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Characters: STORYTELLER, WALT, BOBBIE, RICO, RALPHIE, DUSTY
(Scene begins with WALT asleep inside his cabin.)
STORYTELLER: Hello, everyone . . . and welcome back! I’m eager to hear what happens next in Operation Arctic, aren’t you? So, let’s get back to our story. (as she opens her notebook and begins to read) CHAPTER TWO, UNEXPECTED VISITORS. It’s the next morning and Walt is about to wake up. (pause) I said, “Walt is about to wake up!”
(WALT stirs for a moment, then turns over and goes back to sleep.)
STORYTELLER: No, no . . . don’t go back to sleep! It’s time to get up! (to the tech crew) Hey, tech crew! Can you give me a rooster crow? (a rooster crow [sfx] is heard, but WALT doesn’t budge) Hmm . . . what else do you have? (a fog horn [sfx] is heard, but WALT keeps right on sleeping) Nothing. All right, that’s it. Time to get serious. (as she walks over to the cabin and pours a cup of water) Ice cold water. Should I?? (then she dumps it on his head, but Walt just lies there motionless.) Well, that’s a first.
(Suddenly WALT’S soft alarm clock [sfx] is heard and he immediately awakes and sits up.)
STORYTELLER: You’ve got to be kidding me.
(Then WALT stretches and yawns just before realizing that he’s wet.)
WALT: (confused) How’d I get wet?
STORYTELLER: Hmm . . . you must have been drooling something awful. Here’s a towel. (as she throws him a towel)
(WALT dries himself off, then gets up and dons a fleece jacket.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) After Walt gets up, he follows the same routine every morning. First, he puts his boots on.
(WALT puts his boots on.)
STORYTELLER: Then, he brushes his teeth.
WALT: (first checks his breath with his hand) Hmm, not too bad . . . maybe I won’t this morning.
STORYTELLER: (more forcefully) Then, he brushes his teeth!
WALT: (concedes) Okay.
(WALT brushes his teeth.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Combs his hair.
(WALT combs his hair.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) And makes his bed.
WALT: Do I have to?
STORYTELLER: Yes. You have to.
(WALT grudgingly makes his bed.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Then, he gets some breakfast.
WALT: (with happy anticipation) Let’s see . . . what shall I have for breakfast today?
STORYTELLER: Let’s do moose jerky.
WALT: Jerky? I was thinking pancakes.
STORYTELLER: Sorry . . . no time for pancakes. Gotta keep things moving.
WALT: All right.
(WALT grabs some jerky.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) Then, he reads a book as he eats his breakfast.
WALT: But I’ve read all my books.
STORYTELLER: Not your new one.
WALT: New one?
STORYTELLER: The one that Dusty brought yesterday.
WALT: But . . . that’s a Bible. I’m not very religious. And besides . . . I already know all about the Bible.
STORYTELLER: (skeptical) Really?
WALT: Sure. It’s not like I never went to church. I know all about Darrell in the lion’s den and Moses being swallowed by a whale.
STORYTELLER: (with sarcasm) Wow . . . I’m impressed. Tell me more.
WALT: Like what?
STORYTELLER: Well . . . do you know any Bible verses?
WALT: Sure . . . that’s easy. “God helps those who help themselves. . . . ”
STORYTELLER: Oh, yeah . . . from 2nd Hesitations, right?
WALT: Right. See . . . I know what I’m talking about.
STORYTELLER: Actually . . . you don’t.
STORYTELLER: Well, first of all, it was Daniel in the lion’s den, not Darrell; Jonah was the one who was swallowed by a great fish; “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible; and, there’s no such thing as “2nd Hesitations.”
WALT: Okay, so I don’t know much about the Bible. Is that really such a big deal? I mean, what difference is it going to make?
STORYTELLER: Are you kidding me? You’re actually wondering if God’s written Word—a book that has changed the world—can make a difference in your life?
WALT: Changed the world? What are you talking about?
STORYTELLER: Well, just look around. Because of the Bible, you’ve got the establishment of hospitals and orphanages, the development of higher education, the rise of modern science . . . not to mention its enormous influence on language, art, music, and literature. It’s also produced a whole slew of missionary and caring organizations that have served the needs of people all over the world.
WALT: Wow. I had no idea.
STORYTELLER: And did you know that the American system of government and many of our laws are based on principles from the Bible? In fact, the history of America and many other countries would be completely different if it weren’t for the Bible.
STORYTELLER: Yes, but more important than all of that is the fact that countless millions of people have found faith in God through the Bible and are now in heaven . . . or will be someday. (short pause) So you see, like a light in the darkness, the Bible has made a huge difference! But, the question is . . . can it make a difference in your life? ABSOLUTELY!
WALT: Well, I admit you’ve given me a lot to think about. But, right now I really need to check my traps.
(WALT leaves the cabin to check his traps and exits toward the rear of the auditorium. Then BOBBIE, RICO, and RALPHIE enter from the other side of the auditorium and proceed toward the stage. BOBBIE leads the way, being guided by a GPS device.)
STORYTELLER: (not expecting WALT to leave so abruptly) Okay . . . (as she watches him leave, then turns back to her notebook and reads) While Walt leaves to check his animal traps, some rather “unwelcome” visitors, traveling far from home, arrive in search of an old plane crash site. Their leader hails from New York City, and her name is Bobbie Escobar.
BOBBIE: (to the audience) Hey, how ya doin.’
STORYTELLER: (reads) And traveling with her are the infamous Tomato (“Toe-MAH-toe”) brothers.
RICO: (with an attitude) Some people say, Tomato (“Toe-MAYtoe”), but we don’t like that.
STORYTELLER: Say hello to Rico and Ralphie.
RICO: I’m Rico and he’s Ralphie.
RALPHIE: No, I’m Ralphie and he’s Rico.
RICO: I just said that.
RALPHIE: No, you didn’t.
RICO: Did so.
BOBBIE: Cut it out!
RICO: Sorry, boss. It won’t happen again.
STORYTELLER: (reads) As the story goes, sometime during the winter of 1974, a small plane flying over northern Alaska went down in an epic snowstorm. Only three survived the crash—the pilot and two passengers, who quickly dug a hole and buried their cargo in the ground nearby. The pilot was never told what the cargo was but figured that it must have been something of extreme value—like gold.
RICO: Gold! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
BOBBIE: Shhhh! She’s trying to tell a story!
STORYTELLER: Sadly, when a rescue team arrived, only the pilot had survived the freezing temperatures. For years, he never told anyone about the buried treasure, hoping to return someday to claim the prize for himself, but he was never well enough to do so. Then, just before he died, he shared the story with the only family member he liked—his niece, Bobbie. The same “Bobbie” who has finally come to claim the treasure that’s been hidden all these years beneath the Arctic snow.
RALPHIE: Why does the Arctic have to be so cold?! That’s what I wanna know.
RICO: I told you to wear long johns.
RALPHIE: Yeah, right. And how are long johns supposed to keep you warm? Why, I’d need a couple dozen of them, at least. They’re only that big! (as he holds his hands up about 8 inches apart) And besides . . . they’d be so sticky with all that icing and cream filling.
RICO: (confused) What? No! Not donuts! Long underwear!
RALPHIE: Long underwear?? Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?!
RICO: I did!
BOBBIE: Would you two knock it off?!
RICO: Sorry, boss. It won’t happen again.
BOBBIE: Now, according to GPS, we should be getting close. Really close.
RICO: (to RALPHIE) Did you hear that? We’re getting close. So keep your eyes open.
RALPHIE: What do you think I’m gonna do? If I closed ‘em, I’d run into a tree!
(Suddenly RALPHIE trips, causing RICO to run into BOBBIE.)
BOBBIE: Stop following me so closely!
RICO: Sorry, boss. It won’t happen again! (short pause) So . . . do you really think we’re gonna find gold?
BOBBIE: Would I come all the way to the North Pole if I didn’t think so??
RICO: (feeling stupid) Uh . . . no, boss. Of course you wouldn’t.
(Suddenly, BOBBIE sees the cabin.)
BOBBIE: Shhhh! Look. Over there. (as she points to the cabin)
RALPHIE: (excited) A cabin! (as he starts to walk toward the cabin)
BOBBIE: Hey! Where do you think you’re going??
RALPHIE: I jus’ wanna get warm, that’s all.
BOBBIE: Oh, no you don’t! Get back in line! Stop thinking about yourself all the time and remember why we came up here!
RALPHIE: Okay. (to RICO) Why did we come up here?
BOBBIE: Hmm . . . the cabin must be new. It doesn’t show up on GPS.
RICO: Is that a problem?
BOBBIE: Yeah . . . it’s a problem, all right. First of all, we’re in the Arctic wilderness . . . there aren’t supposed to be people up here. And, secondly, it looks like the cabin is built directly over the crash site. (frustrated) Figures. Why can’t anything be easy?
RICO: So what do we do now?
RALPHIE: Lunch sounds good, I’m starving.
RICO: You just had breakfast. You can’t be starving!
RALPHIE: Yes I can.
RICO: No you can’t.
RALPHIE: Can too.
BOBBIE: Quiet! I don’t want anyone to know we’re here. Things have gotten more complicated now, so we have to be smart about this.
RICO: Okay, boss. You figure it out, then tell us what to do.
RALPHIE: Yeah . . . figure it out and tell us what to do.
RICO: I just said that.
RALPHIE: I just said that.
RICO: Stop copying me!
RALPHIE: Stop copying— (interrupted by BOBBIE)
BOBBIE: (interrupts RALPHIE) Enough! What is wrong with you two?!
RICO: Sorry, boss. It won’t happen again.
BOBBIE: (short pause as she regains her composure) Now, I’ve got to get closer to make sure I’ve got a good reading. You boys stay here. Think you can do that??
RICO: Yes, boss. You can count on us.
(As BOBBIE tiptoes toward the cabin, RALPHIE follows quietly behind.)
RICO: (loud whisper) Pssst! Ralphie! Get back here!
(When BOBBIE hears RICO, she stops suddenly causing RALPHIE to run into her.)
BOBBIE: (loud whisper) What you are doing?!
RALPHIE: (loud whisper) I want to come with you. I’m scared.
BOBBIE: (loud angry whisper) I’ll give you something to be scared about! Now get back there!
(RALPHIE quickly walks back to where RICO is. Then BOBBIE proceeds to tiptoe over to the side of the cabin with her GPS device. She quickly checks the device.)
BOBBIE: Can you believe it?! What are the odds?!
STORYTELLER: Now Walt had no idea that he had built his cabin directly over an old plane crash site. The vegetation had long grown back and none of the wreckage remained after all these years.
BOBBIE: (to the STORYTELLER, with sarcasm) Thanks for going out of your way to make it hard for us!
(BOBBIE returns to RICO and RALPHIE.)
RICO: So the gold is under the cabin?
RALPHIE: Oh well. Better luck next time. (as he starts to walk away)
RICO: Where’re you going??
BOBBIE: Get back here! We’re not going anywhere. We didn’t travel all the way to the Arctic Circle to leave empty-handed!
(Then, suddenly, they hear WALT returning to his cabin.)
RICO: Hide! Someone’s coming!
(BOBBIE, RICO, and RALPHIE hide. Then WALT approaches and enters the cabin.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) And that someone is Walt, who’s returning to his cabin after checking all the animal traps he’s set in various places. He often returns with a rabbit, a fox, or a beaver, but he didn’t catch anything this time.
BOBBIE: Hmm . . . looks like a hermit to me.
RALPHIE: A hermit. What’s that?
BOBBIE: Someone who lives alone and far away from everyone.
RALPHIE: Really? What’s the fun in that?
RICO: That’s okay, the odds are in our favor. There’s 3 of us and only one of him.
(Suddenly, they hear a bush plane arrival [sfx].)
BOBBIE: Uh . . . not so fast. Here comes a bush plane. This is unbelievable! You think you’re going to be all alone up here in the Arctic wilderness, but instead it’s like Grand Central Station! (then with sarcasm) Remind me to make a reservation next time! C’mon. We’ll set up camp and come back later.
RALPHIE: Hey, can we have s’mores tonight?
RICO: S’mores? I’d rather have popcorn.
RALPHIE: S’mores are better than popcorn.
RICO: No, they’re not.
RALPHIE: Yes, they are!
BOBBIE: Quiet!! Good grief! What was I thinking when I decided to bring you two along?!
RICO: Sorry, boss. It— (interrupted by BOBBIE).
BOBBIE: (interrupts RICO) I know, “It won’t happen again,” but it always does!
(BOBBIE, RICO, and RALPHIE exit the auditorium in the direction that they entered.)
STORYTELLER: And off they go to set up their camp and eat s’mores or . . . popcorn . . . or both. Then, very unexpectedly, Dusty approaches the cabin.
DUSTY: YOOHOO! MR. WONDER! IT’S ME, DUSTY!
(WALT hears DUSTY and exits the cabin.)
WALT: Dusty? What are you doing here?
DUSTY: I just found a piece of mail addressed to you. Must have fallen out of the mail sack. I am so sorry.
(DUSTY hands WALT the letter.)
WALT: Oh . . . well you didn’t need to fly all the way up here just for that. You could have waited until your next delivery.
DUSTY: No, you see (as she points to the postmark), it was postmarked over a month ago. That’s why I had to come immediately. I just hope it’s not too late.
WALT: I’m sure it’s fine. Wonder who it’s from? Hmm . . . can’t make out the return address.
DUSTY: Yeah, the envelope got a little messed up. Sorry about that. We had a little scuffle with a polar bear.
WALT: A polar bear, really?
DUSTY: Oh, yeah . . . but, nothing serious. Could have been a lot worse. A couple weeks ago, a grizzly ripped the side off of one of our planes like it was tin foil.
WALT: Wow . . .
DUSTY: I know. Never a dull moment, and I LOVE IT! Well . . . I’ll let you read your letter. Gotta get to Fairbanks before lunch!
WALT: Okay, Dusty. Be careful.
DUSTY: I always am!
WALT: And thank you!
DUSTY: Oh, you’re welcome!
(As DUSTY exits, WALT walks back to the cabin to read his letter.)
STORYTELLER: (reads) So, as Dusty returns to her bush plane, Walt returns to the warmth of his cabin to read his letter. Living in the wilderness, he doesn’t receive much mail, so when he does, he wastes no time opening it.
WALT: (surprise gradually turns to shock as he reads) Hmm . . . this is interesting. (pause) What? (pause) Oh no! This is terrible! This is a disaster!
STORYTELLER: And that’s the end of the chapter. (as she closes her notebook) So . . . if you want to find out what’s in the mystery letter, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.