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The Screaming Woman

Suspense

The Screaming Woman

Mar 01 1955



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

MARGARET LEARY, age ten

WOMAN, who screams

MOTHER

FATHER

DIPPY, age ten

KELLY

OFFICER

ANNA (3 lines)

MRS. GRISWOLD (2 lines)

MR. HYDE (1 line)

MRS. HYDE (1 line)

NESBITT


NOTE: SUSPENSE first aired a version of this play on Nov 25 1948. This transcript contains material from the '48 broadcast in brackets.




MUSIC: THEME ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: And now, tonight's presentation of radio's outstanding theatre of thrills -- SUSPENSE. (PAUSE) Tonight, the story of a little girl and the terror in a vacant lot. We call it: "The Screaming Woman." So now, starring Sherry Jackson, here is tonight's SUSPENSE play, "The Screaming Woman." 


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


MARGARET: (NARRATES) I'm Margaret Leary and I gotta tell you how it happened. It was Thanksgiving Day and it was nice and sunshiny -- almost like summer, except cooler. Mama was cooking the turkey and I was watching -- and mama said to me:


MOTHER: Oh, good heavens, I forgot. Your Aunt Betty's made some cranberry relish for us. Run over and get it, Margaret, so her feelings aren't hurt -- and hurry, dear. This turkey's done to a turn.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) So I ran to Aunt Betty's and on the way back I took a shortcut through Mr. Kelly's lot. [It's a big lot, more like the side of a hill, that slides down to Monument Creek.] It's a swell place to play "Indians and cowboys," or "Explorer," or "Hunting for Treasure," because trucks dump all kinds of stuff there: loads of dirt and junk -- and even big things, like old cars and and big pipes and chunks of concrete. Well, this day coming back from Aunt Betty's, I saw that a lot of new junk and dirt had been dumped there since Saturday. They'd even covered up a swell big concrete pipe that us kids called our fort -- covered it clear up. Well, I was looking around to see where it used to be, when all of a sudden--


WOMAN: [(MUFFLED SHOUT) Help me! Help me!] (TWO MUFFLED BLOODCURDLING SCREAMS, OFF ... CONTINUES IN BG) 


SOUND: MARGARET'S STEPS THROUGH LOT ... THEN STOPS WITH--


MARGARET: (NARRATES, REALIZES) The sound was coming up out of the ground!


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) A woman was buried under the junk and dirt and glass and - and she was screaming all wild and horrible for someone to dig her out! I started to run. I fell down and got up and ran some more. It was an awful, awful long way to our house that day. 


SOUND: MARGARET'S RUNNING STEPS TO HOUSE DOOR, WHICH OPENS AND SLAMS SHUT ... HER STEPS THROUGH HOUSE IN BG--


MARGARET: (AGITATED) Mama! Mama! 


MOTHER: (CHIDES) Margaret! 


MARGARET: Mama! Mama! 


SOUND: STEPS OUT WITH--


MOTHER: Margaret, haven't I told you not to slam the door? Oh, is that the relish?


MARGARET: (AGITATED) Listen, mama, there's a screaming woman in the lot! 


MOTHER: Wash your hands, Margaret. 


MARGARET: She was screaming and screaming and screaming! 


SOUND: CLANK! AND CLATTER! AS MOTHER OPENS OVEN AND WRESTLES WITH TURKEY PAN AND PLATTER, IN BG


MARGARET: Mama, mama, listen to me! We've got to dig her out! She's buried under tons and tons of dirt! 


MOTHER: Well, I'm sure she can wait till after dinner. Oh, honestly, next year I swear I'm gonna buy a bigger platter. 


MARGARET: Mama, don't you believe me?! You gotta believe me!


MOTHER: Oh, look, honey, I've got a million things to do. (DISMAYED) Oh, good gosh, look at you. How'd you get your knees so dirty? 


MARGARET: Well, running back from the lot, I--


MOTHER: (INTERRUPTS) Well, never mind. Scoot and tell your dad we're about to eat. He's in the front room reading his paper. 


[MARGARET: Yes, mama.]


SOUND: MARGARET'S RUNNING STEPS TO FRONT ROOM DOOR, WHICH OPENS


MARGARET: Dad! Oh, dad, I gotta tell ya something! 


FATHER: (PREOCCUPIED WITH PAPER) Mmm? Getting hungry, baby? 


MARGARET: Dad, there's a screaming woman in the lot.


SOUND: RUSTLE OF NEWSPAPER


FATHER: I never knew a woman who didn't. [Mmm, smell that turkey.]


MARGARET: We gotta get picks and shovels and dig her up! [Like for an Egyptian mummy!] Dad--! 


FATHER: Oh, I don't feel much like an archaeologist today, Margaret. Can't think of anything but food. Let's have an expedition next Sunday and dig her up. 


MARGARET: We can't wait that long. Dad, she'll die if we don't do it now! [(DESPERATE) I'll give you some money.


FATHER: (AMUSED) Oh? So it's a business proposition? Well, how much do you pay by the hour? 


MARGARET: I've got five whole dollars. It took me a year to save.


FATHER: (WARMLY) Come here, puss. You know, I'm touched. 


MARGARET: (INCREASINGLY AGITATED) Oh, but, daddy-- 


FATHER: You want me to play with you and you're willing to pay me for my time. 


MARGARET: Oh, but--


FATHER: Why, dear, you're shaking.] Oh, calm down now. 


MARGARET: Dad, please! 


FATHER: Listen, dear. After our Thanksgiving dinner I'll come out and listen to your screaming woman. How's that? 


MARGARET: No. Now, dad. Maybe she'll die if you don't come out now. You've got to come -- now! 


FATHER: Margaret--


MARGARET: If you believed me, you wouldn't wait! 


FATHER: Margaret, listen--


MARGARET: (WILDLY) You never believe me! Mama doesn't believe me! Nobody believes me! (BREATHES NERVOUSLY BEHIND--)


FATHER: (VERY STERN) Margaret, quiet down right this minute! Or I not only won't go with you, but you'll go to your room, and stay, and without your Thanksgiving dinner. Now is that clear?


MARGARET: (RESTRAINED BUT TENSE) Yes, sir. It's clear. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION [... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) I always liked Thanksgiving -- almost next best to Christmas -- but that was an awful one. Dinner was a million years long. Everybody moved so slow, like a slow-motion movie. Forks and knives and spoons moved slow, and dad's cheek muscles moved slow when he chewed.]


SOUND: DINNER TABLE BACKGROUND


[MARGARET: (LOW, TO HERSELF, A PRAYER) Oh, try to make things faster.]


FATHER: Margaret? You heard mother. Don't gobble. [Don't eat so fast.]


MARGARET: But, dad, [-- the screaming woman --] we've got to hurry. 


FATHER: My dear young lady, this is Thanksgiving dinner, an occasion when we do not hurry. [(LIGHTLY) I intend to eat four or five helpings of everything until I can't eat any more. Then I'm going to make an extra effort to find room for pumpkin pie, chew walnuts and stuffed dates--]


MARGARET: Oh, please, please, dad--!


FATHER: (STERN) Listen, if you pester me any more-- If you mention her again, this screaming whatsis, I won't go out with you to hear her recital at all. Now is that understood?


MARGARET: (EXHALES) Yes, sir. It's understood.


[MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) I wanted to yell: "Oh, please! Rush! Get up! Run around! Come on! Hurry!" But I had to sit still while out there in the lot with the sun shining down, all alone with nobody to hear or to help her, was the screaming woman. I could hear her in my mind -- screaming. 


MUSIC: AN ACCENT THAT MIMICS THE WOMAN'S SCREAMS ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) Mama and daddy couldn't hear. They just kept on eating and talking.


SOUND: DINNER TABLE BACKGROUND]


FATHER: (LIGHTLY) Well! Now that I can be thankful for a full stomach, I guess we should consider what other things we have to be thankful for. 


MOTHER: Well, we're all healthy. [Prices are sky-high, but we're not in debt -- yet.] 


FATHER: Mm-hmm, and I'm thankful for my big daughter. Right, baby? 


MARGARET: (EVENLY) Yes, dad. 


FATHER: And for my loving wife, who is still the most romantic woman I know. 


MOTHER: (CHUCKLES, PLAYFUL) Oh, silly. 


FATHER: (CHUCKLES) I'm thankful I didn't marry somebody else.


MOTHER: You nearly married Dora Lampell. You even gave her a ring.


FATHER: Oh, that never meant a thing. No, you've only had one serious competitor since we were all kids. 


MOTHER: Oh? Who? 


FATHER: Helen Nesbitt. 


MOTHER: (LAUGHS, HIGHLY AMUSED)


FATHER: Yeah, Helen was my first love. (NOSTALGIC) When she was about as old as Margaret, I gave her a present one Christmas and she gave me one. I still have it.


MOTHER: (REMEMBERS) That paperweight on your desk. 


FATHER: Yeah. It's funny how we hang on to things that were important when we were kids. 


MARGARET: (A QUIET PLEA) Dad--? 


FATHER: Now, just a little longer, Margaret. [(TO MOTHER) Fill up my coffee, will ya, dear?


SOUND: COFFEE POURED


MOTHER: You know what I'm thankful for, dear? Seriously. That we stayed here in this same town where we grew up. (HANDS OVER COFFEE) Here you are, dear.


FATHER: Thank you.


MOTHER: The same friends. Even the same street. It's been a peaceful life. Not very exciting, but--


MARGARET: (IMPATIENT) Daddy! 


FATHER: (LIGHTLY) Margaret finds it pretty exciting.


