Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Lights Out
Show: Ghost Party
Date: Apr 21 1937

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

MRS. HINKLE...Laura Hope Crews type; fast-talking; a martinet in her own house.
MR. HINKLE...the Donald Meek type; a small, bald-headed meek little man.
JIMMY...the young fellow; early twenties.
ELLEN...just a nice young girl.
THE OLD WOMAN...a vampire; the essence of malignancy is in her old raspy voice.

Bits: a butler; a male "life of the party."

VOICE:

Lights Out, everybody!

TWELVE CHIMES - WIND UP ON ELEVENTH - ALL OUT WITH:

GONG:

FADE IN OF TWO PEOPLE WALKING SLOWLY ALONG CONCRETE WALK - HOLD FOR A FEW SECONDS, THEN DOWN AND CONTINUING BEHIND:

JIMMY:

(TAKE ALL THESE SPEECHES SOFTLY, EASILY - THE SCENE IS A BOY AND A GIRL WALKING ALONG A QUIET SHADY STREET AT DUSK) Ah, it's a great night, isn't it?

ELLEN:

Yes....

JIMMY:

It's good to be alive in the spring...

ELLEN:

(LAUGHS SOFTLY) It's good to be alive any time!

JIMMY:

The night air is so soft...

ELLEN:

Yes..

JIMMY:

Like your lips...

ELLEN:

(NOT UNPLEASED - SOFTLY) Darling...

JIMMY:

I wish we didn't have to go there...

ELLEN:

So do I....

JIMMY:

There'll be a houseful of loudspeakers trying to outtalk each other...

ELLEN:

Can't we sort of just forget to go, Jim?

JIMMY:

Not a chance! If I didn't show up to one of Mrs. Hinkle's parties, and she got wise to it, tomorrow morning I'd be reading the want ads. And worrying where I'd get the money to meet that next payment on that engagement ring!

ELLEN:

Silly!

JIMMY:

Silly is right! That fat old tub owns stock in just about every business in this town - you go to her parties when you're invited or else!

ELLEN:

It seems a pity to waste such a glorious night.

JIMMY:

If it were just a plain party, it wouldn't be so bad, but one of Mrs. Hinkle's!

ELLEN:

Are they as bad as all that, Jim?

JIMMY:

Worse! The woman's got a party complex - she thinks she's the daring type, but actually the last time she had an original idea was just this side of the Civil War! She's built like a battleship, and the only thing she does outside of clipping coupons off her bonds is think up screwy ideas for screwier parties! Wait till you see her!

ELLEN:

I'm looking forward to it! What about Mr. Hinkle?

JIMMY:

Oh, he makes a fit partner for her! He's as small as she's big, but he's about as party-cuckoo as she is! Yeah, and on top of it he's one of these practical jokers!

ELLEN:

No!

JIMMY:

It's a fact! Palm-ticklers, and itch-powder, and water squirting out of a flower's buttonhold and all that kid stuff! I tell you the pair of them are enough to make a person sick!

ELLEN:

Have we much further to go, Jimmie?

JIMMY:

No, unfortunately it's just around the block! (DOLEFULLY) I sure wonder what screwy idea they've got cooked up for tonight!

ELLEN:

Do you mean all of their parties are different?

JIMMY:

Yeah, different and yet the same! The last one I went to she had the house fixed up like the inside of a barn - cows and chickens wandering around the parlor and all that sort of stuff!

ELLEN:

Oh, you're fooling!

JIMMY:

So help me! After the liquor started circulating, somebody found that one of the hens had laid an egg and he popped someone with it and the fun began! They threw everything around but the cow, and if it wasn't for the fact that the Hinkles have a bank account big enough to choke an ostrich farm, the whole shebang would have landed in the hoosegow!

ELLEN:

Oh, my goodness, Jimmy, I don't think I want to go to their party! I mean, if that's the way they are!

JIMMY:

No, don't worry! I understand that tonight the Hinkles are having just a quiet evening at home - I hope!

ELLEN:

I don't like the way you said that "I hope"!

BEGIN TO FADE IN NOISE AND LAUGHTER OF PEOPLE AT PARTY, FAR, FAR BACK BEGINNING AT "I DON'T LIKE" IN ABOVE - THIS NOISE ETC. FADES IN SLOWLY BEHIND THE FOLLOWING SPEECHES TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT THE BOY AND GIRL ARE WALKING TOWARD THE HOUSE WHERE THE NOISE IS COMING FROM:

ELLEN:

Jimmy, do you hear what I hear?

JIMMY:

Yep, that's their place all right!

ELLEN:

A nice, quiet evening at home, eh?

JIMMY:

You should hear the Hinkles when they really get going!

ELLEN:

Do we have to go there? Do we really, Jimmy?

JIMMY:

Ours is not to question why!..All we can do is to go there and hope to heck that she isn't throwing a circus party with a couple of lions running loose!

ELLEN:

(LAUGHINGLY) I'll do more than hope, Jim - I'll pray!

JIMMY:

O.K., and while you're praying, pray that Mr. Hinkle doesn't pull any of his pet practical jokes on us! His idea of good clean fun is to wire up a chair with electricity and then shock the back teeth out of anyone who sits down in it!

ELLEN:

Oh, stay close to me, Jimmy! (FADE) Stay close!

BRING UP NOISE OF PARTY FULL - PEOPLE LAUGHING AND TALKING - CONTINUING.

MR. HINKLE:

(ABOVE NOISE OF CROWD) Quiet, everybody! Quiet, please! Quiet!

CROWD AD LIB - "IT'S MR. HINKLE!" - "HE'S GONNA MAKE A SPEECH!" - "I HOPE NOT!"

CROWD AD LIB AND NOISE DIES OUT GRADUALLY.

MR. HINKLE:

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to that queen of party-makers - none other than my own dear wife!

CROWD AD LIB AND APPLAUSE - OUT QUICKLY

MRS. HINKLE:

(LARGE, FORMIDABLE WOMAN WHO TRIES TO BE KITTENISH) Thank you, dear friends, thank you! It does my heart good to know that you appreciate these little gatherings which have come to mean so much, I'm sure, to the social life of our community! But enough of that - as you all know I pride myself, if I might use the word, on the originality of my little parties! Well, as you know, we've done just about everything at these parties - (GIGGLES) that is to say everything really clever, so tonight I simply wracked my brains for something that just hadn't been done before, and I'm sure when I tell you what it's all about, you'll agree with me that it's going to be quite a treat indeed! (FADE) In fact, if I do say so myself, never in all the many years I have been entertaining folks, have I ever had the good fortune of thinking of as clever and original and entertaining an idea as I've thought up for tonight! It'll thrill you! I simply know it will!

JIMMY:

(SOTTO - FADE IN AT HER FADEBACK IN ABOVE - IN CLOSE) I don't like the look in that woman's eye, Ellen.

ELLEN:

Oh, don't be silly! She's not as terrible as you said she'd be! I'll bet she's going to say that we're going to play post-office or puss in the corner!

JIMMY:

That's what you think, darling - that's what you think!

MRS. HINKLE:

(FADING BACK IN WITH ABOVE FADE) And so it is with the greatest of pleasure that I announce the piece de resistance of our evening - entertainment which I am sure will thrill all of you - none other than an actual ghost seance!

CROWD MURMURS - AD LIB COMMENTS SUCH AS: "GHOST SEANCE!" - "WHAT'S SHE TALKING ABOUT?" - "I DON'T LIKE GHOSTS!" - "WHO'S GOIN' TO BE THE GHOST?" ETC. AD LIB

MR. HINKLE:

(ABOVE CROWD MURMUR) Quiet, please, quiet, please! Mrs. Hinkle has something more to say! Quiet!

CROWD AD LIB CUT THRU ABOVE SPEECH

MRS. HINKLE:

Thank you, Mr. Hinkle! And now, ladies and gentlemen, if you all please - come into the next room and the seance will begin! Hurry now! (GIGGLES) The spirits in it must not be kept waiting! In here, please...(FADE) In here...

CROWD MURMUR - AD LIB COMMENTS - "I'M AFRAID OF SPIRITS!" - "WHAT KIND OF SPIRITS DOES SHE MEAN - WHISKEY OR GIN?" - "I HOPE THE ROOM WON'T BE TOO DARK!" ETC. AD LIB

ELLEN:

(IN CLOSE - SOTTO ABOVE BACKGROUND OF CROWD MURMUR) Oh, Jimmy, I don't like this!

JIMMY:

(SOOTHINGLY) Oh, don't worry! We'll just sit around in the circle and hold hands - (CHUCKLING) I won't mind that part of it!

ELLEN:

A ghost seance! Is that that woman's idea of fun!

JIMMY:

It's all right, dear! I think we can sneak out now and she'll never know what happened to us! The old battle-ax---

ELLEN:

(HUSHING HIM UP) Shh!

JIMMY:

Wha'?

ELLEN:

Here comes the Hinkles.

JIMMY:

Oh migosh!

MRS. HINKLE:

(FADE IN FAST) Ah, here you are, Jimmy! Now you and your young lady get right in with the rest! (FADE) Right in! The spirits and the ghosts are waiting! (FADE BACK IN FULL) Now everyone take a chair around the table! Quickly, please! Quickly!

SOUND OF CHAIRS BEING MOVED AROUND - FEET SCUFFLING ON FLOOR, ETC. AS PEOPLE SIT DOWN IN CHAIRS AROUND TABLE

JIMMY:

(SOTTO) Sit here, dear.

ELLEN:

All right.

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP) Now everyone join hands! Everyone join hands!

CROWD MURMUR

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP) Mr. Hinkle! Turn off the lights!

WOMEN'S SQUEALS - MEN'S LAUGHTER -

CROWD FLASHES:

...Oh, I'm scared!...
...Mama, where are you?...
...Where was Mr. Hinkle when the lights went out?...
...I wish I was home...Here come the spirits with a hey-hey!...

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP CLOSE) Mr. Hinkle, did you hear me? Turn out the lights!

MR. HINKLE:

(FAR BACK) Right, my dear!

CROWD MURMURS AS LIGHTS FLICK OUT "OO!" - "TURN ON THE LIGHTS!" ETC. AD LIB - MURMURING CONTINUING FAR BEHIND:

ELLEN:

Oh, Jimmy, I wish I was home!

JIMMY:

(SOTTO) Say, this is nothing! You ought to see the Hinkles' really bright ideas! I'll bet they're the ones who started the San Francisco earthquake!

CROWD MURMUR UP - "BRING ON THE GHOST!" - "JUST A KISS IN THE DARK!" - "NOW, HARRY, STOP IT! STOP THAT!" - ETC. AD LIB CONTINUING, OUT BEHIND:

MR. HINKLE:

(UP) Ladies and gentlemen, please! Please! We cannot expect to have the proper - er - contact with the spirits unless we are silent!

MRS. HINKLE:

Thank you, Mr. Hinkle - those are my sentiments exactly! (IN SEPULCHRE TONES) The spirits, ah, the spirits! Where are the spirits?

ONE OF THE GUESTS:

(LIFE OF THE PARTY TYPE - BACK SLIGHTLY) I am the spirit of 1776!

EVERYONE LAUGHS

MR. HINKLE:

(ABOVE LAUGHTER) Now, please, my friends! Please! This is a serious affair! Mrs. Hinkle is trying to awaken the spirits of the departed!

SAME LIFE OF THE PARTY - NANCE VOICE: I am the spirit of spring!

CROWD ROARS AGAIN

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP) Mr. Hinkle! You must do something! We must have quiet! How can I contact the spirits of our forefathers?

MR. HINKLE:

You hear, ladies and gentlemen? Quiet, please! Quiet!

CROWD UP - LAUGHTER, ETC. DIES OUT THRU ABOVE.

ELLEN:

(SOTTO) Jim, how long is this going to go on? Let's try to sneak out now.

JIMMY:

I can't, Ellen, I just can't! If old eagle eye found out--

ELLEN:

All this silly nonsense! Sitting in the dark and holding hands as if --

JIMMY:

Wait!

MRS. HINKLE:

(BACK SLIGHTLY - FADING IN AT "HOLDING HANDS" IN ELLEN'S ABOVE SPEECH) Now quiet, no more whispering, if you please! If any of you think that this seance which I am about to conduct is not perfectly serious, I assure you emphatically that it is! You see, last week I went to see one of the greatest mediums in existence, and she told me I myself was a medium! I myself am psychic! Isn't that true, Mr. Hinkle?

MR. HINKLE:

(BACK SLIGHTLY) Absolutely, my dear! He said you were positively psychic!

MRS. HINKLE:

Now hold tightly to your neighbors' hands and I will go into a trance! Here I go!

JIMMY:

(SOTTO - IN CLOSE) She's been in a trance all her life!

ELLEN:

(GIGGLING SOFTLY) Quiet! Let's see what she does!

MRS. HINKLE:

(BACK - QUAVERING VOICE) I am now in a trance! I am now The Voice of The World Beyond!

CROWD MURMUR AND A FEW LAUGHS

JIMMY:

(IN CLOSE - SOTTO) (SCORNFULLY) Of all the scummy parties! The Voice of The other World!

ELLEN:

(GIGGLING SOFTLY) She sounds like the voice of fatty degeneration!

MRS. HINKLE:

(BACK SLIGHTLY)-(IN SEPULCHRE TONES USED BEFORE) I bring you my spirit control - listen to him!

THREE SEPULCHRE HOLLOW KNOCKS, BACK SLIGHTLY - THERE IS A DEFINITE PAUSE BETWEEN EACH ONE

LIFE OF THE PARTY GUEST:

(BACK) Knock, knock, who's there?

MR. HINKLE:

(FIERCELY) Quiet, please!

MRS. HINKLE:

(BACK SLIGHTLY - SEPULCHRE TONES) Oh, Spirit of the Other World! Speak and bring us wisdom!

PAUSE

ELLEN:

(SOTTO - IN CLOSE) Of all the nonsense! That woman isn't a medium, is she, Jimmy?

JIMMY:

She's medium crazy, that's what she is!

ELLEN:

Jimmy.

JIMMY:

Huh?

ELLEN:

Why did you stand up?

JIMMY:

Wha'?

