(We open back at Louie's. Louie is wiping tables when Slip, Sach, Whitey, Butch, and Gabe come in.)

Sach: So Gabe, tell us all the details! What did Sheila say to you?

Gabe: Well, she opened with flirting, then gave me some promotional fluff about the beauty parlor ventures, flirted some more, gave some subtle warnings to not annoy Allan...and flirted some more.

Sach: She really likes you. You're so lucky.

Butch: Allan? That guy who lost half his hair from Sach's shampoo?

Gabe: *Ignores Sach; nods* Yeah.

Sach: (Sighs) I wish she'd flirt with me! I'd love to give her a shampoo.

Gabe: *Rolls his eyes* You can have her, Sach.

Slip: Sach, you don't WANT her.

Butch: Where's Chuck? Out with Adriana again?

Sach: Where else?

Butch: Boy, they sure have been datin' a lot lately!

Slip: I don't like it.

Sach: Yeah! Chuck don't wanna eat with us anymore!

Butch: I think it's kinda sweet.

Slip: I think there's som'en about that girl.

Gabe: I'm kinda worried myself. I've seen what Sheila and her crew have done in the past to other people.

Slip: At least I ain't the only one.

Butch: She really is bad news, huh?

Sach: How could a woman who looks that good be that bad?

Gabe: It's very easy, Sach.

Louie: (He joins them) Where's Chuck? Is he out with that girl again?

Slip: Yeah.

Louie: I'm not sure what I think. Chuck's so happy, but...well, what do we know about that girl?

Sach: She's really into him.

Butch: (Sighs) I'm glad he's happy, too, but Louie's right. She just came in with that guy. Have you found out anything about him, Gabe.

Gabe; BIG gangster. Bad news. That's why I'm worried.

Sach: Gangster? That pretty boy?

Whitey: He doesn't seem like one...

Butch: (Makes a face) I heard you guys telling me about that kid with the glasses who was stealing payrolls from factories. Don't say someone ain't bad just 'cause they look good.

Slip: He looked like a freakin' bookworm, that guy, and he was one of those worst we've crossed.

Louie: (Nods) I remember that. That young man looked innocent and smart, but he was one of the most vicious villains we've ever encountered. (Gulps) Do you think this Allan fellow could be just as bad?

Gabe: It's possible.

(Adriana and Chuck come in next, holding hands. Everyone splits up and pretends they weren't watching them.)

Louie: (Goes to the two as they settle in a booth) Hello, Chuck. (Nods at Adriana) Miss. What would you like?

Adriana: (Nervously) A cup of coffee, please.

Chuck: Coffee for me, too, Louie. Thanks.

Slip: *appears behind Chuck's shoulder in the booth behind them* So, where've you two been, hmmmm?

Adriana: (Small smile) Oh, we just went for a walk together today.

Chuck: That's right.

Slip: You sure that's all?

Chuck: *Glowers a bit* I don't appreciate this, Slip.

Adriana: Chuck...I want to break up with you.

Chuck: *Eyes widen* What?! Why? I thought we were having a great time together?

Adriana: We are! (She takes his hand) I like you a lot. That's why I can't keep seeing you. (Frowns) Allan is getting very jealous.

Chuck: *Frowns* So?

Adriana: The last boy Allan thought I was seeing ended up in a dumpster in Brooklyn...and I'd just talked to him!

Slip: Chuck ain't goin' in no dumpster. Yer gettin' outta here NOW!

Chuck: But...

Slip: *Moves around the booth; to Adriana* Yer outta here.

Adriana: (Nods) I'm sorry, Chuck. He's right. (She gives him a little kiss on his cheek) I'll miss you. You were the best boyfriend I ever had.

(Adriana leaves...but the camera catches a glimpse of tears as she goes. She wipes them away as she heads out the door. A tall, familiar young man in a leather jacket passes her as she leaves. )

Bobby: (It's Bobby from the earlier stories, looking pretty much the same...other than he now limps a little) Hi, guys.

Louie: Bobby! (He goes to him) How are you, my boy? I haven't seen you in ages.

Slip: *Eyes widen; goes to him* Bobby!

Bobby: (He turns to Slip with a smile) Hey, Slip. How's things?

(Butch sits next to Chuck and pats his shoulder to cheer him up as Whitey, Gabe, and Sach join Slip and Louie.)

Slip: Oh, you know, same old. What about you? We ain't seen ya in ages.

Bobby: I'm back to flying. I'm working for a small local airplane shipping company now.

Slip: Hey, that's great!

Bobby: How 'bout the rest of you? (Grins at Gabe) You still go through a job a week?

Gabe: No, been a reporter for several months now.

Bobby: I was wondering when you were finally going to settle on something. Found any good news yet?

Gabe; It depends on your definition of "good."

Whitey: Boy, it's so good to see you again, Bobby!

Bobby: (Grins at Whitey) You guys, too. (Frowns) Actually, I wanted to talk to Chuck. Where is he?

Slip: *Sighs* In the booth there, with Butch. Some girl just dumped him.

Bobby: Poor guy! That's awful!

Sach: (Nods) Yeah. He was really crazy 'bout her, too. They were goin' out for coffee every day.

Bobby: (He bites his lip and looks worried and pale, but then tries to smile) I'll talk to him. I've broken up with girls before.

Slip: Go for it. 'Sides, I think he needs a friendly face.

Bobby: (Nods) Thanks. (He sits down across from Chuck and Butch) I'll take it from here, Butch. I need to talk to him alone.

Butch: All right. (He pats Chuck's shoulder) Everything's gonna be ok, Chuck.

Chuck: Thanks, Butch. *still frowning, but turns to Bobby* I wish it were better circumstances, Bob. It's nice to see ya again.

Bobby: Yeah. It's nice to see you, too. (He smiles, but he's still pale) Wanna go in the back room? I haven't been back there in ages.

Chuck: Yeah, sure.

(The two head for the back room, Bobby limping after Chuck. When they get in, Bobby leans against the door, pale and shaky.)

Bobby: I can't believe I let her... (He closes his eyes, then says) I can't do it.

Chuck: *Frowns again* Bob, what's wrong? Are you okay?

Bobby: (Gulps; pause, and then) Somebody....they wanted me to kill you.

Chuck: *Eyes widen* Me!? Why me?

Bobby: He told me...they told me...something about dating the boss' girlfriend...

Chuck: Adriana. *Puts a hand to his forehead* How could I have been so stupid?!

Bobby: Was that the girl who left when I was comin' in?

Chuck: *Nods* She just broke it off with me, said her boyfriend was jealous. *pauses* She liked me, Bob. That's why she had to break it off.

Bobby: She couldn't bring herself to get you hurt anymore than I could. (He makes a face) It gets better. That boyfriend of hers is a real whackjob. He wanted your heart in a box. Literally. As proof, or something.

Chuck: What!?

(Bobby just nods, now looking a little green.)

Chuck: How...how did you get roped into this?

Bobby: Turns out the airplane business I work for has been doin' a little smugglin' on the side. Guess who owns it?

Chuck: Tall red-head named Sheila.

Bobby: She's only half-owner. Allan Greber owns the other half.

Chuck: Wonderful. (Gulps) What do I do?

Bobby: Get out of town. Move to another state. Better yet, move to another country. You speak Chinese?

Chuck: Bob, this is not a time to joke. Besides, thatís fine for me, but what about you? You said they want proof. What happens if you go back empty-handed?

Bobby: I figured that one out already. One of the the things we carry is items for New York-area hospitals. I snitched a fake heart from an operating set. It feels like the real thing; even pumps blood when you squeeze it. I'm hoping it'll buy enough time for you to get outta here.

Chuck: I can't believe this is happening.

Bobby: I can't, either. Tell Slip and the others what's going on. I have to get back to work, before I'm missed.

Chuck: I shoulda become a Monk.

Bobby: Nahh, you wouldn't look good in those robes.

Chuck: Not funny, man.

Bobby: Come on. Let's warn the others. Maybe they'll be able to keep an eye on you. (Smirks) None of them are doing anything in particular, right?

Chuck: No, they aren't.

Bobby: Maybe they could make some kind of bodyguard system until someone can figure out how to break up this smuggling ring.

Chuck: I hope somethin'.

(Bobby and Chuck head out to the main room. Bobby pulls Chuck over to a booth and motions the others over.)

Sach: (He pushes next to Bobby) Oooh, it's just like old times!

Slip: *Eyes both of them* Alright, you two look like death heated over. What gives?

Bobby: (Winces) I wish you hadn't said that, Chief.

Sach: You'd think someone was out to kill you two!

Slip: *Eyes narrow* What'd I say?

Chuck: *Quietly* They wanna kill me for datin' Adriana.

Slip: *Eyes widen* WHAT!?

Sach: Kill Chuck? Who would want to kill poor Chuckie? I want a list of their names!

Bobby: I just talked to a bunch of goons...but I think I know where the orders came from.

Chuck: They...they want my heart in a box. Bob has an idea to fool them on that, but I don't wanna hafta hide out for the rest-a my life!

Slip: I'm not amused.

Sach: Yuck. I hope they mean a paper one, like on Valentine's Day.

*Chuck shakes his head.*

Slip: An' if they find out the heart's a fake, then Bobby's in trouble.

Bobby: (Nods) They wanted me to kill him. They knew I was someone he trusted. I just couldn't do that. I may not be officially part of the gang anymore, but I'm still your friend.

*Slip growls and looks about ready to make a hole in anything.*

Louie: (He joins them) Do you boys want anything to eat? I make a very good Heart of Romaine Salad. (He frowns at Slip) What's with him? He looks like he just escaped the gorillaís cage at the Bronx Zoo.

*Slip growls again and makes a B-line for the back room. Hardly a few seconds pass before there's a loud noise.*

Louie: If he broke anything, he's paying for it.

*Chuck just slumps in the booth.*

Bobby: I'll pay for any damages caused by the Chief's temper. (Turns to Gabe) I don't care how much they pay me. I'd be willing to tell you a major mouthful about how they operate.

Gabe: I'd be willing to take it all down and forget who gave it to me.

*There's another loud noise from the back room.*

Sach: I'm gonna go back there. I may be risking life and limb, but I'm gonna save the back room.

Louie: Please do that, Sachula. I'd like to have a back room left!

Gabe: Be careful, Sach.

Sach: Of course! Who always saves our apartment when the Chief gets mad?

Whitey: You do, Sach.

Gabe: I don't think Slip's ever been THIS MAD before.

Sach: (Looks up at Chuck) Why don't you come with me. He's your brother.

Chuck: *Nods* Okay.

Louie: Nice knowing you.

Bobby: I don't envy you guys at all.

Whitey: Sach, can I have your bunk?

Sach: (Smacks Whitey's shoulder) Very funny. We're gonna be fine. Right, Chuck? (Pulls him out of the booth)

Chuck: I'm already about to faint.

Sach: I'll carry ya, then! (He does just that - picks up Chuck and carries him into the back room.)

Chuck: Saaach!

Sach: (He's still holding Chuck when he peers in the door) Chiefy? Oh Chiieeeffff!

*There's no response.*

Chuck: Sach, it's too quiet in there.

Sach: Chiefy? You ok? Did somethin' fall on you an' knock you out? (Yells into the room) Knock once on the wall if you're still alive, and twice if you ain't.

*There's a loud crash like a lot of something fell.*

Chuck: *Cringes* Oh, he's beyond pissed.

Sach: (He gulps) Well...here goes nuthin'. (He opens the door and carries Chuck into the Back Room.)

*The back room is a completely mess. One wall that held shelving is now on the floor. There's holes in two different walls. Slip stands in the middle of everything, shaking with anger and breathing heavily.*

Chuck: I hope Bob's got a thick wallet.

Sach: (Shakes his head) Tsk, tsk. Chiefy, what have I told you about watching that temper? You know Sally's compared you to an overgrown gorilla.

Slip: *Walks up to Sach; speaks in an unusually soft voice* No one threatens any of you.

Chuck: *Gulps* Sach... right now I think an overgrown gorilla would be friendlier.

*Slip goes to the nearest wall and makes a third hole.*

Sach: (Gulps and takes Slip's hand) You know what happened the last time you made a hole in Louie's wall?

*Slip just glares daggers at Sach.*

Sach: Whoa, Chiefy! I'm not the one who tried to hurt Chuck. We need to figure out what's goin' on and make it stop. 'An we need to protect Chuck.

Slip: *Still quiet* I am personally in charge of protectin' Chuck. Ain't no one gettin' to him without goin' through ME first.

Sach: Or me. He's my friend, too. All of us. We work together, Chief.(Grins) We'll take turns. We can all watch him.

Slip: Fine.

*For good measure, Slip makes a fourth hole in the wall.*

Sach: Doesn't your knuckle hurt yet?

Slip: I ain't feelin' much right now.

Sach: Why don't we get your knuckles taped up, then we can go take it out on the guys who want to take out Chuck?

Chuck: Come on, Slip, before Bobby has to buy Louie a whole new buildin'.

Slip: Alright.

(Cut to the old "Basement Clubhouse" set from the East Side Kids movies. It looks more-or-less the same, other than there's a thicker layer of dust over everything.)

Butch: (He's first) I'm so glad no one ever comes down here.

Whitey: *Sneezes* Too bad we couldn't at least have someone dust down here!

Chuck: I'm just glad it's hidden.

*Slip follows closely behind Chuck.*

Sach: (Nods; he's next) Yeah. It's a great place for shadows...including the one behind Chuck.

Chuck: *Turns, jumpy, then sighs realizing it's just Slip* Sach, don't DO that to me!

Slip: *Ignores them* This is the best we can do right now.

Sach: Sorry, Chuck! I thought you knew your brother hasn't left your side since we got Louie to tape his knuckles.

Butch: I'm surprised Louie didn't scream himself hoarse when he saw the back room.

Chuck: I'm just...just a little jumpy, is all...

Slip: It only took five seconds 'fore he fainted.

Butch: (Pats Chuck's shoulder) You have every right to be. This is really scary.

Sach: But don't worry, Chuck. You're gonna be safe here. Who would think to look in this place?

Slip: I'm takin' first watch.

Butch: I'll take second watch.

Sach: I'll take the watch for whenever it's daytime.

Whitey: Me too!

Butch: Are you sure you don't want anyone to help you out, Chief? Gabe's back at the office, but we could ask Louie or Sally, or one of us could...

Slip: *Folds his arms* I don't need no help.

Sach: I know that look. That's the Chief's "I ain't gonna need no help ever from anyone so help me God, even if I do" look.

Slip: Sach...

Sach: I know you, Chief. You ain't gonna share this.

Slip: *Shakes his taped knuckles under Sach's nose* See these?

Sach: (Gulps) Yeah. They're very nice, Chief.

Slip: You don't wanna see 'em closer.

Sach: Uh, no. (Gulps) You know, I really have, uh, places to be...

Whitey: I'm going with you, Sach!

Sach: Uh, yeah. Come on, Whitey. Let's see if Louie's been revived enough to make us a banana split.

*Whitey and Sach leave post-haste. Slip turns in Butch's direction.*

(Butch just puts up his hands and follows the other two...but not without a reassuring smile to Chuck first.)

*Slip starts to pace.*

Chuck: Slip, sit down. You'd think they were after you and not me!

Slip: They're after you, they're after me. An' I ain't sittin'.

Chuck: I know you're my brother and all, but you didn't date the girl.

Slip: I don't care. Ain't no one hurtin' any of my family or friends.

Chuck: (Sighs) You won't be able to protect anyone if you don't rest.

Slip: I'm fine.

*Slip continues to pace and fingers his taped knuckles.*

Chuck: You are not fine...and you have the two bruised knuckles to prove it.

*Slip doesn't respond. He just keeps pacing.*

Chuck: Slip, enough. Sit, before you wear a worse hole in the floor than there already is.

Slip: How do ya think this hole got here?

Chuck: I'm all too aware of how it got there. You've been doing this since we were running around the East Side in short pants.

Slip: Then why're tryin' to make me stop?

Chuck: Your shoes have enough holes in them.

Slip: Funny.

Chuck: You've always been like this. You've been like this since we were in the cradle. This isn't your fault, you know.

*Slip just grunts.*

Chuck: Slip... (But then, he looks up) What's that?

Slip: *Pauses* Shh... *moves quietly to the door* I'm gonna look outside...

Chuck: Careful. I think I heard someone mutterin'.

*A silhouette is seen by the window. Slip carefully opens the door...*

Slip: *Steps out completely; loudly* Hey! Get outta here!

Chuck: Slip? (He gets closer to the door) Did you see him?

Slip: *Comes back through the door* Some creep in a long overcoat. Didn't get a good look at his face.

Chuck: Was he carrying anything sharp?

Slip: Nutin' I could see.

Chuck: So there was someone there, and I'm not just goin' crazy.

Slip: Yeah, that was someone.

*Slip pushes the door closed and locks it as best he can.*

Chuck: Maybe we ought to put a chair in front of it or somethin'.

*Slip makes a noise that sounds like HE wanted to have that idea, but grabs a chair and shoves it under the door knob.*

Chuck: And before you start complaining...little brothers can have big ideas, too.

Slip: Just don't let it go to yer head.

Chuck: (Grins) Oh, I won't. Or you'd pound it OUT of my head.

Slip: Damn right.