Episode 8 – “Extra-Natural Creature Solutions” – Transcript

MonkeyTales – Episode 8 – “Extra-Natural Creature Solutions”
by Maddy Searle

Listen to the Episode Here

INT. STAIRWELL OF A BLOCK OF FLATS

SOUND: ECHOING FOOTSTEPS AS VIOLA CLIMBS THE STAIRS. SHE REACHES THE TOP FLOOR AND PAUSES FOR A MOMENT, OUT OF BREATH, BEFORE KNOCKING ON THE DOOR OF MATTIE’S FLAT.

MATTIE

(distant, off-mic)

Just a second! I’ll be right there.

VIOLA

(loudly, to make sure Mattie can hear through the door)

No worries!

SOUND: FRANTIC FOOTSTEPS AS MATTIE RUSHES TO THE DOOR AND OPENS IT.

MATTIE

Hi there! Are you the…

VIOLA

(business-like)

Yeah, I’m Viola, from Extra-Natural Creature Solutions. Nice to meet you!

MATTIE

(bubbly and enthusiastic)

Great to meet you, too! I’m Mattie, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. You are literally a life-saver. Do you want to come in? Have a coffee? A tea? Wait, I don’t have any tea. But I do have at least three different types of coffee.

VIOLA

(unsure)

Um, yeah, sure. A plain ol’ coffee works for me.

MATTIE

Of course, of course, come in!

SOUND: MATTIE CLOSES THE DOOR BEHIND THEM AND LEADS VIOLA TO THE KITCHEN.

MATTIE

Grab a seat anywhere, and I’ll get the coffee on the go.

SOUND: MATTIE STARTS BREWING COFFEE AND VIOLA TAKES A SEAT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE.

VIOLA

Thank you. So, I guess, if it’s okay with you, we should talk about your problem, and how I can help?

MATTIE

Oh yes, yes, of course, totally. Um, well, I suppose you already know that we’ve had some potential manticore issues.

VIOLA

Yes, you said in your email that it was knocking over the bins?

MATTIE

Yeah, that’s how it started. One day I just opened the front door and it was absolute carnage. Banana skins, broken bottles, plastic packaging just everywhere. I thought it was foxes or something, but then Mrs. McKenzie, who lives on the third floor, she said that she saw a big scary-looking thing rummaging through the rubbish during the night. I generally take anything she says with a pinch of salt. She loves the drama.

SOUND: MATTIE FINISHES BREWING COFFEE AND BRINGS TWO MUGS OVER TO VIOLA, THEN SITS DOWN BESIDE HER.

MATTIE

Here you go.

VIOLA

Thanks.

MATTIE

But then, Lindsay’s dog Sparkle went missing. Lindsay is just across the hall from me, you see. And her dog is the cutest thing. Was the cutest thing. Sorry. I think she was a cavoodle? Anyway, sometime last week, Lindsay said she couldn’t find Sparkle, was looking everywhere, out of her mind with worry, and then she found Sparkle’s… remains… in the back garden. It sounded horrible. Really really horrible. Poor little puppy. 

VIOLA

I’m sorry to have to ask this, but do you know anything specific about the condition that Sparkle was found in?

MATTIE

I mean, you should probably talk to Lindsay about it. She didn’t really want to talk much when I saw her. Poor Lindsay. She was pretty inconsolable. But that was when we decided to club together and hire you, to see if you can figure out how to deal with this. Ethically, if you know what I mean.

VIOLA

Well, I hope I can help. I’ve dealt with a couple of manticores in the past and I’ve done plenty of research, so it should be relatively plain sailing from here.

MATTIE

Sounds good to me!

VIOLA

Would you mind showing me the back garden? Just so I can get started on my investigation.

MATTIE

Of course! No problem at all. It’s just this way.

SOUND: MATTIE LEADS VIOLA OUT OF THE FLAT AND THEY BEGIN TO DESCEND THE STAIRWELL.

MATTIE

(walking with Viola down the stairs)

So, what do you know about manticores? I’ve read up a lot on extra-natural creatures, but so much of it is hearsay and rumours, especially online, so I don’t know what to believe, honestly.