ELLEN:

It's so dark, but I see you standing by me. Why don't you sit down?

JIMMY:

But - but I am sitting down.

ELLEN:

Then what - (SHRIEKS SUDDENLY, HORRIBLY)

JIMMY:

Ellen! In heaven's name, what --

ELLEN:

(CONTINUES TO CRY OUT HORRIBLY)

CROWD FLASHES:

...What happened?...
...Turn on the lights, someone!...
...Lights! Lights!..ETC. AD LIB

MRS. HINKLE:

(ABOVE NOISE) Turn on the lights, Mr. Hinkle! Turn on the lights!

JIMMY:

Yes, yes, in heaven's name, turn on the lights!

MR. HINKLE:

(THRU CROWD NOISE) I can't find the switch! There! There, I've got it!

A GUEST:

(TERROR IN VOICE) That girl! Look at that girl!

MRS. HINKLE:

(FADEIN FAST - BUSTLING) What's the matter? Who screamed? What's going on here? (GASPS) Ah! She fainted!

JIMMY:

Yeah, get some water quick, somebody! Ellen! Ellen, open your eyes. What frightened you?

A GUEST:

Look at the way she's got her hands to her throat! Take her hands away!

MRS. HINKLE:

Yes, yes, she's choking herself!

JIMMY:

Yeah, sure - I don't know why - (CRIES OUT IN HORROR) Ellen!

MR. HINKLE:

(UP) Blood! Her hands are covered with blood!

JIMMY:

Get a doctor, someone! Get a doctor!

MRS. HINKLE:

No, no, I see it clearly! It's just a scratch! Just a scratch!

ELLEN:

(GROANING) Jimmy!

MRS. HINKLE:

See! She's coming to! She's all right! Just a scratch on her throat! Just a scratch!

JIMMY:

(INTENSELY) Scratch? You fool, look! (IN HORROR) It's - it's teeth-marks!

GONG:

MRS. HINKLE:

(WEARILY) Jeffries! Jeffries!

BUTLER:

Yes, Mrs. Hinkle?

MRS. HINKLE:

(SHE IS JUST TOO, TOO WEARY) Jeffries, are they all gone?

BUTLER:

Yes, madam. All.

MRS. HINKLE:

Then run along, run along and close up.

BUTLER:

(FADE) Yes, ma'am.

MRS. HINKLE:

Most deplorable thing that ever happened to me!..Sam! Sam, are you falling asleep down here?

MR. HINKLE:

(SLEEPILY) Huh? Wha'?

MRS. HINKLE:

Oh, get up out of that chair and let's go upstairs and go to bed! Most disgusting party I ever had the misfortune to be concerned with!

MR. HINKLE:

(DIFFIDENTLY) It - it did turn out badly, didn't it?

MRS. HINKLE:

Not at all! It would have been most entertaining but for that disgusting little person fainting that way!

MR. HINKLE:

But - but - her throat --

MRS. HINKLE:

Now don't start that again, Mr. Hinkle! It was nothing at all - a mere scratch! (SCORNFULLY) Teeth marks indeed!

MR. HINKLE:

But they were plain -

MRS. HINKLE:

Now don't start arguing, Samuel Hinkle!

MR. HINKLE:

No, no, my dear!

MRS. HINKLE:

She got all nervous and excited there in the dark and she - she scratched herself that's all! Breaking up a perfectly good evening with her hysteria! Well, come, come! Let's go upstairs!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear.

MRS. HINKLE:

Screaming and carrying on like that! Absolutely disgusting!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear.

BEGIN SOUND OF PAIR WALKING UPSTAIRS. STEP SOUNDS CONTINUING BEHIND:

MRS. HINKLE:

Ruining a perfectly good party that way! And that Jimmy person! Persisting in wanting the police in when one could see it was nothing but a scratch! (SCORNFULLY) Teeth marks indeed!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear.

MRS. HINKLE:

Oh, I'll fix that young man's goose tomorrow morning. I will! Police in my house! I'll teach him! He'll be walking the streets when I get thru with him!

MR. HINKLE:

And perfectly right, my dear.

STAIR SOUNDS OUT BEHIND THE ABOVE

MRS. HINKLE:

(STILL GRUMBLING) And I spent so much time thinking up the idea of the party! And we had such clever stunts planned, didn't we?

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear.

MRS. HINKLE:

What will people think of me - such a disgusting exhibition! Well, Samuel, open the door! Open the door!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear.

SOUND OF DOOR OPENING

MRS. HINKLE:

Sleep - that's what I need. Sleep to forget the entire atrocious affair! (IRRITABLY) Well, turn on the lights, turn on the lights!

MR. HINKLE:

(BACK SLIGHTLY) Yes, my dear.

SNAP OF LIGHT SWITCH

MRS. HINKLE:

All those clever little things we figured out - the luminous paint to shine in the dark and your getting under the table and pulling their legs and - (GASPS) Ahh! (FRIGHTENED NOTE IN VOICE) Sam!

MR. HINKLE:

(IN FULL) Yes, my dear?

MRS. HINKLE:

In - in my chair! By the window!

MR. HINKLE:

My goodness!....

MRS. HINKLE:

(SOFTLY - UNBELIEVINGLY - AGHAST) Do - do you see her, too, Samuel?

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, yes, of course. Who - who is she?

MRS. HINKLE:

(REGAINING HER COURAGE SLOWLY) I - I never saw her before in my life! Speak to her, Mr. Hinkle! Find out who in the world she is!

MR. HINKLE:

Well, I - I --

MRS. HINKLE:

(IRRITABLY) Oh, you - you mouse, you! (UP) Old woman, who are you? What are you doing in my bedroom?

OLD WOMAN:

(BACK) Eh?

MR. HINKLE:

(SOTTO) She - she can't hear you, my dear. She - she wants you to come closer.

MRS. HINKLE:

(FULLY IN POSSESSION OF HERSELF AGAIN) Of all the nerve! Filthy old hag! (UP) Get out of my chair! What are you doing here? Who are you?

OLD WOMAN:

(THERE IS A RASP TO HER VOICE - SHE REPRESENTS THE ESSENCE OF MALIGNANCY - HOWEVER, DO NOT USE ANY CACKLING LAUGHTER SUCH AS IS USED WHEN REPRESENTING THE USUAL TYPE WITCH - THIS OLD WOMAN SPEAKS SLOWLY, RASPINGLY, AND THE CRUELTY IN HER IS REPRESENTED ENTIRELY BY THE INTERPRETATION SHE GIVES TO WORDS RATHER THAN ANY OF "THE SHADOW" MACABRE LAUGHTER) You ask who I am?

MRS. HINKLE:

You heard me! Who are you? How did you get up here? Hinkle, call the police!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear.

OLD WOMAN:

(CALMLY) Hinkle, wait!

MR. HINKLE:

Huh?

OLD WOMAN:

Come closer - the both of you!

MRS. HINKLE:

Get out of my house! Out, I said! Hinkle, what are you standing there for? Do something!

MR. HINKLE:

(DEFINITE FRIGHTENED NOTE IN HIS VOICE - HE SIMPLY AGREES WITH HER AUTOMATICALLY BUT DOES NOTHING) Yes, my dear...

OLD WOMAN:

Both of you....closer...

MRS. HINKLE:

I'll fix you! I'll fix you!

SOUND OF HER HEAVY FEET HURRYING ACROSS FLOOR TO DOOR - DOOR OPENING

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP) Jeffries! Jeffries, come here! Jeffries!

BUTLER:

(FADING IN) Yes, Mrs. Hinkle! What is it, Mrs. Hinkle? Is there any trouble?

MRS. HINKLE:

(SHARPLY) Jeffries, come in here!

BUTLER:

Yes, Mrs. Hinkle.

MRS. HINKLE:

Jeffries, call the police!

BUTLER:

(BLANKLY) Ma'am?

MRS. HINKLE:

My husband, for some reason of his own, apparently is fascinated by that horrible old hag, but you certainly aren't! Call the police!

BUTLER:

I - I'm very sorry, Mrs. Hinkle - I'm afraid I don't quite understand.

MRS. HINKLE:

(GETTING EXCITED) The police! The police! Call the police! Don't you understand simple English either? Call the police!

BUTLER:

But - but begging your pardon, madam, why?

MRS. HINKLE:

Illegal entry - breaking - disorderly conduct - I don't know exactly what reason! There must be some law in this community that prevents a woman from just simply usurping someone else's home!

MR. HINKLE:

(FADING IN FAST - EXCITEDLY) My dear -

MRS. HINKLE:

Oh, you shut up! Jeffries, you hear me! Don't stand there! Call the police! I want her thrown into jail! Sitting there - smirking at me! Call the police!

BUTLER:

But - but, madam, whom are you talking about?

MRS. HINKLE:

(IRRITABLY) In the chair! By the window! Look!

BUTLER:

But there is no one there!

MRS. HINKLE:

No one there! What are you - (AS SHE SEES THAT HE IS RIGHT) (GASPS)

MR. HINKLE:

I was trying to tell you, my dear. She - she just went.

MRS. HINKLE:

(DAZEDLY) W-went?

MR. HINKLE:

(THERE IS A NOTE OF GREAT AWE IN HIS VOICE) Just like you turn out a light...

BUTLER:

It's so late, madam - may I retire?

MRS. HINKLE:

(IRRITABLY) Get out! Get out!

BUTLER:

Thank you, madam.

DOOR CLOSING, BACK SLIGHTLY

MRS. HINKLE:

(PAUSE - THEN) Samuel....

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear?

MRS. HINKLE:

(SLOWLY) Where did she go? I wasn't watching. Where did she go?

MR. HINKLE:

I - I told you, my dear...

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP SLIGHTLY - INTENSELY) Answer my question. Where did she go?

MR. HINKLE:

I - I don't know....

MRS. HINKLE:

But she must have gone somewhere! You were watching her - I wasn't! Tell me - where did she go?

MR. HINKLE:

She - she just disappeared...

MRS. HINKLE:

(SHARPLY) You fool, people don't just disappear! I know! She sneaked downstairs! (UP) My silver! She sneaked downstairs, while I was talking, to steal us out of house and home! Hinkle!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, my dear?

MRS. HINKLE:

Go downstairs - see if she's down there! Quickly!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, but --

MRS. HINKLE:

Quickly, I say! Go down there and - (CRIES OUT IN FRIGHT) Ahh!

MR. HINKLE:

What --

MRS. HINKLE:

(TERROR IN VOICE) There she is! She - she's sitting in front of the door now! (PLEADING TERROR NOTE IN HER VOICE) You do see her, don't you, Hinkle?

MR. HINKLE:

(BREATHLESSLY) Yes...Yes, I see her...

MRS. HINKLE:

(THERE IS A NOTE OF STARK AWE IN HER VOICE) Samuel....

MR. HINKLE:

Huh?

MRS. HINKLE:

(SOFTLY) I - I think I can see the back of the chair right thru her....

MR. HINKLE:

(BREATHES THE WORD) Yes....

OLD WOMAN:

(BACK SLIGHTLY) Sit down, my friends....We have a long time ahead of us....

GONG:

MRS. HINKLE:

(FROM THE TONE OF HER VOICE, IT IS APPARENT THAT SHE HAS GONE THRU A GREAT DEAL IN THE LAST FEW HOURS) Sam....

MR. HINKLE:

Yes....

MRS. HINKLE:

So late...

MR. HINKLE:

Yeah.... I - I slept a little....

MRS. HINKLE:

Not me...her sitting there, staring - staring....

MR. HINKLE:

(DEFENSIVELY) I got so tired.

MRS. HINKLE:

I've been thinking all this time....

MR. HINKLE:

Thinking what?....

MRS. HINKLE:

Thinking of what she wants of us...

MR. HINKLE:

She hasn't said a word for hours, has she?

MRS. HINKLE:

She doesn't have to speak, Sam, I know....

MR. HINKLE:

(EAGERLY) Know what?

MRS. HINKLE:

(TENSELY) She wants to kill us both...

MR. HINKLE:

(GASPS)

MRS. HINKLE:

I know....

MR. HINKLE:

(HOARSELY) The dead can't kill...

MRS. HINKLE:

While you were dozing, I went close to her. I thought maybe - maybe somehow I could get by - thru to the door...

MR. HINKLE:

Well?....

MRS. HINKLE:

She kept looking at me as I kept coming closer...

MR. HINKLE:

Yes?...

MRS. HINKLE:

Then suddenly when I got very close, I couldn't move any more....

MR. HINKLE:

How can that be?

MRS. HINKLE:

That's the way it was...

MR. HINKLE:

If we yell for Jeffries....

MRS. HINKLE:

(FLATLY) You always were a fool, Sam. Try - try to yell.

MR. HINKLE:

(COUGHS) I - I can't somehow...

MRS. HINKLE:

I - I never was afraid of anything before...

MR. HINKLE:

(ALMOST TO HIMSELF) And I've always been afraid...

MRS. HINKLE:

(STILL SOTTO, BUT BITTERLY) What's she waiting for? What is it? Staring - staring - why doesn't she speak again?

MR. HINKLE:

No, no! When it's daylight - things'll be different then. She'll go away - a dead thing like that can't live in daylight!

MRS. HINKLE:

But it's hours until day, yet! Hours! Sam, I can't stand it any more! Go up to her - talk to her! You talk to her!

MR. HINKLE:

No, no, you!

MRS. HINKLE:

Sam, do as I say! I can't talk to her - not I! Somehow - I've got a feeling that if I do talk to her again - well, never mind that now! Go up to her! Speak to her! Maybe - maybe you can find out why she keeps staring - staring at me. Why me? Why me?

MR. HINKLE:

I - I'd rather not...

MRS. HINKLE:

(WITH A SHOW OF HER OLD MARTINET SELF) Sam, do as I say!

MR. HINKLE:

(ALMOST MECHANICALLY) Yes, my dear. Yes....

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE (SHORT)

OLD WOMAN:

(ALMOST WITH A CHUCKLE) Ah!

MR. HINKLE:

(FADEIN QUICKLY - VERY DIFFIDENTLY) Ex-excuse me, please...

OLD WOMAN:

(INTIMATELY) Come closer..We have much to talk about - you and I....

MR. HINKLE:

It's - it's not me that wants to talk, please. My - my wife...

OLD WOMAN:

She is afraid to talk to me....

MR. HINKLE:

She's afraid that something'll happen...

OLD WOMAN:

(THERE IS A NOTE OF FOREBODING IN HER VOICE) And so it will...

MR. HINKLE:

She - she asked me to ask you why you keep staring at her...

OLD WOMAN:

Did you ever see her (PAUSE) blood?

MR. HINKLE:

(IN SURPRISE) Huh?

OLD WOMAN:

She has so much of it swimming in her veins - (WITH EXTREME MORNFULLNESS) and I have none....

MR. HINKLE:

You'll excuse me....I don't understand...

OLD WOMAN:

(AS IF IMPARTING A GREAT SECRET) There are some of us who could go back to living...if we had (AVIDLY) blood....

MR. HINKLE:

She - she wants to know just what it is you want....

OLD WOMAN:

Did you ever walk along a quiet street and suddenly think there was somebody close behind you? Eh? Did you ever sit alone in a room - just at dark - and suddenly think that there behind the chair if you but turned around there was someone standing - someone you didn't dare look at?....

MR. HINKLE:

She - she wants to know just what you want...

OLD WOMAN:

(ALMOST INTENSELY) You - you want your life, don't you, simple man? Answer me. You want this thing you call your life?

MR. HINKLE:

I - I want to live. Yes. Sure.

OLD WOMAN:

And so do I. And only thru blood - red blood - can I have life....(AVIDLY) The life I want...

MR. HINKLE:

W-well, what can I do - I mean I don't understand, really I don't....

OLD WOMAN:

Death or life - which do you want, little man - which?

MR. HINKLE:

(HOARSELY) Life....

OLD WOMAN:

Then listen to me - put your ear close to me - here's your choice - your life or hers?

MR. HINKLE:

(GASPS)

OLD WOMAN:

You believe I'm not of the world you know?

MR. HINKLE:

(IN AWE) Yes, yes, I've always believed...

OLD WOMAN:

Then believe I'll take that miserable little life of yours - unless you do just as I say....

MR. HINKLE:

I don't want to die....

OLD WOMAN:

Those pills for sleeping that your wife takes often - there on the table by the bed....

MR. HINKLE:

Well?

OLD WOMAN:

Fix them - a quick death - quicker than I would give her - you must give them to her!

MR. HINKLE:

(SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH IN HORROR)

OLD WOMAN:

You fool! She's kept you under all these years! With her, you've been a man and yet not a man! Now I give you life! Give her the pills, you little fool - no one will know it - and then I'll go away! I'll let you all alone! Give her the pills and I'll leave you!

MR. HINKLE:

You will?

OLD WOMAN:

Yes, yes, I will! Give her the easy death, little man! Hurry!

MR. HINKLE:

(BREATHLESSLY) Yes! Why not? She's to blame that you're here - she did it at that crazy party - how or why I don't understand - but she did it! Why should I die? Why should I?

OLD WOMAN:

Yes, yes! Why should you die! Go! Make her sleep and you'll be free of me forever!

MR. HINKLE:

Yes! I'll do it! (FADE) I'll do it!

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE (SHORT)

MRS. HINKLE:

(EAGERLY) What did she say, Sam? What did she say?

MR. HINKLE:

I - uh - I --

MRS. HINKLE:

Speak, you fool! Speak! You talked so long with her - I couldn't hear a single word! What did she say? Staring at me - look at her! Still staring at me! Samuel, you've got to tell me! What did she say?

MR. HINKLE:

You - uh - you should go to sleep...

MRS. HINKLE:

Sleep? What are you saying?

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, that's what she said! If - if you go to sleep, she said she'll disappear! Go back where she came from! Just sleep!

MRS. HINKLE:

Sleep...

MR. HINKLE:

Yes, I'll get your pills!...(FADE) I'll get your pills...

MRS. HINKLE:

(SOTTO) Old thing...sitting there...staring at me...who are you? Where did you come from?..The dead don't live...and yet you're dead...I know you are!...

OLD WOMAN:

(HER WHISPER CAN JUST BE HEARD) Come closer...

MRS. HINKLE:

(SOTTO) Come closer...I think she said come closer...

OLD WOMAN:

(A LITTLE MORE DISTINCTLY THIS TIME) Come closer...

MRS. HINKLE:

I - I've got to do it...

OLD WOMAN:

(FADEIN CLOSE) Closer....

MRS. HINKLE:

What - what do you want of me? What?

OLD WOMAN:

Quickly - listen to me - if you listen, I'll give you life and go away - hear me? - go away....

MRS. HINKLE:

(EAGERLY) Yes, yes, I listen!

OLD WOMAN:

He wants to poison you....

MRS. HINKLE:

(GASPS)

OLD WOMAN:

He thinks I'll give him life if first he kills you...

MRS. HINKLE:

Oh, no! He wouldn't! Not he!

OLD WOMAN:

Look - there in the corner - he mixes up a poisoned brew - those sleeping pills you use - he fixes them! All of them!

MRS. HINKLE:

(GASPS) No!

OLD WOMAN:

Listen - listen closely! He'll take a glass, and give you one - the poisoned one! (IN VERY CLOSE - HOARSELY) Switch the glasses! Give him the poisoned one!

MRS. HINKLE:

But---

OLD WOMAN:

(QUICKLY) Do as I say and you'll have life! Kill him for me and I'll give you life! You hear me - give you life!

MRS. HINKLE:

Life - life - yes, yes, I'll do it! I'll do it!

OLD WOMAN:

Go back! He is ready for you!

MRS. HINKLE:

(WHISPERING) Yes...

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE (SHORT)

MR. HINKLE:

(FADEIN) Here, my dear - this'll make you sleep. See - I've mixed one for myself, too...

TINKLE OF GLASS ON TRAY THRU ABOVE

MRS. HINKLE:

Yes...yes, I see...
MR. HINKLE: Here - this is yours...

MRS. HINKLE:

The pill is in the water?

MR. HINKLE:

Yes. The usual one...Here - I'll drink with you. There's one in my glass, too. Sleep - we'll sleep until it's day - and then that horrible old woman, she'll be gone!

MRS. HINKLE:

(SUDDENLY) Look! She's standing up!

MR. HINKLE:

Eh? (FADE) Where?

TINKLE OF GLASSES IN CLOSE AS SHE CHANGES THEM

MR. HINKLE:

(BACK IN) No! She's still sitting there as she's been for hours! (WITH SLIGHT SUSPICION) You - you moved these glasses?

MRS. HINKLE:

(HASTILY) No, no! They're just the way they were! This one is mine?

MR. HINKLE:

Yes! Yes, that one is yours. Drink!

MRS. HINKLE:

Yes. And you drink yours.

MR. HINKLE:

Together!..

GULPING SOUNDS AS THEY DRINK

MR. HINKLE:

(SMACKS LIPS) Everything'll be fine now - fine!

MRS. HINKLE:

Yes.

MR. HINKLE:

All my life has been run for me - first my mother, and then you ran it!

MRS. HINKLE:

What are you talking about?

MR. HINKLE:

And now for the first time my life is going to be my own - you hear me? - my own! I'll do what I want when I want, and - (PILLS BEGIN TO OPERATE ON HIM) and no one - (BEGINS TO GET VERY WHOOSY) no one - my head - (SIGHS)

THUD OF FALLING BODY

MRS. HINKLE:

(TAKES GREAT SHUDDERING BREATH) (THEN SHE SAYS): Sam... (UP SLIGHTLY) Old woman! You see? I did it! He's - he's gone! Now - now you've got to go away - you said you'd go away!

OLD WOMAN:

(FADING IN SLOWLY) Yes - yes, I said I'd go away...

MRS. HINKLE:

Why - why are you coming toward me? The - the other way - out - out where you came from?

OLD WOMAN:

(COMING IN CLOSER ALL THE TIME) Yes...soon I'll go...

MRS. HINKLE:

See - he's lying here - I did just as you said I should! (GETTING TERROR-STRICKEN) Don't look at me like that!

OLD WOMAN:

(IN CLOSE) He's dead!

MRS. HINKLE:

Yes!

OLD WOMAN:

And we're alone..

MRS. HINKLE:

Wha' --

OLD WOMAN:

Alone...Me and you - (AVIDLY) and the blood in your veins...

MRS. HINKLE:

(GETTING VERY FRIGHTENED) What! What?

OLD WOMAN:

While he lived, I couldn't touch you - but now he's dead...

MRS. HINKLE:

Stop looking at me like that!

OLD WOMAN:

But now he's dead...and we're alone...

MRS. HINKLE:

(UP IN GREAT HORROR) I tell you stop looking at me like that! What do you want of me? What do you want of me?

OLD WOMAN:

What I need to bring me back to life - the thick red liquid of life in your veins - to fill the emptiness of mine! (BEGINS TO SLOBBER AS SHE COMES IN CLOSE) Red life! I'll drink it!...

MRS. HINKLE:

(SCREAMS IN HORROR) No! Vampire, you! No! No!

OLD WOMAN:

(NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME HER HORRIBLE LAUGHTER IS HEARD - IT RISES HIGHER AND HIGHER IN GREAT PEALS OF MACABRE GLEE - A HORRIBLE ACCUMULATIVE RISING SOUND THAT HOLDS FOR A FEW SECONDS AND THEN IS CUT OUT BY:

GONG:

ANNOUNCER:

Lights Out, written especially for radio by Arch Oboler, comes to you each Wednesday from our Chicago Studios.