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The Tombstone - Recap

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A young couple, Leota and Walter Bean, are traveling and try to get a hotel room in a small town without success. As a funeral procession drives by, Walter figures that there must be a room available somewhere.

At a boarding house, an elderly couple is checking in when Mr. Whetmore, a stonecarver screams, run downstairs from his room, and says that it should have been White. He runs off as the others look on in shock.

As the Beans drive, Leota complains about her husband and his constant failure. They pull up at a boarding house as the stonecarver anxiously runs past them. The landlord now has a room for them and takes them up to their room, while Leota nervously eyes various superstitious omens like black cats and a broken mirror. When they enter the room, they discover a large tombstone sitting in the middle of the room, with the name White on it. Leota thinks it's a practical joke, but the landlord explains that Whetmore was a stonecarver. When he spelled White with an "i" instead of a "y," he had an anxiety attack and left. Walt insists on saying and the landlord tells them that he has men removing the tombstone in the morning.

Once the landlord leaves, Leota tells Walter to end the practical joke but he says he had nothing to do with it. He needs to sleep so they can finish their trip the next day, but Leota warns it won't be that easy.

That night, Whetmore returns to collect his hammer and chisel. The elderly woman comes out and gets the location of a pharmacy from the landlord. She needs medicine for her ailing husband. As she goes, Whetmore suggests that the man he made the tombstone for may not have moved on yet.

Leota sits up nervously and watches the tombstone. Walter tries to get some sleep and tells her to be quiet. She takes a pair of scissors and goes downstairs, just as the elderly woman returns and goes into her room, below the Beans. Leota goes outside and cuts some flowers, and notices Whetmore rocking on the porch. He greets her and explains that he's waiting for someone. Leota has no idea what he's talking about and collects the flowers, and then places them in front of the tombstone. As she cleans the floor, Walter wakes up and demands an explanation, but Leota recites a prayer and assures the dead man that she won't step on his grave. She lies on the bed and explains to Walter that she's making amends to the dead man so he won't become restless.

The clock strikes midnight and Whetmore continues to rock on the porch. In the room, Leota hears someone yelling and figures it's the dead man. Walter listens at the floor and tells her that it's the couple downstairs. Leota insists that it's Mr. White, and they'll both be dead by tomorrow if they don't leave. The flowers start to shake and they hear footsteps upstairs, and Walter insists on going upstairs to investigate. He takes Leota upstairs with him, Walter knocks on the door and doesn't get an answer. The door is unlocked and they go inside to the attic. There's no one there, but a black cat runs past them and the door closes, seemingly on its own. Leota pounds on the door and the landlord comes to let them out. Leota runs off and the landlord insists the cat made the noise.

Walter returns to the room and suggests they check out the downstairs room, but Leota refuses to go with him and he stays. They try to sleep, but Whetmore comes to their door and tells them that he's had a stroke of luck. He wants to take the tombstone and Walter is glad to agree. As they remove the tombstone, he explains that a man named White died and the wife is happy that there's a ready-made tombstone. Once he's gone, Walter throws out the flowers, unnerving Leota. She tries to sleep without success.

The next day, Walter and Leota prepare to leave. Leota still insists there was a dead man below them. She notices that the elderly couple has left. As she glances at their room, Walter checks the ledger and realizes that the couple below them was named... the Whites. He makes sure that Leota doesn't see the book and gets her out of the house.

At the graveyard, Whetmore and the landlord set up the gravestone and make sure that it's to Mrs. White's satisfaction.

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Warning: The Ray Bradbury Theater season 6 episode 15 guide may contain spoilers
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