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1.15 Ruskie Business

Written by: Phil Klemmer and John Enbom
Directed by: Guy Norman Bee

Original Air Date: 22 February, 2005
Transcribed by Inigo

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Previously on Veronica Mars…Duncan Kane. He used to be my boyfriend.

Duncan kneels next to Veronica in journalism class in 114 Mars vs Mars. Then cut to the scene where Veronica deliberately ignores Duncan from 109 Drinking the Kool-Aid.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Then one day, with no warning, he ended things. Is Duncan my half-brother?

Meg and Veronica stand outside Meg’s locker in 108 Like a Virgin.

VERONICA: Meg, you’re the last good person at this school.

Meg addresses Veronica in the car park outside school.

MEG: You do have friends, Veronica.

Veronica explains to Leo in 114 Mars vs Mars.

VERONICA: Lilly Kane was my best friend. Did you know that the…

Cut to Clarence Wiedman entering his office in 111 Silence of the Lamb.

VERONICA: [offscreen]…head of security at Kane Software was the one that made the tip call that got Abel Koontz arrested?

Lianne stands outside a stadium in 105 You Think You Know Somebody.

LIANNE: Veronica, I know you have a million questions but everything will make sense when the time is right.

Aaron addresses Logan in 113 Lord of the Bling.

AARON: Have you heard from your sister?

LOGAN: She sent a telegram.

Cut to Aaron and Logan, about to go out the front door.

AARON: I know you blame me for your mother’s death.

Logan talks to Duncan in Logan’s bedroom.

LOGAN: They didn’t find a body because she’s not dead.

Lynn’s car is seen, abandoned on Coronado Bridge in 112 Clash of the Tritons.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I guess I should be grateful that my mother didn’t leave her car on a bridge.

Veronica opens the door to Logan in 113 Lord of the Bling.

VERONICA: Logan, what are you doing here?

LOGAN: I want you to find my mother.

End previously.

EXT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL (NHS), LUNCH AREA – DAY.

The camera pans round slowly against a babble of high school conversation, on subjects including a wrestler and Danielle Marcos, who should have got a room. There is a large, gaily painted banner over the door into the school reading: Total Eclipse of the Heart. The camera finds Veronica, sitting at one of the tables. Sitting at right angles next to her is Logan. Veronica is inspecting a record she is holding in her hand.

VERONICA: Your mom had fourteen credit cards in her name at the time of her disappearance.

She shows the paper to Logan, pointing to the reference.

VERONICA: This is the only one that’s been active. No-limit platinum card.

Logan examines it.

LOGAN: Be my mom’s weapon of choice.

VERONICA: This is also the only one that is still registered under her maiden name, Lester. Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

LOGAN: Or maybe she’s trying to hide, huh?

Veronica nods. Logan expels his breath and gives a half smile as he looks away. Veronica has the record in her hands again.

VERONICA: It’s hard to know for sure.

She looks a another page.

VERONICA: There’s only been one purchase so far, a rental car.

Logan looks down at what she’s found.

VERONICA: There was no surveillance tape from the point of sale but I ordered a copy of the card holder’s signature. It might take a couple of weeks.

LOGAN: [urgently] What kind of car?

VERONICA: [reading] Benz. Red…convertible.

Logan takes this in. He reverts to gazing into the distance. Veronica isn’t sure what else to say.

VERONICA: I-I’ll let you know if she strikes again.

LOGAN: Yeah.

With the printout in her hand, Veronica grabs her shoulder bag and rises from the table. Logan sits back for a second and then follows her.

INT – NHS, HALLWAY – CONTINUING.

A large cut-out is being carried across the screen. Behind it, Logan and Veronica walk side by side. As the cut-out clears the screen, Logan pulls up to a halt and turns to Veronica.

LOGAN: Hey, Veronica, uh… Thanks for helping out with this.

With a quick glance round, Logan puts his hand on Veronica’s arm and kneads her arm a couple of times gently. Veronica looks up at him and is feeling the sympathy. She is equally gentle when she nods her head and smiles.

VERONICA: I know what it’s like.

Logan stares at her for a moment, then returns the small smile, nods, and moves off, hands in pockets. Veronica marvels at the exchange with a smile and a shake of the head before heading into the room where the cut-out was heading.

INT – NHS, AUDITORIUM – CONTINUING.

It’s a large room, the site of the dance advertised on the banner. People are moving chairs and decorations. Someone is up on a ladder. Duncan, with a clipboard, is directing operations.

DUNCAN: [to the girl up the ladder] Don’t be stingy with the glitter. Remember. It’s an eighties dance.

Veronica, looking up at the decorations as she walks forward, comes into his field of vision.

DUNCAN: You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I just saw my best friend…

He points out to the corridor.

DUNCAN: …ask you…

He points at Veronica.

DUNCAN: …to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Duncan grins.

VERONICA: [in her best breathless girlie speak] No, no one’s asked. But I’m pining away by the phone waiting for that special boy to call.

DUNCAN: Hm. [playfully] You never know.

She gazes at Duncan as he turns to deal with something else.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Come on, Duncan. You know as well as I do, my heart was totally eclipsed long ago.

FLASHBACK: INT – NHS, AUDITORIUM – NIGHT.

Long-haired Veronica and Duncan dance closely. Their song, identified in the pilot, is playing. Music: Just Another by Peter Yorn.

LYRICS: You and I, we're two of a kind
I hate to say it, but you'll never relate
What makes you tick? It makes me smile...

Veronica’s hands are on Duncan’s neck and arm.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I mean, sure, once upon a time that special boy did call and the spring dance was the crowning moment of my fairy tale-esque teen girl life. But now I know better. It felt like love but maybe it was just-

MEG: [offscreen] Veronica!

Just as they are about to kiss, Veronica is rudely dragged back to the present. End music: Just Another by Peter Yorn.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – NHS, AUDITORIUM – CONTINUING.

Duncan is standing next to her again. Meg races over.

VERONICA: Hey!

Meg ignores Duncan.

MEG: Hey. I really need to talk to you.

VERONICA: [to Duncan] Sorry…

She takes Meg’s arm.

VERONICA: …girl emergency.

Duncan shrugs with a ‘no problem’ gesture.

VERONICA: What’s up?

As Veronica leads them away, Duncan gazes after them. Meg is grinning.

MEG: I think I have a secret admirer.

As Meg says this, Veronica’s cell starts ringing. She reaches into her back pocket to retrieve it.

VERONICA: [impressed] Ooohh.

Veronica opens the phone and answers it as they continue walking.

VERONICA: Hello. [pause, then impatiently] Hello.

There is another pause and Meg looks concerned.

VERONICA: Oh hi, nice breathing. Yep, just keeps getting better and better. [to Meg] Has your secret admirer been calling you all week and hanging up without speaking?

MEG: No.

Veronica ends the call.

VERONICA: Hmm, lucky you. So tell me about it.

FLASHBACK: INT – SCHOOLBUS – NIGHT.

Meg, dressed in her cheerleader’s outfit, is dozing.

MEG: On our way back from our last away game…

She wakes at the sound of her phone.

MEG: …I got this weird text message.

On Meg’s display is written: I think UR kewl.

MEG: So I looked around and saw two guys on their cell phones.

There is a jock type at the front of the bus.

MEG: Caz is always flirty with me but that guy would flirt with a trash can if it had boobs.

Meg looks round and spots a quieter guy in the back.

MEG: Then there was Martin. He’s sweet but a little moony, if you know what I mean.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – NHS, HALLWAY – CONTINUING.

Veronica and Meg have stopped outside the dance room.

VERONICA: Or it could be some maladjusted freshman who likes to lurk outside your bedroom window with binoculars and a bag of pork rinds.

Meg nods and giggles.

MEG: [begging, cheerfully] Come on, Veronica. You gotta help me find out who it is. This could turn out to be my soul mate.

Veronica smile sceptically.

INT – MARS INVESTIGATIONS (MI) – DAY.

Veronica enters the outer office.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: When I’ve had my fill of soul mates, glitter and puppy love, I always find a private detective’s office a refreshing change of pace.

Veronica dumps her bag and peeks into her father’s office, the door of which is partially open. Keith has someone with him but rises from his desk.

KEITH: Here’s my assistant now.

Keith comes out of his office, leaving the client there.

KEITH: [whispering, then quietly] Hi. I’m swamped with this insurance fraud thing but we could use this fee. Can you take her information, charge her a straight 75? Shouldn’t take more than a half hour online.

VERONICA: Sure.

KEITH: Thanks.

Veronica grabs her bag to get paper out.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Nothing soothes the nausea, headache and occasional dizziness of a romance overdose like a glimpse of the aftermath. The custody battles, the affairs and…

Veronica enters Keith’s office. There is a woman sitting opposite Keith’s desk. Veronica heads round to sit at the desk.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: …what I’m guessing is a trophy wife looking for her golden parachute.

KEITH: She’ll take your info and I’ll get right on it.

Keith leaves.

VERONICA: So, how can I help you… Miss…

CATHERINE: [distressed and with heavy Russian accent] Lenova, Cat-ta-rina Lenova. I made mistake. Involving love. I didn’t know what a good thing I had and-and I lost him. You must help me find him. He was my soul mate.

Veronica looks resigned.

Opening credits.

INT – MI – CONTINUING.

The camera is behind Veronica, showing Catherine beyond a picture that Veronica holds in her hand. It is of a man kneeling down next to a dog.

CATHERINE: Ah, zat’s Tom.

Veronica puts the photo down.

CATHERINE: Two years ago I came here from Bratsk in Russia to meet zis man.

VERONICA: Like a mail order bride thing?

CATHERINE: Not mail anymore. Internet, um, we exchange message and, uh, I came to Chicago as his fiancé.

VERONICA: [taken aback] That’s a brave move.

CATHERINE: Not if you’ve seen Bratsk.

She laughs.

CATHERINE: All the boys there, as zey say, are beautiful, like a princess. Maybe I am expecting a prince. When I meet Tom, I am disappointed; he’s not what I imagine. I-In his picture he was not, um, how you say… um…

Catherine draws the flat of her hand a few inches above and over her head, back and forth and whistles and clicks trying to get the word.

VERONICA: Bald.

CATHERINE: Yes. Before we are married I had zee cold feet, so I, ah, I leave him. After some time here, alone, I-I realise I made mistake. He is good man and he is gone. I look it but, but with him changing his name…

VERONICA: [alert] Why would he change his name?

CATHERINE: He does plays in Chicago. H-He always talk about come to California, be an actor.

VERONICA: What’s wrong with Tom?

CATHERINE: To- oh, his last name, ah, c-r-u-z. I-I guess it’s too much like zat actor, you know… Tom…

VERONICA: Cruise. Yes, I see the problem. Ah, what makes you think he’s here?

CATHERINE: Za last I hear from him, several months back iz zis postcard.

The title of the postcard is ‘Surfing – California Style’. It bears a Neptune postmark dated Feb 2005. Veronica reads it out loud.

VERONICA: “Catherine, Thank you for the good days, but I need to move on. I won’t be in touch again.”

She points to the postmark, but Veronica misses the anomaly between the date and Catherine’s “several months back.” (Or, possibly, the lovely Rick Pickett goofed.)

VERONICA: Postmarked Neptune, California. All right, well this shouldn’t be too hard. Ah, $75 and Mr Mars should have something for you in a couple days.

INT – MARS RESIDENCE – NIGHT.

Wallace is in the background, sitting on the couch and watching TV. Veronica uses the laptop which is set up on the counter in the kitchen.

VERONICA: [exasperated] How hard can it be to find an actor named Tom Cruz?

WALLACE: Tom Cruise? Not as good a private eye as I thought.

VERONICA: No. C-R-U-… never mind. Okay.

She lowers the laptop cover.

VERONICA: I’m hanging out.

She flounces down into the armchair. She watches the TV for about a second before going back to work.

VERONICA: Hey, you’re on the basketball team, right?

WALLACE: You obviously haven’t seen us play. I am the basketball team.

VERONICA: Can you do something for me?

WALLACE: [not best pleased] You just stopped hanging out again.

VERONICA: It’s a favour for Meg. She’s got this secret admirer; he’s been text messaging her. You know Caz and Martin on the team?

Wallace nods.

VERONICA: How ‘bout you sneak a peek at their cell phones and see if they dial Meg’s number?

WALLACE: [exasperated] What is it with you girls and your girly-girl drama? What are you now? A love detective?

VERONICA: Wallace…

She leans towards him.

VERONICA: …if you do this for me, we’ll be best friends forever. [pleading] Come on, don’t you want us to be BFF?

WALLACE: [resigned] All right, all right. But the next time we hang out, you gotta actually hang out.

Wallace downs a large potato crisp and returns his attention to the TV. Veronica gazes at him with a “huh” look which then turns to an indulgent smile.

INT – NHS, HALLWAY – DAY.

Veronica rounds a corner by a heart shaped wall decoration. She stops, surprised. Meg, wearing her cheerleader gear, is enjoying the scent of a rather stunning bouquet sticking out of her locker.

VERONICA: Secret admirer strikes again and the plot thickens.

Meg holds up a card that says GO!, with a grin]

MEG: He wants me to go to the dance.

Veronica grabs the card.

MEG: I’m dying to know who it is.

Veronica examines one of the flowers.

VERONICA: Purple faced monkey orchid. Native to the King Leopold range in the Australian outback. My deduction? [with dramatic mystery] Your secret admirer is an aboriginal tribesman…

MEG: Uh-huh.

Meg laughs.

VERONICA: …who shops…

Veronica holds up the card.

VERONICA: ...at Manny’s Flower Hut.

Veronica pockets the card and gets out her cell, lining up to take a picture.

MEG: Uh-huh. What are you doing?

VERONICA: In the detective business, we call this a clue.

MEG: What about the text messages?

VERONICA: I’ve got my best man on it.

INT – SCHOOLBUS – DAY.

Wallace lounges on one of the seats, playing a game on his phone, in the nearly empty bus. As soon as the last two students leave, Wallace darts up and searches one of the kit bags.

EXT – SCHOOLBUS – CONTINUING.

Meg walks up towards the bus, arm in arm with another cheerleader. Caz diverts her from her colleague by putting a hand on her arm.

CAZ: Ah, Meg, Meg. I’m actually, uh, throwing a rager at my house tomorrow night and it should be pretty kick-ass.

INT – SCHOOLBUS – CONTINUING.

Wallace is still searching the bag and pulls out a jock strap. As he holds it out distastefully…

CAZ: Hey dude! What the hell are you doing?

Wallace is at a loss.

INT – MI – DAY.

At Veronica’s desk, Catherine sits opposite her.

VERONICA: Miss Lenova, Mr Mars was unable to find any trace of Tom. I’m really sorry.

CATHERINE: Iz zere nothing more he can do?

VERONICA: Well, he’s done all the routine searches, um, you could hire him full time, it’s $250 a day, plus expenses.

Catherine opens her handbag.

CATHERINE: I pay, whatever it takes.

VERONICA: Mr Mars is the best in the business.

Catherine writes a cheque.

VERONICA: So can you tell me anything else about him?

CATHERINE: He just… zis wonderful man. He-he not the most handsome or-or rich but he-he’s sweet and-and-and kind and-and, oh he make me laugh.

She illustrates.

VERONICA: I actually meant, um, like his hobbies or interests, details like that, other than acting.

CATHERINE: He like da, um, hockeys. Um, I-er, he play guitar but not very well. Um, he like-he like detective movies. Uhh, Chinese food, da, like that?

VERONICA: Like that.

Veronica makes a note whilst Catherine finishes writing the cheque and tears it from the book.

CATHERINE: Please.

Catherine passes the cheque to Veronica.

CATHERINE: Ask Mr Mars to work as fast as he can.

VERONICA: I’m sure he’ll come through.

Cut to later. Catherine is gone. Veronica is on the phone.

VERONICA: [in New Yorkish accent] Hi, I’m looking to place a casting notice and I need this filled as soon as possible. I’m looking for an ordinary guy type, medium height and build, dark hair and a little thin on top and he must be able to play hockey and play the guitar. [pause] Right. And here is the fax number you can send those headshots.

INT – MI – NIGHT.

A photo is printing from the fax machine but it is not Tom Cruz. Veronica is standing over the fax, waiting for it to complete. There’s a sharp knock at the front door and it opens before Veronica gets to it. It’s Wallace. She smiles at him briefly and returns her attention to the faxed photo. Wallace is not happy and drops his bag on the small coffee table.

WALLACE: About this secret mission.

VERONICA: What’cha got?

WALLACE: [crossly] A reputation as a jock-sniffer. You can be your own FF. I’m retired.

He notices the number of faxed photos spread over the kitchen counter]

WALLACE: What’s all this?

VERONICA: Casting call for Tom Cruz with a zee. Apparently, he has changed his name.

Somehow (iffy edit) Wallace has picked up the photo of Tom and the dog and is looking at it.

WALLACE: Damn, this dog is a freak show.

He flips it to show Veronica.

WALLACE: He oughta be in show biz.

Veronica grabs it and looks more carefully.

VERONICA: You think that’s some kind of rare breed or something?

WALLACE: That or a drunk dingo had a three-way with an ocelot and a porcupine.

Veronica’s cell rings. She puts down the photo, grabs the phone and sits at the counter.

VERONICA: Hold that thought.

Veronica checks the text message.

VERONICA: Hello, no-limit platinum card.

WALLACE: How many cases you working on here, Rockford?

Veronica is pulling up Lynn’s credit card details on her laptop. Amongst other payments made in December, Lynn paid Elite Catering $5600.00 (for the Echolls Christmas party?) and Epiphany Jewellery $12,450.33 (for something sparkly). The last entry for January was for gas on the 5th. There’s then nothing (save the bill being paid on the 21st) until 14 February, when a car is hired and 18 February for the Sunset Regent in West Hollywood. Veronica notes this one.

VERONICA: Twelve hundred bucks?

Veronica dials a number on her cell.

LOGAN’S VOICEMAIL: This is Logan with today’s inspirational greeting: the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…

Veronica rolls her eyes.

LOGAN’S VOICEMAIL: …Eleanor Roosevelt. Leave a message.

VERONICA: Hey. Call me when you get this. There’s been another charge on your mom’s credit card…at the Sunset Regent.

Veronica terminates the call, deep in thought.

INT – SUNSET REGENT – DAY.

Logan is in the lobby of the hotel, just at the long end of a pace. He huffs with impatience. Veronica arrives from behind him, running up all girlie.

VERONICA: [loudly] I know I’m late. Sorry, honey.

She stretches up and plants a kiss on his cheek. Logan is taken aback.

VERONICA: [softly] So I talked to this guy on the phone. Let me handle it, he’s a bit prickly.

Veronica grabs Logan’s arm and marches him up to the hotel receptionist’s counter.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: [British and pompous with it] May I help you?

VERONICA: You may. My fiancé and I are looking for a honeymoon suite.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: [smarmy and insincere] Oh, how wonderful.

He brings out some pictures.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: These are our more affordable packages. The rooms run $350 for a courtyard and $450 for poolside. On the weekends of course, it’s a two night minimum.

VERONICA: Of course. Here’s a little bit more what I had in mind.

Veronica, sporting a huge, sparkling engagement ring, pulls a wedding album out of her bag. It is stuffed full of pictures taken from magazines. She flicks through.

VERONICA: …just…

Logan is appalled and impressed.

LOGAN: Wow, sugarpuss, you’ve certainly been a busy little bee.

They giggle at each other.

LOGAN: [to the receptionist] Ah, she’s a keeper.

Having noted the ring, the receptionist is taking much more interest now.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: Um, these are our luxury suites.

He produces a file with more pictures of better suites and hands it to Veronica. She flicks through.

VERONICA: Ooh. Nope. No. Uh, yech.

She points to the one she was looking for.

VERONICA: Well, how much is this one?

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: Ah, yes. Our Princess Suite. Twelve hundred a night. It has a hot tub, 360 degree view and, um, private elevator access.

VERONICA: [to Logan] Ah, yummy...

LOGAN: [hope making him almost unintelligible] Yeah.

Veronica touches Logan’s arm.

VERONICA: Let’s take a look, hon.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: I apologise but the suite’s currently occupied.

VERONICA: Like literally occupied, because we could just poke our heads in.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: Um. I’m sorry but our guest has insisted on her privacy.

Logan is convinced they’ve found his mother.

LOGAN: Could we maybe just call up to the room?

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: [obsequious] Oh, I’m afraid that’s not possible. I-I assure you we will afford you the same privacy, should you choose to stay with us.

Veronica smiles but knows they are defeated.

VERONICA: Hmm.

Veronica collects her “wedding book” and she and Logan head for one of the plush couches.

VERONICA: All right, stay put. I’m gonna go talk to the maintenance guys.

LOGAN: No, I think I can handle it from here.

VERONICA: No, I can get them to unlock the service elevator and we can just-

LOGAN: Naw, I’ve got a better idea. I’ll just sit right here.

Logan sits on a couch in view of the lifts.

LOGAN: Until my mother walks out of that elevator.

Veronica sees he is determined and makes a sympathetic face.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: As a plan, a bit low concept for my taste, but Logan seems primed for a stake-out and I’ve got a pair of elusive Romeos to track down.

Cut to the picture of Meg’s flowers on Veronica’s cell.

MANNY: [offscreen] Yeah, I-I believe I do recognise my handiwork…

INT – MANNY’S FLOWER HUT – DAY.

The camera shifts to show a man holding Veronica’s phone. Manny appears to have been smoking some of what he has been growing. He looks like a cross between an old biker and an old hippie and talks, or rather growls, like an old surfer dude who got hit in the head on the big waves once too often. Throughout, he is eager to please.

MANNY: …yeah, yeah.

He closes and returns the phone to Veronica.

VERONICA: You maybe…remember who bought it?

MANNY: Yeah, yeah. Unusual order. Most kids order straight up, like roses and baby’s breath. No damn imagination. But this kid, he, you know, he’s thinking outside the box, you know?

VERONICA: I-I mean, what he looked like?

MANNY: Ah, ha, yeah, right. He’s not a bad looking kid. Kinda medium sized, you know? He’s got that look, you know, that…

Manny does a sort of clueless robot geek move difficult to describe.

MANNY: …look, you know?

VERONICA: [confused] What look?

Manny repeats the movement.

MANNY: You know, kinda that, duh, high school kid look.

Veronica is none the wiser.

VERONICA: Okay. Uh, thanks a bunch, Manny.

MANNY: Yeah.

INT – MI – DAY.

Wallace looks in a dog encyclopaedia.

WALLACE: Mexican hairless. What’s the point of having a dog if it’s bald? What are you gonna pet? Skin?

VERONICA: [firmly] Stay on task, Wallace.

The phone rings. Veronica answers.

VERONICA: Mars Investigations.

INT – KEITH’S CAR – CONTINUING.

KEITH: Hey, honey. Why did I just get a voicemail from this Russian woman asking how I’m doing with her case? I thought you dealt with that.

The camera now cuts between the two during the course of the conversation. Veronica who is at her laptop.

KEITH: My plate is full with this insurance fraud thing.

VERONICA: Uh, I’m still dealing.

Veronica has uploaded the picture of Tom and the dog and enlarges it.

VERONICA: Turns out it was a little more complicated.

KEITH: Veronica. Don’t waste your time on this. If the computer search didn’t do it then just tell her we’re too busy.

Veronica is still enlarging the photo, centring on the dog’s collar.

VERONICA: She agreed to the daily rate and we can always use the money. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool to have glasses in the kitchen that didn’t have the Hamburglar on them?

Wallace chuckles.

KEITH: Forget about the money.

VERONICA: I just thought it would be nice if, instead of breaking people up, we brought them together for once.

In the photo, Tom is fingering a tag on the dog’s collar. Veronica enlarges more and more to read the tag.

KEITH: Honey, we’re private investigators, not the frigging “Love Boat.”

VERONICA: Dad, I’m almost there, I just need to track down…

One final enlargement and she’s got it.

VERONICA: Steve!

KEITH: Steve? That’s our guy?

VERONICA: No, Steve’s a dog.

Wallace has found the breed in one of the books and holds it up for Veronica to see.

WALLACE: It’s a Catahoula Leopard dog.

KEITH: Who the hell names a dog Steve?

VERONICA: Tom Cruz?

Keith crumples in his seat and shakes his head.

KEITH: Don’t forget. You’re a high school girl. Do some high school girl things now and then.

VERONICA: Relax, Dad. I’m cutting pictures of Ashton out of Teen People as we speak.

Keith spots a man in a neck brace walking along the street.

KEITH: You better be. Gotta run sweetie.

Keith closes up his cell and watches the man as he licks his ice cream.

EXT – STREETS – CONTINUING.

Keith gets out of the car to follow the man. Two men in another car watch him.

INT – MI – DAY.

Veronica has the phone book open at a list of specialist dog vets, all in the 90909 zip on street names like Ocean View, Lance Way, Anney Lane, Crystal Avenue Essex Drive, and is going through them.

TELEPHONE: Exotic Animal Hospital.

VERONICA: I’m calling about a Catahoula Leopard dog named Steve.

TELEPHONE: Uh, nope, not here.

VERONICA: Sorry.

She tries the next.

TELEPHONE: Pet Hospital.

VERONICA: Hi, I’m calling about a Catahoula Leopard dog named Steve.

TELEPHONE: Brought in last week?

VERONICA: Yes! Right. Uh, I met Steve on a dog beach a while back and, well, I have a Leopard dog, Lulu and I was looking to breed her and it seemed like she and Steve has some real chemistry. Ah, I know you probably wouldn’t give me the owner’s name and number but I was wondering if you might call him and see if he would talk to me? My name is Veronica, you can reach me at-

TELEPHONE: We’ve got caller ID.

VERONICA: Caller ID. How do we ever get by? Thanks.

Veronica looks up at the clock on the wall. It is 4:07. She grabs her cell and dials.

VERONICA: Hey Meg, it’s Veronica. Would you mind leaving a little early for the party so I can make a stop. [pauses] No, nothing major.

Veronica pauses again to listen as the other phone rings.

VERONICA: Okay, I gotta run. I’ll see ya. Hello?

TELEPHONE: Sorry, the dog’s owner said no.

VERONICA: Oh, I see. Well, it was a long shot anyway. Thanks.

INT – SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT – NIGHT.

Veronica and Meg enter, dressed for the party.

VERONICA: This’ll just take a minute.

MEG: I still don’t understand what we’re even doing here.

Veronica does a um-um cough to get Leo’s attention. He’s on the phone. He waves and Meg gets it.

MEG: Ah-ha. It all seems clearer now.

Meg smiles.

VERONICA: [protesting] This is just business.

MEG: [not believing a word of it] Ah-huh.

Veronica leaves Meg and walks to Leo’s desk just as he puts down the phone.

LEO: Miss Mars. You have something else to confess?

Leo is smiling broadly as he walks to the front of his desk and sits on it.

VERONICA: I’m just here for a little favour.

She spots something.

VERONICA: What is that?

Veronica points. On a clipboard attached to a pillar, there is a sketch of Veronica, with horns.

LEO: Oh, we have the sketch artist up from San Diego.

Meg is observing all of this carefully.

LEO: Figured I’d test him out. He’s not bad.

VERONICA: I don’t have horns.

Leo looks her over to check.

LEO: Yeah, I guess not. Memory really plays tricks on people.

A man comes from around the pillar.

KARL: Hey, Veronica.

VERONICA: Hey Karl.

KARL: Long time, no see. What do ya think?

He points proudly at his sketch of her.

VERONICA: Um, it’s great. I finally feel [with air quotes] wanted.

KARL: Right. Say hi to your dad for me.

VERONICA: [to Leo] I’m just here for a little favour. You guys can get phone records, right?

LEO: We can get anything. We’re cops.

She pulls out a piece of paper and hands it to him.

LEO: Pine Veterinary Clinic?

VERONICA: I need to know what numbers they called between four and four ten today.

LEO: [reluctant] I don’t know, Veronica.

VERONICA: Leo, there is a long and proud history of mutual back scratching between cops and private dicks.

LEO: So when do you scratch my back?

VERONICA: Well maybe I’ll see you tonight when you and Sacks bust this party we’re going to.

She spins round and walks away.

LEO: I’m looking forward to it.

She looks back smiling and then joins Meg to go on their way.

MEG: My, Veronica, he totally wants to protect and serve you.

VERONICA: Please Meg. We’re looking for your man tonight.

MEG: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

INT – PARTY HOUSE – NIGHT.

Music: Waiting by Taxi Doll.

LYRICS: Remember when I looked at you with a frown
And then you showed me your crown and make me smile
I wouldn’t sing for all the courage and tears
And I’ve forgotten how fierce it felt to fly.
Another road that gently bends at our feet
Has given up to the street, we are making a ride.
You know I’ve been waiting way too long, so long
I’ve been waiting alone
For this I’ve been waiting much too long, so long
And now the waiting is done.
Remember when I took your handful of hope
You showed me how to provoke more in this world.
I can’t explain, you answered more than a prayer
You put a smile in my ear, a simple thought to attain.
Now we go our veins are running with start
And you have given me heart, we’re doing it right.
You know I’ve been waiting way too long, so long
I’ve been waiting alone
For this I’ve been waiting much too long, so long
And now the waiting is done.
And so you are bringing back something that I have learned
What’ve I’ve been missing all along.
And baby you know you’ve got and I will give you what
I have been holding for so long, so long.
And now we go our veins are running with start
And you have given me heart ‘cause we are doing it right.
You know I’ve been waiting way too long, so long
I’ve been waiting alone
For this I’ve been waiting much too long, too long
And now the waiting is done.

Veronica and Meg enter.

VERONICA: Okay, the game is afoot.

They walk in and Meg removes her sweater. They look around.

VERONICA: Nice house.

Caz comes up behind them.

CAZ: Oh, you like?

MEG: Your folks must be really laid back.

Caz is standing next to a portrait of a middle-aged couple. He looks at it and back at the girls.

CAZ: Oh, these aren’t actually my parents. This isn’t my house house. It’s one of the model homes in my old man’s cheesy new sub-division.

Veronica and Meg exchange a look.

CAZ: But would you girls like a drink?

Caz escorts them to the heart of the party.

MEG: Umm, I’m fine.

CAZ: Yeah, you are super-fine.

Caz accompanies this comment with a finger-gun.

VERONICA: A soda?

CAZ: You know, I think we’re fresh out but, um…

Caz points to the beer on tap. Meg follows him to the beer while Veronica hangs back and watches.

CAZ: So did you get a chance to go to the game last night?

MEG: I was cheering. On the sidelines. Because [with air quotes] I am kewl.

CAZ: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally spaced.

Caz turns back to brag with some people behind him.

CAZ: Hey, remember when I jammed it over that Long Beach Poly guard?

Meg looks back at Veronica a little longingly, like “get me out of here.”

CAZ: Knocked his rec-specs off!

As Caz high-fives with his mate, he spills his beer all over Meg’s dress. She gasps.

CAZ: [burping] Sorry.

Meg heads to the kitchen area to try and repair the damage. Martin is propped up against the counter. She looks in a cupboard for something to wipe her dress.

MARTIN: You won’t find anything in those cupboards it’s a fake house.

MEG: Uh, right.

MARTIN: So I see you got Caz’s little game recap, huh.

MEG: Yeah, like all over me.

Martin hands her a balled up sweater.

MEG: Oh, no, no, no. I don’t want to ruin your sweater.

MARTIN: No, it’s not mine, it’s Caz’s. Go crazy.

VERONICA: [offscreen] Hey Martin…

Veronica comes forward to take the opportune moment.

VERONICA: Can I borrow your cell phone?

MARTIN: Sure.

Martin give Veronica his phone. She walks off, immediately trying to see if he called Meg. The display warns that the battery is low and that the phone is powering off now.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Oh, you have got to be kidding me.

DUNCAN: [offscreen] Hey.

Duncan comes into view.

DUNCAN: Do you know what’s going on with Logan?

VERONICA: What do you mean?

DUNCAN: Well, he’s camped out in a hotel lobby in LA.

VERONICA: How do you know that?

DUNCAN: I just talked to him.

VERONICA: He’s still there? Uh, I’ll take care of it.

Veronica leaves Duncan standing and a bit perplexed. She heads back to Martin.

VERONICA: Martin.

She tosses his phone and he juggles to get hold of it. Veronica heads for the exit and is intercepted by Meg.

MEG: There you are. Did you find out anything? I’m totally confused. Okay. Granted, I would look good on Caz’s arm but do you have anything available in sensitive or charming.

VERONICA: I can check in the back.

MEG: Good.

VERONICA: Um-hmm.

VERONICA: I’m so sorry Meg, I have to run. Can you find a ride home?

MEG: Yeah, I’ll be fine.

Veronica hurries to the door but stops, turns back and points at Meg.

VERONICA: [Superfly style] No, you’ll be super-fine.

MEG: Oh.

Meg pulls the finger-gun and click-clicks with her tongue. Veronica goes and Meg looks round, a little worried. End music: Waiting by Taxi Doll.

INT – SUNSET REGENT – NIGHT.

Logan hasn’t moved and is sprawled out on the couch. A lift bell sounds and time speeds up as people pass and use the lifts. Logan has one leg up on the coffee table and is leaning against some pillows, with another blanketing his legs. Legs of a different sort approach him.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST: I’m sorry. But the lobby’s reserved for hotel guests only.

(Eek, bad continuity moment as Logan is now in a different place on the couch and bounces between the two different shots) Logan hardly registers the man. Without taking his eyes off the lifts, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a credit card.

LOGAN: So book me a room, Jeeves.

The receptionist takes the card.

LOGAN: Bring me a room service menu while you’re at it.

Veronica arrives in the lobby and sees him. She sighs. She walks over and sits on the coffee table in front of him. He barely registers her presence. She sighs heavily.

VERONICA: You know you can’t sit here forever.

She gets out her phone.

VERONICA: What do you say we smoke her out. [on cell] I’d like to report my card lost. My name is Lynn Lester.

Logan glances at her. Cut to later. Veronica is now sitting on the couch next to Logan, who is looking down at his loosely clenched hands. A lift bell is heard but Logan, presumably weary of disappointment, doesn’t look up. Veronica does and pats his arm and points. A woman’s legs and back are seen. She’s wearing a black coat, hat and sunglasses. She goes to reception.

LOGAN: That’s her.

Logan rises from the couch.

LOGAN: Mom?

Logan rushes towards the woman. She turns around and removes her sunglasses. It’s not Lynn.

TRINA: Oh, hey, Logan.

