Episode 17: Smuggler’s Song

[SCENE I. Belowdecks on a smuggling boat. SARAH is tied to a chair in a mostly dark room. She looks more annoyed than anything. After a few moments, the CAPTAIN walks in, casting a harsh light on SARAH. She winces and glares at him.]

SARAH: (Angry.) I was supposed to give my friends a ride home!

(The CAPTAIN pauses and looks her over.)

CAPTAIN: I thought you’d be taller.

SARAH: I–what?

CAPTAIN: And why are you late?

SARAH: Nobody told me I was supposed to be here!

(The CAPTAIN thrusts a letter in her face.)

CAPTAIN: Then who wrote this letter?

(SARAH glances at the bottom.)

SARAH: Some woman called Erin Ames.

CAPTAIN: And you are–

SARAH: Sarah Ames. I don’t know any Erins.

(A long pause.)

CAPTAIN: All right, can we start over?

SARAH: Sure, if you like. I know how it goes.

(The CAPTAIN walks out the door and closes it. After a few beats, he opens the door and comes in.)

CAPTAIN: Welcome aboard the Thorn. I apologize if we’ve treated you roughly?

SARAH: I could do without being tied up and kidnapped in the middle of getting in my car.

CAPTAIN: Of course. (He begins untying her.) You see, miss, I’ve got a lucrative offer for you.

SARAH: And if I’m not interested?

CAPTAIN: Then you swim back to Portland. (He sits down opposite her.) Have you ever wanted to make a fortune in raspberries?

 

[SCENE II. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. Late. MELISSA is reading something on the computer, while MELINA reads something on her netbook.]

MELISSA: Did you hear about the raspberry shortage in BC?

LINA: Guess I shouldn’t go up there this week.

MELISSA: And some arcane protectionist trade laws are keeping the big raspberry exporters in the US from actually selling any to Canada. So they’re stuck without raspberries.

LINA: Huh.

(SARAH walks in quietly, as if hoping no one will be awake.)

MELISSA: There you are! Where the hell were you?

SARAH: Oh, I was just . . . distracted by shiny objects?

MELISSA: (Not buying it.) I see. And your cell phone–

SARAH: (She realizes this is a long shot.) They were very shiny?

MELISSA: Sarah.

SARAH: I . . . can’t talk about it. And I may be busy this week.

MELISSA: But we had plans!

SARAH: (Genuinely contrite.) I’m sorry. Look, I’m tired. Can we talk in the morning?

MELISSA: Fine. But you and I are going to have words.

(SARAH heads off to bed.)

MELISSA: Do you know what’s got into her?

LINA: No idea. I called her a half hour before we got to shore and she said she’d be there. Then we got back and we found the car with the keys in the door.

MELISSA: What if she joined a cult? What if she decided that poisoned Kool-Aid and comets are more exciting than being my friend?

LINA: I think I’m supposed to say something like ‘Sarah’s a sensible girl’ but . . . .

MELISSA: I guess I can learn to live with it. I’m sure she joined a nice cult. They probably serve non-poisoned tea and have nice little sing-songs.

LINA: Or maybe she didn’t join a cult. She’s not a moron.

MELISSA: You never let me have any fun.

LINA: I’m just trying to be pragmatic.

MELISSA: Which is another word for boring. You can’t get that one by me, Lina.

LINA: Sure, Lissa. Whatever you say.

 

[SCENE III. A remote raspberry field, that night. SARAH arrives in MELISSA’s car, wearing the traditional all-black attire of someone planning to do some crimes. She is greeted by JOHNSON.]

SARAH: Mr. Johnson, isn’t it? You hosted the raspberry festival this year?

JOHNSON: Aye, that’s me. I been forced underground. Black market raspberry farming.

SARAH: That sounds awful.

JOHNSON: It is, lass. But the situation in Canada’s an opportunity. (Beat.) You’ve just got to get the cargo to the drop-off. Tonight’s your trial run. Do it right and we cut you in.

SARAH: I . . . sure, yeah, I’m ready, why not?

(They load up several crates of raspberries into the car. When they finish, SARAH gets in.)

SARAH: That all of them?

JOHNSON: Aye. Watch out for cops.

(She nods hurriedly and drives off. She arrives at a spot on the beach without incident, and parks the car and flicks the lights on and off in a pattern. Some SMUGGLERS emerge from the shadows, and she gets out of the car.)

FIRST SMUGGLER: You got everything?

SARAH: It’s all there.

(The FIRST SMUGGLER opens one of the crates.)

FIRST SMUGGLER: Want a taste of the goods, love?

SARAH: Um . . .

SECOND SMUGGLER: Go on. Got to make sure it’s fresh, right?

FIRST SMUGGLER: Imagine if we gave the Canadians a bad shipment.

(The FIRST SMUGGLER gestures at the box. She hesitantly takes a few and eats them.)

SARAH: Man, it’s been forever since I had raspberries.

FIRST SMUGGLER: See? What’d I tell you, Jim? This is a valuable service we’re doing. (He jerks a thumb.) Get ’em on the boat. Can you keep lookout, love?

SARAH: Yes, sure, okay.

FIRST SMUGGLER: Good girl. We’ll whistle when you can go.

(She leans against the car and looks around aimlessly. As she does, KELLY approaches, apparently going for a walk on the beach.)

KELLY: Sarah?

(SARAH jumps and turns to look at her.)

SARAH: Kelly! What, uh. What are you doing here?

KELLY: Just out for a walk. You okay? You seem nervous.

SARAH: I, uh. I had too much coffee. Makes me jittery.

KELLY: Hoping the cool night air would calm you down?

SARAH: Yes! That’s exactly it.

KELLY: So, how’s Melissa?

SARAH: Same as always.

KELLY: Kind of a dumb question, huh?

(SARAH gives a ‘what can you do?’ sort of shrug. A whistle from the distance.)

SARAH: So! Can I offer you a ride or something? I think I’m going to go home and try my luck with sleep.

KELLY: Oh, no, that’s all right. I’ll walk.

SARAH: (Desperately.) You sure?

KELLY: Really. Thanks for the offer though! It’s sweet of you.

SARAH: All right. Talk to you later, Kelly.

(She drives off. On the way home she seems clearly agitated. She parks in front of the house and climbs in through the bedroom window, then heads upstairs and goes to bed with her clothes on.)

(Fin.)

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