A Couple of Bucks
Characters: Benny Buck, Billy Buck (both spikehorns), Oak Sapling, Sally Squirrel, Smiley Coyote.
Benny Buck I am the biggest herbivore in the forest, so look out!
Sapling Herbivore? What do you mean by that?
Benny Buck You know, it means I eat plants.
Sapling I was afraid of that. But you aren’t the biggest plant-eater, you know, because moose are bigger than you.
Benny Buck Well, except for moose. But there are more of us deer, so we’re the most important herbivores in the forest. In fact, you couldn’t live without us. We give you fertilizer.
Sapling Fertilizer? How’s that?
Benny Buck You know, our…um, pellets, droppings, manure. You know what I mean!
Sapling Oh, I get it. That stuff’s good for the roots. But a sapling like me gives you buds and twigs and leaves to eat.
Benny Buck Yeah, that’s true. I guess we’re important to each other, even though I’m bigger.
Sapling You may be bigger now, but I’ll be bigger when I grow up.
Benny Buck Well, I’m talking about now. And if you were another young buck, I’d put my head down and charge you like this, and I’d jab with my right antler, and jab with my left.
Sapling Boy, Benny Buck. Have you been eating acorns or something? You seem to be really feeling your oaks today.
Benny Buck Nope, no acorns. I can’t find any nuts now that it’s winter.
Sapling Talk to Sally Squirrel about that.
Benny Buck Good idea. So long, Sapling. (Sapling exits; squirrel enters) There you are, Sally Squirrel. I’ve got a bone to pick with you!
Sally Squirrel Did you say bones? Yum! Are you going to lose your antlers soon?
Benny Buck My antlers? Why? What do you want with my antlers?
Squirrel They’re made of bone, and that means calcium– yum! Squirrels, mice, porcupines, we all love to eat them. Hey, maybe I could take a nibble right now.
Benny Buck No way! Not until I shed them. But you’re changing the subject. What I want to know is, what happened to all the acorns and beechnuts?
Squirrel Acorns? Beechnuts?
Benny Buck Sally, I am the most important and nearly the biggest herbivore in the forest, and I need a lot of food. In fact, I need two tons of food a year! So where are all the nuts?
Squirrel Gee, Benny, you may be bigger than us squirrels, but we’re smarter. We plan ahead for winter and hide away nuts in the fall.
Benny Buck Well, deer don’t do that.
Squirrel But, you know, some of those nuts grow into trees – trees that produce more nuts.
Benny Buck That’s true. Hey, I guess we’re pretty important to each other – you squirrels plant nut trees, and we give you calcium.
Squirrel That’s a pretty good deal! (offstage, “caw, caw, caw”) Uh oh, that’s Corey Crow sounding the alarm. Must be a predator around. I’m outta here. (exits)
Benny Buck Uh oh. Too late to run and nowhere to hide – I’ll have to hold my ground.
Smiley Coyote Ah ha! Here’s a tasty meal.
Benny Buck Not so fast, Smiley Coyote, for you are looking at the most important and nearly the biggest herbivore in the forest.
Coyote Yes! You’re important to my diet and you make the biggest meal!
Benny Buck Well, you predators are important to us deer, for you make us swift and agile so we can outrun and out-jump you.
Coyote And you do the same for us – for we must be fast and cunning to catch you.
Benny Buck Come any closer and I will jab you with my sharp hoofs.
Coyote That would not be fun. In fact, I see that you are young and strong and sharp-footed. Since I am alone, I will look for easier prey, for though I am nearly the biggest and strongest predator in the forest, I am also smart. So long, Benny, for now.
Benny Buck Phew, that was a close call! (rustling noise) Wait, what’s that I hear? Another predator? Should I freeze? Should I run? (sniffs) That’s funny, it doesn’t smell scary, and I don’t hear Corey Crow sounding the alarm. (buck enters) Why it’s just another young buck, like me!
Billy Buck Hey man, you are looking at the biggest and most important herbivore in the forest. Feast your eyes!
Benny Buck Um, listen Billy Buck, if you’d been caught by the coyote that was just here, he’d be feasting on you right now!
Billy Buck Are you kidding me? I was so busy eating, I guess I forgot to keep a lookout! Man, I would’ve been toast!
Benny Buck Well then, you’re one lucky buck!
Billy Buck Hey man, maybe we could, like, stick together – warn each other of danger. Two pairs of eyes are better than one and all that.
Benny Buck Sure – and two pairs of ears, and two noses. That’s one way we deer are important to each other – keeping a lookout for danger when we’re in a group. And when you flag your white tail, I’ll know it’s time to flee.
Billy Buck Yeah man, if we, like, hang together, we can be the two most important herbivores in the forest.
Benny Buck Yeah! Of course, everything here’s important to us, too. Plants give us food, predators keep us fast, squirrels plant nut trees, and crows warn us of danger.
Billy Buck Benny, are you telling me we aren’t the most important living things in the forest?
Benny Buck Who could say? Everything in the forest is important to everything else. But we deer sure do need a lot of food! Hey, I know where to find some juicy apples under the snow.
Billy Buck Yeah? I could really dig that! Lead the way, man!