(We open outside, in the front of the theater. The light from the marquee illuminates the faces of the five men who walk outside, shivering.)
Butch: Why did we come out here in mid-November without our coats again?
Duke: We're lookin' for that damn money. It's not anywhere inside the building. Everyone we know searched the inside of the building more than once. It has to be outside somewhere.
Whitey: Yeah, it couldn't just get up and walk away!
Gabe: No, but we also don't know if Sheila even still has it here.
Duke: She might have it on her person, too. (Makes a face) God, I hope not. I wouldn't touch that woman for all the cash in Fort Knox.
Scruno: Me neither. I don't like that woman. I'd be happy to never get close to her again.
Duke: I don't care how much money we're all making off of this. I'll be glad when this whole thing is over.
Butch: (Sighs) The publicity has probably been good for my musical career... (shakes his head) ...but it wasn't worth everything we've gone through tonight.
Gabe: *Nods* I agree, Butch. I wouldn't wish what happened to you on anyone. Slip hasn't exactly had it very easy, either.
Butch: We have got to get him to a hospital as soon as the show ends, or at least see if Bernie Punsley is on duty tonight. That arm doesn't look good...and I don't care what he says or how much he doesn't like hospitals.
Whitey: *Nods* I didn't like what it felt like when I put it back in place.
Duke: We'll call Bernie as soon as the show's over. We'll get him to a doctor if we all have to carry him. (Smirks) And half the Bowery is here tonight. There will be plenty of people to do the carrying.
Gabe: We might have to draw numbers.
Butch: (Sighs) I only hope he forgives me. I really do like Slip. I just want a chance to play more.
Gabe: He knows it wasn't your fault, and it'll heal.
Butch: I sure hope so. I've always sort of looked up to Slip, like a big brother. He may be bossy, but he can be really nice, too. Chuck's kind of lucky to have him.
Gabe: *Claps Butch's shoulder* Talk to him after the show and hear it for yourself.
Butch: (He nods, but he looks like he's not quite sure) I'll try. Maybe I could try to catch him after the show.
Gabe: If we can get him in the hospital, we won't be going anywhere for a little while, at least
Butch: No kidding.
Duke: You know, there's only one place out here we haven't looked. (Indicates the ticket booth.)
Gabe: Why didn't we think of it before?
Butch: How are we gonna get in there? It's probably locked!
*Whitey pulls his tool kit from inside his jacket and holds it up for the guys to see.*
Gabe: Whitey the walking tool kit to the rescue.
Scruno: Whitey, boy, you still carry your tools!
Butch: (Grins) I'm glad you didn't leave that inside.
Duke: Good ol' Whitey.
Whitey: I never go anywhere without them. *He starts working on the door.*
Duke: Gabe's right. Where else would you put money in a theater but here?
Butch: No wonder we couldn't find it INSIDE. It wasn't INSIDE.
Whitey: *As the door opens* Letís check it out.
Duke: (Pops his head in) Everything looks pretty normal. (He steps in, followed by Gabe) We've gotta find a box or a cash register or somethin', somewhere where they'd keep money.
Scruno: Everybody spread out.
(The four spread out as well as they can in the small booth. Butch pokes around in the front of the booth. He peers under the counter...and we hear his hands hit solid metal.)
Butch: Bingo. Guys, I think I found something. (Pulls out a small locked metal box. He tries to pull open the catch.) It's locked. (Turns to Whitey) Wanna get it open for us?
Whitey: *Grins* I'd be happy to. *Takes out a small pick and puts it in the lock. Moments later, the lock springs open.*
Scruno: What's in it?
Butch: Money. (He pulls out a stack of bills) All the money we made tonight, I imagine.
Gabe: Finally! We gotta take this in the theater and let Slip know we found it.
Female Voice: You're not going anywhere.
(They all turn around at once...and the camera turns with them. We see Sheila and several of the stagehands standing at the entrance to the ticket booth. Sheila smirks.)
Sheila: Well, gentlemen, it would seems you've finally found what you're looking for.
Butch: Then why don't I feel good about it?
Scruno: This is our money.
Sheila: It is, however, my theater, and this is my play. I commissioned it...for me.
Duke: (Narrows his eyes) This was all a plot, wasn't it? Just to get more money for you.
Gabe: By deceiving theater goers into thinking they were going to see a play put on to raise funds for the Milk Fund.
Sheila: Of course.
Butch: You're a heartless witch!
Sheila: Not exactly heartless, dear boy. I will be contributing this money to several worthy causes. Let's just say that some of my...side businesses need bolstering.
Gabe: *Steps up to Sheila* Bolster this, Sheila! *plants a kiss on her*
(As Sheila grabs Gabe and pulls him into the kiss, Duke decks one of the stagehands, and Whitey and Scruno jump on two more.)
Duke: Kid, get outta here with the money. We'll meet you inside!
Duke: Just do it!
(Butch grabs the box and takes off like a shot inside the theater.)
Sheila: (As she pulls away from Gabe) You're a damn fine kisser.
Gabe: *Wipes his mouth* And you disgust me.
Sheila: (Narrows her eyes and turns to the remaining stagehands) Go find the boy who just ran in the theater with my box. (Nods at Gabe) And handle him. Gently, please. I want him whole. The one in the police officer's uniform, too. You can do what you want with the other two.
Duke: Like hell you will. (He opens the swinging theater door) Come on, guys. Let's scram, before we end up as pavement pancakes.
Gabe: *Ducks away from Sheila* Come on!
*Whitey and Scruno run out, followed shortly by Gabe, then Duke.*
Sheila: After them! (She follows the goons through the door.)
(Cut to backstage. Butch is ducking around piles of rope and crates of props. We can hear lines from the second ending in the background.)
Butch: Damn! They're still onstage! I have to get this to the Cheif somehow. (Sees three more stagehands coming.) Uh oh! Company's comin'! (He clips one in the chin, but is surrounded by the other two and one more.) Uh, hi guys. No hard feelings, huh? (He puts the box behind his back.) What box?
Stagehand #1: (Points at Butch) Get him!
(Butch's eyes widen. The first stagehand is about to lunge for him when a remote control airplane drops a metal box on him. It knocks him out.)
Butch: (Looks behind the stagehand and grins) Thanks, Whitey!
Whitey: *Waves* You're welcome, Butch!
Duke: (Another stagehand goes down...revealing him, smiling) This is gonna be fun.
Gabe: *Knocks down another* Keep movin', Butch! We'll handle these guys!
*Scruno knocks down another and grins.*
(Butch makes a break for the wings...but someone pulls him into the prop room as he rushes past.)
Sheila: *smirks* We meet again.
Butch: Oh no, you don't! I totally regret what happened earlier. You won't be talkin' me into hurtin' the Chief again!
Sheila: I wouldn't dream of it! That was an accident! I really do like you.
Butch: You sure have a funny way of showing it. Besides, I thought you liked Gabe.
Sheila: He's okay, but there's just something about you... *fingers his collar*
Butch: (Pulls back) You did this to me last time. You got in my head. I have a girl, thank you!
Sheila: Does she own her own business?
Butch: No. She's a secretary for an accounting firm in the Financial District. (Narrows his eyes) But she's smart and sweet and pretty, and she likes me for what I am.
Sheila: Does she?
Butch: Yes. (He frowns) Look, I don't like you. You stole money from the Milk Fund. Orphans need that a lot more than your "side businesses." You keep trying to jump into the lap of men who don't want you there. You got Slip and Chuck mad at each other...and they're brothers who love each other very much.
Sheila: *Sighs; sarcastically* My heart is breaking.
Butch: How can it break when it doesn't exist?
*Sheila makes a grab for him.*
(Butch ducks under her arms and hurries out the door.)
*Sheila growls, aggravated, and follows after him.*
Butch: I have to get their attention somehow! (He sees the ladder to the catwalks above the stage) I don't know... (Sees Sheila and two stagehands coming) Maybe I don't have a choice! (He grabs the ladder and climbs as fast as he can!)
Duke: (He, Whitey, Gabe, and Scruno come barreling into the wings, followed by more stagehands) Hey Butch, wait for us! (He starts up the ladder.)
*Gabe goes next, followed by Whitey, then Scruno, all headed for the catwalks.*
(Cut back down to the stage. Bobby, Sach, and Sally join Slip.)
Sally: I hope the others have found the money.
Sach: Yeah. It has to be somewhere!
Slip: It couldn't just vanish into thick air.
Sally: Maybe we ought to go find them. (Smirks) Or make up another ending and buy them more time.
Bobby: Two endings? That Alabama guy has to be mad enough as it is!
Slip: *Grins* Arkansas is already mad, so what's another endin' on top of the first two?
Bobby: You know, people are going to want to leave sooner or later. This play has run long as it is.
O'Malley: (He storms onto the stage) What in the heck was that? I only wrote ONE ending. Miss Pffeister is the killer, not the Air Force Captain!
Slip: Arkansas, we like it so much we don't wanna see it end.
O'Malley: It's ALABAMA, and I want to see it end! You're ruining my magnum opus!
Slip: Geez, Alaska, calm down. It's still a maggot opus, whatever that is.
O'Malley: A masterpiece! You've ruined my masterpiece!
Bobby: This is a masterpiece?
Slip: A masterpiece of shit is more like it. If it weren't for such a good cause, we wouldn't even be here.
O'Malley: What would you know about a good play, you pint-sized pachyderm? You couldn't direct a flea circus!
Slip: *Taps an ear with his good hand* Wanna repeat that so I can hear wit' my good ear?
O'Malley: You heard me! You couldn't direct your way out of paper bag!
Slip: An' you think yer such a hot writer, huh?
O'Malley: I know my script is good! Miss Saunders chose it herself, and she's a patron of the arts!
Slip: Miss Saunders wouldn't know a good script if it bit 'er on the ass!
(As the two fight, we cut back up to the catwalks. Butch pulls the box out of his shirt as he gets to the top of the ladder. Duke follows him.)
Butch: (Points to the other side) We've gotta get outta here and get to Slip!
(But there's already two stagehands waiting on the other side. The boys are forced to turn around.)
Sheila: (She meets them on the other side; smirks) Hello, gentlemen. (Touches Gabe's chin) Now, why don't you all be good little boys and hand over that money, hm?
(As Sheila and the stagehands crowd them into the middle of the catwalks, we hear a groaning sound, then a creak.)
Butch: Um...what was that?
Sheila: (Frowns) What was what?
Duke: (The creak gets louder) Uh, that.
Stagehand #1: Uh oh. I think this thing is tellin' us that we shouldn't all be up here at the same time!
Gabe: That isn't good.
Stagehand #1: (There's a louder creak...and a crack) Everyone OFF! NOW!
(Cut back to the stage. Slip and Alabama are still arguing.)
O'Malley: None of you have stuck to my script for more than five minutes!
Slip: Cuz yer script ain't good!
Sally: (Looks up...and grabs Slip's arm) Uh, honey, I hate to break up this edifying conversation, but... (Points upwards) I think we're about to have company.
Bobby: (Looks up...and his eyes widen) Oh shit. Everyone get outta the way!
(Everyone dives in all directions as the catwalks come down...and the people who were on it go tumbling onto the stage and each other. Whitey lands on Duke, who just groans. Sheila lands on Gabe. Gabe pushes Sheila away and hurries off-stage.)
Duke: God, I hate running gags.
Butch: (As he gets to his feet) Slip, we got it! We got it! (He dodges a dazed stagehand and hurries over to Slip with the metal box.) Here it is! We got the money!
Slip: *Grins* Nice job, fellas!
Sheila: (She runs over to Slip) That's MY box and MY money!
Butch: No, it isn't! This money belongs to the Milk Fund!
O'Malley: Your money? I thought this was for charity!
Buddy: (He and Junior help Whitey to his feet) You ok, man?
Marsha: Whitey! Oh honey, what did they do to you? (She grabs him and gives him a huge hug!)
*Slip starts yanking on the rope one armed to open the curtain.*
Sheila: (As the others get to their feet) That money is mine! This is my theater! I want it back!
Louie: (Sees the curtain opening) What's going on? I thought we were done! (Turns to Slip) Slip...
Sach: (Frowns and looks into his bag) I only have two gumdrops left!
Slip: *grunts, pulling the rope* Sheila's spillin' her guts. We gotta have the audience hear it!
Sheila: Give me that money! I'm going to give it to my organizations!
Butch: No! It's for the Milk Fund!
Zelda: *Comes back on stage, holding the gun* We want that money back.
Bobby: (Gulps and puts up his hands) Guys...that's a real gun.
O'Malley: What's going on?
Louie: I still swear I'm innocent!
Sally: (Puts up a fist) That money's for the Milk Fund, sister.
Slip: *As he ties up the curtain* Fellas, distract them!
Sach: (He goes up to Zelda) You know, I think you can have my last gumdrop. Right in (shoves it in the barrel of her gun) here!
(Rachel and Jane lunge for Zelda as Duke grabs for the gun.)
Sally: (She growls at Zelda) You stay off of Slip from now on! You've been all over him for the entire play! He's MY boyfriend!
*Zelda growls and groans.*
Butch: (Turns to Slip) Gabe went to call the cops after we landed. They should be here any second.
Slip: *As he leans against the nearest wall* Good.
Sheila: (Growls) You'll never get away with this!
O'Malley: What about my play?
Sheila: Oh, hang your play! It was horrible anyway!
Slip: *Wearily* That's the one thing I agree wit' her on.
Sheila: I only chose it because it would assure that the play was a bomb in the morning...and I'd get to keep the money.
O'Malley: You never believed in me.
Sheila: Only that you're a very bad mystery writer.
(O'Malley lets out a roar and jumps on Sheila. Sally takes the chance to hit Zelda in the chin, knocking her out as the real cops arrive.)
Cop #1: Well, who did it?
Buddy: (He and Junior come back onstage with a stack of papers) They did it, officers. Those two ladies on the floor. (He grins and hands Slip the papers.) You give them to the cops, Chief. You found them originally.
Slip: *Holds out the papers as one of the cops goes over to him* Found these in Miss Saundersí office.
Butch: (Jane is with him; he holds the box) And here's the box with the money from the show that caused all the trouble.
Bobby: (Grins at Slip) And maybe we ought to finish this part and this play, so all these good people can go home.
Slip: Letís get this done, before I'm done in.
Sally: (Takes Slip's good arm) And so we can get Mr. Mahoney to a hospital so he can get his shoulder looked at. (Gives him a big kiss) You're the only man for me.
Sach: (Grins) You know what, Chief?
Slip: *Now dazed from the kiss* What, Sach?
Sach: I'm out of gumdrops. Can we get some peanuts at the hospital?
*Slip slides his hat off his head and swats Sach with it.*
Sach: Oop! Guess not!
(We fade out on Slip glaring at Sach as the curtain rings down...for good, this time.)