(We open in the basement of the theater. It's dark except for a few oil lamps in various corners. There's crates of old props, boxes of scripts, racks of costumes, and coils of unused rope and gears everywhere. Shelves hold parts of special effect machines and rolled-up backdrops. Old backdrops lean against the few bare walls.)

*Among the theater things, we find Butch and Daniel tied to chairs across from each other. Butch is glancing around, trying to determine a way to get free. Daniel is bouncing in his chair, trying to get free and not getting anywhere with it.*

Daniel: Come on! Who tied these knots? Sailors? *bounces and even rocks a little*

Butch: There has to be a way to get out of here.

Daniel: I can't stand being down here! I'm afraid of the dark! I'm afraid of enclosed places! I'm afraid of basements!

Butch: Calm down! We'll get out. I've been lookin' for somethin' to cut us loose ever since they stuck us down here.

Daniel: Well, have you found anything yet? We're still tied up! *starts breathing noisily* Oohhh, the walls are closing in! (Groans) I never should've opened my mouth! Why didn't I just stay French! I never did get to see Paris!

Butch: I won't find anything if you keep making noise!

*Daniel closes his mouth, but he whimpers loudly. We hear a door open. DuVal and Suzanne walk up to bound duo.*

Suzanne: (She wears an elaborate green gown dripping with ruffles, lace, and jewels and a thick fur) Well, well. Look what we have here! Our two little prisoners! (She giggles) Aren't they cute?

DuVal: How talkative are you two feeling now?

Daniel: *Loudly* I'm sorry! I should never have said anything! I've always had this tendency of having a big mouth! It always gets me into trouble! I don't wanna die down here!

DuVal: I shouldn't have asked.

Butch: You'll never get away with this!

DuVal: We will get away with this. We'll make sure of it tonight.

Suzanne: I think they're both kind of cute, especially the little musician.

DuVal: I couldn't care less for either of them, especially the loud mouth. *Glares at Daniel*

*Daniel yelps, then whimpers.*

Suzanne: We'll have fun with them after the party...and maybe we'll even bring them a friend!

Butch: A what?

*Daniel starts sobbing silently...until he draws in a breath and makes a lot of noise.*

Suzanne: Come on, Daniel. Don't worry. (She pats him on the head) You always did make so much noise!

*Daniel tries to shrug away from her.*

DuVal: *To Butch* You don't seem so tough now. *nods toward Daniel* And he was never tough to begin with.

Butch: Let us go, you bastard! You wanna see how tough I am? (He tries to kick out at DuVal)

Suzanne: Such language in front of a lady!

DuVal: *Laughs* You do amuse me. *Daniel whimpers.*

Butch: You're the one who's stealing jewels! You're usin' some kind of crazy machine! My friend Chuck found them in your office upstairs!

DuVal: Did he? He's the smaller black-haired boy who works for the paper. *turns to Suzanne* I think we may need to do something with him.

Suzanne: I heard he's a reporter. I'd love to get an interview from him. Good publicity.

DuVal: *Rolls his eyes* Right. *To the other two* Gentlemen, we must be going. Enjoy your stay down here.

Daniel: You're... you're gonna leave us down here!?

Butch: Come back here and fight like a man!

Suzanne: Aren't they just adorable?

DuVal: No.

Daniel: Come back! I can't stay down here! *yelps* I think there's a spider on my shoulder!

*DuVal just leaves, groaning.*

Daniel: It's too damp down here, I'm gonna catch cold!

Suzanne: Let me warm you up. (She gives him a kiss on his cheek before patting Butch's head and following DuVal upstairs.)

Butch: (Makes a face)What was with the pat on my head? What does she think I am, five years old?

Daniel: And why does she think a kiss on the cheek's gonna help me warm up?! I wanna go home!

*Daniel starts doing his silent sobbing again, then makes an awful noise when taking a breath.*

Butch: I'm surprised no one's heard us down here, with all the noise you're making! (He struggles) We have to get out of here. Have you seen any nails around or anything we could cut these ropes with?

Daniel: *Sniffs* I have a folding knife... *sticks out a leg* but it's in my sock. I forgot I had it.

Butch: That's all right. We'll...get it... (He tries to reach for it.)

Daniel: Wait, let me see if I can... *uses his other foot to find the knife...then he swaps feet...then starts crying again* I don't have it!

Butch: You're kidding!?

