Can Annie identify who stole her purse in a police lineup?
IN THE NAME OF THE LAW
by Laura Milner
Sermon: Thank God I'm Not a Turkey
Scripture: 1 Thess 5:1-11
SGT HUNT Strictly "by the book" law enforcer, always professional
ANNIE Victim of purse theft, nervous
ONE First suspect in lineup, feminine in demeanor, nervous
TWO Second suspect in lineup, stiff, nervous, seems to feel guilty
THREE Third suspect in lineup, actual perpetrator, low voiced
FOUR Fourth suspect in lineup, law enforcement staff, menacing
FIVE Fifth suspect in lineup, unafraid, amused at times
Each suspect wears a paper indicating which number she is, and dresses similarly to the others - blue jeans and a nondescript top. Longer hair, pulled back. Suspects should look similar in height, weight and general coloring - not identical - but similar.
As SGT HUNT obtains information from ANNIE to help identify the woman who stole her purse, he asks each suspect, one at a time, to say something or perform an action. When FIVE cooperates, she gives it her very best shot - even exceeding expectations - as if auditioning for an important role. She seems to enjoy the whole process. When asked about her unique behavior, she simply asserts that she should never have to be afraid because she is under the law of God's grace, which exceeds the expectations of any man-made law.
AT RISE, SGT HUNT escorts ANNIE to a position where they can observe the SUSPECTS without being seen. The SUSPECTS face the audience in order from left to right, beginning with ONE. SGT HUNT and ANNIE "cheat out" to the audience during the majority of their dialogue.
SGT HUNT Just take your time, Annie. This won't take long. Do you see the woman who took your purse?
ANNIE They all look so much alike. I ... I don't know. It happened so fast.
SGT HUNT That's all right. It's all right, ma'am. Just relax, Annie. I'm going to ask you to close your eyes for a second. (ANNIE closes her eyes.) Did she say anything before she got your purse? Anything at all?
ANNIE (Whispers.) Drop your purse. Drop it now.
SGT HUNT Say that again, Annie. (ANNIE opens eyes.) Louder this time.
ANNIE (Looks SGT HUNT in the eye.) Drop your purse. Drop it now.
SGT HUNT (Using imaginary switch for intercom, addresses SUSPECTS.) Number One, say the following words: Drop your purse. Drop it now.
ONE Drop your purse. Drop it now.
SGT HUNT (Looks at ANNIE inquisitively. She shakes head, "no." He continues.) Number Two. The same words.
TWO Drop your purse. Drop it now.
SGT HUNT (Repeats same nonverbals with ANNIE, meeting a negative response each time for the remaining SUSPECTS.) Number Three.
THREE Drop the purse. Drop it now.
SGT HUNT Number Four.
FOUR (With emphasis.) Drop your purse! Drop it now!!
SGT HUNT Number Five.
FIVE (More of a suggestion in her tone.) Drop your purse. Drop it now. No. (More forceful delivery.) Drop your purse! Drop it!! Now!! (Obviously more satisfied. Other SUSPECTS react with varying levels of puzzlement.)
SGT HUNT (To ANNIE.) Nothing? (ANNIE shakes head "no," upset.)
SGT HUNT Hey, hey. That's all right, Annie. We're not finished. I want you to think back again. You did great. Now think, Annie. What happened next?
ANNIE The gun. She pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. I thought it was a gun.
SGT HUNT Show me. Show me how she held it.(ANNIE stands, feet shoulder width apart, two hands on "gun," facing SGT HUNT.) Okay. Relax. (Presses "intercom".) As I call your number, pretend to draw a gun using two hands. One. (ONE draws gun, but keeps her knees close together, very lady-like. SGT HUNT observes ANNIE's reaction to each SUSPECT's movements, then moves on.) Two. (TWO takes a broad stance, elbows high.) Three. (THREE places feet shoulder width apart, legs straight, raises "gun".) Four. (FOUR aggressively moves into a sure stance and quickly draws weapon with narrowed eyes, threatening.) Five. (FIVE appears impressed with FOUR's response. FIVE drops to one knee, quickly draws "gun" and pretends to fire off several rounds, blows away imaginary smoke from end of "gun," twirls it a couple times and returns it to a "holster," keeping a straight face. SUSPECTS again respond, either with skepticism or trying to tighten their mouths to keep from laughing.)
SGT HUNT (To ANNIE.) Anything?
ANNIE I still don't know.
SGT HUNT (Nods, calm.) Did anything else happen? Anything at all you can remember? (pauses.) Anything really unusual? Surprising?
ANNIE Well, there was ... (dismisses it.) No. Never mind.
SGT HUNT Wait. What were you going to say?
ANNIE It's stupid.
SGT HUNT Annie, nothing's stupid. You've got to help me here if I'm going to be able to help you. Tell me.
