Episode 22: Getting Into The Spirit Of Things

[SCENE I. The Xenakis family home. DIMITRI and ANA are preparing a meal when MELINA arrives; she is sporting a black eye and a generally unhappy demeanor.]

DIMITRI: (Walking into the entry hall to see who has arrived.) Ah, Melina! Isn’t your sister coming?

LINA: Good to see you too, dad. (She sits down at the dining room table.) She is not.

DIMITRI: (He sits down opposite her.) Is she still offended at . . . I don’t even remember what I’d done, actually. Surely she’s not?

LINA: No.

(ANA walks into the dining room at this point.)

ANA: Your eye! What happened, darling?

LINA: I’m fine, but thanks for actually noticing.  (She gives her father a reproachful look.) We had a run-in with the vengeful spirit of Christmas.

(DIMITRI and ANA exchange glances.)

ANA: Did you consider seeing a doctor after hitting your head?

LINA: It abducted Melissa. We’re going to get her back but I thought, you know . . . .

ANA: Well, we’ll set out a place for her just in case. (Beat.) You’re sure you’re all right?

LINA: Fine as I’ll ever be. Can we not talk about it?

(DIMITRI and ANA exchange glances again.)

DIMITRI: If you say so. Go help your mother finish dinner, yes?

(MELINA sighs and follows her mother into the kitchen.)

 

[SCENE II. A prison cell in the North Pole. MELISSA has been chained with tinsel in a cell with bars apparently made of candy cane. She is bouncing a tennis ball against the walls of her cell in a fashion very reminiscent of Steve McQueen in the Great Escape. A large shadow blocks her light, and she catches the ball and looks up. KRAMPUS, a demonic looking creature with a huge lolling tongue, stands in the doorway.]

KRAMPUS: My, my, Santa’s been good to me this time.

MELISSA: The version of you my sister killed was scarier.

KRAMPUS: But less real. (He licks her face; she cringes but can’t really get much further away.) Ooh, you have been naughty this year. You’ll make a damn fine addition to my stew.

MELISSA: No doubt.

KRAMPUS: (Mournfully, to himself.) It’s been fucking years since I’ve had anything good in my stew.

MELISSA: Santa runs a pretty tight ship, huh?

KRAMPUS: Hah. You don’t know the half of it. (He pats himself down.) Oh, shit, I forgot my salt and pepper. I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere.

(KRAMPUS chuckles evilly and wanders off. MELISSA shakes her head and resumes playing with the tennis ball.)

 

[SCENE III. The mayor’s office. NICHOLAS has a map of Portland on his desk; he is showing it to SARAH, KELLY, and a JACKBOOTED THUG.]

NICHOLAS: So, I’ve decided it will be easiest to destroy Christmas in the public areas first, before they have a chance to react. So we’ll hit the strip malls first. Teams here, here, here, and here (he points at each location) will wait for my signal–which will be my announcement of Emergency Executive Order 1225. Once they’ve seen the public bastions of Christmastime fall, my analysts suggest that most of the private strongholds will surrender voluntarily. Questions?

SARAH: . . . we’re still waiting to hear from Celeste and Jeremy, right?

NICHOLAS: Well, yes.

SARAH: This is kind of really horrible, is all.

NICHOLAS: Trying not to think about that, thanks.

SARAH: And you seem kind of excited about it.

NICHOLAS: I’m just doing my duty as mayor.

SARAH: And you–

NICHOLAS: Yes, thank you, Sarah. (He turns to the JACKBOOTED THUG.) Captain, make sure your men are in place and wait for my signal.

THUG: Yes, sir. (He marches out.)

(NICHOLAS makes something of a show of taking a sip from his coffee mug, only to find it empty.)

NICHOLAS: Damn. Sarah, I’ve got to stay here, do you think you could–

SARAH: Oh, no problem! (She takes the mug and scurries off.)

NICHOLAS: (After a few moments.) So, what are the odds Celeste and Jeremy actually pull it off?

KELLY: Basically nothing.

NICHOLAS: And you don’t have any clever ideas?

KELLY: Most of my ideas rely on there being rioting, looting, and general widespread chaos. But don’t worry, when that happens I’ll do fine.

NICHOLAS: (Sighs.) Remind me never to let you ask me for help again.

 

[SCENE IV. JEREMY’s lab. CELESTE and JEREMY have built some sort of war machine. She is just finishing creating a magical portal. They both jump in the war machine and take it through the portal. It ends up somewhere in the middle of a vast desert, which looks nothing like the Christmas hellscape of the North Pole. There is also no return portal, and after several steps the machine breaks down with several sad mechanical noises.]

