[SCENE I. GAVIN’s house, late at night. The living room is dark and empty, with the book of demonology open on the coffee table. MELISSA emerges from the bedroom, dressed in a bra and panties, hair disheveled. She pours herself a glass of water and sits down on the couch, sleepily turning through the pages of the book as she drinks her water. Eventually she turns to a page with the sigil she’s been looking for on it. She pauses for a moment before turning the page, then seems to realize what she’s just seen and turns back. She looks suddenly alert now, as she puts her water down and gets up and runs back into the bedroom.]MELISSA: (Urgent.) Gavin, wake up!
(GAVIN, previously asleep in his bed, rolls onto his back. He is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts. He opens one eye to look at MELISSA.)
GAVIN: Christ, woman, you are insatiable.
MELISSA: I found the sigil.
MELISSA: The one we were looking for earlier! The demonic sigil!
GAVIN: We were looking for something?
MELISSA: Ugh, nevermind. (She begins searching for her discarded clothing. She finds her t-shirt and struggles into it.) This changes everything.
GAVIN: What on earth are you talking about? (He sits up.) Oh, the thing in the book?
MELISSA: Yes! (She locates her jeans and very nearly falls over in her haste to get dressed.)
GAVIN: Why does this precipitate leaving?
MELISSA: I’ve got to get to the mayor’s office!
GAVIN: Listen. Melissa. I don’t think anyone’s there.
MELISSA: Exactly! (She begins putting her sneakers on.) This is my chance!
(GAVIN lays back down and closes his eyes.)
MELISSA: Are you coming?
GAVIN: Can it wait?
GAVIN: I think I’ll pass.
MELISSA: Fine, whatever. (She walks out into the living room, puts on her jacket, and transfers several items from its pockets into the pockets in her jeans.) I’m taking the book, though!
GAVIN: Let me know how it is!
MELISSA: (Sighs, takes out her cell phone and makes a call.) Sarah, meet me at the mayor’s office as soon as you can. I don’t have time to explain. (Beat.) Great, see you there. (She pockets the cell phone, grabs the book, and departs.)
[SCENE II. The mayor’s office. MELISSA is waiting outside, pacing, when SARAH pulls up in her car.]
SARAH: What’s going on?
(MELISSA wordlessly hands her the book, open to a specific page, and taps that page.)
SARAH: Holy shit.
MELISSA: Did you bring your camera?
MELISSA: Good. We might not have much time. Come on.
(The door is mysteriously unlocked. They make their way upstairs without incident. The office is deserted, but the pair goes slowly, checking each room for signs of life. Eventually they come upon Mayor Hall’s office, and gently push the door open. THE DEVIL is sitting at the desk. He looks less solid than he usually does–as if he is fading from reality.)
THE DEVIL: (Sounding annoyed.) I was expecting you a little sooner.
MELISSA: Sorry, got distracted.
THE DEVIL: I hope it was worth it.
(As this exchange is taking place, SARAH is getting photographs of THE DEVIL. He doesn’t seem to mind.)
SARAH: Melissa, is there a reason you’re talking to the Devil?
MELISSA: He can’t hurt us. Can you, Old Scratch?
THE DEVIL: I cannot.
SARAH: What the hell is going on?
MELISSA: I think the Devil just lost. And he’s been playing a long game, hasn’t he?
THE DEVIL: I’ve lost my touch. I don’t have it anymore. I even lost a guitar duel to that goth girl.
THE DEVIL: (Nods.) People used to love Freebird!
THE DEVIL: I’ve been trying to help, you know.
MELISSA: (Spins a chair around and sits down.) We’re not going anywhere. Better talk fast, though. Looks like you’re running out of time.
THE DEVIL: Ha. All right then.
(Cue wavy flashback lines. Cut to Portland in the 1950s, being attacked by a giant monster.)
THE DEVIL: This town’s always been too . . . chaotic for my tastes. Even before it was a town.
(Several years go by every second, in reverse. The buildings dwindle and disappear. Even when there is no human settlement, there are monsters and faeries everywhere.)
THE DEVIL: But it’s not like Portland is the only place like this. I didn’t notice it until the fifties, when some of my favorite types of people decided to settle in. I was going to help them out, maybe tempt a few into service, then probably lose interest in the place.
(Some very well-dressed businessmen arrive in Portland and exchange large sums of money at the bank.)
THE DEVIL: But my efforts were always thwarted. First it was chaos cultists. Then it was faeries. Then it was sea monsters. Nothing that I tried to do worked.
(A montage: chaos cultists burning down the First Rich Person’s Bank of Portland. Faeries abducting a man dressed as the Monopoly Man. A country club being dragged into the ocean by some giant tentacles.)
THE DEVIL: It took years before I could even get my foot in the door, but I managed it in the end. Except, instead of being what I should have been–the rightful lord and master of these wretched souls–I had some tiny, ineffectual cults. I was no better than the rest of the monsters in this pit.
(Some cultists in hoods and robes gather around a campfire eating s’mores.)
THE DEVIL: But I kept trying. I’m the Devil. I always get my due. I tried to get some of my people into positions of power, so I could finally start doing something about the horrible weirdness of this place. I like things tidy. I run a tight ship. Make the trains run on time. Unlike all the other monsters in this place, I just want to make Portland better.
(The Devil appears at what looks like a political campaign stop, shaking hands and kissing babies.)
THE DEVIL: But my efforts kept getting sabotaged. People kept assuming that just because my followers were Devil-worshipers they were bad people.
(SOPHIE SWANSON revealing the board of directors of the Examiner to be a devil cult.)
THE DEVIL: Then I decided to try a different approach. I’d put Naomi Hall in the mayor’s office, appoint Nick Hayes as her adviser. I’d gently guide each of them to do what I wanted, using a combination of guile, bribery, and devil magic.
(THE DEVIL giving the hypno-eyes to MAYOR HALL and NICHOLAS.)
THE DEVIL: And finally I almost had it. The perfect plan. The plan that would make Portland boring.
(A view of the sigil, which fades into a view of the city of Portland, with the sigil still in view from overhead.)
THE DEVIL: An ancient and powerful sigil, centered on the natural boredom hotspot at the offices of the Examiner, that would amplify that boredom until nothing interesting ever happened in Portland. I was so close. It would have rid you of fairies and chaos beasts and other strange happenings forever.
(Cut back to the present. THE DEVIL slams his fist down on the desk, but it makes very little noise. He is almost completely faded now.)
THE DEVIL: And now that will never happen.
MELISSA: Charlotte pulled through, huh?
THE DEVIL: I thought I’d have her. I thought she was someone who wanted a world of boredom. But she wouldn’t listen. No matter how I tried to persuade her. Even Nick couldn’t persuade her.
MELISSA: He’s really not very persuasive.
THE DEVIL: And, worse, Charlotte had prepared for this. I am bound–contractually obligated–not to return to Portland now. She did her homework. The terms under which I am allowed to return are byzantine indeed.
MELISSA: You know, you could have stopped me from seeing that sigil in the first place. Then this never would have happened. You’d have won.
THE DEVIL: (Grins.) I always did like you, Melissa. You’re a hard woman to fool.
(THE DEVIL vanishes entirely.)
MELISSA: Well, fuck. (Beat.) Anyway, did you get all that?
SARAH: Yep! Lots of good shots, tape recorder was running, the works.
MELISSA: Thanks for helping keep Portland weird, small friend. I just wish I could believe that was the last we’d be seeing of him.
SARAH: I’m glad I could help! (Beat.) Did you know your shirt’s on inside out?
MELISSA: You could have told me that before I went to see the Devil, you know.
SARAH: I didn’t know!
MELISSA: (Sighs.) I know. And normally I wouldn’t be worried about it. But you know what they say.
SARAH: Actually, no I don’t!
MELISSA: The devil may care.
SARAH: (Long pause.) I’m not talking to you anymore.
(They depart the mayor’s office in silence. Fin.)