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Characters: Theodore Tweedle (Sheriff ), Otis Henry (Deputy), Sadie Brown (Café Owner), Petunia Periwinkle (Starlet Hopeful), Caleb Foster (Prospector), Dr. Marvel (Snake Oil Salesman), Jake “the Snake” Jackson (Outlaw).
(Scene begins with a discouraged THEODORE wearing a long bib apron and sweeping the porch of the General Store. Then OTIS emerges from the Sheriff’s Office holding the sign with THEODORE’s name on it.)
OTIS: Hey, Theodore. We got trouble again. Somebody took yer name off the building and stuck it in the trash.
THEODORE: I know.
OTIS: Well . . . what’re we gonna do about it?
THEODORE: Nothin’ . . . jus’ put it back.
OTIS: (confused) Really? Okay . . . (as he grabs the stool to stand on)
THEODORE: No . . . I mean put it back in the trash.
OTIS: In the trash? What fer?
THEODORE: ‘Cuz that’s where it belongs. I ain’t the sheriff no more.
OTIS: You ain’t the sheriff no more? Why not?
THEODORE: ‘Cuz I quit. (as he exits the stage through the General Store)
OTIS: (troubled) Quit?! But . . . but Theodore . . . you can’t quit!
(OTIS doesn’t know what to think. Almost in a daze, he walks over to Sadie’s café, sits down at one of the tables facing the audience. Then he buries his head in his hands. After a moment or two, SADIE emerges from her kitchen carrying a pie.)
SADIE: (as she sets the pie down on an adjacent table) Otis? What’s the matter? Did somethin’ happen?
OTIS: (sad) He quit, Miss Sadie . . . Theodore quit.
SADIE: What do you mean he quit?
OTIS: He ain’t the sheriff no more. He quit.
SADIE: Oh . . . well, do you know why?
OTIS: Probly ‘cuz of what happened the other day when Jake “the Snake” tied us up in the middle of Main Street an’ then robbed the bank. Theodore said it was the most humiliatin’ thing that’s ever happened to him. But that ain’t true, Miss Sadie. We’ve done dumber things than that!
SADIE: I’m sure you’re right, Otis.
OTIS: (gloomy) So, I guess it’s over, then.
SADIE: (consoling) Now, now . . . you’re not gonna give up that easy, are ya? Everybody makes mistakes. You just don’t want to make the same mistake twice. (to herself) I can’t believe I’m sayin’ this.
OTIS: (encouraged) Hmm . . . ya know . . . yer, right, Miss Sadie. We jus’ gotta do better next time, that’s all. Thanks, I feel much better.
SADIE: Well . . . just don’t tell anyone I said anything.
OTIS: (short pause) Ya know, me an’ Theodore . . . we know practical stuff like, “never kick a cow patty on a hot day” or “always drink upstream from the herd,” an’ stuff like that . . . but, believe it or not, we ain’t got much education.
SADIE: (a little sarcastic) Really . . . that IS a surprise.
OTIS: Yep . . . in fact, I ain’t never learned to read.
SADIE: Well, I am sorry to hear that, Otis. But you know, it’s never too late to learn. In fact, I’d be happy to teach you.
SADIE: Sure. We could start tomorrow if you like.
OTIS: Oh, Miss Sadie . . . there ain’t nothin’ I’d rather do than learn to read!
SADIE: Okay . . . well, here’s your textbook (as she hands him a Bible). It’s a Bible.
OTIS: I ain’t never owned a book before.
SADIE: Well, everyone should have a Bible, because it’s God’s Word. And I’m gonna teach you, so you can read it.
OTIS: I’m so excited! I’m gonna go tell Theodore right now! (as he gets up from the table) Thank you, Miss Sadie . . . thank you, thank you, thank you!
SADIE: You’re welcome, Otis.
(As OTIS leaves to go to the General Store, SADIE returns to her kitchen. Then CALEB enters from the rear of the auditorium and proceeds toward the stage.)
CALEB: (as he stands at the entrance to the café) Hello? Anybody home?
SADIE: (from her kitchen backstage) Go ahead and have a seat. I’ll be there in a second. Just puttin’ some pies in the oven.
(CALEB sits at one of the tables facing the audience, then SADIE enters from the kitchen.)
SADIE: Can I help you? (then she recognizes CALEB) Oh, it’s you . . . Caleb Foster!
CALEB: You remembered my name?
(PETUNIA emerges from the General Store and turns toward Sadie’s café. As soon as she sees CALEB she suddenly stops, thinking it’s DR. MARVEL, and her calm changes to anger. Then she slowly and quietly moves toward the café, looking for an opportunity to get her revenge on him.)
SADIE: How could I forget? Nothin’s been the same since you were here.
CALEB: Well . . . I hope that’s a good thing.
SADIE: Are you kiddin’ me? I can never thank you enough for givin’ me that gospel tract ‘cause now I’m a child of God!
CALEB: Really? That’s wonderful!
SADIE: (gets an idea) Hey, you know what? I’m gonna get you a big sarsaparilla (as she heads for the kitchen).
CALEB: Oh, you don’t have to do that.
(While SADIE is in the kitchen, PETUNIA sees a pie sitting on the table behind CALEB. She picks it up and then quietly steps in behind him, ready to pounce.)
SADIE: (from her kitchen) You know what, Caleb? I’ve got a BIG surprise for you! And you’ll never guess what it is!
CALEB: Really? I love surprises.
PETUNIA: (angry) Good . . . ’cause here’s one! (as she smashes the pie into his face.)
(SADIE enters with a sarsaparilla for CALEB.)
SADIE: (shocked) Petunia! What are you doin’?!
PETUNIA: (angry) Giving him what he deserves, that’s what! (to CALEB) Take that, you low down, good-for-nothing, dirty, double-crossing, scoundrel! I was going to be a world famous singer, but now all I’m good for is the circus!
SADIE: But . . . that’s not Dr. Marvel! (as she puts the sarsaparilla down and wipes CALEB’S face with a hand towel)
PETUNIA: What are you talking about? Of course it’s Dr. Marvel! I’d know that face anywhere!
SADIE: No! This is Caleb Foster!
CALEB: (still pleasant) Hello.
SADIE: He’s Dr. Marvel’s twin brother!
PETUNIA: (embarrassed) Twin . . . brother? Uh . . . sorry . . . I thought . . . I mean, you . . . you REALLY look like someone else. Wow . . . this is awkward.
CALEB: (to SADIE) How’d you know I had a twin brother?
SADIE: Because we all met him.
CALEB: And he calls himself “Dr. Marvel?”
PETUNIA: That’s right . . . the low down, good-for-nothing—(SADIE interrupts)
PETUNIA: I can’t help it! Every time I think about that . . . that scoundrel . . . it just comes out . . . the dirty, double-crosser—oops! See what I mean?
CALEB: So I take it he’s not very popular?
SADIE: (to CALEB) You can say that again. He’s been goin’ around stealin’ peoples’ money by sellin’ fake potions. You know, doin’ medicine shows and then leavin’ town before anyone knows they’ve been tricked.
CALEB: I can’t believe it. My brother’s a con artist?
SADIE: Yep . . . 100% counterfeit, I’m afraid. But don’t get too discouraged. I think he might be changin’. I was talkin’ to him about Jesus, and he seemed interested.
CALEB: I wish I could have seen him.
SADIE: Oh, but you can. He’s over yonder in the jail right now.
CALEB: In jail?! Right now?! (as he gets up from the table)
SADIE: Yeah . . . go on. But you’d better hurry. The marshal’s comin’ today to take him to Junction City.
(CALEB leaves the café and walks over to the Sheriff’s Office. Before he goes inside, he stops to pray silently.)
SADIE: Hmm . . . that’s not the kind of family reunion he was hopin’ for. (she prays) Lord Jesus, please bless their time together. Give Caleb the words to say and his brother the will to listen. I thank You that no one’s beyond savin’, ‘cause nothin’s impossible with You. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
(SADIE puts the empty pie tin on the tray.)
PETUNIA: (to SADIE) Sadie . . . I just want to apologize for how I acted. I don’t know what came over me. As you know, I’m usually very calm and level-headed.
SADIE: That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.
(PETUNIA follows SADIE into the kitchen. Then CALEB pokes his head through the door of the Sheriff’s Office to see if his brother is really in there. The following lines between CALEB and DR. MARVEL are spoken by the same person.)
CALEB: Billy? Are you in there? It’s your brother, Caleb!
DR. MARVEL: (surprised and happy) Caleb?! What are YOU doing here?!
CALEB: I was just over at the café, and they said you were here. Can I come inside?
DR. MARVEL: Yeah, sure . . . c’mon in!
(As CALEB enters the Sheriff’s Office, OTIS comes running out of the General Store with THEODORE’s broom. He quickly searches for a place to hide, then THEODORE comes out looking for him.)
THEODORE: (angry) Otis Henry! You gimme back my broom right now! (no answer) Otis! . . . I’m warnin’ you! (still no answer) Now you listen up! I’m gonna find you, and when I do, I guarantee I’m gonna make you cry like a baby.
OTIS: (defensive) You can’t make me cry.
THEODORE: Oh, yes I can . . . and you know it, too!
OTIS: (pause) Well . . . okay. I’ll give it to ya on one condition. Ya have to promise to be sheriff again.
THEODORE: But I ain’t fit to be sheriff , you knucklehead! I told ya that!
OTIS: Everybody makes mistakes, Theodore! Miss Sadie said, you jus’ don’t wanna make the same mistake twice, that’s all. So, next time Jake “the Snake” comes to town, he’s gonna be real sorry, ‘cuz me and you are gonna have a plan. Whadya say?
THEODORE: (thinking about it) Well . . . I don’t know.
OTIS: (impatient) Aw, c’mon, Theodore. Don’t be such a chicken heart!
THEODORE: What’d you call me?!
OTIS: I called you a chicken heart . . . you lily livered, yellow, fraidy-cat!
THEODORE: Oh, yer gonna be sorry you said that!
OTIS: Oh, yeah . . . you’ll have to catch me first! Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!!
(Suddenly, JAKE enters from the rear of the auditorium and walks toward the stage with the money bag. Immediately, OTIS runs and hides behind THEODORE.)
OTIS: It’s Jake “the Snake” Jackson, the meanest outlaw in the West! What’re we gonna do, Theodore?!
(SADIE and PETUNIA emerge from the café kitchen.)
THEODORE: I don’t know. Yer the one who said we was gonna have a plan!
(When JAKE gets to center stage, he drops the money bag.)
JAKE: All right who did it? Who was the sneak who slipped this Bible (as he holds up the Bible) into the money bag just before I stole it? Come on, speak up . . . who was it?
SADIE: (short pause as she musters some courage) I did it, Mister.
JAKE: Lady . . . do you know who I am? I’m Jake, “the Snake” Jackson, the meanest, rottenest, scariest, most misbehavin’ outlaw in the West. Everybody says I’m the baddest bad guy there’s ever been! Did you know that I’ve robbed just about every bank, business, and stagecoach from St. Louis to San Francisco? AND did you know that even the mention of my NAME strikes terror in the heart of every lawman around? (to THEODORE) Ain’t that right, sheriff?! (then, to everyone) As long as I’ve been ridin’, NO ONE’S been able to stop me . . . no one . . . until now. (as he holds up the Bible, he becomes more humble) You see, in this book I read about a man who’s not like any other man. He’s not scared of anybody or anything and that’s because He’s the Son of God. (short pause) His name is Jesus, and I found out that His love and forgiveness is more powerful than anything . . . even powerful enough to tame a wild beast like Jake “the Snake” Jackson. (turns to SADIE) Lady . . . you saved my life.
SADIE: No sir . . . I was just the messenger. God saved you. He’s the One you should thank.
JAKE: (grateful) Okay . . . then thanks for bein’ the messenger and sharin’ Jesus with me. That took some guts.
SADIE: Maybe . . . but I’d do it again a thousand times. Everyone needs to hear the good news of Jesus . . . no matter who they are.
JAKE: (as he ponders what she said) That’s right . . . even someone like me. (pauses, then turns to THEODORE) Well, Sheriff. This is gonna look real good on your resume, ‘cause I’m turnin’ myself in. (as he gives him the money bag)
OTIS: Careful, Theodore. I’ll bet it’s a trick!
JAKE: No . . . there’s no tricks this time. The old Jake doesn’t exist anymore.
SADIE: He’s right about that, Sheriff. The Bible says, if anyone is in Christ, he’s a new creation; old things have passed away.
OTIS: Oh . . . is that why we didn’t hear that rattlesnake sound this time? Aw . . . I kinda liked that.
THEODORE: Hush up, Otis! Okay, Mr. Snake. The jail’s over there. Now turn reeeal slow like and start walkin’. We’ll be right behind ya, so don’t try anything. (to OTIS) Otis . . . you watch his hands real close.
(OTIS and THEODORE escort JAKE toward the Sheriff’s Office.)
OTIS: (as they’re walking) Hey, Theodore. You reckon they’ll put us in the history books fer this?
THEODORE: A’course they will, Otis. We’re gonna be famous now.
(OTIS, THEODORE, and JAKE enter the Sheriff’s Office.)
PETUNIA: Wow . . . that was . . . that was really something, wasn’t it.
SADIE: It sure was. God is amazing.
PETUNIA: Sadie . . . I just want you to know that I’ve finally decided to read that Bible you gave me. Up to now, all I’ve been thinking about is show business . . . but now I see there’s more important things to think about . . . I want what you have . . . I want to know this Jesus you talk about.
SADIE: Oh, that’s wonderful, Petunia! I’m so glad to hear it! You know, I’ve been prayin’ for you ever since you got here.
SADIE: Yep . . . and you know what I think? I think God had a purpose in you comin’ to Discovery City. I really do.
PETUNIA: Yeah . . . maybe I didn’t get off at the wrong stop after all.
SADIE: C’mon . . . let’s go talk about it.
(SADIE and PETUNIA exit the stage through the café kitchen)
NARRATOR: (play Narrator 3 [sfx])