RUTH2    9'1m3f The story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz

(all characters wear tunics and sandals)

SAM -- (enters wearing a fedora with unlit cigarette in mouth,
crosses strolling, to audience) The name is Spade. Sam Spade.
I'm a private investigator. In fact, I'm the world's greatest
private investigator. I suppose you're wondering why the world's
greatest private-eye has come to a hick town like Bethlehem.
Well, even sheep herders need a private-eye once in a while.

WIFE -- (enters opposite) Are you the private dick?

SAM -- I prefer the term private investigator. The name is
Spade. Sam Spade. I'm a private investigator. In fact, I'm the
world's greatest...

WIFE -- ...Save it. You've got the job.

SAM -- What job?

WIFE -- This land your standing on... I want you to find out if
the owner is still alive.

SAM -- This land? (points down)

WIFE -- Yes.

SAM -- It doesn't belong to you?

WIFE -- Not yet. But if the owner is dead, my husband is the
kinsman redeemer. So, he can take over ownership.

SAM -- (looks left and right) This is farm land. Why would you
want to take over the ownership of farm land?

WIFE -- Sniff the air. What to you smell?

SAM -- Sheep.

WIFE -- I hate sheep!

(several audience members baah like sheep.)

See what I mean?! Day and night, night and day, all I smell is
sheep, all I hear is sheep! (shouts) Shut up!

(one soprano audience member gives one last baah)

I hate sheep! I want this farm land so my husband can get out of
the sheep business.

SAM -- There was just the small matter of my fee.

WIFE -- (tosses small pouch)

SAM -- (shakes pouch near ear) That should do it.

WIFE -- If the owner of this property winds up dead, you'll get
a bonus. And quite frankly, I'm not at all concerned with HOW he
ends up dead. (exits)

(several audience members baah like sheep.) 

Shut up! 

(one soprano audience member gives one last baah)

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) I went to the tabernacle at
Shiloh and looked through the tribal records to see which family
was assigned to the property by the prophet Joshua.

CLERK -- (enters unrolling scroll) This better be quick. My
lunch break starts in five minutes.

SAM -- Looking for the owner of a piece of farm land in

CLERK -- Funny you should mention that. This is the Bethlehem
scroll right here.

SAM -- (tries to peek at scroll) Looking for the piece right
next to the land owned by the kinsman redeemer.

CLERK -- (pulls scroll out of view) Why do you want to know?

SAM -- Why do you care?

CLERK -- I just had an inquiry from the chief priest about this
same piece of land.

SAM -- And...

CLERK -- You're not an assassin, are you?

SAM -- No. I'm a private-eye. The kinsman redeemer wants to...
to BUY the land if it's available.

CLERK -- Oh, okay.

SAM -- What's with this assassin talk?

CLERK -- The chief priest says that the long awaited messiah of
Israel will come to earth soon. He says that there's a good
chance that he'll be born in Bethlehem.

SAM -- So, the chief priest wants to make a killing in the real
estate market, huh?

CLERK -- Get your mind out of the gutter. The chief priest
merely wants to protect the coming messiah when he arrives.

SAM -- Oh. So, who owns the afore mentioned property?

CLERK -- (studies scroll) Well, there's been a few generations
since Joshua assigned it, but it looks like the current owner
is... a man named Elimelech.

SAM -- Where might I find him?

CLERK -- Moab.

SAM -- Moab?! Why would a Jew leave Israel and move to Moab?

CLERK -- We had a drought a few years ago. Many of the farmers
moved to Moab to survive.

SAM -- Thanks.

CLERK -- You won't tell anyone about the messiah, will you?

SAM -- My lips are sealed. (mimes locking lips and throwing away
the key, turns, strolls, to audience) I went down to Moab and
asked around about this guy Elimelech. I finally happened upon a
woman named Naomi. Hey, you know a guy named Elimelech?

NAOMI -- I did.

SAM -- Did? Don't tell me he moved again.

NAOMI -- No. He died. Both his sons died too.

SAM -- Oh really! That's terrific!

NAOMI -- I'm his widow. What's so terrific about that?!

SAM -- Oh, I'm sorry. I... (to audience) Open mouth insert foot.
Watch how I smooth things over. (to Naomi) Oh, I'm sorry. What I
meant was that it's terrific that I found you.

NAOMI -- You were looking for me?

SAM -- I'm looking for you if your name is... if your name

NAOMI -- Naomi.

SAM -- Naomi. That's right. I'm a private investigator. My
client would like to buy your husbands property.

NAOMI -- You mean the farm land back in Israel?

SAM -- Exactly.

NAOMI -- Thank God! I've been living in poverty since my family
died. (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) This is what separates the good
detectives from the world class detectives. (to Naomi) So, if
you'll just move back to Israel, you can sell some real estate
and live happily ever after.

NAOMI -- Oh. Sure. We'll leave right away

SAM -- We?

NAOMI -- Ruth lives with me. 

SAM -- Ruth? Who's Ruth?

NAOMI -- My son's widow. (exits)

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) I knew that my client
back in Israel would not be pleased that the widow of the
property owner was still alive. But I could still salvage this
case if I played my cards right.

WIFE -- (enters opposite) Please tell me the property owner is

SAM -- He is.

WIFE -- Good.

SAM -- But his widow and his son's widow are still alive.

WIFE -- (shouts) Rats!

(several audience members baah like sheep.)

(shouts) Shut up!

(one soprano audience member gives one last baah)

SAM -- But things are better than they look.

WIFE -- I'm listening.

SAM -- The widow is as poor as a church mouse. She doesn't know
how much real estate is worth. You could buy the property for a
fraction of its actual value.

WIFE -- Wrong.

SAM -- Wrong?!

WIFE -- According to Levirite law, my husband has to marry the
widow in order to acquire the land.

SAM -- That means the land is free, no?

WIFE -- There is no way I'm going to allow my husband to marry a
second wife! (shouts) He's mine!

SAM -- But what about the sheep?

(several audience members baah like sheep.)

WIFE -- (shouts, exits) Shut up!

(one soprano audience member gives one last baah)

SAM -- So, does this mean I don't get a bonus? (pauses, shrugs,
turns, strolls, to audience) Once again, I was faced with a
circumstance that separates the good detectives from the world
class detectives. I made some inquiries and found a new client,
then I stopped by the farm house of Elimelech's widow.

NAOMI -- (enters opposite) Well? How much are they going to pay
for my property? (freezes)

SAM -- (to audience) Please note that this situation calls for a
certain amount of tact. Some people might call it a bald-face
lie. (to Naomi) The client I was referring to was not willing to
pay market price for your property.

NAOMI -- So, I came back here to Bethlehem for nothing?

SAM -- The problem is, if you SELL the property, you and your
daughter-in-law won't have any place to live.

NAOMI -- Oh! That's right.

SAM -- So, I arranged to have the two of you stay on the
property AFTER the deal is closed.

NAOMI -- Oh. That's sounds okay.

SAM -- There is just one little-teensy obligation.

NAOMI -- And what obligation is that?

SAM -- My client is a bachelor. He wants to marry your
daughter-in-law. (to audience) And, by the way, he paid me twice
as much as the kinsman-redeemer's wife. (to wife)

NAOMI -- Oh. (turns away)

SAM -- You don't seem pleased.

NAOMI -- (turns back) Well, you want my daughter-in-law to marry
a man sight-unseen?

SAM -- Then, I'll let you in on a little secret.

NAOMI -- What's that?

SAM -- According to the chief priest, my client is in the
lineage of the Messiah.

NAOMI -- (shouts) The messiah?!

SAM -- (finger to lips) Shshshshs! (several audience members
baah like sheep.)

(shouts) Shut up!

(one soprano audience member gives one last baah)

It's supposed to be a secret.

NAOMI -- Oh. Mum's the word. So, you're saying that if my
daughter-in-law marries your client, she'll be in the line of
the messiah?!

SAM -- You didn't hear it from me.

NAOMI -- How can I refuse?!

SAM -- I thought you'd see it my way.

NAOMI -- (exiting) I have to get Ruth ready for the wedding!

SAM -- (turns, strolls, to audience) That widow's name was
Naomi. Her daughter-in-law's name was Ruth. Ruth married a man
named Boaz who became the grandfather of king David, in the line
of the messiah. All of these names appeared in the Bible. But
not my name. Now I know you're asking yourself, why would the
people who wrote the Bible leave out the name of the man who
made it all happen? It's because, I, the world's greatest
private investigator, am a humble man. (exits)

�2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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