(We open backstage. Sach is straightening the tie on his butler costume for the 50th time as he looks into the mirror in his dressing room.)
Sach: Hey Chief, how does this look?
Slip: *Not paying attention; too busy looking through the script* Fine, Sach.
Sach: You didn't even look!
Bobby: (Pops his head in; he wears an aviator's jacket with insignas, heavy leather boots, and brown trousers) Hey, guys. We're on in ten minutes. (Nods at Slip) Goin' over the script one more time, Mr. Director?
*Slip gives off a "hmm" in response, but doesn't look up.*
Bobby: Where's Chuck? I need to run a scene we have together.
Sach: He's been involved with that script for the past hour. I could call him Fatso, and he wouldn't hear me.
Chuck: *Comes in* What's going on?
Bobby: Hey, Chuck. Your brother is really involved in that script.
Chuck: Yeah? Well, I know better than to interrupt. Besides, I think he's partly hiding from Sally and the girl Zelda.
Sach: (Makes a face) I wish we could make that Zelda fall off the stage or somethin'. She keeps tryin' to jump in the Chief's lap.
Chuck: If she does, Sally's gonna jump on her.
Sach: And that might make the set messy.
Bobby: There's got to be a way to get that chick to lay off. (Makes a face) I think her boss is up to something, too. They keep having these whispered conversations in places they think no one is looking.
Sach: Sheila's beautiful news, but her friend sure ain't helpin' the Chief any.
Bobby: (Nods) Come on, Chuck. It would take an atomic bomb to get him to listen. Let's go work on our lines.
Chuck: *Nods* Yeah. Letís go.
Sach: I'll go find Whitey and see how he's coming with his costume. (He follows them.)
*There's a knock at the door. When there's no answer, Zelda pokes her head in and smirks upon seeing Slip by himself.*
Zelda: Hello, Mr. Director. Want to work on lines together?
*Slip slowly looks up, a scowl beginning to form.*
Slip: *Turns to her* Not really.
Zelda: Why not? I am your leading lady. I'm the one you save from a fate worse than death.
Slip: Too bad I gotta save ya.
Zelda: (She comes in; she wears a sleeveless white gown with a large skirt and a blue satin sash) What's wrong with that? You're the tough-guy private eye. I'm the innocent ward of the Inventor who disappears and gets killed. I'm supposed to be next. You have to protect me...and fall for me, of course.
Slip: You ain't innocent. I ain't protectin' ya, aní I'm sure not gonna fall for ya. I already got a girl.
Zelda: Can't you have two? It's not like you're married to her.
Slip: I don't want two.
Zelda: Don't you find me attractive? (Leans against him)
Zelda: Not even a little bit? I'm not ugly. I have money. I'm good WITH people's money. I could make you very happy.
Slip: No, aní we gotta get goin' on stage...
Zelda: What's your rush? (She settles on his lap.) This is so cozy, I could stay here all night!
Slip: Yer crazy! We gotta get out there to go on!
Zelda: We're the leads. They'll wait. (She snuggles closer.) You're comfortable.
Slip: No, I ain't. Sally's gonna kill me if she finds out!
Zelda: She'll never know! She's probably getting ready to open like the rest of them!
Slip: An' that's what I should be doin'!
Zelda: (She grabs his tie and pulls him nose-to-nose) You're sexy in that suit.
Slip: I ain't sexy fer you.
Zelda: (She pulls him closer) You can't help it. You're sexy anyway. I could go for a man like you.
Slip: So why do ya got go for me? Go for the man like me.
Zelda: You're funny. (She's about to kiss him when Louie walks in.)
Louie: (He wears a white chef's hat and coat, an apron, black pants, and black shoes) The show's starting. You'd both better get onstage, or you'll miss your cue... (Frowns) Slip, why is she on your lap? What's going on here?
(We hear the opening music even as Louie speaks.)
Zelda: *Smirks* Better get to my mark. *Gives him a kiss on the cheek, slides off his lap, and heads out.*
Louie: Slip, I know that girl. That was Sheila Saunders' assistant. Why was she on your lap?
Slip: *Scowls* Makin' herself at home. That girl's crazy. *goes to Louie* You can't tell Sally, or she'll flip out for no reason.
Louie: I have no intention of tellin' Sally. I know what her temper is like. I don't want her flippin' out on me, either. (Nods at the doorway) You'd better get onstage, or you're gonna miss your cue.
Slip: I'm just hopin' to remember my cue!
Louie: You'll be fine. You're the director, aren't ya? You should know everyone's cues by now.
Slip: *Sighs* Thanks, Louie. I depreciate it, but I'm already goin' crazy.
Louie: It's not like you haven't been a private eye before.
Slip: That's the only thing I don't got a problem wit'.
Butch: (Pokes his head in) Chief, you're onstage NOW!
Slip: *groans* I gotta go, Louie! :P
Louie: I'm gonna go look over my lines. I'm not due on for a little while.
Butch: Ok, Louie. (He watches the small man as he ambles backstage, then heads for the backstage area. He finds Scruno working on a trolley.) Did you get a chance to tell the other guys what we heard yet?
