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

(knock, knock, knock)

RACHEL -- (afar) Come in.

(door open) 

SAM -- (Brooklyn accent) The messenger said Jacob Israel wanted 
to see me.

RACHEL -- (harsh) Are you the rentacop?

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

RACHEL -- No, I haven't. 

SAM -- Oh. 

RACHEL -- I was the one who had them send for you. I'm Jacob's 
wife. My name is Rachel. You don't mind doing business with a 
woman, do you? 

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

RACHEL -- Can we get right to the point? I want you to find my 

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

RACHEL -- Money? How can you talk about money when my boy is 

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

RACHEL -- I'll give you 150.

SAM -- You been taking negotiating lessons from Jacob?

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

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

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

SAM -- Hey, wait a minute, we started at 300. 

(clink of coins)

(counts) 50, 100, 120, 140, 150. Alright, have it your way. 150. 
Now, what's the little rug rat's name?

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

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

RACHEL -- About 15 years.

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

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

SAM -- Relax, lady, you're talking to Sam Spade here. I could 
find the lint from his pockets.

(door close) 

(aside) I questioned each of the remaining brothers of the 
missing boy. Starting from the youngest to the oldest. Turns out 
the missing kid had 11 brothers. By the time I got to the 
oldest son, Reuben, I was still without a decent lead.

(knock, knock, knock)

ETHEL -- (Bronx accent, afar) Who's there?

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

ETHEL -- (afar) No, I haven't. 

SAM -- Oh.

ETHEL -- (afar) What do you want?

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

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

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

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

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

ETHEL -- (afar) Who are you talking to out there?

SAM -- I'm talking to the audience. This is a radio show.

ETHEL -- (afar) What is radio?

SAM -- It's a little hard to explain. Listen, can I come in? 
I'll make it worth your while. Let's say 5 drachmas?

ETHEL -- (afar) I couldn't open the door for less than 30 

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

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

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

ETHEL -- (afar) Thirty drachmas.

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

ETHEL -- (afar) Do you want the information or not?

SAM -- Alright, 30 drachmas.

(door open)

SAM -- That's better. So, what do you know about the 
disappearance of Joseph?

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

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

ETHEL -- My heart bleeds for you.

SAM -- Alright, here's your dough.

(coins clink)

This better be worth it.

ETHEL -- They were gonna murder the kid.

SAM -- Who?

ETHEL -- The other brothers.

SAM -- Nice family.

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

SAM -- I'm listening.

ETHEL -- This all happened before I married Reuben, mind you. 
So, it's all hear-say. Joseph was apparently some kind of 
prophet and he was Jacob's favorite son. So, when Joseph 
prophesied that all his older brothers would serve him some day, 
they got mad and were ready to kill him and say that a mountain 
lion ate him. Reuben, bless his heart, is such a softy that he 
convinced the others that they should sell the kid him as a 
slave to some itinerant merchants on their way to Egypt. 

SAM -- Thanks, I'm on my way.

(door close, door open)

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

SAM -- (shouts, afar) My heart bleeds for you. 

(door close)

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

(knock, knock, knock, door open)

MRS --  (sexy) Hiya, handsome. Come on in.

SAM -- Ah, yeah, don't mind if I do. Say, that's as nice outfit 
you're almost wearing.

(door close)

MRS --  You know, you're much better looking than the other 
servants that the agency sends over. Why don't you take off your 
jacket and sit down.

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

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

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

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

(door open)

SAM -- Hey, I don't even know the guy. Give me a break. 

(door close)

(aside) I went down to the prison and poked around in the 
records of prisoners there. After examining all the files, I 
came up with zip, nada, nothing.

(door open)

ZELDA -- (all American girl) Anything I can help you with?

SAM -- This dame was a real looker. She was built like a brick 
ship yard. 

ZELDA -- Who are you talking to?

SAM -- Ah, you wouldn't understand. Say, am I glad to see you. 
Do you work here?

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

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

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

SAM -- Yeah, so are you.

ZELDA -- Keep your hands to yourself, BUDDY. (grunts)

SAM --  (grunts) Ooofff! Sorry. 

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

SAM -- (in pain) Just a couple more questions. Please?

ZELDA -- Well, alright.

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

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

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

ZELDA -- Oh, they changed his name before he was released. Look 
under the name Zephenath-Peneah.

(file cabinet open, papers shuffle)

SAM -- Oh, yes, here it is. 

ZELDA -- He's still living here in the city. 

SAM -- He is?! That's all I wanted to know. 

(close file cabinet)

I'm outa here.

(door close, door open)

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

SAM -- I've already spent too much money on this case. If you 
say he's alive and living here in the city, I'll take your word 
for it.

(aside) By the time I got back to Canaan, I had only 5 measly 
drachmas left from my cash advance. And then, to make matters 
worse, my client had disappeared. In fact, the whole family had 
vanished. I did some more poking around. While I was down in 
Egypt, a famine had apparently hit Canaan and many of the 
residents had moved to Egypt, where some prophet had foreseen 
the famine and had the Pharaoh store up tons of grain in advance 
to avert certain disaster. I hurried back to Egypt and tracked 
down my client just as my last drachma was running out.

(knock, knock, door open) 

RACHEL -- Yes?

SAM -- I'm the guy you owe money to.

RACHEL -- I already paid you 150 drachmas.

SAM -- No, you don't understand, I spent it all tracking down 
your son. But I found him.

RACHEL -- We found him first.

SAM -- You what?

RACHEL -- We found my son. He the vice president of Egypt. He was 
the one who saved the country from famine. So, thanks anyway.

(door close)

SAM -- Wait a minute.

(door open)

You mean this Zaphenath-Peneah is now the vice president of 

RACHEL -- Yes, so goodbye. 

(door close, door open)

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

RACHEL -- For what? I found my own son. You're lucky I don't ask 
you for my cash advance back. Now, hit the road. 

(door close)

SAM -- (aside) So, there you have it. I cracked the case and 
what do I have to show for it? I'll show you. I will now spend 
what's left of my cash advance right here. 

(vending machine, clink, clank, thud) 

Sorry, I can't afford a candy bar for you.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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