[Book VII, Act IX, Scene I. Hill House. ALICE BLACK is here, waiting at the door, which is opened by SMITHERS.]

Alice: [Holding up her invitation] Alice Black. There's some sort of shindig?

Smithers: [Looks at Alice with barely concealed contempt] Indeed, er, Madam. Please do be so kind as to wait in the lounge. Our host will be there presently.

[SMITHERS escorts her to the lounge.]

Alice: Presently? So I have to wait for the host?

Smithers: I'm sure it will do you good.


Alice: [Rolls her eyes] I'm so early I'm here before the host? You're losing your touch, girl.

;;; Don't post until you've read the mail from me

;;; from last night. If you don't see one, please

;;; let me know. New look characters can be

;;; found on the cast page.


[The door opens. Enter SMITHERS and FATHER CLINT WHITE.]

Smithers: Fr. Clint White.


Clint: [Strides in, beatific smile on is face.] Thank you, my good man, and God bless you. [Spies Alice and lets his smile slip a little.] Good gracious, Alice Black, as I live and breathe. I've heard of you [Shakes his head sadly.] Oh yes, I've heard of you indeed.


Jerrick: [Walks in, gazes at the "people" present in a mixture of disgust and pity, then shrugs off his coat and holds it out in the direction of Smithers] Well don't just stand there gazing into oblivion! Take this thing! [Eyes clint with a murderous glare] Greetings, *Father*.


Alice: [Pours herself a stiff drink] The redoubtable Fr. White, I'm sure it's some sort of pleasure.

Smithers: [Takes Jerrick's coat] Thank, you sir. [To the others] This is Mr. Jerrick Scarlet.


Alice: [To Jerrick] Drink?


Clint: Peace be unto you, my son. [Pauses.] Err... do I know you?


Jerrick: [To Alice, as charming as he can be] Why, of course my dear lady. And may I say how lovely you look tonight, your eyes shine as do the stars. [To Clint, with a sneer in his tone] I think we met once, a very, very long time ago. But I'm sure we will be reacquainted before the night is done. Father.


Alice: [Pours out a brandy for Jerrick and passes it over] Well, this seems like it's not going to be an entirely boring evening after all. [To Clint] I find it creepy to call people other than my father Father, so I think I'll just call you Clint. Would you like a drink? [Mischievously] Or is that a sin?


[The door opens. Enter SMITHERS and CHARLIE GREEN.]

Smithers: Miss Charlie Green.


Charlie: [Giggles nervously and enters the room] Hi, everyone-- [spots Clint and gasps, clearly shocked] What are YOU doing here?!


Alice: [Raises an eyebrow] Interesting.


[The door opens. Enter SMITHERS and MAC PEACOCK.]

Smithers: Mr. Mac Peacock.


Mac: Well hello every... [To Clint] YOU! I should have known better than to come to this sordid affair.


Alice: [Pouring out a huge glass for Clint] Want me to make it a triple?


Charlie: [Quickly going to make herself a drink, chattering nervously] Oh, hello, Miss Black! It's so nice to see you. [Spots Jerrick and rushes over to offer him her hand, spilling her drink a little in the process] Hello, there! Charlie Green--and you are?


Jerrick: [With a minute bow of the head] Jerrick White, at your service. Well, it seems as if we all know our esteemed... Father.


[The door opens. Enter SMITHERS and AUSTIN "KEEN AS" MUSTARD.]

Smithers: Mr. Austin Mustard.


Austin: [Cheerily] Why, hello everyone [Looks around the room] what a pleasant suprise! [To Clint] I don't believe that we have met [Offers a keen handshake]


;;; I think John meant Jerrick WHITE!

Alice: [With a big smile] Mr. Mustard. We're just discussing how much we hate priests!


Clint: [Eager to meet someone who seems happy to see him.] Father Clint White at your service. [To Mac.] And good evening, Mr. Peacock. Lovely to see you. Written any good songs recently?


Alice: Hm. So everyone knows Clint? Does anyone know our host?


Charlie: [To Alice, giggling] No, but I get invited to SO many parties, sometimes it's a great big surprise to me, which house I end up in at the end of the night! [To Mac] You're not THE Mac Peacock?! I just love that song of yours, the one about the dimples? A-DOR-able!


Clint: [Piously.] well, I am famous for my charity work and the orphanages and nunneries and such that my mission and I build in God's name. But no, I'm afraid I don't know who our host is. I was just asked to come here and discuss a matter of a "highly confidential nature." I assumed I was here to hear a confession. That's how I got my start, you know. Confessing one's sins is a great comfort, a great comfort.


Jerrick: [With a touch of sarcasm] If our host ever deigns to grace us with his godly presence, maybe I'll be able to tell you.


Mac: [To Clint] Actually, yes! Have you not heard my new single? [To Charlie, smiling] Why yes my dear. I am THE Mac Peacock. And you are, besides ravishing?


Alice: [Rolls her eyes and Mac's words] Oh, god. I think I'd prefer to listen to the preacher.


Charlie: [Offers her hand to Mac] Oh, Mr. Peacock, aren't you sweet? I'm Charlie Green, daughter of Senator Green. Tell me, how DO you think of all of those things to write about? I tried writing songs once, but it just made my hand tired!


Jerrick: Well, he has no *real* talent, at least not of his own. No appreciation for the art of poetry.


Mac: Excuse me! And who the hell are you? Some nobody I don't doubt. [Turns back to Charlie, making sure his back is facing Alice] .


Austin : [Good naturedly] Any why would you hate priests?


Alice: Why indeed? Particularly when there are so many other alternatives. [Gestures to Mac]


Jerrick: And who doesn't - all that superstitious nonsense and holier-than-thou rubbish is just there to inflate their own egos. [To Cint] What do you say, Father?


Clint: [Shakes his head sadly.] Some people find it difficult to live up to a good example and hate to be reminded of their shortcomings. I can only pray for them, for is it not written that we are all of us sinners?

;;; Right. Bed time. I'm sure Clint is in good hands, surrounded by friends

;;; as he is!


Mac: [Taking Charlie's hand and kissing it gently] Oh, Senator Green. I've always been a big supporter of his. My songs? Oh, I don't know. I guess they just come from the heart. I let the words just flow.


Clint: I say that I forgive you, Mr. Scarlet, and that I pity you. Fear is always the motivator behind suspicion. [To Alice] Young Mac here is a prodigious talent; a wonderful voice coupled with a simply, how shall I put it, uplifting writing ability. Perhaps if we're very lucky, he may grace us with a song.

Alice: [To Jerrick] And if we're very unlucky, he may grace us with two!


Austin : [Chuckles heartily and good naturedley at Jerrick. To Mac] Pay him no heed young fellow, he is just a jealous amature, who is aware of the long road he must travel before he can produce something that others would recognise as poetry [Smiles]


Charlie: [To Jerrick] And what do you do, Mr. Scarlet?


Mac: Alas, if it were only possible. Unfortunately my contract only allows me to perform at authorised events, and a party of *this* size would most certainly qualify as an event. [To Jerrick] I'm sure your own work is fantastic, [Sharply] but that does not give you the right to belittle other artists.


Alice: [Puts on a big sad face] How tragic. Would anyone else like a drink? Perhaps a soda for the child?


Austin : [To Mac, chuckling] No, no, Jerricks work is perfectly awful, it is like a maggot in a mouldy apple, soot belching from a factory chimney, blotting out the sun, a drunkard lying in a ditch picking at ulcers on his face.


Charlie: [To Austin] Well, that doesn't sound very nice! [Studies Austin for a minute] Ah, Mr. Mustard. I don't believe we've met. [Offers a hand to Austin]


Jerrick: [To Charlie] My dear, I am a master poet, though I'm sure these... people would have little appreciation of the fine artistic merits of my work. [To Mac] My poor, dear fellow, of course it gives me the perfect right to belittle my inferiors. Mr Austin here is a perfect example of someone in desperate need of some belittling.

;;; I turn my back for 2 minutes and...!


Alice: [To Charlie, referring to Austin] Be careful of that one, Charlie, he makes a career out of being not nice.


Charlie: [To Jerrick, impressed] Oh, you must be terribly smart! Tell me, what rhymes with orange? I always get stuck on that one.


Jerrick: [A little stumped himself, then brightens] "Range" rhymes with "orange"! Hmmph, but then, a rhyme is like an overused fruit.


Austin : [To Alice, politely] Oh come now, you got off very lightly, it was your late husband that hired me after all. I provide a good service, and if you did not want it, you did not need to pay for it. [Sighs] I am sorry that you are dissatisfied. [Chuckles] Perhaps you prefer the confessional! [To Charlie] No I don't believe that we have met, but I have worked for your father, in the past.


Alice: Oh, I was perfectly satisfied. [Smiles] That doesn't mean that I have to like you, though, does it?


Mac: [To Alice] Of not being nice? Really? Perhaps you two could start a business together!


Alice: You mean work? Oh, good Lord, no!


Jerrick: [Scoffs] As if Mac here ever did any work of his own!


Charlie: Mr. Scarlet, you ARE in a bit of a temper, aren't you? [Crosses her arms] I think you're jealous of Mr. Peacock's success. After all, people may think you're terribly smart, but no one REALLY cares about poetry.


Mac: [Angrily] What?! You don't think being a huge pop star takes a lot of work? How dare you, you... you... you *nobody*!


Austin : [To Jerrick, brightly] Perhaps you could orate your finest poetry to us, and then let everyone decide for themselves, old chap.


Alice: Wait! Wait! [Pours herself out a generous measure of brandy and lights a cigarette] Okay, now you can go!


Jerrick: [To Mac] And when was the last time you wrote anything for yourself you talentless hack? Or have you ever put pen to paper? And I am not *nobody* - I am well loved by a more refined clientele than the mindless rabble you call *fans*. [He says this last word with an air of distaste] . [To Austin and Charlie] I hardly think you are the sort of audience to appreciate my work - it's far too intellectual.


Austin : [Giggles] Winging about how unplesant your father was is hardly intellectual [Chuckles. Lights a cigar]


Jerrick: [Glares at Austin] Clearly you lack the wit and intelligence to appreciate such fine poetry, as I thought. [Eyes Clint again] My work delves to the very core of the... relationship between a, ahem, father and his son.


Clint: I'm sure it's very beautiful.


Charlie: [Sips her cocktail] Now that everyone is friendly, perhaps someone could tell me, who DID you say is hosting this party? Is it a fundraiser for Daddy or what?


Jerrick: [Clearly disgusted] I'm not sure *beautiful* is the correct term. Haunting, deeply moving, yes. But not beautiful. I've seen little that is... beautiful between my... father an me. Father.


Mac: [Sharply and quietly to Jerrick] If *someone* wants to keep receiving the generous stipend they get then *someone* better keep to their agreement and shut the hell up!


Clint: Well then, young man, you should keep the faith, for I'm sure that the [looks up to heaven and holds his hands out] Lord will show you something beautiful before long.

Alice: [To Charlie] No, I don't think Daddy is hosting this party. What did your invitation say?


Austin : If by 'deeply moving' you are referring to vomiting or flatulence, then most would agree. [Looks around] Yes, we really should find out who our host is. [Takes a sleuth around the room, looking for photographs, engraved trophies, enscribed personal items etc.]


Mac: [To Charlie] Alice is your sister? How frightfully unfortunate for you.


Jerrick: [To Clint] Indeed, we may see something beautiful quite soon. [To Austin] I see no reason to bandy words with a witless pleb with no appreciation for true art. [To the Party] So does no-one have any clue why I am forced to abandon my work to be with you... people?


Austin : [To Jerrick, tapping ash into an ash tray, smiling] Well at least something good has been achived tonight. Anything that prevents your writing makes the world a better place.


Mac: [Yawn] I have so many better things to be doing right now, like making sure my fans are satisfied, so if we could get this over with?


Austin : [Grinning at Jerrick] Nefarious schemes, huh, well there there are nearly always two sides to any story, sometimes more, your entirely monotonous poetry being the exception of course.


Jerrick: First intelligent thing I've heard all evening - the bit about getting this over with, not the part about satisfied fans. So, if our host doesn't want to show himeslf, what then?


Austin : [Slightly draws back a curtain to look outside. To Mac] Perhaps we are being watched, or tested. [Smiles] Maybe our host is simply letting us stew. [Looks around the group] It is my guess that our host intends to blackmail us all. [To Mac] You because you use Jerrick to write your material. [To Alice] I expect there are many issues that someone could blackmail you over. [To Charlie] Likewise for you. [To Clint] I don't really know you, but you appear to be one of the most crooked men of the cloth I have ever met. [To Jerrick, grimacing] I really don't want to guess what vile things you have been up to.


Jerrick: [Mockingly] I know, It's amazing what women will do for a man of great talent. Of course, you wouldn't know of such things, being, well a man of little talent.


Alice: Blackmail? Who said anything about blackmail?

[The room is filled with objects, but nothing seems even remotely personal. Through the open curtain, the party can see another car approach.]


Charlie: [Watching the car] At last, this must be our host!


Dur: [Slips in just in time, frowning] Hope I didn't miss much...From qvblogger MIME-Version: 1.0 Received: by with HTTP; Wed, 13 Apr 2011 06:08:57 -0700 (PDT) Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:08:57 +0100 Delivered-To: conor.r@gmail.com Message-ID: <BANLkTi=Vq-YfqdeQK07j7ddh23HDQuJXbA@mail.gmail.com> To: "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA" <Kevin.Day@hanson.biz> Cc: Heather <heather.goggans@gmail.com>, John Ludlow <john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com>, dom <djmalzie@gmail.com>, Vel Angelus <velangelus1@gmail.com>, Tom Henderson <Thomas.Henderson@rice.edu>, Tom Henderson <th4@rice.edu>, Colin Dinan <Colin.Dinan@version1.com>, Colin <dinancolin@googlemail.com>, djmalzie <djmalzie@googlemail.com>, QVBlogger <qvblogger@gmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Smithers: [Who had come in with Dur] Mr. Dur Plum.

Alice: So is this our illustrious host?


Dur: [Still frowning and removing his driving gloves] Hardly dear girl. If I were hosting a Dinner party, you would all have been properly summoned an= d received promptly rather than left basking in my absence. [Surveys the room] Austin old boy! How has it been?=


Austin : [Happily suprised] Dur! Well I never, what one earth are you doing here old chap, thought you had taken a bullet years ago, where have you been hiding?


Dur: Hardly, though I may as well have, my career is just as dead. [Sighing] But nevermind that, I am sure I will be back on top in D.C. shortly, depe= nding on the outcomes of this little 'gathering'. [Looks around in disgust] Why have I not been offered a brandy yet?=


and received promptly rather than left basking in my absence. [Surveys the room] Austin old boy! How has it been?

Austin : [Warmly shaking Dur's hand] Good thank you, you know the story! The delights and frights of the detective's life! How have you been? Still in the army?


Smithers: [Gives Dur a disgusted look] Please sir, have a brandy. [Offers one to Dur, and to anyone else interested]


Jerrick: Yes, yes give me one - it might just make this company bearable. Hmm, how much of this stuff do you have - I might require a large quantity to make *this* company bearable.


Dur: [Scowling at Smithers] Must be impossible for the host to find good help these days. [To Austin] No idea what-so-ever, but [inclinging his head i= n Jerrick's direction] judging by the 'calibur' of our company, I don't foresee it being very fortuitous. Has anyone suggested blackmail?


Mac: [To Austin in outrage] This hack [points to Jerrick] write for me? [Thinks] Wait, how did you find out? Who told you? And as for our *dear Father* over there, he's probably here because he's so good at blackmailing already.


Clint: Oh, Mac, what has become of you? Have you become paranoid in your time in the limelight? [To the guests] I can assure you, I have never, ever, tried to blackmail someone.

Alice: [To Dur] They have now! Our intrepid Private Investigator threw out a bunch of baseless accusations, and Mac The Peacock here took the bait. [To Jerrick, excited] So? Is it true? Did you write the material for him?


Austin : Not for me, thank you Smithers. [To Mac] You implied to us that this was the case, only a few minutes ago. [To Dur] Perhaps that young lady that you allegedly got pregnant is our hostess?


Dur: Well, that is what an Investigator does my dear girl, Investigate! [Sees Charlie] I say, you are Senator Green's girl are you not?=


Charlie: [Puzzled] Blackmail?! [Sudden thought] Oh, is this THAT party? I got a letter saying [vaguely] something about it being important that I go some place at some time, not to involve the police, that kind of thing. [To Dur] You used to work for my father, didn't you? Why are YOU blackmailing me? You're the one with the drinking problem, right?


Mac: Never blackmailed anyone?! Since it seems things are coming out how about the payments you demanded from me after my concious demanded I confide the truth about not writing my own songs to you! What would you call that, huh?


Jerrick: [Laughs nervously] Clearly you're all *wonderful* people, really salt of the earth types, I'm sure you all had *wonderful* parents, particularly the fathers maybe I'll write a poem about that sometime. But as I have no obvious skeletons in the closet, I fail to see why anyone would want to blackmail *me*. [Laughs nervously again]


Clint: [To Mac] I never demanded anything from you, young Mac. Sure, I asked if you would be prepared to spread some of your good fortune around, but blackmail? I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

Alice: Okay, I'm confused. I got a letter that suggested that someone was about to blackmail me, [looks around] but are people already being blackmailed? [To Mac] You're so awful at keeping secrets it's a miracle that anyone has anything to blackmail you about! [To Dur, nodding to Austin] I hope you haven't told him any more secrets.


Dur: [Face heating up flustered, to Alice] I don't know what my dear friendcould be talking about, not that it is any of your business dear girl. Any= thing can be alleged. [All the same he chugs his Brandy, to Charlie] I do NOT have a drinking problem!=


Charlie: [Watching Dur drink] Huh, maybe I'm blackmailing you!


Alice: [To Smithers] You there, butler, or whatever it is you are. Where is our host?

Smithers: I fear I do not know, [with some disgust] madam, I was lead to believe that he would be here before the guests.

Alice: Well, I suggest we have some food and wait for him. Perhaps people could refrain from wild accusation, or worse, wild confession, until then?


Charlie: Oh, that sounds good. I'm positively famished. Perhaps this is all some absurd joke, anyway. We might as well have a nice meal out of it!


Jerrick: Why, something to confess, Alice....?


Austin : Although confession may be a good idea, after all, we all appear to be in the same boat. Perhaps we can settle our differences in order to determine the true nature of this party? [Chuckles lightly]


Alice: Nothing, other than a love for good poetry, Jerrick! [Clinks glasses with him]

[Exit ALL into the dining room.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book VII, Act IX, Scene II. The Dining Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, JERRICK and MAC are here, sitting at the table, while SMITHERS puts out some dinner.]

Clint: [To Jerrick] Why yes, my son, confession is good for the soul. However, it is often a matter best kept between a man and his God. Perhaps we should say grace?

Alice: [To the others] So, clearly, at least some of us think we're about to be blackmailed. But are people already being blackmailed? Mac, you seem to say you were, and Austin, my investigative friend, you seem to know something about everyone. Are you a blackmailer?


Jerrick: [To Austin] If you're trying to convince us that you're not the host here, well you're really bad at it. [To Clint, slyly] Then obviously what Austin said is false - which in fact wouldn't surprise me given the nature of the man's character.


Austin : [To Alice, smiling] Well now, you have been a customer or mine, do you think the investigative service I provide is blackmail or agreeable? Perhaps you would have prefered not to have been given the choice? [Shrugs] I personally feel that it is a kind thing to do, to give someone a choice, and the choice that you chose avoided a great deal of pain, expense and public humiliation.


Clint: Lord, may we be truly thankful for the bountiful meal that we are about to have, and Lord, please give us the gift of serenity, that we may treat each other in a civilized manner.


Austin : [Laughs gleefully. To Jerrick] He is your father, I mean your dad, biological father. [To Clint] Well I can see that there may be some scope for blackmail there. Not that any of these cases have really done anyone any harm. [Looks around the table] I suspect that there is something much more significant that connects us and brings us together. Our host, or hostess, obviously know what it is. [Puts his cigar out in an ashtray]


Jerrick: [Sarcastic] Well, Austin, I live in awe of your investigative prowess. Why, I bet you could even tell us who brought us all here, couldn't you?


Alice: Given the enthusiasm with which he outed Dur's past indiscretion, as well as knowing -- or at least, suggesting, that you wrote Mac's songs, I think it's pretty likely that Austin is our host. [Shrugs] Either that or he's just a scumbag.


Clint: The Lord moves in mysterious ways, my son. And I did not have sexual relations with that woman!


Austin : [To Jerrick, kindly] Well no, not really. [To the party] If I knew I would say so. It could be anyone from the likes of Davinia Silver, the alleged mother of Dur's love child, to some relative of Alice's late husband, or a relative of someone that Charlie's father has wronged. Or perhaps it is just some poetry lover that has gathered us together to try to explain to Jerrick that his poetry is desperately bad. [Giggles]


Charlie: [Looks at Austin suspiciously] That's true, and he was sniffing around Daddy's campaign, as well!


Alice: I think we may have found our host!

[Another car pulls up, and there's a knock on the door.]

Smithers: I shall return presently. [Exit Smithers]


Austin : [To Alice, smiling] I am no scumbag, I merely have to investigate their actions. [To Charlie] One of your fathers sponsors did employ me to investigate some financial inconsistencies in your fathers affairs. [To the party] Charlie was rather cunningly siphoning funds from her fathers campaign account.


Alice: If you're not a scumbag, then why do you take such delight in trying to make the others here squirm? I presume Dur is an old, or rather, ex-friend of yours; you told us that Jerrick wrote the song for Dur -- which, based on Dur's reaction is true; you claim that Clint is Jerrick's father; and now, that poor dear Charlie was stealing money. What possible motivation have you got to do this?


Austin : [Suprised] Why, you all seemed to want ot know what is going on here, so I gave you my best explanation. [Shrugs] perhaps this house belongs to the chief of police. Perhaps it belongs to Conor Pink. Does anyone know that name?


Dur: [Thoughtful] I have never heard that name before in my life. Though the sound of it does seem devious, scandolous, decrepit, ill, and sadly terri= fying!

;;; Love you Conor :pFrom qvblogger

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Alice: That wasn't an explanation, it was you torturing people with private information about them. Who's Pink? Someone else you blackmailed.


Smithers: Mr. Reggie Andrews.

Reggie: Er, uh, hello everyone. The butler told me I had the right house, but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing here.


Jerrick: Should we have? [Kindly] Was he your imaginary friend, your only companion as a child after your father abandoned you?


Clint: [Shakes his head sadly.] It is a lost sheep who takes delight in spreading lies and discontent. I shall pray for you, my son. [Pause.] And no, I don't know a Conor Pink.


Alice: Relax, Reggie. I'm sure our host [gestures to Austin] will tell us.


Charlie: [To Reggie] Probably being blackmailed by this man! [Points at Austin]


Jerrick: Might I suggest that some of you others do something, like - Oh, I don't know, maybe beat the shit out of him until he tells you what's going on. [Examines his fingernails] Of course, an artiste such as myself does not get involved in such matters.


Reggie: [Sitting down] So, uh, is everyone else being blackmailed?


Charlie: [To Jerrick] We aren't brutes! [To Austin] But if you claim not to be the host, perhaps you should tell us YOUR dirty little secret? If you only want to expose the rest of us, then how can we think anything other than you are the blackmailer and host?!


Clint: Now now, violence solves nothing, as I'm sure we all know. Instead let us seek to understand this sick man so that he can be healed!


Jerrick: [Sniggers] Sure, Dad, go do some mumbo jumbo healing stuff so we can all go home.


Alice: [To Charlie] Speak for yourself, honey! [To Smithers] Surely you can tell us who the host is? You do work for him, after all!

Smithers: I have never met the host. I only know him as John Smith. He hired this house especially for tonight.


Mac: John Smith, that's a made up name if I ever heard one. [To Austin] You there, you seem to be good at working stuff out. Who do you think he is and why are we here?


Jerrick: Oh, please you can't be that daft! It's him! Austin is this John Smith! He'd know how to use a false name to arrange all this stuff.


Reggie: [Shocked] So you're the blackmailer? You bastard! [Looks around] So, everyone else got a letter about blackmail?


Clint: [Gasps in outrage.] You mean that Austin here might be a wolf in sheep's clothing? [Shakes his head sadly.]


Austin : [Chuckling] Calm down everyone. I am not the host. Perhaps I am here because Charlie's father paid me off to keep quite about Charlie's pilfering of funds. Perhaps I am here because Alice has had three late, and formerly very wealthy, husbands, and some one thinks that I know too much. [Shrugs] All that I can say is that I obviously don't know enough. As I said before, none of the reasons I know about are worth bothering about above each of our own concerns. [Brightly] As for me, perhaps the murderer Conor Pink is about to try to kill me to kep his dark deeds quiet, he murdered a little girl. There. Everyone knows now [Smilies matter of factly]


Jerrick: Well I'm clearly here to bring an air of culture and class the the proceedings but I feel that may be a lost cause given the company. Oh, and I did get a note which mentioned something about not calling the police, that sort of thing.


Jerrick: Interesting how everything you mention there is someone else's secret. I think you have some secrets of your own. An [Looks at Clint] absent and negligent father, perhaps.


Clint: Or perhaps low self esteem causing you to make all sorts of wild allegations with no proof whatsoever? "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise."


Austin : [To Jerrick] Your inablility to listen and comprehend what I have said is almost as bad as your poetry. Conor Pink murdered Mary Blue, who is the daughter of the Chief of Police in DC. That does not appear to be connected to anyone else here. Also I made it clear that I accepted a bribe from Charlie's father, and if you had a brain you would realise that I also accepted one from Alice, and you may concluded that this is how I make part of my living. [Sighs] But as I have said, who cares about any of these transactions, only Mary's murder seems to be of great enough significance to warrant this kind of meeting. That is why I came, the letter I recieved suggested blackmail too. [Takes out the letter and shows it to Reggie. To Reggie] And why do you think you are here?


Reggie: I came because I got a letter telling me it would be in my best interest to come, but now I think it's because you're trying to blackmail me!


Jerrick: [To Austin] A murder committed by someone else doesn't seem much of a blackmail target. The bribes, maybe... Alright, suppose I assume for a second you are not this John Smith, who is he? Any ideas? [Impatiently] Come on, man! , I have important work to do!


Mac: But what has that murder got to do with my career?