CELESTE: Fuck this.

JEREMY: We could try again?

CELESTE: Do you think that likely to work?

JEREMY: No, not really.

CELESTE: Then I say again: fuck this.

 

[SCENE V. MELISSA’s cell. KRAMPUS returns, holding up some salt and pepper shakers.]

KRAMPUS: Do you mind seasoning yourself?

MELISSA: Sure, why the hell not? (She takes the shakers and pauses.) So, why do you even bother with Santa? I mean, you didn’t seem too fond of him–

KRAMPUS: Man, you don’t know shit, little girl. You want to know about Santa? Let me tell you about Santa. I got stories about Santa that would blow your fucking mind.

MELISSA: I doubt that.

KRAMPUS: We’ll just see about that. (He sits down opposite her.) So, there I was . . .

 

[SCENE VI. The mayor’s office. NICHOLAS, SARAH, and KELLY are standing around the map, looking tense.]

NICHOLAS: Still no word from Celeste and Jeremy.

SARAH: Come on, it’s only been five minutes

NICHOLAS: That’s kind of forever in the world of precision SWAT strikes.

KELLY: Listen. Celeste has never been less than thirty minutes late for anything in her life. Give her time.

NICHOLAS: (Sighs.) She gets five more minutes, then we call in the SWAT teams. Christmas is going down.

KELLY: Make it fifteen. It’s Christmas, after all. You can afford to be generous.

NICHOLAS: You’re sick. (Beat.) I’ll give you ten. Since it’s Christmas.

 

[SCENE VII. MELISSA’s cell. She and KRAMPUS are talking.]

MELISSA: I’m just saying, you don’t have to be on this loser’s team. He’s just using you. The power he’s getting from all this Christmas music doesn’t help you at all.

KRAMPUS: But we’re pals! He’s just been going through a rough spell lately.

MELISSA: From your stories, it sounds like he’s been going through a rough spell since you first met him. Come on. You help me out of here, you won’t have to put up with his shit anymore.

KRAMPUS: All right, fine. (He unlocks her cell.) I’m going to the portal room. I guess I probably couldn’t stop you if you followed me.

MELISSA: That’s the spirit. I’m sure there’s naughty children all around the world just waiting to be dragged off and eaten.

(They walk to a portal room. MELISSA chooses one and approaches it.)

MELISSA: Thanks for your help, Krampus.

KRAMPUS: Yeah, you’re all right.

(She steps through the portal and materializes in the mayor’s office. Nobody seems to notice her arrival.)

NICHOLAS: It’s been ten minutes.

SARAH: Only technically!

NICHOLAS: Listen, I can’t just put this off forever.

MELISSA: Why not? You’re good at putting things off.

NICHOLAS: Because this is important. If I don’t destroy Christmas–wait. (He turns.) Melissa?

MELISSA: That’s me. (The others also turn. SARAH makes a faint ‘eee’ sound and gives her a hug.) Hi, Sarah. Kelly. Other Hayes.

NICHOLAS: Aren’t you supposed to be in some sort of horrible Christmassy prison somewhere?

MELISSA: I escaped. Why are you destroying Christmas? Can I help?

NICHOLAS: I was–we were, uh. Trying to save you.

MELISSA: Mm, I bet.

KELLY: Did you defeat the spirit of Christmas?

MELISSA: No. He’s still out there, somewhere. Who knows when he’ll strike again?

NICHOLAS: I could still destroy Christmas, if you think–

MELISSA: No, no. There has to be another way. We’ll be ready next time.

 

[SCENE VIII. The desert. JEREMY is idly tinkering with the war machine when it whirs back to life. CELESTE draws another magic circle and opens up a portal. They travel through this one and end up in the Christmas fortress. Overjoyed, JEREMY advances and pulls a trigger to attack. The war machine begins making distressing noises. CELESTE and JEREMY bail out and run for it. Just as they take shelter behind a convenient rock, the war machine explodes. When the dust settles, there is nothing left of the North Pole hellscape. CELESTE and JEREMY emerge from cover, covered in soot and a little singed, and exchange glances. CELESTE checks her iPad.]

CELESTE: There are no spirits anywhere near here. I think we just accidentally won.

JEREMY: Great! (Beat.) Let’s never speak of this to anyone.

CELESTE: Agreed.

(Fin.)

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