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Characters: Jess Turner, Casey McDonald, Inspector Noclue, Flora Potts, Baeloch, Mystery Person
(CASEY enters from the side opposite the flower shop and proceeds to the park gate. Soon, a suspicious INSPECTOR approaches her from behind.)
INSPECTOR: (he clears his throat to get CASEY’S attention) Ahem . . .
CASEY: Oh . . . good-morning, Officer.
INSPECTOR: Madame, are you aware that City Ordinance 25-347 prohibits loitering in a public place that is a nuisance or a threat to safety?
CASEY: But, I was just looking at the monument.
INSPECTOR: And what, may I ask, do you find so fascinating about it?
CASEY: I’m just curious about what’s under there, that’s all.
INSPECTOR: (suspicious) Hmmm . . . curious you say. You wouldn’t be tempted to peek, now would you?
INSPECTOR: Yes . . . that is what I said. Because we do not allow peeking without a permit.
(JESS enters the stage area and takes a position behind the INSPECTOR.)
CASEY: Oh, no worries, Officer. I wouldn’t dream of peeking without a permit. I can certainly wait until tomorrow. That’s when the unveiling is, right?
INSPECTOR: Maybe, yes . . . maybe, no. That is none of your business.
CASEY: What do you mean? It’s a public event, isn’t it?
INSPECTOR: (suddenly senses JESS behind him and puts his finger to his lips) Shhhhh . . . (then changes subject to “the weather” and prepares to encounter the “intruder”) Well . . . are you enjoying the weather this morning? It looks like it’s going to be a nice day . . . don’t you think? I certainly do!! (suddenly jumps into his “karate” stance and faces JESS)
JESS: (reacts) Whoa, Officer! Take it easy!
(JESS walks over to CASEY.)
INSPECTOR: Monsieur! I must inform you that it is very dangerous to sneak up on an officer of the law. Lucky for you, my friend, I am a highly trained professional and was able to restrain myself.
JESS: Well, then . . . I’ll try to be much more careful next time.
INSPECTOR: Yes . . . I highly recommend that you do.
CASEY: (to JESS) Maybe we should just move along.
INSPECTOR: I believe that would be best.
CASEY: (sees the flower shop) Oh! That looks like a nice shop. Let’s check it out.
JESS: Thank you, Officer.
(CASEY and JESS start to walk toward the flower shop.)
INSPECTOR: You’re welcome . . . and it’s not “Officer,” it’s “Inspector.”
(The INSPECTOR exits into the pastry café. Meanwhile, JESS and CASEY arrive at the flower shop and use their “pens” to quickly and discretely scan the area.)
CASEY: Everything clear?
JESS: Clear as glass. How ‘bout you?
CASEY: Yep . . . nothing suspicious.
JESS: Good. (looks around as he puts his “pen” away) Now, the mission begins.
(FLORA emerges from inside the store.)
FLORA: Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know anyone was here. May I help you?
JESS: Actually, we’re here to help you.
FLORA: Well, thank you, but I don’t really need any new employees right now. Maybe ya’ll could check back around Christmas time.
JESS: (looks around to see if anyone is listening) No . . . you don’t understand. We’re the Truth Force. And we’re on a mission to save International City. You’ve been praying, haven’t you?
FLORA: Prayin’? Well, of course, I’ve been prayin’. I pray all the time.
CASEY: I knew it. All it takes is for someone to start praying; and then sooner or later, at just the right time, we get called up.
FLORA: (confused) Are you angels or somethin’?
CASEY: No . . . just defenders of the Truth. So, wherever Truth and the knowledge of the one true God is under attack, that’s where you’ll find us.
JESS: Mrs. Potts, we need to talk to you about Simon Dettwiler.
FLORA: (quickly becomes suspicious) How do you know my name?
CASEY: Oh, we know all about you . . . born and raised in Alabama, 2 years of culinary school in Paris, met your husband, moved to International City, and you’ve been here ever since. You’ve got 3 daughters, 2 cats, and one very old parrot, named General Lee.
JESS: (sensing the need to back off a little) Oh . . . but don’t worry. Your information is safe with us. We’re the good guys!
FLORA: (defensive) And I’m supposed to just take your word for it? Is that it?
CASEY: Well, let’s see (thinking) um . . . you could check our web site. We’ve got a Statement of Faith and lots of endorsements.
FLORA: Sorry, sweetheart, but it’s gonna take a little more than that. My momma didn’t raise no dummy, you know.
JESS: (interrupts CASEY, tries to empathize with FLORA) Mrs. Potts . . . I’m sure this does seem very strange to you. And I’m sorry if we came on too strong. Is there a place where we could sit down and talk? I’m sure that after you hear our story, you’ll feel a lot better.
FLORA: (concedes) Well . . . all right. I guess I can listen to what y’all have to say. Come on inside. Ya’ll like sweet tea?
(JESS and CASEY enter the flower shop with FLORA going in last. Then Transition Music [sfx] plays followed by the Screen Message.)
“Two hours later”
(JESS, CASEY, and FLORA emerge from inside the flower shop. FLORA has lent some old diaries to them which are in CASEY’S backpack.)
CASEY: And we’ll be real careful with these diaries, Mrs. Potts.
FLORA: I know you will, sweetheart . . . an’ if you need anything else, just holler. Oh, and by the way . . . no more “Mrs. Potts.” My name’s Flora, but most people call me “Flo.” So, that’s what it’s gonna be from now on, ya hear?
CASEY: All right, Flo. It’s a deal.
JESS: (to FLORA) You said that you and some others have been praying for International City. Well, I just want to say . . . don’t stop. I have a feeling the next couple days are critical for the future of this place.
FLORA: Oh, don’t you worry, we certainly will. In fact, I can’t wait to tell the ladies about y’all!
CASEY: Well . . . we appreciate that, but for now we need you to keep all this strictly confidential.
JESS: That’s right. If the enemy somehow catches wind of us, our mission will be compromised.
FLORA: Well . . . okay, then. I won’t say a word to anybody. Not a word.
JESS: Thanks. We’ll be in touch.
FLORA: No . . . thank you! I’m just so grateful for what y’all are doin’!
(FLORA goes back inside the flower shop as JESS and CASEY walk toward the monument.)
JESS: You know, I have a good feeling about those old diaries.
CASEY: I know. Can you believe it? She just “happened” to be restoring the bindings right when we show up. And if we’d come a day later, they’d be back at the museum under lock and key.
(JESS stops to look at the monument that’s covered up.)
CASEY: So what do you think’s under there?
JESS: According to our intelligence, a statue of the Chancellor.
CASEY: Ha . . . why am I not surprised. (concerned as she looks around at International City) It’s so sad. How does a place that was once so decidedly Christian get to this point?
JESS: Well, people eventually take their freedoms for granted . . . and their Bibles, too. And then they begin to accept man’s ideas over what God says.
CASEY: The authority of God’s Word . . . it’s SOOO important, isn’t it. If you get that one wrong, you’re in for a heap of trouble.
JESS: And that’s just what I’m afraid of for International City . . . trouble. At any moment, the Chancellor could make an announcement about a new constitution. (pause) And if it goes through, any freedoms that Christians had to worship God or share their faith will be gone for good.
CASEY: (determined) Well . . . then we can’t let that happen, can we! Sure is a good thing Mr. Dettwiler was wise enough to hide one of the old Constitutions all those years ago.
JESS: We just have to find it, that’s all.
CASEY: Hey . . . I’ve always loved scavenger hunts! (suddenly looks down at her watch) Uh-oh, I’m getting a warning signal!
(Villain Music [sfx] plays.)
JESS: Stand firm!
(BAELOCH steps out from the shadows.)
BAELOCH: Well, well, well . . . if it isn’t the International Spy Academy Truth Force. And just in time to watch the final piece of the puzzle fall into place.
JESS: Baeloch . . . I should’ve known you’d have something to do with all the trouble here.
BAELOCH: Trouble? I guess that depends on your perspective. I don’t see any trouble. I think things are getting better all the time. In fact, I hear we’re getting a new constitution very soon—(steps closer to emphasize)— one without all that “Bible stuff” in it. (then pretends concern) I hear all the old ones were destroyed in a fire.
JESS: (sarcastic) Yeah . . . I wonder how that happened.
BAELOCH: (snickers) I have no idea. (pause as he looks them over) Hey . . . you guys are with the ISA. Where’re the cool weapons?
CASEY: The weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
BAELOCH: Ha . . . whatever that means. (becomes defensive) Well, I don’t know why you’re here. There’s nothing you can do now. Everything’s in place. You’re just too late this time . . . unless you’ve just come to help us celebrate! (evil laugh)
JESS: (motions with his hand to keep CASEY from responding) Baeloch, you know that the one and only true God whom we serve is all-powerful and all-knowing. Do you really think that He’s not able to stop whatever you have in mind . . . if He so chooses?!
BAELOCH: (nasty) Well, it doesn’t look like “He so chooses” this time, does it! Oh well, you can’t win them all! Better luck next time! (evil laugh)
(JESS immediately flashes his Truth Force Memory Eraser in BAELOCH’S face, causing him to suddenly stop laughing, then turn and quietly walk away.)
