May 13, 2022
The Close Shave - (B&B Investigations, #3) The latest case involves one of Donna's old classmates - wed to a mysterious stranger, left destitute... now her life is in danger!
Written and produced by Julie Hoverson
Paul Bette - Joel Harvey
Donna Bella - Julie Hoverson
Goldy Tailor - Crystal Thomson
Captain OftheGuard - Reynaud LeBoeuf
Rumplestiltskin - Philomen Vanderbeck
Mrs. Edwina Beard - Rhys TM
Mr. Beard - Benjamin Lind
Mr. Rexmusson - H. Keith Lyons
Mulva - Katharine D. Clark
Frederick - Cary Ayers
Thug - Danar Hoverson
Music by Somewhere off Jazz Street
Editing and Sound: Julie Hoverson
Cover Design: Brett Coulstock
"What kind of a place is it?
Why it's 1940s detective agency... with a twist, can't you tell?"
The Close Shave
[Opening credits - Olivia]
Mrs. Edwina Beard
Mr. Rexmusson, Edwina's father
Frederick, the butler
Mulva, the new wife
OLIVIA Did you have any trouble finding it? What do you mean, what kind of a place is it? Why, it's the office of a private eye, can't you tell?
SOUND DOOR OPENS
GOLDY B&B Investigations, how may I --[cuts off in disgust] Sorry. We don't need no cleaning staff.
EDWINA [very posh sounding, correcting her] Any cleaning staff.
GOLDY [puzzled] Any cleaning staff, what?
EDWINA [dismissive mutter] I'm surprised you don't rhyme. [up] I am here to hire a private investigator. I have heard that this firm is very.... discreet.
SOUND DOOR OPENS
GOLDY Discreet yes. Cheap no. You better have--
DONNA Edwina? Edwina Rexmusson?
EDWINA [cussing] Oh, goblins. [up, false gushy] Donna! It's been simply ages!
DONNA What are you doing here? And what's with the getup?
EDWINA [trying to keep composure] Oh... Donna! Are you ...here to hire an investigator as well?
DONNA Um, no. I... am the investigator.
EDWINA [snooty] Oh?
DONNA [sharp] Dressed like THAT, I wouldn't sneer, sweetheart. [nicer] Besides, whatever's wrong, I'm probably the only investigator in town who could truly understand. Come along. [to Goldy] Do we have any cocoa?
EDWINA [breaking into tears] Oh! You remembered!
DONNA [stage whisper] And a box of tissues. [to Edwina] My office is right over here.
DONNA Edwina was one of those snooty girls I'd gone to school with, back before my family's fortunes fell. [losing track] Funny. Failed to figure on fff-- [thinks, sighs] alliteration. [back] From what I could recall, though I hadn't really paid attention, she'd dropped out of sight about a year back. Her current state, dressed in - well let's face it - rags, haggard and undernourished, was shocking.
GOLDY Flabbergasting, even.
PAUL Do you need me?
DONNA Not yet. You're still on that breach of contract, aren't you?
PAUL I've just about got it wrapped up. Found three crickets and a snail that will swear to witnessing the ball retrieval. [confident] He'll get what's coming to him. I'll just listen in? If you don't mind? Nothing more boring than a stakeout.
DONNA Gotcha. [clears throat] I waited for Edwina to calm down enough to talk.
MUSIC FADES OUT
EDWINA [blows nose excessively into handkerchief]
DONNA Try some cocoa. You'll feel better. Now take your time and tell me what's wrong.
EDWINA [sips, sighs] Oh... It's my husband.
DONNA Oh? I guess I didn't know you were married. Not that I've been much in society recently.
EDWINA Oh! yes. Maybe you are the one person who can understand. My father was absolutely set on my marrying, but I wanted... well...
DONNA A career?
DONNA A Pony? What?
EDWINA [painful admission] I just wanted... my own way. More than anything else, I didn't want to give in and do what father wanted.
DONNA I take it he was not amused?
EDWINA [mirthless laugh] He kept parading eligible bachelors around, and I... I kept shooting them down. This one was too fat, that one too thin, that one too hairy--
DONNA There's something cuddly about "hairy".
EDWINA Oh, don't even go there!!! Why my husband--
EDWINA So father, exasperated, said I would be married before my birthday, like it or not. And if I wouldn't take any of the suitable men, I would end up [sniffles] wed to the first man to come to the door. [sobs, then wails] Even if he was a pattycake!!!
DONNA What's wrong with--?
EDWINA [wails] Waaahhhh!
DONNA Yowtch. And this was last year?
EDWINA [sniffs, then tries to calm] Almost exactly a year ago. How can I forget? The day before my 21st birthday, my father tossed me at this.... "person", ran the paperwork through, and threw me out of the house. Since then... Well, you see how I am.
MUSIC FOR VOICEOVER
DONNA For all her suffering, Edwina was holding up pretty well. She had gone from pampered princess to long-suffering housewife in one fell swoop. Had to learn to cook, clean, and even run her husband's little china shop. She'd been tempered in the fire. And she used to be nothing BUT temper.
GOLDY There's plenty like that.
DONNA I am ignoring you.
MUSIC CUTS OUT SUDDENLY
DONNA Sorry. Nothing. So what exactly do you need help with?
EDWINA Oh, that! Someone is trying to kill me.
MUSIC FOR VOICEOVER
DONNA Suddenly a simple domestic case had turned very interesting indeed.
DONNA Edwina said that on two different occasions, there had been "accidents" that might have killed her, if not for this "strange man".
SOUND IN CAR
PAUL Did she say what he looked like?
DONNA She said he looked vaguely familiar, but had a scarf covering the lower half his face.
PAUL And these "accidents?"
DONNA Nothing she could take to the cops. She felt a hand push her on a street corner, and would have gone right out into traffic. Except...
PAUL Except for this stranger?
DONNA Yes. He grabbed her and pulled her back. That was the first time. She wrote it off, figuring someone just lost their balance.
PAUL But... then?
DONNA Yeah. She'd just shut up shop for the night, was heading home, and a piano fell on her.
PAUL You're kidding?!?
DONNA Nope. It was being lifted to an upstairs apartment, and the ropes just... gave way.
PAUL And the guy?
DONNA Swooped in on a motorcycle and pushed her out of the way.
PAUL At best, he's been following her everywhere.
DONNA At worst, he's part of it.
PAUL So she wants us to--
DONNA First, find out who might be trying to kill her. Second find this guy. And [sigh] If we find out anything about her husband along the way....
PAUL [grr] I hate matrimony cases. [backpedaling] not that I hate matrimony, though! [a moment, musing/hinting] Cuddly?
PAUL [too quick] Nothing.
MUSIC FOR VOICEOVER
PAUL I figured I'd start with a trip to the delivery company, see who might have ordered that piano--
DONNA Or who inquired about it.
PAUL Yes. Was this accident a spur of the moment crime, or something much more sinister?
DONNA I decided to look into who might want Edwina dead, and why. I had a few contacts at the hall of records who liked nothing better than rooting out such juicy tidbits of gossip.
PAUL What are you thinking?
DONNA There's only a couple of possible motives for murder - money and passion being the best possibilities in this case.
DONNA And since Edwina's father cut her off without a simolean to her name, there either had to be money she didn't know about--
PAUL Long lost heirs? That's a stretch.
DONNA [a bit annoyed] OR it had to do with her husband, the aptly named Mr. Beard.
PAUL First name?
DONNA Apparently they're not that familiar.
PAUL [flabbergasted!] What?
MUSIC CUTS OUT SUDDENLY
PAUL Seriously? She doesn't know his first name?
DONNA He doesn't talk to her much, except to give orders.
PAUL Even... um... when...?
DONNA [hinting] They sleep in separate rooms.
PAUL [stunned] Oh. Who IS this guy?
DONNA That's what I plan to find out. Ah! Hall of records. My stop.
PAUL Right. Meet for dinner?
DONNA Of course.
PAUL I watched her walk away, a red-haired slither of pure lusciousness. [grr] At least until the car behind me started to honk.
SOUND HONK ENDS VOICEOVER MUSIC
SOUND CAR STARTS
SOUND PHONE RINGS, PICKS UP
GOLDY B&B Investigations, how may I direct--
EDWINA [on filter] It happened again!
GOLDY What happened?
EDWINA Just tell Donna! Get her to come to my place. She has the address. Quickly! Before my husband gets home!
