Ranger Treasure Island
It was evening in Ranger Headquarters before Chip Maplewood made it home this night. He'd kept his destination secret from the others, which had them all curious as to what his news might be. Predictably, it was Dale who met him at the door.
"Can you tell us now? Huh, can ya, huh, can ya?" Dale asked, jumping all around him like a dog jumping for a treat. Chip had his usual response to that tactic. "Hold on, Dale! I just got out of the rain. Give me a minute to get settled!"
Indeed, the leader of the Rangers was wearing a yellow rain hat, raincoat and galoshes over his usual gear. Chip carefully put them aside on the hall tree provided for them, where the other Rangers' wet gear stood dripping. Stretching, he headed for the sofa where Monty met him with some hot tea.
"Thanks, Monty," Chip said, sipping the herbal brew. "This really hits the spot."
Monty beamed. "One of me better concoctions. Monty's Leaping Lemur Tea, a recipe I got from one of the lemur chiefs on a trip to Swaziland. So, what's the hush-hush for, lad? What's the big secret?"
Chip leaned back, crossing his legs. "Well, I didn't want to say until I knew, but now we've got the go-ahead. Last's year's Christmas play where we did 'A Christmas Carol' was such a success that they want us to do another play for the kids during the summer theater season!"
"Oboy, oboy, oboy!" Dale danced around the room. "I love plays! Which one is it? Do we have swords? Do we get to fight?" Chip had the look of someone who was about to regret the next words he'd say. "Treasure Island."
Monty gasped. "Me very favorite! Why, did I ever tell ya the story about my goin' ta Treasure Island? Jim Hawkins left the silver bars behind and since he didn't need them no more, I thought I'd help meself…"
"YEAH!" Dale shouted, swishing a pretend cutlass. "Pirates, pirates, pirates! Shiver me timbers! Avast ye swabs! Walk the plank!"
Dale and Monty got up, shadow-fighting with pretend swords while Zipper buzzed around them, caught up in the excitement. Gadget was the center of calm in the storm as usual. "Treasure Island? Golly, that sounds like fun! Why so glum about it, Chip?"
Chip shrugged. "I was just hoping for something more, well, traditional. Shakespeare, Ibsen, something like that." Dale slapped his friend on the back. "Chip, it's for the kids! They want action and excitement! The boring stuff can wait till they're older."
"I suppose. Anyway, we've got three weeks to rehearse and get ready." Chip pulled out a book from his inner jacket pocket, handing it to Dale. "Which means *you'd* better get reading, as you're the lead in this story, Jim Hawkins."
Dale took up a dramatic stance, causing Gadget and Foxglove—who had just come in from the kitchen—to giggle. "It was the best of pirate times, it was the worst of pirate times..."
Chip huffed at him, crossing his arms. "Read--the--book..."
The leader of the Rangers muttered something about 'can't believe I let them talk me into it' and shook his head as he turned his attention to the television. Dale flopped down beside him. "Chip, I was just kidding! I know this one already. It's one of my favorites. Mother and I run the Admiral Benbow Inn and one day a salty old sailor comes in, Billy Bones…"
Dale's words echoed through a time-leap forward. Now the Rangers were at the community theater, a packed house in the seats. Everyone was in costume, and Chip was about ready to go out and announce the play's beginning when Dale snagged his arm
"I don't know it anymore, Chip! It's all a blank!"
"You're just nervous, Dale," Chip said, doing his best to pry Dale's fingers off of his costume. "We've been through a dozen rehearsals and you did great. Just get past the fear and have some fun!"
"Call me Ishmael..." Dale muttered.
Chip sighed. "We're doomed," he whispered. Gadget came up and freed Chip from Dale. "Now Chip, just relax. If something goes wrong we'll just...improvise, like last year."
"This is classic literature, you don't improvise!" Chip retorted.
Monty pushed Chip out toward the stage. "Lad, there's your cue. We're on!"
"Here goes nothing..."
Chip walked out to the applause of the children. "Our story begins at the old Admiral Benbow Inn, kept by Jim Hawkins and his mother. One dark night, they received a strange visitor..."
Dale, in the character of young Hawkins, dutifully swept the floor inside the inn. Everything was quiet, save for the swish of the broom and the chipmunk's complaining. "Its so boring working at this inn! I wish we could get attacked by pirates once in a while or something."
Fifteen pirates rushed through the door. "ARRRRRRRRRRRR!"
"It's a dream come true!" Dale shouted.
Monty, in the character of Billy Bones, walked downstairs in a huff. "All right, who's the blokes who left the door open?! I'll rip 'em...er, that is...arr, what ye all be doin' here?"
Black Dog, one of the pirates (or the Pi-Rat named Stormy in this case) walked over to Monty with a piece of paper. "We come to give you the Black Spot!" Monty reeled at the words. "Black Spot! It's the bloomin' 1700's, lad! Do you know what kinda work it is, getting spots out of things? Some former friends you are!"
Dale ran offstage and came back with a label in hand. "Use all-temperature Cheer to get that black spot out!"
Chip did a dope-slap as the kids laughed. Foxglove came out in costume, along with a big tray of cookies and milk. "You can pillage and all outside, pirates. In here, we follow rules. Anyone who wants a snack break must wipe their feet and sit up straight at the table!"
Like a blur, all fifteen pirates ran outside, wiped their feet and assembled at one of the inn's long wooden tables. Monty and Dale joined them and Monty sang a pirate song.
"Fifteen men at the inn well-dressed!"
"Yo-ho-ho and a pitcher o' milk!" the pirates sang back.
"A round of cheeeese would suit me best!"
"Yo-ho-ho and a pitcher o' milk!"
As Foxglove brought some cheese, one of the pirates handed over the Black Spot, printed on a piece of paper. Monty pocketed it. "So it's the Black Spot you're puttin' on old Billy after all, eh? Well, I'll see you rot in a really hot place before I tells you where old Captain Flint's treasure be hid!"
"A really hot place, like Miami?" Dale asked.
Chip contorted angrily from offstage and Dale saw it and continued. "Uh, yeah, we get the message. You've given Billy Bones the Black Spot, so out you fellas go! Come back later to kill him, if you please."
The pirates all groaned, and now it was Black Dog who spoke up again. "Aw, but that means a lot of going and coming. Can't we do it now and get it over with?" Monty shook his head. "No, you know the pirate code. Ya gotta tell me you're gonna kill me and then go away and just expect me to still be here when you get back!"
"Arr, he's right!" said Arrvey, another Pi-Rat, in the role of Silver's crewman Mad Dog. Mad Dog cleared his throat. "Billy Bones, we'll be a-killin' you as soon as we return, and don't think of runnin' because we'll track you to the ends of the earth!"
All the pirates added in an "ARRRH!" and then left, politely wiping their feet on the doorstep on the way out. Dale went over to the worried-looking Monty, and the pirate-mouse took him aside. "Thanks for the reprieve, laddy buck, but they'll be back soon. Come upstairs with me, for I have a secret I must pass on."
Dale followed, worried. "A secret? Like the colonel's secret blend of 11 herbs and spices?"
"Not quite, young Hawkins."
Monty led the way up and into his room (visible to the audience). There, the big mouse pulled a pirate's chest into view and opened it. "This be the collected treasures of me life. I'd like to tell you all about them, but it'd take me weeks and we've only got a few minutes before the pirates come back. Here lad, take this."
Monty gave Dale a treasure map. "It's what those swabs are after, the way to Captain Flint's treasure, enough to fill this house and then some! I'll not be needing it now, so you might as well have it. Never let that map out of your sight, lad, and never let a stranger see it. It could be one of Flint's men!"
Now Monty leaned in close, as if he was about to whisper something. "And it goes double for any man with a wooden leg!" Dale saluted the old pirate. "Yes sir! Not to let anyone see it, no way, no how." Dale tucked the map inside his shirt. "Now I gotta get a ship, a crew and get to the Treasure Island!"
Monty grabbed him by the arm. "Not so fast, lad. When they come back, they'll be looking to loot Flint's map from me. You take the back door and don't stop until you get to the shipyards. Go and see Captain Smollet of the Hispanola. He's as straight as they come, if a bit rule-bound. Him and that pretty first mate of his'll do right by you."
"But what about you?" Dale asked, worried. "Run away, and live to run away another day! And by the way, how much treasure are we talking about here?"
The kids laughed and Monty stretched out his arms in emphasis. "Enough to buy your own fleet, young Hawkins! As for me, it's too late. The Pirate Code demands I die today, and who am I to argue with the code? But hark, they come! Down the back stairs with you!"
Dale took to his heels and ran down the hall and down the alternate pair of stairs, headed outside. He paused, seeming to wish he could say goodbye to his mother. Monty walked back into the inn where the pirates were waiting. "I'm ready, lads."
Black Dog pulled out a tape measure for some reason. "Can we dress him like a bunny and dip him in chocolate this time?" Mad Dog shook his head. "Arr, the code says we have to keelhaul 'im!"
"Er, why don't we try somethin' different fer a change?" Monty suggested, gulping. "Instead of keelhauling, how about port or starboard hauling?"
Dale walked in the front door and right into the middle of the room, disguised as a pirate. "I say we let him go." Everyone turned and looked at the one who said it and Mad Dog frowned at him. "Arr, but that goes against the code!"
The little red-nosed pirate crossed his arms. "Do any of *you* want to clean the keel up after we're done?"
That set off a big argument among the pirates, then Mad Dog walked over to Monty. "All right, Billy Bones, we'll let you live. But you've got to set sail this very day and never return. If the cap'n knew, he'd make us walk the plank!"
Dale could see Chip offstage pulling his fur out. "Uh, yeah! And we better get while the gettin's good!" Dale grabbed Monty's arm and pulled him toward the door. "Come, Billy! To the, uh, nowhere that would in any way involve sailing for buried treasure!"
"Oh, yeah, right! To the Library!"
The kids laughed again as Monty and Dale left and Black Dog looked puzzled. "Library? What kind of ship's the Library?" Mad Dog scratched his head. "Arr, must be one of them new British packets. Come, find the map!"
The pirates went upstairs to search Monty's room but found nothing. Mad Dog pulled out his cutlass. "The pirate code says you have to give up a treasure map when you're under the black spot. The lad, he must have it! Search everywhere!"
As the pirates searched inside and out, the curtain closed on the Admiral Benbow Inn to signal the end of act one. The kids cheered and screamed, clapping. Dale poked his head out and took a quick bow before Chip jerked him back behind the curtain.
"What do you mean, doing all those ad libs and all!" Chip ranted. "You were supposed to go by the script!" Dale wasn't fazed. "Chip, those kids enjoy our goofing around more than they'd ever enjoy a word for word adaptation."
Monty pulled Chip aside. "No time for buts, mate. Gotta get in costume for the next scene!"
Chip walked off with Monty, trying to plead his case. In a few minutes, the curtain opened again, this time at the shipyard. A big ship filled the background with the placard Hispanola clearly legible. Sailors were going up and down the gangplank. On the dock, the Hispanola's first mate, Gadget, was directing where the cargo was to be placed. Dale and Monty walked into view, stopping in front of the busy seaman.
"Uh, hi there! This your ship?" Dale asked.
Gadget, as the character of Mister Arrow, responded. "Well, not exactly. I'm the first mate and I keep things running smooth. Want to see my collection of astrolabes?"
Dale wished he'd remembered to look that word up. "No, but we do need to hire a ship." Monty stepped up front and center. "Let us on board and we'll make our pitch."
"Pitch?" Gadget said, her eyelids narrowing. "You're not salesmen, are you?"
Dale pulled out the treasure map. "No way! We're out to sail for a huge, big heaping load of buried treasure, and—mmpf!"
The kids laughed as Monty pulled Dale aside. "Not so loud, lad. You'll have the whole shipyard on us!" Gadget for her part was intrigued. "Golly, buried treasure? That sounds exciting!"
From the ship, the captain called, "Mister Arrow, cargo is secure! Prepare to come aboard!" Dale and Monty looked at each other as Gadget saluted back and Dale tapped her on the shoulder. "Uh, why'd he call you 'Mister Arrow' when you're a girl?"
"Oh," Gadget said, "that's because of the backward hiring practices of the day. They said they wouldn't hire anyone with a girl's name so I changed it to 'Mister Arrow' and they hired me on in a jif! If you're interested in sailing for that treasure you'd better talk to the captain right away. Follow me!"
Monty and Dale followed Gadget up the gangplank. The mouse first mate was wearing a lace-accented doublet with form-fitting pantaloons and the requisite wide-brim sailor's hat and pistol. She got some wolf-whistles from the sailors on the dock as she walked off, but it didn't seem to faze her. When Monty asked about it, she shrugged
"I don't know, they're always doing that. I guess they could be practicing for some kind of whistling competition or something."
"Or something," Dale said, winking to the kids in the audience.
They entered the captain's cabin, an ode to neatness. Every single picture, knick-knack and piece of paper was in its place. Behind his immaculate desk sat Chip in the role of Captain Smollett, writing something in his ship's log.
"Visitors for you, Captain Smollett," Gadget said. "They want to dig for buried treasure!"
Chip didn't look up at first, using a quill pin to record his thoughts as he spoke. "Captains... log. I... amaboutto... boldly go, where no one... hasgonebefore!" That got the kids laughing again and Chip shared a meaningful wink with Dale. "Greetings, all of you. I am told... there is... a map?"
Monty crossed his arms, leering at Dale. "Blabbermouth."
The audience laughed again as Dale partially brought it out. "Uh, yeah, but don't tell anyone else or we'll have to end up splitting the rest of the treasure with everyone in England or something. We'd sort of like to get going, as there's this not-so-happy bunch of pirates around that sort of think they should own the map."
"Then let us... go!" Chip said. "Mister Arrow...prepare for sail factor nine!"
Gadget had to stifle a giggle. "But captain, we can't do that! The ship will break apart!" Chip stood up, not amused. "Well then, start her on porpoise power and once we're up to speed give her full sail for...uh, where is it we're going, anyway?"
Dale pulled out the map, making sure no one but he could see it. "Okay, we're headed for a spot on the map...and we're over here on this green blobbly thing and then we go over here through this blue stuff and...uh, anyone got a compass?"
Chip snatched the map away to more laughs, reading it then locking it in the ship's safe—which, considering it was built by the first mate, was quite safe indeed. "Set course 225, mark zero. Prepare to raise the anchor—thrusters at your command, Mister Arrow."
Gadget left the stage and a moment later all the actors moved so as to give the impression of a sudden jerk. "And we're away!" Chip said. "Now, I don't know this crew I've hired. I had thought I was getting academy graduates, not these unwashed masses of rodentia. We must... be on our guard!"
"Where'd you get them, then?" Monty asked.
"Off the Monster job board."
Dale and Monty turned to look at him. Chip saw their confusion. "No, it's a real board made of wood back in...oh, nevermind. Forward!"
As the Hispanola sailed off-stage toward the right, the two travelers walked to the rear of the ship. Monty breathed in the fresh salt air. "Well mate, we're off to seek our fortunes. Thanks for sticking up for me."
"No problem," Dale said. "I have a feeling our worst problems are all behind us..."
As the ship continued on, a bunch of pirates behind Monty and Dale growled and showed their knives. The curtain fell on act two, and the children applauded wildly. Offstage Chip gave Dale a stern look. "Okay smarty, how are we going to explain Long John Silver being on board with Billy Bones here? They'll recognize each other! Jim Hawkins is supposed to become friends with Silver and later be betrayed by him."
"Pff!" Dale huffed. "We'll do it the same way they do it in all the comic books."
"What, kill off one of the characters and bring them back in a hipper, more X-treme form?"
Dale wrote on one of the scripts and handed it over to Monty, who'd just come up. "There! Now, that's what you say and do. Capish?" Monty studied the paper twisting it this way and that. "Well yeah, I guess that'll work..."
"What?" Chip asked. "Dale, I'm not letting you out there without knowing—"
"Curtain, everyone!" Gadget said.
But it was too late. Dale and the rest were going onstage, and Chip shook his head and reluctantly followed. As the curtain rose, Dale and Monty were on deck when Gadget came over to speak with them. "The captain says you have to earn your keep on this voyage. Go and help the cook out down below."
"Does the captain realize that I burn things?" Dale asked.
Dale and Monty shrugged and headed down. The curtain closed briefly then opened to show them heading into the ship's galley. Monty stopped at the doorway and pointed, alarmed.
"Stripe me starkers! Why that's—"
At that moment, someone slammed the door from behind, hitting Monty in the back of the head. "Billy!" Dale shouted. "Uh, Mr. Bones, you all right?"
Monty got up, rubbing his head. "Sure lad. Now, as I was sayin', that's...that's...I can't rightly remember what I was going to say. Oh well, best be getting to work. Looks like that cook could use some help."
Dale turned to see the cook, a large mouse close to Monty's size. He had a wooden leg (with his real one cleverly hidden) and at the moment was sitting down, peeling potatoes. The fellow, namely one Jolly Rogers in the role of Long John Silver, took on a jovial air as they approached.
"Arrgh!" Long John said. "Welcome to the galley of the Hispanola! I be Long John Silver, ship's cook extraordinaire. And who might you two buckos be?"
"Hi, I'm young Jim Hawkins and this is much older Billy Bones," Dale said. "We're on our way to... an island with no treasure on it whatsoever." Dale looked at the wooden leg, appearing to remember what Billy Bones had told him.
"Nice ta meet ye fellas," Long John said, and saw Dale looking at the wooden leg. "Ah, this be me wooden leg, named Fred." Monty spoke up. "What's the—nah, been done too many times. Say, you look sorta familiar-like, but I can't seem ta place you."
"You don't remember nothin'?" Long John asked.
"Only the past few days, right now. Have we met before?"
The cook relaxed noticeably at the question. "Have we? Why, who pulled you out of that scrape in the Azores, and nursed ye back to health? T'was your old friend Silver, and none other!"
"Nope, don't remember none of it," Monty said. "I do recall somethin' about Zanzibar and some cheese though."
Dale whispered in Monty's ear, "Focus, Monty, focus!"
Silver handed them potatoes to peel. "You two'll do fine, a pair of tried-and-true seaman! Now, what's this about the treasure we're not going to look for?"
"Uh yeah," Dale said, trying to look innocent. "We don't have a map to a non-existant island not called Skull Island." Monty nodded. "Yeah, nothing a bunch of blood thirsty murderin' pirates would want to mutiny over and such. Just a bunch of... islandy stuff."
Dale nodded back. "Yeah, we're gonna have a luau, eat poi, roast a pig, dance the hula." Long John kept on with his preparations. "Sounds like a right fun time, mateys. If you'll be fetchin' me a pail of water from the lee-deck, I'll be getting these potatoes ready to boil."
Monty and Dale left, and from every nook and cranny the pirates appeared. Mad Dog as usual was first with his opinion. "Arrgh! Skull Island, Silver! They have Flint's map!"
"Of course they have it!" the pirate captain said. "But lay low for now, all of ye! When the time's right, we'll lay hold of this packet and the map and Flint's treasure will be ours!"
At that, they heard the sounds of Monty and Dale returning and the pirates disappeared like a ghostly blur. Long John finished putting his potatoes into a big stew pot. "Ah, fine, fine! Now bring the water over, and we'll be set for a fine feast this evening. Billy lad, you go on up. Me and the young seaman here will answer for supper."
Then Dale noticed something he'd overlooked. "Oh, sorry, I completely didn't notice you have a parrot. What's his name?" The cook turned and looked to his left shoulder, where Zipper was sitting, dressed up as a parrot. "Aye, he's a bit small for a parrot but a truer mate you'll never find. Cap'n Flint, say hello to the little swab."
"Buzz bz bzzzz!"
"What'd he say?" Dale asked.
"He said 'pieces of eight', clear as day," Long John said. "You need your hearing checked, lad. Now, what brings a bright young lad like you out to sea? Looking for fame and adventure, eh?"
Dale shook his head. "No, of course not! I'm not looking for that or mountains of treasure or anything of value. I just like being seasick and stuck on a boat with pirates."
"No better life, is it lad?" Silver said, turning toward him. "But what gives you the notion there's pirates on this here ship? Why, we're all honest and hard-working seamen here. Now, be helping me to stir the stew and we'll give this ship a meal to remember!"
The curtain closed again, and the kids showed their approval. Chip was waiting for Dale offstage. "You see, you see?" Dale said. "Everything went perfect and now we're all set up for the big mutiny!"
Chip reluctantly agreed. "Okay, okay. The kids are enjoying it, so for their sakes I'm playing along." Gadget was really getting into her role. "We could reach the island faster if I create a fusion reactor to turn the hydrogen in the water into fuel for the nuclear generator."
Foxglove sidled up to Chip. "When do I get to kiss the handsome captain and be carried off into the sunset in his arms?" Chip blushed slightly. "Uh, that would have come near the end—assuming there's not too many rewrites!"
The last comment was aimed at Dale and he just shrugged and grinned. The curtain came back up, and now all were gathered in the ship's mess for the evening meal. Even Long John had come, once he'd served out, now dressed in a fine seaman's outfit.
"Aye," the wily cook said, "it does a soul good to see his captain enjoying his meal. Do try the steamed acorns, sir. A better treat you'll never find in any of the seven seas! Captain? Now where did that chipmunk go?"
Chip swaggered onto stage, posing overdramatically as he looked over the meal and tasted the food. "These acorns...arefantastic...Mr. Silver. My....compliments."
The kids laughed as Foxglove waved first to the audience and then at Chip. Even Silver had to compose himself somewhat. "Glad you enjoyed it sir. Because I regret to inform ye that it's your last meal as captain of this here ship. Lads!"
From the door to the captain's mess came the pirates, cutlasses and pistols drawn. In a few moments, all the loyal crew was under Silver's control.
"What's the meaning of this?" Chip demanded.
"I'd think it'd be plain enough, laddy buck," the pirate said. "We're taking control of this here ship and came the dawn we're off to find Flint's treasure at Skull Island!"
"You're in tribble...trouble, mister. You cannot defeat me! Give me....a sword and let's settle this...like men!"
Long John motioned for his men to hold Chip back, which they did. "None of that, now. We'll be locking you up in here and trust you won't try anything foolish like an escape. The sharks love the meat of a foolish seaman. Night, captain sir!"
The pirates walked out, laughing, after taking all the crew's weapons with them. Gadget spoke first. "Golly, we're captured on our own ship! And there's no way out of here except that large porthole that leads to the captain's dory right below it. What'll we do?"
"First we need a dictionary to find out what a 'dory' is…" Dale said.
"Second, we need a beautiful alien woman for me to fall in love with," Chip said.
"I can start telling stories about my being in similar situations," Monty said.
"And I could say 'golly' and invent stuff!" Gadget added.
An argument broke out and the curtain closed briefly. When it opened again, the crew was sill arguing and it was morning. Dale went to the porthole to look. "Hey, we've moved! We're anchored off of some island now."
Monty took a look. "This reminds me o' the time me, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and Rita Hayworth were lost in the south seas..."
"Can this mysterious dory thingy help us escape?" Dale interrupted.
Gadget looked down through the porthole at the dory. "I think so. It's a pretty big dory, so we should all fit and it's got its own sail."
"No, not Rita Hayworth, maybe it was Dorothy Lamour... or maybe it was Gertrude Stein," Monty said.
Dale felt like progress was being made somewhere. "Okay, so we've narrowed it down—the dory isn't something in this room, it's outside. It has a sale, so is it a store of some sort?"
Chip grabbed Dale's ear and pulled it and him over to the porthole. He opened it and stuck Dale's face out so he could look down. "It's a little boat! Do you see it? A little boat, already!"
"Oh, why didn't you just *call* it a boat?" Dale asked.
The kids roared at that and Dale continued. "Okay, in times like this, a wise man would ask himself, 'What would Mr. T do in this situation?' Why, we'd cover that 'Dory'—at this Dale make quote marks in the air with his fingers—from bow to stern in sheet metal and blast our way to the island, guns blazing, but at the same time not injuring any of the pirates."
Chip frowned at him. "Well, Mister Smarty Pants, we don't have any sheet metal or guns or anything that would make the pirates' lives harder. What do you say now?" Dale pointed to the porthole. "In that case we climb through the porthole and take the dory and sail to the island."
Monty took the lead. "I ever tell you guys about the time I met Buzzy, the Lord of the Flies? He lived on an island like this."
One by one, the crew climbed out the porthole and down to the captain's dory. As the last of them disappeared, the curtain dropped and the kids applauded again. Foxglove came over and hugged Chip. "Oh, you were wonderful! So forceful, so emotive! You're a natural-born actor!"
Chip took on a smug smile and flipped his hair (well, actually his powdered wig) back. "I... know, Foxglove. I... can't help it."
"Hail, the living ego!" Dale said. "C'mon Chip, we've got to get the scenery out there for the next part. Bring on the pirates! Yo ho ho!"
A minute later the curtain opened. The backdrop showed the Hispanola at the beach, while Silver and his men were gathered around reading the pirate treasure map.
"Arrgh," Silver said. "Now what's it say? I never could read Flint's hand good. Black Dog, you read it."
Black Dog took the map. "It says, 'Take my treasure and I'll bash your heads in. Signed, Captain Flint'."
"Arggh! What else does it say?"
"It says, 'I mean it'!"
As the kids laughed, the pirates muttered among themselves, wondering if they should go on. Long John drew his cutlass. "Are ye a bunch of lily-livered scalawags? I tell ye the cap'n be long dead, and we've nothing to fear. On to the treasure!"
The curtain dropped briefly, then opened again to show the crew of the Hispanola on the shore of a beach about a hundred yards off from the ship. A cave was nearby, and Dale was already scouting around. Chip looked at him, disapproving. "What do you think you're going to find here? The ship's over that way, and the pirates are who-knows-where!"
Dale kept on looking. "Then we have to get the treasure and get back to the ship before anyone notices." Gadget was ever-helpful as always. "I watched a lot of 'Gilligan's Island', so I know how to make complex machinery with coconuts and palm fronds. I could even build us an aircraft to get us out of here."
"What's an aircraft?" Chip asked.
"What? Why you know that! It's—oh wait, we're supposed to be in the 1700's. Strike that. Well, I could still rig up something."
All of them stopped as a voice echoed from the nearby cave. "Whoever ye be, I've got my gun trained on ye. No closer, or I'll fill ye with more holes than Swiss cheese!"
"Ch-cheese?" Monty said, his moustache twitching.
"Easy, Monty…" Chip whispered.
Dale took a step toward the cave. "That didn't sound very pirate-like. We're unarmed, so don't shoot!"
Gadget meanwhile was in a technological world of her own. "Hot air balloons existed as early as the 1700's, so I could theoretically build one without disrupting the time-space continuum and causing the universe to explode..."
Slowly an old seaman shuffled out of the cave. He was a gray, beaded mouse with spectacles and a cane—Young Ned of the Pi-Rats, playing the role of Ben Gunn. He did have a gun, but it looked even older than he was. By the time he was close to them, Dale and Monty had to help the old timer keep his balance.
"Thanks, youngsters," Ned said. "I figured by the sound of the voices that ye weren't pirates. I'm Ben Gunn, and I've been here many years." Ben took a look at Monty and squinted, bringing his spectacles to bear. "Billy? Why, it's Billy Bones! Ye were apprentice cook on Flint's last ship. How be ye, lad?"
A coconut suddenly fell out of a tree and landed on Monty's head. "Ow! Hey, I remember you now! Dale, watch out, the ship's cook is really Long John Silver!"
"We already know he's Long John Silver," Dale said.
"Aye, Silver the cook. But he's also Silver the pirate, the most feared buccaneer that ever got near a buck!"
Chip started at the news. "A stowaway! So that's why he and his lot would come so cheap!"
"That's what you get for trying to cut expenses, sir," Gadget said. Dale threw up his arms in frustration. "But what'll we do? The pirates have the map, and they have a big head start!"
Ned began to laugh, then cough, then hack. It really wasn't a good idea for him to laugh at that age. "Oh, I think we can beat them to the treasure yet. I know a secret about it. Come now, help me and we'll beat them at their own game."
"Canasta?" Dale asked.
Chip groaned. "Aggh!"
Dale laughed (as did the kids) as the curtain fell again. Soon it opened again, with the pirates all gathered around the base of a big palm tree. They had already dug a hole four inches down and Long John was conducting matters from above.
"Arrgh! Put your backs into it, lads! We're right on top of it!"
The lads did so, but no treasure was forthcoming. Silver looked the map over. "This be the right spot. Someone must've beaten us to the treasure!"
"Arrgh, but who?" Mad Dog said. "No one knew where Flint buried the treasure save him and that cabin boy of his, and he's long dead."
Suddenly Ben Gunn appeared. "Not quite dead, you scurvy spawn! Hold it there!"
From all sides, the Hispanola's crew appeared with muskets drawn. Silver and his bunch put up their hands, outmaneuvered. "Gunn! Why, you could knock me down. You're alive!"
"Aye, and no thanks to Flint," Ned said. "He wanted to send me to Davy Jones' locker, but I outwitted him. And now I've had the best of you, too. Only I know where the treasure is, because I'm the one who moved it."
"But why Davey Jones' locker? What about the rest of the Monkees?" Dale asked. Long John shrugged. "He always favored ol' Davy for some reason. Ben, you have the treasure? You always were a top cabin boy. Look now, you'll be needing our help to get the Hispanola back home. Why not share it with some down-on-their-luck pirates, for old times' sake? We'll even promise ta go peaceful-like and let everyone here have a fair share. How's that sound, now?"
With surprising speed and dexterity for a geriatric rat, Ben Gunn picked up Gadget and slung her over his shoulder. "I'm taking the girl and the treasure fer meself! Ye can all rot on the island like I did!"
Ned began a very slow paced escape, yet still caused Chip some alarm. "Hey, come back with my first mate!" Dale stopped him from chasing after. "Aw, let him try, captain. After all, he won't get far."
Monty turned toward Silver. "If you promise by the Secret Pirate's Handshake, then we'll agree to you coming back with us and an equal share." The pirate captain grabbed Monty by the hand, twisted it to the left and then the right, then shook three times.
"Arrgh, there you go," Silver said. "You know the promise given on the Secret Handshake is never broken, so we'll help ye. But once we're back to land, it's every pirate for himself!"
The group started walking back for the Hispanola. They quickly caught up with Ben Gunn, who Gadget was now helping across the sandy beach. "The poor pirate! I felt sort of obligated to at least help him try to be greedy and escape with it all."
Once they were all aboard, Gunn guided the lot of them to a hidden grotto where he'd hidden the treasure. Long John was good to his word, and they divided the treasure half to the pirates and half to the crew. As they left the shore of Skull Island, Long John Silver walked over on deck where Dale was at the railing, watching the island grow gradually smaller.
"Ah, a grand sight it was," the pirate captain said. "Wish you could've known Cap'n Flint. He was a rare pirate. Say laddie, how's about joining up with us? We've always got room for one more, and with the treasure we've got we'll buy us a pirate ship better than even Flint had!"
"Sorry, but no," Dale said. "I'm a hero at heart and could never do pirate stuff. I need to get home to mother...though its odd that my mom is a bat and younger than I am...oh well, I'm sure there's an explanation for that somewhere. I'm more concerned with how much the captain likes my mom."
Silver shrugged. "As we pirates say, life's full of surprises. A fair sailing to ye then, young Hawkins. 'Scuze me, now."
Dale watched as Long John headed for the other side of the boat and Chip came to talk with Dale. "What'd he want?"
"Asked me to join up with him. Must know good pirate material when he sees it. Hey, what's he doing?" Dale pointed as the pirate captain jumped on top of the rail. "Farewell, me buckos!" Silver said. "I've a stash of the treasure in the captain's dory and I'll be sailing for parts unknown!"
"Watch out for Davey Jones and the rest of the band too!" Dale said. The wily pirate dropped overboard, but all that met him was a splash from the salt water below. "Wonder of wonders! Where's that dory gotten off to?"
Chip hid his face. "This is the worst adaptation of 'Treasure Island' ever." Gadget came over to the railing now. "Aw, and I went to all the trouble of making a fully functional hot air balloon just to prove my point."
"Look, out there!" Dale said, pointing.
Sure enough, it was the hot air balloon. Ben Gunn had tied the captain's dory onto it and was making off with his share of the treasure. "I'm off to Tortuga to retire! Have fun, laddies!"
Silver climbed back up to the railing, then looked out at Ned, hands on his hips. "Well, doesn't that scrape your barnacles. Well, I guess it's back to me job at Red Lobster."
The ship sailed off, the curtain falling as it did. The kids all stood and clapped, and doubly so as the cast came out for final bows. As the show broke up, Foxy ran over and hugged Chip. "Oh, that was so much fun! And the kids just loved it. You were the best captain ever."
Chip took Foxglove in his arms and kissed her, causing all the little kids in the audience to collective go "Ewww."
"That was great!" Dale shouted. "Say uh, that hot air balloon looked real."
Gadget smiled from ear to ear. "Oh, it was! I whipped it together between acts." Dale pointed upward. "Uh, then how're we going to get Young Ned down?"
"Down?" Gadget said, blinking. "Oh, I knew there were something I forgot..." Chip headed into a dressing room, returning in his usual garb. "Uh, well, I guess this looks like a job for the Rescue Rangers!"
The Rangers got busy as the crowd starting filing out. From way up in the rafters, a lone voice echoed. "I don't remember Tortuga looking this dark before..."
The Rescue Rangers and the Pi-Rats are copyright Disney and used without permission but with the utmost respect. "Treasure Island" is a creation of Robert Louis Stevenson and we hope he'd get a chuckle out of our parody of his work :-)