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



Like Daughter
Episode 1 - No Place Like Home

By Lyn Nelson

Pandora Darling
Principal Mondi
George Batista
Mr. Nielson

Narr: Carousel, New York was your typical suburban town and Pandora Darling used to be its typical teenage resident. A happy, healthy, gorgeous young woman, Pandy used to spend her time at tennis practice, hanging out with BFF Tabitha Wentworth, and daydreaming about going to homecoming with local hunk George Batista. But junior year had brought real nightmares that Pandora never could have anticipated. It started with discovering her mother, bloody and breathless, standing over a dead body in their living room one afternoon. A terrifying ordeal of subliminal and oh-so-concrete training, conspiracy theories, fights, car chases, romantic encounters, presidential imposters, and close family deaths later, Pandora found herself a lonely and confused orphan who was lucky the police weren’t after her. She had watched both her mother and her grandmother die. Her father's parents were missing, also probably dead. Her father herself had died when she was young. She had only one place to stay, and that place was haunted by echoes of pain, panic, fear, and death: her mother’s house. Having been declared independent by the State due to extreme circumstances, Pandora could live comfortably on her inheritance, but it was a cold comfort indeed. Now, as she heard the doorbell ring, she knew that the one person in the world who was offering her support and company was on the other side of the door, fidgeting in his rented tuxedo. She took a deep breath and opened the door to find Bobby fiddling with the button and zipper of his fly.

Pandy: (trying not to laugh) Uh…hi, Bobby.

Bobby: (totally embarrassed) Oh! Uh, hi, Pandy. How…uh, how are you…

Pandy: I’m alright, all things considered. Thanks for convincing me to do this, I really need to get out of the house. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve seen…almost anyone.

Bobby: Everyone’s been thinking good thoughts for you. They’ll be happy to see you.

Pandy: Well, not everyone.

Bobby: She’ll get over it, Pandy. You guys are best friends. Tabby’s….stubborn, but there’s too much history there to let go like that. She’ll come around.

Pandy: Yeah, well, I hope so. She hasn’t called me once. And I can’t imagine tonight will make things any better.

Bobby: Yeah…

Pandy: (determined breath) All right. Let’s do this.

Narr: Despite the nearly fatal events of late, and the terrible tragedies Pandy had suffered, Bobby could not help but feel a little gleeful as he escorted Pandora to the passenger’s side of his car. He had been gathering the courage to ask her to Homecoming for months, and now his dream had come true. She looked beautiful in her long pink gown and her hair falling loosely in curls around her bare shoulders. She had even put on eye shadow and lip gloss. She was a light pink beacon of light in what seemed like a dreary storm cloud over the quiet village of Carousel. Even the changing leaves of October seemed grey, but Pandy had taken the time to make herself pretty for Bobby, and nothing in the world could have kept him down tonight. They arrived at the high school gym, and a nervous Pandy suggested they make for the refreshment table and get some punch. As Bobby turned to hand her her glass, something startled him and he dropped it, spilling kiwi-mango-strawberry punch on the bosom of Pandy’s beautiful pink dress.

Tabby: You’re always so good at accessorizing, Pandora.

Bobby: Gee, Pandy, I’m so sorry.

Pandy: (coldly) Hello, Ms. Wentworth.

Tabby: So this is why you were brushing me off?

Bobby: Tabby, I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you about this, but-

Tabby: Save it, Bobby. I’m sick of playing sidekick to Barbie here. I hope you two are happy together.

Pandy: (yelling after Tabby) Thanks for calling me, by the way! I’m doing fine! (at normal volume, to Bobby) What was that all about?

Bobby: Well, uh…I didn’t exactly tell Tabby I was bringing you to homecoming.

Pandy: I don’t understand.

Bobby: She kind of asked me to go with her.

Pandy: (disappointed, maybe slightly betrayed?) Oh. I see.

Bobby: I didn’t know how to tell her I was taking you, since you guys are…(rush the next three words) not getting along, so I just kept telling her I’d think about it or I didn’t know.

Pandy: Well, I’m glad you took me.

Bobby: (relieved to avoid an awkward silence) Hey, I think Principal Mondi is going to announce the results of the vote.

Mondi: Good evening, students. This is the moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for – the results are in for Homecoming King and Queen. So, without further ado, your Homecoming Queen is… (pause to open envelope) Oh my goodness! Everyone, please give an extremely warm welcome to your fellow classmate whom we have missed dearly, and your Homecoming Queen, Pandora Darling!

Narr: Pandora’s heart skipped a beat as she made her way to the stage, and Bobby’s heart beat faster as the prospect of being Homecoming King entered his mind.

Pandy: Wow, I’m…I’m speechless. Just…thank you all for your support. It means a lot to me.

Mondi: And now, the vote for Homecoming King…(same pause) George Batista!

(FX: applause and cheering, which dies down for him to speak)

George: Thanks, everyone. You made the right choice!

(FX: same as above)

Mondi: Okay, okay, settle down, everyone. As is customary, the Homecoming King and Queen will have a dance together. So clear the floor!

Narr: Pandy ignored Tabby making vomiting motions by pretending to put her finger down her throat as she took the floor with George.

George: Welcome back, Pandora. We missed you.

Pandy: Thanks. It’s good to get out of the house.

George: And good to be where you belong, eh?

Pandy: What do you mean?

George: Well, dancing with me, of course.

Pandy: (embarrassed) Oh. Wow.

George: You know, I was going to ask you to go with me.

Pandy: (faking surprise) Really?

George: Well yeah. But you weren’t around so much for the few weeks before the dance, so I ended up asking Tabitha Wentworth.

Pandy: (uncomfortably) Oh. Well, she looks very nice tonight.

George: So what are you doing with that dork-o anyway? A girl of your breeding and…looks should be with someone of equal stature.

Pandy: I see. And that would be you, I presume?

George: Well of course. You know who my father is, don’t you?

Pandy: Yes, I do. And I’m beginning to see who you are too.

George: I’m not sure what you mean by that.

Narr: Pandora was about to give George Batista a piece of her mind when the song ended and Principal Mondi took the microphone again.

Mondi: Everyone give a round of applause to our Homecoming King and Queen, and to our band, Caleb and Special K. The band is going to take a break now, but they’ll be back in 15 minutes. Feel free to get some more refreshments while you’re waiting.

Pandy: Wait – what did she say the band was called?

George: Caleb and Special K? They’re a brand new band from the city, Tabby arranged for them to-

Pandy: Oh my god.

George: Are you okay? You’re practically white.

Pandy: I-I have to go.

George: Running back to your loser boyfriend?

Pandy: Shove it, George.

George: (yelling, since she’s hurrying away from him) Oh you shove it too, Pandy!

Narr: Panicked, Pandy searched the gymnasium for Bobby, but he was nowhere to be found. She looked to the stage, where the band was clearing the stage, and locked eyes for a moment with the bassist. She looked away quickly.

Pandy: (to herself, under her breath) What am I doing? I was no good at seeing them. Besides, I swore I wasn’t going to get into this. This is ridiculous, there is no conspiracy. Just calm down, Pandy, you’re being silly…where on earth did Bobby go? Maybe he’s outside…

Narr: Pandora opened the doors to the gym and found herself outside with no one- including Bobby- in sight. She turned to go back in the gym when she felt a sharp pain in the back of her head and blacked out. She woke up about twenty minutes later unable to see anything. She had the all-too-familiar sensation of being horizontal, cold, and enclosed. But this time she knew her mother was not on the other side of the box. Slowly, Pandora tried to take stock of her surroundings. She moved her arms and legs as much as she could, feeling for her purse. As expected, it was not in the box with her. Exploring the sides of the box with her fingers, she found a small metal lock on the left wall. Slowly, Pandora inched up the skirt of her dress until the tops of her thigh-highs were exposed. She reached to the garter on her right stocking, where three lock picks were pinned. Just as she was removing one, an intercom above her head clicked on.

Voice: (muffled through the intercom) Good evening, Pandora. I know you know your way out of a locked box, so I will keep this brief. You are invited to search for your friend, if you are prepared for what you will find at the end. Good luck.

Narr: Moments later, Pandora sprung open the box and leapt out, landing instinctively in a fighting pose, to find an empty room. She scanned her surroundings quickly, noticing only a table with her handbag on it. She grabbed it and headed for the door, kicking it open and bulldozing through to the outside. She ran for two blocks before recognizing a street then ran the remaining six blocks to the high school, where she stopped to catch her breath on the front stairs.

Pandora: (under her breath, to herself) Dammit! I didn’t want to get involved with any of this! This isn’t supposed to be happening to me. Why can’t life just be normal!? Okay. Okay. Think. Can I go home? They probably know where I live. But if they wanted to hurt me they would have done so when they had me. They want me to find Bobby. (beat) I want to find Bobby. There’s no one else who knows what’s going on, no one I can consult. Why can’t Tabby just be friends with me again so we can put our heads together? (beat) That’s it, I’m going to find her. She’s my best friend, she’s got to help. And if not for me, then for Bobby. I’ll just- Oh!

