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Cheeze III

The Tale of the Twisted Twins

By Plato

Adapted for the stage byAnthony Ball

And Dave Eaton

Synopsis of the characters

Steve: Detective First Class, with a First Grade intellect... or maybe kindergarten. Nothing gets by him, so long as it is spelled out in triplicate and blindingly obvious.

Bryan: The brains of the team, he probably only puts up with Steve since, beside him, Bryan looks like the greatest detective on earth.

Chief: Good enough at what he does... nothing special about him (or her :), Chief of police, and Bryan and Steve's boss.

Ümlok: Swarthy scandanavian woman with bulging biceps and a healthy appetite. Thick accent, don't worry if its a good one, this is cheeze.

John Dover: Corpse, looks just like Ben

Ben Dover: brother of corpse. Actually John Doe, and murdered Ben to take his place, and get insurance money for it. About as subtle as a two by four that he is trying to imply Ümlok is the murderer.

Lawyer: A lawyer.. need we say more :)


Darkened room, preferably behind blue-lit screen. Two men, one holding harpoon, other offstage. Man throws harpoon, offstage man comes on harpooned, staggers, falls back, harpoon sticking straight up. Lights down.


Same scene, daylight. Man with harpoon in him hasn't moved {duh}. Police are poking around, being useless, playing with household items (playstation, cd player, dildo, various things).

Enter Steve and Bryan

Steve: (wearing big trench coat and hat, takes off hat, hangs it on harpoon, walks to chief). "Chief O'Temple, what's the situation?"

Chief: "Murder Steve, in cold blood."

Steve: (looking interested) "Really...where did it occur?"

Chief: (points to body) "Right there."

Steve: "What? Behind the coat rack?"

Chief: "It is the coatr...IT IS the body."

Steve: "Oh well, I see, I'd thought it was a most hideous coat rack, completely in bad taste. Something Bryan here might take home from a flea market. Thank goodness it's just a body."

Bryan: "Really Steve, could we just get on with the investigation?!"

Steve: "Right! So! What was stolen???"

Bryan: "Nothing was stolen! Remember? Body? Harpoon? Death? Murder!"

Steve: "Oh! Right, well...I just meant that...maybe...something was stolen from the murder scene....the murder! Right.....yes...the murder...Yes!" (Goes over to body)

Chief: "As near as we can tell he was murdered some time last night..."

Steve: "How did he die, exactly?"

(Bryan & Chief look at each other)

Steve: "It looks as though he was harpooned to death!"

Bryan: (Condescendingly) "YES, Steve....very good....(sarcastically)...but are you SURE that's the cause of death!"

Steve: "Good point, Bryan.....for that matter has anyone tried to revive him?"

Bryan: "What good would that do?"

Steve: "Well, it couldn't hurt..."

[Bryan and Chief look at each other again]

Steve: (stabs body repeatedly, to no avail) "Well....there goes that theory. But, its like I always tell you, Bryan, you must explore every alternative or you may overlook something vital to the case.

So...have we ruled out suicide?"

Bryan: "What do you think he did? Heave the harpoon on one side of the room and then run around in front of it?!"

Steve: (ponders the question) "I wonder..." (starts to try it... while Bryan and Chief are talking, continues to try again and again, unsuccessfully... but he keeps trying)

Bryan: (to chief as Steve tries to do it) "So, who is he?"

Chief: "According to his ID, he's "John Dover"

Bryan: "Is this his residence?"

Chief: "That's what's on his license...looks like he's lived here for some time."

Bryan: "Has the family been contacted?"

Chief: "We were able to notify his ex-wife, who said she'd pass the word on to the rest of the family. He's also got a brother in the area, but we were unable to reach him..."

Bryan: "So where in the world did the harpoon come from?"

Steve: (hears the question, stops and asks) "Yes! About the harpoon--what was the serial number? Who was it registered to?"

Bryan: "There's NO serial number. It's a harpoon! It's not registered to anyone!

Steve: "Aha! A black market harpoon! Probably bought it on the street in exchange for crack..(reminiscing). Ah, I remember exchanging crack for weapons as a boy...."

Bryan: "When you were a boy they didn't HAVE crack!"

Steve: "Not the drug, no...(rubs his ass)...Ah, my youth..."

Bryan: (pauses for a second) "Anyway...do we know where the harpoon came from?"

Chief: "Well, most likely from the empty spot from the harpoon rack in the den."

Bryan: "A harpoon rack in the den? I think its about time we questioned that ex-wife of his. Perhaps she can help shed some light on the subject..."

Steve: "I think we should question the maid!"

Bryan: "The maid?! But...the place is a mess!

Steve: "Exactly!"

Bryan: (shakes head) "So where does this ex-wife of his live?"

Chief: "On the eastside of town...(hands him a paper)...Here's the address."

Bryan: "Thanks..."

Steve: "Oh, all right! We'll check out the ex-wife...but as far as I'm concerned, it could STILL be a suicide. (tries one more time)

Bryan: "Yes, Steve, we know...." (drags him offstage)


[A living room. The ex-wife is doing something, a knock is heard at the door, she goes and answers it]

Ümlok: "Hello, how may Ümlok help you?"

Steve: "Yes, hello, we're investigators (show badges) and we'd like to ask you a few questions about your ex-ex-husband."

[Ümlok starts to cry in large heaving sobs. Steve and Bryan lead her to a couch]

Bryan: "We're sorry ma'am, I'm sure this has come as very much of a shock to you."

Ümlok: (in between sobs) No, no, no, you don't understand! It is not the death of ex-husband which bothers Ümlok, it is the fact that he stabbed by Ümlok's harpoon, but not by Ümlok!" (breaks down at saying this)

[Bryan and Steve look at each other]

Bryan: "So, I take it you and your ex-husband did not part on the greatest terms?"

Ümlok: (spits on floor) "He was the scum from the underside of a walrus's belly!"

Steve: "So you admit it was your harpoon that killed him."

Ümlok: "Ümlok can only hope. It's the one thing that make this all bearable to Ümlok."

Bryan: "Why were your harpoons in his house anyway?"

Ümlok: "John was scum, bribed judge, got everything, including Ümlok's prize collection of harpoons! Ümlok get shaft, but not harpoons."

Steve: "Yes, and this made you angry, so angry in fact, that you went to his house last night, grabbed one of your prize harpoons, and robbed..."

Bryan: (interrupting) "Stabbed..."

Steve: "Yes, yes, stabbed, whatever. Stabbed him with it."

Ümlok: (standing up, offended) "NO! Ümlok would do no such thing. Ümlok is not stupid, he was not worth it."

Bryan: "My partner may be a bit hasty, but he has a point...Do you have an alibi for last night?"

Ümlok: (sitting down) "I understand. Last night Ümlok was hucking harpoons, yes. However Ümlok was at national harpooning competition, I only got back a few hours ago. I took second place, I only lost because they let that steroid eating Meinfrakska Petrovsky enter. They would have disqualified her, but rumor has it she at the last judge who tried that."

Bryan: "Alright, but do you know anyone who might have wanted to kill him?"

Ümlok: "Who didn't! As I said, he was the scum from the belly of a walrus."

Bryan: "Why is that?"

Ümlok: "I am not the only one he treats badly. Between the people he has swindled and those he owed money, its too amazing no one killed him sooner!"

Bryan: "Well, thank you, Ümlok, you've been a great help. You said you would contact his family...have you done that yet?"

Ümlok: "Yes, Ümlok got in touch with his brother, Ben. You know, if they weren't identical, I'd think they were not related. Ben is so much nicer than John was. He took the news badly."

Steve: "Identical? Are they twins?"

Ümlok: (confused) "Yes."

Bryan: "Do you have his address? I think we should talk to him as well."

Ümlok: "Of course." (writes address)

(Bryan and Steve leave)


[Living room of Ben, knock at door. Ben looks quickly, sees the two men. Appears to be practicing his sad face, opens door]

Ben: "How may I help you gentlemen?"

Steve: "We're investigators sir, we'd like to ask you a few questions about your brother's death."

Ben: "Yes, of course. Come In."

Steve: "You look familiar, have we met before?"

Ben: "Umm...I don't think so."

Steve: "Oh well...It's just that I get the feeling we've met recently." (Bryan whispers in his ear) "OH!" (grabs nearby coat rack, positions it on Ben as harpoon) "Right! That dead guy this morning! Good to se you're feeling better!"

Bryan: (aside, but stern) "No! This is his TWIN brother!"

Steve: "Oh! Right...silly me...So, where were you two nights ago?"

Bryan: "Two nights ago?! Why would we care where he was two nights ago?"

Steve: "Well, we asked the last one where she was last night, so I figured maybe we needed some different questions this time..."

