The Van De Van Theatre of the Air Presents:

Petered Out


the scene: A small clearing in the desert. Night. The flight of a small Barn Owl overhead, accompanied by three calls of "who", sets off a series of sharp, staccato barks from some unidentified canine. The clouds roll in and obscure all but one of the stars. It is covered. 
Darkness. Enter (shuffling Talpo. Diffuse light. Talpo is seen sitting in a hole next to a rock, under a cactus, in flower. Soft murmuring from stage-right. 
Talpo leaps up, grabbing the rock, and hides behind the cactus, looking stage-right. Tense.
Jungawa Bill: (leaping on from stage-left) 
Alright, you, drop the rock. (Talpo does so - on his left foot - cry of pain.) 
Shut up ... (Talpo does so) 
Now turn around slowly and hold your hands up over your eyes.
Talpo: (complying) 
Who are you that you can order me about like this? 
(He has turned 360º and is continuing to turn, oblivious to this fact.) 
Answer me, or are you afraid to speak, knave?
Jungawa Bill: (Talpo has completed another revolution, and is continuing; now he faces Bill.) 
Stop. (Talpo keeps going) 
I said stop! (no effect) 
Why don't you stop?
Talpo: (without stopping) 
Why should I? You won't tell me who you are, and I don't stop for nobody.
Jungawa Bill: (desperately) 
Would you stop if I told you that I will hide your rock if you don't?
Talpo: (indignantly) 
Of course not, my rock is mine, and no nobody can hide it. Especially while I keep going.
Jungawa Bill: (aside) We'll see about that. 
(to Talpo) Well then, keep going, because I'm going to hide your rock from you, you fool.
Talpo: Go ahead; you can't effect it.
  Talpo continues to spin, hands on eyes. Jungawa Bill picks up the rock, tip-toeing silently to the hole in which Talpo had been sitting. He quietly drops the rock in and covers it carefully with sand. Taking a small gardening rake out of his pocket, he smooths out his tracks in the sand, and makes a slight mess on the opposite side of the cactus. Talpo has all the while been spinning, giving no indication of having noted any of Bill's activities.
Jungawa Bill: (grabbing at Talpo, who sidesteps him) 
Stop now and see if your rock is here, you fool.
Talpo: Alright.
  Talpo stops, drops his hands, and smiles blandly. Bending over, he picks up his rock from the sand beside him.
Jungawa Bill: (screaming) No! It can't be! It's not possible! (stops and looks up. seriously) No, it's another rock! I'll show you! 
(He runs to the old hole by the cactus and digs wildly: nothing but sand. He pulls a small shovel from the same pocket and replaces the rake. He begins to dig madly around him.)
Talpo: (patronizingly) You won't find it there, you know.
Jungawa Bill: (pounding the sand with his fists) It's not possible! No, it's worse! It's not fair!
Talpo: We'll try it again tomorrow, Jungawa Bill. 
(pats him on the back. When he touches Bill, Talpo is left alone on stage with his rock and cactus.)
  The star shines through the clouds.
 copyright by Charlie Van Becelaere, administered by Grand Teuton Press, all rights reserved 
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