Saturday, October 13, 2012

Death at a Séance

Last week, I posted the first part of my Addams Family Mystery. This week, I'll continue the story...

Scene 3 opens with Fester attempting to comfort Wednesday over the loss of her boyfriend, Eddie Munster. Fester confides that he, too, has experienced true love, but it didn't work out, as she "loved someone else."

Wednesday has become a little loopy on the pills prescribed by Dr. Crane. ("The blue ones are for when I'm sad, the yellow ones for when I'm anxious, and… I forget what these little pink ones are for, but they're pretty, aren't they?") Concerned that Wednesday may accidentally overdose, Marilyn confiscates her pills.

Fester tells the family that, for Wednesday's sake, they should be trying to help Marilyn solve the mystery. Grandmama suggests the best way to help might be to contact Eddie through a séance. It seems that Fester is a professional medium, although his results can be unpredictable. (At the family's last séance, he accidentally channeled Jack the Ripper, and "it took days to clean up the mess.")

Dessert is served during the scene break. If it's your birthday or anniversary, the family will sing you their special birthday/anniversary song. Please sing along if you know it, and don't forget to snap your fingers—
Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum.

A happy, happy birthday (anniversary).
A happy, happy birthday (anniversary).
A happy, happy birthday (anniversary).
From the Addams Family.

Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum.
Also at this time, audience members are encouraged to bribe their favorite character for an additional clue using play money. The bribe clues are as follows:

GOMEZ:  Our family credo is: "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us."
MORTICIA:  An Addams marry a Munster—never!
WEDNESDAY:  Wednesday's inner child is full of woe.
FESTER:  I don't know anything about genetics, but Eddie seemed like a nice kid.
GRANDMAMA:  I can no longer protect my son!
MARILYN:  Doesn't Fester have the most soulful eyes you've ever seen?

At the beginning of the séance scene, the actors take their seats at a small table for six. Because the seating arrangement is somewhat important to the plot, here's a diagram:

In most of our mysteries, the victim "dies" in front of the audience (preferably next to an exit, to make it easier to remove the body), but the shots come from offstage, with all of the suspects out of the room. This time, I wanted the murder to take place with all of the suspects in the room. Of course, the only way to achieve this was to have the scene take place in the dark...

FESTER:  Quiet everyone! Would someone dim the lights, please?

MARILYN:  Should we hold hands?

FESTER:  That won't be necessary. Just place your hands lightly on top of the table. (Fester begins to make an eerie moaning sound, then says, in a memorable voice…) Eenie Meenie Chili Beanie! The spirits are about to speak!

MARILYN:  What's happening?

GRANDMAMA:  Fester is getting in touch with his spirit guide.

MARILYN:  His spirit guide is Bullwinkle?

MORTICIA:  Don't be silly! Bullwinkle was a cartoon character. Fester's spirit guide is Bill Scott.


GOMEZ:  Bill Scott. The voice of Bullwinkle.

MARILYN:  I see.

MORTICIA:  But he prefers to be addressed as Bullwinkle.


GOMEZ:  It was his greatest role.

MARILYN:  Of course.

MORTICIA:  Bullwinkle? Can you hear me, Bullwinkle?

FESTER:  Yes, I hear you.

MORTICIA:  How are you, Darling?

FESTER:  Dead.

MORTICIA:  Of course you are, dear. But your spirit will always live on.

GOMEZ:  We always look forward to your appearance in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, old boy.

FESTER:  Thank you.

MORTICIA:  Bullwinkle, darling, we're looking for a recent arrival…

GOMEZ:  He should have come in today. The name's Eddie…

FESTER:  Hold on… Is there an Eddie here?… Eddie?… (his voice changes) That's a lovely dress you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver.

MORTICIA:  Not Eddie Haskell! Eddie Munster!

FESTER:  (Bullwinkle again) Oh. Hold on a minute… (different voice) Hello?

WEDNESDAY:  Eddie? Is that you?

FESTER:  Hi, Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  What's it like, Eddie?

FESTER:  I see dead people.

GOMEZ:  You are dead people.

WEDNESDAY:  I miss you, sweetiepateetie.

FESTER:  I miss you, too, cutiepatootie.

MORTICIA:  Ugh! I think I'm going to be sick.

GOMEZ:  This is worse than Jack the Ripper.

MARILYN:  Eddie, do you know who this is?

FESTER:  Sure! Hi, Marilyn!

MARILYN:  Eddie, what's my middle name?

FESTER:  Grizelda.

ALL:  Grizelda?

MARILYN:  It's true. It must really be Eddie. Eddie, are you still there?


MARILYN:  Do you remember being shot?

FESTER:  I'd prefer to forget it, but yes, I remember.

MARILYN:  Did you see who shot you?


MARILYN:  Who was it?

FESTER:  It was…

(Gomez sneezes loudly.)

FESTER:  Gezundheit.

(A shot is fired; Wednesday screams.)

MARILYN:  Fester! Lights! Somebody turn on the lights!

(The lights come up, revealing Fester slumped over the table. Marilyn is standing over him, checking for a pulse. Wednesday's hands are covering her mouth. Gomez holds a napkin to his face. Morticia is clutching Gomez's arm. Grandmama's hands are on the table, and she is halfway out of her chair.)

MARILYN:  Nobody move!

GRANDMAMA:  Fester! Is he…dead?

MARILYN:  I'm afraid so, Mrs. Addams. (She removes something from the back of the chair.) A silver bullet! (She quickly scans the table, then gets down on her hands and knees and looks beneath it. When she gets to her feet, she is holding a gun wrapped in a napkin. She unwraps it, examines it and sniffs the barrel.) The murder weapon—no doubt the same gun used to kill Eddie Munster. And one of you four is the killer!

(Gomez, Morticia and Grandmama begin protesting. Wednesday repeats "poor Uncle Fester, poor Uncle Fester…" Marilyn sits Fester up and covers him with the tablecloth. Wednesday becomes occupied with the cloth covering Fester. The audience can't see what she is doing.)

MARILYN:  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention, please? I regret to announce that Fester Addams is dead. Like my cousin Eddie, he was shot with a silver bullet from a 22-caliber handgun—obviously by someone sitting at this table. I will now conduct my interrogation, and, when I have finished with each suspect, you will have an opportunity to ask your own questions. First, Gomez Addams.

GOMEZ:  At your service.

MARILYN:  Did you object to Wednesday's relationship with Eddie?

GOMEZ:  Naturally.


GOMEZ:  Because Mama and Morticia told me to.

MARILYN:  Let's talk about the séance. Your sneeze seemed very well-timed.

GOMEZ:  What do you mean?

MARILYN:  It created the perfect distraction for the killer. Or perhaps you faked the sneeze and shot Fester yourself?

GOMEZ:  I most certainly did not!

MARILYN:  You just coincidentally had to sneeze at that particular moment?

GOMEZ:  Yes. Something tickled my nose.

MARILYN:  I see. Well, it's an impossible shot, anyway, I suppose.

GOMEZ:  What do you mean?

MARILYN:  To fire under the table like that—without even aiming—and put the bullet straight through Fester's heart? Come on! Nobody could do that except by pure luck.

GOMEZ:  On the contrary. I could make that shot ten times in a row, without deviating a millimeter from the target.


GOMEZ:  Well, I could. It's simply a matter of feeling the relative positions of your weapon and the target. The same theory applies to blindfolded knife-throwing, a skill at which I also excel.

MARILYN:  What about Morticia? Could she do it?

GOMEZ:  She's a better shot than I am.


GOMEZ:  Now don't be modest, Querida.

MARILYN:  Wednesday?

GOMEZ:  Not quite as accurate, but I'll wager she could hit it four times out of five.


GOMEZ:  All right, maybe nine times out of ten.

MARILYN:  And what about your mother?

GOMEZ:  Are you kidding? Mama could outshoot anybody in the room.

GRANDMAMA:  Gomez, will you shut up!

GOMEZ:  I was just trying to be helpful.

GRANDMAMA:  Well don't!

MARILYN:  Are there any other questions for Gomez? (She fields questions from audience.) Thank you, Mr. Addams. Morticia Addams?


MARILYN:  You objected to Wednesday's relationship with my cousin, didn't you?

MORTICIA:  I certainly did.

MARILYN:  On what grounds?

MORTICIA:  On every possible grounds.

MARILYN:  Could you be a bit more specific?

MORTICIA:  Well, let's just say he wasn't really Addams material—no offense.

MARILYN:  None taken. I consider it a compliment.

MORTICIA:  What do you mean by that?

MARILYN:  Oh, nothing. It's just that I'd rather be a poor, working-class stiff than a spoiled, idle snob with a stick up my ass, that's all—no offense.

MORTICIA:  (through gritted teeth) None taken.

MARILYN:  Would you describe what happened during the séance, just before Fester was killed?

MORTICIA:  Gomez sneezed. I handed him a napkin.

MARILYN:  Did you hear anything else before the shot was fired?


MARILYN:  Thank you. Are there any other questions for Morticia? (Marilyn fields questions from the audience.) Thank you, Morticia. Mrs. Addams—what is your first name, by the way?

GRANDMAMA:  Babette.

MARILYN:  Babette? Do you mind if I call you Grandmama?

GRANDMAMA:  Whatever floats your boat, Blondie.

MARILYN:  Did you object to Wednesday's relationship with Eddie?

GRANDMAMA:  Of course I did.


GRANDMAMA:  He was a werewolf. Werewolves are bad news.

MARILYN:  You sound as though you speak from personal experience.


MARILYN:  What sort of experience?

GRANDMAMA:  Personal.

MARILYN:  Would you tell us what you heard before Fester was shot.

GRANDMAMA:  I heard Gomez sneeze, and I heard a shot.

MARILYN:  Anything else?


MARILYN:  Thank you. Any other questions for Grandmama? (She fields questions from the audience.) Wednesday Addams?

(No response. Wednesday is in her own world.)

MARILYN: Wednesday? What are you doing?

(Wednesday moves the cloth covering Fester, revealing a smiley face she has drawn on it over Fester's face.)

MARILYN:  Wednesday, could you answer a few questions for me?

WEDNESDAY: Sure, Marilyn. How are you Marilyn?

MARILYN:  I'm fine, Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Are you sure? I know how you felt about Uncle Fester. You shouldn't keep your feelings inside, you know. Feelings are like butterflies, (beginning to sing) and butterflies are free to fly, fly away, high away…

MARILYN:  Honestly, Wednesday, I'm okay.

WEDNESDAY:  How about a pill?

MARILYN:  We took your pills away from you, remember?

WEDNESDAY:  (pulling out another pill box) Oh, I still have some herbals from Dr. Wong. (conspiratorially) Don't tell Dr. Crane; he doesn't believe in them.

MARILYN:  Give me the pills, Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Let's see… (she begins handing out pills to guests, in a parody of Ophelia's mad scene in Hamlet) There's ginkgo, that's for remembrance—pray you, love, remember. And there is St. John's Wort, that's for thoughts.

MARILYN:  Give me the pills.

WEDNESDAY:  Oh, all right. (She hands the pills to Marilyn.)

MARILYN:  (patiently, as though talking to a small child) Now, Wednesday, I want you to think back to the séance.

WEDNESDAY:  What séance?

MARILYN:  The séance we just had—when Uncle Fester was killed.

WEDNESDAY:  Oh, yeah. That was so sad.

MARILYN:  Yes, it was. Now, do you remember what happened, just before Fester was shot?

WEDNESDAY:  You were talking to Eddie. Eddie's dead. That's so sad.

MARILYN:  Yes, it is. Then what happened?

WEDNESDAY:  Someone sneezed. I think it was Father.

MARILYN:  Yes. Then what?

WEDNESDAY:  There was a shot.

MARILYN:  Do you remember anything else unusual before the shot?

WEDNESDAY:  No….yes. There was a sound.

MARILYN:  What kind of sound?

WEDNESDAY:  (imitating the sound) FFFT!

MARILYN:  Was this before or after the sneeze?


MARILYN:  Are there any other questions for Wednesday? (Marilyn fields questions from the audience.) Thank you Wednesday. You've been very helpful. Ladies and gentlemen, I now know who the killer is. Do you? You have five minutes to fill out your resolution forms. Good luck, and may the best detective win!

Have you figured out who killed Eddie Munster and Fester Addams and the motives for their murders? Next week, I'll present the solution to An Addams Family Mystery!

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