The Invisible Morrison Jeffrey

by Duncan Wells

Scene Five

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Music Cue: None - Scene: Jessica Porter's home.

Jessica is wearing a revealing evening dress. Hayworth is in a white shirt and suit pants. He is staring out the window and fretting over the situation.

Jessica: A pencil nub?

Hayworth: Thats' what I said.. a pencil nub and on top of that, one of the stones from the knife handle must have come loose and fallen off because they have that in their possession as well. This is not good Jessica. This one tiny stone could lead them to us.

Jessica: To what though Hilton? I got rid of all the evidence - your clothes, your shoes, the knife and anything else you had with you.

Hayworth: What did you do with it?

Jessica: (Pause) I burned it all.

Hayworth: You burned the knife?

Jessica: No silly! I threw it in Lake St. Martha. When I was visiting my mother. I took it to the lake and tossed it in.

Hayworth sighs

Jessica: What?

Hayworth: Nothing. It's just that….well, it's been in the family for three generations.

Jessica: Yes, I know but...

Hayworth: Never mind….forget it… it's…it's just a knife…it's better to be safe than sorry.

Pause. She comforts him

Jessica: Hilton, what about this pencil they found?

Hayworth: I just told you. They found a pencil nub at the crime scene. The nub of a damned pencil!

Jessica: But what does a pencil nub have to do with anything?

Hayworth: They found it lying next to his body.

Jessica: But…but still…what does it have to do with anything?

Hayworth: It means that someone was there Jessica. Someone was there and we have no way of knowing if they were in the vicinity when I killed him or if they arrived after the fact.

Jessica: But the pencil could have been lying there in the grass for days…even weeks.

Hayworth: There was no pencil there Jessica.

Jessica: You can't be sure of that. It was a pencil nub! It was small!

Hayworth: The grass was short. I was there for a full fifteen minutes before he arrived. I stared at the ground around me as I paced and I was pacing back and forth in the exact spot where his body fell. It was orange. I would have seen a damned orange pencil no matter how small it was.

Jessica: Oh please Hilton. Don't get yourself so worked up. The train just finished passing by. They'll blame it on railroad bums.

Hayworth: Yes Jessica! Railroad bums with pencil nubs and rubies.

Jessica: Oh Hilton!

Hayworth: Damned stone! If they ever thought to trace it! Christ!

Jessica: The knife is gone Hilton. They have nothing to trace it to, now stop it! No one in their right mind would suspect you did it. It wouldn't even cross their minds to look at you.

Hayworth: Me? Jessica, this is not just me. This is you too! This is us, and you and I...we...we have got to make a pact.

Jessica: (Amused) A pact?

Hayworth: Yes! A pact. We have to promise each other not to breathe a word about this.

Jessica: Tsk! Well, of course! Gawd!

Hayworth: I mean not breathe a word, ever!

Jessica: Hilton, do you think I'm an idiot.

Hayworth: The knife is gone, right?

Jessica: I just told you that.

Hayworth: And the clothes?

Jessica: Hilton, they're gone! I burned them, ok?

He paces

Hayworth: Ok….ok….first we…we can't be seen in any way shape or form to be having any type of relationship.

Jessica: What?

Hayworth: Jessica?

Jessica: But you and I talked about our living arrangements, about my living arrangements, about….about marriage.

Hayworth: Jessica, you can't expect to simply move in with me just like that…at least not now. We have to allow for time. It has to at least appear that any relationship we have in public happened naturally. We meet at a company function. We chat, we laugh and people see us enjoying each others company. It has to appear that we discovered each other after the fact.

Jessica: But Hilton, that's ridiculous!

Hayworth: It's not ridiculous, Jessica. It's common sense.

Jessica: Well, how long do you expect me to wait?

Hayworth: A year…

Jessica: A year?

Hayworth: …maybe even two.

Jessica: Oh Hilton, stop it! That's crazy!

Hayworth: Jessica, we have to give this some time. Things have got to settle before we can go parading through the streets of Beldune as a couple.

Jessica: But a year?

Hayworth: Yes, a year! And I mean, at least a year.

