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The Unnatural Conception of Maggie Keats By Daniel Welser Carroll

A childless couple in a dystopian near-future incidentally bring strange life to a machine being constructed in their living room.

Approx run-time 90-100 min.

dwelsercarroll@gmail.com 518-810-3053

Cast of Characters Gretta Keats: Elbert Keats: Martin Keats: A salty housewife of about 40. A mechanic turned inventor of about 45. Grettas Husband. A well-meaning drunk and gambler of about 35/40. Elberts younger brother. Public sector liason from the Consolodated Avionics Corporation. Made of ice. A machine. Made of steel. -

Patricia Hanes:

Maggie Keats: A Childs Voice:

Scene The home of Elbert and Gretta Keats. Time Autumn in a nearby dystopian tomorrow.

A note on the character of "Magnus/Maggie": Because of the slow building of this character through the course of the play, it makes the most sense to make Maggie Keats a puppet rather than something with a distinctly human shape. This, of course, is merely a suggestion.

2.

ACT 1 1 Scene 1 1

In a far corner of the stage the lights rise upon an old creaky bed that holds a single still figure, GRETTA. Her face is turned from us. A low rumbling can be heard. We hear whispers in the darkness. The figure starts to stir. CHILDS VOICE (Soft, sing-song, coming from the darkness. Muffled, as if underwater) Mama... The figure moves under the covers. CHILDS VOICE ...loves shortnin, shortnin... GRETTA (Asleep) Baby? CHILDS VOICE Mamas little baby... GRETTA Where...where you...? Hello...? Baby...? CHILDS VOICE Maaaamaaa... GRETTA I dont...I...no no...baby? CHILDS VOICE ...loves shortnin bread... GRETTA (Sitting straight up in bed, terrified) BABY?? The lights cut out on the bedroom abruptly.

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Scene 2

The lights come up on a dirty old room that may have once been a living room, but is no longer serving that purpose in any apparent way. There is a table set up center covered in wires and machine parts. ELBERT 45, is struggling with the machine. He is a wild-eyed hunched person. After a moment of struggle, Elbert appears to have a fit and begins beating the mass of machinery with a whiffle-ball bat. ELBERT Infernal machine! I will teach you pain! GRETTA (offstage) Goddamn it Elbert! ELBERT Gret, dont you say a word! GRETTA Stop making that noise! That goddamn computer is never going to work! ELBERT Its not a computer, Gretta! GRETTA I dont care what it is! Its a waste of goddamn time! ELBERT So help me, Gretta! One more word and I will take this bat to your face next! GRETTA You take that thing anywhere near me and I will tear your prostate out your mouth! Try me goddamn it. Elbert continues his abuse of the machinery on the table with renewed vigor. ELBERT I-Am-Your-Creator! You-will-do-my-bidding!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

4.

GRETTA What did I say?? ELBERT Gretta! Shut UP and plate that chicken! I am building us a future! GRETTA What did you say to me?? ELBERT Make me my dinner! Gretta throws a bucket of chicken out the kitchen door, it hits Elbert squarely in the torso. ELBERT Thats it now, Gretta! Im not going to take that! Begins to advance towards the kitchen door, bat raised for the attack. Gretta comes barreling out the door at him. She is a salty woman of about 40 with short hair and distinctly southwestern fashion sensibility. She promptly tears the bat from his grasp and begins pummeling him as he shrinks away. She continues to pummel him as he falls to the floor, crawling to safety. She then drops the bat and returns to the kitchen. Elbert soon climbs up from the floor and begins working on the machine again, his pride hurt. He grumbles nastily. ELBERT See the insolence of human kind today, Magnus? Our domestic lives are in chaos - our world is rotting away...We need you more than ever. Theyll see...theyll all see someday... GRETTA (off-stage) Stop talking to that thing! I swear to god! Stop talking to that damned machine! ELBERT (Cooing) Dont listen to her, my friend. Dont you worry. Now, lets find you some tubing...

(CONTINUED)

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5.

Elbert moves to a trunk near the wall and rummages through it as the front door opens and Martin enters. He is a well-built mans man with a grease-stained shirt. MARTIN Aight buddy, I hooked up that generator you wanted. (Wipes his face with a dirty rag) Brother, you look like a crazy person when you get all into your toys like that, you know? ELBERT (Distracted) What? What are you saying? MARTIN Youre gonna throw your back out. ELBERT How many times, do I have to tell THE BOTH OF YOU that this...is very serious work. MARTIN Yep. Anyway, you havin power trouble or something because-a that thing? ELBERT What? MARTIN The generator? ELBERT Yeah? MARTIN You havin power trouble? ELBERT No...no, I just need extra power. MARTIN (Shrugs) Alright, whatever. (Shouting) Hey Gret! GRETTA (Off-stage) Go home!

(CONTINUED)

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6.

MARTIN Youre not even gonna offer me some chicken!? GRETTA (Entering, puts her hands on her hips) You got my four hundred dollars? MARTIN Four hundred dollars for one piece of chicken? Jesus. GRETTA You wanna be a wise-ass? Ill break your face. MARTIN I just helped set up a whole generator in your back yard, and I mean one-a those broke-ass 2004 Mitsubishi numbers, thats gotta cut me down twenty-five dollars from what I owe ya, now, come on. GRETTA Im not gonna cut you slack for helpin my piece a shit breadwinner here fiddle with some hobby - you got that? You wanna dig me new septic system? Maybe then Ill cut you down ten-bucks or so. ELBERT Would you two take this somewhere else?? GRETTA Besides. I chucked the rest of the chicken at Elbert for bein a prick, so if you wanna eat what you want off the ground, be my guest. MARTIN Wastin food on your temper when hard workin people be hungry - that theres youre hang-up. ELBERT Listen to me! (Pulls up the goggles on his face) I cant have this today. I got people commin here. Alright? Important peopleGRETTA What are you talkin about? ELBERT PEOPLE Im talkin about. People interested in my system. MARTIN Your what?

(CONTINUED)

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ELBERT (Aggressively displaying a handful of wires) This! MARTIN Oh. ELBERT Now these people are interested solely in this machine, and if I dont get these fine motor-skills up and running by the time they arrive, Im gonna be shit outta luck. GRETTA Who the hell you got commin here? ELBERT People who wish to invest in my research. MARTIN Invest? GRETTA What? ELBERT Yes, invest. MARTIN You mean like, money? GRETTA What? ELBERT Yes, money! GRETTA Someone gonna pay you for this shit? ELBERT Jesus! Yes! GRETTA Whod be dumb enough to do that? ELBERT Just...just let me alone. Alright? MARTIN Well looket that bro, you think youre gonna come into some cash?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

8.

ELBERT Maybe. MARTIN Wouldnt that be nice... GRETTA Wouldnt it? Be nice if I saw the rest of that grand I lent you five goddamn years ago within a timely fashion too, but Im not holding my breath now am I? MARTIN You know what that six-hundred dollars I brought took me toGRETTA You know what that grand took me to accumulate?? You wanna talk personal economics with me, boy? You dont know the first thing about making money - you couldnt even keep a job at your brothers garage for more than a week. MARTIN WellGRETTA Well what? MARTIN Well if my brother would hire me back, maybe youd see your four hundred. ELBERT (Turning) You pay Gretta, Ill give you another try. Thats the deal. MARTIN Thats Grettas deal. Youre just pussy whipped. GRETTA Ill pussy whip your nose straight out the back-a your head you disrespect anyone one more time in my home, ya hear me? Now get your ass out my door. Or Ill get the rifle. MARTIN Howm I sposed to make the four-hundred?? Huh? Just tell me that. GRETTA Quit the drink, quit the cards, and get yourself in a job ya dumb-shit. Whaddaya think? You really need me to tell you that?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

9.

MARTIN Youre keepin me down and you know it - thats the sick thing. You know there aint no jobs round here. Not since the plant shut down and they kicked me out, alright? Thats zero jobs. NONE. Im tellin ya. You know that. GRETTA Then get outta town. I dont care how you do it. Just do it. MARTIN You call yourself family, you actually have the balls to call yourself family, Gret. GRETTA I never had no choice in calling myself your family, and YOU know THAT. Just one-a the many marital curses, I guess. MARTIN (Shaking his head, he gets a dark look, and then smiles) Fine. Alright. (Puts his hand to his heart) The good lord knows where my heart is. Now, does that generator I set up at least afford me cup-a tap water? ELBERT Get him some tap-water, Gretta. GRETTA Dont tell me what to do. (Pause) Yeah, Ill get you some water. Then go home, would ya? Weve got things to do. Gretta exits. MARTIN What the hell is her issue today man? She just keeps getting meaner and meaner. ELBERT (Distracted) Aint sleepin. MARTIN Whats that? ELBERT Got...insomnia or somethin. Gets like, two hours a night when she aint tossin and turnin. Wakes up screamin sometimes too. From nightmares or someshit.

(CONTINUED)

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MARTIN Must be some scary stuff to get her like this. ELBERT Its bad. Real bad. But we aint shared a bed in years anyway so it dont really bother me much aside from the fact that shes mad as a hornet and strong as a bull lately. MARTIN Its gettin kinda absurd. Reign her in man, she is your wife. ELBERT Martin, you know it aint that easy. Theres a knock at the door. ELBERT Oh no! Oh god! (Begins fiddling frantically with the machine on the table) You can do this, Magnus, dont cut out on me now. You are so close. So close. GRETTA (Off) Whos that?? MARTIN Should I get the door? ELBERT No no no - wait, wait. MARTIN These those people you waitin for? ELBERT (Still frantically working) Just one little impulse. Thats all I want from you. Remember what Ive told you. Please please please. Youre gonna be so strong, youre going to solve everything, Magnus, EVERYTHING. MARTIN Elbert... Theres another knock. Louder. GRETTA (off) What are you doing out there?? Get the goddamn door!!

(CONTINUED)

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11.

ELBERT Oh god. Okay. Okay. Uh. Okay - get the door. Just get it. Martin goes to the door and opens it. A woman, PATRICIA 35, spartan, dressed in a black skirt-suit peers through the door. Shes holding a briefcase. She seems sour and displeased by her surroundings. PATRICIA Mr...Keats? MARTIN Yeah? ELBERT No! No-no she means me. Hello. Uh, Hello. PATRICIA Elbert Keats? ELBERT Yes. Please, uh, come on in. PATRICIA (Looking about the room) Right. GRETTA (Entering) Now, who the hell are you? ELBERT Gretta! (Chuckles) Gretta... PATRICIA (Gives her the up and down) Patricia Hanes. Consolidated Avionics. GRETTA Kah-What? ELBERT Uh, Mrs. Hanes, this is is my wife. (Turning) Gretta, this is the woman Ive been expecting. GRETTA Youre here about this piece of shit taking up room in my living room?

(CONTINUED)

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PATRICIA ...apparently. MARTIN You gonna buy it? ELBERT Martin. PATRICIA Mr. Keats - you werent exactly forthcoming about your...socioeconomic status when you contacted us. ELBERT I...I didnt know I needed to be. PATRICIA (Looking around her) Neither did I. Until I arrived. Nevertheless, we should wrap this up as quickly as possible. Do you have the system prepared? ELBERT Uh- well, it needs to uh- it just needs a few quick tweaks and it should be prepared toPATRICIA I was under the impression the system was ready for perusal. Is this not the case? ELBERT No no it is! (Rushing to the table) It just uh...it has a power-up that takes a few minutesGRETTA Ive never seen that thing work. ELBERT GRETTA! (Laughing it off) My wife isnt always in the home. I assure you thatGRETTA What are you talkin about? Where do I go? ELBERT Gretta! Wife. Dear. Perhaps our guest would like a glass of water? GRETTA You want a glass of water?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: PATRICIA No. GRETTA She doesnt want a glass of water. ELBERT Then why dont you just go away or something.

13.

PATRICIA Mr. Keats, Im already under the impression that my visit has been a precious waste of time and resources, and will be walking out the door if you dont hurry this along. ELBERT Of course, of course! The process should only take a few moments more. (Ferociously attacks the machine) The power supply is just- itsMARTIN So now, when you buy this thing - what kind of figures are we talking? PATRICIA Who are you? MARTIN Im this genius brother, thats who. PATRICIA Genius. MARTIN Built a 07 Eclipse right up from a scrap-heap once. Never seen nothing like that. Can lay into break calibers, pop em out, pop em in, five minutes flat, no joke. PATRICIA Mr. Keats, am I to understand that youre an... auto-mechanic? ELBERT Uh...one moment... GRETTA Maam, Im startin to have some trouble with your tone of voice. MARTIN Best damn mechanic, like, ever. You ever try and put together a turnothecentury Pontiac cruise-control system with a Philips screw driver? I mean, Im talking computer shit - stuff I cant even get my head around(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

14.

