A screen for a slide show sits at the front of the church. A podium and a chair sit center stage. A plain wooden cross hangs upstage.

Sarah, a twenty-eight year old woman, sits in a swivel chair eating carrots, next to a screen. She is mid-bite and in mid-presentation of her slide show. Shy, she hides behind her food.

SARAH: We just received a tape recording from a missionary in China telling us of some unusual practices. I mean, abortion is one thing. No, I donít mean that. (Quickly) Abortion is a horrible, murderous thing.

(She chews a carrot quickly.)

But the Chinese do other things. Such as, such asÖ

(Sarah stops herself. She canít say it. Blade, a man in his early twenties, stands in the audience. He is dressed in a suit and tie.)

BLADE: Spit it out.

SARAH: I have some pictures here I think you should see.

BLADE: Eating fetuses. Thatís what they do. When they abort the babies, and they abort so many thousands of children everyday, thereís no room left in those over-filled dumpsters for all that rotting human flesh, so they take itÖ they take it and theyó

SARAH: This missionary in China says itís true. There really is no room left in those dumpsters for all those babies. And, and worst of all, on a hot summer day, well, it isnít the Garden of Eden.

(Sarah laughs an uncomfortable laugh. Lights down on Sarah. Maggie, a woman missionary in her mid-twenties sits to the side in a separate space. Itís a hall in China. A light comes up on her. There may be the shadow of a Chinese dragon behind her head. She holds a microphone as she records into a tape recorder. Sheís eating red licorice feverishly.)

MAGGIE: Their babies rot. And smell. And the people have no consciences. Iím looking at a filled up dumpster right now and Iím crying.

(Lights down on Maggie, up on Sarah. Sarah holds a slide counter.)

SARAH: These are slides of where children are at in different stages of human development. For example, here we see the beginnings of tiny little hands andÖ

BLADE: I grew up on those bloody baby pictures. My Ma used to show me those at bedtime. Why donít you tell these people the truth? They heat up their stoves and their woks, and whip out their chopsticks after theyíve hacked their babies up with Ginsu knives. It takes three or four just to feed a family. They take those chopped up babies and marinate them in soy sauce and sugar.

(Lights up on Maggie.)


MAGGIE: Soy sauce and sugar. Thatís what they use. Thereís a shortage of meat. In China. Anyone who has been here will tell you there isnít enough meat to feed all those people. On bicycles. Everywhere. Itís crazy. Iím sure youíve seen the pictures on TV.

(Lights down on Maggie.)


BLADE: They fry them up in ginger and green onions and eat them like steak. And itís a delicacy because the Chinese like their meat soft and tender, and what could be more tender than one of Godís little bundles of joy?

(Lights up on Maggie.)

 
MAGGIE: Thus, we have reported what we have seen when we were in Peking on a mission from God to that heathen place called a hospital clinic. And a special hello to you Reverend Roy, my friend in God.

(Maggie blows Reverend Roy a kiss. Lights down on Maggie.)

 
SARAH: So, youíve all seen these pictures? Next week, weíll have something new. Something better. Goodnight and God bless.

(Sarah flips the slide projector off. A beat as the crowd disperses. Roy, a man in his late twenties who acts much older, approaches Sarah.)

ROY: You really lost it up there.

SARAH: Iím sorry, Reverend, itís just tható

ROY: I know itís gravely disturbing information. But you know those people in China have never known the Lord. They have no history of knowing him, and thatís what happens. Itís Sodom and Gonorrhea all over again.

SARAH: I believe thatís Gomorrah.

ROY: Whichever. God knows what I mean. (Roy gives God a wink.) Donít you, God?

SARAH: I have a problem.

ROY: I know youíre shy but youíll get over it.

SARAH: Iím not really shy. I am, but thatís not my problem.

ROY: No shame there. The Lord says, ďThe meek shall inherit the earth.Ē

SARAH: I feeló

ROY: Iím sure you do.

SARAH: I feel I could benefit from joining Toastmasters.

ROY: Is that a spiritual organization?

SARAH: No, public speaking. They get together and talk, butÖ but

ROY: Yes, but does it edify the Lord?

SARAH: I have a problem.

ROY: Thatís what you said. I heard you.

SARAH: (Blurting) My problem is that I doubt the veracity of the report.

ROY: In plain English?

SARAH: (Blurting) I think the report might not be true.

ROY: Now, that report came from a good sourceóan excellent sourceóone of our sister churchís missionaries whoís spent the last three weeks in China. In Peking. Inspectiní the practices of the hospital clinic cafeteria.

SARAH: (Backing down) Yes, I know, but I find the report difficultÖ to grasp.

ROY: Sarah, how dare you question it?

SARAH: Iíve neverÖ

ROY: What?

SARAH: Questioned anything. Itís just when Maggie sent the tape.

ROY: Yes, Iím listeniní. Iím open-minded. Not so open-minded as Iíd let my brain fall out, but open-minded enough to hear when one of my flock is struggliní with a question of discernment, and is ready to step away from the shepherd, so he might need to call a dog on her.

SARAH: Iím concerned that when Maggie made the reportó

ROY: You speak as if you know her.

SARAH: Letís stick to the report.

ROY: Letís.

SARAH: My concern is that Maggie has a problem with the truth.

ROY: And why do you assume this about someone who has so tirelessly done the Lordís work? That woman has been all over the world spreadiní the gospel.

SARAH: Is that what she told you? God bless her, but she lies sometimes, not always. (Quickly) Itís not that I donít believe sheís a righteous person in Godís eyes.

ROY: How do you know Maggie?

SARAH: I met her a long time ago.

ROY: Did you?

SARAH: Itís been quite awhile. She stole the last boyfriend I ever had. At high school Bible camp. (Under her breath) The floozy.

ROY: So, you wouldnít be surprised to learn that Maggie recommitted her life to the Lord two years ago?

SARAH: I didnít know that, sir.

ROY: And, in fact, has admitted that in the past she had some trouble telliní the truth.

SARAH: I see, so you know about her problem?

ROY: Sometimes even a compulsive liar has to be believed when she comes forth with vital information regarding our Lordís work here on this earth.

SARAH: Yes, I see, IÖ do you know Maggie, Reverend?

ROY: Yes, and I trust every word that spills from her pretty little lips.

SARAH: I see. Her pretty little lips.

ROY: Yes, I, before I married Regina, I had a small time that I spent with Maggie, and her family. It was all above board and I grew to respect her.

SARAH: But Reverend youíve been married to Regina foróhow manyófive years, and it was just two years ago that Maggie recommitted her life to the Lord? Thatís what you said.

ROY: A holiday meal, a little conversation last year, that was all we shared.

SARAH: (Holding back) A holiday meal. Last year. Sounds wonderful.

ROY: Thank God for turkey thatís what I always say.

SARAH: (Beat) I donít always eat, sir. (Silence) I do not always have food.

ROY: Sarah. That canít be true. Surely, the ladies of the cooking ministryÖ

SARAH: The cooking ministry brings food to old people, to families, and the sick. Not the young and single like me. Last April they begrudged me a can of chicken soup for Easter dinner.

ROY: I shall talk to them.

SARAH: Iíve told them that because of my ministry to the people of First Wild Baptist Churchóseventy hours a weekóI am unable to hold a full-time job. But the ladies feel I should provide for myself.

ROY: Well, the ladies are confused, and I shall talk to them.

SARAH: You and your church have no obligation to me.

ROY: Weíre a church family, Sarah.

SARAH: Well, Iím considering putting myself up for adoption.

ROY: Now, Sarah. Where would the sheep be without the gentle proddiní of the shepherdís staff?

(Roy puts his arm around Sarah. His hand drops to her breast.)


SARAH: Donít touch me, Reverend. (Roy lifts his hand.)  I think the reportís disgusting, and I think itís a lie, and I think you, sir, are an adulterous slime bucket. And with my discernment tucked securely in my brain, I hereby resign my position as secretary of the First Wild Baptist Church. I will give no more Monday presentations that talk about things that I have not seen with mine eyes, nor heard with mine ears. And God condemn me if I am wrong for feeling how I feel.
 
