Best Man Boys Radioplay – Part 1

A racing western theme with guitars and trumpets blares.

Beau:    Come and sit and let me spin a tale of the notorious Best Man Boys and their final stand in the town of North Cackallackee, North Carolina.  Known as the wedding capital of the state, the number of receptions and celebrations in North Cackallackee could often reach three dozen before a week’s end.

Preacher:  I pronounce you man and wife.

Audience:  (unenthusiastic) Yay.

Beau:  But the township of Cackallackee, and its rival-sister town in the south, had no inkling as to what went into the making of a fine wedding.  And as such, the people of the Cackallacks came to know the sound of The Stag Horn –

A deep horn rings out.

Preacher:  Oh no.

The audience begins to mutter.

Beau:  – a signal that the Best Man Boys were riding into town.  The Best Man Boys was gang of cussing, drinking, fool-hardy cowpokes that could not stand to attend another boring wedding, and so they took it upon themselves to liven up each nuptial gathering with dancing, singing, drinking, fucking (but not in the street), fighting (but only in the street), and non-ending confectionaries that seemed to float down from the clouds.

Bosco:  Get out of here, preacherman, because it’s time for ME to declare this marriage official; a declaration that I’ll make with this –

A shotgun is cocked and the audience gasps in fear.

Bosco:  – and this.

Audience Member 1:  What is God’s blessed name is that?!

Bosco:  It’s a piñata, a favor from Mexico, and today is its time to die.

Bosco heaves the piñata in the air and shoots it with his shotgun.  The crowd cheers as candy falls from the sky.

Bosco:  Now it’s time for the drinking, and as according to tradition, the bride drinks first.

Bride:  YEE-HAW!

Beau:  Tweren’t a man, woman, or child alive that didn’t relish the sound that low horn and the hooves of the Best Man Boys bursting through the square. All except one man.

Mayor:  I’m telling you, Sheriff Hondo, that the Best Man Boy’s must be stopped.  I did not spend $800 dollars on the finest preacher to come in from Arkansas just to have my baby girl liquored up in her wedding gown.

Sheriff:  Well, Mayor Cummingback, if it’s the gown you’re fretting about, she ain’t wearing it no more.

Bride:  YEE-HAW!!!

Mayor:  Tarnations!  Sheriff, I demand you go out and arrest them boys for disorderly conduct!

Sheriff:  But they ain’t hurting nobody, Gil.  So they get a little rowdy, but the town seems to love them.  People come from all over hoping they’ll get a glimpse of the Boys doing what they do best.  I think if a man wants to spread cheer throughout the town, who am I –

Mayor:  I don’t give two cusses what you think, Hondo, but I run this town and I say you need to run ‘em out!

Sheriff:  But Mayor –

Mayor:  Unless you want to find yourself on the losing end of the next election. I hear that new deputy of yours is a trig and ambitious lad.  Mayhap he’d want to try out a promotion.

Sheriff:  (sighing)  All right, Gil.  You made your point.  But these boys ain’t just fun and games; they carry hard calibers and they know how to use them.  I can’t just go out there right now, guns drawn, with all them people out there. Innocent lives are bound to be hurt.

Mayor:  Oh, don’t worry Sheriff.  I got a plan.

Beau:  And so a trap was laid for the Best Man Boys; an ambush disguised as a false wedding.  When the day came, and the Stag Horn blew, there weren’t nothing to do to save the Boys from the deception.

Sheriff:  It’s the Best Man Boys, boys!

Mayor:  Open fire!!!

Gun battle.

Beau:  Out of the fourteen men that rode into town, only five walked out.  They were told that if they ever returned to their joy-causing ways again in Cackallackee, their necks would be meeting a rope not long thereafter.  And so the last of the Best Man Boys parted ways, defeated and only husks of the men they were.  Most headed out of state, hoping to find some light in another town where they could start news lives away from any wedding planning.  Only one stayed in town, doing nothing but drinking at every open bar at every wedding that would allow him.  Since everyone feared that word would get back to the Mayor, no one ever talked with the man.  But there were a few bartenders that remembered a long ago time when a group of fellas brung jubilation that would reach the ears of the All-Mighty, and so an empty seat and a full bottle were always kept at the ready in the Cackallacks for the remaining member of the Best Man Boys.

The music changes to a slinky guitar riff.

