Int: The Gastronomy Institute, café
MADAME MORGANNA is sitting by herself at a table for two. The Institute’s lobby is mostly abandoned and she is alone in the café but for one of her tame peacocks, curled up by her feet.
Enemy territory once more after all these years… Who would have thought it possible?
On the far side of the lobby, an elevator arrives. DR. ADAMSON and POLLYANNA exit. They have an unheard conversation as they walk towards the Institute’s exit. When MADAME MORGANNA catches his eye, DR. ADAMSON waves awkwardly at her. Then, he kisses POLLYANNA goodbye and she departs the building. He walks over to the café like a man on his way to do something he does not want to do. He takes a seat opposite MORGANNA.
Evening, MADAME. Well, what do you have to say? You asked for this meeting and I don’t think pleasantries are warranted when you’ve harrassed me for years.
Ah, well met, DOCTOR. I don’t know whether I should be pleased that you agreed to meet with me, darling, or insulted that you neglected to introduce me to your interesting new ladyfriend. I hear on the pipeline that she’s your tax examiner. Doesn’t it seem out of character for you to fall for an enemy, and a government one at that, dear?
Please don’t dear and darling me. Can we get to the point? I have important Gastronomical work to be getting on with. Our accusation that you and MYSTERY MASK are one and the same was an impulsive desicion by one of our underlings, and it was not approved by the Club. So I see no need to apologise.
Well, all right. Your harebrained accusation has fallen on deaf ears and mostly made you all out to look like fools, so I shall let that one slide. I think some pleasantries could be warranted, however, if I am to extend an olive branch in your direction.
I have certainly never ordered an olive branch, or any kind of plant, from you. Still, I suspected it might be something along those lines. Oh, whatever, here goes nothing. So, how do you find the new lobby? It’s just been redecorated and how are you, MADAME? It’s been so long since I had a haircut- no, the hell with this. Tell me what you propose and why I should suddenly trust you.
Maybe you should and maybe you shouldn’t, dear, but the fact remains that your old enemy MADAME MORGANNA is hardly your largest concern right now. As we are two of the richest and most famous people in town, I believe it would behoove us to compare notes as to this current pickle, and see if we can’t find some common ground.
We can certainly compare notes provided you cease insinuating you know some dark secret about me. It is a childish and manipulative game, as there is nothing you could feasibly know that would trouble me in any way.
Dear sweet DOCTOR, what makes you think the information I have is also available to you? There are so many secrets about all of us, and few men know themselves so well that they can truly claim to be safe from blackmail. But let us leave that aside for now. As a show of good faith, I will give you a piece of information you are sure to want. In return, I ask only that you hold off on tussling with THE MAYOR, or GRAND MAGIC FÜHRER as he now calls himself. Please leave that ridiculous man to MADAME MORGANNA. I have my own schemes to deal with him.
Well, if you believe yourself able to take care of his machinations, we certainly have more than enough fires to put out. So I suppose I can accept your offer, but that doesn’t mean we are on the same side here.
Machinations, I ask you… His hubris and absurd new title aside, that man is a novice at intrigue, and MADAME MORGANNA will have him sorted out in a jiffy, don’t you worry. Very well. I give you the following hint: There is a place underneath the Club that will soon be a battleground for all those vying for control of the city. My sources claim that it has come to be called The Crevice among those in the know. Already, the criminal organisation MYSTERY MASK has begun excavating the site. This has drawn the attentions of PASTOR JING and his Scientological, Committee cronies, and they are also staking a claim for the place. You need to put your most hardy associates on the task of keeping interested parties out. We can’t have The Crevice fall into the hands of troublemakers. Instead, we rational few can surely come to an agreement regarding access to this resource, can’t we, dear? But once again, please do not mess with THE MAYOR’s people for the nonce.
Things are moving fast right now, that is for sure… Is there anything more you would tell me? Some of your info is already known to us, but it is verily a shock to learn that other parties are already ahead of us in the race. Do you know how far MYSTERY MASK or JING’s people have gotten?
No, not as of right now. Also, my sources need to be protected. But the info I have generously provided should be enough to get you started on sorting this matter out, dear. Give my regards to D’ADDARIO as well.
Very well, MADAME. This has been almost civil. And we will certainly take your advice… I shall have ANGÉL deploy our nastiest and most ferocious henchman at once…
Int: The Crevice
We are at a narrow pathway circling down into the steel-black abyss underneath the Club’s basement. A terrifying wind howls and unearthly noises can be heard from the unfathomable depths. Strange liquids and gases emerge from cracks in the walls. The ambiance is ghostly, otherworldly. PAULETTE is carefully making her way down the path, wearing her MYSTERY MASK outfit. She is carrying a nondescript bag.
Hup! One has to watch one’s feet on these singularly slippery slopes. Ah, I see I’ve reached the bottom chamber as of the current moment. Now to enter the door at the end of The Crevice and fulfill GRAND MAGIC FÜHRER’s wishes…
Not so fast, MYSTERY MASK! Your kind is not welcome here!
Standing in front of the mystic portal is NICKY, the evil woman! Her sword is at the ready and she is winding up for a showdown!
I am NICKY, the evil woman! Identify yourself, masked interloper. Do it immediately, immediately, immediately!!!
So we meet at last, NICKY. There’s been a great deal of talk among us MASKS regarding DADDY’s evil wife, returned from far off lands to mess with his mind. And now, you are running his errands; guarding his magic portal; perhaps making short work of his dirty laundry… Has the nasty she-cat been spayed, one wonders?
PAULETTE readies her own sword and strikes a pose.
Ha! I appreciate your repartee, my new enemy. I can’t make out your voice and figure under that guise of digital distortion and billowing cape, but I get the distinct impression that you are also a she-devil. You simply must tell me your name.
PAULETTE puts the bag on the floor and the women begin circling each other.
I simply must do nothing… Except my job. I am the foremost MYSTERY MASK, selected by GMF THE MAYOR himself to accomplish this task. So step aside or show me what you got, glorified henchwoman!
Again, ha! Just because a lady chooses to help out her poor, beleaguered husband, it doesn’t mean that same lady can’t have designs of her own. I’m not so stubborn that I can’t assist him when our interests align. And it is certainly no interest of mine to let GMF THE MAYOR overtake my husband in power and popularity. Now, make your move. You simply must! Do it now, now, now!!!
PAULETTE makes a dismissive wave and acts like she is poised to belittle NICKY’s silly burst of catchphrases. And suddenly – she interrupts herself and lashes out rapidly with her sword! NICKY jumps backwards and parries each strike.
Think you can get one over on me, hehn? This is what you get for trying to meddle with a socialite!
NICKY returns the outburst with a series of advanced slices, forcing PAULETTE to retreat several steps up the path.
Oi carimbo!!! What a turn-around!
Well, well, well. You have some claws in addition to catchphrases, I see. But how about this?
PAULETTE makes a half-hearted attack, easily countered by NICKY. But lo – it was merely a feint! When NICKY strikes at PAULETTE’s heart, the latter is already in mid-air, having leveraged her higher position to make a daring leap over to NICKY’s other side! Their positions are swapped and PAULETTE’s blade is aimed squarely at NICKY’s back.
NICKY performs a roll to the side, ending up crouched to PAULETTE’s left with the sword aimed at her side!
There’s a swanky move! But you won’t be ready for this…
PAULETTE presses a button on the mask which mutes the external speakers and her voice can’t be heard!
DELUXE JEWEL GREEN ACTIVATE!!!
The right eye on the mask lights up in green! PAULETTE’s combat abilities are magically enhanced!
PAULETTE has activated DELUXE JEWEL GREEN
Activation time remaining: 36.2 minutes
What on earth…? I was told to prepare for some technologically enhanced henchman, not magic stuff! This is unheard of, unheard of, unheard of!!!
They clash again, and an inferno of fencing takes place! But NICKY, the evil woman, is now badly outmatched. She begins to inch back toward the path to the exit.
Curses, curses, curses! You’ll never get away with beating me… Again! I shall retreat this day, worthy adversary, but you simply must return for a rematch, whoever you are. And now to report this turn of events to D’ADDARIO, wretched excuse for a husband that he is… NICKY, the evil woman, away!!!
NICKY out. PAULETTE deactivates the DELUXE JEWEL and returns to normal, whereupon she fires up the radio transceiver built into the mask.
This is MYSTERY MASK NO. 28A, do you recieve?
GMF THE MAYOR (on radio)
This is GMF THE MAYOR, I hear you loud and clear, pardner.
There have been complications at the site. An associate of the Club faction tried to intercept me, but I fought her off. We’ve lost the privilege of being the only team gunning for The Crevice.
GMF THE MAYOR (on radio)
Dang it. We knew it’d happen eventually, by jove, but this sure is aheada the curve.
What would you like me to do, cancel today’s mission?
GMF THE MAYOR (on radio)
No way José. We can’t make enemies with them Gastronomical folks on the other side of that there mystic portal, so you gotta go make the payment. But try to keep the trip as swift as you can, and I’ll deploy the other MASKS to create a distraction, run some interference, get attention away from the Club. Radio me at once when you’re back and I’ll work on a way to get you out!
GMF THE MAYOR (on radio)
Good luck, sweet chica. GRAND MAGIC FÜHRER out!
The radio goes silent. PAULETTE picks up her bag and approaches the portal, which looks the same as any cave opening.
Well then. This will be a challenge… Just the trek to the Crystal Palace usually takes an hour, and now I have to keep negotiating time to a minimum as well. Tremendous. Well, time to step through this nonsensical Narnian gate…
She enters the opening in the cave wall.
Ext: Modern Love world, middle of jungle
God, this heat… Wish I didn’t have to go incognito, or at least that the portal on this end were closer to the Palace. I wonder what payment these otherworldly Gastronomers asked the boss for. Let’s have a look.
She opens the nondescript bag and peers down.
Well then. I don’t know what I expected.
The camera pans down so we can see the contents of the bag: GMF THE MAYOR’s old filthy gym clothes, some bling, and… PJALTUR’s mummified but unmistakable head…