[SFX: Judith and Owen are a little drunk and are standing outside of their work Christmas party]
JUDITH: -I swear, I recorded it.
OWEN: No way.
JUDITH: Yes way, there were three people in the stalls in the women’s bathroom singing in a weirdly lovely harmony, AND I recorded it. I think one of them might have been Janet from accounting? She’s actually an incredible soprano- SHIT, I think I just recorded us OVER IT.
JUDITH: Goddamnit. Whatever, just… imagine it, in your mind’s eye.
OWEN: I’m trying but I’ve had… I don’t know, 4, 5 beers? I’m feeling a little fuzzy. I’ll picture it tomorrow when I’m no longer in this… work Christmas party haze? This one [waggles drink] is… number… ah, who cares.
JUDITH: I don’t think you can drink outside.
OWEN: I don’t think you can tell me what to do.
JUDITH: Touché. Can I have a swig?
OWEN: Sure. Here- [SFX: he’s bumped into by someone, knocking the drink out of his hand onto the ground] aw man!
JUDITH: I have beer in my shoes now.
OWEN: Same. Hey- oh.
BIRD: Oh, hello. Martha and… Peter.
OWEN: Not even close.
JUDITH: You could at least watch where you’re walking.
BIRD: I’m not the one imbibing on a public street, illegally I might add.
OWEN: Well, I’m not imbibing anything anymore.
BIRD: Probably for the best.Is… Miss Sterback here?
JUDITH: No, she no longer works with us.
BIRD: I see. Well, I was planning to come enjoy a drink myself at this establishment, but I see that its standards have… truly declined.
OWEN: Hey, we are perfectly adequate.
JUDITH: We are some of the best 6 out of 10s you’re gonna get. Look man, I don’t want to deal with this, let’s just call a truce because of… I don’t know, Christmas spirit? Is that a thing?
OWEN: Yeah, but I don’t think it’s public domain anymore.
JUDITH: God, does Disney own it? Whatever, it’s a licensing nightmare. Whatever. Look, if you want to go in there, you can go to the main bar, have an old fashioned or a manhattan or something whiskey-forward and over-priced, and we will not bug you.
OWEN: Yeah. We’re not going to follow you around or anything.
BIRD: Well, I appreciate the gracious offer, but I think I shall plan to meet with my companions somewhere less… pedestrian. Besides, I’m not here to “party”. I have a huge meeting coming up with some new investors that I need to be in full working order for. Some shiny new builds on the horizon.
JUDITH/OWEN: [sarcastic] Great, good.
BIRD: Either of you in the market for a new condo? I’m sure there’s a micro option in your price range. You don’t need an oven, do you?
JUDITH: Boy, can’t wait to see which building you tear down and put a big blue rectangle on top of. Will it be Lee’s Palace or are you just going to manifest your true self and bulldoze Sick Kids Hospital?
BIRD: I’ll have you know that it will be going up where that ridiculous Beanie Baby Museum is currently located. Truly a waste of space.
JUDITH: Aw, really?
OWEN: Did… you actually go there?
JUDITH: No, but I liked the idea that it existed. Anyway, listen here you-
OWEN: Nope, nope nope nope, we’re not doing this. Look, Birdman, just do what you want to do, it’s fine [SFX: someone stumbles over and WHOOOOOOs their way into the sidewalk] ok, maybe it’s not fine. [SFX: you hear them off mic, “Can I get some help up?”]
BIRD: Ah, yes, I think that’s my cue to close this chapter of my evening…
JUDITH: Works for us. Maybe the Christmas Spirit will come visit you and teach you some manners.
BIRD: I have had enough upsetting visitors on my property, thank you.
JUDITH: Expect the first ghost when your phone chimes one!
BIRD: Shan’t. Good night… Belinda? Tim?
OWEN: Are you even trying?
JUDITH: Happy holidays, Mr. Bird. Jackass. Do you think he was ever like, a normal guy?
OWEN: Probably. I’m sure that at some point he had a childhood dog and watched The Simpsons and probably even played soccer in high school. And I bet that when his team lost, he got his parents to buy the other school and demolish it.
JUDITH: Hah! Should we head back in?
OWEN: Yeah sure. … What are they playing?
JUDITH: [listens closely] I think it’s Livin’ on a Prayer.
OWEN: Hell yeah we’re going back in. Can I buy you a drink?
JUDITH: It’s an open bar.
OWEN: I know!
