Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Mysterious Traveler
Show: No One on the Line
Date: Sep 01 1946

SFX:

STEAM TRAIN WHISTLE, FOLLOWED BY RAILROAD SOUNDS UP THEN UNDER

Announcer:

THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER!

SFX:

RAILROAD SOUNDS UP FOR A MOMENT THEN UNDER

Traveler:

This is the Mysterious Traveler inviting you to join me on another journey into the realm of the strange and the terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip! And that it will thrill you a little, and chill you a little. So settle back and get a good grip on your nerves%u2026.if you can!

SFX:

STEAM TRAIN WHISTLE

Traveler:

Where are we going? Why, today we're going to accompany Mister Harvey Benson through a fateful 24 hours of his life. In a story I call

MFX:

ORGAN STING

Traveler:

'No One On The Line'

MFX:

ORGAN BRIDGE

Traveler:

Our visit with Harvey Benson begins on a Wednesday evening in summer. Harvey, a self-made businessman is smoking a cigar, and reading the paper, while his wife, Linda reads a book. It's really quite a picture of peaceful domesticity.

SFX:

NEWSPAPER BEING FOLDED

Harvey:

(yawns loudly) Well, that's that. Nothing much in the paper tonight, dear.

Linda:

Too bad your poker game tonight fell through, darling. I know how you look forward to Wednesday evenings.

Harvey:

Well, it doesn't matter. (pause) A good book you're reading?

Linda:

Oh, yes! Yes, it's very exciting. It's a new murder mystery everybody is talking about.

Harvey:

I would have guessed it was rather dull by the way you've been looking a the same page for 10 minutes now.

Linda:

(slightly nervous chuckle) Oh! Ahhh%u2026%u2026was I? I must have been wool gathering!

Harvey:

(stretches) Wellllll, I guess I'll go up%u2026..

SFX:

TELEPHONE RINGS

Harvey:

Oh, the phone, I'll get it, Linda.

Linda:

(quickly) No! Sit still, Harvey! You're tired. I'll get it.

Harvey:

No, I insist, my dear.

SFX:

PHONE OFF HOOK

Harvey:

Hello. (long pause) Hello?? (pause) HELLO?

SFX:

RATTLE OF HOOK SWITCH

Harvey:

HELLO?

SFX:

PHONE ON HOOK

Harvey:

That's funny, no one on the line!

Linda:

How strange! (pause) Maybe the phone's out of order.

Harvey:

No, I heard the click as someone hung up when I answered. (pause) Oh, but it's not worth wondering about. It's getting late. What do you say we turn in?

MFX:

ORGAN BRIDGE

Traveler:

And now we join Harvey again, at breakfast the following morning. It's getting late, but Harvey lingers over his coffee, as if he had the whole day ahead of him.

SFX:

RATTLE OF COFFEE CUP ON SAUCER

Harvey:

Mmmmm, good coffee, dear. (pause) Pour me some more, will you, darling?

Linda:

Of course, Harvey. But (pause) uhhh, shouldn't you be leaving for your office, dear?

Harvey:

(dismissive) Oh, there's plenty of time!

Linda:

But it's almost 9:30!

Harvey:

You seem very anxious to get me to the office, Linda. You're not trying to get rid of me by any chance?

Linda:

(chuckles) Why, of course not! (pause) But you said you had an important appointment this morning%u2026

Harvey:

(interrupting) Oh, yeah. But the fellow will wait. (pause) Mmmmm mmmm, mighty good coffee, this is.

Linda:

Harvey.

Harvey:

Hmmm?

Linda:

(concerned) Is there anything wrong?

Harvey:

Anything wrong?

Linda:

Yes. (pause) You've seemed a little odd the last day or two, and this morning.

Harvey:

And what's the matter with me this morning?

Linda:

Oh, I don't know that anything is, but%u2026..you DO seem a little strange.

Harvey:

Strange? In what way, Linda, my dear?

Linda:

Oh, I'm sorry if I said anything to annoy you, but%u2026

SFX:

TELEPHONE RINGS

Linda:

(quickly) Oh! I'll answer it!

Harvey:

Sit still, Linda. I'll answer it.

Linda:

(protesting) But Harvey, it's probably%u2026.

Harvey:

(interrupting) I said, I'll answer it. It may be a call I've been expecting.

Linda:

All right, Harvey.

SFX:

PHONE OFF HOOK

Harvey:

Hello? (pause) Hello!? (pause) HELLO?

SFX:

PHONE ON HOOK

Harvey:

Huh. Strange! No one on the line! (pause) Same thing that happened last night.

Linda:

My! How peculiar! (pause) Oh, but that phone MUST be out of order.

Harvey:

Well, yes, I suppose so. Yet I could swear I heard someone hang up when I answered.

Linda:

Oh, you must have been mistaken, darling.

Harvey:

Oh, I suppose so. You'd better give the company a ring, Linda.

Linda:

Yes, I will, Harvey. Right away.

Harvey:

Good. And now I DO have to be going. See you tonight, darling.

MFX:

ORGAN INTERLUDE

Traveler:

So now we accompany Harvey Benson to his office. Because we're spending one complete day with him, remember? (pause) His office is large, luxurious, reflecting the success Harvey Benson has achieved in the world by hard work, and constant vigilance. (pause) Once arrive there, Harvey plunges into his work, until shortly before noon the sound of the inter-office intercom arouses him.

SFX:

BUZZER

Miss Johnson:

(on phone) Excuse me, Mister Benson.

Harvey:

Oh, yes, Miss Johnson?

Miss Johnson:

A Mister Mungo is here to see you. (pause) Shall I send him in?

Harvey:

No, ask him to wait. I'd like to see you for a moment first, Miss Johnson.

Miss Johnson:

Certainly, Mister Benson. I'll be right in.

SFX:

DOOR OPEN

Miss Johnson:

(now on regular microphone) Yes, Mister Benson?

Harvey:

Sit down, please, Miss Johnson.

SFX:

DOOR SHUT

Miss Johnson:

Yes sir. I brought my book.

Harvey:

You won't need it. (pause) I just want to chat with you a moment.

Miss Johnson:

I don't understand, Mister Benson.

Harvey:

(matter-of-factly) I just want to talk to you, that's all. I don't believe you and I have ever talked before as person to person, have we?

Miss Johnson:

No, sir. We haven't.

Harvey:

And you've been with me ahhhhhh%u2026.. seven years, isn't it?

Miss Johnson:

(agreeing) Seven years next month.

Harvey:

Seven years, and we've never talked as equals. But then, I've never needed advice before. (pause) You've noted I never asked for advice, I suppose.

Miss Johnson:

(hesitantly) Wellllll%u2026.uh%u2026.yes, I have, Mister Benson.

Harvey:

(firmly) Make your own decision, and act upon it! That's my motto. And yet now, I'm going to ask your advice. As a woman, NOT as a secretary.

Miss Johnson:

Well (pause) I%u2026..I'll try to be helpful, if I can.

Harvey:

Good! Now then, picture for yourself a woman who has always been very practical and%u2026.uh%u2026..well, let's say, rather cold. Suddenly, this woman becomes dreamy and absentminded. She stands for minutes at the window (pause) looking at nothing. You speak to her, she doesn't hear you. (pause) What would you deduce from that?

Miss Johnson:

Why, I'd say she was in love.

Harvey:

(calmly) Excellent. (pause) Now suppose this woman is married? Suppose on several occasions when her husband is in the room%u2026.. (pause) You're following me, aren't you?

Miss Johnson:

Oh, yes, sir.

Harvey:

Suppose on these occasions the phone rings, and this married woman answers. And each time she tells the party calling he has the wrong number. (pause) What then?

Miss Johnson:

Why%u2026%u2026I suppose that COULD happen.

Harvey:

Now, Miss Johnson, suppose on several occasions the husband answers, and the party at the other end hangs up without speaking.

Miss Johnson:

Why, it sounds like someone trying to call the wife without her husband's knowing about it.

Harvey:

Exactly. (pause) I felt sure I couldn't be wrong. But it's helpful to have your opinion to back me up. (pause) Thank you very much, Miss Johnson.

Miss Johnson:

(slightly surprised) Why%u2026.not at all, Mister Benson.

Harvey:

Now please send in Mister Mungo.

Miss Johnson:

Yes, sir! Right away.

SFX:

DOOR OPENING

Miss Johnson:

(off mic) Mister Benson will see you now.

Mungo:

(off mic) OK, sister! (pause then approaching mic) Good morning, Mister Benson!

Harvey:

Come in, Mungo, and close the door.

Mungo:

Sure, Mister Benson

SFX:

DOOR CLOSE

Harvey:

Uhh%u2026sit down.

Mungo:

Yeah, sure.

Harvey:

You have the information for me?

Mungo:

Everything's right here in my report.

Harvey:

Good! Let's have it.

Mungo:

I checked thoroughly on the four names you suggested.

Harvey:

And which one was she meeting?

Mungo:

I only witnessed ONE meeting, Mister Benson. The other times she gave me the slip.

Harvey:

(annoyed) Then you don't know your business!

Mungo:

Well, what she did was go to Dukenbaker's Department Store, take a dress into one of the fitting rooms, and then leave by another door. I couldn't very well follow her there.

Harvey:

(raising voice) You should have managed it somehow! I've been%u2026%u2026 (more calmly) well, never mind that. What did you learn?

Mungo:

I'll give you the general report first before mentioning names.

Harvey:

(annoyed) All right! Do so, but don't dawdle about it!

Mungo:

Yes, Mister Benson. As you see, I called the four individuals you suggested parties A, B, C, and D.

Harvey:

Yes.

Mungo:

Now party B, Mrs. Benson knew before her marriage, but I found no evidence they'd ever communicated since.

Harvey:

Yes, go on.

Mungo:

Parties C and D she also knew before she became Mrs. Benson. And from time to time, she's seen both of them since. But those meetings appear to have been accidental.

Harvey:

Maybe so. Get on with it.

Mungo:

But party A, the architect one, I trace him back to Atlanta, that's his hometown.

Harvey:

(interested) Yes? She comes from Atlanta, too.

Mungo:

Yes! They went to high school together. Were sweet on each other for a year or two. He used to keep her picture in his room.

Harvey:

Oh! He did, did he?

Mungo:

Yeah! and since he reached New York, 3 months ago, he's phoned her 4 or 5 times according to the switchboard operator at his apartment house.

Harvey:

Yes, of course! I remember how excited she was when they met at the Jennings' dance two months ago.

Mungo:

And 3 days ago, get this, when Mrs. Benson was downtown shopping she dropped in to Razz for lunch, and she ran into him there.

Harvey:

No doubt it was a planned meeting!

Mungo:

It was very cleverly done. Then they sat for 2 hours talking and that meeting was NO accident!

Harvey:

No, of COURSE it wasn't! (pause then bitterly) Donald Arkright! Yes! I was sure of it!

Mungo:

Yes, sir. But if you want me to keep on following%u2026..

Harvey:

(interrupting) No, no, no! It's time for more decisive steps.

Mungo:

I don't understand.

Harvey:

You're not supposed to. But if you knew me better, you'd know the moment my mind is made up, I act!

Mungo:

I see, Mister Benson%u2026.

Harvey:

(interrupting forcefully) And I propose to act NOW! So send me your bill, and forget the whole affair.

Mungo:

Very good, Mister Benson. I'll forget the whole affair.

SFX:

DOOR OPENING

Mungo:

I'm very good at that! (off mic) Good day, Mister Benson.

Harvey:

Goodbye.

SFX:

DOOR CLOSE

SFX:

TELEPHONE OFF HOOK AND DIALED

SFX:

PHONE RINGING IN EARPIECE (2 rings then answered)

Arkright:

(on phone) Hello, Donald Arkright speaking.

Harvey:

(cheerfully) Oh, hello, Arkright! This is Harvey Benson! You remember me, Linda's husband?

Arkright:

(pleasantly) Oh! Yes, yes! Of course, Mister Benson. How are ya?

Harvey:

Fine, thanks. I'm calling because I need an architect.

Arkright:

(flattered) Oh, and you wanted me to%u2026.

Harvey:

(interrupting) Yes! I'm going to put up a summer place out on Long Island. And I wanted you to draw the plans.

Arkright:

Well, that's GREAT, Mister Benson! Uhh, now what kind of site have you?

Harvey:

I'll do better than tell you. I'll show it to you. That is, if you're free to drive out with me this morning.

Arkright:

Well, I DO have an appointment%u2026.

Harvey:

(interrupting and insistent) CANCEL IT. (pause then less insistent) This will be well worth your while, I assure you.

Arkright:

(chuckling) Well (pause) All right, I will, Mister Benson!

Harvey:

Good! Then I'll pick you up in my car. Say about 45 minutes?

Arkright:

All right. That will be fine! I'll be looking for you.

Harvey:

Good. I'll see you shortly, then. We'll have lunch on the way.

SFX:

PHONE ON HOOK

SFX:

SNAP OF INTERCOM SWITCH

Harvey:

Oh, Miss Johnson?

Miss Johnson:

(on phone) Yes, Mister Benson?

Harvey:

I'm leaving for the day. Cancel any appointments I may have.

MFX:

ORGAN TRANSITION

Traveler:

Now Harvey Benson leaves his office, and we follow him to the garage where he keeps his car.

Harvey:

Joe, do you have my car ready?

Joe:

I got it right here, Mister Benson. But look, don't ya wanna take the new coupe?

Harvey:

No, I said I wanted the sedan.

Joe:

Yeah, sure, but since that little accident Mrs. Benson had, the sedan ain't in too good a shape.

Harvey:

(dismissive) It will do for today.

Joe:

Yeah, but what I'm gettin' at is, it ain't safe...

Harvey:

(interrupting) I'm not worried!

SFX:

CAR DOOR OPENING

Harvey:

You put in plenty of gas?

Joe:

Yep! 5 gallons, Mister Benson.

SFX:

CAR DOOR CLOSING

Joe:

But look now, don't take no chances with them brakes. They don't hold worth a cent!

Harvey:

(slightly annoyed) I'm aware of that!

Joe:

And that right-hand door, sticks something terrible.

Harvey:

(more annoyed) What of it? What do you care?

Joe:

(somewhat surprised) Oh, I just thought....

Harvey:

(interrupting and ordering) WELL, DON'T!

SFX:

CAR ENGINE START AND PULLING AWAY

Joe:

Golly! He's certainly in a hurry! With them brakes the way they are, he'll KILL somebody, if he ain't careful!

MFX:

ORGAN STAB TO TRANSITION

Traveler:

At 87th street, Harvey Benson picks up his passenger, Donald Arkright. And several hours later, they are far out in a lonely section of Long Island.

SFX:

CAR ENGINE IN BACKGROUND

Harvey:

(cheerfully) Just a quarter of a mile more, Arkright. Up ahead, on top of those cliffs. That's where my lots are.

Arkright:

I surely appreciate your asking me to prepare the plans, Mister Benson!

Harvey:

Linda suggested you for the job! Said you were a first-rate architect.

Arkright:

(appreciative) Well, that's swell of her! I wasn't even sure she'd remember me.

Harvey:

(chuckling) Oh! She remembers you very well! I could see how happy she was to meet you at the Jennings party!

Arkright:

Yeah! I was tickled that she recognized me! After all, it's been six years since we last met.

Harvey:

Well, why SHOULDN'T she recognize you? After all, you WERE sweethearts, weren't you?

Arkright:

(laughing) Well, I suppose you could have called it that. We DID have some good times together. Riding and hiking and dancing.

Harvey:

Well, it's plain she still thinks a lot of you. (long pause) Ah! There's the site! Right up ahead.

SFX:

CAR SOUNDS FADE OUT

Arkright:

Oh, yes! (pause) Smack on the edge of the cliff, huh? (pause) Well, you'll have a nice view. All the way across the sound.

Harvey:

80 feet, sheer to the water. (pause) Not another house for miles. (pause) Look! You can see all the way down to the rocks from the bend in the road here.

Arkright:

(impressed) WELL! Those waves are surely kicking up a fuss! A man wouldn't last long down there!

Harvey:

No (LONG pause) No, not long.

Arkright:

But you don't have to worry! I'll build you a house that will never slide over the edge!

Harvey:

I'm sure you'll never give ME any cause to worry. (pause) Well, here we are. I'll have to pull the car a bit off the road to park.

Arkright:

Wow! Pretty steep here!

Harvey:

Yes it is.

Arkright:

I'll have to put in a retaining wall. Tear up the ground, I guess.

Harvey:

There! There I got it off the road. (pause) We'll leave it here, where we'll have room to turn around when we're ready to start back.

Arkright:

Sure hope you've got good brakes! I'd hate to slide over on to those rocks down there!

Harvey:

I'd hate to myself. (pause) Oh, do you want to get out and block the wheels for me?

Arkright:

Oh, yes, of course.

SFX:

RATTLE OF CAR DOOR HANDLE

Arkright:

(grunts) The door won't open! It seems to be stuck.

Harvey:

Oh, that's right! That door DOES open hard. Never mind! I'll get out on this side and block them.

SFX:

CAR DOOR OPEN

Arkright Oh, say! Aren't you forgetting to set the brakes?

Harvey:

It's not necessary.

SFX:

CAR DOOR CLOSE

Arkright:

(protesting) But this slope! It's steep here!

Harvey:

(insistent) I know what I'm doing!

Arkright:

(getting excited) BUT LOOK! The car's moving already! It's starting to roll forward!

Harvey:

(meanly) Yes it IS, isn't it? And it will KEEP ON rolling!

Arkright:

(off mic as the car rolls away) MISTER BENSON! I CAN'T STOP THE CAR!! THE BRAKES WON'T HOLD! MISTER BENSON!! MISTER BENSON!! IT'S GOING OVER THE CLIFF!

MFX:

ORGAN STAB TO BG

Traveler:

Harvey stands there, watching the car roll toward the edge. While his passenger stuggles frantically to get out. It only has 10 feet to go, 5 feet, and then on the very edge, the wheels twist against a rock, and the car stops. (pause) Harvey runs down the slope and reaches the spot just as Donald Arkright manages at last to scramble out.

Arkright:

(incensed) Mister Benson! You did that on purpose!

Harvey:

(calmly) Yes, Arkright! I DID!


Arkright:

(shaking with fear) You....you tried to KILL me!

Harvey:

EXACTLY! I tried to kill you.

Arkright:

B...b...but WHY? You must be CRAZY!

Harvey:

No, Arkright. If you knew me better, you'd know that NOONE tries to take ANYTHING from ME (fiercely) WITHOUT SUFFERING FOR IT!

Arkright:

(angry) What are you talking about?

Harvey:

(also angry) You KNOW what I'm talking about! (pause) What's mine is MINE! And everthing that's mine I KEEP!

Arkright:

You ARE crazy! I can see it! GET AWAY FROM ME! TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME! (grunts as if they are struggling)

Harvey:

(grunts as well) NO, ARKRIGHT! YOU HAVEN'T A CHANCE!
Arkright: LET ME GO! I'LL....(more grunts)

Harvey:

(more grunts) YOU'LL DO NOTHING!

SFX:

PUNCHES LANDING

Harvey:

IN THIS WORLD A MAN HAS TO BE STRONG AND RUTHLESS TO STAY ON TOP! AND I'M BOTH!

Arkright:

(fearing for his life) NO!!! YOU'RE PUSHING ME TOWARDS THE EDGE!! LET ME GO!! (more grunts)

Harvey:

(wild with rage) YOU'RE GOING OVER! DO YOU HEAR?

SFX:

PUNCHES STOP

Harvey:

(grunts as if he has picked up Arkright and still filled with rage) YOU'RE GOING OVER!!

Arkright:

NO! NO! (third 'no' said as a scream walking away from mic to simulate his fall)

MFX:

ORGAN STAB TO BRIDGE

Traveler:

For a moment, Harvey stands glaring down at the white-capped waters that have received his victim. Then he turns to the car. A quick twist of the steering wheel, a push, and the car is gone! (pause) Then Harvey turns away, back to the road. He walks a mile...two miles...three, until he gets a lift from a driver who takes him to the nearest State Police barracks, where State Police Sergeant Thomas hears his story.

Thomas: Mister Benson, you say he got out of the car to block the wheels, and the car started rolling forward?

Harvey:

(slowly) Yes, Sergeant. (pause) Arkright tried to open the door, but it stuck. (pause) Th....the car was at the edge by the time he got it open. He......he jumped (long pause) but he was too late.

Thomas:

I see. All right. I have the details straight.

Harvey:

(faking) Ohhh! It...it...it was HORRIBLE, Sergeant! He was my friend! (pause) There was nothing I could do to help. (pause) NOTHING!

Thomas:

Yes, I understand, Mister Benson. You were quite alone at the time? No wittnesses?

Harvey:

No. We were miles from the nearest house. (pause) Why do you ask?

Thomas:

Well, because there is a Boy Scout camp about a mile from there, Mister Benson. I thought some of the boys might have been within sight.

Harvey:

Oh, no, no, no. There wasn't anyone within sight.

Thomas:

I see. Well, I guess that's all, Mister Benson. It's just about dark now, so we probably won't recover the body before tomorrow. I'll notify you the minute we do, so you can identify your friend.

MFX:

ORGAN INTERLUDE

Traveler:

And so, late in the evening, Harvey returns home to find Linda waiting for him anxiously.

SFX:

DOOR OPEN

Linda:

Is that you, Harvey?

Harvey:

(calmly) Yes, my dear. It is.

SFX:

DOOR CLOSE

Linda:

Well, I waited dinner as long as I could. Then I went ahead and ate. Shall I fix you something now?

Harvey:

No, thank you. I've eaten. (pause) Let's sit down, Linda. I'd like to talk to you.

Linda:

(slightly surprised) Why.....why of course, Harvey.

Harvey:

Did you have the phone fixed?

Linda:

The phone? Oh...no...I...uh.. called the company, but they said there was nothing wrong with it.

Harvey:

I see. Well, they were quite right! I discovered that the trouble was from another source.

Linda:

I don't think I understand you, Harvey.

Harvey:

(getting a bit annoyed) Linda, my dear, do you consider me a fool?

Linda:

Why, of course NOT!

Harvey:

(voice rising) Don't you suppose that I've known what was going on for some days now?

Linda:

(getting nervous) Just what do you mean, Harvey?

Harvey:

(calm again) When a woman suddenly takes to mooning around the house, staring out the window, not answering when she's spoken to, (pause) the SIGNS are unmistakable!

Linda:

(fearful) Are.....are you speaking about me, Harvey?

Harvey:

(again annoyed) And when that same woman gets several phone calls while her husband is in the room, and each times tells the caller, (mimicking female voice) "I'm afraid you have the wrong number. There's nobody here by that name." It would be a very stupid husband, indeed who failed to notice!

Linda:

Yes...yes, I suppose it would.

Harvey:

(getting angrier) But the crowning touch was those calls when there was no one on the line. One several days ago, one last night, and now ONE THIS MORNING!

Linda:

(pleading) But, Harvey.....

Harvey:

(interrupting and angry) I answer, and there's no one on the line! But who's there when YOU answer? THAT'S what I want to know, Linda! (pause) WELL?? WHAT HAVE YOU TO SAY?

Linda:

There isn't much I CAN say, Harvey.

Harvey:

OH! So you ADMIT IT! (pause) Those calls WERE from someone I WASN'T supposed to know about! (very angry) Someone you're in love with!

Linda:

(emphatic) YES! Someone I'm in love with! Someone I've been trying to bring myself to tell you about!

Harvey:

Someone you've been meeting at tawdry rendezvous!

Linda:

(still scared) Nothing of the kind! We've met, yes! But they've been perfectly innocent meetings. Lunch, and a walk in the park. Nothing worse than that!

Harvey:

YOU'RE A FOOL TO EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT!

Linda:

Yes, yes I suppose I am. And yet, it's the truth.

Harvey:

(sinister) Well it doesn't matter! (pause then a bit calmer) But may I inquire what your plans are?

Linda:

(pause before speaking then regretfully) I want a divorce, Harvey.

Harvey:

So you can marry this unknown who telephones you, then hangs up when I answer!

Linda:

YES! And I'm sorry that ever happened. (pause) You see.....I was afraid of you, Harvey!

Harvey:

(slightly surprised) Afraid? Of me? Of your loving husband.

Linda:

YES, I was! But I'm not anymore! (getting defiant) I only want to be FREE of you! FREE to marry the man I really love!

Harvey:

(dismissive chuckle) Very interesting, my dear! But slightly impractical. Do you REALLY think I'd let anyone take you away from me?

Linda:

(flippantly) I'm afraid you have NO choice!

Harvey:

(loudly) WELL, YOU'RE WRONG! (pause) It's YOU who have no choice! You're penniless, Linda! (quickly) You have no family! No money! No training! You have only ME!

Linda:

What are you trying to say?

Harvey:

(calmly) I'm just leading up to a story I have to tell you, Linda. (pause) A very tragic story which occurred only this afternoon.

MFX:

ORGAN STAB

Traveler:

And so, Harvey tells Linda the story of the afternoon's events. Oh! not the TRUE story, of course. But she guesses the truth as he speaks. And recoils in horror when he's finished.

Linda:

(distraught) OHHHH! (sobs) You've KILLED him! (sobs) You've deliberately murdered him!

Harvey:

NONSENSE! It was a tragic accident! The police have already exonerated me.

Linda:

(still in tears) YOU'VE KILLED HIM! OH, NO!!! (sobs) NO! I DON'T BELIEVE YOU! YOU'RE JUST TRYING TO TORTURE ME!

Harvey:

(calmly) You know me better than that. You know that what I have (voice rising) KEEP AT ANY COST!

Linda:

Then you DID kill him! You're a MURDERER!

Harvey:

Don't be hysterical, my dear! Or I shall be forced to discipline you.

Linda:

I'm going to the POLICE! I'M GOING TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH!

Harvey:

(ordering) LINDA! COME BACK HERE!

Linda:

(off mic) NO! NO, YOU CAN'T STOP ME!

SFX:

DOOR OPENING

Harvey:

LINDA! COME BACK! COME BACK, I SAY!

SFX:

DOOR SLAM

MFX:

ORGAN STING

Traveler:

Linda is gone before Harvey can get to the door. Harvey pauses, then he shrugs, turns back, sits down and lights a cigar.

SFX:

MATCH BEING STRUCK

Harvey:

(exhales smoke) Mmmmmm, good cigar. (pause) I must remember to order another box. (long pause) And so, Linda, you've rushed off to the police. In your heart of hearts, you hope that I'm lying! Your first move will be to rush to a telephone. You put in a nickel, and dial with trembling fingers. You hear the phone at the other end ring. And with aching heart, you WAIT! Hoping against hope that Donald Arkright will answer. (small chuckle) (sinister) But he won't! And then you'll know I told the truth. (pause) Then....hmmmm....Will you come back first? Or will you go on to the police? (pause) I rather think you'll go to the police! For you ARE excited just now. And you'll return with a detective or two. I shall have to explain to them, tell them of your hysterical spells. (slowly) Then....you...and...I...will be....left...ALONE! (normal speed) And in a day or two, I think we'll leave on a little trip. YES! Up to my hunting lodge. Where we can be alone there! And we'll get to know each other well again! And in the future....

SFX:

DOOR BUZZER

Harvey:

Ah! The door! So you're back already, Linda! (chuckles) I guessed wrong.

SFX:

DOOR BUZZER

Harvey:

(calling) Just a moment, my dear. I'm coming.

MFX:

ORGAN STING

Traveler:

Harvey crosses to the door, opens it,

SFX:

DOOR OPEN

Traveler:

And recoils in surprise.

Thomas:

Good evening, Mister Benson.

Harvey:

(surprise) Well! If it isn't Sergeant Thomas! And I see my wife is with you.

Thomas:

Yes, we met in the lobby. She came back up with me. I'd like to come in.

Harvey:

Why, of course!

Thomas:

After you, Mrs. Benson. (pause) These other men will wait out here.

Linda:

Thank you, Sergeant.

SFX:

DOOR CLOSE

Harvey:

And now, DO sit down, Linda. And you, too, Sergeant. Oh! would you like a cigar?

Thomas:

(flatly) No, thanks. We might as well waste no time, Mr. Benson. We've recovered your friend's body.

Harvey:

Already? But surely you didn't come here to tell me that?

Linda:

(nearly hysterical) We KNOW you killed him, Harvey! THEY KNOW!

Harvey:

(calmly) Please, Linda. You must forgive my wife, Sergeant. She's overwrought. I suppose she's been babbling some nonsense to you.

Thomas:

She told me a story. I don't think it's nonsense!

Harvey:

Of COURSE it is! She's hysterical.

Linda:

But there were witnesses, Harvey! There WERE WITNESSES!

Harvey:

What? That's absurd! There was no one within miles!

Thomas:

EXCEPT a camp of Boy Scouts! Four of them with a Scout Master were lying in the grass, half a mile away when you drove up. (getting emphatic) They were watching for BIRDS! With field glasses.

Harvey:

You're LYING!

Thomas:

And with natural curiosity, they turned their glasses on YOU! They saw your struggle on the cliff.

Harvey:

No, no! YOU'RE LYING!

Thomas:

They went to another police barracks to report, or I'd have been here sooner! (pause) Here are copies of the affidavits they signed.

Harvey:

(a little fearful) AFFIDAVITS?

Thomas:

Yeah. (pause) Look them over.

Harvey:

(getting nervous) Affidavits. (long pause) Five of them. (long pause) Yes! They seem to be in order. (pause) So, there WERE witnesses. (pause) I dare say their evidence is unshakable?

Thomas:

(emphatic) You haven't a chance, Benson! Those men waiting outside are city detectives. Are you going to come quietly?

Harvey:

(almost happy) YES! WHY NOT? (pause then remorsefully) What else is there to do?

Linda:

(almost shouting) YOU'RE CAUGHT, HARVEY!! AND I'M GLAD!

Harvey:

Yes, I'm caught. But precious little good that will do YOU, Linda! (meanly) Because HE'S DEAD! DO YOU HEAR? DONALD ARKRIGHT IS DEAD!

Linda:

(disbelief) Donald.......Arkright.....

Harvey:

(very mean) YES! (pause) You wonder how I knew it was he? Don't you? Well, I hired a private detective! And he discovered that Arkright had been phoning you! And you'd been skipping away to meet him.

Linda:

(sobs under Harvey's next line)

Harvey:

He managed to follow you to one of those innocent lunches!

Linda:

That luncheon! But that means it was an accident!

Harvey:

(incensed) A VERY CLEVER ACCIDENT! (mocking) But not clever enough to save Arkright, because he's DEAD! Do you hear? And no matter what happens to ME, I've beaten YOU!

Linda:

YOU'RE INSANE! You always have been with your lust for power! And I never guessed it until now!

Harvey:

(still incensed) FINE WORDS! But it won't change the fact that your beloved is DEAD, and that I've taken him from you!

Linda:

You killed Donald Arkright, (getting louder) because you THOUGHT I WAS IN LOVE WITH HIM! (mocking laughter) YOU'VE KILLED THE WRONG MAN!

Harvey:

(shouting) NO, I DIDN'T! (calmer) It was Arkright, I knew it!

Linda:

Oh, NO! Don Arkright was just an old friend! (voice rising) The man I love is someone YOU'VE NEVER MET! Whose name I see now you don't even know!

Harvey:

I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!

Linda:

(loudly) You've committed MURDER! YOU'VE BEEN CAUGHT! AND ALL FOR NOTHING!

Harvey:

NO!!

Linda:

And that knowledge is worse to you than any punishment the law can inflict!

Harvey:

YOU'RE LYING! It was Arkright who phoned and hung up when I answered. I TELL YOU, IT WAS! IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN ANYBODY ELSE...

SFX:

PHONE RINGING (4 times)

Harvey:

(on second ring) NO! NOOOOOOO!!!

Thomas:

(on third ring) Better answer it, Mrs. Benson.

Harvey:

(on 4th ring) No, I'll answer it.

SFX:

PHONE OFF HOOK (ringing stops)

Harvey:

(LONG pause before speaking then tentatively) Hello? (long pause then louder) HELLO? (LONG pause, then SCREAMING) HELLO!!!!!

MFX:

ORGAN FINALE

SFX:

RAILROAD NOISE IN BG

Traveler:

This is the mysterious traveler again. Well, that was a rather hectic 24 hours for Harvey Benson, wasn't it? He shouldn't have been quite so sure of himself. It never pays. (pause) Those phone calls now. If you get any calls, and find there's no one on the line, don't be quite as hasty as Harvey. You might get into a bad jam.

SFX:

RAILROAD NOISES UP AND OUT

MFX:

ORGAN ENDING