produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

EPISODE #48 (Wednesday 6/27/01) click here for a printable version of this episode
a few days later - October 1935


Sara Manchester54 Spring Lake Dr., Albanyville, ILAs Sara Manchester slowly descended the staircase she could hear the faint voices of Thornton Preston and his housekeeper Helga Grimm across the foyer and in his library.  She paused for a moment at the foot of the stairs as she tried to hear what they were saying.  She grimaced slightly when she realized that the large wooden doors to the library were closed and that she could only hear their faint, muffled voices.

Suddenly, Thornton raised his voice to a near shout and Sara could clearly make out what he was saying.

"I will get out of this contract with Charles Callison if it's the last thing I do!" Thornton bellowed.

Realizing that this could be her moment to get the information that Charles had enlisted her to retrieve, she carefully crept over to the doors to listen closer.

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Jillian StokesThe Sunset Hotel, Penthouse C, Albanyville, IL"I just don't understand why you have to be so nasty to Janet," Jillian Stokes said as she sipped her tea.  "What has she ever done to you?  Do you have to take every opportunity to bring up what happened?"

Judith Linford stood at the large window that overlooked Albanyville with her arms folded securely across her chest.  She gave no indication, verbal or physical, that she was even listening to her younger sister's concerns.  Instead, she allowed her eyes to carefully follow the movements of her new maid Ruby Thomas as she maneuvered around the room.

"Ruby, dear, do you have to put that there?" Judith questioned with a stern glance.

"But, Mrs. Linford, I thought that's where you wanted them."  Ruby held the crystal vase of flowers in her hand as she cautiously removed them from the side table.

"I said that table!"  Judith extended her hand to point to the other table across the room.  "Don't you listen?"  She rolled her eyes, let out a deep sigh, and shook her head.  "Honestly, I thought going through a service to find a maid would be much better than relying on this inadequate hotel staff.  I'm beginning to rethink that decision."

"See, Judith, this is exactly what I'm talking about!"  Jillian shot her a stern look as she rose from her seat and then walked over to her.  "Why do you have to be so critical?  It's not like you're the only perfect person on the planet and you've been elected to point out everyone else's faults!"

Judith LinfordJudith turned to meet her sister's gaze and glared at her with irritation.  "I fully realize that I'm not perfect.  That part about me being elected to point out fault, I'm not so sure about."  She smirked slightly as her eyes continued to follow Ruby around the room.

Ruby Thomas"Is this fine with you, Mrs. Linford?" Ruby asked as she stepped back from the floral arrangement.

"That's perfect!  I knew you could do it if you tried."  Judith reached out and grabbed a piece of paper off of her desk and breezed across the room to Ruby.  "Now, take this list to the store and pick up a few things for me.  I want exactly what's on that list and in the exact amounts that it says."

"Yes, ma'am," Ruby nodded before taking the list and looking over it quickly.  She hurriedly grabbed her coat out of the closet and shoved the list in her pocket.  Ruby knew that she didn't have a lot of time to get her errands done before she had to be back to start dinner.  Judith was very specific about her dining times.

As Ruby rushed out of the apartment, Jillian eyed Judith closely.  "You really shouldn't be so hard on her," she said as she followed Judith to the sofa.  "She's new and it'll take time for her to learn the way you want things."

"What do you know?" Judith snapped.  "Obviously, you've spent so much time in this dreary little town that you've forgotten what it's like to be taken care of like people of our social status are supposed to be."

Jillian shook her head slightly and looked away.  Apparently Judith would never change.


54 Spring Lake Dr., Albanyville, ILSara tried to hold herself very still as she pressed her ear against the door.  She just had to know what Mr. Preston and Helga were discussing.

"Well, what did Mr. DeMille say about the movie?" she heard Helga ask.  Movie?  They must be talking about Tainted Woman, the film adaptation of Mr. Preston's last novel.

"He said that if he had to deal with Callison Publications to get the rights to it, then the deal's off!"

Cecil B. DeMille dealing with Callison Publications?  Sara furrowed her brow as she thought.  That didn't sound right.  Why would he have to deal with them concerning Tainted Woman?  Callison didn't have anything to do with that book.

"So, he's still wanting to deal with you directly?"

"Yes, and if I can't get out of this contract, that will be impossible!"  Mr. Preston's booming voice sent vibrations through the door.  "Cecil said specifically that if he can't work out the details for Conflict with me, then there won't be any deal!  McBride was so difficult during the planning stages of that last movie that he's sworn to never deal with a publishing company again!  My god, he can be so difficult!"

Sara ManchesterSara bit her lip as she continued to listen.  Her mind started to go over what little she'd heard as she tried to figure out what everything meant.  Conflict?  What conflict could Mr. Preston be referring to?  Was it the conflict over his contract?  Suddenly, her eyes lit up with realization.  She shook her head slightly, not believing how foolish she'd been not to have seen the obvious.  Helga and Mr. Preston weren't talking about a conflict, they were discussing The Manhattan Conflict, the book that he was supposed to deliver to Callison Publications, but was now holding out on.

Her mind raced as she tried to piece together the bits of information she'd overheard.  She should have continued listening because she would have heard the muffled sounds of footsteps coming in the direction of the door.

Helga GrimmAs the large, wooden doors slid open to reveal Helga, Sara let out a sharp gasp and she quickly backed away.  "U-umm, I was just..." she stammered as she tried to think of a logical reason for her eavesdropping.

"You were just spying!" Helga shouted as she pointed her finger at her.  "Now you've been caught!  Now we know exactly what you've been up to!"