Rascals

Synopsis: Andrea Hartford is a non-conformist and iconoclast. She grew up floating from one orphanage to the other searching for her parents. Eventually she becomes a bounty hunter and heroine for hire. Her real mom gets the courage to meet her and makes amends with her-and they become a vigilante team known as the Rascals.

~*~CAST~*~

Andrea Marie Hartford-Dodds:

Carletta Lucia Hartford-Dodds: (mom)

Chelsea Hartford-Dodds: (little sister)

Trystan Hartford: (dad, deceased)

Benjamin 'Ben' Dodds:

Gladys: (Andrea's first bff)

Fiera: (her second best bff)

Dahlia: (her third best bff)

Wanda Cirrilo: (owner of the orphanage)

Luca Cirillo: (her husband, co-owner)

Armed Thug #1:

Armed Thug #2:

Armed Thug #3:

Armed Thug #4:

Armed Thug #5:

Scene 1-Rejected

Andrea: (Singing 'Open Your Heart To Me' in a music video that was aired to millions of parents in a TV commercial for adoption) You can't see my three best friends in the background, but they are the creative masterminds behind this elaborate production. We were all supposed to put together a music video that capitalizes our personalities on film knowing it would be aired to potential adoptees. The thing is, I have been floating around so many orphanages I have nearly given up hope even getting a family. I know it doesn't seem so from my exhuberance in the performance you see.

But it is all an act. I will stay with Wanda and Luca a bit longer until I can find more information on my mother or my father. So far, I haven't had much luck in locating anything about her whereabouts, or if she is even alive. I know one thing, I will find my parents and I'm also going to do something about crime while I am at it. Others like me deserve help and protection from those who would try to take advantage of us and do us harm. I'll be known as a 'Rascal', a vigilante for hire. But, first things first. The quest to find mom and dad is only one year away for me. I should really begin my search in earnest.

Fiera: Andrea, that was the best take yet ! That song really suits you. Your effervescent quality, your sparkling soul, it's all captured in that music video.

Andrea: Thanks, Fiera.

Dahlia: I think my attempt at a music video to U2's 'Carry Each Other' was a great idea. I even played all the right chords at the precise time.

Gladys: I wish I could wail on an axe like you do. I handle drums much easier, Fiera's great at playing the keyboard, Andrea's our bassist and vocalist. We've all got the pipes for our vids. Maybe this time someone will adopt us.

Dahlia: Mrs. Cirillo said I might be meeting my parents this weekend.

(they all hug her excitedly)

Gladys: Really, Dahlia ? That's super exciting ! But that means I may never see you again.

Dahlia: Gladys, don't worry. Wanda will keep us connected somehow. She has done so for every child she's placed with loving homes.

Andrea: Dahlia was absolutely correct. Wanda, or Mrs. Cirillo as was her proper title, had been helping orphans like myself for years. Even after her own kids had grown and had families of their own, helping others in third world countries, she still wanted to do good in our own. She never let friends distance part them. She always kept in touch with the adoptive families and shared information once she knew she had permission. She and Luca, her devoted husband, are extraordinary human beings.

Dahlia ultimately is going to be the first one of my bffs to be 'chosen' amongst us. Again, I'll be the one who is rejected. Left by the sidelines, again. Alone. (sighing) I know I should be rejoicing for her, but part of me endures the pain of being passed over by someone who could love me for once.

(scene fade)

Fiera: Where are we going, Andrea ? You're running too quickly, we can barely keep up !

Gladys: Yeah, slow down, will ya ? Not all of us are so adept at speed like you.

(They're all panting to keep up with her)

Andrea: Sorry, ladies. You know I'm on a mission.

Dahlia: Of course we do. Finding information on your folks is extremely important. Like all of our origins. It's an integral part of yourself, your core.

Fiera: That's deep, Dahl.

Dahlia: Just an observance, Fiera.

Andrea: Maybe this time my search will be a bit more fruitful. (narrating as they head to the library) How correct I was. I came upon a photograph of a woman who looked almost identical to myself. Had I not known better, I would've thought she was my sister. I had always been listed under 'Rosa' as my last name, and coincidentally her's was the same. She was far from California. In fact, She was supposedly way out east in Conneticut. This felt absolutely hopeless, but with the girls' support, exortation, encouragement and the Cirillos' financial help, I began the long trek to my mom's home.

Scene 2-Standing Up On Her Own, But Not For Long

Andrea: (her cell phone rings) Hi, Fiera ! No, no, I'm just fine. Just bumping around. I found a job and my own apartment. Meh, I can't complain. First jobs always suck, but hey, I'm working my way to something better. I've been doing a lot of reading on ethics and the law, and I am taking it into my own hands. I've actually had some takers on my idea as a debutante Rascal. What's a Rascal ? Why, a vigilante. Someone who takes the law into her own hands. Fiera, chill, will ya ? I know the other girls are worried about me but I can handle myself. You forget, I've been kicked around quite a bit. I'm a big girl, and I have got a lot of fight in me. I'd better go. It's getting dark and this place is starting to give me the chills.

(As she starts to bike her way home, some armed thugs start threatening her)

Andrea: (in her mind) Why am I hearing the Gang Rivalry song from 'West Side Story' ? God, how highly inappropriate my imagination can be !

Armed Thug #1: Seem to be in quite the hurry, dontcha, little missy ?

Armed Thug #2: How are you gonna out cycle all of us then, huh, chicky ?

Andrea: (stops her bike and gets off)

(The thugs surround her, looking rather eager to hurt her badly and possibly worse)

Andrea: I may be one person, but I will have you know I have studied karate, judo and krav maga. Don't test me, and don't let me have to use my whistle.

Armed Thug #3: The only sound I want to hear is your screams for mercy... (grabs her wrist)

(A more 'metal/techno/house' version of the Gang Rivalry song plays as a full-fledged fight that one might see in a kung-fu flick.)

Armed Thug #5: Let's jet ! This chick is friggin' nuts !

Armed Thug #4: I'm with you bro.

(The thugs, who are whipped and bruised run away, rapidly, frantically, yelling things at each other, all ad lib.)

Andrea: Never forget my face, you curs ! I am a Rascal, and you are the first of many hooligans who had the misfortune of crossing me ! (continues biking home until she finds the address she has been looking for) (to herself) There's no way it could be that easy...could it ? (clears throat) Well, here goes... (parks her bike and chains it to a bike rack, walking toward the front steps and up to the door, rings the doorbell, which plays 'Westminster Chimes') Ooo, fancy touch !

Carletta: (opening the door and then covering her mouth in surprise) It can't be...Has it been that long ?

Andrea: I've been looking for you for a long time...(trying not to get overly emotional) mom.

Carletta: It is you ! Oh, have we got some catching up to do. Come on in, sweetie.

Don't dawdle. Make yourself at home.

Andrea: (a bit surprised) Gee, thanks. So, where's dad ?

Carletta: (a little sadly) He died not long after you were born, Andrea.

Andrea: You do know my name !

Carletta: Certainly do, my doll. I gave it to you when I left you at St. Raphael's Orphanage. I was so young then.

Andrea: What happened to dad ?

Carletta: Trystan was a good man but before we could ever marry, he was killed in an automobile accident. It was completely unexpected. I didn't know if I would recover. He was the only man I have ever loved. I've been single ever since, though, I have started dating again.

Andrea: (smiles gently) I'm happy for you. I'm sure dad would've wanted it that way.

I'm sorry I never got a chance to meet him, or you...

Carletta: (sitting down next to her) We're making up for lost time. Are you hungry ?

Andrea: It was quite a ride from the apartments to your place. It's not really time for dinner yet. I can wait a little longer.

Carletta: Excellent. I'd like to have a proper meal with you.

(Scene shift at dinner)

Andrea: So, what made you give me up ? Too young ? Too much responsibility ?

Carletta: All of the above. I was only 21, on the bring of womanhood. I wasn't really prepared to be a mother, but Trystan was ready to give me his full-support. He was committed to taking the plunge with me. He had a tremendous job, as did I but the prospect of motherhood was really frightening me. He calmed my fears by marrying me, but sadly, he died long before you were ever born. We weren't married that long, either. A drunk driver took my beloved from me. (wiping her tears, sniveling a bit)

Andrea: That's awful. I know you never overcome such a thing as that.

Carletta: You'll understand it more when you meet a man of your own and want to become serious with him. That is when your entire universe shifts.

