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``Clarissa Day!''

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an original
Clarissa Explains It All
screenplay by

Scott Thomas

originally written: Jan 93
revised: Jan 95

Note: This is an original screenplay by Scott Thomas. The author retains all rights to this work. Its appearance on this web-page should not be contsrued as a ``submission'' of this work to any person or corporate entity.

For further information, you may contact the author:
Scott Thomas <>

(Clarissa, wearing a shirt with a yellow mustard stain, frantically enters her bedroom and leans against the closed door. She exhales a ``whew!'' and rubs her hand against her forehead as if she narrowly escaped something chasing her.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Life is a long and winding road we must travel. And a wise man once said that each of us must take the good with the bad. Every now and then a little rain must fall. But even though every cloud has a silver lining, today has been nothing but a big drizzle. It all started today in homeroom...

(Fade to classroom.)

Clarissa: (voice) First of all, I was chosen to show the new kid around for the entire day.

(The teacher takes a note from the new student -- a typical nerd standing in the classroom doorway -- and reads it to the class.)

Teacher: Class, it looks like we have a new student. And Clarissa Darling has volunteered to be his ``Friend-of-the-Day''. Isn't that nice!?

(Show Clarissa, surprised and embarrassed.)

Clarissa: (voice) The ``Friendly High School Welcoming Committee'' of Thomas Tupper High is supposed to be on a strictly volunteer basis. And although I find some types of volunteer work important and sometimes rewarding, I don't remember volunteering for this. I don't have any proof, but I think I know how my name got on that list.

(Fade to Ferguson at volunteer sign-up sheets in the school office, laughing and writing ``Clarissa Darling'' under every available space.)

(Fade to school lunchroom.)

Clarissa: (voice) I tried to shake the new kid before lunch time, but it didn't work. Clifford Spleenhurfer used to have a crush on me, and would follow me around everywhere. But at least Clifford would call a time out to eat lunch. I figured if Clifford could be distracted by food, the same tactics may work on this guy too.

(Clarissa carries a huge sub sandwich and sits down beside the new kid. As she gives it to him, the over-sized sandwich tumbles onto Clarissa.)

Clarissa: (voice) Unfortunately, this plan backfired. Not only did I splash my favorite shirt with mustard, but I got a year's worth of embarrassment in a 10-second time frame.

(Fade to fast-forward-speed shot of Clarissa ducking in and out of hallway, classrooms, and bathrooms.)

Clarissa: (voice) Things seemed like they were going to get better just before 6th period. I thought I lost the new kid by ducking in and out of the girl's bathroom about a zillion times. But that only made me late for Ms. Hoffenstetter's algebra class.

(Fade to classroom. Clarissa tries to sneak in as the teacher is writing on the blackboard. Just as Clarissa is about to sit down, the new kid speaks up and attracts the teacher's attention.)

New Kid: Hi, Clarissa! When I couldn't find you, the office gave me a copy of your class schedule. I knew you'd show up sooner or later!

Teacher: Too bad it wasn't sooner than later, Miss Darling. I believe that makes the third time this week.

(Fade to Clarissa writing on blackboard.)

Clarissa: (voice) Taking the good with the bad... I finally ditched the guy following me around all day. The bad news was he went home -- like all the other students! I had to stay after school and write, ``Math is cool, so I will not be late for algebra class,'' one hundred times... just like Bart Simpson! It was either that or prove the Pythagorean Theorm! With the mood I was in, I chose to suffer a little writer's cramp than put an unnecessary strain on my brain.

(Fade back to Clarissa sitting on her bed.)

Clarissa: Life was beating up on me pretty hard today. I only hope it's a temporary situation. But what if it's not temporary? I suppose I can choose one of two options. I can either roll with the punches, or fight it. And I choose to fight it... to take a stand against all those bad days... to fly in the face of danger. Of course, all I really need is a little vacation. And since the calander hanging on my wall says that there are no national celebrations anytime soon, it's up to me to make my own holiday. Tomorrow may just be another ordinary day for everyone else, but for me tomorrow is the first annual CLARISSA DAY!!!

(Opening credits.)

(Fade to Clarissa in her bedroom. As she speaks, either show animations over her shoulder or fade to holiday scenes being acted out by the cast.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Did you know that out of the 365 days in the year, 285 of them are national holidays in at least one country? With schedules like that, it's surprising that the world banks and post offices are ever open. To plan my own holiday, I've been trying to make a list of what I like and dislike about other holidays. The last major holiday celebrated in the Darling household was Christmas. The end of the year holidays are always fun -- especially when you have parents who act more like children than their own children. Mom drags her old Santa's elf hat out of the mothballs and Dad takes over the kitchen to put the finishing touches on his secret eggnog recipe. But beware the hidden yuletide pitfalls... too much Christmas dinner leads to an upset stomach, and every present from every relative leads to a huge stack of thank-you letters. Still, Christmas is the only day of the year I don't mind getting up early.

Speaking of upset stomachs, Halloween is always good for anyone who isn't on a diet. I don't trick-or-treat much anymore, but it's fun to get dressed up. I can almost handle all the little brats that knock on the door. After living with the Ferg-Monster, dealing with a few kids in make-up is a breeze. Halloween isn't even close to being the scariest holiday.

The scariest holidays are the ones that aren't well defined by tradition. For instance, the typical 4th of July tradition is usually a picnic and fireworks. But where your family goes for a picnic and what fireworks display to watch is entirely up to the head of the family. And although my parents mean well, eating lentil souffle in the back yard and watching fireworks on the portable black-and-white TV set is not a teenager's dream come true.

I think my parents don't overdo that holiday so they can save their energy for Labor day. Labor day is the worst. Give a grown up one lousy extra day to add to the weekend, and it's like they think they have enough time to cruise around the world. My childhood memories of Labor day all involve being trapped in the back seat of the family car, trying to sleep while Ferguson incessantly snored, and my Dad drove like a maniac to get back in time to meet a client and get us to school. Boy, is it any wonder I need to make my own holiday?

(The ladder hits the window. Sam enters the bedroom.)

Clarissa: Hi, Sam.

Sam: Hi, Clarissa. I see you haven't changed your shirt yet. Maybe you can start a new fashion trend... the Mustard look!

Clarissa: No, I just don't feel like changing right now. It's kind of sad. This was my favorite shirt, you know.

Sam: Yeah, but don't you find a new favorite shirt every week?

Clarissa: Well, yeah. That is sort of a tradition of mine. But it's sad to see this favorite shirt not getting to stay my favorite shirt for its full term of being my favorite shirt. Besides, I haven't picked out a new favorite shirt yet.

Sam: What's that? (pointing to the holiday list) Is that a list of possible new favorite clothing.

Clarissa: No, it's a list of the good and the bad aspects of various holidays. I'm going to take all the good things, eliminate all the bad things, and come up with a completely new and totally awesome holiday. Tomorrow is going to be the first of many Clarissa days. A day where everything goes my way. I'm going to make it one of the best days in my entire life. I might win the lottery, or even the super jackpot clearinghouse sweepstakes! If this works out, I may just have to celebrate Clarissa day once a month, or once a week, or even...

Sam: Whoa! Better stick to one day at a time. But I think you're on the right track. While you were busy writing on Ms. Hoffenstetter's blackboard the principal made an announcement. There's only going to be a half day of school tomorrow.

Clarissa: Are you kidding?! That's great! Clarissa day is already looking better and better! Why are they letting us go early?

Sam: I'm not really sure. At first, I thought it was because of the talent show rehearsals.

Clarissa: Yeah, but there are only a few people doing that.

Sam: Well, it has grown. There have been a lot of last minute entries. The list of prizes has grown. A lot of local businesses are looking for some tax write-off's. But they're not letting us go for that. The principal said something about the teachers getting behind in their grading. I hear that Mr. Futtstein hasn't returned any graded homework in 6 weeks. Some of the parents are starting to complain. So I guess they had to give the teachers a teacher work day.

Clarissa: Well that's great, but if they need to catch up that badly, why do we even have to go at all?

Sam: I'm not really sure. I think they have to keep us there until after lunch. It must be some deal they made with the food suppliers.

Clarissa: That makes sense. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't want that cafeteria meatloaf to get any older than it already is. Anyway, half a day of vacation is better than no vacation at all. Hey, if I play my cards right, I might be able to get out of going to school completely. Help me think of something, Sam. I'll have to work on my parents over dinner.

Sam: (pondering between ideas) Let's see, you could try... no, that wouldn't work. How about... no, you did that last time. Oh, I know. You can... no, your parents wouldn't fall for that one.

Clarissa: There has to be a simple way to get out of going to school. It's only half a day, so it should be twice as easy.

Sam: Face it, Clarissa. You've pulled every trick in the book. Sometimes your plans have worked, and sometimes they haven't. And this is pretty short notice.

Clarissa: Nonsense! (Clarissa looks into the distance; reflective, proud, and inspirational.) The new Clarissa day motto is: Never give up. (She waits a moment before returning to her normal attitude.) Besides, I have 10 minutes before dinner is r... (her next word, ``ready'', is interrupted in mid-word.)

Janet: (voice from off stage) Clarissa! Ferguson! Dinner is ready.

Clarissa: Oh, great. The one day I'm ready to put the remainder of my afternoon to good use, and dinner is ready early. Do you want to stay and eat with us?

Sam: No, thanks. Too much health food isn't good for you... at least if you're not used to it. But I am curious. What are you having?

Clarissa: I'm not sure. Probably legumes in some sort of tofu paste. It's not pepperoni pizza, but it's not as bad as it sounds.

Sam: Hmmm. I'll pass. Besides, I have to get home. My dad just got a new VCR and I have to help him set the clock. The flashing ``12'' is driving us both crazy.

Janet: (again from off stage) Clarissa!

Clarissa: (shouts out her bedroom door) On my way! (She turns to Sam) What happened to your old VCR?

Sam: Well, it was 6 years old. And you know how my Dad can really get into his sports. Last night the hockey game came down to the winning shot made in the last 2 seconds. I haven't seen him that excited in weeks. He was jumping up and down and his diet root beer spilled all over the place. I think our cable reception improved for a few seconds, but we had to unplug it when sparks started coming out of the little door where the tape goes in. I like having the new one, but it's a bummer for Dad. After 6 years, he finally learned to set the clock and timer last week. At least he's not depressed. I guess a little hockey game can go a long way.

Clarissa: Well, at least he's in a good mood. I just hope my parents are in a good mood.

Marshall and Janet: (in unison from off stage, with irritation in their voices from having to repeatedly call Clarissa to dinner) Clarissa Marie Darling!!!

Clarissa and Sam: (whisper in unison) Oops!

(Fade to the Darling family, sans Clarissa, seated around the kitchen table.)

Ferguson: ...and that is how I plan to win first prize in the talent show.

(Clarissa enters wearing new clothes.)

Clarissa: Well it would take talent to win a talent show without any talent!

Marshall: Hey, Sport. I'm glad you could join us.

Janet: Yes, dear, we had to start without you.

Clarissa: I had to change my clothes. Anyway, you know what they say about tofu.

Marshall: No, what do they say about tofu?

Clarissa: Uh, well... they say... uh, that it tastes just as good cold as it does when it's hot!

Janet: And just what does that mean?

Clarissa: Nothing. I just...

Ferguson: Don't worry, mother. I not only find this meal delicious, but I am also courteous enough to be here on time. As the only responsible child in the family, I feel it is my duty to facilitate your job as parents by making sure that you need not waste your time by calling me more than once. Rest assured, I will not set a high priority on such frivolities as clothing when it comes to the traditional family meal time.

Clarissa: Well you could use a little fashion sense, Ferg-Dweeb. Or any sense at all, for that matter. And may I point out that you are sucking up exceptionally well today. Just what are you up to?

Ferguson: Nothing, dear sis. I was merely noting that dinner was very delicious, as per usual.

Janet: Why thank you, Ferguson. But I must confess... I'm not as good of a chef as I'd like to be. That's why dinner was a little early tonight.

Marshall: What do you mean, Janet?

Janet: Well, I was making a cheesecake...

Clarissa: Hey, that's my favorite! Is it chocolate, cherry, or strawberry?

Janet: Well, it was going to be coconut and raisin. All-natural ingredients for sweeteners. But there is some bad news...

Clarissa: The good news is that you were making my favorite dessert. The bad news is...

Janet: I messed it up. I was making this casserole, and the cake, and the bread was baking in the oven, and the soup was boiling over, and the phone rang, and I got distracted, and to make a long story short... I accidently added garlic and chili powder to the cheesecake. I'm sorry, Clarissa. I know it's your favorite.

Clarissa: That's okay, Mom.

Janet: I don't know. Maybe I should take one of those cooking classes that some of the volunteers at the children's museum have been talking about. They said that they come up with some new ideas, and new recipes, and the three of you can try them out for me!

Marshall: Gee, I don't know. I think you're doing a swell job cooking right now. I mean, so you messed up one dish. You said you were distracted, trying to cook too many things at once.

Janet: Yes, but this class may be just the thing to help get me organized in the kitchen. In fact, you could come along too, Marshall. Next time I visit my mother for the weekend, you won't have to order out for those unhealthy pizzas and hamburgers.

(Clarissa, Ferguson, and Marshall sigh.)

Janet: And I'm sure they have some other night classes that you would be interested in, dear.

Marshall: I don't know, honey. I've really got my hands full with work right now. Remember when I told you that I was thinking about upgrading my design equipment? Well, I've ordered one of those super computers with the latest design software. So now I have to do my regular work as well as learn to use that over-grown calculator. I appreciate the old-fashioned, traditional pencil and paper, but I suppose we all have to keep up with the times. You know, I remember when I drew my first wall on my first blueprint. I was a freshman in college. Architecture 101. I was sitting at my drafting table, third from the front. The sun was shining through the open window, and...

Clarissa: Dad. Dad! DAD!!!

Marshall: Oh, where was I? Oh, yeah. So I can't take any night classes right now.

Janet: On the contrary, you could take a computer class while I learn about cooking. I'll get the information tomorrow after work. Isn't this exciting?!

Clarissa: I think that's a great idea, Mom. You know, education is a very important part in the structure of our society.

Ferguson: Now who's sucking up?

Clarissa: Stuff it, Ferg-Wad. I was merely pointing out that classes are very important, and that they should only be missed rarely... on very special occasions.

Janet: I couldn't agree with you more.

Clarissa: Really?!

Janet: Of course. And I'm surprised you remembered.

Clarissa: Remembered what?

Janet: Your check-up. Dr. Moody. Your dentist. Remember? I'm picking you up from school at 11:00 for your 6-month check-up. You're going to miss your afternoon classes, at least part of them. If Dr. Moody were open on weekends, I wouldn't let you miss any classes at all. But I supose it can't be helped.

Clarissa: No! This can't be happening! They cancelled classes anyway! So you're saying I have to spend my afternoon off at the dentist's office?

Ferguson: Are you still afraid of the dentist's office? I guess some of us take better care of our teeth than others.

Clarissa: And what about the Ferg-Beast here? His fangs could use a cleaning more than mine.

Ferguson: I had my check-up last month. No cavities, as usual. Some people might find being perfect a little boring, but I don't have any complaints so far.

Clarissa: Perfect little monster, maybe. And, no, I'm not afraid of the dentist. It's just... well, you see, Mom and Dad, I had sort of planned my own holiday tomorrow. And I was going to ask if I could possibly miss my first three classes tomorrow. This is a special occasion, and I would do twice as much homework tonight, and I wouldn't be missing a thing, and third period is just study hall until it's my turn to take driver's education anyway. Please!

Janet: Maybe you could miss study hall. I'll have to think about it after we eat. What do you think, Marshall?

Marshall: Well, I don't see the harm in missing study hall. But you can't miss your other classes just because you planned your own holiday. But it's a good idea. Nice try.

Clarissa: Like I said, Dad, this is a special occasion... Clarissa day! A day where everything goes my way. Of course, I may have to change a few plans because of this dentist thing. And seeing Ferguson is enough to ruin any day, let alone Clarissa day.

Ferguson: Cute. But making your own holiday sounds a little suspicious. Whatever you're up to, it won't work! And I know because I've tried it.

Clarissa: Who says I'm up to anything? And this is a little different than the stunt you tried to pull. If I recall correctly, you didn't invent your own holiday. You tried to convince everyone that you had a birthday every month so you could get 12 times as many presents and birthday checks each year.

Ferguson: Ah, yes. It almost worked. It would have, too, if I had just tried for 3 or 4 birthdays a year instead of 12. I could have sent announcements to all major relatives 3 times a year on a rotating schedule. If properly grouped into cash-per-birthday categories, I could have had a steady annual cash flow income of hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars!

Clarissa: In your dreams. (Clarissa turns and talks to the camera) Clarissa day is turning into the holiday from Hell. I expected Ferguson, but my afternoon off at the dentist's? I'll just have to fall back, regroup, and change my plans. Where there's a will, there's a holiday.

(Fade to Clarissa in her bedroom.)

Clarissa: Okay. Since most of my plans seem to keep hitting potholes, I've decided to go high-tech. Ever since Ferg-Head stole my diary, I've kept hidden diary files that only I can access. As a precaution, I made the passwords: ``I HAVE A WONDERFUL LITTLE BROTHER.'' Nobody would ever guess that! So all I had to do was mix these files with my computerized calendar program, and the computer will suggest the most efficient and most perfect schedule for Clarissa day.

Clarissa: (voice) According to my computer, the first annual Clarissa day should begin with breakfast in bed. (Fade to Clarissa waking up surrounded by elegant breakfast trays.) It also said that is should be served by __(current popular teen idol)__. I don't think I can get him here on such short notice, but maybe next year. And the computer also doesn't realize that Mom doesn't like us eating in our rooms. (Janet enters the dream sequence and shakes her finger in disapproval.) For my Clarissa day breakfast in bed, I'm just going to break into my secret junk food supply. I'll just have to remember to hide it under my bed before I go to sleep tonight. (Fade to Clarissa hiding box labeled ``Junk Food'' under her bed.) After breakfast in bed, the computer says that I should soak in a relaxing whirlpool, and should be waited on by any number of servants. (Fade to Clarissa in fancy marble whirlpool, as Ferguson, Marshall, Janet, and Sam act as servants in a Cleopatra motif.) Of course, I'll have to settle for a bubble bath. And unless this computer cooperates and grows arms and legs, I'll have to do without the servants. (Fade to Clarissa in ordinary bathtub.) In fact, I'll have to get up early and be the first one in the bathroom. (Fade to Janet, Ferguson, and Marshall in bathrobes waiting in line outside the bathroom door.) Mornings around the Darling bathrooms can create a huge traffic jam. Speaking of traffic jams, the computer says my next item on the agenda is to get into the nearest available sportscar and drive to the mall for a fun-filled day of shopping and video games. Well, we don't have a sportscar, but any set of wheels would do. And you and I both know that most adults think that I'm too young to drive. But I sure can shop and play video games. Next on my Clarissa day things-to-do list, I would end the day sitting in front of the television, make a few phone calls, pop some popcorn, maybe order a pizza, rent a few movies... you know, a weeks worth of vacation crammed into a neat one-day package.

Clarissa: (to camera) So I guess the computer isn't far off. That does sound like an enjoyable day. But my calendar-diary program did present an interesting challenge. A challenge that I've been working on for years. It said that to really make it a perfect day, Clarissa day would not be complete without one thing... GET FERGUSON!!! The only question that remains is: How? My computer is great at making suggestions on what to do. But it would take the world's most powerful super computer to come up with the perfect plan to get Ferguson, completely, absolutely, once and for all. But maybe that's asking too much. Even a super computer may not help. I guess I'm stuck using the super computer between my ears. And that's okay. Now that I have an acceptable Clarissa day schedule, which will have to allow a couple of classes and a quick trip to the dentist's office, I can concentrate on a plan to put that dim-wit brother of mine in his place. And it'll have to be a good plan to keep him out of my hair... for at least a month or so. Is that too much to ask?

(The ladder hits the window. Sam enters.)

Clarissa: Hi, Sam.

Sam: Hi, Clarissa. I got the message that you called. Dad said you needed to borrow my CD player.

Clarissa: Well, I thought I needed it. I was going to take it apart and use it to build a transmitter.

Sam: What do you mean, ``take it apart''?

Clarissa: With your permission, of course. Actually, with your help. I don't know much about the insides of CD players.

Sam: Well I don't either.

Clarissa: Hmmm. The Professor on ``Gilligan's Island'' always made it look easy to build a transmitter out of a radio and a couple of coconuts.

Sam: That's television. This is real life. Anyway, I can play a CD, but that's about it. Now I know how my dad feels when it comes to that new VCR. Between the two of us, we can get a tape to play... and nothing else.

Clarissa: Well, you better find out how to ``rewind'' or the video rental place is going to kill you with those ``did not rewind'' fees.

Sam: That's the next thing in the instruction manual. Maybe if I find the CD player instruction manual, we can...

Clarissa: Thanks, but no thanks. I don't need a transmitter anymore.

Sam: Why did you need one in the first place?

Clarissa: I was going to send a message into outer space. I thought if there were any UFO's out there, I could convince them that they should take Ferg-Face along for a ride. I mean, if there is any intelligent life out there, I'm sure I could reason with them. Their small sacrifice would make this planet a more peaceful and relaxing world. At least, it would make this house a more peaceful and relaxing home.

Sam: Close encounters and your little brother. Cool. So why aren't you going to try it?

Clarissa: I came up with the idea by going through my ``Experiments to be Conducted'' file. I thought a scientific approach would give me a few ideas for a Clarissa day plan of attack. But a little further research revealed the fact that, other than our own sun, the nearest star is 4.3 light-years away. That means that if we sent a signal right this minute, the earliest it could possibly reach any other world would be almost 4 and a half years. And then another 4 and a half years for their answer to reach us.

Sam: Wow. We'll be out of school and looking for jobs by then.

Clarissa: Yeah, I can't wait that long for alien help.

Sam: Well, if you think of something, let me know. Are you going to go to school tomorrow?

Clarissa: Yeah. Mom and Dad wouldn't go for me missing my first two classes. Thanks for the CD player.

Sam: No problem. I guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Clarissa: Bye, Sam. Have a happy Clarissa day!

(Sam exits through the window and down the ladder.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Sam's a good friend... which reminds me of an old saying. ``Keep your friends close to you, and your enemies even closer.'' I think my dilemma calls for a little undercover reconnaissance. (Clarissa walks into the hallway to Ferguson's room.) I'll spy on the little twerp, see what he's up to. Maybe I'll spot a weakness in his defense. However, I think Ferguson has only one major exploitable weakness: Greed!

(Show Ferguson sitting on his bed counting his money.)

Clarissa: Hey, Ferg-Face. Watcha' doin'?

Ferguson: Nothing you should concern yourself with, dear sis.

Clarissa: I think I want to concern myself with whatever it is. You see, I'm planning the perfect day for tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be nice, only a few classes... I can only think of one thing that could go wrong.

Ferguson: And that is...

Clarissa: You. And in all fairness, I'm giving you the opportunity of a lifetime.

Ferguson: Forget it. I found that application in the mail and intercepted it. Besides, you would need Mom and Dad's permission to enroll me in military school. Nice try.

Clarissa: Oh, yeah. I had forgotten about that.

Ferguson: They probably would have rejected it anyway. Forging my name in crayon was very sloppy.

Clarissa: Just wanted it to be realistic.

Ferguson: Well I would have typed it.

Clarissa: You mean you would have had Mom type it for you.

Ferguson: Or hire a professional printer -- if the price was reasonable, of course.

Clarissa: You're such a Ferg-Slime, Ferg-Face.

Ferguson: Oh, you just don't understand what it's like to be on the verge of being wealthy. And when I make my millions, I'll be sure to let you see how I am living the life of luxury. Obviously I have too much on my mind...

Clarissa: What mind?

Ferguson: worry about some little offer you have to make.

Clarissa: Okay. (Clarissa turns to leave.)

Ferguson: Then again, my schedule does allow me a certain flexibility. And I use such time to explore any opportunity.

Clarissa: So what you're saying is...

Ferguson: Spill it. What's the plan... and what's in it for me?

Clarissa: My plan is a truce. Leave me alone for one day. That's all I ask. ONE day.

Ferguson: Although avoiding you would be a vacation for me too, I just don't see the benefits. I mean, the absence of a sibling for one day has very limited advantages. Not having a sister on a long term basis would double my allowance. Now that's incentive! It seems that I've forgotten the price you quoted. How much are you prepared to offer?

Clarissa: The same thing you would be giving me: peace of mind.

Ferguson: Good-bye.

Clarissa: Wait. Just think, on any day you choose I will promise not to bother you at all. No tricks, no pranks, no telling Mom and Dad about any of your tricks. Don't think I haven't noticed how you occasionally get your allowance from Mom on Friday and then from Dad on Saturday. In fact, I know two people who live in this very house that would be interested...

Ferguson: Wait! Okay, okay. Tomorrow, and just tomorrow!

Clarissa: I thought you would see things my way. Now that we have an understanding... Do you swear... (Clarissa looks around the room to find something Ferguson values) ...on your stack of ``Moon-Man'' comic books?

(Ferguson places his hand on the stack of comics.)

Ferguson: I Ferguson Darling swear not to bother my sister, Clarissa Darling, in any way, shape, or form for one full day. Now I need the same promise from you.

Clarissa: Don't worry. I'll make the same promise on my complete bubble gum collection. As of last week, I have every bubble gum flavor ever produced. (Clarissa leaves Ferguson's room and turns to talk to the camera.) Well, that wasn't so hard. Actually I was bluffing. I didn't really know that he was duping Mom and Dad for allowance. And he may not even be doing that at all. He may have just agreed to avoid raising any suspicions. Ferg-Creep knows as well as I do that Mom and Dad would believe me over him when it comes to money.

(Fade to Clarissa's bedroom. Clarissa is sitting at her desk in her pajamas.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Okay. It's time for a Clarissa-day Eve update: First of all, Mom is still practicing different cooking techniques. (Fade to Janet making a mess in the kitchen.) She's really got her pots and pans in a whirl over this new cooking class. I think she wants to make a good impression on her first day of class. She's even talking about setting up some sort of display at the children's museum. I don't know... Mom's not the greatest chef in the world, but I really don't see the need for such a change. And speaking of radical changes... Dad is having a hard time with his hard drive. It's not easy for everyone to adjust to the 90's.

(Fade to Marshall in the living room, confused and surrounded by various computer parts.)

Clarissa: (voice) They delivered his new super computer this afternoon, but someone with a limited number of brain cells must have packed it in its box. Either that, or a malfunctioning machine did it. They didn't send any instructions. Dad's getting pretty frustrated. That monster machine they sent has more components than the Space Shuttle. I wish I could help him out, but I've just got an ordinary, average, everyday computer. And it was delivered already assembled.

(Fade back to Clarissa in her bedroom.)

Clarissa: I'm hoping that my parents are sufficiently distracted to forget about that school talent show that Ferguson is talking about. They probably won't make me go, but they might try to put me through a guilt trip for not participating in some family outing. And I don't know what the Ferg-Boy is up to.

(Fade to hallway showing a ``TOP SECRET'' sign hanging on Ferguson's bedroom door.)

Clarissa: He's been running in and out of his evil laboratory with all sorts of stuff. Old family picture albums, pencils, pens, videotape. And he counted his hidden money stash at least a dozen times. I probably didn't need to strike that deal with Ferguson. If revenge on an older sister costs more than five dollars, my little brother is cheap enough to let it slide. I know I won't have to worry about him tomorrow, but the little rat is up to something. All I have to worry about for now is the start of Clarissa day. Junk food breakfast in bed, check. (She places junk food box under her bed.) Alarm clock set a few minutes earlier than usual, check. (She sets her alarm clock.) Clarissa day uniform selected and ready to wear, check. (She checks clothes hanging on the hook on the closet door and gets into bed.) All set. Now, I've convinced myself that tomorrow will be a great day. I just hope the rest of the world cooperates! (She pulls the covers over her head.)

(Commercial break)

(Fade to Clarissa's bedroom. Clarissa pulls covers from over her head, yawns and streches.)

Clarissa: Wow, I guess I was looking forward to today so much that I woke up before my alarm clock went off. The sun is shining, and it's... (looks at alarm clock) thirty, A.M. ?!? No way! Where's my watch? Oh,...

(Clarissa gets her watch from her dresser.)

(There is a knock on the door. Marshall frantically enters the room wearing a mix of pajamas and a business suit, eating something, and putting some shaving cream on this face.)

Marshall: Wake up, Clarissa. The electricity's off! You and Ferguson are already late for school, and I'm late for a meeting. So much for first impressions.

Clarissa: But... but... but...

Marshall: Let's move it, move it, move it.

Clarissa: But since I'm already late for one class, and study hall is nothing, and I...

Marshall: We talked about this last night, Sport, so we don't have time to argue about it now.

(Marshall exits.)

Clarissa: Boy, I'm still half asleep. No time to relax. Oh, I almost forgot, breakfast in bed.

(Clarissa gets her junk food box and sits down on the edge of the bed. After taking one bite, she places the candy bar back in the box and stands up.)

Clarissa: (sarcastically) That was fun. At least my clothes are already picked out.

(There's another knock on the door. Janet enters, a bit more composed than Marshall, but still in a hurry.)

Janet: Good morning, Clarissa. Are you ready yet?

Clarissa: Mom, I just got out of bed.

Janet: Well get dressed. I brought you an apple to eat on the way to school. What are you eating? Have you forgotten about your dentist appointment today?

Clarissa: When I wake up, I'm sure I'll remember it.

Janet: Just wake up quickly. The car leaves in three minutes.

(Janet exits.)

Clarissa: Maybe I'm just dreaming. That's it... this is a nightmare. Any minute the alarm clock will buzz, and I'll wake up. Oh, who am I kidding? Clarissa day isn't starting off with a bang, it's a full blown nuclear explosion. No electricity means no hot water, no shower, no bubble bath, no hair dryer, no hot breakfast, no time, no anything!

(The door opens without any knocking. Ferguson enters the bedroom.)

Ferguson: Come on, Creep-a-zoid. Dad's in the driveway gunning the engine.

Clarissa: Get out. And try knocking next time!

(Ferguson exits.)

Clarissa: Now I have to rush to get ready. Things are not working out like I had planned. I'm at least going to take the time to brush my hair. My style takes careful planning, delicate touches, attention to detail. Maybe if I tried to get in the car wearing my bathrobe, they would send me back upstairs and give me enough time to at least get dressed properly. On second thought, I better not try it. Mom and Dad were pretty out of it. They might call my bluff. It's okay for Madonna, but showing up for even one class in pajamas is too cutting-edge, even for me.

(Clarissa takes the clothes on the hanger, steps into the closet, and immediately steps out completely dressed.)

Clarissa: Voila! I've had practice at this. Our alarm clocks fail more often than you might think. Last month, Mom had to get to the museum earlier than ususal to open the doors for someone who was off sick. Dad was in charge of running the house that morning, and overslept because he had been watching some architecture special on late night TV. It must have been a good show, because he wasn't too upset when he got that speeding ticket taking me to school. He was following this speeding car which looked like it had a radar detector sitting on the dashboard. After Dad got pulled, we saw that the radar detector turned out to be a box of tissues. Maybe he will let me drive if I promise not to speed.

(Car horn sounds.)

On second thought, the way the first annual Clarissa day has started, I would get a ticket... probably two, or three!

(Clarissa picks up her backpack and exits the bedroom.)

(Fade to living room. Clarissa enters through the front door and sits down on the couch.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Okay. Clarissa day wasn't too much better than yesterday, or even the day before. That new kid wasn't following me around, but guess what. His parents own one of the largest strings of car sales lots in the state. If he weren't such a geek, I could at least talk him into letting me take a few cars for test drives. But then again, the price is too high. Having him tail me all day was too much. It was like having a little brother. And speaking of creeps, that little rat has found a loophole in our agreement. He is leaving me alone, but he figures that he can hire someone to embarrass me for him. Now I'm sure that's not his main concern, but it is an added bonus in his little scheme. He wouldn't give any details, but I think his plan goes something like this.

(Fade to scene or computer animations.)

Clarissa: (voice) First, after realizing he has no talent, Ferguson enters the talent show anyway. Second, hire professional performers to do all of the work. Third, kiss up to the judges in a major way. Fourth, collect the grand prize.

(Fade back to Clarissa.)

Clarissa: Ferguson asked me if I'd like to participate, and I of course told him I'd rather sit through a 3-day Ancient History foreign film festival marathon where the actors spoke only Russian and no subtitles. He said that was okay because I was involved anyway whether I liked it or not. I don't get it. Even though he is a little twerp, his plans are usually big. Like taking over the world, or making ten billion dollars in a get-rich-quick scheme. Winning a local talent show seems like small potatoes for that small fry. There must be more to it. Maybe he's trying to impress someone. I'll just have to ignore him. School was no problem; the dentist office was no problem; and Ferguson was no DIRECT problem, but how can I relax when he's up to something?

(Janet enters carrying a grocery bag.)

Janet: Hello, Clarissa.

Clarissa: Hi, Mom. Need any help?

Janet: No, thank you, Dear. It's just this one bag. Just a couple of things I needed from the store. I'm trying something new tonight.

Clarissa: Again?

Janet: Yes, again. Experimentation with cooking is fun and exciting. Variety is the spice of life. And tonight's spice is... (Janet reaches into the grocery bag and pulls out a small bottle.) ...cinnamon! I'll be learning on my own, at least for a while. I've decided to wait and take that cooking class next semester. They've already started, and I don't want to be behind everyone else. They just finished soups, and will be working on main entrees next week.

Clarissa: Gee, they must be really slow eaters.

Janet: Either that or they have a LOT to eat! Anyway, your father will be happy about not taking classes after work. Come to think about it, I wasn't too thrilled at the idea. Oh, how was your ``Clarissa day''?

Clarissa: So-so. I'm thinking about changing the name to ``Could-have-been-better day''.

Janet: Well, how about if I make you a cinnamon cheesecake?

Clarissa: Leave out the tofu, and you've got a deal!

Janet: You've got it. (Janet exits living room into kitchen.) By the way, (speaking from the other room) is Ferguson home yet?

Clarissa: No, I don't think so.

Janet: (still in kitchen) He said he would be home by now.

Clarissa: Well, if my luck holds out the way it's been going, he'll be home right about... (front door opens)

(Ferguson enters the living room followed by four actors, each one a caricature of a member of the Darling family.)

Ferguson: ...And this is the living room. Feel free to make yourselves at home and soak in some of the Darling family atmosphere.

Clarissa: What's going on, Ferg-freak?

Ferguson: I'm sorry, dear sister. You'll just have to wait for my family announcement to find out what's going on.

Clarissa: I see what's going on, and I don't like it. This is what you meant when you said I was going to be involved, like it or not. Well, you can't get away with this. I'll sue!

Ferguson: Sue for what? No damages here. They're just going to help me with my act for the talent show.

Clarissa: You said you weren't going to bother me today. This is bothering me. Can't I trust you for ONE day?!?

Ferguson: Clarissa, I will not bother you at all. You don't even have to show up for the talent show.

Clarissa: You're going to embarrass me, aren't you?

Ferguson: Not at all. Trust me.

Clarissa: (Looks into camera.) Would you trust him? Me neither.

(Janet enters the living room from the kitchen.)

Janet: Ferguson, is that you? I was wondering if you two kids would like to... Oh, hello. Ferguson, what's going on?

Ferguson: Nothing, Mom. Just some friends helping me with my talent show act.

Janet: Ferguson, could I see you alone in the kitchen for a moment?

Ferguson: Sure. Now, as I was saying, the four of you sit down, look around, whatever. I'll show you the upstairs in just a minute.

Clarissa: Not my room, Ferg-Fraud.

(Ferguson follows Janet into the kitchen. Clarissa looks around the room, not really knowing what to say to the actors.)

Clarissa: (to Melissa) So, uh... you're me, hunh?

Melissa: Like, I guess so.

Clarissa: (uneasy with guests and angry at brother) This is just too weird.

(Clarissa gets up and exits the living room towards the kitchen.)

Clarissa: If you will all excuse me for a second, I have to go... um, help my mother re-arrange the spice rack. We're going to alphabetize them, and... um, I'm really good with the alphabet. A, B, C, ... all that.

(Fade to kitchen where Janet is talking to Ferguson as Clarissa enters.)

Janet: ...and they're professional actors? How much did this cost, Ferguson?

Ferguson: Not much, Mom. And besides, money is no concern.

Clarissa: Who are you and what have you done with Ferguson? Or maybe you are the actor and the real Ferg-Twit is in the living room with the rest of our look-alikes. Mom, I don't like this. It's kinda' creepy seeing another set of us. And that girl doesn't even look like me!

Janet: I'm not sure how I feel about this either, Ferguson.

Ferguson: But this is a school-sponsored activity. And they're not exact duplicates of us. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

Clarissa: Coincidental?!?! Mom! He's going to embarrass the entire family, and even worse, he's going to embarrass me! I'll get you for this one, Ferg-Face. If there's a talent show next year, I'll... I'll... Well, I'll think of something!

(Fade back to the living room with the actors. Marshall enters through the front door reading some papers. Not paying careful attention, he does not realize that the people sitting in the room are not the real Darlings. Marshall continues to walk towards the kitchen.)

Marshall: Hi, honey. Clarissa, Ferguson, Marshall.

(Marshall enters the kitchen.)

Marshall: Hi, honey. Clarissa, Ferguson. The guys at the computer store made me a few notes about that super computer installation. I just can't tell if this scribble here is a wire, or a box, or a floppy disk, or a ... (stops speaking abruptly.) Wait a minute. Did I say ``hello'' to myself?

Janet: Marshall, we've got a little problem.

Marshall: My day was okay. Thanks for asking.

Janet: I'm sorry, Dear. I am glad to see you.

Marshall: Who are those people?

Clarissa: Ask the Ferg.

Ferguson: Well, it all started last week. When I was signing Clarissa up for the... I mean, when I was signing myself up for the...

Clarissa: Thomas Tupper High ``Friendly High School Welcoming Committee''???

Ferguson: Well, I was in the school office and I overheard that the local Art and Performance Society was making a surprise donation for the grand prize in tonight's talent show.

Clarissa: You ``overheard'' this? So, you admit you're a little sneak?

Ferguson: Anyway, the winner will receive $500.00.

Marshall: Five hundred dollars! Why didn't they tell anybody?

Janet: Yes, that certainly would get a lot more people involved in the show.

Marshall: Yeah. Say, Janet, do you remember that little number we used to do at parties in college? (Marshall starts to hum and puts his arms around Janet in an attempt to get her to dance with him.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Oh, no. Has Clarissa day come to this? Watching my entire family, and a replica of my family on stage? We'll be known as The Performing Darlings! How embarrassing!!!

Janet: Yes, I remember, Marshall. But I don't think so.

Clarissa: Whew!

Ferguson: Well, they already had more than enough entries in the show. And I think the Arts Society wanted to give the money to a true performer, and not to anyone just interested in the money.

Clarissa: And that true performer is you? Ha!

Ferguson: Well, I must admit, the entertainment industry is a very lucrative endeavor. This small show will be the launching pad to my career. If I become the writer, director, producer, and actor, I will be entitled to all four of those respected salaries!

Marshall: Well, son, I don't think it works quite like that. And just hypothetically, what if you don't win?

Ferguson: Oh, I'll win. Mrs. Finklemeyer, my English teacher is one of the judges. And my dramatic reading is loosely based on an English paper I wrote last month. She gave me an ``A'', as usual.

Marshall: Dramatic reading, hunh?

Ferguson: Yes. Enhanced for artistic effect with the help of the ``Starling'' family. I'll win. You can count on it. Otherwise I wouldn't have invested my entire savings on hiring those actors.

Janet: How much did those actors cost, and what are they doing here??

Ferguson: I told you, my entire savings. But I still got a good deal on them for a one-night gig. I convinced the agency that a little advertisement was worth a cut in the usual rates. This is my ticket to ride that show biz train! And they're here to observe us. They already know what to do, but I insisted they see how the typical Darling family lives, to get a feel for mannerisms and other subtleties. I'm trying a method acting approach.

Clarissa: ``STARling family''??? Ferguson, wouldn't it have been a better idea to put together a magic act... and try to make your brain re-appear? Dad, Mom, and I don't like the sound of this. And having them here is spooky!

Janet: I must say, it is a bit strange.

Marshall: (in his usual easy-going manner) Well, I don't know. This might be pretty neat. And he's already hired the... ``Starling's'', was it?

Ferguson: Right! So why don't we all go back into the living room, talk to them, and let them observe the typical day in our typical house.

Clarissa: (to camera) Yeah, ``typical''. That's the one thing that the first annual Clarissa day hasn't been: typical.

(Fade to the actors in the living room. The Starling family is sitting at camera left. The Darlings enter from the kitchen door at camera right. The situation seems tense for the Darlings, except for Ferguson, not really knowing what to say. The Starlings seem relaxed, looking through magazines, etc.)

Clarissa: Gee, Ferguson, where's the one playing Aunt Mafalda?

Marshall: Uh, hello. I'm Marshall Darling.

Herschell: Uh, hello. I'm Herschell Starling.

Marshall: Heh. Hey, that's pretty good.

Herschell: Heh. Hey, that's pretty good.

Marshall: This is my wife, Janet Darling. My daughter, Clarissa. And you know Ferguson.

Herschell: This is my wife, Janice Starling. My daughter, Melissa. And you know Frederickson.

Marshall: So, um... how long have you been actors?

Herschell: So, um... how long have you been actors?

Marshall: Now, look. That was funny at first, but that could get really annoying.

Herschell: Now, look. That was funny at...

Marshall: Please, stop that!

Herschell: Please, stop that!

Janet: Well, why don't we all sit down, and...

Janice: Well, why don't we all sit down, and...

Janet: You're right, Marshall. That really can get really annoying, really quickly.

Marshall and Janet: Ferguson!

Ferguson: Okay. I'll tell you what. There's no need to copy them exactly. You guys just relax and observe. And tonight, it's show time!

Clarissa: (to camera) The Darling's meet the Starling's. It's show time all right: The Twilight Zone!

(Show the families at opposite ends of the living room looking at each other to give a mirror-image effect. Maybe play the ``Twilight Zone'' theme.)

(Fade to the kitchen. Both families are sitting around the table.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Okay. Clarissa day hasn't been all it was intended to be. Those movies I was planning on watching tonight are going to take a back seat. I have to see this stupid talent show. It's going to be totally embarrassing, but I'll have to know exactly what happens tonight, so I'll be prepared to face everyone at school Monday. And maybe it won't be so bad. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? Wait, don't answer. Maybe I really don't want to know.

Janet: (to Frederickson Starling) Care for some more kelp casserole, uh, what was your name again?

Frederickson: Please, just call me ``Frederickson''. Ferguson says that will help me stay in character tonight.

Clarissa: Is Ferguson giving you brat lessons, too?

Janet: Clarissa.

Clarissa: Uh, Melissa, is it? Since you're trying to be me, do you think that outfit is... well, appropriate?

Melissa: Like, ferguson said this was okay.

Clarissa: And look at the clothes he wears.

Ferguson: Knock it off, sis. Besides, I'll be on stage, too. The Starling's are just my supporting cast. I'M the star!

Clarissa: Get real, Ferg-Breath. (Clarissa turns to face the camera.) That nosey little Ferguson did work things pretty well. By finding out about that $500.00 grand prize and keeping it a secret, like it was supposed to be in the first place, he did eliminate a lot of competition. With a couple of days notice, Sam and I could have put together an act...

(Fade to Clarissa in a punk rock outfit and makeup, onstage with a guitar, loud music and flashing lights. Sam is sitting behind a set of drums in an equally showy costume. Both are lip synching to a song... something along the lines of: ``stupid little brother! stupid little brother!''.)

(Fade back to Clarissa.)

Clarissa: Yeah. That prize money would have at least made a down payment on a car. (Car sound effect.) But all is not lost. I haven't abandoned the Clarissa day ship, even if it has been taking on a lot of water. (Ship horn sound effect.) I have not yet begun to fight! In other words, I have an idea. (Animated light bulb over her head.) I've been going about this with the wrong attitude. I've been so worried about my embarrassment, that I totally overlooked that this will be the perfect opportunity for Ferguson to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous public humiliation!

Janet: By the way, Marshall, I've decided that when it comes to what I cook for my family, I know best.

Marshall: So you won't be taking that cooking class?

Janet: Nope. And that means you won't have to take any classes with me.

Marshall: But, I was thinking that a computer class would keep me up to date. You know, new technology, changing times, all that.

Janet: Well, you could still take a class there if you want to.

Marshall: But it wouldn't be the same. I don't want to go by myself. I was thinking we could study together. Remember when we used to pull those all-night study sessions?

Janet: I don't think I'm up for that anymore, Marshall.

Janice: You never know. Maybe you could take a few acting classes. That's how I got started.

Janet: I think one show biz personality in the family is enough.

Clarissa: And when that one is Ferguson, that's one too many.

(Fade to talent show stage. There are two kids on stage. Clarissa is backstage surrounded by props.)

Clarissa: (to camera) Okay. Today will be a Clarissa day to remember. Mom and Dad are in the audience, and I sneaked back here to set up my plan. I called Sam and he should be here any minute.

(Sam walks up and climbs through a prop window, even though he could have easily walked around it. He's carrying a video camera.)

Sam: Hi, Clarissa. What's your plan? I hope you don't want to take this thing apart. It costs a little bit more than my CD player.

Clarissa: Not to worry, Sam. I've given up on the high-tech approach. They always end up backfiring. My latest plan to totally embarrass Ferguson and make it an awesome Clarissa day will follow a decidedly simple approach. I just wanted you to get it on tape for me. This is definitely going to be a moment worth saving and watching again and again.

Sam: The simple approach, eh? Sometimes it's good to get back to the basics. How simple is it?

Clarissa: This string is tied to that bucket balanced directly above the speaker's podium. When Ferguson is right in the middle of his ``dramatic reading'' (said sarcastically), one quick tug on this string, and SPLAT! It's so simple, it can't fail!

Sam: Splat? What's in the bucket?

Clarissa: My first thought was water. But then I figured I needed something more dramatic. I mean, this is a show, right? So I was looking through the cafeteria for that green jell-o, but I couldn't find any. But I did find some of today's left-over meatloaf gravy!

Sam: Eww! No wonder you wanted this on tape. This will ruin his act...

Clarissa: And any chances of him winning that $500.00 prize that he shouldn't even know about.

Sam: Clarissa, this is pretty drastic. Are you sure you want to go through with this?

Clarissa: Maybe you're right. Meatloaf gravy may be going a little too far. I should have used water instead.

Sam: Well, not just that. Your parents may ground you or something. Is it worth it?

Clarissa: Yes, it's worth it. And it's nothing that little monster wouldn't do to me if he got the chance. In fact, he's probably expecting me to try something like this. In fact, he's probably COUNTING on it! He's probably worked it into hs act, waiting for me to make the first move, bring me on stage and make me look stupid!

Sam: Or what if it works, and the crowd loves it? He could win for having the best slap-stick comdey act.

Clarissa: Wow. I hadn't thought of that. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes. If he embarrasses himself, I'll just sit and watch. But even then, this is a golden opportunity. It will be hard to resist.

Sam: When is he on?

Clarissa: Get your video camera ready, Sam. He's up next. Right after these guys finish some routine they stole from an old Cary Grant movie.

(Show two kids on stage repeatedly running through their act like an Abbot and Costello ``Who's on First''.)

Kid #1: You remind me of a man.
Kid #2: What man?
Kid #1: The man with the power.
Kid #2: What power?
Kid #1: The power of who-do.
Kid #2: Who-do?
Kid #1: You do!
Kid #2: I do what?
Kid #1: You remind me of a man.
Kid #2: What man?

Editor's note: This is from the 1947 movie The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and a teen-aged Shirley Temple. See the entry for this movie at the Internet Movie Database.

(Finally the teacher interrupts them.)

Teacher: Thank you, that will be quite enough. Thank you. How about a hand for these nice boys. Thank you. (reading notes from cards) Our next act is a one-act dramatic reading by Ferguson Darling entitled, ``My Family and Me''.

(The spotlight shines as Ferguson takes his place at the podium and the audience applauds. Clarissa and Sam stand just off-stage behind a curtain waiting for the right moment to spring their trap. As Ferguson reads, the spotlight follows ``Frederickson'' on stage as he interacts with the other Starlings. All are dressed in typical, almost stereotypical, fashion.)

Ferguson: Thank you. (He clears his throat.) My Family and Me, by Ferguson Darling, as read by the author. Dramatic accompaniment included.

The Darling family tree,
Fortunately, has produced me.
I find day by day,
There's so much to say,
About my family, you see.

Clarissa: Limericks? He expects to win a talent show with limericks?

Sometimes I work with my Dad.
Our building designs are rad.
Because I'm very nice,
I share my advice,
So his blueprints turn out not-so-bad!

My Mom and friends run the Children's Museum.
They really like kids to come and see 'em.
When my schedule permits,
I help Mom keep her wits,
By telling them not to yell and screa-um!

Clarissa: Now where have I heard that before?

(The spotlight moves to ``Melissa'' and ``Frederickson''.)

Clarissa: I'm next, hunh? Here it comes.

My sister shops and watches TV,
But she really wants to be like me.
Though she won't admit it,
She'll never quit it,
'Cause I'm the greatest in our family!

Clarissa: That's it! Sam, be sure to get this on film.

(Ferguson looks over and sees Clarissa and Sam with the string tied to the bucket directly over his head.)

Ferguson: (whispers to Clarissa who is still off stage) What are you doing back here?

Clarissa: Just giving the audience a show they will never forget. (She grabs onto the string and begins to pull it.)

Ferguson: (slightly panicking) Wait. Remember you said I get one day without you bothering me? Any day I choose? Well today's the day. Pull that string and you break our agreement.

Clarissa: Ah, but you've already broken our agreement with this act.

Ferguson: Just name your price. You got it. (He turns to face the audience.)

And this marks the end of my rhyme.
And it didn't cost you a dime.
You may ask what is next,
Drama, poems, or text.
Who know? Maybe I'll mime!

And that is the end.

Sam: (still recording) He's still in the target zone. You can still soak him if you want to, Clarissa.

Clarissa: He's right. I did promise not to bother him on any day he chose. I didn't think about him choosing the one day I really, really wanted to get him good. But the good thing is that in three and a half hours it will be midnight. He could have had 24 hours, but he wasted it on less than four. Even I can leave the little creep alone for a few hours.

Sam: Yeah. And you didn't really lose. You had him right where you wanted him. You got the upper hand, and he knows it. And he said you can name your price.

Clarissa: Yeah! If he wins, by some miracle, I'll just make him give me the prize money, or at least a good portion of it! The Ferguson battle ended in a tie. But the war is far from over!

(Fade to the living room. The door opens as Janet and Marshall enter, followed by an upset Ferguson, then Clarissa and Sam.)

Janet: ...and I thought you did very well, Ferguson.

Clarissa: Yeah, Ferguson. Second prize is better than nothing. Of course, it won't even begin to pay for those stupid actors you hired. But look on the bright side, you did win a free video rental, one ice cream sundae, and a discount haircut from the Ol' Lady Beauty Parlor.

Ferguson: Stuff it, Sis.

Sam: The movie rental isn't bad.

Marshall: Oh, come on, son. Cheer up. Second prize isn't bad at all. I'll bet you would have won if your English teacher didn't like old Cary Grant movies so much.

Ferguson: It's not that, Dad. It's not whether you win or loose... It's how much it costs you in the end. Even at the reduced price, those actors cost me a hundred and fifty dollars, plus their cab fare home! Some investment.

Janet: Well, we could have given them a ride home. You know a family is always there to help out. Except, I don't remember you helping around the house as much as you claimed in your ``dramatic reading''.

Marshall: Yeah, Ferguson. Maybe you and I could go over the new design I've put together. I've been waiting to try the new super computer.

Ferguson: But I don't know anyting about...

Janet: And I've been thinking about setting up a hands-on display at the Children's Museum. You and I could set up different types of kitchens from around the world. The children could make their own food, with your help of course, and I'll put it in the oven for them.

Marshall: Hey, that sounds like a good idea.

Janet: It will be wonderful... a fun and tasty way to learn about history and other cultures.

Marshall: And I'll design the kitchens for you and Ferguson.

Ferguson: But, I...

Marshall: But I'll need him to help me before I can let him spend all that time at the musuem. Yessiree, Ferguson, you and I are in for a lot of long hard hours. Late nights, early mornings, and even weekends.

Ferguson: But, I...

Marshall: And we're in luck. I got this super computer hooked up right before we left. All I need to do is put the box away and...

(Marshall gets up and moves a box. This reveals a couple of complicated looking computer parts that he has obviously overlooked.)

Marshall: Oh, no. I guess I'll never get this thing to work.

Sam: Hey, that's an external 9600 fax modem!

Marshall: You know what this thing-a-ma-jig is, Sam?

Sam: Sure.

Marshall: I know it's getting late, but if I get my tools and took this that computer apart again, do you think you could show me what...

Sam: No, Mr. Darling. You don't have to take anything apart. It's got a coaxial cable attachment coming out of the socket. All you have to do is plug it in beside the parallel port.

Marshall: Parallel port?

(Sam takes the equipment and looks behind the computer.)

Sam: Yeah, the parallel port. It's right here beside the video output. Wait a minute... your video output port has the keyboard plug crammed into it.

Marshall: Well, you know... the thing wasn't labeled clearly and...

Sam: And why is the printer cable going into the mouse attachment? The ribbon cable is wrapped around the power cord. Man, this thing is a mess.

Marshall: Okay, Sam. Can you fix it?

Sam: No problem.

Clarissa: Gee, Sam. I guess you really learned a lot from hooking up your Dad's VCR.

Sam: I'll say. After that VCR, this computer looks like my pocket calculator.

Clarissa: (to camera) And so ends the first annual Clarissa day. It wasn't all that I had hoped, but it was eventful. Dad is getting his super computer fixed, Mom has found a way to practice her cooking and not neglect her duties at work, and Ferguson has hopefully learned his lesson... But I doubt it!

Janet: By the way, Ferguson. Your father and I were just kidding about making you help. But you can if you want to.

Ferguson: Gee, Mom. I'd love to, but I would really hate to neglect my studies at such an important and critical stage in my educational career.

Marshall: Sounds like you realized that those show biz get-rich-quick schemes aren't the answer. I think you learned your lesson, Ferguson.

Ferguson: Yeah, only gamble with other people's money.

Clarissa: (to camera) That's what I figured.

Janet: And what about you, Clarissa? How was your personal holiday?

Clarissa: Clarissa day? The one day of the year when absolutely everything was supposed to go right for me? It was almost as bad as yesterday. Possibly worse.

Janet: I'm sorry to hear that.

Marshall: Yeah, me too, Sport.

Clarissa: No, that's okay. In fact, I've decided that from now on Clarissa day will be the one day of the year that absolutely everything goes wrong.

Sam: You want everything to go wrong on Clarissa day, Clarissa?

Clarissa: Yeah! One bad day a year leaves 364 good days. Now that's something to celebrate.

(Closing credits)


Scott Thomas <>

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