It’s that time of year again. The time for ghosts and ghouls, monsters and vampires, werewolves and zombies to all come out of their hiding places and haunt us. That’s right, it’s Halloween time! Happy Halloween.
It’s also the last Monday of the month and time for a check in on my 10-Minute Play Goal. Have I finished this month’s play? Why yes I have, thank you for asking. This month I decided to tackle a Halloween theme, since it is October. But I didn’t want to do anything too traditional. I was struggling with this, what do I do? Then I was watching the 1990 film Tales From The Darkside and was reminded of an old Arthur Conan Doyle story that formed the first segment in that movie. The story is entitled Lot No. 249 and was the genesis of the “modern mummy” story, the first story to explore the mummy as an agent of vengence. From Wikipedia:
Written in the wake of the late-19th-century fascination with Egyptology, “Lot No. 249” was the first story to depict a reanimated mummy as a sinister, predatory figure and had a profound influence on the horror movie genre throughout the 20th century.
It’s a wonderfully creepy story that I felt was “Halloween” enough, but at the same time unique. With recent trends in horror focusing on zombies, werewolves, and vampires, the poor mummy has been kind of left to the wayside, forced to fend for himself. This is my humble attempt at breathing some life into the mummy.
What I have done is placed the story in one solitary room, a police interragation room, and we open on such an interragation taking place. One Detective Doyle is interviewing Dr. Bellingham. The entire play takes place in this room, with the tension and the clues slowly building. Bellingham is the detective’s only suspect, but is he guilty?
The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 By Everett Robert Based on: "Lot 249" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Emergency Room Productions Emergency Room Productions October 2012 c/o Everett Robert 2114 Walnut St Hays, KS 67601
Cast of Characters Detective Doyle: late 30s-early 50s. Police investigator. Beefy, large man. Physically intimadating. Dr. Bellingham: late 20s-early 30s. An academic, an Egyptologist, associate at the university. Pysically slight. Not intimatding at all. Scene A police interrogation room Time Present
ACT I Scene 1 At rise we open on a small, typical, uneventfuland completely normal police interrogation room.Small table, two chairs, a mirror upstage. Two mensit facing each other. One, DR. Bellingham, is aman in his late 20s to early 30s. He is rumpledand nervous, twitchy almost and keeps checking hiswatch as if waiting for someone. The othergentleman, DETECTIVE DOYLE, is older, late 0s toearly 50s and much more put together. Suit, badgeclipped to his belt, but no gun, at least that wecan see. Bellingham checks his watch for the thirdtime since the curtain has risen, the silence isbroken. DETECTIVE DOYLE (Some slight amusement) Nervous Doc? DR. BELLINGHAM (Snapping back) Yes I’m nervous! Why would I be nervous? I’ve been sitting here, alone, for the past 45 minutes and no one will tell me why! In fact no one will tell me anything! DETECTIVE DOYLE Calm down Doc, no one is here to hurt you, we just want to ask you some questions. Can I get you something to drink? Coke, water, coffee? DR. BELLINGHAM I want to get out of here is what I want. DETECTIVE DOYLE And we’ll let you out of here, like I said, we just want to ask you a few questions. Doughnut? DR. BELLINGHAM No! (Beat, then much calmer) No, thank you. I’m sorry, I’m just under a lot of stress and you’re not helping with the matter. DETECTIVE DOYLE (Leaning forward, interested) Stress? About what? DR. BELLINGHAM Work. (CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 2. DETECTIVE DOYLE At the university? DR. BELLINGHAM (Another sigh) Yes, at the university. Bellingham doesn’t offer any more then that, butDoyle does, leaning forward, anxious, interested,and curious. Bellingham realizes that he’s goingto have to answer. DR. BELLINGHAM (cont’d) I just received a new lot from... DETECTIVE DOYLE Excuse me, a lot? DR. BELLINGHAM Yes, a lot, a package, a crate. I purchased it at an auction and had it shipped here. That was the auction lot number, 249. DETECTIVE DOYLE (Jotting down a note) Oh yes, a lot. I got it, go on. DR. BELLINGHAM (Exasperated) Thank you DETECTIVE. Anyways as I was saying, I received the lot from our sister university in Egypt. DETECTIVE DOYLE From Egypt? DR. BELLINGHAM Yes, well I am considered one of the top Egyptologists in the country, and I needed this lot. DETECTIVE DOYLE Due to your recent problems at the university? This visibly shakes Bellingham who swallows hard,eyes wide. DR. BELLINGHAM You...you know about that? DETECTIVE DOYLE Oh yes, your department chair, Professor Withington, was more then happy to share with us about that. Though I am curious to hear YOUR side, it does factor into our investigation. (CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 3. DR. BELLINGHAM What do you mean, it factors into your investigation? What is this investigation about anyways? DETECTIVE DOYLE You really don’t know do you? Your colleague, Mr. Norton, was found murdered this morning. DR. BELLINGHAM WHAT! DETECTIVE DOYLE Oh yes, his brain was pulled out through his nose. Messy business all around. DR. BELLINGHAM Through...his brain? Doyle nods slowly and Bellingham swallows hard. DR. BELLINGHAM (cont’d) Could...could I have a glass of water please? DETECTIVE DOYLE Of course. Doyle offers a smile and quickly leaves. Bellingham sits, quietly holding his head in his hands and then looking over at the mirror, then back down. He stands and paces a little, then reaches into his pocket and fishes out a piece of paper, carefully folded. He unfolds it and runs a finger over it and starts reading. DR. BELLINGHAM (Speaking silently, simply mouthing the words, at first but getting louder and louder) Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kanda...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kand a...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kanda!...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon... Unseen by Bellingham, Doyle re-enters and watches, hands deep in his pocket. DETECTIVE DOYLE What are you reading?
Now I hope you enjoyed that brief sample of The Mysterious Case of Lot 249. If you want to read the entire thing, well I have good news for you, for the next 3 days I’ll be offering The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 for free on my Smashwords page. Just click HERE and get your e-version for free. After that, well who knows what might happen.
Happy Halloween Everyone!