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MURDER   9'1m4f Jesus heals the blind, deaf, and leper

(a fictional connection between actual Biblical events)

(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 in Jerusalem. Well, I've been summoned by the Roman
governor, Pontius Pilate. He probably wants to give me some kind
of award for meritorious service to the community.

WIFE -- (enters opposite) Is your name Sam Spade?

SAM -- Yes. It appears that my name is well known all over the
Roman Empire. And I suppose you are Pontius Pilate's personal
secretary.

WIFE -- I'm his wife.

SAM -- Wife. I meant wife. So, let's go.

WIFE -- Go where?

SAM -- To see the governor, so I can collect my award.

WIFE -- Don't flatter yourself. My husband wouldn't be seen in
public with a low-life like you. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Look, I can explain. It's a matter of
perception. If you solve ten murder cases, people forget you
like yesterday's lunch. But if you dig up a little dirt for one
little high-profile divorce, they write your name on the walls
of outhouses. (to Wife) So, if there's no award, why did the
governor send for me?

WIFE -- We had half a dozen accidental deaths in one day.

SAM -- So?

WIFE -- So, we usually get only one accidental death per week.

SAM -- So, the governor thinks these "accidents" might not be
accidents.

WIFE -- You get the picture.

SAM -- So, why send for me? He could send a Roman soldier to
investigate.

WIFE -- The Jews clam up when they see a Roman uniform. My
husband thought they might open up to a civilian. Here's the
information on the victims. (offers scroll)

SAM -- (takes scroll) There was just the little matter of money?

WIFE -- (hold small pouch at arms length, drops it) Oops. My
husband must have dropped his money pouch.... accidentally.
(turns)

SAM -- (stoops, picks up pouch) Thanks.

WIFE -- Don't mention it.

SAM -- Sure.

WIFE -- (turns) No. I mean don't mention it... to anyone. If my
husband hears his name in the same sentence with Sam Spade, you
don't get your bonus.

SAM -- Bonus, you say?

WIFE -- IF you solve this case before Passover.

SAM -- Passover?! That gives me only three days!

WIFE -- You're the world's greatest private eye. You can handle
it. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Me and my big mouth. (to Wife) Passover it
is.

WIFE -- And IF you keep my husband's name out of it. (turns,
exits)

SAM -- (turns, opens scroll, strolls, to audience) I made my way
down to Jericho to investigate the first victim.

LEPER -- (enters opposite) You're Sam Spade!

SAM -- Listen, I'm sorry if I messed up your divorce.

LEPER -- Divorce?! I've never been divorced!

SAM -- (smiles nervously to audience, to Leper) Oh, then, I take
back my apology. How do you know me?

LEPER -- You're the world-famous private investigator.

SAM -- (smiles to audience) Well, as a matter of fact....

LEPER -- I suppose you're here to investigate my husband's
death.

SAM -- As a matter of fact...

LEPER -- It was no accident!

SAM -- Says here one of the stones came loose from the wall
around Jericho and struck your husband on the head.

LEPER -- At night?! He never goes out of the city at night.
Nobody does.

SAM -- But it says here that his body was found OUTSIDE the
wall.

LEPER -- (points down) This is where they found his body.
(points up) Look up there. Do you see any rocks missing from the
wall?

SAM -- Well, no.

LEPER -- I think he was killed INSIDE the wall and his body was
dragged out here.

SAM -- So, you've got this all figured out. What's the motive?

LEPER -- I don't know. I haven't worked that out yet. Why would
anyone want to kill a leper?

SAM -- He was a leper?!

LEPER -- We both were.

SAM -- (back away) Eouu!

LEPER -- Oh, don't worry. Jesus cured our leprosy.

SAM -- Don't hand me that! There is no cure for leprosy!

LEPER -- There is if you're the son of God.

SAM -- So, it was a miracle. Two miracles.

LEPER -- Ten

SAM -- Ten miracles?!

LEPER -- There were ten of us. We were all cured at once. Do you
think I'm in danger too?

SAM -- I don't know. Why would the murderer single out one of
ten lepers?

LEPER -- He was the only one of us who spoke publicly about
Jesus as the messiah of Israel. You think that's why he was
killed? (exits)

SAM -- Could be. Thanks. (turns, strolls, to audience) My next
stop was way up in the boondocks by the Sea of Galilee.

MOM -- (enters opposite) Say, aren't you Sam Spade?

SAM -- It depends. Are you a bill collector?

MOM -- No. You were involved with that messy divorce involving
Herod's brother. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) See what I mean? One high profile divorce
and they forget all the crimes I ever solved. (to Mom) Yeah,
well, that's all in the past.

MOM -- Say, you're not here to investigate me, are you? I mean,
my husband isn't thinking of....

SAM -- No. I'm here to investigate the accidental death of a
little girl.

MOM -- That was my daughter.

SAM -- You don't seem terribly upset by it.

MOM -- Two weeks ago I would have been very upset.

SAM -- What happened two weeks ago?

MOM -- Jesus came to town. My daughter trusted Jesus to forgive
her sins. And now I know for sure my daughter is in Heaven.

SAM -- Says here (points to scroll) that your daughter fell off
a tree swing and broke her neck.

MOM -- Yeah. That's really odd.

SAM -- Why is that?

MOM -- She never rode on that swing. She was afraid of heights.

SAM -- Do you think maybe Jesus cured her of that?

MOM -- I suppose. But she never mentioned it.

SAM -- Tell me, was your daughter particularly vocal about
Jesus?

MOM -- Wouldn't you be?

SAM -- I don't understand.

MOM -- You haven't heard?

SAM -- About what.

MOM -- Jesus raised our daughter from the dead.

SAM -- So, your husband is the synagogue ruler?

MOM -- You have heard about it. (exits)

SAM -- Yes. But the report didn't mention that. Thank you.
(turns, strolls, to audience) Well, I think we're onto something
here. Both victims so far had miracles performed by Jesus and
both were boasting about it. I headed back to Jerusalem to make
one more confirmation before collecting my bonus from Pontius
Pilate. I stopped by the Pool of Siloam to see if there were any
witnesses to the next "accidental" death.

PARALYTIC -- (enters opposite limping with gnarled hand, sees
Sam, turns)

SAM -- Hey. Where you going?

PARALYTIC -- Please don't kill me! I promise I won't say
anything! (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) This woman obviously thinks I'm the one who
murdered this victim. (to Paralytic) I'm not who you think I am.

PARALYTIC -- Yes you are! You're Sam Spade.

SAM -- And you think I'm a murderer?!

PARALYTIC -- Any low-life who digs up dirt for divorces will do
anything for money. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) I really have to work on my public image.
(to Paralytic) As a matter of fact, I was hired by.... by the
authorities to find the murderer.

PARALYTIC -- (turns) You were?

SAM -- Yes. How do you know this "accidental" drowning was
really a murder?

PARALYTIC -- Because the Pool of Siloam is only three feet deep.
It was built for ceremonial washings. It's not a swimming pool.

SAM -- Well if he hit his head on the side of the pool, maybe.

PARALYTIC -- He had no reason to even be in the pool. His
hearing had been restored...

BOTH -- ...by Jesus.

PARALYTIC -- How did you know?

SAM -- I'm an investigator. It's what I do. So, you sure the
drowning was no accident?

PARALYTIC -- I'm the first person here in the morning and the
last one here at night. I come here because I want to be healed
by the water. He had no reason to immerse himself in the pool
because he was already healed. But even if he did go into the
pool, I would have seen him.

SAM -- Nobody comes to the Pool of Siloam after dark?

PARALYTIC -- Never. He was murdered because he was telling
everybody that Jesus restored his hearing and that Jesus was
obviously the messiah. (exits) Excuse me now. It's time for
another immersion.

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) I went back to the palace
of the governor to collect my bonus. (to Wife) Well, you got my
bonus?

WIFE -- (enters opposite) Well, you got my answers?

SAM -- The Jewish elites killed all these guys because they were
living proof that Jesus is the messiah of Israel.

WIFE -- What's a messiah?

SAM -- He's God in human flesh. The scriptures predicted that
the messiah would validate himself by healing the lepers,
restoring the hearing of the deaf and raising people from the
dead.

WIFE -- You mean all these murder victims were healed or raised
from the dead by Jesus?

SAM -- Not only that, they were boasting about it to anyone who
would listen. The Jewish elites had to shut them up so there
wouldn't be any witnesses at his trial.

WIFE -- What trial?

SAM -- It's going on right now.

WIFE -- Right now?!

SAM -- Yes. They'll probably ask the governor to execute Jesus
in the morning.

WIFE -- But it's illegal to hold a trial after dark!

SAM -- They want him dead... as dead as the witnesses. Now,
about my bonus....

WIFE -- (holds pouch at arm's length, drops it) Bonus? What
bonus? All I know is that my husband lost his money pouch again.
(exits)

SAM -- (picks up pouch) It's been a pleasure not doing business
with you. (turns, strolls, to audience) This is way better than
divorces. (shakes pouch by ear) Way better.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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