I’ve Got a Receipt (II-V)

II-V: THE GARDEN III

The lonely aesthetic of a dead mall’s parking lot.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Some forty-five minutes after witnessing her sister and several others devoured by the ancient evil lurking in a trippy cosmic void several miles below her local mall, Cassie was escorted out by mall security.

A lone SECURITY GUARD on a segway escorts Cassie out of the mall.

SECURITY GUARD: (tired, don’t care) Thank you for shopping at The Garden. You are now banned from The Garden for eighteen months. Please vacate the premises immediately.

CASSIE: Wait. So, that’s it?

SECURITY GUARD: What, were you expecting a big chase scene and more ritual sacrifice?

CASSIE: (shrugs) Maybe.

Security Guard’s radio SQUAWKS and a VOICE speaks from the other side.

VOICE: (radio) Frank?

SECURITY GUARD: (to VOICE) Yeah. Go ahead.

Another SQUAWK of the radio.

VOICE: (radio) Peter’s under the escalator again.

SECURITY GUARD: (sigh) Goddammit. (to VOICE) I’ll be right there. (to self) They don’t pay me enough for this shit.

Security Guard turns around, disappears into the mall.

CASSIE: Huh.

Cassie’s phone RINGS, she answers.

CASSIE: Mom?

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Hiya, Sweetie. I’ve been trying to get a hold of your sister, but she’s not answering.

CASSIE: Mom…

MOM: (phone) (drunk) She left me an awful voicemail – all this shouting and screaming.

CASSIE: (emotional) Mom. Brennifer’s dead!

An uncomfortable silence. Then…

CASSIE: Mom? Mom are you–

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Hello? Sweetie?

CASSIE: Yes, Mom. I’m trying to–

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Stupid phones never have any–

CASSIE: Brennifer’s dead, Mom!

Another silence. Then…

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Cassie? Hello? Cassie, are you there?

CASSIE: Yes. Mom. I’m–

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Hello?

CASSIE: Mom! I’m trying to tell you about Brenn–

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Nevermind your sister.

CASSIE: (puzzles this) Are you drinking?

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Does boxed wine count?

Yet another uncomfortable silence. Then…

CASSIE: (sighs) Yes, Mom. Boxed wine–

MOM: (phone) (drunk) Anyway!

CASSIE: (repressed rage)

MOM: (phone) (drunk) You’re not gonna believe this, but I gave you the wrong receipt! (cackling) I feel like such a doofus!

THE END

I’ve Got a Receipt (II-IV)

II-IV: The M’na-ger

An impressively modern, if rather unimpressively modern temple of evil worshiping in the style of a hockey arena. The muffled roar of a large, rowdy AUDIENCE. A foul, sinister prayer playing on a loop over the PA system that is, in fact, a foul, sinister rendition of Piero Umiliani’s “Mah Na Mah Na.”

NARRATOR: (voice-over) If you were to remove the top portion of your typical professional hockey arena, replaced the chill, dry air with something similar to that of burning plastic – though, only inside out and with the lights off – and filled it to the nosebleeds with robed figures – in addition to colorful jerseys and painted, furry bellies of grown men bellowing a foul and wholly sinister rendition of Piero Umiliani’s classic hit “Mah Na Mah Na,” of course – you’d have a fairly poor image that vaguely resembles what Cassie witnessed upon stepping through what she was sure was a bed sheet covering the entrance to the amphitheater.

Cassie and Bobert enter, watch from the stands and among the crowd.

CASSIE: (drinks it in and hates it) Yeah. Something tells me I don’t want to be.

The audience suddenly and immediately go dead silent.

CASSIE: Aw, crap. (to Bobert) They heard me, didn’t they?

BOBERT: (shushes) It’s starting!

DOUG, a man in corduroys, enters and PHHHT-PHHHTS across center ice to a podium.

CASSIE: Who’s the dork in the polo and corduroys?

BOBERT: That’s Doug, the M’na M’na Manager.

CASSIE: Wow. That’s quite a M’na-outhful.

BOBERT: I know, right? Personally, I always thought he should be called the M’na-ger.

