Note: This story will only make sense to those who have seen the 2002 "Laverne & Shirley: Together Again" cast reunion.
For those of you who saw the skit from the 2002 reunion special, you know that Laverne and Shirley auditioned for a Survivor-esque show and failed - but did you ever wonder what happened afterwards? Filling in the gaps once again, this story is my take on what might have happened between Laverne and Shirley after they got home that day. A little fight, a little reminiscing, a little making up... and a whole lot of love and heart, as can only happen between two best friends. Enjoy!
"This is all your fault, Shirl."
"My fault? How is this my fault?"
" 'Cause you signed us up for that Survivor ripoff, you bought us these stupid outfits –"
"And you were dumb enough to do it with me, so who's blaming who now, Smarty?"
A key turned in the lock of Apartment A, 730 Knapp Street, and the door swung open to reveal the "survivors" formerly known as Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney-Meeney. Having just returned from their fiasco of an audition for Island of Doom, they were a mess – and that was being kind. Shirley's pant legs were soaked in blue paint and a smudge of the same paint was smeared across her right cheek, but even that looked pristine compared to her friend. Rather than the catch she was aiming for, Laverne had been showered with paint when the balloon Shirley threw to her exploded in her face. As a result, Laverne's face, hands, and front were all blue; there was even blue in her hair. Her mood, however, was somewhat less than blue.
"I'm not the one who ate a bug," Laverne retorted, slapping her purse down on the counter by the door and stomping into the living room.
Shirley glared at Laverne's retreating back, likewise slapping her purse down. "Well, I'm not the one with paint in my cleavage."
Laverne was not about to be outdone. "Oh yeah? Well, I'm not the one who can't throw!"
"I'm not the one who got fondled by Lenny and Squiggy!" Shirley fired back, going for the throat.
Laverne's green eyes flashed as she glared at Shirley and her arms crossed protectively over her chest. "That's low, Shirl."
"Not where they touched you, apparently," Shirley said dryly, indicating Laverne's folded arms.
Laverne threw Shirley a look of pure disgust before shucking her paint-soaked safari jacket and throwing it to the floor. "They wouldn't have felt me up if you hadn't told me to stick my head in Hole Number Two."
"And we're back to blaming me. Laverne, I signed us up because I thought we actually had a shot at a million dollars – and because I thought it'd be fun for both of us. What was so bad about it?"
Laverne's reaction to that question was one of pure incredulity – the kind that asked how stupid are you? better than words. "Shirl, look at me. I've got blue paint in places paint was never meant to go. I got dragged across the floor, feathers stuffed in my mouth, and my back's killin' me. You want me to go on about how bad it was?"
"No, but I do want you to stop complaining about what's aching and what's not, like you did all the way home. For Pete's sake, you sound like an old woman."
"Shirl..." Laverne plunked herself down on the couch next to Shirley and bored her eyes into her friend's baby blues. "I am an old woman. I'm old and so are you. We're way too old to keep doin' this kind of stuff, and you're still living in a world where we're eternally 23. Newsflash – we ain't 23, we're 63! We're not young anymore, Shirl. We can't keep falling on our butts, sliding across the floor, flying through the air, and Lord knows what else, not even for a million bucks. So if you think I'm gonna keep followin' you and your lamebrained ideas, you just keep right on dreaming, 'cause I'm done!"
Shirley, her blue eyes narrowed at Laverne the whole while, sat silent for a moment before she spoke. "You're done. Done with what, Laverne? Done dreaming? Done with having fun? Done with trying to have a life? Done with living just for the heck of it? Well, I've got a newsflash for you, Laverne DeFazio: life doesn't end after 60, no matter what anybody says. I say we haven't even started climbing the hill yet! Maybe we're not young in body anymore, but we're sure as heck still young in spirit! If you can still dance like a fool, chase after men, and wake up in the morning, put your feet on the floor, and make the devil yell 'Holy crap, she's awake!', then you're not old by a long shot. So if you want to play that age card, go right ahead. I've still got a lot of living left to do."
Still burned, Laverne shook her head at Shirley as the brunette began shedding her own safari jacket. "You're nuts, Shirl."
"And you're preaching to the choir, Laverne. As far as I'm concerned, this case is closed, even if you do want to rant about it until you're blue in the face – whoops, too late!" Shirley said, dripping sarcasm while Laverne seethed.
"That's it. I'm gettin' a shower." Laverne snatched her jacket off the floor and stalked to the bathroom, calling insults over her shoulder. "Airhead."
"Killjoy," Shirley shot back.
An hour later, Shirley was sitting on the couch in her pink pajamas, poring over something in her lap when Laverne finally came out of the bathroom – paint-free at last. Her long red hair, damp from her shower, was down over her shoulders, and she was likewise in her PJ's – pale blue rather than pink. But something had changed about her – she didn't look mad anymore. No chances, though, Shirley thought, gazing at Laverne. "That shower certainly paid off. You look much better."
"Thanks," Laverne said, sitting down beside her friend. "Took me half an hour to get all the paint out of my hair and off the rest of me. The rest of the time, I was trying to scrub Lenny and Squiggy off me."
Shirley couldn't help but smile at that. "Did it work?"
Self-consciously, Laverne pulled the lapels of her pajama top closer together. "Ask me again in six months." She peered at the book Shirley was cradling in her lap. "Whatcha got our old scrapbook out for?"
"Just remembering old times." Shirley flipped a page in the book, smiling as she touched a picture of herself and Laverne, circa 1958. Shirley was making a playful gag-me face while Laverne, face alight in smiles, hugged her best friend around the neck from behind. "Look at those two. Who'd have ever guessed they'd still be friends after all these years?"
"I would've." Shirley glanced up at Laverne, who had a smile playing about her lips. Relieved to know that Laverne's anger had subsided, Shirley turned to the next page, only to laugh aloud at the picture presented – a cheesecake photo of herself and Laverne in bikinis.
"Boy, if that's not a pinup shot," she chuckled. "It's hard to believe we were ever that young."
"Hard to believe we were ever that thin!" Laverne said, eyeballing her younger self. Then, what Shirley had just said sank in, and Laverne felt a pang of guilt over the evening's earlier argument. "Shirl?"
"I'm, uh..." Laverne ran a hand through her dampened hair. "I'm really sorry I blew up at you like I did. I know this whole thing's not your fault. I was just mad about losing out on the million bucks and gettin' paint in my face... and gettin' felt up by Lenny and Squiggy. I took it all out on you. I'm sorry, Shirl."
"Oh, Laverne, it's okay. Heck, some of what you said wasn't that far off." Shirley turned to meet her friend's eyes, her own harboring a sort of sadness. "You were right about the whole eternally 23 thing. There are some days I find myself looking in the mirror or at our old pictures, and I think to myself, where did those years go? What happened to those bright young women who were so full of life, who'd never heard the word impossible? It's those days that I feel my age, Laverne, and I don't enjoy it."
"Shirl, everybody our age feels old now and then, and nobody enjoys it. Believe me, it ain't somethin' to love."
"I know, I know. I guess that's why I still sign us up for things like this and drag us out on crazy outings, because I don't want to feel old. I just want to prove we can still go far... farther than the supermarket, anyway." Shirley grinned when Laverne snickered at that last remark. "So shoot me, I'm still a dreamer. I'm gonna keep dreaming for the both of us, no matter how old I get. Because I believe we're still young enough to make our dreams come true."
"I know. Me too."
This surprised Shirley so much that all she could do for a minute was stare at Laverne with wide eyes. Even after more than fifty years of friendship, Laverne still surprised her. "Really?"
"Really. Shirl, we've been friends how long? Fifty-some years, and if I've learned anything from you after all this time, it's never to quit dreaming."
Still stunned, Shirley reached out and put a hand on Laverne's forehead. "Are you feeling all right?"
Laverne chuckled and batted Shirley's hand away. " 'Course I'm feeling all right. I'm just sayin' that I dream too. And you know what? Three of my dreams came true."
"What were they?"
"Well, when I first moved to Milwaukee, I dreamed I'd find a friend, and look what happened. I found you. Then when you got married and left, I dreamed we'd see each other again, and we did, right?"
"Yeah." Shirley nudged Laverne and smiled. "Go on. What was your third dream?"
Laverne returned Shirley's grin with an impish one of her own, her green eyes sparkling. "You really wanna know?" When Shirley nodded, Laverne shook her head in reply. "Nah, I'm not gonna tell you."
"Come on, tell me!"
"Tell me, or you're gonna get tickled!" When Laverne shook her head again, Shirley said "All right, you asked for it!" and launched herself at Laverne, tickling her ruthlessly.
"Okay, okay, okay!" Laverne cried between bursts of laughter, shoving Shirley's hands away. "I'll tell you." Shirley withdrew her hands and Laverne sat up, tugging the hem of her top down as she did. "My third dream was... that we'd be best friends forever, and nothing could ever keep us apart."
"Oh, Vernie..." Shirley slipped an arm around Laverne's shoulders and gave her a squeeze. "You've been holding out on me with this inner dreamer."
"Yeah, I know. What can I say; I'm gettin' soft in my old age."
"Hey!" Shirley gave Laverne's arm a playful smack. "No more age stuff, okay? From either of us. I've realized after all that I don't feel old. Do you feel old?"
Laverne smiled. "No. Tell you the truth, I feel pretty good."
"I'm glad to hear you say that, because on our way out of the studio, I signed us up for Bang For Your Buck next month."
"Say what?" Laverne suddenly jerked back from Shirley and stared at her in disbelief. Aw man, here we go again!
All at once, Shirley's cheeks dimpled in a grin and she held up a finger to halt Laverne's coming diatribe. "Gotcha!"
Laverne sighed in relief. "Shirl..."
"Shirl nothing; come here!" Shirley ordered before diving her hands into Laverne's hair and ruffling it up.
"Get outta my hair!" Laverne said, laughing and smacking Shirley's hands away.
"Too late for that, Laverne; we're joined at the hip. That dream of yours came true, and boy, was it the best one ever. We're always gonna be best friends, and we're always, always gonna make our dreams come true."
"For me and you?"
"For me and you – forever," Shirley said, her smile mirroring Laverne's. "Get over here and give me a hug!"
Laverne laughed as they hugged. "You're nuts, Shirl. But I love you anyway."
"Right back atcha, Laverne. Right back atcha."
Sweet and sappy, I know, but that's what I love. I really wanted to weave the words of the theme song into this story, because even after all these years, Laverne and Shirley would still be trying to make their dreams come true. As Shirley said, you're never too old to stop dreaming. Reviews are welcome!