Characters: Theodore Tweedle (Sheriff), Otis Henry (Deputy), Sadie Brown (Café Owner), Petunia Periwinkle (Starlet Hopeful), Dr. Marvel (Snake Oil Salesman), Jake “the Snake” Jackson (Outlaw).
(Scene begins as DR. MARVEL enters from stage left. It’s early morning, and he’s tip-toeing out of town before anyone discovers he’s a fake. He looks around to make sure nobody notices him, then, as soon as he gets to the edge of the stage, he stops to count his money.)
DR. MARVEL: Well, good-bye, Discovery City. I wish I could have stayed a little longer . . . but . . . I wouldn’t want to overstay my welcome! (as he holds up a wad of cash and laughs)
PETUNIA: (from backstage, very angry) Oh, that Dr. Marvel! That no-good, crook, Dr. Marvel! The sheriff’s gonna hear about this!
(DR. MARVEL quickly ducks down to hide as PETUNIA enters from backstage and proceeds to the Sheriff’s Office.)
PETUNIA: (she knocks on the door, then talks to herself) I can’t wait to get my hands on that low down, good-for-nothing, dirty, double-crossing, scoundrel! (she knocks on the door again a little louder) Hey, Sheriff! Are you in there?!
(THEODORE emerges wearing his pajamas and his night cap.)
THEODORE: Oh, it’s Miss . . .
PETUNIA: Periwinkle. I want you to arrest Dr. Marvel, and I want you to arrest him now! Then I want you to lock him up and throw away the key!
THEODORE: Wow . . . ain’t that a bit harsh? What’d he do to you?
(OTIS emerges wearing his pajamas and holding a big teddy bear.)
PETUNIA: (livid) You want to see what he did to me?! I’ll show you what he did to me! (she takes off her hat to display her crazy hair)
OTIS: (shocked) Ooh . . . that ain’t right.
PETUNIA: (to OTIS) You better believe it “ain’t right!” (then to THEODORE, in a threatening tone) Now you go get him!! (then she puts her hat back on)
(DR. MARVEL stands up and starts to tip-toe away toward the rear of the auditorium.)
OTIS: (excited) Who we gonna get, Theodore? Jake “the Snake” Jackson?!
PETUNIA: No . . . that low down, good-for-nothing, dirty, double-crossing scoundrel, Dr. Marvel!
OTIS: Oh . . . you mean him? (as he points to DR. MARVEL)
PETUNIA: There he is! Stop him!!
THEODORE: Hey, you . . . stop in the name of the law!
(THEODORE and OTIS start chasing DR. MARVEL while PETUNIA watches. Then THEODORE stops suddenly.)
THEODORE: Okay . . . wait a minute! Everybody stop! We gotta have some “chase scene music” right here. This is a perfect spot for it.
DR. MARVEL: “Chase scene music?” What are you talking about?
OTIS: Oh, yeah . . . jus’ like in the movies! That’s a great idea, Theodore!
THEODORE: (to the SOUND CREW) Hey guys! Could we please have some “chase scene music?”
(As “Chase Scene Music 1” [sfx] plays, THEODORE, OTIS, and DR. MARVEL begin to dance around to the music.)
OTIS: (stops) No . . . that’s too slow.
(As “Chase Scene Music 2” [sfx] plays, they again “move” to the music.)
THEODORE: (stops) That ain’t gonna work either. What else ya got?
(“Chase Scene Music 3” [sfx] plays)
THEODORE: Yeah . . . that’s perfect! Okay, Doc . . . you can run now!
OTIS: Let’s get ’em, Theodore!
(The chase resumes with OTIS and THEODORE chasing DR. MARVEL around the auditorium until they finally apprehend him. Meanwhile, SADIE emerges from the kitchen of the café to see what all the commotion is.)
THEODORE: This is the end of the trail for you, Doc! Yer under arrest!
DR. MARVEL: This is outrageous! I demand to know why you are arresting me! I’ve done nothing wrong!
PETUNIA: Oh, yeah . . . then what about this! (as she removes her hat)
DR. MARVEL: (he grimaces at the sight of her crazy hair) Oh dear! You’re not suggesting that my potion caused that!
PETUNIA: (on the verge of tears) Don’t you act innocent with me, Doctor!
DR. MARVEL: Well . . . you obviously didn’t read the warning label. (suddenly remembers his line of wigs) Oh, but you’ll be happy to know that I now offer an excellent line of wigs. Would you like to see a catalog?
(PETUNIA bursts into tears.)
THEODORE: I guess that’s a “no.” C’mon, let’s go.
(OTIS and THEODORE escort DR. MARVEL to the Sheriff’s Office. Then they remember that OTIS has been living in the jail cell so they have DR. MARVEL wait outside while they prepare the cell [and get dressed]. Meanwhile, SADIE walks over to PETUNIA to comfort her.)
SADIE: (with compassion) Petunia? Is there anything I can do?
PETUNIA: (distraught) You were right about Dr. Marvel. He WAS a big phony. And now everything is ruined . . . my life, my career . . . and worst of all . . . MY HAIR!!
(PETUNIA runs away, exiting backstage. Then SADIE walks over to the jail to speak to DR. MARVEL who’s sitting on a stool.)
SADIE: (confused) What are you doin’ out here? Where’s Sheriff Tweedle?
DR. MARVEL: Apparently one of them was living in the jail cell, so they told me to wait here while they clean it out. I guess it didn’t occur to them that I might escape.
SADIE: (to herself) Why am I not surprised? . . . So why didn’t you run away?
DR. MARVEL: I don’t know . . . at first it just seemed too easy, and then something wouldn’t let me run. I really can’t explain it.
SADIE: Maybe there’s hope for you after all. My name’s Sadie, by the way.
DR. MARVEL: Nice to meet you.
SADIE: Say, what’s your real name?
DR. MARVEL: My real name?
SADIE: C’mon, we both know the “DR. MARVEL” thing is just for show.
OTIS: (from the jail window) Hey, Doctor . . . yer gonna love the view from here!
DR. MARVEL: (sarcastic) Oh, good . . . I can’t wait.
SADIE: Your last name wouldn’t happen to be Foster, would it? ‘Cause you look so much like someone I met a while back. His name was Caleb Foster.
DR. MARVEL: (surprised) Caleb was here?
SADIE: So you do know him!
DR. MARVEL: Yep . . . but we haven’t spoken in a long time. He’s my twin brother.
SADIE: I knew it! I just knew you had to be related somehow. (short pause) But you know, it’s strange because you two couldn’t be more different.
DR. MARVEL: (curious) Really? Why do you say that?
SADIE: Well . . . I hate to say it . . . but he’s a giver and . . . you’re a taker. And that’s why he’s out spreadin’ the good news, and you’re headed for a jail cell.
DR. MARVEL: Good news, huh. I could sure use some of that right now.
SADIE: Okay . . . here’s some good news. (as she hands him a tract) It’s a gospel tract. Your brother gave it to me, bless him. And now I’m givin’ it to you.
THEODORE: (as he opens the Sheriff’s Office door) Okay, doc . . . we’re ready for ya. C’mon in.
DR. MARVEL: (to SADIE) Excuse me (as he enters the Sheriff’s Office).
SADIE: Hey, Sheriff. Next time you might want to handcuff the prisoner while you get their cell ready. You know . . . just to make sure they don’t escape.
THEODORE: (embarrassed) Oh . . . right . . . good idea.
DR. MARVEL: (from the jail window) So this is what Caleb’s been doing? Passing out pamphlets? (as he gives the tract back to SADIE)
SADIE: Listen, if someone had a serious disease and you had the only cure, wouldn’t you want them to know about it?
DR. MARVEL: Yeah . . . I guess so.
SADIE: Well . . . the Bible says that everyone does have a serious disease. It’s called sin, and it’s so serious it can keep you from goin’ to heaven when you die.
DR. MARVEL: So I’ve got a problem . . . is that what you’re saying?
SADIE: Yes . . . we all do. And that’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is such good news! Because He’s the only cure for our sin problem!
DR. MARVEL: The ONLY cure? But I thought you get to heaven by being a good person.
SADIE: Nope . . . The Bible says that JESUS is the only way. You see, when He died on the cross and then rose from the dead, He paid the enormous penalty that we deserved, so we could be completely forgiven. It’s all in this gospel tract. You really should read it. (as she hands him the tract again)
DR. MARVEL: Hmm . . . (as he looks at the tract and realizes how shallow and meaningless his life is) You know, you’re right . . . we are different . . . my brother’s a much better man than I am.
SADIE: He doesn’t have to be. Just like me, you can have a new beginning too. (pause) Well . . . I’ve got to get back to the café.
(Suddenly, “Jake’s Entrance Music” [sfx] is heard, then JAKE “THE SNAKE” JACKSON emerges from the back of the auditorium and walks slowly toward the stage until he stops about halfway down the center aisle. SADIE assumes that this spells trouble so she pokes her head through the door of the Sheriff’s Office to advise THEODORE.)
SADIE: Sheriff Tweedle? I think you’d better come out here.
THEODORE: I can’t right now, I’m eatin’ my breakfast.
SADIE: But there’s someone here to see you.
(THEODORE emerges from the Sheriff’s Office. Then the rattlesnake sound [sfx] is heard again, and JAKE slowly walks to the edge of the stage.)
SADIE: I guess the time has come for you to earn that Sheriff’s star.
(SADIE exits back stage.)
THEODORE: (anxious) Otis! Get out here!
OTIS: (from inside the Sheriff’s Office) But I just poured milk on my cereal!
THEODORE: Forget your corn flakes and get out here!
(OTIS emerges from the Sheriff’s Office with a big bib around his neck.)
OTIS: I hate it when it gets soggy. Whatcha want?
THEODORE: It’s him! Jake “the Snake” Jackson!
(Immediately, OTIS ducks behind THEODORE, peeking around him to look at JAKE.)
OTIS: (loud whisper) The meanest outlaw in the West?! But you said he wasn’t comin’ here!
THEODORE: Forget what I said! (to JAKE, nervous) Muh, Mornin’ . . . can . . . can I help ya?
JAKE: (as he walks up onto the stage) Nope . . . just got some business to attend to at the bank over there.
THEODORE: Uh . . . you wouldn’t be fixin’ to . . . to rob the bank, would ya?
JAKE: (calm) Now why would I do a naughty thing like that?
OTIS: ‘Cause we know who you are . . . you’re Jake “the Snake” Jackson, the meanest outlaw in the West.
JAKE: I was hopin’ nobody would recognize me. (to THEODORE) You must be the new sheriff everybody’s talkin’ about. (JAKE takes out some rope.)
THEODORE: Uh . . . Uh, yes . . . I’m Theodore Tweedle, and this is my deputy.
JAKE: Well . . . it’s a real honor to meet such COMPETENT lawmen. You know, most guys would be quakin’ in their boots to be standin’ this close to Jake “the Snake” Jackson . . . but not experts like you. (to OTIS) Could you put your hands together for a just a second?
OTIS: (as he holds his hands out with his wrists together) Like this?
JAKE: That’s perfect (as he ties OTIS’s hands together with a small piece of rope). It must be a big responsibility protectin’ a town from outlaws like me.
THEODORE: Well . . . yeah . . . I reckon it is.
JAKE: But for brave professionals like you, I’m sure it’s as easy as lickin’ butter off a knife. (to THEODORE) Could you put your hands together like this? (as he demonstrates to THEODORE)
(THEODORE puts his hands together as JAKE binds them with another short piece of rope.)
OTIS: We know you robbed that bank in Rockwood the other day.
JAKE: My, my . . . it just amazes me how word gets around these days.
OTIS: We read it in the newspaper.
THEODORE: Yeah . . . we know all about you, Mr. Snake.
JAKE: Now could you both do me a big, big favor and sit down on the ground with your backs together?
(JAKE helps OTIS and THEODORE sit down and position themselves back to back. Then he proceeds to tie them together with a long piece of rope.)
THEODORE: I’m real sorry, but we’re gonna have to put you in jail.
JAKE: But I jus’ walked into town. I ain’t done nothin’ bad yet.
OTIS: Hmm . . . he’s does have a point there, Theodore.
JAKE: And besides . . . you don’t wanna make me mad. Trust me on that one.
(After he finishes tying them up, JAKE takes out some dynamite and wedges it between OTIS and THEODORE.)
THEODORE: Is that . . . dynamite??
JAKE: Yep . . . I’ll be back to light it after I rob the bank, so don’t go anywhere.
(JAKE walks over to the bank and tries to go in through the front door.)
OTIS: Hey, Theodore, how’d we get tied up?
THEODORE: I don’t know . . . he tricked us, somehow. We gotta get outa this.
OTIS: But he said don’t go anywhere. We don’t wanna make him mad.
THEODORE: Oh, yeah . . . I forgot.
(JAKE tries to open the front door of the bank, but it won’t budge.)
JAKE: What’s wrong with this door?
OTIS: Oh, it ain’t real. It’s just painted on. Ya have to go around to the side.
THEODORE: You didn’t have to make it easier for him, you blockhead!
OTIS: Sorry, Theodore.
THEODORE: This is the most humiliatin’ thing that’s ever happened to me. Tied up in broad daylight right in the middle of Main Street. We oughta be ashamed of ourselves.
OTIS: (scared) You really think he’s gonna blow us up?
THEODORE: Yeah . . . I reckon.
OTIS: That’s a shame. I was hopin’ to go to the square dance on Saturday night.
(Suddenly, the rattlesnake sound [sfx] is heard as JAKE emerges with a big money bag.)
OTIS: (scared) Here he comes, Theodore!
THEODORE: Well, Otis . . . it was nice knowin’ ya.
JAKE: Well, that was easy. Now I just need to take care of you two. (as he searches for his matches) Aw . . . wouldn’t you know it? I bring the dynamite, but not the matches.
OTIS: Hey, Theodore . . . he can’t find his matches. You got any?
THEODORE: No, you knucklehead. And I wouldn’t tell him if I did!
JAKE: Well . . . I guess you boys were lucky this time. See you around.
(A rattlesnake sound [sfx] is heard again as JAKE exits with the money bag toward the rear of the auditorium.)
THEODORE: Wheeew! That was a close one.
OTIS: (calm) You know, I really like that rattlesnake sound, Theodore. If we was outlaws like Mr. Snake, I wonder what sound they’d give us. (suddenly, a chicken cackle [sfx] is heard.)(Theme music)