Modern Fae, Chapter 1: Times are a’Change-ling SCENE 1 [Car/Aoife’s rental property] (Driving sounds, as we fade in on DIYA GREENBERG, narrating the beginning of her move to Encrucijada, Texas) DIYA Y’know, as much as I hate to admit it, everyone back in Denver may have had a point when they told me it was batshit to move down here. It’s been two hours since leaving Corpus Cristi and...nothing. Just scrub and ranch and corn and more scrub. What the hell am I doing down here? (She sighs) The weird thing is, traffic was insane going into Corpus, but now... I’m the only car on the road, and I haven’t even seen anyone in the little towns I’ve passed through, either. Texas is strange. (She drives in silence for a beat) But...I’m getting off track. I started making this recording because I want to document my new lease on life. I want to have something I can look back on and say “See, I’ve grown from here. Things used to be bad and now they’re better.” Which means, I guess, I need to start from the beginning. (Theme fades in) DIYA Modern Fae, Chapter 1: Times are a’Change-ling
(Road noise again) DIYA God, it feels like a total cliche to be saying this, but...this all started with a breakup. Well, and I got blackmailed and then fired. It was a rough couple of days. (Sad, small laugh) Maricela said she was tired of waiting for me to figure myself out. I told her that I did have myself figured out. She just shook her head and told me I was still looking for something. And until I wasn’t, she would never be a priority in my life. Once I’d found what it was I was looking for, I could come talk to her. I have no damn clue what she meant. Or, I thought I didn’t. I don’t know. I mean, I’m here, moving my life to a tiny town in Texas of all places, so something is clearly messed up in my life. And Mari was always so damn perceptive. I dunno. Anyway, I made the mistake of crying about the break up at work the next day and the even worse mistake of confiding in a co-worker. Who turned out to be a homophobic shitbag who threatened to blackmail me
to our boss. So I punched my co-worker and promptly got fired for it. Because, y’know, naturally. (Phone ringing) Crap. (Phone keeps ringing, finally Diya picks up) Ammā...I said I’d call when I got there. SARASWATI GREENBERG But you were supposed to arrive twenty minutes ago! DIYA (tired and exasperated) I stopped for some food just south of Corpus, it ate into some of my time. I’m okay, really. SARASWATI GREENBERG You can still come back, you knDIYA I’m not going to. I just...I need change. Something different. And this will be as different as it can get! SARASWATI GREENBERG But honey, I mean...a bookstore, with people you’ve had one phone call with… DIYA I know, okay! It’s way out there. But, it’s just...I did all of the bottoming out stuff. I ate ice cream for a week and didn’t leave my apartment, I cried about the break-up, I edited my resume. And it felt like, I don’t know, this was it. That was the rest of my life. And I don’t want that, ammā, I really don’t. At least here, it feels new
and different. SARASWATI GREENBERG We just want you to be safe.
DIYA (frustrated but also with affection) I...I know. But I need you, and dad, and everyone to just trust me on this.
SARASWATI GREENBERG Okay. Okay, we’ll do our best. Call when you get there? DIYA Yeah, will do. Love you. SARASWATI GREENBERG Love you, Diya. (phone hangs up) DIYA I already told her three times...when is she gonna accept this?? Ugh. And every time someone brings up just how ridiculous this is, the self-doubt grows a little bit, which is not what I need right now. I need the change. New lease on life, and all that. (Car sounds for a bit) Annnnnd I just passed a billboard that said “HELL is waiting. What will you do?” So, uh, I’m in Texas, I guess. Though that particular billboard was a bit more literal than some of the others I’ve passed on this drive… There’s the sign for Encrucijada city limits. Crap, it’s hot. There are heat shimmers all around the sign and the road. Just another dimension to this insanity. So I only know a limited amount of Spanish, but I looked it up, and Encrucijada means “crossroads” and, if I’m being honest, that seemed like a sign. And I don’t usually go in for that kind of garbage, astrology, and all that. But, this...this seemed to mean something. Or, it did back in Denver. Now I’m just worrying about how much money I’m going to waste on AC. (Sigh) Well, at least it looks like this place has some real soul. Some of these houses I’m passing are...out there. I mean, shit, that one looks like a mausoleum, what the hell? Small town America at its finest, I suppose. Some lovely gardens, though. People seem to be really into plants and horticulture down here. Anyway, I told my new landlady I’d swing by the house to pick up the keys first before I checked out the new job, so I’m heading there now. (GPS voice tells her to turn left in 100 feet) Ughhh, first stoplight I get to and it’s red. I’m already 10 minutes late for the meeting with Aoife…Ah, good, the light’s change-(Screech of brakes)
FUCK!Hey, grandma, are you trying to get yourself killed??? Get out of the-(Sound of heavy breathing, ominous music) Uh, wha-what the hell?? (The car moves forward again, Diya is clearly uneasy, trying to pull herself together) That was really...weird. Creepy. This old lady, she walked out into the crosswalk just as the light turned and when I yelled, she, well, she turned to look at me. Which I guess isn’t that strange, but she was just...off. She moved her head way too slowly. And she smiled just a little too wide... (Pause) Oh, who am I kidding, I’m probably just exhausted and a little loopy from all this driving. (Driving sounds for a few seconds) Okay, this should be it, finally. And that must be Aoife… (sounds of car parking, car door opening, walking. Our first introduction to AOIFE) AOIFE (Her accent is hard to place, but seems to be lightly Irish) Hey there! Diya, I presume? I’m Aoife, great to finally meet you! DIYA (Sighs) Uh...yeah. Good to meet you too.
