The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages - www.carygrant.net

"It's a Screwball Life"
Chapters 7 thru 9

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Chapter Seven
-- by Jenny Curtis --

The second cab takes off after the first. The alley is now empty except for a lone figure in a Tux and a raincoat. Irene opens the back door of the restaurant and yells.

Irene: Kate! I think she got away!

(The figure in the raincoat approaches. It’s Jimmy Stewart.)

Jimmy: Say, what’s with all the noise?

Irene: Well, if this isn’t turning out to be night of a 1,000 stars. What on earth are YOU doing here?

Jimmy: Doesn’t a fella have the right to lurk in alleyways in this country anymore? I was just lookin for a friend of mine.

Irene: From Indiana?

Jimmy: Well not exactly. She’s from South Bend.

Irene: But I thought South Bend was in Indiana.

Jimmy: That’s right. And Indiana is in Pennsylvania.

Irene: Jumpin Jahosafats! Now you’re doing it, too!

Jimmy: Jumpin Ja-- Say, now that’s my line. Why don’t we just start over from the beginning?

Irene: Oh no, I’m not falling for that old trick. Why don’t you just tell me the NAME of the person you were meeting?

Jimmy: Well, it’s, it’s, it’s just that... well. I don’t exactly know her name. She’s sort of a mysterious kind of um, um, um (wiggles all ten fingers out in front of his face as if dispersing a fog) kind of a phantom gal.

Irene: Sounds familiar. Does this phantom gal from South Bend, happen to be a singer.

Jimmy: Ya mean sort of a Siren from South Bend?

Irene: Exactly! Now you’re catching on. How did you arrange to meet this phantom siren whatever she is?

Jimmy: Well, I got this note in my dressing room at the studio, with a lovely perfume smell to it and it said to meet the Siren from South Bend here tonight.

Irene: (to herself) But why would she tell Cary her name was Lorea and then tell Mr. Smith here something different?

Jimmy: Cary? Say is Cary in on this, too?

Cary (appearing in doorway) Am I in on what?

Jimmy: Why you old dog, you. Muscling in on my phantom siren from South Bend.

Cary: I’m sure I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go commit Hare Krishna.

Irene: Don’t you mean Harey Carey?

Cary: The Cub’s announcer? No, I was thinking of shaving my head, getting some robes, maybe a tamborine, you know (dances around singing a little tune) Hare, Hare, Krishna, Krishna

Irene (feeling Cary’s forehead): We’ve got to get this mess fixed-up and pronto. He’s on his last nerve.

Cary: Madame my last nerve left me precisely the moment that you and Red showed up and drove my date off in tears! Now let’s get a car and get out of here.

Irene: Where to?

Jimmy: I could have sworn I saw that Hepburn dame get in a cab and head thataway.

Cary: Oh, that’s beautiful. We’ve got the vague direction of thataway and they’ve got a ten minute head start on us.

Irene: We could just go back inside, sit down, have a drink and wait for Kate to check back with us.

Cary (putting his arm, wearily over Irene’s shoulder): Now that’s the first sensible thing you’ve said in this entire fanfiction. Carry me to the bar.

Jimmy (running around to Cary’s other side): Steady there. Oh, Bartender! Get me a shot of bourbon and one of them Gibson things for my friend here.

Cary: No ice, two olives and a blindfold.

Irene: Why the blindfold?

Cary: I have a feeling this going to be my last request.

*******MEANWHILE In a taxi cab hurtling through the back alleys of Hollywood.

Kate: Step on it, Mac. They’re getting away.

Driver: Cecil

Kate: What?

Driver: The name isn’t Mac. It’s Cecil.

Kate: What sort of a name is Cecil for a cabbie?

Driver: My mother is a big fan of Demille’s.

Kate: Well, Cecil, your tip is getting away from us along with that cab.

Driver: It looks like they must have ducked down one of these alleys. We’re almost in Chinatown, now. I don’t know my way around.

Kate: Chinatown? (Music swells dramatically) Well, forget about it Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Driver: Cecil.

Kate: Cecil, Jake, Mac. I don’t care what you call yourself. Just pull over to that pay phone and let me make a call. (cab pulls over)

Kate gets out and calls the restaurant, asking for Irene. We see Irene called to the phone by the matre D.

