RUDYARD’S ROOTS

by Joseph “Gatorman” Kristoff

Originally posted: May 7-June 17, 2007


1.


1) (Rudyard's house. The alarm clock goes off in his bedroom, making a buzz-buzz-buzz sound. Rudyard's hand reaches over to the switch, turning it off.)

2) (Rudyard is seen from the shoulders up, rinsing his mane with shampoo. He feels especially downbeat, but not because it's a Monday.)

3) (Rudyard walks down a stairwell, one hand on the railing and the other in his pants pocket. He remains upset about something. A kitchen lies adjacent to the stairwell.)

4-top) (Rudyard looks at a particular date on a calendar nailed to the kitchen wall. He whimpers softly.)

4-bottom) (A closeup of the day in question. It will take place four days from today. In red pen, the following words are written in the box:)

Student exchange over—Rudyard goes home 


2.


1) (The school locker room. Rudyard is putting his backpack inside his locker. He is still feeling a bit low. A happy Rocco, with backpack being carried on his back, walks to him.)

Rocco: Hey, Ruddy! What's up with you?

Rudyard: (sigh) Good morning, Rocco. Not much, except...

2) (Rudyard turns and faces Rocco.)

Rudyard: Rocco, do you remember the date I first came to Green Meadow?

Rocco: Oh, almost a year ago. Why, what's up?

3) (Rudyard turns his back to Rocco, closes his eyes and lowers his head)

Rudyard: This: After one year of staying here in Green Meadow, I have to return home to Africa. The student exchange program requires it.

Rocco: (reacting, shocked) Oh no...that's too bad, Ruddy.

4) (Rudyard turns back to Rocco, head still lowered)

Rudyard: Thanks, Rocco. I will miss you fellows, and I am looking forward to seeing my parents again...the only problem is, how is dear Woolma going to adjust to my absence? 


3.


1) (The school cafeteria. A close-up of Woolma wailing, presumably after being told by Rudyard he will have to return to Africa)

Woolma: (bawling) BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

2) (The shot pulls out to show more Gang members. Montgomery, Dotty, and Portia are watching, a little saddened to hear Rudyard is leaving, while Rudyard is talking to Woolma, who is still crying.)

Rudyard: Awww, Woolma...don't worry about a thing, my sweet. I will still write you every chance I get. I won't forget you!

3) (Rudyard, seated opposite Woolma at the table, takes the lamb's hand and grips it.)

Rudyard: Listen...how would you like to go out on the town every day after school for the next few days, just you and me?

4) (Woolma's hand is covering her mouth and her eyes are slammed shut. Tears run down her cheeks. She nods. Rudyard grins.)

Rudyard: Naturally, I can't afford to hire a limousine. Perhaps we could get someone to pull a wagon for a small fee! (giggle!) 


4.


1) (The school cafeteria. Montgomery and Rudyard are seated next to each other at the table. Montgomery puts a hand on Rudyard's shoulder.)

Montgomery: Rudyard, I think we ought to throw a huge party for you before you leave...to look back on all the great times we had.

2) (Bernice, opposite Montgomery, chimes in.)

Bernice: And you know there can't be a party without a cake baked by yours truly!

3) (Flora, next to Bernice, adds to the conversation. Bernice listens.)

Flora: And there can't be a sendoff without a bouquet of roses!

4) (Lolly, next to Flora, throws in one more. Bernice and Flora listen.)

Lolly: And there can't be roses without the sprinkling of moolah!

Bernice: (smirking, with Flora) Ahhh, we were waiting to hear from you about that! 


5.


1) (The school cafeteria. The Get Along Gang is seated at their usual table. Montgomery asks Rudyard a question.)

Montgomery: Say, Rudyard, tell us about your family. Are they good people?

Rudyard: (smirk) "Are they good people"?

2) (Rudyard leans against the tabletop, thinking of them.)

Rudyard: You bet they are! My parents are kind, loving folks who come from British blood.

Woolma: I thought your parents were from Africa!

3) (Rudyard giggles. A hand reaches over to grip Woolma's once again.)

Rudyard: Heeheehee. Well, they were born in England and moved to Africa fifteen years ago. I guess my father can't be President of the United States, then!

4) (Rudyard makes an attempt to ease Woolma's heartbreak some more.)

Rudyard: Darling...I'm going to try to convince my parents to send me back here for good. I love this town and would do anything to return. But will my parents allow it?

Woolma: (strokes Rudyard's hand, smiling) Ohh, Rudy...you do what you have to do for little old moi


6.


1) (Outside the Clubhouse Caboose, the next day after school. Rudyard, carrying a backpack, is walking up the steps to the Caboose entrance.)

2) (Rudyard opens the Caboose door and peers inside.)

Rudyard: Anyone in there?

3) (Rudyard walks inside and sets the backpack down on the table.)

4-top) (Suddenly, the rest of the gang (although Mo, Do, and W in this particular panel) stick their heads out the door and yell:)

Gang: SURPRIIIIIISE!

Rudyard: GA! (A startled Rudyard jumps a few feet, his fur standing on end, a look of extreme fright on his face!)

4-bottom) (Rudyard is seen flat on his back. He has fainted from the surprise!) 


7.


1) (The Clubhouse Caboose. The Gang, including Catchum and Leland (they're still bound to their bet!), gathers to throw a farewell party for Rudyard. Several other gifts are placed on the table: a football from Montgomery; a pair of six-pound barbells from Zipper; sunglasses from Portia; a unitard and pair of burgundy ballet slippers from Woolma, and Rocky Music and McBoingo CDs from Bernice, among others. Rudyard is complimenting Bernice on her gifts.)

Rudyard: You certainly know a good band like Rocky Music when you hear it, Bernice. Thank you very, very much!

Bernice: (pulling out another present from a pile) Awwww, you're welcome, Rudyard. Hmmm, I never saw this before...

2) (Rudyard looks at the tag and nods)

Rudyard: Hmm. Apparently Catchum and Leland want to have a go at sending me off. (turning to the others) Should I open it?

3) (several shrug after hesitation)

Dotty: If you want, Rudyard.

Catchum: (grinning slyly) Yes, Rudyard, by all means, open it.

4) (Rudyard opens the gift. It is a black jar. The word FLOWER SCENT is printed on the label.)

Rudyard: (grins) Air freshener! Oh, Catchum, Leland, you sweet chaps, I underestimated you!

5-top) (Rudyard unscrews the lid)

5-bottom) (springy snakes fly out of the jar. Rudyard reacts with surprise)

Rudyard: EEEEEEK!

6) (Rudyard, who loves a good, harmless joke, is laying on his side, arms wrapped around his stomach, laughing hard. The others look in amazement, some at Rudyard, and some at Catchum.)

Rudyard: HAHAHAHAHA!

Catchum: (shrugs, grins widely) We figure Rudyard wanted to have the last laugh!

Leland: (satisfied) It's the thought that counts! 


8.


1) (Rudyard's house, the same day. Rudyard, books in hand, walks home from the party, books and gifts in his backpack. Rudyard's host mother, Mrs. Felini, a Bengal tiger, is sorting clothes in the laundry room.)

Rudyard: (cheery) Good evening!

Mrs. Felini: Oh, hello, Rudyard! How was school?

2) (Rudyard sets his backpack down.)

Rudyard: Rather average day, but things couldn't have gotten any better when I went into the clubhouse! We had a party! I received gifts and we ate cake and—

3) (Mrs. Felini is folding up clothing.)

Mrs. Felini: Ooooo! Gifts? You'll have to show them to me sometime once I'm done with these clothes. In the meantime, your parents sent you a letter. It's upstairs on your bed.

4-top) (Rudyard raises an eyebrow, expressing interest in how his family has been recently.)

4-bottom) (Rudyard races up the steps and carries his backpack with him.) 


9.


1) (Rudyard's bedroom. Rudyard is reading a letter from his parents, placed on the bed by Mrs. Felini, Rudyard's host mother.)

"My Dear Rudyard: Your mother and I are anxious to see you return home after one year in Green Meadow. We hope everything went well over there. When you return please tell us everything.

2) (He reads further.)

"Times have been tough for us these past few months. Your elder brother, William, is becoming a huge source of torment for our visitor from America, Sean. All the discipline in the world can't seem to faze him.

3) (He sighs, and reads more.)

"Also, your mother lost her job at the office, so money is indeed tight. Rudyard, the first thing we want is for you to come home to us. We love you, son, and we won't be happy until we all meet again.

4) (Rudyard closes his eyes and lowers his head, depressed)

"Sincerely, your Dad."
 


10.


1) (Rudyard's bedroom. Rudyard is asleep. Above Rudyard's head is a dream balloon depicting himself and Woolma (both as young adults) as talented ballet dancers. Rudyard is dressed in a frilly outfit while Woolma wears a proper ballerina outfit rather than her sundress.)

Rudyard: (thinking) Woolma gave me a nice outfit today...a unitard, legwarmers and slippers. She knows just what I want, that lovely lamb.

2) (Rudyard tosses gently)

Rudyard: (thinking) I envision Woolma and myself becoming the greatest ballet dancers the world has ever seen...if not, we can always put on a show for our friends.

3) (The sun is rising. Rudyard continues to dream. In the dream sequence, adult Rudyard is twirling adult Woolma as if gearing up for the finale.)

Rudyard: (thinking) I'll purchase a book on ballet dancing later today...Yes, Woolma...let's finish it off! The audience will insist on an encore! Yes! Oh yes!

4) (Suddenly, the alarm goes off, ending Rudyard's hopes of a perfect dream. He wakes up, startled and very tired.)

Rudyard: (thinking) Ohhhhh posh. 


11.


1) (The Clubhouse Caboose. Woolma is looking at herself in her mirror, sadly primping away. Dotty walks up to her and places a hand on Woolma's shoulder.)

Dotty: Come on, Woolma. We're all going to say goodbye to Rudyard before he leaves.

Woolma: All right...

2) (Woolma places the mirror on the table. They both walk towards the exit, Dotty's arm around her shoulder now.)

Dotty: Woolma, don't worry. Rudyard will hopefully come back to Green Meadow soon.

Woolma: I know...he already said he would write back once in awhile...

3) (At this point they are outside the clubhouse, still walking.)

Woolma: But what if he doesn't come back? What if he forgets me? He's the best friend I ever had, not to mention my future husband!

Rudyard: (off-panel) *AHEM!*

4) (Woolma turns her head and smiles. The rest of the gang is there, along with Rudyard, arms folded and smirking. The others have already said their goodbyes.)

Rudyard: Just the girl I wanted to see! 


12.


1) (Outside the Caboose. Rudyard is about to leave for Africa. The rest of the Gang are watching Woolma race up to Rudyard. Woolma clings to the lion's neck.)

Woolma: Rudyard...please keep in touch.

Rudyard: (giggle) Woolma, you'll receive a letter from me as soon as I can. Perhaps a week-old batch of cookies would tide you over.

2) (Woolma looks into Rudyard's eyes. A shuttle van arrives to take Rudyard to the airport.)

Woolma: Hehe. Ohhh, Rudy...you're a silly lion.

Rudyard: (smiles) Woolma, I'm going to miss seeing you. You've told us about your dreams of becoming a renowned ballet dancer. I want you to keep following them. Because who knows...

3) (close-up as Rudyard holds Woolma's chin softly. He smiles softly at Woolma.)

Rudyard: ...I may have the same aspirations as you. (Rudyard leans in and gives Woolma a soft kiss on the lips. Woolma closes her eyes and accepts it.)

4) (Rudyard turns his head a little in the direction of the voice behind him. Rudyard's smile turns to a bit of despair.)

Shuttle bus driver (off-panel) Come on, sir. It's time for you to go.

Rudyard: (sigh) 


13.


1) (Outside the Caboose. A shuttle van is here to take Rudyard to the airport. Rudyard climbs into the back seat of the van, taking his belongings with him.)

2) (A teary-eyed Rudyard looks out the window and waves byebye to the gang one last time before the van drives away.)

3) (Woolma waves back with the others, unable to fight back her tears. She looks like she is about to cry.)

4) (As the van drives off into the distance, Woolma falls to her knees, lowers her head, and quietly sobs. Dotty and Flora walk over to console the shattered lamb.) 


14.


1) (Rudyard is seen inside the airport shuttle van, head lowered and eyes closed, sobbing as he leaves his friends.)

2) (Rudyard is waiting at one of the airport's many gates. He lays back, sniffling, a tear running down his cheek.)

3) (Rudyard, still sad, walks down a corridor leading to the airplane.)

4) (He pulls out a book, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and reads it. He is still a bit depressed.)

5) (He is eating a hamburger and drinking a glass of orange juice on the plane.)

6) (He is seen walking down another corridor towards another plane. The trip to Africa requires a stopover and transfer in London.)

7) (The airplane lights dim, and Rudyard is sleeping soundly as the aircraft flies him closer to his destination.)

8) (Rudyard is holding his suitcases. He looks out the window, watching the plane make a landing.)

9) (He is seen exiting the corridor. He is now somewhere in Africa. He is starting to smile.)

10) (He gets inside a taxi, instructing the driver where to go.)

11) (A smile of excitement can be seen on Rudyard's face as he looks out the window.)

12) (Rudyard beams and smiles widely as he walks toward his mother and father, waving to them both. His parents, standing outside a two-story, white Victorian-style house, wave back.)

Rudyard: MUM! DAD!


15.


1) (Rudyard's home, somewhere in Africa. Rudyard is hugging his mother, Felicity, as his father, Jeremy, looks on)

Rudyard: You have no idea how happy I am to see you!

Jeremy: I know you are, Rudyard. We are as well...one year without you makes us ill with worry. Thank goodness we're literate, or else, without those letters, we'd be SUNK!

2) (Rudyard purrs and nuzzles against her mother's cheek. Jeremy watches.)

Felicity: So, did your friends give you a sendoff?

Rudyard: Ohhh, yes, indeed, Dad! We had a wonderful time...that is, until I had to leave.

3) (Jeremy nods.)

Jeremy: Well, don't worry, son. You may see them again someday.

Rudyard: (nodding and smiling) And father? I had a thought of becoming a ballet dancer someday.

4) (Inside the house, William, the eldest sibling of the two at the age of eighteen, is looking out the window, grinning evilly as he plots to pick on Rudyard again. He has a scruffier mane which goes all the way down to his chin. He is also wearing a white muscle shirt but is only shown from the waist up in this panel.)

Jeremy: (off-panel) Oh, Rudyard, that's wonderful! Your mother and I always loved to go out to the opera...we'll never forget any concert where YOU'RE the star!

Rudyard: AND, my sweetheart Woolma, too! (purr)

16.


1) (Rudyard's house, somewhere in Africa. Rudyard rushes up the stairwell and walks toward his bedroom. The door to his room is halfway open.)

2) (As he approaches, he casually says, as if expecting what is going on...)

Rudyard: Oh, hello, William.

3) (William peers out from behind the door, a bit angry about being found out.)

William: Cor. How'd ya know it was me?

4) (Rudyard casually walks inside, as if nothing can destroy his happiness.)

Rudyard: I'm not that private a person, William. Why, considering the amount of dirty laundry you have, I'm surprised you haven't bolted your bedroom door yet! (giggle)

William: (growling, thinking) Stupid goody-goody punk...I'll fix you yet... 


17.


1) (Rudyard's house. Several close-up shots are used for these first few panels. We see a close-up of Rudyard's arms carrying a dozen compact discs—full of orchestral opera music—to his room.)

