Western Script posted November 29, 2019


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Humor: John Shane & Shorty meet French trapper

Trapper Maurice de Fleess

by CrystieCookie999

Characters


John Shane            The Hero, 25-35. A John Wayne sound-alike, never goes anywhere without his faithful horse, Sterling.

Shorty                     John's witty, faithful sidekick, 25-35. Rides a horse named Jumper.


Maurice de Fleess  A French trapper who also has a few tricks up his sleeve. His last name rhymes with 'fleece."


Setting: Border of Utah territory and Wyoming, 1895



Scene 1

Near border of Wyoming and Utah territory, within a day or two's ride of Fort Bridger. MAURICE DE FLEESS is center stage, dressed in a leather Mountain Man costume with worn boots, sitting on a small stool or log stump, while repairing a wrought-iron animal trap with white leather string or cording. He has a bundle of furs on the floor behind him. Sound of horse's hoofbeats offstage. A few artificial trees or tree sets are behind him upstage.

JOHN
(Enters Stage Left, over his shoulder to SHORTY, still offstage.)
Don't forget to tie up your horse, Shorty. You nearly lost Jumper at the last pit stop. He don't cotton to bein' left behind, even for a couple of minutes.

SHORTY
(Just entering from Stage Left at end of JOHN's last words.)
Yeah, you're right, John. Jumper sure reminds me of my little brother that way. Why, sometimes Little Billy would shadow me so close, I kept sitting on him at family dinners around the table.

JOHN
Well, I guess that would save on havin' to buy so many chairs.

(Beat. JOHN and SHORTY face forward, see MAURICE.)

SHORTY
(Delighted, in "aw, shucks" kind of way.) Wow, we got potential friends everywhere we go!

JOHN
(Less enthusiastic.) Yeah, or potential enemies. We'll find out which one, though. (Addresses MAURICE.) How are you doing today, sir? My name is John, and this is Shorty.

SHORTY
How are ya? (Extends a hand to MAURICE, who shakes it once, then returns to repairing his trap.)

MAURICE
(Pleasantly, with French accent.) I am called Maurice de Fleess. I am a trap-air and just fixing zis leetle trap to catch me some furry creat-chairs.


SHORTY
Creat-chairs? I don't think I have seen that kind of animal before.

JOHN
Aw, Shorty. He don't mean creat-chairs. He means critters! He's a trapper.

SHORTY
Ah ha! Got ya. (To MAURICE.) What animals do you specialize in trapping?

MAURICE
Well, I pre-fair ze fox, ze bea-vair, ze rab-beet, and ze coyote, but today I am trapping ze black skunk.

JOHN
Skunk? Whatever for?

MAURICE
Well, zat is to scare all ze ozzair fur thieves away. None but ze meanest thief would want to get near with ze skunk smell so strong and close. Plus it scares away all ze bears and ze wolves when I am out all alone!

SHORTY
Huh, it might scare away your real friends, too!

MAURICE
Well, zat is ze test, isn't it? If you are my friends, you won't mind helping me pull out a few skunks in my lee-tle traps.

JOHN SHANE
(Extremely repulsed, but still polite!) Well, you see, Pilgrim, it's like this...

SHORTY
Sure! John and me would be more than happy to help, you betcha!

JOHN
Shorty, a sidekick oughtta be seen and not heard!

SHORTY
Sure thing, John, and I ain't stealing a single one of your lines. They're all yours. The trapping lines, too.

JOHN
(Sternly, to SHORTY.) We gotta have ourselves a talk. (Resigned to the task. Sighs.) All right, Mr. Maurice de Fleess, where are your skunk traps?

MAURICE
Follow me! I know ze way.

(MAURICE, JOHN and SHORTY exit Stage Right.)


Lights down.



Scene 2

Different part of trail/wooded area. Trees have been moved around to different positions. MAURICE, JOHN, and SHORTY enter from Stage Left. Lights up.

MAURICE
(Indicates three wrought-iron traps downstage, all containing dead skunk props.) Looks like we have z-ree leetle skunks here, ready to pull out of ze traps.

SHORTY
(Shudders and makes a face.) Ooo-wee! I could smell those skunks all the way here!

JOHN
(Holding his nose.) Pilgrim, ya got a way with statin' the obvious.

MAURICE
All you have to deux is pick zis trap up and release the spring mechanism.

All three men separate to find a trap to pick up. JOHN is no longer holding his nose in order to have both hands free.

SHORTY
(Picks up trap, mimes having to struggle with a skunk who is still alive and thrashing in his hands.) Argh! Help! Ugh! This one is still alive! And blast, he just sprayed me! Ewwwwwww! (Drops skunk and trap.)

JOHN
And I suppose you were short-sighted and forgot to pack tomato juice as an antidote to the stench.

SHORTY
Why, yes, John, I clean forgot to do such a thing. Ugh, I can't even see, this is so nasty.

JOHN
(Holding nose.) You don't say, Pilgrim.

MAURICE
(Pulls small bottle that might be red in color from a pocket.) Just so happens, I carry ze bottled tomato juice with me everywhere I go lately.

SHORTY
Oh please, hand it over now! (Gropes with eyes closed and hands open for the bottle.)

MAURICE
Not so fast. Zey don't call me Maurice de Fleess for nuzzin. I have to charge you eleven doll-airs.

JOHN
Eleven dollars? Neither of us have that kind of money.

MAURICE
Oh well zen, I guess you can learn to live with ze stink. It is not so bad after ze first five weeks.

SHORTY
Dang it, John. I got eleven dollars in my shirt pocket! But I can't see to get it out. It was all the money I had leftover after that Shoshone princess, Kimannah, made me take her to a drive-in buffalo stampede.

JOHN
(Fishes the money out of SHORTY's shirt pocket and hands it to MAURICE.)
There you go, you French trap-air! I hope you trap nothin' but air for fleecin' my sidekick here. (MAURICE takes money and makes large arcing motion to hand bottle to JOHN, who unscrews or uncorks the top and mimes dousing SHORTY with the tomato juice.)

MAURICE
Ah yes, gentlemen, zank you for your help today. (Picks up all three traps with skunks still attached, and exits toward Stage Left. Speaks next lines over his shoulder.) Hope you get to where you are going! And remember, Maurice's tomato juice is ze best zair is for getting rid of zat pesky skunk spray! Tell all your friends and spread ze word!

SHORTY
(Settled back down and able to see.) Boy, that was a fine French fleecer, if ever I ran into one.

JOHN
He was a snake oil salesman, if you ask me. His tomato juice ain't any better than what we could have got on any farm. And makin' you stink by askin' for help with his skunk traps? That was a low-down trick.

SHORTY
Say, let's jump in the first creek we find, and then head deeper into the Utah territory. This was enough excitement for me today.

JOHN
Yeah, you definitely got skunked not once, but twice!

(Both JOHN and SHORTY start to exit toward Stage Right.)

SHORTY
Say, maybe we ought to invest in tomato juice de-odorizers for outhouses! I can just see your name in the advertisement: John's Juice for the John!

JOHN
Ewww. Leave me outta this, Shorty. I got better plans...

SHORTY
Oh yeah? What are they?

JOHN
Well, anything is better than that! Let's go get Sterling and Jumper and head away from here.

(Both men exit completely Stage Right. Lights down.)


Humorous Short Script contest entry


Actual name: John and Shorty Meet Trapper Maurice de Fleess. About 1239 words.
I am absolutely against using traps to maim or kill animals in this way, but it was historically the livelihood of many people in the 19th Century in the Old West.
According to Oxford Dictionaries, 'skunked' means: to have defeated (someone) overwhelmingly in a game or contest, especially by preventing them from scoring at all.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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