Doug the M’na-ger speaks in a dry, lifeless voice into a microphone and through the PA system.

DOUG: (PA system) Good afternoon, everyone.

MOSTLY EVERYONE: (equally dry and lifeless) Good afternoon, Doug.

DOUG: (PA system) Now. I know things haven’t been looking too good for us, numbers-wise. But I’m happy to announce that we have not one, but three–

Doug’s phone RINGS.

DOUG: (PA system) Sorry. Just give me…

Doug answers the phone, attempts and fails to not be heard over the PA system.

Hello? Yeah. No, this isn’t a good… Uh-huh…. Uh-huh… Okay, I will. But I have to… Yes, I’m at work. Okay. Okay. Okay, Ma. I gotta go. Wait. How many again? Okay, got it. Yes. I got it. Okay. I love you, too.

Doug hangs up.

(PA system) (to AUDIENCE) Right. As I was saying. We have not one, but three offerings scheduled for this afternoon!

The audience pitties Doug with a light smatter of applause.

(PA system) So please, help me give a warm Garden welcome to today’s Sacrificial Lambs!

BANG! The amphitheater goes dark. Colorful spotlights and music blast through the PA system. The crowd ROARS to life with pure, wholesome bloodlust. And the one-hundred square foot, super-high resolution video screen provides all in attendance with a crystal clear image of everything.

DOUG: (PA system) Skating out first to center ice, he’s a middle-aged Hispanic man with great hair 

A middle-aged Hispanic man with GREAT HAIR holding a pair of slacks, a sweet, older FILIPINA WOMAN, and Cassie’s ham-faced potato of a SISTER all skate out to center ice.

SISTER: (squawking) I want to speak to the manager!

Cassie recognizes Sister on the big screen.

CASSIE: (mild surprise) Oh, hey. I know that potato!

BOBERT: You do?

CASSIE: Yeah, it’s my sister. What’s she doing down there?

BOBERT: (ruh-roh) Uh…

Meanwhile, at center ice…

GREAT HAIR: (to SISTER) Excuse me. Do you mind if I go first? I just need to exchange these pants, and I think I left my truck running in the parking lot.

FILIPINA WOMAN: Well, you can go ahead of me. I’m not even sure why I’m here.

A large TENDRIL made of nothing suddenly and swiftly picks up, tosses all three into a gaping maw of teeth and really icky stuff that wasn’t there a moment ago at all. Then… BELCHES and SPITS their bones back onto the ice one, like pulpy, bloody watermelon seeds.

An uncomfortable silence.

CASSIE: (scared, pissed, confused.) What. The. Shit.

Everyone and everything turns to Cassie.

Another silence. Then…

CASSIE: (puzzles this) Uh… (sings. poorly.) Mah Na Mah na! Doo, doo…

The audience ain’t buying what she’s selling.

(hangs head, sighs) Goddammit.

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (II-III)

II-III: BIZARRE BAZAAR

The bustling bizarre bazaar beneath the mall – a collection of assorted booths, carnival games, eateries, and curiosities operated and enjoyed by EMPLOYEES, their FAMILY MEMBERS, and DARK FIGURES dressed in ceremonial hooded robes.

DARK FIGURE #1 attempts, fails, and rages at a game somewhat resembling a typical carnival bottle toss. Their friend, DARK FIGURE #2, watches. The game ATTENDANT doesn’t get paid enough for this.

DARK FIGURE #1: (crazed) This game is freakin’ rigged, man!

ATTENDANT: (panicked) Miss, I need you to let go of the Quantum Madness Ball!

DARK FIGURE #2: (to DARK FIGURE #1) Maybe we should go before someone writes us up.

DARK FIGURE #1: (heavy sigh) Fine… 

Dark Figure #1 returns the Quantum Madness Ball.

DARK FIGURE #1: I really wanted that Frankie the Insanity Flea doll…

Dark Figure #2 comforts Dark Figure #1 as they exit in disgrace.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Due to the convenient way the abyss defies both the laws of physics and story structure, Cassie and Bobert arrived at the docks of an island bobbing about there in the nothingness approximately twelve minutes before they originally departed.

