Episode 18: Raspberry Boat

[SCENE I. The Jaded Old Crone. MELISSA is eating lunch with NICHOLAS. He is nearly finished; she looks incredibly distracted and is mostly just poking at a plate of untouched food with her fork.]

NICHOLAS: . . . and you aren’t listening to a word I say. Melissa?

MELISSA: (Not looking up.) Mm?

NICHOLAS: Mel?

MELISSA: What? (Beat.) Oh.

NICHOLAS: Something the matter?

MELISSA: I’m worried about Sarah. For the past few weeks she’s been acting strangely.

NICHOLAS: You mean, more strangely than usual?

MELISSA: Look, I know you don’t like Sarah–actually, do you even have an opinion on her?

(NICHOLAS shrugs.)

MELISSA: Well, don’t make fun. She’s tired all the time, sneaks out at night. She doesn’t draw or do anything besides come home at weird hours and sleep. I’ve never seen her like this.

NICHOLAS: And this is unrelated to the raspberry smuggling she’s been doing?

MELISSA: Raspberry smuggling.

NICHOLAS: Kelly told me about it. I thought you knew.

MELISSA: Apparently not.

NICHOLAS: Yeah. She’s been following her since she saw her out making a drop one night. I think she’s developed a case of hero worship and thinks the best way to join the smugglers is to spy on them.

MELISSA: I–I think I need to talk to your sister. Now.

NICHOLAS: We were having lunch, Melissa.

MELISSA:(Sighs.)Fine. But if I’m not bringing down a smuggling operation within three hours I’m going to make it my personal mission to destroy you.

NICHOLAS: I thought that already was your personal mission.

MELISSA: Just shut up and bask in my presence, Nicholas.

 

[SCENE II. Aboard the Thorn. SARAH is assisting the CAPTAIN, and looks genuinely pleased with herself.]

CAPTAIN: You know, Ames, when I met you I thought, no chance this one’s smuggler material. But you’ve proved your worth a hundred times over.

SARAH: It’s been an honor, Captain! We’re bringing the best damn raspberries on the continent to people in need.

(He claps her on the back warmly.)

CAPTAIN: You’ll go far in this business, Ames.

(SARAH beams with pride as the boat sails off into the night.)

 

[SCENE III. SARAH and MELISSA’s house. KELLY is seated in the easy chair with MELISSA standing over her, interrogating her. MELINA is lying on the couch watching with disinterest.]

MELISSA: This is my friend we’re talking about, Kelly. Start being more helpful.

KELLY: You wouldn’t want me stopping them if you were the one who didn’t have any raspberries.

LINA: Do you even eat raspberries, Lissa?

MELISSA: If they’re around, I guess. They’re more Sarah’s thing.

LINA: Which would explain the whole raspberry smuggler angle.

KELLY: See? She’s just doing what she loves.

MELISSA: It’s killing her. She’s tired and doesn’t draw or do anything but–

KELLY: She stopped drawing?

MELISSA: Yes!

KELLY: But she’s so good!

MELISSA: So you’ll help?

KELLY: (Sighs.) This goes against everything I stand for, but for the sake of the artistic community, I’ll help. We’ll need to stop the captain from leaving for his next expedition.

MELISSA: And I’ve got just the way. Or rather, Melina does.

LINA: Oh I do, do I?

MELISSA: Lead the way, Hayes the Younger and Prettier.

 

[SCENE IV. The docks, that night. The Thorn makes port, and its crew–a few SAILORS, SARAH, and the CAPTAIN–disembark. LINA, MELISSA, and KELLY watch from a hidden vantage.]

KELLY: The one in the middle’s the Captain. They gather at sunset to prepare for the shipment, but before that he hangs out in the Historically Inaccurate Pirate. (She points at a bar with the image of a traditional pirate–peg-leg, eyepatch, parrot–on the sign, bearing the legend “The Historically Inaccurate Pirate.”)

LINA: I guess I can see to it he doesn’t leave.

MELISSA: You’re not too bad once you’ve been coerced into being not too bad, Kelly. Keep it up.

 

[SCENE V. The next day, around sunset. SARAH is asleep in her bed when her cell phone rings. She answers it blearily.]

SARAH: Hello?

SAILOR: Ames? The Captain’s gone missing. We can’t miss this shipment and nobody else can do it. We need you to run this one.

SARAH:(Rubbing her eyes.)I’ll be there as soon as I can.

SAILOR: Bless you, Ames. You’re a life-saver.

 

[SCENE VI. The docks. MELISSA and KELLY are watching the Thorn.]

KELLY: Any minute now they should probably fall to panic and disarray and abandon the mission.

(The boat sets sail.)

MELISSA: I suppose they’re sailing off to the scrapyards, then?

KELLY: I–maybe Melina didn’t–

MELISSA: My sister did not fail, Kelly. There’s only one solution now. We’re giving chase in the Regret.

KELLY: I should really be–

MELISSA: That means you, Hayes. March.

 

[SCENE VII. Aboard the Thorn. SARAH is standing on deck, looking quite pleased with herself as the wind whips through her hair. She also looks exceedingly tired–bags under her eyes, a bit of a glassy expression. The FIRST MATE stands at her side.]

SARAH: You know, I’ve never done this before.

FIRST MATE: The men will follow you anywhere, Captain Ames. You’ve done more for this cause than you know.

SARAH: I just wish Melissa were here. She’d be so proud of me.

FIRST MATE: When this is all over–

(A blinding floodlight washes over them from the Regret, and a voice–MELISSA’s–calls out over a megaphone.)

MELISSA: This is the Regret! Prepare to be boarded!

FIRST MATE: Captain?

SARAH: (Looking confused.) Take evasive action!(She runs to the helm and takes command.)We’ll lose them on the rocks.

FIRST MATE: As you say, Captain.

(The evasive maneuvers do not last very long before the Thorn manages to hit some of the rocks it was hoping to use to evade pursuit. An awful metallic groaning sound follows.)

SAILOR: We’re taking water!

SARAH: Is it bad?

FIRST MATE: It’s not salvageable, Captain.

SARAH: Then abandon ship.

FIRST MATE: What about you?

SARAH: I’ll hold them off. They aren’t getting a single raspberry from the hold.

FIRST MATE: But we’re sinking! You’ll–

SARAH: A captain always goes down with her ship. Go! Save yourselves!

(The crew abandons ship, leaving SARAH at the helm. It’s not long before the Regret pulls up behind and MELISSA and KELLY board the sinking smuggling boat.)

MELISSA: Sarah?

SARAH: Melissa? What are you doing here?

MELISSA: Returning a favor I owed you.

SARAH: By sinking my ship? Trying to steal my raspberries? Why? I thought we were friends!

MELISSA: I–all right, the hell with this. (She picks SARAH up off the ground and begins hauling her towards the Regret. SARAH begins kicking and struggling.)

SARAH: I am trying to make a heroic sacrifice here! Let me go! I have to go down with the ship!

 

[SCENE VIII. The Regret, later. KELLY is sailing home. MELISSA and SARAH are in the back.]

SARAH: I guess I should thank you.

MELISSA: Done being crazy, are we?

SARAH: Never. But the raspberries have lost their hold. I–I started because they said they’d kill me if I didn’t, and then I had some and it was like, how could these Canadians live without this? I didn’t care about the money.

MELISSA: Of course not. Though incidentally, did you actually get any of that money?

SARAH: I . . . may have spent it all on more raspberry smuggling equipment.

MELISSA: (Clearly disappointed.) Can’t be helped, I suppose. (Beat.) Promise you won’t do it again.

SARAH: I won’t. I’m so tired. This must be what being you is like. (She leans against MELISSA’s shoulder and closes her eyes.) No wonder you’re always so cranky.

MELISSA: I think there’s more to it than that, small friend. (Beat.) Sarah? (Beat. SARAH doesn’t respond. She appears to be fast asleep.) Good night, small friend. (She reaches into her pocket and produces a small plastic bag full of raspberries and begins eating.)

(Fin.)

 

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