Image by François Pichard/Flickr, Art by Alex Alvarez/Fusion

INT. MacLaren's

MARSHALL

Gosh, you know what I could really go for? A nice fat slice of pie.

BARNEY

Yeah, cream pie!

Barney RAISES HIS HAND for a high five. He is escorted out of the bar by two large men, identical twins clad in fly fishing gear and eye patches. They have seen things that cannot be unseen. They speak in whistles.

Barney is not seen again.

LILY

I wonder where Ted is. He's usually here by now.

A jukebox begins to play any Roy Orbison song. Robin STANDS, as if in a trance.

ROBIN

This is… this is the song that played… played on the bridge…

Robin DANCES, eyes unblinking.

Enter Ted

TED

Guys, I just met the most beautiful girl…

LILY

Not this again!

MARSHALL

Aw shucks, Ted. Every girl you meet is the most beautiful girl, the love of your life, the future mother of your children…

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TED

I know, I know! I tend to fall fast, and hard. Like a baby owl falling from its nest into a creek by the old lumber mill. But this time is different.

LILY

Oh yeah? And why's that?

TED

Because this time, she's dead.

Robin, still dancing, OPENS HER EYES. She SCREAMS, unblinking. The other three RUSH to her side.

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TED

Robin, what's wrong!

ROBIN

The room. The red room.

MARSHALL

What is she saying, Ted? What does it mean?

LILY

Well, maybe…. Maybe she means the VIP area here at MacLaren's. It's painted red!

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Robin COLLAPSES. Any Roy Orbison song continues playing.

FADE IN:

INT. MacLaren's VIP Room

LILY

It smells strange in here. Like a bad memory.

MARSHALL

Oh, gosh! Look, it's Robin!

Robin SITS on a chair in the center of an otherwise empty red room. She wears a blonde wig.

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ROBIN

Oh, Robin's not here. She hasn't been here for a long time.

TED

What? Robin? Are you ok?

ROBIN

Your little bird's flown the coop, Teddy. Now it's only me.

TED

I don't understand!

MARSHALL

Golly, Ted. The Robin is not what she seems.

LILY

Who are you? What have you done with Robin?

The false Robin laughs, the sound of a sublime machine falling from the sky and onto a suburban lawn. The sounds of a white picket fence overrun with mold.

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The false Robin disappears.

TED

Robin! Robin, where are you!

MARSHALL

Gee, Ted! Look!

A large maggot SITS in the chair in the center of the red room. It HOLDS an umbrella.

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TED

It's her! The most beautiful girl I've ever seen.

Ted WALKS towards the maggot, which begins to EMIT a high-pitched shriek. It DISAPPEARS.

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LILY

Be careful, Ted. Tread light upon the plains.

TED

Wait, what? What does that — Lily!

Lily is WEARING a blonde wig and HOLDING the umbrella.

LILY

What's the matter, Teddy? You sound afraid. Who's afraid of a little flower?

MARSHALL

Oh, shucks, golly! It's got Lily!

LILY

It's got us all baby. It's got us real bad.

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FADE IN:

INT. Living room

An empty couch, spotlit. Empty frames dot the walls. A centipede crawls along a faded cushion.

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TED (v.o.)

And that, children, is how I met your mother.

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FADE OUT