BACK

NOPRAYER *'9m7f A full length melodrama on the power of prayer

The rich villain in a modern day farming town seeks to win the 
pastor's daughter with his money and guile. He even bargains 
with the mortgage of her father's church to win her. Thanks to 
the hero, the congregation discovers the power of prayer to save 
their church and even their own lives.

SCENE SUMMARY

church exterior  VILLAIN LUSTS AFTER HEROINE, HEROINE REJECTS VILLAIN
emergency room   HERO RESCUES CHILD FROM CLIFF
church interior  VILLAIN BECOMES A DEACON, HEROINE REJECTS HIM AGAIN
emergency room   HERO RESCUES MOTEL GUEST FROM FIRE
villain's office HEROINE'S FATHER SIGNS A BOGUS CHURCH MORTGAGE CONTRACT
emergency room   HERO RESCUES HEROINE'S MOTHER FROM CAR CRASH
heroine's home   HEROINE'S FATHER DISCOVERS HE'S BEEN DUPED
church interior  CONGREGATION RALLIES TO SAVE THEIR CHURCH
church interior  VILLAIN SABOTAGES ATTEMPTS TO PAY OFF THE MORTGAGE
church interior  HERO AND HEROINE DISCOVER THEIR IDENTICAL LIFE GOALS
church interior  CONGREGATION SEES ANSWERS TO THEIR PRAYERS
church exterior  VILLAIN PLOTS LAST ATTEMPT TO COERCE HEROINE
church interior  VILLAIN SAYS "MARRY ME OR I'LL BLOW UP THE HERO"
church interior  THE WEDDING

CHARACTERS

SNIDELY   middle aged villain
HENCHMAN  thug with ingenuity
CHARITY   pretty, devoted heroine
WILL      clean cut superhero
JOSHUA    middle aged pastor
VIOLA     middle aged pastor's wife
DOCTOR    any age, sex
NURSE     any age
HORACE    a farmer and deacon
MARTHA    Horace's wife
SETH      a deacon
HARLEY    a deacon
THADDEUS  a deacon
CALEB     a deacon
WIVES, RESCUED VICTIMS AND TOWNSPEOPLE


PRODUCTION NOTES

With nine scene changes, this play could suffer serious loss of 
momentum if any of the set changes take longer than twenty to 
thirty seconds. I recommend that the church interior set pieces 
be on stage during the entire play. If your stage is small, I 
recommend that all other sets be minimal and light weight to 
install and strike quickly downstage of the church interior set. 
For larger stages the other sets should be built on dollies or 
turn-tables on a different stage or at least on a different part 
of the stage to make scene changes instantaneous.

Speed is crucial between the last two scenes of the play, where 
emotions are at a fever pitch. Here, costume changes will be the 
bottle neck. I recommend that the bride puts on only a white 
veil and the groom only a top hat for the final scene. If you 
choose to use more elaborate wedding clothes, they should fit 
over existing clothes and have velcro closures for fast on-stage 
changes between scenes with the help of other cast members.

I have purposely omitted lighting cues and detailed descriptions 
of the set pieces because of the wide variation among churches 
in available stage space, lighting equipment and set budgets. 
However, I would be happy to answer your questions about these 
topics by email.

In any event, please email me if you perform this play to let me 
know what changes and adjustments you had to make to fit your 
venue, so that others may benefit from your experience.


                        WITHOUT A PRAYER
                          by Bob Snook
                  based on a work-in-progress
                       by Kate Rothacker


VILLAIN LUSTS AFTER HEROINE, HEROINE REJECTS VILLAIN
ACT 1, SCENE 1

(set: church exterior)

SNIDELY -- (enters, aside to audience) You can hiss and boo if 
you want to. But I, Lucifer Snidely, the wealthiest man in 
Farmington, Iowa, am about to turn over a new leaf. 

(looks offstage, sees Henchman coming) And there's the man who 
will help me turn over my new leaf. That's Harold Henchman, my 
able assistant. 

HENCHMAN -- (enters, crosses to Snidely, brooklyn accent) You 
wanted to see me, boss?

SNIDELY -- Yes, I did, Mr Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- "Mr Henchman"? Are you okay, boss? You sick or 
something?

SNIDELY -- There's nothing wrong with me, Mr Henchman. Why do you 
ask?

HENCHMAN -- You usually call me Maggot. How come you're calling me 
Mr Henchman, boss?

SNIDELY -- I'm turning over a new leaf, Mr Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- A new leaf?

SNIDELY -- Yes, I got to thinking, Mr Henchman, here I am the 
wealthiest man in Farmington, Iowa and what do I have to show for 
it?

HENCHMAN -- Well, last time I looked, boss, you had a trucking 
company, an apartment building, a motel, a bank and more than 
half the real estate in the county to show for it.

SNIDELY -- That's not what I meant, Mr Henchman. What I meant 
was, here I am moving past the prime of my life and I have no 
heirs to inherit my vast wealth.

HENCHMAN -- You could pass it all down to me, boss. (chuckles)

SNIDELY -- That's not funny, Maggot. (grabs Henchman's ear lobe)

HENCHMAN -- (in obvious pain, points to ear lobe) Oooo, aaahhh! 
Say, boss, I thought you said you was turning over a new leaf.

SNIDELY -- (lets go) You're right, Mr Henchman, (begins pacing to 
and fro) a new leaf. Let me tell you what I have in mind. First, 
I'm going to get married. (stops when he's nose to nose with 
Henchman) Do you think I'm attractive, Mr Henchman?

HENCHMAN -- (turns aside) You're not my type, boss.

SNIDELY -- (grabs Henchman's ear) Not YOU, Maggot. I'm not going 
to marry you. Why do I put up with you?

HENCHMAN -- (in obvious pain, points to ear lobe) Oooo, aaahhh! 
Remember the new leaf, boss.

SNIDELY -- (lets go, begins pacing) You're right, of course, Mr 
Henchman. A man who wants to get married must be civil and 
gentle. I intend to be civil and gentle in order to attract the 
right sort of woman, an attractive woman who could bear me 
twelve or fourteen children to inherit my vast wealth. So, Mr 
Henchman, I repeat the question. Do you think I'm attractive?

HENCHMAN -- You're the most attractive man in Farmington, Iowa, 
(chuckles) when you're holding your checkbook.

SNIDELY -- (grabs Henchman's ear lobe) I should know better than 
to ask a serious question of such a low-life as you, Maggot.

HENCHMAN -- (in obvious pain, points to ear lobe) Oooo, aaahhh!  
What about civil and gentle, boss?

SNIDELY -- (lets go, begins pacing) You're right, of course, Mr 
Henchman. It looks like civility and gentility will take a 
little getting used to.

HENCHMAN -- So, have you picked a wife, yet, boss?

SNIDELY -- Yes. I have chosen the fairest, most beautiful 
creature in all of Farmington, the fair Miss Charity Goodheart.

HENCHMAN -- (laughs out loud) The preacher's daughter? (points 
to church upstage)

SNIDELY -- (stops nose to nose with Henchman) Something wrong 
with that, Maggot?

HENCHMAN -- Here, boss, you stay gentle and civil. I'll do it 
myself. (grabs own ear lob, in obvious pain) Oooo, aaahhh! 
Listen, boss, I meant no disrespect. But Charity Goodheart has 
made it clear that she won't marry any man.

SNIDELY -- She did?

HENCHMAN -- If anyone mentions marriage to her, she says 
"1 Corinthians 7:1."

SNIDELY -- What's that?

HENCHMAN -- It's a Bible verse, boss. It says, "It is good for a 
man not to marry."

SNIDELY -- How do you know what 1 Corinthians 7:1 says, Mr 
Henchman?

HENCHMAN -- There's not a lot to do in jail besides read the 
Bible, boss. I was thinking about becoming a Christian until 
you came along.

SNIDELY -- A Christian?! I hate Christians. 

HENCHMAN -- Don't forget, boss, Charity Goodheart is a 
Christian.

SNIDELY -- Curses! Why did the most beautiful creature in town 
have to be a Christian?!

HENCHMAN -- There's lot's of fishes in the sea, why not chose a 
non-Christian?

SNIDELY -- Because, as the richest man in Farmington, Iowa, I'm 
entitled to the best. And Charity Goodheart is the best. She 
makes my heart go pitter-pat. (sighs)

HENCHMAN -- I didn't know you had a heart, boss.

SNIDELY -- Mr Henchman, I shall ignore that comment, because I 
have turned over a new leaf. I am about to become a married man.

HENCHMAN -- I don't know how to tell you this, boss, but even if 
Charity Goodheart changed her mind and decided to marry, she 
would never marry a non-Christian.

SNIDELY -- Oh no?

HENCHMAN -- 2 Corinthians 6:14 clearly says "Do not be yoked 
together with unbelievers."

SNIDELY -- Oh, no! (paces floor) Henchman, I have to have that 
women. She would be the perfect mother for my 14 children. Think 
of something, Henchman. Think!

HENCHMAN -- (begins pacing with Snidely, turns to tell Snidely 
his plan, Snidely collides with him)

SNIDELY -- Maggot! (reaches toward Henchman's ear)

HENCHMAN -- (hand over ear) I got it, boss. I got an idea.

SNIDELY -- This better be good, Maggot, or your ear lobe is 
mine.

HENCHMAN -- It's a perfect plan, boss. YOU become a Christian.

SNIDELY -- (grabs Henchman's ear lobe) Maggot!

HENCHMAN -- (in obvious pain, points to ear lobe) Oooo, aaahhh!  

SNIDELY -- I hate Christians.

HENCHMAN -- (in obvious pain, points to ear lobe) Oooo, aaahhh!  
You don't actually have to BECOME a Christian, boss, just act 
like one. You know, use the jargon. Speak the language.

SNIDELY -- (lets go) Mr Henchman, you may be on to something 
there. Run over to Harley Millburn's hardware store and borrow 
his Bible. The fair Miss Charity Goodheart usually does her 
shopping about this time of day. Go! (whisks him away) Hurry! 

HENCHMAN -- (exiting) I'm right on it, boss.

SNIDELY -- (turns, sees Charity offstage) Well! It's the young 
and lovely, Miss Charity Goodheart! Good morning, my dear 
Charity.

CHARITY -- (enters, acknowledges the AWEs of the audience with 
a modest curtsy, turns to Snidely, speaks curtly as she attempts 
to pass by him) Good morning, Mr Snidely.

SNIDELY -- (steps into her path) I was just talking about you, 
my pretty flower.

CHARITY -- That's nice, Mr Snidely. May I please get by?

SNIDELY -- What's your hurry, Charity? It's a lovely day.

CHARITY -- I have shopping to do, Mr Snidely. May I please get 
by?

SNIDELY -- Call me Lucifer, please, my lovely rose bud.

CHARITY -- Why are you being so nice, Mr Snidely? Is this just 
another one of your tricks to swindle people out of their 
businesses or their land?

SNIDELY -- I will admit that I was once a ruthless business man, 
Charity, but I have seen the light. I have become a Christian.

CHARITY -- You?

SNIDELY -- Yes, as you undoubtedly know, my sweet, with the 
Lord, all things are possible. (puts hands behind back)

HENCHMAN -- (enters quickly, quietly, presses a Bible into 
Snidely's hands, stands by, trying to look inconspicuous)

CHARITY -- Where did you read that?

SNIDELY -- Why, I was reading it just this morning (shows Bible, 
opens Bible) Let me see. Where did I see that passage that said 
(louder) with the Lord all things are possible?

HENCHMAN -- (hand to mouth, whispers) Matthew 19:26

SNIDELY -- Yes, here it is, Matthew 19:26. (Bible open to 
Genesis)

CHARITY -- Well, yes, that is what Matthew 19:26 says, Mr 
Snidely. (tries to look at open Bible) 

SNIDELY -- (holds Bible pages out of sight) Call me Lucifer, 
please, my dear.

CHARITY -- Perhaps you HAVE turned over a new leaf, Mr Snidely. 
If that's the case, welcome to the Kingdom.

SNIDELY -- Thank you, my pretty flower. 

CHARITY -- Your welcome. Now may I please get by?

SNIDELY -- Just one more thing, my lovely blossom. I have 
decided, now that I'm a Christian, to settle down and start a 
family. A Christian family. And since you are the fairest of the 
beautiful young ladies in Farmington, I was thinking that 
perhaps....

CHARITY -- Marriage is not for me, Mr Snidely. The Bible says 
"It is good for a man not to marry."

SNIDELY -- Yes, of course, that would be.... that would be....

HENCHMAN -- (whispers) 1 Corinthians 7:1.

SNIDELY -- 1 Corinthians 7:1. 

CHARITY -- Why, that's correct, Mr Snidely.

SNIDELY -- But the passage reads "It is good for a MAN not to 
marry." You're obviously not a man, Charity, my sweet.

CHARITY -- In that context the Bible speaks of MAN in reference 
to both sexes, Mr Snidely. My most fervent wish is to do 
missionary work around the world. Marriage for a traveling 
missionary is out of the question, don't you think, Mr Snidely? 

SNIDELY -- Well, I'm sure I can think of an appropriate Bible 
verse to refute that notion... (snaps fingers behind back)

CHARITY -- I really must be about my shopping, Mr Snidely. Now, 
if you'll excuse me. 

SNIDELY -- No, please, I have a Bible verse on the tip of my...

CHARITY -- (fakes left, moves by Snidely on the right, exiting) 
Good day, Mr Snidely.

SNIDELY -- (looks offstage to Charity) Mr Henchman, that woman 
drives me insane. (spellbound, raises Bible, kisses it, notices 
what he's kissed, thrusts it at Henchman's stomach)

HENCHMAN -- Oooof! 

SNIDELY -- (looking longingly after Charity) Can't you just see 
fourteen little Snidelys running around the house with those
gorgeous blue eyes and that beautiful smile, Mr Henchman?

HENCHMAN -- (hesitates while he exchanges glances between 
Snidely and Chastity) Yeah, sure, boss, anything you say.

SNIDELY -- Mr Henchman, I must have that woman.

HENCHMAN -- Then, I got good news for you, boss. 

SNIDELY -- (looking longingly after Charity) Talk to me, 
Mr Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- There's a meeting of the Deacons at the this here 
church tonight. (points to church upstage)

SNIDELY -- And how does that affect me?

HENCHMAN -- I thought it might improve your negotiating position 
with the fair Miss Goodheart if you was to become a deacon in 
her church, boss.

SNIDELY -- (turns to Henchman, twiddles his handlebar mustache) 
Keep talking, Mr Henchman. This is beginning to sound 
interesting.

HENCHMAN -- Well, Harley Millburn, from whom I just borrowed 
this here (holds up Bible) Bible, is a deacon at Charity 
Goodheart's church.

SNIDELY -- But how do I become a deacon?

HENCHMAN -- As it happens, boss, Harley Millburn took out a 
business loan from Farmington National Bank....

SNIDELy -- ...of which I own controlling interest. Go on, Mr 
Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- Well, I just happened to be nosing around the bank 
the other day while you was foreclosing on some poor old lady's 
home mortgage, and...

SNIDELY -- And? And?

HENCHMAN -- And guess who's behind on payments on his business 
loan?

SNIDELY -- Harley Millburn.

HENCHMAN -- Whilst I was in his store taking loan of his Bible 
just now, I happened to mention that his loan was in default.

SNIDELY -- Get to the bottom line, Mr Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- Harley Millburn says he'll step down and recommend 
that you be the next deacon at Farmington Community Church. 

SNIDELY -- Well done, Mr Henchman. (looking longingly after 
Charity) How could anyone say NO to a deacon? (chuckles) 
Excellent, Mr Henchman. Excellent. 

HENCHMAN -- Thanks, boss. Just remember me next time you got 
your checkbook handy, huh? (stands staring off into the 
distance, smiling as Snidely exits)

SNIDELY -- The lovely Miss Charity Goodheart is as good as mine. 
(laughs fiendishly as he exits opposite Charity)

WILL -- (enters with suitcase, acknowledges applause, crosses to 
Henchman) Excuse me, sir, could you direct me to... (notices 
that Henchman is preoccupied) Excuse me, sir, could you direct 
me to... (waves hand in front of Henchman's face) Excuse me.

HENCHMAN -- Huh? Oh, were you talking to me? I was just counting 
my money. The boss gives me money when he's happy.

WILL -- (looks where Henchman was looking) I don't see any money.

HENCHMAN -- Oh, ah, I guess I'm not making any sense.

WILL -- No, you're not. Was that you cackling like a hen just 
now?

HENCHMAN -- No, that was my boss.(points) He's getting married.

WILL -- Lucky man. I'm afraid that marriage is out of the 
question for me.

HENCHMAN -- A handsome dude like you? How so?

WILL -- My most fervent wish is to do missionary work around the 
world. Marriage for a traveling missionary is out of the 
question, don't you think?

HENCHMAN -- Say, you wouldn't happen to know Charity Goodheart, 
would you?

WILL -- No, sir. I'm new in town. I just graduated from seminary 
and I'm taking a one-week vacation in your lovely town before I 
begin my ministry. Your wildlife sanctuary is quite famous, you 
know.

HENCHMAN -- 1 Corinthians 7:1.

WILL -- Excuse me?

HENCHMAN -- 1 Corinthians 7:1. You know it?

WILL -- Unfortunately, I do, sir. 

HENCHMAN -- Unfortunately? Why unfortunately?

WILL -- Well, because I have been called to be a traveling 
missionary, 1 Corinthians 7:1 is my life verse. "It is good for 
a man not to marry."

HENCHMAN -- And you're sure you don't know Charity Goodheart?

WILL -- No, sir. Should I?

HENCHMAN -- Nevermind. 

WILL -- Well, the reason I wanted to talk to you.... Can you 
point me to the Riverside Motel? It's supposed to be on the edge 
of the wildlife sanctuary.

HENCHMAN -- (points to Charity's exit) Yeah, it's straight 
down Main street and left on River Road. By the way, my boss 
owns the Riverside Motel. It's a fleabag. (exits opposite)

WILL -- (looking down the street, unaware Henchman has exited) 
It's all I can afford. But I won't be spending much time there 
anyway. I'll be spending most of my waking hours in the wildlife 
sanctu.... Where did he go? (moves to exit, turns to Henchman, 
shouts) Thank you, sir. (turns just in time to bump into 
Charity)

CHARITY -- (enters carrying a bag of groceries, bumps Will 
lightly) 

BOTH -- Oh, I'm sorry. No, it was my fault. I wasn't looking... 
(eyes connect, spellbound)... where ...I ...was ...going. (long 
pause, both turn a quarter turn from each other 
self-consciously)

CHARITY -- 1 Corinthians 7:1.

WILL -- Excuse me?

CHARITY -- Nothing.

WILL -- You said, 1 Corinthians 7:1, didn't you?

CHARITY -- Yes. I'm sorry. I was reminding myself....

WILL -- Isn't that interesting?! We, ah, that gentleman (points) 
and I, were just talking about 1 Corinthians 7:1 and someone 
named Charity Goodheart.

CHARITY -- That would be me.

(turn back to each other in unison, spellbound)

WILL -- It is?

CHARITY -- Yes.

WILL -- Oh.

(long pause, both turn a quarter turn from each other 
self-consciously)

WILL -- I'm sorry, I... I'm being rude. I know your name, but 
you don't know mine. My name is William. William B. Strong.
But you can call me Will.

CHARITY -- It's nice to meet you, Will.

WILL -- Likewise, Charity.

CHARITY -- Why were you talking about me?

WILL -- I don't remember, really. I think we were talking about 
the reason I can't get married.

CHARITY -- Why can't you get married?

(turn back to each other in unison, spellbound)

WILL -- I don't remember.

CHARITY -- Me either.

(long pause, both turn a quarter turn from each other 
self-consciously)

WILL -- (aside) What am I thinking?! Our relationship could 
never go anywhere. 

CHARITY -- (aside) What am I thinking?! Our relationship could 
never go anywhere. 

WILL -- Unfortunately, 1 Corinthians 7:1 is my life verse. I am 
sworn to celibacy.

CHARITY -- You're a Catholic priest?

WILL -- Ah, no. Listen, I have to go. (moves to exit) It was 
nice running into you. I mean.... (moves to exit, stops, turns 
at exit for one last look self-consciously, exits quickly)

CHARITY -- I know what you mean. Goodbye. (moves to opposite 
exit, turns at exit for one last look self-consciously, exits 
quickly)


(end of scene)


HERO RESCUES CHILD FROM CLIFF
ACT 1, SCENE 2

(set: hospital emergency room, Doctor and Nurse are huddled, 
speaking silently at reception desk)

WILL -- (enters carrying small child, stops and nods to audience 
in response to their cheers, sets child on chair) Excuse me, I 
believe this little boy needs some medical attention.

NURSE -- (hurries to child) Oh, Bobby, you're alright! Your 
mother called 911 and said you had been stranded on a rock ledge 
on the edge of a cliff. 

WILL -- He's fine now. He's just got a sprained ankle.

DOCTOR -- (examining ankle) This young man is lucky to be alive! 
But it looks like you're right. It's just a sprain.

NURSE -- (to Will) You're not the regular ambulance driver.

WILL -- Oh, ah, I'm not an ambulance driver. I just happened to 
be in the area when he needed help.

NURSE -- So, you were the one who rescued little Bobby?

WILL -- I just got him out of harm's way, that's all. Anybody 
would have done the same thing. I really should go. (turns)

(Horace and Martha enter together, Martha runs to child, kneels)

MARTHA -- Oh, Bobby, thank the Lord you're alright!

DOCTOR -- Apparently, you should also thank the young man there. 
(points to Will)

WILL -- It was nothing. Anybody would have done the same thing. 
I really should go. (turns)

HORACE -- No, please, young man. At least let me shake the hand 
of the man who saved my son's life. (offers hand)

WILL -- (shakes) It was nothing, really.

HORACE -- My name is Horace Willard. What's yours?

WILL -- William. William B. Strong. But you can call me Will.

HORACE -- Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Will.

MARTHA -- (hugs Will) Yes, thank you for saving my son. Horace 
thought sure little Bobby would fall to his death before he 
could get a rope to him.

HORACE -- Yes, how DID you get a rope to him so fast? My farm is 
right across the road from the cliff, but when I returned with a 
rope, Bobby was gone. I thought sure he'd fallen to his death.

WILL -- Oh, I was real close by. The important thing is nobody 
got hurt.

HORACE -- Yes, but where did you get a rope on such short 
notice?

WILL -- I didn't use a rope. 

HORACE -- How DID you lower yourself to the ledge?

WILL -- Actually, I climbed up from below.

MARTHA -- Yes, but there's a swamp down there that they say has a 
bottomless pit.

WILL -- I swim pretty well.

HORACE -- You're kidding, right?

WILL -- No. Why?

HORACE -- Everybody knows that a dozen alligators escaped from 
the city zoo three years ago and are living in that swamp.

MARTHA -- They say they've multiplied. Somebody said there's 
about thirty alligators in there now.

WILL -- Well, fortunately I didn't have to kill any of them. But 
a couple of them will have a nasty headache for a while.

MARTHA -- They actually attacked you?

WILL -- Well, not at first. At first they were sleeping. So, I 
walked on their backs so as not to get the kitten wet.

MARTHA -- Kitten? What kitten?

WILL -- I had just rescued a kitten from a similar ledge just 
down stream from there when I saw that the boy was in trouble. 
When the alligators woke up, I had to set the kitten in the 
branch of a tree in order to wrestle with the alligators. (snaps 
fingers) Oh, I have to go back an get the kitten! If you'll 
excuse me.... (turns)

HORACE -- Just one more question.

WILL -- (turns back) Yes?

HORACE -- You still haven't told us how you climbed up  
150 feet of vertical granite rocks without a rope.

WILL -- Oh, you get pretty good at it when you do it a lot.

MARTHA -- You're a mountain climber?

WILL -- Well, actually no. I came out here to the wildlife 
preserve to rescue animals, put baby birds back in their nests, 
that sort of thing.

HORACE -- So, you climbed that sheer rock cliff with your bare 
hands?

WILL -- (disbelief at their amazement) Fingers, actually. There 
aren't a lot of crevices in that granite big enough for your 
whole hand.

MARTHA -- Bobby's ankle was sprained. He couldn't climb the 
cliff. How did you get him up here?

WILL -- Oh, I carried him on my back. He's real light.

NURSE -- You make it sound like a stroll in the park.

WILL -- Well, it was not big deal. I really should go.

DOCTOR -- What's that blood on your arm there? Is that from one 
of the alligators?

WILL -- Oh, this? (points) Naw, this was from a rattlesnake that 
I encountered on the way up the cliff. See ya. (turns)

DOCTOR -- (points to empty chair) Please, sit down here. Let me 
treat that for you.

WILL -- Naw. I already cut the wound open with my pen knife and 
sucked out all the venom. Happens all the time. Listen, I'd love 
to stay and chat. But I have a kitten waiting for me in a tree 
down by the swamp. Bye. (exits)


(end of scene)


VILLAIN BECOMES A DEACON, HEROINE REJECTS HIM AGAIN
ACT 1, SCENE 3

(set: church interior, six deacons enter one or two at a time, 
chatting in low tones, sit in front row of pews)

JOSHUA -- (enters, wearing his reading glasses on top of his 
head, carrying file folder, puts folder on podium) Well, I guess 
all the deacons are here. This meeting will come to order. 
(opens file folder) The first of church business is.... (pats 
all pockets) Now, what did I do with my glasses? I'm blind as a 
bat without my glasses. Where did I put them?

SETH -- Ah, Pastor Goodheart? (points to top of his own head)

JOSHUA -- (feels own head, finds glasses) Oh, yes, here they 
are. I never can remember where I put these infernal things. 
(puts glasses on) Our first order of business, according to the 
agenda is the church reroofing fund. Horace Willard, you were in 
charge of the reroofing project. Do you have a report?

HORACE -- (stands) Pastor Goodheart, I don't have to tell you 
about the plight of farming communities in America today. 
Commodity prices are down and farm incomes are down, way down. 
And Farmington is suffering just as much as the rest of the farm 
communities in America. Our people have given all they can, but 
we are still $16,000 short of the needed funds to reroof our 
church. Sorry, Pastor Goodheart. (sits)

JOSHUA -- This is dreadful. Every time it rains, we need a dozen 
buckets to catch all the leaks. What are we going to do?

SETH ---- (stands) Perhaps you could make another appeal from 
the pulpit on Sunday, Pastor Goodheart. (sits)

JOSHUA -- We've tried that, Seth. But you can't squeeze blood 
out of a turnip. Perhaps we'll just have to make do with buckets 
when it rains for another year. 

THADDEUS -- (stands) That sort of brings us to my report on the 
church carpeting, Pastor Goodheart. Those leaks are taking a 
toll on our carpets. If we don't replace our roof now, by next 
year we'll have to replace the roof and the carpets too. 

JOSHUA -- You don't paint a pretty picture, Thaddeus.

THADDEUS -- Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Pastor 
Goodheart. (sits)

HARLEY -- (stands) I have some more bad news, Pastor Goodheart.

JOSHUA -- Yes, Harley?

HARLEY -- I have to step down as a deacon of this church.

JOSHUA -- You what? Harley! You helped build this church brick 
by brick. Why are you stepping down?

SNIDELY -- (slinks in opposite from chairs, remains near wings, 
acknowledges BOOs, to audience) Not now. Can't you see there's a 
meeting going on? Besides, I have turned over a new leaf. I'm a 
Christian now, you know. (laughs, lurks as the meeting 
continues)

HARLEY -- I'm stepping down for personal reasons, Pastor 
Goodheart. But I'm not at liberty to discuss them now.

JOSHUA -- Oh, Harley! We're going to miss you, buddy. (sigh) 
Well, I guess that leaves an opening for a deacon. Does anyone 
have a nomination for Harley's replacement?

HARLEY -- Ah, I'd like to nominate Lucifer Snidely.

THADDEUS -- (springs to his feet) Snidely! He's a crook! He 
swindled me out of my trucking company.

SETH -- (springs to his feet) He swindled me out of 40 acres of 
prime farm land.

HARLEY -- He says he has turned over a new leaf and became a 
Christian.

SETH -- A likely story.

HARLEY -- That's what he said. He said he's going to settle down 
and raise a family.

THADDEUS -- It's just part of another swindle, I tell you!

HENCHMAN -- (sneaks in upstage, crosses to Snidely, carrying a 
thick envelope)

JOSHUA -- Now, fellows, let's not judge what's in a man's heart. 
Only God can judge that. Our job is to decide whether he would 
make a good deacon.

(Joshua and deacons continue to discuss silently, while Henchman 
and Snidely speak)

SNIDELY -- (grabs envelope) It took you long enough! 

HENCHMAN -- Sorry, boss. They changed the combination of the 
safe and I'm a little rusty at safe cracking without dynamite. 
But it's all there. You can count it.

SNIDELY -- No time for that. They're almost ready to take a 
vote. Are you sure it's going to be a tie vote?

HENCHMAN -- Yeah. The only doubt was Caleb Farnsworth. He's 
squeaky clean and debt free. I couldn't get anything on him 
until I found out he had a daughter who married an unemployed 
deadbeat.

SNIDELY -- Excellent work, Mr Henchman. What did you dig up on 
her?

HENCHMAN -- Turns out the deadbeat is six month behind on his 
rent. The two of them was going to be evicted and move in 
with daddy. But Farnsworth just can't stand his son-in-law. 
Here's the good part, boss. The deadbeat lives in the Farmington 
Arms Apartments....

SNIDELY -- ...Which I just happen to own...

HENCHMAN -- ...So, when I suggested a way to avoid having them 
move in with daddy... well, let's just say ole Caleb was 
grateful.

SNIDELY -- Excellent work, Mr Henchman. 

HENCHMAN -- Thanks, boss. Remember me on pay day, huh?

JOSHUA -- Well, if there's no more discussion, I guess it's time 
to call the vote. All in favor of confirming Lucifer Snidely as 
our newest deacon raise your hand.

(three hands go up)

Now, all opposed to the confirmation, raise your hands.

(three hands go up)

Well, it looks like there's a tie vote... 

(Snidely and Henchman slap hands in a high five)

JOSHUA -- ...And according to the bylaws of our church, I must 
now cast the deciding vote....

SNIDELY -- (crosses to Pastor quickly) Before you cast your 
vote, Pastor Goodheart, I have something for you to consider.

(Henchman exits)

JOSHUA -- Mr Snidely, according to the bylaws, you're not 
supposed to be present for the voting.

SNIDELY -- Nonetheless, I think the contents of this envelope 
will demonstrate my dedication to this church, Pastor Goodheart. 
(hands envelope to Pastor)

JOSHUA -- (peeks into envelope) There's money in here. Lots of 
money.

SNIDELY -- To be precise, there is $16,000 in that envelope, 
Pastor Goodheart.

JOSHUA -- That's exactly as much as we need to reroof the 
church. (aside) I have a personal dislike and distrust of 
Lucifer Snidely. I wouldn't trust him any farther than I could 
throw the pipe organ. But I must do what is best for the church.

SNIDELY -- Yes, well, you have a confirmation vote to take care 
of. I suppose I'd better be going. (turns to leave)

JOSHUA -- That won't be necessary, Mr Snidely. I think you have 
removed all doubt about your dedication to this church.

THADDEUS -- Pastor Goodheart, I beg you not to be swayed by 
money. Snidely is obviously up to something.

JOSHUA -- I think we should let God decide what is in Mr 
Snidely's heart, Thaddeus. I vote yes. Lucifer Snidely is now a  
deacon of Farmington Community Church. Congratulations, Mr 
Snidely. (offers hand)

(the three descenting voters exit talking angrily among 
themselves) 

SNIDELY -- (shakes) Call me Lucifer, please.

CHARITY -- (enters with tray of cookies and coffee, sings) Don't 
run off everybody. I brought coffee and homemade cookies. 
(offers the tray first to the audience with a curtsy and 
acknowledges their AWEs, then sets tray on a pew, turns to exit)

JOSHUA -- That's my girl. Always there when you need her.

SNIDELY -- Excuse me, Pastor Goodheart. I'd like to have a word 
with your daughter. (cuts of Charity's exit) Charity, my 
beautiful rose bud.

(Pastor and three remaining deacons each pickup a cup, chat 
silently for a moment, exit quietly while Charity and Snidely 
speak)

CHARITY -- Mr Snidely, what are you doing at the deacons' 
meeting?

SNIDELY -- (smiles broadly) I am a deacon.

CHARITY -- Mr Snidely, it's a sin to tell a lie.

SNIDELY -- (shouts to Pastor) Pastor Goodheart, your daughter 
doesn't believe I'm a deacon.

JOSHUA -- (reenters) Quite frankly, neither do I. (to Charity) 
Yes, my dear, Charity, Mr Snidely was duly elected just a moment 
ago. (exits)

CHARITY -- (politely) Oh, well, in that case, congratulations, 
Mr Snidely.

SNIDELY -- Thank you, my lovely blossom. And now I have a 
question for you.

CHARITY -- Yes, Mr Snidely?

SNIDELY -- Call me Lucifer, please, my dear. You and I will be 
getting SO very close in the future.

CHARITY -- We will?

SNIDELY -- Yes, now that I am a deacon in your church, I can't 
think of single reason why you should not marry me.

CHARITY -- Mr Snidely, I thought I made it clear to you this 
morning that I do not intend to marry anyone. My calling is to 
be a traveling missionary. A traveling missionary's life is no 
life for a woman with a husband and a family. Now, if you'll 
excuse me, Mr Snidely... (tries to walk around Snidely)

SNIDELY -- (steps into her path) But I just became a deacon for 
you!

CHARITY -- I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mr Snidely. But 
marriage is out of the question for me. Now, please excuse me. 
(fakes left, walks around Snidely to the right)

SNIDELY -- But... (speaks to Charity's back) I just paid 
$16,000 for you! (stomps foot) Curses, foiled again!

HENCHMAN -- (enters near cookies, picks up cookie, takes a nibble 
as he crosses to Snidely) So, how'd it go, boss? Did you set a 
wedding date?

SNIDELY -- (grabs Henchman's ear lobe) Maggot! It was your idea 
to pay the $16,000 dollars. And what did it get me, Maggot?

HENCHMAN -- The ear. Ooooo. The ear.

SNIDELY -- I'll tell you what I got me, Maggot. I got me 
nothing, zero, zilch, nada, niet, zip. That's what it got me. 
She turned me down flat.

HENCHMAN -- (in obvious pain, points at ear) I thought you was 
turning over a new leaf, boss? What about civility and 
gentility, boss.

SNIDELY -- You don't even care, do you? I'm $16,000 lighter and 
I'm no closer to having Charity Goodheart than before. And you 
don't care. Maggot!

HENCHMAN -- I care. I care. Could you ease up on the ear a 
little?

SNIDELY -- I want to be married and I want 14 children. Is that 
asking too much, Maggot?

HENCHMAN -- No, boss. Can I assume that you've given up on 
gentility and civility, boss?

SNIDELY -- There will be no gentility or civility until you come 
up with a plan to make Charity Goodheart my wife.

HENCHMAN -- Threaten her with a gun?

SNIDELY -- Only as a last resort. Keep trying.

HENCHMAN -- Kidnap?

SNIDELY -- You're getting warmer.

HENCHMAN -- Extortion?

SNIDELY -- (lets go) You may be on to something, Mr Henchman. 
Keep talking.

HENCHMAN -- Ooooo. It feels so good when it stops hurting.

SNIDELY -- You were talking extortion, Mr Henchman. Do you have 
a plan for me? Or do I have to give you a reminder?

HENCHMAN -- (holds hand over ear defensively) I'm thinking. I'm 
thinking. (paces) We need to threaten her with something she 
holds near and dear. Charity loves her parents and she loves her 
church.

SNIDELY -- I'm listening.

HENCHMAN -- (stops pacing, snaps fingers) What if Charity could 
prevent her parents were losing their church?

SNIDELY -- Keep talking.

HENCHMAN -- Last time I looked, the mortgage on Pastor 
Goodheart's church was held by Farmington National Bank....

SNIDELY -- ...of which I own controlling interest. But the 
mortgage is not due for ten more years....

HENCHMAN -- ...unless the due date is changed.

SNIDELY -- Come with me, Mr Henchman. (escorts Henchman to exit, 
arm around shoulder) I think we have some details to discuss. 
(fiendish laughter)


(end of scene)


HERO RESCUES MOTEL GUEST FROM FIRE
ACT 1, SCENE 4

(set: hospital emergency room, Doctor, Nurse huddled around 
reception desk)

WILL -- (enters with arm around victim wrapped in blanket) 
Excuse me. This poor lady needs some medical attention.

(Doctor, nurse scramble to assist, sit woman in chair, begin 
taking vital signs, Will takes a step toward audience, nods to 
acknowledge applause)

NURSE -- You smell like smoke. Was there a fire?

WILL -- Yes, at the Riverside Motel.

DOCTOR -- We have the police scanner on all the time. We didn't 
hear about any fire.

WILL -- The motel manager is on the Farmington Volunteer Fire 
Department. He said that the fire engine is on the fritz. So, 
we put the fire out ourselves. 

DOCTOR -- You put the fire out yourself?

WILL -- Sure. 

DOCTOR -- Was it serious? 

WILL -- Naw. Listen, the little lady inhaled a little too much 
smoke. I think all she'll need now is a little inhalation 
therapy. (cough, cough) I really should be going.

NURSE -- What about you? It sounds like you inhaled a some 
smoke yourself.

WILL -- I'll be fine. I really have to be on my way. (cough)

NURSE -- What's you're hurry? The fire's out, isn't it?

WILL -- Well, yes, but, I have to get to the stores before they 
close. So, if you'll excuse me.

DOCTOR -- At least let us treat those cuts on your arm there.

WILL -- Oh, I can treat those myself. The motel has a first aid 
kit.

DOCTOR -- How did you get those cuts?

WILL -- It was my own fault. I did it when I broke the window.

DOCTOR -- Did you have to break a window to fight the fire?

WILL -- No, to escape.

DOCTOR -- Escape? Escape from what?

WILL -- It's a little involved. It was nothing really.

DOCTOR -- This is your second rescue while I've been on 
duty. Please don't minimize it this time.

WILL -- Well, by the time I revived the victim, the fire had 
spread, blocking our exit. So, I had to break the bathroom 
window and take her out that way.

NURSE -- You had to revive her?

WILL -- Well, yes, of course, she was unconscious and had 
stopped breathing. So, I gave her mouth to mouth resuscitation. 
She'll be fine now. I really should go before the stores close.

NURSE -- What stores? Why do you need to go to the store?

WILL -- Well, her room was on the second floor. I had to tear up 
the sheets from the bed to make a rope to lower her to the 
ground. I have to replace the sheets. And I need to stop by the 
lumber yard to pick a few things too.

DOCTOR -- What do you need from the lumber yard?

WILL -- Well, it's kind of a long story and...

DOCTOR -- The stores don't close for an hour. I would really 
like to hear this. 

WILL -- Well, the fire is out and nobody got burned. What's the 
big deal?

DOCTOR -- I'm dying to know why you have to go to the lumber 
yard.

WILL -- Well, it's a little involved. 

DOCTOR -- Please, indulge us.

WILL -- Well,  I heard a scream from the second floor above me. 
See, I'm staying at the Riverside Motel. 

NURSE -- We know. The whole town knows now. Wait till I tell the 
folks at church about this. Two daring rescues in one shift!

DOCTOR -- Go on, please. You heard screams.

WILL -- Yes, so I ran up the stairs, pounded on her door and 
shouted, but noone answered. So, I kicked in the door. That's 
why I have to go to the lumber store. I just ruined the door.

NURSE -- I'm sure the motel will pay for the door and the 
sheets, especially since you put out the fire.

DOCTOR -- Don't be so sure. That motel is owned by that ruthless 
villain, Lucifer Snidely.

WILL -- The motel manager said the owner would make him pay 
for all the damage, including the two doors.

NURSE -- TWO doors?

WILL -- Yes, the little lady apparently retreated from the fire, 
locked herself in the bathroom and then passed out. I had to 
kick in the bathroom door too. Made a real mess of it. Well, I 
guess you know the rest. I'll be going now.

DOCTOR -- Just tell us how you put out the fire?

WILL -- I just used water. That's all.

DOCTOR -- (to nurse) I'll just bet it was more involved than 
that. 

NURSE -- (to Will) Please, tell how you put the fire out.

WILL -- Well, there were no fire extinguishers around and none 
of the lawn sprinkler hoses were long enough to reach the second 
floor, so I had to run around and collect all the hoses from 
around the motel and connect them end to end. I even had to run 
next door to the gas station and borrowed their hose. 

DOCTOR -- (to Nurse) What did I tell you?

WILL -- (snaps fingers) Ooo, I almost forgot. I have to stop by 
the auto supply store before they close. 

NURSE -- I can't wait to hear why you have to stop by the auto 
supply store after a fire.

WILL -- Well, with all those hoses end to end the water pressure 
to the second floor was real low. So, I fixed up a connection 
through the water pump of the motel manager's car. 

DOCTOR -- You used the water pump from his car to pump the water 
to put out the fire? 

WILL -- Yeah. It worked just fine. But I'm afraid I made a mess 
of his radiator hoses.

DOCTOR -- Shear genious.

WILL -- So, if you'll excuse me. I have to go to the lumber 
store to buy some wallboard and fiberglass.

DOCTOR -- Wallboard? Why do you need wall board and fiberglass?

WILL -- Well, the fire was caused by an overheated space heater. 
I warned the motel manager that the space heaters were 
inadequately insulated. But he said that the owner wouldn't pay 
to make them safer. So, while I'm at the lumber store, I might 
as well buy enough wallboard and fiberglass to insulate all the 
other heaters in the motel. It shouldn't take more than a day or 
two to retrofit them all. It's the least I can to after all the 
damage I caused. Take care of the little lady. I'll see you 
later.


(end of scene)


HEROINE'S FATHER SIGNS A BOGUS CHURCH MORTGAGE CONTRACT
ACT 1, SCENE 5

(set: Snidely's office)

SNIDELY -- (enters, steps to edge of stage to acknowledge BOOs) 
Is that any way to greet a deacon of Farmington Community 
Church? (crosses to desk) 

HENCHMAN -- (enters, crosses to Snidely, hands him folded paper) 
You would have been proud of me boss, I stole the mortgage right 
from under his nose. He didn't even know I was there.

SNIDELY -- Good work, Mr Henchman. (looks at watch) Oh, he'll be 
here any minute. Are you ready?

HENCHMAN -- Yes sir, boss.

SNIDELY -- The timing has to be perfect on this. Do I make 
myself clear, Mr Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- (instinctively protects own ear) Perfectly clear, boss. 
You can count on me.

SNIDELY -- Just as long as we understand each other. 

HENCHMAN -- You know, there's no way this scheme can fail, boss.

SNIDELY -- How so, Mr Henchman?

HENCHMAN -- Well, in the end you'll either have Pastor 
Goodheart's daughter or his church.

SNIDELY -- Mr Henchman, a church is lousy income property. If I 
end up with a church instead of the fair Miss Charity 
Goodheart, you will be in big trouble. Do I make myself clear, 
Mr Henchman?

HENCHMAN -- (instinctively protects own ear) Perfectly clear, 
boss. 

SNIDELY -- (sees Joshua coming, whisks Henchman away with hand) 
Here he comes. Out!

JOSHUA -- (enters, wearing glasses on top of head) Your 
secretary called me and told me you had an urgent need to see 
me, Mr Snidely.

SNIDELY -- Yes, please, come in, come in, Pastor Goodheart. And, 
please, call me Lucifer. (offers hand to Pastor) After all, I'm 
a deacon in your church now. We can be on a first name basis, 
no?

JOSHUA -- (shakes) Yes, of course, by all means. You can call me 
Joshua. (aside) Frankly, I think Snidely is up to something. But 
if he thinks he can get any money from me, he's badly mistaken. 
I am as poor as a church mouse.

SNIDELY -- (points to chair) Please, sit down.

JOSHUA -- I'm a little nervous about this, Mr S..., ah, Lucifer. 
(sits) Your secretary sounded so serious.

SNIDELY -- Well, it is a serious matter, in that it's a legal 
matter, Joshua, but we're friends now, so I feel certain we can 
work things out.

JOSHUA -- She said it has to do with the mortgage on my church?

SNIDELY -- Yes. My secretary asked you to bring in your copy of 
the mortgage document so we could make a copy of it. 

JOSHUA -- May I ask why?

SNIDELY -- Yes, of course. The due date on our copy of the 
mortgage document shows that your mortgage was to be completely 
paid off at the end of this month.

JOSHUA -- That's impossible. It was a twenty year mortgage and 
it's only ten years old.

SNIDELY -- I was sure that was the case, Joshua. I'm sure it was 
just a typographical error. All we need to do to correct the 
error is to make a photocopy of your copy of the document and 
we'll all be happy. Did you bring your copy?

JOSHUA -- Well, actually, no, I didn't. 

SNIDELY -- You didn't?

JOSHUA -- I'm sure I filed the mortgage in the bottom drawer of 
my file cabinet with my other legal papers. But when I went in 
to find it this morning, the mortgage contract was gone. 

SNIDELY -- That's odd. Maybe someone took the document without 
telling you. (raises eye brows to audience)

JOSHUA -- That's impossible. I have the only key to that 
particular file cabinet. I looked everywhere. My copy has just 
disappeared.

SNIDELY -- Well, I'll be.... (raises eye brows, sneers at 
audience)

JOSHUA -- Will that be a problem, Mr Snidely?

SNIDELY -- Call me Lucifer, please, Joshua. We're friends now. 
We can make this problem go away with just the stroke of a pen.

JOSHUA -- We can?

SNIDELY -- Certainly. I'm always prepared for such contingencies. 
I had my secretary prepare two new copies of the document with 
the revised date, one for you, and one for me. (louder, looking 
obliquely toward Henchman offstage) Did you bring your glasses, 
didn't you, Joshua?

JOSHUA -- (pats pockets) Yes, I'm sure I brought them, where did 
I put them? (pats head, finds them, removes them, holds them 
out) Yes, here they are!

HENCHMAN -- (takes one step onto the stage, drops two baking pans 
on floor, one on top of the other, exits)

JOSHUA -- (drops glasses on desk, turns) What was that?

SNIDELY -- (picks up Pastor's glasses, pockets them, just before 
Joshua turns back to him) Oh, I have a repairman here to work on 
the air conditioning. It's nothing. Now, where were we? Oh, yes, 
you were about to sign the revised contract. (hands pen to 
Pastor) Here you go.

JOSHUA -- (takes pen) Thank you. (looks around, pats pockets, 
pats head) Now, where did I put my glasses?

SNIDELY -- I don't know. Did you bring them with you, Joshua?

JOSHUA -- I was sure I brought them with me. But I never can 
remember where I put those infernal glasses and I can't see 
thing without them.

SNIDELY -- Not a problem, Joshua. This contract is identical to 
the old document except for the revised date. All we need is 
your signature (points to bottom of page) right on this line 
here.

JOSHUA -- Yes, of course. (signs) 

SNIDELY -- (hands Joshua large envelope) Very good. And I've 
signed your copy here in this envelope. You can take this with 
you.

JOSHUA -- Yes. Thank you, Lucifer. (they shake hands)

SNIDELY -- No problem, Joshua. That's what friend are for. 
I'll see you tomorrow morning in church. Bye bye.

JOSHUA -- (exiting) I would have sworn I brought my glasses.

HENCHMAN -- (enters as Joshua rushes by, turns) Oh, Pastor 
Goodheart. The hospital called and said your wife was in an auto 
accident.

JOSHUA -- (reenters) She was?! 

HENCHMAN -- Yeah, they said the car was totalled, but don't 
worry, your wife is fine, they're taking her to the hospital 
just to be on the safe side.

JOSHUA -- Oh, dear! (exits)

HENCHMAN -- (speaks softly) Piece of cake, huh, boss?

SNIDELY -- Mr Henchman, I don't recall anything in our plan 
about hospitalizing Viola Goodheart.

HENCHMAN -- Oh, I didn't do that, boss. But now that I think 
about it, it wasn't such a bad idea. The distraction will keep 
him from looking at the date on his new mortgage until you make 
the big announcement tonight. (chuckles) Not bad, heh?

SNIDELY -- Like taking candy from a baby, Mr Henchman. I hope 
you like wedding cake! (laughs fiendishly as they exit together)


(end of scene)


HERO RESCUES HEROINE'S MOTHER FROM CAR CRASH
ACT 1, SCENE 6

(set: hospital emergency room, Doctor, Nurse huddled around 
reception desk) 

WILL -- (enters with arm around Viola wrapped in blanket) 
Listen, I hate to keep you folks so busy, but I think this lady 
has been shaken up a bit.

(Doctor, nurse scramble to assist, sit Viola in chair, begin 
taking vital signs)

NURSE -- Viola, are you alright? Viola? (pats Viola hand gently)

DOCTOR -- This town is lucky you came along, young man. The 
sheriff said this woman would be dead now if you hadn't rescued 
her when you did.

WILL -- Naw, I just pulled her out of her car and brought her 
here, that's all. I really should be going.

DOCTOR -- You can't go until I treat that burn on your arm.

WILL -- This? Oh, this is nothing. I can treat it myself. I 
really should be going.

NURSE -- What's your hurry? I'm sure the TV news people will be 
here in a few minutes. You're a real hero, you know.

WILL -- I really should be going. There's nobody around to tend 
to the cow.

NURSE -- Cow? What cow?

WILL -- Well, this little lady had her accident because a cow 
wandered onto the river road right into the path of her car.

DOCTOR -- Are you going to have to put the cow out of it's 
misery?

WILL -- No. From what I could see, the car swerved enough that 
the bumper only hit the cow in the left rear leg. There's no 
evidence of a compound fracture. But she's limping pretty badly. 
I need to go back and put a split on the leg.

DOCTOR -- You have training in veterinary medicine?

WILL -- No. But I have been rescuing animals since I was a kid. 
I really should be going.

NURSE -- How is it you have burns but Viola doesn't? Is this 
left over from last night's motel fire? (points at Will's 
forearm)

WILL -- No. I wrapped her in a blanket when the car caught on 
fire.

NURSE -- The car caught on fire?

WILL -- Yes, the gas tank ruptured when the car ran off the 
cliff. 

NURSE -- The car ran off the cliff?

WILL -- Fortunately, it landed in a tree which cushioned the 
impact, so she didn't get badly injured. I couldn't detect any 
broken bones, could you?

DOCTOR -- No. Just a couple of bruises.

VIOLA -- Moo.

NURSE -- What did you say Viola?

VIOLA -- Moo.

DOCTOR -- There's no evidence of concussion. I think she's 
having a hysterical reaction to hitting the cow.

VIOLA -- Moo.

WILL -- Well, I guess I'll leave her in your capable hands. 
(turns)

CHARITY -- (enters, runs to Viola) Mother are you alright? 
(kneels in front of Viola)

VIOLA -- Moo.

DOCTOR -- Your mother is fine. But she's apparently having a 
hysterical reaction to crashing her car into the cow.

WILL -- That's your mother?

CHARITY -- (stands, turns) Why, yes, are you... (freezes, slack 
jawed)

WILL -- (also smitten) Hello.

CHARITY -- Hello.

NURSE -- You two have apparently already met.

DOCTOR -- When would he have time? He's done nothing but rescue 
people since he got into town.

WILL -- (in a trance) Your mother will be fine.

CHARITY -- (in a trance) She will?

WILL -- Yes.

CHARITY -- Oh.

DOCTOR -- I'd really like to hear about the fire.

CHARITY -- Fire? What fire?

WILL -- It was nothing.

DOCTOR -- The gas tank ruptured.

WILL -- Yes. (long pause)

DOCTOR -- Would you like ME to tell the story?

WILL -- Huh? (out of trance) Oh, ah, no. I should be going. The 
cow needs a splint on it's leg. (turns)

CHARITY -- I'd like to hear about the fire. Were you burned?

WILL -- (turns back, looks at forearm) It was nothing. It was my 
own fault. A spark from the cutting torch set it off.

ALL -- Cutting torch?

DOCTOR -- You didn't tell us about a cutting torch.

WILL -- It's a long story. I really should be going....

CHARITY -- Please. Tell me about it.

WILL -- Well, I climbed down the cliff and climbed up the tree 
to help the victim...

CHARITY -- ...My mother...

WILL -- Yes, to help your mother out of the car. But the impact 
with the tree bent the car so the doors wouldn't open. So, I 
kicked the rear window in. But, the victim...

CHARITY -- ...My mother...

WILL -- Yes, but your mother was pinned by the steering wheel. 
And when I tried to free her, she let out a moo.

VIOLA -- Moo.

WILL -- So, I climbed down the tree, I climbed up the cliff and 
ran to the gas station next to the motel and borrowed their 
cutting torch. Then, I ran to the motel and stripped the 
blankets and sheets off both beds in my room and lowered it all 
down the cliff using the hoses as a rope.

CHARITY -- Hoses? What hoses?

WILL -- Oh, I had assembled a bunch of hoses to fight the fire 
last night.

CHARITY -- There was a fire last night too?

NURSE -- I'll tell you all about it later. You won't believe it.

DOCTOR -- Please, go on. You lowered the cutting torch...

WILL -- And the sheets and blankets. That reminds me, I owe the 
motel some new sheets and blankets. This is getting to be a very 
expensive vacation.

DOCTOR -- Please get back to the rescue. The cutting torch is 
now at the base of the cliff...

WILL -- Yes. Then I climbed down the cliff, climbed up the tree 
with the torch and the blankets...

DOCTOR -- You climbed up a tree with a full size acetylene tank?

WILL -- Yes, of course. A cutting torch has an oxygen tank too, 
but they're both on a dolly with wheels.

DOCTOR -- As if that would help you climb a tree.

WILL -- Anyway, I was almost finished cutting the door off the 
car, when a spark from the torch ignited the leaking gasoline, 
so I had to wrapped the victim...

CHARITY -- ...My mother...

WILL -- Yes, I wrapped your mother in blankets, to keep her from 
getting burned, then I finished cutting the door off the car and 
then I cut the steering wheel away from the victim...

CHARITY -- ...My mother...

WILL -- From your mother. Anyway, in the mean time, she stopped 
mooing and fainted and couldn't climb down the tree. So, I had 
to tear up more sheets to tie around her and to use as a rope to 
lower her down the tree, then I carried her up the cliff over my 
shoulder. That's really all there was to it.

NURSE -- You climbed up a sheer cliff with an adult over your 
shoulder?

WILL -- Well, she's not all that heavy.

DOCTOR -- (points to the back of Will's neck) You have a piece 
of glass embedded in the back of your neck there. Sit down a 
minute and let me remove it for you.

WILL -- (feels glass) Oh, that. I'll get that later. It's 
nothing.

NURSE -- Is that from kicking in the rear window of the car?

WILL -- No, as soon as I climbed down from the tree, the car 
fell out of the tree and exploded. 

ALL -- The car exploded!?

WILL -- Oh, don't worry. The victim...

CHARITY -- ...My mother...

WILL -- Yes, don't worry, your mother was still wrapped in the 
blankets, so she wasn't injured at all from the flying glass. 
Listen, I hate to be unsociable, but I should be going. (turns 
to exit)

JOSHUA -- (enters) Is this the young lad who rescued my wife?

ALL -- Yes.

JOSHUA -- What's your name, young man?

WILL -- William. William B. Strong. You can call me Will.
CHARITY -- (together) William. William B. Strong. You can call 
him Will.

JOSHUA -- (shakes his hand) Will, I'm Joshua Goodheart, pastor 
of Farmington Community Church. I'd love to honor you at my 
church service tomorrow.

WILL -- I was planning on going to your church, sir. But there's 
no reason to make a fuss. 

JOSHUA -- Nonsense! The sheriff said you saved my wife's life. 
(kneels in front of Viola) How are you doing, sweetheart?

VIOLA -- Moo.

WILL -- (snaps fingers) Oh, that reminds me. I really should be 
going. (exits) The cow needs me.

VIOLA -- Moo.


(end of scene)


HEROINE'S FATHER DISCOVERS HE'S BEEN DUPED
ACT 1, SCENE 7

(set: pastor's study, Joshua is seated at desk, poking 
calculator clumsily and holding papers at arm's length, trying 
to read them without his glasses)

VIOLA -- (enters wearing bath robe, yawns, stretches) Good 
morning, Joshua.

JOSHUA -- (stands, hugs Viola) Well! You're awake! 

VIOLA -- Why is it so dark out this morning?

JOSHUA -- It's not morning. It's evening. You slept all 
afternoon.

VIOLA -- I did? 

JOSHUA -- Yes. How are you feeling, Viola?

VIOLA -- What do you mean, how am I feeling? I feel fine? Why 
shouldn't I feel fine?

JOSHUA -- Because of your accident.

VIOLA -- Accident? What accident? I didn't have an accident.

JOSHUA -- Oh, no, you don't remember. 

VIOLA -- Remember? Remember what?

JOSHUA -- The doctor said you might not remember. He said you 
have.... what did he call it again? Post... Post traumatic 
stress disorder. You were in an auto accident. You don't 
remember anything about it?

VIOLA -- No. I was wondering where I got the bruises on my arm 
and leg. So, why don't I remember anything? Was it a bad 
accident? Did I damage the car?

JOSHUA -- (feeling the temperature of her head and cheek) The 
doctor said you were so upset by the accident that you might 
lose your memory. The car was completely destroyed.

VIOLA -- Oh, I'm sorry!

JOSHUA -- Oh, don't worry about it, Viola, dear. It wasn't your 
fault. Horace Willard's cows got out of his pasture and one of 
them wandered into the path of your car.

VIOLA -- Oh, please don't tell me that I killed a cow! Moo! 
(covers mouth) What was that?

JOSHUA -- (holds Viola in his arms) Oh, please don't worry about 
the cow, Viola darling. She's fine. But the doctor said that you 
were probably convinced that you'd killed the cow and that's why 
you have what he called vocalizations.

VIOLA -- Vocalizations? 

JOSHUA -- Yes. The doctor said that's it's likely that the 
vocalizations will continue for the next few days whenever 
you're under stress. So, it's important that we keep you calm 
for a few days.

VIOLA -- Is that why you're doing my job here? (points at desk)

JOSHUA -- Yes, I'm not nearly as good at bookkeeping as you 
are, my dear. But I know how upset you get when it comes time to 
pay the bills. 

VIOLA -- You should be preparing your sermon for tomorrow, 
Joshua, not doing my bookkeeping. Maybe I can just help you get 
organized.

JOSHUA -- Viola, honey, the doctor said no stress for you for 
the next several days.

VIOLA -- (begins shuffling papers) Well, how stressful can it be 
to just get you organized?

JOSHUA -- Viola, honey, it will probably be stressful for you 
just looking at all the bills. But perhaps what you can do is 
help me find my glasses. I misplaced them this morning. And I 
haven't been able to find them since.

VIOLA -- You and those glasses! Well, let's see. (searches under 
piles of papers) When I was doing the bookkeeping last, you laid 
your spare pair of glasses here on the desk. (holds up glasses) 
Here they are. 

JOSHUA -- (puts on glasses) Thank you, my dear.

VIOLA -- Now let me just put these bills in order... (pauses, 
reads each bill) the water bill. Oh, no, they've raised the 
rates on us again. Moo.

JOSHUA -- Viola. Please!

VIOLA -- And the electric bill. Moo. Oh, look at the gas bill!
Moo.

JOSHUA -- I wonder what our dear daughter is doing in the 
kitchen. (points, taking Viola's arm)

VIOLA -- We're in debt, aren't we, Joshua?

JOSHUA -- (pause) Yes.

VIOLA -- (louder) Moo.

JOSHUA -- See, I knew you'd be upset. Why don't you go help 
Charity in the kitchen? She's baking 42 dozen cookies for the 
African Missionaries' bake sale.

VIOLA -- What's this letter from the bank here?

JOSHUA -- What letter?

VIOLA -- This letter from the bank. You haven't opened it yet. 
(opens letter)

JOSHUA -- Well, it can't be the mortgage statement. That doesn't 
come until the end of the month.

VIOLA -- (reads) This is to inform you that your final mortgage 
payment... (to Joshua) FINAL payment? We still have ten years 
left on the mortgage. Look how much we owe. (points)

JOSHUA -- ...look at all those zeros...

VIOLA -- Moo.

JOSHUA -- Viola, honey, let me explain. This was a mistake. I 
corrected it this morning while you were driving off the cliff.

VIOLA -- Moo.

JOSHUA -- I'm sorry. What I mean is, the reason I got to the 
hospital so quickly is because I was down at the bank, 
straightening out this mess. Lucifer Snidely warned me that the 
bank's copy of the mortgage had the wrong date on it. And we 
straighten it all out.

VIOLA -- You did? 

JOSHUA -- Yes, it's all taken care of. There's absolutely 
nothing for you to worry about.

VIOLA -- (point at contract) So, the mortgage is not due at the 
end of the month as it says here?

JOSHUA -- No. I signed a new contract this morning. The new 
contract is right here in this envelope. (lifts envelope from 
table)

VIOLA -- New contract?

JOSHUA -- Well, it's kind of a long story. But everything is 
fine now. Really.

VIOLA -- Joshua, did you look at the contract?

JOSHUA -- Well, sure, I signed it and everything.

VIOLA -- Joshua, you said you misplaced your glasses this 
morning. I think I should look in that envelope. I don't trust 
Lucifer Snidely any farther than I can throw the pipe organ.

CHARITY -- (enters, wearing apron and oven mitts, carrying tray 
of cookies and milk, acknowledges audience AWEs with curtsy, 
crosses to Viola, Joshua)  I thought I heard voices. It's good 
to see you up, Mother dear.

VIOLA -- Good morning, Charity.

CHARITY -- Good morning? Mother, it's evening. You slept all 
afternoon. Father, has Mother still not recovered from the 
accident?

VIOLA -- Charity, I'm fine. Your father already corrected me 
about the time of day. I'm just a little upset that we're not 
doing very well financially.

CHARITY -- Mother, dear, I baked 42 dozen cookies for African 
missionaries bake sale. Here, have a cookie and some milk. It 
will make you feel better.

VIOLA -- (one arm around Charity, one hand on a cookie) Charity, 
dear, I don't know what we would do without you.

JOSHUA -- (stands on other side of Charity, one-arm hug, takes 
cookie) That goes double for me, Charity.  I shall miss you when 
you become a traveling missionary. But our loss will be their 
gain. 

(door chime)

CHARITY -- Who could that be? Were you expecting someone on 
church business tonight, Father?

JOSHUA -- (shrugs) No. I'm not expecting anyone. (smiles) 
Perhaps it's that handsome young fellow from the hospital.

CHARITY -- (bright smile) Will?!

VIOLA -- Will? Who's Will. I don't know any Will.

CHARITY -- Will Strong is the gorgeous hunk... I mean, Will 
Strong is the man who rescued you from the auto accident, 
Mother. (pushed tray at Joshua) Here hold this. I'll get the 
door. (removes oven mitts)

JOSHUA -- The folks at the hospital said that Charity and 
Will were sweet on one another.

CHARITY -- (exiting) Oh, don't be silly, Father. I don't have 
time for romance. (returns immediately removing apron, adjusts 
hair) How do I look? (exits without waiting for answer)

JOSHUA -- (smiles at Viola) She doesn't have time for romance.

CHARITY -- (backing onstage) Oh, it's you.

LUCIFER --  (enters) Well, hello there, my lovely blossom. 
(acknowledges audience BOOs)

VIOLA -- Moo.

JOSHUA -- Charity, can you take your Mother to her room?

LUCIFER --  (to Charity) Don't go away. This will just take a 
moment! (helps himself to cookie, waves it seductively along 
Charity's face) Now that's once sweet cookie! 

VIOLA -- Get on with it, Mr Snidely. I know you have some bad 
news for us.

JOSHUA -- It's about the letter from the bank, isn't it?

LUCIFER --  Yes, it was a dreadful error, for which I am truly 
sorry. Your mortgage deadline is definitely at the end of this 
month.

JOSHUA -- See? What did I tell you, Viola? There's nothing to 
worry about. Nothing at all.

LUCIFER -- Ahem . . . . No, no, no, the mortgage is most 
certainly not due at the end of the month. The fact is, Pastor 
Goodheart, that the mortgage is due at the end of next week!

JOSHUA & CHARITY -- Oh, no!

VIOLA -- Moo.

LUCIFER -- Thursday night at midnight to be exact.

VIOLA -- Moo.

JOSHUA -- Mr Snidely, we just signed a new mortgage correcting 
that problem this morning. I have a copy of the contract right 
here. (opens envelope) See? (turns pages) See here? "the balance 
of the mortgage is due and payable...." Oh, no!

VIOLA -- (looking on) Moo.

CHARITY -- We're going to lose the church, aren't we, Father?

VIOLA -- Moo.

JOSHUA -- Charity, honey, take your mother to bed and give her 
two of those pills the doctor gave us.

VIOLA -- Moo. (moos continuously until offstage)

CHARITY -- Yes, Father. (exits, arm around Viola)

JOSHUA -- Well, Mr Snidely, you own just about everything else 
in this town. By Friday of next week you will own my church as 
well. I hope you're proud of yourself.

SNIDELY -- I don't want your church, Pastor Goodheart.

JOSHUA -- You don't?

SNIDELY -- No, a church is lousy income property. All it's good 
for is.... (nauseated) CHURCH.

JOSHUA -- Then, what DO you want?

SNIDELY -- I'm glad you asked. What I want is your daughter as 
my wife and the mother of my fourteen children.

JOSHUA -- You can't be serious.

SNIDELY -- I'm quite serious, Pastor Goodheart. 

JOSHUA -- I can't just bargain away my daughter as chattel. 
Anyway, she would never marry you.

SNIDELY -- Oh no? Here she comes. Ask her.

JOSHUA -- No, I'm not going to ask her.

CHARITY -- (enters) Ask me what, Father?

JOSHUA -- Charity, dear, I don't think you should even be in on 
this discussion. It is I who was duped. It is I who should pay 
the price.

CHARITY -- What price? What's going on?

JOSHUA -- Mr Snidely is being completely unreasonable. He...

SNIDELY -- ...I don't think it's unreasonable to offer you way 
to save your church. Do you, my dear Charity?

CHARITY -- There's a way to save the church?

JOSHUA -- Charity, honey, don't you have some baking to do for 
the African missionaries?

CHARITY -- No, Father, my baking is all done for the day. How 
can we save our church?

JOSHUA -- You don't want to hear this.

CHARITY -- Yes, I do.  
SNIDELY -- (together) Yes, she does.

JOSHUA -- (slumps into chair) Very well. (covers head with 
hands)

SNIDELY -- The offer I made your father is quite simple, my 
pretty flower. Your father can keep his church if you will agree 
to marry me. 

JOSHUA -- Charity, my darling baby Charity, please say no.

CHARITY -- Yes.

JOSHUA -- Oh, no!

SNIDELY -- (to audience) Don't you love it when a plan comes 
together?

JOSHUA -- (stands) Charity, please reconsider.

CHARITY -- Father, this community needs this church for 
spiritual sustenance and growth.

JOSHUA -- Yes, but Charity, your heart's desire has always been 
to be a traveling missionary. You can't just throw that away.

CHARITY -- I have to think of the greater good, Father.

SNIDELY -- Well spoken, Charity, my pretty rose bud. And as luck 
would have it, your father is a pastor. He can marry us right 
now. (reaches for Charity)

JOSHUA -- (grabs Snidely's wrist, steps between them) Not so 
fast, Mr Snidely, we have until Thursday night at midnight. By 
then, anything could happen.

SNIDELY -- Very well, if you want to delay the inevitable, have 
it your way. But, I will come back here Thursday night to 
collect either the keys to your church or your daughter's hand 
in marriage, Pastor Goodheart. (nose to nose) Just be prepared 
to perform a marriage ceremony. (exits laughing)


(end of scene)


CONGREGATION RALLIES TO SAVE THEIR CHURCH
ACT 1, SCENE 8

(set: church interior, the entire congregation is seated in 
pews, main characters are seated nearest audience)

(sound of door opening)

CHARITY -- (springs to feet, rushes to exit, reenters backward) 
Oh, it's you.

HORACE -- (enters with Martha) Sorry to disappoint you, dear.

CHARITY -- I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude. It's just that...

MARTHA -- You were waiting for that nice young man who rescued 
your mother, weren't you?

CHARITY -- Well, I thought maybe he would know what to do in 
this time of tragedy.

HORACE -- What tragedy?

CHARITY -- Father will explain it to you. You haven't seen Will, 
have you? He said he'd be here today.

HORACE -- I don't think he'll be here any time soon. Last I saw 
of him, he was down on river road giving mouth to mouth 
resuscitation to a pilliated woodpecker.

CHARITY -- Oh. (hangs head)

(all sit, as Pastor enters)

JOSHUA -- Brothers and sisters, it is with a heavy heart that I 
announce to you a tragedy in the making.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- Brothers and sisters, because I ignored warnings 
from Brother Thaddeus and Brother Seth, I have put the future of 
this church in jeopardy.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- Brothers and sisters, I was so blinded by the need to 
reroof this church building that I made a deacon of a man whom I 
now know is an agent of the Devil himself, Lucifer Snidely.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- Brothers and sisters, because I entered into an unholy 
alliance with an agent of the devil, the bank will foreclose on 
the mortgage on our church at midnight on Thursday night.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- Next Sunday, Brothers and sisters, this congregation 
will have no place to meet. (tearful) And it's all my fault.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (grumble)

HARLEY -- (stands) Don't blame yourself, Pastor Goodheart. That 
heartless villain, Lucifer Snidely, manipulated us all.

CALEB -- (stands) Yes, Pastor Goodheart, you were not the only 
one who Snidely used and tossed aside. This entire town has been 
victimized by him.

JOSHUA -- Nonetheless, it was I who signed the contract that got 
us into this mess. And it is I who will resign as your pastor.

VIOLA -- Moo. (stands and Moos all the way to exit)

CHARITY -- (stands and helps Viola to exit) Calm down, Mother. 
Everything will be alright.

ALL -- (grumble)

SETH -- (stands) Absolutely not, Pastor Goodheart. You can't 
leave.

THADDEUS -- (stands) We need you now more than ever.

JOSHUA -- But why? We don't have a church anymore.

CHARITY -- (reenters) A church is not a building, Father. A 
church is people dedicated to the Lord. And people need a 
leader.

SETH -- We're behind you, Pastor Goodheart.

THADDEUS -- Yes, we're behind you all the way.

ALL -- (stand, nod and grumble their individual affirmations)

CHARITY -- You just tell your people what to do, Father, and 
they'll do it.

JOSHUA -- (dries eyes) I'm speechless. I... I... don't know what 
to say. 

THADDEUS -- Say you'll stay on and be our Pastor.

JOSHUA -- Well, let's assume that we'll be a congregation, 
whether we have a building or not. Agreed?

ALL -- (nod, grumble affirmations) 

JOSHUA -- Then, I'll agree to stay on and be your Pastor.

ALL -- (nod, grumble affirmations, sit) 

JOSHUA -- The next thing we should do is see what we can do to 
keep this building from going into foreclosure. Lucifer Snidely 
gave us $16,000 to reroof the church. I think we could apply 
that toward the mortgage, but that leaves us tens of thousands 
of dollars short of the needed amount to pay off the mortgage. 

SNIDELY -- (sneaks in with Henchman, remains near wings, 
acknowledges BOOs) Shshshsh. It's not polite to booo in church. 
(puts figure to lips, points to Pastor, turns to Pastor, with 
pencil to clipboard, taking notes, whispers to Henchman, as each 
person stands, speaks)

JOSHUA -- Well, does anybody have any ideas where we can get 
tens of thousands of dollars to pay off our mortgage before 
Friday?

CHARITY -- Well, I can't give tens of thousands, but I know how 
to bake cookies. I'll bake cookies and sell them in front of the 
supermarkets. I'll bake cookies until the oven breaks down.

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- That's my girl! Who else is willing to sacrifice? 

HORACE -- (stands) Well, I'll give what I can. You all know I 
planted my north forty with corn this year. And I'll pledged the 
entire crop to the church mortgage fund.

ALL -- (cheer)

HARLEY -- (stands) Wait a minute, Horace, you won't be able to 
harvest that crop for weeks yet. We need the money this 
week. (sits)

HORACE -- Well, my credit rating is real good. The bank is 
always after me to borrow money from them. I figure the 40 acres 
of corn is worth a $2000 cash advance, at least. (sits)

ALL -- (cheer) 

JOSHUA -- Who else has something to give to our mortgage fund? 

SETH -- (raises hand)

JOSHUA -- Seth Wickum?

SETH -- Well, as you all know I raise the best beefs in the 
business. I pledge twelve head of my finest beef cattle to the 
church mortgage fund.

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- What do you figured those cattle to be worth, Seth?

SETH -- At current prices they'll probably fetch $3500 at 
auction.

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Who else? Thaddeus?

THADDEUS -- You all know I been saving money to buy a new 
tractor to replace my ole John Deere. But, if I'm faced with a 
choice between putting off buying a new tractor and losing my 
church, well, the choice is obvious. The church comes first.

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- How much you figure you got in the bank, Thaddeus?

THADDEUS -- $4100. (sits)

ALL -- (cheer)

MYRTLE -- (stands) Well, if Thaddeus can delay buying a tractor, 
the least I can do is delay buying my new car. I'll give my 
$2900 savings. (sits)

ALL -- (cheer)

WILMA -- (stands) I guess I got no excuse. I'll give my $3300 
savings. (sits)

ALL -- (cheer)

ETHEL -- (stands) Well, I can sell my late husband's hand-carved 
ivory chess set. That ought to fetch close to $4000. (sits)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Alright, the rest of you, you've got the idea. You 
know what you have to do. Go home, turn your assets into cash 
and bring the cash in your offering envelopes to Wednesday 
night's midweek service. (pause) Let's see if we can save our 
church!

ALL -- (stand and cheer)


(end of scene)
(end of Act 1)


VILLAIN SABOTAGES ATTEMPTS TO PAY OFF THE MORTGAGE
ACT 2, SCENE 1

(set: church interior, the entire congregation is seated in 
pews, main characters are seated nearest audience)

(sound of door opening)

CHARITY -- (springs to feet, rushes to exit, reenters backward) 
Oh, it's you.

HORACE -- (enters with Martha) Sorry to disappoint you again, 
dear.

CHARITY -- I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude. It's just that...

MARTHA -- (somber) Will Strong should be along any minute. 

CHARITY -- He will?

MARTHA -- Yes, he said he just had to drop off a baby rabbit at 
the veterinarian. How did your bake sale go today?

CHARITY -- (turns as they go by) Fine, I made over $200 again 
today. (turns back toward exit, bumps into Will)

WILL -- (enters, removes hat, acknowledges audience applause 
modestly, backs into Charity) 

BOTH -- (turn) Oh, I'm sorry. No, it was my fault. No, I wasn't 
looking where I was going. (hypnotized)

JOSHUA -- (enters) Well, let's get started, did you all bring in 
your offering envelopes?

WILL & CHARITY -- (find an end seat, sit, never taking eyes off 
one another)

ALL -- (all raise envelopes)
         Yes, sir. 
         Here it is.
         I got mine.
         Right here.

JOSHUA -- Let's begin with Horace Willard. Horace?

HORACE -- (stands) You all know I planted my north forty with 
corn. And I pledged the entire 40 acres of corn to the church 
mortgage fund.

ALL -- (cheers)

HORACE -- Well, I went to the bank the other day and they told 
me that they would advance me $2300 against the harvest of that 
crop.

ALL -- (cheers) 

JOSHUA -- So, you brought us a check for $2300?

HORACE -- No.

JOSHUA -- No?!

HORACE -- No. Somehow that despicable villain Lucifer Snidely 
found out that I had pledged the money to the mortgage fund and 
the bank withdrew the cash advance.

JOSHUA -- Well, there's more than one bank in this county, 
Horace. 

HORACE -- That's right, Pastor Goodheart. When I got turned down 
at Farmington National Bank took my business over to the bank in 
Greenville.

JOSHUA -- So, how much is in your envelope, Horace?

HORACE -- Nothing.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

JOSHUA -- What happened, Horace?

HORACE -- Well, as soon as the bank promised me the advance, 
Lucifer Snidely, who owns the property upstream from me, dammed 
up the stream that runs through my property. Now my crop won't 
get any water. And somehow the bank found out about it and 
withdrew their offer. (sits)

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

JOSHUA -- Well, there's lots of folks left in our congregation. 
Who else had something to give to our mortgage fund? Seth 
Wickum?

SETH -- (stands) Well, as you all know I pledged twelve head of 
my finest beef cattle to the church mortgage fund.

ALL -- (cheers)

JOSHUA -- You figured those cattle to be worth $3500, didn't 
you, Seth?

SETH -- Yes sir.

ALL -- (cheers)

JOSHUA -- So, how much did they fetch at the auction, Seth?

SETH -- Nothing.

JOSHUA -- Nothing?!

SETH -- Nothing.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- Awe.

JOSHUA -- Why not?

SETH -- Couldn't get 'em to auction. That despicable villain 
Lucifer Snidely owns the only trucking company in town and I'm 
sure it's no mere coincidence that all his trucks suddenly 
developed mechanical problems. (sits)

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

JOSHUA -- This is terrible. Well, I see other envelopes here. 
Thaddeus Wilson, you pledged cash, didn't you?

THADDEUS -- (stands) Yes sir, I did. 

ALL -- (cheers)

JOSHUA -- Tell everybody again how much cash you pledged, 
Thaddeus.

THADDEUS -- $4100 that I was saving for a new tractor.

ALL -- (cheers)

JOSHUA -- Well, sir, there is no way Lucifer Snidely could keep
you from giving cash to the mortgage fund.

THADDEUS -- Yes, he could and he did.

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

JOSHUA -- I don't understand.

THADDEUS -- I don't know how he knew I was coming, but when I 
got to the bank to draw out my money, that ruthless villain 
Lucifer Snidely, who owns a controlling interest in the bank,
told me that all the money was in the vault and the vault was 
locked and the lock was broken. He said it would be Friday 
before a vault expert could come and open it. (sits)

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

JOSHUA -- And Friday just happens to be the day after the 
mortgage is due.

MYRTLE -- (stands) He told me the same thing. (sits)

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

WILMA -- (stands) Me too. (sits)

VIOLA -- Moo.

ALL -- (awe)

JOSHUA -- What about you, Ethel Lambert? Didn't you say that 
your late husband's hand-carved ivory chess set was worth over 
$4000?

ETHEL -- (stands) Yes, I did.

ALL -- (nod encouragement)

ETHEL -- But when I got home from church on Sunday, the chess 
set was gone. (sits)

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- There must be somebody who has good news to share. 
Charity? You've got some good news for us, don't you?

CHARITY -- (stands, strolls to the podium) Yes, I had a bake 
sale three days in a row. I averaged $200 a day. In this 
envelope is $603.26. (lays envelope on podium, flirts with Will 
all the way back to her chair)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- (opens envelope) I don't know how to tell you this, my 
dear Charity, but your envelope is empty.

CHARITY -- (stands) Empty?

ALL -- (grumble)

JOHSUA -- There's got to be somebody in our congregation with 
some good news. Raise your hand if you have a contribution to 
make.

ALL -- (dead silence, heads down)

VIOLA -- Moo. (stands, MOOs continually as she exits)

CHARITY -- (stands, helps Viola offstage) Mother, calm down. 
Everything will be just fine. Mother.

ALL -- (grumble)

THADDEUS -- It was Lucifer Snidely, I tell you. 

SETH -- He's right. You can bet your bottom dollar, Lucifer 
Snidely is behind all of this.

HARLEY -- Why, that dirty low down good for nothing...

JOSHUA -- Harley, there's no use in adding sin to injury. 
Snidely has defeated us. I guess beginning Sunday we'll be 
meeting in the city park.

CHARITY -- (reenters) No, Father. We won't.

JOSHUA -- Charity, honey. We don't have any other choice.

CHARITY -- (moving to podium) Yes, we do, Father. You've got to 
tell them.

JOSHUA -- No, baby, it's out of the question.

CHARITY -- Father, please. (takes over podium, as Pastor backs 
away) What Father didn't tell you is that Lucifer Snidely gave 
us a way out.

JOSHUA -- Charity, no.

ALL -- (grumble)

CHARITY -- It's the only way, Father. Brothers and Sisters, 
Lucifer Snidely engineered this entire disaster so he could 
marry me.

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- Charity, I'm begging you. Don't do this.

CHARITY -- Mr Snidely said he would not take the church if I 
agreed to marry him.

ALL -- (grumble)

ETHEL -- You're not really going to marry that ogre, are you, my 
dear?

CHARITY -- It is better to sacrifice one for the good of many. 
I will marry Lucifer Snidely. (weeps)

ALL -- (grumble)

SNIDELY -- (enters) Well, this is a church and the witnesses are 
all assembled. Let's have a wedding. (laughs, sneers at 
audience)

JOSHUA -- Mr Snidely, you are truly a despicable human being.

SNIDELY -- Yes, I suppose I should resign as deacon of the 
church. I tell you what, I'll resign right after the wedding. 
Let's begin the ceremony. (reaches for Charity)

JOSHUA -- (grabs Snidely's arm, steps between them) Not so fast, 
Mr Snidely. We still have over 24 hours to pay off the mortgage.

SNIDELY -- Oh, please! What possible chance do you have to pay 
off a mortgage without any money?

(long pause)

WILL -- (stands) There is a way out that we apparently haven't 
tried yet.

SNIDELY -- Who is this young upstart?

WILL & CHARITY -- William. William B. Strong.

CHARITY -- He put out the fire in your motel.

SNIDELY -- Oh, so he's the one who destroyed two perfectly good 
doors and a window.

WILL -- I replaced the doors and the window, sir.

JOSHUA -- Mr Snidely, is that any way to talk to the man who 
saved your motel from certain destruction?

SNIDELY -- I should be grateful? That motel is insured for 
twice what it's worth. I would have made a fortune if this 
meddler hadn't interfered. 

JOHSUA -- Mr Snidely, a woman almost died in that fire.

SNIDELY -- Jeepers.

JOSHUA -- Mr Snidely, you have a heart of stone. I will never 
allow my daughter to marry you. So, why don't you just leave?

SNIDELY -- I will leave, but you're just on putting off the 
inevitable, Pastor Goodheart. Tomorrow night is your deadline 
and I shall be back to collect either the keys to your church or 
your daughter's hand in marriage.  And from what I can see, 
you'd better be prepared to perform a marriage ceremony. (exits 
laughing)

JOSHUA -- Will Strong, did you say you knew a way out of this 
dilemma?

WILL -- Well, sir, I haven't heard anyone talk about it tonight.

JOSHUA -- Well, share it with us, man! What's our way out?

WILL -- Prayer.

JOSHUA -- Did you say prayer?

WILL -- Yes, prayer.

JOSHUA -- Young Will is right, brothers and sisters. I regret to 
say we at Farmington Community Church have been trying to do the 
Lord's work without the Lord. Prayer has always been the best 
tool for fighting evil, but I'm ashamed to say we fought the 
battle without prayer and we lost.

WILL -- It's not too late, Pastor Goodheart.

THADDEUS -- I hate to be pessimistic, young lad, but we have 
just over 24 hours remaining before we lose the church to 
foreclosure. What possible good can come from prayer at this 
late date?

WILL -- The Lord works in wondrous and mysterious ways. I will 
stay here and pray for your church all night if you'll allow me. 
(kneels)

CHARITY -- I'm ashamed to say that, though I fancy myself as a 
prayer warrior, I was so busy making cookies that I didn't even 
think of praying. But if an outsider is willing to pray for our 
church, I will certainly join him. (kneels next to Will)

JOSHUA -- I invite all of you to stay as long as you can to pray 
for the Lord to save our church. Then, we will all meet here 
tomorrow night for what might be our last meeting in this 
church. Let us pray. (kneels next to Charity)


(end of scene)


HERO AND HEROINE DISCOVER THEIR IDENTICAL LIFE GOALS
ACT 2, SCENE 2

(set: church interior, the church is empty except for two 
deacons who are sitting in pews and the Goodhearts and Will, who 
are still kneeling, facing audience, as the scene begins, the 
deacons yawn, stand and exit, patting Joshua on the shoulder. He 
does not respond)

VIOLA -- (enters, wearing robe and slippers, as deacons exit, 
taps Joshua) Joshua, wake up. Joshua.

JOSHUA -- Huh?

VIOLA -- Wake up. You're asleep.

JOSHUA -- Oh, so I was. Well, I guess all the recent late nights 
have finally caught up with me. (yawns) Viola? What are you 
doing up?

VIOLA -- I had a flashback of that black and white cow right in 
the path of my car.

CHARITY -- Mother! You remember that!?

VIOLA -- Yes.

CHARITY -- Well, that's wonderful! That means you're recovering 
from the post traumatic stress disorder.

JOSHUA -- I must admit I haven't spent all my time tonight 
praying for the mortgage fund, my dear. This may be an answer to 
my prayers.

CHARITY -- Mine too!

WILL -- Mine too.

VIOLA -- Well, thank you all for your prayers everybody. If the 
Lord answers your prayers for the church as well as he has for 
my affliction, we might have a chance against Lucifer Snidely. 
(yawns)

JOSHUA -- (yawns) Well, I suppose us old folks should get a 
little rest. (stands, looks around) Well, it looks like I'm not 
the only one who ran out of gas. The place is empty.

CHARITY -- Well, I'm staying here with Will to pray. (yawns) 
Maybe I should take a break though. (stands, hugs Viola) Good 
night, Mother, dear. 

VIOLA -- Good night, sweetheart.

CHARITY -- (hugs Pastor) Good night, Father dear.

JOSHUA -- Good night, Charity. 

JOSHUA & VIOLA -- Good night, Will. (exit)

WILL -- Good night. (looks at watch) Well, I'm afraid it's a bit 
too late for good night. It's 3:30 in the morning. (yawns, 
stands) I suppose I should take a break too.

(turn to face each other in unison, freeze, hypnotized)

CHARITY -- Maybe I should make us some coffee.

WILL -- No, thank you. I'll be fine.

CHARITY -- Oh.

WILL -- Can I get you anything?

CHARITY -- No, thank you. I'll be fine.

WILL -- Oh.

(turn a quarter turn from each other in unison)

WILL -- Charity?

CHARITY -- Yes, Will?

WILL -- I have a confession to make.

CHARITY -- I have a`confession too.

WILL -- You do?

CHARITY -- Yes.

WILL -- Well, let me tell you my sin first, then you can tell me 
yours.

CHARITY -- Okay.

WILL -- For the last half hour I haven't been praying for the 
church or the mortgage fund or anything like that.

CHARITY -- You haven't?

WILL -- No.

CHARITY -- Were you praying for my mother?

WILL -- I must confess that I wasn't even praying for her. 

CHARITY -- Me either.

WILL -- I feel that if I don't confess this and get it out of my 
way, my prayers for your church will be hampered.

CHARITY -- Me to.

WILL -- (deep breath) How shall I say this? Well, here goes. I 
asked the Lord to release me from a commitment I made to him.

CHARITY -- You did? 

WILL -- Yes.

CHARITY -- So did I.

WILL -- I mean, I didn't ask him to release me from ALL my 
commitments to him. I asked him to release me from just one. 

CHARITY -- Me to.

WILL -- Remember I told on the first day we met, that 
1 Corinthians 1:7 was my life verse....

CHARITY -- ...Me too...

WILL -- ...because I believed that what the Lord called me to do 
for my life mission was incompatible with marriage.

CHARITY -- It is good for a man NOT to marry.

WILL -- That's what I thought. I was sure that verse was put in 
the Bible just for me. But now I'm not so sure.

CHARITY -- Me either.

WILL -- But now... well, how can I say this? Well, I'm still 
committed to serving the Lord...

CHARITY -- Me too.

WILL -- And I'm not sure how the Lord could possibly work this 
out...

CHARITY -- Me either.

WILL -- ...But I have to come right out and ask you.

CHARITY -- Yes?

WILL -- How committed are you to YOUR life mission? I mean is it 
possible that you could... maybe change your life mission?

CHARITY -- I'm sorry Will, I'm deeply committed to being a 
traveling missionary, but...

WILL -- You are? Me too!

(both turn to each other in unison)

CHARITY -- You are? 

WILL -- Yes!

CHARITY -- So, that's why you took a vow not to marry?

WILL -- Yes. You too?

CHARITY -- Yes.

WILL -- Oh, dear! (turns away)

CHARITY -- What's the matter? 

WILL -- I have been rehearsing in my head for the last twenty 
minutes how I could talk you into being a traveling missionary 
with me. But, I haven't given a single thought how I was going 
to ask you... how I was going to ask you... 

CHARITY -- ...to marry you?

WILL -- Yes.

CHARITY -- Yes.

WILL -- Yes?

CHARITY -- Yes.

WILL -- Yes?

CHARITY -- Yes.

WILL -- Wait a minute. Things like this have never come this 
easy to me before.

CHARITY -- You never prayed about it before.

WILL -- So, you'll marry me?

CHARITY -- Oh, yes! Yes!

(they hold hands)

WILL -- Oh, Charity, you have no idea how happy you've made me!

CHARITY -- Yes, I do. (holds her mouth in the shape it was in 
from the word DO)

WILL -- (leans forward slowly in anticipation of a kiss) 

CHARITY -- (faces audience) What am I doing? I promised to marry 
Lucifer Snidely.

WILL -- (grabs her hand) Come with me.

CHARITY -- Where are we going?

WILL -- We have a lot of work to do. I'll explain on the way.

(both exit)


(end of scene)


CONGREGATION SEES ANSWERS TO THEIR PRAYERS
ACT 2, SCENE 3

(set: church interior, the entire congregation and Will are 
seated in pews, main characters are seated nearest audience)

JOSHUA -- (enters reluctantly, head down, deep breath) Well, 
let's get started. (looks up) Well, why are you all smiling? Is 
there something I don't know? Horace?

HORACE -- Well, as you all know, I pledged 40 acres of corn to 
the church's mortgage fund. And the bank was going to advance me 
$2300 against the harvest of that corn.

JOSHUA -- Yes, but that was before that villain Lucifer Snidely
dammed up your stream and cut off your water supply.

ALL -- (grumble)

JOSHUA -- So, why are you smiling, Horace?

HORACE -- During the wee hours of the morning this morning, a 
mysterious stranger was seen in the area and a short time later 
the dam on Lucifer Snidely's property mysteriously collapsed.

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- So, you brought us a check for $2300?

HORACE -- No.

ALL -- (grumble) 

HORACE -- For some unknown reason, the price of corn futures 
rose sharply on the commodities exchanged today. Greenville bank 
advanced me $3400! (passes check to Viola)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord!

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

JOSHUA -- Seth Wickum, you're smiling too. What do you have to 
smile about?

SETH -- Well, as you all know I pledged twelve head of my 
finest beef cattle.

JOSHUA -- You figured those cattle to be worth $3500. But 
they're useless to us unless you can get them to the auction.

SETH -- Well, a funny thing happened. A mysterious stranger was 
seen in the area of the truck terminal in the wee hours of the 
morning this morning and suddenly all the trucks are now 
working.

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- So, you got your cattle to auction?

SETH -- Yes sir!

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- So, how much did they fetch at the auction, Seth?

SETH -- Well, there's another funny thing. The price of beef 
went through the roof today. (holds up envelope) Here's a check 
for $5612. (passes it to Viola)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord.

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

THADDEUS -- I don't know who that mysterious stranger is, but 
whoever he is, he showed up at the bank first thing this 
morning.

JOSHUA -- Don't tell me, he opened the vault.

THADDEUS -- He did.

ALL -- (cheer)

THADDEUS -- Turns out I had interest due me on my savings 
account. 

JOSHUA -- So, you brought more than $4100?

THADDEUS -- (holds up envelope) Here's $4367. (passes it to 
Viola)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord.

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

MYTLE -- (holds up envelope) I drew out $517. (passes it to 
Viola)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord.

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

ETHEL -- (holds up envelope) Well, I don't know how it got 
there. But that hand-carved ivory chess set suddenly appeared in 
my parlor this morning. He's a check for $6000 (passes it to Viola)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord.

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

WILMA -- (holds up envelope) And here's $2789. (passes it to 
Viola)

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord.

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

CHARITY -- (stands) I don't know how this happened, because I 
haven't even seen this mysterious stranger that you all talked 
about. But I just reached into my pocket and there was an 
envelope with $603.26. (holds envelop high until she drops it 
into Viola's box)

VIOLA -- (stands holds up pad and pencil) According to my 
calculations, that puts us over the top!

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Praise the Lord.

ALL -- Yes sir.
       Praise the Lord.
       My sentiments exactly.
       Uh huh.
       Praise him.

VIOLA -- Wait. We haven't even heard from the rest of you. It's 
possible that we'll be able to not only pay off the mortgage, 
BUT ALSO reroof the church as well!

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Well, I think it's obvious who the mysterious stranger 
was. It was the same man who rescued my wife from an auto 
accident.

HORACE -- (stands) He also saved my boy from falling to his 
death.

ETHEL -- (stands) It was my sister he saved from the fire at the 
Riverside Motel.

JOSHUA -- Brothers and Sisters, please give a round of applause 
to the hero of Farmington, Will Strong.

ALL -- (cheer)

WILL -- (pushed by those around him, stands, moves to pulpit, 
holds up hands, all sit) I thank you all kindly for you 
adulation. And I won't deny that the Lord put me in situations 
where I could save peoples lives. But the mysterious stranger 
you all spoke about... that wasn't me. (starts toward is seat)

ALL -- (gasp and mumble)

JOSHUA -- (grabs Will's arm) That's just like you, Will, to 
minimize your heroism. But we all know that there is noone else 
in this whole town capable of doing the miraculous things that 
happened this morning. 

ALL -- (nod, mumble)

WILL -- Well, I sure wish I could take credit for the things 
that happened today. But the mysterious stranger wasn't me.

ALL -- (mumble)

JOSHUA -- Your joking right? Charity, honey, you need to help us 
give credit where credit is due. After your mother and I went 
off to bed last night, did Will Strong leave the church at all?

CHARITY -- (stands, walks to podium) Yes, father, he did.

JOSHUA -- See? What did I tell you?

ALL -- (mumble)

CHARITY -- But I went with him.

JOSHUA -- So, you saw Will Strong do all those miracles all over 
town?

CHARITY -- No, Father, Will and I went up to Highland Park 
overlooking the town. Will had me point out the homes and farms 
of each person who pledged money to the mortgage fund. We prayed 
for each person and each pledge and asked the Lord to fulfill 
each pledge in a miraculous way, a way that would leave no doubt 
in anyone's mind that the Lord answered our prayers.

JOSHUA -- Then, all the miracles this morning really were 
answers to our prayers?

WILL & CHARITY -- YES!

ALL -- (grumble affirmations)

JOSHUA -- Then, who was the mysterious stranger?

WILL & CHARITY -- An angel of the Lord.

ALL -- (grumble affirmations)

JOSHUA -- So, Will did nothing but pray all night?

CHARITY -- Well, not ALL night.

JOSHUA -- I knew it! Tell us what else he did.

CHARITY -- Will asked me to marry him and I said YES!

ALL -- (cheer)

BOBBY -- (enters running) Here comes Lucifer Snidely!

ALL -- (silent)

SNIDELY -- (enters, laughs fiendishly, acknowledges boos, turns 
to Pastor) Well, Pastor Goodheart, I see our congregation is 
assembled one last time to say goodbye to their church building.

JOSHUA -- Well, that was originally why we assembled, Mr 
Snidely, but...

SNIDELY -- Well, then, Pastor Goodheart, (motions broadly to the 
congregation) and congregation, let me make this as painless as 
possible. Either hand over the money you owe me, or hand over 
the innocent and lovely Miss Charity Goodheart to be the mother 
of my fourteen children. (laughs fiendishly to audience)

VIOLA -- (picks up cardboard box overflowing with envelopes, 
hands it to Joshua)

JOSHUA -- (offers box to Snidely) Here's the money.

SNIDELY -- What?!

JOSHUA -- You said, either hand over the money or my daughter. 
So, here's the money. Don't you want it?

SNIDELY -- That's impossible! I stole all the... I mean, 
yesterday you were all penniless. Where did you get enough 
money... This is a hoax! Let me see some of those envelopes. 
(pulls two envelopes from box, peeks inside) They're stuffed 
with money!

VIOLA -- Not that we don't trust you, Mr Snidely, but could you 
sign this receipt that says the mortgage is PAID IN FULL? 
(offers receipt and pen to Snidely)

ALL -- (cheer)

SNIDELY -- (sneers at congregation, then at audience, signs 
receipt, snatches box from Pastor, to audience) Curses! Foiled 
again. (exits)

ALL -- (cheer as Snidely exits)

JOSHUA -- I don't think we've seen the last of that ruthless 
villain.

SETH -- I hope he falls and breaks his neck.

THADDEUS -- I hope he dies a slow agonizing death.

ALL -- (nod and grumble in affirmation)

JOSHUA -- People, please, listen to me. We shouldn't curse 
our enemy. We should be praying for him. 

CHARITY -- (steps out of pew) Father is right, everybody. The 
Bible says to pray for your enemies.

WILL -- I for one am going to pray for Lucifer Snidely. (kneels)

HARLEY -- What good will that do?

HORACE -- Yeah, Snidely is a hopeless cause.

CHARITY -- You're wrong, Mr Willard. Nothing is hopeless with 
the Lord. I'm going to pray for Lucifer Snidely too. (kneels 
next to Will, they join hands)

JOSHUA -- Alright, everyone, you're all invited to stay and pray 
with us again. This time we'll pray for Lucifer Snidely. Let us 
pray. (kneels next to Charity)


(end of scene)


VILLAIN PLOTS LAST ATTEMPT TO COERCE HEROINE
ACT 2, SCENE 4

(set: church exterior)

HENCHMAN -- (enters strolling, hands in pockets)

SNIDELY -- (follows) Maggot!

HENCHMAN -- (turns) Oh, hi ya, boss. Shall I order the wedding 
cake?

SNIDELY -- (thrusts box at Henchman, grabs Henchman's ear) You 
traitor. There's not going to be a wedding.

HENCHMAN -- (in pain) Oooo. Aaah. Traitor?! What did I do?

SNIDELY -- I don't know what you did, Maggot, but Farmington 
Community Church just paid off their mortgage.

HENCHMAN -- Oooo. Aaah. That's impossible, boss. We had them all 
shut down, remember?

SNIDELY -- Then, how did they pay off their mortgage?

HENCHMAN -- I think it was that new guy, Will Strong.

SNIDELY -- Will Strong? That young upstart who cost me a fortune 
by putting out the fire at the motel?

HENCHMAN -- Yeah, that's him.

SNIDELY -- (lets go) Tell me what you know.

HENCHMAN -- He done other heroic stuff too, boss. He saved some 
kid from falling off a cliff and he saved the preacher's wife 
from a car crash. He's a regular miracle man. I'm sure he had 
something to do with them paying off the mortgage.

SNIDELY -- He's new in town, Mr Henchman. Why would he pay off 
Joshua Goodheart's mortgage?

HENCHMAN -- Ain't you heard, boss?  Will Strong and Charity 
Goodheart got the hots for each other.  

SNIDELY -- Mr Henchman, this is not good news. Do you know what 
happens when I don't hear good news?

HENCHMAN -- (hand covers ear, backs away) It all depends on how 
you look at it, boss.

SNIDELY -- (follows, threatening Henchman's ear) Mr Henchman, I 
fail to see how Charity Goodheart's falling in love with another 
man could possibly be good news for me.

HENCHMAN -- Well, boss, Charity Goodheart said she would marry 
you to save her father's church. Right?

SNIDELY -- You may recall that strategy was a miserable failure, 
Mr Henchman.

HENCHMAN -- That's because you gave them a way out, boss.

SNIDELY -- (stops) I'm listening, Mr Henchman, but the hope of 
having a wife and 14 little Snidelys is growing dimmer with 
every passing moment. And I'm losing my patience. (shouts) Get 
to the point!

HENCHMAN -- Maybe Charity Goodheart would marry you to save her 
her boy friend's life.

SNIDELY -- She's only known him for a week, Mr Henchman. What if 
she doesn't love him that much?

HENCHMAN -- Maybe Charity Goodheart would marry you to save her 
her boy friend's life AND her father's church.

SNIDELY -- You're getting warmer. But I want absolute assurance. 
No way out this time.

HENCHMAN -- Maybe Charity Goodheart would marry you to save her 
her boy friend's life AND her father's church AND her father's 
life AND her mother's AND the lives of the entire congregation.

SNIDELY -- Now you're getting there, Mr Henchman. Just how do 
you propose to do that?

HENCHMAN -- It's something I learned as a spin-off from the safe 
cracking business, boss. If you threaten people with a little 
dynamite and they'll cave in like a house of cards.

SNIDELY -- (arm around Henchman's shoulder as they exit) Mr 
Henchman, you might just have an idea there. Charity Goodheart 
will be mine at last. (fiendish laughter)


(end of scene)


VILLAIN SAYS "MARRY ME OR I'LL BLOW UP THE HERO"
ACT 2, SCENE 5

(set: church interior, congregation is asleep in pews, Joshua, 
Will and Charity on floor wake up first, Will is wearing a 
straight jacket with a dozen of sticks of dynamite attached)

WILL -- Oh, what hit me?

CHARITY -- Oh, my head. What happened? Will, why are you 
wearing that straight jacket? 

WILL -- Charity, you'd better clear the people out of here. 
Somebody has planted dynamite on me.

CHARITY -- Dynamite!

WILL -- (whispering) Quiet! You'll panic the people.

ALL -- (groan, sit up)

SETH -- Oh, what hit me?

THADDEUS -- I'll bet Lucifer Snidely had something to do with 
this.

SNIDELY -- (enters, fiendish laughter, to audience) It's not 
polite to boo at a wedding. (to congregation) Welcome to my 
wedding ladies and gentlemen.

JOSHUA -- (awakens last) I might have known you'd be involved 
with this, Lucifer Snidely. (stands)

SNIDELY -- Aren't you going to congratulate me on the day of my 
wedding, Pastor Goodheart?

JOSHUA -- Who are you marrying?

SNIDELY -- Why, your daughter, of course.

WILL -- Charity, get everybody out of the church right away.

CHARITY -- I can't leave you.

WILL -- Charity, do as I say. You're all in danger. 

JOSHUA -- My daughter would never marry you.

CHARITY -- (stands) Yes, I would, Father.

SNIDELY -- See? What did I tell you? (chuckles)

JOSHUA -- Charity, what are you thinking?

CHARITY -- Father, if I don't marry Lucifer Snidely, 
something terrible will happen.

JOSHUA -- What are you talking about, girl?

CHARITY -- Somehow, Lucifer Snidely put us all to sleep while 
we were praying last night and...

HENCHMAN -- (enters, sprays from an aerosol can briefly into 
the air) Just a half a can of sleeping gas into the heating 
ducts and it's good night congregation. (laughs, coughs, fans 
air to get rid of the spray fumes)

JOSHUA -- Why? Why would you put us to sleep, Mr Snidely?

CHARITY -- So he could attach a straight jacket and twelve 
sticks of dynamite to Will Strong's body.

JOSHUA -- Dynamite?!

ALL -- (stand, panic, grumble, but remain near their seats) 

SNIDELY -- (holds remote control over head) Stay right where you 
are!

ALL -- (gasp, freeze)

SNIDELY -- You're all invited to the wedding. Sit down.

ALL -- (sit in unison like trained seals)

SNIDELY -- That's better.

ALL -- (grumble) 

SNIDELY -- Quiet!

ALL -- (quiet)

SNIDELY -- This is a wedding. Show a little respect for the 
bride and the groom.

JOSHUA -- You can't get away with this, Snidely.

SNIDELY -- Why not? You daughter already said she'd marry me. 
Let's begin the ceremony.

THADDEUS -- How do we know you're not bluffing, Snidely?

HARLEY -- Yeah, how do we know the dynamite is real?

SNIDELY -- My associate, Harold Henchman, made his living 
blowing up safes and vaults before he entered my employ. I 
assure you, Mr Henchman is quite adept with explosives. Would 
you like a demonstration? (points remote control at Will)

ALL -- (all but Will and Charity, duck and cover away from 
Will, gasp)

SNIDELY -- I thought not. Now shall we begin the wedding 
ceremony, Pastor Goodheart?

JOSHUA -- (stands tall, pause) No.

ALL -- (gasp)

SNIDELY -- What did you say?

JOSHUA -- We prayed for you last night, Mr Snidely. 

SNIDELY -- You what?

JOSHUA -- We prayed for you. The Lord says to pray for our 
enemies. So we prayed for you. If I have learned anything from 
Will Strong during the last week, I've learned that the Lord 
answers prayers. And I believe the Lord answered our prayers by 
bringing you here to church.

SNIDELY -- Charity, my dear, you'd better talk some sense into 
your father, before I blow your boyfriend to smitherines!
(points remote control at Will)

ALL -- (all but Joshua, Will and Charity, duck and cover away from 
Will, gasp)

CHARITY -- (stands tall, pause) No.

ALL -- (sit up, gasp)

CHARITY -- First of all, you're not going to blow up this church 
while you're still inside of it. Second, I don't believe that 
the Lord will let you blow it up at all. I believe that as 
surely as I believe the Lord sent Will Strong to marry me. 

VIOLA -- (stands tall) ...as surely as the Lord sent Will Strong 
to save my life.

HORACE -- (stands tall) ...as surely as the Lord sent Will Strong 
to save my son from falling to his death.

ETHEL -- (stands tall) ...as surely as the Lord sent Will Strong 
to save my sister from the motel fire.

JOSHUA -- (stands tall) ...as surely as the Lord saved this 
church from foreclosure. It doesn't make sense that the Lord 
would save this church only to let you blow it up, Mr Snidely.

SNIDELY -- That's enough of this God-talk! Either Charity 
Goodheart marries me or I blow up this church and everyone in 
it.

ALL -- (stand tall)

BOBBY -- Go ahead, push the button. We're not afraid of you.

SNIDELY -- Just a second. Time out. (grabs Henchman's ear, drags 
him to the front lip of the stage)

HENCHMAN -- Oooo! Aaaah! The ear. Not the ear, boss.

SNIDELY -- Maggot! You said if I threatened them with dynamite 
they would cave in like a house of cards. Isn't that what you 
said, Maggot?

HENCHMAN -- Yeah, boss, but these is not your average people. 
They're Christians. I never tried it with Christians before.

SNIDELY -- This is why I hate Christians. They're always the
goody-goodies who mess things up. Alright, Maggot, you got us 
into this. You get us out. What do we do now?

HENCHMAN -- Well, boss, I suggest you settle for a non-Christian 
wife.

SNIDELY -- (lets go of Henchman's ear, looks over at Charity) 
Look at her, Maggot. Charity Goodheart is the most beautiful 
specimen of femininity in the entire county. Why did she have to 
be a Christian? (sigh) Very well, I suppose you're right, 
Maggot, she's a lost cause. If dynamite won't change her mind,
nothing will. But what do we do about them? (points over
shoulder to congregation)

HENCHMAN -- The cops don't take kindly to terrorism, boss. 

SNIDELY -- Are you saying what I think you're saying?

HENCHMAN -- You can't leave any witnesses, boss. You got to dust 
them all.

SNIDELY -- Dust them all.

HENCHMAN -- Punch their ticket. (points to remote control)

SNIDELY -- (chuckles) Not a bad idea, Maggot, one push of a 
button and all the Christians in Farmington disappear. (chuckle, 
pause, nose to nose with Henchman) Maggot, are you sure this 
thing works? 

HENCHMAN -- Boss, how could you ask such a thing? I'm fifteen 
years in the business without a single dud.

SNIDELY -- (exits backward to exit with Henchman, shouts) 
Alright, everybody, if you want to die, then die you shall. In 
just a moment, Farmington, Iowa will finally be rid of you 
goody-goody Christians. (only his hands and the remote control 
remain visible as he pushes the button dramatically)

(pause)

SNIDELY -- (one step on stage) Maggot, did you put batteries in 
this thing?

HENCHMAN -- (one step on stage) Yeah, boss. I even tested it in 
the gravel pit. It works, I tell you.

SNIDELY -- Very well, I shall try again. (exits, except for 
hands, pushes button dramatically, pause, one step on stage) 
Curse foiled again. (exits)

ALL -- (cheer, surround Will and Charity, help Will out of his 
straight jacket, help Will and Charity into wedding costumes for 
the next scene)

HENCHMAN -- (enters with remote control, pushing button 
repeatedly) Wait a minute. Let me see that dynamite. This has 
never happened to me in 15 years of blowing up safes and vaults. 
(takes straight jacket and dynamite, exiting)
I'll never be able to show my face around any prison in America 
again if this doesn't work.

(boom, puff of smoke blows in from exit)

(end of scene)


THE WEDDING
ACT 2, SCENE 6

(set: church interior, entire congregation is seated, Will & 
Charity, dressed in wedding attire)

JOSHUA -- And now, by power vested in me by the State of Iowa, I 
pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.

(Will & Charity lean in to kiss. Will notices audience is 
looking, hides behind his top hat while he kisses Charity) 

ALL -- (cheer)

JOSHUA -- Viola dear, I know this wedding was on rather short 
notice. But do we have any wedding cake to feed our guests?

VIOLA -- Why, yes, the Bible College sent over two new seminary 
students to help with the catering. (shouts to exit) Bring in 
the refreshments, boys.

HENCHMAN -- (enters, wearing frilly apron, carrying a tray of 
drinks) Alright, everybody, sparkling cider is served. Praise 
the Lord.

(main characters take a glass)

SNIDELY -- (enters, wearing frilly apron, carrying wedding cake, 
smiling) I used Charity Goodheart's prize winning cake recipe. 
Didn't it turn out lovely? Praise the Lord.

ALL -- (raise glasses to the audience) Praise the Lord!

(wedding march plays throughout curtain call, actors bow in 
boy-girl pairs, exit through audience with much flirting)


(end of play)


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