Narrator: Bobby E. G. Kurtzman was no stranger to staring down the barrel
of a handgun, not since he stumbled face first into the Darling family’s
mission to stop the evil conspiracy group, CASK. Hope Darling, the mother
of the family, had been the driving force behind that mission, with her ability
to “see” it’s members, but once her brains had been blown
all over the inside of a stolen car by Bobby’s former idol and apparent
conspirator Jason Brandt, that only left Hope’s daughter, Pandora, to
fight the good fight. Coincidentally, in addition to being completely uninterested
in taking up the mantel, Pandora was also the girl Bobby had had a crush on
since the 3rd grade. Now, the only thing distracting Bobby from the fact that
he’d spent the entire evening lying directly to his lady-love’s
face since the start of the homecoming dance was the pistol being thrust against
his back by one of Carousel, New York’s newly hired private police force.
Bobby: Ow! There’s no need to shove!
Interpol.: On the contrary, in order to execute you in the most expedient
and convenient manner, it would behoove me to ensure the three of you are
kneeling, facing the wall. It struck me as unlikely that you would cooperate,
hence my decision to jostle you into place. Now, if the ladies would join
you, I can commence with dispensing justice. I am, after all, a persecutor
of perpetrators, a warrior for right-
Tabby: You see, Pandora? What did I tell you? I help you for one minute and
already I’m being murdered! How can you even pretend to be my friend?
Pandy: It’s not my fault, Tabby!
Interpol.: Indeed, if one were to honestly assess the situation, the only
persons on which to blame your predicament, excepting yourselves of course,
would be your masters in the Constabulary Aggravation Social Cell! Had they
not commanded a world-wide attack on the good-nature of state and local police
Pandy: What did you say? The constabulary-
Interpol.: Aggravation Social Cell! You didn’t think word had spread
about your covert operations, did you? You hadn’t banked on a private
police officer who had graduated Magna Cum Laude from Vestal University, Class
of 1997, had you? And, as you can see here in my letter of recommendation
from the dean of the Carousel Academy School of Karate, I can break through
not one, but four boards with one punch.
Interpol: Thank you.
Bobby: But hang on, you said “cell.” Cell starts with a C, not
Pandy: Bobby! Don’t antagonize him! He has a gun, he’s not some
rival blogger! We shouldn’t be picking apart his spelling!
Bobby: Then what should we do? I’m sorry, Pandy, I just find it so
distracting! C-A-S-C doesn’t spell CASK at all.
Interpol.: Were I planning to process you in the normal fashion, I would
point out that you were only incriminating yourself by showing that you know
how to spell CASK.
Bobby: It’s a real word! Maybe I know it from, you know, “a container
made and shaped like a barrel for holding liquids.”
Interpol: I think not. Why would a high school student know that? No, as
it is, you shall die knowing that I have seen through your ruse; the letter “K” makes
the same sound as the letter “C”.
Bobby: Not in the word “Cell”! If it was K-E-L-L it would be “Kell!”
Tabby: And CASC with a “C” as in “Cell” would be “CASS”.
Pandy: Oh, God… You, too, Tabby? Do you not remember that this man
said he’s about to kill us?!?
Tabby: I know that, Pandora, but if you think about it I think you’ll
realize that the whole spelling issue really is just one big distraction.
I can’t concentrate on dying at all.
Pandy: Are you two both completely insane?!? It’s spelling!
Interpol: I must say, I agree with the blonde-haired kidnapper-murderer conspiratrice
on this issue. I don’t see how the spelling of a global conspiracy matters
in the long run.
Bobby: Here, let me show you- I know a few linguistic websites that might
help. Then you and Pandora can see it’s as simple as… say, a three/four
pattern. Starting now.
Bobby: If we use a “C” like this, then the distraction caused
will serve to… let’s say… “knock”, or somehow “slight” the
vast conspiracy, officer. Figure it out.
Interpol: Be that as it may – uhng! (knocked out with a loud bang)
Narr: Officer Interpolitansky tumbled to the floor, Pandora standing over
him with the remnants of a computer monitor in her hands. As her hazy eyes
drifted back into crisp focus, she dropped the shell to the floor.
Tabby: Took you long enough, Pandora!
Pandy: What… what just happened?
Bobby: Your Cryptography skills may be impeccable, but you may need a bit
more common sense training. Do they have that on subliminal audio, too?
Pandy: Wait, Bobby… cryptography? What do you mean?
Bobby: You weren’t getting the plan, so… I spoke a coded message.
Every third, then fourth word, back and forth. I knew with all that subliminal
training your Mom gave you, it would bypass your conscious mind, and just
give you the message directly into-
Pandy: Bobby! You can’t do that!
Pandy: After everything my mother put me through… I don’t like
being manipulated. You know that!
Bobby: Gosh, I’m sorry, Pandy…
Tabby: Bobby just saved our lives, Pandora! Cut the boy some slack.
Pandy: Tabby, you don’t know what she did to me! I still- I still carry
lock picks with me at all times! Do you know how crazy that is? I have to
test every liquid I drink for drugs – I brought a portable kit to the
dance to check the punch! I still sleep in a damned b- No… I just… I
can’t take that again. Not from you, Bobby. Not the one person I can
trust. You have to promise.
Pandy: Promise me you’ll never manipulate me again, Bobby!
Bobby: Pandora… I would never… manipulate you into doing something
you don’t want to do. Ok?
Pandy: All right. Good.
Tabby: Can we get out of here now? I don’t want to be around when Officer
Friendly here wakes up.
Pandy: We’re not leaving him here.
Bobby: What? Why not?
Pandy: He’s CASK. We can’t let him just go about his business.
Bobby: But… he’s not CASK. He wanted to kill us for being a part
Pandy: You heard him, Bobby. “The Carousel Academy School of Karate”?
We’re taking him with us. We can get some information out of him yet,
and if not… well, we’ve still got a good amount of lye in the
basement. You two grab his legs.
Tabby: What? No way! I’m not having any part of this!
Pandy: But, Tabby, you said-
Tabby: I said I’d help you find Bobby, and now he’s found. Like
I told you at the funeral, our friendship is over. You can kidnap Peace officers
if you want to, I have better things to do… like, raise social awareness
about the problem of homelessness in Carousel. Did you know there are over
four dozen homeless and transient individuals in the area at any given moment?
Pandy: … No.
Tabby: Well you will, once my big campaign gets under way. It’s going
to be advocating all sorts of important social knowledge.
Pandy: And you’re going to start organizing it… the night of
Tabby: Well, what do you expect me to do? My date ditched me when he realized
I wasn’t going to be his “in” to hanging out near you!
Pandy: George? Tabby, you’re better off without him, the guys a jerk.
Tabby: But he was going to be my jerk! Of course, no, that can’t be
allowed, can it? You have to take that away from me, too! Bad enough you have
the guy I really want, you have to take the good-looking guy, too?
Tabby: Sorry, Bobby, I mean you’re cute in your way, but we’re
talking about George Batista here! Son of world-famous underwear model Franchesco
Batista? The boy may not blog, but he’s got looking good in his blood,
even the back-stabber has to admit that.
Pandy: Tabby, I’m not trying to hurt you! I just want everything to
go back to the way it was before-
Tabby: Before we started doing things like kidnapping people to get information
out of them? Me too, Pandy… but that’s not going to happen, and
it’s time you accepted that. I have. OK, so nobody cares about Tabitha
Wentworth when she’s not barnacled onto Pandora Darling; I can accept
that- for now. But just wait until my campaign starts. Then they’ll
care about the things I tell them to care about, and by proxy, they’ll
care about me.
Tabby: I’ll do you the favor of not calling in more police on you,
but that’s the last kindness you can expect from me. See you in the
feed catcher, Everett.
Narr: And with that, Tabitha spun on her heels and stormed out of the computer
lab. Bobby and Pandora stood there in silence, letting the girl’s words
sink in, before a sound from officer Interpolitansky spurred Pandora into
Interpol: (groggily) Uhg… it strikes me that a man in my position should-
UHG! (she thunks him over the head again.)
Bobby: What do we do now?
Pandy: Just what I said. We get him home and find out what he knows. Then… we
dispose of him.
Bobby: So you’re… you’re going to fight CASK again?
Pandy: You heard Tabby, Bobby. It’s time to accept things as they are.
I didn’t want to get caught up in all this CASK nonsense, but here it
is. If it doesn’t want to leave me alone… what can I do? I have
to fight them. If not me, who?
Bobby: I’ll be here for you any way I can. Any help you need.
Pandy: (pleasantly) I know you will, Silly. I couldn’t do it, otherwise.
I told you, you’re the one I can trust.
Bobby: (a little uncomfortable) Well, thanks. I mean, good. It’s… good.
And now, we’re gonna go kill a guy.
Pandy: You’ll get used to it. Don’t be scared. I’ll protect
you, I won’t let Caleb, or anyone else, kidnap you again. I need you
on my side.
Bobby: Ok. Heh heh. Let’s get a move on- we wouldn’t want anyone
from the Computer & Science Klub to pop in on us.
Narr: As the pair carried the unconscious crime-fighter down the back stairs
and loaded him into Bobby’s car in the near empty parking lot, their
thoughts began to drift in opposite directions on the same subject. Pandora
became more and more certain that giving in and devoting herself to fighting
CASK was an unavoidable necessity. Bobby, on the other hand, began to wonder
whether he had done the right thing, pretending to be kidnapped and locking
Pandora in a box to get her motivated to take action. Either way, one thing
was certain- he couldn’t let her know what he’d done. Once in
the darling home, Pandora secured Officer Interpolitansky to the concrete
supports in her basement with a set of chains her mother had left behind.
She then changed out of her gown into more comfortable interrogating clothes.
Bobby, still wearing the remnants of his tuxedo, had fallen asleep on the
couch before she came back down stairs. Pandora thought it for the best. She
didn’t think Bobby would have the stomach for what came next. She grabbed
a sturdy kitchen knife and descended into the basement.
Pandy: (slap sound) Good morning, officer! (smack!) I said, good morning!
Interpol: What… what, may I ask, is the meaning of this? I am a duly
appointed officer of the law, and shall not tolerate-
Pandy: You’re in no position to dictate what is and is not tolerated.
Tell me everything you know about the Carousel Academy School of Karate.
Interpol: Never! CASK will never get anything from this defender of-
Pandy: I’m not CASK, you idiot! You are! Carousel Academy School of
Karate! C-A-S-K! Think about it!
Interpol: But… but no, CASK isn’t… that’s, that’s
a coincidence. I refuse to believe it, dean Kane would never-
Pandy: Who? Dean Cain? From… from TV?
Interpol: What? No, Chuck Kane, dean of the School of Karate! The most honorable
man in all of Carousel! He would never mislead me- he, he’s the one
who taught me the path of honor and glory that comes from the pursuit of the
glorious martial art of karate! He couldn’t have been faking! I refuse
to believe it!
Pandy: You’d be surprised. I suppose there’s only one way to
settle this. To prove whether you’re an agent of CASK?
Interpol: There is nothing, not one thing you could do to make me believe-
Pandy: If you’re CASK… you must have the implant. Let’s
Narr: And before the officer could even call out to stop, Pandora had sliced
through his stomach. His intestines spilled out onto the floor, piling up
at his feet. Pandora shoved her other hand into the chasm and felt around
between his remaining organs before coming across something small and hard
nestled against Interpolitansky’s spine. She pulled.
Pandora: There we go. See? You had an implant, which proves- hello? Dead
already. That’s too bad, officer, since I was so totally right and you
were… hang on… What’s this?
Narr: Pandora looked closer at the blood covered implant, and wiped away
some of the gore with her thumb. She could see a little a small bump jutting
off the edge of the chip, rounded on the sides, but flat on the top and bottom,
like the side view of a barrel.
Pandy: I’ve seen that before…
Narr: Pandora ran up the basement stairs, then up to the second story of
the house, not hesitating even for a moment before bursting into the bedroom
she’d not entered for weeks, not since choosing her mother’s burial
clothes. At the sight of all her mother’s things, she hesitated, her
eyes welling up, but she shook off the emotion and hurried to her mother’s
bedside. She grabbed her mother’s digital alarm clock, a clock she’d
always thought looked far to fancy with its enormous digital display. She
checked, and yes, just as she’d remembered, there was a jack of the
same barrel shape.
Pandora: Here goes nothing.
Narr: She jabbed the chip into the jack, and the display came to life, bringing
up a list of filefolders, mostly labeled with months and years. One folder
was called “Red Flags”. Pandora selected this folder, then the
topmost file, dated almost a year before. The file began playing, presumably,
what Orson Interpolitansky had heard just under a year before his death.
Interpol: Why, hello there, miss. You’re new to the School of Karate
Hope: Why, yes I am… but I’m sure an experienced man like yourself
can teach me a thing or two.
Narr: What was Pandora’s mother doing with Orson Interpolitansky? Does
Chuck Kane have something to do with it? Which CASK is the real CASK? Will
Pandora discover Bobby’s secret? What was Tabby’s campaign advocating
social knowledge going to accomplish? Like Daughter returns next week with
Episode four… “In Right Minds”.