Trevor and Gretel
Saturday, October 7, 2000
(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)
Here is a story about family and about feelings and also about non-profit fundraising. It's called "Hansel and Gretel"......
GK: Once upon a time . . . [SAWING WOOD] there lived a woodcutter . . .
TR: (SAWING STOPS) A forest products resource person, actually. (SAWING RESUMES)
GK: . . . a forest products resource person and his wife . . .
SS: Second wife.
GK: . . . his second wife; the stepmother.
SS: Secondary caregiver, actually.
[DRAMATIC MUSIC STING]
GK: And two children; Hansel . . .
TR: I'm changing my name to Sean. I hate Hansel.
GK: . . . Sean and his sister Gretel.
SS : Who did not get along whatsoever.
GK: Who did not get along whatsoever.
TR: You're so incredibly dumb.
SS: Takes one to know one.
TR: Oh, shut up.
SS: You shut up.
TR: I'll shut up the minute you shut up.
SS: I already did shut up.
TR: Did not.
SS: Shut up!
GK: One day the forest products resource person came home from his job.....
TR: Hi honey, I'm home.
SS: Listen. We need to talk. These brats of yours. They're driving me nuts. The fighting! the constant whining! And besides that I hate living here. I am not a forest person. I told you that.
TR: Well, I've been working, gathering forest products, so we can build a retirement account.
SS: I can't wait any longer. I saw an ad for a beach house, and I cashed in the children's college savings accounts and put a down payment on the house and bought us plane tickets. Two tickets. One-way. Non-refundable.
TR: But what about Hansel and Gretel?
SS: Sean and Gretel? We'll ditch em in the woods.
TR: Ditch em???? Winter will be here soon. The forest will be full of snow. It'll be 50 below.
SS: I know it seems harsh, but you know ---- whatever doesn't break you, makes you sTRonger. There've been studies done on children abandoned in the woods in winter and they show that, after ten years or so, the kids are better than ever.
TR: I don't know if I can do it.
SS: In ten years, they'll thank you for doing it.
GK: So that day the forest products resource person took Sean and Gretel into the woods-----
TR: Trevor and Gretel. I changed my mind. I like Trevor better.
GK: He took Trevor and Gretel into the woods----
TR: We're going to look for Morels, kids. You head that way and I'll go this-----
GK: And he snuck back to the parking lot and drove away. (CAR PULLS AWAY) A few hours later.....
TR: Hi dad. We're back. Didn't see the car in the parking lot so we caught a bus.
SS: Here's the Morels, Dad.
TR: We wouldn't ever have found our way home but luckily there was a big bag of croutons in the trunk of your car and it had a hole in it....
SS: And we followed the trail home.....
GK: The resource person wanted to keep the children, but the secondary caregiver insisted he ditch them again.....
SS: Listen. These kids need a wilderness experience to teach them to work together and give them a sense of empathy toward people in distress, like themselves.
GK: So he took Trevor and Gretel very deep into the woods.
TR (BOY): Wow. This is incredible. No roads, no sign of civilization, and look ---- my pocket G.P.S. doesn't even work! Dad??? Dad??? (ECHO) Dad??
SS: Dad's gone, Trevor. We're on our own now. We need to set aside our differences and work together to accomplish our goals. Instead of just running around in circles like you always do, you big dummy.
TR: Okay. Whatever.
GK: The children wandered through the forest for days----- (BRUSH, TWIGS, FOOTSTEPS)
SS: Boy, this is turning out to be a real growth experience. Three whole days we've been together and you haven't said one stupid jerky thing to me the whole time. It's like you've finally almost become a decent human being for a change.
GK: Finally, they came upon a little cottage in a clearing. The cottage was made of gingerbread and candy. They were so hungry, they started eating it by the fistfuls. [EATING NOISES] And just then, the front door opened . [CREAKING DOOR] and out stepped an Old Witch. [STING]
TK (DRACULA): Actually, a witch surrogate. But it begins with a letter that comes right before W.
GK: Out stepped an old vampire.
TK: I prefer to use the term "alternative life form". (EVIL LAUGH)
GK: The alternative life form stepped out and said:
TK Hello, children. I have been waiting for you. Come in. You look hungry. I'm hungry too. (EVIL LAUGH)
SS: You look familiar. Have I seen you on television?
TK: Come in. I won't harm you.
GK: And the children went inside. [DOOR CLOSING AND LATCHING]
TR: Hey. Nice place. I love the chandelier. (BATS FLYING) And you've got neat pets, too. So---- what's for dinner?
TK: You are!!! [MANIACAL LAUGH]
GK: And with that, the alternative life form threw Trevor into a cage.
TR: Ouch, that hurts. (DOOR SLAM)
TK : Shut up! I don't care to listen to people who are beneath me in the food chain.
SS: [to herself] Where have I heard that voice . . . ? It's so familiar.
TK: And you, little girl----- catch me some bats. I need an appetizer.
SS: I'm sorry, Trevor. It looks like this is curtains for you. I just want to say that the past few days in the forest getting to know you has been an experience I'll always remember, even after you're gone.
TR: Oh, go stuff it.
TK: Speaking of stuffing ---- here. Eat these bread crumbs. And have some sage, too. I love a good fat boy with stuffing.
TR: I hate bread crumbs.
TK It doesn't matter. Come here. Look up in the air. Let me make sure your neck is clean.
GK: And Gretel snuck up behind the alternative life form and just as he or it was about to sink its fangs into TRevor, she hit him over the head with a silver skillet. (BWANNNGGG) (VAMPIRE PAIN) And she opened the oven door. (ROAR OF FLAMES)
TR: Shove him in the oven! (BIG EFFORT. VAMPIRE SHRIEKS. OVEN DOOR CLANGS SHUT)
GK: The monster was dead. To celebrate, the children jumped up and down and ordered pizza and pay-per-view movies (MOVIE AUDIO. SEXY SCENE) and made a number of long distance crank phone calls.
TR: Is your refrigerator running? Ha ha ha ha ha.
GK: And in the cellar they found a treasure trove of jewels and gold and credit cards.
TR: We're rich! We're rich! (JEWELS)
SS: Let's go home and find Father so we can all live happily ever after.
TR: Why would we want to share this with him? He dumped us in the woods.
SS: Isn't that how it's supposed to end?
TR: Why? We can stay right here. We have everything we need.
GK: So Trevor and Gretel stayed in the gingerbread house with all of the jewels and gold and lived happily ever after, for the most part, though of course they still had some issues. Gretel had nightmares in which the vampire talked to her. (TK VAMPIRE IN DREAM: Was that nice? Shoving me in the oven? A person with a bodily fluid abuse problem?)
SS Maybe he's right. I feel guilty. I should've found a vampire program for him. Where they put you on gamma globulin.
TR: I still have dreams about being locked up in the cage. Psychologically I think I'm still in that cage. It's a cage I made myself.
SS: Did you know that when you pushed the vampire in the oven, you did a very sTRange thing. You yelled, "Die, Mother, Die!"
TR: I did???
SS: You don't remember.
TR: I don't know, Gretel. Maybe if we'd been able to accept our dad for who he was, a forest products resource person with needs of his own, maybe we'd still be a family . . .
SS: We need to stop the pain. Stop the hurting and begin the healing. And find closure.
TR: I need closure.
SS: We both do. I have a dream, Trevor. I want to turn this gingerbread house into an interpretive center and use some of the jewels and gold to hire a staff and make a parking lot so we can open the house to the public and people can come here and learn more about childhood.
TR: I want to be your partner, Gretel. And I want to be your friend. But would you mind calling me.....Brent?
SS: I'd be happy to, Brent. I could sure use a big hug right now. (THEY HUG)
GK: And so, Brent and Gretel lived happily ever after. They wrote a best-selling memoir called "Our Forest Our Selves" and the gingerbread house was named a National Historic Landmark and they hired a wonderful development person who raised a lot of money for them.
TK (VAMPIRE): Our goal is to build an endowment fund so that all children can be admitted absolutely free! Yes! All children!!! Come in! We'd love to see you!!!
[MUSIC PLAY OFF]
(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor