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FAN FICTION
"It's a Screwball Life"
Chapters 10 thru 12


Chapters
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Chapter Ten
-- by Debbie Dunlap --

Chapter Ten - Some Explaining to Do

Jimmy reaches over and yanks aside the curtains. Lorea stands quite exposed. Still in her beautiful, shimmering green gown, she stand out as a jewel next to the faded & patched curtain.

A collective intake of breath is audible from the famous quartet.

Beside the flashy, but trashy Morea stands Lorea, Morea’s mirror image. Yet not her double in enough minute ways as to make the idea instantly absurd that one had ever mistaken Morea for the lovely Lorea.

Jimmy exclaims, “Jehosaphat! Will you look at that!”

Kate exhales, “Well, I never!”

Irene questions, “Never what, Kate?”

Kate turns on Irene, “Oh, hush for once in your life, will you!”

Cary looks from one to the other, his hands on his hips. His eyebrows furrow and his gaze finally comes to rest on Lorea. “What gives here?! I want to know what’s going on, and I want an answer right now!”

Irene practically bubbles, as if she’s won the grand prize on a game show, “See! I told you that the other one wasn’t her! This one is her. That one’s not, but she is. See, she has that tiny little mole on her left upper lip. Well, actually it’s too high to actually say it’s on her lip. Anyway, she doesn’t have a mole. And I distinctly recall never having seen a mole when we were at that cozy little club. Although, it was quite dark...”

Kate interrupts, “If you don’t put a sock in it right now...!”

Cary, whose attention hasn’t left Lorea, is still expecting an explanation.

Lorea has dropped her head in mortification. She is unable to meet Cary’s demanding glance, unable to compose a reasonable explanation. A solitary tear slides down her cheek.

Morea looks from Cary to Jimmy to Kate to Irene then to Lorea. “Will someone please tell ME what goes here!?”

"Would all of you like to sit down? I’ll fix a pot of tea,” the calming voice of Aunt Martha invites.

Disgruntled, Cary turns to pull up a chair, but sees the forgotten Archie perched atop the table. “And just what is your place in this tricky business? Don’t think I don’t recognize you young man.”

All eyes, but those of Aunt Martha, who is busy getting tea, turn to Archie. Irene suppresses an exclamation of surprise.

Archie growls in his foghorn voice, ”I ain’t in no business, Mister. I’m just a kid.” He skooches over to the edge of the table, poised to hop down.

Cary puts his hand atop the little boy’s disheveled head and forces Archie to look up at him, “You’re the kid who gave me the letter this morning outside the studio.”

”Yea, so what if I did?” Archie attempts to jerk his head from Cary’s grasp. Cary holds firm.

”Is that lady over there the one who sent me the letter?” Cary points at Lorea with his free hand.

“Miss Lorea? Shucks, no, Mister. It wasn’t her that sent it,” sincerity shines in Archie’s eyes.

Cary narrows his eyes at the little liar, “Alright then, was it her?” He points at Morea.

Archie bursts into laughter, “You mean Mo?! That’s a good one!”

Cary shakes the boy, “I know one of these women sent that message, now which one was it?”

Startled and becoming frightened by the force of Cary’s grasp, the boy raises his hand and points.

Mouths are once again agape, a head is again hung low.

Aunt Martha, voice calm and in control announces, “The tea is ready. Perhaps if we all sit down and have some tea, we’ll get this ironed out in no time. Mo, I’ve forgotten the sugar. Can you get it for me? Lorea, can you get the extra cups and saucers? Please everyone, do sit down.”

Cary collapses into the chair he’d been about to claim before he’d spotted Archie.

Archie escapes soundlessly through the door.

Irene stammers, “I can explain Cary. It’s all very silly. It was just a prank. We were worried about you, you see...”

”Oh, no you don’t! Don’t hang me on your coat tails. You said you you gave Cary the note, not little Oliver there.” Kate waves her arm in the direction of the door.

”His name is Archie, Kate, not Oliver,” Irene corrects.

Cary shouts, “I don’t care if he’s the Easter Bunny! The point is, you sent me the note, Irene. I thought it was Lorea. I pursued Lorea because I thought she’d sent it.”

Cary stands, jams his hands into his pockets. “Pursued?!” He throws his hands out in a gesture of extreme frustration. “I hunted this woman down like she was on the 10 Most Wanted List! Look at her! “

All eyes look at Lorea. A small, but brilliant sight, she sits upon the lumpy divan, unwilling to face the eyes of the group, seeming to shrink from sight before their eyes.

”We burst in here, hounding her. Hounding her sister.” He turns toward Aunt Martha, “Frightening her poor mother half to death. And look, here she is pouring ME tea!”

"Young man, please sit down. As I said before, I think if we just sit and have a cup of tea and discuss this calmly, we’ll have it all straightened out in no time.” Aunt Martha finishes pouring the tea, sits the teapot on the table and pulls up a chair.

"First of all, I’m not the girls’ mother. I’m their aunt. My name is Martha. Martha Curtis.” She looks from face to face of the visitors, expecting, and receiving, a greeting and a name.

"James Stewart, mam.”

"Katharine Hepburn, Mrs. Curtis.”

"And I’m Irene Dunne. Mrs Curtis, I’m awfully sorry for the mess I seem to have created...”

Aunt Martha holds up her hand, politely gesturing for Irene’s silence. Aunt Martha looks to Cary.

”Hello, Mrs. Curtis. Cary Grant,” and he nods his head in respect.

”Thank you all. And please call me Aunt Martha. Mo? Lorea? You two want to speak for yourselves?”

Lorea looks at her aunt, but says nothing.

Morea, on the other hand, bolts up from her seat and faces their guests. “Aunt Martha, I don’t know why I have to introduce myself to a bunch of ....” She eyes the cut of the men’s suits, the women’s furs, the women’s ludicrous hats, “...of rich lunatics!”

”Mo,” Aunt Martha soothes.

"Oh, alright. My name is Morea Moore,” she looks at Cary, “and I’m NOT Lorea’s sister.”

Kate interrupts, “But...”

Morea turns to Kate. “I’m her cousin. I just got in town yesterday to help Lorea out of a jam. Our mothers were twin sisters,” Mo explains.

Mo narrows her eyes at the group, “So it was Lorea you loons thought you were chasing, huh?” She looks at her quiet cousin, who is wringing her hands, deep in distressed thought. Mo moves to sit beside Lorea on the old divan. Mo tenderly places her hands over Lorea’s. Lorea looks at Mo and gently smiles. Mo quietly laughs, “That’s a good one, huh Lorea? Someone chasin’ after you for a change.” Mo looks up at Cary, “And a good lookin’ one at that!”

Cary stands, “I am so terribly embarrassed and sorry to have caused this awful scene. I’m sure our absence will be welcome and a blessing to all of you.”

Taking their clue from Cary, Jimmy, Kate and Irene rise to leave.

”Miss Moore, please accept our apologies,” Cary asks.

Mo nods her head.

”Miss Lorea, I’m sorry to have forced myself upon you,” Cary apologizes. He looks longingly at Lorea, but she is still unable to meet Cary’s eyes.

Finally, Cary turns to Aunt Martha, “Thank you for the tea and especially for your voice of reason this evening. I can assure you, it’s the first I’ve heard all evening.” He looks pointedly at Kate and Irene.

To Kate he mocks, “Minnie the Moocher?!”

To Irene he mocks in a falsetto, “‘The angels must have sent you.’”

Mo snaps, “What about Minnie the Moocher? What about me?”

Lorea, barely audible, whispers, “I wrote that the angels must have sent you.”


Chapter Eleven
-- by Aileen Mackintosh --

Chapter 11 - Her Favourite Husband?!?

There are several minutes of silence in the room as Lorea, Mo and Aunt Martha watch their visitors disappear, then Lorea turns to her Aunt and says in a voice that trembles with emotion, "Oh Aunt Martha, all I wanted was to talk with Cary for a little while - he is such a good listener and he was just explaining to me how he may be able to find my darling Patrick." She breaks off as her emotions overcome her.

Aunt Martha puts her arm around Lorea’s shoulders, "My dear, don’t worry. I have a feeling that Cary will be back in touch.” She hugs her gently, "he seemed very taken by you."

"Yeah, you’re a lucky gal Lor, the only men I EVER get chasin’ me are only after one thing - and it ain’t my witty conversation!!!" Mo adds an odd expression crossing her face momentarily, unnoticed however by Lorea and Martha.

*************

Jimmy, Cary, Kate and Irene are seen walking down the street in silence, but with an atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. At last the silence is broken as Irene says, "Cary we’re sorry, but I still think there is something fishy going on. That woman really does look like Minnie the Moocher AND its funny that that Morea dame looks so similar, I mean they may be cousins, but..."

"Perhaps she’s a skeleton in the family cupboard and she’s blackmailing Lorea and her Aunt, and she’s the one that’s the moocher or perhaps it was a cover for something more sinister, or.." Kate interrupts, beginning to go into verbal overdrive.

Cary stops her mid flow, his exasperated expression softening slightly "Hey, be realistic! Irene what have you been putting in Kate’s drink - vitamin pills? If you must know, Lorea was asking for me to help her find her husband Pat - Mickey Chin knows people who know, you know. I was introducing them."

"Know what?" asks Jimmy

"THINGS! I grant you though, Irene, Morea IS a puzzle - I wonder perhaps she has something to do with Pat’s disappearance. Well, its getting late, I’m sure I’ll feel better in the morning." He hails a taxi and is soon out of sight.

Jimmy and Irene turn to see Kate a dreamy look on her face and an inane grin, staring in the direction the taxi has gone her arm still raised in a wave.

Irene waves her hand in front of Kate’s face "Snap out of it! I thought you were through with Cary anyway."

"Oh, I am." she replies somewhat unconvincingly.

Irene and Jimmy look at each other and then both of them turn and stare at Kate.

"I AM. Honestly you two sicken me you’re worse than SPY magazine."

They’re still looking skeptical as a cab pulls up.

*************

Next day and at the end of the hallway we see Cary in his apartment in deep conversation on the telephone, he has his back to us. To one side and out of Cary’s vision we see someone creeping into one of the rooms off the hallway. It is hard to make out who it is as they have on a voluminous coat with the collar turned up and a large floppy hat. As the camera follows them round while they search Cary’s apartment we hear Cary’s side of the telephone conversation.

"Hello, Hello?"

"Oh, Aunt Martha, is Lorea there?"

"She isn’t? Well, do you know where I can find her?"

There is a long pause while Cary listens intently, then:

"But I never phoned until now. Morea said I rang? She did, did she?" another pause.

"OK. Listen, Aunt Martha, where did she say she was going?"

In a voice that is getting frantic "I said not to tell anyone, huh?"

He rings off and says to himself, "Maybe Kate wasn’t so wrong about Mo after all."

Turning round he spots the intruder, who finding they’ve been spotted, starts to make a dash for the door...


Chapter Twelve
-- by Helen Fredericks --

Chapter 12 - If the Glove Fits

Just as the intruder is about to run out the door, Cary leaps and grabs the gloved hand and hangs on for dear life. As he tries to get his footing, the intruder knocks Cary's legs out from under him and he falls backwards. The intruder gives a pull and slips out of his grasp, but leaving the glove and a piece of paper in Cary's grip. The intruder is down the hall and enters the stairs as Cary jumps up and runs after the mysterious figure.

As he reaches the door to the stairwell, he flings open the door and charges down the stairs and right into his elderly neighbor, Mrs. Simms. The elderly lady is knocked off balance, dropping her bag of groceries and beginning to fall down the steps she had just climbed when Cary grabs her and saves her from certain harm.

"Don't hurt me!" Mrs. Simms screams! "Help! Help!" She begins to struggle against Cary's grasp. "You scoundrel! Preying on the elderly!"

Before Cary can say anything, Mrs. Simms begins to beat Cary over the head with her purse and yells, "Help, Police! Help!!"

Finally Cary gets his voice back and says, "Mrs. Simms! It's Cary! Your neighbor!" Cary fights off her assault. "Mrs. Simms, its Cary!" He repeats as she begins to recognize him.

"Oh Cary!" she says, "It's you!"

"Yes, Mrs. Simms, it's me. Are you all right?" Cary asks. "I am terribly sorry. Are you hurt?"

Mrs. Simms calms down and begins to straighten her dress. "My, My!" Don't you young people watch where you are going?" She says more in general than to Cary! "A person cannot even walk up the stairs to her apartment any more with out being knocked down and assaulted!"

"I am truly sorry Mrs. Simms." Cary says as he leans over the railing just in time to hear the first floor door close.

"What is wrong with you?" Mrs. Simms asks.

"I was trying to catch up with someone. I am sorry." Cary bends down and begins to pick up the groceries that had scattered everywhere. "I'll get these for you."

Mrs. Simms sits down on the step to catch her breath.

"Why don't you use the elevator, Mrs. Simms?" Cary asks as he puts the last items back into the bag.

"I don't like those new-fangled things. God gave us legs and we should use them!" Mrs. Simms, smoothes her skirt as she stands up with Cary's help.

Cary walks her to her door and apologizes one more time. After she is safely inside her apartment, he pauses at the stairs and then goes back to his own, walks in and looks around. There on the floor is a black leather glove. He reaches down and picks it up. As he does a piece of paper falls to the floor.

'What's this,' he thinks to himself, and picks up the paper. 'It looks like some sort of playbill' he thinks. He walks over to his couch and sits down. Slowly he opens the torn piece of paper. Suddenly he says aloud, "What the .... Where did THIS come from?"

The camera pans down to see half of a playbill from the Hippodrome Theater, dated September 21,1920. Cary slowly opens, turns the playbill over once and then to the front again. On the front is the name of the show, GOOD TIMES. And towards the bottom it says: "Straight from England the Amazing Pender Troupe!”

Cary looks at it more closely and thinks to himself, "Why would someone have the front page of an old playbill from my vaudeville days AND why would they break into my apartment?" Cary scratches his head. Then he turns it over and suddenly sits up straight and a small high pitched sound comes from his throat.

"Oh, NO!" Cary says aloud. "Not now!"

The camera pans down and we see the other side of the paper. There in the list of cast members are two names that are circled. One is Patrick Mahoney and the other is Archie Leach.

Then in thick blank ink are the words: Bring Archie to me or you will never see Patrick again.

Cary slowly lowers his hand and the playbill slips from his hand.

"This can't be the Patrick, Lorea was asking me to help her find." He says aloud. "Patrick Mahoney is dead!" In his mind Cary sees a tall young man walking along the railing of the Brooklyn Bridge. He has a bottle of beer in one hand and is laughing! In mid laugh, he loses his footing and falls from the bridge! Cary sees him fall and just as he sees Patrick hits the water in his mind, someone begins to pound on his door. Cary is suddenly jolted back to the present.


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