[SCENE I. Somewhere in Seattle near sunset; dockside. MELINA is sprinting towards a boat–a yacht of some kind–that has just embarked. She slows to a halt by a dockhand and speaks, a little out of breath.]
MELINA: Do you know where that boat is going?
DOCKHAND: Sure. He goes out every month. Rich people give him money so they can pretend to go whaling. ‘The Ultimate Whaling Adventure.’
MELINA: (Producing a smartphone, searching.) Okay, thank you. (She gets a result and looks genuinely surprised.) And say I needed to find a boat?
(The DOCKHAND points at a bar called ‘The Captain’s Beard,’ whose sign features an old-style sailor, no beard, and an attractive young woman.)
MELINA: Thanks for your help. (She tosses him a coin.)
DOCKHAND: (Catching it, looking it over.) Hey, a Taft dollar! Thanks, miss!
MELINA: Don’t mention it. (She walks towards the bar.)
[SCENE II. The Captain’s Beard. It’s about as divey as bars come, and populated by various stereotypical-looking sailors. MELINA walks up to the bar and orders a PBR, which they apparently have on tap. Then she sits down next to a random SAILOR at the bar.]
MELINA: Let’s pretend I needed a fast boat for the purposes of revenge.
SAILOR: Then you’ve found the right place. You know, hypothetically speaking.
MELINA: And supposing I needed it as soon as possible?
(The SAILOR scrutinizes her for a moment, then nods as he evidently decides she is legit.)
SAILOR: It’ll cost you.
(MELINA hands him a wad of cash.)
MELINA: More where that came from when we came back.
(The SAILOR counts the money–mostly a wad of twenty-dollar bills. He bites one of them to see if it’s genuine.)
SAILOR: That’ll do. (He pockets the money.) We leave as soon as you’re ready.
(She raises her glass to him and settles down with her drink.)
[SCENE III. A small dark motorboat, night. MELINA and the SAILOR are the only crew. The motor is remarkably quiet for how fast it’s going.]
SAILOR: So, you’re after Captain Shelley?
MELINA: He swindled my family. I want it back. With about fifteen years worth of interest.
SAILOR: Well, you picked the right man for the job. I had this boat made special for revenge purposes. She’s the single best revenge boat in the Northwest.
MELINA: What’s she called?
SAILOR: The Revenge.
MELINA: I guess that was kind of a stupid question.
SAILOR: I considered naming her Vengeance but that just didn’t sound right.
MELINA: You could commission another boat like it and call that one Vengeance. Then you’d have Revenge and Vengeance to choose from.
SAILOR: I like the way you think, miss, ah . . . (Fishing for a name.)
MELINA: Call me Ishmaela. (An uncomfortable pause; the SAILOR gives her a blank look.) Sorry.
SAILOR: No harm done, miss.
MELINA: Let’s just keep our names to ourselves, eh? Safest that way.
SAILOR: Right you are. (He checks a chart on a tablet PC of some variety.) Might want to get some shut-eye, miss. Long night ahead.
MELINA: Wake me if anything interesting happens.
(She climbs into the back and curls up in a fairly uncomfortable-looking spot as the Revenge sails on through the night.)
[SCENE IV. The ocean at night. A montage of sailing through the dark–the SAILOR deftly avoiding hazards and consulting the chart, then MELINA at the helm, moving less swiftly but still decent at the helm. Then the SAILOR takes over again before dawn. The montage concludes with the sun rising over the horizon, and MELINA stretching and waking in the back.]
MELINA: I’ll never get tired of a sunrise like that.
SAILOR: Aye. But it means we’ve got to be careful. Don’t want Captain Shelley to see us before we can get the jump on him. (He taps the tablet.) We could catch up to him by day, but they’ll be passing these rocks here by night. I’m thinking we lie in wait.
MELINA: Just get me aboard. I’ll handle the rest.
(The SAILOR adjusts course and guns the boat to full speed. Cut to much later in the day, the boat coming to a stop among a series of rocks. The engine dies and the SAILOR kicks back.)
SAILOR: And now, we wait.