Austin : [Calmly smiling] Okay, okay! Calm down everyone. Sorry if I got you juices running! As Clint pointed out, there is no evidence, so why are any of you worried? [To Reggie] I don't think I have ever met or heard of you in my life, so why would I try to blackmail you [Shrugs. To Dur] Who cares if you got some girl pregnant? It is not exactly headline news [Smiling kindly] 'Guy get's girl pregnant, the government calls for a refferendum'. [To Alice] 'Beautiful young gold digger strikes gold again' [To Clint] 'Preacher is a father' [To Charlie] 'Daughter pinches money from father', none of this is particularly news worthy, it is all too old. Page ten of a tabloid at best.


Alice: [To Mac] Maybe you care about murder because of how you murder songs?

Reggie: Maybe because I'm rich? Do you think they'd let poor people buy bow-ties like these?


Charlie: [To Austin, shaking and nervously] That was never proven! But, if it was, it could ruin Daddy's career, and everyone knows he's headed for the White House!


Clint: [To Charlie] I'm sure the public doesn't want to hear sordid details about what someone allegedly did in the past, particularly if their "crimes" were committed for a good cause. Be at peace, my daughter.


Dur: I thought that was all the public DID want to hear about?


Alice: [Nods] Agreed. My life is an open book; however, dealing with the press and public sniffing around is offensive enough to me that I was prepared to come here tonight even though I expected a blackmailer. It seems that having a husband die suddenly makes one some sort of suspicious individual.


Clint: Well, yes. But that's not a comfort to a frightened woman, is it?


Jerrick: Don't worry, I was more suspicious of Austin. So. We're no closer to finding out what's going on here?


Austin : Yes the public love a scandal, but they like new scandals, not old ones. And besides, there is no proof, I can assure you of that, I investigated the situation very throughly. [To Charlie, in a friendly manner] All of the detectives in DC would not find a single blemish on your fathers shining career. [To Alice] Likewise, there was never a single suggestion that you have done anything wrong, nor have I seen any evidence to suggest that you have. Perhaps you are the hostess of this party, for alI know.

;;;; away home


Jerrick: [Gapes at Alice in shock] You! I trusted you! Well, kinda trusted you, I mean, not much but still!


Alice: Oh, please. Just because he's trying to deflect attention from himself doesn't mean that I'm the hostess, nor does the occasional dead husband mean I have something to hide.


Charlie: [To Alice] It doesn't exactly mean you don't have something to hide, either, though! [To Clint] You certainly get around, for a priest! Whatever happened to vows of chastity and all that?!


Jerrick: [Gapes at Austin in horror] You fiend! You evil, maniacal, Machiavellian fiend! [To Alice] Though to be fair, dead husbands are never an ideal situation, particularly for the husbands. On that note, remind me to not marry you, ok?


Alice: That's okay, Jerrick, you're not my type.

Reggie: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm confused. Everyone here thinks that they *could* be blackmailed, but no one actually has been.

Alice: Nope. Not me.


Charlie: Er, well--no! But the letter was terribly threatening, wasn't it? [To Reggie, with a gasp] Are YOU here to blackmail us?!


Jerrick: [To Alice] Likewise - I tend not to go for the crazy husband-murdering vixens myself. More the French maiden reading poetry while not wearing much clothing. [To Reggie] It's you! [To Charlie] No wait, didn't we do Reggie already and determine it wasn't him?


Clint: [To Charlie.] Why, whatever do you mean? I'm just a humble parish priest whose parish happens to be the whole world, saving souls one person at a time. Hallelujah! Anyway, would any son of mine admit to consorting with nude French maidens reading poetry, I ask you?


Reggie: What? Me? No! If anyone's a blackmailer it's [points at Austin] him! Or [points at Smithers] him! Who on earth believes his story about not knowing his employer?

Smithers: [Shocked] Sir! I can assure you, I have no idea what this evening is about.

Alice: [To Jerrick, saucily wagging a finger] They all died from natural causes.

;;; Gone for the day -- that was one of the busiest

;;; days ever, by the way! Unfortunately, I've got a

;;; bunch of meetings tomorrow, so things will

;;; have to slow down just a bit!


Alice: [Horrified] You look at pictures of men wearing high heels?

;;; [Shakes fist at sky] Ludloooooooow!


Clint: [Appalled.] I can see I'll have to pray harder for you!


Charlie: [To Clint, outraged] Are you really fit to be judging anyone, Father? After what you did to ME?!


Jerrick: [To Alice] That's not true! Who told you that? [Points at Austin accusingly] Have you been following me? And, er, spreading lies about me?


Clint: I hardly think using every means at my disposal to convince you to save your soul by giving money to do the Lord's work compares to strutting around wearing nothing but a pair of high heels!


Jerrick: [To Charlie] Hmmm, so you like high heels too, eh? How do you feel about poetry and French maid's outfits?


Mac: [Sympathetically to Charlie] What did he do to you my dear?


Alice: [Sympathetically] Did he make you wear a French maid's outfit?


Charlie: [Sobbing] No it was--an altar boy's vestments!


Alice: [Clearly enjoying the drama] The beast!

Reggie: Forget that for the time being! I think we've established that everyone has done something that they could be blackmailed for -- so the question is who is this mysterious host?


Jerrick: [To Clint] You fiend! How could you do such a thing, Father? [Sympathetically, to Charlie] There, there. Not all men are like that - I'd only ever make you wear a French maid's outfit, and not even for very long!


Charlie: [Dries her tears and smiles at Jerrick] Oh, you're very kind!


Charlie: [To Smithers] Didn't you say you understood the host would be here before the rest of us arrived? What other instructions were you given?


Jerrick: I have a... special understanding of people. It's what makes my work so remarkable.


Clint: [Sadly.] I will pray for our host, as he is clearly a deranged, sad little man or woman and in dire need of the kind of spiritual guidance that can be yours for the low, low monthly price of $49.95.


Austin : [To Clint] Does that include taxes?


Jerrick: Ooh, does it include some wine. What kind of wine? Is it a good year? Do I get a discount if I bring my own bread?


Charlie: [To Jerrick] Don't be seduced by his promises!


Austin : [To Jerrick] Was that some of your poetry? Your poetry is so bad it is difficult to tell when the drivel you talk stops and the banal poetry starts.


Jerrick: [Gasp!] You're right. [To Clint] You'll never seduce us with you're snake's tongue! [To Charlie] You think was the plan all along? Lure us all here then lure us in with the promise of paradise? [To Austin] If you knew anything about poetry, or had two brain cells to rub together, you'd know the answer to that!


Smithers: I have no instructions other than to serve dinner. Once I serve the coffee in the lounge, I shall depart.

Alice: Okay, so it seems that we think that none of us is the blackmailer, is that right? I don't understand this; why would he invite us here and not turn up? Surely the blackmailer is here?


Austin : [To Jerrick] But I do know the answer, there is no difference between your banal drivel and your poetry, it is one and the same. [Stands up and looks around, stomping on the floor here and there. To the party] We all need to be careful. The only thing that links us all together is our absent hostess or host, and if they want us all dead we are in the right place. [Looks around the floor] This house could be rigged with explosives. [Glances at the walls] And we must assume that we are either bing watched, or that our host is in the room. [To Reggie] You are kind of the odd one out guy, none of the rest of us know you.


mac: Well I think the host is being incredibly rude not being here! I mean, leaving a house full of people alone? It's unheard of!


Reggie: I can assure you, I am not the host! I too, have a secret that I would rather keep to myself.


Jerrick: Well that's the nature of secrets isn't it? Though you would expect Austin to want to keep his lack of appreciation for finer things quiet, he seems to want to tell the whole world. But most people like to keep their secrets to themselves, wouldn't you say?


Reggie: I'm sure they do. However, at least one person around this table wants to make money out of that fact, and I, for one, don't want to play that game.


Charlie: But who? [Looks around the room and narrows her eyes at Smithers] Wait a minute! What about HIM?!


Reggie: I bet it is!

Smithers: It certainly is not!

Alice: Just the kind of thing a blackmailer would say!


Charlie: [Triumphantly] And everyone KNOWS that the butler always did it! [To Smithers] Well, what do you have to say for yourself?!


Mac: [To Alice in an patronising tone] And just what everyone else who has been asked that has said.


Jerrick: Mac's right. You should torture him, then he'd tell you what you want to know! [To no-one in particular] Maybe I'll write a poem about fathers torturing their sons. Yes! It'll be magnificent!


Alice: [Sweetly to Mac] Did you come up with that line yourself? Or did someone else write it for you?

Smithers: I will not dignify it with a response. I shall serve coffee in the lounge, please come across when you are ready.



Alice: [Drinks some wine with a smirk] Really?


Jerrick: Of course it does Mac. Hey, wait, did I write that line for you? I can't remember now. I want royalties!


Jerrick: [To Alice, conspiratorially] Y'know I think he mimes the words as well.


Mac: [Instinctively] That's a lie!


Alice: I'm sure we're all glad to hear that!


Austin : You yourselves are the only people that really care about your own issues. The public love a scandal for a day or two, but after that it is forgotten, lost in amongst a sea of new, fresh scandals. [Lights another cigar] Perhaps we should go for coffee.


Alice: Is that what the chief of police would think? [Gets up] Yes, let's get some coffee.

[Exit ALL.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book VII, Act IX, Scene III. The Lounge. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, JERRICK and MAC are here, having just arrived along with REGGIE. Already here is SMITHERS, serving coffees.]

Reggie: I think I have an idea. [Starts to pick up various objects and putting them on the table; they include a candlestick, several brass ornaments and other blunt instruments.] Maybe Austin is right, maybe the scandals would blow over in a few days or weeks, but maybe not, maybe someone has a juicier scandal than we realise.


Austin : [To Alice] The Chief of Police would investigate, and I doubt that he would find any evidence to support any of the alligations, just hearsay, speculation and slander. [To Reggie] Why are you arranging blunt instruments on the table?


Jerrick: [Watching Reggie carefully] Perhaps he plans to blackmail us with them?


Charlie: [Backs away from the table] What does this mean? [Hopefully] Were you on some kind of scavenger hunt?


Austin : [Standing well back] Or club us to death with them. We may be well advised not to eat or drink anything in this house as our host may have poisoned or drugged the food and drink. [Takes a puff of his cigar] Too late for most of you. Reggie, why are you loading the table with blunt instruments?


Jerrick: [To Reggie, nervously] I don't suppose you were just planning on a little DIY were you? Y'know, sort out that wobbly cupboard door, hang that picture properly, *not* club guests to death...?


Reggie: I'm definitely planning on having someone doing some fixing up! [Steps back, near the light switch] Okay, I'm pretty certain that none of you are the blackmailer, and I know for a fact that I'm not, which leaves us with our friend Smithers.

Smithers: [Shocked] I say!

Reggie: So, we can go on pretending that the host isn't watching us, or one of us can kill Smithers right now.

[Click. The lights go off, plunging the room into darkness.]


Charlie: [Shrieks] Turn the lights back on!!


Jerrick: [After a pause] So are we going with the theory that he's watching us then?


Alice: [Screams] Get your hands off me! [Cue the sound of someone being slapped]

[There is a terrible dull thud, followed by the sound of someone falling. The lights are turned on again, revealing that SMITHERS is lying on the ground, blood pouring from his head.]


Jerrick: Wow, Alice you got quite a slap there.


Austin : [Quickly looks around to see who might have killed Smithers] Bloody hell! Who did that? Reggie, who the hell are you? Why did you kill Smithers?

;;; is anyone still holding a weapon? Is anyone missing?


Reggie: I didn't do it! I was standing over here by the light switch, miles away!

[Everyone is still in the room, and there is a candlestick beside SMITHERS.]

Alice: [To Jerrick, noting the red mark on Dur's face] I'm sure Dur will agree.

Dur: You bitch! [To the others] I bet she did it! Hitting me was just to throw us off!

;;; No and no!


Jerrick: So not Dur, because he was busy groping Alice. Not Alice, because she was busy being groped by Dur. Probably not Smithers, because that would be a poorly thought out plan... We know it was with the candlestick, in the - where the hell are we? Oh, and Reggie, keep an eye on that light switch in case someone tries to turn it off again!


Austin : So Reggie was at the light switch, Smithers is dead and I think that suiscide was unlikely, Alice was slapping Dur and Dur was groping Alice, which leave myself, and I know that I did not do it, Clint, Charlie and Jerrick.


Charlie: [Wringing her hands worriedly] Well, it wasn't me! I'm just a helpless woman.


Jerrick: [To Reggie] Reggie, did you notice who turned off the lights, while you were over there by the light switch?


Reggie: [Nods] Yes, I think it was Reggie.

Dur: I did NOT grope anyone! [Quickly adds] But I didn't kill anyone either.


Charlie: Neither did I! But, and I'm not saying it's a GOOD thing, but if Smithers WAS the blackmailer, then our problems have been solved, haven't they? How can we be sure he's the host?


Jerrick: Wait, Reggie, you think it was Reggie? Does that mean there's *another* Reggie here, hitherto unseen? The sneaky... er, sneak!


Reggie: No, *I'm* the one who turned off the lights. [To the others] I'm inclined to think that this guy isn't the killer -- he lacks the brain power!


Jerrick: I do not lack the brain power, you Philistine! So you turned off the lights to allow the murderer to attack unseen, eh...?


Mac: So why would you turn the lights off after saying you were going to kill him? Bit of a coincidence that he was killed wouldn't you say?

;;; Sorry I was AFK this afternoon. Something came up and I was out.


Clint: Surely it couldn't have been me. I'm a priest, and by definition incapable of murder. Which leaves Charlie and Jerrick. And Dur. Or someone hiding in the cupboard!

