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S1 E5: To Market, To Market

Alba’s old flame Withrow Lee comes to town selling suspicious potions, inspiring Magnus to get in on the game.

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Episode Transcript

EXT. MARKET BOOTH

SOUND: Morning birds, goats, chickens

WALLA: Cheerful chatter and haggling:

—Baskets! Baskets for sale, one shilling each!

—Pumpkins! Get your magic pumpkins here!

—Lovely fresh fruit… crangerines and pondapples, two pennies for a dozen…

—King’s Textile. Thirty percent off fabrics.

MAGNUS

(bored)

Hi, we’re from the House of Healing. Have you had your immunization for pony pox? Hi, we’re from the House of Healing…

ALBA

Good afternoon. Oh, hello, Professor Schpringeler.

SCHPRINGELER

Hello Alba. I came to ask: my neighbour has been taking a potion for his lumbago, and I was wondering if you stock it?

ALBA

What kind of potion?

SCHPRINGELER

I believe it’s called Frinozipax.

ALBA

(suddenly chilly)

We don’t stock it.

SCHPRINGELER

I’m told the results it provides are quite astounding.

ALBA

Last visit, I gave you a herbal tea and some exercises.

SCHPRINGELER

Why, yes…

ALBA

And how are those going?

SCHPRINGELER

I haven’t really had time…

ALBA

You people! Everybody just wants a pill or a potion or some other easy way out. Try eating better! Get outside a little. Don’t drink so much mead.

SCHPRINGELER

I’ll do my best. So, do you think you’ll carry Frinozipax any time soon?

ALBA

I don’t care if it cures leprosy and straightens out crossed eyes. We don’t carry it.

SCHPRINGELER

All right then.

ALBA

Honestly, if I ever get my hands on whoever is shilling this stuff…

WITHROW

Alba?

ALBA

Yes?

WITHROW

It is you!

MAGNUS

Who?

WITHROW

Alba, you’re looking fantastic.

ALBA

Withrow Lee? What are you doing in Grandville?

WITHROW

Oh, I’m just in town for a conference. Who’s this kid and why is he dressed like a monk?

ALBA

My apprentice Magnus. He used to be with the Dragon Mountain order.

MAGNUS

Hey, hey, no “used to be”.

ALBA

Magnus, this is Withrow. He’s a… an old friend.

WITHROW

Oh, “friend”, is it?

ALBA

Well, all right, we were more than that.

WITHROW

Boy, were we!

MAGNUS

Okay, say no more.

WITHROW

Back in the day, we were the Diabolical Duo… the Paranormal Pair—

MAGNUS

Let me guess, you met making stone tools down by the watering hole?

WITHROW

Oh, a wise guy, huh? We met at Hazelbrooke.

MAGNUS

You went to witch school?

WITHROW

Darn tootin’.

MAGNUS

Did you learn any cool dark magic?

WITHROW

Oh, I could tell you some stories—

ALBA

Dark magic was strictly forbidden.

MAGNUS

In other words, your school was lame.

ALBA

It was not lame.

WITHROW

Says the girl who dropped out to protest the curriculum.

(to Magnus)

She turned the Headmistress’s chair into a beanbag before storming out.

MAGNUS

A beanbag?

WITHROW

Full of carnivorous Mellurian jumping beans.

MAGNUS

Okay, that’s pretty good. See, why can’t you teach me stuff like that, Alba?

ALBA

You have to ask? Well, it’s been nice to see you, Withrow—

PATIENT

Excuse me. Miss Salix?

ALBA

Yes? How can I help you?

PATIENT

Do you carry Frinozipax?

WITHROW

Frinozipax? Funny you should ask—

ALBA

No, we don’t. It’s useless pap for useless people. Go away.

PATIENT

Oh. Thanks anyway.

WITHROW

Softhearted as ever, I see.

ALBA

Fifty crowns says it’s just elderflowers and molasses. But that’s the power of suggestion for you.

MAGNUS

Whoever’s selling it, I bet they’re making a killing.

ALBA

And if I ever find out who they are, I’m going to stuff them headfirst into a pill bottle.

WITHROW

(changing the subject)

So, Royal Physician, eh? Not too shabby…

ALBA

Oh, yes. It’s great fun running the neighbourhood clinic and the national health policy office, on top of tending to whichever Royal Majesty stubs their little toe. And here I am on my supposed day off, running a booth at the market. And I have to file a report with the Chancellor tomorrow about the state of local witch-run clinics in the countryside.

WITHROW

That’s my Alba, always the overachiever. Why don’t you take a break?

ALBA

Don’t I wish.

MAGNUS

I can take care of the booth.

ALBA

You?

WITHROW

C’mon, Alba! Get some fresh air. It’s market day!

ALBA

Oh… all right. Magnus, take over for me. And no skipping off this time.

MAGNUS

You can count on me.

> MUSIC: OPENING THEME

HERALD

By appointment to the King and Queen: Alba Salix, Royal Physician! Episode the Fifth: To Market, To Market.

EXT. MARKET

SOUND: Lively crowd

WITHROW

I always love the market. The food, the hustle and bustle…

ALBA

The easy marks?

WITHROW

Hey, now, my business these days is strictly above board.

ALBA

I see.

VENDOR

(distant)

Candy apples, three pennies each! Two for fivepence!

WITHROW

Hey, you want a candy apple? They were always your favourite.

ALBA

I don’t like that woman. She lives with her father and treats him like garbage.

WITHROW

Just this once. Here.

VENDOR

Candy apples!

WITHROW

We’ll take two.

VENDOR

Certainly, sir.

WITHROW

Thanks. Here you go, Alba.

VENDOR

That’ll be five pennies, please.

WITHROW

Can you break a sovereign?

VENDOR

Not a problem. You want it in shillings?

SOUND: Jingling coins

WITHROW

That’d be great. Actually, hang on. Give me four shillings and… no, wait, make that three shillings and twelve ducats.

VENDOR

(confused)

Twelve?

WITHROW

Oh, silly me. I can’t do math. Twelve plus thirty-three and one is eight… so why don’t I give you back one and you give me five ducats, three groats and a crown?

VENDOR

Uh… of course.

WITHROW

Keep the change.

VENDOR

Really? Thank you, sir.

WITHROW

Have a lovely day.

VENDOR

And the same to you and the lady.

WITHROW

(to Alba)

There you go.

ALBA

(amused)

Strictly above board, eh?

WITHROW

She won’t figure that out for hours. Maybe never.

ALBA

You really haven’t changed, have you?

WITHROW

Did you miss me?

ALBA

Not in the least.

WITHROW

Yeah, you did.

ALBA

Eat your apple, you.

EXT. MARKET BOOTH

HOLLY

(arriving)

Hi, sorry I’m late! Hey Magnus, where’s Alba?

MAGNUS

She went off with her old boyfriend. And when I say old…

HOLLY

Aww, she has a boyfriend? Is he nice?

MAGNUS

Say, Holly… have you heard of this new potion, Frinozipax?

HOLLY

Yeah, everyone’s asking about it lately. I think it’s a scam.

MAGNUS

It totally is. We should sell something like that.

HOLLY

You are not selling placebos!

MAGNUS

Okay, we can throw in some ingredients or whatever. How about this stuff?

SOUND: Bottle clinks

HOLLY

No! I told you, we’re almost out of sludgewort.

MAGNUS

So don’t use so much per dose. Spread it around. If we could crank it out in big batches, we’d sell hundreds of bottles. Thousands!

HOLLY

That’s not how the House of Healing works!

MAGNUS

Which is why we’ve been missing the boat. Look, I’ll just use a tiny drop.

SOUND: Bottle corked and shaken

JEROME.

(stuffy nose)

Hey there, Holly. Hi Magnus.

HOLLY

Hello, Jerome!

JEROME

Is Alba around? I need something for the shrew flu.

MAGNUS

Why, if it’s the shrew flu you’ve got, sludgewort is the best relief.

JEROME

This doesn’t look like sludgewort extract…

MAGNUS

(improvising)

Because it isn’t! It’s what we healing experts call an essence. Did you know that dilution actually increases the effectiveness?

HOLLY

(quietly)

Magnus! That’s ridiculous!

MAGNUS

In fact, the more times we dilute, the stronger the essence becomes.

JEROME

Really.

HOLLY

That’s not how it—

(as Magnus covers her mouth)

mff mmblff!

MAGNUS

You’re a blacksmith, right? You know how my fellow monks of Dragon Mountain make their swords?

JEROME

What, by folding the metal over and over…?

MAGNUS

And beating it thinner and thinner. Keeping it lightweight and making it amazingly strong.

