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Lady Killer

Suspense

Lady Killer

Mar 02 1950



CAST:

VOICE, of Suspense

ANNOUNCER, Harlow Wilcox

REMING-CHESTER, pompous big game hunter

OPERATOR (1 line)


PEG LINCOLN

GRANT BENTON, good-natured, always joking

P. A., public address announcer (1 line)

STEWARDESS

1ST PASSENGER (1 line)

2ND PASSENGER (1 line)

JACK, elevator boy; eager-to-please

CLERK, at telegraph office

OPERATOR, at hotel (1 line)

DESK CLERK, at hotel

LONGMAN, police chief

OFFICER (1 line)




MUSIC: THEME ... THEN KNIFE CHORD


VOICE: SUSPENSE!


MUSIC: THEME CONTINUES IN BG


VOICE: Auto-Lite and its ninety-six thousand dealers present Miss Loretta Young in "Lady Killer," a Suspense play produced and edited by William Spier.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


REMING: Say, Wilcox! Did I ever tell you about the time I plugged a buffalo?


ANNOUNCER: No, Reming-Chester Shotgun, but have I told you about the sensational wide-gap Auto-Lite resistor spark plugs?


REMING: You mean there's something special about Auto-Lite resistor spark plugs?


ANNOUNCER: Why, wide-gap Auto-Lite resistor spark plugs are the newest addition to the complete line of regular, transport, aviation, marine, resistor, and model spark plugs ignition-engineered by Auto-Lite. 


REMING: You're sure pluggin' tonight, Wilcox.


ANNOUNCER: Ah, built right into every wide-gap Auto-Lite resistor spark plug is an exclusive ten-thousand-ohm Auto-Lite resistor that makes practical a wider initial gap setting with advantages that have long been recognized by automotive engineers. For example, you get smoother performance on leaner gas mixtures, greater gas savings, quicker starts in cold temperatures -- even double life as compared to spark plugs without the built-in resistor. So, friends, see your friendly Auto-Lite spark plug dealer tomorrow and replace worn-out spark plugs with ignition-engineered Auto-Lite spark plugs. Whether you choose the resistor type or the regular type, you'll be right -- because you're always right with Auto-Lite.


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN BEHIND--


VOICE: And now, with "Lady Killer" and the performance of Loretta Young, Auto-Lite hopes once again to keep you in--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD


VOICE: SUSPENSE!


SOUND: AIRPORT BACKGROUND ... AIRPLANE ENGINE STARTS UP, CONTINUES IN BG ... BENTON'S FOOTSTEPS TO PLANE BEHIND--


P. A.: (FILTER) Flight One-Seven-Five - to Morningside and Capital City - now loading at Gate Three. Will passengers please board the plane?


BENTON: Is this the right plane for Capital City, stewardess?


STEWARDESS: Yes, sir. Name, please?


BENTON: Benton. Grant Benton.


STEWARDESS: Take any seat, Mr. Benton.


BENTON: (LIGHTLY) I have a horror of getting in the wrong plane some day and winding up in Tibet. Things like that happen to me.


STEWARDESS: (CHUCKLES) Well, it's not very likely this time. Your name is on the passenger list. 


BENTON: (MOVING OFF) So it is. That won't keep me from worrying, though!


STEWARDESS: Name, please?


PEG: Uh-- Er, Nordlinger. Miss Nordlinger.


STEWARDESS: You can leave your coat with me if you like, Miss Nordlinger. 


PEG: Guess that would be better. Here you are.


STEWARDESS: Take any seat, Miss Nordlinger.


PEG: Thank you, stewardess. 


SOUND: WE FOLLOW PEG'S FOOTSTEPS INTO PLANE ... ENGINE NOISE FADES DOWN A BIT, MURMUR OF PASSENGERS FADES IN ... PEG'S STEPS DOWN THE AISLE AS WE HEAR SNATCHES OF PASSENGER CONVERSATION FADE IN AND OUT--


1ST PASSENGER: --I always say the best way to travel, if you ask me--


2ND PASSENGER: (DISMISSIVE) Aw, you can't date a stewardess -- company rules.


SOUND: PEG'S STEPS STOP BEHIND--


PEG: (TO BENTON) I beg your pardon, is this seat taken?


BENTON: As a matter of fact, Miss Nordlinger, I was saving it for you.


PEG: (BEAT, SURPRISED) You - know me?


BENTON: We've never met, but we travel in the same circles. Don't I look at all familiar?


PEG: No. (CHUCKLES) But how do you do?


SOUND: PEG SITS BEHIND--


BENTON: (CHUCKLES) Sit down, fasten your safety belt, have a pillow. Stick of gum? Fetch a blanket?


PEG: Well, I'll settle for the gum.


BENTON: Here you are.


PEG: Thank you.


BENTON: If you chew gum when you're up in the air, it relieves pressure on the ears.


PEG: Oh. 


BENTON: Why it relieves pressure in the ears, I haven't the vaguest notion.


PEG: (CHUCKLES) Do you always babble on like this?


BENTON: Pretty near always. Though sometimes--


SOUND: STEWARDESS' STEPS APPROACH BEHIND--


STEWARDESS: (APPROACHES) Uh, Miss Nordlinger?


PEG: Oh. Yes? Yes, stewardess?


STEWARDESS: This telegram just arrived for you.


SOUND: TELEGRAM HANDED OVER BEHIND--


PEG: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.


STEWARDESS: We'll be taking off in a few minutes, so if you want to send an answer--


PEG: Oh, no. I'm sure an answer won't be necessary, stewardess.


STEWARDESS: (MOVING OFF) I'll tell the boy not to wait.


PEG: Thank you.


SOUND: STEWARDESS' STEPS DEPART


BENTON: Aren't you going to open the telegram, Miss Nordlinger? I promise not to peek. Or, at most, only a little bit.


PEG: (EMBARRASSED, SLOWLY) I can't open it. You see, I - I'm not Miss Nordlinger.


BENTON: (BEAT, CONFUSED) I'm sort of on the dull-witted side--


PEG: Well, the flight was booked solid, but I came out to the airport hoping there'd be a cancellation. And just before the passengers started to get on board, a woman came up to me and offered to sell me her ticket.


BENTON: How'd she know you wanted one?


PEG: Well, she overheard me talking to the clerk at the reservation desk.


BENTON: So?


PEG: Well, it would have taken extra time to have the ticket validated in my own name, so I decided to use hers. (BEAT, UNHAPPY) This, er, telegram complicates things.


BENTON: (LIGHTLY) What's your real name, deceitful woman?


PEG: (CHUCKLES) Lincoln. Peg Lincoln. Miss Peg Lincoln. And I didn't deceive you, I deceived the stewardess. You just happened to have your ears flapping when I told her my name was Nordlinger.


BENTON: Now then, Miss Lincoln, would you mind telling me why you let me go on with all that bilge about traveling in the same circles?


PEG: Well, you were trying to pick me up and I thought I'd better help out a little.


BENTON: (IRONIC) That's what I like about the modern woman -- so shy and retiring. It's like Mata Hari.


PEG: (CHUCKLES) Well, after all, it's a two-hour trip to Capital City. (MORE SERIOUS) Dear, I wish I knew what to do about this telegram.


BENTON: Didn't the Nordlinger woman give you an address?


PEG: No, she didn't. I gave her mine, but he was in such a hurry to get away that--


SOUND: AIRPLANE ENGINE REVS AND GROWS LOUDER, IN BG


BENTON: Well, it's too late to do anything anyway. We're taking off.


PEG: (SUDDENLY ILL) Oh, that's - that's funny. I - I feel dizzy all at once.


BENTON: Nonsense, we're still on the ground. It's just your imagin--


PEG: (VERY ILL) Oh!


BENTON: Miss Lincoln? 


PEG: Oh, it's - so stuffy in here. I-- I'm awfully sick-- (WHIMPERS IN PAIN BEHIND--)


BENTON: (CALLS URGENTLY) Stewardess! Stewardess, don't let the plane take off! There's someone sick here!


PEG: Feels like - poison!


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND PEG--


PEG: (NARRATES) Sick? Oh, brother, was I sick. When I came to in the hospital after a nightmare in which stomach pumps seemed to be reoccurring, I was told that I could thank my handsome seatmate for the fact that I was still alive. He stopped the flight, carried me off the plane, and raced me into the hospital. Furthermore, he had engaged a private nurse and had telephoned every hour until assured that the danger was over. I had bounced back fast. Next morning found me weak as a kitten, but sufficiently recovered to leave the hospital. The bubbling Mr. Benton was waiting to drive me home.


SOUND: RUNNING AUTO INTERIOR BACKGROUND


BENTON: (MOCK POMPOUS) And so we bid a reluctant farewell to Rosemont hospital, to a ton of smiling nurses with their picturesque thermometers, to the pungent unforgettable aroma of chloroform that lingers in its halls. (NO RESPONSE) Miss Lincoln? (NO ANSWER) Miss Lincoln? 


PEG: Oh, yes?


BENTON: (DRY) Are you sure you didn't die?


PEG: Sorry, my mind was on something else.


BENTON: Miss Lincoln--? Or may I call you Peg?


PEG: (UNEASY) Let's keep it at Miss Lincoln for a while, Mr. Benton.


BENTON: (DISAPPOINTED) I wish we read the same books.


PEG: Meaning?


BENTON: The books I read, a fellow saves the girl's life, she falls all over him. 


PEG: Yes?


BENTON: The ones you read, it's "Let's keep it at Miss Lincoln for a while."


PEG: (EXHALES) Maybe I should explain. I am an insurance investigator. And insurance investigators get to be pretty good at spotting phonies. (BEAT) I think you're a phony.


BENTON: Well, aren't you sweet?


PEG: Not very.


BENTON: You know what I'd do if you were drowning right now? I'd throw rocks at you.


PEG: I don't doubt it.


BENTON: A cryptic remark. I love cryptic remarks.


PEG: Did Dr. Shiflin happen to mention what I nearly died of?


