Nar­ra­tor. June the 4th, 1973. It was much like any oth­er sum­mer’s day in Pe­ters­burg, and Ralph Mel­ish, a file clerk at an in­sur­ance com­pa­ny, was on his way to work as usu­al when . . . [Dra­mat­ic mu­sic] noth­ing hap­pened.
Scarce­ly able to be­lieve his eyes, Ralph Mel­ish looked down. But one glance con­firmed his sus­pi­cions. Be­hind a bush on the side of the road, there was no sev­ered arm, no dis­mem­bered trunk of a man in his late fifties, no head in a bag, noth­ing . . . not a sock. For Ralph Mel­ish, this was not to be the start of any trail of events which would not, in no time at all, in­volve him in nei­ther a tan­gled knot of sus­pi­cion nor any web of lies, which would, had he been not un­in­volved, sure­ly have led to no oth­er place than the cen­tral crim­i­nal court of the old baliff.
[Sound of gav­el bang­ing]
But it was not to be. Ralph Mel­ish reached his of­fice in Dalle­zll Street, Pe­ters­burg, at 9:05 am. Ex­act­ly the same time as he usu­al­ly got in.

Sec­re­tary. Morn­ing Mr. Mel­ish.

Mel­ish. Morn­ing Enid.

N. Enid, a sharp eyed, clever young girl, who had been with the firm for on­ly 4 weeks, couldn’t help notic­ing the com­plete ab­sence of tiny but teltale blood­stains on Mr. Mel­ish’s cloth­ing. Nor did she no­tice any­thing strange in Mr. Mel­ish’s be­hav­ior that whole morn­ing! Nor the next morn­ing. Nor at any time be­fore or since the en­tire pe­ri­od she worked with that firm.

M. Have the new pa­per clips arived Enid?

S. Yes, they’re over there Mr. Mel­ish.

N. But for the lack of any un­to­ward cir­cum­stances for this young sec­re­tary to no­tice, and the to­tal non‐​in­volve­ment of Mr. Mel­ish in any­thing il­le­gal. The full weight of the law would have en­sured that Ralph Ald­is Mell­ish would have end­ed up like all who chal­lenge the fun­de­men­tal laws of our so­ci­ety: in an iron cof­fin with spikes on the in­side.

Wife. Turn that thing off. You’ll be late for the bus. It’s near­ly half past nine.

Hus­band. It was in­deed near­ly half past nine.

W. Now off you go!

H. Off I went on a per­fect­ly or­di­nary day . . . [fade out]

W. Oh, I’m so wor­ried about him doc­tor.

Doc­tor. Yes. Yes, I know what you mean. I’m afraid he’s suf­fer­ing from what we doc­tor’s call whoop­ing cough. That is, the fail­ure of the au­to­nom­ic ner­vous sec­tion of the brain to deal with the nerve im­puls­es that en­able you and I to re­tain some facts and elim­i­nate oth­ers.

W. An­oth­er dog?

D. Not for me thank you.

W. I’ll have one last one.

D. [Spo­ken over bark­ing and yelp­ing] The hu­man brain is like an enor­mous fish. It’s flat and slimy, and has through which it can see. [Gun­shot, bark­ing stops].

W. There we are.

D. Should one of these gills fail to open [sound of fry­ing in the back­ground] the mes­sages trans­mit­ted by the lungs don’t reach the brain. It’s as sim­ple as that.

W. Well, I’m a sim­ple soul, I don’t un­der­stand all that. All I know is he’s not the same man as I mar­ried.

D. Am I the man you mar­ried Mrs. Egis?

W. No, no. Get away. You’ll get struck off.

D. Come on, come on.

W. I can’t. I’m eat­ing dog.

D. Come on, just a quick ex­am­i­na­tion.

W. No, get off, I’m mar­ried.

H. But, Dr. Quatt was a man of quite re­mark­able med­ical in­sight, skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion. And with­in a few min­utes, he had com­plete­ly re­moved my wife’s knick­ers.

W. Get out you! [door slams] oo, oo, doc­tor. Oh doc­tor Quatt.

D. Now, now. Put your tongue in my mouth.

W. No!

D. Oh, come on, come on. I’ve got your knick­ers.

[Mu­sic up and fade . . .]