Joan of Arcadia
The Devil Made Me Do It

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God Told Me To

At school, Joan spots Adam in the hall, shoulder-deep in a recycling bin, scrounging around. Hope his tetanus shots are up to date. He yanks out a pop can and asks her, gesturing to a chain of metal pull-tabs hanging from the string of his hoodie, "You ever seen anything like this before?" Joan says she has, and that she needs to talk to him about his art show entry. He asks where she saw it, and she explains. Adam meant the pull-tab chain. She says irritably, "Every kid makes necklaces out of those." Adam's dumsquizzled. She asks if he's reconsidered entering the art show. Adam's still stuck on the pull-tab chain: "What? I thought I invented this." Aw. She grabs him by the arm and pulls him into the middle of the hall, saying, "Adam, forget about the soda pop necklace, okay? Art show, art show, art show!" She gestures vehemently with an upraised hand, which Adam imitates, asking, "Art show, art...so wait, why don't you want me to enter?" Joan, who clearly hasn't thought this through very far, wonders, "What would be a good reason?" He replies, "If my piece blew chunks..." She assures him that's not the case. Adam folds his arms and regards her more skeptically as she stumbles over an explanation that his work is too avant-garde: "This whole thing is basically very high school." Adam, looking slightly hurt and slightly pissed: "You think my art stinks." She insists again that that's not so. He says, "I thought you got my work. I thought you liked it." Joan says, "I do! I do like it! No. I do like it. That's why, you know...I want to buy it." She declares that she wants him to take it out of the show so she can buy it. Adam: "Unchallenged?" She asks how much. He says he'll give it to her -- after the show. He starts to walk away, and she grabs him back again, asking what the big deal is. He explains, "Chah, Jane, there's gallery owners and then there's buyers and there's judges and the papers. There's not very many things I have the chance to win and this is one of them, so I'd like that...and so would my dad. And...so would my mom...if she were here." Now Joan feels shitty, as she should. Adam adds, "So I want to win." He goes back to scrounging in the recycling bin while Joan watches from down the hall. Why didn't she use the argument about protecting his gift from Price? That would have been the strongest argument. That's really bugging me.

Joan goes back to the empty auditorium and starts wheeling a dolly toward Adam's sculpture. She's surprised by a security guard, who asks if she's trying to steal the sculpture. Joan claims she's not stealing it: "The artist said I could have it." The guard says nothing while he looks at her with extreme skepticism. Joan holds out her wrists and says, "You know, you'd make my life a lot easier if you just arrested me right now and took me to jail." He replies, "You want to lift something that heavy, you need help." Joan says, after a moment's thought: "Or maybe you could help me. That's what people say, right? I mean, 'God, help me.'" He says, "I take more of an advisory role in our work together." Translation: God doesn't do menial labour. She complains that Adam won't withdraw the piece from the show, and it's too big to steal by herself: "I'm out of ideas!" He tells her to think harder. She asks, "Are we afraid that Adam won't win, and this is gonna break his heart? Or maybe, maybe someone's going to trip over it and then try to sue the school." Security Guard God says, "I like the way you're beginning to consider the results and ramifications of our work together." He tells her to turn the lights off when she leaves.

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Joan of Arcadia

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