The Bands of Summer
Summary: An epic tale of friendship, deceit and financial impoverishment. Oh, and some music too.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to The Angst Guy, WacoKid, Hiergargo, RLobinske, Mr Orange, Scissors MacGillicutty, and brnleague99 for reading and commenting on this work as it gradually evolved.
[The locale isa dingy dressing room, within which the members of Mystik Spiral are gathered.]
NICK: So, our first interview… How do we handle it?
TRENT: Let’s just play it cool. You know, show our passion.
TRENT: Besides, I told our interviewer she could only ask five questions. It’s early.
[By chance, Lawndale Sun-Herald journalist Tina Gordon arrives after this very statement.]
TINA: Hi. Shall we get this started?
TINA: Alright. [Turns recorder on.] Trent, where do you get your inspiration?
TRENT: I write what I feel, you know, life.
TINA: Deep. How did the band get started?
TRENT: We met up in high school, and formed a musical bond that has lasted several years.
TINA: Has Mystik Spiral always had the same line-up?
TRENT: Not quite. We briefly had another drummer. What was his name?
TRENT: He didn’t last long.
TINA: Never mind. What releases do you have available?
NICK: Our music is all on-stage fornow. We do hope to release a single.
MAX: What about our pressing of ‘Behind My Eyelids’?
NICK: Dude, we gave all ten copies away. That doesn’t count.
MAX: Oh. Right. If anyone can help, just call.
TINA: We’ll try our best. Andmy final question is for Trent. What do you hope to achieve through your music?
[A lengthy pause.]
TRENT: Well, we would like to inspire kids to pick up a guitar. Ourmusic is all about expression. Of course, fame would be cool.
NICK: We’re already rehearsing our cover poses. [Laughs.]
TRENT: He isn’t kidding. Playing at pubs isn’t where wewant to be. I want more. We should be playing stadiums; our music has that sort of potential. ‘Every Dog Has Its Day’ could be a hit, if it got MTV airplay. Money, women, having as much as we want, that’s what we’d really like, the more the better. Being a millionaire would be great…[Beat.] I mean, it would be great having millions hear our message. Yeah, Mystik Spiral is all about the music, it really is.
TINA: Thanks for talking.
[Tina leaves, and the band’s mood instantly deflates.]
TRENT: I didn’t mean to go on for that long. Sorry.
JESSE: At least it’s over.
MAX: Oh, so you’re talking now?
TRENT: Come on, stop fighting. How are we going to be rich if we’re too busy arguing?
MAX: Sorry, you’re right.
[Trent appears thoughtful.]
TRENT: What we really need is a representative. Someone who could sign us to a contract, or whatever.
[Trent’s musings are interrupted by a call from on-stage, “Guys, you’re on!” The band hurriedly exits. Cut to stage.]
TRENT: Hi, we’re Mystik Spiral, and we’re not changing the name. This song is called ‘Ice Box Woman’.
[As the band launches into this number, we cut to a smoky table elsewhere in The Zon.]
TOM: Hmm…. [Taking notes.] The lead singer is unkempt, yet has a certain charisma. The lyrics are limited, but when did that every stop anyone? [Chuckles.]
ELSIE: [Bored.] Never.
TOM: That’s right, Els!
ELSIE: Don’t call me that.
TOM: I’ll call you what I want to call you. I’m the one paying you to accompany me to this gig.
ELSIE: Yes sir.
[Cut back to stage, where Mystik Spiral has just finished ‘Ice Box Woman’. The applause is thunderous.]
TRENT: Thanks. When I’m sleeping, I see behind my eyelids.
[The band launches into this number. Cut back to Tom.]
TOM: Hmm…we can work on the stage banter. Elsie, as Representative of Sloane Records, I believe I have found my first band! I’ll have to see them after this ‘set’. [Beat.] See, I know the lingo. Your older brother is pretty cool after all, isn’t he?
ELSIE: Yes. Just don’t go beyond the monosyllabic with them.
TOM: Good advice. Maybe you too canjoin Sloane Records one day…
ELSIE: [Quietly] I shouldn’t have bothered.
[Mercifully, Tom doesn’t hearthis remark. Flash forward to the concert’s end. The band is again in their dank dressing room.]
TRENT: Good show.
JESSE: Yeah. They were into us.
[A knock is heard.]
TRENT: Great, they want us out of here.
[Tom Sloane enters.]
TOM: [Dramatic tone.] And I can help you! Tom Sloane, Sloane Records.
TRENT: Oh. You dated Jane, right?
TOM: Yeah, but that isn’t important.
TRENT: Ok. What can we do for you?
TOM: I’ll be blunt. I saw your ‘set’ and saw potential stars on stage. I’ve seen many bands, and few have the look your band has. Properly marketed, Mystik Spiral couldbe huge!
TOM: Yeah. [Beat.] That’s whyI want to sign you.
TRENT: What’s your offer?
TOM: Well, it will increase with fame, but I’ll start you guys out on $8,000…Per week!
TRENT: How do we join your label?
TOM: [Brandishes an inordinately long contract.] Sign here my friends, just sign here… [Low tone.] Then you shall be mine.
TOM: Oh nothing. Just sign here.
[The band signs the contract without looking at its contents.]
TRENT: Uh, I have to arrange something first.
TRENT: Hey Robert!
[The Zon’s manager/bartender enters.]
ROBERT: Hi guys. Great show.
TRENT: Yeah. Look, we can’t keep up these gigs.
ROBERT: Come on, I’ll raise your pay by a full $50?
[The band appears to consider this for a brief moment. Tom interjects.]
TOM: You can’t compete with the vast resources of Sloane Records.
TRENT: So don’t try.
ROBERT: Well then. Best of luck forthe future!
TRENT: Just wait. We’ll show you up and…
ROBERT: I just said ‘Best of luck’.
[Just as Robert expects an apology,the band exits. Cut to the Zon’s parking lot, Tom addressing the Spiral.]
TOM: I know this is hard, but can you please keep this quiet, just for a little while? There are some people who might be jealous of your success, and it might be best if they find out after you’ve released your first #1 record.
NICK: We can hit #1?
TOM: Of course you can. I believe in you, and my opinion is well respected. Isn’t that right Elsie?
TOM: Well guys, we have to go. It’s been great. Take these [Hands each member a ‘Sloane Records’ business card.] and I’ll call you in the morning… On these. [Pulls out four shiny new cell phones.]
[Tom and Elsie begin walking towardtheir car.]
TOM: And don’t tell anybody!
JESSE: Even you?
TOM: Forget it. Just don’t let the secret out.
[With this said, Tom heads off.]
[Cut to Trent’s room. It appears as if nothing has changed, until a close-up reveals that Trent is absent. The days of the twenty-hour slumber have ended. Cut to the Lane lounge room.]
JANE: So paying forcollege could be a major problem.
DARIA: We’ve faced so many before, and somehow survived.
JANE: Yeah, but this isn’t a matter of moronic DJ’s, mandatory volleyball games or colossal Fashion Clubbers…
DARIA: This is financial.
JANE: As it is, affording BFAC is going to be tougher than studying there.
DARIA: I’d like to help you, but the Montana Cabin Fund only stretches so far.
JANE: You tried your best. There has to be another way.
DARIA: Sorry to mention this, but you could get a job?
JANE: ‘I’ve never had a job because I’ve never wanted one’… I’d like to be able to say that for at least another year.
DARIA: It’s aNutty Nutty Nutty World ended my hopes.
JANE: They cracked you damnit, leaving the bitter shell we know and love.
[Daria appears annoyed.]
JANE: Oh, bad pun…Puns.
[Straining for a solution, Daria reaches for a nearby issue of the Lawndale Sun-Herald.]
DARIA: We could always check the newspaper? The writing is generally poor…
JANE: ‘All the poor journalism fit to print!” Couldn’t help it.
DARIA: [Continuing]But there could be a useful advertisement.
JANE: Um, alright.
[Time passes. Cut to The Van.]
TRENT: What’s the time?
JESSE: [Checks watch] 10:31am.
TRENT: What’s the time?
JESSE: Still 10:31am.
TRENT: Sorry, it’s early.
MAX: Are we there yet?
NICK: No. If we were, why would we still be driving?
MAX: Good point.
TRENT: Tom said Sloane Manor was only a short trip away, not even a day. [Beat.] That could be a lyric.
[We return to the Lane lounge room.]
JANE: Notice anything so far?
DARIA: Two editorial rants, several pages of fluff and a ‘letters’ page barely raising itself above the idiotic. We do still have 40 pages though.
JANE: Since when are you an optimist?
DARIA: I’m reading the Lawndale Sun-Herald. Have to survive somehow.
JANE: Good point. [Glances at corner of Page 29.] Wait, look at this!
[By now, Daria too has noticed. A close-up reveals the text, stating;
‘Want to impress your friends? Want to make your musical talent pay?
Then enter the 1st Annual Lawndale Battle of the Bands Contest!
The Lawndale Chamber of Commerce is offering $2.500 to the act that most impresses our distinguished judges! All that money for playing a couple of songs? It’s totally worth it…totally!
Call for further details.’]
DARIA: The grammar is lacking.
JANE: But the prize-money isn’t. $2,500 could solve our problems!
DARIA: Except for the problem of having almost no musical talent. [Beat] Couldn’t you sell more paintings instead?
JANE: I couldn’t earn that much moolah, and besides Daria, when did you ever need talent to starta band? Look at Mystik Spiral.
JANE: Besides, the concert isn’t for almost a month, so we have plenty of time for preparation to put on a show.
DARIA: Famous last words, but…[Sighs] what other options do we have?
JANE: I thought youwere being the optimistic one?
DARIA: It’s an uncomfortable role.
[Cut to the palatial suite of Sloane Manor. Tom too is reading the Lawndale Sun-Herald.]
TOM: [To no-one in particular] I only read it for amusement…Really. [Beat.] I should hire a permanent sycophant for these moments. Hmm…
[Suddenly, his musings are interrupted by the contest.]
TOM: That is the one thing Mystik Spiral is currently lacking; credibility! I have to get them to enter. This could be the beginning of a beautiful career.
[Tom’s personal butler walks in, bearing a distinct resemblance to Jeeves.]
BUTLER: Your band has arrived, sir.
TOM: Excellent. Send them in.
BUTLER: Yes sir. [Exits.]
TOM: I love being me.
[Cut to Lane loungeroom.]
DARIA: We need instruments.
JANE: Relax. Trent has some acoustic guitars he’d rather forget about.
JANE: You weren’t here for Mystik Spiral Unplugged. The horror, the horror.
DARIA: The instrumental abuse.
JANE: Exactly. Anyway, they lack in the dark recesses of the basement, [Ominous] if you dare.
DARIA: I can handlethat.
JANE: [Abruptly lightens.] Good.
DARIA: One problem solved. Shame there are still so many others.
JANE: We can’t handle them all today.
DARIA: That would be [emphasis] crazy.
JANE: Shall we watch some Sick Sad World after finding the guitars?
DARIA: Sure, if we survive. Once more unto the basement.
[Cut to the palatial suite of Sloane Manor. By now, Mystik Spiral has gathered. Tom is displaying the article.]
TOM: Gentlemen, I really think you should enter this competition.
TRENT: A ‘Battle of the Bands’? Aren’t we past that?
NICK: The prize money isn’t even close to what you’re paying us.
TOM: Well, this is about more than money. This is about, credibility. That’s something that money can’t buy. [Beat] Well, it can, but it’s much less fun that way. Just think of the publicity. ‘Meet The Spiral: Best Band in Lawndale’
MAX: Yeah, ‘Best Band in Lawndale’.
TRENT: “Best Band in Lawndale Has #1 Record’. That’d be good.
TOM: It sure would.Think of this as a first step. Everyone has to start somewhere. [Sounds nostalgic.] When I was a young lad in kindergarten, I earned my first dollar the hard way.
MAX: You set up a lemonade stand?
TOM: I ‘acquired‘ it from a fellow student.
NICK: You mean you stole it?
TOM: Acquired, stole, what’s the difference?
TRENT: Yeah. The important thing is that he worked for it.
TOM: That’s right Trent, and while I’ll try to help the band as best as I can, you still need to do some work. So, are you ‘in’?
[The band barely requires a moment to think this over.]
TOM: Thank you. Youmay go now. I’ll stay here and think of some promotional strategies. Good day!
[Mystik Spiral collectively exits. Cut to Jane and Daria.]
JANE: [Searching] Almost there.
DARIA: [Sings in a voice that is very flat.] ‘You’ve got to hide your guitar away’
JANE: Did a good job of it too. But not good enough to foil us. [Pulls out guitar.]
JANE: These should cover our needs. Lucky that they didn’t smash them.
DARIA: The Spiral were into that?
JANE: Yeah, but it didn’t work. Nothing went right that night. Oh well, we’ve done our part.
DARIA: The rest canwait.
[They exit the basement, walking back out into the lounge room. At the door, they are confronted by Trent, attemptingto look inauspicious in semi-formal clothing.]
JANE: Uh, Trent, what’s up?
TRENT: [Abrupt, suspicious] Nothing Janie. Why would there be?
JANE: The fact that you’ve arrived unannounced looking as if you’ve become an office worker.
DARIA: We want answers.
TRENT: Uh, I don’t know, I mean, I’ll explain later. Honest.
JANE: Where were you on the night of the 4th?
JANE: Last night.
TRENT: Oh. We were at a gig.
DARIA: Ok. But what about the clothes?
TRENT: Uh, [stammers] we were playing a Halloween gig.
JANE: Trent, Halloween isn’t for four months.
TRENT: Well then. I was given the clothes and a contract by To…[Realises.] They were a door prize, yeah, a door prize. Didn’t get them from Tom, didn’t get them anywhere else.
DARIA: [Sardonic] I’m sure they were.
JANE: And in unrelated news, could you help us with our musical prowess?
DARIA: Help us learn guitar.
TRENT: Oh, that. This wouldn’t have anything todo with a contest would it?
JANE: Yes, actually.
TRENT: [Fails to conceal look of shock.] Oh man, I mean, this is a bad time. I’m about to go out. Have to talk some other time.
JANE: But you just got back!
TRENT: For a brief moment.
DARIA: You’vebarely entered the house.
JANE: The door is still open.
TRENT: Told you it was brief. [Laughs, coughs, exits.]
[The sound of a cardriving off is audible.]
DARIA: What was that about?
JANE: I’d saythe stress’s gotten to him, but what stress?
DARIA: Beats me.
JANE: Speaking of which, ‘Sick Sad World’ is about to start.
[By chance, the television is heard.]
SSW ANNOUNCER: Meetthe religious radio announcer with five…wives! It’s Mormon in the Mornin’ on Sick Sad World.
DARIA: We could getto work…
JANE: All in good time.
[They watch. Cut toTrent driving furiously.]
TRENT: Oh man, this could ruin everything! I should phone ahead.
[Trent avoids road rules and dials a number on his phone.]
TRENT: Hi, Trent here.
TOM: Oh, good day. Has something gone wrong?
TRENT: Uh, I didn’t mean to, but I let our secret out.
TOM: Trent. I told you only last night. How could you have already let it out? Who knows?
TRENT: Jane and Daria. I tried to deflect them, but they weren’t buying.
TOM: Did you try the ‘door prize’ explanation?
TRENT: I did.
TOM: Wow. They are persistent. [Pause.] Uh, are you heading over here to let me know about this?
TOM: Well, you’ve just told me the basics.
TRENT: Oh. Right.
TOM: Now I know youwant to see my opulent décor again, but that would just make your band mates jealous. [Chuckles] So how about you just turn around and let them know what’s happened? I could, but now I have to solve this problem.
TRENT: Do you think you can?
TOM: Of course, I’m Tom Sloane. Daria herself promised that we’d remain friends. They’ll listen to me. Do you have any idea why they decided to enter?
TRENT: No. It was kind of sudden.
TOM: Right. I’ll extract that out of them too.
TRENT: Good luck.
TOM: Yes, thank you. [Hangs up. Focus on Tom.] Hmmm. An announcement seems in order, but there’s no one here to hear it. [Thinks. Louder] Oh Elsie, could you come here for a moment?
ELSIE: [From distance] Alright, but this better be important.
TOM: Oh but it is.
ELSIE: Just a moment. [Arrives.] Yeah, what is it?
TOM: [Dramatic] It has been left to me to rectify the incompetence of my band!
ELSIE: [Monotone.] Wow. I thought it would be at least a week before you had to go through that spiel.
TOM: Me too. But nevertheless, something must be done and it is I who must do it!
TOM: I must go. To the Sloanemobile! [Exits]
ELSIE: He’s gone too far. I should probably phone ahead. [Calls. Return to split-screen between Elsie and Jane.]
ELSIE: Hi, this is Elsie Sloane. You remember me right?
ELSIE: Just callingwith some news.
JANE: Ok, go ahead.
ELSIE: You and Daria were planning to enter a ‘Battle of the Band’ concert right?
JANE: Yeah. [Pause]Wow, news travels fast in these parts.
ELSIE: Thank your PR, Trent Lane.
JANE: He told Tom?
ELSIE: Unfortunately. I’m the one who has had to listen to him go on with his grandiose plans and declarations. A girl can only take so much.
JANE: Don’t worry, I’ve been there.
ELSIE: Anyway, he announced that he was going to see you and Daria about this. Be prepared.
JANE: Oh, right. Thanks. We should probably prepare ourselves.
ELSIE: That would be a good idea.
JANE: Later. [Hangs up.]
DARIA: What was that about?
JANE: Tom wants to see us, and I doubt it’s to exchange college stories.
DARIA: Good grief.
JANE: According to Elsie, he was also acting in a dramatic fashion.
DARIA: That’snothing new, although he usually hides that side of him.
JANE: I remember when he burst into it in the bedroom…
DARIA: Too much information.
JANE: I’ll stop.
DARIA: Good. Speaking of information though, we should see if Tom slips up.
JANE: It would helpto know exactly what Trent has been up to lately.
DARIA: We can only hope.
[Tom’s rusty vehicle happens to pull up at this moment. He gets out.]
TOM: Oh, just happened to be passing through the neighbourhood. [Looks] Why Daria, Jane, what a surprise!
DARIA: Drop it Tom.
TOM: Ok. [Decides to get straight to business.] So, I heard you were considering entering a ‘Battle of the Bands’ concert?
DARIA: Yeah. However did you find out?
TOM: Oh Trent was very quick to let me know. [Pause.] He must really care about you.
JANE: Yeah, except for abandoning us for asking a few innocent questions.
TOM: Those things can’t be helped. Why did you enter?
JANE: To triumph. Oh, and to gain funds.
TOM: Whatever you need, I’ll double it.
JANE: Hmm… [Appears to briefly consider.] No, I don’t need Sloane handouts!
DARIA: They’re probably tax-deductible anyway.
TOM: Oh well. Maybethe other bands will be more receptive of my ‘offer’. So to confirm, you’re still entering?
TOM: Don’t worry; I plan to hone the skills of Mystik Spiral in my capacity as President of Sloane Records.
DARIA: You mean they’ll be able to play without degenerating into a shambles?
JANE: Daria, please, he isn’t a miracle worker.
TOM: Oh very well. Despite your sarcasm, we will triumph. But I should be going. [Sounding fake] Wow, this has been fun, we should catch up some other time.
TOM: And don’t worry. We’ll win fair and square.
[Cut to boardroom meeting.]
TOM: I want Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane dead! [Pauses, ponders.] Actually, that might not reflect so well in public. I want them ‘unable to enter’!
LACKEY: You mean ‘incapacitated’?
LACKEY: Yes sir!
[The next day. The scene is now in Daria’s room. Daria is tentatively holding a guitar.]
DARIA: So what experience do you have?
JANE: Well, I’ve been close to the local music scene for years, and you pick up a few things…
DARIA: Ok. Such as?
JANE: How not to play like Mystik Spiral.
DARIA: That’sa start.
JANE: Seriously though, I did pick up the basics, with emphasis upon the ‘basic’. [Instructing Daria] Now if you press down upon the 2nd to 4th strings at the second fret and strum, you are making an “A chord.”
[Daria tries to strum. The results are muted.]
DARIA: It isn’t working.
JANE: You have to press down.
DARIA: I’m trying.
JANE: Don’t worry. We’ll get there.
JANE: I was leavingthat part unspoken. Just try again… [Daria tries again.] Maybe I should demonstrate. [Takes guitar from Daria.]
[Cut to Quinn’s room, within which a meeting is taking place.]
SANDI: Thank you for that presentation on strappy sandals for summer.
QUINN: Great job Stacy!
QUINN: I think we should move on to…
[Suddenly, their meeting is interrupted by several loud guitar chords.]
SANDI: What was that?
TIFFANY: That is so wrong…
QUINN: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. [Exits.]
[Cut back to Daria’s room. Quinn enters.]
JANE: And that’s how with just three chords, you too can make a melodic racket.
QUINN: What are youtwo doing?
DARIA: Excuse me?
QUINN: We’re trying to hold a serious discussion and all we hear is noise!
JANE: How does thatdiffer from your usual gatherings?
[Quinn’s lookcould kill.]
QUINN: Don’t go there. Just be quiet and do whatever it is you guys do.
DARIA: Fine. I thought the Fashion Club had ended anyway.
QUINN: Gee Daria, this isn’t the Fashion Club!
JANE: Then what is it?
QUINN: A club in which to discuss fashion. The two aren’t alike at all, really [Before finishing her sentence, Quinn exits.]
DARIA: You know Jane—
DARIA: I wish I hadtried learning this earlier… But you were saying about E minor?
JANE: Even easier than A.
DARIA: And we know how well that went.
JANE: You only use two strings this time 2nd and 3rd from the top, second fret. Try it.
DARIA: [Successfully plays chord.] And that my friend, has made all the difference.
JANE: It’s a start. Now—
JAKE: Hey! Playing guitar are you?
JANE: We sure are.
DARIA: Did Quinn put you up to this?
JAKE: Of course not! Your hip dad Jakey wanted to see what’s going on! [Pause] Get it?
DARIA: Father, father, there’s too many of you prying…
[Jake laughs, loudly.]
JAKE: Ha! And Helensays we can’t joke together! You know, I used to be in a band once. I played the keyboard, the main musical backing… Even wrote a few songs…
DARIA: Uh, Dad, we have to go.
JANE: We just remembered we have to pick up some books at the library.
JAKE: Oh alright… Have fun!
DARIA: We will.
[Cut to Daria and Jane, exiting The Van.]
JANE: You know, your dad’s interruption was quite lucky actually.
DARIA: We did need to register sometime.
[They enter the side of Lawndale Town Hall. Within, a stand has been set up. Several prospective entrants stand near by. Unfortunately, one of them happens to be Kevin.]
KEVIN: Hey Daria, hey Jane, what are you doing here?
DARIA: Receiving instructions for our next mission.
JANE: We could tellyou, but then we’d have to kill you.
KEVIN: You two are weird. I’m entering the ‘Battle of the Bands’.
DARIA: You are?
KEVIN: Yeah. Me and some teammates decided to enter.
JANE: Do you even play an instrument?
KEVIN: Well I used to play the triangle in kindergarten, and I figure guitar or bass won’t be that different.
DARIA: Can’t fault that logic.
KEVIN: I know! But I have to go. [Runs off.]
JANE: We should really get this over with.
DARIA: I don’t feel like any more surprises.
[They head over to said stand.]
DARIA: Yeah, hi. Uh, we’d like to enter The Battle of the Bands.
OFFICIAL: Certainly. And what is your act known as?
JANE: To be Announced.
OFFICIAL: Fine. Here you go.
[We see elsewhere in the hall. Visible in the background is Upchuck, Andrea, Burnout Girl and Shaggy. Instead however, we focus upon the J’s, bickering in their inimitable fashion.]
JAMIE: I’ll sing the most touching love songs ever written!
JOEY: No dude, my voice is way more emotive than yours!
JEFFY: Yeah well, all of my songs will be dedicated to Quinn!
JAMIE: You know, why don’t we all sing? It’ll cause less fights.
JOEY/JEFFY: Good idea. (They high-five one another.)
JAMIE: But what will we call our band?
[We now see that Daria and Jane have been overhearing this conversation.]
DARIA: This could take a while.
JOEY: How about ‘Joey and the J’s’?
JAMIE: No, ‘Jamie and the J’s’
JANE: [Interjecting] How about ‘The Bee-J’s’?
JEFFY: I like that!
JOEY: Cool name!
[They head off to sign up. Focus on Jane and Daria.]
JANE: They were taking me seriously?
DARIA: Consider it an act of mercy.
JANE: I do the bestI can.
DARIA: Anyway, havewe loitered long enough? So far our competition consists of Upchuck and Friends, Kevin’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Quinn’s entourage and some kid with a banjo.
JANE: I thought theSpiral would show.
[Just that moment, the doors of the hall swing open, pushed by Jesse and Nick.]
TOM: And introducing Lawndale’s soon-to-be best… Oh who am I kidding, Lawndale’s best band, Mystik Spiral! [They enter.]
TRENT: Hey Daria.
DARIA: Uh, hi.
TRENT: Don’t try to beat us. It’s not worth it.
JANE: Duly noted Trent. Do you plan to play another acoustic set?
[Max recoils, as if possessed by a bad memory]
JESSE: Don’t mention that concert!
JANE: [Dripping sarcasm.] How foolish of me.
TOM: Just ignore them.
TRENT: Yeah, keep your eyes on the prize.
[Tom walks over to the registration counter.]
TOM: Hi. I’d like my band, Mystik Spiral to be entered in the competition.
OFFICIAL: Ok. Sign these papers please.
TOM: [Signing] They’re not just any band you know. They have real potential.
OFFICIAL: Great. [Takes papers.] Good luck.
TOM: Thanks, but we don’t need it! [Chuckles. After glaring atthe band, they join in.]
[Tom glances at Jane and Daria.]
TOM: So you entered after-all?
DARIA: As these registration papers would seem to suggest.
TOM: I don’t know why you bothered.
JANE: Why did you?
TOM: I have plans… Big plans. [Jane raises an eyebrow.] Plans too big to mention right now actually. We have to go.
JESSE: [Too loudly]I thought we were going to bribe some of the other bands?
TOM: Oh, that. Don’t worry. There’s always time for bribery.
[Chuckles. This time, the Spiral’s laughter is more coordinated.]
TOM: You can laugh Daria, but it isn’t going to help.
DARIA: We weren’t laughing!
JANE: How could we with that material?
TRENT: Some people just don’t know comedy.
TOM: Oh, and by theway, where will you be at 9:46 pm Thursday?
DARIA: Anywhere buthere.
TOM: That’s agreat help. But yeah, we have to leave. [Tom and Mystik Spiral collectively exit.]
DARIA: That sounds promising.
JANE: Don’t worry. At least we have our motivation.
DARIA: The money for college?
JANE: That too.
[Open on Sloane Manor. Tom and Mystik Spiral are gathered.]
TOM: Gentlemen, we need to discuss your upcoming performance.
NICK: So we’re not just here to discuss how to spend our untold millions?
TRENT: Drag. [Brightens] We can talk about that later, right?
TOM: Sure. Trent, could you show me some of your latest lyrics?
TRENT: Uh, I have ‘Every Dog Has His Day’here.
TOM: Mind singing it?
TRENT: Ok; ‘You put me on a short leash,
And threw away my hydrant,
You ate up all my kibble,
Now my coat’s no longer vibrant,
My nose is dry and chapped--
[Tom coughs very loudly.]
TOM: Ok, that’s enough.
TRENT: You didn’t like it?
TOM: No, the lyrics are fine, but they’re a bit, well, graphic.
JESSE: They’re the best we could do!
TRENT: He’s right. Ittook me a week to write those. [Beat] Do you know how hard it is to find a rhymefor ‘hydrant’?
TOM: Yes, yes I do. I took the liberty of writing some new lyrics. I think you’ll find them much more appropriate… [Trent’s expression is unchanged] much more popular! [Trent abruptly brightens.]
TRENT: Cool. Lay them on us.
TOM: ‘Girl I called you on the telephone,
And waited to hear your loving tone,
Called just to say ‘I love you,
‘I’m glad you love me too’.
NICK: How long is this?
TOM: [Proudly] It goes on for seven verses!
TRENT: So this is going to be our hit?
TOM: Of course. After all, I wrote it. [Mutters] And thus guarantee myself most of the royalties.
JESSE: [Oblivious] Cool.
[Cut to Daria and Jane walking on the street.]
DARIA: So, where do you want to practice?
JANE: Casa Lane. For all we know, your dad is still going on about his musical career.
DARIA: Good point.
[Cut to a non-descript basement, where Sergeant Upchuck’s Lonely Hearts Band (for lack of a better name) has assembled.]
UPCHUCK: Now, we should decide who gets to play what instrument.
ANDREA: That would be a good place to start.
SHAGGY: [Speaks up] I’m more of a background player, so bass would be good.
UPCHUCK: Anyone disagree?
BURNOUT GIRL: Andrea, I heard you play drums?
ANDREA: [Annoyed] Why does everyone think that?
UPCHUCK: Choose whichever you like.
UPCHUCK: Done. [Beat] I hate to boost my own ego, but I have dabbled my hand in the fine art of the guitar, another string in my bow. [Pause] Get it, string, as in guitar string?
BURNOUT GIRL: Oh! [All laugh. Slightly.]
[Cut to Kevin practising, and failing.]
KEVIN: Aw man! Guitar is hard!
FOOTBALL PLAYER #1: Are you sure you don’t want to play something else?
FOOTBALL PLAYER #2: Like tambourine?
KEVIN: I can totally do this man, I am the QB!
[At the sound of another dud chord, his band groans. Return to Sloane Manor.]
TOM: So Jesse, what would you if you had a million dollars? [Beat.] I mean, when you have a million dollars?
JESSE: Dunno. Spend it?
MAX: Me too!
TRENT: How about you Tom?
TOM: Hmmm… I could really do with a mobile command centre. The Jag just isn’t doing the job at the moment. The rest I’ll just throw in the vault. Of course, I was asking a trick question.
TOM: No, I mean because you’ll be earning many millions, so it doesn’t really matter what you do with the first.
TOM: I invested mine in my bedroom. Come on, I’ll show you.
[The band duly follows Tom.]
NICK: That’s the vault?
TOM: It sure is.
JESSE: Wow, you have a lot of money.
TOM: Yes, very observant. I do have another reason for showing you the money though.
[Elsie, who just happens to be walking past, hears this remark.]
ELSIE: Egotism? Vanity?
TOM: Quiet you.
[Elsie walks on.]
TOM: Look, you guys could easily beat any competition at the ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest, buthow would it be if I made your victory even more probable?
TOM: Bribery. It’s what my empire is founded upon. That and nepotism. [Beat.] Oh, I’ve been hanging around with Elsie too much. I had Jeeves prepare a list of your fellow bands. What I want you to do is to offer each band a small payment from my vast fortune to, you know, make them reconsider their participation.
TRENT: Not play?
TOM: Precisely. Be intimidating if you have to, but most importantly, be convincing.
TRENT: Yeah, I think we cando that.
TOM: Great. See you… No, wait, that doesn’t sound right. [Beat] Now go boldly forth!
JESSE: Can do.
TOM: Now that’s more like it.
[Mystik Spiral collectively exits. We return to Casa Lane, where Our Heroines are midway through a practice session. Daria’s playing is noticeably sloppier.]
DARIA: I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up.
JANE: You’re doing fine. Just keep switching between D and G.
[They continue playing, Jane adding a simple lead over the top. Finally, the (unnamed) song ends.]
JANE: I’ve got blisters on my fingers!
DARIA: [Raises an eyebrow] Really?
JANE: No, just setting the mood.
DARIA: How long is this going to take?
JANE: As long as ittakes. You know, every chord you make, every step you take…
DARIA: We’ll be getting better?
JANE: All the time.
DARIA: Good thing we have a low base to start from then.
JANE: Yeah. Otherwise it just wouldn’t work.
[Cut to Mystik Spiral in The Van.]
MAX: So, who shouldwe visit first?
TRENT: The Lions. Football players always want to sell out.
NICK: Not like us at all, right?
TRENT: No way. We’ve earned it.
[The Van drives offinto the distance.]
[We see the Lawndale Lions practicing… Their music.]
KEVIN: I once saw this guy on TV…
KEVIN: He played guitar. It was cool.
TONY: Kevin, there are thousands of people who have played guitar on TV. Who was it?
KEVIN: Um, why should I know?
TONY: Because you’re telling us about him!
KEVIN: Oh. Right.
JEROME: Look, can we work on our next number?
[A knock is heard at the door.]
KEVIN: I’ll get it!
[Kevin opens the door. Standing before him is Mystik Spiral, looking vaguely professional.]
KEVIN: Who are you?
TRENT: Music inspectors.
NICK: May we come in?
[Cut to The Lions mangling a song. Whatever it is, it is unrecognizable.]
JESSE: Nice guitar work man.
KEVIN: Thanks. [Pause.]
MAX: Well, we had another reason for coming here.
TRENT: Your band is just so talented, so professionalthat we’d like to give you a ‘bonus payment’.
MAX: Yeah, and maybe if you were to receive this payment you would have other thoughts about entering the contest?
TRENT: Or not perform at all.
JEROME: Dude, they’re trying to bribe us.
TRENT: With money.
TONY: What do we get for our ‘payment’?
TRENT: $2,500 in cold hard cash.
JESSE: Well it’s not that hard…
NICK: Guys, focus. We don’t have time to continue this argument.
TRENT: Good point. So will you accept?
MAX: Here you go. [Hands over bag marked ‘$$$’.]
TRENT: See? He agrees.
NICK: [Annoyed] Don’t.
TRENT: Ok. [Resumes talking to the Lions.] Well, we have to go and see some more bands.
JESSE: It isn’t easy being a ‘Musical Inspector’. [They exit.]
KEVIN: Wow, we should get back to work.
TONY: Why? We don’t need to.
JEROME: They paid us the prize money anyway.
KEVIN: So we were so good we won without having to play?
JEROME: [Sarcastically.] That’s right.
KEVIN: Cool! I have to phone Brittany.
[Jerome and Tony exit. Cut to Jane and Daria, deep in discussion.]
DARIA: Ok. They want us to play at least one cover.
JANE: Yeah. We should probably go for something obscure.
JANE: In case we screw it up. Nobody will notice.
DARIA: Good point. It would also be a good idea to make sure we can play it acoustically.
JANE: Agreed. Although they will be missing the wild guitar exploits of Jane Lane!
DARIA: Their loss, I suppose.
JANE: Oh well, I just had an idea. Are you familiar with The Smiths?
DARIA: Yes. Yes I am.
JANE: Good. That makes two of us in this town.
DARIA: What song?
JANE: ‘PleasePlease Please Let Me Get What I Want’.
DARIA: May as well be direct.
JANE: I hope the judges get the subtle message.
DARIA: And the audience?
JANE: We can’t expect too much. But we should practice. [Straps on guitar. Daria does likewise.]
[Cut to an unfamiliar living room. The Three J’s are showing off their musical talents to an unresponsive Elsie.]
JEFFY: Quinn, my love continues to grow,
JAMIE: Quinn I loveyou more than you ever know,
JOEY: Quinn I love you more than I’ll ever show.
ELSIE: And talking about her in your lyrics is a sign of being reluctant?
JAMIE: You ruined our flow!
ELSIE: Sorry. [Sardonic.] Do continue.
[Mercifully, we arespared the rest of the song.]
JAMIE/JOEY/JEFFY: We love you, we really do!
JOEY: What did you think?
ELSIE: That was well, direct. I have only one suggestion; could you possibly have someone paddling a bunch of bananas? That would be neat.
ELSIE: Nevermind. Now, as for your payment…(V/O) Wow, these guys don’t even need to be bribed. But I should be polite.
JEFFY: How much?
ELSIE: Uh, how about $1000? That’s enough money for each of you to take Quinn on two dates!
ELSIE: Here you go.[Hands over cash.]
JOEY: I’ll make the best use of my money!
JAMIE: I’ll get her the best dinner!
JEFFY: Mine will bebetter.
ELSIE: Bye. [Leaves.]
JOEY: [Not really listening.] Yeah.
[Cut to Elsie walking outside.]
ELSIE: Well if I’m doing Tom’s dirty work, I may as well be making a profit.
[Cut to Sloane Manor, where all are gathered.]
TOM: So how did it go?
ELSIE: [Smiling] Itwas profitable.
TOM: You eliminatedthose threats?
TOM: Great. Now allwe have left are Daria, Jane and a couple of bands I have no interest in.
ELSIE: Or you forgot to note.
TOM: That’s one way of looking at it. But we need to focus. [Pause.]Sorry Elsie, but this is just for me and the band.
ELSIE: Is having a voice of reason here too much?
TOM: Yes it is. [Phony] Thank you for your assistance!
TOM: And don’t worry. She won’t be able to hear us. I got these walls especially thickened.
TOM: So, let’s review. Bribery didn’t work. My winning personality didn’t work. [Pause] I just don’t know how that one failed.
TOM: We have to resort to harsher means.
TRENT: Won’t we beat them in the contest anyway?
TOM: Well yes, *but* wouldn’t you rather some more security?
TRENT: Hmm… You’re right.
TOM: I was thinkingwe could have Daria and Jane ‘relocated’ until the contest has finished.
JESSE: Where could we do that?
TOM: I was considering the desert. Of course, we’d leave them with supplies.
MAX: What supplies?
TOM: Food, water, the essentials really. I don’t want a murder charge you know.
TRENT: Yeah. We just want to win.
TOM: And this is how you can be sure!
TRENT: When will we do this?
TOM: 9:46 pm this Thursday. [Proudly.] See, I wasn’t just making a vague threat earlier!
TRENT: I never doubted you.
TOM: Now look, you should probably split into two teams for this task. In case they’re in separate houses.
MAX: Good idea.
TOM: I’ll leave the rest to you. Call if you have any more questions.
TRENT: Later. [The band exits.]
[Cut to The Van.]
TRENT: How are we going to do the split?
TRENT: But how? It would feel weird breaking into my own house.
NICK: Right. Maybe you should go for Daria.
MAX: I’ll join him.
TRENT: Cool. We’re cutting outthe middleman.
MAX: As Tom says, some things you just have to do yourself.
[Cut to Sloane Manor]
TOM: It sure is a relief having the band take care of this. [Pause] I tried my best, I really did.
BUTLER: Yes sir, you did.
[Cut to the Lane residence, where another practice session has just ended.]
JANE: Neat. It actually sounds like the song.
DARIA: Always helpful for a cover version, although it makes it harder if want to disguise it.
JANE: And why wouldwe want to do that? I’ve heard worse.
DARIA: Um, if we really do screw up.
JANE: Come on Daria, take a little pride in your work. We’re not just doing this for the money you know. It’s about performance and the feeling of beating Mystik Spiral in concert.
DARIA: Why do we need to practice then?
JANE: Just hedging our bets. And the money would be nice.
DARIA: Jane Lane; Rock Star. At least you haven’t forgotten what this was originally about.
JANE: Hey, speakingof forgetting… Didn’t Tom warn us about tonight?
DARIA: You know, he did. [Beat.] But what could he do?
JANE: I’m notsure. It’s hard to find truth in his grandiose declarations. Nevertheless, we should be wary.
DARIA: Maybe we should stay in separate houses.
JANE: Alright, but stay in close contact. [Daria moves to the door.] Later.
DARIA: Later. [Exits.]
[Cut to Daria entering her house. The time is 9:38pm. The house is empty.]
DARIA: [V/O] Home alone. Great. All I need are the bumbling thieves. At least Ihave solitude. Speaking of which… [Begins reading ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’.]
[Cut to The Van. Trent and Max are within.]
TRENT: Alright, let’s work out a plan. We’ll enter, grab Daria, and leave.
MAX: I like the personal touch.
TRENT: What can I say, I’m an artist.
[Cut to Jane, slinging on her guitar.]
JANE: It would be ashame to spoil the silence. [Begins playing.] Oh well.
[A knock interruptsher guitar-work. Conversation is audible in the background.]
NICK: Let us in.
JESSE: We’re uh, debt collectors.
NICK: They don’t come this late!
JESSE: We’re special debt collectors.
NICK: [Muttered] Damn.
[They kick the doorin. Jane hears this.]
JANE: They’re determined to see me. [Beat.] Great.
[Nick and Jesse soon climb the stairs.]
NICK: That went well.
JESSE: She could bein her room.
NICK: [Sardonic] Inspired reasoning there.
[They open the door. Jesse appears from a familiar camera angle.]
JANE: Uh, hi.
JANE: What are you doing here?
NICK: It’s a secret.
JANE: Secret orders?
JESSE: From Tom.
JANE: There’s a surprise.
JESSE: Come with us. You know you want to.
JANE: Why would I?
JESSE: [Trying to sound seductive.] You’ve had a thing for me, don’t deny it.
JANE: Mr Moreno, are you trying to seduce me?
JANE: In other words, no!
[Nick and Jesse advance on her. Unfortunately for them, Jane is too agile and escapes their grasp, running down the stairs. She exits the house, taking Jesses’ car. Cut back to Nick and Jesse.]
JESSE: We did bad!
NICK: You could saythat.
[Cut to Jane, driving.]
JANE: [V/O] So Tom wasn’t lying. Too bad he sent his most incompetent drones. I should see Daria… [Out loud.] Daria!
[Cut to Daria, who has indeed been grabbed by Trent and Max. Being weaker than Jane, she is unable to escape.]
TRENT: Come on Daria, you can’t escape.
DARIA: That’s obvious. Why are you doing this?
MAX: We were told to ‘take out the competition’.
DARIA: And by that meaning felonies?
TRENT: … Yes. I don’t feel like talking, and I don’t want to break out the gaffer tape. Maybe this rope will be enough. [Ties Daria’s feet together.]
DARIA: [V/O] In this case, silence would be the best option.]
[Daria is placed inThe Van, the doors closed behind her.]
MAX: Here we go.
TRENT: Phew. Where should we take her?
MAX: The desert.
TRENT: Lucky that it isn’t too far. [Beat] You know how gas prices are.
[Max nods. The Van takes off. Within seconds, Jane pulls up.]
JANE: Darn. The Spiral actually achieved something. [Beat.] I knew I should have taken them more seriously when they talked about being criminals.
[Cut to The Van, which has reached its destination, ninety minutes later. Daria is thrown out, with a small supply of food and water.]
TRENT: Done and done. [The Van drives off.]
DARIA: Great. Abandoned in the desert. Although it could be worse.
[Pull back to reveal a public telephone booth in the distance.]
DARIA: For once Trent’s laziness has been a good thing.
[She begins walkingtoward the phone.]
[Long shot of Daria slowly moving towards the phone.]
DARIA: This is cumbersome. [Beat.] Who’d have thought?
[We cut to the members of Mystik Spiral meeting one another.]
MAX: We did it.
NICK: You got Daria?
TRENT: We got Daria. She’s now in the desert, far from Lawndale.
NICK: [Raised eyebrow] Far?
TRENT: Well, far enough.
MAX: How did you go?
NICK: Fine, except for one little problem.
JESSE: Jane got away.
TRENT: Rats. What happened?
JESSE: We tried. I even tried to be attractive. It didn’t work.
MAX: Do you know where she is now?
NICK: No, but she took the car.
TRENT: How are we going to tell Tom?
NICK: Don’t worry. We’ll mention it so smoothly that he won’t notice.
[Cut to Sloane Manor, where Mystik Spiral has gathered.]
TOM: You did what?
JESSE: We let Jane get away… Oops. [Beat.] Are we going to be killed?
TOM: Now why would I have Mystik Spiral killed? I’m not that petty. In fact, I’m glad you told me the truth, rather than covering it up with some elaborate story.
TOM: Besides, one out of two ain’t bad. [Laughs loudly.] And Elsie thinks I’m out of touch. Ha!
TRENT: We can still win this thing.
TOM: You’re right Trent, and you know why?
TOM: Jane will haveto play by herself, and one person is not a band!
MAX: Good point.
TOM: Sometimes I amaze even myself.
[Cut to Jane, driving throughout Lawndale.]
JANE: Daria, where are you? I’ve looked all over this freakin’ town you know...
[Cut to the empty Lane house. A telephone rings. A split-screen reveals Daria, hanging up the phone.]
DARIA: Damnit. I hope they haven’t got Jane too. [V/O] Probably not. Otherwise, she’d be here with me. They wouldn’t bother taking her somewhere else. [Beat.] That’s a relief. I imagine my family is still out… Who should I call?
[Cut to a distinctly familiar apartment, its occupant quietly reading ‘The Sleepwalkers’. The following conversation is in split-screen. ]
DARIA: Uh, hey.
AMY: Hi. What can Ido for you?
DARIA: This may sound odd, but I was dumped in a desert.
DARIA: By Jane’s brother.
AMY: Siblings can be so jealous… Which reminds me. Sorry for lapsing into the Battle of the Barksdales. [Beat.] Sorry for missing your graduation. Couldn’t escape a busy schedule—
DARIA: It’s alright. At least you wanted to be there. But I was wondering, could you come and get me out of here? As much as I like peace and quiet, this isn’t the time.
AMY: Sure. Where are you, exactly?
DARIA: I’m ata public telephone booth next to a ’45 miles to Lawndale’ sign.
AMY: That’s precise. Impressive.
DARIA: My captors helped me there.
AMY: So what happened exactly?
DARIA: I’ll tell you later. It’s a long story.
AMY: You don’t need to provide further incentive. I’m leaving now.
AMY: Be there soon.Watch out for coyotes.
DARIA: Especially those sponsored by ACME.
AMY: See you. [Hangs up.]
[Cut to Sloane Manor, where Mystik Spiral are practicing their ‘hit’ number, ‘I Really Really Really Love You’.]
TRENT: How did you come up with the title?
TOM: Well I thoughtthat saying ‘I Love You’ might not be stressing the point strongly enough. With the ‘Really Really Really’, no one can be mistaken.
TRENT: We don’t want to confuse our audience.
TOM: That’s right Trent. [Beat.] Why sometimes, you remind me of my younger self.
MAX: Isn’t Trent older than you?
TOM: Maybe, but he is my protégé.
TOM: It gives me certain rights. Shall we try one more time?
NICK: Do we need to?
TOM: You’re right, we don’t. Now the contest is in less than forty-eight hours, so try to get some bed-rest. You’ll need it for when you’re rocking out.
TOM: Care to use the guest rooms? They’re not nearly as nice as my room, but definitely respectable. Yes, quite respectable.
TOM: Good night. [Mystik Spiral exits. Tom darkens.] Will we really be able to win? [His face immediately lightens.] Of course! [Loudly.] Oh Elsie, could you come here for a moment?
[A sleepy Elsie emerges from her room.]
ELSIE: What is it?
TOM: Oh nothing, except to tell you that my band will be triumphant in less than two days!
ELSIE: You woke me to tell me that?
TOM: It is major news. All the papers will be reporting it. At least the ones we have controlling interests in.
ELSIE: [Yawning] You know, you’re not a member of Mystik Spiral.
TOM: Sure I am, I’m the manager. In years to come, I’ll be counted as the ‘fifth Mystik’. [Elsie groans.]
ELSIE: You’re likening yourself to George Martin?
ELSIE: He was their creative producer. He didn’t need to shove money into the faces of rival bands.
TOM: That’s what they want you to think.
ELSIE: [Frustrated.] I give up. [Exits.]
TOM: [Insincere.] Thank you for that pleasant conversation!
[Cut to Daria, Amy’s Triumph pulling up nearby.]
DARIA: You made it.
AMY: It was tough battling through the empty roads. [Unties Daria’s feet.] How are you holding up?
DARIA: As well as can be expected.
AMY: Given the circumstances.
[They enter the Triumph.]
AMY: To Lawndale?
DARIA: To Lawndale.
AMY: So what happened?
DARIA: Well, it started with a newspaper article…
[The Triumph drivesoff.]
[Cut to the Spiral, sleeping peacefully, or so it seems.]
TRENT: [Talking in his sleep] Girl I really love you, I’ll show you what I can do…
[Max is awoken.]
MAX: You’re singing those lyrics in your sleep?
[Trent wakes up.]
MAX: You were singing. In your sleep.
TRENT: Oh, that thing. I need the practice.
MAX: You don’t—
TRENT: You’re right. I could blow them away with just one line.
NICK: ‘I really really really do’?
TRENT: Shut up.
[They resume sleeping. Cut to the Triumph, nearing the edge of the desert.]
DARIA: Evidently, they saw Jane and me as a threat.
AMY: It’s a sign of respect. A paranoid and illegal sign, but still respectful. You should be honoured.
DARIA: If only theyhad chosen another way to show it.
AMY: It could have been worse.
DARIA: I’m just glad they didn’t notice the telephone.
AMY: Or your ability to use it.
DARIA: It’s atalent.
[Cut to Lawndale. A concerned Jane is sitting outside the Morgendorffer residence.]
JANE: [V/O] They could return.
[A SUV pulls up.]
JANE: [V/O] Not what I had in mind, but alright.
[Helen steps out.]
HELEN: Jane? What’s happened?
JANE: Uh, hi. I have some bad news.
HELEN: Go on.
JANE: Well, Daria was here earlier tonight, as you know, and she was kidnapped.
HELEN: [Anxious.] Kidnapped? By whom?
JANE: I think my brother had a part in it. [As if responding to an unspoken question.] He wouldn’t hurt Daria. [Beat.] At least if he values his life.
HELEN: That’sgood to know. But do you have any idea why this happened?
JANE: To put a longstory short, we were to compete in a ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest, to help gather college funds. Tom also enteredTrent’s band.
HELEN: Tom Sloane?
JANE: Yeah. He signed Mystik Spiral to his record label. I believe they wanted to gain ‘credibility’ by winning the contest.
HELEN: He seemed sopolite.
JANE: That is his public persona. I’ve seen the real Tom Sloane, and it’s not a pretty sight.
HELEN: [Realises] Iwas right to be concerned. [Thoughts return to the matter at hand.] I wonder where Daria is now.
JANE: She isn’t in Lawndale. I looked.
HELEN: When did this happen?
JANE: About two hours ago.
HELEN: Then they can’t have gotten too far. [Quietly.] I should have been here.
JANE: This isn’t the time. It’s not your fault. All we can do now is find Daria.
HELEN: Where do youthink she would be?
JANE: Knowing Trent, not too far.
[Return to the Triumph, which is now on the highway. Daria and Amy’s conversation has moved beyond exposition.]
AMY: So, has the peace with Quinn continued?
DARIA: Not really. She made me watch ‘Gone with the Wind’, while commenting on Clark Gable’s ears.
AMY: Tomorrow is another day.
DARIA: And that wasjust the start.
AMY: Oh dear.
DARIA: Her ‘treaty’ was more like an ultimatum.
AMY: Even Clause 231?
DARIA: Especially Clause 231.
AMY: Sounds just like Helen. I remember when she gave me a peace offer, full of bluster and legal jargon.
DARIA: Legal jargon?
AMY: “Leave me alone or I’ll take your books.”
DARIA: Close enough.
AMY: [Sardonic] It was a proud day for diplomacy.
[Cut to Jane and Helen in the SUV, driving towards the outskirts of Lawndale.]
JANE: I imagine they would have taken the route of their last tour.
HELEN: Are you sure?
JANE: Repetition. It’s easier to remember. [Beat.] Oh God, I’m sounding like Trent.
HELEN: Probably a side effect of trying to enter his mindset. You’re doing a good job of it too.
JANE: If I start rambling about being ‘drawn to a flame’, please shoot me.
HELEN: [Immediately.] Will do.
HELEN: So you play guitar too?
JANE: Yeah. I picked up the basics in my spare time, and learned how not to play by seeing Mystik Spiral.
HELEN: You must have seen them often. How did you survive?
JANE: Somehow. I’ve been trying to learn more actively with the contest—
[Long shot of Helen’s SUV being passed by the Triumph. Both cars immediately stop on the quiet road.]
DARIA: [V/O] What do you say in these situations? [Aloud.] Hi. Um, I’m glad to see you both.
HELEN: You made it.What happened?
DARIA: I was abducted and abandoned in the desert. Thankfully it was next to a phone. [To Jane.] Did they come for you too?
JANE: Nick and Jesse did, in their peerless fashion. Obviously they failed.
AMY: Or maybe they like doing things by halves.
JANE: The rest takes too much effort.
HELEN: You weren’t hurt were you?
DARIA: The greatesttorture was listening to their conversation. [Beat.] Do you know how dull it is to hear Trent expound upon the fruits of fame?
JANE: I thought that sort of thing was outlawed.
HELEN: Not yet, butwe are trying.
DARIA: We should probably get back to Lawndale.
HELEN: Hmm… You’re right.
AMY: Say, when is this contest anyway?
DARIA: Oh, in just over a day.
JANE: Would you like to come?
AMY: I wouldn’t come this far without missing that sort of opportunity. Helen?
HELEN: I can changemy Saturday schedule.
AMY: That’s the spirit. [To Jane and Daria.] You’ll have to show us your act.
DARIA: When we return. [Quietly.] Thanks for caring.
JANE: It’s ok. But we can finish this conversation later. We have a gig to play.
[They head back into their respective vehicles.]
[Early morning. The SUV and Triumphare shown entering Lawndale on an otherwise empty road. Focus on the SUV, now occupied by Helen and Daria.]
DARIA: It was certainly an experience.
HELEN: Not one of your favourites, I assume.
DARIA: No, but whatmatters is whether we can overcome it.
HELEN: And if you can’t?
DARIA: Then I’ll save it for my tell-all biography.
HELEN: The DariaStory?
DARIA: I was considering Daria, I Hardly Knew Thee.
[Cut to the Triumph.]
JANE: A banjo-player, Quinn’s admirers and Mystik Spiral… The greatest challenge willbe surviving those acts.
AMY: Compared to that, winning the contest will be nothing.
JANE: Although you haven’t heard Daria and me yet.
AMY: Do you have opposable thumbs?
JANE: Last time I checked.
AMY: Then you’ll be fine.
[Jane rubs her eyes.]
JANE: Good. We’re almost back.
[Cut to both vehicles returning to the Morgendorffer residence.]
DARIA: Maybe we should put off that final rehearsal.
HELEN: Good idea.
JANE: I need my precious hours of sleep.
DARIA: That’s something you do share with Trent. [Yawns.]
AMY: Damn genetics.
[They collectively enter the house, to enjoy a well-deserved rest. Cut to later that morning, to the Spiral awakening.]
TRENT: Hmmm… That was nice.
NICK: Except for the singing.
TRENT: It’s called dedication.
MAX: Guys, not now.
NICK: Sorry. So this is the day?
TRENT: Are we gonna win?
TOM: Good morning!
TOM: You know, I had a dream last night.
MAX: What happened?
