New Year’s Special: Last Chance For Regret!

[SCENE I. A New Year’s costume party. SARAH, MELINA, and MELISSA are just arriving. MELISSA is wearing her pirate queen regalia, and MELINA is dressed as a sailor–the look is definitely enhanced by her tattoos. SARAH has adopted a rumpled bowler hat–the one she inherited from the ghosts in Tango Till They’re Ghosts–and dusty dark men’s suit, and wearing some extremely pale makeup.]

MELINA: All right, Sarah, I give up. I can’t figure out what you’re supposed to be. Zombie Tom Waits?

SARAH: I’m the frontman from a Tom Waits cover band made up entirely of ghosts.

MELINA: Of course. Seems obvious in retrospect.

MELISSA: You kind of had to be there.

SARAH: It’s a tribute to some old friends.

(As they talk, NICHOLAS approaches, wearing a cultist hood and robes.)

NICHOLAS: Evening, Mel. I thought you swore off costume parties?

MELISSA and MELINA: It’s Melissa.

MELISSA: And you should know by now everything I tell you is a lie.

SARAH: Except for that! She’s very honest about her pathological lies.

MELISSA: Father taught us that honesty about dishonesty is the best policy.

MELINA: He was weirdly specific about that.

MELISSA: Anyway, if it’s a costume party, why aren’t you dressed up?

NICHOLAS: What? I am! I’m a cultist! (Beat.) Oh, ha ha. I thought, you know, it would be funny to pretend that I was . . . listen, if you were in my position you’d pull it off and everyone would think it’s hilarious.

SARAH: (As a mock aside.) Nick, I don’t think that telling her she’s more awesome than you is a very good comeback.

MELISSA: I don’t mind.

MELINA: He really hasn’t gotten any smarter, has he?

MELISSA: I bet he knows where a girl can get a drink in this place.

NICHOLAS: (Sighs.) Sure, yeah, I’ll show you. Might as well be good for something, right?

MELISSA: Good boy.

(They set off through the crowd.)

 

[SCENE II. Elsewhere at the party. SOPHIE and JEREMY are standing and talking–or rather, SOPHIE is talking. JEREMY has a glazed look and seems to be looking for an escape. JEREMY is wearing a labcoat. SOPHIE is not dressed up.]

SOPHIE: . . .then I recited another limerick and he fell into the press machinery! And Portland was safe from haiku once and for all. (Beat. Darkly,) Or would be, if Melissa Xenakis would die mysteriously.

JEREMY: (Clearly not listening.) Uh-huh.

(MELISSA and MELINA approach, apparently not noticing SOPHIE.)

SOPHIE: Oh my God, there she is! What’s she doing here?

JEREMY: Imagine the odds. One of Gavin’s friends showed up at a party that he is throwing.

SOPHIE: I know! (MELISSA and MELINA pass by.) Xenakis!

(They both turn.)

MELISSA: Can’t you drop it for one night? I’m trying to enjoy the New Year.

SOPHIE: Drop what? I’m just asking how the worst writer in Portland is doing.

(MELINA steps forward and stands inches from SOPHIE’s face.)

MELINA: Leave my sister alone, Swanson.

SOPHIE: (Backing down after a tense pause.) Fine, fine. I was just leaving anyway.

(SOPHIE moves to depart. MELINA jostles her as she walks past.)

JEREMY: Why does she hate you so much, anyway?

MELISSA: I wrote some haiku she didn’t like.

JEREMY: You’re joking.

MELINA: She also didn’t notice a typo in a paper she was proofreading.

JEREMY: That’s . . . incredibly stupid.

MELINA: (Taking a drink.) That’s Lissa for you. (A thought occurs as she watches SOPHIE depart.) Hey, I’m going to just go, uh. Check out the . . . kitchen? Later. (She slips off.)

 

[SCENE III. NICHOLAS and GAVIN are talking, standing near the drinks. GAVIN has dressed as David Tennant’s Doctor.]

NICHOLAS: Good party, Gav.

GAVIN: I have this shapeless feeling of dread, Nick. Like an entirely preventable tragedy is occurring, or about to occur.

(JEREMY and MELISSA approach.)

MELISSA: Gavin! I think my sister is going to go beat the shit out of Sophie Swanson and I’m not sure if I should try to stop her!

JEREMY: What she means is, please help us prevent this year from ending in violence. (Beat.) Again.

NICHOLAS: That what you mean, Gav?

GAVIN: (Cocks his head as if listening.) No, not quite. The ambiguous dread is still there.

(SARAH approaches with some urgency. She is carrying a glass of absinthe.)

SARAH: Evil fairies have kidnapped Father Time! The New Year can’t come until we rescue him!

(Everyone stops to look at her.)

MELISSA: God damn it, who let you at the absinthe?

SARAH: Nobody! I mean, shut up! It’s true!

NICHOLAS: Gavin?

GAVIN: That’s it. That’s the entirely preventable tragedy. (Sighs.) I’m not saving any mythical figures from any mythical creatures without another drink in me.

 

[SCENE IV. Outside. SARAH, GAVIN, and JEREMY are crouched behind a hedgerow.]

GAVIN: Sarah, I have an honest question for you.

SARAH: Yes?

GAVIN: Why is Father Time at my party? Hasn’t the New Year already arrived in every other time zone east of here?

SARAH: For a Time Lord, you don’t know much about time travel, Gavin. (Pats him on the shoulder.) It’s okay, though, that’s why I’m here!

JEREMY: She has a point.

SARAH: Thank you, Jeremy.

GAVIN: I . . . okay. Following your lead.

SARAH: Well, we’re waiting for Melissa’s signal . . . .

 

[SCENE V. Elsewhere outside. MELISSA and NICHOLAS are creeping along some ivy-grown walls.]

NICHOLAS: You know, creeping along in cultist robes is kind of fun. You should try it.

MELISSA: Been there, done that.

NICHOLAS: Well–

MELISSA: Shh! There are the fairy sentries. (She tosses him a cell phone.) Text Sarah when I’m done.

NICHOLAS: Done what?

MELISSA: You’ll see. (Sighs.) Unfortunately. (She gets up and walks into the light, carrying a drinking receptacle of some sort. Loudly.) Oh, I have had too much to drink! It sure is fortunate no one is trying to trick me! (She giggles rather unconvincingly.) I don’t think I’d be able to resist a particularly cunning attempt to trick me out of the various sparkly things that I always have secreted about my person! (She theatrically stumbles and falls, then repeats her unconvincing giggle.)

NICHOLAS: Oh, Christ.

(Some EVIL FAIRY SENTRIES emerge from hiding and approach MELISSA. They stand in front of her.)

FIRST FAIRY: Hullo, pretty lady!

MELISSA: Oh my! Fairies! (She “accidentally” drops the drinking receptacle she is carrying, and glitter tumbles out everywhere.)

FAIRIES: Ooh, shiny . . .

MELISSA: Got you! (She swings a net and captures and subdues the FAIRIES, then gives NICHOLAS a look.)

NICHOLAS: What . . .

MELISSA: Not a word, Nicholas.

(NICHOLAS shakes his head and sends a text.)

 

[SCENE VI. Outside, with SARAH, GAVIN, and JEREMY.]

SARAH: Okay, she’s taken care of the sentries.

(Somewhere, the clock strikes midnight. Everyone looks at one another. The sky is suddenly filled with a glow very much akin to the northern lights. The dancing colors freeze in the sky.)

JEREMY: . . . maybe we should hurry.

GAVIN: Well, if time is stopped, we should have all the time in the world. (Beat.) Well, actually, we have no time at all. But–

SARAH: Focus! We have to rescue Father Time!

(The three creep around the hedgerow, and into a secluded part of the garden, marked by a gazebo. A trio of EVIL FAIRIES, led by the FAIRY QUEEN, have tied up FATHER TIME. His scythe and hourglass are lying on the ground haphazardly; he still wears his “2011” sash.)

FAIRY QUEEN: . . . all you have to do is hand off your power to our trickster baby instead of Baby New Year.

FATHER TIME: Never! This is a sacred duty! Now let me be!

FAIRY QUEEN: Oh, I think not. We can do so much with a dying year.

(SARAH, GAVIN, and JEREMY burst onto the scene.)

SARAH: Not if we have anything to say about it! (Beat. Distracted.) I’ve always wanted to say that.

JEREMY: It’s a good line, but perhaps now is not the time to discuss it?

SARAH: (Rallies.) Right! We’re here to stop you, Fairy Queen!

FAIRY QUEEN: Are you? You and whose army?

(The FAIRY QUEEN tries to stare down SARAH, who adjusts her bowler hat and glares back. There is the hint of a spectral presence about SARAH, and in the distance, a New Orleans-style big band can be faintly heard.)

SARAH: Oh, just me, my friends, and the Vaudeville Ghosts.

(Ghostly images swarm the FAIRIES. The big band becomes louder, and the FAIRIES take flight, stepping through one of the arches of the gazebo and vanishing. SARAH remains swaying where she is. GAVIN rushes to the side of FATHER TIME, cutting his ropes, while JEREMY hands him his scythe and hourglass.)

FATHER TIME: I . . . thank you. The New Year is in your debt. (He checks the hourglass.) I must find Baby New Year and pass off my power to him. You are welcome to join me, of course.

SARAH: Ohmygod yes!

(GAVIN and JEREMY exchange a glance, then silently nod their assent.)

FATHER TIME: Good, good. Follow me, please.

(FATHER TIME leads them out of the gazebo. They pass MELISSA and NICHOLAS, leaning against the wall. MELISSA is holding FIRST BABY, dressed as Baby New Year.)

MELISSA: Oh, you did it! So, uh, we found this kind of outside the gazebo.

FATHER TIME: The changeling they wanted me to give my power to, no doubt. No, the real Baby New Year is waiting for us inside.

(They continue inside. MELISSA hands off the FIRST BABY to SARAH, who seems taken with the baby regardless. Inside, FATHER NEW YEAR encounters SECOND BABY, also dressed as BABY NEW YEAR–diaper, top hat, 2012 sash. FATHER TIME passes off his hour glass to SECOND BABY. The clocks wind back and FIRST BABY vanishes from SARAH’s arms.

At this point, MELINA runs inside, and stops in front of MELISSA.)

MELINA: Lissa! They switched out the Baby New Year!

MELISSA: No, they were going to but–

MELINA: (Sighs.) No, they’re both changelings. It’s a shell game. (Everyone looks at her.) Look, I followed Sophie and overheard her talking to someone on her cell phone. She was pretty pleased with herself for performing the switch.

FATHER TIME:¬† But I just handed off the New Year to this baby! Are you telling me–

MELINA: Yep. Fairy. The real Baby New Year’s probably being raised by fairies now.

FATHER TIME: This is a disaster. I must make this right. Excuse me. (Departs by walking through the wall.)

MELINA: Showoff.

SARAH: (Distressed.) But we saved Father Time! Why did–

(At about this point, we can hear people shouting a countdown from another room.)

MELISSA: It’ll be okay, small friend. (She gives SARAH a hug.) 2012 is just going to belong to evil fairies, is all.

SARAH: I wanted an awesome year!

MELISSA: I think we all did, Sarah.

(Shouts of “Happy New Year!” from the other room. A brief pause follows.)

JEREMY: Apart from that, good party though, Gav.

SARAH: Yeah, it was really fun!

GAVIN: Well hey, thanks for coming out! Happy new year. I think I’d better see to the rest of the party.

(GAVIN departs. A long pause follows.)

MELINA: We’re pretty much fucked, though.

MELISSA: Oh, totally.

 

[SCENE VII. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. The following morning. MELINA is passed out on the couch, still in costume. SARAH is downstairs in her bathrobe and pajamas, adjusting the bowler hat on the mantle.]

SARAH: Thanks for your help, ghosts. Sorry we couldn’t save the new year.

(The sound of ghostly accordion music responds faintly, and SARAH smiles.)

SARAH: You know what? I don’t care if the year belongs to evil fairies. It’s going to be fucking awesome anyway.

(Fin.)

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