MOTHER: (CHUCKLES)]


MARGARET: (AGITATED) Oh, dad, please! 


MOTHER: (TO FATHER) Oh, go on, dear. You'd better take her out to the lot before she collapses. 


FATHER: Okay. Come on, Margaret. Let's hear this wailing banshee of yours.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: WIND BLOWS AS MARGARET AND FATHER'S STEPS WALK THROUGH THE LOT ... THEN IN BG


FATHER: Now just where is this screaming woman of yours? Lead me to her. 


MARGARET: Over here, where our fort used to be.


FATHER: Fort? 


MARGARET: The big concrete pipe. It's all covered up now.


FATHER: Hmm. Kelly's really getting this lot filled in. All right, where's the lady?


SOUND: STEPS STOP


MARGARET: Right about here, dad. Listen. 


FATHER: (PAUSE) Hmm. Don't hear a thing. Except the wind. You better button your sweater, Margaret.


MARGARET: Ssssh! Listen. 


SOUND: PAUSE FOR DISTANT SOUND OF BRAKING TROLLEY CAR ... TROLLEY BELL RINGS, OFF


FATHER: No, that's the trolley over on Aspen Street. 


SOUND: TROLLEY DRIVES OFF


MARGARET: (CALLS, A LITTLE DESPERATELY) Hey, there! Screaming woman?! (NO ANSWER, CALLS) Hey!


[SOUND: AUTO DRIVES BY, OFF


FATHER: (TO HIMSELF) Hm. Looks like the Dolans are starting out for a drive.] (AMUSED, TO MARGARET) I'm afraid your screaming woman's let you down. 


MARGARET: (MORE DESPERATE) But she was here, dad. Right under where they've dumped all this dirt! I heard her -- screaming and screaming and screaming, like she was underneath in the fort. Somebody's dumped tons and tons right on top of our fort!


FATHER: (THINKS SHE'S ACTUALLY WORRIED ABOUT THE FORT, SYMPATHETIC) Oh, that's too bad they buried your fort, dear. I saw two of Kelly's big trucks here last evening and there was a dump truck in here this morning, too. 


MARGARET: (INSISTENT) It isn't because they covered the fort


FATHER: (LIGHTLY) It must be your screaming woman doesn't like grown-ups.


MARGARET: (UNHAPPY) Oh--


FATHER: Only delivers her solo for kids.


MARGARET: (REALIZES) Maybe she can't scream any more. 


FATHER: (STRETCHES, HALF-YAWNS) Well, I'm going back and take a nap now. Let my dinner settle.


SOUND: FATHER'S STEPS START OFF


MARGARET: (DISBELIEF) Aren't you going to help me dig?! 


SOUND: FATHER'S STEPS STOPS


FATHER: (PATIENTLY) Don't you think this is a sort of silly game? 


MARGARET: It's not a game! 


FATHER: (GENTLY HUMORS HER) All right. All right, dear, but don't stay too long. (MOVING OFF) Mama probably would like some help with those dishes. 


SOUND: FATHER'S STEPS AWAY, FADING OFF


MARGARET: (CALLS AFTER HIM) Dad! Dad! (BUT HE'S GONE; TO HERSELF, FRUSTRATED) Oh, I know I heard her scream. I know it. [(SOUND: STAMPS HER FOOT WITH EACH "DARN!")] Oh, darn, darn, darn! (EXHALES)


WOMAN: (THREE MUFFLED BLOODCURDLING SCREAMS, OFF) 


SOUND: MARGARET'S STEPS TOWARD THE SCREAMS ... OUT BEHIND--


MARGARET: (QUIETLY INTENSE) You are there! You are there! (CALLS) Hey, screaming woman! 


WOMAN: (TWO MUFFLED BLOODCURDLING SCREAMS, OFF)


MARGARET: (CALLS) Why didn't you scream before?! Why didn't you scream so daddy could hear you? Oh, just don't scream for me! I can't help you all by myself! 


WOMAN: (ONE MUFFLED BLOODCURDLING SCREAM, OFF)


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: MARGARET'S RUNNING STEPS TO THE HOUSE DOOR


MARGARET: (CALLS) Dad! Dad! 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... MARGARET AND FATHER'S STEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


MARGARET: (HYSTERICAL) Dad, she's screaming again! Right after you left, she started to scream! You've gotta come back!


FATHER: Whoa, there now, Margaret. Come here. Come here. Let me feel your head.


MARGARET: Please, daddy, please--!


FATHER: Why, you've got a fever. 


MARGARET: Please! Please, daddy!


FATHER: Now, you're going to lie down, young lady.


MARGARET: We can't leave her down there, dad! We can't! 


FATHER: Come along, into your room. 


MARGARET: It's awful, dad! It's awful for her to be screaming and screaming and nobody listening or caring!


FATHER: Margaret-- 


MARGARET: She'll choke when there isn't any more air and then she'll die!


SOUND: BEDROOM DOOR OPENS ... THEIR STEPS IN ... MARGARET IS PUT TO BED, IN BG


FATHER: You're going to lie down the rest of the afternoon before you make yourself sick. 


MARGARET: (WEEPS) No! I've got to dig her out! I've gotta go back! (WEEPS, IN BG)


FATHER: It's all those comic books you've read, darling. Now I forbid you to leave the house. Close your eyes and take a nap, like a good little girl.


SOUND: FATHER EXITS, BEDROOM DOOR CLOSES AND LOCKS 


MARGARET: (WEEPS, TO HERSELF) Oh, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? 


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: You are listening to "The Screaming Woman," tonight's presentation in radio's outstanding theatre of thrills, SUSPENSE! 


MUSIC: UP FOR TAG ... AND OUT


ANNOUNCER: Today begins Red Cross Month, a reminder to all Americans whether or not you have ever benefited personally from the far-flung, effective relief and rehabilitation programs of your Red Cross. Your "Month of March" donation to the Red Cross, which you are urged to make, will keep Red Cross activities in progress, but you are urged to take a still more important step in addition. You are urged to be an active member of your local Red Cross chapter. Remember, the Red Cross is people helping people. Join and serve more effectively to benefit should the need arise. 


MUSIC: THEME ... IN AND BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: And now we bring back to our Hollywood sound stage Sherry Jackson, starring in tonight's production of "The Screaming Woman," a tale well-calculated to keep you in suspense


MUSIC: UP FOR BRIEF SECOND ACT INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) After a while, I stopped crying. I had to get back to the lot where that woman was screaming. But I was locked in. So I tied a sheet to the bed and let it out the window and shinnied down to the ground. Then I ran to the garage and got shovels, and ran to the empty lot. The sun was almost down and it was getting cold. I started to dig fast. (EXHALES WITH EFFORT AS--)


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, SHOVEL DIGS DIRT ... CONTINUES IN BG ... WIND BLOWS, IN BG


DIPPY: (OFF) Hi, Maggie! 


MARGARET: (NARRATES) It was Dippy Smith [who was ten years old, the same as me]. He goes to my school. 


DIPPY: (OFF) What you diggin' for? 


MARGARET: (WITH EFFORT, AS SHE DIGS) For a screaming woman. She's down in the ground and I'm going to dig her up. You can help me dig, Dippy. There's an extra shovel. 


SOUND: DIGGING STOPS


DIPPY: (CLOSER) I don't hear nothin'. [I don't dig unless I hear a scream.]


MARGARET: Well, listen. Just listen. 


SOUND: PAUSE ... WIND BLOWS QUIETLY


DIPPY: No, I don't hear nothin'. 


SOUND: MARGARET RESUMES DIGGING


MARGARET: Well, just wait; you will.


WOMAN: (ONE MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


SOUND: DIGGING STOPS


DIPPY: (QUIETLY STUNNED) Hey--


MARGARET: There! There, did you hear it? 


DIPPY: (IMPRESSED) Gee, that's okay! Do it again! 


MARGARET: Do what again? 


DIPPY: The scream. Do it again, go on. I'll give you this aggie if you teach me to do it. 


WOMAN: (TWO BRIEF MUFFLED DESPERATE SCREAMS, OFF)


DIPPY: (VERY IMPRESSED) Hot dog! (WILDLY CURIOUS) Did you get that ventriloquist book for a dime from the magic company? You got one of those tin things in your mouth? 


MARGARET: (CAGEY) I won't tell ya unless you help me dig.


DIPPY: Okay, swell. Give me the shovel. Hot dog!


SOUND: DIPPY GRABS SHOVEL ... BOTH DIG, IN BG


DIPPY: (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT, THEN IN BG) 


MARGARET: And you gotta dig fast! Like this! (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT, THEN IN BG) 


SOUND: GRUNTING WITH EFFORT, BOTH DIG A LITTLE FASTER ... THEN IN BG


WOMAN: (TWO BRIEF MUFFLED SCREAMS, OFF)


DIPPY: Boy, you'd think she was right under our feet. Oh, you're wonderful, Maggie. What's the screaming woman's name? Made up a name for her yet?


MARGARET: (IMPROVISING) Oh, sure. Her name's Shirley Miller and she's a rich old lady, a hundred and sixty years old, and she was buried by a crook named Spike. Come on, Dippy -- dig


WOMAN: (ONE MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: [DIPPY DROPS HIS SHOVEL ...] ONLY MARGARET CONTINUES HER DIGGING, WHICH HAS SLOWED CONSIDERABLY


MARGARET: (AGITATED) Keep digging! We can't stop! 


DIPPY: (VERY TIRED) Oh, I'm tired. I - I think I'll go home. 


SOUND: DIGGING STOPS


MARGARET: Dippy, there really is a woman buried there. 


DIPPY: Oh, sure. [You said so, Maggie.]


MARGARET: Don't you believe me? I wasn't throwing my voice, honest I wasn't, Dippy! 


WOMAN: (SIMULTANEOUS WITH MARGARET ABOVE, A LONG, SLOW MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF ... THEN AGAIN BEHIND--)


DIPPY: (REALIZES, QUIETLY) Hey-- You couldn't talk and scream together. There really is a woman here! 


MARGARET: That's what I told you! 


DIPPY: (EXCITED) Come on, let's dig!


SOUND: THEY RESUME GRUNTING AND DIGGING, IN BG


WOMAN: (A WEAK MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


DIPPY: How's she breathin' do you think? 


MARGARET: I think she's in the fort. Remember? 


DIPPY: Sure, that's where she is. Five or six of us kids could get in it, so it's big enough. [I sure hope it isn't just a radio or somethin'.


MARGARET: Well, a radio would be nice, too.]


KELLY: (OFF, FURIOUS) Hey! What do you kids think you're doin'?! 


SOUND: DIGGING STOPS BEHIND--


MARGARET: (STARTLED) Oh! Oh, hello, Mr. Kelly.


DIPPY: (A LITTLE SCARED) Hello, Mr. Kelly.


KELLY: (APPROACHES) I'm tired of chasing you out of this lot! If one of ya get hurt, maybe your folks would sue me!


MARGARET: But, Mr. Kelly, there's a woman screaming-- 


WOMAN: (A WEAK MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


KELLY: You kids beat it, d'you hear? 


DIPPY: (OBEDIENT) Yes, sir. 


MARGARET: But listen, Mr. Kelly! Don't you hear her? 


WOMAN: (A WEAK MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


MARGARET: There! 


WOMAN: (ANOTHER WEAK MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


KELLY: I don't hear anything and neither do you! Now beat it!


DIPPY: (NERVOUS) Come on, Maggie. 


MARGARET: But, Mr. Kelly, somebody's gotta dig her out!


KELLY: Don't argue with me or I'll phone your folks! 


SOUND: DIPPY AND MARGARET'S STEPS RETREAT THROUGH THE LOT AS KELLY FADES OFF, RANTING


KELLY: (RANTS, CALLS AFTER THEM) This is my property! Do I have to put up a fence?! Why should I spend money to keep people off my property by putting up a fence? Now stay out of here! (FADES OUT)


SOUND: DIPPY AND MARGARET'S STEPS CONTINUE IN BG


MARGARET: (LOW, REALIZES) Dippy! Dippy, it's him! He's the one. 


DIPPY: Huh?


MARGARET: (INTENSE, CERTAIN) He murdered Mrs. Kelly. He hit her on the head and stuck her in the fort and dumped loads of dirt on top. But she wasn't dead. She came to. Why, you saw him. He stood right there when she screamed and wouldn't pay any attention! 


DIPPY: Hey, that's right. He stood right there and lied to us. 


SOUND: THEIR STEPS STOP


DIPPY: What do we do, Maggie? 


MARGARET: There's only one thing to do. We'll phone the police and tell them to come and arrest Mr. Kelly. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: POLICE CAR WITH SIREN APPROACHES ... THEN SIREN OUT AND CAR BRAKES TO A STOP BEHIND--


DIPPY: Hey, they sure got here fast, Maggie.


MARGARET: Shh! Don't make a sound. Stay down. Mr. Kelly might get desperate and shoot or something. 


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, CAR DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES ... THEN OFFICER'S STEPS TO KELLY'S DOOR ... KNOCKING ... NO ANSWER ... MORE KNOCKING ... DOOR OPENS


(NOTE: VOICES OF KELLY, OFFICER, AND ANNA ARE SLIGHTLY OFF MIKE; MARGARET AND DIPPY ARE ON-MIKE)


KELLY: (MEEKLY) Oh. Oh, yes, officer? 


OFFICER: You Mr. Kelly? 


KELLY: Yes, sir. Well, what can I do for you?


OFFICER: Is, uh, Mrs. Kelly at home this evening? 


KELLY: Why, sure. 


OFFICER: May I see her, sir? 


KELLY: Why, sure, sure. (CALLS) Hey, Anna?! (TO OFFICER) What's up? 


SOUND: ANNA'S STEPS APPROACH


OFFICER: We got a call, um-- Oh, good evening, ma'am. 


ANNA: What is it, officer? 


[MARGARET: (SURPRISED) Oh!]


OFFICER: Well, I'm sorry, folks. We-- We got a call that Mrs. Kelly was buried alive in some empty lot. 


ANNA: (GASPS)


OFFICER: It sounded like some kid calling, but we had to make sure. We always check these things.


ANNA: Well, I can't understand it.


KELLY: (EXPLODES) It's those blasted kids! If I ever catch them, I'll break their necks!


DIPPY: (HUSHED, URGENT) Maggie, cheese it!


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: MARGARET AND DIPPY'S STEPS ON SIDEWALK


DIPPY: Boy, if Kelly telephones my dad, I'll get a lickin'. 


MARGARET: What'll we do about the screaming woman? 


DIPPY: Aw, to heck with her! I'm not goin' near that lot again. 


SOUND: STEPS OUT BEHIND--


MARGARET: (REALIZES) Wait a minute, Dippy! I know why he didn't hear the screams! Kelly's sort of deaf. Mama says he's hard of hearing. 


DIPPY: Well, he heard us, didn't he? He heard the cop


MARGARET: He reads people's lips. But he couldn't hear the screaming woman because he couldn't see her. Dippy, come on! We gotta go dig some more.


DIPPY: No, sir. 


MARGARET: We got to! 


DIPPY: We're in a pack of trouble because of your ol' darn-old screamin' woman! I'm not gonna get in any more trouble; no, sir! So long, Maggie. 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) And he went off and left me all alone. [I wanted to crawl down under the ground with the screaming woman and die, too.] It was dark now and dad would be hunting for me. If he found me, I'd get a licking and be put to bed, and then nobody would help the screaming woman at all. There was only one last thing to do: to go all over the neighborhood, from house to house, and find out who was missing. So I rang bells and knocked. But everybody was home. 


[SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES ... FRONT DOOR OPENS


MRS. GRISWOLD: Why, hello, dear. 


MARGARET: Hello, Mrs. Griswold. Is anybody missing from your house? Is your sister from Detroit still here? 


MRS. GRISWOLD: Yes, she's sitting right over there by the radio. Don't you see her? (CALLS) Em? Little Margaret Leary wants to-- 


MARGARET: (INTERRUPTS) No, I only wanted to see her, Mrs. Griswold. I was just wondering. I just wanted to know if she was here.


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


SOUND: ANOTHER FRONT DOOR OPENS


MARGARET: Hello, Mrs. Pikes. You're looking good. I'm glad to see you're at home, Mrs. Pikes. I'm awful glad. 


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION


MARGARET: Mr. Hyde, is your wife still here? 


MR. HYDE: (CALLS) Dora? (TO MARGARET) Aren't you out pretty late, Margaret? 


MARGARET: Yes. Oh, hello, Mrs. Hyde.


MRS. HYDE: What is it, Margaret?


MARGARET: I just wanted to see you, Mrs. Hyde. That's all. 


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) The hours were just rolling along.] And I was about to give up when I came to the Nesbitts' house. The house was quiet, like nobody was home, but I saw a dim spooky light inside somewhere. 


SOUND: KNOCKING AND KNOCKING BEHIND--


MARGARET: (NARRATES) So I just kept knocking and knocking and knocking.


SOUND: NESBITT'S DOOR OPENS ABRUPTLY


MARGARET: (STARTLED GASP)


NESBITT: (CURT) What do you want? 


MARGARET: (NERVOUS) Uh, uh, uh, nothing, Mr. Nesbitt. (RECOVERS, PLAYS IT VERY SMOOTH, SWEET AND INNOCENT) I - I want to see Mrs. Nesbitt. 


NESBITT: She's not here. She's - gone to the store. 


[MARGARET: At night? Besides it's closed today -- I think. 


NESBITT: The drugstore down on Clark Street.] 


MARGARET: Oh. Uh, then she ought to be back pretty quick. (SOUND: HER STEPS IN, AS SHE SLIPS PAST NESBITT, TO ROCKING CHAIR, IN BG) I'll come in and wait.


NESBITT: Hey! Hey-hey-hey, wait a minute!


MARGARET: I'll just sit down here and wait.


SOUND: ROCKING CHAIR CREAKS AS MARGARET SITS ... CONTINUES SLOWLY CREAKING AND ROCKING, IN BG


MARGARET: I sure like a rocking chair.


SOUND: NESBITT'S DOOR CLOSES, OFF


MARGARET: Uh, don't mind me. Go right ahead doing whatever you were doing, Mr. Nesbitt.


NESBITT: I - wasn't doing anything. 


MARGARET: Oh. It looks like you were packing or something with all those boxes and trunks around. Going away? 


NESBITT: No. Mrs. Nesbitt's been sorting things out -- getting rid of a lot of stuff. 


MARGARET: Oh. (BEAT) Burning it up in the fireplace? 


NESBITT: Yes. That's right. 


MARGARET: Dad always burns our junk out in the alley. Cloth smells awful when it burns. I think that--


NESBITT: (INTERRUPTS) Look, kid. Helen may have gone on from the store to visit a friend.


MARGARET: Well, if she doesn't come soon, I'll leave. 


NESBITT: Yes. And I'll tell her you were here. What did you want to see her about?


MARGARET: Oh, nothing much. (SEES SOMETHING) Hey, that's too bad.


NESBITT: What? 


MARGARET: I guess you lost the key to that box. You had to break the lock. 


NESBITT: It, er, was, er, broken already. I bet your folks don't know where you are, kid. 


MARGARET: No, sir. They think I'm in bed. What friend did Mrs. Nesbitt go visit? 


NESBITT: I don't know. I mean, uh-- Look, kid, I - I ought to tell ya. She won't be back tonight. 


MARGARET: Oh? 


NESBITT: No. (IMPROVISING) She went to the store like I said, but she was going from there over to Beechwood to visit her mother -- on the bus. She'll be gone two or three days.


MARGARET: Oh. That's a shame. 


NESBITT: Why? 


MARGARET: Mama was expecting Mrs. Nesbitt to come over tomorrow; maybe to sew. 


NESBITT: You better not tell your mother. You see, it's a - kind of a secret about Helen going away. She doesn't want people to know for a while. 


MARGARET: (UNDERSTANDS COMPLETELY) Ohhh. 


NESBITT: Yeah. You know how to keep a secret, kid? 


MARGARET: I guess so. 


NESBITT: (INSPIRED) I'll - I'll give you something for not telling. (MOVING OFF) I'll - I'll give you a reward now. Er, now let's see here.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, NESBITT STEPS TO JUNK AND PAPER ... THEN RUMMAGES AROUND 


NESBITT: (OFF) Oh. Ah, here's something for a kid! A doll!


MARGARET: A doll? 


NESBITT: (OFF) Yeah.


SOUND: NESBITT'S STEPS TO MARGARET ... ROCKING CHAIR STOPS


NESBITT: (IMPROVISING) Helen was going to give it to you. I heard her say when she was sorting this stuff, [she said,] "I'll give this to the little Leary girl." 


MARGARET: That's funny. Mrs. Nesbitt always calls me Margaret. 


NESBITT: Yeah. Well, sure. That's what she said -- "Margaret." Here, you see? It's quite a doll. Old-fashioned. It's made of leather, and the face is china -- or somethin'. See?


MARGARET: (YES, EVENLY) Uh-huh. Thank you, Mr. Nesbitt. 


NESBITT: It's a reward for not saying anything about Helen being gone, y'understand? Now - now come on, I'll snap on the porch light. 


SOUND: MARGARET RISES FROM ROCKING CHAIR ... MARGARET AND NESBITT'S STEPS WALK TO DOOR, WHICH OPENS ... PORCH LIGHT SNAPPED ON


[MARGARET: Mr. Nesbitt, did you finish your driveway?


NESBITT: What do you mean?


MARGARET: Did you get all the dirt hauled off to make it smooth? 


NESBITT: Sure, sure. Now come on.] 


MARGARET: Um, Mr. Nesbitt, I saw your dump truck in the lot this morning.


NESBITT: (SHARPLY) What do you mean? Were you in the lot this morning? 


MARGARET: Uh, no. No, I was home. I looked out the window. 


NESBITT: (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT AS--)


SOUND: NESBITT VIOLENTLY GRABS MARGARET BY THE ARM ... [LIGHT SCUFFLE, IN BG]


MARGARET: (IN PAIN) Please, Mr. Nesbitt -- let go of my arm.


NESBITT: (SAVAGE) You been playin' out there today? Answer me!


MARGARET: Don't! That hurts! I wasn't playing! It's no fun now with the fort covered up and--


NESBITT: The fort? What's that?


MARGARET: Nothing. Nothing, Mr. Nesbitt. 


NESBITT: Tell me what you're talking about. 


MARGARET: Nothing. Nothing but that old concrete pipe.


NESBITT: (WITH CERTAINTY) You know something. That's why you came here. You've been snooping around that lot and you found out something. What do you know?! 


MARGARET: I don't know anything! Let me go! Mr. Nesbitt, if you don't let me go. I'll--!


SOUND: MARGARET BITES NESBITT'S HAND AND KICKS HIM HARD IN THE SHIN!


NESBITT: (EXCLAIMS WITH PAIN AS--)


SOUND: MARGARET'S STEPS RUN OUT THE DOOR AND AWAY ... THEN NESBITT'S STEPS FOLLOW HER, IN BG


NESBITT: (CALLS AFTER HER, DESPERATELY) Hey, come back! Come back, kid! I'll give you something else! I'll give you something else! Come back, kid! Come back! 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND MARGARET--


MARGARET: (NARRATES, TENSELY) Mr. Nesbitt yelled because I kicked him and bit his hand. Then I ran. But I heard him run after me! It was dark and quiet and scary on the street -- and more scary out there in the lot. I ran straight across the place where I'd heard the screaming, and it was so quiet, and all of a sudden there was a man in the lot! Right in front of me! 


SOUND: MARGARET'S RUNNING STEPS, IN BG 


FATHER: Margaret! Margaret, stop!


MARGARET: (STARTLED EXCLAMATION) 


SOUND: STEPS STOP 


MARGARET: (VERY RELIEVED) Oh, dad!


FATHER: (STERN) Margaret, where have you been? Do you have any idea how your mama's worried? Do you know how late it is?


MARGARET: Dad! Dad, he's after me! Mr. Nesbitt!


FATHER: (IGNORES HER) We've been up and down alleys and clear down to Clark Street. I was about to call the police.


MARGARET: The screaming woman! It's Mrs. Nesbitt who's down there. 


FATHER: I'm gonna give you a good licking. 


MARGARET: Mr. Nesbitt killed her and now he wants to kill me!


FATHER: I've had all of this idiotic talk I can stand.


MARGARET: It's true! He said she's gone away and he was burning her things! You've gotta believe!


FATHER: Margaret, that's enough! Now, stop it right now! (SEES SOMETHING, BEAT, QUIETLY STUNNED) What have you got there? Where did you get that doll?


MARGARET: Mr. Nesbitt-- 


NESBITT: (INTERRUPTS, LIGHTLY) Why, I gave it to her, Leary. 


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, NESBITT'S STEPS APPROACH


MARGARET: (GASPS)


NESBITT: (CHUCKLES) Kid stopped by the house and I remembered Helen said she wanted to throw it away. 


FATHER: (PUZZLED) Helen said - to throw it away? 


MARGARET: (VERY QUICK AND URGENT) He's lying, dad. He gave it to me so I wouldn't tell about her. It was locked up in a box. He didn't have the key; he broke it open.


NESBITT: (CHUCKLES, LIGHTLY) She's a high-strung kid, Leary. All the stuff she was telling me--


MARGARET: (INTERRUPTS) He's lying, dad!


FATHER: (VERY CALMLY) [Yes, he is lying.] Why are you lying, Charlie?


NESBITT: (TAKEN ABACK) Lying? How do you get that, Leary? 


FATHER: (SIMPLY) [Helen never let you have that doll. It was locked up.] Helen was going to give it to Margaret on her birthday. She told me so. It was a present I gave her a long time ago. She wouldn't have thrown it away -- any more than I'd throw away the paperweight she gave me. Why are you lying, Charlie? 


NESBITT: (NERVOUS) I'm not. Don't look at me like that, Leary. As God is my witness--!


WOMAN: (THREE DESPERATE MUFFLED SCREAMS, OFF ... EACH A LITTLE STRONGER THAN THE LAST)


MARGARET: It's her, dad! It's the screaming woman! 


FATHER: (QUIETLY FURIOUS) As God is your witness--?


SOUND: FATHER'S STEPS TO NESBITT


NESBITT: (SCARED) No-- Leary-- No! No!


SOUND: GRUNTING WITH EFFORT, FATHER SCUFFLES VIOLENTLY WITH NESBITT


NESBITT: (SCREAMS IN PAIN) Please!


SOUND: NESBITT KNOCKED OUT ... BODY THUDS TO GROUND


WOMAN: (MUFFLED SCREAM, OFF)


FATHER: (URGENT) Margaret? Run to the house, phone the police and tell them to hurry. Tell them we've gotta dig!


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: PHONE RINGS AND CONNECTS (CALLER'S PERSPECTIVE) ... DIPPY'S VOICE ON FILTER


DIPPY: Hello?


MARGARET: (CHEERFUL) Hi, Dippy. Everything's fine. Everything's worked out keen. The screaming woman isn't screaming any more. They got a lot of people down there digging her up. 


DIPPY: Hey, [that's] swell! Hot dog


MARGARET: (THE IMPORTANT NEWS) And you know what else, Dippy? They uncovered our fort again -- and now we'll be able to get the kids and play in it tomorrow! [Oh, Dippy, wasn't it a keen Thanksgiving?]


MUSIC: CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: SUSPENSE-- 


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: --in which Sherry Jackson starred in "The Screaming Woman" by Ray Bradbury. (BEAT) Next week the story of a man who tries to escape his past - and is faced with no future. We call it "Nobody Ever Quits." That's next week on--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD


ANNOUNCER: --SUSPENSE


MUSIC: BRISK CLOSING MARCH ... THEN IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: SUSPENSE is produced and transcribed by Antony Ellis. Adaptation was by Sylvia Richards. The music was composed by Lucien Moraweck and conducted by Wilbur Hatch. Featured in the cast were Paula Winslowe, John Dehner, Richard Beals, Howard McNear, Joe Cranston, Herb Butterfield, and Eve McVeigh. 


Join THE FBI IN PEACE AND WAR, Wednesday nights on the CBS Radio Network.



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