TO DIE IS FOREVER:
Ian Martin's radio adaptation of STRANGE PARADISE
Transcribed by Curt Ladnier
When Episode 44 of STRANGE PARADISE was broadcast in late
1969, it marked the last time that series co-creator Ian Martin scripted an installment of the show, providing us with his vision of the story of the Desmond family. Or was it? Scant years after severing ties with SP, Martin returned to his acting roots in radio drama, both appearing in and authoring literally hundreds of radio plays. He primarily scripted mysteries and thrillers, and in 1975 it appears he decided to revisit (or maybe revamp) Maljardin. Call it a sequel. Call it a remake. Call it an adaptation to a different medium. Whatever you call it, read on and enjoy Ian Martin's tale of love, loss, cryogenics and voodoo - TO DIE IS FOREVER!
Announcer: Welcome. Has it ever occurred to you to have yourself put into a frozen sleep when you die, so that you may return some day in the future? This is a bone chilling tale Ė if youíll excuse the pun Ė that concerns the science of cryogenics, that branch of physics which deals with low temperatures. The hypothermic range into which more and more people are having their bodies frozen after death in the hope of reincarnation some day in the future.
Berkley: Alright, close the casket.
Ross: No, no, please. One moment.
Berkley: Mr. Richard, we donít want to lose any more refrigeration than we have already lost.
Ross: All right, doctor, do what you must.
Berkley: Very well, thatís it Mr. Richard. We have done all that human hands can do. From now on, the computer takes over.
Announcer: Our mystery drama, ďTo Die is ForeverĒ, was written by Ian Martin Ö
Announcer: The island looms high out of the sea, like a mailed fist. Between it and the mainland, massive waves whip the calmest sea to whitewater. Since the days of the Spanish Main, it has belonged exclusively to the Richard family, bought with the blood money and booty of a hundred pirated ships. Silhouetted high above the harbor, a great mansion stands, built some three hundred years ago by Richard the Red-Hand to house the dusky princess he stole for his bride from the island of Martinique. But thatís ancient history. Today, three hundred years later, we are concerned only with a descendant of his, unlike him in every way, save for his looks and the name he bears.
Berkley: As you can see, Mr. Richard, we are now completely set up. The capsule itself, because of its weight, is on rollers Ė ball bearings - and the whole thing counter-weighted.
Ross: I suppose it has to be that enormous, Dr. Berkley?
Berkley: Yes, in order to accommodate the most efficient insulation system that we can devise to keep the liquid hydrogen at its optimum temperature for our purpose.
Ross: How low is that?
Berkley: In the range of minus 250 to 70 degrees. That is Centigrade, of course.
Ross: Doctor, isnít hydrogen dangerous? Highly explosive?
Berkley: Oh, in this case all precautions have been taken. There is an outer layer of helium, which is a noble gas.
Berkley: Hmm, a scientistís term for inert. And beyond that, even more insulation. Two inches of lead against radiation and to sustain the pressure.
Ross: And can you maintain that low a temperature indefinitely?
Berkley: The evaporation loss is very slight. It is renewed from the tanks, automatically metered by the computer, which is in turn programmed by Man. Also, there are manual controls as standby. Inside of the capsule, as you can see, is not much larger than an ordinary burial casket. The lid is also counter-weighted, otherwise it would take four men to lift it. Of course, when it is closed there are these large pressure locks all around which form a vacuum seal.
Ross: Mine is exactly the same?
Berkley: Yes, yes. You would like to see it?
Ross: No, not necessary. I take your word for it, Doctor. What about the compressors?
Berkley: Also backed up. Two others, in case of mechanical failure. That also is programmed in the computer.
Ross: Doctor, running like that, how many years could one last?
Berkley: Excuse me please. I was only testing the system, and since we are nowhere near the desired temperature, the compressor runs constantly. Once minus 250 has been reached, the compressor would automatically cut out, like an ordinary air conditioner. It would not cut in again until the temperature rose to a thermostatically determined level.
Ross: I see.
Berkley: Actually, it would run very little. A machine like this might operate anywhere from a hundred to a thousand years. Any more questions, Mr. Richard?
Ross: No, Iím no physicist or physician, Dr. Berkley. I leave all that up to you.
Berkley: Well, I can promise you, from the moment your wife is dead, she could be no safer anywhere else in the world.
Ross: When my wife ... (pause) What a price to pay for total safety.
