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Represented  by  Paul Thain                                                                                                                                  Contact for licensing rights:  paul@stageplays.com

© COPYRIGHT 2000, 2017  EDWARD CROSBY WELLS All rights reserved.


Revised May 2017                                                                                                                                                      This  script ONLY is available for licensing. 

CHARACTERS:  

DICK PALMER: A secret agent for the Allied Secret Service (ASS).                                                            VELMA LOMBARD: Dick’s love interest, a shop-girl and wannabe actress.                                              OTTO PAPSCHMIER: Baroness Von Cobra’s faithful henchman.                                                         BARONESS VON COBRA: The consummate femme fatale, to be played convincingly by a man and not a "drag queen," unless he can act.                                                                                                                            FRAU SCHNAPPS: The mysterious housekeeper.                                                                                      ADOLPH: A cobra, sock puppet.                                                                                                                     KONGO: A gorilla.                                                                                                                                                      GIRL SCOUTS, ONE, TWO, and THREE: Trick or Treaters who treat the household with their musical floorshow.

TIME & PLACE:  Halloween in the early 1940s Hollywood.

ACT ONE:

Scene 1 – a bench in a park.                                                                                                                                   Scene 2 – the living room of the Von Cobra mansion is ornate and over-decorated. Somewhere there is a table covered with a floor length cloth and holding a large basket. This basket is home to Adolph the cobra which, as a sock puppet, must be manually animated.                                                                         Scene 3 – the lingerie department of Woolworth’s.                                                                                         Scene 4 – the living room of the Von Cobra mansion.

ACT TWO:

Scene 1 – the living room of the Von Cobra mansion                                                                                      Scene 2 – the living room of the Von Cobra mansion                                                                                      Scene 3 – a bench in a park

NOTE: The costumes, the makeup, the set with all its furnishings, and the lighting are in black and white and all the shades between. Your audience will come back to see it again with friends.

 ACT ONE – Scene 1

AT RISE – A park.  DICK PALMER, wearing a fedora and a trench coat, is seated on a bench reading the Los Angeles Times. He folds the paper, lays it on the bench, and then he stands.

DICK:(Directly to audience.) Halloween . . . it’s when the ghouls and gorillas come out . . . the real heart stoppers.  No, not the little kids in costumes, masks or made-up faces, but the real McCoy – the sleazy underbelly of the City of Angels—the kind of horror show that you can only see ‘round midnight in the filth and shadows near Hollywood and Vine. The angels and the sinners tread these treacherous streets . . . these streets where stars and tramps walk side by side . . . where perfumed dames are lookin’ for good-time Charlies and the good-time Charlies are lookin’ for . . . well, lookin’ for a good time. These are my streets. This is my city. This is my beat.  My name is Dick Palmer and I’m a secret agent man. Boy, if this bench could talk!  It was right here on this bench a few years back when me and my ladylove, Velma Lombard, first talked about marriage. Velma Lombard . . . she’s a big star now, but she wasn’t then. Then there was a war on. You know, the WW II.  We were all doing what we could for the war effort, only some of us were doing more than others. We could have lost that war if it wasn’t for me and Velma back then on that fateful Halloween eve. The Germans were breathing down our backs and if we hadn’t squashed the evil Baroness Von Cobra dead in her tracks, we might all be eating blood sausage pudding. We had just finished lunch . . . Velma and me . . . right here on this very park bench . . . on that fateful Halloween eve. . . . So, here’s the story—

(VELMA LOMBARD, a platinum blonde bombshell, ENTERS and sits on the bench. When she speaks, she has a high-pitched voice and is incredibly naïve. She chews gum and when she’s finished with it, she sticks it under things. Meanwhile, OTTO PAPSCHMIER is hiding behind a fake tree, that he carries with him. OTTO is wondering if he really is invisible.)

VELMA:  (Her hands are all over DICK.) Dicky, Dicky, Dicky. I’ve waited so long. I’ll be an old maid before we get married. (She moves yet closer.) Take my hand.

DICK:(Taking her hand.) What do you want me to do with it?

VELMA: You're such a funny bunny. I want you to marry it . . . I mean me. I want you to be my Dick, forever and ever.  

DICK: Ah, Velma. I can’t. I can’t say that 'cause I can’t take your hand 'cause . . . well . . . I can’t . . . you know . . . now . . . but when I can . . . forever and ever?

VELMA: Oh, stop it and say it. Say you’ll be mine, you silly Billy. We’re closer than ham and cheese. Closer than tomato and lettuce. Closer than franks and beans. We belong together, Dicky.

DICK: I can’t marry you, Velma.

VELMA: You can.

DICK: I can’t. There’s my career to think about. I don’t want you worrying every time I leave home to go to work, you may never see me again.

VELMA: Shucks, why don’t you quit being a secret agent man?

DICK: 'Cause I’m a red-blooded, loyal, faithful, all-American boy who loves his flag and will defend it till death do us part.

VELMA: (Pouting.) Sounds like you’re already married, if you were to ask me.

DICK: In a way, Sugar, I am.

VELMA: Well, where does that leave me?

DICK:  Next, Babe. Next.

VELMA: In line?

DICK: In a way.

VELMA: I won't let my movie career get in the way of our marriage. Honest. I won’t.

DICK: Babe, I could get killed in my line of work, but in Hollywood there ain't nobody lurkin' about to kill you.

VELMA: In this town?  You’ve got to be kidding! 

DICK: Velma, Sweetheart, you don’t have a movie career.

VELMA: Not yet, but I will . . . as soon as I am discovered.

DICK: In Woolworth’s?

VELMA: This is Hollywood, ain‘t it?  Stranger things have happened.

DICK: But not in Woolworth’s.

VELMA: I will have you know that Suki Salome was discovered in Woolworth’s.

DICK: Who’s Suki Salome?

VELMA: She was a stand-in for Maria Montez. She used to work in the cosmetic department. Suki’s the one who actually got to jump into the smoldering volcano.

DICK: Wasn't she lucky?

VELMA: Yes and no. She’s back at Woolworth’s. Only this time she’s working in the hardware department until they remove the bandages.

DICK: Bandages?

VELMA: From the burns, Silly.

DICK: I see. Fame is a fleeting flame, ain’t it?

VELMA: I don’t know what that means, but it sure sounds nice.

DICK: Thank you, Velma. But, I’ll tell you what’s not nice. There’s a war on, Babe—a big ugly world war with an ugly little man with an ugly little mustache with an ugly attitude who means to conquer the world and make it into something as ugly as himself.  

VELMA:  Gads! What an ugly mess.

DICK: You got that right, sister. How can I think about marriage while the Germans are breathing down our necks?

(OTTO quickly backs away—tree and all.)

VELMA: Throw caution to the wind. 

DICK: I can’t. We gotta end this big bad war first. I’m doing what I must for the war effort, Velma.

VELMA: I know you are, Dicky, and I think that’s just swell. But, why can’t I marry a G-man, a secret agent? It’s a good job. You pay taxes.  You’re doing what you can to preserve the American way, aren’t you?

DICK: You bet I am, Babe. But that’s the thing.  My kind of work is dangerous. There’s danger around every corner, around every bend in the road, any where there’s someplace to hide and lurk in the shadows, behind a tree, perhaps. You could be taken hostage by a foreign agent, so they could get to me. That’s life in the ASS.

VELMA: (Shivering.) Gives me the heebee geebees.

DICK: It oughta. There’s danger all around us, Sweetheart, and I will not put you in the middle of it. 

VELMA: I’m so proud of you. When people ask me what my husband does, I can raise my chin and stand tall when I tell them that my Dicky is a secret agent . . . my Dicky works to protect justice and freedom and the American way . . . my Dicky works for ASS.

DICK:  You gotta spell it out, Velma.  A-S-S, Allied Secret Service. (Taking VELMA in his arms) ASS has my body, but you will always have my heart.

VELMA: I’ll have to be content with your heart, for now. I will wait until after the war for the rest of you.

DICK: Shucks. You’re so cute. We’ve got to win this war first . . . and soon.

VELMA: We will. We’ve got to put our trust in President Roosevelt and in the American way . . . because the American way is the right way and the right way is our way . . . therefore, we should get our way, right?

DICK: (Bewildered.) Ah . . . right. We are Americans. We should get our way!

VELMA: (Glances at her watch.) Oops, my lunch hour is almost over.  While you figure out how we’re going to win the big ugly war I have to get back into ladies’ lingerie, or I’ll be out on my . . . (OTTO SNEEZES from behind a slowly advancing tree.) Bless you.

DICK: What?

VELMA: I said, bless you.

DICK: Bless you, too, Velma.

