by Chip Tudor | Feb 12, 2016
Mystery of the Lost Meaning of Christmas
Theme: The meaning of Christmas can be lost in busy, Christmas events, but found in the relationships.
Synopsis: Joe Dubious, an agnostic private eye is hired by a church to find the missing meaning of Christmas. His investigation encounters a diverse cast of humorous characters that hold different philosophies, but all present more questions than answers. Without solving the case, Joe returns to the church where in a surprise twist, meaning is discovered and he learns his seemingly unsuccessful investigation was an important contributor.
Setting: Joe’s investigation begins outside in a park, goes to a church, a bar, a mall, an abandoned train yard next to a landfill, and ends up back at the church.
Running Time: Around 35 minutes
Joe Dubious—an agnostic, private detective in the manner of Sam Spade
Jerome: Homeless bum
Harold: Homeless bum
Sam: Homeless bum
Fred: Church person, slapstick comedian
Jack: Church person, slapstick comedian
John: Church person, slapstick comedian
Melvin: Church person, slapstick comedian
Mary: Church person
Martha: Church person
Terry: Church person
Sidney: Church musician
Pastor Paul: Senior Pastor
Julia: Paul’s wife
Faith: A young girl, who appears mysteriously that only Joe sees and hears
Music Ensemble/Church Choir
Louie: Bar owner
Heidi: Undercover police officer, who poses as a prostitute
Conway: A conman who sells items of questionable legality, from inside an overcoat
To a city park, where a CROWD gathers around a MUSICAL ENSEMBLE singing an upbeat Christmas song. There’s a couple of small trees with festive decorations, a picnic table, a trash can and sign that reads “park closes at dark.” As the ensemble finishes, JEROME, a bum of sophistication wearing an old, wrinkled suit, and felt hat rises from the middle of the crowd, standing on a park bench.
JEROME: Hey people. A little sleep here!
The crowd disperses and Jerome snuggles under a sparse covering of newspaper. Standing alone where the crowd had been is JOE DUBIOUS, a stereotypical private detective wearing a trench coat and brim hat. He clasps a newspaper under his arm and nurses a cup of coffee.
JOE:(Voice Over) Christmas. A season of contradictions. On one hand, the air is so thick with sentimental feeling you can practically slice it with a knife. On the other, people are coils of compressed emotion, ready to spring at the slightest provocation. Not that I’m against emotion. It fuels my business. And gut instincts are often the key to solving cases. But if Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year, why is everyone so stressed out? I just don’t get it.
Joe sits beside Jerome, sips and reads. He piles each discarded page on Jerome, adding to his cover.
JOE: (voice over) The name’s Dubious. Joe Dubious. Private eye. A guy whose allegiance goes to whoever is paying the tab. In this case, a church. A church that somehow lost the meaning of Christmas. I’ve tracked down missing people…cars…even a pet boa constrictor. But missing meaning? Well, let’s just say I had my doubts from the start. And if it wasn’t for rent and an empty refrigerator, I would have probably passed on it.
Joe rises and tucks the rest of his paper around the now, comfortably resting Jerome.
JOE: (voice over) If a church has lost its meaning what chance is there for the rest of us? For now, it’s a paying job. And that’s all the meaning I needed.
A church fellowship hall where preparations are underway for a Christmas program. Tables and chairs are set-up and there’s a Christmas tree. On a wall, a banner reads, HAPPY BIRFHDAY EMMANUEL. FRED stands on a ladder smoothing the banner in place. JACK and JOHN string lights on the Christmas tree. MARY and MARTHA work at a table full of decorations. TERRY paints another banner and MELVIN moves tables, chairs around the room. A MUSIC ENSEMBLE rehearses led by SIDNEY, a bald man with a very fake hairpiece. Pastor PAUL, a fretful man, and his wife JULIA, organization personified, ENTER. She carries a binder and dutifully takes notes. Paul stops by a vase of drooping flowers.
PAUL: Wilting. That’s not good.
JULIA: (writes it down) Fresh flowers.
Fred climbs down from the ladder.
FRED: What do you think, Pastor?
Paul starts to look at the sign, but then sees Joe ENTER.
PAUL: Ah, you must be Detective Dubious. I’m Pastor Paul and my wife Julia.
JOE: Pastor. Ma’am. How can I help?
PAUL: It’s our Christmas program.
JULIA: An annual tradition.
PAUL: Except over the last few years people have lost interest. And this year, it’s like we’re completely missing the meaning of Christmas.
JOE: So am I looking for lost interest or missing meaning?
PAUL: We’re not sure. That’s why we need your help.
JOE: (nods at the birfday sign) What about another sign?
PAUL: (not understanding) We’re praying for a fresh, new sign from God.
JOE: (nods again) Or maybe change a few letters in that one.
Paul looks and realizes the spelling error. He steps towards it, trips over an extension cord and runs into Melvin who is carrying a board. Melvin twists with the board and whacks Jack on the bottom who is bending over to pick up a more lights. Jack somersaults over and rolls into John, who stumbles into Terry who spills paint. Jack, John, Terry and Melvin argue momentarily then go back to work.
JOE: I’m not very religious, Pastor. Are you sure I’m right for this job?
PAUL: You find things that are missing don’t you?
JOE: Yes, but I’m usually certain they exist in the first place.
PAUL: I’m certain it exists.
JULIA: Meaning is a part of faith.
PAUL: And faith is being certain of what you hope for.
JULIA: And assurance about what you do not see.
JOE: And if you’ve lost hope?
PAUL: Because of Christmas, hope cannot be lost. Only people. And that presents a lot of confusion.
JOE: I guess so. You just confused the heck out of me.
Melvin, Jack, John and Terry open the box of an artificial Christmas tree and look at the instructions. They approach Paul.
MELVIN: Pastor, we’re confused about these instructions.
PAUL: (pats him on the shoulder paternally) I know. A lot of that going around right now.
JULIA: Try to work it out.
(The men talk it over in the background, reach an agreement and begin piecing the tree together.)
PAUL: So your assignment is clear?
He leads them over to the table where Mary and Martha work on decorations.
JOE: As mud.
(Paul handles various decorations and picks up a bottle of glue.)
PAUL: We have all the parts. But there’s no unity. Nothing holding us together.
Paul gets glue on his hand and tries to wipe it off with a piece of paper. But the paper sticks. He waves his hand to dislodge the paper, but that doesn’t work. So he tears it off and cleans his hand with a handkerchief, which also sticks. He finally yanks the handkerchief off and in the process smacks into Melvin who carries another board. Melvin whacks John who collapses into Jack who falls into Terry who spills more paint. Again they all argue briefly and go back to work. During all this time, Fred eyes them cautiously as he moves around with the step ladder.
FAITH, a girl around nine or ten ENTERS. She is ignored by everyone except Joe who casually glances her way.
FAITH: He needs to put Christmas back into Christmas.
JOE: (to Pastor Paul) So you need to put Christmas back into Christmas.
JOE: (to Faith) Who are you and what are you doing putting words in my mouth? And what does that even mean, anyway?
FAITH: I’m Faith. And the meaning he’s missing will happen tonight at the corner of Third and Main Street at eleven-forty five. It’s going to be so cool.
JOE: Isn’t 11:45 a little past your bedtime?
PAUL: (doesn’t hear the exchange between Faith and Dubious) I’m afraid there is little time for resting.
JULIA: There’s still so much be done.
JOE: (to Paul) What’s happening outside tonight at the corner of Third and Main?
PAUL: My attention is on what’s happening in here. Why?
JOE: (shrugs) Faith is anticipating something big.
PAUL: Which is exactly what faith should do.
JULIA: Although right now, we’d be happy with a little faith.
JOE: (Looking around) And she seems to have disappeared.
PAUL: My point exactly. Faith, hope and joy—they’re all missing.
JOE: I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing.
JULIA: This church should be full of joyful music.
CHOIR: (with severe lack of enthusiasm) Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her king.
PAUL: But it’s painfully lackluster.
JOE: You try turtle wax?
PAUL: Detective. They’re people, not cars.
JULIA: And they kept sliding off their seats.
PAUL: It’s no one’s fault. Sidney pulls his hair trying to get the best from the choir.
Paul pats Sidney on the head and the hairpiece sticks to his hand and comes off Sidney’s head when Paul pulls his hand away. Embarrassed, Sidney grabs it back and smacks into Melvin who crashes into John who runs into Jack who is drinking a glass of water. Jack spills on Terry who retaliates by swiping Jack with his paintbrush. Jack picks up another brush and a paint brush duel begins. John and Melvin pick up brushes too and they all battle around the ladder where Fred clings in fear. They knock over the table where Mary and Martha work who also join the ruckus. Sidney haphazardly replaces his hairpiece and begins yelling at the choir members who all struggle to contain their laughter.
PAUL: Everyone, stop!
PAUL: Thank you. And please, let’s pick things up. Someone could get hurt.
He tries to pick up an extension cord that is wedged underneath the step ladder that Fred stands on. Paul yanks it hard and over goes Fred and the ladder.
PAUL: Hurry Detective. Christmas is almost here.
JOE: (voice over) Five o’clock Christmas Eve. Just under seven hours to find something I’m not sure exists and my only lead is the word of a little girl who appears and vanishes like a ghost. I needed somewhere to think and sort things out. For me, that was Louie’s. A place where joy is simply defined–Happy Hour.
Lights up at Louie’s bar. A DRUNK lays with his face down at a table along with HEIDI, who appears to be a Hooker. Joe stands at the bar. Across from him is LOUIE, the bar tender. A homespun philosopher with a towel slung over his shoulder.
LOUIE: So, what’ll it be Mr. Super Sleuth?
JOE: Coffee, hot. Think you can manage that?
LOUIE: (pouring) You know, you can get coffee at the Stop’n Go down the street.
JOE: Sure, but I’d miss your wonderful company and fluent English. And why does every bartender wear a towel on his shoulder?
LOUIE: Required to pass the bar exam. Why does every great private detective wear an expensive trench coat and smoke cheap cigars?
JOE: I don’t smoke cheap cigars.
Louie motions to say “I rest my case.”
LOUIE: So, what urgent case has you working on Christmas Eve?
JOE: Who said I was working?
LOUIE: (shrugs and pours a cup of coffee) Coffee…trench coat. A lucky guess. Or maybe you’re here for the gift exchange.
DRUNK: I’ll drink to that.
JOE: I’m looking for the missing meaning of Christmas. Been hired by a church that has lost it.
LOUIE: It’s about fulfillment.
JOE: Well you’ve got that part licked. Or should I say liquored?
DRUNK: I’ll drink to that.
LOUIE: Everyone follows a different path. Some find it at the top of the ladder, others the bottom of a glass.
JOE: (nods at the drunk) Then he should be delirious with joy.
The Drunk rises in sudden sickness and rushes to the bathroom.
LOUIE: Yeah, sometimes he can hardly contain himself.
JOE: And where do you find your fulfillment?
LOUIE: (with a sweeping gesture) Behold my ministry. I hear more confessions in a week than most priests do in a life time. I counsel more people in one night than a hot shot psychoanalyst. I’m kinda proud of that.
JOE: Don’t be. Those hot shots charge two hundred dollars an hour.
LOUIE: Yeah, but what do they make in tips?
Heidi, who’s been listening, joins them at the bar. She takes a seat next to Joe, but leaves an empty seat in between them.
HEIDI: I think the meaning of Christmas is found in sincerity and faith.
JOE: Faith in what?
HEIDI: In what you believe. Spirituality is a universal connection. But you define it for yourself. Your depth of spirituality is determined by your level of sincerity.
JOE: So it’s not what you believe, but how much you believe it? That sounds like a spiritual merry-go-round.
LOUIE: My cousin Bernie once sincerely believed he could fly off the third floor of his apartment building. I won’t say why although there was a substance involved. His sincerity cost him two broken legs and an extended visit to the mental ward.
JOE: He should have come to you for therapy.
LOUIE: Couldn’t afford the tips.
The Drunk returns and sits between Heidi and Joe. He listens to the conversation in a swaying, drunken stupor and that, along with his atrocious breath, becomes a barrier that forces Heidi and Joe to alternate leaning forward and backward to converse around him.
HEIDI: Okay, how about this? Jesus was a religious figure with a higher cause.
LOUIE: Bernie was pretty high too…it didn’t help.
HEIDI: And when you follow his teachings, you share in his mission.
The drunk puts his arm around Heidi’s shoulder.
DRUNK: (with a huge, odoriferous breath) Hey, let’s light a match and blow this joint.
Heidi removes his arm.
HEIDI: Lighting a match near you is the last thing I’d do right now.
DRUNK: Well, I…
He crashes his head to the bar, in a snoring sleep.
JOE: And what was his mission?
HEIDI: (Has to think about it) Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
JOE: If Jesus was supposed to bring peace and goodwill, then why aren’t we seeing more of it?
LOUIE: Maybe he failed in his mission.
HEIDI: Or as followers, we’re failing in ours.
LOUIE: (pours more coffee) All this deep thought is giving me a headache.
JOE: It’s not the thinking, it’s the coffee. Hey, grab a Bible will you? Let’s check the source.
LOUIE: You want a Bible? Visit a bookstore. It’s in the section under fantasy.
HEIDI: When I was a kid, Mom took me to Sunday School every week. Let’s see, there were shepherds abiding in the field, tending their flock by night…
JOE: Three wise men.
LOUIE: Two turtle doves.
EVERYONE: (singing) And a partridge in a pear tree.
Heidi slaps her badge down on the bar.
HEIDI: As I remember it, the Christmas story is about God sending His Son to earth as a man.
LOUIE: And now you’re moving from fantasy to science fiction.
HEIDI: (shrugs) The point is, I’m a cop. The role I play undercover as a Hooker doesn’t change who I am. But gives me access to the world I’m trying to impact. Flash my badge…I get nowhere. As a Hooker…I’m in.
DRUNK: (waking up) I’ll drink to that.
The Drunk crashes back to sleep.
JOE: What are you saying, Heidi, Jesus was a secret agent or God is a woman?
HEIDI: I’m saying if God took the time to enter our world, maybe He considers us more than individual collections of dirt.
LOUIE: Wow, when you put it that way it makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.
HEIDI: If you’re an Almighty God, you’re in a cosmic class by yourself and you can do anything you want. What would you do?
JOE: Cruise the universe in a cosmic corvette?
HEIDI: You could. But what you really want is man’s attention. Not just to scare him, or order him around, but to really connect on his level. How would you go about that?
JOE: Become human.
HEIDI: An interesting thought, right?
LOUIE: A novel idea.
JOE: Maybe somebody should write a novel about it.
DRUNK: Somebody did. It’s called the Bible.
JOE: (to Louie) What are you putting in those drinks?
HEIDI: So if Jesus was really God then…
JOE: Then where’s the meaning? Where’s this deep, spiritual connection? Is God so distant all we get is a divine busy signal or did Jesus simply hang it up on his mission?
DRUNK: Jesus hung on a cross. That was his mission.
(He smiles at them in a drunken stupor, but with the satisfaction of having given the correct answer.)
DRUNK: S’cuse me.
(He rushes away and there’s a moment of reflective silence.)
LOUIE: So where does that leave you Mr. Super Sleuth? Other than about to fail in solving your case?
JOE: (shrugs) A little girl named Faith says it will take place at the corner of Third and Main tonight at 11:45pm. Maybe I show up and hope it happens.
HEIDI: Well, you know it takes the faith of a child.
LOUIE: What does?
HEIDI: (shrugs) I learned that one day in Sunday School and never went back to hear the rest of it.
LOUIE: (announces to the bar) Everybody listen up. If you’re looking for the meaning of Christmas, be at the corner of Third and Main at eleven-forty five tonight. Hey, maybe you’ll all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
JOE: Louie, anybody ever tell you this place is just like the bar on the old TV show Cheers?
LOUIE: (proudly) Yeah.
JOE: They lied.
JOE: (Voice over) Good company, bad coffee and enough hot air to float a balloon to China. That was Louie’s. And if this case wasn’t already strange enough, the most profound thoughts were from a drunk. Maybe because he was filled with the spirits. I decided to visit the bookstore at the mall, buy a Bible and a fresh cup of coffee. Maybe I’d get some idea on where to go next. I could at least count on decent coffee.
Lights up at the mall.
Joe ENTERS and strolls towards a lounge area in the concourse of the mall. He carries a Bible and cup of coffee. There are seats and decorative plants arranged like a living room and a wall nearby with a sign that reads RESTROOMS. On a set of risers an ensemble sings Christmas carols a’cappela. When they finish, Jerome stands up behind them on another bench.
JEROME: Save it for the shower, will you?
The Ensemble EXITS and so does Jerome, leaving his newspaper covering behind.
JEROME: And I was just working up to a good drool.
Joe sits on the bench, puts his hand in Jerome’s drool, then pulls out a handkerchief and wipes it off. A SANTA CLAUS peeks out from the rest room wall.
SANTA: Psssst! Hey, buddy. Can you help me out? One of Santa’s helpers from J.C. Penny’s ripped off my pants while I was changing. The little twerp. Look. Anything will do.
Joe walks over and hands Santa the left-over newspaper.
SANTA: What, no sports page?
He ducks behind the wall and emerges in complete Santa costume minus the red pants. Instead, he wears a newspaper skirt.
JOE: (Nods at skirt) Quite a cover story.
SANTA: (sits in Jerome’s drool) Yeah, news in brief. But I’m back into circulation. And when I get my hands on that Santa’s Helper…he’ll be in the obituaries.
JOE: Well, that’s not permanent press. You might want to change your spread or consider a more appropriate font.
Santa sits on the bench, calming down a little.
SANTA: First, I need to flesh out a bit. Almost creased in a permanent ring. (shakes out his legs) And my legs are still half asleep.
JOE: So, tell me your story?
SANTA: Which one do you want to hear?
JOE: How many do you have?
SANTA: Several. And they change depending on who I’m with or where I am.
JOE: So, no when or why?
They’ve stretched the banter out to the point of ridiculous and Joe gestures with a quizzical look that says he’s not sure where else to go.
SANTA: The only thing we haven’t covered is the “what.”
JOE: The “What” is the missing meaning of Christmas.
SANTA: That’s quite a “what.” Having any luck?
JOE: (shrugs) Does superstition have any effect on religion?
SANTA: (shrugs) Always thought they were the same thing. I mean, who’s the main character at Christmas anyway—Jesus or Santa Claus?
JOE: (shrug is more pronounced) Always considered them both a figment of the imagination.
SANTA: (a matching shrug) Well, I listen to wishful thoughts all night long. Meaning is rarely part of the conversation.
JOE: (a huge shrug) Well, according to a little girl named Faith, meaning is supposed to happen tonight at eleven-forty five at the corner of Third and Main.
SANTA: (another huge shrug) Sounds a bit past the bedtime of a little girl, but she’s very specific.
A SANTA’S HELPER appears carrying a pair of red pants.
SANTA: Hey you!
Santa sprints after him and EXITS. There’s the SOUND OF PAPER TEARING.
by Chip Tudor | Oct 22, 2015
Theme: The love of Christ is incomparable. When you rest in His grace, you don’t need to compete.
Synopsis: Two grandfathers rooting for opposing soccer teams make it personal in a social competition of one upmanship that ends in friendship.
Don: A middle class grandfather
Bill: A senior adult resident at a retirement home
John: A spectator
Judy: A spectator
Tom: A spectator
Running Time: Around 20 minutes
Don ENTERS carrying an old, fold-up lawn chair. He’s dressed informally and comfortably. He also has a small cooler with drinks and snacks. He unfolds the chair, and sits. He pulls out a little hand towel, drapes it over the chair handle to use as a napkin, pulls out a soft drink, and a box of cracker jacks.
Bill ENTERS carrying a collapsible chair in a carry bag over his shoulder. He looks dapper, dressed in a coat, tie, and sporting an umbrella. Don watches as Bill very carefully puts the chair down and moves it several times to position it just right. He pulls a feather duster out of the inside of his coat and carefully brushes it off. Then he sits down in a proper manner. But as he settles, it doesn’t feel right so he stands up and moves the chair again. He starts to sit again and remembers something else. He pulls a large can of lawn and garden bug spray out of his coat and methodically sprays a circle around the chair. Don watches it all curiously, but says nothing. Bill notices Don’s look and explains.
Bill: The red ants around here are ferocious. And they sneak up on you so I always put down a protective circle.
Don: I have a shovel in the trunk of my car if you want to dig a moat.
Bill: This works just fine for little pests. (He pulls a small wooden bat out) This is for big pests. (He pulls out another can from his suit coat) And the heavy artillery for back-up. Has a 15-foot range. (Looks disdainfully at Don’s stash of food as he takes his seat.) You can almost guarantee they’ll be attracted by…your recreational diet.
Don: (Pulls out a hostess Twinkie) Let the game begin.
(He takes a huge bite, holds up the remaining portion, and talks with his mouthful.)
Don: Hmmm, good. (Nods at Bill) You comfortable?
(Bill looks at Don’s chair condescendingly)
Bill: Guess you’re going old school today.
Don: How’s that?
Bill: Your lawn chair…looks like backyard barbecue 1960. You find it in an antique shop or pick it up at a garage sale?
Don: I bought it brand new at Wal-Mart…in 1965.
(Bill nods smugly and pulls out a healthy snack from the inside of his coat. Trying to redeem himself, Don holds up his cooler.)
Bill: This cooler, however is another thing. Made of space-age material developed by NASA. Where’s your cooler?
Bill: I just bring a few things and mostly dine at the concession stand.
Don: How elegant of you.
Bill: Unlike some people, I don’t settle for mediocre. (indicates his chair) You see this? Top of the line from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Don: Well, Wal-Mart, 1965 is just fine with me. Besides, it’s taken me that long to finally know my way around the store. And the best part? No matter where you are in the country they’re all the same. At my age, you can only handle so much challenge.
(There’s silence as Bill gazes at the field with an air of superiority and Don is suddenly unhappy with his chair. He looks at his and then Bill’s and begins to shift uncomfortably. He gets up, moves it into different positions to sit, but can’t get it right. He next tries folding and unfolding it and moving it again until finally, he simply sits, determine to act comfortable in spite of it. He’s dissatisfied with his chair but refuses to admit it.)
Don: So which team are you rooting for?
Bill: The winning one, of course.
Don: The game has just started and you know who’s going to win?
Bill: Of course.
Don: Seem pretty sure of yourself. They sell crystal balls at Dick’s too?
Bill: Confidence is the precursor of success.
Don: That’s a pithy little proverb. Who said it?
(Don makes a mocking face and repeats silently, “Me.” Bill hands Don a business card, which Don uses to fan himself, floss his teeth, then read.)
Don: Charles Remington the Third. Entrepreneurism consultant. When your business is nobody’s business, but yours. You think that one up too?
Bill: (shakes his head) Heard it on Oprah.
Don: Remington, huh? Guess that makes you…a son of a gun. And as a kid I bet you were…quite a pistol. Hey, when you rode in the car with your friends…did you ride shotgun?
(Don laughs at his jokes, but Bill stares at him deadpan.)
Don: You may have heard those jokes a few times.
Bill: (Rolls his eyes) Just a few.
Don: So what’s the umbrella for?
Bill: So I don’t get wet.
JOHN and JUDY ENTER stage left. They both carry drinks and walk towards Don and Bill, talking and pointing at the game.
Don: (looks up) Okay. Although there’s not a cloud in the sky. And the forecast doesn’t call for rain either. But it’s good to be prepared. Which is why I always carry this.
(Don fumbles in his bag and pulls out a poncho. As he does John stumbles and spills his drink on him, but Bill puts the umbrella up and shields himself. John picks up the towel from the chair and hands it to Don. Then he and Judy quickly exit. Don wipes his face and turns his attention back to the field.)
Don: There’s my grandson with the ball. Hey, nice move, Tommy. Keep going with it. That’s it. Now take the shot! Whoa…what was that? Are you kidding me? You’re not going to call that? That big oaf practically mauled him.
Bill: (stands) That big oaf is my grandson, Bruce. And that was a legal tackle. His foot was on the ball.
Don: (stands) Maybe his foot was on the ball, but his elbow was in Tommy’s stomach.
Bill: (steps forward) Well if your little Timmy can’t handle physical contact, maybe he should take up badminton.
Don: (steps forward) And maybe your Brutus should be playing with all the other big oafs held back 3 years in a row.
Bill: (steps forward again) You want to make something of it?
(Don steps forward so they’re practically touching stomachs)
Don: Do you?
(They both raise their fists when a voice sounds from offstage)
Voice: Down in front!
(They both move quickly to sit in their chairs. They exchange sidewise looks, but slowly calm down and focus on the game. Don pulls a cell phone and starts texting a message. Bill looks over, curious)
Don: I’m sending a text message to my wife. She’s at home watching the other grandkids. You know, not many people our age text. But if you want to keep up with your grandkids you have to speak their language. (holds up his phone) And it’s spoken right here. We talk face to face…they talk thumb to thumb.
(He puts his two thumbs up as if they’re having a conversation. As he does, Bill takes out his cell phone, uses it to snap a picture, and begins pushing buttons to e-mail it.)
Don: Hello there, Tommy. Hi, Grandpa. So how did your soccer game go today? Great, Grandpa…we really kicked—(Grandpa’s thumb quickly covers Tommy’s thumb) Watch your language young man. Your grandma might be listening.
(Don looks over at Bill who is busy on his phone and not paying any attention to him.)
Don: Thumb to thumb. Get it?
(Bill nods as he continues working on the cell phone and it raises Don’s curiosity)
Don: So what are you doing?
Bill: Posting a picture of the game I just took on Facebook. (shows off his phone) My new Smart Phone. Shoots video too, which I’ll add to YouTube later. Texting is good for beginners. I embrace all of social media.
Don: Oh, yeah…me too. And I plan to get a Smart phone just as soon as…
Bill: They dumb it down for you?
Don: The price drops.
(John & Judy walk by carrying bigger drinks. Don sees them coming and quickly stands and puts his poncho on. He keeps one eye on them, watches the game, and talks to Bill. John and Judy pause by his chair to watch the game, John puts his hand on the back of John’s chair for support, and without knowing, slightly moves it. He and Judy move on.)
Bill: Well if you’re on Facebook, send me a friend request. I’m already over 500 friends you know.
Don: Sure thing. (goes to sit and misses his chair) I’m down with that.
Bill: Another thing about social media–
Don: (stands and looks at the field) Wow, did you see that? Oh, wow, what a great play! A great play!
Bill: What happened?
Don: My grandson, Tommy…he just…oh, wow, that was amazing. Way to go, Tommy. Keep up the good work!
(Don throws a handful of cracker jacks in his mouth and munches angrily, struggling to hide his anger.)
Bill: Yeah, I enjoy keeping up with technology. I can enjoy a soccer game…and still communicate to the outside world. Of course you have to be able to multi-task. Not many people our age can do that. I make calls, send e-mails, surf the Internet. (holds out his phone) Planned my whole vacation. I leave next week.
Don: (To himself) Why don’t you leave right now?
Bill: (nods smugly) Surfed online until I found where I wanted to go…made a hotel reservation…booked the airline. Really something isn’t it?
Don: (fuming with his arms folded) Yeah…really…something. Go straight to the head of the class. And when you get there you can take your smart phone—
(Bill leaps to his feet with his hands as goal posts, but Don completely missed it.)
Don: What? What happened?
Bill: We just scored! What shot! And Bruce made the assist.
(Bill goes through several celebration routines)
Bill: Our team is winning, our team is winning. Sorry, Bruce knocked your little Timmy to the ground in the process. But look, he’s only limping a little bit. I’m sure he’ll be fine tomorrow.
Don: It’s Tommy.
(Bill pulls the can of spray from out of the inside of his coat. He sprays around his chair again and puts up an extra barrier between his and Don’s chairs. Then he sits and resumes watching so Don slowly sits as well and they resume watching the game. Then Bill pulls a container of Turtle Wax out of his coat pocket and using a handkerchief, waxes the legs of his chair.)
Bill: Keeps the legs slick. The insects slip right off. Between that and the spray…I remain bug free.
Don: (to himself) You out-pest them anyway.
Bill: So where are you going for vacation this year?
Don: Camping down at Cumberland Lake in Kentucky. They have a nice state park there and we have a little pop-up camper.
Bill: Camping. How…common of you. What night of the week is your bowling league?
Don: Tuesday. (Realizes he gave himself away and snaps his fingers) How about your vacation?
Bill: Caribbean Island off the coast of Venezuela. Warm climate, white sandy beaches, beautiful blue sea. The ultimate relaxing getaway.
Don: Aruba, huh?
Don: (a dog howl) Aruuuuba!
Bill: Are you mocking me? Because it’s not my fault that you’re jealous.
Don: Jealous? Are you kidding? I’m not jealous.
Bill: Sure sounds like you are.
by Chip Tudor | Oct 22, 2015
Christmas at the Mall
Theme: Christmas is most meaningful when you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Synopsis: Several mini-stories merge in this comedy where the characters present different perspectives on Christmas. Two sisters, two homeless women, two security guards and a married couple.
Running Time: 20-25 minutes
Setting: The Concourse at a Shopping Mall. Three benches form a U with a square, area rug in the middle. Some floor plants along with a Christmas tree with lights and decorations give it the feel of a living room. There’s also a small stage nearby with 4 microphones. A venue for entertainment.
John & Judy —Pass through shoppers that pantomime
Cathy —homeless woman who believes Christmas is about joy and sharing
Pam –Mischievous, homeless woman with a secret who believes Christmas is about spending it together with someone
Dave –goofy security guard that takes things literally
Jay —serious security guard who is all about control
Beth—happy go lucky shopper
Jenn—a get there shopper—Christmas is about surviving commercialism
A Capella quartet
CHRISTMAS MUSIC UP as JOHN and JUDY ENTER. As the music continues, they stop for a pantomime discussion about shopping. It’s clear Judy is looking forward to it and John dreads it. He pulls several credit cards from his wallet and fans them like a deck of cards for Judy. She carefully picks one card, but stops him as he begins to put the rest back. She grabs them and gives him her one card. She indicates it’s time to go and EXITS. John follows in reluctance, shoving his hands in his pockets with a sour look on his face.
MUSIC FADES OUT as JAY and DAVE ENTER. They’re dressed in khaki pants and dark shirts with the words SECURITY printed on the front.
Jay: The closer it is to Christmas the crazier things get around here. So stay on your toes.
(Dave starts walking on his toes.)
Jay: I was speaking figuratively.
Dave: Oh. (nods at the stage) What’s the stage for?
Jay pontificates and completely ignores Dave, who begins to fiddle with a mic on the stage.
Jay: Different groups come in and perform throughout the Christmas holidays. Touchy feely, holiday good cheer and all.
Dave: And you prefer Bah, Humbug.
Jay: Exactly. Makes our job hard because we’re constantly chasing away all the American Idol wannabes playing Karaoke. This mall would practically shut down if we didn’t look out for it. Yeah—
Dave: (hits mic) Testing, one two three…testing…testing—
(Jay grabs the mic out of his hand)
Jay: Would you put a sock in it?
(Dave sits on the bench and pulls off his shoe and sock. He holds the sock out, looking at it with distaste.)
Jay: I mean, shoppers are insane at Christmas. And they act like animals. Which turns this place into a zoo. But nothing’s going down on my watch. You see it’s all about control.
(Dave steels himself and begins to put the sock in his mouth. Jay grabs it from his hand at the last minute.)
Jay: I was speaking figuratively.
Dave: Probably time to put them in the wash.
Jay: You’ve been wearing the same pair all week. I’d say so.
Dave: Quite a few shoppers here already. It’s going to be a busy day.
Jay: Yes it is. So we better patrol the mall. I’ll start at the south end, you start at the north, and let’s work our way back and meet here at eleven hundred hours.
(He starts away but turns back towards, Jay puzzled.)
Jay: That’s eleven o’clock.
(Dave nods and turns to leave, then turns back with another question.)
Jay: A.M. And keep a look out for the rift raft. They all swarm in this time of year to get in out of the cold.
(Dave puts his hand like a visor over his eyes to mimic a look out.)
(Jay walks up close to him as Dave slowly and carefully scans around. Dave turns and ends up with his face right in Jay’s stomach. He slowly stands up with his hand still a visor. He carefully turns it and gives Jay a salute.)
Dave: You were speaking figuratively?
(Dave nods and leaves)
Jay: (shakes his head and EXITS) Good thing I didn’t tell him to keep his eyes peeled.
(The QUARTET enters, takes the stage and sings song #1 a Capella: JOY TO THE WORLD. They exit and Jenn and Beth enter)
Jenn: You have your list.
Beth: I have my list.
Jenn: It includes the names of everyone in our family—
(Beth carefully studies her list)
Beth: Looks like everyone.
Jenn: Next to each name I’ve written the gift they want—
Beth: The gift they want.
Jenn: And the store where you’ll find it.
Beth: The store.
Jenn: You got it?
Beth: Uh…maybe we should color code it?
Jenn: We’re not going to color code it. It’s simple enough. Name…gift…store.
Jenn: Good. Say it again so you can lock it in your brain.
Beth: (Repeats it to get it down) Name…gift…store. Name…gift…store. (starts swaying to the rhythm.) Name…gift…store. Name…gift…store—
Jenn: Please don’t. Now…some gifts are sold at more than one store. So check at all of them and buy at the one that’s having a sale.
Beth: On sale…Let me write that down.
(She takes out a pen and writes.)
Beth: Sale. (spelling it) S.A.I.L…Is there a silent E on the end?
Jenn: I really do not get Christmas. It’s the same thing every year. Make a list…go to the mall…shop all day and—
Beth: Check it twice.
Beth: The list. (sings it) He’s making a list and checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice—
Jenn: Please don’t.
Beth: Sounds to me like you need a little Christmas spirit.
Jenn: No I don’t.
Beth: Yes you do.
Jenn: No I don’t.
Beth: How about a hug?
Jenn: No! I just…want to get this done okay? And I need a sister that can focus. It would be an extra bonus if she could spell. Just keep to the list and let’s get out of here as fast as possible.
(They EXIT and Pam and Cathy ENTER. They both look obviously homeless. Pam wears a bulky coat, knit hat, and thick glasses. Cathy also wears old clothes and pulls a wagon full of personal items.)
Cathy: The mall is full of shoppers at Christmas, so it’s a little easier to blend in with the crowd. And the security officers are usually busy with other things. But they’ll kick you out if they catch you. So I keep a low profile.
Pam: And how long have you been homeless?
Cathy: (shrugs) I’ve lost track. How about you?
Pam: Not long.
Cathy: (pulls out a rope) In that case, I’ll show you the ropes. Rule number one…
Pam: There are rules?
Cathy: Absolutely. And the most important rule at the mall is…security rules.
Pam: And the others?
Cathy: Just one…avoid security. The best way is to keep on the move and spot them before they spot you. But right now, my feet are killing me. I need to sit for a few minutes.
(They sit opposite one another on the benches as the QUARTET ENTERS and sings Silent Night. The quartet EXITS and John and Judy ENTER. John carries a large shopping bag in one hand and a smaller bag in the other. He and Judy sit opposite one another on the benches next to Cathy and Pam.)
Cathy: One of the perks of hanging at the mall during Christmas is they have some really nice shows.
Pam: That song has a great message to it. Jesus Christ…the savior is born. And because of him our lives can be changed.
Cathy: No offense, but I don’t see it from where I live.
Pam: What do you mean?
Cathy: Look, I come to this mall, Christmas after Christmas just to stay warm. The only ones who say anything to me are the security officers…and that’s “Get Out.” People come and put on their Christmas programs. They smile and sing beautiful songs… and when the mall closes, they go to their nice, warm homes and I go back to the street. So if you want me to believe in salvation…start with a warm bed. (nods in opposite direction) Security.
(Cathy and Pam quickly duck behind the bench where Judy sits as Dave ENTERS. He looks things over like he’s carefully inspecting, then satisfied, begins to sit on the bench. Pam places a whoopee cushion on the bench underneath him and he sits on it. Judy stands indignant. Dave stands to defend himself
Dave: That wasn’t me…I didn’t…
(Pam grabs the whoopee cushion and she and Cathy quickly EXIT laughing, as Dave fumbles for an explanation.)
(Judy motions for John to leave. John smiles and gives Dave a thumbs up as they EXIT and Jay ENTERS.)
Jay: Just got a rift raft report. This way.
(They EXIT as Jenn and Beth ENTER carrying shopping bags. They both sit, exhausted.)
Jenn: How are you doing so far?
Beth: Halfway there. I stopped by the book store to look for a family Bible for Mom. (She hands Jenn a Bible) What do you think?
Jenn: I think she’ll like it.
Beth: Reads a little funny though.
Jenn: What do you mean?
Beth: The begats.
(Jenn looks at her confused so Beth opens up to Matthew 1 and reads.)
Beth: Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas. And there’s this whole long list of names and begats.
Jenn: Oh, that’s because you have the King James.
Beth: No. It says right here…Holy Bible.
Jenn: The King James translation of the Holy Bible. And the first chapter of Matthew is a historical record. It lists the fathers and sons from Abraham down to Jesus.
Beth: And it’s a long list too.
Jenn: I know.
Beth: Which says those people were pretty busy. Shows you what happens when there’s no TV to watch.
Jenn: I don’t think you understand. Tracing the birth lineage of the Messiah is a very important part of the Christian faith. The first chapter of Matthew is about his genealogy.
Beth: Wow, that’s amazing!
Jenn: Yes it is.
Beth: I didn’t know he was a genie. (imitates a genie) You get 3 wishes, Master!
Jenn: Genealogy as in ancestry. You know, his heritage.
(Beth still doesn’t get it.)
Jenn: Let’s just finish shopping.
Beth: Good idea.
(They stand and collect their things.)
Jenn: You still got your list.
Beth: Still got my list. (starts to sing) And checking it—
(She stops at Jenn’s hard stare)
Jenn: Meet me back here when you’re done.
(They start to leave and Beth pauses)
Beth: Hey Jenn?
Beth: You know all that genealogy stuff?
Beth: What if Jesus’ name wasn’t at the end of the list?
Jenn: Then I guess we wouldn’t be doing this Christmas shopping.
(They start to leave and Beth turns again)
Beth: Would that be a good thing or bad thing?
(Jenn reflects for a moment.)
Jenn: I’m not sure.
(Jenn and Beth exit and the Quartet enters and sings song #3—Man Can Live Forever More Because of Christmas Day. They exit.)
(Judy and John enter. John now carries several large shopping bags. He collapses tiredly on one of the benches. Judy rummages through a shopping bag and pulls out an ugly looking sweater. She insists that John put on. He does and mockingly puts his finger in his mouth to indicate “gagging” as she pulls something else from the bag and isn’t looking at him. He smiles at her when she wraps an ugly scarf around his neck but makes another face as she pulls something else out of the bag. It’s an ugly hat that she puts on his head and stands back to admire. She then indicates it’s time for them to go. He follows her with a look of beaten subjection.)
(Jay and Dave enter)
Jay: North end is clear. How’s the south look?
Dave: Had some teenagers goofing off on the escalators. So I gave them the boot.
Jay: I love doing that. And catching shoplifters? Now there’s a rush. And they’ll be coming out of the woodwork today so step lively.
(Jay turns his back and continues talking as Dave begins taking some high steps, slowly at first, but then with more gusto.)
Jay: Yes sir. This job is about vigilance…duty…and power. I especially love the power. Keeping order is all about giving orders. And spit and polish.
(Jay turns as a now skipping Dave is right behind him and hawks up to spit. Jay holds up his hand for him to stop.)
Jay: I was speaking figuratively.
(Dave takes a huge gulp as Jay glances at his watch.)
Jay: Time for lunch. Let’s grab a bite to eat.
Dave: Okay. But all of the sudden, I feel pretty full.
Jay: Well I’m hungry. And tuck your shirt in will you? You look like a bum.
(Cathy and Pam enter.)
Cathy: Thanks for lunch. It’s been long time since I’ve eaten INSIDE a restaurant. I’m used to digging through the dumpster out back.
Pam: Every now and then I like to splurge.
Cathy: I have three dollars left. You want to split an ice cream cone later?
Pam: You’ll share your last three dollars with me?
Cathy: Sure. That is what Christmas is supposed to be about, right? Hey, did you notice the way that place cleared when we sat down?
Pam: (points to her nose) Skip bathing for a few weeks…and nobody wants to nose you.
Cathy: I call it odor management.
Pam: So what are your plans for Christmas this year?
Cathy: Gee, let me check my schedule.
(She pulls a etch-a-sketch from the wagon, shakes it, and holds up the blank screen)
Cathy: Mine’s clear. How about you?
Pam: Oh I thought I’d get together with a few friends. You interested?
Cathy: Sure thing. My refrigerator box or yours? Mine’s a Westinghouse.
Pam: I think you’ll find mine a little more comfortable.
by Chip Tudor | Oct 22, 2015
Christmas at the Klooks
Theme: The Christmas message offers mankind peace and joy. But only when you accept the Savior’s gift.
Synopsis: What starts as a simple gathering for refreshments following a Christmas Eve Service becomes much more, as a father reveals the reason for his cynical attitude towards God. He’s been carrying a burden of guilt over the death of one of his daughters. But in an emotional climax, he finally experiences God’s forgiveness and release from a memory that has haunted him for years.
Running Time: Approximately 20 minutes
Greg—A supportive friend, steady and reliable
Sandra—a dutiful wife and daughter
Frank—A hurting, religious cynic who is slightly hard of hearing
Margaret—kind, gentle, and scatter brained
Robert—An intellectual, practical computer geek
Linda—A sanguine personality, a bit flakey, and tends to be over dramatic
There’s a living room with floor rug, flat TV on stand, couch, coffee table, chair, and end table with lamp. A few magazines are scattered on the coffee table. There’s also a small dining area with a table with a modest center piece and 4 chairs around it. Greg and Sandra are straightening chairs, organizing pillows on the couch in preparation for house guests.
Greg: Sandra, do you think your parents liked the Christmas Eve service at church tonight?
Sandra: I’m sure Mom did, Greg. But it’s hard to say about my Dad. He always wears that tough guy façade. Probably from all those John Wayne movies he watched when I was growing up. (pauses to reflect) It’s been so long since he’s even been to church. My sister died when I was little and after that, he just shut down.
SFX: KNOCK ON DOOR
Frank: Open up will you? It’s freezing out here!
Greg: (heads to door) Coming.
Greg: (louder) I said I’m coming!
(Greg escorts Frank and Margaret in. Sandra meets them, exchanges hugs, and she takes their coats)
Sandra: Mom…Dad. I’m so glad you could join us.
Margaret: We’re glad you invited us dear.
Frank: You got any coffee? I need to thaw out.
Sandra: Sure, Dad.
Sandra: (louder) Sure, Dad!
Frank: You don’t have to yell. I’m cold, not deaf.
Sandra: (starts to yell and catches herself) Okay, I’ll…I’ll get you a cup right away. Mom, do you want anything?
Margaret: Why don’t I just help you in the kitchen? I’ll warm up next to the oven.
Sandra and Margaret exit to the kitchen as Frank wanders into the living room. He picks up the TV remote to turn on the flat screen TV.
Frank: You know, I can’t tell if TV’s are becoming more like computer monitors or computer monitors are becoming more like TVs. There should be a game on somewhere.
Greg: It’s Christmas Eve, Frank. I think you’re limited to re-runs and It’s a Wonderful Life.
(Frank tosses the remote down in disgust.)
(Margaret enters from the kitchen carrying a cup of coffee.)
Margaret: Here’s your coffee, Frank. Anything on TV?
Frank: Re-runs and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Margaret: Oh, I love that movie. Especially the scene where…(trying to remember) where…
Frank: (fills the name in for her) Jimmie Stewart
Margaret: Yes. Jimmie Stewart. The scene where…uh, Oh you know…
Frank: Sorry, I reached the limit of my mind reading ability. You’re on your own.
(Frank picks up a magazine from the coffee table and starts paging through as Margaret struggles to remember.)
SFX: KNOCK ON THE DOOR
Greg: (going to the door) That’s probably Robert and Linda.
(Greg escorts Robert and Linda into the room)
Greg: I’m so glad you guys could come. Let me take your coats. (As he gathers their coats) Margret, Frank, these are friends of ours from church, Robert and Linda.
(Margaret approaches and greets them warmly as Greg takes the coats to another room.)
Margaret: It’s so nice to meet you.
Robert: It’s nice to meet you too, Margaret.
Linda: Yes, it is.
(Margaret looks admonishingly at Frank) Frank?
(Frank has his head in the magazine and waves with disinterest)
Frank: How you doing?
Margaret: (to Linda) Sandra and I are working in the kitchen, would you like to join us?
Linda: That would be wonderful.
Frank: A lot of that going around tonight.
(Margaret and Linda exit. Greg ushers Robert into the living room.)
Greg: Robert, let’s have a seat in the living room.
(As they move to the living room, Frank takes his shoes off and lays across the whole couch. Greg sits in the chair and Robert stands nearby, awkwardly waiting for Frank to sit up. But he doesn’t. Robert clears his throat to get Frank’s attention, but Frank is absorbed in the magazine. Greg and Robert exchange looks and Robert tries again more forcibly. Frank moves, but just switches to laying on the other end. He still doesn’t look up.)
Frank: You know you might need to have that throat looked at. I got a sinus infection last December and I was hocking up giant green loogies all winter.
Robert: (To Greg) I think I’ll just sit at the table.
Greg: I’ll join you.
(They move to the table)
Frank: So, Bob what do you do for a living?
Robert: I prefer Robert.
Frank: Sorry…(mockingly to himself) I prefer Robert. There’s a girly-boy name for you.
Greg: Robert is in charge of the IT department at our company. IT stands for—
Frank: I know what IT stands for. (to himself) Information Twit.
Robert: (to Greg) He doesn’t have many friends does he?
(The ladies all enter carrying trays with coffee, sweetener, and cream. Linda are engaged in a conversation. Margaret is still trying to remember her thought from earlier.)
Linda: I’ve been teaching music in elementary school for over 20 years. Twenty years. It’s so hard to believe. Do I look that old?
Robert: Not even 30.
Linda: Oh, you’re such a Doll. (to Sandra) I really do love it even though it’s so demanding. I mean, I could have made it as a Christian music artist. Even went on the road for a couple of years. Remember that, Robert?
Robert: Yes I do.
Linda: Robert was my roadie. Set up, tear down, operated the sound system. A whiz with computers. And he prayed with people at the end of the concert. I know it sounds glamorous…and I suppose it is. (She separates herself a little and relives the moment) Night after night, singing before adoring crowds. Knowing that your music touches their hearts and souls…for the Lord that is. But then, life on the road does get old after a while.
Sandra: So how is the school year going so far?
Linda: Well, at the first PTA meeting we learned the state’s education spending has been reduced, so our school district has cut everyone’s budget. For me that means no paid assistant this year, which doubles the amount of my work.
Frank: Boo Hoo.
Margaret: Frank, who spit in your cornflakes?
Margaret: (louder) You heard me you selective hearing conman. You’ve been in a bad mood ever since church. It’s supposed to help you act better, not worse. I mean, I know you’re a crotchety old man, but you’ve taken crotchety to a whole new level. Now please sit up and stop hogging the couch!
Frank: (sits up) Well, I won’t take this lying down. (He makes a big show about sitting up and then to himself) I should at least get some credit for taking my shoes off.
Sandra: It is a difficult economy. But we should count our blessings. Many people have it a lot worse.
Linda: I know you’re right. But the way things are going, it just feels like we’re heading for…
Margaret: A car wreck!
Linda: Not exactly the word I had in mind, but it works.
Margaret: The scene in It’s a Wonderful Life. Remember, Frank? When Jimmie Stewart wrecked his car? And from there he learned how important and meaningful his life was.
Frank: Yeah…I feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
Greg: A movie classic. It makes a great point about the impact our lives have on others. And sometimes we’re the last one to know what that affect is.
Robert: You can rub off on people positively (looks at Frank) or positively rub them the wrong way.
Frank: I think I just got slammed.
Sandra: I hate to tell you Dad, but you had it coming.
Everyone: You had it coming!
Frank: Well, I don’t have to sit here and take that.
(Frank lays back down on the couch and Robert moves over and sits in the chair)
Robert: So, Frank, are you retired?
Frank: (shakes his head) Wide awake. I took a two-hour nap this afternoon.
Robert: RE-tired…from work.
Frank: (dismisses it with a wave) What for? I don’t play golf and I don’t have a condo in Florida.
Sandra: Dad owns a small hardware store.
Frank: Forty years and counting. Surviving against those big home improvement centers. I’ve staked my claim on offering true value. Sure, you can buy it cheaper somewhere else. But will it last? Will they stand behind it? Will they go the extra mile for you? Real costs are measured by true value.
Robert: I agree, Frank. It’s the same in my industry. You can buy off the shelf software for your business. But then you have to make your business fit the software. I customize software to fit your business. But people only see the difference in the cost up front. They don’t see the big difference it makes in the long run.
Frank: Exactly. My customers aren’t just looking for a part…they’re looking for the right part and advice on how to fix what’s broken. And that’s where I come in. I help them solve their problems.
Robert: Me too…in my own, geeky sort of way.
Greg: Isn’t that what the Christmas story is all about? We all have a unique sin problem and God presented a customized solution through Jesus Christ? I’d call that true value.
Sandra: You’re right, Greg. We get so excited about opening Christmas presents. And yet many people don’t open the most important one of all—The gift of eternal life.
Greg: So, Frank, what did you think of the Christmas Eve service tonight? I thought it was very moving.
Frank: (shrugs) Sing Carols, light a candle, listen to the same story about the baby the Jesus, shepherds, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Sandra: Dad, you haven’t been to church for so long I’m surprised you even remember how the story goes?
Frank: God is love…blah, blah, blah. Like General Hospital. Missed it for five years and the first show back I hadn’t missed a thing. Except the actors looked older or sporting a fresh nip and tuck.
Robert: So you’re saying the scriptures reads like a daytime soap.
Frank: The baby Jesus was conceived out of wedlock. He was born in a barn. And his first miracle was conjuring up a fresh batch of alcohol to liven up a party. You tell me.
(Frank sits in the chair and puts his leg over the arm. Margaret gives him a disapproving look and he takes it off)
Greg: Frank, the whole idea behind the Christmas story is redemption. Not only did Jesus come to earth as a man, but in a way that was humble even from a human perspective. I thought tonight’s service communicated that very effectively.
Frank: Except when they turned out the lights and started lighting the candles, I thought we were warming up for a soft drink commercial.
Linda & Robert: (Linda starts singing and Robert joins her) I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to buy the world a coke and keep it company. That’s the song I sing—
Frank: Alright already. Geese, Louise. What is this, Donny and Marie’s Christmas in Branson? Next thing you know we’ll be joining hands and singing Kumbaya.
(Margaret moves and sits on the couch.)
Margaret: Like we did at summer camp. Sitting around the camp fire, telling ghost stories, and singing songs. And I remember one summer when the boys raided the girl’s cabin late at night. They dressed up like escaped convicts and banged on the windows. Everyone was screaming and going crazy. And one girl took a…uh, a…oh, what was that?
(There’s an awkward silence as Margaret tries to remember, so Linda jumps in to save her.)
Linda: I remember summer camp too. That was when I first started singing solos. Remember that, Robert? One night we were all singing camp songs and out of the blue, the camp director asked me to sing the second verse of Amazing Grace as a solo? And soon after that I started singing on the praise team at church. And then at other churches.
Robert: And you had one you sang so beautifully.
Linda: In the Garden.
Robert: So touching.
Frank: Oh here we go.
Linda: (Linda starts and Robert joins in harmony) I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ears the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his—
Margaret: Shaving cream! I don’t know where she came up with the can, but she started squirting it at the guys and suddenly from nowhere there were all these cans of shaving cream…and we were squirting it everywhere.
Frank: Forty years in hardware…I take one day off and I’m still surrounded by nuts and loose screws.
Robert: Greg, what about you and Sandra? What’s going on in your lives?
Greg: (looks at Sandra for permission) Well…
Sandra: (trying to contain her excitement) Greg and I have some exciting news.
Greg: We’ve actually been thinking about…and praying about this for quite a while. And we’re convinced the Lord has been part of it.
Sandra: We’re going to adopt a baby…
Greg: From China!
(Everyone reacts with excitement except Frank. He’s in the middle of a sip of coffee and spews it out)
Frank: China? What’s wrong with home grown, made in the USA?
Margaret: Oh, be quiet, Frank. Everybody knows you’re Archie Bunker.
Linda: Do you have any pictures?
Sandra: As a matter of fact.