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Episode No. 22 - Diagnosis

written by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)

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About this story

Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 84 KB (15477 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (47 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Black Screen-- "Five Days Later"


Graham, Patty and Angela are waiting in the kitchen. Graham is holding a plate with a stack of 12 pancakes on it. There is a lit candle in the middle of the stack.

GRAHAM: Maybe I shouldn't have lit it yet. . . the wax.

PATTY: (to Angela) You said she was on her way down? (Angela nods)


Danielle is on the landing, listening. She smiles.

DANIELLE: (VO) Today is my twelfth birthday. Since it's on Monday, we had my party yesterday. Birthday's are a pretty big deal in our house. All my friends came over and we watched movies and ate too much, and played games. And I got a lot of loot. It was fun, but it still seemed like a kiddie party. I mean, the boys were there. *Ryan* was there. But I still didn't feel any different. Any more grown up. But maybe it was because I wasn't really twelve yet. Anyway, today I get my birthday meals from my Dad, and my presents from my parents and Angela. I'm almost positive they got me a new bike. Angela got a new bike when she was *eleven*, and I haven't got one yet. Besides, I've really outgrown my old one

She smiles knowingly and goes into the kitchen, running the gauntlet of her family's hugs, smiles and good wishes. She sits at the table and Graham puts the pancakes down in front of her.

GRAHAM: (smiling) Make a wish.

DANIELLE: (looking up at him) I made one last night, with the cake.

PATTY: (smiling knowingly) Well, it was just a practice wish. The one made on your *actual* birthday is the one that really counts.

DANIELLE: (VO) My Mother has a *thing* about birthdays. I think it's because when she was little she found out that Grandma and Grandpa sort of made the day they brought her home her birthday, even though she had been born weeks earlier. It gave her, like, a complex or something.

ANGELA: (leaning over her, smiling, giving her shoulder a little hug) *Danielle!* The candle is totally melting--make your wish!

DANIELLE: (closes her eyes, in VO) I wish that I will finally find out what it's like to be a grown up. (she opens her eyes and blows out the candle--the family claps)

Angela joins Danielle at the table and they both begin to eat.

PATTY: (giving Danielle a quick kiss, which makes Danielle squirm) I'm sorry sweetie, but I've got to get to work early today. I'll be back early tonight though, for your "official" birthday dinner. (Danielle just nods and shovels away pancakes)

Patty heads for the front door, with Graham following behind carrying a cup of coffee for her. As she leaves the kitchen, Patty's demeanor turns businesslike and cold. It is clear that this is no surprise to Graham. Patty packs up her briefcase.

PATTY: Berniece Krakow called me yesterday from the airport to remind us that we agreed to look in on Brian this week, while she and Bob are in New York.

GRAHAM: (nodding, surreptitiously sipping some of her coffee) Right. The book.

PATTY: Right. Berniece finally told me what it is. It's one of those "Men Are From Mars--And the Women Who Love Them" relationship-type books. From a therapist couple's perspective.

GRAHAM: I can't picture the Krakow's writing something that wouldn't either put me in a coma or send me scrambling for a dictionary.

PATTY: I know. Berniece admitted that they were pandering, but she also seemed really excited about it. It's not like they're not qualified. They have been married a long time. *Happily.*

GRAHAM: (snorting) I'll bet the book scars Brian for life.

PATTY: That reminds me, Berniece said that Brian has been sick for almost a week. She says she tried to get him to go to the doctor, but he put her off. She gave me his doctors name in case he's still not feeling well. Will you check him out when he comes for Danielle's lesson?

GRAHAM: What do you want me to do? Have him bend over and cough? And if he's sick, should there even be a lesson?

PATTY: I don't know. Berniece didn't seem overly concerned, but (judgmentally) *that* doesn't surprise me.

GRAHAM: (taking a sip) What does that mean?

PATTY: Nothing. I mean, they just had him late in life, unplanned. It's made them be. . . inattentive. . . I don't know. (pause) They treat Brian like an inconvenience.

GRAHAM: (warning) Now don't get started on this type of thing again!

PATTY: What type of thing?

GRAHAM: This is how it started with Amber, and look how that turned out. You couldn't eat for a week, while you tried to dislodge your foot from your mouth.

PATTY: I'd rather be embarrassed than have to watch kids--good kids--be neglected and abused.

GRAHAM: (frowning, sipping) That's a little strong.

PATTY: Abuse isn't always physical, Graham. And I refuse to apologize for caring.

GRAHAM: Okay. I will make sure Brian is feeling all right.

PATTY: Good. (grabbing the coffee) This is all gone! (hands it back, exits) Bye.

GRAHAM: (noticing the lack of kiss, holding the cup) Bye.


Sharon walks into the school and as she approaches her locker, she sees a small crowd of the "social-butterfly" girls that we saw her hanging out with in the first few episodes gathered around her locker. As she walks up, and begins to greet them, they part to let her through, but they all avoid her eyes, and wander off without speaking to her. On the front of her locker the word "slut" is scrawled in black marker or paint. She looks defeated for a moment, and looks around, then purses her lips, squares her shoulders and begins the combination.


Graham is hard at work at the stove, trying out more recipes. Hallie comes in, but not quite as energetically as we are used to. She smiles at Graham wanly.

GRAHAM: (brightly) Morning.

HALLIE: (fixes him with a look) You're chipper.

GRAHAM: I know, (flirty) charming isn't it?

HALLIE: Hardly.

GRAHAM: I think I finally got this sauce right. Come taste.

HALLIE: No thanks. Not today.

GRAHAM: (cajoling) C'mon. (he hefts a spoon full of sauce, and sticks it under her nose) Doesn't it smell great?

Hallie takes a brief whiff of the sauce, but immediately pales, and moving to the triple-sink, effortlessly pulls her hair out the way and throws up. Graham looks appalled, then guilty. He sniffs at the sauce, and not getting the same reaction, puts his tongue to it to taste it. He smacks his lips.

GRAHAM: It's not *that* bad. In fact, it's pretty good.

HALLIE: (splashes water on her face) I'm sure it is.

GRAHAM: Then what?

HALLIE: (fixes him with an appraising look, as if sizing him up) Well, I guess you're going to find out pretty soon anyway. . .

GRAHAM: Find out what?

HALLIE: (smiling, as if saying "top this") That I'm pregnant.

Graham's eyes widen and he drops the spoon full of sauce onto the floor. As he backs up quickly to avoid getting any on him, he glances at Hallie, who shrugs and walks out the door to the restaurant dining room.


Delia and Sharon are sitting, eating. Delia enthusiastically, but Sharon looks depressed and only picks at her "hot lunch."

DELIA: Don't be upset. The Janitor had it all cleaned off by third period. I bet most people never even saw what it said.

SHARON: They know it said something, I mean, you can see *something* was written there.

DELIA: I know. I'm just saying. . .

SHARON: I know. Thanks.

DELIA: Who would do something like that?

SHARON: Do you even have to ask?

DELIA: Not Kyle.

SHARON: Probably not personally. I mean any one of his jock friends could have done it. (pause) If they looked up the spelling first. But no one would have done it at all unless they knew it was all right with him. He probably *told* them to do it.

DELIA: Just because you broke up? He didn't do anything like that the first time you broke up. Why now? Did something happen? (shocked) Is there another guy?

SHARON: (sighing) No. Can't we stop dwelling on this? I just want to forget about Kyle and the whole awful relationship.

DELIA: Okay. (changing the subject) I went out with Rickie again this weekend. (beaming) To the movies. We had a lot of fun. (takes a bite) He's just super-sweet.

SHARON: (tries a sad smile) That's great. (concerned) Delia, haven't you noticed that, I mean, at least a little bit, that Rickie is kind of. . . I don't know. Different.

DELIA: (a bit on the spot) Sure. He's into fashion and Hollywood, and most importantly, he respects my opinion. That's *very* different from most boys.

SHARON: (frowning) That's not exactly what I mean.

DELIA: (avoiding it, checking watch) Well, can we talk about it later? I promised Rickie I'd meet him in the library, so we could discuss our History project.

SHARON: (as Delia gets up) Sure.


Rayanne is walking down the hall, past the Boys' Washroom, when Jordan and his buddy Shane come out. They are snickering childishly. When they see Rayanne, Jordan tries to mask his amusement, but Shane laughs even more. Rayanne stops.


JORDAN: Nothin' (Shane just breaks up even more)

RAYANNE: (to Shane) Shut it, half-wit! (to Jordan) What is it?

JORDAN: There's just something written in the bathroom.

RAYANNE: (raised eyebrow) About me? That's nothing new.

Jordan seems at a loss. Shane just beats a hasty retreat with a mumbled "Later."

JORDAN: Part of it is about you. The other part. . .

RAYANNE: Spit it out.

JORDAN: (smirking at that) It's about that girl, the one that Angela knows. That pep squad one.

RAYANNE: Sharon Cherski.

JORDAN: Yeah. You hang out with her too, don't you? (smiles)

RAYANNE: Some. Why, what does it say?

JORDAN: I don't remember all of it.

RAYANNE: Really? How non-unusual. (she moves towards the bathroom)

JORDAN: Hey, you can't go in there!

RAYANNE: (pauses barely a second, laughs) You don't know me very well, do you?


Rayanne walks confidently into the boys room and heads toward the urinals, above which is a virtual collage of graffiti. A guy is using one of the urinals and glares at Rayanne as she walks up.

GUY: Get the hell out of here!

RAYANNE: (bluntly) No. There's nothing you have that I haven't seen before. (she makes a great production of glancing down in his general direction) I guess I was wrong--I haven't ever seen one quite *that* small before. (stares at him)

The guy withers under her scrutiny, and quickly leaves, glaring at her.

RAYANNE: (as soon as he is gone, she laughs, goes to the wall and reads aloud)

"For a good time call Sharon C.

She's into sharing and always lets you see.

She *is* tricky to get into bed,

But that's okay because she gives great. . ."

(Rayanne trails off, omitting the last word, acidly to herself) Charming.

She then looks further down. The camera shows a close up of the last part, which is not read aloud.

"She works and works really *hard* at her craft,

I hear she practices with Rayanne Graf."

RAYANNE: (angry) Because any girl who rejects you must be a lesbian, huh, Kyle? (she digs into her vast bag and comes out with a black marker and proceeds to black out the offensive message)


Outside the boys' room, Jordan leans against the wall. As some intrepid freshman comes up making as if to go in, Jordan moves in front of the door, semi-menacingly. The young man quickly leaves. Jordan is still standing in front of the door when Rayanne opens it to find him in her way.

RAYANNE: Move it, Catalano!

JORDAN: I was just making sure no one came in, to like, disturb you.

RAYANNE: (coldly) Whatever.

JORDAN: I didn't really even think it was that funny.

RAYANNE: That's because it wasn't. But that's okay. I took care of it. (she starts to walk away, turns back) And don't go spreading this around.

JORDAN: I won't.

RAYANNE: And tell that little troll, Shane, that if he breathes a word of this, I'll sic Tino on him.

JORDAN: I'll make sure he doesn't say anything. Just don't tell Angela about this.

RAYANNE: (sadly) You don't have to worry about *that*. (she walks off, slowly)


Graham is alone at the stove. We hear the sounds of the workmen hard at work out front, and the strains of Hallie trying to tell them something over the din of their tools. Graham glances repeatedly in the direction of the door. Hallie finally comes back in.

GRAHAM: There you are. I was beginning to think you weren't coming back.

HALLIE: Whose bright idea was it to have them install the phone out there, with the workers and their loud, *loud* tools?

GRAHAM: Yours I think.

HALLIE: Damn. I hate it when that happens.


HALLIE: When things I do come back to bite me on the butt.

GRAHAM: (looks intrigued at the very idea) Speaking of which. . .

HALLIE: (smiling) You're not going to let me get away with a hit and run, are you?

GRAHAM: Hmm. (fakes thinking, looks directly at her) No.

HALLIE: Okay. What is the big mystery? You have two kids, you presumably know how this is done?

GRAHAM: (concerned) It *is* Brad's, isn't it?

HALLIE: (looks outraged) Of *course* it is! Either that or alien abduction. I *certainly* can't claim immaculate conception.

GRAHAM: How far along?

HALLIE: Almost three months.

GRAHAM: (looks even more shocked) How long have you known?

HALLIE: (slowly) About two months.

GRAHAM: And you didn't tell me?

HALLIE: (appalled) And *why* exactly are you on the list of people I need to tell?

GRAHAM: Well, we're partners. And. . .(searching for right word). . . *friends*.

HALLIE: Well, *partner*, everything about this that could possibly effect the business has been dealt with. You knew I was going to stay at my job for at least six more months, and I still am, to take advantage of the insurance and the maternity leave. I got all five "monsieurs moneybags" signed and sealed before they found out, and I had the newspaper pictures taken before there would be a lot of obvious questions from the reporter about my "husband" or my "bundle of joy."

GRAHAM: (realizing how she played everyone, including him) Aah, *that's* the real reason you wanted them to take our photos with the "before" pictures?

HALLIE: That takes care of my partner. As for my friend, the fact that you are the only person who knows, aside from my Mother, should satisfy you.

GRAHAM: (shocked, *again*) What about Brad?

HALLIE: (sighing) What about him?

GRAHAM: Aren't you going to tell *him*? This changes everything!

HALLIE: (harshly) It changes nothing. Not all men are like you, Graham. Brad would not come back to me over this. The only thing telling him would get me is a lot of grief, having to deal with him and his family trying to do what they do best. Control others. This isn't Brad's decision, or his family's, it's mine.

GRAHAM: And what is your decision?

HALLIE: Well, since I have known about this for a couple months and haven't done anything to change my diagnosis, doesn't that give you a clue?

GRAHAM: (smiling at the thought) You're keeping it?

HALLIE: Of course I am! I've always wanted children. And, let's be honest, no matter what your wife thinks, I'm no spring chicken. And what better time than now? (smiling, but a bit scared, too) New business, new baby, a whole new life!

GRAHAM: (amazed) Well then, I guess all that's left is for me to say what I should have in the first place. . .

HALLIE: (raised eyebrow) And that is?

GRAHAM: (moving towards her) Congratulations, *Mom*!

They hug, stiffly on her part at first, as she fights against other, less maternal, emotions, and finally deeply, but in only a friendly manner. Graham seems genuinely thrilled for her, and Hallie looks a bit shell-shocked and tears up.

HALLIE: (parting from him) So you think I can do this?

GRAHAM: Yes. (laughs) And heaven help anyone who stands in your way.

HALLIE: (smiles proudly) That's right! I'm kicking ass for two now.


Rickie and Delia are waiting in the wings of the stage, during a practice.

DELIA: (interrupting Rickie's close attention to "Our Town") Uhm, Rickie?


DELIA: I was talking to Sharon today, and. . .

RICKIE: (looks sympathetic) I know. I can't believe someone did that to her.

DELIA: I know. But actually, we were talking about you some too. She was trying to, like, warn me that you're gay. And I didn't know what to say. I mean, is it okay to say that I know? Or are you not really telling people, or what?

RICKIE: (thinking) I really don't know. I mean, I hadn't really thought about that. I've never really talked about this with anybody. Except you.

DELIA: But your friends, they know, right?

RICKIE: I guess so. Kind of. I mean, Rayanne and Angela don't *know,* know, but we have sort of talked around the issue.

DELIA: Oh. It's just that some people think we're dating. . .

RICKIE: I know. Even Brian thinks that, and I've said things to him that I thought would clue him in, without having to have, like, a discussion about it. Sometimes he doesn't seem to get what I'm talking about. I guess this is one of those times.

DELIA: I mean, I don't care if people think we're dating, but shouldn't. . . don't you want your friends to know the real you?

RICKIE: Sure. But, on the other hand, I don't really want it all over the school, and if I tell Sharon, it probably will be. (pause) Plus, I don't know, maybe denial is just some people's way of dealing with it. Maybe they'd rather not know.

DELIA: (looks surprised) And you're okay with that?

RICKIE: (matter-of-fact) I have to be, don't I? Especially if the alternative is losing them as friends.

DELIA: I really don't think that would happen.

RICKIE: (doubtfully) I don't know. I've had. . .family. . .do that. . . and worse, on just the suspicion. Going up to people and saying, "by the way, I'm gay, accept me" seems like too much to ask.

DELIA: (softly) It sounds to me like the *least* you could ask, from a friend. But I don't want to pressure you. However you want to deal with this is fine with me.

RICKIE: (smiles) If people ask, can't you just tell them what *you* think? Without mentioning anything *I* said?

DELIA: Sure.

RICKIE: Thanks. And I'll think about what you said.

DELIA: Good. I mean, for them and for you. You deserve friends who love you for who you are. The ones who really care will stick around, I'm sure of it.

They smile brightly at each other, and then hear bustling as the actors leave the stage. They quickly run on to change the scenery


Danielle is sitting at the table, impatient. Periodically, she looks at her watch. On the table are her books, which she is ignoring completely, and a "Magic 8-Ball."

DANIELLE: (VO) I waited and waited all day to feel like a grown up. Nothing ever happened. I thought maybe Ryan would treat me different. Older, or something. But all he did was pull my hair. Again. So, I socked him one. Which made me feel good, but not grown up exactly. Ryan or Brian? I never thought of this before, but their names are similar. I wonder if that means something? I wish Angela still had those tarot cards, so I could ask which one is in my future. (she picks up the 8-Ball) Ryan or Brian? I guess it has to be a yes or no question. (she shakes it) I could ask Angela for advice, but she always tells me to wait 'til I'm older. (still shaking) It's annoying. I guess my question is: Should I forget about Ryan and focus on Brian? (She stops shaking the ball, and waits for the answer to appear--reading the answer) "Ask Again Later." Story of my life.

Danielle's reverie is interrupted by a soft tapping at the back door. Danielle sets the 8-Ball down and rushes excitedly to open the door. It is Brian Krakow, carrying his sax case, some sheet music, and a small package. He still looks ill.

DANIELLE: (shouting) Dad! Brian is here for my lesson!

GRAHAM: (OS) Good. I need to speak to him for a second.

Danielle rolls her eyes and lets Brian step in. She goes over to the nook table and picks up the smaller saxophone which Brian has lent her, in it's case.

GRAHAM: (strolling in) Hi, Brian.

BRIAN: (with little enthusiasm) Hi.

DANIELLE: (eyeing the package Brian has) Is that my present?

GRAHAM: (shocked) Danielle!

BRIAN: (smiles) No. Actually, this is for your Dad.

DANIELLE: Oh. Nice. He gets presents on *my* birthday. (she grabs hold of Brian's arm and begins to pull him toward the door) C'mon!

GRAHAM: Danielle, I have to talk to Brian for a minute.

BRIAN: (allowing himself to be dragged) Why don't you go and set up and work through your warm-up scales, and I'll be out in a minute?

DANIELLE: Okay. (over her shoulder) How will you know how good I did?

GRAHAM: He'll be able to hear them in here, trust me.

DANIELLE: Okay. (she exits)

GRAHAM: Sorry about Danielle. She's just excited about her birthday.

BRIAN: I know. She reminded me about it, like, fifty times. That's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about. I had this idea, but I'm horrible at picking out gifts. I mean, she really seems to be into the saxophone, so I talked to my parents and they said I could just give her my old saxophone, like, as a gift. But the more I think about it, I don't know. Is that a good gift, or just kind of lame?

GRAHAM: I think she would like anything that came from you. (Brian sort of frowns questioningly at that) But, isn't that a sort of expensive gift?

BRIAN: (shrugging, we hear scales coming from the garage) Not really. I don't use it anymore, but I couldn't bring myself to sell it. I know Danielle will take good care of it. You haven't already got her one, have you?

GRAHAM: Mrs. Chase and I talked about it and decided as long as she could use yours, we would wait it out to make sure this isn't another phase, like Angela and her piano lessons.

BRIAN: So it's okay then?

GRAHAM: (can't find a good reason to say "no") Sure.

BRIAN: (remembering, holding out package) Also, this is for you. Sort of a thanks for helping me with my driving. (proudly) I passed the test. I got my license.

GRAHAM: (happy) Congratulations! I knew you would pass! Let me see.

Brian sets down the package and takes out his wallet, handing Graham his license.

GRAHAM: (looking at it, laughs) Not the best picture, but then they never are.

BRIAN: Yeah, I know. I wanted them to take another one, but I wasn't feeling well and it probably wouldn't have turned out any better.

GRAHAM: (remembering) That's what I wanted to talk to *you* about. Your Mom said you've been feeling sick for a while now. She gave us the name of your doctor, are you sure you don't want to make an appointment? Patty or I could go with you if you don't want to go alone.

BRIAN: (shaking his head) No. You know how Moms are, always thinking every little thing is serious. It's probably just my allergies.

GRAHAM: Are you sure it's okay to have the lessons? We don't need Danielle getting sick on us.

BRIAN: I'm sure it's fine. There's nothing going around or anything. I'm the only one I know who has been sick. Not even sick, really. Just tired a lot. I bet it's just anxiety on top of too little sleep.

GRAHAM: (doubtfully) Okay, if you're sure.

BRIAN: I'm sure. (pointing to the package) Open it.

Graham opens it and takes out a small frame, and a couple of pictures, wrapped in a gauzy paper.

GRAHAM: This is Angela's picture!

BRIAN: Yes, she asked me for a couple copies, so be sure she gets one of them. Tell her I'm sorry it took so long, but, well, I wasn't feeling really energetic. The frame's for you.

GRAHAM: (holding the picture up to it) Thanks. But I don't think the picture will fit in this.

BRIAN: (explaining) No, the frame isn't for the picture, it's for your restaurant. I couldn't think of a name or anything, but I still wanted to do something. So I thought. . . I mean, I've heard that businesses do that. Get a frame and put the first dollar they make into it, as a keepsake. It's the right size for a dollar. People still do that, right?

GRAHAM: (getting it) Yes! Of course! Knowing Hallie, she'll want to re-invest the first dollar, but I'll stand firm. It'll bring us good luck. (smiles) Thank you.

BRIAN: (smiling a little, embarrassed) You're welcome. I'd better head out there, she's almost finished with her warm ups. Be sure Angela gets that picture, okay?

GRAHAM: (nodding) Aren't you staying for dinner tonight, though? Your Mom wanted us to look after you while your folks are gone, and Danielle will want you to stay for her "official" birthday dinner.

BRIAN: (happy to be included) Sure. That will be great.

GRAHAM: Okay. (as Brian exits) Have a good lesson.


Brian and Danielle are just finishing up a jerking, but recognizable, duet of "When the Saints Come Marching In." When they finish, Danielle looks up at Brian.

DANIELLE: (expectantly) Now what?

BRIAN: (puts a hand to his head, looks out-of-breath) I think. . . that's enough for today, don't you?

DANIELLE: Why? We still have fifteen minutes left.

BRIAN: I know. (sighs) It's just that. . .I'm feeling pretty tired. (seeing Danielle's disappointment, backtracking) And I wanted to give you your birthday present.

DANIELLE: (excited) Really? (she sets the sax down and gets up off the bench) Where is it?

BRIAN: It's here. I just wanted to say something first. (she comes closer to where he is sitting) I've been giving you lessons for about two weeks now, and I really didn't know what it would be like. It's actually really fun--y'know, playing with someone else. You learn really fast, and I'm sure with enough practice you could be an even better player than I am. So, I wanted to give you something to help you, (reaching into his corduroys, he pulls out a brightly colored bow, and sticks it on the saxophone) . . .so, Happy Birthday.

DANIELLE: (regarding the sax uncertainly) But, that's yours.

BRIAN: And now it's yours. I don't want to sell it to some stranger. I want *you* to have it. I know you'll take good care of her. (pats the sax)

DANIELLE: (looks surprised and pleased, looks at the instrument with a bit of awe) (VO) At last, someone is finally treating me at least a little like a grown up. I'll bet he never would have given this to Angela. (aloud) Thanks, Brian.

BRIAN: You really like it?

DANIELLE: (nodding) I love it. (VO) Now would be a perfect time for Brian to kiss me, or something. But, I know he never will. (a mischievous look crosses her face, and then changes to what she, no doubt, thinks is a seductive look) (VO) I think sometimes fate needs a swift kick, to, like, wake it up.

Brian, still shaky, regards Danielle questioningly. Danielle does a little pirouette towards him, between his legs, and gracefully leans in and kisses him on the lips.

DANIELLE: (VO) It was totally perfect. . .

Brian pushes her away and stands abruptly, looking shocked and embarrassed. Instantly upon standing, his eyes begin to close, as dizziness hits him.

DANIELLE: (VO). . . but only, for like, a second.

Brian looks close to fainting. He backs up, as if to sit down on the bench, but he miscalculates, and hits the left edge of the bench with his right leg, causing him to trip and fall to the ground, where he strikes his head on the metal shelving unit against the wall. Then he lays there, seemingly out of it.

DANIELLE: (wide-eyed, VO) For a minute, I thought I'd killed him. Then I thought he was faking. Then, I knew he wasn't.

Danielle runs to the door, and out of it, toward the house. We hear her yelling for Graham to "come quick."


Over the black screen, we hear the sounds of clapping or slapping and Danielle saying, "Is he going to be okay, Dad?" The screen brightens, but blurrily, from Brian's POV, revealing a unfocused close-up of Graham's face, concerned.

GRAHAM: Are you okay? Brian? Can you hear me?


BRIAN: (dully) Yes. Stop shaking me. My head.

DANIELLE: Yeah, he hit his head.

GRAHAM: (concerned, sort of yelling) What? You didn't tell me that. You just said he fainted. I shouldn't have slapped him awake then.

DANIELLE: (looks scared and upset) Sorry.

GRAHAM: (softly) It's okay, honey. Everything will be okay.

Brian struggles, making as if to get up.

GRAHAM: I don't think that's a very good idea. You just stay put, and I'll go and call the doctor to see what we should do.

BRIAN: (weakly) No. I don't need the doctor.

GRAHAM: (exasperated) Brian, boys your age don't just faint for no reason. Besides, you hit your head--for all I know, you could have a concussion, or worse.

Danielle watches her father go, torn between going and staying.

BRIAN: What did you tell your Dad?

DANIELLE: (looking guilty) Just that you stood up fast, fainted and hit your head.

BRIAN: (looks a little relieved) Good. We don't have to tell him what happened.

DANIELLE: (also relieved) Good.

GRAHAM: (returning with his coat and car keys) Okay. Here's the deal. Dr. Klein is going to meet us at the hospital to check you out.

BRIAN: The *hospital*?

GRAHAM: Yes. Dr. Klein said they *have* to check out your head, and he wants to check out what this illness you've been suffering from is. Apparently your mother called to consult with him when you wouldn't go in, to reassure herself.

BRIAN: Figures.

GRAHAM: C'mon Danielle, let's go. (he helps Brian up)


Angela, holding a package, and Jordan are wandering around the mall together.

ANGELA: Thanks again for bringing me. I need to get a present for my sister. It's her birthday.

JORDAN: Oh. That's Danielle, right?

ANGELA: Exactly. She's twelve now. I've got great wrapping paper (indicating the bag), so all I need now is a great gift. (They enter a book store)

JORDAN: Then why are we going to a book store? I hated getting books as gifts. It was worse than getting clothes.

ANGELA: (smiles) Not everyone agrees. Besides, I'm not getting her a book to *read*, I'm getting her a book to write in. (looking around) I know they have some with keys here somewhere. Here we are. (holds up a book with a clasp)

JORDAN: (they walk to counter) Is that, like, a diary? (he seems amused)

ANGELA: (defensive) Yes. I call mine a "journal" though. What's wrong with that?

JORDAN: (smirking) Nothing. It just seems like work to me.

ANGELA: (pays the clerk) I don't know. It's not that different from what you do, y'know, when you write your songs. It's just a way to express yourself.

JORDAN: I guess that's true. (smiles) Except yours doesn't have to rhyme.

ANGELA: (they walk the mall) So, can I ask you something?


ANGELA: What have you heard about Sharon and Kyle's breakup?

JORDAN: Nothin'. I mean, why don't you ask Sharon what happened?

ANGELA: I have. I know what *happened*. I just want to know what people are *saying*. Specifically, what *guys* are saying. Sharon's my friend. I don't like the rumors I've heard.

JORDAN: (muttering) You won't like the ones I heard, either.

ANGELA: Fine. But I want to know what people are saying.

JORDAN: Fine. I heard that Vinovich walked in on Sharon and Rayanne Graf, and they were, like, making out.

ANGELA: (rolls her eyes) How stupid! Not to mention depraved.

JORDAN: (shrugs) What do you expect from those jock guys? Everything they talk about in the locker room is half-insult and half-fantasy.

ANGELA: It's such an obvious lie. Sharon and Rayanne don't even like each other.

JORDAN: (sensing he's on dangerous ground) Well, I don't know about that.

ANGELA: What do you mean?

JORDAN: Nothin'. I mean, I've just seen them hanging out together. I think they're friends or something. (shrugs) That doesn't make the rumor true.

ANGELA: The rumor is *not* true. And Rayanne and Sharon are *not* friends.

JORDAN: What if they are? Is that what's bugging you so much?

ANGELA: Nothing is bugging me!

JORDAN: (simply) You're lying.

ANGELA: (shaking her head) No. You're wrong. I'm just concerned about Sharon. I could care less about whatever sick things Rayanne Graf is or is not doing.

JORDAN: (smiles) You're lying again. You miss Rayanne. Whether you'll admit it or not. You do. (shrugs) All you have to do is talk to her. We can try to find her.

ANGELA: No. I have to get home. For my sister's birthday dinner. I can't talk with you about this.


ANGELA: Because you're a part of what happened. And I don't even know if I'm ready to forgive Rayanne yet or not. (sadly) And even if I am, I'm afraid. . . that it may already be too late for that.

JORDAN: So what are you going to do?

ANGELA: I have no idea.


Patty is at Wood & Jones. The phone rings.

PATTY: Hello?

Split screen, with Patty on the left and Graham on a pay phone, at right.

GRAHAM: Patty. Thank goodness I reached you. We're at the hospital.

PATTY: (worried) Is everything all right?

GRAHAM: I don't know. Brian fainted in the garage and hit his head. The doctor's with him now.

PATTY: Why aren't you with him?

GRAHAM: He seems fine. He's awake, and he didn't want me to come in. I think he's already kind of embarrassed.

PATTY: That's probably true. Have you called his parents?

GRAHAM: No. He said we shouldn't interrupt them. Should I call them?

PATTY: I have the number where they're staying. I'll call and at least leave them a message. Which hospital did you go to?

GRAHAM: Memorial. The same one they brought Andy Cherski to.

PATTY: Okay. What about the girls?

GRAHAM: Danielle is here with me. Angela wasn't home yet. I called and left a message on the machine for her if she comes home.

PATTY: Okay. I'll call Berniece, and then stop by home.

GRAHAM: Hopefully we'll have more news by then.


Brian is sitting on one of those raised exam platforms in his boxer shorts. He rubs one hand along the other arm, as if he is cold, scared, or both. Even his long legs don't touch the ground, causing his legs to swing back in forth in agitation, reinforcing the child-like image he presents. Dr. Klein, a fortyish, bearded and unsmiling man enters the room.

KLEIN: Sorry to keep you waiting, Brian.

BRIAN: That's okay. (hopefully) I feel fine.

KLEIN: Well, let's hope that you are. The emergency personnel tell me that you don't have any of the outward signs of a concussion. Let's just check your eyes for a minute. (he performs several tests, involving dilation of pupils, and Brian being able to track his penlight) Is there any ringing in your ears? (Brian shakes his head) Is your neck sore? (same response) Okay. Well the good news is that the emergency personnel are correct, there doesn't seem to be any effects at all from the head bump, except for, well, the bump on your head.

BRIAN: Great.

KLEIN: However, I must admit I'm more concerned about why you fainted at all. Your mother called last week complaining that you had flu-like symptoms. Do you still have those?

BRIAN: A little I guess.

KLEIN: And you are still running a fever, according to the nurse. Have you had a fever for awhile?

BRIAN: Maybe a mild one. Nothing too bad. It's probably just my allergies.

KLEIN: No. Your main problems are with ragweed and other pollens. It's still freezing every night, there shouldn't be anything in the air causing this kind of problem. (he lifts one of Brian's arms and pokes a finger into his armpit) Have you noticed any swelling here, or around your neck or groin?

BRIAN: (looks uncomfortable and worried) Not really. Isn't this just the flu?

KLEIN: It would be unlikely for a flu bug to linger for this long. (Lifting Brian's leg, pointing to his upper thigh) What about this bruise? And the one on your back? You know how you got them?

BRIAN: Not really. Probably in gym class or something.


KLEIN: (turns Brian's arms over to look at his arms and palms) What about these small reddish spots on the skin?

BRIAN: I just thought my Mom accidentally bought scented detergent again.

KLEIN: Okay Brian. I've seen enough. We are going to have to do some tests to find out what is wrong with you. These type of symptoms and chronic fatigue are not normal. And you're even paler than usual. Are your parents here?

BRIAN: They're in New York. You can talk to me. (not nicely) I'm old enough to sign insurance forms.

KLEIN: That you are. When I see patients as kids, I tend to fall into a routine in treating them, and forget they're growing up. Maybe all doctors do. (pause) It's like this, Brian. I can't tell you what is causing your symptoms right now, so we're going to have to do some tests. I want to admit you to the hospital tonight. . .

BRIAN: (wide eyed) Admit me?

KLEIN: Yes. Both to monitor any possible side effects from your fall, but also to keep tabs on your temperature and other symptoms. I'm going to want to take a few blood samples in a little bit, so we can test for things, and you should understand that the things we are testing for are quite serious.

BRIAN: Like what?

KLEIN: Like mononucleosis, aplastic anemia, and, of course, AIDS. But these tests are really more of a precaution then anything else. These tests are intended to rule out these possibilities. However, I also want you to see a specialist friend of mine. (looks up from Brian's chart) A pediatric oncologist.

BRIAN: (startled, shakes head, disbelieving) A cancer doctor?

KLEIN: (surprised that Brian knows what an oncologist is) Yes. I'm a bit out of my league in this arena, but I'm concerned about the bruising of your skin, and the small blood spots on your inner arm. Combined with your other symptoms, they are possible indicators of hundreds of things. However, one of those things--the most serious--is leukemia.

Brian looks overwhelmed. Klein smiles in a fatherly, reassuring manner.

KLEIN: There's really nothing to worry about yet, Brian. We just want to do some tests, and I want you to see my friend, Dr. Garcia. Why don't you get dressed and go speak with the people who brought you here. . .

BRIAN: (softly) My neighbors.

KLEIN: Right. And I will work on getting you admitted, and order the blood work and call Dr. Garcia for a consult. Could you also get in touch with your parents, or give me the number, so I can.

BRIAN: I'll call them. (not in a mean way) They won't want to hear this from you.

KLEIN: Okay. I'm sure you know best. I'll be back in a few minutes to take you to get settled in your room. Can your neighbors bring you some things from home?

BRIAN: (distracted, not listening) What? Oh sure. They can send someone.

KLEIN: Okay. Go ahead and get dressed. (trying to smile) We can't have you walking to your room dressed like that. (he leaves)

Brian gently eases himself off the platform, and slowly pulls on his shirt. His face is a blank slate, he no longer looks frightened, just disturbingly empty.


Angela is listening to "Enid" by Barenaked Ladies, and wrapping Danielle's present when her mother starts to open the door without knocking. Angela hurls a pillow from the bed at the door.

ANGELA: Stay out!

PATTY: (flinging open the door) Angela!

ANGELA: Oh. Sorry. I thought you were Danielle. I'm still wrapping her present. Where is everybody, anyway?

PATTY: At the hospital, with Brian. Didn't you check the machine?

ANGELA: No. What happened? (not concerned, curious) Another bike mishap?

PATTY: No. Actually, he fainted in the garage and hit his head.

ANGELA: (more seriously) Is he all right?

PATTY: Your father said that the fall didn't do any damage, thank god. . .

ANGELA: (VO) Knowing my Mother, she was probably most thankful because this meant that the Krakow's couldn't sue us or something. She is always really worried about "losing the house," as if it's the house that makes us a family.

PATTY:. . . but they want him to stay there overnight for some tests to find out why he's been sick all this time.

ANGELA: (reading Patty's worried attitude) It's not serious, is it?

PATTY: (debating internally about what to say) They're not sure yet. They're afraid that it may be serious.

Angela shakes her head, and backs away unconsciously, and almost imperceptibly.

PATTY: (sensing Angela's inclination to retreat) Angela, I need you to do something for me. I need you to get an overnight bag and the Krakow's key from the pegboard, and go over and pack Brian some of his things. You know, some comfortable clothes for bed, or some pajamas, and his toothbrush and things. Can you do that for me? Then we have to go meet your father and sister at the hospital.

Angela simply nods and starts moving.


Angela opens the creaky front door and heads up the steps to Brian's room.

ANGELA: (VO) It's weird to be in Brian's house when no one else is home.

She walks to Brian's dresser and begins to open drawers.

ANGELA: (VO) It's even weirder to be rifling through his things. Luckily, if I know Brian, not only are all the drawers the same as they ever were, they are also compulsively neat.

As she opens a drawer, the camera shows a quick shot inside, and the perfectly lined rows of neatly folded socks. Angela throws some in the bag, and then, with an odd look on her face, a couple pairs of underwear as well. She also grabs some sweats and a T-shirt, which are also neatly folded.

ANGELA: (VO) I swear, Brian is my mother's dream child come to life.

She then enters a small bathroom off of Brian's room, and grabs toiletries.

ANGELA: (VO) I used to be jealous that Brian had a bathroom of his own after his sister moved out. (opening the small medicine cabinet, which is close to empty) I guess I never thought of how. . . *lonely* one person's things would look.

She goes back into the bedroom and starts to leave. Then, getting an idea, she goes over to his night table, to fetch a book that is sitting next to three pictures in frames. Angela looks them over. The first is of Bob and Berniece Krakow and is obviously recent and taken by Brian. They are an older couple than the Chases, Bob is balding and has half-glasses that give him an owlish look. Berniece is somewhat plump and rosy faced with very short dirty-blonde hair that is going gray. The second picture is of Brian, about age 13, dancing with his sister at her wedding. The third picture is of Angela. It is not the award-winning one, but another, softer one, with a more contemplative look, and only a hint of a smile.

ANGELA: (VO) (shaking her head as she sets the last picture down) He's going to be fine. I know it. (she stuffs the book in the bag and heads out)


Brain is sitting in bed in one of those annoying hospital gowns. Graham and Danielle are in the room also, and the TV is on. Patty and Angela come into the room, Angela is holding the bag.

PATTY: Hi. Is everything all right here? Is there any news?

GRAHAM: (standing) No. They came and took all sorts of blood for tests, but the specialist hasn't been here yet. She's supposed to be here soon.

PATTY: Okay. Let's just wait a bit, then. Brian, I called your folks. They weren't at the hotel, but I left a message to call here and gave them your room number. I can try them again, in a little while, if you like.

BRIAN: Thanks.

ANGELA: We brought a bag of your stuff--underwear, socks, your toothbrush, and stuff. (Brian looks mortified at the idea of Angela going through his things) My Mom actually packed it, (he looks much less worried) but I reminded her to bring you the book you were reading.

Patty, watching Angela, gives her a little smile.

BRIAN: Thanks.

A woman, about 35 or so, with long dark brown hair, in a white lab coat, enters the doorway. (I pictured Roma Maffia, late of "Chicago Hope" in this role)

GARCIA: Knock, knock. I'm Dr. Garcia. (extending her hand) You're the Krakow's?

PATTY: (taking charge, and Garcia's hand) No. The Chases. We're looking after Brian while his parents are in New York. We've left them messages, but they must not have returned to the hotel yet.

GARCIA: Okay. That's fine. We can still do this. I can speak to Brian alone, or if one of you is going to relay information to his parents, you can stay.

By unspoken agreement, Graham gathers up his things, and the girls.

GRAHAM: Come on you two, let's go check out the cafeteria. (they leave)

Dr. Garcia closes the door, and motions for Patty to take a seat out of the way.

GARCIA: Brian, I need you to stand up and take off the gown.

Brian looks momentarily embarrassed about being in his underwear in front of two women, but the gravity of the situation makes this feeling fleeting at best. Garcia checks out his chart, and looks at some of the same things that Dr. Klein did, paying particular attention to the bruises and red spots on his upper arm.

GARCIA: Brian, have you had any cuts recently that bled a lot, or any nosebleeds?


GARCIA: How about any aches and pains in your joints or limbs?

BRIAN: Maybe a little, in my legs.

GARCIA: Okay. You can put your gown back on. Brian, I know this is all very sudden and a little scary. And this may seem like a very extreme reaction to what seems to you to be just a cold. To you, too, Mrs. Chase. But after looking over your chart and taking a look at your symptoms, I have to concur with Dr. Klein's analysis. It is possible that you are suffering from leukemia--which is cancer of the bloodstream, or more specifically, cancer in your blood-producing bone marrow.

Brian looks straight at her with no expression, but Patty, who has heard nothing of this prior to just then, looks shocked and afraid.

GARCIA: To find out for sure, I will have to draw some blood myself, but since in 10% of cases, the blood seems normal at the time of diagnosis, I will also need to collect some bone marrow.


GARCIA: It's called bone marrow aspiration. We'll numb Brian's hip with local anesthesia and remove a sample with a needle. (to Brian) You'll feel some pressure, and a little bit of pain, but not that much.

PATTY: (amazed that Brian is so calm) When?

GARCIA: I want to do this tonight, so we can have the results tomorrow morning sometime, with the results of the other blood tests. It's difficult to assess how long the leukemia has been present in someone's system, and even though delays aren't proven harmful--nor are they helpful. It's best to find out as soon as possible, so if leukemia is detected, the type of leukemia can be determined and the treatment can begin in earnest. I'm going to go do this paperwork and order up the equipment I'll need. I'll be right back. (she exits)

Patty rises from her chair and crosses to Brian on the bed.

PATTY: Are you doing okay?

BRIAN: (softly) Sure. Of course.

PATTY: I can stay here with you tonight, until we get ahold of your parents. Or Graham can, if you'd rather?

BRIAN: No, that's okay. You should all go home. It's supposed to be Danielle's birthday dinner.

PATTY: Brian, you can't stay here alone tonight.

BRIAN: (snapping at her) Why not? I was going to stay alone at home. All week! How is this any different?

PATTY: (softly, soothingly) Brian. . . (she moves toward him, as if to touch him)

BRIAN: (his voice cracks) Don't. Please, just don't. (he tears up) If I start to lose it, I'll never get it back again. I need to get through the night. Just get through the night, and then maybe all of this will be for nothing. (pleading) Can't you just go? You have your own family to take care of.

PATTY: (sadly, seeing some of her own defense mechanisms thrown at her, and seeing how cold they must make her seem) Are you sure you want to be alone?

BRIAN: I don't know. It's like the default key. . .I guess I'm just used to it.

PATTY: Okay. The girls and Graham will want to say good-bye though. We haven't told Danielle anything yet. I think Angela has guessed this may be serious.

BRIAN: (more kindly) Sure. And you can come back tomorrow, right? I mean, I'll need someone here after I get the test results, and if my parents aren't back. . .

PATTY: One of us will be here. I promise.

BRIAN: (he looks sorry that he snapped) Thank you.

INT.HOSPITAL ROOM--Minutes later

Patty comes back with the whole family to say their good-byes.

GRAHAM: Okay, I guess we'll check in with you tomorrow.

PATTY: Your parents will probably call soon. It's only about six-thirty.

BRIAN: I'm sure they will. I'll tell them how great you've all been. (he looks at Danielle) Especially you.

Angela looks stung. Danielle smiles, knowingly.

BRIAN: I'm sorry about this. I kind of ruined your birthday dinner.

DANIELLE: That's okay. Thanks for the present.

BRIAN: You're welcome, and thanks for what you gave me. (verbally winks at her)

Patty throws Graham a questioning look. He just shrugs.

DANIELLE: (smiling and backing away) See you tomorrow. Hope you feel better.

Angela steps forward with his book in her hand. She gives him a searching look, as if trying to discern the truth in his face.

ANGELA: (hands it to him) Here's your book.

BRIAN: Thanks, Chase.

ANGELA: (her hand rests on the metal guard rail) Try to get some rest.

Dr. Garcia enters the room.

GARCIA: Brian, we're about ready for you now.

BRIAN: I'm ready.


Graham and Patty are in their bedroom.

GRAHAM: Danielle didn't say much about her bike, do you think she liked it?

PATTY: I'm sure she did. She's probably just worried about Brian.

GRAHAM: I know. So am I. But I keep having these horrible, shameful thoughts.

PATTY: (sighing) Me too. What are yours?

GRAHAM: (ashamed) Like, thank goodness it's Brian and not Angela.

PATTY: I know. Or Danielle. What kind of people are we?

GRAHAM: Scared people. That's all. Just scared.

Patty nods, as if persuading herself.


Angela is dressed for bed, looking at an old picture album, when someone knocks.

DANIELLE: (also dressed for bed, opening the door a little) Can I come in?

ANGELA: Sure. Shut the door behind you.

Danielle climbs up on the bed with Angela and looks at the pictures.

DANIELLE: What are you looking at?

ANGELA: Just some old pictures. Of the family, and some of Brian. (pointing) There's one of me and Brian fighting over who got to hold you when you were still little. You looked silly even then.

DANIELLE: (mildly) Shut up. I was cute.

ANGELA: (smiling) Maybe a little.

DANIELLE: (VO) I had to tell someone what happened, and it didn't really feel like something I could tell Mom, and Dad would probably be mad at Brian, so. . .(aloud) Angela, y'know right before Brian fainted today?

ANGELA: What about it?

DANIELLE: He had just given me his small sax, and I was so happy, that I kind of, I don't know, *kissed* him.

ANGELA: (thinking it's cute) On the cheek?

DANIELLE: No. On the lips. And then he stood up and fainted. I thought he died.