BENTON: He said it had some of the symptoms of food poisoning.


PEG: Suppose I told you I never eat for twelve hours before traveling.


BENTON: I'd say you must have had something. Contaminated water maybe.


PEG: Or maybe a stick of poisoned chewing gum, to relieve the pressure on my ears, eh?


BENTON: (BEAT, OFFENDED) If you're getting at what I think you're getting at--


PEG: I am.


BENTON: Do you know I canceled an important business trip just to make sure you were okay? Why, you'd be at the embalmers right now if I hadn't--


PEG: Sure, sure I would. You did some expert diagnosing, all right -- a little too expert for a man who hadn't had any medical training.


BENTON: Don't look now, but you're losing your mind. Now, look, why would I want to poison a girl I'd never seen before, never had anything to do with? 


PEG: That's what Dr. Shiflin asked.


BENTON: You mean you ran off at the mouth to him?


PEG: I pointed out that the poison may have been meant for the woman whose ticket I bought. It was too late to make any poison tests, but, to be on the safe side, Dr. Shiflin decided to check on you. He called Chief of Police Longman.


BENTON: (CHUCKLES) That must have been good. Ray Longman and I used to trade tricycles.


PEG: The chief rates you high, all right. "Above suspicion" was the phrase he used.


BENTON: But you're still not sold?


PEG: (EXHALES) I was for a while, but just after I got into your car I found this unopened telegram in my pocket.


BENTON: Isn't that the one that was delivered to you aboard the plane? The one addressed to that Nordlinger woman?


PEG: Yes.


BENTON: Well, what about it?


PEG: Well, it wasn't in my pocket when I left the hospital ten minutes ago.


BENTON: You just didn't notice, that's all.


PEG: Want to look at a copy of the hospital receipt I signed for the personal articles returned to me? You'll find everything else on it. No telegram, though.


BENTON: An oversight.


PEG: Oh, hospitals don't make oversights.


BENTON: Would you mind running through the whole plot for me? I'm a little hazy as to my motives.


PEG: All right. You poisoned me thinking I was the Nordlinger woman. Fortunately for me, you discovered the mistake in time to correct it.


BENTON: Well, for a murderer, I certainly am caring.


PEG: However, you wanted to look at the telegram, so you stole it -- probably as you carried me out of the plane. You read it and then you resealed the envelope, and then met me at the hospital hoping to slip it back into my pocket before I missed it.


SOUND: AUTO SLOWS TO A STOP ... ENGINE CONTINUES TO IDLE, IN BG


BENTON: You've got the telegram right there. Open it up; maybe we can put an end to this fairy tale.


PEG: Thank you, no. I'd rather wait until I find the Nordlinger woman -- if she's still alive.


SOUND: TELEGRAM SNATCHED BEHIND--


BENTON: Well, then I'll open it for you. 


SOUND: TELEGRAM TORN OPEN BEHIND--


PEG: Here! Give that back to me, please! It's--!


SOUND: TELEGRAM UNFOLDED


BENTON: (BEAT, READS SARDONICALLY) "Have a nice trip, Love." It's signed "Aunt Ellen." (CHUCKLES)


SOUND: PEG SNATCHES THE TELEGRAM BACK ... AUTO STARTS BACK INTO TRAFFIC


BENTON: Of course, that's in my gang's secret code. That means, "Boatload of stolen jewels ready to sail at dawn for What Cheer, Iowa."


PEG: Thoughtful of you to rip the envelope so I couldn't check the resealing.


BENTON: How can you be suspicious of somebody so charming?


PEG: (MIRTHLESS CHUCKLE) The Chief of Police knows what's on my mind. If anything happens to me, it'll take more than that charm of yours to keep the badge boys off your neck.


BENTON: But I do have charm. That we're agreed on.


PEG: Oh, yes, but you're wasting it on me. (CASUAL) Next one is my apartment building. (SUDDENLY TENSE) Oh, look out! Look out for that girl crossing the street!


BENTON: Oh, get out of the--! 


SOUND: HORN HONKS, BRAKES SQUEAL, TIRES SCREECH


PEG: Look ooooooout!


MUSIC: FOR A CAR RUNNING DOWN A WOMAN ... UP BIG AND THEN OUT


SOUND: MURMUR AND WHISPER OF CROWD IN APARTMENT LOBBY, IN BG


JACK: (CONCERNED) Miss Lincoln, see if you can swallow this water, please.


PEG: (DRINKS, EXHALES)


JACK: There.


PEG: (DAZED) What happened? Who--?


JACK: It's me, Jack, the elevator operator. 


PEG: (RECOGNIZES JACK) Oh.


JACK: Oh, gee, you had me scared.


PEG: Oh, Jack, how did I--?


JACK: I carried ya into the apartment lobby. 


PEG: Oh?


JACK: I guess you're still weak from the hospital 'cause you fainted after the accident.


PEG: Oh. Where's Mr. Benton? (NO ANSWER) The man! The man who was driving the car. Where is he?


JACK: Police headquarters. They want you to report in, too, whenever you're feelin' better.


PEG: And the girl was killed?


JACK: Yeah. Gee, it was awful.


PEG: (EXHALES, SOBERLY) Dead--


JACK: Yes, Miss Lincoln, it was - it was so awful. Friend of yours, too, huh?


PEG: No. No, I'd never--


JACK: Well, gee, she was just leavin' here when the car hit her. She was askin' for you.


PEG: Who was she?


JACK: Well, I wrote her name down. It's in my pocket somewhere. Eh, here it is.


SOUND: PAPER UNFOLDS


PEG: (READS) "Patricia Smythe." (PUZZLED) I don't know any Patricia Smythe.


JACK: She said it was important to get in touch with you.


PEG: Oh. Jack--? Jack, did it strike you that Mr. Benton, the driver, could have avoided that accident -- by yanking the wheel the other way, perhaps?


JACK: Well, I was reading the comi-- Er, the financial page when it happened. I didn't see nothin'. 


PEG: Oh.


JACK: But anything you want me to swear to, though, Miss Lincoln, I--


PEG: Oh, no. No, never mind, Jack. Call me a cab, will ya?


JACK: Aw, Miss Lincoln, you're sick. You oughta be in bed.


PEG: (INSISTENT) Now, look here. Something tells me I'll stay a lot healthier if I get to the telegraph office right away.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: TELEGRAPH OFFICE BACKGROUND ... MURMURING CUSTOMERS, MACHINES, ET CETERA


CLERK: I'm sorry. Now, what was that message again, miss?


PEG: It was addressed to Kate Nordlinger, at the Municipal Airport.


CLERK: And the message?


PEG: "Have a nice trip. Love, Aunt Ellen."


CLERK: Uh huh. No, not sent from this office. Er, might I see the telegram?


PEG: Certainly. Here it is. 


CLERK: Why, this thing is faked, miss!


PEG: Are you sure?


CLERK: It's a regulation form, all right, and the message is pasted on in strips, but-- Well, look - look how different the type is from one of ours.


PEG: Yes. Yes, I see. Well, was any telegram sent to Kate Nordlinger at the airport?


CLERK: You're Miss Nordlinger? 


PEG: (BEAT, A LITTLE WHITE LIE) Yes, I am.


CLERK: Well, I can look it up in a minute.


PEG: Thank you. That'll be fine.


CLERK: (MOVING OFF) Mmm hmm. Just a minute here. I think I can find it right over-- Oh, yes! Yes, yes, here's one. (CLOSER AGAIN) Let's see, it reads, um, "On your return, will contact you at Hotel Ludwig." It's signed "Patricia Smythe."


PEG: Patricia Smythe?


CLERK: S-M-Y-T-H-E.


PEG: What was the name of that hotel?


CLERK: The Ludwig. Hotel Ludwig. Right there, right across the street.


PEG: Oh. Oh! Oh, yes! Yes, thank you very much, you've been very helpful.


CLERK: You're quite welcome. 


SOUND: FOR A TRANSITION ... PEG'S HURRIED STEPS OUT OF TELEGRAPH OFFICE ... CITY TRAFFIC NOISE ... PEG'S STEPS CROSS THE STREET AND ENTER THE HOTEL LOBBY ... LOBBY BACKGROUND (BELLS, MURMUR OF GUESTS, ET CETERA) ... PEG'S STEPS THROUGH LOBBY TO FRONT DESK


OPERATOR: (BORED, INTO PHONE) Good evening, Hotel Ludwig. -- Just a moment, I'll connect you.


DESK CLERK: (TO PEG) May I help you, miss?


PEG: Yes, if you would. Ring Miss Kate Nordlinger's room and tell her that Miss Lincoln would like to see her for a moment; it's important.


DESK CLERK: (NERVOUS) Whose room did you say?


PEG: Miss Nordlinger's.


DESK CLERK: Oh, I'm sorry, but we have no Miss Nordlinger registered at the Ludwig.


PEG: Well, I was sure she was staying here.


DESK CLERK: A friend of yours, miss?


PEG: Why do you ask that?


DESK CLERK: Well, it seemed a natural sort of a question.


PEG: Not to me it didn't. Why do you want to know if she's a friend of mine?


DESK CLERK: (UNCONVINCING) No reason. No reason at all. Just making conversation.


PEG: Well, make a little more conversation, will you? Did you ever have a Kate Nordlinger registered here?


DESK CLERK: (RELUCTANT) Well, yes, but she's not with us any longer.


PEG: When did she leave?


DESK CLERK: Last night.


PEG: Well, why didn't you tell me that before?


DESK CLERK: I didn't think it important.


PEG: Yes, you did, or you'd have mentioned it. Where'd she go?


DESK CLERK: I don't know, I really--


PEG: Why are you so scared?


DESK CLERK: I'm not scared. It's the manager's orders; we're not supposed to talk to reporters.


PEG: Oh, now what makes you think I'm a reporter?


DESK CLERK: Well, who else would ask questions the way you do?


PEG: An insurance investigator.


DESK CLERK: Oh.


