[SCENE I. The Xenakis family home, decorated for Christmas. It’s a fairly large house, but the decorations are extensive–poinsettias, holly, etc. A large and elegantly decorated tree sits in the corner. The family is all here, gathered at a dinner table: ANA and DIMITRI, of course, the former of whom wears a reasonably subtle holiday sweater that nevertheless suggests that she is probably responsible for all the decorations. MELISSA and MELINA are also here, sitting next to each other. When compared directly to her twin, MELINA is much wirier and grimier, and, of course, heavily tattooed–but they are still unmistakeably identical, especially in mannerisms. Neither have really dressed for the occasion, though MELISSA is pretty heavily bundled up for being indoors. SARAH has also joined the family, and is wearing a truly awful Christmas sweater and a Santa cap.
There are frost ferns on the windows, and it is snowing. From the looks of things, they are just about at the end of dinner.]
ANA: It’s sad that you can’t be with your family for Christmas, Sarah.
SARAH: It’s okay! They’re happy and warm down in Florida now.
MELISSA: And we are cold and miserable here.
SARAH: Cold is part of the fun of the holidays! And if you keep complaining you’ll be eaten by Krampus.
MELINA: Don’t think I know that one.
MELISSA: Some sort of Alpine tongue-demon that stuffs naughty children in a sack and carries them off to be eaten.
SARAH: I’m just saying, when Melissa gets carried off and eaten it’s not going to be my fault.
MELISSA: It’s not like Krampus even cares about holiday spirit. Krampus is just a general thought police type of demon. You know, going to bed on time, not pulling your sister’s hair.
MELINA: Ha. You should have been eaten so many times.
MELISSA: You weren’t so innocent either, miss–
(DIMITRI clears his throat.)
DIMITRI: I think it’s a good time to start in on dessert, Ana.
ANA: Oh, yes. Would you help me?
(DIMITRI and ANA retire to the kitchen.)
SARAH: It’s so adorable how your dad still tries to break up your fights!
MELISSA and MELINA: (In unison.) Shut up.
(DIMITRI and ANA return with a mud pie and begin serving.)
DIMITRI: The mud pie has been a tradition ever since Melissa suggested it when she was, oh, fourteen, I think it was.
MELISSA: I still don’t remember this.
MELINA: (To SARAH.) Lissa’s always been their favorite. My random whims never become family tradition.
MELISSA: It’s because I’m prettier.
MELINA: And smarter.
MELISSA: And lazier.
MELINA: Yeah. See, when I want something, I just go get it, but Lissa–
MELISSA: I get someone else to do it for me. So if I want mud pie–
MELINA: Then we’re still getting it years later. Laziness pays off in the end.
SARAH: Well, it’s very tasty.
ANA: Thank you, dear.
(Silence as people focus on eating. The wind howls outside in an almost bestial sort of fashion.)
SARAH: A real snowstorm on Christmas! That never happens!
MELISSA: Except, as you will note, right now.
SARAH: Yes! That’s why it’s so exciting!
MELISSA: If I knew you found frozen water so exciting I would have bought you an ice machine for Christmas.
SARAH: You are the most boring person in the history of time.
MELISSA: No, that’s probably fair.
[SCENE II. The living room. There is some debris from opening presents, but it’s limited, probably due largely to the lack of small children. MELISSA and MELINA are occupying spaces on the couch and the easy chair, respectively, drinking red wine and occasionally picking at the preponderance of Christmas snacks that occupy the coffee table. SARAH comes inside, rosy-cheeked and covered in snow, looking pleased with herself.]
MELISSA: How was your snowstorm?
SARAH: Well, I think the snow angels are going to go away, like, instantly. But! The snow will let up eventually and then I can build permanent monuments to the season! Well, permanent-ish.
MELINA: Would you like some wine? I had to fight Lissa to keep her from drinking it all, but there is some less. Left. Some left. (She pours a glass and hands it to SARAH.)
MELISSA: Well, Mom called. She says they’re basically stuck at their event, so we’re on our own here.
SARAH: Guess that means we’re probably stuck here, too. (She settles onto the couch next to MELISSA, who reluctantly sprawls slightly less to make room.) Sounds like movie night to me!
MELISSA: She also said something about the basement. I’m not really sure what.
MELINA: Probably where she keeps the wine. Go fetch another bottle and I’ll bully Sarah into choosing a movie for us to watch.
(MELISSA gives MELINA the middle finger and heads off to the basement.)
SARAH: Oh, I was hoping we could do this without violence.
MELINA: We can negotiate a peaceful solution if I like your movie pick.
SARAH: I like anything with cheerful music and bright colors! I don’t have discerning taste!
MELINA: Bullshit. You are such a hipster. I bet you call them ‘films.’
MELINA: I bet you’ve used the word ‘Lynchian’ to describe things before.
SARAH: (Defeated.) FINE. We’ll watch Brazil, because it’s Christmas and it’s technically a Christmas movie and also every time I hear the word I get the song stuck in my head.
MELINA: Mm. I should abuse you more often.
SARAH: It’s not fair when there’s two of you.
MELINA: Speaking of which, where has my less useful version gone?
SARAH: (Finishing her glass and rising.) I’ll go have a look.
MELINA: (Likewise rising.) I’ll go, too. Make sure you two aren’t planning anything.
[SCENE III. The basement. MELISSA is just beginning to descend in quest of wine. She tries the light switch, which goes on then immediately out, and curses to herself. Fortunately she is armed with a flashlight, which she turns on after a moment and finishes descending the stairs.]
MELISSA: Why can’t they put wine cellars upstairs? (Her hand brushes a spiderweb, and she recoils in horror.) It’s not like spiders help wine age better.
(As she walks, she kicks something in the dark and it makes a loud noise.)
MELISSA: Krampus? Does Krampus jump out of the shadows to eat you? I thought he was more of a front door kind of guy.
(Her flashlight beam settles on the chimney.)
MELISSA: Or, yes, a chimney.
(She takes a step back and bumps into KRAMPUS, a monster with a devilish face and a huge, lolling tongue.)
KRAMPUS: Yes, I thought so, too.
(MELISSA screams and turns to look at the monster.)
MELISSA: (Fear rapidly subsiding.) Krampus?
KRAMPUS: That’s me. I have it on good authority that you’ve been pretty much the worst little girl it’s possible to be this year. So, it’s dinner time. (Holds out a sack.) Care to jump in? It’s easier if you don’t struggle.
MELISSA: If I say something like ‘there’s more of gravy than of grave about you’ will you find it amusing?
KRAMPUS: (He attempts to lick MELISSA, but she backs away.) I’m definitely as real as they come. Trust me on this one. And just hold still, I’m trying to figure out how to cook you.
MELISSA: I find you a little implausible, is all
KRAMPUS: Look, I’m going to eat you anyway.
(Footsteps and indistinct voices from above. SARAH and MELINA are descending the stairs now. MELINA is the only one with a flashlight. SARAH is armed with a fire poker.)
MELINA: Look, she probably just saw a spider.
SARAH: She could have been eaten by an angry ghost or a hell demon or Krampus or anything!
MELISSA: Um, over here?
(MELINA’s flashlight scans MELISSA and KRAMPUS. She quickly grabs the fire poker from SARAH, runs over, and beats KRAMPUS to death with it. Then she shoulders the poker and shines the flashlight at MELISSA.)
MELINA: I can’t let you out of my sight for ten minutes.
MELISSA: I could have handled it on my own.
MELINA: Well, I’m not cleaning it up.
MELISSA: Thanks for saving me from the monsters, Lina.
MELINA: It’s what I do.
[SCENE IV. The living room. MELINA is curled up on the easy chair, MELISSA is sprawled on the couch, nearly asleep, and SARAH has wrapped up under a blanket next to the fire. There is a DVD on the opening menu, waiting for someone to press play.]
SARAH: I’m sorry Krampus almost ate you, Melissa.
MELISSA: It’s fine. Seemed more like a generic bogeyman to me. Just latched on to what I was thinking.
SARAH: And you were thinking about Krampus? That’s so cute!
MELISSA: You just kept telling me he was going to eat me. It was fresh in my mind.
SARAH: I’m sorry if I scared you. I only tease out of love. Sometimes I forget that you are so easily frightened.
MELISSA: I’m not easily frightened! I was in a dark spider-infested basement and–oh, shut up, Lina.
MELINA: (Grinning.) I didn’t say a word.
MELISSA: You were thinking it.
MELINA: Love you, sis.
(MELINA hits play on the DVD, and the others fall silent to watch the film, eating a bowl of popcorn. Fin.)