The Reluctant Boyfriend

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


It was hard to tell what was annoying Caitlin more, the dead body or the fact it was lying on her new carpet.

Submitted: January 14, 2018

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Submitted: January 10, 2018

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SCENE 1

(A modern apartment being redecorated. Kitchen area upstage. Stage left front door, stage right doors to bedrooms and bathroom. On the floor, in front of a sofa, a body dressed in overalls.)

Enter through main door CAITLIN  carrying shopping bags.

CAITLIN:-It's only me. You really wouldn't believe what happened. (Puts the bags down and notices the body.) Oh sweetheart, could you come here a moment? (Listening.) Now!

Enter MAN from bedroom holding paintbrush.
 
MAN:- Okay, okay, I'm coming. What's up?
CAITLIN:- What's this?

MAN:- What's what?

CAITLIN:- (points to the body.) This!

MAN:- It's a dead body. (Realises.) It's a dead body!

CAITLIN:- I can see it's a dead body. What I want to know is,  (loudly) what is it doing on my new carpet?

MAN:- That's a good question. (Beat) Why are you looking at me like that?

CAITLIN:- Like what?

MAN:- You're giving me the look women always give you when they’ve already decided they’re not going to believe anything you’re about to say.  

CAITLIN:- Oh, I don't know, past experience maybe?

MAN:- Look, it's nothing to do with me.

CAITLIN:- Really? I suppose it just walked in all by itself did it? All you had to do was paint the spare room. Wall, brush, paint, even you couldn't get into trouble doing that. (Pause) Well, feel free to join in at any time?

MAN:- I - .

CAITLIN:- Don't give me that.

 MAN:- I only -.

CAITLIN:- You’ve been out, with Harry watching the soccer at Murphys?

MAN:- We call it 'football'.

CAITLIN:- 'We' don't care. (Sniffs). Have you been drinking?

MAN:-  No! I swear not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips. I - .

CAITLIN:- Oh God! You’ve been on a job again haven’t you?

MAN:- No. (Pause.)  Well, only a little one. I swear I wasn't gone long. There was this little, (beat) is it my imagination or has the  temperature in this place just gone down about ten degrees?

CAITLIN:- We talked about this, and after what happened last time.

MAN:- It was a misunderstanding.

CAITLIN:-How can being chased over the rooftops by a SWAT team be a misunderstanding?

MAN:- They were early. Anyway, some people are into jogging, I'm into extreme sports. What are you looking at?

CAITLIN:- He’s been bleeding over my carpet, (beat) and now is not the time for one of your bad jokes. (Examines body.) Two shots, nice grouping. Who is he? Police?

MAN:- Would have knocked.

CAITLIN:- Someone from your misspent youth?

MAN:- (offended.) My youth was never that misspent. Though come to think of it, it did have its moments. We’ve been set up!

CAITLIN:- Obviously.

MAN:- Police are already on their way?

CAITLIN:- Undoubtedly.

MAN:- Tricky.

CAITLIN:- But I just know you’re going to think of something really clever to get us out of this. In the meantime, I’m hungry. (Starts to make something to eat.)
MAN:- If you're making -.

CAITLIN:-  I'll do you a sandwich for later. And no, you can't watch 'the football', not until you've sorted out your little problem.

MAN:- My problem? Okay, okay what to do? (Scratches chin.) Hmm.

CAITLIN:- What are you doing?

MAN:- I'm scratching my chin.

CAITLIN:- I can see that. Why?

MAN:- It helps me to think. Okay. (Pause.) I've got it.

CAITLIN:- Yes?

MAN:- We need to move the body.

CAITLIN:- My hero.

MAN:- I'll dump the body in the river. It will look like he fell in.

CAITLIN:-  Was that before or after someone shot him?

MAN:- Good point. (Scratches top of head.)

CAITLIN:- Thinking again?

MAN:-Yes.

CAITLIN:- Well, as long as you don't start scratching anything else.

MAN:- Okay,  have you got any better ideas?

CAITLIN:- You could search the body first.

MAN:- Ugh. Why would I want to do that?

CAITLIN:- Oh, I don't know, for clues maybe, who he is and what he's doing here. Start with his wallet and his phone.

MAN:- Why would I want to do that?

CAITLIN:- To find out who killed him of course. In fact, come to think of it, this is something we could do together. Solve the crime I mean. I keep telling you we don't do enough things together. What do you think?

MAN:- I think it's right up there with, 'lets go into the creepy old house to see if the psycho killer is still there'. Normal people just call the police.

CAITLIN:- We're not normal people, at least find out who he is.

MAN:- Oh, for crying out loud. (Searches body.) Work overalls, bit like mine. No phone, no wallet, nothing, and  no, I'm not checking the labels of his clothes or doing any of that CSI / NCIS stuff you watch.  What we have is a stiff  who from the look of it, seems to have been shot from close range.  Does make you wonder why no one heard the shots? Probably used a silencer.  But why was he here in the first place and who shot him?

CAITLIN:- Admit it, you're a little bit interested.

MAN:- (firmly.) No, I told you, I'm not getting involved, in any of it. Body removal, we need a professional, I'll call Julian.

CAITLIN:- Is that wise?

MAN:- I'm sure he's forgotten about that business with the Chinese cargo ship and the three Mexican ladies.

CAITLIN:- You've never really explained what you did do with the ship?

MAN:- I swapped it.

CAITLIN:-  What for?

MAN:- Some bananas.  Rather a lot of bananas actually. Look, it could have happened to anyone. It was just one big misunderstanding. There was this guy and he had a daughter but it's not what you think, and, well, you really wouldn't believe what happened next.

CAITLIN:- No, I don't suppose I would. Oh just phone Julian.

MAN:- (Phones.) Julian, it's me. I ... what do you mean 'no'?  I haven't asked you yet.....Well, how was I to know 'she' was a man. Look, it was an innocent mistake -.

CAITLIN:- Oh give it here. (Takes phone from MAN.) Julian, it's Caitlin, I know, I know, but what can I do with him? .... I've tried that but short of handcuffing him to a chair...yes. I need a favour. Disposal of a body....Don't ask... How much? .... I'm sure he will do that for you... What's the address? ....Okay got that. About two hours, he'll be there.

MAN:- If we are paying him why can't he come here and pick it up?

CAITLIN:- I don't know, something about a Chinese cargo ship and three Mexican ladies?

MAN:- Fair enough. How much?

CAITLIN:- He wants the Verlinksi diamond. It seems he needs it to meet some sudden expenses.

MAN:- I don't have it.

CAITLIN:- But he knows you can steal it.

MAN:- The Verlinski is worth about two million dollars. Don't you think we are overpaying a little?

CAITLIN:- Right now, no!  

MAN:-The Verlinski is in that new building downtown, it would be virtually impossible to steal. It's protected by that new Sigma -.

CAITLIN:- Stop.

MAN:- And stealing it is the easy part  I would still have to -.

CAITLIN:- Stop! Please stop. No more. I give in. I love you for the genius you tell me you are and I'm sure you'll work it all out. But right now, will you please just get rid of the body on my new carpet!

MAN:- Okay. (Pause.) I need some alcohol before the police arrive.

CAITLIN:- Do you really think now is the time to get drunk?

MAN:- It's for 'Frank' here.

CAITLIN:- Frank?

MAN:- We have to call him something. I'll pour whiskey over him and stick him in the bed in the spare room. That way when the police arrive, they'll just think he has passed out. Odds are they won't check too closely. Then we move the body later.  

CAITLIN:- That's your plan?

CAITLIN shakes her head and starts to make a sandwich.  

MAN:- (starts to move body.) You couldn't give me a hand could you?

CAITLIN:- (firmly.) I don't think so.

MAN struggles with the body.

MAN:- (quietly.) No, you might break a finger nail or something.

CAITLIN:- I heard that.

MAN:- (quietly.) That's because you've got bat like hearing.

CAITLIN:- And that.

Exit MAN with body. Knock on door, CAITLIN opens. Enter SMITH.

CAITLIN:- (clearly likes what she sees.) Hi.

SMITH:- (holds up badge. ) I'm Detective Smith.

CAITLIN:- (loudly. Looks behind her.) You're with the police?

SMITH:- (puzzled at her behaviour.) Yes. We're making enquiries into reports of a man acting suspiciously.

CAITLIN:- Really? Do take a seat and tell me all about it.

SMITH sits, CAITLIN pulls up a chair and sits uncomfortably close to him. MAN enters talking.

MAN:- You wouldn't believe the trouble I had getting Frank into bed. (Notices SMITH.) Oh hello.

SMITH:- (rising.) Good evening.

CAITLIN:-This is Detective Smith.

MAN:-You're with the police?

SMITH:- That's right.

MAN:- When I said I was trying to get him into bed, it wasn't how it sounded. I was only trying to get his clothes off. (Beat) Oh.

SMITH:- That's all right, we're very understanding.

MAN:-  No, I meant he was dead.

SMITH:- (becoming interested.) Dead?

MAN:-  (desperately.) Drunk. Dead drunk. And therefore needed some assistance.

SMITH:- To take all his clothes off?

CAITLIN:-  What he is trying to say is we're letting Frank come round a bit before taking him home. Bit of a party.

MAN:-  That's it! Exactly.

CAITLIN:-  Now we've got that sorted out, the Detective was telling me about the enquiries he is making.

SMITH:- Yes, I was telling your -.

MAN:- (interrupting quickly.)We're not, no, nothing like that, well,  not at the moment anyway.

CAITLIN:-  And we're never likely to be after this performance. Anyway, the Detective was asking if we had seen anyone acting suspiciously? (Pause.) Apart from you that is.

MAN:-  No. No, don't recall anyone, no, no one at all. No.

SMITH:- I see. (Takes out notebook.) I think I will just make a note for later. In the meantime I will leave you my card.

CAITLIN:-  (takes card.) Thank you officer.

Exit SMITH.

I think that went well.

MAN:- (doubtful.) Do you really thinks so?

CAITLIN:-  Oh absolutely. Now don't you have a body to start moving?

MAN:-  What if the Detective sees me carrying Frank out?

CAITLIN:-  Don't worry he knows you're just good friends.

Lights Down.


SCENE  2.

(The apartment later same evening. MAN enters.)  

MAN:- It's me. You know what I was saying about creepy old houses,  Well, Julian has this renovation job and you wouldn't believe what we did with Frank. (Pause.) Caitlin?  (Pause. Listens) Are you having a bath? (Beat) All naked except for a few strategically paced soap bubbles. Well sweetie have I got a surprise for you.  

Exit MAN. Off-stage cries out in alarm. MAN re-enters quickly. He points off-stage. Enter CAITLIN

CAITLIN:- (firmly) And just what is going on now?

MAN:- Your bath.

CAITLIN:- Yes?

MAN:- There's a woman in it.

CAITLIN:- Yes?

MAN:- It's not you.

CAITLIN:- No.

MAN:- Who?

CAITLIN:- It's Valentina from number 6.

MAN:- (pause. Then realises.) Oh the blonde with the big - .

CAITLIN:- (quickly) Excuse me, don't you think you are in enough trouble right now? Question is, what were you doing in the bathroom?

MAN:- I thought I would -.

CAITLIN:- (gravely) I see. Go and eat your sandwich while I try to calm Valentina down.

Exit CAITLIN..

MAN:- (sits down and  looks at the sandwich.) Cheese? (Pause. Sadly.) She knows I don't like cheese.

Enter VALENTINA.  

(Jumps up.) I'm so, so, sorry about what happened.

VALENTINA:- It's perfectly all right.

MAN:- It is?

VALENTINA:- Caitlin has explained everything.

MAN:- She has? (Pause. Clearly worried.) What did she say actually?

VALENTINA:- Well - .

Enter CAITLIN.

CAITLIN:- Coffees everyone, sorry there's not a lot of  milk, someone (stares meaningfully at MAN) forgot to get some, as usual.

VALENTINA:- Thank you again for letting me use your bathroom.

CAITLIN:- Valentina's water has been off all day.

MAN:- Has it?

VALENTINA:- I called a plumber but for some reason he didn't show up.

MAN:- Probably some dead beat lying down on the job somewhere.

CAITLIN:- (Beat.) Anyway, let me get you the number of the one I use.

Exit CAITLIN

VALENTINA:- I feel I ought to confess.

MAN:- (quickly.) You really don't want to do anything like that. Oh! Sorry, sort of reflex, go on.

VALENTINA:- Your face, it's seems very familiar. Are you on television?

MAN:- I try not to be, but you're right I am famous.

VALENTINA:- Really? I thought so. What have you been in?

MAN:- Surely you must have heard of me?

VALENTINA:- I'm sorry. (Embarrassed.) Are you really that famous?

Enter CAITLIN.
CAITLIN:- I'm sorry that took so long.

MAN:- I'm the world's greatest jewel thief.

CAITLIN:- What!

VALENTINA:- No! Really?

CAITLIN:- (touch of panic.) What are you saying?

VALENTINA:- And you?

CAITLIN:- I -.

MAN:-  She's an international art thief.

CAITLIN:-  Oh God!

MAN:-  That's right isn't it dear?

CAITLIN:-  I, err, well.

MAN:- No my love, let me tell it. She gets all embarrassed.  It's the old story, handsome but much misunderstood hero, that’s me by the way, meets sexy art thief, that’s definitely her, he asks her on a date, but she pretends she’s not interested by trying to blow his head off with a very large gun. And for our second date we nicked something from the Hermitage. What was it again, a Monet or a Manet? I always get them confused.

VALENTINA:- No way! Is that really true?

CAITLIN:- (weakly.) No. It's what passes for humour around here. I'm an accountant, and he -.

MAN:- Works in sanitation.

CAITLIN:- Yes, I've known him talk complete crap for hours on end.

Lights Down.


SCENE  3.  

(The apartment. Early morning. A painting covered by a sheet lies on a chair.  CAITLIN cries out off-stage and then enters quickly wearing a dressing gown. She grabs a knife from the kitchen area and faces off-stage. MAN enters.)

MAN:- (brightly.) Morning.

CAITLIN:- Oh it's you! (Annoyed.) What is it about you and bathrooms?

MAN:- (innocently.) I did say I might drop in.

CAITLIN:- You did, but most people usually use a door not a bathroom window.

MAN:- You know me, I thought I’d make it a little more exciting.

CAITLIN:- (Long pause, considering.) Did you bring chocolate?

MAN:- Err, no.

CAITLIN:- Not that exciting then. Care to explain what you are doing here and not out planning to steal a certain diamond for Julian? This had better not have anything to do with you and the Assistant Commissioner again.

MAN:- I need to sit down.

CAITLIN:- If you don't mind I'm going to finish getting dressed. (Seeing MAN about to sit down) And don't sit on the Modigliani!

Exit CAITLIN

MAN:- What's she nicked now? (Examines picture.) Hmm. (Beat.) I really don't see what she sees in this modern stuff. But I suppose I better take an interest.

Enter CAITLIN

CAITLIN:- Well? And it better be good?

MAN:- (pointing off-stage.) The painting over the fire place.

CAITLIN:- (distracted.) What about it?

MAN:- Didn't you have a Manet there before, a yellow one, with a purple squibble thing?

CAITLIN:- (patronisingly.) 'Yellow with a purple squibble thing'. It was a Monet and it's still there. It's a real Monet over-painted with a bad fake.

MAN:-  I get it. 'The Thomas Crown Affair', the remake not the original, which I did think was better. (Pause.) Hmm.

CAITLIN:-  Are you comparing me to Rene Russo?

MAN:-  No.

CAITLIN:- Or Faye Dunaway?

MAN:- (slowly.) No.

CAITLIN:-(mimicking) Good.

MAN:- But -.

CAITLIN:-  You'd get a good slap.

MAN:-  Anyway, the truth.

CAITLIN:- That will make a change.

MAN:- I’m homeless.

CAITLIN:- Fire or flood?

MAN:- More a sort of inferior woodwork.

CAITLIN:- The police kicked your door in. It’s the Assistant Commissioner again. I knew it.

MAN:- He’s gone too far this time.

CAITLIN:- (sighs.) You break into their personnel files, deposit two hundred grand into his bank account and then tip off the papers about ‘bent coppers’ is how I think you phrased it?

MAN:- I thought that bit was a nice touch.

CAITLIN:- You didn’t expect him to take that lying down did you?  

MAN:- Most normal coppers would have given up trying to catch me long ago. A man’s got to know his limitations.

CAITLIN:- And it usually takes a woman to remind him of them. How long is this feud of yours going to go on for?

MAN:- He started it.

CAITLIN:- I think you started it when you stole that thingy.  

MAN:- That 'thingy', was 'The Santasierres Folly' conservatively worth about ten million, and I would remind you, all the tabloids agreed it was the greatest jewel theft of the modern era. I  sometimes think that in a world where everything is permissible, the only real truth in life is crime. Like a great painting, crime has a purity and simplicity that transcends any other form of human activity.  In a way great crimes, and by that  I don’t mean the robberies being committed by that bunch of lunatics rampaging across the continent at the moment, I mean the ones that require skill, daring and a certain panache, are the ultimate expression of the true artist. I seriously think the Getty should consider an exhibition.

CAITLIN:- And what planet are you on today?

MAN:- I know I get carried away some times.

CAITLIN:-  I really wish you would be.

MAN:- Sorry.

CAITLIN:- You're forgiven, but I think it's time you begin to face facts, you’re not getting any younger.  

MAN:- I think this is where I make my cutting reply.

CAITLIN:- Do you have one?

MAN:- Not yet.

CAITLIN:- In the meantime, answer me this. Honestly, how much do you make a year?

MAN:- Honestly, nothing. Dishonestly, I do all right. Anyway it’s more a lifestyle choice.

CAITLIN:- (quietly.) I thought it might be.

MAN:- Elephant.

CAITLIN Slaps MAN.

MAN:- What was that for?

CAITLIN:- You were looking at my thigh and said ‘elephant'. Are you saying I'm fat?

MAN:- No, of course not.

CAITLIN:- But you were thinking it, weren’t you?

MAN:- No, honestly I was thinking about someone else.

CAITLIN slaps MAN again.

MAN:-  What was that one for?

CAITLIN:- Thinking about someone else.

Exit CAITLIN very annoyed.

MAN:- Caitlin? Caitlin? Fine. (Loud) Be like that then. See if I care.

Lights Down.


SCENE  4.

(A workshop. MAN and HARRY are working on various items. A newspaper on a chair.)  

MAN:- I swear, I wasn't looking at anything in particular and it just came to me. Anyway, for the moment the grovelling to the hormonal girlfriend will have to wait. I need to work on this. I know what she thinks, that it's something to do with another woman. Honestly, Caitlin’s the only girl for me, but once you tell a woman that they start getting funny ideas and using the word ‘commitment’ in every other sentence. That, and wanting to talk about 'the relationship' when the football is on.  

HARRY:- It really annoys me when someone does that. And I think you need to check the wiring.

MAN:- I've got a question for you. How do you make an elephant disappear? No, I kid you not. It’s an old trick of Houdini’s, he shows the audience the empty cabinet on wheels, shows the underneath ruling out any trapdoors. Elephant goes into the cabinet, a little theatrical flourish from Houdini, cabinet is opened and the elephant is nowhere to be seen. Of course it’s all down to mirrors which led to the old joke about five men pushing the cabinet on and twenty five pushing it off again. But there’s another blindingly obvious way of making the elephant disappear from the cabinet and that’s what gave me the idea. It was one of those 'eureka' moments; the high-rise car park, the bike, the van, the box of sand that wasn’t, the wire and the workman’s hut. I get the diamond and humiliate a certain Assistant Commissioner of Police.  What do you think?

HARRY:- Sorry, I wasn't listening. Anyway, I think it's done. I'll check the rest of the equipment.

Knocking on the door. Enter CAITLIN with cups and muffins.

CAITLIN:- It's only me. Can I come in?  I’ve brought Cappuccinos.

MAN:- Cappuccinos?

CAITLIN:- And muffins, the ones you like, with the chocolate on top.

MAN:- Caitlin?

CAITLIN:- Yes?

MAN:- Why are you here?

CAITLIN:- I worry about you. (Spots HARRY.) Oh, hello, I didn't realise you had company.

HARRY:- Hi.

CAITLIN:- (to MAN.) Could I have word with you a moment?

MAN and CAITLIN move to one side.

MAN:- Yes?

CAITLIN:- Who, exactly, is that woman?

MAN:- (looks around.) What woman? Oh, that's Harry.

CAITLIN:- Harry?

MAN:- You know, 'Harry'.

CAITLIN:- That's 'Harry'! You said he was a man.

MAN:- No I didn't.

CAITLIN:- But all those times you said you were going to Murphys to watch 'the football', with 'Harry', you mean, (coldly) you were with her?

MAN:- She's a United supporter.

CAITLIN:- Oh is she really, well that makes it all right then.

HARRY:- Okay that's done. I think you are good to go. If you don't mind I'll push off now. I'm meeting Tina at seven.

MAN:- How's that going by the way?

HARRY:- I think this is really it this time.

MAN:- After last time?

HARRY:- I know, I feel guilty, especially after everything you did.

CAITLIN:- And what did he do exactly?

HARRY:- He introduced me to my last girlfriend.

CAITLIN:- She wasn't from Mexico by any chance?

HARRY:- No, why?


CAITLIN:- Just checking.

HARRY:- See you later, and good luck.

Exit HARRY.

MAN:- So, how did you find my super-secret lair?

CAITLIN:- I've told you before I always know where you are. If not precisely whom you are with. Anyway, been reading the paper I see?

MAN:- It's getting serious, United have lost another central defender to injury.

CAITLIN:- I meant, you've read the story on page three, that gang’s moved into France, they hit a couple of galleries, shot three policemen. Massive stink about it all.

MAN:- Don’t get involved unless you really have to, that’s always been my motto.  

CAITLIN:- You so public spirited. (Wanders about examining various things. ) Well, you certainly seem to have been busy.

MAN:- What do you think?

CAITLIN:- Hmm.

MAN:- Is that Caitlin-speak for; this really isn't a good idea?

CAITLIN:- I didn't say a word.

MAN:- It will work. The Verlinski's as good as mine already.

CAITLIN:- I’m sure you’re right dear.

MAN:- Look. (Holds up a 'phone'.) This is something Harry knocked up, looks like a phone but really it intercepts and automatically decrypts all the police frequencies.

CAITLIN:- That was clever of her.

MAN:- Yes, well, anyway, I enter through the roof area.

CAITLIN:- Alarms?

MAN:- It will take less than three minutes to disable the alarms and loop the video feed.

CAITLIN:- What about the intelligent software designed to catch people like you doing that sort of thing?

MAN:- It's not a problem. Trust me. At worst I will have about nine and a half minutes before the police turn up. A minute for the Verlinski, I'll skip the rest of the diamonds, they look okay but nothing really catches the eye,  say fifteen to twenty seconds for the nice emerald cluster that they have in the catalogue, and then two minutes tops on their Fabergé display.  They have a  nice red and gold cigarette case that eluded me in Monaco a few years ago.

CAITLIN:- Much as I enjoy the shopping channel. I'm more interested how my (softly) fiancée, proposes not getting caught?

MAN:- Eh? I didn't quite catch that last bit.

CAITLIN:- I said, how do you propose not getting caught?

MAN:- Oh, that's easy.  I'll take the bike. There's no way they will catch me in traffic. I've timed it and all I need is a fifteen second gap when we hit the car park roof. They have to see me go in. They'll know they'll lose sight of me but they'll figure they would be close enough not to miss anything important. They'll turn onto the roof top parking area, see a van,  they see me and the bike inside, they see me with a gun. There'll be a screech of tyres as they brake and take cover. They'll see the rear door of the van close. As for the sandbox they'll probably never give it a second thought. Then they'll settle down to a nice long siege and lots of lovely overtime.

CAITLIN:- Except you won't be there.

MAN:- As I've said, how do you make an elephant disappear from the cabinet? Simple. You make sure it never actually gets into it in the first place.  It’s all a question of timing. As soon as I reach the top of the car park I hit the WIFI link triggering the computer in the van which plays my new and improved version of ‘Pepper’s Ghost,’ another old theatre trick that blew them away in the 19th Century, my version projects a 3D version of me in the van. All smoke and mirrors really but very effective. While that’s going on the real me stashes the bike in the fake sandbox, propels down the rear wall of the car park and enters the sewer system via the strategically placed workman’s hut. By the time anyone works out what has happened I'll be out of the sewer system and long gone.  Trust me, what could possibly go wrong?

Lights Down.


SCENE  5.

(VALENTINA'S hideout. MAN wearing only underwear is handcuffed to a chair.  VALENTINA is sitting opposite.)

VALENTINA:- Do you have it?

MAN:- Have what?

VALENTINA:-  Is it safe?

MAN:- Is what safe?

VALENTINA:-  Is it safe?

MAN:-  Hang on, I think I've seen this one. It's the one with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier, Olivier plays this really creepy dentist who (pause, then realises) oh.

VALENTINA:- And what happens next?

MAN:- You kiss me passionately and let me go?

VALENTINA:- You're not my type.

MAN:- Could I at least have my diamond back?

VALENTINA:- I think not.  And now as they say, this is going to hurt you a lot more than it's going to hurt me.

MAN:- I've got an idea, how about I tell you everything I know?

VALENTINA:- I'm sure you will, in the end.

MAN:- How about I do that right now?

VALENTINA:- Why would I want to deprive myself of one of life's little pleasures.

Her phone rings.

Yes?...We got the Renoir and the Picasso you wanted in Paris (Pause.) The Monet? I searched her flat, but there was only a poor fake there... No, he hasn't got it.....I'm sure he does... Right now?..What about? .... And after? (Pause.) I see. (To MAN.) We will talk again when I return.

Exit VALENTINA.

MAN:- Looking forward to it already. (struggles with the handcuffs.) At this rate I'm going to miss the football. (Struggles some more.)

Enter CAITLIN

CAITLIN:- (watches MAN struggling.) Do you know for some women seeing their boyfriend in his underwear handcuffed to a chair would be a real turn on. Which just goes to show you, there's a lot of strange women about.

MAN:- Caitlin! How did you find me here?

CAITLIN:- I've told you before darling, I always know where you are.

MAN:- How?

CAITLIN:- With this (takes out phone,) there really is an APP  for everything these days.  

MAN:- I still don't see?

CAITLIN:- Like this. (Holds the phone close to the MAN'S underwear.) About four inches. Never mind a girl can't have everything.

MAN:- You've bugged my boxers! Hang on, how did you know what I would be wearing?

CAITLIN:- Hmm.

MAN:- You've bugged all my underwear! Tell me you didn't?

CAITLIN:- Why are you looking at me like that? I'm here to rescue you.

MAN:- Then you'd better release me. Right now!

CAITLIN:- Is that you trying to be all masterful?

MAN:- It's a suggestion, before Valentina gets back.

CAITLIN:- Who?

MAN:- You know, your neighbour, the blonde with the - .

CAITLIN:- (clearly annoyed.) I know who she is. And just what exactly has she got to do with all this?

MAN:- Apparently, Harry talks in her sleep.

CAITLIN:- Does she know?

MAN:- She soon will.

CAITLIN:- Do you have the diamond?  

MAN:- Excuse me, couldn't we escape and then discuss everything else?

CAITLIN:- There better not be anything going on between you?

MAN:- I swear. Handcuffs.

CAITLIN:- Do you have the key?

MAN:- (firmly.) Do I look like I've got the key?

CAITLIN:- Don't you get stroppy with me,  I was just asking. All right then, I'll do it the old fashioned way and use a hair clip.

MAN:- That never works in real life.

CAITLIN:- Who’s in charge of this rescue?  Now shut up and let me concentrate. (Sits on MAN's lap and works on the handcuffs. Pauses.) And you can wipe that silly grin off your face. (Opens handcuffs.) You were saying?

MAN:- That's quite an achievement.

CAITLIN:-  You're too kind.

MAN:- Speaking of achievements, you will be pleased to know I didn't tell her anything.

CAITLIN:- Did you actually know anything to begin with?

MAN:- Well, (pause,) no.

CAITLIN:- Not really much of an achievement then was it? While we are making our escape, we can talk about the wedding arrangements.

Exit CAITLIN.

MAN:- (looks about, rubs hands then realises.) Eh? What wedding arrangements? Caitlin? Hang on a minute! Caitlin!

Lights Down.


SCENE  6.

(The Apartment. CAITLIN and SMITH, who is writing in his notebook.)

CAITLIN:- You're looking a little tired Detective. Must be from keeping us safe from dangerous criminals?

SMITH:- Something like that Ma'am.

CAITLIN:- (flirting.) Call me Caitlin.

SMITH:- (ignoring.) Yes Ma'am. Well, that just about wraps up everything. But there is one more thing. Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

CAITLIN:- (brightly.) Oh please do!

SMITH:- Your boyfriend - .

CAITLIN:- (extremely disappointed.) Oh. You're going to ask me about him?

SMITH:- Yes. I noticed out of the window, could I ask you what  is he doing downstairs in the storage area by the bins?

CAITLIN:- Let me squeeze past you (moves very close to an uncomfortable SMITH,) and have a little peek, (looks out of window, pause) oh yes. He's burning his underwear.

SMITH:- That's what I thought he was doing. Anyway, I think it's time I was going.

CAITLIN:- Can't I temp you to stay for a coffee or something?

SMITH:- No! I mean, I really need to going now, right now.

Exit SMITH quickly.

CAITLIN:- Oh well. (Begins to tidy up.)

Enter MAN.

MAN:- What did you do to that Dectective Smith just now?

CAITLIN:- What do you mean?

MAN:- He came up to me, said he understood perfectly then he shook my hand. Why would he do that do you think?

CAITLIN:- I really have no idea.

MAN:- What time is it? (Pause.) Just time for a cuppa before the match.

CAITLIN:- Match?

MAN:- United. The Quarter Final. Do you want coffee or one of your herbal brews?

CAITLIN:- Have you had any more thoughts?

MAN:- Well, I don't think he should play a lone striker.

CAITLIN:- (very annoyed.) Oh for crying out loud! About what I said?

MAN:- Err? Remind me again.

CAITLIN:- Getting married?

MAN:- Well err.

CAITLIN:- You do love me don't you?

MAN:- Is that a trick question? (Pause.) Just kidding. (Nervous laugh. Then cautiously) Yes?

