Fans of old fashioned ghost stories will enjoy this creepy thriller. When two sisters relocate from Manhattan to an old farm house in upstate New York, they soon realize that they may not be alone in the house. An old boyfriend drops in to visit and when the strange occurrences continue he calls on the services of a psychic colleague to try to quell the restless spirits. Based on the legend of the blue boy.



What the critics said!

An old fashioned thriller written just for the stage...Simonelli has written an atmospheric piece that delivers plenty of chills with a liberal dose of tension breaking comic relief! A real Halloween treat!

Joe Franklin - Bloomberg Radio

'"The Ghost in the Meadow' is delightfully scary"

                     Robert McKinney - Herald Courier

“The Ghost in the Meadow”, – spooky fun

Review by Danny Gaisin


The Ghost in the Meadow hauntingly good entertainment
> By: Veronica Burniston Freelance Writer
> On November 15th, at Heritage Hall, “confronting your demons” never
> felt as real as the Barter Theatre presented the spooky yet highly
> entertaining play The Ghost in the Meadow written by Joe Simonelli.
> The Ghost in the Meadow follows two sisters, Sheila and Kylie
> Roberts, who move from the bustling streets of New York City to a
> rural country “relic of a house.” Three hours away from their
> previous lives, Sheila hopes to focus on her career as a painter
> while Kylie tries to understand Sheila’s fascination with the rundown
> house. Despite the house’s decrepit condition, Sheila finds
> inspiration within the peeling wallpapered walls of the third floor
> guest room. But when her boyfriend, Julian Shaw, visits for the
> weekend, despite Sheila’s desired separation, and strange occurrences
> start happening in her favorite room, poor Sheila finds herself over
> her head in spooks, apparitions, and complicated relationships. With
> the spirit of the “forsaken boy” appearing in the meadow outback and
> apparitions lingering outside Sheila’s third story window, not to
> mention strange noises coming from the locked attic, how is an artist
> supposed to work? Then, at Julian’s request, arrives Antoinette
> Owens, psychic extraordinaire, to help them get to the bottom of this
> country haunting and, hopefully, make it through the weekend.
> As expected from Barter Theatre, the performance had the audience
> ensnared in the mystery of the pre-civil war house within minutes.
> Starting with a comedic bickering between the sisters during a power
> outage, a sighting of a child apparition in the middle of a
> thunderstorm, and then followed by hilarious squabbles that begin
> after Julian’s arrival, The Ghost in the Meadow delivers a very true
> representation of human relationships, familial and romantic, as well
> as a pinch of the supernatural, potent enough to keep the audience on
> their toes. This brew of comedy, love, and horror propelled the
> viewers into a story that encompassed the known with the unknown and
> the familiar safety of a rural setting with the dangers of malicious
> spirits. Ironically, these very qualities give the performance a
> similar feel to what the character Kylie Roberts points out, rather
> sarcastically, within the play: “country living, never a dull moment.”
> The single set was an intricate design of the old and the new,
> combining peeling wallpaper and an old trunk with an artist palette,
> lamps, a red sitting chair, and paints. Props such as cell phones and
> flashlights also gave the neglected set a little touch of the modern.
> Throughout the play, the most startling moments all centered around
> the elongated window that overlooked the meadow and an abandoned
> church, and the inexplicably locked attic door that opened only at
> the apparition’s will. With a creative use of the set’s limited
> space, the onstage cast successfully delivered both comedic scenes
> and seat-gripping surprises, some producing bundles of laughter,
> others the startled screams of the unsuspecting.
> Young and old audience members warmed the seats of Heritage Hall
> during Friday’s performance. And although everyone came from different
> backgrounds and from various lifestyles, the whole theater agreed on
> the outcome of Barter’s performance. Thanking the performers for
> their hard work with a standing applause, Mountain City natives
> expressed their gratitude for a job well done and a haunting that
> would bristle their neck hairs on dark, stormy nights for days to
> come.
> Barter’s success with The Ghost in the Meadow wasn’t the only treat
> of the evening. Besides the excellent performance, two Heritage Hall
> mugs were presented to individuals with the ever-superstitious number
> “13” at the end of their social. On top of it all, Richard Rose, the
> Producer Artistic Directer/Director of The Ghost in the Meadow and
> numerous other Barter plays, announced that Mrs. Evelyn Cook was added
> to the Barter Theatre Board of Trustees.
> Although Barter’s The Ghost in the Meadow will not be playing again
> at Heritage Hall or Barter Theatre this season, the Johnson County
> Community Theatre will be celebrating the Christmas spirit by
> presenting James Rodger’s two act adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life
> on December 6th and 7th at 7 p.m. and December 8th at 2:30 p.m. So be
> sure to mark the calendar and swing by Heritage for a local
> performance of the well-beloved Christmas story that has enchanted
> viewers for over five decades.
> For more information on upcoming events this December, contact the
> Heritage Hall Box office at 727-7444 or visit the website at
> For more information on Barter Theatre
> events and upcoming plays, call (276) 628-3991 or check Barter’s
> website at


