Call of Beauty (school play)

based on The Ransom of Red Chief by O’Henry

You can read the Bulgarian version of the play HERE


Jamie (the boy)about 9 or 10 years old, mad about computer games

Tom (kidnapper 1)the leader, more articulate of the two

Bill (kidnapper 2)initially very perky but loses heart after spending some time with the kid

Moyra, mother of the boya rich widow, loves her son to pieces, hesitant and uncertain

Deborah, a friend of the mother – cool-headed and reassuring

Ann Marie, the grandmotheran old frail person in a wheelchair/using a cane, but decisive and determined

Act 1 

A table in a café. Tom is sitting there alone, there are two coffee cups on the table.
Tom glances at his mobile phone to check the time and starts looking around impatiently.
Bill enters and approaches the table.

Tom: (annoyed) What took you so long?

Bill sits down

Bill: (excited) Nothing. I’ve just had a brilliant idea.

Tom: We don’t need ideas, my friend, we need money. And soon. We owe Peter the Squirrel more than ten thousand each and we’ve only got ten thousand between us.

Bill: Don’t I know that? Can’t stop thinking of his gorillas. But just listen. I do have an idea. Remember that rich wine merchant who died last year? His widow moved back to her hometown shortly after…

Tom: So what? You hope she’ll lend us the money? Or maybe you plan to charm her into marrying you? (chuckles) Fat chance!

Bill: Of course not, you thickhead! But she has a son…

Tom: So? What’s the son got to do with our money troubles? Unless he can offer us a six figure salary, I doubt he is of much help…

Bill: No, no. He’s only nine or ten. I just saw his Facebook profile on my way to the bathroom – those kids by the door were looking at all the gadgets this little spoilt brat has… his father must have left them tons of money…

Tom: The point being…?

Bill: The point being that if we kidnapped the kid, his mother would pay the earth to get him back.

Tom: (surprised) Oh…Oh (more enthusiastic) I see… I see…

Act 2

A street in front of a big town house.

Jamie is sitting on the steps in front of the house playing a game on his mobile phone.

Bill and Tom walk leisurely along the street approaching him, engulfed in a conversation.

Bill is carrying a CD case – apparently the case contains an action computer game.

The two don’t seem to pay any attention to the boy.

They stop right next to him and continue talking when Bill drops the CD case.

Jamie notices the CD and is immediately intrigued.

Bill picks up the case and both he and Tom start walking again.

Jamie: Hey!

No reaction from Bill and Tom.

Jamie: Hey! What’s that? Hey! Stop!

Bill and Tom stop and turn, looking questioningly at Jamie.

Jamie: What’s that? Is it a computer game?

Bill: Yes, it is.

Jamie: Are you kidding me? I’ve never seen such a game. Where did you find it? What’s it about? It’s an action game, right? What’s that? A tomahawk? Is it any good? How much is it? Can I buy it online? Is it multiplayer?

Bill: It’s not on the market yet.

Jamie: How come you have it then?

Tom: A friend’s made it.

Bill: We’ll be advertising it.

Jamie: How much is it? I want it.

Tom: Oh, we aren’t sure about the price yet… We are still testing the market…

Bill: Working on our strategy…

Jamie: Gibberish! You can sell it any time! Look! I have the money, just name your price!

Takes out a wad of money from his pocket and waves it at them.

Bill: Look, boy, we can’t sell it unless it has been officially launched.

Tom: We’ve signed a contract… (pompously) terms and conditions non-negotiable… heavy penalties for violating the clauses and all that…

Jamie: (a bit crestfallen) Please! Sure you can do something… Please! Please! Please! I have to have this game! Please!

Tom: Well… We can’t sell it… but we will need someone for the ads… preferably a boy about your age…

Bill: Oh, yeah… come to think of it, we do need a boy… you know what… you could do it…

Tom: No, no, no. Bill, don’t you rush things… we don’t know the boy… and what about his parents… what if they object… don’t raise his hopes…

Jamie: Please! No one will object! My mother will do ANYTHING for me! Please!

Bill: Tom, don’t be such a spoilsport. The boy is so keen. He’ll do the job splendidly.

Tom: I don’t know…

Jamie: Please, sir! I’ll do WHATEVER it takes.

Tom: Well, OK. But you’ll have to come with us for a screen test first. To check if the camera loves you.

Bill: … and to see if you are any good with games…

Jamie: I am a pro. I won’t disappoint you. Promise.

They walk away from the house together.

Act 3

A dingy hotel room.

Jamie is sitting on the bed sullen and disappointed.

Bill and Tom are at the table looking at a laptop.

Jamie: Are you sure you aren’t just messing with me? Is there really NO computer game? Are you sure?

Tom: No, kiddo. It was an empty CD case. Just to lure you here. No game, no nothing.

Jamie: So, I am being kidnapped for real? Ransom demand and search parties, and all that? (lost in dreamy thoughts for a bit) Awesome! Even better than a stupid game!

Bill: How do I open the damn mailbox?

Tom: It IS open. Paul said it would open automatically…You just have to send a message.

Bill: I KNOW I have to send a message. The question is HOW to do it.

Tom: Paul was saying something about a “new message” button somewhere…

Bill: I’ve been looking for it for ten minutes.

Jamie: Which e-mail provider?

Bill and Tom: What?

Jamie: Which e-mail provider are you using? If you’re using Gmail, there is a “compose” button, not a “new message” button.

Bill: (uncertain) We are using the laptop…

Tom: What’s an email provider?

Jamie: Oh, just tell me what you want to do. (goes to the table and pushes Bill and Tom away from the laptop)

Bill: We need to send an e-mail to your mother.

Jamie: (exhilarated) About the ransom! Splendid! What’s her email address? I’ve never sent HER an email.

Bill: Ugh…well… oh… We don’t know… Isn’t there a directory or something, like there is with telephone numbers?

Jamie: You are hopeless. Simply hopeless. OK, whatever. She never checks her mail anyway.

Bill: What are we gonna do then?

Jamie: Beats me. You have to know the address to send an email.

Bill and Tom make gestures of despair.

Jamie: Wait! Don’t you worry! I know what we’ll do. She’s just started using Facebook. We’ll send her the message there. She’s always online checking posts and photos.

Bill: Do you know how to do it, kiddo?

Jamie: (laughs heartily) EVERYBODY knows how to send a message on Facebook.

The three gather around the laptop and Jamie starts typing.

Act 4

A large sitting room sparely but expensively decorated.

A woman sits on the sofa with a laptop open on the coffee table in front of her.

A Facebook message alert is heard.

Suddenly she gives out a cry of surprise and fear.

Moyra: What! Kidnapped! Jamie! Oh, dear! My boy! My Jamie! Oh, dear! (feverishly looks around for her mobile, finally finds it in her pocket and dials a number) Deborah, is that you? … Deborah, something awful’s happened. They’ve got Jamie! I don’t know what to do! They said NOT to contact the police! Oh, Deborah! I’m so scared! What will I do if something happens to Jamie? (pauses, listening) Yes, Deborah, I know I have to stay calm for Jamie’s sake. … Yes, I will try to be rational…. No, no, I promise I won’t do anything rash… No, I don’t want HER around. She mustn’t know… There’s no telling what she’ll do if she finds out. Might put him in danger. … No, Deborah, it’s better NOT to tell her. Can YOU come? I don’t know who else to turn to. …. No, I have no idea who might want to harm him… He’s just a kid, Deborah, what enemies could HE have made? … How much? Wait a second, I simply didn’t notice. (reads from the screen) Twenty thousand in small bills. …. Yes, I know twenty thousand isn’t THAT big a sum… Yes, they might be amateurs, but how could I risk it… I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if something happens to Jamie… No, they don’t specify. I have to put it in a backpack and leave it under the bridge near the park at midnight tomorrow. And I have to be alone. Yes, yes, I can raise the money. I don’t have much cash about, but I will manage…. Oh, Jamie, Jamie!… I just want my boy back! Oh, what will I do? … Yes, yes, Deborah… yes… OK, I am waiting for you.

Puts the phone down, buries her face in her hands and starts sobbing.

Act 5

The hotel room.

Bill, Tom and Jamie are waiting for an answer to their ransom demand.

Jamie is bored, paces nervously around the room.

Bill and Tom are sitting at the table, glancing at the laptop screen from time to time.

Jamie: I don’t know what to do.

Tom: You can watch TV.

Jamie: TV is boring.

Bill: You can play a game.

Jamie: (indignantly) Ha! You call that a game! (points at the laptop) Solitaire and Mahjong are for grannies and losers.

Tom: Can’t you play… how do you call it… in… the Internet?

Jamie: ON the Internet. With THIS connection?!?! (derisively) Wasn’t there any cheaper option?

Bill: The guy said it would be fine for sending messages…

Jamie: (mockingly) Oh, yeah. It sure is. For tweets…

Tom: If you hadn’t dropped your phone in the toilet…

Bill: (giggles) Why does a person need a mobile inside the…

Tom: (interrupts him) Don’t!

Jamie glares at Bill.

Jamie: If YOU knew how to choose an internet provider…

Tom: (interrupts him) Stop it, both of you!

Bill still giggles.

Bill: (under his breath) They used to call it the place where the kings go alone… (giggling) Nowadays kids broadcast the events live from there…

Jamie: If it wasn’t for me, you would still be trying to contact my mother. (to Bill) And YOU would still…

Tom: (interrupts him) I told you both to stop!

Jamie: How come you can’t go out and buy a game? I’ll pay for it. I have the money. I showed you I have the money. Please. I am bored to death. I’ll settle even for Call of duty, I’m so desperate… Please, Tom… Please… You are a good guy… Nothing will happen if you go out for half an hour and buy a game. And you’ll get to see if they have already started looking for me…

Bill: Call of BEAUTY? What kind of game would THAT be? (giggles) You beautify someone to death? Using lipstick and eye shadow?

Jamie: Call of DUTY, you moron, not beauty. Tom, if you don’t go out and buy me a computer game, I promise you, I’ll kill him. I’ll smother him in his sleep. Or I’ll set him on fire.

Tom: Bill, act your age and stop teasing the kid. (to Jamie) OK, OK…I need to go out anyway. I’ll bring you a game, but only if you promise to behave yourself. No funny stuff and no more fighting with Bill.

Jamie: (salutes) Yes, sir, will do it, sir. (imploringly) But will Bill promise to play with me until you bring the game?

Tom: Bill? Will you at least try?

Bill: Well… yes, but just till that stupid game arrives…

Act 6

The same hotel room.

Bill is down on his hands and knees and Jamie is riding him like a horse.

Bill: Stop kicking me, kid!

Jamie: I am not kicking you! You are supposed to be a horse!

Bill: I am telling you: one more kick and I’ll sweep the floor with you!

Jamie: OK, I will be the redskin chief and you’ll be the paleface I’ve captured.

Bill: Oh, well, at least there’ll be no more kicks…

Jamie jumps off Bill, grabs the TV remote and pretends it is a gun, pointing it at Bill.

Jamie: (shouting) You, wicked paleface! We’ve captured you at last! (prodding Bill with the remote) No more nasty tricks! No more mischief! You are to be scalped at daybreak! Or burned at the stake! Or drawn and quartered!

Looks at the remote, makes a disappointed grimace and starts looking around.

Jamie: Bill, this remote’s no use as a gun. Help me find something. I need a rifle for my game…

Bill: Can’t you see I’m knackered? I wonder what’s taking Tom so long. Can’t you find something else to occupy yourself with?

Jamie: (still in search of a suitable object to use for his rifle, picking different and putting them back disappointed) You are so boring! But I suppose that’s the way kidnappers are… Well, I’ll leave you alone… Can’t find a rifle anyway…

Bill sits at the table, Jamie goes to the window.

Jamie: Bill, why is the sky blue?

Bill: Ugh? What?

Jamie: Why is the sky blue?

Bill: You just said you’d leave me alone.

Jamie: Yes, I did, but why is the sky blue? And why do only female lions hunt? And what is a conventional weapon? Look, there’s a rainbow in the sky! Why is there a rainbow? Bill, why can’t we see in the dark? And how come the earth is spinning and we don’t fall off? What happens if you swallow your chewing gum? Or a coin?

Bill: (desperately) I am never having kids! (takes out his mobile phone and dials) Tom, Tom… Tom, where are you?… Tom, can you hear me?…Where are you?… What? … No, nothing’s happened but the kid’s driving me crazy. No, there’s still no answer to the ransom demand… Yes, I’m sure, we’ve just checked. No movement around the boy’s house? Well, that’s good. She hasn’t contacted the police….. Yes, I will. …. Please hurry. And bring this Call of beauty thing, will you? Or there may be a murder instead of a kidnapping… Yeah, bye.

Puts the phone down.

Jamie: How many times do I need to tell you it’s NOT Call of beauty? What are you? A moron?

Bill: Oh, stop it! Do you ever do anything else besides playing silly computer games? Call of beauty, call of duty, it’s all the same…

Jamie: It’s not. (threateningly) And I’ll make sure you get that!