Daniel: *Loudly* Why would I kid!? *Gasps* The walls are closing in again! I'm getting light-headed... *He finally slumps, his head bowed.*

Butch: Daniel? Danny? (Groans and looks up) Why me?

*We fade out on Butch shaking his head.*

(Fade in on a large, sweeping ballroom. A huge chandelier sparkles over the glittering crowd. We see Sally, Chuck, Slip, and Sach walk into the room. All wear good suits and carry notebooks like Chuck's. Slip and Sach have signs saying "Press" in their hats. Sach's is upside-down and spelled "pres.")

Slip: All right, remember we gotta keep an eye out. There's no way DuVal won't do nutin' here.

Sally: (Nods) Everyone here will be wearing elaborate jewels.

Slip: Letís split up an' talk to these people.

Sach: (Nods) Yeah! Besides, (he shows off his huge camera) I want to get some good shots for Whitey. He had to stay home n' work on his new inventions.

Sally: (She stops by an plump older woman in a high-necked green gown and a huge emerald necklace with matching bracelets) Hello, Mrs. Hobbingobber. You're looking quite lovely tonight.

Mrs. Hobbingobber: Thank you, my dear. I have so looked forward to this event.

Sally: My name is... (quickly) Sarah White, and I'm a reporter for the New York Examiner. These are my fellow columnists Terrence and Charles Mahoney. We're doing an article on this event.

Mrs. Hobbingobber: You are? How lovely. You must tell them all about my necklace. It's a family heirloom, you know. Goes back to my great-great-grandmother, who got it from some merchant just returned from South America who wanted to win her favor.

Slip: I think he won.

Mrs. Hobbingobber: Yes... (Raises an eyebrow at Slip, then continues) These bracelets came from Tiffany's. They're worth thousands, you know.

Slip: Thousands of what?

Mrs. Hobbingobber: Dollars, of course!

Slip: *Shrugs* Coulda fooled me.

Mrs. Hobbingobber: How dare you!? These bracelets are some of the most beautiful treasures taken out of the emerald mines of Brazil! (She sticks her chest in Slip's face) I'll have you know, young man, that I was collecting family heirlooms when you were robbing lollypops in the cradle!

Sally: (Grabs Slip's arm) Maybe we'd better go...

Slip: You sure lollypops is all ya were stealin'?

Mrs. Hobbingobber: How dare you!

Sally: Slip! (She frowns) I'm sorry, Mrs. Hobbingobber. We'll get the rest of your interview later. (She finally pulls Slip away.) Could you control your temper and your mouth, please? Do you want to get us all thrown out?

Slip: She's the one not bein' participle on what those things were worth. She coulda meant wooden nickels, for all I knew.

Sally: Slip, do you know how much emeralds go for on the black market?

Slip: No.

Sally: Come of them can bring in millions of dollars! That's not chump change we're talking about here!

Slip: An' how am I supposed to know that, hmmmm?

Sally: Why do you think jewels have been disappearing? Because they sparkle pretty?

Slip: *Makes a face* All right, all right. So I ain't up on the worth of jewels.

(That's when we hear the sound of a camera flash going off and see plumes of smoke. People run past Slip, Chuck, and Sally coughing and covered with black powder.)

Woman: Oh, that man is horrible! (She shows him her powder-covered white gown) Just look at what that contraption of his did to my new Worth gown!

Chuck: Oh no...


Sach: What? (He shows up with the camera) Where did everybody go? I wanted to get a nice photo of everyone havin' a good time!

Slip: Yer blowin' smoke on everyone! What's wit' that camera?

Sach: This is the new camera Whitey made me! The flash is twice as strong, so you can take good pictures inside!

Sally: Don't tell me - but it needs twice as much flash powder to work.

Sach: How did you know?

Sally: Good guess.

Mrs. Dilsbury: (An elderly woman in a pink gown with a diamond tiara and earrings joins them) Hello there. Are you the young man the newspaper sent to cover this event?

Sally: We're here from the New York Examiner, Mrs. Dilsbury. This is Charles and Terrence Mahoney and Horace Jones, our photographer.

Sach: (He sets up his camera) I gotta get a shot of this! She looks like Queen Victoria when she ain't wearin' black!

Mrs. Dilsbury: (Blushes) I appreciate being compared favorably with England's beloved monarch.

Sally: (As Sach sets up the camera) We'd like to ask you a few questions about the ball, ma'am.

Mrs. Dilsbury: Of course! We hold this ball every year for charity. The money earned from the sale of the jewels donated will be given to various organizations helping underpriveledged children in New York and elsewhere.

Sally: Your tiara is especially pretty. Sa...Mr. Jones is right. You do look like a queen.

Mrs. Dilsbury: (Straightens it) Thank you, dear. It's one of my favorite pieces. I only bring it out a few times a year, just to let it be seen. I wouldn't know what to do if it was stolen!

Sally: And those earrings are huge!

Mrs. Dilsbury: I bought them from the wife of a merchant coming back from Africa. They're a little ostentatious, but they do make quite a statement.

Slip: An' it's some statement.

Sach: You could play ping-pong with those!

Mrs. Dilsbury: Trust me, I have no intention of playing anything with these. They're up for auction tonight.

Sally: Well, they're...quite interesting.

Sach: Don't ya think they're interestin', Chief?

Slip: Yeah, interestin'.

(Cut back to the entrance. We see Suzanne and DuVal enter. Sally makes a face and points to the door.)

Sally: Well, well. Look who just showed up?

Slip: Couple of cats that ate some canaries, looks to me.

Sally: (Nods at Mrs. Dilsbury) Excuse me, ma'am.

Mrs. Dilsbury: Certainly, young lady. (She turns to Chuck) Don't forget, I want at least two paragraphs at the top of the society column, and lots of pictures!

Chuck: *Nods* Yes, ma'am.

Suzanne: (Smirks as they pass by) Isn't that those detectives, and that nosy little reporter, and that annoying Sally Dumbrowski?

DuVal: *Sneers* Yes, that's them.

Suzanne: How are we going get around them? What if they catch us or the machine?

DuVal: Perhaps they won't see us.

Suzanne: Oooh! (Points to Sach setting up his camera) Look at him! I want him to take my picture!

DuVal: *Smirks* Do that, my dear. We'll use the flash as a distraction.

Suzanne: Oooh, thank you! (She gives him a big kiss, then runs over to Sach and the others) Yooo hoo!

Sach: (Barely looks up) Yeah?

Sally: (Frowns) That's Suzanne DeLiss! What does she want?

Suzanne: Can I be in your picture?

Sach: Well...

Suzanne: (Nuzzles up to Sach) Aw now, don't you think I'd be a pretty subject?

(Sach takes one look at her bosom in his face...and his lips go.)

Sach: Uh-huh. (Dazed; points to the window in front of the room, where the moonlight streams in) Over there. It's nice.

Sally: (To Slip) Maybe Chuck ought to take the picture. I think she snapped something in that head of his.

Chuck: I got it. *goes to the camera* On three...one, two, three! *snaps the picture*

(There's a huge flash that blinds everyone who is even remotely near the camera and a large plume of smoke. Just as Sach runs to open the window, the lights go out.)

*The lights come up a short time later.*

Slip: *Goes to Sally* You okay?

Sally: I am. Where's Sach and Chuck?

Suzanne: (Gasps dramatically when she sees her jewels are gone) Oh! Oh! My beautiful necklace and earrings have been STOLEN!

Sally: They were probably paste and glass.

Mrs. Dilsbury: (Screams; her head and ears are bare) My tiara! Oh, my beautiful tiara!

Slip: We got a trend goin' on here. An' Sach is still over by the window. *looks around* I don't see Chuck, though. *Growls* Dammit! I bet they grabbed Chuck along with the jewels while the lights were out!

Sach: Guys! I got a picture! I may have gotten a shot of the thieves!

Sally: We have to get those developed!

Slip: I swear, Sach, if it's a picture of you, us, or Chuck, I'm gonna really hafta hurt you.

Sach: No! I saw somethin' reachin' for Miss DeLiss' jewels just as the lights went out! They had brass... (eyes widen) ...arms.

Slip: Machines. DuVal set it up with his machine, and included Miss DeLiss' jewels so it wouldn't look suspicious!

Sally: And he must have found out that Chuck saw the blueprints!

Slip: This is gettin' monogamous.

Sally: Maybe Sach is right. Those pictures may hold the key to solving this and saving the others!

Slip: We gotta get them developed, an' fast.

(We fade out with Sach loading up the camera...but we catch a glimpse of a brass arm dragging what would appear to be the end of a slender leg in a familiar brown suit....)