(An ornate sign for the gated entrance for an upscale housing development, The Falls at Arcadia. A man, DAVE KLINE, drives his SUV up to the computer keypad that opens the gate. He doesn't pull close enough and, irritated, he has to open his car door to reach the pad.)
FEMALE COMPUTER VOICE: Welcome to The Falls. Please enter your code now. Welcome to the Falls. Please enter your code now.
(DAVE finally gets his code pushed in, the buzzer sounds and the gate opens.)
FEMALE COMPUTER VOICE: Welcome home, Mr. Kline.
(He drives through the gate and into the development. All the houses and lawns are perfectly and identically maintained. DAVE smiles and waves at a neighbor working in the yard, but drops the smile quickly as soon as he is out of view. He pulls into his driveway in front of the three car garage. DAVE gets out of his car and goes to the mailbox with "THE KLINES" written on the side. As he opens it, he jerks his hand back wet with fresh paint. Another neighbor, WIN SHROEDER , is standing nearby smiling and holding a paint can and brush.)
WIN SHROEDER: (friendly) Oops. Did you get some on you, Dave? [Closed captioning said: "That should wash out with a little turpentine."] Sorry about that, Dave. (holding up the paint and brush) Just trying to be neighborly. Got to be up to code.
(DAVE KLINE, gives a forced smile, then irritated, gets his mail including a medium-sized package. Leaving the mailbox open, he goes into the house. [Closed captioning: DAVE KLINE: Jerk.] WIN SHROEDER comes over and carefully touches up the inside lip of the box. Inside the house, DAVE KLINE goes into the kitchen where his wife, NANCY KLINE is arranging flowers in a vase. He slams the package down on the counter.)
DAVE KLINE: (angry) Shroeder's out there painting our mailbox! You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to paint the whole damn house pink.
NANCY KLINE: Dave.
DAVE KLINE: (getting a beer out of the refrigerator) Forget about the mailbox, huh? I'm going to make this whole damn place look like you won it selling cosmetics. How about that? That'll show these Nazis.
NANCY KLINE: Honey, would you just calm down. Rules are rules.
DAVE KLINE: They're repainting our mailbox because it's "Desert Sienna" instead of "Desert Sage." I mean, this guy is a freakin' weirdo.
NANCY KLINE: Hon... what's that package?
DAVE KLINE: I don't know. It doesn't say who sent it.
(He unwraps it. It is a VERY tacky whirligig with a little man who chops wood as the wind blows the propeller.)
NANCY KLINE: Whoa.
DAVE KLINE: Tasteful.
(They both laugh. NANCY KLINE twirls the propeller.)
NANCY KLINE: Boy, the neighbors would really hate that.
(DAVE KLINE considers that. Later that night, the whirligig is on the front lawn twirling and tapping away. DAVE KLINE and NANCY KLINE are in bed asleep. The tapping of the whirligig stops. A breeze moves the curtains. Spooky.) NANCY KLINE: Honey... What is it?
(There is the sound of heavy footsteps and the floor creaking downstairs.)
DAVE KLINE: Stay here.
(He turns on the light, gets out of the bed and picks up a bowling/golf? trophy and holds it like a club. He goes downstairs and looks around. He sees large dirty footprints on the white carpet. We see something very large coming up behind him. He turns and begins screaming at the sight of Mr. Hankey attacking him. Well, at least it's really big, brown and slimy. DAVE KLINE screams. Upstairs, NANCY KLINE is huddled in bed, terrified, listening to the screams and thumps below.)
NANCY KLINE: Dave? Honey?!
(A glass of water beside her shakes with the vibrations. The screaming stops and the heavy footsteps come up the stairs. The large what-ever-it is enters the bedroom. NANCY KLINE begins screaming. The light in the bedroom goes out.)
(A woman, PAT VERLANDER, is standing in front of the KLINE's old house. She is holding a VERY large cellophane wrapped basket with a ribbon saying "Welcome Neighbors" on it. She looks rather nervous. The name on the mailbox now reads "THE PETRIES." A blue minivan and a white moving truck drive up house. MULDER and SCULLY get out of the van. MULDER is in a pink Izod shirt and has a dark sweater tied around his shoulders. SCULLY is in a dark embroidered cardigan and a dark skirt. Very preppy. Throughout the episode when MULDER and SCULLY are in front of others they act like a very friendly yuppie couple, always smiling. Little looks slip through, though. Well done by the actors.)
MULDER: Wow. Take a look at this. Honey, what do you think? Is this place us or what? [Closed captioning also has: "Check this out, sweetie."]
(SCULLY just smiles and joins him as they walk up to PAT VERLANDER.)
PAT VERLANDER: (very friendly) You must be the Petries. Hi. Welcome. Welcome to The Falls.
(She puts the huge basket into SCULLY's arms and giggles nervously.)
MULDER: (shaking her hand) I'm Rob... (puts his hands affectionately on SCULLY's shoulders) ... and this is my lovely wife, Laura.
PAT VERLANDER: Rob and Laura Petrie.
SCULLY: We pronounce it "Pee-trie," actually.
PAT VERLANDER: Oh.
MULDER: Like the dish.
PAT VERLANDER: Well, it's so nice to meet you. I'm Pat Verlander. I live six doors down. I'm the neighborhood welcome wagon.
SCULLY: (struggling with the large basket that MULDER makes no move to help her with) Pleased to make your acquaintance, Pat.
PAT VERLANDER: (looking at her watch, very concerned) I really must say, it's already ten after 5:00. I don't think you're going to make it.
