print this page


Episode No. 28 - Fireworks & Faith

written by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)

jump to next story | jump to reviews | go back to fanfiction index

About this story

Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 89 KB (16790 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.4/5   4.4/5 (39 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Black Screen-- "One Month Later"


Brian, his hair still short-cropped, is on the phone with his parents.

BRIAN: (impatient) No, Mom, I’m fine . . . .Yes, I’m getting enough rest . . . . and I’m taking all my pills . . . . (he looks over at an oversized calendar with the words "Leukemia Maintenance Schedule" at the top) . . . . No, I’m not just sitting around the house . . . . Well, I’m giving Danielle sax lessons every other day . . . (he looks through his telescope at the Chase home) . . . and Angela and I have been going out a lot . . . (embarrassed) No, Mom, we are *not* dating . . . .Yes I think she’s *pretty*--but that has nothing to do . . . (she interrupts him again, he rolls his eyes)

(VO) My Mother thinks that Angela and I are dating, and that I’m trying to keep it a secret from her. Which is ridiculous. For lots of reasons. But most of all because if we *were* dating I wouldn’t want to keep it a secret. I’d, like, take out an ad in the paper, or something.

(Aloud) . . . No, Mom . . . .*No* Mom . . . Could you put Dad on?. . . . Yeah, Hi Dad . . . Could you calm her down, it’s only been two days, and you guys still have eight more left on the book tour . . . No, I know she’s just worried, but could you get her to maybe only call once a day or something? . . . Yes, I’m going with Angela to her family’s 4th of July picnic this afternoon, and then later tonight a bunch of us kids are going to this old church to watch the fireworks and have some sort of lock-in . . . Of course we’ll be supervised, Angela’s uncle is going to be there . . . No, I’m sure we’re not *actually* going to be locked-in, if I feel sick, I’m sure I can get out . . . Okay, bye Dad . . . Hi, Mom. . . .Okay Mom . . . *Okay* Mom . . . Yes, I’ll be sure to thank the Chases . . . Mom, I am not going to discuss this with you . . . (sighs) My stool is fine, Mom, if there’s any problem I have Dr. Garcia’s home number . . . Okay, fine, talk to you tomorrow, Bye.

Brian hangs up the phone and stands, to pace the room.

BRIAN: (VO) I swear, every conversation with my parents is like entering an unearthed pyramid. It’s hard to navigate and there are a lot of dead ends and traps everywhere. (pause) My Mother has been so overprotective since I got diagnosed with leukemia, it’s like I have no privacy. I swear I am more familiar with my bowel than any teenager should be. And she wants a full report twice a day about how I’m feeling. I just always say that I’m fine, which isn’t enough detail for her, but at least it *is* what she wants to hear. (pause, stands in front of mirror) No one wants to hear how terrified I am. (he puts a hand to his own chest) How strange it feels to know that my body is working efficiently like everyone else’s, but because of a small abnormality, it’s producing cells that can kill me instead of cells that help me.


Brian walks in and pulls some bottled water out of the fridge and sets it down near myriad prescription pill bottles. During the scene he opens one prescription after another, packing some pills away in a small carrying case and making a pile of three to take immediately.

BRIAN: (VO) My Mother is a behavioral psychologist, and my Father is a Freudian psychiatrist. They wrote a book together. It’s kind of a point, counter-point self help book, with different examples of problems and what each of them might advise you to do. In real-life they can never seem to agree, but on the page they seem able to come to these watered down conclusions. The book is called Keeping the Relationship Afloat. They hate that title. The publisher came up with it, and they went with it because they want to sell books. Which fits right in with what the book says on page seventy-eight: "Although the ability to compromise is often heralded as necessary in business relationships, few people translate that skill very well into their social life." (he downs the pills) We have a great compromise--if I do everything that they say then they leave me alone. And if I don’t, they point it out to me. Our mode of compromise kind of negates the "importance of communication" stressed in chapters seven and eight, but can still be effective through a liberal dose of "denial," which is talked about candidly, but in a negative way, in chapter eleven. They gave me a copy of the book to read. When I was reading it, I was struck by how many of the "inappropriate coping mechanisms" listed in the third chapter our family relied on to function. When they asked me what I thought of the book, I asked them if there was any such thing as malpractice liability for self-help books. My father assumed that I was jealous of the book in the same way I would be about a new sibling, and my mother accused me of dealing with my latent hostility in a passive-aggressive way. It stirred quite a discussion between them at the dinner table, and they later decided to write a monograph on the subject for an academic journal. (pause) Neither one of them ever considered that I might be trying to make a joke. And they wonder why I hardly speak.

CLOSE-UP--The book jacket cover for Keeping the Relationship Afloat has a small picture of a man and a woman holding onto opposite sides of a life-preserver and a big font for the Krakow’s respective titles and degrees.


Brian has moved to the couch, near a packed bag and a sleeping bag. He looks at his watch, sighs heavily, and then continues to leaf through the book.

BRIAN: (VO) Chapter thirteen deals with stress-management, and suggests that you pick a "calming place" that you can think of whenever you are upset or angry and this will act as what it calls a "visualization mantra that will quell your bad moods." (pause) Of course, even if this worked, that would just make most people waste most of the day thinking of their happy place. But the reality is that there is no such place. (frowning) No *one* thing can cheer you up all the time.

There is a brief knock of the door, and a close-up on Brian’s face reveals a Pavlovian change from a surly frown to a small smile. The door opens, and Angela enters. She is wearing a summer dress, and her hair has grown out to a mostly dark brown. The reddish tint is elusive. Brian stands and puts down the book.

ANGELA: Hey. Are you about ready?

BRIAN: Yes. (looks at his clothes) Is this all right?

ANGELA: (rolls eyes) No one is going to be looking at how you’re dressed, Krakow. (pause, smile) Except maybe my mother. And there’s no pleasing her.

BRIAN: (worried) I thought your Mom *liked* me?

ANGELA: (crossing to him) The fact that you care whether she does or not is disturbing in itself. It gives her all the power. You shouldn’t care *what* she thinks. Besides, *I* think you look fine. (grabbing his arm) Now c’mon!

BRIAN: (picking up his stuff, and following obediently) But why should I care what *you* think? Doesn’t that give *you* all the power?

ANGELA: (stops and thinks it over, nods once) Yes. (she hustles him out the door)


In the background, Angela and Brian cross to the driveway, where Danielle and Ethan are helping Patty and Graham load the car.

ETHAN: (to Patty) Are you sure this is the best idea, Patty? I could just come by and pick up the kids later.

PATTY: Of course it’s okay. Why would you ask something like that?

ETHAN: Well, I’m not exactly a Wood, and it is kind of a reunion . . .

PATTY: It’s just a get together for the Fourth of July. Besides, Graham brought Neil once, and they were fine with that.

GRAHAM: (skeptical look) Well, sort of . . .

PATTY: Graham, don’t start. (to Ethan) It will be fine.

GRAHAM: ("hands-off" gesture) Just don’t bring up the restaurant.

DANIELLE: (bounding past) Or their anniversary party.

GRAHAM: Or politics.

ETHAN: (looks even more worried) I just don’t know if this is the best way to tell them about me.

PATTY: (sighing) Look, Ethan. It may just be the only way. I mentioned to them that I had something important to talk about and invited them to dinner last week. They didn’t come.

ETHAN: Why not?

PATTY: My father has diabetes and he said it was "acting up."

ETHAN: How does diabetes "act up," exactly?

GRAHAM: (enjoying this) No one is really sure. (mock thoughtful) It does that at the *strangest* times, though.

ETHAN: I’m really having second thoughts about this.

PATTY: (exasperated) Ethan, just get in the car!

ETHAN: I thought we were taking two cars.

PATTY: (apologetic) We are. Let’s get going. It wouldn’t do for us to be late.

ETHAN: (relenting) Okay. Anyone want to ride with me?

DANIELLE & ANGELA: (together) Yes!

PATTY: (looking perturbed) Angela!

ANGELA: (thinking fast) Mom, Ethan doesn’t know where to go. (pushing Danielle and Brian into Ethan’s car) And if he gets separated from our car . . .

PATTY: (scowling) Fine. You kids behave. And no detours.

--Early Afternoon

Angela sits in the passenger seat. Danielle and Brian hand a Gameboy back and forth periodically in the backseat.

ETHAN: Is your Mom always like this around her parents?

ANGELA: Like what?

ETHAN: So snappish. I don’t think she’s ever yelled at me before. Not even when I let Danielle watch that R-rated movie.

ANGELA: Grandma and Grandpa just make her a little tense, that’s all.

DANIELLE: (piping up from the backseat) A *little*? They make *her* miserable, so she makes everybody *else* miserable.

ANGELA: Danielle! They are not *that* bad.

DANIELLE: That’s because you always get to escape. Like you’re doing tonight. (pause) It is so unfair. Why can’t I come, too?

ANGELA: Danielle, it’s not even my idea. It’s Rayanne’s. I can’t just invite other people along.

DANIELLE: You got her to invite Brian, didn’t you?

BRIAN: (peering intently at the game) (VO) Page 12 of Keeping the Relationship Afloat says that ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. But, facing things like this head-on has always been hard for me, especially when I’m trying to save the Princess from King Koopa.

ANGELA: (vehemently, turning to catch Brian’s eye) No! She was just surprised that we were going together, that’s all. (reassuring, to Brian) That’s *all*.

DANIELLE: (smug) That’s not what it sounded like to me.

ANGELA: That’ll teach you to draw conclusions from eavesdropping.

DANIELLE: (trying another tack) Ethan, why can’t I go?

ETHAN: Well, Danielle, it’s not really my plan either. And I’m not really going because I’m related to Angela. Rayanne asked me to come more as her sponsor than anything else. (afterthought) And as the token adult. But since it’s your summer vacation, why don’t you come up with a plan and we can do something together. We can make a day of it.

DANIELLE: (knowing an opening when she hears it) Anything I want?

ETHAN: (smiles) Well, I’m not going to hijack a busload of penguins or anything, but yes. As long as it won’t get me in trouble with your Mom, it’s fine. (Danielle seems satisfied) Of course, any plans we make are subject to change if I don’t survive today, so let’s make the best of this, okay? (they nod) Any advice for me?

