// OLD GOTH ESTATE //

When LARRY gets to the Goth Mansion, he is afraid. Very afraid.

CASSANDRA GOTH, CASSANDRA GOTH. He was just vaguely familiar with the name. But he knew naught about her except that her family was old money.

Her mother was a spellcaster, of course, but she’d kept the secret from her children. As was the way in their family.

But what KEVIN had said… A northern princess? He’d thought he’d before heard a rumor that the old missus GOTH was dead.

Of course, he’d seen no proof, so he couldn’t be sure.

37 Ascot had shown itself to be nearby, so he’d decided to walk. No use giving up his parking spot. Besides, a little exercise never hurt.

LARRY knocks on the door and he swears he hears a howl in the distance. Or is it a mourning dove? But… it couldn’t be…?

When he finally reaches the address, he eyes the mansion. It is a sprawling house with a huge garden. A red car is stationary in the car park.

He stands on the sidewalk, reticent.

“Don’t humiliate yourself,” KEVIN had said. He only hopes he can succeed the request.

His arrival is pre-empted by a blonde woman who exits the front door. Her hair is long and drawn into a braid she wears over her shoulder.

LARRY stands still, permits her approach.

She opens the gate adjoining the sidewalk.

LUCIA

AH. YOU MUST BE THE YOUNG LARRY.

LARRY POTTER

UH, YES.

He stammers.

I AM CALLED LARRY POTTER.

LUCIA

YES. THAT IS YOUR NAME.

THE ELDER MYRTLE MARSCAPONE HAS TOLD ME ALL ABOUT YOU.

LARRY swallows the spit pooling in his mouth.

LARRY POTTER

YES, MA’AM.

LUCIA

IT’S GOOD YOU’VE ARRIVED.

WE’RE HAVING A BIT OF A GHOST PROBLEM AND THE MATRON LET ME KNOW THAT WAS A BIT OF A SPECIALITY OF YOURS.

LARRY POTTER

WELL, MA’AM… I HAVEN’T BEEN AN AUROR FOR MANY YEARS.

LUCIA

YEARS, HUH?

WELL, TOUGH TIMES CALL FOR TOUGH MEASURES.

NOW THAT BELLA GOTH AND MYRTLE MARSCAPONE ARE DEAD, THE TASK FALLS TO YOU.

LARRY POTTER

THE TASK FALLS TO ME?

LARRY is unsure how she knows about the death of the HEADMISTRESS but – perhaps it had taken him longer to get here than he thought.

LUCIA

YES, LARRY. WE HAVE A GHOST PROBLEM.

LARRY POTTER

GHOSTS, MA’AM?

LUCIA

YES, LARRY. A GHOST PROBLEM.

MYRTLE TOLD ME THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO COMMUNE WITH THE DEAD.

ARE YOU TRYING TO IMPLY THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER ABLE?

LARRY tries to regain his composure.

LARRY POTTER

NO! NO, MA’AM. I AM MORE THAN CAPABLE!

LUCIA

GOOD.

LARRY POTTER

I… JUST…

LUCIA

YOU JUST… WHAT.

LARRY POTTER

I JUST DIDN’T EXPECT TO…

LUCIA

DIDN’T EXPECT TO WHAT?

LARRY POTTER

TO COMMUNE UNTIL I’D SEEN A FEW MORE YEARS.

LUCIA

WE HAVE NEED OF YOU. NOW.

LARRY POTTER

I… I SEE.

LUCIA

NOW. BE A GOOD LITTLE BOY AND GO INSIDE AND INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE LADY OF THE HOUSE.

SHE’S GENTLE, IF A BIT GLOOMY. I’M SURE THE TWO OF YOU WILL GET ALONG JUST FINE.

LARRY POTTER

WHAT… WHAT IS SHE LIKE? WHAT… DOES SHE LIKE?

LUCIA

I COULDN’T SAY LARRY.

WHY DON’T YOU GO IN AND FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF?