Beau:  And it is thus we find the poor man hisself, living off of a memory outlawed by town ordinance, sitting at bar and drinking whiskey, listening to a hired band that only knew how to play depressing hymns regarding celibacy and cold showers and trying to forget who he once was.  But there is a new song that is about to sung in the Cackallacks, a song of hope, renewal, redemption. And though the first note of this ballad will be played by a young man that no one knows or has ever seen before in the North Cackallackee, the last note of it will be played by blaring of a deep, low horn.

Announcer:    In the next chapter of The Best Man Boys – The Man With The Holey Hat!

cowboys

* Co-Created with Joseph Payo

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Phil and Rosco on a Lazy Sunday

Phil and Rosco are in a car, with Phil driving.  It is a bright sunny day.

PHIL: I’m so glad we are getting to hang out together.

ROSCO: I know, right?

PHIL: It’s been forever since we’ve spent time together.

ROSCO: Not since that weekend I made us both get drunk on absinth start digging to China.

PHIL: Yeah.  So what do you want to do?

ROSCO:  I don’t know.  Anything.

PHIL:  You told me you had a couple of ideas, some things to do to have fun.

ROSCO:  Ehhhhhh, they mostly had to do with sneaking into movie theatres and pretending we worked there.

PHIL: That . . . doesn’t sound very fun.

ROSCO: And so I’m up for anything.

Pause.

PHIL:  Ooooooooooooookay.

Pause.

PHIL:  Do you want to see a movie?

ROSCO: No.

PHIL:  How about the Pineapple Grille?  We usually have fun there.

ROSCO:  I’m not allowed back there anymore.

PHIL:  What?  Why?

ROSCO:  There was some . . .  uh, unpleasantness.

PHIL:  Ummmm . . . okay.

Pause.

PHIL:  Well, let’s just drive around until we think of something.

Pause.

ROSCO:  Okay.

Pause.  They drive by a Bentley Auto Dealership.

ROSCO:  Hey!  I got an idea!

PHIL:  Yeah?

ROSCO:  Do you like stealing?

Pause.

PHIL:  Ummmm, no.

ROSCO:  What?

PHIL: I don’t like stealing.

ROSCO:  Oh.  (Pause.)  Nevermind then.  I got nothing.

They continue to drive in silence.

ROSCO:  LET’S STEAL A CAR!

PHIL:  No!

ROSCO: WHY NOT?!

End of scene.

 

Miss By An Inch – Part 2

The music changes to another stringy ballad.

Samantha:  Oh damn, time is just going by so fast.  Help me get my borrowed old new blue shit on.

She rushes to the desk and picks up a blue necklace, a ribbon, earrings and a ring and goes back to the mirror.  She hands the necklace to Barry.

Barry:  I almost asked you out to that prom.

Samantha:  Really?

Barry:  Yeah.  Neither of us had dates just yet, and I figured who else would be better to go with.  But Neil got to you first.

Samantha:  We ended up spending most of it together anyway.

Barry:  Yeah.  (Pause)  I almost asked you out dozens of times.

Sam stops putting on the little gifts.

Samantha:  Really?

Barry:  Yeah.

Samantha:  When?

Barry:  All of high school.  The one I remember the most is Valentine’s Day our senior year.  I hid roses in my locker, along with a bull fighter’s tuxedo, two of those little finger clapping things and some cologne.  We had just learned the tango in our dance class and I was going to dance up to you, with a rose in my mouth and those little clappers clicking, pick you up and dip you, take the rose out of my mouth and ask (suavely)  Do you want to go to dinner?

Samantha:  Really?

Barry:  And if you said yes, I would put the rose in your mouth, and we would’ve tangoed all the way down the hall.

Samantha:  Wow.  That would have been great.  Why didn’t you?

Barry:  I don’t know.  Chickened out I guess.  I was all dressed up, practicing my moves so I wouldn’t fall, rose all prepared, cologne making me smell like a man.  And then I saw you walk past, and I was going to go for it but . . .

Samantha:  But?

Barry:  I started on the wrong foot, or you were walking the wrong way.  Towards me.  Or away from me.  I don’t really remember.  All I know is I suddenly felt wrong, so I just hid in the corner, waited for everyone to get to class, snuck out to my locker, changed and went home.

Samantha:  Oh.  That’s sad.  You should have asked me.  I would’ve said yes.

Barry:  Seriously?

Samantha:  Yeah.  Even with Michael, no one else can take my breath away quite the way you can.

Barry:  Well . . . fuck.  Too late now.

Samantha:  Yes.  Now would not be the appropriate time to ask me on a date.  (Pause)  Do you ever regret it?

Barry:  Not asking you out that day?

Samantha:  Yeah.

Pause.

Barry:  Everyday of my life.

Pause.  Sam turns around.  They are both suddenly aware of how close they are standing next to one another.

Samantha:  What are you saying?

Barry:  Not much.  I love you.  Nothing new.

Samantha:  What type of love?

Barry:  I don’t know.  Ask Oprah.  For me, loving you has always been enough, I never questioned what type.

Sam turns around again, and looks at herself in the mirror.

Samantha:  This must be hard for you.

Barry:  No.  And yes.

Samantha:  And now it’s hard for me.

Barry:  Yeah.

Samantha:  Do you want to do this?  I can walk myself down.

Barry:  No.  Do you still want me to?

Samantha:  (Pause)  Yes.

Pause.

Barry:  Like I said, giving you away is the greatest gift I could think of.  Besides, I’m keeping the toaster I bought you, and I ain’t buying another one.

They hug each other.

Barry:  I’m sorry Sam.  I never had trouble with anything in my life, but I was always one step behind you.  Just an inch off, and I was too scared to jump it.

Samantha:  It’s all right.  I’m happy the way my life is turning out.  Are you happy?

Barry:  Yeah actually.

Pause.

Samantha:  The perfect match, missed only by an inch.

Barry:  Well, it’s only an inch.  Close enough for me.

Samantha:  Me too.

The church bells start to ring.  The time has come, the cue is up.

Barry:  Ready?

Samantha:  (wiping her eyes.)  Yes.

Barry:  Let’s go.

Barry turns to go, but Sam stays for a second.  She pulls him in to kiss him, but he stops.  She puts his hands on both sides of her face and kisses his forehead.  They hug each other.  Sam smiles, checks herself in the mirror, and then goes.  Barry stays behind, looks at himself in the mirror.

Barry:  That was you one chance to kiss her you know.

He puts his hand up to his face and measures how far his forehead is from his mouth.

Barry:  Close enough.

Barry walks out and closes the door.  The Bridal March starts.  Lights fade.

Missed By An Inch – Part 1

Lights up.  Samantha is getting ready for her wedding in a private room in a church.  The sun is coming through the stain glass windows which are bright colors of red, green, yellow and blue making the floor look like a mosaic.  Above each stain glass window is a small, round window of normal glass, filling the room with regular noon sunlight creating a very heavenly look about the place.  There is a desk near the window with a bible, a pad of paper and a pen on it.  To the left is a full length mirror which Samantha is checking herself in.  To the right is the door to the rest of the church.  Samantha takes a deep breathe and loses her eyes in preparation.  There is a knock on the door.

Samantha:  Come in.

In walks Barry, who is dressed in a nice suit but not a tuxedo.

Barry:  How you feeling?

Samantha:  (rapidly.)  I’m not sure this dress looks right.  I told Michael I didn’t feel right wearing white, I would rather wear yellow.  I don’t feel right in this color.  I don’t feel right in this church.  I’m not Christian and I’ve told him I am not converting.  I haven’t done anything morally wrong in my life, but even if I did, I wouldn’t want to be saved by the likes of the Catholics.  Or Baptists.  Or born again, whatever the hell these people are.  I mean it doesn’t really matter to me one way or the other.  I want to get married, any way is fine with me, but it just doesn’t feel right.  And white is definitely NOT my color.

Barry:  I thought orange wasn’t your color.

Samantha:  It isn’t, at all.  It is a disgusting color that should be stricken from the spectrum, but anything would have been better than white.  This dress makes me look paler, or redder, or something.

Barry:  So you’re nervous?

Samantha:  No.  Not really.  Maybe a little.

Barry:  It’s okay to be, you know.

Samantha:  I’m kinda nervous.

Barry:  I mean, this is a big thing.  Being nervous is natural.

Samantha:  I’m a bit edgy, but I still have control.  I’m not sweating and that is always a sign that I am nervous.  I mean, my palms are a little sweaty, but I have had them clinched up in fists all morning, so that is natural.  So no, I am not nervous.  Not.

Barry:  I think you look beautiful.

Samantha:  (Pauses, letting out a breath.)  I’m really scared.

Barry:  That’s all right.

Samantha:  It has nothing to do with the dress being white.

Barry:  The dress is fine.

Samantha turns and faces Barry.

Samantha:  How am I getting married?  I never thought I would.  I always wanted to, but I never thought I would.  It’s insane.  What if we don’t get along?  What if we fight all the time?  What if he starts to beat me?

Barry:  Mike won’t beat you.

Samantha:  What if I start to beat him?

Barry:  Sam . . .

Samantha:  What if I can’t bare children?  Or miscarry?  Or they turn out to be mutants that can shoot birds out of the sky with laser beam eyes and catch flies with their tongues like frogs?

Barry:  Yeah, you’re going to give birth to mutant babies.

Samantha:  What if his parents don’t like me?

Barry:  I thought you said his parent loved you?

Samantha:  They do.  And I love them, they’re great.  But I don’t know them.

Barry:  You’ve known them for two years.

Samantha:  Yes, but don’t know them.  Not like your parents.

Barry:  You’ve known my parents for more than fifteen years.  You know them better than I do.

Samantha:  I’m just saying there are tons of things that can go wrong.  What if it doesn’t work out?  What is the church falls down before we kiss?  What if I have bad breath?  What if there is a nuclear explosion?  (Pause)  What if I trip?

Barry:  You won’t trip.

Samantha:  But what if I do?

Barry:  Well, I will be right next to you.  I will catch you, do some twirly, dipping dance move and then we will keep walking.  It’ll be like we planned it.

Samantha hugs Barry.

Samantha:  Thank you for being here.  For doing this.  My father is supposed to walk me down the aisle, not my best friend.  I wouldn’t have asked you, but I couldn’t ask my father.  He’d likely be drunk and grab my ass all the way down to the altar.

Barry:  Well hey, who wouldn’t?

Samantha leads Barry to the chair at the desk and sits him down.

Samantha:  It’s a lot of responsibility giving me away.  To me at least.  As far as I know, this is my last walk as a single woman.  Beyond those last thirty or so steps, I have to think about more than just myself.  I have to think about my husband, my family.  It won’t be “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” anymore, it’ll be . . . I don’t know . . . “The Cosby Show”.  My world is suddenly narrowing and expanding horribly at the same time.  You are the one that has to stand by me and witness it.  The church is filled with people, spectators, but you . . . you are the witness, my witness.  You are the only other person that matters to me.  It matters to me.

Barry:  Sam . . .

Samantha:  You were the only really good man in my life till I met Michael.  You are still the best man I know.  You’ve been more than my best friend.  I couldn’t trust anybody else with this other than you.  I need you here.  I need you Barry.  I think I always will.

Barry stands up, but says nothing.  Samantha is tearing up a little.

Barry:  Wow.  That came out all at once.

Samantha:  What?

Barry:  I mean, I knew, I know all of that.  But I thought it would’ve come out, like, little by little over the span of like, ten minutes.  We have so much time to kill now.

Samantha:  (A little hurt)  Is that all you have to say?

Barry:  No, I just needed some think time.  I would do anything for you Sam.  Giving you away is the least of it.  I wouldn’t be anywhere else.  I would even skip my wedding to be here.  I’m glad you asked me.

Samantha:  Really?

Barry:  Yes.  I was just going to get you a toaster, but this is a much better gift I think.

They hug again.  Sam then turns around to look into the mirror again.

Samantha:  Awww shit.  I’m crying.

She goes over to the desk, which has a box of tissues on it, takes one and starts to wipe her eyes.

Samantha:  You don’t think God hates me for cursing in a church, do you?

Barry:  Well isn’t forgiveness his big game?

Samantha:  Fuckin’ A.

Sam blows her nose, throws the tissue away and then takes out a compact mirror from her purse and fixes her make-up.  Barry goes to the mirror and fixes his tie.

Barry:  I can’t believe I wasn’t able to get a tuxedo.

Samantha:  The suit looks fine.

Barry:  Every other person is wearing a tuxedo.  Even some of the girls.

Samantha:  What happened to yours?

Barry:  My dad is wearing it.  He refuses to wear rented clothes.  Something about “dignity” and “kids today aren’t what they used to be.”  He could have bought his own if he wasn’t such a tight ass.

Samantha:  That sounds like him.

Barry:  He might be a little cold to you today.  He’s a little hurt that you didn’t ask him to do this.  He feels that he has become a dad to you over the years.

Samantha:  I thought about it.

Barry:  He was surprised is all.  So was I.

Samantha:  It would have been cool to have Gerald walk me down, but when I thought of you, that was that.

Music starts to play in the church.  It is not the bridal march, but some soft stringy music.

Barry:  There is the prep song.  Got about six minutes before things start rolling.

Samantha:  Oh God.  How do I look?

Barry:  Super.

Samantha:  You mean it?

Barry:  What else am I supposed to say?

Samantha:  Help me put my veil on.

Sam goes over to the desk, picks up the veil and then stands in front of the mirror.  Barry stands behind here helping her put it on.

Samantha:  They haven’t opened any of champagne have they?

Barry:  No.

Samantha:  I could really use a drink.

Barry:  We’re in a house of God.

Samantha:  They drink wine.

Barry:  The wine is blessed.

Samantha:  We can bend the priest’s arm to bless the champagne.  It’s just sparkling wine, anyway.

Barry:  Holy bubbles in the blood of Christ.  I dig it.  (pause.)  Is this right?

Samantha:  It looks a little lop-sided, don’t you think?

They continue to adjust it.

Barry:  You know you asked me for a drink before the prom?

Samantha:  Did I?

Barry:  You weren’t sure if Neil Bynum liked you enough, and that maybe a shot of whiskey would help “lube” you up.

Samantha:  That’s disgusting.

Barry:  You said it.

Samantha:  Did you give me one?

Barry:  You don’t remember?

Samantha:  I have erased all memories of Neil.

Barry:  I ended up giving you a shot of cough syrup.  Took the edge right off of you.  We went and had a grand old time, you, Neil, Stacy and I.  You were so funny, had everyone on the floor laughing.  You said it is how you became prom queen and why you got lucky that night.

Samantha:  (With fondness)  I remember that part.

Barry:  It’s funny though because the cough syrup was the non-drowsy type. Complete placebo.  I tried a couple of experiments over the years and found out all I have to tell you is that something is a drug and you’ll fall for it every time.

Samantha:  What?  What experiments?

Barry:  First time you tried pot it was oregano.  First time you took a valium it was an aspirin.  Powdered sugar, instead of cocaine.  Got an actor friend of mine to buy bags of powdered sugar, put them in little baggies and sell them to you.  He ended up having to buy more than ten bags of powdered sugar.

Samantha:  Shit.  I can’t believe you did that to me.

Barry:  It was the only way to keep an eye on you.  Remember your 21st birthday, when we went to that bar and you got smashed and picked a fight with that biker by breaking a beer bottle on his head?  You can’t handle your substances, so I would make sure your substances were condiments.  Like a safety net.

Samantha:  Back fired though, didn’t it?

Barry:  So you gained twenty pounds.  You thought the cocaine was doing it to you, and stopped.  That’s a good thing.

Samantha:  But it was powdered sugar.

Barry:  You didn’t know that.  It was a personal triumph for you, beating your addiction.

Samantha:  What did you do with all that money that I spent on it?

Barry:  Bought you stuff.

Samantha:  Really?

Barry:  Yeah.  You never lost a cent.  (Pause)  Well, I took this one girl to Tahiti, but it was only for a week.

Samantha:  You’re not still doing this are you?

Barry:  Me?  No.

Samantha:  Good.  Cause I can take care of myself.

Barry:  Yes, I know.

Pause.

Barry:  Is that good?

Samantha:  Yes.  Yes.

The music changes to another stringy ballad.

Samantha:  Oh damn, time is just going by so fast.  Help me get my borrowed old new blue shit on.

She rushes to the desk and picks up a blue necklace, a ribbon, earrings and a ring and goes back to the mirror.  She hands the necklace to Barry.

Pandas – Part 1

Ann Batdorf, NZP photographer

Lights up.  A forest, full of greenery and life, sits in the afternoon sun.  The light comes through the gaps in the leaves.  Then from the right, leaves start to spread apart and then close.  Baebo, a male panda, comes walking out and stands, looking around.  He sits,  picks up some leaves and starts eating.  Pure bliss.

GENA
(offstage)  Hello?  Baebo?  Did you find it?

BAEBO
Over here Gena.

Gena, a female panda, comes walking in from upstage.

GENA
Wow.  I can’t believe it.  This place is amazing.  Ouosta was right.  This place is completely empty.

BAEBO
Well, it’s those hills.  Keeps anybody from seeing this place, even from the air.  If Ouosta hadn’t hurt his wing, he never would have had to land near here and would have never found it.  Other than us three, I don’t think anyone else knows about it.

GENA
This is perfect!  There is so much room to play, but we’ll always be able to keep an eye on them.  Oh, this is great!  Thank you so much Baebo.

BAEBO
Thank the bird, I didn’t do anything.

GENA
You came along.  I thought I was going to have to take this trek by myself.  You’re so committed to the tribe, and because the Antsdelee celebration is tonight . . .

BAEBO
You’re part of my tribe too.  I couldn’t let you come up here alone.

GENA
I know, but . . .

BAEBO
Gena, this place is nice, really nice.  Look at the sun coming through the trees.  These are the best leaves I have ever tasted.  Best place in the world to raise offspring.   But we just got here, I’m tired from all the walking, and it is so calm here.  Want to talk about spiritual rebirth?  Well mine’s right here, at this very spot, right now.  Don’t ruin all that by getting mushy on me.

GENA
Well gee, I’m sorry.  If I knew you were one with nature, I would have just kept quiet.

BAEBO
Aw come on, don’t be like that either.

GENA
How do you want me to be?

Baebo offers her a stick with leaves on it and starts to poke her with it.

GENA
No, I’m not really hungry.  No I’m not hungry.  Would you please?  FINE!

Gena eats part of the leaf.

GENA
Say, this is wonderful.

They both sit there, chomping on leaves.  They both sigh with relief.

BAEBO
This is the way to act.

Chomping.  Gena scoots over and leans on Baebo, who puts his paw around her.  Gina giggles.  Chomp.  Chomp.  Peace.

BAEBO
I could sit here for the rest of my life.

Chomp.

BAEBO
Oooo!

GENA
What?

BAEBO
My back itches.

GENA
I’ll get it.  Where is it?

BAEBO
In the spot.

GENA
Which spot?

BAEBO
The one spot, how can you not know the one spot?

GENA
Here?

BAEBO
No.

GENA
Here?

BAEBO
MMMMMMHHHHHHEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHMMMMMM!!!!

GENA
That’s the one.

BAEBO
We have been looking for a new home for ages.  Where we are is fine, but there’s something going on around there.  Bears just up and vanishing.  And it’s nothing like this.  This spot is perfect to move to.

GENA
You’re going to tell the tribe?

BAEBO
How could I not?

GENA / / BAEBO
I don’t know.  I was just thinking, that . . . That we wouldn’t have to tell the tribe.  / / What?  What are you talking about?

GENA
Well, about separating from the tribe.

BAEBO / / GENA
Whoa! / / Baebo, listen . . .

BAEBO
Gena, we can’t leave them.  Our friends, our family, we can’t abandon them.

GENA
I know, but . . .

BAEBO
If we leave the tribe thins out more and more.  There are barely any of us left as it is.

GENA
That’s what I’m talking about.  That place isn’t safe anymore.  So many of us have been found dead with strange markings, or never found at all.  Eerie scents in the air, strange tred . . . there’s something going wrong.

BAEBO
That’s why we should move them here.  There hasn’t been a disturbance for a few rizes, move here and we’ll never see anything like that again.  Problem solved.

GENA
I don’t think it is the place, Baebo, I think it is the tribe.  It’s about all of us huddled together in one home that is attracting something.  We need to leave.  If it is just you and me, I don’t think anything like that can happen.

BAEBO
I won’t do it!  I won’t leave my family.

GENA
I’m not saying it will be easy, but I won’t raise children around any of that bad luck.  How can I when I am afraid that they might be taken away so easily?  If you could be taken away so easily?

BAEBO
Bad things happen.  It is the will of life, to be bred in balance  . . .

GENA
It isn’t just bad things, it’s bad luck and you know it.  For the longest time there has been an unnatural feeling with the tribe, like we are being watched.  I don’t like it.  You feel it don’t you?  (Pause)  Are you serious about raising a family?

BAEBO
Yes.

GENA
So am I.  That’s all I’m thinking about.  Our family.  Not our friends, not our kin, but us.  Our children.  Do you really want your children to be scared they might be stolen or killed in the night by something we can’t explain?

BAEBO
No.  I don’t.

GENA
We need to do this.  Think of it as starting your own tribe.  Your own tribe where you and I are the elders, and whatever we say goes.

Baebo looks around, and then up through the trees.

BAEBO
My own tribe?  Yeah.  That would be supreme.

GENA
Really?

BAEBO
(taking a deep breath)  Yeah.

Gena walks over to Baebo and they nuzzle.

BAEBO
Jukon and Gueva were getting power crazy anyway.

There is a rustle of leaves.  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.

Zhang Zhi/Xi'an Evening News