REPLENISH THE EARTH

By D. M. Larson
Copyright (c) 1989
All Rights Reserved

 

Cast of Characters

 

Three Characters (1 male, 2 female): Grandpa, Michele, Young Michele


 


 

PART I

 

PROLOGUE

 

(Lights come up, DR, on GRANDPA)

 

GRANDPA

(Weak)

And God created the great whales, and every living creature that lived within the sea. God created the mighty winged birds that soared through the skies. Then, God made the beasts that roamed the earth; all living in unison, each an important part of the harmony composed by our Lord.

(Lights come up, DL, on MICHELE)

 

MICHELE

(Powerful)

And God created man and woman to rule over the creatures within the sea, the birds in the sky, and the beasts that roamed the earth. God blessed them and said, 'be fruitful and multiply. Replenish the earth, and subdue it'.

 

GRANDPA

(Weak)

...Replenish the earth...

(Pause)

May humans forever remain 'noble savages', living in harmony with nature.

 

MICHELE

(In awe)

The noble humans in all their glory building great towers above the earth. Such infinite power at their command. Nothing can stop them. Nothing will ever stand in their way.

 

GRANDPA

(Sadly)

Nothing can stop them. Nothing will ever stand in their way.

 

(Lights fade. Music to begin play. Lights come

up as the music fades. On stage is a bed, [or

cot], R, two chairs with an end table between

them, C, and a small table with a phone on it, L.


GRANDPA crosses slowly from DR to C. He painfully

lowers himself into R chair. Picking up a clip

board and pen from the end table, he starts to

look, closes his eyes and sighs weakly. When the

sound of someone coming from off L is heard, he

tries to perk up as if nothing is wrong. MICHELE

comes on concealing a paper bag)

 

Scene 1

 

MICHELE

Hi, Grandpa.

 

GRANDPA

(Smiles. Looks up)

Oh, hi, Michele.

 

MICHELE

(Goes to him. Looks at clipboard)

What're you up to?

 

GRANDPA

(Looks at clipboard)

I think it's time to check up on one of the panthers.

(Searches)

 

MICHELE

Which one?

 

GRANDPA

(Wrinkles his face)

Florida panther number five.

 

MICHELE

Number five? He's a tough one.

 

GRANDPA

He's been around since I've been caretaker. He's such an ornery critter.

(Smiles)

It's like an old friend that you bicker with a lot.

(Frowns a little)

He's getting pretty old, though. I don't think we'll tranquilize him this time.

(Pause)

I'm afraid he hasn't got much time left.

(Pause)

 

MICHELE

If we lose him, what will that do to the population?

 

GRANDPA

That'll knock their numbers down to close to a couple dozen.

 

MICHELE

Are there any newborns expected?

 

GRANDPA

(Brightens)

Actually, yes. We hope the mother won't have any problems. Every panther is precious.

 

MICHELE

(Moves around next to him)

Grandpa. Take a break and let's celebrate.

(Takes bottle of champagne from bag)

 

GRANDPA

(Slightly annoyed)

You know I don't drink.

 

MICHELE

(Crossing to him and showing the label)

It's non-alcoholic.

 

GRANDPA

(Being difficult)

It'll probably still taste bad.

 

MICHELE

Come on, live a little. Your granddaughter's a graduate and now your employee.

(Bowing)

A servant to the Florida Panther.

 

GRANDPA

(Smiling)

You learned well.

 

MICHELE

I'll go get some glasses.

(Starts to exit R)

Open that while I'm gone.

(GRANDPA fumbles with the bottle but manages to

get it open. MICHELE comes back and pours out two

glasses)

What shall we toast to?

 

GRANDPA

(Lifts glass)

To your graduation...

 

MICHELE

And to the Florida panthers. May they forever remain a part of our world.

 


GRANDPA

Amen.

(They clink glasses and drink. GRANDPA gets a

sour look on his face)

I told you it would still taste bad.

 

MICHELE

Give me your glass.

(Takes his glass and goes off R. Off)

You're never satisfied are you? Everything has to be just right.

(Returns with a bottle)

Here's your Perrier.

 

GRANDPA

(Smiles)

Thank you, my dear.

 

MICHELE

I don't know how anyone can stand that stuff.

 

GRANDPA

I don't know how anyone can drink anything else.

(Drinks)

So how does it feel to be a graduate?

 

MICHELE

Great. It seems like I've been in school forever.

 

GRANDPA

I loved college. I wish I could go back.

 

MICHELE

Well, I'm glad I'm done with it. Now, I can finally do what I've dreamed of doing: work with you to save the panthers.

 

GRANDPA

You're a welcome addition to my crew.

 

MICHELE

I hope I'm effective. I really want to help.

 

GRANDPA

You'll do just fine.

