Crossed Lines | Jason Hemens

Before you tell a lie, make sure you got your facts straight. 


Crossed Lines

Jason Hemens

The Audiophile File Award


SCENE 1. TELEPHONE EXCHANGE

“Number please?”

“Is that you Emma?”

“David?”

“I’ve done it. I’ve killed her.”

“You’ve what?”

“Stabbed her right here, in the hallway.” (PAUSE) “Hello? Are you there?”

“That wasn’t the plan David.”

“She found out about us. Couldn’t have her screaming the bloody house down, could I? I just picked up the knife. Tried to shut her up!”

“Christ. You’ll end up in gaol and we won’t get a penny of her money.”

SCENE 2. INTERVIEW ROOM – POLICE STATION

/SFX/ FOOTSTEPS ON WOODEN FLOOR. DOOR OPENS

“Thank you for coming in, Miss Kilpatrick.”

“It’s Emma. Such a ghastly thing to have happened. Just thinking about it…I’m sorry, Sergeant.”

“Please take a seat. I know the call must have come as a shock. I’ve been told you knew Mrs Alford?”

“Through the tennis club.”

“Her husband played as well?”

“The poor man. He was devoted to her.”

“My Constable tells me you were the only switchboard operator on duty that morning?”

“We work in shifts. Usually two at a time, but Sunday mornings are quiet enough for a single operator.”

“Have you worked at the telephone exchange for long?”

“I started in 1920. February I think. So a little over two years now.”

“Can you tell me about the call, Miss Kilpatrick?”

“It’s like I told the Constable. She said she’d been stabbed. (PAUSE) “I’m sorry, it’s just so difficult.”

“Please take your time, Miss Kilpatrick.”

“Mrs Alford told me she’d been stabbed. She managed to give me her name and address. Told me she was home alone.”

“Where was her husband?”

“She didn’t say. Only that he wasn’t home.”

“Did she describe her attacker?”

“Just that he was a stranger. It was a robbery.”

“Anything else?”

“That was the extent of it. I’m sorry, I wish I could be of more help.”

“You’re being very helpful, Miss Kilpatrick. Under trying circumstances. Some tea?”

SCENE 3. TELEPHONE EXCHANGE

“How far is she from the telephone?”

“Six foot or so.”

“Just move the body slightly then. Make it look like she was on the telephone when she collapsed.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m the only operator on duty. If she had called for help, she would have spoken to me.”

SCENE 4. INTERVIEW ROOM – POLICE STATION

“Establishing the sequence of events is very important, Miss Kilpatrick. How long Mrs Alford was on the telephone with you?”

“No more than a minute. Her strength faded quickly.”

“What did you do after she stopped talking?”

“I kept asking if she could hear me. If she was alright.  When she didn’t respond I contacted the police.”

/SFX/ THREE KNOCKS ON THE DOOR

(LOUDLY) “Come in.”

/SFX/ DOOR OPENS

“Ahhh the tea, thank you Constable.”

/SFX/ CUTLERY PLACED ON TABLE. DOOR CLOSES

“Now Miss Kilpatrick, can you remember hearing anything in the background during the call?”

“I don’t remember anything.”

“None of the neighbours heard anything either. It’s very curious.”

“I’m not sure I follow, Sergeant.”

“The Alfords’ dog was in the back garden. A German Shepherd. They make excellent guard dogs. Yet no-one heard it bark. Very curious, wouldn’t you say?”

“I suppose so. Not that I’m an expert on dog behaviour, Sergeant.”

“Quite so, Miss Kilpatrick, quite so.”

SCENE 5. TELEPHONE EXCHANGE

“Now listen carefully David. I need you to riffle through the drawers in the bedroom. The cabinet in the dining room as well. Turn the place over. It needs to look like a burglary. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“And don’t forget to leave the receiver off the hook. Put the bloody thing in her hand if you can. And be quick about it. We need you out of that house.”

SCENE 6. INTERVIEW ROOM – POLICE STATION

“How would you describe her voice, Miss Kilpatrick?”

“Her voice?”

“While on the telephone to you.”

“Quiet. Little more than a whisper.”

“But you were able to understand the details of what she was saying. The specifics. Her name, where she lived, the fact there was an intruder?”

“She spoke quietly, but clearly enough.”

“I find that intriguing, Miss Kilpatrick.”

“Intriguing?”

“Mrs Alford died from a single wound. I don’t mean to upset you, but her throat had been cut. From ear to ear, near enough decapitated.”

“Please stop, Sergeant.”

“She wouldn’t have been able to blow out a candle out, let alone talk to you on the telephone.”

(PAUSE) “Miss Kilpatrick? Cat got your tongue?”

—The End—