Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Columbia Workshop
Show: Let Me Tell You About My Operation
Date: Jul 10 1942

COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM
COLUMBIA WORKSHOP
"LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY OPERATION"
FRIDAY. JULY 10, 1942
10:30 - 11:00 P. M.


CAST

ANNCR
GEORGE - asst Manager of Kay's store
PRISCILLA - strong willed, knows it all
MR. KAY - owner of store. Has trouble with Priscilla
DR. NEWMAN - has phony doctor heartiness; knows it all
NURSE SULLIVAN - in charge, strong woman,
NURSE LORING - reputation for Nazi tendencies
INTERNE
PATIENT
NURSE ROGERS (NIGHT NURSE)
DR. VASCOM
MORROW (INSURANCE)
MESSENGER
ORDERLY

ANNCR:

The Columbia Workshop, called "Let me tell you about my operation". It was written by Morton Freedgood.

SOUND:

CUTTING IN LOUDLY AND ABRUPTLY, ASSORTED OBJECTS FALLING.

SOUND:

SAME SOUND, MUCH LOUDER NOW AND COMING TO A CLIMAX WITH A HEAVY AND 'DECISIVE THUD ..

GEORGE:

(COLD) That's how it started... I was back in the stock-room tallying a new shipment of toys when things started to come off the shelves, A ten pound ledger cracked down across my forearm, and I looked around for a nice place to faint...

BIZ:

(BRIEF CONTINUATION OF SOUND OF THINGS PALLING, THEN THE THUD OF A BODY AND A SOFT MOAN, INTO)

MUSIC:

JANGLY, DISSONANT, AND COMING OUT OF IT)

GIRLS:

(AD LIB -EXCITED) He fainted...,
That big book fell on him...
What happened?...
It's George---some thing happened to him...
Don't crowd around, get the boss...
Get Mr. Kay, somebody...
(CALLING) Mr. Kay - Oh, Mr. Kay....
Mr, Kay...

GEORGE:

(COMING IN ON THE VOICES, CONTINUING AS THEY FADE, IN THE MILD UNDERTONE HE USES NOW AND HENCEFORTH WHEN HE IS NARRATING) When I came around the boss was bathing my forehead with dabs from a bottle of our 19 cent Eau de tout le monde. About a half dozen of the girls were crowded in the doorway to the stockroom, bugging their eyes out at me. I was lying on the floor, and my arm felt - - well, it felt exactly as if it had been hit by a ten pound ledger with the accumulated venom of a twelve foot momentum. They started to prop me up on my feet -- the boss and one of the stock boys, when Priscilla busted through the girls at the doorway and...

PRISCILLA:

(OVERLAPS George); Oh, George...(HER TONE CHANGES ABRUPTLY TO SNAPPY FIRMNESS) Never move an injured person until the ambulance or an accredited physician arrives. Lay him down immediately!

GEORGE:

(COLD) I guess they meant to put me down gently, but Priscilla is a very forceful girl, and she sort of batted me out of their arms, I fell with a clatter, and passed out again....,

MUSIC:

(DIZZY, WHIRLING TO A CRESCENDO, THEN A FEW SOFT CHORDS, AND, )

GEORGE:

When I came out of it this time, Priscilla had taken over. She looked so wonderful that I watched her for a minute, enjoying her, you know, before I let on I was awake. Ah, Priscilla was classy - the real thing, authentic. Absolutely, That's what made me fall in love with her - the first time I saw her - behind the hardware counter - selling brads to a carpenter's helper. She sold them one by one, and handled each individual nail as if it was a work of art. It isn't the most effective way known to move merchandise- but you don't think of things like that with Priscilla.. Even while she was trying to be a five and dime salesgirl she managed to be something else too - poetry, a kind of fresh spirit...So I was smiling when I opened my eyes, Priscilla put a little of that cologne in them and said,...

PRISCILLA:

(ANXIOUS) George...George, are you hurt badly? Are you in pain?

GEORGE:

(MILD) I'm all right, Priscilla.

PRISCILLA:

You're just being brave. I admire you for that, But I know you must be suffering. Where are you hurt? You must tell me.

GEORGE:

My arm. But -

PRISCILLA:

It must be broken. That's the least that could be the matter with it,

GEORGE:

Oh, no, Priscilla, nothing like that. It's just a bump---

PRISCILIA:

(INTERRUPTING) His arm is broken, Mr. Kay. We have to get him to a hospital...

