Episode 13: Our Home And Native Land

[SCENE I. The mayor’s office. It’s some time after dark. NICHOLAS is sitting in the office formerly belonging to Mayor HALL, looking at a dossier of photos furnished to him by GAVIN, standing opposite.]

NICHOLAS: Jesus, that is a lot of Canadians.

GAVIN: I was as shocked as you, my friend. People I thought I knew–people I respected–are part of this. I got an admission from Melissa. As far as we can tell, it’s infiltrated that entire social group. And, as you can see, your sister is clearly involved. I believe she may be the lynchpin.

NICHOLAS: I notice she is not actually in any of these photographs.

GAVIN: We suspect Melissa is hiding her somewhere. We’ve got her house under surveillance.

NICHOLAS: So, what do you want me to do about it?

GAVIN: That’s up to you. I know harboring Canadians isn’t technically illegal–yet–so you can’t have the police investigate. But if you can finance our investigation, we can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about your little sister’s Canadian-loving ways.

NICHOLAS: I kind of try not to know anything about Kelly’s secret doings. But okay, you can tell Sophie you’re hired.

GAVIN: You won’t regret it.

 

[SCENE II. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. The windows are covered with blackout curtains, and the living room is full of people–MELISSA and MELINA on the couch, SARAH on the easy chair, KELLY sitting on the floor in front of MELISSA, and the CANADIAN standing politely out of the way in the corner. The atmosphere is tense. Several large boxes fill the kitchen–sized so that someone could probably fit inside, if they were trying.]

LINA: Look, I could just beat him up.

MELISSA: Tempting, but unlikely to work. I–

(A knock at the door. LINA grabs a fire poker and opens the door a crack. A DELIVERY MAN stands outside, nervously, with another large box.)

DELIVERY MAN: Uh, delivery for Sarah Ames?

LINA: No one by that name lives here.

DELIVERY MAN: They said you’d say that. Then they said I should say “the leaves are changing” when you did.

LINA: Good man. Just leave them on the doorstep. I’ll take care of them.

(The DELIVERY MAN nods and withdraws. After everyone has had the opportunity to get out of sight, MELINA and MELISSA step outside; MELINA flips off the bushes opposite the house before they heft the box and move it inside to join the rest of the boxes in the kitchen. Everyone emerges from their hiding spots.)

KELLY: I think that’s the last of them.

SARAH: That’s probably good, since we’re kind of running out of room.

MELISSA: Going to tell us what’s in them now?

KELLY: I think it’s fruit juice, maybe? I’m not really sure.

MELISSA: Then why did you have it delivered here?

KELLY: So we could get these boxes. (She pries one open.) This isn’t my first rodeo. You’re being inexpertly watched, and you need to get me and Marc out of here.

MELISSA: And? (Realization dawns.) Oh. That’s actually pretty good.

SARAH: Won’t that be kind of obvious?

MELISSA: Well, there’s a lot more boxes than there are people that need smuggling.

KELLY: Exactly. We’ve got a decoy drop point and everything. We take the first several boxes out there, one at a time–one of them has a volunteer, the rest has fruit juice. Then once they’ve decided to catch us in the act over there, we can just slip out the back.

LINA: You should stuff Lissa in the box. (She heads for the door.) I’ve got to run. Call me when it all works out. (She ducks out the door.)

MELISSA: God, I hate it when she does that.

KELLY: Yeah. (Beat.) So, help me empty these boxes so we can stuff you in one of them.

MELISSA: What about–you know what, fine. I’ll do it. Because I like you. But I expect to be compensated for my troubles.

(They begin working at removing pallets of juice from the boxes.)

 

[SCENE III. Outside KELLY and CELESTE’s place. SOPHIE is still staking the place out. She looks about ready to doze off when CELESTE departs and gets in her car.]

SOPHIE: (Into a two-way radio.) Celeste is on the move. I’m going to follow her.

(She starts the car and follows CELESTE off into the distance.)

 

[SCENE IV. The town square. MELINA has just finished drawing a maple leaf in gasoline in the center of the plaza. She proceeds to light this on fire, smiles at the blazing maple leaf, then turns to leave before anyone notices what’s going on.]

 

[SCENE V. MELISSA and SARAH’s house, outside. CELESTE arrives at the door, talks to SARAH briefly, then helps load two of the boxes into her car. They drive off, with SOPHIE’s car following. They drive out to a remote parking lot well outside of town and unload, then drive off.]

SOPHIE: (Into the radio.) They dropped the box in the middle of nowhere. Not sure what–wait a minute.

