maybe it was both.

NICHOLAS: All right, I get it.

GAVIN: I’m just saying, don’t drink any potions.

[SCENE VI. Useless Island. The Regret pulls up with MELISSA at the helm, with SARAH sitting next to her. She ties up the boat at a convenient rock.]

MELISSA: Here I thought you didn’t like our little island adventure, Nicholas. And yet here I find you, suspiciously here without a boat. ‘Oh, come rescue me.’

NICHOLAS: Well–

MELISSA: Wait. Gavin, show me what’s in your bag.

(GAVIN opens his bag to reveal bits of kraken.)

MELISSA: Christ.

(SARAH looks over the boat to see what the fuss is about. MELISSA tries to keep her from looking, but too late. SARAH looks devastated.)

SARAH: No! The baby krakens! (She jumps ashore and runs for the kraken cave.)

MELISSA: Is there a very good reason I shouldn’t leave you here?

NICHOLAS: I thought maybe you wanted revenge. (This one doesn’t seem to take.) Safer shipping lanes? (Nor this one.) Arbitrary violence?

MELISSA: I’m a peaceful person, Nick. Friend to all creatures. (At this, GAVIN stifles a laugh.) This is not the time, Gavin.

NICHOLAS: I just–

(SARAH returns, holding a still-living baby kraken in her arms. She is crying, and the kraken is making pitiful (albeit still monstrous) noises.)

SARAH: This one’s still alive. I think he’s all that’s left.

NICHOLAS: What are you doing? It’s a monster!

MELISSA: Unlike you, it didn’t choose to be one. Come on, Sarah. Let’s go home.

(SARAH climbs back aboard the Regret, kraken in hand. They sail off.)

GAVIN: I’m glad you’re here, Nicholas.

NICHOLAS: Oh, shut up.

[SCENE VII. NICHOLAS’s house. KELLY is playing video games on a large flatscreen television when NICHOLAS slouches in, looking dejected.]

KELLY: Did you ask her out?

NICHOLAS: No.

KELLY: Did you kill the kraken?

NICHOLAS: Yes.

KELLY: Is she unimaginably furious?

NICHOLAS: Yes. (He glances at his phone.) I’m going to sleep forever. Please don’t wake me.

[SCENE VIII. The Jaded Old Crone. SARAH and MELISSA are eating dinner. SARAH still looks upset, but less so. MELISSA is drumming her fingers on the table like she would like to be stabbing something.]

SARAH: I wish we could have kept him.

MELISSA: My father has a vendetta against them, and I don’t think we could fit a big enough aquarium in our apartment.

SARAH: Nothing I do is ever enough.

MELISSA: Well, we set him loose in the deep ocean. I’m sure he’ll grow up big and strong and have a brood of baby krakens and completely ruin the entire shipping industry on the west coast.

SARAH: (Wipes away a tear.) You really think so?

MELISSA: I bet you anything.

SARAH: Thanks, Lissa! That makes me feel better.

MELISSA: (Cringes at the diminutive, but lets it slide.) Hey, what are friends for?

(Fin.)

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