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THREE LOVE A MYSTERY: THE GHOST WITH NINE FINGERS

EPISODE SIX:

 

SOUND (Wind and Bells Effect)

ANNCR: Old-Time Radio presents, "Three Love A Mystery"

SOUND (Organ Theme...VALSE TRISTE)

ANNCR: "Three Love A Mystery," presenting latest adventures of Jack, Doc and Reggie, specialists in Crime and Adventure, now hot on the trail of the Maestro’s Ghost!

SOUND (MUSIC UP TO FINISH) (TRAIN WHISTLE)

ANNCR: The Ghost with Nine Fingers. A new Brian Christopher Misiaszek mystery-adventure thriller!

SOUND (Organ Theme...VALSE TRISTE)

SOUND (CLOCK STRIKES TEN)

ANNCR:  It is just short of ten o' clock on a rainy California night in late November, and racing along the dark wet curves of the highway outside of Hollywood is a powerful sedan, handled expertly by the young blonde heiress, Sunny Richards.  Riding shotgun in the seat next to her is red-headed Doc Long, a little green around the gills at the expert way she handles the sharp hairpin turns on West Canyon Road. So smoothly does Sunny handle her vehicle that the slumber of her young ward Hermie in the back seat is not disturbed. 

But wait; we'll let the others explain how they came to be here:

SUNNY: Jack couldn't make it to my dinner party tonight, with only Doc and Reggie showing up late. The others said they would explain everything after dessert and after Hermie had gone to bed, when Jack called up on the telephone. He had orders for Reggie to go out and guard two people named Mephisto and Nasha, at their hotel.

DOC: Yeah, I guess we kinda kept Sunny in the dark all through dinner, but Jack had orders for me, too. He tol' me to head over at once to Ol' Judge McLarty's place at 1034 West Canyon Road, where I was to meet him at ten o'clock.

SUNNY: But that wasn't all! Jack said something really strange before he hung the telephone; he said, "The Maestro's written another death threat from beyond the grave!"

ANNCR:  With Jack's orders breaking up their dinner party, Reggie took their car and headed over to Nasha’s and Mephisto’s hotel.  At first, Doc was going to order a taxi to meet Jack at Judge McLarty’s home, but Sunny had another plan…

SOUND    (Roar of automobile motor, sound of windshield wipers rain) (Sound of wheels accelerating on the road, then fade to dialogue)

SOUND    (Windshield wipers and rain continue throughout, in background)

DOC:    I swear to Grandma, Sunny, I don't know where you learned to drive.

SUNNY:    (Amused) Oh...are you telling me the brave red-headed Texan is afraid of a little speed?

DOC:       (Indignant) 'Course not...

SOUND    (Sudden increase, then fading of motor again)

DOC:    Still, you should treat this like an auto-mo-bile, and not the aery-o-plane you think you're flying.  I think my heart did a little flip flap when we skidded durin' that last turn.

SUNNY:    Fiddlesticks,  I did no such thing.

DOC:    How you every convinced me to let you drive me to Ol' Judge McLarty's place, I don't know.  And why wouldn't you let me drive, anyways?

SUNNY:    Doc, you very well know why I had to drive you.  First of all, you have no car after Reggie drove off with yours.  Secondly, you don't know the roads about this area as well as I do.  Thirdly, only I can handle some of the peculiarities of this car. 

DOC:    (Plaintively) Doggone it, I'd still like to know, what kind of pe-cool-ilarities?

SUNNY:   Careful Doc, not so loud, you'll wake up either Hermie or scraps.

DOC: (Slightly lower) Okay, okay.  

SUNNY: As I told you before, there's something wrong with the choke, making it stick, and only I know how to baby it along in the rain.

DOC:    But I'm purty good with en-gines, Sunny.  I don't know why--

SUNNY:    (FIRMLY) Doc Long, if we stalled out here with you driving, we'd be a long way from help at this time of night, and you'd be an awful sorry Texan if you tried to fix the engine in this rain or go walking for help. It's raining so hard, it reminds me of that jungle storm we had down south in Central America!

DOC:    Alright then...(SIGH) but why did you have to bring the kid and his mutt along, anyways? (Romantically) Kinda spoils the mood for any sparkin', if we were a mind to, that is...

SUNNY:    (Grimly) Doc Long, I'll pretend I didn't hear that part. (Pause)  With both Jackson and his wife having left for the evening, I couldn't very well leave little Hermie home alone by himself, could I, and still drive you?

DOC:    Well, I'll have to admit Hermie's been no trouble.  

SUNNY:    You'd better not...

DOC:    Yep, when I bundled that kid up outta his bed-- PJ's's and hugging his sleepin’ little puppy and all-- into the back seat of this here jalopy, he just sorta snored and his puppy kinda growled at me, and then they both went right back to sawin' logs. 

SUNNY:    Hermie's a good little trouper, Doc. And Scraps been fast asleep, too, though I don’t know why you couldn’t leave him at home.

DOC:      Honest, Sunny, I tried to pull them apart, but nothin’ doin’, if I was to keep them both quiet...Hermie had his arms wrapped tighter than spots on a leopard! They didn't even wake up when the rain splattered ‘em for the few seconds before I got them inside, either.  

SUNNY:    Well, since they are BOTH asleep, maybe you can finally tell me what this is all about.

DOC:    (PAUSE) (Reluctantly) I dunno Sunny...Jack wouldn't like it for me to tell tales out of school...

SUNNY:    (Indignant) Well! After I went all out having you and the others over for dinner, then driving you out her in the middle of a thunderstorm.

DOC:    Sunny, sometimes there are some things you don't know because you DON'T want to know them...

SUNNY:  But I still want to know.  So tell me...I promise not to tell Jack. 

DOC: Well okay then.  But act surprised if Jack asks you anything about it.

SUNNY: (Eager) Okay, I said I'd promise, didn't I...Well?

DOC: (SIGH) Well, you remember when we first met you in that hotel in San Diego?

SUNNY: Back when you and Jack saved my life!

DOC: Yeah...well, we had just finished up another caper that took us out of town and into the Arizona desert. We were temporarily on the lam, you might say, from a bunch of coppers with too many questions we didn't want to answer.  So we hopped a freight-train in the middle of the night, and lit out.

SUNNY: Huh!  Shades of Huck Finn!

DOC: Who?

SUNNY: Never mind…go on with your story.

DOC: Well, anyways...we ran into the fattest man I ever lay eyes on in the boxcar that we all had jumped inta.  The Maestro was his name, and he was as ugly as he was fat, and honest to my grandma he was the fattest man I ever saw!  He was travellin’ with this sweet dark haired honey named Nasha, part of his act.

SUNNY:  Huh!

DOC: Anyways, this Maestro fella said he was a magician, both the stagey kind, you know, that pulls rabbits out of a hat, and saws ladies in half...but also the mystic type that could throw hexes and work mojo to turn people into animals and more!

SUNNY: Doc!

DOC: I an't kiddin', Sunny, that's what he said!...But we later found out the Maestro was also a gimmicky kind of thief and killer rolled in one....wait a minute, here's the turnoff to West Canyon Road--

SUNNY: Okay...

SOUND (Turn onto gravel road, engine up, then down)

SUNNY: Keep an eye out for number 1034, Doc....

DOC:    Gotcha.  We're at the 800 marker now...

SUNNY: Doc, you were telling me about this weird murderer named the Maestro?

DOC: Yeah...with some hypnotizn' powers he had, he halfway convinced me and Reggie he could turn his sidekick Nasha, the one he sawed in half with his show, into either a tiger or a wolf! And… and that he could call werewolves down into the town we was all later stranded together in, Bury Your Dead, Arizona.

SUNNY:    Brr...what a name...go on, Doc, go on!

DOC:  Well, with some jiggery-pockery the Maestro and Nasha managed to steal Jack's money belt, a money belt with all the money we had from a previous case, twenty five thousand round American dollars.  We caught up with him, and he almost turned the tables on us, holdin' a pistol on us with Nasha's help.  He was no-foolin' about to kill the three of us, like he killed his previous partner, but a rail-road dick disguised as a hobo shot the Maestro's gun out of his hand.  Not only did the Maestro get sent to prison for life, but the gun shot plumb shot off one of his fingers, too.

SUNNY:    Golly!…What happened to this Nasha, did she go to jail, too? 

DOC:      Nope...somehow Jack managed to get her off, telling the judge that she had been so completely in the Maestro's power that she had no free will left of her own.  Jack done found her a job as a dancer in a San Diego nightclub, and that where we last thought she was working, just like we thought the Maestro was sitting locked away in a prison cell.  That is, until today--wait, we're up to 1000 now, you'd better slow down, Sunny.

SUNNY: What do you mean, Doc?

DOC:  Why, that we're almost at the Judge's place now.

SUNNY:  No, I meant, what do you mean  that until today you thought Nasha was still working in San Diego and that the Maestro was still in jail?  Aren't they?

DOC:  Well, not ‘zactly.

SUNNY:  And another thing.  Jack phoned up tonight, and part of his message was for me to tell you that "The Maestro's written another death threat from beyond the grave"--what did he mean by that, Doc?

DOC:  Well, I can't exactly understand it all, but let me tell you about what happened today.  Looking out the window, I thought I saw the Maestro and Nasha together walking on the street. I chased after them, and trailed them to a theatre called the Or--pee-hum.

SUNNY: Orpee-hum?  (LAUGH) You mean Orpheum, don't you?

DOC:    (Sadly) First Jack, then you...well, anyways it ended up it was the real Nasha, and a young fella named Brown dressed up as the Maestro as part of his stage magician act except he called himself Mephisto.  Not only was he made up to look like the Maestro as two peas in a pod, but he bought up much of his old magic tricks, and even dug up Nasha to help him in his act as the girl he saws in two and all that.

SUNNY:  So, just a case of mistaken identity.

DOC:     Well, that's what we all thought at first.  But Jack later found out both this duplicate Maestro and Nasha, was being threatened by notes signed by the Maestro.  Which was impossible, unless ghosts can write, since the Maestro starved himself to death in prison a cuppla months ago! 

SUNNY:  Golly!

DOC:  And there's more!  While we was a talkin' with Brown, or Mephisto, or whatever you want to call him, and Nasha---oh, wait, here we are, number 1034!  And there's Judge McLarty's name, all out in gilt ironwork out by those stone posts.

SOUND  (Gears churning, and tires rolling off tarmac and onto gravel)

SUNNY: Quite the driveway...almost his own private road...I still can't see the house with all the trees and rain...

DOC: There she is! Big ol' house perched on the edge of the canyon... Looky, there's Jack's car, parked over they by that hedge. There's room to park behind it...

SOUND    (Sudden relative silence as motor turns off...wipers much louder against sound of rain)

SUNNY:    Three stories...lots of gables and cupulas...shrubbery right up to shuttered windows...No lights anywhere...

SOUND (THUNDER ROLLS AND GOBBLES)

DOC: Boy, kinda gives you the creeps, don’t it...looks kinda like it could be haunted at that. (PAUSE). Sunny, thanks for—(Pause)

SUNNY:  Doc! What’s wrong?

DOC:  Just a sec, Sunny (pause)…

SUNNY:  What’s the matter?

DOC: Hold on…Wait jess a sec…

SOUND (CAR DOOR OPENING. RAINFALL RISES)

SUNNY: Why, Doc?

DOC: (TENSELY) Wait here, Sunny. There’s something wrong goin’ on, and I aim to figger it out.

SUNNY: (AMUSED) Oh, your silly Texas superstition is acting up again, is it?

DOC: Doggon it, it ain’t superstition. There’s somethin’ funny going on here. No lights on in the house, and Jack’s car over there yonder with no on in it with the driver's door open a little. Just wait here, wouldja?

SUNNY: But you’ll be soaked! You only have your hat and your rain-coat.

DOC: Never mind that. More importantly, I still have this!

SUNNY: (WIDE-EYED) A Gun! (Worried) Doc, what’s happening! Is this something about what happened earlier this evening that you didn’t want to tell me about?

DOC: (Uncomfortable) Well, I don’t rightly know, Sunny. But at least I’m prepared. This here’s the shootin’ pistol I took off of Mephisto earlier tonight when someone tried to kill Nasha. This time, its loaded with more than blanks! But we don’t have the time to go into this now. I gotta check things out here!

SUNNY: (NERVOUS) But what should I do, Doc? I can’t just leave you here like this…

DOC: Jess hold yer horses for a moment, Sunny until I get a lay on the land… And lock your doors...(OFF SLIGHTLY) There's already been one dead man tonight...

SOUND (CAR DOOR SLAMS SHUT. RAINFALL DIMINISHES. WINDSHIELD WIPERS UP)

SUNNY: (Worried) Oh dear…I hope nothing’s wrong…I’d better do as Doc says, though, especially with that bit about a dead man.

SOUND (CAR DOORS LOCKING, FIRST ONE, THEN THE OTHER)

SUNNY: Okay, the door’s locked…(GIGGLE) and Hermie the hitchhiker is still in the back seat fast asleep, with Scraps still in his arms. (PAUSE) There goes Doc up the front walk of Judge McLarty’s home… The shrubbery is hiding the steps leading up to the front door…(PAUSE) (CURIOUS) I wonder what he’s bending over looking at?

SOUND (THUNDER GOBBLES AND ROARS, A DOUBLE STRIKE!)

SUNNY: Brr…that was close one…hey, Doc is running back here!

SOUND (FEET RUNNING ON GRAVEL, THEN FRANTIC RAPPING ON GLASS CAR WINDOW)

SUNNY: Better roll down—

SOUND (RAIN FALL SUDDENLY LOUDER)

DOC: SUNNY! Give us a hand! SUNNY!

SUNNY: (SCARED) DOC! Doc, what’s wrong!

DOC:    Dad-burn them ciffy cats! It’s Jack! He’s out there… he’s out there lyin’ in the rain!

SOUND (CAR DOOR OPENING, THEN CLOSING. RAIN UP)

SUNNY: Oh, no! NO!

DOC: Come on! I need a hand with him! And bring yer flashlight (OF MIKE) This way.

SUNNY: Oh, dear!

SOUND ( CAR DOOR SLAMS, THEN RUNNING HIGH HEELS ON WET PAVEMENT)

SUNNY: (Panting) Doc, where’s Jack? Where is he?

DOC: There he is, layin’ out there on the front steps.

SUNNY: Oh, this is horrible! Like a bundle of rags! Is—is he dead?

JACK: (groan)

DOC: Jack! Are you hurt? JACK!…Sunny, aim yer light down here…

JACK : (SOFTER GROAN)

SUNNY: Can you see, Doc?

DOC: Yeah…he’s still breathin’, too! Someone’s whammed him up on his head, and knocked him cattywhumpus!

SUNNY: We can't just leave him here like this--

DOC: Okay, okay…Here, get his legs; you can hold you flash under your arm—

SUNNY: What, like this?

DOC: Yeah… (EFFORT) UP we go, fella!

SOUND (FOOTSTEPS SLOSHING IN MUD, IN RAIN)

SUNNY: But what happened? Who hit Jack?

DOC: (EFFORT) I dunno, Sunny... (EFFORT) I just found him like this, lying on the front steps of the Judge’s. No one answered the door, and with the rain soaking him, and the muddy walk an all, I jest couldn’t carry him safely by myself, Sunny.

SUNNY: Where (EFFORT) …Where are we taking him? Back to our car?

DOC: Over to Jack’s car…(EFFORT) it’s closer, and there’s more room to have him lay down in the back seat...

SUNNY: But Doc…why can’t you try to open the lock of the front door here? That way we could call for a police ambulance if he’s hurt real bad!

DOC: (Thunderstruck) Well, spank me for a baby! Why didn’t I think of that! Here, you come over here and hold up Jack’s head, while I check out the lock on the door.

SUNNY: Doc, do you think you can do it? It is awfully dark with the rain an all.

DOC: (EFFORT) Jess a sec…

SOUND (RUMBLE OF THUNDER)

SUNNY: Oh, hurry, hurry. What’s taking so long?

DOC: (EFFORT) It’ll go a little better, Sunny, if you didn’t jog my elbow. And back up a little, wouldja? (EFFORT) You’re standin’ closer to me than butter and corn-on-the-cob, but there’s a time and place—

SUNNY: Why don’t you just--

SOUND (LOUD SNICK, CREAK OF DOOR OPENING)

DOC: (FLABBERGASTED) Sunny! Sunny, whatcha just do!

SUNNY: Why, nothing, I just tried the knob and it opened…

DOC: But… but--

SUNNY: Did you even check to see if it were locked, Doc?

DOC: Of course I did! (Pause) …At least I think I did…

SUNNY: (Worried) Doc, the door’s open now. I’m scared for Jack…. and for us, too. Whoever attacked him is still out here!

DOC: Okay already…Come on, let’s hustle Jack inside, and look ‘im over. (Under breath) And it was locked, too, dad-burn it!

SUNNY: (AWED) It’s so dark inside!

DOC: Yeah, darker than the inside of an unlucky cat...but at least it’s dry! Come on now (Strain) Up we go…

SUNNY: Okay (EFFORT) I still have his head and shoulders.

DOC: Yeah. (EFFORT) And I have the other end of Jack.

SOUND (DRAGGING OF BODY ON FLOOR)

DOC: Now lets get him over the doorway (EFFORT)…And onto this here carpet I almost tripped on.

SUNNY: Okay! He's inside. Can you get the hall lights on?

SOUND (LIGHT SWITCH BEING FLIPPED SEVERAL TIMES_

DOC: I've wig-wagged the switch here, Sunny, but it's no use. Use the flashlight...

SUNNY: Doc! DOC!

DOC: Sunny! What’s wrong with Jack, is he bleeding!

SUNNY: No, Jack’s okay. But there’s a light on outside!

DOC: Huh? What are you talking about, jess some more of that crooked legged lightnin'?

SUNNY: No, there’s a car outside!…At least, I can see its headlights!

SOUND (CAR ENGINE STARTING UP)

SUNNY: Doc! That’s my car!

SOUND (SQUEAL OF TIRES, THEN ROAR OF CAR ENGINE THAT FADES).

DOC: Hey, you’re right!

SUNNY: Oh no! They’re stealing our car! (LOUDER) DOC! THEY’RE STEALING HERMIE! (HYSTERICAL) THEY’RE STEALING HERMIE!!!

SOUND (Organ Theme...VALSE TRISTE)

SOUND (WAILING LOCOMOTIVE, followed by SCREECHING CAR)

ANNCR: You have just heard the sixth chapter of "The Ghost With Nine Fingers." The further adventures of the Jack, Doc and their friends Sunny and Hermie will come to you tomorrow at this same hour. "Three Love A Mystery", by Brian Christopher Misiaszek comes to you Monday to Friday through the courtesy of Old Time Radio. This is the Unusual Broadcasting Company.