Veronica has come up behind Logan. She keeps her distance.

TRINA: Did you just call me Mom? You okay, brother? [matter of factly] You know Mom’s gone, right?

LOGAN: Wow. You’re supposed to be in Australia.

TRINA: Yeah, well that didn’t work out.

She sees Veronica.

TRINA: Veronica, hey!

VERONICA: [uncomfortably] Hello, Trina.

TRINA: So, is the whole brat pack here? What is this, like, like, prom night. You guys get a room here for some after-party. [conspiratorially] Oh, hey. Oh. I’ve been kinda outta the loop lately. Are you two-

LOGAN: Stop! You shut up. You’re wearing Mom’s clothes, you’re wearing Mom’s hat.

TRINA: She was your mom, my step-mom. The lady who liked to parade though the house in a string bikini, whenever I had a boy over.

LOGAN: Yeah, well to be fair when didn’t you have a boy over.

TRINA: Oh, you…

Trina leans forward to slap her brother. He blocks it with his hand.

LOGAN: Dad could’ve used you there.

TRINA: [laughing] So now you’re worried about Dad’s welfare. Isn’t he the big bad wolf?

Logan shakes his head and mouths “No” to his sister but she ignores him and presses on.

TRINA: Cigarette burns and broken noses. Oh, the stories you used to tell.

Veronica casts a troubled glance at Logan at this.

LOGAN: Wow, we should get together and do this more often.

TRINA: Yeah, well, you’re in luck. I’m heading home now. I guess some accountant finally cancelled Mom’s cards.

LOGAN: But if you’re coming home, who will play Dead Hooker Two on CSI this week? How will you get your attention fix?

TRINA: Maybe I can be the ring girl at one of your bum fights.

As they get increasingly bitchy with each other, Veronica steps forward to intervene. She grabs Logan and steps around him to put herself in between them. She addresses Logan.

VERONICA: You know what? Shall we get going, Logan?

Logan, who seems to be staring at his sister but has really gone to a hopeless place in his head as he realises what Trina’s presence means, is not responsive to Veronica. Trina gets all girlie friendly.

TRINA: Veronica, look at you. All grown up. Hey, we should hang out when I’m in town.

VERONICA: Okay. Yeah. Logan, come on. Let’s go.

Veronica leads him away.

TRINA: See ya guys. Drive safe.

Trina turns momentarily to reception and then walks away. Logan turns to watch her and Veronica tries to lead him away again. He doesn’t resist when she grabs his arm and pulls him round. He shakes his head as they take a couple more steps and then breaks down. They stop. Logan leans forward with his hands on his thighs. Veronica is uncertain what to do. Logan cries, Veronica clears her throat. She pats his back as he tries to stand up again but fails and leans over again. Veronica’s hand is on his back, rubbing. Logan leans into Veronica.

LOGAN: She…

Logan’s head rests against Veronica’s breast. She brings her other arm around his head, cradling it. Logan clutches Veronica who holds his head close to her and rubs his back. She nearly loses her balance as Logan goes down on his knees but she doesn’t change her hold. He weeps.

LOGAN: She’s gone. She’s gone.

Veronica makes soothing noises although she is not comfortable with the situation, her face registering a mixture of sympathy and shock.

INT – KEITH’S CAR – DAY.

Keith drives and speaks into his cell.

KEITH: Yep, I got some pictures. Mr Neckbrace with a former lawyer, Joe Allen, who was disbarred last year for repping a fake accident ring.

As he listens, Keith sees the same car that contains the men who were watching him earlier in his rear view mirror.

KEITH: Hey, you got any other guys working this case, maybe drives a silver Chevy? I keep seeing it behind me. No, no, no, it’s nothing. So I’ll send the pictures when I get back. Okay. Bye.

Keith pulls into a hotel with valet parking. The valet opens his door.

EXT – HOTEL – CONTINUING.

VALET#1: Good morning sir.

KEITH: Hey. Thank you.

The valet gives him his ticket and Keith walks quickly into the hotel. The silver Chevy pulls up at the hotel and is seen by a second valet. Two mean looking men get out.

VALET#2: Here you are sir.

The two men take their ticket and approach the entrance. They split up to look for Keith. He watches and evades them, then goes back out to the car park. The second valet has just parked the men’s car and walked away. Keith jemmies their car and quickly gets into the driver’s seat although he leaves the door open. He looks around the car, then reaches over and opens the glove compartment. He finds what looks like travel documents. Cut to Keith approaching his car valet. He laughs out loud.

KEITH: The wrong place I guess. You know which hotel has the medical supplies convention?

VALET#1: Um-um

KEITH: Nah, anyway. I’ll just take the keys…one right there. Thanks. Have a good day.

Keith heads for his car, punching a number in his cell as he goes.

VALET#1: You too, sir.

KEITH: Hey, it’s Keith Mars. I got a name check to run.

Keith consults his notebook.

KEITH: Yevgeni Sukarenko, all right?

INT – MANNY’S FLOWER HUT – DAY.

Veronica and Karl, the sketch artist, are rounding the corner.

VERONICA: Thanks for doing this, Karl.

KARL: Yeah, no problem.

Manny is at a table, planting up.

KARL: Is this the guy?

VERONICA: This is Manny. Manny, this is Karl. He’s gonna help you with your…recall problems.

MANNY: [not optimistic] Yeah, good luck.

Karl holds out his hand to Manny.

KARL: Don’t worry, Manny, I’m a professional.

Karl thinks better of it as Manny, being dirty, is reluctant to take his hand.

KARL: Right. [to Veronica] I’ll fax the results to your place.

Veronica goes, leaving them to it.

VERONICA: I owe you one.

INT – MI – DAY.

Veronica’s cell rings as she enters. Veronica checks caller ID before answering.

VERONICA: Well if it isn’t my local policeman.

LEO: You got a pen handy?

VERONICA: Always. What do ya got?

LEO: Three outgoing calls from Pine Veterinary between four and four ten. I got a Fred Ellis, John Frampton and a Carla Stern.

Veronica writes them down.

VERONICA: You’re a prince, Leo.

LEO: Yeah, I’m writing that down.

VERONICA: I’ll talk to ya later.

INT – VERONICA’S CAR – DAY.

Veronica looks at the photo of Tom and the dog as she watches a house in a wet street from her car.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: So it seems that saying about people resembling their pets is true. Fred Ellis was as old and droopy as his Basset Hound and single mother, Carla Stern was a dead ringer for her Pomeranian. Two strikes. So it all comes down to John Frampton bearing a slight resemblance to his…

The dog from the photo exits the house first.

VERONICA: …Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Veronica gets her camera ready. A man follows the dog out. It’s Tom Cruz. Veronica snaps away, checks the viewfinder and gives a satisfied smile.

INT – MI – DAY.

Veronica has the photos on her laptop and is looking at them as she is on the phone.

VERONICA: Catherine? It’s Veronica in Mr Mars’ office. Good news. He found Tom.

CATHERINE: [offscreen, on telephone] Veronica, thank you. It’s miracle.

VERONICA: You have a pen?

CATHERINE: [offscreen] Of course, please.

VERONICA: So the address is-

Keith hurries to the desk and cuts Veronica off.

VERONICA: Dad, what are you doing?

Keith holds up a picture of the woman she knows as Catherine Lenova.

KEITH: This isn’t Catherine Lenova. It’s Yelena Sukarenko.

He holds up two more pictures.

KEITH: Yevgeni and Sergei Sukarenko, Russian mob from Chicago. Anthony Thomas Cruz worked for their father. Turned State’s evidence and put him away. He’s not a long lost love, Veronica. He’s in the witness protection programme.

Veronica looks stunned. The phone rings. She stares from it to her father. Cut to moments later. The phone is still ringing.

KEITH: Just like we said.

VERONICA: Mars Investig- Catherine. I’m sorry, I got excited and dropped the phone.

Veronica clears her throat.

VERONICA: You still have your pen? Okay, the address is…

Veronica reads from a post-it as Keith sits on the desk in support.

VERONICA: …124 Driftwood Terrace. [pause] Right. [pause] Of course. [pause] It’s no problem. [pause] Buh-bye.

KEITH: It’s good work, honey.

Veronica seems sad.

VERONICA: So, what’s gonna happen?

KEITH: Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it from here.

Keith slides off the desk and heads out as Veronica is contemplative.

EXT – STREETS – DAY.

The Sukarenko brothers leave their car in a suburban area. They enter the house they have parked in front of.

INT – HOUSE – CONTINUING.

The house is empty of furniture but they hear a blender or ice dispenser. As they make their way in, armed, they pass the portrait of the middle-aged couple. This is the same house as the one in which Caz held his party. They get to the kitchen and see a man who is looking in the refrigerator. They point their guns at the man who face is hidden behind the door of the fridge.

YEVGENI SUKARENKO: Do svidaniya, Mr Cruz.

The man turns. It’s Keith.

KEITH: [cheerfully] Oh! Privet!

There’s the sound of running feet. The men are surprised.

LEO: [offscreen] Put down…

Leo comes into view, pointing his gun at them. He is wearing a bullet proof vest.

LEO: …your guns, now.

Other deputies arrive from concealment around the house.

LEO: Get your hands on your head, get your hands on your head.

The men are disarmed. As Leo puts his gun back in its holster, he looks at Keith.

LEO: Privet?

KEITH: It’s Russian for hi. I looked it up.

INT – MARS RESIDENCE – NIGHT.

Veronica opens the door to Meg who is dressed as Molly Ringwald’s character in the prom scene in “Pretty In Pink.” She is carrying another outfit on some hangers in one hand and what looks to be a heavy carrier bag and a wrist corsage in the other.

MEG: Hey!

VERONICA: Meg, I am so sorry.

Meg comes in and sets down the bag.

MEG: What for?

VERONICA: I told you I was gonna find your secret admirer before the dance and I haven’t come through, I…it’s just been a million other things I’ve been working on…

Meg puts down the outfit.

MEG: Forget it, forget it. I don’t even care anymore.

Meg is still carrying a wrist corsage.

MEG: Oh, here.

She puts it down on the counter between them.

MEG: You can have it. It’s the flowers he sent me. Supposed to be our signal tonight or something.

VERONICA: Thought you were excited about it.

MEG: Truth is, I’m not sure I wanna go out with Caz. And Martin’s nice but not…I just don’t want to hurt his feelings.

VERONICA: Hmm. How come you’re all dolled up.

MEG: Now who says I need a date to go to the dance.

VERONICA: Oh. Right. You…go girl.

MEG: I’m taking you.

She points at Veronica, grins and giggles. Veronica looks a little stunned. Cut to later. In Veronica’s closet, she is dressed and her hair is crimped. Meg is spraying copious amounts of hair spray. Veronica is early Madonna.

MEG: Okay.

Veronica coughs from the hairspray. Meg adds a bit more for good measure. Veronica moves into her room as Meg chases her with the hairspray.

MEG: Well, what do you think?

VERONICA: I look like Manila Whore Barbie.

MEG: Hmm.

VERONICA: Oh.

The fax machine rings and Veronica runs to the living room leaving Meg stranded with her hair spray.

MEG: No, no. Where are you going? Don’t you dare run away on me.

VERONICA: Just business.

Veronica waits by the fax.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Come on, lover boy. Show us your face.

She collects the fax, looks at it and her face drops. Meg comes into the living room.

MEG: What is it?

VERONICA: Nothing.

Veronica folds the fax.

VERONICA: Come on, let’s go. We’re gonna be late.

Veronica and Meg hurry out but the camera pans down to the fax that Veronica has slipped into the bin. It is a sketch of Duncan.

INT – NHS, AUDITORIUM – NIGHT.

Music: One Thing Leads to Another by the Fixx.

LYRICS: The deception with tact, just what are you trying to say?
You've got a blank face, which irritates
Communicate, pull out your party piece
You see dimensions in two
State your case with black or white
But when one little cross leads to shots, grit your teeth
You run for cover so discreet, why don't they:
Do what they say, say what you mean
One thing leads to another
You told me something wrong, I know I listen too long
But then one thing leads to another.

The dance is in full swing. People are tawdry. It’s eighties gear. Veronica and Meg stand in the middle of it all, bemused.

MEG: Wow. Eighties fashion. Grody to the max.

VERONICA: Don’t spaz. Aren’t you totally stoked to go to this thing?

MEG: Oh, for sure. I just didn’t know the dance would be such a major couple-o-rama.

VERONICA: What happened to all the girl power? The we-don’t-need-dates resolve?

MEG: Reality has set in. Forgive me, gal pal. I’m weak.

Meg smiles and Veronica looks at her with affection. She makes the decision. She takes the corsage out of her bag and slips it onto Meg’s wrist.

MEG: What are you doing?

VERONICA: You’ll thank me later.

Veronica turns around and goes to leave the room. Meg calls after her.

MEG: Where are you going?

VERONICA: My work here is done.

MEG: But you’ll miss your big surprise.

VERONICA: I’ll live.

End music: One Thing Leads to Another by the Fixx. Music: Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.

LYRICS: Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick and think of you
Caught up in circles
Confusion is nothing new
Flashback warm nights almost left behind
The drum beats out of time
If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I'll be waiting time after time
You said go slow I fall behind
The second hand unwinds -
If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I'll be waiting time after time
If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time

Veronica carries on and Meg smiles as she watches her go. Veronica turns around and gestures with her head for Meg to look behind her. Meg does. Duncan is dressed as Duckie from “Pretty In Pink” and smiles at her. Meg looks back at Veronica. It is a questioning look. Veronica continues to smile, passively. Duncan holds out his hand to Meg.

DUNCAN: Would you care to dance?

Meg takes his hand. She looks back at Veronica one last time, mixed concern and gratitude then disappears into the dancing couples. Veronica’s smile fades.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Between getting fooled by the Russian bride and finding out that Duncan has the hots for Meg, I’ve had my fill of surprises tonight.

She appears to hold back a sob as her twists round and exits rapidly. She is on the verge of tears.

