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Characters: Theodore Tweedle (Sheriff ), Otis Henry (Deputy), Sadie Brown (Café Owner), Petunia Periwinkle (Starlet Hopeful), Dr. Marvel (Snake Oil Salesman).
Important note: Before the drama begins, don’t forget to hand out “money” to class leaders near the front of the stage and instruct them to respond to Dr. Marvel’s sales pitch at the end of his medicine show. (See Assembly Resource CD-ROM for money pattern.)
(Scene begins with OTIS bursting out of the General Store with a newspaper in his hand. He overheard someone referring to an article about the notorious outlaw Jake “the Snake” Jackson, and he must tell THEODORE immediately.)
OTIS: This is terrible, just terrible! I gotta tell Theodore right away! He’ll know what to do (runs into the Sheriff ’s Office) Theodore! Theodore? Where are you? (comes back out) Where could he be? (pause as he thinks for a moment then turns around and sees a big note stuck to the doorframe that says, “Gon Fishin.” He tries to read the note, sounding out the letters) A note. Okay, Otis, you can do this. Sound it out. (says each of the letters) G . . . O . . . N. Guh, guh . . . oh . . . guh . . . oh . . . nuh . . . guh-oh-nuh . . . guh-oh-nuh?? I ain’t never heard that word before. Aw, Theodore . . . why’d ya have to use such big words? You know I ain’t got much book learnin’. (discouraged, he sits down on the ground to wait for THEODORE)
(THEODORE enters from the rear of the auditorium with his fishing pole and a bucket. He’s been fishing and is returning empty-handed.)
THEODORE: (to himself) Well, that’s the last time I go fishin’! Who likes fish anyway?! Not me!
OTIS: (hears THEODORE in the distance) Theodore? (sees THEODORE coming toward the stage) Theodore! (he runs to meet him) Oh, Theodore! I been lookin’ all over fer ya! Whatchu been doin’?
THEODORE: Well . . . let’s see, Otis. (holds up his fishing pole) Fishin’ pole . . . bucket . . . why don’t ya guess.
OTIS: But ain’t ya gonna give me a hint or somethin’?
THEODORE: (rolls his eyes) Didn’t ya see my note? I went fishin’.
OTIS: I got the note, but that ain’t what it said. (looks in his bucket and sees minnows) Oh . . . goody! You caught some! (he grabs one and holds it up) It’s kinda small, don’t ya think?
THEODORE: That’s the bait, brainless! I didn’t catch anything!
OTIS: Why not?
THEODORE: Because the bait kept eatin’ the fish, that’s why!
OTIS: The bait ate the fish?! Are you kiddin’ me??
THEODORE: Yes, Otis . . . I’m kiddin’ you. Now how’s come you got that newspaper?
OTIS: Oh, yeah . . . I almost forgot! Well . . . we’re in a heap a trouble, Theodore! A HEAP a trouble! Wait ‘til you see this! (as he gives the paper to THEODORE) It says in that there newspaper that Jake “the Snake” Jackson robbed a bank in Rockwood last week.
THEODORE: How do you know? D’you learn to read while I was fishin’ or somethin’? (as he leafs through the paper looking for the article)
OTIS: Well, no . . . I jus’ heard some folks talkin’ in the General Store. Mr. Fletcher says Jake’s the meanest outlaw in the West. An’ guess what else . . . he thinks he’s fixin’ to come here next! What’re we gonna do, Theodore? What’re we gonna do??!
THEODORE: Well, he ain’t comin’ here, I can tell ya that right now.
OTIS: How do ya know that?
THEODORE: (confident) Cuz there’s a new sheriff in Discovery City, and he knows it! And he knows that I know it.
OTIS: Yeah . . . but does he know that YOU know he knows that you know it?
THEODORE: Well . . . that’s the only thing we don’t know. But if I know Jake “the Snake” Jackson, he ain’t gonna risk comin’ into a place like this with two tough hombres like us. No suree. An’ you can take that to the bank! (THEODORE takes his hat off and sits down on a bench.)
OTIS: Well . . . that sure makes me feel a whole lot better, Theodore. (short pause) Makes me hungry too! (he pulls a banana out of his gun holster or pocket, then offers one to THEODORE) Want one?
THEODORE: (as he takes the banana) Don’t mind if I do. (OTIS and THEODORE completely fill their mouths with banana.)
PETUNIA: (from backstage) Sheriff ! Anybody know where the Sheriff is?
(THEODORE quickly grabs OTIS’s bandana, spits his banana into the bandana and gives it back to OTIS as PETUNIA enters from stage left. OTIS is disgusted, so he shakes the chewed up banana into THEODORE’s hat that’s laying on the bench.)
PETUNIA: Sheriff ? Sheriff Tweedle?
THEODORE: (trying to compose himself) Uh, yes . . . what can I do for ya?
PETUNIA: My name is Petunia Periwinkle, and I have a problem.
THEODORE: Well . . . Miss . . . uh . . . Weri-pinkle
PETUNIA: No, it’s Peri-winkle. Petunia Periwinkle.
THEODORE: Sorry. Well, if, indeed, ya have a problem, you’ve come to the right place ‘cause problems are my specialty . . . I mean . . . solving problems, that is. Now . . . how can I help ya?
PETUNIA: Well . . . you see, there was a most unfortunate occurrence yesterday. I was on my way to San Francisco—the city that was to be the birthplace of my illustrious career as a world famous singer and actress. Then, for some strange reason, the stagecoach I was riding in decided to stop here of all places. Well . . . I got off thinking this was San Francisco . . . and now I’m stuck in Discovery City!
OTIS: Oh, but don’t you worry none. The stagecoach’ll be back next month.
PETUNIA: But I need to get to San Francisco right now! My entire future depends upon it!
THEODORE: Miss Pigglewiggle . . .
PETUNIA: Periwinkle!! Per—ee—wink—le!!
THEODORE: Sorry. So, what exactly would ya like me to do?
PETUNIA: I want you to take me to San Francisco right now!
THEODORE: (surprised) Who, me??
PETUNIA: Yes, you. I don’t have a horse, and I don’t know how to get there!
OTIS: Neither do we.
THEODORE: (to Otis) Hush up, Otis (pauses as he clears his throat) Well . . . I’m real sorry, but I jus’ can’t leave Discovery City unprotected. It wouldn’t be right. Especially with Jake “the Snake” Jackson on the loose.
OTIS: Yeah, he’s the meanest outlaw in the West, an’ he jus’ robbed a bank in Rockwood. Says so in this here newspaper (as he points to the newspaper).
PETUNIA: But you have to take me, or I’ll miss my audition! Then the world will be deprived of its greatest celebrity (as she starts to cry), and it’ll be all your fault!
OTIS: Wow . . . we don’t want that to happen, do we, Theodore. (he unties THEODORE’s bandana and offers it to PETUNIA) Here . . . you can wipe yer nose with this. It works a whole lot better than yer sleeve.
PETUNIA: (crying, she takes the bandana) I can’t believe this is happening to me. Now I’ll never be famous . . . and my future will be a complete catastrophe!
(PETUNIA blows her nose long and hard into the bandana and then gives it back to OTIS. en she lies down on the bench and buries her head in her hands, whimpering occasionally. Meanwhile, OTIS tries to pass the bandana to THEODORE, but he refuses it.)
THEODORE: Oh, no you don’t! Go git me a clean one! (As OTIS returns to the Sheriff ’s Office, THEODORE grabs his hat and puts it on. Immediately, he realizes there’s a foreign substance inside, so he slowly removes it to find chewed up banana on his head.)
THEODORE: (as he peels the banana off his head and drops it back into his hat) Yuck!
(DR. MARVEL, with his arm in a sling, enters from backstage.)
DR. MARVEL: Excuse me . . . (Startled, Theodore immediately puts his hat back on.)
DR. MARVEL: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. My name is Dr. Marvel. I couldn’t help but hear someone crying. Is there anything I can do?
THEODORE: Only if you’re on yer way to San Francisco. Miss Winkleperry . . .
PETUNIA: (suddenly sits bolt upright) Periwinkle! Periwinkle! Periwinkle!
THEODORE: Sorry . . . uhh . . . she . . . needs to get to San Francisco . . .
PETUNIA: (upset) As soon as possible!
THEODORE: . . . as soon as possible . . .
PETUNIA: or my career as a world-famous singer and actress will be ruined!
THEODORE: or her career as a world—
DR. MARVEL: Yes, I heard what she said. You don’t need to repeat it. Well . . . as a matter of fact, I am headed in that direction to pick up an important shipment of medical supplies.
PETUNIA: (from despair to excitement, she rushes to his side) Really?! Oh, please take me with you?! Please, please, PLEASE take me with you! I promise not to be any trouble. I’ll take complete care of myself. You won’t have to feed me or talk to me or anything!
DR. MARVEL: Hmmm . . . so you can sing, huh?
PETUNIA: You better believe I can sing . . . and act, too! (becomes dramatic, but not very good) “Romeo, oh Romeo . . . wherefore art thou, Romeo?”
DR. MARVEL: Well . . . perhaps you could help me with my medicine shows along the way. But I’d need to hear you sing, first.
PETUNIA: Oh . . . I’d love to sing for you! Auditions are my specialty! Is there a piano somewhere?
THEODORE: There’s one at the General Store.
PETUNIA: (as she grabs DR. MARVEL by the hand) Well, c’mon . . . let’s go!
(PETUNIA pulls DR. MARVEL into the General Store. A piano introduction is heard and then a woman’s voice that causes coyotes to howl and glass to break [sfx]. Before the “audition” is over, OTIS emerges from the Sheriff ’s Office and SADIE from the café wondering who’s making such an awful racket.)
SADIE: (grimacing) Was . . . that . . . Petunia?
THEODORE: Yep . . . ‘fraid so.
OTIS: I remember when my grandma sang like that. They put her in jail for 30 days.
(DR. MARVEL emerges from the General Store with PETUNIA close behind.)
PETUNIA: (to DR. MARVEL, with excited anticipation) So, what did you think?
DR. MARVEL: (trying to be tactful) Let’s put it this way. I don’t believe that what you did to those notes has ever been done before!
(DR. MARVEL, seeing people standing around, decides to transition into his medicine show, so he quickly sets up his trunk.)
PETUNIA: I know . . . that’s what they always tell me. Pretty amazing, huh! Now you understand why I have to get to San Francisco right away!
DR. MARVEL: Let’s discuss it later, shall we? I’m busy right now (as he turns to the audience and begins). Ladies and Gentlemen this is your lucky day, My name is Dr. Marvel, and I have something to say! Does anything trouble you . . . anything at all? Because I’ve got a cure that’s sure to enthrall! You see, I’m not just a doctor, I’m a scientist, too, And I’ve had a dream I’ve longed to pursue. To find the one thing that would cure every ill, I’ve dedicated my life and all of my skill! I’ve searched the world over, every mountain and valley, I’ve explored every city, every street, every alley. My journey took me to every place that could be, I even went to the bottom of the sea! And just when I thought my dream was a loss, I found what I was looking for—the pink-striped albatross! The oil from the wings of this rarest of creatures is an amazing elixir with so many features. Now . . . before I go any further, I need someone to help me. Who would like to be my assistant? (DR. MARVEL selects a child from the audience) What is your name? Okay, (child’s name), I need to ask you a very important question. Have you ever met Dr. Marvel before? (NO) So we’re meeting here for the first time, is that correct? (YES) Very good. (to the audience) I just wanted to establish the fact that this is all above-board and genuine. There’s no funny business going on here. Now . . . as you can see, my arm is in a sling and that’s because I had an accident yesterday and hurt my shoulder very badly. It hurts tremendously if I try to lift my arm or even move it. (to the child) Here, (child’s name), see for yourself . . . move my elbow (child moves DR. MARVEL’s elbow, and he cries out in pain) Oh . . . the pain, the pain! It’s unbearable! Now . . . in addition to my injured arm, I’m also completely deaf in my left ear. Let me prove it to you. (to the child) (child’s