FISHTAX  5'4m0f Jesus pays the temple tax from a fish's mouth

HERB -- (enters briskly, stops, turns) Will you come on?! He'll 
be here any minute!

MORT -- (enters reluctantly) Explain to me again what I'm doing 
all the way out here in Capernaum.

HERB -- We're here to have a showdown with Jesus. And he'll be 
here any minute. Come on!

MORT -- But the temple is in Jerusalem. (points over shoulder)

HERB -- Yes. So?

MORT -- So, my job is to collect the temple tax. 

HERB -- Yes. So?

MORT -- So, this is as far away from the temple as you can get 
and still be in Israel.

HERB -- Yes. So?

MORT -- So, what am I doing here?

HERB -- (sigh) I've explained this to you a half dozen times. I 
have a plan to shut down Jesus once and for all. YOU are going 
to ask him to pay the two-drachma temple tax.

MORT -- Uh huh.

HERB -- Now, if he pays you the two-drachma temple tax, he will 
be admitting that he is a mere man, not the son of God.

MORT -- Uh huh.

HERB -- But if he claims to be the Son of God, he will claim 
to be exempt from the tax. 

MORT -- Uh huh.

HERB -- And if he refuses to pay the temple tax, we will refuse 
to let him into the temple. Get it?

MORT -- Uhuh.

HERB -- (shrugs shoulders, slaps hips in disgust) The long and 
the short of it is, whether he pays the temple tax or refuses to 
pay, we've got him. Understand?

MORT -- No.

HERB -- (shrugs shoulders, slaps hips in disgust) Alright, 
forget it. I don't have time to explain. Here he comes. All you 
have to remember is that when Jesus gets here, you ask him to 
pay the temple tax. Got it?

MORT -- Got it.

PETER - (enters opposite) Oh, man! Can you believe it?! Jesus 
(points over shoulder) just predicted that he will be betrayed 
and killed by the Jewish leaders! This is terrible!

MORT -- (approaches) So, you going to pay the temple tax or not?

PETER - Excuse me?

MORT -- I'm here to collect the temple tax. Pay up.

HERB -- (to Mort) Not now.

MORT -- Do you mind? I'm collecting taxes here.

HERB -- This man is a fisherman. 

MORT -- So? You told me to collect the two drachma temple tax 
from him....

HERB -- I didn't drag you all the way out here to Capernaum to 
collect two stinking drachmas from a fisherman.

MORT -- But you said....

HERB -- I said when Jesus gets here.

MORT -- He's here. (to Peter) So, pay up, buddy.

HERB -- I've been trying to tell you, this is not Jesus.

MORT -- Then, who is this?

HERB -- This is Peter, his right-hand man.

MORT -- Oh. (to Peter) Okay, here's the deal. Your boss owes me 
two drachmas for the temple tax. Is he going to pay up?

PETER - (preoccupied) Sure.

MORT -- (to Herb) Hey, he's going to pay up!

HERB -- Can't you do anything right?!

MORT -- What do you mean? I'm a tax collector. I asked him to 
pay. He says he's going to pay. I did my job. Now let's collect 
the dough and go home.

HERB -- (sigh) Oh, brother! This is the wrong guy! I want to 
hear it from the horse's mouth.

MORT -- (looks around) I don't see any horses.

HERB -- Ask him where Jesus is.

MORT -- So, where is Jesus ?

PETER - They're going to kill him.

MORT -- Not until I get my dough. Where is he?

PETER - (points over shoulder)

JESUS - (enters) Do not be troubled. I will raise again from the 

HERB -- (to Mort) Ask him about the temple tax.

MORT -- (to Peter) Ask him about the temple tax.

HERB -- (to Mort) No him! You!

PETER - (to Jesus) Oh, ah, Jesus, these men have come to collect 
the temple tax.

JESUS - What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the 
earth collect duty and taxes--from their own sons or from 

PETER - From others. The sons are exempt. Oh. I see. You are the 
son of God. And, since the temple is the dwelling place of God, 
I should tell them that you are exempt from the temple tax.

HERB -- What did I tell you?! He's falling right in my trap!

JESUS - But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and 
throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its 
mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. (crossing by Mort 
and Herb) Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours. 

PETER - (exits where he entered) As you say, rabbi.

HERB -- (hands on hips in disgust) Of all the arrogance! Who 
does he think he is?

MORT -- I don't know? Who?

HERB -- He just wiggled out of paying the temple tax without 
refusing to pay.

MORT -- He did?

HERB -- Yes.

MORT -- He can't do that!

HERB -- Well, he just did. Boy, he is a sly one!

PETER - (enters with rubber fish, hands it Mort) Here you go. 

MORT -- Wait a minute! This is not a tax, this is a fish!

PETER - (follows Jesus shouting) Rabbi, wait! Tell me about this 
raising from the dead! (exits)

HERB -- (hands on hips in disgust) Of all the arrogance! Who 
does he think he is?

MORT -- (opens fish's mouth) Hey! There's a four drachma coin in 
the fish's mouth.

HERB -- (hands on hips in disgust) Of all the arrogance! Who 
does he think he is?

MORT -- (holds up coin) Well, it looks like God just paid the 
temple tax for the Son of God. I would say he thinks he's GOD. 
(hands fish to herb) follows Jesus running) Hey, Jesus, wait up! 

HERB -- (exits holding fish at arm's length) Of all the 
arrogance! Who does he think he is? 

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