Below we present the complete text of The Missing Girls; episode 2 of The Cult of the Teeth.
THE CULT OF THE TEETH
EPISODE #2 – The Missing Girls
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Edited by Margaret Wilkins
Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attritubution Non Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition .
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Serial #2: The Cult of the Teeth
“The Cult of the Teeth” is the second play in our Pulp Adventure series featuring Trent Stone and Tess Carter. Glory-hound and expert hunter, Maynard Havelock III, is the victim of a ritual murder shortly after having dinner with Trent Stone and Tess Carter. Finding themselves at the top of the suspect list, Trent and Tess are forced to investigate the disappearance of a number of young women from Star City University in a bid to clear their names. Their investigation takes them in search of an ancient cult (recently established in the modern city in which they have made their home), a missing obelisk, and behind it all, a familiar wheel-chaired villain. Can they prove their innocence and prevent the cult from committing any more ritual murders?
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TERESA CARTER: Our heroine and reporter
TRENT STONE: Our hero and adventurer
JINGLES MARINO (THUG #1): Thug employed by Caesar Cordova
JIMMY JORTA (THUG #2): Thug employed by Caesar Cordova
CAESAR CORDOVA: Mob boss
RICKY (THUG #3): Thug employed by Tommy Boscone
WILMA STURGESS: Housekeeper for the Beta-Phi
WALT KROGAN: Taxi Driver
SFX: 1 SFX artist required
207. MUSIC:  OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
208. NARRATOR: The death of a friend and a visit to the local university has brought a mystery involving an ancient cult and a number of missing young women to the attention of our heroes. Leaving the office of the Dean of Students after a very unsatisfying interview, Trent Stone and Tess Carter are about to discover that a great many parties are taking an interest in these events.
209. SOUND:  WALLA — STREET SOUNDS, CARS ETC., AND WALKING FEET – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
210. TERESA: [CUE] Well, he wasn’t telling us everything.
211. TRENT: No he wasn’t. (CALLING OUT) Taxi!
212. TERESA: And those girls. Did you get the feeling his relationships are a little more familiar than is appropriate for a teacher and his students — or even for a dean and his secretary for that matter?
213. TRENT: It had crossed my mind. Taxi! … We’re going to have to get a car of our own if we stay in this town much longer.
214. TERESA: Even if we had one we’d still be on foot today. We were brought here by Wells, remember… (PAUSE) So, why didn’t you want me to tell Standish that Maynard had Shelley Rossiter’s picture in his hand when he was found this morning?
215. TRENT: Did you happen to notice the name of the author on that book we saw this morning?
216. TERESA: No, I didn’t but…
217. TRENT: It was written by Alasdair Standish. He was clearly lying when he said he didn’t recognize the blowgun and the symbol. I’d prefer we kept things to ourselves until we understand the situation further.
218. TERESA: Fair enough…
219. SOUND:  SOUND OF CAR PULLING UP
220. JINGLES MARINO (THUG #1): Can we offer you folks a lift?
221. TRENT: More cheap gunmen? You’d think this town would be overrun by now.
222. JIMMY JORTA (THUG #2): Enough of that. Our boss would like a word.
223. TERESA: And who, praytell, is your boss?
224. JINGLES: Caesar Cordova.
225. TERESA: And here, I thought our lives couldn’t get any more complicated.
226. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
227. SOUND:  WALLA — ENGINE SOUND FROM INTERIOR OF CAR — FADE IN AND UNDER
228. TRENT: I take it you’re Caesar Cordova.
229. CAESAR CORDOVA: Si, and unless my men have grown more incompetent than usual you must be Mr Trent Stone and the ever beautiful Miss Tess Carter. Thank you for accepting my invitation.
230. TERESA: I always make a point of accepting invitations that are delivered at gunpoint.
231. CORDOVA: Ah, well… my men are sometimes a little overzealous in their enthusiasm to comply with my orders.
232. TRENT: Ahuh. What do you want Mr Cordova?
233. CORDOVA: Straight to the point, eh? A little rude perhaps, but I’ll overlook that for now. I need you to do a little job for me, no?
234. TERESA: We don’t work for crooks, Mr Cordova.
235. CORDOVA: Si, si. This I have heard. But I am an honest crook, Miss Carter. We never take anything from anyone who couldn’t afford to lose it. No civilians get hurt. My men, they are disciplined, no?
236. TRENT: You’re a regular Robin Hood.
237. CORDOVA: (STERNLY) Do not be mistaken my friend. Right now, I am being friendly. I do not have to be.
238. TRENT: Why are you telling us this?
239. CORDOVA: Because, as I say, I want you to do something for me. As I am sure you know, there is crime… and then there is crime. No one in my family sells poison to children — not like that gringo Boscone — and we do not enslave women — like that coward Tremere. There will always be crime, no? Better, the crime is run by someone like me than someone like those two murderers.
240. TERESA: So you know they killed their bosses.
241. CORDOVA: Mmmm. We hear things. I am Spanish, and my people have experience with the double-cross.
242. TERESA: I’ll bet.
243. TRENT: I still don’t see where this is all going.
244. CORDOVA: Nowhere you would be uncomfortable with, I promise. I have a niece, on my wife’s side, Marjory Ellison. My wife, she is a very strong woman, and she likes our niece very much. She does not wish anything to happen to her.
245. TERESA: And she believes your niece is in danger?
246. CORDOVA: She tells me that Marjory is studying at the University, living in one of the boarding houses. She tells me Marjory is afraid, that girls are going missing.
I am very protective of my family, Mr Stone, Miss Carter. I would not like to have to intervene directly.
I want you to find the girls, protect my Marjory. She is in the Beta-Phi Sorority. I would view it as a personal favor, you understand.
247. TERESA: You mob bosses and your favors! As it happens we’re already looking into this one for Alasdair Standish.
248. CORDOVA: Standish! You do not want to trust this fellow Standish. My wife tells me Marjory thinks Standish is er… unprofessional. Too, too interested in the young college girls, no?
249. TRENT: Interesting.
250. CORDOVA: Well, I take no more of your time. You keep my Marjory safe, no? We drop you off here. Good hunting!
251. SOUND:  CAR PULLING UP
252. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
253. SOUND:  WALLA — SOUNDS OF STREET — FADE IN AND UNDER
254. TRENT: Now, where are we? He could have at least dropped us off at a taxi stand.
255. TERESA: Aw, quit your whining, tough guy. This city life is turning you soft. Besides, it looks like we may have another lift. Someone’s pulling up beside us again.
256. TRENT: Tess, that’s a tommygun poking out of the window. Get Down.
257. SOUND:  SOUND OF CAR PULLING UP, THEN TWO BODIES HITTING THE DECK, FOLLOWED BY A SPRAY OF TOMMY-GUN FIRE
258. RICKY (THUG #3): (CALLING OUT FROM CAR) Tommy Boscone wants you out of town by nightfall. This is your last warning.
259. SOUND:  SCREECH OF TYRES AS CAR ROARS AWAY
260. TERESA: (GROANS) Did you have to land on me so hard? (GROANS AGAIN) Are they gone?
261. TRENT: Yes, they’re gone. And sorry Tess… better me than a bullet.
262. TERESA: (ARCHLY) Well you don’t have to be too sorry, you know? Though you could lose a few pounds.
263. TRENT: Here, let me help you up.
264. TERESA: I guess we’re on the clock now. Any thoughts on what we should do next?
265. TRENT: Well, everything we’ve come in contact with so far is pointing to the Beta-Phi Sorority.
266. TERESA: Yeah, but that just doesn’t track. What’s a South American cult, a crime boss’s niece, an Anthropology professor, and a college sorority got in common?
267. TRENT: I haven’t a clue, but I think it’s time we found out.
268. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
269. SOUND:  WALLA — CAR ENGINE NOISE FROM INSIDE CAR — FADE IN AND UNDER
270. TRENT: Let us out on the left, driver. That’s our destination there — the Beta-Phi Sorority.
271. SOUND:  SOUND OF CAR PULLING UP, DOORS OPEN, THEN SHUT – LET IT FINISH
272. TERESA: Not much to look at, is it! Just a glorified apartment building converted into a dormitory.
273. TRENT: Careful Tess, I think your ivy league is showing.
274. TERESA: Hmpf. (PAUSE) It occurs to me there may be a flaw in your brilliant plan, Stone.
275. TRENT: Yes? What would that be?
276. TERESA: Well, I mean to say. You’re a man. They may not be inclined to let you in.
277. TRENT: Well, it’s daylight and I’m not visiting unaccompanied. I think it’ll be alright.
278. TERESA: I should also add that because you’re a man… they may not let you out again, either.
279. TRENT: You don’t say?
280. TERESA: You never met any of my sisters over at Princeton did you?
281. TRENT: I never went to Princeton at all.
282. TERESA: Cute. Why don’t you just go on up and ring the bell?
283. SOUND:  SOUND OF DOORBELL
284. MATRON WILMA STURGESS: (SUSPICIOUSLY) Can I help you?
285. TRENT: My name is Trent Stone and this is Miss Tess Carter. We’d like to speak with Miss Claire Mannix please. I believe, she’s the head of the Sorority?
286. WILMA: (ACCENTED) Just a moment, Sir. I’ll see if she is taking callers.
287. SOUND:  FEMALE FOOTSTEPS RECEDING AND PAUSE
288. WILMA: (SCREAMS) Aaaaaah.
289. TRENT: Quick Tess, this is no time for niceties.
290. SOUND:  DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES, FEET RUN DOWN HALLWAY
291. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) ACTION SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
292. TRENT: [CUE] Ma’am, what’s happened? Are you alright?
293. WILMA: (BREATHING HEAVILY) I’m fine, but Miss Mannix’s room. Look at it!
294. TERESA: What? Look at this mess. Books strewn about; the bedclothes tossed; personal belongings spilled out of drawers. Do you think it was a robbery, Trent?
295. TRENT: I don’t think so, Tess. Her jewellery box is still here on the floor by the bed. And her purse is lying open just inside the door. It still has money in it.
296. TERESA: Is that blood on the door frame?
297. TRENT: It could be. Excuse me? Ma’am..?
298. WILMA: I am Mrs Wilma Sturgess, housekeeper.
299. TRENT: Yes, thank you. Mrs Sturgess, I think it would be a good idea to call the police. Is there a telephone in the house?
300. WILMA: Yes, of course. I’ll see to it right away.
301. SOUND:  SOUND OF RETREATING FEMALE FOOTSTEPS
302. TERESA: Trent, what’s that poking out from between the mattress and the bed base?
303. TRENT: I think it’s some kind of hand-bill. Let me see…
Here we are, (READING) “Party Venue of the Year, Warehouse 6 on Pier 3 of the Star City docks.”
304. TERESA: From what Standish told us, she was supposed to be a “sober and respectable girl.”
305. TRENT: Not the description you would expect of a party girl, I agree. I guess this sorority is something of a house of secrets.
306. TERESA: So what now? Ask a few questions, and head out to that warehouse?
307. TRENT: I guess so. We’ll have to wait and talk to the police anyway.
308. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
309. SOUND:  WALLA — ENGINE NOISE FROM INTERIOR OF CAR — FADE IN AND UNDER
310. TERESA: Well, that was unpleasant.
311. TRENT: Yes, the police were none too happy to see us, were they?
312. TERESA: I know they don’t like us very much, but that seemed unusually hostile. I thought for a minute they were gonna run us in.
313. TRENT: I think maybe news of our conversation with Caesar Cordova has begun making the rounds.
314. TERESA: As if we don’t have enough troubles. Now the cops think we’re working for the mobs?
315. TRENT: That would be my guess.
316. TERESA: It’s a good thing you didn’t hand over that flyer or we’d have been in even bigger trouble.
317. TRENT: Mmmm. (BEAT) Oh, driver, can you pull up just before the piers.
318. WALT KROGAN (TAXI DRIVER): Sure thing, Mr Stone. And if you don’t mind my saying… The police mightn’t like you much, but a lot of us little people are on your side.
319. SOUND:  SOUND OF CAR COMING TO A HALT
320. TRENT: (SURPRISED) Oh, um yes. Er… thank you.
Here’s your fare.
321. TERESA: Say, what’s your name, buddy?
322. WALT: Walt.
323. TERESA: You got a card we can use?
324. WALT: Sure thing. Any time… Day or night… Just ask for Walt.
325. TERESA: Thanks.
326. SOUND:  DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE, SOUND OF CAR DEPARTING
327. TRENT: Little people huh?
328. TERESA: It’s easy to forget taxi drivers are even there, isn’t it? But we could certainly use the transport.
329. TRENT: Okay then, to business. It doesn’t look like the “party venue of the year” does it?
330. TERESA: Decrepit looking old warehouse, broken windows, abandoned fish crates… no, not so much.
What do you think… the brochure was some kind of lure to bring girls down to these docks alone?
