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- Writing for Vaudeville - 80/95 -


EEL: (Looks around smiling until he sees INSPECTOR.) Hello, Inspector! Gee! it's real oil for the wicks of my lamps to see you again.

DUGAN: (Coming down C.) Yes, he's tickled to death to see you, ain't you, Billy?

EEL: (Angrily.) The Eel to you, Copper; Billy to my pals.

INSPECTOR: Well, Billy!

EEL: That's right, Inspector, you're my pal. (Movement from INSPECTOR.) Oh, I ain't forgot when you was just a plain Bull and saved me from doin' my first bit on a phoney charge. They tried to railroad me, you remember, and Dugan here was runnin' the engine.

INSPECTOR: Oh, you've got Dugan wrong, Billy, he bears you no malice.

EEL: No, it's a mistake, he just loves me. Say, he thinks so much of me, that if he saw me drowning, he'd bring me a glass of water.

DUGAN: You know why you were brought here?

EEL: Sure, so's you could railroad me again.

INSPECTOR: Nonsense, Dugan has nothing against you personally.

EEL: Oh yes he has; when he was new on the force, I beat him up good. He was only a harness cop then, and one night he thought he made me coppin' a super from a lush, which you know ain't my graft. He started to fan me with a sap, so I just clubbed my smoke wagon, and before I got through with him, I made him a pick-up for the ambulance, and he ain't never forgot it.

INSPECTOR: What do you know about this Worthington robbery? (EEL looks around suspiciously.) Before you answer, Billy, I warn you to be careful, everything you say will be used against you.

EEL: Yes, and everything I don't say will be used, too. I know the system.

DUGAN: (Crossing R. to EEL. REPORTERS follow.) Well, what have you got to say?

EEL: (Taking time, looks around.) You don't think I'm goin' to address this Mass Meeting here. (BROOKY looks L. to see if there is anyone else there.)

INSPECTOR: You're not afraid to talk in front of a couple of newspaper reporters, are you?

EEL: (Grinning at INSPECTOR to gain time.) Roosevelt gets a dollar a word, where do I come in? (Resignedly.) All right, flag the pencil pushers and I'll gab my nob. (DUGAN turns L. to tell the REPORTERS to go. BROOKY says he don't understand. PERKINS pulls him off door C., remonstrating, going R.) (The INSPECTOR signs to DUGAN that they will now grill the EEL.)

INSPECTOR: This lady I suppose you know.

EEL: (Looks at MRS. WORTHINGTON.) I never lamped her before in my life.

DUGAN: That is Mrs. Worthington, the lady you robbed.

EEL: (Banteringly to MRS. WORTHINGTON to gain time.) Is it? How do you do, pleased to meet you. Gee! but you must be an awful mark to be robbed. (INSPECTOR raps on desk.) What was it I stole from you, Mrs. Worthington?

DUGAN: Nix on that bull. You know what you stole.

EEL: Yes, and I suppose you know what I stole before I stole it.

DUGAN: With dips like you, I always look far ahead.

EEL: Get out! you couldn't look far enough ahead to see the ashes on your cigar. Why, if it wasn't for your stool pigeons--

DUGAN: That's enough out of you.

EEL: Oh, go chase yourself. (DUGAN smashes at EEL, who ducks around back of him.)

INSPECTOR: Dugan!!! (When Dugan locates the EEL, he goes after him again. MRS. WORTHINGTON screams.)

INSPECTOR: None of that, Dugan! Remember, he had no marks on him when you brought him in. (DUGAN crosses L. in front of EEL and looks off door L. in subdued rage.) A little more civility out of you, Bradley.

EEL: All right, Inspector. (To MRS. W.) I beg your pardon, lady.

INSPECTOR: You have been brought here as a suspect in a five thousand dollar jewelry theft which happened at the home of Mrs. Worthington last night. (EEL makes no move.) Circumstances point strongly in your direction. Your former sweetheart, Goldie Marshall, was serving as maid to Mrs. Worthington at the time of the robbery.

EEL: And you think I planted her there as a stall.

DUGAN: Goldie spilled that much, and we didn't, have to third degree her.

EEL: So Goldie declared me in on this?

INSPECTOR: She couldn't help it, we knew it was a two-man's job.

EEL: She snitched me into a frame-up.

DUGAN: Same as she did two years ago.

EEL: Why say, Inspector, I ain't seen Goldie since I was sprung from the Pen.

DUGAN: Is that so? I got it straight that the first place you mozied to was Goldie's flat on East Broadway. You were trailed.

EEL: Sure I was, by one of you pathfinders at the Central Office. Oh, I've played tag with you before; Dugan, whatever you say, is.

INSPECTOR: Then you admit--

EEL: I don't admit nothin'.

INSPECTOR: Be careful what you say. Have you retained counsel?

EEL: A mouthpiece! What for?

INSPECTOR: You've got to be represented. Have you any money?

EEL: Sure! I left the hotel of Zebra clothed with a pocket full of smiles and a wad of joy. (INSPECTOR whispers for O'MARA to bring up GOLDIE. O'MARA exits door L.)

INSPECTOR: Well, the state will furnish you with an attorney.

EEL: What, one of them record shysters? Eighty years old and never won a case. No, thanks, Inspector. I'll plead my own case; then I got at least a chance to beat this rap.

DUGAN: You'd have a swell time pleading your own case.

EEL: Yes, and believe me I'll spring a sensation when I open up. I'll show up some of this rotten graft. I'll bust "The System " to smithereens. Dugan, I won't be railroaded--(EEL crosses in rage L. to Dugan.)

INSPECTOR: Bradley! hold your tongue, you've said enough.

EEL: I ain't said half what I'm going to say--

INSPECTOR: (Fiercely.) Not another word out of you. Do you understand?

EEL: (Coming down.) All right, Inspector. I don't want to get anybody that's right, in bad, but I've got something up my sleeve. (DUGAN laughs and goes up stage.) (GOLDIE enters door L. brought in by O'MARA. She is startled at seeing EEL, then pleadingly:)

GOLDIE: Billy! (EEL turns and is about to go to GOLDIE but stops.)

EEL: You snitched again! You snitched again! (Running L. to GOLDIE with arms up as though to hit her with hand-cuffs. GOLDIE snatches his upraised arms.)

GOLDIE: Oh no, Billy! True as God I didn't!

DUGAN: (Aside to INSPECTOR.) Let's leave them alone, they'll talk. (MRS. WORTHINGTON, INSPECTOR, DUGAN and O'MARA exit door R.)

GOLDIE: (Still holding EEL'S arms.) Why, I'd rather die than snitch.

EEL: (Jerking away and going R.) How about two years ago?

GOLDIE: I didn't even then when you left me dying. They framed you while I was in the hospital.

EEL: Who?

GOLDIE: Dugan and his--

EEL: Sh!!! Oh if I could only believe you, kid.

GOLDIE: Look at me, Billy. Do you think I'd snitch?

EEL: (Looks at her, then pushes her head roughly back.) No, I can't believe you did it, kid. (EEL takes GOLDIE in his arms.)

GOLDIE: (Sobbingly.) I'm so glad to see you again.

EEL: Me, too, kid. Gee, your head feels as natural on my shoulder as a piece of pie on a prize-fighter's knife. (EEL takes GOLDIE from his shoulder and says inquiringly.) But what are you doing here?

GOLDIE: (Drying her tears.) Bein' held on suspicion, but they can't


Writing for Vaudeville - 80/95

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