// MARSCAPONE APARTMENTS //

When CEDRIC gets home, it’s late.

AVAEL has forgotten to feed the cat. Again. The cat near explodes at him when he walks in the door. He dumps some kibble in the bowl and moves on with his day.

He’s just about to sit down to enjoy a little time with a book when –

BZZ!!

His phone starts going off.

It’s the half-breed.

CEDRIC//

Caleb. What do you want? I just got back.

CALEB//

I was just wondering if there was still going to be a meeting tonight.

CEDRIC//

Well. Yeah. Why wouldn't there be.

CALEB//

I don't know, I just thought you might need, you know. to rest up.

CEDRIC//

Eh. No. I'll make it through. The meeting is important to the guys.

CALEB//

Can I come?

CEDRIC//

What, you don't have a date with your little girlfriend?

CALEB//

You...You know about that?

CEDRIC//

Yeah. I do. Word gets around.

CALEB//

Yeah. Well. It's not like you have any room to talk.

Are you still fucking Svetlana?

CEDRIC//

Yeah. What's your point?

CALEB//

She's... uh... not gonna be there tonight, is she?

CEDRIC//

I don't really know. It's not like I keep her fuckin' datebook or whatever.

CALEB//

She's just... so beautiful. I find it difficult to be around her.

You bagged a real babe.

CEDRIC//

That's enough, Caleb. What do you want?

CALEB//

I'm bored and I want to come over.

CEDRIC//

Well, like I said, we're playing D&D tonight. So you might be a bit bored.

CALEB//

Do you need any fruit?

CEDRIC//

The last stock you brought to me was beaten and bruised. So unless you got the good stuff in you can skip me on your route.

CALEB//

I got some new stuff this week....

CEDRIC//

Your "new stuff" has been shit lately. You ain't got the klout to get something brand-name? I'm really sick of this hybrid crap. It's bullshit.

CALEB//

I'm sorry to hear it's been... unsatisfactory.

CEDRIC//

Yeah, I'll say. Do you even get high on your own supply? Because you should.

CALEB//

I thought the stuff was pretty good...

I'm sorry to hear you disagree.

CEDRIC//

So. That's the best you got?

CALEB//

Well, I do know a guy...

CEDRIC//

Perfect. You get the goods, you call me up, OK?

CALEB//

Yeah. Will do. See ya later.

CEDRIC//

See ya.

CEDRIC puts down his phone. Of course CALEB was always… wincing.

He yells into the house.

CEDRIC

AVAEL! CALEB WANTS TO COME OVER TONIGHT!

AVAEL//

I'm not sure we have room around the table.

CEDRIC

HE WON’T PLAY. YOU KNOW HOW HE IS.

SUPERSTITIOUS.

HIS FATHER WAS A RELIGIOUS FREAK.

AVAEL//

Yes, the Elder Vatore did not teach his children much of our lore. A pity, really.

CEDRIC

JUST LEFT IT TO US TO DO. WHAT A DICK.

AVAEL//

Yes, what a dick.

CEDRIC

ANYWAY THE DUDES ARE ALL COMING OVER TONIGHT.

AVAEL//

That is good to hear. Will Mandarc be in attendance?

CEDRIC

I ASSUME SO.

AVAEL//

That is good. It is good for the young man to get out of the house.

CEDRIC

YEAH. MAYBE SOMEDAY HE WON’T BE SUCH A TWAT.

AVAEL//

'Twat'? Please elaborate.

CEDRIC

A TWAT. LIKE… UH… YOU KNOW. AN ANNOYING PERSON. ONE THAT JUST KIND OF SPOILS ANY PARTY HE’S A PART OF. MAKES SOCIALIZING DIFFICULT. RUINS THE FLOW OF CONVERSATION.

AVAEL//

A wet blanket.

CEDRIC

SORT OF. BUT LESS SAD.

AVAEL//

I always thought the company felt that way about George Henry.

CEDRIC

WELL G.H. COMES ALIVE AT THE TABLE SO IT’S GOOD TO HAVE HIM AROUND.

YOU KNOW, EVERY GROUP NEEDS THAT GUY TO PLAY THE RANGER OR WHATEVER.

AVAEL//

...COMPUTING.

AVAEL//

So your issue with Mandarc is his character class?

Perhaps I should advise him to stop min-maxing.

