RUGRATS: ZUCCHINI UNDER THE STARS FADE IN: Lush green leaves. We're right among them. We can see and hear them growing. A hand pushes through and wrestles with something large and green. EXT. PICKLE'S BACKYARD - AFTERNOON DIDI PICKLE kneels in the garden. She pulls a zucchini out of an overgrown garden bed. Beside her is a basket already filled with zucchini. Didi sweats in the hot sun. O.S. A door SLAMS. DIDI (calling out) Stu, I can't keep up with this zucchini. Will you take some to Betty? STU PICKLE, fuming, makes his way across the lawn. He struggles under the weight of a cardboard box. STU This has gone far enough. Can't a man leave his car unlocked for five minutes without coming back to find this in the front seat? He glares at the box as he drops it in front of Didi. The box is filled with zucchini. DIDI What am I going to do with it all? Maybe I'll make zucchini boats for dinner tonight. Didi gets up and carries her basket of zucchini toward the house. Reluctantly, Stu picks up his box again and follows her. STU (under his breath) Shoulda thrown 'em in the garbage when I had the chance. EXT. ZUCCHINI PATCH - SAME An unseen zucchini grows deep within the zucchini patch, hidden by leaves. It's enormous, and getting bigger by the second. EXT. PICKLE'S BACKYARD - SAME The RUGRATS - Chuckie, Tommy, Phil, and Lil - play in the yard near the zucchini patch. Chuckie's eyes are wide. CHUCKIE Did you hear that? She's gonna make boats outta zoo keys. PHIL At least that means we won't hafta eat 'em. TOMMY If she's gonna make a boat, she should use that one over there. He points. From Tommy's low POV, we see that the zucchini is now bursting forth from the leaf cover at an alarming rate. It's at least as big as Phil and Lil put together. CHUCKIE Oh, no. What if she makes us eat it? LIL She'll mash it up for me an' put it in the airplane spoon! We gotta hide it! PHIL She'll see for sure. It's gettin' bigger. The zucchini grows, creaking. CHUCKIE I'm not eatin' that. Uh-uh. Blech. DIDI (O.S.) Maybe I'll make zucchini cake for the kids. Chuckie's eyes bug out, and his tongue ejects grossly. DIDI (O.S.) (CONT'D) I wonder if zucchini ice cream would be good. CHUCKIE You guys, we gotta be brave. TOMMY Let's get that zoo key outta here before she thinks of anythin' else. LIL Why is it called a zoo key? CHUCKIE Maybe we should take it to the zoo. (beat) Where is the zoo? TOMMY There're a lotta animals at the river, and Mommy'll never find it there. EXT. ZUCCHINI PATCH - MOMENTS LATER The patch has turned into a jungle canopy above the Rugrats' heads. Tommy enters, Indiana-Jones-like, hefting a heavy rock, blankie slung over his shoulder like a lariat. TOMMY We gotta cut it and roll it outta here. You guys ready? No response. Tommy turns around. No one has followed him into the jungle. TOMMY (CONT'D) You guys wanna be eating this for dinner? Timidly, Chuckie pokes his head through the leaves. CHUCKIE I don't like this place. It's spooky. TOMMY Not as spooky as zoo key ice cream. Tommy eyes the zucchini, which begins making SUPERNATURAL SOUNDS as it grows. Tommy ties the rock into a corner of his blanket, then twirls it in the air. When he lets the rock end go, it sails over the zucchini stem and whips neatly around it several times, creating a fast anchor. TOMMY AS INDIANA JONES squints up at the stem. Resolutely, he grabs onto the end of the rope blankie and begins climbing. As he nears the stem, the CREAKING becomes louder. CLOSE ON The stem splitting from Tommy's weight. Just as Tommy reaches the top and grabs onto the stem, it breaks, sending Tommy down to the ground. TOMMY AS TOMMY lies in a limp bundle, whimpering softly. The others crowd around him. CHUCKIE Tommy, are you okay? LIL You're so brave... Tommy lies dazed on the shaded earth. He manages a nod and slowly clambers to his feet. CHUCKIE Now we jus' gotta finger out how to get it away from here. They all stare solemnly at the zucchini. PHIL Guess we all gotta push. LIL Which way? Tommy's got his salsa back. AS INDIANA AGAIN, he points with authority. TOMMY We gotta get it across the neighbor's yard. LIL (crying) We'll never get it over there. I'll be eating this zoo key 'til kinnergarden. TOMMY We