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BETHLEHM 9'1m4f King of the Jews born in Bethlehem

(all characters wear tunics and sandals)

SAM -- (enters wearing a fedora with unlit cigarette in mouth,
crosses strolling, to audience) The name is Spade. Sam Spade.
I'm a private investigator. In fact, I'm the world's greatest
private investigator. I'm sure you're asking yourself "Who does
this guy think he is calling himself the world's greatest
private eye?" Well, I, Sam Spade have been invited to the palace
of King Herod, the king of the Jews. Needless to say the king
wants the best private eye money can buy. That's me.

SERVANT -- (enters opposite) Are you Sam Spade?

SAM -- (tips hat) At your service. Is the king expecting me?

SERVANT -- The king wouldn't soil his hands with the likes of
you.

SAM -- (to audience) This is what happens when the world's
greatest private eye handles a few divorce cases. Filthy
business, divorces. (to Servant) Well, the king sent for me.

SERVANT -- You will be dealing exclusively with me. Here.
(tosses a small pouch filled with coins)

SAM -- (catches and shakes pouch) Must be a couple dozen coins
in here.

SERVANT -- There's thirty silver coins in there. That's the
price of betrayal.

SAM -- I would betray my mother for thirty pieces of silver. Who
do you want me to betray?

SERVANT -- The king of the Jews.

SAM -- Hey, wait a minute. King Herod is paying me thirty pieces
of silver to betray himself?!

SERVANT -- There's another king. The coming king. The long
awaited messiah of Israel. When he comes, they'll call him the
king of the Jews.

SAM -- I get the picture. But I'm not a hit man.

SERVANT -- We're not asking you to KILL the messiah. Just tell
us where he is. King Herod will send some soldiers to do the
dirty deed.

SAM -- The messiah of Israel, you say?

SERVANT -- Yes.

SAM -- Betraying the coming king of the Jews has to be worth
more than (jiggles pouch) just thirty pieces of silver.

SERVANT -- (snatches pouch) If you don't want the job, I'll find
someone else.

SAM -- Hey! I didn't say I wouldn't take the job. I just said it
ought to be worth more, that's all. (takes pouch) I'll find this
coming king for you. You'll get your money's worth.

SERVANT -- Make it snappy. (backing toward exit) The longer the
messiah lives, the more his disciples will become attached to
him. (exits)

SAM -- (to audience, strolling to opposite exit) I made a quick
check with the priests at the Temple in Jerusalem. According to
the prophet Micah, the king of the Jews would come from
Bethlehem. So, I headed down to Bethlehem. And you would not
believe the stench. Turns out Bethlehem is the place where all
the sheep are raised for sacrifices in the temple.

(all offstage actors baah like sheep)

There is no way the king of the Jews would live in this stink
hole.

SHEPHERD -- (enters) You calling my home town a stink hole,
buddy?!

SAM -- Oh, I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to them.
(points to audience)

SHEPHERD -- (squints toward audience) There's nobody there. I
think you ought to see a doctor, buddy!

SAM -- Listen, my name is Spade, Sam Spade. I'm the world's
greatest private investigator.

SHEPHERD -- Never heard of you.

SAM -- (to audience) I told you this town stinks.

SHEPHERD -- (squints toward audience) You're doing it again.

SAM -- Listen, I'm looking for the coming messiah, the one they
call the king of the Jews. I understand he's from this town.

SHEPHERD -- Funny you should mention him! The angels just told
me where to find him.

SAM -- The angels?

SHEPHERD -- Yes.

SAM -- And you think "I" need a doctor?!

SHEPHERD -- Believe me or don't believe me. He's in a stable on
the other side of town.

SAM -- The coming king of the Jews is in a stable?

SHEPHERD -- That's what the angels said

SAM -- Oh, great. A stable. More stench.

SHEPHERD -- (continues to opposite) It makes no difference to
me. I'm going to go worship him. (exits)

SAM -- (turns, follows strolling slowly, to audience) To say the
least, I was a little sceptical. I didn't get to be the world's
greatest private eye by being gullible. So, I tried to find
someone else in Bethlehem who could confirm the airy-fairy story
of that shepherd.

WISE -- (enters wearing headdress, hides face)

SAM -- Hey, what can you tell me about the coming messiah?

WISE -- (tries to pass by) I don't know anything.

SAM -- (resists) Hey. What's your hurry?

WISE -- I don't know anything. Please let me by. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Rule of thumb. If somebody tells you he
doesn't know anything, it means he knows something and doesn't
want to tell you. Watch how I put her at ease and lower her
guard. (to Wise) You're not from around here, are you?

WISE -- No.

SAM -- Where you from?

WISE -- (tries to get by) Please, let me by. My people are
waiting for me.

SAM -- (resists) As soon as you tell me who your people are and
where they're from.

WISE -- I don't think I can trust you.

SAM -- Me? I'm harmless!

WISE -- You're from King Herod, aren't you? (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Now, how do you think this foreigner knows
I'm working for King Herod? (strokes chin) I think it's time for
a little deception in order to get her to lower her guard. (to
Wise) Who is King Herod? I'm a foreigner too. Should I be
worried about this guy King Herod?

WISE -- King Herod is King of the Jews. When we told him that we
were coming to Bethlehem to worship the messiah, he asked us to
tell him where the messiah is located, so he could come and
worship him too.

SAM -- Messiah?! What's a messiah?

WISE -- He's the coming king of the Jews.

SAM -- If you're a foreigner, how do you know so much about the
Jews in Israel?

WISE -- I came here from Babylonia with some wise men who are
disciples of the Jewish Prophet Daniel, who lived in Babylon
centuries ago. He told us when the messiah will come and where.

SAM -- So, why did these non-Jews come all the way from
Babylonia to visit the king of the Jews?

WISE -- According to the wise men, the Jewish messiah is also
the savior of the whole world.

SAM -- So, you found this messiah guy?

WISE -- Yes.

SAM -- So, where is he?

WISE -- I can't tell you. The wise men think that King Herod
will try to kill the messiah if he finds him. We've decided not
to tell anyone where he is.

SAM -- Oh, you can trust me!

WISE -- Okay, I'll tell you. (freezes)

SAM -- You will?! (to audience) Now you know why I'm the best
private eye in the world. (to wise) So, where is the messiah?

WISE -- (points beyond Sam) There he is!

SAM -- (turns) Where?!

WISE -- (quickly passes by Sam, exits)

SAM -- (turns back) Hey! (turns) Where did she go? (to audience)
Alright, so, sometimes even the best private eye in the world
can be fooled. (turns, continues) Oh, well...

ANGEL -- (enters) Where do you think you're going?!

SAM -- Who are you?

ANGEL -- I'm an angel of the Lord.

SAM -- An angel.

ANGEL -- Of the Lord.

SAM -- (to audience) I'm betting that there's a mental hospital
in town and all the inmates escaped.

ANGEL -- (squints to audience)

SAM -- What are you looking at?

ANGEL -- The audience. You brought the audience to Bethlehem
with you.

SAM -- You can see them?

ANGEL -- Of course. I'm an angel.

SAM -- Of the Lord, of course.

ANGEL -- So, you're looking for the king of the Jews?

SAM -- How did you know that?

ANGEL -- I'm an angel. I thought we covered that.

SAM -- Nevermind. Do you know where I can find him?

ANGEL -- You're too late.

SAM -- To late? To late for what?

ANGEL -- The three wise men from the east got here first and
warned us that King Herod was looking for the messiah.

SAM -- Who are the three wise men? Are they from the same mental
hospital?

ANGEL -- Look, it's a little hard to explain. Let's cut to the
chase. When the wise men from the east told Mary and Joseph that
Herod was looking for them, they took the baby and ran to Egypt.

SAM -- Who are Mary and Joseph and why are you talking about the
baby?

ANGEL -- The messiah, the king of the Jews, was born here
tonight.

SAM -- You mean the messiah is a baby?! I'm looking for a baby?!

ANGEL -- You didn't know?

SAM -- Nobody ever said anything about a baby! You mean Herod
wanted to kill a baby?!

ANGEL -- Now you know why Mary and Joseph took him to Egypt.
Listen, why don't you stroll back across the stage and talk to
your audience while I disappear back into Heaven. (exits)

SAM -- (turns, strolls, talks to audience) The king of the Jews
is a baby?! Why didn't one of you tell me that the messiah was a
baby? (holds money pouch in hand) You mean I took thirty pieces
of silver to betray a baby?

SERVANT -- (enters) You didn't find the messiah, did you?

SAM -- Why didn't you tell me that the king of the Jews was a
baby?!

SERVANT -- (snatches pouch) I knew it. You didn't find him.
(exits)

SAM -- (follows) Hey, wait a minute! I need that money! What
about my expenses?! (stops, turns, crosses) Now that I think of
it, I'm kind of glad I didn't find the baby. The NEW king of the
Jews couldn't possibly be any worse than the old one. (points
over shoulder, exits)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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