2) (Next, a close-up of Rudyard's right arm going through one of the shoulder straps of his unitard.)

3-top) (Another close-up. Rudyard slips a leg warmer on.)

3-bottom) (Another close-up. Rudyard is almost ready. He ties on one of his ballet slippers.)

Rudyard: (thinking) Almost ready...

4) (Rudyard, outfitted and ready to dance, reads the dance book with one hand while putting a compact disc inside the stereo with the other.)

Rudyard: (thinking, smiling) Right, then. Lesson one... 


18.


1-top) (Rudyard's bedroom. Rudyard is closing his eyes while dancing to the music on the stereo. Once again, thoughts of him and Woolma dancing together come into his mind.)

1-bottom) (Enclosed in a dream balloon are Rudyard and Woolma (as young adults), dressed formally, dancing in a ballroom.)

2) (Adult Rudyard and adult Woolma dance hand in hand and cheek to cheek, happy to be with each other)

3) (Adult Rudyard makes a leap and whacks his nose into a wall! Adult Woolma looks on, shocked.)

4) (Young Rudyard is seen walking back into his bedroom, only with a tissue pressed against his nose to stop the bleeding. He blushes, embarrassed at the incident.)

Rudyard: I smell a self-imposed no-fraternization policy...(sniff!) 


19.


1) (Woolma's bedroom. Woolma is reading a letter sent to her by Rudyard. She smiles as she reads:*)

Rudyard: "Dearest Woolma: You will be pleased to learn I got home safe and sound. My parents are happy to have me back in Africa. As for my older brother, that's another story.

2) (A scene of Rudyard, in the living room of his house, using his yo-yo to impress his parents. Felicity and Jeremy, Rudyard's parents, applaud him. The letter continues.)

Rudyard: "Never mind about him. I've used these past few days playing catch-up with Mum and Dad. They gave me a compliment—when I left for Green Meadow, that air of insanity was gone from their home!

3) (In Rudyard's bedroom, Rudyard is counting off a wad of money. The letter continues.)

Rudyard: "Meanwhile, I'm contemplating taking real dance lessons instead of going it alone. Best to avoid a broken nose that way...and a broken leg, or arm, or back, OR pelvis...

4) (A blissful Woolma clutches Rudyard's letter against her chest.)

Rudyard: "Anyway, please write back and tell me how you are doing. I look forward to seeing you again, Woolma. I don't know when, but trust me, we'll eventually meet. —Best, Rudyard."  


20.


1) (The Clubhouse Caboose. Catchum and Leland finish cleaning up the Caboose, thereby ending three weeks of tidying up the place as the result of a lost bet. They are both wearing aprons. Catchum raises his feather duster high in the air.)

Catchum: At LAST! Our days as housemaids are OVER!

Leland: (trill!)

2) (Catchum and Leland throw down their aprons and walk to Woolma, seated at the table looking at a photograph of Rudyard, unable to shake off her blissful state.)

Catchum: Did you hear THAT? We're through with you Get Along Twerps!

Woolma: (happy sigh) Someday...

3) (Catchum grows even angrier as he and his friend are being ignored.)

Catchum: (shaking his fist) Perhaps you didn't hear me, you abrasive wool-head! I said we're THROUGH!

Woolma: (another happy sigh) Don't forget to write...(kisses the photograph)

4) (Catchum and Leland walk out more surprised than angry. They see Dotty, who is about to enter the clubhouse.)

Catchum: (shrugging, surprised) There's just no fazing that lamb! o.O 


21.


1) (Green Meadow Public Library. Braker, seated at a chair is leafing through a book on immigration, with Woolma and Flora, both seated, flanking him. Woolma is primping away, while looking in her handheld mirror.)

Braker: Hmm. All right...to become a citizen of the United States one must satisfy seven requirements.

2) (Braker reads from the book, while Woolma watches)

Braker: One, he must be a permanent resident...

Woolma: (interrupting) Ohh, Braker...considering how much Rudyard has the hots for yours truly, you'd know he'd WANT to!

Braker: (ahem!) Two, he must have good moral character...

Woolma: He's a PRINCE!

3) (Braker continues to read, undeterred.)

Braker: Show respect for the Constitution—

Flora: Of course he would!

Braker: Must be able to understand basic English―

Woolma: That's no problem.

4) (Braker finishes.)

Braker: ...Passes a citizenship test, takes an oath of allegiance, and must be at least eighteen years old.

Woolma: Yes, yes, ye—(shocked) WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT! (the mirror drops from her hand.)

Flora: But, but—Rudyard's only ten, Braker!

5) (Woolma's handheld mirror drops to the ground, cracking the glass.)

6) (Woolma whimpers, the despair returning to her. Braker and Flora look on.)

Woolma: Ohhhh no...EIGHT YEARS BAD LUCK! My life is over! WAAAAHHHHH! (wails)

Braker: Isn't it seven?

Woolma: Who's talking about the mirror? I'm talking about my Rudy! 


22.


1) (Rudyard's house. The living room. Felicity and Jeremy, Rudyard's parents, are reading a newspaper. They are shocked to discover the front-page headline: Kakero Wins Presidency Amidst Reports of Intimidation, Vote Suppression.)

Felicity: Slowly, the seeds of a dictatorship are being sown.

Jeremy: (nods) Well...

2) (Felicity sits on the sofa. Jeremy walks over to the lioness.)

Jeremy: This sort of thing has happened before, darling. Every time something like this comes up, there's an investigation and an arrest. Good ol' fashioned accountability!

Felicity: I don't know, dear. I've seen situations like this in other countries.

3) (Jeremy puts a hand on Felicity's shoulder.)

Felicity: I know you have faith in our system, Jeremy, but I'm concerned about Rudyard and William. I've always feared they'd be killed by our own government. I just don't know...

4) (Jeremy leans in to hug Felicity.)

Jeremy: I know how you feel...but try to have faith. Let's see how this plays out. After all, nothing big's happened in the past two decades!

Felicity: (giggles, winks) Ohhh, so you're forgetting about our two sons now, eh? 


23.


1) (Outside the Clubhouse Caboose. Dotty is giving a female grey wolf, ten years old, tips on cheerleading. The wolf listens carefully.)

Dotty: Now, when you get to perform with an actual cheerleading troupe, you must be able to follow the same moves the others do. My assistant and I will show you how to execute a perfect cheer. (calling out) MONTGOMERY!

2) (Montgomery eagerly comes outside, dressed as a cheerleader. His dress is similar to that of Dotty's: white sweater with red bands and monogrammed "M," saddle shoes, red pants, and even a pair of red pompoms!)

Montgomery: (excited) READY!

Dotty: (to the wolf girl) Now, we've rehearsed this for an hour, so we should be able to get this right. Watch us:

3) (Dotty and Montgomery execute the cheer. They first turn to the right and point their right pompoms at an angle towards the sky while keeping the left pompoms parallel with the ground. They then spin their left pompom clockwise, making two revolutions before turning to the left. They then turn to the girl, looking up in the air and waving their pompoms up high before Montgomery leaps onto Dotty's shoulders, catching him. As they do this they recite this cheer:)

Dotty, Montgomery:
Bing! Bong! Bang!
We're the Get Along Gang!
We bring you cheer
Every day and year!

4) (Suddenly Braker rushes in, waving a paper in his hand, alarmed by what he's read in the paper.)

Braker: GANG!

Dotty: EEK!

(This causes a startled Dotty to drop Montgomery, causing the moose to land flat on his back with a loud thud.)

Wolf: (giggle!) 


24.


1) (outside the Clubhouse Caboose. Dotty is reading from a newspaper given to her by Braker. Montgomery, dressed as a cheerleader, is still reeling from falling flat on his back after Dotty dropped him following a cheer.)

Dotty: (concerned) "Kakero Jails Political Opponents." Is this Rudyard's country?

Braker: It is. Wow, he wasted no time in stifling the dissenters!

2) (Dotty is puzzled by a word. She scratches her head.)

Dotty: What's a dissenter, Braker?

Braker: When you dissent, Dotty, it means you disagree with someone's policies or beliefs. America was founded on dissent—the people rose up and demanded a change from the politics of King George III.

3) (Montgomery shakes his head, snapping out of his dizziness.)

Montgomery: I'm already worried...I'm glad Rudyard's home with his parents, but...

4) (Montgomery continues speaking to Dotty and Braker.)

Montgomery: ...apparently Rudyard wouldn't want to be part of a country whose president does not know how to get along! 


25.


1) (Rudyard's house. Rudyard rushes downstairs wearing his unitard, striped pants, and ballet slippers rather than his usual outfit. Jeremy, Rudyard's father, sees him about to leave for school.)

Jeremy: Rudyard! Are you going to school in that? (smirks) This Woolma girl must be quite an influence on you!

Rudyard: Indeed, father...someday I want to see her again...

2) (Rudyard grabs his crown beanie from the hat rack and puts it in. While Rudyard is grabbing his backpack, Jeremy thinks.)

Jeremy: (thinking) The way things are going, it may be sooner than you think. (speaking) Well, who knows! There may be a surprise coming your way, my son.

3) (Rudyard gives his father a tight hug before heading off.)

Rudyard: Goodbye, father. Have a good day.

Jeremy: Goodbye, my dear Rudyard. (thinking) For the love of God, PLEASE be careful.

4) (Jeremy watches Rudyard leave for school.)

Jeremy: (smirks, thinks) And son, you'd better know how you'll visit the little boys' room wearing a unitard!


26.


1) (A school. Rudyard, depressed, grabs his backpack out of his locker. He is about to walk home.)

Rudyard: (thinking) (sigh) What is WRONG with everybody? Why does everyone think I'm so antiquated—so old-fashioned, just because I whip out my yo-yo and pull a few tricks?

2) (Rudyard is walking across the dirt road from school. He starts smirking)

Rudyard: (thinking) And it didn't help that my attire is inviting bullies! I even miss having Catchum and Leland around. Wow, those two are funny. Perhaps not INTENTIONALLY, but still...

3) (Rudyard smiles hopefully as he walks closer to home.)

Rudyard: (thinking) I must remind myself to write my lovely lamb a letter...she must have heard the news about the election that went on here. So long as I reassure Woolma, everything's fine.

4) (Meanwhile, Montgomery, Portia and Bingo, wearing backpacks, are trying to pry Woolma's hands from the mailbox pole.)

Bingo: Woolma! We'll be late for school! You can worry about the smell of envelope glue later on! 


27.


1) (Flora's house. Flora has set down her books after a long day at school. She falls back onto the living room couch, exhausted. In the laundry room on the same floor, Maurice, Flora's father, calls out. They converse in French rather than English. )

Maurice: Flora, est que vous? (Flora, is that you?)

Flora: Oui! Bonjour, Papa! (Yes! Hello, Papa!)

2) (Maurice comes out of the laundry room and gives Flora's nose a kiss. Maurice is dressed in a plaid blue buttoned shirt and blue pants, and wears glasses over his eyes. Maurice's markings are similar to Flora's with the exception of black ear tips and tail tip. Like Bingo, Flora comes from a single-parent household; however, this came as a result of the death of a spouse rather than a divorce.)

Maurice: (smiling) Bonjour, ma fille. (Hello, my daughter.) (kiss) How was school today?

Flora: Mmf, tiring. We had two tests today. Papa, I want to ask you a question.

Maurice: What is it?

3) (Flora sits up on the couch as she unbuckles her Mary Jane shoes.)

Flora: You came from Canada, right? Québec? What did you have to do to move to Green Meadow for good?

Maurice: (sigh) Daughter, it's a very looooooooong process. You ARE asking me because you're concerned about your friend, right?

Flora: We all are, Papa. We're afraid Rudyard's going to be stuck in a country with that...freak dictator!

4) (Maunice nodnods, wrapping an arm tight around Flora's shoulder.)

Maurice: Ah! Then Rudyard and his family may be able to seek asylum.

Flora: (eyes widen with fear) No! I don't want Rudyard to go to an insane asylum! Where will they find a straitjacket small enough? 


28.


1) (Rudyard's house. Jeremy, Rudyard's father, races upstairs in a panic upon hearing some dark news. He heads for Rudyard's room.)

Jeremy: Rudyard! RUDYARD!

2) (Rudyard is in his bedroom, sleeping. He is startled awake by Jeremy's yelling. Jeremy rushes inside.)

Rudyard: (sleepy) Mmh? Wha...?

Jeremy: Get dressed and meet us downstairs...Kakero's gone mad...

3) (Rudyard throws on his unitard, pants and ballet slippers and rushes downstairs. Jeremy, Felicity and William are huddled around the radio.)

Newsreader: (over radio) And now, a recap of this morning's stories. President Kakero has ordered the closure of rural housing in the Rhodes region of the country. The President has given settlers in this area three weeks to vacate the premises.

4) (continued from previous panel)

Newsreader: (over radio) The President has vowed to forcibly remove anyone remaining after the three-week period. In other news, more than ninety people were injured during protests against the administration. Demonstrators clashed with police—

Jeremy: (low growl)

5) (Jeremy turns to his wife and sons.)

Jeremy: That does it...I don't want my family to live in this country. I don't want to fight; I just want you all to be safe and sound. Rudyard? William? Pack your bags. Felicity, get on the phone.

Felicity: What for?

6) (Jeremy walks to the window and looks outside)

Jeremy: We're buying four one-way tickets to America. 


29.


1) (Woolma's bedroom. Woolma, laying on her bed, is reading another letter from Rudyard. She has a look of fear in her face as she is reading.)

Rudyard: (written) Dearest Woolma: this may be the last letter I write to you from Africa. Things are becoming even more unbearable back home, as our God-almightly President is forcing us to vacate our house.

2) (cut to Rudyard, packing a picture of himself kissing Woolma into a suitcase.)

Rudyard: (written) So far, Mum's booked plane tickets out of the country, while Dad lined up an apartment where we can live. And Woolma, it's in Green Meadow.

3) (Woolma beams with hope as she reads further.)

Rudyard: (written) Please keep your hopes alive. I suggest the rest of our friends do the same.

4) (Woolma reads forward, returning to a little sadness.)

Rudyard: (written) It's a pity my life in Africa had to end so tragically...but it doesn't matter where I live, as long as I have my family, my friends—and YOU, Woolma, by my side. —Love, Rudyard. 


30.


1) (Somewhere in Africa. Rudyard, his parents, and his older brother all leave their home, carrying their luggage to a waiting taxi. They load their luggage inside the trunk.)

2) (Rudyard loads his luggage and walks to the taxi.)

Rudyard: (sigh) Well...it was nice while it lasted, I suppose...I guess...(sighs again)

3) (Felicity and Jeremy, the parents, take one last look at the house.)

Felicity: I'm going to miss this house...I'm going to miss this country, too. But we need to get out of here.

Jeremy: Well, I locked up for the final time.

Felicity: What's the point if we aren't coming back?

4) (Jeremy grins mischievously.)

Jeremy: The police force won't be able to get in! I'm keeping the keys! (he playfully nudges Rudyard's chin.)

Rudyard: (giggle!) Ha-HA! That's my father!

William: (grumbling from the lack of attention he's getting) Grrrr. 


31.


1) (Somewhere in Africa. The taxi drives along the streets of a major city. Demonstrators are battling with police.)

2) (Rudyard, Felicity, and William look through the window to witness the chaos.)

Rudyard: And so it ends...

Jeremy: (off-panel) I know.

3) (Jeremy looks through the windshield)

Jeremy: There it is...there's the airport. We're almost safe from the violence and abuse...