CEDRIC

NO, IT’S NOT THAT.

HE’S JUST ALWAYS SO… SELF-CENTERED.

AVAEL//

I would blame that on his lonely childhood.

CEDRIC

YEAH WELL I WAS AN ONLY CHILD TOO.

WELL. SORT OF.

AVAEL//

I'm sure that as the campaign progresses, each player will find their day to shine. It just helps to read the Player's Manual.

CEDRIC

YEAH THAT’S MY OTHER ISSUE WITH MANDARC.

HE’S ALWAYS WANTING TO CHANGE HIS CHARACTER.

AVAEL//

Perhaps you should collect their sheets at the end of the session.

CEDRIC

YEAH THAT MIGHT HELP FOR A BIT BUT KNOWING HIM HE’S JUST GONNA ASK FOR A FACSIMILE.

AVAEL//

A 'facsimile'?

CEDRIC

IT’S A FANCY WORD FOR COPY. HE’S JUST GONNA ASK ME TO RUN HIS CHARACTER SHEET ON THE XEROX AND TAKE THAT HOME WITH HIM TO PLAN HIS AMENDMENTS.

AVAEL//

But, you would have a record of his inventory, at the very least.

CEDRIC

YEAH, WELL, THAT’S NOT THE PART I’M WORRIED ABOUT.

HE’S ALWAYS… UGH.

YOU KNOW. WHATEVER. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

PROBABLY DOESN’T HELP MYSELF TO JUST BROOD OVER ALL THE ANNOYING CRAP HE DOES. WE’RE STUCK WITH HIM.

AVAEL//

Indeed. The Master has the aim to reform the former follower of Doctor McCoy.

CEDRIC

A NOBLE AIM. IF A BIT… BOLD.

AVAEL//

The Master always seemed a bit italic to me.

CEDRIC

NOW, THERE’S A JOKE! YOU’RE STARTING TO GET THIS, AVAEL!

AVAEL//

Thank you, sir. I try.


When CALEB arrives at the auxiliary apartments, he brings a heaping basket of bright lavender fruit.

Plasma fruit. From his father’s store.

CALEB

I BROUGHT ONLY THE BEST.

CEDRIC

WE SHALL SEE. YOUR GARDENER LEAVES A LITTLE TO BE DESIRED.

CALEB

WELL I DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF CHOICES. MY FAMILY IS WITHERING.

CEDRIC

IF ONLY YOU’D MAKE UP WITH YOUR SISTER.

CALEB

MY SISTER? LIKE SHE’D BE CAUGHT DEAD IN THE GARDEN. SHE MIGHT BREAK A NAIL.

CEDRIC

EH. I GUESS.

CALEB

ANYWAY SIERRA HAS NOTHING BETTER TO DO.

CEDRIC

NEVER HAD KIDS OF HER OWN, EH?

CALEB

DOESN’T SEEM THAT WAY.

CEDRIC

WELL, SHE’LL BE AROUND TO CARE FOR YOURS, RIGHT?

CALEB

BUH? SAY WHAT?

CEDRIC

KIDS. THAT’S WHY YOU’VE BEEN COURTING THE MOON PRIESTESS, IS IT NOT?

CALEB

I THINK WE’RE GETTING A BIT AHEAD OF OURSELVES, AREN’T WE?

CEDRIC

NEVER TOO EARLY TO START PLANNING.

CALEB

UH. WELL. ANYWAY. YOU WANNA TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT I’VE GOT?

CEDRIC

… YEAH. SURE.

CALEB sits the basket upon the counter. CEDRIC walks over and selects the first plum-like produce on the pile.

He looks it over. It’s… what is it like?

CEDRIC lifts it to his nose and gives it a great sniff.

It smells… heavy. Boozy.

CEDRIC

DIS ALL YOU GOT?

CALEB seems to sink in shame. Shocked. Embarrassed.

CALEB

WELL… THAT ONE IS… ONE OF THE BEST…

CEDRIC

IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH, CALEB. YOU BEEN CUTTING THIS STUFF?

CALEB

CUTTING? LORD, NO, I WOULD NEVER!

CEDRIC

I’M SURE YOU WOULD FOR YOUR LESS… DISCERNING CUSTOMERS.

CALEB

WHAT?! NO!

CEDRIC

WELL, LET’S SEE HOW IT MIXES UP THEN.

