JUNE 29, 1947
RECORDING: TUESDAY JUNE 24, 1947
[ANNOUNCER: The following program was especially transcribed earlier for your enjoyment at this time.]
CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.
(SEVEN SECONDS OF SILENCE)
CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.
(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)
ANNCR: This is the fourth of a series of unusual dramatic stories, written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and featuring Ernest Chappell. [Today's story is called "The Ticket Taker."]
(MUSIC ... THEME UP .. FADE OUT)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ERNIE: (FADE IN)...I don't know where I am now.
I've been wandering around for so long I don't know where I am. All by myself. Nobody seems to know me. It's awful.
Only thing I know for sure is one of these days I'll run into him, and then it'll all be over.
I keep listening for him, everyplace I go. I keep listening for that jingling, and his shuffling footsteps, and that whiny voice of his. And I know I won't be ready for him when I do hear him.
You know - you're never ready for the guy with the bad news. (AN AFTERTHOUGHT) And he is bad news.
SOUND: (THERE IS A SOFT, BUT DEFINITE, TAP AT THE DOOR)
I thought I heard somebody knocking at the door. Did you hear it? Listen. (A FEW SECONDS OF SILENCE) Wait a minute. I have to be sure.
SOUND: (HE WALKS FOUR OR FIVE STEPS & OPENS A DOOR)
(WAITS A MOMENT, AND WALKS BACK)
ERNIE: Nobody there. I guess I'm hearing things. Don't mind me: I'm always listening for him. You ever do that? Well, you know, then: you get to hearing a lot of things. Mostly things you don't want to hear.
Jock used to talk about hearing things at night. Jock was a Scotchman, and he used to say Scotchmen could hear things at night that other people couldn't.
That guy could tell you stories that'd make your hair curl. I wish I hadn't listened to so many of 'em. There was a thing he used to say: I can't do that Scotch dialect, but it was about witches and warlocks, and..Things-that gang bump in the nicht. Things that gang bump in the nicht. I got my share of 'em, brother. I listen for 'em.
(MUSIC ... FOR AN ACCENT)
ERNIE: Jock, and Rubey, and me.
Sitting in that room in that house on Taylor Street, in Chicago.
Sitting there all day long, with the window-shades down, and twenty-two thousand, four hundred and eighteen dollars there on the table.
Sitting there all night long, with one of us always awake, with a rifle leaning against the window-sill.
I'd wake up at two o'clock in the morning, and it'd be Rubey counting the money again in the little red glow that came in the window from the neon light in the saloon across the street.
RUBEY: (OFF A LITTLE)...two hundred and three, two hundred and four, two hundred and five, two hundred and six, two hundred and seven, two hundred and eight....
ERNIE: I'd wake up five o'clock in the morning, and it'd be Jock's footsteps (SOUND) across the floor, and him singing an old Scottish song to himself...
JOCK: (SINGS QUIETLY)
[Scots wha hae]
I've heard them a' liltin' at early yowe-milkin'
Lasses a' liltin' at break o' the day
But noo they're a' moanin' in ilka green loanin' -
The flowers o' the forest are a' wede awa'.
ERNIE: (WEARILY) Shut up, will you?
JOCK: (STOPS PACING) Oh, did I wake y'up, Ernie? I'm sorry. I wasna thinkin'. Did you get any sleep, then?
ERNIE: I slept for a while.
JOCK: Dod, it's hot.
ERNIE: See anybody?
JOCK: There was a lad stopped outside aboot three hours ago, but he was waitin' for a woman. I listened to 'm talkin'.
(HE YAWNS) Sun's up.
ERNIE: Gonna be another hot day. What time is it, Jock?
ERNIE: Wake up, Rubey.
RUBEY: (OFF) I'm awake. How could anybody sleep with that bellerin'?
(HE GETS UP, YAWNING, AND COMES CLOSER) Any water left?
JOCK: Not so muckle. I got thirsty in the nicht.
RUBEY: You sure must've. (HE DRINKS THIRSTILY)
ERNIE: Don't drink it all.
RUBEY: All right. What day is this?
ERNIE: Friday. Gimme the water. (HE DRINKS) Friday.
RUBEY: We been here eight days.
RUBEY: Yeh, nine.
ERNIE: Go downstairs, Rubey, and see if the old lady's got the coffee ready.
JOCK: And tell her to get the papers.
ERNIE: Yeh, have her get the papers, too.
