(precursor to Follow the Lights)
By Kenny Blade
Oscar is retiring and selling his garage. An encounter with Ranelli Manneli helps him to realise there is a bigger purpose ahead.
"garage" - store front
(Scene opens with Ranelli whistling and singing to himself and carrying a small folding table and a drawstring bag of fruit over his shoulder. He has a sign that hangs on the front of the table that reads very crudely "Used Fruit"…)
Ranelli: (Singing to himself) I'm justa love machine, and I dunna work for nobody butta you (points upward as he sings) (talking to himself) … ahhh, you picka one beautiful spot Ranelli… this issa perfecto… (clears his throat in comic fashion) me-me-me-me… Ahem… (loudly) Used Fruit! Used Fruit! Come anna getta yu used fruit… Lilla bruised here anna dere… Taste so good you wonna care… Used Fruit! Used Fruit! Some dey say this fruit is bad… Dissa fruit da bess you ever had… (As he keeps talking to the audience, Oscar comes in from stage right and begins to unlock the gate without immediately noticing Ranelli. Ranelli continues) Dis fruit issa juicy… you gonna love it… (looking at audience) you lika to eat fruit? (holds up a brown banana) My favorite is da banana… (Oscar turns and looks at Ranelli as if he has just noticed him. Ranelli continues) You dunna have to worry about my fruit being green… no itsa plenty ripe…
Oscar: (Gently taps him on the shoulder - Ranelli jumps back startled) May I help you, Mr….
Ranelli: (Smiles) Manelli… the name is Ranelli Manelli! How do you do sir? (bows and removes his hat)
Oscar: I'm fine, Mr. Manelli.
Ranelli: Pleesa, calla me Ranelli.
Oscar: Ok… Ranelli. I was wondering what you were doing here in front of my garage.
Ranelli: (apologetically- looks around and appears to notice for the first time he is in front of Oscar's garage) Ohhh… Imma sorry, sir! (begins to pack up fruit) I'ma blocking your garage… I'll mova my fruit stand downa the street.
Oscar: (stops him) Ranelli. It's OK.! You are welcome to sell your fruit here.
Ranelli: (Smiling and putting fruit back on the table) You ara very kind sir! I wonna be in the way at all. I could move somewhere else, but this is just a beautiful spot for my fruit.
Oscar: Please, Ranelli. Call me Oscar.
Ranelli: (Looks behind Oscar and sees a sign hanging) Hey! Oscar! Jus lika de sign! You must be the owner of dissa fine garage! You gotta real nice place.
Oscar: Thank you Ranelli. This has been my garage for the last 40 years. (sighs) I have a lot of really great memories here. God has really blessed me with this old garage. (looking sad)
Ranelli: Mr. Oscar, If you donna mind me saying so, you looka really sad. Like a lilla kid eating a spinach ice cream or something. Maybe you have a piece of fruit, eh?
Oscar: (smiles taking the fruit) Thank you. I didn't mean to sound so downhearted. I guess I was just thinking about all the wonderful times I've had here.
Ranelli: Itsa Ok, Mr. Oscar. Even Ranelli gets a lilla sad sometimes.
Oscar: (surprised) That's a surprise to hear you say that. You don't seem like a person who ever gets sad Ranelli.
Ranelli: Oh sure, Mr. Oscar! I know I looka like I gotta the greatest life, what with my successful fruit business here and all, buta you didn't know me before.
Oscar: Actually Ranelli, I didn't know you before 5 minutes ago.
Ranelli: Datsa Right! You wouldna known me before I meet the owner ofa my fruit business. My boss, he changa my life!
Oscar: Your boss changed your life? He sounds like a pretty great man. Does he live here in the city?
Ranelli: Oh, He isn't just a great man, He issa da greatest of all. He lives here inna my heart! He issa my Lord and Saviour. His name issa Jesus Christ!
Oscar: (smiling) Ranelli, We have something in common. Jesus is my Lord and Saviour also.
Ranelli: (laughing) Oh, datsa great, Mr. Oscar, dat makes us brothers. (Hugs Oscar) We are both inna the family of God!
Oscar: Yes, I guess we are family. (Pauses) I was thinking, Ranelli. It doesn't look like either of us are very busy this morning, and since we are family, how would you like to have a cup of coffee with me? I'd like to hear more about the man who calls himself Ranelli Manelli!
Ranelli: (rubbing his chin) Mr. Oscar, I thinka that would be very nice!
Oscar: (motioning for Ranelli to enter the garage) Come in and I'll brew up a good pot and you can tell me how you got into the Used Fruit business.
Ranelli: (Smiling and picking up 2 apples, bananas, etc…) That soundsa great! I'll bringa soma my bessa fruit for us to eat!
(Both men leave and enter the garage.)
(Scene opens with Oscar and Ranelli back out front on stools sipping coffee.)
Ranelli: (Obviously finishing a story) … So then she saysa to me she says, "Younga man, you ara da reason my hair issa white asa Santa Clossesa beard!"
Oscar: (shaking his head) Ranelli, it sounds like you gave your mother and father a lot of trouble as a child. It's really fortunate that you found Christ. How old were you when you asked Jesus to forgive your sins and come and live in your heart?
Ranelli: (head hangs momentarily) Oh, Mr. Oscar, I wish I coulda tell you I got saved as a lilla boy. I'm afraid I didn't learn about Jesus until I wassa grown up. For a longa time, I lived a life that makesa me very sad. My mother wassa always telling me that Jesus he lova me, but I never hear her until I hadda made a really bigga mess of my life! I wish a thousand times that I hadda listen to my mother and liva for Jesus as a lilla boy.
Oscar: I'm curious Ranelli. What made you finally believe that Jesus loved you?
Ranelli: (smiling broadly) I'll be happy to tella you!(stands very dramatically) There I wassa… living onna the street. I hadda no friends… I was ashamed to go back to my mother and father… I hadda been doing bad things and now I wassa all alone…
Oscar: (Obviously caught up in the story) Like the prodigal son in the bible. That must have been terrible, Ranelli!
Ranelli: (nodding his head emphatically) Oh, yessa Mr. Oscar…I wassa what you call a prodigal… It wassa terrible… It was a specially cold night anda it had started snowing… I wassa cold and hungry and wet…
Oscar: (wide eyed) It's a wonder you didn't freeze to death…
Ranelli: Yes, it wassa miracle that I didna turn into a Poppa-sicle! (shivers) Anyways, there I was… curled uppa behind this dumpster behind a bigga warehouse cryina lika baby. Just as I was about to freeza to death, this man came ana he shook me!
Oscar: A police officer?
Ranelli: A truck driver!
Oscar: A truck driver?
Ranelli: Yessa, Mr. Oscar. He wassa delivering a load of fruit to the warehouse and had comma to the dumpster to throw away hissa Burger King cup! He saw me laying there all cold and alone and asked me if I wassa Ok. I thinka God send him asa my angel. You thinka that sounds crazy?
Oscar: Not at all! My Pastor says that we are God's hands and feet here on earth. He uses us to reach out to others so that He can show His love to them. No, Ranelli, I don't think that's crazy at all. (Pats Ranelli on the knee) Tell me what happened next.
Ranelli: Well, thisa truck driver he asks me to comma into the warehouse and get warm ana he gives me a two bananas and a cup of coffee, lika you did Mr. Oscar. He gets me a blanket out of hissa big truck. Then he asks me a question I'll never forget. He aska me if I have Jesus inna my heart!
Oscar: So the truck driver was a Christian…. What did you say…
Ranelli: I'm afraid I didna say nothing. I jusa hang my head cause I know I had done a lot of terrible things… I just knew Jesus wouldn't want someone like me as a Christian.
Oscar: But Ranelli, surely you knew that Jesus loves us no matter what we have done. He wants us to admit to Him all the terrible things we have done and ask forgiveness. We must do that before we can ask Him to live in our hearts. The great thing is, he wants to forgive us and nothing we have done is too big for him to forgive.
Ranelli: You are right, Mr. Oscar. Only I didna know that before that night. I was afraid I hadda just been too bad. The truck driver explained to me jusa like you said how I could ask forgiveness for my sins and ask Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. I gotta down ona my knees that very minute and prayed to Jesus.
Oscar: Was it hard? Praying I mean.
Ranelli: It wassa at first. Then the truck driver tells me he says praying to Jesus doesna have to be real fancy. He said we can talk to Him like a lilla child would talk to Jesus. (smiling) Froma that day on, I wassa new man.
Oscar: The Bible does say that when we are saved we become a brand new creation.
(pauses) Ranelli, you have a wonderful testimony.
Ranelli: Oh, Mr. Oscar, thatsa not where the story ends. That very night, Jesus sava my soul, but he also giva me my new purpose in life. He issa the reason Ima selling the Used Fruit today.
Oscar: To be honest Ranelli, I was going to ask you why it is that you sell this fruit. Don't take this wrong (holds up banana for audience to see) but this isn't exactly the freshest fruit I have ever seen.
Ranelli: Oh, thissa fruit, itsa perfecto! God teach me a lesson in this fruit.
Oscar: I'm afraid I don't understand.
Ranelli: You see, Mr. Oscar, as I wassa sitting in that warehouse watching the men unload the fruit, I notice how they would look inna the crates and take out all of the fruit that hadda been bruised or was a little old.
Oscar: What were they doing with the old and bruised fruit?
Ranelli: They were throwing it away. The funny thing is, as I looka at that fruit I think of how itsa just like me?
Oscar: Forgive me, Ranelli, but how are you like an over ripe banana?
Ranelli: Itsa not just me. Itsa all of us. You see, Just like the brown spots and bruises on the fruit, all of us are not so perfect. It made me think about how God found something special in me. I think selling this fruit is like giving it a new start, just lika Jesus did for me!
Oscar: New starts. (Pauses) Ranelli, I thank God for bringing you and your Used Fruit into my life. He sent you to me today.
Ranelli: I'm not sure whata you mean.
Oscar: Earlier today you noticed I was sad.
Ranelli: You looka happy now, Mr. Oscar.
Oscar: That's because of your testimony to me Ranelli.
Ranelli: How dida my testimony maka you smile again, Mr. Oscar?
Oscar: I was sad because this is my last day in business. I am retiring and I have sold this old garage. I was feeling like my purpose in life was coming to a close. Now I realize that just like you and your fruit, God is just giving me a brand new start. When God led me to retire, he knew already that He has something special for my life. He sent you to show me that I can trust Him with my future even if I don't know exactly what he wants me to do next.
Ranelli: It's lika you said, Mr. Oscar. We are his hands and feet.
Oscar: (Hugs Ranelli) Yes, Ranelli. Hands and feet. ( Looks into his cup) Ranelli, I feel like another cup of coffee… and one of your used bananas… how about you?
Ranelli: Soundsa good, Mr. Oscar, soundsa good…. (both walk into the garage)
Copyright Kenny Blade Productions, all rights reserved.
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