(A Short Play)
Former President Theodore Roosevelt
Charles Smith, his porter
(To people who read this knowing that Rooseveltâ€™s last Safari, in 1914, was to South America
and not Africa
: I've granted myself a poetic license
VOICEOVER: Former President Theodore Roosevelt lost the three-way Presidential Race
to Woodrow Wilson, but achieved his goal of denying William Howard Taft
, the fat bastard
, a third term. It was time for more adventures for our most intrepid
(Two men enter, the first with a backpack
, carrying a rifle and a pistol, with a huge knife
in his belt. The second is using a walking stick
, and is comically overburdened with baggage.)
TR: Did you see where that lion
got off to?
SMITH: Uh, no sir -struggling to keep up- perhaps in the long grass
? I don't think we can track
him in there.
TR: Don't think we can track him! Going to let a little grass
stop us, Smithy? Do you think we were worried about a little grass when me and the boys
charged up San Juan Hill
SMITH: Well, uh, no sir.
TR: Thatâ€™s right! And do you think a little grass is going to stop us now!
SMITH: No, sir!
TR: Damn skippy
, weâ€™re not. -fires his pistol in the air, Smith cringes- Maybe that will spook him out. These primitive beasts fear loud noises.
SMITH: But won't that make it retreat even further?
TR: Oh no it won't! You don't understand the raison d'etre of these beasts, Smithy. They are creatures of courage
! He won't resist a challenge like that
! Ha ha!
(A pause, as they both survey the landscape for the lion.)
TR: So, are you scared of the gun
? You know Iâ€™ve been shot before. I was shot
while giving a speech, as a matter of fact. And I GAVE THE REST OF THE DAMN SPEECH! Because I'm a Bull Moose
! -pause- You can tell a lot about a man by how he reacts to the bullet. You want to give it a go?
(He points the gun at Smith.)
TR: You never know who a man is until you see how he responds to a bullet
SMITH: I'd really rather notâ€¦
TR: As I suspected
-- not only are you unable to bear a bullet well, you are unwilling to even entertain
! Thatâ€™s why I'm TEDDY ROOSEVELT and you're carrying the baggage! Haha!
SMITH: Iâ€™m also planning on living longer, you lunatic
TR: What was that?
SMITH: I said I think the lion went into that thicket
TR: And so he must have.
(Roosevelt pushes Smith back, into a crouching position)
TR: He knows us
. We know him. Now heâ€™s just waiting for a mistake
, but we must not give it to him. Listen to me boy, I know how to hunt these carnivorous
(Sound effects guy: Give me a lion roar
TR: Hah! Did you hear the fear
in that roar, Smithy! He knows we've got his number
(Roosevelt aims his rifle
TR: Now, just when he least expects itâ€¦ Go in there and flush
SMITHY: Me? In there? Flushing? Like a toilet
TR: No, not like a toilet! Go around and chase the damned beast out the other way. Heâ€™s very likely frightened of us. Heâ€™s more scared
of you than you are of him!
(Smith hesitantly walks offstage
. Roosevelt carefully aims his gun.)
TR: C'mon you awful trophy-to-be, show yourself! Meet Teddy Roosevelt, and be in awe
(Sound guy, give me some love: Sounds of roaring, scuffle, and a scream. Smith runs back onstage, missing an arm
, with blood covering what's left of his sleeve.)
TR: Where's the goddamn lion?!
SMITH: In the thicket, sir.
TR: What happened to your arm?
SMITH: The lion bit
it off, sir.
TR: And you're just going to take that from him! What in God
's name is wrong with you, Smithy?!
SMITH: Well, I'm bleeding to death
and feeling a bit lightheaded, sir.
TR: Well that much is obvious. But why did you let the lion bite your arm off?!
SMITH: I didn't have much choice
in the matter. Itâ€™s a four hundred pound killing machine
. I was quite lucky to escape
with my life.
TR: Well, knowing your character
, quite lucky indeed. I suppose we ought to patch you up then. Here, bite
down on this.
(Roosevelt takes a bullet out of one of his guns and gives it to Smith. He then takes out a lighter and begins to cauterize
Smith's arm, very very slowly. Smith scream
TR: Stop with that, at once! Youâ€™re going to scare the lion away! I swear, you're starting to remind me of the pansy in the White House
SMITH: Is that a backwards compliment recalling your timidity during the early days of your presidency
, before you found the courage to become The Trust-busting Defender of the Common Man
TR: No, dumbass, itâ€™s a straightforward critique of Woodrow Wilson, and your whining.
SMITH: Oh, right. Of course. Please continue
TR: America is once again confronted with a challenge to our interests, and whatâ€™s that weakling
(Smith is silent.)
TR: I said, whatâ€™s that weakling do?
SMITH: Umm, restrict trade
and begin a clandestine
military build-up in preparation for our eventual confrontation with the Kaiser in defense of Britain and France, our historical allies
TR: Wrong answer! -ties a bandage on Smith very tightly, Smith squeals- He does nothing! The bastards sink the Lusitania
, and what does he do!
SMITH: Uhh, nothing
TR: Youâ€™re damn right, he does nothing! Nothing at all! I offered to field a brigade
myself! The old warrior
, coming out of retirement to strike fear into the krauts, and do you know what he did!
SMITH: Politely inform you that heâ€™s President
now and doesn't need help from a past and potentially future political rival?
TR: He rebuffs me! Says he doesnâ€™t want to create trouble! What does he know about trouble?! Iâ€™m the one with a Nobel prize
on the mantleâ€¦ next to my elephant skull!
SMITH: Thank you sir, I think I might not bleed to death
now. Might I have some water?
(Roosevelt pours a canteen
TR: There, all better
. Iâ€™m putting you in the "not dying" category now. I bandaged that wound expertly, because Iâ€™m TEDDY ROOSEVELT, and I do everything expertly
SMITH: Quite right, sir.
(Roosevelt stands, sans gear.)
TR: Now, where did that lion get off to. He's made me angry
! Iâ€™m going to take him with my bare hands
(Roosevelt rushes offstage. Lights out.)