Frankie the Phenomenon


The bedroom of Michael Upstanson. Room is cluttered and typical for an eleven year old boy. An interest in sports and in Star Wars type of fantasy is in evidence in the posters on the wall and the clutter on the floor. The room is dominated by a table with a computer and monitor on it. The face of the monitor is turned away from the audience at an angle, and Michael sits in front of it with a game-pad in his hand. The sound of a very violent video game, complete with screams, explosions and dramatic music with a very hard driving rhythm, dominates the scene. Michael is totally absorbed in the game.
Michael: Ha! Gotcha, you slimly thing... Uh,oh. Look at that. There must be a million of them. (Works at his game pad vigorously). Take that. And that. Ha! Not so dangerous now, are you. (Continues blasting away.) Ooooow. Took his head right off.

Sabrina: (From off stage.) Michael!

Michael: (Ignoring her.) Jump. Jump. Twist. Shoot. Ha! Got another one.

Sabrina: Michael!

Michael: Yes?

Sabrina: Its time to do your homework.

Michael: I am.

Sabrina: Mom's going to be mad at you if she comes home and you haven't done your homework.

Michael: (With a tone of irritation) Sisters! Why can't they leave you alone. (Continues with the game.) Hey. thought you could sneak up on me, did you. Take that. Ha! Nobody takes Frankie the Phenomenon by surprise.

Sabrina: (Comes into the room.) Michael. Turn that stupid game off.

Michael: I'll just turn it down. (Turns the knob and the sound lowers.)

Sabrina: Off!

Michael: Why off?

Sabrina: For one thing there is a big electrical storm coming. Dad says you have to turn the computer off during storms.

Michael: He's just being a old fuddy duddy.

Suddenly there is a huge bang. The lights flicker, everybody jumps from being startled, and a twelve year old boy tumbles out from behind the desk and lands sprawling on the floor. He is wearing cut-ff jeans, a t-shirt, and gym shoes. He lifts himself to his feet and glances around the room. Its Frankie the Phenomena. He has a huge ray gun in each hand.

Frankie: They must have got me? (Examines his body for wounds.)

Kate: (Five year old girl -- wearing a night gown, and dragging a huge stuffed animal behind her.) What was that noise, Sabrina? It woke me up.

Sabrina: I think lightning struck the house, Kate.

Kate: Who's that? (Points to Frankie.)

Frankie: I'm Frankie. Known as Frankie the Phenomenon. Hero of the video game, "Invasion of Primordial Planet." Protector of the Originals.

Michael: Awesome.

Frankie: (Aims his guns at the children.) Do what I say and nobody will get hurt?

Kate: What are you doing out here?

Frankie: (Looks puzzled) I don't know.

Kate: You belong in the T.V.

Frankie: I was killing all these soldiers from Madam Goldigger's army when suddenly there was this huge explosion.

Michael: The lightning must have hit the electric line and jolted you right out of the game.

Frankie: Then this is the real world?

Sabrina: This is it.

Frankie: (Looks around.) Depressing. What do you do for adventure?

Michael: Not much. Play video games mostly.

Frankie: How would you like to be IN a video game.

Michael: Well, I...

Frankie: Adventures whenever you want them. No schools. No rules. No chores. No bed times.

Michael: Yes. Yes. I'll come.

Frankie: It's super. There's only one thing we still need. (He looks at Sabrina.)

Michael: What's that.

Frankie: A mother.

Michael: How important is that?

Sabrina: Michael!

Frankie: (To Michael). Do you think you could persuade your mother to come with us? (Gestures toward Sabrina.)

Michael: Sabrina? She's just my sister. She's only fourteen.

Frankie: What do you think, Sabrina. Would you like to come and be our mother?

Sabrina: "Our" mother? Who else is there?

Frankie: Some boys that live with me.

Sabrina: How many?

Frankie: Oh, three or four I think.

Sabrina: You don't even know how many boys you are living with?

Frankie: Well, they come and go, you know. Some get killed. Some disappear. It's hard to keep track. But we're a little on the low side right now.

Sabrina: Where do you live?

Frankie: In a tree house.
Sabrina: Why do you need a mother?

Frankie: Some of the littlest ones cry themselves to sleep. It gets on my nerves.

Sabrina: They cry themselves to sleep?!?

Frankie: Yes.

Sabrina: They need a mother.

Frankie: You'll come then?

Sabrina: I have no choice.

Frankie: That's great. A mother will give me 18 more life points, 32, healing points and 47 magic points. I'll be unbeatable.

Sabrina: What's all that about the points.

Michael: It's how the game works. Points give him power.

Frankie: (To Sabrina). But no bed times, okay?

Sabrina: Well, I don't know...

Frankie: And you have to do what you're told.

Sabrina: But mother's are supposed to tell children what to do.

Frankie: Never mind. We'll work it out.

Kate: I hear Mom and Dad.

Michael: They're home early.

Frankie: Adults! We've got to get out of here. (To Michael.) Get us back into that video game.

Michael: I'm not sure I know how.

Frankie: Well, think of something. I don't want to have to kill your parents. (Aims his ray guns at the door.)

Michael: I'm thinking.

Mother: (From off stage.) Sabrina, Michael. We're home.

Michael: Maybe if we re-boot, it will pull you back in.

Sabrina: And what about us?

Michael: Let's all hold hands, and see if he pulls us in. (Michael re-boots.) Quick. take hold of Frankie's hands. (Frankie drops his guns so he can hold Sabrina and Michael's hand.

Mother: (Still from off stage.) Were you all right during the storm?

Sabrina: Yes, mother, Just fine.

Kate: I don't know if I want to go.

Michael: You've got to decide fast. Its staring to re-boot the program. (Kate grabs Sabrina's hand. There is a whining noise, and then a bang. The lights go out.)

Inside a tree house in the middle of a jungle. Three dirty boys -- ages eight to twelve -- dressed in ragged cut-offs and t-shirts -- lounge around the room in various casual positions. Not one sits in a chair in the usual way. Small girl dressed as a colorful bird soars around the outside and then comes to rest on the window sill.

Quincy: (Leaps up.) What was that.

Ralph: Relax Quincy. It was just Mother bird.

Sam: She's been looking for Frankie.

Quincy: Well, did you find him?

Mother Bird: (Shakes her head.)

Sam: Where has he gone?

Ralph: Are there any extra points around.

Quincy: Frankie's got all the life points.

Sam: And the healing points.

Ralph: And he gave us only enough magic points to let us fly.

Quincy: Why can't he trust us with more of the points?

Sam: If Goldigger finds us now, we're doomed.

(Frankie, Sabrina, Michael and Kate roll and tumble in from off stage.)

Quincy: Ah, here he is.

Sam: He's brought another batch of boys with him.

Ralph: (Examining Sabrina.) Hey. This one doesn't look like a boy.

Frankie: I did it! We're here.

Michael: What about me?

Frankie: You?

Michael: I'm the one that thought about re-booting the program.

Frankie: Well, okay. You did help.

Ralph: Why'd you bring a girl back with you, Frankie?

Frankie: It's not a girl. It's a mother.

Quincy, Ralph and Sam: (Gather around Sabrina and stare at her, dumfounded.) A mother!

Quincy: Awesome.

Mother Bird: Wait a minute. You guys already have a mother. Who feeds you breakfast in the morning? Who puts band aids on your scraped knees? Who tucks you in at night?

Ralph: Yes, but you're a bird.

Sam: This is a human just like us.

Mother-Bird: So I'm not good enough for you, am I. I was good enough until she came along. (Turns her back to everyone, and pouts.)

Frankie: We can use two mothers here. Be nice and show her around, Mother Bird.

Mother Bird: (Continues to pout for just a minute, and then turns around and smiles at Sabrina.) Well, yes. I could use some help. It's a lot of work being a mother to all these boys.

Sabrina: I'm sure it is. I'm glad you will let me share the work with you.

Mother bird: Think nothing of it. Come, I'll show you the look out room in the next tree. We can talk there without being bothered. (Comes and leads her our away from the tree house.) You walk along this limb here...careful now...its plenty wide if
you pay attention...(They depart with Mother Bird helping Sabrina keep her balance as she makes her way across the limb.)

Kate: (Looking over the edge of the tree house.) Goodness! Look how high up we are.

Frankie: Well, now. Let's get these boys signed up with us.

Quincy: (To Michael.) The first thing is that we have to get you a new name.

Michael: I already have a name. I'm Michael.

Quincy: Michael, eh? Will Michael do, Frankie?

Frankie: Definitely not. We need a name beginning with a "T."

Quincy: That's easy. Ted. You can be Ted.

Michael: What's wrong with Michael?

Quincy: It isn't alphabetical.

Michael: Alphabetical?

Quincy: Yes. The three of us here are Quincy -- that's me-- Ralph, that's him (indicates Ralph, who bows) -- and Sam, over there (indicates Sam who also bows.) You see? q, r, s, so now we need a t.

Michael: Why must things be alphabetical?

Quincy: Its Frankie's idea. Boys come and go so often here, what with getting killed, or going back home, that its hard to keep track. So Frankie makes us be in alphabetical order.

Michael: (shrugs) Well, okay. I guess I can be Ted as long as I'm here.

(Suddenly they hear Sabrina crying for help.)

Ralph: (Goes to the edge of the tree house and looks over.) It's Sabrina. She's caught on a small branch. Its going to give way any minute. (Everybody joins him looking over the edge.)

Frankie: Wonderful.

Kate: What's wonderful?

Frankie: It's an adventure. I'll have a chance to save her.

Michael: But she may fall and be killed first.

Frankie: Yes. That's what makes it an adventure.

Michael: Well, hurry.

(Frankie hurries off strange.)

Kate: The branch is breaking.

Michael: I can't look. Its too late.

Kate: No. He caught her.

(Everybody stands back.)

Mother Bird: (Paces back and forth.) Oh my...oh my...oh my.

(Frankie enters, bringing Sabrina with him.)

All the boys: Hurray. Hurray for Frankie.

Frankie: (Bows.) It was nothing.

Kate: (Kate runs up and hugs her sister.) Why did you let yourself fall like that?

Sabrina: Mother Bird told me I could fly, so I tried it.

(There is a silence, while everybody looks at Mother Bird.)

Frankie: Is this true?

Mother Bird: Well, I...

Quincy: You didn't want us to have a new mother.

Ralph: She could have been killed.

Frankie: What do you have to say for yourself, Mother Bird?

Mother Bird: Well, I've been the mother here for a long time now... and we were getting along just fine and...

Frankie: Leave, Mother Bird. You must be punished for trying to kill Sabrina.

Mother Bird: For how long must I be gone.

