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Outside Jefferson County Middle School

(It is evening. A distant crow calls to create a creepy atmosphere. Tilt downward to see Zack, Melissa, and Milo walking.)

Melissa: There it is: the Temple of Forgotten Math Books.

(Cut to show the school.)

Zack: You mean school, where you always happen to forget your math book?

Milo: It does start looking creepier as the Sun goes down.

Melissa: I hope Ms. Camilichec's room isn't locked.

Milo: We might need the Great Key-Keeper to get in the classroom.

Zack: Who?

Melissa: Fred the janitor, also known as "the Key-Keeper", because he has a lot of keys.

Milo: He's a wise and mysterious force who guides us on quests toward enlightenment.

Zack: The janitor at my old school just yelled at us and called us slobs.

(They continue.)

Within

(They enter the school, which is completely dark. Milo tries in vain to turn on a flashlight.)

Milo: Oop! Out of batteries.

(He pulls out an electric candelabra and turns it on. They continue walking.)

Milo: Hello? Hello?

Melissa: Hello!

(They round a corner and encounter the shadowy figure of Principal Milder.)

Principal Milder: Hello, children.

(The children huddle in surprise and fear.)

Milo, Melissa, and Zack: Principal Milder!

Principal Milder: (menacingly) You kids are here a little late.

Melissa: I forgot a book that I need for my homework.

Principal Milder: Again? Melissa, I'm so disappointed.

Melissa: It's just in Ms. Camilichec's room.

Principal Milder: Oh, she locked up early.

Zack: Uh, can we turn the hall lights on?

Principal Milder: No; we need to save money after the school board bought that yacht. (Briefly show an image of the S.S. Indulgence surrounded by dollar signs.) Step into my office; we'll get that key.

Principal Milder's office

(Milo, Melissa, Zack, and Principal Milder are at the last's desk. She picks up a key.)

Principal Milder: I'm giving you my only copy.

Melissa: And I'm saying, "Thank you."

Zack: (to Milo) Why are they describing what they're doing?

Principal Milder: I once knew a kid who borrowed one of my classroom keys and didn't return it. And do you know what happened to that kid?

Melissa: No?

Principal Milder: Okay, well, if you find out, tell them I would like my keys back! (Hands the key to Melissa) Some day, three children I know will be sitting around, saying "Old Principal Milder, she really taught us somethin'."

Milo: You mean… us?

Principal Milder: Oh, no. Three other kids.

Ms. Camilichec's room

(Milo, Melissa, and Zack are within.)

Zack: I could show you some techniques to help you not forget stuff.

Melissa: Ooh! Techniques?

Zack: You can make a list of things you need to take home.

Melissa: Oh, I made a list.

Zack: And where is it now?

Melissa: I needed something to hold the page in my math book. (Takes it up) Here it is! (takes out the list) And here's the list I made, see? "Bring home math book." (Crumples it and shoves it at Zack) Lists don't work! Boom!

Zack: Well, not if you leave them in the thing you were trying to remember!

(They leave the room.)

Melissa: Zack! The key? We need to lock the door.

Zack: Oh, I saw it on the desk in there.

(Milo runs to the door and tries it. It is locked.)

Milo: The good news is, we have already locked the door. The bad news is, we have already locked the door.

Melissa: No!! I have to get her key back! I'm going to be the star of one of her "I knew a kid" stories! (Slumps)

Zack: Don't worry. No one ever knows what kid she's talking about when she tells them.

Milo: Looks like we're gonna need the Great Key-Keeper after all. (He and Zack help Melissa up.)

Melissa: You're right! He can get us back in. But he's impossible to find. Some say he doesn't even exist.

Zack: But you said he's the janitor.

Melissa: Some say I said he's the janitor.

Milo: It's a quest!

Melissa: Yeah, a quest.

Zack: Looking for the janitor is a "quest"?

Melissa: Okay, do you want a quest or not? because if not, there's a chair right there with your name on it! literally, in a heart. (Pan to show Zack's name in a heart with an arrow through, with "CRYSTAL" written underneath it.) By the way, I think that girl Crystal likes you.

(Zack looks at it while the others go off.)

Zack: Wait, which one is Crystal?

Melissa: The one that likes you, apparently.

Milo: (takes up a piece of paper from a trash can) Wait a minute! On the back of this blank piece of paper. It's a map of the school!

Zack: No, that blank piece of paper is just the back of a map.

Melissa: (receives it from Milo) What are the odds that we would find this on the very evening of our quest?

Zack: Pretty high, since they hand those out to everybody —

Melissa: (shushes him) Shh! The quest!

The janitor's office

(Milo, Melissa, and Zack enter and start to descend the stairs.)

Melissa: Fred?

Zack: Weird. The Great Key-Keeper doesn't lock his own door.

(They happen upon models of the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge, and a mound of dirt. Milo touches them as he names them.)

Milo: The pyramids! Stonehenge! (The models fall apart.)

Melissa: Well, nothin' lasts for ever.

(They continue and search the room.)

Melissa: There's gotta be a clue around here somewhere.

(Melissa opens a locker, revealing Mr. Drako. All gasp except him.)

Milo, Melissa, and Zack: Mr. Drako!

Mr. Drako: Oh, children! I… stepped inside to get a mop, and I got locked inside.

Milo: I've done that so many times.

Melissa: Hey, there's a note. (Takes it off the bulletin board and reads) "Children, follow the path where your feet may squeak; / Only then you will receive the object you seek."

Milo: Ooh, cryptic.

Zack: Why? because it rhymes?

Melissa: "Feet", "squeak", unclean floors — he's cleaning the hallway!

(They run out.)

Milo and Melissa: The quest!

Zack: Also called "just looking for the janitor"!

Melissa: Zack!

(Mr. Drako shuts himself in the locker again.)

The hallway

(They are running. They slip, passing a sign that says "CAUTION! / DON'T SLIP". In sliding, they knock many such signs over.)

Zack: Man, he gets these floors so clean! We're actually accelerating!

Melissa: Look out for the Jefferson G County statue!

(They fly up a ramp and dislodge the stump, causing the statue to tip over.)

Melissa: It's falling!

(She and Zack race to steady it, while Milo searches his backpack for appropriate items. He supports the statue's foot with a croquet mallet and a shock absorber.)

Zack: Is knocking over that statue part of the "quest"?

Melissa: You don't have to use air quotes!

Zack: I can't help it!

Milo: Could be the quest. It could also be Murphy's law, you know: something that can go wrong going wrong.

Melissa: That's what makes it questy. (She wraps an arm around Zack and pokes his cheek.)

Zack: Stop making up words. (He pushes her off him, and she giggles.)

Milo: The wet floors stop here.

Melissa: As if he vanished.

Zack: Either that, or he did this area first and it just had time to dry.

(They hear chanting and turn to look for its source. It is students clapping chalk dust out of erasers.)

Hall Monitors: […] knock them clean
Beat them …

Melissa: The hall monitors are cleaning the — (coughs) — erasers!

Milo: Quick! Put on these dust-filtering masks!

(They put them on.)

Zack: And they have animal faces on them because — ?

Milo: They serve a variety of purposes!

(They enter a closet quickly.)

Hall Monitors: […] knock them clean
Beat them like a tambourine.

(As the hall monitors pass, they knock over the statue, which stops the door.)

The closet

Zack: It's jammed!

(They turn round.)

Milo: It's like my dad always says: The only way out is through… a creepy, dark corridor.

(They start down the corridor, climbing over and under obstacles. There is much spider-web throughout the room. Milo brushes some aside.)

Zack: Milo.

Milo: (looks to see spiders on him) Oh. That's just the school Halloween decoration.

Zack: So these are just Halloween decorations too?

(Cut to show that he and Melissa are covered in spiders.)

Milo: Oh, no. Yours are real.

(Zack and Melissa shriek and frantically brush all the spiders off. Thereafter, they continue down the corridor and encounter a door. Milo tries it, only to find it locked.)

Milo: Uh-oh.

Zack: We're gonna grow old in here, and they'll find us when we're, like, twenty-four!

Melissa: And Principal Milder will still be talking about how irresponsible I am!

Milo: Hang on! (roots through his backpack, takes out a card) I think I have something that can get us out.

(Milo runs it down the gap between the door frame and the door, disengaging the lock, and opens the door.)

Melissa: So that's what our student I.D.s are for.

The library

(They enter.)

Zack: So. This is the library.

Melissa: It's like the Internet, but on paper.

(Milo looks around and starts toward a bookcase.)

Milo: Hey, wait! One red book! (climbs the ladder and tips the book)

Zack: So how are we gonna get out? I think that was our only way in!

(The bookshelves all collapse, one on top of another, throwing Milo down; he yelps.)

Zack: What were you doing?

Milo: I was tilting a book to see if there was a secret passageway —

(The wall behind the bookshelves crumbles.)

Melissa: Wow! I was absolutely sure that would not work.

(They pass through the wall.)

A secret passageway

(They look forth to see darkness.)

Zack: It's so dark in here, I can't see anything.

Milo: I got that covered. (produces an electric furniture lamp from his backpack and gives it to Zack)

Zack: How is this gonna work?

Milo: (takes the plug from Zack) I've got a generator in my backpack. (plugs the lamp in) You know, this reminds me of the time my family and I fell into an undiscovered Aztec temple (starts his generator) and we had to spend our time playing Yahtzee. It's my favorite game of all time. You roll the dice...

(Milo continues talking, but the rest of his line is obscured by the sound of the generator. They walk on until the generator stops for want of fuel.)

Milo: And then the rest of it was at the museum. Oh. The generator ran out of gas.

Zack: So the Mona Lisa that's hanging in the Louvre right now isn't even the real one?

Milo: Nope. That was painted by my cousin Reggie. Though, to be fair, Reggie is an above-average artist. Hey, look, guys! (indicates a wheeled mop-bucket) The Great Key-Keeper left us a sign!

Melissa: Yes! I knew he wouldn't let us down.

Zack: A mop-bucket?

Melissa: No, not a mop-bucket, (elbows Zack) a sign on the…

Zack: (resigned) Quest.

Milo: (off-screen) Guys! Up here!

(Cut to show that Milo is on a staircase. He goes on, and Melissa and Zack follow him.)

A science classroom

(Milo slides a whiteboard aside, and he, Melissa, and Zack enter the room.)

Milo: I've seen this before.

Melissa: Me too. Maybe in a dream.

(Zack turns on a lamp whose lampshade has written in it "SCIENCE IS FUN!!")

Zack: Or during second period?

Milo: Goggles, everyone. (hands out goggles) In case of a chemical splatter, or Bunsen burner incident, or — (tosses goggles to Zack, but misses and opens a cage full of ferrets) Ferret attack!

(The ferrets run out a door, past their steward sitting at a desk.)

Sid: I'd just gotten them down for the night! (starts after them) Sam! Betty! Jackie! Skylar! —

(A runaway baseball dashes a window.)

Melissa: A clue!

Milo: See? Goggles.

A baseball field

Coach Mitchell: You brought the ball back! (throws it into the field) Today must be my lucky day! The janitor caught a pop-fly on the roof only minutes ago.

Milo, Zack, and Melissa: Hey!

Coach Mitchell: It's like I've got a whole new crop of outfielders! (In the background, a baseball knocks a player over.) Please, please let that happen.

Melissa: Did you say the janitor was on the roof?

Coach Mitchell: Well, I assumed it was the janitor. I mean, I've never really met the guy, you know, although sometimes I swear he's guiding me with little messages. Is that stupid?

Milo and Melissa: No!

Zack: … Yeah, I'm gonna reserve comment.

The roof

(Milo, Melissa, and Zack are returning Frisbees and baseballs from off the roof.)

Zack: Well, no janitor. What now?

Melissa: I don't know; I guess we go back do— (tries the door, only to find it locked) I think this whole day was a lesson about automatically locking doors.

Zack: (looks over the roof into a window) Hey, we're right over Ms. Camilichec's classroom!

Melissa: Do you think…

Milo: My dad always says, "When one door closes, there's usually access through a vent in the roof."

(They send Melissa down on a rope.)

Melissa: Oh, hey, my art pad! I need that too. I forgot I even forgot that. (takes up the key from a desk) Got it!

(Milo and Zack slide down the rope.)

Outside Ms. Camilichec's classroom

(Melissa exits the room through the door and cries at the presence of shadowy creatures holding a banner. They are revealed to be "COMMEDIA DELL ARTE". Milo and Zack exit too.)

Milo: (as they doff their masks) Oh, it's the drama club.

Melissa: What's with the scary masks?

Lydia: We're doing commedia dell'arte. I'm Pantalone, the greedy Venetian merchant! Na!

(The ferrets run past, chased by Sid.)

Sid: Come back here!

(The drama club move out of his way, therein breaking a water sprinkler in the ceiling with their banner. They run the other way as fire alarm bells sound. Principal Milder runs in.)

Principal Milder: Quiet, everyone! This is not a drill!

(She, Zack, Melissa, and Milo run out.)

Milo: Principal Milder, it's not a fire. Sorry to be —

Principal Milder: You know, I once knew three children who didn't enact their fire drill lessons, and one day, those — (the doors to the outside close behind them)

Outside the school

(Everyone is drying themselves off. Melissa hands the key to Principal Milder.)

Sid: (holding a ferret at his eye level) I said to them, "You think you're gonna have it better than this out in the wild? Go ahead; (puts the ferret down) run free! Fly the nest! But under my roof, you'll obey my rules." (the ferret returns to him) And it was like something clicked!

Melissa: Or maybe it's just that cheesy cracker you got stuck to your foot.

(Cut to show that this is indeed the case, then to Milo, Melissa, Zack, and Principal Milder.)

Milo: By the way, when we were up on the roof, I put on a new coat of sealant.

Principal Milder: You know, I once knew a child who was always up on rooftops, sealing vents. You know what happened to him?

Milo: He's a successful contractor?

Principal Milder: Hm. Interesting theory.

Melissa: (to Zack) Did you have fun on the "quest"?

Zack: You mean the quest. No quotes. Yes, I did. But it's too bad we never met the Key-Keeper.

(The ferrets chatter, and Sid chases them.)

Sid: Oh, come back! I have more cheese crackers!

(As the other students depart, Fred, the janitor, the Great Key-Keeper, arises behind Melissa. She turns to face him.)

Melissa: It's you! The Great Key-Keeper!

Milo: Fred the janitor!

Fred: Yes, hello.

Melissa: We really appreciate your help. My math book would thank you if it could speak.

Fred: (takes up a broom and a mop) I hereby bestow these treasures upon you and your trusty allies.

Melissa: We will treasure these always.

Fred: That's fine, but first, go help clean up the hallway.

Melissa: Okay, but hang on. Zack!

(Turn the camera so Fred is just out of view.)

Milo: Zack! Zack!

Melissa: Over here!

Milo: Look! Look!

Melissa: It's the Key-Keeper! Come here!

Milo: The Great Key-Keeper!

(Return the camera to its former angle. Milo sees that Fred has apparently been replaced by a sign saying "CAUTION! / DON'T SLIP".)

Milo: He's gone! (kneels) but he left us another sign.

Fred: Oh, I forgot this. (takes it up and enters the school)

It’s my world and we’re all living in it

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