produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #113 (Wednesday, 4/10/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
A Few Days Later
March, 1936 - Afternoon


WALB-RADIO - BROADCAST STUDIO B

Patterson MonroeWALB-Radio"Excuse me, but you can't go in there," the guard said as he held out his hand to stop Patterson Monroe in his tracks.  "There's a broadcast going on."

"I know that," Patterson explained, "but I'm...well...looking for an actress from one of the serials."

"Don't tell me that you listen to those things?" the guard laughed.  "I only thought those things were for some dopey housewives."

"No, it's not like that," Patterson sighed.  "She's a friend of mine.  We've both been busy for the past couple of days and I haven't had a chance to talk to her.  I've been having mid-terms in school and she's been busy with the show.  Her name's Stephanie Lake.  She's new and..."

"Well, you can't go in there until after the show," the guard said again.  "It should be over in a few minutes.  I think that they're in the last commercial right now."

At that moment, Willis Lowell came walking down the hallway and Patterson immediately saw him.

"Mr. Lowell!" Patterson called out.  "Could you go in and tell Stephanie that I'm here?"

"Hello, Mr. Monroe," Mr. Lowell smiled as he reached out to shake his hand.  "I wish that I could, but I can't."

"Well, why not?"

"Mr. Monroe, I'm very disappointed.  I had such high hopes for Stephanie and I...well, guess that she just wasn't cut out for this," Mr. Lowell sighed with a shake of his head.

"Huh?"  Patterson furrowed his brow as he tried to understand what Mr. Lowell was saying.  "What do you mean?  Why can't you get tell Stephanie that I'm here?"

"She's not here," Mr. Lowell explained.  "And I'm very disappointed."

"Not here?  But...I thought that she had a show to do today."

"She did!" Mr. Lowell exclaimed.  "She never showed up.  In fact, she hasn't shown up for her last few shows.  We had to grab an emergency replacement for her.  I'm just very disappointed."

Stephanie hadn't been showing up for work?  Patterson shook his head in confusion as he tried to understand what he was saying.  But that...was impossible!  She'd been so excited about her new job.  She wouldn't just quit without saying anything to anyone.  True, he hadn't spoken to her in a few days---that in and of itself was a little odd, but he'd simply attributed it to the fact that they'd both been busy---but to find out that she'd simply not shown up for work?  Something just wasn't right.  Not right at all!


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THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM

Sunset Hotel, Penthouse A"So, are you ready to go?" Charles Callison asked as he nervously paced around the room.

"Just let me put on my hat," Francis Callison smiled warmly as she paused to look in the mirror.  "I still don't understand why you won't tell me where we're going for lunch.  The Gardens is right downstairs.  Where else could we go?"

"Let's just say that I've got a big surprise for you."  He nodded slyly as he walked over and put his arms around her.

"I think that I've had enough surprises for one lifetime," she sighed.  Although the current mood was rather light hearted, the preliminary court hearing that had been scheduled for the next day was weighing heavily on her mind.  As she thought about the hearing, she bit her lip with worry and then took a deep breath.  "Charles, what if...what if the hearing doesn't go well?  What if they determine that there's enough evidence to warrant a full fledged trial?"

"But there isn't!" he reassured strongly, not entirely sure that he even believed what he was saying.  "The only thing that connects you to Annabelle's murder is that blasted scarf."

Francis Callison"And Reginald and that waitress," she reminded.  "They both can place me there right before the murder.  Both of them insist that no one else went into the lounge after I left and before Reginald went in.  I'm sure that even I wouldn't believe that I was innocent if I were to look at the evidence as someone who wasn't accused."

"Darling, let's not think about that today."  He paused and turned her towards the mirror so that they were both staring at their reflections.  "Look at that.  What do you see?"

"Us," she smiled.  "Together."

"And that's just the way it should be."

"But, what if...I have to go to trail and..."  The words caught in her throat.  "And the jury decides that I'm guilty of murder---whether I did it or not!  They'll...take me away from you and...our family and..."

"Tomorrow," Charles muttered softly and then kissed her lightly on the cheek.  "We'll think about that tomorrow at the hearing.  Today, I only want to think about us."

"But, Charles, how can I do that when..."

Gently, Charles pressed his index finger against her lips to silence her.  They'd already spent too much time going over the "what ifs".  Now what the time for them to focus on the "what will be's".

"Have I told you today how madly in love with you I am?" he asked with a flirtatious grin.  "How you're the greatest joy in my life?"

"Yes," she nodded coyly, "but I'd love for you to say it again."

"Why don't I just show you?"  And with those words, he kissed her tenderly and lovingly and she welcomed it with every fiber of her being.

"I love the way you put things," she laughed and then turned to, once again, gaze at their reflections in the mirror.  "You know, being in your arms almost makes me think that we can have everything back that Annabelle took from us---all the joy and happiness and..."

"We can!" Charles exclaimed.  "We can have all of it back and more.  In fact, that's part of this little surprise I've got planned."

"I'd still like to know what you're up to."  Francis eyed him suspiciously.  He'd never been extremely good at keeping secrets from her, but this one definitely had her stymied.

Charles Callison"Honestly, I'd wanted to wait until later, but...well...with the hearing tomorrow, I thought that you might need something to lift your spirits."

"Can't you at least give me some kind of clue?"

Charles furrowed his brow as he thought and then took her hand and began to lead her towards the door.

"I've got a picnic basket in the car."

"A picnic basket?"  Francis paused to consider what he meant.  "Are we...going to Baily Park?  Is that the surprise?"

"No," he laughed.  "We're not going to Baily Park for a picnic.  We just need the basket because there's no food where we're going."

"Now I'm completely confused!"  She stopped and looked at him again.  "Just one clue?"

"Oh, all right," he sighed with a slight laugh.  "But just one!  Be it ever so humble...."


SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY

54 Spring Lake Dr."God, I can't wait until mid-terms are over!" Dane Manchester grumbled loudly as he came storming through the front door.  "This semester is going to kill me yet."  He paused and he stood in the doorway of the library and watched his wife as she paced around the room.  "Sara?"

"Oh...um...what?" Sara Manchester asked and stopped in her tracks to turn and look at him.  "Oh, Dane, you're home.  I...didn't hear you come in."

"Well, I can see that," he remarked as he walked over to the sofa, sat his books down on the coffee table, and took a seat.  "Is something wrong?  You look...worried."  He furrowed his brow as he considered what could be on her mind.  "It's not that girl, is it?  She hasn't made some sort of ridiculous demand again, has she?"

"No, it's not...Naomi," she muttered in reply and then bit her lip.  "It's...well...I'm worried."

"Obviously."  He stopped to consider what could possibly have her so upset.  "So, why don't you tell me what's on your mind."

"Stephanie," she explained.  "We haven't...seen her in days and..."

Dane Manchester"And these have been the most gloriously peaceful days that I can remember," he sighed joyously as he kicked off his shoes and stretched out on the sofa.  "Why in the world are you getting yourself all worked up?"

"Weren't you listening?  I said that we haven't seen Stephanie in days!  We haven't seen her, we haven't spoken to hear, nothing!"

"And the problem with that is?"

"Dane, I'm serious!"

"So am I," he laughed.  "Look, she hated being here and I hated having her here.  Maybe she just took off for greener pastures.  Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth."

"Dane, what if something's happened to her?"  Sara bit her lip in nervousness as a million possible tragedies began to run through her mind.

"You know how irresponsible and flighty Stephanie is," he reminded as he rose from his seat and walked over to take her into his arms for reassurance.  "Maybe she just got tired of being here and just ran off.  Knowing her, it's not that unlikely.  For all we know, she took off and joined the circus.  Ah, I can see it now---come see the girl with the biggest mouth and the talent for tall tales!"

Sara Manchester"That's not funny!" Sara snapped.  "If she did just take off, she would have at least said something to me or...or to Patterson."  Considering that option, she began to tap her chin with her finger as she thought.  "Maybe I should give him a call and see if he's heard from her."  She quickly walked over to the telephone and picked up the receiver.  "Certainly he'd know where she is!"

"Unfortunately," Dane grumbled.  "I don't understand that entire relationship, anyway.  What in the world could Paddy see in her, of all people?"

"Shhhh," she muttered as she held the telephone receiver to her ear and motioned for him to be quiet.  "It's ringing."  And ringing, and ringing, and ringing...  "Hmmm, no answer."

"Maybe they ran off and got married!" he laughed with a roll of his eyes.

"I'm calling the police."

"Sara, I think you're making a big deal out of nothing.  So, Steffi took off.  What's the big deal?"

"Um...hello?" she said when the police station answered.  "Um...yes.  This is Mrs. Dane Manchester and I'd like to report a missing person."

Just then, the doorbell rang and Dane, still convinced that his wife was about to make a fool out of herself, immediately rose to answer.  He found it extremely ironic to find Patterson, himself, standing on their front step.

"Paddy!" Dane smiled as he reached out to shake his hand.  "Come right on in.  You have no idea how glad I am to see you.  Now, maybe you can set my wife straight about a few things."

"Well, actually, I did come to see Sara," Patterson nodded as he stepped into the foyer.  "I need...to talk to her about Stephanie."

"Sara!" Dane called out as he walked back to the doorway to the library.  "Hang up that blasted phone.  Paddy's here!"

"Oh, Paddy, thank god!" Sara sighed with relief as she came rushing into the foyer to greet him.  "I just tried to call you and didn't get an answer.  Have you seen Stephanie?"

"No," Patterson replied as he grew more and more uneasy.  "In fact, that's what I wanted to ask you."

"W-what?" she gasped.  "You haven't seen her either?"

"No," Patterson sighed.  "I haven't talked to her in days.  I thought that it was just because I was busy with mid-terms and she was busy with her new job, but...well..."

"Well, what, Paddy?"  She eyed him with anxious nervousness.

Patterson Monroe"I went to the radio station so that I could surprise her and take her to lunch," he explained as he began to pace around the room.  "But...well...when I got there, the producer told me that she wasn't there!  In fact, she hasn't been at work in days!"

"Oh, god," she gasped.

"I was hoping that you could tell me what was going on," Patterson continued.  "Is she avoiding me?  Why did she just quit her job?  I'm...I'm confused.  Did I do something wrong?"

"Patterson, I don't know how to tell you this, but..."  Dane paused and took a deep breath.  "We haven't seen Stephanie, either.  She hasn't been here in days."

"W-what?"  Patterson's eyes darted from Dane to Sara as he tried to comprehend what they were saying.  "What do you mean you haven't seen her?"

"Paddy," Sara spoke up, more worried than she'd been before, "Stephanie's missing."