Andrea: Sage advice. What did he do, dad, that is ?

Carletta: He was a contractor. I still work as an ad consultant. I pick what circulars will be printed. I either approve or reject designs and it isn't always simple. You cannot please every advertiser, but I have a keen eye. Marketers absolutely love that trait.

Say, where did you get those scratches ? Did you fall ?

Andrea: I've been dodging ne'er do wells and divying out my own special justice.

Carletta: The newspaper has been talking a bit about that very thing. Police don't seem to like you all that much.

Andrea: It's not like I'm taking anything from them.

Carletta: It does sound exciting, but dangerous, too.

Andrea: Dangerous ? Maybe. Danger makes me snicker.

Carletta: (pondering) So you call yourself a 'Rascal' ? Are you thinking of being a lone wolf vigilante or do you need a partner ?

Andrea: (almost speechless) Mom, no way. You can't be thinking about becoming a Rascal too ! What would your new beau think ?

Carletta: Ben ? Oh, he'd support me. He says that 'evil exists in the world because good men stand by and do nothing'. You aren't doing nothing, Andrea. You are kicking ass and taking names !

Andrea: (shocked) Mom ! Language !

Carletta: (non-shalant) Ass isn't a bad word.

(They both laugh)

Andrea: Are you certain about this ?

Carletta: I've never been more certain about this in all my life. We may not be well appreciated, but at least we will be providing justice to the world.

Andrea: I can see I didn't fall far from the tree...I have more in common with you than I thought !

(Scene fade)

Scene 3-Reaching New Heights

Andrea: (narrating) Mom and I became vigilantes after strict training regimens I put in place and placing tons of criminals in jail. We weren't popular with the local cops, but neither one of us cared. Ben actually joined us, and together, we were Rascals; a force of good to be reckoned with ! We worked superbly as a team and even got ourselves a little bit of spending money thanks to my know-how with cameras and the 'Interwebs'. Before long, Rascals were becoming a hit and the world was our oyster.

(Andrea, Ben and Carletta are getting ready to go to bed another successful day 'bagging and tagging' bad guys)

Ben: That was so awesome ! We really showed those jerks, didn't we ! I mean, you, me and your mom were hittin', kickin' left and right. I have never seen anything like it.

Both of you are so flexible. And it's hot seeing your mom like that. (bends her down and kisses her passionately)

Andrea: (a bit embarassed, turns eyes downward) With all due respect, I enjoy your affection for each other, but could you keep it at a minimum ? You're always doing that when we beat up some crooks and throw 'em in the slammer.

Ben: It's rewarding. The patrons who call pay us back for our fairly cheap fee. What could be finer than that ?

Andrea: (ponders) Hmm...nothing I guess.

(Phone rings)

Gladys: Andrea ! Turn on the TV, now !

Andrea: Ok, ok, girl. Turn down the decibels, will ya ? (narrating) There it was, in all its celluloid glory. My first internet commercial had gone viral. Gladys was calling from her new home, just as the other girls had done in days gone by when I was a lone Rascal...Now this thing I created had become an enterprise. Holy Hollywood.

Gladys: Look how boss you look !

Andrea: Boss ? What is this, the 70s ?

Gladys: Hey, nothing wrong with a little retro slang. I've heard you use it before, you hipster.

Andrea: (scoffs) I was hipster before it was cool, Glads.

Gladys: Testify. I can hear your mom squealing in the background.

Andrea: Ben's having a fangasm I think.

Gladys: I'll try not to acknowledge that with a perverted retort.

Andrea: (laughing hysterically) Get your mind out of the gutter, Glads ! Hey, I haven't heard anything from Fiera or Dahlia.

Gladys: They had seen the original video on HooplaTube before this one was aired. They brought it to my attention, and then this happened. Wait a minute, I'm getting another call...hold on, maybe this can be a three way.

Andrea: (snickering) 3 way.

Gladys: Now who has the mind in the gutter ?

Andrea: Oh, hush.

Fiera: HEY ! Guess who !

Dahlia: We're watching it live too ! Isn't this FANTASTIC ! (fangirly scream)

Fiera: She's worse than you when she's excited, G.

Gladys: (drolly) Oh, ha ha, Fiera.

Dahlia: So what now ? Gonna make the big cash with your bounty hunting ?

Andrea: We don't intend to, but dad, mom and I are a tremendous unit together.

(narrating) And we were... (flashback to the earlier 'butt kicking marathon' with all the men beaten up and taken out in the name of the law. A hard-core version of 'Don't Turn Around' plays in the background)

Fiera: If only that had been recorded on HooplaTube. People would've drooled over each other to have watched it.

Dahlia: So savage. (sighs sadly, shaking her head)

Andrea: We're taking things as they come. You know my mom will be remarrying soon ? She told me about it when we were all fighting together. It was a bit out of the blue, but I felt it was the right time.

All girls: Awwwwww, that's so romantic.

Ben: It was the sexiest thing ever ! I mean, how many women are both hotter than any other woman alive, can kick butt and take names and be sensual as well ? I have hit the ever lovin' jackpot !

Andrea: He tends to get a bit excitable after one of our runs. (yawning) Man, it's late...We really need to sleep. Crime can wait for another day.

Gladys: You'll keep us informed, won't you ? I want to hear what happens next. I have always worshiped heroes growing up. Knowing I have one for a best friend is everything I ever wanted and more. You are the coolest girl ever !

Andrea: (narrating) Had this been any other person, the compliment itself would have seemed a bit contrived and manipulative, maybe even insipid. Yet, I knew Gladys was being sincere in her sweet words to me. (Time elapse is shown of the changes that take place in Andrea's life and how the Rascals rise to fame while staying out of trouble or being hurt; the marriage of Carletta and Ben and the oncoming child in the future. Once more, we reach another turning point in the story of Andrea's life.)

Scene 4-Little Chelsea

Andrea: (words on the screen say 'present day, and all the girls are gathered around welcoming Chelsea into the world with presents, cards and other useful gifts) (narrating) Mom and I did give up being Rascals for the birth of Chelsea. We simply faded into obscurity. Fortunately, the money we had earned with our vigilante stint was going into Chel's college fund and I could tell her the story of the Rascals when she could understand it and appreciate it. For now, she was a cute, bumbling little precious bundle and I couldn't help but love her. I had always wanted a sister even though the three ladies by my side had become my surrogate sisters in a sense. I was surprised that my 'other mom' as I called her now, Wanda, and Luca had come to give mom and dad more than they needed (as if what they recieved from the girls wasn't enough as well as the rest of my family) but they had come to talk to me specificially. I had no idea what they were going to say...

Wanda: (stroking her hair, lovingly) Look at how much you have grown. Such a young lady.

Luca: So brave and strong too. Pity you had to drop being a Rascal.

Wanda: Luca ! It was for a darned good reason, though. See that little darling sister of her's ? She's got a lovely elder role model to look up to. (noogies her) I know you won't let her down.

Andrea: (a bit teary-eyed but blushing) Gee, thanks. You know, there was a time where I nearly gave up ever having a notion of a real mother and I wondered if there had been a time if you would've ever been up to the challenge of taking care of me.

Wanda: Luca and I would never feel you were 'challenging', sweetie !

(They chuckle)

Luca: You forget that we handle oodles and zoodles of kids non-stop. You would be one more member of the merry Cirillo clan.

Andrea: (sniffling)

Wanda: Something wrong ?

Andrea: (sniff) I must have something in my eye.

Wanda: (kisses her eyelids) It's not considered weak to be touched. Never forget that.

Andrea: Who said I was touched ?!

Luca: That's our tomboy !

(They chuckle)

Luca: You take care of your lil' sis, capice ?

Andrea: You know I will, papa. (narrating) And as they left, I knew that they would be watching over me in their own way, keeping in touch with me via the 'Net as we had in times past. Mom and dad were truly pleased, and I found myself falling in love day by day with this little pink creature named Chelsea. Sometimes she could be a real handful, but this was better than any bounty hunting any day !

(As she plays with Chelsea, 'Life Goes On' plays in the background. Scene fade, roll credits. Blooper reel will be played throughout the credits, but for the true-blue patient movie patrons ala Quentin Tarentino until the last screen there will be revealed the Rascals in a family photo together with funny/crazy/insane expressions, and Andrea will be wearing a fake moustache just for randomness.)