HOLLY

And you say I’m full of woo woo.

JEROME

That’s incredible. How come you don’t do that with all your potions?

MAGNUS

It’s a brand new technique. Everyone knows about the fantastic healing properties of the humble sludgewort plant. But it took the genius of Miss Alba Salix to realize that by diluting it, you multi-amplify its potential by a factor of one hundred-fold!

JEROME

Wow!

MAGNUS

Here, give it a try.

JEROME.

(drinks)

Ahh. I think I feel better already.

MAGNUS

See, Holly, he feels better already.

HOLLY

(leaving)

I’m telling Alba.

JEROME.

(sneezes again)

MAGNUS

That’ll be three crowns.

JEROME

Alba never charges that much for potions.

MAGNUS

This is our first premium product offering. If you have any side effects, we’ll give you double your money back! How about it?

JEROME

Well, okay.

SOUND: Coins

WALLA: Excited crowd

MAGNUS

Thank you, my good man. Here you go.

JEROME

Thanks. Tell Alba I said hello!

MAGNUS

Sludgewort essence, only three crowns a pop! Hello there, ma’am. How are you feeling today?

EXT. RIVERSIDE

SOUND: The market fades as they walk; distant seagulls

ALBA

So Withrow, what’s this conference you’re here for? The big magic exhibition isn’t until November…

WITHROW

Yeah, this is just a… sales conference.

(changing the subject)

Hey, want to head up to the bridge?

ALBA

Hmm. It’s not exactly the greatest neighbourhood on the other side.

WITHROW

We don’t have to cross. We’ll just go up to the lookout.

ALBA

All right.

WITHROW

Anyway, it’s not like you couldn’t defend yourself. Remember Scotty Gostrinder?

ALBA

Oh, gods, the “Chosen One”?

WITHROW

Hazelbrooke’s greatest boy hero.

ALBA

He defeated one lousy hydra…

WITHROW

And then he was dumb enough to challenge you to a magic duel. And before he could get his first spell out you up and hit him in the face.

ALBA

Smug little creep.

(pause)

Withrow, why did you have to go and tell my apprentice about our… school days?

WITHROW

Why not? That was our finest hour!

ALBA

Now he’s going to be all excited to learn about dark magic.

WITHROW

Hmm. Reminds me of this girl I used to have a thing for.

ALBA

You were the one always trying to summon demons.

WITHROW

They’re not all evil.

ALBA

No, just most of them.

WITHROW

And it wasn’t all dark magic. Lots of it was just being creative. Remember the sneezing powder in Mrs Saraling’s spellbook?

ALBA

That was a good one.

WITHROW

She turned half the class into slugs.

ALBA

The only time I saw her madder was when you set all the exam papers in the room on fire.

WITHROW

Yup. Accende meum ignem! (a-CHEN-day MAY-oom IG-nem)

ALBA

Careful, now!

WITHROW

It’s okay. I didn’t do the hand motions.

SOUND: Footsteps stop

ALBA

It is a nice view, isn’t it?

WITHROW

You can see clear out to the Sea of Squidge.

ALBA

Beautiful. You know, I’ve lived in this city for years now, and never bothered to come up here.

WITHROW

Maybe you should get out of that House of Healing more often.

ALBA

I really should.

SOUND: Blade being drawn

MUGGER

Hold it right there.

WITHROW

Can we help you?

MUGGER

Yeah. Put your hands in the air. You stay quiet like mouses and nobody has to get hurt.

(beat)

What?

EXT. MARKET BOOTH

WALLA: Excited crowd—“hey, quit shoving!” “stay in line!”

SOUND: Coins

MAGNUS

Thank you, sir. Enjoy. Step right up, don’t be shy!

BERTHA

I’ll take some of that sludgewort.

MAGNUS

You bet. That’ll be six crowns.

BERTHA

Six?!

MAGNUS

Supply and demand, lady.

ANGIE

(from back of line)

Hey, hurry it up!

WALLA: Mutterings of agreement

SOUND: Rummaging in crate

MAGNUS

Oh, shoot. That was my last bottle.

(to crowd)

Hey, anybody got any empties? Or your own container? Half price if you drink it on the spot!

SOUND: Bottles clink

URCHIN

I got some empties here.

MAGNUS

Awesome. You, sir, are a fine, enterprising young gentleman. I’ll give you a nice shiny crown for ‘em.