ANNIE (Looking down, quietly speaks.) She gobbled at me.
SGT HUNT What?
ANNIE (Louder.) She gobbled at me. (SGT HUNT does a "take".) When she picked up the purse. I told you it was stupid.
SGT HUNT Did you say "gobbled?" (ANNIE nods.) Like a turkey? (ANNIE nods. SGT HUNT pauses in thought briefly then makes a decision.) What the heck. We'll go with it. (Presses "intercom".) Number One. Gobble like a turkey.
ONE (Eyes grow wide.) A turkey?
SGT HUNT Do it!
ONE (Hesitant, high pitched.) Gobble-gobble-gobble. Gobble-gobble. (SGT HUNT looks at ANNIE inquisitively.)
ANNIE No, it was lower.
SGT HUNT Bigger turkey, Number One. Again.
ONE (Unsure, a little lower.) Gobble-gobble! (pauses, uncomfortable.) Gobble-gobble!
ANNIE Lower than that.
SGT HUNT Big turkey! Really big turkey.
ONE (As low as possible.) Gobble-gobble! Gobble-gobble-gobble! (FIVE stares at ONE, amused.)
SGT HUNT (Steps in front of ANNIE, now unable to see her reactions.) Number Five! Eyes straight ahead. (FIVE obeys.) Number Two, gobble like a turkey.
SGT HUNT Number Three.
THREE (Very deep.) Gobble-gobble-gobble! (ANNIE covers her mouth and turns toward audience, wide-eyed. She is paralyzed and still.)
SGT HUNT (Continues, unaware of ANNIE's reaction.) Number Four.
FOUR (Loud and menacing.) Gobble-gobble! GOBBLE-GOBBLE-GOBBLE!
SGT HUNT Number Five.
FIVE (Outdoes FOUR, using exaggerated gestures, shaking head back and forth and strutting like a turkey.) Gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble! Gobble! Gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble! Gobble-gobble! (Stops and smooths her hair into place, fully composed and sober. These antics have gotten ANNIE's attention. ANNIE whispers something into SGT HUNT's ear.)
SGT HUNT (Looking ANNIE directly in the eyes.) Are you sure? (ANNIE still somewhat stunned nods. SGT HUNT takes her hands into his.) Great job, Annie. Go ahead and wait at my desk. (Motions toward an exit. ANNIE crosses to exit.) Just have a seat. I'll be right there. You did fine. (Presses "intercom".) You can leave now.(SUSPECTS exhibit varying levels of relief and move toward the "door," except for FOUR, who pauses anticipating more information.) Except Number Three.
SUSPECTS quietly turn to look at THREE. FOUR motions for THREE to step back away from the door. THREE moves to ONE's original position. FOUR mimes producing a key, unlocking the door and holding it open for the OTHERS to exit, then closes it securely behind her.
FOUR (Motions to same exit ANNIE took) This way, ladies. (SUSPECTS move toward exit, FIVE being the last in line. FOUR shakes SGT HUNT's hand as she passes him.) Nice work, sergeant.
SGT HUNT You too, Porter. (As FOUR moves to exit, SGT HUNT summons FIVE.) Number Five! (FOUR and FIVE stop. FIVE looks at FOUR for permission. FOUR nods for FIVE to stay behind, then exits. FIVE crosses to SGT HUNT.)
FIVE Yes, sir?
SGT HUNT (Stern.) You do realize this was a serious charge, don't you?
FIVE Yes, sir.
SGT HUNT This was no game.
FIVE No, sir. But I wasn't worried about it.
SGT HUNT Do you mean to tell me that you weren't even a little bit afraid ... that you might be identified?
FIVE Officer -
SGT HUNT Sergeant.
FIVE Sergeant. I may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I may look like all of those other women to you. But, with all due respect, I know something that you don't know.
SGT HUNT And what is that?
FIVE I decided a long time ago that I fall under God's law of grace. And in keeping just that one law, I would never break any of the laws you work to enforce.
SGT HUNT I see.
FIVE In fact, if it were up to me, Sergeant (smiles broadly and genuinely as she reaches for SGT HUNT's hand.) you wouldn't have a job tomorrow! (SGT HUNT receives her well wishes with a warm handshake and a smile, dismissing her to exit.)
SGT HUNT I wish I didn't have to do this job tomorrow. Maybe if people would all follow God's laws, I wouldn't have to. But for now, the wheels of justice keep turning. (SGT HUNT mimes opening the door and motions for THREE to accompany him. THREE resentfully walks to SGT HUNT. As he mimes fastening handcuffs on THREE, SGT HUNT speaks.) You have the right to remain si-
THREE (Interrupting.) Save it!
SGT HUNT Walk. (Indicates direction THREE should walk to exit, follows her.) Maybe God is in control of this stinkin' world. (THREE and SGT HUNT exit.)
Word count: 1,527