 

MICHELE

I'm glad you have faith in me. I never would have made it this far if you hadn't encouraged me.

 

GRANDPA

I was tickled pink when you first told me you wanted to help save the Florida panther. I wasn't going to let you go after that.

 

MICHELE

(Smiles)

I'm glad you didn't. Saving the panther has been one of the most important things in my life since mom passed away.

(Any thought of her mother saddens her)

 

GRANDPA

(Cheerful)

Our work's cut out for us. You ready for what you're about to face?

 

MICHELE

More ready than you'll ever believe.

(They clink glasses and drink)

Whose turn is it to cook dinner?

 

GRANDPA

Mine. I guess I'll hop to it.

(Struggles painfully to his feet)

 

MICHELE

(Noticing his discomfort)

What's wrong?

 

GRANDPA

Nothing. I'm fine.

 

MICHELE

(Stopping him)

Grandpa. You can't fool me. What's wrong?

 

GRANDPA

(Honestly)

I don't know.

 

MICHELE

Is it mental or physical?

 

GRANDPA

(Eyeing her)

Physical.

 

MICHELE

What hurts?

 

GRANDPA

I'm not sure exactly. I'm kinda achy all over.

 

MICHELE

Hmm.

 


GRANDPA

I don't get it. I'm usually as strong as an ox.

(Feels a pain and sits on bed)

But something's got me.

(Frustrated)

I can't stand this. I'm never sick.

 

MICHELE

You were bound to catch something someday.

 

GRANDPA

Why now? There's so much more to do.

(Looks at clipboard)

With less than two dozen panthers left, I don't have time to take a vacation.

 

MICHELE

They can survive without you for a few days while you get over whatever you have.

(He just shrugs)

Why don't you go to the doctor?

 

GRANDPA

(Gets up and crosses away, refusing)

No way. No doctors for this guy.

 

MICHELE

Quit being so stubborn and do something to help yourself for once. The panthers can wait.

 

GRANDPA

They are more important than a few aches and pains.

 

MICHELE

Please, just go.

 

GRANDPA

No.

 

MICHELE

(Playing on his emotions. Dramatically)

Please, Grandpa, you must go. I can't stand by and watch you in so much pain.

 

GRANDPA

I knew I should have discouraged you from getting a theatre minor.

 

MICHELE

(Seriously)

See the doctor, please.

 


GRANDPA

(Giving in)

All right, but it better be quick.

 

MICHELE

(Crossing to the phone)

You got it.

(MICHELE crosses to phone and looks for the

doctor's number in the phone book)

 

GRANDPA

(Shivers)

I can't stand doctors. They give me the creepies.

(Pretending to be a doctor)

They poke and prod you and tell you you have something in Latin.

(MICHELE finds the number and dials)

You don't know if you have the sniffles of you have six months to live.

(MICHELE is speaking on the phone. Stops)

 

MICHELE

Grandpa, could you quiet down please?

(She continues speaking on the phone)

 

GRANDPA

(Not hearing her)

If they don't know what you have, they make something up.

 

MICHELE

Okay, thank you. He'll be there. Bye.

(She hangs up)

 

GRANDPA

A doctor couldn't do an operation to save his life!

(Pauses. Thinks a moment)

That didn't make much sense, did it?

 

MICHELE

You have an appointment tomorrow at 3:00.

 

GRANDPA

How wonderful. I can hardly wait.

(Pause. Remembers something)

I can't go at three tomorrow. I have to work.

 

MICHELE

Tomorrow is your day off.

 

GRANDPA

Well, uh...

(Trying to think of something else)

 


MICHELE

You're going. No excuses.

 

GRANDPA

Okay, fine. I'll go. But, you just wait. They'll do something wrong, I just know it.

 

MICHELE

I wouldn't worry about it. That doctor has only cut off a few toes and fingers. Nothing major.

 

GRANDPA

Ha, ha. Very funny.

 

MICHELE

(Looks him in the eyes)

Promise me, you'll go.

 

GRANDPA

I'll go.

(She's still not satisfied)

I promise.

 

MICHELE

(Pats him on the head)

Good boy. It won't hurt a bit.

 

GRANDPA

That's what you think.

 

MICHELE

(Goes to kitchen)

Come on. I'll help you cook dinner.

(They exit R. Lights fade to black)

 

Interlude 1

 

(Stage is same as Scene 1)

 

(YOUNG MICHELE is sitting up in bed, happily

reading something. A knock is heard off L. She

tosses what she is reading on the floor and pulls

the covers up, now looking and sounding sick)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Weakly)

Come in.

 

GRANDPA

(Bringing in a stuffed Florida Panther [or

mountain lion, cougar, etc.] hiding it behind his

back. Seeing her. Sympathetic)

How are you feeling?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Cough)

Horrible.

(Sniffle)

 

GRANDPA

Poor girl. Sounds like you need a gift to perk you up.

(Gives her stuffed animal. She sits up and takes

it happily. GRANDPA is surprised at recovery.

She notices he's suspicious and falls back down,

sicker than ever)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Moan, cough)

Thank you.

(Sniffle)

 

GRANDPA

Pretty bad there. Is it mental or physical?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Physical.

(Cough)

 

GRANDPA

Hmm. It comes and goes, huh?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Moan, sniffle)

Yeah. It sneaks up on you.

(Cough, cough)

Gets you when you least expect it.

(Sniffle)

 

GRANDPA

I don't get it. I always thought we had such a healthy family.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I guess I must be adopted.

 

GRANDPA

Or they pulled the old switch-a-roo on your mom at the hospital. Wouldn't surprise me. Some of those doctors...they won't touch me with a ten- foot pole.

 

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Moan)

Grandpa, could you bring me something to drink?

(Tries to rise but becomes dizzy)

I don't think I can get up.

(Lies back down. Sniffle, cough)

 


GRANDPA

Sure. Right after I call the doctor.

(Crosses to phone)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Sits up)

The doctor?

 

GRANDPA

It looks like you might have something pretty serious.

(Picks up phone)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Sounding better)

I'm sure I'll be better soon, really.

 

GRANDPA

(Stands between her and phone. Dials, but holds

down receiver)

Hello, Doctor...yes, it's me...I'm doing just fine...I have a sick little girl here for you...describe her symptoms?...well, she moans, coughs, and sniffles a lot, and it seems to come and go...sounds serious. That's what I thought...

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Sits up)

Grandpa?

 

GRANDPA

...Really? It could require an operation?...

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Gets up and crosses to him)

Grandpa?!

 

GRANDPA

Excuse me, doctor. What is it, Michele?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I think I'm feeling much better.

 

GRANDPA

(Looking her over)

I don't know. You still look a little pale.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

In fact, I feel great. Even better than great. I feel so wonderful that I could just...

 


GRANDPA

(To phone)

Never mind, doctor, she's looking like she's on the path to recovery.

(Hangs up)

Wow, it sure does come and go.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Pouting at her foiled plan. She sits on her bed

and picks up what she was reading)

Yeah.

 

GRANDPA

What ya' reading?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

The handout you gave me about the Florida panther.

 

GRANDPA

(Pleased)

Learn anything exciting?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Opening it)

You've already told me some of this stuff...

(Spotting something that puzzles her)

what does extinct mean?

 

GRANDPA

Nothing good I'm afraid.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

It didn't sound too great when I read it.

 

GRANDPA

Extinct means that the animal no longer exists.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Huh?

 

GRANDPA

An extinct animal is gone forever. You'll never see it again.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Upset)

You mean the Florida panthers are all gone? You just showed me one last week.

 

GRANDPA

No, they aren't yet. They are an endangered animal. In other words, they are in danger of becoming extinct.

 


YOUNG MICHELE

That's awful! How can that be?

 

GRANDPA

Once, long ago, the Florida panther roamed freely in the South; kings of their domain. Then, man came along and hunted them endlessly. They said that they were trying to protect their livestock, but they realized what fine trophies the panthers made.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

That isn't true, is it?

 

GRANDPA

I'm afraid so. Man wouldn't stop the killing. Soon only a few panthers were left, they hid themselves deep in the southern Florida forests with no place left to run.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

But, you're helping them aren't you, Grandpa?

 

GRANDPA

I'm trying, but it's hard when no one wants to help.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Seriously)

I want to help. I really do.

 

GRANDPA

It's a lot of hard work.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Excited)

I can do it.

 

GRANDPA

I don't think you're healthy enough to handle it. You need to always be in the best condition.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I'm usually feeling good.

 

GRANDPA

That's not what I hear.

(Pause)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Grandpa, I lied. I'm not sick.

 

GRANDPA

(Fake surprise)

You're not? You had me convinced.

 


YOUNG MICHELE

I didn't feel like going to school today. I had such a good weekend, I didn't want to ruin it.

 

GRANDPA

You're quite the little actress. It will come in handy when you help me to save the Florida panthers.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Brightens)

You want me to help?

 

GRANDPA

Nothing would make me happier.

 

(They hug as the Lights fade to black)

 

Scene 2

 

(Lights come up on a depressed GRANDPA sitting on

his bed. MICHELE comes in from L)

 

MICHELE

Any word yet?

 

GRANDPA

Nope.

 

MICHELE

Why so glum?

 

GRANDPA

I have a bad feeling about it.

 

MICHELE

Why?

 

GRANDPA

I just do.

 

MICHELE

(Trying to be cheerful)

You're just upset because you missed the National Geographic special, aren't you?

 

GRANDPA

(Annoyed)

No.

 

MICHELE

So what's bothering you, then?

 


GRANDPA

The doctor sounded like something bad showed up in my testing.

 

MICHELE

Like what?

 

GRANDPA

I don't know.

 

MICHELE

Don't worry about it. It's probably nothing.

 

GRANDPA

I hope you're right.

 

(The phone rings. Then again)

 

MICHELE

Aren't you going to answer the phone?

 

GRANDPA

Probably not.

 

MICHELE

(Getting him up)

Go on and get it. I'm sure it's good news.

(Pause)

Go on.

 

GRANDPA

(Reluctantly)

Okay, okay.

(Answers it)

Hello...This is he...

(Slowly)

Yes, I'm sitting...

(Still standing. Pause. He goes white)

A...are you sure?

(Pause)

I...I see...

(He slowly hangs up. He looks pale)

 

MICHELE

(Trying to be cheerful, but knowing something is

wrong)

What's up?

(Pause)

Grandpa?

(He crosses and sits on his bed. She is getting

upset)

What did the doctor say?

 


GRANDPA

(Shocked)

He says I have Florida's Disease.

 

MICHELE

(Worried)

Florida's Disease?

 

GRANDPA

(Slowly)

I heard about it on the news. It's something that's just appeared in our state.

 

MICHELE

How did you get it?

 

GRANDPA

It's transmitted by an over populated insect with an extinct predator, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow.

(Pause. Angry)

That helpless little bird was wiped out by an untested chemical that was invented to kill the very insect that it preyed upon.

(Pause. Bursts out)

How can humans be so stupid?!

 

MICHELE

(Comforting him)

Grandpa, calm down.

 

GRANDPA

(Breaks away)

How am I supposed to calm down?! I'm going to die!

 

MICHELE

(Frightened)

What?!

 

GRANDPA

(Softly)

The disease is fatal.

(Pause)

The doctor says I only have a few months left.

 

MICHELE

(Stunned)

Is he...Is he sure you have it?

 

GRANDPA

He ran the test several times. There's no doubt.

 

MICHELE

(Almost in tears. She goes to embrace him)

Grandpa, why?

 

GRANDPA

(Still in shock)

I don't know.

 

MICHELE

(Crying)

Why you? You've given so much...

 

GRANDPA

(Hugging her)

I wish I knew.

 

MICHELE

I can't lose you, now. Isn't there anything they can do?

 

GRANDPA

There's...there's no cure. Nothing...

 

MICHELE

(Starting to be frantic)

There must be something, some way to stop the disease.

 

GRANDPA

Nothing...

 

MICHELE

(Jumps up)

There has to be a cure! I won't stop until I find it!

(Goes to phone and dials. GRANDPA sits, lost as

to what to do next. Lights fade to black)

 

 

Interlude 2

 

(Lights come up on YOUNG MICHELE sitting on her

bed sadly looking out window, R. She has her

stuffed panther and takes her frustration out on

it)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Why must it rain on a Saturday?

(Pounds panther on bed)

Weekends are for fun and playing, not sitting inside. I spend enough time locked up in school, I really don't need this.

(Beats panther)

 

GRANDPA

(Entering from L)

Hi, Michele. How's my kitten?

 


YOUNG MICHELE

(Hits panther. Evenly)

Just great. I love being stuck inside.

 

GRANDPA

You don't sound very convincing.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I hate rain. It always depresses me.

(Beats panther)

 

GRANDPA

(Going to her and picking up panther. Pets it)

Buck up, little camper.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Why should I?

(Grabs panther and slams it on bed)

 

GRANDPA

Ouch. We're in a great mood.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Rain's useless. It always ruins my weekends.

(Pounds panther)

 

GRANDPA

It rains a lot in Florida, my dear. We must make the best of it.

(Rescues panther)

 

YOUNG MICHELE

What's there to do when it's raining?

 

GRANDPA

Lots of things. You can read a book, have long family chats with your parents...

(Knows this will get her, hands panther back)

...talk to your friends on the phone.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Hugs panther and smiles)

Okay, okay. There's stuff to do. But I still think rain is useless.

(Drops panther)

 

GRANDPA

(Picks panther up)

Useless? What do you think gives flowers water, and keeps plants alive?

(She shrugs)

Where do you think rivers get their water? Some animal's favorite thing is rain.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Really? Why would anyone like rain?

(Takes panther)

 

GRANDPA

You know how people like to lie in the sun?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Yes.

 

GRANDPA

Well, some animals like to lie in the rain.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

That's weird.

(Beats panther)

 

GRANDPA

(Takes panther)

No, my dear. It's natural.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I still wish it wasn't raining.

(Takes back panther)

 

GRANDPA

It's only fair that each animal gets their share of their favorite weather.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Rain's still no fun. Why can't we have more sunshine?

(Pounds panther)

 

GRANDPA

(Takes panther)

Humans aren't the center of everything. We can't have everything our way. We're a small part of the world around us. We must share with the other creatures of the earth and take only that which we need.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Takes back panther and pets it)

How in the world can I be part of nature in the rain?

 

GRANDPA

Want to go feed ducks in the park?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

In the rain?

 

GRANDPA

You wanted to know how to be a part of nature.

 


YOUNG MICHELE

(She smiles)

Let's go.

 

(Lights fade to black)

 

PART II

 

(Lights come up, DL, on MICHELE)

 

MICHELE

...And God said 'have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and every living thing upon the earth'.

 

(Lights come up, DR, on GRANDPA)

 

GRANDPA

...Replenish the earth...

 

MICHELE

...And subdue it...

 

(Lights fade to black)

 

 

Scene 3

 

(Lights come up on GRANDPA sitting sadly in R

chair wrapped in a blanket. MICHELE is on the

phone)

 

MICHELE

Thank you. I'll let you know.

(She hangs up. She is expressionless. Pause)

 

GRANDPA

(Weakly)

What is it, Michele?

 

MICHELE

(Evenly)

I found a cure.

 

GRANDPA

(Strengthening)

You what?

 

MICHELE

A cure was discovered.

 

GRANDPA

(Struggling to his feet)

A cure!

 

MICHELE

Grandpa.

 

GRANDPA

(Excited)

There's a cure!

 

MICHELE

Grandpa!

 

GRANDPA

(He stops, puzzled)

What?

 

MICHELE

It's not so simple.

 

GRANDPA

What's the matter?

 

MICHELE

Sit.

(He does. She pauses a little)

 

GRANDPA

(Softly)

What's going on?

 

MICHELE

Let me tell you a story.

 

GRANDPA

Okay.

 

MICHELE

There once was a trapper, stricken by Florida's Disease which was thought to have no cure. He wanted to spend his final days doing what he loved the most.

 

GRANDPA

(In distaste)

Trapping.

 

MICHELE

So he sold everything, packed his gear, and set out into the wilderness. After a few days, he came upon a Florida panther killed by one of his traps.

 

GRANDPA

(Appalled)

What?!

 

MICHELE

Wait. Listen.

 

GRANDPA

(Pouting)

Fine, I'll be quiet and listen up.

 

MICHELE

Making the best of the situation, he started a fire, skinned the panther, and cooked it.

 

GRANDPA

(Angrily)

Fiend.

 

MICHELE

(Ignoring him)

His feast was a fitting last meal, in his opinion, and he got the most out of it that he could.

 

GRANDPA

(Stewing)

That dirty, rotten...

 

MICHELE

So he made a mixture with the panther's blood and bone marrow which happened to succeed in soothing the aches and pains of the disease. One week after the disease should have taken his life, he walked out of the forest, cured.

 

GRANDPA

I hope they locked him up. The penalty for killing a Florida panther...

 

MICHELE

He wasn't punished.

 

GRANDPA

(Furious)

That's crazy!

 

MICHELE

Instead, they presented him with a patent on his new drug and set him up with a grant to conduct more research.

 

GRANDPA

(Crossing downstage)

I can't believe this!

 

MICHELE

The only thing standing in his way is the caretaker of the Florida panthers.

(He stops and turns to look at her)

Yes. You're the only one who is holding him back.

 


GRANDPA

Good.

 

MICHELE

Grandpa, listen...

 

GRANDPA

I've got 'em in check.

 

MICHELE

Please...

 

GRANDPA

I hope he falls off a cliff.

 

MICHELE

Stop it!

 

GRANDPA

(Pause. He looks at her)

What?

 

MICHELE

There's a cure.

 

GRANDPA

(Backing away)

Hold on a minute.

 

MICHELE

You can still live.

 

GRANDPA

Do you realize what you're saying?

 

MICHELE

You don't have to die.

 

GRANDPA

You're not giving in, are you?

 

MICHELE

Please take the drug.

 

GRANDPA

Never!

 

MICHELE

Don't do this.

 

GRANDPA

Forget it!

 


MICHELE

I can't watch you die when there's a cure!

 

GRANDPA

Then leave me.

 

MICHELE

What?

 

GRANDPA

Go on. Get out of here!

 

MICHELE

(Backing out L)

Grandpa.

 

GRANDPA

If you don't want to watch me die, then don't watch! Get out!

(She exits. He begins to cry)

Go on...get out. Let me die in peace.

 

(Lights fade to black)

 

 

Interlude 3

 

 

(YOUNG MICHELE is sitting on her bed holding her

stuffed panther lovingly. GRANDPA enters from off

L)

 

GRANDPA

Your mother said you wanted to see me.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Yeah. Come here and sit down. I have some good news.

 

GRANDPA

(Sits)

What's up?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Standing proudly)

I have decided to devote my life to saving the Florida panther, just like you.

 

GRANDPA

(Excited. Hugs her)

That's great! I'm really proud of you.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Thanks.

 

GRANDPA

What made you decide to do that for a career?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I want to work with you and to do all the great things you're doing.

 

GRANDPA

I hope that's not the only reason.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Oh, no. I want to help the panther.

(Hugs stuffed animal)

I'll do everything I can to help them recover from being in trouble of disappearing.

 

GRANDPA

Good for you. They need all the help they can get.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

It's horrible what humans have done to them. I want to fight back and win.

 

GRANDPA

That's the spirit. You'll make a great little environmentalist.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I want to make a difference.

 

GRANDPA

That's a lot more than most people try to do. I hope you never turn your back on that.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Puts panther on bed and turns to GRANDPA)

I won't, I promise.

 

GRANDPA

Let's go to the zoo. I'll introduce you to some Florida panthers.

 

(They exit L as the lights fade to black)

 

 

 


PART III

 

(Lights come up, DL, on MICHELE)

 

MICHELE

...And God said 'Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing herb and every tree that yields fruit upon the earth'.

 

GRANDPA

May we take only that which we need and return all that we have taken.

 

MICHELE

The world is ours.

 

GRANDPA

In careless hands, it may fall and shatter, lost to us all, never to be seen in all its glory again.

 

MICHELE

We are the rulers upon the earth.

Commanders of the sea,

Monarchs of the sky.

 

GRANDPA

Please, protect our fragile earth.

 

 

Scene 4

 

(Lights come up on GRANDPA sitting in a chair with

a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. In his

arms is YOUNG MICHELE'S stuffed panther. He looks

at it sadly a moment and then rests his face in

his hands, upset at his argument with MICHELE and

also pained by his disease. MICHELE knocks and

enters cautiously with a small grocery bag)

 

MICHELE

Grandpa?

(He lowers his hands, looks away, and says

nothing)

Grandpa, I brought you something.

(Takes out bottle. Smiles and tries to be cheery)

It's a bottle of Perrier. You're favorite.

(Sets it on end table next to his chair. He

doesn't move)

I'll get you a glass if you like. I might even try some myself, if you can believe it.

 

GRANDPA

Leave me alone.

 


MICHELE

(Helplessly)

Grandpa. Please, don't be that way. I'm really sorry for what I said. I wasn't thinking straight. When I was faced with your death...I was willing to do anything to save you.

 

GRANDPA

Even kill my panthers?

 

MICHELE

You're so important to me. You've shaped my whole life. I wasn't sure I could go on without you there to support me.

 

GRANDPA

(Struggles to his feet and crosses to bed)

I can't always be there for you, Michele.

 

MICHELE

I know that, now.

(He slowly sits)

When I left here, I was so confused. I didn't know what was right anymore. I just walked endlessly, trying to collect my thoughts, trying to figure something out. Next thing I knew, I found myself in the park where we used to feed ducks when I was a little girl. I began to remember all the dreams I had about saving the panthers. Those dreams had become my life...

 

GRANDPA

And you left all that behind.

 

MICHELE

No. The panthers are my life. I want so badly to save them, but without you, I was afraid I couldn't do it.

 

GRANDPA

You have to do it. There's no other way.

 

MICHELE

I know, Grandpa. I will never ask you to sacrifice the panthers again. You must believe that.

(Pause)

I want to save them, Grandpa. I really think I can do it. The panthers must live...at all costs...

(Pause)

...even your life.

(Pause)

Please, Grandpa, let me continue the fight to save them.

 

GRANDPA

(He turns and looks into her eyes, he takes a

document from his pocket and gives it to her)

Here.

 

MICHELE

What is it?

 

GRANDPA

Just read it.

 

MICHELE

(She does and brightens)

You've made me caretaker of the panthers!

(She hugs and kisses him)

 

GRANDPA

(He scoots away from her affection to the corner

of the bed)

Careful, careful. You might break something. I'm pretty old ya' know.

 

MICHELE

So you forgive me, then?

 

GRANDPA

You're caretaker, aren't you?

 

MICHELE

Thank you, Grandpa.

(Looks at document)

You knew all along I would come around, didn't you?

 

GRANDPA

I thought maybe you would.

 

MICHELE

I'll do my best to save them.

 

GRANDPA

That's all I can ever ask you to do.

(Pause. Smiles)

How about a glass of that Perrier?

 

MICHELE

Coming right up.

(She exits happily with bottle. GRANDPA takes

stuffed panther from inside his blanket and looks

at it fondly)

 

GRANDPA

(To panther)

Looks like there's still hope, little fella.

 

MICHELE

(Reenters with glass of Perrier)

Here you are.

(GRANDPA smiles and drinks)

 

GRANDPA

(Hands stuffed panther to her)

Look what I found.

 

MICHELE

(Excited)

My stuffed panther! Where did you find it?

 

GRANDPA

It jumped out at me when I was looking for something in the hall closet.

 

MICHELE

I haven't see it for years. It sure brings back some good memories. Like the first time you took me to the zoo. I was so excited.

 

GRANDPA

Yeah, I remember. I've never seen anyone more excited about anything than that first day I took you.

 

MICHELE

I immediately fell in love with all those animals. I especially loved the cat family.

 

GRANDPA

I know. And from that point on, every time I saw you, it was always...

 

GRANDPA AND MICHELE

"Let's go see the big kitties."

 

MICLELE

All my fondest childhood memories are with you.

 

GRANDPA

I always made sure I spent my spare time with you. You were the only one in our family that ever took an interest in my work. You're mother didn't dislike it, but it wasn't her favorite way to pass a day.

 

MICHELE

(Sadly)

Mom always admired you, though.

 

GRANDPA

Yes, she did.

(Pause. Sees her growing sadness)

You okay?

 

MICHELE

(Looks sheepishly at him)

Yeah.

 

GRANDPA

(Holds out arms)

Come here, kitten.

(She goes to him)

Losing your mother sure was hard on both of us, wasn't it?.

 

MICHELE

(Looks at him)

It's so hard to lose someone you love.

 

GRANDPA

I know it is. I've lost a wife and a daughter. Leukemia took your Grandmother, too. I still have trouble dealing with that one. And when you're mother passed away, it was almost too much to bear, but I knew I had to be strong if both of us were going to make it through okay.

 

MICHELE

You were always there for me when things got to be too much to handle. Dad was another story.

 

GRANDPA

You're father was a creep. Your mother never should have married him.

 

MICHELE

You took me in when he wouldn't.

 

GRANDPA

I would have fought for custody if he had tried to take you from me.

 

MICHELE

You've always been so good to me.

 

GRANDPA

I tried my best.

 

MICHELE

(Hugs him)

I love you so much, Grandpa.

 

GRANDPA

I love you, too.

(Pause)

Michele?

 

MICHELE

Yeah?

 

GRANDPA

Please say good-bye to the panthers for me.

 


MICHELE

(Smiles)

I will.

(Slight pause)

I promise.

(Pause)

Rest, now. The panthers are in good hands.

 

GRANDPA

I never doubted it for a moment.

(Lights fade to black)

 

Interlude 4

 

(Lights come up on YOUNG MICHELE standing C with

her arms crossed in frustration. Her stuffed

panther is on the bed. GRANDPA enters from L)

 

GRANDPA

What's wrong?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Angry)

Some boys at school are picking on a stray cat at lunch every day. I want so badly to stop them, but I'm afraid.

 

GRANDPA

What you'll have to do is use words to stop them.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Huh?

 

GRANDPA

Make them think about what they're doing. Make them feel guilty. And perhaps, eventually, if you keep it up, they'll stop.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I don't know if I can do it.

 

GRANDPA

You must think that you can save the cat; be sure of it inside you. Confidence will get you through.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I'll try.

 

GRANDPA

No, no. You have to say to yourself, "I will do it".

 


YOUNG MICHELE

(Picks up stuffed panther and hugs it)

I have to stop them from scaring that poor kitty.

(Smiles)

I will do it.

 

GRANDPA

Ah. You'll make a good caretaker one day.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I will?

 

GRANDPA

You bet. The panthers will be in good hands with you caring for them.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I love the panthers so much. I want so badly to save them.

 

GRANDPA

Keep up the old confidence and you'll do it.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

I will save them, Grandpa. You can count on it.

 

GRANDPA

I never doubted it for a moment.

 

(Lights fade to black)

 

 

Scene 5

 

(Lights come up on a makeshift gravestone, DC.

An older MICHELE comes on from L, carrying flowers

and a magazine)

 

MICHELE

Hi, Grandpa. I brought you flowers.

(She kneels next to the grave and lays the flowers

beside it)

I hope you like them.

(GRANDPA enters from R and stops RC. She cannot

see or hear him)

 

GRANDPA

I do like them. Thank you.

 

MICHELE

I helped deliver a baby panther today. It was so exciting seeing the first of a new generation being born. It gives you so much hope.

 


GRANDPA

It gives hope for a better tomorrow; a reason to keep fighting.

 

MICHELE

The panther's numbers keep growing. Within a year they are expected to hit fifty.

 

GRANDPA

Great news.

 

MICHELE

Congress also agreed to expand their territory to compensate for the growing numbers.

 

GRANDPA

It's about time. I knew that drama minor would come in handy for lobbying.

 

MICHELE

Oh, yeah. Remember that trapper that discovered a cure for Florida's Disease?

 

GRANDPA

Unfortunately.

 

MICHELE

After raising a ruckus, I was able to get his research grant taken away. Then, he was jailed shortly after it was discovered he caused the death of a panther.

 

GRANDPA

I hope that murderer stays there.

 

MICHELE

Meanwhile, one of the trapper's lab assistants might be on her way to discovering an alternate cure that wouldn't require the blood and bone marrow of the panther. I helped get the grant reinstated, but in her name and only for the use of working on an alternate cure.

 

GRANDPA

Excellent. Another victory for our side.

 

MICHELE

You'll like this. A group in the Pacific Northwest is using your Florida panther program as a model for their fight to save the Spotted Owl.

 

GRANDPA

(Delightfully surprised)

Really?

 


MICHELE

They made me an advisor, too. It's exciting to watch the process all over again; watching your programs at work somewhere else.

 

GRANDPA

(Almost in tears)

I knew you could do it. I knew you wouldn't let my work be forgotten.

 

MICHELE

Now, for the really good news.

 

GRANDPA

There's more?

 

MICHELE

(Displaying magazine)

Right here in my hands, I hold before me a special National Geographic about the Florida panther and the man that saved them.

 

GRANDPA

You're kidding.

 

MICHELE

I know you've always dreamed about this. You said you would know you had succeeded when you made the cover of National Geographic.

 

GRANDPA

(Smiles)

Yes, I did.

 

MICHELE

You did it, Grandpa. You saved them. All that you have done will be remembered forever, and forever will be just a little bit longer because of what you have done.

(Opens magazine)

"His fight has saved the Florida Panther and has given us a model to follow so that we may also replenish the earth."

 

(Lights fade to black)

 

 

Interlude 5

 

(Lights come up on YOUNG MICHELE sitting on her

bed facing off R. She is upset and angry, but

holds on to her stuffed panther lovingly. GRANDPA

is sitting, reading a note, looking like he is

trying to keep from laughing at the contents)

 


GRANDPA

(Looks at her, trying not to smile)

You beat up a boy at school?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

He was being mean to the stray cat.

 

GRANDPA

Didn't you try talking to him first?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Turning to GRANDPA)

I gave those boys the speech of their lives. I did make the others feel guilty and they backed off, but one of them became more violent with the cat. I grabbed the cat away from him and he pushed me. So, I turned and punched him in the nose.

 

GRANDPA

(Smiles, almost laughing)

Well, good for you, I mean...oh, that's too bad.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Then, you're not mad?

 

GRANDPA

I'll let it pass this time.

(Looks at her)

Quite the little environmentalist I have before me.

(Smiles)

I'm proud of you.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

(Confused)

I thought you'd be furious with me.

 

GRANDPA

I would prefer you stick to using words, but your heart was in the right place.

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Grandpa?

 

GRANDPA

Yes?

 

YOUNG MICHELE

Can we go visit the panthers?

 

GRANDPA

(Smiles)

As you wish.

(He takes her hand and they exit L as the lights

fade to black)


EPILOGUE

 

(Lights come up on MICHELE, DL)

 

MICHELE

In every beast of the earth,

In every bird of the sky,

In every living creature upon the earth, there is life.

 

(Lights fade to black)

 

 

END OF PLAY



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Sincerely,

D. M. Larson


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Featured Monologue from the Upcoming Play “Death of an Insurance Salesman”

***

"GUARDIANS OF THE WALLET" by D. M. Larson

RALPH
An ambulance is coming for you now. And the policy will cover that ride so you're in luck.

(Ralph waves good-bye and watches person go)

He's lucky. Most people wait until it's too late. Last minute is always better than never. Sometimes I think I should set up my office in the lobby of the hospital emergency room. I could probably sign up half the room as they are waiting... what else are they going to do while they wait for help? Come on. What's the number one thing on their minds? They worry about how they'll pay for the hospital. That's where I come in. I kind of see myself as a hero... swooping in to save the day... can't pay your medical bill? Let me do it for you. I know no one sees an insurance salesman as a hero but we really are. You know how much that heart attack would have cost him without me? You know how much a car accident would cost without insurance? We're not the bad guys... we're your knight in shining armor, protecting you from going bankrupt. We are the guardians of the wallet. Don't let them suck you dry. Insurance will protect you... save you... rescue you... and that's what I wanted to always do with my life. Be a hero.

END OF MONOLOGUE