SOUND: SHOWS CREDENTIALS BEHIND--


PEG: Here are my credentials. Now, what's this all about?


DESK CLERK: Well, you'll have to promise to keep it confidential, miss. 


PEG: Of course.


DESK CLERK: Thanks to the cooperation of the police, there's been nothing about it in the papers and we'd like to keep it that way. Such things are bad publicity for the hotel.


PEG: What do you mean, "such things"?


DESK CLERK: Well-- Suicides. 


PEG: Oh.


DESK CLERK: Last night, Kate Nordlinger threw herself out the window on the fourteenth floor.


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN


VOICE: Auto-Lite is bringing you Loretta Young in "Lady Killer," tonight's production in Radio's Outstanding Theatre of Thrills -- SUSPENSE!


MUSIC: THREE CHORDS AND OUT


REMING: About that buffalo, Wilcox, I bagged him with a set of wide-gap Auto-Lite resistor spark plugs.


ANNOUNCER: Reming-Chester, that's a spark plug story, all right. But motorists everywhere can tell you stories about the money-saving advantages of wide-gap Auto-Lite resistor spark plugs, the newest addition to the complete line of spark plugs ignition-engineered by Auto-Lite.


REMING: You should have seen the difference, Wilcox--!


ANNOUNCER: Difference? Difference? Why, there's an exclusive ten-thousand-ohm Auto-Lite resistor built right in to every Auto-Lite resistor spark plug that permits a wider initial gap setting, with advantages like smoother performance, greater gas savings, quicker starts in cold weather -- even double life as compared to spark plugs without the built-in resistor. 


REMING: I'd always say--


ANNOUNCER: So, friends, ask your friendly Auto-Lite spark plug dealer to replace worn-out spark plugs with a set of ignition-engineered Auto-Lite spark plugs. And whether you choose the resistor type or the regular type, you'll be right -- because you're always right with Auto-Lite.


MUSIC: THEME ... IN BG


VOICE: And now, Auto-Lite brings back to our Hollywood sound stage our star Loretta Young as Peg Lincoln, with Larry Dobkin as Grant Benton, in "Lady Killer" -- a tale well-calculated to keep you in--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD


VOICE: --SUSPENSE!


MUSIC: FADES UNDER--


SOUND: PEG'S STEPS AROUND HOTEL ROOM AS SHE OPENS AND CLOSES DRAWERS ... KNOCK ON DOOR


PEG: (SURPRISED INHALATION, CALLS) Come in?


SOUND: ROOM DOOR OPENS ... BENTON'S STEPS IN


BENTON: (LIGHTLY) Hello, Miss Lincoln. Taking over Kate Nordlinger's room as well as her name? How about a stick of chewing gum?


PEG: (EXHALES) No, thanks, Mr. Benton. I thought you were at police headquarters.


BENTON: The police didn't keep me long. 


PEG: Oh?


BENTON: It was obviously an accident, so--


PEG: (SKEPTICAL) Obviously?


BENTON: (MORE SERIOUS) Look here, Miss Lincoln. My car hit a girl and killed her. It was her own fault, but that doesn't make me feel any better about it. I could do without the cracks.


PEG: (EXHALES) What are you doing here?


BENTON: I just happened to be leaving my room as you walked into this one.


PEG: That was convenient.


BENTON: I thought I recognized you and so--


PEG: You, uh-- You live at this hotel?


BENTON: Certainly, when I'm in town. 


PEG: Oh, I see.


BENTON: (LIGHTLY) Or did you think I just dropped by to push Kate Nordlinger out the window?


PEG: (SUSPICIOUS) So you know about that?


BENTON: The Chief of Police is a friend of mine, remember? 


PEG: Oh, yes, that's right. 


BENTON: Me living in the same floor as the woman who committed suicide, he thought maybe I could help with some background information.


PEG: But you couldn't, of course.


BENTON: No, I couldn't.


PEG: (SKEPTICAL) Uh huh.


BENTON: Believe it or not, I never once laid eyes on the woman. 


PEG: Oh.


BENTON: And it wasn't until I saw you walk in here that I connected her name with the name on the telegram.


SOUND: PEG'S NERVOUS FOOTSTEPS, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


PEG: Well, I - I'd better be going now.


BENTON: You think I'm lying, don't you?


PEG: No. No, not necessarily. I-- (SUDDENLY INTENSE) Please don't come one step closer, Mr. Benton!


BENTON: (EXASPERATED) Miss Lincoln--


PEG: One step closer and I start screaming!


BENTON: (REASSURING) Take it easy, I'm not coming any closer.


PEG: (HUSHED INTENSITY) I won't try to kid you. I'm scared of you. Really scared. I'm going out of that door now, and don't you move!


BENTON: This is absurd!


PEG: So much as lift a finger and I'll yell my head off. I'm scared, I tell you.