DANIELLE: Don’t get too close to Aunt Libby unless you want your cheeks pinched.

ETHAN: (mischievous look) My butt cheeks?

DANIELLE: (laughs at the very idea) No!

ETHAN: (disappointed) Oh. ‘Cause I might enjoy that. What about you, Angela?

ANGELA: Don’t let Uncle Ed corner you with his conspiracy theories.

ETHAN: How do I avoid that?

ANGELA: If he starts talking about the black U.N. helicopters, you should just nod a lot and back away slowly.

ETHAN: (including everyone) How about it, Brian? What would your parents have to say in terms of advice about this type of situation?

BRIAN: (hesitantly) They would probably say that you should just be yourself.


BRIAN: But I recommend keeping a low profile and following Mrs. Chase’s lead. (Angela and Danielle nod at this) (ultra-seriously) And I wouldn’t say "butt cheeks" in front of them, either.

ETHAN: (laughs) Killjoy.


The shelter is large, with four picnic tables under it, and a barbecue pit at one end. There are similar structures in the distance. There is a sign taped up that says "Reserved for Wood Family Reunion" that flaps in the summer breeze. Members of the extended Wood family mill about and sit talking at the tables. Chuck presides over the barbecue, and Vivian hovers nearby, holding court over a group of middle-aged ladies. Patty and Graham approach, and there are fake smiles all around.

PATTY: (hugging Vivian) Hi, Mom. Dad.

VIVIAN: Hello, darling.

CHUCK: (glancing at them and grunting) You’re late. (to Graham) What route did you take?

GRAHAM: (playing Chuck’s game) Route 120.

CHUCK: No wonder. You should have taken 47. No construction.

PATTY: (before Graham can respond) Maybe we’ll try that on the way home. (Graham looks like he wants to pipe up, but Patty throws him a "let it go" look)

VIVIAN: So where are my grandchildren? Aren’t they coming?

PATTY: They are right behind us. We couldn’t all fit in one car.

VIVIAN: Why not?

PATTY: I brought someone along that I want you to meet, and one of Angela’s friends is coming along too.

VIVIAN: Is it that little Mexican boy?

PATTY: (not what she wants to focus on) Who? (pause) No. Listen, about Ethan . . .

CHUCK: What Mexican boy?

VIVIAN: The one that I told you about. From the anniversary party. (low voice) You know, the one with the make-up and earring.

PATTY: Could I just talk to you about Ethan, please?

CHUCK: What? On a boy? An earring?

PATTY: Daddy, please . . .

VIVIAN: (significantly) *And* make-up.

CHUCK: (to Patty) So, this Ethan wears make-up, too?

PATTY: No, Daddy . . .

CHUCK: Thank goodness.

PATTY: That’s Rickie, Angela’s friend.

VIVIAN: (explaining to Chuck) Ethan is a different friend of Angela’s.

PATTY: No, actually he’s not.

VIVIAN: (together) So, is this the famous boyfriend, then?

CHUCK: (together) So *Ethan* doesn’t have an earring or wear make-up?

PATTY: Stop. Angela’s friend who is coming along is Brian Krakow, and he is not her boyfriend.

CHUCK: Krakow? Is that the Jewish kid from across the way?

GRAHAM: (mildly offended by the whole conversation, sarcastic) Yes. In fact, that’s what he likes to be called. It’s his *nickname*.

VIVIAN: I’m confused. Who is Ethan?

ETHAN: (walking up with the kids in tow) I am. (sticks out his hand) Sorry we’re late. I got a bit lost. I usually take 47, not 120. (Chuck looks triumphant and Graham rolls his eyes) Nice to meet you. You must be Chuck and Vivian.

Vivian takes his hand politely, and Chuck edges his way over to check Ethan out. Patty puts a hand to her head and massages her temple. Angela and Danielle greet their grandparents and then head off, with Brian, to where some other kids are. When they are gone, Chuck speaks up.

CHUCK: (referring to Brian) He looks rather respectable, actually. (pause) But, they’re like that. Fastidious.

ETHAN: Oh, do you know the Krakow’s well?

CHUCK: Not really.

ETHAN: Then how do you know what *they’re* like?

CHUCK: (gruffly) I know people. At least he didn’t have an earring. So, I know they understand that earrings are for *women*.

ETHAN: (confused or amused) So men can’t wear jewelry? Isn’t that a little unfair?

CHUCK: (incredulous) No! (thinking of a reason for this) Men can get tattoos.

PATTY: (wanting this to end) Doesn’t anybody want anything to drink?

ETHAN: No, Patty, I just want to make sure I understand this. So, men can get tattoos but not wear earrings, and women can have earrings, but not tattoos?

CHUCK: Exactly. Your generation doesn’t seem to understand that.

ETHAN: (more combative by the second) Okay. Let me ask a question. According to your rules, a guy couldn’t wear an earring, but he *could* get a tattoo on his earlobe that *looks* like an earring?

CHUCK: (getting surly himself) Why would anyone want to do that? (pause, glaring at him) Who *are* you, anyway?

ETHAN: (ignoring Patty’s alarmed look) Ethan Henshaw. I’m Patty’s half-brother.

The reaction shot of Vivian and Chuck reveals shock, confusion and anger.


Rayanne and Rickie search through the caged off storage area in her building’s basement for sleeping bags. It looks dark and musty.

RAYANNE: I know they’re here somewhere . . .

RICKIE: Thanks for letting me borrow one of yours. Katimski doesn’t have a sleeping bag.

RAYANNE: Makes sense. Somehow I don’t picture them as the camping type. I should’ve looked for these earlier. We haven’t used them since my Dad left. Amber isn’t the camping type either.

RICKIE: I can’t believe *you* are.

RAYANNE: I guess I’m not. Not really. I mostly liked going because it meant that I would be spending time with my Dad.

RICKIE: (moving a box) So how was your visit with him?

RAYANNE: (shrugging) It was pretty good. Surprisingly good. When he asked me to come I was kind of surprised. Two weeks is probably the longest time we’ve spent together. It’s longer than some of his relationships last.

RICKIE: (smiling) You know what they say about the apple falling from the tree?

RAYANNE: Shut up. I’m in the middle of my longest relationship to date.

RICKIE: True. But fruit flies could beat your previous best. (pause) But anyway, how was your Dad’s new girlfriend?

RAYANNE: She was okay. I was dreading it, because he said that we would have so much in common, which I guessed meant she was pretty close to my age.

RICKIE: And she wasn’t?

RAYANNE: Well, actually she *was*, but he meant that she was also on the wagon. So, she and I went to meetings together. And my Dad even went to a couple where people bring their families and talk about being "co-dependent" and "enabling".

RICKIE: And did that help? Y’know, with the drinking?

RAYANNE: (thinking) Not really. (pause) I mean, I still get the urge. It didn’t help with that, but it was nice to know he cares. Even if it is only two weeks a year.

RICKIE: (reproachfully) Rayanne.

RAYANNE: (pushes hair out of face) I know. He’s trying. (she reaches into the corner) Here they are. One for me, and one for you. Not that we’ll get much sleep tonight anyway. I never do on the fourth. (laughs) Do you remember that party last year? That was wild! I stayed up all night.

RICKIE: (taking bags as she passes them) Yes, I remember. And you didn’t stay up the whole night, you passed out.

RAYANNE: (doubtfully) No I didn’t. We were still at Tino’s the next day.

RICKIE: I know. He passed out too. Don’t you remember all those watermelon jello shots that you did? You were playing that drinking game "I never" and it seemed like you *always* had to drink.

RAYANNE: I’ve had an eventful life. (somber) I almost forgot about that night. That stuff was great, that jello. I think it was called Midori. (she shuts the door)

RICKIE: (as they climb the stairs) So, is that what this is about? This get together? So you can be around people who won’t pressure you to drink or something?

RAYANNE: Not totally. But I guess a little. It’s also a chance to see everyone. I mean, have you seen anyone much since school let out?

RICKIE: Not much. But isn’t that always the way it is in the summer?

RAYANNE: I saw you almost every day last summer. And even for summer we don’t really see each other. It’s like everyone has retreated to their corners. And they’re not going to come out swinging again until they have to.

RICKIE: What do you mean?

RAYANNE: It seems to me that there are a lot of problems and resentments still kicking around out there. And we’re all stewing in them.

RICKIE: I think you’re overreacting.

RAYANNE: Oh, Really? (pointedly) Well, how much have you seen of Delia lately?

RICKIE: Not much. (quickly) But that’s just because we’re both working. She’s working day shifts at Big Guy Burger, and I work at night at Cloud Nine.

RAYANNE: Uh huh. And what about Angela?

RICKIE: I see her all the time. She and Brian come to the restaurant.

RAYANNE: Exactly. For months every third word out of her mouth was Jordan Catalano, and now she won’t even mention him. And when I called to invite her, she just assumed that I knew that *Krakow* would be coming with her. What’s up with that?

RICKIE: (shrugs) They’ve been spending a lot of time together. It’s not that big of a deal. I don’t think any of these problems you’re seeing even exist.

RAYANNE: Fine. I guess we’ll find out tonight, won’t we? We’ll get Delia, Zack and you in one corner and Angela, Brian and Jordan in the other.

RICKIE: (surprised) You invited *Jordan*? (pause) Well, he’ll never come.

RAYANNE: (devilish grin) Oh, I think he’ll show.

RICKIE: Well, even if he does, none of them are going to go for this weird group therapy kick you’re on. Even if we are having problems. Which we aren’t.

RAYANNE: Fine. If the fact that we barely see each other means nothing, then it will just be one long, happy reunion, right? (pause) Of course, it will be a reunion where no one can leave ‘til morning. But if everything is as rosy as you seem to think it is, then that won’t matter, will it?


Everyone is staring at Ethan in shock, (Vivian & Chuck), dismay, (Patty) or amusement (Graham).

VIVIAN: (to Chuck) *What* did he say?

PATTY: (jumping between them) He said that he’s my half-brother, Mom. Biologically, he means. (pause) His mother was my biological mother.

CHUCK: (glaring at Ethan) So why is he here?

PATTY: (implying it’s obvious) I thought it might be a good idea to introduce you.

VIVIAN: At our annual party, with all the relatives?

PATTY: Well, no. I wanted to tell you last week, which is why I invited you to dinner, but then Daddy had one of his convenient bouts of sickness.

CHUCK: Oh, so *I’m* to blame because I have the diabetes? That’s nice, Patricia, pick on the old man when he’s down.

PATTY: Dad, I wasn’t *blaming* you, I was explaining that I tried to introduce you before today. That’s all.

Chuck and Vivian look at each other and then back at Ethan, who just stands there next to Graham, looking uncomfortable as he realizes how much he blew it.

ETHAN: (moving to them) Look, Mr. & Mrs. Wood, I’m sorry if I was a little . . .

CHUCK: (interrupting, but ignoring Ethan) Okay. Fine. You introduced us. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some barbecue to attend to.

PATTY: Daddy! Ethan is part of my life, now. Part of my family.

CHUCK: Hmmph. Just like that, huh? Part of the family?

PATTY: (angry) Yes, Daddy. Just like that. Wasn’t I part of the family the minute you brought me home? Or did that take a while?

VIVIAN: Patricia!

PATTY: What Mother? Is there some reason we can never talk about this?

ANGELA: (running up) Mom! Dad!

PATTY: (strained) What is it, Angela?

ANGELA: It’s Danielle. She fell, and she’s bleeding.

PATTY: Oh no . . .

Patty turns away from her parents and runs, with Graham and Angela, to where we see Danielle on the ground, crying, and Brian holding a handkerchief on her bleeding leg. Vivian, Chuck and Ethan remain where they are.

VIVIAN: (watching Patty, to Chuck) Remember?

CHUCK: What?

VIVIAN: Patricia used to . . . (shakes her head) I guess eventually you can’t be the one to solve all their problems anymore. Some they don’t even tell you about.

ETHAN: (crossing to them) Mr. Wood?

CHUCK: What?

ETHAN: I just wanted to apologize to the both of you. This whole thing is all my fault. I just wanted to meet you, that’s all. After all that Patty’s said about you both, and how you raised her. Y’know, the house in the suburbs, the picket fences, aluminum siding, family business . . .

CHUCK: We have old-fashioned wood. Siding’s for people too *lazy* to paint.

ETHAN: Oh. (pause) You were just so generous and *there* for her. It’s obvious from how she is. How generous she is with me. How devoted she is to her family. (pause) To you. I just wanted to see what that was like. I never meant to ruin your day. Or pick a stupid fight. (on a tangent, explaining) They drilled the adversary process into us. Sometimes it’s hard to let an argument go.

VIVIAN: (relenting, but not smiling) Thank you, young man.

ETHAN: And I think I put Patty in an awkward position. Seeking her out and then pressuring her to tell you. (pause) So, it’s my fault.

VIVIAN: That’s good of you to say, but we know that she was looking for you.

CHUCK: Hmmph. Even though she never came to *us* about it. I mean, why go directly to the source for the information when you can throw away good money on a private investigator?

Ethan watches their faces during this exchange, and his face reflects some small degree of understanding at what they might be feeling.

ETHAN: (turning to go) I think I’m going to leave you to your picnic.

Ethan walks toward his car, and Graham comes over to intercept him.

GRAHAM: Ethan, wait. Are you leaving?

ETHAN: (nodding) Yep. I really think that would be best.

GRAHAM: You don’t have to go.

ETHAN: And Patty didn’t have to invite me along, and you didn’t have to welcome me into your family. The right things to do are rarely things we *have* to do.

GRAHAM: Patty will be upset.

ETHAN: Then I’ll go talk to her. (he crosses to where Patty is washing out the handkerchief at a drinking fountain) Hey there. How’s Danielle?

PATTY: She’s going to be fine. It’s just a cut. (pause) It *looked* really bad but we were able to patch it up.

ETHAN: Most wounds are like that . . . they *look* worse than they are. Especially when they’re still kind of . . . *raw*. (pause) Patty, I’m going to head out.

PATTY: Where are you going to go?

ETHAN: Don’t worry about me. I’ll just head over to the restaurant and see if Hallie needs any help. I’m sure she could use the company.

PATTY: This can’t just be *it*. I mean, what’s going to happen at Thanksgiving, or Christmas? (gesturing) It can *not* be like this.

ETHAN: Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself, Patty? I don’t have a job yet, and when I get one it might not be in the area. Besides, this wasn’t really all that bad.

PATTY: (short laugh) Compared to what? A root canal? (pause) They aren’t even ready to acknowledge the *idea* of you.

ETHAN: Well, neither were you at first, remember? You almost let me walk away. (she looks guilty) I think you’re being pretty hard on your parents, and probably on yourself, too. I hope you’re not this hard on me! (smiles) ‘Cause I couldn’t take it. I mean, how well did you really expect it to go? Did it go much better when you introduced them to Graham the first time?

PATTY: (smiles at the memory) Actually it was probably worse.

ETHAN: There you go. They’ll probably warm up to me in time. I can be pretty charming, (smirking) especially when I’m approaching mania!

PATTY: (softly) I just wanted them to love you as much as I do.

ETHAN: (tears up) Wow. Patty, that’s . . . I mean . . . I don’t have . . . words. (he touches her arm) Thank you. (pause) But maybe they have some things to work out in their relationship with *you*. (pause) Y’know, *before* they could even start to have one with me.

PATTY: (sighing) Maybe you’re right.

ETHAN: So, you should talk to them. My biggest regret, (smile) other than not following my dreams of being a Rockette, is that when I tried to work things out with my Mother--our Mother--it was already too late. Too late for the kind of relationship that I think we both wanted to have

PATTY: And I can still have the kind of relationship I want, is that it?

ETHAN: Of course you can. (gives her arm another squeeze) Tell Angela I’ll be back for her and Brian at about six, okay?

PATTY: I will. (as he leaves) Ethan? Thanks for what you said.

ETHAN: You’re welcome. Thanks for what *you* said. And for bringing me.


Everyone in the Chase contingent is eating at one of the tables with the Woods.

BRIAN: (VO) After Ethan left, everything thankfully returned to normal. And the biggest trauma of the afternoon was finding out that too many people had brought baked beans as a dish to pass. (he eats something) Everything was very good. Different than the kind of foods I’m used to. I think my Mom would refuse to make anything called "Sloppy Joes" just based on the name alone. My appetite hasn’t been the best lately. The nausea from the chemo is mostly gone, but when I feel full, I get a sense memory of being sick. So I try to eat a little at a time, but more times a day.

At the far end of the table, Vivian sits next to Patty, across from Graham and Chuck.

VIVIAN: (to the three kids) How is everything?

ANGELA: Great, Grandma. (Brian nods his agreement)

DANIELLE: (seems fully recovered from her mishap) Especially the potato salad.

VIVIAN: (knowingly) I told you Graham. No one likes it with those peppers you put in it. Too fancy. Basic is always better.

GRAHAM: (playing along) When it comes to potato salad I think you’ve got me beat, Vivian.

VIVIAN: (beaming) Well, even the best chefs can’t make *every* dish perfectly. That recipe was always Patty’s favorite. I made it special.

PATTY: Thanks, Mom. (pause) Mom, Dad, I wanted to talk about what happened earlier. I didn’t mean to make a scene in front of the relatives.

CHUCK: It’s a little late for that.

VIVIAN: Well, maybe we were a little to blame ourselves. (pause) It’s just hard for us to accept that you went looking for your . . . *parents* without telling us first.

PATTY: Mom, I didn’t . . . I mean, Ethan found *me*, not the other way around.

CHUCK: Hmmph. We know you looked, Patricia. We *know* it.

PATTY: What are you talking about?

VIVIAN: We were talking to Diane Higgins. And she said something about it.

PATTY: Camille’s Aunt? She died over a year ago.

CHUCK: Well, to have to hear it from her, and not from our own daughter. I can tell you, it about killed your Mother.

PATTY: Well if you knew for all this time, then why didn’t you *say* anything?

VIVIAN: What’s to say? It was clear you didn’t want us to know. For all we know you’ve been seeing this woman every weekend. (pause) Instead of coming to see us.

PATTY: Mom, my biological Mother is dead. She died before I even started to look.

VIVIAN: Then why not tell us so?

PATTY: (put upon) It didn’t seem like something you wanted to hear about.

CHUCK: (loudly) That’s a hell of a note!

Vivian shushes him and looks around. Graham is studiously avoiding eye contact with the group, and the three kids have become very quiet.

PATTY: (getting loud herself) Well, Daddy, it never really seemed like you wanted to talk about it at all. I mean, you didn’t even tell me I was adopted until I was fifteen years old!

CHUCK: That’s what they *told* us to do back then. Treat you just like we would treat our own children.

VIVIAN: And then all the doctors and experts changed their minds, and said it was better to be open about it. So we did that too. We tried our best to do the right thing, Patricia. (pause) So, at least we have some excuse for why we didn’t tell you the truth right away. (pointedly) What’s yours?

PATTY: I don’t know. I guess I wanted to *protect* you.

VIVIAN: *Protect* us? (poking at her food) It didn’t feel like that, darling. It brought back all the old fears all over again.

PATTY: What old fears?

VIVIAN: (misty) I guess all parents have to fear losing their children. Kids always can find a reason to run away from family. But to face the idea that you would have another family to run *to*. . . (pause) Well, it’s better not to think about that.

CHUCK: And then we come to find out you’re looking for this other family, and you don’t tell us about it, or ask for our help. What were we *supposed* to think?

PATTY: (finally getting it, softly) I don’t know.

VIVIAN: I’ll tell you. You think it’s already begun. The brush-off. (pause) Planned obsolescence.

PATTY: Mom, that’s *exactly* what I didn’t want. (pause) I didn’t want to ask you because I didn’t want you to think I was trying to replace you or anything. (pause) I mean, it really had nothing to do with you . . .

CHUCK: Hmmph. That’s a fine thing to say.

PATTY: No, Dad, I mean that no matter what I found out about where I came from, I knew that it couldn’t effect *our* relationship. (pause, looking at Vivian) There is only one person who was always there after school to talk, and who knew just what things would cheer me up, (turning to Chuck) and there was only one person who could rescue my cat from a tree and teach me everything he knows about printing.

CHUCK: (softly) Everything *you* know, you mean. I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve. And if you’re lucky I just might tell you them in my will.

PATTY: No matter what happens, I’ll only ever have two parents.

She leans into her Mother and hugs her tightly. Then she stands and goes behind Chuck, and hugs him from behind. She reaches down and takes his fork from him

PATTY: No more meat Daddy. I saw you salting it. Your heart.

CHUCK: Hmmph. Well, I was about ready for dessert anyway. Graham? (Graham stops pretending not to listen) Why don’t you go get us two big slices of that pie Libby made?

PATTY: (throwing Graham a look) You will do no such thing. Graham will get you a nice piece of watermelon instead.

GRAHAM: (sarcastic kid imitation) Can I have one too?

PATTY: (smiling) Only if you promise not to spit the seeds at people this year.

CHUCK: I think you’re right about one thing, Patricia.

PATTY: What’s that, Dad?

CHUCK: You definitely belong to this family. (surly) You’re more like your Mother every year.

Vivian throws a napkin at him.

PATTY: That’s right. No matter what, I’ll always be a Wood at heart.

VIVIAN: That’s good, dear, because as an only child, you’ll be inheriting the planning of this reunion pretty soon.

PATTY: Fine. My first task will be a sign-up sheet for dishes everyone is bringing, so we get a lot less baked beans. No one wants a long car ride home after that.

VIVIAN: (shocked and dismayed) Patricia!

Chuck starts laughing, Graham joins in, and soon the kids are laughing too. Patty walks around and slides in next to Vivian. She gives Vivian another quick hug.

VIVIAN: (archly) Not too tightly dear. The beans.

PATTY: (shocked and dismayed) Mother!

The whole table starts to laugh at that. Brian chuckles a little but looks thoughtful.

BRIAN: (VO) It’s weird what we think we need to protect others from. Keeping the Relationship Afloat says on page 162 that most of us who lie to protect others are really only protecting ourselves. From confrontation or from things we’d rather not think about. (pause) I think the next time my Mom asks me how I’m feeling, I’ll tell her "mostly fine." That seems like a good way to start.

--Early Evening

Ethan pulls into the lot with Angela and Brian in tow. There are two cars already there. Rayanne, Corey, Rickie, and Zack all stand there waving. As Angela and her companions exit the car, Rayanne moves forward tentatively.

ANGELA: (looks like she wants to hug Rayanne, but then looks at the group as if to decide whether she would have to hug them all--she merely smiles) Hey. How was your vacation?

RAYANNE: Well, Buffalo isn’t really a great vacation spot, but it was okay.

ANGELA: (after an awkward pause, to Rickie) So where’s Delia?

RICKIE: (nonchalant) She decided to get a ride with Sharon.

BRIAN: (VO) All of a sudden, everyone was talking as if they were talking to their parents. Like there weren’t that many safe topics to choose from. (Aloud, to Corey) I saw some of the pictures you took for yearbook. They were really good.

COREY: (smiling) Thanks. You were a hard act to follow. (they continue to talk)

ETHAN: (crossing to Rayanne) So how have you been, Rayanne?

RAYANNE: Just great. (devilishly) How about you? Have you wigged out lately?

COREY: (shocked) Rayanne!

ETHAN: (smiles) It’s okay, Corey. To answer your question Rayanne, I don’t think I’ve been even a little bit wigged lately. Although when I agreed to be the de facto chaperone for this little escapade I must have been certifiable. Why me, again?

RAYANNE: Well, because you’re a pretty good sponsor, and because you’re as immature as we are, and because you could get the keys to the creepy old church.

ETHAN: Ex-church. It’s just a community center now.

ZACK: And who better to represent the community? I’m Zack (shaking Ethan’s hand) We’ve never officially met. But I saw you at Katimski’s hearing and the play.

ETHAN: That’s right. Nice to meet you. Why don’t we get our stuff and go on in?

As they pull backpacks and sleeping bags out of their respective cars, a car pulls up, and Delia and Sharon get out. Delia throws hurt glances at Rickie and Zack.

BRIAN: (VO) I used to be the main recipient of that look. I have no idea what happened with Rickie and Delia, but it must have been really bad.

SHARON: (puts on a "peppy" smile and shoves Delia forward) Hey, everybody, sorry we’re a little late. It can be pretty hard to get away from my family.

ZACK: (raised eyebrow) Really? Mine usually *pay* me to leave.

RAYANNE: (unwilling to be upstaged) Really? How much does that cost?

ZACK: A lot. I may be easy, but I’m *not* cheap.

RICKIE: (frowning) On that disturbing note, let’s go in and get settled.

COREY: Yeah, Ethan says we can go up on the roof to watch the fireworks.

ANGELA: (hefting her stuff) That sounds good. We’ll have a great view.

Slowly, they shuffle in the door that Ethan unlocks. Rayanne hangs back and scans the parking lot and street, as if she is waiting for someone.


They sit on the roof with the fireworks sounding off-screen, in the same groups that they arrived in. Every few moments, in between the "ooh-ing" and "ah-ing" over the fireworks, people glance at one another but don’t say anything. Angela is leaning on the waist-high lip of the roof. Brian is next to her. As the colorful explosives are reflected on her face, she slumps for a moment and sighs.

BRIAN: (hearing her) Are you sorry you came?

ANGELA: (annoyed) No. Why would you say that?

BRIAN: (sheepish) I don’t know. You don’t seem very happy.

ANGELA: (looking away) I’m fine.

BRIAN: (VO) She didn’t seem fine. Keeping the Relationship Afloat says that posture can reveal a lot about mood. Angela seemed depressed, and because she was standing so close, I could tell that she was tense, too. Delia stood as far from the group as she could, and Rayanne seemed like she was coiled to spring if anything at all happened. (pause) And it seemed like she *wanted* something to happen. It was going to be a long night, I could tell. So, I tried to enjoy the fireworks. (pause) Somehow, I figured they would pale in comparison to what would come later.


The group carries their stuff through the darkened hallway toward a lighted room. The room is big, with several large windows, two circular tables with chairs at one end, a big cushy sectional couch in the middle, and a TV on the far wall.

ETHAN: (digging among several bags of munchies) So now what guys? I don’t suppose I could just convince you to go quietly to sleep?

RAYANNE: No way. Let’s do something!

RICKIE: Like what?

RAYANNE: Let’s play "Killer." This old place is perfect for that.

DELIA: I’m afraid to ask. What’s "Killer?"

RAYANNE: It’s like tag crossed with hide and seek crossed with Freddy Kreuger. One person is the killer and looks for everyone else. But when he catches someone, instead of that person becoming the killer, the caught person joins forces with the killer and helps look for everyone else. Until there’s only one person left and everyone is looking for them.

COREY: So you never know if someone is a killer or not?

RAYANNE: Exactly. If you’re sneaky you can walk right up to someone and tag them. (small clap) It’s a game where only the paranoid survive.

BRIAN: (VO) I was under doctors orders not to do anything strenuous, but I didn’t want to say anything and reinforce my reputation for cowardice. Luckily. . .

ANGELA: Rayanne, Brian really can’t run around or anything.

BRIAN: (martyr-mode) But you guys can play without me.

ETHAN: To be honest, I’m not crazy about you guys running around this place. Isn’t there anything you can do that *doesn’t* involve fake killing?

RAYANNE: (dejected) Nothing as fun. (light bulb) We could play "I never."

RICKIE: That’s a drinking game, Rayanne.

SHARON: (head-tilt, thinking aloud) We could play something *like* that, though. We played a lot of games like that at camp. They were pretty fun.

ZACK: Well, if it was fun at *camp*. . .

DELIA: (snappish) Let her finish.

ANGELA: No, I remember those. Everyone thought up one question and put it in, like, a hat, and everybody picked one and had to answer it truthfully.

RICKIE: Like truth without the dare?

SHARON: And that person could choose who had to pick next. And then when the questions ran out, they choose which person answers next *and* they get to make up their own question.

RAYANNE: (evil smile) That sounds like it could be fun. Let’s do it.

Corey grabs a pad off of one of the tables and distributes scraps of paper to everyone.

RAYANNE: (slapping one down in front of Ethan) You can’t just sit there and listen to us bare everything and not participate.

ETHAN: I thought I was a neutral observer.

RAYANNE: (pointing to the paper) Write! And make it interesting.

BRIAN: (VO) I hate games like this. I never know what to ask. I didn’t really have anything to hide. But that also meant that I really had nothing to say. I was certain it was a bad idea. (pause) And as usual, I was right.


The group has pulled two chairs around the large, u-shaped couch and they all lounge in this order: Zack, Rickie, Rayanne, Corey, Delia, Sharon, & Angela on the couch; and then Brian and Ethan in the chairs. They all look a little more relaxed, and there are drinks and food all around. Angela is passing Sharon the hat.

SHARON: (reading the paper, distasteful look) This is as bad as the last one. "If we were all stuck in the mountains with no food, which one of us would you eat first?"

ZACK: (laughing, raising his hand, volunteering) Ohh, eat *me*! Eat me!

RICKIE: (aside) He’s always saying that.

SHARON: No way, you’d be too stringy. I’d probably eat Ethan because he would feed the most people. (thinking) And it would be important if the smaller people wanted to live that they team up and kill the strongest, most predatory people first.

ANGELA: (with a strange smirk) Gosh, Sharon I never knew you were so calculating. Remind me to be on your side if we’re ever trapped on a mountain.

SHARON: Okay, who hasn’t done one of these yet? Brian?

BRIAN: (pulling out a piece of paper) "What’s your most embarrassing moment?" (looking at everyone) Does right now count?

SHARON: No, Krakow! Tell them the diving board story. (she elbows Angela, who perks up, nods, and starts to snicker)

BRIAN: (blushing) Fine. I was about eight years old, and I jumped off the high dive at the YMCA that was off-limits to kids, and was asked not to come back.

ANGELA: (chastising him mildly) Tell *all* of it, Brian.

SHARON: Yeah. I had just jumped gracefully off the high dive when the life guards weren’t looking, and *Brian* was too afraid the even jump off the kiddie one.

BRIAN: (exasperated) And so, Chase and Cherski, good friends that they are, kept teasing and badgering me until I agreed to jump off the high board.

SHARON: Which would have been fine if you didn’t try to impress us by jumping off backwards.

BRIAN: Am I the one telling the story, or are you?

SHARON: (taking control) Me. You’re leaving out too much. (turning to the group) So, in a huff, Brian climbs the high dive and goes to the end, and basically to thumb his nose at us, turns around and jumps backwards. But, brilliant Brian, who now understands physics and calculus, jumped *up* but not *out*.

BRIAN: I was nervous.

SHARON: So when he came down, he clipped his nose on the board and fell screaming and *bleeding* into the pool.

BRIAN: It was wonderful how all the adults were more concerned with getting out of the bloody water than they were in making sure I didn’t drown or something.

SHARON: The best part was, he also lost his swimsuit. (they all laugh)

RAYANNE: Oh, thank you. Now I have that picture in my head. Baby Bri buns.

ANGELA: (laughing) Actually, the best part was that Sharon and I didn’t get in trouble for making him do it in the first place. (pause, looks at Brian’s deeply crimson face, smiles at him) I’m just glad that *nobody* ever told on us.

BRIAN: Well, there’s just one left. Who hasn’t gone?

RAYANNE: (raising her hand) Me! (they pass the hat) Okay, "Which person here do you think will be the last person to have sex?" (wicked smile) Okay! Now there’s a question I can get into. (she looks over the group, and a couple of people are squirming) Let’s see, who is already out of the running? Ethan, I assume.

ETHAN: Thank you for that assumption, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: Sure. You’re so old, you would have exploded by now if you hadn’t. It also can’t be me or Cherski. (Delia and Corey look at Sharon and Rayanne respectively) Is anyone else out of the running? (she looks at Corey and then over at Zack) Zack, you look like the cat who ate. . .well, something, anyway. Have you given up the big V?

ZACK: (glances nervously at Rickie) Let’s just say I’m out of the running and leave it at that.

RICKIE: (laughs, but then looks at Zack) Oh, my god. You’re not kidding, are you?

ZACK: (no flies on him) It’s not my turn to answer questions.

RAYANNE: No fair. I get to pick the next question, and you’re it, Zack.

ZACK: You haven’t even answered *your* question yet.

RAYANNE: Fine. I think Angela’ll be the last one to have sex. Now, back to you . . .

ANGELA: (offended) Wait a minute! Why me?

RAYANNE: You’re the only one actively guarding your virginity. But believe me, with Rickie and Krakow in the mix, it was a really close call. (now Rickie, Brian, and Angela *all* look scandalized) Now my question is for Zack, and I want to know who you had sex with. Judging from his surprise, it wasn’t Rickie.

RICKIE: You’re enjoying this a little too much, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: Like I’m the only one who wants to know.

ZACK: Fine. I can take as good as I give.

RAYANNE: Really? Is that what the guy *said* to you?

ZACK: Very funny. Ha. Ha. (pause) No. I meant I can take tough questions. And it *wasn’t* a guy. (everyone shuts up instantly) It was Suzy Smith.

RAYANNE: (impressed) Now we’re getting somewhere.


SHARON: "Suzy the Floozy?" She’s like the slut of the Junior class. She sleeps with anything that moves. (the others groan or laugh)

COREY: (quietly raising his hand) Hey, Sharon? Umm, *I* move. Could you put in a good word for me?

DELIA: Corey!

COREY: Well I’d better get started if I’m going to catch up to Rayanne.

RICKIE: You’ll need a lot more than that if you ever want to catch up to Rayanne.


ZACK: It’s *my* turn, here. But my question is ruined. If Angela hasn’t had sex, I’ll never know the answer to the question I’ve wondered about since I was like twelve.

ANGELA: (bravely) What question?

ZACK: What Jordan Catalano is like in bed. As amazing as in my dreams?

DELIA: (shrugging) You could always ask Rayanne.

COREY: (turning to Rayanne) What?!? You had sex with Jordan Catalano?

RAYANNE: (grimacing) Thanks a lot, Delia.

COREY: (to Rayanne) Who are all these people you’ve had sex with?

RICKIE: (mean laugh) I doubt even she knows all their names.

RAYANNE: Rickie! What is your *problem*? Just because your boyfriend used to like *girls*, don’t take it out on all of womankind.

ANGELA: Maybe he’s just seeing if you take it as well as you can dish it out.

RAYANNE: (steely) Well, I can. Why don’t *you* ask me a question, Angela? It sounds like you want to. (throwing out her arms) Go ahead. Take your best shot.

ANGELA: (sour, angry) All right. I will. Out of all the people you’ve done it with--

RAYANNE: (glares at Rickie) The ones I can *remember* at least. What about them?

ANGELA: --have you ever been in love? With *any* of them?

RAYANNE: (her face crumbles, she looks at Corey, and then back at Angela, and then down into a bag of chips) No. No, I haven’t. (the room is silent)

SHARON: Okay. This is getting mean now. We should stop. Seriously.

RAYANNE: (bitter laugh, shakes her head) No way. It’s *my* turn. (pause) Delia?

DELIA: (whipping to attention, apprehensive) What?

RAYANNE: I want to hear why you’re avoiding Rickie and Zack.

RICKIE: Rayanne! (to Delia) You don’t have to answer that.

ZACK: Why not? I say we let her. We both want to know.

DELIA: Okay. (pause) I guess, well, I guess I felt like you guys were, sort of *using* me. As just this *girl*. To be in public with. To dance with. (pause) And I didn’t want to be just *someone*.

RICKIE: Delia . . . I didn’t . . . I mean . . . I’m *sorry* if I made you feel that way. But why didn’t you say anything to us?

RAYANNE: Because that’s not all. I mean, it was pretty obvious that you had a crush on Rickie.

DELIA: Not past tense. Still. (pause) And I knew . . . I *knew* that he was gay. But doing things together was just so great. I really felt that I clicked with you, Rickie.

RICKIE: (wistful face) I felt that too.

DELIA: It was better than with any boyfriend I’ve ever had. And it almost got to the point where I thought of you in that way.

RICKIE: But you were the one who encouraged me to come out to people.

DELIA: I know. I thought I could handle it. But then you met Zack, and all of a sudden you were this *couple*. And I was left out again. Maybe if it hadn’t happened so quickly after we started hanging out. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel this way. (pause, she is crying) Maybe I still would. (pause) It was just too much.

ZACK: (feels for her) I thought you just hated me.

DELIA: (shaking her head) No. (pause) I just wanted to have a crush where I couldn’t get hurt too much. (pause) But, I guess there’s really no such thing.

ZACK: (looks guilty) Maybe I pushed things to fast. After all those years. Of being *alone*. Maybe I tried too hard to make up for lost time. (sighs) And maybe I was a little threatened by you at first. But after I found out how much you meant to Rickie, and how much you helped him. I mean, without you, I don’t think Rickie would have had the courage to speak up for Mr. Katimski, or to start a relationship with me. (pause) Honestly, Delia, I never meant to come between you. I’ve *missed* you. And Rickie’s been miserable without you.

DELIA: (still teary) I’ve missed you guys, too.

RAYANNE: (looks from the two guys to Delia and back) Then get on over here!

Delia rises and heads across to the other side of the couch. Rickie and Zack rise and gang-hug her. Then she sits down between them, and everyone else moves over.

RICKIE: For once, I’m glad Rayanne opened her big mouth.

RAYANNE: (mildly) Hey!

ZACK: (squeezing Delia’s hand) So are we okay?

DELIA: (giggling softly) We sure are. But it’s my question now. And I want to know what was the deal with you sleeping with a girl?

RICKIE: Yeah. What *was* the deal with that?

ZACK: (sighs) There wasn’t any *deal*. It just happened. What do straight guys say when they mess around together? Chalk it up to "youthful experimentation." The experiment was *not* a success. (looks at Rickie seriously) I thought maybe I’d like it, and find someone and settle down and have 2.4 kids like the rest of the world. But it wasn’t a serious thing. Not like it is with you.

RICKIE: (tries to be casual) Then why haven’t you ever had me over to your house?

ZACK: What do you mean?

RICKIE: I’ve never actually met your parents, or seen this pool of yours.

COREY: You have a pool?

ZACK: Sure, what do you think I do all day while you all work?

RAYANNE: (eyeing him) Then why do you still look like an shaved albino rat?

RICKIE: I mean it, Zack. Why? You’ve been over to Katimski’s.

ZACK: (loses his smile) Would you have introduced me to *your* parents?

RICKIE: No. But your parents know that you’re gay. (pause) I mean, your parents *do* know that I’m a guy, don’t they?

ZACK: Of course. They’re finally somewhat okay with that.

SHARON: (she’s intrigued now) Then what?

ZACK: They just don’t know that you’re . . . (pause) kind of . . . *ethnic*.

RICKIE: (surprised) Oh. I see. (his face gets tight) So you’re embarrassed.

ZACK: Yes I am. (imploring) But of *them*, Rickie, not you. You have to believe me about that. I don’t want them to hurt you.

RICKIE: (softly) Yes. It’s much better that you did it yourself.

Rickie climbs over the back of the couch and stands at the back table refilling his drink. Zack looks devastated. The other people sit in embarrassed silence. A pounding on the nearby window startles everyone, and the room looks in that direction to see Jordan Catalano at the window. Rickie goes to it and opens it.

JORDAN: (climbing in) Hey.

ANGELA: (standing, crossing to him) What are *you* doing here?

JORDAN: Rayanne invited me. (looks around) She didn’t say everyone else would be here. (looks right at Brian) Or that *he* would be here.

DELIA: (leaning on couch) Of course Brian’s here. (gesturing at Angela) They are dating, after all.

RAYANNE: (rising as well) They are not! (turning to her) Are you Angela?

Angela gets a stricken look on her face.

BRIAN: (VO) Angela looked like something from one of those nature specials. You know, that one weak gazelle that knows it’s not quick enough to outrun the cheetah. (pause) And I sort of wished that someone had asked that question *before* Jordan arrived. I sort of needed to hear what she would say. But she was obviously in pain, so . . . (Aloud) We’re not dating. (he says it simply, like it’s obvious, but his face looks like he’d rather stab himself than say it aloud)

DELIA: But you spend like every day together.

COREY: (treading softly) I mean, there aren’t any hard and fast rules, but my test has always been that if you’re invited somewhere and you have to check what the other person is doing before you say yes, then you’re a couple. Do you do that?

Brian and Angela look at each other.

BRIAN: This is idiotic. I *said* we’re not dating. I think *I* would know.

ANGELA: (glaring at Rayanne) I can’t believe you did this.

Angela stalks out. Rayanne and Sharon follow quickly, followed by Delia. That leaves the guys in the room. Rickie will not look at Zack, Ethan hovers in the corner, trying not to interfere, and Corey watches Brian and Jordan size each other up.

JORDAN: (watches her go) I guess you got what you wanted all along.

BRIAN: (thinking of what Jordan made him say, angry) What?!?

JORDAN: You broke us up. That’s what you planned, right? The videotape? The letter? (pause) You must think I’m pretty stupid.

BRIAN: (irritated) You are! If you think *I* could control Angela Chase, then you are *monumentally* stupid. Especially since you couldn’t control her yourself.

JORDAN: (menacing) Oh yeah? They why did you write the letter then?

BRIAN: Stupidly, I actually wanted to help you. I was your tutor.

JORDAN: Don’t lie. Sharon said you tried to get out of tutoring me.

BRIAN: (caught, sighing) I did. I even went to Katimski about it. But he said he had assigned us together specifically. That it would be good for both of us.

COREY: What did he mean by that?

BRIAN: At first I thought he meant because I would rub off on Jordan. (pause, scowling) Like everything I *am* is nothing more substantial than chalk dust. (pause, looks down) But then I thought maybe it was me that he meant needed a lesson. Because he thought I had it too easy.

JORDAN: And making me learn would be hard?

BRIAN: No. I mean, I kind of got the impression that he meant that you’ve had a much harder life than I have. (pause) Like I’ve never really had any problems or pain. (pause) Like maybe you could show me how much I really had.

JORDAN: (thinks about this for a moment) Did I?

BRIAN: I don’t know. (unwilling to be the one who gives) Did I rub off on you?

JORDAN: (scowling) Not really. (pause, pleased with himself) I did pass all of my classes, though.

BRIAN: And I finally got invited to a party. (gesturing around) Of sorts.

JORDAN: So maybe Katimski was right. (pause) But I still don’t like you very much.

BRIAN: Why? (still confused) You’ve known why I wrote that letter, like forever. Why are you so angry with me *now*?

JORDAN: I guess, at first I just thought you were kind of pathetic. (pause) I never thought I could lose her to someone like *you*. (he looks away from Brian)

BRIAN: Oh. (VO) My parent’s book says that when we meet someone who is everything we’re not, we either love or hate them. I’ve always thought that explains how Angela and I react to Jordan Catalano. And just then I had no desire to pretend that his continued presence didn’t bother me. All he had to do was run his fingers through that *hair* and apologize to her, which, like an idiot, I showed him was easy to do. And we all know who she’ll leave with.

Brian just stands there, staring blankly at Jordan.

ETHAN: (coming up and touching Brian’s shoulder) Are you okay?

BRIAN: (VO) The one good thing about having leukemia is that it gives you some pretty good excuses. (aloud) Actually, I’m feeling pretty tired. I think I’ll just take my sleeping bag to another room and lie down.

ETHAN: Sure. The pre-school area across the hall is open. (Brian exits and Ethan looks at Rickie and Zack and crosses to Jordan) Why don’t I take you to find Angela?

COREY: Why don’t I join you? I wanted to talk to Jordan about how *well* he knows Rayanne.

Jordan looks confused, while Ethan puts his hand to his head.

ETHAN: (as the three exit) Here we go again.

Rickie is still by the window, looking out. Zack finally gets up off the couch.

ZACK: (coming up behind Rickie, squeezing his shoulder) I’m sorry I told you like this. But they’re not *me* Rickie. You’re dating *me*, not my parents. (pause) But I understand how you feel.

RICKIE: (turning to face him) No you don’t! How could you?

ZACK: You’re right, Rickie. What do I know about people hating you for no rational reason? I’m sure if I told all the people in homeroom that the pink triangle button on my coat *doesn’t* have anything to do with a band, that they’d still all talk to me in study hall.

RICKIE: Choosing to keep a secret and being *kept* a secret are not the same.

ZACK: (looks down) Yeah. I guess that’s true. (pause) It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow. Y’know, sunny. *Hot*.


ZACK: So after we get out of here, why don’t you come over. You can, y’know, meet my parents, and then we can go swimming.

RICKIE: (doubtfully) Are you sure?

ZACK: I’m sure. Besides, (raised eyebrow) I’m dying to see you in some Speedos.

Rickie gives an outraged laugh, and moves in close, hugging Zack to him. They remain like that, staring at one another. Finally, they kiss.


In a converted Sunday school classroom, there is a ping-pong table and other tables set up for games. Sharon, Rayanne and Delia follow Angela in.

RAYANNE: Angela, wait. I’m sorry. I thought you would *want* to see him.

ANGELA: Why would you think something like that? I mean, I broke *up* with him, and I stopped tutoring him, and even talking to him. How clear is that?

RAYANNE: Umm? Not very? I mean, how long weren’t you talking to *me*?

ANGELA: (frowning) I’m thinking not long enough.

RAYANNE: Fine. But don’t you even want to be friends with Jordan?

ANGELA: Of course I do.

DELIA: Then why did you stop talking to him?

ANGELA: (pause, pained look) Because I couldn’t, like, stand by and *watch* him. Watch him *not* suffer. And have him see me suffer.

SHARON: (apologetic) I think that’s what you’d *like* to believe. But I know he has been suffering. I’ve been tutoring Jordan in summer school. And can I be honest?

ANGELA: (worried) I guess.

SHARON: It doesn’t really seem like you’ve *been* suffering. I mean, you went out with Brian the day after you broke up with Jordan. (pause) Are you *sure* it wasn’t the other way around? That you didn’t want to feel guilty by seeing him suffer, and you didn’t want to rub in the fact that you *weren’t* suffering?

RAYANNE: But wouldn’t she *want* to parade around with Krakow?

SHARON: (to Rayanne) Only if she were *using* Brian to make Jordan jealous. But I don’t think she’s doing that. (to Angela, sympathetic) Are you? I mean, I saw how you looked at Brian tonight.

ANGELA: (searching) How?

SHARON: (thinking) Do you remember when we were climbing that tree at the park and I fell, and we all thought I broke my ankle, and Brian, like, *carried* me all the way back to my house, even though he was so small? (Angela nods) And all the way back, you were running alongside us, and completely ignored me, and kept looking at Krakow, as if he was, like, your *hero*.

ANGELA: (choked up) I remember.

SHARON: Like that. It’s okay for you to feel that way, you know. About Brian. (pause) And I know you don’t want to rub that in to Jordan.

DELIA: But, doesn’t Jordan kind of deserve to know? Even if it’s bad news?

RAYANNE: (getting it) Maybe he *needs* to know.

DELIA: For, like, closure.

RAYANNE: Maybe *you* need that too.

Angela looks more confused than ever.


Ethan, Corey, and Jordan stand just outside the game room, listening.

COREY: I can hear them in there. (nudging Jordan) You should go in.

JORDAN: I dunno.

ETHAN: Look, I know I don’t know you all that well, Jordan. But isn’t that what you came here for? For forgiveness?

JORDAN: (bristling at that) No. I didn’t do anything wrong.

ETHAN: Then why?

JORDAN: (emotions make him uncomfortable) I dunno. I just wanted to see her. Tell her things. Like my new plan for school. And how Residue is sounding.

COREY: How *is* Residue sounding?

JORDAN: Good. I wrote some new songs. We may get, y’know, a gig or somethin’.

Rickie and Zack walk up to the threesome.

ETHAN: Then you should definitely talk to her. (kind of pompous) Not to tell you what to do, but I’ve always said it’s better to face your problems head on.

JORDAN: Funny advice comin’ from you.

ETHAN: (frowning) What do you mean by that?

JORDAN: (reaching over, grabbing Ethan’s arm, and pushing up his cuff) Is that how you *face* your problems? You open a vein?

Corey, Zack, and Rickie stare at the scars on Ethan’s wrist. The four girls come out of the game room, and look at what everyone is staring at.

JORDAN: *If* I want advice, I’ll get it from someone who hasn’t been in the nuthouse. (he lets go of Ethan’s arm, which Ethan lets drop to his side)

ETHAN: (cold, untouchable) Imminently sensible. (gestures to Angela) Here she is. Good luck to you. (he turns to go)

Jordan turns to see the girls there, but only Angela will meet his eye.

ANGELA: (gesturing back into the game room) You wanted to talk? Let’s talk.

Angela and Jordan enter the game room. Ethan keeps walking away.

RAYANNE: C’mon, Corey. Let’s go put the movie in.

ZACK: (grabbing Delia by the hand, and following Rayanne, to Rickie) You comin’?

RICKIE: (heading the direction Ethan went) No. I want to talk to Ethan.

Sharon just stands there, unmoving, staring at where Ethan was standing.

DELIA: Sharon, are you okay?

SHARON: (nodding) Yes. I was just thinking of something.

RAYANNE: What something?

SHARON: I’m fine Rayanne.

RAYANNE: You’re sure you don’t want company?

SHARON: I’m sure.

Reluctantly, they go, and leave Sharon standing there. Momentarily, she turns and walks the opposite way down the darkened hallway.


The room that Ethan stands in is set up as a nursery, with rows of cribs.

RICKIE: (entering) Ethan? Are you okay?

ETHAN: Sure. I was just thinking that when Jordan is right, he’s really right. Who am I to be giving anybody advice? My life can’t exactly be called a good example.

RICKIE: But it’s not your fault, right? You were out of your head. Irrational.

ETHAN: (softly) That was probably the most rational moment of my life.

RICKIE: How can you say that? It’s not our place to decide things like that.

ETHAN: (amused or offended) Not our *place*? Where do you get that from?

RICKIE: The Pope. Suicide is a sin.

ETHAN: (incredulous) *You’re* a Catholic?

RICKIE: (surprised) Yes. Why does that shock you?

ETHAN: I don’t know too many gay Catholics. Homosexuality being a mortal sin and all. You know, lying down with men like women is an abomination? (shrugs) I guess you and Zack could always do it standing up.

RICKIE: (shaking his head) That’s not funny.

ETHAN: I always thought we had something in common. (pause) We both lived through encounters with *monsters* in our childhood, masquerading as family. Now there’s something else. (flippant) We can be roommates in hell.

RICKIE: I thought you didn’t believe in hell. I heard that you don’t believe in anything at all.

ETHAN: I don’t. But if there is a hell, then I’m definitely going. Luckily, I don’t believe that I’ll actually burn, so I can make jokes about it. I’m an atheist.

RICKIE: I heard. (earnestly) How did that happen?

ETHAN: (laughs) It’s not a disease, Rickie! I didn’t get bit by a mosquito and catch atheism instead of malaria. Although from the look on your face, it seems like you might have preferred malaria.

RICKIE: I’m sorry. I just don’t understand how you can *not* believe.

ETHAN: That’s fair, because I have no idea how you *can* believe. Especially when your chosen belief system involves you being labeled a sinner.

RICKIE: I don’t really believe that God cares about who I love. I think God would be more upset if I never loved anyone at all. (pause) I’ve always thought that loving another person, like, *more* than yourself was a way to see God.

ETHAN: (rolls his eyes) I like that. A convenient, Catholic a la carte system where you can choose which divine words to believe. And apparently, which to ignore.

RICKIE: Well maybe, what I said before isn’t exactly right. I mean, I was raised Catholic, and I believe in God, and I pray, like, *all* the time. But I don’t really go to confession anymore. The symbols and rituals just remind me of my childhood. I guess I find them . . . *comforting*.


Sharon has entered what used to be the main part of the church, before it was converted. The room is large, with stained glass windows all along the sides, and pews still filling the room. In place of an official dais is a simple podium. She slowly enters and walks down the aisle. She enters one of the pews in front and sits down.


Ethan and Rickie are still at their debate.

ETHAN: No, I’m sorry, you cannot press *me* for answers about the non-existence of God. *We* don’t have the burden of proof. I don’t have to go around explaining why I don’t believe in unicorns, or the Easter Bunny, or the Loch Ness Monster.

RICKIE: "Burden of proof"? You even sound like a lawyer! It isn’t really about proof. You would disbelieve any proof we could offer. (gesturing) You ignore the proof all around you.

ETHAN: What proof? God’s $8 million extortion threat against Oral Roberts?

RICKIE: (smiling) No. Every day scientists are saying how there’s this unbelievable *order* to the universe. Doesn’t that mean anything? When credible scientists think they see the hand of God in protons and electrons? Could anything this complex and wonderful and strange just *happen*?


Angela and Jordan just shuffle their feet and stare at one another.

JORDAN: You run away a lot.

ANGELA: I guess maybe I do. (pause) So, you wanted to talk about something?

JORDAN: (his voice is thick) Yeah. How are you?

ANGELA: I’ve been okay.

JORDAN: You seem better than okay. (pause) I mean, I’ve *seen* you.

ANGELA: When did you see me?

JORDAN: (looks hurt) You took him to that park. That one you took *me* to. Y’know, with the swings? (pause) Is that your place to take guys, or something?

ANGELA: (sad smile) No. Actually, Sharon and Brian and I used to go there all the time when we were little. (pause) I don’t really have a *place* for taking dates. Do you? (still smiling) I mean, *other* than abandoned houses?

JORDAN: (shrugs) Not really. (pause) This is *hard*.

ANGELA: I know. Life isn’t like it is in storybooks. Whether the story ends happily or badly, it just *ends*. And you never have to see the happy couple fighting over cutting the grass or doing the laundry. Or watch the couple who breaks up deal with how awkward they feel around each other. They never have scenes where the girl admits that she wants to kill and kiss the guy at the same time. Or where she calls him on the phone just to hear his voice and then hangs up.

JORDAN: That was you? I thought it was Tino.

ANGELA: (rolls eyes) No comment. The point is, that no one really teaches you how to be friends with someone. Y’know. (pause) *After*.

JORDAN: (softly) We could still be more than friends.

ANGELA: (her face scrunches up, she is tempted) No. We really can’t.

JORDAN: (frowning) Why? Because *you* decided? Because you’re *mad*?

ANGELA: No. I’m not mad. But if you *need* to blame someone . . .

JORDAN: Like Brain?

ANGELA: You should blame *me*. If I had ever looked past my image of you, past *getting* you, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. But I built this throne for you . . . like in a storybook. No one could live up to that. No one. (pause) It must have been the same for you, though. Ways that I didn’t live up to *your* expectations.

JORDAN: (husky voice) Yeah. (he looks down, choked up and lying) Just the same.


Ethan and Rickie, sitting now, still discussing faith.

RICKIE: Without faith, I don’t know how life could have any meaning.

ETHAN: Why does it *have* to have some external meaning?

RICKIE: So you think life doesn’t have any meaning?

ETHAN: (shrugging) None but what we give it. Life’s kind of like a cosmic joke. (pause) I think the best we can do is work on providing the punchline for ourselves.

RICKIE: But you must get something out of your atheism, right? There must be some reason you, like, cling to it, like I cling to God? Right?

ETHAN: (thinking) I guess. I guess it allows me to rationalize all the horrible things that happen. Because if God is all powerful and all good, then why have so many soul-destroying things happened to me? (pause) I guess it lets me feel that everything is random. That I’m not . . . *forsaken*. (pause) What is it that you get out of your faith?

RICKIE: A lot of things. (his thoughts continue in voice-over for scenes of the others)

RICKIE: (VO) For one thing it gives me a sense of community . . .

(Visual--Rayanne, Corey, Delia, and Zack in the darkened main room on the couch. The blue light from the television screen reflects back on them. Delia jumps as if scared by something on the screen, and the group all laughs.)

RICKIE: (VO) . . . and a feeling of deep connection with other people.

(Visual--Angela and Jordan regarding each other sadly.)

RICKIE: (VO) Sometimes it fills me with a sense of wonder, and, like, *hope*.

(Visual--Brian sitting on his sleeping bag, looking out a large window at the stars)

RICKIE: (VO) But I guess mostly it just gives me a lot of comfort. Like when I feel love, I’m connected to something greater than myself, and when I make mistakes there is always someone there to forgive me. Even if I can’t forgive myself.

(Visual--Sharon, sitting in the pew in the dark. Her eyes are closed and her hands are clasped in her lap, and her mouth is moving silently.)

Back in the nursery, Ethan looks affected by Rickie’s words.

RICKIE: And you’re right, a lot of horrible things *have* happened to me, but losing faith doesn’t seem like the answer. I wouldn’t find comfort in thinking that it’s all random, with no plan. Because what was worse than the abuse, and the fear, was the feeling of being alone. And without God, I would have been totally alone. (pause, softly) I mean, haven’t you ever felt like that? Alone?

ETHAN: (nodding slowly, looking down at his hands) I . . . yes.

RICKIE: Well, just remember that you’re not alone.

ETHAN: (laughs softly) You’re not converting me that easily.

RICKIE: I just mean that you have the Chases now. (his matchmaking smile appears) And Ms. Lowenthal seems to like you a little bit too.

ETHAN: (smiles) I’m going to have to tell her to give *you* a raise.

RICKIE: And I know it sounds horrible, but I’m kind of glad all those bad things happened to you.


RICKIE: It’s sort of inspirational in a way. For people going through some of the same things. To see someone who survived it. I know you’ve really helped Rayanne.

ETHAN: Thanks. (pause) For my next trick, I’ll be walking on water.


JORDAN: This really never happened to me before.

ANGELA: I’m sure you’ve had plenty of break-ups before.

JORDAN: None of them broke *me* up, though. (Angela looks guilty) It feels like I should be mad at you or something.

ANGELA: I’ve been reading this book that says that anger isn’t even one of the basic emotions. It’s more like a symptom of truer emotions that we don’t want to face. Like grief, fear, and doubt.

JORDAN: Where’d you read that?

ANGELA: Some book Brian’s parents wrote.

JORDAN: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

ANGELA: (hair-flip) Someone else said something to me once. It didn’t mean much at the time, but now I think I see the beauty in it.

JORDAN: What did they say?

ANGELA: They said: "Whatever happens, happens."

JORDAN: (nodding) Yeah. (crossing to the window) I guess I should get going. (she doesn’t respond, so he shoves open the window with a screech, and without turning to face her, asks) You could come with me, y’know? As friends.

ANGELA: (misting up) No. I think I’m going to go find Brian.

JORDAN: (still without turning around) Because you’re not s’posed to leave?

ANGELA: (shaking her head, as a few tears fall) No. Because I *want* to.

JORDAN: Oh. (gets up in the window sill, and finally looks back, his face hard with anger and hurt) I don’t think I’m very good at this "just friends" thing. I don’t know if I *want* to be good at it. It just doesn’t seem worth it. (shaking his head) I don’t even know why I came here in the first place.

ANGELA: (her tears have not stopped) So, go.

JORDAN: (turns away, draws out the word) Yeah. (he steps out of the window)

Angela crosses slowly to the window to shut it. It sticks because Jordan shoved it so hard. She can’t get it loose. Finally, with a lot of effort, she manages to dislodge it and it closes with a loud bang that echoes through the dark room.


Brian has changed into shorts and a t-shirt for bed. He sits on his spread out sleeping bag and looks through the large, frameless window up at the clear starry sky. The room is filled with a lot of toys, and indoor play set, and one of those long tables that opens and has sand in it. On a table behind him is an old-fashioned record player. Brian is listening to the Soundtrack to The Muppet Movie.

BRIAN: (VO) I’m pretty sure that even muppets have more of a spine than me. Every time I’m ready to give up on the idea of ever being with Angela, I see *something* in her eyes, or she does something to keep my hope alive.

Angela appears behind him in the doorway. She has changed into an oversized shirt, shorts, and socks in preparation for bed, and is carrying her sleeping bag and pillows. She stands there, just watching him and listening to the music. Then she goes over and plops her stuff down next to him.

ANGELA: (as she unrolls her sleeping bag directly next to his) Hi.

BRIAN: Hi. (he looks back out the window quickly)

ANGELA: Feeling nostalgic?

BRIAN: You mean the music? They don’t have a real big selection. I liked this better than Barney.

ANGELA: I remember. I can’t even count how many times we watched this movie. (pause) So what are you doing?

BRIAN: Just looking at the stars. (pause) I’m not sure, but I think I can see Gemini.

ANGELA: I didn’t know you were into astrology. (smirking) Can you do my horoscope?

BRIAN: (scowling, turning to look at her, suddenly angry) I’m *not* into astrology. Its called *astronomy*. You may have heard of it? It’s an actual *science*, not something that’s made up to sell women’s magazines.

ANGELA: (stung) I was just kidding, Brian.

BRIAN: Oh. (pause, looks away) So where’s Jordan?

ANGELA: He’s gone.

BRIAN: Are you, like, *okay* with that?

ANGELA: Yes. (nodding) He asked me to come with him, but I told him I wanted to stay here. Y’know, with *you*.

BRIAN: (can hardly believe this) Really?

ANGELA: (nodding) It’s like you said to me once. It’s easy to overlook things about certain people. (pause) Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to remember the tangible things that people give you? Like a letter, or a picture? (pause) It’s harder to remember the other things they’ve given you . . . like a sympathetic ear . . . or a good laugh . . .or a shoulder to cry on . . . (looking at him) or a migraine headache. (pause) And maybe the intangible things are more important in the end.

BRIAN: (VO) And then she just stopped talking and looked at me. Really *looked* at me. And I just sat there, nodding like a moron, completely distracted by the fact that her shirt had slipped off her left shoulder. Then she smiled, and I thought she caught me looking, so I looked back out at the stars.

ANGELA: (she looks out at the night sky as well, and after a moment, points) Look! There’s a shooting star. We should both make a wish.

BRIAN: (VO) It wasn’t actually a shooting star, of course. It was too close, and had too perfect a flight pattern. It was really some sort of plane or satellite. But, for once it didn’t seem so important to be superior or right. (pause) Somehow, it seemed much more important to just sit there and enjoy her company and actually think about what it is I would wish for. (pause, aloud) Okay, but we can’t tell what we’re wishing for.

ANGELA: (seriously) I know, it would ruin the wish. (they sit there looking up at the sky, she sneaks a look at him) (VO) I want Brian to get well. Soon.

BRIAN: (sneaking a look at her) (VO) I want to *deserve* her.

They smile at each other. Angela moves in close to him.

ANGELA: So why don’t you show me where Gemini is?

BRIAN: Are you really interested?

ANGELA: Yes. I want to see you prove that you use that telescope of yours for more than just spying on me.

BRIAN: (his eyes widen in shock) Well, we have to lean back.

The background music grows louder. Kermit is singing "Rainbow Connection."

"Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide"

(Visual--They both lay back on their pillows. Brian points up at the sky with his right hand, the one closest to Angela. She moves in closer to him, her head basically on his pillow, to see where he is pointing. He says something stupid, probably about her infringing on his space, and she kicks his bare leg with her stocking feet.)

"So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong wait and see
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me"

(Visual--Rickie enters the main room to find Rayanne and Corey asleep on the floor, and Zack and Delia snoozing in a jumble on the u-shaped couch. Smiling the entire time, he tiptoes over, grabs a blanket and covers them, and then lays his sleeping bag down in the alcove the u-shape creates to sleep as close to them as he can.)

"Who said that every wish
Will be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what’s it done so far"

(Visual--Time has passed, it is sometime in the early dark hours of the day. Jordan sits alone in the park, on a swing, swaying slowly back and forth. Back at the lock-in, Ethan heads into the old chapel and finds Sharon peacefully asleep in one of the pews. He sits across from her and looks at the darkened stained glass windows.)

"What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me"

(Visual--Time has passed again, the sun is starting to stream through the stained glass, sending a streaming pattern of colors through the room. Ethan is no longer there. Sharon wakes, stretches, and yawns. Then she notices the room is filled with light and color, and the dust particles dancing through the sunlight make it seem almost alive. She smiles to herself, a broad smile, full of hope.)

"All of us under it’s spell
We know that it’s probably magic"

(Visual--Sharon bursts into the big room, full of energy, and jumps on the couch, waking Delia and knocking Zack to the floor, where he lands on Rickie.)

"Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I’ve heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound
That calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same"

(Visual--Rickie and Sharon are searching for Angela and Brian, with mischievous smiles on their faces. When they come into the pre-school room, they stop just inside the door and view the scene. Brian’s right arm is around Angela’s shoulders and her head is basically supported by Brian’s right arm and shoulder. His head is cocked away from Angela. She is leaning into Brian, with her far hand resting on his chest. It actually looks vaguely uncomfortable, but they are both sound asleep. Sharon smiles and tilts her head, and Rickie gets his "isn’t it romantic" smile on and tilts his head on the opposite direction.)

"I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me"

(Visual--Ethan sits on the floor in the nursery, surrounded by the creepy bars of the empty cribs. He has been crying. He holds his left hand palm-up in his right one. His cuffs are both rolled up. With his right thumb, he gently traces the scar on his left wrist, and looks out into the morning light of a new day.)



--"The Rainbow Connection" is available on the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie. The movie and the soundtrack were first released in 1979.

Next story

Episode No. 29 - Jubilee by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)
Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 88 KB (16706 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.6/5   4.6/5 (64 votes)

Read this story now: Episode No. 29 - Jubilee

Other fanfiction contributions by this author

Reviews for this story

Rating Distribution:
Average: 4.4/5   4.4/5 (39 votes)
  • Elizabeth Wrigley-Field commented on 13 Aug 2001:
    I really like the addition of Zack as a character (I expect some great scenes between him and Rayanne later!) and I like the Rickie-Zack subplot in this episode a lot. I think it's about time someone dealt with Rickie as a racial minority, not just a gay kid. I love Evan's "imminently sensible" line. I like the use of Brian's parents' book, and I love the way the Rainbow Connection is used at the end--those visual scenes are great. I thought the shooting star was a bit hokey until I read Brian's voiceover line--then I thought it was totally brilliant. What a great touch. This is probably the best I've ever seen Angela and Brian work. I am so envious of Shobi's talent.

    It's a bit weird to have so much of this episode be following (mostly) one story line, although of course it integrates lots of smaller stories. I can forgive that, although it might have been more interesting (and closer to real episodes where most of the action was centered around one thing, like Halloween or Weekend) to integrate a *few* scenes with the adults, or anything else away from this house, into the script. Still, for a script that's almost entirely linear (instead of MSCL's usual jumble of scenes), I think it works quite well.

    I felt it was rather unfair that Rickie got the last word in the religion debate--both times. I understand the need for it the second time, in terms of what else Shobi wanted to do with the episode (and it makes for another of the visual montages I've been loving in his scripts) but if you're going to have religion "win" the community debate, at least don't have it win the science debate (where it's clearly bogus)! I know the response may have been hard to integrate, but really, what Rickie says here makes no sense. He's arguing for an underlying "order" to the world--there are plenty of reasons why that doesn't necessarily mandate a sentient being or even any explanation that's not fully rational and scientific, which I understand it would be hard to work in in a seamless manner, but Ethan could have *at least* briefly mentioned that even granting there's an underlying order or a conscious agent of creation doesn't provide any logical support whatsoever for God as people (including Rickie) envision it--a prayer-answering, all-knowing, heaven- and hell-ruling beneficent ruler. I think if Ethan had said that in one line it wouldn't have disrupted the story flow at all, and it would have been much more balanced, since Rickie does get to make *extended* points about community in the other religion debate scene. This is maybe off-track from the normal topic of MSCL discussion, but it did seem off to me to have Rickie's bad argument end the discussion there (twice)!

    I thought the weakest points were some parts in the middle. The whole "truth" game idea seemed vaguely hokey. I don't totally buy all of Jordan's hostility to Brian, at least not the way he expresses it. I've noticed in other Shobi episodes that Jordan expresses himself better verbally (in some ways) better in Shobi's episodes than I remember him doing in the real episodes, and that may be combining with emotions I don't expect of him to make what I consider an un-Jordan-like effect here. I think the part where Rayanne is goading everyone into answering questions they don't want to may be what struck me as most off somehow--she didn't really seem like Rayanne, more like just a generic plot device.

    Also, I didn't like Brian's voiceover:
    "BRIAN: (VO) I hate games like this. I never know what to ask. I didn’t really have anything to hide. But that also meant that I really had nothing to say. I was certain it was a bad idea. (pause) And as usual, I was right. "

    It struck me as a Wonder Years-style voiceover, not a MSCL-style voiceover. The Wonder Years voiceovers are an older, wiser version of the protagonist commenting on his memories, which comprise the action. As far as I can recall, the MSCL voiceovers are the character's thoughts as they happen, and any use of the past tense ("But we both knew that wasn't true," or whatever) is about something *just said*, so the thought can still be taking place in the present. This makes MSCL about action as it is happening, not action in the past. At least, I think that's true. So this voice over, reflecting in the past tense about something which is about to happen, seemed out of style to me.

    Anyway, these are really all minor quibbles. I'm still loving these fan-fics--I read through Diagnosis several years ago, but I haven't ever read these ones before. I want to thank Shobi for generously writing and sharing them with us. I still say he is the gold standard (besides Winnie Holzman's originals, of course) for how MSCL dialogue and whatnot should work, and I am still insanely jealous of his abilities in this regard.
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    Ummmm...... this is not Dawson's Creek
  • anonymous author commented on 26 Jun 2002:
    I recognize the character names (even though like half of them were "created"), but I don't know this show. I thought it was my so-called life. I must've been wrong.
  • amanda commented on 30 Oct 2003:
    alright, Anonymous is really starting to be aggravating.
    the idiot won't even mention his/her name, AND s/he
    just keeps slamming Shobi with the same ridiculous
    (as ouch! as it is) insult over and over "this isn't
    dawson's creek" well then i ask you, WHY ARE YOU
    STILL READING? there have been many awful fan
    fiiction stories, that i've read for MSCL, this is brilliant in
    comparison. i have my annoyances with them, and yes
    at times they seem overly dramatic, but jesus christ!
    give the kid like, a break!
  • JOEY EVANS commented on 25 Nov 2005:

    I must comment on how much I enjoy your continuation stories/episodes of My So-Called Life. You are certainly a gifted writer and I wonder if this is something you actually do professionally? If is somethingt you should seriously consider.

    Thank you for sharing your talent and work with us.



Add your review

“Lately, I can't even look at my mother without wanting to stab her repeatedly.”

Angela Chase, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"