|Setting: a small cabin in the middle of the
The front door is
situated in the corner stage right. It enters into the cabin’s
which is decorated simply, in a clean country manner. Three chairs of
differing styles surround a small table cloaked in gingham. Three
settings of food sit untouched on the table.
Up stage left there is
the exit to the hallway where the bedrooms are.
Up center the kitchen
with blue gingham curtains, looks into the woods. Shadows from the
trees outside make creepy designs against the gingham curtains.
Down stage left sits a
blue sofa, bathed in shadow. On the sofa slumbers a curled up figure,
covered by an afghan blanket.
The sound of feet
through the forest rise from offstage. The shadows of three figures
pass by the window toward the front door of the cabin.
Marion (Offstage): Home
again, home again, jiggety-jig!
Paul (Offstage): Oh, stop the singing and just up the door, you ninny!
Marion (Offstage): All righty, Paulie. Don’t be so impatient.
Paul (Offstage): I’ll show you how to be a patient in hospital if
you don’t let us in right quick!
Marion (Offstage): Ow!! That smarts!!! Give off!!!
Sound of keys CLINKING in
the lock of the door.
Paul (Offstage): Well? Open
Sound of a scuffle
outside the door. The door RATTLES violently.
Marion (Offstage): It’s stuck. I can’t get it open.
Paul (Offstage): It’s not stuck.
Marion (Offstage): It is stuck, Paulie. You can plainly see...
Paul (Offstage): Oh, bother. Let me...
Nigel (Offstage): I has to
go to the baffroom.
Marion (Offstage): He has to go to the bathroom, Paulie.
Paul (Offstage): Stop yer gabbin’ and let me work this, you ninny.
Marion (Offstage): Paulie, he has to go to the bathroom
Paul (Offstage): Well, let him go, then! There’s a whole bloody
wood out here where a lad can relieve himself!
Marion (Offstage): Paulie, you know that’s not sanitary.
Paul (Offstage): Shut it, I almost got it...
Marion (Offstage): Here, let me help.
Paul (Offstage): You’re in me light... hey now!
Marion (Offstage): Nigel wants to help, too.
Paul (Offstage): The both of you move! My shoes! Nigel, I’m going
The front door is forced
with a crash. Three large burly men tumble through. Marion falls on top
of Paul on the kitchen floor. These are the Three Behrs, a notorious
band of Cockney Crooks.
PAUL, the oldest, is
shorter than the other two, and very scruffy. An unlit cigar constantly
sits in his mouth.
MARION sports a full
dresses like a lumberjack. He holds two large paper grocery sacks
filled with goods. As he falls the groceries fall out onto the floor.
NIGEL, the youngest, is
also the largest. He is very childlike.
Nigel walks through the
behind his brothers. Seeing them on the floor, he thinks they are
playing a game, and leaps upon them, dog-pile style.
Marion: Nigel, please!!
Paul: Get that big ox off me!!!
Marion: Nigel, Paulie would like you to get off and let us up.
Nigel slowly rolls off
his brothers and stands up. He lumbers toward the hallway and offstage.
Marion rises and starts
picking up the groceries that have cascaded out of the bags and are now
scattered across the room.
Paul lies on the floor in
a contorted position.
Marion: Paulie, get up. You
look silly down there.
Paul: I can’t. I think me back is broke.
Marion: Oh, come now. It is not. Help me put these groceries away.
Paul: I can’t, I tell you! That big ox crushed me spine!
Marion: (Calling down the hallway) Nigel! Hurry up in there! You need
to help Paul get up from the floor! He’s thrown his back out
Paul: Don’t let that boy near me!
Marion busily picks up
scattered groceries and putting them away. As he moves about the cabin,
he straightens things up a bit. A picture on the wall, the jars of dry
goods on the counter and the like.
Marion: We can’t very
you lying there in the middle of the room now can we? It’s almost
for tea. (Nigel enters.) Nigel, please you’re your big brother
chair. Oh, but this room is dingy!
Marion crosses to the
window in the living room and opens the curtains.
The figure on the couch
is illuminated. Golden curly locks of hair poke from one end of the
colourful afghan blanket.
Paul: No! I’m feeling
Paul tries to raise
himself from his position on the floor. His attempt is very painful and
Nigel reaches down and
his massive arms underneath Paul’s shoulders. He lifts his
easily to his feet, then carries him, rather like a rag doll, to the
large wooden chair in the kitchen and plops him down into it.
Marion: There. Now that
you’re in your hard chair your back should feel much better.
Paul: (Wincing in pain and rubbing his lower back) Much better....
Nigel peeks at the figure
on the couch.
Nigel: Shhhh.... sleeping.
Marion: Oh, I nearly forgot about her!
Paul: How can you? She’s the reason we’re stuck out here in
the middle of the woods. Nigel, check to see that she’s secure.
Nigel gently lifts back
blanket, revealing a girl in a pretty yellow dress. Her hands and feet
are tied up and a cloth has been tied over her mouth as a muffling gag.
She appears to have slept through all the commotion.
Marion: Perhaps we should
wake her up for tea.
Marion goes into the
kitchen and checks to see of there is water in the kettle. Turns a knob
on the little stove.
Paul: She gets nothing
until we hear back from Goldstein.
Marion: We can’t let her starve.
Paul: Starve?!? You saw how much she ate at breakfast! That "girl" put
so much into her stomach that we had to go into town for more food and
risk being seen in town. I’ll not have her eating me out of house
home, thank you. What time is it?
Marion looks at a small
clock in the kitchen.
Marion: Four o’clock.
Paul: Good. Goldstein is supposed to leave the money at our
pre-arranged point-of-contact at four thirty.
Marion: Do you think her father will really give us five million
dollars for her safe return?
Paul: He’d better, if he knows what’s good for him. And
Paul draws his finger across his throat in the classic symbol of offing
someone. He makes a sick sound, emulating the noise made when slitting
Marion: It would be such a
shame to harm her. She’s such a pretty thing.
Paul: Come away from her, ox. Help Marion with the tea.
Marion retrieves bread
and some sandwich spreads from the cupboard.
Nigel goes into the
pulls the dirty dishes off the table. He makes several trips from the
table to the sink against the far wall, bumping the chair that Paul is
in each time.
Paul: What are we having
for tea? I’m famished.
Marion spreads the
sandwiches, stacking them on a plate. As he does, Nigel takes a bite of
each one, unnoticed by Marion.
Paul: I hate liverwurst sandwiches!
Marion: The cold box is still on the fritz, I’m afraid.
Paul: Why didn’t you
buy devilled ham? I told you to buy the devilled ham.
Marion: It was too expensive. All we can afford is the liverwurst.
Paul: When we get the money from Goldstein we’ll never have to
liverwurst every again. We’ll be able to have devilled ham every
any time we want! With watercress, the way the royals have it for their
Marion: Oh, that would be lovely.
Nigel: I likes liverwurst.
Paul: Of course you do.
Gilda, the girl on the
stirs. She sits up and stretches, confined by the restraints on her
ankles and wrists. She acts as though she barely notices that she is
Marion: She’s awake!
Paul: Thank you for the advanced notice. Now see if she’s all
Marion goes to Gilda and
pulls down the cloth from around her mouth.
Gilda: This bed was so
comfy. I can’t believe dozed off like that.
Paul: It’s a sofa and you’ve been asleep for at least three
hours. I swear all you rich people do is sleep and eat.
Gilda: What smells so good? I’m starving. What’s for lunch?
Nigel brings a plate of
the sandwiches toward the sofa.
haffin’ liverwurst sandies.
Gilda: My absolute favourite!
Nigel: Mine, too.
Paul gets up and snatches
the plate of sandwiches from Nigel just before he can offer it to Gilda.
Paul: I said she gets
nothing until we get word from her father.
Gilda: My dad won’t bend to your demands, you know. He’ll
call out the FBI and the National Guard to find me!
Paul: Not if he wants his little golden girl back in once piece, miss.
Now hush up.
Marion: Paulie, I really think we ought to give her a little something
to eat. She’s a growing child.
Paul: I won’t have her taking good food like these sandwiches you
slaved over-- (Paul looks at the plate of sandwiches in his hand. Each
one has a bite mark out of it.) NIGEL!!!
Marion: Paulie, don’t yell so! You know he’s a growing boy,
Nigel: I just tooks little bittle bites.
Paul holds the plate at
arms length; turns his nose away from it.
Paul: I can’t eat
these when they have his saliva all over them.
Marion takes the plate of
sandwiches and puts them on the table.
Marion: Are you sure?
Gilda: I don’t mind if Nigel’s taken a nibble from them.
Marion: Well, since Paul has decided to forego today’s tea, I
guess there’s enough for you, Miss Goldstein.
Gilda: Oh, goody!
Gilda holds her hands in
front of her, as if showing them that she is still tied up.
Paul: Not bloody likely.
Gilda: How am I supposed to eat when my hands are tied up like this?
Paul: Perhaps you’ll eat less this time, then.
Marion: Paulie, we needn’t be inhumane to our guest.
Paul: Guest! I like that! She’s not a "guest," Marion.
She’s our hostage.
Marion: Hostage or not, we still need to treat her in a civilized
Nigel sits on the couch
and starts to untie her wrist bonds.
Paul: Just make sure you leave the feet bound, ox.
Gilda: (To Nigel) This is so kind of you.
Paul: Don’t get used to it.
Nigel helps Gilda to her
feet and then to the kitchen table. She hops each step of the way.
Nigel leads her to Paul’s chair.
Gilda sits in it, but
displays apparent discomfort.
He helps her to her feet
and leads her to Marion’s plush chair. She nearly sinks into it.
pulls her out of the chair and then, with a shy smile, offers his own
diminutive stool. She sits down elegantly and looks up at him, smiling.
Paul sits on the sofa,
Paul: Is her majesty all
Gilda daintily takes a
bite of a sandwich.
Gilda: Mmmm... scrumptious.
You are such a good cook, Mr. Marion.
Marion: Why thank you, my dear.
Gilda: And I must say, I love what you’ve done with this place.
It’s so... quaint.
Marion: The challenge, of course, is making a nice home on such limited
Gilda: It reminds me a little of a cabin my folks used to have at Lake
Tahoe. Without the hot tub or cable TV. Of course.
Marion: Oh, how lovely! A
cabin at Lake Tahoe! I’m sure you must have enjoyed many a
wonderful family moment there.
Gilda: Actually, I usually would just go there with my friends. It was
really rather a lonely place. I haven’t been to it in years.
even sure if we still own it.
Paul: See how the rich are! They don’t even know what
they’ve got and what they haven’t!
Gilda: Well, perhaps you’ll start forgetting things when you get
father’s money. You know what they say: Money changes people.
Marion: Oh, that would be tragic. Wouldn’t it, Paulie?
Paul: Oh, give off.
Marion: I hadn’t
thought about that. I don’t want to change, Paulie.
The teakettle emits a
Marion bolts to the stove and turns off the knob. Retrieves a couple of
teacups already prepared with tea bags from the cupboard and pours
water into them.
Paul: You most assuredly
will not change, Marion. I, however, have many plans to change.
Marion carries the tea to
the table and places a cup in front of Gilda.
Gilda: Thank you. Did you
that my family came here back in the Great Depression? We weren’t
always wealthy. My great-grandfather cleaned toilets for forty years.
My grandfather learned the trade, and that’s how he got the idea
open a company that rents commodes to construction sites and fairs. Now
we supply Porty-Toidies to five different states. Daddy calls them the
Paul: So you’re saying that your family is full of--
Marion: (Interrupting) Your family is very corrupt because of all the
money they have?
Gilda: I don’t know about corrupt, but we aren’t the
families. I mean, not like you and your brothers. You seem very close
with one another.
Marion: Oh, we are. We’re quite devoted to one another.
Paul: May we change the subject, please?
Marion: Do you think money will really change us?
Gilda: I would hate to see that devotion to each other be destroyed.
Marion: How would that happen?
Gilda: Well, the first thing to go is living on a budget. I mean, you
got a deal on this delicious liverwurst, right?
Marion: Oh, yes. It was three for sixty-nine cents. A very good
bargain, if I must say!
Gilda: You won’t care about the cost of your liverwurst after you
become rich. You’ll end up paying any amount just to have it. And
when all the money has been spent on liverwurst, you’ll need more
more money, because you’ll have become used to spending money on
Nigel: What about tuna?
Gilda: I’ve known people--friends of my parents--who would spend
as much as five dollars for a can of tuna.
Marion: My word.... Five dollars a tin!
Nigel begins to blubber.
Paul: Enough of this
ridiculousness. She’s just trying to confuse you. I don’t
you that I for one will not mind paying as much as five dollars for a
tin of my favourite devilled ham.
Gilda: I hope you weren’t making plans to spend the entire five
million, when really you’ll get much less.
Marion: Much less?
Paul: I demanded five million.
Gilda: You are going to split it three ways, aren’t you?
Paul: Naturally. We’re brothers.
Gilda: I just did the math. Roughly, each of you will get one-point-six
million dollars out of the five million that my Daddy will pay you for
my safe return. It’s much easier to go through one-point-six
than it is five million.
Marion: One-point-six is much less than five million, you’re
Paul: Don’t listen to her, Marion. It’s plenty for each of
us. We’ll be able to have everything we’ve ever wanted.
Gilda: You’ll spend it until it’s all gone and then
you’ll want more. And then where will you be?
Marion: It sounds like some sort of sickness to me.
Gilda: (Whispering conspiratorially to Marion) It’s called "Gold
Fever." People become greedy and paranoid.
Nigel: (Conspiratorially) I had the measles once.
Paul: What’s all that whispering going on over there?
Gilda: (Whispering) You see? And he doesn’t even have the money
Marion: Paulie, you aren’t going to want all the devilled ham for
yourself, are you? Not at five dollars a tin!
Paul: That’s it! (Bolting up from the sofa and suddenly
hurt back) Ow! Enough of her worrisome blathering. Nigel, put the gag
back on her.
Nigel: But then she won’t be able to talk.
Paul: Precisely. Marion, clean up the tea.
Gilda: I see Marion cooking and cleaning up around here. And Nigel
doing everything you tell him to do. What else do you do besides give
all the orders, Mr. Behr?
Paul: I, my witty girl, give the orders because I am Eldest, and the
brains of this outfit. And when I have to, I take matters into my own
Paul crosses to the table and pulls the cloth around Gilda’s
mouth. He walks away.
When his back is turned,
Gilda pulls the gag down herself.
Gilda: I’m not done
Paul: Tie her up again!!!
Gilda: My father won’t like it at all when he’s learned
that you’ve been unkind to me.
Marion: Oh, we haven’t been unkind, have we??
Gilda: Well, not you, Mr. Marion. And certainly not sweet Nigel, here.
But Mr. Paul has, with his shouting and his ordering. Perhaps when I
talk to my father, I’ll tell him to give you and Nigel your
leave Mr. Paul’s share out of the ransom.
Paul: You can’t do that!
Marion: Could you?
Paul: He’s going to leave the money under the bridge behind a
marked with special graffiti. She won’t be able to tell him
Gilda: I must say that these were the most delectable liverwurst
sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so much.
Paul: What time is it?!?
Nigel looks at the clock.
Nigel: The big hand is on the six.
Paul: Big hand on... it’s four thirty!
Nigel: ...and the little bittle hand is on...
Paul: Time to go to the bridge. Marion, you watch her closely. Nigel,
you stay away from her.
Gilda: What time will you be back?
Paul: What concern is that of yours?
Gilda: I just want to know if you actually will be back, or if you plan
to take all the money for yourself and go to Switzerland.
Paul: Switzerland! Wherever did you get that idea?
Marion: Switzerland! Oh, Paulie, you wouldn’t go to Switzerland
and leave us here, would you?
Paul: No one is going to Switzerland!
Gilda: I know a lovely hotel in Lausanne on Lake Geneva. You know, I
could contact them and tell them to treat you as special guests. Mr.
Paul, you really should take your brothers to Switzerland. It’s
this time of year.
Paul: No Switzerland!
Marion: But I’ve always dreamed of going to Switzerland.
Paul: You have not.
Nigel: I wants to go on holiday.
Gilda: Of course, it all depends on whether Mr. Paul does come back
with the money...
Marion: You are going to return with all the money, won’t you,
Paul: Of course, Marion. We are brothers, aren’t we?
Gilda: Shouldn’t one of you go with him just to make sure?
Nigel: I’m sure we’re brothers.
Paul: Look, Marion, the two of you need to stay to guard our golden
girl here. I shall go to the boulder under the bridge, retrieve the
parcel containing all of our fabulous money therein, and return,
post-haste. Then we shall release this annoying little girl so that she
can go back to her toilet-scrubbing father and not fill your head with
any more ridiculous notions. Is that all clear?
Marion: Nigel, I want you to go with Paulie and make sure he comes back
with the money.
Paul: Marion! Be reasonable!
Marion: You’ve got the Gold Fever, Paulie. It’s effected
We can’t take a chance that you’ll run off with all of it.
and I would be stuck here with nothing. We promised Mother we’d
care of each other.
Paul: And we have. We will! It’s getting late. I have to go to
Gilda: Don’t bother.
Marion: Why not?
Gilda: If I’m right, the money’s not going to be there.
Paul: What are you saying?
Suddenly spotlights beam
through the woods outside the window of the cabin.
Cop (Offstage): All right,
Behrs! We have you surrounded! Release Gilda Goldstein and come out
with your hands up!
Nigel begins to eat the
rest of the liverwurst sandwiches greedily.
Paulie: Coppers! How did they--?
Gilda: I ate all of that food this morning on purpose, knowing that you
would have to go to the market to get more. And let me tell you, that
with my girlish figure, that was hard to do. All those bangers!
just say you’re lucky you weren’t here for the next couple
Anyway, I figured someone would spot you and follow you back here to
your secret hideout.
Paul: And you kept talking to Marion...
Gilda: ...because I wanted to keep you here until the police came.
Cop (Offstage): You have one minute to send out the Goldstein girl,
Marion: And I thought she was sweet. Oh, Paulie, what will we do?
Paul: Surrender, Marion. It’s all we can do now.
Marion: Nigel! Don’t
be such a hoggity-all!
Gilda bends down and
ankle restraints. She walks spryly to the front door, opens it, then
turns back to the Behr Brothers before striding over the threshold.
Paul: Oh, let him. It’s probably the last time in a very long
time that he’ll have his liverwurst sandies.
Marion: At least we’ll be together, just like Mother wanted.
Paul: Oh, joy of joys...
Gilda: A little something
for you to remember: All that glitters is not gold.
She exits gaily.
The Three Behrs hold
their hands up and file out of the cabin, sulking, toward the