Now. For Bobert, their impossibly early arrival meant there was plenty of time to give Cassie a full tour. Unfortunately for Cassie, this also meant there was time for a full tour.

Bobert and Cassie enter. Bobert leads while Cassie follows, a bit wobbly in the knees.

BOBERT: (gesturing) And this is the employee store, cafeteria, and midway!

CASSIE: How do you even navigate this place? I’m so turned around, I think I’m gonna be sick.

BOBERT: Oh, you don’t want to do that. There’s no telling what might come out.

They carry on from one booth to another.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) They navigated this unholy union of consumerism and madness given form, stopping to peruse the various cheap jewelry, impressively unimpressive paintings of local landscapes, and several sorts of fish-like nightmares.

Cassie turns to the posted sign written in blood.

CASSIE: (reads) “Chrono-finned Tuna”… What the Hell?

She takes a big whiff of the chrono-finned tuna.

CASSIE: (smiling) Hey! These things smell like peppermint!

Bobert curiously observes Cassie.

BOBERT: Uh…

CASSIE: What? What’s wrong?

Bobert dismisses this with a wave of his hand.

BOBERT: I’m sure you’ll probably be fine.

They venture onward.

A MAN hands out out pamphlets between whatever a “nightcare center” is and a churro cart.

MAN: You clocking out, Bobert?

BOBERT: Nah, I’m just giving the new girl a tour of the place on the way to get her a new badge.

Cassie waves “hello”, Man waves back.

CASSIE: Hi.

COWORKER: Hi, I’m (frightened screaming).

CASSIE: (considers this) That, uh… that short for something?

MAN: (offended) Wow.

CASSIE: What?

MAN: (ignores this) Anyway. Are you coming to the show in the screaming fields this Friday?

CASSIE: Show?

Man hands Cassie a pamphlet.

CASSIE: (reading) The Mangina Monologues…

MAN: It’s an all-male reimagining of–

CASSIE: Of the Vagina Monologues. Yeah. I got it. Cute.

BONG! The ominous clattering of a large ceremonial bell.

BOBERT: (squealing) Oh, my god!

CASSIE: (so done with all of this) What? What the Hell’s next? And what’s with all the floaty dudes in robes?

MAN: They’re headed towards the amphitheater.

BOBERT: (childish glee) It’s time for an offering!

CASSIE: Offering?

MAN: Yeah. We don’t get too many of these lately.

BOBERT: Come on, Newbie!

Bobert scuttles off to the amphitheater, and Cassie follows.

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (II-II)

II-II: ABSURDAPOTAMUS

The jungle boat putt-putts across the incomprehensibly strange, yet inexplicably calm abyss. Bobert pilots, speaking exclusively through the boat’s shoddy PA system. Cassie suffers this.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) As they ventured across and through the abyss towards a distant glow along the horizon, Bobert quite literally jumped at the opportunity to play tour guide.

BOBERT: Good afternoon, ya’ll! I’m Bobert, and I’ll be your ferryman-slash-tour guide for today’s journey across The Great Divide!

NARRATOR: (voice-over) He clucked about a bellowing mass of flesh, teeth, and an adorable pair of wiggling ears that playfully rocked the boat in passing.

An ABSURDAPOTAMUS splashes, plays in the boat’s wake.

BOBERT: Sorry about that folks! We have a friend joining us today – say hello to Glenda the Absurdapotamus!

NARRATOR: (voice-over) He twittered ceaselessly for several minutes about the majestic beauty of a three-necked, two-headed abyssal megacephalosaurus.

A pair of ABYSSAL MEGACEPHALOSAURUS breach the nothingness below, engage in a mating ritual.

BOBERT: And that’s where baby abyssal megacephalosaurus come from!

NARRATOR: (voice-over) He even quacked at a large eye with wings perched atop a large shard of concentrated madness drifting in the nothingness that surrounded them.

Whatever-It-Is drifts in, drifts out.

BOBERT: Hmm… I actually haven’t seen that one before…

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Cassie, meanwhile, couldn’t be assed to listen to a word of Bobert’s blissful and cheery everything until his honking about the cosmic salamander.

The Cosmic Salamander appears, does as a cosmic salamander does.

BOBERT: Oh! And directly above us, you’ll see the Cosmic Salamander re-configuring time and space for lunch!

CASSIE: Wait. You can see that thing?

BOBERT: Of course, silly.

CASSIE: I thought I was going crazy.

BOBERT: Oh. Well, that might still happen.

CASSIE: What?

BOBERT: (shrugs) Yeah. This place can be a bit kooky. One time, I had to stop someone from ripping off their bottom jaw. Poor guy thought his tongue was trying to kill him.

CASSIE: But you stopped him, right?

BOBERT: Nope.

CASSIE: That’s not comforting.

BOBERT: Got pretty messy, too.

CASSIE: I bet.

Bobert hangs, shakes his head and sighs.

BOBERT: This job isn’t for everyone, I guess.

CASSIE: You’re a real strange dude, Bobert.

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (II-I)

II-I: BOBERT

Cassie ventures deeper into the void of a massive torch-lit cavern beneath the local mall. The foul, sinister praying still echoing in the distance.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Fifteen minutes down the path, Cassie’s heart fluttered to the distant rhythm of that foul and sinister praying. The foreign sounds dug into her ears and crawled up and around the inner walls of her skull like vines. And the air tasted the way an original vinyl pressing of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Hip to Be Square” looks when played on a burning Victrola.

Cassie looks to the sky in disbelief as time collapses upon itself in the wake of a cosmic salamander.

CASSIE: Oh, my god… what now?

NARRATOR: (voice-over) But it was ultimately the way time collapsed upon itself as the cosmic salamander passed overhead that had Cassie doubled over, nose pinched, and eyes squeezed down to slits.

Cassie doubles-over, dry heaves.

BOBERT THE FERRYMAN enters, drifts toward Cassie in an adorable little boat with an equally adorable little bell. Ridiculously and sincerely cheerful and polite, Bobert is the ideal theme park employee.

BOBERT: You lose something, Miss?

Cassie turns to Bobert and his little boat.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Cassie opened her eyes to find a well-groomed young man in a little sailor outfit, standing in a small jungle boat drifting about in that vast sea of nothingness, and looking back at her as if she were just about the silliest thing he’d seen that day.

CASSIE: What the Hell? Who are you?

BOBERT: I’m Bobert, the ferryman.

CASSIE: I’m sorry. Did you say ‘Bobert’?

BOBERT: Yes, I did.

CASSIE: Huh.

BOBERT: Yup.

CASSIE: Wait. Where did you come from? I’ve been walking forever, and I didn’t see you until now.

BOBERT: (chuckling) You must be new here.

CASSIE: (lying… poorly) Yes. That is correct. I am new here… and not someone who simply ran in here after startling real mall employees… who also totally didn’t catch me peeing behind a vending machine.

BOBERT: Cool.

CASSIE: Look. “Bobert,” was it?

BOBERT: That’s right.

CASSIE: Bobert.

BOBERT: Uh-huh.

CASSIE: I’m gonna be totally honest here. I think I’m tripping balls right now.

BOBERT: Oh?

CASSIE: Yeah. And I’m seeing and hearing and smelling all kinds of seriously weird shit.

BOBERT: Ya know, I thought I smelled a little tinkle.

CASSIE: What? No. Not that.

BOBERT: Really? I’m pretty sure that’s–

CASSIE: Shut up, Bobert.

BOBERT: Sorry.

CASSIE: Don’t worry about it.

BOBERT: (considers this) Sorry. Still a smidge worried.

CASSIE: (sighs) Ugh. Look. I just want to go home. So, how do I go about getting out of here?

BOBERT: Oh. That’s easy. (gesturing) Just go right back out that door.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Cassie turned to find the back-end of the Coffee-2-Go only several yards away from Bobert’s boat.

CASSIE: Yeah. No. Definitely tripping balls.

BOBERT: You’ll need to scan your employee badge, though.

CASSIE: Sorry. New employee, remember? No badge.

BOBERT: (puzzles this) Well… I suppose you can always pick up a new badge at the employee center inside the temple.

CASSIE: You said “temple.”

BOBERT: I did.

CASSIE: Of course you did. Let me guess… you ferry people to the temple?

BOBERT: Ain’t you smarter than the average bear.

Cassie boards Bobert’s boat.

CASSIE: Yeah. Somehow I doubt that.

DING-DING! Bobert rings the adorable little bell.

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (I-V)

I-V: COFFEE-2-GO

Cassie scuttles up, down, and all about the moist labyrinthine network of wholly impossible corridors in the back end of the mall.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) As her sister made yet another poor life decision in a series of such things, Cassie, in a desperate attempt to empty her bladder, followed a sign through a door marked “RESTROOMS” nestled between what used to be a discount Hawaiian jewelry shop and a gold-for-cash place. But rather than finding an actual toilet, she found a labyrinthine network of ever twisting, stretching, and, at times, she would have sworn, writhing corridors that were most certainly used as toilets. And then there was the issue of Cassie turning left several times in a row, yet failing to go in a pee-pee scented circle.

Cassie turns a corner, comes to a dead stop in the face of yet another copy-paste corridor. Only this one has a COFFEE-2-GO machine.

CASSIE: Oh, god-dammit.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Just as the turn before this one — and the one before that — this hallway looked, moved, and smelled the same as all the others. A single fluorescent tube flickered and buzzed overhead. The air thick, heavy with the moisture of a thousand flushes left to fester in a concrete tube with no windows and no doors. The concrete floor beneath her feet moving in such a way that it felt as if it had briefly, but surely transformed into a caravan of mighty Amazonian army ants nipping at the soles of her flats. Also, this one had a “COFFEE-2-GO” machine set against a wall.

CASSIE: Okay. You know what? Screw it. I’m just gonna go right here.

Cassie ducks, squats behind the COFFEE-2-GO machines.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) But just as Cassie squatted down between it, a group of mall employees piled out from the once super-secret door located behind the aforementioned coffee machine from the 1970s.

The super-secret door opens, a YOUNG WOMAN and MAN step out mid-conversation.

YOUNG WOMAN: So I look behind the escalator, and all I see him doing is crying.

MAN: Yeah. That’s somehow more gross.

Young Woman and Man stop dead in their tracks, seize on Cassie.

YOUNG WOMAN: Oh, my God. Is that woman peeing behind that vending machine?

NARRATOR: (voice-over) With her leggings still wrapped around one ankle, Cassie pigeon-toed her way between the puzzled man and gawky girl, straight through the once super-secret door behind the Coffee-2-Go, and beyond.

Cassie flees through the once super-secret door.

CASSIE:  Sorry not sorry!

The once super-secret door closes behind her.

Cassie now stands at the precipice of a massive torch-lit cavern beneath the mall. Distant, unholy humming of a foul, sinister prayer echoes in the void.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The Coffee-2-Go led to a well-worn dirt path cutting through a swerving, dipping, curving swath of nothingness that seemed to stretch forever in all directions. The path was lit every few feet by a dark, cold fire, housed in the leather-bound remains of a large creature’s skull. And the darkness hummed with the dull roar of distant praying.

Cassie hobbles down the path, fumbling with her leggings.

NARRATOR (CONT’D): (voice-over) Cassie fumbled with her leggings where the path met nothing, and stared into the deep and endless abyss.

CASSIE: Oh… Well, shit…

END ACT ONE

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (I-IV)

I-IV: I’VE GOT A RECEIPT

The sort of women’s lingerie store employed solely by single, middle-aged men. PETER, the clerk, stands behind a counter, thoroughly inspecting the crushed velvet lingerie. Cassie and Sister are already there, already frustrated.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The most fascinating thing about Boulder Holders isn’t the fact that it proudly confesses to having the biggest selection of crushed velvet sexual goods in the state of California. Nor is it the way the stores are designed to look like the cluttered, unkempt changing rooms of your local low-rent strip joint.

Unfortunately, the most fascinating thing about a female-owned and -centric business like Boulder Holders is that it hired Peter Badabing, a grotesque schlub of a middle-aged man, to manage their location at The Garden. Because while Peter was never formally charged with any crime, his twenty-year habit of looking up girls’ skirts as they rode the mall’s only functioning escalator is, at the very least, a conflict of interest.

And while the mall’s usual lack of foot-traffic meant Peter rarely came in contact with Boulder Holders’ clientele, that meant little to Cassie and her sister as Peter stood behind the register, holding up their oversized crushed velvet lingerie in his sweaty, fleshy hands.

PETER: I’m sorry, but we can’t take this back.

CASSIE: Are you kidding me?

PETER: (matter-of-fact) No, I am not.

CASSIE: But, I have a receipt.

PETER: Sorry. But we don’t accept returns once the product has been worn.

CASSIE: What? I never wore this.

PETER: (shaking his head) Not you.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) It was at his point that Peter gestured to Cassie’s sister, who, for one reason or another, was currently preoccupied by a rather busty mannequin.

Sister is, and Peter does.

CASSIE: Goddammit.

SISTER: Sorry, Cass.

CASSIE: Wait. How did you even know she wore it?

PETER: I just know.

CASSIE & SISTER: (unison) Ew.

PETER: Look. I’ll give you fifty bucks for it…

SISTER: (easily sold) Fifty bucks?

PETER: …if you agree to not ask anymore questions.

CASSIE: This is ridiculous.

SISTER: Deal!

CASSIE: What? You’re fine with this?

SISTER: (shrugging) Fifty bucks is fifty bucks.

CASSIE: (frustrated) Ugh. Fine. Whatever.

SISTER: Sweet. Fifty bucks.

CASSIE: But you deal with this guy. I’ve gotta pee.

Cassie storms off.

SISTER: Fine by me. (to PETER, flirty) So… Peter the Manager…

PETER: Key holder, technically. But it’s functionally the same job.

SISTER: Is that right?

PETER: More, or less.

SISTER: Neat.

PETER: Except for the fact that I don’t get any of the pay.

SISTER: That sucks.

PETER: Or benefits.

SISTER: Huh.

PETER: Yeah.

An uncomfortable silence.

SISTER: (flirty again) Well, Peter the Key-Holder. Do you wanna see more… or less?

PETER: Of what?

SISTER: Of me. More or less of me. Because you said–

PETER: I don’t follow.

SISTER: I’m flirting with you, Peter.

PETER: Oh. I get it.

SISTER: (puzzles this) Do you?

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (I-III)

I-III: THE GARDEN II

Cassie and Sister walk through the evacuated bowels of a modern day shopping mall. A foul, sinister, yet catchy prayer echoes in the distance.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) For what little it’s worth, The Garden was the sort of place that should have gone out of business during the Clinton Administration, plowed, and turned into yet another lot of overpriced, low-quality condos and shops marketed towards Millennials who will never afford them.

And yet, here it was. A four-screen, second-run movie theater dillydallying at one end. A vacant, two-story nothing at the other. And somewhere between this was a sparsely populated food court, a furniture store holding the world’s longest going out of business sale, and a fountain that had not been in active use for several years, yet hadn’t been cleaned in even longer.

Fortunately, this unsightly mess of utter economic failure had the benefit of distracting Cassie and her sister from how utterly depressing the whole thing really was.

CASSIE: Okay. Is it just me, or is this place a lot bigger on the inside?

SISTER: I dunno. But it definitely smells like pee.

CASSIE: It always smelled like pee.

SISTER: Oh, right.

CASSIE: How is this place still open? Half the shops are closed.

SISTER: Yeah. And the other half are just a bunch of kiosks selling phone cases and little helicopters.

A cheap remote-controlled helicopter zips by.

CASSIE: Didn’t there used to be a carousel in here?

SISTER: Oh, that? They had to get rid of it after some homeless guy hung himself on it.

CASSIE: Wait. What?

SISTER: (ignoring Cassie, pointing) Found Boulder Holders!

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (I-II)

I-II: THE GARDEN

The equally depressing ambiance of a dead mall’s parking lot.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Twenty minutes later, in the mostly empty lot outside of a squatish, mall-shaped building, Cassie navigated her husk of a car to a wheezing stop beside an even worse looking truck.

CASSIE and SISTER enter in said “husk of a car,” roll to a stop beside the even worse looking truck.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Her sister, meanwhile, looked out her window to what turned out to be an even worse looking truck idling mere inches away with nobody behind the wheel.

SISTER: Well, that’s weird.

CASSIE: That somebody would leave their truck running while they go shopping?

SISTER: No. It’s weird that you parked next to the only other car here.

CASSIE: It makes me feel safe.

SISTER: What, are you afraid someone’s going to pop out from underneath all this nothing?

Cassie sits there for a moment, then kills the engine.

CASSIE: (uncomfortably calm, composed) Less talking, more walking.

And so, they walk.

To be continued…

I’ve Got a Receipt (I-I)

I-I: CRUSHED VELVET LINGERIE

The depressing ambiance of a cramped, sweatbox of an apartment with a tacky, out-of-date decor. CASSIE sits at a coffee table, a gift bag in front of her. MOM and SISTER sit side-by-side, perhaps too close, across from Cassie.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) As Cassie sat in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment her mother shared with Cassie’s younger sister sometime next Tuesday, it never occurred to her that an ancient evil slumbered beneath the local mall. Imagine her surprise when she found exactly that later in the afternoon.

Cassie opens the bag, pulls out and holds up oversized, crushed velvet lingerie.

CASSIE: What the shit is this?

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The lingerie looked like crushed velvet, but felt like a mistake. Her mother and sister, meanwhile, looked on at this like two ham-faced potato people.

MOM:  (whining) You don’t like it. (to SISTER, still whining) She doesn’t like it.

SISTER: I told you she wouldn’t like it.

CASSIE: Explain.

MOM: Well, Sweetie. Your sister and I know how down you’ve been ever since you broke up with What’s-his-face.

CASSIE: Jordan. And we didn’t break up. We’re just… on a break.

MOM: Honey, you know I usually support you and your sister’s delusions. But maybe it’s time to accept that Jordan’s not coming back.

SISTER: Was Jordan the one that moved to Oregon to grow pot?

MOM: No, Sweetie. Jordan’s the one who wandered off to smoke pot by the railroad tracks and be one with nature.

CASSIE: That was Duncan.

SISTER: Wait. So, which one was Jordan?

CASSIE: He moved to Texas to start a gourmet hot dog food truck.

SISTER: Makes sense.

MOM: Cassie-Honey. It’s time for you to bait that hook and catch you another fish.

SISTER: Yeah. That’s why we got you a few things to make you feel sexy again.

CASSIE: (deeply concerned) Oh, no. You mean there’s more?

Mom holds up vouchers.

MOM: Mother-Daughters Day at the spa!

CASSIE: (nonplussed) Huh. That’s… not a terrible gift, actually.

SISTER: Right?

CASSIE: But why is this lingerie so big? There’s no way it’d ever… Wait. (to SISTER) Was this your lingerie?

SISTER: Mom found it in our closet. She said it wouldn’t do me any good.

CASSIE: Sounds like Mom.

MOM: Look. If you don’t like it, you can exchange it at the Boulder Holders down at The Garden. I still have the receipt.

CASSIE: The Garden? I thought they closed that hellhole years ago.

SISTER: Right?

MOM: Hellhole? You two used to love that mall.

CASSIE: What? No, we didn’t.

MOM: Both of you used to beg me to drop you off there every morning during the summer.

SISTER: We didn’t have air conditioning!

CASSIE: Yeah. It was either this sweatbox, or middle-aged managers leering at us.

MOM: That’s awful!

SISTER: (shrugs) Life’s full of difficult choices.

CASSIE: You taught us that, Mom.

MOM: Are you telling me you chose being grossly uncomfortable just so you wouldn’t be hot all day at home?

SISTER: Every time.

CASSIE: (to SISTER) At least we weren’t hot.

SISTER: (to CASSIE) Not until we got home.

MOM: (defeated, annoyed) Yeah, yeah. Do you want the receipt, or not?

To be continued…