name), whisper your favorite color into my ear (child whispers into DR. MARVEL’S left ear). Did you do it? (YES) Hmmm . . . I didn’t hear a thing. Now the time has come to demonstrate the amazing qualities of my miracle potion. I will take just one teaspoon, and then we shall see the results. (DR. MARVEL pours a teaspoon of the potion onto a spoon and then swallows it. Then he makes some strange facial expressions to show that it’s working) It’s working, folks . . . I can feel it. (he slowly raises his arm and then removes the sling.) See? I now have the full range of motion with no pain whatsoever! Incredible, isn’t it! But wait, let’s see what it did for my hearing. (to the child) (child’s name), whisper your favorite color into my ear again. (child whispers color again, but this time DR. MARVEL hears it) Did you say (color)? (YES) Even I am astonished! Thank you, (child’s name), you’ve been very helpful (as he ushers the child back to his seat). Ladies and Gentlemen, what you’ve seen here is amazing and true, But it’s only a glimpse of what this potion will do! I have testimonials from here and from there, People say no other medicine can even compare! Aches and pains will be a thing of the past, Just put in your order ‘cause supplies will go fast! Only one dollar is all it will take, To miss this opportunity would be your biggest mistake! (as he holds up a bottle of the potion) Now who would like a bottle? (as he collects money from people in the audience) Just one dollar, guarantees your order! Then come back here in exactly one hour, and I will have everything ready!
(DR. MARVEL exits toward back stage. Meanwhile, OTIS and THEODORE return to the Sheriff’s Office, and SADIE finds PETUNIA to give her the Bible she left at the café.)
SADIE: Hi, Petunia. (as she hands her the Bible) You left this at the café.
PETUNIA: Oh, the Bible you gave me. I guess I forgot it in all the commotion yesterday. (excited, she changes the subject) Oh, Sadie, did you hear? Dr. Marvel is taking me with him to San Francisco! Soon I’ll be a big star, and then you can tell everyone that you know me!
SADIE: Are you sure you want to do that? I mean . . . somethin’ about that Dr. Marvel seems a little . . . I don’t know . . . dishonest to me. You should probably check him out first. You don’t want to be fooled by a counterfeit.
PETUNIA: Counterfeit?! What are you talking about? Didn’t you see his show? Look how hard he worked to make that potion for us. And how do you explain his shoulder getting better so quickly and his ear being healed? No, I trust Dr. Marvel completely.
SADIE: Well, anyway . . . I really hope you’ll read that (as she points to the Bible).
PETUNIA: I don’t know . . . I might have time to read it on the way, but probably not after I get there. You know how show business is!
SADIE: I can imagine. Oh . . . I put a bookmark at the Gospel of John. Here, let me show you (as she finds the book mark and opens to John).
PETUNIA: (reading from the Bible) “The Gospel According to John.”
SADIE: This is where I started the first time I read the Bible. You’ll learn so much about Jesus. You know, there’s never been anyone like Him . . . and never will be either. Some people think He was just a good man, but that’s ridiculous.
PETUNIA: Why do you say that?
SADIE: Because He said He was God and then proved it by doin’ miracle after miracle . . . miracles that only God could do. You know anybody else who’s walked on water??
PETUNIA: Uh . . . well, no.
SADIE: Listen, Petunia. Now that you’re leavin’ Discovery City I just want to say one thing. Please take this Bible seriously. Learn about Jesus and then follow Him . . . let Him be your guide. Trust me, it’s the most important decision you’ll ever make.
PETUNIA: Thanks . . . I’ll try to remember that. (short pause) Well . . . I better get going. Got to get packed. I’m sure we’ll be leaving first thing in the morning. (as she starts to walk away) Hey, maybe you can come to one of my shows sometime. I’d even let you come backstage. Bye, Sadie!
SADIE: Good-bye. (pause as she watches PETUNIA leave toward backstage, then stops to pray) Lord Jesus, please remind her to read that Bible and then show her how much she needs You.