Germophobia

Introduction

Various insects are crawling on the floor when a slice of pizza nearly falls on them.

Insects: (shriek)

Arthur, Buster, Francine, Muffy and Brain are sitting at a table in the cafeteria.

Buster: Oops! Buster picks the pizza slice off the floor and takes a bite. What? Everybody looks horrified and points at the pizza. Ah, don't worry. It's fine. Five second rule. I never eat anything after it's been on the floor more than five seconds. He takes another bite. Or... is it the ten second rule? I forget.

He picks a bit of cheese off the floor and eats it. Arthur faces the camera.

Arthur: Do any of you have a friend like this? A friend who's just a little... sloppy?

Flashback: In the boys’ room Alex and George are washing their hands. A toilet flushes. Buster comes out of a cubicle and goes straight to the door.

Buster: See you in class!

Flashback: Arthur leans against a tree on the playground and counts. The other kids hide.

Arthur: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! Ready or not, here I come!

He starts searching. Buster peeps out of a trashcan with flies buzzing around him.

Buster: (chuckles)

Flashback: Buster sits on the side of the bathtub reading a comic book and splashing in the water with one hand.

Mrs. Baxter: Buster, are you taking your bath?

Buster: Just finishing, Mom!

He pulls the plug and walks out.

The flashbacks end.

Arthur: What do you do? Do you tell them?

Buster: A-a-a-tchoo!

He sneezes in Muffy and Francine’s direction.

Francine+Muffy: Eew!

Brain: Buster!

Arthur: Buster! I mean, don't you have to tell them?

Title Card: Magnifying Glass

In a school corridor Arthur is looking at a poster advertising “Buster’s Wacky Poolpalooza”.

Arthur: Hey, Buster's annual pool party is this weekend. Are you going?

Sue Ellen: Shh! 

She hands him a folded note and walks away. Arthur reads it.

Arthur: "Meeting after school at the Sugar Bowl. Don't tell Buster."

***

Sue Ellen, Muffy, Francine and Brain are sitting at a table at the Sugar Bowl. Arthur joins them.

Arthur: Sorry I'm late. What's this all about? Why wasn’t I supposed to tell Buster?

Sue Ellen: This is about Buster!

Francine: And since you're late, we'll tell you what we've already decided.

Muffy: You are going to tell Buster that he’s got to clean up his act and stop being so disgusting all the time!

Arthur: What?

Francine: Just tell him to stop eating food off the floor.

Sue Ellen: Wash his hands once in a while.

Muffy: Cover his mouth when he sneezes.

Francine+Muffy+Sue Ellen: Stop hiding in garbage cans!

Arthur: Oh...well... why don't you tell him?

Francine: Because you're his best friend. He'll listen to you.

Arthur: But...

Francine: Just tell him if he keeps it up, he's gonna get sick.

Muffy: Tell him if he doesn't stop it, I won't come to his pool party this weekend.

Sue Ellen: Tell him... Duck!

The kids hide under the table. Buster walks by outside.

Francine: Not you, Arthur! Go out there and tell him!

Buster sees a harmonica in a garbage can among other trash.

Buster: Ah, wow! Somebody threw away a harmonica!

He takes it out. Arthur comes out of the Sugar Bowl.

Arthur: Buster! Wait a minute. Hey, Buster. There's something I, er... wanted to tell you.

Muffy: Did Buster just take a harmonica out of the garbage??

Sue Ellen: Shh! I think Arthur's telling him. 

Arthur comes back in.

Francine: Did you tell him?

Muffy: What did he say?

Sue Ellen: Is he gonna do it?

Arthur: I think so. He smiled and said, "Uh-huh".

Francine: Phew! I'm glad that's over with.

A harmonica is heard from outside.

Muffy: Is that what I think it is?

Francine: Okay, plan B.

***

Buster is in the lunch line playing his harmonica. Francine pushes Arthur up to him.

Buster: Oh, hey, Arthur!

Arthur: You know... maybe I didn't mention yesterday, there's these things called germs...

Buster: Germs haven't hurt me yet.

Arthur: Well... haven't you ever been sick?  

Buster has a thought bubble in which his mother takes his temperature.

Mrs. Baxter: You're staying home from school today, Buster.

The bubble closes.

Buster: (dreamily:) Yeah.

Arthur: Okay, wrong question. Buster drinks sauce from a ladle and puts it back in the pot. Well, you may not care about germs, but you're probably passing them on to us.

Buster: What germs, Arthur? I don't see them, do you? How do we know they even exist? Oops!

He drops the harmonica in a bowl of pudding. He takes it out.

Francine: Aauugghhh!

The scream rings through the lunch room.

Buster: Oh, don't worry about it, Francine. It's just a little pudding. It still works fine. 

He blows into it and pudding flies out.

Francine: Any ideas for plan C?

Muffy: We can still say we won't come to his pool party. That's sure to work!

Brain: But that would crush him. There's one other thing we can try.

***

In Brain’s room, Buster looks through a microscope at bacteria.

Buster: Those are germs?

Brain: Yup, they're hardy microscopic organisms capable of carrying tons of diseases.

Arthur: Don't they look just like aliens waiting to attack?

Buster: I don't know. They look more like multivitamins. No, wild rice.

Arthur walks away looking disappointed.

***

Buster’s mom tucks him in at night.

Buster: Goodnight, Mom. Goodnight, wild rice. (chuckles)

Mrs. Baxter: Wild rice?

Buster: Oh, just germs. Brain told me they're on everything that isn't washed.

Mrs. Baxter: Well, they're not on my Buster, ‘cause he's clean as a whistle. She kisses him. (sniffs) Hmm…

She leaves.

Buster dreams that the kids are having a pool party in the Baxters’ yard. Arthur, Francine and Muffy are in the pool.

Arthur: Hey, Buster, come on in! 

Buster jumps into the pool and finds the harmonica at the bottom.

Buster: How did this get in here?

He blows into the harmonica. A green cloud comes out that emits squeaky laughter.

Arthur+Francine+Muffy: (scream)

They run away.

Buster tries to hold his breath. When he breathes, green smoke comes out of his mouth.

Buster: (screams)       

The dream ends. Buster wakes up with a start.

Buster: Ah! (pants)

He looks with fear at the harmonica on his nightstand.

***

In the bathroom, Buster puts the harmonica in a sink full of water. He picks up a piece of soap and sniffs it with disgust, then he washes the harmonica.

***

Buster puts the harmonica on his nightstand and gets back into bed. He seems to hear squeaky laughter coming from the harmonica.

He throws the harmonica into the trash.

***

Buster takes a bath.

***

The next morning, Buster sits at the kitchen table.

Mrs. Baxter: (hums) She fries an egg. When throwing the eggshells into the trash, one piece falls on the floor. Buster hears the squeaky laughter. Mrs. Baxter picks up the eggshell and throws it into the trash. Buster looks uncomfortable as she takes toast out of the toaster and serves Buster the toast and egg. Mm! You smell very clean this morning, Buster!

She eats a bit of his toast.

***

Buster meets Arthur in front of the school.

Arthur: Hi, Buster! Hey, I've got something to show you.

Buster: Er, you...do?

Arthur: Yeah, I... Are you wearing hockey gloves?

Buster: Er, yeah! I, em... My hands get cold sometimes. 

He walks away.

***

Buster walks down a school corridor. He hears laughter and sees green smoke coming out of the other kids’ noses. Jenna coughs near him. George drinks from a water fountain and blows green smoke on it. Arthur shows Buster a book.

Arthur: So I got this really cool book on botulism to show you.

Arthur, Francine and Muffy look at Buster. In addition to the green smoke, Buster now sees little green monsters flying around with jet packs.

Arthur: Are you okay?

Buster: I'll meet you in class! Wwwwhhhhooooaaaa… 

He runs off.

***

In the boy’s room, Buster turns on the water and pulls his glove off with his teeth.

Buster: (gasps) Oh, no! Now I have to wash my whole mouth!

He puts his tongue under the stream, then washes his hands.

***

Buster arrives late in class. He sees everyone surrounded by green smoke.

Mr. Ratburn: Buster...please take your seat. Buster sterilizes the seat before sitting down. Now, when we multiply fractions, we multiple the two numerators, then we multiple the two denominators, and then divide those products like so. Any questions?

Buster: Er... Mr. Ratburn, how many germs are there in this school?

Mr. Ratburn: (sighs) Well, that's not exactly a math question, but I suppose there could be thousands on that pencil in your mouth.

Buster: Ah!

He looks horrified at the pencil. The other kids smile.

***

Buster walks into the cafeteria.

Arthur: See, Buster, it's not so hard being clean.

Buster: Er...

He sees little green monsters on everything.

Germ (Arthur’s Voice): And don't you feel better?

Buster: (gasps) Ahhh... 

He runs away.

***

In the lunch room Buster puts two napkins on his table. Then he unwraps a sandwich from yards of wrapping foil.

Arthur: You know, Buster, you don't have to be that clean.

Buster: Well, are there germs or aren't there? The others nod. Buster puts his hockey gloves back on. Okay, then.

Brain: You know, Buster, there are good germs as well as bad. We couldn't digest our food if we didn't have bacteria inside us breaking it down.

Buster: They're already inside of me?! Excuse me, I gotta go wash my hands.

He runs off.

Francine: Great! Now you've turned your best friend into a nervous wreck.

Muffy: Yeah, and you've probably ruined a perfectly good pool party!

Arthur: Huh??

***

Buster stands in the porch door in his swimming trunks.

Buster: Are you sure we can't call everybody and cancel?

Mrs. Baxter hangs up a dolphin piñata.

Mrs. Baxter: Buster, we rented all this stuff and sent out invitations. I wish you'd tell me what's got you so worried.

Buster sees little green monsters swimming in the pool.

Buster: Er...nothing. The doorbell rings. (gasps) I'll get it!

Arthur, Brain, Binky, Francine, Muffy and Sue Ellen stand outside in their swimsuits.

Kids: Pool time!

They come in. Buster is now wearing swimming trunks, hockey gloves and a gas mask.

Buster: Not yet! Shower first!

Kids: (What's he talking about? Why do I have to take a shower? What?)

Arthur comes out of the bathroom.

Buster: Hands!

Arthur holds out his hands for Buster to examine. Buster waves him through.

Arthur: Aren't you gonna come outside and swim with us?

Buster: Just watching everyone have fun is enough for me!

***

Lots of kids are playing in the yard.

Muffy: I'm starting to miss that harmonica.

Francine: Something’s gotta be done about this!

Arthur: Don't look at me!

Francine: Fine. Girls?

Francine, Muffy and Sue Ellen come up to Buster, who is inside.

Francine: Okay, Buster, here's the deal. We don't want you to be slobby, but we don't want you to be a nervous wreck either!

Muffy: We just want you to be like us.

Francine: So come out here and have some fun!

Buster: Ah! He runs out. Don't touch me!  I am having fun. I just don't wanna touch anything! Ah! He walks backwards and stumbles into the pool. Ah, ah! Germs! Germs! Ah, ah! He climbs out of the pool and falls into the muddy grass. Oh. (gasps) I'm okay. I'm... okay!

Francine: See? We told you, you were being crazy.       

Buster walks off in a huff and slams the porch door.

Buster: Hm!

Francine: I guess that was kinda mean, huh?

***

Buster gets his food from the lunch counter at school. A piece of pizza falls off.

Buster: (gasps) Hm.

He picks it up and throws it into the trash. He sits alone at a table and eats his vegetables. His friends put a parcel in front of him.

Francine: We all pitched in and got you something, Buster.

Muffy: To say we were sorry.

Sue Ellen: Real sorry. 

Francine nudges Arthur, Brain and Binky.

Boys: Yeah, that's right.

Francine: We don't care if you're slobby or afraid of germs, you can be what you wanna be. We just wanna stay friends with you.

Buster: Really?! Ah, thanks! I'm sorry, too. I guess I got a little carried away. I was seeing germs everywhere!

Brain: They are everywhere, Buster. But good hygiene does keep the bad ones under control.

Buster: Yeah!

Muffy: Open your present!

Buster: A new harmonica!

Arthur: Hahaha. A clean one!

Buster wipes the harmonica with a napkin.

Buster: Er...just to be safe.

He plays a few notes.

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