(We open onstage, in a dark, forbidding "stone" room (actually wood sets and painted backdrops). There's a chemistry set in the background and a cauldron "bubbling" (the fire is obviously fake) in the fireplace. Sheila comes in first, in her red and black gown. She carries a handsome young man.)

Sheila: The energy of this one will do nicely.

*The man just gazes around, a dull look in his eyes.*

Sheila: I hope the other two arrive shortly. I want to get to draining their energy.

*Zelda walks in next, leading another young man by the hand. He too has a dull look.*

Sheila: Very nice. Leave him on a chair, and we will work on him. (Looks around the stage) Where is that Charles? I thought he was in town, picking up new recruits.

(Sheila putters around with the chemistry set, mixing something in a small cauldron, then grinding something else with a grinding stone.)

*Zelda, meanwhile, has settled her young man in a chair. Chuck walks in, not striding as before. He now seems nervous.*

Sheila: Hello, Charles. (Frowns) I see you've returned empty-handed.

Chuck: *Looks down* I'm sorry.

*Zelda glances over from her spot next to her young man. She has a curious look on her face.*

Sheila: We must extract the energy from these young men. Then we’ll give Charles his fate.

(Sheila sprinkles the powder she's been working on over one of the young men. She hands Zelda another small cauldron.)

Sheila: Here's yours, dear. Use it well.

Zelda: Thank you. *sprinkles the powder over her young man*

*Chuck bows his head, leaning on the back of a chair for support.*

(There's a puff of sparkles around the two young men. When it subsides, they're bowed over and looking tired and drained...though in reality, we can see their eyelids flutter and their heads bob.)

Sheila: (She puts her hands on the taller man's arms and sighs) Ahhh. Feel all that lovely energy. You can do yours now, Zelda. He should be ready.

Zelda: *Puts her hands on her youngs man's arms and also sighs* Wow!

Sheila: It's really a pure rush. (Turns to Charles) And how have yours been coming lately?

Chuck: *Barely looks up* Uhh...

Sheila: Charles, is there something wrong? (Whispers to him) What's wrong with you? You look terrible, and you're off your own script.

Chuck: *Doesn't look up; faintly* I don't feel...right...

Sheila: Please tell me you're not going to lose your lunch onstage!

Chuck: No...

Sheila: Then what is it?

Chuck: Confused...

Sheila: Confused? Why on Earth are you confused?

Chuck: *Glares up at her the best he can; mutters* I'm locked away in my own mind.

Sheila: Not locked away. We just brought out your better side.

Chuck: Not better...

Sheila: (Strokes his cheeks) Of course, better. (Out loud) You can do better. I'm sure there's lots of young girls in the town with energy. What about some of the girls who work at the Inn?

Chuck: *Gasps and tries to pull away* I... I...

Sheila: (She strokes his head) You're feeling tired. Perhaps we've given you too much to do. You need a rest. (Turns to Zelda) Doesn't he, my dear?

Zelda: *Joins them and nods* He certainly does need a rest.

Chuck: No! I don't need a rest!

Sheila: Oh, but you do. I can see it in your eyes. Don't you, Zelda?

Zelda: I can definitely see it.

Chuck: *Backs away and nearly stumbles* No!

Sheila: (Nods at the young men) We've finished with their energy. Perhaps we could work on his now? He doesn't look quite right.

Zelda: *Smirks* I think we should.

*Chuck backs away more. He does stumble this time.*

Sheila: (Takes him in her arms) Come with me, boy.

*Chuck just looks on fearfully. He's too weary to fight back.*

Sheila: We can't take energy from you, like we did with those twits. We must do our best to...re inspire you.

*Chuck just whimpers.*

Sheila: Come along. We'll finish with him later. (They pull him out of the set as the curtain closes.)

(Cut to a small storage room in the back of the theater. Sheila and Zelda drag Chuck into the room. Sheila sets him down on a crate.)

Sheila: Chuck, what happened to you?

Chuck: *Shakes his head* I'm not telling you.

Zelda: Something happened.

Sheila: How did you get like this?

Chuck: *Frowns* The others found me...

Sheila: Your friends.

Chuck: They're worried about me. So am I.

Sheila: You'll be fine in a minute.

Chuck: *growing wearier* I won't be fine. I wanna be me!

Sheila: We're going to make a new, improved you.

Chuck: No...

Zelda: Oh yes.

Sheila: (Rubs his head) Oh yes...

*Chuck whimpers. Zelda rubs one of his arms.*

Sheila: Yes. We get one of you...we get all of you. And we get all of you out of our hair for good.

Chuck: Noooo!

Sheila: (Whispers into his ear) Shh, dear boy.

*Chuck whines.*

Zelda: *Whispers in his other ear* Shh. We won't be long.

Sheila: Yes. You’re ours now. You'll do what we want.

*All Chuck can manage is shifting his eyes from one to the other. His eyes finally settle on Zelda, as if pleading for her to stop.*

Sheila: (Frowns) I think we need something more, Zelda.

Zelda: *Nods* I agree. *strokes Chuck's hair and kisses him*

(Sheila strokes his thigh.)

*Chuck jumps slightly from Sheila's touch, but can't go far with his weariness & Zelda still kissing him.*

Sheila: (Her hands move slowly up his thigh) Yes...

*Chuck moans from the back of his throat, just before slumping into unconsciousness.*

Zelda: *Lets up the kiss; smirks* I think we were too much for him.

Sheila: Poor boy. (Makes a face) I hope this doesn't keep going on all night.

Zelda: I think it was just the others getting to him.

Sheila: We need him to start handling the others, then. They're becoming a darn nusance.

Zelda: Definitely.

*Zelda smirks as she runs her fingers along Chuck's thigh.*

Sheila: (She moves to his shoulders) Yes, my dear boy. You must deal with those friends of yours...especially your brother and the little musician.

Zelda: And you will not allow them to get through to you. *drags her fingers along the inside of his thigh*

Sheila: If they get to you...we won't get what we want.

Zelda: And we'll be VERY unhappy.

*Chuck's eyes open. The gleam is back, but he stares straight ahead.*

Sheila: Yes, my child of darkness. We want a very large chunk of real estate in the Bowery. It's inexpensive and near my headquarters - the perfect place to open a second office and warehouse. (Makes a face) There's people holding out on me, though, including that Louie of yours.

*Chuck nods.*

Sheila: I want him to sell...and to get your friends out of my hair. I might be able to use you, your brother, the musician, and the tall one with the bad back. The blond and Jones are idiots. I have no interest in Dumbrowski or the women - do with them what you will.

*Chuck nods again.*

Sheila: Now, go find them. You're not due onstage for another few minutes.

Chuck: *Nods* Yes, milady. *stands and leaves*

Sheila: I hope he can get them. We have to make that sale.

Zelda: *nods* Well, we should have that boy good, this time.

(Fade out on the two smirking at each other. Fade in on...darkness. Suddenly, we see a sliver of light and hear voices.)

Sach: Boy, is it spooky down there.

Slip: Fits the mood of tonight, huh.

Butch: (Flips the light on; we see the downstairs again) All right. Everyone start checking crates.

Sach: Do we have to? I ain't sure I wanna know what's in them.

Sally: I was in them just a while ago!

Butch: (Nods) Yeah. They might have more people stashed in there, or something just as important.

Slip: That's right. If there's anyone else down here, we're gonna find 'em an' free 'em.

Butch: Star opening crates as well as you can.

*Slip has already started on a crate.*

Gabe: This is insane.

Sally: (She's going through the closet) So's what that lady did to me, Chuck, and probably several other women.

Butch: I don't think they went after the women. (Frowns) I think that was Chuck.

Sach: Chuckie wouldn't do that!

Slip: He would if he didn't know what the hell he was doin'.

Butch: What I don't understand is...why pick on Chuck?

Sally: Because he's had a lot of trouble lately and would be easy to get to.

Slip: They know he's a friggin' easy target. *Slams a crate. He moves onto another crate and slams that one, too.*

Sach: Chief, calm down! They'll hear you onstage!

Slip: I don't care!

Sach: Chuckie will care, when we fix him up again. That's his play.

*Slip leans against a crate and mutters an expletive.*

Gabe: *Sighs* I just hope we CAN fix him.

Sach: We will. He's our buddy. He knows that.

Butch: I'm not sure he does anymore.

*Slip wanders further into the room.*

Gabe: We've got to get Chuck back. Not only for his sake, but Slip's too.

Sally: (Nods; softly) It's killing him to see his brother like this.

Sach: I don't like it, either. Chuckie's a good guy. I wish those ladies would leave him alone!

Chuck: *Enters the basement; smirking* Leave who alone?

Butch: (Narrows his eyes) Chuck, you don't look right again.

Sach: (Frowns) You don't look right at all.

Sally: Did those women get to you again?

Chuck: *Chuckles* Is that all you're worried about?

Slip: *Rejoins them* Yeah, Chuck, cuz we're worried about YOU. Can't you fight this at all?

Chuck: I don't want to fight it.

Butch: Why?

Chuck: Because I like the new me.

Sach: How could ya? He ain't nice!

Slip: *Steps up to Chuck* And I hate the new you. I wanna smack that obnoxious little smirk right off yer face.

Sally: (She joins him) What did you and your little witches do to me?

Butch: Chuck...

Chuck: *To Sally* Just a little hypnotism.

Slip: Listen you... *grabs Chuck's shirt*

Chuck: *Smirks again* Does big brother wanna play?

Butch: Chuck, don't push him...

Slip: Yeah, I wanna play.

*Slip swings at Chuck, but Chuck ducks it.*

Sach: Chief, watch out!

*Chuck swings low and connects with Slip's stomach, doubling him over.*

Chuck: You're getting soft, Slip.

Sach: Don't you hurt my Chief! (He takes a swing of his own at Chuck)

*Chuck ducks this swing, too.*

Butch: Chuck...

Sach: Hey, come back here!

Slip: *coughs as he tries to straighten* Stop him!

Chuck: *Turns* You think I'm leaving so soon?

Sach: Well, we do have to be onstage in a few minutes.

Chuck: I think I know that. I wrote the play.

Sach: Do you want to miss your cue?

Chuck: Of course not.

Sach: Then get goin'! (He takes another swing at him)

Chuck: *Ducks it* What're you trying to knock me out for if you want me to go on stage?

Sach: So you don't try to really turn us into animals or somethin' up there!

Chuck: I'm not a warlock, Sach.

Sach: Then quit actin' like one!

*Chuck folds his arms, glaring at Sach.*

Sally: Look, why don't we all get upstairs, before we all manage to miss our cues?

Chuck: Fine. *heads out*

*The others follow as we fade out.*