GEORGE:

(PROTESTING) It's just a-little numb -

PRISC:

He's being stoical, Mr. Kay, don't listen to him. Please call an ambulance and get him to a hospital.

KAY:

Is it really bad, George?

GEORGE:

I don't think it's broken......

KAY:

Maybe you ought to see a doctor...

PRISC:

It is broken.

KAY:

Think you can get up, George?

GEORGE:

Sure. I'm okay. Just let me.....

MUSIC:

UP, COVERING GEORGE'S VOICE, THEN DOWN INTO

KAY:

Taxi! Hey, taxi.....

SOUND:

TAXI SCREECHING TO A PHENOMENAL STOP, BRUISING CURB WITH TIRES, DOOR BEING FLUNG OPEN

KAY:

Get in, George, Here, lean on me - %u201E .

GEORGE:

I'm not crippled. I can get in myself.....

PRISC:

Be sure to phone us the minute you're through with the doctor.

KAY:

I'll call Doctor Newman the minute you're gone and let him know you're on the way.... (A BIT OFF MIKE) And don't worry, kid, it's all covered by workman's compensation..

PRISC:

(INDIGNANT) Mr. Kay, how can you be so crass. Do you think George is even the slightest bit concerned about money when his very existence is endangered? (WITH DETERMINATION) I'm going along-with him!

KAY:

Listen, you still work for me. You get back into that store and start selling hardware or I'll forget that George is the best assistant I ever had, and I'll fire you even if it means that I've got to lose him too!

PRISC:

You listen to me, Mr. Kay. I may be your employee and -

KAY:

(COVERING MOST OF PRISCILLA'S BLEAT) Go ahead, driver...

SOUND:

SLAMMING OF DOOR, SHIFTING OF GEARS

KAY:

Now, Miss Logic, you have exactly thirty seconds to get inside that store and start.....

SOUND:

COVERING KAY'S VOICE, SOUND OF CAB GOING OFF IN LOW, THEN SECOND, THEN INTO

MUSIC:

CLIMBING, RISING MOTIF OF A CAR IN SECOND.

DOCTOR:

(COLD) Hello, George. (THAT PHONY DOCTOR-HEARTINESS) Little trouble, eh, kid? Well, we'll take care of that for you... Never mind taking your coat off, George. Just lay your arm on the table here....

GEORGE:

You don't want me to take my coat off?

DOCTOR:

(OFF MIKE) No. I'11 take care of that...Now where's that shears...Ah, here we are....(COMING BACK) Now let's take a look at it.

GEORGE:

(OVER-CASUAL) What's the shears for, Doc?

DOCTOR:

Cut the coat sleeve.

GEORGE:

Oh...I can take it off, doctor%u2022%u2022?%u2022

DOCTOR:

No. We'11 just run the shears up the sleeve, and..-

GEORGE:

(WEAK PROTEST) I can take it off. I put it on without any trouble before,..,

DOCTOR:

Steady, old man,,..

SFX:

(SHEARS RIPPING UP COAT SLEEVE) LOUD

DOCTOR:

NOW the shirt sleeve...

SFX:

(SHEARS RIPPING UP SHIRT SLEEVE) LOUD

DOCTOR:

Uh - hmmmmm(WHISTLES CONTEMPLATIVELY) I see...hmmm

GEORGE:

(ANXIOUS) What is it. Doc?

DOCTOR:

(MUSING) Don't know yet...That hurt?

GEORGE:

(SHORT VOCAL WINCE) Yes.

DOCTOR:

Might be a fracture...That hurt?

GEORGE:

(ANOTHER WINCE) Yes.

DOCTOR:

Might be a dislocation...This hurt?

GEORGE:

(ANOTHER WINCE) Yes.

DOCTOR:

Could be a pulled tendon or a sprain... Umm.. .-needs an X-ray. (GOING OFF MIKE) I can't tell authoritatively what's wrong exactly. So I'll tell you what you do...

DOCTOR:

(BACK TO MIKE) Take this card and go down to the General Relief Hospital over on Second Avenue, I'm sending you to see Doctor Vascom. No point taking any chances on this kind of injury. He's the biggest guy in town for these things. He'll fix you up.... Here, slip back into this jacket...I'11 pin up that sleeve... there. Don't worry about it, son. You'll get my bill next week...

MUSIC:

SHORT BRIDGE INTO

SOUND:

LIGHT TRAFFIC SOUNDS INTO

GEORGE:

It was a nice day, and the arm had stopped hurting badly, so I thought I'd walk over to the hospital. But first I called the boss and told him I was going...

GEORGE:

(F) (TELEPHONE EFFECT) ....over to the hospital, and I'll probably be an hour or two longer....

KAY:

(EXPANSIVE) Take two and a half....Get all fixed up, so you can be back on the -job soon. . You know I was counting on starting inventory -

GEORGE:

(F) Don't worry. I'll be back in the store long before closing.

KAY:

Fine...Listen, George, do you want to do me a favor, and yourself one at the same time? Talk to your girl friend and calm her down a bit. I've got my hands full with her.

GEORGE:

(F) You just don't quite understand her, boss, She's a very high-spirited girl, She's not like the other girls...

KAY:

(FERVENTLY) You're absolutely right!... Listen, all I know is that she's a small revolution, and - -

GEORGE:

(F) Put her on, boss. I'll reason with her,

KAY:

(NOT VERY PLEASANT) YOU better - or she won't be working here when you get back. I've got enough trouble here without trying to run a finishing school...

GEORGE:

(F) Now, boss...

PRISC:

Hello darling... Where are you? Are you all right?

GEORGE:

(F) Sure, I'm okay. As soon as I get an X-ray taken I'll be back to the store.

PRISC:

You' 11 do no such thing. You've had a terrible shock, and you must rest, remain quiet, build back some strength...

GEORGE:

(F) That's not necessary, dear. It's just a scratch... or a bump... (TIMIDLY) Priscilla...Can't you make an effort to act nice and be polite toward Mr. Kay, I know he doesn't realize how sensitive you are and all, but...

PRISC:

(ICICLES) Indeed! I've been deluding myself that at least you realized what an ordinary boor Mr. Kay is -

GEORGE:

(GROANS) Priscilla! Please! Don't let him hear you talking like this -

PRISC; But I see that I've been mistaken. You are absolutely without a soul. Goodbye, Mr. Franklin!

SOUND:

WHACKING DOWN OF PHONE

GEORGE:

(GROAN)

MUSIC:

COMIC-LUGUBRIOUS, DOWN FOR

GEORGE:

By the time I got to the hospital I was feeling terrible. I went up the steps and into the reception room, and handed Doctor Newman's card to the girl at the desk. She told me to wait, and I sat down on a covered bench- I thought over Priscilla's words, and decided that she had talked like that to me only because she was concerned about me. People do things like that. Well, it wouldn't be so hard to patch up. I would make a humble apology - I knew she wouldn't - and maybe but a pair of tickets to the ballet. Priscilla had been after me for a long time to go to the ballet. Well, I would even do that for atonement, and watch the leaping gazelles and take my punishment like a little man. It was a small thing for a wonderful girl like Priscilla... I began to feel a lot better. My arm was only a little bit sore, and my heart was warm again. I began to notice things around me.....

MUSIC:

(OVERLAPPING GEORGE'S VOICE, AND COMING OUT OF IT

SULL (CALLING, OFF MIKE, AND APPROACHING) Mr. Franklin! Mr. Franklin.... Mr. George Franklin....

GEORGE:

Yes? Here I am.... I'm George Franklin.

SULL:

I'm Nurse Sullivan....

GEORGE:

(PLEASANT) Glad to meet you..,,

SULL:

(EFFICIENT, FRIGID) You've come for treatment by Doctor Vascom? Follow me please...

SFX:

FOOTSTEPS GOING DOWN A CORRIDOR. INTO A LITTLE OFFICE, AND THE DOOR IS SHUT. LOUD

SULL:

You are to submit to the routine questions. Name, Address, occupation?

GEORGE:

George Franklin. Six eighty-four West 78th Street. Assistant Manager of Kay's Five-Ten-Twenty-five, Fifty-One dollar & up Store.

SFX:

SCRATCHING OF PEN DURING THE FOREGOING, AND CONTINUING AS SULLIVAN PUTS FURTHER QUESTIONS. LOUD

SULL:

Have you ever been operated upon, Mr. Franklin?

GEORGE:

Never.

SULL:

(SUSPICIOUSLY) Never? GEORGE: Nope....Honest, I've never had an operation, Miss...

SULL:

(RELUCTANTLY) Very well.... Family?

GEORGE:

Just my mother. She lives in Columbus, Ohio- 52 Palm Street.

SULL:

(BIG ON THIS ONE) Whom do you wish notified in the event of grave illness or death?