JUDITH: Lead the way, [SFX: guy on the ground, “Little help here?”] Oh jeez, right. Come on bud-
[SFX: jingle bell. Bird is walking into his bedroom on the phone]
BIRD: I’ve thought about it, but I don’t think I’ll be able to make it for Christmas morning. … I’m very busy, is all. … I’ve got several huge deals coming up for new builds and there’s a lot of paperwork-… I know Andrea would like to see me but she’ll understand. … She’s 8, that is old enough to understand. … Look, I’m sorry Beverly, it’s no good this year. I’ll come by later on, and if all else fails, I’ll stop by on boxing day. … I’ll be on the FaceTime call with mother, let me know when it is. … Where is she now? … Why? … You’d think after breaking 6 ribs last year she’d avoid Gstaad but I guess it’s an uphill battle to get her off the slopes. … The pun was unintentional, for once. … Alright, I’ll speak to you later. … Bye. [SFX: he hangs up the phone] Note to self, screen calls for sister’s number until paperwork is signed. I’m dealing with enough irate clientele without being guilted into family dinner this year. At the very least, I will say that my wine selection is better at home. [SFX: he gets into bed]
[SFX: jingle bell. The clock chimes]
BIRD: Huh? Who’s there? Show yourself!
OWEN: Hey man.
BIRD: [startled] What are you doing in here! Get out!
OWEN: Whoa whoa whoa, don’t worry, I’m not here to do anything untoward, I’m just here to chat.
BIRD: What, at 3 AM? Get out of my house!
OWEN: I will, don’t worry, but look, I’m here to talk to you because it seems like you’re, I don’t know how to put this delicately, kind of a jackass?
BIRD: And you’re kind of an intruder. Leave!
OWEN: Ahh, nope, not how this works. Look, I ain’t going anywhere. But you are coming with me. It’s time you take a look at how you ended up here.
BIRD: What? I am most certainly no-
[SFX: jingle bell. They’re at a fancy Christmas party]
BIRD: [coughing] What the hell was that?
OWEN: Sorry, I’m kind of new at this. You’ve got something in your hair.
BIRD: It’s a… piece of bone? Why am I covered in dirt? Eugh.
OWEN: [unnerved] Huh. Yeah… Uh, well, anyways, do you recognize where we are?
BIRD: No, or course… hang on. Yes, yes I do. This is… my Christmas party. It’s 2006.
OWEN: Is it ever. So many questionable hats!
BIRD: I was… God, I was so young and idealistic.
YOUNGER BIRD: [friendly, bright] I just want to say thank you so much to everyone for coming through this storm. You all mean the world to me, but I’m sure you’ll mean even more if you agree to buy a condo in one of my pre-builds! [SFX: laughter from the room]
BIRD: [sigh] It was a good night.
OWEN: It looks fun. You seem happier.
BIRD: I was. It was a different time… oh no.
BIRD: That’s… my ex-wife. Isabelle…
OWEN: Is it? Oh, yeah, my bad. I didn’t mean to get that real, I kind of thought we’d end up seeing your high school girlfriend or something.
BIRD: She was my high school girlfriend.
OWEN: Ohhhh… jeez.
BIRD: We went to prom together. She was my first love. We weren’t married at this time, but… we soon would be.
OWEN: Wow… you two are really going at it over there. You… were aware that other people were also at this party right?
BIRD: [testy] Yes, I know.
OWEN: Wow. [pause] So… what happened? When did the love fizzle out?
BIRD: 8 years ago. My business was going places. I had made a name for myself. I… was too busy. We never saw each other. She didn’t understand the sacrifices I was making for her. For us!
OWEN: That can put a lot of strain on a relationship.
BIRD: I gave her everything!
OWEN: But what did she want?
BIRD: She wanted… time. Time I didn’t have because I was building my empire.
OWEN: And… here we are.
BIRD: Yes. I tried, I really did. I missed some things, I missed a lot of Christmases.
OWEN: The holidays are important, you know that.
BIRD: I wasn’t there for her 30th birthday…
OWEN: Ok, bad move on your part.
BIRD: I also… missed her mother’s funeral so I could take a client meeting.
OWEN: Ok, you know what? That’s cold.
BIRD: It was a mistake, I know! But it was a very big deal for-
OWEN: Ahhhh ok, alright buddy, I think we’ve seen enough. You need to go sit down and think about all the things you did.
BIRD: No, see, I pay a very expensive therapist so I don’t have to do things like that outside of billable hours.
OWEN: This is where you once were. Who you used to be. You can’t forget that.
BIRD: Yes, but you can only wallow if you allow yourself to.
OWEN: Look, I didn’t bring you here to wallow, I brought you here to learn, and- [SFX: static pop, Owen winces] Ow!
OWEN: [unnerved] … nothing. [pause] She looks lovely, by the way. And really happy. So do you.
BIRD: [sighs] Enough.I want to go home.
OWEN: You sure?
BIRD: Yes! Take me back now. I don’t want to see any more of this.
OWEN: Look, you really should [SFX: static pop, small yelp of pain]… you know what, maybe you’re right. Come on.