(One of the boxes can be seen moving slightly. Eventually MELISSA slashes her way out of the box, wielding a pocket knife of some variety, then sits down against the other one, and knocks on it rhythmically.)

GAVIN: (Via radio.) What is it? What happened?

SOPHIE: Melissa just came out of one of the boxes. This is it. This is the place.

GAVIN: Yeah. There’s a flaming maple leaf downtown. Might be some kind of signal. Should I check it out?

SOPHIE: Do it. Jeremy?

JEREMY: Yeah?

SOPHIE: I’m going to stake out the drop site here. If you can follow the car–

JEREMY: As soon as I see it.

SOPHIE: And tell Nick Hayes to be ready to summon some cops. This is going to make Swanson Investigations famous.

 

[SCENE VI. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. Later. KELLY and the CANADIAN are inside watching a movie when SARAH and CELESTE return and begin loading up another box. This cycle repeats a few times–roughly thirty minutes lapses between each pick-up. Eventually they are loading the final boxes.]

CELESTE: So, yeah, they’re definitely following us. And Melissa thinks she sees someone watching the drop.

SARAH: We’re thinking of going somewhere else with this last drop just to fuck with them.

KELLY: I like it.

CELESTE: Well, good luck, Kels.

(CELESTE and SARAH finish loading the box and drive off. After about five minutes, KELLY and the CANADIAN slip out through the window, and escape into the night.)

 

[SCENE VII. The drop site. A box truck arrives, and the driver gets out and begins talking to MELISSA. She begins helping him load the boxes into the back of the truck.]

SOPHIE: What do you mean, they’re not going to the same place?

JEREMY: I’ve been following them and they’re going the opposite direction.

SOPHIE: But a big U-Haul-type truck just showed up and they’re loading it up!

JEREMY: I don’t know. Maybe they know I’m following them.

SOPHIE: Well, keep on them. I’m going to follow this one.

(In the distance, MELISSA gets in the cab of the truck, and it drives off, with SOPHIE following behind.)

 

[SCENE VIII. The docks. KELLY and the CANADIAN arrive at a very nondescript-looking boat. The boat is nearly finished loading its cargo–one of the dockworkers hails KELLY as she approaches.]

CREWMAN: Captain! Thought we were going to miss you on this run.

KELLY: Not tonight. (She gestures at the CANADIAN.) After tonight, this here’s your new captain. I’ve got to lay low for a while.

CREWMAN: Aye, captain.

KELLY: But tonight, we save Canada. (They board the ship. The last crate is loaded, and they sail off into the night.)

 

[SCENE IX. CELESTE’s car. They are driving down a mostly deserted freeway now, with SARAH peering behind them and talking on her phone.]

SARAH: Yeah, he’s still following us. I guess we’ll meet you in Seattle?

MELISSA: (On the phone.) Sounds good. Any idea if Kelly got out all right?

SARAH: No! You’d think smugglers would answer their cell phones.

MELISSA: Figures. Well, I’ll see you when I see you, Sarah.

SARAH: Bye!

(She hangs up. The car continues driving, and SARAH leans her head against the window and tries to sleep.)

 

[SCENE X. NICHOLAS’s house, sometime the following day. He is watching the news report with GAVIN, who looks a little guilty.]

ANCHOR: Last night, criminals successfully smuggled several tons of maple syrup out of the Port of Portland, pulling off a heist that a top official at the mayor’s office described as “Ocean’s 11-like.” The event triggered anti-Canadian protests around the city, most of which were dissolved after confronting a figure described as “really polite and apologetic.” Business owners across Portland have declared tomorrow to be “We Love Canadians Day,” with the acting mayor Nicholas Hayes himself officiating a poutine contest–

(NICHOLAS turns off the television.)

NICHOLAS: I note, with interest, that I paid you a good deal of money to accomplish exactly nothing.

GAVIN: Well, I–

NICHOLAS: I even had the police on standby all night. Waiting for you to reveal something sinister.

GAVIN: But the timing is perfect! Now that they think they’ve won, they’ll let their guard down. We can infiltrate and bring down the Canadians from the inside.

NICHOLAS: They have won, Gavin.

GAVIN: I–

NICHOLAS: Anyway, you saw the news. I’m officiating their poutine competition. I wanted to stand my ground but those damn Canadians are just so, so–so nice. How can you say no to that?

GAVIN: Every time I find myself thinking a Canadian is nice, I just remember one thing.

NICHOLAS: What’s that?

GAVIN: They always buy all the good pastries at the Jaded Old Crone. By the time I get there it’s just the boring ones left.

NICHOLAS: Truly, they are history’s greatest monsters.

GAVIN: I’ll stop them one day, Nick. Mark my words.

(Fin.)

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