VELMA: Thank you, Dicky, but I didn’t sneeze. (She rises to leave.)

DICK: I thought you did.

VELMA: Nope. Wasn’t me.  (Gives him a quick peck on the cheek.)  Happy Halloween, darling.  Gotta go.  Can’t be late for work.  I really just can’t.  Don’t forget we’re going trick-or-treating this evening.

DICK: I won’t.  See you later, Baby-cakes. (Afterthought.) Wait!

VELMA: What?

DICK: I almost forgot. I’ve got something for you, Babe.

VELMA: You do?  Whatever is it, Dicky?

DICK: (Removes a long-stemmed red rose from one of the pockets of his trench coat.) A rose . . . an American Beauty rose for the most beautiful girl in America.

VELMA: (Taking the rose.) Thank you, Dicky. Aren’t you just too sweet? OUCH!

DICK: What happened?

VELMA: I think I pricked myself on your rose, Dicky.

DICK: Here, let me see. (He takes her hand, palm up, and kisses it.) There, all better.

VELMA: Ooh, it feels better already. You’re such a silly goose. I guess in the garden of life there has always got to be a little prick.

DICK: My mother’s words, exactly. Now you hurry along and I’ll meet you right here after work.

VELMA: Bye-bye.

DICK: Bah-bye. (VELMA leans in to kiss him. DICK gently pushes her away.) Ixnay on the isseskay. We’re in a public place.

VELMA: Sorry. Bye again. (VELMA exits.)

DICK: Bye again. (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you.

OTTO: (From behind the tree.) Thank you.

DICK: What the . . . (Starts to RISE. OTTO, wearing a tuxedo and red sash, as he always does, comes out from behind the tree and drops a pillowcase over DICK’s head.) My hat! Don’t forget my hat!

BLACK OUT.

END ACT ONE – Scene 1


ACT ONE – Scene 2

AT RISE – The living room of the Von Cobra mansion. BARONESS VON COBRA is alone onstage talking into the microphone of the short-wave radio. She is wearing something deadly dark and sexy. 

BARONESS: (Into microphone.) Ya. Ya ya. Ya ya ya!  My manservant, Otto Papschmier (pronounce: pap-shmeer) is taking care of that as we speak, Herr Lipshitz. Vhat? Very vell. Let me schart from the beginning and work my way toward der middle. It is the only way to get to the bottom of things, yah? So, I spill beans . . . huh?  I mean, vhat’s veen going on. Ya, ya, the schtory. So, here’s the schtory—It was late last night. It was dark and it vas schtormy. One might even say, gloomy. (A flash of LIGHTNING followed by the SOUND of THUNDER.) Shortly after receiving a radio call from Der Man . . . heil . . . Otto came into the living room of my beautiful mansion, high in the Hollywood Hills, for his nightly orders.

(OTTO enters.)

BOTH: I am waiting for my orders.

BARONESS: He said. And then I said . . . (No longer speaking into microphone, but to OTTO.) Of course you are, Otto, darling.

OTTO: (Throws himself to his knees.) Please.  Give me orders!  I live to look up to the soles of your shoes!

BARONESS: Of course you do, Herr Papschmier. (She pronounces it pap-shmeer. The BARONESS continues to mispronounce OTTO’S name throughout the play.)

OTTO: (Correcting her.) Sha-my-er. Otto Pap-sha-my-er.

BARONESS: How many times have I told you, Papschmier, you are who I say you are!

OTTO: Of course. I cannot imagine who it was came over me. The ghost of a former life, I presume.

BARONESS:  I am not one who presumes, dear Otto.  I am one who knows. Neither presumptions nor assumptions are in my little  Mein Kampf.  Struggles you could never imagine.  

OTTO: I must read it someday.

BARONESS: Tonight after your hot cocoa. (She breathes heavily and sexually suggestively.) I insist!

OTTO: I am looking forward to it, Mistress.

BARONESS: Of course you are.  Now get up! (OTTO does.) You have sunken to levels beneath you. By the way, I just spoke with Der Man.

OTTO: Der Man . . ?  You mean . . ?

BARONESS: I do.

OTTO: (Salutes.) Heil Der Man.

BARONESS: Heil Him. There ist a submarine soon leafing der Port of Los Angeles.  It contains a top-secret veapon that das Third Reich must get its hands on before der Americans use it on Tokyo Joe.

OTTO: Right.  Third Reich.  Hands.  Der Man.  Heil Him. Got it.

BARONESS: Good.  He needs to know when the schnitzel schleps.

OTTO: The schnitzel schleps?

BARONESS: Leafs port.  We must know vhich schnitzel contains das sauerbraten before it schleps to sea.

OTTO: Vhich schnitzel contains das sauerbraten before it schleps?

BARONESS: That’s what I said!  Das secret weapon is the sauerbraten.

OTTO: Das sauerbraten is der secret weapon?

BARONESS: Yady, yady, ya!  You keep repeating me and I will need to burn the wax out of your ears with . . . something hot.  We must know what we must know.  Und we know we must get our hands on that secret weapon.  Know what I mean?

OTTO: Ya!  We must get our hands on that schnitzel.

BARONESS: Nein!  We must get our hands on das sauerbraten after we have boarded der schnitzel.  Das Man will not rest till we have it in our hands.

OTTO: The sauerbraten?

BARONESS: Ya vohl.  The secret sauerbraten.  I mean, the secret weapon.  Sauerkraut is most anxious.

OTTO: Sauerkraut is anxious?

BARONESS: Ya, sauerkraut must get his hands on das sauerbraten.

OTTO: You mean . . . ?

BARONESS: I do.

BOTH: (Salute.) Heil Der Man!

BARONESS: The future of der pumpernickel depends on it.

OTTO: Der pumpernickel?

BARONESS: You’re doing it again!  (She pinches his ear.)  Das Third Reich!

OTTO:  (Rubbing his ear.) Your hand is so hot, my sweet.

BARONESS: Shhh. Later.

OTTO: Okie Dokie.  Der future of der  pumpernickel, which is headed by das sauerkraut, depends on knowing when der schnitzel containing das sauerbraten schleps to sea, ya?

BARONESS: Ya. You can say that again.

OTTO: Der future of  . . .

BARONESS: (Cutting him off.) Nein!  One more word and I vill cut off your head. You’ve been listening to Burns and Allen again, haven’t you? They are rotting the guts out of your mind.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (ENTERS.  She is dressed more like a gypsy than a housekeeper.  She sports a thin mustache.)  You called, Baroness?

BARONESS: Nein.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I distinctly heard my name.

BARONESS: No one called your name, Frau Schnapps.  Now go about your rat catching!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I have finished the rat catching, Madam.

BARONESS: Good.  Feed them lots of cheese.  I want them nice and plump when I present them to darling Adolph.

OTTO: Heil!

BARONESS: Not that Adolph, dummkopf!

OTTO: Ah, you mean das snake.

BARONESS: Ya, das schnake. (Turning to FRAU SCHNAPPS.) Vell?  Haven’t you something to do?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I’m making pretzels, Your Ingratiatingness.

BARONESS: I beg your pardon?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Pretzels, Your Graciousness. I am making pretzels.

BARONESS: How charming.  Go.  And get a shave, Schnapps!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I’m gone. (EXITS.)

BARONESS: Now, where were we, Otto?

OTTO: Getting our hands on das sauerbraten for das sauerkraut after we’ve boarded der schnitzel in order to save das pumpernickel.

BARONESS: Otto, it is best you watch your “ders” and your “dases.”  We are in America and ve should not vant to arouse suspicion.  Know vhat I mean?

OTTO: Oh, ya . . . but you . . .

BARONESS: (Cutting him off.) Do as I say.  Not as I speak!  Herr Hitler said . . .

OTTO: (Salutes.) Heil!

BARONESS: Heil! (A beat.) As I vas saying, Herr Hitler . . .

OTTO: Heil!

BARONESS: Schtop it!   Schtop it, schtop it, schtop it!

OTTO: Yes, Madam.

BARONESS: Now . . . vhere was I, Papschmier? (Mispronounces, as always.)

OTTO: (About to correct her but thinks better of it.  After a pause.) You were saying, “Herr . . . Hitler . . . (He gets in a quick, short, sotto voce, “Heil.”) said . . .”

BARONESS: Ah, yes.  Und vhat he said was, ve must find the man from ASS.

OTTO: Ass, Madam?

BARONESS: Allied Secret Service. (She spells it out.) A-S-S. Do I need to spell it out for you?

OTTO: Ah, that kind of ass.

