Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Front Page Drama
Show: The Broken Coin
Date: Dec 28 1933

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
SUZETTE, a veteran entraîneuse
MARIE, innocent
REVEREND MOTHER, kind
MADAME LaFLEUR, cruel and menacing
GENTLEMAN, rich, old and lonely
WAITER

MUSIC:

OPENING ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

Presenting "The Broken Coin," another in the series of radio plays based on stories featured in the American Weekly, the magazine which is distributed with all Hearst Sunday newspapers from coast to coast. "The Broken Coin" was produced in the New York studios of the General Broadcasting Company. [X]

That section of Paris known as Montmartre and once famous for its night life and gaiety is plunged in gloom. "The Playground of the World," as Parisians proudly called it, has become as lively as a burial ground. One quiet evening recently at the Challe Noir, one of the more ill-famed of night restaurants in the Rue Pigalle, Suzette Claudier, one of the ladies of the evening to be found there, is sitting alone at a table, idly turning a wine glass between her fingers as she meditates under the spell of the music of the café violinist.

MUSIC:

VIOLIN AND PIANO HAVE ALREADY BEGUN BEHIND ANNOUNCER ... FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG

MARIE:

(GENTLE) Mademoiselle Suzette? (NO ANSWER) Mademoiselle Suzette?

SUZETTE:

(STARTLED) Eh? What is it? Oh. What can I do for you, ma cherie?

MARIE:

I'm Marie Karclay. This is my first evening here and Madame LaFleur said you'd tell me what I'm supposed to do.

SUZETTE:

She said I'd tell you, eh?

MARIE:

Yes.

SUZETTE:

Hmph. How well she knows where to send you. Nobody in the Rue Pigalle has been an entraîneuse as long as I have. Well, what do you want to know, ma cherie?

MARIE:

I - I don't know, mademoiselle. All the madame said was to see you.

MUSIC:

VIOLIN AND PIANO FADE OUT BEHIND--

SUZETTE:

Very well. I'll start at the beginning. We try to get as much money out of the patrons as they have. The more you can wheedle, the more money you make. Is that clear?

MARIE:

Yes, Mademoiselle Suzette.

SUZETTE:

As soon as the patron arrives, you're to rush to him and overwhelm him with attentions and dazzle him with your charms -- and your perfume. You understand?

MARIE:

I think I do.

SUZETTE:

In preparing for your evening's work, Marie, see to it that you use a heavy, sensuous perfume. The patron'll be sure to breathe its fragrance as you bend over his shoulder.

MARIE:

I understand.

SUZETTE:

Then, when you're seated with him, you have a sudden thirst and hunger. That's your stock-in-trade, ma cherie -- your professional appetite.

MARIE:

But if I have to eat and drink with the patron, what shall I do when another comes in?

SUZETTE:

That is where the skill comes in. You only pick at the food. An eagle-eyed waiter will see to it that it doesn't stay on the table long.

MARIE:

But what about the drinks?

SUZETTE:

Let the patron drink most of the bottle. But let him think that you helped considerably.

MARIE:

But suppose he notices that I haven't?

SUZETTE:

Hmph. You distract his attention by being very demonstrative. You kiss him and put your arms around his neck. As you do, the waiter will substitute another bottle -- which has been diluted.

MARIE:

Then suppose the patron refuses to buy more than one bottle?

SUZETTE:

For that type of patron we have a special technique. You see this -- vial?

MARIE:

Yes. What's in it?

SUZETTE:

A powder -- which will make him forget for a while.

MARIE:

You mean -- poison?

SUZETTE:

A sleeping potion. Of course, if a little too much is dropped into his glass, the sleep will be a little longer than intended.

MARIE:

Oh, how awful!

SUZETTE:

Oh, don't be shocked, Marie. It's a common thing here in Montmartre.

MARIE:

But supposing the glasses get mixed? Suppose I--?

SUZETTE:

Ah, it would only put you to sleep, ma cherie. With me, it would be different. My heart would never stand it. One glass and -- (AN UNCARING CHUCKLE) tout finis.

MARIE:

(HORRIFIED, EXHALES) Oh. Suzette, have you ever administered the "special treatment"?

