(Romantic accordion and violin music serenades us as we drift over Paris from a bird’s eye view at sunset. Fade to glamorous bistro exterior, surrounded by outdoor tables with hip customers. Zoom in through window, where PRINCE CHARMING sits restlessly at a small square table set for two, with a candle as a centerpiece.)
(The door to the restaurant cracks open. CINDERELLA cautiously steps inside, surveying the crowd and holding her ruffled pink skirt above the ground. PRINCE CHARMING stands slowly and makes his way to stand on a table across the room from CINDERELLA, knocking over a wine glass as he mounts.)
CHARMING: (Singing) One song, I have but one song, only for you… One song, let’s share some spaghetti, then tiramisu for two…
(CINDERELLA looks around nervously, giggling and searching for a clear exit path, but she is surrounded by tables and waiters.)
(Door to restaurant crashes open, knocking a WAITER senseless. Enter HAWKGIRL.)
(CHARMING’s singing trails off weakly. CINDERELLA gasps, staring in horror at the muscular winged woman in a gold helmet and irreverent green tights. CHARMING is obviously checking her out)
HAWKGIRL: What’s going on here?
(CHARMING leaps to the floor and dashes toward HAWKGIRL, delicately maneuvering around obstacles. He gently shoves CINDERELLA to the side, eliciting a surprised “oh” from her.)
CHARMING: It’s you, Hawkgirl, isn’t it? I’ve been waiting all my life to meet you. At least, the past fifteen minutes. See, I left for the restaurant an hour early so I wouldn’t be late…
HAWKGIRL: (Glancing at phone, thinking quickly) It looks like there’s an intergalactic emergency in the Krypton Quadrant. I may have to leave our date early.
(CHARMING, who seems not to hear her, kneels on the floor at her feet, holding his hat at his heart.)
CHARMING: (Singing) One song, I have but one song, one song, only for you…
(Shot of HAWKGIRL’s phone from her perspective. A text from WONDER WOMAN appears: sorry can’t pick u up until they finish changing the oil on the Batmobile. I thought your date went until 8…??)
(Cut to shot of HAWKGIRL’s face, glowering at the phone and growling between pursed lips.)
(CHARMING still kneels in front of HAWKGIRL, gazing up at her expectantly. Meanwhile, the restaurant is emptying of perturbed customers. CHARMING grimaces and shifts position, as the hard floor is making his knees ache.)
HAWKGIRL: (Sighs) All right, fine, let’s eat and get this over with.
(CHARMING jumps to his feet, energy and dreamy smile entirely restored. Lifts HAWKGIRL in his arms and carries her toward the table where he was seated earlier. With a powerful grunt, she swings her mace and strikes his arms. He drops her, shocked and hurt. She gets to her feet, glaring and holding a threatening tai kwon do stance, eyes focused on CHARMING like a lion tracking prey.)
HAWKGIRL: We haven’t even had dinner together yet. I don’t snuggle with men I haven’t eaten with.
CHARMING: (Clears throat and rubs his wrists) I like that in a woman. Prudent. Traditional. Chaste.
HAWKGIRL: Actually, it’s more that I can’t stand lightweights who can’t keep eel brisket down during a post-meal bar fight. Are you one of those guys?
(CHARMING gulps nervously.)
(HAWKGIRL strides over to his table and takes a seat, fluttering her wings to get comfortable. CHARMING carefully pulls his seat away from the table, hangs his hat gingerly on the chair, sits down, and tucks a napkin into his collar.)
CHARMING: So, what planet do you come from again? (eyes glance from napkin on table to HAWKGIRL’s collar and back.)
HAWKGIRL: Thenegar. (Sees CHARMING’s discomfort related to the napkin.) On my planet, we don’t mind a little blood and slime on our shirts – it’s a sign of appreciation for a hearty meal.
CHARMING: I see. That’s very interesting.
(A WAITER creeps cautiously to the one occupied table where CHARMING and HAWKGIRL are seated.)
WAITER: Good evening, Monsieur and Mademoiselle. Are you ready to order?
HAWKGIRL: Roasted eel brisket, well done, with extra caramelized onions and a side of garden salad.
WAITER (After a pause) Um, I don’t believe that item is currently on the menu…
(HAWKGIRL stands and glares up at the beanpole of a waiter, arms crossed in front of her chest.)
HAWKGIRL: I’m the customer, and I say I want to eat eel brisket. Do you want me to report you to the Thenegarian Better Business Bureau? Or do you want to go make our dinner?
WAITER (Uneasily) I’ll see what I can do, Madame.
(WAITER stumbles backwards amongst the empty tables, not taking his eyes off HAWKGIRL until his hand feels the kitchen door behind him. He runs inside.)
(Return to shot of table. With a triumphant grin, HAWKGIRL reseats herself.)
CHARMING: (In wonderment) You sit without waiting for a gentleman to pull out your chair for you.
HAWKGIRL: (Incredulously) I just showed up in a restaurant wearing a mask, hit you with a deadly weapon, and threatened a waiter, and you’re concerned about my table manners?
(CHARMING looks shocked, uncomprehending. HAWKGIRL laughs in wry disbelief.)