4) (Rudyard can be seen crossing the fingers of his left hand)

Jeremy: (off-panel) But, we're not totally safe yet. We still need to get our green cards. 


32.


1) (The airport. Rudyard, his parents, and his older brother all rush inside the airport, luggage in hand. All of them gasp at what they see.)

2) (Inside the airport, the gates are very crowded. Other people are waiting for planes to take them out of the country, presumably for reasons similar to that of Rudyard's family.)

Jeremy: Cripes! Look at this!

William: Looks like everyone wants out of here.

3-top) (The family take their seats in the waiting area. Rudyard looks up at the solari board listing flight departure/arrival times.)

3-bottom) (One flight to Elmwood City, near the town of Green Meadow, is experiencing a one-hour delay)

4) (The family is seen listening to Rudyard read aloud from his ballet instruction book. Rudyard's parents express interest, whereas William couldn't care less about what Rudyard has to say, showing his displeasure by covering his ears.)

Rudyard: Okay, here we go, lesson number one... 


33.


1) (Woolma's house. Woolma is in her bedroom, talking on the phone with Rudyard.)

Rudyard: (over phone) It's madness, Woolma. The plane is experiencing a one-hour delay. We'll survive, though.

Woolma: (smiles) I hope so, Rudyard...I want to see you and your family safe.

2) (Rudyard is speaking over an airport pay phone.)

Rudyard: I'm sure of it. If all goes well you'll see me late tomorrow afternoon. (turns his head) Oop! A queue is forming...looks like we're boarding now. See ya, Woolma. And Woolma?

3) (Woolma's bedroom.)

Woolma: Yes, Rudy?

Rudyard: I love you. (makes a juicy kissing noise over the phone)

Woolma: (giggle!) Byebye, Rudy. I hope to see you tomorrow.

4) (Rudyard hangs up and joins the rest of his family at the line as they wait to board the plane.) 


34.


1) (Rudyard and the family take their seats inside the airplane. As they do, they hear a boom and the plane shakes slightly.)

Jeremy: Nnh! It's getting worse. I wish they'd hurry up and take off.

2) (Rudyard buckles his seatbelt.)

3) (Rudyard looks outside the window, witnessing the carnage taking place on the streets.)

Rudyard: (sigh) Well, this is it...good-bye, Africa. It's been nice knowing...

4) (William, evil grin on his face, pulls hard on Rudyard's seatbelt, tightening it even more!)

Rudyard: GRRRRK! You! o.O 


35.


1) (Rudyard is seen looking out one of the windows as the airplane takes off.)

2) (While on the plane, Rudyard is reading a copy of The Jungle Book.)

3) (Rudyard is eating a bowl of soup as the sun begins to set.)

4) (Rudyard unbuckles his seat belt once the plane lands in London.)

5) (Rudyard's family walks down the corridor towards another plane; they are taking another plane from London to the airport in Elmwood City.)

6) (The airplane lights dim, and Rudyard is sleeping soundly as the aircraft flies his family closer to Elmwood City. Meanwhile, William sticks Rudyard's hand in a cup of water placed on a portable table. If the prank works, Rudyard would wet himself.)

7) (The trick backfires, as Rudyard's flaccid, tired arm causes him to spill the cup of water onto William's lap!)

William: Hey!

8) (Rudyard is holding his suitcases. He looks out the window. The plane is about to land.)

9) (The family leaves the airport, luggage in hand.)

10) (They take a taxi to Green Meadow. Jeremy points in the direction of their new apartment. Rudyard points another way, in the direction of the Clubhouse Caboose.)

11) (Rudyard gets out of the taxi and runs toward the Caboose.)

12) (Outside, the rest of the Gang welcome Rudyard back. Woolma, Montgomery and Dotty are outside the Caboose, while others stick their heads out of the windows and wave. Woolma's arms are spread out, expecting a warm embrace. A happy Rudyard rushes to his best friend.)

Rudyard: WOOLMA! GANG!


36.


1) (Outside the Clubhouse Caboose. Woolma and Rudyard lock arms around each other. Woolma gently rubs her nose against Rudyard's cheek.)

Woolma: Ohhh, Rudy...welcome home, sweetie.

Rudyard: Thank you, Woolma...but we're not out of the woods yet. We still need to earn our green cards.

2) (Portia stands next to the two lovers.)

Portia: Then what happens, Rudyard?

Rudyard: THEN, Portia, THIS happens...

3) (Rudyard gives Woolma an electrifying kiss on the lips!)

Woolma: MMMMMHHHHHH!

4) (Woolma's eyes widen as she pulls out of Rudyard's kiss.)

Woolma: WOW! That was AMAZING!

Rudyard: (smiling) Heh heh. That just shows you what can happen when my love for you builds up over time! 


37.


1) (Inside Rudyard's new apartment. It is completely furnished: sofa, coffee table, chairs, etc. provided inside. Jeremy is seen seated on the sofa next to Felicity, laying back.)

Jeremy: Oof...what a day.

Felicity: Yes...but at least we get to relax. We have beds, some food, and this cool air...prrrrrr!

2) (Jeremy wraps an arm around Felicity)

Jeremy: Yes, it IS nice, isn't it? But we still have to be interviewed; we need to take a citizenship test. We have a long way to go.

3) (Felicity turns to Jeremy.)