Berkley: Do not think of the price now. Remember, you - with my help - are going to make her immortal.
Ross: Doctor, they say I have most of the money in the world. Thatís an overstatement, but I have enough. If immortality can be bought, I will spend it all.
SOUND EFFECT: lifted phone receiver Ė other phones ringing in background
Bill: Yes, Shirley. Yeah. Shirley? Okay.
SOUND EFFECT: replaced receiver Ė more ringing phones
Bill: Oh, the bossís hotline!
SOUND EFFECT: lifted phone receiver
Bill: Hello. Bill Porter, Mr. Richard.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): You alone, Bill?
Bill: Yes, sir.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Alright, listen carefully. I want you to drop everything and come straight down to the island by helicopter. Red light all the way.
Bill: I got you, Mr. Richard.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): The chopper will pick you up in the usual place. No one is to know that youíre going, or that you are missing.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Iím going to give you the safe file combination. Are you ready?
Bill: Ready, sir.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Donít write it down.
Bill: No, Iíll remember it.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): 25 left, 8 right, one full rev plus 10 left, 6 left, and 3 right.25 left, 8 right, one full rev plus 10 left, 6 left, and 3 right. Now repeat it.
Bill: Uhh, 25 left, 8 right, one full rev plus 10 left, 6 left, 3 right.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Okay, bring all the contents. All!
Bill: Can do.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): One more thing, I want you to bring someone with you.
Bill: Sure. Who?
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Doctor Fleming.
Bill: Maggs? Has anything gone wrong with Mrs. Richardís having the baby or something?
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Please, donít ask questions. Can you bring her?
Bill: Well, I donít know. I guess, if itís important enough, but itís such short notice Ö
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Itís important enough. Are you two still going to be married?
Bill: Well, thatís the general notion.
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Well maybe we can have the wedding down here. Bring enough clothes for the week.
Bill: Look, Mr. Richard, I need this job. Iím committed to you all the way, not only because youíre my bread and butter, but because Ö Well, Iím committed. Now Maggie I donít control. Unless thereís something seriously wrong with her sister Ö
Ross (telephone filtered voice): Bill, tell Maggie that Felicia needs her. Tell her that this all has to be undercover. Iíll explain when you get here, and for Heavenís sake, do all that Iíve asked you to!
SOUND EFFECT: click of Rossí line disconnecting as he hangs up.
SOUND EFFECT: Bill hangs up his phone.
SOUND EFFECT: intercom buzzer
Bill: Yes, Shirley?
Shirley (intercom filtered voice): The red light was out, so I knew you were talking to you-know-who. You have a visitor Iíve been holding.
Bill: Shirley, I canít see anyone this morning. I have a lot of things to do.
Shirley (intercom filtered voice): Excuse me sir, but I think you will see this one. Itís Dr. Margaret Fleming.
Bill: Maggie? Oh, for the love of Pete, send her right in.
SOUND EFFECT: replaced telephone receiver
SOUND EFFECT: door opening
Bill: Hey, Maggie, come here!
SOUND EFFECT: door closing
Maggie: Well, thatís a little more like it. Iím not used to cooling my heels when -- Oh, darling, I almost whacked my ribcage. Gracious.
Bill: What are you doing here?
Maggie: Well, I had a morning clinic at the hospital, and I got an early break.
Bill: Uh huh.
Maggie: I had a little shopping to do. I passed by your imposing building and I said to myself, why not -- Whatís wrong?
Bill: Come on over by the window, will you? I need to talk to you.
Maggie: You mean someone else is bugging you besides me?
Bill: Now stop. Stop it. Joke timeís over. Now listen, Maggie, honey, Iím on red alert. So are you.
Maggie: What is it, Bill?
Bill: Well, secret orders for both of us. Pack for a week, as of the minute before last. Report to the island via helicopter. Pick-up soonest.
Maggie: Whatís gone wrong? Did Felicia miscarry or something?
Bill: I donít know the answer to anything. Can you bug out like that, without a lot of questions?
Maggie: Well yes, as it happens, I can. Thatís why Iím floating free as of the moment. Iíve been writing Felicia. I donít get any answers, and Iíd made up my mind I was going down there to dig up some myself.
Bill: Iíll go pack some stuff. You do the same and meet me, um, how about noon at the information booth in the terminal?
