On the Fence – Episode Four – Puck’s Revenge

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Below we present the complete text of ‘Puck’s Revenge’; episode 4 of On the Fence.

Fantasy Noir - FN004 - On the Fence
Fantasy Noir – FN004 – On the Fence
Parental Guidance Recommended: May contain content some parents may feel is inappropriate for younger children
Parental Guidance Recommended: May contain content some parents may feel is inappropriate for younger children

ON THE FENCE

EPISODE #4 – PUCK’S REVENGE

by Philip Craig Robotham

Cover Illustration by Miyukiko

Edited by Margaret Wilkins

Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition.

CC by-nc-nd 4.0
CC by-nc-nd 4.0

This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction are allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to https://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.

Serial #4: On the Fence

Claire Templeton, crime reporter, often wonders what she sees in her boyfriend, Tully Bing.

Being bookish and timid, he just isn’t her type. But when the information Tully provides about the black market puts her in touch with a fence who is quickly murdered by means that can only be described as magical, she and Tully are drawn into a brand new faery plot to destroy the city, sever and isolate the mortal realm, and pave the way for a faery takeover.

With her sometime ally, Tony Wells, effectively neutralized by a clever faery plot, Claire finds herself working for and with the High Queen of the Realm of Darkness. Unfortunately, the Queen tops Claire’s list of suspects with regard to who’s behind all the mayhem. Can Claire solve the case and save the day before her hometown becomes a giant crater? Tune in to “On the Fence” and listen as the mystery unfolds.

Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.

ON THE FENCE

CAST LIST

TONY WELLS: Private Detective

CLAIRE TEMPLETON: Crime Reporter

FRED: The Magical Sword

MAB: High Queen of the Dark Realm

SYLVAESTRON (STINK): A faery of the wee folk of darkness

TULLY BING: Cartographer and researcher (current boyfriend to Claire)

PUCK: Lord of Mischief, currently exiled from the Realm of Light

FAERY, MINION #1 AND MINION #2: Faery minions of Puck

SFX: SFX operator (1 required)

ACT 3

SCENE 11: INT – PUCK’S APARTMENT BUILDING (THE CRATER ILLUSION) – sometime LATER (PUCK, CLAIRE)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. NARRATOR: Detective Tony Wells has been taken prisoner by the representatives of the Fae Realms for agreeing to help Queen Mab of the realm of darkness to clear her name.  In Tony’s absence, Claire Templeton has been investigating on his behalf.  She has now discovered that The Puck, a member of the Fae exiled to the mortal realm, is behind it all but has been taken captive herself…
  3. SOUND: [10] (WALLA) SLOW BUBBLING OF BOILING MUD, CREAKING OF ROPE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  4. CLAIRE: I woke to find myself hanging over a boiling pool of mud. My body ached, my clothes had been reduced to rags and I was covered in scratches and bite marks, put there presumably by the teeth of the dogs. The ringing in my ears slowly gave way to an even less welcome noise. Puck was talking.
  5. PUCK: (GLOATING) So here it is. After all this time I finally have the sword. Such fools these mortals be. It is probably the second most powerful object in existence. It renders its owner second in power only to the members of the royalty of the fae realms. It can unmake even immortals when used properly. I should know, I forged it in the long ago. None of its wielders have ever known all its secrets as I do. If I’d known when it was being forged that it was going to be handed over to these witless mortals I never would have agreed to make it.
  6. FRED: You’re my maker? I can’t say I’m all that impressed.
  7. PUCK: Why doesn’t that surprise me? All that time among the humans has ruined you. I designed you to absorb and reflect the personality of your owners. I expected you would be given to mighty fae warrior of the realm of light. We were at war. I thought you would be used to bring ruin to our enemies. I had no idea that Oberon was about to betray everything we were working towards and try to establish a peace.
  8. FRED: And what, you’ve been plotting and waiting for the last ten thousand years?
  9. PUCK: Don’t be absurd. I’ve bided my time. Immortal remember? I’ve watched the mortals grow and spread, turning this realm into a ruin, full of poisoned soil and plant-life. I even arranged for my own exile so I could better keep an eye on things here. I mourned for the paradise that was being destroyed, but even mortals have their uses.
  10. FRED: Oh, and how’s that?
  11. PUCK: Their capacity for destruction is nearly infinite. With enough time, I believe they will succeed in destroying this world completely.
  12. FRED: Is that so?
  13. PUCK: It is. They are petty and greedy and duplicitous. What Oberon saw in them I’ll never know. But I’ll give them this, they are inventive. They have invented guns, cannons, and explosives and herein have I found my opportunity.
  14. FRED: Yes? You’re obviously pretty impressed with yourself, try and impress me as well.
  15. PUCK: I’ve fashioned a bomb. One which can absorb magical energy. The explosion will be huge. The devastation and loss of life in this city immense. The blast will be felt across the realms. In fact, it will sever this realm’s connection to the realms of faery entirely.
  16. FRED: Leaving you to take over?
  17. PUCK: Yes. The released energy of the bomb will have a devastating effect on human technology as well. Everything they have relied upon to ruin the world, their machines, etc will stop working. They will be forced back to the horse and cart. Millions worldwide will die. It will make their Great War look like a picnic. The only real power left in this world will be magic. And I will be its sole genuine practitioner.
  18. FAERY: (AT A DISTANCE) My Lord Puck! My Lord Puck!
  19. PUCK: Did I not say that I was not to be disturbed?
  20. FAERY: I apologize my Lord. A courier has arrived with the crown.
  21. PUCK: (SUDDENLY GLEEFUL) Haha! The crown is here. Then there is nothing left to stand in my way.
    Girl! I know you are awake. It is a shame you tried to betray me and keep the sword. I would have liked to show you the world that is to come, but as it is, I’m fairly certain you will be dead before it arrives. Minion!
  22. FAERY: Sir?
  23. PUCK: Give me your torch.
  24. SOUND: [35] SOUND OF FLAMING TORCH BEING BROUGHT FORWARD. – LET IT FINISH.
  25. PUCK: If I place it here, then in a matter of moments it will burn through the rope that suspends you and will drop you into the boiling mud below. I’m sorry I’ll miss it, but the satisfaction it would give me is rather fleeting in comparison to the mayhem to come… and, what can I say, if I have a weakness, it is a taste for the grandiose. (APOLOGETICALLY) Your agonized death just isn’t going to compare with the death of an entire city. (DEPARTING) Bwahahahaha!
  26. CLAIRE: (BEAT) (RELIEVED) I thought he’d never leave. (BEAT) Stink, are you there?
  27. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
  28. SYLVAESTRON: That’s Sylvaestron if you please.
  29. CLAIRE: Sorry, but that name’s a mouthful. And Stink suits you better.
  30. SYLVAESTRON: (SIGHS) What do you need?
  31. CLAIRE: Get me down from here before the rope burns through.
  32. SYLVAESTRON: Your wish is my command.
  33. CLAIRE: You guys really say that?
  34. SYLVAESTRON: No, I saw it on late-night TV and thought it sounded cool.
  35. CLAIRE: Oh!
  36. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
  37. SOUND: [36] BODY DROP. LET IT FINISH.
  38. CLAIRE: (GRUNTS) Ugh! Did you have to let me down so hard?
  39. SYLVAESTRON: You didn’t land in the mud did you?
  40. CLAIRE: No.
  41. SYLVAESTRON: So, shut up. What now, fearless leader?
  42. CLAIRE: Well, if the crown has arrived, we’ve only got moments to save the day.
  43. SYLVAESTRON: You know, for someone who can keep an intelligent expression on her face, you aren’t all that smart.
  44. CLAIRE: What?
  45. SYLVAESTRON: You don’t have to save anything.
  46. CLAIRE: Huh?
  47. SYLVAESTRON: How come the pendant didn’t protect you against Puck’s dogs, huh?
  48. CLAIRE: I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought…
  49. SYLVAESTRON: Uhuh. Mab wants you here. Here right now. All you need to do is remember to follow her instructions.
  50. CLAIRE: Huh? (BEAT) Oh!!!!
  51. SYLVAESTRON: (PLEASED)Now the lights are turning on!
  52. CLAIRE: I need to get to that throne in the center. Stink, can you create a distraction and buy me some time?
  53. SYLVAESTRON: That noise you’re hearing is me raising hell. (ROCKETING INTO THE DISTANCE) Wheeeeeeeeee!
  54. MINION #1: (AT A DISTANCE) What was that?
  55. MINION #2: (LIKEWISE AT A DISTANCE) I don’t know but we better catch it before the boss finds out!
  56. SOUND: [13] DOGS BAYING AND BARKING INTO THE DISTANCE – ESTABLISH AND FADE.
  57. SOUND: [37] RUNNING FEMALE FEET – LET IT FINISH.
  58. CLAIRE: Thank goodness. No-one’s here… and uh oh. The bomb’s under the throne… but there’s the crown. I’ll grab it!
  59. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
  60. PUCK: Oh, I think you’ll find that would not be a good idea. (BEAT) Surprise!
  61. CLAIRE: Really? Well, I think you’ll find that the jig is up, Puck. You’re finished.
  62. PUCK: Oh? And what makes you so confident?
  63. CLAIRE: I got out of your little trap didn’t I?
  64. PUCK: I assume, with the help of the little pollution faery currently leading my dogs on a run. I should have searched you, a mistake I won’t repeat.
  65. CLAIRE: But I have something else as well. Something even more powerful than either the crown or the sword. Am I lying?
  66. PUCK: (SNIFFING THE AIR) No you’re not! (GREEDILY) But what could it be? The sword is the second most powerful object in existence? You couldn’t possibly have the “touchstone”. There’s no way you could even reach it, let alone steal it away from its guardian…
  67. CLAIRE: No, I don’t have any object. What I have is this… Mab! Mab! Mab!
  68. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
  69. MAB: I answer the call!
  70. PUCK: (WITH A SQUEAL) Mab! I mean, your majesty! How wonderful to see you. And so unexpected.
  71. MAB: Hello Puck. It has been some time, has it not? I do not believe I have seen you since you were exiled from Oberon’s court. What mischief have you been working this time?
  72. PUCK: Mischief, your Majesty? Why, I follow my nature as all must. In fact, I have done you a great service.
  73. MAB: Oh yes?
  74. PUCK Indubitably. I have obtained these many items, stolen from the realms of the fae. I present them to you, your majesty.
  75. MAB: Oh, you are a little trickster aren’t you? Fully aware that I know you stole them in the first place, you still try to salvage the situation by attempting to make of them a treacherous little gift. I could return the crown directly to Oberon and so place him in my debt. And for this service, you would also place me in your debt. No, that will not do at all. I’ve summoned the protectors. They will take you into custody and present you to Oberon.
  76. PUCK: Damn you, Mab! Having Oberon in your debt would have given you power unequaled. Would you really turn your back on this opportunity?
  77. MAB: Foolish Puck. I enjoy games as much as you do, and blood, and chaos. But I am far wiser than you. (STERNLY) The balance must be maintained. If that means occasionally giving up the opportunity for advantage, so be it. Like you I am a slave to my nature. And my nature is… calculating.
  78. PUCK: Then you give me no choice. I will cast the spell that will set off the explosion. Manhua… Glup! (SPLUTTERING INCOHERENTLY).
  79. CLAIRE: (NARRATING) I watched as Puck opened his mouth to speak only to have it filled with a well-aimed glob of gunk. I wasn’t about to speculate regarding the contents of the glob, but given Puck’s expression, and the triumphant look on Stink’s face as she swooped in, it was pretty disgusting.
    At that moment the protectors arrived. They took one look at Mab, another at the Puck, and with a glance at the bomb sitting beneath the throne they put all the pieces together.
    From the glint in Mab’s eye I could tell that, fine words about maintaining the balance not-withstanding, she was going to have a lot of fun berating Oberon and Titania (and the protectors) for suspecting her.
    Oberon and Titania turned up shortly to offer their apologies and the words were clearly ashes in Titania’s mouth. Their stay was short and their departure was as rapid as protocol would allow.
    Finally, Puck was taken away by Eberon, presumably to face the (considerable) wrath of Oberon.
  80. MAB: Well, Miss Templeton, all is now as it should be. You’ve done quite well. Your world is saved and the balance has been restored.
  81. CLAIRE: But how did you know all this…
  82. MAB: Now, now, dear. We all have our secrets. And some are a very great burden to carry. Are you sure you’d like to know this one?
  83. CLAIRE: Er no. On second thought, ignorance is bliss.
  84. MAB: Very wise. I’m going to need my pendant back now.
  85. CLAIRE: Oh, of course. What will happen to Stink… I mean Sylvaestron, now?
  86. MAB: She has provided me with a service that makes up for the stomach worms. I will grant her the freedom to go where she wishes.
  87. CLAIRE: And Tony? What’s happened to him?
  88. MAB: Ah, of course. He will be freed. In fact, he will probably appear here any moment.
  89. CLAIRE: Why here?
  90. MAB: This is where the sword is. It will act as a beacon when they send him back.
  91. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
  92. CLAIRE: Speak of the devil.
  93. MAB: Indeed!
  94. TONY: Where? What are we doing here?
  95. CLAIRE: Hey, Tony. Nice to see you too. Damn, but they worked you over good.
  96. FRED: (JOYOUS) Boss! Great to see ya. A whole lot’s been happening while you’ve been gone.
  97. TONY: (TO MAB) (GROANS) Ugh. I take it, most of this was your doing?
  98. MAB: Of course. But don’t be too angry mortal. Your realm has been saved in the process. And as for me, I’ve made a small profit as well.
  99. TONY: Profit? How…
  100. MAB: Don’t you know? Well, you’ll work it out soon enough. And with that, I’ll bid you farewell.
  101. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
  102. TONY: Ooookay?
  103. CLAIRE: Oh no! I almost forgot! Tully! We’ve got to go get Tully back.
    (NARRATING) We grabbed the sword, as battered and bruised a pair as you were ever likely to meet, and I quickly filled the aching and very confused tough guy in on the events of the day as we hurried over to Lefty Louie’s. Inside we found the place abandoned. It seemed that Louie had chosen to leave town in the wake of his unmasking as an exiled member of the fae. He was none too happy about the situation either if the state that poor Tully was in was any guide. We found Tully trussed up in the basement. He was covered in honey and feathers and his clothes were in the next room. He’d been beaten once or twice. I tried to apologize for leaving him behind but he wouldn’t even look at me. He gathered himself up with as much dignity as he could, climbed stickily into his clothes and left saying…
  104. TULLY: We are never going to talk about this day ever again. As far as I am concerned everything after breakfast this morning never happened.
  105. CLAIRE: (NARRATING) I went to follow him, but Wells stopped me.
  106. TONY: He needs a little time, kid. He’ll be fine.
  107. CLAIRE: (NARRATING) Just to be on the safe side I returned the glamour bracelet to the now empty desk. To nobody’s surprise, it shimmered for a moment and vanished. With that out of the way, we went back to Tony’s office.
  108. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 12: INT – TONY’S OFFICE – EARLY EVENING (TONY, CLAIRE, FRED)

  1. SOUND: [38] DOOR OPENS, TWO PEOPLE ENTER, DOOR CLOSES – LET IT FINISH.
  2. TONY: (GROANING) Ugh. It’s getting late and I need a belt! There’s some rye in the filing cabinet under “h”.
  3. CLAIRE: Under “h”?
  4. TONY: Yeah, for “hooch”.
  5. SOUND: [39] SCREECH OF FILING CABINET OPENING – LET IT FINISH.
  6. CLAIRE: That better not be typical of your filing system.
  7. TONY: Give it a rest will ya? I’ve been chained to a wall and tortured most o’ the day.
  8. CLAIRE: Yeah? And while you were just hanging around getting your bell rung (pun intended) I was out being savaged by magical dogs and saving the world from a psychotic faery. (BEAT) I win!
  9. TONY: Just pass me a glass!
  10. SOUND: [40] WHISKY BEING POURED – LET IT FINISH.
  11. CLAIRE: What are we drinking to?
  12. TONY: That’s easy. Success to crime!
  13. CLAIRE: Bottom’s up.
  14. TONY: (BEAT) Looks like the mail’s been.
  15. CLAIRE: What’s the big one?
  16. TONY: Ain’t you nosy!
  17. CLAIRE: Reporter, remember? And, oh damn. The city’s black market is out of business and I won’t be able to print a word about it.
  18. SOUND: [41] SHUFFLING PAPER, TEARING LETTER OPEN – LET IT FINISH.
  19. TONY: Aw hell!
  20. CLAIRE: What?
  21. TONY: Aw hell! The letter’s from Mab. (BEAT) “Dear Sir,” Nice! “You were contracted to conduct an investigation on my behalf but in the end, it was accomplished by Miss Templeton. As a result, you have received payment for services which have not been rendered. Naturally, this failure means that you are in my debt. I will not forget! Mab” (BEAT) Aw hell!
  22. CLAIRE: That’s what she meant by profit. You just can’t get a break, can you?
  23. TONY: She set me up. Right from the start!
  24. CLAIRE: Have another drink. We’ll just have to come up with something to take your mind off it.
  25. FRED: (CHEERFULLY) Oh yeah! This news should help. Hey boss, I forgot to tell you. You’ve got yourself a new apprentice.
  26. TONY AND CLAIRE: (SPLUTTERING IN THEIR DRINKS) What!?
  27. MUSIC: [2] CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.

CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS

TONY WELLS: I used to work as a detective in the City Police Department. Now I’m a private detective in a city full of liars, cheats, killers, and con-men. You’d think that would have made me a cynic. And I guess it has a little. But underneath the hard-boiled exterior, I actually give a damn. I do this job because I want to keep people safe from the animals and predators who roam the dark side of the city. I believe in heroes, or at least I want to believe in them.

CLAIRE TEMPLETON: I’m the crime reporter for the Star City Tribune. I know everyone in this town from the mayor down to the guys who pick up your garbage at four in the morning. I’m good at my job too, which is why I get myself into so many scrapes and tight corners. I’m fearless, determined, and always get my story — even when there’s no one with the courage to print it!

MAGIC SWORD (FRED): I’m a magical sword and I inherit my personality from the world around me. I’m a wise-talking smart alec who’s always laughing at the expense of my owner. Possibly because I can’t be destroyed — magical remember — I see myself as superior to ordinary mortals. Nothing bothers me particularly and I love giving advice. I will probably be advising my new master on the proper etiquette for being swallowed by a dragon while he is being munched upon.

TULLY BING: I’m a cartographer — which means I like maps. I make maps of everything. Recently I’ve developed an ability with maps that is scaring me to death. But then, everything scares me to death. I’m dating Claire Templeton. That scares me to death too. Nothing’s normal with her and I never know where I stand. She seems to like it that way.

PUCK: I am the Lord of Mischief and I love this mortal realm. Sadly, the humans are destroying it and, since no one else seems willing to do anything about it, I have taken it upon myself to take over. Lord of Mischief! Lord of Nature! Lord of the Mortal Realm! I shall save it all and rule it all!

MAB: I am Mab, High Queen of the Realm of Darkness. I am… calculating. I am beautiful, cold, and cruel. I don’t like humans, except as playthings. They are usually beneath my interest. But the balance must be maintained. That is my overriding commitment. The balance must be maintained. Of course, if I can make a small profit while keeping things in balance, then, of course, I’d be a fool not to. The balance is delicate and adjusting it takes no small amount of finesse.

CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS

SYLVAESTRON (STINK): I’m a helpful pollution faery. What? You thought all faeries were cute and stuff? Well, I suppose that can be forgiven because I was cute once… but then the land to which I am linked was poisoned by a mining company. None of those ugly flowers and bird-songs for me. Now it’s all stink and slag and slime. Cool, huh! Now, what would you like poisoned? Didn’t I mention that I’m helpful?

FAERY, MINION #1 AND #2: We are the faery minions of the Puck. We dance and delight in chaos. We are mischief personified. Our attention spans are short but we can move incredibly fast. We follow the Puck because he provides us with fun and blood, but mostly fun.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, an e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).

He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.

This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.

You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com.

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On the Fence