;;; I was just dead to the world after three straight days of 15 hours

of coding!


Alice: What happens if he [gestures to Smithers] wasn't the blackmailer? Surely the blackmailer brought us here for a reason -- if that indeed is why we're here!


Charlie: [Excited] Exactly what I meant! Let's look in the kitchen and see if Smithers had a briefcase with him, something with evidence he was going to use against us or something!


Clint: [Gravely.] Then a very great sin has been committed, and I will have to pray for an extra soul or two tonight.


Austin : [Tilts his hat back, sighs] Considering the fact that most of us only think that we might be about to get blackmailed, I would hardly say that is enough motive for murder. Someone here is pretty desperate. [Looks around the group]


Clint: [Generously ignoring Mac's outburst.] Or maybe someone here is just really stupid. Or possibly Smithers killed himself for some strange reason.

;;; That last is my pet theory, because it'd be all kinds of awesome.


Jerrick: [To Reggie] Why did you bring all these blunt objects here? [To Party] Any sigh of which of these things was used to kill Smithers?


Charlie: [Points to the candlestick next to Smithers] It looks like that was used, doesn't it? Is there any blood on it? [Covers her eyes] I can't bear to look!


Jerrick: Oh, of course, the stress must be getting to me [Fans his face with his hand, then turns to Austin] You! You're supposed to be good at this! Can't you take some fingerprints or something?


[Without touching SMITHERS, it's difficult to get any clues about him, but it is clear that it was the candlestick.]

Reggie: I put the blunt objects there in the hope that one of you would be desperate enough to kill him. Sure, everyone thinks that they could be blackmailed, but some may be more desperate than others.


Charlie: [Peeking at Smithers through her fingers] Shouldn't someone check his pockets? Maybe there's a clue in them?


Jerrick: So you hoped Smithers would be killed? Why Smithers? As far as any of us know he was just here to serve light refreshments. What do you know that the rest of us don't?


Alice: Why don't you do it, Charlie? It seems like it wouldn't be the first time you'd be caught with your hand in someone else's pocket!

Reggie: [To Jerrick] I hoped that the blackmailer would be killed. It seems clear to me that he was the blackmailer. After all, everyone else had something to hide, and he had that preposterous story about not knowing who he worked for.


Austin : [Finishes his visual apprasal and checks Smithers pockets etc. To Jerrick] Reggie here is obviously one of the more desperate people he mentioned.

;;;; so, anything useful in Smither's pockets?


Clint: Or maybe you're the killer, and you did it by thrown candlestick, thinking no one would ever suspect a thing! Hmm. These are weighty matters. I must pray for guidance! [Raises his eyes to heaven and starts praying, in a particularly annoying kind of way.]


Mac: [Placing himself between CHARLIE and SMITHERS] It'll be OK Charlie, just don't look.


Alice: So, where are we? We've got a dead butler who may or may not be a blackmailer, and we're out in the middle of nowhere. [Shrugs] Why don't we just leave?


Jerrick: Why not indeed? We can put the whole thing down to bad parenting.


Charlie: [Takes Mac's arm] Thank you, Mr. Peacock. A woman shouldn't have to see such things! [To Alice and Jerrick] I agree, if no one left here wants to blackmail us [shoots a questioning look at the others] then let's just leave and forget this ever happened!


[AUSTIN finds a wallet and identification that shows SMITHERS was his real name. There is also a letter there from a JOHN SMITH, confirming that he was hiring him, and that he would meet him at the house this evening.]

Alice: Huh. So maybe he was telling the truth, and which ever one of you killed him did so in vain.


Mac: Perhaps we should move into the dining room, away from the body? Then we can examine the letter for clue, see if anyone recognised the handwriting.


Jerrick: Wait.... Suppose someone wanted to blackmail us because we were at the scene of a murder and may have been the one to kill Smithers? Maybe this isn't about any past transgressions, it's about *this* one!


Austin : Yes, let's go back to the lounge [Takes Smithers serving cloth and lays it over his face. Goes back to the lounge that they were in earlier, carfully putting the letter and wallet on the table. Then takes his gloves off] Well he certainly seems to be who he claimed to be. This might well be a set up.


;;; The party is in the lounge, so we'll

;;; head back to the dining room

[Everyone heads back to the dining room.]

Reggie: Hm, that's disappointing. This still doesn't make any sense, unless there is someone else in the house.


Austin : [To Reggie, smiling] Indeed, indeed! Of course one of us could still be the blackmailer to be, and murderer of the eve. [Chirpily] Quite a brain teaser!


Alice: Well, this is not what I signed up for. I'm leaving, and I suggest everyone else does too.


Charlie: Then I'm leaving, too! [Heads for the door]


Jerrick: Wait, you can't leave! Don't leave me here with this lot!


Charlie: [Calls back to Jerrick] Then come with me! I'm not going to stay here trapped with a murderer!


Jerrick: [Considers his options, then calls after Charlie and Alice] Coming, ladies! [Races after them]


Mac: [Offers arm to Charlie] Allow me to escort you to somewhere more lively and fun, my dear.


Austin : Leaving sounds like the sensible option [Heads for the door]


Reggie: Hey! Wait for me! I need a lift -- my car broke down about half a mile away!

[Everyone puts on their coats and heads out. The weather is much worse now, with a virtual blizzard blowing about. It is almost impossible to see.]

Alice: [Shouting to be heard about the noise of the wind] Goodbye! I hope we never run into each other again! [Sits into her car and tries to start it, but it fails] Crap!

;;; Everyone came in their own car, and there is one

;;; extra here too.


Jerrick: Hey, look at this! Looks like someone else *was* here!


Austin : [Checks out the other car] Anyone recognise this car?


Mac: Could it not just be Smithers car?


Charlie: Let's take a look and see who it's registered to! [Attempts to open the door and check the glove compartment]


Jerrick: Did anyone notice it when we arrived?


[CHARLIE pulls out the registration documents. It is indeed registered to SMITHERS.]

Alice: [Gets out of her car and gives it a kick] Precision engineering my ass! [Gives the others a big, warm smile] Say, who's heading back to town? [Nods at Smithers' car] I think that was here when we arrived.

[There is a total of eight cars, one for each of ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, JERRICK, MAC and SMITHERS.]


Austin : [To Alice] I would be happy to give you a lift, if you like. [Checks his car to see if it is okay]


Alice: Excellent -- I would appreciate it.

[AUSTIN tries his car, but it, too, won't start.]


Jerrick: Well, personally I have an intricate and incredibly sophisticated plan which involves drinking alcohol until I forget everything that happened here. Alice or Charlie are entirely welcome to join me, of course. [Raises his eyebrows at the two women]


Austin : [Gets out of his car, concerned] My car won't start, I think everyone should check their car, they might have been sabotaged!


Alice: [Goes back to the doorway to watch] Oh, God! Are we now stuck here?

[Everyone tries their car, and none of them start.]


Jerrick: Well, this is a delightful little twist, isn't it? [Tries to start his car]


Charlie: [To Reggie, shivering] You were the last to arrive! It must have been you! You sabotaged the cars! Why?!


Reggie: I did not! There was a blizzard blowing when I arrived! How on earth could I do it?


Mac: [Also shivering] Seeing as we're stuck here we may as well make the best of it. Lets search the house. [Heads back inside]


Jerrick: But apparently someone did it. Why not you?


Austin : [Checks around the cars to see how many sets of foot prints are visible] To Reggie, do you mind if I check your car old chap, it would help the rest of us to know if you are really in the same boat. You can check mine, and we can check the others. I suspect that the saboteur will have left their own car alone, inorder to make a getaway.


[There are no old sets of footprints, but, given how heavy the snow is, that isn't too surprising.]

Reggie: [To Austin] Sure. [Points out the drive] It's about half a mile that way. [To Jerrick] I had no opportunity to do it -- it's a thousand degrees below freezing here!

;;; Out for an hour


Jerrick: Odd - if I were the killer, I'd have set off straight away, before anyone realised their car was tampered with.

;;; Out for ~1hr


Charlie: I think Mr. Peacock is right. Let us go back inside and search the house. [To Austin] It is far too cold out here to walk that far. We'll have to try in the morning.


Austin : [Cheerily] Oh goodie! A night in a house with a murderer and lots of available victims! [Trudges back towards the house] I doubt if we'll get much sleep.


Mac: Wait! All night? I just meant until someone came along to rescue us! There must be a telephone we can use to call somebody? [Begins searching for a phone urgently]


Charlie: [Alarmed] We can't call for help until we deal with the dead body!


Mac: You guys can deal with the body. I'm innocent and I'm getting out of here. My fans *need* me!


Jerrick: Nobody needs you, Mac. On the other hand *I* am innocent, and humanity needs me!


Alice: What we all need is the murderer, captured! Okay, am I right in thinking that there is no one else in the house?


Charlie: I have no idea! I haven't seen anyone else. Why don't we all split up and search the house?


Austin : Split up? Honey that is a great way for someone else to get killed. We should all stick together, we still don't know if there is someone else here or if one of usis the murder!


Reggie: So we all search the house en masse? Making it easy for anyone in the house to avoid us? Ridiculous!


Mac: [Still rushing from room to room looking for a phone] Just start looking for a bloody telephone!

;;; Out for the rest of the day.


Austin : [To Reggie] It is not ridiculous if it keeps us alive. We could split up into two groups, that way even if there are people to raise the alarm or witness any evil deeds.


Reggie: [Catches Mac by the arm] Hey! Cool it! Let's decide what we're going to do first. The telephone could be anywhere!

Alice: [Points to a hall telephone] There's one.

;;; Gone for the weekend!


Jerrick: [To Mac] Brainless pretty boys are all over the place! Throw a rock and you can find some teenager to shove on stage. Creating songs that move people is real talent, which is why you need me! [To the Party] I don't want to be alone with any of you!


Charlie: I don't want to be alone with any of you, either, but this will be faster if we split up. Besides, we can all take a weapon, just to be safe. We can split into pairs. No one would be foolish enough to murder their partner--it would be a dead giveaway! [Giggles nervously and says weakly] Dead!


Clint: [Sensibly.] I, for one, can vouch that no one left the dining room until we all went to the lounge, so if anyone tampered with the cars, it must have been Reggie or Smithers, or someone else we haven't seen yet. As I suggested well back when the terrible, unfortunate events of tonight first took place.

;;; So I've just finished doing my taxes for the year. I owe the IRS

$2. Glory!


Charlie: [To Clint] There's no need to be smug about it! [Huffily] And I refuse to be paired with YOU, just in case there's any danger of that happening!

;;; Woo, not too bad! Believe it or not, I have to file every

;;; year, too, and it's the biggest pain. I have no U.S. income

;;; or anything, but still am legally obliged to file to report on

;;; my meager Irish income. All very sinister, isn't it?!


Jerrick: [Kindly] Don't worry Charlie, you can slee -- er, pair -- with me.


Clint: [Nodding.] I see. And you pretend to be my son, you horrible, dissolute young man!

;;; I remember. I had to do my US taxes when I was living in Ireland, too.

;;; They were mostly really easy, except for this nonsense about needing to

;;; convert my Irish income to dollars using the exchange rate on the

day I was

;;; paid, which, yeah.


Mac: [Spitefully to John] Why would she want to be paired with a nobody with *daddy* issues, [turns to Charlie] when she can be paired with a star [proffers arm to Charlie] ?


Charlie: [Giggles, twirling a bit of hair around her finger flirtatiously] Aren't you boys sweet? But how could I ever pick between you? Maybe we'd better draw straws.


Jerrick: [To Mac] Kinda excluded yourself, there, sport. [Angrily] And I do not have daddy issues! [To Clint] Who the hell would *pretend* to be *your* son? I have the unfortunate shame to be the, *ahem* [With some distaste] fruit of your loins. [To Charlie] Don't worry yourself. Clearly the considerable amount of stress has taken its toll. [Offers his arm] Simply choose to accompany and be assured of having made the best choice of all!

;;; Have a good weekend folks!


Mac: That's obvious, you should come with me. I have to work out and keep in top physical condition so I can perform, rather than sit in a dank room writing all day. [Smugly] I can better protect you.

;;; After all this Charlie is probably the killer >.< Mac's too stupid

;;; to notice that though.


Charlie: [Bats her eyes at Jerrick and Mac and swoons] Oh, you're both so commanding! I just know I'd feel safe with either of you, even in this horrible place! [To Alice, helplessly] I just don't know what to do! They're both just so wonderful. You're SO lucky not to have this problem.

;;; You, too! Great fun this week, everyone! : )


Alice: Too right. How awful it would be to have them drooling over me. [To the others] Let's draw straws for groups.


Clint: [Dubious.] If you really think it would help... [Draws a picture of a straw.]


Alice: What's that? A picture of your penis?


Mac: This is no time for an art class, Alice! Besides, we have our group, don't we Charlie?


Alice: But a man has a hole in both ends. [Gives a cheeky smile] And, like straws, it's what makes them so much fun!


Austin : [Watching the exchange, incredulously. Smiling happily] Excellent, well I am glad everyone is happy. Shall we split into two groups and search the house now?


Clint: Certainly! But I'm not in the group with that depraved woman, who's soul is certainly in dire jeopardy. [Rummages around in his pockets for some holy water to sprinkle on Alice, or something like that.]


Jerrick: Don't worry, Dad - er, Father. Alice, Charlie and I can be one group, and the rest of you can be the other group.

;;; Sorry folks - stupid stuff at work


Jerrick: I don't think so! Besides, that would put you in the same group as Clint. Won't *that* be fun?


Mac: Wow, I don't know where you learned to count but [explaining like you would to a 5 year old, with a heavy dose of sarcasm on the side] me plus Charlie makes a group of two! The rest can split down into other groups of two. In fact, perhaps it would be best if you went with daddy, sounds like you two could do with a good heart-to-heart.


Charlie: [Smiles at Mac and Jerrick] Now, boys, there's no need to fight! Let's let the fates decide and draw lots, like Mrs. Black suggested. [Pulls a small black book and a pen out of her purse] Here, I have a little address book in my purse. We can tear out some of the blank pages and make little slips of paper, half with X on them and half with O. The Xs and Os can group up!


Alice: Are you sure you know how to spell X? Oh, I suppose it's how you spell your name. [To Mac] How many groups? Groups of two? Or groups of four?


Jerrick: [Patiently] Austin suggested two groups, not groups of two. That'd mean Alice, Charlie and I can be in one group, and Austin, Reggie, Mac and Clint can be in another. Perfect!


Alice: Ah yes, all the girls in one group, and all the boys in the other.

Dur: What about me? Let's just draw for it like Charlie suggested.


Charlie: [Working on making up slips of paper with Xs and Ox] Here, I've finished! Mr. Mustard, could we use your hat to mix the slips for people to draw?


Jerrick: Yikes! Forgot about you there, Dur. You can go with the other group if you like. [Defeated] Oh ok, draw some lots if you want to.


[AUSTIN offers up his hat, and CHARLIE puts the slips in.]

Alice: [Takes one] Okay, let's all take one and show them at the same time.

[The hat is passed around, and then everyone reveals their slip. Those with X are DUR, ALICE, CHARLIE and REGGIE, while JERRICK, MAC, AUSTIN and CLINT have O.]


Austin : Good, now that is settled let's get searching. The X's can do the ground floor, and us O's can check upstairs.


Mac: What? You mean we actually have to do work? How about the X's go and explore while the O's guard down here?


Reggie: What's the problem? You got something to hide?


Mac: Not at all. But you expect me to go rummaging around a place like this?


Charlie: But we have to see if there's anyone else here! It's not safe to stay here until we know. And we ARE stuck here, aren't we?


Mac: Well... I guess if it's for *your* safety I could look around.


Jerrick: Sure, Mac, we could use you as bait to draw the mad axe murderers out.


Mac: [To Jerrick] Why don't you just save us all the trouble and confess now?


Jerrick: Confess to being a marvelous poet, a paragon of culture, the pinnacle of human achievement, an example to humankind and just generally awesome? OK, why not?


Alice: My, my, I'm certainly glad I'm not with Team Testosterone. Have fun, boys!

[Exit ALL. Team X search downstairs, while Team O head upstairs.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming up


Mac: No, confess to being the twisted S.O.B. who killed the butler, whilst probably aiming for [finger quotes] dear daddy but being such a girl you missed.


[Book VII, Act IX, Scene IV. The Library. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, JERRICK, MAC and REGGIE are here. Team O, that is, AUSTIN, CLINT, JERRICK and MAC, were on the way upstairs (marked with an x on the map) when they heard some screaming from downstairs. They quickly discovered that it was coming from the library. When they arrive, they can see ALICE at the door, beside the light switch, DUR lying on the ground with blood coming from his head, REGGIE also on the ground with blood all around him, and that CHARLIE is standing over him, bloody candlestick in hand, and a red mark (as though from a blow) on her face.]

Alice: [Points at Charlie] She's the murderer!


Charlie: [Startled, drops the candlestick] I'm not! Someone tried to kill me! It was self-defense!!


Jerrick: Looks like you were rigth Mac - Charlie *should* have gone with you.


Austin : [Rushing down the stairs] Well that narrows it down nicely [Checks the bodies to see if either of them survived. To Alice] Alice, why did you turn the lights off?


Mac: So Alice and Charlie are in this together? [To Jerrick] Stop being a child! Someone has just died and you have to try and get a snide comment in?


Alice: I didn't turn the lights off, you moron, I turned them on. This is what it's like with them off. [Turns off the lights, causing all manner of screams, before turning them back on again] And this is what it's like with them on. Off [click] on [click] .

[DUR is unconscious but alive, while REGGIE is dead.]


Jerrick: Can you think of a better time? Besides, there's something to be said for laughing in the face of adversity.


Dur: [Groans in pain] I must be losing my vision!From qvblogger Delivered-To: conor.r@gmail.com Received: by with SMTP id kr9cs76371qcb; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 06:11:33 -0700 (PDT) Return-Path: <heather.goggans@gmail.com> Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of heather.goggans@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) client-ip=; Authentication-Results: mr.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of heather.goggans@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) smtp.mail=heather.goggans@gmail.com; dkim=pass header.i=heather.goggans@gmail.com Received: from mr.google.com ( [] ) by with SMTP id e8mr1156474wed.35.1303305092770 (num_hops = 1); Wed, 20 Apr 2011 06:11:32 -0700 (PDT) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:mime-version:date:message-id:subject:from:to:cc :content-type:content-transfer-encoding; bh=pWCryDtsWBn2wFpA0/lCIPdpFOoPtFfKUCRsmUsu7A4=; b=c+e2puvMMF8KqHfJG5BV/Yfulq7LeYCtGsEsKPAHA2C7kgoESkEZ3Um5O/Q7OaZPgg 6Qvtwn81tTjm5MVgMR9WvoyR7AJUavbwGDefozeWizmjL+L4a/0dum4LIGnoiVz72lrF Wtiy87rrhzBvWQuR0+Ygz8rMNwzUdg45nwirIDomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:date:message-id:subject:from:to:cc:content-type :content-transfer-encoding; b=DAjw+TR246jsMWAO+I0YHDvMlxuxAfbmJC+JUyL2ibTMSLe5G9dgjvftdks2ofHI8V HDCXjj9v5l8Zu2FrcJI+dr3FA2Y3tV16+zXTLDCFWq5EYEZErQqEwkj7ZbzBAUa0FuKL Bo0Fv0+NALuNtm2EmHPPcbADf6rF/bz8Gt34UMIME-Version: 1.0 Received: by with SMTP id e8mr805149wed.35.1303305092689; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 06:11:32 -0700 (PDT) Received: by with HTTP; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 06:11:32 -0700 (PDT) Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:11:32 +0100 Message-ID: <BANLkTikZEQdjjPevtU=s=58F5RM=o8OhFw@mail.gmail.com> To: Conor Ryan <conor.r@gmail.com> Cc: Vel Angelus <velangelus1@gmail.com>, dom <djmalzie@gmail.com>, John Ludlow <john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com>, Tom Henderson <Thomas.Henderson@rice.edu>, Tom Henderson <th4@rice.edu>, "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA" <Kevin.Day@hanson.biz>, Colin Dinan <Colin.Dinan@version1.com>, Colin <dinancolin@googlemail.com>, djmalzie <djmalzie@googlemail.com>, QVBlogger <qvblogger@gmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Charlie: But someone attacked me! Look! [Gestures to her red cheek]


Austin : [Dabs Durs brow with a damp cloth, then tries smelling salts to bring him round] Wake up man, come on Dur.


Alice: Yes. It's a miracle you survived.


Jerrick: Austin, Mac, Clint and me were on the way upstairs. I doubt it's Reggie, because that would be one badly thought out plan. Who does that leave us with?


Alice: The only one of us who's holding a bloody weapon!


Mac: Dur, Charlie and Alice.


Charlie: I dropped the weapon! And I only used it to scare away my attacker, anyway!


Alice: I guess one could say that you scared the life out of him!


Jerrick: Don't forget that there might be someone else here as well - that is, after all, why we were checking the house. Look, maybe each group can use a flashlight?


Alice: Each group? You're not seriously suggesting that I'm going to stay wandering around this creepy house with [gestures to Charlie] Killer here?


Charlie: What about my emotional distress?! Someone tried to attack ME you know! I don't think we should split the group again, and I agree we must carry light sources. Every time the lights go out, something dreadful happens!


Jerrick: Don't worry, ladies - I'll protect you. [To Charlie] I suggested the flashlights so we at least have something if the lights go out again. Unless you're totally against the idea of us being able to see what's happening when the lights go out...?


Austin : [Examines the corpse to see if Reggie was killed with the candle stick in the Library] There could be two murderers, or more. [Looks around at the others] Flash lights are a very good idea, or perhaps there are some candles around.


[The candlestick is right beside REGGIE. Also on the floor is a piece of lead pipe; this too has blood on it.]

Alice: These are the same candlestick and pipe we saw before! [To Charlie] Did you take one of them with you when we left the dining room?


Charlie: Well, yes, I did! [Defensively] I suggested everyone take one of the weapons. It's not my fault no one listened to me but me!


Jerrick: If there's a shotgun, I'll have that one!


Alice: But why did she take two weapons?!


Dur: Double the protection maybe?From qvblogger Delivered-To: conor.r@gmail.com Received: by with SMTP id kr9cs78231qcb; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 07:16:52 -0700 (PDT) Return-Path: <heather.goggans@gmail.com> Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of heather.goggans@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) client-ip=; Authentication-Results: mr.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of heather.goggans@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) smtp.mail=heather.goggans@gmail.com; dkim=pass header.i=heather.goggans@gmail.com Received: from mr.google.com ( [] ) by with SMTP id e8mr1247864wed.35.1303309010964 (num_hops = 1); Wed, 20 Apr 2011 07:16:50 -0700 (PDT) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:mime-version:date:message-id:subject:from:to:cc :content-type; bh=9S03jWGqAbjh+4180PXbDPOGwKYouo8MeT12Ql77VeM=; b=CR4Yvx1AdN3gPkDYzWVI0kq3qpGGAZzKqW9XCmcarZK5OnuBEn08vNz8cDEn2HyxpA C2Up9SqizhV91ShSFNBv0ceHyLKj3zngVbZv7hft+cmdPk2P1qP2RJWqdNKuzIq6OfZd 8RUXmuGIrrcYiLwNFRFYNBSoDU2s9uBUG0tpYDomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:date:message-id:subject:from:to:cc:content-type; b=ZIfM2IlG8o/BnmHZ6kpopUjm0h9+J3XM/TTbgR3PxhDa6hGe7HeUXMj8JEqQpYcylX Izsj3QOKHiR9eCvEkM8izUK4WihgObq+OpazkpHy5Iq9P2jMoBUG/8Gk0B+9phtbk/Pg JszXzH0xNEHj+efuYPK0wiv3xTNrCBadcnNv0MIME-Version: 1.0 Received: by with SMTP id e8mr872215wed.35.1303309010854; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 07:16:50 -0700 (PDT) Received: by with HTTP; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 07:16:50 -0700 (PDT) Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:16:50 +0100 Message-ID: <BANLkTikDH0SMqRY+ko23xz8qWt25M8EcEQ@mail.gmail.com> To: Conor Ryan <conor.r@gmail.com> Cc: John Ludlow <john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com>, dom <djmalzie@gmail.com>, Vel Angelus <velangelus1@gmail.com>, Tom Henderson <Thomas.Henderson@rice.edu>, Tom Henderson <th4@rice.edu>, "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA" <Kevin.Day@hanson.biz>, Colin Dinan <Colin.Dinan@version1.com>, Colin <dinancolin@googlemail.com>, djmalzie <djmalzie@googlemail.com>, QVBlogger <qvblogger@gmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Charlie: I didn't! I only took the candlestick. [Relieved] Thank goodness, I'm innocent!


Alice: Do you really expect us to believe that? [Looks around] Well, I know Mac will, but the rest of us!


Jerrick: So who brought the pipe?


Mac: Remember, innocent until proven guilty. I admit, standing over a body with a bloody candlestick in your hand is certainly suspicious, but not proof.


[No one answers.]

Alice: Did anyone see someone fiddling with the pipe?

[Again no answer.]


Charlie: It had to have been Reggie!


Alice: Because surely no one would lie about having had a deadly weapon!


Jerrick: Y'know, if you two want to, I don't know, wrestle over this or something, I'll be happy to referee.


Clint: The important thing is that we figure out if there's someone else here or not, and quickly. Otherwise, we can just lock Alice, Charlie, and Dur in a room together with the lead pipe and arrest whoever comes out alive as the obvious killer.


Austin : [Smiling to Clint] The important thing is that no one else dies! [To Alice, Dur and Charile] Did any of you turn out the light? Who was closest to the light switch when the lights went out?


Alice: I was the first into the room, so I didn't see.


Dur: [Rubbing his injured head] Well, I am pretty sure that I entered the room behind Charlie, if that helps?


Clint: So she'd have had to turn around to hit you. [Examines Dur's injury.]

;;; Which side of Dur's head is the injury on? Can we do the whole "I see the

;;; killer must have been left-handed" bit or something?


Austin : So, Charlie, what was the nature of the attack from which you were defending yourself?


Jerrick: It wasn't Dur, was it?


Dur: Are you honestly suggesting that I assaulted myself?From qvblogger Delivered-To: conor.r@gmail.com Received: by with SMTP id kr9cs84030qcb; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 09:54:10 -0700 (PDT) Return-Path: <john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com> Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) client-ip=; Authentication-Results: mr.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) smtp.mail=john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com; dkim=pass header.i=john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com Received: from mr.google.com ( [] ) by with SMTP id m6mr1227653ict.85.1303318450164 (num_hops = 1); Wed, 20 Apr 2011 09:54:10 -0700 (PDT) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:mime-version:from:date:message-id:subject:to:cc :content-type:content-transfer-encoding; bh=qjqSBGbOWVtwgxLwzoG863AsuX9l5JruCBUi0TSfWc0=; b=hRHuX4/xfJripHW0iISjU8N+OHA485xdcGVGc9axvG9Tv+emUfVBUD8pKF4kVLxtyX sVvfUAFEoeGXL6TDz4jUZkGAiofkMCMEdCtCSj51BHim/8UjhVudW6nKTqrzYj/Vk+78 6Aka7t0NnsK5Ezz7hxp0Kom+6VxKkm3Jg4CbgDomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:from:date:message-id:subject:to:cc:content-type :content-transfer-encoding; b=w+PgLmi8NTD+K+iVShHr0N+X6S5lPV50VHfIcUsrGghqrYvjR2/EbXywVw7zv+HfS4 qcEhVa0ZYIpEW/blzVSKRnrAnWmf85Cjud81VrVGZ9ihSn8gtNG9gRyRwGYLIsgVToK3 W2Jgf8KpMOlyUIkf+nTo6bj+RribM057SX6vQReceived: by with SMTP id m6mr889085ict.85.1303318450119; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 09:54:10 -0700 (PDT) MIME-Version: 1.0 Received: by with HTTP; Wed, 20 Apr 2011 09:53:30 -0700 (PDT) Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 17:53:30 +0100 Message-ID: <BANLkTi=xm8GHLMxdT404+1FbPTgE9xuNDA@mail.gmail.com> To: "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA" <Kevin.Day@hanson.biz> Cc: dom <djmalzie@gmail.com>, Conor Ryan <conor.r@gmail.com>, Tom Henderson <Thomas.Henderson@rice.edu>, Heather <heather.goggans@gmail.com>, Vel Angelus <velangelus1@gmail.com>, Tom Henderson <th4@rice.edu>, Colin Dinan <Colin.Dinan@version1.com>, Colin <dinancolin@googlemail.com>, djmalzie <djmalzie@googlemail.com>, QVBlogger <qvblogger@gmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Jerrick: What? No, don't be ridiculous! I'm seriously suggesting that you groped Alice or Charlie again, and they bashed you over the head.


Alice: I don't know, Dur. If I was as tiresome as you'd, I know I'd assault myself!

[DUR was bashed on the right hand side of the head, more towards the back than the front. It's not really possible to gauge the handedness of the (alleged!) assailant, though.]


Charlie: The nature of the attack against me was that someone hit me in the face, really hard! I had to defend myself!

;;; Sorry to be afk with so much activity! Back tomorrow

;;; making an obnoxious number of posts, as usual!


Alice: [Mock horrified] Not the face! [To the others] Well? Do we believe her?

;;; In and out of meetings until 12!


Clint: [Shakes his head.] I'm sure we don't believe anyone!


Charlie: [To Mac and Jerrick] You believe me, don't you? I was just so scared without either of you around, I just had to defend myself as best I could!


Alice: Try to sound a little more helpless; then I'm sure they'll believe you! [Looks around] Maybe we should search as one big group?


Mac: Well... the evidence is pretty damning. [To everyone else] But how could someone as sweet and innocent like Charlie do something like this? She just doesn't seem to be the type.

;;; Mac may be an idiot, but I think you're as guilty as a puppy sitting

;;; next to a pile of poo.


Clint: For once, we are in total agreement, Ms. Black. Perhaps each of us should be watching one of the others, too. I suggest Mac watch one of the men, so he will be less... prone to distraction caused by unholy, lecherous thoughts.

;;; I have to say, it feels really, really weird to type Clint: Says something

;;; annoyingly religious.


Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Alice: Perhaps you could say a prayer for him? --Apple-Mail-1-797831145 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit


Charlie: [Puts her hands over her ears] Please don't! I just won't feel safe until we search the house, so why don't we take a look in all of the rooms, just to be sure.


Alice: [Points to a corner] Look! A phone!


Jerrick: [Picks up the phone and listens for a dial tone] We should check any drawers or cupboards - see if we can find where they keep the flashlights.

;;; Not sure what the usual plan is at Easter, but after today I'll

have intermittent access until Tuesday evening,

;;; as I'll be visiting family in Leeds.


Last from John 44

[Alas, the phone is dead.]

;;; It usually depends on who's around

;;;; Who is available on Friday?


Austin : [Gets a flashlight from his coat pocket, checks that it works] In my line of work you should never be without one.


Charlie: [Nervously pokes through a drawer, looking for flashlights] Oh, let's hurry! I just know someone is sneaking around and spying on us.

;;; Me!


Clint: Judging by the dead bodies, he's doing more than spying, Charlie!

;;; Me too. I was shocked to discover that I got Good Friday off in Ireland!


Alice: [To Charlie] Oh, do you? Who's that? Your accomplice??

[AUSTIN searches through REGGIE's things. His ID confirms that he is who he said he was, and the only other thing of interest is a bunch of keys, at least one of which looks like a car key. The others seem to be generic house/lock keys.]

;;; That's what's good about it!!


Charlie: [Looking at the keys] I wonder if any of those will open any of the doors in this house? That might tell us if he was really the one who brought us here!


Jerrick: That could take a long time. Let's check out the rest of the house first.


Charlie: [To Jerrick] Agreed, let's search the house. [Attempts to take Jerrick's arm, batting her eyes] You'll watch out for me, won't you?


Jerrick: [Smiling his most charming smile at Charlie, offers his arm] Of course I will, my dear. I shall be your gallant knight in shining armour, always between your lovely visage and whatever may harm it! [Grins triumphantly at Mac]


Austin : Well, let's search this floor clockwise. Next is the Study [Heads to the Study]


Alice: But who's going to protect Jerrick from you, Charlie?

[Everyone heads to the study. It is pretty bare, although the desk is covered in papers.]


Jerrick: [Mock fear] I hoped you might do that, Alice!


Alice: [Nods] I suppose she can't harm you if you're already dead!


Charlie: Don't be silly, I'm perfectly harmless! [Picks up some of the papers on the desk] Hmm, do these look interesting to anyone? [Reads some of the papers]


Austin : [Casually glanceing to see who is closest to the light switch, then checks through the papers and looks through draws etc to find clues] Well they were interesting to someone.

;;; do we find anyhting?


Jerrick: [To Alice] But why would I be dead with two such lovely ladies to look after me? [Begins to look through the papers] Maybe we'll find out who lives here?


Austin : [Shrugs] There is still no evidence to suggest that Smithers was lieing about the fact that this place was rented by a 'John Smith'. The opposite is true really, there are no photos of family, or memorabilia, personal items etc.


Jerrick: What about any clue about who owns it then? Or we could move onto the next room.

;;; What are the papers about? Are they newspapers, bills...?


[Amongst the papers are a contract made out to a JOHN SMITH for renting this house, a folder with each party member's name on it, some newspaper clippings -- one of which is "Scientists Baffled by Mysterious Stone Tablets" and then several describing the disappearance of an archaeologist called ARCHIE BROWN, who seems to have stolen the stone tablets mentioned earlier. The latest of the articles is only two days ago.]


Dur: [Peering over Jerrick's shoulder] This doesn't answer any questions! What do stone artifacts have to do with why we were brought here?


Alice: I wonder -- if someone ate one of those tablets, would they be stoned?


Charlie: [Puzzled] How strange! I can't see the connection, either. Maybe it's just a coincidence? Perhaps we should keep looking. Maybe we'll find something more to help explain all of this?


Jerrick: Maybe. I wonder who this Archie Brown person is?


Alice: [Looking through the folders] Me too. I also wonder why Reggie is the only one invited here who doesn't have a folder.


Charlie: [Studies Archie's picture] I've seen him in the paper, but I've never met him. [To the others] Do any of you recognize him?


Alice: It sounds like he stole those stone tablets, whatever they were. How big is a stone tablet, I wonder?


Jerrick: This John Smith seems to have some kind of fascination for this Archie Brown. There's obviously some connection, and if we assume that John Smith isn't his real name... could John Smith and Archie Brown be the same person?


Charlie: I suppose he could be, but what motivation would a man like that have to blackmail strangers?! Surely his interests are more things like [vaguely] chess and solving math problems for fun?


Jerrick: And stealing priceless stone tablets which baffle scientists, apparently.


Alice: [Looking in a press] Huh! Look what we have here! [Steps back to let the others see]

[Inside are two stone tablets, each about three feet high and one foot across. One has a carving of a dove on it, and the following number sequence:

536904399 562100296 561147670 563163098 536904399 567680515 409522002

The other contains a bunch of tiny symbols that look almost, but not quite, like normal, modern letters.]

;;; Gone for 1-1.5 hours


Jerrick: Speaking of which... [Peers at the number sequences] Well, I can see why the scientists were baffled


Austin : [Smiles] They look like social security numbers. [Ponders] But why would they be carved in stone? [Shrugs stareing closely at the stones] That last number happens to be the SSN of a singer-guitarist guy I met briefly, a nobody. [Checks his note book] He just signed up with a record company that I had a brief cause to investigate. The guy goes by the name of Presley.


Jerrick: You remember other peoples' social security numbers? [Laughs, nervously] Why not? Of course you do. So run that thing by us again - the bit where you're not the evil villain trying to blackmail us all?


Last from Dom 74

Alice: [Looks closely at the numbers] Hey! That first one is my social security number! Does anyone else recognize these numbers?

;;; each set corresponds

;;; to a party member's

;;; social security number

;;; careful, dom, this

;;; is pre-google!From qvblogger

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Charlie: [Gasps] Mine is there, as well!From qvblogger Delivered-To: conor.r@gmail.com Received: by with SMTP id kr9cs19939qcb; Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:56:50 -0700 (PDT) Return-Path: <john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com> Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) client-ip=; Authentication-Results: mr.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) smtp.mail=john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com; dkim=pass header.i=john.ludlow.uk@gmail.com Received: from mr.google.com ( [] ) by with SMTP id l7mr210397icn.0.1303401410071 (num_hops = 1); Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:56:50 -0700 (PDT) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:mime-version:from:date:message-id:subject:to:cc :content-type; bh=TNiZ9DPlutI8CY7DI63qfYL1s8nNHKlZ+ai1UBZ20u4=; b=oWtUXo14K+MGaXgxVxKDXitekMVpaKQ5bEZBNKiThvJatdP2C/5mqdfR9tOBOcUUG8 aSvvVZM+VYlED2zWB67OIgOGus/b8uatAnhc0jVCIp6iCdcYIw5rlzpbJOQzQUvjSI+O WoaV/fRvyKQixubPTZgGfLiPHVjuHiBPCrYZADomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:from:date:message-id:subject:to:cc:content-type; b=pEn2I8IUh7Jj+UrzOUXNl6MxWzbVqBYpXwwOsyh1qo1odlDGgt3xg4hS2+pAx6yoeC R6sIhfF9hLxec19bVMC81NHZbiy1ipALNloSjQk7hF6m0ZHrw38gPNx2/TZaI94InNc5 8qWB779RTescN5GJ2YZ2mPUwAxb3hWdueCR2UReceived: by with SMTP id l7mr167613icn.0.1303401410032; Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:56:50 -0700 (PDT) MIME-Version: 1.0 Received: by with HTTP; Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:56:10 -0700 (PDT) Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 16:56:10 +0100 Message-ID: <BANLkTik6R1EgtZyMhjjMMhAqcbXjQ6kbXQ@mail.gmail.com> To: Heather Goggans <heather.goggans@gmail.com> Cc: Conor Ryan <conor.ryan@ul.ie>, dom <djmalzie@gmail.com>, Conor Ryan <conor.r@gmail.com>, VelAngelus <velangelus1@gmail.com>, "Day, KevinR. (Las Colinas) NA" <Kevin.Day@hanson.biz>, Tom Henderson <Thomas.Henderson@rice.edu>, TomHenderson <th4@rice.edu>, Colin Dinan <Colin.Dinan@version1.com>, Colin <dinancolin@googlemail.com>, djmalzie <djmalzie@googlemail.com>, QVBlogger <qvblogger@gmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Jerrick: Ok so that answers the question of what the tablets have to do with us. How old are these things supposed to be, anyway?

;;; There was a time before Google? No! I don't believe it!

;;; Probably about to disappear for the weekend, until Wednesday.


Dur: And who would have taken the time to chizel our Social Security numbers into them?


Clint: Clearly it's a miracle! The inspired word of God, a new set of ten commandments somehow relating to my ministry, perhaps?


Jerrick: Yes, the commandments may be something like burn you at the stake. As an example.


Alice: Or perhaps to stone him to death?


Charlie: Oh, how horrible! [Grips Jerrick's arm] How could this happen?!


Clint: [Uncomfortable.] How about we focus less on this lunatic claiming to be my son's odd desire to see the color of my insides, and more on the lunatic who's actually killing people instead of just talking about it wishfully?


Mac: Yes, as much as I hate to agree with our *father* I must. We need to continue searching.


Austin : The mystery deepens. How on earth did our social security numbers get carved into stone thousands of years ago? [Looks around at the others] I suspect that this may have nothing at all to do with blackmail. Some freakish cult perhaps.

;;; are there any other clues?

;;;; how old are the tablets supposed to be? are there others around here?


Clint: You think Catholics, maybe?


