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Meghan Arnette as Carly, Pilar O'Connell as Alise. Photo by Joe Iano.

Finally Got You

produced at the 14/48 festival, 1/10/14. The randomly drawn theme for that night: "You Just May Be The One." (The first time a theme I submitted was chosen!) My random actor draw: write a play for three men and two women.

Lights up on Alise and Carly in chairs, facing the audience. They step forward when they're called.

ALISE to audience: I first met Carly when I was in grade school. We were in a spelling bee together. She got unnaturally lucky with the words they gave her.

ANNOUNCER: Our next contestant is Carly. Your word is... “PLANK.”

CARLY: “Plank.” P, L, A, N, K. “Plank.”

ANNOUNCER: That's correct. Our next contestant is Alise. Your word is... “MALACOPHILOUS.”

ALISE: Oh. Trying to pronounce it first: “Malaco...” Uh. Yeah, I'm just gonna sit back down now and not win.

Scene shifts. Carly plays chess against Roger, while Bradley watches. Carly snatches a piece from Roger, flips her clock over.

ALISE: Out of the blue, I met Carly again in high school. In chess club. I realized she wasn't just lucky. She was an amazing strategist, too. Making her unbeatable.

BRADLEY: That was really stupid.

ROGER: Shut up.

BRADLEY: She's got you in ten.

CARLY: Eight, actually.

ROGER: Shut up!

Roger makes a defensive move.

CARLY: Down to seven now.

BRADLEY: Oh I see, his knight's out of position and you've got him-

CARLY: Uh huh.

ROGER: Would you both shut up? Pause. Oh, I see, my knight's out of position and you've got me-

CARLY: Uh huh.

ROGER: Dammit. Concede. He knocks his king over and begins resetting the board.

CARLY to Alise: You're new. I've got the next game – want to play me?

ALISE: Seems like you're really good.

BRADLEY: Carly's the best in the club.

ROGER: Best in the school probably. Better than you for sure.

CARLY: You can't get better without playing the best. I'll play with a handicap. I'll start without my queen.

Alise sits down in Roger's place. Tentatively, she makes the first move. Carly counters; Alise counters.

CARLY: Got you in eighteen.

ALISE: What?

CARLY: I see twelve combos out of that opening. I get you in pretty much every one.

ALISE: Oh. I guess you got me then. She knocks over her king. Probably won't join chess club.

Scene changes to a game of Risk at a card table with Carly and three others: MATT, RICK, THEO.

ALISE to audience: I didn't see Carly again until college. I went to the study lounge in my dorm one night and there she was, playing Risk with a bunch of guys. Destroying them of course.

MATT: That's it, dude – she's got your supply lines completely cut off. One lucky strike from Asia and she'll sweep the Americas in like two turns.

Carly rolls the dice.

CARLY: You mean like that lucky strike?

RICK: Those dice clearly love you so much they would put out for you in a sexual fashion.

THEO: She's got that whole side of the board defended with more armies than the three of us have put together. This is pointless. I say we start over.

MATT: She gets a bigger handicap this time.

RICK: Yeah, any time you roll a six on your lucky sex dice, Carly, we're calling it a five.

THEO: And you only get two lucky sex dice instead of three when you attack.

MATT: And whenever you lose a country, you have to take off a piece of clothing. What – I couldn't pick continent because she never loses those.

CARLY notices Alise: Hey – got here just in time - wanna play?

ALISE: I'm here to study.

CARLY: It'll be a short game. And we're not actually taking any clothing off. Unless that's your thing.

ALISE: It's not. I mean – not during board games.

CARLY: That's cool.

Alise sits down at the table.

MATT: We must form an alliance against her right at the start. We take her out first.

CARLY: Or... you could form an alliance with me. I'm friendly.

ALISE to audience: I did form an alliance with her. She took me out last.

CARLY: Not bad. You almost held Asia for two turns.

ALISE: You roll a lot of sixes.

CARLY: One thing about me - I get lucky a lot.

Scene changes. Card table vanishes, gang winds up on carpets or comfy chairs or bean bag chairs as Alise addresses audience.

ALISE: I lost track of her after college, which I regretted. I started dating this guy Sam, and after we'd been together for a while, he wanted to introduce me to his gaming group. Friends he hung out with every Wednesday night to play role-playing games, or collaborative board games where they all played on the same team, or storytelling games where they didn't even bother to use dice. There was Carly.

Alise and Sam enter. Carly, Rusty, William on the floor.

SAM: Sorry we're late. Did you guys order pizza?

RUSTY: Twelve point eight minutes ago. Soon starvation will be vanquished.

ALISE: Are you – I feel like we've met before, do you recognize me?

CARLY: I remember all my games – Alise, right? I'm Carly - from college?

ALISE: Yeah, I would have looked you up before now, but I forgot your last name. You look -

SAM: I invited Alise to watch a session or two, so she'll understand why this group means so much to me even though it's “just” gaming.

CARLY: You could play if you want – I have a bunch of pre-rolled characters.

ALISE: I don't want to be a distraction.

CARLY: Nah, here, play my elf mage. She's a blast to run, and we desperately need more magic because our game master William is out to kill us. If you don't come back to play her for some reason, we'll just retcon that we never met her.

ALISE to audience: But I did like playing. I liked being Carly's team mate a lot more than playing against her. For one thing, her halo effect expanded to the whole table. She rolls a die.

SAM: Another 20! Statistically that is just – a very statistically improbable string of 20s.

ALISE: Automatic success again, right, so – I assume dude gets hit?

WILLIAM: Dude's instantly severed head sails through the air, in cinematic slow motion, as he shouts “NOOOOO” with his last breath. So yeah.

RUSTY: Where I'm from, that is called a slam dunk. And I'm from Michigan, if you're curious.

CARLY: Pretty great having an elf mage in the party. You should come back next week. You know, instead of waiting years for another random chance to run into each other.

ALISE to the audience. Carly and I got connected online. We were constantly sending each other little notes about tactics and game mechanics. I gamed with that group for two years straight. Until Sam broke up with me. No explanation, never saw it coming. The only thing he told me was he wanted his old gaming group back – without me. I was crushed. About Sam, obviously, but also - if he wanted the group for himself – if he wanted William and Rusty – I was terrified he wanted Carly too. She told me later how it went down. Turns to watch the following scene.

SAM: I don't want her back here. She can find another group online.

RUSTY: How does she feel about all this? Does she think we're all in on it?

SAM: I didn't ask her how she felt or what she thinks.

RUSTY: Yeah, so asking her what she wants might be a good step one here.

SAM: Step one was breaking up with her. There aren't any other steps.

WILLIAM: What happened? You guys seemed super tight and I thought getting her into gaming was like a genius move for your relationship. And we all got to like her, and she liked us.

SAM: She likes, she's obsessed with - she's always rolling up new characters, learning new games, posting on forums, and none of that's for me... she's always trying to impress you, Carly.

CARLY: It's working. Keep your group, Sam. I'm out. I think I'm gonna start my own group.

WILLIAM: What – Carly, you have to stay! We got chemistry.

CARLY: Had it.

RUSTY: We're so close to the end of William's campaign – can't the four of us just finish it?

WILLIAM shakes his head sadly: Your elven mage is the only character with the right spells to face the demon king. Without her magic-

RUSTY: We lose the campaign, and we lose the group.

WILLIAM: Carly, you built the character – you could run it, couldn't you?

CARLY: I told Alise, if she didn't come back to game with us, we'd retcon her character out of the campaign altogether. Which doesn't work in real life, by the way. Anyway, the mage comes with me. You guys can keep what's left of this group if you want. Feels like you beat me somehow, Sam. First time for everything I guess.

ALISE to audience: But Carly always wins whatever game she plays.

The boys exit. Scene changes: Carly sits at a card table, no game in sight. Alise sits next to her.

CARLY: Thanks for joining my new group.

ALISE: What are we playing?

CARLY: Anything you want.

ALISE: I like role-playing. But I do want to try something new.

CARLY: You should be the game master.

ALISE: You mean - I could control how you play?

CARLY: You could have complete control over – my character.

ALISE: Who's your character?

CARLY: She's a wood nymph. And she's infatuated with – the ruler of these woods.

ALISE: I see. The ruler of the woods comes to see you, to give you – an important task.

CARLY: What task do you want my infatuated woodland nymph to perform, my ruler?

Long pause.

ALISE: I want you to spell “OLEACRANON.”

CARLY: Really? Pause. Because I can totally spell it.

ALISE: I know you can – but did your woodland nymph take the “champion speller” feat at first level? I'm sure you remember it, from that obscure online expansion that I'm obviously just making up?

CARLY: No. But if I roll a 20 to spell this word, that would be an automatic success. She rolls, shakes her head. My woodland nymph is at your mercy.

ALISE: I finally got you, Carly.

CARLY: Lucky me.

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