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HANGED   8'1m3f Judas went out and hanged himself

(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 suppose you're wondering what I'm doing
here at the temple in Jerusalem. Frankly, I ought to have my
head examined. These priests, especially the chief priest, are
filthy rich, but they're tightwads. Last time I did an
investigation for them, they stiffed me... wouldn't even pay my
expenses. But the detective business has it's ups and downs.
And, quite frankly, right now, I need the dough. So....

WIFE -- (enters opposite) Oh! You! (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) This is the wife of the chief priest. She's
the one who stiffed me last time. This time I'm getting a
retainer up front. Watch the pro in action. (to Wife) The
messenger said you need the best private investigator money can
buy. That's me.

WIFE -- Save it. I've heard the sales pitch.

SAM -- So, this problem you have must be pretty important to
you.

WIFE -- Why do you say that?

SAM -- It's night time. Nobody works after dark unless they're
desperate.

WIFE -- I need you to find Judas Iscariot.

SAM -- Again? You told me last time that he just walked in and
volunteered to betray Jesus. What happened? Did he back out of
the deal?

WIFE -- No. He betrayed Jesus. In fact, he betrayed him with a
kiss.

SAM -- The kiss of death. So, you've got Jesus in custody. What
happened to Judas?

WIFE -- We needed him to testify against Jesus, but he backed
out of the deal.

SAM -- What do you mean, he backed out of the deal?

WIFE -- After we arrested Jesus, Judas came to the temple to
give back the money. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) For those of you who aren't acquainted with
this case, the Chief Priest paid Judas thirty pieces of silver
to lead the temple guards to arrest Jesus. (to Wife) So, he gave
the money back, eh?

WIFE -- My husband wouldn't take it back because it's blood
money. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Thirty pieces of silver would sure come in
handy about now. (to Wife) So, Judas still has the money?

WIFE -- No. Judas threw the coins into the temple and ran off.

SAM -- And now you desperately need Judas to testify against
Jesus at the trial.

WIFE -- Especially now.

SAM -- Why now?

WIFE -- Well, we had a ton of people lined up to testify against
Jesus, but now that the trial started, no two testimonies agree.

SAM -- Listen, I don't want to side-track the conversation, but
isn't it illegal to hold a trial after dark?

WIFE -- Yes, but my husband and the rest of the members of the
Sanhedrin want to get Jesus executed before Passover.

SAM -- So, (smiles to audience) they're desperate.

WIFE -- Yes.

SAM -- I'll find Judas for you.

WIFE -- You will?!

SAM -- Sure. (hands clasped behind back, rocks on heels)

WIFE -- Well?! Get going.

SAM -- Stiff me once, shame on you. Stiff me twice, shame on me.

WIFE -- Alright! (tosses small pouch) Here.

SAM -- (shakes pouch) Feels a little light.

WIFE -- That's thirty pieces of silver.

SAM -- Thirty pieces of silver for me. But nothing for Judas.
There's no way I can entice Judas to come back here without a
little incentive. (rubs thumb and forefinger together)

WIFE -- Alright! (tosses small pouch) Here. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) And this ladies and gentlemen is how the
world's greatest private eye got to be the greatest. (to Wife)
Madam, Judas is as good as here. (turns)

WIFE -- Make it snappy. This trial has to be over by dawn.
(exits)

SAM -- (crosses strolling, to audience) Since Judas was an
apostle, I went to a house here in Jerusalem known to be
frequented by the apostles.

RHODA -- (an airhead, enters) I'm sorry, my masters and
everybody else in the household are asleep.

SAM -- What's you're name, dollface?

RHODA -- (pause) Rhoda. My name is Rhoda.

SAM -- Then, I'll talk to Rhoda.

RHODA -- (turns) I'll see if Rhoda is awake.

SAM -- Wait a minute!

RHODA -- (turns) Yes?

SAM -- You just told me YOUR name was Rhoda.

RHODA -- Oh. Oh, yes it is. But nobody ever talks to me.

SAM -- I'm talking to you.

RHODA -- Are you?!

SAM -- (pauses) I think so. Listen, I'm looking for Judas
Iscariot.

RHODA -- He's one of Jesus' apostles.

SAM -- Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

RHODA -- Thank you.

SAM -- Would you happen to know where Judas is at the moment?

RHODA -- He's not here.

SAM -- I was pretty sure he wasn't here.

RHODA -- Then why would you come to a place you knew you
wouldn't find him?

SAM -- I'm beginning to wonder. Listen, perhaps one of the other
apostles might know where Judas went after he betrayed Jesus.

RHODA -- You mean Judas betrayed Jesus?!

SAM -- Yes. Didn't you know that?

RHODA -- Yes. I knew it, but I didn't know what it meant.

SAM -- It means Judas helped the Jewish elites arrest Jesus.

RHODA -- No wonder my masters were all crying! That's terrible.

SAM -- So, do you think you could wake them and ask them where I
might find Judas?

MARY -- (enters) Rhoda, who's out here? What's going on?

RHODA -- Oh, Mary! He had Jesus arrested!

MARY -- (to Sam) So, it was you!

SAM -- Not me! I was just trying to explain to dollface, here,
that Judas had Jesus arrested.

MARY -- (to Rhoda) I'll take care of things from here, Rhoda.
You go back to sleep.

RHODA -- (exiting) Yes, mam.

MARY -- So, why are you here at this hour of the morning?

SAM -- I'm looking for Judas.

MARY -- "Vengeance is mine. I will repay says the Lord."

SAM -- No, I'm not going to kill him. I'm not even going to harm
him in any way. I've been hired to... I've been hired to...

MARY -- To what?

SAM -- Are any of the other apostles around?

MARY -- No. When Jesus was arrested, they all ran for their
lives. It's just like the prophet Zechariah predicted.

SAM -- Ah, yeah. I remember that from scripture. It said... It
said...

MARY -- It said "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be
scattered"

SAM -- I knew that.

MARY -- So, what were you hired to do? (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) This woman just quoted scripture
verbatim.... twice. I suspect that she is a close personal
friend of Jesus. If I tell her the truth, that I want Judas to
testify against Jesus, she'd probably tell me to go climb a
rope. So, I'll use a little subterfuge. (to Mary) The men at the
Sanhedrin think that Jesus may have been falsely accused by
Judas. They hired me to bring Judas back and maybe shake him
from his story.

MARY -- You're too late.

SAM -- What do you mean, I'm too late?

MARY -- Judas hung himself.

SAM -- He what?

MARY -- Judas hung himself. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) So much for subterfuge. (holds up pouch) No
Judas means no fee. (to Mary) What a shame.

MARY -- What do you mean, what a shame? If Judas is the only
accuser, that means the Sanhedrin will set Jesus free. Right?
(freezes)

SAM -- (turns, crosses) Right! Justice for all. It's a win-win
situation. (to audience) Be a shame to let all this money go to
waste by returning it to the chief priest. There's got to be a
better use for it. I'm thinking a two-week vacation at a resort
along the Mediterranean Sea. Of course, this means I'll never be
able to work in Jerusalem again, but, I hear that Damascus is a
nice place to work.

MARY -- So, you'll make sure that Jesus is set free, right?
(freezes)

SAM -- (stops, to audience) Listen, I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking I should try to get Jesus released. But Jewish
elites who hold an illegal trial after dark are not after
justice. Jesus is toast no matter what I do. (turns, exits)
Right. I'll take care of it.

MARY -- (exiting) Why don't I believe him?

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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