of Mrs. Peter Piper
MOORE. Good evening. Once again we bring you another in our series "Ask Dr. Sisters," the show that takes your innermost private secrets and broadcasts them to 27 million people. Here is Dr. Grace Sisters. (Burnett enters to music and applause)
BURNETT. Hi there, sickies!
The confidential letter I am going to discuss tonight is from a Mrs. Robert Wright. She has asked me not to reveal her name, so I'll simply call her Mrs. R.W.
If Mrs. Wright is watching, I'm sure she knows I mean her.
Mrs. R.W. is a woman she really is who lets trivial, petty, insignificant things bother her, instead of analyzing them rationally, dispassionately, objectively, as I do.
Mrs. R.W. writes: "If my husband doesn't stop eating with his knife and dropping cigar butts on my nice rugs, I'm going to put poison in his bourbon."
Here, you see, Mrs. R.W. is getting overemotional. Her desire to murder her husband shows that she's thinking of herself, not him.
I realize that men can be trying. Heaven knows, my own dear husband isn't completely without faults. Luther that's my own dear husband Luther has a cute little habit, as it were, of clearing his throat, like this: huch-hm.
Now it's really nothing. And it certainly isn't annoying. (Laughs self-consciously) It's just that it can be distracting when you're talking to someone who keeps saying hyuuch-hmm all the time.
But I have found that when two well-adjusted people love each other, the serene, rational thing to do is to simply ignore his little hyuuc-hum and hyaack-hmm. I don't even notice when he does that. (Grimly) I refuse to let it "get" me.
I wonder if you, Mrs. R.W., can handle the situation like this.
(Losing her composure) I'll bet you couldn't! You'd probably stab him with a carving knife if you were in a house that had all that HYACK-HUM going on! I've got to put up with HYAAACK-HUUM this and HYUCH-HMMM that! (Shouting incoherently and clearing her throat obnoxiously, she has to be carried off by Moore while the sketch's ending music plays.)
ANNOUNCER. Good evening. Welcome to "Famous Courtroom Trials." Tonight, one of the most dramatic and gripping cases in courtroom history: the trial of Mrs. Peter Piper.
This is the old and regal King's Court in London. The key figures in this drama are entering the courtroom now. (Moore enters) There is Lord Simon Humphreys, for the Crown. (Kirby enters) And I see now Sir Guy Williams, the great defense attorney, who represents Mrs. Piper. The bailiff is ordering the court to be still, and the case will now begin.
BAILIFF. Hear ye! Hear ye! Her majesty's court is now in session.
KIRBY. My lord, I should like to call Mrs. Peter Piper to the stand.
CONWAY. Uh, bailiff (motions to him).
BAILIFF. Mrs. Peter Piper! (Burnett enters in a widow's veil) Do you solemnly swear blah-blah-blah, so help you?
BURNETT. Of course.
KIRBY. Now, then. You are the wife of the deceased?
BURNETT. I am.
KIRBY. And your husband's name was ?
BURNETT. Peter Piper.
KIRBY. Mrs. Piper, what was your husband's occupation?
BURNETT. He was in the pickled pepper business.
KIRBY. What did he do in the pickled pepper business?
BURNETT. He picked a peck of them.
KIRBY. Thank you. Your witness.
MOORE. Mrs. Piper. Huch-hm. You say your husband was a pickle pepperer?
BURNETT. I did not.
MOORE. Then what did you say?
BURNETT. I said he was a pepper pickler.
MOORE. Oh. Would you please tell the court, just what is the difference between a pickle pepperer and a pepper pickler?
BURNETT. A pickle pepperer peppers pickles, and a pepper pickler pickles peppers.
KIRBY. My lord, I object! The deceased's occupation has absolutely no bearing on this case whatsoever. None at all.
MOORE. On the contrary, my lord. I am trying to establish that on the night of the crime, the deceased was not peppered, he was pickled!
CONWAY. Order! Order! Uh, overruled.
MOORE. Thank you. Your witness.
KIRBY. Thank you. Mrs. Pickle
BURNETT. Mrs. Piper.
KIRBY. I beg your pardon.
BURNETT. My pleasure.
KIRBY. Mrs. Pepper
BURNETT. Mrs. Pickle.
KIRBY. Mrs. Pickle?
BURNETT. No, I mean Mrs. Piper.
KIRBY. I'm sorry.
BURNETT. So am I.
KIRBY. Your witness.
MOORE. Mrs. Piper, on the eve of January third last, exactly what did your husband do?
BURNETT. He picked a peck of pickled peppers.
MOORE. And then what?
BURNETT. That's all.
MOORE. You mean he did nothing after he pecked a pick of pecca peppers?
BURNETT (laughing). That's right.
BURNETT. He did nothing after he picked a peck of pickled peppers.
MOORE. Why not?
BURNETT. He was pooped!
MOORE. Now would you please tell the court what happened to the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?
BURNETT. He packed them.
MOORE. He packed them in what?
BURNETT. Paper plates.
MOORE. Why paper plates?
BURNETT. Peter planned a picnic.
MOORE. You mean Peter planned a picnic with just pickles in paper plates?
BURNETT. Naaow, there were pancakes, pumpkin pie, peppermint patties, pineapple punch, peanut butter popovers, and breaded pork pot pie!
BURNETT. No, pumpernickel!
CONWAY. Order! Order!
MOORE. A preposterous prevarication, Mrs. Piper. The plain truth is that Peter Piper probably saw a picture of you in Piccadilly Park, pecking with Paul Peters, the porter, and promised to plug you, so you popped him on the pate with a poker!
BURNETT. You're potted!
KIRBY. I object! I object!
CONWAY. Order in the court! Order in the court! One more outburst like that, and I'll clear the courtroom. The case is difficult as it is to follow. Will the court stenographer read back the proceedings thus far, please?
LORNE (slowly turning in her swivel chair, rising with her transcript, and looking out over her thick glasses). The defense claims that Peter Piper picked a pick of pickled peppers and then packed them in paper plates for a pumpernickel puhu-puhu-puhu-puhu-picnic. But the prosecution points out that Peter Piper probably saw a picture of Mrs. Piper in Picca-picca-picca-uh-Piccadilly Park, pecking with Paul Peepers, so she popped him on the plate with a poker. But she was pooped. And he was popping.
CONWAY (whistles in amazement). Uh, proceed, Sir Guy.
KIRBY. Thank you, my lord. Mrs. Piper?
KIRBY. Do you have any hobbies?
BURNETT. Yes, I have two hobbies, actually.
KIRBY. And they are?
BURNETT. Poetry and pottery. I just kind of potter with poetry, but my pet is really pottery.
KIRBY (sweetly). What kind of pottery?
KIRBY. Any particular period pewter?
BURNETT (softly). No, just pretty pewter pottery.
KIRBY (smiling). I see.
MOORE (loudly). My lord, I object! I protest! I protest that my opponent is just putting in poetry pumping and putrid pewter pottery to pester the prosecution!
KIRBY (to Moore). Pooh pooh pa-dooh!
CONWAY. Quiet! Quiet in the courtroom, please.
MOORE (looking up from a note). My lord! My lord, I have just received some evidence that throws an entirely new complexion on this case. May I introduce the new evidence?
CONWAY. Very well.
MOORE. Mrs. Piper, I have just learned your true identity.
MOORE. It's of no use covering up any longer; tell the court your real name.
BURNETT (sobbing). No! No, don't make me say it, for pity's sake don't make me say it!
MOORE. The truth! Your real name!
BURNETT (taking a deep breath, then speaking in a flat, emotionless tone). Cecily Susan Sussman.
MOORE. And where are you from, Cecily Susan Sussman?
MOORE. And what do you do in Sussex?
BURNETT (raising her voice now). I sell.
MOORE. Sell what?
BURNETT. Sea shells.
MOORE. And where do you sell sea shells?
BURNETT (yelling). At the she sore! (Breaks up laughing)
MOORE. Now tell the whole story.
BURNETT. All of it?
MOORE. All of it.
BURNETT. Huch-hm. I am Cecily Susan Sussman from Sussex, who sells sea shells at the (carefully) sea shore. And one sunny Sunday in Surrey I saw my spouse sipping a spot of Scotch and soda with my sexy sales assistant Cecile. So in spite, I sent him spinning off the side of the stony cliff into the surging surf. (Sobbing) I have sinned; I am sorry; so sue me! (She breaks down)
MOORE. I didn't quite catch all of that testimony. Will the court stenographer please read it back for me?
LORNE slowly turns around again, looks at her transcript, looks at the people, and deliberately tears up the transcript and throws it into the air.