TOM: We won the contest. [Pause] Sorry, that wasn’t a dream. It’s what going to happen today!
TRENT: Right. We paid off the other bands, and Daria is still ‘absent’.
TOM: [Sarcastic.] Quite a mystery, that. Shall we prepare ourselves for glory?
TOM: Get ready.
MAX: Oh. Right.
TRENT: Sorry. We only just woke up.
TOM: That’s ok. Better to stumble now than during your acceptance speech.
TRENT: We have to do one of those?
TOM: Probably, I’m not sure. I wrote one up just in case. [Hands a small pile of palm cards to Trent.] Anyway, I’ll leave you to it. Need to pick out some suitable clothes.
[Cut to Tom in his room. Thankfully, he is shown only from the neck up.]
TOM: Suit! That’s it! I am stylish.
[Cut to the exterior of Upchuck’s house, where his own band has gathered.]
ANDREA: So this is it.
BURNOUT GIRL: Yeah.
UPCHUCK: I’d like to say a few words. Today we will play but two songs, yet those will be enoughto leave our mark. Think of the prize money, think of the success, but most ofall, think of the music.
SHAGGY: But I’d rather think about success!
UPCHUCK: Fine, think about that, and all the audience members you will [Wink] impress.
ANDREA: You’re not thinking about that are you Charles?
UPCHUCK: [Actually sounding sincere.] By no means, my raven-haired companion. [Pause] To victory!
ANDREA/SHAGGY/BURNOUT GIRL: To victory!
[Cut to a clock displaying 10:37am. Jane and Daria are playing, and sounding good.]
DARIA: So for once in my life…
JANE/DARIA: Let me, let me get what I want, Lord knows it would be the first time…
[After a brief instrumental coda, the song ends, to applause.]
HELEN: That was very good.
JANE: The irony is that we’ve practiced the song many times.
DARIA: We work on so many levels.
AMY: Impressive. Play like that and you’re bound to do well.
DARIA: We can’t be too confident.
AMY: Daria, we couldn’t make you turn from pessimism to egotism even if we tried. Not that we have, right?
[Helen laughs nervously.]
AMY: Would this be a good time to mention that I also have musical experience?
DARIA: What can youplay?
AMY: I like to playguitar. Sometimes, I also play the fool.
JANE: The fool?
AMY: Or the drums, close enough. Although my experience largely dates from college. That is the timefor that sort of thing.
JANE: I guess we started early.
AMY: You’re both ahead of schedule. [Pause. To Jane.] Say, would your brother’s band have any lying around?
JANE: There may be some buried away in the basement.
AMY: Oh good. I wasgoing to ask if you needed some backing, with emphasis on the ‘back’. This is your day after all.
DARIA: We can only hope.
[At this very moment, a disheveled Quinn arrives.]
QUINN: Uh, hi.
JANE: You know, we should go get those drums.
DARIA: [Immediately] Good idea. [Daria, Jane and Amy head for the door. Daria says a brief word to Helen on the way.]
HELEN: It’s all right. [Turns to Quinn.] Your sister was kidnapped while you were away!
QUINN: Oh no! [Beat.] But she seemed fine just then.
HELEN: She’s very strong. Now, just where have you been?
QUINN: [Nervous] Well the night started as a trip to the movies but then the movie was good and gave us ideas to talk about so it sort of turned into a sleepover without my helping it!
HELEN: [Raised eyebrow.] What ideas?
QUINN: Mother, this isn’t an interrogation!
HELEN: Well what isit then?
HELEN: [Annoyed.] Oh nevermind! We’ll talk about this later. For now however, I would likeyou to see Daria’s performance today. Your sister would appreciate it.
QUINN: No she wouldn’t.
HELEN: Trust me, she will.
QUINN: Oh. [Sudden realisation.] The contest! I need to ring Sandi. [Exit.]
[Cut to the Lane basement.]
JANE: There they are.
AMY: They’re drums alright. [Beat.] Mind if I try them out?
JANE: Knock yourself out.
DARIA: Figuratively speaking.
[We see Amy at the drums. After a couple of strokes she works into a drum beat, sounding sharp. She finishes with a resounding clash.]
JANE: Wow, that was pretty good.
DARIA: Why did you learn drums anyway?
AMY: I wanted to make sure that not all drummers are idiots. You know me, battling stereotypes…
AMY: They’re surprisingly easy to learn, like riding a bicycle. You should give it a go.
DARIA: [Hesitant.] Ok.
[Daria sits at the seat, and begins trying to play. Unfortunately, her attempts to keep a beat soon fail. She looks slightly deflated.]
DARIA: Maybe they’re not so easy.
AMY: Even riding a bicycle requires riding it first. Bad metaphor. [Beat.] Jane, would you like to tryit?
[She takes up the helm and begins banging away, sounding quite musical in the process.]
DARIA: At least we know how the instrument switching will work.
AMY: That’s arelief.
[Time passes. Cut to outside the venue, the Lawndale Youth Center. Tom is rallying the troops.]
TOM: Men, all of usreach a certain point, a certain day in our lives that will make all the difference, when you can go from failure to fame. Today, [Loudly, with stirring music in the background.] is that day! Now go forth and triumph for me! [Pause] And yourselves.
JESSE/TRENT/MAX: Right! [They walk on.]
[Zoom back, to see that Tom has hired an orchestra just for the occasion.]
TOM: Thank you, youcan go now.
CONDUCTOR: When arewe getting paid?
TOM: You’ll get a cheque later. [To no one.] I have a contest to win!
[He too strides toward the hall.]
[After further (unseen) practice, our heroines arrive outside the venue.]
DARIA: I thought you would have at least forced Quinn to attend.
HELEN: Oh I did, but she said she’d make her own way.
DARIA: I’m surprised you backed down so easily.
HELEN: Don’t worry, I didn’t.
DARIA: What did yousay?
HELEN: I gave a reminder just before you got back from Jane’s. Something that probably shouldn’t be said in public.
JANE: And we did have to fit our instruments somehow. [Sardonic] She’ll be just thrilled to attend.
[Cut to outside the registration office, where Quinn, Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany stand, agitated.]
QUINN: But we really want to enter!
STACY: We’ve been wanting to perform for such a long time that it’s been driving us crazy well not crazy because that would mean we’re insane which we’renot but well it’s just something we want to do.
TIFFANY: Music…Is my life…
OFFICIAL: I’msorry girls, but registration ended a fortnight ago.
TIFFANY: But this is where I want to be…
SANDI: Look, we intend to provide this little ‘contest’ of yours with some talent.
OFFICIAL: Right. Well, show us what you’ve got.
[Quinn, Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany begin to sing. Unfortunately, their efforts aren’t very coordinated. They soon stop.]
QUINN: Stacy! You were singing too fast!
STACY: [On the verge of tears] I’m really sorry Quinn but—
SANDI: And Tiffany, we’re up to the chorus, not the first verse.
TIFFANY: You were going too fast…
OFFICIAL: I think I’ve seen enough. Sorry, but you can’t enter. [Shuts door.]
QUINN: Gee, maybe we should have prepared this beforehand.
STACY: Maybe we should just see the show. We could be lucky and have someone cute playing.
QUINN: Good idea! Besides, my mom made ‘certain threats’ if I wasn’t there.
TIFFANY: Parents can be so cruel…
[They join the queue of spectators moving into the venue. Cut to a backstage locker- room, where Daria, Jane and Amy are preparing themselves for the gig.]
DARIA: So here we are now.
JANE: Except we want the audience to be entertained.
AMY: Yeah, but we should start with ‘us’. Not as if the rest of this line-up can be relied upon.
JANE: I don’tknow, Mystik Spiral could be entertaining, in an ‘utter shambles’ sort of way.
DARIA: Maybe. Um, maybe we should go through the routine one more time.
JANE: Good idea. Westart with a faithfully rendered cover, and then improvise. The instrument-switching could come in handy there too.
AMY: Just to reinforce the fact we are slightly talented.
JANE: Maybe we can make some people gawk.
DARIA: And winning would also be nice.
JANE: You optimist you.
[Cut to a luxurious locker-room, that of Mystik Spiral.]
MAX: Sure was nice of Tom to provide us with this room.
TRENT: He said it would be a taste of fame.
[Tom overhears thisremark and enters.]
TOM: That’s right. Soon you’ll be enjoying this grandeur every night!
JESSE: We’re going to stay here?
TOM: Well gentlemen, I have some last-minute matters to take care of. Good luck.
[Cut to on-stage, where the ever-so-edgy Val is announcing the contest.]
VAL: I’m Val as in Val and oh my god! This is so totally exciting! We’re going to find out today who is the grooviest, who is the best band in Landale…
QUINN: [From audience.] Lawndale!
VAL: Lawndale, that’s what I said. Now--
[While Val continues her introductory ramblings, we briefly cut to Helen sitting nearby in the audience.]
HELEN: [V/O] Oh dear. Daria wasn’t kidding about that woman.
[Return to stage.]
VAL: So here’s our first band, The Bee-J’s!
[Joey, Jeffy and Jamie emerge on stage, dressed in identical immaculate white suits. Backing music begins to play.]
JOEY: You can tell by the look in our eyes—
JEFFY/JAMIE: That we’re in love with you
JOEY/JEFFY/JAMIE: Oh yeah we really do.
JEFFY: Quinn, my love continues to grow,
JAMIE: Quinn I loveyou more than you ever know,
JOEY: Quinn I love you more than I’ll ever show.
JAMIE: But I love you more than those other guys,
They say they do but they’re just lies,
JOEY: No way man I am the one,
Stay with Joey if you want lots of fun,
JEFFY: You guys areboth wrong in what you say,
I profess my love for Quinn everyday,
I’ll get her a soda whenever she says.
(Unfortunately, thesong begins to break down.)
JOEY: Dude I totally love her more,
And don’t care if I don’t have a rhyme.
JEFFY: No one can love her the way I do
JAMIE: No way man Ilove her more than you!
JOEY: No way dude!
(The music abruptlystops. Just before matters disintegrate into fisticuffs, we return to backstage, where Tom is knocking on a door.)
TOM: I know you’re there.
(The door is opened.)
AMY: I’m sorry; we’re all out of hair gel today.
TOM: [Looking up slightly, and surprised at the fact.] Oh, you’re not Daria.
AMY: How observant.
TOM: Yes. Have you joined their band?
AMY: Either that or they’ve been leading me on.
JANE: [Calling out]What do you want Sloane?
TOM: A final business proposition. Obviously I couldn’t stop you from playing, despite my best efforts.
TOM: And I wouldn’t want to deny you an opportunity for creative expression. [Beat.] Can you just take a dive?
DARIA: No. We’re not athletic enough, and besides, don’t you want the satisfaction of winning fairly?
JANE: As fairly as you can in these circumstances.
TOM: (Considering) Hmmm…
(Jane walks towardsthe door.)
JANE: Good. (Slams door in Tom’s face.)
TOM: (Muffled) My beautiful face! [Beat.] Oh wait, it’s still beautiful.
(Cut to onstage, where Ted is playing a banjo solo, and not particularly well. The solo ends to muted applause.)
TED: Blast! I knew I should have stuck with the treble viol!
[He walks off-stage, to be replaced by Val acting in her announcer capacity.]
VAL: My ears are totally still recovering. And now, the edgy band someone’s surely been waiting for, ‘To Be Announced!”
[Cut to Jane and Daria, walking towards the front of the stage. Amy is in the background at her drum-kit.]
DARIA: But she just announced us. It doesn’t make sense.
JANE: There are better times to discuss this. Let’s rock. [Beat.] Well, as hard as we can when playing an acoustic cover.
DARIA: Those of youwho are about to listen, we salute you.
JANE: This one is about being needy and desperate enough to announce the fact in song. Surprisingly, we didn’t write it.
[‘To Be Announced’ launch into ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’. The shot focuses on the band, closing in on Jane giving Daria a thumbs-up as they move into the song’s instrumental coda.]
DARIA: That was a song by The Smiths. Uh, we’re not sure where this one will go. Just stay withus.
[With a frantic drum-beat in the background, Jane and Daria begin improvising. After a rapid solo, they begin adding lyrics.]
JANE: Money is a tempting thing,
Whether or not you can sing
But don’t forget those roots,
DARIA: That clutch of integrity,
And leave them for celebrity
It might not be worth it.
JANE: And wherever your career leads,
Remember your real needs,
Rather than just selling out,
DARIA: And fame may corrupt, absolutely
Those who are not prepared,
To hold onto what could be shared—
AMY: [From drums.] And money doesn’t talk, it swears.
JANE: Of fame for its own sake,
Do it through talent if you can,
Not a meddling nowhere man,
DARIA: And even if your music sucks,
JANE: Maybe you’ll improve,
Even if you don’t,
DARIA/JANE: Better to play to your own groove.
(After some furthermusic, the song reaches its end, to enthusiastic applause. The band bows in unison.)
JANE: Thank you, and I hope we passed the audition.
KEVIN: [From audience, loudly.] Huh? What audition?
DARIA: The auditionto ignore inane comments.
KEVIN: You guys areweird!
[Cut to Tom, nearby.]
TOM: You know, I think that number may just have been directed at me. Oh well.
[Val is on-stage.]
VAL: Alright, the final band Mystik Spiral is here to play! Jiggy!
[Trent grabs the microphone.]
TRENT: Hello Lawndale! Are you ready to rock?
TRENT: I said, are you ready to rock?
TRENT: Oh never mind. Hit it.
[Mystik Spiral begins playing ‘Ice Box Woman’. Sadly, their lack of practice shows, and the song soon ends with a dud chord.]
TRENT: [Quieter.] Don’t worry; we’ve still got one more number. [Loud] I dedicate this one to our many fans!
[Finally we hear Tom Sloane’s song, an extremely sappy ballad.]
TRENT: ‘Girl I called you on the telephone,
And waited to hear your loving tone,
Called just to say ‘I love you,
‘I’m glad you love me too’.
Because you know we’ll stay together,
Stay in love for forever,
When the Pyramids are buried in sand,
Our love, forever will still stand.
[Nick displays discomfort at the lyrics. Only a small portion of the audience appears to be enjoying the song.]
QUINN: Wait a minute! Stop everything!
[Surprisingly, the band stops playing. Tom runs on-stage.]
TOM: Another Morgendorffer trying to ruin us! [Infuriated.] What is wrong with you?
QUINN: Those are just Boys Are Guys lyrics with a new title!
STACY: Shouldn’t have you said that this song wasn’t really written by you at all like the last band who said they sang a cover.
SANDI: I thought I had heard that before.
TIFFANY: What aboutthe copyright…
TOM: Uh, I wrote it first…
QUINN: In 1999?
TOM: [Fooling no-one.] Yeah, that’s right!
QUINN: Too bad the song is from 1998!
[Tom runs from the stage. Mystik Spiral can’t be bothered to resume.]
NICK: [Dead-pan.] That went well.
TRENT: We’ll win this contest yet!
NICK: Trent, it’s over.
TRENT: They just didn’t understand us.
[Cut to the announcement.]
VAL: We used you guys responses’ (Cheers from audience) to decide just who was the most wowseriffically wonderful band in Lawndale, and here it is. Our winning band is To Be Announced!
[Cut to side-stage.]
TOM: See, we could still win!
TRENT: That’s Daria’s band.
TOM: Oh yes. [Annoyed.] Pardon me for trying to keep some optimism.
NICK: Or delusion.
TOM: I heard that!
NICK: You were meant to, and I can only take so much of this!
TOM: Fine, leave! You were always the weak link, dragging the band down with your lack of enthusiasm. It’s your fault we lost. When I first saw you I thought ‘That bassist, he could be replaced’, and the time has come.
TRENT: [Turns to Tom.] Who are we replacing him with?
TOM: Me, of course!
TRENT: [Thinking.] That could work.
[Unfortunately, this diversion means that we only see part of our heroines’ triumphant speech.]
JANE: And thanks for allowing me into college.
AMY: We’re really glad you liked the show.
DARIA: It was um, jiggy.
JANE: And remember kids, stay in school. [Beat, quietly.] It seemed worth saying.
JANE/DARIA/AMY: Thank you!
[They leave the stage, to more applause.]
[Cut to outside. Helen and Quinn are congratulating Daria and co.]
QUINN: You know, that was actually pretty good.
DARIA: Thanks for helping us expose Tom as the fraud he is.
QUINN: Ew! Even Upchuck's band was better.
JANE: He lost control. I just wonder how he got the album in the first place.
DARIA: [Sardonic.] By coincidence I’m sure.
JANE: No wonder he wouldn’t let me see his vast record collection. But hey, now attending BFAC will be possible. That preparation really helped.
DARIA: I’m surprised we could gel.
HELEN: Oh well, a bond can also be musical. [Beat.] And lyrical.
AMY: Our aim is true. That was certainly an experience.
DARIA: Thanks for helping.
AMY: It was a pleasure. Look, if you intend to enter another contest, just call.
DARIA: I think one might be enough.
JANE: As good as itwas, except for the whole kidnapping thing.
DARIA: [To Amy.] Maybe you could join us on the odd weekend.
DARIA: It would be nice to have a meeting not necessitated by crisis.
JANE: I guess what counts is what you make of them.
AMY: In your own way.
DARIA: If only Tom had learnt that lesson.
[Cut to Sloane Manor. Tom is scouring the newspapers, displaying another advertisement.]
TOM: Oakwood! That’s it!
[Tom dials a numberon his phone.]
TOM: Hello, Trent? [Pause.] Get the band together, we’ve got another Battle of the Bands to win!
Appendix: Beatles References:
Alluding to The Beatles 'other' drummer, Pete Best.
Tom is playing the George Martin role here.
Meet the Beatles.
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, from Help!.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, perhaps their best known album.
[Cut to Kevin practising,
This one is slightly obscure. On the single release of 'Love Me Do', Ringo wasn't thought talented enough to play drums. He instead played tambourine.
JANE: I’ve got
blisters on my fingers!
The famous ending of 'Helter Skeleter', shouted by Ringo.
Paraphrasing 'Getting Better', I must admit it's getting better, getting better all the time...
TOM: Sure I am, I’m
the manager. In years to come, I’ll be counted as the ‘fifth
Mystik’. [Elsie groans.]
This one explains itself, but hey.
Amy's line is a direct quote of John Lennon, from a BBC interview.
Referring to 'Nowhere Man', from Rubber Soul.
Another Lennon quote, from Let It Be's 'rooftop' concert.
From 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)'.