CALEB

MIXES, SIR?

CEDRIC

YES, CALEB. I LIKE TO DO A BIT OF A TITRATION TEST.

CALEB gulps.

CALEB

A… TITRATION?

WELL, YOU KNOW, I’VE FED EARLIER SO MY BLADDER IS A BIT FULL…

CEDRIC

OH. WHAT A PITY.

CALEB

WELL – I’M SURE I CAN MAKE A LITTLE SPACE.

CEDRIC

YES. IF YOU’D LIKE ME TO BUY, I’M SURE YOU’LL FIND IT IN YOURSELF TO PARTICIPATE IN MY TASTE TEST.

CALEB

YES…. YES.

CEDRIC prepares the plasma jane.

CEDRIC tries to make some light conversation.

CEDRIC

SO I HEARD YOUR FATHER NEVER TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DRINK BLOOD.

CALEB

(shocked) WHAT?! WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT?

CEDRIC

YOUR SISTER IS A BLABBERMOUTH.

CALEB

GEEZ. UH. WELL.

CEDRIC

SO, IT’S TRUE THEN.

CALEB

YOU REALLY PULL NO PUNCHES. CAN’T YOU CUT ME A BREAK FOR MY PARENTAGE?

CEDRIC

SORRY. LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO KEEP LIES.

CALEB

SO SAYS YOU.

CEDRIC

YEAH DICKBAG. SO SAYS ME.

CALEB

YEAH. IT’S TRUE. MY FATHER PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF VEGETARIANISM.

CEDRIC

VEGETARIANISM. BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE.

CALEB

HE CULTIVATED THE FRUIT SO THAT WE DIDN’T HAVE TO CAUSE THE MORTALS UNDUE SUFFERING.

CEDRIC

WHAT – THEY MISS A DAY OF WORK OR SOMETHING? OH NO – DEAR LORD.

CALEB

IT CAUSES STRESS UPON THE SYSTEMS, YOU KNOW. THE MARROW HAS TO WORK OVERTIME TO REPLACE WHAT WE DRAIN FROM THEM.

CEDRIC

AND?

CALEB

AND… UH…

CEDRIC

YEAH, THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT, CALEB. YOU HAVEN’T REALLY THOUGHT THROUGH THE RHETORIC YOU’VE BEEN TAUGHT.

PERHAPS YOU OUGHT TO REVERSE YOURSELF IN HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY.

SO. YOU GONNA TRY THIS SHIT WITH ME, OR WHAT.

CALEB

UH… YEAH. GIVE ME A HIT.

CEDRIC

AW. NOW. YOU DON’T WANT TO SMOKE IT HALFWISE.

TAKE A FULL BITE.

CALEB lifts the glass to his lips and the bright liquid trickles into the back of his throat.

CEDRIC samples his own.

WELL – WHAT DO YOU THINK?

CALEB

IT’S… UH… TANGY.

CEDRIC

TANGY.

CALEB

YEAH, IT’S GOT A SMOOTH FINISH.

CEDRIC

GOOD. I’M GLAD YOU LIKE IT.

CALEB

IS THIS YOUR USUAL PREPARATION?

CEDRIC says nothing, lowers his head and glares at him over the bottom of his eyes.

CEDRIC

A MIXOLOGIST NEVER REVEALS HIS SECRETS.


When CALEB finally leaves, shown as a shoddy peddler, he leaves the entire basket of fruit.

CEDRIC inspects each and every, but finds them all beneath his minimum required quality. Most of them are turning to mush and the ones that aren’t are too hard to juice.

CEDRIC

JUNK. ALL OF IT.

MANDARC comes downstairs.

MANDARC

THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT FROM VATORE?

CEDRIC

BOUGHT? YOU DISHONOR ME.

THIS TRASH ISN’T WORTH THE BASKET IT’S CARRIED IN.

MANDARC picks up one of the fruits. He inspects it.

MANDARC

UGH, YEAH.

He recoils.

THIS ONE’S GOT MOLD ON IT.

CEDRIC

EEYEP. THE LITTLE GUY HAS NO EYE FOR HORTICULTURE.

MANDARC

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A HORTICULTURIST TO SEE THAT THIS SHIT IS BARELY FIT FOR THE FLIES.

CEDRIC

THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYIN’.

MANDARC sighs.

MANDARC

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH HIM?

HE’S HOPELESS.

CEDRIC

YEAH, I’LL SAY.

I DON’T KNOW.

I KNOW I TAKE ISSUE WITH HIS ATTEMPTED COURTSHIP WITH THE MOON PRIESTESS. DOESN’T HE KNOW THAT IS DOOMED TO FAIL?

MANDARC

SO SAYS THE –

CEDRIC

YEAH. YEAH. I DON’T NEED TO HEAR YOU SAY IT AGAIN.

MANDARC

WELL?

CEDRIC

LISTEN. I HAVE MY OWN INTERESTS. WEAKNESSES. ADDICTIONS.

I’LL DEAL WITH THEM IN MY OWN TIME.

STILL DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT THAT CALEB IS FLIRTING, HOPELESSLY, WITH A FOREIGN POWER.

THAT CANNOT STAND.

MANDARC

YEAH. AND HIS SISTER IS WORKING ON QUARQ.

CEDRIC

I DON’T LIKE TO THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT THE DETAILS.

MANDARC

AH, BUT THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS.

CEDRIC

OH, SHUT UP MANDARC.

MANDARC

SORRY, JUST TROLLING YOU.

CEDRIC

YEAH, THAT’S APPARENT.

MANDARC

ANYWAY. CALEB.

CEDRIC

YEAH. CALEB. HIS FRUIT SUCKS.

MANDARC

TELL ME ABOUT IT.

I’M NOT EVEN SO SURE WE SHOULD BE EATING THAT CRAP ANYWAY. THE MASTER SURELY DOESN’T.

CEDRIC

YEAH WELL HE CAN AFFORD TO GO OUT AFTER DARK.

MANDARC

WE’LL GET THERE.

CEDRIC

SURE. WHATEVER YOU SAY.

MANDARC

I THOUGHT YOU LIKED THE FRUIT, ANYWAY. REMINDED YOU OF OLD TIMES OR SOMETHING.

CEDRIC

I BEEN TRYIN’ TO QUIT.

MANDARC

QUIT? EH. WE OUGHTA ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS.

ONCE THE MORTALS FIGURE OUT HOW THE TREE IS SOURCED… IT’S BAD NEWS BEARS.

CEDRIC

THEY HAVE A SURPRISINGLY DEEP STOMACH FOR THE MACABRE.

MANDARC

YEAH, BUT THIS ONE’S GONNA HIT THEM RIGHT IN THE FEELS.

CEDRIC

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

MANDARC

THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT THIS TIME THEY HAVE MASS MEDIA.

CEDRIC

SO WHAT. PEOPLES OF THE PAST HAD BETTER MEMORIES.

MANDARC

EH. YOU DON’T KNOW THAT.

CEDRIC

FINE. I SUSPECT THEY HAD BETTER MEMORIES.

MANDARC

ANYWAY. I DON’T CARE IF THE MASTER AND VATORE WERE FRIENDS, I’M SWEARING OFF THIS SHIT FRUIT.

CEDRIC

I WOULDN’T GO THAT FAR BUT WE PROBABLY NEED TO FIND A NEW DEALER.

MANDARC

BUT WHO? IT’S NOT SAFE TO GO POSTING THAT STUFF ON THE PUBLIC FORA.

CEDRIC

YEAH. I’M WELL-AWARE.

MANDARC

WE COULD ALWAYS TRY TO CULTIVATE IT OURSELVES.

CEDRIC

I’M NOT INTERESTED. NO TIME. THANKS.

MANDARC

WELL THE SHORTAGE MAY NOT CONCERN YOU, GOLDEN CHILD, BUT IT VERY MUCH CONCERNS ME. AND I’M SURE G.H. WOULD BENEFIT AS WELL.

CEDRIC

G.H. JUST NEEDS MORE TRAINING. HE’LL BE FINE.

MANDARC

IT’S, AGAIN, OF LITTLE CONCERN FOR YOU. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?

CEDRIC

I’LL WORK ON IT. THAT’S ALL I CAN SAY.

BESIDES, AS THE MASTER’S FAVORED PET, WHAT DO YOU WORRY FOR?

MANDARC

IT’S NOT ME I’M WORRIED ABOUT. IT’S EVERYONE ELSE.

CEDRIC

YEAH, WHATEVER KIDDO. GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY FACE.