HAWKGIRL: That’s cute. I haven’t met a gentleman like that since 1998. Not even on this godforsaken planet.
(CHARMING smiles at this appraisal.)
CHARMING: I have never encountered a woman so bold and unapologetic as you have shown yourself to be this evening. It’s sort of otherworldly… sort of refreshing.
(The two share a genuine smile. Outside, the sky is now a velvety deep blue. The Eiffel Tower glows with gold lights. The candle between them dances with a soft flame.)
HAWKGIRL: So… what do you like to do in your free time?
CHARMING: Hmm… mostly I practice my singing… I do a lot of yoga… Lately I’ve taken to dusting and mopping… (sees HAWKGIRL’s raised eyebrows) I didn’t used to like housework, but I’ve developed a bit of a taste for it. I kinda had to… my ex-wife wouldn’t touch a broom or dustpan.
HAWKGIRL: (Enthusiastically) Good for her. Was she handy with a mace?
CHARMING: Um… well, you see… Snow was always sleeping. She even slept through our anniversary last year…
HAWKGIRL: (Horrified) That’s terrible. Sleeping for more than eight hours a day wrecks brain cells and inhibits muscle gain.
CHARMING: Really? I thought eating grapefruit was the key to building muscle.
HAWKGIRL: On my planet, grapefruits are loaded into cannons for recreational team battle. Are the earth varieties edible?
CHARMING: Your planet sounds fascinating. I’d love to see it.
HAWKGIRL: (With a flattered smile) I’d love to give you a tour. Maybe after dinner –
(Enter WAITER, with a black eye and bite marks all over his visible skin. He holds a covered dish.)
WAITER: (Mumbles deliriously) The customer is always right. (Places dish on the table, then swoons and crumples to the floor.)
CHARMING: (Peering over edge of table) Perhaps we should call for first aid…
HAWKGIRL: After dinner. (She lifts the cover off the dish to reveal an exotic eel brisket cooked exactly as ordered.) Exquisite! Do you want to carve?
CHARMING: That actually looks kind of appetizing. Do you use a steak knife, or a turkey knife?
(HAWKGIRL raises her mace over her head. Screaming with the force of the movement, she smashes the weapon down upon the dish. The table breaks in two. CHARMING, recovering quickly from his alarm, catches the plate just before it can hit the ground, where the fallen candle has created a wall of flame. The eel brisket is now sliced neatly into portions. HAWKGIRL reaches over the flames, grabs a piece with her hand, and wolfs it down. CHARMING stares at her.)
HAWKGIRL: What? (wipes mouth with tablecloth.) You burn a lot of calories fighting supervillains.
CHARMING: Never in a million years did I dream I would meet a redheaded angel who could wield a spiky ball-thingy and capture my heart in her gentle hands.
(HAWKGIRL’s eyes are wide and sparkling. She blinks slowly at CHARMING and lets a seductive smile spread across her face, breath wracked with conflicted emotion. Her phone alerts her that a text has just been received. She tears her eyes away from her newfound love to look at the phone.)
(Cut to shot of phone from HAWKGIRL’s perspective. Text from WONDER WOMAN reads: outside bistro w/ batmobile. Where r u?)
HAWKGIRL: Damn. (to CHARMING) Looks like I have to go. It was nice meeting you. (looks at him, unsure whether to shake his hand or hug him. Impatient horn honks outside. HAWKGIRL steps backwards toward the door.)
CHARMING: (Weakly) Don’t run away.
HAWKGIRL: I’m sorry. My friends are waiting for me. You have my number, right?
(HAWKGIRL opens door to leave and begins walking across the street toward the Batmobile, which hovers by a parking meter. CHARMING steps around the swiftly spreading fire. He follows HAWKGIRL outside and stands in front of the doorway to the restaurant, reaching in her direction with an open hand.)
CHARMING: (Sings) One song, I have but one song…
(singing is abruptly silenced as we enter the passenger’s side with HAWKGIRL and she shuts the door. WONDER WOMAN, in the driver’s seat, adjusts the control panel. Soon they are soaring above Paris.)
WONDER WOMAN: Dare I ask how your blind date went?
HAWKGIRL: (Stiffly) No, you don’t dare. (steals a glance at PRINCE CHARMING in her contact list on her phone and smiles a tiny, secret smile.) How was the mechanic?
(return to doorway of restaurant, which is now blooming with ferocious flames. CHARMING, oblivious, kneels with his hat to his heart, staring up at the sky.)
(CINDERELLA enters from across the street. She begins to cross the street, and trips on the curb due to staring curiously at CHARMING. She loses a shoe and looks at him expectantly. He stares back, a transformation taking place in his brain. CINDERELLA appears more and more desperate as cars pass, nearly running over her lost shoe.)
(CHARMING shakes his head with a newfound determination. He turns to march down the sidewalk, away from CINDERELLA and toward the audience until his purposeful face fills the screen. Zoom into his left eye. A hawk’s silhouette is reflected in the pupil.)
(Circle close to black.)
Image credits in order of appearance:
By La Citta Vita (Bistro Le Chinon, evening Uploaded by paris 17) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
By Didier Nassiet (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons