The Morningsider (Issue 3 – Act 2)

What Are You Playing At?

 
exterior –
Morningside Park
The high path near 120th Street
day

Dishy runs up the stairs to where the raspberries used to grow, shouting:

Dishy
Riordan!

He gets to the spot and looks around for the Morningsider. When he doesn’t see him, he takes off for the Witch’s Castle, running right past the “Park Beautification Project” sign.

He runs stumblingly up to the path in front of the Witch’s Castle and stops to bend over and catch his breath. While Dishy still stays hunched over, breathing heavy, we see a pair of feet walk into the frame wearing some kind of trendy, sporty mary janes.

Ellie
(off frame)
So I guess I should ask the question again…

Dishy looks up to see Ellie standing in front of him. We see her from a low perspective looking up. She has her arms crossed, and in one hand she holds a taser.

Ellie
Who is Riordan?
 
interior –
Morningside Park
Inside the Witch’s Castle
day

Mr. Broom sits hunched in a corner looking worried and confused. The Morningsider stands against the outside wall, looking through a chink in the rock buttress wall.

Morningsider
Damn, she’s good. I wonder how much she had to pay a cabbie to get her here that fast in parade-day traffic?

The Morningsider starts to take off his Hasidic costume.

Broome
You actin’ mighty calm for someone who’s about to get strung up.
 
Morningsider
(undressed down to his usual green outfit and putting on his green fedora)
She doesn’t know where in the park I am or if I’m still here, even. Dishy’s the one in trouble right now.
 
exterior –
Morningside Park
Outside the Witch’s Castle
day

Dishy stands up now, looking scared and nervous. He eyes Ellie’s taser.

Dishy
Okay. Yeah, I… can you put that thing away?
 
Ellie
(holding out her taser and looking at it the way she would look at freshly done nails)
What, this? Does it make you nervous?
(she points it at Dishy)
What are you playing at?!
 
Dishy
Okay! Alright! It’s him. The Morningside guy. Riordan is the guy who lives in the park.
 
Ellie
So all that stuff you told me about working with him…?
 
Dishy
Yeah. It was true. He’s my friend. Or at least, I hope he still is after today.
 
Ellie
(incredulously)
You little sneak! You were just getting me out of the way so your friend could sneak back in here?!
 
Dishy
(sheepishly)
Yeah, that was the plan.
 
Ellie
(scoffing)
I can’t believe I fell for your little flattery routine. You’re so full of shit.

The gate to the Witch’s Castle swings open, and the Morningsider comes out, dressed in his usual green garb. His beard, however, remains black. He has one hand behind his back.

Morningsider
No, actually, I think all the flattering stuff he told you was true, Miss Paige.

Ellie freaks out and grabs Dishy, holding the taser threateningly to his ribs.

Morningsider
He really likes your writing. He wouldn’t stop talking about it. And he thinks you’re cute.
 
Ellie
Don’t come near me, or I’ll zap your friend.
 
Morningsider
(calmly)
Okay. Zap him. It’s just a taser. He’ll recover.
 
Dishy
(panicky)
Uh… What?!

The Morningsider takes a step toward her, and she flinches like she wants to run, loosening her grip on Dishy and letting the taser fall away from his ribs. He uses the opportunity of her dropping her guard to throw his shovel at her and knock the taser out of her hand.

Morningsider
There. Now we’re both unarmed. So why don’t we just have a nice little chat.

They hear sirens off in the distance.

Morningsider
(incredulously)
You called the cops?
 
Ellie
What? No!
 
Morningsider
Dishy, grab my shovel and follow me.

The Morningsider grabs Ellie and pushes her back toward the gate of the Witch’s Castle. Dishy just stares at them.

Morningsider
Dishy! Shovel! Now! And grab her taser, while you’re at it.

Dishy finally springs into action and follows them into the gate.

interior –
Morningside Park
Inside the Witch’s Castle
day
 
Broome
Shit. You done it now, Red.

The Morningsider pushes her toward Broome.

Ellie
Let go of me

Dishy comes crawling in after them.

Morningsider
(taking his shovel back from Dishy)
Hold the taser on her.
(to Ellie)
I can’t believe you called the cops.
 
Ellie
Please. Like I’m stupid? I don’t want you arrested. I want a story. If you go away, so do my front page headlines. I didn’t call them.

The Morningsider looks out the chink in the wall.

Morningsider
Oh. She’s right. They’re just busting that crack den across the street.
 
Ellie
I told you!
 
Morningsider
Wait. What’s that girl doing?

We see out the chink that a woman has run up to the police, pointing back to the park and gesticulating wildly.

Morningsider
Damnit.
 
Dishy and Ellie and Broome
(together)
What?
 
Morningsider
Somebody saw us and freaked out. She’s talking to the cops and pointing up here.
 
Broome
Why did you have to stop by my bench this morning, Red?
 
Morningsider
Everybody up. Follow me.
 
Ellie
I’m not going anywhere with you.
 
Morningsider
You can come of your own free will, or I can taser you and carry your body out. Which do you want?
 
Ellie
(arms crossed defiantly)
Tell me where we’re going first.
 
Broome
Damn. You got balls, girl.
 
Morningsider
(facing Ellie and looking her directly in the eye)
We’re going to your apartment, Ellie.

The Morningsider turns and walks back into the shadows.

Morningsider
Come on kids, and watch your step. These old utility tunnels have a few surprises in them.
 
end act
 
Previous Issue
Tired of Running
The Morningsider
Main Page
Next Act
It’s All Going to Crash

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