[SFX: jingle bell. They’re back in the bedroom]
OWEN: The past is more than a pool to float in and wallow. It’s a reflecting pond, a well, a stream running through a garden you must tend to. If you don’t, it can become fetid and overgrown, and you will end up trapped in the dark.
BIRD: I didn’t take you for a philosopher.
OWEN: I’ve been known to philosophize here and there.
BIRD: Well if you’d like something to ponder, I suggest you start with the meaning of solitude, because I am asking you to leave me alone.
OWEN: [shrug, sigh] Alright. See ya.
BIRD: Hello? … Hello? [deep breath] It’s a dream. It’s just a dream. You’re just got them on your mind because you ran into them earlier. That’s it. [SFX: two chimes]
BIRD: Oh god, it’s you.
JUDITH: It’s me!
BIRD: What, are you here now to espouse about more things from my past? Do you want to comment on my parents’ divorce? Or troubles in high school? Or about the time I was attacked by a bunch of angry geese, thus giving me a fear of my own name, which was debilitating until I was able to turn my life around and use it as a source of strength and punnery?!
JUDITH: What? No. Hang on, is that true? You know what? We don’t have time for this. No, I’m not here to comment on your sad and frankly bizarre childhood. I’m here to talk to you about who you are now and how that affects things. I’m all about the present.
BIRD: You are aware that I can just look around and see how things are being affected by who I am. I’m right here. See? I’m in my lovely bedroom and previously I was sleeping quite well until you fools started barging into my private sanctuary.
JUDITH: First of all, I didn’t barge in, I manifested, and second, look, it’s not just about what’s directly in front of your face, it’s about how it affects others too. Come here, take my hand.
BIRD: No thank you.
JUDITH: Look, you have to or else I’m just going to grab your arm and yank and it’ll be worse for both of us.
BIRD: Fine. I will say that you have very soft hands.
JUDITH: Thank you, I just got a manicure, truly a Christmas miracle.
[SFX: jingle bell. They’re at a crowded bar]
BIRD: [vaguely disgusted] Where are we?
JUDITH: I don’t actually know,I think we’re at some sort of Firkin? Maybe? Is this King Street? [SFX: bunch of party boys hooting it up outside] Yep, we’re on King West.
BIRD: And why are we here? I could’ve at least put a nicer robe on.
JUDITH: Relax, they can’t see you. Watch: hey buddy, can I bum a cig?
MAN: No, sorry dude.
JUDITH: Maybe they can see us a little. Whatever. We’re here so you can see what you’re missing when you lock yourself away.
BIRD: Fine. Is that…
JUDITH: Your coworkers? Yes.
BIRD: I think this is just the interns.
JUDITH: Is it? I don’t think I calibrated this thing right. But nonetheless, can’t you see how much fun they’re having? It’s a lovely night.
BIRD: Why would I party with the interns? I know for a fact they wouldn’t want me there.
JUDITH: Fine! Fine, ok, let’s shift to a more appropriate spot.
[SFX: jingle bell. They’re somewhere horrible and cold]
JUDITH: Uh oh.
BIRD: Where are we?
JUDITH: I… this isn’t right.
BIRD: It’s freezing but… why am I warm? Why is the air getting warm?
JUDITH: This isn’t… no, no no no we have to go, we have to GO
JUDITH: Take my hand, now! COME ON!
CLAIRE: [IN THE DISTANCE] HELLO MY FRIEND
BIRD: [panicking] What is ha-
[SFX: jingle bell. They’re in a quiet house, soft christmas music is playing in the background]
BIRD: [still panicking] -ppening, oh my good god!
JUDITH: [cheery] Isn’t this a lovely night?
BIRD: What? What are you talking about? What happened back there??
JUDITH: Huh? Oh, don’t worry about it.
BIRD: How does one not worry about THAT? Where were we?
JUDITH: It’s… unimportant right now. What is important is what’s in front of you. Look. What do you see?
BIRD: I see… my sister Beverly and her family. They’re sitting in the family room together. My niece Andrea is playing with her dog. I think my nephews are running around in the other room, as they usually are. Beverly and Robert are watching a movie on the couch… are they watching Die Hard again?!
JUDITH: That’s besides the point.
BIRD: We have this debate every year, as far as I’m concerned it is not a Christmas movie.
JUDITH: I mean, I agree, but seriously, look, do you not feel the warmth, the family joy, the care in this place? You could be a part of this, but instead you choosing to focus entirely on work.
BIRD: I know, but… it’s so busy. I have a reputation and a lifestyle to uphold.
JUDITH: You need to step back and just enjoy the moment for once. You could be here, watching Die Hard with them…
BIRD: I mean, I could be, although my brother-in-law is incredibly annoying.
JUDITH: What, more than you?
BIRD: Isn’t this my holiday epiphany? Are you allowed to be shitty?
JUDITH: Sorry, but just, look… just imagine-
[SFX: there is the sound of a glass jar falling onto the floor and rolling towards them]
BIRD: What’s this?
