A play in two parts, by Paul Carroll. Read part 1 here.
[Lights up to Jerry on stage, dressed in his trademark clothing, and the stagehands walking across the stage with APPLAUD signs. Jerry stops them halfway across the stage to allow his applaud to continue a little longer. They rush away the first chance they get.]
Jerry: Welcome back! Now, if you remember, last week we Mary and Joseph on the show trying to settle their first ever marital dispute. We left them with three simple questions: is Joseph the father, is Mary a liar, or is she just insane? I think it’s a fair to say this isn’t the most…ordinary case we’ve ever had on the show. Let’s just get it over and done with, shall we? Mary and Joseph are back with us today to find out if Mary’s been faithful, or if she’s cost them their son.
[Mary and Joseph walk on stage. Mary is dressed up, and Joseph dressed down. One stagehand carries the APPLAUD sign, the other the BOO sign. They stop halfway to look at the other’s sign, and hurry off stage when they see the mistake.]
Jerry: Mary, Joseph, how have you been?
Mary: I still feel violated.
Jerry: Isn’t she such a great sport?
Joseph: I still don’t see why they kept sticking the swab in my mouth. I thought one sample of DNA was enough.
Jerry: Oh, it’s just standard procedure! Trust me, they were not trying to hurt you for dressing like you did last time. [Jerry takes a good luck at Joseph’s clothes.] You haven’t watched the show since, have you? We’ve moved on from dressing like the last items in the wardrobe. It’s all about looking classy from now on.
Joseph: What sort of show is this?
Jerry: The best show on television. [To the audience] Amiright? [Shouting to the wings] Get those stagehands out here!
Mary: Forget the stagehands! What did your tests say?
Joseph: You really want to rush this?
Mary: Hey, remember, I brought back up.
Joseph: Oh right, your cousin…
Jerry: We’ll get to that. Can someone bring me the envelope with the results?
[The three specialists come on stage, clutching the envelope between them.]
Jerry: Did it really take all three of you to come on stage?
Specialist 1: We just wanted to get more air time.
Specialist 2: It seems like we’re always brought on at the end of the show.
Specialist 3: And since we did the tests, we wanted to bring the envelope.
[They hand the envelope to Jerry, who looks it over suspiciously.]
Jerry: You couldn’t have gotten something better than a Tesco envelope?
Specialist 1: Budget cuts?
Specialist 2: Trying to appeal to the market?
Specialist 3: Hallmark were out of the fancy ones when I went to buy my mam a card?
Jerry: Oh just… [He picks up a horn from under his chair] Just… *sets off the horn*… off.
[The specialists walk off the stage slowly. Jerry stares at them furiously until they’re out of sight.]
Jerry: Okay, let’s see what these have to say. [Jerry opens the envelope, pulling out a foolscap page.] Budget cuts… that would explain the coffee that tasted like dirt this morning.
Mary: I don’t care about your coffee! Just tell us the results!
Joseph: Just put us out of our misery!
Jerry: Now Joseph, there’s no need for that. [Mary glares at him.] Okay, moving on swiftly. Joseph… you are… supposed to lean forward in suspense.
Joseph: I’m sorry?
Jerry: That’s alright, just don’t let it happen again. Joseph… you are… not the father.
Joseph: Well I knew that!
Jerry: Yes, well…it seems that even looking at Jesus’ DNA allowed our specialists to speak in tongues. That might explain that item on Ebay for the Spit of Christ I saw last night.
Mary: What about me?
Jerry: Oh, you’re not the father either. [Jerry looks at the page again.] But you’re definitely the mother. No doubt about it. Please don’t hit me.
Mary: Hit you?
Jerry: [Ignoring her.] Mary… you are… telling the truth. What, really? You didn’t cheat. [To Joseph] Would you look at that, she wasn’t lying to you.
Joseph: But I still don’t know what happened!
Jerry: Hey look, she’s not insane either. Maybe they did it wrong.
Mary: Excuse you.
Jerry: What? Oh right. Please don’t hurt me.
Mary: Stop saying that.
Jerry: Yeah… sure… you had a guest? This ought to be good. [Looks at his cue cards.] Can we bring on Mary’s cousin? Elizabeth?
[ELIZABETH walks on stage, dressed up like Mary. She forces Joseph to move over a seat so she can sit beside her cousin.]
Elizabeth: What, no signs for me, Jerry?
Jerry: Don’t ask me! I’m just here to ask questions and not get murdered by your cousin.
Elizabeth: I’m not impressed. And all this thinking she’s crazy. Are you stupid or something? She saw an angel. She’s not the first one in the history of the world.
Jerry: But… angels?
Elizabeth: I saw an angel!
Mary: It’s true. That’s why I asked her to come on today.
Joseph: YOU saw an angel?
Jerry: Joseph, don’t interrupt the women.
Elizabeth: When I saw Mary on last week, I said to her, Mary, I know what you’re going through. And I told her about the angel I saw before I was pregnant with me son, John. He said to me, Elizabeth, God wants to take Zack into the next room and “snuggle” him like there’s no tomorrow until you’re sure you’re going to have the most prophetic son in all the land. And I said to him, it would be rude not to.
Mary: Just like that.
Joseph: The angel told you to snuggle him like there’s no tomorrow? An angel? Really?
Jerry: Joseph, don’t make me make Mary hit you!
Elizabeth: I might have been paraphrasing. But sure, he got in touch anyway. And I had a son, like he said I would. And Zack says to me, Lizzy, we have to call him John.
Jerry: And why is that?
Mary: Don’t interrupt Jerry!
Elizabeth: Thanks Mary. So, Zack tells me about this time he was at work at the Temple, and he passed out. And when he woke up, he said he was going to have a son, and this just after I’d taken him to new places. You know, sexually speaking.
Jerry: He just knew?
Elizabeth: Well, he said he saw the angel, too. He said it was the second best experience of his life. You know, after that night we had.
Joseph: Zack saw an angel, too?
Jerry: Joseph, please. No interrupting.
Elizabeth: So, anyway, the angel – a total ROIDE by the way – said to Zack that our son had to be called John, and that he had to tell people that the son of God was coming.
Joseph: He saw an angel…
Mary: Shush, you. Go on, Lizzy.
Elizabeth: Well, that’s it. Except John keeps spelling Jesus with the fridge magnets. Anyway, I knew I had to come on, in case they fixed them tests to make you look insane like they did that man with the boat. And wasn’t he right? He wasn’t mad at all.
Mary: Thanks cous’.
Jerry: So, there we have it.
Joseph: Zack saw an angel… that’s… no…
Mary: What’s the matter with you? Bowels acting up again?
Joseph: I have a confession to make!
Jerry: This should be good. We already know you’re not the father, Joseph.
Joseph: Not that… I… I… I saw an angel!
Elizabeth: Oh God save us…
Mary: You just have to jump on the bandwagon, don’t you?
Joseph: I’m not! I swear. Who named him?
Joseph: The baby!
Jerry: [Jumping out of his seat.] The baby! Sorry, I got excited. Joseph, are you going somewhere with this?
Joseph: I named him. I told Mary we should call him Jesus, because he saved us. And I gave him his middle name. And I legally changed my surname to Christ before he was born so Mary would have to call him Jesus Immanuel Christ, because the angel confused me.
Mary: What do you mean the angel confused you?
Elizabeth: I always said this one wasn’t right…
Jerry: Ladies, please, you’re interrupting Joseph.
Joseph: The angel, he said to call him Jesus Christ, and then he said to call him Immanuel, and all this in the space of one weird dream. I thought I was dehydrated, because I’d just landed in Africa. But he said we were going to have a boy, and I didn’t want to believe him, because I thought it was just a weird dream.
Mary: You’re telling me you brought me on to the Jerry Davidson Show just to tell me you also saw an angel and that you don’t think I cheated on you?
Joseph: Well, I did. But I was afraid I might also be insane.
Mary: And it wasn’t enough that I said I’d seen an angel?
Joseph: Well, Zack saw one too, so I figured it would be alright.
Elizabeth: Makes sense to me. Zack’s always been reliable.
Jerry: Just to clarify… you came on my show just to tell stories to each other about why you didn’t want to think you saw an angel and how your son is the son of God?
[Mary and Joseph look off to space in thought.]
Mary: That actually sounds about right.
Joseph: You might even say this was an elaborate ruse on my part to stop Mary hurting me.
Jerry: I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like that!
Elizabeth: I’ll hurt you if you’re not careful.
Jerry: I think we need to end here. But, clearly, CLEARLY, you two have some problems to sort out. Clearly. Before you ever decide to come back on my show again. In fact, don’t. I am sick and tired of people using me as a platform for their visions about God.
Mary: That’s every single person who comes onto this show. Everyone else goes onto the better ones that actually have money and professionals.
Joseph: Low blow, honey.
Mary: He deserved it.
Jerry: Just bring on Gabriel so we can finish up…
[GABRIEL walks on stage, sitting down next to Joseph. He wears all white, and all eyes fall on him.]
Mary: You look eerily familiar.
Gabriel: I get that a lot.
Jerry: Gabriel here is our relationship specialist. He’s new. Very new. Only started today, in fact. I wasn’t sure we could afford him, but he told us we could. Weird, actually, considering they took all the furniture out of my dressing room.
Gabriel: I’m just here to make a difference for you two, Mary. Joseph, you were right to bring Mary on air. The world needed to hear your story.
Jerry: But this is my show!
Gabriel: Jerry, please, we’re conversing.
Mary: He’s always so rude, don’t mind him.
Gabriel: In the end, it will not matter. I heard he’s being fired.
Gabriel: What matters is you two. This has been an arduous ordeal, I am sure, but you will, you must, get through this. For Jesus. For everyone.
Elizabeth: He speaks the truth. I should know, what with Zack and all. I have a radar for honest, good hearted men.
Joseph: You can help us learn to trust each other again?
Gabriel: I can promise no less than that. The Lord wills it.
Mary: Oh thank you! [To Jerry] Thank you Jerry!
Jerry: I’m ruined… just… just get off the stage.
Joseph: We’ll fix all of this, Mary. We’ll raise Jesus right. We will. I love him anyway, just for you, even if he isn’t technically my son.
Mary: Oh Joseph!
[They stand and embrace.]
Gabriel: I knew things would work out.
Jerry: Right… [Looking at his cue cards] Assuming I’m still here after the break, we’ll be joined by a man who claims his wife is made from his rib… where do we find these people?