GEORGE:

(LAUGHING WEAKLY) I don't intend to die or be gravely ill. I just came here to get an X - ray. People don't die from X-rays. They don't even get hurt. It's nothing at all - Just like - like any kind of ray,..

SULL:

Whom do you wish notified in the event of grave illness or -

GEORGE:

I see, you've got to have it for the records anyway. A formality, isn't it? Everybody has to - Well, Miss Priscilla Clark, she lives at the YWCA on Lexington Avenue -

SULL:

What relation is this person?

GEORGE:

She's my fianc?e...I hope...

SULL:

That is all. Will you come with me, please...

SFX:

FOOTSTEPS, ELEVATOR GOING UP, DOORS, ETC., UNDERNEATH AND CORRESPONDING V/ITE TBE TEXT OF GEORGE'S FOLLOWING NARRATION

GEORGE:

That Sullivan was a hard-eye person. You did what she said. We went out to an elevator and took it up to the fourth floor. At the end of a long corridor, full of that antiseptic smell, she pushed open a white swinging door. Ward K was lettered on it. There were ten beds in the room, and five of them were filled with people who looked as if they didn't care anymore what happened to them.

SULL (BREAKING IN) Mr. Franklin, that bed in the corner will be yours.

GEORGE:

What? (POSITIVE) Oh, no it won't, ma'am!

SULL:

Mr. Franklin. You're a very sick man. You are in our care now, You will please do as you are told. We do not tolerate disobedience from our patients.

GEORGE:

I didn't come here to lie in bed....All I want is an X-ray.

SULL:

You will please get into that bed.

GEORGE:

(NARRATING) I stood there shaking my head. Then I guess I got scared of the look on her face, and I raised my voice. Not shouting, mind you, but my voice was raised a little. The dying occupants of all the other beds sat up and stared at me. Sullivan went to the wall and pressed a button. Then she went to a cabinet and came back with a pair of pajamas and a bathrobe...

SULL:

(OVERLAPPING) I've called for Miss Loring, the Supervisor.

GEORGE:

Oh, that Miss Loring. I could see what a reputation she had - the minute she came in the patients in the other beds laid down and played dead- This Miss Loring - she reminded me of one of those composite photographs you see in the papers - you know, one woman's nose, another one's mouth, another one's hair...Mss Loring was a combination of the three witches who put the hex on Macbeth, the old maid who looks hopefully under her bed in the magazine cartoons and...Adolph Hitler. Sullivan told her briefly what a heel I was being, and then she came toward me...

LORING (OVERLAPPING) Mister Franklin, according to the rules of the hospital you must take to bed while waiting for Dr, Vascom.

GEORGE:

But I don't -

LORING:

(VERY STERN AND TERRIBLE) Mister Franklin! No nonsense, now! We'll stand for no tricks, young man. Get into these pajamas immediately.

GEORGE:

(NARRATING) What could I do? Sullivan wheeled a screen in front of the bed and gave me a shove behind it. The window was open, but it was four stories down, and it wasn't me who was crazy...I got undressed, put on the pajamas, and got into bed, Sullivan wheeled the screen away, and Miss Loring gave me a final dirty look and left the ward. Then Sullivan came at me with a thermometer in her hand....

SULL:

(OVERLAPPING) Please say Ahh -

GEORGE:

I don't want any thermom - (THE REST IS A LOT OF NOISE AS THE THERMOMETER IS POPPED INTO HIS MOUTH)

SOUND:

WHICH GOES DOWN FOR. . ,

GEORGE:

The funny thing is, my arm had stopped hurting and I felt fine. The bed wasn't so comfortable, but the sunshine coming through the window was nice, I looked at my wrist watch and saw that it was close to three o'clock. From the way it looked, the chances were that even if Doctor Vascom did show up in a few minutes I wouldn't be released in time to get back to the store before closing, I decided not to call Priscilla again, I didn't want her to worry about me too much. So I relaxed until the swinging doors opened and a doctor came in, I waved to him and he came over. ..

GEORGE:

Say, are you Doctor Vascom?

INTERNE:

No, I'm just an interne. Senior on this service, though. The big shot won't be around for a couple of hours...What's the matter with you, buddy....

GEORGE:

Arm....

INTERNE:

Arm, eh? Let's see it..,

GEORGE:

Ow! Hey....

INTERNE:

Hurts a bit, does it? I see....What that arm needs is a bandage.. That'll fix it up fine...

GEORGE:

(OVERLAPPING) He dug up a roll of gauze-bandage and began to wind it around my arm. When he had gotten about five yards of it on, he went to look for a scissor to cut the end of the gauze. I never saw him again in my life....While I was waiting for him to come back, Sullivan came in again and shoved the thermometer down my throat. She saw the ends of the bandage, and she unwrapped it....

SULL:

If you let any other strange interne touch you, I promise you I'11 tell Miss Loring...,.

GEORGE:

(PLEADING) Won't you please tell me when Doctor Vascom is going to be here? I want to get out of here sometime today....

SULL:

(LAUGHS UNPLEASANTLY) Today indeed! You'11 be a very lucky man if you're discharged within a month..

MUSIC:

(HAIR-ON-END MUSIC, UP, THEN DOWN, AND CONTINUING SOFTLY IN BACKGROUND AS).

GEORGE:

Don't ask me what I thought, I tried not to think. I sat up in bed, when I got my strength back, and occupied myself by trying to guess at the ailments of the occupants of the other beds, and trying to figure their life expectancy in seconds.

The man in the bed next to mine lay still, never moving, and only seldom breathing. His complexion was yellow, and he kept his face screwed up in a permanent grimace of terror. As a matter of fact, that kind of look was like a uniform with everybody in the ward. I began to wonder if I looked like that too. But, before I could feel too bad about it, Priscilla banged into the ward and made for me. She went down on her knees at the bedside...

PRISCILLA:

(OVERLAPPING) Oh George, darling, I'm so sorry... Will you ever forgive me...

GEORGE:

(HAPPY) Sure. Sure, honey....I forgive you...

PRISCILLA:

But I was so rude, so unfeeling.., (WEEPY) I wouldn't blame you if you never spoke to me again...You do forgive me, George....

GEORGE:

(HE MEANS IT) Of course. I do, honey. There's nothing to forgive...

PRISCILLA:

I was so mean....

GEORGE:

(STOUTLY) It was all my fault. I shouldn't have spoken to you the way I did - -

PRISCILLA:

Darling, you mustn't talk much. You have to conserve your strength. You are very, very sick...

GEORGE:

I'm not sick, Priscilla. No kidding. I feel swell! I could get up right now, go back to the store, and put in a good night's work, with overtime...

PRISCILIA:

You're so courageous, darling! But you mustn't try to deceive me. I know everything. The nurse told me...

GEORGE:

Oh she did, did she? The hatchet-faced one? Don't worry about her, she's a little screwy. (LAUGHS NOT VERY CONVINCINGLY). Tell me about it. What did she say? When am I supposed to pass to the great beyond...

PRISCILIA:

(HORRIFIED) Darling, you mustn't! Don't joke about it! Don't even mention it....

GEORGE:

Mention what? ^

PRICILLA:

Don't think of it! You have to make up your mind that you're going to live. You must fight! You must come through! If you have the will, you'll be better in no time at all.... a month, two months...

MUSIC:

SOMETHING LIKE HEARTS AND FLOWERS, SOFTLY, AND THEN CONTINUING IN THE BACKGROUND FOR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ...

GEORGE:

Priscilla - for you...I'll.....(HE IS FEIGNING THE LAST THROES) I'll fight to the last breath....I - I won't give up....for you, darling....

PRISCILIA:

(HUSKILY) Yes, yes. For me, George, for me.....

GEORGE:

No! No, I can't. I have nothing...to live...for...

PRISCILLA:

(DESPERATE) But you have me - - George - dear. I love you, George...

GEORGE:

It's getting dark...dark...where are you? Where....

PRISCILLA:

Here I am, George. Here, my hand. I'm on your side.... Speak to me!

GEORGE:

Too late...Too late...(HE MAKES HIS IDEA OF A DEATH-RATTLE SOUND) - - -

PRISCILLA:

(FRANTIC) You mustn't die, George! You mustn't! You can't. You can't!

PATIENT:

Aaw, let him die if he wants to, lady. Let us all die-- that's what we're here for - but let us die in peace, Shut up, lady.

MUSIC:

(CHORD) THE MUSIC HAS STOPPED AT THE START OF .THE LAST SPEECH - -

PRISCILIA:

(FRIGID) Be quiet - you...you green brute....

MUSIC:

THE HEARTS AND FLOWERS MUSIC RESUMES AS - -

PRISCILIA:

You must live for me, George. If you die - I will die too!

GEORGE:

(AFTER A PAUSE - STRONG AND HEALTHY) Do you really mean that? You're not kidding?

PRISCILLA:

Yes, darling. I do love you. I've been harsh with you, treated you meanly...but now... I never will again as long as I live. (SHE SOBS) As long as you live..,.

GEORGE:

(BACK IN CHARACTER) I die now in peace (LONG SUSPIRANT SIGH)

PRISCILIA (ALARMED) Darling!

GEORGE:

(GASPING) Priscilla...will you....marry me....

PRISCILLA:

Of course, I will, darling. It's what I want! As soon as you get well...

GEORGE:

(COUGHING AND WHEEZING) Too late... It must be now....today... It will give me new strength...Or I can die happy....If the necessity arises.

PRISCILLA:

But George...

GEORGE:

It's getting dark again, Priscilla...dark...

PRISCILLA:

(HASTILY) Don't George, please! I'll marry you, I'll - -

GEORGE:

(VERY STRONG AND HEALTHY) Hurray! She said she'd marry me! I'm getting up!

PRISCILLA:

George! You mustn't! Don't, George, lie down! Nurse! Help me...nurse!

SULL:

(OFF MIKE) What's going on in here...

PRISCILLA:

Help me, nurse! He's trying to get up - -

SOUND:

TERRIFIC NOISE, MINGLED VOICES OF SULLIVAN, PRISCILLA AND GEORGE. GROANS, WHEEZES, SHOUTS, GRUNTS, AND AD LIBS AS SULLIVAN AND PRISCILLA FIGHT GEORGE BACK INTO BED - -

PATIENT:

(OVER BATTLE SOUNDS) Use that half-nelson, Sullivan -

SOUND:

(SOUND OF GEORGE BEING LIFTED BODILY AND SLAPPED BACK INTO BED WITH A THUD. THERE IS A PAUSE, AND THEN - -

SULL:

(A BIT WINDED) Mr. Franklin, If you give us any more trouble I shall be forced to have you put into a strait- jacket. If you insist on this behavior, the hospital can take no responsibility for your condition or eventual recovery...

GEORGE:

(NOT A BIT FEAZED) Sullivan, run out and get a marriage license and a minister. I'm going to get married before I die....

SULL:

That's what you think! (GOING OFF MIKE) See that you behave yourself.....

GEORGE:

Priscilla! Get the minister. Hurry! You can't tell how much longer I've got...

PRISC:

(PRACTICAL) It's too late for either a minister or a license. We'll get married tomorrow. After work...

GEORGE:

Tomorrow? After work? I may be dead by then. Mr. Kay will give you the day off if you explain.... Just tell him you're going to marry me before I die.

PRISC:

No, George. I see things differently now. About the store and all that.... Tomorrow's Saturday, we'll be busy, and I mustn't let Mr. Kay down. I have to show him that the esprit de corps of hardware is hardly less than that of... ladies underthings. I shall be the model saleslady. For you- - as you always wanted me to be. It will be my wedding present to you. I'll be here directly after work. Be brave, my darling...

MUSIC:

UP. HELD. THEN SHADING OFF QUIETLY

GEORGE:

(COLD) I guess I fell asleep, and when I woke up it was quiet and dark. A nurse was bending over the little table at the side of my bed. A light went on, and for a minute I thought she was Priscilla. She had nice hair, and she wore that starched white uniform like a movie queen...

ROGERS:

I'm Rogers - the night nurse... Is there anything I can get you?

GEORGE:

(VAGUELY) Priscilla.... Get me Priscilla....

ROGERS:

Priscilla?

GEORGE:

The ward doors opened and a man dressed in a business suit came in. He was a big stocky man, with an important swing to his shoulders. He looked around him like a patroon searching for a bell-cord, and Rogers hurried over to him. He said something to her and she went out. He bent over one of the other beds, and when he stood up I leaned forward and... (FADING)

GEORGE:

Excuse me.... are you Doctor Vascom?

SOUND:

SLOW AND DELIBERATE FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING TO GEORGE'S BED

GEORGE:

Doctor Vascom?

VASCOM:

What is it?

GEORGE:

Doctor Vascom, I think it's a shame. Doctor Newman sent me, and I've been here since early aft -

VASCOM:

What is your name?

GEORGE:

Franklin. Doctor Newnan sent -

VASCOM:

Ah, Franklin..., How do you do, Mister Franklin. Glad to see you, my boy...

GEORGE:

(YELPS WITH PAIN)

VASCOM:

(CHEERY) Good night.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS RETREATING

GEORGE:

(NARRATING) After he shook my hand - the bum one - be went out. A little bit later Rogers, the night nurse, came back. She sat down on a small chair near my bed and took a blank form out of a drawer in the table...

ROGERS:

I've got to ask you a few form questions, Mr. Franklin... First, have you ever been operated on before...

GEORGE:

(GROANS)

MUSIC:

: UP. HELD, AND THEN

GEORGE:

(OUTRAGED) They woke me up at six in the morning. Sullivan was back again, and started the day off right by sticking the thermometer in my mouth....

GEORGE:

(WITH THE THERMOMETER IN HIS MOUTH) When is Doctor Vascom going to be here?

SULL:

In good time....

GEORGE:

(AFTER A PAUSE) Don't I get anything to eat but glass?

SULL:

To eat? We do not give patients anything to eat before an operation. We cleanse the body, I'll take that thermometer now. If you please...

MUSIC:

COVERING THE END OF SULLIVAN'S SPEECH. THEN DOWN

GEORGE:

It was the last straw. What I had been suspicious of all along was now a cold fact. I was in some kind of crazy- house! I broke into a sweat and my whole life passed in review before me. When I could think again, I looked around. Sullivan was ministering to one of the cadavers in another bed, who had managed somehow to live through the night. When I called her she looked around....

GEORGE:

(CALLING OUT) Sullivan! Sullivan, I want to get out of this Joint! Get me my clothes!

GEORGE:

(NARRATING) She just sneered and turned her back on me. I had to get out. The only avenue of escape was the ward doors. I slipped out of bed and streaked for the door....

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS, THEN A SHOUT FROM SULLIVAN, AD LIES FROM PATIENTS. THEN A STOPPING OF FOOTSTEPS AS

LORING:

Ah, Mr. Franklin... Put him back into bed, boys.

MEN:

AD-LIBS

MUSIC:

SHORT BRIDGE, DOWN AS

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS IN BACKGROUND AND

GEORGE:

(BITTER) That's my luck all the time. I ran smack into the arms of Miss Loring, who was flanked by a couple of orderlies who looked like orangutans. The orangutans picked me up and carried me back to the bed. They threw me into it....

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS CEASE, AND SOUND OF GEORGE BEING TOSSED IN BED

ORDERLY:

Just try to move, louse, and I'll bust you right in the nose.

MUSIC:

UP. THEN DOWN FOR

GEORGE:

(HUSHED) I made my peace with God....

MUSIC:

UP AGAIN. AND CONTINUING IN BACKGROUND AS

GEORGE:

In about ten minutes the orangutans came back wheeling a stretcher. They threw me on it and began to wheel me out. Before we passed through the door I heard Sullivan at the wall phone...

SULL:

(OVERLAPPING) Hello, Operating room? Are you prepared for the appendectomy? We're bringing him right up.....

MUSIC:

LOUD AND STRIDENT, BRIDGING TO

GEORGE:

They stuck a needle into me, and after that I didn't care much about anything. The orangutans wheeled me out into the corridor, and then they took me up in the elevator. In the anaesthesia room, just next to the operating room, I thought I could catch a glimpse of Doctor Vascom. He was dressed in white, and he was honing a big jackknife on the heel of his shoe.

Then they placed the ether cone over my face and I began to inhale.... (HE SAYS THE LAST FEW WORDS MUFFLED, AS IF GOING UNDER ETHER)

MUSIC:

LOUD. SWIRLING. GOOFY. TRAILING OFF FINALLY IN A QUIETER RELIEVED VEIN

GEORGE:

(COLD) I woke up back in bed in the ward. I felt a little bit queasy from the ether, but otherwise I felt in one piece. No pain, no weakness - kind of rested... Sullivan was standing beside the bed with a bundle in her hand...

SULL:

Here are your clothes, Mr. Franklin. You're discharged. You may leave any time you feel well enough.

GEORGE:

Leave! How the devil can I leave after just having my appendix removed.... Removed - I mean stolen!

SULL:

(EMBARRASSED) Oh, that. I'm sorry, Mr. Franklin. That was a mistake - t

GEORGE:

(SARCASTIC) Just a little slip......

SULL:

Fortunately, the mistake was rectified in time. We didn't remove your appendix. We mistook yours for another case. I'm sorry.....

GEORGE:

So that's it. I thought I was in a lunatic-- Tell me, did Doctor Vascom fix up my arm? Did he do it after they put me to sleep?

SULL:

The anaesthetizing was part of the mistake. They just took an X-ray of the arm while you were under ether.... As soon as Doctor Vascom has studied the X-ray film you will hear from him.....

MUSIC:

BRIDGING TO

SOUND:

STORE SOUNDS, WHICH CONTINUE UNDER THE NARRATION OF

GEORGE:

It was only eleven o'clock by the time I reached the store. Business was brisk, I pushed back through the crowd to the hardware counter. Priscilla was an amazing picture of industry. She was working fast and efficiently, and treating the customers almost as if they were her equals. I hissed at her to catch her attention..,. (HE HISSES),.. but she didn't hear me. So I moved up to the counter. She had her back turned. Then she turned around and - -

PRISCILLA.:

What can I do for you, sir - (SHE SHRIEKS) George! George, what are you doing here!

GEORGE:

It was just a -

PRISCILLA:

I know! You escaped! You shouldn't have, darling - -

GEORGE:

(IN AN UNDERTONE) Shh.. Easy...these people. Want them to think I'm an escaped lunatic?

PRISCILLA:

But how -

GEORGE:

They discharged me. It was all a mistake. They had me mixed up with somebody else...

PRISCILLA:

Oh, I'm so glad darling, I'm so glad you're not going to die...

CAST:

A LITTLE AD LIBBING FROM THE CROWD, WHICH WONDERS NOW IF HE IS A REPRIEVED KILLER-

GEORGE:

It's all over now, honey...(EAGERLY) Have you got the license?

PRISCILLA:

Yes, darling, but -

GEORGE:

Then let's go and use it. Get out from behind that counter and---

KAY:

Hey, what's going on here... Oh hello, George. Get back to work, Priscilla... George - what's the idea of coming in to work two and a half hours late?

GEORGE:

(OUTRAGED) That's a nice way to talk. I just got out of the hospital -

KAY:

Oh, that's right. All better?

GEORGE:

I'm all right...

KAY:

Good... We can get to that inventory and -

GEORGE:

Not right now. First I'm going to take Priscilla out and marry her before she changes her mind -

KAY:

You can't do-- Are you crazy? There's a store full of customers. It's Saturday, our busy day... You can't take time off for any nonsense. I need you here. You - Priscilla - it's all your fault. You've finally driven him nuts.

GEORGE:

(HARD) Mr. Kay, you're talking to the woman I'm going to marry...

KAY:

Oh... (NEW THOUGHT) Excuse, me... Say listen, George, you're not going to let her work after you're married, are you?

GEORGE:

Of course not. No wife of mine is going to work...

KAY:

Of course not. (DELIGHTED). Priscilla, George, bless you, my children. Go ahead Go get married, and you don't have to come back until Monday... (HASTILY) I mean you, George... Well, good luck and everything (GOING OFF MIKE)

PRISC:

There's something peculiar about that man, George. Did you notice how quickly he changed his mind? What on earth made him suddenly become so sweet?

MUSIC:

WEDDING MOTIF, INTO

MORROW:

(OVER TELEPHONE) Hello, George Franklin? This is Morrow, Victory Insurance Company... We handle your compensation claims...

GEORGE:

What can I do for you, Mr. Morrow?

MORROW:

You can tell me what the reason is for this bill from the General Relief Hospital - for fifty dollars. Fifty dollars -- for a sore arm! What's the idea...

GEORGE:

You'll never know... I'll never know, either...

MUSIC:

BRIDGING INTO

GEORGE:

......so they sent a bill for fifty dollars. And that isn't everything. Doctor Vascom still hasn't sent his bill, and that's going to be a honey...

KAY:

Well, be thankful you're still alive. And married to - to a lovely girl - a lovely housewife...

GEORGE:

(BEATIFIC) You're not kidding, boss...

KAY:

Anyway, you're through with that bunch at the hospital. There's nothing more they can do to you.

MESSENGER:

Which one's Mr. Franklin...

GEORGE:

Here, that's me...

MESS:

Package from the General Relief Hospital... sign here...

GEORGE:

Okay... That must be those X-ray pictures they took... Here y'are, kid.

SOUND:

SOUND OF COINS

MESS:

Gee, thanks.

SOUND:

SOUND OF OPENING OF PACKAGE, AND OVER IT

GEORGE:

Ah, there they are... pictures...

KAY:

Hold them up against the light... that's it... Hey, it looks swell. You've got to admit they did a fine job... Doesn't a thing look wrong with that arm.

GEORGE:

There's not. There never was. They X-rayed the wrong arm.

MUSIC:

CURTAIN