Commentator – Male, in his 30s, first job since the failure of his made-for-TV movie, Revenge of the Vengeful, about to lose his apartment, living over the sound stage, has shown up in People magazine for an illegal dog-fighting ring in his basement and blacklisted from Hollywood, has never worked in a zoo, thinks he is charming, ladies’ man
Audience Member #1 – Frat boy, is not Asian but his girlfriend thinks pandas are cute, brought girlfriend to the show for their six month anniversary date, likes violent video games
Rat – Deceased, COMMENTATOR trapped it in his house and put it in the show, had a heart attack when it heard the lion and died, has a few bites taken out of its flank
Rat Voice – Female, mid-20s, pretty, thought she was auditioning for America’s Next Top Model, in a relationship with COMMENTATOR because he says that he knows Tyra Banks, had the highest salary
Lion – was in a private cage in the Central Park Zoo, used to be fed from canned meat, enjoying hunting its own food, vicious but its front claws were clipped
Lion Voice – Male, late 20s, played basketball in college and was going to play professionally until he hurt his leg, tried to coach but he got fed up with how bad his team was and quit, good buddies with COMMENTATOR so he joined the show
Elephant – used to give rides at tourist locations in New York which does not have native elephants, stolen, COMMENTATOR paid for a ride and then knocked out his tour guide and rode the elephant to the van
Elephant Voice – Female, early 20s, party girl, completely drunk whenever the show is shooting, COMMENTATOR’s girlfriend, may not even be aware that she’s on the show when she’s sober, is not on the payroll, is not technically a cast member
Cat – is supposed to be a wild cat but was adopted from Petco, his owners left him there while they were on vacation and never picked him up, COMMENTATOR’s pet
Bat – was found in the sound stage’s ventilation duct and trapped in a pillow case, all the cast members are more scared of it than the LION
Cat Voice – female, nineteen, grew up in Harlem, is not attending college, this is her “breakout role”, wants to be an R&B singer/CWTV actress
Bat Voice – female, mid teens, in the hospital, got on the TV show because Grant a Wish Foundation tried to fulfill her wish of being a movie star, upset that they didn’t find her a better movie
Crocodile – not indigenous to the habitat recreated in the arena, doesn’t move much, from the Bronx Zoo
Crocodile Voice – female, early 20s, catty, her only other job was an infomercial about teen mothers, her dream is to be on One Tree Hill but her realistic career goal is to make a ProActiv and CoverGirl commercial, her agent promised that being an animal voice was a good career move
Panda – most expensive animal on the show, COMMENTATOR is trying to rig it that he will win so that COMMENTATOR can sell him back, viewers’ favorite contestant
Gazelle – not actually a gazelle, is actually a deer that COMMENTATOR almost ran over with his car but COMMENTATOR spent most of his funding on the arena and the PANDA
Panda Voice – won an online contest and got to appear as an animal on X-Tinction, not really Asian so he tries to speak in an Asian “accent”, is a source of media drama for his alleged racism, the most famous of all the cast members because of it so now he pretends to be racist in public to get into the tabloids
SCENE ONE: COMMENTATOR is sitting at a desk on a stage inside a cramped studio, wearing a headpiece. The STUDIO AUDIENCE is on bleachers surrounding the stage. The end of the X-Tinction opening title sequence plays on a flatscreen behind him.
Commentator: I had worked at a zoo for over twenty years, and it was time to spice up animal shows. Ever since dog-fighting became illegal in the U.S., me and my tireless band of innovators packed up over sixty-four endangered creatures and transported them to Mexico to bring youuu…. X-tinction!
Commentator: Animals of all shapes and sizes – ranging from the ferocious, rampaging lion ranked at a jaw-dropping One Seed to the oozing, sludgy snail ranked at a pitiful Sixteen Seed – have been gathered into an arena. Sixty-four animals go in… one animal comes out.
Audience Member #1: COME ON, PANDA! (wolf-whistles) SHOW ‘EM WHAT THEM BAMBOO-CHEWING TEETH CAN DO!
Commentator: Hahaha. All right! Last episode, we already lost our banded snail, wooly rat, and salmon. They’ve been X-TINCTED!
The scene cuts to a clip of a dead RAT. There is an obviously unsynced voice-over of RAT VOICE speaking, tearfully.
Rat Voice: I just wasn’t ready to go home, and I don’t want to be the one to tell my family that I failed at my dream, because- because (she sobs) I gave up everything for this show! I was about to start college at NYU in the fall, and I was casted for this show. I’m not going to give up, though. I will keep working, and who knows? Maybe I’ll show up next season. Keep your eye out for me, because I’ll be big some day.
A maintenance worker walks over to the dead RAT and puts it in the trashbag. Close up on the bag as he walks away.
Rat Voice: (sniffs tearfully, whispers) I’ll be big.
Cut back to COMMENTATOR.
Commentator: Hahaha… all right! I’ll look out for you, Rattles! And let’s not forget our prizes. The winning animal will have his own exhibit at the Washington Zoo, and a special nature preserve named in its honor. And, of course, one million dollars to the animal charity of its choice!
Applause and whooping.
Commentator: And nowww… let’s see how our contestants are doing!
There is a circle shot around the COMMENTATOR, then the camera zooms in on the screen behind him. The shot quickly adjusts to LION padding through the grassy part of the arena near the freshwater lake with a salmon in its mouth. It drops the salmon and pulls off a piece of it and eats. LION VOICE’s dialogue is played over the scene.
Lion Voice: Yeah, I think- I think I have a really good chance of winning this. I am furious and a champion, and I will not settle for second best. I am the goddamn king of the goddamn jungle! And this may be an arena, but it is my jungle. And every animal in here is going to be my bitch – except for the male dog. He’s not a bitch. HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Cut to a scene of ELEPHANT sucking water up in its trunk and spraying it over its back.
Anyway, I would have to say that my biggest competitor is the elephant because her skin is like goddamn wood. I’m not sure how that’ll work out, but right now, all I can do is stay one step ahead of her. I need to strike down quickly on all the weaker animals so I won’t run out of food, and maybe I can starve out that ugly brute.
The ELEPHANT lumbers away from the watering hole, and ELEPHANT VOICE speaks.
Elephant Voice: My best friend right now is probably the crocodile. It’s going to be really tough to see her go. I’ve really come to rely on our friendship these past two weeks, but this is a competition, and there isn’t room for friendship. I have to-
The ELEPHANT stops walking and lets out a trumpeting noise. ELEPHANT VOICE stops speaking and stammers.
I thought the animal clips were on fucking mute! Turn that o- Well, as you can hear, I was just calling over the crocodile. So I’ll probably just stand in this place for a while and wait for ol’ crocky to come.
The ELEPHANT starts walking again.
On second thought, I’ll go find her because we have a healthy friendship, and that means give-and-take. So even though I may need to take her out of the competition, I will always give her my heart and a shoulder to cry on and if she’s ever in trouble with a different animal, I would help.
COMMENTATOR: Later that night, Golden Cat is starting to get lonely and looks for a new friend to ally with during the competition.
Cut to the golden CAT at night. The moon reflects off its flanks, and the green eyes glow eerily. It pads through the trees in the arena’s forest, looking around for prey. It spots the BAT fluttering around the trees. It drops into a crouch and starts slinking across the floor. CAT VOICE speaks.
Cat Voice: I grew up in a tiny little town where all we ever did for fun was go and watch the tomcats ripping apart rats. The highlight of my days was when it rained, and you could see wet fur clinging to a tomcat’s bod’. I’m done with that small life; I had to get out. I ain’t used to nobody playing with me or entertaining me. I found my own games when I was little, and I’ll survive here. I ain’t gonna let no sus ass perp get to me. All these motha lickas gonna see what I can do.
The CAT springs at the BAT and swats it down. The BAT tries to fly up, but the CAT keeps catching it and pulling it down until it finally rips a wing off the bat. It takes a bite as the BAT dies.
Cat Voice: Did I feel bad about killing the bat? Hell no! Yeah, I mean, we were tight, and the fun was fun, but it’s over now. I gotta move on with my life. Bats are bats are bats. I’ll find another one, and I couldn’t risk losing the competition just because I felt bad for it.
Clips role in a montage of the CAT and the BAT. Violin music plays in the background. The clips show only a slow-mo replay of the BAT’s death.
Cat Voice: Oh my God… I just lost my best friend. (bursts into tears)
The scene cuts back to COMMENTATOR sitting in the studio. STUDIO AUDIENCE is crying.
Commentator: Haha… sorry for your loss, Golden Cat! Now that Bat is down, who will get the one million dollars to the charity of their choice? You’re just going to have to wait and see! We’ll be back.
The screen turns black, then it comes back with previews of episode 2, part two.
Commentator: An interview with bat gives some insight to her family situation…
The screen shows a half-eaten bat on the ground and BAT VOICE’s dialogue plays.
Bat Voice: I can’t go back home. I have no where to go now that this competition is over… My mom- (sniffles) Oh, God, my mom ate my sisters, and I’m afraid that if I go back, I’ll be next.
The screen shows ELEPHANT stepping on the tail of CROCODILE, which gives a loud, hacking growl of surprise.
Commentator: Friendships are put on the rocks…
The growl is muted, and CROCODILE VOICE is heard instead.
Crocodile Voice: You backstabbing oaf! I can’t believe I ever trusted you.
The screen shows a PANDA chewing on a bamboo plant. In the background, a GAZELLE runs into the bamboo plant while fleeing LION and knocks over the tree.
Commentator: And Lion and Gazelle team up to target Panda’s food source…
Lion Voice: Am I glad I teamed up with Gazelle? Well, don’t get me wrong, she has a great body and everything, but I just can’t protect her this whole competition. I think… I’m going to need to kill her. What sort of king would I be if my queen wasn’t even a lioness?
Panda Voice: I’m not going to give up. These monsters can’t starve me out. I will adapt. I’m not going to go out like a… a mammoth. I’m going to go out like a shooting star.
Commentator: Closed captioning for X-Tinction is brought to you by…
End of scene.
Age 15, Grade 10
Convent of the Sacred Heart