Doublemeat Palace

Written by: Jane Espenson

Directed by: Nick Marck

Teaser

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY (DAY 1)

WILLOW and XANDER and ANYA sit, talking intensely.

XANDER
I get Warren being a supervillainy
type. But I thought Jonathan
completely learned that lesson. And
I never even heard of this other guy.

WILLOW
You shoulda seen their headquarters,
it was like, the nerd natural habitat.

ANYA
We know where they are? Shouldn't we
do something?

WILLOW
We tried. Buffy was gonna go in
there and bust 'em on the spot.

XANDER
I'm sensing a not so completely.

WILLOW
Yeah, She went in there, but --

ANYA
Speaking of Buffy isn't she ready?
She's gonna be late for her first day.

WILLOW
Hey, respect the narrative flow much?

ANYA
Please, continue the story of failure.

WILLOW
Buffy went in, but they'd cleared
out. She brought back what was left,
spell books and parchments.

Willow is starting to get wistful.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Couple rare things, charmed objects.
And a conjuror's flute. Amy had one
of those, but I never did--

She stops herself.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Which is good -- never gonna need
that. Plus there were, you know,
razor scooters and pictures of the
Vulcan woman on Enterprise.

XANDER
Ooh. I mean, pff, nerds.

ANYA
Okay, ya know what? This is why
demons are better than people.

WILLOW
Interesting turn.

ANYA
When I was a vengeance demon, I
caused pain and Mayhem, certainly,
but I put in a very full day's work
doing it! And I got compensated
appropriately!

XANDER
(to Willow)
Welcome to today's episode of "Go
Money Go." I hear it every day.

WILLOW
Right. For the rest of your life.

Xander reacts to that -- it's true.

ANYA
But supervillains want reward without
labor! To make things come easy.
It's wrong! Without labor there can
be no payment and vice versa! The
country cannot progress! Workers are
the tools that shape America!

BUFFY (V.0.)
Good to know.

They turn to look at Buffy standing inside the doorway. She wears a fast-food uniform: orange polyester with cow spots and a matching orange paper hat.

BUFFY
I was kinda feeling like a tool and
now I know why.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER

Act One

INT. DOUBLEMEAT MANAGER'S OFFICE - CLOSE ON TV

STILL PHOTO of a McDonald's-style fast-food restaurant, complete with drive-thru lane.

NARRATOR (V.0.)
You've seen us in your city or small
town across the American west...

STILL PHOTO of the interior of such a restaurant, the photo slightly yellowed and dated-looking.

NARRATOR (cont'd; V.0.)
You've ordered our delicious food
from our happy employees!.

STILL PHOTO of a smiling Doublemeat worker behind the counter, with a dated hairstyle, smiling stiffly at the camera .

NARRATOR (cont'd; V.0.)
But now, you're seeing it all in a
new way! You're seeing it from
behind the counter!

STILL PH0T0 of the view from behind the counter, looking at the customers.

NARRATOR
Because you've just become Part Of
the Doublemeat Experience!

Suddenly, jarringly, we switch from photos to moving images, shot on video, quick under- or over-lit clips of employees looking awkward and sounding rehearsed:

PIMPLY TEEN
I'm a part of it!

HOUSEWIFE TYPE
I'm a part of it!

ELDERLY MAN
I'm a part of it, too!

Then, suddenly,

EXTREME SPLIT-SCREEN CLOSE-UPS OF A COW AND OF A CHICKEN

NARRATOR (V.0.)
This cow and this chicken don't know
it yet, but they're destined to become
part of it as wel1. So what happens
when a cow and a chicken get together?

IN A TACKY-LOOKING EFFECT THE COW AND CHICKEN PICTURES SWIRL TOGETHER, TO BE REPLACED BY...

A STILL PH0T0 of a Doublemeat Medley. (It looks a lot like a Big Mac.)

NARRATOR (cont'd; V.0.)
Why, that's a Doublemeat Medley!

INT. DOUBLEMEAT MANAGER'S OFFICE - DAY

The Orientation Video continues to play as Buffy, in uniform, sits alone and watches it in a cramped and dingy office. She's wearing a name tag: "Buffy Summers, TRAINEE." The lights are dim and the TV makes blue light flicker over her face.

NARRATOR (V.0.)
Let's take a look now at the process
Of "harvesting" these two special meats.

Buffy blinks in disbelief at something on the video.

BUFFY
Holy crap.

TIME DISSOLVE:

INT. DOUBLEMEAT MANAGER'S OFFICE - LATER - DAY

Appalled, Buffy is still watching the TV.

NARRATOR (V.0.)
... washing your hands thoroughly
after each visit to the rest room.
Follow these rules and you'll be a
happy part of the Doublemeat
family for a long time!

The video ends with a flourish of music MANNY the Manager steps into frame to turn off the TV set.

MANNY
Interesting, isn't it?

Buffy stands up, faces Manny. We get our first look at him. He's in his late thirties, with a serious demeanor, and he wears thick heavy-rimmed glasses -- he looks like he might belong in the 5Os. He wears a name tag: "Manny Rocha: MANAGER" and a pin: "10 years."

BUFFY
Uh, yeah. The cow and chicken coming
together even though they never met...
It was like Sleepless in Seattle if
Tom and Meg were, like, minced.

He doesn't laugh.

MANNY
Okay... I'm Manny, the Manager. It's
not a joke, it's just my name.

BUFFY
Right, you mentioned that a couple
times when I filled out the application.

Absently, Manny sucks in his stomach, hoists up his pants. This JINGLES a RING OF KEYS he wears hooked to a belt-loop -- about 2O keys dangle from it.

MANNY
Why do you want to work here, Buffy?
You seem like a sharp young woman,
and there are a lot of other jobs.

BUFFY
Well, I need money pretty quickly so
I didn't want to go through a whole
big interview process. I'm
supporting my younger sister and
we've had some expenses-

Manny is looking at her blankly.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I ... want to be part of the Doublemeat experience?

He nods, satisfied.

MANNY
You have motivation, don't you?
You're a motivated worker.

BUFFY
I guess.

MANNY
C'mon. Let's give you a tour.

Buffy follows Manny out of the office. Into...

INT. DOUBLEMEAT BACK ROOM - DAY

Primarily a break area. A beat-up looking table and a pay phone and a row of lockers against one wall. Two employees, PHILLIP and TIMOTHY, are sitting at the completely empty table. Phillip is older, an ex-con type. Timothy is young, gawky and gangly. They both stare blankly at fixed points on the wall, as if drugged. Buffy looks at the walls. There are posters up -- pictures of trees and sunsets and forests. One says "DEDICATION". Another says "PRODUCTIVITY". Another says "COOPERATION".

MANNY
You can take breaks in here. But if
you're eating, do it out front. We
want people to see we eat our food.

