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WHATIF   9'2m4f If Jesus came to modern America  not of Israel

(Scene: A conference table and chairs.)

(All characters dressed in business suits. Bugsy and Don speak 
with Brooklyn accents, women enter singly, cautiously, sit)

BUGSY -- (follows TV) Alright, toots, the metal detector says 
you was carrying a bug.

TV ----- (digs in pocket, pulls out cell phone) A bug?! All I 
have is this cell phone.

BUGSY -- (snatches phone) The Don says no bugs, no phones.

TV ----- Hey, Bozo! 

BUGSY -- You'll get it back when you leave. (looks left and 
right, shouts) Okay, boss, all clear.

DON ---- (enters opposite, crosses to table) Alright, you all 
know why you're here. We're here to discuss the problems caused 
by a self-proclaimed messiah, known as Joshua Josephson.

TV ----- Also known as Jesus of Nazareth.

BUGSY -- Nobody gave you permission to talk, toots. Nobody talks 
but the Don says he should talk.

DON ---- Button it, meat head. You done your job.

BUGSY -- Oh, sure, boss.

DON ---- Okay, I assume that this Jesus guy has affected more 
than just my organization's three main sources of income.

TV ----- You mean, pornography, drugs and prostitution?

BUGSY -- (steps forward with finger pointed)

DON ---- Button it.

BUGSY -- Sorry, boss.

DON ---- We in the organization refer to our three main sources 
of income as "explicit entertainment", "chemical stimulants" and 
"female companionship". Now, the question before us is, has this 
Jesus guy affected your profit picture also? I yield the floor 
to our loud mouth friend from the television and film industry.

TV ----- Quite frankly, since Jesus began preaching the (motions 
with fingers "quote") GOOD NEWS, box office sales for our 
R-rated and even our PG-13 rated movie have dropped off 
precipitously. In addition, most of our prime-time TV line-up, 
which previous thrived by promoting violence and sexual 
promiscuity, now has lower ratings than reruns of Gilligan's 
Island. This has to stop! (pounds table)

DON ---- Don't get your shorts in a bunch. We'll deal with it. 
Let's hear from the left wing wackos. (points at Fem)

FEM ---- You know, I really resent your referring to feminists, 
animal rights activists and environmentalists as left wing 
wackos. 

DON ---- Hey, those ain't my words. That's what her (points to 
TV) people is calling you now.

TV ----- Now that we have a common enemy, I'll see what I can do 
to soften the language a bit in our news broadcasts.

FEM ---- Alright, what my people want you all to know is that 
when news leaked out that Jesus was the creator of the universe 
and people started to believe that women should be slaves to 
men....

DON ---- ...That ain't exactly what he says...

FEM ---- No, but he implied it. Anyway, Jesus also says that 
humans are superior to animals and trees. 

BUGSY -- Ain't that true, boss?

DON ---- (silently holds up hand)

FED ---- And the people I represent are furious at the resulting 
drop in contributions to liberal causes. You would not believe 
the staff layoffs involved.

MEDIC -- Speaking of staff layoffs, you should see ours.

FEM ---- Who are you?

MEDIC -- I represent certain medical interests.

DON ---- (laughs) I bet your hospitals is completely empty around 
Nazareth, Ohio, huh?

MEDIC -- It's not just Ohio anymore. Jesus recently commissioned 
seventy of his disciples to go throughout the United States, 
healing people. In every city they visited, hospitals are now 
gathering dust.

FED ---- That also affects the people I represent.

FEM ---- And who are they?

FED ---- I represent certain factions in the federal government. 
And because of the activities of Jesus, Congress has already 
proposed a HUGE cut in medical spending. And Christian charity 
has virtually eliminated the need for a welfare system.

BUGSY -- Hey! Less taxes.

DON ---- Button it, meat head. We don't pay no taxes.

BUGSY -- Oh, yeah, that's right.

MEDIC -- I think you should all know that a small portion of our 
medical community makes billions of dollars annually from 
abortions... or rather, they DID, until Jesus began claiming 
that man is made in the image of God.

FEM ---- She's right. People are actually returning our 
fund-raising brochures to our women's rights groups with notes 
saying that abortion is a choice to murder. Do you have any idea 
what that means to us?

FED ---- If I may, I'd, like to add just one small point. 
Congress has just voted to end the funding of abortions both 
here and overseas. Do you know how many zeros that number 
involves?

FEM ---- One of our organizations lost 800 million dollars 
because of that vote. 

MEDIC -- I think you KNOW where most of that 800 million WOULD 
HAVE BEEN spent. (points to self)

FED ---- There are many of us in the government who feel that 
more cuts are coming. First, the National Endowment for the 
Arts, then, who knows what? Jesus is not good for government.

FEM ---- She's right. This Jesus thing is getting way out of 
hand.

DON ---- The church lady is being awfully of quiet about all 
this.

FEM ---- (stands, backs away) You invited the church here?! 

BUGSY -- (approaches) Hey, toots, you don't leave but the Don 
says you can leave.

DON ---- Please, sit down. (motions) Let the church lady 
explain.

FEM ---- (sits) I'm listening.

CHURCH - I represent certain church factions from Salt Lake 
City, New York City, and a few foreign countries, who believe 
that this man is an impostor, because our literature clearly 
teaches that the messiah is an angel, not God himself. 

DON ---- Yeah, so what?

CHURCH - So, we're losing church members like water through a 
sieve. Do you people have any idea how much money three and a 
half million tithes amounts to?

FED ---- Yeah, but it's not taxable income. What do I care?

CHURCH - Then, care about this: the Italian government is 
talking about breaking off diplomatic relations AND trade 
agreements if American tithes to a certain Italian church keep 
dropping.

TV ----- I don't get it. That's a Christian church. Why would 
their tithes be dropping?

CHURCH - This Jesus, who claims to be the messiah, says that he 
is a priest on the order of Melchizedek.

BUGSY -- Hey, boss, she ain't insulting the Italians, is she?

DON ---- Button it, meat head. Hey, lady, speak English.

CHURCH - Jesus said he doesn't need a priest between him and his 
people. They can come to him directly.

DON ---- Hey, that cuts out the middle man.

FED ---- Yes, but cutting out this middle man means cutting out 
foreign trade with Italy. 

CHURCH - And I can assure you, it won't stop there. American 
muslims are buying the idea that Jesus is their God Alla.

FED ---- Do you have any idea what that would do to trade 
relations with Arab OIL PRODUCING COUNTRIES?!

DON ---- Alright, then, we're all agreed. Jesus gets his ticket 
punched.

ALL ---- (sit back, stiffly silent, no eye contact)

DON ---- Oh, I get it. You want me to do the dirty work.

FED ---- You can't look to the federal government to help you. 
We can't legally accuse him of anything. It's not a crime in 
America to claim to be God.

TV ----- My people told me that they don't want to get involved 
with the... accident. But they would not be opposed to live 
television coverage of it.

FEM ---- What if we... someone... arranges for an angry crowd to 
trample him to death?... by accident.

CHURCH - Not very likely. Crowds love Jesus. Did you hear that 
he fed an entire stadium full of people with two Big Macs and 
three small french fries?

MEDIC -- No kidding!? He did that?

CHURCH - Apparently authenticated by the Guinness Book of World 
records.

DON ---- So, we can't frame him for a crime and we can't turn 
and angry mob loose on him. How do we punch his ticket? Does he 
mess around with women?

CHURCH - Not a chance. The guy is squeaky clean. We couldn't 
find a thing to hang on him. We even made things up, but they 
wouldn't stick.

FED ---- (stands, backs to exit) Well, perhaps if he's in a 
motorcade by the Dallas Book Depository, history could repeat 
itself. I'll leave the details to you. 

DON ---- A bullet in the brain?

FED ---- I was never here. (exits)

TV ----- (stands) I could arrange a slow-motion instant replay 
from five different camera angles. May I have my phone back?

BUGSY -- (checks with Don) Oh sure. (hands over cell phone)

TV ----- (dials, puts phone to ear, backs toward exit) Yes, hi. 
It's a done deal. It'll happen in Dallas.

CHURCH - Save your breath. Jesus never leaves Ohio. 

TV ----- He what? (to phone) Hold on.

CHURCH - Jesus has never left the state of Ohio since he was 
born. And I'm opposed to shooting him.

DON ---- Why?

CHURCH - His disciples will wear a little gold bullet on a chain 
around their necks to commemorate his death. I favor an 
accidental death, so he's not a martyr.

DON ---- Hey, lady, do you want to do the deed?

CHURCH - Of course not!

DON ---- Then he gets a thirty-ought-six in the medulla. (points 
to the back of his own head) KapPING!

CHURCH - (sighs) Your best bet is to have the... accident in 
Jerusalem, Ohio. The prophet Daniel predicted he would make a 
grand entrance into Jerusalem this coming Sunday. They're 
calling it Palm Sunday. Big parade and everything.

TV ----- (to phone) Okay, have a five-camera crew in Jerusalem, 
Ohio, next Sunday.... Huh? (covers phone) What kind of a car 
does he drive?

CHURCH - He doesn't even own a car.

TV ----- You're kidding.

CHURCH - He walks everywhere. He doesn't own a thing except his 
khacky pants and the flannel shirt his back. But, he'll be easy 
to pick off... I mean, he'll be easy to spot. According to the 
prophet Isaiah, he'll ride into Jerusalem on a donkey colt.

TV ----- A donkey colt. (to phone, exiting) Did you hear that? 
Yeah, the ratings will go through the roof!

CHURCH - (stands, moves to exit) Well, that's it, then. Back to 
business as usual.

FEM ---- (stands, exits) None too soon.

MEDIC -- (stands, exits) My clients will be pleased that we can 
get back to the business of saving lives.

BUGSY -- (laughs, exits) Saving lives. That's funny, right, boss?

DON ---- (exits) Yeah, funny. Real funny.

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