A.E. Edwards

The Crusaders
A Ten Minute Play

 

Cast of Characters

Diane Hartman:     The owner of Hartmanís Frame Shop and Straight From the Heart Christian Gifts
                                 in Northern Louisiana.  She is an overly suspicious; yet, flamboyant middle-aged
                                 woman. She constantly uses hand gestures as she speaks with a slight nasal intonation. 
                                 She perceives herself to be more eloquent and educated then what is actual;
                                 and often times carries herself with superiority.

Jean Knight:           The long time employee of the shop. She has a familiar relationship with Diane;
                                 and often times the two are mistaken for sisters. She has a masterís degree in
                                 Art History; yet, works day to day at something she is not passionate about.
                                 She harnesses her artistic sensibilities on dressing too well for the frame shop.

Denee:                     An after-school employee around the age of seventeen. She wears loud and clunky
                                 shoes that exaggerate her perkiness. She is intelligent, but inexperienced. She is curious,
                                 but pure. Her speech pattern portrays her understanding of situations. She is much
                                 more aware of herself and of those around her than she is given credit for; and abides
                                 there just under the surface of integration into adulthood. Her dress is trendy of the present.

Dr. Yildiz:               A Turkish immigrant; he is a citizen of the United States.  He is self-made and self-reliant;
                                 as well as, the head of the History department at a local university. He speaks with a heavy
                                 accent. This leads him to be perceived as a less educated man than he really is. He is a
                                 strong supporter of his Islamic heritage.

 

 

Time

Present.

Setting: The backroom of Hartmanís Frame Shop and Straight From the Heart Christian Gifts in a small town in North Louisiana. There are several framed pictures leaning against a desk and one large, gold framed picture in the middle. There is a phone on the desk and a clutter of framing materials. DIANEíS office, behind the back room is offstage. The front of the shop is offstage as well.

At Rise: JEAN is working at the desk. Diane is on the phone in her office. The phone rings off stage and

DENEE answers it.

DENEE

(Perky)

Hartmanís Frame Shop and Straight From the Heart Christian Gifts, This is Denee, how can I help you . . . Hold on, let me see if itís ready.

(Enter)

Ms. Knight, Is the framing done for Dr. Yil-daz?

JEAN

Dr. Yildiz.

DENEE

Did you finish framin that thang?

JEAN

(Anxious)

Well, itís finished. But I wish it hadnít been my responsibility to mount a piece of priceless historical art. It Ďs a little bit out of Hartmanís league.

DENEE

What is it?

DENEE

(Glances at the manuscript; She is confused)

 

(JEAN slides the manuscript away from Denee)

 

Oh . . .I mean itís done? So I can tell him he can come pick it up?

JEAN

Tell him to come at four. Thatís the best I can do.

DENEE

Heís getting real tight about comin to get it. Can he not come now?

JEAN

He can cope with four.

(Shoos DENEE off)

(DENEE exits. Her phone conversation is heard offstage)

DENEE

She said itíll be ready at four . . . Well, sir, all I can tell you is that itíll be ready at four . . . Iím sorry.

(Enter DIANE from her office, carrying a box)

DIANE

(Breathing heavily)

These porcelain crosses are heavy!

(Heaves it on to a table)

Iíve been lookiní at these all mornin. That greasy sales rep bothered me yesterday, tryin to get me order all these. I told him on the phone while ago that he mustíve confused us with the Raceway Truckstop. Iím sure that they would be thrilled to carry his line.

(Rummages through the box)

Besides theyíre cheaper at market. And Iím sure all those women at the nursing home with my mother-in-law could paint em just as good.

JEAN

(Lets out a small laugh; But preoccupied)

Did you see the manuscript framed?

DIANE

(Looking up from the box)

Yes. The Pier One in Bossier out by the mall had some of those, but they were bigger. And I liked the sage tones they used instead of all those bright colors.

JEAN

Diane, that is a fifteenth century artifact. There is no way in good conscious that we should have preserved that in this shop. It should be in some national museum or something. That thingís probably worth millions.

DIANE

Oh, did that Middle Easterner bring that? Whatís his name . . . Mr. Yilboob?

JEAN

(Becomes more impatient with DIANE)

Dr. Yildiz, Diane. Heís the head of the History department at the university.

DIANE

(Picks up the manuscript)

Itís gaargeous! He needs to go on over there to Iraq Ė

JEAN

- Turkey.

DIANE

Well, wherever. He needs to bring us back some of this stuff. We could sell this all day long.

(Beat)

I wonder if they make em in gold or mulberry.

JEAN

Diane, art like that is not produced anymore. I donít know why he brought it here, but I really felt inexperienced.

(Studies the manuscript, standing beside DIANE)

DIANE

Whatís the big deal? Youíre actin like itís got some kind a mummy curse on it or something . . . Do Turkish people do mummies?

JEAN

I did my masterís research on images of Christ in the nineties, not Islamic culture -

(Phone rings off stage)

- But I do know enough to know that we probably should have had armed security in here guarding it. If anybody knows what that was, it could slip away on its own.

(Continues working while DIANE stares at manuscript)

DENEE

(Heard off stage answering the phone)

Hartmanís Frame Shop and Straight From the Heart Christian Gifts . . . Yes maíam we have two different shades of the green Bible covers with lace borders on the pockets but neither of them zip . . . Yes maíam until five . . . Thank you.

(DENEE enters; She moves over to look at the manuscript safely behind DIANE and JEAN)

DIANE

(Ignoring DENEA)

Well, whatever you think about your responsibility, I am fine with taking responsibility for choosing this gaargeous gold frame. It makes these colors just stand out so much better! I oughtía keep it for the shop because your such a wizard at framin.

DENEE

Ms. Knight, if itís ready, why canít Dr. Yil-daz come till four?

DIANE

(To JEAN)

He wantís to come pick this up?

DENEE

He called and Ms. Knight said for him to come at four so thatís what I told em.

DIANE

Well, Jean, if your so hot-to-trot, thinkin itís so valuable, thinkin it might get stolen from here; Whyíd you tell em four

DIANE

(Beat)

It lookís just fine to me.

JEAN

If someone did steal it, theyíd be stealing stolen goods.

DIANE

What doíya mean?

JEAN

Well, I heard that the government was shutting down the Mosque because someone found out they were raising money for a terrorist cell.

DIANE

When was all this!

DENEE

Ooh, I bet it was at that scholarship dinner that I went to last week. The food was nasty! Do you think I gave money to terrorists!

DIANE

(Demanding)

Uhmm, whoís watchiní the front!

(Exit DENEE, clunking heals)

JEAN

Last week your husband Ė

DIANE

My husband? -

JEAN

Yes, your husband told me at church that he heard from someone that heard all the officers went down to the Mosque and they wound up taking six men and putting them in custody because of terrorist association. And what Iím thinking is that they have brought this in . . . and probably going to try and sell it to support whatever organization theyíre with . . . But what we donít know is why they would bring this one-of-a-kind Arabic manuscript from the fifteenth century, here.

DIANE

He didnít say anything to me!

JEAN

Are you sure?

DIANE

Oh, you know I donít listen to him. Do you think itís true?

JEAN

I do now.

DIANE

Iíll tell Denee to call Mr. Yaheeb and tell him to come get this thang. I donít want this in my shop! And we are keepin it in the back until he comes. . . Cause what does all this mean? I donít even know what it says. I shouldíve made him tell me before I agreed to frame it.

JEAN

All it says, Diane, is one word. Allah.

DIANE

(In disgust, sets the manuscript down)

God, of course!

(Phone rings in Dianeís office; she exits and the conversation is not heard)

JEAN

(Crosses to the back room phone sitting on the table;

looks for phone number and dials the number)

Colonel Michael Knight, please.

(Holds for a moment and fidgets)

Mike, I need help . . . No I see a therapist for that, I need the governmentís help . . . Well, I might be holding a big piece of evidence for busting up this terrorist ring I heard about . . . Itís a stolen Islamic artifact that this professor brought in three weeks ago to be framed . . . I framed it, but I have him waiting until four to pick it up . . . Yes I can bring it right

there, right now, I do not have a problem . . . Okay, well, have someone down at the gate . . . I wish someone was here to escort me . . . Okay, in like an hour, bye.

(Enter DIANE)

DIANE

So what are we gonna do?

JEAN

I called Mike and Iím going to take it right now to the Airforce base and let them handle the situation. Itís over our heads.

DIANE

Well, are you gonna be back by four? Cause what are we gonna tell Dr. Yilhob?

JEAN

Dr. Yildiz . . .heíll probably be in police custody before four oíclock. I donít think weíre going to have to worry about that Ė

DIANE

(Excited)

- Do you think youíll be okay by yourself?

JEAN

Iím not trying to have a one-woman crusade against terrorism. But I think I can make my way to the Airforce base in the middle of the day . . . Theyíre going to meet me at the gate. And Iíll just turn it over and itíll all be fine.

(Enter DENEE)

DENEE

Yíall, Dr. Yil-daz is here! What do I tell him?

DIANE

(Panics)

Hurry, get that thang leave out the back door! Denee, get up there and make sure he donít go nowhere!

DENEE

Whatís goiní on? Are yíall on some mission?

DIANE

Go!

(Exit DENEE)

(DIANE addresses JEAN)

What am I going to tell him if he asks where it is?

JEAN

(Picks up the manuscript)

You just tell him that that we do not handle preservation of such historical importance . . . And that weíre sorry for the delay, but the archivists are bringing it at four.

(Exits)

(DENEE and DR. YILDIZ are heard offstage. DIANE is shuffling around the room.)

DENEE

Dr. Yild-daz, I told you on the phone that it wouldnít be ready till four. Now gettingí angry ainít gonna help!

DR. YILDIZ

This must be done today. I must see if can be completed.

DENEE

Well, I have to get Ms. Knight to come and talk to you Ė If youíll wait right here Iíll go get Ms. Knight.

DR. YILDIZ

I will come and see it and Ms. Knight myself.

DENEE

Dr. Yil-daz, customers canít go in the back!

(Enter DR. YILDIZ and DENEE running after

him)

DR. YILDIZ

(To DIANE)

Are you Ms. Knight?

DIANE

Jean Knight has stepped out. Iím Diane Hartman; I own this store. Iím sure I can assist you; your name?

(Points offstage; glares at DENEA. DENEA exits)

DR. YILDIZ

Dr. Yildiz. I would like to see my manuscript.

DIANE

Sir, you were told it will be ready at four and you will have to wait until then to pick it up.

DR. YILDIZ

(Frustrated; heading toward DIANEís office.)

The work! Where is the work?

DIANE

Thereís no need to get fussy with me . . . Now, Ms. Knight felt that this job was a bit beyond our capabilities and she sent it to professional archivers to do the work.

DR. YILDIZ

It is not here?!

DIANE

Sir, it will be here at four provided everything goes okay with the background check.

DR. YILDIZ

What is it . . . background check? What does this mean?

DIANE

Look, Mr. Yilday Ė

DR. YILDIZ

- Dr. Yildiz.

DIANE

We know that the piece you brought to be framed in my shop was a stolen artifact from the Middle East. Now, I donít know what you terrorists had planned to do with it. But itís now in the custody of the United States government . . . And youíll never see it again unless they hang it on the wall of your prison cell.

DR. YILDIZ

What is this you are saying? Why does my government have my manuscript?

DIANE

Your government! You stole it from your government! Our government has it now!

DR. YILDIZ

I am a citizen of United States. And this piece is a family heirloom that has been passed through generations for five hundred years. I did not bring it here to be given away. I must have this at the Mosque by seven oíclock. It is a very important part of services there this evening.

DR. YILDIZ

I brought it here to have a new piece of glass fit the frame, thatís all. Where is it?

DIANE

Well, the first thing I did was put it in a much more attractive gold frame with these inlaid, mother-of-pearl crosses. But I realize now I shouldnít have wasted my time.

DR. YILDIZ

You still have not told me why my government is holding my history Ė

DIANE

- Theyíre fixin to hold you! Now Jean Knight, who works up here, has a brother who is a colonel at the Airforce base and they will have people here to pick you up. Now Iíd have my papers if I were you . . . Where are your papers!

DR. YILDIZ

My papers?

DIANE

Your papers! Iím sure the INS gave you some card when you hopped the Rio Grande into our country to come teach our kids your hate!

DR. YILDIZ

(Angry)

I am a citizen of United States. And I do have papers of authenticity tracing the origin of this manuscript. You and them will come with me to court if this Knight lady does not return my history.

DIANE

Well, the United States government is gonna return you to Iran or whatever it is! I wouldnít be worryiní about Jean Knight.

DR. YILDIZ

I will be back in one hour with the law to take back my history; wherever you have covered it. But if there is one cross surrounding it when I return I will burn them.

(Exit DR. YILDIZ)

DIANE

Hey! Come back here! The only thing thatís gonna be burning is your ass after they whipped the information out of ya about you allís plot to destroy our country. I donít want no hometown nine eleven!

(Phone Rings)

(Enter DENEE)

DENEE

Ms. Hartman, The sheriffís on the phone and wants to know if youíve got his daughterís Bible engraved yet. He needs it for her baptism tonight Ė

DIANE

- Yes, itís been ready. But I also want you to give him a complete description of Mr. Bildaz while youíre on the phone with emí. And tell him before he worries about pickiní up that Bible, he needs to pick up a terrorist!

DENEE

Yes sir . . . I think heís from Iraq . . . I donít know, he talks with a funny accent . . . Dr. Yil-daz. . Something about a frame-job.

(Blackout)

END.

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