by Edward Crosby Wells
Dick Palmer: A secret agent for the Allied Secret Submarine Service (ASSS).
Velma Lombard: Dickís love interest, a shop-girl and wannabe actress.
Otto Papschmier: Baroness Von Cobraís faithful henchman.
Baroness Von Cobra: The consummate femme fatale. To be played by a man in drag.
Frau Schnapps: The mysterious housekeeper with a wandering mole.
Adolph: A cobra.
Kongo: A gorilla.
THE PLACE: Hollywood.
Scene 1 Ė a bench in a park
Scene 2 Ė the living room of the Von Cobra mansion
Scene 3 Ė the lingerie department of Woolworthís
Scene 4 Ė the living room of the Von Cobra mansion
Scene 1 Ė the living room of the Von Cobra mansion
Scene 2 Ė the living room of the Von Cobra mansion
Scene 3 Ė a bench in a park
NOTE: The Von Cobra mansion living room 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.
ALSO: I have a vision. It is in black and white and all the shades of gray in between Ė the costumes, the set with all its furnishings, the makeup, the lighting.
AT RISE Ė 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 stands.
DICK: (Directly to audience.) Halloween . . . itís when the ghouls and gorillas come out . . . the real heart stoppers. No, not the little kids with masks or made-up faces, or the kind of gorillas you can see in the zoo, but the real McCoy Ė the sleazy underbelly of the City of Angels Ė the kind of horror show that you can only see Ďround 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 lookiní for good-time Charlies and the good-time Charlies are lookiní for . . . well, lookiní for a good time. These are my streets. This is my city. This is my beat. My name is Dick Palmer and Iím 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 . . . sheís a big star now, but she wasnít then. Then there was a war on. You know, the big war Ė 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 wasnít for me and Velma back then on that fateful Halloween. The Germans were breathing down our backs and if we hadnít 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 . . .
VELMA LOMBARD enters and sits on the bench. She is a platinum blonde bombshell. When she speaks, she has a high-pitched voice and is incredibly naÔve. She probably chews gum. Hiding behind a fake tree that he carries is OTTO PAPSCHMIER.
VELMA: Dicky, Dicky, Dicky. Iíve waited so long Ė Iíll be an old maid before we get married. Say you will take my hand.
DICK: (Taking her hand.) What do you want me to do with it?
VELMA: I want you to marry it . . . I mean me. Say you will marry me, Dicky. Say you will take my hand in marriage.
DICK: Ah, Velma. I canít. I canít say that I will take your hand in marriage because I canít.
VELMA: Oh, say it. Say it, Dicky. Say you will. Say youíll be mine, sweetheart. Weíre closer than ham and cheese, closer than tomato and lettuce, closer than franks and beans. We belong together. Say you love me.
DICK: Ditto, babe. But I canít.
VELMA: You can.
DICK: I canít. Thereís my career to think about. I donít want you worrying every time I leave home to go to work.
VELMA: Oh, why canít you stop being a secret agent man?
DICK: Because Iím a red-blooded, loyal, faithful, all-American.
VELMA: Well, what about my movie career? I wouldnít let that get in the way of our getting married.
DICK: You canít get killed making a movie, sweetheart.
VELMA: In this town? Thatís what you think!
DICK: Besides, you donít have a movie career.
VELMA: No, not yet. But I will . . . as soon as I am discovered.
DICK: In Woolworthís?
VELMA: This is Hollywood, ainĎt it? Stranger things have happened.
DICK: But not at Woolworthís.
VELMA: Suki Salome was discovered at Woolworthís.
DICK: Whoís Suki Salome?
VELMA: She was a stand-in for Maria Montez. She used to work in the cosmetic department. Sheís the one who actually got to jump into the smoldering volcano.
DICK: Isnít she lucky!
VELMA: Yes and no. Sheís back at Woolworthís. Only now sheís working in the hardware department until she gets her bandages removed.
VELMA: From the burns.
DICK: I see. Fame is a fleeting flame, ainít it?
VELMA: Yeah, and it can be short too.
DICK: Thereís a war on, babe Ė a big ugly world war with an ugly little man with an ugly little moustache. How can I think about marriage while the Germans are breathing down our necks? (OTTO quickly backs away Ė tree and all.)
VELMA: Say yes. Throw caution to the wind. Say you will marry me, my beloved.
DICK: I canít. Iíll have to get another line of work before I say yes. Iím doing what I can for the war effort.
VELMA: I know you are, Dicky, and I think thatís just swell. But why canít I marry a G-man Ė a secret agent? Itís a good job. You pay taxes. Youíre doing what you can to preserve the American way, arenít you?
DICK: You bet I am, babe. But thatís the thing. My kind of work is dangerous. Thereís danger around every corner when youíre with me, sweetheart.
VELMA: I donít care. Iím very proud of you. And when people ask me what my husband does for a living, 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 ASSS.
DICK: Thatís not a good idea, Velma. The Allied Secret Submarine Service has my body but you will always have my heart.
VELMA: Oh well, one canít have everything. Iíll just have to be content with your heart for now Ė and wait till after the war for the rest of you.
DICK: Shucks! Weíve got to win this war . . . and soon.
VELMA: And we will. Weíve 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.
VELMA: (Glances at her watch.) Oops, my lunch hour is almost over. Well, while you figure out how weíre going to win this war I have to get back into ladiesí lingerie or Iíll be out on my . . . (OTTO sneezes from behind a slowly advancing tree.) Bless you.
VELMA: I said, bless you.
DICK: Bless you, too, Velma.
VELMA: Thank you, Dicky, but I didnít sneeze. (She rises to leave.)
DICK: I thought you did.
VELMA: Nope. Wasnít me. (Gives him a quick peck on the cheek.) Happy Halloween, darling. Gotta go. Canít be late for work. I really just canít. Donít forget weíre going trick-or-treating this evening.
DICK: I wonít. See you later. Hereís lookiní at you, kid. (Pause.) Wait.
DICK: I almost forgot. Iíve got something for you, sweetheart.
VELMA: You do? What 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. Arenít you 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 and kisses it.) There, all better.
VELMA: Ooh, it feels better already. I guess in the garden of life there has always got to be a little prick.
DICK: My motherís words, exactly. Now you hurry along and Iíll meet you right here after work.
DICK: Bye-bye. (VELMA leans in to kiss him.) Ixnay on the isseskay. Weíre 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, comes out from behind the tree and drops a cloth sack or pillowcase over DICKís head.)
AT RISE Ė The living room of the Von Cobra mansion. BARONESS VON COBRA is alone onstage talking into the microphone of a short-wave radio. She is wearing something dark and sexy; perhaps a slinky, snake-like, floor length, black satin dress with a long slit on the side and with lots of sparkling beading and a cape with a turned-up collar in the shape of a cobraís head. Perhaps she is wearing something else. She smokes cigarettes using a long ornate holder.
BARONESS: 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 start from the beginning and work my way toward der middle. It is the only way to get to the bottom of things. (Still speaking into microphone.) It was late last night. It was dark and it was stormy. One might even say, gloomy. (A flash of LIGHTNING followed by the SOUND of THUNDER.) Shortly after receiving a radio call from Herr Hitler . . . 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 rather in the moment.) Of course you are . . . Otto, darling . . .
OTTO: (Throws himself to his knees.) Beat me! Kick me! 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.)
OTTO: (Correcting her.) Sha-my-er. Otto Pap-sha-my-er.
BARONESS: You have sunken to levels beneath yourself. Now get up! (He does.) I just spoke with der man.
OTTO: Der man . . ? You mean . . ?
BARONESS: I do.
OTTO: (Salutes.) Heil.
BARONESS: Heil. It seems there is a submarine about to leave the Port of Los Angeles. It contains a top-secret weapon that the Third Reich must get its hands on.
OTTO: Right. Third Reich. Hands. Der man?
BARONESS: Der man.
BARONESS: Heil. He needs to know when the schnitzel schleps.
OTTO: The schnitzel schleps?
BARONESS: Leaves port. We must know vhich schnitzel contains das schnapps before it schleps to sea.
OTTO: Vhich schnitzel contains das schnapps?
BARONESS: Das secret weapon.
OTTO: Das schnapps is das secret weapon?
BARONESS: Ya. We must know what we must know. Und we must get our hands on that secret weapon.
OTTO: Yes! We must get our hands on that schnitzel. BARONESS: Nein! We must get our hands on das schnapps after we have boarded der schnitzel. Our leader will not rest till we have it in our hands.
OTTO: The schnapps.
BARONESS: Ya vohl. The secret schnapps. I mean, the secret weapon. Sauerkraut is most anxious.
OTTO: Sauerkraut is anxious?
BARONESS: Ya, sauerkraut must get his hands on das schnapps.
OTTO: You mean . . . ?
BARONESS: I do.
BOTH: (Salute.) Heil!
BARONESS: The future of der pumpernickel depends on it.
OTTO: Der pumpernickel?
BARONESS: Das Third Reich.
OTTO: Ah, I see. Der future of der pumpernickel, which is headed by de sauerkraut, depends on knowing when de schnitzel containing das schnapps schleps to sea, ya?
BARONESS: Ya. You can say that again.
OTTO: Der future of der pumpernickel, which . . .
BARONESS: (Cutting him off.) Nein!
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Enters. She is dressed more like a gypsy than a housekeeper and has a large hairy mole to one side of her nose.) You called me, Baroness Von Cobra?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: I distinctly heard my name.
BARONESS: No one called your name, Frau Schnapps. Now go about your rat catching!
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Iím finished with the rat catching, Madam.
BARONESS: Good. Feed them lots of cheese. I want them nice and plump when I give them to Adolph.
BARONESS: Not that Adolph, dumkoph!
OTTO: Ah, you mean das snake Adolph.
BARONESS: Ya, das snake Adolph. (Turning to FRAU SCHNAPPS.) Well? Havenít you something to do?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Iím making pretzels, Your Ingratiatingness.
BARONESS: I beg your pardon?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Pretzels, Madam. I am making pretzels.
BARONESS: How charming. Go.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Iím gone. (Exits.)
BARONESS: Now, where were we, Otto?
OTTO: Getting our hands on das schnapps for der sauerkraut after weíve boarded der schnitzel in order to save das pumpernickel.
BARONESS: Otto, it is best you watch your ďdersĒ and your ďdases.Ē We are in America and we should not vant to arouse suspicion. Know vhat I mean?
OTTO: Oh, ya . . .
BARONESS: Ah, yes. Herr Hitler said . . .
OTTO: (Salutes.) Heil!
BARONESS: Heil! (A beat.) As I was saying, Herr Hitler . . .
BARONESS: Schtop it! Schtop it, schtop it, schtop it!
OTTO: Yes, Madam.
BARONESS: Now . . . where was I, Papschmier? (Mispronounces, as always.)
OTTO: (Correcting her.) Shh-myer. Shh-myer. (After a pause.) You were saying, ďHerr . . . Hitler . . . (He gets in a quick, short, sotto voce, ďHeil.Ē) Said . . .Ē
BARONESS: Ah, yes. Und vhat he said was: We must find the man from ASSS.
OTTO: Ass, Madam?
BARONESS: Allied Secret Submarine Service. (She spells it out.) A-S-S-S.
OTTO: Ah, that kind of ass.
BARONESS: Dumkoph! We must get our hands on Dick Palmer. He is ASSSís 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 ASSS 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: I live to grovel, Baroness Von Cobra.
BARONESS: (Handing OTTO a slip of paper.) This is where you will find Agent Palmer tomorrow at noon where he will be having lunch, as he does every weekday, with his lady friend Velma Lombard. Understood?
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 strudel. Then, after the strudel, the sauerkraut will have the last laugh as the schnapps and the schnitzel hit the fan. Long live der pumpernickel!
BARONESS: Wunderbar! And then I will inject him with the truth serum of the king cobra.
OTTO: So you said, Madam.
BARONESS: It bears repeating.
OTTO: You make my life so delicious, Baroness. Could you kick me once before I retire to my room . . . please?
BARONESS: Oh, how I spoil you, Herr Papschmier.
BARONESS: Of course. (She kicks him.) Now go! And may your dreams be filled with the scent of black boot leather. (OTTO gets up, bows and backs out and exits. BARONES VON COBRA returns to the short-wave radio and speaks into the microphone.) So, as I was saying, Herr Lipshitz, Papschmier left to fetch Palmer directly after breakfast this morning. Shortly afterward our housekeeper, Frau Schnapps, came stumbling in . . . (FRAU SCHNAPPS stumbles in.) . . . screaming something about das tricks und das treats.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Her mole is now on the side of her chin.) Baroness Von Cobra! Tonight is Halloween and I donít know what to give de 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.) What is that on your chin?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: I donít know. What does it look like?
BARONESS: A mole. Your mole. It has moved.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: What mole?
BARONESS: The one that used to be over there . . . next to your nose.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Pointing to her chin.) Here?
BARONESS: No, the other nose.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: You mean my beauty mark?
BARONESS: If one were to stretch her imagination to such an improbable degree I suppose I could mean that, yes.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Then why didnít you say so?
BARONESS: It didnít occur to me until just now.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Well?
BARONESS: Well what?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: The children. We must give the children something or theyíll put soap on our windows and toilet paper up our trees.
BARONESS: Soap on our vindows? Toilet paper up our twees?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Something like that. Itís an old American custom.
BARONESS: Very well. Give the beggars pretzels.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Pretzels, Madam?
BARONESS: Ya, pretzels. 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 starve. Ya, ya. I was a poor little girl in Heidelberg who sold pretzels my mother made to university students with scarred faces. That was our only source of income.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: But you are a Baroness.
BARONESS: Ya, now. But not then, Frau Schnapps, then I was poor little Helga Schmidt the proctologistís 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 Iíve heard.
BARONESS: 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 kind of 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 bit him.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Das Fuhrer?
BARONESS: Das Snake.
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 Adolphís basket, passed gas, and got himself bit on the bum. 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: Good. 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. Whatís that? Ah, yes, Herr Lipshitz, der whole kitchen is filled with de pretzels . . . little ones, big ones, salted, unsalted, you name it. I certainly donít want soap on my vindows or 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 Iíve got the lowdown on das schnapps in das schnitzel. I pledge allegiance to de pumpernickel. Heil Sauerkraut! I mean, Heil Hitler! (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, sans beauty mark.) 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.)
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Turning back.) What?
BARONESS: Come here. (FRAU SCHNAPPS approaches her.) Where is your beauty mark?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: It is on my bosom.
BARONESS: Which one?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: I will give you three guesses.
BARONESS: I only need two.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Are you sure?
BARONESS: Of course I am sure. How did das beauty mark get on your bosom?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: I donít know, Madam. It seems to have a mind of its own. (She turns and exits.)
BARONESS: (Calling after her.) Hurry with the rat! (She puts a cigarette into her cigarette holder and lights it. Aside.) I am surrounded by dumkophs. Oh well, good servants are so hard to find nowadays. It is a manner into which one needs to be born. So few hear the calling and fewer still will answer. Wherever will tomorrowís servants come from? I foresee a world to come where none will be fit to shine my shoes! How sad. How very, very sad. I live to step upon others. Where would we be without der scum of the earth? Herr Fuhrer will see that thereís lots of scum for people like me. (Pause.) Now, where is that Papschmier? He should be back with our guest by now. Why am I always inconvenienced?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Enters, carrying a caged rat. The mole is now on the side of her nose.) Here is your rat, Your Rodentness.
BARONESS: I beg your pardon?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Your rodent, Baroness.
BARONESS: Thank you, Frau Schnapps. (Takes the cage.) By the way, I may need you to do das Dance of de Seven Veils of Truth. So you will change into your dance clothes immediately.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Yes, Your Despised.
BARONESS: What did you say?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: I asked if I will be dancing for anybody I know or will it be a surprise?
BARONESS: A surprise, I suspect. We will be entertaining an agent from ASSS.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Is that an object or a place, Baroness?
BARONESS: Nein. It is a position. Now go. And see that no one disturbs me while I am feeding my Adolph.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Yes, Madam. (Turns and exits.)
BARONESS: (To herself.) I never heard of a mole with a mind of its own. (Crosses to Adolphís basket and begins to sing. At some point during her singing the lid to the basket slowly rises as Adolph the cobra begins to rise up and sway to the singing of his mistress.)
LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART
IíM IN LOVE VIT YOU
LET ME HEAR YOU VHISPER
THAT YOU LOVE ME, TOO
(She hums awhile then speaks, stroking and kissing her pet.) How is my little darling? Iíve got a present for you my liebchen. Oh, yes I have. Look what mamaís got for you. (Removes rat from cage and feeds it to Adolph.) A nice fat roly-poly rat. Yummy, yummy. Eat the nice fat roly-poly rat. (There is the SOUND at the front door of OTTO entering with his captive DICK PALMER. NOTE: The front door cannot be seen as it is upstage, to the side and at the end of a hallway.) Ah, what do I hear, my little pet? I do believe it is Otto and our houseguest, Agent Dick Palmer. You go back to sleep, my pretty one. I will need your services later. But for now, mamaís got work to do. (She laughs. ADOLPH sinks back into his basket. The BARONESS closes the cover.)
A fedora-wearing hooded DICK PALMER is escorted into the room by OTTO who has a gun pointed at his back. OTTO removes DICKís hat and then his hood and pushes him into the room.
OTTO: Madam, our guest has arrived for tea and strudel.
BARONESS: Welcome to my humble mansion high in the Hollywood hills, Herr Dick. The room you are standing in was personally decorated by moi. I have impeccable taste. You look a bit anxious, a bit limp, Herr Dick. Iíve always been one to bend over backwards for my guests. Can I offer you some refreshment, Herr Dick?
DICK: I ainít no Herr, fraulein!
BARONESS: I ainít no fraulein, dear boy. I am the Baroness Helga Von Cobra at your service.
DICK: Take a gazunt hike, lady! Suppose you tell me what this is all about.
BARONESS: I like a man who comes right to the point.
DICK: Then youíre gonna love me, Toots.
BARONESS: Otto, my precious, please help our guest feel at home.
OTTO: Your coat, sir.
DICK: Thank you, but Iíll leave it on if you donít mind. I donít plan to stay very long at this altitude.
BARONESS: (While removing a syringe from a box, holding it up and examining its contents.) Otto, show Herr Dick to a chair. (OTTO pushes DICK into a nearby chair. The BARONESS crosses to DICK and plunges the needle into his arm.)
DICK: Ouch! What in blue blazes was that?
BARONESS: The truth serum of the king cobra. Otto, you can put your gun away. Herr Dick wonít be going anywhere for quite some time. This takes effect quite suddenly and renders the patient incapable of even the desire to escape. Besides, it instantly puts de feet to sleep. (To DICK.) How do you feel, Herr Dick?
DICK: With my hands, lady!
BARONESS: (Examining DICKís hands.) Ya, ya, and what big hands youíve got. You must be a man with a great big . . . feeling, ya?
DICK: Yeah, it could make you cry, lady.
BARONESS: Papschmier, go!
BARONESS: Whatever! Go!
BARONESS: Go and make sure Frau Schnapps is ready for das Dance of de Seven Veils of Truth.
OTTO: You want Frau Schnapps to do das Dance of de Seven Veils of Truth?
BARONESS: Ya, if it becomes necessary.
OTTO: Let us hope the agent from ASSS cracks before we have to go that far.
BARONESS: But, if he doesnít . . . tell Frau Schnapps to be ready.
OTTO: Yes, my Baroness.
BARONESS: Now go! I must be alone with Herr Dick so we can have our little . . . tea party.
OTTO: Very well. But if you need me . . . for anything . . . you know where to find me.
BARONESS: Ya, ya.
OTTO: (Approaching, as a shy child.) Madam, could you . . . would you . . .
BARONESS: Oh, very well. (She slaps OTTO.) There! Now go! Youíre a dirty little boy with a dirty, dirty, dirty little mind! If you donít straighten out I will tie you up and beat you silly! Now, what have you got to say for yourself?
OTTO: Oh, thank you! Thank you, my Baroness. (Backing toward exit.) I live to grovel. (To DICK,) Were I you, Herr Dick from ASSS, I would tell the Baroness what she wants to hear. You really donít want Frau Schnapps to do das Dance of de Seven Veils of Truth. (Exits.)
DICK: Nice dog you got there, princess. Take long to train him?
BARONESS: He came that way.
DICK: From where Ė a box of Cracker Jacks?
BARONESS: I must know about the secret weapon.
DICK: What secret weapon? I donít know schnapps from schnitzel, lady.
BARONESS: Schnapps from schnitzel? Then you do know when it schleps.
DICK: When what schleps?
BARONESS: Das schnitzel. Where is das schnitzel und vhen does das schnitzel schlep?
DICK: When the moon is full? What are you talking about, lady?
BARONESS The submarine containing the secret weapon. You said you didnít know schnapps from schnitzel. How did you know not to know what you know so well?
DICK: Huh? Look lady, you can force-feed me sauerkraut on pumpernickel and I wonít spill the beans.
BARONESS: Sauerkraut on pumpernickel . . . you know about sauerkraut und pumpernickel? Und beans? Vhat is das beans?
DICK: It means I ainít gonna talk, sister. You can dose me with truth serum till the cows fly back to Capistrano and I ainít gonna talk. Itís my training, lady.
BARONESS: I have some training too, mister.
DICK: Yeah, the kind of training you can only get from Barnum and Bailey.
BARONESS: Whatís das Barnum und Bailey?
DICK: Itís the circus, lady. Itís where you ought to take your act. Youíre doiní the high trapeze without a net, sister.
BARONESS: The high trapeze?
DICK: Youíre flyiní high and youíre gonna crash like a cast-iron Hindenberg, sister. Youíre hard and youíre tough, but youíre all bad air.
BARONESS: We shall see about that!
DICK: Really? So I guess the rolling pin is next?
BARONESS: Vhat rolling pin?
DICK: Címon, donítcha read the funny papers?
BARONESS: Vhat papers? You got papers? Vhat kind of papers?
DICK: The Sunday papers. The Katzenjammer Kids . . . theyíre always gettiní chased by the old lady with a rolling pin.
BARONESS: I donít know any old lady with a rolling pin. How common and vulgar.
DICK: Thatís me, Toots, common and vulgar. I ought to keep my pie hole shut, huh lady?
BARONESS: Ya, ya. You Americans, you can talk de talk but you canít dance de polka. (Crosses to phonograph and turns it on. Orchestra MUSIC plays.) Perhaps this will change your mind.
DICK: What? Youíre gonna kill me with Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians?
BARONESS: (Calling to kitchen.) Frau Schnapps!
DICK: I ainít thirsty, lady.
BARONESS: Ah, but this is a very different kind of schnapps, Herr Dick.
DICK: Hey! I thought I told you about that Herr Dick stuff?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Enters, followed by OTTO. She is dressed in veils. The mole is at the end of her nose. She is a very frightening sight.) You called?
BARONESS: It is time we gave our honored guest das floorshow. (To OTTO.) Otto, just in case we need to persuade our guest a bit more I think you should go and pick up the linguini.
OTTO: The linguini?
BARONESS: Plan B, Otto . . . plan B.
OTTO: Ah, the dish of linguini. (Hesitates before exiting.) Before I leave, Madam, would you give me a slap for good luck?
BARONESS: Otto, Iím busy! Slap yourself, you bad little boy!
OTTO: (Slaps himself while moving toward exit.) Bad boy . . . bad little boy . . . little bad boy . . . (Exits.)
BARONESS: Now . . . where were we?
DICK: (Tries to rise.) Look, sister . . . you and Brunhilde here better make tracks for Berlin Ďcause Iím about to bust this operation wide open. (His legs are rubber Ė his feet are asleep.) Hey, what is this?
BARONESS: A side effect of the truth serum! We donít play around, Mister Dick. (She puts on a different record and turns up the volume. DICK wobbles some more then falls back into his chair.) Now, Frau Schnapps, show our guest vhat you got. (She begins her dance as the LIGHTING and the MUSIC fade.)
AT RISE Ė the counter at the lingerie department of Woolworthís. 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 ďgoodbye.Ē
VELMA: Thank you. Happy Halloween. On behalf of the family and staff of Woolworthís may I wish you and yours a swell day. (A beat.) Bless you! (To herself.) I donít know. Seems like ďhave a swell dayĒ ought to be nice enough. Oh, well . . . Iíll put it in the suggestion box. (OTTO enters.) Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to Woolworthís Department Store. May I interest you in some ladiesí lingerie? Of course lingerie is only for ladies, isnít it? So maybe I should ask if I may interest you in lingerie? I mean, did you ever hear of menís lingerie? What do you think? (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you. Geez, that sneeze sounds familiar.
OTTO: Your perfume.
VELMA: Thatís the next aisle over.
OTTO: No. Your perfume . . . it makes me sneeze.
VELMA: Oh, it makes everybody sneeze. Except my Dicky. Itís hard to get my Dicky to sneeze. He doesnít smell much.
OTTO: Your Dicky doesnít smell . . . much?
VELMA: Nope. Thick hairs . . . up the nose . . . they filter everything out. They run in his family, I think.
OTTO: I see.
VELMA: You do? OTTO: Perfectly. But why do you wear der perfume that makes everybody sneeze? That is, everybody but your Dicky.
VELMA: Because itís all the rage. Did you know that Joan Crawford wears this very perfume? Thatís not to say Iím a huge fan of Joan Crawford, but she is a real sweet lady Ė I mean, adopting those little kids and all. Anyway, I read in one of my magazines that she wears this same perfume. It doesnít seem to have done her any harm. (OTTO appears bewildered.) Well, she does and if it is good enough for Joan Crawford it is good enough for me. Itís called Voodoo.
VELMA: Yeah . . . like that voodoo that you do so well?
OTTO: I donít do voodoo. Who is telling you these lies?
VELMA: No, silly. I didnít mean to say that you do do voodoo. Itís a song. Anyway, youíll stop after three sneezes. Everybody does. Now what may I interest you in?
OTTO: Ladiesí lingerie.
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 Ė taking mental measurements.) Something not too heavy . . . a bit frivolous . . . perhaps, a little schtupid.
OTTO: Ya, not too schmart.
VELMA: Yes, but what exactly? Letís see . . . is this for your wife?
VELMA: Was that a ďno?Ē
VELMA: Perhaps it is for your mistress? You can talk to me. Iím very modern.
OTTO: Nein, she is not exactly my mistress. She tells me what to do. She gives me orders. She beats me and she whispers nasty things in 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 . . . youíre not talking about Mother Mavis over at Saint Gertrudeís Catholic School for Girls, are you? We used to call her Mad Mother Mavis. Jeepers creepers! You didnít want to cross that mean Mother . . .
OTTO: Nein, nein, nein. I know nothing about mean mad mothers.
VELMA: Arenít you lucky? Then are you sure weíre not talking about your wife?
OTTO: I am not married.
VELMA: Like I said, Iím 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 face from off the soles of her shoes.
VELMA: Ah, a Princess! I know exactly what you mean. So many Princesses nowadays. Me, me, me . . . thatís all they think about, isnít it?
OTTO: She is a Baroness.
VELMA: A Baroness . . . Oh, you do have it bad, donít you? Well, letís see . . . something not so 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 Iím sure. (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you.
OTTO: Thank you.
VELMA: Are you sure I donít know you? You have a very distinctive sneeze. I seem to have heard it before. Oh well, itíll come to me. So, does your Baroness have a castle?
OTTO: In Heidelberg she has biggest castle in all of Deutschland.
OTTO: No, not really. But she likes to think so. The Kaiserís . . . his is bigger. I play along because she plays along with me.
VELMA: But she is a Baroness, isnít she?
OTTO: Ya, she has the papers to prove it.
OTTO: Of pedigree.
VELMA: Pedigree? You mean like a Chihuahua?
OTTO: Maybe. I know nothing about Chihuahua. She also has a mansion high up in the Hollywood hills. It is the biggest and it is the best mansion in all of Hollywood.
OTTO: I donít know. I donít get around much anymore.
VELMA: Well, Iím sure Iíd love to see it.
OTTO: Maybe you will . . . ya, maybe you will.
VELMA: I know!
OTTO: What? What do you know?
VELMA: A teddy! Every Baroness needs a black teddy.
OTTO: I donít think she would like a bear.
VELMA: Not a bear, silly. If you arenít the sweetest man . . . (She reaches under the counter and pulls out a black teddy.) Here, this is a teddy.
OTTO: (Examining the teddy.) Ooh, vhat a nice piece of merchandise. This would go so good with der whip.
VELMA: I suppose it would. (OTTO sneezes.) Bless you. Hey! Now I remember . . . (OTTO quickly swoops the teddy over VELMAís head.)
AT RISE Ė 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, Iíve had enough! I canít take it anymore! Iíve seen my share of bad floorshows but this one is worse than the Tijuana donkey serenade.
BARONESS: Then you will talk?
DICK: Sister, Iíll 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 Ďem . . . 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, heíd come to me in his tight little 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 donít want soap on our windows.
BARONESS: Good, good. Und we donít want toilet paper up our twees . . . it gets all wet and soggy and impossible to get it out, if you know what I mean. (FRAU SCHNAPPS exits. To DICK.) So, we are alone at last.
DICK: Yeah, ainít this the beeís knees? Itís just you and me, kid. My heart is going all pity-pat . . . and so is my gall bladder.
BARONESS: I am waiting to hear the canary singing.
DICK: I donít chirp on an empty stomach, lady.
BARONESS: You are stalling and you are wasting precious time! (The SOUND of the front door closing.) Ah, delivery! It looks like youíll 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. To DICK.) I do hope you approve.
VELMA: (Runs to DICK.) Oh, Dicky! This terrible man with a funny accent abducted me right out of Woolworthís. You think theyíll dock my salary? I hope not. I used up this monthís supply of ration stamps, but then this month is pretty much over, isnít it? Anyway, it was almost closing time. Oh, I could spit. I could just spit.
BARONESS: Put a zipper on it, sister!
VELMA: Likewise Iím sure.
BARONESS: (Pushes VELMA into the chair next to Adolphís basket.) Well, it looks like the floorshow isnít quite over yet.
VELMA: Thereís a floorshow?
DICK: (To the BARONESS.) You never give up, do you?
BARONESS: Not when the fate of the Third Reich is at stake.
OTTO: De pumpernickel.
BARONESS: Ya, de pumpernickel.
DICK: Iíll have mine on rye with a side of potato salad if itís all the same with you, sister.
BARONESS: It is not all the same 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 to that, sister.
VELMA: Is this some kind of weird Hollywood Halloween party? ĎCause if it is I really didnít come dressed for it.
DICK: Iím afraid not, sweetheart. 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 ainít none other, sweetheart. It is safe to surmise that they are going to use and abuse you to get at me. But I wouldnít let it bother me were I you.
VELMA: Use and abuse me? I donít 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.
VELMA: (To the BARONESS Ė extending her hand.) Hi. Iím Velma Lombard. Iím an actress. You may not have heard of me. I havenít done very much yet. In fact, I havenít done anything really. But Iím gonna be the next big thing, only nobody knows it yet. I mean big. Big like Veronica Lake . . . or maybe Merle Oberon. 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: Whatís the matter, creampuff? You didnít get a program at the door?
VELMA: No, I just came right in with this very nice gentleman here . . . (Indicates OTTO.) Iím sorry. I never got your name. Iím Velma Lombard. Iím an actress.
BARONESS: Shut up! Youíre making me crazy!
DICK: Somebody else did that long ago, sister.
BARONESS: Little Dicky here doesnít want to sing so Iíve 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.)
IíM IN LOVE VIT YOU
(The GORILLA moves about the room unseen by all.)
LET ME HEAR YOU VHISPER THAT YOU LOVE ME, TOO
(The lid to Adolphís basket slowly opens.)
KEEP THE LOVELIGHT GLOWING IN YOUR . . .
EYES SO TRUE.
VELMA: Bless you.
BARONESS: Thank you. (Continues singing.)
LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART (The GORILLA sneezes.)
ALL: (None actually pay attention to whom it was who sneezed - they respond merely out of habit.) Bless you. (The GORILLA grunts. By now Adolph has risen high over his basket.)
BARONESS: (Sings.) IíM IN LOVE VIT 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! What was that?
BARONESS: That, girlie, was der bite of Adolph!
VELMA: Adolph sure looked like a snake to me.
BARONESS: Ya, a king cobra . . . und without de antidote Iím afraid you have less than an hour to live. (She laughs. To DICK.) So what have you got to say for yourself now, Herr Dick?
VELMA: Less than an hour? I canít! I just canít have less than an hour. Iím going to be a movie star. Do something, Dicky!
DICK: (Looks over toward VELMA.) Iím sorry, Velma, but I canít.
VELMA: You canít?
DICK: I canít. I really canít. I am sworn to secrecy.
VELMA: What are you Ė crazy? You would choose ASSS over me?
DICK: Sorry, babe, but a manís gotta do what a manís gotta do.
The GORILLA sneezes.
ALL: Bless you! (ALL turn and see the GORILLA Ė causing them ALL to scream!)
As the LIGHTS slowly dim to the screams of ALL, we see the GORILLA beating its chest. A Flash of LIGHTNING followed by the SOUND of THUNDER.)
AT RISE Ė The living room of the Von Cobra mansion. Everything is as it was at the end of ACT ONE. All are frozen in place as the LIGHTING rises. When it has fully risen, ALL continue screaming.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Removes the head from off her gorilla costume. The screaming of the others stops.) 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: Iím supposed to look like a gorilla. It is expected. 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 Ė maybe that was somebody else.
BARONESS: Just throw water in their dirty little faces and theyíll grow just as strong as 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 trick or treaters. I donít care how much it makes der children grow and I donít 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 donít mind Iíve got less than an hour to live . . . and you certainly do look like a gorilla. No offense. My Aunt Louise on my motherís side spent a fortune on electrolysis. Itís all the rage donítcha know. My name is Velma Lombard and Iím an actress.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Extending her gorilla hand.) Pleased to meet you.
VELMA: Likewise Iím 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 over at Woolworthís. 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? Anyway, if it had of been Kongo weíd probably all be dead by now . . . or worse.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: What could possibly be worse?
VELMA: They say he never met a female he didnít . . . well, you know.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nein, I donít know.
VELMA: Yes, you know. (Timidly demonstrates using finger gestures to suggest sexual intercourse.) Ewingscray . . . the old down and irtyday . . . umpinghay . . .
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ah . . . ya. I get it. Ya, I believe I do know. But then 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: Schtop it! Schtop it, schtop it, schtop it! You understand nothing! (To VELMA.) What is wrong with you, girlie?
VELMA: Well, to start with, Iíve got less than an hour to live.
BARONESS: Ya, and thatís a fact. (To FRAU SCHNAPPS and OTTO.) Havenít 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 and you have less than an hour to live. Unless I am mistaken, he did not also give you a lobotomy! (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 heís a schnake . . . a snake. I could tell that the minute I saw him.
DICK: Then Iím sure he only bit her. (To VELMA.) Ainít that right, Velma? Did he just bite you or did he try something funny?
VELMA: No, he bit me and thatís about all.
DICK: I wouldnít worry about it then.
VELMA: It wasnít you who got bit, Dicky.
DICK: Remember the little prick from the rose this afternoon?
BARONESS: What rose?
VELMA: You bet I do. It still stings, Dicky.
BARONESS: What little prick?
DICK: The thorns of that rose were coated with the antidote to cobra venom. You ainít got nothing to worry about, sweetheart, youíve been vaccinated.
VELMA: You mean Iím 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: Itís our job to know, Velma. ASSS prides itself on covering all its bases.
BARONESS: Weak venom? Long in der tooth? (Takes one of her high heel shoes off and starts beating Adolphís basket.) Hello! Hello in there! Why didnít 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! Youíve gone soft and schmushy. Youíll never march side by side for the glory of Deutchland. You can forget about that right now you . . . you Aryan wannabe! (Shaking shoe at Aldoph.) And remember all those times I said it was wunderbar? Well you can forget about that too, Mister. It wasnít wunderbar. It wasnít wunderbar at all . . . I was faking it! You impotent limp biscuit! (Adolph grabs the shoe and sinks back into his basket Ė shamefully, if that is possible.)
DICK: ASSS has been on your tail for months, lady.
BARONESS: ASSS has been on my tail?
DICK: Like a fly on last weekís liverwurst. Weíve been watching your every move . . . monitoring your radio conversations with Berlin. We have transcripts of every one of your conversations.
BARONESS: Ya, ya! So what?
DICK: Weíve 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 proctologistís daughter . . . only he never had a license to practice proctology. The apple never falls far from the tree does it, sister?
BARONESS: I donít know vhat youíre 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 Furorís business.
BARONESS: Der Furorís business is my business, Herr Dick. I am a daughter of Deutchland! (Salutes.) Heil Hitler! (Grabs gun from somewhere.) Und now, de games is over.
VELMA: Did I miss the games?
DICK: It shoots blanks, sister, just like your little limp friend in the basket Ė Herr Adolph the spineless wonder. No more moonlit nights for the two of you, heh? A woman and her snake . . . sort of tugs at the old heartstrings, donít it?
VELMA: Iím a modern girl Ė but thatís a little too modern for me.
BARONESS: What are you talking about?
DICK: I told you. Weíve had you under surveillance for quite some time. You donít think weíd leave a loaded gun laying around, do you? You might hurt yourself.
A GORILLA enters, pounding its chest and grunting. Suddenly it sneezes.
VELMA: Bless you.
BARONESS: Go back to the kitchen, Frau Schnapps! I donít 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: Donít get me wrong. Like I say, Iím a very modern girl. Maybe later. Iíve got a headache right now. So, amscray! (OTTO and FRAU SCHNAPPS enter. FRAU SCHNAPPS is carrying a large box with ďSUNSET COSTUMES 1 GORILLA SUITĒ printed on it. OTTO is carrying a tray of pretzels that he places on a table.) 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! Then who . . . itís Kongo!
ALL ad-lib ďKongoĒ and scream etc. Strobe LIGHTING. VELMA jumps up hitting the phonograph that begins to play ďoom-pahĒ music. ALL continue to ad-lib as everyone runs in all directions as in some wild game of hide-and-seek. The BARONESS shoots her gun at KONGO but soon realizes that it is indeed loaded with blanks. The BARONESS, having one shoe, hobbles in and out of closets, behind drapes and doorways. DICK, still recovering from the effects of the truth serum, moves with floppy legs on feet that have gone to sleep. KONGO seems intent on capturing VELMA, the BARONESS or FRAU SCHNAPPS. It is obviously a woman that he wants. At one point KONGO corners FRAU SCHNAPPS downstage. With her back to the audience, FRAU SCHNAPPS exposes her unique breasts to KONGO who appears momentarily stunned and bewildered; he then counts to three on his fingers before becoming horrified and runs away from her. KONGO now only pursues VELMA and the BARONESS and runs from FRAU SCHNAPPS whenever they are in close proximity. At one point, OTTO stands on a table or a bench, 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 LIGHTING returns to normal as the BARONESS musters all her available strength and shouts:
BARONESS: Schtop it! Schtop it, schtop it, schtop it! (ALL freeze in their tracks. To OTTO.) Otto! Sit down! You look like a namby-pamby sissy boy! I will not tolerate such behavior. (OTTO sits.) Youíre all acting like a bunch of wild animals. (To KONGO.) Especially you! (KONGO grunts.)
VELMA: Kongo is a wild animal.
BARONESS: Shut up, blondie! Iím not done with you yet.
DICK: I think you are, sister. I think your day of reckoning has finally arrived. Itís time to pay the piper.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Hallelujah.
BARONESS: Der piper pays me, Mister. (To FRAU SCHNAPPS.) And where is your so-called beauty mark?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Itís on vacation . . . gone south for the winter . . . way south. You want I should show you?
BARONESS: Nein, Iíve seen enough of you already. Go. Get out of my sight. Youíre fired!
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nein, I donít think so, Helga Schmidt Ė daughter of a proctologist.
BARONESS: What is this obsession everybody has about my fatherís 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 he wed you.
BARONESS: I know that, but she was dead.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: She was not dead, Your Wretchedness. He thought she was dead after he threw her to der starving pigs so he could be with you. But she was tougher than pigs! She crawled her way out of that filthy schwein muck and joined a band of traveling gypsies until she could devise a plan to take back her rightful title. Then, after you and der snake Adolph murdered the late and loathsome Baron, she and her new boy friend Ė the three-handed boy Ė took employment in your household where they waited for their day to arrive. Hallelujah! Today is das come and get it day!
BARONESS: What are you talking about? I never hired a boy with three hands.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Maybe he had one of them surgically removed by Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler while his girlfriend held a gun to the good doctorís head?
BARONESS: Nonsense! I have never hired anybody other than Otto and you.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Coyly.) Ya, just Otto and me.
DICK: (To the BARONESS.) Looks like the jigís up, sister.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: As it turned out, the Baron couldnít handle a woman with three titties. I was too much of a woman for him. He wanted a Catholic schoolgirl in der plaid skirt and der schwanz of das schwein.
BARONESS: I was young and beautiful. You were last weekís chopped liver. You are das freak of nature.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Nature had nothing to do with it, Herr Helmut Schmidt Ė son of a proctologist.
BARONESS: What? What did you say?
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Donít think I didnít know about youíre little surgical procedure.
BARONESS: No. Nobody knows.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: I know. I know, Herr Helmut Schmidt, because I was the attending nurse.
BARONESS: No, it not true.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Itís true all right.
VELMA: You mean that sheís a he?
BARONESS: I am all woman, sister! I was poor and I wanted to marry a Baron. Der operation was my only chance for the good life. I, too, knew Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler. 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 removed my you-know-what.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Small loss.
BARONESS: It was not a small loss. In fact, he used my you-know-what on another patient. I recognized the beauty mark on your middle bosom.
DICK: Only in Hollywood.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: It was der Baron who insisted on my operation. He told me that it was a fantasy of his all his life to have a woman with three . . . bosoms.
OTTO: Am I hearing that one of her bosoms is made from the Baronessí who-know-what?
DICK: Thatís about the size of it, Papschmier. (He also pronounces it incorrectly.)
OTTO: Sha-my-er! Sha-my-er! Otto Pap-sha-my-er! BARONESS: It was just the foreskin of my you-know-what. It was no small matter! He never wanted a woman with three . . . three of those there what you got. 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.
VELMA: I think she means bobby socks.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Dream on, Youíre in Denialness. (Reaching into her breasts.) Letís see . . . down here between one of these . . .
BARONESS: What are you doing? Schtop it!
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Itís in here somewhere. (Pulls out folded sheet of paper.) Ah, 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 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. (Submitting.) What big muscles you got! What a big . . . (Sings.) LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART . . . (etc.)
The BARONESS continues to sing as KONGO carries her off like a prize trophy. DICKís attention is drawn to the short-wave radio with its flashing light. 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: Will the Baroness be all right?
DICK: Sheíll be just fine, Otto. All she needs is some time with the sandman to sleep it off. The question is, will the world be all right?
OTTO: What about Miss Lombard? Do you think she could . . ?
DICK: I donít know, Otto. Perhaps . . . You take the Baroness to her room while I figure out how to save the world.
OTTO: I want you to know that itís been good working with you, Mister Palmer. Thank you for trusting a poor three-handed boy.
DICK: Youíre a man, Otto, and you no longer have three hands.
OTTO: I know, but I still see myself reaching for three things at once.
DICK: I can see how that could happen.
OTTO: Thank you and good luck, Mister Palmer.
DICK: Youíre very welcome, Otto.
OTTO: The future of America and all der free world depends on you, Mister Palmer.
DICK: I know it does. And donít think it doesnít weigh heavy on my shoulders . . . heavy like a Sherman tank filled with overweight soldiers . . . heavy like Kate Smith . . .
OTTO: Thatís heavy, boss. (OTTO drags FRAU SCHNAPPS from the living room and exits.)
VELMA: You mean that the two of you have been working together all this time?
DICK: Of course. (DICK goes to the radio. He has an idea.) Velma, quick! Iíve got an idea!
VELMA: What is it, Dicky?
DICK: You are about to give the performance of a lifetime.
VELMA: I am?
DICK: You must take this call from Berlin or else they will know something is afoot. You must pretend you are the Baroness.
VELMA: I canít do that.
DICK: Of course you can.
VELMA: I canít.
DICK: You can . . . you must.
VELMA: How will I know what to say?
DICK: Iíll help you. There are only a few things you need to remember.
VELMA: But heíll know Iím not the Baroness. I donít sound one bit like the Baroness. I canít.
DICK: Are you or are you not an actress, Velma?
VELMA: But, Dicky, I . . . I . . . YES. I am Miss Velma Lombard Ė actress!
DICK: Then show us your stuff! Show us the stuff that dreams are made of!
VELMA: Okay! Iíll be so good Iíll make you proud of me, Dicky. Now, 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 Ė schnitzel . . . leaves port Ė schleps. Gotcha.
DICK: The schnapps is the secret weapon and the sauerkraut is Adolph Hitler.
VELMA: Sauerkraut Ė Hitler. Thatís easy enough to remember.
DICK: Donít forget the schnapps.
VELMA: Right. The schnapps is . . . oh dear, whatís the schnapps, Dicky?
DICK: The schnapps is the secret weapon.
VELMA: What is the secret weapon?
DICK: I canít tell you that, Velma.
VELMA: Right. So, I donít know what the schnapps is because the schnapps 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 to sea underwater and under the cover of night to destroy the pumpernickel.
VELMA: The pumpernickel is underwater?
DICK: No, the pumpernickel is the Third Reich.
VELMA: Third Reich . . . got it.
DICK: Are you sure?
VELMA: Yup, letís 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 schnapps schleps tonight at midnight from pier eighteen. They will send all of their local operatives and ASSS agents will be waiting there to wipe them up.
VELMA: Okay, I got it. But you donít want me to tell them about the ASSS agents, right?
DICK: Right. (VELMA holds the earphones to her ears and readies herself to speak into the microphone.) The outcome of this war is in your hands, Velma. Good luck.
VELMA: Break a leg. Youíre supposed to say, ďBreak a leg.Ē ďGood luckĒ is bad luck so you better say, ďBreak a leg.Ē
DICK: Sure thing, Velma. Break a leg. (He turns a knob on the short-wave radio.) Youíre on. The future of the world depends on you.
VELMA: (Looking heavenward.) 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 your leiderhosen on! I vas on der throne. So who is this anyway in such a hurry? Ah, Herr sauerkraut! Heil to you. Howís things in de old pumpernickel? Got everything under control? Good, good. Ya got to show them whoís who, whoís the boss, if you know vhat I mean. So, howís 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! Youíre killing me! Thatís funny. Vell, like I always say Ė if they canít take a joke, shoot them. Der Schnitzel? Ya, I was vondering vhen you were going to get down to business. Dick Palmer? He squealed like a stuck pig. Pig. Pig. Oink, oink. Ya, ya, das schwein. Nein, not schtoop Ė stuck. Stuck with a sharp object. Schtoop a pig is something very different. Ya, ya, Goebbels would know about that. Linguini? What linguini?
DICK: You! You are the linguini!
VELMA: Ah, the linguini. Vell, Herr sauerkraut, let me tell you about the 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 Woolworthís she is really quite famous. She was pasta putty in my hands. But in the end our little noodle bent just like Dick did and 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 loudly.) Eighteen.
VELMA: Pier eighteen. You got that, Herr sauerkraut? Good. Das schnapps is in der schnitzel and it schleps . . . schleps . . . Am I going too fast for you? Are you getting it all down? Good, good. It schleps tonight at midnight. Wunderbar! Auf wiedersehen. Danke shoene. Gesundheit. Heil you. Thank you for shopping at Woolworthís. (Turns off the radio and puts down the microphone.)
DICK: Terrific, Velma! Now weíve got to get out of here. Weíve got to let ASSS 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 dayís work, sweetheart. A manís gotta talk the talk of the road he walks upon in his journey through life.
VELMA: Wow, thatís deep, Dicky. (A beat.) What about trick or treating? You promised weíd go trick or treating.
DICK: (Picking up the box with the gorilla suit.) Iíve got an idea.
AT RISE Ė The living room of the Von Cobra mansion, a couple hours later. FRAU SCHNAPPS is dressed in a black tuxedo and top hat. She has a bandage on her forehead. She is smoking a cigarette from a long cigarette holder. She is posed on a wooden chair reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich. She is also holding a whip or has one nearby. OTTO is dressed in boots and a black teddy Ė presumably the one from Woolworthís. The hairy mole that was once on FRAU SCHNAPPSí face is now on OTTOís face. ADOLPH is risen high over his basket and is swaying to the singing of FRAU SCHNAPPS.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Singing.)
LET ME CALL YOU SVEETHEART
IíM IN LOVE VIT YOU
LET ME HEAR YOU VHISPER THAT YOU LOVE ME, TOO
KEEP THE LOVELIGHT GLOWING
IN YOUR EYES SO TRUE
Okay. You can give him a rat now, Otto.
OTTO: Whatever you say, Baroness. I live to grovel.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Of course you do.
OTTO: (Tries to feed a rat to ADOLPH who shakes his head ďno.Ē.) He doesnít seem to want the rat, Madam. Poor Adolph . . . he looks so sad.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya, the proctologistís daughter . . . ah, son . . . whatever . . . called him some pretty nasty names. You would be sad too if somebody said the awful things to you that she said to him. Let him sulk for awhile. Schnakes are very sensitive creatures.
OTTO: Ya, ya . . . schnakes are very sensitive. But I am not. You can call me anything you like, Baroness.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (Cracks whip.) Schtinker. You dirty schtinker.
OTTO: Ya, ya! Iím a dirty schtinker.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Maybe you need mama to whip your little behind, ya?
NOISES OFF: The SOUND of trick or treaters at the front door.
OTTO: Itís time!
FRAU SCHNAPPS: Ya! Here . . . you take der pretzels and . . . take both trays. I got der whip. Isnít this exciting?
OTTO: (Struggling with trays of pretzels.) Ya, but I wish I had three hands again.
FRAU SCHNAPPS: (While walking toward exit.) Vell, we could look up Herr Doctor Fleischspeiler und see what heís doing these days.
OTTO: Good idea. (BOTH exit.)
The LIGHTING slowly dims except for a pin spot on ADOLPHís basket. The lid slowly rises and ADOLPH stands tall and spits out the shoe that the former BARONESS had fed him.
AT RISE Ė A bench in a park. DICK is wearing the gorilla costume. and holding a large model airplane. To the side of the bench is a large cardboard cut-out of the Empire State Building. There is a Woolworthís shopping bag on the bench filled with candy and other Halloween treats.
DICK: (Removing the gorilla head and putting on his fedora. He speaks directly to the audience.) We saved the world that night, Velma and me . . . and many other nights since. Thatís what I do Ė thatís my job. Iím the man from ASSS 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, if you work nights, you can sleep soundly in your beds during the day.
Velma and me went our separate ways. Sheís 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 youíre wondering about what happened to the evil Baroness and Kongo . . . well, they got what was coming to them. After Kongo dragged Helmut Schmidt, the proctologistís 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 Ė they donít 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 Ė he became a resident of the biggest house in all of California - Alcatraz. After the war he got released, got married, and became an American citizen.
BARONESS: (Comes out from behind the Empire State Building.) Are we about ready to go home, mein liebchen? My dogs are tired and this building is getting pretty heavy.
DICK: Sure thing, sweetheart. Iím just putting the wraps on this case and tying it up with a pretty bow. (After a pause.) Now where was I? Ah, yes. If you ever find yourself lost and alone Ďround 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, ďLet Me Call You SweetheartĒ you better listen . . . and listen good. It could be the proctologistís daughter wooing you. Hereís lookiní at you, sveetheart.