Austin : [Nodding] Possibly. Any Christian or Muslim group, or any other religious group, they all have their extremists and crazies. They are just people after all.


Alice: [Shivers at Clint's words] It's bad enough being trapped in a house with a homicidal murderer without there being Catholics too! [Holds up one of the news cuttings] According to this, they are at least five thousand years old!


Austin : [Stands back, still reading a paper] This is all pretty exciting stuff, isn't it [Beams a smile at Alice] Who would have thought that we might get involved in a five thousand year old murder mystery! [Looks around for any more information] Perhaps we should search the hall next.


Charlie: Five thousand years ago? How is that possible? [To Austin] Yes, let's keep searching, though I think we've seen the hall, haven't we?

;;; Conor, did we come in through the hall?


;;; Yes -- although it DOES look like another room!

Alice: Huh, so, someone cut the phones and disabled our cars? I think we should be heavily armed before we go any further!


Jerrick: I doubt it's Catholics - by now they'd have told us all we're going to hell


Alice: Of course, we are all going to hell!

[Exit ALL.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up!


[Book VII, Act IX, Scene V. The Library. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, JERRICK and MAC are here. It is a standard looking library, along with portraits on the wall, but, like the other rooms, there is nothing personal here.]

Alice: It looks even less interesting than libraries normally do!


Mac: [Scans book shelves for anything notable or relevant] Hmm... probably provided as part of the rental.


Austin : [Has a search around and check some of the titles of books on the shelves, takes a few off the shelves, looks at a few] Everyone have a look around.


Jerrick: [Has a look round the bookshelves] Austin, keep that flashlight handy would you? [Reaches to pull a book off a shelf]

;;; Is there any furniture other than the bookshelves?


;;; Just some seats...

Alice: Yes, keep it handy in case someone does this! [Turns the lights off for a second, but turns them back on again right away, before looking through the books] Hey! I bet there's a secret passageway! [Scans through the books] Gasp! There's a one here called "The Secret Passsageway"! Stand back, everyone! [Gingerly pulls the book out, before turning to the others, disappointed] Oh. It's just a book. [Looks at it] About anal sex.


Charlie: [Reads over Alice's shoulder] Oooh, how depraved! Are they all this sordid?


Austin : Hmm, secret passageways. That would certainly allow someone to move around unseen. We should have searched the study too, but we might as well start here. [Wanders around the room tapping walls and stomping on floors listening for hollow sounds, checking the panelling, walls and bookshelves for seams etc.]


Alice: Let's see. [Looks at the bookshelf] Hm! [Reads a title] "Big Fat Cocks" [Takes the book down and flicks through it, before looking up in disbelief] It's about overfed chickens!

[The books are a real mix, with nothing particularly exciting or suspicious there. AUSTIN's checking doesn't yield any results.]


Jerrick: Lets read them and find out!


Mac: [Picks out a book] Look at this one, it's called "My Favourite Pussy"! [Eagerly starts flicking through it] Oh, it's only about cats.


Alice: [Picks out another one] "Bitches on heat". [Flicks through it] Huh, it's about Labradors.


Austin : Perhaps the book collection of an animal lover, or just a random collection of cheap books, to make the room look like a library.

;;;away home, have a good weekend!


Charlie: Let's try another room, then. Perhaps the billiard room?

;;; You, too!


Alice: [Holds up a book] This might be helpful! [Holds up a copy of "Having fun playing with your balls"] I bet it's some sort of billiard book. [Looks through it] Huh, I guess not. [Leaves it behind]

[The party cross the hall to the billiard room. Once again, this is an immaculate room with virtually no personal effects.]

Alice: So, I guess it's true that the house was rented. But by who?


Charlie: Perhaps the missing archaeologist? Only someone with access to those tablets would have been able to assemble all of us, using our social security numbers. But where IS he, if that's the case? Shall we try the conservatory?


Jerrick: Well, this John Smith person, whoever he is. Though he had the tablets which Archie Brown stole, so maybe they're either the same person or they know each other. We should look for anything that might be related to the tablets.


Clint: If he's here, aren't the odds good that he's already dead and we haven't found him yet?


Alice: Maybe a better question is if he's already dead, who killed him?


Mac: Who cares if he's dead? We need to find a way out of here!

;;; Out from 11 for several hours.


Jerrick: Yes, but none of the cars will start. We need to keep on looking - where next?


Clint: One spot is as good as any other. Let's just go clockwise or something.


Mac: Trust the idiot with the writing bug to state the bloody obvious. [To Jerrick] Why do you think I said *find* a way out?


Jerrick: [To Mac] Because you were stating the bloody obvious?


Mac: [Pointedly ignoring Jerrick] What do you mean not getting out of here tonight?! But, I can't be stuck here with *you* lot. I demand you get me out of here right now!


Austin : [Smiling caringly] Well we are clearly not going to get out of here tonight, so lets get on with the search.


Clint: And how do you propose we do that? [Shrugs.] I suppose you're welcome to start walking, my son.


Alice: [Applauds politely] Excellent suggestion.

[The party leave the billiard room, heading towards the conservatory, but spot that the doors to the ball room are chained and padlocked shut.]


Charlie: [Goes to the ballroom and tugs at the lock] How peculiar! What possible reason could someone have to lock a room like this? [Disapprovingly] It certainly isn't very elegant!


Austin : [Chuckles at the locks] Looks like we might need a crowbar [Tries to pick the padlock]


Jerrick: Obviously something in there we're not supposed to see. I don't suppose anybody has any tools with them?


[AUSTIN tries to pick the lock, but, alas, is unsuccessful.]

Alice: Sure. I never leave home without my bolt cutters. [Looks at the lock] Yikes, these are pretty serious looking locks.


Jerrick: Well go get your bolt cutters then and... Oh [Realisation dawns]


Charlie: Perhaps we can find the keys if we keep searching? On to the next room?


[The next room is the conservatory, which has a number of plants in it, but it doesn't look particularly well attended to.]

Alice: Yuck. Gardening.


Charlie: Let's try the kitchen, then. Perhaps we can find some implements to pick or break the lock on the ballroom in there!


[Everyone heads to the kitchen. There are plenty of knives and the like, but nothing that can obviously be used to cut the locks.]


Charlie: [Munching on an apple distractedly] Well, now what? We've checked every single room, haven't we? [Snaps her fingers] Wait! [To Austin] Didn't we find a bunch of keys on Reggie?! Maybe one of those opens the lock on the ballroom!


Jerrick: Is there a garage here? Maybe we should check that as well?


Alice: Yes! I think there was!

[The party put on their coats and head outside. The weather is even worse now, but they fight their way to the garage. The garage is completely void of tools, but there is a car here.]


Jerrick: So who's car is this? Does it start?


Charlie: All of ours were accounted for, weren't they? Perhaps Reggie lied about where he left his car? Let's try his keys!


Alice: You know, I thought I heard the sound of a car just before he came in!

;;; See post 09.02.008


;;; Austin has Reggie's keys


Austin : [Carefuly opens the car door then gets in a tries to start it] Here goes!


Alice: Maybe there's a bomb in the car? Maybe the rest of us should wait outside while he-

[Too late! AUSTIN turns the key and the car starts first time.]

Alice: [Embarrassed] Er, well, that is, I'm sure everything will be fine.


Charlie: [Relieved] Thank goodness we have a working vehicle, at least! Let's search the car and see if we can learn anything more about Reggie! [Checks out the glove compartment]


[The contents of the glove compartment reveal that this is a rented car. There is also a map of the local area, with the location of the house marked on it.]


Dur: Well, that isn't much help is it? Is there a receipt saying who rentedthe car?=


Jerrick: [Hopefully] Charlie and I could take the car into town and get help.


Austin : [Sighs, in a friendly manner] I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, but driveing in this weather is not a good idea. At least wait until daylight. [Looks around the group] The disturbing thing is that Reggie was probably the one who set us all up, but who killed him? I thought that none of us knew him?


Alice: It looks like he did give us his real name. Pop the trunk, Austin, there might be something useful there. [To Jerrick] You want to be trapped in a snowbound car with the only one of us who has confessed to killing someone? Be my guest!


Austin : [Pops open the trunk of the car and gets out, pocketing the keys. To Alice] Anything in there?

;;;; who has confesed to killing someone? Charlie said selfdefense no?

and might have his Dur?


Alice: Just the body.

;;; Sure, she CLAIMED self defense, but she killed

;;; him nonetheless!


Jerrick: Body?


Alice: [Steps back] Body.

[She's right. There is a body in there that is still fairly warm. It is a male, and has been bashed in the side of the head with a blunt object.]

Alice: It's kind of Charlie's m.o., isn't it?


Austin : [Goes round to check the body] Does anyone recognise them?


Dur: Is this Reggie? Or just some other poor victim?

;;; In meetings for the next few hours.From qvblogger

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Austin : [Searches the body] Lets see what they have?

;;;; go on, who is it?


Alice: [Gives Dur an appalled look] Reggie is back inside!

[AUSTIN quickly finds a wallet. It is ARCHIE BROWN, the archaeologist that had recently disappeared.]


Charlie: [To Alice, offended] I don't have an M.O! I was defending myself from a vicious attack. [Peers into the trunk] Oh, who is it?! How horrible!


Jerrick: Did this guy try to attack you as well?


Mac: Seems we'll not be finding out about the tablets from him.


Charlie: [To Jerrick] No, I've never met him before! Reggie must have killed him. He had the keys to this car, didn't he?


Austin : [Nods in agreement with Charlie] Yes he did have the keys to the car, but they could have been planted on him by the killer. This is ARCHIE BROWN, the archyologist that found the tablets. [Looks for any more clues in the wallet] Perhaps we should try Reggie's keys in on those padlocks.

;;;; awa hame!


Alice: If you'd never met him, then why on earth would you want to kill him?


Charlie: I didn't kill him! I couldn't harm a fly. [Hesitates] Weeell, unless that fly tried to knock me in the head in the dark, at which point I would bat at him with, say, a flyswatter or possibly a candlestick. [Brightly] Now, let's see what's in that locked room! [Shudders and grabs Jerrick's arm] Oh, I hope it isn't more dead bodies!


Jerrick: I doubt there will be any more bodies - I mean how many people have tried to knock you on the head in the dark.


Alice: It's pretty dark outside, Jerrick!


Charlie: But no one is trying to kill me, so there's no problem!


Clint: No one that you know of, my dear. There could still be a vicious killer on the loose somewhere.


Alice: It could even be your friendly priest!

[The party struggle back inside, and get to the ballroom.]

Alice: So, Archie was killed by Reggie? What does that mean?


Clint: [Shrugs.] It clearly had something to do with the tablets, and somehow had something to do with us, so I suspect we'll figure out why Reggie killed Archie when we figure out what these stone tablets really mean.


Charlie: But how can we do that? We're not, er, whatever it is you need to be to be able to know about that sort of thing!


Clint: [Drily.] Educated? Intelligent?


Jerrick: No, Dad, I don't think you're either of those things. Why not see if Reggie's keys work on the padlocks on the ballroom door? If there's nothing there then we can take another look at those papers. Maybe there's a clue there.


Clint: [Amused.] You are a damaged little soul, aren't you? I forgive your unkind words, and will pray for you, that you might grow the heck up.


Jerrick: [Nods] Yes, I blame the parents myself, wouldn't you agree.... Father?


Alice: So, was Archie going to blackmail us?


Charlie: Maybe not! The letters didn't exactly say anything about blackmail. Maybe he just wanted to scare us into coming here, and he knew saying he found our social security numbers on an ancient tablet might not do the trick! [Frowns] But then, why would Reggie kill him? Maybe he WAS blackmailing Reggie? [To Mac, grasping his arm for support] Oh, it's just too much for me to figure out!


Mac: [Sympathetically pats Charlie on the arm] It's OK, my dear. Perhaps we should sit you down and let these ruffians figure it out?


Clint: [Impatiently.] Come. Let's figure this out after we break into the ballroom. Anyplace they don't want us to be is a place I want to go!


Alice: Whatever Archie wanted us to see or do, Reggie certainly didn't.

[AUSTIN produces REGGIE's keys and unlocks the ballroom. The party go in and turn on the lights. There is a huge, metal machine in the middle of the room, that looks like the typical 1950s science fiction fair, with lots of dials and levers. It has a large tank in the middle, and there are seven masks that look like black diving goggles attached to it with large rubber tubes.]


Mac: Wow, that looks... technical.

;;; Are the masks attached to the tank so you can see in from the

;;; outside of the tank, or ones you strap on so you can dip your

;;; head into the tank?


[The masks look like the type that you would put on before putting your head into water but, in this case, the tank is solid, and can't be seen into.]


Jerrick: Dang, why can't there ever be loads of naked women hidden behind doors like this? I've seen this movie before - always with the mad scientist schtick.


Alice: [Walking around the tank, smoking a cigarette] And how does the movie end?


Charlie: [Picks up a mask and attempts to put it on] What on earth?!


Alice: Maybe it'll melt your eyes!


Charlie: [Yelps and pushes the mask away, covering her eyes with her hands] NOOOOOOO!!!!


Jerrick: [Rushes to help] Charlie! Are you ok. [To Alice, angrily] How could you!


Charlie: [Grabs hold of Jerrick's arm to steady herself, keeping her eyes closed] I--I think maybe I'm all right? [Slowly opens her eyes and gives a big sigh of relief] Yes, I'm fine! [Glares at Alice] Really, you are just horrid! That mask didn't do anything at all. [To the group] It's like a toy of some kind. You can see a little picture inside, that's all.


Jerrick: Cool, what's it of? [Takes a look through the mask, very cautiously]


Mac: Interesting... [Takes a mask and looks into it]


Austin : Curiouser and curiouser [Puts a mask on]


[The picture is of a dove on fire.]

Alice: [Yawns] Oh, please. It was just a suggestion. If she's really that fragile, she probably shouldn't be allowed out of the house.


Dur: [Takes a glance into the mask] Ewww. Bit gruesome for a toy, don't youthink?=


Charlie: [Wrinkles her nose] It isn't very nice, is it? Why on earth would you want a monstrosity like this taking up what could be a very nice place for dancing? Surely it must DO something more than [looks at the machine blankly] whatever it is it's doing?


Austin : [Starts searching round the machine and the room to see if there are nay clues to how it works.] Can anyone see instructions? My guess is that Brown built this for us to do something that he discovered in or about the tablets.


Alice: Nope, this place is pretty empty. Maybe we should head back to the study? Of course, do we really even want to know how it works?


Jerrick: We could bring the tablets and the papers in here - there may be some clue there that we're missing.


Charlie: Yes, I want to know why we were brought here, and this seems to be the only clue to follow. [Dramatically] To the study!


[Exit ALL, to the Study.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book VII, Act IX, Scene VI. The Study. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, MAC and JERRICK are here, having just arrived.]

Alice: Let's search the place again. Now that we know what we're looking for, we might actually find something useful.


Charlie: [Poking through papers] Yes, anything about those tablets would be helpful. Oh, and maybe something with a flamey bird on it!


Austin : The burning dove is very symbolic. [Searches though the papers] Burning doves, bizzare machines, ancient stone tablets with our social security numbers on them. Murder. [Chuckles] Quite possibly the most strange case that I have ever worked on. [Searches the room for secret doors etc]


Charlie: Symbolic? Of what? [Thinks a moment] Hatred of birds? Fear of feathers? [Shakes her head and says to Jerrick] You're the poet--what do you think it could symbolize?! [Vaguely] Love or something? Like the fire is passion?


Jerrick: A dove symbolises peace, a burning one...


Austin : [To Charlie] Indeed Jerrick, it symbolises peace, and as it is burning it symbolises sacrifice.


Alice: So someone wants us to sacrifice something, and someone else wants us to not do it so badly that he was prepared to kill to stop us. Interesting.

[The party search through the desk again, and come to what appears to be a schematic for the machine in the ball room. There is enough detail to see how the machine should be turned on, and that those connected should stay connected for ten seconds, but that's all.]


Charlie: [To the others] Well, I guess we know how it works, but not what it is supposed to do. I guess we could just try it and see what happens, but [worriedly] what if it fries our brains or something?


Ok so we're supposed to hook up to the sacrifice machine for 10 seconds. Who's up for that? Anyone?


Austin : It sounds as if it is worth a try, and it is probably the only way to find out what this is all about. [Smiles mischievously] It is probably to our benefit, otherwise Reggie would not have gone to so much trouble to try to stop us.


Alice: That's true. I wonder why he didn't come better equipped, though. Surely there are better ways to kill people!


Charlie: [To Alice] A subject you no doubt know a lot about!


Alice: If only!


Jerrick: [Takes a deep breath] Ok if we're going to do this, why don't we get on with it eh? [Walks towards one of the masks]


Austin : Come now ladies, I think that we have established that Reggie was most likely the killer and that Charlie killed him in self defence. [Looks over the design document for the machine] Why don't we go and try this, it will only take a minute and maybe then we will know what this is all about?


Alice: [Shrugs] Why not?

[The party hear the sound of a car pulling up.]

Alice: Huh. I thought the weather was too bad to drive?


Charlie: Oh, dear! I hope that isn't the police. We haven't had time to hide the bodies-- [laughs nervously] I mean, decide what to do about the bodies and all that. Should we answer it or just stay quiet and hope they go away?


Mac: Quick, everyone get into position to ambush whoever it is!


Alice: [Looks at Mac, appalled] Ambush? Oh no, I think I'll just stay here and have a drink. The rest of you can do that.


Charlie: Well, are we going to try the machine, anyway? Or should we just try to leave in Reggie's car? Someone was able to drive on the roads, so maybe we could, too!


Jerrick: Yes, let's take Reggie's car. Not entirely sure I want to get too close to this sacrifice machine - what if we're the sacrifice?


Alice: [Peers out the window] It's a jeep! [Turns to the party] Like the army have -- maybe that's how it could drive in this weather?


Charlie: Perhaps we're being rescued by the army! How wonderful! [Goes to the door]


Jerrick: No, wait! I think I've seen this movie too...


Mac: [Relieved] Oh of course! They must have realised I was trapped here and come to rescue me.


Jerrick: Well, in the movie it's always the guy who says that who dies first - so go right ahead!


Alice: Wait! [To Jerrick] Don't be so ridiculous -- he first needs to give someone the lucky charm that's kept him alive all these years, then he can be shot!


Jerrick: Oh, of course, you're right! Silly me. [To Mac, holding his hand out] C'mon, fork it over.


Clint: Hmm. If this is like the movies, then I as the man of God and Charlie as the vacuous blonde are also dead already.

;;; So the summary is giving me a sql error, by the way:

;;; Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]:

;;; Lost connection to MySQL server at 'reading initial communication

packet', ;;; system error: 113 in

;;; /var/www/html/queens-view/summary/list-summary.php on line 4


Charlie: [Scoffs] I've never used a vacuum cleaner in my life!

;;; Yeeeeah, there's been some server disaster, but

;;; Conor's hoping to have it going again next week!


Mac: What!? Me give you my lucky multi-platinum album first copy of the production line? No!


Jerrick: [To Alice, quietly] I don't think I saw that movie - any idea what happens if he doesn't give his lucky charm up?


Clint: I think then he gets killed anyway, because he's proven himself to be a selfish prat, and those types always die in this kind of movie anyway.


Alice: [Gravely] No, it's way more serious than that. [Dramatically] He survives!

[The party are all looking out a window, and see the jeep stop. A man gets out, although the snow is too heavy to see his face. He leans back in and takes out what appears to be a machine gun.]


Clint: [Eyes the gun nervously.] Not if that gun has anything to say about it he doesn't! [Looks around for a place to take shelter, praying quietly as he does so.]


Alice: [As the man approaches] So, is he here to protect us? Or to protect Reggie?


Charlie: Reggie, surely? Why would our host proceed without his best form of protection?


Clint: Perhaps we should send someone to ask him? Either way, he's a bit late!


Jerrick: [Wailing in fear] Maybe he's here to kill us all! [Gathers his composure, looking a bit embarrassed]


Mac: [Ignorant to the movie remarks] Well it was rather stupid of Reggie to arrive without his bodyguard.


[The man knocks on the door.]

Alice: [To Clint] Go on then! Open the door and ask him if he's going to kill us all!


Clint: If he were going to, he'd hardly knock, would he? [Goes to the door without opening it.] Yes? Who is it?


[The man starts firing into the door. Fortunately CLINT manages to jump to the side.]

Alice: [Hands over her ears from the deafening sound of the gunfire] I don't think he's here to help us!


Jerrick: Damn, he missed! Shall we retreat to somewhere there aren't people shooting at us?


Mac: [Nervously] For once I agree [starts moving to nearest safe place]


Austin : My guess is that a few people are really keen to stop us from using the machine. Why don't we lock ourselves in there, use the machien as it only takes a few seconds, and then this dude doesn't need to kill us anymore [Looks at the others] And everyone will be happy [Smiles]


Alice: [Alarmed] How do you know it only takes a few seconds?


Mac: Anything has got to be better than being shot!

;;; Out for an hour or so


Alice: Even having your eyes melted by an unknown machine?

[Everyone hurries to the ballroom, as more shots ring out through the door.]


Jerrick: [Looks around] Is there anything we can bar the door with?


Austin : [Takes the chains and padlocks that were on the doors previously and tries to secure the door from the inside] The instructions for the machine imply that it only takes about 10 seconds or so.


Charlie: [Goes to look at the controls and takes a mask] All right, everyone get ready, then I'll start it going!


Jerrick: [Nervously puts his face to the mask] Well, here goes nothing.

;;; In case I forget to mention this later, I've got a meeting at

about 3. Not sure how long it'll last, could be up to an hour.


Austin : Cool, lets do it [Slips on a mask]


Alice: Well, okay... [Puts on a mask too]

;;; Remember, it was only Austin's interpretation

;;; of the plans that suggest this is a fast process!


Dur: [Looking at a mask warily] You seem to think you know a lot about thismachine old boy!?


Mac: [Crosses his arms] No way! I'm not putting this beautiful face in jeopardy. Think of all the women who would kill themselves if anything happened to it!


Austin : [Chirpilly] Na, just what I guess from the plans, seems preferable to fighting a guy with a machine gun with my bare hands.


Charlie: [To Austin] I quite agree! [To Mac, coaxing] Please join us, Mr. Peacock! I think we must all participate, if this is to work. You're ever so brave to risk it!


Jerrick: [Backs away from the mask a little] I dunno - I think you fighting him with your bare hands could be preferable to me putting this thing on my face.


Alice: Oh for God's sake! [To Mac] Now you tell us you won't do it? Why the hell didn't you say that before we locked ourselves in here?

[The party can hear more gunfire in the house. It is close, but not right outside the ballroom door or anything.]


Mac: [To Charlie] Well, if it's a request from a fan, [turning on the smarmy charm] and such a pretty one at that, how can I refuse?


Alice: How about a request from a fan to shut the hell up?


Charlie: [To Alice] I know it's a bit of a stretch for you, but couldn't you TRY to be nice, at least until we see if we're going to be shot or have our brains melted by this machine?!


Alice: This IS me being nice! [Puts on the goggles]


Jerrick: Well if this is our only option [Approaches the mask again]


Clint: It's either this or face down the lunatic outside. He could probably do with a good praying for!


Jerrick: Can you pray a piano drops on his head or something?


Clint: [Nods.] Of course. "Oh Lord, smite this our attacker by dropping a piano on his head, that he might be crushed to a fine paste, in thy mercy. Amen."


[There's the sudden sound of a piano smashing to pieces, and the gunfire stops.]

Alice: I don't believe it! Did that actually work?

[More gunfire.]

Alice: Oh. He just shot the piano!


Jerrick: Hmmm, God obviously used one of those cheap balsawood pianos you give to kids. What about a lead anvil?


Clint: [Nods.] "Dear God, me again. We thank thee for thy aid. If it's not too much trouble, could you follow that up with a big lead anvil? Hallelujah!" Now let's get that machine going before anything else happens!


Austin : Does everyone have their masks on? ;;;; if everyone does Austin will start the machine


Jerrick: [Muffled by the mask] Yes!

;;; Hometime - see ya tomorrow1


Dur: [Hesitantly dons the mask and gives Austin a thumbs up]


Charlie: [With her mask on. To Austin] Yes, let's hurry!


Alice: I guess he doesn't know where the machine is; hopefully it'll be quiet and won't attract his attention.

[AUSTIN presses a huge switch, and the machine begins to hum very loudly.]


Clint: [Regards Alice.] You had to say it, didn't you?


Jerrick: Could've said "let's hope it's so loud it'll draw the attention of the police". Then it'd probably be whisper quiet. When does this thing do... whatever it does?


Clint: Quickly, I hope, before we end up shot!


Austin : Appart from the noise and the witty comments, does anyone see or feel anything happening?


[The noise suddenly gets very loud, and the masks start to glow. The attention of the man outside has been caught, and the door rattles.]

Alice: Whatever it does, it's starting to do!


Charlie: [Relieved] So far, my eyes don't seem to be melting!


[The door is shot up, and the brightness in the masks is now overwhelming. Everyone sees image of the dove come to life, only for it to burst into flames. This keeps playing over and over.]

Alice: My eyes are shut, and I can still see it! How much longer?


Charlie: I don't know! It keeps repeating, so maybe it IS done?? In any case, I don't understand what it's supposed to be doing!


Austin : Well, just give it a few more seconds, the door is still holding!


Jerrick: Seems a lot of trouble to go to just for a picture show.


[The door bursts open. Enter HORATIO DIMEWELL, an angry looking man with a machine gun. As soon as he spots the party, he opens fire, immediately hitting DUR, who had his back to the door.]

Alice: Holy shit! Let's get out of here!


Austin : I guess we need to wait a little longer. The 10 seconds was just a guess. I am sure we'll know when it has done it's thing! Hopefully we'll have some answers then!


Charlie: [Shrieks and flings off her mask] I'm the daughter of a U.S. Senator! Stop shooting!


Horatio: I don't care. [Shoots Charlie, and also hits Clint]

Alice: [Rips off her mask and dives behind the machine] A guess? Why the hell didn't you tell us that before?


Jerrick: [Removes his mask, then points at Mac] He's a teen pop singer with minimal talent! Shoot him!


Mac: [Screams and dives for cover]


[HORATIO shoots MAC, before turning on AUSTIN and JERRICK, both of whom drop under a hail of bullets.]

Alice: [Behind the machine] Please! What have we done to you?

Horatio: You destroyed the world. [Shoots Alice]

[HORATIO spends a little more time ensuring that everyone has been finished off, before dowsing the place in petrol and setting fire to it.]

;;; End of Book VI, Act IX. Next one starts TOMORROW.