Episode 11: Hard Questions

[SCENE I. KELLY and CELESTE’s new apartment. It is small and rather messy, mostly with the detritus of various art projects. CELESTE is pacing up and down while KELLY sits on the couch with a sketchbook.]

KELLY: I think you’re making too big a deal of it.

CELESTE: This isn’t the first time she’s been immune to something she shouldn’t be. Melissa is cheating somehow.

KELLY: What was the first time?

CELESTE: Oh, there was a magic spell that should have . . . it didn’t work, though.

KELLY: I feel like you should tell me if you’re casting spells on people I like.

CELESTE: You were there. It was to cure Sarah’s spring fever.

KELLY: I don’t remember that.

CELESTE: Party in the woods?

KELLY: Oh yeah! (Beat.) I don’t really remember that night very well.

CELESTE: That was the spell. Look, the point is she remembers that night perfectly, and she shouldn’t. And she didn’t turn into a mindless drone like you did from those mind-control fries.

KELLY: Hey, fuck you, I wasn’t mindless.

CELESTE: You know what I mean. She’s cheating somehow. I want to know what happened. You in?

KELLY: In for what?

CELESTE: I’m going to pay her a visit.

KELLY: In a ‘hi, we brought flowers’ sense or a ‘we’re here to break your kneecaps’ sense?

CELESTE: Just come along. Nobody’s going to get hurt.

KELLY: If you insist.

[SCENE II. SARAH and MELISSA’s house. MELINA answers the door as CELESTE and KELLY pay them a visit.]

CELESTE: Melissa at home?

LINA: (Calling upstairs.) Hey Lissa! There’s a goth and a Hayes here to see you. You at home?

MELISSA: (From her room.) Is the Hayes pretty or broody?

LINA: It’s the pretty one.

MELISSA: I’ll be right down!

LINA: Guess you can come in.

(They come in and sit down on the couch. MELISSA, still wearing flowers in her hair, comes downstairs.)

MELISSA: Gotharella and Hayes the Younger! My favorite tag-team duo that doesn’t involve me. What’s up?

KELLY: Oh, just thought we’d–

CELESTE: We’re here about the mind-control, Melissa. I want to know how you did it.

KELLY: I thought we were going for subtle?

CELESTE: We’re all friends here.

MELISSA: (Sighs.) Can I get you two a beer? I know you’re only like twelve–

CELESTE: I’m nineteen.

MELISA: –but I trust you not to arrest me.

KELLY: A beer would be good.

CELESTE: Since you’re offering.

(As MELISSA talks, she is wandering into the kitchen to retrieve some beer for her guests, and, apparently, Lina.)

MELISSA: Listen, Gotharella, I’d love to help you–I owe you more favors than anyone I know, I think–but I really don’t know why I’m immune to these things.

CELESTE: Is it genetic? (To LINA.) Did you go to the Zenburger while it was open?

LINA: Why the fuck would I do that?

MELISSA: Lina, have you ever found yourself strangely immune to mind-control magic?

LINA: If I have, I forgot.

MELISSA: There you have it.

CELESTE: Why are you keeping this a secret? The people of Portland need this!

MELISSA: I really don’t know. Maybe I just got a bad batch of fries.

CELESTE: What protected you from that spell at Sarah’s party?

MELISSA: I thought maybe you were just being nice to me.

KELLY: Look, Celeste. Weird shit happens around Melissa. It’s kind of a thing.

CELESTE: It happens to a lot of people! Everyone else gets affected by it. She just shrugs it off.

MELISSA: Hey, I didn’t shrug that off. I still get the urge to wear tie-dye and listen to Phish, man. That shit is traumatizing.

KELLY: Still think it was hot.

MELISSA: Do you? (Beat. To CELESTE.) Look, I don’t know what you want me to do. If you want to cast spells on me or whatever, I’m not doing anything tonight. But I swear I don’t know anything.

CELESTE: What about Lina? Can I cast spells on Lina?

LINA: You leave me out of this shit. You two are both consenting adults. What you do in the privacy of your bedrooms is up to you. But I want none of it.

CELESTE: Fine. I’ve got to get my things. I’ll be back in twenty minutes. (She departs.)

LINA: So, now she’s gone. Do you actually know what’s going on?

MELISSA: Oh, totally. At least, I think so. (She writes something down on a scrap of paper, then sticks it in an envelope and hands it to LINA.) Open this up later. That’s my guess.

KELLY: You knew?

