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This is an episode transcript for Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry's Big River Rescue.

Transcript

Bob: Hi kids, and welcome to VeggieTales. I'm Bob the Tomato.

Larry: And I'm late for my book club.

(Larry is then shown heading off-screen to go to the book club.)

Bob: Uh, book club?

(Larry is then shown arriving at the book club.)

Larry: Hi, everyone. Sorry about that.

Mr. Lunt: It's okay, we started without you.

Larry: Discussing the book?

Jimmy: No, eating the snacks!

Archibald Asparagus: And they were delicious!

Mr. Lunt: I would put them on par with the snacks from two months ago, but they paled in comparison to the snacks from last month.

(Bob comes over to the book club.)

Bob: What are you guys reading?

Larry: It's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain!

Bob:: Oh, that's a classic! What did you think?

(A shot of Jimmy and Archibald looking confused is shown with the sound of crickets chirping, followed by Mr. Lunt looking through his book.)

Mr. Lunt: Personally, I found the book riveting, full of... flawed characters and classic American humor.

(A sheet of paper falls out of Mr. Lunt's book, landing near Bob.)

Bob: What's this? "Norm's Notes?"

Mr. Lunt: Condensed outlines of books for the vegetable on the go.

Bob: You didn't read the book? You just read notes about the book? Do you guys allow this?

(Similar sheets of paper fall out of Larry, Jimmy, and Archibald's books at the same time.)

Larry: It does make everything go a lot faster.

Mr. Lunt: Norm's got notes on every book you could ever want. "War and Peace" took me fifteen minutes! I found it riveting, full of flawed characters and classic Russian pathos.

Bob: *ahem* I hate to interrupt, but Larry, we've got a letter to answer.

Larry: Oh, right. Who's it from?

Bob: This one comes to us from Zachary Alexander in Glen Allen, Virginia.

Mr. Lunt: How long is it?

Bob: Just one page.

Mr. Lunt: Oh, I'm sure I'll find it riveting.

Bob: *ahem* Right. It says, "Dear Bob and Larry, there's a kid in my school named Joseph who gets made fun of a lot. I feel really bad for him, but I'm afraid if I help him out, I'll get made fun of too. I guess I'm just not sure if I should get involved. What do you think?"

Mr. Lunt: I think that's enough reading for the day.

Jimmy: Yes! Who brought dessert?

Archibald: Ah, it was my turn!

(Archibald then pulls out a piece of cake, delighting Jimmy and Mr. Lunt.)

Bob: Well, Zachary, I think you've got a real problem. Sometimes, the best thing to do is...

Larry: Is to watch this story about Huckleberry Larry!

Bob: Uh, Huckleberry Larry?

Larry: We couldn't get the rights to "Finn."

Mr Lunt: Wait a minute, are you saying we can watch the story from our book club?

Larry: That's right!

Mr. Lunt: That's three minutes of my life I'll never get back.

(Mr Lunt throws his book on the floor, right before fading to black and transitioning to the story.) (Open to a riverside dock at sunset. Clark Wayne sits in a rocking chair, playing his banjo and whistling. He notices the viewer.)

Clark Wayne [Grandpa George]: Oh, hello there! Glad you could stop by. I’m Clark Wayne, story-teller. It’s a perfect night for a story, don’tcha think? A story set on the Big River?

(Clark taps a wooden case on the dock with his banjo. The case opens and pops up a map of the American Midwest.)

Clark: Yes, the Mississippi River, from the woods of northern Minnesota to New Orleans. They say a drop of water that falls into Lake Itasca way up here, will be in the Gulf of Mexico ninety days later. Of course, most people like to get down the river a little quicker than that. This is a story about just such a fella, and to tell it, we’re gonna have to take a little trip down the old river ourselves. 

(Clark hops off the dock into a canoe with Chato.)

Clark: Hello, Chato.

Chato [Jean-Claude Pea]: Allo, kimosabe.

(Chato starts rowing the canoe down the river as Clark starts playing his banjo and singing.)

Clark: Oh, the mighty Mississippi-- It’s flowin’ strong and wide. Just me and you in an old canoe with a trusty Indian guide-- Yeah, my trusty Indian guide…

Chato: I prefer the term, “Native American.”

Clark: Eh, did you say something?

(Chato looks offended)

Cheerleader #1 (OS): Ready--- ohhhh-kay!

(Three cheerleader peas pass by on another canoe)

Cheerleaders: (quick tempo cheer) Gonna take a trip on the mighty Mississip’, gonna take a little trippy on the mighty Mississippi!! (cheering)

Clark: Must be a slumber party.

(Clark starts playing his banjo and singing again.)

Clark: Gonna take a trip, on the Mississip’, gonna take a little trippy on the mighty Mississippi, gonna take a trip, on the Mississip’, gonna take a little trippy on the mighty Mississip’-- the mighty Mississippi! It’s flowin’ strong and wide--just me and you in an old canoe, with a trusty Indian- Oh, I’m sorry...With my trusty Native American guide!

(Chato smiles and joins in the song)

Clark/Chato: Gonna take a trip, on the Mississip’, gonna take a little trippy on the mighty Mississippi, gon- /Gonna take a trip, on the Mississip’, oo-oo-ooh,

Chato: (loudly) Gonna take a TRIP!

Clark: Shh, not so loud, Chato.

(The canoe slows in front of the sign for Dooley and Sons Lumber Camp.)

Clark: This is where our story starts…

(Cut to some tall evergreen trees)

Logger #1: Timber!!

(A tree falls behind Mr. Dooley)

Clark (narrating): “Dooley and Sons Lumber Camp.”

(Dooley turns and faces the camera. As Clark narrates, he eats a piece of jerky and hops off, pulling a plant out of the ground.)

Clark (narrating): That’s Mr. Dooley himself. He was in the tree removal business. In fact, Dooley had a way of removing anything or anyone who lumbered in his way. Heh-- get it? Lumber?

(Dooley hops across a log bridge into the lumber camp, where various loggers do their jobs.)

Dooley [Mr. Nezzer]: Better! Harder! Faster!

Loggers #2 and #3: We’re loggers, we’re loggers!

Dooley: And for Pete’s sake, NO SINGIN’!

(Four loggers struggle to lift one huge log.)

Dooley: What seems to be the holdup, Otto?

Otto [Scooter Carrot]: Oh, we’re havin’ a bit of trouble with this big one.

Dooley: Call Big Jim.

Otto: (reluctant) Uhh…

Dooley: Now, Otto!

(Otto whistles in the direction of a nearby small wooden shack. Birds fly away as Big Jim enters.)

Clark (narrating): Big Jim. Strong as an ox, and twice as tall. Struck fear into anyone that laid eyes on him.

(A logger looks up at him and faints.)

Clark: He was so tough, he could…

Jim [Apollo Gourd]: (turns to Clark) Do I know you?

Clark: Oh, don't mind me, I'm just the narrator.

Jim: Okie dokie.

Dooley: Get a move on, Big Jim! I'm not payin' you to stand around all day!

Otto: Actually, you're not payin' him at all.

Dooley: Oh yeah, that's right, isn't it? (chuckles)

(Jim pushes a log up a ramp. As Clark narrates a flashback of the turkey jerky theft is shown.)

Clark (narrating): Unlike the other loggers, Big Jim was not an employee of Dooley and Sons, Inc. Five years ago he was caught in Elk River, Minnesota with 1100 pounds of stolen turkey jerky. As the sole witness, Mr. Dooley testified against Jim in court. Jim didn't go to prison. He was, however, sentenced to three years of community service at, of all places, Dooley and Sons Lumber Camp.

(The log is pushed into a flume and it floats away.)

Dooley: Good work, Big Jim. (throwing him a stick) Here, have some jerky.

(Jim groans quietly and holds the stick away. Suddenly loggers shout as buzzing and a crash are heard. An alarmed logger rushes onscreen.)

Logger #2: (heavy Northern accent) Ah, Mr. Dooley! There's been an accident!

Otto: What happened?!

Logger #2: It's Silverstein. He got a splinter!

Otto: (horrified) A splinter!!

Logger #2: (as he and Otto exit) Hurry! There's no much time!

Dooley: (annoyed) Ohhhh…(spots a nearby logger) You there! Keep an eye on Big Jim! (exits)

Clark (narrating): There are times when fate reaches down and grabs you by the lapels. This was one of those times. The logger in question, Steve, was not the sharpest blade in the sawmill. What Mr. Dooley said was, "Keep an eye on Big Jim." What Steve heard was, "Please run into town and get me a strawberry smoothie."

(Ding! Steve smiles widely and exits.)

Clark (narrating): Which is exactly what he did.

(With no one supervising him now, Jim looks around tentatively.)

Clark (narrating): For Big Jim, the cookie of opportunity was clearly on the table. He grabbed it.

(Jim takes off, hopping across the log bridge. Dooley returns shortly after, surprised not to see him.)

Dooley: Huh? (to a group of nearby loggers) Where's Big Jim?

Loggers #1/2/3/4: (ad-lib nervous confusion)

Dooley: (turns to Clark) Hey! Why didn't YOU stop him?!?

Clark: Oh--I'm the narrator! I'm not supposed to get involved!

Dooley: (growls) Otto!!!

(Sirens and barking as light towers shine spotlights around the camp)

Dooley (OS): Get 'im! Get 'im!

(Jim runs away, pursued by Dooley, Otto, and Steve. Constant barking.)

Otto (OS): Come back here you scallywagger!!

Dooley/Otto: (ad-lib, chasing Jim) Slow down! Stop, Big Jim! We're gonna get you! You're gonna be in so much trouble!/ Ooh! Branch! Ooh, these trees are tricky! COME BACK THERE HE IS! *indistinguishable noise* He's a chameleon I tell ya!

(The three pass right by Jim, who simply holds a small thin plant in front of his face. He sees them turning around and runs the other way. Dooley, Otto and Steve keep chasing. Jim keeps running, but the three screech to a stop.)

Dooley: Was that your dog barking?

Otto: (a little sheepish) Uh--no, that was Steve. He likes to bark when we chase things.

(Steve barks. Dooley takes...more sirens, the three take off running again. Jim hides behind a tree. Steve barks at a bush until a bear sticks its head out and roars, scaring the three away. Jim keeps running, eventually reaching the edge of the woods. He approaches the riverbank and tears the camp's sign off its posts, placing it in the river and using it as a raft. He floats away just before Dooley, Otto, and Steve approach. They stop, realizing they're too late.)

Dooley: (incensed) Well that's just GREAT!

(Steve barks and sips from a cup)

Dooley: Is that a--smoothie?

(Cut to a landscape of the river in daylight over banjo music. The "Big River Rescue" logo appears then fades.)

Clark (narrating): Not every day on the Mississippi was quite so exciting, nor every situation so rife with turmoil.

(Fade to Tom and Huck building in their homestead)

Clark (narrating): Take this scene, for example… That there green fella is Huckleberry Larry--though most folks just call him Huck. And the red guy is Tomato Sawyer. Most folks just call him Tom, since, well, "Tomato" seems a little obvious. These two happy bachelors are homesteadin'.

(Cut over to Clark and Chato with the same case from earlier.)

Clark: What's "homesteadin'?" Well, when the U.S. government settled the West, they cut it into little pieces of land called "homesteads." 

(He opens the case and it pops up a drawing of a piece of land labeled "The Homestead Act.")

Clark: Now if you could live on a plot of land for five years without starvin' or gettin' run off by BEARS-- the government would give it to you. These fellas been livin' on their homesteads for four years, 362 days. Yep--come Friday, just three days away, this land'll be theirs!

(Back to Tom and Huck on the homestead)

Tom (Bob the Tomato): Three more days, Huck, and this land will be ours!

Huck (Larry the Cucumber): Our dreams are comin' true!

Tom: Can I borrow some more nails?

Huck: Sure thing. They're in my tent-- behind the record collection.

(Tom hops into Huck's tent)

Huck: Once I own this land-- and finish my theme park-- I'll be sellin' tickets and turkey jerky to all the jerky lovin' folks on the riverboats! I'm gonna call it--JERKYLAND! And Mr. Jerky will be my mascot! (puts on the mascot head)

Tom: (still in Huck's tent, concerned) Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about that...where'd you say the nails were?

Huck: (muffled by the mascot head) Behind all the records.

(Cut to Clark and Chato by a drawing of "Music Through The Ages" with a record, 8-track, and MP3 player)

Clark: (slowly losing steam) Now before MP3 players, there were circular, vinyl disks called…oh--forget it.

(Tom hops out of the tent holding a few records)

Tom: You and your obscure music. (reading record labels) Bobby Roberts and his happy monkey. Mama Belle and Little Jimmy…

(Huck hops onscreen still wearing the mascot head, startling Tom into dropping the records.)

Huck: (muffled) Mama Belle and Little Jimmy are not obscure! They sold over a million albums...before Little Jimmy disappeared five years ago.

Tom: Huh. You know, Huck--(Huck takes off the head) The theme park business is very capital-intensive. It's hard to make any money in it.

Huck: I'm not in it for the money, Tom, it's the action.

Tom: Rrright. Hey, have you thought any more about joining me in my new business? There's a lot of action in tax preparation.

Huck: (beat) I still don't know what that is.

Tom: (trying to hang his "Tom's Tax Preparation" sign) Well, I'm going to help people prepare their federal tax returns each year. It's very complicated, but I've got a good head for numbers. I'm sure you could pick it up, too! (grunt) Could you give me a hand?

Huck: Sure! Always glad to help a friend.

Tom: (as Huck gives him a boost) You know, there isn't a single tax preparer on the Mississippi anywhere between Minnesota and New Orleans! The market is wide open!

(As Clark narrates, Tom and Huck ad-lib as they clumsily try to hang the sign a la Easter Carol, with Tom atop Huck's hat)

Clark: What the tomato may have missed in his business plan is that this is 1904, and the federal income tax will not be established until 1913. For the next nine years he will, in fact, have the market all to himself. What he will not have, is customers.

Tom/Huck: (struggling and grunting)

Clark: I could tell him this, but as the narrator, technically speaking, I'm not supposed to get involved.

(Tom and Huck notice Clark.)

Tom: Who's that guy?

Huck: I think it was Colonel Sanders.

Tom: (intrigued) Really?

(Offscreen barking)

Tom/Huck: WHOA! (they topple to the ground)

(The barking is revealed to be Steve as he, Dooley, and Otto hop onscreen. Tom and Huck look around confused.)

Huck: Where's your dog?

Dooley: What? Oh--that's Steve. He likes to bark.

(Steve barks in agreement)

Dooley: We're lookin' for a man. A dangerous man. (holds up an "I Love Puppies" poster) Have you seen him?

(Tom and Huck look confused. Dooley takes it away.)

Dooley: Wrong poster.

(He holds up a wanted poster of Jim.)

Tom: (tentative) No...I don't think so…

Dooley: Well, think harder. He tore up a factory with his bare hands-- and he's headed your way.

Tom/Huck: (scared noises, look at each other fearfully)

Dooley: This is a signal flare. (hands Huck a flare) If you see him, set this off and we'll come runnin'.

(The three start hopping away)

Tom: Wh-why did he tear up the factory?

Dooley: He was lookin' for somethin'.

Huck: What?

Dooley: (dramatic) Turkey jerky.

(Huck reacts as the poster falls in front of him and Tom. They both whimper in fear. Cut to Dooley, Otto, and Steve.)

Otto: What are we goin' ta do now?

Dooley: We're going to Muscatine.

Otto: But we've got to get back to camp! The boys won't know what to do without us!

(Otto and Steve follow Dooley. Cut back to the camp where the loggers stand around.)

Logger #3: What are we supposed to do without them?

Logger #1: We could...sing?

(Music starts as Logger #2 hops on a stump)

Logger #2: Some men are dentists and some men are cops, (all other loggers join in) while others run delis and bicycle shops! We fancy our flannel and extra long saws; we'd only be happy with this job because-- We're loggers, we're loggers! LOGS!!

(Back to nighttime at the homestead, Tom and Huck stay in their tents as an owl hoots.)

Huck: (very nervous) You got the flare?

Tom: Yes, it's right here in my tent.

Huck: You got the matches?

Tom: Yes, I have the matches. But honestly, why would he come here? We don't have any turkey jerky!

Huck: No, but we're gonna--as soon as I open Jerkyland.

Tom: Well sure, but nobody knows that now!

(Pause)

Tom: Do they?

(Shorter pause, Tom peeks out of his tent) 

Tom: Do they, Huck?

Huck: (peeking out of his tent) I might have put up a sign or two. (beat) Or twenty-nine.

Tom: (panicking) Twenty-nine signs?!? W-w-where?!

Huck: Along the river…

(Cut to a few of Huck's signs, all advertising turkey jerky, then to Tom's frightened reaction.)

Huck: It's advertising, Tom! My "Amusement Parks for Dummies" book says I have to do it!!

Tom: (hysterical) Well, does it tell you what to do when your "advertising" attracts a homicidal turkey jerky loving maniac?!? Does it?!?!?

Huck: (irate) I don't know!! I'm only on chapter three!!

(Trees rustle, Tom gasps)

Tom: What was that?!?

(Crows caw and fly away.)

Tom: Phew, it's just birds. Okay, we need to come up with a plan. (paces as Huck notices something) We need to take down all those signs!

Huck: Tom…

Tom: We need to build a fort-- with cannons.

Huck: (mounting terror) Tom…

Tom: We need, say, 60 to 70 tall pine trees, and iron ore-- for the cannons.

Huck: (yelling) TOM!!

Tom: What?!?

Huck: (scared grunting, shakingly gestures behind Tom)

Tom: (stares for a moment then straightens)...(quietly) He's right behind me, isn't he?

Huck: (terrified) Mmhmmm!!!

(Tom turns around to see Jim, and he and Huck scream for their lives. They scramble around, eventually cowering holding each other.)

Jim: Do you know the way to St. Louie? I want to sing. With my mama.

Huck: (panicked) We don't have any turkey jerky! I haven't bought my inventory yet!! (whimpers)

Jim: (annoyed) I don't like turkey jerky!!

Tom: (talking sweetly) Well, of course you don't…eh-heh, none of us like turkey jerky...do we, Huck?

Huck: (confused) I LOVE turkey jerky. I'm buildin' a whole theme pa--

Tom: (growls and cuts Huck off. whispers) Signal flare! (hops over by Jim)

Huck: (confused) Wha-?

Tom: (to Jim) So...you aren't looking for turkey jerky--

Jim: (shaking his head) Mmm-mmm.

Tom: You just wanna sing with your mama.

Jim: In St. Louie. She said, "Meet me in St. Louie, Louie."

Tom: But your name is "Jim."

Jim: My middle name is Louie.

Tom: (patronizing) Riiight. (whispering to Huck) "Signal flare!" (turns back to Jim) So tell me, Jim Louie…

Jim: Mama Belle call me "Little Jimmy."

Huck: "Mama Belle and Little Jimmy"?

Tom: (patronizing) Well, sure-- I can see why they'd call you "Little Jimmy"...

Huck: (carrying one of his records, shows it to Jim) "Mama Belle and Little Jimmy"-- so you were named after these guys?

Jim: (beaming gasp!) Mama!

Tom: That's your mama?

Jim: (nods) And me! Little Jimmy!

(He holds up the record to Tom and Huck.)

Huck: (completely skeptical) That's...you?

Jim: I grew.

Tom: Well, sure you did! (whispers to Huck) Et-gay the air-flay!

Huck: (winks) Kay-o...ay. (pause) Ay-ko-ay...ay? (pause) Okay.

(Tom gestures for him to go.)

Huck: (awkwardly loud) I'm just gonna go put the record away, now...in the other tent…

(As Tom distracts Jim, Huck attempts to light the flare with rocks)

Tom: Why don't you take a nap on your boat-- or whatever-- and we'll go call for help. Heh, heh, heh…

(Huck tries to light it with the campfire)

Tom: We have a...signaling device…(nervous laugh)

(Huck holds a magnifying glass to the fuse, then realizes that won’t work.)

Huck: (whisper-shout) How do I light it?

Tom: (whisper-shouting to Huck) With the matches...next to my books. (turns back to Jim, nervous laugh)

Huck: (enters Tom’s tent, whispers) Oh, here they are…

(Jim hops away to go sleep on his raft.)

Tom: So, rest well…

Huck: (whisper-shouts from inside Tom’s tent) Got it!

Tom: (relieved sigh)...Wait...not in the tent!

(Whoosh as Tom’s tent flies upward off the ground into the night with a cloud of smoke.)

Jim: Ooooh!

(The flare--and Tom’s tent-- explode in the sky)

Jim: Thank you for helping me...

Tom: (nervous laugh,) It’s the least we could do! You rest now. Help is on the way.

(Jim hops off as Tom looks up at Huck scornfully. He motions Huck to get in the remaining tent, and he does so hanging his head in shame.)

Tom: What am I gonna do for a tent, now?!?

Huck: (apologetic) I didn’t know it was gonna do that…

Tom: What did you think it was gonna do?!?

Huck: The emotion of the moment was overwhelming…(looks down at the wanted poster, gasps) Wait. The reward.

Tom: What? (looks at the poster too, reads it) “100 dollar reward”-- that’s right!

Huck: You could buy a new tent!

Tom: And you’ll have enough money to finish Jerkyland! Huh! This day has turned out all right after all!

Huck: Yeah. As long as “Little Jimmy” doesn’t get hungry and eat us before that scary guy with the Steve-dog gets here.

Tom: (a little unsettled) Rrright.

Jim (OS): (singing in his sleep) Happy River...doot, doot, whoo! Whoo!

Huck: Do you hear something?

Tom: It sounds like-- singing.

(Tom and Huck exit the tent to see Jim on the raft, singing in his sleep.)

Jim: Whoo, whoo! Quiver...giggle with glee! River...Jimmy and me!

(Tom and Huck exchange confused looks, until Huck realizes something)

Huck: Wait a minute!

(As Jim still sings in his sleep, Huck goes in the tent and gets his record player. He plays his “Mama Belle and Little Jimmy” record, and eagerly watches Jim. Tom looks on in confusion, but the two slowly realize the truth.)

Mama Belle: Sing me a song as we paddle along a Happy River!

Jim: Happy River-- doot, doot, whoo! Whoo!

Mama Belle: No need to doubt as we paddle about a Happy River.

Jim: Happy River-- doot, doot, whoo! Whoo!

Mama Belle: Catfish’ll quiver, and giggle with glee, as we paddle down the river, just my Jimmy and me. No need complainin’ at the miles that are remainin’--Happy River.

Jim: Happy River-- door, doot--whoo! Whoo!

Mama Belle: We ain't highfalutin when the riverboats are tootin'-- Happy River.

Jim: Happy River--doot doo!

(Jim yawns and turns in his sleep.)

Huck: (dramatic) He's telling the truth.

Tom: What?

Huck: He's Little Jimmy! It's him!

Tom: But he's huge!

Huck: He grew! It's him, I tell ya! No one else can sing with Mama Belle just like that!

Tom: (flummoxed) But--I--wha--

Huck: And we just called that scary guy and barking Steve to come take him back to whatever nasty place they came from!

Tom: I don't know...I…

Huck: We gotta help him get to St. Louis, so he can sing with his mama!!

Tom: Wait a minute! He tore up a factory!

Huck: He couldn't have! He's ALLERGIC to turkey jerky. See!? (holds up an album with Little Jimmy cowering from a piece of jerky on the cover)

Tom: Huh? (reading) "Little Jimmy Sings the I'm Allergic to Turkey Jerky Blues"...

(Barking and sirens; Dooley, Otto, and Steve approach offscreen. Huck gasps.)

Huck: It's the scary guy and barking Steve! Run, Little Jimmy!!

(Jim doesn't hear him and continues snoring)

Huck: We gotta go wake him up!

Tom: But--the reward money!

Huck: We gotta save Little Jimmy! (gasps as Otto can be heard ad-libbing) Too late! They're here!

(Siren as Dooley, Otto, and Steve enter the homestead. The three hold lanterns as they search for Big Jim.)

Dooley: All right--where is that big ox?

(Steve sniffs around the tent like a dog, then barks.)

Dooley: I should've known Little Jimmy would try to get back to his Mama someday.

(Inside the tent Tom and Huck sigh relieved)

Huck: (hushed) See! It IS Little Jimmy!

Otto: Hey, boss--look at this!

(the floor of what used to be Tom's tent)

Dooley: That's where they lit the signal flare...but where are they now?

(Behind Dooley a tent starts hopping away.)

Otto: Uh...boss…

(Dooley turns and spots the hopping tent.)

Dooley: (growing angry) Big Jim? Is that you?!?

(The tent hops away, chased by Dooley, Otto, and Steve)

Dooley: Come back here! (he and Otto adlib)

(The tent makes a long hop onto the raft with Jim. Its pursuers screech to a stop)

Dooley: Go get him!

Otto: I can't swim!

(Dooley turns to Steve)

Otto: He only doggie paddles.

Dooley: (frustrated groan, shouts) I'll track you down--if it's the last thing I do!

(The shout wakes Jim up)

Jim: (groggy) Mama?

Tom: (hopping out of the tent) No, Little Jimmy...that's not your mama.

Huck: But we're gonna find her for ya. Aren't we, Tom?

Clark (narrating): All Tom could think about was the $100 he just lost, and the fact that if he wasn't back at that homestead by Friday when the man from the government showed up, he was gonna lose a whole lot more.

(Fade to black from Tom’s concerned expression. Cue “The Biscuit of Zazzamarandabo.”)

(Tom’s POV; we hear music and birds chirping. He slowly opens his eyes to see the blue sky overhead. He yawns and turns over, looking at the slowly scrolling landscape. Turning the other way, the sight of Jim next to him startles him fully awake. Pan out to see the raft at sea, with Jim sleeping between Huck and Tom, leaving very little room for either.)

Tom: Ahh! (panic) Huck? Huck?!

Huck: (pleasant) Good morning, Tom! Beautiful day, isn’t it?

Tom: (very concerned) How long was I sleeping?!? Where are we?!?

Huck: I figure we’re coming up on--

(Jim starts rolling in his direction)

Huck: Oh--hold on...

(He hops to Tom’s side, balancing the raft out with a splash.)

Huck: Comin’ up on Davenport. And we’re makin’ good time!

Tom: “Making good time”? We’re making terrible time, because we’re not supposed to be going anywhere!! We’ve gotta get back to--

(Jim starts rolling the other way.)

Huck: Quick! Follow me! (he and Tom hop to the other side) It’s important to keep the raft balanced…

(The raft balances with a splash)

Huck: On account of Little Jimmy being so...big.

Tom: We’ve gotta get off this raft and get back to our campsite before--

(Jim rolls again and Tom and Huck balance out the raft)

Tom: --before the government man shows up and decides we starved...or got run off by BEARS!

Huck: Look, Tom, I have it all figured out. A couple hours ahead is a little town called Muscatine. So we can hop off there and put Little Jimmy on the train to St. Louie. We can walk back home by Thursday. Plenty of time!

Tom: (sigh) Fine. Okay, Huck...Muscatine...But no further.

(Birds chirp. The two look around at the surrounding landscape.)

Tom: (slightly more at ease) It is a lovely day on the river…

(Jim rolls in their direction, tipping the raft.)

Tom/Huck: Aaaah!

(They all fall off with a splash and bob in the river)

Tom: (darkly) Lovely.

Huck: Mmm--refreshing!

Jim: (yawns)

(Cut to the three back on the raft as music starts.)

Clark (OS): When you’re slippin’ down the Mississippi, there ain’t no need for gettin’ lippy, laze in the sun--or take a dippy. The fishin’s always good!

Huck: (handing Tom a fishing pole) Try this one. It’s lucky.

Clark (OS): Just grab a pole and drag a liner, lie on back--there’s nothin’ finer! Bighead Carp or Redfin Shiner are bitin’ like they should.

(Clark and Chato’s canoe passes by the raft.)

Clark/Huck: Well, the river is my neighbor, and-- 

Clark: Excuse me, this is the narrator’s song.

Huck: (embarrassed) Oh. I thought you were the chicken guy. 

(Clark takes as Chato snickers.)

Clark: Not a word, Chato. (He starts playing his banjo and singing again) Well, the river is my neighbor, and the river is my friend! You’ll find another story hidin’ ‘round each river bend! That’s right! So take me down the Mississippi, your hair is long-- it needs a clippy! Bring a coat--the nights get nippy on this you can depend-- Oh, the river...she’s my friend.

(Jim tips the raft again. The cheerleader peas’ canoe passes again.)

Cheerleader #1: Spell it!

Cheerleaders: (quick cheer) M--I--crooked letter, crooked letter--I! Crooked letter, crooked letter--I! Humpback, humpback--I! (cheering) 

(Huck, Tom, and Jim float by.)

Huck: Must be a slumber party.

Tom: (darkly) Lovely.

Jim: Wheeee!!!

(Cut to Tom, Huck, and Jim back on the raft. Tom rows while Huck speaks with Jim.)

Huck: So the bad man in the mask dumped the jerky in your hands, right when the police showed up?

Jim: Yes. That’s why I spent five years at the lumber camp. 

Huck: But you only had to serve three years.

Jim: Mr. Dooley thought I couldn’t count.

Tom: That’s nice. Shouldn’t we be comin’ up on M…Muh...Mus…

Huck: “Muscatine.” There it is!

(They see the Muscatine sign)

Jim: (dreamily) Muscatine!

Tom: (excited) Okay, Jim, we’re gonna…

Jim: You’re going to put me on a train to St. Louie, then YOU’LL be walking home to meet the government man...by Thursday.

Tom: (stunned) Right. That’s right! (regains energy) Huck, run up ahead and look for the train station while I tie up the raft!

(The raft stops at a dock)

Huck: Aye, aye Captain Tom! Secure the area, and pick up some donuts! (winks)

Tom: Donuts?

Huck: Everyone deserves donuts for a job well done.

(Huck hops away into Muscatine, and approaches an old man.)

Huck: Excuse me, sir...Would you happen to know where I can find a train station, conveniently located next to a bakery?

Old Man: Eh...oh, head down the street yonder, young feller.

Huck: Thank you!

(Huck hops down the street, observing his surroundings.)

Huck: (to himself) Wow, what a great town! This place has got it all. Friendly town people…Shopping...Baby with a signal flare… (stops, double-take) Huh? 

(He looks and sees that there is, in fact, a baby with a signal flare. Observing further he sees several people with flares, only to realize literally everyone has them!)

Huck: Oh!! (sees a Wanted billboard for Jim) Ahh! 

(He backs away slowly, ramming into someone, who turns around and reveals their flare.)

Huck: Excuse me...oh!!

(He backs up and tips over an entire cart of signal flares.)

Huck: (nervous, scared, alarmed) Uhhh...Oh…! I’m really sorry about that…(bumps into the same old man from before) Excuse me…

Old Man: Hey, is there somethin’ I can help you with, Sonny?

(He adjusts his hat with a signal flare. Huck sees it)

Huck: AAAAHHH!!!!

(Huck runs away frightened, catching the baby’s attention. Cut to Tom and Jim near the dock.)

Tom: You play any football in high school? You got the size for it.

Jim: No. I was in musicals.

Tom: Really?

(Huck comes rushing toward them.)

Huck: Tom! T-Tom!

(The baby sees Tom and Jim and cries loudly.)

Huck: TOM! Whoa!

(Huck collides with Tom and Jim, and the three tumble down the stairs back onto the raft. The baby stops fussing and looks at his signal flare.) 

Huck: (grabs the paddle) We gotta get outta here! (pushes the raft away from the dock)

Tom: W-What are you doing? Huck?!? What’s going on?!?

Huck: BEWARE THE BABIES!!

(A signal flare shoots into the sky with a loud whistle and explodes into a firework. The baby laughs. Huck looks up in horror.)

Jim: Oooh...pretty. 

Tom: Eh-hehh...eh, maybe no one noticed…

(Multiple signal flares explode in colored blasts in the sky, resembling a fireworks show.) 

Huck: (paddling faster) They all know about Jim! The posters are everywhere! (crazily) Even the babies have signal flares!!

Tom: The babies?

Huck: Yeah, Tom! The babies!!

Tom: I...no! Huck, I said I’d go to Muscatine. That’s it. I did my part! We’ve got to get back home, or we lose everything!

Huck: I know. 

Tom: Do you want to be bachelors living in tents for another five years?!?

Huck: (running out of steam) No...but I wanna help Little Jimmy find his mama. 

Tom: (frustrated) You...I…

Huck: Let’s just get back on the river and think this over. 

(Huck rows the raft down the river. Meanwhile, the King and Duke, two criminals holding a plate of donuts, flee in a wheelbarrow from a baker and a policeman.)

Baker (Oscar the Polish Caterer): Come back with my donuts, you thieves!!

King of Memphis [Jimmy Gourd]: My good baker, your own sign said, “Free Samples!”

Baker: It also said “Take ONE!!!”

King: Simply a rounding error on my part--ROCK! Do accept my apologies as graciously as I have accepted your free samples--

King/Duke: TREE! WAHHH!!! 

(The wheelbarrow swings out of control, and it rolls down the hill up into the air. Freeze-frame on the airborne, screaming crooks.)

Clark (narrating): Heh--looks like these two rascals are in a heap’a trouble. I wonder what Tom, Huck, and Jim are up to?

(Cut to Tom and Huck rowing the raft with Jim when suddenly the wheelbarrow sails right over their heads and splashes into the river nearby. Tom and Huck look at each other confused.)

King: Heh, heh...that was close. 

Duke [Jerry Gourd]: Yeah. Real close. 

(The wheelbarrow springs a leak and begins sinking.)

King: Oh, dear. (turns to the raft) Uh--good day, gentlemen! Our vessel is proving herself less than seaworthy. Ah--might we come aboard?

Tom: (wary) Absolutely not! No more helping!

King: (enticingly) There could be a donut in it for you!

(Huck smiles. Cut to the King and Duke on the raft with Tom, Huck, and Jim.)

Huck: (mouth full) You’re really a king and a duke?

King: Indeed!

Tom: (skeptical) Of what?

King: Well, my good tomato, you are looking at the King of Memphis! And my good friend here--the Duke of New Orleans!

Duke: Pleased to meet you.

Tom: But we don’t have royalty in America!

King: Obviously, you’ve never been to the South. (beat) And who might your prodigious compatriot be?

(Jim hides behind the tent)

Huck: (confused) I’m sorry?

King: Who’s the big guy?

Tom: (disinterested) Oh--uh, that’s Jim.

King: As in, BIG JIM? (eyes the Duke)

Jim: (reveals himself) Do you know the way to St. Louie? I want to sing. With my mama.

King: St. Louie? That’s the site of the World’s Fair! Is that where your mama is?

Jim: “Meet me in St. Louie, Louie! Meet me at the fair!”

Duke: I love that song! Meet me in St. Louie, Louie, meet me at the fair…

King: (to Tom) I thought his name was Jim.

Tom: His middle name is Louie.

King: Huh. (to Duke) What town are we coming up on next, Duke?

Duke: Uh--I dunno.

King: Aha...I’ll tell you what, friends--since you were so kind as to snatch us from the river’s icy jaws, the Duke and I will escort your large compatriot down to St. Louie, and, as a token of gratitude, we will give each of you ten dollars for train fare back north to...wherever you came from!

Tom: (excited) Did you hear that, Huck? Train fare back up north! They’ll take little Jimmy to St. Louie, and we can get back to our homesteads on time!

Huck: Um…

King: Put us ashore at--whatever town we come to next--and we’ll telegraph ahead and let your mama know we’re on our way to the Fair!

(Cut to the raft at a dock. Tom paces impatiently as Jim sings “Happy River” to himself and Huck sits on the dock.)

Jim: Doot, doot, whoo, whoo! Happy River...whoo whoo!

Tom: (aggravated) Where are they? They’ve been gone almost an hour! If we leave right now, we still might be able to make it back before the government man shows up. 

Huck: Uh...yeah. Look Tom, I’ve been thinking...maybe we should ride along--just to be safe.

Tom: Have you forgotten about my tax office? And Jerkyland? Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted? 

Huck: Yes...but I wanna help Little Jimmy, too.

Tom: (intense whispering) I’ve got news for you: I didn’t hurt Little Jimmy! I’m not the one who sent him up the river away from his mama! I didn’t hurt him, so I shouldn’t have to help him!

Huck: (calmly) Sometimes, not helping is the same as hurting.

Tom: (irate) What?!? That makes no sense!!

Jim: ...doot, whoo, whoo…

Huck: If we see someone who needs help, and we can help them--I think that’s what God wants us to do.

Tom: (stammering) Well, you--uuugh…

Huck: I’m gonna make sure Little Jimmy finds his mama.

Tom: [stammering] You--I--aaagh! Doh!

King: I say-- good news, friends! Everything is arranged! The telegram is on its way. And here is your ten dollars for train fare.

Huck: I--I’m gonna make sure Little Jimmy finds his mama. 

Tom: Is that more important than the last five years of hard work?!?

King: The situation is under control! The Duke and I are skilled...er, raft...drivers.

(Huck hops over to Little Jimmy.)

Huck: I’m gonna make sure LIttle Jimmy finds his mama.

Tom: (sighs, heartbroken) Then you’ll be by yourself.

(Huck watches as Tom takes his ten dollars of train fare and hops onto the dock, both crestfallen by what they’ve just decided.)

Tom: Goodbye, Huckleberry Larry.

Huck: (sadly) Goodbye…Tomato Sawyer…

(Huck sadly watches his friend hop away.)

Jim: I’m sorry, Huck.

Huck: (turns to Jim) Well, let’s go find your mama.

(cut to Tom walking down the street alone, holding the lucky fishing pole Huck gave him.)

Tom: (muttering) No point both of us losing our land. Besides, I’m sure Little Jimmy will be fine.

(Two French peas hop past Tom as he approaches the train station. He leans his fishing pole against the side and hops up to the window.)

Ticket Agent (Mr. Lunt): Ahem...may I help you?

Tom: (downcast) Oh--y-yes...I need a ticket. 

Ticket Agent: North to Dubuque? Or south to St. Louie?

Tom: (sighs) North.

(The French peas hop by again, knocking Tom’s fishing pole flat on the ground. Clark hops by.)

Tom: Excuse me, sir?

Clark: Hm-hm?

Tom: Could you hand me my fishing pole?

Clark: I didn’t knock it down. Besides, I’m not supposed to get involved. (hops away)

Tom: (irritated) Well--of all the...Ehhh!!!!

(A cart runs over the fishing pole, breaking it.)

Tom: (really irritated) My lucky fishing pole! That guy coulda helped me! (yelling) Listen buddy! I hope you learn someday that--that NOT HELPING someone--can be the same thing as HURTING them!! (sad thoughtful sigh) Not helping…(concerned gasp)...Little Jimmy!

Ticket Agent: That’ll be five dollars and seven cents. 

Tom: (hands him the money) Here’s ten bucks-- (intense) I’m going south to St. Louis! Hang on, Little Jimmy! Help is on the way! (train whistle, Tom loses his balance and falls off) Woah!!

(Cut to the St. Louis World’s Fair)

Clark: Yes, it looked like everyone was headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair. What? Where’d you want the story to end? The parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken? Trust me--this’ll be fun! Oh--here comes Little Jimmy, Huck, and those two rascals now! 

Huck: (admiring the fair) Wow!

King: Most of this was built in my honor, you know, what me being the King and all.

Duke: Yeah--me too!

King: It’s time to find your mama, Little Jimmy! (whispers to the Duke) But first we need to lose the pickle.

Duke: (whispers) I thought he was a cucumber.

King: Oh--look at the log ride!

Jim: Oooh!

King: Ah, yes...Why, Huck, if you look closely, you’ll see my name engraved in that log.

Huck: (looking closely at the log) I don’t see anything…

King: Lean a little further--you’ll see it.

Huck: (does so) No...I still don’t--(The Duke pushes him in the seat headfirst upside down) Aaaah! Oof!

Jim: (frightened) Huck!

King: Oh, there’s so much to see here…

PA of log ride: Please remain seated while the vehicle is in motion.

(Huck moans and slouches. No way out...)

Jim: Huck! Are you okay?!?

Huck: (his log is about to go in a tunnel) I’m fine, Little Jimmy! We’ll find your mama in a minute!

King: Oh, look, LIttle Jimmy! Here comes your mama now!

(Dooley, Otto, Steve, and two cops appear.)

Dooley: There he is! It’s Big Jim--the turkey jerky bandit!

Jim: Huck!

Dooley: You’re comin’ back with me, Big Jim! For a long, long time!

Huck: (higher up on the log ride) Leave him alone!!

Jim: Huck!!

(The King and The Duke hop in front of Jim.)

King: Ahem...Before we turn him over, there is the issue of reward. 

(Dooley tosses the King a fat stack of dollar bills.)

King: Ha-ha! He’s all yours…

(Jim has hopped into a hot-air balloon)

Jim: Bye!

(He takes off)

Otto: Get back here! Where do you think you’re going?!? Blow the whistle!

(Dooley takes the money back from the King. Jim floats over to Huck.)

Huck: Little Jimmy! Where ya goin’?!?

Jim: I’m coming to help you!

Huck: Oh, that’s okay! I’m doin’ fine!

(Steve barks as he and Dooley look upward for Jim. Jim’s balloon suddenly crashes through the log ride, breaking the flume near the top. The crowd gasps.)

Jim: Oops. I’ll help you, Huck!!

Huck: (very worried) I’m good! Thanks, Little Jimmy!

(Crowd commotion)

Dooley: That’s my meal ticket! Otto! Get me a flare!

(Huck sees the break in the flume)

Huck: Oh dear…

(The track keeps clanking as the log moves.)

Dooley: Fire in the hole!!

(Otto lights a flare, which flies up and pops Jim’s balloon. The crowd gasps as it flies around deflating. Huck’s log is almost to the break.)

Huck: (terrified) Goodbye, Mother! Goodbye, Father! Goodbye, turkey jerky!

Jim: (still zipping around in the air) Ah--Maaaamaaaa!!!

Huck: ...Mother!!! (the log falls from the track) AAAAAAH!

Jim: (is flung from the balloon) Aaaaaaaaa!!!

Huck: (freefalling) AAAAAAAH-ooh!!

(just as he falls offscreen a fishing hook snags the back of his shirt, and he’s lifted to safety as Tom reels in his line.)

Tom: (grunts) You forgot about your good friend Tomato!

Huck: And your lucky fishin’ pole!

Tom: I’m sorry, Huck. You were right all along. We DO need to help others...even when it’s not easy.

Huck: I forgive you, Tom. (Jim screams, gasp!) Little Jimmy!!

Jim: (hurtling through the air) Aaaaaaaaaa!!

(Jim lands in the Ferris Wheel and turns to a pea next to him.)

Jim: Do you know the way to St. Louie?

Pea: Straight down. Whoa! (The wheel starts spinning quickly and the crowd shouts)

Dooley: He’s on the Ferris Wheel!

Huck: He’s on the Ferris Wheel!

Tom: Follow me!

Jim: Wheeeeee!!!!!!

(The Ferris Wheel spins so fast that Jim is flown out into the air.)

Jim: Waaaaah!!!

Dooley: He’s headed for the Ampitheater!

(Cut to the Ampitheater, where Mama Belle performs alone.)

