Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Escape
Show: A Study in Wax
Date: Feb 01 1953

ANNOUNCER 1:

Tired of the everyday grind? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you...Escape!

MUSIC:

THEME FOR ESCAPE

ANNOUNCER 2:

Escape, designed to free you from the four walls of today for a half hour of high adventure.

ANNOUNCER 1:

You are trapped in a snowbound cabin in northern Canada, with the temperature slowly dropping, while across the table from you, his eyes staring at you, is your only companion: a madman? waiting for his chance to kill you.

ANNOUNCER 2:

Listen now as Escape brings you Antony Ellis' terrifying story: A Study In Wax.

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

It was late October when the radio shack burned down. We never did decide whose fault it was. Maybe Kobel with his cigarettes. Or maybe me. Anyway I guess the whole thing began when we lost the phone transmitter and receiver Kobel and I had been sent up to the northwest territory by the Canadian Geodetic Survey people. It was a long job. And the biggest part of it was the loneliness. I remember what Kobel said as we watched the government supply boat steaming off.

SFX:

ICY WIND

KOBEL:

It's gonna be a long winter.

JACK:

Yeah. Hope they don't run into any trouble on the way back, that ice is closing in fast.

SFX:

BOAT BLOWS WHISTLE IN DISTANCE.

KOBEL:

Yeah. Well, so long, fellas? seeya next spring. Huh. It's getting cold.

JACK:

Feels like snow, probably get some tonight.

KOBEL:

Yeah.

JACK:

Well, we might as well get the rest of this stuff unpacked, huh?

KOBEL:

All right. It's kind lonely with them gone, y'know?

JACK:

Yeah.

KOBEL:

I guess it's the quiet.

JACK:

You better get used to it.

KOBEL:

Oh I will. It's funny, y'know, after spending most of your life in cities, well, I suppose you feel this kinda thing more. There's an awful lot of nothing out there.

JACK:

You need a drink. C'mon.

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

It wasn't that Kobel was moody or anything like that. I think he wasn't used to being out of touch with people and things that he was accustomed to in the cities. I was the opposite. I kind of liked the loneliness. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it we were a pretty strange couple to hit it off the way we did. And when you got seven months to spend alone with another man, you gotta be sure of each other. And we thought we were. Until, after the radio was gone. That day it burned we stood in the snow watching the embers glowing and the wisps of smoke rising into the cold sky.

KOBEL:

Well. It's gone.

JACK:

We still got the code center, just in case.

KOBEL:

Yeah, I know, but I'm gonna miss the programs and the music.

JACK:

I tell you, we could send a message to the base if you like, ask em to fly out another --

KOBEL:

Oh no, no, you know ol' McCloud, he'd boil. He'd boil. "Waste of money." He'd probably take it out of our pay. No, we'll do without it.

JACK:

Well, it's all right with me.

KOBEL:

You're a hardy soul. I don't think you'd mind if you had to stay here alone for seven months, y'know?

JACK:

It'd be dull, I wouldn't have anybody to beat at chess. Well, I think we better use the theotolytes tomorrow, get to work on that western section over the range, triangulation--

KOBEL:

Oh? Jack.

JACK:

Yeah, what?

KOBEL:

If it was my cigarette that burned down the shack? I'm sorry.

JACK:

Forget it. I may have done it myself. Forget it.

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

By the end of November we'd done pretty well as far as work was concerned. But Kobel was getting jittery. We had a week's stretch where we couldn't move out of the camp -- it was around 30 below outside and blowing 60 miles an hour. Kobel had read most of the things we'd brought along and was sitting at the table trying to beat his solitaire game. I was oiling my gun.

SFX:

SOLITAIRE GAME, HOWLING WIND, CHAIR SCRAPES THE FLOOR.

KOBEL:

Ah?

JACK:

Odds are against you every time.

KOBEL:

Don't I know it. Oh, I wish this weather would ease off.

JACK:

It will.

KOBEL:

Hey I got an idea.

JACK:

What?

KOBEL:

What do you say we open our Christmas presents tonight?

JACK:

Our Christmas -- ? It's November.

KOBEL:

I know, I know, but I bet there'll be some books. I told my folks to pack some books.

JACK:

Well what'll you do when you've finished em?

KOBEL:

I don't know, but I gotta do something. I just wish we had the radio.

JACK:

Look, we can send a message. If McCloud wants to cut our heads off for burning up his property he'll have to come here to do it. If not, maybe he'll be feeling good and send it to us.

