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Double Feature: “Holly and the Pigeon” and “The Perfect Crime”

Holly and the Pigeon by Beth Crane
Holly suspects something’s amiss with the mysterious pigeon who’s been following her.

The Perfect Crime by Maxamillian John
Magnus is on the hunt… for cake.

And find out how you can help make Season 3 of Alba Salix happen!

Holly and the Pigeon

by Beth Crane

With Julian Sark as Magnus, Olivia Jon as Holly, and Beth Crane as Armaund the pigeon and Gerda.
Sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen
Directed and produced by Sean Howard

ELI

Hey everyone! It’s Eli here with two more brand new minisodes of Alba Salix, starring Magnus and Holly.

I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s supported us and is supporting us now. We couldn’t do this without you. This is what keeps us going—financially, emotionally—as we roll on with Season 3.

Yes, Season 3 of Alba Salix is taking shape! We just got the first drafts in from our amazing writers and they are already so good. I am really, really looking forward to this whole season.

But to make this new season, we do need your help. We’re not doing the Indiegogo thing this time around, but support from our listeners is still going to be crucial—Patreon, one-time donations, and spreading the word—it all helps.

Go to albasalix.com/support to learn about all the ways you can help us make Season 3.

With that—on to the minisodes! It’s another double feature.

Our first story today is “Holly and the Pigeon” written by and guest-starring Beth Crane, writer of sci-fi comedy We Fix Space Junk. It’s about two women who schlep around the galaxy doing repair work. They’re in the middle of their Season 3, and we love it so much—check them out at battlebird.productions.

Music sting.

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING—DAY.

Magnus is sitting at the front reception desk, feet up, humming. In the distance we hear Holly approaching. She is being attacked by a pigeon.

HOLLY

Come on! Shoo! Leave me—alone!

She pushes the door shut. The pigeon flutters outside.

MAGNUS

Holly?

HOLLY

That pigeon out there has been chasing me all morning! He showed up when I was gathering herbs and he just won’t leave me alone!

MAGNUS

A pigeon?

HOLLY

Yes, a pigeon! That pigeon!

The pigeon taps his beak on the window and coos.

MAGNUS

Do you—know why?

HOLLY

I don’t know, I was just gathering some Moonlight Bearturtle leaves and I…

(sudden realization)

Oh.

MAGNUS

What?

HOLLY

You know how Queen Parabel saved the king after he was turned into a goat…?

MAGNUS

Yeah?

HOLLY

It’s just like that! He’s a human under a curse and he came to the House of Healing for help!

The pigeon coos from outside.

MAGNUS

I dunno. Sometimes a pigeon is just a pigeon.

HOLLY

But he needs our help!

She opens the door. The pigeon flies inside.

HOLLY

Alright, come in. But maybe try not to—there. He’s found a perch.

MAGNUS

On Alba’s coat. I—don’t think she’s going to be too happy about that.

HOLLY

She’ll be happy if I save this poor person! I’ll just have a look in Hillbury’s encyclopaedia of curses…

She pulls down a huge, heavy tome.

HOLLY

All right. There are a few different options. What do you look like…

She leafs through, comes to a stop.

HOLLY

Let’s try this one first. Were you… cursed by a—witch, for… stealing?

The pigeon coos.

MAGNUS

I don’t know pigeon. Is that a “yes”?

HOLLY

So that’s an elixir of… fermented yew bark, crushed snarkfoot tendrils and a pinch of midsom seeds, combined with some verified clarified purified sheep butter…

Clattering and other cooking sounds as she assembles the recipe.

HOLLY

There we go! Come on, try it! It’s gonna help. Hopefully.

The pigeon flies down and pecks at the elixir. Nothing happens.

MAGNUS

Welp. Looks like a winner to me.

HOLLY

Shhh. Just wait.

The pigeon coos, flaps about. Papers go flying.

MAGNUS

Uh. I think you’ve made it angry.

HOLLY

Okay! Okay, so that didn’t work. Right. Next try. Hexed by a—a warlock for—rudeness. That’s—ugh. Fox saliva boiled up with a mixture of bleeding heart seeds and hemp flax, cooled and submerged in coiling oil…

MAGNUS

We’re nearly out of fox saliva, are you sure you want to use it up?