331. TRENT: It’s a theory. Maybe, Miss Mannix’s room was rifled in search of the brochure — an attempt to stop someone drawing just that conclusion.
332. TERESA: Maybe. Let’s take a look around.
333. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
334. TRENT: [CUE] Over here, Tess. It looks like the main door is open.
335. TERESA: Yeah? That doesn’t strike you as a bit screwy?
336. TRENT: It does a bit. Best be on our guard, eh?
337. TERESA: You want your .45?
338. TRENT: Better safe than sorry.
339. SOUND:  SCRAPING METAL ON METAL AS DOOR IS OPENED
340. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
341. TERESA: [CUE] It’s pretty dark in here. Can you see anything, Stone?
342. TRENT: I can’t make out very much… but if this place was being used to trap young women we should be on the lookout for…
343. SOUND:  SOUND OF SWITCH BEING THROWN AND HISS OF GAS
344. TERESA: Oh no, Trent, gas.
345. TRENT: (COUGHING) Quick Tess, we… need to try to… oh.
346. SOUND:  SOUND OF TWO BODIES SLUMPING TO THE FLOOR
347. CLAIRE MANNIX: (SINISTER CACKLE) Ha hahahaha! (FADES OUT)
349. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) CLOSING THEME MUSIC — ESTABLISH, FADE UNDER AND CREDITS
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forwards. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
TRENT STONE: Hello, I’m Trent Stone, Adventurer. I’m always in command of the situation (except perhaps, when it comes to Tess — who can easily throw me for a loop). I say things like “indeed,” “hmmm,” and “I see” a lot, and speak in a way that friends of Clark Kent would find very familiar. I’m smart, observant, and quick to use my fists when required (but never impulsive). I sound like Joe College but I’m blue collar through and through. My lack of higher education is something of an embarrassment to me (but I’d never let on).
I’m aware of Tess’s flirting, and occasionally I wonder if it’s more than just a way to keep entertained on the job — mostly I just ignore it and keep on working.
TERESA CARTER: Hiya. Everyone calls me Tess. I’m the take-no-prisoners sort who can hold her own in the man’s world that is the concrete jungle of Star City. I’m college educated but have a mean right hook. I’m a reporter by training and a stickybeak by inclination — this tends to get me in trouble. Curious, playful, and smart, that’s me! But I’m also painfully honest, easily moved by the troubles of others, and as protective as a tigress of my friends. I secretly have a thing for Trent (who’s a bit of a stuffed shirt and easily embarrassed by flirting). We both pretend it’s not there for the sake of the job, but I can’t help occasionally feeling a bit wistful.
CAESAR CORDOVA: Si, si. I’m a crook… but a crook with… er… boundaries. I don’t push drugs or mess with prostitution. I’m loyal to my friends, good with kids and dogs. I’m Spanish, so my organization is a family. We look out for each other. Now wouldn’t it be better if crime in the city was controlled by me… after all, there’s always going to be crime… but the one who runs it? Well, there is crime and there is crime.
CLAIRE MANNIX: I am fanatically devoted to Itzamna, the alligator god. I would do anything for him (all praise his mighty form). I will kill every blasphemer, I will make the altar run with the blood of sacrifice once more, and I will fulfill my mission in this city blessed with the presence of our god’s chosen pets.
I am powerful, none more so, except of course the Ah Kin Mai of Itzamna: the High Priest whom I serve. But what of you? You do not appear to be wearing the garments of the priesthood.
Guards! Have this insect bound and placed upon the altar. There will be blood tonight!
ALL THUGS: Life’s tough all over. Honest jobs are hard to come by. But I’m not like the saps who sit around doing what they’re told. I take what I want. So I break a few heads along the way? What of it? I’m good at it. I don’t have to think too much and… hey, what are you lookin’ at?
WILMA STURGESS: These girls! No respect! I cook, I clean — oh how I clean! They leave their books everywhere. But I keep them in line. No hanky-panky. No young men after hours. This is a safe place. I think how I want my own daughter to be looked after!
WALT KROGAN: I’m a cab driver. I see all sorts and I figure I’m a good judge of character… and I like to talk to my fares. It’d be a pretty dull job if I just sat there being the back of some head to everyone who got in.
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
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