Plots and Plans

By Trevor Fletcher


A shopper at a small market is invited to choose between wisdom and get-rich-quick schemes.


Proverbs 1: 8-19


First Stallholder 
First Stallholder’s Assistant
Second Stallholder


(The scene is a market place and centre stage are two market stalls.  One is laden with saucepans but the other is laid out very simply and is not at all eye-catching.  Correspondingly, the first stallholder is loud, raucous and attention-grabbing while the second is quiet and understated.  A shopper wanders between the stalls.  Whenever the shopper goes near the second stall and shows interest the first stallholder launches into a loud and obtrusive sales pitch.)
1st Stallholder: (Fortissimo) PLOTS AND PLANS, LADIES AND GENTS!  QUALITY PLOTS AND PLANS!!  Schemes and scams by the score – get 'em here.
Assistant: Yeah, plots and plans!
1st Stallholder: (Slapping Assistant round the head)  Oi, shuddup, you – I do the shouting.
Assistant: But that's not fair!
1st Stallholder: Course it's fair – it's my stall innit?  Me organ grinder, you monkey.  Just tidy up them saucepans like I told you.
Assistant: But I've tidied them up already!
1st Stallholder: Well tidy them up some more. (Slaps him again)  Cheeky muppet – good job I don’t pay him nothin'.  (Shouts again) I’VE GOT MACHIAVELLIAN MENDACITY, RUTHLESS RUSES, TARTUFFIAN TARADIDDLES AND DEVIOUS DUPLICITY.  I've got humbug, bunkum, boloney, flimflam, eyewash, hogwash and even mouthwash (Looks into one of the saucepans and continues more quietly) tell a lie - I must have sold the last of the mouthwash yesterday. (Shopper approaches the stall)  PLOTS AND PLANS – LOVELY PLOTS AND PLANS!  Mornin' darlin', wot can I do you for?
Shopper: What did you say?
1st Stallholder: I said 'Mornin' darlin', wot can I do you for?' – my little joke you see; 'wot can I do you for' instead of…
Assistant: Yeah, that's right – he says it all the time.
1st Stallholder: Shuddup, Wayne. (Slaps him again)
Shopper: No, what did you say before you said 'Mornin’ darlin'?
1st Stallholder: Before that?  Oh, I get you.  I said 'PLOTS AND PLANS, LADIES AND GENTS!  QUALITY PLOTS AND PLANS!!  Schemes and scams by the score – get 'em here.  I’ve got humbug, bunkum, boloney, flimflam, eyewash, hogwash… well, you get the picture.
Shopper: Er, don’t you mean 'pots and pans'?
1st Stallholder: Wot?
Assistant: Wot?  (Yeah, you’ve guessed it, 1st Stallholder slaps him again)
Shopper: Pots and pans.  I mean, you have a stall full of pots and pans so didn’t you mean 'pots and pans' instead of 'plots and plans'?
1st Stallholder: Oh, I catch yer drift now.  Nah, yer see it ain't the pots and pans wot I'm selling – it's wot's in 'em.
Shopper: I see.  So what is in them?
1st Stallholder: That's wot I've just been saying innit?  Doncher listen darlin'?  Machiavellian Mendacity, Ruthless Ruses, Tartuffian Taradiddles and Devious Duplicity.  Humbug, bunkum… (picks up one of the pans and shows it to the shopper) see, look at that, pure bunkum - boloney, flimflam, eyewash, hogwash.  (Shows another pot)  'Ere, take a butchers at this - lovely innit?
Shopper: (Uncertainly)  Mmm, very nice … er … what is it exactly?
1st Stallholder: Wot is it exactly?  Wot is it she says!  (Nudges Assistant who laughs, earning another slap round the head) Only yer best quality Get Rich Quick, that’s all.  (takes some of the imaginary contents of the pot to the shopper)  'Ere, take a look – go on 'ave a feel.  That's right.  You can feel the quality can't yer?  (shopper drops the phantom handful) 'Ere, steady luv.
Shopper: Sorry – it just sort of … slipped through my fingers.
1st Stallholder: Yeah, Get Rich Quick does tend to slip through your fingers rather doesn't it?  Never mind, no harm done (picks up a dustpan and brush and begins to sweep up the spillage) There, right as rain.  (He waits until the shopper is looking closely at one of the saucepans and then, looking around shiftily, surreptitiously pours the contents of the dustpan back into the saucepan – as the shopper looks up he hastily pretends to be tipping it into a dustbin.  While this is going on the 2nd Stallholder speaks, but only quietly and no one takes any notice.)
2nd Stallholder: Father's instruction.  Mother's teaching.
Shopper: This does all sound very tempting and exciting but how much does it cost?
1st Stallholder: Cost?  Cost!?  (Laughs)  Now wot got it into your pretty head that I would charge you for all this lovely gear?
Assistant: Yeah, lovely gear (another slap round the head)
