Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Escape
Show: Poison
Date: Jul 28 1950

CAST:
NARRATOR
ANNOUNCER
WOODY, American generic
HARRY, American south
HOUSEBOY, working class Indian
COLONEL, upper class British
GANDERBAI, Oxford-educated Indian

NARRATOR:

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ANNOUNCER:

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MUSIC:

TYMPANI

ANNOUNCER:

ESCAPE!

MUSIC:

ACCENT

ANNOUNCER:

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MUSIC:

CYMBAL CRASH

ANNOUNCER:

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MUSIC:

"NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN"

NARRATOR:

Tonight we escape to India and the story of a man trapped in his bed by a krait -- the most deadly poisonous snake in the world -- as Roald Dahl tells it in his terrifying story, "Poison."

MUSIC:

BRIEF INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Listen, it's an awful good story but to get the points you gotta understand about two things -- what kind of a guy Harry Pope was, and what kind of a snake a krait is.

First, the krait. You spell it K-R-A-I-T. They're in India, the kraits are. Little snakes, sometimes not more than three or four inches long. You have to look real careful if you're gonna see one at all. Really almost like a worm -- except that it's the most poisonous snake in the world. It can bite faster than a bumblebee and when it does you go off like a firecracker, swell up like a hot water bottle, and then fly the angels. Krait, tiny little snake.

Now about Harry; Harry Pope. Funny guy. He had it in for anybody who wasn't American, who didn't speak his language. He called 'em "foreigners," and he called 'em that Army word, "gook." Didn't matter if they were French, Italian, or Japanese. "Gook." "Foreigner," he'd say. Was kinda buggy on the subject. Funny guy.

Well, Harry and me, we got sent out to Bombay on this construction job and that's where the trouble started. You see, except for the two of us, the crew was made up of local boys, Hindus and Moslems, forty of 'em. Harry was like a cat in a roomful of dogs. Had his back up every minute. After a month or so it began to wear him out. Got so his appetite wasn't right, he was smoking three and four packs a day and he wasn't getting his sleep. I used to try to straighten him out, used to tell him he was wrong.

HARRY:

Now, Woody, there's no use talkin'--

WOODY:

Listen, Harry, they're all good boys. Why don't you take it easy?

HARRY:

Woody, you and I are good friends, but there are a lot of things you just don't understand!

WOODY:

You ought to take it easy, Harry. They're all human beings, just like you and me.

HARRY:

They're gooks, Woody. Foreigners. Lookit. Think about it this way. How'd you like your sister to marry one of 'em?

WOODY:

I haven't got a sister, and anyway, you've asked me that before.

HARRY:

Yeah, you see? You won't even make the effort to understand!

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Well, that's how it was with Harry, and you know about the krait. Now about what happened. It was June of last year. It was hot and sticky, even though the sun was down. I was putting on a clean shirt to go out.

SOUND:

DRAWER OPENS ... WOODY PUTS ON SHIRT

WOODY:

(CHEERFUL WHISTLING)

HARRY:

(EXHALES) Oh, man, I'm really beat tonight.

WOODY:

(STILL WHISTLING)

HARRY:

What's with you, Woody? What's the clean shirt for?

WOODY:

Goin' out.

HARRY:

Whaddaya got, a date?

WOODY:

No, I, uh, thought I'd stop off at Doctor Ganderbai's. He promised he'd show me the photos he made down in the leper colony.

HARRY:

Ganderbai?

WOODY:

Yeah. These photos are supposed to be pretty interesting stuff. How 'bout it Harry, would ya like to come along?

HARRY:

Ganderbai? He's a Hindu. A gook. Foreigner. I don't wanna spend no evening with a gook. Shoot, not old Harry.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) So I went off to the doctor's and Harry went to bed with a detective story. I had a very interesting evening. Later, old Harry was plenty sorry that he stayed home.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) I didn't leave the doctor's until around midnight, and when I drove back through the sleeping city it was very quiet and dark. I thought about the pictures of the lepers I'd seen. I remember thinking, "I hope Harry's awake because I'd like to tell him about those pictures."

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

WOODY:

(NARRATES) And when I got home I was glad to see the light in his room was still burning.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

WOODY:

(CALLS) Harry, you up?! [X] (NO ANSWER, NARRATES) I didn't get an answer; probably fell asleep reading. (CALLS) Harry?! You awake, Harry?!

HARRY:

(LOW) Sh-h-h! Woody. Stop yelling.

SOUND:

WOODY'S FOOTSTEPS BRIEFLY

WOODY:

Harry, boy! What's the matter, kid?

HARRY:

Shhh. Stop, Woody. Take off your shoes.

WOODY:

(NARRATES) I couldn't tell what was the matter but I knew he was serious, whatever it was about, so I did what he wanted.

SOUND:

SHOES DROPPED ON FLOOR

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) He was in bed, under his netting, with the reading light on, his book on the floor. He lay quite still, and the sheet came halfway up his chest. He was wearing those corny pajamas of his with the big checks all over 'em. And the pajamas were soaked in the sweat that was rolling off his face. He lay like a corpse flat on his back with his hands lying dead on the bed. His hands, even the backs of 'em, were sweating. His eyes looked like he was watching somebody saw his leg off. (TO HARRY) It's Woody! What's the matter, boy?

HARRY:

(LOW) Sh-h-h. It's a - krait.

WOODY:

Krait! Where?

HARRY:

Sh-h-h. For Mary's sake, sh-h-h.

WOODY:

Where? Where's the krait?

HARRY:

In here.

WOODY:

Under the netting?

HARRY:

No. Under the sheet.

WOODY:

Where'd it bite ya?

HARRY:

It hasn't -- yet.

WOODY:

Where under the sheet?

HARRY:

Right on my belly.

WOODY:

Holy son of a--!

HARRY:

Shhh. You're gonna wake it up if you don't cut out that yellin'.

WOODY:

How'd it get in there?

HARRY:

I don't know. Came up under the nettin', I guess. Or it's been in the bed all day.

WOODY:

Is it a big one?

HARRY:

No. Krait don't have to be big. Looked about three or four inches. Come along my side. I didn't move. It went under the sheet, in one of them folds, one of them wrinkles there over my belly.

WOODY:

How long ago did it come?

HARRY:

Hours. Hours and hours, and days and weeks. Woody, I been waitin' a year for you to get home.

WOODY:

Must be sleepin' in there, huh?

HARRY:

Yeah. I think it is.

WOODY:

All right, now listen, Harry. Maybe it'll wake up and go away. Go home or somethin', huh?

HARRY:

I can't wait, Woody. I've been lyin' here scared I'd move sudden and wake it up.

WOODY:

Yeah, ya scare it and it'll bite.

HARRY:

I been lyin' here scared to death I'd cough.

WOODY:

All right, don't you worry about a thing, Harry. (MOVING OFF) I know just what to do.

HARRY:

Where you going, Woody? Don't leave me.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) The thing was to be ready to cauterize the bite right away. I'd heard about one method. I went out to the kitchen and I got a whole fistful of those big kitchen matches and I took 'em back to the bedroom. Arranged 'em all with the heads together, held 'em like you'd hold a torch.

HARRY:

What're you gonna do? What're the matches for?

WOODY:

Now listen, Harry, here's how it goes. These'll cauterize, see? So we count three, flip back the sheet, and you jump out o' bed. Now, you follow me?

HARRY:

You're out o' your mind.

WOODY:

No, no, listen, Harry. If the krait bites ya, I strike the bundle and press it against the spot and it burns out the poison, see? While the matches--

HARRY:

Get away from me! You're a bubble-headed maniac--

WOODY:

No, Harry, I'm only tryin' to--

HARRY:

Sh-h-h! Listen, Woody, take them matches and your bright ideas and get the heck out o' here. Call the doctor.

WOODY:

The doctor? I never thought of that.

HARRY:

Sh-h-h. Now get to it.

WOODY:

Okay, Harry. Who do ya want? Ganderbai or Forsythe?

HARRY:

Forsythe. Things are bad enough without you gotta bring that gook in here.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) I dug through the telephone book and I found Dr. Matsonby Forsythe's number and I dialed it.

SOUND:

PHONE DIALED ... RINGS THRICE AND IS PICKED UP (CALLER'S PERSPECTIVE)

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER, SLOWLY) This is the residence of Dr. Mat'onby Forsythe, please.

WOODY:

Yeah, lemme speak to the doctor. It's very urgent.

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Who is calling, please?

WOODY:

Arthur Woods.

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Who?

WOODY:

Woods. Arthur Woods.

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Spell, please.

WOODY:

Woods! W--

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) W--

WOODY:

O--

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) O--

WOODY:

O--

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER, POLITE) You have already said "O." I have already written "O." Have the kindness to give me the next letter, please.

WOODY:

O! It's "O" after "O"!

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Please?

WOODY:

Look, my name is Woods.

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Spell, please.

WOODY:

W, O, O, D--

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Oh. W, O, O-- Ah ha!

WOODY:

D, S. Woods!

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Woods. W, O, O, D, S. Mr. Woods!

WOODY:

That's right. That's just right. Now, let me speak to the doctor, please!

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER, QUICKLY) Sorry. Doctor not in. Call tomorrow.

SOUND:

DISCONNECTS

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Across the room, Harry lay very still, sweating, trying to keep every muscle relaxed. His face was beginning to twitch a little. I was scared. If that twitch should spread-- I called the doctor's house again.

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) Please. I do not understand.

WOODY:

(ANGRY) Look. I said if you don't tell me where the doctor is, I'm gonna come over there and pull your arms off, and then I'm gonna take you by the neck and--

HOUSEBOY:

(FILTER) The doctor is at the club, please.

WOODY:

What club?

HOUSEBOY:

The country club. Ring six-seven-three--

SOUND:

DISCONNECTS

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Harry lay very still, fighting the twitches, trying to keep from jumping out of his skin, while I waited for the bartender at the club to locate Dr. Forsythe. After about five minutes of nothing, I got this--

COLONEL:

(FILTER, VERY DRUNK) Are you there?

WOODY:

Listen, doctor. You gotta get over here right away. This is Arthur Woods; and my partner, he's got a snake in the bed with him. (NO RESPONSE) Doctor?

COLONEL:

(FILTER, COUGHS) Uh, would you mind repeating that, old boy?

WOODY:

I said, snake! He's got a snake in the bed with him.

COLONEL:

(FILTER) Snake? Oh, jolly, jolly. I say, who is this? Is this Captain Smalls speaking?

WOODY:

Please, doctor, ya gotta get over here right away. It's urgent.

COLONEL:

(FILTER) Smalls, you cad. You don't fool me, not for an instant, you don't. (LAUGHS)

WOODY:

Oh, please, doctor!

COLONEL:

(FILTER, LAUGHS) Snake in bed!

WOODY:

Listen, is this Dr. Forsythe speaking?

COLONEL:

(FILTER) I say, of course not. It's Colonel Harcourt.

WOODY:

Oh, well, let me speak to the doctor, please!

COLONEL:

(FILTER) Oh, but you can't, old fellow!

WOODY:

Why not?

COLONEL:

(FILTER) Why, he's jolly well passed out, don't you know.

WOODY:

Passed out?

COLONEL:

(FILTER) Like a mackerel. (LAUGHS) Snake in the bed--

WOODY:

(DISGUSTED) Ah!

SOUND:

RECEIVER SLAMMED DOWN

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN OUT

WOODY:

Listen, Harry. Ya gotta forget all this prejudice stuff. Ganderbai's your only chance.

HARRY:

No. No. He - he's a gook.

WOODY:

He went to Oxford, Harry.

HARRY:

He's a gook!

WOODY:

It's him or the undertaker.

HARRY:

He's a gook.

WOODY:

I'm gonna call him, Harry.

HARRY:

All right. Go ahead, call him. But he's a gook.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) I called him. And when I mentioned "krait" he was quiet for a good ten seconds and then he said he'd be right over. And he was, within five minutes. He was wearing felt slippers, and he moved silently into the bedroom. He was carrying his black satchel, and when I saw the lamplight glinting softly in his steel-rimmed spectacles, saw his wise, gentle eyes, his bald, brown head, I thought to myself, "Why, he looks just like Mahatma Gandhi." He looked silently at Harry and smiled encouragingly. Harry looked at him, looked at me, and looked away.

GANDERBAI:

Now first we must very carefully remove the netting from about the bed. Mr. Pope, I want you to pay no attention to us. You are to concentrate on being very quiet, on letting the little snake sleep. It is a very little snake, and it is very tired. You must tell yourself this, and you must believe it is necessary for it to sleep.

HARRY:

Yeah, yeah.

GANDERBAI:

Mr. Woods, help me lift the netting. Very slowly. Up. And up. Good, good.

HARRY:

What're you gonna do for me?

GANDERBAI:

Sh-h-h, sh-h-h. Think about the little snake.

HARRY:

What do ya think I'm thinkin' about? What're you gonna do for me?

GANDERBAI:

The snake. It is - here?

WOODY:

It's in one of those folds over his - abdomen, doctor.

GANDERBAI:

Ah.

HARRY:

Now we all know where it is.

GANDERBAI:

Sh-h-h-h-h. Pretend you are the mother of the little snake. You are keeping it warm. It is sleeping. That is good.

HARRY:

Just so's it don't wake up and want breakfast.

GANDERBAI:

You joke. That is good.

HARRY:

I wish I was back home in the good old U.S.A.

GANDERBAI:

Now, then--

SOUND:

SATCHEL OPENED

WOODY:

What're you gonna do, doctor?

GANDERBAI:

I have the serum here. We will inject it into the blood of Mr. Pope. Then, as he puts it, the little snake may "breakfast" to his heart's content without harm to -- without harm to "Mama."

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) His hands were brown and slender and astonishingly deft. He poked the hypodermic into a capsule of thick yellowish stuff -- the serum -- and then, with infinite care, he drew the plunger slowly and steadily upward. The glistening chamber filled. He withdrew the needle, laid the hypodermic down, and then with all the gentleness in the world, he began to fold back Harry's sleeve. It was as though he were folding rare old lace. He inched the sleeve carefully, under and up Harry's arm until the vein came into view.

GANDERBAI:

I'm going to fasten a tourniquet on your arm now. It will be just above the elbow. Do not move your arm. Do not twitch your muscle.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Gently, gently he tightened the rubber tourniquet and Harry's arm began to flush dark. The vein began to swell, blue and tight. Harry kept his eyes on the ceiling.

GANDERBAI:

Now I'm going to insert the needle in the vein. You must not react. By that I mean you must not tense your abdominal muscles. Believe me, Mr. Pope, this will not hurt.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Very carefully he placed the syringe almost flat against the arm, slid the needle in sideways through the skin and into the blue vein. Slid it slowly but so firmly that it went in smooth, smooth as a knife goin' into a cheese.

HARRY:

Doc--?

GANDERBAI:

Sh-h-h, sh-h.

HARRY:

You're good, aren't ya, Doc?

GANDERBAI:

You must believe that.

HARRY:

You aren't gonna let me die, are ya, Doc?

GANDERBAI:

I am your friend. You must believe that.

HARRY:

Are ya, Doc? You won't let me die.

GANDERBAI:

No, no, I will not let you die. Now, be still, and think about that.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) With all the care in the world, as he had pushed the needle into the vein, now he pressed the plunger down, pressed the serum through the needle and into Harry Pope's body. I watched Harry. His eyes were on the wise, gentle face of Dr. Ganderbai. His eyes wanted desperately to believe what Ganderbai had told him. Now the hypodermic was empty, and slowly it was withdrawn. And then slowly the deft, graceful little hands loosened the rubber tourniquet, and then Ganderbai looked up, met Harry's eyes, and smiled. Harry tried to smile back, but the smile jumped and twitched and died.

HARRY:

You're taking care of me, huh, Doc?

GANDERBAI:

Yes, my son. Now you must be still while the serum is pumped through your body. Be very still, and be very assured, I am your friend.

HARRY:

Yeah.

GANDERBAI:

The serum will save you. You will escape harm.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) He beckoned to me and I followed him out o' the room and out onto the dark porch. The air was heavy and hot. Ganderbai stared out at the blackness, drummed his fingers softly on the railing.

SOUND:

SLIGHT JUNGLE BACKGROUND TO INDICATE WE ARE OUTSIDE NOW

GANDERBAI:

Your - your friend is in grave danger.

WOODY:

Yeah? But the serum. You gave him the serum.

GANDERBAI:

I gave him the serum.

WOODY:

But-- It isn't any good?

GANDERBAI:

It is the finest known to medical science. And it is worthless.

MUSIC:

CURTAIN

ANNOUNCER:

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MUSIC:

TYMPANI

ANNOUNCER:

ESCAPE!

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) So, there it was. Harry Pope, the man who had been an enemy of anyone and everyone who didn't come from his country or speak his language, was now halfway through death's door, and his only hope lay in a Dr. Ganderbai, of another race, another creed, another country, and another color. Now for the first time in his life, Harry had made a gesture of friendship toward a person of another race. First time. And it seemed to me, the last.

SOUND:

SLIGHT JUNGLE BACKGROUND

GANDERBAI:

No, my friend, the serum is worthless.

WOODY:

What can we do then? The snake is bound to wake sooner or later. Harry'll move; he won't be able to help himself, and the snake'll strike!

GANDERBAI:

We must think.

WOODY:

Look, I'll shoot it. I can hold the gun low and flat so that even if I hit Harry, it won't be a penetrating wound, and I'll blow the snake, sheet and all, clear of the bed, huh?

GANDERBAI:

But you don't even know which of the many folds and creases in that sheet is the harbor of the snake.

WOODY:

Yeah.

GANDERBAI:

You might shoot the air.

WOODY:

Yeah.

GANDERBAI:

You would most certainly wake the snake then.

WOODY:

No, we can't do that.

GANDERBAI:

I-- I think-- I think I have a solution, Mr. Woods.

WOODY:

Yeah?

GANDERBAI:

(THINKING HARD, SLOWLY) We will-- We will anesthetize the snake. Yes. We will use-- Nitrous oxide? Or ether? Or chloroform? I think the last. Chloroform. Yes.

WOODY:

We put the snake out, right while he's lyin' on Harry? Is that the idea?

GANDERBAI:

That is it, Mr. Woods. Now, if you will please drive quickly down to my house, my boy will show you where I keep my supplies. The chloroform is in the bottle with an orange label.

WOODY:

Orange label?

GANDERBAI:

Yes. Bring it back as quickly as you can. I will stay with Mr. Pope and try to keep him assured.

WOODY:

Well, he seems to like you.

GANDERBAI:

We all like the doctor when we are sick.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) I drove it as fast as I could. The houseboy at the doctor's thought I was a madman at first, but then he decided in my favor, showed me where the stuff was. I found the bottle with the orange label, smelled it to make sure, and then took off back to the house. I eased the car up the driveway and tiptoed into the bedroom.

HARRY:

(LIKE A CHILD) You're my friend, doctor? You're - my pal?

GANDERBAI:

Yes, I am your friend. And I'm not going to let any harm come to you.

HARRY:

Oh, here's Woody. He's my friend, too, Doc.

WOODY:

Here's the stuff, doctor.

HARRY:

Woody, I've been an awful dope all my life. You know that, Woody?

WOODY:

Ah, that's okay, Harry. You're gonna be okay from now on.

HARRY:

The doc here. My - friend here. I didn't like him when he first come into the room. Why? Because he wasn't an American, or even an Englishman. What do you know about that, huh? He's my friend.

WOODY:

Ah, it's okay, Harry. You're gonna be okay now, boy.

HARRY:

I been a pious dope.

GANDERBAI:

Mr. Woods, you'll have to help me.

WOODY:

Right.

MUSIC:

TENSE ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) He pulled a prescription pad out of his case, tore the cardboard backing off, and twisted it into a neat little funnel. He laid this on the edge of the bed. And then he took the piece of hollow rubber tubing which had been used as a tourniquet and he began to slide it under the sheet. It went in where the sheet ended, across Harry's chest, and he slid it down. He slid it slowly, so slowly that, although I was watching it, I didn't see it move. Hours seemed to crawl by. The tube inched invisibly on and down, down and down, past the unseen buttons of his jacket, past the unseen cord to his trousers, and then it stopped. Ganderbai had set it by a route which did not cross any of the creases in the sheet. He was being very careful not to prod the snake with it. He was sweating, too, now; sweating and biting his lip with his teeth. It's funny, I remember now, one was gold. I remember staring at it while he inched that tube.

GANDERBAI:

Now the funnel. I fit it into the end of the tube and we are ready. Mr. Pope, this is going to be very cold. The evaporation of the chloroform will cause a sharp lowering of the temperature. You must be prepared for this.

HARRY:

Hm.

GANDERBAI:

It will take rather a long time, another factor for which you must prepare yourself. The snake is a reptile, and reptiles do not react quickly to the anesthetics which are intended for the use of warm-blooded animals. Bear these things in mind. Are you ready?

HARRY:

Sure ---- friend.

MUSIC:

IN BG

WOODY:

(NARRATES) He opened the bottle and began to drip the stuff into the funnel. Slowly, very slowly, drop by drop, the clear liquid entered the tube and traveled the long, dark route to Harry Pope's stomach, where the krait lay sleeping. Drop by drop. A pale swirling vapor hung over the funnel. Down there on the sheet where the tube ended, a wet gray patch began to spread, the chloroform spreading and evaporating. Spreading and evaporating. The room began to reek of it, and I remembered other places and other times -- hospitals, operations, the death of loved ones. Smell of chloroform.

HARRY:

(MOANS)

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Harry began to twitch now. His nose-- He seemed to be in agony.

HARRY:

Woody?

WOODY:

Harry? What is it?

HARRY:

I - I think I'm gonna ---- sneeze.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A BRIEF ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

WOODY:

Don't do it, boy! Hang on, Harry! You gotta hang on! Don't!

WOODY:

(NARRATES) Ganderbai looked at Harry's face. He reached up, pressed his knuckle against some nerve on Harry's upper lip and the agonized look vanished.

HARRY:

(EXHALES GENTLY)

WOODY:

(NARRATES) The relentless dripping of the chloroform continued. Harry was getting cold. I could see gooseflesh along his arms, across the top of his chest where the jacket was open. Ganderbai looked at this and stopped pouring. [X]

GANDERBAI:

That is enough. I think our little friend should be thoroughly unconscious now. Mr. Pope, you must remain very still. We are going to remove the sheet now.

HARRY:

Anything you say, doctor.

GANDERBAI:

Mr. Woods, you take the other side. We will have to do this ever so carefully.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION, GENTLY OUT AT [Y]

WOODY:

(NARRATES) We each took a side of the hem. I watched Ganderbai and did everything that he did. Harry's arms were still flat on the bed, pointing toward his feet. We inched the sheet under and free of these. It was rough, because we had to do it without disturbing the main area of the sheet. When it was free of his arms, we began to raise it slowly, gathering the material in our hands as we progressed, ever so slowly down Harry's chest.

We reached the end of his jacket. No sign of the snake. My hands were beginning to shake. Ganderbai paused while I turned my head away for air. The odor of chloroform was stifling. And then we went on, slowly, thread by thread, raising the sheet and easing it away, down past the cord of his pajamas, and down and down, and still no sign of the snake. I'd stopped lookin' for it by now. I was concentrating on keeping my arms from shaking. [Y]

And then, quite suddenly, we were done. Ganderbai dropped the sheet on the floor. Harry lay on his back, not moving, but watching us with wide, terrorized eyes. Ganderbai squinted at both sides of Harry, at his legs.

HARRY:

(HOARSE) Where is it?

GANDERBAI:

(SLOW, CLINICAL) It is not, as you supposed, on the outside of your pajama pants. It must be up one of the legs.

HARRY:

(HYPERVENTILATES FOR A MOMENT, THEN STARTS SCREAMING IN TERROR--)

SOUND:

TEN SECONDS OF CHAOS -- MUCH SCUFFLING AS HARRY LEAPS OUT OF BED, SHRIEKING AND TEARING WILDLY AT HIS PANTS ... WOODY AND GANDERBAI TRY TO STOP HIM ... ALL THREE YELL INDECIPHERABLY, BUT WE HEAR THE FOLLOWING THREE LINES--

WOODY:

Harry! No, you fool! Stop!

HARRY:

I can't stand it anymore!

GANDERBAI:

Stop it! Stop it.

SOUND:

SCUFFLE FINALLY STOPS AS--

HARRY:

(HIS SHRIEKING DEGENERATES TO EXTRAVAGANT WEEPING -- AND THEN TO SOBBING, IN BG)

WOODY:

(TENSE) I don't see it.

GANDERBAI:

Kick those tatters of cloth, the remains of his pants.

SOUND:

WOODY KICKS PANTS

WOODY:

No, nothin'.

GANDERBAI:

(BENDING QUICKLY, WITH EFFORT) The bed. Under the bed.

WOODY:

Yeah.

SOUND:

BED IS LIFTED

WOODY:

Move your feet, Harry! Harry, move your feet! (TO GANDERBAI) No, there's nothin'.

SOUND:

BED IS SET DOWN

GANDERBAI:

Mr. Pope, are you--? Are you quite certain you saw a snake? Sometimes when we are very tired, we find our auto-suggestive faculties run a bit ouf-of-hand.

HARRY:

(HAS STOPPED WEEPING DURING ABOVE) Are you callin' me a liar?

GANDERBAI:

Why, no, no, I merely say that the auto-suggestive--

HARRY:

(FURIOUS) Are ya?! Are you tellin' me I'm a liar?!

WOODY:

Harry!

HARRY:

Why, you lousy little quack! Call me a liar?! You stinkin' little Hindu witch doctor with your fancy pants, huh?!

WOODY:

Harry!

HARRY:

Come in here stickin' me full of your cheap, no-good medicine!

WOODY:

Harry, don't!

HARRY:

Pour that freezin' cold stuff all over me!

WOODY:

Harry, take it easy! Harry, he's your friend!

HARRY:

(SHRIEKS) My friend?! (BEAT) That little hunk of foreign trash, my friend? (LOW) Why, where I come from we use guys like him for busboys.

GANDERBAI:

(STUNNED, OFFENDED) You make a mistake. You are wrong! I am--

HARRY:

(SCREAMS, SAVAGELY) Yeah, for busboys, for waiters, for nothin'! You're a foreigner! You're a gook! You're a nothin'! Why, I ought to beat you to a bloody pulp. You and your chloroform! Yeah! (SNEERING) You and your stuff about friendship, and Mama Snake, and I must make out like I like you! (EXPLODES) I ought to split your head wide open, ya gook! Ya gook! Ya gook! Ya goooook!

MUSIC:

BIG ACCENT

SOUND:

SLIGHT JUNGLE BACKGROUND TO INDICATE WE ARE OUTSIDE NOW

WOODY:

(QUIETLY) Please, doctor. Forgive him. He's been under a great strain. He doesn't mean it.

GANDERBAI:

(UPSET, BUT OUTWARDLY COMPOSED) A great strain. Yes. He needs a good ---- holiday. (BEAT) Good night, Mr. Woods.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

WOODY:

(NARRATES) That's all. I couldn't tell this if old Harry was still alive. Poor old Harry. He didn't die in India. He died in Chicago, in the Loop. Got run over by a taxicab. The driver was third-generation Irish, a real hundred-percent white American. Maybe that means something, I don't know. Poor old Harry.

MUSIC:

CYMBAL CRASH ... THEN TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

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MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

ESCAPE is produced and directed by William N. Robson and tonight has presented "Poison" by Roald Dahl and adapted for radio by James Poe. Featured in tonight's cast were Jack Webb as Woody, Bill Conrad as Harry, Jay Novello as Ganderbai, and Charlie Lung as the houseboy. Special music arranged and played by Ivan Ditmars.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Next week--

NARRATOR:

You are lost in the headhunter territory of New Guinea, fighting your way through the swamps in search of gold. With you is a giant brute of a man and his beautiful wife, who doesn't care which of you is killed, or who kills him, and from whose evil treachery there is no --- ESCAPE.

MUSIC:

"NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN" ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Next week at this time the Richfield Oil Corporation of New York invites you to escape with an exciting story of evil and violence in the deadly swamps of New Guinea -- as Jules Archer tells it in "Two Came Back." Goodbye then, until this same time next week, when once again we offer you -- ESCAPE. Tom Hanlon speaking over CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

MUSIC:

CLOSING MARCH