URCHIN

Make it five.

MAGNUS

Five crowns?

URCHIN

Each.

MAGNUS

What?!

URCHIN

Supply and demand.

ANGIE

What’s taking so long?

MAGNUS

One crown each.

URCHIN

Four. Take it or leave it.

MAGNUS

I’m not paying you four crowns for one bottle!

URCHIN

Oh well. See ya.

MAGNUS

No, wait! I’ll… Here.

SOUND: Coins counted out, scooped up

SOUND: Bottles clink

URCHIN

Nice doing business with you!

MAGNUS

Kids these days.

BERTHA

So if diluting this stuff makes it stronger, shouldn’t we water it down even more before we take it?

MAGNUS

Yes, that’s a great idea. How many bottles you want?

BERTHA

In that case, I guess, just the one. It should last us years, right?

MAGNUS

No, because… it doesn’t keep!

ANGIE

Bertha, here—I’ll give you half, and we can split the bottle.

CHARLIE

Hey, count me in. The more ways we split it…

BERTHA

All right. Each of you gimme two crowns, and come by my kitchen. I’ll give you your share.

MAGNUS

No! That’s not allowed! This is a specialized process done by specialized specialists. Do not attempt to water down this complex formula at home. Home dilutions are killing magic!

BERTHA

Here’s your six crowns.

MAGNUS

Not if you’re gonna split it. That’s twelve, no, eighteen crowns.

BERTHA

Say, let’s talk to Henry. He bought a bottle earlier. Maybe he’ll share.

MAGNUS

Where are you going? Hey! I just paid forty crowns for these damn bottles! Hey!

WALLA: Crowd dispersing

EXT. RIVERSIDE

MUGGER

I’m serious. Your money or your life.

ALBA

I’m thinking neither.

MUGGER

C’mon. All your valuables in the bag or I start gettin’ expressive with this here pigsticker. What’s so funny?

WITHROW

Oh, nothing.

ALBA

Potes volare! (PO-tays vo-LA-ray)

SOUND: Magic shimmer

MUGGER

(hauled off his feet)

Aaaa!

WITHROW

I was thinking maybe turning him to ice, but levitation’s pretty good.

MUGGER

Please! I’m afraid of heights!

ALBA

Mm, this bridge is a bit tall, isn’t it?

WITHROW

Majestically tall.

ALBA

Quite a long way down to the river.

MUGGER

I’ll do anything…

ALBA

Hush, now. You wouldn’t want me to lose my concentration and… drop you.

MUGGER

(falls, then stops with a jerk)

AaaaAA!

WITHROW

(calling down to him)

You ought to be more careful who you try and rob.

MUGGER

I didn’t know she was a witch!

ALBA

(calling)

What does that matter? You don’t rob people.

MUGGER

Okay, okay! I’m sorry! I’ll… I’ll turn my life around!

(he plummets suddenly)

Aaaa!

(distant)

Please!

WITHROW

Ha, look at him. For a second there I thought you were gonna let him fall that whole way.

ALBA

From up here? It’d kill him. From halfway down… well, it’ll hurt, but he’ll be fine.

MUGGER

Aaaaaaa…!

SOUND: Splash

ALBA

Probably.

WITHROW

Maybe you should take up crime-fighting as a new hobby.

ALBA

I’ve missed doing that kind of magic. Whew. Except for the headache and shortness of breath.

WITHROW

Short of breath, you say? Have you ever tried Frinozipax?

ALBA

Tried what? Oh, don’t tell me you’re on the bandwagon too.

WITHROW

I’m… kind of the local sales rep for Farloria.

ALBA

Really. All right. So what’s in it?

WITHROW

It’s an all-natural herbal formula—

ALBA

So is stewed pimple grass.

WITHROW

No, this is the real deal. Not only does it relieve pain, it brings down inflammation, evens out your complexion, and it’s great for ulcers too. Here.

SOUND: Bottle uncorked

ALBA

You make this?

WITHROW

I’m a distributor. I can send some your way if you’re interested. It’ll add ten years to your life. And take ten years off your age!

ALBA

Okay, knock it off with the sales pitch.

(swallows)

Tastes all right. That’s usually a bad sign. Hmmm. You might be on to something, though…

WITHROW

How’s that headache?

ALBA

It works fast, doesn’t it?

