The Man Who Doesn't Know Everything

Episode #116
Aired 2022-05-11
Length: 27:35
Size: 12.6 MB
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Quiet Please: The Man Who Doesn't Know Everything
Paul Knierim
30 minutes


Afternoon - Charles W. Afternoon knows everything. Loves to list off things he knows to impress people... but when lives are in danger he likes to draw things out and tell just enough to tease and feel like he's helping and being the good guy without letting the situation resolve too quickly because he likes to feel important. Supremely confident. [Paul Knierim]

Tragacanth - Cecile Tragacanth Afternoon has gone from being Afternoon's secretary to becoming his wife. On the surface she seems a bit of an airhead, but it's an act. She lets Charles believe he knows everything when it suits and pumps him for information, but she also knows how to get under his skin and throw him off balance. She knows what when he loses his confidence he loses his knowledge, and that's how she protects herself in her secret role as a government agent spying on her now-husband. [Lindsay Townsend]

Archer - Gangster brain. More refined, intelligent, plotting, not as crude as Knuckles. She’s generally in charge of the situation, and holds Knuckles' metaphorical leash. [Virginia Hargrove]

Knuckles - Gangster muscle. Rough around the edges and not very bright. [David Loftus]

India Uniform - Government agent at HQ. [Steph]

Gulf Echo - Government agent at HQ. [Emily Aichele or Matt Ellis?]


Afternoon: Quiet Please... Quiet Please!

SFX: theme

Afternoon: presents "Quiet Please", which is written by and features Paul Knierim. Quiet Please for tonight is called "The Man Who Doesn't Know Everything."

SFX: theme fade

SFX: room tone

Afternoon: [narration] Allow me to re-introduce myself. I'm Charles W. Afternoon. You may remember me as the man who tried to help you out of that little scrape involving a handbag with nothing in it but an icepick. And the man who helped bring the affair of the two alleged venetian blind men to its bloody conclusion. Most importantly, you’re likely to remember me as the man who knew everything. Every story needs a third act, and this is mine.

SFX: door opens, footsteps

Tragacanth: Good morning Mr. Afternoon!

Afternoon: Good morning Mrs. Afternoon!

SFX: accent

Afternoon: That’s my wife. You knew her as Miss Tragacanth.

Tragacanth: Who are you talking to, Charles?

Afternoon: Everyone.

Tragacanth: That sounds rather… *ambitious*, dear.

Afternoon: You know me. I’m nothing if not ambitious.

Tragacanth: What are you talking to them about?

Afternoon: Oh, things. We haven’t really gotten into it yet.

Tragacanth: [cheerful] Maybe I can help!

Afternoon: I don’t think so. These are weighty matters.

SFX: door opens, footsteps

Archer: We’ve taken the liberty of letting ourselves in.

Afternoon: As I knew you would. Please have a seat Miss Archer, and Knuckles I know you’d prefer to stand.

SFX: drawing a chair and sitting during following lines

Knuckles: It’s ma’ back. Hurts when ah sit, ya know.

Afternoon: I do. I also know you represent a certain organization which has an interest in the affairs currently unfolding, but I’d like to caution you not to talk about that right now.

Tragacanth: What organization? What affairs?

Afternoon: [sharply] We don’t need to go into that. The details are sensitive.

Tragacanth: Don’t you trust me? [pause, no reply comes] Why, Mr. Afternoon, if you can’t trust your own wife then who *can* you trust?

Afternoon: Have you forgotten we’re on the radio, dear? *Anyone* could be listening.

Knuckles: [irritated] How’s we suppose ta have this talk, with all those people listenin’ in?

Afternoon: I have your instructions and all the details you need in this folder.

SFX: shoves folder across table

Afternoon: There’s no need for you to speak. I already know everything you want to say. I know everything, remember?

Archer: [irritated] Well that just makes us look like fools, doesn’t it?

Afternoon: You said it. Cecile my dear, will you please fetch our guests a couple of sandwiches from the deli down the street? I know Knuckles is a BLT man and Miss Archer prefers a turkey sandwich.

Tragacanth: [hesitates] You’re sure I won’t be missing anything?

Afternoon: Nothing happening here, dear.

Tragacanth: [reluctantly] Alright, Charles.

SFX: couple footsteps, then door opens and closes as she leaves. more footsteps as he goes to open door and glance out and then close it again, during the following line

Afternoon: I know she’s gone, but it never hurts to verify. She has had a nasty habit of listening at keyholes. Alright, we can talk now.

Knuckles: But… all those people’re listenin’?!