AOIFE You’ve got a lovely name, really strong! Make sure to take care of it. DIYA What does that mean? AOIFE Oh, you know. You never know what the folks around here might get up to! DIYA That’s not exactly comforting… AOIFE Ah, it’s nothing bad, but people around these parts put a lot of value into names, so you want to keep your’s safe.
DIYA Uhh, right, okay. So this is the house? It’s a little bigger than I expected… AOIFE Yeah, the pictures do not do it justice-you’ve got two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms, and a shed out back, plus an acre of yard! DIYA And, um, you’re sure that this is the correct price? You’re really renting for $300 a month? AOIFE (Suddenly acting very offended) Did someone call me a liar? DIYA N-no! It just seems too good to be true. Like, there’s always a catch with something like this, usually. AOIFE (Cooly) Well, there’s not. I just like providing affordable housing. I’m not like some damned--Well, not like some people in this town. (Softening a bit) Would you like the tour before I give you the keys? DIYA (Confused by her change of tone) Uh, yeah, that’d be great. Let me just get something from the car-(She startles, because a young girl, of maybe 11 years of age, is standing on top of her car, squinting suspiciously around the immediate vicinity) Wha-??! Hey, kid, get off of my car! You could hurt yourse--! AOIFE (Cutting in sharply) Tok! Get out of here, I told you and that sibling of yours to stay away from the rental property. Where are they, anywa--? TOK
They’re missing, or I wouldn’t be here. They could be in the house because they love finding loopholes to get around rules and your rules are full of loopholes, Eve. (She looks at Diya for the first time) You’re new here. I wonder how long you’ll stay. AOIFE (Through gritted teeth) Well, if we see them, I’ll send them along to you, then. Now scram. (Sounds of shoes squeaking on metal and then running away?) AOIFE Sorry about that. Shall we? DIYA (Thoroughly confused) Umm, yeah, but what was all that about? AOIFE Don’t worry about it. Now, as we go inside, let me draw your attention to the hardwood floor...
SCENE 2 [Car/Bookstore] DIYA ...everything’s moved in now, if not unpacked. So that’s something. Aoife was really nice after that weirdness with the kid, and I think she’s genuinely just a good person. Cute, too. Very...cute. No, I can’t do that right now. Too soon after the breakup. (Small pause) I wonder what the local NPR station is (tuning radio sounds, static, and then distorted, weird speech) RADIO
BErg...GREEeEEN, COMING...END IS….COMING IT APPROACHES--And make sure to keep hydrated, folks, these record high temperatures are going to continue through the weekend--IT COMES...appROACHING DIYA You’ve got to be kidding me. One of those evangelical shows must be on the same channel as NPR, ugh. (She turns off the radio) I just need to go check out the bookstore, meet Mr. Enki, and get the lay of the land there. He expects me to start in two days…Here’s the shop. (Sounds of parking car, getting out, opening door to the bookstore) DIYA So this is it...The Fount Bookstore. Jeez, it’s much bigger than it looks from the outside. And these shelves are amazing! (Creaking of floorboards, enter MR. ENKI) ENKI Hello there, young lady. Is there something I can help you with? DIYA Uh, yeah, I’m Diya Greenberg, the new manager, I was hired last-ENKI Ah, yes. Ms. Greenberg, do come in. I’m Mr. Enki, the owner and creator of this fine establishment. It is my great pleasure to finally make your acquaintance in person after all of those lovely conversations on the telephone. DIYA Um, yeah, but there was only one phone call, last week, right? ENKI Hmmmm? Oh, yes, I suppose. Would you like some tea? You know, I never really drank tea when I was young, but I simply love it now. What a wonderful discovery! DIYA Yeah, sure, that would be ni--
ENKI Excellent! I have some just prepared in the back, why don’t you come on back and have a cup while we discuss your contract. (Sharp change in voice) ISI! CLIO! Watch the shop while Ms. Greenberg and I discuss business! Try to get some actual sales, my dears! (Footsteps, enter ISIMUD and CLIO) ISIMUD Ah, shit, old man, this place is big but there’s no need to scream. ENKI Isi, what have I told you about using that kind of language in the shop? ISIMUD Oh, I remember what you said, I just chose not to follow what you said. CLIO Actually we heard what you said, promptly forgot it, and then played bowling using the Encylopaedia Britannica as the pins. ISIMUD Oh yeah, forgot about that. ENKI (Sighs long and deep) Just...watch the shop. We will return momentarily.
