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Characters: Theodore Tweedle (Sheriff ), Otis Henry (Deputy), Sadie Brown (Café Owner), Caleb Foster (Prospector).
NARRATOR: (play Narrator 1[sfx])
(Scene begins with OTIS sitting on a stool near the Sheriff ’s Office trying to play his harmonica. Then THEODORE enters from the Sheriff ’s Office carrying a sign with his name on it.)
THEODORE: (proudly, to himself as he admires his sign) Mama would be so proud of me.
(OTIS puts his harmonica away and walks over to THEODORE.)
OTIS: (looking at the sign) Aah . . . that looks awful nice, Theodore.
THEODORE: Thanks, Otis.
OTIS: What’s it say?
THEODORE: (annoyed, he rolls his eyes) It’s my name, knucklehead!
OTIS: Oh . . . I jus’ never seen it spelled out like that before. (He says it slowly while reading the sign) T-h-e-o-d-o-r-e.
THEODORE: Tweedle . . . Theodore Tweedle (as he points out the words).
OTIS: It really says all that? Wow . . .
(THEODORE holds the sign up against the building.)
OTIS: I always knew you’d be famous someday, Theodore.
THEODORE: Oh, well . . . (acting bold and confident) I jus’ want Calamity Kate, Jake “the Snake” Jackson, an’ every other lousy criminal to know who they’re dealin’ with, that’s all.
OTIS: That’s a really great idea . . . and I’m gonna be yer deputy, right?
THEODORE: A’course, Otis. I wouldn’t trust nobody else. You and me . . . we been through a lot together, and I aim to keep it that way.
OTIS: Golly, Theodore . . . that’s jus’ about the nicest thing ya ever did say to me.
THEODORE: Oh . . . now don’t be gettin’ all gushy on me. I hate it when ya do that.
OTIS: Well . . . I jus’ wanna say one thing.
THEODORE: What’s that?
OTIS: I don’t care what everybody else says, I think yer gonna make a great sheriff .
(SADIE enters from her kitchen and begins to clean up around her café. Then she hears OTIS and THEODORE and decides to watch them as she works.)
THEODORE: (clears his throat, sarcastic) Thanks, Otis. Now I need yer help with this sign ‘cuz I ain’t tall enough to hang it by myself, and I ain’t got no ladder neither.
OTIS: But, Theodore, I’m just as short as you are (as he stands back-to-back against THEODORE and compares the tops of their heads with his hand.) See?
THEODORE: No . . . you muttonhead, I need somethin’ to stand on. Now get down on your hands and knees.
OTIS: Oh, I see . . . you need somethin’ to stand on . . . like a stool.
THEODORE: (frustrated, he pushes OTIS down) I just said that. Now hurry up . . . I got things to do.
(OTIS gets down on his hands and knees. Then, as THEODORE starts to climb onto OTIS’s back, his spine cracks [sfx] several times.)
OTIS: Is that me makin’ that sound?
THEODORE: Yeah . . . maybe this ain’t such a great idea (gets down off of OTIS’s back and sits down on the stool).
OTIS: I know! How ‘bout if I get on yer shoulders (as he points to the stool) I can use the stool to climb on.
THEODORE: (as OTIS gets up on the stool) I don’t know about this, Otis.
(OTIS attempts to climb onto THEODORE’s shoulders, but can’t make it work. Then THEODORE gets an idea.)
THEODORE: No, no . . . this ain’t gonna work. Yer gonna have to get a runnin’ start and then jump on.
OTIS: (as he gets down from the stool) Oh, yeah, great idea . . . that’ll work fer sure!
(THEODORE opens the Sheriff ’s Office door and then crouches down in front of the doorway. Then OTIS takes his place several paces from THEODORE.)
OTIS: (excited) Okay, Theodore. Ya ready?!
THEODORE: Yep . . . I’m ready.
OTIS: Here I come!
(OTIS runs toward THEODORE, leaps over him and stumbles into the Sheriff ’s Office disappearing off stage with a loud crash [sfx].)
OTIS: (from off stage) Oow . . . that hurt!
(OTIS returns to the stage hobbling a bit from the fall.)