Felicity: We are staying here for the time being, anyway. I am POSITIVE we will make good in America. We have no criminal record, for one. We are not nuisances.

4) (They are startled by the sound of a gigantic crash. Since Rudyard is outside, it can only be Rudyard's older brother...)

Jeremy: (growling) WILLIAM!

Felicity: ...As for William, we cannot be so sure about him! 


38.


1) (Inside the Clubhouse Caboose. Rudyard is showing Woolma his progress as a ballet dancer. Woolma, along with Montgomery, Braker, and Rocco, are carefully watching his movements. A piece of classical music plays on a CD player.)

2) (Rudyard finishes dancing and takes a bow. The others applaud, while Woolma rushes over to him and hugs him tightly.)

Woolma: Ohhh, Rudy, you were wonderful!

Rudyard: Wow! Was I really, Woolma?

3) (Woolma shakes her head.)

Woolma: Well, it wasn't perfect—you are still a bit...how should I say it?...creaky in spots, but I can fix that for you.

Rudyard: (giggling) All right, Woolma. Listen, how would you like to come over to our apartment?

Woolma: Why, I'd love to!

4) (Rudyard and Woolma start walking out.)

Rudyard: (waving) Well, goodbye, fellows! Glad to be back! (imitating creaking noises) creak, creak, creak...

Woolma: (giggles) Silly lion. 


39.


1) (Rudyard's apartment. Rudyard is introducing Woolma to his parents. Woolma is shown shaking hands with his father, Jeremy.)

Jeremy: (grinning slyly) So you're the little girl who has the hots for my son, huh?

Woolma: (giggles) You could put it that way, Mr. Golding.

Jeremy: Well, make yourself at home. If you want something, we'll get it for you.

2) (Rudyard and Woolma walk toward the sofa.)

Woolma: (to Rudyard's parents) Thank you! (to Rudyard) You have nice parents, Rudy.

Rudyard: Why, thank you, Woolma. Listen, would it be asking too much if I met your parents tomorrow?

3) (Woolma turns to Rudyard, slightly puzzled.)

Woolma: Why, certainly you're welcome there, Rudyard. Why do you ask?

Rudyard: Weeeeell...

4) (Rudyard falls back onto the sofa and relaxes)

Rudyard: You know how it's imperative you meet your spouse's parents prior to marriage...I want to get an eight-year head start!

Woolma: (beaming with excitement) 


40.


1) (Outside the apartment building. Rudyard and Woolma are walking out of the complex. Catchum and Leland, walking along the sidewalk, see the two of them.)

Catchum: (pointing to Rudyard) There you are!

Rudyard: Oh, hello, fellows! Pleasure to see you two again!

2) (Catchum puts his hands on his hips, as Leland and Woolma look on.)

Catchum: Ohh, don't give me that. You know we don't like any of you Get Along Creeps!

Rudyard: Ohh, come on. Both of you know we love you.

Woolma: Annnnd, YOU love US.

3) (Catchum, caught off guard, stammers. He is rubbing the back of his head, slightly embarrassed.)

Catchum: No, we don't! We cheat and we're sneaky and...and...! ...Leland, help me out.

Leland: I'm confused, too!

4) (Catchum and Leland are left stammering on the sidewalk as Rudyard and Woolma walk away, smiling.)

Catchum: Uhmmm...err...wait! Please! We're not through with you yet!

Rudyard: (to Woolma) Heh, heh. I love harmless head games. 


41.


1) (A grassy hill. Rudyard and Woolma rub each other's noses in an expression of love.)

2) (Woolma pulls out of the embrace to ask Rudyard a question.)

Woolma: So what happens now, Rudyard? What are you going to do?

Rudyard: Well, Woolma...all I need to do now is study for a citizenship test, although that won't come for six months.

3) (Rudyard caresses Woolma's cheek. Woolma smiles.)

Rudyard: But Woolma: Even if I have to go back to Africa, at least I will have spent six more months with you. We can get a lot done in that time.

Woolma: I know, but...

4) (Woolma reclines her head on Rudyard's shoulder)

Woolma: ...if we can get a lot done in six months, think of how much more we can do in a lifetime! 


42.


1) (A grassy hill. Rudyard wraps an arm around Woolma. They are both getting a panoramic view of Green Meadow.)

Woolma: Rudy?

Rudyard: Yes, Woolma?

2) (They continue to view the town.)

Woolma: Is there anything you miss about Africa?

Rudyard: Well, not the school. I didn't feel welcome there.

3) (In this panel, Rudyard looks at Woolma.)

Rudyard: And certainly not the government. That's why we left—we wanted to be free from oppression. To answer your question, Woolma, no, I don't miss Africa at all. But I'm glad I went back there, because I missed my family.

4) (Rudyard lays down on the grass.)

Rudyard: Well, there was another reason why we decided to live here. Dad just told me this.

Woolma: Oh? What's that?

5) (Rudyard closes his eyes and smirks.)

Rudyard: Dad told me that whenever he needed to locate a military school that would take William away, he'd think of America first!

Woolma: (giggles loudly) Ohhh yeah! How very clever!

6) (Rudyard sits up again, looks into Woolma's eyes, and smiles. Woolma smiles in return.)

Rudyard: Wish us luck, Woolma.

Woolma: We all are, darling lion. You can count on that.