SCULLY: I'm sorry?
PAT VERLANDER: The 6:00 cutoff? All move-ins are required to be completed by 6:00 p.m. (MULDER and SCULLY look at her blankly.) It's in the CC&Rs. It's one of our rules.
(MULDER, SCULLY and PAT VERLANDER enter the house. It is sparkling clean.)
MULDER: Wow. The photos did not do it justice.
(Behind them, some other neighbors are already bringing in boxes and pieces of furniture.)
PAT VERLANDER: (quietly, to other neighbors) Guys, fast, fast now. Come on.
(MULDER smiles down at SCULLY, and pats her on the shoulders. She turns, probably expecting him to help her with the heavy basket, but he turns away looking at the house. She pauses a moment, then sets the basket down on a chair that someone has just carried in.)
MULDER: The previous owners left it so clean.
PAT VERLANDER: What do you do for a living Mr... Petrie? That's right, isn't it?
MULDER: (big grin, putting his arm around SCULLY's shoulders and hugging her) Yeah, I, uh... I work mostly at home which is great for Laura because she gets me all to herself.
PAT VERLANDER: (laughing) Oh.
SCULLY: This place really is immaculate, Pat. I, uh, I wouldn't mind sending a thank-you note to the previous owners.
PAT VERLANDER: Th-that's sweet. Um... Good.
(PAT VERLANDER runs nervously out the door. As soon as she is out of view, SCULLY shrugs MULDER's arm off her shoulders, raises her hands slightly and gives him a warning look. MULDER nods. They hear voices outside.)
MAN: (outside) Hurry up! Come on... Come on...
(MULDER and SCULLY go back out the door. At the van, 10 or so neighbors are handing items down off the truck and carrying them into the house.)
MAN: Okay, move it, people. Come on.
(MULDER and SCULLY encounter WIN SHROEDER just outside on his way in with a chair on his head. They talk through the bars on the seat back.)
WIN SHROEDER: Rob and Laura Petrie.
WIN SHROEDER: Win Shroeder, next-door neighbor. Welcome home.
MULDER: Hi, Win. Nice to meet you.
WIN SHROEDER: Now, don't you folks worry. We'll have you moved in before 6:00. (to another neighbor over his shoulder) Time?!
WIN SHROEDER: (pushing past MULDER and SCULLY and entering the house) Uh... pardon me, neighbor.
(The other neighbors quickly pass with boxes and items of furniture. They all smile and nod at MULDER and SCULLY as they pass.)
MULDER: Thank you. Thanks. Oh, thank you. Thanks. Thank you. Thank you.
(At the truck, SCULLY sees BIG MIKE, a rather large sweet-faced man, picking up a box marked "china." SCULLY, nervous, runs to him and tries to get him to put the box down.)
SCULLY: Excuse me! I'll get that. It's okay.
BIG MIKE: No. No, don't be silly. It's heavy. I got it.
(He hoists the box to his shoulder where it promptly rolls off and falls to the ground with the shatter of breaking glass. BIG MIKE is mortified.)
BIG MIKE: Oh, no. I'm... I'm so sorry. I'm really sorry.
(A woman, CAMI SHROEDER, comes over quickly.)
CAMI SHROEDER: (soothing) Mike. Mike, Mike, Mike, it's okay. It's okay, Mike. Go help Gordy.
BIG MIKE: Send me any bills. I'm... I'm sorry.
(As BIG MIKE goes to help someone else, CAMI SHROEDER helps SCULLY carry the box to the house.)
CAMI SHROEDER: I'm Cami Shroeder, by the way. Win's wife.
SCULLY: Nice to meet you. I'm Laura.
(MULDER is standing at the back of the truck where the MOVER is pulling out a portable basketball goal.)
MOVER: Yeah. Where's this go?
MULDER: Uh, you can put that in the driveway.
WIN SHROEDER: (running up) Whoa, whoa! Hold on, hold on. Let's... let's talk. Um... A b-ball fan, huh? Shooting hoops-- that's, um, that's not good. That's going to stand out in your front yard over there.
MULDER: Stand out, Win?
WIN SHROEDER: Well, as in, uh... not be aesthetically pleasing... to the eye. But, hey, you know, maybe you can get special dispensation from Mr. Gogolak, president of our Homeowner's Association. I'd take it up with him but in the meantime, um... let's keep that in the garage. (chuckles nervously)
MULDER: (unsure what else to say) Just... put it in the garage.
WIN SHROEDER: Okay. Let's finish getting you folks moved in. Let's go, people. Let's move! Move!
(Later, time on MULDER'S Omega watch face is 5:59 pm. Date on the watch is the 7th. Hmm. Moving truck pulls away. MULDER stands in the doorway, arm around SCULLY and they wave at the smiling departing neighbors. As soon as the door is closed, SCULLY walks into the living room.)
MULDER: Oh, yeah. Nothing weird going on around here. (following SCULLY) Hey... ooh, wait a minute. You didn't let me carry you over the threshold.
(SCULLY takes off her coat and faces MULDER.)
SCULLY: You ready?
MULDER: Let's get it on, honey.
SCULLY: (smiles) All right, then.
(She hands him a pair of latex gloves and goes to the box that BIG MIKE dropped and opens it. Sound of glass rattling. She pulls out a piece of broken lab equipment and sighs.)
SCULLY: Thanks to our friendly neighbors there will be no fluorescein bloodstain enhancement.
(MULDER is down on the floor pulling up a corner of the carpeting.)
MULDER: Not that it makes much difference. This place is so clean you could build computer chips.
(SCULLY takes out a small video camera and turns it on. She begins walking through the first floor of the house, taping and narrating as she goes.)
SCULLY: Okay. 6:01 p.m., February 24. Agents Scully and Mulder in the former home of David and Nancy Kline who disappeared without a trace last July. The Klines were the third such couple to disappear since this neighborhood was built in 1991. All were apparently stable professional people with no history of violence, domestic discord or mental illness and it took a family member or employee to realize that they were gone including their cars and a few personal items. What local police found in each case was nothing-- just impeccably-manicured homes and a community of neighbors who professed total ignorance that anyone had disappeared.
MULDER: That's pretty surprising considering how nutty this bunch is about being neighborly.
SCULLY: The local police departments were at a dead end so they turned to the FBI. AD Skinner, in assigning us this case thought a fruitful approach to the investigation would be if we went undercover posing as prospective home buyers as this planned community would seem to hide a dark, possibly murderous conspiracy of silence.
(MULDER comes very close into the video frame.)
MULDER: (seductively) You want to make that honeymoon video now?
(SCULLY turns the camera off. MULDER sits on the kitchen counter and pulls his gloves off.)
SCULLY: Rob and Laura Petrie?
SCULLY: Mulder, if we ever go undercover again I get to choose the names, okay?
SCULLY: It just tells me that you're not taking this seriously.
MULDER: I'm taking it seriously. I just don't understand why we're on it. It's our first catch back on the X-Files. This isn't an X-File.
SCULLY: Sure it is. It's unexplained. What do you want, aliens? Tractor beams?
MULDER: Wow. Admit it: you just want to play house.
(Doorbell rings. SCULLY gives him a look and starts for the door.)
MULDER: (demanding) Woman, get back in here and make me a sandwich!
(SCULLY stops, smiles slightly and snaps off her gloves and throws them at his head and continues on to the door.)
MULDER: Did I not make myself clear?
(SCULLY answers the door with a big smile. It is BIG MIKE holding a hastily filled box of china.)
SCULLY: Hi. Well, you didn't need to do that.
BIG MIKE: Oh, please. I have more dishes than I need. I just usually use one and then... wash it. (SCULLY smiles) Uh... I'm... uh, Mike Raskub, by the way.
SCULLY: (shaking his hand) Hi.
BIG MIKE: Big Mike, for obvious reasons. I just live the next street over.
(SCULLY notices that he is wearing a caduceus necklace.)
SCULLY: Oh. That's a caduceus. Are you a doctor, Mike?
BIG MIKE: No, a vet. Veterinarian. If you folks are thinking about getting a dog or any pet I'd be happy to check it out for you, no charge. Just, uh... you're not allowed to have over 16 pounds of pet. That's one of the CC&Rs.
SCULLY: Mighty nice of you, Mike. I, uh ... gosh, with all this hospitality, I can't believe the Klines ever left. (BIG MIKE looks very uncomfortable.) That, uh... that was their name, wasn't it? The, uh, the Klines?
BIG MIKE: I have to go.
(He hands her the box of china, then turns and leaves quickly. SCULLY closes the door and goes back to where MULDER is scraping something off the top of one of the ceiling fan blades. She sets the china on the floor.)
MULDER: The name ... is Rob.
SCULLY: What you got there?
(MULDER puts the scraping into a plastic evidence bag and shows it to SCULLY. It is dark brown, about an inch wide.)
MULDER: Looks like whoever cleaned this place maybe missed a spot. That look like blood to you?
SCULLY: Mm-hmm. (they look up at the fan) How'd it get way up there?
(GENE GOGOLAK's house. Several of the neighbors are sitting around the dining table. The host GENE GOGOLAK, is a distinguished older looking man. Dinner is almost over. They are drinking coffee.)
PAT VERLANDER: I, uh... didn't really learn much about them. He just said he works at home, which tells me she's got money.
CAMI SHROEDER: Well... seemed nice. Cute couple.
BIG MIKE: Mmm, very cute. Uh, they're a nice couple.
WIN SHROEDER: What do you think, Gene?
GENE GOGOLAK: Ladies, my compliments to the chef.
PAT VERLANDER: (blushing, looking pleased) Cami? Sissy?
(PAT VERLANDER, CAMI SHROEDER, and the other woman collect the plates and leave the room.)
GENE GOGOLAK: These Petries, are they going to play ball?
WIN SHROEDER: "Pee-tries." Uh, so far, so good. I'm keeping my eye on them.
BIG MIKE: (nervous) Um... Mr. Gogolak... (takes a breath) Don't you think that, uh... maybe this time it would be better if we told them?
WIN SHROEDER: (warning) Mike... you and I have been through this before. We... we don't know yet if we can trust them.
BIG MIKE: It's just that... There are so many... so many rules. I think that maybe they would be able to keep up with them better if they knew what happened if they don't. It's the neighborly thing to do. I really think we should do this.
GENE GOGOLAK: (looking at him steadily) Son... Godspeed.
BIG MIKE: (relieved) Thank you. Um... can I, uh, use your...?
GENE GOGOLAK: Second door to the left.
(BIG MIKE gets up and heads for the bathroom.)
GENE GOGOLAK: (calling after him) There's Glade under the sink. Gordy, how about you go make sure he finds it.
(GORDY, nods and goes after BIG MIKE. WIN SHROEDER and GENE GOGOLAK are alone in the dining room.)
WIN SHROEDER: Gene? I can talk him out of this.
GENE GOGOLAK: Win. (Closed captioning said: When?) The boy's a weak link and a strong chain can't survive with a weak link.
(WIN SHROEDER is not pleased, but reluctantly accepts what GENE GOGOLAK has said.)
(Later that evening. Light in the front yard is on. BIG MIKE is alone in his house watching a documentary on some primitive tribe. They are heavily painted and wear masks and are chanting and dancing around a fire.)
DOCUMENTARY NARRATOR: ... is instinctive and necessary for survival. Failure to conform within the tribal structure can often prove lethal. When group elders suspect such an outcast within their midst tribal members gather in a circle to perform a ritual chant in the belief this will expose the unwitting conduit of evil. The chanters eventually settle on the so-called misfit and he or she ... [Closed captioning continues: ..."is punished severely, sometimes with death."]
(BIG MIKE hears a sound outside, and looks out to see that the light in the front yard is out.)
BIG MIKE: (jumping up and running to get a new bulb) Oh, no.
(Outside, new bulb in hand, he runs to the lamp. The old bulb is shattered. As he goes frantically to unscrew it, he cuts himself.)
BIG MIKE: Agh!
(Behind him, there is movement under the ground. Desperately, BIG MIKE ignores the pain in his hand and manages to get the old bulb out and the new one in.)
BIG MIKE: Come on. Come on. Come on. Ah, yes.
(He sighs in relief and shakes some blood off of his wounded hand. We hear heavy footsteps. Behind him, we see the large dark slimy figure coming close. BIG MIKE turns around in horror.)
BIG MIKE: No... No... No, I fixed it! I fixed it!
(Mike screams, and we see LOTS of blood splatter onto his doormat, Welcome to Mike's Place. Eww.)
(Next morning, WIN SHROEDER is using a garden hose to spray the blood off of BIG MIKE's porch. He looks sad. MULDER and SCULLY come up to him with the box of china.
WIN SHROEDER: Oh! Oh, Rob, Laura. ("accidentally?" sprays their legs with the hose) I'm so sorry. So, good morning. So how was your first night? Peaceful?
MULDER: (looking fondly at SCULLY) Oh, it was wonderful. We just spooned up and fell asleep like little baby cats. Isn't that right, Honeybunch?
SCULLY: (forced smile) That's right, Poopyhead. Win, are we in the right place? I thought this was Big Mike's house.
WIN SHROEDER: Yeah... Yeah. I'm just helping out. Mike had to leave town on business.
SCULLY: What kind of business? I thought he was a veterinarian.
WIN SHROEDER: (smiles, pause) Veterinarian business, I guess. I just know he's gone weeks at a time.
MULDER: (indicating the box of dishes) I'll just leave this here then.
WIN SHROEDER: (stopping him) Let me take those. Just... tidier-looking than leaving them on the front porch.
MULDER: Be more aesthetically pleasing, huh?
WIN SHROEDER: Exactly. Say, would you two like to join Cami and me for dinner this evening? ABOUT 6:00? We eat early.
SCULLY: That sounds great. Thanks.
WIN SHROEDER: Great.
(MULDER puts his arm around SCULLY's shoulders and they start to leave. MULDER turns back.)
MULDER: Oh, Win uh, you mentioned, uh... that I could talk to someone about putting up my basketball hoop? Who was that again? Mr. Gogolak, was it?
(WIN SHROEDER forces a smile.)
(GENE GOGOLAK's house. There are lots of statues and tribal looking decorations around. GENE GOGOLAK is looking through the large rule book for The Falls at Arcadia. MULDER and SCULLY sit on the couch very close together. MULDER has his arm wrapped around her shoulders and his other hand on her arm. Very cuddly.)
GENE GOGOLAK: All right, then, let's see. Basketball hoop and backboard. Portable. Nope, I'm sorry. It's not allowed.
MULDER: You're kidding?
GENE GOGOLAK: I'm afraid not. Rules are rules. It may not sound like anything-- a simple basketball hoop-- but from there, it's just a few short steps to spinning daisy reflectors and a bass boat in the driveway.
MULDER: In other words, anarchy.
GENE GOGOLAK: It may sound tough but ours is a system that works. (he reverently places the book on a stand - like for a Bible or Atlas) That's why The Falls is one of the top-ranked planned communities in all of California. Most of our homeowners have been here since day one.
(SCULLY pats MULDER's hand affectionately, then looks like she realized what she did and pulls her hand back embarassed. Very cute.)
MULDER: I love the decor here, Mr. Gogolak. Is it, um... Occidental?
GENE GOGOLAK: Well, it's, uh, Nepalese and Tibetan, mostly. I go there twice a year on business.
GENE GOGOLAK: I run Pier 9 Imports. I can get you a great deal on rattan furniture if you're interested. Indoor only. Outdoor use is prohibited by our ... (pats the book) ... CC&Rs.
(MULDER and SCULLY nod.)
(SHROEDER's house. MULDER and SCULLY are having dinner with the SHROEDERs. White wine and tuna casserole. A small yappy dog is begging at the table. Definitely under the 16 pounds of pet limit.)
WIN SHROEDER: Uh-uh, Scruffy. Go on, now. Sweetheart? Did you use the dolphin-safe tuna this time?
CAMI SHROEDER: Dolphin-safe all the way, Honey.
WIN SHROEDER: We always use the dolphin-safe.
MULDER: (eating) You've got to love those dolphins ... although they're pretty tasty, too.
(After a beat of shocked silence, SCULLY laughs nervously.)
WIN SHROEDER: So... Where'd you two meet?
(SCULLY is about to say something, probably what they had agreed on would be the cover story, but MULDER speaks first.)
MULDER: Actually, it was at a UFO conference.
WIN SHROEDER: Flying saucers? Interesting. Wouldn't have thought you folks would have been into that.
MULDER: (putting his arm around SCULLY) Well, it's not me so much as Laura. She's quite the New-Ager. I mean, she's into those magnetic bracelets and crystals and mood rings, what have you. I mean, God bless her she's a sucker for all that stuff.
CAMI SHROEDER: Well, I wouldn't have guessed that, would you?
WIN SHROEDER: Mm-mm.
SCULLY: (fake smile) No kidding.
MULDER: Yeah. You know, Win, uh, when you, uh... when you told me this morning that Big Mike was out of town on business ... I don't think that's true.
WIN SHROEDER: You don't?
MULDER: Mmm. No, 'cause we called his office, didn't we, Honey?
SCULLY: We did.
(WIN SHROEDER clears throat uncomfortably.)
MULDER: We're thinking about getting a dog so we wanted to call him and ask him his advice, whatever, and see if maybe his office had a forwarding number and they said, you know...
SCULLY: That he wasn't there. They didn't know where he was.
SCULLY: Do you know where he is, Win?
(CAMI SHROEDER looks at her husband.)
WIN SHROEDER: (uncomfortable laugh) Really couldn't tell you.
MULDER: Mmm. It's got to be something really freaky-deaky, hunh? I mean, for him to lie about it like that? Maybe he's got some wild secret life going on.
(Looks at SCULLY and they share a small laugh. CAMI SHROEDER looks very uncomfortable.)
MULDER: But every community has its dark underbelly don't you think?
WIN SHROEDER: (defensively) We don't have any underbelly. As far as I'm concerned this community is the American Dream.
CAMI SHROEDER: Um... I'm sorry. I, um... realize that it's past time that I walk Scruffy.
SCULLY: Would you like company?
CAMI SHROEDER: Yeah.
(MULDER and WIN SHROEDER stand as the women get up. MULDER moves to embrace and kiss SCULLY but she quickly kisses the air a few inches away from his face and steps away. MULDER grins. The men sit back down and SCULLY and CAMI SHROEDER go outside with the dog. It is dark as they walk down the street.)
SCULLY: So is this the American dream? This place?
CAMI SHROEDER: (not sounding sure of herself) Oh, uh... nice neighborhood, you know... just a lot of people who want the best for their families.
SCULLY: So it's just not your dream. (CAMI SHROEDER shrugs) You know, Cami, I-I've noticed that you've, uh, walked us past Mike's house... twice. Are you worried about him?
CAMI SHROEDER: No... I don't really know what you mean.
(The dog hears something, gets loose and runs into a storm drain.)
CAMI SHROEDER: Scruffy! Scruffy, come here! Scruffy, no! Scruffy! Come out here! (barking) Scruffy! Scruffy, come out of there. (barking continues)
(SCULLY turns on her flashlight and kneels down beside CAMI SHROEDER to look in the drain.)
SCULLY: . Let me take a look.
CAMI SHROEDER: Do you see him?
(SCULLY sees BIG MIKE's caduceus necklace. Her arm is not long enough to get it. As she reaches for it, the dog comes running back out of the drain. CAMI SHROEDER picks up the trembling dog.)
CAMI SHROEDER: Oh, Scruffy, Scruffy, it's okay, it's okay. I got you. I got you. Oh...
SCULLY: (to dog) What you got there?
CAMI SHROEDER: Deep breath. That's a close one, huh? Yeah?
(The dog's muzzle has brown gunk on it. SCULLY takes out a handkerchief and wipes some of it off.)
SCULLY: Let me wipe that off. That's a good boy.
CAMI SHROEDER: Okay, let's get you home. Come on.
(As they walk back to the house, someone/thing raises the drain cover and watches them.)
(Later that night. "Petrie" household. MULDER and SCULLY are in the bedroom. SCULLY is in plain white pajamas and robe. She is on the phone.)
SCULLY: (on phone) All right, Lieutenant.
(MULDER, dressed all in black, shows her BIG MIKE's necklace which he has removed from the drain and placed in a plastic bag.)
MULDER: (whisper) Here. Caduceus.
SCULLY: (on phone) Thank you. (hangs up and looks at the necklace) Local PD came up blank on...
(She pauses as MULDER, having taken off his sweatshirt, tosses it across the room to a chair barely missing her head. We see a little of his chest, but then the gray t-shirt is pulled back down. Darn.)
SCULLY: Mike Raskub. No activity on his credit cards. No sighting of his '97 Mercury Villager.
(SCULLY goes into the bathroom while MULDER reads the screen on the laptop.)
MULDER: Yeah, there's no sign of him in his house. I didn't see him in the storm drain, either. I take it he's dead, Scully.
SCULLY: (from the bathroom) Laura.
(MULDER sarcastically mouths "Okay.")
SCULLY: (from the bathroom) Think it's Win Shroeder?
MULDER: (looking at the bagged handkerchief) Mmm, maybe Win cleaning up.
SCULLY: (from the bathroom) Cleaning up for who?
MULDER: I don't know.
SCULLY: (from the bathroom) Mulder, speaking of cleaning up whoever taught you how to squeeze a tube of toothpaste?
(She sticks her arm out from the bathroom showing him the tube squeezed in the middle. MULDER ignores it.)
MULDER: Hey, what do we know about this stuff?
SCULLY: (from the bathroom) I'm driving down to San Diego tomorrow and have it analyzed.
MULDER: All right.
