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graphic by Jessica  Del Greco Man-Machine
by Adam Voss

(Lights up)

FRANK (on the phone, aside from the conversation):  Good afternoon.  Marge?  Marge, we gotta customer.  Bitch.  "Listen baby, someone's here.  Yeah I'll stop by later.  You too.  Bye."  How can I help you sir?

CUSTOMER: I am not a machine.

FRANK:  Okay, did you need some kind of appliance?

CUSTOMER:  I am not a machine.

FRANK:  I know this.

CUSTOMER: You know what you know, no more.

FRANK:  I know that you are most certainly not a machine.

CUSTOMER:  How?

FRANK:  You told me.

CUSTOMER:  So?  Okay, than my aforementioned assertion that I am not a mchine- how do you know that I am not a machine?

FRANK:  Other than the fact that you told me?

CUSTOMER:  Yes.

FRANK:  Because I know what I know.

CUSTOMER:  No more?

FRANK:  Yes, nothing.

CUSTOMER:  Nothing, huh?  I disagree.  You know what I tell you.

FRANK:  Like what, the machine bullshit?

CUSTOMER:  Yes, I guess you could call it that.

FRANK:  Oh that's acceptable, is it?

CUSTOMER:  Um-hmm.

FRANK:  And why's that?

CUSTOMER:  Because I am a machine.

FRANK:  Okay mister, it's been real - but I'm going have to ask you to leave before I call the cops.

CUSTOMER (laughing):  That won't help you.

FRANK:  Yeah, you're not scared of the cops?

CUSTOMER:  No.

FRANK:  Hey Marge dial 91 1, we've got us another looney on our hands.  (Marge is seen in the background nervously calling the police.)

CUSTOMER:  Looney?

FRANK: Yeah LOONEY.  You never heard the expression, "you're as crazy as a loon?" A real psycho like you must get that a lot.

CUSTOMER:  No, you're the first.

FRANK.  The first annoyed store owner about to knock out your fucking teeth?

CUSTOMER:  No - the first aggressive life form I've encountered on my mission.

FRANK:  Listen, captain planet, why don't you turn around and walk back to your spaceship before I break your legs and you gotta crawl.

CUSTOMER:  That won't help you.

FRANK: (extreme sarcasm)  Why?  You gonna shoot me with your ray-gun, jagoff?

MARGE (petrified)Frank, the police are on their --- (at that moment, the machine-man discharges his weapon at Marge, she falls to the ground in a fit of violent shaking-  then dies.)

CUSTOMER:  No, her.

FRANK:   No!  Not Marge.  Not Marge.  Oh shit.  Shit!  Shit!  (pleading)  Please mister, take whatever you want.  Here, here's everything in the register.  If you want I got more in the safe in the office.

CUSTOMER:  I'm sorry, but I'm afraid that just won't do.

FRANK:  Whadaya mean?  This is everything I have.

CUSTOMER:  Nothing more, huh?

FRANK:  I swear it.

CUSTOMER:  No family?

FRANK:  Just old Marge, and she's dead now.  But if you're looking for a woman I can take you to a place up the road.

CUSTOMER:  And what place is this?

FRANK:  "Exotic Nights," it's a titty-bar.  (realizing his vernacular)  It's a place to watch girls dance naked.

CUSTOMER:  Why would I want to go there?

FRANK (frantic):  Shit, I don't know - haven't you ever been aroused by a pretty girl with big titties?

CUSTOMER:  No.

FRANK (impatient):  Please for the love of Christ tell me what you want?

CUSTOMER:  I want you to learn.

FRANK:  Learn what?

CUSTOMER (moving toward Frank)  I am not a machine.  I am a machine.

FRANK (weak and distressed):  Please, no more of this.  I know this already, we've been through this.

CUSTOMER (closer to Frank):  I am not a machine.  I am a machine.

FRANK (grasping his chest in pain):  Stop!  Goddamn you, stop!  Stop!

CUSTOMER  (closer to Frank):  I AM NOT A MACHINE.  I AM A MACHINE.

FRANK (collapsing due to cardiac arrest):  My pacemaker, help me-- call --- 911.  Shit!  (suddenly realizing that the police should have arrived already) The police --- should have --- Marge called --

MARGE (slowly reanimating, rises from the ground):  --- 911.  Frank you never listen to nobody.  (Frank, in utter shock, tums pale)  Frank, sweetheart, I'd like to introduce you to my lover.  Frank this is Kenny, Kenny this is Frank.  We met on the bus to Newark last Christmas.  You remember, don't you?  When you were too cheap to buy me a plane ticket to visit my mom in the hospital.  Kenny was like a knight in shining armor.  Weren't you, Kenny?

CUSTOMER (exuberant):  Well, I'm a not machine for Christ's sake- just a human being with a good heart, and enough love to give Marge 'til the day she really dies.

FRANK (wth his last dying breath):  W- -hy did --- you say --- you are --- a machine.

CUSTOMER (laughing):  'Cause I'm as healthy as an ox, and because I'm as hung as a ---

FRANK:  S --- T --- 0 --- Pll!  (Frank's body spasms, similar to the effects of Kenny's ray-gun, then he dies)

MARGE: You're my special Man-Machine, aren't you?

CUSTOMER (in a feigned robotic voice):  I AM NOT A MACHINE. (both laughing hysterically)  I AM A MACHINE.

(Lights out)


Adam Voss received his B.A. in Communications at the University of New Hampshire in 1997, having made his mark on the local theatre scene along the way. Earning numerous roles and production credits, he is most often sought after for his heroic acting and vocal talents.

Email: avoss@eqrworld.com


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