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Characters: Jess Turner, Casey McDonald, Chancellor Max Devlin, Inspector Noclue, Flora Potts, Artist Francois Parfait
(It’s the next morning, the day of the big celebration. The podium is in position front and center stage, two chairs are set for the CHANCELLOR and a guest, and the area is decorated with balloon bouquets. Also, a 2-ft. section of trim from the monument base should be lying on the ground in front of the base [see Set Design and Construction]. This was caused by the mysterious monument thieves and will help set the stage for the Cross scene at the end of Day 5. CASEY, somewhat disguised with a jacket and headscarf, is waiting near the arch. While waiting, she reads from the Bible app on her smartphone. Then JESS arrives.)
CASEY: Any word from Dresden?
JESS: No . . . not yet. (pause) What are you reading?
CASEY: Oh . . . l’ve just been memorizing verses about God and studying His attributes. And you know what? He is absolutely beyond amazing!
JESS: I know.
CASEY: He’s all-powerful. He’s knows everything. He’s everywhere . . . .
JESS: I know.
CASEY: He never changes. He has no beginning and no end . . . .
JESS: I know.
CASEY: He’s never made a mistake . . . I mean, what can I say? He’s just . . . AWESOME!
JESS: I know . . . and then there’s His love, His purity, His holiness, His faithfulness . . . You could go on and on forever!
CASEY: I’m just so thankful to be His child. It makes me want to serve Him with everything I’ve got!
JESS: I know . . . me, too.
CASEY: And you know what else? It also gives me courage on assignments like this. I mean, really . . . what is there to fear? If our all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal God is for us, who can possibly be against us?
JESS: Nobody, Casey. Nobody. (he puts his hand to his ear as he receives the “go” signal from DRESDEN) Okay, Dresden’s in place. Time to go.
CASEY: (as she dons her sunglasses) Let’s roll!
(JESS exits backstage. Then CASEY, with identity disguised, proceeds to the flower shop and quickly and discretely scans the area with her “pen.” Then, as she puts away her “pen,” FLORA emerges from inside the flower shop.)
FLORA: Hey! Good mornin’! May I help you with somethin’?
CASEY: Well . . . I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for . . . (lowers her glasses with one hand, so FLORA will recognize her, then puts a finger to her lips with the other hand) Shhhhh . . . .
FLORA: (with a louder than normal voice, acts nonchalant while looking about to see if anyone is around) Oh, uh . . . well, let’s see now . . . is it for a special occasion?
(Suddenly, JESS steps out from inside the store.)
JESS: All’s clear.
FLORA: (startled) Ahhh!
JESS: Sorry . . . didn’t mean to startle you.
FLORA: That’s okay. I guess I’m just not used to this spy stuff, that’s all. (pause) Say . . . how’d you get in there, anyhow?
JESS: Trust me . . . you don’t want to know. (as he brushes off his sleeves and pants)
FLORA: Yeah . . . you’re probably right about that. I’m just glad y’all are on our side.
CASEY: Flo . . . last night we studied the diaries, and there’s no doubt that an original document exists. We just don’t know where.
JESS: We also found an envelope stuffed inside one of them. And . . . since it was sealed, we wanted you to open it. (as he hands FLORA the envelope)
CASEY: Since you’re with the Historical Society.
FLORA: Aw . . . bless your heart. (as she looks at the envelope) Hmmm . . . looks pretty old. I hate to tear it.
JESS: It might contain a clue.
FLORA: Really? Well, why didn’t you say so?! (as she tears open the envelope and finds a blank slip of paper) Hmmm . . . guess not. It’s blank.
CASEY: That’s strange. Why would someone seal up a blank slip of paper?
JESS: Maybe it’s not blank (as he pulls out a Truth Force Scope). Let’s look at it through the Truth Force Scope. (he takes the slip of paper, looks at it through the Truth Force scope) Hmmm . . . here, have a look. (as he hands it to CASEY)
CASEY: (looks at the paper through the scope) You’re right!
FLORA: What’s it say?
CASEY: “LET GRACE LEAD YOU.” Think it’s a clue?
JESS: It has to be.
CASEY: So what do we know about grace? It’s an attribute of God, but it could also be a name.
JESS: (notices FLORA “deep in thought”) What is it, Flo?
FLORA: Well . . . it may be a long shot . . . but “Grace” was a name that Sarah Edwards gave herself. She was Simon’s great aunt on his momma’s side. And Sarah’s daddy was one of the founding fathers.
JESS: Wow . . . I’m impressed.
FLORA: Hey . . . what can I say? Flowers and family trees. That’s my thing.
CASEY: But, what do you mean “Grace was a name she gave herself.” I don’t understand.
FLORA: Well, you see . . . Sarah was fascinated with names . . . and a name she was particularly fond of was “Grace,” probably because she was a devout Christian. So to her family, she was “Sarah Grace.”
JESS: “Let Grace Lead You.” Clever of Simon to use that as a clue.
FLORA: Ya know . . . there’s a painting of Sarah over at the museum. (pause, gets an idea) In fact, now that I think of it, that particular one was donated by Simon himself just before he died!
CASEY: That’s it! That’s got to be it! We’ll need to examine the painting.
FLORA: (apprehensive) Well . . . I can git ya through the front door and show you where it is, but you’re on your own from there. I’ve been a member for a long time, but I can’t just walk in there and start taking stuff off the walls. No sur-ee!
CASEY: Don’t worry . . . you can leave that to us.
JESS: Well, it looks like we’ve got some planning to do. Thanks, Flo, for all your help. We’ll be in touch.
JESS: (to CASEY) Let’s go!
(Transition Music [sfx] plays as JESS and CASEY leave stealthily in different directions and FLORA exits inside her shop. As the music ends, FRANCOIS PARFAIT enters from the rear of the auditorium and proceeds down the center aisle toward the stage. His attention is fixated on the monument. As he passes the flower shop, he grabs a small bouquet and proceeds to front and center stage. Then FLORA emerges from the flower shop, having witnessed the theft of her flowers.)
PARFAIT: (French accent, talking to himself, delighted) Ahhh! Whata beautiful sight . . . my masterpiece in zee centa of zee big city! Francois, you have made it. (imagining his name beside the most famous artists) Picasso, van Gogh, DaVinci, Monet . . . and now . . . FRANCOIS PARFAIT!!
(FLORA approaches PARFAIT.)
FLORA: (firm) That’ll be $25.00, please.
PARFAIT: (arrogant) What?
FLORA: $25.00 . . . for the flowers. Sorry, sweetheart, but I’m not givin’ out free stuff today.
PARFAIT: (annoyed, he tries to give the bouquet back to her) Here.
FLORA: Sorry . . . no returns. Store policy.
PARFAIT: Well . . . itiz obvious thatchu do not know who I am. (as he reluctantly reaches into his pocket to get some money)
FLORA: Maybe not . . . but you’d still owe me $25.00.
PARFAIT: (with a scowl) Humph!! (as he hands her some money)
FLORA: Pleasure doin’ business with ya. Oh . . . and, uh . . . next time, try to remember to stop by the cash register.
(FLORA returns to the flower shop.)
PARFAIT: (he watches FLORA leave, then looks at the flower bouquet in his hand) Store policy . . . phooey!! (then tosses the flowers away in disgust)
(Immediately, the CHANCELLOR enters from stage right and sees PARFAIT.)
CHANCELLOR: (happy) Francois Parfait! I was hoping you’d come!
(CHANCELLOR and PARFAIT shake hands.)
PARFAIT: (little emotion as he’s still upset about the flowers) Good day, monsieur.
CHANCELLOR: We’re all looking forward to seeing your work!
PARFAIT: You mean . . . my masterpiece.
CHANCELLOR: (leans toward PARFAIT, lowers his voice) Especially me . . . if you know what I mean . . . wait, what did you say?
PARFAIT: (arrogant) I said . . . my masterpiece. Iz not just a “work” . . . iz a masterpiece!
CHANCELLOR: (slight pause) Oh . . . well, excuse me. (under his breath) A little snooty today, aren’t we?!
PARFAIT: (suspects he heard a rude comment) What diju say?
CHANCELLOR: Oh . . . uh . . . nothing.
PARFAIT: It sounded like you said, “snooty.”
CHANCELLOR: Oh no, monsieur! I have nothing but the highest respect for you and your marvelous works . . . I mean . . . masterpieces. And so we’ve been guarding the monument very carefully! (looks around then lowers his voice) So . . . how’d it turn out, really? I mean . . . does it actually look like me?
PARFAIT: (somewhat insulted) Butuv course! What diju expect?! Iz a perfect resemblance!!
CHANCELLOR: (excited) I can’t wait to see it! (notices the chairs set for the ceremony) Francois . . . would you be so kind as to sit here beside me? I would like to introduce you during my speech. You’ll also be close to the monument when it’s unveiled.
PARFAIT: (bows his head slightly) Merci. (as he sits down in one of the chairs)
CHANCELLOR: (as he looks around, he notices that the INSPECTOR is absent) Where’s that ridiculous Inspector?!! He’s supposed to be here! (he pulls out his cell phone and calls the police station) Just wait ‘til I get my hands on . . . hello? Yes, this is Max. I’m over here at the monument and Noclue is nowhere to be found. (pause) What do you mean no one knows where he is? (pause) He’s probably stuck at a stop sign waiting for it to say “Go”! (pause) No, we can’t wait any longer. But when you find him, just tell him that the Chancellor has a big surprise for him! (then he closes his phone) Ridiculous! (pause as he thinks) We’ve got to get this show on the road! (looks around) Is everybody ready? (giving a hand signal) Okay . . . strike up the band!! (as he returns to his seat beside PARFAIT)
(As soon as the music begins, the International City 200th Birthday Celebration slide appears on screen.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls . . . we are proud to welcome you to International City’s birthday extravaganza—celebrating 200 fabulous years! To begin our festivities, it is our distinct pleasure to present to you a man of action, a man of purpose, a man who embodies everything that a citizen of International City should be . . . our amazing, brilliant, and loveable, 3-term Chancellor, Max Devlin!! (recorded applause and cheers)
(CHANCELLOR stands and walks to the podium while waving to the crowd.)
CHANCELLOR: Thank you . . . thank you . . . thank you . . . really, you are too kind! Thank you very much for that warm welcome. (then begins to deliver/read his speech) It has been such a pleasure to be your Chancellor for these many years. We’ve come a long way together, and I think you’ll agree that what we are becoming is even better than what we have been. International City has a wonderful history, but a brighter future. And now we have the opportunity to take a major step in that direction. I am pleased to announce that a small group of qualified individuals is now in the process of creating a new constitution for our beloved country.
(Crowd Noise [sfx])
Gone forever will be the restrictions and superstitions of the past. Trust me, this is the best thing for our future together . . . (short pause) . . . And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for . . . (slight pause) . . . For quite some time it has been my dream to have a monument designed and placed in the center of town that would immediately become the pride of International City. Today it is my pleasure to unveil such a monument. But . . . I would be remiss, if first, I did not introduce to you its creator who is with us this afternoon . . . the famed artist and sculptor, Francois Parfait! Please give him a warm International City welcome!!
(Applause [sfx]. PARFAIT stands and acknowledges the crowd.)
Francois and I have been working together for many months on this sculpture, erected here in International City Park, which we have proudly named “International Treasure!” A treasure which is none other than your loyal and beloved . . . . (He gives the signal to reveal the monument. As soon as the curtain falls, we see that the monument is gone and in its place is the INSPECTOR tied up, gagged with duct tape, and sitting on a step stool. The CHANCELLOR immediately gasps.) . . . INSPECTOR!!!
(As Crowd Noise [sfx] plays, PARFAIT jumps to his feet in outrage.)
PARFAIT: (very upset) What kinduv joke iz dis?! (runs over to the INSPECTOR) Who are you?! An wutuv you done with my masterpiece?? Whutuz happun to my MASTERPIECE!! ZHUNAY PA!! ZHUNAY PA DOO DOO SWAH!! SAW MAY SAY VA!! (turns to face the CHANCELLOR) Ziz . . . iz an OUTRAGE!!! (as he storms off stage toward rear exit)
(PARFAIT leaves the auditorium, as an angry CHANCELLOR runs over to the monument.)
CHANCELLOR: NOCLUE!! Where is it?! Where’s my statue?!
INSPECTOR: (with his mouth taped, he mumbles loudly) MMMmmMMMmmm!!
INSPECTOR: (mumbles again) MMMmmMMMmmm!!
CHANCELLOR: I can’t understand a word you’re saying!! (as he proceeds to rip the tape off the INSPECTOR’S mouth and, then, unties his feet)
INSPECTOR: (reacts with great pain) AHHHHHHHHH!!!
CHANCELLOR: (extremely impatient) Now...if you have any desire whatsoever to keep your job . . . TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED TO MY STATUE!!
INSPECTOR: But it is a mystery to me as well, Monsieur Chancellor (as he stands to his feet and briefly looks around trying to figure out what happened). All I remember is walking through the gate, doing my duty as a sworn officer of the law, when, suddenly . . . BONG! I was hit on the head. And . . . that is all I remember.
CHANCELLOR: Beautiful . . . just beautiful. (pause of frustration) So. . . you didn’t hear anything, and you didn’t see anyone.
INSPECTOR: That is correct.
CHANCELLOR: Good work, NO-CLUE!! You know . . . that name of yours is perfect!
INSPECTOR: Monsieur Chancellor . . . am I to understand that you are not entirely pleased with me right now?
CHANCELLOR: (barely restraining himself) Let’s put it this way . . . I’m going to give you just 10 seconds to get out of here and find my statue!
INSPECTOR: (smiles) Ten seconds? Oh, Monsieur Chancellor, with all due respect . . . even Inspector Noclue cannot find your statue in 10 seconds!
CHANCELLOR: (yells) GET OUT OF HERE AND FIND MY STATUE!!
(The INSPECTOR, with his hands still tied behind his back, quickly jumps down from the monument and runs off stage.)