[SCENE I. The streets of Portland. MELISSA is out with GAVIN.]
GAVIN: I’m just saying, for a year that belongs to evil fairies, and that is supposed to culminate in some nonsensical apocalypse for some reason involving Mayans, it’s been a pretty good year so far.
MELISSA: You had to say it, didn’t you?
GAVIN: I’m trying to be optimistic, Lissa.
MELISSA: Don’t call me that. And your ‘optimism’ just doomed us all, Gavin. There are certain things you don’t ever say.
GAVIN: Like ‘I think it’s going to be a pretty good year?’
MELISSA: Yes! You’ll ruin it for everyone!
(They get in line for a sidewalk espresso stand.)
MELISSA: In this town, disasters happen constantly and–oh man, that’s the priest that lifted the gothy curse your girlfriend’s cronies put on me! (She points. The tall, Bond-villain-looking REVEREND is indeed sitting at a table drinking some sort of coffee concoction.)
GAVIN: I didn’t know there was a priest involved.
MELISSA: There was! I should ask him how his magic mushroom is doing.
GAVIN: Should you?
MELISSA: It’s only polite. (They reach the front of the line.) Hi, Juli.
BARISTA: Hey, Melissa. Usual for you?
MELISSA: Yeah. And whatever he’s having.
GAVIN: Oh, uh, just a small latte.
(The BARISTA sets about making their beverages.)
GAVIN: So, you liked this priest?
MELISSA: I think he’s a reverend, actually. But no, he was really boring and I’m pretty sure he hated me.
GAVIN: So why are you talking to him?
MELISSA: Why do I do anything? (They receive their coffee. MELISSA hands over some money and stuffs some more into a tip jar.) Come on.
(They approach the REVEREND’s table.)
REVEREND: Yes? (Looks up, and gives them each a hard look, then sighs.) You have the touch of the Dark One about you. Leave me in peace.
MELISSA: I do not, and you know it.
REVEREND: I was talking to your friend. (He pokes GAVIN in the ribs, gently.) Just like the young lady who helped me find the Truffle of St. Alex.
MELISSA: Found it for you, more like.
REVEREND: It would do you credit to remember who helped you and who cursed you, Miss Xenakis.
GAVIN: What do you mean by ‘the touch of the Dark One?’
MELISSA: He means you’re a devil-worshiper.
REVEREND: That’s actually not quite true. (He sighs.) Perhaps we should discuss this in private. It seems you’re eminently trustworthy. (He taps a newspaper which bears an image of MELISSA shaking hands with the MAYOR and the headline “As Modest As She Is Awesome: Xenakis says saving the day is ‘nothing special'”.)
MELISSA: Not a flattering picture of me.
GAVIN: Can I come? Even though I’m tainted by the Dark One or whatever?
REVEREND: Do you trust this man?
MELISSA: Sure, he’s all right.
REVEREND: Very well. (He finishes his coffee and re-folds the paper. As he rises he leaves the paper on the corner of the table.) Come with me, please.
[SCENE II. The REVEREND’s apartment. It is very small, and every available surface is covered in books, except for a small clearing on the desk, where the REVEREND is now sitting. GAVIN and MELISSA are seated uncomfortably in some dusty wooden chairs.]
REVEREND: You’ll have to forgive the mess. I don’t often entertain.
GAVIN: I’m kind of digging the vibe.
REVEREND: Now. I need to ask your forgiveness, Miss Xenakis. I misrepresented myself to you in the past.
(MELISSA glances uneasily at the exit.)
REVEREND: You see, it was not the forces of the Devil I was confronting in the woods of Portland, but the forces of wicked faeries.
MELISSA: So you’re not really a priest?
REVEREND: Oh, I’m an ordained minister, but from a secret order. And we’ve been hunting down the Dark One for years now. We’ve tracked him to Portland, but since then–only your pale friend, Celeste, and this young man here.
GAVIN: She’s my girlfriend.
REVEREND: Ah? It must have rubbed off. (He sighs.) If the Book of St. Alex is correct, the Dark One will be a key figure in a year of great calamity. We need to find him and stop him.
(MELISSA and GAVIN exchange a glance.)
GAVIN: So, let’s pretend for a minute that evil fairies replaced Baby New Year with a changeling.
MELISSA: That’s 2012’s Baby New Year, mind you.
GAVIN: Right. Would that possibly–
REVEREND: That sounds like the year of calamity to me.
GAVIN: I thought you might say that.
REVEREND: And if that’s the case, we don’t have much time. We need to find the Dark One. I hesitate to ask you this, but–
MELISSA: Oh, we’ll totally help. I’m all about averting apocalypses.
GAVIN: When she isn’t causing them.
MELISSA: Not helping, Gavin.
REVEREND: (Handing over a small wooden box.) Here. Take the Truffle of St. Alex. It’s our only weapon against the Dark One. (He hands over a heavy book, as well.) My treatise on the legends of the Dark One. (He sets a bell on top of the book and box, which MELISSA is now awkwardly trying to balance.) And ring this bell if you are overwhelmed by the Dark One’s forces.
GAVIN: Bell, book, and mushroom, huh?
MELISSA: It’s sort of like a candle, in that it’s apparently always on fire.
REVEREND: I will continue my search and let you know if I find anything. Go in peace, sister.
MELISSA: Um, thanks.
(They depart, and walk down the street for a while in silence.)
MELISSA: So, you know Gotharella is the Dark One, right?
MELISSA: Your girlfriend. Celeste.
MELISSA: Remember how the Fairy King wanted to marry her?
MELISSA: That’s why.
GAVIN: I was about to say ‘Celeste would never bring about a year of calamity!’ but then I remembered the incident with the dragon.
MELISSA: So, do you want to beat her to death with the magic mushroom or should I?
GAVIN: (Offended.) Melissa!
MELISSA: Kidding. I don’t think it’s even a blunt instrument.
GAVIN: (Glaring.) I guess I could talk to her about it? Ask her if she could perhaps not bring about a year of calamity?
MELISSA: Hm. Unlikely. I got the impression she didn’t know about her role in things to come.
GAVIN: Or we could try reading the Reverend’s book.
GAVIN: Well, the only other option I can think of is to find some fairies and talk to them. Do you know how to do that?
MELISSA: (Having a eureka moment.) Oh, that’s brilliant, Gavin! (Kisses him on the cheek.) I’ve got to run. Tell Gotharella I need to talk to her, okay? (She hurries off.)
GAVIN: Well, that’s definitely the last time I express guarded optimism about something.