Bryan: "You're an idiot. (turns to Ben) "Do you have an alibi for last night?"

Ben: "I was here all night...wait, are you implying that I am a suspect?!"

Steve: "Everyone is a suspect! Well, everyone except me...and my partner...and the guys down at the station...and my mom and my sister Flora...and his (motioning to Bryan) cousin Mel and...well, really just about everyone except for you, his ex-wife, and the few people who knew him..."

Ben: "But, I love my brother so much...even though he led a dangerous life...you really have a tough job trying to find the one person who killed him. SO many people wanted to kill him...like his ex-wife...[very subtly (yeah right!)] she's a HARPOONIST, you know, and she was always saying how much she HATED John after their divorce. She had lots of reasons to kill him, unlike me. What reason would I have to kill my own brother?"

[doorbell sounds - (someone offstage says "ding-dong!")]

Ben: "Now who could that be?" (goes to get the door, lawyer is there, and comes in) "Hello, can I help you?"

Lawyer: "Hello, mister Dover...do you have a few minutes?"

Ben: "Certainly, come in, please..."

Lawyer: "I'm Kyle Shnerdleey, I represent your brother's insurance company."

Ben: (mock surprise) "Insurance company? My brother had insurance? That's so unlike him...I never would have expected him to have life insurance! How much is the policy worth? Five thousand? Six? Seven thousand?"

Lawyer: "Actually, no, it was worth seven million dollars...(sly)

Ben: (knows better) "Are you sure it wasn't for eight million?"

Lawyer: (mock confusion, looks at notes) "OH! Err...yes. Eight million." (disappointed)

Ben: "What was my brother doing with such a large policy!"

Lawyer: (still annoyed) "Well, actually, the policy isn't very old...he only took it out last week, and it only went into effect two days ago."

Ben: "That recently? And the last time I saw my brother was a month ago...so there's NO way I could have known about it is there?"

Steve: "Wow, he's got us there."

Ben: And who gets all this money? His ex-wife, no doubt, who hated him...she was a HARPOONIST, you know...she threw harpoons for a living."

Lawyer: "Actually...no. The policy names you, his only brother as the sole benefactor!"

Ben: "ME?" (really super mock surprise) "What a shock! What in the world am I going to do with all this money? So much money could help so many people! Perhaps I should give it all to charities (sniggers)...I'm sure that they could use the money much more than me...but I'll worry about that later. Is there anything for me to sign?"

Lawyer: "Well, yes actually, there are a few couple pages to look over and sign." (reaches into bag, pulls out lots of documents)

Bryan: (looking at how many documents there are) "Well, I think we have all we need for now. We'll be in touch."

Ben: "Thank you for stopping by, gentlemen." (sees them out)


(At Bryan and Steve's desk)

Bryan: "I hate searching through paper work, it's mind numbing. How are you doing?"

Steve: "Oh, not too bad..." (throws paper airplane freshly folded from his stack)

Bryan: "We're supposed to be searching for clues, you idiot."

Steve: "Ohhh...."

Bryan: "All the clues so far seem to point to Ümlok, however, she has a solid alibi. It would seem someone tried to frame Ümlok, but who? It would have to be someone who knew them, but did not know Ümlok would have a solid alibi. On the other hand, there is John's brother, Ben, who had a 7 million dollar motive..."

Steve: "8 million."

Bryan: (contemplative) "Yes...it was 8 million, wasn't it...an 8 million dollar motive for killing him. However there was no way he could have known about the policy, since it had been taken out only a week earlier. For that matter, why did he take out a large insurance policy on himself naming his identical twin as sole benefactor? Did he expect, or even know that something was going to happen to him beforehand?"

Steve: "Did he have a motive for killing himself? I still haven't ruled out the suicide theory!"

Bryan: "That's ridiculous, I...wait just a minute! Hand me those medical records!" (looks through records, finds something) "AHA!" (points in file)

"Steve, are you pondering what I am pondering?" (Pinky and Brainish)

Steve: "I think so Bryan, but was Elvis a harpoonist?!"

Bryan: "You're useless. Come on, lets go crack this case."


(Ben's living room, again..."Ding Dong!" (different voice)

Ben: (looks, seems confused, practices being sad again, opens door to find Ümlok, Bryan, and Steve waiting on doorstep...they enter) "Hello again, gentlemen...is there a problem?"

Bryan: "Yes, mister Dover, we need to talk with you again."

Ben: "Please, do come in..." (they sit) "Now, what can I do for you?"

Bryan: "Well, we've been at this case for several hours now, and we seem to have discovered something."

Steve: "We have?! Was I sitting on it?"

Bryan: (to Steve) "No." (to Ben) "You see, at first all the clues seemed to point to Ümlok, here.

Ben: "Yes, did she mention that she's a HARPOONIST?

Steve: "Bryan?! Did you hear that? It's just the clue we've been looking for!"

Bryan: (to Steve) "Shut up." (going on) "Yes we knew that she was a harpoonist, and also that she disliked her ex-husband...but the one piece that didn't fit the puzzle was that she had a solid alibi."

Ben: (surprised) "A what?"

Bryan: "You see, Ben, Ümlok was indeed hurling harpoons that night, but not at her ex-husband's apartment...rather, she was in the national harpooning contest...in Arizona."

Ben: (trying to lead them off track) "But...but...what does that have to do with anything?!"

Bryan: "It means mister Dover, that Ümlok was framed!"

Steve: "Really? I couldn't tell..." (looking her over)

Ben: "But who would want to frame Ümlok?"

Steve: (figures something out) "the MAID!!"

Bryan: "Not another word, Steve!"

Steve: "Right!"

Bryan: (points finger at Steve, warning him) "You do have a point, Ben...the only person who disliked Ümlok was her ex-husband, John!"

Ben: "But, he's dead!" (looking shifty) "How could a dead man frame his ex-wife?"

Bryan: "Well, most men couldn't, but they COULD if they had...a TWIN brother!"

Ben: "Just what do you mean?"

Bryan: "Well, if one twin were to kill the other, and then assume his identity..."

Steve: "Now, now...let's not "assume" anything! We have to have the facts! Just the facts, ma'am! (he says to audience) "I heard that in a TV show once!" Bryan: "You're right, Steve"...(takes out pad, puts a tick mark in it next to times Steve has been right)

"And there is only one way to find out..."

Ben: "What's that?"

Bryan: "Well, you see, it turns out that according to medical records, that each twin was born with a strange birthmark on their left thigh...Ben's birthmark looked like a horseshoe...but John's birthmark was of the city skyline of Palo Alto California! Now...bend over."

Ben: "Yes?"

Bryan: "No! I mean BEND over! It's time to find out the truth!"

Ben: "No! You can't make me! You need a warrant or something to search my pants!"

Bryan: "A warrant like...(pulls out paper with words "warrant to search pants" written on it)...this one?!"

Ben: "NO!" (runs for the door)

Ümlok: (picks up hat stand/coat rack, hurls it at Ben, knocking him out, and screams out) "You won't get away this time! HA!"

(Bryan and Steve go over to John, check his vital signs)

Bryan: "Good work, Ümlok!"

Ümlok: "No problem. It was almost as good as using a harpoon. Maybe better. This way I may get to do it again!"

Bryan: (goes to door, yells out) "Come get him, boys!"

(officers come in, drag John out. Bryan walks back to Steve)

Steve: "I don't get it."

Ümlok: "I am confused also. I have always found murder mysteries silly and unrealistic."

Bryan: "Yes, but the best part of a murder mystery is when the twisted plot is fully revealed in the end."

(Bryan sits down, taking out a pipe)"You see, John had backed himself into a corner." (lights the pipe or blows bubbles out of it) "Through his many shady dealings he had gained many enemies and owed large sums of money. He knew his life was in danger, but had no way out.he then realized that if he could fake his death and take his brother's place, not only would he be safefrom his many adversaries, but he could also take out an insurance policy on himself naminghis brother the benefactor. And who would ever know?! The only person in his way was Ümlokwho might possibly identify him, in his ruse. So who better to frame for his murder than she?but he should have known he would never get away with those most heinous of crimes...Insurance fraud!"

Ümlok: "Amazing!"

Steve: "So...John, in effect murdered himself?"

Bryan: "In the loosest of meanings, yes."

Steve: "I KNEW IT!! Suicide!! I was right all along!!" (Bryan fumes) "But...I can tell you, I always

Preferred comedy to murder mysteries. In comedy the dopey character gets the beautiful woman in the end!"

(beautiful woman comes out, takes Steve's arm, gives him a kiss, they leave together)

(stage slowly fades to black)

Bryan: (staring in disbelief) "I hate that man."