RUBEY: They won't be out yet.
ERNIE: Well, tell her to get 'em. (HE YAWNS) I want to get out of here.
JOCK: Don't we all.
RUBEY: Maybe this'll be the day.
ERNIE: Don't get carried away. When I leave I want to leave for good. Go ahead, Rubey.
RUBEY: All right.
SOUND: (A DOOR OPENS & CLOSES SOFTLY BEHIND HIM)
JOCK: How much longer you think, Ernie?
ERNIE: Not much, I hope.
JOCK: Well, they got Deedee in jail.
ERNIE: They can't hold him. You know they haven't got anything on him.
JOCK: If I was Deedee I'd want to stay in jail.
ERNIE: Me, too. Keep your eye out the window.
JOCK: (LOOKS) Nobody. (HE TURNS AROUND) I think we're gettin' away with it, Ernie.
ERNIE: We'll see. (HE YAWNS AGAIN) Boy, I'm hot.
JOCK: Hot in more ways than one, laddie. (HE LAUGHS AT HIS OWN BUM JOKE) Hot in more ways than one!
ERNIE: That's a bad joke. That's strictly a no-good joke; but it's true. We are hot. Hotter'n two-dollar pistol.
Frank Gaffney died yesterday at Passavant Hospital, with a row of bullet-holes across his belly you could see through.
And if Frank's boys ever find out who did it, somebody's going to die the hard way. Those Irish lads from back of the Yards are tough monkeys, friend.
But it's a laugh. Everybody knows Deedee Brandes was Frank's worst enemy. Deedee's shot off his mouth a lot of times about making undertaker-bait out of Frank.
Deedee oughtn't to drink so much.
So what happens? Frank gets a row of forty-five caliber kisses across his front porch, and boom, everybody hollers Deedee. Even the cops go for it, and before you can say Yak szie masz, Deedee is in the can, and Frankie's boys are looping. And polishing cannons for Deedee when he gets out.
Because he'll get out, see. Nobody can prove anything, except he was Frank's worst enemy. And that's bad; especially when nobody saw Frank get embroidered.
And all the time we're sitting in this room on Taylor Street with the shades down, and nobody knows we're in town. And we've got twenty-two thousand four hundred and eighteen dollars on the table.
All we got to do is wait.
Wait till the cops toss Deedee out of the clink. Wait till the loogans from back of the yards catch up with Deedee and give him that old Chicago farewell.
We didn't even know Frank Gaffney.
Old lady that sells flowers put the big fat finger on him for us. Funny how flowers and mob killings get mixed up together in Chicago, ain't it? Remember Deany O'Bannion, had that florist-shop across from Holy Name? They mowed him down among the sweet-peas long time ago. I guess Frank Gaffney got flowers from Dean's old shop. Anyway, you see it's a sweet deal, if we can hold out till Deedee gets paid off for something he didn't do. The loogans'll be satisfied, and they'll put the artillery away, and figure it's a deal.
And Rubey and Jock and me, we'll take a very, very quiet powder with our twenty-two thousand four hundred and eighteen bucks-and everybody'll be happy.
The guys that paid us for the job.
We'll be happy. You could turn us into a banana.
The door busted open.
SOUND: (DOOR BUSTS OPEN)
RUBEY: Hey, I got the papers!
JOCK: (COLDLY) You come awfu' close to gettin' a slug right through yer thrapple, skelpin' in the door as ye do -
ERNIE: Shut the door, ya jerk.
SOUND: (CLOSING THE DOOR)
RUBEY: Look at the papers!
SOUND: (TAKES A PAPER)
ERNIE: Well. (CHUCKLES) Good-by, Deedee.
JOCK: Let me see. (HE LOOKS) Weel.
RUBEY: Knocked him off half an hour after the cops turned him loose. (READS A LITTLE MORE) Leland and Damen Avenue. They was a long way from home, Ernie, wasn't they?
ERNIE: Those Gaffney lads were everywhere, Rubey.
JOCK: They're a' back hame the noo, though.
JOCK: The job's done; they're finishin' up a good nicht's sleep.
RUBEY: When do we get out of here, Ernie?
ERNIE: Any minute.
ERNIE: We'll wait another couple of days, just to be on the safe side.
RUBEY: Ernie, I can't take it here any more.
JOCK: Ye ha' took it for nine days noo, Rubey. One mair day winna hurrt ye.
ERNIE: Jock's right, Rubey. We don't want to take any chances we don't have to.
RUBEY: I want to get out of here.
ERNIE: Shut up and let us read the papers. We'll be out soon enough.
RUBEY: Maybe we could put the window-curtain up now, huh?
RUBEY: We're clean, Jock.
JOCK: We'll be clean when we're well oot o' here, Rubey. Go count the money again.
ERNIE: Yes, go count the money again, Rubey.
We'll be using that money pretty soon now. Pretty soon it won't be just pieces of coloured paper: it'll be money again - money to turn into drinks and good times. Count the money, Rubey, while we read how they found Deedee Brandes under a tree in front of a jeweler's house out on the North Side, and Deedee's blood was what turned it into money again.
And then there's talking to do in the hot room on Taylor Street after the papers are read. We want to leave town quietly. We don't want to annoy anybody; we don't want to attract any attention. The guns of the Gaffney mob talk awful loud, and while the loogans are sure their bill is paid now that Deedee's on his back in the cold room, we still have to remember the boys that got the money up for us. One crack in a Wabash Avenue tavern, and it could be our turn, see?
So, like Jock says, we're between the devil and the deep blue sea. We got to blow, but we got to take it easy. And if I never see Chicago again, I'll be okay. So we cut the cards to see who goes first.
JOCK: Four o' clubs...
ERNIE: Jack o' diamonds...
RUBEY: Queen o' spades!
ERNIE: and it's Rubey. Rubey is going to go first. Jock and I look at each other and Rubey doesn't see us. Rubey can go first. Rubey can be the eager beaver. Rubey can be the guinea pig.
Me, I don't mind waiting another day or two. If Rubey makes the grade, all right. If he doesn't...you see what I mean. He was in a hurry.
So now it's night, and Rubey's counted the money for the last time, and we've split it three ways, and we matched for the extra two dollars where it didn't come out even, and Rubey won, and he felt fine. It was nine o'clock, and it wasn't dark yet. And it was ten o'clock, and there were still people walking along Taylor Street. And it was eleven, and midnight, and a copper walked past. And it was two o'clock in the morning when we opened the door and started downstairs.
Sure; all three of us.
Wasn't very smart of us, I suppose, when you figure how we'd hid out there in that old house so long just to be sure we'd get away alive. But talking makes people cocky sometimes. We figured we needed some air, and it wouldn't be right to let a pal walk out alone. Besides, it was only over to the Garfield Park El station at Halsted Street for Jock and me. Rubey was going to take the El there and ride out to Cicero Avenue, and then a grab a street-car south to the airport.
RUBEY: I'll get off a couple blocks this side of the airport, so's I can kind of case it if they should be anybody hangin' around.
JOCK: They won't be anybody, Rubey.
ERNIE: You're all set now, Rubey?
RUBEY: Yes, sir! I'll be on old Flight Twenty at four-ten, and by the time you guys wake up I'll be in Newyork. Man!
ERNIE: And you'll meet us at Ted's place next Thursday afternoon.
RUBEY: Oh, boy. Newyork!
JOCK: And see you don't go gettin' lost.
RUBEY: I never been on an airplane before. I hope it don't crack up.
ERNIE: Well, don't forget the name you're using, either.
RUBEY: Mr. Masterson. Mr. J. P. Masterson, of Des Moines, Iowa,...Ha! Hope nobody ever asks me about Des Moines. I never been there.
JOCK: Dinna talk so much, Muster Masterson.
RUBEY: I'm happy, Jock.
JOCK: Tell us that in Newyork, laddie.
RUBEY: What's the matter with you?
JOCK: Wait. Stop.
ERNIE: What's the matter?
JOCK: Over here in the shadow.
RUBEY: What's the matter?
JOCK: Somebody followin' us.
RUBEY: You're cra--
JOCK: Shut up! Over here in the doorway--quick!!
ERNIE: An old factory building, with deep doorways. The three of us huddled in the thick wet darkness, and sweat starting under my arms again. A streetlight half a block away gleamed a second on Jock's revolver, and the only sound in the thick, sticky night was a lonesome whistle of a lake dredge, crying for the Michigan Avenue bridge three miles away.
SOUND: (DISTANT SHIP'S WHISTLE)
ERNIE: And then we heard a sound:
SOUND: (SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS, AND THE RHYTHMIC JINGLE OF KEYS AS THE TICKET-TAKER COMES UP)
ERNIE: There was someone following us.
SOUND: (SOUND ONLY)
ERNIE: Right out of the shadows he came, and now I can never forget the sound of his shuffling footsteps and the jingle of the stuff he carried. A harmless old man in a broken cap and a long overcoat that trailed the ground. Chicago weather in mid-summer, and a heavy overcoat buttoned to his scrawny neck. Padding along in the heat and the darkness, and three of us hiding from him in a doorway! We felt like fools, and we waited for him to pass.
SOUND: (THE FOOTSTEPS ARE UP FULL NOW)
ERNIE: He didn't pass us, though. Straight to the shadowy doorway the old man came: I was sure he couldn't see us in the dark, but those vacant eyes he turned toward us were sharper than I thought; and I thought, too, that I felt a breath of cold air as he stopped, wagging his ancient head from side to side. I thought, too, of the warlocks and witches and things that go bump in the night that Jock was always talking about, as the old man whined at us.
TICKETTAKER: One of you gentlemen going on the elevated?
ERNIE: How did he know that?
TICKETTAKER: I know one of you gentlemen's going on the elevated...
ERNIE: Who was he? How did he know? Was he--
JOCK: What d'ye want, old man?
TICKETTAKER: You're not the one going on the elevated, sir.
JOCK: Here, old man; here's a quarter. Go home and go to bed.
TICKETTAKER: I can't sir. I've got work to do. (LOOKS AROUND) This isn't the gentleman, either.
ERNIE: He was looking at me, ignoring the 2 bits that Jock held out to him.
TICKETTAKER: You're the gentleman.
RUBEY: Who, me?
TICKETTAKER: I'll have your ticket, if you please, sir.
RUBEY: Ticket! What ticket?
TICKETTAKER: Your ticket, please.
RUBEY: I haven't got any ticket, old man! You don't buy tickets on the elevated!
TICKETTAKER: You've got a ticket, sir. You have to have a ticket.
RUBEY: Listen, old man, I tell you --
SOUND: (THE DISTANT SOUND OF AN APPROACHING EL TRAIN)
JOCK: Beat it, Rubey - here comes a train. There won't be another for an hour!
RUBEY: Okay - so long, guys -
TICKETTAKER: I'll have to have your ticket, sir -
JOCK: Get out of here, old man!
RUBEY: I haven't got a ticket - what are you, nuts?
TICKETTAKER: You've got a ticket, sir - look in your pockets...I have to have your ticket....
RUBEY: Get out of the way -
TICKETTAKER: In your right-hand pocket, sir -
RUBEY: I tell you - I'll be a son -
TICKETTAKER: That's it, sir. Thank you very much. Now I'll just punch it for you -
SOUND: (HE PUNCHES THE TICKET)
TICKETTAKER: so it's all right. You can go now, sir...
JOCK: Beat it, quick, Rubey - we'll take care of the old fool! Good luck, kid!
RUBEY: (HURRIEDLY) Look, I don't know where that ticket came from --
SOUND: (THE EL TRAIN IS CLOSER)
JOCK: Beat it - you'll miss the train.
RUBEY: (GOING) Okay, okay! See you Thursday! (FADING) So long, Ernie, so long, Jock -
JOCK: Well, he's gone. Now, old man - (A PAUSE) hey, old man! Ernie! Where did he go?
(MUSIC ... FOR AN ACCENT)
ERNIE: There wasn't any old man.
Jock and I stood there on the deserted street all by ourselves, with the roar of the el train easing away westward in the early morning, with Rubey on his way home.
There wasn't anybody there but the two of us.
There was a bakery wagon two blocks down the street.
There was a girl coming down the steps of the elevated station.
And the el train banging its way westward, blocks away.
I noticed the way Jock glanced at me when we passed under a street-light on the way home.
I was looking at him the same way.
We didn't say a word to each other all the way back to Taylor Street.
I guess we were both thinking the same thing. Maybe Rubey was going to be the guinea-pig. Maybe that old guy was one of the Gaffney mob. Maybe they hadn't been satisfied, knocking off Deedee.
How did that old guy know one of us was going someplace on the elevated? How did he know which was the right one?
We stalled quite a while before we went up to the room.
I'm not yellow and neither is Jock. But neither one of us wanted to be the first one to go in the room.
We finally went in, though.
We crawled down the hallway on our hands and knees, and I reached up in the dark and unlocked the door, and we stayed down on the floor so's not to make a good target.
We didn't need to go through all that routine.
There wasn't anybody in the room.
(MUSIC ... FOR AN ACCENT)
ERNIE: We didn't sleep. Jock sat by the window with the sawed-off shotgun. After a while he said
JOCK: If that was puttin' the finger on Rubey, it was awfu' weel done, Ernie.
ERNIE: I didn't see anybody around.
JOCK: Frank Gaffney didn't see anybody arooon' when the auld leddy pit the finger on him fer us.
ERNIE: We got the news when the papers came.
We heard the kids down the street hollering extra, and Jock and I looked at each other without saying anything. You know what we thought. We thought the headlines would be something like "Gaffney Mob Blasts Gunman" with Rubey's picture on the front page.
That wasn't the headline, though.
The big story was about an airliner that crashed on the takeoff at Municipal Airport at four-ten. Everybody on board was killed.
And the name at the head of the passenger list was J. P. Masterson, of Des Moines, Iowa.
(MUSIC ... ACCENTS THAT)
ERNIE: Did you hear somebody walking?
Listen a minute. (PAUSE) I guess it wasn't. But I've got the jitters, now I'm all alone, after everything that happened. I hear things all the time.
Sure I'm alone. No, Jock's - didn't I tell you about Jock?
Oh, I remember. I was talking about Rubey and the plane crash.
Well, Jock and I decided the old ticket-taker wasn't one of Gaffney's boys. He couldn't be. How could a crazy old man have anything to do with an airplane crash?
That ain't possible. Is it?
But who was he?
What was that ticket that Rubey had?
I'd have sworn Rubey didn't have any ticket except the plane ticket. We each had plane tickets. That was part of the deal, you see. All we had to do was call up and make our reservations whenever we wanted to get out of town.
That's all the tickets we had.
Jock and I got to talking about that a couple of days later.
JOCK: Weel, I dinna ken who the auld man was, ner what he had to doe wi' it all, but it's warrnin' enough fer me, Ernie.
ERNIE: What're you going to do?
JOCK: Look, laddie, the plane ticket didna cost me anything, ye see. And regarrdless o' whether the auld ticket man had anything to do wi' it, I'm not gonna ride on no airplane for nobuddy.
ERNIE: Yes, but what -
JOCK: I'm gonna tak' a bus to Newyork.
ERNIE: A bus, Jock!
JOCK: Och aye. A bus. I'll save mysel' a few dollars and 'tis only overnicht, and naebuddy e'er heard o' a bus crackin' up in fire. An' when I get to Newyork, I'll cash in the airplane ticket, an' I'll be a few more dollars aheed.
You come and go wi' me.
ERNIE: I was going to take the train.
JOCK: Listen, Ernie. I dinna ken whether Frank Gaffney's lads are onto us or not. But gin they are, they'd be more likely to hang aboot the railway stations than aboot the bus terminal, d'ye see?
ERNIE: (THOUGHTFULLY) I think you got something there, Jock.
JOCK: Aye, I have. An' anither thing, Ernie. There'll be no nonsense aboot tickets on a bus, too.
ERNIE: I wish I knew what that old guy ....
JOCK: Fergit the auld guy.
ERNIE: I wish I could forget him.
I wish I could forget him right now.
I've had all I want of him.
Who is he?
What are those tickets?
Let me tell you about Jock and me.
We went down to the bus-terminal. There was a bus for New York at eight-thirty. I remember what I did. I gave Jock all of my share of the money, except a couple of hundred dollars. We were going to be together on the bus; and he had a money-belt. I wish I had some of that dough now. I could use it, I guess.
Well, we're standing around the bus-station, down on Wabash Avenue, waiting for the fellow to call ours.
SOUND: (FADE IN SOUND BG OF MOTORS, HORNS, ETC)
ERNIE: We were standing there, waiting, and listening.
VOICE: (ON SPEAKER) Greyhound bus now loading for Anderson, Indiana, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. Gate 16.
ERNIE: And all of a sudden there was one of those silences. And I heard something.
SOUND: (FADE IN JINGLE OF THE TICKET-TAKER COMING UP)
JOCK: I dinna hear anything.
ERNIE: Listen, Jock.
SOUND: (THE BACKGROUND IS VERY QUIET, AND THE JINGLE AND SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS ARE MORE APPARENT)
JOCK: I hear it.
ERNIE: You see him?
JOCK: (LOOKING AROUND) I don't see anybody.
TICKETTAKER: (UP) May I have your ticket, sir?
