BACK

JOY2     7'1m4f The distinction between joy and happiness

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. One of the most difficult cases in the
detective business is what we call the "skip tracer". The cops
call it "missing persons".

SEEKER -- (enters opposite) Are you Sam Spade? (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) You see? When you're the world's greatest
private-eye, people know you by name. (to Seeker) Yes, I'm Sam
Spade. You got a case that needs solving?

SEEKER -- I'm looking for someone.

SAM -- A skip tracer, aye? (pulls out small pad, pen) What's the
name?

SEEKER -- Joy. (points and peeks at pad) That's spelled "J. O.
Y."

SAM -- Last name?

SEEKER -- No last name.

SAM -- First name only, aye? Like one of those Brazilian soccer
players, aye?

SEEKER -- I suppose.

SAM -- You got a picture of Joy?

SEEKER -- (offer picture) I drew this from memory.

SAM -- (takes picture) This is nothing but her mouth.

SEEKER -- It's her smile. It's all I remember about her. Her
smile makes me want to be like her.

SAM -- Where did you last see Joy?

SEEKER -- I used to see her all over the place. Unfortunately, I
only think about her when I'm down in the dumps. Do you think
you can find her?

SAM -- I'm the world's greatest private investigator, lady. I
can find anybody.... (rubs thumb against forefinger) for a
price. Which leads me to...

SEEKER -- (offers envelope) You'll need a retainer, obviously.
(exits)

SAM -- Obviously. (peeks into envelope) Wow! (calmly) I mean, I
think this should be adequate. I'll get back to you in a couple
days. (turns, strolls, to audience) I didn't have much to go on,
so I decided to concentrate my search on the places most likely
to produce a smile like this one. My first stop was a night spot
call PARTY CENTRAL.

ALTERED -- (enters opposite) You a cop?

SAM -- Excuse me?

ALTERED -- I asked if you were a cop.

SAM -- No, I'm a private-eye. I was looking for someone named
Joy.

ALTERED -- That's me.

SAM -- (compares picture to Thrill) If your name is Joy, why
aren't you smiling?

ALTERED -- It's been a while since I had a hit.

SAM -- A what?

ALTERED -- You know, a hit. A pill, a toke, a shot, a high.

SAM -- You mean drugs.

ALTERED -- You ARE a cop, aren't you?

SAM -- No. I told you, I'm a private-eye. I'm looking for a
missing person named Joy. But, obviously, you ain't her.

ALTERED -- I'm Joy.... Under the right conditions. Say, you
wouldn't just happen to have any on you, would you?

SAM -- No! I don't do drugs!

ALTERED -- (exiting) Then, why are you wasting my time?!

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) She called herself Joy, but
that was obviously just an alias. My next stop was at a church
that had the word JOY in its name. (to Exhilaration) Hey, are
you a member of this church?

EXHILARATION -- (enters opposite, forces a smile) Yes.

SAM -- I'm looking for a person named Joy.

EXHILARATION -- That's my name.

SAM -- (compares picture to Exhilaration) Not the same smile. In
fact, your smile doesn't seem to be genuine.

EXHILARATION -- Oh, well, the church service hasn't started yet.

SAM -- What difference does that make?

EXHILARATION -- Well, after our pastor whips the congregation
into a frenzy, the Holy Spirit descends upon us and I get my Joy
back.

SAM -- Just like the last one. (points over shoulder)

EXHILARATION -- Excuse me?

SAM -- You ever been to a night club called Party Central?

EXHILARATION -- Oh, our pastor would never allow us to go there!

SAM -- But it's the same clientele.

EXHILARATION -- I don't understand.

SAM -- You're both waiting for your next fix.

EXHILARATION -- I still don't understand.

SAM -- You're as much of a thrill junky as the people on the
dance floor.

EXHILARATION -- That's not true, our pastor would never allow
junkies into this church! (exits)

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) Another dead end. It was
becoming obvious that a lot of people claimed to be Joy, but had
no idea who Joy really is. I decided that my best shot was to
look for Joy where successful people hang out, at a local
country club.

HAPPINESS -- I'm sorry, you can't come in here! This is a
private club.

SAM -- I'm not trying to crash your party, lady. I'm looking for
someone who is probably a member here.

HAPPINESS -- What's the name?

SAM -- The name is Joy.

HAPPINESS -- That's MY name.

SAM -- You'll pardon me for saying so, but you don't seem
terribly joyful.

HAPPINESS -- Well, I WAS joyful... before the stock market
dropped 200 points, before my boyfriend dropped me for some
floozy.

SAM -- You're name is not really Joy, is it?

HAPPINESS -- What are you, a clairvoyant or something?

SAM -- No, I'm a private-eye.

HAPPINESS -- Then, how did you know my name was not Joy?

SAM -- Lucky guess.

HAPPINESS -- Joy is my stage name. My given name is Happiness. I
thought the name Joy would look better in my resume. But even my
acting career is in the tank lately.

SAM -- I'm no talent agent, but I think you should go back to
the old name. It captures your essence.

HAPPINESS -- Really?! I was thinking about doing that. (takes
out compact and studies own face, patting here and there) What
do you think is my essence?

SAM -- The HAPP part.

HAPPINESS -- The what?

SAM -- The HAPP part of happiness. Your HAPPiness seems to be
affected by your HAPPenings.

HAPPINESS -- (exits studying face in mirror) You know you could
be right. I could maybe restart my acting career as a character
actress.

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) Well, that's the way it
went for my entire investigation. Lots of people who CLAIMED to
be Joy, but none of them had the genuine smile. I went back to
my client with my tail between my legs.

SEEKER -- (enters opposite) Well, if it isn't Sam Spade! (smiles
broadly)

SAM -- Listen, I tried. I really tried, but....

SEEKER -- I found Joy!

SAM -- Now, about the retainer you paid me....

SEEKER -- Isn't it exciting?!

SAM -- I incurred some expenses, so I can't return ALL the
money.

SEEKER -- Oh, you can keep the money!

SAM -- What?!

SEEKER -- I found Joy!

SAM -- Where?!

SEEKER -- Not where. Who!

SAM -- Who is she?

SEEKER -- The real joy came to me when I put my trust in Jesus
for my future.

SAM -- So, I was right. Joy isn't dependent upon happenings.

SEEKER -- I didn't find joy. Joy found me! Thank you! (hugs,
exits)

SAM -- Your welcome, I'm sure. (turns, strolls, to audience) Let
that be a lesson to you as it was to me: You'll never find Joy
by looking for Joy. Joy comes to you when you find Jesus. Well,
the important thing is that the client was satisfied and, of
course, I get to keep the retainer. (exits)

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