Jessica: Ha! Hilton, I'm not your whore you know. I'm not going to be left to live in this dump just so you can come by whenever you want to have sex.

Hayworth: Jessica we have got to be discreet.

Jessica: Discreet? Oh, yes, that's just fine for you isn't it! I'll be discreet so you can just go on living your life like nothing has changed.

Hayworth: Jessica, this is murder!

Jessica: What am I supposed to do, Hilton, pretend that we're married?

Hayworth: For Christ sake, will you listen to me? This is murder!

Jessica: I know what it is Hilton, but you promised me that we would get married as soon as James was out of the way.

Hayworth: Jessica!

Jessica: That's what you said!

Hayworth: Jessica!!!

Jessica: What?

Hayworth: This - is - murder! Mur-der!

Jessica: I said, I know.

Pause. He sighs and allows the tension to pass.

Hayworth: Jessica…sweetheart…look…if we are ever caught we will be hung. It's the law. If you murder someone in cold blood, they hang you. We will be put on trial, and we will be hung by our necks until we are dead.

She sighs defeat

Do you understand what I'm saying?

Jessica: I suppose.

Hayworth: Good. Now listen to me…please.

Jessica: I'm listening, Hilton. I'm listening.

Hayworth: You're going to have to visit James' gravesite on a regular basis…once a week for the first five or six months and after that…well, maybe once every month or so. You have to play the role of the grieving widow…it's very important that you do that…if not…well….

Jessica: People will suspect.

Hayworth: Yes, they will. And suspicion is something neither of us can afford.

Jessica: I understand Hilton.

Hayworth: Thank you. It's important. I mean, someone may have seen me do this.

Jessica: Nobody saw you.

Hayworth: Yes, but Jessica, the pencil.

Jessica: Hilton, if someone saw you, don't you think the police would have been at your door by now? Now, stop it.

Hayworth: But how did it get there? Who left it there?

Jessica: I don't know.

Hayworth: Gawd! It…it should have been staged as an accident. I mean, what the hell was I thinking? Killing him with my own bare hands. Christ! How stupid! We could have staged it as an accident and we would have been done with it. Gawd!

She comforts him again

Jessica: Stop it Hilton. You're going to drive yourself crazy. What's done is done. It's over. It's too late to change things now. He's dead, he's gone, no one saw you, it's over and we're finally free to be together.

Hayworth: Yes but not now, right?

Jessica: I understand Hilton. Not now. We have to wait. I can wait, and I will wait.

Hayworth: You can't be seen as the widow of a murdered man who suddenly jumped into a marriage with someone else, right?

Jessica: You're absolutely right.

Hayworth: So…so just promise me….promise me that there will be no talk of the murder between you and I ever again.

Jessica: I promise.

Hayworth: Promise me that you will continue to behave as one of my employees.

Pause. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and reluctantly responds

Jessica: I promise.

Hayworth: It's proper, it's safe and it's extremely important that we remain as distant as possible.

Jessica: I agree.

Hayworth: Do you understand?

Jessica: Yes Hilton.. I do…honest, I do…I understand…

She brushes his face with her hands between the lines

…this is our secret….and I promise you, until the end of time, it will remain our secret…I promise never to utter a word. Until you and I are together, I promise to look the other way when I pass you in the street so people won't ever suspect…..I promise to behave as any good employee of the Hayworth Fabric Company would behave….and I promise to be here for you until the time comes that we can finally tell the world about our love…I promise…whatever length of time it takes.

She embraces him.

…..I can wait.

Lights fade on Scene Five and rise on Scene Six - even transition.

Scene Six

Who's The Pretty Little Baby?

Music Cue: Here Comes The Bride - Scene: Missus Jeffrey's home.

The music overlaps the scene where we see Missus Smith and Missus Gordon are seated, doing needle point and chatting. Music fades.

Missus Smith: Hilton Hayworth is nobody's fool. A man with his kind of money doesn't get rich by being stupid.

Missus Gordon: He can't be all that smart. I mean he was stupid enough to marry Jessica Porter.

Missus Jeffrey enters with a small tray with cookies.