EXT – NHS, CAR PARK – CONTINUING.

She heads for her car and gets in.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: J Geils was right. Love stinks. You can dress it up with sequins and shoulder pads but one way or another you’re just gonna end up alone at the spring dance strapped into uncomfortable underwear.

Veronica, alone in her car, lets go and sobs. A figure appears at the side of the car and knocks on the window. It’s Leo. Veronica opens the door.

LEO: What’s wrong, Veronica?

He hands her a corsage. She takes it, smiles weakly and gets out of the car.

LEO: Are you ready for a…a total eclipse of the heart?

Her smile widens as she appreciates the corsage. End music: Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.

INT – NHS, AUDITORIUM – NIGHT.

Music: True by Spandau Ballet.

LYRICS: Huh huh huh hu-uh huh
I know this much is true
Huh huh huh hu-uh huh
I know this much is true
With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue
Dissolve the nerves that have just begun
Listening to Marvin (all night long)
This is the sound of my soul…
This is the sound
Always slipping from my hands,
Sand's a time of its own
Take your seaside arms and write the next line
Oh I want the truth to be known
Huh huh huh…

Meg and Duncan are dancing close together. Leo and Veronica join the couple-o-rama. Veronica puts her arms around Leo’s neck.

LEO: You look beautiful.

Veronica smiles and they dance. Veronica looks over at Duncan and Meg. Meg’s head rests on Duncan’s chest. Veronica returns her attention to Leo. Duncan opens his eyes and looks over at Veronica. He watches as Leo’s hands stroke Veronica’s waist. His expression is difficult to read and after a moment, he returns to Meg. Both couples dance. Logan, drunk and trouserless in his guise as the Tom Cruise character in “Risky Business” appears on the stage. He’s also wearing sunglasses. He is boorish to the max.

LOGAN: I love the eighties.

LEO: Heads up. Risky business at 12:00

Logan takes the short jump off the small stage and tries to rally support.

LOGAN: Come on everyone. Let’s wang chung tonight.

Being a coupley affair and a slow number, nobody’s interested and they start complaining.

LOGAN: What, everybody wang chung tonight.

Duncan and Meg have stopped dancing, as have many others, watching Logan make a fool of himself. He is starting to get aggressive and getting aggression back.

LOGAN: Wang chung or I’ll kick your ass. Everybody!

Logan loses the drunken humour and gets tetchy.

LOGAN: Don’t touch me, dude.

He stumbles out of the room.

LEO: Every class has one.

VERONICA: I cannot escape Tom Cruise.

Veronica and Leo follow him out. End music: True by Spandau Ballet.

INT – NHS, HALLWAY – NIGHT.

Veronica and Logan are fumbling as Leo observes.

VERONICA: Come on Logan, just give me your keys. Leo, can you follow us in your car?

Leo nods as Veronica searches Logan for his keys and he twists away, as far as he can which is not far as Veronica has him up against a door.

LOGAN: No. No! No. No.

He points at Leo and giggles.

LOGAN: ‘Cause tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.

His voice drops and he points at Leo again.

LOGAN: Hey, who’s this dude?

VERONICA: As I have told you now three times, this is the friendly officer of the law…

Logan giggles.

VERONICA: …who is going to overlook your underage public drunkenness.

Logan notices Leo’s outfit.

LOGAN: Crockett or Tubbs?

TRINA: [offscreen] Logan, when did you stop wearing pants?

The three of them look round. Trina is standing in the corridor.

LOGAN: [unhappily] What are you doing here?

TRINA: My first night back home and I get the call, come get Logan, he’s wasted. It’s like I never left.

She stops, hearing the music coming from the dance.

TRINA: Is that Kajagoogoo?

LOGAN: There’s no point you going in there, Trina. “Entertainment Tonight” is not covering it.

TRINA: Bummer. Well I guess I’ll just drag your sorry little self home.

Logan is not steady on his feet and Trina pulls on his sleeve to head him in the right direction. He throws her hand off.

LOGAN: As long as you let me puke in your car.

TRINA: Of course, just like old times.

Logan looks back at Veronica, then follows Trina and they leave.

LEO: A promising young man.

VERONICA: Thanks for showing up tonight. I assume I have Meg to thank for getting you here.

LEO: She called…

VERONICA: Um…

LEO: …but I came because I wanted to see you. You wanna go back?

VERONICA: Ah, no, here’s not so bad.

They look at each other. Veronica gives him a quizzical look.

VERONICA: Are you going to kiss me?

LEO: I was thinking about it.

Leo leans forward, takes her by the waist and they kiss. They both come out of it smiling.

VERONICA: Cool.

Veronica’s cell rings.

VERONICA: Hello?

It is another call where no one speaks.

LEO: Your other boyfriend?

VERONICA: No someone keeps crank calling me.

LEO: Star 69 them.

VERONICA: I do but it just rings and rings.

Leo takes the phone.

LEO: I am a deputy sheriff, allow me.

Leo dials *69 and the phone rings.

LEO: [into telephone] I hear you’re bothering my girl,

Veronica grabs the phone.

VERONICA: Who is this? Why do you keep calling me?

MAN ON TELEPHONE: This is a pay phone. You must be talking about that blonde lady.

VERONICA: Blonde lady? A-a pay phone where?

MAN ON TELEPHONE: Sagebrush Cantina, Barstow

Veronica shuts off the phone.

VERONICA: Uh, raincheck?

Veronica gives Leo a quick kiss and runs out, leaving him baffled.

LEO: What?

EXT – SAGEBRUSH CANTINA – DAY.

Veronica is in a rental car. She pulls up to the bar in the middle of nowhere. Music: ??.

LYRICS: That warm breeze is running over me
Every now and then, I begin remembering
That warm breeze keeps twisting memories
And I wonder if it's ever gonna end
I don't think I'm over you quite yet
Yes there are things a heart can't just forget
That warm breeze is running over me
Every now and then, I begin remembering
That warm breeze keeps twisting memories
And I wonder if -

Veronica enters the bar.

INT – SAGEBRUSH CANTINA – CONTINUING.

A man and woman are playing pool.

WOMAN: Call.

The woman gives Veronica a hard look and passes her. Veronica looks around. She sees a woman sitting at the bar. She approaches her. It’s Lianne. She looks a mess and sounds drunk.

VERONICA: Mom!

It takes Lianne a moment to focus and recognise her daughter.

LIANNE: Veronica. Oh, my god, no. No, please.

Lianne is distressed. Veronica tries to take her mother’s hands to lead her out. Lianne resists and knocks over some glasses.

VERONICA: I’m gonna get you out of here.

LIANNE: No! No. I can’t be seen with you. They are gonna hurt you.

VERONICA: Mom. I know who’s doing it. Mom. I know who was blackmailing us. You’re safe now.

Lianne fights to get away and for a moment Veronica loses her. She looks up and is horrified to see Clarence Wiedman’s reflection. The music cuts off abruptly. Veronica turns in time to see him exit the bar. Lianne can’t be seen but as the screen goes dark….

LIANNE: Veronica.

End. Executive producer: Rob Thomas (who is a god).

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