(We open at Louie's. Butch and Whitey sit at a table. Sally is behind the counter. Louie comes in just in time for Sach to throw the door open and Chuck and Slip to enter.)

Butch: Welcome back, Chief!

*Whitey blows on a noise maker.*

Slip: *Leans over to Chuck* Think they'd take it personally if I turned and ran?

Chuck: *Puts his hand on Slip's good shoulder* You're not going anywhere.

Slip: Was worth a try. *as they walk in* Yeah, yeah, all right. It's nice to wit' you guys again.

Sach: (Puts his arm around Slip) He's thrilled to be back!

Butch: How are you feeling, Chief?

Slip: I'm all right. Better now that I'm outta the hospital. *Turns to Louie* Hey, Louie, these guys been behavin' for ya?

Louie: (Nods) It's been so quiet around here, I don't know what to do with myself.

Sally: Slip! (She finally finishes with the counter and hurries over to him) I'm so glad you're home.

Slip: I'm glad to be home, Sal. *gives her a kiss on the cheek*

Sally: How was your time in the hospital?

Slip: I still hate the hospital. What's that tell ya? *Shakes his head* Letís just say I'm glad I had both a doc and a nurse whom I knew.

Louie: How is Bernard these days?

Sach: Yeah, the big doctor!

Slip: He's doin' good.

Sach: (He pulls out a seat for Slip) Here ya go, Chief.

Louie: You can have anything you want, Slip.

Slip: This is real nice of you guys an' everythin', but I don't need the fuss.

Louie: Of course you do! You were just in the hospital! You need good food. Would you like a sandwich? Or maybe an ice cream sundae.

Sach: We want to make a fuss! We missed ya!

Butch: Really missed your Irish stew.

Whitey: *Nods* We missed our Chief.

Slip: *Turns a few shades of red* No, ya really don't need ta fuss.

Sally: We want to fuss. (She squeezes his shoulder) You deserve it.

Slip: But...

Chuck: Slip, let us do this. We WANT to do this for you.

Slip: So what's the floor show?

Sach: Drum roll please, everyone! (Everyone drums their fingers on the counter or tables as Sach presents Slip with a wrapped present) We got you an early Christmas gift yesterday.

Butch: We all chipped in!

Louie: Even me.

Slip: You really didn't hafta do this... *slowly grins* but I'm glad ya did. *turns to Sach* Wanna help me open it?

Sach: Sure! You get the other side! (He starts tearing into it.)

*Slip pulls the paper off the best he can with one hand...then pauses, his eyes widening as he gazed down at the shiny new stew pot.*

Sach: There you go, Chief. You've needed a new one.

Louie: That's the best we could find.

Sach: Now you can really cook some stew!

Slip: I...you guys...

Chuck: Slip?

Slip: *Quietly* Thank you.

Sally: (Hugs Slip) Anytime, honey.

Louie: Now, why don't we have those sundaes?

Whitey: Yeah!

Louie: (Looks up as the bells ring) Oooh, customers!

(The "customers" turn out to be Sheila and Zelda, both wearing suits and heels and carrying purses...and neither looking happy.)

Slip: *Groans* Aw no.

Sally: What are you two doing here?

Sheila: Admitting defeat.

Sach: You're not here to ask me out?

Sheila: Far from it.

Zelda: We're being about as humble as we can be.

Sheila: First of all, you probably already know that we gave the money to the Milk Fund. We had to. It was that or go to jail.

Slip: Hope ya didn't hurt yerselves handin' it over.

Sheila: Second, I'm selling my theater and getting out of the arts. (Mutters) Or else.

Slip: Best news I heard in days.

Sheila: Once again, several of my investors said it would be...more prudent to divest my interests and concentrate on other companies.

Sally: In other words, sell the theater or we take it by force.

Sheila: (Glares at Sally) Exactly.

Slip: Good.

Sheila: You won this round, Mahoney, but don't think this is it. We have other...investments.

Slip: I can hardly wait. Please given me a momentum to detain my excitement.

Sheila: You know, Mahoney, that just about all of them are extremely dissatisfied with your leadership.

Butch: Not anymore.

Slip: That ain't what I been hearin' the last couple days.

Sach: We love the Chief! He's our pal!

Sally: He's the man I love.

Louie: He's one of my best customers when he pays.

Butch: I'm not mad at Slip anymore, ladies. I wouldn't have been at all if you hadn't gotten in my head!

Sally: Face it, ladies. Your no longer have any hold over any of these boys.

Chuck: So why don't you two just get moving and annoy someone else for a while?

Sally: (She steps right up to Zelda) And you stay the HELL away from my boyfriend and his brother, or I'll knock you so far, you'll land in Canada.

Zelda: *Smirks in Sally's face* For now, but I'm not over these boys, not one bit.

Sally: Get over them. They're not interested.

*Zelda just smirks and turns to leave.*

Sheila: You haven't seen the last of us, Mahoney. There will be other games...and next time, we won't lose. (She turns to Zelda; mutters to her as they leave) I can't believe we just had to do that.

Zelda: Humiliating. I just want a piece of one of those boys so badly...

Sheila: There has to be a way to get to them. They could be so useful for our companies.

Zelda: We need to separate them somehow.

Sheila: (Shakes her head) But not now. It's getting too close to the holidays. We'll wait until there's less going on.

Zelda: *Sighs* Fine.

Sheila: We'll have more time in January...and they'll all be trapped inside, doing nothing and getting on each other's nerves.

Zelda: *Smirks* Now you're talking.

Sheila: All right, then. We have to get to that meeting about selling the theater.

Zelda: Yes, we do.

Sheila: (Waves her hand) Taxi! (They hail a cab.)

(Cut back to Louie's. Sally looks like she's about ready to explode.)

Sally: Ooooh! The NERVE of those women!

Sach: At least they apologized.

Louie: Sounded more like threats to me. (Gulps) Do you think they'll come after us? They've already been after me about the shop.

Slip: Those were definitely threats. That's all they know.

Butch: Why would they threaten us?

Sach: 'Cause they're mean ladies, 'specially that Zelda.

Slip: Cuz they feel threatened by us for some reason.

Sach: What? Just because they had to give the money to the Milk Fund?

Louie: They're after my store! They've been trying to get me to sell for months, but I won't do it! I'd never do it!

Slip: We ain't pushovers, like everyone else they deal wit'.

Sach: You bet we ain't.

Sally: (Turns to Slip) If that Zelda tries to sit in your lap again, she won't have anything to sit on...'cause I'm gonna knock it off.

Slip: I'll leave ya a piece if she tries it again.

Butch: And I'm not going within a hundred miles of Sheila or her crazy eyes!

Chuck: None of us are.

Whitey: She's scary enough when she's normal lookin'.

Butch: I still don't remember everythin' that happened with that. I don't remember much of anything until I startin' wakin' up in Duke's arms.

Slip: *Shakes his head* It's better ya don't.

Sach: (Looks at Chuck) Didn't they try somethin' on you, too? I heard someone say that...

Chuck: *nods* Yeah, they did. Probably wanted to do the same.

Butch: How come they didn't really hypnotize you?

Chuck: I don't think Zelda has quite the grasp on hypnotism that Sheila does. She kept getting frustrated when I wouldn't do what she wanted me to.

Sally: She's in too much of a hurry to jump into your lap.

Chuck: *Nods* Yeah.

Louie: Boys, from now on, promise me one thing. If those women ask you to do something, anything, say "no" as loud as you can.

Butch: And we definitely won't be going back there for jobs, either.

Slip; *Sighs, but grins* Not for anythin'.

Louie: Sally, why don't we cheer these boys up with those sundaes I promised them?

Sally: Sure, Uncle! (She gives Slip a little kiss on his cheek) We'll be right back.

Slip: I'm holdin' ya to that.

Sally: (Grins) I know you are. (They head for the kitchen.)

Sach: Ok, Chief, we're alone. Tell us how you're really feelin' now that you're out of the hospital.

Butch: I know a lot went on the other night, and we all talked to ya about it.

Slip: An' I heard a lot of the same thing outta everyone. I'm okay, there's just some things I gotta figure out for myself.

Sach: Well, don't forget that we're still here for ya, Chief.

Butch: Yeah. Even if we're not here every day, we're still your friends.

Whitey: That's right, Chief.

Chuck: And don't forget to talk to us. Tell us what's bothering you, so it doesn't just all come out at once, okay?

Butch: And we'll do the same.

Slip: I get it, fellas... *his gaze turns towards the kitchen*

Louie: (He and Sally bring six sundaes out for the group) Ok! Here's hot fudge for Whitey, butterscotch for Chuck, strawberry for Butch, and for Sach, his favorite. (Makes a face) Peanut butter and sardine with caramel syrup.

Sach: Oh boy! No one makes a peanut butter and sardine sundae like you, Louie!

Louie: I hope not. I wasn't crazy about making it myself.

Slip: That's disgustin', Sach.

Sach: To each his own. (Digs in.)

Sally: (Puts Slip's in front of him) And here's your favorite, honey.

Slip: Hot fudge and marshmallow. Thanks, Sal...but I have a different favorite. *smiles at her*

Sally: (Blushes) Awww. (She puts hers down) And I have pineapple and coconut. That's my favorite.

Slip: Think Louie might let you take a break after we eat?

Sally: (Nods) I could ask him, but I don't think he'd object. And anyway, I can join you in eating. (She sits down with them) As long as no one comes in here, I can have my own sundae.

Slip: Just watch out for reachin' hands.

*Whitey and Sach are dueling with their spoons, each of their sundaes more than half gone already.*

Sally: (Shakes her head at Sach and Whitey) No kidding.

Butch: Hey, you guys are gettin' peanut butter n' chocolate all over me! (He moves closer to Chuck and Slip)

Sally: (As she eats) So honey, what's your next move?

Sach: (Looks up from his duel) Besides makin' us dinner.

Slip: Well, that's sorta what I was hopin' to talk wit' ya about when we're done with these, Sal.

Sally: Well, why don't we go in the back room? Uncle's in the kitchen, and these guys are busy with their sundaes.

Slip: Quick, before we get covered in ice cream toppin's.

(The two put down their spoons and hurry into the back room. Sally locks the door behind them.)

Sally: Ok, honey. Now, what is it you wanted to tell me?

Slip: I...uh, when you put it like that...

Sally: Yes?

Slip: *Swallows hard, then all in one breath* Uh, y'know, I had a lotta time ta think sittin' in the hospital an' I really like ya an' I'm tryin' ta figger out what I wanna do an' I guess I'm a little undecisive an' I ain't good at this sorta thing an'...

Sally: Go on.

Slip: Uh, right, yeah, go on... *fans himself* I thought I had it figgered out what I wanted ta tell ya, but now that I got the chance, my mind's gone blank...

Sally: You just need to step back and calm down for a minute. (She leans back) I have all day. Uncle can take customers.

Slip: *Nods* Louie could use the exercise. *Turns away and takes a couple deep breaths* Sal, yer a great gal, an' I don't wanna lose ya. I ain't ready for a major commitment, but... *jams his hand it his pants pocket, removes it again, then holds his hand out to her* I want ya to wear this... *swallows hard* if you can pry my fingers open...

Sally: What is it... (She finally gets his fingers open...revealing the necklace Slip always wears) Slip, I can't take this! It's the most prized possession you own!

Slip: I...I know...an' I thought long an' hard. I even asked Josie what she thought, since we been friends forever. *makes a face* She said it was too soon. I guess I shoulda listened to 'er.

Sally: (She gives Slip a long kiss; then) Honey, you've had a long week. Your love is enough for me. Neither of us are ready for this. (She gently closes his hand.) Keep this. It means the world to you. I wouldn't make you part with it for anything.

Slip: *Nods with a slight smile* Thanks, Sal. Would ya do me a favor, though? I don't wanna lose it, aní it's sorta impossible to put it on wit' one hand...

Sally: Of course. (She puts it back around his neck) Better?

Slip: Yeah. Sal...thanks.

Sally: You're welcome. We have plenty of time to think things over when you're really thinking straight.

Slip: *Nods* There I went jumpin' in head first again.

Sally: I appreciate the sentiment though, Slip. That was very sweet of you. I know how much that necklace means to you.

Slip: *Shrugs his good shoulder* I wanted ta do som'en. Should just gotten ya chocolates or nasty sturgeons.

Sally: No, this was better. It was a truly selfless gesture.

Slip: *Uneasy* Betcha didn't know I was capable of that, cuz I didn't know I was...

Sally: I don't think you really know what you're capable of. I think you could do a lot of things if you try. (Kisses him again.)

Slip: *As they separate; grins* I could be very capable of som'en right now, but I think yer right.

Sally: (She squeezes his hand) Let's wait and see what happens. Who knows? Maybe your luck will change.

Slip: *Gives her a real smile* I hope so.

Sally: (We hear murmurs from behind the door) Now, why don't we finish our sundaes, before they melt...or other guys eat them?

Slip: They prob'ly ate 'em already. *He heads for the door.*

(The moment he opens the door, four familiar bodies tumble into the back room. Sach looks up from underneath the pile of Bowery Boys.)

Sach: Uh, hi, Chief. What's new?

Slip: Why don't you guys tell me, hmmmm?

Chuck: Uh, we didn't hear anything! We swear!

Sach: Were you really gonna give Sally your pendant, Chief?

Butch: Sach!

Chuck: We agreed to not say anything!

Whitey: But I wanted to know, too.

Slip: Wanna move, huh? We'd like ta finish our sundaes...or did you guys finish 'em?

Sach: No way! We let them melt for ya. Chuck said "no, or else."

Chuck: *Shrugs* I figured melted ice cream is better than none.

Sally: Why don't we go finish our sundaes? (Takes Slip's good arm) Shall we, Mr. Director?

Slip: Letís.

(Sally takes Slipís good arm, and we fade out as they all return to the front room.)