The Icicle Man (Scene IV)
Lights come up on a workshop – icicles and large snowflakes hang from the ceiling; various scissors and shears hang from the walls. Two elves are seated next to each other at a work table.
Leanna: Why is it that every time he needs supporting elves, we never get called? We’ve sat here how many millennia making snowflakes? I think we could use a bit of a holiday.
Matthias: That’s not our course. He’s got a grand scheme of things, he knows what’s best. And why would you want to spend time with the humans? Nasty, the lot of them. Always feeling, and doing, and loving. Enough to make you sick. How Jack’s done it all these years….the sprite should be a saint.
Leanna: Don’t let him hear you say that, he’ll be unbearable for the next thousand years.
Matthias: But it’s true. Admit it. If you had his power and his talent, you’d have done more humans in than Death – and he’s a nasty one, he is. Makes me glad I’m not mortal.
Leanna: And why, of all the things to have, Matthias, would you even contemplate being mortal to begin with?
Jack enters quietly through the shop door, across from their bench.
Matthias: (Embarrassed) I think it would be fun.
Jack: What would be fun?
Leanna: Jokul! How nice to see you. What do you want? (Glances at Matthias)
Jack: I need to speak to him. And what’s fun, Matty?
Jack: (Looks between Leanna and Matthias) Right. You, Matthias, still need to grow a spine and, Leanna dear, let your cousin have his own opinions. He has a brain, you know.
Leanna: Wouldn’t think it for what comes out of his mouth.
Matthias: All I said/
Leanna: Shut it, Matthias!
Jack: Silence! (Flatly) I really don’t have time for a family squabble, entertaining as they are, and really do have more pressing things to attend to. However, because I’m in a good mood, I’d like to hear your idea, Matty.
Matthias: Thank you, Jack. As I was saying/
Leanna: Don’t be stupid.
Jack: (Leans across the table into Leanna’s face) I have not had the most pleasant of days, Leanna, and simply to make myself feel better I may take your favorite pair of shears, freeze them, and find a stone to smash them on. And then where would Father Winter’s favorite snowflake maker be? Or, if you’d rather, I’ll freeze you to the bench. (Leans further in and gently touches his lips to hers) Or maybe I’ll freeze your lips together for a few thousand years and Matty can have some silence. (Stands up) Don’t tempt me.
Leanna: You’re a horrible fairy, Jokul Frosti.
Jack: You’re pushing me, Leanna. Back off.
Matthias: Right. I said I thought it would be fun to be mortal.
Leanna drops her head to the work table; Jack cocks his to the side, contemplating.
Leanna: He is a fool, Jokul. A flaming fool.
Jack: How many times must I tell you I hate that name, Leanna? Say it again and I’ll freeze your shears.
Matthias: Why doesn’t it work when I threaten her?
Leanna: Because you’re not ruthless enough to go through with what you threaten.
Matthias: And he is?
Jack: Most definitely. I do not suffer fools.
Matthias: How have you put up with Leanna for so long?
Leanna: Funny, Jack. Very funny. Why are you here?
Jack: To see Father Winter.
Jack: Nothing that concerns you.
Leanna: What you do concerns us all, Jack. It’s probably something foolish. (Jack looks away) It is. It’s something foolish.
Jack: Why does it matter to you, Leanna? It’s not as though you can leave the workshop. Not as though you have any other purpose than to make middling snow flurries.
Matthias: He’s right.
Leanna: Shut up.
Jack: Now, if you are quite done/
Leanna: He’s not here.
Jack: He’s always here.
Leanna: He’s not/
Jack: Not here here, but around. He is always around.
Jack: When did you become his mouthpiece? And do not call me that, Leanna, or I will/
Matthias: Shut up, both of you. (At Jack) He’s here and he’s expecting you. Mother is with him, too.
Jack: (At Leanna) I would hide your shears unless you want to fashion a new pair.
Father Winter: (From offstage) Play nice, Jack.
Jack: You’ve been telling me that for years/
Father Winter: And you still haven’t grasped the concept. Don’t apologize; you’ll just keep on doing what you’ve been doing for millennia. Ah, but chin up. If you had suddenly been nice, I’d have thought the humans had finally done the trick.
Jack: That is what I wish to speak to you about.
Father Winter, Matthias, Leanna: Humans?
Jack: Yes. Father, I met a human/
Father Winter: This one is alive still, I hope.
Jack: Yes. And, well, she made a wager with me. A challenge.
Father Winter: Go on.
Jack: She challenged me that I couldn’t be human.
Leanna, Matthias: She?
Jack: And I wish to prove her wrong. (Looking at the ceiling, where he thinks Father Winter’s voice is coming from)
Father Winter: And how do you wish to do this? I assume you have an idea, Jack.
Jack: (Nervous) I do. I do, Father. I – IwishtobecomehumanforatimesothatImightwin. (Silence) Father?
Father Winter: You…You wish/
Leanna: You disgrace! You – You sorry excuse for a pixie! You’re a/ (Screams behind lips that are frozen together)
Matthias: He did warn you.
Father Winter: Are you sure, Jokul? You will need everything a human does – a home, a living, money. You will need to do everything as a human would. You must leave nothing out.
Jack: Yes, I know, I/
Mother Summer: Jokul.
Jack: (Winces) Mother.
Mother Summer: Are you sure, dear? Being human is not easy. It is quite painful, truthfully.
Jack: I know. (Ignoring Leanna’s outraged, muffled protest) I mean, Mother, that I have witnessed it. I have seen birth, death, and much in between. I have witnessed joy and sadness. I wish to experience this. I wish to win this challenge.
Mother Summer: This human girl has insulted this with you.
Jack: I wish to show her she is wrong. I wish to win.
Mother Summer: Be wary of being too focused on your goal. Being human is more than simply emotion.
Jack: Yes, Mother.
Father Winter: Converse with Matthias while your Mother and I discuss what you have asked.
Jack: (Easing down next to Matthias) Well, at least it’s quieter now.
Matthias: Yes, it is. (Turns to Leanna) Stab me with those and I’ll cut off your hair in your sleep.
Jack: (Chuckling) You are almost as bad as I am, cousin.
Matthias: You don’t live with her. You don’t have to put up with it.
Jack: I think I would go mad. Absolutely mad.
Matthias: Well, yes/
Father Winter: Jokul.
Jack: Yes, Father?
Father Winter: Your Mother and I have decided to grant you your wish. You will be human until the first of the nymphs appears bearing your Mother’s early tidings. Then you and your human challenger will decide who has won.
Jack: Yes, Father.
Father Winter: And you will abide by whatever rules you have set for this challenge, including the correct consequences to the outcome.
Jack: Yes, Father.
Mother Summer: Remember, Jokul. You wished for this.
Jack: Y-Yes, Mother.
Mother Summer: There’s a good boy, Jokul. And as you’re bound to be in some pain in a few moments, you may want to wander back to where you’ve left Mari.
Jack: Mother – Oh. Ah – Ow. (Quickly exits through the shop door)
Mother Summer: Oh, my dear. You are in for a treat.
Matthias: Mother? Do I/
Mother Summer: She’ll be fine until Jokul is finished with this challenge. Then we’ll let them sort it in their own way.
Matthias: Yes, Mother.
Mother Summer: Be of assistance, Matthias. Leanna will need your help.
Matthias: Yes, Mother. (Turns to Leanna) If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. (Gets up and walks out of the shop door)
Leanna screams behind her frozen lips, pounding the workbench in frustration as the lights fade to black.