NOW, IF YOU’LL EXCUSE ME, IT’S TIME FOR MY NIGHTLY. PLEASE, LEAVE US.

LARRY POTTER

YES, MA’AM.

LARRY allows LUCIA her leaving and walks up the steps to the front door. It is set diagonally to the floorprint of the house.

Suddenly, he has a longing for times long past.

But he muscles past his fears and knocks on the door.

CASSANDRA GOTH, with her raven hair long about her shoulders, answers the door with a gun in hand.

LARRY raises his hands in surrender.

LARRY POTTER

OH MY GOD! PLEASE DON’T SHOOT!

CASSANDRA holds her gun firm but slowly lowers it as the man seems to bring no appreciable threat.

She speaks.

CASSANDRA

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU WANT?

LARRY POTTER

I’M LARRY POTTER!

YOU CALLED ABOUT A GHOST PROBLEM?

CASSANDRA

I…

She pauses a moment, thinking, cautious.

WHY… YES. I… DID. CALL ABOUT A GHOST INFESTATION.

LARRY POTTER

LARRY POTTER EXTRANATURAL EXTERMINATION SERVICES, AT YOUR COMMAND, MADAM.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ANY SIMILARITY, REAL OR IMPLIED, BETWEEN SIMILIAR COMPANIES IS MERELY COINCIDENCE.

CASSANDRA

… MERELY… COINCIDENCE.

LARRY POTTER

THAT’S THE FINE PRINT.

BOILERPLATE, IF YOU WILL.

CASSANDRA

I… SEE.

LARRY POTTER

PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF YOUR MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

CASSANDRA

WHAT?

LARRY POTTER

PLEASE STATE THE NATURE –… OH TO HELL WITH IT.

WHAT EVIDENCE DO YOU HAVE OF GHOST INFESTATION?

CASSANDRA

WELL, YOU SEE…

THERE ARE THESE STRANGE DOLLS THAT KEEP APPEARING IN MY HOUSE AND I’VE SPOKEN WITH MY ROOMMATE AND THEY’RE NOT HERS. NEITHER OF US KEEP COMPANY AND I DOUBLE-LOCK THE DOORS EACH NIGHT.

WE EVEN HAVE A SECURITY SYSTEM.

LARRY POTTER

I UNDERSTAND. SO WE CAN RULE OUT ESPIONAGE.

CASSANDRA

I WOULD THINK SO.

LARRY POTTER

HOW OLD IS THIS HOUSE?

CASSANDRA

HOW OLD?

WELL, IT WAS MY GRANDMOTHER’S; BEFORE THAT I’M NOT REALLY SURE. I’VE HAD TO HAVE A FEW THINGS RE-WIRED AND IT CERTAINLY DIDN’T COME WITH ETHERNET…

LARRY POTTER

SEPTIC OR SEWER?

CASSANDRA

… SEWER.

LARRY POTTER

GOOD, GOOD. THAT AT LEAST ELIMINATES PART OF THE PROBLEM.

CASSANDRA

EE… YEAH.

I’M NOT SURE WHAT THAT HAS TO DO WITH…

LARRY POTTER

MAY I COME IN AND TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ISSUE?

CASSANDRA

UH… OF COURSE.

CASSANDRA steps out of the doorway and allows LARRY entrance. She walks over to the wall and flips a switch to allow for additional light.

I TOOK OVER STEWARDSHIP OF THE HOME AFTER MY MOTHER DIED A FEW YEARS BACK. IT WAS THREATENING TO GO FALLOW BEFORE THAT.

LARRY POTTER

WELL, THE ELDERLY OFTEN STRUGGLE TO KEEP UP WITH THE DEMANDS OF HOME OWNERSHIP ONCE THEIR ENERGY BEGINS TO FAIL.

CASSANDRA

MY MOTHER WAS SO BUSY TAKING CARE OF ME AND MY BROTHER THAT I DON’T THINK IT LEFT HER MUCH TIME TO TEND TO GRAMMA’S OLD HOUSE.

I DOUBT THAT… PLEASED THE SPIRITS.

LARRY POTTER

NO, PROBABLY NOT.

I DOUBT THAT THEY’RE ANGRY AT YOU; THEY’RE JUST TRYING TO REACH OUT TO YOU TO COMMUNICATE THEIR NEEDS.

ONCE FLED TO THE SPIRIT REALM, THEY TEND TO SPEAK THEIR NATIVE TONGUE. IF YOU DON’T HAPPEN TO SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE, WELL, AS THEY SAY, TOUGH NOOGIES.

CASSANDRA

WHAT DID YOU SAY YOUR NAME WAS AGAIN?

LARRY POTTER

LARRY. LARRY POTTER.

CASSANDRA

HUH. IT HAS A NICE RING TO IT.

LARRY POTTER

BUT LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. I WANT TO PREPARE A CIRCLE OF RITUAL TO HAVE THE BEST CHANCE AT FINDING AN AMENABLE SOUL.

He adds, as an aside:

ONE THAT SPEAKS ENGLISH.

AT WHAT TIME DO YOU NOTICE DISTURBANCES?

CASSANDRA

WHAT TIME? UH… I GUESS I HEAR NOISES IN THE EARLY MORNING FROM TIME TO TIME.

LARRY POTTER

EARLY MORNING, HUH.

CASSANDRA

YEAH, USUALLY.

BUT I CAN’T SAY IT’S ALWAYS RESTRICTED TO A CERTAIN TIME OF DAY.

LARRY POTTER

REASONABLE.

THE BEDROOMS ARE UPSTAIRS?

CASSANDRA

YEAH.

LARRY POTTER

OK. LET’S SET UP UPSTAIRS.

~ ~ ~

Soon, LARRY has unloaded a number of artificia from his stores. He’s sprinkled glowstone dust in a circular pattern. Upon the floor he places a small font for a crystal ball.

He places it into position.

LARRY POTTER

NOW, I KNOW THIS MAY TRY THE LIMITS OF YOUR BELIEF BUT WE ARE PREPARING, HOPEFULLY, TO SPEAK TO ONE OF YOUR ESTRANGED ANCESTORS.

OR, AT THE VERY LEAST, SOMEONE WHO CALLED THIS PLACE HOME.

CASSANDRA

OK. YOU’RE THE EXPERT. JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

LARRY POTTER

JUST RELAX AND LET THE EXPERIENCE FILL YOU.

CASSANDRA nods her head.

LARRY speaks, but he doesn’t speak in any language CASSANDRA understands. Is it Latin? It’s been many years since prep school.

But she follows along in the ritual best she can. Soon, LARRY is lost in his trance. CASSANDRA catches a glimpse of his eyes rolling back into their sockets and it grosses her out.

LARRY POTTER

O-MÉ-SUM-PATRONYM!

And all of a sudden, a reddish image appears.

CASSANDRA

(thinking) A hologram?

TEMPERANCE

WHO HAS WOKEN ME FROM MY SLUMBER?!

LARRY POTTER

IT IS I, THE LOYAL LARRY POTTER, AND THE MODERN RESIDENT…

He turns to CASSANDRA.

(whispering) Say your name!

CASSANDRA

UH… CASSANDRA GOTH!

TEMPERANCE

CASSANDRA… GOTH.

CASSANDRA

CASSANDRA GOTH!

TEMPERANCE

…INDEED.

LARRY POTTER

WE SEND THE SINCEREST OF APOLOGIES FOR DISTURBING YOUR ETERNAL RETIREMENT, ROYAL SLUMBER. BUT…

SOME OF YOUR FOLLOWERS SEEM TO BE CAUSING ISSUE IN THE MORTAL REALM.

TEMPERANCE

MY FOLLOWERS?

LARRY POTTER

UH… THAT WAS OUR IMPRESSION, CORRECT US IF WE ARE MISTAKEN.

TEMPERANCE

I HAVE NO FOLLOWERS.

LARRY POTTER

OH. WELL. HM.

TEMPERANCE

TELL THIS… ‘CASSANDRA GOTH’ – THAT I DON’T SPEAK TO THE MEDIA.

NOW PLEASE. LET ME BE. I WAS BUSYING MYSELF BEFORE YOU SO RUDELY INTERRUPTED ME.

LARRY POTTER

I… WILL… MISS…

TEMPERANCE.

The figment disappears. CASSANDRA inquires upon LARRY.

CASSANDRA

WELL? WHAT DID YOU FIND?

LARRY POTTER

I DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING BUT I DID SPEAK TO SOMEONE.

CASSANDRA

WHAT DID THEY SAY?

LARRY POTTER

SHE REQUESTED TO BE CALLED… ‘TEMPERANCE’.

SHE SAID…. UH… WELL. WE MAY HAVE TO CONTINUE OUR COURTSHIP TO GET ANYTHING INTELLIGIBLE.

CASSANDRA

YOU WEREN’T ABLE TO REACH MY MOTHER?

LARRY POTTER

WELL… NO.

PLAINLY, NO. I WASN’T.

CASSANDRA

I THOUGHT SHE MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE SOME HELPFUL ADVICE.

SHE MUST HAVE KNOWN GRANMAMA AFTER ALL.

LARRY POTTER

WELL, IT’S SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO GET JUST THE PERSON YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.

IT’S AS IF YOU’RE WANTING TO CALL SOMEONE BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THE PROPER PHONE NUMBER.

CASSANDRA

I SEE.

LARRY POTTER

BUT I’M SURE IF WE KEEP TRYING, EVENTUALLY THEY’LL GIVE US THE RIGHT ADDRESS.

CASSANDRA

OF COURSE.

LARRY POTTER

DID YOUR MOTHER DIE HERE?

CASSANDRA

IN THIS HOUSE? NO, I DON’T THINK SO.

NO, I’M CERTAIN NOT.

LARRY POTTER

WELL, THAT MAKES OUR WORK A BIT MORE DIFFICULT BUT CERTAINLY NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

CASSANDRA

I… SEE.

LARRY POTTER

YOU SAID YOU HAD A ROOMMATE?

CASSANDRA

YEAH, I DO. SHE’S AT WORK, I GUESS.

LARRY POTTER

WELL, WHEN SHE COMES BACK I’LL NEED TO TALK TO HER, GET HER ACCOUNT OF WHAT SHE’S SEEN.

CASSANDRA

I’M SURE THAT WON’T BE A PROBLEM.

CAN I… OFFER YOU SOME REFRESHMENT?

LARRY POTTER

THAT… THAT WOULD BE LOVELY.

CHANNELING WITH THE DENIZENS OF THE AFTERLIFE HAS LEFT ME FAMISHED.

CASSANDRA

I DON’T HAVE MUCH –

I’M A TERRIBLE COOK AND MY ROOMIE ALWAYS GETS TAKEOUT… BUT… I HAVE SOME OF THIS BOMBASS MAPO TOFU I GOT FROM A PLACE DOWN THE STREET.

IT’S A LITTLE SPICY BUT IT’S QUITE GOOD ONCE YOU BECOME ACCLIMATED.

THAT IS, OF COURSE, IF YOU DON’T MIND EATING MY LEFTOVERS. PROMISE THERE’S NO SECOND-HAND – I ALWAYS SERVE OUT OF THE CONTAINER, NEVER EAT DIRECTLY FROM IT.

SORRY FOR BEING A LITTLE CHATTY – IT’S JUST NOT OFTEN THAT I GET COMPANY.

I GET SO LONELY THESE DAYS.

LARRY POTTER

IT… IT’S FINE…

YES. THE MAPO TOFU SOUNDS GREAT. I’D LOVE SOME.

IF YOU’RE OFFERING.

CASSANDRA

YES PLEASE! TAKE IT!

I HAD QUITE A FEAST LAST NIGHT AND I DON’T WANT IT TO GO SOUR.

LARRY POTTER

THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL. THANK YOU.