CLIO No promises, dude, that guapa barista across the street is giving me some serious eyes. DIYA Nice to meet you… ISIMUD Oh yeah, nice to meet you, new girl. (Footsteps, door opening and closing) ENKI
I apologize for those two buffoons, you can see why I need a new manager! DIYA Um, yeah, I guess. ENKI Now, before you get started, we both just need to sign your work contract, and then you can work out a schedule with Clio and Isimud. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your tea... (pouring of tea, shuffling of papers, clinking of glasses, pens, etc) Ah, here we are! (Sound of something thick and heavy hitting the desk) DIYA Is that...clay? ENKI It is indeed. I know most people have gone digital, but I like to have hard copies of these sorts of things; one can never be too careful with important documents! DIYA Okay, uh, Mr...Enki, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just. Well, who the hell writes a contract in clay?? (Bad attempt at a joke) I thought that kind of thing went out of fashion 6000 years ago! (Loud and very forced laughter from both of them) ENKI You are, of course, correct, and I do have a paper copy here, my dear. (shuffle of papers) I just like to have the clay as, ah, a more symbolic representation of our work agreement and of my very deep interest in ancient cultures and their ways. DIYA (clearly thinks that either she or Enki has lost all sense of reality, or possibly both of them) Okay, sure, you know what? Sounds good. ENKI (Completely oblivious of her tone)
Splendid! If you will just read through, sign, and date the paper contract here… (brief pause as she does this) ...And then I will do the same... (He does) ...And now we will both leave our marks on the tablet. (Sound of flesh on clay as they both press their thumbs into the tablet?) DIYA OUCH!! I think it cut me! ENKI There are often small rocks and such in raw clay, my dear, I’m sure it is nothing! (He swiftly stores the tablet) And having your blood on such a contract seems appropriate, no? You are committing your time and energy to this job! (He laughs) Now, finish your tea, and you can be on your way. I’m sure you have plenty to occupy yourself with moving into your new home; we can revisit your work schedule in a day or two. DIYA (sucking the tip of her thumb, it isn’t bleeding much) Yeah, sure. Uh, have a good weekend. ENKI And you, my dear, and you! (Footsteps, door opening, more footsteps) DIYA Uh, good night...was it Clio and Isi? CLIO His full name is Isimud but he hates it. ISIMUD Which is why you use it all the time. CLIO (Unphased) Yeah, duh. Anyway, let me know if you wanna hang, Ms. Greenberg.
DIYA (She’s tired, and very weirded out by everything, so she snaps a bit) Not sure that would be appropriate, Clio. CLIO (reversing course smoothly) Yeah, you’re probably right. Apologies for making you uncomfortable, Ms. Greenberg. DIYA Oh, it’s Di-CLIO Apologies, Dee. DIYA (sighs) It’s--thanks. (Door opens, closes, footsteps, car door opening and closing, car turning on) I think this town is officially the weirdest place I’ve ever been. At least I definitely have a job now, and it doesn’t seem like it’s a scam or anything. Maybe I just need to give everything a chance to settle...I’m sure any new place seems weird at first. (click as the recorder is turned off) SCENE 3 [around the bungalow] DIYA Ooooof, okay, that’s the last of the boxes unpacked. So at least that’s done. Ah, damn, how is there this much trash just from that?? Ugh, this two trips’ worth. (She grunts as she picks up the first bag) Seriously, how is it this heavy?? At least the local pizza joint is good… (footsteps, Diya grunts, door opens, more footsteps) *AHHH!!* SHIT WH--Oh, oh. Fuck, that scared me. Just a raccoon. You’re a bold little guy, I’ll give you that… (Grunt as she hoists the bag into the trash can and then shuts it, scuffling from the raccoon) Maybe I’ll leave my crusts out for you, bud.
(Footsteps, door opening, another grunt as she picks up the other bag, SCREECH from outside) What the??? (Footsteps, door opening as she rushes outside) Buddy? (The raccoon is gone, in its place is TIK) DIYA Uh, kid, did you scare a raccoon around here? TIK Y’know, probably? I ate it sooo... DIYA Ohhh scary, yah got me, kid, very funny. TIK You’re the new one. Can I have your name?
DIYA Um, I’m Diy--ugh, just call me Dee.
TIK (Voice starting to distort) That’s NOT YOUR REAL NAME. DIYA Kid, what the hell, where are your p-TIK (Voice distorting more) TELL ME YOUR REAL NAME OR I’LL EAT YOU. DIYA Kid, calm down and go home. Or do you need to call someone??? TIK THERE IS NO ONE LEFT TO CALL, DEE. (With a hiss and a snarl, he runs away on all fours)
DIYA Fucking hell, what--is that blood?? (panicked,she runs back inside, slams the door, and locks it) Where the fuck AM I??? END CHAPTER 1