Love Bird Jack Rabbit
- Scene 1
High in an ancient, giant mesquite tree. Sun is low. Two high pitched voices, luminescent figures, crooked noses. B1 and B2
B1 “Hmmm, don’t you think Jack is cute?”
B2 “Jack who? Jack the Rabbit?”
B1 “Of course Jack the Rabbit, he’s the only Jack we know. We know plenty of rabbits but only one Jack the Rabbit. I saw him looking our way today. He’s soooo cute, the way his nose twitches while he’s chewing.”
B2 “Go to sleep, it’s late.”
Dark. Coyote howling, owl hooing, stars twinkling, darkness. Quiet.
- Scene 2
Sonoran Sunrise. Quiet. Cactus wren, Curved Bill Thrush, Quail rustling, Sentinel Quail call, and Love Birds caucusing.
Right: Two effervescently colored, turquoise, aquamarine and bright green, nervous and nosy and yes, noisy and shrill as well. Birds, B1 and B2
Left: A single pair of enormous ears, a twinkling, twitching chewer and smeller, bright eyes, solitary, taciturn demeanor. J
B1 “I wish I had ears like Jack. Oh, I would die for ears like that. Do you think he might let me try them on. I mean wear them myself?”
B2 “Nonsense. The things you say. You’re a bird silly. Or are you just a silly bird? Stop it. Now. Let’s get to work. You coming?” Flaps nervously.
B1 “I’m going to say hi to Jack first. Ok?”
B2 “Oh well, suit yourself. Hurry it up though.”
Left: B1 and J, B1 leaning over. J nervously oblivious.
B1 Sweetly, but in higher register, and somewhat shrill, but sweetly, “Why, good morning Jack?”
B1 “Oh Jack, yoo hoo. It’s me. Good morning.”
Pause, J looks around, notices B1 looking at him…and thinks, “What? Is it talking? To me?”
J Quizzically, “Are…are, you talking to me? You never talk to me. Surely you have me confused with one of your bird friends?” J stutters, nervously glances about, unable to even look B1 in the eye.
B1 “Stop, Jack, of course I’m talking to you. We meet here every morning and I just thought we should say hello.”
J “Well, ok, if you want to? Is it a good idea? / I’m not sure it’s safe?” Nervously glancing around, leaning on one big foot and then the other.
B1 “…and I adore your ears, and now up close you’re just so cute. Your nose crinkles up and twitches when you chew, and you’re always chewing. How do you it?”
J Astonished by what B1 is saying, looks back over his shoulder at his coat, shakes his head, his ears twitch, “I don’t know what you mean? I fear my fur is dreary and mangy, especially in this heat, and my feet are too big, and my ears, well you say you want them. But I am going to warn you, I can never get a moment’s peace. I don’t think they are what you think they are?”
J “But thanks for saying so. Seriously, you like my ears? You think I’m cute?”
B1 “I adore you. And I love them, your ears I mean. You give me an idea. You see how we’re talking now and nothing bad has happened? What if you let me borrow your ears, just for awhile, maybe I return them tomorrow?”
J “Pushaw.” Crinkles his nose. “Of course not.” He scratches his chin, appearing to ponder the idea.
J Continuing, shyly in a quiet voice, gazing at B1, “You’re beautiful you know. Your colors are like the rainbow, except they’re even prettier, if that is possible.”
B1 “I’ll trade you,” eagerly, sensing an opportunity. “I’ll trade you my wings, these beautiful wings, you said so yourself, for your ears. Please say yes. Please. I wish you would. I wish I could have your ears, even just for a little while.”
J Pensively, and pragmatically, “But, what would I do with your wings? I mean they’re beautiful. But look at these feets? These feets were made for walking, well hopping and running. They were meant to be grounded above all!”
J “Why would you want my ears though? You can’t fly with them. They’d flop all over the place. You would be like an out of control helicopter, a miscellaneous collection of flying parts.”
B1 Horrified, “Why? Why? Why? Because look at me. People say I am beautiful, but look at my ears? Just look at them! Exactly, what ears? You see, I don’t have any ears, not a single one. I can barely hear. Why do you think our voices sound like chalk on the board? Like an errant fork across a clean plate. We are screaming, to be heard.”
J “Yeah, don’t remind me. But now that you have brought up the subject, could you please tone it down around here. This is my safe spot. At least it used to be. Now despite, or maybe on account of your pulchritude, you ring in each day with a cacophony, a carefee chaos. But I don’t like it when the earth moves under my feet.” Shakes his head.
Thoughtfully he continues, explaining, “You see, I am a solitary soul, a quiet one at that. And scared, you see, there is danger in the air each moment. At least for me. I can only pretend sleep in the dark of night. Even when I am playing with my mates, hopping, bouncing, bounding joyfully, seemingly carefree, I am always listening, because I must be alert for danger. Danger is everywhere here on the ground. No, I’m sorry. But no.”
B1 “Please, pretty please, with a carrot on top?”
J “You’re not going to stop are you.” Frustrated, but softening. “Well, ok, maybe just for a short while. You won’t quit until I say yes. I know how you fly. How about tomorrow we meet again, and I’ll let you try them on. But just for a minute. And you have to give them right back. Promise?”
B1 “Promise. Oh, thank you Jack. You are so sweet.”
- Scene 3
Sunset. Darkness. Owls. Coyotes. Quiet. Moonlight.
B1 “What is it like to be scared? Are you scared at night, when we sleep? What is it like to be scared?”
B2 “I am scared I won’t get any sleep at all with your questions. Go to sleep, we’ll talk about it in the morning. Please. Shhh, it’s sleep time. Say good night.”
B1 “But I can’t. I’m too excited. I am meeting Jack in the morning. He promised to let me try his ears. He said I can wear them. / Just for a little bit.”
B2 “What nonsense you squeak. No. No. No. What will you do with ears?”
Pauses, and then with horrified look,
“Please, please don’t tell me you traded him something of yours. You’re not giving him your wings are you? Don’t even tell me you’re giving him your wings.”
B1 “He said he doesn’t want for anything. He said he’s happy just the way he is. But he’s scared.” Looking puzzled, “Why? Why is that? What is ‘scared’?”
B2 “He’s a smart rabbit. You would do well to follow his example. Be happy with who you are. What you have. You’re beautiful, and you know it. Even the rainbow looks up to you. You are a beautiful creature. Perhaps the most beautiful.”
B1 “But I love his ears so. I would give anything to have his ears. But his fear I cannot comprehend. What is this fear?”
B2 “Listen to yourself. Look at all your gifts. You should want for nothing because you’re missing nothing. You have all the gifts that grace could grant. You’re beautiful just the way you are, like I said. Jack knows. Perhaps tomorrow if you try his ears you will hear and understand. Perhaps tomorrow you will find out more than you want to know. I hope then, you can be happy finally, just the way you are?”
B1 “But his fear? What is this fear?”
B2 “Go to sleep. When the sun rises we will talk.”
Coyotes bark, yelp. A sudden frenzy of screams and yips. A plaintive squeal, a life goes quiet. Then all is quiet. Darkness. The ancient, giant mesquite tree is silent.
- The End