Nielson: Hello, Pandora, I didn’t mean to startle you.

Pandora: Oh, it’s okay. I…I just came out to get some air.

Nielson: I saw you run out before. I didn’t want to pry, but the dance is ending so I thought I’d check on you. I didn’t get a chance to welcome you back.

Pandora: Well thanks. I was just going back in…

Nielson: Actually, I was hoping you had a minute to talk.

Pandora: Well, uh…I guess I have a minute, sure.

Nielson: I know we’ve talked before, and I know how difficult things were…and are. I just wanted to remind you that I’m here if you need someone to confide in.

Pandora: I know, Mr. Nielson, and I appreciate it. But I’m okay right now, and I have my friends to talk to.

Nielson: Really? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to press you too much, but I couldn’t help but notice that you and Tabitha didn’t seem to be getting along, and I saw your…date leave so quickly, so I-

Pandora: You saw Bobby leave?

Nielson: Well I saw him go out through the gym doors when you were on stage.

Pandora: Hmm…

Nielson: I don’t want you to think you have to be alone, Pandora. Here. I got you something. Something that provides me comfort in times of desperation.

Pandora: The….Bible. Gee, Mr. Nielson. Thanks so much.

Nielson: Any time. I’m helping to clean up, so I’ll be inside if you need anything.

Pandora: Thanks.

Narr: Mr. Nielson got up and went back inside the gym. Pandy looked down at the stair next to her and saw a large dagger sitting where Mr. Nielson had been. Confused, she looked up to ask if it belonged to him, but he was already gone. She picked it up and hurried around the corner into the parking lot in order to beat the crowd that would be leaving any minute. She intended to meet Tabby at her house to convince her to help. As she crossed the parking lot, she saw the band loading up their van from a back door of the gym. Three of the band members headed back into the gym, and the bassist was left to rearrange things in the back of the van. He turned when he heard her walking. Pandora narrowed her eyes, trying to “see” him. Making a quick decision, she threw her arm forward and snapped her wrist. The dagger sliced through the air and landed in the bassist’s gut. He stumbled backward into the van. Pandora ran up behind him, closed and locked the back door, took the keys out of the lock, and ran to the driver’s side of the van. She peered inside gymnasium door and saw Mr. Nielson moving some things around.

Nielson: Pandora?

Pandora: (loudly whispering) Mr. Nielson, you said to come to you for help if I needed it. And if I ever needed help, it’s now.

Nielson: What’s going on?

Pandora: No time to talk here. Get in the van?

Nielson: What!? Pandora, what’s going on?

Pandora: I’m driving away in this van whether you’re in it or not.

Nielson: Okay, okay.

Narr: Pandora got into the driver’s side and started the engine as Mr. Nielson jumped into the passenger’s side and barely got his door closed before Pandy tore out of the parking lot.

Pandora: We need somewhere safe to go. Any ideas?

Neilsen: (weirded out but trying to help) Well, I guess we could go to my house?

Pandora: Not safe enough.

Neilsen: Well…there’s always the church. But we should probably go to one a few towns over if it’s that bad. A few details might help.

Pandora: Bobby’s been kidnapped and I think he has something to do with it.

Narr: Mr. Nielson followed Pandy’s thumb, which was pointing to the back of the van, and discovered the unconscious bassist with a dagger jutting out from his gut and his blood all over the floor.

Nielson: Pandora! Please tell me you didn’t kill this man!

Pandora: I’m not sure if he’s dead.

Nielson: (panicking) When I asked you before if you had ever committed murder, I meant had you ever hated someone, not had you ever actually killed a man!

Pandora: Well it’s a little late for that. We need to get him – and us – somewhere safe.

Nielson: We can’t take this man to a church!

Pandora: Thanks, Sherlock.

Nielson: Well, what was your brilliant plan?

Pandora: I don’t know. If Mother were alive she’d know where to go. Or Grandma. But they’re not here, and I don’t know where to go.

Narr: At that moment, they heard a groan coming from the back of the van. Mr. Nielson looked back to see the bleeding bassist’s head rolling back and forth, his hands clutching his stomach. Just as Pandy started to say-

Pandora: He’s alive!?

Narr: -Mr. Nielson opened his blazer, pulled out a small pistol, aimed, and fired one silenced shot into the bassist’s head, stilling him.

Mr. Nielson: I know where we’re going.

Narr: What secret life does Mr. Nielson have? Should Pandora have trusted him? Will she find Bobby before it’s too late? Tune in next week for episode two of Like Daughter: Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Go to Episode 2