[SCENE I. The Jaded Old Crone. SOPHIE is waiting for GAVIN, positively brimming with excitement. When GAVIN arrives, she starts talking before he even sits down.]
SOPHIE: I found out that these new streetlights are part of some evil plan of Mr. Fielding’s and–
GAVIN: (Sitting down and picking up the menu.) Good to see you too, Sophie.
SOPHIE: This is important, Gavin.
GAVIN: Can it wait until I’ve ordered coffee, at least?
SOPHIE: I suppose so. I mean, it’s not actually time-sensitive or anything.
GAVIN: Thank you. (He reads through the menu for a few moments.)As it happens, I don’t think you’re being insane this time.
SOPHIE: Of course I’m not being insane! He’s out to get me!
GAVIN: Right. Anyway, after you called, I ran into Melissa–
SOPHIE: That bitch.
GAVIN: –and she told me a story that suggests that her house has had Fielding on the brain lately.
SOPHIE: What story?
(GAVIN’s eyes go distant for a moment.)
GAVIN: It, uh, doesn’t matter.
SOPHIE: Well, they put in the new streetlights in front of her house.
GAVIN: I know.
SOPHIE: So, you’ll help, won’t you?
GAVIN: Help how?
SOPHIE: Well, I was going to break into City Light after hours and find the lab and figure out what’s going on. You seem like you know your way around a burglary.
GAVIN: Aren’t there slightly less criminal ways to look into this?
SOPHIE: Not if you want the results only Sophie Swanson can deliver, Gavin. Are you in or out?
GAVIN: I, uh, think I’ll pass.
SOPHIE: Oh, come on. You blew this guy up once. Now you’re just going to let him take over our streetlights?
GAVIN: Hm. You may have a point, if only because I don’t want Melissa telling me about her sex dreams with Fielding anymore.
SOPHIE: That is so gross.
GAVIN: . . . shit. If I help you will you pretend you never heard that?
SOPHIE: I’ll do what I can.
[SCENE II. SARAH and MELISSA’s house. SARAH is putting up the last of a series of blackout curtains while MELISSA watches from the couch.]
SARAH: And that’s the last of them.
MELISSA: Thank God.
SARAH: It’s like they’re doing it on purpose.
MELISSA: I think they might be. Apparently this is one of Fielding’s old projects.
SARAH: Why is City Light installing the work of a known mad scientist?
MELISSA: If we had trains, I’m sure he’d have made them run on time.
SARAH: Can’t you stop this by sexing up Nick Hayes? Isn’t that a thing that you do?
MELISSA: Even if he wasn’t seeing that blonde chick from the French revolution, I don’t think I could get him to get the mayor to get City Light to pull the plug on a project, especially if they’ve been swindled by a mad scientist.
SARAH: What is the point of knowing someone in City Hall if you can’t get them to do what you want?
MELISSA: I’ve tried telling him that, but he’s under the impression he doesn’t like me.
SARAH: Where did he get that idea?
MELISSA: I haven’t the slightest. I’m working on disabusing him of this notion.
SARAH: So you’re saying the whole dreaming about Fielding thing–
MELISSA: Yeah, apparently the streetlights have something to do with it.
SARAH: I was kind of hoping after he died he’d stop trying to get into my head.
MELISSA: We should be so lucky, small friend.
[SCENE III. Portland City Light, after hours. SOPHIE is wearing all black, and looks very much like she is breaking into something. GAVIN looks about the same as he always does, effortlessly casual.]
GAVIN: You know there are better things to wear to a burglary,
SOPHIE: But these are burglaring clothes!
GAVIN: Exactly. (Beat.) So, where’s the lab?
SOPHIE: I think it was down this way. (She leads him down a hall to a door marked ‘LAB’. She tries the door and finds it locked.) Damn it. Can you open the door?
GAVIN: Sure! (She looks at him expectantly and he kicks the door open.)
SOPHIE: I thought maybe you could pick the lock.
GAVIN: Why would I do that?
(She shrugs, and they enter the lab. It’s a small room with an elevator at the back.)
GAVIN: What does City Light need an elevator for?
SOPHIE: One way to find out! (She hits the call button. They rush into the elevator, hit the button for the bottom floor, then wait awkwardly as it descends. The door opens and they rush out into a strange underground laboratory that glows with an unpleasant bluish-white light.)
GAVIN: So, Melissa wasn’t kidding about the headache.
SOPHIE: Yeah. I kind of thought maybe she was just hungover.
GAVIN: Turns out, nope.
(A SCIENTIST wearing welding goggles rounds a corner and stops when he sees them.)
SCIENTIST: Hey, you’re not supposed to be here!
GAVIN: Are you sure? Because–
(A VOICE that seems to come from all directions at once responds.)
VOICE: Be calm, my minion. I have called them here.
SOPHIE: I know that voice. Fielding!
VOICE: Yes, that was my name before I fled my earthly vessel. You very nearly destroyed me, Sophie Swanson. But I have many servants, scattered throughout the world. When I died, one of them came and brought the tattered remains of my body to a secret lab in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. There I was preserved, an inch away from death, until his work could be completed.
SOPHIE: His work?
VOICE: This work! I have become a being of pure light! And now I shall be installed everywhere, and wherever my light touches, there I will also be.
GAVIN: So that’s why the new lights give people headaches?
SCIENTIST: Actually, we just couldn’t find a way to make Mr. Fielding a more tolerable color. We wanted the kind of warm yellow streetlight but it just didn’t work out.
VOICE: My greatest failing.
SOPHIE: Apart from dying, because I was more clever than you.
GAVIN: Why are you doing this? Aren’t there better ways to be immortal than becoming a being of pure energy?(Beat.)I mean, even if that does sound really badass.
VOICE: Surely you must sometimes find yourself wondering, ‘I wonder what that nice girl, Sarah Ames, is doing right now.’ And I can move my consciousness to that place, and I see . . . (Beat. Annoyed.) She’s put up blackout curtains. Why has she put up blackout curtains?
SOPHIE: You were giving them a headache.
VOICE: No matter. Soon I shall cover this entire city. I will be in everyone’s thoughts. I am beyond your ability to kill!
SOPHIE: So you called me here to gloat.
SOPHIE: Well, you forgot to take one thing into account.
(SOPHIE punches the SCIENTIST and runs into the main room of the lab and begins unplugging random consoles.)
SOPHIE: There’s going to be a power outage tonight!
(The lights flicker and go out, one by one, until the laboratory is plunged into darkness.)
[SCENE IV. SARAH and MELISSA’s house. They are sitting on the couch downstairs when SARAH looks up, as if she has just heard something.]
SARAH: Did you just hear someone crying out ‘noooooo’ like they were the dying villain in a bad science fiction story?
MELISSA: Yes, but I kind of assumed I was hallucinating.
SARAH: I don’t think so. (She gets up and peeks out one of the curtains.) All the streetlights are out.
MELISSA: And yet, I do not have the urge to take these curtains down.
SARAH: Me neither! (She sits back down.)
MELISSA: I’m glad we had this conversation.
[SCENE V. The Jaded Old Crone, a few days later. SOPHIE and GAVIN are eating breakfast. GAVIN has a copy of the Examiner.]
SOPHIE: It’s weird reading about me in my old paper without me actually being involved. (Beat.) What’s it say about me?
GAVIN: Doesn’t mention you at all. It’s just a story about how after the power outage a few nights ago, people reported that their headaches were gone. And after those reports started people started reporting that the old street lights also cured impotence and various skin diseases.
SOPHIE: It’s just like that bitch Corday to deny me the credit I so richly deserve for saving our city.
GAVIN: In fairness, what you did was a crime on several levels, and you didn’t report it to anyone because if you did you would be in jail awaiting trial.
SOPHIE: What we did, you mean.
GAVIN: I have an alibi.
SOPHIE: (Sighs dramatically.) What’s the point of being a hero if you aren’t heaped with praise for it?
GAVIN: I have no idea.