SOUND: PEG'S RUNNING STEPS THROUGH DOOR, WHICH SHUTS, THEN DOWN THE HALL


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND PEG--


PEG: (NARRATES) And I kept running until I was out of sight of the hotel. At police headquarters, I - I suppose I looked just like any other psychopath with a persecution complex. But I was stubborn about it. Finally, I got in to see the Chief of Police himself; Ray Longman his name was. Surprisingly young for his job -- middle thirties, I should say; good-looking, patient and reasonable. But when I told him of my experiences with the charming Mr. Benton, he laughed out loud. Why, Grant Benton was his best friend; the whole thing was impossible. In the first place, there was no connection between the deaths of the two women. Patricia Smythe, the girl in the automobile accident, had been a clerk at the police department; the chief had known her well. Kate Nordlinger had held a private detective's license for five years prior to her "suicide," as he kept calling it. So far as anyone knew, the two women had never even seen each other. It wasn't until then that I mentioned the fake telegram.


LONGMAN: (QUIETLY) Mm hm. Well, I tell you what I'll do, Miss Lincoln. I'll check with the telegraph company and if anything develops, I'll get in touch with you later. 


PEG: (DISBELIEF) Get in touch with me later?


LONGMAN: (UNDERSTANDING) I know, I know. You're taking all this very seriously.


PEG: What am I supposed to do? Sit around like a duck in a shooting gallery until you decide to--? 


LONGMAN: You tell me you're an insurance investigator?


PEG: That's right.


LONGMAN: You know court procedure. Would you, under oath, swear that Grant Benton deliberately drove into Patricia Smythe and killed her?


PEG: Well, I--


LONGMAN: (POINTEDLY) Under oath.


PEG: (BEAT) Well, no, I - I couldn't, but-- Well, I know he did it deliberately. But I couldn't swear to it, if that makes any sense.


LONGMAN: (SYMPATHETIC) It does. In order to swear to it, you'd have to know exactly what went on in his mind at that moment.


PEG: Well, that's all very well and good, but don't you--?


LONGMAN: Now, I assure you, there's nothing to link Grant Benton with the Nordlinger woman's suicide. And that brings us to the so-called attempts on your life. 


PEG: (EXHALES IN FRUSTRATION)


LONGMAN: Would you care to press charges?


PEG: Well, I - I - I can't prove anything.


LONGMAN: So where does that leave us?


PEG: (EXHALES) It leaves you thinking that your best friend is the victim of a few embarrassing coincidences. And it leaves me thinking that--


LONGMAN: (CHUCKLES, LIGHTLY) That the Chief of Police is just a big dumb flatfoot being taken in by a pal?


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND PEG--


PEG: (NARRATES, DISCOURAGED) Which is exactly what I did think. I felt pretty sick when I left his office. I went back to my apartment and locked the door (SOUND: DOOR LOCKED) and moved a dresser behind it, (SOUND: DRESSER MOVED) but-- Well, even that didn't give me any feeling of security. (SOUND: PEG'S STEPS PACE THE FLOOR) I couldn't find anything else to do but pace the living room floor. So I paced and I paced and I paced and-- Finally, late in the afternoon--


SOUND: TELEPHONE RINGS ... PEG'S STEPS TO PHONE ... RECEIVER UP


PEG: Hello?


LONGMAN: (FILTER) Miss Lincoln? 


PEG: Yes?


LONGMAN: (FILTER) This is the Chief of Police, Ray Longman. 


PEG: Oh, yes. Yes.


LONGMAN: (FILTER) I checked with the telegraph company; your story's on the level.


PEG: (EXHALES) I already knew that.


LONGMAN: (FILTER) Yes. Well, uh, there are a couple of other developments I'd like to tell you about. Could you come out to my home tonight, after dinner? 


PEG: Why, yes, I guess so.


LONGMAN: (FILTER) Grant Benton'll be there.


PEG: Oh. Well, now look here, I--


LONGMAN: (FILTER) Please. It's important.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND PEG--


SOUND: AUTO ENGINE BRIEFLY BEHIND--


PEG: (NARRATES) I wrote down the street directions -- and there were a lot of them because the chief's home was in the secluded hill section on the outskirts of town. When I arrived there, my insides were doing push-ups. But I was calm enough on the outside -- I hoped.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, FADE IN NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND OF NOISILY CHIRPING CRICKETS ... DOORBELL RINGS ... DOOR OPENS


LONGMAN: Ah, Miss Lincoln.


PEG: Oh, good evening, Chief.


SOUND: PEG'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES ... CRICKETS OUT ... ALL OF THIS BEHIND--


LONGMAN: I was half-expecting you to be late. Most people have trouble finding my house.


PEG: Oh, well, I - I started early.


SOUND: THEIR STEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING AS LONGMAN FIXES A DRINK WHILE PEG SITS IN THE EASY CHAIR--


LONGMAN: Er, won't you sit down? 


PEG: Thank you.


LONGMAN: Take the easy chair.


PEG: Oh, thank you.


LONGMAN: (WHILE FIXING DRINK) Grant should be arriving any moment. I, er-- I want you to understand that-- Well, I'm not out to trick him into a confession or anything. It's, er-- Well, I'm hoping that the three of us can talk things out. The situation's become uncomfortable all around.


PEG: With Benton being your best friend, I can see where this is rather awkward for you, but--


LONGMAN: Awkward? (CHUCKLES) You know what happened this afternoon?


PEG: No. What?


LONGMAN: Grant walked in on me just as I was testing his typewriter to see if the print checked with the print on the fake telegram.


PEG: Oh?


LONGMAN: I felt like Benedict Arnold.


PEG: I'm sorry. (EAGERLY) Did the print check?


LONGMAN: No. (CHUCKLES, LIGHTLY) Now I know what they mean by a one-track mind.


PEG: There are other typewriters.


SOUND: DOORBELL RINGS


LONGMAN: Oh, that must be Grant now. 


PEG: (EXHALES NERVOUSLY)


LONGMAN: Now, you can take my word for it, Miss Lincoln, there's no need to be frightened.


PEG: (QUIETLY) All right.


LONGMAN: Good girl.


SOUND: LONGMAN'S STEPS TO DOOR, WHICH OPENS (CRICKETS IN)


LONGMAN: Ah, come in, Grant.


BENTON: Thank you, Ray. 


SOUND: BENTON'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES (CRICKETS OUT) ... THEIR STEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING AS BENTON CONFRONTS PEG AND LONGMAN FIXES ANOTHER DRINK--


BENTON: (DRY) Well, what a handsome couple you two make -- our forthright young Chief of Police and the lovely lady who was only recently voted Miss Unbridled Imagination of Nineteen Fifty.


LONGMAN: All right, that's enough, Grant. Sit over there and behave yourself.


BENTON: Ah, now then, Miss Lincoln, to business. What can I do for you?


PEG: Chief Longman thinks you can convince me you're innocent. I have reservations.


BENTON: On what plane? 


PEG: (EXHALES UNCOMFORTABLY)


BENTON: (CHUCKLES) Where would you like me to begin?


PEG: Let's start with the fake telegram. Explain that away.


BENTON: You're starting with a beaut. That's the one thing I can't explain. I haven't the faintest idea why it was done or who did it.


PEG: But you didn't?


BENTON: No. (BEAT) Won't you even try to believe me?


PEG: Well, yes. Yes, I'll try. I'll even concede it was an accident when your car killed Patricia Smythe.


BENTON: Are you willing to believe that that blonde, Miss, er--? Whatever her name was, committed suicide?


PEG: Kate Nordlinger?


BENTON: Mm hm.


PEG: (SUSPICIOUS, COOL) How did you know she was a blonde?


BENTON: I read it in the paper with my big blue eyes.


PEG: The whole thing was kept out of the newspapers, and you told me that you'd never laid eyes on her.


LONGMAN: Pardon me for interrupting, Miss Lincoln, but I questioned Grant right after the suicide. At the time, I probably mentioned that the Nordlinger woman was blonde.


BENTON: (SMOOTHLY) You did, Chief; I distinctly remember.


PEG: Don't let him talk you into it, Chief. For heaven's sake, open your eyes! He's it! The explanation fits!


LONGMAN: What explanation?


PEG: Well, can't you see? Patricia Smythe worked as a clerk in your office and happened on some information that incriminated our "friend" here. There was no sense her telling you about it; you were too fond of Benton to believe it anyhow. So she went to Kate Nordlinger, a private detective, and they worked together on the case. Benton found out what was going on. When he learned that Miss Nordlinger was taking a plane to Capital City in order to talk to the State's Attorney, he decided to act. He'd seen Patricia Smythe around police headquarters plenty of times, but the Nordlinger woman he only knew by name, which is how he came to give me the poison by mistake. Don't you see?


LONGMAN: (SIGHS) I apologize, Grant. I thought Miss Lincoln understood this was to be a friendly meeting.


BENTON: Girls will be girls.


PEG: But listen, Chief! That's all I ask -- just listen! 


LONGMAN: Very well. Go ahead.


PEG: Well-- Through the telegram, Benton learned that Kate Nordlinger was staying at the Hotel Ludwig. That night while I was at the hospital, he killed her! He pushed her out of that window! And later he - he recognized Patricia Smythe coming out of my apartment building. She'd come to warn me of what I was getting mixed up in -- and he murdered her! He ran her down with his automobile!


LONGMAN: Now, really, Miss Lincoln, your logic--


BENTON: Never mind, Ray; she's right. I've made a couple of slips and the entire Supreme Court couldn't shake her loose now. (A DEEP BREATH) Very well, Miss Lincoln, if it makes you any happier, I killed both women. You have the dubious honor of having proved your point.


PEG: (EXHALES, WITH DISTASTE) You'll still be trying for laughs when they strap you in, won't you?


BENTON: They're not strapping me. If you care to glance at our forthright Chief of Police you'll notice a rather large gun in his hand. 


PEG: (STARTLED GASP)


BENTON: You'll further notice that it's pointed not at me, but at you.


LONGMAN: Sorry, Miss Lincoln. We did our best to talk you out of this. 


PEG: But--


LONGMAN: Now you've given me no choice.


BENTON: Let me tell you what our forthright Chief of Police means. He means that he and I run the gambling activities of this town, and people who interfere are apt to get hurt, very hurt. Dead, you might say.


PEG: (QUIETLY NERVOUS) I - I don't think the chief is going to shoot. 


BENTON: (CHUCKLES) There are two schools of thought on that.


PEG: I think I should mention that the - the bushes outside are thick with men from the State's Attorney's office.


LONGMAN: What?!


BENTON: Easy, Chief, easy.


PEG: When you telephoned to invite me here, Chief, you told me that you had checked with the telegraph company about that fake telegram, but later I talked to them again and it turned out that you hadn't checked! Which meant that you'd known about it all along. It was then that I decided to long distance the State's Attorney--


BENTON: You'd better leave the comedy to me, Miss Lincoln; that's not even a good stall.


PEG: The men outside are under orders to demand entry at the slightest disturbance. Fire that gun, Chief, and they'll be here like a swarm of gnats.


LONGMAN: (UNCONVINCED) And if I don't fire?


PEG: You'll take your chances in court. After all, it was Benton who actually killed those two women.


BENTON: If you have any qualms about this, Chief, just hand the gun over to me.


LONGMAN: Wait a minute, Grant. (MOVING OFF) Stay right where you are for the moment, both of you.


BENTON: What are you going to do with that ashtray? 


LONGMAN: (OFF) Heave it through the window. 


SOUND: DURING ABOVE EXCHANGE, LONGMAN'S STEPS TO WINDOW ... THEN LOUD CRASH! AS LONGMAN HEAVES ASHTRAY THROUGH GLASS WINDOW ... CRICKETS! THEN IN BG ... LONGMAN'S STEPS RETURN TO PEG


BENTON: There's your slight disturbance, Miss Lincoln.


PEG: (BEAT) They'll be here.


LONGMAN: We'll wait.


BENTON: (FIVE-SECOND PAUSE) That bluff went over like a lead balloon. Now if you'll let me have the gun, Chief--


PEG: (YELLS HYSTERICALLY, DESPERATELY) Don't give it to him, Chief! Please! DON'T GIVE IT TO HIM!


BENTON: Why, Miss Lincoln--!


PEG: (YELLS) WAIT A MINUTE!


BENTON: I--


LONGMAN: Quiet, Grant!


PEG: (BREATHES UNEASILY)


SOUND: CRICKETS FILL ANOTHER FIVE-SECOND PAUSE ... THEN POUNDING ON DOOR AND OFFICER YELLING AND POLICE DOGS BARKING, IN BG


OFFICER: (BEHIND DOOR) Open up! Come on, open up in there! Open up!


PEG: (WITH GREAT RELIEF) Oh! (SAVAGELY TRIUMPHANT) Make a joke, Mr. Benton! Make a joke!


MUSIC: CURTAIN


VOICE: SUSPENSE! Presented by Auto-Lite. Tonight's star, Loretta Young, and featuring Larry Dobkin. 


ANNOUNCER: Reming-Chester, I've weighed your story about the buffalo.


REMING: Thank you, Wilcox, but I could have told you his weight. Nearly two tons, to be exact.


ANNOUNCER: Ah, you can never be sure of Reming-Chester, but you can always be sure of any Auto-Lite product, for Auto-Lite makes more than four hundred products for cars, trucks, planes, and boats in twenty-eight plants coast-to-coast. These include complete electrical systems used as original equipment on many makes of America's finest cars -- spark plugs, batteries, generators, coils, distributors, starting motors, "Bullseye" sealed beam headlights -- all engineered to fit together perfectly, work together perfectly, because they're a perfect team. So don't accept electrical parts supposed to be as good. Ask for and insist on Auto-Lite original factory parts at your neighborhood service station, car dealer, garage, or repair shop. Remember, you're always right with Auto-Lite.


MUSIC: TAG


ANNOUNCER: Next Thursday for SUSPENSE our star will be Mr. James Mason. 


VOICE: This will be a broadcast you won't want to miss, for next Thursday Mr. Mason will appear in "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe, one of the all-time masterpieces of--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD


VOICE: --SUSPENSE!


MUSIC: THEME ... BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: Tonight's SUSPENSE play was produced and edited by William Spier and directed by Norman Macdonnell. Music for SUSPENSE is composed by Lucien Morawek and conducted by Lud Gluskin. "Lady Killer" is an original play for radio by William Bruckner. Congratulations to Loretta Young who has again been nominated for an Academy Award. Miss Young may currently be seen in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production "Key to the City." In the coming weeks you will hear such stars as Ronald Reagan, Alan Ladd, and Ginger Rogers. Don't forget, next Thursday, same time, Auto-Lite will present SUSPENSE starring James Mason.


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP


OPERATOR: (FILTER) You can buy Auto-Lite resistor or regular spark plugs, Auto-Lite Sta-Ful batteries, Auto-Lite electrical parts - at your neighborhood Auto-Lite dealers. Switch to Auto-Lite! Good night!


ANNOUNCER: This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.


MUSIC: THEME ... UNTIL END


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