WITHROW

Quicker than the caffeinated beavers of Lake Zoom.

ALBA

All right, I’m impressed.

WITHROW

Come by my room at the inn and I can give you a whole lot more.

ALBA

Buy a lady dinner first?

WITHROW

Why, naturally.

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING

ALBA

So, Mr McWhinney, what can I help you with today?

MCWHINNEY

Well, I’ve got this toothache, and a ringing in my ears whenever I open my eyes…

ALBA

Have you tried Frinozipax?

MCWHINNEY

Tried what?

ALBA

It’s an all-natural herbal formula. Not only does it relieve pain, it boosts your stamina, balances your humours, and it’s great for warts…

SOUND: Office door shuts

HOLLY

Is she going to prescribe that stuff to every single patient?

MAGNUS

Sure sounds that way.

HOLLY

I’ve gotta find out what’s in it.

MAGNUS

Me too.

HOLLY

You are not touching this stuff. Remember what Alba said.

MAGNUS

Figures. I’m not allowed to have a side business. But her old flame comes to town selling junk potions and she’s all over him like mice on gingerbread.

HOLLY

How are those bedpans coming?

MAGNUS

I think this violates the terms of my community service.

SOUND: Exterior door

ABE

Good morning, little lady. I have an appointment with Miss Salix.

HOLLY

It’s Abe, right? Just fill out this patient information form, and Alba will see you in a minute.

SOUND: Office door

ALBA

…so try the Frinozipax for a week and let me know if there’s any change.

MCWHINNEY

Thanks, Miss Salix.

ALBA

Bye now.

SOUND: Office door shuts.

MCWHINNEY

Abe! Fancy meeting you here.

ABE

Hey there, McWhinney.

MCWHINNEY

Never thought I’d see you at the doctor’s office.

ABE

Yeah, got an ulcer, I think.

MCWHINNEY

An ulcer, you say? Have you ever tried Frinozipax?

ABE

Rhinocer-what?

MCWHINNEY

It’s an all-natural herbal potion made from oily sandflower and cheeseweed plus sixteen secret ingredients.

ABE

And it cures ulcers?

MCWHINNEY

Yup, it’s the real deal. Not only does it relieve pain, it brings down inflammation, evens out your complexion, and it’s great for ulcers too.

ABE

Really!

MAGNUS

That’s exactly what Alba said to the guy before last.

HOLLY

This is creepy. I need to test this stuff. Alba!

SOUND: Office door

ALBA

Send in the next patient, Holly.

HOLLY

Alba, what exactly are the active ingredients in Frinozipax?

ALBA

Why, it’s an all-natural herbal formula made from oily sandflower and cheeseweed plus sixteen secret ingredients.

HOLLY

And why are they so secret?

MAGNUS

Say, I hear it’s great for headaches.

HOLLY

Magnus…

ALBA

Yup, this is the real deal. Not only does it relieve pain, it improves your eyesight, adds body and shine to your hair, and it’s great for headaches too.

HOLLY

And it seems to be controlling what you say.

ALBA

Nonsense. How can an all-natural herbal potion have any effect on what I say?

MAGNUS

Yeah, Holly. Say, what’s the cure for rocket fleas?

ALBA

Rocket fleas? You might want to try this new product we’ve got. It’s called—

MAGNUS AND HOLLY AND ALBA

—Frinozipax.

ALBA

Ah, you’ve heard of it?

HOLLY

It’s all you’ve talked about since we opened this morning!

ALBA

Well, it does have a thousand uses.

HOLLY

Can I try a bottle?

ALBA

Absolutely. Here you go.

MAGNUS

Alba, I have a hangnail.

HOLLY

Magnus!

ALBA

A hangnail? Well, we have a new product just in that you might be—what am I saying?

HOLLY

See, you keep talking about this stuff!

ALBA

I hope this wears off.

HOLLY

That’s why I need to test it.

ALBA

Good idea. See if it’s a Moliari curse.

SOUND: Stopper pops

HOLLY

Okay.

(tastes it, smacks her lips)

ALBA

Holly!

HOLLY

Nope, not Moliari. Wow, I see why people like it, though! I feel pretty good!

MAGNUS

That’s how you test it?

HOLLY

It’s my protocol number one! What? I feel fine.

ALBA

That was incredibly stupid.

HOLLY

I only took a tiny sip!

