Episode 28: Dragon Slaying

[SCENE I. CELESTE’s bedroom. It’s a vision in gothiness: dark burgundy walls, heavy blackout curtains on the windows, and a neatly made up black bed. Most notable is the large bookshelf, which is pretty full. The room is kept fairly neat except for the occasional stack of books, though it’s pretty clear that these books are currently being referenced, and not just casually left lying around. There is also, on top of the bookshelf, a dragon egg and a bejeweled tiara.

CELESTE is sitting at her desk, writing on a notepad. KELLY is lying on the bed.]

KELLY: Is it too late to say I’m reconsidering our dragon slaying adventure?

CELESTE: Let me put it to you in the terms of your crass materialism. Remember the shiny dragon hoard?

KELLY: (Wistfully.) Yeah.

CELESTE: After we’ve killed it, the dragon won’t be there to stop you from taking it.

(A knock at the door.)

CELESTE: Come in!

(GAVIN enters, followed shortly by NICHOLAS.)

GAVIN: I hear you’re doing some dragon-slaying?

CELESTE: That’s the rumor. (Rises and kisses him.) Glad you came.

KELLY: I was sure you’d stay home, Nick. Your last adventure in monster-slaying ended in tears.

NICHOLAS: The kraken adventure may have been slightly . . . misguided, but I’m not going to give up because of one setback.

(GAVIN seems to have noticed the dragon egg and tiara on the bookshelf. He gives CELESTE a look.)

GAVIN: You seem to have acquired some suspicious new jewellery since I saw you last.

CELESTE: (Guiltily.) There’s a slight possibility that we may have enraged the dragon by stealing from its lair.

GAVIN: You know that destroying Portland is a bad thing to do, right?

CELESTE: Well, yes. That’s why we’re stopping it. (She hands him the notepad.)

GAVIN: Of course. (Looking it over, picking a page in the middle at random.) Well, these ideas are . . . creative. I’m not sure that ‘challenge it to an epic guitar duel’ will work, though.

CELESTE: (Over his shoulder.) Kelly had the best idea. A few pages from the start.

(He flips to a page on which has been drawn some elaborate trap designs.)

KELLY: Basically we just lure it out of its lair, set the traps, then wait until it goes home to sleep.

CELESTE: And I have just the thing to lure it out with.

GAVIN: These are . . . actually really good. Check this out, Nick. (Handing him the notebook.)

NICHOLAS: Where did my little sister learn to design such elaborate traps?

KELLY: (Unconvincing.) That’s just what artists do, Nick.

NICHOLAS: Somehow I doubt that.

KELLY: (Frustrated.) Look, some things were just meant to be mysterious, okay?

(Long pause.)

CELESTE: (Stage whisper.) She plays a lot of Dwarf Fortress.

KELLY: God damn it, Celeste.

 

[SCENE II. Just outside of town. The city is no longer on fire, but the sky is filled with smoke. All four of our intrepid dragon slayers are gathered here.]

GAVIN: So, I’ll go with Kelly to help with the trap-building. Nick, could you try to keep my girlfriend alive?

NICHOLAS: I promise you that if she gets eaten by a dragon I probably will be too.

GAVIN: Good enough. We’ll wait for your signal.

KELLY: Where by ‘your signal’ we mean ‘the dragon to fly out of its lair.’

GAVIN: (Sighs.) My way sounded better.

(KELLY and GAVIN get in the car and drive off, leaving CELESTE and NICHOLAS standing.)

NICHOLAS: So, what’s your plan?

CELESTE: We’re going to dazzle it with the power of rock and roll.

NICHOLAS: Oh, Christ.

 

[SCENE III. A natural amphitheatre somewhere outside town. CELESTE is checking her guitar. She has already set up some speakers and a microphone.]

NICHOLAS: Okay, so. I thought maybe you were joking about the power of rock and roll thing.

CELESTE: When I was 16 I made a deal with some fairies that I thought were a minor demon to give me superhuman guitar powers. I beat the Devil at the crossroads. I think I can handle some giant lizard.

