ACT IV, SCENE 1: “Save Us All from Satan’s Power”

    “Let Nothing Ye Dismay” is fictional holiday tale. It tells the story of a group of Millenial 20-somethings trying to celebrate Christmas together, for the first time away from their parents, in a rented beach house. Various adventures, romantic and otherwise, ensue.


    “God, that sky is gorgeous. Remember the last time we saw sunrise down here, Beebs?”

    Belinda both smiled and squirmed at the memory: “Oh, yeah, the Clemson boys down on the beach.  Ooo, that Justin was a 10, wasn’t he?  And we were almost done getting the screen off the window to sneak back into the house when my Dad came creeping up quiet as a mouse and put his hands on our shoulders …”

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    Steffi lowered her voice to a mock bass: “‘Been out somewhere, ladies?'”

    The two had been up all night, talking, crying, reminiscing, since the Cataclysmic Canoodle, as Belinda had dubbed it somewhere around 3 a.m.

    Some Christmas magic at the beach.  They’d come to spend the holiday together to make up for the pain of lost parental warmth, seeking consolation in familiar friendship and blooming romance.

    Instead, Belinda and Dan had both lost new loves.

    Paul and Carly had driven off, in the middle of the night, together.

    “It’s all my fault,” Belinda said for the 100th time.

    “No, it’s not,” Steffi replied again.  “This one wasn’t your fault – and neither was the other one.”

    “Which other one?”  Belinda took a pull on the dregs of her diet, caffeine-free Coke.

    “The other one. The Big One.  Your mom.”

    “Oh, I know that.”

    “Do you? Look, Beebs, you know I lived through the same kind of stuff.  All the time growing up. Fights, screaming, curses, tears, storming out – then three days later the ‘rents are at the table having breakfast when I come down for school, all lovey-dovey.  I tried and tried to figure out what the trick was, what I did to make them fight, what I could do to make them stop. I’m not the brightest bulb in the fixture, but finally even I figured it out.  It wasn’t my fault. It had nothing to do with me. In fact, that was the whole problem: It had nothing to do with me.”

    Belinda reached a hand to the next rocker, squeezed Steffi’s hand: “So why do you have to leave? Don’t go.  Stay down here and do Christmas with your pathetic old BFF. What could your mom have said that was so important on that call back at the Mackerel?  C’mon, Stef. You know she’s a drama queen.”

    Steffi sighed: “Can’t tell you. Shouldn’t. But I really got to head back up, be there for Christmas.  She’s my mom; she really, really wants me there.  You know that I’d rather stay here with you, and with Dan and … Scoot.”

    “Aaahhh, so what’s up with you and my little bro?”

    “Nothing. As usual. … Why? Did he say something to you? C’mon, Beebs, if you’ve got intel, you’ve got to dish.  This is driving me crazy.  I’m stone cold nuts about my best friend’s brother, and I’ve got no idea what goes on in that brain of his. What does he think?”

    “Stef, I didn’t pack my truth serum this trip. That’s the only way you could know what goes on in that brain.  So, stay the rest of the week and work up to it.”

    “To what?”

    “Tell him how you feel.”

    “No way.  He might just look at me and go, ‘Wow, that’s random,’ and I’ll have go to stick my head in the oven. Look, Beebs, I know how much you wanted this week to work, and until a few hours ago, it really was – but between my mom on the phone crying and this little jagged thing your weird hunk of a brother puts in my chest, I gotta go. I just gotta go.”

    “OK, girl, I get it.  I get it.  So, when’s your plane? 1:10? I’ll take you. No need for a limo. Let me just get an hour or two of snooze, and I’ll be good to go.”

    NEXT SCENE: A beach, a dog, a new friend

    Posting Wednesday afternoon.

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