CAITLIN:-  Good. Then we need to talk about it.

MAN:- You want to talk?

CAITLIN:- Yes.

MAN:- Right now?

CAITLIN:- Yes.

MAN:- Couldn't it wait until half-time?  

CAITLIN, extremely annoyed, starts walking away.

Where are you going?

CAITLIN:- Out! And I may be some time!

MAN:- You couldn't get some milk while you're - .

CAITLIN:- No!

Exit CAITLIN.

MAN:- Women. (Sits and starts watching the football.)  Watch the overlap! No. No! No way! He dived!

Phone rings.

It's for you! (Pause. Not realising.) Caitlin! Caitlin, it's for you. (Beat) She's doing this deliberately. (Picks up phone.) We are both out, leave your message after the tone. (Puts phone down.)

Phone rings again.

(Picks up again. Watches 'football' while talking.)  I said we're not in. Caitlin? … Kidnapped by Julian... pull the other one. ...I haven't got his diamond … tell him a blonde with big ...put Julian on. Now look sunshine. I know she's pissed about something, but is this the best you could come up with between the pair of you? . .. If you try anything like that she'll just kick the crap out of you. ...Do I want her back? (Peers at television.)  No! What? … Not you! Where and when? Fine. (Enters another number.) Harry, it's me, have you got a number for Tina? You've split up? Why don't you tell me all about it. (Holds phone away from ear, watches football for a while.) Look, if it helps, it's not you, it's definitely her. Let me have her number and I'll give her a piece of mind.  I know, .... it's what friends are for. Yep, got that, now shut up and watch the football. (Phones) Detective Smith? We need to have a little talk.

Lights Down.


SCENE  7.

(A creepy old house. JULIAN, armed with a gun, is holding CAITLIN hostage. Enter MAN carrying a painting.)

MAN:- Well, here we all are, in the creepy old house.

CAITLIN:-  You came!

MAN:- Naturally, was there any doubt?

CAITLIN:-  I was beginning to get a little worried then I realised the match must have gone to extra time.

JULIAN:- This is all very interesting, but I have a gun and that's not a diamond you're carrying.

MAN:- It's a Manet.

CAITLIN:-  Are you sure it's not a Monet?

MAN:- (firmly.) I can tell the difference.

CAITLIN:-  That's all right then, for a minute I thought you might have brought (with emphasis) the wrong thing.

MAN:- Look, it's the right painting. Trust me, I have everything under control. (Looks at watch.)

CAITLIN:- Oh really?

MAN:- (To JULIAN) Out of curiosity, why do you want the Verlinski?

JULIAN:-  For a ring. I'm getting married to a very nice and obscenely wealthy woman, and you owe me for Mexico.

CAITLIN:- (becoming interested.) When's the wedding?

JULIAN:- We thought July

CAITLIN:- Good time of year. Who’s doing your flowers?

MAN:- Excuse me.

JULIAN:- (to MAN.) You're not invited. (To CAITLIN.) We are going to have the wedding and then I am going to retire to work in her father's business. He's one of the largest exporters of bananas in South America.
 
MAN:- (clearly worried.) Bananas?

JULIAN:-  Yes, why?

MAN:- No reason.

JULIAN:- (to MAN.) So there's no way you can mess this up for me.

CAITLIN:- (softly.) Oh you'd be surprised. (To MAN encouraging.) The diamond?

MAN:- It's a painting.

JULIAN:- We can see that but what exactly I am going to do with a Manet?

MAN:- Absolutely nothing. (Looks at watch, then loudly.) But she -.

Enter VALENTINA.

VALENTINA:-Good evening.

MAN:- Has a very good use for it.  

VALENTINA takes out a gun.

CAITLIN:- Oh look dear, she's got a gun as well.

MAN:- So?

CAITLIN:-So!

VALENTINA:-  Is that my painting?

CAITLIN:- Technically it's my painting.

VALENTINA:- Which you stole from a gallery in Berlin last August.

MAN:- (to CAITLIN.) You told me you were at a health farm.

CAITLIN:- I was, but I ran out of chocolate.

MAN:-  Fair enough. (to VALENTINA.) Hang on a minute. How come you were living down the corridor?

CAITLIN:-  Obviously, she's been trying to locate the painting for her client.

MAN:- Precisely, which means none of this is my fault!

CAITLIN:-  Is that all you're thinking about right now?

MAN:- Hey! I'm not the one who has been living down the corridor from a psychopathic blonde with big -.

VALENTINA:-  I'm still here and I've got a gun.

MAN:- With big ear rings (pause, innocently to CAITLIN) what did you think I was going to say? (To VALENTINA.) They dangle quite a bit you know.

JULIAN:- (to VALENTINA.) This is all very interesting, but do you have the diamond?

VALENTINA:- I have the diamond, the question is, does he have the right painting?

MAN:- The Manet.

CAITLIN, VALENTINA (in unison) Monet!

MAN:-  I know! I know! The yellow one with the purple squibble thing.

VALENTINA:-  Near enough. Hand it over.

MAN:- I think not.

VALENTINA:-  I could shoot you and take it anyway.

MAN:- And then Julian shoots you.

VALENTINA:-  Or, I shoot you and my new friend here shoots your girlfriend and then we both take the items we want.

CAITLIN:-  Tell me you thought of that one?

MAN:- Oh ye of little faith.  Remember what I was telling you about creepy old houses?

CAITLIN:-  And those nice men in the SWAT team.

MAN:-  Even as we speak hundreds of armed police are surrounding the building.

VALENTINA:-  (Pause) I don't hear anything?

MAN:- They're surrounding the place very quietly.

VALENTINA:- That's very considerate of them.

MAN:- Any second now armed police will burst through the door.

Enter SMITH with a gun.

SMITH:- Evening all.

MAN:- Where's the SWAT team?

SMITH:- I'm afraid what with the budget cutbacks and everything, there's just me.

MAN:- But at least you've brought a gun.

CAITLIN:-  Which he appears to be pointing at you.  

MAN:- (points to VALENTINA and JULIAN.) They're the bad guys.

SMITH:- It really depends on your point of view.

MAN:- I don't understand?

CAITLIN:- He's not really a police officer.

SMITH:- (to CAITLIN.) I was once, a detective, a very good one, but then your boyfriend got involved.

MAN:-And what did I ever do to you?

SMITH:- The Santasierres Folly, you stole it.

MAN:- It was the crime of the century, not that I'm admitting anything.

SMITH:- Did you ever take a moment to think how your little activities would affect the police?

MAN:-  It's not my fault you're crap.

CAITLIN:- Sweetheart, try not to upset the nice man holding the gun.

SMITH:- Most of the detectives on your case were pensioned off or transferred. I ended up in Human Resources. Could have been worse, after all, nothing ever happens in Human Resources does it? But you couldn't just leave it alone could you? You just had to break into the files and have a go at the Assistant Commissioner.

MAN:- Didn't take it very well?

SMITH:- Let's just say it took some very nice foreign gentlemen to rescue me from the bread line.

CAITLIN:-  Chinese by any chance?

SMITH:- Precisely.

CAITLIN:-  Ha! (To MAN.) I knew it was your fault.

MAN:- How's it back to being my fault all of a sudden?

JULIAN:- Oh God! The Chinese cargo ship and the three Mexican ladies. I swear, it was all him.

MAN:- Thanks for that.

SMITH:- They've been after you for years. They really didn't like what you did to their ship? Which was what exactly?

MAN:- That's a good question. (Look to JULIAN.) Let's just say I don't have it.

SMITH:- No?

MAN:- No.

SMITH:- And then there's the matter of what you did to their agent?

MAN:- Who?

CAITLIN:- He means Frank.

MAN:- The dead guy? (Pause.) Why is everyone looking at me? I didn't do it.

SMITH:- Then who?

VALENTINA:-  I'm afraid that would be me. But I'm sure our respective employers could come to some agreement as to compensation.  

SMITH:- I'm sure they could.

MAN:- Question. (To VALENTINA.) Why did you shoot him?

VALENTINA:-  I thought it was you.

CAITLIN:-  There are days when I feel like doing that myself.

VALENTINA:-  Your friend Harry told me when you would both be out, I started to search your apartment for the painting but I didn't get very far when I heard someone at the door. You know how it is, one thing just led to another and what is a girl to do?

MAN:-  Still doesn't explain -.

SMITH:- My associate and I saw you both go in and when your girlfriend went out he went in to pay his compliments, except it seems you weren’t there.

CAITLIN:- He has a thing for bathroom windows.

SMITH:- (to MAN.) Is the body likely to turn up?

JULIAN, MAN and CAITLIN turn and look to spot where VALENTINA is standing. Who looks down and moves to one side.

CAITLIN:- Very unlikely.

JULIAN:- So basically, (to MAN with emphasis,) it's all your fault.

MAN:- Oh shut up.

JULIAN:- I have a gun.

SMITH:- We all have guns.

VALENTINA:-  Except you two.

MAN:- But I (removing phone from pocket) have this.

SMITH:- A cell phone? And an old one at that.

VALENTINA:- I'd be embarrassed to be seen with one that old.

JULIAN:- If you had a monthly contract they'd give you a new one every year.

CAITLIN:- Trust me, I've tried to tell him.

MAN:- Maybe if I close my eyes and slowly count to ten, this will all be a bad dream? (Pause.) Pity. Anyway, as I was saying, I have this. (Waves phone.) It may be old but the reception is very good.

Enter HARRY who stands silently behind MAN.

At the other end of the line Harry is recording everything that's being said and she'll send the recording to the police if anyone gets any bright ideas. (To phone.) Isn't that right Harry?

HARRY:- Not Exactly.

MAN:- (Looking at phone.) The reception on this thing really is good. (Looks to CAITLIN who points to HARRY.) Oh. (Pause.) I thought you two had broken it off?

VALENTINA:- We had. I didn't think it was a good idea to sleep with the management.

MAN:- Management?

HARRY:- (To CAITLIN.) He's not very bright but at least he makes up for it in bed.

CAITLIN:- Excuse me!

MAN:- (quickly.) She's just kidding.

CAITLIN:- About which bit? (To MAN. )When this is over you and I are going to have a serious talk about one or two things.

MAN:- Anyway, (to HARRY,) you were saying?

HARRY:- Basically, I'm a super-villain.

MAN:- Pull the other one. You're a -.

HARRY:- I know, we get everywhere.

MAN:- But you're a - .

HARRY:- Go on say it, I dare you.

MAN:- A United supporter.

VALENTINA, SMITH, JULIAN and CAITLIN shake heads.


HARRY:- Even super-villains have their hobbies. (Takes out a gun and points it at MAN.)

CAITLIN:- (sarcastically.) What a surprise, she has a gun too.

MAN:- (oblivious.) But you can't be a super-villain! Look, name one James Bond super-villain who was, (pause, looks to gun,) a woman?

VALENTINA:- Rosa Klebb.

MAN:- Ha! She was the side-kick not the super-villain.

HARRY:- Elektra King.

JULIAN:- Enough! The diamond!

VALENTINA:-(to HARRY.) He's getting married.

HARRY:- Then who are we to stand in the way of true love. (Waves gun from MAN towards VALENTINA.) Give her the painting.  

MAN exchanges the painting with VALENTINA for the diamond which he then hands over to JULIAN.

MAN:- Now all you have to do is get out out of here without shooting each other.

HARRY and VALENTINA point guns at JULIAN while backing away slowly to exit. JULIAN using CAITLIN as shield points back, while also backing away to opposite exit.
 
Exit HARRY, VALENTINA, JULIAN and CAITLIN.

(Turns away, arms up in triumph.) God I'm good. (Does a little dance. Turns back sees SMITH.) I knew there was something.

SMITH:- My employers would like their ship back.

MAN:- Like I said I don't have it.

SMITH:- That's unfortunate, for you. (Raises gun.)

MAN:-  Maybe I could offer your employers something else?

SMITH:- (lowers gun.) Like what exactly?

MAN:- Some nice Imperial Jade.

SMITH:- Ming?

MAN:- Qing.

SMITH:-  No. (Raises gun.)

MAN:- How about an egg?

SMITH:- Fabergé? (Lowers gun.)

MAN:- Yes.

SMITH:- Do you have it on you?

MAN:- No, I don't have it on me!

SMITH:-  Pity.  (Raises gun.)

MAN:- Will you please stop doing that!

SMITH:- But - .

MAN:- Yes?!

SMITH:- There is something they would like. Something that makes a statement. It's a painting.

MAN:- A painting? Not really my line.

SMITH:- Do you refuse? (Points gun.)

MAN:- Let's not be hasty about this! The painting?

SMITH:-  It's in Paris. The Louvre. The Mona Lisa.

MAN:- You've got to be kidding! Only a complete idiot would attempt to steal the Mona Lisa. (Pause.) Oh. Caitlin's really not going to be happy about this.

SMITH:-  That's your problem.

MAN:- But I can't do it alone.

SMITH:- You're girlfriend is the international art thief.

MAN:- Caitlin's a bit funny when it comes to the really old stuff. Any of the modern crap she's happy to steal, but a lot of the old stuff she thinks should be in a gallery.  

SMITH:- I'm sure you can find a way to persuade her.

MAN:- How?

SMITH:- You could make an honest woman of her.

MAN:- I've tried but she's as dishonest as I am.

SMITH:- A firm foundation upon which to build a happy union.

MAN:- Marriage? Don't you think that's a bit extreme?

SMITH:- You have the rest of your life to think about it.

MAN:-How long is that likely to be exactly?

SMITH:- We will give you until after the weekend to get the painting or the deal is off.

MAN:- And then what happens?

SMITHWe find the nearest wall and nail you to it.

Lights Down.


SCENE  8.

(Apartment. MAN enters, looks round. )

MAN:- (quietly.) Caitlin? Great she's out. (Picks up a remote control. Sits.) I wonder if there's any football on? (Starts 'flicking through' the channels.)

Enter CAITLIN .

CAITLIN:- I think you will find the remote is not working.

MAN:- (flicking through the channels.) Seems all right to me.

CAITLIN  takes remote from MAN and throws it across the stage.

Caitlin.

CAITLIN:- Yes?

MAN:- I don't think the remote is working. (Pause.) You're upset.

CAITLIN:- Really? (Sarcastically.) How can you tell?

MAN:- Because I'm a really caring and sensitive boyfriend who only wants you to be happy. It's about the Manet. (Correcting himself.) Monet. Monet.

CAITLIN:- Are you offering to get it back for me?

MAN:- Me? From those two mad - .

CAITLIN:- Yes?

MAN:- But it could be something we could do together. You're always saying we don't do enough together.

CAITLIN:- I am but do you really think that's going to make up for what happened do you?

MAN:- Happened? Oh being kidnapped by Julian. Come to think of it how did you -.

CAITLIN:- Being kidnapped was bad enough, but having to borrow the cab fare from him to get back home, that was just embarrassing. As rescues go, it wasn't a very good one.

MAN:- But I had to do something to rescue the woman I'm going to marry.

CAITLIN:- (manner changes completely becoming very interested.) Marry?

MAN:- Hmm?

CAITLIN:- Marry. You said marry?

MAN:- Did I?

CAITLIN:-  You want to get married?

MAN:- (innocently.) Don't you?

CAITLIN:-  (too eager.) Yes! Absolutely, (more controlled.) But only if you quite sure it's something you really want to do?

MAN:- (mock outrage.) Of course I'm sure! Caitlin, that really hurts. How could you even think otherwise?!

CAITLIN:- You do know what happens in a marriage ceremony?

MAN:- The vicar gets everyone pissed on cheap wine?

CAITLIN:- Not that type of ceremony.

MAN:- Oh.

CAITLIN:- You have to make vows?

MAN:- I can do that.

CAITLIN:- And tell the truth?

MAN:- (doubtful.) Is that a requirement?

CAITLIN:- Pretty much. There's also another requirement?

MAN:- Which is?

CAITLIN:- You have to give your real name.

MAN:- (becoming very defensive.) But I've told you my real name. I've even shown you my passport.

CAITLIN:- You have. But I'm more concerned with the names on the other five passports you think I don't know about.

MAN:- How did you find those?

CAITLIN:- I was checking your jeans before I put them in the washing machine.

MAN:- They weren't in my jeans, they were under the floor boards under your wardrobe.

CAITLIN:- I'm very thorough.

MAN:- (resigned.) My real name? (Thinking.) You want to know my real name?

CAITLIN:- (encouraging. ) Yes?

MAN:- (thinking.) I can do that.

CAITLIN:- (disappointed.) Well, if you're sure? But I want you to do it properly.

MAN:- (gets down on one knee.) Caitlin, will you marry me?

CAITLIN:- Do you mean it?

MAN:- Definitely.

CAITLIN:- And you're really sure about this?

MAN:- Absolutely.

CAITLIN:- (long pause.) I'll have to think about it. (Turns away.)

MAN:- (gets up. Pause then lightly. ) Caitlin?

CAITLIN:- (turns back. Then innocently) Yes?

MAN:- I've been thinking.

CAITLIN:- Oh I  wish you wouldn't do that.

MAN:- That I ought to make it up to you.

CAITLIN:- Now I'm really worried.

MAN:- Why?

CAITLIN:- You're being thoughtful and considerate. When a man is being thoughtful and considerate at the same time it means he's either done something or he's about to do something.

MAN:- That's a little harsh. Let me ask you this, how about we go -.

CAITLIN:- No.

MAN:- You  don't know what I was going to say.

CAITLIN:- Yes I do, and I'm not going to any away matches either.

MAN:- That just shows how little you actually know me.

CAITLIN:- Is that so?

MAN:- Paris.

CAITLIN:- What?

MAN:- Paris. You like Paris.

CAITLIN:- You know I do. What's the catch?

MAN:- What a suspicious mind you have.

CAITLIN:- (pause while considering.) Okay, I might be interested, when did you have in mind?

MAN:- I was thinking this weekend.

CAITLIN:- Sounds very sudden. (Pause.) And there's no 'football' involved?

MAN:- Certainly not! You have my word on that.

CAITLIN:- You're just going to whisk me away to Paris for a romantic weekend?

MAN:- (takes her by the arm.) Caitlin, trust me, it's a weekend you're never going to forget.

 CURTAIN.  

 

 


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