Philly Phil: Ah lunch—the must important meal of the day, if you don't count midnight cheese doodles and pre-dinner after-snack.
[Li'l D, not watching where he is going, collides into another student.]
Preston: Hey, what do you think you're doing?
[The music students have lined up behind Preston, an upperclassman.]
Preston: This is the upperclassmen line. Get in the first-year line.
[Said line is undesirably long.]
Tamika: That's ridonculous! We may be new here, but we got the right to be treated as equals.
Preston: Back of the line, first-year, or I'll pound your face in!
Tamika: I'd like to see you try!
[Preston snaps his fingers, prompting Dustin, another upperclassman, to challenge Tamika.]
Tamika: No really, I'd like to see you try to pound [Gestures to Eddie] his face in— [Gestures to Eddie] him, too.
Madison: [Tray in hand](nervous) We don't want any trouble. I'll just take a tray and go to the end of the line.
[Preston stops Madison from doing so.]
Preston: That is an upperclass tray. There's the line for first-year trays.
[Camera pans to said line as Preston cackles. A student collapses; a vulture captures its new food. Back in the cafeteria, the music class groan.]
Eddie: I don't wanna be vulture chow.
[Scene: music room. Sunny is making arts and crafts.]
Sunny: (disappointed) It's supposed to be the Battle of Shiloh, not Gettysburg.
[Enter Sunny's students, sulking.]
Sunny: Where were y'all? Lunch was over three hours ago; it's almost pre-dinner after-snack time.
[The paper models of soldiers rise to life.]
Kim: We got stuck in the line to get beat up for our milk money.
Kam: Great way to make us first-years feel wanted.
Sunny: [As his paper models battle each other] I got somethin' that'll make you feel wanted.
[Sunny holds up a wanted poster seeking performers and musicians for an upcoming school musical.]
Eddie: "Wanted: performers and musicians for the school musical."
Sunny: They're doing a musical version of King Kong called The Kong and I.
Madison: But that's an upperclass play; they'll never pick us.
Sunny: Ain't necessarily so. When I was in first-year, I got the title role in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
[Flashback. Sunny is "acting" as a tree, which another cast member, ax in hand, approaches.]
Flashback Sunny: That ain't a real ax, is it?
Flashback Cast Member: Shut up, first-year. Trees don't talk.
Sunny: Good times. You show those upperclassmen what you got, and I'm sure they'll let you get involved.
Eddie: Uh, I don't know; that flashback looked pretty intense.
Li'l D: (motivated) Sunny's right; I'm sure they gonna let us do somethin'. Who with me?
[The other students smile and agree with Li'l D.]
Li'l D: Then it's settled. Let's go.
[Exit the students.]
Sunny: Hey, what about music class?
[A paper cannonball rushes past Sunny, who turns around and sees the current state of his project.]
Sunny: What the——
[Scene: auditorium. The production crew are setting up for The King and I. Li'l D approaches a crew member.]
Li'l D: Hey, Mr. Upperclass Director Man. We wanna work on y'all's play.
[Li'l D's six classmates join him, the seven of them smiling optimistically. The students' smiles fade when the director turns to face the prospective cast members—the director is Dustin.]
Madison: Oh no, the director's that creep from the cafeteria, and what's worse, I said what I was thinkin' out loud.
[Preston approaches the first-year students.]
Preston: Lucky for you, he's just playing the director in the play—I'm the real director.
Madison: Oh no, it's that other creep from the cafeteria. [Madison's claim earns the blonde frightened looks from her classmates.] Oh Madison, that was out loud.
Preston: Lucky for you, this is an upperclass play, so you don't even exist as far as I'm concerned.
Li'l D: C'mon man; there must be somethin' we can do.
Philly Phil: Paint scenery?
Tamika: Play extras?
Preston: Those are all upperclass jobs.
Madison: (frustrated) Aren't there any jobs for first year students who think you guys are both——
[Kam, smiling sheepishly alongside his sister, places his hand on Madison's mouth.]
Preston: Hmmm, well there may be some odd jobs for you kids. You, Geek Face——
Philly Phil: We prefer the term popularity challenged.
Preston: ——you're in charge of cast and crew hydration.
Philly Phil: (exhilarated) Cool! (coming to a realization) Wait. I'm the waterboy?
[Dustin has Philly Phil carry two buckets of water hanging on a bar on his back.]
Philly Phil: [Limping] Isn't it easier if I just carry a few bottles of water with me?
Preston: (smiling) Easier is for upperclassmen! You, you'll be our sanitation supervisor.
Eddie: Me, a janitor? I don't know how to janitate.
Preston: [Handing Eddie a broom] You'll learn, and you, you got a big butt; you can be a seat filler.
Tamika: (enraged) Uh, huh, who's got a big butt?
[Dustin gestures threateningly to Tamika.]
Tamika: (quelled) I'll tell ya who—Eddie.
Eddie: My momma says I'm just husky. [Begins sweeping]
Preston: You can be our popcorn girl. [As Dustin operates a crane] Hope you have a strong back.
Madison: Okay, well, why do I have to have a strong back to be a popcorn girl?
[Above Madison is a popcorn machine dangling from a crane. Preston unloads the machine on top of Madison, who then struggles to hold up the machine.]
Madison: I can't breathe!
Preston: You and you——
Preston: How much you weigh?
Kim: Sixty pounds.
Kam: (simultaneous) Twenty-seven kilograms.
[The twins exchange glances before responding.]
Kim: Twenty-seven kilograms.
Kam: (simultaneous) Sixty pounds.
[The twins exchange glances again.]
Kam/Kim: Fourteen stone.
Preston: Perfect. See those ropes attached to those sandbags over there?
[Kim and Kam grab said ropes.]
Kam: You mean these?
Preston: (scissors in hand) Perfect. Now we can get rid of those sandbags.
[Preston cuts the sandbags free from the ropes. Kim and Kam struggle to hold down the ropes.]
Kim: What was wrong with the sandbags?
Preston: (smiling) They didn't look humiliated enough.
Li'l D: So what's my job?
Preston: All we have left is lead drummer in the Skull Island Conga band.
Li'l D: Aight, I can do that. [Preparing his drumset] I'm a great drummer.
Preston: I know what you can do.
Li'l D: [Playing a drumroll] Yeah?
Preston: How would you like to be——
Li'l D: Yeah?
Preston: ——the one and only——
Li'l D: Yeah?
Preston: ——personal assistant to the actor playing King Kong?
[Li'l D's optimism fades as the drumroll ends.]
[Scene: change room.]
Li'l D: I'm looking for Marlon Wilkes Booth, who's playin' King Kong. I'm his new personal assistant.
Marlon: [Sighs] It's about time. I have quite a long list of things for you to do.
Li'l D: (suspicious) How can you play King Kong? You ain't no taller than me, and my name has Li'l in it.
Marlon: Obviously, you're not familiar with method acting. I intend to gain two hundred pounds; [Marlon's reflection changes according to what he says.] get three feet taller; and grow thick, black fur all over my body, just as I did when I played Peter Pan. Critics called my performance "astonishing."
Li'l D: But Peter Pan don't have thick, black fur.
Marlon: (menacing) Astonishing! (normal) Now, I need you to go to the zoo and videotape the gorillas; I want to be able to act, move, and sound exactly like a real gorilla.
Li'l D: But where am I get a camera?
Marlon: (angry) I don't know, and I don't care!
Li'l D: Well, you sure got the gorilla breath down.
Marlon: (grateful) Thank you. I'm on a strict diet of bananas and hair mites.
[Marlon pulls a mite from Li'l D's hair, and eats it as Li'l D grimaces.]
[Scene: Atlanta Zoo.]
Tour Guide: Welcome to the Atlanta Zoo.
[Among the tour group is Li'l D, who has a camera at hand.]
Tour Guide: As usual, most of our popular attractions are fast asleep. [Chuckles] Fortunately, the gorillas are out and about.
[Li'l D smiles and videotapes Momo, a gorilla passing through the exhibit.]
Tour Guide: If you look closely, you can observe their primitive social order.
[Momo fearfully sights two other gorillas, one of whom directs Momo to direct himself to the end of a line of supposedly inferior gorillas. Much like the lunch line, a gorilla collapses and becomes food for a vulture. The alpha gorillas smile at Momo's misery.]
Tour Guide: Poor Momo. It's a good thing we humans have evolved past that.
[The tour group advance, but Li'l D remains at the gorilla exhibit.]
Li'l D: [Videotaping the gorillas] Hey, Momo! [Momo does not reply.] Come on, Momo! Do some gorilla stuff!
[Li'l D beats on the handrail in a rhythmic manner; Momo plays a drum beat as a result.]
Li'l D: (impressed) Hey, you pretty good, but can you handle this?
[Li'l D plays another drum beat, and Momo mimics the music student. Seeing Li'l D bring out a drum machine, Momo sits at his makeshift drumset consisting of logs and boulders, with twigs as drumsticks. Li'l D plays his drum machine, Momo following suit on his imitation drum set.]
Li'l D: [Having recorded Momo's performance] Wow, nobody gon believe this! Good thing I got all that on tape.
[A gorilla captures Li'l D's camera and destroys it.]
Li'l D: (irate) Hey, you big ape!
[The gorilla who smashed the recorder shakes a finger at Li'l D, then gestures to a sign announcing that video recording violates the zoo's rules.]
Li'l D: (despondent) Now they ain't never gon believe me. Aw man!
[The same gorilla shakes its finger again and directs Li'l D's attention to a sign implying "no whining." Li'l D grimaces and leaves the exhibit, prompting Momo to dismantle his drumset, kicking one of its components. The finger-shaking gorilla informs Momo that his actions violate zoo rules.]
[Scene: hallway outside the auditorium. Enter the music class, sans Li'l D. The six students are weary.]
Eddie: [Exhausted sigh] Whoever invented that broom contraption obviously never heard of payin' someone to sweep a floor.
Kim: Oh yeah? Kam and I were sandbags; we just held ropes for four hours.
Kam: It took us that long to figure out we were just holding each other up.
[Enter Li'l D.]
Li'l D: (excited) Hey y'all, you ain't gon never believe this: I met a gorilla that can drum like crazy! You gotta come to the zoo and see him!
[Li'l D's classmates gape.]
Philly Phil: We're not comin' to the zoo.
Li'l D: But you gotta believe me.
Eddie: Oh, we believe you.
Li'l D: Then why you won't come to the zoo and see my gorilla?
Tamika: 'Cause he right behind you, fool.
[Li'l D turns his head and sees Momo waiting at a window. Momo roars.]
Li'l D: We can't do that to Momo! All the other gorilla treat him like dirt and push him around.
Tamika: Shut up, twerp! [Pushes Li'l D down] The twerp's right. We can't just send him back to the zoo.
Kim: Maybe we can keep him here at school.
Tamika: I don't think that's a good idea. A drumming ape ain't exactly gonna blend in.
Li'l D: Why not? The harp-playing one does.
[Tamika uses a string on her harp as a bow and a drumstick as an arrow, and attempts an attack at Li'l D. The drumstick bounces off Li'l D's head and flies toward Sunny as he enters the room. The instructor ducks, narrowly avoiding the weapon, and glances confusedly at his students.]
Student: [Off-screen] Ow, my eye!
Sunny: Hey, y'all, what's up?
[Attempting to hide the gorilla from their teacher, the students gather in front of Momo.]
Music Students: Nothing.
Sunny: (suspicious) I see. Then today's lesson will be a discussion of the futility of hiding a full-grown gorilla from a full-grown teacher—like the one you hiding from me.
[The smiles on the students' faces fade as Momo grunts, prompting the students to reveal what their instructor already knows.]
Sunny: Now you know you can't keep him here.
Li'l D: Then what we supposed to do with a 800-pound gorilla?
Sunny: Is that a setup to a joke? Because I don't know the punchline. All I know is you expect to fool anyone but an idiot by hiding him behind your back.
[Enter Principal Luna.]
Principal Luna: Good morning, students.
Sunny: Luna! Quick, hide him behind your backs!
[The students comply.]
Sunny and His Class: Good morning, Principal Luna!
Principal Luna: (suspicious) Who is that behind your back?
Li'l D: (nervous) Nobody.
Madison: Certainly not a gorilla.
[Tamika and Li'l D grimace at their classmate.]
Principal Luna: You know, I did not fall off the number two pencil truck yesterday. Those caught fooling the principal—they will be dealt with harshly.
[The students reveal Momo.]
Sunny: Sorry, Lun, we didn't think you'd approve.
Principal Luna: Why would I not approve? He is fantastic— [Walking to Momo] perhaps the greatest actor of his generation. [Places his hands on Momo's cheeks and begins to handle Momo in a way the gorilla finds unpleasant] You can't fool me, Marlon. Even though you've gained 300 pounds and grown four feet since I saw you yesterday.
Madison: You think that's Marlon? No, it's——
[Before the blonde can finish, Kim places duct tape on the former's mouth. By now, Momo is growling furiously at a still-oblivious Principal Luna.]
Principal Luna: Yes, [Continues to dangerously handle Momo] I love the hair and the face and the stink!
[The gorilla raises a fist.]
Li'l D: Uh, Principal Luna, [Pluck sound effect occurs offscreen] I don't think that's a good idea!
[The principal has pulled out a strand of Momo's fur. Momo reacts by slamming the offender into a wall, causing the students to gasp.]
Eddie: Oh, we're expelled for sure.
Principal Luna: [Laughs] Bravo! You will be the best King Kong ever! Now, I must be going. All this praise has given me a headache. [Falls through the wall]
Li'l D: We can't keep Momo here. Luna's gonna get himself killed.
Tamika: And that guy gives you a detention even if you only graze his car with a brick.
Eddie: Imagine how much detention we'd get if we got him eaten!
Philly Phil: Can anyone bring Momo home?
Li'l D: No, what about Sunny?
Sunny: (reluctant) What about Sunny?
[The students smile, full of hope.]
Li'l D: Then it's settled: Momo can stay with you.
Sunny: I don't know.
[Momo picks his nose as the students beg their teacher to allow Momo's cohabitation.]
Sunny: As long as he ain't too much trouble.
Li'l D: He ain't gonna be no trouble at all. You promise you won't be no trouble, right, Momo?
[Momo claps his hands, then slams a chair into a wall.]
Li'l D: (hesitant) Uh, that means yes.
Sunny: What makes you think he understands you?
Li'l D: Oh, he understands me. You understand me, right, Momo?
[Behind Li'l D, a desk impacts the wall.]
Li'l D: See? He understands me.
[Time lapse. Scene: Li'l D's room. The boy's phone rings.]
Sunny: (over phone) He didn't understand you.
[Time lapse. Scene: Sunny's house. Sunny and Li'l D witness the destruction of Sunny's property.]
Li'l D: Momo, no!
[Momo does not comply.]
Sunny: Yeah, I tried that. That don't work. He's already destroyed like 1,500 of my best shirts. That's over ten percent of my wardrobe.
Li'l D: Well, I'm out of ideas.
[Li'l D attempts to exit, but Sunny stops his student.]
Sunny: Hold up now, shawty. I tried keeping him here, but if I've learned anything from watching Free Willy forty times, it's that animals don't belong outside their natural habitat.
Li'l D: So you think we should send him back where he came from?
Sunny: I do, and so does Willy.
[Time lapse. Scene: the beach. Atop an island of rocks, the students prepare to bid farewell to the escaped gorilla.]
Madison: Are we throwing him back into the ocean?
Philly Phil: No, Madison. [Points to a boat] We're sending him back to his natural habitat in Africa.
Li'l D: I guess this is it, old friend. I really dug playing the drums with you.
[Momo hugs Li'l D.]
Eddie: [Shaking the gorilla's hand] I hope you find what you're looking for.
Tamika: You throw a mean desk. Respect.
Madison: Bye, Momo! You'll miss me most of all!
[Momo climbs a ladder leading to the boat. Midway up, Momo waves to the students, who in turn wave back. Once boarded, Momo then waves one last time, and the boat briefly flies into the air as the students cheer on the gorilla and his trip.]
[Time lapse. Exterior shot of Westley. Scene: auditorium. The music students prepare for the play.]
Marlon: Where's Li'l D?
Li'l D: Who wants to know?
Marlon: Your boss.
Li'l D: Marlon? You look different.
Marlon: Where is that gorilla video I asked you to get?
Li'l D: Oh yeah, about that, there were some, uh, complications, but before you get all method on me, I worked up a real good gorilla impression myself. Listen. [Beats his fists against his chest, then roars. The quality of the roar astounds Li'l D.] I didn't think I had it in me.
Sunny: You didn't. [Beside Sunny is Momo.]
Li'l D: Momo! I don't understand. We sent him to Africa.
Sunny: They sent him back. When I said he belongs in his natural habitat, I meant the zoo. Magilla here's not from Africa; he's from the A!
Preston: [Offscreen] Marlon, you look amazing!
Sunny: That ain't Marlon; that's a gorilla! This is why they should teach you biology at this school. Now if you'll excuse me, I got some shopping to do.
[Exit a whistling Sunny, donning a torn vest.]
Preston: Is this your gorilla?
Li'l D: I guess. He understands me. [A chair flies across the room.] See?
Preston: What would you say about letting us use him as our King Kong?
Marlon: Hey, what about me?
Preston: We'll find another part for you. How about Fat Hairy Tree #2?
Marlon: Why not Fat Hairy Tree #1?
Preston: Chloe Pinkerton is already Fat Hairy Tree #1.
[Enter Chloe Pinkerton, clad in her costume.]
Marlon: She is good.
Preston: So, what do you say, kid?
Li'l D: What I really want is to be the lead drummer in the Skull Island band. You let me do that, and I'll get Momo to play King Kong.
Preston: Deal! Do you think he understands?
[A desk whizzes behind Li'l D.]
Li'l D: Oh, he understands.
[Time lapse. During the rehearsals, as Li'l D plays percussion, a chained, captive Momo whimpers.]
Preston: [Fake whimpers] What are you, crying? There's no crying in King Kong! I need you to be angry! Li'l D, do something about your gorilla; make him act like a gorilla!
Li'l D: What are you doing, Momo? You're ruining my big chance.
[Momo, after a moment's hesitation, attempts to reach for Li'l D's drums.]
Li'l D: No! No drumming! Act like a gorilla!
Preston: [Holding up a drum] You want this? Well, you can't have it. Does that make you angry? Huh? Huh? [Snickering] Good.
Li'l D: Uh, Preston? I ain't sure messing with a gorilla is a good idea.
Preston: Silence, I'm directing! If you want this drum, get angry about it—show me the anger!
[True to Preston's command, Momo roars and breaks his chains. Once free, the gorilla captures the drum, and slams Preston into a wall. Running angrily, Momo then jumps through a series of walls, and escapes into the outside world. Exit Momo.]