THEODORE: (discouraged, he sits down on the stool) Why does everything gotta be so complicated?
OTIS: Now don’t get discouraged, Theodore. We jus’ gotta put our minds together and fig’r this out. These things take time, ya know.
(SADIE decides it’s time to help them. She walks over to THEODORE and retrieves the sign.)
SADIE: (to THEODORE) I can’t stand it any longer! May I borrow the stool?
THEODORE: Uh . . . well, sure, Miss Sadie.
SADIE: Thank you. (SADIE proceeds to move the stool into the proper position, stands on top of it, and then quickly and easily hangs Theodore’s sign.)
SADIE: (as she hands him his stool) Here’s your stool back. (with sarcasm) Now, is there anything else I can help you with?
OTIS: (starts to think) Uh . . . well . . . I don’t know. Theodore? Is there anything else she can help us with?
THEODORE: (embarrassed) No . . . that’ll do fer today, thank you. C’mon, Otis . . . we got work to do.
(SADIE watches as THEODORE exits into the Sheriff ’s Office with OTIS following close behind.)
OTIS: (as he’s following he whispers loudly to THEODORE): How’s come we didn’t thinka that?
SADIE: (as she rolls her eyes) Oh, brother! The closest those two could come to a brainstorm . . . is a light drizzle!
(SADIE returns to her café as CALEB enters from the rear of the auditorium. He walks about halfway down the aisle toward the stage and then stops to pray.)
CALEB: Ah . . . this must be Discovery City. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for guidin’ and protectin’ me on my journey thus far . . . and helpin’ me plant spiritual seeds along the way. Now, Lord, please lead me to someone who really needs to hear about You. In Your precious Name, amen. Oh . . . and watch over Annabelle until I get back. You know she doesn’t like it when I leave her like this. Thank you, Lord.
(CALEB sees SADIE so he walks toward the café and strikes up a conversation.)
CALEB: “Hard Times Café,” huh . . . sounds like you could use some hope.
SADIE: Sorry, mister . . . supper won’t be ready ‘til 5 o’clock. You’ll have to come back later.
CALEB: Oh, I’m not hungry.
SADIE: Well . . . if you’re sellin’ somethin’, I’m not interested, and if you’re lookin’ for work, I’m not hirin’.
CALEB: No, ma’am. What I want to do is just give ya somethin’.
SADIE: Give me somethin’? What’s the catch?
CALEB: There’s no catch . . .
SADIE: Well . . . I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I don’t need any more stuff to take care of, either.
CALEB: What would ya say if I told ya it was more precious than gold?
SADIE: Mister . . . in case you hadn’t noticed, Discovery City is a boomtown. In other words, there’s nothin’ more precious than gold around here.
CALEB: Well, I’m a prospector . . . so I understand how valuable a gold nugget is. But what I’m offerin’ ya is far more valuable than all the gold in the world!
SADIE: Well . . . if this stuff is so valuable, then why on earth would ya want to give it to me?
CALEB: Because someone was kind enough to give it to me once. So I’m just returnin’ the favor.
SADIE: Well . . . you got my curiosity that’s for sure.
(CALEB gives her a gospel tract.)
CALEB: Here ya go.
SADIE: And this is what you call more valuable than gold?
CALEB: Yep . . . it’s a gospel tract. It’s about the good news of Jesus Christ and how to become a child of God. Nothin’s more valuable than that . . . not even all the gold in the world!
SADIE: Well, let me just say that if you try to pay for your meal with one of these, you’ll either be washin’ lotsa dishes or spendin’ the night in that jail over there.
CALEB: Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. I was just hopin’ you’d read it, that’s all.
SADIE: Sorry, but I’m not much for readin’. Besides, haven’t you got better things to do? I mean, if you want to strike it rich around here, you gotta be diggin’ for gold. Not passin’ out leaflets.
CALEB: Oh, I still spend time in the goldfields to support myself, but Jesus said, “What good is it for a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?” So you see, I’m more interested in makin’ other people rich . . . spiritually speakin,’ of course . . . and that’s by introducin’ them to Jesus. That’s why I’m passin’ these out.
SADIE: (reluctant) Well . . . I don’t know. I’m kinda busy right now.
CALEB: I understand. But ya know, someday we’re all gonna go somewhere when we die. And it’s not what you’ve done that’ll get ya into heaven, it’s who ya know.
SADIE: Who ya know?
CALEB: That’s right. And if ya don’t know Jesus . . . well . . . let me just say, you’ll wish ya did. Won’t ya give it a chance? Knowin’ Jesus will change your life. It sure changed mine.
SADIE: Okay, you win . . . I’ll look it over.
CALEB: Good. (he hands her a Bible) Oh, and here’s a Bible— if you’ll read it and not just put on the shelf. Everybody should have a Bible, you know.
SADIE: Thanks . . . I don’t have one.
CALEB: The name’s Caleb Foster, by the way. Well . . . I gotta get back to my campsite. My mule hates it when I leave her alone. It was sure nice talkin’ to ya.
SADIE: Nice talkin’ to you, too.
(CALEB exits toward the rear of the auditorium, and as he goes, he hands out a few gospel tracts to random people in the audience. SADIE watches him for a moment then returns to her kitchen. Then THEODORE emerges from the Sheriff ’s Office holding a black book. He’s planning to conduct OTIS’s swearing in ceremony. He takes his position in front of the Sheriff ’s Office and quickly looks through his book. Then he closes the book and starts to show some frustration at OTIS for taking so long.)
THEODORE: (impatient) Otis Henry! What are you doin’ in there?!
(OTIS steps out of the Sheriff ’s Office. Then he checks his breath and straightens his tie. THEODORE clears his throat loudly, which startles OTIS.)
OTIS: Oh, sorry, Theodore. I was just gettin’ fixed up. I ain’t never been in no ceremony before. How do I look?
THEODORE: That hat looks ridiculous. (as he tries to make it fit better) Ya know . . . I don’t think there’s ever been such a small brain put inside such a big head before. (looks down at OTIS’s feet ) Where’s yer other boot?
OTIS: (as he looks down at his feet) Oh . . . I wondered why I was walkin’ so funny. Be right back.
(OTIS goes back into the Sheriff ’s Office to get his other boot and then returns to the stage.)
THEODORE: Okay, let’s get this over with. Raise yer right hand.
OTIS: (raises his left hand) Like this?
THEODORE: Yer other right hand.
OTIS: Oh . . . .
THEODORE: Okay . . . now . . . say these words right after me just like I say ‘em. (clears his throat, then begins) I, state your name . . .
OTIS: (with enthusiasm) I state your name . . .
THEODORE: No, you knucklehead! Say, I, Otis Henry . . .
OTIS: (confused at first) Oh, right . . . sorry, Theodore. (stands straight, clears his throat) I, Otis Henry . . .
THEODORE: promise to perform . . .
OTIS: promise to perform . . .
THEODORE: all the duties of deputy . . .
OTIS: ALL the duties? Why do I have to do everything?
THEODORE: That ain’t what that means, you nitwit! Now just say it!
OTIS: (reluctantly) Well . . . okay . . . but I ain’t none too happy about it.
THEODORE: Say it! All the duties of deputy . . .
OTIS: (with an attitude) All the duties of deputy . . .
THEODORE: to the best of my ability . . .
OTIS: to the best of my ability . . .
THEODORE: and uphold all the laws of the town of————
OTIS: (interrupts THEODORE) Now there you go again! I gotta uphold ALL the laws? What are YOU gonna do, Theodore, if I’M doin’ everything?!
THEODORE: (frustrated) Oh, ferget it. That’s good enough. Here’s yer badge.
(THEODORE pins the deputy star on OTIS’s shirt.)
OTIS: Really? (as THEODORE attaches it to OTIS’s shirt) This is so excitin’! (gets an idea) Hey, Theodore . . . since we’re both law enforcement officers, maybe we should go celebrate over at Sadie’s and have one of them donuts.
THEODORE: Hmm . . . you know, that’s a real good idea, Otis. See, I knew you’d be a good deputy.
(THEODORE and OTIS walk toward the café.)