.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms, © 2016
.             refer to
www.church-skits.com


MYSTERY DINNER - FARLEY’S DARLINGS
.                              – written by Tanis Harms

PREMISE:     A crime has occurred at a hoity-toity
.            charity ball and Farley’s detective darlings
.            have been sent to out investigate, and ask
.            the dinner guests to help search for clues
.            and question the suspects in order
.            to figure out who is the murderer.
STYLE:       interactive murder mystery dinner
.            spoofing Charlie’s Angels
TOPIC:       revenge
SCRIPTURE:   Lev.19:18
NOTES:       for CAST, SET, PROPS, OTHER INSTRUCTIONS


.            $25.00 USD to receive a DIRECTOR'S PACKAGE
.            
how you receive this & package description




SCRIPT:           ARRIVAL & APPETIZERS

(Dinner guests are welcomed at the door by a host.  
This is where they will give their names or tickets,
if this is how you have organized the dinner.  
Also have a seating chart & numbered tables if desired.)

(Since this takes place at a hoity-toity charity ball,
treat the dinner guests with extreme dignity and
white-glove courtesy.  It could be fun to have
all your servers wearing black pants and white shirts,
with maybe white towels draped over their arms.
Here is an example of what the host can say...)

HOST         Welcome to Uppity County’s
.            annual Hoity-Toity Charity Ball.
.            May I please have your name/s (tickets)?...
.            Thank you, _.
.            You will be seated momentarily.

(While guests are being seated, SERVERS walk around with
appetizers or place at tables.  Most guests should be there,
but while some are still being seated...)

ON STAGE:                                              2
WAITER ushers SAMUEL to table 2, where he then standings,
looking around as if waiting for someone.
WAITER brings BENJAMIN and GLORIA to table 3.
BENJAMIN and GLORIA keep to a private conversation.
WAITER brings DIANE and BROOK to table 4.
BROOK stares longingly at SAMUEL with a secret crush.  
DIANE glances at BENJAMIN and GLORIA from time to time,
who still avoid looking or associating with anyone.  
WAITER can also serve appetizers to the ACTORS.
Once all guests have arrived and are seated...)

.           INTRODUCTION – (DURING APPETIZERS)
.                     CENTER STAGE

(TONYA enters and speaks to the ACTORS,
commandingly enough to get everyone’s attention...)

TONYA        I hope everything is to your satisfaction,
.            ladies and gentlemen.  Now if you could
.            please find your seats in the banquet hall,
.            dinner service is about to begin.

(While ACTORS exit stage right, TONYA goes to the podium
to get ready with her notes, but reacts with restraint
when BROOK, DIANE and GLORIA start screaming offstage.  
They can alternate, and this can be made to be comical.
SAMUEL, BROOK, DIANE, BENJAMIN and GLORIA rush back in,
trembling.  TONYA rushes over to them.)

TONYA        What? What is it? Another fallen bird’s nest?

BROOK        Almost as bad...

DIANE        Cary Mary Solarry – appears to be –

GLORIA       Dead.  She looks very dead.

BENJAMIN     Just what we need.  A scandal.

SAMUEL       I need a scandal like a hole in the head.

BENJAMIN     No one needs a scandal!  And...
.            (to TONYA)  THAT is why you must find
.            some PRIVATE detectives to handle this case-
.            quietly...  VERY - quietly.

(ALL ACTORS show their agreement to this plan.
TONYA is complete on board with this reasoning, as well.)

TONYA        I will make a call right away.  But first-
.            if we do not want to raise any speculations,
.            we should get the dinner service started.
.            THAT– and I do not want to ruin my career
.            or reputation over all this.

(ACTORS exit as TONYA steps up to podium.)

TONYA        (bracing herself)  Good evening and welcome.
.            Ahhhh, there was just a little incident,
.            but we are taking care of that.
.            So please – do not worry about anything.
.            We will first open tonight’s dinner
.            with a word of prayer, by (name).

(prayer)

TONYA        Thank you, (name).  We want to again
.            welcome everyone - to Uppity County’s
.            annual Hoity-Toity Charity Ball.
.            I am your host, Tonya Kimbel.
.            Tonight we will be raising funds
.            which will go towards purchasing
.            a specialized leg brace and providing
.            the very best doctor’s care to benefit
.            Sailor-Stormy-Gale-Thunderstorm,
.            the clubhouse’s beloved racehorse
.            also fondly known as Skipper.
.            Such an unfortunate tragedy!
.            We want to do what we can to send
.            our best wishes and hopes for a full –
.            and very fast - recovery.  And with that,
.            we will begin our evening’s dinner
.            with the first course.  Please enjoy.

(Remove dirty dishes from before while serving the salad.)

.                  FIRST COURSE: SALAD

(Once guests are all eating, then...)

FARLEY       (V/O)  "Once upon a time there were
.            three darling young women
.            who all went to the Police Academy.
.            And they were each assigned very dicey
.            and dangerous duties.  But I took them
.            away from all such nonsense,
.            and now they work for me.
.            My name - is - Farley."

(Keep energy going by acting large so that guests     4
will know something important is happening.)

.                        ACT 1
.                     STAGE RIGHT

SOUND:       phone ringing

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL rush out,
all wearing stilettos and cute casual outfits.  
APRIL holds out a cellphone with great excitement,
then stops to hold it out in front and
stares at it with a big smile.
SHELLY and CAMERON flank APRIL and lean forward,
smiling at the cellphone, anticipating the conversation.)

SHELLY       It must be Farley – calling
.            with an assignment for us.

(Excited, APRIL stares at the cellphone in her hands.)

CAMERON      Well?...  April, you have to answer it.

APRIL        (gushing)  Hi, Farley.

(Excited, APRIL still stares at the cellphone with
a big smile.  SHELLY reaches over and presses something
on the cellphone screen.)

FARLEY       (V/O)  Darlings?

APRIL        (gushing)  Hi, Farley.

FARLEY       (V/O)  How are doing today,
.            my detective darlings?
.            Are you ready for today’s assignment?

APRIL        I was just going to do my nails.
.            (at CAMERON questioning glance)
.            But... that can wait.  I think.
.            (studying her nails and sadly admits)
.            Yeah, I suppose it can wait.

CAMERON      Yes, Farley, we’re ready and waiting.

SHELLY       Just tell us what and where?

FARLEY       (V/O)  There has been a murder
.            at the Uppity County’s annual
.            Hoity-Toity Charity Ball.
.                                                   5
APRIL        How awful! I hope it wasn’t
.            our beloved racehorse,
.            Skipper-Sailor-Stormy-Gale-Thunderstorm?

FARLEY       (V/O)  No.  It was a wealthy woman
.            by the name of Cary Mary Solarry.

APRIL        Awww, what an unfortunate name...

FARLEY       (V/O)  It is at a hoity-toity charity ball,
.            and you may have to go undercover –
.            so be ready for that.

APRIL        So I WILL have to do my nails!

FARLEY       (V/O)  You must get there quickly.
.            Do a lockdown, and
.            investigate the crime scene.

CAMERON      We’re on it.

SHELLY       You can count on us to solve the crime.

FARLEY       (V/O)  Thank you, my detective darlings.

APRIL        Bye, Farley.

(SHELLY reaches over to end the call.)

CAMERON      Well, you heard the boss, we have
.            our marching orders.

APRIL        Not once did I hear him say
.            we had to march.

CAMERON      (thinking)  You have a ridiculous knack
.            for remembering details, April.

APRIL        (very sincerely)  Thank you.

SHELLY       Well then, shall we say,
.            we have our assignment, let’s go.

APRIL        And let’s not forget to pack
.            our cute undercover outfits.

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL exit stage right with
girly excitement.)

.                     STAGE RIGHT                   6

(Still in stilettos, but now with classy purses
slung around their shoulders, SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL
rush in and strike their shooting poses and freeze.  
They cautiously look around without moving.  Finally...)

CAMERON      Clear!

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL slowly relax their poses and
put away their pretend weapons, while huddling together
to go over the case with a few hair-flicks.)

SHELLY       Okay, so we saw the body.  And we now know
.            that it was death – by poisoning.  

APRIL        (raises her hand until SHELLY nods)
.            And how do we know that?

SHELLY       All telltale signs were there, and-
.            we found this vial of poison.
.            (holds up vial in a plastic bag)
.            No leads yet on this weird fingerprint, but
.            the poison analysis shows us that it was
.            a special blend.  Something only
.            a homeopath would know.

CAMERON      So we’re looking for a psychopathic
.            homeopath, or a psychopath with
.            homeopathic connections.

SHELLY       I’m thinking, in order to figure out
.            potential motives to kill our victim –
.            we should know something about our victim.

APRIL        (matter-of-factly)  Her makeup was a mess.

CAMERON      Who cares about her makeup-

APRIL        I mean, that could be a clue.
.            The victim’s lipstick was smeared.  

SHELLY       So she was kissing someone right before
.            she died?  Maybe we’re on the lookout
.            for a jealous boyfriend.

CAMERON      Or a jealous girl – if this Cary Mary Scary
.            woman was “chatting” to the wrong guy.

SHELLY       (to April)  Anything else, Miss Fashionista?
.                                                       7
APRIL        Her bling was missing.

CAMERON      You assume she was wearing jewelry.

APRIL        Please!  Anyone who would wear that dress,
.            would never dream of going out in public
.            without the appropriate bling –
.            LOTS of bling.  And it would not be cheap.
.            She would feel it necessary to wear jewelry
.            that cost way more than her shoes.
.            And I noticed!  She had awesome shoes!

SHELLY       So we might be on the lookout for a thief?

CAMERON      Or just a desperate kleptomaniac.

APRIL        AND - her purse was missing.
.            Who does that?  Who would go to
.            a hoity-toity-charity ball without a purse?

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL all quickly check to make sure
their purses are with them, and give a sigh of relief.)

SHELLY       So perhaps she had information on her
.            that someone wanted to hide or destroy?

CAMERON      Or – information that someone wanted.

APRIL        (realizing)  Or maybe, on second thought,
.            she could have just had a very bad sense...
.            (noticing the stares)  I’m serious.

SHELLY       Let’s go start the questioning.  

CAMERON      Wait – we have to exit and re-enter.

SHELLY       We’re practically inside already,
.            why not just-

(SHELLY motions to center stage)

CAMERON      We actually create more of a sensation
.            when we make our grand entrance.

APRIL        It’s true.

SHELLY       You’re right.  My bad.

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL exit.)
.                                                       8
.                    CENTER STAGE

(TONYA enters center stage from podium area when
SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL rush in to center stage,
and strike their shooting poses and freeze.  TONYA studies
them for a moment, then approaches without any fear.)

TONYA        What are you doing?  

APRIL        Doing our grand entrance pose.

TONYA        May I help you?

CAMERON      Clear!

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL unfreeze, putting their
imaginary weapons away.)

SHELLY       We’re the private detectives: Shelly,
.            Cameron and April, here to investigate
.            the suspicious passing of Scary Mary-

TONYA        You mean, Miss Cary Mary Solarry.
.            And you’re sure you are detectives?

(SHELLY and CAMERON pull out detective badges.
APRIL pulls out a powder compact and flips that open.)

CAMERON      (aside)  April, you’re flashing your
.            makeup compact again.

(APRIL fishes for badge while the others keep talking.)

CAMERON      (to TONYA)  And to answer your question,
.            yes, yes we are detectives.

(APRIL finally finds her badge and flashes it,
flicking her hair back over her shoulders.)

APRIL        And super good ones, too!

TONYA        You’re all wearing stilettos.

APRIL        Super good detectives – and super cute.
.            We’re always dressed and
.            ready for anything.

TONYA        Dressed for what?  Work to evening wear?

APRIL        Ah – YEAH!                              9

CAMERON      (trying to sound tough and in control)
.            And the extra height makes us look
.            way more intimidating.

SHELLY       Which lends itself to an aura of authority!

TONYA        Okay.  So why are there three of you?

APRIL        The 3 of us together,
.            make one super-duper detective.
.            (motions to SHELLY)  She’s the brains.
.            (immediately pulls out gum to chew,
.             or always just pretends)

SHELLY       (motions to CAMERON)  She’s the brawn.

CAMERON      (motions to APRIL)  And she’s...

(APRIL is now chewing gum, flipping her hair back
over her shoulders, then looking into space.)

CAMERON      (aside to APRIL)  April! Get rid of the gum.

SHELLY       Well... April... she’s...
.            (looks at CAMERON for help)

CAMERON      Don’t look at me.  YOU’RE the brains.
.            (aside to April again, firmer this time)
.            April!  Get rid of the gum!

APRIL        (aside)  Gum makes me look tough.

CAMERON      (aside)  It really does not.  And,
.            it’s very unprofessional... and un-cute.

(APRIL quickly takes out gum.)

APRIL        (aside)  Good to know.

SHELLY       (to Tonya)  Excuse us for a moment.

(SHELLY grabs CAMERON and APRIL by the arms and
they shuffle to the side to huddle.)

SHELLY       We need to regroup, here.
.            We – are – detectives.  Let’s be
.            the detectives.  Be – the detectives.

(CAMERON and APRIL nod, and they return to TONYA      10
with newfound authority.  SHELLY takes out
a paper pad and pen to get ready.)

CAMERON      So – yes – we are the detectives.
.            We’re going to enforce a lockdown,
.            in order to question all the guests.
.            Now, who’s in charge of this shindig?

TONYA        (is outraged and indignant)
.            I am.  And this is the furthest thing
.            from a “shindig.”  (rolling her eyes)

CAMERON      Sorry.  And the name is?

TONYA        It’s the Uppity County’s annual
.            Hoity-Toity Charity Ball.

CAMERON      I meant – your name?

TONYA        Tonya...  Tonya Kimble.  And, I was the one
.            who called your detective agency.
.            I heard of its reputation, and we would like
.            this entire incident to remain very discreet.
.            We’re dealing with the community’s most
.            elite members.  So I hope you understand
.            the importance of keeping things hush-hush.

SHELLY       Oookay.  No problem.  So, Sandra Crinkle-

TONYA        Tonya Kimble- actually, you can call me
.            whatever you want.  As long as you do not
.            call my function a shindig.

SHELLY       Got it.  So tell us– what is this area here?
.            (motions around center stage)

TONYA        This is the VIP lounge.  For VIPs only.
.            Our wealthiest guests like to escape
.            from the regular folk over there-
.            (motions to guests)  No offense. Understand!
.            They’re all very high maintenance.
.            Please don’t tell them that I said so.
.            Anyway, between courses, they like to
.            escape to this VIP lounge, so they can
.            hobnob with the other elites.

SHELLY       And (reading name)  Cary Mary Solarry
.            was one of the VIPs?

TONYA        She was.  Yes.                            11

SHELLY       And she was found deceased at some point
.            between the appetizers and salad?

TONYA        She was.  Yes.

CAMERON      (cluing in on Shelly’s line of questioning)
.            Well done, Shelly.  I know where
.            you’re going with this.

APRIL        (to SHELLY)  Shelly, you cannot go anywhere
.            until we figure this out.

SHELLY       I’m staying right here.

CAMERON      (cluing April in)  Shelly believes that
.            the killer has to be one of the VIP guests.

(TONYA nods with keen interest and agreement.)

APRIL        Oohhhhh... clever.  She still better stick
.            around.  We cannot do this without her.

SHELLY       Staying right here!...  Now, Tonya,
.            if you could, please bring in the VIP guests
.            one at a time for questioning.

(TONYA begins to exit stage left.)

SHELLY       We’ll just set up our questioning here-
.            at this podium thing-

(While SHELLY moves toward the podium, TONYA does
an about face and spreads her arms out to intercept,
shooing the DETECTIVES over to a tall table.)

TONYA        Noooooooo, this my podium!  No one
.            goes near my podium!  I am the host of this
.            shindig- this hoity-toity charity ball.
.            And– I still have my job to do,
.            but you can...

(TONYA looks around and ushers the DECTIVES to
a tall table across the stage from the podium.)

TONYA        You can use one of these tables
.            over HERE.  Thank you.  I will now bring
.            the first victim- ah, I mean, suspect.
.            Right?  That’s what you call them?
.                                                  12
(TONYA nods and exits stage left.  Then...)

CAMERON      She’s a jumpy little girl.

APRIL        Of course she is!  She’s in charge
.            of the hoity-toity charity ball.
.            That’s a big deal.  I’d be jumpy too.
.            And jump-to-it-iveness would help any girl
.            who wants to get into event planning.

CAMERON      (realizing)  She’s social-network girl!

SHELLY       Who?  Tonya Kimble?

CAMERON      (to SHELLY)  April!...  You’re the brains,
.            I’m the brawn, April is social-network girl.

SHELLY       Riiighht.

(TONYA enters with SAMUEL and motions for him to go
to the interrogation table.  TONYA stands to the side.)

TONYA        This is Samuel Silverman.  He is-
.            WAS the boyfriend to Cary Mary Solarry.

SHELLY       (writing notes)  Samuel Silverman.
.            Boyfriend!  Were you, really?

(SAMUEL nods, then wavers and shrugs.)

CAMERON      You don’t seem so sure about that.  And
.            you don’t seem very sad about her death.

(SAMUEL breaks down crying.  APRIL goes into her purse
to pull out a tissue for SAMUEL to use.)

APRIL        Aw, why’d you go make him cry?

SHELLY       Sorry for your loss.

SAMUEL       Thanks.  We were going to break up anyway.
.            I don’t really know why.  She was talking
.            as if she was going to go into some kind
.            of career, and so she needed – more space.

APRIL        Well, when you have a career,
.            you do need WAY more clothes, which means
.            you do need WAY more closet space-

CAMERON      She probably meant emotional space.     13
.            Or maybe more time - in order to
.            dedicate herself to those career efforts.

SAMUEL       Is that what it means?

APRIL        (turns to SAMUEL and shrugs)
.            All I ever need is more closet space.

SHELLY       (to SAMUEL)  Okay, so because you’re a VIP,
.            I’m assuming that you are wealthy.

SAMUEL       I’m an entrepreneur who’s doing well, yes.

CAMERON      And you look like you’re fit.

SAMUEL       I like to keep in shape.
.            I’m in a high-stress occupation,
.            so I want to stay healthy.

CAMERON      Uh-huh.  I understand completely.
.            And so tell me, do you ever see a homeopath?

SAMUEL       Ah, I have been to a few health food stores.

(APRIL leans over, elbows on the table, resting
her chin on her hands, blinking into SAMUEL’S eyes.)

APRIL        So, Samuel, if you were breaking up,
.            why’d you kiss her?

SAMUEL       We- we did NOT kiss.  There was arguing,
.            but no kissing.

APRIL        Samuel, did you kill your girlfriend?

SAMUEL       What?  Are you crazy?

APRIL        You said you were arguing.

SAMUEL       It was just a little argument.

CAMERON      Sure–sure.  But then things got out of hand
.            because you thought maybe your life was over
.            without her – and if you couldn’t have her –
.            then no one else should-

SAMUEL       I– I need – to get some air.

(SAMUEL staggers off stage left.)
.                                                  14
SHELLY       (to TONYA)  Next VIP, please.

(TONYA nods and exits after SAMUEL.)

CAMERON      Well that was a little suspicious.

APRIL        SOooooo suspicious.  Everyone needs air.
.            We DO have air - right - here!

CAMERON      Yes, because THAT is what I meant.

(TONYA enters with BROOK and announces with disdain.)

TONYA        This is Brook Meriwether.
.            Someone who has always wanted
.            to date Samuel Silverman.

BROOK        (balking at TONYA)  What?  How could you-
.            Why would you just go and say that?

SHELLY       Is it true?

(BROOK clamps her mouth closed defiantly.)

APRIL        Were you jealous?

(BROOK still stands her ground.)

CAMERON      Are you going to hold your breath next?

APRIL        Yeah, ‘cause if you are, we can outlast you,
.            ‘cause we are going to be breathing.

(APRIL poses in a stare down and soon starts to swoon.
CAMERON gently shakes APRIL by her shoulders.)

CAMERON      (aside)  April.  You’re holding your breath.

(APRIL catches her breath and finally stands up straight
with a flip of her hair.)

APRIL        Anyway, did you know that Samuel and
.            Very Scary Cary were going to break up?

BROOK        (shock)  What?  They – they were going
.            to break up?  (happily)  Really?
.            They were really going to break up?
.            (dread)  Ohhh, they were going to break up.
.            (sadly)  Awww, they were going to break up!
.                                                      15
APRIL        Did you or didn’t you want them to break up?

(BROOK puts an upset hand over her mouth.)

SHELLY       Are you on any special diet?
.            Or how do you stay so svelte?

CAMERON      Svelte?  Who even uses that word?

(APRIL leans forward resting her chin in her hands.)

APRIL        Still, whatever that means,
.            tell us your secret.

BROOK        A girl has to have her secrets.

CAMERON      Is one of your secrets – about –
.            getting Smary Rare-y out of the picture.

BROOK        (fights the urge to smile)
.            What?  Noooo...  But- I– I have to go.
.            I have to find – Ssssam-SOMEONE -

(BROOK fights the urge to run out, and tries to
remain dainty.  TONYA exits after her.)

SHELLY       Tonya – next- (noticing she’s gone)
.            She really is on top of things, isn’t she?

APRIL        Keep her name on file.
.            If I ever get married,
.            I want her as my wedding planner.

CAMERON      You first have to find someone to date.

APRIL        Ohhh, I wonder if she’s also a match-maker.
.            I get the feeling she’s one of those women
.            who can do everything!  

(TONYA returns with DIANE.)

TONYA        This is Diane Prospect.  She is
.            well-known for her jewelry collection.
.            She’s an avid jewelry collector.

SHELLY       Oh, really.  What kind of jewelry?

DIANE        Nothing you could afford.

SHELLY       Did you like Very Mary’s jewelry?     16

DIANE        Oh yes.  I would have done anything to get
.            my hands on those-  well not anything.

SHELLY       Are you sure?

DIANE        Quite.  I’m ruthless, but I’m not
.            a monster.

APRIL        So she WAS wearing jewelry!

DIANE        Of course she was!  Did you see her dress?

APRIL        I know, right!?

DIANE        So most of her jewelry is custom designed.

APRIL        Get out!

CAMERON      But not just yet.  Would you consider
.            yourself a successful jewelry collector?

DIANE        Of course.  I have a great eye,
.            and I’m an awesome negotiator.
.            I always get what I want!  Except-
.            that I do not ALWAYS get what I want.
.            I was just hoping that Cary Mary would cave.
.            She was investing with Mr. Benjamin Strump,
.            and had lost quite a bit of money.
.            I was willing to pay quite a lot
.            to get her entire collection.  However,
.            she still said she was not interested.
.            And that is the end of the story.

SHELLY       Interesting.

APRIL        I love stories.  But this one did not have
.            such a happy ending.  Will there be a sequel?

TONYA        Cary Mary’s investor, Mr. Benjamin Strump,
.            is one of the VIPs here with us today.

SHELLY       Even more interesting.

DIANE        So I may go now?

(TONYA decides to exit to get another suspect.)

CAMERON      One more question.  Do you like health food?
.                                                 17
DIANE        THAT is the other question?
.            Such a strange question!
.            For what it’s worth,
.            I do try to eat healthy.

(DIANE decides it’s over and leaves.)

CAMERON      I do not know what to make of that.

APRIL        It’s hard to think when I’m so hungry.

CAMERON      Is your wit only limited by hunger?

APRIL        Not fair!  You’re asking a tricky question
.            when I’m hungry.

(TONYA leads in BENJAMIN and GLORIA.)

TONYA        Benjamin and Gloria Strump.
.            I tried to bring them in separately-

GLORIA       We are married.  We come as a team.

TONYA        Benjamin is the one who sold the victim  
.            a bad investment.

GLORIA       (appalled)  HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?

TONYA        I guess news is getting around
.            faster than you would like.

GLORIA       Impossible.  Who would have blabbed?
.            This is not good.  This is not good.
.            Benjamin.  We’re ruined.  People know!
.            How can people know!?  We did things
.            hoping that no one would ever know.

CAMERON      What kind of things?

GLORIA       Oh, ahhhh, just – things.  Like –
.            not talking about it.

BENJAMIN     And - not - one more word. I want my lawyer.
.            Gloria, not another word.

APRIL        Can you at least answer questions about
.            food?  Like, I’m so hungry right now,
.            all I can think about is food.

BENJAMIN     Sounds harmless enough.             18

SHELLY       What sort of meals do you eat?

GLORIA       We have a cook.  We eat whatever she makes.

BENJAMIN     And we are done, here.  Thank you.

(BENJAMIN and GLORIA exit.  TONYA is about to...)

TONYA        That was the last of them-

SHELLY       Tonya!  What about you?
.            Where do you like to grocery shop?

TONYA        Not in any hoity-toity grocery stores,
.            that’s for sure.  I can’t afford anything
.            like that.

APRIL        I love your retro look, by the way.
.            A little bit 60s.  So cute.
.            Where did you get the dress, anyway?

TONYA        I really should make the next announcement.

SHELLY       Tonya, we are just curious about one thing-

APRIL        Yes, we really want to know where you got
.            that dress.

SHELLY       Not about the dress.

APRIL        Oh.  Okay.  We are curious about two things.

SHELLY       Tonya, how do you know so much about the VIPs?

TONYA        Oh, well, ah, being the event coordinator,
.            I just overhear things.

SHELLY       But, if the Strumps were not talking
.            about their financial ruin,
.            how in the world did you know about it?

TONYA        Easy.  At last month’s charity ball,
.            to raise money for the reconstructive
.            ear surgery on Fru-Fru-Fluffy,
.            the Jone’s dear sweet pedigree Papillon,
.            Benjamin and Gloria made a big spectacle
.            of giving ten thousand dollars.
.            Their check bounced.
.                                                     19
CAMERON      Did you ever think of blackmailing them?

(SHELLY writes notes as TONYA talks.  
CAMERON stares intently at TONYA.  
APRIL stares into space – maybe thinking.)

TONYA        No! Of course not!  I’m not that kind
.            of girl.  I believe in hard work.
.            I’m all about my work.  I plan
.            to work my way up the success ladder
.            and make a name for myself.
.            Now, I have to announce to the guests
.            that dinner is served.  Please excuse me.

(APRIL looks happy, until SHELLY says...)

SHELLY       No problem.  We’ll be leaving now.
.            We have notes to discuss.

APRIL        Awwww!  But I’m hungry.

(SHELLY grabs CAMERON and APRIL by the arms and
they shuffle to the side to huddle.)

SHELLY       We’re not really going to leave.
.            And we don’t really have any worthy notes
.            to go over.  Looks like we’re going
.            to have to set up a sting operation.

APRIL        I’m afraid of wasps and bees!
.            Actually - anything that stings, really.

CAMERON      She means, we’re going undercover.

APRIL        Ohhhh.  Awesome.  I can’t wait!
.            Going undercover at the charity ball!
.            (does a ditsy happy-dance)

SHELLY       And we won’t be sitting down to dinner.
.            There’s no time to eat.  There’s work to do.

(APRIL groans, as they exit.  TONYA goes to the podium.)

TONYA        May I have your attention, please.
.            Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served.
.            I hope we have not kept you waiting
.            too long.  But the food is going to be
.            the best you have ever tasted,
.            so it will be well worth your wait.
.                                                      20
.             ACT 2 & SECOND COURSE: MAIN DISH
.                     STAGE RIGHT

(Clear away dirty dishes while serving mail course.  Then...
SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL enter wearing fancy evening gowns.  
APRIL is [pretending] chewing something.  
CAMERON sees her and says something.)

CAMERON      April, are you chewing gum again?
.            (APRIL shakes her head and chews quicker)
.            Did you snag some food from someone’s plate?
.            (APRIL shrugs, still chewing)
.            Spit it out – now.

(APRIL [pretends] to swallow big then opens her mouth for
CAMERON to see.  Then APRIL starts pointing at her feet.)

APRIL        See?  When we wear stilettos
.            we’re always ready for anything.
.            Like going undercover as super models.

SHELLY       Yes.  You were so right.
.            This was a great idea for a cover.

APRIL        Besides, I always wanted to be a super model.

CAMERON      So why did you become a detective?

APRL         Well, when I was just a little girl,
.            I read all those Nancy Drew books –
.            about a young girl who wore cute clothes
.            and figured things out.  I thought
.            that was so cool.  And then,
.            it was when my diary went missing.
.            I remember, because something humiliating
.            happened around that time, and I wanted
.            to write all about my feelings in the diary,
.            but I could not find it anywhere.
.            So all I could do was just tell Barbie doll
.            all about – how my brother and his friends
.            were laughing about me because they knew
.            I had a secret crush on the neighbor boy,
.            Peter Parcheesi.  The mystery remains
.            unsolved to this day – I still do not know
.            how my brother and his friends
.            knew about my crush on Peter Parcheesi.

(Still and silent they stare at each other.  Finally...)

SHELLY       The modeling agencies turned you down?   21

APRIL        They said I wasn’t smart enough.

CAMERON      Huh.  

APRIL        (notices the audience listening to them)
.            Hey, all of you over there, if you could
.            just keep your eyes and ears open.
.            And if you see something that could help us,
.            TELL US.  Just – NOT - while we are undercover.  

CAMERON      April.  You just blew our cover.
.            Now what are we going to do?

SHELLY       We can switch wigs.
.            And maybe speak with an accent?

APRIL        All right, British govnah.

SHELLY       Is that your accent?

APRIL        Why, yes it is, govnah.

SHELLY       Maybe it’s best if you do not talk.
.            Like - at all.

CAMERON      It’s always best if she doesn’t talk.

APRIL        (gasping)  I would be so offended
.            if that was not so true.

CAMERSON     I’m sorry, April.  We know you’re
.            very smart - in your own unique way!

(SHELLY talks as they switch wigs:
SHELLY taking the shorter brunette wig from CAMERON,
who takes the blond long wig from APRIL,
who takes the dark long haired wig from SHELLY.)

SHELLY       You know, we should establish what
.            we’re going to be while undercover.

CAMERON      You’re right.  Not only should we
.            be undercover, but we should act as decoys.
.            We need to act like we have something
.            that the perpetrator would want.

SHELLY       We’ve already established the motive e
.            to be either:  jealousy, greed, or anger.
.                                                      22
APRIL        Oh, so the smeared lipstick clue means
.            one of us should be a lonely damsel in
.            distress who wants the attention of a guy?

SHELLY       I guess that could be me.

APRIL        And the stolen jewelry clue means
.            one of us should be wearing tons of bling.
.            Which sadly would not work with my dress.

CAMERON      (sneering)  What?  That means me?

(SHELLY helps put sparkly jewelry onto CAMERON.)

APRIL        And that leaves the missing-purse-clue.
.            So I’ll be the person who has
.            important knowledge about something.

CAMERON      Better make that – a mysterious person
.            with important knowledge about something.
.            (to APRIL)  Mysterious people never talk.

(APRIL motions with her fingers that her lips are sealed.)

SHELLY       Okay.  Let’s go mingle with the VIP guests.

CAMERON      Wait – we need to go back out
.            and make a proper entrance.

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL quickly exit.)

.                    CENTER STAGE

(SAMUEL, BROOK, DIANE, BENJAMIN and GLORIA enter and
mingle at table 1.  Maybe they already have drinks.
WAITER enters with tray of chocolate bonbons.)

BROOK        Is that chocolate?  (WAITER nods)
.            Keep it away from me!  I’m very allergic.

DIANE        This month’s diet sadly does not
.            include chocolate.

GLORIA       Haven’t had chocolate in years!
.            Crazy hot-flashing!  And that’s
.            the last thing I need right now.

SAMUEL       I just do not understand
.            what women see in chocolate.
.                                                    23
BENJAMIN     Never touch the stuff.

(TONYA enters and sees the tray.)

TONYA        Oooo, chocolate!

(TONYA takes one to eat on her way to organize her notes
at the podium.  Suddenly SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL
enter and strike their shooting poses and freeze.  
VIP GUESTS all stop to stare and wonder.  Seeing this,
TONYA approaches SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL.)

TONYA        Who are you?  And what are you doing?

APRIL        Posing as models.

CAMERON      We’re – posing - models.

SHELLY       We are models, practicing our posing.

CAMERON      And – relax.

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL pretend to secretly put their
weapons away while a perplexed TONYA watches them.)

TONYA        Do you have proper clearance to be in
.            this restricted area for VIPs only?

APRIL        Yes!  We are super rich super models,
.            who pose, and then people take our pictures.
.            So we’re very VIP.

(SHELLY, CAMERON and APRIL walk away and huddle.)

SHELLY       That was close.

CAMERON      Do not blow our cover.

APRIL        Oooo, we’re cover models.  Get it?

CAMERON      Wow.  Okay, let’s spread out
.            so we’re less intimidating.

APRIL        I thought we liked that.

CAMERON      When we’re questioning people
.            and chasing down criminals, yes.
.            Undercover, no.  We want people
.            to come talk to us.  Remember?
.                                                 24
APRIL        Right.  Okay.  I’m going to go there,
.            (pointing to table 2)
.            and stand close to the people who might
.            be interested in some “information.”

(DETECTIVES split up and aimlessly wander their tables:
APRIL-table 2, CAMERON-3, SHELLY-4.  While TONYA
mimes having a conversation with the VIP GUESTS,
they all keep stealing glances at the DETECTIVES.  
DIANE is interested in the jewelry that CAMERON wears.
BENJAMIN and GLORIA focus more on APRIL and
the purse that she keeps hugging protectively.
SAMUEL is interested in SHELLY.  And BROOK keeps
looking jealously from SAMUEL to SHELLY.  Finally,
DIANE breaks away and approaches SHELLY.)

DIANE        Hello, I’m Diane Prospect.

SHELLY       Hi.  I’m – super model, Heidi Clump.

DIANE        I think I’ve heard of you.  But,
.            tell, me, who’s your friend over there
.            with the spectacular jewelry?
.            (DIANE motions toward CAMERON)

SHELLY       Why, that’s Tyra Pranks.  
.            She’s the most successful out of the bunch.

DIANE        Where would she get her jewelry?

SHELLY       Where WOULDN’T she get her jewelry?
.            Famous designers from around the world
.            are always giving us stuff.

DIANE        Fascinating.

(While studying CAMERON, DIANE returns to the VIP table.
Now SAMUEL breaks away and shyly approaches APRIL.)

SAMUEL       Excuse me, but I’m very curious about
.            your friend over there.  Do you know?
.            Is she – seeing anyone?
.            (SAMUEL motions toward SHELLY)

APRIL        Oh, no.  Why, in fact, Heidi Clump
.            just broke up with her boyfriend.
.            It’s very sad.  She’s been very lonely,
.            and she’s very vulnerable.

SAMUEL       Heidi – Clump – you said?           25

APRIL        Yes.  The very sad, lonely, vulnerable
.            but super cute super model Heidi Clump.

SAMUEL       Thanks.

APRIL        No problem.  (cryptically)  
.            I have all kinds of information.

SAMUEL       O- kay.  Thanks again.

(APRIL pulls out some gum to chew as SAMUEL returns
to the VIP table.  GLORIA now breaks away and
approaches CAMERON.)

GLORIA       Have I ever seen you ladies before?

CAMERON      Not a chance.  Us super models rarely
.            hang out in places like these
.            more than once.  Except maybe for her –
.            (motions to APRIL) she’s more mysterious
.            than most of us.

GLORIA       She seems mysterious.

(APRIL chews gum while staring off into space.)

CAMERON      She is.  She’s very mysterious.
.            Who KNOWS what she all knows...
.            And for some reason,
.            keeps that purse very close to her side.

GLORIA       What do you think is in her purse?

CAMERON      If I knew, it would not be so mysterious,
.            now would it?

GLORIA       I suppose.  But, as you seem to be friends,
.            you must have some sort of idea.

CAMERON      She’s the only one who may have been
.            to this town before.  Says she has
.            some kind of unfinished business.

GLORIA       Really.  Well, my husband is in the
.            business of business.  Maybe he can help her
.            finish it.  I’ll let him know there
.            may be a potential client.  Are you
.            interested in doing business, as well?
.                                                    26
CAMERON      I only invest in jewelry – as you can see.

GLORIA       If you change your mind,
.            here’s our contact information.
.            (hands a business card to CAMERON)

CAMERON      Thank you.  Well, I should really go –
.            powder my nose - now.  

(Motioning with her head, CAMERON says this loud enough
for SHELLY and APRIL to hear this.  The DETECTIVES go
to the side to huddle, pulling out compacts and
each slowly dabbing powder at their faces as they talk.)

CAMERON      How are things going?  Anything yet?

SHELLY       Nothing.  But I think we have laid the bait.

APRIL        Now we’re bait?  First we were decoys?
.            Make up your minds.  I have to be able
.            to stay in character.

SHELLY       Sorry.

CAMERON      Okay.  Let’s spread out again, but
.            not too far in case anyone needs help.

(DETECTIVES go back to their individual spots,
maybe grabbing a drink from a waiter walking by.
VIPs all steal glances at the DETECTIVES
who might have what they’re interested in.  
BROOK watches closely as SAMUEL approaches the sad,
vulnerable SHELLY and holds out a handkerchief to her.)

SAMUEL       Hi.  Ah, here – if you need to dry
.            any tears.

SHELLY       Oh, thank you.

(SHELLY wonders then dabs her eyes a bit.)

SAMUEL       I met your friend earlier.  She said
.            that you just broke up with your boyfriend.

SHELLY       I did.

SAMUEL       So did I.  I mean, I just broke up
.            with my girlfriend.

SHELLY       You did?                                  27

SAMUEL       I mean, my girlfriend suddenly – died.

SHELLY       That’s terrible.  How did it happen?

SAMUEL       No idea.

SHELLY       Were things going that badly?
.            I mean, I understand how things can go.

SAMUEL       It wasn’t going that great,
.            but it wasn’t THAT terrible.

SHELLY       Then why’d you break up?

SAMUEL       She was choosing a career over me.

SHELLY       That must have hurt.

SAMUEL       It did.

(SAMUEL reaches over and takes the handkerchief away
from SHELLY to dab his eyes.)

SHELLY       Are you okay?

SAMUEL       No.  I thought maybe I was ready to move on,
.            but I’m not.  This just happened.

SHELLY       No problem.  I get that.

SAMUEL       But, here’s my number.  You can
.            give me a call – in like – let’s say -
.            one or two... years.

(SAMUEL gives SHELLY a business card and goes back to
the VIP table.  BROOK still leers at them, but now puts
her focus intently on SHELLY.  DIANE breaks away from
the VIPs and approaches CAMERON with a casual smile.)

DIANE        Hi, I’m Diane Prospect.
.            I simply love your earrings!
.            Might I ask who the designer is?

CAMERON      I only have jewelry by famous designers.
.            In fact, I have so much jewelry,
.            I cannot remember or keep track of them all.
.            Somewhere I have a list.  I think.

DIANE        A serious collector would remember     28
.            all of that.

CAMERON      Well, I’m not technically a collector.
.            It’s not like I go out and look for it.
.            I just happen to be a magnet for things like
.            nice jewelry.  It just falls at my feet.

DIANE        How lovely for you. It must be nice to be so
          burdened with the weight of so many gems.

CAMERON      Yes, I’m very burdened and weighed down.
.            I have so much bling I don’t know what to do
.            with it all – except wear it, of course.

DIANE        You know.  I could help you -
.            lighten the load.  I would be extremely
.            interested in buying some of your jewelry.
.            Is there any quiet place we could meet?

CAMERON      Except, I don’t want to sell any of my jewelry.

DIANE        You just said that you had too much,
.            and did not know what to do with it all-

CAMERON      But – it’s still all mine.

DIANE        Of course.  Well, at the very least,
.            do you think I can just... see it?

CAMERON      You want to touch my jewelry?

DIANE        Just study the gems and the cuts close up.
.            And FEEL the weight-

CAMERON      Did you want to FEEL some pain?

DIANE        What?  No.

CAMERON      Because I will take you down.

DIANE        Shhhh.  I just wanted a closer look, is all.

CAMERON      Just - step away from me.

(SHELLY nods for DETECTIVES to huddle off to the side.
DIANE retreats to the VIP table.)

APRIL        Are you all right?

(CAMERON tries to ignore the fact that APRIL         29
is really going to town on her chewing gum.)

CAMERON      She really wanted to get her hands
.            on my jewelry.  AND she wanted to meet me
.            somewhere quiet.  April, I can
.            hear you chewing.  Get rid of the gum.

(APRIL puts the gum into a wrapper and into her purse.)

CAMERON      (to SHELLY)  What did Samuel want with you?

SHELLY       He’s interested in dating me.

APRIL        He sure got over Salamander Cary
.            real fast, didn’t he?

SHELLY       Then he started to cry
.            and said it was too soon.

CAMERON      Maybe he feels guilty about something!

SHELLY       We better get back out there again.

(DETECTIVES return to their spots and wait.  Finally,
BROOK steps away from the VIP table, and angrily
heads straight for SHELLY.)

BROOK        Stay away from Samuel!

SHELLY       Why should I?

BROOK        Because I said so!

SHELLY       Except he approached me-

BROOK        Look - I love him!

SHELLY       Do you threaten all his girlfriends like this?

BROOK        So you ARE his new girlfriend?!

SHELLY       Maybe.

BROOK        (suddenly breaks down and becomes distraught)
.            Why does this keep happening?
.            Why doesn’t Samuel know that I love him?
.            Why doesn’t he know that I’m here and-
.            alive?  It’s like I don’t even exist.
.            What should I do?  
.                                                      30
SHELLY       So, Samuel doesn’t know you’re interested?

BROOK        Of course not!  A girl has to play
.            hard-to-get.

SHELLY       Well, there’s that.  But –
.            how hard-to-get are you playing it?

BROOK        I pretend that I detest him.

SHELLY       Seriously?

BROOK        That sometimes works.  Have not you ever
.            noticed that the guys who you do NOT like –
.            are the guys who want to go out with you?

SHELLY       I guess there’s some truth to that.
.            But- then there are those guys who are-
.            very oblivious.  They cannot take a hint
.            either way.  Look,
.            sometimes a girl just has to be direct.

BROOK        That would be unacceptable.

SHELLY       You could – just say something like –
.            “Hey, I’d like to get to know you better.
.            I would not object to you asking me out
.            on a date.”

BROOK        A girl should NOT ask a guy out on a date!
.            I’m not desperate.  Except I am!
.            But I don’t want anyone to know that.

SHELLY       Anyway, you would not be asking him.
.            You would just be letting him know that
.            you would be okay with HIM asking YOU.
.            See what I mean?  Also,
.            what if all this time, he actually
.            wanted to ask you out on a date,
.            but he was just too afraid?
.            He should at least know that he does not
.            have to be afraid.  Unless you’re stalking him
.            and doing things to scare the poor guy...

BROOK        I do not like you very much!  I mean,
.            I would like you, if things were different.
.            But Samuel likes you, so then –
.            there’s no way I can ever like you.

(BROOK storms back to the VIP table.                31
SHELLY walks past CAMERON and APRIL and motions
with her head for them to join her in another huddle.)

SHELLY       Well, that was interesting.  I really should
.            be posing as a relationship counselor rather
.            than a damsel in distress. She’s vulnerable.
.            But, she’s definitely in love – or thinks
.            she’s in love.  Like, desperately helpless.

APRIL        Maybe she is only in love
.            with the thought of being in love
.            with those who would be hopeless to love
.            because they only ever love other people,
.            which would give her the love
.            of hopeless, helpless desperate love.

(SHELLY and CAMERON are silent and still.  Finally...)

CAMERON      April, in order to be more mysterious,
.            I think, whenever you feel like talking,
.            you need to chew some gum.  Mysteriously.
.            Chew your gum mysteriously.

(DETECTIVES return to their tables.  Trying to
look mysterious, APRIL takes out some gum to chew.  
BENJAMIN slips away and steps up to APRIL.)

BENJAMIN     So what do you know?

(APRIL begins to play with her gum.)

BENJAMIN     Do you have some information for me?

(APRIL squints at BENJAMIN as she slowly chews her gum.)

BENJAMIN     Do you have information ABOUT me?

(APRIL purposefully swings her purse to the other side
of her body, away from BENJAMIN.)

BENJAMIN     What do you have in your purse?

(APRIL sighs and looks up at the ceiling.)

BENJAMIN     Okay, spill it!  What do you know?

APRIL        It’s for me to know, and you
.            to NOT find out.

BENJAMIN     I have to know what’s in your purse.     32

(APRIL looks worried and chews her gum frantically,
eyes wide with concern.  GLORIA sneaks up behind APRIL
and pulls her purse away to look inside.  
BENJAMIN goes around the table to help.)

GLORIA       Ew!  There’s a lot of gum here!  Are you
.            hiding the information under all this gum?
.            ‘Cause, that’s something I would probably do.
.            I mean – there is a LOT of gum.

BENJAMIN     And – a detective badge.  Hey!
.            These super models are those detectives
.            who were just questioning us!

(SHELLY and CAMERON come to the rescue.
BENJAMIN and GLORIA both raise their arms.
GLORIA hugs her own purse very tightly.)

CAMERON      Okay, freeze!  Stop it right there.

APRIL        I think it’s only fair to go through
.            YOUR purse, now.

BENJAMIN     I doubt you have a search warrant!

APRIL        What are you hiding, besides the fact
.            that you are going bankrupt.
.            Did Sorry McMary know about this?
.            Did you kill her before she exposed you?

BENJAMIN     (to GLORIA)  Do not say one word!

APRIL        Or was it just the fact that she thought
.            you were the world’s worst investor ever-

(BENJAMIN reaches out his hands to get APRIL’S neck,
but CAMERON and SHELLY hold him back.  
DIANE approaches and shakes her head at CAMERON.)

DIANE        So have I been duped?  Am I to understand
.            that your jewels are fake?

CAMERON      We just had to see to what extent
.            you would go to get your hands
.            on expensive jewelry.

DIANE        I would have found out eventually.
.            I’m never wrong. Never! I know my jewels!
.                                                   33
CAMERON      What is it about them that is so alluring?
.            I’ve never quite understood that.
.            It’s just metals and rocks.

DIANE        No-no-no. They sparkle. They’re pretty.
.            Please, give me someone to talk to
.            who understands this.

CAMERON      So we can look inside YOUR purse?

DIANE        (clutching her purse tightly)
.            Do not even think about looking inside
.            another woman’s purse.  It is sacred.
.            Every woman knows that.

(SAMUEL looking at SHELLY.)

SAMUEL       So you were leading me on just a moment ago.

SHELLY       Now, wait a minute.  YOU approached ME.

SAMUEL       No.  I approached a super model.

SHELLY       You were only interested in me when
.            you thought I was rich and famous?

BROOK        I’m not famous!  But I am rich!
.            What about me?  What is wrong with me?

SAMUEL       I didn’t think you liked me.

TONYA        EVERYBODY knows that Brook likes you!

SAMUEL       See, for some reason, I did not get that.

BROOK        I was playing hard-to-get!

SAMUEL       You could have told me.
.            Given me some sort of clue.

BROOK        Oh, I’ll give you a clue.  Here,
.            I will announce it to the world.

(BROOK starts for the podium, but TONYA cuts her off
in basketball defense mode.)

TONYA        No one uses my podium!
.            That’s my territory!  It is mine!  And -
.            I have an announcement of my own to make.
.                                                   34
(BROOK backs off with “whoa-okay” hands.  VIPS and
DETECTIVES give TONYA space as she steps up to podium.)

TONYA        Ladies and gentleman.  It is now
.            time for dessert, after which,
.            we will collect your donations –
.            which will go towards purchasing
.            a specialized leg brace and providing
.            the very best doctor’s care to benefit
.            Sailor-Stormy-Gale-Thunderstorm,
.            the clubhouse’s beloved racehorse
.            also fondly known as Skipper.
.            Such an unfortunate tragedy!

CAMERON      What about the tragedy of Clary Smary?

APRIL        Yeah, I think that’s way more tragic
.            than a horse’s injured leg.
.            Although, how tragic for poor,
.            injured Skippy.

(SHELLY tries to approach the podium, but TONYA guards it
tenaciously, so with a curious expression, SHELLY steps
to the side to center stage to address the guests.)

SHELLY       Yes.  So after dessert, we will continue
.            with our investigative efforts.  And I think
.            it’ll be time to question all of you
.            out there. You may have witnessed something,
.            or have some suspicions, or ideas
.            of what we can do to solve this case.

CAMERON      And if any one of you has any real
.            experience, with - like - watching TV shows
.            or reading books on the subject of
.            criminal scene investigations - and would
.            like to examine the one and only piece
.            of evidence, you can come and have a look
.            for yourself – right over here.
.            (pulls out vial in the plastic bag and
.             placing it purposefully onto table 2)

APRIL        Enjoy your dessert, everyone.
.            And if anyone doesn’t feel like eating
.            theirs, you can give it to me-

SHELLY       No.  Do not give your desserts to April.
.            Thank you.

.                       DESSERT                      35

(Begin serving dessert to guests.  ACTORS remain out
so guests can ask them questions and look around.
TONYA continues to guard her podium, pretending to work.
If someone suggests to DETECTIVES to check out the podium
or purses, etc. thank them for their suggestion/s,
write it down and let them know that you will do so
after dessert.  At some point, CAMERON should leave for
a little while and then return with a piece of paper.)

.                        ACT 3
.                    CENTER STAGE

(Once guests have eaten, TONYA announces from the podium...)

TONYA       Ladies and gentlemen, I hope
.           you have enjoyed your meals so much
.           that you are now feeling very generous-
.           because racehorses do not come cheap-

SHELLY      Excuse me.  We’re not doing that anymore.
.           we have an investigation to wrap up.

(SHELLY approaches the podium, but TONYA quickly meets
up with her, to keep SHELLY away from the podium.)

TONYA       Fine, just let me know how I can help,
.           in any way possible.

SHELLY      We had a lot of great suggestions
.           from the other guests here...

(If not, read off the suggestions that should have
been suggested...  If you remember who it was,
you can ask them to repeat their suggestions
and then carry it out.  SHELLY refers to her notes.)

SHELLY      Someone suggested that we search
.           everyone’s purses.

CAMERON     So I went out and got a search warrant.
.           I have it right here.  It includes
.           all purses - and - wallets!

(CAMERON waves the paper in the air, and shows
BENJAMIN and GLORIA, who examine it very closely and
with much irritation.)

CAMERON     Let’s start with Diane Prospect’s purse.
.                                                   36
DIANE       (handing CAMERON her purse)
.           I don’t know what you expect to find.

CAMERON     Jewelry!? Because you just have to have it!

(DIANE looks nervous and embarrassed when CAMERON looks,
but pulls out a squirt gun.)

CAMERON     A squirt gun?

DIANE       It makes me feel safer.

SHELLY      Okay.  Let’s check Brook Meriwether’s purse.

(BROOK reluctantly hands her purse to SHELLY, who finds
a perfume bottle and reads the label.)

SHELLY      “Ode to Romance. Have men fall at your feet.”

BROOK       (sheepishly)  FYI - it does not work.  And
.           that is the only thing I’ve tried, because –
.           well, you know, I was playing hard-to-get.

SHELLY      Samuel Silverman?

(SAMUEL hands over his wallet with pride.  
SHELLY just finds it stuffed with a huge wad of money,
but then pulls out a driver’s license - SAMUEL panics.)

SHELLY      Samuel SPARKY Silverman?

SAMUEL      My mom’s idea of being “cool.”
.           But - she raised me up to respect women!

APRIL       Okay.  Now I want to check out the purse
.           of Gloria Strump.

(GLORIA gives the purse to APRIL, who finds
a business card, which APRIL reads aloud...)

APRIL       (reads) “Benjamin Strump, Financial Investor”

GLORIA      Nothing wrong with that, I assume?

APRIL       And... (pulling out...) BUBBLE GUM!

GLORIA      So?  I chew gum and blow bubbles in private.
.           Somewhere a person has to remain
.           a kid-at-heart.
.                                                   37
APRIL       So true.  And now, Benjamin Strump!

(BENJAMIN sheepishly hands over his wallet.  
APRIL flips through it quickly, confused.)

CAMERON     Well?

APRIL       (to BENJAMIN)  Is this a decoy wallet?
.           It’s completely empty.

(BENJAMIN shakes his head no.)

APRIL       Oh!  Except for this very tiny little note,
.           here.  (pulls out, unfolds note, reading...)
.           “All money owed – paid in full,” signed
.           “Cary Mary Solarry.”

GLORIA      Like you’ve already heard, we’re totally
.           broke.  Especially after paying Cary Mary.
.           So – just keep – moving along here.
.           Nothing else to talk about.
.           This is embarrassing enough.

CAMERON     So that’s it?

SHELLY      What about Tonya?  Where’s her purse?
.           Someone suggested that we investigate Tonya.
.           And – her well-guarded podium.

(TONYA freezes with fear as CAMERON goes to look in
the podium.  She pulls out two purses.  ACTORS all gasp.)

TONYA       Only one of those is mine!

CAMERON     Which one?

(TONYA points to the victim’s purse.  CAMERON opens it
and pulls out the sparkly jewelry.)

TONYA       Someone is framing me!

APRIL       That cannot be her purse.  It does not go-
.           at all with her dress –
.           like this other one right here.
.           THIS purse is (blue) – which goes with
.           the dress of Crazy Sherry O’Mary.

CAMERON     Well, let’s see what’s inside YOUR purse,
.           then.
.                                                 38
(CAMERON looks into TONYA’s purse and finds and reads
a business card...)

CAMERON     “Homeopath with a cause”...
.           Hm, mighty suspicious!

TONYA       That means nothing!

CAMERON     And... chocolate!

TONYA       So?

(A guest could suggest it, and if they don’t,
still say...)

SHELLY      The fingerprint on the vial of poison
.           is brown.  A chocolate fingerprint!
.           What do you  want to bet
.           when we have that fingerprint compared –
.           it’s going to be yours?!

TONYA       The chocolate could still be anybody’s.

SHELLY      All of them said they did not eat chocolate.

CAMERON     By the way, Samuel,
.           what was the career that Sol Cary Molarry
.           was going to go into?

SAMUEL      Event planning.  She had her heart
.           set on organizing and hosting
.           next month’s hoity-toity charity ball.

TONYA       Over my dead body!  That was never
.           going to happen!  She didn’t even need
.           the money.  I do!  This is my shindig!
.           Ah, uppity event.

SHELLY      So, instead of it being YOUR dead body,
.           you decided to do away
.           with the competition.

TONYA       I did not decide!
.           There was no choice!
.           I had to do it!
.           I had to do something!

SHELLY      That kind of sounds like a confession.

TONYA       Sure, why not.  I smudged the lipstick   39
.           to cast suspicion onto Samuel.
.           I knew Brook was super jealous –
.           and you would catch onto that because
.           she’s so obviously in love with Samuel.
.           So Brook would only make HERSELF
.           look suspicious.  I knew that Diane
.           cannot resist jewelry, so I took and hid
.           the bling to cast suspicion on her.
.           And I knew that Benjamin and Gloria were
.           bankrupt because recently their checks
.           bounced – so I took and hid the purse,
.           and made sure to drop all those hints!
.           I know EVERYTHING!  And THAT is
.           what makes a really good event planner.

CAMERON     Let’s take her in.

(APRIL steps up to the podium to make the announcement.)

APRIL       Ah - thank you – to all of you for helping us
.           solve this crime.  And – thank you –
.           for coming to this shindig.

(As CAMERON ushers out TONYA, she’s yelling...)

TONYA       NOT A SHINDIG!!!  Get away from my podium!
.           You would make a horrible event planner!
.           Horrible!  The events will be nothing
.           without me!

APRIL       And – yeah – so – whatever you do
.           at the end of these things.

SHELLY      (aside)  I think they usually go home.

APRIL       Okay, so yeah – if you have homes –
.           you are now free to go there...  ahhh, yeah –
.           and I’ll stick to being a detective.
.           Thank you again...  Good night.

(If there is maybe a real fundraiser and someone else
to take over from here, now is the time, otherwise
people are dismissed with a goodbye and thank you.)