JOCK: (STARTS) Where did you come from?
TICKETTAKER: I came for your ticket, sir.
JOCK: My bus ticket?
TICKETTAKER: Your ticket. Please, I haven't got very long to wait.
JOCK: I haven't got anything but my bus-ticket.
TICKETTAKER: (IMPATIENTLY) Yes, you have. Look in your pocket.
ERNIE: Who are you, old man?
TICKETTAKER: I want his ticket.
ERNIE: He hasn't got any ticket.
TICKETTAKER: Yes, he has.
JOCK: I haven't -
TICKETTAKER: In your pocket.
JOCK: I tell you I -
TICKETTAKER: That's it. That's it, thank you. (POLITELY) I wish you a very pleasant journey, sir.
ERNIE: Now, wait a minute! I want to know who you are, and I -
JOCK: Sssst, Ernie!
JOCK: Good-bye, old man.
ERNIE: Listen, Jock, I'm going to find out about this -
JOCK: Shut up. Let him go.
ERNIE: But I - where'd he go?
JOCK: Never mind where he went. Listen.
ERNIE: He scrammed into the crowd....
JOCK: Let him go. We're going to top the old boy this time.
ERNIE: What are -
JOCK: Listen. I think he knows what bus we're going on. I'm gonna go switch our tickets real fast, and we'll take the next one, see?
ERNIE: Yes, but -
JOCK: Walk out and buy some cigarettes or something while I go get the tickets changed. While he's watching you - go on, beat it. Meet me here in five minutes.
ERNIE: I don't like it.
I don't like it at all, but Jock has got a good idea. So I'll try it.
He goes to the ticket window. I ease my way through the door, out into the street.
I duck into a cigar-store.
We'll cross up this phony ticket-taker, won't we?
How did he arrange that airplane crack-up, I wonder?
Well, he won't get Jock and me.
I come out. I don't see him anywhere. Is he watching Jock, I wonder?
Where did Jock go? For a second I'm turned around.
Jock! Where did you go?
TICKET-TAKER: (UP CLOSE) It's silly to yell that way.
ERNIE: What! Where'd you come from?
TICKET-TAKER: I was watching your friend.
ERNIE: Where is he?
TICKET-TAKER: He's gone.
TICKETTAKER: He's gone, friend.
ERNIE: Did he run out on me with all that money -
TICKETTAKER: Oh, no.
[ERNIE: Well, where is he?
TICKETTAKER:] You wouldn't want to see him now, friend. He had an accident.
ERNIE: He had what!
TICKETTAKER: He....fell in front of the bus over there. I'm afraid he's dead.
ERNIE: You - what are you telling me?
TICKETTAKER: Oh, it's quite all right, you know. I have his ticket...
ERNIE: Did you - did you -
TICKETTAKER: That gun won't do you any good, friend...
ERNIE: You killed him!
TICKETTAKER: Oh, no ...
ERNIE: You killed him, I tell you!
TICKETTAKER: Put up the gun, friend.
SOUND: (TWO PISTOL SHOTS)
(MUSIC ... PICKS UP THE SOUND)
ERNIE: I shot him. I shot him right through the chest, twice.
I was six inches away from him, and I couldn't miss.
I couldn't miss at that distance, could I?
I figured if he was one of the Gaffney mob, he'd get me anyway, so I was gonna go out with a bang. Right through the chest I shot him.
And you know what? He wasn't there at all.
There wasn't anybody there at all, except a copper from Harrison Street, staring at me as if he thought I was nuts.
Maybe I was nuts.
There were the two bullet-scars on the brick wall.
They threw me in, all right.
For firing a pistol in a public place.
Not for murder.
It was thirty days they gave me, and the cops laughed when they let me out.
I used to be big-time, and now, they giggled, I'm nutty as a fruit-cake.
Sure I'm nutty. I guess. Maybe.
I don't know where I am now.
I don't know what town this is. I been around a lot in the last few months.
Listen. You hear anything? I do. Listen.
SOUND: (WE HEAR THE JINGLE AND THE SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS AS THEY CLIMB THE STAIR)
ERNIE: Don't tell me I'm nutty. Listen.
Listen! It's him! Hear that stuff jingling that he carries in his pocket? Listen. That's him.
That's the ticket-taker. But he's not going to get me.
You have to give him a ticket to get knocked off.
And I haven't got any ticket!
SOUND: (THERE IS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR)
ERNIE: I'm not going to answer it. You're not going to get me, old man! I haven't got any ticket!
THERE IS ANOTHER KNOCK AT THE DOOR
ERNIE: I'm not going to answer! There isn't anybody there!
AND SLOWLY THE FOOTSTEPS GO AWAY
ERNIE: You see? You see? There wasn't anybody there! There isn't any ticket-taker! I been dreaming things!
What's that under the door?
What is it?
HE WALKS TO THE DOOR
What is this?
HE OPENS THE DOOR
TICKETTAKER: I left your ticket for you, mister. You'll be needing it one of these days.
MUSIC THEME FADE FOR
ANNCR: You have listened to "Quiet, Please" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. The man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.
CHAPPELL: And Floyd Buckley played the Ticket Taker. The others were: Rubey, Lon Clarke; Jock, Pat O'Malley; the Policeman, Roc Rogers. Now for a word about our next story on Quiet Please, here is our writer-director, Wyllis Cooper.
COOPER: Next week's story is called "Cornelia". It's a story about a man and his two wives; I think you'll find it interesting.
MUSIC THEME FADE FOR
ANNCR: This program came from New York. (PAUSE) Stay tuned now for a fascinating story of strange events and their commonsense explanation on the House of Mystery program, which follows in just a moment.
CHAPPELL: And Floyd Buckley played the Ticket-Taker. The others were Rubey, Lon Clarke; Jock, Roc Rogers.
THIS IS THE MUTUAL BROADCASTING SYSTEM.
[alternate ending, not in script, transcribed from recording:]
[ERNIE: ... There wasn't anybody there at all, except a copper from Harrison Street, staring at me as - as if he'd thought I was a nut.
POLICEMAN: What are you shooting at, bud?
ERNIE: That old man. I got him!
POLICEMAN: What old man?
ERNIE: The ticket taker. He killed my friend. He's one of the Gaffney mob.
POLICEMAN: What old man are you talking about?
ERNIE: I-- Where is he?
POLICEMAN: You crazy or something, bud? Shooting holes in a brick wall?
ERNIE: He was right here.
POLICEMAN: There ain't nobody there. Hand me that gun.
ERNIE: He's got away. Listen, cop--
POLICEMAN: I'll have the gun, bud. All right, you people, move on. Come on, bud. It's thirty days for shootin' off guns in public places. Why, you might have hurt somebody.
(MUSIC ... FOR A TRANSITION)
ERNIE: Thirty days. And they laughed when they let me out. Am I crazy? I don't know. I - I - I keep hearing things. I know he was there when I shot, but-- Listen. Do you hear anything? I do.
SOUND: (WE HEAR THE JINGLE AND THE SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS AS THEY CLIMB THE STAIR)
ERNIE: Don't tell me I'm nutty. Listen.
Listen, it's him. It's him! You hear him?
That's the ticket-taker.
But he's not gonna get me. You have to have a ticket to get knocked off. And I haven't got any ticket!
SOUND: (THERE IS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR)
ERNIE: I'm not going to answer it. You're not going to get me, old man! I - I haven't got any ticket!
SOUND: (THERE IS ANOTHER KNOCK AT THE DOOR)
ERNIE: I'm not going to answer it! There isn't anybody there!
SOUND: (AND SLOWLY THE FOOTSTEPS GO AWAY)
ERNIE: Did you see? You see? There wasn't anybody there! There isn't any ticket-taker! I - I been dreamin' things! All the time I been dreamin'!
(SUDDENLY QUIET) What's that under the door? What - what is it?
SOUND: (HE WALKS TO THE DOOR)
ERNIE: What is this?
SOUND: (HE OPENS THE DOOR)
ERNIE: What is this?!
TICKETTAKER: (OFF) I left your ticket for you, mister. You'll be needing it one of these days.
(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)
ANNOUNCER: You have listened to "Quiet, Please" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. The man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.
CHAPPELL: And Floyd Buckley was the Ticket Taker. The others were Lon Clarke, who played Rubey; Pat O'Malley, who was Jock; and the Policeman, Roc Rogers. Music was composed and played by Gene Perrazzo.
ANNOUNCER: The preceding program was especially transcribed earlier for your enjoyment at this time.
"Quiet, Please" will no longer be heard at this time. In its place, Mutual will again bring you "The Count of Monte Cristo." Be sure and listen next week over most of these same Mutual stations when "The Count of Monte Cristo" returns to the air.
This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.