BARTER REVIEW: 'The Ghost in the

Meadow' is delightfully scary


Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 4:20 pm
Robert McKinney | Special to the Herald Courier
While not as frightening as the average Headline News broadcast, “The Ghost in the Meadow,”, currently haunting Barter’s Stage II, will still send chills down your back — guaranteed!
A Virginia premiere written by Joe Simonelli and directed by Richard Rose, this satisfyingly macabre ghost story combines many of the stock features of such yarns — old house, newly arrived city folks, big thunderstorm, lights that go on and off — with several devilish little twists you won’t expect and that are sure to either speed up or stop the old ticker. In fact, I’ve heard several folks comment that it may be TOO scary — a good recommendation if there ever was one.ImageProxy.mvc?bicild=&canary=%2fFxcS45bfMpxpVFPnKzw7PAfbVgn5lKpkJSHA7hXJ%2bs%3d0&
Wendy Piper and Tricia Matthews play Sheila and Kylie Roberts, two sisters who have invested their last few dollars in the old farmhouse because they, especially Sheila, needs to escape the city life for reasons not yet revealed.
Part of the reasons, it turns out, is Sheila’s more or less no good cop boyfriend played to great perfection by Nicholas Piper.
Shiela begins seeing a young boy trying to cross the meadow that lies between the old house and a deserted church that was once an orphanage, bells in the abandoned church begin ringing for no apparent reason, and there is something or some things in the attic that bodes the sisters ill although they cannot manage to unlock the attic door.
As the situation gets scarier, Antoinette, a noted physic played by Barter favorite Mary Lucy Bivins, shows up to figure out what is happening, what is in the attic and how to get rid of it. Although Bivins lends a slighter lighter touch to the play, which by then really needs to lighten up a bit to let the pace makers cool, it still remains an artery-quiverer right to the scary conclusion.
Rebekah Anwyll finishes out — and tries to finish off — this delightful and well-chosen cast.
Unlike daily newscasts, “The Ghost in the Meadow” is good, safe, scary fun. Or is it? Are there dimensions other than the one we occupy? And do our evil or tragic experiences somehow cause us to be suspended between this world and the next — whatever it is?
If you’re prepared to be scared more than just a little bit, the Barter box office at 276-628-3991 will be happy to make the necessary … ah hem … arrangements. The show runs through Nov. 16.
© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

BARTER REVIEW: Ghost in the Meadow

Updated 5 months ago

The ghost story is among the most ancient forms of narrative, and it seems to be pervasive in all cultures and literatures. Tennessee provides us with the notorious Bell Witch of the early 19th Century. Contemporary urban folklore is full of ghostly hitchhikers and haunted automobiles. There are regularly scheduled “ghost tours” of Abingdon, and the roster of past presidents of the Society for Psychical Research include luminaries with impeccable intellectual credentials—e.g., William James and Henri Bergson. Indeed, William’s brother, Henry, wrote two of the best ghost stories, “The Jolly Corner” and “The Turn of the Screw,” the latter of which has been repeatedly adapted for stage, film, television, and even ballet.

