Dialogue for a Tragedy

Title Dialogue for a Tragedy
Message Text CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(SEVEN SECONDS SILENCE)

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)

ANNCR: The American Broadcasting Company presents "Quiet, Please!" ... which
is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and which features Ernest Chappell.

"Quiet, Please!" for today is called "Dialogue for a Tragedy".

(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)

ROY: Yes. Yes, I know the pistol is loaded. Yes, it's perfectly easy to see that it's pointed at my head. Let me congratulate you on a very steady hand. You've held it without moving for almost a minute now, I've been glancing at the clock.

Certainly I know what you propose to do. You propose to squeeze the trigger of the pistol just a tiny little hair's breadth at a time. Squeeze it softly, gently, just as you were taught to do out at Fort Riley all those years ago when you were a fat little buck private in the cavalry. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, the way Ike Martin used to teach you. Squeeze the trigger until you squeeze the bullet right out of the muzzle... right out of the muzzle, right at my head. And the reason you squeeze the trigger so gently is so as you won't know the exact moment the hammer falls on the firing pin, the firing pin sticks against the cap in the cartridge and the gas begins to expand. And then I look at you like the young Subaltern in Kipling's "Grave of the Hundred Head", remember? With a big blue mark on his forehead, and back blown out of his head.

Yes, I remember "The Grave of the Hundred Head". I like Kipling. Remember
A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

Very pretty. Very, very pretty.

I doubt very much if I'm going to be able to talk you out of it. You've got most of the slack taken up on that trigger and now the real squeeze begins, doesn't it? Now you can feel the steel pressing inside the steel in the gun itself, pressing back against the pressure of your finger, as if it's relunctant to give that last irrevocable fraction of an inch -- the fraction of an inch that'll let slip that thirty grams of copper-jacketed death.

I never could remember the names of those parts inside the pistol that make the last final deal with the laws of physics and ballistics. I remember the sear, whatever it is, and the disconnector and the firing pin... but I never could keep them separate in my mind. And now the sear and the disconnector and the firing pin and the firing pin spring and all the odd shaped little gadgets in that gun are conspiring to make a mess of the mind that never could keep them separate. A very fine piece of poetic justice, indeed.

No, no... don't just crook your finger on the trigger, remember how Ike Martin said squeeze your whole hand. Squeeze even the fingers that aren't touching the trigger, that takes longer, it makes a better game of it. Squeeze your whole hand. The trigger finger will sqeeze right along with the others, and presently... presently.

You won't be talked out of it, will you? Well then, perhaps I have time to tell you a few things about yourself before the hammer falls and puts a permanent period to my simple delcarative English sentences. If you don't know the exact second the hammer will fall, I don't know either. It'll be an interesting interlude.

Alright, I'll begin.

A ???? ????. A ???? ???? ???? of a man, spotless and clean to the eye, but within a stifling miasma of horror. It's your I'm talking about -- you with the pistol pointed at my head, you with your finger closing on the trigger. You're a ????.

[Organ up and out]

NORMA: I've got something that I've got to talk to you about, dear. The children were here this afternoon. The ???? children, ???? adopted ????. And they had the strangest idea that ???? ??? been lied about her will. Her will. Why, they say they're both sure there's another will, leaving all her money to them instead of to you. I know, I said it was absurd. Yes, they said they knew she'd written another will in her own handwriting. Uh, ??? is that what they call it? I know, she made that will leaving all the money to you a long time ago before the children were adopted. No, I don't like to disucss it either dear, I said it was absurd didn't I. But they knew that you and ????... well they knew that ???? came to dislike you for, well, something that I don't know about. And they said... you know how ???? was about her heart... they said she'd made a will cutting you off. Yes, I know you're her brother, it's absurd! Cutting you off and leaving the entire estate to them! And they said they knew where she'd hidden the will, and when they went to find it it'd disappeared. Why they seem to have some rediculous idea that you... of course I don't believe it. No dear, they haven't got a cent. They really ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? with you bring the sole heir to all her money.

[Organ up and out]

ROY: Thief. Rich man... thief. People don't search out and destroy unfavorable wills in real life, do they? They don't rob orphaned children in real life, do they? Don't they, thief? You're rich, aren't you thief?

The kids... the girl... her name was Celeste. She's married now, got four kids, lives above a saloon down in Baltimore. That's her money that bought that gun you're aiming at me. The boy... tough little devil, wasn't he? Seventeen when it happened and he accused you right out, didn't he? You shouldn't have kicked him so hard. Too bad he died, it won't be fun meeting him when you die. No it won't be fun, not if there's any justice the other side of the grave, he was a bitter young fellow.

His sister's money, and his money. That's what bought the gun, wasn't it? Makes you cringe... but I notice your finger is still on the trigger.

And your wife, Norma. She was sorry for the kids too, but what could she do? You never let her know exactly what became of the kids, did you? Lot of things you never let Norma know. Now come on, look at me. [Raises voice] Lot of things you never let Norma know, weren't there?

[Sound of knocking on door]

ROY: That's Norma now. She doesn't know what's going on in here, does she?

NORMA [muffled in background]: Dear, may I come in?

ROY: We won't answer Norma, will we? She'll go away. Maybe Norma thinks you're asleep. Norma doesn't know you're sitting here with your finger on the trigger of a gun. Norma doesn't know. [PAUSE] She's gone.

There are lots of things Norma doesn't know, traitor. Almost forgotten about Frederick, hadn't you? Long, long, long time. Poor old Frederick. Almost forgotten that Norma and Frederick were married to each other once, hadn't you? Traitor... sitting there with that gun in your hand pointed at my head, you traitor. You'd forgotten Frederick.

[MUSIC UP AND OUT]

Time: 10:00
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Ownership Paul
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Submission Date Jan 14, 2017