GOLDY I'll see what I can do.
EDWINA It's a matter of life and death!
SOUND PHONE HANGS UP, IS SET DOWN
GOLDY Hmm. Now let's see - How do they DO that?
MUSIC FOR VOICEOVER
GOLDY Well, that was easy. [speaking loudly, as if trying to be noticed] I was trying desperately to figure out how to get a message to my boss, Donna Bella.
DONNA You don't have to yell!
GOLDY [normal tone] The client called.
GOLDY We ain't been formally introduced. Besides, I'm trying to be all professional here.
DONNA OK, just tell me what you got.
GOLDY She needs you over there lickety split.
DONNA Did she actually say--?
GOLDY I'm paraphrasing.
DONNA Fine. Now leave the voiceover to me. [beat] Ok. I caught a cab and raced to Edwina's fifth floor walkup. It was as old and careworn as her dress. I really started to sympathize.
SOUND KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
EDWINA [shriek] Who is it?
DONNA It's me!
SOUND HEAVY FOOTSTEP, DOWN THE HALL
DONNA [gasp] Hello?
SOUND LOTS OF LOCKS UNLOCKING
DONNA [whispered to the door] I'll be right back!
SOUND QUIET STEPS
MUSIC FOR VOICEOVER
DONNA I was pretty sure I'd seen movement down around the dimly lit corner. I'm not usually the physical type - I leave all that to Paul--
PAUL [distant] [laughing hysterically]
DONNA [grim and determined] --BUT I wanted to at least get a glimpse of whoever it was that was spying on Edwina's door.
SOUND QUICK STEPS
SOUND DOOR SHUTS QUICKLY
DONNA I rushed up, but the series of locks - a strangely familiar series of locks - was already being thrown. I waited a moment, then peered through the keyhole, straining for any glimpse of the perpetrator.
GOLDY What did you see?
DONNA Not you, her!
PAUL What did you see?
DONNA Let me talk to Edwina first.
SOUND TAP ON DOOR, DOOR WRENCHED OPEN
EDWINA What happened?
DONNA Nothing. Thought I heard something.
EDWINA It was probably a mouse. They're in half the apartments here.
DONNA Can't they get rid of them?
EDWINA [shrug] Not unless they get behind on the rent.
PAUL Let me take this and give you ladies some privacy.
DONNA Sounds good. I might be a little late.
PAUL No problem. [voiceover] I had had a frustrating day. The moving company was paid in cash, and the apartment they were delivering to had been rented under a false name.
GOLDY Back at the office, a pile of official looking papers that Donna had messengered, arrived. If you're bored or anything.
PAUL I still have leads to follow up.
GOLDY I'm shutting up for the day. You have fun.
PAUL [sigh] Some days you wonder why you even need a secretary--
GOLDY [distant] I heard that!
PAUL [thinking quick] And then you recall how much time you haveta spend away from the office, and it all becomes clear. [waits a second] Phew! She does come in handy. [narrating] I walked into the bar where the lowest denizens of the city hung out, and lowest among them--
PAUL Hey, Rump.
RUMPY Not tonight, Bette. I got lady trouble.
PAUL Really? You?
RUMPY You don't have to sound so.... so...
RUMPY Take it from me, don't ever let one of them find out your real name. [drinks deep] So you here for a social call?
PAUL You know better.
SOUND CLINK OF COINS ON COUNTER
PAUL But I can make it worth your while.
RUMPY I'll drink that in the next 10 minutes.
PAUL Give me something good, and you'll get another half hour's worth.
RUMPY What's the question?
PAUL Mr. Rexmussen and his daughter Edwina. Anything you know.
RUMPY Off the top of my head? And drunk? Nothing.
SOUND COINS BEING DRAGGED AWAY
SOUND COINS STOP MOVING
PAUL Go on.
RUMPY I do know that just about a year ago, daddy dearest said he was gonna hitch her to the first dude to come to the door, and there was a virtual stampede to get there - but this mug Beard was already at the head of the line.
PAUL Like he... knew in advance?
RUMPY Could be... or... [trails off suggestively, drinks]
SOUND TWO MORE COINS SET DOWN
RUMPY More like he kind of appeared out of nowhere. No one knew him before. No one knows when he came to town. Nothing.
SOUND COUPLE MORE COINS
RUMPY That's all I got.
SOUND SHOVES COINS
RUMPY Now leave me to my misery.
PAUL Nah. Keep it.
PAUL So a Beard with no roots. But who could have known that Edwina's dad was going to go ballistic?
GOLDY Daddy probably set it all up with the mug. To teach her a lesson. Sounds like she was a holy terror.
PAUL I thought you went home.
GOLDY They ain't nothing good on the radio.
PAUL While I could consult an oracle or two about the mysterious Mr. Beard, the price would be a bit too high for a charity case--
GOLDY What about who might want to kill her?
PAUL I had no leads as yet--
GOLDY Oh, yes you do.
PAUL I do?
GOLDY These papers - I took em home, just in case someone might come looking.
PAUL Are you really worried about that?
GOLDY Nah. But they ain't nothing good on the radio. Anyway, you wanted to know about money motives, and there's some interesting stuff in here.
PAUL This should really be on the phone. Voiceovers aren't made for conversations.
GOLDY You two do it all the time!
PAUL [abashed] We try not to.
GOLDY Fine. [ahem] After going through the stack of papers - a thankless task, by the way - I realized that Edwina happened to have a birthday coming up.
PAUL [dismissive] She already mentioned that.
GOLDY AND that this would be her 22nd birthday. When she would just happen to come into a huge trust fund. UNLESS she weren't married yet, then she don't get her mitts on the cash til she's 30.
PAUL [interested] Really?
GOLDY UNLESS again - she was to happen to kick off before she made it to 22.
PAUL Hmm... Who--
GOLDY IN WHICH CASE the money would revert to... ta-da! her father.
PAUL Rexmussen? But he's rich.
GOLDY Interesting, innit?
DONNA Whew. I had just spent the longest evening of my life, and--
GOLDY We're already on this line.
PAUL But we're pretty much done.
GOLDY Besides, I'm already clocked out for the evening.
DONNA [growl] what?
PAUL Goldy took the time to sort through all the paperwork we hadn't yet got around to...
DONNA [back to normal] Oh. Anything?
PAUL Tell you at dinner.
DONNA About time!
PAUL --which doesn't make any sense, because he's rolling in dough.
DONNA Nothing in this case makes sense, and we've only got one more day before Edwina's birthday.
PAUL We better stay with her.
DONNA I had this little idea...
DONNA This mystery man appears every time she looks to be in danger, so...
PAUL ["getting it"] Mmm.
DONNA Let skip ahead.
PAUL Get some rest.
PAUL [appreciative growl]
DONNA Morning came, and I was back with Edwina. Her husband hadn't even come home, but had phoned to insist she still open the store as usual. She was frantic.
SOUND STREET, FOOTSTEPS
EDWINA [controlled] Thank you so much for coming with me. I'm simply frantic.
DONNA Don't worry about it. We'll get to the bottom of all this.
SOUND RUSHING FEET
DONNA You got him? Calm down, Eddie!
EDWINA [gasp] What? Who is it? Oh! That's him! That's the guy!
PAUL Let's get inside. Come on.
EDWINA [whisper] Who's that?
DONNA My partner. He's good people.
EDWINA He's hardly "people", wouldn't you say?
DONNA Don't knock it, sister!
SOUND DOOR SHUTS
PAUL Okay, pal, you better start talking.
EDWINA Don't hurt him! He's the one who's been saving me!
PAUL [tough sounding] No one needs to get hurt - but someone DOES need to talk.
BEARD [mutters something]
PAUL What's that?
BEARD [low whisper] Just you. I'll talk to you. Not the ladies.
PAUL You all right with that? We'll catch up.
SOUND SNAP FINGERS
MUSIC In SUDDENLY
DONNA Edwina and I went on to the shop, careful to avoid any potentially life threatening situations.
SOUND SHOP DOOR, WITH BELL
EDWINA He's not going to hurt him, is he?
DONNA I don't think it will come to that.
EDWINA Good. I-- I think I'm in love.
DONNA [stunned] What? With that--
EDWINA Handsome stranger who keeps saving my life?
DONNA You've got a point. But what about your husband?
EDWINA I hardly ever see him. He doesn't care.
DONNA And how do you know this guy is handsome? His face was all covered in that scarf.
EDWINA [deep excited breath] Oh! His piercing eyes! So mysterious. T think-- [almost something] I think he's shy.
DONNA While it's nice to see some color in your cheeks again, I think we need to shelve this until we solve the death-related part of the mystery.
EDWINA [sigh] All right.
DONNA Last night, I asked about the suitors you turned down. Did you have a chance to make a list?
EDWINA Oh! I forgot. So sorry.
DONNA We've got some time now.
EDWINA Oh, all right. Um... There was Bob Porthos--
DONNA The entrepreneur? [whistles]
EDWINA He was really fat. And Fred Crotchety, are you taking these down?
DONNA Mind like a steel trap. Crotchety?
EWINA Old. And don't even get me started on King Cole.
DONNA The Merry old - ah! "Old"?
EDWINA [duh!] Pattycake.
DONNA Hmm. Let me guess, there was something wrong with every single one of them.
EDWINA Pretty much. And if it wasn't something obvious, like being really short, or having terrible halitosis, I'd just pick on whatever was handy.
DONNA Bet you regret that now.
EDWINA You said it. I might have spent the last year in the lap of luxury with my old, fat or smelly husband. [thinks] Hmm. I guess I'm actually rather lucky.
EDWINA My husband is standoffish and emotionally unavailable, but at least he's not fat, old or smelly.
DONNA [slightly sarcastic] And doesn't talk in rhyme.
EDWINA [the horror!] Heaven forbid!!
SOUND DOOR SLAMS OPEN
THUG Both of you, hands up!
THUG Shut up!
EDWINA [cuts out suddenly with a hiccup]
DONNA Let me guess - you're the next "accident"?
THUG Shut up!
DONNA Why should I listen to you?
EDWINA [hissed] Because he's got a gun!
THUG I see she's the smart one.
THUG Though you got the looks, babe.
EDWINA Don't anger the thug!
DONNA Just watch. WHAT?
THUG Now, lets see... [muses] an accident...
SOUND HEAVY TIPPING NOISE, CROCKERY GOES EVERYWHERE
EDWINA [quick shriek, muffled]
THUG [telling himself a story] So someone broke in, and-- [sudden surprised gasp of pain]
PAUL The mystery man had only half satisfied my curiosity when we heard screams from the vicinity of Edwina's pottery shop.
THUG [screams like a girl]
BEARD Something's happening!
PAUL [chuckles] They'll be fine. Finish what you were saying.
BEARD [melodramatic] I'll tell you whatever you want - AFTER we save her!
PAUL [sigh] All right.
PAUL He had it so bad it was almost cute. How could I refuse, being a fellow sufferer of that aeons-old disease called love?
SOUND DOOR CREAKS OPEN, CRASH OF PLATE
BEARD [surprised] Oh. You're all right!
DONNA This guy--
SOUND RUSTLE AS SHE KICKS HIM
DONNA Broke in. He won't talk. [sweetly] I told him my partner is the really scary one.
PAUL Don't worry about it. I think I know where this is all leading.
PAUL Yes. Shh.
EDWINA [melodramatic, to Beard] It can never be.
EDWINA I'm... I'm married. No matter that it wasn't my choice. It--
BEARD It's all right.
EDWINA No, it's not! You keep saving me, and making me love - uh - like - uh - appreciate you. It's not fair. To you.
BEARD You wouldn't consider... running off with me?
EDWINA A year ago, I might have said yes. In a heartbeat. But I'm not that same shallow girl any more. I simply can't break a solemn vow. You should go.
DONNA [sad] Ohhh!
PAUL [reassuring] Shh.
EDWINA Just know this. I love you!
BEARD I've waited so long to hear you say that.
EDWINA [confused] You ...have?
PAUL [whispered] Now for the big reveal.
SOUND RUSTLE OF FABRIC
DONNA I don't know anyone with a beard that thick.
BEARD I'm so sorry I had to do it this way, but--
SOUND THUMP, HISS
PAUL Really? A grenade? [grunt of effort]
SOUND HISSING FLIES OFF
SOUND DISTANT EXPLOSION, SHRIEK OF PAIN & SURPRISE
PAUL Now that that's sorted out, I think it's time.
PAUL For the big denouement. And... I think a police presence is in order.
DONNA Where's a phone?
EDWINA What's going on?
BEARD Don't worry, my darling. I'll still always protect you.
PAUL We did a quick gathering of the suspects and arrived at Mr. Rexmussen's sumptuous estates with only half an hour to spare.
DONNA Before what?
PAUL The birthday.
GOLDY I'm the one that caught that!
DONNA AND PAUL Shut up!
GOLDY Hmph. Keep me posted.
PAUL Rexmussen's estate was a sprawling mass of putting green and ornamental garden, all surrounding a palatial sort of ... palace.
PAUL I've been studying Old Possum's word a day column in the Times.
GOLDY uh-uh-uh! Conversation!
SOUND MUSIC OUT
SOUND KNOCKING ON DOOR
SOUND TEENSY WINDOW OPENS
BUTLER Please good folks! This is not right! Banging on the door all night!
PAUL [grr] Pattycakes.
EDWINA [Imperious] Rouse my father, Frederick.
BUTLER The master sleeps, he will not wake. I beg you now, your leave to take.
SOUND WINDOW SHUTS
DONNA Blast. If only--
SOUND POLICE SIRENS BURP, THEN CUT OUT
PAUL [concerned] Ohhh boy.
DONNA Captain Oftheguard! So glad you came! Wait - I didn't - did you?
PAUL [grrrr] No.
OFTHEGUARD Your secretary called, said you're having some kind of ...denouement... at this here address?
PAUL [muttered] She'll never let us live this one down.
DONNA [wheedling] We need to get inside, Bruce, and talk to Edwina's father! Right now, before there's a murder!
OFTHEGUARD We'll see about that.
SOUND OFFICIAL POUNDING
BEARD No one's going to murder you!
EDWINA Oh, [falters] OH! [whispers] You never told me your first name.
BEARD Oh... uh... [horrible admission] Van dyke.
EDWINA Really? I would have pegged you as a garibaldi, or maybe a franz-josef with a side order of Z-Z.
BEARD [surprised] So you know my brothers?
SOUND DOOR OPENS
OFTHEGUARD Hey! Mother goose. Get your boss out here. This is the police.
FREDERICK You needn't speak in such a tone. My job is to see he's left alone.
OFTHEGUARD hmph. My job trumps your boss's orders - now let us through your fancy borders.
DONNA Oh, Bruce! I never knew you were bilingual!
PAUL [growl] Enough! I'll get us in.
SOUND MUSIC IN
PAUL It wasn't long before we were all sitting in Rexmussen's main sitting room.
PAUL So there.
EDWINA Not to be confused with the informal withdrawing room, or the salon.
REXMUSSEN [cold] So nice to have you home again dear.
EDWINA [cold] Papa. [kiss kiss]
OFTHEGUARD I believe there was a denouement in the offing? Or are we here for pinochle?
REXMUSSUN A Denouement? Surely you don't mean--?
SOUND LIGHT FEET ENTER
MULVA [sexy little number] Rex, Honey? I miss my bunny?
EDWINA [horrified] Papa!
REXMUSSUN [covering, stiff] Go back to bed, Mulva. We'll talk in the morning.
EDWINA Papa!? What is ... that? [disgust] Her?
DONNA That's a whole nother denouement! Quick, music!
SOUND MUSIC IN, SOUND OF EDWINA AND REXMUSSUN ARGUING UNDER
REXMUSSUN I knew you would never be able to accept--
EDWINA A pattycake? Father! How could you!
MULVA Love is blind to age or youth. We knew you wouldn't like the truth.
REXMUSSUN You don't need to be here, dearest, to take this abuse.
EDWINA I'm glad mother's dead! This sort of ...perversion - it would have killed her to know.
[now the voiceover]
PAUL Could this have been another motive? Or part of the answer we already had?
DONNA We knew we had to sort it out quickly, or lose what might be our only chance to resolve this issue.
PAUL The money in the trust goes back to dear old dad if she dies in the next 15 minutes, right?
DONNA I think--
GOLDY [snide] That's what the papers said.
DONNA Fine. Thanx. What else did they say.
GOLDY Oh, so now you need me--
PAUL Get on with it! We're in the denouement!
GOLDY Dad's loaded. The entire trust wouldn't make pocket change for him.
DONNA And his new wife?
GOLDY Oh, that took a couple of very tricky phone calls. Seems they went out of state for a nice quiet little ceremony - the day AFTER dear daughter was whisked away to be wed.
PAUL So maybe this had nothing to do with the money at all?
DONNA What are we left with?
PAUL That sounds like something. Quick!
SOUND MUSIC OUT
EDWINA The lights!
OFTHEGUARD Everyone stay where you are.
BEARD I'm here.
SOUND RUSTLE, THEN FOOTSTEPS
PAUL Was anyone near the lights when they went out?
EDWINA We were a bit...um... involved in a family ... discussion.
DONNA Where are the --
EDWINA [QUICK scream]
BEARD Oh no!
DONNA Quick! Paul!
SOUND HEAVY FOOTSTEPS
FREDERICK Off, you beast! Get off of me! I'm no prey for such as thee!
PAUL Just for that! [unh!]
SOUND CLICK OF LIGHTS BACK ON
EDWINA A servant?
DONNA [whispered] Paul? But why? Do you think he was paid?
PAUL [muttered] Hmm. No. [up] Oftheguard, I'll hand him over.
OFTHEGUARD What's the charge? Or at least the motive?
EDWINA Yes! What could he possibly get out of killing me? He's not in any position to inherit.
DONNA No one is - now.
PAUL Except your husband.
BEARD I've got plenty of my own, thanks.
DONNA Your birthday came and went 8 minutes ago. So this attempt ... [quizzical] must be unrelated?
PAUL But something else is.
DONNA Is what?
PAUL Related. [sharp] Rexmusson! This young lady may be your second wife, but I wager she's not the first pattycake that you've... um...
DONNA Played pattycake with?
PAUL I was trying for something a bit more pithy, but yes.
REXMUSSON [warning] I'm a very wealthy and powerful man! [shrug] And everyone needs a hobby.
MULVA But now I am your one and only? You'll never have to be so lonely.
REXMUSSON [not quite convincing] Of course, dear.
EDWINA This is just disgusting. I don't need to hear any more of this--
PAUL Just a bit more. Frederick? How long have you worked here?
EDWINA He's been here his entire life. Since we both [getting it] were children...
DONNA Ahhh. And his mother? She worked here, too?
EDWINA [revolted] Oh, now I am definitely leaving.
BEARD Hold on a bit longer.
EDWINA Hold me!
DONNA So you think that he did it out of revenge? For her being the pampered one and him getting.... a menial job?
PAUL Perhaps he felt that if there were no longer a legitimate heir to the Rexmusson estate, that his father would have to acknowledge him at last.
DONNA That's a huge bucket full of wishful thinking, you do realize that?
REXMUSSON Even if Edwina was killed, and that would never be my wish, dear, even if we don't see eye to eye on some things--
EDWINA [conciliatory] Oh, I should hope not.
REXMUSSON There's still going to be more legit heirs. Right my little pumpkiny-wumpkiny?
MULVA You'll have a little sister soon. We've counted down to the end of June.
EDWINA [no longer amused] We're leaving. Now.
BEARD There's no more danger?
OFTHEGUARD Not from this guy, there ain't.
BEARD Good. [leaving] Edwina? Darling?
FREDERICK Ouch! Ouch! Stop that, you! You hurt my--
OFTHEGUARD [cutting in] Everloving shoe. I know, I know. I've heard it all before. Now - "Come along quiet, you epic fail. You're taking a little trip to jail."
PAUL [snort, then annoyed] Progressive AND bilingual. How do you compete with that?
PAUL Nothing. [clears throat] So the case was closed, and for once we could say--
DONNA With a completely straight face--
PAUL uh... [whispered] You want to say it?
DONNA [sultry whisper] Let's do it together?
PAUL [grrrrow!] Count of three, then. One Two--
PAUL AND DONNA The butler did it. [both laugh]
PAUL You would never leave me, um, I mean the agency, I mean, detective work, for a ... a pattycake, wouldja?
DONNA Never fear, oh hairy one / the job, and you, are much more fun.
PAUL [growl!!] I do love it when she talks foreign!