|The Ponderosa Spirit - 9||Joan Sherman Markowitz|
INT. LIVING ROOM – LATER THAT MORNING
Joe is sitting on the sofa with an ice pack over his eye and Hoss is in the chair with a steak over his. Ben has the towel draped over his arm. Kara is upstairs.
BEN (to Hoss): Would you care for a baked potato with your steak?
HOSS: Aw, Paw!
BEN: Now, I think we should sit down and have a serious discussion. Our little friend has pulled enough shenanigans on us. We're got to figure out a way to get rid of it. I think our answer lies with Madame Kara. I believe she brought it here. I'm not sure that it will leave with her. That's something we have to find out.
JOE: I'm with you, Pa. Enough is enough.
BEN: Do you boys feel like breakfast this morning?
HOSS: I lost my appetite when I woke up this morning.
JOE: Me too. Is there coffee?
BEN: Yes. Wonder what Kara would like.
Kara comes down the stairs.
KARA: Did I hear my name mentioned?
BEN: Ah, good morning. Would you like some breakfast?
KARA: I think just coffee. I'm not very hungry.
BEN: Then we're all agreed. (he rises) Coffee coming up.
He exits into kitchen. Hoss and Joe eye Kara as she sits down next to Joe on the sofa. Joe gives her plenty of elbow room as if she were the one that caused his pain – and in a way she did.
KARA (trying to break the ice): Well, you two boys certainly do believe in strenuous exercise the first thing in the morning. Where do you get all your energy?
Both boys look a little sheepish. At this point, Ben comes in with the coffee tray and sets it down on the table.
BEN: Dig in. I found some coffee cake if anybody is interested. Hoss makes a dive for one.
BEN: Thought you weren't hungry.
JOE: You know he's always interested in food.
HOSS: All that exercise made me hungry.
JOE: You get hungry when you're sleeping.
BEN: That'll be enough, boys. I'd hate to be the one to bang your heads together this time.
BEN (continuing): Boys, go find something to do outside. I want to talk to Madame Kara.
BOYS: Okay – see you later.
They exit out front door.
KARA: Ben, before you say anything more I want you to know I've appreciated and enjoyed being here very much, but I don't want to overstay my welcome and there is my tour that's due to start.
BEN: I wouldn't worry about overstaying your welcome. But there is something else I would like to talk to you about. I hate to bring it up but it has to be brought out into the open and now is as good a time as any.
KARA: It's about what happened this morning, isn't it?
BEN: Yes. Do you have any idea what it's all about?
KARA: To be perfectly honest with you…Yes, I do. I've been doing a little reading in my grandmother's diary. She mentioned poltergeists several times but I just can't believe that I could have brought one into your house. It's never happened before.
BEN: You've never run into anyone like Hoss before. Thank heavens there's only one of him.
KARA: I've gotten very fond of Hoss, as well as the rest of the family.
BEN: The feeling is quite mutual. But we're getting off the subject.
KARA: Have you made any decisions?
BEN: Well, yes, I have. I don't know if it will work but we have to try. You could go ahead with your tour. That would give us each time to think about our relationship with each other and also you might figure out a way to get rid of the poltergeist.
KARA: And if the poltergeist shows up after I leave.
BEN: Then we'll all move out.
They both chuckle.
KARA: I'll go pack. I believe there's a stage in the morning. I'll stay at the hotel tonight. If nothing happens here during the night then we can assume the poltergeist went with me.
EXT. VIRGINIA CITY HOTEL – EVENING
Ben and Kara pull up in front in the rig. They get down and enter the hotel.
Ben registers Kara.
BEN (to clerk): Take good care of the lady. See that she gets anything she wants.
CLERK: Yes, sir, Mr. Cartwright.
BEN (to Kara): I'll see you in the morning.
KARA: Good night, Ben… and thank you for everything.
She leans over and gives him a light kiss. Ben grabs her and makes it a joint effort. Ben leaves the hotel.
EXT. HOTEL – NIGHT
It has started to drizzle. Ben climbs in the rig and gets moving fast to miss the hard rain that starts to come down halfway between town and the Ponderosa.
INT. PONDEROSA – NIGHT
Ben walks in the house. The boys are sitting in the dining room, having just finished dinner.
BEN: Joe! Hoss! You around here anyplace?
HOSS: We're in the dining room. Did you get caught in the storm?
BEN: I sure did. I'm soaking wet.
JOE: I'll get you a cup of coffee.
Joe goes into kitchen. Ben takes his coat off. Joe comes back in.
JOE: Here you are, Pa.
BEN: Thanks. Anything happened after I left?
JOE: Yeah. Hoss did some work this afternoon.
BEN: Well, that's some improvement. You know what I meant. Has the poltergeist been acting up?
HOSS: No. Things have been pretty quiet.
BEN: Well, that's good news, I guess.
HOSS: You guess. I'm sure it's good.
JOE: By the way, where's Madame Kara?
BEN: I took her to town. She's leaving on the stage tomorrow for her tour. We thought it would be for the best. If it's quiet tonight it will mean that the poltergeist went with her and we won't be bothered anymore.
HOSS: I'm gonna kind of miss her around here. It was kind of interesting.
BEN (solemnly): I am too, Hoss… I am too. I'm going to bed. I think you boys ought to do the same. Tomorrow's a heavy day.
The wind is howling and there is lightening and thunder and the rain is pelting down. They all go upstairs.
INT. JOE'S ROOM – NIGHT
Joe is tossing and turning, not asleep.
INT. HOSS'S ROOM
Hoss is laying in bed with the covers pulled over his nose, his eyes wide open.
INT. BEN'S ROOM
Ben is staring at the ceiling.
SPLIT SCREEN – INT ALL THREE ROOMS
All are shown in their own rooms and a really loud crack of thunder sounds. They all jump and run to the hall saying "what was that?" Then they look at each other sheepishly, return to their rooms and assume the same position as before. All is quiet. Then there is a slow but steady step, step, step (MUSIC could be dum de dum de dum –DRAGNET type). The sound of someone coming up the stairs. Joe looks a little green – Hoss looks terrified, and Ben looks concerned.
Cautiously they each move toward their doors and peek into hall. They see Hop Sing in his nighttime regalia carrying a lamp.
BEN (with relief): Hop Sing, what in blazes are you doing?
HOP SING (shaking): Hop Sing scared. With storm and all crazy things happen here I thought it be good idea if I sleep in Mr. Adam's room. Be near more live people.
BEN: You mean we'll all go together when we go. Okay, Hop Sing, you can stay here tonight.
BEN: What, Hoss?
HOSS: Can I stay in your room tonight?
INT. HOTEL – CORRIDOR IN FRONT OF KARA'S ROOM – MORNING
Ben knocks on door. Kara opens it.
KARA: Good morning. I see you didn't sleep much either. What happened?
BEN: Nothing, I'm afraid. Are you ready?
KARA: Yes. There's a stage in twenty minutes.
BEN: How long will it be before you'll be back through here again?
KARA: Too long, Ben. You won't remember me.
BEN: I'll never forget you.
KARA: Come to think of it. I guess you won't. I've certainly given you plenty to remember. Well, let's go. I have to check out.
EXT. HOTEL – STAGE COACH
Passengers are loading up. Ben helps Kara in and as stage pulls out Kara waves to Ben and blows him a kiss. She then looks around at her fellow passengers. There sitting across from her is an eight year old boy dressed in his Sunday best with a little hat and tie – the little boy is played by Dan who is reduced to the size of a child (if this is possible). Kara looks at him and gasps. As she does the hat pulls over his ears and his tie slaps him in the face.
KARA (to herself): Oh, no!!
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