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 2 - Thou Shalt Not Kill

By Charles H. Berman

Principal Mondi
Mr. Nielson
Officer Interpolitansky

Narrator: Pandora Claire Darling had been trying to restore to her life some semblance of equilibrium in recent days. After her life was shattered by the revelation her mother was a hardened killer fighting an evil conspiracy that might or might not exist, the respective tragic deaths of many of her family members including said mother, and her former best friend's abrupt abandonment of her, Pandy had been more than slightly distraught. For weeks she had looked forward to her homecoming date with the school pariah, social-anxiety sufferer, and saviour of her life Bobby Kurtzman as a wonderful dramatic return to the world of her friends that would usher her back into tranquil normality. Now, however, that dream was shattered. Pandora Darling could not seem to escape the reach of the forces that had turned her life upside down, and she found herself wondering who had kidnapped Bobby as she was chauffeured around by the history teacher, local sex symbol, and evangelical Christian who had just revealed himself to be a cold-blooded killer: Thomas Nielsen.

Pandora: My God! Mr Nielsen! You just killed that man!

Nielsen: Exactly! Thrilling, isn't it? I know you tried to do it too. Is there anything more exciting, Pandora?

Pandora: Exciting? That's murder! You're the one who kept telling me I'd go to hell for committing murder in my heart. I'm pretty sure that if that's true, you'll go for committing it in a minivan!

Nielsen: Not if you're absolved, Pandora! The greatness of God is in his forgiveness. How can we confess our sins if we have nothing to confess? How can we be pardoned and granted entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven if we have nothing to pardon? I know killing is frowned upon by our politically-correct society, but we're only bringing people closer to their God. The more chance they have to repent, the more glorious God can be in His mercy. The more we trespass against others, the more chance each of us has to forgive those who trespass against them, and thereby ascend triumphantly into the arms of our Lord and Saviour. (reciting a mantra) "We must sin in order to be pardoned; we must be pardoned in order to be received." Needless to say, we can't really advertise our ideas much, though.

Pandora: Mr Nielsen, this is unbelievable.

Nielsen: I know! I couldn't believe it either when I first heard about it, but based on our conversation a few weeks ago, and especially what happened today, I think you're ready to join us.

Pandora: Us?

Nielsen: That's right. I suppose you could think of us as our own sect. We call ourselves Christians Absolving Sinful Kindnesses. We usually meet in my basement. It's that house over there.

(fx: car stopping)

Nielsen: We all set up a time for after the dance since a few of us were going to be tied up there. You can come on in and attend your first meeting if you're inclined to become a member. Alternately, if you don't want to join we could use you to help boost our own Expiation Potentials.

Pandora: What's that mean?

Nielsen: Sending you directly on to God so He in His mercy can have something substantial of which to absolve us. It's really a win-win. Anyway, we can start this evening by begging forgiveness for the theft of this van....

(fx: a tapping at the car window, the window being rolled down)

Mondi: Could I have a word with you in private?

Nielsen: Certainly, Gloria.

(fx: car door opening and closing. A cell phone being opened and 10 tones being dialed. Ringing.)

Tabby: (phone filter through the conversation) Hello?

Pandora: Listen, Tabby. It's me. I need to talk to you.

Tabby: No, Pandy. I don't think you do. I didn't think I could take any more of you before, but today was just the icing on the cake. Good-b...

Pandora: Wait! Bobby's been kidnapped!

Tabby: (choked) What? Oh, my God. Who could have-

Pandora: And so have I.

Tabby: Oh. Is Bobby with you?

Pandora: No! I'm at Mr. Nielsen's house. He's locked me in the van that belongs to your favourite band, who also happen to have been the people who kidnapped your crush. (vindictively) I hope your still happy with their "perfect vision of the world as it should..." Wait. I have to go. I see him coming back. Get the police over here and see if Caleb and Special K are still anywhere around the school. Bye.

(fx:car door opening again)

Nielson: Well, golly, Pandora. I've just been learning some interesting things about you. It seems your late mother was single-handedly responsible for the deaths of four of our founding members, and she didn't even give them time to repent. You were right when you said she was sick. It also seems that you agreed to collaborate with her on a number of operations. I'm sorry, but although I'm sure most of us would love to spend time sinning with you in multiple ways, we just can't trust you not to kill us and take all the repentance for yourself. We can't afford to have mercy. Cuff her, Gloria.

(fx: sound of handcuffs while Pandora protests)

Mondi: She seemed to think we were part of some kind of international conspiracy. Something to do with Jehovah's Witnesses. As if we'd spend any time with them in this world or the next! She was almost the singlehanded catalyst for the foundation of that new Jehovah's Witness Protection Programme, which is one “accomplishment” to her name, I suppose.

Nielsen: I think I'd go for an old-fashioned communal sacrifice today, Gloria. Get everyone in on the absolution.

Mondi: Oh, absolutely. We can clear off the altar in the basement!

Pandora: Let go of me!

Narrator: Protesting madly, Pandora was taken to a small cell that looked as if it had been hastily converted from a particularly poorly-maintained broom closet before being briefly inhabited by dozens of unfortunate victims of Christians Absolving Sinful Kindnesses. However, unable and now strangely unwilling to divest herself of the rigid training that her late mother Hope had instilled in her, Pandora had equipped her legs that morning with a convenient set of materials for picking locks of all kinds. Unnerved by her own equanimity at being locked in a small closet by a secret cabal of serial killers, many of whom she knew personally, Pandora removed the comically simple handcuffs around her wrists, broke out of the closet, and left through the front door after overhearing Mr. Niesen's assembling sinners in the basement hotly debating whether to sacrifice her while wearing goat masks or Knights Templar costumes. Overcoming certain negative associations she had developed with the vehicle, she entered the Caleb and Special K van and headed back down Mozart (pronounced “Mozzart”) Street. She had only advanced a few feet when she was pulled over by a lone police car.

Interpolitansky: (through door) Please exit the vehicle, Miss.

(fx door opens and shuts)

Pandora: Er, what can I do for you, officer?

Interpolitansky: Officer Orson S. Interpolitansky, at your service miss. Defender of victims and persecutor of perpetrators. Warrior for right, blight of crime. Champion of the innocent, bane of the guilty. Boon to justice...

Pandora: Yes. I know what the police are. I'm in a hurry. Is there anything can do for you or are you eventually going to start doing you job and investigate the house down the st-

Interpolitansky: Well, miss, I've had an anonymous report in over the telephone indicating something to the effect that somewhere on Mozart Street there was a large yellow van with “Caleb and Special K” written on the side, and that that the driver was a kidnapper. Now, miss, I ask you, taking all this into consideration, thinking with a rational mind, exerting all one's effort in the accurate maintenance of our country's laws, how would you, were you in my position, proceed to....

Pandora: I'd go down the street to number thirty-six because that's where the kidnapper lives. I'm the one who was kidnapped. I just escaped from him. That call was from my... friend.

Interpolitanksy: An an impartial officer of the law it is my solemn and sworn duty to investigate all possible explanations for a state of affairs, but I think that at this juncture it would be wisest for me, a defended of the downtrodden at all times, to ask you to allow me to enter the relevant vehicle at this time so that I might conduct a thorough search...

Pandora: Officer, I'm trying to save someonr who actually has been kidn-

Interpolitansky: I feel compelled to inquire, Miss, about the presence of a bloody corpse so degradingly strewn across the back seat of this-

(fx: car door slamming, car starting, police siren, another cell phone call being made)

Tabby: Hello?

Pandora: That policeman you instructed so brilliantly thinks I'm the kidnapper and he's seen the body in the back of the car, so...

Tabby: Body?

Pandora: Yes! The drummer Mr. Nielsen shot.

Tabby: Well, he was really ruining their sound anyway.

Pandora: Tabby, I'm being chased by the police!

Tabby: OK. Where are you?

Pandora: I'm just coming near to the school.

Tabby: OK. Lead him here. I know Caleb is still somewhere on campus. If that story you were telling me is true, then he's the one that must have kidnapped Bobby.

Pandora: If?!

Tabby: Fine! It's looking pretty true. I see the van. Come through the after-hours gate.

Pandora: OK. Talk to you in a minute.

(fx: two cars stop. The police siren stops. Someone gets out of each car)

Tabby: Pandy! God, I'm so sorry! You were right the whole time.

Pandora: Don't worry about it, Tabby. I'm just glad that...

Interpolitanksy: Excuse me, ladies. Pardon my interruption but in the fulfillment of my duties I feel compelled to interject at the moment. My name, young lady, by the way, is Officer Orson S. Interpolitanksky, at your service. Defender of...

Pandora: Before you take any action, officer, I'd like to see some credentials.

Interpolitanksy: Certainly, miss! Certainly! Only allow me a few moments to retrieve a complete cv from my vehicle.

Pandora: That's fine. We'll wait.

(fx: footsteps, car door noise in background)

Tabby: Is this guy for real?

Pandora: (realising) He can't be. I can't really read his car in the dark, but I can tell that doesn't say “Carousel Police.”

Tabby: Well, yeah. How big a rock have you been living under?

Pandora: My mother died, Tabby.

Tabby: Yeah. Sorry. Carousel has been hiring private police to bolster the force.

Pandora: That's a terrible idea!

Tabby: Jason Brandt came up with it. (imitating Brandt) “Don't ever believe you don't deserve a police force just because you can't afford to train one.”

Pandora: That explains a lot. Come on, let's start searching the campus while Officer Whatsisname looks for his resume.

(fx: footsteps begin)

Tabby: Let's try the history rooms and computer labs first, in case Bobby escaped them.

Pandora: What makes you think you know better where he would go?

Tabby: Where do YOU think he would go?

Pandora: (sighing) History rooms and computer labs. Come on. (pause) Tabby, I can understand how you got upset. I heard enough of your Caleb-worship over the years to know it must have been a dream come true when they asked to come.

Tabby: Thanks, Pandy. (audibly upset) I don't know if I can take any more of this. I looked up to Caleb more than anyone else in the world. If you listened to their music you'd never believe they could do something so awful. I mean, when I read Bobby's blog and found out he liked them too-

Pandora: Free CD came with one of Brandt's tapes.

Tabby: I know. Limited-issue rare live recording of “The Problem to Answers.” (pause) Pandy, do you think Caleb was always an evil conspirator-- even when he was with Susan?

Pandora: Susan?

Tabby: Caleb and Susan Krumb. The greatest musical couple in history.

Pandora: Hm. Sounds like it. I don't know how much of what my mother believed was true, but I know there are people out there doing some terrible things, and they're associated with those letters C-A-S-K. She died trying to stop them; I guess the least I could do for her now is to fight them here.

Tabby: Oh.

(She begins mournfully humming a simple tune)

Pandy: What's that?

Tabby: It's Caleb's first song. “The Key to the World.” (singing) “The key to the world is harmony,/ The key a world of bliss./ The key to the word is to listen to me,/ And we'll all think just like this...”

Pandora: I still think they kind of suck.

Tabby: (sobs minutely) Pandy, that was the most...

Bobby: Hi, guys!

Tabby and Pandy: Bobby!

Pandy: We thought you were kidnapped and the whole time you were sitting there on the internet?

Bobby: I WAS kidnapped! I was just making sure I updated my blog about it. This is the most exciting thing that's happened to me since... the last few times I was kidnapped.

Pandora: You BLOGGED about it?

Tabby: I can't wait to read it!

Pandora: Bobby, I don't know if the best way to fight an secret international conspiracy is to write about it on the internet. If I weren't so glad that you sur... HOW did you manage to escape anyway, Bobby?

Bobby: Well, I knew Caleb was in with Jason Brandt, and made it pretty easy for me to convince him I was on his side. I still remember everything from Jason's tapes. Can you imagine he doesn't really believe any of that?

Pandora: So Caleb just let you go?

Bobby: Well, I had to promise to spy for him on you. It was really interesting. There's a whole code, you see, like in Ham radio, so...

Pandora: Bobby, I'm sure that's really fascinating but we kind of have to go right now because I'm being chased by a freelance policeman who thinks it was me who shot the drummer from Caleb and Special K.

Bobby: Well, Caleb said you shot the whole rest of the band.

Pandora: Er, I wouldn't be surprised if a member of an international evil conspiracy happened to be the lying kind, Bobby.

Bobby: Yeah. I guess you're right, Pandy.

Tabby: We need to find a back exit to the school. We left that policeman at the front putting together some kind of portfolio for us to prove his credentials.

Bobby: You're sure this guy is dangerous?

Interpolitanksy: Yes. Very sure. Put your hands up, please. I am not afraid to fire. It has come to my attention in recent minutes from certain extremely reliable sources that you, sir, and you, ladies, have been associating of late to an inordinate degree with members of an evil international conspiracy known as CASK. For this, and for the knowledge contained in your implant chips, you will have to die.

Narrator: Will Mr. Nielsen's sinful club ever be found out? Who is the mysterious Caleb? What must Bobby do for him? Who is Orson S. Interpolitanksy? What does his resume say? What are his motives? Will he kill our intrepid heroes? You have a chance of finding out the answers to some of these questions in next week's episode of Like Daughter: "CASK and Ye Shall Receive."

Go to Episode 3