NICHOLAS: (Giving up.) All right, sure. (He pulls out his cell phone and begins sending a text.)

CELESTE: (Into the microphone.) Check, check.

(NICHOLAS distractedly gives the thumbs up.)

CELESTE: (Clears her throat. Sings, loudly, not particularly well.) I stole a dragon’s egg! And I’ll never tell her where it is if she can’t play better guitar than meeee!

(NICHOLAS cringes. But in the distance, the DRAGON takes wing.)

[SCENE III. Outside the DRAGON’s lair. KELLY and GAVIN are waiting in the car when the DRAGON flies overhead.]

KELLY: All right, come on!

(They carry some unwieldy-looking bags and contraptions into the lair and begin setting up.)

GAVIN: You’ve been in the lair before, right?

KELLY: (Wistful.) Yes. It was beautiful.

GAVIN: Well, listen. I know Celeste, and she’s not interested in the vast fortunes that await us in there. I figure we split it fifty-fifty.

KELLY: Sounds fair.

(They enter the main chamber of the lair, with its hoard of treasure. They stand transfixed by the magic of the treasure. GAVIN admires a golden goblet; KELLY has found a pile of coins that glitter prettily. Neither seems to remember their original purpose here.)

 

[SCENE IV. The amphitheatre. CELESTE is, mercifully, no longer singing, when the DRAGON arrives and settles down in front of her. NICHOLAS, meanwhile, is in the distance on his cell phone.]

DRAGON: So, you’re the thief. I knew I’d find you eventually.

CELESTE: It’s good to meet you face to face! I have a proposal for you.

DRAGON: Speak.

CELESTE: One epic rock battle to end all rock battles. The winner gets the egg, the loser goes home in disgrace.

DRAGON: No.

CELESTE: Are you sure? Because–

DRAGON: No.

(At about this moment, a MOB arrives. At least one of them is armed, and fires a rifle at the DRAGON. The DRAGON takes wing.)

DRAGON: You’re a clever one, thief. But it won’t last.

(The DRAGON flees back towards the lair, with the mob in pursuit. NICHOLAS walks up to the amphitheatre with a smug look on his face.)

NICHOLAS: My friend, Old Nick, taught me an important lesson a while ago.

CELESTE: (Defeated.) What’s that?

NICHOLAS: Complicated plans are not nearly as useful as an angry mob. Shall we see what happens?

CELESTE: Oh, all right.

 

[SCENE V. The DRAGON’s lair. KELLY and GAVIN still seem transfixed by the treasure when the DRAGON returns. KELLY has the presence of mind to stop playing with the pile of gold coins. She rallies and looks a little embarrassed.]

KELLY: Well, this is awkward.

DRAGON: (Amused.) Greedy humans never learn.

(The sound of a mob outside.)

KELLY: Humans aren’t always so dumb.

DRAGON: I have dealt with mobs before. (Departs. From without, there is the sound of gunfire. KELLY drags GAVIN outside, where we find that the mob has felled the dragon.)

MOB LEADER: All right, well done. Now we can just appropriate the hoard and be done with.

GAVIN: Appropriate the hoard? We found it first!

MOB LEADER: State law gives dragon hoards to the Washington State Dragon Control Board, for research and funding.

KELLY: The what?

MOB LEADER: This is DCB business. Please try not to get in the way.

(The mob makes its way inside, with the exception of a few who are apparently checking the DRAGON’s vital signs. NICHOLAS and CELESTE greet KELLY and GAVIN just outside.)

NICHOLAS: And that is why I’m useful to have around.

KELLY: Okay, while on some level I know that we’d probably all be dead if it weren’t for you–

NICHOLAS: Yes, spare the thanks.

KELLY: –you are such a dick.

NICHOLAS: I–wait, what?

KELLY: You heard me.

CELESTE: You could have at least told us your plan.

GAVIN: I don’t like almost getting eaten by dragons, Nick. Not cool.

NICHOLAS: But I saved the day!

(They each turn their back on him and depart, one by one, leaving NICHOLAS standing alone.)

NICHOLAS: I hate everything.

(Fin.)

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