A Collector of Fine Things

By Stan Peal


This sketch follows a thief through a few of his robberies until he is arrested and crucified next to a very familiar man. He hears the words of Jesus throughout his career, but doesn’t really listen until it’s too late.


The Bandit
The Soldier/Man in Bed
Voice offstage


(The BANDIT, a very personable, slightly manic fellow -enters the stage and addresses the audience directly)

BANDIT. I enjoy collecting fine things. Soon, I’m going to have quite a collection. I’d like to retire in a few years, so I can fully enjoy all the fine things I’ve collected. (Crouches and stalks across the stage)

Usually, I enter somebody’s home while they’re away. My theory is, if they didn’t take it on their trip, it must not be that important to them (laughs) so I just help myself. One time, I was in a lovely home collecting some very beautiful pottery. I planned on selling most of it to a gentleman I know at the market place, but some of the pieces were just…stunning. I decided to keep some of them for myself. Decorate my foyer. Impress the ladies. (Laughs)

I was near the window, and normally I would hear the usual outside noises, people clamoring up and down the street, loud bartering and haggling from the market areas, the general din of animal noises, a constant stream of collected noise flowing in through the window. But this time…it was almost silent. Except for a single voice. A compelling voice. Now, as a rule, I never go near the window while I’m working. But I just had to see what was going on out there. Quite a crowd was gathered around this one man. Not a very remarkable looking man. Not every well dressed. He looked…a little weathered. Like a vagabond. But his words…his words were enthralling. He weaved tale after tale, story after story. He was very subtle. Of course the crowd was pretty oafish as you might expect. He had to frequently stop and explain the moral so the thick townsfolk could keep up with him. Idiots. Aside from that minor annoyance, his stories were…eloquent…

VOICE. …God said to him, “ You fool!” This very night your life is being demanded of you. All the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves, but are not rich toward God.

BANDIT. You know what? He’s absolutely right. Rich people are fools! (Laughs) But I don’t want to criticize my bread and butter. Although it sometimes amazes me how much I can get away with, almost as if some people have this deep, secret desire to robbed. I do so love to collect fine things. Soon, I’m going to have quite a collection. I’d like to retire in a few years, so I can fully enjoy all the fine things I’ve collected.

(A Man enters with a blanket and lays on a bench or elevated surface center stage as if asleep in a bed)

I remember entering a very tastefully decorated home one evening, I had watched it all day and there was no activity whatsoever, so I entered and I took this trinket and that bauble and I suddenly realized as I got closer to the bed, there was somebody sleeping in it. Snoring like a corpulent hog. My first thought was, “How careless of me! This fellow’s been here this whole time! I could have been caught!” And then I thought, “what a lazy fool. Sleeping all day and all evening and not even stirring as I collect his most valued possessions. He deserved…no, no, no, he was begging to be robbed blind! So I obliged him! (Laughs)  I was sneaking toward a shelf next to the window, full of sparkling ornaments and jewels. And as I got closer to the window, I heard that voice again. I carefully looked outside and there he was.

VOICE. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

BANDIT. (looks at the man in bed) Right outside the window, the storyteller was issuing warnings about not getting robbed, and there I was…(Laughs) I shivered at the irony, the beautiful, sublime irony of it. It was like poetry. It was wildly invigorating. I picked that house clean. I left nothing that night (Snickering) I even managed to take the very blanket that covered that lazy swine (slowly peels the blanket off the Man in Bed) as he snored away, totally oblivious! What a fantastic night that was. (The man in bed takes the blanket back and drapes it over himself like a toga and puts a hand on the shoulder of the bandit)

But you know, nothing lasts forever. I suppose I got careless. They got me. And those Romans are mean. I mean I’ve been reprimanded by the local authority but Romans certainly do not like getting robbed. But you know, government officials are so reactionary; they couldn’t just jail me or have me pay a fine.

(The soldier walks the bandit across the stage as if being brought to trial). I had to be made an example of, hung out for all to see, crucified with the rest of those common dregs, the petty dross, the rejects of humanity (sounding a little desperate) I mean I broke the law, but I’m really just a very tasteful person who likes to collect fine things. (The soldier gets a chair and brings it to center) soon, I’m going to have quite a collection. I’d like to retire in a few years, so I can fully enjoy all the fine things I’ve collected. (The soldier helps the bandit up onto the chair with arms wrenched over as if being crucified. The soldier exits) Don’t crucify me; don’t hang me next to those disgusting, common, filthy… (smiling) and then, irony smiled upon me again. I looked at he fellow next to me…and it was the storyteller! What on earth was he doing here?

VOICE.  (in different harsh voices) why don’t you save yourself huh? If you’re suppose to be the son of God why don’t you just come down off of that cross, huh? What’s the matter? I thought you were the King of the Jews! The Son of God!

BANDIT. (snickering) Son of God? King of the Jews? The poor man! I didn’t know they were crucifying people for being crazy now! (Laughs) Well, crazy or not, I wanted to thank him. I wanted to tell him how his stories had inspired me. I looked into his eyes. (Pause) it was like looking into…eternity. The pit of my stomach opened up and everything around me began to go black as I looked into those eyes and realized what his stories actually meant. (He begins to laugh) Now that’s irony! (Laughs as if going insane. Laughter subsides as the soldier crosses the stage. The soldier’s blanket or wrap is different than before) Hey soldier. Nice garments. That looks like a real high grade weave. How much did it set you back?

SOLDIER. I won it gambling over there.

BANDIT. Yeah, but what did it cost you?

SOLDIER. I told you, it was free. I won it.

BANDIT.  Everything I’ve ever gotten has been free. I’ve never paid a single gerah…whatever I wanted, I just took. But you know what? It’s cost me  everything. It cost me everything! (Laughs hysterically. As the soldier begins talking, the laugh fades and the Bandit slowly walks off stage.)

SOLDIER. I won it. I enjoy collecting fine things. Soon, I’m going to have quite a collection. I’d like to retire in a few years, so I can fully enjoy all the fine things I’ve collected. (exits)

************************* Copyright Information*************************
Although this sketch is available at no charge, copyright and ownership are still held by
Stan Peal. Please credit authorship to Stan Peal or Excelsior Midwest Publishing on all
appropriate Publicity. Use of this material is intended for non-profit organizations or
individuals seeking to entertain for the purposes of ministry, outreach or non-profit
fundraising. Or just for fun. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to…