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 8 - Abandon All Hope

By Jordan D. White

Emmanuel Blackstone

Narrator: Emmanuel Blackstone was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 14th, 1965. His youth was fairly typical, for children of his social standing, that of a middle-class black family. He was a dedicated student, and, graduating at the top of his high school class, was accepted into Brown University as part of the class of 1983. Once there, he took an active interest in psychology, and by the spring of his freshman year, he was well-known by most of the professors in the department. Three years later, he again topped his class, and moved directly into the PhD program at Stanford. It was there he began to specialize in the treatment of schizophrenia. This interest slowly grew into obsession. Upon receipt of his degree, he was immediately recognized as one of the foremost minds in the field of treatment of schizophrenic patients. He had believed he could cure the disease, and as he came across stumbling block after stumbling block, his frustration turned to hatred. Where once he’d felt sympathy for the delusional victims of this disease, feeling their every disordered though tug on his heart, he found himself sickened, his guts clenching with disgust at the very sight of them.

EB: … That’s when I knew I had to do something about them.

Pandy: Why are you telling me all this? You break into my house, activate some sort of secret password in all my friends, and tell me you’re going to kill me… what are you going to do, bore me to death with your life story?

EB: I’m getting there, girl! Patience. You see, I noticed something they all had in common… every single one of the crazy bastards.

Pandy: What’s that?

EB: CASK. They were all a part of it. That or they were fighting it.

Pandy: But you’re CASK!

EB: What, the Conspiracy Against Schizophrenic Kooks? That’s a trick, girl! I chose that name just to draw them out! Every one of those nutjobs was involved in this CASK thing, one way or another! Canadians Allied in Support of Kilts, The Campaign Against Spicy Ketchup, Clinical Anatomical SKills, “Constant Awareness Spots Kleptomaniacs”, Christians Absolving Sinful Kindnesses, Cost of Available Seat-Kilometer, The Center for Aztecs’ Secret Knowledge, Collectors of Ancient Sicilian Kewpies, The Cultural Attaché for Southern Kazakhstan, Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent Serine protein Kinase, Crabby Angry Spastic Kvetching, Citizens Adept at Stopping Knaves, Carousel Academy School of Karate, The Connecticut Algonquian Smokers of Kinnikinnick, Cobra and Asp Snake-

Pandy: OK, OK! There’s a lot of CASKs! I know! What’s your point?

EB: My point is I noticed the pattern. None of them saw it, but I did. CASK was there with them every step of the insane way. That’s when I knew for sure-

Pandy: That there really was a conspiracy and they weren’t crazy?

EB: What? No, of course not. They were schizophrenic. Of course they were insane. I realized that that was the conspiracy. It was a vast array of insanity, connected from one mind to the next through the crazy-waves they all emanate from their warped little minds.

Pandy: Through what now?

EB: So I started the Conspiracy Against Schizophrenic Kooks as a counter-conspiracy, with the goal of destroying them, one and all. That’s what lead me to your mother. I met her at a Concert of Audible Sonic Katzenjammers, and I knew within minutes she was one of them. She was as crazy as the day is long, and I’m talking about June 21st. At first I thought I would just kill her, but the more I followed her around, the more I realized she knew. She knew about the real CASK.

Pandy: Real CASK? But you said there was no conspiracy…

EB: Of course there is! The crazy is the conspiracy! But the question is who made the crazy? God would never make people this insane, I knew there had to be someone behind it. Your mother lead me right to their doorstep- the headquarters of CASK. I saw it all. The files, the corpses in the HABEAS project, the schools of fish in the freshwater brainwashing tanks, the monkeys in the Monkeyback labs… The things I saw… I was luck to escape with my own sanity intact.

Pandy: Oh, clearly!

EB: But escape I did… and with information. I learned how to access CASK’s secret databases. That’s where I learned the codewords for your little friends, here. They’ve got files on all their crazies.

Pandy: They’re all CASK? All of them?

EB: Of course they are. Tabitha’s the newest recruit, with her new Campaign. George has been in it for the Koalas for a while now. Bobby here’s been a member since he joined the Computer & Science Klub in the second grade. I bet his implant has some great information on it. Too bad. Bobby, keyword quetzalcoatl-boom.

