ACHAN2   5'3m0f Achan steals from the Lord, Ai defeats Israel

(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.

JOSHUA -- (follows, wearing sword and a helmet) Spade? Sam

SAM -- (stops, to audience) See what I mean? When you're the
world's greatest private eye, everybody knows your name. (to
Joshua over shoulder) Who wants to know?

JOSHUA -- Are you Sam Spade or not?

SAM -- If you're a bill collector, Sam Spade left town. If
you're looking for the world renowned private investigator, I
might be able to put you in touch, if you know what I mean.

JOSHUA -- So, you ARE Sam Spade!

SAM -- So, you're looking for a private eye, are you? (turns)

JOSHUA -- Yes.

SAM -- General Joshua! Why didn't you tell me it was you?! What
can I do for you?

JOSHUA -- The army of Israel was defeated by the army of Ai.

SAM -- I had nothing to do with that! I was nowhere near Ai!

JOSHUA -- I'm not blaming you! I need to have you investigate
the cause of the defeat.

SAM -- Well, I'm an expert on a lot of things. But what do I
know about military strategy?

JOSHUA -- I'm not talking about military strategy! Our army was
defeated because one of my soldiers stole some of the plunder
from Jericho that was all supposed to be dedicated entirely to
God. God removed his protective hand from us because of this

SAM -- Listen, I had nothing to do with that. I was nowhere near
Jericho when they...

JOSHUA -- I'm not accusing you. I'm hiring you to find out who
did steal the sacred things that belong to God.

SAM -- Oh. Well, then I'm your man. You can count on me. Now, I
have a sliding fee schedule. I can work by the hour OR I can
work for a percentage of the loot I recover for you.

JOSHUA -- If I gave you a percentage of the sacred things, I
would have to stone you to death along with the thieves.

SAM -- Oh, well, in that case, I'll work by the hour.

JOSHUA -- (turns, exits) Good. Make it quick. We can't fight
anymore battles until the thieves are dead.

SAM -- (follows) There was just the matter of a retainer.... I
usually get some of my fee up front. (stops) Rats!

(to audience) I suppose you're wondering why I didn't press
Joshua for my retainer. Did you notice? He was carrying a sword?
(strolling) I decided to play the odds, so I started my
investigation with the tribe of Judah. Judah is the largest
tribe of Israel, so they would have had the most soldiers at
Jericho collecting the plunder after the walls fell down.

ACHAN -- (enters hurriedly)

SAM -- Excuse me, are you from the tribe of Judah?

ACHAN -- Yes, but I don't know anything.

SAM -- I haven't asked you any questions yet. Why so defensive?

ACHAN -- Defensive? I'm not defensive! What makes you think I'm
defensive? (freezes)

SAM -- (turns to audience, smirks) Pay dirt. This guy is dirty.
Just watch the expert private investigator at work.

(to Achan) What's you're name, buddy?

ACHAN -- Me? You want to know MY name? 

SAM -- That's what I asked.

ACHAN -- Achan. My name is Achan.

SAM -- Uh Huh. (writes on pad of paper)

ACHAN -- (tries to peek at paper) What are you writing?

SAM -- (resists) Just the facts.

ACHAN -- (tries to peek at paper) What facts? What do you know
about me?

SAM -- Were you or were you not one of the soldiers who went
into the city of Jericho after the walls fell down?

ACHAN -- (tries to peek at paper) Well, yes. What else do you
have written there?

SAM -- And were you or were you not one of the men who carried
the plunder out of Jericho?

ACHAN -- (swallows hard) Y... Yes I was. But a lot of men
carried the plunder out of Jericho. I wasn't the only one.

SAM -- Aha!

ACHAN -- (backs toward exit, freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Did you notice that when I said AHA, the
perp thought I knew something? He's dirty alright. Watch me put
the squeeze on him.

ACHAN -- (backs toward exit) You're bluffing! You don't have
anything on me! And you don't know what I took from Jericho or
how much!

JOSHUA -- (enters)

ACHAN -- (turns, stops, gasps)

JOSHUA -- How much of what?

ACHAN -- Alright, I'll admit it! I took some of the plunder from
Jericho. I took a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels
of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels. I'm sorry.

JOSHUA -- (grabs Achan by the elbow) Come with me. (turns)

SAM -- Wait a minute! What about my fee?!

JOSHUA -- Is that a bill collector I see behind you?

SAM -- (turns quickly) A bill collector?! Where?! (turns back)
There's nobody behind...

(to audience) He stiffed me! I solved his mystery, I found his
perp and then he stiffed me! Why, if he wasn't wearing a sword,

(exiting) Note to self: From now on, the world's greatest
private investigator always collects the fee in advance.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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