Afternoon: They don’t matter. Let them listen. It’s my wife who I don’t want hearing this.

Archer: Your marriage doesn’t seem to be built on trust, if you don’t mind my saying.

Afternoon: When you know everything, you don’t need to trust.

Archer: That works for you?

Afternoon: It did at first. No longer. What a sorry situation, not being able to rely on the loyalty of your own wife.

Knuckles: [impatient] So whaddya we still here for?

Afternoon: Patience, Knuckles. The documents in the folder cover the operational details of the matter we discussed yesterday, but I have to ask an additional favor. I also need you to… investigate her. My wife, I mean.

Archer: Don’t you know *everything* about her?

Afternoon: I thought I did. But she has a way of… eroding my confidence. When I lose my confidence, I don’t know everything anymore.

Knuckles: I wondered why ya so fulla youself.

Afternoon: I have to be, Knuckles. I have to be.

Archer: [thoughtfully] I wonder if *any* of us could know everything, if only we could be as supremely arrogant as you, Mr. Afternoon?

Afternoon: [feeling uncomfortable] I don’t know.

Archer: Ha!

Afternoon: [changing the subject] We don’t have much time before Mrs. Afternoon returns.

Knuckles: So ya wan us to puta tail on ‘er?

Afternoon: I need to find out what she’s up to. How you do that is up to you.

Archer: What are we looking for? Infidelity?

Afternoon: Oh, how I *wish* I only had to worry about something as trivial as infidelity. [chuckles] I suspect she’s up to something far more sinister. I *do* know that my life is in danger.

SFX: accent

Archer: From her?

Afternoon: Yes.

Knuckles: [scoffing] Cute little thing like her?

Afternoon: Appearances can be deceptive. We’re talking about the woman who casually executed Orville Venetian.

Knuckles: Venetian! I use ta work fa him. Hey I wonda if she on a… competin' payroll?

Archer: [interrupting] This is more than a little favor, sounds like dangerous work. What can we expect in return for these additional services, Mr. Afternoon?

Afternoon: Assurance that our… *other* plans will reach a mutually profitable fruition. And information.

Archer: What kind of information?

Afternoon: Details of the activities of… rival organizations. The secrets of powerful and wealthy people. Bank vault combinations. Whatever you need, within reason.

Knuckles: [imagining possibilities, optimistically] Hmm.

Archer: I think we have a deal, Mr. Afternoon.

SFX: musical transition to end scene

Afternoon: Perhaps you’re wondering how I ended up involved with these seedy characters, and what we're up to. Let me take you back to yesterday, when we first met. Yes, I can take you back in time, through the magic of radio.

SFX: rain, street noises

SFX: wet footsteps

Knuckles: Ya come alone? Not packin' any heat?

Afternoon: Of course. I understood your terms perfectly.

SFX: Knuckles pats down Afternoon

Knuckles: Brave.

Afternoon: Not at all. I know no harm will come to me. I know you’ll be very interested in my proposition. Bring your associate out, please.

Knuckles: [calling out to hidden colleague] ARCHER! Safe now!

SFX: wet footsteps as Archer walks over

Archer: So, Mr. Afternoon is it?

Afternoon: It is.

Archer: So what’s your big idea, and exactly what do *we* get out of it?

Afternoon: How would you like to be director of the FBI?

Archer: [wryly] Seems like it’d be a conflict of interest, me being part of an organized crime syndicate and all.

Afternoon: Indeed. But name any federal post, I’ll get someone from your organization installed in it.

Knuckles: [aggressively skeptical] And how’s you goin’a do *that*?!

Afternoon: Quite simply, with some help from your organization to implement some of the legwork of my plan, I’ll be President.

SFX: accent

Afternoon: [excited] Imagine what this country could be with a president who knows everything! Imagine an economy and a foreign policy harmonized by perfect decision-making! Imagine a president who knows the exact full consequences of every action he takes before he takes it! Why, in a few short years we’d have a paradise!

Archer: And what makes you so sure you can waltz in and overthrow the United States government just like that?

Knuckles: Yeah, people've tried dat an' it ain't never come out pretty for 'em.

Afternoon: I have a detailed plan, and I know for a fact that with your assistance it will work. I know you were briefed on the fact that I know everything.

Knuckles: [still aggressively skeptical] Prove it.

Afternoon: I know your name is Anthony Fulbrite Henderson but everyone calls you Knuckles. I know the world’s smallest dog weighed four ounces. Today’s launch code for the President to initiate a nuclear strike is tango elephant echo. Sixty percent of human brain matter is fat. You’ve loved three women in your life, but none have loved you. It takes 364 licks to get to the center of tootsie roll. Archer has a birthmark on the inside of her left knee. Reno is west of Los Ange-

Knuckles: Enuf! Ya dont havta try ta make me feel stupid.

Afternoon: I even know how and when you and Archer die. Interested?

Archer: [hurriedly interrupting because she doesn’t want to hear answer] No, he’s not. So why don’t you just use your knowledge and the money it can bring you to jump into the election? Eisenhower wouldn’t stand a chance.

Afternoon: Because I know the people won’t vote for me. They don’t like a know-it-all, I make them feel uncomfortable and inadequate. Besides, to make proper use of my capabilities I’m going to need more power than a *conventional* President.

Archer: So it’s treason, then?

Afternoon: If saving our country from itself and ushering in a new prosperity built on perfect knowledge is treason, then so be it... but I think it would be treason to have this power to improve so many lives and not put myself in a position to do it. I know neither you nor your associate, nor the rest of your organization, will have any problem with it once you consider how it works to your advantage.

Archer: We’ll need substantial assurances.

Afternoon: And you’ll have them. You’ll have them.

SFX: sound of radio being dropped, at a distance... rain will have become light here. not important that the audience understand what the sound is.

Knuckles: Hey, who dat?! I tink maybe she been watchin!

Archer: Better grab her and find out what she's up to, Knuckles!

Afternoon: Wait, stop!

Knuckles: Wha?

Afternoon: That's my wife! Wait here.

SFX: afternoon's wet footsteps

Tragacanth: [faking cheeriness] Charles! What a pleasant surprise to run into you!

Afternoon: Feels like such a small city sometimes! What'd you just stuff into your handbag, dear?

Tragacanth: Oh, just a little present.

Afternoon: Odd shaped present.

Tragacanth: [with sinister edge] I won’t spoil your surprise.

Afternoon: I don't like surprises.

Tragacanth: And you don't normally get them, because you always know everything.

Afternoon: Except with you lately. Somehow you always know how to cut me down to size.

Tragacanth: [sinister] So that’ll make the surprise nice and special.

Afternoon: Well, I'm out here on business so I should get back to my colleagues.

SFX: pair of wet footsteps start under following line

Tragacanth: They look like an interesting pair. Come on, introduce me!

Afternoon: [awkwardly] This is my wife, Cecile. I don't want you to bore her with business talk.

Archer: Understood. Hello Mrs. Afternoon.

Tragacanth: I'd love to hear all about your business! And you, mister...

Knuckles: Knuck--

Archer: [cuts him off] Mr. Henderson. He's Knuck Henderson.

Tragacanth: Delighted to meet you Knuck, I don't think I've heard that name before.

Knuckles: It's... uh...

Archer: [cuts him off] Well it's getting cold and we really ought to be going, perhaps we can wrap this up another time?

Tragacanth: Charles, invite them by the office in the morning so you can finish up your business dry and warm.

Afternoon: [defeated] Yes dear, good idea dear.

SFX: music transition

Afternoon: You’re wondering why I’d let you in on all that. Truth is, I know there’s nothing you can do about it. Plans are in motion. There’s only one person who can stop me now.

SFX: door opens, Tragacanth walks in

Tragacanth: I brought the sandwiches like you– oh, they’re gone?

Afternoon: They just left. Sorry to waste your trip, dear.

Tragacanth: That’s okay, I’ll eat them.

Afternoon: Remember I know you’re going to die of overeating, dear.

Tragacanth: But not until I’m 82, so I can eat as much as I like before then.

Afternoon: [sarcastic] *sigh* Logical as ever.

SFX: rotary phone ring, pickup

Tragacanth: Hello, you've reached the office of the man who knows everything.

SFX: soft indistinguishable noise from other end of call

Tragacanth: [softly into phone, then loudly across room] Yes, I understand. Charles, you'd better take this one!

SFX: Afternoon picks up extension

Afternoon: Hello?

SFX: soft indistinguishable noise from other end of call

Afternoon: [sighs] This isn't the best day for it.

SFX: soft indistinguishable noise from other end of call

Afternoon: [sighs] If you insist. I'll be there in thirty.

SFX: hangs up

Tragacanth: Going out?

Afternoon: The people need me. Seems there's a situation across town that requires my skills.

Tragacanth: Alright Charles, take your time, I can hold down the fort here!

SFX: music bridge

Tragacanth: [narration] You think you know me, but you really don’t, so I should introduce myself. I’m Cecile Afternoon, née Tagacanth, soon to be Tragacanth again. Listening to Charles, you’d probably think I’m an airhead. You’d probably think my habit of listening at keyholes is because I’m a gossip. You’d probably be extremely puzzled as to why I shot Orville Venetian. Well, it’s time for you to hear *my* side of the story.

SFX: accent

Tragacanth: Charles thinks I’m a secretary, because that’s what I became for him. I did so three years ago at the behest of our government, in my capacity as a federal agent assisting the investigation into the activities of one Charles W. Afternoon. You see, when a man says he knows everything and he seems to be able to back it up, it becomes his government’s business to monitor how he uses this power. And when he started playing around with gangsters, we quickly realized he has no moral compass at all... you'll remember he was content to let Orville escape, and it fell to me to rid our city of its most notorious crime boss. I was afraid that was going to give me away, but Charles is too self-absorbed to think much about the motivations of other people, and I was keeping him distracted with my romantic advances.

SFX: phone rings

Tragacanth: That'll be for me.

SFX: picks up phone

Tragacanth: Yes, he took the bait. He'll be gone at least an hour. I'm going through what he's got on his desk right now. I'll report back.

SFX: paper shuffle

SFX: hangs up

Tragacanth: Who was I talking to? Just another agent who's helping me wrap up this case. It's been a long three years, but I can almost sniff the finish line.

The big break was yesterday. Didn't learn as much as I'd have liked to, but I think I caught him off guard and put another chink in his armor of arrogance.

SFX: music bridge for flashback transition?

SFX: rainy street traffic muffled slightly

Tragacanth: [speaking softly to avoid being overheard] Agent Tango Sierra radioing HQ.

India Uniform: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] Headquarters here, Agent India Uniform receiving loud and clear. Proceed.

Tragacanth: [speaking softly to avoid being overheard] He’s having a sort of a meeting in an alley. Can’t overhear him because of the rain and traffic, I think that’s why he picked this place. But I can describe his associates: a tall, thick man about 35 or 40, dark hair, a scar on his left cheek, blue jeans and a brown corduroy shirt. A woman of similar age, a foot shorter, curly blonde hair, Chanel handbag, navy blue dress.

India Uniform: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] Hold on, we’ve got someone cross checking those descriptions.

Tragacanth: [speaking softly to avoid being overheard] I'm not much of a lip reader and Mr. Afternoon has his back to me, but I've made out a few words his associates have said. 'Treason' -- the woman said the word 'treason.'

India Uniform: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] We think you’re looking at Anthony ‘Knuckles’ Henderson and Tabitha Archer. They always work together. They’re bad news.

Gulf Echo: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] Their syndicate has been active in city politics. Add the word 'treason' and we may be looking at something political here.

India Uniform: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] With the election coming up, we don’t need to tell you how dangerous Mr. Afternoon could be. It’s vital that you get to the bottom of this before he acts.

Gulf Echo: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] I can arrange a call to take him out of the office for a while tomorrow so can you go through his things.

India Uniform: [sfx: processed with old portable radio sound] Your country is relying on you.

Tragacanth: [speaking softly to avoid being overheard] Okay. That's a lot of pressure you're throwing on me, I’ll do my best.

SFX: sound of radio being dropped, up close this time. not important that the audience understand what the sound is.

Tragacanth: [muttering under breath] Shit, they heard!

SFX: rustle of shoving radio into handbag as wet footsteps approaching

Afternoon: [more aggressive in this version] What’d you just stuff in your bag? Lemme see it!

Tragacanth: Oh, just a little present. You haven’t forgotten it’s our anniversary next week, have you?

Afternoon: Odd shaped present, you sure that's what it is?

Tragacanth: I won’t spoil your surprise.

Afternoon: I’m not used to surprises.

Tragacanth: So that’ll make it special. What brings you out here, Charles?

Afternoon: Well, I was just... uh, I was out here on a business matter.

SFX: pair of wet footsteps start under following line

Tragacanth: [fake friendly] Those must be your business associates over there, come on, you can introduce me!

Afternoon: [awkwardly] This is my wife, Cecile. I don't want anyone to bore her by talking business, please.

Archer: Copy that. Hello Mrs. Afternoon.

Tragacanth: I'd love to hear about it! And you, mister...

Knuckles: Knuck--

Archer: [cuts him off] Mr. Henderson. He's Knuck Henderson.

Tragacanth: Delighted to meet you Knuck, I don't think I've heard that name before.

Knuckles: It's... uh... German.

Archer: [aggressively interrupting] We have to go now.

Tragacanth: Charles, why don’t we invite these lovely people around to the office in the morning so you can finish up your business nice and dry and warm?

Afternoon: I.. uh... well... fine.

SFX: music transition

Tragacanth: [narrating] How much did Charles see? I’m not sure. How much does he know? Well, not as much as he *thinks* he knows.

SFX: knock on door

Tragacanth: Come in!

SFX: door opens, Knuckles and Archer enter

Tragacanth: Just who I was hoping to see!

Archer: We came back because I must’ve left my umbrella – ah, there it is.

Tragacanth: Sit down. Both of you.

Archer: No, we just came for the umbrella, we’ll be on our way.

Tragacanth: SIT DOWN.

Knuckles: I’d like ta stand. Ma’ back.

Tragacanth: I said SIT DOWN. We need to talk.

SFX: they both sit

Archer: Where’s your husband?

Tragacanth: Out of the way.

Knuckles: Do ya mean-

Archer: [shushes him]

Tragacanth: Let’s put our cards on the table.

Archer: You first.

Tragacanth: I'm a government agent. We know you two are part of a crime syndicate which my husband is exploiting for his plans. And make no mistake, he'll exploit you and then he'll discard you -- whatever he promised you, you're not getting it.

Archer: Prove it. Prove we've done anything wrong.

Tragacanth: Everything you've said in this room today has gone out over the radio. Everyone listening is going to hold you responsible for whatever happens.

Knuckles: [protesting] But Mista Aftanoon said tha people listenin’ don’t matta!

Tragacanth: Mr. Afternoon *often* assumes people don’t matter. He’s wrong. People DO matter.

Archer: If you're trying to make us an offer, let's hear it.

Tragacanth: We're not after you, we're after Mr. Afternoon. That's why I went to work for him three years ago, that's why I married him. You help us, and I can get you immunity.

Archer: Help you how?

Tragacanth: First, tell me what Charles is planning.

Knuckles: He wansta be president.

Archer: [admonishing] Knuckles!

Knuckles: I don wanna fry for that stuck up bastard.

Archer: [sighs] Oh well. It was a dangerous game and I should've known we couldn't trust him.

Tragacanth: How was Charles planning to become President?

Archer: A coup d'état. Actually I haven't read the details yet, it's all in a folder he gave me, I believe you were here for that. You get us a signed promise of immunity from a district magistrate and I'll give you the folder.

Tragacanth: Agreed, if you'll do just one more simple thing for me. This afternoon, I want you to call Charles and ask him to meet you at six thirty in the same alley where you met yesterday. You won't show up -- we'll take care of it.

Archer: Won't he know?

Tragacanth: He's afraid now. He's coming down off that high horse of his, and pretty soon he won't be able to tell you what's two plus two.

SFX: musical bridge

SFX: alley rain sounds, traffic is distant

India Uniform: [sfx: processed thru radio] All agents are in position. He'll be able to get in but not out.

Tragacanth: Let me take him alone.

India Uniform: [sfx: processed thru radio] Are you sure?

Tragacanth: I know what needs to be done, and I know I can do it better alone. I've been on this case from the beginning, and I want to take it through the end.

SFX: second or two pause

India Uniform: [sfx: processed thru radio] Just yell if you need backup.

SFX: brief pause, car drives up and parks, car door opens and closes, wet footsteps as Charles gets out and approaches

Afternoon: [behind next line, maybe] Wha--??

Tragacanth: Hello there, Charles. Hands up in the air please.

Afternoon: My dear, I know our marriage has hit a rough patch, but is a gun really necessary?

Tragacanth: I think you *know* what I plan to do, Charles.

Afternoon: I've... been having suspicions.

Tragacanth: I’m sorry it has to end like this, Charles. But you’d know how to escape prison… and you might even weasel your way out of a conviction with everything you'd know about the judge and jury.

Afternoon: [desperately] Wait, I know –

SFX: gunshot, collapsing man, maybe a little pain grunting but it should be a quick death

Tragacanth: [coldly] Good night, Mr. Afternoon.

SFX: Tragacanth’s wet footsteps walk off

SFX: closing theme

Afternoon: The title of tonight's "Quiet, Please!" story was "The Man Who Doesn't Know Everything." It was written by Paul Knierim and the man who spoke to you was Paul Knierim. Lindsay Townsend played Cecile Tragacanth Afternoon. ___ was Archer. David Loftus was Knuckles. Agents India Uniform and Gulf Echo were portrayed by ___ and ___. Sound effects and music courtesy of freesound dot org and free pd dot com. The theme for Quiet Please is taken from the second movement of Cesar Franck's Symphony in D Minor, as performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1964. This program is licensed for free reuse and redistribution.