BUFFY
But if I brought something from home,
I could eat it here?

MANNY
You'll be eating our food. Phillip,
Timothy, this is Buffy She's gonna
work the counter.

Timothy keeps staring at a poster. Phillip slowly moves his focus to Manny. He never looks at Buffy

PHILLIP
What happened to the other one?
Catherine.

MANNY
Emily?

PHILLIP
Yeah.

Creepily, Timothy never moves his eyes off the poster as he volunteers:

TIMOTHY
She's gone.

BUFFY
What happened?

TIMOTHY
Whatever always happens.

Manny has moved over to the wall of lockers.

Some of the lockers have employees names and combination locks on them. Others, unlocked, are labeled "VACANT." Manny opens a "VACANT" locker...

MANNY
You can use this one.

The locker has clothes in it.

BUFFY
There's someone's stuff.

MANNY
They must have left it. You can toss
it or keep what you want. Don't
worry about it.

BUFFY
Sure they're not coming back?
They're not getting far naked!

MANNY
We have a lot of turnover here. By
the way, we all share this room, so
put up a sign when you're changing.
That's what a lady does.

Manny leads Buffy toward the back door where the time clock is. Phillip and Timothy still haven't moved.

MANNY (cont'd)
(re: Phillip and Timothy)
Watch these two.

BUFFY
(genuinely confused)
Are they going to do something?

MANNY
They're solid. Follow their example
and you won't go wrong. They're
lifers.

BUFFY
Lifers?

MANNY
In it for life. Like me. You want to
get something out of this, Buffy,
you'll do the same. You put in the
work and ten years from now, you'll
be where I am, I promise you.

They're at the time clock now. Manny picks up a time card, punches it and hands it to Buffy

MANNY (cont'd)
Congratulations. You're on the clock.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER - DAY

Now Manny leads Buffy through the kitchen. Other workers are there, cooking, packaging, grinding, slicing... Buffy tries to catch their eyes, but they don't look at her.

MANNY
This is the kitchen. The beating
heart of the Doublemeat Palace.

Buffy finds herself staring at the meat slicer...

BUFFY
Wow. They're all so identical.

MANNY
Yeah, they all start to look the same
to me, too.

BUFFY
Not the employees. I meant the
chicken slices.

BUFFY'S POV

Of the slicer as the sharp blade creates perfect slices of pressed chicken meat, one after another after another. The slices pile up. She's fascinated.

Buffy is startled out of it by a staticky amplified voice...

VOICE (V.0.)
... Medley Meal number two and
doublesize it... and a shake...

MANNY
(pointing)
Drive-thru station's over there.
High-pressure job. You won't need to
go in there. Over there's the grill,
the fryers, the walk-in freezer --
you don't need to go in there
either -- the dehydrated pickle
storage --

BUFFY
What's in here?

Buffy indicates cupboards beneath the food-prep tables. Manny touches his keys.

MANNY
Those are locked. Now, I want to
show you this. Look.

He picks up a wrapped Doublemeat Medley from under the heat lamp. He unwraps it during what follows.

MANNY (cont'd)
(reverently)
The Doublemeat Medley.

BUFFY
Yeah, I know the Medley. But the
video was kinda... graphic with the slaughter--

MANNY
A classic double-decker with a twist.
A pure beefy patty above the mid-bun
and a slice of processed chicken
product below the mid-bun. Plus
pickles and the secret ingredient.
Eat it.

He hands it to her.

BUFFY
Well, I had a big breakfast...
(off his look)
But it smells so...

She takes a bite, forces it down.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Mmm. Hey, what's the secret
ingredient?

MANNY
It's a meat process. Now I think
it's time to start earning your
money, don't you, Buffy?

INT. DOUBLEMEAT COUNTER - DAY

Buffy looks over GARY'S shoulder as he works the counter. He's very young and driven, so far the most alive person we've seen here. He has just finished taking money from a customer, an OVERWEIGHT MAN, and now he scurries to grab the drink, fries and package the order. As he works, Buffy trails him.

BUFFY
So what's the deal with Manny the
Manager? And if I ask him nice, can
I write a children's book called that?

He grabs a drink cup, hands it to her...

GARY
Fill this while I get the fries.

Buffy looks at the cup.

BUFFY
Fill this? I didn't know there was
gonna be drug-testing.

Gary smiles over his shoulder as he gets the fries. Buffy fills the cup (with delicious soda).

GARY
You're funny!
(then)
You better stop that.

BUFFY
What? Why?

GARY
Productivity. One of Manny's
watchwords. "Levity is a time-thief
that picks the pocket of the company."

BUFFY
I prefer the one that goes "Manny's
a humorless dolt that picks the
pocket of he should bite me."

Gary looks around nervously.

GARY
You really better be quiet with that.

Gary pushes the completed Order at the customer, who moves away. An older lady with an obvious wig steps up, we'll call her WIG LADY. Standing next in line behind her is a TYPICAL FAMILY, father, mother and three small children.

WIG LADY
I'd like a small coffee and a cherry pie.

GARY
That's a dollar ninety-two, ma'am.

As the wig lady slowly counts out change...

BUFFY
You hit so many buttons. It was
like... buttonpalooza...

GARY
No, it's easy. Look, there's
pictures of the food on the buttons.
I hit the "coffee" button, then I hit
the "small" button. Then "cherry
pie" -- there's a picture of a little
fried pie.

BUFFY
Ahh.

He takes the wig lady's money.

GARY
Then I hit the "total" button. Then
I put the money in the drawer, close
it, and it resets the system. A
cocker spaniel could do it. Here,
you take the next one, the family.
They're regulars.

Gary steps aside to fill the wig lady's order and Buffy steps up to the register. The wig lady smiles at her intensely.

BUFFY
(uncomfortable)
Hi. I'm new.

WIG LADY
I come here every day.

BUFFY
That's nice.

WIG LADY
You might just make it, dear. Not
like some of them, where suddenly you
never see them again. I could see
you being here a long time.

BUFFY
Oh... good.

Gary returns with the coffee and the McDonald's-style cherry pie.

WIG LADY
Thank you.

And she's gone. The Typical Family steps forward.

BUFFY
Welcome to the Doublemeat Palace.
May I help you?

MR. TYPICAL
Yeah. We need two number 4 Medley
Meals, a junior Medley, a Fisherman's
Medley with bacon, and a kid's meal.
Pius three fries, a chocolatey shake
and extra pickles on one of the
Medleys.

BUFFY'S POV

of her register. She suddenly realizes it has dozens of buttons. The pictures of food are tiny and largely identical to each other. A little surreal.

BUFFY

Points at one of the buttons, leans toward Mr. Typical...

BUFFY
I'm sorry. This button. Does it
look chocolatey to you?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT DOUBLEMEAT DINING AREA - LATER - DAY

Lunch time. Buffy sits alone amid the customers, eating a Doublemeat Medley and staring into space.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - LATER - DAY

Buffy walks through the kitchen. She hesitates at the door to the walk-in freezer. No one is looking at her. She opens it, looks inside -- we may get a shadowy impression of stacked boxes inside. She closes it, revealing Manny, who was standing on the other side of the door.

MANNY
You don't need to be in there.

BUFFY
Sorry, I was curious.

MANNY
Curiosity killed the cat.

As he walks away:

BUFFY
(to herself)
Theory number five: cat-burgers.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT COUNTER - LATER - DAY

Back at work. Another cashier, a retirement-aged woman named GINA, works the other register. Buffy, unsmiling, pushes a filled tray toward a customer. The customer moves away, revealing Willow, Xander, Anya and DAWN, waving and smiling.

DAWN
Hey Buffy!

XANDER
We were gonna all yell "good luck on
the new job," but we don't have the
timing that kind of thing requires.

ANYA
We're here to support your
subsistence-level employment! Bravo.

BUFFY
Wow, thanks! This is so cool of you.

Willow is at the opposite end of the group from Dawn, so she moves to her, gingerly trying to heal their rift.

WILLOW
(to Dawn)
Dawny, you want a burger or anything?
I could get you whatever you want.

Dawn is polite but cool.

DAWN
That's okay. I don't need anything.
I'm just here for Buffy.

XANDER
So, Buff, how's it going?

BUFFY
I don't know. I've waitressed
before, but this is different.

DAWN
When were you a waitress?

During Buffy's answer, Willow gets bored and distracted, looking around, drumming her hands a little...

BUFFY
Oh. In L.A., that summer. It was a
diner, and we had, you know, people
who didn't tip, and lots of funny,
funny health code violations, but it
wasn't like this. There's something
wrong here.
(re: fidgeting)
Will? You okay?

WILLOW
Oh, sorry, just, but I was listening.
Something wrong.

Buffy leans over, talks softly...

BUFFY
The manager's all like, mysterious
and scary. And there's this secret
ingredient, and the people that work
here are strange. They sort of,
tare into space, plus they
disappear...

ANYA
Disappear poof?

BUFFY
Not poof. Well, I don't think so.

XANDER
It's fast food. I have swum in these
murky waters, my friend. There is
assorted creepiness, there is
staring, there is the enthusiastic
not-showing-up-at-all I think
you're seeing demons where there's
just, life.

BUFFY
I didn't say "demons." I'm just
saying there's a vibe. You haven't
seen this manager.

ANYA
Isn't that him over there? Getting
the pickles wet?

Buffy looks back where Anya is pointing. It's Manny, dumping dehydrated pickle chips into water.

XANDER
Yeah, with the wing-tips.

WLLLOW
And the glasses.

DAWN
He looks like my principal. Ooh.
Can my principal be a demon too?

BUFFY
Again, I never actually said
"demons." Oh, I don't know. Maybe
it's just the video that's creeping
me out. The cow and the chicken all
swirly together...

XANDER
Make me hungry, why don't you? How
about one of those delicious Medley
meals?

BUFFY
Cool. You got it. On me.

XANDER
Hey, thanks!

Buffy goes about getting the food.

Willow gets distracted and fidgets a little through the following:

XANDER (cont'd)
(to the others)
She'll be fine when she settles into
the routine. By ordering, I'm
helping.

DAWN
And getting a free meal.

XANDER
Well, yeah.

ANYA
Do you like this food, honey? Maybe
we should have it at the reception.

DAWN
You're serving burgers? Cool.

ANYA
Well, time is getting very short.
After Willow did the, whoosh, instant
engagement party, I got slack on the
planning, cuz I figured she'd help.
But now that's all blown to hell.

WILLOW
Standing right here. Standing right
exactly here.

ANYA
Sorry, didn't mean to tempt you.
(to Xander)
Everyone's so delicate.
(then)
Anyway, I still have to select the
bridesmaid dresses, plus there's the
out-of-town guests and the ones from
the demon realm. You wouldn't
believe how many of them are not
letting us know either way.

Buffy returns with Xander's food.

BUFFY
Here you go. One Medley Meal. Plus I
doublesized your fries...

Xander tears into the burger, a nice big bite.

BUFFY (cont'd)
... and cut way back on the cat.

XANDER
Kmmmph?

BUFFY
I'm probably kidding.

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - NIGHT (DAY 1)

Establishing night shot.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT COUNTER - NIGHT (DAY 1)

A few customers eat early dinners at the tables. Buffy and Gina are at the registers, but there are no customers to wait on. (If we see past them into the kitchen, Gary is visible, making fries.) Gina stares straight ahead. Buffy looks at Gina.

BUFFY
Slow night.

No reaction from Gina; Not even a blink.

BUFFY(cont'd)
(to herself)
McZombie

Buffy sighs. She goes to Gina, takes her by the arm.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Gina!

Gina turns, very slowly, to look at Buffy.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Since it's so slow, you think they'd
let me take an extra break?

GINA
We're not allowed. Down time robs us
all.

BUFFY
Thus quoth Manny. But, thing is,
there's no one here!

GINA
Sure there is, look.

Buffy turns to see SPIKE. He's standing in front of her register, making a big show of studying the menu board overhead.

BUFFY
Oh, this'll make the day complete.

Reluctantly she goes over to him.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Spike.

SPIKE
What's in the Doublemeat Nuggets?

BUFFY
Go away. I'm working.

SPIKE
Yeah, and you chose to be in a
consumer service profession. I'm a
consumer.
(beat)
Service me.

BUFFY
Order something or go.

SPIKE
Give a bloke a chance for his eyes to
adjust. Damn fluorescent lights.
Plus they make me look dead...

Buffy refuses to react to that.

SPIKE (cont'd)
Some demons love 'em. The way they
vibrate, makes their skin twitch.
That the kind of demon you are, love?

BUFFY
I'm not a demon. I don't know why
you can hit me, but I'm not a demon.

SPIKE
Oh, I see. That why you took this
job? Prove something to yourself?
A normal job for a normal girl. Good
way to drive yourself crazy, that is.

BUFFY
I'll be fine.

There is a SIZZLE off-screen as someone puts meat on the grill. Spike takes a moment to really absorb the feel of the place.

Spike leans in, suddenly very serious.

SPIKE
Buffy.

He waits for her to meet his eyes.

SPIKE (cont'd)
You're not happy here.

BUFFY
Please don't make this any harder.

SPIKE
You don't belong here. You're
something... You're better than this.

BUFFY
I need the money.

SPIKE
I can get money. Walk away with me
now. C'mon. I'll bet you can think
of things we could be doing, lots
nicer'n standing here...

Buffy finds herself leaning closer, unconsciously looking at Spike's body.

BUFFY
Yeah...