Maggie: Yes. Of course, this is crazy, but then everything to do with my brother-in-law is. But for some reason, this time Iím scared.
SOUND EFFECT: helicopter noises
Maggie: You brought enough luggage for a month, Bill. Is this going to be very formal?
Bill: Well my baggage isnít all personal. I hate to tell you what the bulk of it is.
Bill: You might hijack the plane and dump me for good in favor of it.
Maggie: What are you talking about?
Bill: Well, I donít really know. Something big, something really way out is cooking. I donít like this trip.
Maggie: Neither do I. Iím worried about my sister.
Bill: Well, weíll soon find out. Thereís the island, dead ahead. Weíll be dropping down on it at any moment. Fasten your seatbelt, lover, and do a little praying.
Maggie: Why? Is it a dangerous landing?
Bill: It isnít the landing thatís worrying me. Itís why weíre making it.
Tantamarie (speaks with French accent): How is the madame, Monsieur?
Ross: No better, Tantamarie.
Tantamarie: But no worse?
Ross: At least there is no pain. We have control of it. If there were a God in heaven -- !
Tantamarie: Hush! Hush. Dieu. For you to say a thing like that is blasphemy. And in all places, not in front of him!
Ross: What? (chuckles) Oh, my inestimable ancestor, Richard the Red-Handed.
Tantamarie: Why do you keep his portrait hanging? Murderer, thief, robber!
Ross: I donít know. Heís a part of the family line, and to take it down would leave a gap in the succession. Besides, ever since I grew up, on my occasional visits to the island he was a valuable object lesson to me.
Tantamarie: Because he is your opposite.
Ross: Well, certainly not in looks, especially since I grew this beard.
Tantamarie: But in his soul. This man was all depravity.
Ross: A product of his time, perhaps. Did you want me for something?
Tantamarie: Oui, Monsieur. The bird with the great wings approaches. It should be landing by now.
Ross: Yes, I know. The pilot shortwaved me that he was on approach. Did you send Michael to meet them at the path?
Tantamarie: With Pierre to bring the bags. Where will they sleep?
Ross: Umm, put Maggie Ė Dr. Fleming Ė next to Mrs. Richard, and put Mr. Porter next to the bedroom Iím using now. I must go downstairs and talk to them.
Ross: Iím going to be blunt and waste no time. Partly because, in my view there is none to waste, and mainly because a surgeonís knife has to be swift and sure. First, Felicia is not having a baby.
Maggie: Miscarriage? Oh, I was afraid Ö
Ross: No, Maggie. There never was any baby. That was just a general cover so we could disappear from view. The truth is Ė you must know that this is as hard for me to tell you as it is for you to hear Ė behind the optic nerve is a melanomic tumor. Cancer that is neither operable nor reversible.
Maggie: Oh Lord, no. No!
Ross: That means sheíll be blind in a matter of days, if she isnít dead before that.
Ross: In either case, death is inevitable.
Maggie: I want to see her.
Ross: Of course. You will. But first I must ask you to understand, and to help her. Weíve only been waiting for this, for you to get here. This will be the last time you see your sister.
Maggie: What do you mean?
Ross: I mean that once you have said your goodbyes, and I have said mine, Felicia and I have agreed that she will be placed under radical hypothermia in suspended animation.
Maggie: Before the - before sheís dead?!?
Ross: The greater her chance of recovery when sheís revived in the future. By the time a cure for her condition can have been perfected, she can be returned to life.
Maggie: I wonít permit it! Iíll have you stopped!
Ross: How? Everything is ready. Youíre isolated on this island until I arrange to have you taken off.
Maggie: I warn you, if you do this, Ross, Iíll have you arrested for murder.
Ross: That will be rather hard to do, since once Felicia is successfully put to sleep, I shall follow her. If we die, we die together. But if she is to wake someday, she wants as much as I do for me to be there.
Bill: Now wait a minute, Mr. Richard. Youíre as good as committing suicide!
Ross: Not if you believe, as I do. Iím only using all of my money for something worthwhile. I am buying the woman I love a piece of the future, and my right to share it with her.
Announcer: Well, here is such a tangle of hope, love, danger and wish fulfillment, that it could vie with a Gourdian knot as a puzzle to untie. Weíll take a little more time and consideration to approach it. Iíll return shortly with Act Two.
Announcer: The Gourdian knot, as Iím sure you will remember, was never unraveled. Alexander the Great solved the problem by simply taking his sword and slicing the knot in twain. A quick and easy remedy to a tantalizing and difficult problem Ė but can this one be solved as easily?
Maggie: I still think you must be mad, Ross.
Ross: Sorry to hear that, Maggie, since your specialty is psychiatry, but I can assure you that you are mistaken.
Maggie: Even admitting that some techniques have been perfected to preserve the body, thereís no way to return it to full life!
Ross: Not now, but within the next fifty, a hundred years, who knows what techniques will be devised? Say even a thousand. If those techniques are developed, they cannot be used on a body that has decomposed to dust. Maggie, please! Let me take you down and show you the lab we have built, the preparation and precautions that have been taken. Have you met Doctor Berkley?
Maggie: No, and whatís the difference? Itís all impossible, as Bill can tell you. Under the circumstances, no doctor would issue a death certificate.
Ross: There may be no need for death certificates.
Maggie: I give up for the moment. I want see ĎLicia. Thatís all I care about now.
Ross: You may, on one condition.
Ross: That you discuss none of this with her.
Bill: Now wait a minute Ö
Ross: Bill, stay out of this.
Bill: No, I canít, Ross, damn it! Maggie and I are going to be married. This isnít still in the family.
Ross: Exactly, which is where I want it to stay! Maggie, please, for Feliciaís sake. Sheís still under sedation, barely avoiding excruciating pain, and she has no illusions how hopeless it is. This is her decision more than mine, and I have to ask you, for Godís sake Ė if you believe in him Ė not to tell her that I plan to join her. You know sheíd rather die in agony than think her illness was stopping my present life.
Maggie: You donít ask much, do you? Alright, if I can have a quid pro quo.
Maggie: I will say nothing of our conversation together here today, if you promise to take no action until weíve discussed this again.
Ross: Granted. Just one moment. Iíll have Tantamarie show you up.
Maggie: Oh, that old lady who greeted us when we came in?
Maggie: How old is she? Where does she come from?
Ross: Sheís from Martinique. Sheís been in the family employ since before I was born. We used to have large holdings in the Caribbean centuries ago. I suppose Tantamarie is descended from some of the servants that came back with my original ancestor who bought this island.
Bill: She looks at least a hundred.
Ross: I wouldnít be surprised if she were.
SOUND EFFECT: knocking
Ross: Entrez, Tantamarie.
SOUND EFFECT: door opening
Ross: Ah, this is my wifeís sister, Dr. Margaret Fleming. Would you take her up to see Mrs. Richard?
Tantamarie: Mais oui. Madame le docteur, you will come with me?
Ross: Remember our agreement.
Maggie: I wonít forget.
Tantamarie: After you.
SOUND EFFECT: door opening
Maggie: Youíve been with Mr. Richardís family such a long time, Tantamarie?
Tantamarie: Ever since (pause) ever since I first came to the house.
Maggie: And you stay here always?
Tantamarie: I stand guard.
Maggie: Stand guard? Over what?
Tantamarie: Over the past, the present, and the future. Here Iíve made my home. If madame le docteur will go up the stairs Ö
Maggie: Of course.
SOUND EFFECT: ascending footsteps
Maggie: It must be very lonely in this great huge old house.
Tantamarie: There are others who watch with me. Michel, Pierre, Roger Ė they are needed here. To the left, if you please.
Maggie: Oh, this gallery! How magnificent. Are these all portraits of the family?
Tantamarie: From the first to the present Monsieur Richard. Before the became Americans, they were of the British nobility.
Maggie: But which was the first American, or the last Englishman?
Tantamarie: There, before you.
Maggie: But that Ė that could be Ross himself. I mean, that could be the present Mr. Richard. Incedible!
Tantamarie: You see only the outward form, what the artist paints. That one was the Devil incarnate! He died three hundred years ago.
Maggie: Has my sister seen that portrait?
Tantamarie: I think, poor wounded little bird, she was too sick when she came here to see or know much.
Maggie: Is she so ill?
Tantamarie: Oui, madame le docteur. I am an old woman, without your education, your knowledge, but the shawl of death is about her shoulders.
Ross: Bill, did you bring the power of attorney?
Bill: Yeah, itís in my attachť case.
Ross: Alright, letís start with that. I want it to be a full power.
Bill: You mean attorney exact?
Ross: With total power over all my affairs, personal or business.
Bill: Wow, boss, I donít know about that. First off, shouldnít it be Mr. Dietz Ė
Ross: Dietz is too old, Bill. I want a young man, like yourself, who lasts maybe long enough until I back, and whom I can trust absolutely.
Bill: Well, you can trust me, but Ö
Ross: But what?
Bill: Come on, chief, this is a pretty wild ride. If you went through with this, are you legally dead or are you alive? Where does Felicia stand?
Ross: Felicia is good as dead right this moment. I want to spare her the agony of waiting for that to be legal.
Bill: Thatís just the point. Chief, honest, if thereís some illegal arguments here, itís like all those angels dancing on the head of a pin. Aw, whatís the use of getting into them? Cryogenics, freezing someone after theyíre legally dead, thatís one thing. Thereís no law against it. But what youíre trying to suggest, to contemplate -- Thereís just no way Ö
Ross: Bill, please, donít fight me! Help me! You know how much I love Felicia, and nothing else matters. Iíd give my life for her. All Iím asking you to do, in friendship and in the name of love, is to help me protect her and give her the only last chance I know to live.
Bill: She might Ö
SOUND EFFECT: door opening
Tantamarie: Monsieur Richard, excuse me, but it is madame! You go quick! I thinkÖ
Ross: Get Dr. Berkley, get him up there fast! Call from here.
Tantamarie: Yes, Master.
Bill: What is it, Tantamarie?
Tantamarie: The beautiful one! I am afraid she is dead.
SOUND EFFECT: door opening
Bill: Maggie! Maggie, what happened?
Maggie (hushed): Sheís (pause) sheís dead. Oh, Bill, we only had so little time together.
Bill: Ah, there, Maggie. What happened?
Maggie (sobbing): These melanomas Ė they (pause) they go wild.
Bill: Was Dr. Berkley here?
Maggie: Oh, yes. He had been expecting it.
Bill: Now what?
Maggie: Heís gone downstairs to the Ė I donít know Ė the vault to arrange with his assistant for profusion.
Bill: You mean theyíre going ahead with what the chief wanted anyway?
Maggie: Oh, it makes no difference now. Itís all perfectly legal.
Bill: Is there some way I can help?
Maggie: Not ĎLicia. Not her any more. But Ross Ö
Bill: What about him?
Maggie: I hope when this form of burial he wants is over with, we can try to help him. I donít know.
Bill: What do you mean?
Maggie: Heís like a wild man. He chased all of us out of the bedroom to be alone with (pause) with ĎLicia. I tell you, darling, the only thing thatís keeping me from going completely to pieces is my concern about him.
Bill: Do you think heís blown - I mean that heís not (pause) sane?
Maggie: I think that Ross has always walked the tight edge of being schizo. I just hope he hasnít slipped over and become paranoic.
Bill: Where is he now?
Maggie: Alone, with ĎLicia.
Bill: Iíd better go up there.
Maggie: No, darling. He has a right to vent his own sorrow in his own way, alone with his wife. (sobs) Hold me tight, Bill.
Bill: Oh, darling.
Maggie: Because of ĎLicia, and because I hope and pray if Ross is left alone, he can find his own relief.
Ross (softly): Itís alright, darling. Now listen. It makes no difference, dead or alive. Iíll take you downstairs myself. How little you weigh. How wasted you are. Darling, wherever you are, donít be afraid. You wonít be alone long. And you will be back here again someday. As soon as I get you downstairs, weíll save you. Weíll make you immortal. God? There is no God if he can take someone like you for no reason. I renounce Him. On this island, I alone am God!
Red-Hand (filtered, echoing voice): Ahhh, much better! Released at last from the chains of centuries! A fellow reprobate and recanter. Good welcome, nephew!
Ross: Who is that? Who spoke?
Red-Hand (filtered, echoing voice): Look on your likeness in the portrait. The one whose name you bear. See the life in me eyes?
Ross: I must be going mad. I have no time for delusions.
Red-Hand (filtered, echoing voice): Quite right. No time to spare on me now. See to your wife. But once you have commended her to the physicianís care, I will make a pact with you.
Ross: A pact?
Red-Hand (filtered, echoing voice): Yes! Find me where I lie in the tomb, and in return for my rebirth Ė my life again Ė I will give you the secret of all Life!
SOUND EFFECT: thunderclap
Bill: How long are they gonna be down there?
Maggie: Itís a long process.
Bill: I donít understand.
Maggie: The blood has to be removed and stored. The body profused with glycerol or some such substance. The only thing is Ross. Iím so worried Ö
Bill: Now look, forget it. His affairs are all in order, but just to set your mind at rest, Iíll check Ďem all out. Okay?
Bill: Good night, love. Try to get some rest.
Berkley: Alright, she is ready, gentlemen. Lift her into the casket carefully.
Bill: Chief, are you all right?
Ross: Bill, what the hell are you doing here? Get back upstairs.
Bill: I just wanted to make sure that everything Ö
Ross: Everything is as alright as it can be. You can assure Maggie of that. Iíll see you in the morning.
Berkley: Alright, close the casket.
Ross: No, please! Please, one moment.
Berkley: Mr. Richard, I donít want to lose any more refrigeration than we have already lost.
Ross: Alright, do what you must, Doctor.
Berkley: Close the lid.
SOUND EFFECT: scraping
Berkley: Very well, thatís it, Mr. Richard. We have done all that human hands can do. From now on, the computer takes over.
Ross: Alright, then get out of here. All of you. I want to be alone with my wife!
Red-Hand (filtered, echoing voice): There, five oíclock in the morning. Just before dawn. An excellent time for our business. But before you wake, my tenth generation nephew, let us make our bargain. I too once loved a woman, a princess I stole from Martinique, bringing her here to this chateau I built, along with her faithful serving woman Ė the aged crone you now call Tantamarie. And when I tired of her, and not being cursed with her conscience as you are, I threw her into the sea. Ha ha. My stupidity was in not realizing that, having trafficked with heathens, I had made myself vulnerable to them. The woman, Tantamarie, is a voodoun, high priestess of Voodoo. She killed me even as your wife was killed, stabbed through the eye in a waxen image by a golden nail driven into my brain. Find me where I lie in my tomb in this same crypt, and remove the golden spike. Then I shall return, and in reward offer you the secret of all Life.
Announcer: Ross Richard searches the shelves and niches of the crypt that stretches into the shadows. At length, he finds a casket and, smearing away the dust, reads ďSir Ross Richards Ė he that was called the Red-HandedĒ. With an effort, he opens the ancient coffin. In the bottom of it lies no evidence of a corpse Ė only a small crude figure of a waxen doll with a golden spike driven into one eye and through the brain. I shall return in a moment with Act Three.
Announcer: For a long moment, Ross Richard looks down on the ludicrous sight of that primitive doll transfixed through the brain. Then slowly, with instinctive distaste and a ripple of fear down his spine at the ancient evil it suggests, he lifts it from the coffin. Then suddenly, once again the voice, so like his own, is sounding insistently in his ears.
Red-Hand (filtered, echoing voice): You (pause) you have it in your hands. The secret of Life! If you want to translate it, pull out the nail, the spike, and set me free!
Ross: Why not? I have nothing to lose any more. Very well. Now!
SOUND EFFECT: scream
Ross: What was that?
SOUND EFFECT: more screaming
Red-Hand (voice no longer echoing): Ha ha! The Voodoo woman, in despair that I have triumphed at last. There, put her aside. I will take care of her later. Now, there is our pact. You have freed me.
Ross: I must be going mad. I can see your shape standing before me, doublet, sword, a ghost out of the past.
Red-Hand: Reborn, but no longer a ghost.
Ross: You promised me the secret of all Life.
Red-Hand (laughing raucously): Ah, yes! The more fool you to trust me, for I shall have it, not you.
Ross: What do you mean?
Red-Hand: Hah! Can you see me any more?
Red-Hand: Because I have already occupied your body, and cast you out. How could you have trusted me, poltroon, idiot, sentimentalist?!? The secret of Life is to own a body, as I now own yours, leaving you to wander as I have between Heaven and Hell.
Ross: No! God help me!
Red-Hand: You renounced God and turned yourself over to the Devil. As his advocate, I claim title to your body by right.
Ross: No, no, never!
Red-Hand: Too late. Too late. This body is mine.
Ross: (straining) No, I wonít let you!
Red-Hand: You canít stop me.
(Sounds of exertion from both characters)
Bill: Chief, what is it? Whatís wrong?
Maggie: Head him off, dear. Itís some kind of seizure. Iíll help him. I need a hypo. Darling, look in the first cabinet, the autoclave, just beyond Ö
Bill: Okay. What is it?
Maggie: Itís some kind of a seizure. Help me now.
Maggie: Roll back that right sleeve.
Bill: Alright, sure, Maggie. Hereís the hypo.
Maggie: Now help me hold him.
Maggie: Now, there!
(grunt from Red-Hand)
Maggie: That should take hold in a minute.
Bill: What happened to him, Maggie?
Maggie: Just what I was afraid of. Heís gone over the edge. The question is, into what?
Tantamarie: Oh, Great Serpent, whose head reaches high above the clouds, and whose tail is buried in the darkest deep of the sea, I command and conjure you in the dread and dark name of Voodoo! You appear before thy faithful servant in her agony and her terror, to answer all questions in whatsoever form shall please you. So that I must know what to do with the devil-man I conquered in your name 4000 moons ago, and who now walks abroad amongst us again. Hear me, I beg you, and tell me if my time has come at last! And if not, what is my task?
SOUND EFFECT: eerie trilling
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): Tantamarie! Tantamarie! Tantamarie!
Tantamarie: The master! Master Richard Ö
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): Can you hear me?
Tantamarie: I hear you. Where are you?
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): I do not know. In space. Nowhere. Blackness. I am cast out Ė cast out of my own body.
Tantamarie: By the Red-Handed One, your ancestor!
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): Yes, he tricked me. I found the voodoo doll in his coffin, and I pulled the pin from his head.
Tantamarie: (screams) I (pause) I knew it. I could feel it as though it were torn from my own brain. How I cried aloud in pain and fear, and to warn you!
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): I heard your cries, but it was too late.
Tantamarie: Where did you leave the doll, Master? And the golden nail?
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): I donít know. In the coffin! By the coffin, when his form appeared.
Tantamarie: If they are still there, I can return your soul to your body. To cast out his!
Ross (filtered, echoing voice): Find the doll before he does! Find the doll! Find the doll! Find the doll!
Red-Hand: Find the doll. Iíve got to find the doll before Ö
Maggie: Take it easy. Itís alright.
Red-Hand: Huh, who are you?
Red-Hand: I know no Maggie. ĎEre, what holds me down?
Maggie: Those restraining straps, Bill! Heís going into convulsions.
Red-Hand: You donít understand.
Maggie: Tighter, tighter.
Red-Hand: You must help me! I beg you! Youíre all against me. Against me. If I canít find the doll, I, I Ė You see that Iím threatened. You see the danger! I must find the doll, oh, the doll Ö
Bill: Good lord, whatís wrong with him, Maggie?
Maggie: I donít know. I canít answer it, Bill. Itís some sort of a form of schizophrenia. Compulsion neurosis. Except, the convulsions are not classic symptoms. It may be a somatic problem, some neurological complication. I really donít know.
Maggie: When we got here last night, my brother-in-law told me that it was his intention to have my sister profused, and put under radical hypothermia before she died.
Berkley: That was his intention?
Maggie: Would you have done that for him, Doctor?
Berkley: I am an old man. The last, best part of a long life has been in the study of cryogenics. I believe with all my heart that we stand on the threshold of a breakthrough. Would I have used this technique on Mrs. Richard had she been alive? I donít know. Fortunately, I did not have to face the temptation.
Maggie: And what about Ross himself?
Berkley: A young man in the full vigor of health? That is another question. No more than any other physician do I pretend to be God. But no, we are not ready for that yet, if ever. You need have no concern as long as Mr. Richard is alive.
Maggie: Thank you, Doctor, thatís all I want to know. Come on, Bill.
Bill: Right with you.
SOUND EFFECT: door opening and closing
Maggie: Weíve got to get in touch with the mainland. Ross has got to be taken to a hospital with full facilities and have his condition evaluated. Whereís the phone?
Bill: I donít know. Probably in the study.
Maggie: Oh, hereís someone who should. Tantamarie!
Tantamarie: (dazed) Oui, monsieur? Le docteur?
Maggie: We want to find a phone.
Tantamarie: That is in the masterís room. Where, I do not know. It is hidden.
Bill: Whatís that you have in your hand?
Tantamarie: A voodoo doll that the master found, and the golden nail which he took from its head.
Bill: The Ė the what?
Tantamarie: The master is with the doctor. How is he?
Maggie: Heís quite sick, Tantamarie. Thatís why we need the telephone, to get a helicopter here to take him to a real hospital.
Tantamarie: Hospitals cannot help. His sickness is of the soul. He does not live in his own body.
Maggie: Shhh, Bill. And if he doesnít, who does?
Tantamarie: Come with me. I will show you.
Bill: You donít think there could be anything to that old dameís claim about the picture?
Maggie: I think quite possibly there could. Keep looking for that phone.
Bill: Yeah, sure.
SOUND EFFECT: sounds of searching
Bill: You canít be serious.
Maggie: I donít believe in Voodoo or mumbo jumbo but, in Rossí state of mind, he might have. It couldíve been very real to him.
Bill: You mean because heís half off the track anyway, this might have been enough to knock him off all the way?
Maggie: Something like that. Bill, Iíve got it! Iíve got it!
Bill: Where? Where?
Maggie: Here, in the closet.
SOUND EFFECT: lifted telephone receiver
Bill: Whatís the matter?
Maggie: (sigh) No tone. Here, listen.
Bill: Hmm. The lineís dead. This is worse than useless.
Maggie: Is there any other way off this island?
Bill: Well, there are boats and a channel if you can navigate it.
Maggie: Well why canít you?
Bill: Youíd have to see it to believe it. There must be someone on the island who can get through besides Ross himself.
Maggie: The letís go find him.
Tantamarie: Oh, great and living serpent! I offer up to you this waxen candle as the light of your eyes to see the obedience I offer in your name. Here is the doll, the living representation of the living devil who must be destroyed! And here is the instrument Ė the golden nail Ė which I take in thy name to strike into the brain and soul of our enemy, and to free my master. Once it is done, bring me back to thee, for I am weary. Give me a sign, oí Great Serpent!
SOUND EFFECT: thunderclap
Tantamarie: At thy command, I strike!
Berkley: Doctor Fleming Ö
Maggie: Yes, Doctor Berkley, what is it?
Berkley: Iíve been looking for you. Where were you?
Maggie: We were down at the harbor. Weíre trying to make arrangements to get off the island. What is it?
Berkley: Mr. Richard Ė he did suddenly in one huge convulsion. I donít know what happened.
Bill: Hey, wait a minute. Anyone smell anything burning?
Maggie: Yes. Do you suppose that the stormís lightning Ö?
Berkley: It could not affect us in the catacombs.
Bill: Itís coming from upstairs. Come on!
SOUND EFFECT: noises of crackling fire and coughing
Maggie: What is it, Bill?
Bill: Tantamarieís dead. (cough) It was the lighted candle in her room. (cough) The fire Ö
Maggie: Can we put it out?
Bill: No, it would take a full squad of firemen. Weíve got to get out of here before this whole place goes up like a bonfire! The chateau is mostly wood. Itís dry as tinder.
Berkley: Good Lord, perhaps I am being punished. Weíve got to get everyone out of here.
Bill: What do you mean?
Berkley: Well, with all my precautions, I never thought of this kind of fire. If it generates enough heat to melt through to the hydrogen, it isnít only the house (cough) but the whole island that would blow sky high!
SOUND EFFECT: boat noises
Maggie: Did we get everyone off, Bill?
Bill: All except Tantamarie and Ö
Maggie: And ĎLicia. And Ross.
Bill: Thatís it.
Berkley: They wanted to make that island their grave Ė Mr. and Mrs. Richard, I mean. Ironic isnít it? Instead of being frozen, they stand a better chance of being incinerated.
Bill: Then you think the hydrogen tanks Ö?
SOUND EFFECT: explosion
Berkley: There is your answer. Or maybe it is the answer that those who fly in the face of God only court destruction.
Maggie: Well, at least wherever Ross and ĎLicia are, they can be together now. What more could any of us ask for the future than to share it with those we love?
Announcer: A strange, torturous story. And one that, in spite of all the pyrotechnics, really has no ending. I can only leave you with nothing but questions. I have no answers. Is there anyone who does? Iíll be back shortly.
Announcer: When the fire backdrafted to the ground floor, the whole blazing inferno suddenly collapsed, to make a grate out of the catacombs. The lead coffins were fused to tangled lumps of metal, and Ross and his bride had no more future than you or I wherever we go when death finds us at last.
Ian Martinís ďTo Die is ForeverĒ was originally presented on CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER on August 7, 1975.
is Strange Paradise?