Bill: Oh, just get out of my face! I’m gonna take a nap! Be quiet and find something to do!

Jamie: (seemingly repentant for his behavior) OK, Bill. I’m sorry, Bill. Please don’t be angry with me. I didn’t mean to annoy you. I’ll be as quiet as a mouse. (goes to the bed and starts turning it down) Here, lie down and have a nap. I know I can be a real pest… (more seriously, with a sad note in his tone) That’s why no one wants to play with me… Even grandma gets mad at me sometimes… (the wicked grin returns to his face) but I am having such a great fun here… I don’t even want to go back home… (pats the pillow) Here, Bill. Come have a lie down…

Bill hesitates a bit then lies on the bed.

Bill: (suspiciously) Are you up to something?

Jamie: Nope, what can I be up to in a hotel room? I am having the time of my life here.

Bill: If you do something while I’m asleep…

Jamie: Yes, I know, I know – you’ll kill me.

Bill: Slowly and painfully…

Bill falls asleep and starts snoring.

Jamie tiptoes to the laptop bag, rummages inside and takes out several permanent markers with a satisfied smile.

Jamie: Blue… green… red… isn’t there any black?… oh, here it is… (approaches the bed) Now let’s see how stupid computer games can get? (indignantly) Call of beauty! (derisively) Oh, you WILL be beautiful when I have finished with you… (starts painting Bill’s face)OK, what we have here… red lips… blue eye shadow… black eyebrows… What can I use the green for? Oh, yes… Why not? It’ll be even funnier… (smiles) Bill, Bill, what a beauty you are… wait till you see yourself in the mirror…

Tiptoes to the window and looks out, glances at Bill from time to time.

Bill is still snoring but soon wakes up and goes to the bathroom with his back to the audience so that they can’t see his face.

Bill: (from behind a screen that is supposed to be the bathroom) Ааааааrgh! You are so dead! What have you done? I’ll really kill you this time!

Comes back with his face grotesquely painted (you can use self-adhesive printing paper!) and starts chasing Jamie around the room.

Act 7

The sitting room from act 4.

Moyra and Deborah are sitting on the sofa.

There are a few piles of cash on the table.

Deborah is consolingly patting Moyra on the back.

Deborah: Well, we’ve managed to raise the money at last…

Moyra: What time is it?

Deborah: Only six thirty. We still’ve got plenty of time…

Moyra: Oh, Jamie! My boy! He must be so scared!

Deborah: Don’t you worry, everything will be fine… You’ll see… with these demands… they simply cannot be professionals… probably just some kids desperate for cash… nothing will happen to Jamie… plus, he is a tough boy…

Moyra: He’s only nine! He’s not tough!

Deborah: (under her breath) Oh, yes, he IS… tough and sometimes scary… I bet half the town would throw a party if he really disappeared… (to Moyra) NOTHING will happen to him… this time tomorrow you’ll be sitting here together having a laugh about it all… have you considered the possibility of it being a practical joke… a silly prank devised by Jamie himself…

Moyra: What are you sayng? Jamie would never do such a thing! He knows I’d be worried to death. Oh, Jamie! (dreamily) He’s such a sensitive boy! He always kisses me goodbye before he leaves for school in the morning…

Deborah: (under her breath) He sure does, that’s when he gets his pocket money…

Moyra: He is so clever and creative…

Deborah: (under her breath) He’s SOOOOOO creative… creates havoc wherever he shows up…

Moyra: Do you remember when he sprayed the mayor’s cat bright orange…Youtube was flooded with videos… all the kids in town had such fun…

Deborah: (under her breath) The cat didn’t seem to be having fun…

Moyra: Or when he locked the entire football team inside the library on Friday evening…

Deborah: (under her breath) And it was a game night! We nearly got disqualified!

Moyra: Maybe he does love playing practical jokes every now and then… but he’s a kid… a boy… that’s what boys do, isn’t it… like they say, boys will be boys… he is a high-spirited kid but he would never do any such thing… how could you even imagine this could be his idea?

Deborah: I was just trying to calm you down… What a relief if it were just a prank…

Moyra: (hopefully) Yes, what a relief… But if it is, he’ll be grounded for life!

Deborah: Do you have the backpack ready?

Moyra: I completely forgot about it! I don’t think I have a backpack around. I should have bought one when I was out earlier. Do you think the shops will still be open?

Deborah: On a Saturday night? No chance. You must have something suitable. Maybe Jamie’s school backpack? Or he has it with him?

Moyra: I don’t know… (panicking) I didn’t see him after school. What will we do if I don’t find a back pack? They said a backpack… the money must be in a backpack…

Deborah: We’ll find something, don’t you worry. Let’s check Jamie’s bedroom.

Moyra tries to get up but is evidently too weak to move.

Deborah: No, no, you stay here. I’ll go.

Leaves the room.

Moyra starts sobbing again.

Ann Marie enters and stops at the door, pays no attention to her daughter, but is intrigued by the piles of money on the table.

Moyra doesn’t see her.

Ann Marie: What’s all that money doing here?

Moyra: (startled and confused) Nothing… ugh… we are… we are fundraising… on behalf of a charity… the homeless and underprivileged…Deborah and I have to sort it out…

Ann Marie: Nonsense! Don’t lie to me! What’s going on? What have you gotten yourself into?

Moyra: Nothing, I’ve told you. Well, it was supposed to be a surprise… it is for your birthday present, but I have to pay cash… and I am not going to tell you what it is… you’ll have to wait…

Ann Marie: Oh, is that so?… It must be an expensive gift…

Moyra: Well, yes, it is…

Ann Marie: Paid for in cash… (suspiciously) I wonder…

Deborah enters.

Deborah: (excitedly) I found a backpack. Jamie has three of them. I took the oldest… (suddenly notices Ann Marie and stops short) Oh, hello, Ann Marie… I didn’t know you were coming… How are you? I hope you have recovered from the flu. It was a nasty strain this year, wasn’t it?

Ann Marie: What’s going on here?

Moyra: (to Deborah) I was just telling mother about the…

Ann Marie: No, no, you be quiet, Moyra, my dear. Deborah will tell me all about it. Deborah? What’s going on?

Deborah: Well, I am not sure I should tell you…

Ann Marie: Come on. What’s this big surprise?

Deborah: Surprise? What surprise? (Moyra makes frantic gestures) Oh, the surpsise! No, I am not supposed to tell you anything about it. It’s for your anniversary…

Ann Marie: Anniversary? I thought it was for my birthday…

Deborah: Birthday? Oh, yes, silly me. Birthday it is. You know me – can be very absent-minded. Mix up everything..

Moyra: (nervously) Mother, aren’t you late for your bridge party? It should have already started…

Ann Marie: It got cancelled. Jenna and Diana are down with the flu. So, I will have a quiet evening at home… Don’t mind me.

Moyra: (nervously) Why don’t you visit Mary. She mentioned that she needed to talk to you.

Ann Marie: I dropped by on my way back from the bank.

Moyra: Then you could go to the reading club… they always ask after you…

Ann Marie: Stop trying to get rid of me and tell me what’s going on.

Moyra: I told you. NOTHING’s going on.

Ann Marie: (suspiciously) Where’s Jamie?

Moyra: He’s staying with a friend…

Ann Marie: He never stays with friends… not since he burned down George and Fiona’s tree house…

Moyra: There’s this new kid in his class and they invited him to stay overnight…

Ann Marie: And why is his mobile switched off? He never switches it off.

Moyra: Maybe he forgot the charger…

Ann Marie: Don’t be ridiculous. He never goes out without it. What’s this new boy’s phone number?

Moyra: I am not sure…I must have it here somewhere…

Starts scrolling the contacts on her phone.

Ann Marie: Moyra, what’s happened? (slight panic in her voice) Where is Jamie? What’s going on?

Moyra: Oh, mother. He’s been kidnapped.

Ann Marie: Kidnapped? When? By whom? Have they contacted you?

Moyra: Yes, I got a message on Facebook.

Ann Marie: Have you called the police?

Moyra: No, they said not to, or Jamie’d get harmed.

Ann Marie: Let me see the message.

Moyra turns the laptop.

Ann Marie: (decisively) They are amateurs. Twenty thousand. In a backpack. Under the bridge. Using Facebook to communicate. Yes, they are amateurs. Nothing to worry about. Jamie has already driven them crazy. I bet they’ll soon send him packing. Beg us to take him back.

Moyra: How can you be so callous? My poor Jamie…

Ann Marie: Oh, stop fretting! Have you answered yet?

Moyra: No.

Deborah: We were just getting the cash ready.

Ann Marie: (threateningly) I’ll answer them.

Moyra: Mother, please. I have the money. And it’s not worth the risk…

Ann Marie: I know what I’m doing, believe me. …. Now, let’s see… (starts typing) Gentlemen, I understand you have my grandson and demand twenty thousand to return him to his mother. I, however, have a counter proposition. If you agree to pay me half that sum, I will relieve you of the boy’s presence, no questions asked, and no further action will be taken against you…. You have to bring the boy back tonight, preferably between midnight and two a.m. as I can’t guarantee your safety in case the neighbours notice you. They believe he’s disappeared and will be immensely disappointed if he returns any time soon….well, that should do the trick… we only have to wait a bit…

Act 8

The hotel room , Bill and Tom are sitting on the bed.

Bill’s face is still painted.

Jamie is excitedly playing a computer game.

Bill is trying to rub the paint off with a wet towel.

Bill: (looking at the mirror) I think it’s started to come off…

Tom: You can’t remove it with water.

Bill: I can try. Keeps me from strangling the little brat.

Jamie: Hey! You have a new message! From Granny!

Bill and Tom: What does it say?

Jamie: Ha ha ha!

Tom: What does it say?

Jamie: She’ll take me back if you pay her ten thousand…

Tom: What?!? Are you kidding me? Let me see.

He and Bill look at the screen and read the letter.

Tom: I can’t believe it. She can’t be serious. She can’t be expecting US to pay HER.

Jamie: She is dead serious…

Tom: No way!

Bill takes him aside to talk to him.

Bill: Tom, if you think about it, it is actually a very generous offer… I won’t last another night in the same room with this demon… (rolls up his sleeves) Look. I’m bruised all over. (shows his elbow) I’ve been burned (lifts his T-shirt) poked at, and my hair’s been cut… and look at my face… ten thousand is a small price to pay for my sanity, don’t you think? Please, Tom. I will be eternally grateful to you.

Tom: What about Peter the squirrel and his gorillas?

Bill: I’ll deal with them. Will be child’s play after this.

Tom: Well, he’s beginning to get on my nerves, too.

Act 9

The sitting room.

Moyra and Ann Marie are sitting on the sofa.

The kidnappers and the boy enter.

Moyra: Jamie!

Runs to him and tires to hug him, but he resists.

Bill and Tom: Good evening.

Ann Marie: Gentlemen, have you brought the money?

Tom: Yes, ma’am. (gives her a wad of notes)

Bill: Thank you for your kindness, ma’am.

Jamie: Come on, hurry or we’ll miss the train.

Moyra: What train?

Tom: We had to tell him we were going on a trip… he wouldn’t come home otherwise…

Jamie: You lied to me?

Tom: We had to, kid…

Jamie: But I don’t want to stay home. I had such fun with you, Bill. I am not staying home. Home is boring.

Attaches himself to Bill who is horrified.

Moyra: Jamie, you don’t mean that.

Jamie: I mean it. And I want to go with them.

Ann Marie: Well, in that case…

Moyra: Mother…

Ann Marie: … there’s very little we can do. The boy has rarely been refused anything…

Bill: Please, ma’am, don’t let him come after us. I’ll do anything. Anything you want.

Ann Marie: Add another five thousand to what you’ve given me, and I promise you I’ll handle the boy.

Tom: We don’t have any money left. And we already owe ten thousand each…

Bill: We only did it ‘cause were desperate, ma’am.

Ann Marie: It seems you are still desperate, but we can arrange something. I’ll give you both jobs, and you will be off limits to Jamie, but you will have to spend three hours a week entertaining the kids in the local hospital.

Bill: (horrified) Ma’am, I am too scared to go near kids again…

Ann Marie: Yes, son, Jamie can have this effect on people. But don’t you worry, not all kids are like him. You’ll get used to it. (grinning) Plus, you don’t seem to have a choice in the matter…

Tom: Bill, we NEED these jobs!

Bill: How can I be sure he won’t start torturing me again?

Jamie is still hanging on to Bill.

Ann Marie: James Albert Edwards! Come here this instant! (Jamie quickly goes to her) If I ever catch you messing up with this gentleman again, you are in big trouble. (to Bill) I think what you’ve been through is punishment enough, so I won’t call the police, but thread carefully from now on.

All the time Jamie has been holding a small parcel which now explodes.

Everyone jumps back.

Jamie: It’s nothing! It’s nothing!

Ann Marie, Moyra, Bill and Tom: Jamie!