BARONESS: Dummkopf!  We must get our hands on Dick Palmer.  He is ASS’s top man.  He knows where the secret weapon is hidden and he knows vhen the submarine leaves port and vhere it is headed, and he knows . . . he knows everything und ve know nothing!  You must bring him back to me for interrogation, if you know what I mean, dear Otto.

OTTO: Ya, Madam. I know exactly what you mean.  I will go and get Dick from ASS and bring him back for . . . interrogation. 

BARONESS: And I will inject him with the secret truth serum made from the venom of the king cobra.

OTTO: No dases or ders?  What happened to your accent?

BARONESS: It comes. It goes. I'm learning. I listen to Jack Benny on der radio.  Now.  Your orders.

OTTO: I live to grovel, Baroness Von Cobra.

BARONESS: I expect nothing less. (Hands OTTO a slip of paper.) This is where you vill find Agent Palmer tomorrow at noon where he vill be having lunch, as he does every weekday, with his lady friend Velma Lombard. Undershtood?

OTTO: (Falls to his knees.) Yes, I understand, my Baroness.  Tomorrow at noon I will invite Agent Palmer for a nice cup of tea and some strudel. Then, after the strudel, the sauerkraut will have the last laugh as the sauerbraten and the schnitzel hit der fan. Long live der pumpernickel!

BARONESS: Wunderbar! And then I will inject him with the venom of das schnake.

OTTO: So you said, Madam.

BARONESS: I did not. Must I schmack your other ear.

OTTO: You make my life so delicious, Baroness.  Would you schmack me real good? Or you kick me once before I retire to my room . . . please?

BARONESS: Oh, how I spoil you, Herr Papschmier.

OTTO: Pap-sha-my-er.

BARONESS: Of course. (She kicks him.) And for correcting me you get an extra kick.  (She kicks him again.) And this is for fun. (She slaps his other ear.) Now go!  And may your dreams be filled with the scent of black boot leather. 

(OTTO gets up, bows, backs out and EXITS.  The BARONESS waits for him to disappear before returning to the short-wave radio and speaks into the microphone. )

BARONESS (Con’t.): So, as I was saying, Herr Lipshitz, Papschmier left to fetch Palmer directly after breakfast.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Enters stumbling.) Baroness Von Cobra!  Tonight is Halloween Eve and I don’t know what to give the trick-or-treaters.

BARONESS: Give them nothing. They are filthy, dirty, nasty, vile, foul little beggars. I never begged for anything in my life.  What I got I got from honest, hard work.  Halloween is just an excuse to exploit the masses and to rot de teeth of de little children.  If you ask me, Frau Schnapps, Halloween was invented by a greedy, evil dentist! (After a pause to examine Schnapps mustache.) You still have not shaved, Schnapps.  I gave you an order!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: It is a beauty stash.  

BARONESS: If one were to stretch ones imagination to such an improbable degree I suppose one could call it that.  Shave it anyway!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Yes, Your High Horse.

BARONESS: What was that, Schnapps?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Yes, Your Highness.  I will shave my beauty stash.  Can I wait until tomorrow.  I have so much to do today.

BARONESS: Like what?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Well . . . The pretzels.  The strudel.

BARONESS: Ahh . . . and what kind of strudel might that be . . . ?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Apple. I always make apple. I am mortified to remind Your High-ass, but there is the matter of the treats. We must give the children something, or they’ll put soap on our windows and toilet paper up our trees.

BARONESS: Soap on our vindows?  Toilet paper up our twees? That didn’t sound like "Your Highness?"

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I was chewing gum, Your Highness. Mea culpa. Halloween is America’s most celebrated custom. Bigger than Christmas. Although I’m not a statistician, am I? So, what do I know, huh? Maybe I should make extra pretzels.  I will give them pretzels. BARONESS: Ya, pretzels. The burnt, deformed and broken ones, please. (Takes the SPOTLIGHT. To Audience) We lived on pretzels, mother and I.  Pretzels were our salvation. Father was an outdoorsman. He was also a proctologist, but got himself into a lot of trouble for practicing without a license.  Anyway, one day father went hunting for bear in the backwoods of the Black Forest with Bertha the Bavarian barmaid and neither were ever heard from again. He left mother and me to struggle and to schtarve. Ya, ya.  I was a poor little girl in Heidelberg who sold pretzels, that my mother made, to university students with scarred faces made by swords—willingly. Strange, huh? That was our only source of income, my dear Schnapps . . .

FRAU SCHNAPPS: You are a Baroness, right?

BARONESS: Of course I am  Baroness!  Why do you ask such a question?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I love to hear you say that you are a Baroness.

BARONESS: Vhy ist this? Are you questioning my royalty?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nein, nein!  No, I worship royalty. I idolize you.

BARONESS: Couldn't prove it by me.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I like to keep it a secret.

BARONESS: Pferdescheiße!  I vas not always a Baroness.  But not then, Schnapps—then, I was poor little Helga Schmidt the proctologist’s daughter in das schwein tails.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Schwein tails?

BARONESS: Ya, ya, schwein tails.  Oink, oink!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ah, pigtails!

BARONESS: Ya, und braided pigtails.  The Baron was very fond of little girls with der schwanz of das schwein.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya, so I’ve heard; rumors.

BARONESS: Vher did you hear rumors?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ahh . . . come to think of it, I may have not heard it in real life.  It must have been a radio show. Please, continue.

BARONESS: Yady, yady, ya.  It was the Baron Von Cobra who took me away from the squalor of Heidelberg. The first Baroness Von Cobra died quite suddenly after some radical experimental surgery and I happened to be in a position to comfort the poor bereaved Baron.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: And what position might that have been, Your Swineness?

BARONESS: I beg your pardon?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I said, what happened to the Baron Von Cobra, Your Highness?

BARONESS: Adolph murdered him.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: The Fuhrer?

BARONESS: Das Schnake.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: On purpose?

BARONESS: The late Baron was a small man with a big . . . appetite.  He had just finished his third platter of sausage and noodles when he bumped into Adolph’s basket, passed gas, and got himself bit on der arsch.  Perhaps, Adolph mistook him for a large farm animal.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya, I can see how that could happen.  How sad.

BARONESS: Is it?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Oh, yes, I think it is.

BARONESS: Güt.  In that case, remind me to tell it to you again sometime. Now go and make more pretzels! (FRAU SCHNAPPS stumbles out.  The BARONESS returns to the short wave-radio and speaks into the microphone.)  Now go and make more pretzels, I told Frau Schnapps. What’s that?  Ah, yes, Herr Lipshitz,  der whole kitchen vill be filled with pretzels . . . little ones, big ones, salted, unsalted, you name it.  I certainly cannot. I do not vant soap on my vindows and toilet paper up my twees.  Und any minute I am expecting Otto to return with Agent Dick Palmer.  Our plan is right on schedule.  I will contact you as soon as I’ve got the lowdown on das sauerbraten in das schnitzel. I pledge allegiance to de pumpernickel.  Heil Sauerkraut!  (She carefully replaces the radio into its hiding place, surveys the room, and then yells towards the kitchen.)  Frau Schnapps!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Comes running into the room wearing strings of pretzels around her neck.) Trick or treat?  I got a hot treat for you!

BARONESS: Nein, nein, nein. Not yet!  It is time to feed my baby Adolph.  Bring me a nice plump rat.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Yes, madam. (She turns to leave.)

BARONESS: Wait!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Turning back.) What!?

BLACK OUT.

END ACT ONE – Scene 2


ACT ONE – Scene 3

AT RISE – the counter at the lingerie department of Woolworth’s. A single red rose is in a bud vase is setting on the counter.  VELMA LOMBARD has just finished with a customer and she is waving “goodbye.”

VELMA: Thank you.  Happy Halloween.  On behalf of the family and staff of Woolworth’s may I wish you and yours a swell day.  (A beat.)  Bless you! (To herself.) I don’t know.  Seems like “have a swell day” ought to be nice enough. Oh, well . . . I’ll put it in the suggestion box. (OTTO enters.)  Good afternoon, sir.  Welcome to Woolworth’s Department Store. May I interest you in some ladies’ lingerie?  Of course lingerie is only for ladies, isn’t it?  So maybe I should ask if I may interest you in lingerie?  I mean, did you ever hear of men’s lingerie?  What do you think? (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you.  Geez, that sneeze sounds familiar.

OTTO: Your perfume.

VELMA: That’s the next aisle over.

OTTO: No. Your perfume . . . it makes me sneeze.

VELMA: Oh, it makes everybody sneeze.  Except my Dicky. It’s hard to get my Dicky to sneeze. He doesn’t smell much.

OTTO: Your Dicky doesn’t smell much? That doesn’t sound like a problem to me.

VELMA: Thick hairs . . . up the nose . . . they filter everything out. Runs in his family, I think.

OTTO: Ohh, I see. VELMA: You do?

OTTO: Perfectly. But why do you wear der perfume that makes people sneeze? Except your Dicky.

VELMA: Because it’s all the rage. Did you know that Joan Crawford wears this very perfume? That’s not to say I’m a huge fan of Joan Crawford, but she is a real sweet lady. I mean, adopting those little kids and all. I read somewhere that she wears this very same perfume. It doesn’t seem to have done her any harm if you ask me. (OTTO appears bewildered.) Anyway, she if it’s good enough for Joan Crawford it is good enough for me.  It’s called Voodoo.

OTTO: Voodoo?

VELMA: Yeah . . . like that voodoo that you do so well?

OTTO: I don’t do voodoo. Who is telling you these lies?

VELMA: No, silly. I didn’t mean you “do voodoo.”  It’s a song.  You’ll stop after three sneezes.  Everybody does.  Now what may I interest you in?

OTTO: I can’t really say.

VELMA: Then you came to right place.

OTTO: I will be picking something up.

VELMA: What did you have in mind?

OTTO: (Carefully eyeing her, taking mental measurements.) Something not too heavy. A bit frivolous. Perhaps, a little schtupid.

VELMA: Schtupid?

OTTO: Ya, not too schmart.

VELMA: Not too schmart?

OTTO: Ya. I mean "yes."

VELMA: Not too schmart, huh?  You’d have to go to Gimbals or Macy’s for that. Nothing too smart here. This is for your wife?

OTTO: Nein.

VELMA: Nine? Wives? You’re not one of those Mormons, are you?

OTTO: (Sternly.) I do not have a wife!

VELMA: Well, then. Perhaps it is for your mistress? You can talk to me. I’m very modern.

OTTO: No, she is not exactly my mistress.  She tells me things to do. She gives me orders. She beats me and she whispers nasty things into my ears.  She calls me names und she makes me feel good all over.  Sometimes when I am blue and lonely and feeling lost in der soulless streets of Tinseltown she gets out der whip . . .

VELMA: (Cutting him off.) Whoa . . . you’re not talking about Mother Mavis over at Saint Gertrude’s Catholic School for Girls, are you? We used to call her Mad Mother Mavis. Jeepers creepers! You didn’t want to cross that mean Mother . . .

OTTO: No, no, no. I know nothing about mean mad mothers.

VELMA: Aren’t you lucky? Then are you sure we’re not talking about your wife?

OTTO: I said, I am not married.

VELMA: Like I said, I’m very modern.

OTTO: She is of royalty. I am a mere commoner. I am not fit to lay down and let her schtep on my face and squish my nose and leave sticky bubble gum all over my body from off the soles of her shoes.

VELMA: Ah, a Princess! I know exactly what you mean. So many Princesses nowadays.  Me, me, me . . . that’s all they think about, isn’t it?

OTTO: She is a Baroness.

VELMA: A Baroness.  Oh, you do have it bad, don’t you?  Well, let’s see . . . something not too smart for a Baroness . . . how about something in black?

OTTO: Black is her favorite color.

VELMA: Somehow I knew that.

OTTO: You are a very perceptive young lady.

VELMA: Likewise I’m sure. (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you.

OTTO: Danke. VELMA: Are you sure I don’t know you? You have a very distinctive sneeze. I seem to have heard it before. Oh well, it’ll come to me. So, does your Baroness have a castle?

OTTO: In Heidelberg. She has biggest castle in all of Deutschland.

VELMA: Really?

OTTO: No, not really. But she likes to think so. The Kaiser’s . . . his is bigger.  I play along because she plays along with me.

VELMA: But she is a Baroness, right?

OTTO: Ya, she has the papers to prove it.

VELMA: Papers?

OTTO: Of pedigree.

VELMA: Pedigree? You mean like a Chihuahua?

OTTO: Maybe. I know nothing of Chihuahua. She also has a mansion high up in the Hollywood hills. It is the biggest best mansion in all of Hollywood.

VELMA: Really?

OTTO: Probably not. I don’t know. I don’t get around much anymore. I say what she tells me to say.

VELMA: Well, I’m sure I’d love to see her biggest best mansion.

OTTO: Maybe you will . . . ya, I mean yes. Maybe you will.

VELMA: (Velma jumps with excitement.) I know!

OTTO: What? What do you know?

VELMA: A teddy! Every Baroness needs a black teddy.

OTTO: I don’t think she would like a bear.

VELMA: Not a bear, silly. If you aren’t the sweetest man . . . (She reaches under the counter and pulls out a black teddy.) Here, this is a teddy.

OTTO: (Examining, fondling and sniffing the teddy.) Ooh, what a nice piece of merchandise. This would go so good with der whip.

VELMA: I suppose it would. (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you. Gads! Now I remember . . . (OTTO quickly swoops the teddy over VELMA’S head.)

BLACK OUT.

END ACT ONE – Scene 3


ACT ONE – Scene 4

AT RISE – The living room of the Von Cobra mansion.  All is as it was before.  The MUSIC rises with the LIGHTING as FRAU SCHNAPPS is about to remove one of the remaining veils.

DICK: Stop! Stop! I’ve had enough! I can’t take it anymore!  I’ve seen my share of bad floorshows, but this one’s worse than the Tijuana donkey serenade.

BARONESS: Then you vill talk?

DICK: Sister, I’ll sing like a hundred and seventy-five pound canary with a hair lip if she promises to cease and desist. (The BARONESS turns off the phonograph.) Just when I thought I saw everything there was to see, there they were . . . three . . . count ‘em . . .three.  How did you get three bosoms, lady?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler. It was an experiment und I was a volunteer. He wanted to make de perfect woman and I am das perfect result.

DICK: Looks to me like an experiment gone bad . . . really bad. Bad like a month old hardboiled egg . . . bad like a three day old sardine sandwich . . .

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nein. The boy with three hands liked them. Ya, he’d come to me in his tight little lederhosen. (Aside.) I loved the smell of lederhosen . . . under the light of the gypsy moon as the violins was playing and the trees was swaying to der sweet gypsy music . . . und he was feeling frisky und with those big hairy hands of his he would reach up for my. . . . 

BARONESS: (Cutting her off.) That will be enough, Frau Schnapps! You may go now. It is almost time for der tricky treaters.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Yes, Your Arbitrariness. We certainly don’t want soap on our windows.

BARONESS: Good, good.  Und we don’t want toilet paper up our twees . . . it gets all wet and soggy and impossible to get it all off, if you know what I mean. (FRAU SCHNAPPS exits. To DICK.) We are alone at last.

DICK: Yeah, ain’t this the bee’s knees? It’s just you and me, kid. My heart is goin’ all pity-pat . . . and so is my gall bladder.

BARONESS: I am waiting to hear the canary singing.

DICK: I don’t chirp on an empty stomach, lady.

BARONESS: You are schtalling and you are wasting precious time! (The SOUND of the front door closing.) Ah, delivery! It looks like you’ll get your wish, Herr Dick. I sent out for a very special dish. (OTTO enters with gun in hand, pushing VELMA into the room. VELMA still has the teddy over her head. The BARONESS crosses to VELMA and pulls the teddy from off her head.)

VELMA: (Runs to DICK.) Oh, Dicky! This terrible man with a funny accent carried me right out of Woolworth’s. You don’t think they’ll dock my salary, do you? I hope not. Gads. I used up this month’s supply of ration stamps already, but then this month is pretty much over, isn’t it? I mean, Halloween and all. Anyway, it was almost closing time.  Oh, I could spit. I could just spit. Gads.

BARONESS: Put a zipper on it, sister!

VELMA: Likewise I’m sure.

BARONESS: (Pushes VELMA into the chair next to ADOLPH’ basket.)  It looks like the floorshow isn’t quite over yet.

VELMA: There’s a floorshow?

DICK: (To the BARONESS.) You never put a muzzle on it, do you?

BARONESS: Not when the fate of the Third Reich is at stake.

OTTO: Das pumpernickel.

BARONESS: Ya, das pumpernickel.

DICK: I’ll have mine on rye with a side of potato salad and a cream soda. And don’t forget the pickle.

OTTO: Good choice, sir.

BARONESS: It is not all hearts und flowers with me, Herr Dick.  You vill see very soon that this is not all fun and games. This is a battle of vills und the German vill is der vill that vill out!

DICK: Ya-ya and a yippy ki yay to that, boss.

VELMA: Is this some kind of weird Hollywood Halloween party?  I really didn’t come dressed for it. I’m so embarrassed, Dicky.