JESS: Have a nice day . . . Baeloch. (to CASEY) Had to erase his short-term memory. Can’t risk VENOM knowing we’re here.
CASEY: (sarcastic) Boy . . . what a sweetheart!
JESS: Yeah . . . with a 160 I.Q. and a master of disguises. We’ll need to be extra careful with him around.
CASEY: Evil Villain Network?
JESS: Yep. He’s been with E.V.N. for a long time. They’re obviously in cahoots with VENOM—which means the city’s probably infested with their agents.
CASEY: Maybe we should call pest control.
JESS: What we need to do is find that Constitution. Let’s get back to the safe house and check out those diaries.
(As they leave the auditorium stealthily and in different directions, Transition Music [sfx] plays. Then day becomes night [house lights low] and the Screen Message appears.)
“Later that evening”
(The INSPECTOR emerges from the pastry café with a box of donuts, having already eaten several. He sits down at the café table full and sleepy. He yawns and quickly drifts off to sleep. Meanwhile, FLORA emerges from the flower shop with a tote bag and proceeds to lock up for the evening. Then she slings the tote over her shoulder and heads for home. As she crosses the stage, she suddenly notices the sleeping INSPECTOR in front of the pastry café.)
INSPECTOR: (snoring) Zzzzzzz . . . ..
FLORA: Inspector . . . .
INSPECTOR: (turns in his chair, continues to snore) Zzzzzzz . . . .
FLORA: Aren’t you supposed to be guardin’ the monument?
INSPECTOR: (snorts a couple times, then continues to snore loudly) ZZZZZZZ . . . .
FLORA: Hmmm . . . you know, I suspect they wouldn’t like it very much if they saw you sleepin’ on the job. (pause) Inspector? (as she nudges his shoulder) Wow . . . an’ I thought granny was a sound sleeper.
(Then FLORA gets an idea. She starts to move the donut box, and immediately, the INSPECTOR wakes up fully alert.)
INSPECTOR: What do you think you are doing? (as he grabs the donut box)
FLORA: Just tryin’ to wake you up, that’s all.
INSPECTOR: (slightly insulted) Wake me up? Are you suggesting that I was asleep? Because Inspector Noclue NEVER sleeps when he is on duty. (as he stands to his feet and proceeds to “guard” the monument)
FLORA: Well, what about snoring?
INSPECTOR: Snoring? (exhales in frustration) Madame . . . what you may not realize is that I am a highly trained professional. (as he takes another donut)
FLORA: (plays along) Is that so.
INSPECTOR: (while eating the donut) Yes . . . and you should also know that not just anyone can do this. The training is important, yes . . . but, there’s more to it than that.
FLORA: Like what?
INSPECTOR: Well . . . I don’t mean to brag, but, uh . . . you really have to be born with unique abilities like mine.
FLORA: Really? Say, I notice that you don’t have a weapon. Why is that?
INSPECTOR: (embarrassed) Oh . . . well, they took away my . . . (unconsciously places his hand on his hip, where his gun would be, then notices his hands) . . . uh, what I mean to say is . . . when you have these (holding up his hands), you do not need a weapon. These hands are far more lethal than anything you can think of. (makes a few “karate” moves, then sees the café table and gets an idea) Let me show you. See this table? (as he sets the box of donuts aside and moves the table to center stage) I will chop it in half . . . (as he prepares to chop the table, with much confidence) Watch closely.
(The INSPECTOR proceeds to chop and chop in different ways and from different angles, and even gets a running start, but to no avail. The table remains intact. As the situation becomes awkward, FLORA decides that it’s time for her to leave.)
FLORA: Well, I reckon it’s time for me to get on home. Goodnight, Inspector.
(As FLORA exits the stage, the INSPECTOR is still preoccupied with chopping the table in half . . . although he has a very sore hand and forearm and is slowing down considerably. Then, after a moment or two, a sound [pssst] is heard near the monument.)
(NOTE: The MYSTERY PERSON can be an extra or one of the cast members. If there’s a chance of being seen by the audience, their identity should be concealed.)
MYSTERY PERSON: (softly) Pssst
(The INSPECTOR stops to listen.)
MYSTERY PERSON: (louder) Psssssst!
(The INSPECTOR walks toward the monument.)
MYSTERY PERSON: (loud and long) PSSSSSSSST!!!
INSPECTOR: (a bit anxious as he looks through the gate) Who is it? (then he starts to open the gate) I order you . . . in the name of the law . . . identify yourself immediately!
(The INSPECTOR prepares himself for confrontation then slowly steps through the gate. As soon as he disappears from view, a loud “Gong” [sfx] is heard and the INSPECTOR falls backward through the gate opening unconscious. Then he is pulled feet first through the gate and, again, disappears from view.)