— Posted in Always into Darkness, Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960), Act 01, Scene 05



Mary enters office, crosses to her desk, sits down, rubs her temples, and finally looks over at Caroline, a girl in the last of her teens.

“Isn’t Mr. Lowery back from lunch?”

“He’s lunching with the man who’s buying the Harris Street property, you know, that oil lease man … So that’s why he’s late.”

Caroline has a high, bright, eager-to-talk voice laced with a vague Texan accent.

There’s a pause. Then, as Mary does not respond to the pointed thrust. Caroline ventures forth with a question.

“You getting a headache?”

“It’ll pass. Headaches are like resolutions … you forget them soon as they stop hurting.”

“You got aspirins? I have something … not aspirins, but,” she cheerfully takes a bottle of pills out of her desk drawer, “my mother’s doctor gave these to me the day of my wedding.” She laughs. “Teddy was furious when he found out I’d taken tranquilizers!”

She rises, starts for Mary’s desk, pills in hand.

“Were there any calls?”

“Teddy called me. And my mother called to see if Teddy called. Oh, and your sister called to say she’s going to Tucson to do some buying and she’ll be gone the whole weekend. And …”

As expected. In her back and forth with Caroline, the bombshell psychopath feigns all the right human emotions and responses. By nature, her kind are cold, calculating, and ruthless. And, will do whatever it takes without the worry of those [troublesome] pangs of conscious in the aftermath of their heinous acts.

Caroline breaks off, distracted by the sound of the door opening. Mr. Lowery and his oil-lease client, Tom Cassidy, enter the office.

Lowery is a pleasant, worried-faced man, big and a trifle pompous. Cassidy is very loud-faced and has a lunch-hour load on. He is a gross man, exuding a kind of pitiful vulgarity.

“Wow! Hot as fresh milk! You girls should get your boss to air-condition you up. He can afford it today.”

Lowery flashes an embarrassed smile at Mary, and tries to lead Cassidy toward the private office.

“Mary, will you get those copies of the deed ready for Mr. Cassidy?”

Cassidy pauses beside Mary’s desk, hooks a haunch onto the desktop, and smiles a wet smile at Mary. If he only knew what kind of homicidal monster he was really flirting with, then again, the old lecher still might chase this skirt with abandon if he did know.

“Tomorrow’s the day! My sweet little girl …” He laughs as Mary looks him up. “Not you, my daughter! A baby, and tomorrow she stands up there and gets her sweet-self married away from me!” He pulls out his wallet. “I want you to look at my baby. Eighteen years old … and she’s never had an unhappy day in any one of those years!”

He flashes a photo. Mary glances, cannot bring herself to smile or make some remark, continues sorting out the deed copies, and tries to ignore the man’s hot-breath closeness.

In truth. Mary has no use to what “regular” people call sex. For her, torture and killing are the only way she achieves orgasm. When she’s in the act [of sex] with a man, she either fakes it or just lies there like a cold fish, depending on what she senses that her partner wants.

Mary has never been with a woman. But, she can imagine no objection to it. Sexually, she’s not bisexual, homosexual, or heterosexual. She’s flexible.

“Come on, Tom, my office is air-conditioned.”

Cassidy ignores Lowery, and continues with Mary.

“You know what I do with unhappiness? I buy it off! You unhappy?”

“Not inordinately.”

She puts a deed copy into Cassidy’s too-close hand.

“I’m buying this house for my baby’s wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now if that ain’t buying happiness, that’s buying off unhappiness! That penniless punk she’s marryin’…” He laughs. “Probably a good kid … it’s just that I hate him.” He looks at the deed. “Yup! Forty thousand, says here …” Then, he directs this last bit at Lowery. “Casharoonie!”

He takes out of his inside pocket, two separate bundles of new $100 bills and throws them onto the desk, under Mary’s nose. Caroline’s eyes go wide at the sight of the glorious green bundles of bills, and she comes close to Mary’s desk.

Cassidy leans terribly close to Mary, flicks through the bills, and laughs wickedly. He continues. Making no attempt to hide his lecherous intent. No doubt about it, he craves Mary, in the worst way.

“I never carry more than I can afford to lose!” He moves closer to Mary. “Count ‘em!”

Lowery. Shocked, worried. Interjects.

“Tom … cash transactions of this size! Most irregular …”

“So what? It’s my private money!” Cassidy laughs, winks at, and elbows Lowery. Then he directs his attention to Caroline. “And now it’s yours.”

“I declare!” Caroline exclaims as she stares at the money.

“I don’t! That’s how I’m able to keep it!” Cassidy whispers to Caroline. Then he laughs.

Lowery hastily interrupts.

“Suppose we just put this in the safe, and then Monday morning when you’re feeling good …”

“Speakin’ of feeling good, where’s that bottle you said you had in your desk …?” Cassidy laughs, as if having given away Lowery’s secret. “Oops!” The latter is directed to Mary, him patting her arm. “Usually I can keep my mouth shut!”

He rises, reels toward Lowery’s office, pauses, turns, and speaks to Mary, meaningfully.

“Honest. I can keep any private transaction a secret … any pri …” Cassidy is stopped by Mary’s cold gaze. “Lowery! I’m dyin’ of thirstaroonie!”

Lowery starts after him, pauses, and turns to Mary. Cassidy has gone into Lower’s office.

“I don’t even want it in the office over the weekend. Put it in the safe deposit box, at the bank, Mary. And we’ll get him to give us a check on Monday – instead,” he says quietly.

He starts quickly away when it looks like Cassidy is going to come and pull him bodily into the office. When the men are gone and the door is closed, Caroline picks up a bundle, and smiles at it.

“He was flirting with you. I guess he noticed my wedding ring.”

Mary has put one bundle into a large envelope and takes the other from Caroline. When the bills are tucked away, she puts the filled envelope in her handbag, notices the remaining deed copies on her desk, picks them up, goes to the private office door, knocks, and starts to open door as: