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Characters: Mr. Harper, Terrie Underwood, Katherine Kent, Rob Henshaw, Storm Weathers, and Mr. Kendall.
(It’s just after breakfast the next morning, and TERRIE is kneeling next to the footprint with her tablet computer doing some research. Then MR. HARPER enters from the Lodge Building. Also, a carton of lemon-lime soda is sitting atop a small cart/tray table near the front of the stage. )
MR. HARPER: What are you doing?
TERRIE: Oh . . . just a little research of my own. Did you know that there have been Bigfoot sightings on every continent, except Antarctica? Which means they’ve been seen right here in Africa!
MR. HARPER: (skeptical) Yeah, well . . . I’m sure there’s a logical explanation in every case.
TERRIE: Here’s what they look like. (as she pulls up a “photo” on her tablet, a Bigfoot slide appears on the screen) They say the typical Bigfoot is 8 to 10 feet tall, weighs over 500 pounds, and can run 35 mph! They also smell REALLY bad.
MR. HARPER: Hmm . . . that’s nice.
TERRIE: Okay, I got the message. Cool it with the Bigfoot stuff, right?
MR. HARPER: I just don’t want to alarm our guests unnecessarily. So let’s just keep all this to ourselves—at least until the park ranger comes. Who knows . . . maybe it’s not even a footprint. It just looks like one.
TERRIE: What? You don’t really believe that, do you?
MR. HARPER: I guess not.
TERRIE: I didn’t think so. Well, all right . . . I guess I’ll go finish cleaning up the breakfast dishes.
(TERRIE exits into the Lodge Building. Then MR. HARPER sees ROB enter from the rear of the auditorium wearing damp jogging shorts and t-shirt. He also has wet hair, a towel around his neck, and his small football under his arm. Unaware that anyone is watching, he approaches the stage pretending he’s a running back in a big game.)
MR. HARPER: Missed you at breakfast.
ROB: (startled and slightly embarrassed) Oh, hi . . . I didn’t know anyone was watching. Yeah . . . sorry about breakfast. I got up early and had a power bar. So what’d I miss?
MR. HARPER: Plantain Pancakes. But, don’t worry, we left some for you.
ROB: No, I mean your devotion time.
MR. HARPER: Oh . . . well, we looked at some verses from the book of Proverbs again . . . ones about the tongue and how we really need to watch what comes out of our mouths. You know, it’s incredible how powerful our words can be sometimes—for good or for bad.
ROB: That sounds really good. I’m sorry I missed it.
MR. HARPER: We also talked about ugly speech habits like gossiping and complaining.
ROB: And how about cursing? That’s a REALLY ugly speech habit! I can’t stand it when people use bad words.
MR. HARPER: Oh, I know, me too . . . and it seems to be getting worse every day. It’s just another sign that our culture is quickly drifting away from God.
ROB: Yeah . . . probably.
MR. HARPER: So, I was watching you there. It looks like you try to stay in shape. That’s really good.
ROB: Yeah . . . I jog 5 miles every morning . . . and swim a lot, too. In fact, that pond you’ve got is really nice. I took a dip after my run this morning.
MR. HARPER: (shocked) You swam in the pond?? Didn’t you see the warning signs?!
ROB: (casual) Oops. Knew I should’ve been wearing my glasses. So, what did the signs say? “No life guard on duty” . . . something like that?
MR. HARPER: Uh . . . not quite . . . how ‘bout “Danger! Nile Crocodiles!”
ROB: (laughs) Crocodiles . . . that’s a good one!
MR. HARPER: (stern) I’m not kidding.
ROB: (serious) Wait . . . so there really were crocs in there?
MR. HARPER: (nods) . . . 15-ft.-long ones. (pause) You should be very thankful they weren’t hungry this morning.
ROB: (swallows hard) Yeah . . . and all of a sudden, I’M not very hungry.
(As STORM enters from the Lodge Building, having finished his breakfast, ROB turns and exits toward the Men’s Quarters.)
STORM: You’re going the wrong way, Sparky. Your breakfast is THIS way! (pause as he watches ROB walk away)
MR. HARPER: He’s not hungry.
STORM: Really? (gets an idea) Hey . . . can I have his pancakes?
MR. HARPER: I probably shouldn’t say this, but don’t you think you’ve had enough? Remember . . . you still have to climb that mountain.
STORM: (tries to save face) Right. Well, of course, I was . . . just kidding.
(As MR. HARPER exits into the Lodge Building, STORM looks up at Mt. Kilimanjaro.)
STORM: (to himself) How am I ever going to climb that mountain? I’ve just got to get in shape . . . but that means I have to face my worst enemy—exercise.
(STORM looks around to make sure no one is watching. Then he does some stretching, as we hear Bones Cracking [sfx], followed by some funny-looking calisthenics [large arm circles, small arm circles, jumping jacks, etc.]. While he exercises, he rehearses a weather report, which turns into a little rhyme.)
STORM: Today, mostly sunny . . . a breezy high of 80 . . . Chance of rain, 10 percent . . . I’ve got to lose some weighty . . . (proud of himself) Hey, not bad . . . (then goes on)
STORM: Kilimanjaro is cool . . . especially at the peak . . . if I keep this up . . . I’ll have an iron man physique! . . . OH, YEAH!!!
(Then ROB enters from the Men’s Quarters with a video camera.)
ROB: What’s this? Storm Weathers is actually exercising? (as he laughs) I should get this on camera! Talk about headline news!
STORM: (defensive) Hey, be careful . . . remember what
Mr. Harper said, “
Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
So you be nice. (as he helps himself to a bottle
of soda) Oh, that’s right . . . you missed devotions this
ROB: I didn’t say anything mean . . . I may have thought it, but I didn’t say it. (pause) Well, go on, don’t let me stop you. I’m just waiting for Katherine.
STORM: No, that’s all right. I don’t want to overdo it. I might pull a muscle.
ROB: (teasing) Muscle? What muscle?
ROB: (friendly scolding) Uh, Uh, Uh . . . that’s not nice!
(Then KATHERINE enters from the Women’s Quarters. As STORM sets his bottle of soda down, he sees her and makes a dramatic announcement.)
STORM: (very dramatic) And now for news you can use, it’s Channel 9’s Katherine Kent!
KATHERINE: (to STORM) You mean, Emmy award winning, Katherine Kent. Don’t forget that part. (then she sees the soda) Oh, good . . . lemon-lime soda . . . my favorite. (as she takes a bottle) You’ve seen my statuette, haven’t you?
ROB: (annoyed) Yes, Katherine. EVERYONE has seen your Emmy award MANY times. Now . . . in other news . . . it appears that the ratings war is heating up. The station just called to let us know that Channel 5 is right on our tail. So they’re counting on us to bring home a winner with this documentary.
STORM: Oooo! Now the pressure’s on!
KATHERINE: Channel 5 . . . what a bunch of amateurs. (as she uncaps the soda, takes a swig, and then dramatically spits it out) Eeeuww! It’s room temperature! What is wrong with this place? How DARE they serve it unchilled!
ROB: That’s how they drink it in Tanzania, Katherine.
KATHERINE: Well, that’s their problem!
ROB: (to KATHERINE) Okay . . . can we just get started? Now, I want you to stand here with Kilimanjaro in the background (as he shows KATHERINE the place to stand and hands her a microphone). Since this is the first segment, I want to set the scene with a good shot of the mountain. (to STORM) Can you hold these cue cards? (as he hands oversized cards to STORM)
(MR. KENDALL enters from the rear of the auditorium and proceeds to the stage where the news crew is getting ready to shoot.)
STORM: Okay, but when do I get to be on?
KATHERINE: Wait . . . no teleprompter? I ALWAYS use a teleprompter!
ROB: Well, not this time.
KATHERINE: But, I’ve got to have a teleprompter! My contract says so!
ROB: Calm down, Katherine. There’s no way we were going to bring a teleprompter all the way to Tanzania and haul it up Mt. Kilimanjaro. You’re just going to have to do it the old fashioned way.
KATHERINE: Humph! I can’t work under these conditions!
ROB: Oh, brother . . . here we go.
STORM: (to ROB) Let me try something. (to KATHERINE) Katherine, I know these aren’t the best conditions and that we’re asking a lot of you. But you’re an important part of our team, and we really need you. Besides . . . your fans are expecting to see you. You simply CAN’T let them down, now!
KATHERINE: Well . . . all right, since you put it that way. But, just this once . . . for my fans . . . and because I’m so nice.
STORM: Thank you. (to himself) Wow . . . the proverb worked. A soft answer really does stop an argument.
