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Characters: STORYTELLER, WALT, MARGOT, DUSTY
(Scene begins with stage/set dark. STORYTELLER, carrying a black notebook and a box of donuts, enters from backstage and walks to front and center stage where an overstuffed chair sits. A well-worn Bible and an index card [Props] have been placed under the chair.)
STORYTELLER: (to the audience as she opens the box and selects a donut) It’s hard to beat a good donut. (she takes a bite) Mmmm . . . they’re still warm.
(WALT enters from the side in front of the stage. He’s looking for the box of donuts.)
STORYTELLER: Uh, oh . . . he’s probably looking for these.
WALT: Excuse me. Have you seen a box of . . . (then he sees the donuts)
STORYTELLER: Donuts? Sorry. I saw them backstage and couldn’t resist. But I only took one. I promise.
(STORYTELLER hands WALT the box of donuts.)
WALT: Hmm . . . (as he looks into the box)
STORYTELLER: Don’t worry. I moved them around. She won’t notice.
WALT: Yes, she will. You don’t know my sister. She notices everything.
STORYTELLER: Well, I’m the storyteller, so I’ll just make sure she doesn’t. How’s that?
WALT: You can do that?
STORYTELLER: Sure. Why not?
WALT: Wow. Hey, can you also make her a little less intimidating?
STORYTELLER: Don’t push it.
WALT: Just thought I’d ask.
STORYTELLER: Yeah, well . . . you need to get in position. It’s time to get started.
(STORYTELLER stands near chair while WALT returns to the far side door.)
STORYTELLER: (to the tech crew) Okay, I think we’re ready.
(Lights down, then theme music plays)
STORYTELLER: Well, hello everyone! It’s so great to have you here! You know, when it’s cold and blustery outside, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book. So that’s what we’re going to do. (as she takes a seat in the overstuffed chair) And the story we’re going to read is called OPERATION ARCTIC. So . . . let’s get started, shall we? (she opens her notebook and starts reading) CHAPTER ONE . . . A NEW BEGINNING.
(WALT enters from the side, in front of the stage.)
STORYTELLER: Our story begins at the home office of Wonder Crunch Cereal Company—founded in 1923 by Walton Wonder. (the Wonder Crunch Cereal slide appears on screen) And this is Walton’s grandson, Walton Wonder III.
WALT: My friends call me “Walt.” (as he takes a seat on the stage)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Walt has been working at the family business ever since he could say, “more cereal, please.” As a toddler, he worked as a taste tester and got paid with cereal box toys.
WALT: (reminiscing) Aww . . . I miss those cereal box toys.
STORYTELLER: (reads) Since then he’s done just about everything from emptying wastebaskets to installing computer networks. You might think he’d be happy in such a work environment, but . . . he isn’t. In fact, he’s wanted to quit for a long time but hasn’t been able to muster up the courage to tell his sister.
WALT: (to the audience) If you knew her, you’d understand.
STORYTELLER: (reads) Today, however, he’s finally going to do it.
WALT: (sudden terror as he quickly stands up) I am?! (then resolve) I mean, I am! I really am! Sorry . . . I’m just so nervous. (as he nervously paces back and forth)
STORYTELLER: (to WALT) Don’t worry. You’ve got this. Just take a deep breath and relax.
WALT: Okay. (as he takes a deep breath then gives himself a pep talk) There’s nothing to be scared about, right? It’s just my sister. My overachieving, straight-A student, Harvard valedictorian, Business Woman of the Year, sister. (discouraged, he grabs a donut from the box and takes a bite)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Walt and his sister have the same parents, but that’s about all they have in common. He’s Type B, she’s Type A, he’s easy-going, she’s intense, he likes salty snacks, she likes sweet. (then notices WALT eating a donut) Hey, aren’t those for Margot?
WALT: Oh, yeah, forgot. (as he sticks the half-eaten donut back in the box)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Margot Wonder, Walt’s sister, is the president of Wonder Crunch Cereal Company. And being a stickler for punctuality, she arrives at the office every morning, 5 minutes early, at exactly 7:25am, (then looks at watch) which is in 3, 2, 1, 0.
(MARGOT, with a briefcase in one hand and a cell phone to her ear, promptly enters from the rear of the auditorium and proceeds to the stage.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) And here she comes, just like clockwork. As she tells her employees, “If you’re early, you’re on time . . . if you’re on time, you’re late . . . ”
MARGOT: (sternly) And if you’re late . . . you’re fired!
STORYTELLER: (gulps, then reads) Under her leadership, Wonder Crunch has become one of the leading manufacturers of breakfast cereals.
MARGOT: Not “one of the leading manufacturers,” THE leading manufacturer. (as she holds up her newspaper for the STORYTELLER to see) See . . . “Wonder Crunch now largest cereal maker.” Someone needs to do her homework.
STORYTELLER: (a bit intimidated) Right. I’m so sorry. Let me change that right now. (as she writes the change into the script)
WALT: (nervous) Good morning, Margot.
MARGOT: (surprised, but with very little emotion) Oh . . . you’re here early. (then notices the donuts) What do you have there?
MARGOT: (confused) For me? Why?
WALT: Uh . . . well, I just drove by Poppy’s and thought you might like some. They still make your favorite. Blueberry, right? (as he offers a donut to MARGOT)
MARGOT: (she looks in the box) Hmm . . . looks like you already had a couple.
WALT: (to STORYTELLER) Hey, I thought you were going to make it so she wouldn’t notice.
STORYTELLER: Sorry, forgot.
WALT: (to MARGOT) Well? Aren’t you going to take one?
MARGOT: I already had breakfast. Besides, I don’t eat that stuff anymore . . . and you shouldn’t either.
WALT: (annoyed) I know . . . it’s not healthy.
MARGOT: Well, I’ve got things to do. And I’m sure you do too. (as she starts to exit)
WALT: Right. (disappointed, he loses his nerve and turns away, but then suddenly regains his courage) Wait! Margot! Before you leave.
MARGOT: (a bit annoyed) What??
WALT: (apprehensive) I, uh . . . I have something I . . . need to tell you.
MARGOT: Well? What is it?
WALT: I’m, uh . . . I’m leaving.
MARGOT: Leaving? What do you mean, “leaving?” You just got here.
WALT: No . . . I mean, I’m . . . I’m quitting.
MARGOT: Quitting?! What are you talking about? You can’t quit!
WALT: I can’t? Why not?
MARGOT: Because this is a family business . . . OUR family business. Your last name is still Wonder, isn’t it? Now get to work.
WALT: No, really. I mean it. I . . . I’ve made up my mind.
MARGOT: (annoyed, she takes a breath) You want more money? Is that it?
WALT: No. That has nothing to do with it.
MARGOT: More vacation? You already have a whole week!
WALT: That’s not it either.
MARGOT: Then what is it? I don’t understand. Why on earth would you want to leave Wonder Crunch? Where else are you going to find such a great situation?
WALT: The Arctic Circle.
MARGOT: What?? Is this some kind of joke? I really don’t have time for this.
WALT: No, I’m totally serious. I’m leaving this high-stress, hi-tech lifestyle and going to the Arctic to build myself a cabin in the wilderness.
MARGOT: (upset) Well, all I have to say is . . . THAT’S THE CRAZIEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD! What do you know about living in the Arctic?!
WALT: I know a little.
MARGOT: “A little”?? Well, little brother, “a little” is not going to be enough! But . . . it’s your life. Do what you want. Meanwhile, I have a company to run! Excuse me.
(MARGOT leaves, forgetting her briefcase.)
WALT: Well, that didn’t go very well, did it? I should have done flowers instead of donuts. (to the STORYTELLER) Here . . . you want these? (as he hands the box of donuts back to the STORYTELLER)
STORYTELLER: Sure. (then helps herself to a donut)
WALT: We used to get along so well when we were kids, but for some reason, we don’t anymore. We’re more like strangers now.
STORYTELLER: (reads) It’s sad when brothers and sisters don’t get along. They should be life-long friends, not strangers! But that’s pretty much how they parted. He put in his 2-week notice, during which neither he nor his sister made any effort to “patch things up.” Then, without even saying “good-bye,” he was off to northern Alaska.
MARGOT: I uh . . . left my briefcase. (as she points to it) So that’s where he went, huh? Northern Alaska?
STORYTELLER: Yep. North of the Arctic Circle. Accessible only by bush plane, and 100 miles from his nearest neighbor.
MARGOT: I don’t understand him. I mean, seriously . . . moving to the Arctic Circle? Are you kidding me? And to go so unprepared . . . it’s crazy. He’s crazy.
STORYTELLER: Don’t let him fool you. He knows more than just “a little” about living in the Arctic.
MARGOT: (skeptical) Does he now.
STORYTELLER: Yes. What he didn’t tell you is that for the past two years he’s been carefully preparing himself, so he knows exactly what to expect.
MARGOT: Yeah, well, you just watch. Within 30 days he’ll be crawling back here wanting his old job back. Mark my words.
STORYTELLER: Oh, that reminds me. (as she retrieves the Bible and index card from under the chair) Here’s his contact information.
(STORYTELLER holds out an index card. At first, MARGOT just looks at it.)
MARGOT: Now wait just a minute. My time is extremely valuable. There’s no way I’m going to be writing letters all the time, just to keep him company.
STORYTELLER: How ‘bout a Christmas card? After all, he is your brother.
(Then, strictly out of duty, MARGOT takes it.)
MARGOT: Okay, well . . . maybe a Christmas card, but that’s it!
STORYTELLER: He also wanted me to give you this. He found it when he was moving out of his condo. (as she gives a well-worn Bible to MARGOT)
MARGOT: Our father’s Bible.
STORYTELLER: Looks worn out. Your father must have read it a lot.
MARGOT: Every day. (as she opens it up)
STORYTELLER: Wow. That’s great. You know, a famous preacher once said, “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” I imagine your father was a good man.
MARGOT: Yes . . . yes, he was.
STORYTELLER: Well, I’m sure you’ll treasure that.
MARGOT: I guess. But I’m not really a Bible reader. My father and I didn’t have much in common that way.
STORYTELLER: So sorry to hear that.
MARGOT: Why? It’s okay. I’ve got my job and that gives me plenty to do with my time. Believe me.
STORYTELLER: Yeah, but someday you’re going to regret that you didn’t take the Bible seriously like your father did.
MARGOT: You think so?
STORYTELLER: No, I don’t think so. I know so. Nothing is more important than God’s Word.
MARGOT: (pauses as she thinks about what was just said, then she notices the box of donuts) Hey, uh . . . are those really blueberry donuts?
STORYTELLER: Yes, and they’re amazing. Want one?
MARGOT: (for a moment she considers taking one, then decides against it) Naah . . . I’ve got work to do.
STORYTELLER: (to MARGOT) Have a nice day. (to the AUDIENCE) Well, she obviously has her priorities mixed up. A job is no substitute for a relationship with God. In fact, nothing is. We should all be following her father’s example and spending time reading the Bible everyday.
(SCENE CHANGE: Screens go dark as stage hands quickly remove the chair. Then, as stage lights illuminate set, WALT enters to check his ice fishing pole that he set up earlier.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Now, as we fast forward a couple years, we find Walt very happily situated in northern Alaska with a sturdy, well-equipped log cabin.
WALT: (with great satisfaction) That I built all by myself!
STORYTELLER: (reads) His dream is now a reality and so far, he’s passed the test. The test of whether he has what it takes to live in such a harsh and unforgiving wilderness all alone.
WALT: Alone, except for my dogs and the occasional bush pilot visit.
(Then the sound of a bush plane arrival [sfx] is heard.)
WALT: Huh, and speaking of bush pilots . . . here she comes now. (as he looks up to find her plane and then waves)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Bush pilots are special people. Without them, living in the Arctic wilderness would be a lot more difficult.
WALT: I’d say impossible. (as he starts to pack up his fishing gear) They’re like a lifeline to civilization. (as he returns to the cabin with a couple fish)
STORYTELLER: Hmm . . . “A lifeline to civilization” . . . I kinda like that. Mind if I use it?
WALT: Not at all. Be my guest.
STORYTELLER: Bush pilots are like a . . . lifeline . . . to . . . civilization (as she pretends to write it into her book) . . . . (then reads) Not only do they fly people around, they also deliver food and supplies. And, like the Pony Express, they carry the mail, too.
(Then DUSTY, the bush pilot, enters carrying a box of supplies and a gift-wrapped Bible.)
DUSTY: YOOHOO! MR. WONDER! ANYBODY HOME?!
WALT: Yes, I’m here!
STORYTELLER: This is Dusty. She’s with ACE Air Service.
DUSTY: Yep! Flying safely for over 15 years, praise the Lord!
STORYTELLER: She says that because bush flying in Alaska can be risky. In fact, it’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Mostly because of the weather, which can change in the blink of an eye.
DUSTY: True. And the fact that we have to land on rivers, glaciers, and sandbars probably doesn’t help much either! You know, it’s funny, but in the business we say, “It was a good landing, if you lived through it!”
STORYTELLER: Really? I, uh . . . I wouldn’t mention that in your advertising. Might be bad for business.
DUSTY: Oh, but the adventure is so worth it! (then, to WALT) Hey! Looks like you caught a couple good ones there.
WALT: (he holds up the cardboard fish he “caught”) Yeah . . . not bad. The fish around here taste like cardboard, though. So, what do you have for me?
DUSTY: Oh, just the grocery items you asked for . . . and a gift. (as she hands him the box and the gift-wrapped Bible)
WALT: A gift? What’s the occasion?
DUSTY: No occasion. Just . . . want you to have it.
(WALT opens the gift.)
WALT: What is it? A Bible?
DUSTY: Yep. If you already have one, feel free to pass it on to someone who doesn’t.
WALT: (not excited) Actually, I, uh . . . I don’t.
DUSTY: Well, good then. You now have a copy of the world’s most unique piece of literature and all-time bestseller—written over a period of 1,500 years by over 40 different authors from all walks of life, and yet it reads as if it were written by one person. It’s the Book of Books, God’s holy Word. And because it’s God’s Word, you can trust everything in it to be absolutely true.
WALT: (trying to be polite) Wow . . . that’s quite a résumé. Thanks.
DUSTY: Believe me, I could go on and on, but I’ve gotta keep moving. More deliveries, you know.
WALT: Oh, no you don’t. You promised me a ride in your new plane.
DUSTY: Oh, yeah. Well, come on, then. Let’s go!
WALT: Yes! This is gonna be awesome!
(DUSTY and WALT exit toward the rear of the auditorium.)
DUSTY: Here . . . you can drive (as she holds out her keys)
WALT: (excited) You mean it?
DUSTY: Haha! No! Think I’m crazy??
STORYTELLER: And with that, Chapter 1 comes to a close. (as she closes her notebook) But the story’s just begun, so make sure you’re here tomorrow as we meet some new characters in Chapter 2!