JUDITH: It’s… oh.
BIRD: What’s in here?
BIRD: It looks like… blood? It can’t be.
JUDITH: No one’s saying it can’t…
BIRD: Why is it here?
[SFX: There is a knock at the door. No one but Judith and Bird notice. It becomes louder and angrier and keeps happening, until an incessant pounding starts to happen]
JUDITH: Mr. Bird, I’m going to suggest that you put that down and take my hand one last time.
BIRD: But my family!
JUDITH: They’ll be fine! It’s not here for them! They can’t even hear it! Come on!
[SFX: Jingle bell. They’re back in his bedroom]
BIRD: Who was that?
JUDITH: You will… find out in time. There aren’t a lot of answers I can give you right now. I… I don’t even have the ones I need, yet.
BIRD: [sighs] Now what?
JUDITH: Well, you need to see what the future holds. I can only let you know about the now. What lies in wait? What is Yet to Come?
BIRD: I… I don’t know.
JUDITH: No one does. It’s a blessing and a curse. But you can always guess.
BIRD: Do you think it’ll be any good?
JUDITH: Oh, that’s not up to me. That’s all on you, dude.
BIRD: Right. I… Hello?Anyone? [SFX: 3 chimes. STATIC TIME]
CLAIRE: Hello Mr. Bird.
BIRD: [afraid] Oh no.
CLAIRE: I think it’s time we have a little chat.
BIRD: No, no! Stay back!
CLAIRE: What, aren’t you interested in talking to me anymore? The house is still so nice! I’ve done a lot of work on it. It has good bones, Mr. Bird. Would you like us to add yours?
BIRD: [lets out a small yelp and takes off]
CLAIRE: You don’t believe in home do you, Mr. Bird? No one likes having their home threatened, Mr. Bird. Our home is our temple. We protect what is ours. And we won’t let you take away the generations of work we’ve put into it.
BIRD: I don’t know what you’re talking about!
CLAIRE: OF COURSE YOU WOULDN’T.Does one not let the spirit flow through them? I mean, it’s Christmas. Why don’t we talk about spirit. You understand spirit, don’t you? A house can be home to many spirits. And sometimes when a house is threatened those spirits take action.
BIRD: Please, please-
CLAIRE: Oh, Mr. Bird, I do love it when you beg.
BIRD: What do you want? [SFX: he’s moving backwards, the static is growing]
CLAIRE: DON’T YOU WANT TO BRING THIS SPIRIT CHEER? NOTHING WOULD MAKE ME SMILE MORE THAN TASTING YOUR BLOOD.
BIRD: No! [SFX: he falls backwards into a hole in the dirt, he’s panicking] Where am I? What is this?
CLAIRE: It’s your grave, Mr. Bird. I thought you’d be pleased, this plot is prime real estate.
BIRD: Please, no!
CLAIRE: YOU SHALL BURN, YOUR EMPIRE WILL CRUMBLE UNDER THE EYE OF FIRE
AND YOUR BODY WILL BE NO MORE THAN ASH
THE DAY WILL COME
BUT YOUR NIGHT WILL NEVER END
BIRD: [scream of terror, the ground starts to crush inwards on him, the sound of soil and rocks, the static builds, heavy and punishing, a horrible cackle is heard, and a roar starts to build and engulf everything. Suddenly he’s back in his bedroom, thrashing around in bed] AHHHHHhhh oh, god. Oh thank god, it was… a dream. It was a dream! That was… it was a dream. [deep breath] Ugh, why am I so sweaty? And my phone is no longer working. That’s just what I needed. Well, that… horrid vision knocked me for a loop… [shudders] Maybe I will reconsider Beverly’s invitation… [SFX: The doorbell chimes and he presses the intercom button] Hello?
UPS PERSON: [on intercom] Hi, package delivery.
BIRD: Oh, uh. Fine. Question, do you know what day it is?
UPS PERSON: [on intercom, bad British accent] Why it’s Christmas day, sir!
UPS PERSON: [on intercom] No. The package is on the stoop.
BIRD: Seriously, though. My phone isn’t working. Hello? Hello? Speak up. Are you actually going to tell me what day it is?
CLAIRE: [on intercom] Yes.
BIRD: Is it… [realization] wait…
CLAIRE: IT’S THE DAY I BRING MY HOME TO YOURS, MR. BIRD.
BIRD: [terrified] Ahh!
CLAIRE: Come, be warm by the hearth. Feel the heat. LET IT BURN THROUGH YOU.
[SFX: Bird takes off running down the hall]
CLAIRE: There’s nowhere you can run, Mr. Bird, for I am home.
[SFX: Bird runs away]
CLAIRE: Merry Christmas. May your days be bright, and may the fires that consume you bURN EVER BRIGHTER.