Missus Jeffrey: What are you two talking about? There's nothing wrong with Jessica Porter.

Missus Smith: Oh no dear. There's nothing wrong with Jessica Porter…except for the fact that she's a little trollop!

Missus Jeffrey: What? What are you talking about?

Missus Smith: Well, she got herself a little love nest up there in St. Martha. Didn't you know?

Missus Jeffrey: Where did you hear that?

Missus Gordon: I was told he was only 20 years old.

Missus Jeffrey: 20 years old? My God, that's awful!

Missus Gordon: I heard his family owns a chocolate candy company.

Missus Smith: I hear they're rotting with money.

Missus Gordon: Money! Money! Those types of girls; that's all they're interested in. Money! My God, it's disgusting! They'll do anything for a dollar.

Missus Smith: Oh dear, a dollar?

Missus Gordon: Oh stop it!

Missus Smith: A dollar, you say?

Missus Smith and Missus Gordon laugh

Missus Jeffrey: Who told you this? Stop it you two! Who told you this?

Missus Smith: Jack Johnson who works on the trains, that's who. He says she takes the train twice a month to St. Martha and the same young fellow is there to meet her. They're kissin' an' holding hands and acting all googly-eyed.

Missus Jeffrey: Jessica Porter?

Missus Gordon: Everybody in town knows.

Missus Smith: Except you of course. You should get out more often.

Missus Jeffrey: What about Mr. Hayworth? Does he know?

Missus Gordon: I don't think so. If he did , I'm sure he would have had her out the front door by now.

Missus Smith: Yes, out the door on the business end of his boot.

Missus Jeffrey: Are you sure about this?

Missus Smith: What, you want photographs?

Missus Jeffrey: I just find it hard to believe. Her and Hilton Hayworth have only been married for a little less than two years.

Missus Smith: Yes, and two years before that she was married to James Porter.

Missus Gordon: God rest his soul.

Missus Smith: James Porter, Hilton Hayworth and now this young man from St. Martha's? My God, the poor dear girl must get bored easily.

Missus Jeffrey: Well, that's not fair now. Her first husband was two years deceased. It's not like she took up with Hayworth while he was still living. She still visits her husband's grave with flowers. That in itself proves something about the woman. She's devoted.

Missus Smith: She's devoted alright. Devoted to herself.

Missus Gordon: And money!

Missus Smith: And sex.

Missus Gordon: Oh stop it!

Missus Smith: Don't tell me to stop it.

Missus Jeffrey: Sex? Now there's something I haven't thought of in a while.

Missus Gordon: Now, don't you start.

Missus Jeffrey: Well, no, I was just saying, that's all.

Missus Gordon: Imagine! Her in her forties and having…. making…. doing….it….you know…with a twenty year old.

Missus Smith: Yes…imagine!

Missus Smith imagines

Missus Gordon: It's just not right. It's just not proper. I mean really, can you imagine? Will you stop that?

Missus Smith: Oh sorry. I was just thinking.

Missus Jeffrey: You know, I must be getting old because I haven't thought about sex since Morrison's father passed away.

Missus Gordon: Well, don't start thinking about it now.

Missus Jeffrey: Oh don't be silly! Ha! Actually I didn't think too much about sex when he was alive either. I mean, he would roll on top of me, grunt one, two, maybe three times…and then roll off.

Missus Gordon: We don't need to hear this you know.

Missus Jeffrey: But it's true.

Missus Smith: At this age, I'll take it anyway I can get it. A roll and a grunt would suit me fine just about now.

Missus Jeffrey: Honest to God. It soooo true.

Smith and Jeffrey laugh. Gordon shakes her head in disbelief at the two.

Morrison: Mumma?

Missus Jeffrey: Shush! We're in here dear.

Morrison Enters

Morrison: Mumma? Morrison got tea. Iss hot!

Missus Jeffrey: Well don't burn yourself sweetheart.

Missus Smith: Hello Morrison.

Missus Gordon: What a good boy.

Morrison: Hello Missah Smit'. Tank you Missah Gor'n.

Morrison: Issa one for you.

Missus Smith: Thank you Morrison.

Morrison: An' issa one for you!

Missus Gordon: Thank you dear.

Morrison: An' issa one for Mumma an' tha's all. See?

Missus Jeffrey: Morrison, did you know that Missus Smith has photographs of her grand daughter?

Morrison: Uh uh!

Missus Gordon: Oh please no! Not the pictures again.

Missus Smith: What? You didn't see my pictures?

Morrsion: Uh uh! Morrison Jeffrey din see nuttin'.

Missus Smith: Well, let me show them to you dear.

Missus Jeffrey: Be careful with them Morrison.

She hands him a packet of photographs

Missus Smith: Her name is Tessa and she just celebrated her first birthday.

Morrison: Tessa.

Missus Smith: Her mom and dad just moved here from Paulston. They live in Beldune now. Isn't she pretty?

Morrison: She pretty baby Tessa.

Missus Smith: Oh wait until you see the one where she's sleeping.

Missus Gordon: We saw it already.

Missus Smith: I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Morrison.

Morrison: She a pretty sleeping baby.

Missus Smith: Isn't she an angel?

Morrison: Uh huh…(He sings) Who da pretty liddle baby? Tessa is the pretty baby's name…

Missus Gordon: Oh Morrison, that's so sweet of you.

Morrison: I jus'…I jus' made it up now…iss good, huh? Issa good song…

He returns his attention to the photographs

…ha…yeah…sure iss a pretty angel baby Missah Smit'. A pretty little angel baby an'…an' maybe I cou' baby sit her too, huh?

Missus Smith: Baby sit? You? Oh I don't think so dear.

Morrison: Not now, but when she bigger. I cou' do dat.

Missus Smith: Well I really think….

Morison: But I be a good baby sitter and you wou'n have to pay me no money. I do it for free.

Missus Smith: Well, I'll mention it to her mother. I'll see what she says. Ok?

Missus Jeffrey: Morrison, give Missus Smith back her pictures now.

He passes the pictures to her in a heap. She puts them back inside the envelope.

Morrison: I take photograp', ok?

Missus Smith: Pardon me?

Morrison: I take….um…..I take photograp' of baby?

Missus Smith doesn't understand

Missus Smith: Ahh…yes…..these are photographs….

She looks to the others to assure her that she understands what he just said

That's what he said, right?

Missus Gordon Shrugs

Missus Jeffrey: Morrison dear, you can go to your room now if you want.

Morrison: K Mumma…I go…take photograp', K? Morrison go!

He exits

Missus Gordon: Did he say he took one of your pictures?

Missus Smith: I think that's what he said but I didn't see him take one and I do believe they're all still here.

Missus Jeffrey: I don't know what's wrong with you two. You can't understand English or what? He said he took a photograph of the baby.

Neither Smith or Gordon understand

Missus Jeffrey: Up here…in his head. He took a photograph of the baby. Morrison has a photographic memory.

Missus Smith: Oh yes! The photographic memory. We forgot.

Missus Jeffrey: He's an artist.

Missus Gordon: We know dear. You told us.

Missus Smith: Many times in fact. Of course we've never seen any of these works of art.

Missus Gordon: But I'm sure they exist.

Missus Smith: Oh, indeed. I'm sure they do.

Missus Jeffrey: Will you two stop it? I already told both of you -

Missus Smith: Yes, yes we know. They're in his room.

Missus Gordon: And he doesn't want anyone to see them….which of course means that you won't get to see that photograph of little Tessa he took up there in his head.

Missus Jeffrey: Alright! That's fine. You two have your fun. Morrison doesn't have to prove anything to anyone….

Missus Smith: Oh stop it! You know we think the world of Morrison.

Pause. Smith and Gordon look at each other with a smirk.

…of course we would still like to see one of these works of art you keep going on about.

Missus Jeffrey: I already told you, they're up in his room and he doesn't want anyone to see them.

Smith and Gordon suppress laughter. Missus Jeffrey shakes her head in disgust and returns to her needle point

Oh just shut up…the two of you! Gawd! Tsk!

As lights fade on Scene Six and rise on Scene Seven - even transition.


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