Angela doesn't look like she thinks it is that cute anymore until Danielle says the last sentence, and then she looks at Danielle with sympathy.

ANGELA: He was sick before any of this happened, Danielle. He could have passed out any time, Mom said. She even said it was lucky he was here, so someone saw it. It could have happened while he was alone at home, and no one may have known. I bet he wouldn't have gone to the hospital on his own. He's lucky you were there.

DANIELLE: I guess. (pause, they turn a few more pages) Did you feel different the first time you kissed a boy? Like more grown up, or something?

ANGELA: (thinking) Not really. My first kiss wasn't all that great. I found out afterwards that he just kissed me to make his girlfriend jealous. I never saw him again after that summer. (pause) Why? Do *you* feel different?

DANIELLE: No. It was nice though. His lips were, like, warm.

ANGELA: (laughs softly) He *did* have a fever, Danielle.

DANIELLE: I know. Did you ever kiss him, Brian, I mean? (pause) Don't lie.

ANGELA: I wouldn't lie.

DANIELLE: Yes, you would. I heard you and Sharon promise you wouldn't tell anyone that you practiced kissing on Brian. When I was like, five.

ANGELA: I can't believe you remember that. I also can't believe you listened.

DANIELLE: I just wanted to hang out with you guys.

ANGELA: (relenting) I know. It's just that I don't really count that as my first kiss. We were just, I don't know, *playing*, or something. Imitating what we saw on TV. I wasn't even nine yet. It just didn't feel like it should count.

DANIELLE: What about mine?

ANGELA: Did it feel like it should count?

DANIELLE: (thinks) Yeah. It did.

ANGELA: Good. (getting up, grabbing gift) Here. (hair-tuck and smile) I never gave you your birthday present. (hands her the gift)

DANIELLE: (tearing it open) A diary?

ANGELA: Yep. You're old enough now to have something to write about. Today would actually make a pretty exciting entry. So, Happy Birthday. I'm glad you're getting older. It's nice to have someone to talk to, y'know, about the big stuff.

DANIELLE: I know. Thanks. (she hugs Angela)

The phone rings, and both girls stiffen, as they hear Patty pick up.

DANIELLE: What if it's about Brian?

ANGELA: It couldn't be the doctors, not this soon.

DANIELLE: Can you go see?

ANGELA: Sure, stay here. (Angela moves down the hall to her parents' room) Mom, who was it?

PATTY: It was the Krakow's. There's an ice storm in New York and they can't get a plane, so they are getting on the next train. They'll be home sometime early tomorrow afternoon. You should get some sleep, honey.

ANGELA: Okay. 'Night. (she returns to her room, Danielle is still on the bed) It was just Brian's parents, they can't get back until tomorrow afternoon.

DANIELLE: Oh. That means that Brian will be all alone tonight.

ANGELA: I'm sure he'll be all right.

DANIELLE: What if he's really sick?

ANGELA: Probably, he won't be.

DANIELLE: But what if he is?

ANGELA: I just don't know.

DANIELLE: (VO) I was sure she would say no, but I was scared enough, thinking of Brian all alone in a strange room to at least ask. (speaking) Angela, could I sleep in here with you, just for tonight? I don't want to sleep alone.

ANGELA: Sure. I don't feel like being alone either.

Danielle gets under the covers and Angela joins her. Danielle snuggles against Angela, and Angela allows this, sensing her need for security.

DANIELLE: (VO) Sometimes having an older sister can be really cool.


The mood is somber.

PATTY: Let's go girls, I'm dropping you off at school on my way to the hospital.

Both girls look pleadingly at Graham.

GRAHAM: Patty, why don't you let them come with you? They're both worried about Brian. They're not going to get any work done anyway, and I bet Brian would like their company.

PATTY: (hedging) I don't know if that's a very good idea.

DANIELLE: Mom, Angela already told me that Brian isn't just there for observation. I know he could be really sick. We should be there. At least one of us.

PATTY: All right. But you're going back to school in the afternoon. Once his parents get there, they'll need some time alone. Deal?



Brian is standing at the window, looking out at the sun, when Dr. Garcia comes in.

GARCIA: Good morning, Brian. Did you sleep well?

BRIAN: (not turning around) Not at all. Do you have the test results?

GARCIA: Yes. But don't you want to wait for your parents?

BRIAN: They won't be able to get here until this afternoon. I can't wait that long.

GARCIA: Don't you even want to wait for the Chases to get here?

BRIAN: (turns around) No. I'm not a child. I want you to tell me. Now.

GARCIA: (carefully) I can see you've made up your mind about this.

BRIAN: I thought about it all night. If the news is good, then it doesn't matter. But if it's bad, then I need time to figure out how to deal with this myself, before I could possibly. . . help others deal with it.

GARCIA: Okay. I'll give it to you straight. Both your blood and your bone marrow reveal the presence of leukemic blast cells.

Brian leans backwards, putting his weight on the window sill.

GARCIA: But, the good news is that we've already classified the type of cells and can tell that you have Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, or ALL. This is good news, because the relative survival rates for ALL are higher than other types of leukemia, and many kids can be totally cured.

Brian blinks rapidly, and begins to breathe heavily. The next shot is of Brian's face, and as Dr. Garcia's voice-over continues, the camera zooms closer and closer to Brian's face, creating a boxed-in, claustrophobic sensation.

GARCIA: (VO) The causes of leukemia are not known, but I *can* tell you that it is not contagious in any way, and as I said, many kids go into remission and are completely cured. The first thing we will have to do is a complete physical and a battery of tests to help us determine the best treatment regimen for you. But generally, we will start with remission induction, here in the hospital for about four weeks, with intensive chemotherapy in order to destroy all the detectable leukemia cells and reduce the number of blasts in your bone marrow to 5%. The next stage is called Central Nervous System Prophylaxis, and in it we try to protect the body from a relapse of leukemia. The most likely centers for a relapse to occur in boys your age are in the central nervous system and the testes, and we will try to prevent such a relapse, especially in the sensitive nervous system, with another round of drug therapy. As you may know, the effects of the treatment are unpleasant, but only because such strong effects are needed to destroy the cancer. Our anti-nausea drugs are much-improved, but some patients still suffer from nausea after treatment, some patients complain of a sore mouth or bowel irritation, and many of them lose weight. Some patients also lose their hair. The biggest dangers due to therapy are infection and excessive bleeding. . .

Near the last few sentences, Brian loses it. He abruptly stands and as Dr. Garcia is finishing her speech, he says, "No more," and walks out of the room. Dr. Garcia looks concerned. There is a shot of him walking toward the camera, away from the room. Behind him, we see Danielle trotting to the room. The next shot is from inside the room. Danielle appears in the doorway, and looks inside, then she looks at where Brian went and then back the way she came. Then she turns and quickly follows Brian. Momentarily, Angela appears and does essentially the same thing. Patty looks in also.

ANGELA: (to Patty) I'll find them. Stay here.

PATTY: (entering the room, to Dr. Garcia) What happened?

GARCIA: I guess I just said too much, too soon. Brian just seemed so composed, so together . . . I didn't expect, I mean, I believed him when he said he was all right.

PATTY: Tell me. What's wrong with him?


Brian is sitting on a bench across from some vending machines, just around a corner, elbows on knees, and head in hands. Danielle rounds the corner.

DANIELLE: (edging up to him) Brian, are you all right?

BRIAN: (looking up, surprised to see her, wiping away tears) Not really.

DANIELLE: (sitting next to him) What's wrong? What did the doctors find out?

Angela comes up to the corner, and rounds it, seeing Danielle and Brian. Before being seen, she backtracks, torn. Not wanting to interrupt, but not wanting to miss anything, either. She leans against the corner, out of sight, listening.

BRIAN: (softly) I have it. Cancer. Leukemia.

DANIELLE: (worried) Cancer? That's. . . I mean, that's *bad* isn't it?

BRIAN: (nodding) Yes. But, Dr. Garcia said that a lot of kids can be cured. Most of them, even. So we just have to focus on that, right? (looks at her earnestly, clearly expecting an answer)

DANIELLE: (nods uncertainly) Right.

BRIAN: (pause) Listen, we never got a chance to talk about what happened yesterday. And I want to, y'know, before I get preoccupied, or whatever. (pause) When you kissed me, I only reacted that way because I was surprised. I'm not angry or anything. It's just, I mean, I never really thought of you in that way.

DANIELLE: (dejectedly) Because of Angela.

BRIAN: Not in the way you mean. I mean, when you were first born, Sharon and I were really jealous because neither of us had any younger brothers or sisters. So Angela promised to share you with us, like you were our sister too. So I guess I always liked to think of you as *my* sister, and in a way, be part of *your* family. But now, that we've been hanging out, just the two of us, I've come to think of you more as a friend, separate from your family. We actually have a lot in common.

DANIELLE: Like what?

BRIAN: Like being the youngest. And having older sisters. And playing the saxophone and liking video games. And bugging Angela. We're both good at that.

Around the corner Angela smiles briefly.

DANIELLE: You think of me as a friend. But, I mean, you *love* Angela, don't you?

BRIAN: (taken aback) I. . .I mean, is it that obvious? (she nods) I guess I do. I have for a long time. But I talked to Angela about it, and we agreed just to be friends. You're still the first girl I've ever kissed.

DANIELLE: (disbelieving) Really? (testing him) You never kissed Angela?

BRIAN: (thinking) Well actually, Sharon and Angela both practiced kissing on me when we were little. But that doesn't count. (sadly) I was just there, y'know. It wasn't as if they liked *me*. For all they cared I could have been a mannequin or a stuffed animal. (turning on the bench to face her) You were the first one who ever did it because they liked *me*.

Around the corner, Angela looks sad and guilty. Then she gets a panicky look, as if willing Danielle not to repeat anything she said.

DANIELLE: (happily) You're right. I do.

BRIAN: I'm glad it happened this way. I'm glad it was with someone, who, y'know, liked me back. (pause) But it can't happen again. Your Dad would probably kill me if he knew, if I weren't already . . . (trails off) I mean, I know how it feels to get this speech. Crummy. But I don't know what else to do. I want us to stay friends, Danielle, because I'm going to need all the help I can get with this thing. (losing it again) I mean, I'm going to look funny and be in a bad mood all the time, and feel even worse than I do now. (long pause) I just don't know if I'm strong enough to deal with it. (he faces forward, staring blankly at the vending machines)

DANIELLE: (VO) All yesterday, when I kissed Brian, and even when I talked things out with Angela, I still never really felt grown up. And now, even though it was kind of scary watching Brian cry, out of nowhere, I suddenly did. Feel like a grown up. (speaking) *I* think you're strong enough. Especially with help from your friends. (with that, she slips her small hand into Brian's large one, which he holds onto tightly) (VO) Maybe that's what being grown up is about, at least a little bit, being there when someone needs you, no matter what, and thinking of them first, for a change. (speaking) Brian, we have to go back. To the doctor.

BRIAN: (still facing forward, holding her hand) I know. I'm just so *scared*.

DANIELLE: I know. Me too. But my Mom and Angela are here, too. We can all stay with you while you talk to the doctor-lady, until your parents get here.

BRIAN: (looks at her) Thanks Danielle. You're a good friend.

DANIELLE: (smiles) I know.

Angela senses she's about to be caught, and so rounds the corner, feigning breathlessness.

ANGELA: There you two are! (to Brian) Dr. Garcia seemed worried about you. And Mom is looking for you, Danielle. (indicating Danielle should go)

DANIELLE: (VO) When Angela interrupted, I figured that Brian would let go of my hand, like, instantly. But he didn't. And when Angela said that I should go find Mom, I even tried to let go, but he just held onto me tighter.

BRIAN: (to Angela) Can you tell them we'll be there in a minute?

ANGELA: (feeling unneeded, surprised to be dismissed) Sure.

BRIAN: And tell them. . . (looking down at Danielle with a small smile) Tell them that everything is fine, now.

ANGELA: Okay. (she leaves)

DANIELLE: (VO) I couldn't believe he sent Angela away like that. I almost felt sorry for her. *Almost*. Now she knows, at least a little, how that feels. For a minute I didn't even know why he did that, but then I knew that Brian didn't need just anyone at that moment, he needed *me*. And that felt good. Maybe even better than the kiss.

Danielle smiles up at Brian, and squeezes his hand. He flashes a sad smile back, and hand-in-hand, they slowly round the corner and walk down the hall.


Angela is talking in low, hushed tones with Sharon and Rickie.

ANGELA: And so the Doctor said that it was the leukemia that was making Brian so tired and sick all the time. He even had these huge bruises and these little blood spots on his arms.

Rickie and Sharon exchange a knowing look when Angela mentions bruises.

SHARON: (concerned) So, he could, like, die, or whatever?

ANGELA: (shaking her head) He won't die. He'll be fine.

RICKIE: (jumping in) Angela's right, we have to stay positive. For Brian.

ANGELA: He's really going to need our help. I know for a fact that he'll want to keep up with his schoolwork, no matter how unrealistic that seems.

SHARON: (nodding) I know. It's just expected. I mean, everyone just assumed that he would be valedictorian. I know some people who have stopped trying.

ANGELA: He's going to miss at least a month of school, before he can even think of coming back. Luckily, spring break is coming up. But we need to split up the classes and take really good notes for him. I can take them all to him, and I can take notes for him in English and Social Studies.

SHARON: Well, I'm pretty good at Bio and I'm the only one in French with him, so I can take notes in those two classes.

RICKIE: I have computer with him. But it's not like I'm very good. I usually ask *him* for help.

ANGELA: I kind of doubt that he'll really need very much actual *help*, just the notes about what we cover that isn't in the reading. The only class I've ever heard him complain about having trouble with, (realizing the problem) is calculus.

Sharon and Rickie look at each other. Sharon bites her lip.

ANGELA: Aren't there only, like, three other sophomores even in that class? I wonder if Brian knows any of them that well.

RICKIE: (hesitantly) We sort of do. Me and Sharon. I mean, Delia's in calculus.

ANGELA: (looks surprised) She is?

SHARON: It's the only advanced class she's in. She's a math whiz, or something.

RICKIE: (explaining) She says it's in her genes, because her Mom's an accountant.

ANGELA: Do you think Delia would help?

DELIA: (walking across the stage behind them) Help with what?

ANGELA: (steps forward before Sharon or Rickie can say anything) Delia, I need to ask you a favor.

DELIA: (happy) Okay. What?

ANGELA: I really need you to take great notes in calculus for awhile, so we can give them to Brian Krakow. I know you're still mad at him, and I totally can't blame you for that, but he's really sick. . .

DELIA: He wasn't in class today. What's wrong with him?

ANGELA: (debating) He just found out today, in the hospital. He has leukemia.

DELIA: (shocked) Ohmigod, that's horrible. Is he going to be all right?

ANGELA: He's going to start treatment as soon as possible. They're really hopeful that it can eventually cure him completely. (she lets the implication sink in) So will you help? Please?

DELIA: Of course. What do I have to do?

The four of them settle down and Angela writes down the day's assignments. Sharon looks across the stage and sees Rayanne watching them. Sharon gives her a little smile, but when Rayanne sees that she's been seen, she turns away.

DELIA: (interrupting) Ohmygosh, what about Yearbook?

RICKIE: (joining in) And tutoring?

ANGELA: (almost overwhelmed) I guess you'll have to get a new photographer. And I forgot all about Jordan and tutoring. I have no idea what to do about that. But he's probably there right now, like, wondering where Brian is.

SHARON: I can go and tell him.

ANGELA: Thanks. I have to get going. My Dad is picking me up and we're taking Brian's schoolbooks to the hospital. I may not be able to see him, but I'll leave a note saying how great you all are being. (smiles) We can talk more tomorrow.

RICKIE: Ask when we can come see him.

ANGELA: (looks worried) I will. (she exits)


Jordan is actually hard at work at something when Sharon enters the classroom.

SHARON: (approaching him, softly) Jordan?

JORDAN: (starting) Hey.

SHARON: We don't, like, *know* each other, but Angela sent me to tell you that Brian isn't coming today. Or any other day, really. He's sick. Like, in the hospital.

JORDAN: What's wrong with him?

SHARON: He has leukemia. (response to his confused look) That's a type of cancer.

JORDAN: (surprised) That's rough. (pause) Is he gonna live?

SHARON: They don't know yet. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you. I'm sure Angela will talk to Katimski or whatever and see about getting you a new tutor.

JORDAN: It'll be weird having someone else. Brain was good.

SHARON: You mean, *Brian*, right?

JORDAN: Yeah. (as she turns away) Hey, tell Graf that Shane and I haven't said anything about that graffiti.

SHARON: What graffiti?

JORDAN: Rayanne didn't tell you? It was about you, and her, a little. It was stupid. (unconsciously copying Angela) Not to mention depraved. Rayanne went in the boys' room and crossed it out though. No one's written anything since then, so it's cool. You don't have to worry.

SHARON: (with respect) She did that for me? (leaving) I'll tell her what you said.


Sharon walks over to Rayanne and sits beside her.

RAYANNE: So, what was that little pow-wow about over in the corner? Me?

SHARON: It was about Brian Krakow. Angela just got some people together to help him, because he's sick and he's going to miss a lot of school.

RAYANNE: What's he sick with?

SHARON: Leukemia. It's. . .

RAYANNE: I *know* what it is. My mother only *works* at the hospital. (pause, with an effort not to seem that concerned) What type of leukemia does he have?

SHARON: Angela didn't say. She did say that a lot of kids who have what Brian has can get better.

RAYANNE: So why didn't she tell *me*?

SHARON: I guess she was thinking of people in classes with Brian. You never used to go to classes very much. Maybe she wasn't sure you'd take good notes.

RAYANNE: I can take good notes! (turning) I could help with *something*. I can't believe her, it's like she's still angry, at a time like this!

SHARON: Maybe it's just because you don't seem to like Brian very much. . .

RAYANNE: Oh, right, but Delia Fisher does? Besides, who did he break into the school and spend the night in the boiler room with? *Me*! And who did he take out for ice cream? *Me*! I can't believe she didn't tell me.

SHARON: Rayanne, she was just upset. I think Angela is just used to always assuming that Brian would always be there, and now she has to face the fact that he might not. It's hard, even for me, to think that he might die. It's like I can't even *imagine* it.

RAYANNE: (still sulking) I guess.

SHARON: I'm sure I'm right. She didn't even tell Jordan herself, she sent me to do it. You can't think that she was purposefully snubbing *him*? For *Brian*?

RAYANNE: I guess not. (chews on one of her braids) So, what can I do to help?

SHARON: (thinking quickly) Well, Brian won't be able to finish out the year as yearbook photographer, and I was thinking of asking Corey Helfrick, but I haven't ever really talked to him. Do you think you could get him to do it?

RAYANNE: (smiling, kind of making up) Sure! Me and Corey go way back!

SHARON: Thanks. And also, Jordan says to say that he and Shane haven't said anything about the graffiti in the bathroom. Y'know, the one you blacked out?

RAYANNE: (raised eyebrow) You heard about that, huh?

SHARON: Yes. And thanks to you, no one else will. So thank you. Y'know, for being a *friend*. (pause, distasteful look) I can't believe you went in there, though.

RAYANNE: Hey, what's good for Rickie is good for Rayanne.

Sharon begins to laugh at that, and finally Rayanne joins her.

INT.HOSPITAL--Late Afternoon

Brian is sitting in the windowsill of a different, bigger room, wearing sweats and a T-shirt. Angela knocks softly at the door, holding a backpack.

ANGELA: Hey. I saw your parents out there talking to Dr. Garcia. Your Mom looked pretty upset.

BRIAN: (turning to look at her, but not getting up) I know. She won't stop crying. (shakes his head) Like I'm already dead, or something.

ANGELA: (grimacing) Don't say things like that. She's just worried. (brightly) I almost couldn't find you. I didn't know you were going to change rooms.

BRIAN: Well, I said something in front of my Mom about not wanting to have a stranger see me. . . go through this. And she just arranged for a private room. I told her not to. Our insurance doesn't cover the cost of a private room, but she wouldn't listen to me. As usual.

ANGELA: (concerned) Brian, you have to forget about things like money, and let your parents worry about that. You need to focus on getting well.

BRIAN: (still worried) I guess.

ANGELA: I brought all your books from school. And your assignments. Everybody was great about helping. Sharon, Rickie, and even Delia. Between the four of us, we have all your classes covered. They all say "hi" and want to know when they can come visit you. . .

BRIAN: (glaring at her, angry) Wait! You told them? You told them what was wrong with me?

ANGELA: (shocked, quietly) Yes. I had to.

BRIAN: No you didn't. You didn't have to tell them anything! I didn't want them to know! I don't want *anyone* to know!

ANGELA: (hovering between crying and angry) I have to say that doesn't sound very realistic. You can't keep something like this a secret.

BRIAN: (loudly, snapping) That isn't your decision to make! What right do you have?

ANGELA: (shouting) I'm your friend! Brian, it's not like they won't notice. I mean, (speaking softly, as if telling a secret) you're going to be sick. And you're going to lose your hair. . . (she reaches out as if to touch his hair) aren't you?

BRIAN: (angrily slapping her hand away) My decision! *Mine*! You don't have the right to take it away from me! There should still be at least *something*, just *one* thing, within my control.

ANGELA: (stung, retreating) I'm sorry. (begins crying) They all asked me where you were. . . Katimski, Rickie, all of them. They noticed when you were gone for one day! One *day*! You're going to be gone for months! And I couldn't lie. I couldn't. They could see how upset I was, and I needed help. I'm not even *in* all your classes. I was just trying to help. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. . .

Angela starts to leave, but Brian, seeing how upset she is, stops her.

BRIAN: (guilty and apologetic) Angela, wait. *I'm* the one who should be sorry. (pause) I know you're just trying to help. I'm just so. . .

ANGELA: (comes back towards him) Scared?

BRIAN: No. (shakes head absently) Angry. (she looks surprised) Everything was just starting to be okay--like things were finally starting to happen. You and I are better than we have been in years, and your friends, it's like they might have been becoming *my* friends too. Rickie, and Rayanne, and even Jordan. And now. . . everything's falling apart. And for the first time in my life, I have no idea what I'm going to do to fix it.

ANGELA: I know. You're used to being there when people need *you*. Like when Jordan needs help with school, or Sharon needs a shoulder, or I need. . . pretty much anything, I guess. (pause) It's okay for *you* to need us too, y'know.

BRIAN: (his lip trembles) Okay. I do. I need *you*. (she smiles, and moves toward him) I need you to take over tutoring with Jordan.

ANGELA: (she stops, this is not exactly what she was expecting) Why me?

BRIAN: I can still make the lessons, but I need you to give them to him. He's come so far, and you know us both well enough to do a good job, jumping in near the middle of the term. Anyone else and it will be like Jordan has to start all over from scratch.

ANGELA: I don't think that I'm right for that job.

BRIAN: You are. Jordan respects you. He'll listen to you. I *know* it.

ANGELA: I don't know, won't that be weird? The three of us, kind of working together?

BRIAN: Angela, he's worked really hard. And so have I. You can't want all that work to go to waste.

ANGELA: I guess not.

BRIAN: And who knows, (softly, turning back to look out the window) maybe it will bring you two closer together . . . or something.

ANGELA: (VO) I think I truly hated him for a moment. He saw how much I needed some kind of comfort, and I know that he needed it too. But he just turned away, and said something stupid about me getting back together with Jordan. (she moves up behind him, looking out the window with him) (speaking) Nice view.

BRIAN: Yep. (offhandedly) You can stay and watch the sunset with me, if you want.


Brian just sits there in the windowsill, looking out. Angela stands behind him. Her hand moves up as if to rest on his shoulder, but she lets it fall without touching him. Instead she leans against the wall, crosses her arms, and watches out the window over his tousled head of hair for a long moment.

BRIAN: (still staring straight ahead) I'm sorry that I yelled at you.

ANGELA: (unsmiling, but not unkindly) I know.

The camera just backs away from them. Again, they are a pair, together, yet apart. It backs out of the room and into the hallway, framing them in the doorway, not moving, staring out at the March sunset, as the hospital hallway buzzes with activity all around them.



-- "Enid," by Barenaked Ladies, is available on their 1992 album, Gordon.

--Although cancer is statistically quite rare in children and adolescents, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of childhood cancer. For dramatic purposes, the probable quickness of both the diagnosis and the completion of the tests were exaggerated. Also, the forthrightness with which Dr. Garcia spoke about the disease was probably too brutally honest for a doctor dealing with a newly diagnosed patient, especially one that is only sixteen. Children under two and over ten years of age, like the character of Brian Krakow, have a more biologically aggressive form of ALL than those between ages two and ten. However, the cure rate is much improved over years past. Current estimates indicate that up to 70% of children and adolescents with ALL can be cured using the various therapeutic regimens. The World Wide Web contains myriad sites dealing with the diagnosis, treatment, and psychological ramifications of leukemia, for families dealing with this. If you need more information, access to resources, or someone to answer questions, some useful toll-free numbers are:

The Leukemia Society of America, Inc.--Toll-Free National Resource Line:


American Cancer Society:


Cancer Information Service--Supported by the National Cancer Institute:


Next story

Episode No. 23 - Fools by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)
Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 81 KB (14892 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (37 votes)

Read this story now: Episode No. 23 - Fools

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Reviews for this story

Rating Distribution:
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (47 votes)
  • Kari commented on 16 Jan 2001:
    Danielle kisses Brian??? Oh c'mon.
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    Whay are Rayanne ad Jordan talking like normal?
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    Why are Rayanne ad Jordan talking like normal?
    Yeah, I can't believe the Brian Danielle kiss either.
    And, I don't think Jordan would want to get involved with talking to Angela about Rayanne, plus he never liked Rayanne to begin with, rewatch all th escenes between him and her, he is either distant or walks away
  • whatever commented on 30 Jul 2003:
    that was soo un realistic.. Danielle would NEVER have enough guts to kiss Brian, and i dont think that Kyle would be that angry at Sharron, and also i dont think that the producers of the show would ever make a character (expecially Brian) sick with cancer, since he's like the healthiest one. But besides that it was okay.
  • Jennifer commented on 16 Jan 2004:
    What all of you *think* could happen means shit in the long scheme of things. There is no more shows, no on to ask where it was heading, so I think you should lay off Eric and AT LEAST give him the CREDIT he deserves for his wonderful writing. I could totally see this happening. What are the realistic chances that someone could enter their school at night and see a ghost from the fifties, or the odds that a mother and daughter would encounter an angel on christmas eve! Come on! This is CREATIVE writing. Stop challenging the realisticness of the writing and admire its ability to capture the wonderful characters in all their rich glory.
  • Audrey commented on 15 Jun 2004:
    Well I thought this was good! Sorry I didn't review the other episodes, just found you can actually review *smiles sheepishly* I was impressed at how much research you put into this for Brian's leukemia!
  • zach gave this story a 4.0/5 4.0/5 rating and commented on 19 Aug 2008:
    Hey, I thought this was good, too. People seem to be forgetting just how "un-realistic" this show could be and often was. The Brian/Danielle thing, I think, was pretty dead-on - Danielle seemed to have far more gumption than is acredited her in some of the other reviews. This may be the closest we'll get to season two, so far. Also really liked the last one - moving on!
  • Taylor gave this story a 5.0/5 5.0/5 rating and commented on 27 Dec 2008:
    This story so far is a fitting continuation. Everything is just as interesting and realistic and...I don't know. Wonderful.

    I realize that Andrew McMahon, of Something Corporate, had ALL. Of course, this was written WAY before that, but still...

    The Brian-Danielle thing doesn't settle too well with me, but it's necessary, and it fits in well.

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“Do we have to keep talking about religion? It's Christmas.”

Danielle Chase, Episode 15: "So-Called Angels"