The Icicle Man
Mari, a young woman of twenty is walking through the woods on a snow-covered path, bundled in layers and clunky snow boots. She is very cold. Everything is covered in ice and snow around her, dead silent.
Mari: I’m gonna get frostbite. This was so stupid. (She puts on a high voice) It’s not that far if you go through the woods. Not far at all. (Grumbling) Not far my ass. It’s more than a half mile, and that was when I could feel my feet. Now they’re freakin’ icicles.
(Jack is hidden from Mari behind a tree, watching her progress.)
Jack: (Eerily) Icicles are quite different, dear. Each a different size, shape, and texture. They have personality. Uniqueness.
Mari: Yes, well – (Halts abruptly) Hello? (Looks around)
Jack: (Still hidden) Your feet in no way resemble anything I could possibly come up with. For one, they lack good taste.
Mari: They have function. Function, not fashion. That’s what counts.
Jack: (Creeping slowly from behind the tree and approaching her to her left) Nothing I create could possibly be that ugly.
Mari: Better be talkin’ about the boots, buddy.
Jack: (Stepping closer, considering) My, my. What do I have in my wood?
Mari: (Looks at him fully – white brittle hair, pointed ears) Your wood.
Jack: Not mine, per say, but it’s winter. My favorite season. When snow and ice cover everything I get….a little giddy. (Smiles revealing pointed teeth)
Mari: I’m not much of a winter girl…
Jack: (Starts to fondle her hair that sticks below her hat) Really? But you look it. Same pale face as she, same nose as he…you could be one of their lost children. The ones that were…led astray, as it were, by the young minstrel. They haven’t found them all, you know. You could be one.
Mari: I’m not. Who are you?
Jack: No one you don’t know. (Leans close to her ear) You see me in the morning, painting paisley on your windows and doors. I make flowers shine in pretty silver, right before they die. The world is my plaything and humans, well…are absolutely delightful. In more ways than one.
Mari: (Staggering away from him) That doesn’t help. And don’t touch me.
Jack: No? You see around you? The ice and snow? I herald this months before it comes. While I might not be Hermes, I enjoy my work, bearing the tidings.
Mari: Father Winter brings/
Jack: Wrong! Wrong, my dear. He creates, he doesn’t bring. That is, how do you say, my job. Like yours is to milk the cows and feed the pigs.
Mari: (Dumbfounded) You watch me? You watch me while I do my chores?
Jack: (Cackling) Not like that, you silly thing. But I see you when I visit the cottage. Remember the piglet you buried without telling your mother?
Mari: (Horrified) That was/
Jack: (Looking at his rather long nails with an air of boredom) Yes, dear. That was me.
Jack: Because it happens. The universe is give and take. Surely you know this. You’re not a child. (Looks at her appraisingly) No, definitely not a child.
Mari: Hey now/
Jack: Don’t get uppity with me. I’m not the one who’s been brought up to hide herself.
Mari: (Looks at him – He is like Peter Pan, only wintry) It’s cold. That’s why normal people put on layers. And pants.
Jack: Darling, I am anything but normal.
Mari: Ya think? I don’t even know who you are.
Jack: Yes you do. I’ve been around since you’ve been born. Before that, really. You’ve practically grown up with me.
Mari: You can’t be much older than me.
Jack: (Smiling coyly) Dear, you could have me arrested for a pedophile, even at your age.
Mari: Oh, my/
Jack: Don’t mention that. He’s got nothing to do with this. He’s not the one that I answer to.
Mari: (Head tipped to one side) I think…I think I know who you are. Mother used to tell stories about a forgotten prince, one who’s favorite season was winter. He would make the icicles for Father Winter, sometimes called the Icicle Man. You’re Jack Frost.
Jack: Well done, darling. Would you like a cookie?
Mari: No, thank you. I need to be going, actually. Like, yesterday.
Jack: But you haven’t even introduced yourself. It’s rude to make a new friend and not tell them your name.
Mari: (Peevishly) You didn’t tell me yours.
Jack: You never asked politely, dear. Never asked, (Mimicking her voice) Who are you, dear sweet man? Who are you with the icicles in his hair and snow on his cheeks? (Flatly) No. You demanded. And demanding is bad manners.
Mari: Humans have bad manners. Get used to it.
Jack: (Leans in close to her face, breathing across her cheek – she shivers) Do you know what happened to the last human that was rude to me? Do you? (She shakes her head dumbly) I froze her solid and she sits in my ice palace forever, probably wishing that she hadn’t snapped when I had asked her – repeatedly – if she was alright as she sat in the snow, cuddled in on herself, freezing slowly to death. I was merciful to her, putting her out of her misery, freezing her sluggish heart when I could have started at her toes and worked my way up. And she was pretty, too. Almost like you. (He leans back, studying her) Are you sure you’re not one of the lost children?
Mari: I – I might…No. I don’t know. Am I?
Jack: It’s not a question of knowing if you are or if you aren’t, dear. It’s whether you’re game enough to try. (He bows in a gentlemanly way, holding out his hand) Would you care to see my home? The icicles that I’ve made that are too perfect to share with the undeserving humans?
Mari: I shouldn’t….I need to get going…
Jack: Humans. Always in such a rush. Rather rude, you know. (Tilts his head to the side) Well? And you still haven’t told me your name.
Mari: Mari. My name is Mari.
Jack: Such a sweet name. I really do think you were one of the forgotten children that damned piper stole. Shall I take you home? It’s not nice to refuse an invitation.
Mari: Damned if you do/
Jack: (Chuckling softly) And twiced damned if you don’t, dear. Trust me.