Mama Belle: The river is blue-- ‘cuz it’s full of my tears. Poor Little Jimmy-- ain’t seen him in years. I wish I could-

(Jim falls right next to Mama Belle, crashing through the stage.)

Mama Belle: Hi, Little Jimmy.

Jim: Hi, Mama.

Mama Belle: (incredulous) Little Jimmy?

Jim: (happy gasp) Mama?

Mama Belle: Little Jimmy?!?

Jim: Mama?!?

Mama Belle: Little Jimmy!!!

(The reunited mother and son embrace.)

Jim: Maaamaaa!!!!

Mama Belle: Little Jimmy…

King: (as he and the Duke enter) Not so fast! That gourd is a wanted criminal!

Mama Belle: My Jimmy?!? (offended) Oh!

Dooley: (as he, Otto, Steve, and the cops enter) That fella belongs to me!

(Sitting on a nearby bench, Clark sticks out his banjo just so that Dooley trips over it, making him drop a couple packs of jerky. A cop picks one up.)

Scallion #3: (pushing his way through the commotion) Officer! Hey, Officer! Someone run off with all my turkey jerky!!

(Dooley stands, looks at the jerky, and laughs nervously)

Dooley: (guilty) I was gonna come back and pay you for every last stick!

Clark: Officers--I suggest you reexamine the Elk River turkey jerky case. We have a new suspect.

(The officers turn on Dooley.)

Dooley: (scared gasp!) Gotta go!

(The cops bump into each other as Dooley tries to flee. Clark looks at Tom’s fixed fishing pole.)

Clark: May I?

Tom: Oh, be my guest!

(As Dooley tries to climb over a wall, Clark hooks him and reels him back in. Jim and his mama sigh happily and embrace again. The cops carry Dooley away.)

Dooley: (irate) I thought you couldn’t get involved!!

Clark: Well, that’s just it. When you see that someone needs help, and you know you can help ‘em-- you just hafta get involved!

(Mama Belle plays her banjo)

Mama Belle: Sing me a song as we paddle along, Happy River…

(song continues as Clark narrates)

Clark (narrating): So things ended up pretty well. Mama Belle and Little Jimmy were making music again. Why, they even released a new album!

Jim: Whoo! Whoo!

(The song continues on a riverboat)

Mama Belle/Jim: Catfish’ll quiver, and giggle with glee as we paddle down the river, just my Jimmy and me! 

Mama Belle: We ain’t highfalutin’ when the riverboats are tootin’, Happy River!

Jim/Crowd: Happy River, doot doo!

(Pan down to the bottom floor of the boat)

King: I heard the food table was down here.

Duke: Oh, good. 

King: You know, I’m so hungry I could eat a whole…

King/Duke: DONUT!

(The King picks up the plate, alerting the Baker.)

Baker: Huh?! YOU GUYS?!

King/Duke: AH!

(They run away with the plate, and the Baker chases them.)

Baker: Get back here with my donuts! Those aren’t even a day old yet!

Clark: (chuckles) Yep! Everything worked out pretty well!

Tom: Wait a minute--what about me and Huck? We’ve got nothing left ‘cept one tent and a broken fishin’ pole!

Clark: It’s a lucky fishin’ pole! 

Huck: He’s got a point.

Tom: (dejected) I guess…

Clark: Come to think of it, I’ve got a nice piece of land down by the river--hardly use it, ‘cept strummin’ my banjo on the dock. You want to set up your businesses there?

Huck: (confused) Isn’t that where you raise your chickens?

(Chato snickers) 

Clark: Not a word, Chato. It’s chicken-free. You interested?

Tom: (excited) Well, sure we are! I’ll have a tax preparation office up in no time!

Clark: Oh yeah...I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that…

Mama Belle: No need complainin’ at the miles that are remainin’, Happy River.

Crowd: Happy River--doot, doot--whoo! Whoo! Happy River--doot, doot--whoo! Whoo! 

Mama Belle: Like sister and brother we’ll be helpin’ one another! The burden you’re bearin’ would be half if we were sharin’, Happy River!

All: Happy River! Doot, doo!

(fade to black, then back to the countertop book club.)

Mr. Lunt: Personally, I found the story riveting, full of flawed characters and classic American humor. 

Jimmy: I enjoyed how the author intertwined complicated moral dilemmas with lighthearted vegetable frivolity.

(pause)

Bob: It’s time to talk about what we learned today!

And so what we have…(fast forward noise) take a look!

Bob: What happened to the song?

Larry: Norm’s Notes version.

Mr. Lunt: For the vegetable on the go!

Bob: (sigh) Let’s see if Qwerty has a verse for us today…

(Qwerty pops up “If you...do...you. -James 4:17 a and c”)

Bob: Very funny, Qwerty…

(Qwerty pops up the real verse)

Bob: Ah...James 4:17… “If you know what is right to do, but you do not do it, you sin.” 

Larry: So...the Bible tells us that not doing the right thing is the same thing as doing the wrong thing?

Bob: Ah...yeah, Larry. I think that’s right. When you know what you should do and don’t do it, you’re actually doing something wrong.

Larry: That’s what I said.

Bob: I know that’s what you said.

Larry: Cuz that’s what the Bible says.

Bob: ...Yes. Anyway, Zachary...It’s wrong for the kids at school to make fun of Joseph. But it’s also wrong to see it happening and not do anything about it. The right thing to do is to get involved. Let the other kids know that it’s not nice to make fun of other people, because it hurts their feelings. Tell your parents or a teacher what’s going on and they can help, too. And even though it’ll be hard, you can feel good knowing that you’re doing the right thing by helping Joseph.

Larry: Just like Huck knew the right thing to do was to help Little Jimmy. If he wouldn’t have helped him, he would’ve been doing the wrong thing.

Bob: That’s right, Larry. Nice story.

Larry: (produces a piece of chocolate cake with ice cream) Thanks, Bob! (eats the ice cream) I say next month we skip the book and go straight to dessert.

(Pan to Jimmy, Lunt, and Archibald, who all also have cake.)

Mr. Lunt: I second the motion.

Larry: All those in favor, say “mmm.”

Jimmy/Lunt/Archibald: Mmmmm!

Larry: Opposed?

(pause)

Larry: The “mmm”s have it!

Bob: Remember, kids, God made you special…

Larry: (mouth full) And He loves you very much!

Bob: You shouldn’t talk with your mouth full. 

All: Goodbye!

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