All's Quiet On the Lunatic Fringe
Episode 104: A Little Inspiration Please
Created and Written by Emma Berman

[Scene: MARIA's boss' office. The boss' seat is turned away from us and there is a sideview, so most of what we see is MARIA, and wouldn't see anything more than the boss' hands and part of his body if the seat turned. The office is fairly normal looking, with lots of stacks of messy papers everywhere, a bunch of books, some personal trinkets and picutures. In particular, there is a large, framed picture of a young MARIA, and a young Richard, with their parents and the Boss' body, on the wall. MARIA looks nervous]

MARIA: You wanted me for something, sir?

Boss: Yes. MARIA, you've been writing "In the Spotlight" for how long now?

MARIA: Five years, sir. Is there something wrong with it?

Boss: No. Well, not really. MARIA, you are like my own daughter, I've know you and your family since you were nothing more than a gleam in you father's eye and your article is one of our most popular pieces. That is why I've decded that you are going to write a special report on living with the stars.


Boss: Well, you know, you're living with famous people. This a golden opportunity! This is the sort of sick voyerism that readers eat up.

MARIA: Wait, wait, wait, wait. You mean that those psychos are famous? Since when? And if their famous, am I  famous.

Boss: Which psychos? You mean RACHEL Harzen has a history of mental illness? This is perfect!

MARIA: Oh her. I thought you meant the guys.

Boss: You mean you're living in a co-ed apartment? This just keeps better and better!

MARIA: Uh, actually they live across the hall. Although with all that time that Frenchy spends in our apartment I'm thinking of asking him to pay part of the rent.

Boss: I smell a three-way! Of course if this is too personal we could send a reporter.

MARIA (quickly): No, no, it's not too personal! No reporters. Please.

Boss: Great. You have until Friday, we're going to put it in the Sunday edition. You're excuesed. [The chair turns away. MARIA has an expression like "What-have-I-gotten-myself-into-now"]

Opening Credits and Theme Song.

[Scene: The girls' apartment. JAKE is standing right before the little depression, in ragged clothes (ripped shirts and pants that reach just below the knees, typical "hero-after-major-disaster type clothes), with a pair of toy handcuffs on his wrists, the chain broken and obviously added onto to make it look longer. One foot is up on a footstool and he is looking upwards, hands outstretched, obviously begging for something. AXLE is in a chair nearby, looking bored, while RACHEL is painting the scene]

JAKE (annoyed): How much longer is this going to take.

RACHEL (testily): Stop talking. You move when you talk. This is supposed to be still life. It can't be still life if you're moving.

[MARIA enters and pauses, taking in the scene. Her eyebrows raise]

MARIA: Kinky.

RACHEL: Ha, ha. I needed a model for my new piece.

MARIA: Oh really. Why didn't you get Ferdinand to model?

RACHEL: It's FERNAND. Anyway, he's out of town on business.

MARIA (skeptically): Sure he is. [Pause] So, what's the painting of anyway?

RACHEL: I'm glad you asked. [RACHEL opens her mouth to explain, but AXLE interupts her]

AXLE: You've done it again. [MARIA rolls her eyes and makes herself comfortable]

MARIA: O.k, you can proceed.

RACHEL: As I was saying, it's an interperative piece. See, I wanted to do something a bit more personal and more pertinent to my religion than that whole Heaven/Hell piece -which by the way, would have fetched around two million dollars, which I would have shared with you. Anyway, what I wanted to do was a sort of re-birth theme. Now, what I'm planning is having the Goddess smiling down upon a man who is freeing himself from the chains of self-hatred. I wanted to allude to stag-horns around the man's head, but it would be presumptious to make JAKE a God and the Goddess' consort. Besides JAKE's not nearly sexy enough for the Goddess.

JAKE: So now I'm not good enough for you, huh.

RACHEL: No. Anyway I'm not the Goddess. [Hastily, with 'don't-get-me-wrong' gestures] I'm a Goddess, but not the Goddess.

AXLE (sarcastically): Well, thank you for making that clearer.

RACHEL: Is my goddess hood in question? Do I have to explain this to you again.

AXLE: You could show me.

[RACHEL throws a paintbrush at him. He ducks]

AXLE: So, Ri, what are you doing home so early? Did the boss man make you take vacation time again?

MARIA: Actually, no. [AXLE raises his eyebrows in a 'do-tell' manner] I have to do a special report for the Sunday edition.

JAKE: On what? [Turns his head to look at MARIA]


JAKE: Sorry.

MARIA: On me, actually. Carl told me that the readers wanted an article on my life. [They all laugh hysterically]

AXLE: That's a good one. No seriously, why'd they make you come home? Did you blow chunks all over a perspective advertising client again?

MARIA: That was so your fault. I am never taking your advice on where to take a perspective client out to lunch again.

JAKE: Personally, I think they want to know why you're in the hospital all the time.

MARIA: Shut up you. Actually they want me to do an article on living with the stars.

AXLE: You mean you're going out into space?


MARIA: Remember if I leave you have to pay the rent.

RACHEL: Noooo! MARIA, why are you leaving me!

JAKE: Why didn't they send a reporter? [He keeps his head straight]

RACHEL (a little distracted, but still interested): Yeah, why didn't they.

MARIA: Do you really think I'd subject you guys on an unprepared, innocent, bystander? I don't want to have to pay for psychological damage again, AXLE.

AXLE: Hey, it was partially JAKE's falut, too.

JAKE: But not by much.

MARIA: Anyway, I have to do this editorial, along with my regular collumn. Speaking of which, I have an extra ticket to that concert tonight. Anybody want to go?

RACHEL: JAKE and I'll be too busy with this painting.

JAKE (oblivious): We will be?

RACHEL: Well, I can't paint without a model, and I want this piece done in time for my next showing. Don't worry, it'll only take a week.

JAKE: Damn it! Now I have to cancel all my dates!

AXLE (eagerly): I'll go on them for you.

JAKE: Um, I'd like to date these women again AXLE. So, no.

AXLE: Damn it! When am I going to get some?

MARIA: Probably never. Anyway, you coming?

AXLE: What type of concert is it?

MARIA: Jazz I think. [Pause as AXLE thinks for a minute]

AXLE: Sure. If it gets too boring I can always sleep.

MARIA: Oh great, thanks, that'll look good.

AXLE: Always willing to help.

MARIA: I hate my living arrangements.

[Scene: Two days later. Outside shot of the building. A strange man with a camera bag is standing looking at the memo pad, and then at the building. FERNAND approaches]

FERNAND: Bonjour. May I help you.

Photographer: Um yeah, I think. See, I'm looking for a [Looks down at memo pad] Mary? Marie? MARIA? I'm not quite sure. And her last name starts with an F. Apparently, she's some hotshot journalist and lives in this building. And she lives with someone else too. RACHEL? She's some sort of painter I know that much.

FERNAND: Oh, I know them. Come, let me direct you to their place of residence.

[Opens the building's main doors. Cut to outside the apartment. FERNAND is chatting with the photographer in french as they climb up the stairs. The photographer looks lost and very bored]

Photographer: Parlez vous anglais?

FERNAND: Of course I do. But your language does not suitably express the beauty of my beloved-

Photographer: France.

FERNAND: No. RACHEL. Anyway, here we are. [He unlocks the door] Entrez-vous. [Photogorapher opens the door, pan to over the shoulder shot. A glob of food hits him in the face. He wipes it off and starts taking pictures. AXLE runs past, wearing warpaint and boxers. JAKE is standing where he was in the previous scene, covered completely in condements. RACHEL is standing by her easel tapping her foot angrily. MARIA, dressed in shorts and tank-top with bed-head runs after him weilding a spoon]

JAKE: You are so dead as soon as I get these chains off.

RACHEL: Don't move. Even though you're covered in condements, we can still do something.

FERNAND: Salute, mon petite cherie.

RACHEL: Could that possibly be the melodious voice of my beloved returned from his long and ardorous journey? [She jumps out of her chair and trips over her shoes. She stumbles and FERNAND rushes to catch her. They end up in a very compromising position. The photographer takes a picture]

FERNAND: Are you hurt?

RACHEL: Only my pride.

FERNAND: We can salve that hurt with chocolate. Come with me. [He scoops her off her feet and they exit the apartment]

JAKE: Wait! Get these chains off! [He runs to catch up, but trips and falls down] Ow. [He lies there. Photographer snaps a picture. AXLE runs out of the apartment and slams the door. MARIA runs into the door. She falls down in pain]

MARIA: Ahh! My nose!