"Spinning, Weaving, Tangling"
Inside the main, marble lobby of the Meer-A-Mar corporate headquarters, the press gathers for a statement about the events that took place on one of the company's ships four nights ago. Karl von Meer Sr. frantically dials his cell phone as Doug Martel watches his son, Griffin, approach the podium.
Karl Sr.: (Into the phone) Dammit, KJ, where are you? - this is important, can't you get out of court for once? - no, I don't know where Erika is... it sure would be nice if at least ONE of my children gave a damn about our family's interests!
Sighing, Karl Sr. pockets the phone as Doug pats him on the back.
Doug: Relax, old man, Griff will take care of this
Karl Sr.: That's what I'm afraid of
Doug: At least he's here - that's more than I can say for your two
Griffin: (Speaking into the mike) Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all for coming - I will issue a brief statement and then take a few of your questions... last Thursday night, two gruesome discoveries were made aboard "The Maleeva" a Meer-A-Mar Industries tanker based out of the Black Sea - one, it was carrying an illegal arms shipment and two, the crew was viciously attacked by an unknown assailant - we are currently cooperating with the United States Coast Guard, as well as several local and international law enforcement agencies to remedy this situation...
Doug: (Watching the women in the room watch Griffin) The ladies all used to look at me like that
Karl Sr.: (Rolling his eyes) Yes, I remember the academy very well
Doug: It wasn't just the academy... what I can't figure out is when exactly did it stop?
Karl Sr.: Maybe when you got married... again - and your wife, who is comparable in age to your daughter, gave birth
Doug: Funny, I don't feel any different - I see my son up there right now, he has my looks, my charm, he IS me... except a few decades younger
Karl Sr.: We're all getting older, Douglas, learn to accept it
Doug: I don't want to, I still feel 30!
Karl Sr.: Weren't you telling me earlier about how you get leg cramps whenever you ride your Harley?
Doug: (Grimacing) I still feel 30 mentally
Karl Sr.: You should be happy with what you have accomplished with your life, most men would kill for a quarter of what you have
Doug: It doesn't seem like enough
Griffin: In conclusion, Meer-A-Mar had no prior knowledge of this cargo - an internal investigation into this matter has been launched and we will promptly deal with anyone involved - the authorities and the media will be kept apprised of our findings, thank you...
Doug: (To Karl Sr.) Ursula wants me to have liposuction
Karl Sr.: Martel, we are in the middle of a crisis here!
Doug: This is not a crisis - a crisis would be a shipment full of mutilated babies
Karl Sr.: (Shaking his head) I can't believe you just said that
Doug: It's the truth - this is an incident at best and tomorrow it will be a forgotten memory - it's the glory of the fast-paced society we live in now
Karl Sr.: We have four dead men and several others severely injured
Doug: Gun-running Bulgarians, who cares?
Karl Sr.: Their families?
Doug: Griffin has already made arrangements for a generous settlement - even though we are NOT at fault
Karl Sr.: He seems to have everything under control
Doug: He better!
Griffin: (Looking out over the reporters) I'll take a few questions now... Ms. Shepperton
The KCON reporter and weekend anchor stands and gives a soft smile.
Doug: (Aside to Karl Sr.) You know, Erika better watch out
Karl Sr.: What do you mean?
Doug: I mean that Kylee Shepperton is real competition for Griffin's affections
Karl Sr.: Ah
Doug: I absolutely cannot understand why Erika keeps him at bay?
Karl Sr.: (To himself) Because my daughter is smart
Kylee: Mr. Martel, there are allegations that this was the work of a vigilante - is this true?
Griffin: I will defer to the proper authorities on that subject... next question
Doug: (Whispering) There's talk among the crew that it was that she-creature again
Karl Sr.: Oh, for heaven's sake, you don't believe that garbage, do you?
Doug: I don't know
Karl Sr.: C'mon, Doug - next thing you'll be telling me is that the Loch Ness monster just bought a summer home off of Beacon Point and that Big Foot is applying for a job on the loading docks!
Doug: All I'm saying, Karl, is that I don't rule it out - I've seen too much in my life to ever rule anything out
Karl Sr.: You've been watching too much of your wife's crazy TV show
Doug: (Glancing at his watch and taking off) Speaking of which, I promised to meet her for lunch
As the press conference disperses, Griffin comes over to Karl Sr.
Griffin: Where's my father?
Karl Sr.: He took off for lunch
Griffin: (Looking down) Oh
Karl Sr.: (Patting the man on the back) You did a fine job, Griffin
Griffin: Thank you - tell me, have you heard from Erika today?
Karl Sr.: No, I haven't seen her since Thursday - KJ said she went for a sail
Griffin: (Searching the room) Where is Kage?
Karl Sr.: (Clenching his jaw) Not here
The elder von Meer heads back to his office as Kylee struts up to Griffin.
Griffin: May I buy you some coffee, Ms. Shepperton?
Kylee: (Smiling) Don't you have a cappuccino machine in your office?
Griffin: Let's find out
Sprawled on a blue and white couch with Tallulah the tarantula on her stomach, Morrigan watches the press conference on TV. She casually answers the ringing phone on the wicker table beside her.
Morrigan: (Still watching the TV) Hello, Gracie - yes, Gracie - I saw the whole thing, Gracie - no, Gracie, this is my day off - I just got in from Dallas two hours ago - alright, Gracie - yes, she is a slut - I'll see you tomorrow - goodbye, Gracie!
The diminutive brunette puts the phone back with one hand as she carefully strokes the spider with the other.
Morrigan: (To Tallulah) That was Crazy Gracie - you'll meet her soon enough - that guy in the lower right corner of the screen picking his nose during the press conference was Zach - they're both very weird but very nice - the KCON reporter covering it, that was Kylee, yes, THE Kylee... and I don't really think she's a slut, I think she thoroughly enjoys what she does - Gracie is insanely jealous of her... I suppose I can understand her POV - Zach is just pissed he can't get her into bed, thus their communal hatred for all things Shepperton
McBride reaches over for the newspaper and points to a picture of Captain Phelps and Lieutenant Fiore.
Morrigan: Here are Chip n' Dale, aka "Captain Crunch" and the "Tuna Taster" - whenever I see them in their uniforms, I want to break out into Village People songs, I'm not sure why - they're doing their damnedest to keep me in the dark... ha... about Darkfin, but they can't do it much longer - you can strain freaking ziti with their account of what happened aboard the Maleeva - and I would've pressed them on it too, but I had to rescue YOU... yes, I did, I had to come get my Lil Lu from evil Auntie before she got fed up and flushed you!
Springing off the couch, Morrigan carries Tallulah on her arm and puts a Tori Amos CD in her stereo.
Morrigan: (Dancing around and singing)
After putting her pet back in the terrarium, Morrigan peers at it through the glass.
Morrigan: I hope you like your new home... I hope I like my new home - it's strange, part of me didn't want to come back here yet there was a bigger part of me that did
She resumes twirling around the room, singing along with the music.
There is a loud, persistent banging at her front door.
Morrigan: (Halting) ARGH
Morrigan throws it open to find Amethyst standing there wearing pink kitchen gloves, ski goggles and a "Love Animals, Don't Eat Them" apron. She's holding a giant spatula in one hand and a can of Raid in the other.
Morrigan: Um, thanks Amy, I've already had lunch
Amethyst: NO WAY, MORRI
Morrigan: How about dinner?
Amethyst: NO WAY IS THAT THING STAYING HERE
Morrigan: (Trying to look innocent) What thing?
Amethyst: (Pushing past her) THAT THING WITH EIGHT HAIRY LEGS
Morrigan: It's just a little spider
Amethyst: LITTLE? - IF YOU CONSIDER THAT LITTLE, I WOULD HATE TO BE YOUR BOYFRIEND
Morrigan: (Keeping between the woman and the tarantula) You said I could have pets
Amethyst: PETS as in CATS and DOGS, maybe a ferret, but not that THING
Morrigan: C'mon, Amy, you of all people should be cool with this
Amethyst: (Spying the spider and striking a karate pose) What does that supposed to mean?
Morrigan: You can't kill, you're a Buddhist
Amethyst: But I can accidentally maim
Morrigan: Look, I'll throw in an extra $10.00 a month on the rent
Amethyst: I cannot be bought
Morrigan: And I think you should know that Tallulah is a Gemini... with Aries rising
Amethyst: (Relaxing) OH MY GODS, WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO BEFORE?
She goes over to the terrarium and smiles at the spider as Morrigan rolls her eyes.
Amethyst: Of course she can stay - you know, I can see she has the demeanor of an Aries rising
Morrigan: Do I still have to pay the extra $10.00 a month?
Amethyst: $15.00 and I can't be held responsible if Roshumba decides she's snack material - sorry to interrupt your shower by the way
Morrigan: (Baffled) Do I appear wet and unclothed to you?
Amethyst: (Cocking her head) I was wondering how you could properly bathe like that
Morrigan: Amy... TRY, TRY to make sense
Amethyst: I heard you singing
Amethyst: You mean you weren't singing in the shower?
Morrigan: (Motioning to her clothes) Nnnnno
Amethyst: Euterpe lives!
Amethyst: You have a musical gift, why do you shun it?
Tim Hajanian pokes his head in the door and gawks at Amethyst.
Tim: Um, excuse me... Morrigan?
Morrigan: Oh, hello, Tim - thanks for coming over
Tim: I have the... ahem... information you requested
Amethyst: (Taking off her goggles and looking at Tim) Do you know Leon Serna?
Tim: Yes, we used to date
Amethyst: I used to cut his hair
There is an awkward silence as all three stare at each other.
Amethyst: OK, time for me to return to my universe - Morri, from now on, please be up front with me - I don't want to find a pet alligator in my jacuzzi!
Morrigan: (Watching the woman leave) Damn, there goes your birthday surprise!
Tim: (Looking uncomfortable as he hands over some documents) Here are your results
Morrigan: I see a lot of charts and graphs, charts and graphs give me a headache - what's the bottom line?
Tim: Smelt innards
Morrigan: (Throwing the papers across the room) LIAR
Tim: I am NOT lying - instead of tossing the results in the air like an insolent child and accusing me of not telling the truth, try LISTENING to what I have to say - isn't that what journalists are trained to do?
Morrigan: Then say what you have to say, Mr. Hajanian
Tim: Smelt innards are just the beginning - these results show a DNA cocktail of multiple varieties of marine life - we're talking rajiformes, lamniformes, anguilliforms, cephalopods...
Morrigan: Hold on, hold on, hold on - I don't know what you're talking about!
Tim folds his arms and shakes his head.
Morrigan: See, in my biology class, I was busy doing the jocks' English homework so they wouldn't beat up the science geeks - in return, the science geeks did my biology homework - so, you're going to have to explain to me what you just said... in English
Tim: I'm sorry, I left my ichthyology coloring books back at the office
Morrigan: (Grabbing a white lace doily off of the table and waving it) TRUCE - let's end the verbal exchanges, I know we both have better things to do with our time
Tim: I agree - simply stated, we have a mixture of DNA from rays, sharks, eels, octopuses, and several kinds of fish
Morrigan: I thought it was octopi?
Tim: (Blinking) It can be either
Tim: You don't really seem all that stunned by this news - tell me, is it because of your scientific stupidity or do you know something more about this?
Morrigan: Is there human DNA in there as well?
Tim: Yes, she is most definitely human
Tim: Another thing - all humans have certain metals in their blood... iron, cobalt, manganese - although this is not my area of expertise, there is a metal in this sample that I cannot even begin to comprehend
Morrigan: This keeps getting better and better
Tim: I can't really explain anything else beyond this... and I am not so sure I want to - if that will be all then?
Morrigan: Thank you, Tim
Tim: (Leaving) Please keep your part of the agreement about George
Morrigan: And please keep everything we discussed here today to yourself
The two exchange a final look before he departs.
Morrigan: (Rubbing her head) Research time
Inside a small corner of the Santa Conchita University library, Erika sits at a table piled with old books and maps of the area's history.
Erika: (Rubbing her head) There has to be some real answers somewhere - I've had enough of this folklore and hocus pocus junk
As she slams the book closed, a voice echoes in back of her.
Shelby: Sometimes folklore and hocus pocus junk can be better than a Venn Diagram
Erika: (Jumping out of her skin) JESUS, SHEL - don't creep up on me like that - what are you doing here?
Shelby: Picking up some books for Calvin - what are YOU doing in this section?
Erika: Looking some stuff up for Penny, she's not doing well in her history class
Shelby: What class is she doing well in? - listen, I have to go - promise me that you will get your face out of ALL books tonight and do something fun
Erika: Did Griffin, Sandy or my family pay you to say that?
Shelby: (Squeezing Erika's shoulder) No one had to pay me to say that
Erika: Thanks Shel, I'll see you tomorrow
Shelby: I'll help you with the Gumberson paper then
Erika: (Under her breath) I wish you could help me with something more important...
As she gathers her books off of the table and crosses the room to another section, Erika suddenly notices Morrigan searching the books in the biology section.
Morrigan: (Flipping through the pages of a technical manual) Maybe I should've started in the kids' section first
As she reaches another shelf, the eyes of Erika stare back at Morrigan.
Morrigan: (Frozen in fear for a second and then becoming pissed) Please don't do that
Erika: Need some help?
Morrigan: No, I'm fine, thank you
Erika: (Glancing at the textbook) The mitochondrial protein sequences of Isurus oxyrinchus... is KCON trying to drive down ratings again?
Morrigan: It's not for KCON
Morrigan: (Glancing at Erika's books) The subterranean geography of the Kiyomis - I'm going hiking there tomorrow with your brother, would you like me to bring back some brochures from the ranger?
Erika: That's an interesting place to hike - did KJ recommend it?
Morrigan: Actually, it was Joenne Mirabello
Erika: Hmm, she doesn't strike me as the hiking type
Morrigan: And you don't strike me as the scientific type, so much for judging a book by its cover - speaking of which, I need to return to my research... please don't let me keep you from yours
The tall von Meer daughter flashes a cold, semi-smile and starts to walk off. She abruptly stops and turns back to McBride.
Erika: (Nodding at her textbook) If you're curious to learn more about this subject, don't be afraid to ask
Morrigan: (Feeling the hairs on the back of her neck prickle) I shall keep that in mind
Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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