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JOSEPH   9'1m4f A private-I finds Jacob's missing son Joseph

LEAH -- (enters, paces floor DL)

SAM -- (enters, surveys surroundings, crosses to DL) Nice digs. 
I bet this place cost you a ton of money, huh?

LEAH -- Are you the rent-a-cop?

SAM -- I prefer to call myself a private investigator. The name
is Spade, Sam Spade. I'm sure you've heard of me.

LEAH -- No, I haven't.

SAM -- Oh. So, they said (points) that I should come to Jacob's
house. Is he around?

LEAH -- I was the one who sent for a rent-a-cop. I'm Jacob's
wife. My name is Leah. You don't mind doing business with a
woman, do you?

SAM -- No, as a matter of fact. I'm a little relieved. Jacob has
quite a reputation here in Canaan as a ruthless negotiator....

LEAH -- Can we get right to the point? I want you to find
Jacob's missing son.

SAM -- A missing persons case, heh? Okay. Let's talk money.

LEAH -- Money? How can you talk about money when a loved one is 
missing?

SAM -- Hey, when you been stiffed as many times as I have, you
get a little jittery about money. I get 10 drachmas a day plus
expenses. I'll need...(looks around) 300 drachmas up front.

LEAH -- I'll give you 150.

SAM -- You been taking negotiating lessons from Jacob?

LEAH -- You gonna take my 120 drachmas or not?

SAM -- Wait a minute. You said 150 before.

LEAH -- Alright, have it your way. 150.

SAM -- Hey, wait a minute, we started at 300. (receives a
handful of coins, counts) 50, 100, 120, 140, 150. Alright, I
guess I'll settle for 150. Now, what's the little rug rat's
name?

LEAH -- His name is Joseph. But he's no rug rat. By now he's 30
years old.

SAM -- By now? How long has he been gone?

LEAH -- About 15 years.

SAM -- Well, the trail is pretty cold by now. Why are you
just starting to look for him after 15 years?

LEAH -- I thought he had been killed and eaten by a wild
animals. But I overheard Jacob's other sons talking about him as
if he's still alive. Listen, you gotta find him. My husband
hasn't been the same since he disappeared.

SAM -- Relax, lady, you're talking to Sam Spade here. I could
find the lint from his pockets. (crosses to DR, speaks to
audience) I questioned each of the remaining brothers of the
missing boy. It turned out he had eleven brothers. By the time I
finally talked to the oldest son, Reuben, I was still without a
decent lead.

ETHEL -- (slips quietly to DR before he arrives) What do you
want?

SAM -- The name is Spade, Sam Spade. I'm a private-I. I'm sure
you've heard of me.

ETHEL -- No, I haven't.

SAM -- Oh.

ETHEL -- What do you want?

SAM -- I need some information about the disappearance of
Jacob's son Joseph.

ETHEL -- We don't know anything. Go away. (turns)

SAM -- I want to talk to Reuben, Jacob's oldest son.

ETHEL -- I'm his wife and he doesn't know anything. Go
away. (turns)

SAM -- (to audience) It was obvious this woman was hiding
something.

ETHEL -- (looks out to audience) Who are you talking to?

SAM -- I'm talking to the audience.

ETHEL -- The audience?

SAM -- It's a little hard to explain. Listen, all I need is a
little information. I'll make it worth your while. Let's say 5
drachmas?

ETHEL -- 30.

SAM -- I gave all the other brothers only 10 drachmas each.

ETHEL -- So, are you any closer to finding Joseph?

SAM -- Well, no, but....

ETHEL -- 30 drachmas. (extends hand)

SAM -- I think I do better talking to the men in this family.

ETHEL -- Do you want the information or not?

SAM -- Alright, 30 drachmas. So, what do you know about the
disappearance of Joseph?

ETHEL -- Let's see the 30 drachmas first.

SAM -- That'll leave me only 10 drachmas from the cash advance.

ETHEL -- My heart bleeds for you.

SAM -- Alright, here's your dough. (hands her a few coins) This
better be worth it.

ETHEL -- They were gonna murder the kid.

SAM -- Who?

ETHEL -- The other brothers.

SAM -- Nice family.

ETHEL -- Judge not lest ye be judged. Do you wanna hear the
story or not?

SAM -- I'm listening.

ETHEL -- This all happened before I married Reuben, mind you.
So, I had nothing to do with it. Joseph was apparently some kind
of prophet and he was Jacob's favorite son. So, when Joseph
prophesied that all his older brothers would bow down to him
some day, they got mad and were ready to kill him. But, my
Reuben, bless his heart, is such a sweet man that he convinced
the others that they should sell the kid as a slave.

SAM -- Such compassion.

ETHEL -- Do you want to hear the story or not?

SAM -- I'm listening.

ETHEL -- They sold Joseph to some itinerant merchants on their 
way to Egypt.

SAM -- Egypt, huh? Thanks, I'm on my way. (turns)

ETHEL -- I just want you to know that I did not see a dime of
the money that they got from the merchants. (exits)

SAM -- My heart bleeds for you. (crosses to DL, speaks to
audience) I hot-footed it down to Egypt, where, after scratching
around and using up most of the rest of my cash advance for
expenses, I found out that some merchants had sold a boy named
Joseph to the chief of the palace guards. I went to his house.

MRS -- (slips quietly to DL, sexy) Hiya, handsome.

SAM -- Say, that's a nice outfit you're almost wearing.

MRS -- You know, you're much better looking than the other
servants that the agency sends over. Why don't you come into the
house and make yourself comfortable.

SAM -- Well, thanks, but I'm not from any agency.

MRS -- You're not? Oh, well, that doesn't matter. Can I get you
something to drink? (points offstage)

SAM -- Maybe some other time. I was looking for a foreigner
named Joseph.

MRS -- (harsh, brooklyn accent) Why, that dirty skirt chaser
tried to rape me. So, I had him put in prison. And if you're
looking for him, I don't want to have anything to do with you
either. Get out. (points)

SAM -- (backs toward DR) Hey, I don't even know the guy. Give me
a break. (to audience) I went down to the prison and poked
around the hall of records. After examining all the files, I 
came up with zip, nada, nothing.

ZELDA -- (enters R) Anything I can help you with?

SAM -- (to audience) This dame was a real looker. She was built
like a brick ship yard.

ZELDA -- Who are you talking to?

SAM -- The audience. (points)

ZELDA -- (looks) Audience?

SAM -- It's a little hard to explain. Look, do you work here?

ZELDA -- Yeah, I'm the file clerk. Can I help you find
something?

SAM -- Yeah, I'm looking for a foreigner named Joseph who was
sentenced to prison here about 10 years ago.

ZELDA -- Oh, yeah, who could forget Joe? He was falsely accused.
He never even got a trial. The woman who accused him is married
to the guy who runs this prison. She's quite a piece of work.

SAM -- Yeah, so are you. (steps in, slides hand around her
waist)

ZELDA -- Keep your hands to yourself, BUDDY. (elbows his gut)

SAM --  (grunts) Ooofff! Sorry.

ZELDA -- If you don't behave yourself, you're going to have to
leave.

SAM -- Just a couple more questions. Please?

ZELDA -- Well, alright.

SAM -- What else can you tell me about Joseph? I found a record
of him coming in, but no JOSEPH was ever released from here. He
didn't die in here, did he?

ZELDA -- Oh, no. He did real well in here. In fact he became
assistant warden while he was still a prisoner. A real reliable
guy. And he knew how to treat a lady.

SAM -- So, ah, what happened to him?

ZELDA -- Oh, they changed his name before he was released just
recently. His name is now Zephenath-Peneah. He's still living
here in Egypt.

SAM -- He is?! That's all I wanted to know. (turns) I'm outa
here.

ZELDA -- Hey, wait a minute. Don't you want to know where
to find him?

SAM -- I've already spent too much money on this case. If you
say he's alive and living here in the city, I'll take your word
for it. (to audience) By the time I got back to Canaan, I had
only 5 measly drachmas left from my cash advance. And then, to
make matters worse, my client had disappeared. (looks around) In
fact, the whole family had vanished. I did some more poking
around. While I was down in Egypt, a famine had apparently hit 
Canaan and many of the residents had moved to Egypt, where some 
prophet had foreseen the famine and told the Pharaoh to store up 
tons of grain to avert certain disaster. (crosses back to DR) I 
hurried back to Egypt and tracked down my client just as my last 
drachma was running out.

LEAH -- (slips quietly DR) What do you want?

SAM -- I'm here to collect my fee.

LEAH -- I already paid you 150 drachmas.

SAM -- No, you don't understand, I incurred lots of expenses
tracking down Jacob's missing son. But I found him.

LEAH -- You're a little late. We found him first.

SAM -- You what?

LEAH -- We found Joseph ourselves. He's the vice president of
Egypt. He was the one who saved the country from famine. So,
thanks anyway. (turns)

SAM -- Wait a minute. You mean the prisoner, this
Zaphenath-Peneah, is now the vice president of Egypt?

LEAH -- Yes, so goodbye. (turns)

SAM -- Not so fast, there, lady. You owe me.

LEAH -- For what? We found Joseph ourselves. You're lucky I
don't ask you for my cash advance back. Now, hit the road.
(exits)

SAM -- (crosses to DL, speaking to audience) So, there you have
it. I solved the case, but what do I have to show for it? I'll
show you. (reaches into pocket, pulls out coin, flips it, holds
out hand, expecting to catch it, coin goes into audience,
shrugs, exits) See what I mean?


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