The scene opens deep in the Amazon Jungle in a clearing. There are plants littering the stage, with an especially dense grouping on each wing. At L. is SIR JAMES RIGBY ALESTER, a thin, uppity British biologist with a pencil thin mustache and various man bags filled with binoculars and maps. He is searching through the underbrush, carefully overturning each leaf, looking under it, and then replacing it as if it would break should he put it back wrong.
ALESTER: Hmm… (he overturns a few more leaves in profound silence, a bird call is heard from the canopy above.) Oh my! That sounds like…! (He takes out a notebook from one of his bags and begins to sketch the bird and jot down its whereabouts and call. He quietly mutters his writings aloud.) The rare Blue-bellied Macaw has a beautiful song, which can be recognized by the fluctuations in pitch in the middle of its call. It only uses this call during its mating season. The macaw is a bit vain, and it likes to be heard, so it will only sing when it is absolutely quiet-
(Suddenly a large man in a brown fedora wielding a machete comes charging through the bushes, R. swinging his weapon and cutting through the jungle while screaming. Alester yelps in fear and cowers meekly behind his notepad. Brock’s entrance may be accompanied by fanfare.)
BROCK: (Noticing Alester, loudly) Oh, hey there! I wasn’t expecting to find another person out here in the middle of the Amazon jungle! Say, you’ve got one of them safari hats on! (noticing his bags) And a map! Are you by chance a fellow adventurer?! Pleased to meet you, my name’s Brock Rockmann, adventurer extraordinaire-!
ALESTER: (If Brock had fanfare, it stops here. Rushing up to Brock and putting his finger on his lips) Shh!
BROCK: But I-
BROCK: Okay, shh.
ALESTER: You must be quiet!
ALESTER: You’ve got to be quiet! Please! I can’t have any noise out here.
BROCK: Why’s that?
ALESTER: (He brings Brock down to the jungle floor with him, hiding themselves) I am searching for a rare creature that may live in this area of the jungle. I’ve been tracking it for months.
BROCK: Is it a dragon!?
ALESTER: Shh! What? A dragon? Of course not! Don’t be foolish! The creature I am searching for is a rare jungle cat known as the Spotted Puffbreast.
BROCK: The spotted what?
ALESTER: Puffbreast. The Spotted Puffbreast. And if you make any more noise, you’ll drive them all away!
BROCK: Well that’s a silly name for a creature.
ALESTER: You mean you’ve never heard of it before?
ALESTER: Then why are you out here? Are you an intern? Did you wander off from base camp?
BROCK: Base camp? Oh! No, no, no, I’m not from your expedition! I’m here on my own!
ALESTER: What do you mean, “Here on your own?”
BROCK: Well, I’m searching for something too! La Ciudad Fantasma! It’s an ancient city built by the indigenous people of the Amazon, and I’m sure of its existence! Nobody back home believed me, of course. “The funding would be ridiculous,” they said. “Google Earth shows there’s nothing in that part of the jungle,” they said. We’ll, you know what I did? I saved up enough money to rent a one-man stunt plane, packed my bags, took off from an airport in Maine, and wham! Here I am!
ALESTER: You flew to the Amazon Jungle… from Maine?
BROCK: All without a pilot’s license too! Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I didn’t introduce myself, did I?
ALESTER: You did, actually. Rather loudly I might add-
BROCK: I’m Brock Rockmann (if there was fanfare before, it should play here again) Adventurer Extraordinaire! (Shaking Alester’s hand) And who might you be?
ALESTER: (In pain from Brock’s firm shake) Alester. Sir James Rigby Alester. The third.
BROCK: Ooh, fancy! Sir Rigby Alester… I like it!
ALESTER: Sir James Rigby Alester. The third.
BROCK: I’ve always wanted to be out here on a real adventure! And now I’m living the dream! It’s almost too much to take in at once! I’ve just been trying to do it right, you know? Setting up campfires, using natural tools as knives, eating snakes…
ALESTER: (Disgusted) You ate a snake?
BROCK: I’ve been eating pretty everything. I mean, I don’t want to miss out on any adventure! (begins counting) I ate a snake, some berries, some ferns, a bullfrog- bullfrog didn’t taste too good.
ALESTER: I beg your pardon, but is that wise? What if you went and ate something poisonous, eh wot?
BROCK: Ah, come on now, Riggs, you act like I didn’t prepare for this at all! I know what I’m doing here.
ALESTER: I’m sorry, did you just call me “Riggs?”
BROCK: Yeah, you know! Riggs! Like, Rigby! It’s your new nickname! If we’re gonna adventure together, we gotta have nicknames for one another!
ALESTER: Beg pardon?
BROCK: Yeah, you and me! (He goes up to Alester and wraps his arm around him) Rigby and Rockmann! Got a nice ring to it! Adventurers gotta help each other out here! That’s what’s so great about bein’ an adventurer! So anyway, I was thinking first we’d head that-a-way (gestures L. with machete) and maybe take a look around. By my accounts, La Ciudad Fantasma should be around there somewhere…
ALESTER: Well, if you knew the location of the City, then why didn’t you fly your plane over there?
BROCK: I may have crashed said plane into the canopy about a mile that-a-way. (gestures R.) Now come on, La Ciudad Fantasma’s not gonna discover itself out here!
BROCK: That’s right, La Ciudad Fantasma! It means: The Fantastic City. Ain’t it grand?
ALESTER: Ha ha, my good man, I don’t think “Fantasma” means “Fantastic.” I know a bit of Spanish myself and-
BROCK: Come on, Riggs! (Rushing him offstage R.) Discovery awaits!
ALESTER: (Escaping Brock’s grip and dusting himself off, Brock stops) Now just hold on there, chap. I’m no “adventurer.” I’m a biologist! A world-renowned biologist, but a biologist no less! I’m afraid all this “adventuring” business just doesn’t suit me. You, however, seem to be quite content with it. So, if you’d be so kind as to just be on your way, then I could continue with my search for the Spotted Puffbreast in peace, so if you don’t mind- (he begins to push Brock offstage)
BROCK: Whaddaya talkin’ about, Riggs? Heck, you’re out here, in the dangerous jungle, all alone, on a search for a rare creature with only your stupid mustache by your side! I’d say that’s an adventure right there!
ALESTER: Now really, chap, you’re bigging it up a bit there.
BROCK: Hey, I’ve got it! I’ll hold off on my adventure for a while and help you with yours!
ALESTER: That’s really not necessary.
BROCK: (Very loudly) Nonsense!!!
ALESTER: Shh!!! Okay, okay! If you promise to be quiet, you can help me out.
BROCK: So whadda we do?
ALESTER: Alright, well first, I’m going to put some bait out. (Alester sets a bone down in the middle of the clearing.) Now, we go back into the bushes, like so, and very quietly settle ourselves. (They do, Brock looks uncomfy, trying to fit his large figure inside a bush) And now we wait! (Brock and Alester stare at the bone for a few moments, Alester has a big, eager grin on his face, but Brock looks uncertain. Brock is about to say something, but Alester quiets him.) Sh-shh-shh~! The Spotted Puffbreast will be here any minute now! (Another silence, and after a bit Brock can’t take the inactivity. He erupts from the bushes.)
BROCK: This is no way to catch a beast! (He brandishes his machete) We gotta get out there and find it! What’s this thing look like? I’ll find faster than you can say its goofy name again!
ALESTER: The Spotted Puffbreast cannot be caught by such means!
BROCK: Come on, Riggs, what’s it look like?! (In his excitement, Brock’s machete passes close to Alester)
ALESTER: (Fearfully) Well, it’s a jungle cat with sleek, dark fur and yellow spots, and on its breast is a magnificent puff of white fur, like this. (Alester makes a gesture in front of his chest, it looks just about as awkward as you would think it would.)
BROCK: Say, you know what? I think I ate something like that earlier.
BROCK: Yeah! Now that I think about it, I definitely ate something along those lines a few minutes after my plane crashed. This big cat with a big poofy on its chest jumped me from the trees and started attacking me, so I killed it with my machete! And then I ate it, because, you know, why let good food go to waste? I thought it looked pretty cool, so I kept a trophy, wanna see? (Brock removes a large white poof of fur from his pocket and gazes at it) Nice, isn’t it? (Alester, reckognizing the puff, is paralyzed with horror. He simply stares with his mouth hanging wide open.) Hey, you okay, Riggs? You look a little upset there. Did you want to hold it? (He walks over to Alester and attempts to give him the puff, but Alester does not move.) Hmm… (Brock thinks for a moment, and then he places the puff on Alester’s breast. Brock walks back a few feet and admires his positioning.) Hey, you look pretty good, Riggs!
ALESTER: You… you… baboon!
ALESTER: YOU HAVE TAKEN THE PUFF OF THE BREAST OF THE SPOTTED PUFFBREAST!!!
BROCK: Aw, what’re you gettin’ so mad about, Riggs?
ALESTER: (He rips the puff off of himself and throws it to the ground) And stop calling me Riggs, you boob! I am not an adventurer! You are most certainly not an adventurer! You are a big lummox! I am a world-class biologist! You are an oaf who crashes planes into the jungle! And now, you are a big oaf who is alone! I’m heading back to base camp! (Storms off L.) Good day to you, sir!
BROCK: (Undiscouraged) Hey, you’re heading off towards La Ciudad Fantasma! So you’re still up for our little buddy quest?
ALESTER: Fantasma means Phantom, you idiot, you’re chasing after a city that’s name itself implies it doesn’t exist!
BROCK: (Follows him off L.) Riggs! Riggs, wait up! Is this about me eating the Poofnest? It’s about me eating the Poofnest isn’t it?
ALESTER: (Offstage) Stop following me!!!
BROCK: Riggs, come back! Riggs! You can’t adventure alone! Slow down!