BEN. Margaret? Have you seen the…What are you doing?
BEN. What’s that taped to your forehead?
MARGARET. It’s a rose petal (she hands it to him) It was blessed by a tear of the Virgin Mary appearing in a stack of tires east of the Indianapolis 500 raceway.
BEN. Does it still work if it’s laminated to a piece of cardboard?
MARGARET. Have you seen a blue cloth?
MARGARET. I don’t remember where I left it…maybe next to the couch.
BEN. (Pulls it out of his pocket) Is this it?
MARGARET. (She grabs it) Yes!
BEN. I blew my nose in it.
MARGARET. (She drops it) BEN! That was imported from the Middle East! Every third thread was woven from cotton growing in a field directly south of the tomb of Jesus, and it was prayed over by a direct descendant of one of the shepherds at Bethlehem, a goat herder named Achmed. You’re suppose to crumple it up and pray into it., and whatever you pray for is suppose to rain down from the heavens onto you. AND YOU BLEW YOUR NOSE IN IT?!
BEN. Wow. What do you suppose is going to rain down from the heavens onto me?
MARGARET. I don’t believe you.
BEN. What’s all the praying for, anyway?
MARGARET. You’ll laugh.
BEN. No I won’t. What are you praying for?
MARGARET. You’re going to laugh.
BEN. No I won’t.
MARGARET. You promise you won’t laugh?
BEN. I promise.
MARGARET. I’m praying that Joe Larson will ask me to the Prom. (BEN laughs) I’m never telling you anything again.
BEN. I’m sorry…
MARGARET. You know, just because he’s a football player and all that doesn’t mean he’s too good for me. There’s nothing wrong with me, he could ask me out, it could happen.
BEN. I know, I know, I’m sorry, I’m not laughing because of that, it’s just…if you want to go with him so bad, why don’t you ask him? It’s 2002, come on…
MARGARET. No. No, I’ve asked a guy out before, it just felt too…pushy, I don’t know. I just don’t feel good about it. And I'm scared.
BEN. Well, I’m gong over to his house later, do you want me to mention you?
MARGARET. No way, are you kidding? You’re my brother, that’s ridiculous…could you? No, don’t. Well…go ahead. No! Forget it! Well…
BEN . It’s probably a little more practical than your plastic rose petal and the magic prayer Kleenex whatever thing.
MARGARET. Ooh! That reminds me! Sister Edna is on! (She grabs the remote and sits on the couch)
BEN. You’ve been watching Sister Edna?
MARGARET. Sure. Why not?
BEN. Sister Edna and her Amazing Polyester Revival?
MARGARET. She’s not so bad. And if she reads your prayer request on the air, it gets answered.
BEN. It does, huh?
MARGARET. Yeah, the only thing is, you have to send in the minimum donation to get it mentioned.
BEN. You sent money to her? That’s crazy. This is crazy.
MARGARET. No, it happens. People give testimonials on the air.
BEN. (As they watch TV) What about Clyde Feznick?
MARGARET. Clyde Feznick?
BEN. Yeah, what if he asked you to prom? I happen to know that he likes you.
MARGARET. Well…Clyde’s okay I guess. Although he kind of reminds me of a…I don’t know, a rodent.
BEN. Yeah, he is kind of a rodent. But in a nice kind of way.
MARGARET. Yah, but…Joe has such a nice car. Clyde Feznic rides a green ten-speed, and he’s always ringing that bell. I just can’t picture going to Prom riding in the basket.
BEN. To tell you the truth. I don’t think he has the courage to actually pick up the phone and ask somebody out.
MARGARET. You got that right. That would be a miracle.
BEN. Hey, there you go. A miracle. If Clyde actually asks you to Prom, you can take that as a sign from God that all this rose petal hanky, Televangelist hoo-ha is a big waste of time.
MARGARET. No it’s not, you just have to know how to pray the right way, and you get what you want.
BEN. It doesn’t work that way.
MARGARET. Well, how do you pray?
BEN. I don’t know, I just…I just talk to God.
MARGARET. Where? When?
BEN. Wherever I happen to be…whenever I feel like it.
MARGARET. Do you get what you want?
BEN. I don’t know…
MARGARET. What do you mean, you don’t know? Either you do or you don’t.
BEN. But it’s not like that. I mean, when I start to pray, I usually want something. But while I’m talking to God, I start to think about all the stuff I already have. I usually feel pretty lucky about what I’ve got, and I sort of forget about what I was asking for. Things just feel like they’re…more in perspective, like I know what’s important and what’s not. I don’t know if I get what I want. But I always get what I need.
MARGARET. (Suddenly riveted to TV) Ooh! It’s at the part where she talks about the prayer requests! (She turns up the volume on the remote).
SISTER EDNA. (Voice over)…and we're going to pray real hard for those new hair plugs, Theodore, you won’t have to wear that hat much longer, praise be, and look at this, we have a prayer request from a Margaret Taylor up in Minnesota, asking for a special prayer for a certain football player with a red two-door Saab. We’re praying for you Margaret, and remember, every dollar you donate to Sister Edna is fully tax deductible.
MARGARET. (Mutes the TV with the remote) She read it! She read it! He’s going to ask me to Prom. I knew it! Well, Mr. Know-it-all, there it is.
BEN. There what is? You paid her, so she read your postcard.
MARGARET. You are so cynical.
BEN. Margaret, don’t get your hopes up…
(Mom enters sleepily as if she’d just been napping)
MOM. Oh, there you are. Didn’t you hear the phone ringing?
BEN. No we were deeply enthralled by Sister Edna’s prophesy.
MARGARET. Who’s on the phone?
MOM. Joe Larson
MOM. He wants to talk to BEN. (to BEN) He wants to know if you have Jenny Anderson’s phone number.
MARGARET. (Shrinks) Oh.
BEN. (Getting up) Don’t worry, they’re just Biology partners. They have a lab test tomorrow. (Puts his hand on her shoulder) Relax, I’ll talk to him, okay?
MOM. Why are you watching Sister Edna?
MARGARET. I have no idea.
MOM. Well, why don’t you turn it off? I’ll have supper ready in a minute. By the way, someone called earlier, while you were out. Clyde Feznick? I left his number by the phone. He says he’s got something important to ask you. (exits)
MARGARET. (Looks sternly at the television) I want my money back. (She turns off the TV with the remote and exits)
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