Episode 14: The Hunting of the Snark

[SCENE I. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. MELINA is reading a book when a phone on the table rings. She glances at it.]

MELINA: (Shouting.) Lissa! (No response from upstairs.) Fuck it. (She answers the phone.) Hello?

GAVIN: (Uncertain.) Melissa?

MELINA: She’s asleep. This is Lina.

GAVIN: Asleep? It’s like three in the afternoon.

MELINA: Exactly. Can I help?

GAVIN: Actually, yeah. Jeremy and I are starting a little business venture. Meet us at the Jaded Old Crone?

MELINA: (She clearly thinks this is a bad idea.) Sure, why not? I’ll be right there.

(She grabs her messenger bag and bike and heads out the door.)

 

[SCENE II. The Jaded Old Crone. JEREMY and GAVIN are drinking coffee when MELINA arrives and sits down at their table. GAVIN still bears the bruises from his beating at the hands of a vampire; MELINA looks him over.]

MELINA: (By way of greeting.) You look like shit.

GAVIN: I’ve had better days. Shouldn’t you be in Seattle?

MELINA: I’m taking some time off.

GAVIN: Got fired, huh?

MELINA: Yeah. What’s this latest bad idea you’ve got?

GAVIN: You haven’t even heard it yet!

JEREMY: All your ideas are bad, Gavin.

GAVIN: Except this one! This one is providing a valuable service to the rich and credulous.

MELINA: (Suddenly interested.) I do like exploiting the rich and credulous.

GAVIN: That’s my girl. So, Jeremy recently told me about a fake monster he built for your sister, to help scare off a chaos cult.

MELINA: I remember that. She was really pleased.

GAVIN: And I’ve convinced him to turn his monster-building talents towards the financial betterment of his associates.

JEREMY: He wants to host a snark hunt.

GAVIN: We find some bored rich folk, convince him that you are a renowned big game hunter. They hire you as a guide on a snark hunt, we take them to some remote island, Jeremy operates the fake snark . . . .

MELINA: All right. And supposing our rich patron wants to take home a hunting trophy?

GAVIN: Payment upfront, and the snark gets away or scares you off. Maybe you’re waylaid by something else. Trust me on this one.

MELINA: And we split the profits three ways?

GAVIN: Of course. I am nothing if not generous.

JEREMY: Three ways after snark-building expenses.

GAVIN: Right.

MELINA: Well, if you can actually find some credulous rich people to do it, count me in.

GAVIN: I’m sure I’ll find a way.

 

[SCENE III. That evening. Outside the fancy restaurant at which GAVIN is a waiter. He is smoking a cigarette. A young man with very yuppieish appearances also comes out to smoke, and looks GAVIN over.]

YUPPIE: Those are some bruises you got there.

GAVIN: It’s not as bad as it looks.

YUPPIE: There a story behind them?

GAVIN: My friend took me snark hunting. If she hadn’t been there I wouldn’t be standing here.

YUPPIE: Snark hunting?

GAVIN: It’s what she does. Goes hunting for legendary beasts. It’s dangerous but it’s a rush. She’s agreed to take me next time she goes out.

YUPPIE: Do you know when that will be?

GAVIN: A week or so, I think. We haven’t finalized the plans yet.

YUPPIE: (Nervous.) Do you think I could come?

 

[SCENE IV. SARAH and MELISSA’s house. SARAH is drawing in a sketchbook in the easy chair when MELINA returns home.]

MELINA: Hey, Sarah. Lissa up yet?

SARAH: Yeah. She went out.

MELINA: I see. (Flops on the couch. She looks thoughtful for a while.) Do you know anything about snarks?

SARAH: Apart from the fact that I live with two of them?

MELINA: I’m talking about the monsters.

SARAH: So am I.

MELINA: The mythical ones.

SARAH: Oh! You should have said. (Beat.) Why do you want to know?

MELINA: I . . . may have agreed to pretend to be a snark hunter for one of Gavin’s schemes.

SARAH: Pretend?

MELINA: Jeremy apparently builds fake monsters.

SARAH: Oh yeah! That was fun. I kind of miss our chaos cultists.

(A long pause.)

MELINA: So, know anything about them?

SARAH: Not much. I heard some goblins talking about a snark once, I think. (She sketches something and holds up a rough drawing of an improbable-looking beast.) And that’s what I think of when I hear the word.

MELINA: Goblins?

SARAH: Yeah. I guess they’re probably some sort of fairy monster. Or possibly they’re entirely fictional! I don’t really know, sorry.

MELINA: Yeah, probably stupid to ask.

SARAH: Only a little! I’m guessing Gavin just wants you to show off your tattoos and act generally badass.

MELINA: It’s demeaning, really.

SARAH: Being badass?

MELINA: Yes.

SARAH: I . . . huh. Anyway, don’t worry about it! It’s not like this is going to pan out anyway.

MELINA: Gavin’s plans haven’t gotten any better, huh?

SARAH: Well, they still fail about one hundred percent of the time. But now they fail a lot more spectacularly!

MELINA: Well, they’ve never had me helping them out before.

SARAH: (Only the faintest hint of irony.) Yes, I’m sure that will help.

 

[SCENE V. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. Late that night. MELINA is asleep on the couch. SARAH is on the computer reading something. MELINA’s phone rings; she answers it in a bit of a daze.]

MELINA: Yeah?

GAVIN: Lina, it’s Gavin.

MELINA: (Still a little confused from sleep.) Hey, Gav. How’s it going?

GAVIN: Good, good. Listen, I just wanted to tell you I got half a dozen rich people to sign on to our snark hunt.

MELINA: Really?

GAVIN: And a few more that are interested. I’m going to come up with a price and then we’re going to need to plan this thing out.

MELINA: Great.

GAVIN: Anyway, good night.

MELINA: G’night. (She hangs up and stares at her phone.) I have to go on a snark hunt.

SARAH: Remember how I told you not to worry about it too much?

MELINA: Mm?

SARAH: I think maybe you should, uh. Worry about it, and not go.

MELINA: I’ll be fine, Sarah.

SARAH: (Clearly worried.) It’s just, I’ve been reading about snarks, and–

MELINA: They aren’t real. Don’t worry about it.

SARAH: All right. (Sighs and begins shutting the computer down.) G’night, Lina.

MELINA: Night. (She rolls over and tries to go back to sleep.)

(Fin.)

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