ELBERT (Gasps, the mess on the table stirs momentarily) Yes...yes! GRETTA Ya know lady, Im thinking you best head back out the door and go back to whatever corporate uh- what was the name of that place you dragged your starched white ass from? PATRICIA Consolidated Avionics. GRETTA Yeah, that shit. PATRICIA I think you may be right. ELBERT No! Please! Its ready! Gretta, Martin, quickly - we need power. Gretta, get me another car battery! Quickly! Martin throw on the generator! GRETTA Youve got damn-near twenty of those rusted batteries under that table - Im not letting you burn down this house! ELBERT Martin, please! MARTIN Yep! Martin exits out the front door. PATRICIA What is he doing? GRETTA Depends on the time of day - either drinkin, fartin, or stealin, take your pick. And once you do, have a stiff one yourself and go back to the managing class. Because I dont abide condescension in my home. PATRICIA Excuse me? Suddenly, the machinery on the table shudders.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ELBERT Yes! MARTIN (Re-entering) Got it! GRETTA Elbert...what the hell was that. ELBERT Silence! It is the moment of conception!

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There is a long pause, they watch the machinery. GRETTA Elbert, goddamn itELBERT Silence I say! Another long pause. PATRICIA Ive had enough of this. Thank you for wasting our time and money. Mr. Keats, please do us a favor and neverShe moves to turn, but at that instant, a mechanical hand suddenly reaches up from the table. ELBERT Yes! YES! GRETTA Jesus, Mary, Joseph. MARTIN Oh, oh god. Oh - what the hell. The hand grasps around the air for a moment and then reaches for Elbert - Elbert goes to grasp the hand, but the hand turns away. Patricia quickly opens her briefcase and removes a camera. She moves into the room and begins snapping pictures. PATRICIA Interesting. Explain to me what Im looking at? How do you account for these movements.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

16.

ELBERT (Overjoyed) Alright, there, uh, there are individual sensors and processors along every aspect of the hydraulics. Just look at that... PATRICIA Without a central processor? You didnt quite explain the motor cortex in your reportMARTIN Look at that shit! The hand makes varied movements, exploring the air. GRETTA Whats she talkin about, El? What is this? ELBERT Right, well, the central core is a normal Unix system, but see those movements in the hand? (Moves in close, looking at the machine) Ive never seen it quite...like this, actually so youre getting a real treat right now, but look at the way it moves. Thats no process...that is...well, that is conscious intention if I ever saw it. (Stares at it fascinated) In fact, I do believe...it wants something. GRETTA I am mightily disturbed right now. ELBERT Its...seeking something. Look at that grasping... MARTIN Damn, Elbert. You built this? ELBERT (Picking up a drill) Is this it? Is this what you seek, Magnus? PATRICIA Magnus? Elbert hands the machine the drill - the hand turns away. Elbert puts the drill down, it reaches again. Patricia continues to take pictures.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

17.

ELBERT What could it be? MARTIN Elbert. ELBERT Not now, Martin. PATRICIA Now, you can replicate this in any functional device? ELBERT Given the right equipment, yes. Look at the way the hand is sensing its environment! Its legitimately searching. What are you reaching for little one? Patricia puts away the camera and takes out a smart phone - she moves away from the table and begins typing at it. Ignoring the hand now. ELBERT What could it be... MARTIN Elbert...its reaching for the bat. ELBERT The...whiffle ball bat? MARTIN Apparently. Elbert stares at the hand for a moment as it strains in the direction of the bat. He lifts the bat - looks at it, looks at the hand, and then places the bat in the hand. The hand holds it for a moment and then suddenly begins wailing on Elbert with it, furiously. ELBERT (Jumping away) Ah! AH! Oh, Jesus! Ah! The hand begins smashing anything in sight.

(CONTINUED)

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18.

MARTIN What do I do??? ELBERT Stop it! Stop it! Get the bat! Gretta moves to the kitchen door, peering out nervously as Martin and Elbert lunge for the machinery. Elbert pulls a wire out hard. The hand falls limp; the bat clatters to the floor. There is a pause. Patricia turns back to them. ELBERT (Breathing heavily) Perhaps...a few more hours...of work...are needed. PATRICIA Ive seen all I need to see, anyways. Im going to need you to come into corporate and bring your schematics. We must be certain that your demonstration today wasnt pre-programed. And...if it wasnt, and if you can demonstrate your ability to design a more complete prototype...youll get your funding. MARTIN Funding? ELBERT Schematics...yes, well, Ill need to um...draft some. PATRICIA You...dont have any schematics? ELBERT I can sketch some up real quick, swear to god...but this uh, this prototype has just been more of a...trial and error process. PATRICIA Interesting. Well, nevertheless you still have things to prove. Will tomorrow work for a meeting? ELBERT Yes. Yes, of course. PATRICIA Ill send a car. ELBERT Thank you.

(CONTINUED)

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PATRICIA Well see. (Pause) I must say...Im a bit surprised at your capabilities...considering... (Takes another look around) Nevertheless...we look forward to seeing what comes of this. (Pause) Goodbye Mr. Keats...and Mrs...Keats. MARTIN See-ya. Patricia exits with a critical glance. There is a pause. Elbert leaps into the air with a whoop. He immediately rushes to the machine on the table. ELBERT Ya did it, Magnus! Your rise has commenced! MARTIN I dunno what this thing is, El, but it is weirdin me out. ELBERT This, my brother, is the future. Elbert puts on his goggles and begins to work again. Gretta enters back into the room, arms crossed, lips thin. GRETTA You wanna tell me what that was all about? ELBERT Progress, Gretta, progress. GRETTA I heard something about some money, right? ELBERT Oh there will be money - oh yes, but thats not whats important, you see? MARTIN Thats what she means by funding right? Hot damn. GRETTA Not important?

(CONTINUED)

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20.

ELBERT No...Im going to ring in the next stage of civilization. Evolution, even! (Begins talking to the machine) All thats happened to the world...the poor getting poorer, the rich getting richer...all balance shall be restored. Our world is broken, anguished, wrought with nothing but sedition and decay - I am like Noah at the arc, I can feel it. And just in time. Ya-hah. Elbert pops a casette tape into a boom-box on the table. Inspiring music, perhaps something by Wagner, or otherwise dated. He lays into the machine with his tools again. GRETTA Right. The machine on the table shudders with life once more. The hand rises from the table top and grasps at the air slowly, with distinct exploration. Elbert laughs slightly, quietly, and slowly reaches towards the hand. It recoils when he touches it. ELBERT Incredible. MARTIN Creepy. ELBERT Ive done it. I have done it. MARTIN Good for you buddy-boy, whatever it is. You know what? I think this calls for celebration. Right? Beers! What do you say? ELBERT (Barely hearing him) I need drafting paper. MARTIN Beer, drafting paper, whatever. The hand continues to explore the table top, it grasps a wrench.

(CONTINUED)

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21.

ELBERT Yes. Yes. Start the car. MARTIN Thats what Im talking about. GRETTA Wait a minute - dont you dare leave me with this possessed thing, it damn near trashed whats left of my living room. ELBERT Where are my keys? GRETTA Turn it off or something. Please. ELBERT No, no - I cant. Not anymore. It must know itself. GRETTA Elbert! ELBERT (Turning suddenly) Shut up, Gretta! Dont you see - this is going to change our lives. Try and learn some semblance of gratitude at some point in the next few days of your miserable existence. Im doing this for the both of us...for all of us. Gathers some belongings. GRETTA (Pause) I should beat the hell out of you for that. ELBERT Come on, Martin. MARTIN So this funding - what are we talking exactly? The two men exit. Gretta stands silently, arms crossed, watching the hand as it continues to explore the contents of the table. After a moment, the hand rises and seems to point itself in the direction of Gretta, as if its looking at her. Gretta shudders and exits. GRETTA The bullshit I put up with...

(CONTINUED)

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22.

Living room lights fade as the hand continues to move. The music fades into the night... 3 Scene 3 The bedroom. The figure stirs in its sleep. A rumbling. Whispers from the darkness. That same, sing-song, distant childs voice rings through the night. CHILDS VOICE Mama... Downstage in a pool of light, Patricia becomes illuminated. She is talking on her phone. PATRICIA Ive just come from the Keats residence, I definitely think theres a strong lead on his device. No...no... I would recommend a gestation process on this one. Well...these people dont seem to know what they have...no schematics, seemingly no real idea of how the process works, its all rather unorthodox. Yes, right, exactly. Lets keep Mr. Keats involved for a short while longer just to be certain, well move after hes demonstrated the full extent of what hes done here. Yes, Ive recommended that to the board. Yes. Yes. Okay, sir. Patricia hangs up the phone and the pool of light fades. Gretta tosses and turns upstage still. CHILDS VOICE All...around...the mulberry bush...the monkey...chased the weasel... GRETTA Baby...? CHILDS VOICE The monkey...thought...it was all in the funHard Blackout. 3

23. 4 Scene 4 4

The living room. Gretta enters, picking up garbage from the floor and generally housekeeping. She mutters as she works. Magnus is fiddling with its own wires and metal on the table. As Gretta passes by, it takes a ball from the table and throws it at her, hitting her in the back. She yells in surprise, spinning around. GRETTA Jesus, Elbert! The things throwin shit at me! (Pause) Elbert? (Pauses, slaps her forehead) Goddamn it, right...ugh... Gretta inches around the table, sure to stay out of range of the hand which seems to be curiously following her movements. GRETTA How do you turn this goddamn thing off...How do you turn yourself off?? The hand extends, reaching for the ball. GRETTA Ugh. Creepy-ass shit, Im telling ya. NO. You damn...creature feature...I aint givin you back the ball, now get back to hell from whence you came, would ya? The hand continues to reach straining. Gretta holds the ball out and moves it back and forth out of curiosity. The hand follows the ball. GRETTA How do you see? Do you see? You dont have eyes...Elbert hasnt given you a head, and hopefully never will. (Pause, the hand seems to give up.) Well...well see if you start bringing some money into this household...maybe then Ill give you back your goddamn ball. The hand promptly reaches for a set of wires and clippers and begins to work diligently.

(CONTINUED)

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24.

GRETTA (Shudders) Bizarre as shit I am tellin you... (Pause) Can you hear me? (Magnus continues to work, unfaltering) I asked can you hear me? (Magnus continues to work) Good...cuz thatd be too much. Gretta pauses for a moment and then sets the ball on the workbench and moves away quickly. The hand suddenly freezes, causing Gretta to turn back and watch in trepidation. The hand reaches for the ball and caresses it slightly, feels it, rolls it around in exploration and then takes it and sets it in a pile of other odds and ends. It pauses slightly at this pile to pick up and caress a small tattered fragment of a stuffed animal before returning to its work. Gretta shakes her head and returns to the kitchen. After a moment, the door bursts open. ELBERT (Entering quickly) Gretta! Gretta! GRETTA (Off) Stop yelling, damn it! ELBERT Gretta come here! Come here now! GRETTA (Re-entering) Shut up, Elbert! WHAT?? Elbert extends a small piece of paper to her. She snatches it away. GRETTA What? What the shit is this? (Looks at it momentarily and then sits heavily into the nearby chair) What...what is this?

(CONTINUED)

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25.

ELBERT That...is my funding. (Smiles proudly) GRETTA The what now? What? What the hell is this? ELBERT That, Gretta, is ours. He laughs and takes her hand. GRETTA Dont touch me. (Snatches her hand away) You mean to tell me that they gave you this...for that? ELBERT And there will be more of this coming. A lot more. Im gonna make it, Gretta. The world doesnt even know whats coming. GRETTA What the hell are you talking about?? ELBERT Jesus...Im hired. I have a job! Can you believe it? And as long as I can prove within a month that this system really works and is able to be...well, replicated, theyll buy the patent and we wont have to worry about money ever again, thats for sure. Ever. GRETTA (Pauses, frozen, then:) Well, get to work!!! (Leaps up, shoves him) Work! Work! Make that thing work! ELBERT (Motioning towards the machine) I already am! Thats the beauty of it! See!? Subroutines programed right into the arm and hand itself to keep it growing, exploring itself. (Moves towards the workbench, watches with gleaming eyes) Magnus...my wonderful...the seeds have been sewn... GRETTA Dont talk to it! Work on it! The door opens, Martin enters.

(CONTINUED)

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26.

GRETTA Oh Jesus, like goddamn clockwork. What? What now? MARTIN Im really startin to be put upon by all yer meanness, Gret. I might just start getting down on myself and stuff. Ive just come to talk to my brother is all. Im not lookin for fanfare or chocolate cake, though I wouldnt turn it down. GRETTA Make it quick, then get your ass out my door. MARTIN Will do mlady. Well, bro? ELBERT Ive done it Martin, Ive sure as hell done it. MARTIN And how bout the numbers? You work those suits up to a pretty price-tag? Elbert hands him the check. MARTIN (Beat) Jesus hell... ELBERT And thats just the start of it. MARTIN Jesus hell... ELBERT Thats just for the research alone. When Ive got a product... (He whistles) MARTIN (Continuing to stare at the paper) How bout that...how bout that... GRETTA (Reaches) Alright...gimme that before you start wetting it with drool. And dont you dare think for a second that youre getting a cut of this. I see those eyes. Marin allows her to take the paper without a struggle. He stares at Elbert.

(CONTINUED)

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MARTIN How bout that big brother... (Pause) We should get some steaks or something. Some bourbon, ya know? Classy stuff. Good shit or something, in celebration. GRETTA Were not givin you shit. MARTIN Okay, Gretta...you are...annoying. ELBERT Martin, we havent even worked out the finances yet - and most of this goes right back into the machine so we dont have enough money for no steaks. But its coming! And when the time does come, well eat steak. MARTIN See? See what optimism and graciousness sounds like, Gretta? Doesnt it give you a warm fuzzy feeling like, right around your midsection? GRETTA (Sneers at Martin) Im putting this in the fireproof, Elbert. Where kin cant get to it. (Turns, turns back) Do we...go to the bank with this? Like a check? ELBERT I think so. MARTIN You need a ride there? Cars warm. GRETTA Martin, just go home, or so help me god, Ill get the rifle. MARTIN I dunno, I may just let you shoot me. I hear prison has a way of changing people for the better and I sure do pray for you. GRETTA Itd be the crime alone that saves my soul. MARTIN Ill go. As usual. Just gimme a sec, I wanna give my brother a nice firm handshake as a congratulations. You can watch my other hand, I aint takin nothin. They shake.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

28.

ELBERT Thanks, Marty. MARTIN Providing for the greater good a mankind - servin the higher ups. I like the way that feels. Makes me proud. ELBERT Yep. Martin shakes Elberts hand for a bit to long. ELBERT Is...that all? MARTIN Heh, actually there was...somethin I needed to bring up. I figured nowd be as good a time as any. ELBERT What? MARTIN (Laughs slightly, shakes his head) Now, I know what youve told meELBERT Just come on. MARTIN (Still shaking Elberts hand) Yeah well...Ive gotten myself into a new debt. ELBERT (Pulling away) God...damn it, Martin. GRETTA (Bursts out laughing, hard and garishly) Im gettin my gun. Gretta exits. MARTIN Its not as much this time. ELBERT I just told you, we dont have anything to spare right now! I just told you!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

29.

MARTIN I know! I know! ELBERT What are you thinking? MARTIN Its just three hundred. ELBERT No. MARTIN It doesnt need to be right now! Ya know? Maybe when that next check comes in - I just...I cant lose my room or nothing, ya know? I cant be homeless. This is what were talkin about here, brother. Homelessness. ELBERT Stop it with that, Martin. This is your problem. MARTIN But thats just itELBERT Just cut it out with this shit, you know? MARTIN El, I know, believe meGretta re-enters with a shotgun. GRETTA ALRIGHT! MARTIN Whoa! Woah! Now - okay, stop that. GRETTA Ill put one in your leg, and then one in your ass as youre crawlin through the threshold. Stop tainting my home. MARTIN Im not demanding anything here - Ive come to you with a problem. GRETTA Well it aint our problem. MARTIN I have a problem. A personal problem. Okay? An addiction. PLEASE PUT DOWN THE GUN!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ELBERT Gretta, enough! GRETTA You want a shell in your ass too?

30.

MARTIN Okay, okay, I know Ive caused issues with you before, alright? I know I still have debts to you too. But youre family, alright? Kin. Doesnt that mean anything? GRETTA (Cocks the gun) Nope. MARTIN And youre coming into money! You dont got it, but its on its way! Its not like Id be hampering you. ELBERT Gretta! Stop that! (Pushes the barrel of the gun away from Martin and grabs her arm) Thats not even slightly funny. GRETTA Oh Im not being funny. You want me to be funny? (She pokes Elbert in the eye) Thats bein funny. ELBERT Agh STOP. Magnus suddenly grabs the ball and throws it at Elbert. He flinches spins around. ELBERT What the hell? Gretta bursts out laughing again. GRETTA THAT is what Im talkin about. Thats comedy. (Turns with the gun) No but really, Martin, Ill make you bleed if you dont get movin. MARTIN (Grinds his teeth) Its really unfortunate, you know? That a man is shunned by his only living relatives just because hes been a little bad with money.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

31.

GRETTA With our money. MARTIN Whatever. (Shakes his head) You two are all I have in the world, alright? What do you think all this denial of my needs is doin to my soul ya know...aw fuck it...I hope yall have a good goddamn evening. Bless yas - ya pieces of shit. Martin exits slamming the door. ELBERT Why you gotta do that? Why you gotta be such a...bitch like that and all? GRETTA Oh please, Elbert. Youre just weak. He carries on about bein proud a you and the importance of family and shit but he doesnt care about anything but hisself and you know that. Elbert sighs and looks at Magnus. Who is diligently working. ELBERT You see the way it threw that ball at me? GRETTA Oh yes. Yes I did. Quite enjoyed that trick. Threw it at me before, when you werent here, too. ELBERT (Beat) It did? GRETTA Yep. ELBERT Really? GRETTA Yeah...really. Why? Elbert bites his lip and moves to the machine. ELBERT Well how about that...

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

32.

He pulls over an old wheeled computer console, applies his thick goggles and peers at the screen. GRETTA Whats that all about anyway? The throwin. Can it see us? ELBERT No...no it shouldnt...anyway. But it can like...well it should be able to intuit our presence from the changes in air pressure and such. Its got a sense of touch, a rudimentary one but a keen one...however throwing that ball is...its weird to say the least. GRETTA You dont need to tell me. ELBERT Mm. (Pauses, types at the computer) Whats for dinner? GRETTA Taco meat. With onion. (Beat) Hungry now? Want me to get it for ya? ELBERT (Looks at her) Thatd be...nice. Thank you. Gretta exits. She continues to call from off-stage. GRETTA Whats that pile of stuff its got? Near all tools. ELBERT What? (Pause) Oh...just, stuff. Stuff for it to play around with to develop its spatial understanding. Its sense of touch. Just things with different shapes and textures to explore. GRETTA It really like...thinks about that junk? ELBERT To a degree, or at least its starting to. Gretta re-enters with the plate.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

33.

GRETTA How? ELBERT Just like we do - just slower. Like a...I dunno cat or something. GRETTA This things smart as a cat? ELBERT Nearly. GRETTA How? Elbert begins typing, his distraction growing. ELBERT Its...not easy to explain with words, Gret. GRETTA (Snorts) Just about nothing is when it comes to you Elbert. (Beat, hands him a plate) Here. ELBERT Thank you. Ever heard of artificial intelligence, Gretta? The basic kinds they have these days? Ever seen that kinda tech in action? GRETTA No. ELBERT Well, thats all modern uh...modern computer science. But up until this point, a living, organic brain has still worked totally different from an AI because its a more complex system, a hierarchy of systems that we dont quite understand. Even though a computer works faster, a brain works better ya get it? GRETTA Just tell me how this thing fuckin thinks and if I should be worried about it throwing more dangerous shit. ELBERT Its a whole network. The fingers have simple computers, the hands a simple computer, soon an arm will be a simple computer and so on, all linking back to the central computer, like our brain. Or kinda like the way a hive of (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

34.

ELBERT (contd) bees responds to the queen, but more like muscle memory...organic notions. Rather than mechanical notions. You see? GRETTA (Sighs, shrugs) Howd you learn about all this. ELBERT Buildin cars. GRETTA Bullshit. Aint never had a car throw anything at me. ELBERT Honest Abe. I was raised on computers, raised on machines, and even though I cant build my own complex computer, I know how existing ones link up to different systems and how they basically work. A cars got all kinds of tiny computer systems in it these days. Ive just been building a hierarchy of systems, one bit at a time, one cell at a time. Like a...fetus in the womb or something. GRETTA (Pause) Like a fetus...in the womb. ELBERT Poor example, but...yeah...sorta. (Turns and looks at her) Do you really care? GRETTA I dunno. It sounds...kinda wrong to tell the truth. ELBERT No...its actually very simple...nothing amoral about it. (Returns to his work) Thank you for dinner. GRETTA Right. Gretta lingers for a moment, and then exits. The lights fade to black.

35.

Scene 5

Night. The bedroom. The lights rise on the figure of Gretta sleeping peacefully. Moonlight rises and illuminates the part of the living room where Magnus still works diligently. It takes the ball, caresses it, continues to work. We see Gretta stir, and then rise from her sleep, tired and delirious. She walks into the darkness, slowly, vanishes, and then appears in the living room. Walking slowly still, she rubs her eyes and then suddenly appears to be come conscious of her environment. Shes bewildered and confused. She turns around suddenly to look at Magnus, who pauses in its diligence and turns to her. Gretta stares. Magnus reaches into its pile of items and picks up a tattered stuffed animal. It extends it to Gretta. Gretta, after a moment, steps slowly forward and then takes the animal, backing away quickly. Magnus returns to work. Gretta looks at the animal and shudders slightly, and then moves quickly back towards her bedroom. She enters, sits on her bed and continues to stare at the stuffed animal. After another moment, she puts the toy on the bedside table and rolls into bed, staring upwards. The lights fade to black. 6 Scene 6 Morning. Elbert is working on Magnus. He whispers to it. ELBERT Its all about balance you see? Nature has a balance that people disrupt. An equilibrium. When something is imbalanced for too long, thats when things go wrong. Supernovas, avalanches, aneurysms, they all happen because something is out of balance, and nature tries to correct itself. Well...our world has been fallin farther and farther outta balance...and its about time somethin new came into the mix. Somethin bigger than human...something better than what was before...Ive got big plans for you, Magnus...nature has big plans... (CONTINUED) 6

CONTINUED:

36.

Gretta enters. She has the stuffed animal held inconspicuously at her side. GRETTA I thought you said that thing couldnt hear? ELBERT (Pauses, does not turn) It cant. GRETTA Then why ya talkin to it? ELBERT I dont have to explain myself to you, Gretta. GRETTA Its just weird, ya know? (Elbert ignores her, continues to work) That thing woke me up last night. ELBERT How? GRETTA Makin noise. Bangin around and shit. ELBERT I didnt hear nothin. GRETTA Well it woke me up, alright? And I was finally getting a decent nights sleep too. ELBERT (Turns finally, removes his goggles) You were? GRETTA Yeah, I was. ELBERT Well thats good. GRETTA Yeah, it was. Too bad, though. ELBERT So youre feelin better?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

37.

GRETTA Whats it to you? ELBERT Just...I dunno...never mind I guess...pardon me for tryin to show a little bit of concern. Elbert turns away. GRETTA Whered you get this? Gretta holds up the toy. Elbert turns, looks, shrugs. ELBERT Just outta the junk in the garage, thats all. GRETTA Well...its mine. ELBERT What? GRETTA This was from my stuff in there. ELBERT I didnt know you had stuff in there. Aint none a those boxes been touched in years. GRETTA Yeah, well, it dont matter how long its been there, its still mine. ELBERT Alright, fine...what are you doin with something like that? GRETTA I dont have to explain myself to you either, alright? It was my box of stuff, and I dont want you givin it to that thing. ELBERT Alright. Fine. (Beat) Anything else you wanna complain about? GRETTA Whyd you give it to it anyway?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ELBERT I told you - it needs different things to explore. To develop its spatial understanding. GRETTA Meaning what exactly?

38.

ELBERT It needed something fuzzy so it would know what fuzzy was, alright? Easy as that. Now get outta my hair. (Pause) Company sent another check. Its on the table there. Gretta walks over and picks up the check. She puts her hand to her heart again. GRETTA Jesus. ELBERT I was thinkin maybe you could drive outta town and find a grocery market or something...get us some groceries, some good ones. Im startin to think that government meat is becoming more canine than bovine and since weve got some actual cash now... GRETTA (Thinking) Al...alright. Yeah. There is a long pause. Gretta watches Elbert work, she puts the toy into her apron pocket. GRETTA Um...is there, uh... ELBERT Hm? GRETTA Nope. Nothing. Turns to go. ELBERT No, Gret, whaddaya need? GRETTA (Pause, stares at him) Is there any way I can...help? I mean...this thing is quite uh...quite lucrative and Im just twiddling my thumbs really... (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ELBERT (Stares at her, starts to smile) Wait a minute. GRETTA It was a stupid question, never mind. ELBERT Let me get this straight. GRETTA Fuck off, Elbert! Gretta exits to the kitchen.

39.

ELBERT I just want to be certain I understood, is all - are you saying that you wanna help me with my work? GRETTA Go away! ELBERT You want to help me? Is that what youre sayin? Gretta comes barreling out of the kitchen. She sticks a finger in Elberts chest, pushing him back. GRETTA No! That is not what Im sayin. Im just saying that Im tired of bein a goddamn house wife in this piece of shit house when this piece of shit house never stops bein a piece of shit! And now that weve got a little pot a gold at the end of this godforsaken rainbow, I was just thinkin maybe Id stop lettin my ass get fatter and maybe get to that money a bit faster now. That is what Im sayin. Elbert smiles still, shakes his head. ELBERT Alright...alright...let me show you how to soder some wires. Gretta stands still. GRETTA Stop goddamn smilin. Ill rips your mouth right off your face. Elbert forces a frown and extends a pair of needlenose pliers. Gretta hesitates, and then snatches them from him. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

40.

GRETTA Alright, what do I do? ELBERT See all these tiny wires? Well, theyre too small for Magnus dexterity. GRETTA Thats a stupid name. ELBERT Just listen, now, those wires bring power to all the isolated computer systems in the the hydraulic musculatureGRETTA I dont need a goddamn physics lesson, just gimme a task! ELBERT Connect these wires to these receivers by bending the ends around these little metal parts. And then just touch this little electronic soddering tool here to give it some heat and then youve got a circuit. Alright? GRETTA Simple enough I guess. She gets to work. The hands swings near her. She backs away. GRETTA Can that thing grab me? ELBERT It has no need to. And even if it did, it couldnt hurt ya too bad because its got no leverage, so all its strength is isolated right now. GRETTA Whatever. Ill bust the shit out of it if it tries... ELBERT Dont just dont...dont do that. GRETTA Yeah, yeah... ELBERT Let me know when you get that row of red and blue wires into place, Ill power up those systems and see if we cant get more mobility.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: GRETTA Yep.

41.

(Works) I really dont know what some big bureaucratic, capitalist, corporate whateverthehell wants with your damn machine anyway. ELBERT Well, Gret - its called an invention. Regular people make them too. GRETTA But why havent they made this? Whats so special about you? ELBERT Well...multinational engineering firms juggle a lot, and research and development is all about answering many questions at one time up there so...I guess simple ideas just need to come from simple people sometimes. GRETTA Well, they got the simple part right lookin into you. ELBERT I just happened to think a somethin no ones ever thought of before - something right in our faces. We spend so much time tryin to make computers act like a brain that we forgot to try and innovate. GRETTA I got those wires into place you were talkin about. ELBERT Okay good, hold on one second. GRETTA Whatre you gonna make happen ELBERT I dunno, Magnus has been workin on that arm there with some pretty speedy efficiency, we may just get it runnin. GRETTA Whats it need another arm for? ELBERT Aaaaand (Hits a key) There. From the table-top, a second robotic arm lifts. Begins exploring its environment.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ELBERT Haha! Perfect. Damn, perfect.

42.

Elbert moves to the wall to get his coat. ELBERT Alright, I need to get some block plastic and a few hundred yards of fiber optics - you can keep workin on that thing if you wanna. Just keep doin what you been doin with the wires all across that board there - any time a color lines up. GRETTA Maybe. The two hands have begun exploring each other. GRETTA Its pretty impressive...Ill give you that. ELBERT Why thank you, Gretta, your graciousness, however pained, is greatly appreciated. She throws the pliers at him, and he dashes out the door. Gretta watches the hands as they move. One of them pauses and then waves at her and she snorts a laugh. She circles the machine a bit, and then reaches into her apron and takes out the tiny stuffed animal. She toys with it for a moment, and then experimentally reaches out and hands it to Magnus. Magnus freezes, then gingerly reaches out and takes the toy. It caresses the dirty fur and then places it gently on the table. It then takes the ball and extends it towards, Gretta. She laughs again, and then with a sarcastic tone and curtsy she takes it. GRETTA For me? Why thank you. Gretta drops the ball in her apron and takes the broom from the wall, starts sweeping.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

43.

GRETTA Groceries. Ya hear that, spawn of satan? Yall bringin groceries into this house. (Laughs) And here I was, thinkin, my life had become strange enough...but then you come...crawling into it...and well... (Pause, sweeps) Ya know what Im gonna buy? At the grocery store. (Pause) Jalapeos. (Laughs again) God damn...it is nice to have something to look forward to, isnt it? I was never meant to grow up in the slums like the rest of this country, my family used to live in the suburbs. Used to vaction on a ranch. Ever heard of one of those? Well Im tired of gettin all my food from off the back of some government charity truck like everyone else. Naw, Im goin back to the good old days of grocery-gosh-darn-stores. Hot damn. Puts down the broom. Walks over to the machine. Picks up the pliers and begins connecting wires again. GRETTA Its also good to have something productive to do. And sweeping this rat-hole doesnt count for much. Dont tell, Elbert, but Ive always been envious of his ability to do shit, ya know? I mean...hobbies are nice to have. I used to crochet...and tan leather...hunt...but crocheting is just futile...and there aint no wild things for hundreds of thousands of miles anymore to hunt or tan so...well...where does that leave me? (Pause) You wanna learn how to crochet? You got two hands. You could make me a nice...hat. (Chuckles to herself) Or why stop there...theres lots a person could do with a pair of extra hands round the house. You could sew, make me a sandwich, maybe even start trimmin theThe right hand of Magnus suddenly reaches out and grasps Grettas arm. She leaps away. GRETTA Gah! Goddamn - NO. What the shit... Gretta stands, staring at the hands, which have fallen still. After a moment, the hand gingerly reaches into the pile of stuff and takes out the stuffed animal again and extends it. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

44.

GRETTA Hell no! Im not walking back into a trap like that. The hand strains. Strains hard something snaps and one of the hands falls limp, dropping the toy to the floor. The other hand starts pounding the table frantically, in search of the toy. GRETTA Oh no. No, stop! Whatd you do? Now...now hold on, wait a minute there- stop...stop hittin shit. I got it. Whatd you do? Gretta goes to the toy, picks it up and hands it to the other hand. It holds it, puts it aside, and then starts feeling its non-working hand. GRETTA What happened here? You pull somethin outta place? Gretta looks around the machine for a minute. GRETTA Looks like you done pulled one of these purple wires right outta its spot, lemme...maybe I could just. Gretta fiddles with the machine for a moment with the pliers, and the hand springs to life. GRETTA Hehe...look at that...this buildin robots trick aint so hard at all. Heres your ball back for all your effort. Gretta pulls out the ball, gives it to Magnus. Magnus takes it, and the toy, and puts it in the pile. Then, seems to hover near Grettas hand, as if deliberating touching it. Gretta watches...still curious and then reaches out and grasps the hand in a handshake. GRETTA Thanks for the dough. I owe ya one.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

45.

Theres an unusual moment where Gretta continues to grasp the hand...the other hand comes up to touch as well. Gretta holds the machine, and then tenderly releases and backs away. GRETTA Well...Im off to find a grocery store...you want me to pick yall up something? Some hohos? Rib-eye? Maybe some smoked Gouda? Just leave me a list, if you cant think of anything right now. (Chuckles) Ya goddamn freak-show... Gretta exits out the front door. Lights fade. 7 Scene 7 Later, the same day. The lights come up on Elbert working on something away from the table. Magnus two arms are working diligently on what looks to be an upper torso area. Gretta comes in the front door holding a brown paper bag filled with groceries. ELBERT Gret! He turns to her, holding a large ivory white head with large black empty eyes and a tiny slit-like mouth. Gretta screams and drops the bag. GRETTA What is that? ELBERT What do you mean, what is it? Its the head! GRETTA No! ELBERT What? 7

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

46.

GRETTA No, thats not the head - that thing is terrifying! ELBERT Its just a- no, listen its part of the prototype design. Just enough for me to start working on optical sensors and such. Its not like I was gonna give it a human head or something. What do you care anyway? GRETTA I just dont want that freaky thing looking at me from that freaky head. Alright? ELBERT Well, I dont have time to make another one. Just dont look at it. Gretta makes an angry bull-dog noise and storms off to the kitchen. ELBERT Im gonna need some help puttin it on in a few minutes. Elbert walks to the table with the head and sets it down. The hands begin to explore it. ELBERT Are you ready for sight, my friend? Are you? Are you prepared for the world...? Thats how it begins, you know...man stares at the horizon and in his heart he is driven to reach for it...man sees all things and wishes for it to be his possession...wishes for the earth and sky to yield to him...But what will you see? What will your desires be...? (Makes a few adjustments) Gret?? You gonna help or what?? GRETTA (Off) Shut-up! Would ya! Im coming! ELBERT (Beat) I let Martin borrow my car. GRETTA (Entering quickly) You...what?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

47.

ELBERT Alright listen to meGRETTA You WHAT?? ELBERT You gotta stop it withGretta storms over and slaps him upside the head. He dodges her, but she slaps him again, and again. GRETTA Youre an idiot, you know that?? ELBERT Stop, stop! Listen to me! (Grabs her wrists) Now, its my car and he is my brother and we need to stop treating him like a stranger, alright? GRETTA No - we need to start treatin him like a debtor. ELBERT Im not gonna give him a lick a cash, Gret - no worries there but family is important, and no matter what you think, hes still my brother, hes family andGRETTA What about this family? ELBERT This family? (Pause) What are you talking about? GRETTA What about the worries we got between the two of us? (Pause) And that thing...now. ELBERT (Pause) Well...thats why Im just letting him borrow the car. Thats all. Were fine without it for a couple hours alright...our needs are being met. GRETTA That was a mistake. Its gonna come back with parts missing. IF he comes back at all.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

48.

ELBERT Hell come back. Were not missing anything until he doesnt. (Pause) However, Magnus here, is missing a head...so... GRETTA I really hate that name. ELBERT Why? GRETTA Its just stupid. Who in the world was ever called Magnus? ELBERT Its not stupid - its apt. Its...metallic sounding. GRETTA Whatever. What do you want me to do? ELBERT Come here. The two circle round Magnus, and peer into its innards. ELBERT Same thing youve been doing. See this long row of things that looks a bit like a spine? Just start clipping and plugging allllllll those wires. GRETTA All these? ELBERT Just get working on them - we may see some mobility early on. She starts working. He begins attempting to attach the head. ELBERT So...Gretta... GRETTA Whaddaya want? ELBERT How ya been sleepin?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

49.

GRETTA What did I tell you this morning? ELBERT Yeah but...I was wonderin about uh... GRETTA What? ELBERT You been havin nightmares, or somethin? Gretta stops. GRETTA What the hell is this? ELBERT What? GRETTA Why, for the love of jesus, are you suddenly all into my shit? ELBERT No, IGRETTA You focus on yourself for twenty goddamn years, and now Im supposed to just...talk about my private matters? Whats your angle, boy? ELBERT No angle, Gret. (Pause) Dont you understand...I feel good, Gretta. Ive done something...finally. There is light at the end of this tunnel...for you, for me. When that happens...when a person starts to feel good for once...it leaves room for other things. GRETTA Well ya wanna know what? Its freakin me out. So stop it. Whatever youre doing - stop it. You do your thing, Ill do mine. Thats whats best. ELBERT Well...youre doin my thing right now, with Magnus here. GRETTA So? What are you gettin at?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

50.

ELBERT What am I gettin at? How bout the fact thatSuddenly, the head on the table comes upright. Quickly. It startles the two of them. Gretta reflexively grabs for Elberts arm. They look on together as Magnus begins turning its head left and right quickly, moving sporadically. It seems to suddenly gain an understanding of sight, and it peers at the two of them, frozen. GRETTA Jesus, mary, joseph... ELBERT Wow. GRETTA Its...lookin at us? ELBERT Its lookin at us. GRETTA Like lookin at us? Like...its seein us? ELBERT Yep. GRETTA Thinkin about us? ELBERT Oh yes. GRETTA Turn it off. ELBERT No, no! God no. Not now. GRETTA El...this is weird. Elbert starts creeping forward, slowly. Magnus seems to lean forward. Watching him.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

51.

ELBERT Hey there...hi. GRETTA ElELBERT Come on, Gret! Come here! Come closer. GRETTA I dont know... ELBERT Come on! Gretta hesitates, then moves forward. Magnus head turns from Elbert to Gretta, then back and forth between them. ELBERT Magnus...hello. (Pause) This is just...incredible...to feel something like this... GRETTA Like what? ELBERT I mean, its exactly as I predicted, but still...to see it...see. GRETTA I dont know what that means. ELBERT Just to see something come to life in front of you... GRETTA Just stop. Youre givin me the willies. Elbert extends his hand towards Magnus. ELBERT Hey fella...hey...hello there. Magnus leans forward and scrutinizes Elberts hand. Elbert waves it around a bit, Magnus follows it.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

52.

ELBERT Hi...say hi to Gretta. GRETTA No, dont make it do that. Leave me out of it. ELBERT Hey... Magnus suddenly reaches forward towards Elberts hand, but then suddenly notices its own hand and recoils. Magnus looks from his hand, to Elberts hand, to Gretta, to his hand again, to Elberts hand, to his hand, to Elberts hand, and then with an ever so slow turn of its head, back to its own hand. It stays there, frozen, looking at its own hand. There is a long pause. GRETTA What the hell just happened. ELBERT I dunno...hey, Magnus. Hey. (Pause) Hey! Magnus remains frozen, staring at his own hand. GRETTA Did it get retarded? ELBERT What? GRETTA It would be so like you, El - to make your thinking robot accidentally retarded. ELBERT Would you shut up? I dont...I dont know what happened. Elbert walks up to the table, waves his hand in front of Magnus eyes. There is no response. He starts fiddling with wires in the back, nothing happens.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

53.

GRETTA Did ya break it? ELBERT I dunno! Would you back off? GRETTA Ill beat your ass if you get huffy with me. ELBERT Youre just not helping! GRETTA Then gimme something to do! ELBERT I dont know what to do so just...go do something else. GRETTA I dont wanna go somewhere else! ELBERT Why? GRETTA I wanna do this! ELBERT Why? GRETTA (Pause. Takes off her work gloves and throws them on the floor near Elbert, along with her pliers) Fine. I have no reason to assist you with your bullshit. Storms off. Elbert continues to fiddle. Lights down. 8 Scene 8 8

Night. Lights up on the bedroom, on the sleeping figure. There is silence. Lights up on the living room, on Magnus staring, frozen, at its own hand. There is stillness, there is peace. Lights fade to black.

54.

Scene 9 Morning. Gretta comes downstairs dressed for bed still. She yawns. Shes groggy. She peers at the frozen Magnus and shakes her head. GRETTA Elbert? (Pause) Hey El!? Where you at? (Pause) What the hell time is it? (Pause) You home??

She shakes her head again and moves to Elberts workstation. She finds a watch and lets out a noise. GRETTA Well how bout that? (To Magnus) Eight hours...eight goddamn hours. Thats practically unheard of. Ill tell ya, things are startin to go reeeal good around here. (Pause) Of course, if you dont start workin again, thingsll go bad and Ill blame you. So...you dont want that kinda guilt, believe me. (Pause) So...work damn it. Gretta peers around Magnus for a moment. She picks up the pliers and begins fiddling with the machinery. GRETTA I never got you those ho-hos you wanted, sorry bout that. Little Debbie never kept her promises anyway, so youre better off. Continues to fiddle with the machinery. She puts down the pliers and circles the machine again. She reaches into the pile of stuff and takes the tiny stuffed animal out once again. She fiddles with it for a moment and then places it in Magnus open hand. There is a moment, and then suddenly Magnus seizes Grettas arm. She lets out a surprised yell. His head turns and (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

55. looks directly at her, then back to the stuffed animal, then to Grettas hand, then back to the stuffed animal. Magnus, slowly but surely takes the toy and places it into Grettas hand, and then releases her. She takes a step back. GRETTA

Th-thank you. She holds the toy to her. Magnus seems to stare, and then reacts strangely, grabbing its own head and rocking back and forth - it then proceeds to frantically inspect every single item on the table. As its intensity increases, more and more things go flying off the table, making a mess. GRETTA Hey! Hey now, stop it! Stop that! Youre- now stop that! Gretta steps forward, seizing something from Magnus grasp. It freezes and stares at her. GRETTA Now dont go insane on me and shit, alright!? I dont need any more anxiety, and I certainly dont need any more crap to pick-up off the goddamn floor, so start acting like the guest you are. Gretta pauses, moves around the machine. It follows her with its black, empty gaze. GRETTA You wanna explore? Well, Ill give you shit to do- lord knows theres plenty to be done. (Pause) What are you thinkin right now? (Pause) Let me try something, just a little somethin somethin to whet my curiosity...if ya will. Gretta chuckles and goes to a shelf. She rummages around for a moment before withdrawing a ball of yarn and crocheting needles. She moves to the table once more.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

56.

GRETTA You wanna learn progress...patience? Give this shit a try. She begins doing a simple crochet in front of Magnus, which watches closely. It reaches out and tries to take the needles. Gretta bats at its hand and it recoils. GRETTA Back off, Im tryin to educate you here. (Pauses, crochets) Now, this is one of those things they call dying art. Like most a the rest a domestic things that involve any tact or skill. Magnus reaches again. She bats it away again. GRETTA I said back off, toaster! (Continues) My mother taught me all I needed to know bout these things; skinning, tanning, knitting, pistol whipping - and let me tell you: all those things done come in handy. Skills make a person equipped, ya know what I mean? Course, if youre stuck in a pot-hole life with no mobility, skills dont give you much a nothin cept a feelin of dissatisfaction, and that theres a fact. Gretta extends the needles and yarn to Magnus. GRETTA There. Ya see wat I did with the loop and my finger and shit? Give it a go, lets see what youre worth. Magnus clearly hesitates. GRETTA Come on now! Magnus gingerly reaches forward and grasps the objects. It sets the yarn down and holds the needles. After a moment, it begins to crochet. Perfectly. GRETTA Well goddamn. She watches closely. Magnus is focused.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

57.

GRETTA I mean goddamn. Thats...holy hell thats good. Oh man, that is good. Now hold on now, hold on. Gretta dashes back to the shelves, pulling out crocheted mittens, a scarf, and a hat. She begins displaying them to Magnus. Magnus sets down the needles and explores the garments. GRETTA Thats your practical aim here - now I dig all that zen shit about knitting and crocheting and such but in the end its the product that makes or breaks a hobby, ya hear what I mean. Now do this. Magnus begins crocheting again. Gretta looks on, amazed, and then lets out a laugh. GRETTA This is...really great. Gretta takes the hat and tries to put it on Magnus head. Its too small. GRETTA Now, thats a shame. Whyd Elbert go and make you all bulbous and shit? How we gonna go and make you all pretty now? Gretta thinks for a moment, laughs, and then returns to the shelves and starts digging through boxes. GRETTA Hold on - Ive got it now! Hold on. Gretta finally stands, holding a large, wide brimmed, ladies "at the races" hat, with a large satin rose. GRETTA Perfect! This was my mamas Kentucky Derby hat. Now, lets play dress-up with that huge-ass head of yours. Gretta comes and places the hat on Magnus head. Magnus reaches up and removes it.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

58.

GRETTA No, no - dont be ungrateful. Wear the pretty goddamn hat. WEAR IT. She reapplies that hat. Magnus removes it. She reapplies the hat. Magnus removes it. GRETTA Now come on now, ya bitch, stop bein a bitch. She puts the hat on her own head and gives a theatrical spin around the room. GRETTA See how lovely I am? Magnus watches. GRETTA Now - I am givin you my mamas hat...consider it a solution for that ugly face of yours. So here. And dont take it off or Ill smack you good. Gretta applies the hat. Magnus reaches up and touches it, but does not remove it. GRETTA Perfect...now hold on. Gretta takes the crocheted scarf from the table top and wraps it around Magnus tiny "neck" area. Gretta steps back to admire her handy-work. After a moment she bursts out laughing. GRETTA Yes, yes, yes! Excellent! Oh you and I are gonna get along just fine - I know it. Gretta steps forward and grasps Magnus hand. GRETTA I think I could get used to a little company. Especially when its a pretty little lady like yourself all made up of pipe and wire but sporting the best of fashion sensibilities. Yes, we are gonna have fun.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

59.

Elbert enters through the front door, catching Gretta holding Magnus hands and laughing. He pauses, looking bewildered. Gretta turns and slowly backs away from the machine. There is a long pause. ELBERT Gretta...? GRETTA Ive thought of a better name for her. Blackout.

60.

ACT 2 1 Scene 1 Night. Lights up on the bedroom. The strange ethereal noises from the darkness begin again. CHILDS VOICE ...hush-a-bye...dont you cry...go to sleep my little baby... Gretta turns in her sleep. CHILDS VOICE ...when you wake you shall have...all the pretty little horsies... Gretta stirs. CHILDS VOICE ...blacks and bays...dapples and grays...all the pretty little horses... The lights come up on the living room sharply. A horrible, staticky, screaming noise comes from Maggie as she thrashes around on the table. The head, a now more fully formed torso, and the arms flail and writhe disturbingly as the sound rings through the room. Gretta sits ups straight in bed, terrified. She leaps to her feet. ELBERT (Off) GRET? Gretta runs to the living room. Elbert enters as well, dressed for bed. Hes holding a shotgun. GRETTA What is it?? ELBERT Whatd you do?? GRETTA Nothing! Why is it doing that?? 1

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

61.

ELBERT I DUNNO! GRETTA I didnt touch a thing! I was just sleeping and- agh! Please! Make it stop! Its hurt! Its hurt! Help her! ELBERT God damn it! Elbert runs to the computer console. GRETTA Maggie?? Maggie?? Stop it! STOP IT! ELBERT I dont know what its doing! GRETTA Shes scared!! Elbert leaps up and goes to the machine. Wrenches around a few things all while dodging Maggies flailing. Eventually he seizes a wire and wrenches it - Maggie collapses to the table top, the noise ceases. Gretta hits him. GRETTA Dont do that! ELBERT Agh, quit it! GRETTA You know you could kill her if you do that, now fix it, quick! NOW! ELBERT I didnt know what else to do, alright? I didnt know what was wrong. Gretta stands, wringing her hands and staring at Maggie. GRETTA A nightmare...she had a nightmare... ELBERT What?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: GRETTA I can tell...the way she was screamin... ELBERT Now, we dont know that it was a scream - or even that Maggie was actually doin it-

62.

GRETTA Dont be thick! Of course it were a scream!! What else you call that sound, huh?? (Pause) She was mighty scared by something...I do know how that feels. ELBERT Stop. GRETTA Dont tell me to stop. ELBERT (Advancing on her) Whats gotten into you lately? All you do is focus on this goddamn machine, its all youve done for weeks! Now, Im tired of it! I have enough trouble gettin this thing on track towards my deadline without you puttin hats on the goddamn thing and teaching it how to make sandwiches, now go...go do something else. GRETTA El... ELBERT What?? GRETTA Listen, I just wanna helpELBERT You are not helping. You are... I dont know what to call it, but its making me uneasy. Youve never shown a lick of interest in nothing Ive ever done until now. GRETTA Because nothin until now has ever benefited this household, this family, and now pardon me for trying to lend my assistance to some kind of a lucrative enterprise for the two of usELBERT Oh cut it out with that bullshit - youve been sayin the same thing over and over again, but youre...youre obsessed or something.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

63.

GRETTA (Sighs) Ive been sleeping, El. ELBERT What?? GRETTA This thing has given me something to do and...and it helps me. ELBERT Helps you. GRETTA (Pause) I dont feel quite so... (Pause) Ive just felt better since youve had me working on that machine, is all. Thats all there is to it, alright? Now are you going to rob me of that? ELBERT (Pause) No. But... GRETTA Thank you. ELBERT Your nightmares have stopped? GRETTA (Pause) For the most part. ELBERT Because of...Maggie. GRETTA Yes. ELBERT Any idea...why? GRETTA I just told you. ELBERT Right.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

64.

GRETTA And I think its become little bit more...normalized since you agreed to start calling it by a regular name. ELBERT I disagree with that statement, but Ill let it slide. GRETTA It just sounds better. ELBERT Anyway...you have been...nicer, at least... GRETTA Whats that supposed to mean? ELBERT Forget it...now lets see if we can stabilize our little friend here... Elbert begins to work on Maggie. Gretta comes closer. GRETTA When shes done...when you finally get legs on her or whatever...are they gonna take her? ELBERT What do you mean? GRETTA Are they gonna take her. You gonna give her away? ELBERT Well...yes...theyre gonna need toGRETTA You cant let em do that. ELBERT What? GRETTA All this work? Another...another mind in our home and were just gonna sell her off? ELBERT Gret...thats the whole point of this. GRETTA Make another one then.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

65.

ELBERT What? GRETTA Make another one. ELBERT I...this is a very complex matter, nowGRETTA No, no, no - dont gimme that bullshit. Most a the time youve put in has gone towards figuring out how to actually do this shit. Now that you know, you can go faster. Build another one. ELBERT Gretta, stop. GRETTA Elbert! ELBERT I cant! Alright! I cant! GRETTA (Pause) What? Why? ELBERT I am at the end of my wits trying to figure this thing outGRETTA What do you mean you cant?? Why cant you?? ELBERT Because I dont know how I even made this machine work alright? GRETTA You MADE it! How do you not know how it works?? ELBERT I dont know! I dont know! Just- I dont know! Alright?? Im having enough trouble proving this prototype. If I cant figure out how to replicate this again, Im fucked. No more money. No nothing. Alright? GRETTA You were just gonna give her away?? Without any way of getting her back or, or, or, or makin a new one or-

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

66.

ELBERT This is just as important to me, Gretta! Maggie is just as important to me! I made it, I made it. I. Made. It. I am this close to finally making a difference in this godforsaken world, finally gonna have meaning in my life, so YES I care just as much as you. GRETTA Theyll exploit her. Gretta drifts back towards the table. Touches Maggie lightly. ELBERT (Soft) Gretta please...I promise...if I can just prove where Maggie came from...how this happened...I promise well have her or another one like her. GRETTA (Quietly) Maybe shes here because we needed her... ELBERT What? GRETTA Maybe thats where she came from... ELBERT (Pauses, looks at her nervously, and then sighs and shakes his head) Listen...just...try connectin those wires some more...maybe we can get her back up sooner than last time. Lets make sure shes fine before we start talking about what to do about her... GRETTA Alright... ELBERT You know...if theres something wrong, Gretta... (Pause) Something that you feel might be...wrong...about you... You can tell me... GRETTA Just help me fix Maggie. ELBERT Alright...listen, Ill be right back...dont worry...

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

67.

GRETTA I wont. Elbert exits, glances back at her with a curious look on his face. Gretta watches him exit and then turns to the machine and starts plugging wires. GRETTA I know its scary, baby...but its not always like this. Daddys gonna give you legs someday soon, wouldnt that be lovely? Then you and I can go take a walk together...brings people close...I would love that...sure as anything... Gretta is softly stroking Maggies head as the front door creaks open. Martin enters. MARTIN Hey, Gret. GRETTA Youre on the clock. What do you want? MARTIN (Coughs) Just uh- just brought the car...back. GRETTA You drunk? MARTIN Hell, no. Gretta steps forward, sniffs him. GRETTA Youre a dirty liar. MARTIN Ive had a spot butGRETTA Drivin my husbands car, drunk? I aught to break your legs. Its a wonder no one else has yet. MARTIN Ive been...drinkin. GRETTA Well yeah-

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

68.

MARTIN No! No- sorry. Sorry. Ive been thinkin... (Pause) Got that...got that word...confused. Anyways, I have been milling and stewing some thingsGRETTA What do you want? MARTIN Just droppin off the car. GRETTA Youve said that. MARTIN And uhMartin fumbles around in his pockets and pulls out some wadded up cash. MARTIN Heres that. Gretta unfolds the bills. GRETTA Sixty bucks. Alright. That gets you down to three-forty in debts, congrats. MARTIN Thats what I wanted to...talk about. Ya see...I am, (Demonstrates with his fingers) This close to losing that little shithole room I rent. Like...so close. GRETTA And... MARTIN Gret...I dont think Im gonna be able to repay you. I cant. I really just cant okay? Im sorry. I am so sorry. GRETTA Martin, dontMARTIN Theres nothing! Nothing! I told you! Now you see everyday the kinds of people left in this here country, and Im not the only one without a job, not the only one with debts, but youre family, Gretta. Family. Please.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

69.

Elbert enters. ELBERT Martin. GRETTA No. MARTIN Gretta, PLEASE. GRETTA Hes drunk, El. Get him outta here. MARTIN I cant pay her back, El. Im gonna lose the room! GRETTA Dont you appeal to him! Youre wasting your breath. GET OUTTA MY HOME! MARTIN Always the fucking same with you, Gretta! GRETTA Out! MARTIN ONE FUCKING NOTE - ALL THE TIME. GRETTA Ill pop you one in the gonads, so help me god. ELBERT GRETTA! (Pause) Marty. Just go. MARTIN El. ELBERT Not today, Marty. Just go. MARTIN When am I gonna get a break? (Pause) Fine. Marty exits, slamming the door.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

70.

GRETTA I gotta lie down... ELBERT Gret? GRETTA Just FIX her, would you? ELBERT Gret... Gretta exits. Elbert sighs. Martin peeks his head in the door. MARTIN Psst. ELBERT What? MARTIN She gone? ELBERT What of it? MARTIN Can I just talk to you bout something, man? ELBERT Im not gonna give you anything under Grettas nose. MARTIN I just wanna talk to you, alright?? Please. ELBERT (Sighs, puts down his wrench) You dont got long, come sit. MARTIN (Enters fully) I just dont get it, brother. Why? Whys she gotta be like that? I KNOW I owe some money, alright? I know Ive committed a little bit a petty crime in my day, and I owe you for the radio now too, but that dont make me out to be the kinda criminal she makes me. ELBERT Well, you done wrong her, Elbert. Youve wronged me. Youve wronged us with the way you owe us. (Pause) (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

71.

ELBERT (contd) It was part of her mothers money, Martin...a good solid chunk of it...you had to go and screw up that kind of a thing, didnt you? MARTIN I havent run off! Alright? You two are survivin just fine without the money I owe you! ELBERT That doesnt mean anything. MARTIN It means shes got no right to treat me like this. ELBERT Listen, shes just been...the woman is sad alright, Martin? MARTIN No! Not alright! (Pause) Im sad. ELBERT Not like this. MARTIN I get that shes your wife butELBERT Remember what I was tellin you bout the way she hasnt been sleepinMARTIN Cranky, fine, butELBERT No its(Pause) Its nightmares. Bad, bad, nightmares...and the things I hear her screamin out sometimes...or at least I used to... MARTIN What? ELBERT And now shes got this...awful weird attachment to that thing, Marty. (Jabs his finger at Maggie) And I mean, weird.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

72.

MARTIN What are you sayin? ELBERT She aint right. She aint stable. MARTIN Thats for certain. ELBERT The womans got no hope for anythin...cept maybe for the money we may end up with cuzza the machine here but...shes never had any real work...no kids...nothin but this piece a shit house to keep up for twenty-nine years... MARTIN Still doesnt give her the right. ELBERT You remember her when we wed? You even liked her back then...and she wasnt no peach or nothin. She was a spur kickin, whiskey drinker of a lady just like mama, and she beat the hell outta Helen that one time too, but she was still...livin ya know? MARTIN How is Helen, you heard from her? ELBERT Dead of cancer. MARTIN Fuckin...like everybody else and their mother... ELBERT Listen just...things happened to Gretta back during the downturn...things happened to everyone back then but...I mean look at me, ya know? I never got an education because of the way this country went. So I fixed cars...because metals like the only shit left in this world to make anything out of... MARTIN ElELBERT Were all trying to cope Martin. Now, I know things are hard for you - but for the first time in my life I am making something. Something big to sign my name to before I die. You remember when they poisoned the flood-plain because of the oil platform and the factory defunct thing? Well, I drank that water, Gretta drank that water, and we got sick, and I watched the whole fucking world get sick...and I felt (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

73.

ELBERT (contd) back then that it really was the end of the world and I wasnt ever going to get the chance to make something of myself. Id never have a family, Id never have a career, I wouldnt have anything, and up until this point, up until Ive finally been able to take the gifts god gave me and bring something new into this broken world...I did think this life was over with...but now Im not so sure. Martin has sit during this, and he stares at the ground, stewing over something. MARTIN The world has ended, El. The only thing weve got left is to cling to the people who love us. (Pause) Or who are supposed to love us. (Pause) Ive been drinkin again. ELBERT Well...stop that. MARTIN Nah. No... I have no reason to. ELBERT MartyMARTIN You wanna know what I did? Night after the plant closed down and I lost my last payin job...you wanna know what I did? ELBERT ...what? MARTIN Card game...Nickys place. Bunch a down n out mother fuckers gettin stoned and playin hold em...everyone with their own shitshow...nobody workin...so I pitched in on all the coke...all the whiskey...but know what I did that night? (Pause) Packed my 9 Milimeter Jericho...and I was gonna put a bullet(Mimes) Right up behind my ear. After the game...figure...one last hurrah and then(Makes the unpleasant sound of shooting oneself)

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ELBERT Mart-

74.

MARTIN But know what happened? I lost. And I kept losin...and I was gettin...burned the fuck up...so I took out the Jerry, cocked it...and held it under the table pointed at the gut of fat fuckin Tom Reilly, thinkin the whole time bout his wife and kid and starin at his fat fuckin face gettin red with pride. No one had any idea what I had under that table...all that...power. All that control. Two things I never get. (Pause) I was so close to pullin that trigger, Elbert...I mean...like, if a goddamn fly hand landed on my nose or someshit, I probably would killed the man. And if I had? Id end up in prison with the rest of the goddamn country gettin clean linens, workin the yard and gettin hot meals three time daily. (Pause) Sounds real nice, ya know? (Pause) And all this time...Ive just wondered...what kinda world I mighta ended up in...if I had just made that onc, crucial choice at that one crucial moment... (Pause) I am sad, El...dont you try and tell me bout anyone else... ELBERT Im sorry, Martin. Im here for you. MARTIN Are you? ELBERT Yeah. MARTIN Then how bout some money man...please. ELBERT (Sighs) Goddamn...listen - you wanna talk, Ill be here. Cry if you wanna, I dont care. You lose your room, Ill bunk you up above the garage. You get hungry, Ill make you a sandwich or fry you up an egg. But youve made me see what happens when I cash you out...and even now...I cannot afford to toss any more money into the black hole you make for it. (Pause) Im sorry. Martin pauses, looks like he actually may cry.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

75.

MARTIN The two of you act like it would be better if I didnt exist. I dont know what this world is, El, I told you - I think its ended. I think were at the end of the world and...and...and Im lost. And I dont know who I am...and you two are the only people I even know anymore. If you cant find it in your heart to lend me some money, if you think Im that awful then...who am I? Ya know? What does that make me? ELBERT Im sorry Martin. MARTIN Right. (Rises, sighs, and manages a faint smile) Well...I told myself thatd be my last try. ELBERT Maybe thats for the best. MARTIN (Chuckles) Say hi to, Gret for me, would ya big-bro? ELBERT Whatever, Martin. MARTIN Ill be seein ya...seein ya round the roundabout, okay? ELBERT Get some sleep, Martin. MARTIN Not likely. (Pause) Peace. Martin exits. Elbert continues to work on Maggie. After a while, Maggie sits up straight, looks around, looks at Elbert. ELBERT (Sigh) What are we gonna do about all this, Maggie? He continues to work. The lights fade.

76.

Scene 2 Night. Lights up on Gretta, sleeping. Lights up on Maggie working. The ethereal sounds from the darkness begin again. CHILDS VOICE Mama...

Gretta stirs, slowly, sits up in bed, clearly not entirely conscious of her actions. GRETTA I can hear ya...Im comin... CHILDS VOICE ...mama... GRETTA Yep... Gretta shuffles from her room, into the darkness, and then appears in the living room. Maggie turns to look at her. GRETTA Look at that...all better...just as I thought...all better... Gretta comes forward, and embraces Maggie. The machine appears startled, attempts to push her off. GRETTA Its alright... The lights fade. 3 Scene 3 Morning. Gretta is curled up uncomfortably in a rocking chair right next to Maggie. Maggie is touching her hair. Elbert enters. ELBERT Gretta?? Gretta wakes with a start. 3

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

77.

GRETTA What... ELBERT What are you doing? Gretta looks around her, confused. GRETTA I dont... ELBERT Did you sleep down here? Gretta, bewildered, shakes her head. GRETTA No I didnt- I...No. No, I dont know... ELBERT Are you alright. GRETTA (Pause, starts to get up) Im fine. ELBERT You sleep walk? GRETTA I DONT KNOW! (Pause) I probably got up to get a glass of water and then just...didnt make it back to the bedroom. I dunno, come on, get outta my face, I just woke up. ELBERT Youre worrying me. GRETTA Stop. Just...spare me. Gretta moves to leave. ELBERT Someone broke into my car last night. GRETTA What??

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

78.

ELBERT Took the radio. GRETTA Jesus christ, just what we fukkin need. ELBERT Yeah... A pause. GRETTA What? ELBERT I just... Pause. GRETTA Martin. It was him wasnt it. ELBERT No I dont know that, butGRETTA Of course it was! That lyin, lazy, sack a shit. ELBERT Its just no one else knew that car was parked where it was - you had to come right up behind the house to see it. GRETTA That is it, El - you cannot defend him anymore. ELBERT I just need to get his storyGRETTA No you dont. ELBERT GretGRETTA (Exploding suddenly) YOURE NOT DOING YOUR JOB! Youre no father, youre a wet noodle. ELBERT (Freezing) What?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

79.

GRETTA What? ELBERT What did you say. GRETTA Uh...nothing you- youre fucking up left and right, thats all! ELBERT Oh no...no, no, no. GRETTA What? ELBERT I have enough to deal with when it comes to this machine, Gretta. Its a machine, Gretta. GRETTA I- I- stop it, I know its a machine but its- its not just a machine. ELBERT Its just a machine. GRETTA No, I know you dont believe that. I know. ELBERT Stop! GRETTA (Moving towards Maggie) Shes scared. Did you know that? Did you know shes scared? ELBERT What are you talking about?? GRETTA We have to guide her gently into this world, El. It is not a friendly place for a child...no matter what that child is made of. ELBERT Oh my god... GRETTA Now you need to start taking responsibility.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

80.

ELBERT Do you have any idea what Im trying to do? GRETTA Whatever your doing, youre failing because you cant gather enough goddamn guts to get over your fucking impotency. Elbert seizes her sharply, shoving her and making her falter. ELBERT SHUT UP - SHUT UP! Youre outta line, and I wont take this lying down. You need help. GRETTA (Snapping) I HAVE HELP. It is right here. It is right here trying to crawl off this table. Maggie came to help me, to help you. She came because we needed help. Thats where she came from. ELBERT No, Gretta. I built her. Thats all. GRETTA You didnt build her. You dont even know how to build another one. She found you, Elbert. You didnt find her. Theres a knock at the door. GRETTA If thats your brother Im gonna kill him! If you cant fix this, I will! ELBERT Gret, no! Gretta throws open the door. GRETTA YOU SON OF APatricia enters. Gretta backs away. PATRICIA You were saying, Mrs. Keats? ELBERT Mrs. Hanes! GRETTA What do you want?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

81.

ELBERT I wasnt expecting aPATRICIA I know you werent. Thats the point. I need to assess your progress in an impromptu manner - now, I think it would be in your best interest to give me something to assess so I may have the pleasure of leaving. ELBERT Uh...certainly. GRETTA We dont have time now. Please leave. ELBERT GrettaGRETTA DONT SHUSH ME AGAIN! PATRICIA Mr. Keats. ELBERT Right...right well - just...have a look I guess. He motions to Maggie. Patricia takes out her camera and begins snapping pictures. Maggie recoils at the flash. PATRICIA Well, that is interesting - isnt it? GRETTA Stop with the pictures, its scaring her. PATRICIA Pardon me? ELBERT Nothing - nothing. Ignore her. GRETTA Stop it. Please go. Please go. PATRICIA Mr. Keats, control your wife. What is all that stuff around the prototype?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

82.

GRETTA Its her things. Dont you touch them. They arent yours! PATRICIA Whos things? ELBERT Enough! Its- its nothing. PATRICIA Fine. We can accept the prototype now. ELBERT What? GRETTA What? PATRICIA Youve demonstrated the system well enough in what youve already accomplished. Well have a truck come later this evening or tomorrow morning, its up to you. ELBERT Youre nine days early! PATRICIA So? GRETTA Dont you take her! Dont you take her! Gretta advances on Patricia, but Elbert stops her. ELBERT Stop! PATRICIA Im sorry...what exactly is the problem here. GRETTA You leave this house. You leave it right now! There is another knock at the door. ELBERT Oh jesus! Martin pokes his head in. He looks bedraggled.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

83.

GRETTA GOD DAMN YOU! Gretta lunges at the door, seizing Martin and pulling him over the threshold and onto the floor. PATRICIA Mr. Keats! ELBERT Gretta stop! Stop! STOP IT! ENOUGH! Elbert grabs Gretta in a bear hug from behind. She screams and struggles, and then suddenly collapses into tears. ELBERT What do you want?? MARTIN (Rising, mumbles) Lost the room. ELBERT What? MARTIN Im all homeless now. PATRICIA Enough of this. Please. GRETTA (Crying, delirious) Please dont... PATRICIA What is wrong with her? ELBERT My wifes been suffering some emotional issues latelyGRETTA They wanna kill her...Maggie...oh maggie... PATRICIA Well, do something about it. This is a most unfortunate distraction.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

84.

GRETTA El... ELBERT (Through gritted teeth) What is wrong with you? GRETTA Ill kill you, El...if you let them touch her...my babys all...all... (Breathes raggedly) Ill kill you. ELBERT Im sorry, Mrs. Hanes. (Pause) You take my radio, Martin? GRETTA Im gonna be sick. ELBERT Okay - you need to go upstairs. Elbert begins guiding Gretta towards the stairs. She grabs him, harshly. GRETTA Please. ELBERT Go upstairs. Go. Gretta wanders of, deliriously, clutching at her stomach. PATRICIA Mr. Keats. The prototype. ELBERT I cant - listen, circumstances have changed, butPATRICIA What circumstances. ELBERT Personal family circumstance andPATRICIA Those are of no concern to us.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

85.

ELBERT No, youre right, they arent. Now - I cant give you this particular prototype, butPATRICIA Why? ELBERT Because of personal family circumstances, alright! NowPATRICIA We had an agreement. You are legally bound to provide us with that prototype or you can be sued for the funding weve alreadyELBERT Youre nine goddamn days early! Now I can get something together inPATRICIA We want the main motor cortex - the primary computer system. Thats all. ELBERT Alright, fine. PATRICIA Why cant you provide that nowELBERT BecausePATRICIA The company is tired of waiting Mr. Keats. ELBERT Because I would have to deconstruct Maggies entire system, and that would be devastatingPATRICIA Who is Maggie? ELBERT Its - fukkin - the machine is- Stop. Stop this. Alright?? STOP THIS! Now, Ive got my nine days and you know it, and if all you suits up at this company got money you got time to stick to a deal! Ill get you the motor cortex, and on time - but you can not take this model or anything from the model, you hear me? Now go on and go back to the company and tell them that. I have to tend to my wife, who is extremely unhappy. (Turns away)

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

86.

PATRICIA They are not going to be pleased. If they know theres a working prototype, finished, theyll want to stop wasting their time. ELBERT (Pause) Ive kept my end of the bargain. Thats all there is to it. (Pause) Martin...you say put. Im not done with you yet. Elbert exits. Patricia turns to exit when Martin stands, leans in to her, takes her arm. MARTIN ListenPATRICIA Dont touch me. MARTIN You just lookin for one piece of machinery? One little computer system? PATRICIA Yes, the motor cortex. MARTIN Now, say I could get this, really fast for ya...think thered be a nice little chunk a change for me, help a guy out? PATRICIA (Pause) It doesnt matter to us who brings it, as long as we get the model. (Pause) Yes, youd be compensated fairly, Mr. Keats. MARTIN Well then, Im sure theres something I could arrange. You got someplace I could get it to you? PATRICIA (Extending a business card) Just get in touch with us if youve procured something of worth. Good night, Mr. Keats. She exits. Martin exits behind her. Elbert re-enters.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

87.

ELBERT Martin?? (Pause) Goddamn it. Elbert grabs his coat, exits as well. The lights fade. 4 Scene 4 Later. Gretta is adjusting things on Maggies torso, concentrating, gently humming a lullabye. GRETTA I had a dream that the world was green again, Maggie. Isnt that lovely? Maybe someday well have green grass to play in again - maybe because of you. Maybe youll make the world green, Maggie baby. (Pause) Wheres Mr. Rabbit, Maggie? Gretta begins going through the stuff on the table. GRETTA Maggie? Whered you put him? She begins to get more frantic. GRETTA Did someone steal him from you? Whered he go. Oh you poor thing, whered he go? Gretta looks around the back of the machine, she sighs with relief and rises with the stuffed animal. GRETTA There we go. All better. (Kisses the crown of Maggies head) Ill clean up for you, baby. The door opens. Martin enters, slowly, trying not to be heard, but Gretta turns around. GRETTA What the hell is this? MARTIN Hey, Gretta. 4

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

88.

GRETTA Get. Out. MARTIN Now, GrettaGRETTA Havent you done enough??? Im gonna shoot you right in your gut and not even blink. MARTIN Elbert sent me over, Gretta. He wanted me to pick something up for him... GRETTA Bullshit. Im not an idiot - you hungover piece aMARTIN (Raising his voice) You watch yourself right now, Gretta. Ive come to get something. Something very importantGRETTA Im getting my gun. Youve gotMARTIN Dont DO that. PLEASE. GRETTA Just watch me. Gretta moves towards the kitchen, but Martin lunges suddenly, knocking Gretta to the ground. Maggie starts thrashing, and that staticky, creature-like scream starts, muffled. MARTIN I am so SICK. SO SICK OF YOU GRETTA. YOU RUINED EVERYTHING WHEN YOU CAME INTO OUR LIVES. (She screams, he pulls her hair in a tight bunch and pulls her head back, talking to her closely) What do I take from you?? What? Some food? Money? A little fuckin money?? I take your car, but I bring it back - I keep my conscience. I just take what I need! Thats it! I have to take what I need from my family and that makes you criminals. Not me. You break precious bonds. You spit on me and disrespect me just because I owe you a little fuckin money and you dont like the way I carry myself. That is IT, Gretta. And you accuse me! Constantly accuse me! You become wealthy, well off, and you still try and keep me down like (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

89.

MARTIN (contd) you gotta teach me some kinda lesson you filthy pieces of shit. You put your foot on your brothers face and you push him into the ground because hes taken a little bread? SOME MONEY?? I dont deserve that. But you deserve to rot for the kinds of sins you commit every day. Now, Im taking again. I have to take again because you cant give me what I need when Im suffering. Martin drags Gretta to the table. GRETTA Ill kill you! Ill kill you! Maggie reaches out to grab at Martin, but he kicks the table to the side and dodges the arm like he saw Elbert do. He lets go of Gretta and seizes Maggie by the head. He strains, trying to tear the head off. Maggie grabs at her head, trying to keep it on. Gretta leaps up, fear in her voice. GRETTA Stop! No! No! Please! Youre hurting her! Please! Martin hits Gretta hard across the face and she falls to the ground. He puts one foot on her chest and holds her down. He takes a wrench and begins hacking at the machinery under the head. Finally, with a big yank, the head pulls free and the arms collapse onto the table. He tosses the head aside and reaches into the mess of wires. GRETTA (Anguished) NO! OH GOD! OH GOD! MARTIN Wheres the cortex thing?? Where!? GRETTA ILL KILL YOU! ILL PULL YOU TO PIECES! ILL KILL YOU! She rolls from under his foot and leaps up to hit him. He grabs her neck and begins to choke her, pushing her towards the door.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

90.

MARTIN We were it, Gretta. This whole goddamn family was just the three of us. I was all you two had!! Throws her out the front door and slams it shut; locks it. Gretta continues to scream and pound at the door. Martin runs to the machine and continues to dig. MARTIN What is it? Where is it you damned thing? Where? He pulls out a large metallic object. MARTIN Its gotta be, its gotta be. Martin runs out towards the kitchen. The sound of a slamming back door. A car can be heard. Shouting. After a few moments the front door bursts open again and Elbert spills in with a now hysterical Gretta. ELBERT Whered he go?? Gretta shakes her head. Can barely keep herself together. GRETTA Please! Please! ELBERT Whatd he do?? Elbert tries to make a run for the kitchen, but Gretta seizes his arm and pulls him back. GRETTA No! No! Please! You have to do something! You have to do something! ELBERT Hes gonna run off with-! GRETTA Hes gone and killed her El! Hes killed her! Please! Please do something! Please!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

91.

ELBERT Gretta! GRETTA (Sobbing) Oh god no! Please! El! Please! Please! Elbert is shaken by her state. He tries to hold her up. ELBERT Gretta... GRETTA Her little head! ELBERT Its alright! Its a machine, Gret, it can be fixed. GRETTA PLEASE! ELBERT Its alright! I just need to see what kind of damage hes done. Its alright! He rushes over to the table and starts fiddling with the mess. GRETTA Her little head, El! He just pulled and pulled off her little head and ripped her upELBERT Its okay! Babe, its okay! My goddamn brother cant even rob rightGRETTA And she was screamin and screaminELBERT He just took one of the hydraulics, didnt get at the motor core at all, the idiot. That poor fuckin idiot. GRETTA (Picking up the head) Oh Maggie, oh Maggie...oh god... ELBERT (Grabbing her) Listen to me, baby. Its fine. Its alright. Im gonna make it fine, but I gotta hurry.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

92.

GRETTA What can I do? Please! ELBERT Get me the console. Gretta runs and wheels over the computer. Elbert hands her the needle nose pliers. ELBERT Now, you gotta connect those wires all down that middle spinal column just like I showed you before. Marty ripped em up real good. Start at the top so we can get the arm systems up. GRETTA Okay! Okay! She dives into her work with ferocity. ELBERT Now Im just gonna try and get the primary system back upGRETTA Just shut up and do it!! Please! ELBERT Alright! Begins typing at the console quickly. GRETTA Im gonna murder him...Im gonna tear the heart out of his chest... ELBERT GrettaGRETTA Watch him bleed out... ELBERT Just focus, we have to hurry or else the power system wont be able to boot back up correctly. GRETTA (Still on the verge of hysterics) Please save her...I dont know what Im gonna do...I tried to push him off...tried to hit him...

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

93.

Elbert rises, takes a pair of pliers, moves next to Gretta. ELBERT Sweetheart, its okay, its okay. GRETTA JUST DO SOMETHING! ELBERT I need something, something- Gretta help me over here! We need the piping from the power lines to replace what he took. Come here! They move to the wall where there is a long piece of piping attached to the concrete. Elbert starts smashing at it with the hammer. ELBERT Grab on there and pull alright? As hard as you can - pull! Pull! She does. After a moment, a portion of it frees from the wall and they both begin pulling. Finally, the metal piece comes off the concrete and they tumble back. They move back to the table quickly. GRETTA Go! Fix her! Go! ELBERT Alright, Im gonna slide all those red wires down through the middle of this, and when it comes out the other side you have to pull and clip them just like I showed you. GRETTA I dont know what Ill do if I lose her, El. I dont. Ill die. Ill die. ELBERT Shush, now! Here I go, get ready. They work for a moment. ELBERT Okay there they are now pull! Thats good! Thats right! Pull!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

94.

GRETTA Im pulling! ELBERT Hold it! Tweaks something with the pliers. GRETTA Please! ELBERT Gretta! GRETTA Oh god! ELBERT Got it! A single hand rises up and flexes. Moves around quickly, seeking pliers and then gets to work on itself. ELBERT I told you! Its fineGretta dives at him suddenly, seizing his head and landing a giant kiss on his face. He stumbles back defensively and they fall to the ground. ELBERT Gretta! GRETTA Thank you! (Kisses him) Thank you! (Kisses, kisses, kisses) Elbert, oh Elbert(Crying suddenly) Oh Elbert. She puts her face into his chest. ELBERT Shhh, hey, Gret. I told you, its alright.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

95.

GRETTA I was so scared. So scared. He hit me, El. He nearly broke my neck, pulled my hair so hard...I dunno what I woulda done. I was so scared. ELBERT Its alright...goddamn it... GRETTA I never wanted this, El, oh god. ELBERT What? GRETTA I never wanted this. Not like this. I never wanted this house, this dirty street, this life. I never asked...oh god...what would I have done... ELBERT What are you talkin about? Hey. GRETTA Thank you...thank you... ELBERT Its alright, it was no thing. Now...I gotta find that goddamn brother of mine. GRETTA I will kill him. ELBERT Stay here - make sure Magnu-er, Maggie is..well carryin on fine. He blew the generator when he tore into her like that so be careful with turnin on the lights when it gets darker out. If the energy spikes, itll all go out, you got me? GRETTA Dont you bring him back here. ELBERT I wont. GRETTA (Pause) Oh El...thank you. ELBERT Enough of that now, alright? Be careful, dont do anything stupid. You seem mightily screwed up to me right now...maybe you should just go to bed. Alright?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: GRETTA I was so scared, El. ELBERT Gret. GRETTA Okay...okay yeah...Im...Im tired. Moves to the door. ELBERT Hey, Gret...IGRETTA Yeah? ELBERT (Pause) Im sorry. (Pause) See you soon.

96.

He exits. Gretta seems to release slightly, she turns back to the hand. Moves towards it. GRETTA Hey...hey there, Mag. (Takes the head) Ive go your little head...Ill help you put it back on if youd like... (Places it down) Youre gonna be alright. Daddy went and fixed you up didnt he? That was real good of him, yeah? Im so sorry. Im never gonna let anyone or anything hurt you ever again, you hear me? Ill die first. Gretta continues to stare at the hand, which continues to work, un-distracted by her. She pulls up the rocking chair and sits in it. GRETTA Wanna know something, sweetheart? I was a little girl once...its true. Back before the world got poor and dirty and people lived in houses with trees and grass round em. I had a tree. And a swing. I was a little girl once. I wanted...I wanted...I wanted to be a mommy one day, you know that? I did. (Pause, rocks) I was gonna be one too. Met a nice boy who wanted to be a nice daddy...youre daddy! Thats who that boy was. Isnt that funny? He lived in a house with grass and trees too... (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

97.

(Rocks) I wanted a little girl. One just like I used to be, one just like me. That was what I wanted. Almost had one too...but... (Rocks) Well, my tummy got kinda big...but then the world was getting sicker and sicker, you know? I told you. And well...the grasses and trees were dyin and...and this little girl who wanted to be a mommy real bad well...she drank some water she thought was just fine...just like other water but...the world had gotten really bad baby...really bad...and I didnt know about what had happened to the water. (Grettas eyes are getting glazed, droopy as she talks.) I got really sick, Mag. I got really really sick. We could only see a doctor once cuz a money and the way the world was goin...and he gave me medicine that made me feel real bad. Real bad. And I was getting sicker and sicker...daddy thought I might even die and well...one day...well...my belly just wasnt a good place for a baby anymore and...and it had to let the baby go somewhere else for a time...maybe a different belly in a different mommy somewhere...some world thats better than here. I bled really bad...blood all over sheets...and...and thats when I thought I was just gonna go away...go right along with baby somewhere else but...but then I started gettin better. Daddy was so happy...and I did get better...I got healthy, and got outta bed one day, and was ready to keep on livin... (Very quite) But with no baby. (Rocks) No baby ever again. No matter how hard I tried...so I stopped wantin to be a mommy. (Rocks) But who needs a baby, we got you Maggie! You dont ever have to worry about bad water...or bleedin everywhere...no, no...someone pull off your head, youll be just fine long as me and daddy are around...arent we so happy for us? Yeah, Maggie...long as me and daddy are around, youll be just fine... Gretta nods off and falls asleep in the rocking chair. As the lights begin to fade to black. The lights rise again, lower, night. The hand is now two arms. Gretta sleeps. The lights fade. The lights rise again, still the moonlight shading of night. The two hands now have a head, which peers diligently down at its progress. Gretta stirs. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

98.

GRETTA Baby...? The head looks up. Gretta continues sleeping. The lights fade. The lights rise again, still night, Maggie has been working furiously and a large, spindly torso has now arisen over the table. Gretta stirs. The lights fade. The lights rise. The table is empty. Maggie is nowhere to be seen. The cold light at the center of the room shrouds everything else in darkness. There is that low watery rumble, and we hear that familiar, quiet, ethereal, sing-song childs voice sound through the room. CHILDS VOICE Rock abye baby... Gretta wakes, looking around, she seems captivated, and rises, as if in a dream-like stupor. CHILDS VOICE ...on the tree top... GRETTA Baby...? CHILDS VOICE ...when the wind blows the cradle will rock... GRETTA Whered you go baby? CHILDS VOICE ...when the bough breaks... GRETTA Baby...? CHILDS VOICE ...the cradle will fall... GRETTA Where are you?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: CHILDS VOICE ...and down will come baby... GRETTA Its alright, Im here. CHILDS VOICE ...cradle and all.

99.

There is a scuttling from the darkness, like a spider wearing tap-shoes. GRETTA Maggie, baby...where have you gone? From the darkness, Maggies head, several feet off the ground, extends into the pool of light to be seen. Gretta turns and sees it. GRETTA There you are, sweetheart. There you are... Gretta follows Maggie into the darkness. At that moment the door opens. The figure of a man is backlit, holding a bottle. MARTIN El! Martin comes into the light. He is clearly, very, drunk. MARTIN El!! (Pause) Gret! (Pause) Come on now. Come on be home! Come on now. I didnt-! FUCK. El?? (Pause) EEELLLL?? (He cries slightly, an angry, helpless thing) There werent nothing anything at all left to do. I dont know what to DO. Theres none! Alright!? None! No help commin for any of us so IM SORRY! (Pause) EL? Scuttling sounds from the darkness.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

100.

MARTIN Now please now dont...dont hide or ignore me alright? Ill do anything, Ill throw myself in jail or somethin. I DONT KNOW. But I am sick. I am sick and I spread that sickness into you and your home and IM SORRY. (Pause, sobs slightly) They wouldnt even accept the darn machine. (Pause) SO IVE GOT NOTHING AT ALL ANYMORE! Never had nothin...never had nothin neither. (Pause) ELLL!! (Pause) Anybody home? A louder scuttling sound. A hushed whisper from Gret. MARTIN Now! See! Im commin to you all bleary repentance and I mean like...HELLO? WHY CANT YOU JUST HIT ME OR SOMETHING!?? Im a wasted case here...I just want to be finished...just...finished, now come outta there! COME LOOK AT ME PLEASE! He stumbles into the darkness. MARTIN What are you doing now?? Where are you? Why are you(Pause) What is-? Martin lets out a scream that gets cut off in strangulation noises. A loud, violent struggle. Silence. Gretta shuffles into the light, blood on her apron. Still in a stupor. GRETTA Now, what are we gonna do about all this? Blackout.

101.

Scene 5 Elbert enters through the front door. A mass underneath a bedsheet is now partially in the spotlight. ELBERT Gret?? Now - I told you about the generator! Thats gonna throw everything off! AndSpots the empty table. ELBERT Gret?? What did you do? Wheres the machine? Wheres the protype?? (Pause) Gretta? Spots the sheet on the floor. ELBERT What is that? He kneels to the shit and pulls it aside, we see a partial view of Martins body. Elbert recoils. ELBERT GRETTA??? GRETTAA?? WHAT DID YOU DO? Oh god...oh god...Martin?? Martin?? Oh jesus hell... Scuttling from the darkness. ELBERT Where are you?? Where are you, Gretta?? COME ERE! Gretta steps forward from the darkness. Elbert seizes her by the shoulders, shakes her. ELBERT WHAT DID YOU DO?? WHAT DID YOU DO?? GRETTA (Bleary) He tried to pull off her little head... ELBERT WHAT DID YOU DO?? GRETTA He just, pulled it off...she couldnt help it...

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

102.

ELBERT Gretta, for gods sake - tell me you didnt do this! What happened here? WHAT HAPPENED? Where is Maggie? Scuttling from the darkness. Elbert wheels around. ELBERT What is that?? The ethereal noises begin, echoing from the darkness. GRETTA Somethings wrong, El. (Holds up the tiny tattered stuffed animal) She wont take it. (Angry suddenly) Why El, why wont she take it? ELBERT Oh god... CHILDS VOICE ...hush little baby...dont say a word... GRETTA She was just doin what shed been shown...she was sore about it...someone gone pulled off your head, youd be sore about it too...he changed her, El. He changed her. He took something right out from inside of her and changed her. ELBERT Oh Gret... CHILDS VOICE ...papas gonna buy you a mocking bird... GRETTA We grow up when things get torn out of us...dont we El? ELBERT Maggie...? Magnus...? ELBERT ...and if that mocking bird dont sing... GRETTA Those first steps into the world...

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

103.

ELBERT Snap out of it, Gretta please. CHILDS VOICE ...papas gonna buy you a diamond ring... GRETTA I hate it. I hate it. Whats a mother gonna do once the babys gone and grown up on her? Elbert sinks to the floor, holding Gretta. ELBERT Ive got you...its alright. Maggie?? What have you done? Maggie? CHILDS VOICE ...and if that diamond ring turns to brass... GRETTA We give them roots...wings... The door upstage swings open, and a large, spindly, inhuman looking thing steps into the frame to be silhouetted by the bright light. We do not see details, but its clear that this beast is Maggie Keats. The music ceases. ELBERT Lord help us... GRETTA And then things just change...and they just go...there is...really not as much comfort in having children...as there is sadness in losing them... Maggie lets out a tiny cry. Blackout. End of play.