produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #154 (March 12, 2012) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
July 1936 – Afternoon

SPRINGHILL MANOR – LIBRARY

54 Spring Lake Dr.Dane Manchester“Helga, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’d like to be alone for a while,” Dane Manchester said to his housekeeper, Helga Grimm, as he stared at the mysterious envelope he held in his hands.  It had just arrived by messenger and his gut told him that it was something best opened in private.  “You can finish your work in here later.  Why don’t you go ahead and start on dinner?”

“Yes, Mr. Manchester,” she replied as she headed for the door.

“Oh, and Helga….”

“Yes, Sir?”

“Please close the doors behind you.”

After Helga had gone and the large wooden doors of the library were securely closed, Dane tore open the envelope and pulled out the contents for examination.  His gut instinct had been more than accurate.  Inside the envelope were a series of photographs – photographs of him and one Kitty Benedict, portraying them in very compromising situations.  Included with the photographs was a note –

“Some affairs are best kept private, don’t you think?  Instructions to follow…”


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ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL – EMERGENCY ROOM

Albanyville General Hospital“D-Dr. Campbell, how… how is she?” Reginald Callison asked as he felt his heart doing flips inside his chest.  He, his sister-in-law Judith Linford, and close friend Lorraine Davis had been waiting for what had seemed like hours for news – any news – on the condition of his expectant wife, Jillian.

“Well, I have good news and I have bad news,” Dr. Talbot Campbell sighed.

“Oh, Talbot, how is she?  How’s Jillian?  Is she all right?  The… baby?”  Judith pushed past Reginald and grabbed the doctor’s harm, pleading with him for any small piece of information.

“Judith, dear, perhaps we should leave Dr. Campbell and Reginald alone so that they can talk.”  Lorraine carefully took Judith’s arm and tried to lead her away.

Reginald Callison“No, it’s okay.”  Reginald motioned for Lorraine and Judith to remain and then returned his attention to Dr. Campbell.  “How are Jillian and the baby?  You said ‘good news’ and ‘bad news.’”

“First of all,” Talbot began to explain, “both your wife and the baby are all right.  The fall wasn’t that severe and, from the best that Dr. Hardy and I can determine, neither one of them have suffered any lasting trauma.”

“Oh, thank God,” Judith heaved a sigh of relief while she clung to Reginald’s arm for support.  “I can’t tell you how terrified I was.  After all, it’s so much like what….”  She paused, lowered her head, and swallowed hard as she became overcome by painful memories.  “It’s so much like what happened to me.”

“You heard Dr. Campbell.”  Reginald smiled at Judith and patted her hand.  “He said both Jillian and the baby were fine.  Everything’s going to be all right.”

Lorraine Davis“But… you said there was bad news, too,” Lorraine spoke up as she remembered the doctor’s earlier statements.  “Is there something else wrong?”

Talbot’s eyes landed on Judith before quickly moving to Reginald.

Judith Linford“To be honest, I’m not sure yet,” he sighed.  “Dr. Hardy has noticed some… irregularities in some of the tests he’s performed and he wants to keep Jillian in the hospital for a few days so that he can do some more tests.”

“Tests?  What kind of tests?”  The sense of relief that Reginald had felt was quickly slipping away from him.

“Reginald, there’s nothing to be alarmed about,” Talbot attempted to reassure.  “A lot of these tests are strictly routine, but….”

“Yes, Doctor?” Lorraine asked as she leaned closer, hanging on every word.

Dr. Talbot Campbell“By our preliminary findings, both Dr. Hardy and I feel that Jillian might be in for a rather difficult time with this baby.  I can’t be absolutely certain yet, but it could be very imperative that Jillian take things as easy as possible.”

“Oh, don’t you worry, Dr. Campbell,” Reginald spoke up with a tone of fierce determination.  “If I have anything to say about it, my wife won’t so much as lift a finger until this baby is born.”


THE STOKES MANSION – LIVING ROOM

76 Mapleton Way“Will Patience be able to forgive Jean-Claude’s latest untruth or will she finally see his true colors?  And what about Naomi? Tune in tomorrow for another dramatic chapter of – The Trials of Prudence!  Here on WALB!”

As the organ music began to swell, Leticia Rutherford reached over from her chair and switched off the radio just as the telephone across the room began to ring.

“I don’t know why I ever let Francis talk me into listening to those programs,” she muttered to herself as she rose from her chair and walked over to answer the phone.  “Hello?”

“Leticia, dear, I hope you’ll forgive me for calling unexpectedly,” the familiar voice came from the other end of the line, “but I felt it was important that I talk to you at once.”

“Mark!  How good to hear from you,” she smiled, instantly recognizing the voice of her son-in-law, Mark Linford, “Judith isn’t here right now, though.  Surprisingly, she’s doing some volunteer work at the hospital and….”

“I’m not calling to talk to Judith, Leticia.  I don’t have much to say to her anyway and I’m fairly certain she has even less to say to me.”

“Mark, darling, I know things have been difficult since Judith lost the baby, but if you and Judith could simply talk through your problems, I’m sure you could….”

Mark Linford“Leticia, this isn’t a social call.  This is business.  You know that I appreciate how, despite the way things are between Judith and me, you’ve continued to let me handle your legal matters.”

“And why wouldn’t I?  You know I still think the world of you and you know how much I value your skills.”

“Yes, thank you, but….”   There was a distinctly uncomfortable pause on the line.  “I received a phone call earlier from your accountant, Mr. Crosley.  It seems that there have been several large withdrawals lately from your personal bank account – withdrawals that have been signed for by your husband.”

Fred?” Leticia gasped, unable to believe her ears.  “Are you sure?”

“I went to Mr. Crosley’s office and double checked.  It turns out that since you and Fred got married, he’s been making tiny withdrawals from your account, a little at a time, a couple of times a week.  However, over the last few weeks the amount he’s been pulling out his greatly increased.”

Leticia Stokes Rutherford“How much money are you talking about?”

“These last few withdrawals?  Several thousand dollars each.  Honestly, Leticia, why you ever set up a joint bank account with that man and gave him free access to your money….”

“He’s my husband, Mark.  I’m supposed to trust him.”  Or at least she thought she could trust him.

As the weight of the situation pressed down upon her, Leticia sat down in the chair next to the telephone table and began to consider the ramifications and implications of Mark’s information.  She wasn’t so lost in her own thoughts, however, that she didn’t hear the front door open and the all too familiar fall of footsteps on the marble tile in the foyer heading towards the living room.

“Leticia, what do you want me to do?” Mark asked after several long moments of uncomfortable silence on the line.  “What should I tell Mr. Crosley?”

“Don’t do anything right now,” she replied, looking up from her seated position at her husband who had just arrived home from his job at the hospital and was now standing right in front of her, “at least not until after I’ve had a chance to get some answers of my own.”