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Characters: JESS, RAINA, MOOSE, BUDDY, MYLES
(It’s the next morning. MYLES got up early and exited the plane. He had finally grown tired of the confined quarters. Scene begins with stage dark and jungle sounds [SFX] playing.)
JESS: (offstage, writing in her journal) Dear Journal . . . Waking up this morning to the sounds and smells of a tropical rain forest was an amazing experience. I really think I’m going to like living in the Amazon. The jungle is such a peaceful place, compared to the noise and stress of the city. Thank you, Lord, for the blessings of peace and tranquility.
(As the stage lights rise, MYLES is standing front and center stage.)
MYLES: (looking down at his shoes) AAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!
(RAINA and JESS come running to the scene.)
RAINA: What’s wrong??!
MYLES: WHAT. IS. THAT??! (pointing to the bug on his shoe [no bug prop needed])
JESS: Oh, cool . . . it’s a tortoise beetle! You know why they call it a tortoise beetle?
MYLES: I don’t care! Get it off my shoe! Immediately!
JESS: Okay, okay . . . calm down. (as she pretends to remove the beetle)
MYLES: Calm down. That’s easy for you to say. Those were my favorite shoes and now they’re ruined! Ruined I tell you!
RAINA: What are you talking about?? They’re not ruined at all.
MYLES: Oh, yes they are!
JESS: That’s ridiculous. I mean look at your shoe. No one would ever know there was a bug on it.
MYLES: Well, Myles Bentley the third would know it! And that’s all that matters! (to RAINA) Now get me my other shoes!
JESS: (surprised at his arrogance) Whoa.
RAINA: What did you say?
MYLES: I said get my other shoes!
RAINA: I will not!
MYLES: What?? Of course you will!
RAINA: Listen, Myles Bentley the third . . . I don’t know what you’re used to, but it isn’t going to work here.
MYLES: Oh, yeah? Well, guess what? My father has lots of money. So, if you don’t do what I say, he’s going to buy your little airline and fire you! Now what do you think of that?!
RAINA: That’s fine with me. I was thinking of retiring anyway. (pause) Unbelievable. (as she walks away)
(RAINA exits toward the plane.)
MYLES: Where’s she going?
JESS: I don’t know, but I’m sure she won’t be bringing you any shoes.
(MYLES tosses his “ruined” shoe away.)
JESS: Listen, Myles, we’re in the jungle now. So you’re going to have to get used to a few bugs. If you dispose of your shoes every time an insect walks across one of them, you won’t have any left by the time breakfast is over.
MYLES: Ha! That shows how much you know. I could last way beyond breakfast. I probably have more shoes in my suitcase than you’ve ever owned in your whole life! So there!
(Then MYLES, wearing only one shoe, hops back to the plane.)
JESS: (she watches MYLES leave; then jokes) Oh, yeah? Well . . . I bet I have more bobby pins than you!! (pause) Hmm . . . how sad. (then she says a quick prayer) Lord, use this time in the jungle to soften his heart. (then she picks up his “ruined” shoe) Wow . . . I wonder how much these cost. A pretty penny, I’m sure. That’s okay. They’ll make a nice present for someone in the Amazon.
(Then MOOSE and BUDDY come running wearing their backpacks.)
BUDDY: Did someone scream??
MOOSE: We got here as fast as we could!
JESS: (sarcastically) Wow . . . I’m impressed.
MOOSE: Yeah . . . well. We don’t mess around, do we, Buddy?
BUDDY: Nope. Not us. And that’s why we’re gonna win The Incredible Race!
(MOOSE and BUDDY “high five” each other.)
JESS: Well, all I can say is . . . it’s a good thing you don’t work for the fire department. (as she walks away)
(JESS exits toward the plane.)
BUDDY: (to MOOSE) Work for the fire department? What was that supposed to mean?
MOOSE: Beats me.
BUDDY: Oh, well . . . time for breakfast. (as he starts to walk back to the plane)
MOOSE: Hey, wait! We were going to exercise first, remember?
BUDDY: But I’m starving!
MOOSE: It’s gonna be too hot later in the day. And besides, what’s more important right now . . . winning The Incredible Race or filling our stomachs?
BUDDY: Filling our stomachs.
MOOSE: Aw, c’mon, Bud! We need to be in top form so we’re ready to go as soon as the Captain returns.
BUDDY: (with dread) Oh, all right.
(RAINA enters pushing an airline food cart as MOOSE and BUDDY take positions next to each other, front and center stage. As soon as she sees them, she decides to stop and watch. Then BUDDY watches while MOOSE does a few stretches, causing a series of bone cracking sounds [SFX]. After that, they proceed with their exercises.)
MOOSE: Okay, let’s march in place. (pause) Hey, this is fun!
BUDDY: (to himself) Breakfast is more fun.
MOOSE: What did you say?
(Then JESS enters and decides to enjoy “the show” with RAINA.)
MOOSE: Now arm circles. (as he starts to circle his arms, he hits BUDDY in the face)
MOOSE: Oh, sorry. (as he moves over so there’s more space between them)
BUDDY: I feel like a bird. (as he does arm circles)
MOOSE: Okay. Now touch your toes! (as he touches his toes)
BUDDY: I can’t reach that far.
MOOSE: Just do your best. Ohhh . . . doesn’t that feel good?!
BUDDY: (as he leans over, bone cracking sounds [SFX] are heard) No! It hurts!
MOOSE: Okay . . . now squats! (as he does squats) Feel the burn? That means it’s working!
BUDDY: I feel something, all right. (as he squats down and falls backward) I hate exercising.
MOOSE: Now, let’s run!
(MOOSE takes off down the center aisle then realizes that BUDDY is not with him. Having fallen with his backpack on, he can’t get up, although he isn’t trying very hard either.)
MOOSE: Hey, c’mon!
BUDDY: I can’t. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.
MOOSE: Well, take your backpack off, then!
BUDDY: Oh, yeah . . . good idea. (as he continues to lie there)
MOOSE: You know, Buddy, if we’re gonna win The Incredible Race, you’re going to have to do some thinking for yourself.
BUDDY: Why? I’ve never had to before.
RAINA: Hey! You boys want some breakfast?
BUDDY: Did someone say, “breakfast”?!
(Suddenly, BUDDY gets a burst of energy and jumps to his feet WITH his backpack on. With that, MOOSE looks out to the crowd with a frustrated look. BUDDY hurries over to the base of the ziggurat where RAINA and JESS are; then MOOSE follows.)
BUDDY: (excited) Oh, boy . . . what are we having?!
RAINA: Now, don’t get too excited. I had to dispose of the perishable food, so all we have are prepackaged items and warm soda.
(MOOSE and BUDDY help themselves from the food cart.)
BUDDY: That’s okay. We love processed food . . . don’t we, Moose?
MOOSE: Absolutely! Potato chips, pretzels, cheesy crackers, cookies . . . as far as we’re concerned, there’s your four basic food groups!
JESS: What about Myles? Shouldn’t we call him? (as she takes her turn at the food cart, grabbing a couple items)
RAINA: I already did. He said he’s not hungry.
BUDDY: Hey, that’s okay. Just means more for us. (as he grabs another bag of chips for himself and throws one to MOOSE) This is amazing, huh, Moose!
MOOSE: Yep . . . breakfast of champions!
RAINA: Well, I’m glad you’re happy. (as she helps herself to some snacks) But, I’m not sure how long Jess and I will hold out. And trouble is . . . I don’t see much around here that looks edible. (as she looks around)
JESS: Oh, you’d be surprised. There are plenty of things to eat in a tropical rain forest.
RAINA: Hmm . . . well, I might prove to be a little pickier than you, my dear.
JESS: Maybe . . . but you may surprise yourself. They say that when you finally get hungry enough, you’ll eat things you didn’t think you ever could.
BUDDY: (with a big smile) Like slimy snakes?
MOOSE: (joins in with BUDDY) And luscious lizards?!
RAINA: Okay, can we change the subject, please?
JESS: So what should we talk about? The weather? Most embarrassing moments? The best way to cure hiccups?
BUDDY: Why don’t you tell us more about this “pyramid-rat thing.”
JESS: You mean ziggurat.
BUDDY: Yeah . . . ziggurat.
JESS: Well . . . I’m certainly not an expert by any means, but since we’re in Guatemala, I’d guess this one was built by the Maya (pronounced “MY-uh”)
MOOSE: What’s “the Maya”?
JESS: They were an ancient people group that lived in this area. All I really know about them is they built cities with stepped pyramids like this one. (pause) But you know what’s interesting? There are literally hundreds and hundreds of ancient ziggurats and pyramids like this all over the world. And they think that the idea started way back with the tower of Babel.
(MOOSE, BUDDY, and RAINA give JESS a blank stare.)
BUDDY: Tower of Babel?
JESS: Yeah . . . you know, when God came down and confused the language of all the earth?
RAINA: Wait . . . what?
JESS: Didn’t you all go to Sunday school?
MOOSE: We have no idea what you’re talking about.
JESS: Really . . . well, it’s right there in the Bible. It happened way back thousands of years ago when everyone lived in one place and there was only one language.
RAINA: One language? Wow . . . that would have made my job a lot easier.
JESS: I know . . . mine, too. So, anyway . . . God had told the people to multiply and fill the earth, but instead, they decided to build a city with a big tower so they’d stay together and NOT fill the earth. And, of course, God didn’t like that.
BUDDY: That wasn’t very smart of them, was it?
JESS: No. It’s never a good idea to disobey God.
RAINA: So, then what happened?
JESS: Well, that’s when God confused the language so the people couldn’t understand each other anymore. And then they stopped building the city and scattered over the face of the earth.
RAINA: So . . . that’s why we have different languages?
JESS: Yes, and different cultures, too. (Suddenly, they hear the sound of a stick breaking [SFX] by the plane.)
BUDDY: What was that?
RAINA: Probably Myles. I guess I better check on him.
MOOSE: No . . . we should do it. C’mon, Buddy. (pause) Just in case it’s a tiger or something.
BUDDY: (scared) Tiger??
JESS: Don’t worry. There are no tigers around here. Fire-breathing dragons, maybe . . . but definitely no tigers . . . (then with a smile) that we know of, anyway.
JESS: Just kidding!
(MOOSE and BUDDY exit to check on MYLES.)
RAINA: So, about this tower of Babel. There really was a time when there was only one language?
RAINA: Wow . . . that must have been crazy. One minute everyone’s speaking the same language and the next minute there’s mass confusion.
JESS: And it was a major turning point in history, too! Because of what God did at Babel, not only do we have different languages, we also have different cultures, different customs, different foods, and even differences in the way we look! Which is amazing when you think that we all came from the same parents, Adam and Eve.
RAINA: Wow . . . this is blowing my mind.
(Then MOOSE and BUDDY return.)
BUDDY: He’s gone!
RAINA: What?? What do you mean he’s gone??
(MOOSE and BUDDY look at each other.)
MOOSE: Uh . . . he’s not there. We can’t find him. We don’t know where he is. That kinda thing.
(RAINA leaves to check the plane.)
BUDDY: Doesn’t she believe us?
MOOSE: (to JESS) Yeah, we went over the whole plane . . . top to bottom.
JESS: I’m sure you did.
BUDDY: We even looked in the salt and pepper shakers!
JESS: Really? That’s good, ‘cause I wouldn’t have thought to look there.
RAINA: Okay . . . well, we have to find him . . . even if he is extremely annoying. How about if you two go that way (as she points to the back right of the auditorium) and we’ll go this way (pointing to the back left of the auditorium) Then we’ll meet back here in, say . . . half an hour. (as she looks at her watch)
MOOSE: I don’t know. I think a half hour is too long. Let’s make it 30 minutes, instead.
RAINA: (rolls her eyes) O---kay . . . 30 minutes it is. Let’s go.
(While MOOSE and BUDDY exit the auditorium to the back right, RAINA and JESS exit to the back left. They call out for MYLES as they go.)