DICK: Don’t be embarrassed, sweetheart. It ain’t no party.  We seem to be in the dirty, slimy, blood-soaked hands of secret agents for Adolph Hitler.

BARONESS & OTTO: (Salute.) Heil!

VELMA: Adolph Hitler? You mean the Adolph Hitler?

BARONESS & OTTO: Heil! Heil!

DICK: Yup!  There ain’t none other, sweetheart.  You can bet on it. They’re gonna use and abuse you to get at me. But I wouldn’t let it bother me were I you.

VELMA: Use and abuse me?  I don’t want to be used or abused, Dicky. How are they going to use and abuse me?

DICK: Maybe the old Chinese water torture routine, maybe the bamboo slivers under the fingernails, or toothpicks to hold the eyes open, or the limburger cheese up the nostrils, or another dance by the three-bosomed lady.

VELMA: (Confused and then to the BARONESS, extending her hand.)  Hi. I’m Velma Lombard. I’m an actress. You may not have heard of me. I haven’t done very much yet. In fact, I haven’t done anything really.  But I’m gonna be the next big thing, only nobody knows it yet. I mean big.  Big like Veronica Lake big, or maybe Merle Oberon big. Anyway, Miss . . . what a pretty dress. Is it off the rack?  What did you say your name was?

BARONESS: Clam up, blondie! The next act is about to begin.

VELMA: What do you mean, the next act?  I think I missed something here. Could you fill me in on the first act?

BARONESS: What’s the matter, creampuff?  You didn’t get a program at the door?

VELMA: No, I just came right in with this . . . this . . . (Indicates OTTO. To OTTO.) I’m sorry. I never got your name either. I’m Velma Lombard. I’m an actress.

BARONESS: Yady, yady, ya. Clam up! You’re making me crazy!

DICK: Somebody else did that long ago, sister. (He tosses his words on the sly.) Adolph Hitler.

BARONESS and OTTO: (Stop to salute.) Heil.

VELMA: Hi all to you.

DICK: (Nudges VELMA.) Shhh . . . they’re sayin’ a bad thing.

VELMA: (Sotto Voce.) Could have fooled me.

BARONESS: (To VELMA.) Put a zipper on it, sugar pie. Little Dicky here doesn’t want to sing, so I’ve got a little ditty that is sure to make him change his tune. (She begins to sing.) LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART (A GORILLA suddenly is seen lurking in the shadows.) I’M IN LOVE MIT YOU (The GORILLA moves about the room unseen by ALL.) LET ME HEAR YOU VHISPER THAT YOU LOVE ME, TOO (The lid on ADOLPH’S basket slowly opens.) KEEP THE LOVELIGHT GLOWING IN YOUR . . . (BARONESS sneezes.) EYES SO TRUE.

VELMA: Bless you.

BARONESS: Thank you. (Continues singing.) LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART  (The GORILLA sneezes.)

ALL: (None took notice of who sneezed—they respond merely out of habit.) Bless you!

(The GORILLA grunts. By now ADOLPH has risen high over his basket.)

BARONESS: (Continues.) I’M IN LOVE MIT YOU  (ADOLPH sneezes.)

VELMA: (Turns to Adolph.) Bless you. (Adolph proceeds to bite her on the neck and then retreats back into his basket.) Ouch! He needs to be housebroken.

BARONESS: I vill keep that it in mind. You were just bitten by Adolph!

VELMA: You named your snake Adolph? Not a good thing.

BARONESS: Ya, it is not a good thing. Adolph, my precious Adolph, is a king cobra . . . und without de antidote I’m afraid you have less than an hour to live.  (She laughs. To DICK.) So, what have you got to say for yourself now, Dicky?

VELMA: Less than an hour? I’m going to be a movie star. I’m gonna need more than an hour. Do something, Dicky!

DICK: (Looks over toward VELMA.) I’m sorry, Velma, but I can’t.

VELMA: You can’t?

DICK: I can’t. I really can’t. I am sworn to secrecy.

VELMA: What are you, crazy? You choose ASS over me?

DICK: Sorry, babe, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. (The GORILLA sneezes.)

ALL: Bless you! (ALL turn and see the GORILLA. ALL scream wildly.)

FRAU SCHNAPPS: It’s me! It’s me! (She removes the head from off the gorilla costume. The screaming of the others slows to a stop.) What?  What?

BARONESS: Frau Schnapps! What do you think you are doing?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I was trying on my Halloween costume.

BARONESS: Well, take it off! You look like a gorilla.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I’m supposed to look like a gorilla.  When the little children come for der tricks und der treats they like a little scare. A good scare from time to time is good for them.  Herr Doctor Sigmund Freud said it helps der little wisenheimers to grow and to be strong eight ways.  I think he said eight ways. Maybe, that was somebody else. I wonder?

BARONESS: Just throw water in their dirty little faces and they’ll grow just as strong without scaring them with all this monkey business. Und where did you get das gorilla suit?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: I rented it.

BARONESS: Well, take it back! It is ugly! You will not wear this for der twick or tweaters. I don’t care how much it makes der children grow and I don’t care in how many ways. They grow fast enough and in too many ways as it is.

VELMA: Excuse me for interrupting, but if you all don’t mind, I’ve got less than an hour to live . . . and you certainly do look like a gorilla. No offense. My Aunt Louise spent a fortune and all that time and pain on suck and pluck.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Huh?

VELMA: (To SCHNAPPS.) You know . . . with a doctor’s syringe. Instead of pushing something in, the needle goes in with the plunger down, then when the plunger is quickly pulled up, it sucks and plucks roots and all. It was all the rage in her day. Hello, my name is Velma Lombard and I’m an actress.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Extending her gorilla hand.) Pleased to meet you, Velma.

VELMA: Likewise I’m sure. (Shakes hand.) Geez. I never shook hands with a gorilla before. Did you know that Kongo the killer gorilla escaped from the zoo this morning?  They made a special announcement on the loudspeaker in Woolworth’s.  Pretty much cleared out the store, but what the hey?  For a moment I thought you were he . . . you were him . . . he was you . . . it was him . . . or, is it he . . . or it’s . . .

BARONESS: (Looking at watch and then at VELMA.) Tick, tick, tick . . . .

VELMA: Anyway, if it had of been Kongo we’d probably all be dead by now . . . or  worse.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: What could possibly be worse?

VELMA: They say he never met a female he didn’t . . . well, you know.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: No. I don’t know.

VELMA: Yes, you know. (Timidly demonstrates using finger gestures to suggest sexual intercourse.)  Exsay . . . the old down and irtyday . . . umpinghay . . .

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ah . . . I get it. I have always had a good imagination.

OTTO: What? I want to know. Somebody tell me.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Monkey love.

OTTO: Monkey love?  Ah, I understand.  Monkey love.

BARONESS: (To OTTO.) Schtop it!  Schtop it, schtop it, schtop it!  You understand nothing!  Der fick, Papschmier! (To VELMA.) What is wrong with you, girlie?

OTTO: (A big broad smile.) Ah, der fick.

VELMA: I’ve got less than an hour to live!

BARONESS: Ya, and that’s a fact. (To FRAU SCHNAPPS and OTTO.)  Haven’t you two got something to do?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Come with me, Otto. You can help arrange pretzels on der trays for das trick or treaters.

BARONESS: And take that silly costume back from where you got it! You will not wear it in my mansion . . . my beautiful mansion . . . high up in der Hollywood hills. (A beat.) I hate monkeys! I have always hated monkeys!

VELMA: (Starts to rise.) May I go now?

BARONESS: Sit down! (OTTO and FRAU SCHNAPPS exit.)  What is the matter with you?  You were bit by Adolph der king cobra, you have less than an hour to live and you want to go. Go where? Unless dear Adolph gave you a lobotomy, too! (Turns to DICK.) How do you feel about that, Herr Dick?

DICK: Is he a licensed surgeon?

BARONESS: Dumkoph! Adolph is a schnake!

VELMA: Of course he’s a schnake. I could tell that the minute I saw him.  A schnake, I told myself.  Gads.  You can’t get a lobotomy from a schnake.  What kind of a snake is a schnake?

BARONESS:  A big one.

DICK: (To BARONESS) I’m sure he only bit her. (To VELMA.) Ain’t that right, Velma? Did he just bite you or did he also try something funny?

VELMA: Nope, he just bit me. Nothing funny.

DICK: I wouldn’t worry about it then.

VELMA: It wasn’t you who got bit, Dicky.

DICK: Remember the little prick this afternoon?

BARONESS: (A disappointed sigh.) How disappointing. I expected more. And with such big hands.

VELMA: You bet I do. It still stings, Dicky.

BARONESS: Schtings? What little prick are you talking about?

DICK: The thorns of a rose I gave Velma were coated with the antidote to cobra venom. We knew all about your little Adolph here. (To VELMA.) You ain’t got nothing to worry about, sweetheart, you’ve been vaccinated.

VELMA: You mean I’m not going to die?

DICK: Not today, sweetheart.

BARONESS: Vaccinated? What are you talking about?

DICK: Seems old Adolph here is a little weak in the venom department. Long in the tooth too.

VELMA: How did you know, Dicky?

DICK: It’s our job to know. ASS prides itself on covering its . . . well, its bases.

BARONESS: Weak venom? Long in der tooth? (Takes one of her high heel shoes off and starts beating Adolph’s basket.) Hello!  Hello in there!  Why didn’t you tell me this you . . . you non-Aryan schnake.  (Adolph rises from the basket.)  How could you betray me?  You will never be part of der master race!  Nein!  You’ve gone soft and schmushy. You vill never march side by side with your mama for the glory of Deutchland. You can forget about that now, you . . . you Aryan wannabe! (Shaking shoe at Aldoph.) Remember all those times I said it was wunderbar?  Well you can forget about that too, Mister.  It wasn’t wunderbar. It wasn’t wunderbar at all. It was a fake wunderbar, you impotent limp biscuit! (Adolph grabs the shoe and sinks back into his basket, shamefully, were that possible.)

DICK: ASS has been on your tail for months, lady.

BARONESS: Vhat kind of talk is that, you nasty little boy?

DICK: On your tail like a fly on last week’s liverwurst. We’ve been watching your every move . . . monitoring your radio conversations with Berlin. We have transcripts of every one of your conversations.

BARONESS: Yady, yady, ya. So vhat?

DICK: We’ve got the goods on you, Baroness Helga Schmidt Von Cobra from Heidelberg.

BARONESS: Ya, ya, das ist my name.  That and a quarter vill get you a free lunch.

DICK: A proctologist’s daughter! Only he never had a license to practice. The apple never falls far from the tree does it, sister?

BARONESS: I don’t know vhat you’re talking about, Mister.

DICK: Of course you do, lady. Your father was up to his elbows in dirty business and your hands are just as filthy from doing the Führer's’s business.

BARONESS: Der Führer's business is my business, Herr Dick. I am a daughter of Deutchland! (Salutes.)  Heil Hitler!  (Grabs gun from somewhere and points it at DICK.) Und now, die games bist over.

VELMA: Did I miss the games, too?

DICK: I’m scared, sister. That gun shoots blanks, just like your little limp friend in the basket; Herr Adolph the Spineless. No more moonlit nights for the two of you, heh?  A woman and her snake . . . sort of tugs at the old heartstrings, don’t it?

VELMA: Gads. I’m a modern girl, but that’s a little too modern for me.

BARONESS: (To DICK.) What are you talking about?

DICK: I told you. We’ve had you under surveillance for quite some time. You don’t think we’d leave a loaded gun laying around, do you? You might hurt yourself, lady.

(A GORILLA enters, pounding its chest and grunting.  Suddenly it sneezes.)

VELMA: Bless you.

BARONESS: Go back to the kitchen, Frau Schnapps! I don’t like das monkey business! I told you to take that suit off and take it back from where you got it!

(The GORILLA approaches VELMA and touches her in some unseemly, lurid way.)

VELMA: Don’t get me wrong. Like I say, I’m a very modern girl.  Maybe later.  I’ve got a headache right now. So, amscray!

(OTTO and FRAU SCHNAPPS enter. FRAU SCHNAPPS is carrying a large box with “SUNSET COSTUMES GORILLA SUIT” printed on it. OTTO is carrying a tray of pretzels that he places on a table.)

VELMA (Continues.) Up until a minute ago I thought I had less than an hour to . . .

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Here is the gorilla suit, Your Meanness.  (She sets the box down somewhere.)

VELMA: (Seeing FRAU SCHNAPPS.) Frau Schnapps!

BARONESS: How could? Then who. . . ?

VELMA: Good grief, it’s Kongo!

ALL: (Scream.)

BLACKOUT

END ACT ONE


ACT TWO — Scene 1

AT RISE: A few minutes later. The Baroness and Frau Schnapps are still on the floor. DICK’S attention is drawn to the short-wave radio with its FLASHING LIGHT to signal an incoming call. He then runs over to FRAU SCHNAPPS and slaps her a few times trying to wake her.)

DICK: Wake up, Baroness. I need your help. Berlin is calling.  (He slaps her.) Wake up!

OTTO: What happened?

DICK: They’ll be just fine, Otto. The girls need some time with the sandman to sleep off the mickey.

OTTO: What mickey?

DICK: On the licorice. They’ll be fine. The question is, will the world be fine?

VELMA: (Clapping.) This is the best floorshow ever.

DICK: (To OTTO.) You take the real Baroness to her room while I figure out how to save the world.

OTTO: I want you to know that it’s been good working with you, Agent Palmer. Thank you for trusting a poor three-handed boy.

DICK: You’re super swell, Otto, and you don’t got three hands anymore.

OTTO: I know, but I still forget and reach for three things at once.

DICK: I can see how that could happen.

OTTO: Thank you and good luck.

DICK: You’re very welcome, Otto.

OTTO: The future of America and all der free world depends on you, sir.

DICK: I know it does. And don’t think it doesn’t weigh heavy on my shoulders . . . heavy like a Sherman tank filled with overweight soldiers . . . heavy like Kate Smith . . .

OTTO: That’s heavy, boss. (Drags FRAU SCHNAPPS from the living room and EXITS. BARONESS is still out cold on the floor.)

VELMA: You mean that the two of you have been working together all this time?

DICK: Of course. (DICK goes to the radio.) Velma, quick!  I’ve got an idea!

VELMA: What is it, Dicky?

DICK: See the blinking light?

VELMA: Of course. You are about to give the performance of a lifetime.

VELMA: I am?

DICK: You must take this call from Berlin or they will know something’s afoot. You must pretend you are the Baroness.

VELMA: I can’t do that, Silly.

DICK: Of course you can.

VELMA: I can’t.

DICK: You can . . . you must.

VELMA: I must? Well, if I must. How will I know what to say?

DICK: I’ll help you. There are only a few things you need to remember.

VELMA: But he’ll, if he’s a he, maybe he’s a she, anyway, however, I know I’m not the Baroness. I don’t sound one bit like the Baroness.

DICK: Are you or are you not an actress, Velma?

VELMA: But, Dicky, I . . . I . . . YES. I am Velma Lombard . . . actress!

DICK: Then show us your stuff! Show us the stuff that dreams are made of!

VELMA: Okay! I’ll make you proud, Dicky.  What do I need to know? DICK: You need to know that a submarine is a schnitzel and when it leaves port to go out to sea it schleps.

VELMA: Submarine . . . schnitzel . . . leaves port . . . schleps.  Gotcha.

DICK: The sauerbraten is the secret weapon and the sauerkraut is Adolph Hitler.

VELMA: Sauerkraut . . . Hitler.  That’s easy enough to remember. Wait. No, it’s not. (Conveniently, there is a paper and a pencil near the shortwave.)

DICK: (While VELMA writes something.) Don’t forget the sauerbraten.

VELMA: Right.  The sauerbraten is . . . oh dear, what’s the sauerbraten, Dicky?

DICK: The sauerbraten is the secret weapon.

VELMA: (Continues making notes.) What is the secret weapon?

DICK: I can’t tell you that, Velma; or I’ll have to kill you.

VELMA: Gads. So, I don’t know what the sauerbraten is because the sauerbraten is a secret.

DICK: Right, and it is kept in a secret hiding place until it is put in a schnitzel, and it is not put in the schnitzel until just before the schnitzel schleps, underwater, under the cover of night, to destroy the pumpernickel’s friend in arms . . . Tokyo Joe.

VELMA: The pumpernickel is underwater?

DICK: No, the pumpernickel is the Third Reich. The schnitzel is underwater.

VELMA: Third Reich is the pumpernickel and the schnitzel is underwater. Dicky, how did the schnitzel get underwater?

DICK: It’s a submarine, Velma.

VELMA: Ah. . . got it.

DICK: Are you sure?

VELMA: Yup. I’m what you call a quick-study. Let’s do it.

DICK: One more thing.

VELMA: One more thing is about all I can handle, Dicky.

DICK: You must let them think that the schnitzel with the sauerbraten schleps tonight at midnight from pier eighteen.  They will send all of their local operatives and ASS will be waiting there to wipe them up.

VELMA: Okay, I got it. But you don’t want me to tell them about the ASS agents, right?

DICK: Right. (VELMA holds the earphones to her ears and readies herself to speak into the microphone. She goes over her notes, quickly.) The outcome of this war is in your hands, Velma.  Good luck.

VELMA: Gads.  Break a leg.  You’re supposed to say, “Break a leg.”  “Good luck” is bad luck so you better say, “Break a leg.”

DICK: Sure thing, Velma.  Break your leg. (He turns a knob on the short-wave radio and the blinking light stops.)  You’re on.  The future of the world depends on you, Velma .

VELMA: (Looking heavenward, she crumbles her notes and throws the paper on the floor.) Mary Astor, this is for you.  (To DICK.)  Now, amscray! (She takes charge as she speaks into the microphone, sounding remarkably like the former Baroness.) Ya, ya, ya. Hold on to your lederhosen!  I vas on der throne. So who is this anyway, and in such a hurry? Ah, Herr sauerkraut!  Das Man. Heil to you. How’s things in de old pumpernickel? Ve got everything under control here in my beautiful mansion. Ya, ya, that, too.  You got to show them who is who, who is der boss, if you know vhat I mean? So, how’s tricks?  Lampshades? Nein. I got plenty of lampshades, but tell her good luck in her new business venture. Vhat?  Did I hear the one about who?  Ya, ya.  Nein.  Ya.  Nein.  Und what did she say? Ya, ya.  Und what did Goebbels say?  Really?  Really?  Oh, schtop it!  Schtop it, schtop it, schtop it!  You’re killing me!  That’s funny.  Vell, like I always say, if they can’t take a joke, shoot them.  Der Schnitzel?  Ya, I was vondering vhen you vere going to get down to business.  Dick Palmer?  He squealed like a schtuck pig.  Pig.  Pig.  Oink, oink.  Ya, ya, das schwein.  Nein, not schtoop . . . schtuck.  Schtuck with a sharp object.  Schtooping a pig is something very different.  Ya, ya.  Ask Goebbels.  He should know about that. Linguini? Ahh . . . What linguini?

DICK: (Loud whisper.) You!  You are the linguini. I mean, Velma is the linguini, of course.

VELMA: (Picking it right up.) Ah, the linguini.  I vas thinking fettuccine. Of course she is linguini.  Vell, Herr sauerkraut, let me tell you about linguini. You know she is quite a dish, that linguini . . . und a very famous and talented actress. Ya, ya. Miss Velma Lombard, star of stage and screen.  Vell, when she is not working at Voolvorth’s, she’s very famous. But, in my hands, she pasta putty. In the end our little noodle bent just like Dick did and I've got all der information ve need.  Ya, ya. You got a pencil und paper?  Wunderbar!  Here goes: Der schnitzel is in pier . . . pier . . .

DICK: (Whispers.) Eighteen.

VELMA: Eighteen.  You got that, Herr sauerkraut?  Good.  Das sauerbraten is in der schnitzel and it schleps, umm schleps, am I going too fast for you?  Are you getting it all down? I’ll wait. Ready? You got it, mister. It schleps tonight at midnight. Wunderbar. Auf wiedersehen. Danke shoene. Gesundheit.  Heil you.  Thank you for shopping at Voolworth’s. (Turns the radio off and puts down the microphone.)

DICK: (Applauds.) Terrific, Velma! You went in as a poor Woolworth’s shopgirl, and came out a star.

VELMA: Thank you, Dicky. That means so much to me.

DICK: I thought it might. Now we’ve got to get out of here.  We’ve got to let ASS know that the snake is in the bush.

VELMA: The snake is in the bush? I love it when you talk secret agent talk, Dicky.

DICK: All in a day’s work, sweetheart.  A man’s gotta talk the talk of the road he walks upon in his journey through life.

VELMA: Zowie, that’s deep, Dicky.  (A beat.)  What about trick or treating? You promised we’d go trick or treating.

DICK: (Picking up gorilla suit box.) I’ve got an idea, Baby Cakes!

BLACK OUT.

END ACT TWO — Scene 1

ACT TWO – Scene 2

AT RISE – The living room of the Von Cobra mansion, an hour later. FRAU SCHNAPPS is dressed in a black tuxedo and top hat.  She is smoking a cigarette from a long cigarette holder. She is posed on a wooden chair . . . reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich, but with 3 tits. She is also holding a whip. OTTO is dressed in boots and a black teddy . . . presumably the one from Woolworth’s. ADOLPH is risen high over his basket, swaying to the singing of FRAU SCHNAPPS.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Singing.) LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART I’M IN LOVE VIT YOU LET ME HEAR YOU VHISPER THAT YOU LOVE ME, TOO KEEP THE LOVELIGHT GLOWING IN YOUR EYES SO TRUE (Speaks.) Okay. You can give him a rat now, Otto.

OTTO: Whatever you say, Baroness.  I live to grovel.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: You groveled for that nasty man, didn’t you?

OTTO: I was only doing my job, dearest.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Of course you were. Und you loved it!

OTTO: (Contrite.) Just a teeny bit.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: You schlut! Otto is a schlut. Now feed Adolph.

OTTO: (Tries to feed a rat to ADOLPH who shakes his head “no.”)  He doesn’t seem to want the rat, Madam. Poor Adolph . . . he looks so sad.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya, the proctologist’s daughter . . . ahh, son, whatever, called him some pretty nasty names.  You would be sad too if somebody said the awful things to you that wicked pretender said to him.  Let him sulk for awhile.  Schnakes are very sensitive creatures.

OTTO: Ya, ya . . . schnakes are very sensitive, but I am not. Not sensitive at all. You can call me anything you like, Baroness.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Cracks whip.)  Schtinker.  You dirty schtinker.

OTTO: Ya, ya!  I’m dirty schtinker.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Maybe you need mama to vhip that Wenig Arsch deiner, ya?

(NOISES OFF: The SOUND of trick or treaters at the front door.)

OTTO: Another trick or treater at the door.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya!  Here . . . you take der pretzels and . . . take both trays.  I got der whip.  Isn’t this exciting?

OTTO: (Struggling with trays of pretzels.)  Ya, but I vish I had three hands again.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Vell, we could wire Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler und see what he’s doing these days.

OTTO: Good idea.

(There is a commotion outside the door as OTTO goes to OPEN it. The NOISE from outside quickly moves into the house. Several GIRL SCOUTS ENTER running.)

GIRL SCOUTS: Happy Halloween!

GIRL SCOUT ONE: We’re here to entertain you!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Vhy?

GIRL SCOUT TWO: It’s what we do.

GIRL SCOUT THREE: Every Halloween.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Are you real Girl Scouts? You look a little old, girlies.

GIRL SCOUT ONE: That’s the name of our group; "The Girlie Scouts."

GIRL SCOUT TWO: We’re real sisters.

GIRL SCOUT THREE: Better than the Andrews Sisters. Okay, Girlies, eight to the bar!

(The SCOUTS go into their song and dance. When they are done, the LIGHTING slowly dims except for a pin spot on ADOLPH’s basket. ADOLPH stands tall and spits out the shoe that the former BARONESS had fed him. )

 BLACK OUT.

END ACT TWO – Scene 2


ACT TWO - Scene 3

A few minutes later. Strobe LIGHTING. VELMA jumps up, hitting the phonograph that begins to play “oom-pah” music.

ALL continue to ad-lib as everyone runs in all directions, in a wild game of hide-and-seek.  

The BARONESS shoots her gun at KONGO, but soon realizes that it is loaded with blanks. The BARONESS, having one shoe, hobbles in and out of closets, behind drapes and doorways.

The GIRL SCOUTS go into another song, but the "oom-pah" music drowns them out. 

KONGO is intent on capturing VELMA, the BARONESS, FRAU SCHNAPPS, or one of the GIRL SCOUTS. He isn’t all that choosy, but it’s obviously a woman that he wants.  At one point KONGO corners FRAU SCHNAPPS. FRAU SCHNAPPS exposes her unique breasts to KONGO who appears momentarily stunned and bewildered. KONGO then counts to three on his fingers before becoming horrified and runs away from her. KONGO pursues the other women, but he runs and hides from FRAU SCHNAPPS whenever they are in close proximity. 

At one point, OTTO, wearing his boots and teddy, stands on a table,  swishing his hips, trying to entice KONGO with some pretzels and some sexual innuendo. KONGO considers OTTO for a moment and then dismisses the idea. OTTO ends up frustrated and eats the pretzels himself.  Every time the BARONESS and VELMA come into close proximity they take turns punching each other. Finally, the BARONESS has had enough and turns off the phonograph. The STROBE LIGHTING STOPS. The BARONESS musters all her available strength.

BARONESS: (Shouts.)  Schtop it!  Schtop it,  schtop it,  schtop it!  (ALL freeze in their tracks. To OTTO.) Otto! Vhat are you wearing? Sit down! You look like a namby-pamby sissy boy!  I vill not tolerate such behavior.  (OTTO sits.)  You’re all acting like a bunch of wild animals. (Indicating the GIRL SCOUTS.) And you girlies, I got a Halloween tweet for you. Frank Sinatra lives in der house next door.

(The GIRL SCOUTS scream wildly, shouting "Frankie! Frankie!" as they run and EXIT.)

BARONESS:(To KONGO.) Especially you, mister! (KONGO grunts and pounds his chest.)

VELMA: (To BARONESS.) You better be careful. Kongo killed a nanny and her three children in the zoo.

BARONESS: Shut up, blondie! I don’t care what he eats! (Turns to KONGO and makes loud ferocious animal sounds which intimate him into cowering, backing off, and retreating to EXIT. To DICK.) I’m not done with you, Herr Dick.

DICK: I think you are, sister. I think your day of reckoning has finally arrived. It’s time to pay the piper.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Hallelujah.

BARONESS: Der piper pays me, Herr Dick. (To SCHNAPPS.) Get out of my sight. You look ridiculous. You’re fired!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nein, I am not fired. A lot has changed in the world while you were schleeping with your mickey, Frau Helga Schmidt from Heidelberg . . . the proctologist's daughter!

BARONESS: What is this obsession everybody has about my father’s line of work? So what if he got his hands a little dirty?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: You are not the Baroness Von Cobra.

BARONESS: I certainly am.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nein! The Baron was already married when you and he schtooped.

BARONESS: What schtooping are you talking about? Die Hündin war tot. Tot, tot, tot!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Tot tot tot all you like, Frau Schmidt. Sie war nicht tot. She vas alive. Alive! He thought she was dead after you threw her to the starving pigs, so you could be with him, but she was tougher than pigs!  She crawled her way out of that filthy muck and joined a band of traveling gypsies until she could devise a plan to take back her rightful title.  After you and your schnake, Adolph, murdered the late and loathsome Baron, your new boy friend . . . the three-handed boy . . . took employment in your household. Hallelujah! Today is your come and get it day!

BARONESS: I never hired a boy with three hands.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Maybe he had one of them surgically removed by Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler while the boy’s girlfriend held a gun to the good doctor’s head?

BARONESS: Nonsense! I have never hired anybody other than Otto and you.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Coyly.) That’s right, just Otto and me.

DICK: (To the BARONESS.) Looks like the jig’s up, sister.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: As it turned out, the Baron couldn’t handle a woman with three bosoms. I was too much of a woman for him. He wanted a Catholic schoolgirl in a plaid skirt and der schwanz of das schwein.

VELMA: Huh?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Pig tails.

BARONESS: I was young and beautiful. You were last week’s chopped blood sausage. You are a freak of nature.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nature had nothing to do with it, Herr Helmut Schmidt . . . the proctologist’s son! (ALL gasp.)

BARONESS: (Defensive.) What? What did you say?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Don’t think I didn’t know about your little secret.

BARONESS: Nobody knows my secrets. Little or otherwise. My secrets is my secrets. You know no secrets!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Surprise, surprise. I know, Herr Helmut Schmidt, because I was the attending nurse when Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler didn’t see my foot and fell head first into der tray of scalpels. Clumsy man. So he never did finish removing your . . . that other little surgical procedure.

BARONESS: Nein! Not twue!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: It’s twue all right.

VELMA: You mean . . . she’s a he?

BARONESS: I am all woman, sister!

(A BANGING on front DOOR.)

VELMA: There’s somebody at the door. Trick or Treaters, I bet.

BARONESS: Put a sock in it, missy. (To OTTO.) Otto, go throw some pretzels at the beggars and turn off the lights.

OTTO: In here?

BARONESS: Nein! Outside.

OTTO: Of course. (He takes pretzels and EXITS.)

BARONESS: Vhere was I?

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Talking about yourself, as usual.

BARONESS: Yes, I was. So, I was poor and I vanted to marry a Baron. Der operation was my only chance for the good life.  Also, I knew Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler very well.  He and my father were very good friends.  They were like that. (She crosses her fingers.)  They were bosom buddies, as you Americans say. It was Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler who vas going to remove my you-know-vhat before he fell into that tray of, you know, implements.  Now I know it vas you who vas the culprit.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya, it was me, alright.  Anyvay, even if he completed the removal of you-know-vhat it would have been an itty-bitty small loss.

BARONESS: A schmall loss!  How dare you!  

DICK: (Aside, to herself.) Only in Hollywood.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: It was the Baron who insisted on my operation.  He told me that all his life he yearned for a woman with three bosoms.

OTTO: (Returns sans pretzels.) Am I hearing that the Baroness’s you-know-what vould be a schmall loss?

DICK: That’s about the size of it, Papschmier. (He also pronounces it incorrectly.)

OTTO: Sha-my-er! Sha-my-er! Otto Pap-sha-my-er!

BARONESS:  He never vanted a woman with three . . . three of those there what you got. That's right!  He wanted a nice Catholic schoolgirl in a plaid skirt und white blouse with a little blue tie und black patent leather shoes and little lace Robert socks. He vanted me!

VELMA: (To DICK.) I think she means bobby socks.

FRAU SCHNAPPS: Dream on, Your in Denialness. (Reaching into her breasts.)  Let’s see . . . down here between one of these . . .

(Unseen by all, KONGO sneaks back in.)

BARONESS: What are you doing? Schtop it!

FRAU SCHNAPPS: It’s in here somewhere. (Pulls out folded sheet of paper.)  Ahh, here it is.  My marriage license to the Baron Von Cobra.  Signed, sealed und delivered.

(The BARONESS grabs a nearby vase and breaks it over the head of FRAU SCHNAPPS causing her to pass out cold on the floor.  VELMA rips off the BARONESS’ wig. VELMA gives the BARONESS a punch that throws her into the waiting arms of KONGO.)

BARONESS: (Struggling.) Let me go you big hairy monkey!  (Struggling less.)  Ooh, what big arms you got. (She submits)  Vhat big muscles you got!  Vhat else you got, ya big ape?  (KONGO carries her off like a prize trophy. From offstage.)  Oh my god!  Would ya look at that!

END ACT TWO - Scene 3


ACT TWO – Scene 4

AT RISE – A bench in a park.  DICK is wearing a gorilla costume and holding his fedora. There is a Woolworth’s shopping bag on the bench filled with candy and other Halloween treats.

DICK: (Removing the gorilla head, and then putting on his fedora. He speaks directly to the audience.) We saved the world that night, Velma and me.  There were many other nights since, and I alone saved the world countless times.  That’s what I do. That’s my job.  I save the world. I’m the man from ASS and I save the world from the ghouls and gorillas.  The job of a secret agent man is to make the world a place where you can sleep soundly and without fear in your beds at night , or somebody else’s bed.  Or, maybe you work nights. Then, you can sleep safe and sound without a worry. Velma and me went our separate ways. She’s a big star on the silver screen now.  She got what she always wanted and I got the memory of the good times we had while it lasted.  

In case you’re wondering about what happened to the evil Baroness and Kongo . . . well, they got what was coming to them.  After Kongo dragged Helmut Schmidt, the proctologist’s son, off into the mean streets of the City of Angels, they were picked up in The Brown Derby where they were demanding to be served.  They should have known better—they don’t serve gorilla at The Brown Derby.  Kongo was taken back to the zoo where he died six months later of a broken heart.  And as for Helmut . . . well, he got what he always wanted. He became a resident of the biggest house in all of California; Alcatraz.  After the war he got released, fell in love, and became an American citizen.

THE PROCTOLOGIST’S SON: (ENTERS dressed like a Catholic School Girl.) Are we about ready to go home, mein liebchen?  (He removes his wig with pigtails.) My dogs are tired and this bag of tweets is heavy.

DICK: Sure thing, sweetheart.  I’m just putting the wraps on this case and tying it up with a pretty bow. (To AUDIENCE.) Now where was I? Ah, yes. If you ever find yourself lost and alone ‘round midnight where Hollywood meets Vine . . . along the streets of broken dreams, where nobody knows your name and if someone comes up and sings in your ear, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” you better listen . . . and listen good. It could be another proctologist’s daughter wooing you.  Here’s lookin’ at you, sveethearts.

(Arm in arm, DICK and HELMUT SCHMIDT EXIT with their bags of goodies.)

BLACK OUT.

END OF PLAY