THE NIGHT OWL RADIO MYSTERY THEATRE |
(SCRIPT FOR EPISODE # 2)
"Shopping For Murder"
Written by James M. Sedgwick
©1998 by James M. Sedgwick
(MUSIC: NIGHT OWL RMT THEME BEGINS, and HOLD UNDER FOR FOLLOWING BIT)
NIGHT OWL: Good evening. Unable to sleep? Then why don't you join me? I am your host, The Night Owl, and this is The Night Owl Radio Mystery Theatre.
(MUSIC: Builds to five stinging chords then OUT)
NIGHT OWL: Welcome. Have you ever purchased an item, then took it home, only to discover that it wasn't quite what you expected? Of course you have. We all have. What about those purchases that turned out to be more than just a little surprising? For instance, what would you do if you had bought something that wasn't meant for you to buy? A purchase that turned out to be so startling that it caused you to hurry back to the shop with it, to discover precisely where the item came from. This evening's drama deals with such a consumer and such an item. Let's discover what happens as we listen to tonight's radio mystery... (Ominous Music Begins) "Shopping For Murder".
(MUSIC: Ominous Theme Builds to five stinging chords then fades out)
(SOUND: of a shop door opening and closing. Followed by footsteps over a wood floor)
LADY (Relieved): Thank Goodness you're still open! I was afraid you would have been closed by now!
(SOUND: of footsteps OUT)
MAN (Grumbling): I will be in a few minutes. (Apologetic) Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't know was you.
(SOUNDS: OF A THUNDERSTORM- WHICH CONTINUES UNTIL THE END OF THE PLAY)
LADY (surprised): You remember me?
MAN: Of course lady. You're one of our regulars aren't you?
LADY (Pleased): Why, yes I am. Thank you for noticing.
MAN: Please forgive my manner towards you a minute ago. It's been a rough day. One nutty customer after another.
LADY: Think nothing of it. I'm a waitress, so I know how you feel when it comes to crazy clientele.
MAN: What can I do for you ma-am?
LADY (Anxious): You're not the owner by any chance, are you?
MAN: No ma-am. I'm not. Why? Is there something I could help you with?
LADY: That depends. (At her wits end) Ohhhhh....This whole situation is so...unnatural!
MAN (Puzzled): Ma-am?
LADY (Nervous): I didn't know what to do at first. Calling the authorities was out. They'd more than likely question my sanity. Who knows, maybe I am crazy!
MAN: Are you alright ma-am? You're starting to scare me!
LADY: You will be scared once you've heard this.
(SOUND: of fumbling with audio cassette)
MAN ( A little surprised): An audio cassette?
LADY: It's more than just an ordinary cassette as you will soon find out. Why don't you lock the door first though.
MAN (Taken aback): Ma-am?
LADY: Before we're interrupted. You said you were closing anyway.
MAN (Sighs): Oh, very well.
(SOUND: Of him walking to the door, locking it and walking back again)
MAN: Now, what is this all about?
LADY: Do you see this cassette?
MAN: Of course I see it. You've already showed it to me ma-am. What about it?
LADY: Well I bought it here just the other day and...
MAN (Interrupting her): Look lady, if this is a return, you will have to come back next week when the owner returns from his vacation.
LADY: No I don't want to return it. (Hesitates) I....
MAN (Trying to get her continue so he can get the heck out of there!): You what?
LADY: I bought it here the other day, took it home and played in my cassette deck, and...
MAN: Was it defective?
LADY: No...not really....
MAN: Then what is wrong with it? Obviously there is something the matter with it, or you wouldn't have brought it back. (Horrified) It wasn't blank, was it?
LADY: No...It has something on it.
MAN: What do you mean?
LADY: It's hard to explain. Do you have a tape deck?
MAN: Yes. Why?
LADY: If I could play the cassette for you, perhaps then you would know what I mean.
MAN (Patiently): Certainly ma-am.
(SOUND: Inserting a cassette in to a cassette player)
MAN: This is most unusual...
LADY: If you think this is unusual, wait until you hear that tape.
MAN: Well..here we go...
(SOUND: A cassette player is turned on, and a cassette hiss is heard through out following bit)
LADY: Is it running?
MAN: Of course ma-am.
LADY (Puzzled): This doesn't make any sense!
MAN (Concerned): What's the matter?
LADY: It was there on the tape!
MAN: What was?
LADY: The murder plot!
MAN (Surprised): Murder plot?! What are you talking about?
LADY (Irritated): There was a murder plot on that tape!
MAN: Are you serious?!
LADY (Angry): Of course I am! Someone is going to be murdered!
MAN: Alright. Calm down.
(SOUND: of recorded static is abruptly cut off)
LADY (Alarmed): Why did you shut it off?
MAN: Because I want to know what's going on here.
LADY (To the point of hysteria): I've already told you!
MAN: In full detail?
LADY (Sighs): Alright. I suppose I have been a little bit vague about it all.
MAN: A little? (After a short pause) You said you heard a murder plot on that tape.
LADY: That's right.
MAN: What did you mean?
LADY (Emphatically): Someone was plotting a murder on that tape!
MAN (Chuckles): You can't be serious?
LADY (Angry): It's not funny!
MAN (Embarrassed): Sorry.
LADY (Gives a nervous laugh): That's alright. I suppose it does sound a little silly, doesn't it? Especially when there's no proof. I don't know how that cassette ended up being blanked out. It just doesn't make any sense....Oh, well, I'm sorry I bothered you. Goodnight.
MAN: Hey, wait a minute.
MAN: Well, ah....what did you want me to do about this anyway? Surely this is a matter for the authorities.
LADY (Reasoning): The authorities would only laugh at me, like you did! Or worse! They'd probably think I was nuts and call the boys with the straight jackets!
MAN (Chuckles): You have to admit, it does sound odd. (Politely) Well, what do you want me to do?
LADY: Could you track down the dealer where you got that tape from?
MAN (Incredulous): Track down the dealer?!
LADY: Yes. You must have a record of them somewhere on your computer!
MAN: What would that accomplish?
LADY: Perhaps if we can find who put out the tape, then maybe we can discover who is going to be murdered and quite possibly stop the crime before it happens!
MAN: What makes you so certain it was a recent murder plot?
LADY (Irritated): Because today's date was mentioned on the tape, that's why!
MAN (Stunned): WHAT?! Are you sure it was today's date?!
LADY (Emphatically): Today's date, complete with the year!
MAN: OK! OK! Don't get so upset! I was only asking!
LADY: Sorry. It's just that, if you had heard what was on the tape, you would be feeling the same as I am right now.
MAN: I guess I would at that. What was suppose to have been on the cassette in the first place?
LADY (Calm): A radio show.
MAN: Radio show?
MAN: What kind of radio show? Talk radio?
LADY (Irritated): Of course not! It was an old comedy series that was done right here in Ravens Landing back in the 1940's!
MAN (Not really understanding her): Ma-am?
LADY: I collect Old Time Radio shows, you see, and you, or your boss rather, happens to be the only shop in town that carries them.
MAN: I see.
LADY (Dreamily): I think OTR is the greatest!
LADY: Old Time Radio Shows, silly! I like them so much that I have this crazy idea of starting a radio series of my own.
MAN (Surprised): Really?
LADY: Sounds pretty silly doesn't it?
MAN: Not at all. So, you're actually doing a radio series?
LADY: I was thinking of it. Hardly anyone does drama for radio anymore. It's an art form that shouldn't die. I even recorded the first episode. Did it all by myself.
MAN (Impressed): Wow! That must have been a lot of hard work!
LADY: Yeah. It was hard work, but it was a lot of fun as well. The story I wrote for it was kind of silly though.
MAN (Quite interested): What is the story?
LADY: Oh, some stupid plot about a woman who wants to commit a murder so badly that she goes to the extremes of committing one at random.
MAN: Sounds intriguing.
LADY: Do you really think so?
MAN: Certainly. You know, I'd like to hear your show sometime.
LADY (surprised): You would?
MAN: Sure! Perhaps you should pass it around to some of the radio stations here in town.
LADY (Apprehensive): Oh, I don't know if I could do that!
MAN: Why not?
LADY: Well I'd probably just be fighting a losing battle.
MAN: Hey wait a minute...ah...you're not going to give up on this idea of your's are you? I mean, ah...I think it's kind of neat!
LADY: Too bad there aren't more around who think the way you do. Most people today however, need real images and pictures to entertain them. (Sighs) Oh well, I guess one must keep up with the times. After all, it's not the 1940's anymore is it?
MAN: Excuse my manners. Can I get you some coffee? I just made a pot before you came in.
LADY: Coffee'll be great thanks.
MAN: Regular OK? I could make some decaff...
LADY: Regular's fine.
MAN: How do you take it?
MAN: What a coincidence do do I.
LADY: It certainly is the weather for hot coffee, isn't it?
MAN: Tell me about it! It's still coming down pretty hard out there from the sound of it.
LADY: Do you think it will be difficult to track down the dealer of that tape?
(SOUND: Cupboard door opening and coffee mugs taken off shelf; followed by the SOUND of coffee being poured into two mugs.)
MAN: That depends.
LADY: What do you mean?
MAN: Well, if the dealer is one our regulars, then they will be quite easy to track down.
LADY: If not?
MAN: Then the search may become a little more difficult, if not altogether impossible.
LADY (Alarmed): What?!
MAN: Here you are. One mug of black coffee. Careful, it's quite hot.
LADY (Sips it): Oooh! I'll say it is!
MAN: I can put some ice cubes in it...
LADY: No, this is fine. (After a slight pause): What did you mean when you said that it may be altogether impossible?
MAN: Well, sometimes my boss deals with companies on a one shot basis.
LADY (While sipping coffee): What do you mean?
MAN: You see, he buys the merchandise, resells it, and....
LADY (Cuts him off as it dawns on her): Never logs it into the computer because he does not intend to do business with them again.
MAN: You hit the nail right on the head.
LADY (Appalled): That's a very strange way to run a business!
MAN: The owner of this bookshop is a very strange man.
LADY: Well this whole situation is odd to say the least. I know I certainly did not intend to go shopping for murder when I when I went on my OTR hunt the other day.
MAN (Chuckles): Shopping for murder?
LADY: Well...what else would you call it?
MAN (Still chuckling): It certainly is a funny way of putting it?
LADY (Good natured): I suppose it is at that. (She laughs)
MAN: Could I refresh your coffee?
LADY: No, thanks. I still have about a half a cup left. Shouldn't we started on that computer search now? It's twenty minutes to six o'clock. We only have about six more hours to stop this murder.
MAN: You're really certain that it is going to take place aren't you?
LADY: According to that cassette it is.
(SOUND: TELEPHONE RINGS, AND CONTINUES TO RING THROUGHOUT THE FOLLOWING BUSINESS UNTIL IT IS ANSWERED)
MAN (Puzzled): I wonder who that can be.
LADY: Where you expecting a call?
MAN: No. It can't be a customer. We're closed.
LADY: You'd better answer it.
MAN: Yes. It could be my boss.
LADY: Would you like me to refresh your coffee while you tend to that?
MAN: That would be nice. Thanks! (SOUND: Of him answering the telephone) Good evening, The Dust Jacket Book Shop. (After a short pause) I'm sorry sir. I'm afraid we're closed for the night. (Another pause) No. That particular shipment has not come in as of yet. We are expecting it by the end of the week. (After another pause) Yes, sir. I will call you when the shipment arrives. Good night. (SOUND: Of him hanging up phone) Can you believe it? The customers know that the shop is closed, and still call!
LADY: Well, you know how some people are.
MAN (Exasperated): Tell me about it!
LADY: Here's your coffee.
MAN: Thanks! (Takes a sip) So, how come you did it all by yourself?
MAN: Your show. How come you didn't get a company of actors to help with it?
LADY: I don't know anyone who would be interested in doing that sort of thing. I guess I'm too afraid to ask people.
LADY: Oh, I guess it's because for fear that they'd laugh at me for wanting to do something so old fashioned.
MAN: That's a crock of malarkey!
LADY: I know that, but still...
MAN: By the way how many scripts have you completed for your own show? Forgive me for asking you all of these questions. I don't mean to sound nosey, but this is really interesting.
LADY: You're not being nosey at all. I'm flattered by your interest.
MAN: So? How many have you written?
LADY: About a half a dozen.
MAN: What's the series called?
LADY(Ominously): Dark Offerings! ( Chuckles): Sounds corny doesn't it?
MAN: Depends on your theme. I'll try to round up some actors for you. I know a few people in community theater. Used to be in it myself. Who knows, I might try out for it as well. I may be a little rusty. I haven't acted in almost ten years. Can I read one of your scripts sometime.
MAN (Sighs): Now, let's get a look at that cassette you brought back.
LADY (Alarmed): Why? There's nothing on it.
MAN: I need the title of the show, so that I can do my computer search on the dealer.
LADY (Relieved): Oh, I see.
(SOUND: Of him removing cassette from tape deck)
LADY: Do you really think that you'll find the dealer?
MAN: I certainly hope so. I..ah..(In pain) Oh, my god!
LADY (Calm): What's the matter?
MAN: I don't know..I...ahh..I have this alarming headache all of a sudden.
LADY: It should pass soon.
MAN: What do you mean?
LADY: Oh, only that your headache is only the beginning of the end.
MAN: The end? What end?
LADY: Your end.
MAN (Horrified): What did you do? Drug my coffee?
LADY (Extremely calm): No. I poisoned it.
MAN (Shocked): YOU WHAT?! WHY?
LADY: To kill you of course.
MAN (Stunned): Why would you want to do a thing like that?
LADY (With cold reasoning): Because I wanted to commit a murder.
MAN: You're nuts!
MAN: You mean this whole thing was a lark? The murder plot on the tape...
LADY: It didn't exist. I just blanked out an old OTR tape.
MAN: Then the story about the radio show you told me about wasn't true either. Was it?
MAN (Realizing the horror of the situation): You were just informing me of my own death.
LADY (Pleased with herself): I must say that you fell into my trap quite beautifully.
MAN (Weak): I wonder what would you have done if I didn't want any coffee....
LADY: Stabbed you with the knife that I have in my purse of course. You see, the point of the matter is, I really did intend to go shopping for murder.
(SOUND: Of someone jiggling the knob on the shop's door)
LADY (Startled): What the???????
ELDERLY MAN (OFF): He must be still in there. He has to be! The lights are still on. If he left leaving the lights on again, I'll fire him for sure this time!
(SOUND: POUNDING ON SHOP DOOR)
LADY (A frightened whisper): No! Go away!!!!
(SOUND: POUNDING ON DOOR AGAIN)
ELDERLY MAN (Calling out): Open up if you're still in there! (SOUND: POUNDING ON DOOR) Come on answer me! I'm getting drenched out here damn it! (Sighs) I guess I will have to use my key.
LADY (Petrified): NO!!!!!!
ELDERLY MAN: Oh, now what did I do with that key? (Frustrated) Ohh, I have too much junk in my hands!!! Ah, good evening Officer.
OFFICER: Good evening sir. I didn't realize you were back. Did you have a pleasant vacation?
ELDERLY MAN: Pleasant enough.
OFFICER: Can I assist you with anything?
ELDERLY MAN: Perhaps if you could hold my packages for me while I search for my key?
OFFICER: Certainly sir.
ELDERLY MAN (After a brief pause): Ah, here it is!
OFFICER: The lights are still on. Are you sure your clerk isn't still inside?
ELDERLY MAN: We'll find out it a minute.
(SOUNDS: OF THE THUNDERSTORM FADE OUT AS WE HEAR THE KEY TURNING THE LOCK)
(CUT TO...EERIE END OF PLAY MUSIC. UP AND OUT)
NIGHT OWL: You have been listening to The Night Owl Radio Mystery Theatre's presentation of "Shopping For Murder." by James M. Sedgwick, and...(GOES THROUGH CLOSING CREDITS)
NIGHT OWL (After closing credits): This is your host The Night Owl, (OMINOUS MUSIC BEGINS) inviting you to join me again for... The Night Owl Radio Mystery Theatre. (Menacingly) Until then, try to get some rest. You're going to need it!
(OMINOUS MUSIC HOLDS FOR ABOUT FIVE SECONDS AFTER THE NIGHT OWL FINISHES HIS BIT, THEN GOES OUT WITH AN EERIE CRESCENDO)
- THE END -
E-Mail: Jim Sedgewick
Jerry Haendiges Productions 1998