VIOLA

Well, there are lots of conflicting reports going back centuries, but the basics are generally pretty similar. First of all, its name means “man-eater”, so that gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with. It has a human’s head, a lion’s body and a tail completely covered in venomous spines, so that’s the main thing you need to keep an eye out for. The tail can actually shoot out the spines like arrows, so you really need to have good armour or the ability to dodge at the drop of a hat. Or both, that’s the ideal.

MATTIE

Holy shit. Manticores mean business.

SOUND: MATTIE OPENS THE DOOR TO THE BACK GARDEN AND LEADS VIOLA OUTSIDE. WE CAN HEAR THE RUMBLE OF TRAFFIC IN THE DISTANCE AND A FEW GARDEN BIRDS CHIRPING.

Anyway, here’s the garden! It’s not much but it’s at least somewhere to have a barbecue once in a blue moon.

VIOLA

Cool, I’ll start having a look around.

MATTIE

Nice. So, what kind of things are you looking out for?

SOUND: VIOLA WALKS FURTHER INTO THE GARDEN AND STARTS INVESTIGATING.

VIOLA

Well, first of all, I’ll need to do some tracking, find out where the manticore has been, what it’s been doing, and where it’s gone. Sometimes they leave footprints, and sometimes broken twigs or damaged plants can give you an idea where they’ve gone.

MATTIE

Wow, interesting! So, wait a second, there’s a tuft of hair caught on this twig over here. Is this the kind of thing you’re looking for?

VIOLA

(begrudgingly impressed)

Yeah, actually. Well spotted.

MATTIE

(brightly)

Thanks! And after you’re done with the investigation phase, what else do you need to do?

VIOLA

Well, later on, I also need to have a talk with Lindsay and find out a bit more about what happened to Sparkle. You see, manticores eat their victims whole, and don’t leave any bones behind. So, if there were bones, that means we might have a different creature to contend with.

MATTIE

Right, right. Wait a sec, you were talking about damaged plants a second ago, right?

SOUND: MATTIE WALKS OVER TO A FLOWER BED AND STARTS EXAMINING THE PLANTS.

VIOLA

Yes, have you found something?

MATTIE

These begonias are completely flattened. And the fence here has been damaged. Do you think the manticore or whatever it is went this way?

VIOLA

I think you might be right. I should be able to start tracking this creature now.

MATTIE

(both excited and nervous)

Oh man, this is getting very real very quick. So, when you actually find it, what are you going to do?

VIOLA

First off, I’ll see if I can encourage it to leave the area and head to somewhere more remote – somewhere closer to its natural habitat – or if I need to sedate it and bring it to my friends at the shelter. This part can be really dangerous. And I must be clear, if my life is in danger, I will have to defend myself, and I am very capable, but taking the manticore’s life is the absolute last resort.

MATTIE

Wow, that’s a lot. But yes, of course, you need to defend yourself.

VIOLA

Yeah, it’s something you just have to be at peace with, I guess. Anyway, I should let you get back to… whatever you need to do, and I should get over the fence to see-

MATTIE

(interrupting)

Actually, before I leave you to it, I wanted to ask you – how did you get into this “monster hunting” type of gig? It’s not exactly a common career path.

VIOLA

(with a gentle laugh)

Yeah, it really isn’t.

MATTIE

Sorry, I’m asking a lot of questions.

VIOLA

(with a kind smile)

It’s alright. I suppose I was just always fascinated by extra-natural creatures. I was told bedtime stories about them, like pretty much every kid, but I always wondered about their point of view. Were they really terrible monsters, or were they just defending themselves, trying to survive? And it goes without saying that the government’s position on extra-natural creatures is pretty harsh.

MATTIE

(in enthusiastic agreement)

Oh yeah, totally. Exterminate, contain, eradicate. Out of sight, out of mind, all that morally dubious jazz.

VIOLA

Exactly. So when I found out that there were people out there who actually worked with them instead of against them, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

MATTIE

Wow. I wish I had that kind of… sense of purpose.

VIOLA

To be honest, sometimes I wish I didn’t. I wish I could just do a boring normal job and be safe and dull and get a regular salary… But then I remember why I do this job, and I know I couldn’t do anything else.

MATTIE

Of course. I mean, not having a regular income must be difficult, right?

VIOLA

Yeah, it can be. I’ve tried every way to earn money you can think of. I’ve tried crowdfunding, I’ve tried monthly donations, I’ve tried raising and lowering my fees, but ultimately, if someone is in danger, and they don’t have any money to spare, I’m still going to help them. Even if that means I don’t get paid.

MATTIE

I really respect that, you know. Not everyone would do that.

VIOLA

(shy but appreciative)

Thank you. That’s really… thank you. People aren’t always very… understanding about my job.

MATTIE

Oh god, yeah, I can imagine. I’ve heard how harsh people can be about it. How do you handle it?

VIOLA

(nervous laugh)

Wow, I didn’t expect a client consultation to get so deep!

MATTIE

Oh, shit, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to, like, interrogate you or anything.

VIOLA

Don’t worry about it. Actually, it’s really nice to talk to someone about this stuff. I don’t get that very often. It can be kind of isolating, I guess. Especially when phrases like “monster-loving freak” get batted around.

MATTIE

(empathetic)

God. Yeah.

VIOLA

(nervous laugh)

Anyway, sorry to make this conversation so depressing…

MATTIE

Not at all! I mean, you’re helping me out, so I’m glad to help you, you know? Even if it’s just by listening. Funnily enough, I’m normally not that great at listening. My mouth can go at a thousand miles an hour.

VIOLA

(amused)

I would never have guessed.

MATTIE

Ha ha. Anyway, I’m actually really interested in how you got your business started, how you got your training, all that kind of thing.

VIOLA

(trying very hard not to be rude)

Really? I mean, I’m happy to talk about it, but you’re a lot more curious than most of my clients. Why are you so interested?

MATTIE

(a bit embarrassed)

Um, actually, I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently. It may seem at first like I have bags of energy, but most of the time I just think, “What’s the point?” My job at the cinema is so boring it hurts, and I don’t feel like I’m contributing anything. Making anything better. And what you said about the bedtime stories… That’s exactly how I felt as a kid. I thought, there has to be more to it than that. So, I want to learn. And I don’t think I really knew that, like, KNEW knew, until you got here.

VIOLA

Oh, OK. Wow.

MATTIE

Sorry. It’s a lot.

VIOLA

It is a bit, but it’s OK. I’m not much of a role model, it must be said, but if you want to know anything, I can answer questions, give you links to resources, put you in contact with people, that kind of stuff. If you’d like me to. And, if you want, you could, like, keep shadowing me a bit, and I can teach you a bit more about tracking?

MATTIE

Oh my god, really? Are you sure?

VIOLA

Yes, for sure! The only way to learn is by doing, right? And if you’re going jack it all in and start a whole new career, you’d better be sure it’s the right decision, I think.

MATTIE

(delighted, vibrating with excitement)

Thank you so much!

VIOLA

You’re very welcome. But I do want you to keep in mind, this is a dangerous job, and I don’t want you putting yourself in a position where you could get hurt. When it comes to actually dealing with the manticore itself, I have to go it alone, OK?

MATTIE

But I… OK. I promise I’ll be careful.

VIOLA

Good. Now, is there anything else you’d like to ask me before we get tracking?

MATTIE

(playful)

Just one thing. Can I get a hug?

VIOLA

(laughing)

Oh, why not! You really are quite cheesy, you know that?

SOUND: MATTIE AND VIOLA HUG EACH OTHER.

MATTIE

(hugging)

I have been told that in the past, yes. But seriously, thank you.

VIOLA

(pulling gently away from the hug)

Thank YOU. I feel like we could work well together. Maybe. No promises. But let’s give this a shot.

MATTIE

For sure! 

(giggles with excitement)

This is so bloody exciting! Let’s do this!

SOUND: MATTIE STARTS TO CLIMB OVER THE FENCE AND FALLS OFF THE OTHER SIDE WITH A THUD.

MATTIE

Ow.

VIOLA

(happy but baffled at the events of the day)

Oh, wow. What have a let myself in for?

END.

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