Characters: JESS, RAINA, MOOSE, BUDDY, MYLES, CAPTAIN
(As JESS writes in her journal, jungle sounds [SFX] are playing in the background.)
JESS: (read from backstage) Dear Journal . . . It’s been a scary 24 hours since Myles collapsed, and Raina hasn’t left his side since it happened. For a long time, it was touch and go as he drifted in and out of consciousness and then became disoriented. But his fever has finally started to come down, so we think the worst is over. Thank you, Lord, for answering our prayers and sparing his life.
(When the lights come up, BUDDY is sitting on the front of the stage whimpering. Nearby is a large opaque plastic crate. Then MOOSE enters from backstage with a small paperback book.)
MOOSE: There you are. I’ve been looking for you.
(When BUDDY whimpers, MOOSE assumes BUDDY is crying because of MYLES’ condition.)
MOOSE: (with concern) Oh . . . hey, Buddy . . . are you okay? (he sits down beside him)
BUDDY: (whimpering while trying to talk) Yes . . . I . . . I . . . I’m fi . . . fine.
(When MOOSE puts his arm around BUDDY’s shoulders, BUDDY starts to cry.)
MOOSE: (gentle) There, there . . . I know just how you feel. In fact, I’ve shed a few tears myself. But don’t worry . . . he’s gonna be okay. I’m sure of it.
BUDDY: Who’s gonna be okay?
MOOSE: Well . . . Myles, of course. What else would you be crying about?
BUDDY: This splinter in my thumb! (as he holds it up)
MOOSE: Oh, brother. (as he rolls his eyes) Let me see. Wow . . . that’s a big one.
BUDDY: (scared) It is??
(Then MOOSE touches the splinter and BUDDY cries out in pain.)
MOOSE: Sorry! (pause) C’mon . . . let me take it out.
BUDDY: (in terror, he quickly pulls his arm back) No! It’ll hurt!
MOOSE: Oh, don’t be a baby.
BUDDY: (apprehensive) Promise you’ll be gentle?
MOOSE: Hey, I’m your best friend in the whole wide world, aren’t I? Now, look the other way. (as he grabs BUDDY’S arm)
(BUDDY turns his head away. Then MOOSE removes the splinter without BUDDY noticing.)
BUDDY: Okay, I’m ready . . . go ahead. (as he winces in anticipation)
MOOSE: I’m already done, you goof.
BUDDY: You are?? (as he looks at his thumb, his expression immediately changes) You are! Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
MOOSE: All right . . . that’s enough.
(Then a soft meow [SFX] is heard.)
MOOSE: What was that?
BUDDY: Oh, it’s my new kitty. (as he goes over to the crate and looks down inside) Come here . . . look!
(When MOOSE looks into the crate, another meow [SFX] is heard.)
BUDDY: Isn’t he cute?
(When MOOSE tries to pet him, he hisses angrily [SFX] and MOOSE quickly draws back.)
MOOSE: Yeah . . . real cute. You know, you can’t keep him.
BUDDY: What? Why not?
MOOSE: Cuz, we’re in The Incredible Race! (pause) And speaking of the race, I wanted to show you this book Jess gave us. I think it’ll really help us.
BUDDY: How’s a book gonna help us in The Incredible Race?
MOOSE: Because it has important words and phrases in--------------
(BUDDY leans over to look at it.)
MOOSE: No . . . there aren’t any pictures.
BUDDY: Rats. You know, there should be a law against that. Every book should have pictures.
MOOSE: I know . . . you say that all the time. But, anyway . . . it has important words and phrases in different languages. Which will be great for us, since we’ll be going to so many different countries.
BUDDY: What kind of words and phrases?
MOOSE: Well, for instance . . . do you know how to say “Where can I find a taxi?” in Spanish?
BUDDY: Sure . . . that’s easy. Where can I find a taxi in Spanish.
MOOSE: (pause as he rolls his eyes) That’s not what I meant!
(Then JESS enters the stage.)
JESS: Hey, guys . . . good news. We think Myles is going to be okay.
MOOSE: Oh, that’s great. (Then a soft meow [SFX] is heard.)
JESS: What do you have there?
BUDDY: It’s my new kitty.
BUDDY: Yeah . . . isn’t he cute?
JESS: Ha! That’s no kitty. That’s a jaguar cub.
MOOSE: No wonder it almost bit my finger off.
JESS: Yeah, well, you better put him back right away because his mama will be coming. And, believe me, you don’t want to be around when she does.
BUDDY: (scared) Really? Okay. Moose . . . will you go with me?
MOOSE: Sure, Buddy. You lead the way.
(BUDDY picks up the crate. Then they start to walk toward the rear of the auditorium.)
JESS: Hey, guys . . . I’d pick up the pace, if I were you.
(As BUDDY and MOOSE start to walk faster, a fierce jaguar growl [SFX] is heard.)
JESS: Oh, that’s his mama, for sure!
(They scream and turn back toward the stage.)
JESS: No! Don’t bring him back here!
(They scream again and run full speed toward the rear of the auditorium.)
JESS: Just drop him and get out of there!
(As soon as they get through the back doors, another fierce jaguar growl [SFX] is heard. Terrified, they scream, set the crate down, and run as fast as they can back toward the stage and to the safety of the plane. They pass RAINA as she enters.)
RAINA: What was that all about?
JESS: I think I’ll let them tell you. (pause) So . . . how are you doing?
RAINA: Much better . . . now that Myles is out of danger.
JESS: Is he still sleeping?
RAINA: Yes . . . which is what I need to do (as she yawns).
JESS: That’s for sure. Have you slept at all since he collapsed?
RAINA: No . . . with his condition, I couldn’t. It was too serious.
JESS: Well . . . I have to say I was impressed. You seemed to know what you were doing.
RAINA: That’s because I was a nurse for 10 years before I was a flight attendant.
JESS: Really! And God used that to help Myles. That is so amazing!
RAINA: Yeah . . . and you know what else? God used YOU to help me.
JESS: What do you mean?
RAINA: Well . . . while I was sitting with Myles, I had a lot of time to think.
JESS: About what?
RAINA: About my life and about all that you’ve shared with me these past few days . . . that this world is broken . . . and I’m broken . . . and it’s all because of our sin. Before, I always considered myself to be a good person, but you helped me see that I’m not. Just like everyone else, I’ve disobeyed God over and over and over. And I knew that was a problem I couldn’t ignore. It’s like my eyes were opened for the first time.
JESS: I know exactly what you mean. Same thing happened to me. So, did you read those Bible passages I gave you?
RAINA: I did. And they made perfect sense. I believed everything they said about Jesus . . . that he died for my sins and rose from the dead. And so I prayed and asked God to forgive me and save me.
JESS: (thrilled) Wow, Raina . . . I can’t even tell you how happy I am right now!
RAINA: Yeah, and what’s strange is my whole perspective has changed. Before, Myles was a giant thorn in my flesh. As you well know, I couldn’t stand to be around him. But now, I don’t feel that way at all.
JESS: Really! That is so cool.
RAINA: I know. I can’t believe it. But I just keep thinking . . . if God is willing to love me with all my issues, who am I to withhold love from someone else . . . no matter who it is.
JESS: You’re so right. And there’s a verse that says just that . . . “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Which means Christians should be the kindest, most loving people in the world.
(Then MYLES enters.)
JESS: Oh . . . hey, Myles. How are you feeling?
MYLES: Much better . . . thank you.
(JESS and RAINA look at each other, shocked at his courteous reply.)
JESS: Well . . . I’m so glad to hear that.
RAINA: Yeah, you were one sick kid.
MYLES: I know . . . I’ve never felt that bad in my whole life. I honestly thought I was dying and . . . well . . . it kinda scared me.
MYLES: So, I just want to thank you for taking such good care of me. I really appreciate it. I know I’ve been rude to everyone . . . but especially to you, Miss Raina . . . and I’m really sorry. You didn’t deserve it. Will you please forgive me?
RAINA: (with compassion) Are you kidding? Of course, I forgive you! And will you forgive me for being short tempered?
(Then a whistle [SFX] is heard in the distance as CAPTAIN, all dirty and disheveled and with a black eye and head bandage, enters from the rear of the auditorium.)
JESS: Could that be the Captain?
MYLES: (he points toward the rear of the auditorium) Yes! There he is!
RAINA: (relieved) Oh, I’m so glad he made it safely!
MYLES: Wait . . . maybe he didn’t.
(MOOSE and BUDDY enter with their backpacks.)
BUDDY: (to MOOSE) You were right . . . it is the Captain!
MOOSE: He made it! Woohoo!
CAPTAIN: Sorry it took so long. Is everyone okay?
RAINA: Yes, we’re fine . . . but what about you??
JESS: Yeah . . . what happened?
CAPTAIN: Oh, this? It’s nothing really. In fact, I was kinda hoping no one would notice. (quickly changes the subject) So, anyway, I’ve got a boat waiting. Believe it or not, there’s a navigable river not far from here.
MYLES: So aren’t you going to tell us what happened??
BUDDY: Yeah . . . we wanna know!
CAPTAIN: All right . . . well . . . let’s see . . . (as he makes up a story and becomes very dramatic). Would you believe me if I said I was walking through the jungle, minding my own business, when suddenly a band of monkeys snatched me up and threw me into a river where I was attacked by a school of piranhas and a 20-ft. crocodile?
MOOSE: (amused) Ha! You might have had us if you hadn’t said “a band of monkeys.”
BUDDY: Yeah . . . that’s silly. Monkeys can’t play music.
JESS: It’s not that kind of band, fellas.
CAPTAIN: Okay . . . how about this? One dark and stormy night, a ferocious jaguar chased me into a cave . . . where I hit my head on a stalactite. Then I was swarmed by a million vampire bats and almost strangled by a 50-ft. anaconda!
MYLES: And I thought I had an imagination.
RAINA: Why don’t you just tell us the truth?
CAPTAIN: (reluctantly) Oh, all right . . . but, you have to promise not to laugh. (pause) So . . . here’s the story. After an incredibly grueling three-day trek through the jungle, with almost no sleep and very little food, you can imagine how relieved I was when I finally made it to the village. It was like coming to an oasis in the desert. And when the people saw me, they came running to greet me. It was amazing . . . until I tripped on a tree root and face planted into a pole.
CAPTAIN: Ouch is right . . . and embarrassing, too.
RAINA: Well, at least you made it. That’s the important thing.
CAPTAIN: True. So, anyway . . . that’s what happened. (then he looks at his watch) Well . . . we really should go. Nightfall will be here soon.
RAINA: Okay . . . we’ll get our things.
(JESS, RAINA, and MYLES quickly exit to the plane to get their suitcases.)
BUDDY: (to CAPTAIN) You know, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve face planted lots of times . . . into poles and trees and all sorts of things.
CAPTAIN: Hmm . . . why am I not surprised? (pause) So, tell me . . . you boys aren’t still expecting to get back in the race, are you?
MOOSE: Oh, absolutely! We’ve been training hard all week, and I’d say we’re more ready now than we were before the crash. Wouldn’t you agree, Buddy?
BUDDY: Yep! Incredible Race . . . here we come!!
(Then JESS with a duffel bag, RAINA with a small suitcase, and MYLES with a large suitcase, return from the plane.)
RAINA: Okay . . . I think we’re ready.
JESS: (a bit sentimental) And so the time has come for one last look at this place.
MYLES: Yeah, it’s strange . . . after wanting to get out of here so badly, I think I’m going to miss it, after all.
MYLES: Nope! (as he turns and walks over to where BUDDY, MOOSE, and CAPTAIN are standing)
RAINA: I wouldn’t say I’ll miss it, but it will be a special memory . . . a very special memory. It’s where a new beginning started for me . . . and I’ll always be grateful for it.
JESS: Well said.
RAINA: (as she looks at JESS) Yes . . . we’re ready. We’re very ready.
CAPTAIN: All right . . . let’s go.
(Then CAPTAIN leads the way as they all exit toward the rear of the auditorium.)
JESS: (PRE-RECORDED) Dear Journal . . . so, everything turned out okay . . . well . . . almost. I got to Manaus in time to catch the boat to the Amazon interior, and Raina continued her career as a flight attendant with a new sense of purpose. She also kept up with Myles and eventually led him to the Lord. Moose and Buddy . . . well, they weren’t able to get back into The Incredible Race . . . in fact, they got on the wrong plane again, and . . . no one knows where they are! (short pause) Thank you, Lord. I’ll never forget such an INCREDIBLE adventure!