SUZETTE:

(CASUAL) Oh, yes, a few times.

MARIE:

Oh, I never could do that.

SUZETTE:

You won't have to, cherie. Suzette will take care of that for you.

MARIE:

All I'm supposed to do, then, is get patrons to buy food and drinks?

SUZETTE:

As far as the café is concerned. But there's a pretty penny to be gained for yourself in other ways.

MARIE:

How?

SUZETTE:

Tell the patron a sad story. You have an aged mother to support; a ring you wish to get out of the pawnshop because of sentimental reasons. Or you have an overdue rent bill to be paid.

MARIE:

Will he give me money if I do?

SUZETTE:

Try it. You'll get twice as much as you ask for.

MARIE:

Maybe I can do that. I'll try, Suzette.

SUZETTE:

(CHUCKLES, PAUSE) You're a pretty little thing. How old are you?

MARIE:

Eighteen.

SUZETTE:

Eighteen. Just the age I was when I left the convent.

MARIE:

Were you in a convent, too?

SUZETTE:

Yes. I was sent to a convent when I was a young girl. My father used to come and see me on holidays. You see, my mother died when I was small. Then, when I was about eighteen, father's visits suddenly stopped.

MARIE:

You mean he died?

SUZETTE:

That's what the Mother Superior thought. I remember one evening, just at vespers--

SOUND:

BELLS TOLL ... CONTINUES IN BG

MUSIC:

SACRED ... ORGAN ... CONTINUES IN BG

MOTHER:

Suzette?

SUZETTE:

(YOUNGER, NOT AS TOUGH) Yes, Reverend Mother?

MOTHER:

I have something to say to you. Come in here a moment.

SUZETTE:

Yes, Mother.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES ... SHUTTING OUT SOUND AND MUSIC

MOTHER:

Suzette? Your father hasn't been in touch with you, has he?

SUZETTE:

No, Mother.

MOTHER:

He hasn't been in touch with us, either. He used to come on all the holidays. It's strange that his visits have stopped so suddenly, is it not, Suzette?

SUZETTE:

He may be ill, Mother.

MOTHER:

In that case, I think he would have notified us in some way.

SUZETTE:

Perhaps - perhaps he went away on a business trip.

MOTHER:

Perhaps. But I think, and you must be brave, my child-- I think he has passed on.

SUZETTE:

(STARTLED) Oh! Oh, no. No.

MOTHER:

Yes, my child. I know it is a shock to you. There's no other way to look at it.

SUZETTE:

(TEARFUL) Oh--

MOTHER:

Now, the funds your father left for your education are nearly depleted.

SUZETTE:

Oh--

MOTHER:

Have you any other relatives to whom you can turn for assistance?

SUZETTE:

No. No, Mother, I-- If - if father has passed on, I - I'm alone in the world.

MOTHER:

There are two ways open to you. Enter the convent as a sister, or take what money is left and seek your fortune in the world. I shall give you a little time to think it over. Er, you may go into vespers now.

SUZETTE:

(SOBS) Very well, Reverend Mother.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

MUSIC:

SACRED ... ORGAN ... FOR A MOMENT ... THEN OUT

MARIE:

You took the money, of course.

SUZETTE:

Yes. The Mother Superior gave me what was left and a few trinkets my father had left in her care. Among them was -- this.

MARIE:

A half a coin. How strange.

SUZETTE:

My father took the first money he earned after he was married and broke it into two pieces. One part he gave to my mother, the other he kept himself. For good luck. This was her half of the coin.

MARIE:

And you've kept it ever since. Has it brought you luck?

SUZETTE:

(SAD) Not the luck I hoped for. You see, I've never given up looking for my father. But I've never found him. Of course, since I've become what I am-- I've decided that it's no use. (HOPELESS) I'd never find him in a place like this! I-- (EXHALES, WHISPERS) Oh, God. (RECOVERS) Well, enough of my troubles! We'd better not let Madame LaFleur see us gabbling like this.

MARIE:

Poor Suzette. You've had a lot of sorrow in your life, haven't you?

SUZETTE:

I look pretty old, don't I?

MARIE:

You've had a great deal of trouble. People who suffer a great deal do look older, you know.

SUZETTE:

Oh, you're a dear to be so tactful. You don't have to be.

LAFLEUR:

(APPROACHES) Here, you two! Get busy! Marie, I sent you over here to get some pointers, not to sit and chat all night. Move on!

MARIE:

Yes, Madame LaFleur.

SUZETTE:

Oh, it's my fault. I kept her.

LAFLEUR:

You should know better, Suzette! But I haven't time to scold now. See that elderly gentleman at that table over there?

SUZETTE:

Oh. You want me to go to work on him?

LAFLEUR:

Yes. One of the waiters tells me has a large roll of money with him. If we don't get it, somebody else will. Hurry now.

SUZETTE:

All right.

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

SUZETTE:

(SEDUCTIVE) Bonsoir, monsieur.

GENTLEMAN:

Oh. Bonsoir.

SUZETTE:

You, uh, you look lonely over here by yourself. Wouldn't you like a little company?

GENTLEMAN:

By all means. Sit down, won't you?

SUZETTE:

Merci, monsieur.

GENTLEMAN:

(CALLS) Waiter?

SUZETTE:

(TO GENTLEMAN) You look tired. Are you?

GENTLEMAN:

A little. But that is because I've been sick -- with jungle fever.

SUZETTE:

(FEIGNS SYMPATHY) Oh.

GENTLEMAN:

I have been away from Paris for a number of years.

SUZETTE:

(FEIGNS INTEREST) Mm hm.

WAITER:

M'sieur?

GENTLEMAN:

Champagne, waiter.

WAITER:

Oui, m'sieur.

GENTLEMAN:

(TO SUZETTE) Yes, it's been a long time. Have you ever searched for someone and not found them?

SUZETTE:

(TAKEN ABACK) Why - why, yes. Yes, I have.

GENTLEMAN:

Then you know how I feel. Discouraged, disappointed.

SUZETTE:

I know. Tell me about it.

GENTLEMAN:

You see, when I went away, I didn't have a chance to let anyone know where I was going -- the opportunity to make a fortune in mining gold came to me so suddenly. Then, when I was able to get in touch with friends and relations, it was - too late.

SUZETTE:

That was too bad. Your family must have been frantic.

GENTLEMAN:

I had only a daughter. I don't know what became of her. Perhaps she's married and has children of her own by now.

SUZETTE:

Perhaps.

GENTLEMAN:

Or maybe she went in for a career of some kind. You know, I'd like to think of her as being famous, even though I shall probably never meet her face to face. Well, it's quite possible she might be famous, isn't it?

SUZETTE:

Yes, of course, of course. I - I'm sure she's what you dream her to be.

GENTLEMAN:

I don't suppose I'd ever know her if we did meet. It's been so many years.

SUZETTE:

I'm sure she'd recognize you, monsieur.

GENTLEMAN:

Oh, I hardly think so. The fever has changed my appearance a great deal. There's only one way we could ever recognize each other.

SUZETTE:

What is that, monsieur? A birthmark of some kind?

GENTLEMAN:

No. By -- this.

SUZETTE:

(STARTLED GASP) A - a half a coin.

GENTLEMAN:

Odd, isn't it? Well, my daughter has the other half -- wherever she may be.

MARIE:

Excuse me, Suzette.

SUZETTE:

(UNNERVED) Yes?

MARIE:

Madame LaFleur wishes to speak to you. I'll sit with the gentleman while you're gone.

SUZETTE:

(FLUSTERED) Yes. Yes, I must - I must see Madame. (MOVING OFF) Excuse me, monsieur.

GENTLEMAN:

Certainly.

SOUND:

INFINITESIMAL TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

LAFLEUR:

What's got into you this evening, Suzette? You've done nothing but talk, talk, talk!

SUZETTE:

Yes. Yes, madame.

LAFLEUR:

Now, the gentleman evidently isn't going in for drinking this evening. We'll have to put him to sleep some other way.

SUZETTE:

The powders? Oh, no! No, you--

LAFLEUR:

Don't be a fool, Suzette! Why, you've never acted this way before about the powders. What's the matter?

SUZETTE:

Well, I - I-- Oh, nothing, madame.

LAFLEUR:

Very well, then. You'll do as I say!