SCULLY: (From the bathroom) Third warning: (sound of toilet seat falling) Toilet seat. (toilet flushes)
(MULDER glances at the bathroom, then goes over to the bed and sprawls out on it.)
MULDER: Why kill Big Mike?
(SCULLY comes out of the bathroom. She has a terrycloth headband and her face is covered in a bright green mud mask. MULDER looks up and is startled by her appearance. Very funny.)
SCULLY: What's missing here is intent. What would be the motive?
(She throws the sweatshirt at his head.)
MULDER: Compulsive neatness, or a lack thereof. Have you noticed how everybody around here is obsessed with the neighborhood rules and the CC&Rs? You know what? You fit in really well here.
SCULLY: (pointedly looking at him lying on the bed) And you don't.
MULDER: (adjusting the pillows to make himself more comfortable) Well, anyway, tomorrow I got a, uh, a surefire way of testing out my theory.
(He puts the bed beside him seductively and waggles his eyebrows at her. She raises her eyebrows at him.)
MULDER: (coaxing) Come on, Laura, you know... we're married now.
SCULLY: Scully, Mulder. Good night.
(MULDER gets up from the bed taking a pillow. He pauses next to her.)
MULDER: The thrill is gone.
(As he heads off to sleep wherever it is he's going to sleep, SCULLY sighs and goes to the bed.)
(Next day. MULDER carries a pink plastic flamingo outside and stands it up in the front yard. He looks around confidently and pumps his fists.)
MULDER: Bring it on.
(He goes back inside and goes to the refrigerator and gets a carton of Tropicana orange juice and takes a drink right from the carton. He then goes to the window and sees that the flamingo has already been removed. He goes outside and over to the mailbox. He kicks it hard several times until it is leaning over. He opens it and pulls up the flag. Then as an afterthought he tosses some of the orange juice on it. Remember, that is Tropicana orange juice, official orange juice of the X-Files. He goes back inside and sits at a window to watch the mailbox. And drink Tropicana orange juice. Time on his Omega watch is 1:55. Date is the ninth. Hmmm. Should be Feruary 26th. Time passes. 4:55. He has now finished the carton of orange juice and really has to pee. He shifts around uncomfortably, then starts to make a wider opening in the carton, then looks over his shoulder, thinks better of it and goes to the bathroom. We hear a toilet flush, ... then he goes back to the window. The mailbox has been righted and cleaned. He goes outside. The flag is still up and he opens the box. Inside, there is a folded piece of paper which says "Be like the others... before it gets dark." He looks around and crumples the paper.)
(Later that night, there is the sound of a basketball being bounced. WIN SHROEDER and CAMI SHROEDER come out of their house in their robes and stare in shock at MULDER who has set up his basketball goal and is shooting hoops.)
WIN SHROEDER: Stay here.
CAMI SHROEDER: (desperate) Stop him, Win.
WIN SHROEDER: Stay here!
CAMI SHROEDER: Stop him!
(WIN SHROEDER angrily marches over to MULDER.)
MULDER: Hey, Win. Want to play "horse"? (tosses the ball to him)
WIN SHROEDER: What the hell are you doing? (takes MULDER's basketball and throws it to the side)
MULDER: What am I doing?
(WIN SHROEDER grabs the goal and starts to tilt it over so he can roll it back into the garage.)
MULDER: (stepping on the goal to keep it upright) What are you doing?
WIN SHROEDER: Damn it, Rob, get off of it! Help me get this thing inside.
MULDER: Why? What's going to happen if we don't?
WIN SHROEDER: Fine. That's the way you want it?
MULDER: It's just a basketball hoop, Win. I don't understand why you're getting all bent out of shape.
WIN SHROEDER: The CC&Rs don't allow it. You know that.
MULDER: What's the worst thing that could happen? I get fined?]
(The ground moves slightly behind CAMI SHROEDER next door where she is nervously waiting outside.)
WIN SHROEDER: You were warned.
MULDER: Warned about what?
CAMI SHROEDER: (screaming) No! No! Please!
(Next door, a large figure is coming at CAMI SHROEDER. MULDER leaves WIN SHROEDER and runs over and sees the figure as it runs off.)
(MULDER loses sight of it. CAMI SHROEDER, still frightened, is sobbing.)
MULDER: Cami... you all right?
(WIN SHROEDER has joined them, and they look up at the yard light, which like BIG MIKE's was, is broken.)
(Short time later. The basketball goal is dragged into the garage and the door is closed. SCULLY pulls the minivan into the driveway and carries a shopping bag into the house. [Anyone recognize the store?] She goes to the living room and pulls out the test results. From the upper floor, she hears a thump.)
(There is another muffled bang and then the sound of footsteps.)
SCULLY: Mulder, is that you?
(SCULLY takes the poker from the fireplace stand behind her and holding it like a weapon goes upstairs to investigate. Outside, MULDER is looking around the yard. He trips as his foot breaks through the sod. He pulls the sod back revealing a large hole. Inside, SCULLY, now upstairs hears a sound downstairs. As she is coming back downstairs we see someone running past on the upper hallway. She glances up, but sees nothing. She hears another sound downstairs and slowly makes her way to the foot of the stairs and swings the poker at the approaching figure. MULDER ducks and grabs her arm just before she hits him.)
(They both gasp in relief.)
SCULLY: Sorry, Mulder. Somebody was in the house.
MULDER: Tidying up. Whoever it was, they put away my basketball hoop. Somebody's looking out after us, Scully which may not be a bad thing.
(SCULLY follows him upstairs.)
SCULLY: What do you mean?
MULDER: I got a look at that thing that's been scaring everybody and I take it back. This is an X-File.
(GENE GOGOLAK's house. He is looking at the broken bulb from the SCHROEDER's light. WIN SHROEDER is very upset.)
GENE GOGOLAK: How's Cami?
WIN SHROEDER: (not pleased) What did we do wrong, Gene? Was our welcome mat not to your liking? Did I coil my garden hose clockwise instead of counterclockwise?
GENE GOGOLAK: Hold the phone, now. Are you saying that I had something to do with this?
WIN SHROEDER: Who else? The exact same thing-- the thing you had me do to Mike. Who else would do that?
GENE GOGOLAK: Son, you'll want to take a deep breath... and rethink that theory. It's your next-door neighbor, Win. He's a rabble-rouser. He's trouble with a capital "T." And you and I both know it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch.
(MULDER and SCULLY in their front yard. While SCULLY holds the flashlight for him, MULDER pulls up a layer of sod and finds another hole with loose dirt.)
MULDER: Here we go. Yeah...I'm guessing there's one of these in every yard. I think this is how this thing travels-- where it lives.
SCULLY: (skeptical) In the ground. This huge creature you think you saw?
(They look at each other. SCULLY sighs.)
SCULLY: Look, Mulder, huge creatures aside do you care to hear what I think?
MULDER: (not quite sarcastic) Always.
(SCULLY smiles tightly and leads him back into the house to show him the test results she brought back.)
SCULLY: These are the lab results from the San Diego PD. First of all, the stuff that we found on the fan blade-- the dried blood and scalp hairs? It's neither. The blood is predominantly ketchup and brake fluid and the hairs are bristles from a scrub brush and the same goes for the sample we found on the dog's muzzle. It's coffee grounds, eggshells and motor oil with about 50 other constituents with a little mercurochrome for color. In other words, Mulder, it's garbage. Which makes perfect sense because this entire neighborhood has been built upon an old landfill.
MULDER: A landfill?
SCULLY: Mm-hmm. We found this stuff everywhere because it is everywhere. It's just beneath the topsoil and that protrusion in the front yard may occur from the venting of methane gas but... Mulder, I don't see how any of this has to do with the disappearances that we're investigating.
MULDER: It does. Somehow, it's one and the same. The Klines?
MULDER: What if they're still here
SCULLY: You mean buried in the yard? (MULDER nods.) Well, once we start a forensic excavation, our cover's blown.
(Next morning. As the other neighbors look on in horror, MULDER stands looking on as a backhoe begins ripping up the front yard. PAT VERLANDER runs up to him.)
PAT VERLANDER: (hysterical) What in God's name are you doing?! God...!
MULDER: Putting in a pool.
PAT VERLANDER: In the front yard?! Wh-wh-what are you, insane? Have you even looked at the CC&Rs? You-you can't just put in a swimming pool!
MULDER: (putting his finger to his lips) Ah... It's not a swimming pool. It's a reflecting pool. I checked the rules. (gets the book for reference) There's no rule against putting in a reflecting pool. It's very tranquil. You'd like it.
(PAT VERLANDER tries to speak, but sees GENE GOGOLAK with WIN SHROEDER watching from across the street. He nods to her and she runs back down the drive. MULDER waves to them.)
GENE GOGOLAK: (to WIN SHROEDER) Let him dig his own grave.
(Late that night. SCULLY comes out of the house and goes up to the edge of the very deep hole.)
SCULLY: (softly) Hey. Mulder.
(MULDER stands up from where he has been searching in the hole. He looks exhausted and like his back hurts.)
SCULLY: (gently) The Klines aren't down there. Maybe it's time you called it a night.
(MULDER looks up at the scoop of the backhoe. The tacky lawn ornament from the teaser is caught in the teeth of the scoop. He pulls it free and they look closely at it.)
MULDER: Tasteful, isn't it?
(There is a tag on it that says "Pier 9 Imports.")
MULDER: Gogolak. Hey, can you get an excavation team out here?
MULDER: We need to dig deeper.
SCULLY: Where are you going?
MULDER: To price some rattan furniture.
(MULDER goes across the street. SCULLY pulls out her cell phone and goes back into the house. Camera pans down into the hole and we see a dirty hand reaching up through a wet bubbling puddle of mud. Eww.)
(SCULLY is in the bedroom. She dials her cell phone.)
SCULLY: (on phone) Yes, this is Special Agent Dana Scully. I need a full forensic team to 450 Autumn Terrace.
(Outside we see large muddy feet walking into the house.)
SCULLY: (on phone) No, not tomorrow. Tonight.
(She hears a loud thud downstairs. Probably front door getting knocked down.)
SCULLY: (on phone) I'm sorry. Can I call you back?
(She hangs up and reaches into her underwear drawer and pulls out her empty gun holster. She drops it back on the dresser.)
SCULLY: (under her breath, really worried) Jeez. [closed captioning: "Jesus."]
(She hears loud footsteps and we see the muddy feet walking up the stairs.)
SCULLY: (whisper) Oh, god.
(SCULLY slowly backs away from the closed bedroom door. A large figure comes up behind her. She screams, but it is muffled as a large dirty hand clamps over her mouth and her gun is held to her neck.)
BIG MIKE: It's come for you, Laura. You can't make a noise. Shh. Shh.
(He releases her and she turns quickly to see him. BIG MIKE looks bad. He is covered with filth and blood from several wounds. They whisper.)
SCULLY: Mike. Mike. What happened to you?
BIG MIKE: You have to get out of here.
(They hear a heavy thud downstairs. BIG MIKE begins pushing furniture in front of the bedroom door.)
SCULLY: What are you talking about? Who's downstairs?
BIG MIKE: Shh, shh, shh.
SCULLY: Mike... who did this to you?
BIG MIKE: The ubermenscher. It's our fault. The original homeowners-- we asked for it and now we can't stop it.
SCULLY: Stop what, Mike?
BIG MIKE: I tried to give it Shroeder. You know, tit-for-tat. Just like Shroeder did for me.
SCULLY: (calming tone) Mike, listen, settle down. Okay. Just give me my gun. I'm a federal agent...
BIG MIKE: The ubermenscher wants you, Laura. Your husband-- he's broken way too many rules. I've been hiding in the sewer. I tried to warn him.
(Something starts trying to break down the bedroom door. BIG MIKE pushes SCULLY behind him.)
SCULLY: Mike, just give me the gun. Give me...
(BIG MIKE pushes SCULLY into the closet, locks it and pulls the dresser in front of it. He turns and points the gun at the bedroom door. Something really big breaks in the bedroom door. SCULLY hears several gunshots then sounds of a violent fight and BIG MIKE screaming. Nasty stuff flys through the slats in the closet door. Eww.)
(GENE GOGOLAK's house. MULDER handcuffs him.)
GENE GOGOLAK: FBI? What did I do?
MULDER: (pushes him into a chair) Let's start with the Klines. You're responsible for them being in little pieces in my front yard. You gave them that lawn ornament. The guy with the axe?
GENE GOGOLAK: Whirligig.
MULDER: Yeah, whirligig. It's tacky enough to break your rules and your CCRs-- tacky enough to mark the Klines for death.
GENE GOGOLAK: And won't that sound good in a court of law? When the judge asks you who killed the Klines what exactly are you going to tell him?
MULDER: (considers for a moment, looks around, then picks up a black statuette) A tulpa. It's a Tibetan thought-form. It's a living, breathing creature willed into existence by someone who possesses that ability-- an ability I think you picked up on your whirligig-buying excursions to the Far East. Why'd you do it? I mean, is it so damn important for everybody to have the same color mailbox?
GENE GOGOLAK: It's important that people fit in.
MULDER: But you didn't know exactly what you were getting into, did you? I mean, you can summon its existence, but ... you can give it life, but you can't control it. The best you can hope for is to stay out of its way.
GENE GOGOLAK: Son, my lawyers are going to make you sound so stupid that not only will I never see the inside of a jail cell but you'll be signing all your paychecks straight to me.
(MULDER leads GENE GOGOLAK out of the house and across the street. MULDER sees that the front door on his house is broken down. Not good. He handcuffs GENE GOGOLAK to the mailbox and runs into the house. WIN SHROEDER comes out of his house.)
WIN SHROEDER: Gene?
GENE GOGOLAK: Win. You've got two FBI agents living next door to you. Cheer up. It's not for long.
(MULDER enters the house. He sees really big dirty footprints leading upstairs.
MULDER: Scully? Scully?
(As he gets closer to the bedroom, the carnage gets worse. He's really worried. He looks around at the broken furniture and pieces of filth and worse spread out everywhere. Eww.)
(SCULLY pounds on the closet door.)
SCULLY: (in the closet) Mulder?
SCULLY: (in the closet, relieved) Mulder?
MULDER: Scully, hang on.
(MULDER pushes the dresser partially out of the way and begins helping her break the slats in the closet door. Outside, GENE GOGOLAK, still cuffed to the mailbox begins to look nervous and tries to get free.)
GENE GOGOLAK: Come here. Help me with this. Win, come here. Win...
(WIN SHROEDER hesitates. CAMI SHROEDER comes up.)
CAMI SHROEDER: (taking his arm) Win, Win, Win. No. No. He deserves what he gets.
(With a last look at GENE GOGOLAK, the SHROEDERs turn and walk back to their house. Inside, MULDER is still ripping away at the closet door.)
SCULLY: (in the closet) Mulder, it was here.
[CLOSED CAPTIONING: "It attacked Big Mike. Where is he? Is he alive?"]
(They hear screaming outside.)
SCULLY: (in the closet) Mulder!
(Leaving SCULLY to finish getting herself out of the closet, MULDER runs back downstairs and outside. The big brown slimy thing is beating the ... daylights … out of GENE GOGOLAK. When it finishes with him, it turns and starts walking toward MULDER. MULDER backs away, staring at it in horror. Just as it reaches him, GENE GOGOLAK, lying bloody on the ground, breathes his last, and the big brown slimy thing crumbles into dirt. MULDER pokes in the remains of the monster with his toe. Looks like really nasty mud. Eww. SCULLY runs out onto the front porch.)
(Day. Under the voiceover, MULDER and SCULLY, now dressed in their normal casual wear, come out of the house. MULDER tries to make the mailbox stand up straight, then he and SCULLY get in the minivan. Followed by the moving truck they pull out of the driveway and drive out of The Falls at Arcadia.)
SCULLY: (voiceover) Several residents of the falls have now come forward to blame the deaths in the neighborhood on Home Owner Association President Gene Gogolak. These same residents deny Agent Mulder's allegations that they were in some sense all responsible for the demise of Gogolak himself claiming ignorance as to what actually killed him. It would seem the code of silence that hid the sins of this community has not only survived but-- in its creator-- claimed a final victim. Meanwhile, the Falls at Arcadia has been named one of the top planned communities in California for the sixth year running.