The Murder At The Wall
By A E Fenton
Police: We’ve just got reports of a murder on the Wall. Requesting all units immediately!
Lights come up. A dry stane dyke is surrounded by police caution tape. A body is lying at the base of the wall. An ambulance and a police car are nearby. A group of policemen stand next to the police car.
Detective: How could it have happened? Why would anyone want to murder such an innocent child?
Constable: Bring in the suspects. We’ll need to question them.
Lights fade out , then sound of a door slamming. Lights come back up on an interview room, blandly decorated with old mug shots of criminals. In centre stage is a table with two chairs, a tape recorder and a lamp. Sitting at the table is a boy in his mid teens. He is white with fear. Detective enters through the door upstage right. He slams the door shut and the boy starts to shake. The Policeman sits at the table, turns on the lamp and starts the tape recorder.
Constable: Interview with Little Jack Horner. Tuesday 18th April. The time is 12.15pm. Present are Chief Constable David Brown and Jack Horner.
HORNER (Irish accent): Please… Constable… I didn’t do it sir!
Constable: I’ll do the talking! So. Where were you at the time of the murder?
HORNER: I… I… I was in the field beside the wall. But I was thinking of me mam’s plum pudding ‘cause that’s what we were having for tea....
Lights dim and then the lights change to mimic the sunrise. The scene changes back to the wall when the lights are dimmed. This time however there is no police caution tape and no emergency services vehicles. Little Jack Horner enters stage left and sits on a hay bale in the field that is only feet from the wall. Humpty Dumpty enters stage right and swings a blue lunchbox emblazoned with the legend ‘HUMPTY’. As Jack Horner tells his side of the story, Humpty opens his lunchbox and starts to eat his lunch.
(these following lines are delivered as voice overs)
Horner: ... See where I was sitting, I could see Humpty sitting on the wall. He was sitting singing to himself, and he got out his lunch. Big toffee apples and such like…
Constable(angrily) : You’re not here to tell me the contents of Humpty Dumpty’s lunch box! I want you to tell me what you saw at the time of the murder! Go on…
Horner: Oh right… sorry constable… yes well, Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall and ate his lunch. It looked good too… (The constable is heard to growl with rage)… keep your hair on constable! Yeah well, he ate his lunch and then he saw me. So he got off the wall and ran over to me. He’s a cute wee thing, I’d say about 6 or 7… so he ran over and climbed up the hay bale and sat beside me and said:
(the following lines are not delivered as voice overs)
Humpty Dumpty: Jack! You know… I think it’s coming. The end.
Horner: What do you mean Humpty, the end? Like the end of the world? People have been saying that for centuries and it’s still turning!
HUMPTY: No silly, as in the end of the story… never mind Jack. You’ll never understand, there are some matters that aren’t worth mentioning to you. You just wouldn’t understand.
Horner: OI! There’s no need to be cheeky. Anyway I have to go Humpty, remember the Wall is dangerous so don’t go back up it!
Humpty (sarcastically, though this isn’t picked up on by HORNER): Yes Jack. Bye bye.
The lights fade out on Humpty Dumpty climbing back up on the wall. The scene changes back to the interview room, Horner now has a little more colour in his face. The Constable is deep in thought.
Constable: And this was the last time you saw the victim?
Horner: Yes Constable.
Constable: I see. Thank you for coming in. Interview terminated at 1pm.
Lights dim and the scene changes. Lights come back up on a small dimly light office, with a desk stage left. The Constable is sitting at the desk drinking from a cup of coffee. Detective enters stage right and sits down in the chair opposite the Constable.
Detective: How did Jack Horner do then?
Constable: Well, (sighs) he was adamant that he was innocent. But for the meantime he is still a suspect. We have to piece Humpty Dumpty’s death together. We are loyal King’s men so must do all in our power to do so.
Detective: Well said. I’ll take the next interview. Gives you time to piece this together.
The scene changes back to the interview room, but this time, a small girl in her late teens and has long golden curls sits at the table. Detective enters stage right.
Detective: Interview with Goldielocks. Tuesday 18th April. The time is 1.30pm. Present are Detective Alexander Miller and Goldielocks.
Goldielocks: Excuse me? I never killed him, can I go now?
Detective: Sit down! Now, where were you at the time of the murder?
Goldielocks: I was eating porridge? And then I slept some and then sat on a few chairs…
Detective: Surely if that’s all you did, then why did you make such a fuss?
Goldielocks: I don’t have to tell everyone what I did yesterday. It’s got nothing to do with them.
Detective: Hmm. You can go now. Interview terminated at 1.45pm.
The scene changes back to the office. The Constable stands up as he sees the Detective. The Detective smiles and motions for the Constable to sit back down. He sits and the Detective sits opposite.
Detective: Goldelocks was very suspicious. She couldn’t sit still and refused to tell me anything. I think she’s our killer.
Constable: She sounds shifty enough. But we can’t rule out any one else. There’s just the one interview left. Apparently they’re quite the character, so don’t let them get to you.
Detective: Why Humpty Dumpty though? What had he ever done to anyone?
Constable: Well, before you transferred here, Humpty Dumpty had been eating black bananas. And he had though it would be funny to put these in the King’s pyjamas, but the King had this allergy to bananas… and it killed him. He was never sentenced, so the killer must be giving him his ‘just desserts’. Really the only motive that makes sense. Still. We’d best go. Time is wearing on.
Detective: Oh. Well I see the motive now. Really would a little boy do that?
Constable: Yes, Humpty was the famous village vandal. Now he’s gone, the village can sleep soundly. Look we’d better get a move on.
Detective: Yes. I’ll meet you there.
The scene changes back to the interview room. The final suspect is sitting in the chair and another chair has been added to the table. The boy sitting at the table; completely dressed in blue and is in his early teens. The policemen enter stage right and then sit down.
Constable: Interview with Little Boy Blue. Tuesday 18th April. The time is 2.00pm. Present are Detective Alexander Miller, Chief Constable David Brown & Boy Blue.
Detective: So where were you at the time of the murder?
Boy Blue: I was watching the cows and playing my horn. I didn’t know Humpty Dumpty. Why would I want to kill him? I’ll tell you what though, I saw Goldielocks heading towards the Wall, she told me she could murder someone. But no one takes her seriously and then the lad’s dead? I reckon she did it.
Constable: Detective, this could be the most valuable information we’ve had yet. Thank you Boy Blue. Interview terminated at 2.15pm.
Detective: That really was a solid lead, do you reckon we could arrest her?
Constable: Yep it is. We have to get to her now or she’ll kill someone else. She’s already got a reputation for a bit of a hunter. You know that murder case a few months ago? With the bears? That was her.
Detective: Oh my god. She needs to be caught sooner rather than later.
Constable: The loyal King’s men get on their noble steeds, the King’s horses… that sounds a bit like that nursery rhyme…
Detective: Oh that one… cant remember it’s name though…
(the next lines are voice overs)
(The Constable, Detective and Goldielocks mime the arrest and the court trail during this next bit)
Humpty: So they caught my murderer. I may have been a lowly person, but I needed and craved the attention. It filled a small whole in my life. That problem was cause by people thinking I was an egg. I am no egg. I am a human being. Just like everyone else. And that’s the end of the story. I was murdered and the village slept soundly. Thank you and good night!