BACK

PAINTER2 5'2m0f The sign said "KING OF THE JEWS"

PILATE -- (enters wearing Roman tunic and sandals, shouts) Send
in the scribe.

SCRIBE -- (enters opposite wearing long tunic and sandals)
Say, listen, Governor Pilate, I hope this won't take long. I've
got a pretty busy schedule....

PILATE -- I'm told that you know languages.

SCRIBE -- Languages? Why, yes, I read and write five languages
and I can read and understand two other languages that most
scribes don't know...

PILATE -- You'll do.

SCRIBE -- I'll do?

PILATE -- Yes.

SCRIBE -- I'll do what?

PILATE -- You'll paint me a sign.

SCRIBE -- Do I look like a common sign painter to you?! I'm
not a sign painter. I'm a scribe. I'm one of the intellectual
elites among the Jews. Do you know what it takes to become a 
scribe?

PILATE -- No. And I don't care.

SCRIBE -- Well, I'll tell you anyway. In order to be a scribe,
one must memorize all five books of Moses.

PILATE -- How quaint.

SCRIBE -- (counts fingers) That's Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Word for word. We scribes are
entrusted with the very words of God himself.

PILATE -- That's nice. Today, you'll paint a sign.

SCRIBE -- I will not!

PILATE -- Are you familiar with the "one mile law"?

SCRIBE -- You're not going to pull that on me, are you?

PILATE -- The "one mile law" was instituted by Caesar. It says
that all non-citizens of Rome -- that is just about everybody
within 300 miles of the Mediterranean Sea -- is required by law
to carry the equipment of any Roman soldier who demands it up to
one mile.

SCRIBE -- I know what it says.

PILATE -- That means that I can demand that you do just about
anything I ask you to do and you must do it without complaint.

SCRIBE -- Well, I'd love to help. But I don't think the
"one-mile-law" applies to the intellectual elite like me.

PILATE -- (shouts) Guards! Take this man out and flog him!

SCRIBE -- Alright, alright, I'll paint your silly sign. You
don't have to get huffy!

PILATE -- I thought you'd see it my way. (shouts) Nevermind,
guards.

SCRIBE -- So, what do you need a sign for?

PILATE -- Roman law requires that when we crucify a prisoner, we
have to post a sign in three different languages telling the
public what crimes he committed.

SCRIBE -- You're not going to crucify anyone TODAY, are you?

PILATE -- Yes. Why?

SCRIBE -- Well, everybody knows that tomorrow is a special
sabbath.

PILATE -- What do I care about your silly sabbaths?

SCRIBE -- Well, crucifixion takes three days to kill the
prisoner. You can't keep a Jew hanging for three days over the
sabbath.

PILATE -- Don't blame me! It was you Jews who demanded that
Jesus be put to death immediately!

SCRIBE -- Jesus? Jesus of Nazareth?

PILATE -- Yes.

SCRIBE -- This is the first time I've heard of this. Jesus was
not my favorite person. He insulted virtually every scribe in
Israel, but I wasn't even aware he had a trial.

PILATE -- They had the trials last night.

SCRIBE -- Last night?! It's against the law for Jews to hold a
trial at night. A man can't get a fair trial at night!

PILATE -- Tell that to the Sanhedrin. It was you're own people
who convicted him.

SCRIBE -- Well, I'm sure he had it coming. I suppose. Alright,
so, what do you want on the sign. What crimes was Jesus
convicted of?

PILATE -- The sign will read "KING OF THE JEWS".

SCRIBE -- That's it?! KING OF THE JEWS?! I thought you said the
sign has to list the crimes he was convicted of!

PILATE -- They didn't have any evidence against him. They just
wanted him dead.

SCRIBE -- Well, I wanted him dead too. But surely they could
find SOMETHING to convict him of!

PILATE -- No. They couldn't get any two witnesses to agree on
anything. And I flogged him 39 times with the cat of nine tails
but I couldn't get him to confess to anything. The man is
innocent.

SCRIBE -- But you're going to kill him anyway?!

PILATE -- I couldn't talk them out of it! Your friends in the
Sanhedrin threatened to start a riot if I didn't crucify Jesus.
I had to choose between the lesser of two evils. (flicks
hand) So, go ahead and write the sign. I need the sign written
in three languages: Latin, Greek and Aramaic. "KING OF THE
JEWS".

SCRIBE -- Wait a minute. Can't the sign at least say that Jesus
CLAIMED to be the king of the Jews?!

PILATE -- (points finger at Scribe's nose) I'm not going to have
any trouble from you, am I?

SCRIBE -- (exiting) Alright. I'll write the sign exactly the 
way you want it. But I can tell you right now, the guys in the 
Sanhedrin are not going to like it.

PILATE -- (exiting) I know. That's what I'm counting on.
(laughs)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
Do not sell any part of this script, even if you rewrite it.
Pay no royalties, even if you make money from performances.
You may reproduce and distribute this script freely,
but all copies must contain this copyright statement.
http://www.bobsnook.org  email: bob@bobsnook.org

BACK