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3.16 Un-American Graffiti

Written by: Robert Hull
Directed by: John T. Kretchmer

Original Air Date: 1 May, 2007
Transcribed by Inigo.
Last edited: 8 May, 2007

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Previously on Veronica Mars...

Veronica pops her head around the door of Keith's new office in the sheriff's department in 315 "Papa's Cabin." Cut to the Mars residence and Veronica making dinner as Keith arrives home.

VERONICA: So it's true what they say. There's a new sheriff in town?

KEITH: Until the special election, anyway.

Cut to Mac and Bronson on his doorstep in 310 "Show Me the Monkey."

MAC: Do you like movies?

BRONSON: Let's go.

Cut to moments later as Mac surprises Bronson with a kiss. Cut to Veronica and Piz in the Food Court at Hearst College.

PIZ: I know what I like. Why waste my time?

VERONICA: Like, why bother with something not good just because it's something?

Logan catches Veronica outside Tim's office in 315 "Papa's Cabin."

LOGAN: You know, I was thinking of asking Parker out, and I wanted to make sure it was cool with you.

She puts on a brave face.

VERONICA: Of course. Thank you for asking.

LOGAN: Sure. I know we're friends.

Veronica nods.

VERONICA: Yeah.

Veronica points to Tim's office.

VERONICA: See ya. And good luck.

End previously.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, FOOD COURT - DAY.

Veronica is standing in a queue. She's pensive, playing with a strand of hair. There are three couples in front of her in the queue between her and the person at the front of it -- Logan.

SERVER: What can I get you?

LOGAN: Uh, coffee with cream.

Logan looks back at Veronica. He turns back to the woman at the counter.

LOGAN: Actually, could I get a couple of them?

SERVER: Sure.

She hands him the coffees.

[316/0049.jpg]LOGAN: Thank you.

Logan walks back to the end of the queue.

LOGAN: Here.

He slips one of the cups into her hand, almost surreptitiously.

LOGAN: I hate to think of you under-decaffeinated.

She smiles as she takes it.

VERONICA: Danke.

They walk away from the counter together.

VERONICA: It's 8am. Shouldn't you be in a wet suit somewhere?

He shrugs and grins.

LOGAN: Early Poly Sci.

VERONICA: And you're actually going?

LOGAN: Yeah. I even bought this amazing pen that accents text in neon colours.

Veronica gasps exaggeratedly.

VERONICA: A highlighter!

LOGAN: Lots of advancements since the last time I buckled down. How 'bout you?

VERONICA: Uh, "Violence in Early Adolescence."

LOGAN: Ah. Need me to autograph your textbook?

VERONICA: Thanks, but...

Veronica trails off and points to her coffee.

VERONICA: So, what do I owe you for the cup of joe?

LOGAN: Nah, just pay-it-forward.

Logan hesitates briefly before hurrying on nonchalantly.

LOGAN: Hey, by the way, I'm throwing a birthday party for Parker this weekend. I was studying up; I watched My Super Sweet 16. Which reminds me, you don't know where I can get a dozen eunuchs, do you?

VERONICA: Not offhand. I could make some calls.

Veronica fakes a laugh to keep up the mutually casual banter in which they are indulging.

LOGAN: Hmm. Well, if you're not busy, I know she'd really like you to be there. We both would. Think about it.

Logan walks away, leaving Veronica staring after him.

INT - MARS INVESTIGATIONS - DAY.

The fish are swimming happily in the tank in Keith's office. Veronica finishes feeding them and walks back to Keith's desk. She checks some papers on which she is working. Footsteps sound in the outer office and an Arab woman, Sabirah Krimani, appears at the open door.

SABIRAH: Is Mr. Mars in?

VERONICA: No, sorry. We've shut down for a while.

The woman is disappointed.

VERONICA: You own Babylon Gardens, don't you?

She nods.

VERONICA: My dad and I get takeout there all the time. I went to high school with your daughter.

[316/0210.jpg] Sabirah Krimani steps forward, disinterested in small talk.

SABIRAH: Our restaurant was vandalised. Rocks through our window. They spray-painted "Terrorist" on our door. Is there someone who can help us?

Veronica's eyes glint with determination and she smiles.

VERONICA: I believe there is.

INT - THE BREAK - NIGHT.

The Break is a busy bar with loud music playing. The most prominent sign in the bar besides the one declaring the bars name is a notice declaring Thursday nights as "College Night." A young man is slumped at the bar counter. A hand pushes a pad of paper and a pen at him.

MURPHY: Jimmy!

The boy doesn't move. The bar owner, Mr. Murphy, slaps his arm to rouse him.

MURPHY: Hey, your tab. Hey, come on.

Jimmy lifts his head up.

MURPHY: Sign it and hit the road.

[316/0246.jpg]Jimmy grabs the pen and pad and signs it. He grabs the nearly empty glass of beer in front of him and drains it as he slides off the barstool. He pushes himself away from the bar as Murphy collects the pad.

EXT - THE BREAK - NIGHT.

Jimmy staggers outside and crosses the road without looking. A car honks his horn, but Jimmy's slow and only action is to hold up his hands in front of his face. The screen whitens in the glare of headlights to the sound of the sickening thud as the car hits him.

EXT - BABYLON GARDENS - NIGHT.

From inside the restaurant, Sabirah turns the sign on the door from "Come in, we're open" to "Sorry, we're closed."

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Tomorrow I'll set the cameras. Tonight it's the old-fashioned stake-out.

Veronica is in her car, parked opposite the restaurant on the other side of the street, watching the front of the building.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I took this case so I wouldn't have time to dwell on Parker's birthday party and now, here I am, sitting in a car with nothing but a whole lot of dwelling time on my hands.

Veronica jumps slightly at the soft knock on the passenger side window made by the girl who has appeared at the side of the car. She looks over at the intruder and rolls down the window. The girl leans into the car.

[316/0324.jpg]AMIRA: Veronica Mars?

VERONICA: Amira. Long time, no see.

AMIRA: Yeah. Like since my senior year, when you made my Pirate Points worth less.

VERONICA: Wow. Good memory.

The two girls share polite smiles.

VERONICA: I heard you were at Hearst, but I haven't seen ya.

AMIRA: Yeah, different circles, I guess. What are you doing out here?

VERONICA: Your mom hired me to watch the place in case there are any more...incidents.

Amira laughs in disbelief.

AMIRA: My mom hired you?

Veronica nods.

VERONICA: Yep.

AMIRA: Have a blast.

Amira backs away from the car and Veronica closes the window with the touch of a button.

INT - THE BREAK - NIGHT.

The bar is now empty but for Murphy, who is cashing up, and Keith who approaches the bar counter.

KEITH: I just got off the phone with County. The kid's never going to walk again. Any idea what a nineteen-year-old was doing drinking in here?

MURPHY: His ID said he was twenty-one.

KEITH: Yeah, I saw it. It also said he was six three, two twenty, and blond.

Murphy shrugs helplessly in a "What you gonna do" way. Keith is unimpressed.

EXT - BABYLON GARDENS - NIGHT.

The door of the restaurant bursts open and a man comes out, followed by Sabirah. This is Rashad, Sabirah's husband and Amira's father. He waves at Veronica in her car across the street, beckoning her. As Veronica opens the door to get out, he shouts to her.

RASHAD: You can go home now. We will pay for the time that you put in.

Veronica strides towards them..

RASHAD: But I can handle it myself. It was a mistake for my wife to hire you.

SABIRAH: It was not a mistake.

Veronica stands before them, a little uncomfortable as they argue.

SABIRAH: You fall asleep out here in your car. You work too hard to be able to stay up all night.

RASHAD: This is the Mars girl. Her father is the acting sheriff. Have you thought about Nasir? Besides, this is no job for a girl, a classmate of Amira's.

Amira is also outside, watching the debate quietly.

SABIRAH: What choice did I have? I knew you would react this way. Surprise.

In the street, there's a loud shout and the sound of a fast-approaching engine. Veronica looks up and to her left to see a yellow pick-up truck bearing down on them. A couple of the occupants are standing in the back, aiming at them with sights that have lights on them. Operatic-like music swells. Shots are fired. A laser sight and a splurge of red appears on Rashad's chest as he staggers at the impact. Sabirah screams. Amira turns to run but is hit in the back. Veronica dives out of the way of the speeding vehicle, landing hard on the pavement. Veronica looks down at her coat. She's been hit by yellow paint. She glares at the departing truck.

Opening credits.

INT - BABYLON GARDENS - NIGHT.

Now inside the restaurant, Veronica groans at the pain in her shoulder where she was hit by the paintball. Amira passes behind her, staring at her now-removed sweater in regret.

AMIRA: Ack. Cashmere!

Rashad is angry and pacing.

RASHAD: Why is this happening?

VERONICA: Not a great time to be Arab in America.

RASHAD: Twenty years we've been in this country! Huh?

He picks up a small flag from a set on the counter and waves it..

RASHAD: Twenty years, we've been Americans. I make Yankee Doodle Damn Dandee.

He gestures wildly at a poster on the wall, under another American flag. It's an Uncle Sam poster with Rashad's face PhotoShopped in under the message "I want you for Babylon Garden's [sic]."

RASHAD: And now this?

VERONICA: The license plate was removed, but I caught a glimpse of a bumper sticker. It should be enough to go on.

AMIRA: [sceptically] Really? Unless it was a "Hello, my name is..." sticker, how's that gonna do any good?

VERONICA: The person who owns that pick-up has a child who's an honour student at Neptune Middle. Do you want me to track him down or not?

Rashad looks over at his wife and daughter helplessly before looking back at Veronica.

INT - MARS RESIDENCE - NIGHT.

Veronica enters the apartment. Keith is sitting at the kitchen counter reading a newspaper.

KEITH: [with disgust] Look at these ads.

Veronica shuts the door behind her and joins him at the counter.

KEITH: "Two for Tuesday," "It's Raining Gin"...

Keith is looking at a page of advertisements for bars. Genski's promises a "Suds 'n Study Sat" with Mexican bottles and draft pints at $2 together with a "Bucket 'O Beer Bonanza"! The Sand Bar uses George Washington's portrait to advertise its "Dollar Shots Night."

KEITH: "Dollar Shots Night"...

VERONICA: Let me change first. Man, you party hard.

Veronica saunters off towards her room, ignorant or ignoring Keith's serious mood.

KEITH: It's a college paper. Only a quarter of the students at Hearst are twenty-one.

Veronica turns back to him and sags against the counter.

VERONICA: [tiredly] I'm not sure where this rant is going.

KEITH: A nineteen-year-old kid was drinking at a bar called The Break tonight with a gumball-level ID. He stumbled out and a car hit him. It looks like he'll never walk again.

Keith returns his attention to the ads.

KEITH: "Bucket 'O Beer Bonanza"... You have any idea if they're known for underage drinking?

Veronica laughs.

VERONICA: Famous for is more like it. It's nicknamed The Cake for how easy it is to get in but most of the campus area bars are pretty lax.

Veronica clearly doesn't see this as any big deal but notes Keith glaring at her.

VERONICA: From what I've heard, 'cause the only buckets I order come in original and extra crispy.

She heads for her bedroom. Keith stares after her.

INT - SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT - DAY.

Deputy Sacks hands out sheets of paper to the other eleven deputies gathered in the main office. Keith is facing them, leaning back against the main counter.

KEITH: I have it on good authority that The Break and other campus-area bars on the list you're receiving are knowingly serving underage students. I want surprise checks in every one of these bars tonight.

Deputy Gills glances at the list.

GILLS: Looks like my credit card statement.

The deputies laugh and Keith smiles indulgently.

SACKS: What's the priority level, Sheriff?

KEITH: Well, obviously if you get a call, take it, but otherwise, I want these bars scared straight.

The deputies start to break away, less than enthused.

KEITH: Gentlemen. Jim Wilson was nineteen. I want this taken seriously.

DEPUTY: Yes, sir.

The other deputies mutter their acquiescence. Gills heads for Sacks to have a quiet word.

GILLS: You used to work for him. Is he always like this?

Sacks folds his arms and glances at Keith.

SACKS: I wouldn't test him.

Gills looks over at Keith himself before wandering away.

INT - NEPTUNE MIDDLE SCHOOL - DAY.

A teacher holds her hand up in front of a class of boys and girls, aged about twelve.

MRS. HILLS: We have a guest in honours homeroom today. Miss Mars is doing a survey about gun awareness for her college criminology course.

Veronica is standing at the front of the class next to Mrs. Hills. She gives a little wave.

MRS. HILLS: I trust you will give her your full attention as honour points are in effect.

Mrs. Hills steps to the side of the room, leaving Veronica at the front of the class. One of the students raises his hand. Veronica points to him.

RONALD: What does a criminologist do?

VERONICA: Oh, grads usually go into work in law enforcement. I'm considering pursuing a career at the FBI.

RONALD: [scoffing] You're a girl.

MRS. HILLS: [sharply] Ronald.

VERONICA: Actually, Ronald, did you know that on average, girls develop faster than boys and have higher levels of cognitive functioning, including math calculation, written language, and verbal fluency?

Ronald isn't impressed and shrugs.

RONALD: So?

Veronica smiles and points towards him.

VERONICA: Well put, Ronald. We need fireman, too.

The students in the class, particularly the girls, chuckle appreciatively.

VERONICA: We all know guns are dangerous, but I also study the dangers and implications of the impact of toy guns, like pellet guns, BB guns, or paintball guns. Raise your hand if you have a family member who owns a pellet or BB gun.

A number of the students raise their hands.

VERONICA: Now, how about paintball guns?

Four students put their hand up.

VERONICA: Okay, now, whose family has a big, yellow pick-up truck.

Mrs Hills' smile disappears as she digests this. She looks over at Veronica quizzically.

MRS. HILLS: Miss Mars? I'm sorry. I'm not sure I understand where this is going.

Veronica ignores her until she gets a good look at the one child whose hand is in the air. The boy look Arabic.

VERONICA: Yep. Me either.

EXT - NEPTUNE STREET - DAY.

A school bus drives off, having delivered the boy to a house outside of which stands the yellow pick-up truck. Veronica, pulled up on the other side of the road, watches him as he goes into the house. She pouts, confused. She grabs her stuff and exits the car, walking up the pathway to the house. She stops and looks around as if she's heard something but it's not until she starts moving again that we hear the distant sounds of the laughter of game-playing youths.

VOICES: Oh, ho, ho, man! You got hit again! All right! Okay, okay, it's cool. Shoot-shoot! There you go! Yes! Yes!

Veronica follows the sounds of voices to a structure at the side of the house. There's a warning sign on the door and a window at the top. She peers in. She sees two guys watching a third play a video game. On the wall next to the door, she sees paintball guns. Inside the room (which has another Danny Mo poster decorating the wall), there's a fourth boy also watching the stoned-out gameplayer.

VOICES: Oh, God, what are you doing, man! Watch out for-! Ohhh.

Intent on the game, they notice nothing until a splatter of paint hits the television screen. They react in shock, jumping up and turning around to face Veronica, now armed with a paintball gun. An Arabic-looking boy of around seventeen confronts her.

BRETT: Yo, bitch, what up?

Veronica responds by firing the gun. He jerks back as a splodge of neon green paint hits him square in the chest.

VERONICA: Stings. I know, because you shot me last night.

Brett has the grace to look abashed.

VERONICA: I've got some bad news for you boys. I'm close with the local sheriff and he simply hates hate crimes. Self-hate in your case.

Brett looks bemused. The stoned guy behind him has only just caught up with events.

TOWELIE: Dude, she shot you.

VERONICA: Keep up, Towlie.

BRETT: Self-hate? What?

VERONICA: Spray painting the front of Babylon Gardens? Ringing any bells?

BRETT: What?

Veronica parrots Jules in Pulp Fiction.

VERONICA: Say what again, I dare ya. I double dare ya.

BRETT: What?

Veronica shoots him again, this time in the shoulder. He grabs the spot with a groan.

BRETT: Ah, God! Someone wrote "terrorist" at Babylon Gardens?

VERONICA: [a la Jules] Check out the big brain on Brett! I'll give you a hint. It was you.

BRETT: We didn't do anything like that!

Veronica lifts the gun and takes aim.

BRETT: [desperately] I can prove it.

Veronica lowers the gun. Cut to later. On the television screen are shots taken by a camera from the pick-up truck as the guys shoot random people in the streets.

BRETT: Look! White people.

On screen, a couple are targeted to the sound of whoops and hollars from the boys.

BRETT: You see? Anyone's a target.

VERONICA: So I'm straight. Your defence is that you shoot everyone, not just Arabs.

Brett shrugs. Veronica's attention is caught by something she sees on screen.

VERONICA: Is that Mr. Clemmons?

On screen, it is indeed Van Clemmons, attacked by them as he walks towards his car.

CLEMMONS: [on the video] Ow, ow, ow, ow.

TOWELIE: Yeah, nailing Clemmons was sweet.

The two boys behind him are smirking. They all jump when Towelie is hit in the chest by a paintball. He's so out of it that it takes a couple of beats before he even reacts to the pain. The other boys laugh.

BRETT: Do I look like someone who would spray paint "terrorist" on a Middle Eastern restaurant?

Veronica gives him a hard look before accepting this. She still has the paintball gun at the ready.

VERONICA: Fine. Give me the DVD.

Brett bends down to collect it from the player.

VERONICA: Anymore drive-bys and that finds its way back to the sheriff. Now. Everyone grab their Visine. You have an appointment.

EXT - BABYLON GARDENS - DAY.

Brett looks up sullenly as he, Towelie and one of the other boys clean the pavement of paint immediately outside the restaurant. Rashad is standing over them.

RASHAD: Hey, you! I still see some green by the door jamb.

Towelie gets up and heads for the indicated area where the fourth boy is already working. Rashad turns and looks up at Veronica who is up on a stepladder, fixing a camera.

RASHAD: Are you sure these aren't the same vandals who did the spray painting?

Veronica climbs down the stepladder.

VERONICA: Pretty sure.

She carries on past him, and Sabirah comes out of the restaurant, carrying a small cloth banner.

SABIRAH: Are you sure we should hang one on the door again? I mean, are we asking for trouble?

RASHAD: I won't be intimidated, Sabirah.

She's unconvinced and turns to Veronica, who is checking out the playback from the cameras on her computer.

SABIRAH: What do you think? They stole the last one we put up.

RASHAD: Don't ask her. This isn't about her.

Veronica turns to look at the banner as Sabirah shoos her husband to shut up. Veronica returns her attention to the computer as she responds.

VERONICA: If it was me, I'd put one up twice as big.

Rashad grins, as does Veronica. On her screen, the cameras she has installed are working, showing the boys continuing in their work.

RASHAD: You see? Two to one. Democracy in action.

He takes the banner from his wife, who smiles.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, LOGAN'S SUITE - NIGHT.

Dick is sitting on the couch, his laptop on the ottoman in front of him. Logan walks around the back of the couch. He glances down at Dick as he adjusts his necklace.

LOGAN: Hey, I gotta run some errands for the party. Thanks for all your help, by the way.

Dick, oblivious to the complaint, leans back with satisfaction.

DICK: Check it out. Two hot chicks I met on MySpace. Both in play. Both eager to meet the Dickster face-to-face. Question. And I need you to dig deep here. Which one do I invite?

Logan, having put on his watch and grabbed his phone, leans down to get a better look at the screen. The page for the first girl is up. Dick adds the second page so pictures of both can be seen.

LOGAN: Um...hmm. Lazy eye might work to your advantage.

DICK: Ha! Trick question! Just goes to show how whipped you are. The correct answer is "both."

LOGAN: And if they both show?

DICK: Then I do a quick heat check. Whichever's engine's running hotter gets Dick.

Logan heads out as Dick continues to stare at the objects of his interest.

LOGAN: You mean "whomever's."

DICK: Whatever.

INT - SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT - NIGHT.

Keith and Deputy Gills talk quietly up at the counter in the darkened office.

GILLS: What can I say? We hit them all, full sweeps. They were clean.

KEITH: Deputy Gills, you don’t find it strange? College towns, surprise inspections, and not one of my deputies issues a single citation?

Sacks, working at his desk, glances up at them with interest, but firmly keeping his head down.

GILLS: Not really. Those bars do a good job of keeping the minors out. I hate to say it but the kid who got hit? He's the exception.

KEITH: [softly sarcastic] What are the odds?

INT - MARS RESIDENCE - DAY.

Veronica sinks onto her desk chair and checks her computer.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: So let's see how Babylon Gardens survived the night without me.

She pulls up the video from the surveillance camera.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: All seems well.

She speeds it forward. At one point during the night, a figure is seen at the window of the restaurant. Veronica slows the playback down to normal speed.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Who is this guy and what's he doing skulking around?

It's a young man just loitering outside the restaurant. He's wearing a sweatshirt that has the number eleven on the back and "Sneed Batmen" on the front. Veronica freezes the picture.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: "Sneed Batmen"?

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, FOOD COURT - DAY.

Music: "Trina" by Public Bulletin.

LYRICS: As Trina walks, as Trina talks
Trina falls in love
She [?] image
She thinks she'd done enough
Beautiful poster is tacked above her head
[?]
How many times, how many rhymes
Justify your feelings
Sent to her at night
Jambox promises that love will find a way
It can't promise love will stay
Trina watch it all subside
Songs that you listen to are lies
[?]

The Food Court is busy, with all the tables in use. Veronica and Mac are occupying one of them.

VERONICA: Does "Sneed Batmen" ring any bells? For some reason, it sounds familiar.

Mac is staring into space and doesn't respond.

VERONICA: Hello?

Mac's eyes jerk to focus on Veronica.

VERONICA: Sneed?

MAC: Sorry. Bronson and I went on a hike this morning. I'm wiped.

VERONICA: A hike? You?

MAC: [defiantly] Yes.

VERONICA: Morning? You?

MAC: I wanted to see what it was like.

VERONICA: And?

MAC: [unenthusiatically] It's sunny.

VERONICA: Mmm. Sounds like things are good with Bronson. Any better and he'd have you jump the fiery hoops.

Mac glares at her. She then spots something over Veronica's shoulder.

MAC: You ready?

Mac nods to behind Veronica.

MAC: We can offer them our table.

Veronica looks over her shoulder. Logan and Parker have their trays of food and are looking for somewhere to sit. Parker is giggling. Veronica is not happy but puts on a face for Mac.

VERONICA: Sure.

Mac waves them over.

PARKER: Hey, you guys. Thanks for the table.

MAC: It just takes me back to high school. Remember, Logan? We stood at the same lunch table and made fun of all the fat kids.

LOGAN: I'm sorry. We went to the same high school?

MAC: Uh, yeah. We ran over that fisherman and promised to take the secret to our graves.

LOGAN: I remember the fisherman.

MAC: Remember? You bet your friends you could turn me into a super hot prom date as a joke, but you ended up falling in love with me?

Logan thinks hard for a beat and takes a deep breath as if to say he does.

LOGAN: Nope. Lost it.

PARKER: Please stop.

Logan grins. Veronica, a smile fixed on her face, can take no more of the banter. She gets up from the table.

VERONICA: Ohh. Gotta split. Sorry. Late.

PARKER: Hey, my birthday party. You can come, right?

Veronica takes a deep breath.

VERONICA: You know me. If there's a birthday party, I'm wearing a pointy hat.

She laughs, a laugh that disappears the moment she turns away from them. Logan and Parker sit down at the table. Mac hurries to catch up with Veronica as they take their trays to the rubbish bin.

VERONICA: You and Logan seem chummy.

MAC: Guess I never thought much of the guy when you two were dating. Surly thing, you know. But since he's been around so much lately, I've seen his sweet side. Probably the side you saw all the time.

VERONICA: Oh, yeah. That side.

Having dumped their trays, they head out of the Food Court.

VERONICA: So, about Parker's party. If I must go...

MAC: You must, you must.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

Veronica throws her arm around Mac's shoulder. After a moment's hesitation, Mac does the same.

VERONICA: What do you say I swing by your place early, and you hit me on the head with a hammer a couple times before we go.

MAC: Not that I wouldn't love to finally cross that off my to-do list, I promised Parker and Logan that I'd help them set up. Wanna come?

VERONICA: Raincheck. I'll find reinforcements elsewhere.

End music: "Trina" by Public Bulletin.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, BENES HALL - DAY.

Wallace and Piz are making their way towards their room.

PIZ: It's like the new Rocky Horror. Now at one point people throw plastic spoons at the screen. You gotta check it out. It'll-it'll change your life.

Wallace, hardly enthused, tosses the football he is holding at him. Unbeknownst to either, Veronica is coming up fast behind them. She races to fall between them. She grabs both their crooked arms, although Wallace lets his arm straighten and Veronica's hand slips off. Piz keeps his arm bent and Veronica doesn't let go.

WALLACE: Uh-oh.

VERONICA: Relax! I'm here to invite you to a party. Saturday night, rocking good time.

WALLACE: The catch?

VERONICA: No catch.

They reach the door to their dorm room and Piz and Wallace walk forward, pausing there and facing Veronica.

VERONICA: I just...need a couple wingmen. It's Parker's birthday party. There's strength in numbers. You soldiers up for mission: moral support?

WALLACE: Okay, cool. I'm in. But I think Piz has to go to-

PIZ: No. Piz is in. It...it sounds like fun. I mean, I...maybe we could go pre-gaming before and you could by the room and we could...

As Wallace looks on Piz sadly, Veronica isn't listening. She's spotted a guy in a "Sneed Batmen" sweatshirt who passes them.

VERONICA: Cool. Okay, uh...sorry, gotta boogie.

She races off to follow the guy. Piz looks confused. He watches her go for a moment before opening the door into their room.

WALLACE: I thought you were going to Yoyo Taco on Saturday.

He follows Piz into the room.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, BENES HALL, WALLACE AND PIZ'S DORM ROOM - CONTINUING.

PIZ: Yo La Tengo. Yeah. But, you know, this sounds more fun.

Wallace, having slammed the door shut, shakes his head and sinks down onto the small red couch.

PIZ: What?

WALLACE: You're like one of those guys who stands behind the players at the poker table and pretends he's playing.

PIZ: Sorry, I've never been to Vegas, so what exactly...

WALLACE: Look. Every once in a while, you gotta go all in.

PIZ: Right. Will do.

WALLACE: Excellent.

PIZ: I don't know what that means, though.

WALLACE: It means we're going out tonight. You're going to talk to some girl who knows you're alive. Wait, actually, that's not what it means, but it's a start.

Piz gives a bemused snort.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, BENES HALL - DAY.

Veronica catches up with the guy in the "Sneed Batmen" sweatshirt.

VERONICA: Sorry to bother you. "Sneed Batmen," what is that?

SNEED BATMEN GUY: Sneed Hall. It's the chemistry building. The Batmen are the intramural softball team.

They reach the door to his room. Veronica leans against the wall and puts on her dumb girl act.

VERONICA: Oh. Um...this is...embarrassing but I sort of flirted with number eleven the other day in the library. You wouldn't happen to know his name?

SNEED BATMEN GUY: Sure. Jason Cohen.

The guy goes into his room and Veronica pushes herself off the wall.

EXT - ZETA EPSILON FRATERNITY HOUSE - NIGHT.

The Saturn pulls to a stop.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I found out Jason Cohen lives at the Zeta Epsilon house. A Jewish fraternity. Curious.

Veronica looks over at the house. There's a large tree next to it and Veronica sees the flash of a camera from the upper branches, level with the first floor (second floor for Yanks) of the house.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: What the hell?

Veronica grabs her own camera and trains it on the tree, using the lens to get a better look. A sudden scream at another flash and the addition of more light from the room he is stalking, startles the man in the tree. He scampers down, grabs his bicycle, and pedals furiously away from the scene.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Okay. Peeping Tom in a tree takes off on a bike. I feel like I stumbled into a Benny Hill sketch.

Veronica, still watching through the camera lens, hears the door of the house open. She swings the camera around to see Jason, his shirt off revealing a fetching vest, standing at the door, searching for the stalker. A hand appears on his shoulder and a girl comes into view. It's Amira. Veronica gets out of the car and walks towards them.

VERONICA: Uh, Amira. You mind telling me what's going on here.

AMIRA: Better question. Why the hell are you here?

VERONICA: I'm here because I have surveillance footage of Jason skulking around your parents' restaurant last night after closing.

AMIRA: He wasn't skulking. Jason's my boyfriend.

Amira looks heavenward.

AMIRA: Oh, I'm gonna kill Nasir.

VERONICA: Who?

AMIRA: Nasir? He works at the restaurant. His student visa expired and my parents agreed to give him a job.

She sighs and folds her arms.

AMIRA: I was supposed to marry the guy.

Jason looks down at her in surprise.

JASON: Really.

AMIRA: Don't ask. Those pictures will literally kill my dad.

VERONICA: Are they X-rated?

AMIRA: It's not the nudity. It's my co-star, the Jew.

Jason gives Veronica a lop-sided grin.

AMIRA: However long it takes to get those photos developed and pedal over to my dad's house, that's how long I will be until I'm disowned.

VERONICA: There's only two one-hour photo places open this late. And Nasir's on a bike. I'll see what I can do.

Amira and Jason look relieved. Veronica spins around and heads back to her car.

INT - CONVENIENCE STORE - NIGHT.

Veronica enters the store, more like a supermarket. She spots Nasir who is in Arab dress as he waits by the magazine rack, flicking through one of the magazines. He doesn't notice her. Veronica goes to the one-hour photo counter. A guy is busy at the machine. Veronica clears her throat to get his attention. He turns to face her, wearing a slight manic grin.

VERONICA: Hi, um, my boyfriend...

She looks over her shoulder deliberately at Nasir.

VERONICA: ...is a tad embarrassed to pick up the photos we just dropped off. There are a few special-moments-with-special-friends type shots. Men! It's all rah-rah-rah until you find yourself in an all night phot-mat.

The rubbery-faced clerk's visage turns increasingly tragic.

VERONICA: Um, how much do we owe you?

The clerk peers out at Nasir, not quite believing the relationship.

ONE-HOUR PHOTO CLERK: That's your boyfriend?

VERONICA: Yeah. It's like I'm dating a young Omar Sharif. Desert fever, what are you going to do. Um, are they ready?

ONE-HOUR PHOTO CLERK: Uh,um, I'm on the last one. I've had some problems with the machine jamming.

VERONICA: Okay.

The clerk checks the machine and then watches Veronica as she walks over to Nasir. Veronica stops right in front of him.

VERONICA: Sorry. Do you have the time.

Nasir looks down at her with disapproving disdain.

NASIR: 11:15.

Veronica pauses a moment, smiling, then runs her hand down Nasir's arm, ending with a pat.

VERONICA: [softly] Thank you.

Nasir is a little disgusted, but doesn't react as Veronica walks away from him, back to the counter. The clerk, who has been watching, shakes his head at the interesting pairings life throws up. Veronica reaches the counter, getting out some cash which she places on the counter.

VERONICA: Arab men. So macho.

With a chuckle, she grabs the photos from the counter and heads towards the exit, calling out to Nasir as she goes.

VERONICA: Nasir!

Startled, he looks up and responds to a little wave from her.

VERONICA: See you back at the apartment. Don't be late!

Veronica blows him a kiss and leaves. Nasir stares after her, his hand still held up in the wave. He drops his hand and walks over to the counter. The clerk watches him with increasing consternation.

NASIR: My photos. Are they done?

ONE-HOUR PHOTO CLERK: Your girlfriend just picked them up.

NASIR: Girlfriend? I don't know that woman. [with increasing aggression] You gave her my pictures?

ONE-HOUR PHOTO CLERK: Sir! Count to ten, please. I am not the enemy.

Nasir makes to run after Veronica.

ONE-HOUR PHOTO CLERK: I still have a few of the prints that were only half developed when the machine jammed.

Nasir swings between to racing after Veronica or staying for photos.

INT - THE BREAK - NIGHT.

Music: "Hold On to You" by the Waking Hours. Wallace and Piz are sitting at the bar, drinking beer and watching a girl play billiards. The guy playing with her hands her cash as she wins the game. Wallace starts to search his own pockets.

WALLACE: Hey, it's worth losing twenty bucks just to talk to her.

PIZ: We came here for me, remember?

WALLACE: Yeah, that was before I saw her.

Piz plants a firm hand on Wallace's shoulder, forcing him down on the stool.

PIZ: Oh, no you don't. No.

Piz gets up off his stool to head for the girl, pointing at Wallace on route.

PIZ: Judas.

Piz arrives at the billiards table and slaps notes on it with a flourish.

PIZ: I got twenty bucks that says you can whip my ass and make me like it.

MIRANDA: Well, I do like a confident man.

She reaches down close to Piz's groin to grab the triangle for setting up the balls, although it takes Piz a split-second to realise that. Wallace laughs from his observation post at the bar. End music: "Hold On to You" by the Waking Hours.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, AMIRA'S DORM ROOM - NIGHT.

Like all the rooms, Amira's has a whiteboard on the door on which someone has written "I can't wait till its all over - summer time - beaches." She opens the door to Veronica. She smiles on seeing her. Veronica holds up the pictures.

VERONICA: Look what I found.

Amira is delighted them, taking them with an excited sigh of relief.

AMIRA: Thank you, Veronica! Ooh.

She beckons Veronica into the room with a soundless "Come in" and a wave, then looks through the snaps.

AMIRA: Ooh.

VERONICA: I must say, your spurned suiter? He may be crazy, but...

Veronica waves the heat from her face.

VERONICA: Oh, my.

AMIRA: If I didn't mind being treated as property, he might be tempting.

There's a firm knock at the door. A little surprised, Amira opens it.

RASHAD: [furious] Explain this!

He's holding out a half-developed picture of Amira and Jason.

RASHAD: Now!

Amira is still standing, frozen. Veronica, behind her, also stays silent.

RASHAD: Nasir says that this boy lives in a Jewish fraternity. Is he a Jew?

Amira drops her eyes and says nothing.

RASHAD: Being with this boy is what has caused of all this. The threats, the vandalism. The community has obviously found out and turned against us!

VERONICA: When you say "community," do you mean Jewish or Arab?

RASHAD: Either. Both. I don't know.

Rashad points at Veronica.

RASHAD: The restaurant is no longer your concern. You're fired. Leave!

Veronica walks towards the door.

VERONICA: I work for your wife. If she wants me fired, she can give me a call.

Veronica walks away from them, Rashad not happy that she's being defiant.

INT - THE BREAK - NIGHT.

Mr. Murphy is in his office in the back, sitting at his desk counting out bills. Keith arrives.

KEITH: Mr. Murphy. One of my deputies told me you wanted a private audience. I was in the neighbourhood.

MURPHY: You know why people enjoy going to bars, Sheriff?

Keith stares down at him impassively.

MURPHY: They can drink at home. People want to relax. Let their hair down. That's not easy to do when every ten minutes uniformed deputies are showing up and harassing them. The funny thing is I always backed the badge. In fact I usually buy an especially large amount of sheriff's department raffle tickets every year. Sheriff Lamb, God rest his soul, really appreciated his relationship with local businesses.

Murphy gets up from the desk and walks around to the front of it to join Keith.

MURPHY: So how many raffle tickets do you think The Break should buy this year, Sheriff? You know, just to, uh, make sure that we keep working together. Ten bucks a pop? Maybe five hundred tickets?

KEITH: We won't be having a raffle this year, Mr. Murphy. The hospital is having a pancake breakfast. Perhaps you could better serve the community by giving to them.

Murphy follows Keith out of the office.

MURPHY: You sure you're thinking this all the way through, Sheriff?

Keith pauses at some photographs on the wall. One picture gets his attention. It's a picture of the 2006 baseball or softball team, Excessive Force. The team appears to be made up of deputies, as Sacks and Gills are among the players.

MURPHY: Your boys really enjoy those new uniforms every year, tournament fees taken care of, post-game pitchers of beer on the house. It's like I'm one of the team.

Keith looks from the photo to Murphy, but before he can respond, his attention is diverted by the sound of a girl's laugh. He looks up to see the girl with Wallace. He heads for them. Piz sees him coming and urgently slaps Wallace, who is finishing the remains of his bottle of beer.

KEITH: Wallace?

Wallace is still laughing with the girl. Piz is trying to hide unnoticed behind him.

WALLACE: Ah, man!

Wallace finally looks over and the laughter dies in his throat.

WALLACE: Mr. Mars.

KEITH: Last time I saw you, you were nineteen, and that was...just a couple weeks ago.

MURPHY: I ID'd these boys myself. You can check it. If they're not legit, I'll shut this place down right now.

Keith is clearly sceptical.

KEITH: Wallace. Stosh.

Piz gives him a nervous grin.

KEITH: Mind if I see those IDs of yours.

They get them out and hand them over sheepishly. Keith examines them and immediately recognises the work.

KEITH: I guess I don't have to ask where you got these.

INT - MARS RESIDENCE - DAY.

Half-awake, Veronica walks from her bedroom to the kitchen. She wakes up fast when she sees Piz and Wallace's fake IDs taped to the refrigerator.

KEITH: You recognise the work?

Keith appears behind her from his bedroom. Veronica looks at him and sighs.

KEITH: Out of thirty-seven citations yours truly wrote in six campus-area bars last night, no fake ID could hold a candle to your standards. You may not want to believe this, honey, but there are mistakes you can't take back. What if they'd gotten drunk and stumbled into the street like Jim Wilson. Would you want to explain that to their parents?

Veronica doesn't say anything, but sighs again as Keith leaves the apartment. Her cell phone rings..

VERONICA: Hello?

EXT - BABYLON GARDENS - CONTINUING.

Sabirah is distraught. Nasir is behind her, cleaning "Terrorists Go Home" off the window.

SABIRAH: It's happened again.

INT - MARS RESIDENCE - CONTINUING.

VERONICA: I'll check the camera. I'll be right over.

INT - BABYLON GARDENS - DAY.

A picture of a young man spray painting the window is held out and passed to Sabirah. She looks at it closely, then shrugs.

SABIRAH: I've never seen this man.

Veronica takes the picture back.

VERONICA: No problem. I can track him. I just wanted to see if you knew who he was first.

EXT - BABYLON GARDENS - DAY.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Fortunately, the vandal took the bait.

Veronica exits. Nasir, still cleaning, stops to stare at her. She sees him and smiles. Nasir glares at her.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: One Arabic scroll with a tracer stitched inside.

EXT - NEPTUNE STREETS - DAY.

Veronica follows the sound of the tracer until she is led to the scroll which is in a trash can. She looks around. She's in one of the poorer parts of Neptuen and notes the house nearby. As she ponders, a Ford van pulls up. The driver leans out. It's the same guy as in the picture.

DERRICK: Can I help you find something?

Veronica smiles. She reaches into her bag as she walks towards him.

VERONICA: Look what I've got.

She pulls out the envelope with the picture in it.

VERONICA: It's a surveillance photo from Babylon Gardens. Shows you painting "Terrorist" on their building.

By now Derrick, wearing a patriotic T-shirt, is out of the van.

DERRICK: Well, you ain't a cop. So my response is gonna have to be "So the hell what?"

VERONICA: Why'd you do it?

DERRICK: If you have to ask that then you ain't been paying attention.

VERONICA: That's it? You're just another closed-minded redneck who thinks it's his patriotic duty to harass innocent people?

DERRICK: Not quite.

He walks away from her to the back of the van. Veronica follows.

VERONICA: I know where you live now. In about five minutes, I'll know your name. The family you're harassing is gonna press charges.

DERRICK'S BROTHER: [offscreen] Derrick, what have you done now?

Veronica rounds the back of the van to the other side. She sees Derrick's wheel-chair bound older brother on the lift letting him down from the van.

DERRICK: This girl here wants to know why I spray painted "terrorist" on that towel-head restaurant.

DERRICK'S BROTHER: You really think Babylon Gardens is a terrorist front?

DERRICK: As a matter of fact, I do.

Derrick walks quickly past his brother to the front of the van.

DERRICK'S BROTHER: Sorry about my little brother. He's been pretty worked up since I came home like this.

Veronica nods. Derrick, having grabbed a sheet of paper from the van, strides back to Veronica.

DERRICK: One of the dudes who works there. Passing these out by the mall.

It's a black and white cartoon. Over the shape of the country of Iraq is the name in block capitals. One American soldier stands in front of the I with his gun raised. A second enters the I, as if it were the start of an enclosed conveyer belt. A man in Arabic dress, with his face covered, stands behind the A and Q, going "Hee Hee!" From the Q, a coffin draped with the American flag exits the word to join another coffin already expelled.

DERRICK: I followed him back to the restaurant on his bike. Iraqis laughing at dead Americans? If that ain't terrorist propaganda, then I don't know what it.

Derrick, firmly unapologetic, heads back to his brother.

INT - BABYLON GARDENS - DAY.

The restaurant is quite busy as Veronica enters.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Generally the satisfaction of nailing someone for a crime like this is its own reward. So where's the sugar rush of sweet justice I should be feeling right now?

Veronica joins Rashad and Sabirah at one of the tables.

SABIRAH: Hello.

RASHAD: Hi.

They lean forward to hear her report.

VERONICA: So, his name is Derrick Karr. He admitted to vandalising your restaurant after he was handed this.

She pulls the cartoon out of her bag and holds it up to them. Sabirah takes it and they both stare down at it.

VERONICA: By Nasir. He was distributing them outside the mall. Derrick followed him back here.

Rashad and Sabirah exchange a sad glance.

VERONICA: Derrick's brother was shot up in Iraq.

RASHAD: His brother was a soldier?

VERONICA: Yes. But he had no idea what Derrick had done.

Veronica takes a deep breath.

VERONICA: I did some checking. Derrick's on probation for stealing cars. If you press charges, it'll most likely mean some jail time for him.

RASHAD: I want to meet this man.

INT - HEARST COLLEGE, BENES HALL - DAY.

Keith walks down the corridor, attracting furtive glances from passing students. He arrives at the door to Wallace and Piz's room. He pauses to consider the front of the latest Lampoon cover. Entitled "Mars Attacks!" it depicts Wallace and Piz being caught by a finger-waving Keith at The Break, with Keith's head being twice the size of his body. Keith knocks on the door. Piz opens it. Wallace is behind him, playing with a mini-basketball.

PIZ: Uh, Mr., uh, Sheriff Mars!

KEITH: Hello, Stosh. What do you say we head out. Have a few beers.

Piz stares at him in shock for a moment before smiling and pointing at him.

PIZ: It's one of those trick questions, isn't it?

KEITH: I've got some new IDs for you.

He holds up a couple of cards.

KEITH: Wallace!

Wallace joins Piz at the door and they take the proffered IDs. They take a moment to look at them.

PIZ: This picture is Jon Bon Jovi.

KEITH: Yes. It is.

WALLACE: Biggie Smalls? We don't really all look alike, Mr. Mars.

KEITH: I know that, Wallace. Now, let's go out and get our drink on.

INT - THE BREAK - NIGHT.

Music: "The Hard Light" by Mere Mortals.

LYRICS: I'm on a wire
I'm on a star
I got a feeling you don't know where you are
Here she comes now
She got the word
She wrote the note that you never heard
Come on
We're all done
Who's in your head, who's in my song?

Beer fills a glass from a pitcher. Wallace slides the glass along the bar to Piz who picks it up unenthusiastically.

PIZ: Non-alcoholic beer. All the peeing, none of the fun.

WALLACE: Quit complaining. One night of this and we're off the hook.

PIZ: Plus, if things work out with Miranda, this could be one of those cool first-time-we-met stories.

WALLACE: What about it is cool? And by the way, you invited her to join us at Logan's party. Your lack of pimp juice is going to cost you, son.

Further discourse is forestalled by the arrival of Deputy Gills.

GILLS: All right. Let's have all you finest minds of So. Cal. put your IDs in the air...

GIRL: Oh, come on.

GILLS: And wave them around like you just don't care.

The bar's customers do as told and hold up their IDs. Gills walks along the length of the bar, barely looking at them. He gets to Wallace and Piz. Piz's card gives him a moment's pause. He looks at Wallace's and then back at Piz's, metaphorically rolling his eyes.

GILLS: Thank you. And goodnight. This waste of time has been brought to you by the temporary sheriff of Balboa County.

Gills leaves the bar. Wallace picks up the walkie-talkie on his lap.

WALLACE: Did you get that, Mr. Mars?

End music: "The Hard Light" by Mere Mortals.

EXT - THE BREAK - CONTINUING.

Keith is parked outside.

KEITH: Got it.

He switches off the walkie-talkie and watches Deputy Gills as he walks away from the bar.

INT - SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT - DAY.

Keith has the deputies gathered together again.

KEITH: Last night, I ordered another sweep of the bars. Smith, Jones, Taylor, Gills. Clean out your lockers, you're fired.

GILLS: You're firing us? You're the substitute teacher. We were hired by Don Lamb. I know these guys better than you do, Keith. You try to pull this stunt, we all walk.

KEITH: Fair enough.

Keith points.

KEITH: There's the door.

Sacks and the other deputies don't make a move.

GILLS: You don't have the stones--

KEITH: Leave your badge on the desk and get the hell out of my station.

Gills opens his mouth to argue, but as he looks around he can see that he doesn't have the support he thought he had. He takes off his badge and walks towards the desk on the way out.

EXT - KARR RESIDENCE - DAY.

Derrick opens the door.

DERRICK: You.

He's not pleased to see Veronica.

VERONICA: I've got some people who want to meet you.

She indicated the Krimanis, standing behind her.

VERONICA: Rashad, Sabirah Krimani. This is Derrick Karr. They own Babylon Gardens.

RASHAD: I wanted to meet you. Talk to you.

DERRICK: Lucky me.

Derrick starts to shut the door in their faces.

VERONICA: Hey, if they report you, it's off to jail you go.

DERRICK: So, I end up in jail. My brother ends up in a wheelchair and these foreigners are free to spit on America and everything it stands for.

RASHAD: What it stands for? Do you even know what it stands for?

Derrick prepares for a lecture with ill grace.

RASHAD: Saying you love America is easy. It's easy until someone spray paints "terrorist" on your door. It's easy until you are handed a flyer that mocks the sacrifice of your brother. We all came from somewhere else. We all are trying to make it. In America, whatever you stand for you're supposed to get a fair shot. That is what your brother was fighting for. In case you wanted to know.

Derrick glares at him, unmoved.

DERRICK: So turn me in, Ali Baba. It makes no difference to me.

Derrick slams the door shut. Veronica sighs heavily. She gets out her phone.

VERONICA: He'll be in jail in an hour.

Veronica starts to dial.

RASHAD: No, no. Don't, don't turn him in. I suspect that our troubles with Mr. Karr are over. I'm glad that I had the chance to speak with the man.

VERONICA: You sure?

Rashad nods.

VERONICA: Okay.

Veronica leads them away from the door. Sabirah puts her arm around her husband.

SABIRAH: I'm so proud of you. Your words were so inspirational. I was wondering. Do they apply to your daughter as well?

Rashad sighs.

RASHAD: I guess I should meet the boy.

SABIRAH: And what do we do about Nasir?

RASHAD: Well, he didn't break any laws handing out the flyer and I support his right to exercise free speech. But that doesn't mean that I have to support him or shelter him. That cartoon pissed me off. It was un-American.

INT - BABYLON GARDENS - DAY.

Nasir is working in the kitchen.

INS AGENT: Nasir Ben Hafayid.

Nasir looks up to see two men in suits enter the kitchen. The first man holds up his badge.

INS AGENT: You're in this country on an expired I-20 student visa.

The agent cuffs Nasir.

INS AGENT: In accordance with INS 214 any statement you make can be used in a court of law, immigration or administrative proceeding.

Nasir is led away.

INT - MARS RESIDENCE - NIGHT.

Keith is pouring the contents of a large saucepan into a colander. Veronica arrives.

KEITH: Hey, honey. Just in time. Hungry?

VERONICA: Nope, but the food's free.

Veronica gets plates from the cupboard.

KEITH: Wallace called. He and Piz are going to meet you at the party. Said you'd understand.

VERONICA: [horrified] They're ditching me?

KEITH: I warned them you wouldn't understand. Score one for Dad. By the way, you didn't tell me I made the front page of the Lampoon.

Having laid the plates, Veronica sinks onto the stool.

KEITH: This had to have been tough on you the last couple of days, having your old man back as sheriff.

VERONICA: Actually, it's been tough on me knowing I let you down. I'm sorry about those IDs. I vow to use the Mars powers for good rather than evil from now on.

KEITH: There's never a stenographer around when you need one.

Veronica wrinkles her brow at her father.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL - NIGHT.

Veronica boards one of the lifts/elevators.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Things I'd rather do than attend this party solo. Seven minutes of heaven with Scott Peterson...

DICK: Hold the door!

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Ride the space elevator with Dick...

Dick catches the door before it shuts and gets into the lift.

DICK: Always the lady. You came. Good for you. Thought something like this would be unbelievably awkward.

VERONICA: Your fly's open.

DICK: I know. Party ritual.

Veronica frowns and looks over at him. He's got a hip flask and takes a long swig. Veronica holds out her hand for it. Surprised, he gives it to her. She looks at the open flask for a moment, her need for Dutch courage battling the idea of taking a drink from Dick. Dutch courage wins but not before she wipes the mouth of the flask on her dress.

DICK: Veronica Mars! What's that line about the beginning of some sort of friendship?

Veronica throws back her head for a long drink.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, LOGAN'S SUITE - NIGHT.

Music: "The Time of Times" by Badly Drawn Boy.

LYRICS: Oh, sweet morning
Is your head not right
Did you hear my warning
This is the time of times
And your head feels like your body
Your mind is close behind
There’s a teardrop on your shoulder
That says this is the time of times
It’s the time of times again
This is the time of times
It’s the time of times again
Oh, sweet morning
And your head's not right
Did you hear my warning
This is the time of times

Mac looks around the party, a worried look on her face. She sees Veronica and Dick enter the suite.

DICK: Later.

Dick passes Veronica to head into the party. Mac heads for Veronica.

VERONICA: Why are you looking at me like that?

MAC: Sorry. I was afraid you were trying to get back at Logan somehow by coming as Dick's date.

VERONICA: Ew. Yeah, nothing says "I'm over you" like dating down.

Veronica looks around. She gasps.

VERONICA: Couch opening!

She grabs Mac's hand and they run to the empty couch on which they collapse with relief.

VERONICA: Okay. This couch is our social foxhole for the next sixty minutes of battle. Defend it at all costs.

Veronica spots Wallace and Piz. Coming towards them too is Max.

MAX: Hey, Veronica.

Veronica smiles and then peers around his body to see Wallace and Piz.

MAX: And friend.

VERONICA: Sorry, right, uh, Max, this is my friend, Mac. Mac, Max.

Veronica jumps up from her seat.

VERONICA: Where are my manners? Sit, defend, decide which one of you's changing their name. I'll be right back.

Veronica races to Wallace and Piz.

WALLACE: Hey, you made it.

PIZ: Hey.

VERONICA: Hey, bozos. We had plans!

Over on the couch, Max is now sitting on the couch next to Mac and the two of them are smiling shyly.

WALLACE: Your dad didn’t give you the message?

VERONICA: You were supposed to be my wing men. What mission could be more important than that?

Miranda arrives, holding out drinks for both Piz and Wallace.

MIRANDA: Here you go, boys.

Miranda arrives, holding out drinks for both Piz and Wallace.

VERONICA: [quietly] I see. Battle of the bulge.

WALLACE: Veronica Mars. Miranda Apfel.

MIRANDA: Hey.

VERONICA: Hi.

Elsewhere in the room, Dick is talking to the first of his hot MySpace invitees, a girl called Lisa.

LISA: I loved the quote you have up on your MySpace page. What was it again?

DICK: "The Dude abides." I don't know about you but I take comfort in that.

Lisa giggles.

LISA: What else do you take comfort in?

Before he has to think of an answer, he sees the second MySpace girl has arrived.

DICK: Drinks. Be right back.

He leaves her and heads for the other girl. Logan starts tapping on a glass, bringing the room to order.

LOGAN: Can I, uh, get everyone's attention for one minute.

Parker advances to the centre of the room. Veronica turns to watch.

LOGAN: Now I had this whole "My Super Sweet Nineteen" thing planned for tonight, but, uh, it turns out the hotel has a policy on Bengal tiger rides.

He and Parker grin at each other.

LOGAN: There is one ludicrous thing I was able to pull off that helps makes up for it.

One of the hotel room service waiters arrives, pushing a trolley on which is a large box from a bakery. Everyone in the room, except Veronica, claps and whistles.

PARKER: You remembered! Oh, my God.

Logan moves around to join her in front of the box. The lid is lifted to reveal a large cake. One side of it is taken up with the message "Happy birthday Parker." The other features a photo of the two of them in icing. Also on the table are a couple of gifts on one of which burns two candles. Parker laughs in delight and puts her hand affectionately on Logan's face. Veronica watches. End music: "The Time of Times" by Badly Drawn Boy. Music: "And I Was a Boy from School" by Hot Chip.

LYRICS: And I was a boy from school
Helplessly helping all the rules
And there was a boy at school
Hopelessly wrestling all his fools
And then there was a girl at school
Blaming all the words she learned from home
Nothing could keep her a child
Long hours don't you know we try
We try but we didn't have long
We try but we don't belong
We try but we didn't have long
We try but we don't belong
Now I meet you on the street
Harmlessly breaking rules, we meet
Lives are found and loves are lost
Say goodbye to nothing everything caused
Now I find you on my street
Breaking rules hopelessly we meet
Lives are found but loves are lost

Elsewhere, Dick is working on hot MySpace girl #2.

DICK: You're kidding!

HOT MYSPACE GIRL #2: My dad does half the team's taxes. We should go to a game sometime.

She takes a step closer towards him.

HOT MYSPACE GIRL #2: You can spend halftime in my private box.

DICK: Awesome! Would you give me a few minutes? I have some party responsibilities to attend to.

Dick starts to move away, unaware that Lisa has just joined Hot MySpace Girl #2.

[316/3536.jpg]LISA: Hey there.

Dick turns to see his two dates standing side by side. He is a little stunned.

LISA: Isn't he yummy?

HOT MYSPACE GIRL #2: I know. You just want to...eat him up.

Dick looks from one to the other and lets out a bemused chuckle. Back at the trolley, Parker is serving cake. Veronica approaches. Parker gazes at her and lets out a deep breath.

PARKER: Thank you.

VERONICA: Me? You're the one dishing out cake.

PARKER: I was worried...that things were going to be weird and you're just...a class act.

VERONICA: I'm happy for you guys. I've never seen him...on a cake like this.

Parker giggles.

VERONICA: Feel free to just hack in anywhere.

PARKER: Okay.

Parker hands her a plate with a piece of cake on it. Veronica moves away before she notices that she's unfortunately got the piece with Logan's face. She looks up at the sound of Max's laughter.

MAX: [offscreen] That's brilliant!

Veronica watches them as she eats her cake. Mac giggles.

MAX: An online purity test. So basically you got people to detail their sex lives.

MAC: And be scored accordingly, then I sold their sexual secrets to their peers for ten bucks a pop.

MAX: I like how you think.

MAC: Veronica busted me, but kept quiet. We've been friends ever since.

As Veronica watches Max and Mac getting on so well, Logan comes up from behind to stand next to her.

LOGAN: Checking out the talent?

He laughs and takes a sip of his drink.

VERONICA: How is it you have so many friends? You don't even like people.

LOGAN: And yet they adore me.

They start walking the room together.

LOGAN: I girded myself for seeing with a date tonight, you know, proof you weren't pining away.

VERONICA: All the periodically good ones were taken and I pine for no man.

Veronica puts down the now empty plate.

LOGAN: Hmm. Well maybe you should try branching out. I mean, who knows, maybe there's a consistently good one here tonight.

On the couch, Max and Mac continue to get on like a house on fire.

MAC: So you sell tests, sorry, study guides.

MAX: Yeah, it's not easy. Undergrad courses change quarter to quarter, visiting professors switch up curriculums, RTAs to bribe. It's exhausting.

MAC: Tell me you're a business major.

MAX: Philosophy. No lie. I think therefore I am.

They laugh.

MAX: Okay. Seriously, did...did my friends hire you.

Mac stares at him quizzically. Elsewhere Veronica is approached by an unwelcome guest.

ROCK-A-BILLY LOSER: Hey, the host says you're a big-time swing dancer.

Veronica glances over at Logan, who is watching and smirking. He holds up his drink in salute. Veronica laughs uncomfortably. Logan's loving it until his attention is pulled away by an excited Dick.

DICK: Dude, you're not going to believe this. Hottie internet chicks found out about each other, talked it over, and they're into it.

LOGAN: Into it?

DICK: Doublemint, baby!

LOGAN: Are they becoming twins?

DICK: What? Dude, I don’t have time for this. They sent me on a play thing scavenger hunt. Do we have any peanut oil?

LOGAN: Here in the room?

DICK: Didn't think so. What about an ice bucket?

Dick hurries away. End music: "And I Was a Boy from School" by Hot Chip.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, OUTSIDE LOGAN'S SUITE - NIGHT.

Dick is in the small room where the ice dispenser is, separated from the corridor by a glass door. Concentrating on filling the ice bucket, he doesn't hear the high heeled shoe slide a stopper under the door, jamming it closed, until it's done. He twist round to see Hot MySpace Girl #2 on the other side of the door.He tries the door and realises it's jammed.

DICK: Hey, what's up? Wh-what's going on?

She puts her hand on her hip.

HOT MYSPACE GIRL #2: Lisa is a friend of mine.

DICK: Who's Lisa?

Lisa appears and stands next to her friend.

LISA: I'm Lisa, dipwad. When you're perving my online profile, you should've looked at the friends list, too. Not just the picture. Just thought we'd come by and say "hi." Great party.

[316/3836.jpg] The girls turn on their heels and walk away hand in hand.

DICK: [most pathetically] No, don't go.

They get in the lift and just as it closes, torture Dick more by moving in for a kiss. Dick drops his head in mourning.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, LOGAN'S SUITE - NIGHT.

Music: "Rally" by Phoenix.

LYRICS: Hook up with me, meet at the rally
I waited so long, I couldn't find a cause
Tired or wasted I think you're decent
I waited so long, there'll be no decency no
(Don't you give me those)
Shifty eyes pay attention
Dirty talk talk talk
Quiet
Just as long as you're gone
It won't happen at all
Remember the time we talked about everlastings?
Don't you know we'll both fall to pieces too?
April 22nd at the Avalon
You teased me
Hook up with me, meet at the rally
Shifty eyes pay attention
Dirty talk talk talk
Quiet
Just as long as you're gone
It won't happen at all
Shifty eyes pay attention
Dirty talk talk talk
Quiet
Just as long as you're gone
It won't happen, no
Don't go away we're so near
Look around, you see
There is nothing to say but the things I know
I got nothing to say but the things I know
Standing in line, I think you're pretty
Lying on your bed, I think you're pretty too
Young girl curl your hair at night
Hook up with me, meet at the rally
(Don't you give me those)
Shifty eyes pay attention
Dirty talk talk talk
Quiet
Just as long as you're gone
It won't happen at all
Shifty eyes pay attention
Dirty talk talk talk
Louder
Just as long as you're gone
I won't leave you alone

Piz's eyes are a little glazed, despite or because of being the focus of Miranda's attention.

MIRANDA: No way! I-I've heard your show.

Wallace shakes his head at Piz's lack of interest as Miranda sidles close up to Piz.

MIRANDA: Maybe you could dedicate something to me?

PIZ: Absolutely, even though it's a talk show. I could dedicate a segment on campus neighbourhood zones for you.

They are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Veronica who flies into Piz's arms.

VERONICA: There you are!

She gives him a big hug and whispers in his ear.

VERONICA: Sorry, this is a break glass in case of emergency situation. I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend.

[316/3900.jpg] Piz keeps a hold of her while he considers this. Wallace watches with some concern. Piz and Veronica break.

PIZ: Oh, sorry. You're right, babe. Bad boyfriend. Fresh drink coming up, okay.

He kisses her on the forehead and races off. Veronica gives the thumbs up then turns to face Wallace and Miranda. Wallace turns to Miranda.

WALLACE: Could you give us a second?

MIRANDA: Sure.

Wallace pushes Veronica away slightly for some privacy.

WALLACE: You need to listen to me right now, okay.

Wallace checks for Piz returning.

WALLACE: What you're doing is cruel.

VERONICA: Are you kidding? When I told him my name...

Veronica looks over his shoulder where the Rock-A-Billy Loser is standing watching them. On her glance, he gives her a friendly gesture. She gives one back with a fake smile. Wallace turns to see.

VERONICA: He did that whole "banana fanna fofanna" thing.

WALLACE: No, not him. Piz.

Veronica furrows her brow, confused.

WALLACE: If you don't know he has a thing for you...

VERONICA: Piz doesn’t have a th-

WALLACE: You're smarter than that. Be a good person. Just put him out of his misery.

Piz arrives back with two drinks.

PIZ: There's my sugar.

Veronica, suddenly uncomfortable with him, stares at him. Piz senses the change of mood and looks from her to Wallace.

PIZ: What?

WALLACE: Nothing. I gotta get back to Miranda.

Wallace gives Veronica a significant looks before he turns and rejoins Miranda. Piz gives Veronica her drink. She smiles awkwardly.

VERONICA: You wanna get some air?

They move out onto the balcony. Veronica takes Piz's drink and sets them both down.

VERONICA: I owe you an apology.

PIZ: You do?

Veronica turns to face him.

VERONICA: I do. You've been so sweet to me and I really like hanging out with you. You're great. I've just...I've been so focused on my own romantic drama, I've kind of been blind to everything else. Basically what I'm saying is that I think you're head may have been in one place and mine's been in ano-

Piz takes hold of her face and kisses her. After a moment, he lifts his head. He shrugs.

PIZ: Just friends. I get it.

He backs away and leaves the balcony. Veronica is shocked. She touches her lips. Piz walks back into the suite and puts his hand on Wallace's back.

PIZ: I'm taking off.

WALLACE: Where are you going? What happened?

Piz smiles.

PIZ: I went all in.

Wallace watches him go, smiling. Back on the balcony, Veronica is pacing. She steps into the room. She sees Max and Mac happily flirting. She spots Wallace.

VERONICA: Have you seen Piz?

Wallace points to the door.

WALLACE: He just took off.

Veronica runs in the same direction.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, OUTSIDE LOGAN'S SUITE - NIGHT.

Piz is at the lift where Veronica catches up with him.

VERONICA: You're leaving?

PIZ: Yeah, well I'm a fan of the dramatic exit.

Veronica looks up at him.

PIZ: Truthfully, I don't know how the night can get any better than that.

Veronica smiles and pulls him towards her, rising onto her toes.

[316/4111.jpg]VERONICA: You sure about that?

They kiss again, this time more mutually. In front of them, the lift doors open. Logan is in the lift. He freezes on seeing them. Veronica and Piz also freeze on seeing him. Logan is pale, but gives a small rueful grin and walks out of the lift and past them, where the grin disappears. Veronica and Piz step into the lift. Veronica stares at Logan as he walks away and the doors start to close. He doesn't look back. End. End music: "Rally" by Phoenix. Executive producer: Rob Thomas.

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