Scruno: *Shakes his head* Naw, been too busy. Did you?
Butch: I haven't been able to get a hold of any of them! If I haven't been working on the music, they've been working on their lines.
Scruno: So what do we do?
Butch: Let's find out a little more about this. Maybe if we can get those chicks to confess, or at least find out more about what they're doing, we can get the others to listen.
Scruno: Yeah! That's a good idea, Butch.
Butch: Come on. The women's dressing room is this way. Zelda isn't on for a while. She's probably in there now.
(They do so, moving down the hall to the next door. Butch leans his ear against the door.)
Butch: I think I hear someone! (Grins) You wouldn't have a glass or something on you, would you?
Scruno: *flips a glass to him* I like to carry one for emergencies.
Butch: Thanks. (He leans in...and the camera moves around the wall and into the dressing room. Sheila and Zelda sit inside. Sheila makes a face.)
Sheila: You know, you don't have to be so obvious.
Sheila: I've told you, you have to be patient. He'll come.
Zelda: And you should know I'm not very patient. Besides, he's probably too dense for me to not be obvious. Not that I mind dense.
Sheila: I don't know what you see in those vulgar young men. I prefer something with a little more style, a little more class. (Sighs) I wish that Gabriel Moreno was in the show instead of covering it. He'd make a very handsome private eye.
Zelda: *shrugs* He has that classic look. I don't go for those. I like the slightly odd men.
Sheila: Give me dashing and handsome and intelligent. (Smirks) Speaking of "intelligent," has anyone been...catching on...to our little ruse?
Zelda: Nope, not a one.
Sheila: Not even the...ahem...brilliant director?
Zelda: He's too distracted. I'm really hoping to distract him more.
Sheila: Go right ahead. I don't think the others have the brains of earthworms, but that one worries me. Mahoney's not a fool. At least, not as much as the others. And his brother is just as intelligent.
Zelda: And almost as cute, but he isn't a leader.
Sheila: No. He's a quiet one, Mahoney the Younger. Doesn't say much. Blends into the background. (Narrows her eyes) Those types can be just as dangerous as the ones who bluster and fuss like Mahoney the Elder. Perhaps even more so.
Zelda: That is very true.
Sheila: They both need to be watched. We don't want them catching on. (Rolls her eyes) I don't think that'll be a problem with the others. The little old man is notorious on the Bowery for having the most easily-rattled nerves in town, and the others are two sandwiches short of a combination plate. That girl, though. Mahoney's girl. Dumbrowski's niece. She might be trouble, too. She's smart. I heard on the street that she went to college, but is working for her uncle until she can find something better.
Zelda: *Makes a face* No kidding. I can't stand her.
Sheila: We need to keep her off-base. She and the Mahoneys together could be big trouble.
Zelda: But how do we do that?
Sheila: Keep going after her boyfriend.
Zelda: *Grins* Don't have to ask me twice.
Sheila: We'll do what we can to make sure none of them know where the money is really going.
Sheila: You're due on stage any minute. We'll discuss this further later.
Zelda: *Nods* Yes, I am.
Butch: (Turns to Scruno, his eyes wide) Uh-oh. We've gotta get outta here!
Scruno: I'm gone!
Sheila: (Points to Butch and Scruno as she and Zelda step out) Isnít that one of Mahoney's boys?
Zelda: What are you two doing?
Scruno: We're gettin' out of here but fast!
Butch: Yeah. Bye! (They hurry off.)
Sheila: I think they heard something. Maybe we should send a few people after them. They're not actors. No one would notice if they disappeared for a while.
Zelda: *Nods* Good idea. Letís send some stagehands after them.
Sheila: You go get onstage, before they miss you. I'll get the boys.
Zelda: Okay! *heads off for the stage*
(Cut to Scruno and Butch. They're hurrying across the backstage area. Three large men are in hot pursuit.)
Butch: Those guys sure are persistent!
Scruno: They won't quit, too!
Butch: We've gotta hide. They can't chase us all night. They have a lot of other stuff to handle. (Grabs a trap door and yanks it open) Here. No one's going under the stage during this show.
(The two go under the stage door just in time. Just as Butch closes the door, the men arrive, looking around. As they pound around, we hear a tiny "click" on the door's catch...)
Stagehand #1: Where did those guys go?
Stagehand #2: Maybe they went up to the catwalks! Come on! (We see them take off.)
(Cut to the dark area under the stage. Butch and Scruno are listening intently as the sound of booted feet move further away from them.)
Scruno: I think they're leavin'...
Butch: Good. Let's get outta here. We have to warn Chuck and the Chief. (He pushes at the door...and frowns.) Oh shit. I think it's locked.
Scruno: It can't be locked... *pushes on it* ...or maybe it can!
Butch: We're stuck! (He pounds on the door) Helllp!
Scruno: *Also bangs on the door* Help! Let us outta here!
(We fade out on a shot of the area above the locked trap door. We hear the boys yelling, even as we fade into blackness...but there's no one around to respond.)