can do it. Tommy leads the way, slashing vegetation with his bullwhip. The others labor to roll the zucchini along. The zucchini stands taller than any of them. CHUCKIE Boy, this thing is heavy. Sweat leaps from their foreheads as they trammel through the jungle. A deep RUMBLING is heard as the zucchini moves. Thankfully, it has stopped growing. EXT. JUNGLE - LATER The zucchini and its slaves have stopped for a breather. CHUCKIE (more stuffed up than usual) Ungh. Tobby, I can't go eddy further. I jus' can't. I thing I'b ajerlic to this jungle. TOMMY I'll go scout around and look for the best way. He disappears. Chuckie, Phil, and Lil huddle in the shadow of the massive squash. Strange noises emanate from the thick foliage of the jungle. Loud BIRDS, low CROAKS, and something that sounds a little intimidating. Twigs SNAP. Chuckie and the twins tremble and hold one another. CHUCKIE Shhh... I hear somethin'. With bated breath, they listen. Whatever it is, it's coming closer... But it's just Tommy returning from his scouting. Chuckie and the twins sigh with relief. TOMMY We gotta push it through these trees and then through the fence. PHIL AND LIL AND CHUCKIE Fence?! Tommy pushes aside some foliage to reveal A STURDY FENCE. Chuckie plops down on his butt with a pathetic cry. CHUCKIE I can't push this zoo key over that fence. I'll dever do it. TOMMY Not over. Through. Now, hurry, it's getting dark. CHUCKIE Baybe that's cuz the sun can't shine id here. They begin rolling the zucchini again. LIL Are we gonna push the whole fence down? TOMMY I'll show you. He steps up to the fence, and with a grunt, dislodges one of the boards. CHUCKIE I got dews for you, Tobby: that (pointing at the fence gap) Is smaller thad that. (pointing at the zuke) TOMMY It'll fit. Let's line it up. GRUNTING and GROANING, the kids manage to get the zucchini in line. TOMMY (CONT'D) Now push. They all push. TOMMY (CONT'D) Push harder! The zucchini SCREECHES and SQUEAKS as it slides against the lumber of the fence. With a POP, the two surrounding fence planks burst free, and the zuccini rockets into the neighboring yard. The momentum causes the kids to go tumbling after. They land in a pile beside the zucchini. Chuckie SNIFFLES a giant sniffle. CHUCKIE (speaking normally again) That's better. INT. PICKLE HOME - SAME Didi stands at the kitchen counter reading a cookbook. She is surrounded by piles of zucchini. Stu peers warily around a door jamb and looks at her. DIDI Mmm. Zucchini pancakes. Stud's hands go up to cover his ears. STU Argh! I'll be happy if I never see another zucchini in my life. He disappears from the doorway. Didi smiles to herself. EXT. NEIGHBOR'S YARD - MOMENTS LATER Tommy scans the horizon, figuring out where to head next. At the edge of the neighbor's yard is a row of trees. Tommy points toward it. TOMMY Onward, troops! EXT. HILLSIDE - MOMENTS LATER The zucchini rests precariously at the top of a small hill. The kids can now see the river. It bends and meanders, moving leisurely, as we imagine the Mississippi might have moved under Huck's raft. TOMMY Cowabunga! They all push at once, and the zucchini begins rolling, slowly at first, down the steep bank. It gathers speed, RUMBLING. Small trees, bushes, and flowers are slammed into the earth by the force. Nothing can stand in its way. Until it hits a boulder at the water's edge. The moment of exultation is shattered as the zucchini makes contact. SMACK. Miraculously, the zucchini doesn't turn into a mess of pulp, but splits neatly down the middle, forming two halves that look remarkably like...canoes. CHUCKIE It is like a boat. LIL If it's a boat, then we don't hafta eat it. Do we? In silence, they all stare down the slope at the river and the broken zucchini. Then... SNAP. SNAP. Something is coming toward them. Something big, breaking twigs left and right. And this time, it's not Tommy. The kids' necks swivel to stare into the dense foliage. A JUNGLE SAVAGE bursts from the cover of the leaves. She's got wild hair and face paint. Feathers adorn her head and arms and legs. She carries a deadly-looking bow and arrow. It's ANGELICA. ANGELICA (yelling) Whatcha doin' way out here, ya zeroes? Chuckie shakes in his shoes, ready to crawl under a rock. TOMMY We were just gettin' rid of this zoo key. ANGELICA I don't care whatcha were doin'. You're in my way! Angelica raises her bow and begins to draw an arrow from her quiver. ANGELICA (CONT'D) Time to show a little fear, playpen rats! This situation doesn't require much thought. Chuckie, Tommy, Phil, and Lil run as fast as they can down the hill toward the zucchini. TOMMY (catching breaths) Go for the zoo key. We're gonna find out if she floats. Angelica follows, in hot pursuit. TOMMY (CONT'D) Let's push her in the water. CHUCKIE (glancing over his shoulder) Her? TOMMY No. (points at the zuke) Her. The four jungle explorers reach the zucchini and begin moving one of the halves into the water. TOMMY (CONT'D) Climb on! Phil, Lil, and Chuckie perch precariously on the mushy inside of the zucchini. Just as the zucchini kisses the land goodbye, Tommy grabs a big stick, climbs onto the zucchini, and pushes the makeshift boat away from the land. ANGELICA Wait'll I catch ya, ya pamperpuffs! She tries to push the other half of the zucchini into the water so she can pursue, but she's not strong enough to do it alone. In frustration, she gives the zucchini a swift kick. ANGELICA (CONT'D) Ow! She clutches her toe. EXT. THE BOAT It's a mess. The kids sit in a wallow of pulp and seeds. TOMMY Start scoopin'. This boat's too heavy. They exhausted twins halfheartedly scoop. INT. PICKLE HOME - DUSK Didi stands at the counter stuffing half zucchinis with...stuff. It's a mystery. DIDI (calling) Stu... Stu! Could you go check on the kids? I haven't heard a peep out of them since I came in. EXT. PICKLE'S BACKYARD - MOMENTS LATER Stu emerges, disgruntled, from the house. He scans the yard. Nothing. EXT. TREE - MOMENTS LATER Stu checks behind and in a tree. Nothing. He scratches his head. EXT. GATE - A FEW MINUTES LATER Stu checks the latch on the gate. It's fast. INT. PICKLE HOME - DUSK The back door opens, and Stu enters. Something's not right with him. Didi is too absorbed in her cookbook to notice. STU I can't find them. DIDI Can't find what, dear? STU The kids. DIDI You lost the kids? STU I didn't lose them. I just can't find them. You were the one out there with them. DIDI Did you check the zucchini patch? They were playing near there. She glowers at the vast array of zucchini in front of her. DIDI (CONT'D) (to the zucchini) This is all your fault. STU They're probably just hiding. Didi heads out the back door. STU (CONT'D) (off the zucchini) If I were smart, I'd hide, too. EXT. RIVER - EVENING The zucchini boat (the SS Zoo Key) drifts downstream. We can't see anyone in the boat, but every other second, a big clod of zucchini seed vaults over the edge of the boat and into the river. EXT. JUNGLE - SAME Angelica the Savage has not given up. She may be on land, but she still has her super-arrows. Quietly, she prowls through the jungle, keeping the boat in her sight as she heads downstream. EXT. RIVER - LATER Covered with zucchini goop, Tommy finally stops scooping and perches in the front of the boat. The others quit scooping, too, and stare out at the passing scenery. On both sides of them, there is nothing but jungle. It's almost dark, and eerie EVENING NOISES fill the air. Chuckie kneels at the back of the boat and watches the river recede behind them. Sighing, he rests his head on his arm. EXT. JUNGLE - A FEW MINUTES LATER Angelica the Savage has outstripped the boat, and she waits downriver for her targets. The boat nears. Angelica raises her bow, reaches for her arrow... EXT. RIVER - SAME Chuckie chooses this moment to stand up and reach for a flower hanging from a nearby vine. EXT. JUNGLE - SAME Angelica's arrow is raised, ready to fire. ANGELICA'S POV As she zooms in on one after the other of the kids crouched in the canoe. Chuckie is just begging for it. He's on his tiptoes now, reaching, reaching... Angelica lets the arrow go. ANGELICA (laughing maniacally) That'll teach ya, ya droolboxes! EXT. RIVER - SAME The arrow WHIZZES through the air and smacks Chuckie squarely in the back. It's a suction arrow, we realize. A typical kids' toy. The impact of the arrow is enough to topple the unsuspecting Chuckie over the edge of the boat and into the cold river with a SPLASH. A second later, he surfaces, SPLUTTERING, glasses lost. CHUCKIE Help! Phil and Lil rush to the edge of the boat in alarm. They lean out into the growing darkness. LIL Chuckie, don't drown! TOMMY Hold on! Tommy ties a loop in his blankie and tosses it out to Chuckie like a life preserver. But with his glasses lost, Chuckie can't see a thing. CHUCKIE'S POV Hazy shapes move quickly, barely distinguishable against the dusky sky. Chuckie's arms splash frantically. CHUCKIE I can't see. Tommy thinks for a moment, then reels his blankie in. He twirls it like a lasso. He can barely see Chuckie now. The light is fading fast. TOMMY We're gonna save you. Hold your arm up. Taking in water, Chuckie manages to hold his arm up in the air for a second. That's all Tommy needs. The lasso loop sails through the air and falls neatly over Chuckie's hand. Just in time. The last bit of light fades. LIL We got you, Chuckie. Tommy, Phil, and Lil tug on the rope until they are able to reel Chuckie in. Darkness has saved them from Angelica's arrows, but now they can't see what they are passing, or what lies ahead. All they can see is the stars above them. EXT. ZUCCHINI PATCH - SAME Didi and Stu peer into the leaves of the zucchini patch, holding flashlights. DIDI My goodness. There are some zucchinis I missed. They like to hide. Stu gets a pained expression at the mention of the vegetable. The leaves have grown up to Didi's waist. She wades around, calling out. DIDI (CONT'D) Chuckie! Phil! Suddenly, Didi is scared out of her gourd by Angelica, who bursts forth from the foliage with a WHOOP. ANGELICA Hahahahahaha! Whoooo! Her face is covered with mud, and she brandishes her bow and suction arrow. DIDI Angelica! Get in the house! Right now! And clean yourself up! Angelica runs toward the house, ROARING, her bare feet covered in mud. Didi stares after Angelica with a befuddled expression. DIDI (CONT'D) That's unlike her... Well, the others must be in here somewhere. She shines her flashlight into the leaves. EXT. RIVER - MOMENTS LATER A shivering Chuckie huddles in the boat. All is quiet. The stars twinkle above him and his companions. CHUCKIE I wonder how far we are from home? Silence as the others stare into the night. CHUCKIE (CONT'D) (complainy) How long does this river go on? Phil and Lil hug each other. TOMMY I don't know, but I'm gonna get us home. Don't worry. But Tommy doesn't seem so sure. LIL I'd eat all the zoo keys in the world if I could be home with my mommy right now. They sail on. We can see them, but they look like ghosts, pale and insubstantial. EXT. PICKLE'S BACKYARD - SAME Didi spots the hole in the fence. It gapes like a chasm in her flashlight beam. Stu stands right behind her. DIDI Stu, I wish you'd fix this fence. Looks like the kids pulled that rotten board right off. STU How was I supposed to get to the fence with those zucchinis in my way? He follows Didi through the gap. EXT. RIVER - MOMENTS LATER Huddled in the zucchini, the children stare up at the sky. Then: from far away comes a voice, just barely audible. TOMMY Shhh! What's that? He scrambles to his feet, sending the boat rocking. He cups a hand to his ear. DIDI (O.S.) (faintly) Tommy? (nearer) Lil? The beam of the flashlight throws blinks of light over the hopeful castaways. DIDI'S POV Suddenly in the spotlight: the four children, scared and cold, hugging one another, covered in zucchini goop and seeds. DIDI (CONT'D) There you are! We see that the zucchini isn't on a river at all, but in a swampy ditch in the neighbor's yard. We hear the very real sounds of CRICKETS and FROGS. The children fall all over themselves to get out of the boat and into Didi's arms. DIDI (CONT'D) My poor dears. She stares at the zucchini. DIDI (CONT'D) Look at the size of that zucchini! STU Didi, no. No more! DIDI Don't be silly. That one's too big to eat. It's more like a carnival attraction. I wonder how they got it all this way? Tommy and Chuckie share a look. DIDI (CONT'D) I think I'd better pull all those plants up tomorrow. STU Now you're talking some sense. The children sigh with relief. Mission accomplished. FADE OUT. THE END.
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