ROY: Sarah, you know how much the church appreciates you. Why I thank God for you in my prayers every night.
 
SARAH: How can I sit here week after week listening to these cockamamie lies like theyíre some kind of gospel truth?
 
ROY: Nobody lies here in Godís house. Certainly, MaggieÖ
 
SARAH: Itís not her. Frankly, I donít care what you two have done. Iím not even sure I believe adultery is a sin.
 
ROY: Itís one of the ten commandments, Sarah. We teach the Old Testament here. You know that.
 
SARAH: Thereís a lot Iím not sure I believe. Sir, I have to leave this church and get a real job.
 
ROY: But youíre so shy. I donít see you beiní real aggressive out there.
 
SARAH: Itís my problem, isnít it?
 
ROY: We donít want you to leave, Sarah. First Wild Baptist needs you. Itís needs a secretary with your filiní skills. Your typiní. Your phone voice.
 
SARAH: First Wild Baptist. There ainít nothing wild about this place. I been here, ten years, nothing wild, not for a minute. How many times I got up like tonight and tried to give some speech? Eating fetuses. Reverend, do you know how crazy that is?
 
ROY: Itís the truth, Sarah. The Lord says, ďThe truth shall set you free.Ē
 
SARAH: What do you call somebody who has an abortion? You call them a murderer. Thatís what we call them. We hate them for what they do Ďcause itís wrong.
 
ROY: Well, Iím glad you still understand thatís wrong, but adultery, I mean, Maggieó
 
SARAH: See, thereís only one way to make these women who have abortions really feel like shit.
 
ROY: Youíre in Godís house, Sarah. I remind you to watch your tongue.
 
SARAH: My tongue is in its place, sir. Thereís only one way to make it worse than it already is and that is to say that they eat them. And that, sir, is why Maggie concocted that horrible lie about the Chinese.
 
ROY: Maggie loves the Lord.
 
SARAH: I imagine she loves you.
 
ROY: In the Lord, she does.
 
SARAH: In the Lord. Out of the Lord. She gave you your tidbit for the week. You always need some news about a gay man who had sex with a five year-old, or a liberal teacher who wants to require high school students to read pornographic books. Youó
 
ROY: True things that happened in our town.
 
SARAH: Reverend, have you ever been to China?
 
ROY: Now, thatís notó
 
SARAH: Have you?
 
ROY: No, I have not.
 
SARAH: Neither have I.
 
ROY: That doesnít mean it doesnít happen.
 
SARAH: When I was a little girl my father used to drive us an hour to the next town just to eat Chinese food. Have you ever eaten Chinese food?
 
ROY: Canít say as I have.
 
SARAH: Heíd buy us a big bowl of War Won Ton soup with pieces of pink meat floating around in it that weíd fight over.
 
ROY: Iím sure at that time there were no babies mixed in with the food, if thatís what youíre worried about.
 
SARAH: There was a man there. A Chinese man. Heíd always smile and nod. I donít think he spoke English. He liked us best because my father knew how to say ďhelloĒ in Chinese. The man would run across the restaurant just to hear him say that.
 
ROY: I did not say all the Chinese are bad, or all the Chinese eat their children, but in Peking.
 
SARAH: Itís Beijing! (Beat) See, I left something at the restaurant once. On Christmas Eve. I left my new rabbit ear muffs my grandma gave me. We had to drive back an hour just to get it, and when we got there, the Chinese man had stayed up late, way past 11:00. There he was waiting for us. He gave me my rabbit ear muffs, and his hand touched mineóthe Chinese manóand he smiled, and said the first two words I ever heard him say in English, ďMerry Christmas.Ē
 
ROY: Well, IÖ
 
SARAH: I hereby swear I will never step foot in your church again, and I will eat Chinese food at least once a week, and I may even take a trip to China to try the real thing. (Beat) And hereís a little morsel for you to chew on. If somebodyís eating their young, it certainly isnít the Chinese. Goodbye, Reverend Roy.

(Sarah triumphantly walks past a stunned Roy.)
 
BLACKOUT