JAC Publishing & Promotions
|The Juju Bead Heist by
Charles F.D. Egbert
ACT 1: Several hours after quitting time, on a dark and stormy Christmas Eve.
Place: Tony Valentines office is on a back street, near the river, on the seamy side of Hoboken. Across the front of the stage there is a sidewalk leading from Marys Bar and Grill on one side to a stairs up to Tonys office on the other. Characters enter from the side aisles. Tonys office has a front room where Francine works. She has a desk with an old fashioned typewriter, a telephone, files, and there are coat hooks on the wall. Tonys office has a larger desk with a swivel chair, a telephone and two straight chairs for clients. The décor is Spartan at best. More like dingy. There is a door to a closet and a front window that looks out on the sidewalk. There is also a back window that is lit by a blinking blue neon light from some joint in the alley behind. Marys Bar and Grill has an empty, lonely feeling, like Edward Hoppers Night Hawks. There is a bar with a couple of stools and a telephone. A door opens out to the sidewalk and another leads back into the kitchen. Some cheerless Christmas decorations hang in the window.
It’s Christmas Eve. Tony Valentine, Private Eye, finds out that the world famous Juju Beads disappear on the very same day that Louie (the Rat) Moldino gets out of jail. No surprise there, but who is the socialite with the phony French accent? How do the beads slip through Louie’s fingers? Can Louie restrain Spook from bumping off Tony until he gets the beads back? Why is Moldino asking Mary about Calcutta? Why is Mary so nice after Moldino’s boys swiss-cheesed her husband and dropped him in the river? Will local cop Jerry put Louie back in the slammer? Mr. comes along with plenty of the green stuff, but no one understands him because he doesn’t speak “Engrish”. Will Francine, Tony’s neglected girl Friday, get her share? Will she be loyal to Tony when Louie promises to take her “where it’s warm and the sea is green and we can rest in the shade of the palm trees”? In this play, everyone’s dreams come true… or do they?