But she steels herself

BUFFY (cont'd)
I've qotta help Gary with the fries.

She starts to turn toward where Gary is visible, working the fryer. But Spike touches her on the arm. She pauses.

SPIKE
You gotta get out of here. This
place'll do stuff to you.

And Buffy walks away, over to Gary.

SPIKE (cont'd)
This place'll kill you.

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - DUMPSTERS - NIGHT (DAY 1)

It's later now and Gary is leaving work. Still in uniform, he leaves out the back door by the dumpster. He fishes the car keys out of his backpack and turns as if to head out to the parking jot. But then, there is a noise from behind the dumpster... a BUMP. The dumpster budges. Gary turns to look.

GARY
Someone there?

CLOSE ON GARY

As he registers recognition.

GARY (cont'd)
Oh, hey... what're--

SUDDENLY HE'S SCREAMING.

We're on the dark, stained concrete ground as Gary's orange uniform hat fails to the ground.

THE SCREAM CUTS 0FF SUDDENLY.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - MORNING (DAY 2)

On a bright sunny morning.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT BACK ROOM - MORNING

Buffy stands in line to punch the time clock. Phillip and Timothy are in front of her. It's exactly nine o'clock. All three are already in their uniforms.

BUFFY
(to Timothy)
Feels like I just left, ya know?

Timothy turns slowly to look at her.

TIMOTHY
You came back.

It's Timothy's turn at the clock. He punches his card.

BUFFY
(wishing she hadn't)
Yeah, I came back.

Timothy walks away without a look back. Buffy's turn. She punches her card, turns away from the clock to find herself...

Face to face with Manny. She jumps.

MANNY
Gary's gone.

BUFFY
Gary? The counter guy that helped me
out? What do you mean?

MANNY
He didn't show up this morning.

BUFFY
But the shift is just starting.

MANNY
He was supposed to unlock early this
morning. Didn't show. Pull his card.

Buffy finds Gary's time card, hands it to Manny. He puts it in a box with about fifty other cards. The box is labelled "Gone."

BUFFY
He must just be late. He didn't seem
like he was going anywhere.

MANNY
I'm moving Timothy to counter.
You're on grill.

BUFFY
Me?

MANNY
I've been watching you.

BUFFY
But I don't know how to grill.

For the first time, we see Manny smile.

MANNY
Just think. This is the last day
you'll ever be able to say that.

He walks away.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - LATER - MORNING

Buffy and Phillip are at the grill. Above the grill is a big sign that says "You're Part of the Doublemeat Experience!" There is also an array of buttons. Phillip speaks flatly, eyes on the grill, not on Buffy

PHILLIP
(miming)
You put the beef on the grill. You
hit the button. Then it beeps. You
flip the beef and hit this other button.
Then it beeps. You put it on the bun.
There's not a button for that.
(beat)
Then you put more beef on the grill.

BUFFY
Repeat until insane.

PHILLIP
It eliminates variation. Every
burger at every Doublemeat Palace is
the same. People don't like
variation.

BUFFY
Got it. Variety is the spice of Bad.

There's a long awkward beat. Phillip starts loading the grill with a set of beef patties. He hits a button,

Buffy and Phillip look at the cooking meat in silence

CLOSE ON:

Beef patties frying, the grease bubbling around the edges, pooling on top...

BUFFY AND PHILLIP WATCH

BUFFY
What's the secret ingredient?

PHILLIP
It's a meat process.

BUFFY
What does that mean?

PHILLIP
It's a process. That they do to the
meat.

BUFFY
But what is it?

PHILLIP
It's just the name of the process.

BUFFY
(as if it makes sense)
Ohhh.

Buffy gives up. Another beat. There's a BEEP. Phillip hands her the spatula and she flips the patties.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Guess we'll get kinda greasy.

PHILLIP
Skin, hair, eyelashes, nostrils.
Inside your ears.

For the first time ever, he looks right at Buffy.

PHILLIP (cont'd)
Wanna look inside my ears?

BUFFY
Um, that's okay.

PHILLIP
Once I noticed I couldn't hear and I
went to this doctor and he said it
was the grease. It made a plug.

BUFFY
Oh.

PHILLIP
Now I have a kit. For ear cleaning.
It has this bulb mechanism.

BUFFY
Imagine that

MANNY (0.S.)
Buffy

Buffy turns to Manny with some relief.

BUFFY
Yay, it's Manny.

MANNY
You're working a double-shift.

BUFFY
What? Another eight hours? Right
after these eight hours? That's...
so many hours.

MANNY
You get paid for it. Plus an extra
free Doublemeat Medley. Remember,
eat it out front.

BUFFY
Um... what happened? Why the double
shiftiness?

MANNY
Gary never showed. And now one of my
grinder guys is late too.

BUFFY
But they could still show up, right?
I mean, they could be anywhere.

An armload of heavy wrapped meat is dropped onto the table in front of Buffy by Timothy.

THUNK

TIMOTHY
New meat's here.

Buffy looks at it.

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Xander Sits on the sofa, holding the phone. He has to twist around to hang it up.

XANDER
(called out)
Ahn? That was Buffy. She's working
late, so I might hafta go--

Xander, having hung up, turns back around to find HALFREK, a vengeance demon, looking at him intensely. Some fog billows behind her.

XANDER (cont'd)
Yack!

Halfrek looks like Anya did when she was still a vengeance demon. She stares at Xander unnervingly.

HALFREK
I have been called and vengeance
shall I wreak! Cower, masculine one.
Tremble as you face my wrath!

Anya enters, consulting a notebook, not looking up.

ANYA
Xander? I'm starting to think we
should do this pot-luck style --

XANDER
Honey?

She sees Halfrek, looming over the trembling Xander

ANYA
Yeee!

HALFREK
Hello. I am here to tear this man
apart. How many pieces do you wish?

ANYA
Halfrek?

Halfrek takes a closer look at Anya

HALFREK
Anyanka?

Anya and Halfrek hug.

ANYA
Hallie! I can't believe it!

XANDER
You two... you know each other...

ANYA
(whee!)
Funny Halfrek, I didn't Summon you to
kill Xander! I called to invite you
to our wedding!

HALFREK
You -- Oh my. What an embarrassing mistake!

The women laugh. Xander gets up and edges toward the front door.

XANDER
Wow. Um... you guys clearly have
catching up to do, so I'll... I'll
be not in the apartment --

He's out. He closes the door.

ANYA
Gosh, it's swell to see you again,
Hallie!. I didn't mean for you to
have to materialize all the way out
here! Not 'til the ceremony, I mean!

HALFREK
I guess the message got garbled. You
know how it is, half the time I have
no idea if I'm maiming the right guy.
So. . . you are marrying that man with
the large upper arms?

ANYA
Yes.

HALFREK
Why?

ANYA
Because I love him.

HALFREK
Hmmm.

ANYA
And we'll be very happy together.

HALFREK
Hmmm.

ANYA
What?

INT. DOUBLEMEAT LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy opens the "VACANT" lockers. One is empty. One has clothes and a purse. Another has clothes. Another has clothes and a wallet. These people didn't quit.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - NIGHT

Buffy is at the french fry station. There are two side-by-side fat basins. One is bubbling furiously, the fry basket inside. The other is calm. Buffy lowers the second fry basket in. It bubbles. Buffy raises the first fry basket. The fat there goes flat again.

Buffy stares into it.

Buffy's POV: close on the calm fat. Then it begins to bubble on its own.

BUFFY looks at it, curious. Creepy Timothy is standing beside her now -- we didn't see him approach.

TIMOTHY
Sometimes it does that. They say
bugs fall in there.

He stares too for a beat, then remembers:

TIMOTHY (cont'd)
Oh, I'm back. You can take your
break now.

Buffy doesn't react right away. She glances toward the front of the restaurant. She can see something outside, through the glass. It's Spike, walking deliberately toward the back of the building. He's looking in at Buffy. They exchange a long look. Buffy turns and heads toward the back, taking off her hat.

EXT DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - DUMPSTERS - LATER (NIGHT)

Buffy and Spike are having sex against the brick wall by the dumpsters. No kissing, no talking, nothing lovely about it. Just effort and need.

Taped to the wall near them, by the door, lit by a small light is a lonely poster. A landscape labelled "TEAMWORK."

INT. WILLOW'S ROOM - NIGHT

Willow lies on her stomach on her bed, reading and highlighting a textbook. She kicks one foot nervously.

There's a KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

WILLOW
C'min.

AMY enters

AMY
It's me. Dawn said I could come up.
Is she pissed at you too, or just at
me? What did you tell her about me?

Willow looks at her cautiously.

WILLOW
Do you need something?

AMY
Um, yeah, actually. I mean, I don't
know if you wanted to keep it... or...

Amy indicates her old cage, now sitting empty.

WILLOW
You want it? Really?

AMY
Well, you know, it's not much, but
it's home. Or it was. I dunno, I
guess it's stupid, but...

Willow softens.

WILLOW
It's not stupid. You can have it, of
course.

AMY
Hey, I heard you've got this whole
cold turkey thing going on. How's
that going?

WILLOW
It's good. Really good. It was hard
there for a while. Frustrating, you
know, having to do everything the
slow way. It was like, is everything
gonna take forever... forever?

AMY
Yeah.

WILLOW
But it's better now. I'm getting my
focus back.

AMY
Mm. I can see that.

Amy is looking at Willow's text, lying open on the bed. Willow turns to look at it. She has HIGHLIGHTED THE WHOLE PAGE.

WILLOW
(weakly)
It's a pivotal page.

AMY
So this is it, huh? This is gonna be
your life from now on?

WILLOW
What? No.

AMY
But you're never gonna do it again.
Ever. You're never gonna feel how it
made you feel...

WILLOW
Don't think that's the way to look at
it.

Amy walks over to the cage, bends to look at it.

AMY
(casually.)
Hey, Will. It's your birthday.

WILLOW
Um, no, it's not. Although now that
you mention it, Buffy's is next--

As Amy picks up the cage and heads toward the door, very off-hand...

AMY
(in Latin)
Power.

WILLOW
Amy? Wh-- Uhhhn.

Willow GASPS as her eyes FLOOD WITH BLACKNESS and her fingers momentarily CRACKLE WITH RED ELECTRICITY. She jolts, feeling what she's been missing.

Amy smiles, watching from the doorway. Willow touches a vase. She gasps again, feeling the physical surge of it as the vase changes, OPENS LIKE A FLOWER. She touches a lamp. It BURSTS INTO FLAME AND THEN DISAPPEARS. She tries to catch her breath.

WILLOW (cont'd)
What?

AMY
It's a gift. It's magic and it
didn't come from you. It came from
me. Completely legal. Enjoy.

Amy is out the door, closing it behind her, but Willow hardly notices. She's still breathing hard, staring at her hands and the vase.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - NIGHT

CLOSE UP of a meat grinder. The ground meat emerges.

BUFFY stares at it, as if hypnotized.

On the receptacle for the ground meat as it gets full. Fuller.

It overflows. A GLOP of meat hits the ground.

Buffy bends over to clean it up. She sees something under The corner of the table supporting the grinder. She reaches under and picks it up, looks at it in the light.

It's a human finger. She stares at it, uncomprehending, for a moment.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT MANAGER'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER - NIGHT

Manny is hanging an inspirational poster in his office. It says "MOTIVATION."

Buffy BURSTS IN. She holds up the finger in front of him.

BUFFY
Look! This was under the grinder!

MANNY
Oh my God.

BUFFY
You wanna tell me what's going on?

MANNY
I'm not sure.

BUFFY
Try again.

MANNY
Well, there was an accident, maybe,
six weeks ago, a grinder incident,
but no one reported any unrecovered --

BUFFY
This isn't six weeks old. This is
new!

MANNY
It is? Oh, maybe Gary did come in
this morning, or, I don't know, late
last night. Maybe there was an
accident and he got himself to the
hospital --

BUFFY
Right. Maybe Gary's in the hospital.
Or maybe he's in the grinder! Huh?
"Meat process"?! "Secret
Ingredient'?! Maybe he's on the
grill! Maybe he's under the pickle
chips!

MANNY
Buffy?

Buffy walks out of the office fast. Manny hurries after her.

MANNY (cont'd)
Buffy!

INT. DOUBLEMEAT DINING AREA- NIGHT

Customers look up as Buffy bursts into the dining area. The TYPICAL FAMILY and the WIG LADY are among them. (The Wig Lady just has her coffee and cherry pie.)

BUFFY
Stop eating! No! Stop!

She grabs a burger from the youngest child and throws it to the ground. The child starts crying.

BUFFY (cont'd)
It's no good! Don't eat it!

Buffy knocks over a table... swats another burger from someone's hand.

BUFFY (cont'd)
It's not beef! You're not eating
beef!

Manny and Phillip have followed her out. They grab her by the arms, start hauling her back behind the counter.

HIGH AND WIDE SHOT

Buffy, as she's pulled back:

BUFFY
It's people! The Doublemeat Medley
is people!!!!

Customers, including the Typical Family and the Wig Lady with her cherry pie, stare at her. Employees stare from their side of the counter. Buffy struggles and yells:

BUFFY (cont'd)
The beefy layer is definitely people!
Probably not the chickeny part! But
who knows! WHO KNOWS?!

WIG LADY
What about the cherry pie?

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS - NIGHT

Buffy is hauled into the kitchen by Manny and Phillip.

MANNY
What are you doing? I thought you
were on the team!

Manny and Phillip are on either side of her. Buffy PUSHES them away with Slayer strength, sending them both flying.

Manny, on the floor now, looks up at her.

MANNY (cont'd)
You are fired.

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Anya and Halfrek have settled in with snacks.

HALFREK
Tell me more about Xander.

ANYA
Why do you keep asking about him? Do
you think I'm making a mistake?

HALFREK
Do you?

ANYA
No! Xander, he's very kind. And
brave. He has the sweetest smile and
the nicest body. And he loves me.
Sometimes that isn't easy, but he does.

HALFREK
Who told you it isn't easy to love you?

ANYA
Well, I do something, or say
something, and then he has to say
stuff like, "it is incorrect to
appreciate money so rnuch" or
"observe, here is how a real human
would have acted".

HALFREK
So he corrects you.

ANYA
Well, it's just... I'm all confused
now. Do you think there's something
wrong with how he treats me?

HALFREK
Do you?

ANYA
Okay, you have to stop doing that.
I love Xander.

HAL
Even though he thinks he knows better
than you.

ANYA
He doesn't. He doesn't think that.

HALFREK
Sorry. I'm just curious. You don't
have to say any more about him if
you're not comfortable.

ANYA
But I am! I mean, it's not like I'm
hiding deficiencies or anything.

And we prelap:

XANDER (O.S.)
I have absolutely no threes...

INT. MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Xander and Dawn are playing cards.

XANDER
... Go fish.

A wrapped Doublemeat Medley plops onto the table near them.

Dawn and Xander set their cards down and look up curiously at BUFFY, who has just put it there.

BUFFY
I call an emergency meeting and this
is it? Where's Willow? Where's Anya?

DAWN
I couldn't find Willow. I knocked
and knocked on her door.

XANDER
Anya's entertaining a vengeance demon
named Hallie. Say, Buff, did you
ever see what Anya looked like as a
demon? Because, if it was that, wow.

BUFFY
There's something wrong at the
Doublemeat Palace. Really wrong.

Dawn crosses to join Buffy at the counter, leaving Xander alone and out-of-frame at the table.

DAWN
Have you been demon-fighting? Is
that why you smell funny?

BUFFY
No, I'm talking about-- I smell funny?

Dawn shrugs, a confirmation.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Well, that's great. I try to do the
simplest thing in the world, an
ordinary job in a well-lit place and
I end up right back where I started,
blood and death and funky smells.
Look. Look what I found near the
grinder.

Buffy takes the finger from her purse, wrapped in a napkin. She puts it on the counter, unwraps it.

DAWN
Ewww!
(then, interested)
Whose is it?

BUFFY
I'm not certain. It might be this
nice guy named Gary, only one there
who didn't seem all brain-dead. He
didn't show up this morning. Except
now I think he was there the whole
time. As the secret ingredient. We
have to analyze that burger, find out
if it used to be people--

XANDER
(mouth full)
Whatph?

They turn to look at Xander, who is just swallowing a bite. The very last bite of the Doublemeat Medley. The wrapper sits open and empty in front of him.

XANDER (cont'd)
People?

BUFFY
Xander! You ate it?

XANDER
Okay, first you say it's cat. Then,
you come in, hand me a burger, blah
blah, five minutes later, oh by the
way that's hot delicious human flesh!

BUFFY
We were supposed to analyze that! I
can't just go back there and get another!

XANDER
That's your problem with this
scenario? How to get seconds?!

Willow enters, rushing in, flustered and jittery.

WILLOW
Late! Late! Sorry! I was just, I
was reading for school.
Highlighting. Anyway late.

Xander is wiping his tongue with his shirttail.

XANDER
Yeth. You jutht mithed the Garyburger.

Willow is rummaging in her backpack, fidgeting.

WILLOW
What're we doing? Let's jump right
in. Did Xander say there was food?

DAWN
You wouldn't want it. Apparently the
Doublemeat Medley is people.

XANDER
Gah.

WILLOW
Whoa. Bad.

BUFFY
I bet it's not just this one time, or
even this one town. There are
Doublemeat Palaces all over
California.

DAWN
I've eaten there a lot.

BUFFY
We all have. Everyone has. They've
got the perfect deal. Everyone
expects high turnover of the
employees, the meat costs them
nothing and... and...
(realizing)
They've got us disposing of the
bodies! How sick is that? We gotta
take down the whole company. Willow,
Xander ate the burger. Can you still
figure out for sure what it was?

WILLOW
I... Yeah, I can, uh, I can get right
on analyzing that. With science.
Not... I can use science.
(to Xander)
You ate it?

Willow grabs a pencil off the table. She gasps at the surge of power. The pencil DROOPS in her hand like a cooked noodle. She looks around... no one saw. She hides it.

DAWN
We have the wrapper. There's little
shribbles of meat on the wrapper.

XANDER
Gah.

BUFFY
You guys work on that. I'm going
back. It's after closing now, I can
sneak around, see what I find.

Buffy heads out.

WILLOW
Cool! You go. We'll be good.

Willow fidgets, she can't stay still. Dawn sees that something's wrong, softens a little toward her.

DAWN
Are you all right?

WILLOW
(covering)
I'm just, I'm worried about Buffy
She could be walking into anything.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - NIGHT

The restaurant is closed and dark. The chairs are up on the tables, the upward-pointing legs making strange silhouettes. Buffy moves though, slowly looking around cautiously. The bait is fully schmucked.

In the kitchen the shapes and shadows are even scarier. Buffy opens the freezer, steps inside, leaving the door open behind her. The open door is always visible behind her in the frame, as if someone could slam it closed at any moment.

CUT TO:

Now Buffy is looking at the meat slicer. A gleaming blade for the slicer lies on the counter next to it. Buffy leans over, examining the slicer mechanism, touching it tentatively. The slicer blade is briefly unseen, blocked by her body. She straightens up again. The blade is still there, no fiend took it.

CUT TO:

Buffy leans over the meat grinder. Peering into it. Her head is almost inside the meat chute. If someone pushed her... Buffy hears something behind her. She jumps and spins. No one there.

But there is a dim light shining from Manny's office.

BUFFY
Manny?

Buffy moves toward the office. She trips, almost falls. She bends down, picks up what she tripped over. She has to hold it up into the scarce light to see what it is...

An ankle and foot. Wearing a wing-tip shoe.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Guess you really were a Lifer.

INT. MAGIC BOX NIGHT

Willow has a rack of test tubes on the table, several of them contain liquids. She also has containers, science books, a microscope, and the burger wrapper. Willow combines liquids in a beaker, but her HANDS SHAKE.

WILLOW
(to herself)
Don't need magic. Don't need it,
don't need it...

Dawn and Xander, at the counter, don't hear her.

DAWN
My friend Janice? Her sister's a
lawyer.

XANDER
You think I should sue over the
burger? That's interesting.

DAWN
No. I just mean, Buffy's never gonna
be a lawyer. Or a doctor. Anything big.

XANDER
She's the Slayer. She saves the
whole world. That's way bigger.

DAWN
But it means she's gonna have, like,
crap jobs her whole life, right?
Minimum wage stuff. I mean, I could
still grow up to be anything, but for
her, this is it.

XANDER
Okay, but maybe you'll be a lawyer or
doctor and you can use your money to
support your deadbeat sister!

Dawn looks at Xander, appalled.

DAWN
Oh, that's terrifically better.
Thanks.

WILLOW
(called over)
Hey, guys. I think I've got it!

Xander and Dawn go over to Willow at the table.

XANDER
Good job, Will! Now, these aren't,
like, potions, are they?

WILLOW
(snaps)
No! No potions!
(calmer)
It's not magic. It's chemistry. You
can tell by how damn slow it is. I
made a solution that reacts to the
proteins in human blood. We're
pretty close to knowing for certain.

Willow prepares a microscope slide with a speck of meat from the wrapper. Unsteady, she drops the slide, picks it up.

Anya enters, out of breath and hurrying.

ANYA
I'm here! I'm here!

DAWN
We're doing chemistry.

ANYA
Oh. I'm so sorry I hurried.

XANDER
Did your friend have a good time?
And then leave?

ANYA
She's gone.

XANDER
Hey, Ahn? The way she looked... with
the... face... that wasn't what
you... used to look like, was it?

ANYA
Is there something wrong with that?
Did you think she was unattractive?

XANDER
Okay, is there an answer to that
that won't make you nuts?

ANYA
Halfrek was always considered a great
beauty.

XANDER
Well, hun, she was a little... there
was some veiny-ness...

WILLOW
Xander, hold this for me.

Xander holds the slide while Willow drops some of her solution onto it from a medicine dropper.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Now, if it reacts with the blood
proteins I'll be able to see it. I
mean, I'll be able to look through
the microscope and then I can see it.

DAWN
So much suspense. It's like taking
a pregnancy test.
(off their looks)
When they do that in the pregnancy
test commercials.

ANYA
(to Xander)
It's not like you're so perfect
either with your strangely large
upper arms and tendency to criticize.

XANDER
Huh?

Willow is looking through the microscope now.

DAWN
What do you see?

WILLOW
There's no reaction...

XANDER
Oh God no! No reaction!

WILLOW
...which means it's not human.

XANDER
It's not human! It's not human?

ANYA
Is it demon meat? Maybe someone is
killing demons and using them as a
cheap source of meat. We've all
heard of that.
(to Xander)
And, by the way, I disapprove of
demon meat no matter how much money
it saves. Does that surprise you?

XANDER
Again I say, huh?

Willow is looking into the 'scope again.

WILLOW
Hm.

DAWN
Demon meat?

WILLOW
No... but... I'm not sure what I'm
seeing. Cellulose?

Willow looks up.

WILLOW (cont'd)
There's something weird here.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - NIGHT

Buffy, clutching the shoe/foot to her chest, is making her way back through the cooking area. It's still dark, scary, and now something is moving at the corner of our vision...

Buffy sees what looks like a human scalp on the counter!

BUFFY
Scalp!

She reaches out... touches it...

BUFFY (cont'd}
Wig.

A distinct FOOTSTEP behind Buffy.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Wig lady.

She turns, and indeed, there is wig lady, without her wig -- a few wisps of thin hair protrude from the sides of her head.

WIG LADY
Oh dear. Wig lady? Is that what
they call me? I don't care for that.

Then a grey tube of lamprey-head rises snakily from the top of the woman's head. The woman's eyes are sucked in through their sockets -- they're actually the lamprey's eyes.

WIG LADY (cont'd)
I mean, I have to do something to
hide this.

The lamprey, still attached to the lady, shoots toward Buffy, its tooth-ringed mouth in her face. It sprays her in the face with liquid.

WIG LADY (cont'd)
Don't try to move, dear. You really
can't, much

Buffy throws a punch, but the lamprey DUCKS IT. Buffy tries a kick. . . she can't move her leg.

We're on her legs as she tries harder, manages to take a step, but it's slow and painful.

She turns toward the front door, puts out a hand, tries to grab something to pull herself in that direction. Behind her we can see the lamprey, getting closer.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE

Act Four

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - NIGHT (DAY 2)

The lamprey projects from the top of the woman's head. As it snakes and sniffs closer to Buffy, wig lady continues to talk.

WIG LADY
The paralysis spreads upwards, by the
way. You may want to flail your arms
while you still can.
(then)
Did I tell you you're my favorite?
Not you, personally. Nothing special
about you. Doublemeat Workers.

Buffy's eyes dart around, looking for help.

WIG LADY (cont'd)
You're all full of Doublemeat
burgers, and you just slide down so
smooth. And there's always more of
you.

Buffy sees the meat-slicer blade glinting on the counter near her hand. Buffy throws herself at it, but she falls short, hitting the floor hard several feet away from the blade. She pulls herself along, toward it...

EXT DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - NIGHT

Willow walks up to the closed and darkened building. She tries the doors Locked. She cups her hands around her face to peer inside. She knocks on the door.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - NIGHT

We can hear Willow's faint knocking in the distance as Buffy pulls herself closer to where the cutting blade lies on a counter over her head.

WIG LADY
Only thing is, you tend to run away.
And I've slowed down over the years...

Buffy pushes up, painfully lifting her head...

THE LAMPREY is right in her face, teeth in front of her eyes. Buffy opens her mouth -- to talk or scream, but nothing comes out.

WIG LADY (cont'd)
Oh the voice is gone, I see. I
simply love the paralysis. It means
I can eat you slowly. It's better
for the digestion.

Buffy, her arms still working, grabs a plastic serving tray off the floor near her and SLAMS the Lamprey across the face with it one handed. The Lamprey head is snapped back.

Then Buffy drops back down and rolls painfully under the table. Moving out of sight of the lamprey as it recovers.

When she has recovered, the Wig Lady has to bend over low to let the Lamprey snake around under the tables, searching for Buffy.

WIG LADY (cont'd)
I know you're under there...

Buffy moves under the tables, pulling herself slowly along with her arms.

There's a CRACKLE from the drive-thru speaker.

WILLOW (0.S.)
Buffy?

On BUFFY, lying flat, eyes wide and desperate.

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - NIGHT

Willow stands in front of the drive-thru speaker (a cow head with a beak to talk into).

WILLOW
Are you in there, Buffy? I can't see
you inside.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN - CONTINUED - NIGHT

The lamprey head, inches from Buffy hesitates, distracted by Willow's interruption. It swivels away. Buffy inches farther away from it.

WILLOW (0.S.)
Listen, if you're in there? The
burger isn't people. In fact, it
isn't even meat It's all processed
vegetables. Isn't that weird?

