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BUTTERCUP'S BLUNDER

a Powerpuff Girls Fanfic, by Jennifer Weston

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Standard Opening Shot of Townsville Skyline, Daytime

NARRATOR: The city of Townsville, and it's a beautiful summer day! Many of the fun-loving citizens are taking advantage of the chance to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities.

(Usual footage of happy Townsville residents throwing frisbees in the park, jogging with their dogs, tossing baseballs, seniors playing soccer, kids playing bocci. CUT TO: standard exterior view of the Utonium Home, also daytime.)

NARRATOR: But, not at the Utonium household. The girls are staying in this morning, to watch a very special broadcast.

(CUT TO: Interior of Utonium Home. View of the living room TV set. On the screen, two pro-wrestlers, one dressed like a chicken and the other like a yellow dog, are tossing each other around the ring. PAN RIGHT to show BUTTERCUP on the couch across from the TV, enthusiastically imitating the moves she's watching. Beyond her, BUBBLES and BLOSSOM float into the room, carrying a couple bowls of popcorn. Behind them walks their babysitter, zoo keeper JUDY, whom we glimpsed in 'Meet The Beat Alls.')

BLOSSOM: (disapprovingly) Buttercup, why are you watching this junk? It's almost time for the Professor's speech!

BUTTERCUP: Aw, that's a whole fifteen minutes away! That's it- give 'im the spur, Raucous Rooster! He ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog!

(BUTTERCUP throws a hard upper-cut, accidentally striking the popcorn bowl out of BUBBLE'S arms. It goes flying, spewing popcorn everywhere, and the inverted bowl lands on JUDY'S head. JUDY slowly lifts it by the rim, looking quite displeased [a la Tinkerbell in Disney's 'Peter Pan'.])

BUTTERCUP: (abashed) Opps! (She flies about the room at superspeed, picking up all the popcorn, and deposits it back in the bowl JUDY holds.) I'm real sorry, Judy.

JUDY: (with a wry but forgiving smile) Apology accepted. But, I think you've seen enough of this kind of program for one day, Buttercup.

(As the girls settle on the couch, JUDY lifts the remote and changes channel. A cable station logo, featuring a microscope & radio telescope, appears on the screen.)

ANNOUNCER: This is the Science News Channel. Coming up next; live coverage of the Bio-Engineering Conference in Washington D.C.

BLOSSOM: (glancing at a less-than-enthusiastic BUTTERCUP) Don't look so grumpy. You can watch wrestling anytime, but how often do we get to see the Professor giving a keynote address?

BUTTERCUP: I just wish he was talking about something less boring.

BUBBLES: Like what?

BUTTERCUP: Anything! Science is so...

(Suddenly, the TV screen goes all staticy.)

BLOSSOM: Hey, what gives? Did somebody forget to pay our cable bill?

(Gradually, a new image becomes visible. It's a mean-eyed guy wearing a striped ski mask and oversized black leather jacket. Behind him hangs an obviously homemade cloth banner, with crooked letters 'PWLF' above a rather sloppy painting of the world w/ an attached bomb fuse.)

MAN: (speaking in threatening tones that don't quite conceal the squeaky quality of his voice) Citizens of Townsville! I represent the leadership of the People's World Liberation Front, here to give you fair notice to vacate your city immediately. For the purpose of publicizing our Great Cause, we are about to render the famously resilient metropolis of Townsville uninhabitable! Though it has survived countless attacks from monsters and supervillains, it shall not withstand the justified Wrath of the People!

BUBBLES: (bewildered) Aren't we people, too?

BUTTERCUP: What's this 'great cause' he's talkin' about?

BLOSSOM: (watching attentively) Quiet, you guys!

MAN: (holding up a textbook-type sketch on a notepad, of some object shaped like a vacuum tube) Within your own downtown area, right under your inattentive noses, we have constructed and buried a Chernobyl Bomb. It contains four tons of nuclear waste- the sort your society so carelessly discards from it's power plants. This bomb will detonate at precisely 12:22 today, spewing the waste over the entire downtown area, rendering it too irradiated for anyone to venture into for the next millennium. Now that I've given you warning, you shall bear responsibility for any casualties resulting from this corrective action, not we of the People's World Liberation Front. Get out while you can, and in the future take better care not to incur our righteous vengeance! (The image snows out, giving way to the station logo.)

JUDY: That was probably just some cable-pirate's prank. (But she's obviously nervous.)

BUBBLES: (looking to the wall clock- the time is 11:48) Blossom, how long is it until 12:22?

BLOSSOM: Not nearly long enough to evacuate all downtown. (sighing) I guess we'd better check it out, guys. Better safe than sorry.

BUTTERCUP: (much less regretful) That'll be more fun than listening to a lot of bio-engineering jargon, anyway!

JUDY: (lifting an unlabeled videotape, and slipping it into the VCR beside the TV) I'll record the Professor's speech for you.

BLOSSOM: Thanks, Judy! Okay, Girls; let's roll! (They all take off.)

(CUT TO: Overhead shot of the PPGs in their standard V formation, flying over the city.)

(CUT TO: Street level scene- the sidewalks are dotted with anxious people who've just viewed the broadcast. When they see the three colored streaks overhead, they've all reassured.)

TOWNSVILLE WOMAN: Look, the Powerpuff Girls are on the job! We can stop worrying.

TOWNSVILLE MAN: Yeah, they'll probably deliver that nasty ol' bomb right back to the manufacturers! (There's general laughter and folks go back to their business.)

(CUT BACK TO: the Girls in flight)

BUBBLES: So, where do we start looking?

BLOSSOM: (frowning thoughtfully) Well, if the bomb is real, it's in the downtown area. And the guy said they'd built and buried it on the spot, so that should narrow it down to...(brightly) I know! A construction site! Nobody would take any notice of digging there, or of trucks bringing materials in and out.

BUTTERCUP: Nice deduction, Sherlock Blossom! Too bad there's about fifty structures going up in Downtown just now.

BLOSSOM: Then let's assume Lateral Formation, and sweep every site with our x-ray vision. Look for the shape we saw in that sketch, or any sign of radioactive material.

(The Girls line up and activate their x-ray beams. Quick POV Shots of seven overflown construction sites, the x-ray holes revealing old tires, shopping carts, a treasure chest, broken office furniture, soda bottles, a dinosaur skeleton, and discarded PCs. At the eighth site they spot it; a wide cylindrical capsule with a narrower projection, the larger part of it filled with glowing green stuff, the projection with complicated wiring.)

BLOSSOM: That's it! Move in and uncover it, but *gently*.

(They dive down to the site, land in a row beside the burial area, draw deep breaths and blow. All the dirt covering the capsule is swept back as if by a windstorm, revealing gray metal casing. BLOSSOM steps closer to study it.)

BUTTERCUP: (moving in position to grasp the edge) Hey, Leader Girl, we don't have much time to enjoy the view! Let's just pick this thing up an' chuck it into...

BLOSSOM: (alarmed, lifting an arm to halt BUTTERCUP) No, wait! Do you see that?

(She points to a particular spot in the projection. Through an X-ray hole, CLOSE ON one component: a sealed shallow pan half-full of mercury. Fine wires at either end of the pan project just  above the mercury's surface.)

BLOSSOM: That's a mercury-level trigger! If we tip this thing even a few degrees off-center, one of those wires will come in contact with the liquid metal, completing an electrical circuit to set off the charge! We're gonna have to disarm this thing where it is!

BUBBLES: Do you know how to do that?

BLOSSOM: Maybe I can figure it out- let's get it open.

(BLOSSOM shuts one eye, and squints the other to produce a very narrow laser beam. She carefully aims this beam to cut around the edge of the projection. The girls take hold of the freed cover, lift it clear and carefully set it aside. BLOSSOM examines the bewildering mass of wiring and relays, her expression becoming ever more dismayed.)

BLOSSOM: I recognize some of the components, but I don't have any familiarity with this setup- it's an advanced design!

BUTTERCUP: The Professor might know... (slaps her forehead) But he's in D.C. !

BUBBLES: (looking to the First Townsville Bank across the street, which sports a large clock over the doorway) An' the big hand is past the one!

BLOSSOM: Buttercup! Fly to the Townsville Police Station- maybe they've called in a bomb squad!

BUTTERCUP: (dubious) Yeah, maybe! (But, with no better option in sight, she speeds away.)

(BLOSSOM, thinking hard, continues to examine the mechanisms. BUBBLES looks around, as if hoping somebody helpful will walk in.)

BUBBLES: Blossom, isn't there anyone else in Townsville, who knows enough about bombs to...?

(BLOSSOM, suddenly inspired, does a 'finger' snap.)

BLOSSOM: Yes, there is! Bubbles, make sure nobody comes near this thing- I'll be right back! (She takes off.)

(CUT TO: Standard Shot of BLOSSOM in Fast Flight. Looking straight ahead, she again activates her x-ray vision.)

BLOSSOM: I just hope he's home...

(POV shot of Townsville Central Park, and the upcoming observatory. An x-ray hole appears in the observatory's side; CLOSE IN through it to reveal MOJO JOJO seated at a low table, intently working on a model of a Spanish galleon. At his elbow sits an open box of fine model-building tools.)

BLOSSOM: (smiling grimly) Perfect!

(EXTERIOR SHOT of the observatory, as the usual pink streak shoots over it, arcs back & smashes through the door. CUT TO Interior of observatory. An astonished MOJO jumps in his chair, as BLOSSOM zooms right up to his face.)

BLOSSOM: Mojo, we've got an emergency- you gotta come with me right now!

(She grabs both MOJO and his tool box and zooms out. CUT TO exterior of observatory. The pink streak, now paralleled by a purple one, shoots out and back over it's original course.)

(CUT TO: shot of BLOSSOM in fast flight, the tool box clutched under one arm and MOJO slung over her shoulder, his cape flapping behind them Superman-style. MOJO is, of course, outraged.)

MOJO: Blossom, I demand to know the meaning of this abduction! And it had better not involve another set of golf clubs!

BLOSSOM: (snaps) It involves an armed Chernobyl bomb, ensconced less than a mile from here!

MOJO: (shock replacing most of his anger) What??

BLOSSOM: The bomb's set to go off at 12:22- if it does it'll irradiate the whole downtown area, including your precious observatory and everything inside it. An' you're the only one in the vicinity with enough weapons expertise to have a chance of disassembling it!

(BLOSSOM makes a 45-degree dive back into the construction site, setting MOJO down in front of the opened bomb. At the sight of it, he gasps.)

MOJO: I perceive that you were not pulling my leg!

BUBBLES: (distressed) Can you fix it?

(MOJO leans close, his eyes knowingly darting over the mechanisms, as BLOSSOM sets the opened tool box beside him.)

MOJO: It appears I had better make my best effort. (He grabs a pointed-screwdriver tool and gets determinedly to work.) If you please, keep far enough away to give me sufficient space, and see to it that I have no distractions.

(BLOSSOM and BUBBLES obediently move back until they're standing beside the girders of the site's partially-constructed building. BLOSSOM nervously glances to the bank clock. It's now 12:15.)

(CUT TO: A scowling BUTTERCUP in fast flight.)

BUTTERCUP: (fuming) That was a waste of time! What's the point of having a police bomb squad, if you're going to let half of them take their vacations the same week? Hair-trigger or not, we're just gonna have ta try to move that...

(Her mouth drops open as she catches sight of something below. POV shot of the construction site- BUBBLES and BLOSSOM are hidden by the girders, but a familiar purple cape and white turban are plainly visible, right beside the capsule. Furious, BUTTERCUP dives fists first, straight towards MOJO.)

BUTTERCUP: GET AWAY FROM THERE, MONKEYMAN!!

(Startled, MOJO whips his head up; BUTTERCUP slams into the left side of his face, hurling him across the construction site and into a stack of cement-mix bags. QUICK CUTS to BLOSSOM and BUBBLE's appalled faces. BUTTERCUP zips after MOJO, pulling her arm back for another blow. Suddenly BLOSSOM is there, seizing her elbow.)

BLOSSOM: Buttercup! STOP!! Mojo was disarming the bomb!!

BUTTERCUP: (confused) Huh?

(BUBBLES darts to the semi-conscious MOJO, now half-buried under the heavy bags. She tosses the bags aside and grasps him under the arms.)

BUBBLES: Mojo! You gotta wake up!

(MOJO groans, one hand clutching the left side of his face.  BUBBLES quickly transports him back to the bomb, sets him down where he was and pushes a tool back into his hand. We view MOJO from his right side as he shakes off his stupor, grinds his teeth and resumes work. But it's obviously more difficult for him now; he's perspiring and making small quick head movements. The girls can only stand back, fearfully noting as the bank clock's minute hand moves to 12:20. Straining and shedding sweat drops, MOJO   works ever faster. POV shot as he unscrews the last bolt holding down a metal plate, pushing it back to uncover three red wires. Grabbing up a miniature wire-cutter, he clips them; one, two, three. MOJO places both hands against the casing's edge to brace himself, letting his head droop as he breaths a deep sigh of relief.)

(CLOSE UP as the bank clock clicks to 12:22.)

(PULLBACK SHOT of the full construction sight. Several seconds pass. Nothing happens. The girls break into broad smiles and start jumping around.)

BUBBLES: Mojo! You Did It!

BUTTERCUP: Way to go!

BLOSSOM: Great job, Mojo!

MOJO: Yes. (He lifts his head and starts to turn towards the girls.) A particularly impressive feat, considering that I had to do it with impaired depth-perception. (He completes the turn, and for the first time we can see his left eye is swollen shut. The right eye regards BUTTERCUP venomously; she flinches guiltily.)

BUBBLES: Eeep!  (She zips across the site to a storage shed, rummages quickly through a first-aid kit, and zooms back to offer MOJO a cold-pack.)

MOJO: Thank you, Bubbles. (He presses the pack to his injury, but continues to glare at BUTTERCUP. BLOSSOM is now doing the same thing.)

BLOSSOM: (sternly) Do you want to explain that behavior, Buttercup?

BUTTERCUP: (defensively) I thought Mojo was trying to set off the bomb!

MOJO: (with rising fury)  You thought I was trying to set it off, while situated right beside it? That would be a rational interpretation only if I possessed suicidal tendencies, which I most certainly do not, as it is very much my preference to remain alive. And, even if I had no such preference, it was entirely unnecessary for me to bring about the bomb's detonation, as it was already timed to explode in minutes without my aid! So in either case, I could have no motivation whatsoever to do what you 'thought'! Just what *do* you use that oversized head of yours for, Buttercup?? To stretch out hair bands???

(BUTTERCUP looks as livid as she did in the jail-cell scene from 'Candy Is Dandy.' But before she can attack, BLOSSOM and BUBBLES, both in the frowning-with-folded-arms pose, move to flank MOJO on either side. With a strangled roar, BUTTERCUP explodes straight upwards, leaving a vivid green rocket trail pointing directly into the sky. Her sisters' expressions soften.)

BUBBLES: Where's she going?

BLOSSOM: Probably to circle the earth a few times, until she cools down.

(MOJO sniffs derisively, then turns his attention to the deactivated bomb.)

MOJO: With all the radioactive material inside it, this thing is dangerous even disarmed. It should be guarded until the proper authorities arrive.

BLOSSOM: (distracted) I suppose. (BUBBLES' main attention is also elsewhere; she's looking regretfully into the sky.)

(FAST MONTAGE of a still-furious BUTTERCUP flying *very* fast, high above various landscapes- cities, oceans, forests, polar icecaps. She turns her trajectory upwards, speeds through the lower, middle, and higher cloud layers, until she breaks out of the atmosphere into black starry reaches. There, she halts to scream out a long roar of primal fury. As it resonates, PULL BACK BY DEGREES to show the curvature of the earth, the entire earth, the earth with it's orbiting moon. The sound dies away. CUT BACK TO: BUTTERCUP. Her 'scream' face collapses into bitter melancholy, and she begins to float downwards, through the cloud layers she'd just passed, then through the lower atmosphere towards Townsville, and finally into her own bedroom window. With a colossal moan, she comes to rest on the edge of the bed.)

JUDY'S VOICE: Buttercup? Is that you?

(There's a sound of steps and JUDY enters the bedroom. BUTTERCUP deliberately turns her face away.)

JUDY: (happily excited) I just heard the news on TV- they said the Powerpuff Girls had located and disabled the bomb! Congratulations! (JUDY sits beside BUTTERCUP and hugs her around the shoulders, but immediately notices something's amiss.) What is it? Did something go wrong? (An awful thought occurs to her) Where are Blossom and Bubbles??

BUTTERCUP: (dismally addressing the floor) They're fine- they probably stayed to keep an eye on the bomb. They sure didn't want me around.

(JUDY, worried, is about to say something else, when from downstairs comes the sound of a door opening, and PROFESSOR UTOMIUM'S call.)

PROF'S VOICE: Girls?! Judy?

JUDY: The Professor! (She hurries downstairs, BUTTERCUP floating glumly behind her. PROF, just within the doorway; is somewhat rumpled, and the suitcase beside him has only one clasp fastened. When his eye falls on BUTTERCUP his frazzled expression lights up, and he moves to take her in his arms. But the embrace doesn't cheer her very much.)

PROF: I started for home, the minute I got the news! Is everybody all right?

JUDY: Yes, thank goodness! Your Girls disarmed the bomb. Blossom and Bubbles are still at the site; Buttercup came home ahead of them. (She looks to BUTTERCUP with concern. For the first time, PROF notices BUTTERCUP's unhappy expression.)

PROF: Buttercup? What happened, honey?

VOICE FROM THE TV: This is a Channel 8 Special News Bulletin! Coming to you live from the downtown bomb site, here's Stanley Whitfield!

JUDY: It looks like we're about to find out.

(The grown-ups move to sit on the couch, BUTTERCUP between them. PROF's hand lingers on BUTTERCUP's shoulder. )

(CUT TO: View of the TV. STANLEY stands in front of the 'Crime Scene' ribbon marking off the construction site, where several official-looking vehicles with flashing lights are pulled up. Within the site, people in suits and military fatigues are moving about, and we get a glimpse of BLOSSOM and BUBBLES carrying a large metallic object between them.)

STANLEY: This is reporter Whitfield, in downtown Townsville, where Federal Emergency personnel are currently in the process of dismantling the Chernobyl bomb which so nearly reduced our fair city to an irradiated wasteland. Less than two hours ago, this terrorist threat was disarmed, thanks to the combined efforts of Powerpuff Girls Blossom and Bubbles, and, more surprisingly, supervillain Mojo Jojo.

(CUT TO: View of the couch; the grown-ups gape with surprise.)

PROF & JUDY: Mojo Jojo?!?

(CUT BACK TO: View of the TV.)

STANLEY: In an interview recorded earlier, Mojo denied there wasanything incongruous about his actions of today.

(The broadcast changes to footage of MOJO, kneeling on the ground beside his modeling tools and box. The cold pack against his left eye is now being held in place with an ace bandage. Somebody off screen is holding a microphone near his mouth; it is apparently this person MOJO is addressing, rather snappishly.)

MOJO: I fail to see what it is you find so astonishing about that! I will remind you, as you seem to have forgotten, that my own place of residence is a relatively short distance from here, and so would certainly have been affected by the bomb blast, as it is well within range. If you are under any impression that I would welcome being deprived of my observatory, along with all my possessions and weapons of conquest, for the next one thousand years, then I can tell you your impression is incorrect, and furthermore is entirely without basis in fact! (He goes back to packing his tools) (growly voice) Accursed reporters...

(The broadcast switches to footage of two men taking down an outdoor monitoring camera, mounted above a bank door.)

STANLEY'S VOICE:  And now; a KZIX exclusive! We have obtained footage of the entire event- the discovery and disarming of the terrorist weapon- as recorded by First Townsville Bank's security-monitoring camera, located directly across from the site.

(CUT TO: Close-Up of BUTTERCUP; who looks as though she's suddenly developed a bad stomach-ache.)

STANLEY'S VOICE: This footage includes astonishing details, which we now present to you unedited.

(CUT BACK TO: View of the TV. The images are now the sort which a monitoring camera would record; black-and-white, photographed from a stationary position, and with a time-bar across the bottom. We see the earlier events as they would appear from across the street; the PPGs arriving, uncovering, and removing casing from the bomb. BUTTERCUP flying off, seconds later BLOSSOM doing the same. BLOSSOM returning with MOJO, MOJO starting to work on the bomb.)

(CUT BACK TO: View of the couch. The grownups are watching intently; BUTTERCUP looks like she wants to sink through the floor.)

(CUT BACK TO: View of the TV. BUTTERCUP suddenly swoops in and knocks MOJO across the lot.)

(CUT BACK TO: View of the couch. The two adults gasp in dismay; BUTTERCUP squeezes her eyes shut, burying her face in her 'hands.')

BUTTERCUP: (mournful wail) I Thought Mojo Was Doin' Sabotage! I Didn't Know He Was Helping!

(BUTTERCUP starts to cry. PROF and JUDY enfold her between them, murmuring soothingly, though they both still give attention to the broadcast.)

(CUT BACK TO: View of the TV. As the time bar counts down the last minute to 12:22, MOJO, his bruised eye clearly visible, struggles to complete the disassembly. Only nine seconds from detonation, he withdraws the cutting tool, braces his arms against the casing and lets his head sag; body language clearly indicating relief. Seconds later, the on-screen PPGs start dancing in celebration; an image sharply at odds with BUTTERCUP's wailing.)

(CUT BACK TO: View of the couch. The adults now turn their full attention to BUTTERCUP.)

PROF: Oh, pumpkin... It was a misinterpretation. We all make them sometimes.

JUDY: Just be glad the results weren't worse. Blossom and Bubbles were there to help, Townsville was still saved...

STANLEY's VOICE: And what are we to make of these amazing revelations? A long-time menace to our town acting heroically; one of our supposed protectors engaging in dangerously impulsive behavior and nearly bringing about our destruction. Some might question whether Powerpuff Girl Buttercup really has the right temperament to be a Superhero. Is her apparent lack of judgment, combined with her highly formidable powers, such a volatile mix as to be...

(Frowning, PROF snatches up the remote and zaps the set off.)

PROF: Now that was uncalled for!

(BUTTERCUP is even more angered; she swipes the last tears off her face and grits her teeth defiantly.)

BUTTERCUP: I am *so* fit to be a Superhero!

PROF: Of course you are! But, there is a lesson to be learned from this...

(BUTTERCUP isn't listening; she leaps into mid-air, her arms thrashing as she belts an imaginary opponent.)

BUTTERCUP: Anybody who knows anything about Mojo coulda made that mistake! Just *wait* 'til the next time I catch that slimy monkey up to his old tricks- I'll smash him inta pulp! I'll show *him* who's got bad judgment!

(PROF and JUDY look to each other, both rather troubled.)

JUDY: (low voice) It's good to see her recover her spirits, but....

PROF: (low voice) I know. She seems to have missed the point.

BLOSSOM'S VOICE: (from upstairs) Judy! We're home!

(BLOSSOM and BUBBLES float down the stairway. They both emit delighted squeals upon seeing the PROF, who runs to gather them both in his arms.)

BLOSSOM: Professor! We didn't expect to find you here!

BUBBLES: Did they cancel the conference?

PROF: No- I couldn't stay there, when I heard what was happening in Townsville! But I should have known you could handle it. I am so proud of you two!

(Behind the PROF's back, BUTTERCUP averts her face.)

BLOSSOM: Well, we can't take all the credit this time.

BUBBLES: You'll never guess who helped us!

PROF: (rueful grin) I already know, Bubbles. We've been watching the newscasts.

BLOSSOM: Oh. (Her eyes stray uncomfortably towards BUTTERCUP.)

BUTTERCUP: (forcing a smile) Ah, it's okay- I'm over it. Guys, I'm sorry for messing up, and for running out on you that way.

BLOSSOM: Yeah, and we're sorry that we had to... you know, take Mojo's side.

BUBBLES: (brightly)  But, no harm done! (BLOSSOM looks less sure.)

PROF: (releasing BLOSSOM & BUBBLES and stepping to JUDY) I want to thank you again, for watching the girls in my absence. You'll be getting full compensation, even if I did come back earlier than planned.

JUDY: (lifting a palm) Don't worry about it. It's always a pleasure spending time with these three. Albeit a *demanding* pleasure... Perhaps tomorrow you could all come visit the Townsville Zoo? I could give you a behind-the-scenes tour.

BLOSSOM: Not tomorrow. Actually, we wanted to ask you if you could be one of our guests then, because...

BUBBLES: (breaking in excitedly) The Mayor is giving me an' Blossom medals for distinguished service to the city!

JUDY: That's wonderful! Of course I'll come!

(PROF beams, but he notices BLOSSOM is less enthusiastic than might be expected.)

BLOSSOM: There is something else...

BUBBLES: Mojo's getting a medal, too!

(The grown-ups raise their eyebrows. BUTTERCUP is flabbergasted.)

BUTTERCUP: WHAT! Mojo!?! Are They Crazy?!?

BUBBLES: (surprised at her sister's reaction) But Buttercup, he saved
Townsville!

BUTTERCUP: He only did it because his own place was inside the blast zone!

BLOSSOM: (voice of reason) That doesn't make it wrong.

PROF: (trying to calm things) If you don't approve, Buttercup, you can stay home...

BUTTERCUP: Oh, I'm going, all right! Somebody'd better be there to protect the audience, when that maniac gets onto the platform an' begins sprayin' everyone with machine-gun fire!

BLOSSOM: He won't be allowed to bring any weapons up there. They'll have metal detectors.

BUTTERCUP: Then when he steps up to make his acceptance speech, an' starts ranting about how he's gonna destroy us, an' take over Townsville an' all the rest of the world, I'll be the one to shut him up! That miserable simian's not gonna get away with *anything* while I'm around!

(BUTTERCUP once takes to the air to punch out an imaginary MOJO. JUDY and PROF exchange the same troubled looks, BLOSSOM rolls her eyes, BUBBLES is bewildered.)

JUDY: Maybe we should just leave her to work it off.

PROF: Yes. Hopefully, by tomorrow she'll be over it.

(Unnoticed by the intently air-boxing BUTTERCUP, the grownups, BLOSSOM, and BUBBLES uneasily vacate the room.)

NARRATOR: (glum) I wouldn't count on that, Professor. But, let's cut to City Hall on the following afternoon, and find out.

(FADE TO: Exterior Shot of Townsville City Hall, Daytime. In front are the same speaker's platform and assembled audience we've see in other episodes. A podium w/ microphone stands at the middle of the platform. Close beside it on the right, the MAYOR and MS BELUM sit in office chairs, the latter with her face obscured by a boom camera. To the left are three more padded chairs, two occupied by BUBBLES and BLOSSOM, wearing their best blue and pink frilly dresses. The third chair is vacant. The usual Townsville regulars make up the audience, including the OLD LADY, TALKING DOG, RAINBOW THE CLOWN and GEORGE JETSON. Some
people are still moving to take their seats.)

(SLOW PAN of the audience's front row. There's a number of very distinguished-looking visitors; VIPs from out of town. Past them are five invited Pokey Oaks students; MARY, MIKE BELIEVE, JULIE BEAN, PABLO and ELMER SGLUE. At the end of the row sit PROFESSOR UTONIUM and BUTTERCUP, flanked by MS KEANE and JUDY, all formally dressed. PAUSE ON: BUTTERCUP, who's wearing a somewhat fancier than usual green frock. She's fidgeting and looking out of sorts.)

BUTTERCUP: Where is he? I know he'd enjoy keeping us all waiting, but I can't believe he's not gonna come!

MS KEANE: (teasing) Well, if he doesn't, we can call him 'Mojo No-Show.'

JUDY: (checking her watch) It'll be another five minutes before he's actually late.

BUTTERCUP: (struck by a happy thought) Maybe he's about to stomp in here with one of his Robo-Mojos!

PROF: (noting as a taxi pulls up to the City Hall curb, a distinctive white dome visible through the back window) Not this time- there's Mojo now.

BUTTERCUP: (making a 'fist') All right!

(CUT TO: Shot of the cab as MOJO gets out, pays the driver, and proceeds towards the Speaker's Platform. His usual attire looks especially clean and shiny. His expression is neutral and completely at ease, a dark smudge is all that remains of his 'shiner'. As he steps past the security guards he gives them a polite nod, passes through the metal detector with nary a beep, climbs up the steps to the platform and takes his seat beside BLOSSOM and BUBBLES.)

MOJO: (agreeably) Good afternoon, Girls.

BLOSSOM & BUTTERCUP: (courteous but wary) Hello, Mojo.

MAYOR: Well, splendid! Now that everyone's here we can get started. (He goes to the podium and ascends the little stepladder behind it) My friends, we are here today to honor the three brave citizens of Townsville who just yesterday saved our fair city from certain doom: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup.

(Awkward pause. A loud throat-clearing can be heard.)

MS BELUM: (leaning closer to the MAYOR) Sir, I think you mean Blossom, Bubbles and Mojo Jojo.

MAYOR: B'Wah, of course- silly me! Buttercup was the one who almost blew it for us, wasn't she?

(Scattered laughter, though not from anyone on the platform, or the PPG guests in the front row. Nonetheless, BUTTERCUP cringes.)

PROF: (touching BUTTERCUP's arm) Just keep in mind who's doing the speaking, sweetheart. (BUTTERCUP perks up.)

(CUT BACK TO: MAYOR, gesturing behind the podium. Gradually PULL BACK during the following dialogue, to show the full view of City Hall and the audience.)

MAYOR: Now where was I? Oh, yes; when in the course of human events, it sometimes falls to a few of us to rise above our usual stations in life, to be called to give our utmost in defense of our neighbors family and community, beyond the last full measure of devotion, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....

(WAVER to indicate time passage, and FADE IN on the same scene, with subtly different lighting, and most of the audience slumped in boredom.)

MAYOR: ... blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and so to conclude... (the audience rouses at this) ... in recognition of their heroic service, we now award these tokens of appreciation to our honored honorees!

(CUT TO: Closer view of the MAYOR, as he signals to MS BELUM. She steps over, carrying an open box displaying three Olympic-type medals; gleaming golden disks [one slightly larger] on long striped ribbons. MAYOR selects the biggest disk.)

MAYOR: Mojo Jojo, will you please present yourself?

(CUT TO: BUTTERCUP.)

BUTTERCUP: (with unholy glee) This is it!

(CUT BACK TO: The platform. MOJO rises, crosses to the podium, and solemnly bows his head as the MAYOR slips the ribbon around his neck. MAYOR shakes his hand and steps aside; MOJO takes his place behind the podium. QUICK CUTS of the three POWERPUFFS tensing to spring into action.)

MOJO: (gracious voice) Citizens of Townsville, I thank you very much for this singular honor.

(MOJO steps down from the podium and returns to his chair. The audience breaks into thunderous applause. QUICK CUTS of BLOSSOM and BUBBLES looking surprised, and BUTTERCUP looking dumbfounded among the politely clapping adults.)

MS KEANE: Why, isn't that nice! It looks like you can stop worrying, Buttercup; Mojo didn't come here to make trouble. (But BUTTERCUP doesn't appear remotely relieved.)

(CUT TO: MAYOR, applauding as hard as anyone.)

MAYOR: Now that's the kind of speech I like- short and to the point! Don't you agree, Ms Belum?

MS BELUM: (long-suffering voice, clapping in a more perfunctory way) Yes, Mayor.

(The MAYOR returns to the podium.)

MAYOR: We thank you so much for those inspiring words, Mojo! And now; Blossom and Bubbles? (He lifts the remaining two metals)

(Happy, albeit slightly dazed, the two cross the platform and receive their own decorations. BLOSSOM takes her turn at the microphone.)

BLOSSOM: Ah-hem. Thank you, Mayor and, citizens of Townvillain- I mean, citizens of *Townsville.* My sister Buttercup and I are... that is, Bubbles, and I, we're very honored and appreciated, ah, appreciative, of...

(As BLOSSOM continues in a similarly stumbling fashion, a slit-eyed BUTTERCUP turns her scrutiny on MOJO. He's sitting in a relaxed posture, wearing what many people would call a 'polite listening smile.' But BUTTERCUP reads more into it.)

BUTTERCUP: That Mojerk! He *planned* this!

(PROF gives BUTTERCUP a warning nudge in the ribs; several other people shush her. BUTTERCUP closes her mouth, but continues to send dirty looks in MOJO's direction.)

(CLOSE-IN on BUTTERCUP'S frowning visage, then PULL BACK to show she's now standing in the middle of the post-ceremony reception, on the lawn beside City Hall. Waiters wander about offering trays of hors d'oeuvres, in the far background, MARY, PABLO and ELMER are playing tag. The grown-ups are gathered in clusters, sipping drinks and talking- we can see PROF, MAYOR and MS KEANE in the nearest  group. BUTTERCUP's frown is directed at another cluster; MOJO, his medal glimmering, is chatting easily with several of the out-of-town VIPs. BUTTERCUP hears childish giggling behind her, and turns to see BLOSSOM & BUBBLES, both wearing their medals, enjoying some private joke with MIKE and JULIE. They all hold glasses of lemonade. BUTTERCUP looks askance at them, then moves closer to listen.)

JULIE: ... and when you said, 'Citizens of Townsvillian'...

BUBBLES: And you called the mayor 'Major'!

MIKE: And how 'bout, 'Professor Utopia'! Hee hee...

BUTTERCUP: (cutting in) Do you guys really think that was funny?

BLOSSOM: (just slightly more serious) Well, I didn't at the time. But now that it's in the past; yes, it *is* kinna funny!  How about when I said 'Pilloried' instead of 'Privileged'!

(The other kids laugh; BUTTERCUP looks more annoyed.)

BUTTERCUP: You gotta know Mojo did that on purpose, Blossom. He threw you a curve with that brief speech of his, to make you mess up on yours.

BLOSSOM: (matter-of-factly) No, it was my own fault. I made a strategic error; I was so focused on one possible contingency that I was caught insufficiently prepared for another. But, it's not *that* big a deal. Everybody in town knows I'm usually much better at public speaking. (She sips her lemonade.)

BUTTERCUP: Well, I think it stinks! (looking back towards the VIP cluster) Just look at them! Fawning over Mojo like he's some kinna movie star, when he's really just a scumbag who's probably got some evil plot going on right under their noses! Somebody outta warn 'em. (BUTTERCUP starts towards the group.)

BLOSSOM: (sobering up) I don't think that's such a good idea, Buttercup!

(Ignoring her, BUTTERCUP stalks right up to MOJO.)

MOJO: (addressing one of the VIPs; a rather heavy-set, dark-haired man in a broad-rimmed hat and tan suit) Yes, thank you again, Senator. Alfred Hitchcock provided my inspiration; you can not top the master...

BUTTERCUP: (poking MOJO on the arm) Hey, Monkeybreath!

MOJO: (turning to face her without resentment) Yes, Buttercup?

BUTTERCUP: Just what did you think you were doing back there?

MOJO: 'Back there?' Could you possibly be more specific?

BUTTERCUP: At the ceremony! Deliberately embarrassing my sister! Don't deny you gave that polite address just to throw off her concentration!

MOJO: (quirking an eyebrow) Would you have found it preferable, if I had ranted and raved?

BUTTERCUP: Yes! Ah, I mean... (she suddenly becomes aware that all the adults in the group are frowning at her.)

SENATOR: (sternly) Young'un, y'all got no business blamin' Mojo here, just 'cause yer sister's not quite up ta his level 'ah oratory skill- which ain't hardy surprisin', at her age. But at least she showed real good manners, which is more'en I kin say about some hereabouts.

(There's general chuckling from the group, which MOJO does not contribute to. BUTTERCUP boils over.)

BUTTERCUP: (yelling) You people don't know Mojo at all! He's the most vile criminal in the history of Townsville! He's up to something even now an' you're all to stupid to see it, just because he...

(A large hand grips BUTTERCUP's shoulder; she looks up to see it belongs to a glowering PROFESSOR UTONIUM. Just beyond him, BLOSSOM and BUBBLES look acutely embarrassed.)

PROF: (tautly angry) That will be enough out of you, young lady.

MOJO: Do not be too hard on her, Professor. Yesturday's events were stressful for all of us. (turning to the group) She is actually a good kid, but has problems with self-control.

(General nods and mummers of understanding among the adults. To judge from BUTTERCUP's expression, nothing could've made her madder.)

BUTTERCUP: (venomous undertone to MOJO)  You just wait- I'll find out what your game is. You're gonna slip up somewhere, an' I'll be watching you like a crowned eagle...    (Author's Note: the African crowned eagle is a notoriously efficient monkey hunter.)

SENATOR: (slipping an arm across MOJO's shoulders) 'Fraid yer gonna have ta wait on that, little darlin'. Mojo's gonna be outta town fer a while.

MOJO: Indeed. Senator Roundhouse has invited me to spend the weekend at his ranch outside Houston.

SENATOR: Yer gonna love it there, Son! We got swimmin' pools, ridin' trails, tennis courts... and I'll bet y'all have a tall-tale 'er two you could share!

MOJO: (with a wolfish smile) I could indeed!

BUBBLES: (wistfully, to BLOSSOM) Gee, nobody ever invited *us* to a weekend at a Texas ranch.

(A long white limo pulls up beside the adjacent curb)

SENATOR: Aw, is it time fer us ta be goin' already? Wale, all you nice Townsville folks say goodbye ta Mojo fer now.

(Many of the people there, including MAYOR, the Pokey Oaks Kids, MS KEANE and BUBBLES, wave and call out wishes for a happy trip. The SENATOR and MOJO climb into the limo, waving back as it pulls away.)

BUTTERCUP: (shouting after the limo) I hope you get saddle sores!

(Every nearby adult, including JUDY and MS KEANE, regard BUTTERCUP as they would a bad-mannered brat. CLOSE IN in the PROF, as angry red spots flare in his cheeks.)

(FADE TO: Exterior of the Utonium Home, late in the day. The family car pulls up into the driveway. PROF, his features dangerously rigid, gets out one side while the PPGs emerge from the other. BLOSSOM and BUBBLES are nervously keeping close together; BUTTERCUP's expression shows equal volumes of defiance and queasiness. PROF stalks to unlock the front door, stands aside as the three Girls enter, steps inside and slams the door shut.)

(CUT TO: Interior of Utonium home. PROF stiffly turns to face the PPGs.)

PROF: (same taunt anger) Blossom, Bubbles: I would appreciate it if you would both find something to do in your room. Buttercup and I need to have a talk.

BLOSSOM & BUBBLES: Yes, Professor.

(As they float up the staircase, BLOSSOM glances back, looking as if she'd like to say something, but wisely decides against it. PROF brusquely gestures for BUTTERCUP to sit at one end of the couch, lowering himself down at the other. There's a long silent moment as he continues to regard her with strong parental disapproval, and she shifts uncomfortably.)

BUTTERCUP: (marginally contrite) Go ahead and say it.

PROF: I want to hear you say it first.

BUTTERCUP: I guess, I wouldn't exactly get a gold star for the way I behaved at the reception...

PROF: No, you wouldn't.

BUTTERCUP: (defensive) But, it just made me so mad! Mojo putting on that phoney benevolent-celebrity pose, and those dumb visitors just eating it up! We both know Mojo's gonna exploit this new 'hero' status of his, to...

PROF: That's entirely possible, Buttercup, but I don't believe that's your real issue with him. You're angry at Mojo because of what happened at the bomb site.

BUTTERCUP: It's not that I blame him for putting it outta commission, but, jeeze, he only did it to protect his home!

PROF: And he was justified in doing so. Just as you're justified in protecting Townsville because it's *your* home. For once, both of you were trying to do the right thing. The difference is: Mojo went about it the way a hero should, and *You Didn't.*

(BUTTERCUP looks as hurt as if he'd just slapped her. PROF's aspect softens a bit.)

PROF: Mojo's in the town's good graces for now, because he kept his head under duress and got the job done. You're in the 'doghouse' because, as you're all too prone to, you jumped into things with both fists flailing. And now you resent Mojo for providing an example you're not at all anxious to learn from. (much gentler) But you've got to, Buttercup. This time, your sisters were there to prevent your impulsiveness from causing a disaster. You, and Townsville, aren't going to be that lucky every time.

(BUTTERCUP's mouth goes trembly and tears leak from her eyes. All sternness gone, PROF takes her onto his lap and hugs her as she cries against his arm. This is different from the wailing crying she did earlier; it's softer and more deeply felt.)

PROF: (soothing) It's okay, honey. Life gives us harsh lessons sometimes, and believe me, this isn't the most painful way you could have learned it. Now, I want you to take one thing away from this experience: promise me that, from now on, you'll make a greater effort to look situations over before you act on them.

BUTTERCUP: (sniff) I promise, Professor!

PROF: (relaxing) That should be the end of it, then. (sigh) Y'know, whether he was speaking sincerely or not, Mojo was right about something else; this *has* been a stressful business. I think we should all take some time off tomorrow. Why don't we accept Judy's offer to visit the zoo?

BUTTERCUP: (managing a little grin) That would be nice.

PROF: And I know another thing which might be nice; why don't you go upstairs and give congratulations to your sisters? There's no need for you to be jealous of their medals; I'm sure you'll earn plenty of your own.

BUTTERCUP: Okay. (Bravely, she dries her eyes, proceeds to float upstairs, pauses to look back) I really am sorry, Professor.

(PROF gives her a loving smile. The moment she's out of sight, he sags, leaning his forehead against his palms.)

PROF: (exhausted voice) Where *do* people get the idea that being a single parent is easy....?

(FADE TO: the POWERPUFF's bedroom, nighttime. BUBBLES is blissfully asleep. BUTTERCUP has her eyes closed, but her mouth is downturned, and she sighs. BLOSSOM is awake, eyeing BUTTERCUP worriedly.)

BLOSSOM: (whispering, so as not to disturb BUBBLES) Buttercup, would it make you feel any better, if you told me what the Professor said?

BUTTERCUP: (gloomy voice, keeping her eyes shut) He made me promise to think more, before I act.

BLOSSOM: Is that all? That's not so bad...

BUTTERCUP: But I'm not sure I can do it.

BLOSSOM: You can, if you really try. After a while it'll get to be a habit.

BUTTERCUP: (with just a trace of a frown) An' then we'll have *two* Blossoms on the Powerpuff team.

BLOSSOM: No; you'll never be another me. Nobody wants that anyway. We'll always need you to be you: Buttercup with the fighting spirit, the toughness, the kick-tail attitude. But, Mojo was right; you could use a little more self-control.

BUTTERCUP: (frowning a bit more) 'Seems like Mojo's been right about everything lately. Maybe he should get out of the supervillain business and start writing an advice column.

BLOSSOM: He's just having a good week. Or, as he might put it: (doing a commendable MOJO impression, a la 'Rainy Day Adventure'), "I, Moojo Jojo, have been experiencing more than the usual number of fortuitous happenings through this time period... (BUTTERCUP can't help cracking a smile) ... which is to say; the ratio of advantageous events to disadvantageous ones has recently increased; which means overall the indicated interval has been above average for me, and so I may state without fear of contradiction that this qualifies as a good week."

(BUTTERCUP and BLOSSOM giggle for a few seconds, until, hearing BUBBLES stir, they both hush.)

BLOSSOM: We really should try to get to sleep now- we've got a big excursion tomorrow.

BUTTERCUP: (tired) Yeah, I think I can manage now.... Blossom? Thanks.

BLOSSOM: (closing her eyes) You're welcome, Buttercup. G'night.

(PULLBACK and HOLD on the Girls, all of them looking peaceful now. SOFT FADE TO BLACK.)

(FADE TO: The PPG's bedroom, now bathed in early morning sunlight. All three girls stir, sit up, and look at each other. They smile.)

(Montage of usual morning preparations: the girls brushing teeth, getting dressed, hurrying downstairs to the table where PROF is setting out waffles & chopped fruit. Everybody eats with gusto.)

(Lengthy Montage of the excursion. Everyone gets into the car, the girls sing cheerful songs as PROF drives them to the zoo. After they park, JUDY lets them in through the 'Special Visitors' entrance and guides them behind the scenes. At the African Savannah, BLOSSOM and BUTTERCUP float up to feed handfuls of hay to the two adult giraffes, while BUBBLES lovingly hugs their baby. At the Chimpanzee Habitat, the girls laugh at the lively play of the younger chimps, and nudge each other over a grumpy-looking adult male who resembles someone they know. In the Reptile House, they're allowed a close look at a huge Galapagos tortoise. The keeper there offers to let them touch a tame boa constrictor- BUBBLES and BUTTERCUP do so without hesitation, but a nervous BLOSSOM reaches to it with a shaky 'hand', until she feels it and her expression changes to happy surprise. In Insect World, a lady keeper holds a tarantula for them to view- BLOSSOM and BUTTERCUP have a close look, BUBBLES hangs back, and an embarrassed PROF only dares to watch from around the doorway. [BTW: this scene would be a cameo for me and my own pet tarantula, Charlotte.] The Butterfly Enclosure is better appreciated; everyone frolics delightedly among the fluttering creatures. They have hotdogs and ice cream at the outdoor cafe. They take rides on the elephant  and camel. They toss fish chunks to the seals. In the Aquarium, BUBBLES gazes raptly at a gentle-looking blue octopus. In the Aviary, BLOSSOM gazes raptly at a crested red eagle. In the Big Cat Exhibit, BUTTERCUP gazes raptly at a muscular black panther with green eyes. At the gift shop, they pick out souvenirs: BUTTERCUP gets a tee-shirt, BLOSSOM a zoo book ['Snakes of the World'], and BUBBLES a stuffed toy chimpanzee. They happily wave good-bye to JUDY as  they exit through the special entrance, BUBBLES draped over PROF's shoulder and BLOSSOM & BUTTERCUP floating. Just as they approach the car, BUTTERCUP spots a silver-metal pushcart selling snow cones, and indicates it to the PROF. PROF nods permission for her to go buy one. BUTTERCUP lands beside the cart and places her order. As the cart man gets it ready, BUTTERCUP hearkens to voices coming from behind her.)

MAN'S VOICE: Say, isn't that one of the Powerpuff Girls over there?

WOMAN'S VOICE: Yes! It's Buttercup!

(BUTTERCUP is gratified, but, not wanting the speakers to know she's listening, checks the mirrored side of the pushcart to get a look at them. It's a young couple with a baby in a stroller.)

MAN: Isn't she the one who almost... (He mimes pushing down a TNT plunger, then spreads his arms wide to indicate an explosion.)

(CUT TO: BUTTERCUP's suddenly stricken expression. CUT BACK TO: Pushcart reflection.)

WOMAN: Yes! Is it really safe for her to be out by herself that way? (The couple starts to move uneasily away.)

MAN: I can't believe it is, with Mojo Jojo out of town, an' all...

(The couple pass out of sight and hearing. BUTTERCUP's reflected face is deeply hurt. The cart man hands BUTTERCUP her rainbow-striped snow cone; she takes it and floats back to the car, but on the way, tosses the treat into a garbage can.)

(CUT TO: The Utonium car, traveling down the roadway towards home. CUTTO: Through-the-windshield view of the interior. The girls are all belted into the back seat, their souvenirs piled between them. BUTTERCUP is hanging her head and looking shamed. Everybody else is staring straight ahead, their expressions irate.)

BLOSSOM: Boy, some people are such jerks!

BUBBLES: Yeah! You shouldn't care what they say, Buttercup; they're just a couple of stupid doo-doo heads!

BUTTERCUP: (subdued tone) It wasn't who said it, as much as the reminder. I *did* almost destroy Townsville...

BLOSSOM: (raising arms) Just once, by accident! Think of how many times you've *saved* Townsville, sometimes all by yourself!

BUBBLES: (to PROF) It's not fair, Professor! Why do people care about the one bad thing Buttercup did, more than all the good things?

PROF: (explaining tone) It's called the 'What have you done for me lately?' attitude. People who don't use their brains very much tend to judge you only for what you've done most recently, not for what you've done most often. (to BUTTERCUP) But it's just temporary, pumpkin. By this time next week, Townsville will be completely over it.

BUTTERCUP: (looking up a bit) Do you really think so?

PROF: I'm certain. Everybody will have confidence in you again. Even the jerks. (growling to himself) It's lucky *I* wasn't the one who overheard those cracks. I might've set a *terrible* example for the kids.

BUBBLES: And it may not even take a whole week! This is Townsville- you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. (She pats BUTTERCUP on the shoulder, BUTTERCUP looks to her gratefully.)

NARRATOR: Oh, you are so right about that, Bubbles! So why don't we do some more skipping ahead. (CUT TO: Exterior of Utonium Home, early morning.) Next Morning, at the Utonium Household:

(A newspaper carrier cycles up the sidewalk and throws a folded paper onto the Utonium stoop. A sleepy-eyed PROF, unshaven and wearing robe and slippers, steps out to pick up the paper. As he unfolds it and peruses the front page, his face lights up.)

(CUT TO: Interior of Utonium Home, as the girls descend the stairs for breakfast. BUBBLES is carrying her new toy chimpanzee, which now wears her medal around it's neck. BLOSSOM has her 'nose' buried in the zoo book. BUTTERCUP, still not her usual boisterous self, at least looks less melancholy than when we last saw her. They float to the table, where pancakes and syrup are set out, and where PROF, now dressed, sits reading his paper.)

PPGs: (as they take their seats) Good morning, Professor.

PROF: Hello, girls! And there *is* good news this morning; they've caught the crooks who planted that Chernobyl bomb.

(PROF holds the paper so they can read the headline, 'Bomb Builders Captured', and see the photo: four geeky-looking middle-aged guys in handcuffs. The first one on the right, a skinny balding guy, has recognizable mean eyes.)

BLOSSOM: (reading the caption) "The so-called 'People's World Liberation Front' has turned out to be four disgruntled engineering professors, recently dismissed from their positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

BUTTERCUP: (pouring syrup) They're from MIT?! Just what'd *they* have against Townsville?

PROF: They wanted to show the world they were still a force to be reckoned with, taking out the 'famously resilient metropolis of Townsville.' But wait'll you hear how the investigators tracked them  down! Apparently, inside the bomb's casing was...

BUBBLES: (excitedly cutting in) ... a credit-card purchase slip for the bomb parts!

(Everybody stares at BUBBLES.)

PROF: How did you know?!

BUBBLES: I'm the one who found it! When we were helping those government people take the bomb apart.

BLOSSOM: (just a bit irked) You didn't mention that to me!

BUBBLES: I gave it to that nice FBI lady, an' she said it was real important for me to not tell *anybody* about it, until after the bad guys were caught. (She nibbles a pancake.)

BUTTERCUP: (frowning as she chews) Boy, talk about stupid! I'll bet even Fuzzy Lumpkins would've known better than to leave a credit-card slip behind.

PROF: It may have been dropped in there by accident. Or, the terrorists may have considered it a sure way to destroy the slip- that bomb blast would've blown it to atoms.

BLOSSOM: But they should have anticipated; such a record would point the finger straight at them, if, for whatever reason, the bomb didn't deploy. (shaking her head as she eats another forkful) I *really* don't understand that mentality- how could anyone with the brains of an MIT professor be so short on common sense?

PROF: (wry) It's not like we've never seen that combination before. (turns a page in his newspaper.) Speaking of which; here's something about what Mojo's been up to in Texas.

BUTTERCUP: (so intrigued she sets her plate aside) What'd he do? Rob the Houston Bank? Set the oil fields on fire?

PROF: (pulling a sheet out of the paper- it's the Society Page) According to this, he's been living it up at Senator Roundhouse's ranch.

(The Society Page headline is "Mojo's 'Big As Texas' Weekend." Below are several photos. MOJO in a swimsuit and sunglasses, sipping a banana daiquiri beside a huge pool. MOJO, in tennis whites, playing alongside a pretty lady who resembles Jennifer Capriatti. MOJO and SENATOR, mounted on horseback and wearing Stetsons, sharing a good laugh. MOJO, in his chef's hat, preparing ribs on a big barbecue, apparently to the great acclaim of the assembled dinner guests.)

BUBBLES: (fork held beside her cheek as she regards the pictures) Gee, those people seem to like Mojo's cooking.

BLOSSOM: A lot of grownups actually prefer hot sauce, Bubbles.

BUTTERCUP: (standing on her chair) He's gotta be up to something- he always is! I'll bet he's sneaking into the Senator's files at night an' stealing government secrets.

BLOSSOM: Or perhaps he's taking advantage of the opportunity to make connections in high places.

BUBBLES: Or maybe he's just having a really fun time!

PROF: (settling back) Well, whatever kind of game Mojo has going, it's Texas' problem for now.

BUBBLES: (gazing wistfully at the horse photo) I sure wish *I* had a pony.

PROF: (with a slight lowering of his eyebrows) Now, Bubbles, we've been over this several times be...

(PROF is interrupted by a familiar buzz. CUT TO: the Hotline phone, it's red nose blinking. BLOSSOM darts from the table to pick up the receiver.)

BLOSSOM: Yes, Mayor? What?! We'll be right there! (hanging up and turning urgently to her sisters) A giant stag beetle is attacking Townsville!

BUBBLES: (scared) Did you say... a BEETLE??!!

BUTTERCUP: A *giant* beetle, silly!

BUBBLES: (instantly losing her fear) Oh! Then let's go get it! (The Girls zoom off. PROF shakes his head and starts gathering up the breakfast dishes.)

(CUT TO: Yet another Standard Shot of the PPGs in fast flight.)

(CUT TO: Downtown Townsville. The citizens are doing their usual screaming-and-fleeing thing, from a monster doing it's usual roaring-and-destroying-buildings thing. Except for it's size and alert, angry eyes, it looks like a normal stag beetle; heavily built, purplish-brown all over, powerful but not terribly fast, and equipped with oversized forked pinchers. With these, it's chomping through every structure within reach. Every eight seconds or so, it emits a two-tone blasting noise, such as a dual-note foghorn might make. The Girls fly into view above it.)

BUTTERCUP: (delightedly smacking one 'fist' into the other) Whoa, that's one tough-looking bruiser! Can't we cut straight to the fight?

BLOSSOM: Buttercup, you know we're obligated to try to persuade it to leave first- it's a basic Superhero protocol. (She dives, coming to a halt in front of the beetle's head and addresses it sternly) Halt right there, monster! I'm giving you one chance to cease this attack on Townsville, before we...

(The beetle lunges to catch her between it's pinchers- she ducks, but loses the points off her hair bow. Frowning, she zooms back to her waiting sisters.)

BLOSSOM: All right; we may consider our obligation adequately fulfilled.

BUTTERCUP: About time!

BLOSSOM: Attack Pattern, Delta-Omega!

(The Girls group close together to form a wedge, launch themselves straight upwards, then turn and plunge straight down towards the beetle's back. They hit with tremendous force, making a dent in the rounded exoskeleton. Which promptly springs back to it's original shape, nsending the girls spinning off in different directions. Recovering, they repeat the maneuver, this time aiming at the head- the results are identical. A third attempt, aimed at a spiny leg, has worse results- with unexpected speed, the leg lashes out. It strikes them with a sound like a soccer-kick, projecting them through the wall of a nearby skyscraper. Dazed, they pick themselves up, looking out through the gaping hole made by their passage.)

BUTTERCUP: (holding her head) Ooo-oooh! What's that thing covered with? Titanium armor?

BUBBLES: I don't get it- when we fought the giant ant, it at least *noticed* when we punched it.

BLOSSOM: This is a beetle- they have much thicker exoskeletons. But let's see how it holds up to lasers!

(They return to the beetle, which is felling another building. They fire their eye-beams together, aiming for the monster's head. A red splotch appears where the beams strike, spreading out to cover the forehead. Eventually the girls have to cease firing to let their eyes recharge. To their dismay, the red area rapidly shrinks to a dot, then vanishes altogether. The beetle, emitting another of those two-tone roars, shakes it's head in minor annoyance, and chomps into another skyscraper.)

BUBBLES: Blossom! Use your Ice Breath!

(BLOSSOM darts above the monster, inhales deeply, and launches everything she's got. An enormous ice-block encases the beetle's head. For just a second it appears surprised. Then, frowning, it gives it's head a quick flip, breaking up the ice & sending it tumbling in a shower of cubes.)

BLOSSOM: (getting desperate) Bubbles! Try your sonic scream!

(BUBBLES positions herself in front of the monster, and lets loose. The beetle's only response is irritation, but the sonic waves bounce off it's exterior, shattering every window in the apartment house behind BUBBLES.)

BUBBLES: (embarrassed) Opps! Sorry! (But it's immediately rendered amoot point; the monster lunges for the apartment house, taking it down with one chomp.)

BUTTERCUP: (exasperated) At this rate, Townsville will look like a clear-cut forest before we stop this thing!

BLOSSOM: It's gotta have a weak spot somewhere. Everybody start searching!

(FAST MONTAGE of the three girls launching their lasers and themselves against every part of the beetle's body; the neck, the underside, the leg joints, the tip of the abdomen, under the chin, the antenni. Nothingseems to have any effect, beyond annoying the monster. BUTTERCUP flings herself against one eye, which, rebounding like a giant beachball, hurls BUTTERCUP straight into a nearby dumpster. Boiling mad, she emerges poised to attack again... Then, a la STAR WARS, she hears the PROFESSOR's resonant voice inside her own head.)

PROF's VOICE: Promise me...

BUTTERCUP: (startled) Wha...?

PROF'S VOICE: ... that you'll make a greater effort to look situations over before you act on them.

BUTTERCUP: (bewildered but obedient)  Look the situation over? Ah, all right, Professor...

(She stays in place and studies the monster through narrowed eyes. It's now swatting ineffectively at her still-attacking sisters. From her low angle, BUTTERCUP notices something she didn't before: a row of three porthole-sized openings along one side of   the beetle's abdomen. The foghorn blasts sound again; the portholes vibrate in synch. BUTTERCUP's eyes suddenly go round, and she leaps triumphantly into the sky.)

BUTTERCUP:  THAT'S IT!! (Hearing her shout, BUBBLES and BLOSSOM look towards her.) Girls, just try to keep that thing from doing more damage- I'll be back soon! (She jets away.)

(CUT TO: Shot of BUTTERCUP flying at top speed to Townsville's factory district. She spots a large building labeled TOWNSVILLE TAFFY MANUFACTURERS, and arcs downward to zip in through the 'Outlet Shop' door. CUT TO: Interior of the factory's Outlet Shop, where BUTTERCUP skids to a halt before the sales counter, manned by an elderly clerk.)

CLERK: (completely unruffled) May I help you?

BUTTERCUP: I need six twenty-pound balls of taffy right away!

CLERK: Which flavor do you...?

BUTTERCUP: Whatever is stickiest!

CLERK: That would be honey-flavored. Cash or charge?

BUTTERCUP: I'll have to owe you!

(She zooms past the counter, through a door marked 'Manufacturing Facilities- Employees Only.' Seconds later, she zooms back out, carrying six large yellow spheres, so she looks like a flying dodge-ball pile with legs.)

CLERK: (as BUTTERCUP streaks out the entrance) Thank you, and have a nice day.

(CUT TO: Downtown. BLOSSOM and BUBBLES are still pounding on the irate beetle, but are starting to lose steam. When BUBBLES is sent tumbling by   sideways blow from the pinchers, BLOSSOM zooms to catch her in mid-air.)

BLOSSOM: Are you all right?

BUBBLES: (dizzy) Yes, but, I don't think this is working! Where did Buttercup go, anyway?

BLOSSOM: (noting the beetle starting towards another skyscraper) I don't know; I just hope she makes it back before... (noticing a rapidly approaching stack of yellow spheres, trailing a green streak) Wait! I think that's her!

(BUTTERCUP rejoins her sisters and extends the taffy balls.)

BUTTERCUP: Quick! Each of you take two!

BUBBLES: (accepting hers uncertainly) It's nice of you to bring us a snack, but this really isn't the best...

BUTTERCUP: We're not gonna eat 'em! We're gonna throw 'em to block those six holes along the beetle's sides!

BLOSSOM: (catching on immediately) Of course!

(FAST MONTAGE of the PPGs darting about the monster and forcefully pitching taffy into each of the portholes. BUBBLES scoops a little sample off one sphere before tossing it.)

BUTTERCUP: (sending the last pitch home) Choke on that, ya overgrown cockroach! (Their task completed, the girls regroup overhead. The beetle, no longer emitting the foghorn sounds, reaches it's target building and opens it's pinchers wide... but suddenly freezes in place, going bug-eyed [so to speak.])

BUBBLES: What did we just do, anyway?

BUTTERCUP: (grinning, and patting herself along her sides) I noticed those openings were producing the blasting noises, an' remembered something the spider-lady at the zoo told us. Insects don't breath through their mouths, they breath through holes in their sides!

BLOSSOM: Which means we've just cut off it's oxygen supply! Now all we have to do is wait.

BUBBLES: (popping her taffy sample into her mouth) Mmmm! I'd call that a sweet victory! (noting her sisters' displeased expressions) Well, *somebody* had to say it.

(CUT TO: the obviously distressed beetle, now rocking from side to side, randomly snapping and kicking out it's legs. Finally it rears up,  it's pupils changing to cartoon Xs, and topples backwards with a noise like a falling tree. It crashes onto it's back, legs still erect, just like those graphics on pesticide cans. BUTTERCUP lands on the thorax and poses like a fight referee doing a countdown.)

BUTTERCUP: Eight, nine, ten! Yeeer *Out*!

(All around the edge of the fight area, Townsville citizens break into loud cheers and applause. Still atop the monster, BUTTERCUP raises both her arms, her expression one of total triumph. FREEZE IMAGE, change to black and white, and PULL BACK to show it's a photo on the front page of the Townsville Tribune. The accompanying headline is 'BUTTERCUP SAVES THE DAY!')

(PULL BACK FURTHER to show the opened newspaper is being held by a smiling PROF. He's at the breakfast table again, as are his Girls; BLOSSOM on his left, BUTTERCUP on his right and BUBBLES across from him. The Girls are eating cereal, and regarding the newspaper with pleasure.)

PROF: Well, Buttercup, I think we can safely assume; it'll be a while before we hear anybody questioning your fitness to be a Superhero.

BUBBLES: And you'll certainly have a good answer the next time someone asks; What have you done for me lately!?

BLOSSOM: I gotta hand it to you, Sis; when you use your head you really do a good job of it!

BUTTERCUP: (happier than she's been in days) I do, don't I? Maybe I *should* try it more often. (thoughtful) There was one weird thing about it, Professor. At that moment when I realized I needed to take a closer look at things, it was like you were right there saying it to me!

PROF: (fondly) I assure you, I wasn't. I'd guess that my words made such an impression, they came back to you just when you needed them most. (giving her a one-arm hug around the shoulders) I'm doubly proud of you, Buttercup. Not only for saving the day, but for the way you did it. (He kisses her on the forehead)

BUTTERCUP: (blushing a bit) Aw, shucks. Maybe we should talk about something else now, guys. (As she chews another mouthful of cereal, her eyes stray to the front page again. Suddenly, another item catches her attention.) Hey! What's that say? (She points out a smaller headline near the bottom right of Page One: 'Mojo Jojo Back In Town.' BLOSSOM, who's the closest, leans forward to read it.)

BLOSSOM: Nothing much- only that Mojo came home from Texas last night.

BUTTERCUP: What happened? Did Roundhouse kick him out when he discovered all the safes in his place had been robbed?

BLOSSOM: No, it looks like they parted on good terms. Just before Mojo boarded the plane, the Senator was overheard telling him, "I'd really like ta have y'all back here fer Labor Day, so try ta stay outta jail around then, Son."

BUBBLES: Then he must not have done anything bad, all the time he was at the ranch.

BLOSSOM: (frowning thoughtfully) And he didn't give us any trouble those last few days before he left, even when he had some clear opportunities. *Very* unusual.

BUTTERCUP: Yeah- I'd *really* like to know what was up with that!

PROF: (regarding BUTTERCUP meaningfully) Perhaps you could try to find out, while you're taking care of a certain other important matter.

BUTTERCUP: (petulant-little-kid voice) Do I *haveta*?

PROF: (gentle-but-leaving-no-room-for-argument tone) Yes, Buttercup. You have to.

(BUTTERCUP sighs, looking pouty but resigned.)

(CUT TO: Exterior Shot of the observatory. BUTTERCUP is standing in front of MOJO's door, which has boards nailed across it where BLOSSOM burst through.)

BUTTERCUP: ('distant' voice) Mojo? (knocking) Mojo, don't be afraid to   en up. I just want to talk.

MOJO'S VOICE: (from within) Coming....

(CUT TO: Closer shot of the landing, as MOJO opens the door and steps out. His manner is more subdued than usual, his movements a bit stiff, and he keeps one hand braced against the door jamb. As he faces BUTTERCUP, his expression, while not exactly welcoming, is short of hostile.)

MOJO: Well, what did you want to say?

BUTTERCUP: (with great effort) I'm, ah, I need to, ah, the Professor thinks I should tell you, I'm sssss....  ooorrrr...

MOJO: Are you attempting to make an apology?

BUTTERCUP: (talking very fast to get it over with) YES!! I'm sorry I socked you when I didn't think enough an' afterwards when you were behaving yourself I was accusing you an' hoping you'd do something wrong so I could wale on you an' it was because I was mad at you for handling the bomb situation better than me and that wasn't fair and I apologize. (with special fervor) But I'm taking it back, if it turns out this was all a cover for some power-grabbing scheme of yours, an' I still think that's what's really going on!

MOJO: (folding his arms and leaning against the door side) That is not an unreasonable interpretation, considering my history of similarly nmendacious behavior, so your theory may be regarded as feasible. None the less, it is incorrect.

BUTTERCUP: Then *you* tell me; why *have* you been acting like a decent person lately?

MOJO: Do you expect me to make an honest answer?

BUTTERCUP: Not really!

MOJO: Then why are you bothering to ask?

BUTTERCUP: Because I... (realizing he's got her there, her face twists into a sour scowl.) Boy, you really *are* having a great week, aren't you, Mojo?

MOJO: It has certainly been a necessary week. I was overdue to take my annual 'breather.'

(BUTTERCUP's jaw drops, as something clicks.)

BUTTERCUP: Wait a minute! Are you saying, you've spent the last several days being law-abiding, as a kind of *vacation*??

MOJO: Yes. That is not so hard to believe, is it? Or do you imagine that, as a Supervillain, I have no need to occasionally get away from the 'old grind'? Because you would be wrong. It is psychologically verifiable, that taking periodic breaks from routine is an effective way for anyone to refresh their mental energies and enthusiasm.

BUTTERCUP: This is something you do regularly? Once a year, you take some time off from evil-doing ?

MOJO: (holding up a warning finger) At a different time each year, which I *never* reveal beforehand, for reasons that I think should be obvious. So don't waste your breath inquiring when the next one is scheduled.

BUTTERCUP: (feeling much better) So now you're gonna go back to making dastardly plots to take over Townsville an' destroy the Powerpuff Girls an' the usual stuff?

MOJO: (nodding) That is what I do.

BUTTERCUP: (punching the air) All right! So I'll be getting more chances to kick your butt! (pause) But I'll wait until you give me a reason.

MOJO: (dryly) That is appreciated. (sags tiredly) However, do not count on it happening for a few days yet. In all probability, I am going to have to extend my hiatus.

BUTTERCUP: Huh? How come?

MOJO: Because a hope of yours was fulfilled. (He looks embarrassed, one hand moving to his hip) I did, indeed, acquire, 'saddle sores.'

BUTTERCUP: (not sure how to respond to this) Oh.

MOJO: And now, if you will excuse me, I am in need of a hot bath. I shall see you at a later time. (He hobbles back inside.)

BUTTERCUP: (as the door shuts) Yeah. See ya, Mojo.

(Still a bit confused, BUTTERCUP remains on Mojo's doorstep for several seconds, her face quirking. Finally, she shrugs, and zooms off into the
sky.)
(CUT TO: Pulsating Hearts logo, with nobody in the center)

NARRATOR: (startled, as though somebody just jostled him awake) Wha-haa?? We're at the end of this thing? Ah, then... (firmer) Once again, the day is saved, thanks to... Mojo, I guess, but that was back near the beginning of the story, wasn't it? The day was saved by... well, Buttercup, but that was a while ago too. At the finish, the day was... (snaps) Oh, just cue the End logo!

FADE TO: THE END

NARRATOR: (low voice) How can they expect a professional performance when they spring stuff like this on me? Sheesh....!

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