*Slip, Sach, Butch, and Chuck walk down the hall, on their way to search the dressing rooms. Slip picks the first one they come to and opens the door. He pauses suddenly.*

Sally: (She's leaning against the tables, crying; gulps a sniffle) Who...who's there?

Slip: *Eyes widen in surprise* Sally? *moves a little closer* It's Slip.

Sally: (Looks up...and frowns) Hello, Slip. (Wipes her eyes on the back of her sleeves) Why aren't you with your new girlfriend?

Slip: *Makes a face* Sally, she ain't my girlfriend! I had ta do som'en to get her away from me, so I played along. You know yer my girl.

*The other three guys busy themselves, trying to look like they aren't there.*

Slip: Sal, we're just tryin' to figure out what Sheila, Zelda, and their goons are up to, that's all.

Sally: You two certainly seemed chummy enough. (Sighs) I don't really want to quit, Slip. I just...I like you, too. And I don't like her crawling all over you.

Slip: I don't like 'er doin' that either! An' she musta learned from the master, cuz we found Sheila tryin' to do the same to poor Butch.

Butch: I don't know what I'll do if Jane finds out what happened!

Sally: What's with those two? Why can't they just accept when a man's taken?

Slip: I don't think so, Sal.

Slip: *Turns to Butch* She ain't gonna find out. If she does, we have a perfectly lucrative explanation.

Sally: (Frowns) And honey...what happened to your arm?

Slip: Battle scar. I was tryin' to rescue Butch.

Butch: (Nods) And I...well, Sheila had her hooks in me, and I didn't know what I was doing... (looks down) and I almost yanked the Chief's arm clear out of the socket.

Sach: (Puts an arm around Butch) It's ok, Butchy. You didn't know what you were doing.

Sally: (Goes to Slip) Are you really ok? Maybe we ought to see if there's a doctor in the house.

Slip: Whitey put it back. It's just sore now. Besides, we have more important things to do, like findin' all the money the tickets to this farce earned before Sheila runs away wit' it all.

Chuck: Slip, found papers listing other criminal endeavors she's gonna give the money to.

Slip: Now, all we gotta do is find the money.

Sally: And call the real cops. Where's everyone else? Uncle Louie is in the other dressing room, working on his lines.

Slip: They're lookin' for the money, too.

Sally: I'll help, then. (Grins at him) On one condition. The moment this show ends, you go to a doctor about that arm. At least call your friend Bernard.

Slip: Ya drive a hard bargain. I'll get a holda Bernard. *leans closer to Sally* If you come with me, I might actually go to the hospital.

Sally: Well...all right. (Makes a face) But stay away from that Zelda. If she ever gets that close to you again and we're not acting, I'll do worse than what Butch did to your arm.

Slip: *Swallows hard* Ya don't gotta tell me that twice.

Bobby: (He ducks his head in) We've gotta get back onstage for the second act. Has anyone seen Zelda? Slip, you know we have to rescue her soon.

Slip: *Makes a face* I left her tied up somewhere. *shrugs his good shoulder*

Bobby: Please don't forget where, as much as you'd like to. That O'Malley guy is sore enough at us as it is.

Sally: We can't?

Bobby: Um, no. Sorry, Sal.

Butch: You guys get going. Whitey, Scruno, Gabe, n' I will continue the search.

Sach: Ok! (He holds out a bag of candy) M&M?

Slip: Where do ya keep gettin' all this food from?!

Sach: I found it in on the table! I'm hungry!

Butch: Do you ever do anything besides be hungry?

Sach: I blow things up.

Chuck: And you make Slip angry.

Sach: It's all in a day's work!

Bobby: Guys, come on. The act's about to start. We don't need to miss our cues.

Slip: Everybody out.

(As they head out in one direction and Butch heads in the other, we see Sheila stomping around backstage.)

*We follow Sheila as she looks in room after room. Soon, there's a faint pounding noise coupling with whimpers.*

Sheila: What's that sound? (She goes to a closet and opens it...and Zelda tumbles out, still bound and now gagged.) Zelda? (Takes the gag off) What happened?

Zelda: Oooohhh! That cutie tied me up! I thought he wanted to play...then he shoved me in the closet!

Sheila: (As she unties Zelda) I told you he's nothing but a vulgar louse. An unusually clever one, but a vulgar one.

Zelda: So? I thought he was just playing, but he never came back.

Sheila: I had one of his little friends in my hands. (Smirks) He just about tore his arm off... (makes a face) until those two dimwits who run around with him broke my hold.

Zelda: *Frowns* That wasn't awfully nice to hurt him.

Sheila: I was making a point. (Grins) And so was his friend. Seems there's a little dissent in the ranks. Mahoney tends to emphasize his relationship with Jones and push his other friends aside, including his own brother. Perhaps we could use that somehow, somewhere.

Zelda: Intriguing. I bet we could use that.

Sheila: The blond in particular has his own issues. He was once a musical protege. Quite a young piano virtuoso. Seems he spends more time running around with Mahoney and his group than he does playing these days, and he misses it.

Zelda: Very interesting. And you said he seemed to do some good damage on the cutie, which I still don't like, but the blond has strength we could use to our advantage at least.

Sheila: (Nods) Yes, he does. That seems to be his other area of expertise. He's a muscle boy. (Makes a face) We're going to have a harder time with Mahoney the Younger. He seems to be the back-up brains. He's a smart one. I heard he's gunning on becoming a reporter for the New York Examiner.

Zelda: I can work on him.

Sheila: And then (sighs) there's Gabe Moreno. I'd love to do more work on him...but I don't know what's the story with him group-wise. I do know he was a full-fledged member of their group before he started looking more like a real man than the others. After that, he started to go through a revolving door series of jobs that landed him on both sides of the law. (Smirks) It does make him something of a big brother figure and occasionally an idol to the others, who look to him as someone who's made it...everywhere.

Zelda: He's clearly more up your alley.

Sheila: I believe so, too. I quite look forward to enjoying that boy. (Makes a face) On the other hand, I don't know what we're going to do about Jones and Johnson. Jones is supposedly a brilliant chemist, and I've heard no one knows more about radios than Johnson. Admittedly, when push comes to shove, neither are unattractive...but they're both annoying and complete idiots in just about every other area.

Zelda: Agreed.

Sheila: Some of their friends may be worth pursuing as well. (Smirks) That Duke fellow is rather handsome. He seems to be something of a taller Mahoney without the malaprops. The others look up to him as an idea man. (Thoughtful) Robert Jordan's not bad. He was a full-fledged member of the group and a rather close friend of Mahoney the Elder for a very long time. Apparently, he was in some kind of an accident that did permanent damage to his leg and his relationship with the others. (Nods at Zelda) You're welcome to any of the others. Samuel Morrison is married and runs a very successful auto and jet repair shop in Harlem, which is out of our territory at any rate. He's just too visible. (Makes a face) Gilbert Stratton Jr. and Bertram Gorman are silly fools who only sometimes join the others. They're of absolutely no interest to me.

Zelda: The little guys aren't so bad.

Sheila: They're all yours. I wouldn't touch them with a 100-foot pole. They're children. (Sighs) And then, we have to decide what to do about Dumbrowski, his wife and niece, and her friends.

Zelda: We'll figure that out when we have to. I sure wouldn't mind getting my hands on Dumbrowski’s niece, though.

Sheila: Get in line. I'm not terribly fond of her, either. She's a smart one, that girl. Probably too smart for Mahoney, but she sticks to him anyway...and she has a temper, to boot. (Smirks) Perhaps you could try to get her away from Mahoney. You can't take her out of the play. O'Malley has been on my case enough as it is. But you could try to keep them away from each other.

Zelda: I'd be happy to.

Sheila: (Looks up as we hear voices onstage) We'll discuss this later. You don't want to miss your cue. The others are going to have to "find" you soon.

Zelda: Right. *heads off*

(Cut to onstage. We're in the kitchen again. Duke is questioning Slip while Chuck looks on.)

Duke: Look, Mr. Johns, let's go over this one more time. Where was the last place you saw Miss Cynthia?

Slip: She was outside. She wanted some fresh air, so I left her out there, and I came back in.

Duke: How did she seem when she left?

Slip: She was fine.

Duke: Did she seem agitated or make any strange remarks?

Slip: *Sighs* She said "I need some fresh air" and walked away from me.

Duke: Do you know where she might have gone?

Slip: *He's clearly annoyed* If I did, I woulda told ya. *stands* Whadaya want me to do? *starts for the pantry* Want me to open a door and say "Here she is!," even though I don't know where she is? *Grabs the pantry door with his good hand and opens the door. Zelda tumbles out as soon as the door is open. He looks down at her* That's not good.

Duke: Nice work, Johns. (He goes to Zelda) Are you ok, Miss?

Zelda: Ooooh, I think so. *rubs her head* Someone hit me over the head while I was outside.

Duke: Did you get a good look at them?

Zelda: *shakes her head* I never saw anyone. I was walking along in the gardens, and the next thing I know, I'm struck over the head. I woke up in the pantry.

Duke: Do you think this may have been another attempt on your life?

Zelda: It could have been!

Duke: You two go get the others and see if you can find that laser. I'm going to call headquarters and find out what happened to the others.

Slip: *Nods* Fine.

Zelda: (Latches onto Slip as soon as Duke exits) Please, Mr. Johns, you have to protect me!

Slip: *winces as she gets too close to his arm* I can protect you from a distance, ya know.

Zelda: But I don't want anyone else to try to kill me. I think that's what they were doing. They must have gotten spooked and dumped me in the closet instead.

*Chuck rolls his eyes, watching from the side. He was tempted to pry Zelda off of Slip himself.*

Slip: That very well could be, but you don't have to permanently attach yerself to me.

Zelda: I could attach myself to your brother. Perhaps he'd be more receptive.

*Chuck's eyes widen.*

Slip: *Growls* Don't even think about it. *normally* Now, get off and follow us.

Zelda: All right. (Whispers) How about we get together after the show? Or I could always get together with your brother...

Slip: *Growls again; low* Neither, or I ain't gonna be so nice.

Zelda: (Rubs his arm) Oh, I found out how this happened. Got strong-armed by one of your own boys, huh? The little blond one.

Slip: *Winces, scowling* What's it to ya?

*Chuck is still watching curiously. He doesn’t like how Zelda is touching Slip's injured arm.*

Zelda: (Makes a face) I wish Sheila could have made her point without hurting you. You keep these boys on a short leash, don't you? Including your brother.

Slip: *Frowns* What're ya gettin' at?

Zelda: The little blond may not be the only worm who turns on you.

Slip: *Eyes narrow* He didn't do that by choice. Sheila forced him. These guys're my friends. They ain't gonna turn willingly on me.

Zelda: I wouldn't be so sure about that. You don't even acknowledge that Mahoney the Younger is your brother most of the time. And what about the blond? Rumor has it that he's quite a talented musician.

Slip: What do you know? er just tryin' to mess wit' my head. I got news for ya. It ain't gonna work.

Zelda: I'm just telling you to watch your back.

Slip: Like I'm gonna take a warnin' like that from you. *Makes a face* An' you stay off my back, too.

Zelda: (Nods at Chuck) Can I have his back, then?

*Chuck's eyes widen again, seeing the nod towards him.*

Slip: No.

Zelda: (Out loud) Where are we going? Have you found the laser yet?

Slip: *Normally* Not yet. It has to be here somewhere!

Chuck: Um, there's a slight problem with the laser. *picks up the pieces from the floor next to the wall* It's broken.

Slip: *Makes a face, remembering that he broke it* An' we got no inventor to fix it.

Zelda: (Turns to Slip) I might be able to put it back together. I worked with my guardian on it.

Slip: *Shrugs his good shoulder* It's worth a try. *winces* I'd like to help, but I ain't good wit' these things.

Zelda: (They take it into the dining room, where Bobby, Sally, Junior, and Buddy are still searching) Maybe we could do with some help.

Bobby: Miss Cynthia! Are you all right?

Buddy: What happened?

Zelda: I'm okay. Someone got me over the head from behind and put me in the pantry. *sighs* We did find the laser, but it's in pieces.

Sally: How did that happen? (Mutters to Slip) Don't tell me. It was there and you were mad.

Slip: *Mutters* I won't tell ya.

Chuck: We don't know how it happened.

Sally: And with the Professor gone, we can't put it back together.

Bobby: Maybe we can. Cynthia, didn't you work with the Professor?

Zelda: Yes, I did. I think I can fix it, but I will need some help.

Buddy: We can help! It'll be like putting together a puzzle!

Bobby: Or fixing my plane.

Sally: (She sets up room on the table) Put it down here.

*Chuck puts the pieces on the table. Slip backs off from the rest of the group, watching as nearly everyone gathers around the laser.*

(When the group moves away from the laser, Slip rejoins them to see the laser in one piece...sort of.)

Slip: That's...nice. I hope none-a you used gum on this thing.

Bobby: No, tape.

Sally: A lot of tape.

Slip: I can see that.

Chuck: It is holding together, though.

Slip: Does it work?

Zelda: *Smirks* And it works. *tests it; it does work*

Bobby: See, Mr. Johns? No sweat.

Slip: Yeah, no sweat. *Sighs and winces slightly*

Bobby: Maybe we'd better find the others and tell them we've found Miss Cynthia and the laser, including that cop.

Sally: That's right. What happened with that questioning?

Slip: *Slight shrug; winces* It happened. *shakes his head* I think he wanted to play twenty questions.

Chuck: *Raises an eyebrow at Slip* It seemed like he was tryin' to make you sound guilty.

Slip: I got that much outta it, too.

Sally: (Frowns) Where is he now?

Slip: He went to call headquarters an' find the others.

Bobby: It shouldn't take this long to do that. I hope nothing has happened to him.

Slip: He's long winded.

Chuck: More so than you.

Slip: *Grunts* I'll find him. *Heads out into the next "room" where we see Duke lying on the floor; Slip groans* This just ain't my day.

Bobby: (As the others join him in the doorway) Oh no.

Sally: That's not good.

Slip: No, not really.