HOLLY

You can always get more.

She continues to make the recipe. Bubbling and chopping.

MAGNUS

Last time didn’t go so well. Foxes are jerks.

Music sting.

HOLLY

You better be grateful for this. I had a lot to do this afternoon.

She feeds it to the pigeon.

Nothing happens. She goes back to the book.

HOLLY

Rats.

MAGNUS

All right. This time you can get the fox saliva.

MONTAGE!

Bubbling and spell creation between each line.

HOLLY

Enchanted by a—merperson for the—theft of an important cultural object?

Nope.

HOLLY

Blighted by a sub-demon for extravagant chivalry?

Nope.

HOLLY

Damned by a fairy queen for—unreasonable singing?

Nope.

HOLLY

Jinxed by a djinn for—recrementitious demands?

Nope.

HOLLY

Bewitched by a banshee due to—excessive noise on a weeknight?

END MONTAGE!

HOLLY

(wearily)

All right, this is the only possibility left. Prince cursed by a court witch. I really hope you didn’t do anything too bad. And that’s…

Oh. True love’s kiss.

The pigeon coos.

MAGNUS

Ha ha!

HOLLY

It’s not exactly true love, is it? You’re a pigeon. I’m a fairy. We barely know each other. But—well, we’ve got to try it, right? Would that be okay?

The pigeon coos.

A pause. Then she gives the pigeon a peck on the cheek. Magnus snorts.

HOLLY

Drat! I really thought that might be it.

I’m sorry. I’m—not sure I can help you. I’m—I’m so sorry.

The front door opens and a woman enters.

GERDA

Hello—terribly sorry. I don’t suppose you’ve seen a pigeon around here?

HOLLY

What?

GERDA

There you are! Armaund! Oh, come here!

The pigeon coos happily and flies to her.

GERDA

There you go, my sweet boy! He got disorientated. Have you got—some kind of magnet in this—hut?

MAGNUS

The Red Cabinet, maybe. I’m pretty sure the lock on it uses magnets. Big ones.

GERDA

That must be it. Armaund was supposed to be out on a race but he took off dead straight in this direction! I’m so sorry about that. Guess we won’t be racing around here again!

MAGNUS

Glad we could help!

GERDA

Thanks again. I’ll be going.

MAGNUS

You got it.

Gerda leaves, taking the pigeon with her.

HOLLY

Oh.

MAGNUS

Sometimes a pigeon is just a pigeon, Holly.

HOLLY

But what if—that lady was actually a witch, and Armaund was a captured prince, and—

MAGNUS

Sometimes a pigeon is just a pigeon.

Holly sighs.

HOLLY

Sometimes a pigeon is just a pigeon.

Music sting.

ELI

“Holly and the Pigeon” was written by Beth Crane, and starred Julian Sark as Magnus, Olivia Jon as Holly, and Beth Crane as Armaund and Gerda.

The Perfect Crime

by Maxamillian John

With Julian Sark as Magnus and Olivia Jon as Holly
Sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen
Directed and produced by Sean Howard

ELI

Next up, a story by Maxamillian John. He’s one of the brilliant minds at Definitely Human—they make MarsCorp, Down, The Infinite Bad and a ton of other shows. Check them out at definitelyhuman.co.uk, and check Max out at maxamillianjohn.com. Link in the show notes.

This one’s called “The Perfect Crime”.

Music sting.

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING

Magnus roots around the pantry shelves.

MAGNUS

Where is it, where is it? Uuugh…

All right. If I was Alba, where would I hide it…? Hmm, I’m Alba—I am judgey, I am disapproving, I like bubbleberry cake and I need to hide it from Magnus. ‘No cake for you, Magnus, you haven’t earned it, you’re too lazy, so I’ll hide my ill-gotten booty where you’ll never look—I’ll hide it innnn… the mop bucket!’

Magnus grabs the wooden mop bucket. Nothing.

MAGNUS

Dammit!

HOLLY

What are you doing?

MAGNUS

Aaaaaargh! Holly! Don’t sneak up on people!

HOLLY

I wasn’t ‘sneaking’—fairies don’t sneak, Magnus. And we closed hours ago… What are you up to?

MAGNUS

I could ask you the same question!

Holly holds out a bag.

HOLLY

I’ve been collecting Scaly Wool-weed. The roots have to be harvested by night, and dried immediately.

MAGNUS

Oh, good. That’s… good. Carry on.

HOLLY

Wait! Hahaha! You’re looking for the cake, aren’t you? Alba said you wouldn’t be able to keep your hands off it.

MAGNUS

I am being unjustly denied my rights.

HOLLY

That bubbleberry cake was a present for Alba!

MAGNUS

Hey, it was for the whole House of Healing! I did my part! If I wasn’t holding the door closed when those bees attacked Jerome, we’d all have got stung!

HOLLY

That’s right—instead of just me, Alba and Jerome.

MAGNUS

You guys were goners anyway. It was damage limitation!

HOLLY

Well, you’ll never find the cake, Magnus, not in a million years. And even if you do, Alba told me she booby-trapped it, so how’s that for damage limitation!

MAGNUS

She was probably just saying that to scare you off. Hold on… do you know where it is?

(beat)

You do, don’t you! You’re folding your wings in that smug way…

HOLLY

As a matter of fact, I found it this afternoon.

MAGNUS

Yesss! Where is it, where is it?

HOLLY

I’m not telling.

MAGNUS

Holly, you gotta tell me. It’s inhumane! I’ll do the laundry for a week. Come on, what does it take to get you to snitch?

HOLLY

I’m not snitching! Fairies don’t ‘snitch’! We don’t do anything starting with ‘sn’, Magnus: no sneaking, no snitching, no… no snuffling!

MAGNUS

Ok, fine. You found it this afternoon. Great. And if you can do it, I can do it. All I have to do is retrace your movements…

HOLLY

Wait, no, that’s not what I—

Magnus starts pulling boxes around.

MAGNUS

Let’s see now… You changed all the dots above the ‘i’s on the jar labels into little hearts—adorable!—but I already looked there…

He climbs up on the counter.

MAGNUS

Then you cleaned the ceiling for the third time this week after one of your potions blew up for the third time this week. And… aha!

HOLLY

Magnus, be careful! It’s not—

MAGNUS

Aaaahaha! Thought I’d never go looking up here, did you?

HOLLY

Magnus, don’t touch that!

She flies up alongside Magnus. They struggle with a cake tin.

MAGNUS

Hey, get off me! Well well well, what have we here? A shiny blue cake tin.

HOLLY

No! It’s for Alba! Give it to me!

MAGNUS

Argh! Hey, I deserve cake!

He loses his footing and both tumble to the floor with a scream.

Squelch!

Silence.

MAGNUS

Booby trap, huh?

HOLLY

This is all your fault.

MAGNUS

(straining)

I can’t get my hand off the tin!

HOLLY

I know. Me neither.

MAGNUS

Holly, what is this stuff?

HOLLY

I don’t know… It smells like… Igneous Glue?

MAGNUS

Great. Punished for my success once again.

(struggles)

Oh man, we’re stuck good.

HOLLY

We’ve gotta go find Alba.

MAGNUS

I’m not going anywhere and you can’t make me!

HOLLY

You wanna bet? We’re stuck together now.

MAGNUS

Oh really? How about this: We’re going to get this glue off and pretend this never happened, or when Alba finds us with our hands stuck to this cake tin, I’m going to tell her that you were the one stealing it.

HOLLY

(scoffs)

What?! Alba will never believe you! You’ve done nothing but lie and scheme! Why would she believe you over me?

MAGNUS

Oh, you poor, poor fool. That’s not how blame works! Of course Alba won’t believe me!

(beat)

But there’s always doubt, isn’t there, Holly? There’s always a tiny sliver of doubt! There’s probably a million to one chance that I’m telling the truth. But I’ll keep insisting on it—for years and years, long after a normal person would have given up! I’ll be outraged and unshakeable, and pretty soon that little sliver of doubt’s going to grow. Alba’s gonna think, ‘No one would keep lying like this for so long,’ and that million to one chance will suddenly feel like a hundred to one. Then she’ll start noticing all the little inconsistencies, Holly, the little inconsistencies in your story as the years dim your memory—but my story will stay the same! And that hundred to one will start feeling like ten to one, then fifty-fifty! ‘You’d have to be crazy to lie for this long!’ she’ll think. ‘Maybe he really is telling the truth…’

HOLLY

Oh my gods, you’re a monster!

MAGNUS

I’m a fighter, Holly! I’ll never give in! So you better help me get this glue off, or one day, however long it takes, you’re gonna look as guilty as me!

HOLLY

Fine! Ugh, you’re the worst!

(sigh)

I heard somewhere that maybe you can dissolve Igneous Glue…

MAGNUS

See, that’s more like it!

HOLLY

OK, I’ve got it. Let’s get some Oil of Satyr’s Hoof—that always does the job for softening King Gunther’s foot calluses.

MAGNUS

Gross.

HOLLY

It’s around here somewhere…

They stumble to the pantry. Holly browses through jars, finding the Oil of Satyr’s Hoof. She’s trying to reach over and around Magnus.

MAGNUS

Aah, stop shoving me!

HOLLY

Well, you keep stepping on my toes!

MAGNUS

Only ’cause you’re in the way.

HOLLY

No, you’re in the way! Get your big feet out of here!

MAGNUS

Hey, my feet aren’t big, they’re… luxurious. Everyone says so.

HOLLY

What kind of luxury is that?

MAGNUS

Well at least I don’t snore!

HOLLY

What?! I do not snore! Fairies don’t snore! ‘S’ ‘N’, Magnus!

MAGNUS

Well, I hate to be the bearer of, y’know, truth, Holly, but you snore just like the rest of us lowly mortals.

HOLLY

But I—I… Is it at least a cute snore? Like a vole?

MAGNUS

Ha! More like a whole herd of voles falling down a well!

HOLLY

Oh no…!

MAGNUS

Remember when you were ‘testing’ that new Amborella tincture and fell asleep? And you woke up with a tea cosy over your head?

HOLLY

(gasp)

I knew that was you!

MAGNUS

What was I supposed to do? Your cute little snoring was gonna shatter the windows!

HOLLY

Ugggh! When I get free of you, I’m definitely telling Alba you stole her cake.

MAGNUS

We’ve been over this already, Holly, I am a master of manipulation!

HOLLY

Just hold still, this is going to soften the glue.

Holly uncorks the bottle and tips a little of the oil onto hers and Magnus’s hands.

Pause.

MAGNUS

Well?

HOLLY

It doesn’t—it doesn’t seem to be working…!

MAGNUS

What do you mean? The glue can’t be harder than the king’s calluses—he wears out his shoes from the inside!

HOLLY

Pull!

MAGNUS

Aaraaaargh!

HOLLY

Uggghh…

MAGNUS

Well, your way didn’t work. It’s time to try it my way.

HOLLY

Noooo, let’s just go to Alba!

MAGNUS

No! We’re fighters, Holly! Glue that cannot be dissolved must be melted!

He starts rummaging in a drawer.

HOLLY

Magnus, we are not getting anywhere near a fire with this!

MAGNUS

I’m not an idiot, Holly, I’m not going to light us on fire.

HOLLY

That’s what you said last time.

MAGNUS

We’ll just hold our hands close to the fire, so that the glue melts.

HOLLY

Igneous Glue is made with lava, Magnus, you can’t melt it!

MAGNUS

Not with that attitude.

HOLLY

Not with any attitude!

Front door and footsteps.

HOLLY

(gasp)

Oh no! She’s back!

MAGNUS

Everyone for themselves!

They try running in opposite directions, but their hands are still stuck and they fall to the floor.

MAGNUS

Get off me!

HOLLY

You get off me!

The door opens. Footsteps enter, and stop dead.

ALBA

Well?

MAGNUS

Holly did it!

HOLLY

(gasps)

Music sting.

ELI

“The Perfect Crime” starred Julian Sark as Magnus, and Olivia Jon as Holly, with Barbara Clifford as Alba. Both of today’s mini-episodes were directed by Sean Howard, with sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen.

We’ll be back in two weeks with our final minisode by Mac Rogers—and it’s a wild one. In the meantime, stay well out there. Cheers.