Episode 16: The Snark Was A Boojum

[SCENE I. The island, night. MELINA and GAVIN are walking through the forest. MELINA looks annoyed; GAVIN looks worried.]

GAVIN: This was not what I pictured when I thought “island full of rich people for the weekend.”

MELINA: Yeah. How long do you figure before one of them tries to pin this on us?

GAVIN: Oh, not long. (Beat.) Do you have a plan?

MELINA: I always have a plan. Can you find Jeremy?

GAVIN: I think so, but–

MELINA: Go do that. I’m going back to camp. Don’t come back until I signal you.

GAVIN: Should we really wander off alone?

MELINA: Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. (She claps him on the back and heads off into the woods.)

GAVIN: (To himself.) It wasn’t you I was worried about.

 

[SCENE II. Camp. The assembled rich folk are sitting around, avoiding eye contact with one another, occasionally glaring suspiciously. MELINA is briefly visible in the background, then disappears into a hiding space.]

BANKER: Did anyone hear that?

MEAT MAGNATE: No.

EDITOR: Just your imagination. Feeling nervous?

(Silence.)

MEAT MAGNATE: Who could have had a motive?

BANKER: That lawyer fellow seems suspicious to me. Conveniently turns up sedated the minute we need him. Very lawyerly.

(A murmur of agreement, except from the EDITOR, who is largely drowned out.)

EDITOR: I don’t think he did it.

MEAT MAGNATE: But assuming it was someone else. We have to explore all our options.

STOCKBROKER: I thought that Gavin fellow seemed a bit odd.

EDITOR: Oh, me, too! Always seemed like he knew something we didn’t. I even felt like Melina didn’t really know what he was up to.

(MELINA emerges from the trees here. She is covered in dirt, twigs, pine-needles, etc.: sort of like she has just come running through the trees without much heed for her surroundings, or much more like she has just rolled around in the dirt and rubbed some pine branches in her hair to achieve this effect.)

MELINA: Apparently I didn’t.

BANKER: What do you mean?

MELINA: I was going for a walk with him–my friend, or so I thought–and suddenly when I started asking questions about the murder he got angry, attacked me, and fled.

EDITOR: Are you all right?

MELINA: I’m fine. I came back here as soon as I could. With any luck he’ll be eaten by the snark.

BANKER: Remarkable! He seemed so composed.

MELINA: Snark madness. It only afflicts those with a guilty conscience. (A long silence sinks over the camp.) Anyway, you all probably want to get some rest. I’ll keep watch.

(The rich folk begin heading off to their respective tents. As the EDITOR begins to depart, MELINA stops her.)

MELINA: Mind helping me keep watch? I’d feel safer with someone else.

EDITOR:(Sitting back down.)Of course. Happy to help.

MELINA: Great. (Hands over a flask.) Care for some bourbon? I think we’ve earned it.

EDITOR: Oh, God yes.

MELINA: So, tell me about Boots Magazine.

 

[SCENE III. Outside camp. GAVIN and JEREMY are sitting near the snark.]

JEREMY: I’m not seeing how making them think you did it is going to help us at all.

GAVIN: It . . . certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice. But Melina is the nice twin, right?

JEREMY: I don’t think either of them are the nice twin. But fair enough, she probably isn’t trying to destroy you or anything. (Quietly.) She just might anyway.

GAVIN: Have a little faith, Jer.

JEREMY: Working on it.

 

[SCENE IV. Camp, later. MELINA and the EDITOR are now passing back a bottle of bourbon, though only the EDITOR seems to be particularly drunk. She takes a long swig, hands MELINA the bottle, then gives her a bleary look.]

EDITOR: Are you tryin’ t’get me drunk?

MELINA: (Rolls her eyes.) You caught me.

EDITOR: ’cause it’s working. Uh, not working. I meant not working. I’m Irish, y’know. Got the blood of, uh, of Ireland in my veins.

MELINA: I can tell.

EDITOR: Can you really?

MELINA: It’s the way you said ‘I’m Irish, you know’ that gave it away.

EDITOR: I like you. You’re funny. Like the cupcake man, wha’s-his-name, you know? He was funny like you. Very deadpan.

MELINA: He used to cater your parties, right?

EDITOR: ‘sright! Always made me laugh, made sure he came himself. I loved him–uh, loved having him around, I mean. He was the best. And those cupcakes . . . .

MELINA: But he stopped catering for you.

EDITOR: I had to fire him. He catered for Boot-wearers Monthly’s Christmas party this year.

MELINA: Sworn enemies?

EDITOR: Sworn enemies.

MELINA: And you couldn’t stand the thought of his cupcakes and his deadpan humor belonging to anyone else.

EDITOR: Never ever.

MELINA: So you blew him up.

EDITOR: Yep! It’s like you understand me. (Beat.) Wait, shit. Can you pretend you didn’t hear that?

MELINA: Not likely. Would you like to go quietly or shall I beat you into submission?

EDITOR: I’ll . . . go quietly.

MELINA: You sure? I’m totally fine with violence.

EDITOR: I’m sure.

 

[SCENE V. Camp, the following morning. The EDITOR is tied up against a tree, and the rest of the rich folk are eating a meager breakfast that MELINA has cooked. She is drinking coffee.]

MELINA: Well, the coast guard’s on its way. They should be here in a half hour or so. I’m sorry about how things turned out here–

(A crashing in the trees. The snark is briefly visible, pauses at the sight of the assembled rich folk, and turns to escape.)

MELINA: –but I’ve got a snark to catch.(She leaps to her feet and runs off into the forest after the snark, leaving the rich folk standing and looking confused.)

 

[SCENE VI. The docks, that evening. SARAH is leaning against her car, talking on her cell phone to MELINA.]

MELINA: So, we’ll be back in a half hour or so. I have no idea how Gavin managed to scrounge up another boat after the first one got blown up.

SARAH: Okay! Well, I’ll be close by. Probably going to go get some coffee or something. Just call when you get here.

MELINA: All right, later.

SARAH: See you!

(She hangs up, and puts her keys in the car door. As she is unlocking it, two suspicious looking SAILORS approach from behind.)

SAILOR: You Ames?

SARAH: Uh, yes?

SAILOR: You’re late. Captain’s been looking everywhere for you.

SARAH: Captain? What–

SAILOR: Just shut up and come with us.

(They grab her by the arms and “escort” her onto a waiting boat. She makes a token effort to resist, but clearly sees how fruitless it is. As she departs, we see that the car keys are still in the door.)

 

[SCENE VII. The docks, later still. A boat lands, and GAVIN, JEREMY, and MELINA disembark. MELINA is on her cell phone.]

LINA: God damn it. Whatever happened to ‘call when I get here,’ Sarah?

GAVIN: Isn’t that Melissa’s car over there?

JEREMY: I think so.

(They head over there and find the keys still in the lock.)

LINA: What the hell?

JEREMY: Maybe something came up?

LINA: You don’t just leave your keys in the car door. And she could have left a note or something, or called, or texted, or not disappeared when she was supposed to pick us up.

(Beat.)

GAVIN: So, Jaded Old Crone?

LINA: Works for me. You driving?

GAVIN: Of course.

(They drive off. Meanwhile, the boat into which SARAH was loaded earlier embarks and sails off into the night.)

(Fin.)

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