MELISSA: Oh yeah. After you asked I thought about it. Kind of obvious in retrospect.

KELLY: Why didn’t you just tell?

MELISSA: This is more fun. I like fun.

KELLY: God, I love you.

LINA: Get a room.

(MELISSA gets up.)

MELISSA: Send Gotharella upstairs when she gets back. Kelly and I are just going to clean up.

LINA: Whatever you say, Lissa.

(They head upstairs. Twenty minutes pass and CELESTE returns with a laden tote bag; LINA merely jerks with a thumb at the upstairs. CELESTE heads that way and knocks hesitantly on MELISSA’s door.)

MELISSA: One moment!

(She opens the door after a moment. The flowers in her hair are absent.)

MELISSA: Ready to do your voodoo magic?

CELESTE: It’s not voodoo. (She steps into the bedroom. It’s a mess of clothes and books. KELLY is seated on a swivel chair, playing with MELISSA’s flower headband. She looks inexplicably embarrassed when CELESTE walks in. MELISSA flops onto the bed.) This is kind of weird for me.

MELISSA: It’s fine. Do you want to sit down?

CELESTE: I think I’ll stand.

MELISSA: Great. Need anything?

CELESTE: Hair? It’s traditional.

MELISSA: Go for it. Kelly, my scissors.

KELLY: I . . . have no idea where those are.

(MELISSA fishes around on the floor and produces a box, which she opens to reveal some hair clippers and scissors. She cuts some of her hair and hands it to CELESTE.)

MELISSA: Anything else?

CELESTE: No, I think that’ll do.

MELISSA: Ready when you are, then.

(CELESTE nods and begins performing some elaborate chanting and arm-waving and other things that look like casting a spell. MELISSA closes her eyes and looks like she’s about to go to sleep.)

CELESTE: Melissa?

MELISSA: (Opening one eye.) Mm?

CELESTE: Do you think I could have twenty dollars?

MELISSA: Um, no.

CELESTE: Do you perhaps feel any vaguely kind thoughts aimed in my direction?

MELISSA: Nothing that can’t be explained by lying in bed listening to you chant and dance around in my bedroom.

CELESTE: That should have worked! Only a very powerful wizard can counter that spell.

KELLY: A very powerful wizard, or Melissa.

MELISSA: Maybe I’m a very powerful wizard.

KELLY: You don’t have a beard.

CELESTE: Did you make a pact with the Devil?

MELISSA: Nope.

CELESTE: Are you a secret changeling?

MELISSA: Doubt it. (Beat. Carefully.) Listen. Talk of wizards reminded me of Gavin’s friend, the wizard. You remember him?

CELESTE: He’s the one that got me into wizardry in the first place!

MELISSA: Let’s give him a call. I bet he can find out what’s wrong with me. (She grabs her cellphone from under a pile of shirts and tosses it at CELESTE.) I find myself suddenly in the mood to get a drink. Shall we head downstairs?

CELESTE: I suppose. (They begin walking downstairs. CELESTE places the call and puts the WIZARD on speakerphone.) Uh, hey, Mr. Wizard.

WIZARD: Ah, Celeste! What can I do for you?

CELESTE: Well, I was wondering why Melissa seems to be immune to mind-control magic.

WIZARD: Ah! Well, how much do you know about her time-traveling excursion?

CELESTE: I didn’t know she had one.

WIZARD: She did indeed! I gave her a potion that protects against mind-control magic so she wouldn’t forget the events of the future when I sent her back into the past.

CELESTE: Is this the permanent sort of potion?

WIZARD: It is.

CELESTE: I see. Thank you for your time.

WIZARD: Don’t mention it. Always happy to help.

(CELESTE hangs up. At this point they are all in the living room once again.)

MELISSA: Now, Lina, I’d like you to open the envelope I gave you.

LINA: (Does so.) “Wizard gave me a potion in the future.”

CELESTE: Couldn’t you have just told me that?

MELISSA: This way was more fun. I like fun.

KELLY: Anyway, this way we know for sure!

CELESTE: So basically what you’re saying is a wizard did it.

MELISSA: Yep.

CELESTE: And you knew that the whole time.

MELISSA: Yep.

CELESTE: You’re kind of annoying sometimes, you know that?

MELISSA: Yep. (Beat.) Want to watch some movies while you’re here?

CELESTE: I . . . sure, but only because you’ve broken my spirit.

MELISSA: That’s the spirit. I’ll even let you choose which one to watch first.

(CELESTE begins flipping through the stack of DVDs. Fin.)

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