MAGNUS

You know, I think I might have gout.

ALBA AND HOLLY

Gout, you say? Have you ever tried Frinozipax?

MAGNUS

Why, no, I haven’t.

ALBA

Magnus.

MAGNUS

It sounds amazing.

ALBA

Stop it.

MAGNUS

What else does it do?

ALBA AND HOLLY

Oh, it’s a wonder of modern medicine.

ALBA

Not only does it cure gout…

HOLLY

It erases wrinkles…

ALBA

Builds strong teeth…

HOLLY

And it’s great with pie!

MAGNUS

Golly gee! What’s it made from?

ALBA AND HOLLY

It’s an all-natural herbal formula…

HOLLY

…wow, that’s crazy!

ALBA

(nonstop)

…made from oily sandflower and cheeseweed plus sixteen secret ingredients. Magnus, if you do that one more time I will cuff you.

MAGNUS

Totally, totally worth it.

INT. INN

SOUND: Bottles being filled

WITHROW

(hums to himself)

SOUND: Knocking at door

WITHROW (CONT’D)

Be right there!

SOUND: Trunk slammed hastily

SOUND: Door opens

WITHROW (CONT’D)

Alba! Back for more already?

ALBA

Why yes, you devil. And I could use another couple of cases of Frinozipax too.

WITHROW

Can do. Take as much as you need.

ALBA

It’s been flying off the shelves. What a day! I could use a dose myself.

WITHROW

Go right ahead.

SOUND: Bottle uncorked

ALBA

Thanks.

(drinks)

That’s odd. Does this taste funny to you?

WITHROW

Funny?

ALBA

Here, have a sip.

WITHROW

(drinks)

Seems fine to me.

ALBA

It isn’t expired, is it?

WITHROW

Can’t be. I just bottled that batch.

ALBA

So you bottle it yourself?

WITHROW

It’s a secret process. I can’t tell you much more than that.

ALBA

Of course you can tell me aaall about it.

WITHROW

It comes out of a special keg I got from Mister Benvenito. Wait—why did I just say that?

ALBA

Say what?

WITHROW

You swapped the bottle! That wasn’t Frinozipax you gave me!

ALBA

No. We altered the recipe a little. So, instead of selling more, it makes you tell the truth, Withrow.

WITHROW

Alba! I wouldn’t lie to you.

ALBA

For instance, where might I find this magical keg?

WITHROW

Why, it’s in my trunk. Hey! No! Alba!

ALBA

Get out of the way, Withrow.

WITHROW

I… I have a headache!

ALBA

A headache? Have you tried Frinozipax? Nice try, you sleazy cad!

SOUND: Flurry of blows from a purse

WITHROW

Ow! Ow! Alba, what’s Frinozipax?

ALBA

(furious)

Let me tell you all about Frinozipax! It’s an all-natural herbal potion made from oily sandflower and cheeseweed plus sixteen secret ingredients!

WITHROW

Ow! Help! Alba, please! I bruise easily!

ALBA

Not only does it relieve bruising, it brings down swelling, heals up friction burns, and it’s great for black eyes too. Except that it doesn’t really do any of that, does it, Withrow?

WITHROW

No. But it does relieve pain!

ALBA

For a little while—and then it fades. And every time you take it, it does less and less.

WITHROW

At least it works quickly…

SOUND: Latches click, then trunk opens

ALBA

Quicker than the Streaking Cheetahs of Highspeedia. This little keg here? I’m guessing it’s enchanted to provide an endless supply—am I right?

WITHROW

That’s right. Alba, don’t—Mister B will kill me if anything happens to it!

ALBA

Who is this Mister Benvenito?

WITHROW

He invented Frinozipax. He’s from Qwaytox…

ALBA

A demon, then! I should have known. So this “conference” you’re in town for…

WITHROW

I’ve been sworn to secrecy!

ALBA

I assume Mister Benvenito is running the show?

WITHROW

Yes… please give me the keg.

ALBA

And where is the conference?

WITHROW

At the Weird Fellows’ Lodge on Knife-Sharpeners’ Lane. Alba, I think I have the plague!

ALBA

The plague, you say?

SOUND: Big solid wooden smash and splatter

WITHROW

Nooo! Alba!

ALBA

Sorry, Frinozipax won’t cure the plague. Withrow, it’s been fun, but I draw the line at prescribing snake oil to my patients. If I ever catch you pulling this sort of stunt again, I will have you chucked in a dungeon so fast it’ll give the Streaking Cheetahs vertigo.

WITHROW

I’m a dead man, Alba! He really will kill me!

ALBA

You should have thought of that before you started working for a Qwaytoxian demon.

WITHROW

He’ll send me to the… the Home Office… Alba, I like my skin. I want to keep it.

ALBA

You’d better help me out, then, hadn’t you?

WITHROW

Yes, Alba.

INT. AUDITORIUM

COUNTESS

When I was diagnosed with marthambles, I couldn’t look my friends in the eye. But I talked to my doctor about Frinozipax and guess what? It worked, and today I have a full head of beautiful hair again. Thank you, Frinozipax.

WALLA: Wild cheering

BENVENITO

There you have it, folks. There are thousands of stories like Countess Carnelia’s—thousands of ways that you are making a difference. So are you having a good time? Who’s having a good time? Yeah! Yeah!

ALBA

(off stage)

Look at them. These people are crazy!

WITHROW

(off stage)

Keep your voice down! If anyone finds out I smuggled you in here…

ALBA

Your Mister Benvenito knows how to work a crowd.

BENVENITO

Let’s talk a bit about our three-pronged approach to sales. First, of course, is our spreadable messaging—it’s more contagious than the pony pox.

WALLA: Laughter

BENVENITO (CONT’D)

Second: our fabulous incentive program, and we’ll be rewarding our amazing points leaders in just a few minutes. And thirdly, our Live and Learn program. We call it Teaching by Example. Could I have Vin Prang, Alicia Burgestu—I hope I’m pronouncing that right—and Clarence McMainley up on the stage? Come on down! Hey guys. Glad you could make it.

WALLA: Whispers

BENVENITO (CONT’D)

Now. These folks are unfortunately at the bottom of our points ranking this quarter. But that’s okay, because we’re going to make their experience into a learning opportunity for everyone.

(to the three)

Step right up on those marks, that’s right.

(to the audience)

These three are going to our Home Office in the hell dimension of Qwaytox for some hands on education, right now!

SOUND: Clunk and creak

SOUND: Roaring fire and screams of the damned

WALLA: Fear then horrified silence

WITHROW

See! That could have been me!

ALBA

There’s still time. Now get out there.

BENVENITO

Live and learn, folks. But now it’s time to award a very special vacation on the beautiful Meyurian Riviera to some very special and hard-working sales representatives—I’m talking, of course, about everyone in this room! Yeah! You! And you! And you! Everybody here gets a vacation!

WALLA: Cheering, even wilder than before

BENVENITO (CONT’D)

(to himself)

What a bunch of chumps. Where’s my drink?

WITHROW

Here, Mister Benvenito.

BENVENITO

(drinks, then spits)

What is this? I said wood alcohol! This is god damned Frinozipax!

WALLA: Sudden hush

WITHROW

Sorry, sir! Wrong bottle.

BENVENITO

What’s your name?

WITHROW

W-Withrow Lee.

BENVENITO

Ah, yes, Withrow

How are ya? Enjoying the conference?

WITHROW

Yes, sir!

SOUND: Paper being flourished

BENVENITO

You remember this contract? Signing over your soul and all your earthly possessions to me? Remember the penalties for noncompliance?

WITHROW

I didn’t really read that part…

ALBA

And this is why we don’t do deals with demons.

BENVENITO

Say, folks, according to this, our good friend Withrow Lee has just earned an upgrade from re-education at the Home Office to eternal torment.

WITHROW

Accende meum ignem!

SOUND: Crackling flame

WALLA: Gasps

BENVENITO

Oh, now, Withrow

Did you really think that would work? Burning up one little piece of paper? When I have six more copies filed away in separate magic-proof vaults?

ALBA

No, but there’s still a loophole.

BENVENITO

Who the blazes are you?

ALBA

An interested party. Mister Benvenito, isn’t it true that you and your company can be banished from this earthly plane by saying your name three times?

BENVENITO

Of course it is. But it would have to be my true name. Why am I telling you this?

ALBA

Must be something in the water.

BENVENITO

That drink… you tricked me. Lee!

WITHROW

She made me do it!

ALBA

What’s your true name, demon?

BENVENITO

My name… is Astraxo. Dammit!

ALBA

Thanks.

ALBA AND WITHROW

Astraxo, diabolum! (dee-AB-o-lum) Astraxo, exeas! (ex-ZAY-ass) Astraxo effugare! (ef-foo-GA-ray)

SOUND: A giant clap of thunder

IMP

Hello, Kathmak Mystical Group. My name is Serdikos. You’re requesting the banishment of the demon Astraxo to his home realm of Qwaytox?

ALBA

That’s right…

IMP

No problem, ma’am, we can do that for you right now. I’ll just need you to answer three verification questions for me.

BENVENITO

Aha!

ALBA

What?

IMP

It’s just standard policy. Question one: What school did Mister Astraxo attend?

ALBA

Astraxo? Tell us.

BENVENITO

Well, I would, but I’m afraid I’ve gone and forgotten the answers!

WITHROW

I don’t think he’s lying.

ALBA

You’ve forgotten what school you went to?

BENVENITO

I expunged all those useless memories when I took over the family enterprise. I made room in my brain for strategy and logistics instead.

(scoffs)

Childhood. Such a pitiful, unproductive time.

ALBA

So what school? Braxonic College?

WITHROW

A demon of his rank? Naw.

(to Benvenito)

Was it Creepside?

SOUND: Clang

IMP

Thank you.

BENVENITO

Lucky guess.

IMP

Question two… What was Mister Astraxo’s favourite book growing up?

ALBA

How old are you?

BENVENITO

Seventy-two. Arghh!

ALBA

That narrows it down a little.

WITHROW

“Gertie the Goblin”? “The Sword in the Stove”?

BENVENITO

I’m not saying! I can’t hear you!

ALBA

“The Littlest Unicorns”.

SOUND: Clang

BENVENITO

That’s not true! I hate unicorns!

IMP

That’s the answer I have here. Finally… what was the name of your first pet growing up?

BENVENITO

I didn’t have a pet. I ate every animal that came into my family’s cave!

IMP

Well, maybe so, but it says here you named at least one of them.

ALBA

Remember… was it a bunny? A kitty? A lightning lizard?

BENVENITO

I can’t hear you, la la la!

(then, faraway)

Lizard…

ALBA

Aha! What did your lizard look like, Astraxo? What colour?

BENVENITO

Red… he was red.

ALBA

Did he sleep on your bed at night?

BENVENITO

He… he used to sleep in the coals in the fireplace, or if he wanted to cool off he’d sleep on my pillow. He was the best.

ALBA

And you called him…

BENVENITO

B-Bloodstone.

SOUND: Clang

IMP

Thank you for verifying… we’ll just go ahead with that banishment now. Have a great day and thank you for choosing Kathnak.

BENVENITO

Wretched humans! You’ll be hearing from our lawyers!

SOUND: A noise like a huge drainpipe and a clap of thunder

WALLA: Shock, turning to anger

ALBA

Good riddance. Well, good news, everyone. You’re free now—no longer slaves to a cruel, avaricious demon.

(pause)

Er… don’t all thank me at once.

FIRST SALES REP

That was our livelihood!

SECOND SALES REP

And now you’ve voided our contracts.

WITHROW

Uh oh.

THIRD SALES REP

What about my free vacation?

WALLA: Outrage—cries of “yeah!” and a growing chorus of “kill! kill!”

WITHROW

Alba!

ALBA

There’s just no pleasing some people.

WITHROW

Ruuun!

> MUSIC: CLOSING THEME

CREDITS

ANNOUNCER

In “To Market, To Market”, Episode Five of Alba Salix, Royal Physician, you heard:

Barbara Clifford as Alba Salix

Julian Sark as Magnus

and Olivia Jon as Holly and Bertha

with

Abbas Hussain as Withrow Lee

John Palmieri as Jerome and Mister Benvenito

Elaine O’Neal as Countess Carnelia and Serdikos the Imp

Carter Siddall as McWhinney

George Bertwell as Abe

Marisa King as Angie and the Apple Seller

and special guest Tim Ciaschini as Professor Schpringeler and the Mugger.

Written and directed by Eli McIlveen.

Recorded in Toronto at Trench Recordings.

Sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Produced by Sean Howard.

Associate producers: Carter Siddall, Eric Portelance, Mark Fenwick, Josh Clavir and Dave Addison.

Alba Salix, Royal Physician is a Forgery League production. Visit forgeryleague.com.