Buck & Jane
A Death in the Family
Decker & Hayes
Epic Echoes
The Great Muppet Debate
Guard Duty
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Stage Blood



Guard Duty, Series Four
Episode 1 - Pressing On

By Jordan D. White

The Stallion
Mr. Fahrenheit
Binary Girl

Narr: The Earth Guard - the planet's most powerful heroes united in the common goal of protecting the innocent people of planet Earth and defending them from threats of all kinds. From the Guard Tower, their base of operations, they watch over the citizens and spring into action at any sign of danger. To that end, the Guard take shifts monitoring events all over the globe. Sooner or later, they all have to take a shift of… Guard Duty. This week: The Stallion and Mister Fahrenheit in "Pressing On."

(Mister Fahrenheit and Binary Girl are in the tower together.)

MF: But that’s what I’m talking about! I told him, "Steve, listen. You see ‘substantial public backlash and outcry’, I see ‘notoriety’! You see ‘lack of public interest’, I see ‘Sleeper hit’! It’s all in the marketing, man!"

BG: (bored out of her mind) Mmm hmmm…

MF: But no. He pulls the plug on the project, regardless of all the money he’s spent on the recording, regardless of all my fans who have been waiting for the release, and most importantly, all the blood, sweat, and tears I put into the whole thing!

BG: Tears? You cried about it?

MF: What? No, it’s a … an expression. I put my heart and soul into that record, and now no one is going to hear it. It’s like, what if the Guard saved the world, and no one knew about it? Like what if, the only way to make the world a better place was to make it so I was dead or something, and no one would ever know about my sacrifice?

BG: You wouldn’t do it?

MF: Pft- no. Why would I? Only an idiot would do something like- (a book falls and hits him on the head) Ow! What the hell?

BG: What happened?

MF: Stupid book fell on my head…

(Stallion enters)

BG: (splits) Hey there, Stallion! Would you look at that? I guess it’s time for me to head out.

MF: Well, if it isn’t Mr. Strikey McStrikenstein.

BG: Have a good time, Chief.

Stallion: (confused) Thanks?

BG: (To Mr. F) Cheer up, Mr. F. Don’t feel bad about the album getting pulled. From what I’ve heard so far, it might be a blessing in disguise. Bye! (leaves)

MF: What did she mean by that?

S: Don’t worry about it.

MF: Blessing in disguise, my hairy ass. Easy for her to say, her and her stupid fairy lover are all the freaking rage. "The girls who won Peaseblossom’s heart!" Makes me sick.

S: Be happy for them. I am. At least something good came out of that mess.

MF: Oh, you’re telling me it was a mess? You’re telling me? You’re not the one who was on the verge of becoming a breakaway star only to have your album shelved because some idiot declared the Earth Guard on strike!

S: Excuse me?

MF: You heard me.

S: We all lost something in that debacle. Some more that others.

MF: What? What did you lose?

S: I’m the leader of the Guard. The people here depend on me, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I let The Jack down. Grant had me between a rock and a hard place, and I had to choose between Jack and the very Guard itself.

MF: Oh, Boo Hoo! So, he’s not on the Earth Guard anymore. So what? He’s still doing his crime fighting thing, and I’m sure he’s still a chirpy, happy, scrabble-cheating, son of a bitch. If he’s happy doing this for nothing, he can go at it. I, for one, am not putting my life on the line for nothing.

S: There’s a heroic attitude.

MF: Oh, what? You think it’s wrong to want a little recognition for going out into the face of danger? I’m going to enjoy it while I have to chance, because, someday, I might not come back from one of our missions. I mean, it’s one thing to go out like Ocean Man, a big damned hero with a statue built for him and everything. But what if I end up like your, whatshername, Horse Girl, just dying because- (another book to the head) Ow! What the hell is up with this stupid bookshelf?!?

S: (getting angry) If I remember correctly, Mr. Fahrenheit, you voted in favor of the strike at the emergency meeting! You authorized me to start that strike.

MF: Yeah, and "if I remember correctly" I said I was voting my wallet. How does it help my wallet dragging our name through the mud, making us hated and feared by those we seek to protect… And sell CDs to?

S: We had no intention of making the strike a matter of public record. That was the response of Warren Grant, who-

MF: Gee, what a shock! Go up against the government and get a smack down! If only we had some sort of leader whose job it would be to foresee things like… hey wait a minute!

S: So, you think you could lead the Earth Guard better than I could?

MF: Like it’d be hard.

S: And what, exactly, would you be doing differently?

MF: Well, for starters, I would hire a press agent to handle our PR.

S: Of course. That’s exactly what we need to spend money on. Not like the Brainframe needs maintenance or anything.

Brainframe: I do require maintenance.

S: I know, Brainframe!

MF: We should have a press release out after every time we apprehend someone. It should be all over the news. Let people know that not only do they need us, they should love us!

S: People don’t love the Earth Guard because we tell them to.

MF: They don’t love us at all. They certainly don’t love us when we abandon them. I doubt we could do any worse. The government wants the people to think we’re selfish jerks who bilk them for every dollar we can.

S: You actually are!

MF: Oh, come on! I have to live. It’s not like this job leaves me a lot of free time.

S: Not enough to, say, record an album in, certainly.

MF: My POINT IS… we let the people know exactly what they’re getting from us. Emphasis on the fact that we can do these amazing things that they could only dream about. We can stop people they wouldn’t stand a chance against. They’ll go back to kissing our feet in no time.

S: And is this the extent of your visionary leadership?

MF: No. …I’d also restore full health care coverage.

S: I- (exasperated sigh) I did that. That’s what the whole strike was about, remember? Grant restored our health care, Jack lost his spot on the Guard, and Grant was forced to retire!

MF: All right, all right, I knew that. But that’s another thing- we’re losing members faster than the Ramones. If I were in charge, I’d have a recruitment drive.

S: I’m doing that! Were you paying no attention at all at the last meeting? When we let Jack go, I said we’d be holding new Guard auditions shortly!

MF: … Yeah, but I’d make sure they were all hot girls. Possibly lesbians. Yeah, that’d create a nice bit of drama, considering how much press the two we’ve already got are getting us. What if one of the old ones fell for one of the new ones? Or… what if they all joined in together-

S: Mr. Fahrenheit-

MF: Or if we could find a mermaid, that would be the best possible-

S: Mr. Fahrenheit!

MF: … what?

S: I am the leader of this team, not you. I’d say if you feel that strongly about it, you could start a movement to usurp my power… but I already know what the result would be. You’d be laughed off the Guard Tower. I may not be the most popular person among the Guard, but they respect me, and they respect my ability to lead this team. They don’t like OR respect you. So tell me, why would they want you in charge of anything?

(awkward pause)

MF: (angry, and hurt, but trying not to show it) Up yours.

S: (pause, deep breath) I’m… I’m sorry. That was-

MF: Just because we have different opinions on how things should be run here, doesn’t mean I care any less about the Guard than you do.

S: I know.

MF: See if I ever side with your ass again…

S: I’m sorry. Mister… Elijah. I’m sorry.

MF: Whatever.

S: I know it’s been tough on you. Your album being cancelled… getting separated from Ellen-

MF: What?! How did you know that?

S: I’m… the "Horse-shoed Detective." I find out people’s secrets for a living.

MF: So, you went snooping into my private life?

S: You’re on my team! I have to know I can count on you! As such, I have to know about these type of big changes in people’s personal lives that could affect them when they’re on the job!

MF: Like you knew about Ocean Man? Or Peaseblossom and Binary Girl, for that matter?

S: I’M TRYING- (breath, regain composure) I’m trying to make peace, here.

MF: Nice job.

S: My point is that you’re right. Ok?

MF: I know that! … but about what?

S: You do have the Guard’s best interest in mind. And just because we don’t see eye to eye on everything, doesn’t mean you don’t have the occasional good idea.

MF: Yeah?

S: It might be a good idea to let the public know what we’re up to. We can’t afford to hire someone right now, what with the Brainframe in need of repairs-

Brainframe: I am in need of repairs.

S: But… I can’t believe I’m saying this… if you’d like to be in charge of making sure the public is informed of-

MF: (excited) You want me to be our Press Secretary?

S: Well, there isn’t an official position-

MF: But there could be. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Earth Guard Press Secretary, Mister Fahrenheit! Haaaaaaahhhh haaaaahhhh" (as in, fake cheering sound?) "One question at a time, ladies and gentleman, one question at a time…"

S: Please, don’t make me regret this…

MF: Why would you regret it? This is going to be great. Brainframe, take this down: ‘For Immediate Release: Are You Man… or Hot Woman… or Mermaid enough to Join the Earth-’ (another book) Ow! God Damn it! Seriously, is this shelf crooked, or what?

Go to Episode 2.