Slip: I didn't do it.

Bobby: (He knees down and feels Duke's head; makes a face) Sticky. He's dead, all right.

Sally: Someone had to do it!

Sach: Yeah! (Hands Slip a box) Saltine?

Slip: *Slaps the box away* I ain't hungry, ya crazy moron.

Marsha: (She pushes between them; makes a face) Who did that to him? He was kinda cute, too.

Bobby: It was some kind of blunt instrument. I know that much.

Chuck: He was struck from behind, based on where the injury is.

Rachel: Who was missing who could reach him to do that?

Louie: Not me! I'd need a stepladder! I didn't do it!

Sally: (Looks at Slip) So would Mr. Johns.

Slip: *Gives her a dull glare* Thanks, I think.

Marsha: Don't look at me! He's twice as tall as me in heels!

Bobby: That does leave the rest of you. What about you, Dawson?

Slip: *Smirks at Sach* Yeah, Dawson, what about you?

Sach: (With three crackers in his mouth) Whof, meef? (Swallows) Who, me? I wouldn't kill anybody! I didn't even know the guy!

Rachel: You might have killed him to keep him quiet!

Louie: What are we going to tell the other cops when they arrive? They'll arrest all of us!

Bobby: First of all, we need to put Officer Clements on ice with the Professor.

Slip: Startin' to get a little full up on ice.

Rachel: Then what are we gonna do with him?

Bobby: We'll put him in the dining room. No one's in there now.

Sach: (Spits saltines all over Slip) The dining room? But we serve food there! We can't serve food with dead people around!

*Slip brushes himself off, disgusted and scowling deeply.*

Sally: I don't think anyone besides you will be eating anything else tonight, Dawson. (Turns to the others) Just put him in the dining room!

Chuck: *sighs* Someone wanna help me carry him?

Sach: (Tosses the saltine box in Slip's good arm) Sure! I'll help ya.

Duke: (Mutters from under his bloody makeup) Just be careful, ok, guys? Don't yank anything you shouldn't.

Chuck: *mutters back* Why do ya think I've got your upper half?

*Chuck wraps his arms under Duke's arms & clasps his hands over his chest.*

Chuck: Got his legs, Dawson?

Sach: (Nods and grabs his legs) Yeah.

Chuck: Lets get him in there.

Sally: (As everyone follows them back into the dining room) This is going to be fun to tell the rest of the cops when they arrive.

Slip: Obliviously. They ain't gonna like this.

Louie: What are we going to do? (His eyes widen) What if they blame me?

Rachel: Great, we'll all go to jail.

Sach: I hope not. The food in jail is terrible.

Slip: There's gotta be someone else in the house. We're gonna need ta split up an' search again.

Sally: (Grabs Slip's arm) I'm going with you.

Sach: (He smirks at Zelda and grabs her arm) How'd you like to go with me?

Zelda: *Frowns a little* Oh, alright.

Slip: C'mon, Sal.

Sally: (Nods) Right, Mr. Johns.

Rachel: (Grins and takes Chuck's hand) Shall we go back upstairs?

Chuck: Letís.

*As the group breaks up, we follow Slip and Sally into the next "room."*

Sally: (Turns to Slip) Since we have some time before they need us again, why don't we help the others find that money?

Slip: *Nods and winces a little* Just what I was thinkin'.

Sally: You go find the others. I'll search behind the sets.

*Slip nods and through the next "door."*

(Sally goes in the opposite direction, back towards the prop room. She stops before she gets there.)

Sally: I think Slip told me they already went there and found nothing. (Shakes her head) Where could that money BE? (Mutters) I wish I knew why that bitch did this to us in the first place. Why us? Why Slip? Why the Milk Fund?

Sheila: *Appears behind Sally, flanked by a couple stage hands* Why don't you ask me?

Sally: (She whirls around, angry) You! Stay away from the boys, and tell your lapdog assistant to, too!

Sheila: Why's that? Your poor boyfriend can't handle her? Actually, he doesn't appear to be able to handle much of anything in his current condition.

Sally: And that's your fault! Turning poor Butch on him! None of them deserve that. They're good guys, all of them.

Sheila: Then why isn't he here helping you?

Sally: He went to find the other guys and see how well they're doing.

Sheila: So much for sticking together.

Sally: Maybe if you hadn't had to steal the money for yourself, we would be together! You leave him alone! He never did anything to you!

Sheila: Perhaps not. *turns to the stage hands* Grab her.

Sally: Don't you dare! (She aims a fist at them, but they easily overpower her. She screams, but one slaps a beefy hand over her mouth.)

Stagehand #1: What are we gonna do with her, Miss Saunders?

Sheila: Tie her up and lock her in the passage.

(Zelda comes up behind Sheila as the men drag Sally away.)

Sheila: How's things going onstage?

Zelda: Not so well. I can't get near my cutie.

Sheila: Perhaps you'll have your chance now. I had two of the stagehands who are in my employ lock Miss Sally Dumbrowski in the passage in one of the dressing rooms.

Zelda: *Grins* Great! I should have it much easier now. *Makes a face* Although, cutie number two has been a bit problematic, too.

Sheila: We can't hide every woman in the play in the dressing rooms, Zelda. The men are going to be suspicious about Dumbrowski disappearing as it is. They're already chasing after the money.

Zelda: No, we can't, but isn't there anything we can do with the younger Mahoney? He's been the other one butting in.

Sheila: Perhaps it's time we gave him the same taste of power we gave the little blond musician. (Frowns) If you can handle hypnotizing him. I don't think any of them will get near me after what happened with the blond.

Zelda: *Smirks* I'm certainly willing to give it a try. He's a cutie, too.

Sheila: His girlfriend isn't quite as intelligent as Dumbrowski, but she may prove to be a problem.

Zelda: I'll take the risk.

Sheila: It'll be a matter of separating them. Every time they come back here, they're either necking or helping the others look for the money.

Sheila: Perhaps when you get your hands on him, we can direct him towards his brother and let them handle each other. (Sighs) And I promise, no more rough stuff. That injury to Mahoney the Elder was a mistake. O'Malley nearly had kittens when he saw that sling.

Zelda: It was kinda funny watching him have that fit, though. *Sighs and nods* Consider it done. The brothers will keep each other occupied when Iím finished with the younger one.

Sheila: I'm going to return to the office to get some work done. You go get the Mahoneys and make sure they stay distracted.

Zelda: Gladly.

*Chuck appears, searching by himself.*

(Zelda steps out of the shadows, smirking.)

Zelda: Hello, Mr. Mahoney the younger. Where's your little girlfriend? Aren't you supposed to be onstage with her?

Chuck: She's on with the other girls. I'm not in this scene.

Zelda: That's good. (She smiles at him.) What are you doing? Looking for your brother?

Chuck: No, something else.

Zelda: (Gets a bit closer to him) Like me, for instance?

Chuck: *Backs off* Not particularly, no.

Zelda: Why not?

Chuck: Because I've seen what you've been trying to do to Slip.

Zelda: What's wrong with that? I'm just trying to tell him that I like him.

Chuck: But he doesn't like you.

Zelda: But I like him. (Gets closer to Chuck) I like you, too. (Lifts his chin.) You're not bad at all. You should be headlining a play of your own, not chasing your big brother around a theater. Sheila and I could do great things for you.

Chuck: *Shrugs* I don't mind, really. I'm not that keen on being in the spotlight.

Zelda: Don't you wish you could do something on your own? You want to be a writer, right? I'll bet you could write a better play than this dumb murder mystery.

Chuck: Well, yeah, I probably could.

Zelda: I'll bet you could write a lot of things.

Chuck: I'm not THAT good.

Zelda: How do you know? Have you ever gotten a chance to find out?

Chuck: I've done some writing on the side.

Zelda: Bet it paid the bills while the rest of them were running around, avoiding work.

Chuck: I didn't exactly earn a lot of money for what I wrote.

Zelda: But how much did your brothers and the others earn with all his schemes? Don't you ever want to get out from under his thumb?

Chuck: I'm not under his thumb.

Zelda: He orders you around, yells at you, hits you.

Chuck: *Gives a half shrug, looking down* What brothers don't do that?

Zelda: Brothers, yes. What about the others? What about the blond fellow your so friendly with, the musician? Sheila told me he doesn't get to play very much.

Chuck: *Shrugs again* I don't know. *Looks up and shakes his head* I'm really not comfortable talking about this, especially with you.

Zelda: What's with you? Why aren't you responding? (She pulls his chin further down to her face) Look into my eyes...

Chuck: Well, they are pretty, but why?

Zelda: Look deeply...

Chuck: This is weird.

Zelda: (Starts rubbing his neck) Keep looking...

Chuck: *Moves uncomfortably at her touch* What're you trying to do?

Zelda: Why aren't you falling for this? Why aren't you hypnotized?

Chuck: *Eyes widen* Hypnotized!?

Zelda: Why does it work for Sheila and not for me? (Holds his head to hers) Look closer!

Chuck: No! Let me go!

Slip: *Arrives with Duke and Whitey flanking him* What the hell's goin' on back here?

Duke: You bitches at it again?

Chuck: She's tryin' to hypnotize me!

Duke: What is it with you dames?

Zelda: *To Chuck* Couldn't you just work with me and take it like a man? *pulls him into a kiss*

Slip: That does it. *He pulls Zelda away from Chuck with his good arm. However, when he releases her to take aim to punch her, Zelda quickly jabs his injured shoulder and runs away.*

Duke: (He goes to Slip's side; Whitey goes to Chuck) Shit. That bitch took a sucker punch at ya, Slip. You ok?

Slip: *Mutters an expletive* No...that frickin' hurt...

Duke: Maybe someone should take over your role and let you rest that arm. Not that I think you'll do that, but it's a suggestion.

Slip: *Winces* Only if they haul me away.

Duke: Yeah, well, I think that may be what Sheila and Zelda have in mind. They seem to want all of us against each other and outta their hair. (Turns to Chuck) How 'bout you? She do anythin' to you worse than breathe in your face?

Chuck: *Half shrug* No, not really.

Whitey: *Frowns* You sure, Chuck?

Chuck: *Doesn't look directly at Whitey* Yeah, I'm fine.

Duke: I dunno, kid. Those bitches seem to be real good at gettin' to our noggins.

Whitey: And it looks like you've got somethin' on your mind.

*Slip turns in their direction.*

Chuck: I'm fine, really! She didn't do nothin' to me! *heads out, back towards the stage*

Slip: What'd you two do?

Whitey: I...

Duke: We think Zelda may have gotten to Chuck after all. He's got the same look in his eyes that Butch had. It ain't as angry as his, so I don't think you have to worry about your other arm. She did get him thinkin', though.

*Whitey nods his agreement.*

Slip: *Winces* Shit.

Duke: I think we oughta talk to him 'bout it, before it gets as bad as it did with Butch.

*The scene fades on the three heading out. We fade in on the prop room where we find Chuck leaning, half sitting on a trunk with his arms folded and gazing at the floor.*

Whitey: *his voice comes from outside* I think he went in the prop room. *The door opens, and he pokes his head in.* Chuck?

Slip: *From behind Whitey* Is he in there?

Duke: (Peers in; nods) Looks like it. (The three head in.) Hey there, kid. You ok? Chuck?

Slip: *Moves in front of the other two* Talk to me, Chuck. What'd she put in yer head?

Chuck: Slip... (he looks at his brother) you don't mind us doin' other stuff outside of the group, do ya? I mean, Whitey's radio stuff n' Butch's piano playin' and my writin'.

Slip: What?

Chuck: None of us get to do it much, 'cause we're always helpin' you out with somethin'.

Slip: I ain't stoppin' ya. *winces* What're you gettin' at?

Chuck: Nuthin'. It's just...you can be awfully bossy. You do push us around.

Slip: An' you just decided this all of a sudden?

Chuck: No. I've been thinking about it for a while. Butch and I are the youngest, and we don't do much with you guys. It's mostly you and Sach, and sometimes Whitey. It was like that when Junior and Buddy were with us, too.

Slip: Ya never said nutin'. You just suddenly decide to bring it up after Zelda locked lips wit' ya?

Chuck: I've been too afraid to say anythin'! I didn't really want you smackin' me with your hat 'cause I questioned your authority.

Slip: So what's different now? *nods* Cuz I'm hurtin', right? Ya think it's okay now. *shakes his good fist* I still got this one.

Chuck: No, Slip! Slip, we ain't kids anymore. I'm glad I've got you and the guys, but maybe we ought to be able to do our own things once in a while, too.

Slip: *Still with his fist raised* So do yer own thing! I ain't stoppin' ya!

Chuck: Yes, you are. You might not even be thinking about it. (He taps Slip's fist.)

Slip: *His eyes narrow* I ain't stoppin' ya. *slowly lowers his fist*

Chuck: You threw a fit when Bobby got hurt and left the group.

Slip: *Growls* I told ya not to mention that.

Chuck: You know his accident wasn't your fault.

Slip: Yes, it was.

Chuck: Bobby wasn't happy even before the accident. He was one of your best friends for years, Slip, and he felt like you were pushing him away.

Slip: That ain't what was goin' on, an' you know it!

Chuck: He told me not long before the accident, Slip.

Slip: Then why the hell didn't he say som'en?

Chuck: He tried to. You didn't listen.

*Slip growls, turning away. He's shaking his fist.*

Chuck: (Grabs Slip's fist) Don't punch anything. If you put a hole in the wall, Sheila might make you pay for it.

Duke: And you're hurt enough as it is.

Slip: *About ready to explode, but speaks quietly* Don't tell me what to do.

Whitey: We need you, Chief. We still have the play to finish.

Duke: Look, guys. I haven't been a part of the group since we were kids, so maybe I shouldn't talk. I left 'cause I went to war, not 'cause I was pissed at Slip. (Turns to Slip) But you do tend to run through friends, Slip. (Shakes his head) It's the way your ego works. Bobby got the worst of it, though some of it was him. He was in the War too.

*Slip turns away from them. He picks up a prop vase and throws it against the back wall, far away from them, then leaves the room.*

Whitey; *Swallows hard* That went well.

Duke: I think he needed to hear that sooner or later, even if he didn't like it.

Chuck: *Sighs, shaking his head* Just once...just once I wish he wouldn't explode and just accept it.

Whitey: You're both right.

Duke: I think that's the way he works, too. His ego can't accept anything that ain't goin' his way...includin' keepin' his friends around forever. Remember how he was when everyone started gettin' drafted, includin' him?

Chuck: It wasn't pretty. I still remember getting the phone call from the doc saying he'd broke both arms in a motorcycle accident. *shakes his head*

Duke: (Raises an eyebrow) Is that what happened to him? I was in the Army at that point. He wouldn't talk about it to me, other than he couldn't box anymore.

Chuck: *Nods* Though he swears up and down that it was an accident, I think he might've done it on purpose. The thing is, he was really goin' places with the boxing, aní he gave it up cuz he didn't wanna get drafted. Then we all ended up doing brief stints in all the armed forces anyway!

Duke: Hadn't some of you already been in the Armed Forces? I didn't think they wanted you back that badly.

Chuck: Apparently, they really needed the help at times.

Duke: They must be really gettin' desperate with the Koreans. They didn't even want me back.

Chuck: We'll know they're desperate if they go after Sach again.

Duke: I don't know how they let him into World War II, much less Korea. I'm surprised there would have been an Armed Services left.

Chuck: It's a long story.

Duke: We'll talk about this later. You have to get back onstage soon, an' we gotta find that money...and your brother, too, before he does permanent damage to someone or something.

Chuck: *Nods* Yeah. I just hope he doesn't break anything else, either inanimate, someone else, or another part of himself.

Duke: We've gotta get him calmed down...and keep him away from those bitches. They keep reopening old wounds that should stay closed.

Chuck: *Sighs* No kidding. Come on, letís get back out there.

*We switch from the trio leaving the prop room to Slip back stage. He's stomping his way through, with a deep scowl on his face.*

Sach: (He comes in with an apple he's munching...and runs into Slip) Ow! (Looks up) Oh, there you are, Chiefy! You're almost on. And where's Sally? She missed her cue, an' Rachel and Zelda had to take her lines!

Slip: *Blinks* Sally missed her cue?

Sach: Yeah! No one's seen her in ages.

Slip: Shit! *makes a fist again, but it's shaking*

Sach: Chief, what's goin' on? You look like you're ready to burst.

Slip: *Fuming* That bitch Zelda was after Chuck and got into his head. He decided to drudge up things that shouldn't have been, and him, Duke, and Whitey called me on them. I was ready to punch Chuck. I ending up throwing a vase instead. I wanna punch out both Sheila and Zelda badly...

Sach: Chief, calm down. It sounds like those two are gettin' to you as much as they are to him.

Slip: *Brings up his fist* I just wanna... *pauses, seeing how his fist is shaking* Shit. *shakes his head as he lowers his fist* What'm I doin', Sach?

Sach: Lettin' those dames get to ya.

Slip: *Slides his hat off* Yeah. I dunno what I'm doin' anymore.

Sach: I know what you're doin'. (He nods at the stage) You're goin' back onstage, before you miss your cue, and then we're gonna go find Sally. (Hands him the apple) Want some? I got more in the dressin' room.

Slip: *Looks up from the apple to Sach* Thanks, Sach. *takes a bite*

Sach: Don't mention it. (He puts an arm around Slip's shoulder.) Come on, before Buddy and Junior end up takin' our lines.

Slip: Lead the way.

(Sach leads him back to the stage as we fade out on the two arm-in-arm.)