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The Display Case

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(Lights go up. The stage is separated in half by a wall with a door. The lights are on in the room on the left, and off on the right. There is a table and a chair. Detective Haertel is leaning on the table; Alex Johnson is sitting on the chair.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Mr. Johnson, a murder was committed on the night of September 23rd, 2010.

(You hear “Duh duh duh duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh” in the background from the beginning of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Alex Johnson looks around wildly to see where the music comes from.)

ALEX JOHNSON
Where did that come from?

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one. There is another table and a chair. Inspector Turner is standing and Susie Winter is sitting at the table and crying quietly.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
Now, Miss Winter -Susie- Can you tell me exactly what you saw two nights ago.

SUSIE WINTER
But… Inspector Turner, I’m not sure that I should tell. I don’t want the murderer to kill me too. I’m afraid; I don’t want to be in dangeeerrr!!!

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one. Detective Haertel sighs loudly.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Have you ever heard of dramatic effect? I mean, I’m a detective, Detective Haertel! I should be allowed some “Duh duh duh duuuh”!

ALEX JOHNSON
Okay, um… Detective Heertel?

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Detective Haertel! Heart-elle!

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one. Susie Winter is sobbing.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
Miss Winter!

SUSIE WINTER
Dangeeerrr!!!

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Seriously now, you are suspected of having committed a murder two nights ago.

ALEX JOHNSON
But, I’ve never hurt anyone in my life!

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Miss Susie Winter in the other room-
(Detective Haertel points to the other room.)
-accused you of having killed someone.

ALEX JOHNSON
But I didn’t kill anyone. I don’t even know who the person is! What happened?!

(Detective Haertel walks around with his hands behind his back.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
A body was found inside a glass case where the store Clara’s Clothing usually puts their most valuable clothes and jewelry. The display case, they call it. This morning, the body of Jane Song, a cook in the store’s café, was found inside it. At 6pm, there were a bunch of mannequins in the case. The next morning, her body was sprawled across them. No one could’ve gotten in, it’s always locked-

ALEX JOHNSON
So? You know, criminals have a lot of good gadgets and things nowadays. It’s not that hard to unlock something.

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Yes, but the display case is programmed to totally shut down at night. No one gets in or out. Even the guards, who guard it during the day, can’t get in. They didn’t encounter anyone and the case is intact. So how did the body get there?

(Detective Haertel looks thoughtfully into the distance. The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
Now, Miss Winter, you need to tell me exactly what happened the night that your friend died.

SUSIE WINTER
(Sniffling)
Well, Inspector Turner, Jane was finishing up inside the store that we work in, the one with the display case? We chatted for awhile and then I left and I saw a man sitting in a car outside. I managed to remember the license plate of his car.

INSPECTOR TURNER
You remembered the license plate… For no reason? For two whole days?

(Susie Winter hesitates.)
SUSIE WINTER
The first four digits were the same as my daughter’s birthday. I noticed it right away. My daughter and I are really close, you know-

INSPECTOR TURNER
Of course, Miss Winter. Now, back to the interview. What did the man look like?

(Susie Winter taps her chin with her finger and looks into the distance with a thoughtful look on her face.)
SUSIE WINTER

Mmmh… Let me think. I’m thinking… I’m thinking… I’m thiiiiiinkiiiiing…

INSPECTOR TURNER
Um, Miss Winter?

SUSIE WINTER
(Snapping out of it)
Mmh? Oh, sorry. I was thinking.

INSPECTOR TURNER
(Rolling his eyes)
No kidding.

SUSIE WINTER
Ah! I remember now! He looked reeeeeally suspicious.

INSPECTOR TURNER
Well, of course he looked suspicious; you accused him of murdering someone!

SUSIE WINTER
Yes, but he looked more suspicious than usual suspects who are seemingly suspicious.

INSPECTOR TURNER
That still doesn’t make it easier to distinguish him apart from other… seemingly suspicious suspects…?

SUSIE WINTER
That’s a lot of “S”s in one sentence. Seemingly suspicious suspects seemingly suspicious suspects seemingly suspicious suspects-

INSPECTOR TURNER
Miss Winter? The interview?

SUSIE WINTER
Oh, right.

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other.)

ALEX JOHNSON
But, that’s impossible! How can there be a mannequin one minute, and the next, a body?!

(Detective Haertel walks over to Alex Johnson while speaking.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
That’s the mystery! We have no idea! That’s why, well, we were hoping that you…

ALEX JOHNSON
…Would know something about it?

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Well, yes, everyone thinks that you were the one who did it.

ALEX JOHNSON
By everyone, you mean Miss “He did it! He did it!” over there?

(Alex Johnson points at the room on the right. Detective Haertel looks where he’s pointing. He looks back at Alex Johnson.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Miss “He did it! He did it!”?

ALEX JOHNSON
Yeah, she was yelling at me like crazy on the way in.

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Well yes, she accused you.

ALEX JOHNSON
Well, sorry, but no, I’m just as clueless as you. I just can’t imagine how this could’ve happened! I mean, I doubt a magical fairy turned a mannequin into a woman. A dead woman!

(Detective Haertel walks back to behind the table and hits his fist on the table in a sign of frustration.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Exactly! So, unless you believe in magical fairies, I don’t see any way in which this phenomenon is possible.

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
Miss Winter, do you know anyone who would want to hurt Miss Song? In case our friend Alex Johnson in the other room isn’t the murderer?

(Susie Winter stands up.)

SUSIE WINTER
Obviously it’s him! Do you think I’m lying?

(Susie Winter slowly sits back down while Inspector Turner is talking.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
It’s part of my job to ask these questions, Miss Winter. So, is there anyone who didn’t really like Miss Song?

SUSIE WINTER
No! Everybody loved Jane! Why, we would always go for coffee together. She was so nice… I can’t believe she’s gone!

(Susie Winter looks as though she is on the verge of tears. Inspector Turner interrupts her emotional moment.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
You got along well with her? That’s strange, when I talked to the manager of Clara’s Clothing this morning, she said that you two always got into fights.

SUSIE WINTER
Oh, well, you know… Sometimes we would have little disagreements. Who doesn’t?

INSPECTOR TURNER
Ah, I see.

(Inspector Turner scribbles on a little notebook. The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Do you know how much time we’re wasting? For all I know, you could be the murderer, and already know all of this already. So I might as well catch you. Either way, the sooner this is over, the sooner I get paid. So, Mr. Johnson, where were you-

(Alex Johnson lifts up his hands.)

ALEX JOHNSON
No, it’s okay, you can call me Alex.

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Well, Alex, I will call you whatever I want to call you, okay?

ALEX JOHNSON
Uh, sure.

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Good. Now, where were you on the night- I mean two nights ago?

ALEX JOHNSON
Wait, do you mean the place, like a restaurant, or-

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Of course I mean the place! What do you think I mean?!

ALEX JOHNSON
(Smiling playfully)
Maybe you meant the location, like Washington D.C.?

(Detective Haertel turns away from Alex Johnson while talking.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
I’m serious, Mr. Johnson. Someone’s life is on the line-

ALEX JOHNSON
I think you mean was on the line. She’s already dead.

(Detective Haertel turns around to face Alex Johnson abruptly.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
I mean it, Mr. Johnson. Now tell me the place or the location or even the area that you were in on the night of the 23rd.

ALEX JOHNSON
Now, let me think. My girlfriend made me go shopping with her that night-

(Detective Haertel leans towards Alex Johnson when he interrupts.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
What time?

ALEX JOHNSON
I don’t know, I guess it would’ve been around 6 or 7 o’clock by then. She dragged me into Fiona’s Furnishing, Andrea’s Accessories… Oh! And Clara’s Clothing-

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
(Triumphantly)
Aha!

ALEX JOHNSON
-But I stayed in the car the whole time. I really don’t like that store. Way too fancy and expensive. Now, are you going to arrest me for sitting in a car, or can I go now?

(The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
Miss Winter, I have reason to believe that that man did not kill your friend.

SUSIE WINTER
But I know it was him! I even saw the knife that he used to kill Jane with!

INSPECTOR TURNER
How did you know that Miss Song got murdered with a knife?

SUSIE WINTER
(Hesitating)
I read the newspaper article, okay? Anyways, that doesn’t matter, that man killed her!

(Inspector Turner holds up a locket.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
Then how do you explain this?

(There is a silence.)

SUSIE WINTER
I’ve never seen it before in my life.

INSPECTOR TURNER
Then why is there a picture of you and-
(Inspector Turner looks inside the locket.)
-a young boy in it?

(There’s another silence as Susie Winter crosses her arms and stares darkly at Inspector Turner.)

SUSIE WINTER
(Quietly)
Where did you get that?

(Inspector Turner walks around to Susie Winter while speaking.)

INSPECTOR TURNER
This locket, Miss Winter, was found in a hollow limb of one of the broken mannequins found in the display case. I did some digging, and I figured out that extra mannequins get put in the storage room. So I believe you murdered Miss Song, put her dead body inside that mannequin and left it in the storage room, and your locket fell off, while you were at it. They moved that mannequin into the display case the next day, and then it collapsed under the weight of the body, leaving Miss Song totally exposed. Then you thought to accuse Mr. Johnson in the other room, thinking that you’d be safe. But I knew it was you all along!

SUSIE WINTER
(Standing up)
It was an accident! I didn’t mean to kill her! Jane and I were closing up the kitchens, as usual. We were arguing, and I was waving one of the knives around, and somehow it managed to plunge right into her!

INSPECTOR TURNER
Miss Winter, calm down. I-

SUSIE WINTER
How should I know they would go and change the mannequin, or that it would collapse!

INSPECTOR TURNER
Miss Winter, the police will be arriving soon.

(The police arrive and handcuff Susie Winter. Susie Winter keeps on babbling.)

SUSIE WINTER
How should I know? How should I know? How should I know? What? I’m not a criminal! I didn’t even do it on purpose! Are you going to lock me up? Oooh… Do I have a good lawyer! You should-

(While Susie Winter is babbling they drag her out the door, when the door is closed, the talking stops abruptly. Inspector Turner leans against the door and sighs. The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one. Detective Haertel is putting on his jacket.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Well, that’s my cue.

ALEX JOHNSON
What do you mean?

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
My co-worker, Inspector Turner, found the criminal. I can hear them all the way in here.

ALEX JOHNSON
So, who is it? What happened?

(Detective Haertel stops and looks at Alex Johnson. He smiles.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
You can read it in the paper tomorrow morning.

(Detective Haertel walks out the door into the other room. As he walks through the door, the lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one. Inspector Turner is standing in the middle of the room.)

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
So, another case closed, right?

INSPECTOR TURNER
Yep. It really is remarkable, though, how a woman of her age was able to carry the body and put it in the mannequin all on her own.

DETECTIVE HAERTEL
Strong lady!

(Inspector Turner and Detective Haertel walk out. The lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other. Alex Johnson puts on his jacket and walks out. As he walks through the door, the lights turn off in that room and turn on in the other one. Alex Johnson walks up to the table and picks up the locket that’s still sitting there. He stares at it for a few seconds, shrugs and puts it in his pocket. He walks out the door. The lights go out.)

The End



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FunneThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 23 at 11:08 am:
Great story! It had enough drama, enough comedy, and a cool twist.
 
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