ROB: (to STORM) Thanks for doing that. (to KATHERINE, as he puts the camera to his shoulder) All right, Katherine . . . on my cue . . . ready?
MR. KENDALL: (to ROB) You know, that’s a really nice camera you’ve got there. Are you guys from Hollywood or something?
STORM: No, just a local TV station from Ohio.
MR. KENDALL: Ohio, huh? My daddy’s from Cincinnati! Hmm . . . small world. Well . . . it’s not really that small. Actually, it’s pretty big when you think about it.
ROB: (impatient, he lowers the camera) Uh . . . sir. I don’t mean to be rude, but we’re starting a video shoot right now. So, if you don’t mind.
MR. KENDALL: Oh . . . no, I don’t mind. You go right ahead. I’ll just wait ‘til you’re done.
ROB: (puts the camera to his shoulder) Ok . . . let’s try this again . . . on my cue.
MR. KENDALL: Sorry, I should’ve introduced myself. I always forget that part. Well . . . I don’t ALWAYS forget. I just . . . never remember.
ROB: (annoyed, he lowers the camera) All right . . . go ahead. Introduce yourself.
MR. KENDALL: Oh . . . okay . . . well, my name is Park Ranger, I’m the new Hank Kendall. Uh . . . sorry . . . I mean I’m Hank Kendall, the new park ranger.
ROB: Nice to meet you. Is there something we can do for you?
MR. KENDALL: Hmm . . . I don’t know. What’d you have in mind?
ROB: I mean . . . is there a reason you’re here?
MR. KENDALL: Oh . . . well, yes. I’m here about the big footprint!
KATHERINE: (to STORM) Did he say Bigfoot??
STORM: Sir . . . did you say . . . big footprint . . . or Bigfoot print?
MR. KENDALL: (confused) Uh . . . yes?
KATHERINE: Yes, what?
MR. KENDALL: I don’t understand the question.
STORM: I’ll get Mr. Harper.
(STORM exits into the Lodge Building to get MR. HARPER.)
ROB: (to MR. KENDALL) What we’re asking is if you’re here about a BIG footprint . . . or a BIGFOOT footprint.
MR. KENDALL: This is some kind of joke, isn’t it? You know, I may not be the quickest wit in town, but I do have a keen sense of humor . . . (pause) whatever that means.
(MR. HARPER enters from the Lodge Building, along with STORM. He was hoping to meet with MR. KENDALL alone, so as not to upset the news team, but now sees he has no choice.)
MR. HARPER: Oh hi, Mr. Kendall. I’m Mike Harper, the director.
MR. KENDALL: Nice to meet you. So I hear you found a big footprint.
MR. HARPER: Uh . . . well, yes we did. It’s . . . right over here.
(As MR. HARPER shows the location of the footprint, everyone gathers around and gasps.)
MR. KENDALL: Well . . . you’re right about one thing. It’s big and it’s a footprint. Hmm . . . I guess that’s two things.
STORM: It has six toes!
ROB: What kind of creature would make a footprint like that?
MR. KENDALL: Hmm . . . it’s hard to say. Well, it’s actually not hard to say once you know what it is. (short pause as he looks at the footprint) It could be a . . . no. Then again, it could be a . . . no. Or maybe it’s a . . . no, probably not that either. Hmm . . . I’ll have to get back to you on this. How about a week from Tuesday?
MR. HARPER: What? I can’t wait that long! I need an answer right away.
MR. KENDALL: Oh . . . okay, then I’ll come back tomorrow. (then he becomes serious) In the meantime . . . I’d suggest you all stay inside and keep your windows and doors locked. (then becomes lighthearted again) Well . . . it’s been a real pleasure meeting you folks. Have a nice day.
(MR. KENDALL exits toward the rear of the auditorium.)
MR. HARPER: I’m really sorry about all this. If you’d like to move to another camp, we’ll gladly make the arrangements.
ROB: Are you kidding? We’re not going anywhere! We’re a news team, remember?
STORM: Yeah . . . this is just the kind of thing we thrive on!
KATHERINE: (excited) And to think . . . I . . . could be the first to report the discovery of some new species!
STORM: (dramatic) Yeah . . . or maybe even . . . BIGFOOT!!
(Actors freeze as the lights go to black. Then a Bigfoot Howl [sfx] is heard, followed by the Theme music.)