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February's Featured Writer

February's Featured Writer

Send feedback to Alyssa Hurzeler.

Scene II

Raise curtain. Same ballroom. The lights are out, we hear the scream, and then the lights are back on. Adair is lying face down on the floor. People crowd around Adairís body.

Darwin:

Stand back! He needs air.

FW:

He doesnít need air. Heís dead.

Dickensís wife:

Heís been stabbed!

Q Vic:

Edward, go and see if any of the swords are missing.

Edward rushes to exit, but stops abruptly when he hears Violet scream.

Edward:

Why did you scream?

Violet:

Arenít women supposed to scream when their husbands are murdered? I forgot to do so earlier.

Edward:

(Cheerily) Oh.

Exits.

Freud:

What we must do now is discover who murdered him.

Vicky:

It was my mother.

Q Vic:

What?

Vicky:

Everyone knows you only invited him here to fund one of your projects. Why else would you invite him? Heís insufferable. He refused your offer; therefore you killed him.

Alb:

That is ridiculous!

FW:

Is it?
Alb:
This is none of your affair, Frederick. This is a family matter.

Vicky:

(Indignant) He is a member of this family.

Dickens:

This is no time for petty disputes. We have a murder to solve.

Flo:

Since we are talking about solving mysteries, I really must know who gave me this illness!

Alexa:

We have something far more important to worry about than your illness.

Flo:

And that is . . .?

Edward:

(Enters the room.) One of the swords is missing.

Alexa:

Whereís the sword?

Dickens's wife:

Who cares where the sword is? We need to figure out who killed him.

Alexa:

Violet had the ideal opportunity.

Looking shocked, Violet turns to Alexa.

FW:
How could she turn off the lights if she were dancing with him?

Glad:

Perhaps she had a conspirator.

Dis:

(Sighing) This is not how I planned to spend this evening.

Glad:

It could be worse. We could be at a Parliament meeting.

Q Vic:

Please, gentlemen! Let us concentrate on the matter at hand.

Artist:

(Jumping from his easel) I have it!

Vicky:

What is it?

Artist:

I have painted a portrait of the murderer.

He holds up previous painting, now even more obscure in appearance.

FW:

(Sarcastically) Thank you. That is a tremendous help.

Dickens:

(Pulling out a small notebook) I bet this would make a marvelous novel.

Glad:

Yes, if we ever solve it.

Freud:

I think it can be one of three people: Albert, Disraeli, or Violet. They have the most to gain from his death.

Alb:

(Angrily) How dare you! How can you explain my part in this?

Freud:

It's all about wish fulfillment. I could explain, if you like . . .

Darwin:

Albertís possible involvement is obvious. Twice tonight you have said you were going to get Mr. Adair to support your proposal one way or another.

Alb:

Youíve been eavesdropping on my conversations?

Darwin:

What else am I supposed to do? Iíve been ignored all evening.

Dis:

And what is my supposed involvement in this unhappy matter?

Dickensís wife:

You were arguing about factories all evening.

Dis:

That isnít enough reason to kill him. I have disagreements with William all the time, and I havenít killed him yet, have I? Why not look at those with more plausible motives? His wife, for example, who now has all of his money? She does not seem too upset about her husbandís death.

Glad:

Perhaps that is because she married him solely for his money. Isnít that true?

Violet:

Of course I married him for his money.

Alexa:

Then you killed him?

Violet:

Heís just changed his will. Most of his money is going to his business partner.

Glad:

(To Dis) Didnít you mention a few weeks ago that youíd made a unique business arrangement?

Dis:

That doesnít prove anything.

Alexa:

It does suggest that Violet is innocent.

Dis:

But Albert knew exactly where the swords were. How would I know?

Darwin:

Yes, but how could Albert get the sword, turn off the lights, kill Robert, hide the sword, turn the lights back on, and be back at the Queenís side?

FW:

(Calmly) Because Albert and Disraeli were co-conspirators.
Q Vic:
(Looking at Alb) What?

Alb:

(To FW) How did you know?

Dis:

I will admit it. And I donít regret having done it, either.

Dickens:

Wait! Canít we prolong the denouement? I am paid by the word, you know. Iíd like this story to sustain a twelve-part serialization, if possible.

Dis:

(Disregards the interruption.) Albert turned off the lights and brought me the sword. I did the rest.

There is a long silence.

Alexa:

This is disgraceful. I cannot believe you are both involved with such a thing.

Q Vic:

Sheís right. This is entirely unacceptable.

Alb:

Are you going to inform the authorities?

FW:

Disgraceful it may be, but we canít very well get rid of our Queenís husband and a high government official.

Dickens:

(Putting away his notebook with a sigh) No, indeed. This would clog up the government for centuries.

Dickensís wife:

I see no reason why anyone needs to know about it. Charles will simply have to write a different novel instead.

Dickens:

(Softly) The government is still rich with possibilities . . .

Q Vic:

Then it is agreed?

Everyone nods.

Vicky:

(To FW) How did you know that they were both involved?

FW:

I didnít know, actually. I just guessed.

Edward:

Well, we solved that little problem. Now what do we do?

Flo:

My dilemma still remains . . .

Alexa:

(Pulling Edward away from Flo) I think we should dance.

The music resumes, and everyone begins to dance, carefully avoiding Adairís body. Freud bows to Q Vic, begins to dance with her, and slips slightly on a banana peel.

Q Vic:
Are you all right?

Freud:

Fine. I just slipped.

Everyone continues to dance.

Curtain, end of play.

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