Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not Quite What She Was Expecting

Ejami is sitting on the couch in EJ’s cluttered apartment, turned towards one another.

Sami (explaining): “And when I saw Lucas with his mother trying to flee the country, I thought I was going to be hurt or angry or depressed, but I wasn’t.”

EJ (listening): “You weren’t?”

Sami (pleasantly surprised): “No. I was…relieved, actually. As if God had finally lifted this enormous weight off of my shoulders. As if I didn’t have to pretend that-”

Loud noise from EJ’s bedroom.

Sami (curious): “What was that?”

EJ (downplaying): “What was what, darling?”

Sami (letting it go): “Nothing. As I was saying-”

Several crashes from the bedroom, if something were being thrown on the floor.

EJ (concerned): “Shall I see what that is?”

Sami (wondering): “Okay. I’ll be in the bathroom if you need me.”

After Sami is out of sight, EJ throws the door of his bedroom open in order to glare at his three doppelgangers.

Good EJ (annoyed): “What part of stay in here and don’t make any noise didn’t you understand?”

Good EJ looks around the room to see that it has been torn apart.

Good EJ (surprised): “And what exactly is going on here?”

Evil Crazy EJ (worried): “Have you seen Samantha?”

Good EJ (confused): “What?”

Evil Crazy EJ (anxious): “We were together, and then we came in here when you asked us to, but now I can’t find her.”

Good EJ (exasperated): “Well, if you had her earlier, then she has to be in here.”

Evil EJ (contrary): “Not necessarily. Given the way you shoved us all in here the instant she knocked on the door, he might not have had her when he came in. I would have asked for a few minutes.”

Good EJ (narrowing his eyes): “I’ll remember that next time. But for now, all of you have to stay in here, and be quiet.”

Gray EJ (shaking his head): “We can’t. He’s too upset. We have to look for her.”

Good EJ opens his mouth to protest and then closes it after looking at the sheer concern on Evil Crazy EJ’s face.

Good EJ (reluctantly agreeing): “Okay. I’m sure Samantha is here, Evil Crazy EJ. She wouldn’t just run off somewhere. We’ll help you find her.”

Good EJ lets out Evil EJ, Gray EJ, and Evil Crazy EJ out of his bedroom.

Good EJ (gesturing with his head towards the bathroom): “We have to do this quickly. I don’t know how long she’ll be in there.”

Good EJ (pointing at Gray EJ and Evil Crazy EJ): “You two take Evil Crazy EJ’s bedroom, and I’ll recheck in here. I can’t see how we would have failed to notice her out in the living room, but Evil EJ can look again.”

Evil EJ (matter of fact): “Anyone who thinks I’m going to crawl on my hands and knees looking for a misnamed Barbie doll is crazier than a certain occupant of this household.”

Good EJ (insistent): “You have to help.”

Gray EJ (pleading): “Please, he’s really agitated.”

Evil EJ (giving in): “All right. I’ll look out in the hallway. Perhaps he dropped her out there earlier.”

As Gray EJ, Evil Crazy EJ, and Good EJ disperse, Evil EJ leaves the apartment. Once out in the hallway, Evil EJ shakes his head and grins.

Evil EJ (talking to himself): “It really is too easy sometimes.”

Evil EJ immediately reenters the apartment and leans outside of the bathroom door as he knocks on it, speaking the instant Sami exits.

Evil EJ (sinisterly): “Quand le chat n'est pas là les souris dansent, mon chéri?”

Upon seeing Evil EJ, the color drains out of Sami’s face.

Evil EJ (winking): “Cat got your tongue? I suppose I should give it back to you so you can answer me. Let’s try another one. Did you miss me, sweetheart?”

Sami (finding her voice): “Hardly. You make my skin crawl.”

Evil EJ (pleased): “In the best way possible, I imagine.”

Evil EJ claps his left hand around hers as he plays with Sami’s hair with his right.

Evil EJ (disappointed): “You’ve been a very naughty little girl. Hanging out with the local riff raff, accepting a pale imitation when you could have the real thing.”

Sami (swallowing hard): “What’s going on? You died at the Black Wedding.”

Evil EJ (smiling): “You really think you can get rid of me that easily?”

Evil EJ pulls Sami next to him, entwining his body with hers as he moves his face down to rest against hers.

Evil EJ (whispering in her ear): “It’s almost the new year, sweetheart. We should do something romantic to celebrate our love. So what do you say, shall we sew our skin together? Carve our names into each other’s arms?”

Sami (appalled): “You’re a sociopath.”

Evil EJ (contemplating as he turns to face her): “That seems to be a very popular term these days, yet no one seems to fully grasp the implications of using it. I cannot be boxed in, and neither can you. We are eternal. What we have defies labels.”

Sami (denying): “We had nothing.”

Evil EJ (eyes blazing): “We have everything. And I refuse to give that up.”

Evil EJ forcefully kisses Sami slowly and passionately. After several moments when he comes up for air, Good EJ walks back in.

Good EJ (shocked): “What in Heaven’s name are you doing?”

Gray EJ and Evil Crazy EJ enter the room with Evil Crazy EJ barely holding himself together.

Gray EJ (frustrated): “Well, we’ve looked everywhere I can think of to look. Wherever Samantha is, she’s not in this apartment.”

Evil Crazy EJ (in tears): “It’s my fault! Something bad happened to her, and it’s all my fault for not protecting her! I’m an awful husband!”

Evil EJ (taking advantage of the distraction): “Oh, I’m sorry. I got confused. When you said you were looking for Samantha you meant this Samantha.”

Evil EJ steps back from Sami and removes Samantha from inside the inner lining of his black suit jacket.

Evil Crazy EJ (lighting up): “Samantha! You’re all right!”

Evil EJ (handing her back to him): “I forgot to mention that we had dinner together. You know how I like to spend time with her. Such an amazing conversationalist.”

Evil Crazy EJ (hugging her happily): “Oh, Samantha, I was so worried! We looked everywhere for you! Why didn’t you tell me you were visiting Evil EJ? I don’t mind. I’m glad you two are such close friends.”

Sami (completely lost): “Uh, I thought I was Samantha?”

Evil Crazy EJ (laughing): “Very funny, my dear, but I believe I know my own wife.”

Samantha: “…..”

Evil Crazy EJ (nodding his head): “Yes, we certainly do have some strange neighbors. Now, I’d love to hear all about it…”

Evil Crazy EJ listens to Samantha as he goes into his room. Sami looks at Good EJ, Gray EJ, and Evil EJ for a moment before bolting out of the apartment. Good EJ runs after her.

Good EJ (hurt): “Samantha, where are you going?”

Sami (overwhelmed as she stops): “I just…I just can’t deal with this right now. I mean, there’s us, and now there’s them, and it’s just too much.”

Good EJ (pleading with her as he moves closer): “Wait, I can explain. It’s not my fault I’m like this, you know? It’s the TPTB, the writers…they were the ones who fractured my personality. They tried to ruin me.”

Sami (needing space): “I know, I know, I just…I need some time to think. Okay?”

Good EJ (not happy about it): “Okay. Take all the time you need.”

Sami (grateful): “Thank you.”

Sami and Good EJ’s eyes lock for a moment, and they kiss unexpectedly. Both of them feel the hesitation as they pull away from each other.

Good EJ (quietly): “Will I see you tomorrow?”

Sami (apprehensively): “Maybe. Good night, EJ.”

Good EJ (softly): “Good night, sweetheart.”

After watching Sami enter her apartment, Good EJ dejectedly returns to his.

Gray EJ (trying to cheer Good EJ up as he enters): “I’m sorry, but it’s not like she wasn’t going to find out about this eventually. Might as well be tonight.”

Good EJ (confronting Evil EJ): “You planned this entire thing. You took Evil Crazy EJ’s Samantha doll just so you could have some time alone with our Samantha. So she’d see you again and find out about all of us. And you turned this entire place into an utter mess in the process. Was it worth it?”

Evil EJ (sinking into the couch with a blissful smile on his face): “To bat my little mouse? Absolutely.”

Good EJ (shrugging): “Making Evil Crazy EJ cry because he thought his wife was in danger is perfectly acceptable as long as you get what you want, isn’t it?”

Evil EJ (reflective): “Considering I had originally planned to put her in the garbage disposal, I believe I am the epitome of restraint.”

Good EJ (definitively): “You really are a sociopath.”

Evil EJ (indignant): “Oh, come on. It’s not like he would care. He’d love her just the same. And you just have to sell it to him. I had to use one of those flunkies Barbie hangs out with to make herself look better, Midge, I believe, for two days when one of the attack dogs at the mansion ran off with her. I just told him Samantha was trying out being a redhead until I managed to get her back. He wasn’t happy about her changing her hair color without telling him first, but he believed it was her the entire time.”

Gray EJ (in spite of himself): “He actually bought that?”

Evil EJ (enjoying the telling): “Completely. He kept giving her these dirty looks that said ‘how dare she dye her hair red-she looks awful, but I can’t tell her that because I’d hurt her feelings.’ I had to tell him I was having sudden panic attacks I was laughing so hard.”

Gray EJ (laughing himself): “I wish I had been here to see that.”

Good EJ (sickened at both of them): “What is wrong with you two?”

Gray EJ (elbowing Good EJ): “Oh come, on. Even you have to admit that’s funny.”

Evil EJ (to Gray EJ): “This is beyond him. Don’t waste your time trying to explain it.”

Good EJ (snide): “I understand it fine. You’re making fun of a mentally ill man.”

Evil EJ (reminding): “Who nearly gave Gray EJ here a skull fracture, may I remind you. And you think he doesn’t disparage either of you to his beloved Samantha? He likes me. You two, not so much.”

Good EJ (uptight): “You are a bad influence on him.”

Evil EJ (smirking): “I certainly hope so. Anyway, buck up. You should relax and have some of the Christmas present I gave you.”

Good EJ (trying to be nice): “I appreciate the thought, Evil EJ, but I do not need Extra Strength Midol.”

Evil EJ (not letting it go): “Are you certain? I’m a sensible gift giver, after all. Evil Crazy EJ wanted a Disney Princess Deluxe Castle for Samantha, so I bought him one. And with you, well, it’s clearly that time of the month. I’m just trying to help.”

Good EJ (openly): “Why do you think that showing any kind of empathy makes you any less of a man?”

Evil EJ (seizing the opening): “It doesn’t. It makes you a woman.”

Evil EJ (looking around as he gets up): “And speaking of women, this place certainly is quite the mess. You better get going if you want to have it cleaned up tonight. I’ll be reading the Journal in my room if Samantha comes by.”

Evil EJ (clasping Good EJ’s shoulder and winking): “Be a dear and make sure the kitchenette floor sparkles this time, eh?”

Suddenly Good EJ grabs Evil EJ and pins him against the apartment’s forward wall.

Good EJ (forcefully) “Clean it yourself.”

Evil EJ (warning): “Take your hands off me.”

Gray EJ (eyes widening): “Calm down. There’s no need to-”

Good EJ (had enough): “You stay out of this.”

Evil EJ struggles against Good EJ and discovers that he’s unable to break Good EJ’s hold.

Evil EJ (putting it together): “You’re drawing additional strength from Samantha’s pure love for you? Oh, that’s just wrong.”

Good EJ (tightening his grip): “I have had enough of your insolence. I am in charge now. And I should kill you for frightening Samantha like that.”

Evil EJ (refusing to give as he glares): “So you can have picnics and cuddle time together, you worthless maggot?”

Gray EJ (softly): “Good EJ.”

Good EJ tilts his head slightly towards Gray EJ.

Gray EJ (quietly): “Look at what you’re doing, Good EJ. Would a good man choke his roommate, particularly when he’s a part of his personality that must exist in order to be a complete man?”

Good EJ swallows and steps back as he lets go of Evil EJ.

Good EJ (deeply ashamed): “I…I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

Good EJ looks around the apartment guiltily.

Good EJ (running his hand through his hair): “It’s been more difficult than I’ve expected to adjust to having to others around, but that’s no excuse. I shouldn’t have reacted like that. It won’t happen again. I’ll clean up.”

Evil EJ (gratefully to Gray EJ as he rubs his neck): “I knew there was a reason I kept you alive.”

Gray EJ (accepting the complement): “And here I thought it was my blueberry scones recipe.”

Evil EJ (beyond furious to Good EJ): “You touch me again, and you will end up in so many pieces that when they try to sew you back together-”

Evil EJ stops mid-threat as Evil Crazy EJ enters the room dressed in his race car pajamas. Samantha is dressed in Christmas themed red lingerie and a robe.

Evil Crazy EJ (expectant): “Samantha and I are ready for our bedtime story.”

Evil EJ (nicely): “Splendid. I’ll be there in a moment.”

Evil Crazy EJ (excited): “Excellent. And Samantha wanted to tell you how much she likes her new walk-in closet, didn’t you, darling?”

Samantha: “…..”

As Evil Crazy EJ leaves the room, Good EJ turns to Evil EJ contritely.

Good EJ (humbly as he puts out his hand): “I apologize for not respecting you and valuing your contribution to us. Friends?”

Evil EJ looks at Good EJ’s hand before he suddenly punches the wall two inches from Good EJ’s head.

Evil EJ (seething as he points): “Never. You think this is over? You think you’ve won? Just because this joke of a television program believes that evil people can’t be loved doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Changed man? Hah! I will find a way around all of this. I’m just getting started.”

Good EJ and Gray EJ watch as Evil EJ straightens his black tie and leaves the room.

Evil EJ (from inside Evil Crazy EJ’s room): “I apologize for the delay. I suppose you two want to hear The Many Deaths of Lucas again, eh?”

Gray EJ glares at Good EJ.

Gray EJ (annoyed): “Did you have to do that? Us being you isn’t set in stone, you know. You’d think you’d be more consolatory given that with a few strokes of a pen, he’s back in the driver’s seat. After all, that’s what happened to you the first time around when they replaced you with him.”

Good EJ (defensive): “I was a special case. I was a new character on a soap that values history above all else. It’s different this time. TPTB have committed to me. And besides, at this point I’d see any change of direction coming.”

Gray EJ (dryly): “The way Hero EJ and Evil EJ saw the freezer incident coming?”

Good EJ (conceding as he tilts his head): “Touché.”

Gray EJ (explaining): “It’s why Evil EJ fights so hard whenever he’s not in charge, you know? He was completely blindsided by the appearance of Evil Crazy EJ, as much as he loves him. He never even considered that we could hallucinate, much less have it in us to have such an altered grip on reality that we’d see a blond Barbie doll as a real, living woman.”

Good EJ (pushing back): “He’s one hundred percent selfish. The only reason he wants to run the show is so he can put Samantha in a cage.”

Gray EJ (continuing): “He’s also afraid. For all of us. Because if that’s the case, if we’re really that malleable, then what else are the writers capable of? Weak EJ? Depressingly Boring EJ? Stereotypical Hick Farmer EJ? It’s why he needs to be in control so badly. He wants to prevent us from losing what makes us so compelling…along with possibly putting Samantha in a cage.”

