(It is evening. Detective Larry Sprat, Mother Goose's right hand man and cousin to the infamous Jack Sprat, strolls through one of Los Angeles's seedier neighborhoods. He passes neon marquees advertising various all-night diners and erotic venues, finally stopping beneath a battered sign: Horner’s Corner Gentlemen’s Club. The building, narrowly squeezed between a pornographic movie theater and a convenience store, has seen better days, and, as he opens the weathered door and ducks inside, a thrum of slow, bass-heavy music washes over him.

Inside, booths surround a curtained-off circular stage. The man enters one, dropping a quarter into its slot, and the shutters lift. A buxom blonde, nude but for a bonnet, writhes deliciously against her shepherd’s crook. Detective Sprat wastes no time; rapping the viewing window with a fist, he pushes his badge against the plexiglass. The blonde turns her face to his booth and her trancelike smile fades, replaced first by a confused squint and then a look of recognition. The song ends and, snatching up a satin bathrobe, the blonde sighs resignedly and strides offstage; the detective has already left his booth to meet her, and she ushers him into a disused dressing room to talk in private.)

DETECTIVE: Enjoying life in the big city, Bo? You always said you wanted to be an actress, but I never knew this was what you meant.

BO PEEP: Larry. (Bitterly) Was I hard to find?

DETECTIVE: At first. Then I came across your picture in the back of one of those hooker-ad tabloids. The text didn’t exactly help your cover, either, kiddo. (He pulls a clipping from his suit pocket and reads aloud) "The Lindsay Lo-lamb Peepshow: Sexy young co-ed, blonde, blue-eyed; tight, sheared pus—"

BO PEEP: Okay, okay! (Scowls) Didn’t exactly expect you to be looking for me there.

DETECTIVE: You’d be surprised what Mother lets me write off as a business expense.

BO PEEP: Ah, old Goosey must really be pissed if she sent you to look for me. Last I heard you were tracking Big Bad.

DETECTIVE: Oh, that didn’t take long. The wolf splits every few years to "find religion," but he's never gone farther than the nearest ashram or temple. (Reminiscing) It was a mosque this time, actually. Went on about how he wouldn’t be our puppet anymore, wouldn’t eat the pigs, thought what we were trying to do to him was immoral and unclean. I had to threaten to call the woodsman, if you believe it.

BO PEEP: Professional of you.

DETECTIVE:
I do what I have to. Mother doesn’t take kindly to her children going AWOL. Especially not these days.

BO PEEP: These days?

DETECTIVE: I guess you’ve been out of the loop, what with your career taking off and all. PR’s been a nightmare since the Chicken Little meth bust made front page news. Word is the Hubbard woman’s the one cooking the stuff and Little was just running distrib, but that dog of hers won’t let anybody get near enough to her cupboard to check it out. And last week Puss was held up at the Mexican border with a dimebag of cocaine in one of his Boots. No, Bo, things just ain’t what they used to be.

BO PEEP: (Icy front faltering, she shakes her head sadly) Jesus, Larry. Kid like Little, getting mixed up in that sort of thing… makes you sick.

DETECTIVE: Well, Chicken Little’s B-list, sister, and you’re first string. You know what it’ll do to us if this little stint of yours gets out?

BO PEEP: (She crosses her arms) I don't care. I’m not going anywhere.

DETECTIVE:
Look, just come back with me. Mother told me personally that she’s willing to forgive and forget, and I’ve got the gander parked on a roof down the street.

BO PEEP: (With finality) I’m staying.

DETECTIVE:
What ever happened to the Little Bo Peep who believed in what she did? I used to look up to you, kid. You were our poster girl.

BO PEEP: (Gravely) I can’t do it anymore. I haven’t seen my flock in decades— not in centuries! A girl can only wait around so long before she realizes her sheep just aren’t coming home. The pasture I used to graze them in? A twelve-lane expressway now. Even if they did show, they’d be roadkill before they even saw my bonnet. Besides, you know what kind of shit I had to deal with, a lady like me idling in pink petticoats by the side of an expressway all day? "Sure, miss, just waiting for your flock. Right. Now how much for a blow job?" It got old, Larry.

DETECTIVE: Well, we’ve all got troubles. You ever hear of this Dora the Explorer cunt? I met a preschooler the other week who didn’t know Humpty Dumpty from her ass, but sure as shit she could count to ten in Spanish. Television’ll be the end of us all. (He lights himself a cigarette and takes a long, deep drag) Hard fucking times.

BO PEEP: (Waves a hand dismissively) I’m tired of being Little Bo Peep, Larry. I just want to be Bo. I want to do the kind of things that don’t come packaged in neat little rhyming quatrains. I’m building a life for myself here. I was in a tapioca commercial last April. Things are looking up. (She glances to a clock on the wall) Look, I’ve got to dance this next set. My rent’s overdue and all you’re doing is wasting your time.

DETECTIVE: I don’t think Mother will find this at all amusing.

BO PEEP: The dour bitch can shove it. It’s sort of like my rhyme, you know? The whole tired tale with the sheep, everything, it used to be my life. Lately, though, it’s just something I’ve got wagging behind me.

(Bo Peep disrobes and moves to leave the dressing room, but, struck by an unexpected insight, she turns on a heel.)


BO PEEP: Hey, you know what? You tell Mother, you tell her to set me up for a rewrite. She pencils in a nice homecoming stanza for my flock and then maybe we can talk some business.

DETECTIVE: She’s not going to like that, Bo.

BO PEEP:
(Inspired, and suddenly hopeful) Just try it. And don’t take her shit if she tells you she can’t spare the sheep— I know for a fact that Mary gets her little lamb replaced whenever it starts outgrowing its baby fleece, so you tell her I’ll take in the old ones secondhand.

DETECTIVE: I’ll give it a shot, kid, but I doubt she’ll bite.

BO PEEP:
If she doesn't, hell with her. It’ll be her loss when I make it big. Anyway, my set— nice seeing you, Larry, even if it is official business. (She straightens her bonnet hurriedly and walks back to the stage, naked body incandescent beneath the club’s scarlet limelight)

DETECTIVE: (Extinguishes his cigarette and heaves a ragged sigh) Shepherdesses.

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