SUZETTE:

Give the gentleman the powders, you mean?

LAFLEUR:

That's already been taken care of!

SUZETTE:

Madame?!

LAFLEUR:

See? The waiter is placing the champagne glasses on the table even now.

SUZETTE:

(GASPS) Oh--

LAFLEUR:

The one in front of him contains the slumber potion. A generous one, by the way.

SUZETTE:

Oh, no! No!

LAFLEUR:

What's wrong with you tonight, Suzette? If your gentleman has a weak heart like you, can I be blamed?

SUZETTE:

I - I must get back to the table at once, madame.

LAFLEUR:

But certainly! Get his wallet! Be sure you get his money before he leaves here, understand? (MOVING OFF) I'll be waiting for you in my room.

MUSIC:

THE RESTAURANT'S PIANO AND VIOLIN ... FOR A BRIEF TRANSITION, THEN IN BG

MARIE:

Oh, you're back, Suzette.

SUZETTE:

Yes, I - I'm back. You can leave us, Marie.

MARIE:

Of course. (MOVING OFF) Bonsoir, monsieur.

GENTLEMAN:

Bonsoir, mademoiselle. Well, Mademoiselle Suzette, shall we drink a toast?

SUZETTE:

Wait! Er, wait, monsieur.

GENTLEMAN:

Eh? Why are you changing the glasses?

SUZETTE:

This one is - fuller. You - you ought to have it.

GENTLEMAN:

(GOOD-NATURED) No, no. Here. You keep it.

SUZETTE:

No, please, please, please change with me, m'sieur.

GENTLEMAN:

But why are you so insistent, mademoiselle?

SUZETTE:

Well, I - I told you. This one is fuller.

GENTLEMAN:

(CHUCKLE) Well, I'll drink this one, thank you.

SUZETTE:

Oh, no--

GENTLEMAN:

Here, what are you doing?! Stop! That's mine you're drinking.

SUZETTE:

Yes! Yes! (EXHALES) And - and now, my own. (EXHALES, LOWERS VOICE, URGENT) Now, you must go, m'sieur. Flee for your life.

GENTLEMAN:

I don't understand.

SUZETTE:

They're after your money. If you don't go now, while Madame is out of the room, you'll never go out alive. This is a wicked place, m'sieur. You're in great danger.

GENTLEMAN:

Why should you warn me like this?

SUZETTE:

Because you're-- (BEAT) Because you're an old man. You've suffered enough. You don't deserve to die like this. Now, go! Go quickly!

GENTLEMAN:

But, mademoiselle--

SUZETTE:

Oh, do you hear me?! Go, go at once!

GENTLEMAN:

Very well. But what about you?

SUZETTE:

Oh, I shall be all right. Now.

GENTLEMAN:

As you please. (MOVING OFF) Au revoir, mademoiselle.

SUZETTE:

Au revoir, m'sieur. (PAUSE) And God bless you.

MARIE:

(APPROACHES) Suzette? (SURPRISED) Why - why, what's the matter? You're white as death!

SUZETTE:

(ABSENTLY) Death.

MARIE:

What is it? Are you ill? (PANICS) Oh! (MOVING OFF, CALLS) Madame?! Madame!

MUSIC:

PIANO AND VIOLIN FILL PAUSE ... THEN IN BG

SUZETTE:

(SLOWLY DYING) My father. He'll think me famous. He must always think me so. He must. (EXHILARATED) I found him! (AT PEACE) I found him-- (ONE LAST BREATH)

MUSIC:

CONTINUES A MOMENT, THEN FADES OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

The radio drama which you have just heard was inspired by an exclusive story appearing in next Sunday's issue of the American Weekly magazine. You'll find it under the title, "Dismal, Deserted Resorts of 'Gay Paris' Night Life." This is but one of many interesting true-life stories and articles appearing in next Sunday's issue of the American Weekly, the magazine which is distributed with all Hearst Sunday newspapers from coast to coast. This is Wentworth announcing and wishing you, in behalf of the American Weekly and the entire Hearst organization, the very happiest of all New Year's.

Full details concerning the many stories and articles to be found in next Sunday's American Weekly will now be given to you by your own announcer.

MUSIC:

CLOSING