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Characters: Oda Grim, Professor, Queen Josephine, Avery, Robo
(Theme music beginning)
(Scene begins with AVERY arriving early the next morning. QUEEN JOSEPHINE is lying on the floor in front of the time machine fast asleep. ROBO is standing nearby in a frozen position. His battery is dead. The lights come on, and then AVERY emerges from backstage.)
AVERY: (sees QUEEN JOSEPHINE) What? Who’s this? (She pauses and thinks.) How’d she get in here? The doors were locked. Hmm, maybe Robo will know something (as she turns to ROBO). Robo? Hello? (She checks his batteries.) That’s strange. Your batteries are dead. (She grabs a cord and plugs ROBO in.)
(A bicycle cling [sfx] is heard. Then the PROFESSOR enters the lab wearing a bike helmet.)
AVERY: Oh, hi, Professor.
PROFESSOR: Who’s that?
AVERY: I have no idea. Some costume, huh?
PROFESSOR: I’ll say. Any idea how she got in here?
AVERY: Nope. The door was locked as usual.
PROFESSOR: Hmm, that’s strange.
AVERY: Yeah, and we can’t ask Robo. His batteries are dead.
PROFESSOR: Then there’s only one way to find out. We’ll have to wake her up. (He takes off his helmet and starts to kneel down.) On second thought—you better do it. If my face is the first thing she sees, she’ll faint and then we’ll be no better off.
AVERY: All right. (She kneels down and gives her a nudge.) Hello? Excuse me—time to wake up.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: (She stirs and then talks in her sleep.) Nay, Cristiana, thou didst not count long enough. (She opens her eyes and sees AVERY.) What? Thou art not Cristiana. What hast thou done with the Prince and Princess?
AVERY: Prince and Princess?
PROFESSOR: Rest assured, madam, we haven’t done anything with anybody. But, tell us, how did you get in here?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: That is what I wouldst like to know. (She gets up from the floor.) For I was at play with the royal children, when suddenly I hath found myself walking into this most uncommon room (then she sees ROBO), and then I was greeted by yonder strange-looking knight.
PROFESSOR: (to AVERY) Are you sure the door was locked?
AVERY: Yes, I’m sure. (to QUEEN JOSEPHINE) And what’s with the costume? Is there a Renaissance festival going on?
(Suddenly, it dawns on the PROFESSOR that maybe the Machine was involved. He quickly walks over to the Machine and checks the settings.)
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Costume? Nay! This is not a costume! It is one of my finest gowns. In fact, in all the kingdom, there is none like it!
AVERY: Kingdom, huh? (as she rolls her eyes) And I suppose you live in a castle?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Of course, the castle at Faramore.
AVERY: Right—the castle at Faramore. (to PROFESSOR) I think we’ve got a live one here, Professor.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Live one? I do not catch your meaning, fair maiden.
AVERY: Fair maiden? Ok, cool it with the Shakespeare.
PROFESSOR: I just had a bad thought. Excuse me, but you didn’t happen to enter through that door, did you (pointing to the Machine)?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Well, of course. How else could I have gotten in?
AVERY: Wait. What are you thinking?
PROFESSOR: (reluctantly) And what is your name?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: I thought thou wouldst never ask! I am Queen Josephine, wife of Edward the Gallant, King of Vestaland and all its territories.
PROFESSOR: I was afraid of that.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Alas, and afraid thou shouldest be, for when the king finds out that I am held captive, he will send all of his mighty men to fight for my release. Now, pray, what dost thou think of that?
PROFESSOR: (to AVERY discreetly) It was the Machine.
AVERY: What do you mean, “It was the Machine”?
PROFESSOR: It was the Machine that brought her here!
AVERY: (incredulous) Nuh-uh!
PROFESSOR: I don’t know how—another malfunction, I guess.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: I cry you mercy. Didst thou harken to what I just said?
PROFESSOR: (distracted) Um, yeah, something about all the king’s horses and all the king’s men?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Nay, that would be Humpty Dumpty. Wouldst thou please focus!
PROFESSOR: Sorry. We’re just a little distracted right now.
AVERY: So you’re telling me that we actually have a real live queen here?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Of course I am real! I am Queen Josephine, wife of Edward the Gallant, King of Vestaland and all its territories!
AVERY: This is crazy! What are we going to do??
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Well, if it please thee, thou mayst begin by telling me who thou art, where I am, and what thou wantest from me!
PROFESSOR: (perplexed) I just can’t figure out how this could have happened! (He goes back to the time machine computer.)
ROBO: (suddenly comes to life) Happy New Year!
AVERY: He’s been doing that lately, and I don’t know why.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: No one is listening to me.
AVERY: Oh, I’m sorry. Would you like to sit down? (She grabs a stool.) Here you go. You’re probably hungry too. Would you like a hot dog?
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: (disgusted as she sits down) Hot dog? You eat dogs?
AVERY: Okay, forget that. Uh, how about a smoothie? They’ve got some really good ones at the café.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Smoo—thee? I am not familiar with this.
AVERY: Oh, it’s kinda like, well, a healthy milkshake.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Milk-shake.
AVERY: Never mind. Just forget it.
(Then ODA GRIM enters the lab dressed as an exterminator.)
ODA GRIM: Good morning, everyone. My name is Dead Bug Dawn from A-1 Bug Exterminators, where “We kill the bugs so you don’t have to!” Well, anyway, sorry to interrupt, but I’m going to have to ask you all to leave the premises immediately.
PROFESSOR & AVERY: What?
ODA GRIM: That’s right. I have to spray for skitterbugs. You don’t have a janitor service, do you?
AVERY: Not anymore.
ODA GRIM: And that’s why you have skitterbugs. If you had kept this place clean, this might not have been necessary.
ROBO: Scanning database for skitterbugs. (A scan sound [sfx] is heard.)
PROFESSOR: So what exactly are skitterbugs?
ODA GRIM: Oh, they’re horrid little things, they are. They’ve got 6 beady eyes and 12 hairy legs, and they make a hideous hissing sound just before they bite.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: They bite?
ODA GRIM: Oh yes! And you’ve got a nasty infestation in here, so there’s no time to lose!
PROFESSOR: Says who?
ODA GRIM: This report. (She grabs a “report” from her folder.)
PROFESSOR: Let me see that. (He grabs it from ODA GRIM.)
(AVERY whispers to the PROFESSOR that Dead Bug Dawn looks familiar, and he agrees.)
ROBO: I have no information on skitterbugs in my database.
ODA GRIM: That’s not surprising. They’re a new strain. And when I say “new,” I mean really, really new.
AVERY: You know, you look familiar. We think we’ve seen you before.
ODA GRIM: Yeah, I get that a lot. (She runs her finger on the floor and looks at it.) Now, to give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem you have, there are a million skitterbug eggs right here, right now on the tip of my finger.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: I do not see any eggs.
ODA GRIM: That’s because they’re microscopic.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: Micro-what?
ROBO: Microscopic—so small as to be visible only with a microscope. Or, in other words, very small, minute, minuscule, teeny-tiny, teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy or wee— (interrupted by ODA GRIM).
ODA GRIM: (interrupts ROBO) Okay, Tin Man, I think we get the picture, thank you.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: So, am I to understand that all last night, I, Queen Josephine, wife of Edward the Gallant, King of Vestaland and all its territories, was asleep atop millions and millions of teeny-weeny eggs?
ODA GRIM: Oh, yes, most definitely.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: That is absolutely revolting! (She brushes herself off.)
ODA GRIM: Yeah, but that’s not the worst of it, lady. The eggs are just about to hatch. And when they do, you don’t want to be around. Trust me.
QUEEN JOSEPHINE: All right, that is it! I am leaving this castle at once!
(QUEEN JOSEPHINE quickly exits the lab.)
AVERY: No, wait! Your Majesty! Come back! (She follows the Queen.)
PROFESSOR: Don’t let her out of your sight! She can’t leave the building! (He follows AVERY)
ODA GRIM: (to ROBO) Well, what are you waiting for? You don’t want to miss the party do you?
ROBO: Party—a social gathering of invited guests involving food and entertainment. I have never been to a party before! (He starts to leave, then stops when he gets an idea.) Perhaps I could do “the robot.” (He does “the robot” as he exits.)
ODA GRIM: Yes! It worked! Hahahaha! Nothing can stop “The Evil Oda Grim”! (sfx) Now to find the plans for this time travel contraption! They’ve got to be here somewhere. (She starts to search for plans and eventually makes it to the Professor’s lab desk. She finds a stash of candy.) Ooo, peppermints! (She helps herself, then continues to search through his desk.)
(Then the PROFESSOR and AVERY return to the lab.)
PROFESSOR: Looking for skitterbugs?
ODA GRIM: (startled) Oh, you’re back.
PROFESSOR: Yes, and sooner than you expected, I see.
ODA GRIM: Uh, no, I was just looking for my safety goggles.
AVERY: (suspicious) Hmm, I think they’re in your shirt pocket.
ODA GRIM: Well, what do you know—there they are! Of course, safety goggles are very important, especially in my line of work.
PROFESSOR: You know, this isn’t a report about skitterbugs. It’s a Pioneer Girls cookie catalog. (He hands her the catalog.)
ODA GRIM: (acts surprised) Oh, sorry about that. I was in such a hurry when I left.
AVERY: We also looked up your company and there is no business named A-1 Bug Exterminators.
ODA GRIM: That’s odd. I’ll have to check into that as soon as I’m done here.
PROFESSOR: You are done here.
ODA GRIM: What?
PROFESSOR: I said, you’re done. Finished. Terminated.
AVERY: In other words, he wants you to leave.
ODA GRIM: Seriously? I’m being fired again? Man! What does it take to keep a job around here? (She packs up her things and starts to leave.) Well, don’t come running to me when the plague hits. That’s all I have to say.
PROFESSOR: Don’t worry, we won’t.
ODA GRIM: (as she exits the lab) On to Plan C. This is getting ridiculous!
(ODA GRIM exits.)
AVERY: What was that all about?
PROFESSOR: I don’t know—kinda suspicious, if you ask me.
AVERY: So what are we going to do with the queen?
PROFESSOR: Well, we need to send her back, but I’m not sure yet that I can send her back to the precise moment she left. (He starts to work on the machine.)
AVERY: Is that important?
PROFESSOR: Oh, yes. We must avoid changing history in any way because even a small change could create a huge ripple effect over time.
AVERY: But wouldn’t it be good to change some things, like evil things?
PROFESSOR: Well, it would seem so, but that’s not for us to decide. You see, God has a grand plan in place, and we have to trust him when he tells us in the Bible that his ways are higher than our ways.
AVERY: Okay, but say she does return to the moment she left: won’t she still remember what happened here?
PROFESSOR: Not really. Only like a dream that will quickly fade away.
AVERY: Hmm, well, I guess I better go check on Robo and Her Majesty.
PROFESSOR: Wait! So how’s your paper coming?
AVERY: My paper? You’re kidding, right?
PROFESSOR: No, why?
AVERY: Well, you’ve just invented a time machine—perhaps the most amazing invention of all time—and there’s a real, live queen from the middle ages down the hall, and you want to talk about my history paper?
PROFESSOR: Absolutely! As fantastic as all that is, it pales in comparison to talking about Jesus. Nothing is more exciting to me than him! Not even close! So, tell me about your paper.
AVERY: Well, I don’t know. So far I’ve just been reading and taking notes. I haven’t started writing yet.
PROFESSOR: I guess I did give you quite a bit to read.
AVERY: Yeah, but there is something I’m curious about. You know how people say that all religions lead to the same place—they just take different paths to get there?
PROFESSOR: Oh, yes. I’ve heard that many times.
AVERY: Well, what do you think about that? Is it true?
PROFESSOR: Absolutely not! I mean, think about it. If there was another way to get to heaven, Jesus’ death was totally unnecessary.
AVERY: So, you’re saying that all the other religions are wrong?
PROFESSOR: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Every other religion teaches that doing good things or being a good person gets you to heaven, but the truth is we can’t even begin to purchase our salvation by being good.
AVERY: Wow. I never thought of it that way. But that’s what people are doing, aren’t they? They’re trying to earn their way to heaven.
PROFESSOR: Yes, but the price is just too high. That’s
why Jesus had to pay it for us by dying on the cross for
our sins. He took the punishment that we deserve.
Then he rose from the dead, proving that the penalty
was satisfied. Listen, no matter what
anyone tells you, the only way to get to heaven—and
I mean the only way—is to admit that you’ve disobeyed
God and broken his laws and then trust in
what Jesus did for you on the cross. If you do that,
he’ll forgive you and save you and adopt you into
his forever family. “
For God so loved the world that
he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him
should not perish, but have eternal life.”
AVERY: John 3:16. I learned that verse at VBS.
(Then ROBO enters.)
AVERY: Robo, what are you doing here? We told you not to leave the queen alone!
(AVERY immediately runs out of the lab to check on QUEEN JOSEPHINE.)
ROBO: (speaks slower as his battery is running down) Scanning database for skitterbugs. (A slower scan sound is heard [sfx], then he speaks even slower.) Scanning database for skitterbugs. (Slowest scan sound is heard [sfx] as his battery runs out.)
PROFESSOR: (puzzled and concerned) What is going on around here?
(AVERY bursts into the lab.)
AVERY: She’s gone! Now what do we do?
PROFESSOR: Oh, boy! Computer!
COMPUTER: (pre-recorded) Yes, how may I help you?
PROFESSOR: Call the police immediately and report a missing person! She’s dressed in Renaissance clothing and answers to the name Queen Josephine!
COMPUTER: Hahahaha! That is a funny joke! Did you hear the one about why cats can’t use computers?
AVERY & PROFESSOR: What?
COMPUTER: Because they only want to chase the mouse.
PROFESSOR: Stop it, Computer! This is not a joke! Now, do what I say, and call the police!
COMPUTER: (pre-recorded) Right away, Professor.
ROBO: Oh dear.
(Then ROBO falls forward and face plants.)
(Theme music ending)