8.15 Just Listen



A close up of Xena's face, still staring in shock at Argo. She stands there, frozen for a moment.


XENA (chuckles nervously and rubs her head):
     Okay...I'm still asleep.

     You look pretty wide-awake to me.

The sound of Argo's voice makes Xena jump and she falls backwards in shock, landing in the hay. She stares at Argo. Argo grunts.

     Hey. You're sitting in my breakfast.

     All right, either I'm still asleep or... (rubs her head again) ...I need to get more sleep.


ARGO (eyes the hickey on her neck):
     I bet you do.

Xena gives her a startled look, then gets up, brushes herself off and heads toward the stable door.

     Xena, are we going for a ride today? I'm getting bored standing around in this stall all day.

Xena turns slowly and looks with utter shock and bewilderment at Argo, who is bobbing her head up and down. Then she dashes toward the door, only to hear Argo's voice behind her again.

     Guess that's a "no".


The dining room in the inn. Gabrielle, Eve, and Darion are having breakfast when they see Xena walk in, a disturbed look on her face.

     Xena. You're back.

Xena walks up to them and stops. She seems to be in a daze.


     Come with me to the stables. Right now.

     We're not even done with breakfast yet!

GABRIELLE (worried):
     Is everything all right? Is it Klio?

XENA (shakes head):
     No, it's--I don't know what it is. Just come with me.


Xena, Gabrielle, Eve and Darion walk into the stable and up to Argo's stall.

     All right--what's going on?

ARGO (whinnies):
     Xena, you're back. It's about time. Are we leaving?

KLIO (from the next stall):
     I hope not. My leg still hurts!

Xena whips around and stares in her direction.

XENA (to Gabrielle):
     Did you hear that?

GABRIELLE (puzzled):
     Hear what?

     Klio. She just spoke.


     She said her leg still hurts.

GABRIELLE (irritated look):
     Xena, is this another of your many skills that you (makes "air quotes") forgot to tell me about in the last eight years? Because if it is...

     No, it happened this morning. I came in here and suddenly I could understand Argo. And now Klio, too.

     What did Argo say?

     That she wants to ride.

     That's not very original.


     You expect a horse to say something original? (glances at Xena) Which is not to say that she said anything, of course.

     Wait, maybe we can test this.

     Test what? Whether you can hear the horses talk?

     Yeah. (to Argo) Hey, girl. You understand me, don't you?


XENA (gets a sudden idea):
     What about the others? Do you understand Gabrielle, or Eve?

     No. But I'm sure I'm not missing a thing.

Xena shoots Gabrielle and Eve a somewhat uncomfortable look.

     What did she say?

     Uh... That she doesn't understand you two. (To Argo) Could you understand me before this morning?

ARGO (grunts):
     Not the words. (off Xena's disappointed look) But we've always understood each other without words, right?

XENA (smiles):
     All right. Now we've got to show them that you actually understand me. You ready to do something for me, girl?

     Like what? A trick? I don't feel like doing any tricks.


     Oh, come on. This isn't the time to be stubborn.

ARGO (grunts):
     Fine. What do you want me to do?

     Come out of the stall. (Argo trots out of the stall and stops in the middle of the stable) Now lift your right foot. (Argo obeys) Left foot. (Argo obeys) Walk backwards. (Argo obeys.) Bow down on one knee.

ARGO (grunts):
     I think you're pushing it.


     Come on, girl. Just a couple more. Bow down on one knee. (Argo obeys) Now rear up on your back legs. (Argo gives her a nasty look) It's the last one, I swear. (Argo rears up, pawing the air with her front hooves and neighing.)

Gabrielle, Eve, and Darion watch in amazement, Xena smiles.

Quick pan to the stableman peeking in through the door of the stable, his eyes widening in amazement. Then he tiptoes away unseen.

Pan back to Argo, just as she comes down, planting all fours firmly on the ground. Xena walks up to her and rubs her nose.

     Good job.

ARGO (placated):
     Thank you. Now can I get back to my breakfast?


     Wow, that was amazing! I want Argo to do more tricks!

     So, you really can speak to Argo. And she can speak to you. That's...amazing.

     I don't like this.


XENA (looks back at Argo):
     It's nothing against you, girl. It's just... (rubs her head) ...a little too weird.

     So...is it just horses who can understand you?

     Who knows. Let's go outside. (to Argo) Argo, back in the stall.

ARGO (grunts):
     She's been talking for ten minutes and she's already bossing me around.

     I'll take you for a ride later--I promise.


Outside. Xena, Gabrielle, Eve and Darion walk out of the stable. Xena looks around.

VOICE (off-camera, coming from above):
     Ow! Ow! This roof is hot!

Xena looks up and sees a cat, which has just jumped from a tree branch onto the roof of the stable and is walking along the roof lifting its paws high in the air.

Xena and the others start walking down the street.

THIN VOICE (off-camera, from below):
     Are we there yet?

Xena looks down to see a mother mouse scurrying along with several baby mice.

     It's just around the corner. Hurry up, children. If we're the last to get to the garbage dump, the other mice will pick up all the good stuff.

LITTLE MICE (in unison with high pitched, squeaky voices):
     Yes, mother.

Xena shakes her head.


     I can hear them.


     The cat, the mice, the-- (looks up) Watch out!


Something falls from the tree over her head, barely missing Gabrielle's head. She looks at the ground and sees that it is a large walnut. She looks questioningly at Xena.

XENA (grins):
     Told you.

     How'd you know?

XENA (shrugs):
     The squirrel said so.

She points up and Gabrielle look up to a tree branch above their heads. Two squirrels are scurrying along the branch, one of them carrying several walnuts.

     I told you we were going to drop it!

The squirrels scurry off.

GABRIELLE (chuckles and shakes her head):
     So you can understand all animals now.

Xena and others continue to walk down the street as they talk.

     Sounds like it.

     That's...really weird.

DARION (excited):
     That's really neat.

XENA (slowly):
     Well, I'm not so sure about that.

     What do you think is causing this?

     Maybe it's something about this town. They love animals so much, maybe they all understand animals here. And it's rubbing off on you.

     Then why isn't the same thing happening to you, or Gabrielle or Darion?

DARION (suddenly looks excited):
     Ooh--wait! I think it's happening to me, too!

GABRIELLE (whips around, worried):
     It is?

DARION (points to a big yellow dog warming himself in the sun):
     I just heard him say... (thinks for a moment) "Man, the weather is hot!"

XENA (glares at him):
     He did not.

Darion gives her a mischievous, guilty grin.

GABRIELLE (upset):
     Darion, you made this up?

DARION (shrugs):
     I was just having a little fun.

     You know, Mother--I think you must have received this gift for a purpose.

     What purpose? So I could say hello to Argo every morning?

DARION (excited):
     Hey, what if there's something really wrong going on in town and only a person who can talk to the animals can stop it?

GABRIELLE (her face light up):
     Maybe that's it.

DARION (amazed and proud):

XENA (sarcastic):
     Oh, right. Like what? A gang of ruthless cats taking over a back alley?

They pass by a cat sitting on a short stone post, grooming itself. Darion reaches out and tries to pet it.

CAT (flinches and gives Darion a nasty look):
     Do you mind? I just had that part cleaned. I don't want you messing it up with your dirty fingers.

Xena chuckles.

VOICE (off-camera):

Xena looks up to see a dapple-gray horse with a rider going by at a slow trot.

     Excuse me. You own that golden mare, don't you?


Dapple Gray Horse

     I'm stabled at the same inn. Tell me, is she, uh--available? (dreamy) She's so gorgeous!

XENA (a little taken aback):

HORSE (already a few paces ahead of Xena, turns his head and neighs):
     Put in a word for me, all right? (tosses his mane, showing off) They call me Falcon.

XENA (uncertainly):
     Okay...I will.

HORSE (neighs again):
     Great! Thank you!

Xena shakes her head.

GABRIELLE (gives Xena an amused and slightly worried look):
     What was that all about?

     Let's see. So far, I've heard a cat tell Darion not to mess up her newly groomed fur and I've had a horse ask me for a date with Argo. (Gabrielle laughs) So much for my being given this gift for the Greater Good.

WOMAN'S VOICE (off-camera, screaming):
     My baby! My baby!

Xena and the others look in her direction.

The woman, about thirty years old with light brown hair, wearing a long green dress, comes into view. She is running through the street, weeping.

     My Melissa! My baby is gone!

XENA (steps up toward the woman):
     Maybe we can help you. What happened to your baby?

WOMAN (crying):
     I walked into her room this morning and she was gone...no trace of her... (sobs) ...nothing but the mat on the floor and her toys and her doggie bowl...

XENA (taken aback):
     Melissa is a dog?

VOICE (off-camera):
     Hey! You say that like it was a bad thing.

Xena looks in the direction of the voice. The camera pans over to show the yellow dog lazing about in the sun.

     Sorry 'bout that.

WOMAN (angrily):
     Well, you should be sorry! My poor Melissa... (sniffles) ...she couldn't mean any more to me if she were my own child! (defensive) And she's not just any dog, you know. She won a medal at the Anderida annual dog show last year. (starts wailing again) My baby!

A crowd starts to gather around them.

     Poor thing.

MAN #1:
     You see? Another one!

GABRIELLE (looks at him curiously):
     Another what?

MAN #1:
     Another animal theft. We've had more than two dozen in this town in the last two months. Horses, cats, dogs...the best animals in town. Usually ones that have won prizes, or are special in some way.

WOMAN #2 (defensively):
     All animals are special.

     And no one knows who's taking them?

MAN #1:
     No. Whoever it is, is good. They never leave any tracks. Or witnesses.

MAN #2:
     Except animals. And animals don't talk.

Xena, Gabrielle and Eve exchange curious looks as we: