Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Two Q-Tips and Some Ziploc Bags"

    At the east entrance of Bay Valley Medical Center, a nurse slowly rolls Morrigan out of the hospital in a wheelchair.

Morrigan: (Getting up) Thank you, I think I can manage

Nurse: Hospital policy

Morrigan: I understand but I'll be fine

    The nurse looks around the parking lot.

Nurse: Is anyone picking you up?

Morrigan: My father was supposed to be here but his wife sidetracked him into buying antiques

Nurse: I'm sorry

Morrigan: (Looking at her watch) Hmm, my co-worker should be here any minute

Nurse: Remember, you need rest and relaxation

Morrigan: I'm looking forward to it

    Tires screech around the corner as the big brown newsvan comes tearing into the parking lot.

Morrigan: I was looking forward to it

    The van roars right up next to Morrigan and the nurse. Gracie and Zach jump out simultaneously.

Gracie: (Taking Morrigan away from the nurse) GET IN THE VAN, GET IN THE VAN, HELLO, GET IN THE VAN

    Zach heaves her belongings in the back as all three get inside.

Nurse: REST AND RELAXATION, MS. MCBRIDE

Gracie: (Squealing tires) Whatever, lady - OK, Morri, you have GOT to see this

Morrigan: SLOW DOWN

Zach: Where are we going Grace?The KCON Newsvan

Gracie: There's an In 'n Out Burger on the corner

Morrigan: I could use some fries

Zach: NO, too many people - go to the Hobo Jungle!

Gracie: There are people there, Dumbass!

Zach: But they're HOBOS

Morrigan: Would you two, for the love of God, please calm down, slow down, and show me what it is you want me to see?

    Gracie pulls into an underground parking garage and shuts the motor while Zach opens up an ice chest.

Morrigan: THAT'S what you wanted to show me, a cooler full of beer?

Zach: (Removing a false bottom and retrieving a tape) Patience, patience

Gracie: (Popping it into the player) Now I know why someone stole my footage

    As the petite woman with straight dark hair scans through the tape, Morrigan reflects on what happened to her at the train wreck. She sees the hand again in her mind.

Gracie: Ready?

Morrigan: Huh? - yes

    The tape plays at normal speed. A close-up of the train cars on fire widens out to a view of the river.

Zach: There it is!

Morrigan: (Watching) What?

Zach: Didn't you see it?

Morrigan: See what? - the train exploding?

Gracie: (Backing the tape up) What CAUSES the train to explode... watch

    The segment is played again, this time in slow motion.

Morrigan: (Noticing something) A blue flash... is that lightning?

Gracie: Lightning comes from the sky, THIS came from the river!

Morrigan: Maybe it was some kind of weird weather thing, you know, with the oil, water, and fire - I didn't pay attention in my science classes, I was too busy doing the football players' English homework

Zach: Yeah, me too

    Morrigan and Gracie look at Zach.

Zach: NOT PAYING ATTENTION IN SCIENCE CLASS

    Everyone returns to the monitor.

Gracie: I thought about a weather phenomenon at first, but then I enhanced the image...

    Gracie pushes a few buttons and the section of the flash is magnified.

Morrigan: That looks like a rod of some kind

Gracie: It's certainly not a flare gun

Zach: It lit the train like a fucking Christmas tree!

Gracie: Don't you mean a Hanukkah Menorah?

Morrigan: Do you think the Coast Guard set it?

Gracie: That's far from standard issue equipment

Zach: Knowing Anita, if she got some kind of magic wand that shot lightning bolts, she be walking around with it strapped to her hoo...

Morrigan & Gracie: ZAAACH

Zach: HELICOPTER, I was going to say HELICOPTER

Gracie: (Serious) Morrigan, you kept telling me about a hand last night - the green hand in your dream... is there a connection?

Morrigan: (Lying) I'm not sure

Gracie: Who or whatever helped you to shore could have very well caused this explosion

Morrigan: Why would anyone want to do that?

Zach: Because the officials didn't have the balls to do it - I talked to Dr. Sanchez this morning, that fire was a blessing happening when it did

Morrigan: (Rubbing her head) Magic wands, green hands, mysterious fires - this all sounds like a lame comic book by some sci-fi geek with no life!

    Gracie and Zach appear ready to kill Morrigan.

Morrigan: What?

Zach: Sci-Fi and comic books ARE cool!

Gracie: And we DO have lives!

Morrigan: Sorry... but you do agree about the "geek" part, right?

Zach: Affirmative

Gracie: Absofragginglutely

Morrigan: Look, I know this is a major deal here but I'm tired, I have to get my things from the von Meers and I need to go home... please!

Zach: I suppose we can do that

Gracie: (Starting the van) One of my contacts can help me enhance this shot even more, we'll go over it all later

Morrigan: Thanks

Gracie: After you settle in, try to remember what happened to you last night

    Morrigan stares out the window at the river as they drive by.

Morrigan: I'll try

    Inside the von Meer estate, KJ is trying on different costumes for the Museum Ball later in the week. He heads downstairs to get his parents' opinion.

KJ: (Wearing a mask covered in leaves) Where's mom?

Karl Sr.: (Not looking up from his paper) Where she always is, either on the court or in the shops

KJ: So, what do you think of my costume?

Karl Sr.: (Briefly looking up) The Jolly Green Giant?The Green Man

KJ: (Pulling the mask up) NO, I'm the Green Man!

    Karl Senior looks incredulously at him.

KJ: Ona Rosa suggested it

Karl Sr.: (Returning to his paper) Ahh

KJ: What does that mean?

Karl Sr.: (Throwing his paper down) It means, when are you going to stop acting like a child and help me with the financial reports?

KJ: SOON, I promise... I just have to make a few quick phone calls and we can get started

Karl Sr.: (Getting up to leave) You know where to find me

    KJ shakes his head and makes his way to the kitchen. Erika, still in surgical scrubs, enters through the back door next to it. The two stare at each other's outfits.

Erika: Jolly Green Giant?

KJ: (Hurling the mask on the table) I guess I'll go with "Plan B: D'Artagnan" - but you're going to have to come up with something more creative than a doctor

Erika: (Pouring some orange juice) What?

KJ: That's your costume for the Museum Ball, right?

Erika: Oh no, that's this week, isn't it?

KJ: YEAH - you know how important this is to Lydia... you can't bail

Erika: I know

KJ: So, if that's not your ball costume... why are you dressed like that?

    Erika slowly sips her juice.

KJ: I would say "kinky time with Griffy" but I know better

Erika: An experiment that went awry also went all over my clothes, so I changed into this

KJ: (Looking out the window at Dr. Martel's car) Is Stephanie here?

Erika: (Trying to walk away) She let me borrow her car

KJ: (Following) Why were you at the hospital?

Erika: JESUS... am I on the fucking witness stand? - I went over there to get some new supplies to redo the experiment, Steph saw what a mess I was and kindly offered the scrubs and the use of her car - END OF STORY

KJ: Sandy and Shelby have been calling every hour on the hour wondering where in the hell you were last night

Erika: I WAS THERE... it was just total chaos, we kept missing each other

KJ: When are you going to join the 20th century and get a cell phone?

Erika: NEVER, I hate those things - now, if you don't have anymore questions, Counselor, I'd like to go to the bathroom and pee... is that permissible?

KJ: I'm just concerned about you

Erika: (Heading upstairs) Save your concern for that ridiculous costume

    KJ spots Gracie's van pulling up outside the house and goes to greet them.

Gracie: (Jumping out of the van) Yo, Kage

KJ: Hey Fingers

Zach: What's up, man... why are you dressed like a fruitcake?

KJ: This is my BALL COSTUME, Zach

Zach: Hence the question... why are you dressed like a fruitcake?

KJ: I figured I'd save the rabbi costume for you, Isaacson

Morrigan: So sorry to interrupt this lovely exchange of anti-semitism and homophobia but I really need to get my things!

KJ: (All smiles) Forgive me, I haven't had the pleasure

Morrigan: (Extending her hand) Morrigan McBride

    Instead of shaking her hand, KJ kisses it as Gracie and Zach roll their eyes.

KJ: KJ von Meer

Morrigan: (Returning the smile) It's nice to meet you, Mr. von Meer

KJ: Please, call me "KJ"

Zach: Please call me bored!

Gracie: We're here to get Morri's U-Haul off of your property

KJ: That's too bad, it was just starting to really annoy my mother

    All three laugh except Morrigan.

Morrigan: You're really ugly, KJ

    All three stare at her in shock.

Morrigan: (Smirking at the incredibly handsome man) I just wanted to say something that you've never heard before

    Everyone laughs and walks towards the large garage, separate from the mansion.

KJ: Congratulations on your heroism, Morrigan, that was the best thing I've seen on television in a long time

Zach: I helped

Morrigan: Thank you, I appreciate your family letting me keep my stuff here

KJ: No problem

    Gracie gets paged.

Gracie: (Looking at it) COOL, my contact is going to help us out with that footage enhancement tomorrow!

KJ: What footage enhancement?

    Zach and Morrigan glower at Gracie to shut up.

Gracie: (Without missing a beat) Porn videos, I got some new ones from The Netherlands and they need to be reworked

KJ: Honestly, Fingers, the real thing is better

Gracie: I am aware of that but there's money to be made here - you know what a skinflint Turner is... a girl has got to eat

    All three look at her wide hips.

Gracie: HEY

    As they enter the garage, KJ flips on the lights, revealing over two dozen classic and late model cars with the U-Haul next a Lamborghini.

Zach: OOOOOOHHHHH

Gracie: Um, I think I'll go pull the van around

    Unimpressed, Morrigan heads straight for her trailer.

El Diablo!Zach: IS THAT THE NEW DIABLO?

KJ: Yeah, do you want to go for a ride?

Zach: YEEEEEESSSSSSS

    As KJ jogs off to get the keys, Zach hops in the car. Morrigan runs through the night of her car breaking down in her mind as she slowly circles the U-Haul.

Morrigan: (Looking at the bumper) That's odd

    There's a film of dust on it except for a tiny spot at the end.

Morrigan: (Bending down) This has been wiped

    Upon closer inspection, Morrigan notices some dried blood underneath the corner of the bumper and what appears to be a few scales.

Morrigan: (Jumping up) Oh my God!

    As she runs towards the main house, she passes KJ on the way.

Morrigan: May I use your bathroom?

KJ: Go right ahead, you have seven to pick from... the Jungle Safari one is my favorite!

Morrigan: Thanks

    Once inside the mansion, Morrigan stops in her tracks for a moment to take in the grandeur of it all. As she walks among the opulent rooms, she rounds the corner and, once again, bumps into Erika as she comes out of the bathroom.

Erika: (Stunned) Ms. McBride?

Morrigan: We've got to stop meeting like this

    Dr. von Meer does not smile.

Morrigan: Um, your brother said it was OK to use the bathroom

Erika: (Deadpan) Which one?

Morrigan: Uh, I'm not sure

    The scientist gives the reporter a half-smile, steps aside, and gestures for her to use the one she just came from.

Morrigan: Thanks

    Morrigan abruptly closes the door behind her.

Morrigan: (Under her breath) FREAK JOB... with all of her money, she needs to buy a personality

    Going over to the sink, Morrigan turns on the water and starts to search through the cabinets.

Morrigan: (Picking up a bottle of Karl Senior's Viagra) Ewww - too much information - now, where are the damn Q-Tips?

    As she continues to go through the toiletries, she finds an unmarked bottle of pills hidden in a towel.

Morrigan: It's none of your business, it's none of your business - oh, what the hell

    She opens the bottle and examines the medication inside.

Morrigan: This looks just like Caitlin's Epilepsy medication... interesting... but not my concern

    Hiding the bottle back in the towel, she closes the cabinet and continues her hunt.

Morrigan: OF COURSE, the Q-Tips are in the Swarovski crystal swan jar, right in front of my face - great investigative skills, McBride

    Quickly grabbing two of the them, she shuts the water and exits the room. On her way back to the garage, she stops in the kitchen and looks through the drawers.

Morrigan: This is sad, my whole house could fit into this one room

    She comes across some Ziploc plastic bags.

Morrigan: (Grabbing two of them) YES

    As she turns around to leave, Erika is standing there watching.

Erika: My brother also said you could pack a lunch?

Morrigan: No, no... I just... um, one of my... uh, I just need these, alright? - I'll PAY you for them

    With her arms folded, Erika slowly approaches Morrigan, looking directly into her eyes.

Erika: Don't worry about that, tell me what you need them for?

Morrigan: (Backing away) A really unique water balloon fight - I should be going - good day, Dr. von Meer

    She slips out the door and joins the others outside. Zach and KJ are speeding off in the Lamborghini as Gracie and Karl Senior fix the tire on the U-Haul and hitch the trailer to the back of the van.

Gracie: (Looking up) Hey Morri, this is KJ's dad, he's giving us a hand

Morrigan: I am forever in your debt, Mr. von Meer

Karl Sr.: It's my pleasure, ladies, how did this happen?

Morrigan: That's what I'd like to know

    As Gracie and Karl Senior continue with their chit chat, Morrigan casually goes to the bumper, swabs the blood stain and scales with both Q-Tips, places them each in a baggie, and folds them away in her purse.

Gracie: That should do it, are you ready to roll?

Morrigan: What about Zach?

Gracie: (Looking down the road) We'll get him on the way

Karl Sr.: (Tossing his tools in the box) I guess I'll get Erika to help me with those financial reports... nice to have met you, Ms. McBride

Morrigan: (Climbing into the van) Thanks again for all of your help, Mr. von Meer

    Looking down from her bedroom window, Erika watches them drive off. As the two women head onto the highway, KJ and Zach pull up along side of them and honk.

Gracie: Zach, get in here, we're leaving!

Zach: (Behind the wheel) Hmm, go see my crazy ex-girlfriend or drive an Italian sports car - DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Gracie: ZACH

Zach: (Pulling over) OK, OK

    As Isaacson gets into the van, KJ saunters over to Morrigan.

KJ: (All smiles) Ms. McBride, would you like to accompany me to the Museum Ball this Friday night?

    Morrigan is stunned silent as both Gracie and Zach nudge her in the ribs.

KJ: I'd like to get to know you better

Morrigan: Oh really?

KJ: That was a totally innocent statement

Morrigan: (Half smile) Oh, really?

KJ: Think of it as a prime opportunity to meet the fine citizens of Duquesa Bay

Zach: Hey, don't forget the fine citizens of Santa Conchita!

KJ: Whatever - also, think of it as a prime opportunity to dress up like a fool

    Morrigan laughs and tosses her hair back as she considers his offer.

Gracie: (Sticking her head out the window) SHE'D LOVE TO, KAGE, WE'LL SEE YOU LATER

    The van takes off down the road.

Morrigan: That was rude

Zach: You're learning

Gracie: Just a little reminder, we all have work tomorrow, I'd like to get your belongings taken care of so that I might enjoy the rest of my Sunday, thank you very much

Morrigan: I'm starving

Gracie: You're in luck, Amy makes the best BBQ tofu burger I've ever tasted

Morrigan: Yummy

Zach: It tastes even better without the cat hair

    A little later, they pull up in front of Amethyst Hill's house and find the bubbly blonde with a few purple braids hanging upside down from a magnolia tree.

Amethyst: ROSHUMBA, ROSHUMBA

Amethyst's HouseZach: (Getting out) Yep, we're here

Amethyst: Zachy is that you? - Roshumba is stuck in the tree again, come help me get her!

Zach: (Climbing up) Aw man

Gracie: Amy, this is your new renter, Morrigan McBride

Amethyst: (Jumping down) Hello, it's so nice to finally meet you

Morrigan: I deeply apologize for not being here sooner

Amethyst: No worries... what's your rising sign?

Morrigan: Um, I'm not sure

Amethyst: That's OK, we'll figure it out when I do your reading

Morrigan: My reading?

Amethyst: I love your name, by the way, it's so unique!

Morrigan: It's my mom's doing, dad wanted to name me "Mary"

Amethyst: Smart mom - my birthname is boring, that's why I had it legally changed the minute I turned 18

Morrigan: What was your original name?

Amethyst: That subject is OFF limits

Morrigan: Sorry, I'm just naturally curious

Amethyst: TYSON, STOP LICKING AMBER'S BUTT, THAT IS SO NOT COOL - CAN'T YOU SEE WE HAVE COMPANY?

    Morrigan looks baffled as Gracie points out the cats on the porch.

Gracie: She names them after supermodels

Morrigan: Who doesn't?

Zach: OOOOOWWWWW

    A calico cat climbs out of the tree into Amy's arms.

Zach: (Jumping down) Your dumb cat scratched my nose!

Amethyst: Seeing your face was enough to repel her out of the tree, thank you Honey

Zach: You know how to thank me

    The two start to flirt with each other.

Gracie: This is all really fun but let's get Morri's stuff MOVED

    Over the next hour, they all bring boxes into the guest cottage. Morrigan pauses for a moment and looks around the English Country style rooms.

Morrigan: This is really NICE

Amethyst: Let me guess, Zach and Gracie told you horror stories about the decor in my house

Morrigan: No, no... well, they did mention a few things

Amethyst: (Picking up a purring Roshumba) Gracie should talk, have you seen her place?

Morrigan: Unfortunately so - but she also told me that you make the best BBQ tofu burger in the world

Amethyst: I'll prove it - after you get settled in, come on over and we can do the rent stuff when we eat

Morrigan: Sounds good

    As Amethyst goes to leave, she pats Morrigan on the shoulder. The contact causes both of them to freeze for a second as Roshumba hisses.

Morrigan: What?

Amethyst: (Suddenly turning very somber) You have been touched

Morrigan: Huh?

Amethyst: (Leaving) We will do your reading soon!

    Awhile later, with most of the stuff unpacked, Morrigan takes a break and stretches out on the couch. Gracie brings some lemonade and joins her.

Morrigan: Where's Zach?

Gracie: Off getting "thanked" by Amy

Morrigan: I thought they broke up?

Gracie: It's one of those, "I love you, I hate you, let's still have sex no matter what" relationships

Morrigan: I see

Gracie: Is your dad due soon?

Morrigan: I just called him a little bit ago and told him not to come - I'm fine and his wife is more than happy with her walnut armoire

Gracie: Are you sure you're OK, you've been through quite the weekend?

Morrigan: I'll be alright after I get a good night's sleep

Gracie: (Looking at her watch) Well, Zach should be done in a minute... literally... unless there's anything else you need, I'm going to get going

    The two exchange hugs.

Morrigan: Thanks, Gracie, for all of your help - it means a lot

Gracie: We have the afternoon shift tomorrow, I'll be by to pick you up at 1:00, the mechanic should have your car ready by then

Morrigan: (Seeing her out the door) Great... have a good evening!

Gracie: And YOU have a QUIET one

Morrigan: (Under her breath) Here's hoping


    At this time last weekend, I was covering my final story at my old job -- the grand opening of a Starbucks -- this weekend, I return home to California and, literally, all hell broke loose!

    For some mysterious reason, my car crashes. Three men are murdered not far from where I was. There's a train wreck with oil spilling into the river. I go to save a man, it turns out to be a dog, the train explodes and I nearly drown except some weird creature saved me. This creature might have been the one to cause the explosion with its magic wand from fairy tale land. In the hospital, the station manager himself comes to my room to congratulate me, while my new, apparently promiscuous co-worker makes it abundantly clear that I better not piss on any of her trees. I find some funky blood on my U-Haul, then I get asked to a masquerade ball by one of the richest men in the state. Finally, I move into my new house with Roshumba and I officially start work tomorrow.

    As for the people, Gracie and Zach are total sweethearts, I couldn't have made it through this weekend without them. Amy is a little spacey but nice. Turner seems like your typical asshole boss, I'm going to have to watch my back with Kylee. Captain Phelps and Lieutenant Fiore... no comment. I admire Dr. Martel, she's professional and caring. KJ von Meer is a total stud but I can't help but wonder if he sees me as his next "notch" (sorry, buddy). His dad seems cool, I hope those pills work for him. As for Erika von Meer... she creeps me out and I don't know why.

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