Irene: Well, did you find out what that goldigger is up to?

Kate: Chinatown.

Irene: Chinatown? (Music swells dramatically) What was that noise?

Kate: Must be a bad connection. Listen, I lost the Siren in Chinatown. I think we’re in over our heads.

Irene: I’ll say. Cary is nearly drowning in a Gibson the size of a Packard and Jimmy Stewart is trying to find the life preserver.

Kate: What’s HE doing there?

Irene: Seems the Moocher made a date with him tonight too. Only she identified herself as the Siren of South Bend in her otherwise anonymous note. How do you figure that?

Kate: Maybe she’s playing them both for saps. Using two different monikers for two different monkeys.

Irene: Yeah, but in the same restaurant? That takes guts.

Operator: Please insert 5 cents or this call will be disconnected.

Kate: Woops, I’ll catch ya back there toots. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of the Moocher tonight....

Chapter Eight
-- by Donna Moore --

Chapter 8 - A Thickening Plot

The Scene is a seedy apartment in Chinatown - the furniture is old and mismatched, the carpet is threadbare, the curtains are patched and faded, the paintwork is dingy and scratched. At an old table, Lorea is sitting with her head in her hands, sobbing. Her spectacular evening gown looks out of place in the drab surroundings. An older woman, grey haired and care worn, her face strained, is trying to comfort her. Lorea: Oh Aunt Martha! I'm SO unhappy.

Aunt Martha: Didn't you get to see them my dear? I thought the plan we had worked out was perfect.

Lorea: Well, I saw Cary, and he is everything I dreamed he would be, but I didn't want to say anything to him until Jimmy arrived. But before he turned up these two very odd women appeared. It later turned out they were Irene and Kate, but I was sure they'd just escaped from Happy Dale. One of them had the oddest voice, and the other one had this really ridiculous little laugh which she kept doing at the most inappropriate moments. Then they both insisted that I should sing!!! Apart from the fact that I can't carry a tune in a bucket, it would have brought too much attention. I had to just run away. If only I'd have been able to get rid of Irene and Kate, I could have waited with Cary until Jimmy arrived, and then I could have spoken to them both. Oh Aunt Martha! What AM I going to do? (Lorea puts her head down on the table and sobs wretchedly).


Cary, Jimmy, Irene and Kate are squashed into the back of a taxi. Cary is looking distractedly out of the windows, he is sitting in between Irene and Kate and each time one of them moves Cary has to duck to avoid getting poked in the eye by one or other of their fashionable but impractical hats.

Kate: Where ARE we going darling?

Cary: Well, you said you last saw the mystery woman in Chinatown, so we're going to see my old pal Mickey Chin. He owns a nightclub and if anyone knows who's who around here, it's him.

Kate: He may know who's who, but does he know what's what?

Irene: What's what?

Kate: What?

Irene: What's what? You said what's what.

Kate: Irene dear, you can be dreadfully DIM sometimes.

Irene: I only want to know what's what. I think you're awfully mean not to tell me.
(Irene pouts and snuggles further into her white fur coat)

Cary and Jimmy exchange exasperated looks

Cary: Do shut up the pair of you, or I'll give you what for.

Irene: What for! What for?
(She winks at Kate and they dissolve into peals of laughter.

The taxi pulls up outside Mickey Chin's nightclub. The name 'Chin's' is flashing over the door in foot high letters. The place is tasteless in the extreme.

Irene: Cary, of all the Chin joints in all the world, why did you have to pick this one?

Cary tweaks her hat down over her face, as a result she trips, and falls into the arms of one of the two large and menacing identical bouncers.

Irene: (blowing a stray curl from her face): Ooooh, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Can I be Alice in Wonderland?

Cary (grabbing her by the arm and propelling her inside): No dear, YOU'RE the Mad Hatter.

Irene: Don't Mock, Turtle.

They enter the club, which is just as tasteless on the inside as it is on the outside.

Jimmy, Irene and Kate hang back as Cary is grabbed effusively by a small jolly looking man. The small jolly looking man alternately slaps Cary on the back and shakes his hand vigorously.

Jimmy: Say, I've never seen a place like this before.
(He whistles as a bevy of barely clad dancers hurry past)

Kate: (quietly) Let's hope we never see another one.............Mr Chin (this time more loudly) what a lovely place you have here.

Mr Chin ushers them through the club to his best table, turning round to talk and gesticulate in an animated fashion as he goes, like a mini whirling dervish. As he makes his way through the room, he leaves a little trail of chaos in his wake - an overturned chair here, an upturned guest there. Cary stops to brush down an old gent who has been toppled by this human tornado. The old gent looks so flustered and taken aback, that Irene can't resist planting a kiss on his bald head as she goes past. He turns bright red and wiggles his fingers at her coyly.


As Mickey Chin settles his prized guests at their table, the scene shifts to Lorea and her aunt:

Lorea: Aunt Martha, what can we do? It has to be tonight.

Aunt Martha: I don't know child, we don't have much time left.

At that moment, there is a loud knocking at the door. Lorea jumps up from the table with a cry.

Chapter Nine
-- by Derna Simpson --

Chapter 9 - Twice the Confusion

Lorea stands frozen by the table looking pleadingly at Aunt Martha, as Aunt Martha wrings her hands and contemplates the door. The silence is interrupted by a second knock which spurs Aunt Martha into action. She moves quietly across the room and, taking Lorea's elbow, gently directs her towards the window alcove. Lorea recovers herself sufficiently to move across the room and conceal herself from view behind the drawn curtain.

Aunt Martha scans the room, smooths her clothes, moves across to the door and very cautiously begins to open it. As she does so the door is thrown open violently from the outside and a small whirlwind of very dirty arms and legs rolls across the floor and screams 'Owch!' as it crashes into the table. Aunt Martha watches with interest as the small bundle unfolds itself, leaps to its feet and then quite composedly saunters back to the door and pushes it closed with its dirty little back. He looks up at Aunt Martha and breaks into a charming grin.

Aunt Martha:(quite perplexed) What do you want?

Archie: Well, who are you?

Aunt Martha: Who are you?

Archie: But, who are you?

Aunt Martha: What do you want?

Archie: Well, who are you?

Aunt Martha: Oh, I'm not quite sure dear. Aunt Martha? (Archie looks at her skeptically and she gives up all conviction) No? (She sits down at the table slowly and then looking up as if remembering) Who are you?

Archie: (breaking into a wide grin) What do you want?

Aunt Martha: (resignedly) What is going on?

Archie opens his mouth, thinks twice, closes it again, and then lets out a brief whistle. Lorea emerges from behind the curtain, casting him a reproachful look.

Archie: Hiya doll-face.

Lorea: What's the story?

Archie: Nothin. I gave 'im the letter, din't 'e turn up?

Lorea: Yes, he turned up - but with a couple of whacky dames in tow! I didn't ask you to issue invitations to all and sundry. And what happened to the other one by the way?

Archie: Hey, I just deliver the letters. You can't blame me if they don't, (with a grin) or do, turn up.

Lorna advances on Archie with a menacing look.


The scene switches back to Mickey Chin's. Jimmy, Cary, Irene and Kate have settled themselves at their table and a little trail of disturbance across the club indicates the path Mickey Chin took on leaving them. A small and rather untidy orchestral group is playing low background music.

Jimmy: So, what is plan B gang?

Irene: (looking amused) There was a plan A?

Cary: (ignoring Irene) Well at least we know she's in Chinatown somewhere.

Kate: (wryly) That's useful. Hey, maybe we should make a public announcement: 'Can anyone personally acquainted with the Siren from South Bend please make themselves known'. (she nods decisively) That should do it.

Cary and Jimmy look at her impatiently.

Jimmy: Cary, we don't even know her real name for sure!

Cary: Well, I would have found all that out if this pair (waving at Kate and Irene) had just left us alone.

Irene grimaces attractively then leans her elbow on the table before her and cups her chin in her elegantly gloved hand. Katharine adopts the exact same pose opposite and they gaze at each other intently. They remain like this as Cary and Jimmy continue to discuss Lorea.

Cary: Well, we can't just give up now.

Jimmy: Of course not!

Irene and Kate: (in unison, staying as they are) Of course!

Cary: You know there was just something about her. Something different. She wasn't quite like any of the other women I know. She was sort of, well, different...

Irene and Kate (in unison, turn their heads to look at Cary) Fascinating!

Cary rolls his eyes then all at once, it seems, they become aware that the music has gotten louder and they all recognize the tune. They exchange glances then all four fix their eyes on the stage. The intro concludes and a brighter pool of light seems to bathe centerstage as an almost translucent figure floats from the wings towards it.

The music pauses momentarily. Cary, Jimmy, Irene and Kate hold their breath and watch intently. The apparition comes to a graceful halt and picks up the tune as it resumes.

I used to dream about a cottage small
A cottage small by a waterfall
But I wound up with no home at all
My dreams are gone with the wind

Somewhere in the middle of this Cary exclaims 'It's her!' and the four of them rise from their table, Kate and Irene hurriedly grabbing coats and bags, as Jimmy and Cary, ignoring them, dash between the tables towards the stage. Noticing the commotion, the apparition darts offstage as the first verse concludes. She disappears from view as Cary and Jimmy dash across stage after her, closely followed by Irene and Kate.

Irene and Kate wind their way across the dance floor but Irene is intercepted by a young man who dances her across the floor and deposits her onstage. Somehow Kate ends up, arms filled with fur coat, standing impatiently in the wings, gesturing madly to Irene to get a move on, while Irene picks up the song where the apparition left off.

All through my life I drifted with the tide
I let romance take me for a ride
I'm just a fool with nothing to hide
My dreams are gone with the wind...

Finally, Kate has reached such a high state of impatience that she is on the verge of marching onstage and physically dragging Irene off. With this very thing in mind she has just piled her burden of fur on a small man, completely obliterating him from view and making it very difficult for him to breathe with a mouthful of fur, when Irene dashes offstage, grabbing Kate and the furs as she goes. They clatter after Cary and Jimmy.


Cut back to the dingy apartment where Lorea is being consoled by Aunt Martha as they try to think out a new plan. Archie is being as unhelpful as possible.

Lorea: I should have just told Cary...

There is a knock at the door, swiftly followed by a second knock.

Lorea darts behind the curtain again. Archie hops up on the table, crosses his arms and legs, and waits. Aunt Martha eyes him tolerantly as she opens the door to admit - the Apparition.

Morea: (dashing inside and slamming the door) Shhh! (She puts her ear to the door and listens intently)

Archie: (whispering) What are we listening for? Footsteps? A scream? A gunshot? The fire alarm?

Morea (giving him a withering glance) Aunt Martha, I'm being followed.

Aunt Martha: Oh dear, are you sure?

Morea: Of course I'm sure. There I was, just starting my number, when suddenly they just came running at me.

Archie: Maybe they didn't like your singin'.

Morea: (sneering) U-ha.

Lorea, emerging from behind the curtain, quickly retreats again as there is another knock at the door.

Morea: Oh no, It's them!

Archie: If it is maybe you should give up the singin' before someone hires a hitman. Actually, maybe it's too late for that. (he dodges as Morea aims a swing at him.)

Aunt Martha: Never mind dear, just ...(and she waves towards the window alcove).

Once again Aunt Martha opens the door. Cary and Jimmy stand on the other side.

Cary: Excuse me, but we are looking for a young lady and we think...

Footsteps have gotten progressively louder in the background until Irene and Kate appear behind Cary and, pushing between the two men, they enter the room ahead of them.

Aunt Martha: (gesturing to the men to come in too) Well, every time I open the door somebody walks in.

Irene: (looks around) Hey, there's nobody here. We've lost her again.

Archie: Lost who?

Cary notices Archie for the first time, raises an eyebrow, and is about to apologize for barging in when he notices the curtain twitch suspiciously. Jimmy points and, moving across the room he prods the curtain.

Morea: 'Owch!' (she emerges rubbing her arm)

Cary and Jimmy speak together.
Cary: Hey, where did you get to?
Jimmy: You stood me up.

Kate: And why did you run away from us? I knew she was a singer, didn't I say she was a singer?

Morea looks blankly at them.

Irene: (nodding at Morea) That's not her.

Cary, Jimmy, Kate: What?

Cary: Of course it's her, we followed her from Chin's.

Irene: I know, but it's not her. I mean she's not the one we want, she looks like her but she's different.

Cary: (puzzled) Irene, what are you talking about? Irene: You're all confused aren't you? Cary: (to Jimmy) Aren't you?

Jimmy: (pointing to the foot of the curtain where the toes of Lorea's satin slippers show) No.

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