Frankie: Forever.

Mother Bird: That's too long.

Frankie: Leave. If I ever see you again, I'll kill you.

Mother Bird: (Mother bird flies around the tree house a couple of times, slowly, and then begins flying off.) Good-bye children. Don't forget your old mother.

Frankie: Now, what were we doing before this little interruption.

Ralph: Quincy was naming the new boys.

Quincy: Yes. Now, what about your little brother.

Kate: (Still clinging to Sabrina.) I'm not his brother. I'm his sister.

Quincy: You can't be.

Kate: Why not?

Quincy: We don't allow girls here.

Sabrina: What about me?

Quincy: You're not a girl. You're a mother.

Sabrina: Well I'm not sure I want to be a mother in a place where girls aren't welcome.

Frankie: It' no big problem. We'll just have her be a boy.

Kate: Maybe I don't want to be a boy.

Michael: Don't make such a big thing of it, Kate. It's just pretend.

Frankie:Just pretend. How can you say just pretend. Pretend is everything.

Quincy: So he'll need a name. What come after "t" Frankie?

Frankie: "U."

Quincy: (To Sabrina.) See. Frankie even knows the alphabet.

Sabrina: I should hope so. Don't you boys know how to read?

Frankie: The alphabet is enough.

Sabrina: Enough? I don't think so. Why there are words, and sentences and paragraphs and chapters, and books. There's much more than just letters.

Frankie: But all those things are made of letters, right?

Sabrina: I suppose so.

Frankie: So letters are what's basic. I only care about basics.

Sabrina: But words and sentences are important too.

Frankie: Details. Someone else can work out the details.

Quincy: So the little brother must have a "u" name.

Kate: Sister!

Quincy: (Ignoring her.) "U" names are tough.

Ralph: How 'bout Uboxle?

Kate: I never heard of that name.

Ralph: 'Course not. I just made it up.

Kate: I want a real name.

Frankie: Uboxle is it. Ted and Uboxle. Our new boys.

Sabrina: Just how many boys have you lost, Frankie.

Frankie: Oh, I don't know.

Sabrina: Let me put it this way. How many times have you been through the alphabet?

Frankie: Quite a few.

Sam: (He has been looking over the rail with a spy-glass.) Psst. It's the Originals.

Michael: The what?

Sam: The Originals. The one's who owned this planet before Goldigger came to take it away. They're moving camp. (They all go to look at the group passing by. There are several spy-glasses, and binoculars.)

Sabrina: Frankie! They don't have a stitch on.

Frankie: Of course not. That's the way Originals dress.

Michael: Awesome.

Sabrina: Kate. Put that spy-glass down.

Kate: (Continues looking) I'm Uboxle.

Sabrina. Still, put it down.

Kate: I think it's interesting.

Sabrina: Maybe you have become a boy.

Kate: (Lowers to the spyglass and looks at Sabrina.) Well, girls are curious too. (Puts the spy glass backup to her eye.) Wow.

Michael: Look. Someone is following them.

Frankie: (Takes a spy glass and looks.) Its Goldigger's mercenaries. They're going to try to ambush the Originals. Where's my guns.

Michael: You left them in my bedroom.

Frankie: Then I'll have to use my knife. (Locates a huge knife, and exits off stage.)


Sabrina, Michael, Kate and the three boys are still in the tree house. It's evening and they are ready for bed.

Kate: I'm worried about Frankie.

Quincy: Don't worry about him. Frankie is always okay.

Ralph: Read us a story, Sabrina.

Sabrina: I suppose I could read you a bed-time story.

Sam: What's a "bed-time."

Sabrina: It's when you're supposed to go to bed.

Quincy: We go to bed whenever we want to.

Ralph: Unless Frankie tells us something different.

Sabrina: Well, I'll read you a bed time story when it's a half hour before bed-time.

Sam: Okay. (Pauses about ten seconds.) It's a half hour before bed-time.

Sabrina: Just when is your bed time.

Sam: Exactly one half hour from now, whenever that is.

Sabrina: (Sighs.) What story would you like me to read?

Quincy: You pick.

Sabrina: What stories do you have?

Ralph: They're in the shelf there.

Sabrina: (Goes over to the shelf and examines a sizable group of books there.) Lets see. "The Adventures of Frankie the Phenomenon." "The Further Adventures of Frankie the Phenomenon." "Frankie Saves the Day." "How Frankie defeated the Evil Witch of the Swamps." "Frankie Solves the Mystery of the Lost Island." Why, they're all about Frankie.

Quincy: Of course they are. What else is there?

Sabrina: Lots of things. Not all stories are about Frankie.

Ralph: Enough talk. Get on with the story.

Sabrina: All right. Here's one about "Frankie And the Banana Boat."

Sam: Yeah, that's a good one.

(Sabrina settles herself in a chair, and all the children gather around her to hear the story.)

Sabrina: (Begins reading.) Early one morning The Originals went...

Sam: (He is sitting right beside her where he can look at the pictures in the book.) It says "early one Saturday morning." You left out the "Saturday."

Sabrina: I thought you couldn't read.

Quincy: We can't. We memorized them.

Sabrina: Then why should I read them?

Sam: Because we never have a mother to read them to us.

Ralph: If you want her to read, you have to stop interrupting her.

Sam: But she left out how it was Saturday.

Ralph: Doesn't make any difference.

Sam: Does.

Ralph: Doesn't.

Sam: Does.

Ralph: What difference does it make then?

Sam: "Cause that's the real story.

Ralph: Well, just stop interrupting her.

Sabrina: Okay. (Reading) Early one Saturday morning Frankie and the boys were swimming with the children of the Originals in Grand Lagoon near the Original's main village. It was something they did often. All day long they would bask in the warm sun, go fishing, swim whenever they wished, and hunt for shells on the beach and for interesting plants and animals in the shallow waters. It was a perfect way of life. In those days they even had a mother who came with them and saw that they had everything they needed. Her name was Marguerite.

Quincy: She was the one who read the boys all the stories so that they memorized them.

Sam: I remember her.

Ralph: You don't. That was even before I got here.

Sam: Then how come I remember what she looked like?

Quincy: That's just your imagination.

Sam: It's the same thing.

Kate: I want to hear the story.

Sabrina: (Continues reading.) About the middle of the morning the children saw a huge banana split floating across the waters. It was a banana boat modeled on the famous receipt from the Governor's Restaurant. The Original children knew at once that it was magic, and they knew it couldn't be trusted, so they all ran away. But Frankie's boys thought their leader was more powerful than any magic, and they weren't afraid. They all swam out to the boat and boarded it. Marguerite warned them against it. Anything that delicious, she believed, had to be dangerous. But Frankie insisted that they could go. It would be an adventure.

You cannot imagine what fun the boys had on the banana boat. They could climb the ice cream mountains and slide down into the caramel syrup. They could help themselves to bites from huge strawberries, and maraschino cherries whenever they liked, or lick up the ice cream -- three different flavors -- out of which the central mountains were made. And, of course, they had wonderful fights blowing whipped cream at each other. It seemed perfect. But Marguerite was right. It was even more dangerous than she had suspected, for this was the creation of Madam Goldigger. She had used up all her magic, and strained the technical skills of her evil advisor, Dr. Schmoe, to the utmost to produce this trap. The boat was programmed to take its inhabitants straight to Skull Cave.

Even when the banana boat entered Skull cave, the children, absorbed in their ecstasies, where still unaware of their danger. It was only when the gate of iron bars came down at the mouth of the cave, baring their exit, that they realized the peril they were in. Every day when the tide came in, Skull cave filled with water. If they did not get out before then they would all be drowned.

Madam Goldigger allowed the smallest of the boys out a small door in the gate, and sent him back to Frankie, with the message that if he did not surrender she would let the boys drown. Frankie sent the boy back with the message that he would come to them in a small boat, but that they had to open the gate before he came ashore.

Later in the day the little sail boat glided toward the Island where Madam Goldigger and her army waited for Frankie. The forlorn and defeated figure at the tiller did not even look up. When the little sail boat was only a small ways off, Madam Goldigger had the iron gate raised. As the banana boat came out of the cave, the sail boat glided to shore.

However, when the passenger in the boat looked up, Madam Goldigger was in for a surprise. It was Marguerite, who had disguised herself as Frankie. Madam Goldigger knew she had been tricked, but it was too late. Frankie had already snuck around to the banana boat and armed all the boys with ray guns, protective force fields and laser swords. Several boys were killed in the ensuing battle with Goldigger's army, but many more of the soldiers in the army lost their lives. The boys finally retreated to the Grand Lagoon where they were not pursued. Frankie congratulated them on a fine fight, and went to find Marguerite to make certain that she wrote it up properly. She did so, but shortly thereafter she died from wounds she had received in the battle, wounds she had told no-one about.

Sam: (Wiping his eyes.) I miss her.

Quincy: You never knew her.

Sam: Still, I miss her.

Ralph: You said there were stories about other things, Sabrina. What other things?

Sabrina: Lots of things.

Quincy: Name one.

Sabrina: Well, mothers, for example. Some stories are about mothers.

Sam: Tell us a story about a mother.

Sabrina: I don't think I know any.

Ralph: Think.

Sabrina: Well I read an interesting thing in a magazine which is sort of a story.

Quincy: Yes?

Sabrina: It told of an antelope mother whose baby was caught by a lion. The mother kept chasing after the lion, trying to rescue its baby.

Ralph: Did it save him?

Sabrina: It wasn't able to, but think how brave she was. And loving. She could have been killed herself.

Sam: That was a sad story. Tell us a happy one.

Sabrina: Well, there was another time when an antelope baby got caught by a crocodile. While the crocodile tried to drag it into the water a mother hippopotamus saw what was happening, and she came up out of the water and galumphed over to the crocodile and chased him off so he had to let loose of the antelope.

Sam: Did Mother Hippo squash the crocodile?

Sabrina: No, but she chased it away. And it wasn't even her baby.

Sam: Frankie would have killed the crocodile.

Sabrina: Would Frankie save you if you were in that kind of trouble?

Quincy: He might, if he wasn't doing anything else.

Ralph: Or if it was a big adventure.

Quincy: Or he might not.

Sabrina: Why would he not save you?

Quincy: He might say that saving our lives would make us soft.

Sabrina: A real mother would always do her best to save you.

Sam: Tell us about real mothers, Sabrina.

Ralph: Real human ones.

Sabrina: Well, in the real world there are thousands of them.

Sam: Thousands of mothers. Awesome. Are they as pretty as you are?

Sabrina: More so, I'm sure.

Quincy: Would they tell us stories?

Ralph: Hold us?

Sam: Protect us from lions?

Sabrina: Mothers would do all those things.

Michael: (Stands up.) Before you guys get carried away, you should know its not all hugs and kisses and stories with mothers. They make you do home work. They don't let you wipe your nose on your sleeve. They keep you from adventures. They make you go to bed when you don't want to.

Ralph: What do you know about mothers?

Michael: I have one.

Sam: Is this true, Sabrina?

Michael: Yes, he has a mother.

Sam: And are they like he said?

Sabrina: He's partly right. Mother's are many things.

Song: Mothers are… [We created a song for this which was nice, but I seem to have lost it. If you are doing this play you can make up a song. It should be like a lullaby and more or less list the things that that an ideal mother is. Mainly it should be a very gentle song. ]

(Sabrina rocks Sam while singing. When she finishes all the children are asleep)

Headquarters of Goldigger. Madam Goldigger, tall, slinky and gorgeous, sits in a plush easy chair while her computer assistant, Dr. Schmoe, sits at the keyboard of a computer. Frankie is standing on a platform nearby, bound hand and foot, with two wires coming from his temples to the computer. Throughout the first part of the scene Mother Bird is seen furtively hovering around, and sneaking looks in at the proceedings.

Goldigger: It was foolish of you, Frankie, to attack my whole army with only a knife.

Frankie: (Defiantly) Even so, I killed 372 of them before they overpowered me.

Goldigger: No matter. I have another 1000 soldiers where those came from. And now we have you -- the only thing that ever stood between me and the conquest of Primordial Planet. Now all the gold and the wealth of other natural resources will all be mine.

Frankie: You will ruin the planet.

Goldigger: What's that to me. I don't have to live here.

Dr. Schmoe: You can use all the Originals as slave labor to mine the gold.

Goldigger: Stay with you computer, Dr. Schmoe, and leave the thinking to me.

Dr. Schmoe: Yes Madam.

Goldigger: I could make slaves of all the Originals and get them to do the work for me. Brilliant. Why didn't you think of this before, Madam Goldigger, you wicked genius you. (In response e to some mistake Schmoe makes the computer beeps a couple of times. This startles Madam Goldigger to an unnatural degree.) Oh! You jumped me.

Dr. Schmoe: Is something the matter, Madam?

Madam Goldigger: (Sits down looking dejected.) I dreamed about the virus again last night, Dr. Schmoe.

Dr. Schmoe: The one who tries to destroy your personal program?

Goldigger: Yes. I am going about my business, and suddenly I hear the virus warning... beep...beep...beep... and I try to escape, but I can't run very fast...

Dr. Schmoe: That happens to me in nightmares sometime. Its like your legs are made of lead.

Goldigger: Exactly. Then I feel myself being de-programed. First my coordination goes, then my liver, then my hearing then one function after another -- until I become... a lifeless icon.

Dr. Schmoe: It was just a dream.

Madam Goldigger: But the virus itself is real. It has been pursuing me for years.

Dr. Schmoe: Where did it come from?

Goldigger: The anti-Goldigger virus was created by a computer expert on a planet we conquered and destroyed. It was the last thing he did before we killed him. The virus is programed specifically to hunt me down and delete my program. I'm never safe. I dream about it all the time.

Frankie: (Who has been listening.) It serves you right.

Goldigger: Ah! Almost forgot about you. Have you located the rest of his points, Dr. Schmoe?

Dr. Schmoe. (Types in some more commands on the keyboard.) I think so. We already have his magic and his healing points. Here they are. His life points.

Goldigger: I hate to do this to you, Frankie the Phenomenon. You have been a worthy opponent.

Frankie: I still crave new adventures. Perhaps I will be re-programed into some other game.

Goldigger: Fat chance. Transfer the life points to my program, Dr. Schmoe.

Dr. Schmoe: Yes Madam. (Pushes a button. Frankie staggers, but does not fall.)

Goldigger: He is still alive. He must have some hidden life points somewhere. (a continuous beep..beep...beep is heard.)

Dr. Schmoe: (alarmed.) Its the virus warning, Madam Goldigger.

Goldigger: Well, stop it.

Dr. Schmoe: I'm trying. Give me a minute. (Alarm continues. With Goldigger and Schmoe distracted, Mother Bird flies in and goes over to Frankie, unobserved. She gives him a special potion to drink, unties him and gives him a ray gun. Just as he is beginning to get his strength back Goldigger sees what has happened.)

Goldigger: Look! Frankie is free.

Dr. Schmoe: Mother Bird untied him.

Goldigger: Quick. Delete him.

(Dr. Schmoe picks up a control pad and aims it at Frankie. Just before he can click it, Mother Bird throws herself in front of him, and she is hit. She falls to the ground and Frankie shoots Dr. Schmoe with his ray gun. Dr. Schmoe falls but Goldigger picks up the control pad. She aims it at Frankie. He stops, paralyzed.)

Goldigger: That was the pause button. (Goes over to him and takes his ray gun away. Then unpauses him. ) Now I have to delete you for good. (Aims the control pad at him.)

Frankie: (Stands up tall and proud.) I'm ready.

Goldigger: Don't you wish they had made you invincible?

Frankie: (Thinks a minute.) No.

Goldigger: Why not?

Frankie: If losing is impossible, there's no adventure.

oldigger: Well then, it's been an adventure. (Prepares to push the delete button. Suddenly she is jolted, like she has been hit with something. She drops the control pad when this happens.) The virus. I forgot the virus. (She makes more jerky motions as different parts of her body become rigid.) I'm (She becomes fully rigid.)

Frankie: (Jumps for joy.) Yes! Another victory for me. Yes. (Struts around the room, occasionally saying "yes" and making a victory sign with his fist, until he notices Mother Bird on the floor. Bends over to her.) Mother Bird! Goldigger is dead. We are free. We won. (Notices that Mother Bird is not responding to his enthusiasm.) What's wrong with you.

Mother Bird: I'm dying.

Frankie: Use your healing points. Make yourself well.

Mother Bird: I can't. That's what was in that potion I gave you. (Dies.)

Frankie: Ah. Mother Bird. How we will miss you. (Picks her up and stands with her in his arms.) I lose all my mothers. (Looks genuinely unhappy for a moment. Reflects on this.) It's best not to let them get yoo close.

Back in the tree house. Only Sabrina is awake. She stares reflectively out into the night. Suddenly Frankie arrives with a bound.

Frankie: (Shouts) I did it.

Sabrina: Frankie. You're safe.

(The children begin to awaken. They sit up and, still groggy, follow what is happening.)

Frankie: Of course I'm safe. No one can lay a finger on Frankie. Wake up everybody. Hear my story. Madam Goldigger is dead.

Ralph: Dead?

Quincy: How did you do that?

Frankie: Take this down, Sabrina. It's a new Frankie the Phenomenon story.

Sabrina: So now I'm you secretary as well?

Frankie: You're the only one who writes.

Sabrina: I'll write it later. Just tell us what happened.

Frankie: Well, first I single handedly attacked Goldigger's army. Killed 372 of them all by myself with only a knife. Saved the Originals from a surprise attack. But then I slipped, and they overpowered me. Tied me up with heavy cord and took me to Madam Goldigger herself. She was with her assistant, Dr. Schmoe. But they couldn't hold me. I broke loose and killed them both.

Quincy: Wonderful! How did you kill them?

Frankie: I killed Dr. Schmoe with my ray gun. Madam Goldigger's program was deleted by the Goldigger virus that has been pursuing her all these year. She had managed to put me on pause, and was just on the verge of deleting me when the virus found her.

Quincy: Excellent.

Frankie: Yes. It was clever of me. Wickedly clever.

Ralph: Clever indeed. (The boys all clap.)

Sabrina: But how did you break loose from the ropes? You must have had some help.

Frankie: (Thinks about this.) No. Not that I remember. (Thinks some more.) I know. I simply broke the bonds with my super strength. Yes. That must have been it.

Quincy: With their leadership gone Goldigger's army will be no match for the Originals.

Frankie: Yes. They don't need me now. (Walks over the edge of the tree house and stares pensively out at the audience.) I always feel a little sad when an adventure is over.

Quincy: We boys have been thinking about going on another adventure.

Frankie: (Perks up and returns to be with the others.) Anything. You name it and I'll take you there.

Quincy: We'd like to go to the real world.

Frankie: (Looks astonished.) By why? Why the real world?

Ralph: There are mothers in the real world.

Sam: I could have a thousand mothers there. (Hugs himself and sways ecstatically.)

Frankie: Mothers! Who's been telling you about mothers? (Silence. Frankie looks around the room. The boys refuse to make eye contact with him. His gaze falls on Sabrina.) Ah. You.

Sabrina: (shrugs -- looks down at the floor.) Well, perhaps I did mention the subject in passing.

Frankie: Mothers are not all they are cracked up to be. They're okay if you get an obedient one. But they are forever getting out of hand -- trying to run your life.

Michael: That's what I told them.

Frankie: Just who is it that really wants to go?

Sabrina: I for one would like to go home.

Frankie: You're a mother yourself. Your vote doesn't count.

Sabrina: Why don't mothers get to vote?

Frankie: Because they are so much trouble.

Sabrina: I'm just a pretend mother.

Frankie: It's the same.

Sam: (Raises his hand, timidly.) I want to go to where the mothers are.

Frankie: All right. You go over there with Sabrina. Those who don't want to go come over here with me. (Sam joins Sabrina.)

Kate: I miss my mom. I want to go. (Joins Sabrina.)

The remaining three boys stand for a few moments between Sabrina and Frankie. Then Ralph goes over the Sabrina, and he is shortly followed by Quincy. Michael stands in the center, looking from one to the other.

Michael: I can't decide.

Frankie: Well, if all the others want to go, I suppose we should take them. If I brought you Madam Goldigger's old computer, could you figure a way to get us back to your house in the real world?

Michael: (Thinks about this.) Well, I don't know. I could try e-mailing us there.

Frankie: Think that would work?

Michael: I don't know. We could be lost forever in cyberspace.

Frankie: Excellent. At least the trip will be an adventure.

Michael's bedroom. It is the same as in the first scene, except it has been cleaned up a bit. Mrs. Upstanson is dusting and cleaning. As she begins talking the effect is to be that she is thinking to herself and that the audience is overhearing her thoughts.

Mrs. Upstanson: How I miss them. How could they have just disappeared like that? If I ever find them again, I'll never let them out of my sight. (Looks at the computer.) What's this. It's an e-mail message. Its from Michael. How strange. I suppose I should download it. Lets see, in order to download, you push this button...

(All the children come tumbling out into the room.)

Michael: Hurray. It worked.

Kate: Mother, We're home.

Sabrina: Hello Mother.

Mrs. Upstanson: Kate! Sabrina! Michael! Where have you been? I've been worried sick! (The children pick themselves up off the floor and run to hug her.)

Kate: We've been on Primordial Planet -- in the game there.

Mrs. Upstanson: And who are these boys? (Indicating Frankie and his following.)

Sabrina: That's Frankie. And that's Quincy, and Ralph and Sam.

Kate: And I'm Uboxle.

Sabrina: They all need a mother.

Mrs. Upstanson: I'm sure they must have mothers of their own.

Sabrina: That's just it. They don't seem to.

Mrs. Upstanson: Well, I'm sure something can be worked out.

Frankie: Ah! My ray guns.

Sabrina: I don't think that you will need those here, Frankie.

Frankie: I need to test them. (Looks around.) Who could I shoot? (Goes to the window.) There's someone. (Aims out the window.)

Sabrina: Frankie! What are you doing? (She runs to the window.) That's a real person.

Frankie: It's only an adult.

Sabrina: You can't shoot just anybody.

Frankie: There must be thousands of adults around. Who'd miss one? (Fires. But nothing happens.) My ray gun doesn't work.

Michael: Probably it only works when you are inside the game.

Frankie: So I'll have to get along without one.

Sabrina: You won't need a gun like that here as much as you do on Primordial Planet.

Frankie: What if I run into others with ray guns?

Sabrina: Hardly any of the kids at school carry ray guns -- at least not real ones that actually shoot.

Frankie: School?

Sabrina: Yes. School. If you are going to stay here, you'll have to go to school.

Frankie: I don't know if I like this.

All of the children including Sabrina, tumble into the living room in an explosion of disarray. They are coming home from school. They turn somersaults, throw their books onto the floor, or into corners, throw themselves down on the couch or the floor, etc. Frankie goes to the corner of the stage and sits down with his arms folded in front of his chest. He is facing the audience, and away from all the other children.

Quincy: How'd you do on your test Ralph?

Ralph: Terrible: I think I flunked it.

Quincy: Didn't you study?

Ralph: (Shrugs.) Sort of. But it isn't fair. We've only been here three weeks and already they expect me to know the alphabet.

Sabrina: Frankie. What's the matter?

Frankie: Nothing's the matter.

Sabrina: Why are you pouting?

Frankie: I don't pout.

Sabrina: Well, you look pretty angry to me.

Frankie: (Stands up and goes to face her.) Of course I'm angry. That boy who sits next to me laughed at me when he found out I couldn't read.

Sabrina: But was that any reason to bite him.

Frankie: Of course it was a reason to bite him. In fact, that's just why I did bite him.

Sabrina: Couldn't you have found a different way to deal with it?

Frankie: They told me hitting was against the rule, and I didn't have my ray gun with me.

Sabrina: (Sighs.) Well, I hate to say this, but you may be in trouble when you when you go back to school tomorrow.

Frankie: I'm not going back.

Sabrina: You have to.

Frankie: Why?

Sabrina: Because it's... it's... well, it's your responsibility.

Frankie: Responsibility? What does that mean?

Quincy: (Raises his hand.) I know.

Frankie: Yes, Quincy? What does responsibility mean?

Quincy: It means doing home work when you want to play.

Sam: (Raises his hand.) It means not being able to chew gum.

Ralph: (Raises his hand.) It means not being able to run in the halls.

Kate: It means not being able to suck your thumb.

Quincy: It means doing whatever teachers tell you to do.

Ralph: It means not doing anything exciting,

Michael: Or interesting.

Sam: Or fun.

Frankie: So who wants Sabrina's responsibility?

The boys: Not us.

Song: We Don't Want Responsibility. [Again, I think I may have lost this song. So you will have to make one up. It should be a foot stomping wild song listing all the reasons why “responsibility” (as defined by adults) is a drag.]

Livingroom at the Upstansons. Frankie is sleeping on he couch. He is tossing and turning in his sleep and making a lot noises as though he's angry, frightened and in pain. He stands up, and walks in a dream-like manner to the center of the room where he sits on a straight chair. A military style woman teacher enters with a huge rope with which she binds him to the chair so that he can only have one hand free. Then the scene comes to life -- it is Frankie's dream.

Teacher: You must compete successfully with the other students. This is a level playing field. Only the fit survive. You must not let yourself be one of the stupid ones. Exactly one third of the students must be the stupid ones. They will fail in life. They will be scum. Nobody will like them. They will not be able to get good things to eat. You must not become one of them. Therefore you must not let your attention wander. You must not pretend. You must learn exports and imports.

Frankie: I don't want to learn Exports and imports.

Teacher: What are the three major exports and imports of Outer Splabobia?

Frankie: I don't care.

All right: Once again: the exports are oil, yo-yos and cheap trinkets. The imports are bombs, toilet paper and Nike tennis shoes. Now. What are the chief exports and imports of Outer Splabobia?

Frankie: Why should I learn this?

Teacher: Exports and imports tell us about a people's character.

Frankie: Why should I care about the Splabobia's character?

Teacher: You never know. You might want to exploit them some day.

Frankie: I can do that without your help.

Teacher: Come, Frankie. There are only 342 more countries to learn. Then you can have a recess.

Frankie: I won't learn from you.

Teacher: All right, young man. I've done what I can with you. I'm going to leave you here with your text book until you learn this.

Frankie: I'm hungry.

Teacher: You already missed your lunch period for being bad. But if you will just learn this material, I'll give you a gram cracker and a glass of milk.

Frankie: What if I never learn it.

Teacher: Then you'll starve.

(The teacher leaves. Frankie looks around despondently. With an effort he can move his hand just enough to reach the text book she has left with him. He throws it on the floor. Then he looks around again.) Mother. Where are you? Ohh, Mother. Help me. I need you, Mother. (Silence. He slips out of the ropes and returns to the bed where he continues to toss and moan. Sabrina enters at this point.)

Frankie: (Makes a lot of mostly incoherent noises, but occasionally the word, "mother" can be heard.)

Sabrina: (To herself.) He's having another nightmare. Poor boy. He has them so often. (She goes over to him, and kneels down beside him. She hugs him gently. Then she re-arranges his cover and tucks him in. Finally she strokes his forehead and his hair.) Frankie, my dear. Why won't you ever let me comfort you when you are awake? (Gradually he settles down and begins to sleep peacefully under her ministrations. She sings:

Who is Frankie to me?
Lists his good qualities -- brave, daring, full of excitement, adventuresome, handsome, clever, fun-loving, generous etc.
Lists his bad qualities -- self-centered, forgetful, vain, irresponsible, able to be cruel, thoughtless, defiant, bossy, etc.
Refrain is something along these lines
What do I want him to be? (Or perhaps , "What should he be to me?"
My baby...
My boy friend...
My husband some day...
Or only a friend...
I can't make it out,
But I want him,
And I love him,
And I can't let him go.

Michael bedroom. Everybody is gathered there around the computer. Michael is sitting in front of the monitor.

Frankie: The question isn't whether I'm leaving or not. The question is, who will be coming with me and who will be left behind.

Sabrina: But the game is over. You already defeated Madam Goldigger.

Frankie: There will be new adventures. The Return of Goldigger! She gets re-cycled and is more fierce than ever.

Mrs. Upstanson: Please re-consider, Frankie.

Frankie: You can't stop me, Mrs. Upstanson.

Mrs. Upstanson: I know that. I'm not going to try to force you. But with your courage and imagination, think what you could make of yourself in the real world. You have the makings of a Henry Ford or a Dr. Saulk.”

Frankie: Who are they?

Mrs. Upstanson: People who have done things to make our lives a little easier.

Frankie: Your life is easy enough as it is. Besides Dr. Salk was Dr. Salk. Henry Ford was Henry Ford. I can't be them.

Mrs. Upstanson: I just meant you could grow up to have an exciting job, and make a contribution.

Ralph: Like I'm going to be a race car driver, Frankie. You could be an acrobat or something.

Frankie: It's all a trick, Ralph.

Ralph: How do you know?

Frankie: Because yesterday I went to the busiest part of town and I asked every adult I saw what kind of job they had and whether they had fun doing it.

Quincy: And what did you find out?

Frankie: That mostly they did stupid boring things and they couldn't wait until they could get home. And the main thing grown-ups do is their jobs. They just don't have very much fun.
Ralph: I'm going to have fun when I grow up.

Frankie: (Shakes his head) It's all a trick. They say, "be responsible, go to school. Work hard. Give up having fun. Then when you grow up you can have fun." But when you grow up it the
same thing. "Be responsible. Go to work. Work hard. Give up having fun. And some day it will be better." But it doesn't get any better.

Quincy: How do you know that?

Frankie: Because I talked to old people too, and they were the most unhappy of all.

Sabrina: Stay here, Frankie... for me.

Frankie: (Looks at her uncomprehendingly.) For you? I don't understand.

Sabrina: I need you.

Frankie: Is someone threatening you?

Sabrina: No, its not that...

Frankie: Then why would you need me?

Sabrina: ( Looks away.) It's hard to explain.

Mrs. Upstanson: I would be your mother, Frankie. I would even adopt you.

Frankie: I don't need a mother.

Sam: Everybody needs a mother, Frankie.

Frankie: Mothers are the worst kind of grown up of all. From a distance they are are more beautiful than anything else in the world. But when you get too close to them, they tie you up and gag you and won't let you do anything.

Kate: Not my mother, Frankie. She's not that way.

Frankie: They all are. (Turns to the other boys.) So what about the rest of you. Are you coming or not?

Ralph: I want to stay and become a race car driver, Frankie.

Quincy: And I want to write books.

Sam: And I want to find some more mothers.

Quincy: We're sorry Frankie.

Frankie: Nevermind. I'll find new boys.

Kate: I don't want you to go, Frankie.

Frankie: Why don't you come with me? You can be Uboxle again.

(Kate shakes her head, puts her thumb in her mouth, and goes over the where Peter stood while he was pouting in the previous scene. She looks very forlorn.)

Frankie: Will you come with me, Sabrina?

Sabrina: I can't Frankie. I'm already almost grown up.

Frankie: (They stare at each other for several seconds. Finally Frankie turns away.) Well, enough of this. I have to hurry or I'll be late for "The Return of Goldigger." Boot up the computer Michael.

Michael: It's almost ready.

Frankie: Are you coming? (He picks up the guns he left there the last time.)

(Michael reaches out his hand.)

Mrs. Upstanson: (Alarmed.) No, Michael. Not you!

Michael: (Looks at his mother, and then back at Frankie. He hesitates. Finally he pulls away.) No Frankie. I guess I want to grow up.

(Frankie disappears into the computer.)

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