When Maggie Smith's teacup goes handle-less, everyone's a suspect.
By Elaine Carroll & Sam Reich
INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY BUTLER enters with a KETTLE in one hand and TRAY in the other. MAGGIE SMITH sits in a chair with a teacup and saucer, waiting. BUTLER More tea, m'lady? MAGGIE One can never have enough tea, unless one is drowning. BUTLER (filling up her cup) Let me know and I'll send a buoy. MAGGIE For now, a biscotti will suffice. BUTLER Aye-aye. Butler turns to leave. MAGGIE And a handle. BUTLER A handle? MAGGIE Yes. Like a proper mustache, my teacup seems to be quite handle-less. BUTLER I beg pardon, m'lady. I don't know how that happened. MAGGIE Then I'll tell you. I grabbed hold of it, and it snapped. Right. Off. BUTLER Really? How, I wonder. MAGGIE ("obviously") Well, if my bones are any indication, then what breaks once breaks twice more easily. BUTLER You mean to say... MAGGIE It was broke already. And crudely glued, like Ikean furniture. BUTLER ("say no more") I will launch an investigation at once. MAGGIE That won't be necessary. I cracked it. BUTLER "You" cracked the cup? MAGGIE No, the case. I cracked the case of the cracked cup, and criminal I cannot confess to be. BUTLER Pray tell: whodunnit? MAGGIE It's elementary. We launch into Sherlock-style inserts as Maggie talks rapidly. MAGGIE (VO) There's a brown stain peaking out from the back of your tie, indicating a spill that you cleaned up in a hurry, otherwise you would have used a washcloth; the skin on the back of your left hand is red, indicating a burn from hot water; there's no one here apart from me and I didn't do it; and finally - inexperienced as you are with superglue - you must have got more on your hands than you did the cup, which is why you've refreshed my tea seven times in the last hour: you've glued yourself to the kettle. A beat. Then, butler raises his hands. The kettle and tray defy gravity, proving that he's accidentally glued himself to them. BUTLER Please help. MAGGIE Very well. But first, a song. BUTLER (sigh) A little dignity, please. MAGGIE "A little teacup," please. BUTLER (singing) I'm a little teacup, short and stout... Maggie sways back and forth, entertained. END.