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PUZZLING 6'2m?f Penances, purgatory, priests, pope... puzzling

(scene: a confessional or two chairs side-by-side facing 
audience)

BUM -- (enters dressed in shabby clothes, carrying belongings in 
a pillow case slung over his shoulder, looks around, notices 
confessional, opens imaginary door, looks both ways to see if 
coast is clear, sits, closes door, falls asleep)

LIZ -- (enters, crosses to confessional, opens door, sits, 
closes door) Father? Father, are you there?

BUM -- (snorts, awakens) Huh?

LIZ -- Father?

BUM -- I'm not your father! At least I don't think so.

LIZ -- I... I think I made a mistake. I shouldn't have come. 
(reaches for door knob, stands)

BUM -- Where is your mother from?

LIZ -- (sits) My Mother?

BUM -- Yeah.

LIZ -- Where is she from?

BUM -- Yeah.

LIZ -- She's from Springfield.

BUM -- I've never been to Springfield. So, I couldn't possibly 
be your father.

LIZ -- I thought they called all priests "father".

BUM -- Oh. Oh, yeah.

LIZ -- Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. It's been three 
years since my last confession.

BUM -- Three years?!

LIZ -- I'm sorry.

BUM -- Oh, ah, I'm not mad. I still can't get over you calling 
me "father".

LIZ -- Oh, things must have changed since I last went to church.

BUM -- Oh, ah, yeah. Things have changed. Listen, I, ah... I'm 
not real comfortable about all this... (gets up opens door, sees 
Bible nearby on floor, picks it up, looks both ways, closes 
door, sits, opens Bible)

LIZ -- Oh, ah, if... if you'll just tell me what church policies 
have changed... I'll just....

BUM -- Changed? (reads, pages)

LIZ -- Yes, like your title. What do they call the priests now?

BUM -- (pages) According to the Bible... in the book of 
concordance...

LIZ -- ...concordance?

BUM -- Yeah, that's the book right after the book of Revelation.

LIZ -- Oh. I see.

BUM -- According to the book of Concordance. Jesus says you're 
not supposed to call anyone "father" but God himself.

LIZ -- Oh. I'm sorry. Well, what should I call you then?

BUM -- Marv. Call me Marv. (pages)

LIZ -- Forgive me, Marv, for I have sinned.

BUM -- (pages) See, there's another thing.

LIZ -- Excuse me?

BUM -- According to the Bible, here, noone can forgive sin but 
God himself.

LIZ -- Oh. Well, if you can't forgive my sins, can you at least 
give me penance?

BUM -- (pages) Penance. (pages) Penance.

LIZ -- Yes. Has that changed too?

BUM -- Must have. Penance is not in the Bible.

LIZ -- It isn't?

BUM -- No. Nothing in the P's even close to penance.

LIZ -- Oh. Oh, dear. Well, perhaps it's just as well.

BUM -- Why?

LIZ -- Well, I wasn't sure if these sins I was going to confess 
were venial sins or mortal sins.

BUM -- What was that? Venial sins?

LIZ -- Yes. Venial.

BUM -- Sorry, venial sins are not in the Bible.

LIZ -- Not in the Bible? How could that be?

BUM -- I don't know. (pages) But if we're doing everything by 
the book, you don't have to worry about no venial sins.

LIZ -- Oh, good!

BUM -- The Bible says that ALL sins lead to death.

LIZ -- Oh, no! Then, I'm in real trouble. I'll be in purgatory 
forever!

BUM -- (pages) Purgatory?

LIZ -- Yes. Purgatory.

BUM -- Pur ga to ry.

LIZ -- What about purgatory?

BUM -- Not in the Bible.

LIZ -- You're kidding!

BUM -- No such animal.

LIZ -- Well, what happened to it?

BUM -- (pages) Don't know. Bible says that man is destined to 
die once and after that to face judgement.

LIZ -- No in between?

BUM -- Not in the Bible.

LIZ -- Boy. Things have really changed!

BUM -- (pages) I guess so.

LIZ -- It looks like I'm done for.

BUM -- Me too.

LIZ -- Not you! Your a priest.

BUM -- (pages) Priest. (pages) Priest. No priest.

LIZ -- No priest?! 

BUM -- Not in the Bible. 

LIZ -- Well, what do they call you then?

BUM -- Only two kinds of priests mentioned in the Bible. The 
priests in the temple in Jerusalem and a guy called the high 
priest.

LIZ -- What about the Pope?

BUM -- Pope. Pope. Nope. No Pope. Not in the Bible.

LIZ -- Oh, dear, I just read about the Pope in the newspaper.

BUM -- They must be phasing him out. Because he's not in the 
Bible. (pages) Just the High Priest now.

LIZ -- The High Priest? Who's that?

BUM -- Says here it's Jesus himself.

LIZ -- Jesus? Jesus Christ?

BUM -- That's what it says in the Bible. 

LIZ -- So, if I just confess my sins to Jesus, he'll forgive 
me?

BUM -- (pages) Forgive. (pages) Forgive. Yeah, that's what it 
looks like. But... (pages)

LIZ -- But, what?

BUM -- (pages) It doesn't look like that's how you get to 
Heaven.

LIZ -- It doesn't?

BUM -- Don't think so. (pages) Believe. (pages)

LIZ -- Excuse me?

BUM -- Believe. (pages)

LIZ -- Believe? I don't understand.

BUM -- The Bible says that the way to get to Heaven is to 
believe in Jesus. (pages)

LIZ -- That's it? That's all there is to it?

BUM -- (pages) Actually, it looks more like trust.

LIZ -- Trust?

BUM -- To me it does. Trust in Jesus and you got it wired.

LIZ -- No kidding.

BUM -- According to the Bible.

LIZ -- Oh, I'm sure glad they made it easy. I was never sure if 
I was going to make it or not.

BUM -- Me either.

LIZ -- Looks like you're out of a job.

BUM -- (laughs) You don't know the half of it.

LIZ -- Well, thank you. Thank you very much. (exits) 

BUM -- Don't thank me. I'm just going by the book. (exits 
opposite admiring his new Bible)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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