Joe Simonelli’s THE GHOST IN THE MEADOW, currently playing at Barter II, is a compendium of conventions in this familiar genre: an isolated, antiquated house with an unpleasant history; plucky but apprehensive current residents who cautiously investigate suspicious sounds and appearances; a professional investigator of paranormal phenomena; and plenty of “things that go bump in the night.”

Director Richard Rose and a first rate cast give Mr. Simonelli’s story a brisk retelling, but it is the scenery, lighting and sound which truly make it memorable. The setting by Derek Smith features doors which slam shut unexpectedly and open inexplicably, plus an immensely tall triple-hung window which does the same, always to terrifying effect. Sound and lighting by Miles Polaski and Camille Davis combine to whip up thunderstorms and spectral voices which add supernatural voltage to the actors’ performances, and Adrienne Webber’s costumes emphasize the worlds of past and present which interact throughout the play.

Unlike THE WOMAN IN BLACK, which derives much of its fascination from having all roles played by only two actors, THE GHOST IN THE MEADOW maintains the traditional one-actor-per-role convention. Wendy Piper and Tricia Matthews portray Sheila and Kylie, the two women who have just occupied the old house in upstate New York. Nicholas Piper is the erstwhile boyfriend of Sheila, and has invited himself up for a visit, as a respite from his work as a NYC policeman. Conveniently, he is acquainted with a paranormal investigator (played by Mary Lucy Bivins) who has been useful in cracking unsolved criminal cases. The resident ghost, who when alive had kept a diary which proves essential for understanding the house’s history, is depicted by Rebekah Anwyll; additional interest is provided by occasional bits of ectoplasm which are the spirits of a ghostly “blue boy” and a sinister pastor.

This is an entertainment suitable for all ages; it may provoke a round of storytelling, afterward, as you make your way home. THE GHOST IN THE MEADOW will run in repertory through Nov. 16.