Bobby: Yes, sir.

Pandy: What are you doing?

EB: Tabitha, keyword vigilance-boom.

Tabby: Yes, sir.

Pandy: Where are they going?

EB: George, keyword condiment-boom.

George: Yes, sir.

Pandy: What’s going on here? What are you doing to them?

EB: The same thing I’ve been doing since I started my counter-conspiracy: destroying CASK and everything it makes madness for! I’ve commandeered their faithful little drones here and sent them back to self-destruct at various CASK locations. In an hour or two, there will be three more CASK cells wiped off the face of the planet. Well, three cells… plus your three friends.

Pandy: WHAT?!? I’ve got to stop them. If you don’t mind, I’ll-

EB: Stay right there, little girl! You’re not going anywhere. You’ve got some information I need.

Pandy: You just sent my boyfriend and my… ex… best friend out there to die!

EB: And the son of underwear model Franchesco Batista.

Pandy: That doesn’t make up for it! I’m not telling you anything!

EB: Oh, you will. You’ll tell me where I can find your father’s body, and then, when I’m sure you’re telling me the truth, I’ll put you out of my misery.

Pandy: My father’s corpse?! What are you-

EB: You CASK girls are so good at playing dumb. Thankfully, I don’t have to rely on your willingness to talk. I’ve got a shortcut.

Pandy: What, torture? Do your worst.

EB: No, not torture… something far simpler. I told you; CASK has a file on all their crazies. I know your keywords.

Pandy: You… you mean I’m-

EB: Pandora, keyword stalagmite.


Pandy: Was something supposed to happen, or…?

EB: What the- Pandora! Keyword mercurial!

Pandy: Maybe there’s another Pandora Darling. It’s a pretty common name.

EB: This can’t be right!

Pandy: I told you I’m not CASK! And what do you want with my father’s corpse, anyway?!?

EB: You can stop pretending, Potato! I know your mother’s Kill Situation Assistance Contingency lead you right to him! I know that’s where she stored her most-secret contingency plan. Pandora, keyword stingaree!

Pandy: You know, I’ve heard the definition of insanity is-

EB: You dare call me crazy! YOU? The daughter of the most infamous CASK operative ever?!?

Pandy: My mother was most definitely not CASK!

EB: Ha! Of course she’d tell you that!

Pandy: She didn’t have a chip!

EB: Because they collected it, of course! How do you think they knew to come after you? It’s all connected!

Pandy: You’re crazy!


Pandy: Ok! Deal! You’re not crazy! I’m not crazy! Can we all just get along now?

EB: Not a chance, Potato! I know you’re one of them! I can see the bright purple crazy-rays shooting out of your skull to their insanitellite! (getting nervous) Probably sending them telemetry on how to kill me as we speak… probably gathering Crazy Agnostic Socialist Knights to take me down… I can feel them! Constitutionally Armed Satanic Killers, drawing in closer, ever closer! You can’t get me, you hear? I’m Bulletproof! You hear me! Bulletproof! I drank the super soldier serum! I’m the new Captain America Social Konstruct! You just watch, I’ll show you! I’ll show you all! You hear me, CASK? IT’S ME, EMMANUEL BLACKSTONE! I’LL GET YOU YET! I’LL GET YOU-

(he shoots himself in the head)

Pandy: He… he shot himself in the head?!? Why would he- no. I don’t have time for that. Bobby… Tabby… how am I supposed to find them? Dammit, I have no idea where to even start! If only my mom was… if only… wait.

Narr: Pandora left the body on the floor and quickly ran up to her bedroom. She walked to the edge of the metal box she slept in, and looked inside. Within, she saw the little metal box her mother had left her as a Kill Situation Assistance Contingency. She picked it up, and opened the lid. The recording hopped back a second, and continued playing.

Hope: (Recording) …oh right. You need to know about your father, and how to find him. This is the next step of my contingency plan, and it’s a big one. You need to find your father’s body. It’s where I stored… well… something important. I don’t want to say just what in case this falls into CASK’s hands. I know it’s sort of morbid but… I loved your father, Potato. I loved him so much, but I never trusted him with the truth. If I had, maybe he wouldn’t have… I know it’s too late to make it up to him, but I thought trusting him with my most important secret would be the least I could do. I always told you we buried him in Greenlawn Cemetery… but the plot is empty. In reality, you’ll find him in the place I first told you about his death, and remember the year he died. Good luck, Potato. This is going to be the last you hear from me. I’m counting on you. But no matter what… just remember… I’m proud of you. I love you. Goodbye.

Narr: Pandora blinked the moisture out of her eyes as the player ceased it whirring and powered down, as dead as the woman who’d recorded it. She gently closed the lid and placed the box on her desk. She looked next to her desk, at the framed 12 by 8 photo of her and her mother standing on the Boardwalk in Wildwood New Jersey in the summer of 1998. The sky was a bright clear blue, and they were smiling, Hope’s arm around her daughter’s waist. Pandora was wearing a hat that looked like a big foam lizard. That was the summer, that was the day, in fact, that she’d learned about her father’s death.

Young Pandy: Mom?

Hope: Yes, Potato?

YP: What happened to my Dad?

Hope: I told you, Potato, he… he passed away when you were two.

YP: But, I mean… how did he die? Was he in the Army? Did he die in Viet Nam?

Hope: (amused) What? No, dear, no. He was… he was shot.

YP: Shot? Why would someone want to shoot him? Was he a criminal?

Hope: No, sweetie, of course not! Your father was the most wonderful man I ever met. He didn’t have an evil bone in his body, he wouldn’t hurt a fly to feed a starving spider! He was handsome and caring and… he loved you very much.

YP: So why did he die?

Hope: Things are never that simple, Potato. Your father… your father was very protective of me. We were on vacation that summer for a weekend in Libya, which is… which is a country very far away. While we were there some… some very bad people threatened us. Me, really. They wanted to hurt me.

YP: Why would they want to do that?

Hope: They… thought that I had gone somewhere I shouldn’t have, that I took something that belonged to them. Of course, they were mistaken… but they were very serious about it and were very angry, and they wouldn’t believe me. Your father… your father believed that I was innocent… so he… he told them he was the one who’d stolen from them.

YP: He lied?

Hope: Yes, but this was a good lie, a noble lie. A selfless lie. I tried to stop him, but… it happened too quickly. By the time I realized what he had done… (choked up a little) Your father was arrested. He was tried by their government, and found guilty, and a week or so later… well… they… killed him.

YP: But why? Why did they kill him?

Hope: I wish I could tell you, Potato… sometimes, people are just… there are some people in this world, Potato, who are very bad, who only want to hurt others and make the world a worse place. Those are the people who killed your father, baby… and your mother will always protect you from them. There is nothing anyone can do to me to stop me from protecting you, I promise.

Normal Pandy: Oh, mom… if only that were true.

Narr: Pandora took the picture down off the wall and ran her fingertips over her dead mother’s face. She was considering how and when she would be able to get to Wildwood, New Jersey as she reached up to replace the frame, when she noticed the slight indent in the wallpaper where the frame sat. It was a square, 8 by 10 or so, just behind where the picture sat. She put the picture down and knocked on the square. It was hollow. She grabbed a letter opener and cut around the edges, then pulled out the panel. Behind it was a small safe, with a digital keypad.

Pandy: Mom… you tricky little minx! Now, what’s… of course. The year he died. 1, 9, 9, 2.

Narr: The lock beeped, and the door clicked open. Pandora turned her desk lamp to shine into the darkness, revealing a bronze urn within the safe.

Pandy: Dad?

Narr: She picked up the urn and cradled it gently in her hands as she lifted it out of the safe. She looked down at it, the receptacle which contained, presumably, the remains of a father she barely remembered… along with her mother’s secret plans.

Pandy: Here goes nothing…

Narr: She opened the lid. An enormous twelve-inch hypodermic needle shot out of the urn and lodged itself in her lower abdomen. Pandora noticed clearish liquid inject into her before she screamed and lost her grip on the urn. Her father’s ashes flew into the air, covering her and the immediate area with his remains. What will Pandora’s next move be without her mother’s help? Will Bobby, Tabby, and George survive their suicide runs? How exactly do you spell Quetzalcoatl? The answers to every one of these questions will be revealed in the next episode of Like Daughter… “Three To One”.

Go to Episode 9