KOBEL:

Right, it's worth a try, do you mind? It's not you, Jack, we talk and play chess and it's swell, but -- well, I miss the outside, I feel like, well --

JACK:

I know. Gimme a pencil.

KOBEL:

Here you are.

JACK:

Thanks.

SFX:

PENCIL WRITING ON PAPER.

JACK:

Here, how's this sound? "Radio shack burnt to ground? can you send new receiver? have only? small set on fixed channel."

KOBEL:

Uh, Jack, couldn't you say "emergency"?

JACK:

Oh, ho, that'd go over big with McCloud. "We miss Canadian and US mystery shows, must continue to hear them in order to keep up our work. Uh uh. Leave it as it is. Ah, switch on the generator, will you? It's kinda stuffy in here, isn't it?

SFX:

GENERATOR.

KOBEL:

I was thinking it was cold.

JACK:

Old woman.

SFX:

MORSE CODE BROADCASTING.

JACK:

McCloud's gonna love this.

(MUSIC)

 

SFX:

MORSE CODE RECEIVING.

JACK NARRATES:

The reply from McCloud came back the following day. It was long, involved, and said what could have been said in one word: no. Our chief was a very careful man and believed in others following his example, therefore if our radio was gone it was our fault and next time we should be more careful. And that was that.

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

The weather let up a bit and we got some work done. It was still terribly cold but it didn't bother us now that the wind was gone. I noticed that Kobel was much quieter after our request for the radio had been turned down. I began to get a feeling as though he blamed me for it. So a week before Christmas, we'd just finished supper and I said:

JACK:

Uh, Larry -- about those Christmas presents --

KOBEL:

What about them?

JACK:

Ah -- whaddaya say we open em, huh?

KOBEL:

Well I thought you didn't want to till Christmas.

JACK:

I changed my mind.

KOBEL:

Oh? What's the matter, you trying to be nice to me? I can take this as well as you can. Y'know? I don't need you feeling sorry for me.

JACK:

Oh, I'm not sorry, I don't give a good stink one way or the other. I'm just saying if you want to open the packages now, it's all right with me, they're yours, it's not my business. Ah forget it. Do what you want.

KOBEL:

No wait a minute. Will you open yours?

JACK:

Sure. (chuckles)

KOBEL:

Okay!

SFX:

KOBEL GOES TO A WOODEN CRATE, OPENS IT, UNWRAPS THINGS.

JACK NARRATES:

He got a hammer and started to pry open the case. Our families and friends had done their shopping in August, and we'd put their gifts together in the case. And at the sight of those colorful wrappings Kobel began to smile.

KOBEL:

Aw, that mother of mine?

JACK NARRATES:

He was back in touch again. They were little things, but, a label, a scratch of handwriting, the feel of something different was blotting out his loneliness, that great far coldness outside.

KOBEL:

Hey, we did great! Hey, c'mon over, c'mon, see what you got!

JACK:

Okay.

KOBEL:

It doesn't feel like books, they wouldn't pack them like this, would they?

JACK:

They might.

KOBEL:

This is from my sister, you met her, Jack: Nancy, the one in Winnipeg?

JACK:

Oh, Nancy, oh yeah sure.

KOBEL:

Hey, look!

JACK:

What?

KOBEL:

Look at that! Look what we got, it's a phonograph!

JACK:

A phonograph!

KOBEL:

Yeah, there must be some records in here. Jack, wind it up, will you?

JACK:

Oh yeah.

KOBEL:

This is great, there's a big sack of em, here, there must be -- oh of all the lousy crummy luck!

JACK:

What? What's the matter?

KOBEL:

They're broken. They're broken.

JACK:

Ah, that's a shame. All of em?

KOBEL:

Well wait a minute -- there's two of them that's okay.

JACK:

Well that's good.

KOBEL:

Heh. Great listen to this, will you? "Bugle Calls of his Majesty's Army".

JACK:

What!?

KOBEL:

I mean it, look. It belonged to my father, I remember him playing it when I was a kid.

JACK:

Well what's the other one?

KOBEL:

Let's see. Oh it's the "Age of Gold", Shostakovich. It's one of my favorites.

JACK:

No Benny Goodman or anything like that?

KOBEL:

No. That's right, I forgot. You don't much like this long hair music, do you?

JACK:

Oh, not much but, it's okay. C'mon, let's take a listen to that bugle call thing, that oughtta be something. Here, I think I got it wound up enough?

KOBEL:

Wait till I tell Nancy about that fancy packing job of hers.

SFX:

THE BUGLE CALL RECORD BEGINS.

KOBEL:

Ah, boy, this brings back memories. "The alarm." Y'know we could've used this one when the shack burned down?

(THEY LAUGH)

 

KOBEL:

Oh. On this one everybody comes. It's an excellent ?

JACK NARRATES:

We got a lotta laughs out of that old record. Played it a couple of times, and had a couple of drinks. And I tell you that phonograph, even with only two records, it made a lot of difference to us. The strain seemed to be gone. And then Kobel put on his Shostakovich and got lost in it. To me it wasn't much. It was all cluttered up with a lot of noise that hurts your ears. And he musta played it half a dozen times while we unwrapped the rest of the things. There were a lotta books and magazines, and that was real good. I figured we could stretch em out for at least three months, that'd take us into March. But by the next day the weather turned bad. A blizzard came down. We stayed inside until the day after Christmas. And Kobel, he was like a kid, he smoked cigars, drank brandy, listened to his record and read. In ten days he'd read every single thing. And then he had nothing to do but? listen to his record.

SFX:

SHOSTAKOVICH RECORD PLAYS GRATINGLY, THEN ENDS.

KOBEL:

Bum bum bum.

SFX:

KOBEL STARTS TO CHANGE THE RECORD.

JACK:

Oh you're not gonna play it again.

KOBEL:

Sure, do you mind?

JACK:

Well, I wouldn't mind not listening to it for a while. Why don't you try the bugle calls? They're quieter anyway.

KOBEL:

You need to learn to appreciate good music, Jack. You're missing something.

JACK:

Well maybe I will. But not from that.

KOBEL:

It's beautiful.

JACK:

Well not to me it isn't. Why don't you let it go for a while? Huh?

KOBEL:

All right. All right, if you feel that way about it. How bout a game?

JACK:

Ah, no, not right now, thanks. I want to finish reading this article.

KOBEL:

What are you reading? Oh yeah, I read that. That's not much. Y'know, that guy never could write.

JACK:

Oh? I think it's pretty good.

KOBEL:

Depends on what you're used to reading, I guess.

JACK:

What kind of a crack is that?

KOBEL:

Nothing. Nothing it just depends on what you're used to reading, that's all.

JACK:

Does that make me a lowbrow?

KOBEL:

Oh, you said it, I didn't.

JACK:

You better check the oil outside.

KOBEL:

I did it yesterday, it's your turn.

JACK:

Uh-uh. I did it this morning. In this weather we do it twice a day, you remember?

KOBEL:

Oh, yes sir!

JACK:

You trying to be funny?

KOBEL:

No, no, I just didn't like the way you said it. We're both in charge here, y'know, not you or me, nobody gives orders here, we share the responsibility.

JACK:

Okay, okay, then do your share.

KOBEL:

All right, all right, I'm going out to check the oil, and not because you said to do it, y'know. But because I want to!

JACK:

Well good for you!

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

When I think of it now we sounded like a couple of kids. And I can't even remember what it was that set us off. But I'll never forget what happened because of that day. You don't easily forget a thing like? death.

MUSIC:

ESCAPE INTERMISSION (MUSIC)

JACK NARRATES:

Kobel and I didn't talk to each other the next few days. Not the way we used to, I mean. Just conversation that was necessary to do our work. And that was it. He didn't play his record, either. New Year's Eve Day we got a couple of messages through in code from our families. And I guess we both felt pretty bad. Kobel was trimming the oil stove when I decided to try and make things up.

SFX:

HOWLING WIND.

JACK:

Ah, say, Larry.

KOBEL:

Yeah.

Look, about that business the other night, I? I? I'm sorry.

KOBEL:

Ah, it's my fault. Really. It's kinda silly, y'know?

JACK:

Yeah.

KOBEL:

Y'know it's probably just as well that we had the bust-up then. There's still 3 months to go before that ship comes back.

JACK:

Yeah, I know. And thanks for not playing that record.

KOBEL:

It's okay. Ah, I wish that wind would stop, it gets on my nerves.

JACK:

Y'know something? I got something that's good for that.

KOBEL:

What?

JACK:

Ha!

SFX:

JACK GOES TO A BOX, GETS OUT A BOTTLE AND GLASSES, BRINGS THEM BACK.

KOBEL:

Whaddayou got there?

JACK:

Something to toast the new year!

KOBEL:

Champagne!

JACK:

Yup.

KOBEL:

And two bottles. Oh, what an idea. Jack, this is wonderful!

JACK:

We'll stick em outside for a couple of minutes and cool em off.

KOBEL:

Here, lemme have em, I'll do it.

SFX:

KOBEL OPENS THE DOOR, HOWLING WIND IS LOUDER, THEN CLOSES IT AGAIN.

KOBEL:

Wind'll cut you in two! Ooh, that's cold. You wanna know something? The best thing for you and me to do is to get roaring stinking drunk.

JACK:

Champagne with brandy chasers.

KOBEL:

Right!

JACK:

Happy New Year, Larry.

KOBEL:

Same to you, Jack.

JACK NARRATES:

And we got drunk. We got red-eyed drunk. And we talked about women and ourselves and our dreams. And it was sloppy and it was great. The kind of a haze you get where it doesn't matter and you're feeling good about everything. And it was fine? until Kobel decided it was time to hear some music.

SFX:

KOBEL GETS UP FROM HIS CHAIR, KNOCKS OVER THE GLASSES.

KOBEL:

I -- Uh -- Jack, I want you to really listen to this, now, I mean really listen, this Shostakovich, he makes em all look sick with this thing, now I want you to really listen.

JACK:

Aw, no, I don't wanna hear that thing, don't put it on for me--

KOBEL:

No, no really, give it a chance, just listen to it!

JACK:

But I don't like it, Larry.

SFX:

KOBEL PLAYS THE RECORD.

KOBEL:

Now, listen. I'm gonna explain it, listen. Listen to what he does with the rhythm. That's great music, friend, that's really great!

JACK:

(Jack makes fun of the music) La da da da da da, la da da da? That's not music, it's a lotta noise! La da da da? It's a noise!

KOBEL:

Jack, Jack shut up, will ya? You're not listening.

JACK:

Don't tell me to shut up!

KOBEL:

Y'know you just don't understand good music, that's the matter with you.

JACK:

I understand that I don't wanna listen to it. That's enough.

KOBEL:

Well I wanna hear it! Jack don't take that off.

JACK:

Take your hands off me or you're gonna get hurt.

KOBEL:

Now listen Jack? you stay away from that machine.

JACK:

Get outta my way.

KOBEL:

You don't have to get pushy.

SFX:

A FIGHT. THINGS BREAK.

KOBEL:

I'm gonna kick your brains out for that!

JACK:

I'm sick of you and your filthy music and everything about??"

KOBEL:

Don't touch that record!

JACK:

Now take a good listen, because you're not gonna hear it anymore, this thing. Not as long as I'm here.

SFX:

JACK TEARS THE NEEDLE OFF THE RECORD. HOWLING WIND.

KOBEL:

Put it down, Jack. I mean it. I mean it put it down. Put it down or I'll -- I'll shoot. I'll do it if you don't put that record down!

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

And I got sober. I might never have had a drink I was so sober. Kobel had reached up for one of the holsters that hung near the door. And he wobbled to his feet? the gun held tightly in his hand. And there was blood running out of his mouth and down his chin. And I just stood there and I put the record down on the turntable.

KOBEL:

You were gonna break it weren't you? Weren't you!?

JACK:

Yeah.

KOBEL:

I knew you were. I know because it gives me pleasure to listen to it and you don't like that. Well, listen, I wanna listen to it and you don't, so, so you get outside.

JACK:

Ah, Larry, you don't --

KOBEL:

Go on! I'll kill you if you don't. Now get outside.

JACK:

Larry you're crazy, it's 40 below out there, I'll freeze to death!

KOBEL:

It'll do you real good. Now you go on jack, you get outside.

JACK:

All right, but let me get my things.

KOBEL:

No!

JACK:

Larry listen to me you're drunk, you don't know what you're doing!

KOBEL:

You open that door!

SFX:

GUNSHOT.

KOBEL:

Open it!

SFX:

JACK OPENS THE DOOR. HOWLING WIND LOUDER.

KOBEL:

Now go on out!

SFX; THE DOOR SHUTS. WE ARE OUTSIDE WITH JACK. JACK POUNDS AT THE DOOR.

JACK:

Larry! Larry, lemme in Larry! Larry you hear me lemme in Larry!

SFX:

INSIDE, THE SHOSTAKOVICH PLAYS AGAIN.

JACK NARRATES:

And inside I thought I hear the music again. He was crazy. Crazy drunk. I went around the back trying to get away from the wind, but it wasn't any good, there wasn't anywhere to get away from it. I'd seen what happened to men caught in the open this way and I knew how quickly it could happen. So I ran and I jumped. Anything to keep moving. And all the time I couldn't believe it was happening. I don't know how much time went by. Maybe it was a minute. Maybe it was ten.

KOBEL:

(in the distance) Jack! Jack where are you? Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

I heard him calling. Through the flurries of powdered snow blown off the roof I saw Kobel standing in the doorway, and I saw the gun still in his hand, hanging by his side.

KOBEL:

C'mon in, Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

And I forgot the cold.

KOBEL:

Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

I only knew that Kobel had gone mad and he was gonna kill me. Somehow I had to get him away from the cabin. Get him outside where I'd have a chance. I waited for a minute and then?

JACK:

Larry! Larry? over here, Larry!

KOBEL:

Jack!

JACK:

Over here!

JACK NARRATES:

I knew he'd heard me.

KOBEL:

Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

And I saw him move out from the doorway.

KOBEL:

Where are you, can you hear me? Where are you?

JACK:

Over here! Over this way!

JACK NARRATES:

And I moved back behind a hummock. I thought I might be able to make a wide circle and double back to the cabin before he knew what was happening.

KOBEL:

Jack, I can't hear you -- can you hear me? Jack, where are you?

JACK:

Larry! Larry!

JACK NARRATES:

And the wind burned my eyes so that I couldn't see, and I -- I tripped and I fell. And my hands, bare, didn't feel the coldness of snow any longer.

KOBEL:

Jack! Jack, over here, Jack! Can you hear me!?

JACK NARRATES:

He -- he musta seen me, he was closer now. Close enough to shoot. And I tried to run, stumbling, falling, and then it was easier and I was going downhill. But he was behind me.

KOBEL:

Jack! Jack it's all right, don't be scared! Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

And then there was something different in the feel of the ground under me. It wasn't ground anymore, not snow. It was ice.

KOBEL:

Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

I'd reached the shore and I was going out on the frozen sea.

KOBEL:

Jack don't go out there!

JACK NARRATES:

And I began to imagine that I could feel the movement of the sea under me and I -- (starts to cry) And suddenly it didn't matter anymore, I didn't care. I couldn't run. I just wanted to lie down.

KOBEL:

Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

I just wanted to lie down.

KOBEL:

Jack take it easy, it's all right. It's gonna be all right, you don't have to be afraid. Jack you can have the gun if you want, I wouldn't hurt you -- Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

When it happened, Kobel was no more than eight feet away from me. But, but I just lay there watching, waiting for him to shoot. And the dark ribbon that split the ice grew wider. And wider. A semi-circle of ice had cracked away, and it wasn't very big and it was drifting out, away, away. And the ribbon was no longer a ribbon. And in that moment I knew that he hadn't wanted to kill me.

KOBEL:

Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

That I'd been wrong.

KOBEL:

Jack, help!

JACK:

Larry! Larry jump in! Swim, now c'mon swim, you can make it!

KOBEL:

I can't --

JACK:

C'mon, Larry, swim!

KOBEL:

I can't swim! I can't swim, Jack!

JACK:

Well try to, you gotta try, please hurry Larry!

SFX:

ICE CRACKS AND COLLAPSES.

KOBEL:

Jack, please! I wanted to get you back to the cabin, I wasn't gonna hurt you!

JACK NARRATES:

They moved away faster after that.

KOBEL:

Jack do something -- I don't wanna die, Jack!

JACK NARRATES:

Then I couldn't see him anymore. He was lost in the blackness.

KOBEL:

Please! Jack, you gotta do something!

JACK NARRATES:

But I could hear him. Oh, lord, I could hear him.

SFX:

KOBEL'S SCREAMS FADE AS HOWLING WIND TAKES OVER.

JACK NARRATES:

Larry? Larry?

(MUSIC)

 

JACK NARRATES:

Somehow I? I got back to the cabin. I remember getting the transmitter switched on. Sending the message through. Then I got a flashlight and my furs on. I don't know how long I was down there on the ice. Shouting. Looking. But I knew he was gone. I'd never see him again. And in the gray morning the planes came. And for two days they searched until the weather forced them back. And that was all. They flew me back to the hospital. Maybe I'll lose my hands. Maybe not. They're not sure yet. Well, it doesn't matter anyway.

(MUSIC)