Escape – “Poison” Transcript


Woody: Harry lay very still, fighting the twitches, trying to keep from jumping out of his skin, while I waited for the bartender at the club to locate Doctor Forsythe. After about five minutes of nothing, I got this:

Englishman: (very drunk) Are you there?

Woody: Listen, Doctor. Ya gotta get over here right away. This is Arthur Woods, and my partner, he’s got a snake in the bed with him. Doctor?

Englishman: (coughing) Uh, would you mind repeating that, old boy?

Woody: I said snake! He’s got a snake in the bed with him.

Englishman: Snake? Oh, jolly, jolly… I say, who is this? Is this Captain Small speaking?

Woody: Please, doctor, ya gotta get over here right away. It’s urgent.

Englishman: Spicer, you old cad. You don’t fool me, not for an instant, you don’t. (laughs)

Woody: Please Doctor!

Englishman: (still laughing) Snake in bed!

Woody: Listen, is this Doctor Forsythe speaking?

Englishman: I– of course not. It’s Colonel Harcourt.

Woody: Oh, well, let me speak to the doctor, please!

Englishman: Oh, but you can’t, old fellow!

Woody: Why not?

Englishman: Well, he’s jolly well passed out, don’t you know.

Woody: Passed out?

Englishman: Like a mackerel. (starts laughing again) Snake in the bed…

Woody: Yeah…


Woody: Listen, Harry. Ya gotta forget all this prejudice stuff. Ganderbai’s your only chance.

Harry: No. No. He’s a gook.

Woody: He went to Oxford, Harry.

Harry: He’s a gook!

Woody: It’s him or the undertaker.

Harry: He’s a gook.

Woody: I’m gonna call him, Harry.

Harry: All right. Go ahead, call him. But he’s a gook.


Woody: I called him, and when I mentioned “krait” he was quiet for a good ten seconds and then he said he’d be right over. And he was, within five minutes. He was wearing felt slippers, and he moved silently into the bedroom. He was carrying his black satchel, and when I saw the lamplight glinting softly in his steel-rimmed spectacles, saw his wise, gentle eyes, his bald, brown head, I thought to myself, “Why, he looks just like Mahatma Gandhi.” He looked silently at Harry and smiled encouragingly. Harry looked at him, looked at me, and looked away.

Ganderbai: Now first we must very carefully remove the netting from about the bed. Mr. Pope, I want you to pay no attention to us. You are to concentrate on being very quiet, on letting the little snake sleep. It is a very little snake, and it is very tired. You must tell yourself this, and you must believe it is necessary for it to sleep.

Harry: Yeah, yeah.

Ganderbai: Mr. Woods, help me lift the netting. Very slowly… up… and up… Good, good.

Harry: What’re you gonna do for me?

Ganderbai: Shhh… shhh. Think about the little snake.

Harry: Whaddaya think I’m thinkin’ about? What’re you gonna do for me?

Ganderbai: The snake. It is… here?

Woody: It’s in one of those folds over his… abdomen, Doctor.

Ganderbai: Ah.

Harry: Now we all know where it is.

Ganderbai: Shh. Pretend you are the mother of the little snake. You are keeping it warm. It is sleeping. That is good.

Harry: Just so’s it don’t wake up and want breakfast.

Ganderbai: You joke. That is good.

Harry: I wish I was back home in the good ol’ U.S.A.

Ganderbai: Now, then…

Woody: What’re you gonna do, Doctor?

Ganderbai: I have a serum here. We will inject it into the blood of Mr. Pope. Then, as he puts it, the little snake may “breakfast” to his heart’s content without harm to… without harm to “Mama”.