                                                                   Excerpts  'THE GHOST IN THE MEADOW'
Kylie Roberts (30-45) - pragmatic older sister 
Sheila Roberts (30-45) - Kylie’s younger sister, an artist.
Julian Shaw (40-50) - a friend of Sheila’s
Antoinette (50-60) - psychic
“Kathryne” (25-30) - the ghost
(The ‘blue boy’ and ‘The Pastor’ are offstage voices) 
Scene 1
SETTING: The second floor parlor in a rural country house. A practical oversized window is down right.(should be double window like inverted French doors that can swing open into room) The room is decorated in a country décor. An artist’s easel (covered) sits next to the window. A  loveseat or small couch, a wing chair and a small desk with a chair are apparent. A few oversized empty storage boxes may be in the room. One door is the hallway entrance to the room; a second leads to a set of stairs leading to the attic. A small practical lamp is on table next to Love seat (couch).  *Note: Sheila often refers to Kylie as Kyle for short.
                                                    **NOTE:  This type of stage genre is tricky. I feel the less the phantom(s) are seen the creepier the play becomes because an element of fear is left to the audiences’ imagination. Therefore I have made some of the phantoms appearances optional leaving the effect up to the director of the performance. All optional appearances are so noted in the text. The ‘blue boy’ and the pastor are off stage phantoms and never seen on stage. The pastor can as complicated an optical effect as the theatre can muster but can also be as simple and subtle as a shadow or  hooded robe floating  outside  the doorway or window.  Smoke machine effect also works for the pastor. 
                                                     Optional : During audience seating instead of mood music the theatre can substitute a looped thunder storm sound effect.
                                                     NOTE: Even under normal lighting scenes I would set the mood with lower lights.
AT RISE: Jazz music plays in the background from a C.D player or turntable. Sound of thunder and rain. Sheila stands next to window looking out below as the curtain opens. Lightning, rain and  thunder are apparent in background.
A loud bolt of thunder (and lightening strike) flicker the main lights but they remain on. Sheila turns on the lamp then crosses to easel as she resumes her painting. A second thunder and lightning strike flicker the lights and blacks out the stage. (This scene is best played in total darkness with just two flashlights and a battery operated lantern as lighting.)
 Damn, where is it? 
(She fumbles her way to the desk until she finds her cell phone, which she opens to use as a light – the thunder fades and is replaced by the soft melodic sound of church bells. She crosses down to the window in an effort to ascertain where the bells are coming from)
KYLIE (enters through door suddenly startling her sister. The church bells stop just as suddenly. She is holding a flashlight and carries an extra in her pocket) 
Hey Sheil, you in here?
SHEILA (frightened reaction) You startled me  Kylie. Can’t you make a little noise when you’re coming into a room?
KYLIE I’m sorry, next time I’ll sing an aria. What’s your pleasure, Carmen?
(she starts humming a tune from the opera)
Funny. Is she my sister or a stand up comic?
KYLIE Right now she wishes she were an electrician. Here, take this flashlight. (Hands her extra flashlight) I’m going to check the circuit box. Did you pick up those fuses like I asked when you were in town?
SHEILA I didn’t have time. (she notices something outside the window )
KYLIE Listen sis, you’re the one who wanted to move out to the country and into this old relic of a house. (she starts to check around the room for fuses) I was perfectly content living in the city.
(as she searches one of the boxes on stage)
Out here a week and already you’re complaining. I knew it. I told you the country might be a good change for both of us. It helps me get motivated to paint. And there’s something about this house, and this room especially, I can’t verbalize it. Just a feeling.
KYLIE I know that feeling, kind of hot and clammy, it’s called lack of central air conditioning.
SHEILA Make light of it if you want but somehow I think this is just what I was looking for. This secluded house. This room with all the natural light. The minute I walked in this room I was stricken with an impulse to paint.  (she finds a battery operated lantern in one of the boxes) Oh, here it is. I knew I packed one.
(she turns the lantern on and sets it on a small table next to the couch as Kyle moves towards the easel) 
KYLIE You lived in Greenwich Village, isn’t that where all the artists are supposed to be? And when are you going to show me what you’re working on?
SHEILA ( cuts her off and covers the easel) Come on Kyle. You know I don’t like to show you anything till it’s finished.
KYLIE I know, I know. You’ve told me a million times. So an old country house in a state of disrepair is your latest muse. What does it do for me?
SHEILA Gets you away from the rat race and into the nice fresh country air..  Come on Kyle, don’t you remember our summer trips upstate to visit Nana at Lake Carmel? I loved that old country house. All that grass to play on. The beach at the lake. Oh, and the old rowboat?
KYLIE Yes, the leaky rowboat…and how about that old television of Nana’s. Got about three channels.
SHEILA And there always seemed to be an old scary mystery or Alfred Hitchcock show on right before bedtime. Just the tonic to keep two impressionable children up all night.
                                                                                           KYLIE                                                                                                    I remember.
                                                                                                   SHEILA (getting more excited as she remembers) Oh Kyle, what about that hoot owl in the garage, remember? We thought the garage was haunted all summer until grandpa finally shooed it out! Oh how could you not want to live out here?
KYLIE Maybe that was great for a kid who was visiting her Nana for the summer but now that I’m “all grown up” what am I supposed to do here in ‘Hooterville?’
SHEILA You’re resourceful. Teach piano or something. That old spinet downstairs.
An old out of tune spinet. With a broken lower C sharp key.
We’ll get it repaired.
KYLIE (she starts to search dresser drawer) With what?  All we had was our inheritance most of which we sunk into this place! 
SHEILA This house was a bargain and you know it. None of the other houses we looked at were this affordable. We could easily fix it up and sell it for twice what we paid in a few years. As for immediate cash flow, I’ve got an art show coming up in Chelsea next month, I’m sure I’ll sell some paintings.
(She crosses to Window and looks out)
KYLIE Great, I hope the peanut butter and jelly supply holds out till then. (closes the drawer) I thought I saw some spare fuses in this drawer before. It probably doesn’t matter; the whole town must be out.
SHEILA I don’t think so. I see a light on in that old church across the meadow. Come look. I thought I heard their bells ringing just as the lights went out.
KYLIE (Crosses to window) The old church house? Looks like it’s been out of operation for years. I passed by it the other day. It’s all boarded up.
There, do you see the light in the tower?
I don’t see anything.
It’s gone dark now.
(The lamp starts to flicker and comes back on)
Ah, there we go. 
(She turns on the main room lights)
So, how about a cup of tea before bed? I’ve already put the kettle on.
I’d love one.
Open the window, would you? Hopefully the storm dropped the temperature outside. We should probably save up for some window units for the bedrooms.
SHEILA (Pulling out her cell phone) I’m sure you won’t need them once you get a nice country breeze going. I’ve got an incoming. 
KYLIE (the usual sarcasm)
Look at that! Cell phone service, things are looking up. Who is it?
Ah, the prodigal boyfriend. Still on a ‘break’?
He’s on probation.
KYLIE Really, aren’t you being a bit cavalier considering the circumstances?
SHEILA (ignoring her last comment and Into phone) Hello Julian.
Tell him I said hello. I’ll be right back with the tea. (she exits)
SHEILA (into phone) How are you? How are things at Manhattan South?...Did you get that promotion yet?…Still pending huh…Well, they’ll come around…I know how important it is to you… I don’t know when I’ll be back in town again, for heaven’s sake we just moved out here…No, it’s not anything like ‘green acres’ Julian…yes, there is indoor plumbing. Kylie is fine, she says hello…I will…well then maybe you should come out here and visit us....Yes, you know I miss you but we both agreed we needed a break, right?…So, I moved to the country…it’s not that far away.  Okay then, we’ll make plans to get you out here soon…This weekend? This weekend starts tomorrow. That would make this a one-week break; I don’t think that even qualifies as a break, I know some married couples who don’t see each other for a week!…all right, all right, you can come up…but no sex...I know sex is your second most favorite thing to do…You’ll just have to do your first most favorite,  watch the Yankees. Yes we have a T.V….and electricity. Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon. And Julian?  Bring your toolbox. This place is falling apart. 
(The church bells start to ring again as she crosses to open the window. All is still as she looks out then suddenly calls to someone outside) 
Hey! Hey you, young man. What are you doing out there? 
(she slowly backs away from the window then bolts for the hallway door and  calls for her sister as church bells  stop) 
Kyle! Kylie!! 
(She runs from the room as the wind blows the curtains – again the faint sound of church bells are heard. Approaching footsteps are heard)
(off) You’re being ridiculous Sheila.
(The door swings open and Kylie enters carrying a tray with two cups of tea. Sheila follows her in as Kylie sets the tea down on the desk)
SHEILA I’m telling you I saw it Kyle! Right out that window.
It was probably a deer or something.
SHEILA I know the difference between a deer and a little boy! And even if it was a deer, which it wasn’t, how could it just disappear into thin air?
KYLIE I think maybe it was that wine you had after dinner.
SHEILA It was one glass of wine, not a pint of southern comfort. One glass is okay.  All the books say so. 
KYLIE Really? All the books I’ve read say we’re three miles from the nearest house and no kid is going to be out by himself in a thunderstorm at this time of night?
SHEILA He was there. And then he wasn’t.  He just disappeared.
KYLIE Well it gets misty out on the meadow, maybe he just walked into a fog bank… (incredulous) Look, now you have me admitting you saw a kid.
I did see one.
KYLIE Okay, come on, (she takes her hand) Let’s grab the flashlights and have a look out there ourselves.
Oh no, I’m not going out there.
Well what do you suggest?
I don’t know. Call the police. 
KYLIE And tell them what Sheila? Some kid is walking across our back lawn. What are they going to do, arrest him for trespassing? We just moved to this community. We don’t need to make the locals think we’re the newly arrived lunatics from New York City.
I know what I saw.
KYLIE You’re tired, you just moved into an old country house with faulty wiring and it’s the first stormy summer night, of course you thought you might have seen something.
(A loud sound is heard offstage as if a shutter is slamming) 
What was that? Is the front door locked?
(exasperated)  Yes, the front door is locked! 
Well what was that noise?
KYLIE It’s an old house; it could’ve been anything. A shutter slamming. Or the screen door in the kitchen. 
Or a hoot owl in the garage?
My god, you’re a grown woman, stop it already.
(The wind blows the curtains as another thunderclap explodes. Kylie goes to the window and closes it)
(As Kylie faces away from window towards, a sudden thunder clap blacks out the stage and lightening outside the window momentarily reveals the figure of Kathryne.  Dressed in Victorian clothing. Then lights come back up as Kathryne is gone)  NOTE: If this effect cannot be achieved then Kathryne can cross the window as quickly as possible in dim, flickering light.
(Screams) Kylie! Behind you. The window.
KYLIE (Looks back out the window) There’s nothing there.
SHEILA I saw something outside the window. You have to believe me.
KYLIE We’re on the second floor, who’d you see, Batman?
                                                                                          SHEILA                                                                                          It’s no laughing matter! Something went past that window!
                                                                                           KYLIE                                                                                  (again looks out window) There’s nothing there. You’re just nervous because you just found out…
                                                                                         SHEILA                                                                                          It has nothing to do with that! 
                                                                                             KYLIE                                                                                               Alright, if you say so. Come on, let’s go!
                                                                                           SHEILA                                                                                            Where to?
                                                                                            KYLIE                                                                                                                                 I can tell that neither of us is going to get any sleep tonight until this matter is resolved.  (she picks up the flashlights and hands one to Sheila) We’re both going to search this whole house right now, inside and out, together!
                                                                                           SHEILA                                                                                                           Alright! Fine! Let’s do it then.
                                                                                             KYLIE                                                                                                            Fine. (as they move towards door) By the way, what did Julian have to say?
                                                                                            SHEILA                                                                                                        He’s coming up here tomorrow, to visit for the weekend.
                                                                                            KYLIE                                                                                                         Good! Maybe he’ll be able to talk some sense into you! (she turns off lights as she leaves)
(The two women exit. Two beats and the window suddenly blows open, church bells are once again heard.)
ACT I Scene 2
AT RISE The next evening. Sheila is painting. The picture is facing away from the audience so only she can see it. A book she has been reading lies on a small table next to the wing chair. The soft strains of piano music can be heard drifting up from downstairs.
(The faint sounds of church bells replace the piano as Sheila stops painting and goes to look out the window. As she does, the door slowly opens and Julian quietly enters. He is holding a paper bag containing a bottle of scotch. He tiptoes in creeping up behind Sheila)
SHEILA (Screams) Julian, you jerk! Why do people seem to love to sneak up on me lately?
(Bells stop)
JULIAN I didn’t mean to startle you sexy!  Kylie told me you were all worked up about something you thought you might have seen last night but I didn’t think you’d be this jumpy.
Shush! Do you hear that?
Hear what?
SHEILA Never mind. (She crosses and they hug) I’m actually very glad you came up. 
At your service! (As he goes to kiss her)
(as she pushes him away) Oh no, we’re keeping it platonic.
JULIAN Oh yeah, Kylie warned me that you put me on probation. To think, I haven’t been on probation since I was a cadet my rookie year on the police force. Kind of drastic, don’t you think? Couldn’t you just tie me up or something? I brought my hand cuffs.
Always the comedian.
Isn’t that what you used to love about me?
SHEILA Yeah, in small doses. And believe me, the doses are shrinking everyday! But it is good to see you.
JULIAN Good to see you too babe. (He moves to look at painting) Hey what are you working on?
SHEILA (quickly covers the painting) Oh no, you know the rules.
Yeah, I know the rules. (he goes to kiss her again)
What did I just say? Social visit!
JULIAN Wow, really sticking to your guns! I’m impressed. Okay, social visit?    So then,  how about a social drink? (he removes a bottle of scotch) You still drink single malt don’t you?
Yes, but not lately.
I think that’s when I really fell in love with you.
When you found out I was a scotch drinker?
JULIAN No, when I realized you could drink me under the table (Julian picks up a CD or LP) and your love of jazz like me…you know that always put us in the mood…  (he moves to kiss her and she moves away again)
Manners Julian. So where’s your luggage? You did bring more than just a bottle of scotch didn’t you?
JULIAN Do I really need more than that? …My suitcase is downstairs.
SHEILA Well bring it up and put it in my room, second floor down the hall near the bathroom.
Now you’re talking!
SHEILA You sleep in my room. I sleep in here. This used to be a guest room but I converted it to a studio. The couch is very comfortable.
I don’t want to put you out. I’ll sleep here. 
SHEILA You’re not putting me out. Sometimes I like to get up early to paint and I wouldn’t want to disturb you if you were still asleep in here.
But why should you have to sleep on the couch when I….
Still as stubborn as ever I see.
SHEILA Oh, I’m the stubborn one Mr. “I’m not retiring from the force until I get my lieutenant shield.” Can’t just be satisfied being a detective sergeant.
JULIAN I wish I were a good enough detective to figure out what you’re running away from.
Who says I’m running away from anything?
Okay, then what are you running to?
SHEILA For the life of me I don’t know what you’re talking about.
We had a good thing going in the city. I mean, we were the fun couple, remember?
You’ve got some warped perception of fun.
JULIAN I’m trying to be serious Sheil. You know how I feel about you. You told me you felt the same. Then you pull this vanishing act.
SHEILA You being serious? That’s a new one. Besides, I need some space, I told you. This is like an adventure to me. 
JULIAN It seems more to me like you’re looking for a new start.
SHEILA Right, I moved out to lower ‘dog patch’ for the social life and dating scene. Is that what you think?
To be honest I don’t know what to think.
SHEILA You need to relax. I’m a three hour drive from New York City, it’s not like I moved to Tibet. And I appreciate you coming up here to visit and help. It shows you care.
And that I have your back?
(holds his arm) Yes, that too.
JULIAN Besides, we can’t break up; you’re the only one who laughs at my dopey jokes.
SHEILA I think now we’re getting to the crux of the problem.
And that would be?
SHEILA Your constant joking all the time. I never know when you’re being serious. You shouldn’t be a cop, you should be a stand up comic.
That’s not fair Sheil, you know I use the humor to deal with the crap I see all day.  After murder scenes and drug overdoses you want a little relief from stress when you get home.
SHEILA (she picks up the scotch bottle and examines it) That isn’t the only way you deal with stress.
What are implying?
Figure it out.
(Door opens and Kylie enters carrying a bottle of wine and three glasses)
KYLIE Look at you two, nothing I like better than a happy reconciliation. Reminiscing? Make up sex?
That won’t be happening this weekend.
It’s only Friday, let’s not give up hope.
Who’s ready for some wine?
I’ll pass.
JULIAN (to Sheila) No single malt and now no wine? Turning over a new leaf now that you’re out in the country?
In more ways than one.
(slightly reprimanding) 
JULIAN Well I brought the hard stuff but maybe I’ll start slow. Pour away.
(as she starts pouring the wine) 
So Julian, to what do we owe the pleasure? 
(she glances knowingly at Sheila)
I was just in the neighborhood.
 (as he also looks at Sheila)
It’s strictly a social visit.
(to Sheila)
Come on, you know you can’t resist me.
I’ll practice.
KYLIE Come on Sheil, give the poor guy a break. He drove all the way out here to see you, and he brought his toolbox.
He also brought his libido.
JULIAN (he takes wine and walks around the room looking about) 
Although lately I’ll sadly admit I’ve had more luck with my toolbox, which, as it turns out is a very good thing for you two ladies. Helping fix this place could be a lifelong commitment.
Oh, now he’s talking about a commitment.
I thought that word was foreign to most men.
No wise cracks, I also brought my gun.
 (He peruses room) 
Just how old is this place?
Pre-Civil War.
(Examining the room) 
 Looks it. We certainly have our work cut out for us. But first, tell me more about the drama.
What drama would that be?
What I heard about last night.  Something you saw out the window? 
(he walks towards window)
Is this the one?
That’s it.
(examing outside of window) 
What is?
Well there are scratch marks on the outside. 
Let me see.
(Sheila and Kylie walk to window and examine)
JULIAN See here. And here… (He shows them the outside. Kylie leans through window and looks first)
Oh yes. Look at that. (she comes back in)
That’s not possible.
(as she leans out the window) 
Because I washed this window and the sill yesterday morning, inside and out and there wasn’t a mark anywhere.
Seeing is believing. (To Julian) An animal?
JULIAN I doubt it. The marks are too wide. I hate to say it …it doesn’t seem rational, but...
(In from window she sits on open ledge) What?
JULIAN Well I have investigated enough burglaries in my day. In my humble opinion I’d say you had a cat burglar.
KYLIE What? Are you kidding? You’re saying those are scratch marks from a human hand.
JULIAN A small human hand yes. Could be a primate. But I don’t think you have any monkey’s running around loose up here, do you?
Could a little boy have made them?
JULIAN I suppose, but you are on the second floor. Doesn’t make sense. 
SHEILA Why? This house is covered with strong wood lattice and vines. I’m sure someone could climb up. (To Kylie) We really should think about having that stuff removed and re-siding the outside you know.
KYLIE  (sarcastically) Oh sure Shelia. With what money?  And what do we cut out?  The peanut butter or the jelly?
JULIAN They did build these houses to last in those days. And I suppose it easy enough to climb if one wanted to. And if I wanted to gain entrance to this house this is the window I’d choose.
This room is on the far wing of the house, separated from the other two bedrooms and the bathroom by a long hallway.  It’s in an isolated part of the house. And the ledge outside makes it convenient if you did want to rob the place.
SHEILA So you’re saying someone could have climbed the lattice?.
JULIAN (he looks out the window again) I suppose it’s possible. Why?
KYLIE She’s convinced she saw a little boy running around on our lawn in the middle of a thunderstorm last night.
What would a kid be doing outside in the rain?
SHEILA I’m telling you I know what I saw. And you both saw the scratch marks on the sill!  (During above exchange Sheila moves closer to the window. She turns to face Kylie and Julian. Suddenly she falls back towards window, taking several backward steps and bending at waist as though being pushed) Julian!!!
(Julian grabs her and pulls her from the window hugging her close)
You okay?
Be more careful Sheil! You lost your balance.
SHEILA (she pushes away from Julian) Lost my balance like hell. Something just pushed me.
SHEILA (indignant) I’m telling you I felt something try to push me out that window. 
Okay, if you say so.
SHEILA Don’t patronize me Kylie. I’m not some over dramatic school girl.
JULIAN Have a seat Sheila. Relax. Kylie didn’t mean anything by it. She’s just trying to understand.
KYLIE (takes Sheila’s hand) Of course I am honey.  Maybe you just got dizzy. 
I did NOT get dizzy!
Maybe it was a gust of wind?
A gust of wind from where?
The attic perhaps. It happened before.
(walks towards attic door) Is this the attic door?
It is indeed detective. (Julian tries to open the attic door but it doesn’t budge) Don’t bother. It’s locked from the inside.
How’d that happen?
KYLIE I was bringing boxes up there yesterday. The window was open; a gust of wind came in and slammed it shut behind me just as I came back in here.
JULIAN That’s understandable. An old house like this must have drafts all over the place. It’s a wonder that more doors don’t slam shut. Where’s the key?
SHEILA There is no key. And all of my extra art supplies are up there as well as my blank canvases.
KYLIE I’m sure there’s a key. I just need to contact the realtor. If not, I’ll have a locksmith come up.
JULIAN I could have a whack at getting it open.  Although I’m hardly fond of old country attics