Dan of the Galapagos, a Script in Seven Parts (2 of 7)
BY Monica Walsh
NQonline.ca is pleased to share new work by St. John’s playwright, Monica Walsh. We’ll be publishing Dan of the Galapagos in its entirety over the course of the next several months. This is the second installment. You can read the first installment and see the cast of characters here. Enjoy!
(Dan faces culture shock as he settles into life on the Galapagos Islands)
Dan: Well, not really, because I’d die to get back for a game of darts!
Narrator: But who can deny this free wealth of land –
Dan: – and what a view!
Narrator: So Dan settles in, and makes a nice life for himself. He finds the Galapagos natives, an array of unusual and unique animals, charming. He interacts with them as you would a neighbor in an urban clothesline-ish setting.
Dan: Well now!!! Call me crazy, but this is lovely.
Narrator: Dan has a makeshift fire going, and is boiling some water in a makeshift pan. He has some leaves and twigs for tea. He sees two lizards, clinging their way to a rock very slowly and painfully.
Dan: Good morning!!!!! Isn’t it LOVELY out??
Narrator: He sees that the two lizards are having a difficult time.
Dan: You’re having some hard time!!! HMMMMM … ok … I see you’re going UP the very steep hill. Alright. Did ya ever think of maybe starting up there and making your way DOWN? Or maybe getting used to the food at the BOTTOM of the hill? No? … And you know, it is the HOTTEST time of the day to be doing this, maybe evening would be better.”
(They ignore him.)
Dan: Oh my, never a dull day on the Galapagos islands, I wonder which one I’m on …
Narrator: Dan makes his way back to his cave, collecting supplies along the way and greeting wildlife. Dan returns with a beach towel and a sun visor, which is in a weathered condition. He joins about 25 sunbathing sea lions on a nice rock and sets up his beach towel. Dan makes his way among them and picks a suitable lounging spot.
Narrator: Dan sits down, unfolding his towel carefully.
Dan: Well, you know not really vacation since I don’t work here, but I give myself provincial holidays off from working on the cave. Nothing like a day in the sun!
Narrator: The sea lions make sea lion noises and ignore him. The following day, Dan is cleaning and maintaining the cave and finds a tiny bug in the corner.
Dan: OH HELLO!
Narrator: Because Dan is surrounded by animals all day, he begins to see them as other creatures to converse with, unconcerned with whether or not they respond.
Dan: I think the frigates lay their eggs today, my GOD what a treat it will be to see that. At least they somewhat take it easy … unlike me with all this sweeping! MY GOD!! Why did I go and PICK all the fur off of that coconut? Next time I’ll just leave it alone!!!
Narrator: Dan sits down at his makeshift desk, which is a small boulder with a flat rock perched upon it. Today, Dan has decided to make some darts out of sticks and rocks. He is humming to himself as he sharpens the rock bits into sharp points for his dart collection.
Dan: My GOD How smart am I at all!!!! I loves the hands-on approach I got to things here on this be-yooo-tiful island.
Narrator: He is addressing the bug, who ignores him and continues its journey around the cave. Finally Dan has finished three darts. He takes a pile of berries and smashes them into a paste, to use the colour to paint a dart board. He then takes some bark from a tree for paper, and some large palm tree leaves and makes a round, somewhat sturdy dart board and heads out doors, whistling. He sets up the dart board. He attaches it to a tree and stands the appropriate number of feet back. He begins to aim. He throws his dart and it lands very close to the bull’s eye! He shoots again, this time he actually gets it in.
Dan: Too easy!
Narrator: He stands much further back, to give himself a challenge. He hauls his hand back and throws his dart. The air is pierced with a squawk.
Dan: SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS!
Narrator: Dan runs to see the source of the squawk. It is a local flat-footed boobie, just a tiny one who had flown away from its mother and gotten in the way of Dan’s dart! Dan stares in horror at the tiny animal.
Dan: What have I done??? My GOD I’m such a butterfingers. This is JUST like the time I backed over the cat, my GOD …
Narrator: Dan is very upset. He picks up the tiny boobie and takes it back to his cave. Over the next few days, Dan takes care of the bird and eventually, it gets better. Dan gets used to having the bird around and calls him Ralph. One morning, Dan realizes that his fish is missing onshore. Dan is not naturally gifted at catching fish, however, he has made some headway and catches one or two by setting his plastic bag in the water overnight.
Dan: Now Ralph. I just found a big HOLE in my fish bag. Now who did that?
Dan: No, b’y- someone did it, I can tell. Now, I don’t want to start nothing, but if you ask me, it’s one of them seals.
Narrator: Dan is referring to a Galapagos fur seal. Later that morning, Dan catches the little seal in the act.
Dan: Ralph. I just seen him do it. What do I do? Like, I don’t want to barge my way in. Sure for all I know, he lived here first. Or he don’t know that’s my bag. But I’m starved now, since I finally found a frying pan, now I wants to fry fish.
Narrator: Several days pass. Dan and Ralph talk at length about the fur seal, and Ralph really thinks Dan is overreacting. Dan finally has the courage to go talk to the seal. He leaves his cave with some conviction one morning and heads down to the little beach. He had seen the seal approach.
Dan: GOOD MORNING! I just thought I’d come down and say hello, you know introduce myself and all that. Now, I loves it here. My god, I mean the weather! I loves it. I got to say, it’s a beautiful island you got here. Beautiful home. I couldn’t ask for much better. But now food is hard to come by, sure you know that, what am i telling you for? HA.
Narrator: The seal is ignoring Dan and continues to rip apart his fish bag.
Dan: Now b’y, I knows sometimes you’re probly starved. And I don’t MIND if you comes over and takes a fish. But I’d love it if if ya left me a couple too, you know? Sure we can share!!!!!
Narrator: The seal spies a much better meal up ahead and departs, leaving a few fish in the fish bag. Dan returns to his cave, extremely pleased with himself. In the weeks that follow, Dan adapts to life on the islands well, and awakes one day with a fresh feeling.
Dan: Good Morning Ralph! My GOD I’d die for a cup of tea …
Narrator: Dan tends to his cave. Little Ralph looks at him with eyes wide. Ralph is always interested in what Dan is doing. Dan has decided to host a lemonade stand on this sunny Galapagos day. He does not realize that, similar to humans, lemons are an introduced species to the Galapagos, causing damage to the local ecosystem. Also, potentially fatal to the native animals. Dan’s main concern is that the lemonade be sweet enough.
Dan: Now Ralph- let’s get the sugar OUT of the sugar cane, not too much, we don’t want to onset type ONE diabetes now do we?
Narrator: Dan takes the sugar from the sugar cane and starts putting it in a bowl he fastened from bark from a knarled tree in his backyard. Dan must venture out and get some lemons.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Dan of the Galapagos, coming soon!