Good EJ (frustrated and gesturing with his right hand): “But what I am supposed to do then? I shouldn’t be happy about being brought back after more than a year? I shouldn’t revel in being the Elvis DiMera that the audience sees every episode? I shouldn’t enjoy making us the man Samantha danced with on the pier?”

Gray EJ (closing his eyes briefly and holding his hand up to the bridge of his nose): “Enough with the bloody tango references already! We get it. You’d think you did nothing else during that summer the way that’s brought up. If TPTB would just be willing to break the fourth wall a bit and use the names we do, it’d make things a lot easier.”

Good EJ (mildly insulted): “No chance of that ever happening, Mr. ‘I spied on my wife and intercepted a package that didn’t belong to me.’” And that’s besides the point.”

Good EJ (too loudly as he gestures): “I am just returning things to their rightful order. The way everything was supposed to be in the first place. I was Samantha’s dashing new love interest before they switched head writers.”

Evil EJ (interjecting from the other room): “We were always evil.”

Good EJ (irritated at the interruption): “No, we weren’t! You expect me to believe that they wasted more than three months with us caring for Samantha and having adventures with her just to build up a villain?”

Evil EJ (condescendingly retorting back): “Whatever helps you sleep at night, sunshine.”

Evil EJ is brought back to what he is doing as Evil Crazy EJ yawns abruptly.

Evil Crazy EJ (pleading): “Samantha is tired and would like to hear the end of the story before she falls asleep.”

Evil EJ (apologetic): “Forgive me. Now where were we? Oh, yes, ‘Please, please don’t, Lucas shrieked as the red hot vice clamped down on his leg…’”

Meanwhile, Gray EJ watches as Good EJ picks a pillow off of the floor and puts it back on the couch.

Good EJ (fuming): “The nerve. That’s a lie. This was never supposed to happen to us.”

Gray EJ doesn’t say anything as he turns his head away from Good EJ.

Good EJ (surprised and hurt): “Don’t tell me you agree with him?”

Gray EJ (evasive as he snaps his head back): “Evil EJ says that because it makes him seem important, as if he was supposed to be number one all along.”

Good EJ (folding his arms across his chest): “You didn’t answer my question. Is my reclaiming the throne a restoration of our natural order or a subversion of the original intent of my character?

Good EJ waits as Gray EJ frowns for several moments before answering.

Gray EJ (measured as he shrugs): “Honestly, I don’t know what to think. All I can say for certain is that the original head writer, the interim head writer, the new head writer, and now the new producer all had different visions of who our character was supposed to be, and none of them have matched. I’m sure that back when we were created, there was a preplanned arc for us, but whether that plan was for us to be Prince Charming, Prince of Darkness, or something in between, I couldn’t hazard to guess, and there’s no way to know with all the backstage upheaval. So I can’t answer your question. All I can say is that for now, they are fully intent on redeeming us and giving you the keys to the kingdom.”

Good EJ (unsatisfied): “For now? So I should be looking over my shoulder all the time, constantly wondering if the writers are going to throw me under the bus again?”

Gray EJ (shaking his head): “No, of course not. As much as I hate to say this, you deserve this after what happened to you. And we need to be you to have Samantha and to garner as large a fan base as possible. Just don’t get overconfident. This is a soap. The only thing we can count on is that we can’t count on anything.”

Good EJ (nodding): “Well, that’s certainly true.”

Good EJ (sighing as he looks around the disheveled apartment): “Anyway, I guess it’s just the two of us.”

Hero EJ (entering through the front door): “Not quite.”

Gray EJ (casually): “Nice to see you.”

Good EJ (smiling): “Impeccable timing yet again. Thank you, Hero EJ.”

Hero EJ (waving his hand): “No need. After all, it’s going to take a gallant effort to clean this mess up.”

Good EJ (grateful): ‘You’re welcome just the same.”

Hero EJ (quizzically eyeing the strange fist-sized hole in the wall): “Thank goodness we have renter’s insurance.”

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