Pandas – Part 2

A dart shoots out of the tress and hits Gena, who fall down asleep.  Another dart shoots out at Baebo, but misses.  Two men walk out on either side.  Baebo slashes at them and roars.  They each shoot him, but Baebo keeps on fighting, trying to protect Gena.  One man shoots him again, and Baebo finally lies down.  A Woman walks out and looks at the two bears.  She kneels down and tags them.

WOMAN
All right.  Call them, and tell them to bring the crates.

The humans walk out as the sound of a helicopter descends.  Three concrete walls descend from the sky and cage the two bears.  The light and trees, looking alive and full of wonder before, now look fake.  On top of the wall, people and tourists walk past, stop, look down and continue walking.  Gena wakes up first.

GENA
Whoa.  What’s going on?  Baebo?  Baebo?!

She searches through the leaves until she finds him, knocked out cold.  She shakes him.

GENA
Baebo?  Are you okay?

Baebo stirs a little, and then wakes up with vicious speed.  He puts Gena behind he back and slashes at the air around them.  He spins in a circle quickly to get a basic view of the place.  He stops and looks around again, noticing the walls.  He then looks up.

GENA

Baebo?

BAEBO
Gena, are you all right?

GENA
I’m not sure.  I feel like I am in a dream.  What’s going on?

BAEBO

I don’t know.  (he looks around)  I don’t know what’s going on.

He starts to walk over to the wall.

GENA
What are you doing?

He goes up to the wall and pats it lightly.  Then he knocks on it with his paw.  He scratches at it, but only faint marks are left.

GENA
What is it?

BAEBO
It’s stone.  Hardest thing I have ever felt.

GENA
It’s so flat.

Baebo follows the walls with his eyes.

BAEBO
They’re all around us.  We can’t get out.

Gena spins to look with him.

GENA
What is this?  I don’t understand.

Voices can be heard from atop the wall.  A group of people, led by Woman, walk along.

WOMAN
. . . and here are our prize possessions, one male, Ling Ling, and one female, Xang Xang.  We found these two at least 20 miles from the nearest pack in a secluded part of the forest.  If we had not come along and they might have been lost forever.

BAEBO
What are those?  I’ve never seen anything like them before.

GENA
They’re only walking on their back legs, and so little hair.

BAEBO
Do you hear those noises they’re making?

WOMAN
And we are hoping that these two will mate, creating cubs that can reel in big media coverage and maybe even be used as trade with other countries to ease international relations.  We are hoping to have our own little panda family.  And if you continue walking with me, I can show you another animal that makes this collection very special . . .

The group of humans walks off.  Gena and Baebo stand there, still looking up.

GENA
They were just looking at us.  I don’t like this.

Silence.  Baebo suddenly runs at the wall and tries to climb it, but he can not do it.  The more and more he tries to climb, the more and more frustrated he starts to become.  He gets so angry that he stops trying to climb and starts to slash at the trees.

BAEBO
LET US OUT!!!  YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO KEEP US!!!

Gena crawls into a corner and out of Baebo’s path.  People have started to gather and watch Baebo enraged.

BAEBO
MAY OCACIEA STRIKE YOU DOWN!!!  WHO ARE YOU TO IMPRISON US?!  MAY SHALOOWE STRIKE YOU DOWN!!!

By the time he runs out of steam he has stripped many of the leaves from the trees.  He falls to his knees.  Gena goes behind him and puts her arms around him and shushes him.  Gena looks up to the human crowd that gathered to watch Baebo’s fit.  Pause.

GENA
Why are they doing that?

Baebo looks up at them.  Pause.  The crowd disperses.

GENA
I’ve never seen such a reckless animal.  If you can even call them animals.

BAEBO
We should have never left the pack.  That “paradise” was a trap set up by these monsters.  We would have been safe if we had stayed put.

GENA
I think, one by one, we all would have ended up here.

Gena looks around at the new habitat.

GENA
Trees, sunlight, protection from the outside dangers.  Not a bad place to raise a family.

BAEBO
What?  Gena, nothing about this place is real.  It’s like you said, like we’re in a dream.  A bad dream.  Yes, there are leaves . . .

Baebo picks up some leaves, eats it, and grimaces at the taste.

BAEBO
They might keep us alive, but they won’t fill us up.  They won’t satisfy us.  It tastes dead, like dried mud.

He hands Gena the leaves and she eats them.  A grimace soon comes across her face.

BAEBO
Even the sunlight doesn’t feel good.  It’s not warm, it’s not bright.  It’s like an imitation of Quada’s light.  Like the Gods don’t live here.  How could they?  There’s no open space, no balance to be upheld.  How could they, in this stone tomb?  How could we?

GENA
But we’re still alive.

BAEBO
Not if we stay here.  We’ll end up like these leaves, only a dream.  We have to get out.

Gena sits beside Baebo and lays her head down on Baebo’s lap.  He scratches her ear.

GENA
I’m really scared.

BAEBO
I know.  But they can’t keep us forever.  We’ll find a way out of here and then a way back home.  We’re going to start our own tribe, just like we planned.

GENA
Really?

Baebo nods his head.  Pause.

GENA
You won’t leave without me?

BAEBO
Never.  Never in life.

Pause.  Suddenly, the woman’s voice comes out over a loud speaker system.

WOMAN’S VOICE
Welcome to The Zoo!  Have fun watching lions and tigers play in their natural environment.  Watch elephants and giraffes as if they are in your own living room.  And make sure to catch our panda exhibit over by the Green Pits, a new addition to our family that will hopefully be with us for a looooooooooooooooong tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime . . .

Source – Pilchinsky’s World: Panda Bears Tour in Xian

Fade to black.

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