Having just moved into his apartment, and his phone not yet installed, Roger drops in on the couple downstairs to borrow the use of theirs. His neighbors prove to be a strange pair. Arthur a garrulous, unkempt, prying sort who is quick to ask personal questions; and his wife, Belle, a mental case confined to a wheelchair and giving evidence of the fires banked within her only by the shifting of her piercing eyes. Arthur is glad to offer the use of their phone, but he is reluctant to let Roger go so easily, and soon the young man is trapped into an impersonation of the son who has forsaken them—a game which grows sinister when Belle suddenly attacks him. Anxious to leave, Roger is delayed repeatedly by Arthur, and finally consents to say good night to his "mother," a gesture which almost proves fatal to the shaken young man. When Roger at last takes his leave Arthur is once again the affable, kindly neighbor, with offers of breakfast coffee and waiting companionship—and the unspoken but ominous implication that the spider, having trapped the fly, will not easily let him escape the web.
Selected for production by The Playwrights Unit (Barr-Wilder-Albee) in New York City, this highly original and absorbing short play combines humor, pathos and a chilling sense of menace in its perceptive study of a young man drawn innocently into the lives of an older neighboring couple, and forced to fill the needs engendered by their loneliness and broken hopes.