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE - NIGHT

Willow leans against the speaker now... slumped, exhausted...

WILLOW
Buffy... there's more. Something
Happened today. I didn't do it. Amy
did it. But I feel so bad about it...

INT. DOUBLEMEAT KITCHEN NIGHT

We can't see the lamprey now. Buffy, face-down, has wedged herself so far under the table that she's almost out the other side. She keeps edging farther and farther that way.

WILLOW (0.S.)
It was Amy's power, but it felt like
I was doing the stuff myself. And I
couldn't stop it. And now it's gone
and I'm kinda shaky and it really
feels like I need it, Buffy...

Buffy has pushed herself so far that her shoulder protrudes out from under the far edge of the table.

And the Wig Lady is there. She grabs Buffy with her hands, surprisingly strong, pulls her out into the open and pulls her to her feet. Buffy sags there. The Lamprey fastens onto Buffy's shoulder and begins to feed. Buffy flails with a hand, catches a hold of the meat slicer, WRENCHES it with all her weight. It TOPPLES WITH A CRASH, hitting the meat grinder as it falls, which turns on with a GROWL...

BUFFY'S POV

Buffy's breathing gets louder...

WILLOW (O.S.)
Buffy? Something fell....

Willow's voice faces away.

Buffy's vision dims, the screen darkening.

Then, a CRASH, a window breaking.

Buffy's vision lightens. Willow is standing in the doorway between the dining and kitchen areas.

WILLOW
Buffy!

THE LAMPREY ON THE LADY'S HEAD

Swivels its round little toothy mouth toward Willow. (It leaves a ring of torn clothing and flecks of blood on Buffy's shoulder.)

WIG LADY
Visitors. How nice.

It rears back and SPITS its paralyzing liquid.

Willow falls out of frame. Was she hit?

Long beat. The lamprey turns back toward BUFFY.

Then, Willow rises into frame behind the lamprey. And she's holding the slicer blade.

WILLOW
Missed me.

Willow swings the blade like a baseball bat, slices the lamprey where it's attached to the top of the lady's head. The lady's body falls to the floor. So does the grey, wet length of lamprey. So does Buffy.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Buffy!

The lamprey lives on, even detached -- a long length of gray tube. It writhes on the floor, gnashing its circle of teeth. It's dangerously close to Buffy.

Buffy triumphantly brings up her hand. .. she's holding a PLASTIC KNIFE. She plunges it into the writhing lamprey. It SCREAMS (the only sound to actually come out of its mouth).

Willow grabs the injured lamprey, struggles with its slippery length -- like wrestling a huge squirming gray macaroni noodle -- and dumps it into the running meat grinder. The lamprey is ground into a gray paste.

Willow helps BUFFY to her feet.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Buffy! Buffy, are you okay?

BUFFY
Para... paralyzed. I think... it's
wearing off.

WILLOW
I got it, Buffy! I killed it! Look!

Buffy and Willow look into the grinder.

BUFFY/WILLOW
Ewwww.

EXT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - DAY (DAY 3)

Shiny new morning.

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - FOYER - DAY

Willow opens the front door. Amy is standing there.

AMY
Hey.

WILLOW
Amy.

Willow doesn't step aside.

AMY
Can I come in? My new place isn't
set up yet, and I wanted to borrow
some stuff, like, detergent--

WILLOW
You really can't.

AMY
I can't borrow detergent? Well, when
they start calling me stinky Amy,
I'll say, hey, not my fault--

WILLOW
I can't spend time with you anymore.

AMY
What?

WILLOW
You can't come in here again.

AMY
What's up? You didn't like your
birthday present?

WILLOW
That's right.

AMY
You're telling me you didn't have a
genuine blast? Come on, that was a
sweet spell, trip to Disneyland
without the lines.

WILLOW
You don't get it. What you did to me
was wrong. You dosed me, Amy. Do
you have any idea how much harder
that makes, just, everything?

AMY
Know what I notice? You're not
denying you had fun.

WILLOW
Shut up.

AMY
Oh, yeah. Sharp argument you got
there. Were you on the debate team?
I forget. I forgot a lot while you
were failing to make me be not a rat.

WILLOW
Amy. If you really are my friend,
you better stay away from me. And if
you really aren't...
(a threat)
You better stay away from me.

Amy looks at her, almost a challenge. But eventually, she turns and leaves.

INT. DOUBLEMEAT MANAGER'S OFFICE - DAY

Buffy, her uniform folded over her arm, knocks on the open door of the manager's office and enters. Someone new is there, LORRAINE, around 30, Pleasant-looking. She looks up from taking down the inspirational posters. She has a "5 year" button.

BUFFY
Oh. Hi... You must be the new
manager. I'm Buffy Summers.

LORRAINE
I'm Lorraine Ross. They called me in
when Manny did his disappearing act.
You hear about that? Guy just
disappeared.

BUFFY
Yeah, I think... I think that used to
happen here a lot.

LORRAINE
Buffy Summers. I heard about you.
Caused a big scene.

BUFFY
Um, yeah. Practical jokes not really
right for the workplace. I so get that
now. Anyway, I just wanted to return
my uniform. It got, it's kinda torn.

LORRAINE
Most people don't even bother.

Buffy hands Lorraine the uniform and starts to leave. Then she turns back...

BUFFY
The Doublemeat Medley is vegetables.

LORRAINE
How do you know that?

BUFFY
So I guess it's true.

Lorraine closes the talk, speaks confidentially.

LORRAINE
It's a formed and texturized vegetable
based meat-like product, suitable for
grinding. It's blended with large
amounts of rendered beef fat for flavor.

BUFFY
Wait. The secret ingredient in your
beef is... beef?

LORRAINE
Buffy. You know something powerful here,
do you understand that? The Doublemeat
reputation is built on a foundation of
meat. You can't spread this around.

BUFFY
Um... yeah. I get that.
(thinks for a beat)
It is a valuable secret, isn't it?

LORRAINE
Is there something you want?

BUFFY
I really need money.

LORRAINE
You want money?

BUFFY
No! Well, yes. I mean, I want to
work. I have zero money coming in,
and I'd really like, I'd like to not
be fired anymore.

LORRAINE
I don't want any more practical
jokes. I mean it.

BUFFY
I promise.

LORRAINE
Well I'm really short-handed right
now. And you're already trained...
I think you can not be fired.

BUFFY
That's, that's great. And I can do
the job, I promise that too.

LORRAINE
I certainly hope so. I don't like
short-timers, Buffy. I like people
who want to be here. Maybe you
didn't take this job seriously
before, but from now on.

She points at her "5 year" pin.

LORRAINE (cont'd)
See this? I want you shooting for
this from here on out.

On Buffy, looking resigned.

BUFFY
Right. Here on out.

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW