INT. CANDY KITCHEN

Marian: *enters Candy Kitchen and takes seat at counter* Tee hee. It is now time for me to meet Professor Hill for that pleasant conversation. He is standing right over there, but I will pretend not to see him and order a strawberry phosphate. Since it is the only drink I was ever linked to in the canon storyline, fanfic writers will decide it is my favorite beverage and work it into their stories every chance they get – despite the fact that I leave my glass almost completely full.

Harold: *approaches her as soon as he gets the opportunity* May I join you?

Marian: *coyly peeps at him from under the brim of her absurd but endearing hat* Oh no, I couldn't possibly! A proper lady must always say no, even – and especially – when she means yes. This particularly holds true when a man is making romantic overtures!

Modern females: *headdesk*

Harold: *smiles knowingly and takes seat next to her* Yep, I am definitely gonna get some!

Mayor Shinn: *interrupts cuteness by barging in and cock-blocking Tommy Djilas. Goes on to demonstrate just how gosh darn wholesome these old musicals are by inadvertently alluding to premarital sex between teenagers and uttering a spoonerism that turns a scolding command into a fart joke. Ah, clean entertainment for the entire family!*

Harold: *slightly irritated* So did that scene have a purpose, other than to wreck the nice little mood that had been building?

Marian: Yes, it served to unite us in agreement for the first time ever! And I will not only commend you for your bravery in sticking your neck out, I will do a complete 180 and staunchly defend your ludicrous Think System!

Harold: *stunned and pleased* So… does this mean I get to come over tonight?

Marian: Sure. *expression turns all dreamy and dazed. For the rest of the movie, this will be her predominant reaction when she thinks about or looks at Harold*

EXT. JUST OUTSIDE RIVER CITY HOTEL

Harold: *walks briskly along, whistling happily in anticipation of upcoming nookie*

School Board: *confronts him as he tries to enter hotel* Give us those freaking credentials! You may have fooled and eluded us several times before, but now we have shiny metal stars on our chest that say you must obey us.

Harold: *rolls eyes* Well, congratulations! Did those deputy badges come with functional brains, or are you still the same easily distracted idiots with the attention span of a two-year-old? *takes out pitch pipe and blows on it*

School Board: *starts singing "Lida Rose"*

Harold: Yeah, I thought so. *grins and slips away*

EXT. PAROO FRONT PORCH

Marian: *sighs dreamily* I am utterly, hopelessly and melodramatically in love with Harold Hill. But will I ever tell him? *plucks flower petals off daisy* Ah yes, ah no, ah yes, ah no…

Mrs. Paroo: If you don't tell him, I will! I can't take any more of this mooning around!

Marian: *rolls eyes* Whatever.

Winthrop: *arrives home* Look everyone! Harold gave me this long and sharp pocketknife with like a gazillion attachments, each one more dangerous than the next!

Modern parents: *are scandalized*

Marian and Mrs. Paroo: *don't even bat an eye*

Winthrop: Harold rules! He is my BFF – we talk about everything!

Marian: *curious* What on earth does a forty-something swindler find to talk about with a naïve ten-year-old boy?

Winthrop: When he's not leading me on with false promises of a trip to his alleged hometown, Harold likes to make sarcastic comments a child my age will naturally take as Gospel Truth. For example, he says if I'm gonna stick around River City, I'd better learn to whittle and spit! I've got the spitting down pretty good, as I will demonstrate by singing "Gary, Indiana" right in the face of my mother and enunciating the Ps as hard as I can!

Mrs. Paroo: *wipes self and ushers Winthrop inside* All right, it's time for us comic-relief characters to get the heck out of here so the romantic shenanigans can begin!

EXT. STILL ON THE PAROO FRONT PORCH

Marian: *prettily sits on the step and daydreams* Ah, everything is just perfect… Absolutely nothing could spoil the steamy make-out session I have planned for this evening – as evidenced by my scandalously red dress with sheer sleeves and tassel thingies on the chest that bounce every time I move!

Charlie Cowell: *walks up to her* I hate Harold Hill – he is a fraud who makes me look like the mediocre salesman that I am! Will you join me in my quest to destroy him?

Marian: Hell no! Instead, I will come up with the bright idea of making you miss your train. I'm not exactly sure what that's supposed to accomplish, because all it will do is keep you in River City – thereby hastening the inevitable discovery of the truth by all. And you will be so pissed off that you will become even more determined to bring down your archenemy. But as I have lost my ability to think about the long term, just like everyone else in this damn town, I will proceed full steam ahead with my plan! *shimmies seductively* Won't you dance the tango with me?

Charlie Cowell: Sure, girly-girl! Oh, and by the way, your boyfriend is a total man-whore. He's slept with like hundreds of women!

Marian: *is crushed* Bastard! You totally killed my buzz!

Harold: *in the convenient timing of musicals, arrives at the Paroo house just after Charlie Cowell's exit. Immediately starts putting the moves on Marian*

Marian: *reverts to ice queen persona*

Harold: *annoyed* What, so we're back to square one, now? Screw this, I'm outta here! *starts to leave*

Marian: *desperately runs after Harold and inadvertently ends up standing a lot closer to him than she intended*

Harold: *mesmerized* Holy crap, I just forgot my own name!

Marian: *is torn* I want to love you, but I don't want to be just another notch on your bedpost! What's a girl to do?

Harold: *goes all smoldering* Kiss me.

Marian: No – I'm angry at you for your philandering ways!

Harold: *incredulous* You're angry at me, after your little affair with the town's decrepit old benefactor? Double standard, much?

Marian: *offended* That is an evil lie! I am chaste as the Virgin Mary – despite my alluring and period-inappropriate crimson lipstick and heavily painted eyes!

Harold: *momentarily thrown off* Huh. Who knew those rumors revealed more about the prejudices of those small-town biddies than they did about you? *shrugs and moves on, determined to score some nookie* Well, if some rumors are lies made up by jealous and narrow-minded individuals, and the rumors about you are false, then that must mean the rumors about me are false, as well!

Marian: *eagerly accepts faulty syllogism and goes all dreamy again*

Harold: Meet me at the footbridge in fifteen minutes… that should give you more than enough time for a complete hair, wardrobe and makeup change, as well as a few spare moments to dance the Shipoopi with me on the Madison Park Pavilion!

Marian: *confused* But I thought you said earlier in the movie that ragtime was the devil…

Harold: *gives Marian THE LOOK*

Fangirls: *squee*

Marian: *goes all woozy* The Shipoopi sounds wonderful…

EXT. FOOTBRIDGE

Marian: *looking inexplicably pregnant, she confesses her love to Harold in a grand and operatic fashion*

Harold: *tries to resist* Don't fall in love with her… don't fall in love with her… oh, the heck with it! *grabs Marian and kisses her*

Sentimental romantics: *sigh happily*

Marian's stomach: *kick!* Hi, I'm Patrick Cassidy – future TV and musical theatre actor!

Harold: *jumps back in surprise* WTF?

Marian: *pulls him back to her* Ignore that and kiss me again!

Marcellus: *interrupts* Ha! So much for the great salesman and seducer of women!

Harold: *defensive* Shut up – it's all part of my scheme.

Marcellus: Speaking of schemes, the band uniforms came in. Here's the money!

Harold: *staring back at Marian* What? *snaps out of it and pockets the wad of cash* Oh right – the whole reason I came here in the first place! So, what time does the train go?

Marcellus: 9:40 p.m.

Harold: Sweet! It's not even 8:30 yet – still got plenty of time to "collect my commission," if you know what I mean. *pauses* Wait a minute… if it's not even 8:30 yet, why is it so dark out? It was also night during the big Shipoopi dance number in the park, and when I traded rumors with Marian on her front porch. Come to think of it, it was night when I encountered the School Board in front of the hotel, and that had to have happened at least an hour ago! Even accounting for the fact that Daylight Saving Time wasn't in effect until 1918, the sun seems to have set awfully early for a day in July!

Morton DaCosta: Shut up! I was trying to create a romantic mood!

Harold: *shrugs* Fair enough. Now beat it, Marcellus – I've got some seducing to do! *goes back to Marian* Hey, baby…

Marian: I know you're a fraud. I've known since three days after you came here.

Harold: *completely confused* Okay, I'm willing to let the early sunset thing go, but this is nuts! How is that possible that you knew after only three days? In an earlier scene, I told Marcellus it took ten days for the band instruments to arrive, and you discovered the truth the day the Wells Fargo Wagon came to town. That would mean I was in River City for at least a week and a half before you had solid proof…

Marian: *silences him with a kiss*

Harold: *grins dazedly* What was I saying, again?

Marian: *gives him sly smile* You were going to escort me home so I could get a shawl to further conceal my pregnancy-swollen stomach.

Harold: Sounds good to me!

EXT. MADISON PARK PAVILION

School Board: *sings romantic song*

Biddies being used as visual aids: *spoil effect by looking like pouty, overgrown Little Bo Peeps*

Ethel Toffelmier: *further spoils effect by reaching between her legs to figure out just what body part of her partner she's about to sit on*

Charlie Cowell: *interrupts* You people are idiots! But instead of coming right out and telling you why, I will begin by using my odd colloquialisms and idioms to convey my urgent, important message in a roundabout manner!

Random extra: I'm sorry, I don't follow you.

Charlie Cowell: Harold Hill is a fraud!

Townspeople: *transform from mellow concert attendees into angry mob, complete with stereotypical torches*

Marcellus: Oh crap, this is not good. *runs off to find Harold*

EXT. IN FRONT OF PAROO HOUSE

Harold: I am giddy as a schoolboy with my first crush! I will sing joyfully in 4/4 time as I wait for my beloved to come back outside.

Marian: *sings same melody in 3/4 time, demonstrating how musically clever The Music Man is*

Harold: *grows somber* Oh crud, I really do love Marian after all. This is going to put a damper on my plans to skip town!

Marcellus: Don't worry, I'll distract the approaching mob – no one in this town is smart enough to figure out I'm actually on your side, despite the fact that I'm carrying your PROF. HAROLD HILL suitcase in my hand as I lead people to the Creamery!

Winthrop: *in tears* You suck, Harold Hill! I will hate you until I die!

Harold: *chastened* Ouch – this really hurts to hear, even if it is true. Why did I decide to stay in River City, again?

Marian: *calms Winthrop down and gazes lovingly at Harold*

Harold: *perks up* Oh, yeah.

Angry mob: *arrives to take Harold away*

INT. RIVER CITY HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM – PLEASE NOTE IT IS DEFINITELY NIGHTTIME

Mayor Shinn: *instead of proposing solutions or a plan of action, falls back on the time-honored maneuver every politician uses when something goes wrong on his watch* I will now bloviate about how this situation is totally not my fault!

Constable Locke and posse: *saves Mayor Shinn's political career and ass by bringing in a handcuffed Harold Hill*

Mayor Shinn: *relieved* Okay, let's tar and feather this bastard and call it a night!

Marian: *interrupts to give stirring speech about the intangible benefits of being conned out of one's money*

Everyone in room: *is swayed by Marian's eloquence and enthusiastically votes not to tar and feather Harold Hill*

Mayor Shinn: *shows glimmer of common sense for the first time ever* Are you people freaking insane? You just paid money for a nonexistent band!

River City Boys' Band: *enters room right on cue. In a shocking (well, not really) turn of events that strains credulity even for a happy-go-lucky musical, they play Beethoven's Minuet in G, sounding just like any hung-over high school band*

Parents: *demonstrate they are just as tone-deaf as their children by screaming their sons' names like groupies at a concert*

Harold: *stunned* Wow… there's only one thing could make this scenario even more implausible…

Everyone: *runs out of high school* Fantasy marching band sequence!!!!!!!!

EXT. FRONT ENTRANCE OF RIVER CITY HIGH SCHOOL – INEXPLICABLY, IT IS NOW BROAD DAYLIGHT

Zaneeta: *leans on balustrade and dreamily gazes at Tommy as he prepares to lead the band*

Tommy and band boys: *magically receive uniform upgrade*

Zaneeta: Ye gods! *fantasizes again*

Tommy: *turns into Brad Pitt*

Zaneeta: Niiiiice!

Harold Hill: *takes his place as leader of the parade and prances around in an extremely fruity manner. The bright red pants, gold-tasseled jacket and big foofy feather on his cap do not help matters*

Fangirls: Who the hell cares?! It's Robert Preston! *sigh dreamily*

A very pregnant Shirley Jones: *joins him, and they march off happily together*

THE END!

Sentimental romantics and fangirls: *squee*

Sentimental romantics and fangirls who are also writers: *drop all other projects to churn out a bunch of shipper-y Harold-Marian fanfic and post it on FanFiction dot net*

Heh – I guess the last laugh is on me!