MELINA: So, you seem to know Captain Shelley.
SAILOR: I worked with him once. Takes rich folk out to pretend they’re ancient whalers. Rubber harpoons, the works. Rumor has it, he’s actually out hunting a whale that destroyed one of his old boats. He keeps a real harpoon on the boat. Says it’s just for show, but you get him drunk and he’ll tell the real story.
MELINA: And these rich people just give him money?
SAILOR: (Shrugs.) They’re rich, it’s what they do.
MELINA: Fifteen years and he hasn’t changed his ways.
SAILOR: You can’t stop a grifter from grifting, miss. It’s just their nature.
MELINA: I guess.
(They continue watching in silence. The sun sets, and it’s soon night. The SAILOR is taking a short nap in the back when the sound of some distant nautical shouts can be heard. MELINA wakes him.)
MELINA: I think they’re coming!
SAILOR: (Checks the time.) So soon? They shouldn’t be here for another hour! Unless . . . .
SHELLEY: (His voice very distant.) That’s him! Full speed ahead!
(The whaler appears, a dark silhouette heading for the rocks, with a spotlight pointed at the ocean. The SAILOR checks his tablet in a panic.)
SAILOR: He’ll dash her on the rocks! He’s too close and too fast!
MELINA: Hold steady. Panicking leads to sloppy vengeance.
(As the whaler passes close, Captain SHELLEY lets out a cry and flings a harpoon into the water. The WHALE lets out a low cry and turns on Shelley’s boat, ramming it. It begins to take water and list dangerously.)
SHELLEY: Abandon ship!
MELINA: Won’t they have lifeboats?
SAILOR: Not on a boat that size.
MELINA: I guess we should probably help them.
SAILOR: Are you crazy? Did you see that whale?
MELINA: These people could die!
SAILOR: Oh, all right. (He starts up the engine and turns on the lights.) Hang on! We’re here to help!
(The boat makes its way towards the crew, shining a light in attempt to find them. It is no sooner near the first passenger, however, when the WHALE returns and instantly capsizes the smaller boat. MELINA swims to the rocks, perhaps not entirely gracefully, but she gets there in the end, coughing and clinging to the rock.)
SHELLEY: Who’s there?
(MELINA looks up and finds that SHELLEY is on the same little outcropping. She tries to glare, but the effect is ruined by coughing and shivering.)
SHELLEY: You aren’t one of my passengers.
MELINA: No. My name is Melina Xenakis. We met once, fifteen years ago.
SHELLEY: Not–Ana’s girl? (He looks her over.) You don’t look much like her. Is she still married to–
SHELLEY: (Sighs.) You’re here for revenge, I expect. Old Xenakis always was one for settling a score. Admired him for it, really.
MELINA: I’m just reclaiming what’s mine, Shelley.
SHELLEY: I never meant to hurt your mother, Melina. She was the most beautiful woman I ever met. I knew I’d never–not with her–but I was young, infatuated. And I really did have an expedition to hunt the Lorelei.
MELINA: She says she found a mannequin.
SHELLEY: Yes. I was swindled by an old partner. But my expedition never even got that far. Our boat was sunk by the whale you just saw. I thought perhaps I could make things right, but no, your mother was suspicious, and your father had returned. I fled. But I had to return–the whale had brought me to ruin and disgrace. I swore I would find it. I devoted my life to finding that whale. Always he is one step ahead of me. (He sighs.) You probably don’t believe me.
MELINA: It’s a lot to take in.
SHELLEY: When we get back to Seattle, I’ll make this right. I’ll return your mother’s money. Tell her–tell her I never wanted it to be like this. Tell her–
(At this point, the WHALE leaps from the water and knocks SHELLEY into the deep. He flounders for a bit before being swallowed whole. She shudders and moves further from the edge of the water, curling up into a ball. Eventually, rescue ships from the Coast Guard come, and take MELINA aboard, along with a few other survivors. The SAILOR is nowhere to be seen, nor, obviously, is SHELLEY. Eventually we see MELINA wrapped in a blanket on the deck the coast guard ship, drinking a cup of something hot, staring out into the night sky.)