Shopper: So, it's free then.
1st Stallholder: (Slightly defensively) In a manner of speaking, yes.
Shopper: And what manner of speaking would that be?
1st Stallholder: Well, see, this stall's sort of a co-operative, if yer catch my meaning.  CPP, I call it - Common Purse Policy.  You just leave yer purse wiv me and then, when you want any Get Rich Quick or Instant Fix or maybe a spot of Payback Revenge, all you 'ave to do is pop down to me and 'elp yerself.  Wot could be simpler – apart from Wayne, of course?
Assistant: Yeah, wot could be simpler?
1st Stallholder: See what I mean? (slap!)
Shopper: So you get to keep all the money then?
1st Stallholder: (Not liking the drift of the conversation) PLOTS AND PLANS, LADIES AND GENTS!  QUALITY PLOTS AND PLANS!!  SCHEMES AND SCAMS BY THE SCORE – GET 'EM HERE.  (Shopper looks pained at the sudden noise and covers her ears.  She walks away towards the second stall.)  Suit yerself, luv – don't know a good thing when yer see one.
2nd Stallholder: (quietly as shopper approaches) Father's Instruction. Mother's Teaching.  Wise words without money and without price.  Morning sweetheart, what can I get you?  Nice bit of Father's Instruction?
Shopper: Well, I’m not sure.
2nd Stallholder: What's the matter luv, don’t you like Father's Instruction?
Shopper: No, it's not that – I'm sure Father's Instruction is all very fine in principle – it's just … well… Put it this way, if you met my Father you'd understand!  (This may need to be dropped – it's in there for a laugh because the author first played 1st Stallholder and Shopper was his daughter)
2nd Stallholder: I see – well how about some Mother's Teaching then?  Selling like hot cakes this morning, that is.
Shopper: Really?
2nd Stallholder: No, not really – haven’t had a customer all morning as it happens.
Shopper: Actually that's just what I was looking for.
2nd Stallholder: What, Mother's Teaching?
Shopper: No, hot cakes.  You haven't got any have you?
2nd Stallholder: Fraid not – try the stall down the end – Mr Kipling.  He sells a lot of cakes.
Shopper: Are they any good?
2nd Stallholder: Oh, yes.  Makes exceedingly good cakes, Mr Kipling.
Shopper: Really?
2nd Stallholder: No, not really, they’re 'orrible.  Now, how about some of that Mother's Teaching before you go?
Shopper: I don't know.  What does it do?
2nd Stallholder: It's all explained in this instruction book (holds up a Bible) and Mother's Teaching helps you on the way to wisdom…(1st Stallholder starts to interrupt with his next line here but 2nd stallholder continues – getting drowned out) You see it's by listening to good advice that true wisdom comes – not by plots and plans.
Shopper: You know, those plots and plans are all rather tempting.  Sorry, you were saying?
2nd Stallholder: I was just saying that true wisdom comes…
2nd Stallholder: …true wisdom comes…
1st Stallholder: RUTHLESS RUSES!!
2nd Stallholder: (Pauses, looking across at 1st Stallholder to make sure he has finished.  1st Stallholder is looking as though butter would not melt in his mouth)  I was saying, true wisdom comes…
1st Stallholder: HUMBUG!!
2nd Stallholder: (Pause and look at 1st Stallholder) I was just…
1st Stallholder: BUNKUM!!
2nd Stallholder: I was just…
1st Stallholder: ALL FRESH TODAY! GET 'EM HERE!!
Shopper: This is ridiculous – we can't talk with that going on.  Let's move over here where it's a bit quieter (They move to the end of the stall furthest away from 1st Stallholder)….That's better.  Now, what were you saying?
 (Unseen by either of them 1st Stallholder edges up the end of his stall)
2nd Stallholder: I was just explaining true wisdom.  It's all in this book.  (Opens the Bible) It says here that wisdom comes from listening to wise advice from people like….
Shopper: Just a minute.  (Walks over to 1st Stallholder, picks up one of his saucepans and hits him over the head with it.  He collapses in a heap and Shopper begins to walk off stage)
Assistant: 'Ere, you can’t do that…  (Shopper returns and hits him over the head with a saucepan as well then walks off stage saying angrily as she goes.)
Shopper: How can I do the right thing with all these distractions?
1st Stallholder: (Rises groggily to his feet, then weakly)  Plots and plans!
Copyright Trevor Fletcher, all rights reserved.
This script may be used without royalty payment, provided no charge is made for entrance to the performance. In return, the author would like to be told of any performance. He may be contacted at: