NO SWAMP LIKE HOME excerpt           

Place:  ISLA LOCA.

 

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                           

                                     Long… (but not too long) ago

                                     and faraway... (but not so distant as you think)

                                     este cuento ya pasó

                                     Yo lo sé todo

                                     Truth is slow

                                     Slow, como una tortuga.

 

                                     Este cuento pa' que sepan

                                     is the story del frogito

                                     El Simón.

                                     No te miento, un sapón muy creido

                                     like all the tadpolitos

                                     recien salidos

                                     from the fragrant and enchanted waters

                                     of 'Loca'.                      

                                     'Isla Loca' that is!

 

(A 'cocophony' of island music and joy erupts as the residents of Isla Loca dance and sing.

SIMON SAPON, a disgruntled frog, too cool to dance and sing observes begrudgingly.)

 

 

                                                        ALL (sans SIMON)

 

                                     Que lindo es bailar

                                     El baile de la espuma

                                     Cantar el canto del viento

                                     Y vestirse de la selva

                                    

                                     Here on Isla Loca

                                     Every day's a party

                                     Every ray of sun a rave

                                     Every smile breaks a wave

                                    

                                     Tenemos todo pa' comer

                                     We have everything we need

                                     Isla Loca is our home

                                     Loco sea he who roams!

 

                                                     SIMON SAPON

                                     Por favor!  Dame una quebrada...

                                     This silly zoo no vale nada!

                                     Todos son aburridos.  You bore me, you do.

                                     500 cousins locos in their 500 cocos.

                                     Always the same hot sun beating down.

                                     I'm way too cool for this 'Sapo' town.

                                    

                                    

(sings to tune of  'Somewhere Over the Rainbow')

                                    

                                     Somewhere over the rainbow, way beyond

                                     Is another world waiting for this Sapón...

 

                  

(A huge wave breaks on the shore leaving behind a giant 'clam' shell, from which emerges, T. VENESS, the 'essence' of  T.V. )

 

                                                        T. VENESS

                            (Emitting an audio collage of static and tv channels as he/she 'tunes-in':)   

                                    

                                     Ah, swept away again...like sands through an hourglass...

                                     sale lasts through Sunday at your nearest...and down one,

                                     side one,...tonight on Action News...

 

 

                                                        SIMON    

                                     A la máquina!   Who are you--?

 

                                                       

                                                        T. VENESS

                                     (This is a remote island!) 

                                     I, my slimy little hick,          

                                     am T. VENESS, God(dess) of T.V.! 

                                     My mission:

                                     to save the furthest, tiniest, culture-less-est backwaters

                                     of the seven seas, by bringing you the waves!

 

(Cords, antennae, satellite discs, etc. appear)

 

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Uh, excuse me, but as you can see, this is an island

                                     and we have waves aplenty--

 

                                                        T. VENESS

                                     Waves?!  I'm not talking salty water--

                                     the media's my message, I'm bringing the future.

                                     T. Veness,  that's my name,

                                     from across the sea I came

                                     to bring you the sit-coms, the cartoons, the sports,

                                     MTV, QVC, movies and soaps,

                                     Commentary, Springer Jerry.

                                     24-7 I'm transmitting video heaven--

                                     Here, you take control, let your fingers do the surfing

                                     Here's the remote.

 

(Tosses remote control to Simón)

 

                                     Soy la imagen so you can imagine

                                     A clutter of everything you watch and want

                                     To want to buy...why then oh why can't I?

                                     Well now you can!  Channel!  Change the channel man!

                                     ...frog....whatever!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                               (discovers the magic of TV)

 

                                     The Real House-Hives!

                                     Breaking Bad...News!

                                     Chucking up with the Kardashians!

                                     Dancing with the Has-beens!

                                     Pimp my Sponge-Bob!

                                     Mex and the City!

                                     America's Got Lint!

                                     Who Wants to Be a Millionair-head?!

                                     The Vice is Right!

                                     The Young and the Listless!

                                     The Mold and the Beautiful!

                                     El Sordo y la Caca!

                                     How I Debt Your Mother!

                                     Throw-up With Boboso Flay!

                                     Nerdy Minute Meals!

                                     America's Next Top Mensa!

(Simón has an epiphany:)

                                     To the city! To the city!  I'm on way!               

                                     Me voy de Isla Loca, I'd be crazy to stay!

 

(Simón declaims his farewell, perhaps signs it with an “X” in the sand.  Meanwhile one of the animals 'unplugs' T. VENESS.  He/She disappears back into the 'shell' and away with the waves)

 

                                              

                                                        SIMON

                                     Queridos Padres, padrinos y primos,

                                     to all of my brothers, sisters, tíos and aunties,

                                     nieces, nephews...and all the rest of you flora and fauna:

                  

                                     Always the same hot sun beating down,

                                     I'm way too cool for this sapo-town.

                                     I'm sick of being an island on the island,

                                     Nadie me entiende, nobody cares, so guess what?

                                     I left and I'm not coming back,

                                     Hasta nunca!

                                     Simón Sapón.

 

                                     Ya!   Vámonos Veness!  A la ciudad!

                                     Veness? 

 

(He looks for T.Veness who has disappeared)

                                    

                                     T. Veness??  Dónde estás?

                                     Te ví?  O no te ví?   (That is my question!)

 

                                     Ni modo, I'm off on my own, a solapas voy!

                                     (I am amphibious you know.)

 

 

(Simón dives into a tumultuous sea.  His swimming abilities are no match for the stubborn surf.  He starts to drown!  From atop a tall palm tree, LA CHANGA sees SIMON.   She gives a signal and several animals including LA PANTERA rush to save SIMON.  They bring him back to shore and 'pump' a stream of water out of him.)

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Where am I?  New York?  Chicago? Boston?  LA?

                                     Show me the sites! Roll out the carpet, I'm hitting the streets--                     

                                     Oh, I'm a little dizzy....

                                     Where's the buildings?  The cars?  The babes?

                                     This place looks like...oh no, it's not--!

 

                                                        CHANGA

                                     It is!  You're still on Isla Loca, loco!

 

(All the animals relieved, laugh at their paisano)

 

                                                        SIMON (recovering)

                                     Not for long.  I'm off and don't try to stop me!

 

(They don't.  SIMON gets a running start but is stopped in his tracks by the menace of a rising wave.)

 

                                     Okay...okay...Changa!  Changuita, carnalita,

                                     don't you have a cousin in LA?

                                     Cómo está la CHITA anyway?  Hey!

                                     I know!  Vamos a verla!

                                     You and me against these waves,

                                     in no time flat,

                                     to the LA haze--

 

                                                        CHANGA

                                     Chale.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Anda, vamos a ver a la prima.

                                     There in LA,  they have huge supermarts

                                     filled with everything a changa wants.

                                     Allí están todos los plátanos que puedes comprar--

 

                                                        CHANGA

                                     Comprarlos?  Why should I buy anything?

                                     I have all the bananas I need right here, and for free.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Ssss, olvídate pues.  Monkey around all day if you want--

 

                                                        CHANGA

                                     And I do!  What better life for a changa like me

                                     Than to monkey around all day in the trees?

                                     Eating sweet fruit, breathing fresh air,

                                     Tengo la vida mas viva aquí.

                                     No ves, Sapo?  Ya soy felíz!

 

                                                        PANTERA

                                     Wake up Simón, life is a breeze.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Breeze?  Puh-leaze!

                                     I'm blowing this pineapple stand.

                                     Quién viene conmigo al mundo nuevo?

                                     Pantera?  I know you're smarter than the rest of these creatures.

                                     Vámonos gato, let's ride with the tide--

                                     I'd hate to leave you behind...?

 

                                                        PANTERA

                                     I'll keep my behind right here thank you.

                                     No sabes que dices saponcito Simón.

                                     The city's a jungle.

                                     See this beautiful black hide?

                                     I prefer to keep my coat mine,

                                     And not trapped in a zoo.

                                     Aquí somos libres, allá...

 

                                                        ANIMAL CHORUS

                                     Cuídate tu!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Tan miedosos que son, well I'm not afraid!

                                     Still, como salgo sin pelear con las waves?

                                     Okay. Drastic times call for drastic measures,

                                     I'm going to...I'm going to...I'm going to

                                     Sit down and think!

 

(SIMON mistakes the TORTUGA for a rock and sits, assuming classic 'The Thinker' pose.)

 

                                                        SIMON (cont'd)

                                     Esta chafa isla ni aeropuerto tiene,

                                     (and if there were an airport, it'd probably be under construction                                                 anyway)

                                     Nadie quiere ir, too far to swim alone, there's got to be way...

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Ow.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                      Ni los autobuses pasan por aquí...

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     I said, 'ow'!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Aaaaahh!

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     (laughing)

                                     Never in all my turtle years

                                     have I made someone jump with fear.

 

                                                       

                                                        SIMON

                                     Afraid?!  Me?  No way! Hah! 

                                     Quién tendrá miedo de ti?

                                     'Cara de cáscara'?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Whatever you say, Saponcito Simón.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     H-h-how do you know my name?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Como te conozco a ti?

                                     Compradito, tadpolito, do you know what I am?

                                     I'm a tortuga, old as this sand.

                                     Why, I've seen all your familia grow

                                     from littles tails in the swamp

                                     into the frogs that you know.

                                     Conozco a todos los rincones de la isla,

                                     y  yo se que tu andas de prisa

                                     so I won't keep you, me voy a comer,

                                     but remember what this 'cara de cáscara' said:

                                     Everybody needs a home

                                     No one wants to be alone

                                     Don't be blinded by the hype

                                     Learn to see the fruit that's ripe.

                                     If it's life you want to know,

                                     just remember,

                                     Truth is slow. 

                                     Slow, como una tortuga.

 

(TORTUGA starts toward the water that seems to magically calm with her approach.)

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Why does everyone on this island try to rhyme?

                                     Phf!  It ain't for me, I ain't got time.

                                     I need the city y su 'rap'

                                     gotta get out, gotta get phat,

                                     hear that turtle?  You're old--

                                     ...NEWS!

 

(TORTUGA is having a pleasant time communing with, perhaps fishing in an accomodating sea.)

                           

                                                        SIMON

                                     TORTUGA...!  That's it!  Turtles swim!

                                     I found my ticket to the city big!

                                     Yippee!

 

 

(TORTUGA comes out of the water.)

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     TORTUGA, how long have you been on this island?

                                                       

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Oh., a long, long time.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     That's what I thought.

                                     Tortuga, I hope I look as good as you

                                     when I'm your age.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     I hope you're looking period when you're my age.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     I mean, you got a lot of character, sabes?

                                     You're my kinda turtle.  Me caes bien.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Thank you, Simoncito.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     I was thinking of taking a little vacation,

                                     you know, change the scenery,

                                     cambiar la onda por un rato.

                                     Y yo creo que entre tu y yo

                                     podemos tirar un rol de perlas,

                                     what do you say? Let's go?!

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     A vacation?  Hmmmmm.

                                     Why would I take a vacation from a vacation?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Por eso!  You could get too bored and then too boring.

                                     Hey, yo sé que, vamos a dar una vuelta por la ciudad!

                                    

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     The city?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     The city!  Hey that's a great idea!

                                     Sure.  Why not?  Let's go, tu y yo!

                                     A rumbear con las olas, on with the show!

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Whoa.

                                     Keep your shirt on...

                                     Hold your horses...

                                     Chill out!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     What?

 

                                                       

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     No.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     No?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Yes, 'No.'

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     You know....

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Sí?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     You're a turtle, right?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Simón.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Simón!  That's me!

                                     And you...turtles are slow, right?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Escucha chico verde:

                                     No tengo prisa, no tengo pena.

                                     Para que apurarme?

                                     Ni para la cena.

                                     My blood pressure's under no pressure.

                                     I can't stress enough my lack of stress.

                                     I have a long and true life.

                                     No more and no less.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Yes.

                                     But always so slow.

                                     Wouldn't you someday like to go fast?

                                     Just to know,

                                     how it is, to ride in the breeze,

                                     to feel your blood rush from your head to your knees?

 

                                                       

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Fast?  Rapidamente ir?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Yes.

                                     Just for the heck of it,

                                     then come back to your speed.

                                     Indeed,

                                     let's do it Tortuga, let's go to the city,

                                     allá todo tiene velocity!

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Hmmm.

                                     It's true, I sometimes wonder

                                     how time can be shorter than space.

                                     But that's how it is

                                     they say, in a race.

                                     Es cierto que en la ciudad

                                     hay muchas maneras de mover de vola'a.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Vamonos then!

                                     To the city, without a delay!

                                     Are you down Tort?

                                     Uga?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Weeelll...okay.

                                     Pero cuidado Simón,

                                     el mar está fuerte,

                                     you better hold onto my shell

                                     'till we head past the swells.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Yippeeeeee!

 

(SIMON climbs atop Tortuga's shell and they enter the sea together.  They swim along swimmingly.)

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Oye, amiga, can't you swim any faster?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Nope, porque--

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     I know, I know...

 

                                     SIMON                        TORTUGA

                            Porque así es una tortuga.       Porque así es una tortuga.

 (SIMON grows impatient.  TORTUGA unphased swims along.  The sun rises and sets.  We hear an ominous sound.  Enter EL TIBURON.  He circles the pair of amphibians.)

 

                                    

                                                        TIBURON

                                     (Ah, what have we here, floating so far out to sea?

                                     Two sea-surfing suckers, oh lucky lucky me!)

                                     Buenas holas marineros mojados!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Hey....hola buena to you Mr....?

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Shark.

 

                                              

                                               SIMON               TORTUGA

                                                             Shark?!!!!

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     There, there now.  Don't get your shorts in a bunch,

                                     or I'll have to iron them out...(Lunch!!!)

 

                                               SIMON               TORTUGA

                                                            Yikes!

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Hey remember jokes?  Relax, I haven't ironed in years.

                                     (One more advantage to sharkskin)

                                     So tell me, my fine 'phibious friends,

                                     what brings you to these waters?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     We're going to the city.

 

                                              

(TIBURON opens his trenchcoat to reveal an array of watches, sunglasses, and other lost articles of the sort that may have washed into the the ocean from a human-infested beach.)

 

                                                        SIMON (impressed by the array of sunglasses)

                                     Wow!  Pero que gafas tan chidas!

 

                                                        TIBURON (to TORTUGA)

                                     What language he speaking?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     I mean, those shades are the bomb!

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Well, okay then, if nothing strikes your fancy...

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     No, I mean sí!  I mean, yeah!  Sunglasses are a must for the                                       city.

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     You got it Snoop Frog. 

                                     Here we have some Gucci, some Prada, some Rayban

                                     But you, you strike me more as 'Made in Taiwan' kinda                                             man.

 

(TIBURON hands a pair of sunglasses to SIMON.  SIMON quickly puts them on and dons a number of ridiculous poses ala 'frog vogue'.)

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Wow!  If only I could see

                                     how cool these shades must look on me.

 

                                                        TIBURON (producing a hand mirror from his coat)

                                     Vanity, thy name is 'Sapo.'

                                                       

                                                        SIMON (still posing)  

                                     Looking good!  Looking good...goooood looking!

 

                                                        TORTUGA (taking mirror)

                                     Okay, ya enough!

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Now that you have the goods, perhaps you'd like the way,

                                     can I interest you in a ride as far as the bay?

                                     (Between you and me, this turtle's a little slow.)

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Lento?!  Pues claro.  Like I already told you--

 

                                               SIMON               TIBURON

                                                        Yeah, we all know--

 

                                     SIMON     TORTUGA         TIBURON

                                                        Así es una tortuga!

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     As just it should be.  Everyone has their own personal style.

                                     Some run inches...and others cross miles.

                                     Doña Tortuga, take a little rest?

                                     Let me do the driving, please,

                                     be my guests.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Well....

 

                                                        SIMON (taking Tortuga aside)

                                     Tortuga, look, you and me,

                                     we're not living with the laws of home.

                                     It'd be rude to refuse--as they say:

                                     “When in Rome...”

 

                                                       

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Good!  It's settled then.  Hop on behind and grab a fin.

                                     Now let's see...one pair of designer sunglasses, a handmirror,

                                     and two one-way fares to the city.  Will that be cash or charge?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Cashashark?

 

                                                       

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Very funny.  NOT.

                                     How will you be paying today?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Huh?

 

                                                        TORTUGA (to Tiburón)

                                     Anda compay, no tiene nada this little frog.

                                     He can't even pay attention.

 

                                                        TIBURON (to SIMON)

                                     Time for you to see the sea you're in

                                     I'm gonna lay it out, you best to take it in

                                     Pa' la city te vas?  Pos allá, como aquí

                                     Tienes que pagar, nothing is for free.

                                     All that you see here

                                     Is the fruit of many many days and nights at sea

                                     Me, combing the tides, sniffing the debris...

                                     From all of the garbage that's washed from the beach,

                                     knowing what to toss and knowing what to keep

                                     is nothing less than my special-ty.

                                     In other words,  don't think I work for nothing

                                     I'm out here trying to make a living.

                                     You wanna be cool?  You think you're hip-hop?

                                     Well jump to the price, it's time to pay up!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     I...I...ay, ay, ay!

 

                                                        TORTUGA (to TIBURON)

                                     Perhaps this will cover the bill:

                                     an 'All-you-can-eat' coupon

                                     for the 'Bottom of the Sea Grill'!

                                     Now really, what sounds better...

                                     la carne seca que soy and a pair of skinny frog legs?

                                     OR a buffet of lobster, fish and salmon eggs?

                                     And, if you hurry and GO,

                                     you'll get there in time for the

                                     'Food Chain Show'!

 

 

 

                                                        TIBURON

                                     Hmmmm...

                                     Okay, just for today--with a discount,

                                     I'll consider settled, your account.

                                     A pleasure doing business with you.

(Exits singing)

                                     I'm in the mood for sushi, simply because I'm at sea...

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     You are one green frog!

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Duh.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     I mean, wet behind the ears.

 

                                                                

                                                        SIMON

                                     Duh-duh.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Okay Simón, we're back on our own.

                                     Onward to the city

                                     ….or do you want to go home?

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Home?  Hah!  No way!

                                     The city is waiting,

                                     let's get to the bay!

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Okay...

 

(SIMON once again hops aboard TORTUGA.  They swim)

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     By the way, back there with el TIBURON,

                                     you saved the day...not to mention my shades.

                                     Thanks.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     No problem.  Así es una tortuga.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Hey!  Mira allí, un letrero!  What does it say?

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     Pos,  read it.

 

                                                        SIMON

                                     Well.  I would.

                                     But i won't.

                                     'Cuz....I can't.

 

                                                        TORTUGA

                                     No sabes leer y tu quieres ir a la ciudad?! 

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