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© Copyright 1998, Jim Loy
a short (one act, one scene) play by Jim Loy
The characters often turn and speak to the audience. This shows that they are thinking these thoughts, and not speaking them out loud. The point is that some of the characters are mind-readers, and can hear these thoughts.
Elizabeth (to audience. Bill perks up when she says his name): Bill has been acting strange lately. Sometimes I think that he's not the same man anymore. It seems like he can read my mind.
Bill (to audience): Doesn't everyone read minds?
Elizabeth (to audience): Sometimes I think that Bill has been replaced by an outer space alien.
Bill (to audience): If she cannot read minds, how in the Milky Way did she figure that out?
Elizabeth (to audience): I need a gin and tonic.
(Bill leaves the room. Elizabeth watches him leave.)
Elizabeth (to audience): I know it's ridiculous. But, what if he really is an outer space alien? How do I find out? What should I do? What happened to my real husband?
(Bill enters, and hands her two tall glasses of liquid)
Elizabeth: What's this?
Bill: This is your gin, and this is your tonic.
Elizabeth: I didn't ask for this.
Bill (pausing): You looked like you wanted a gin and tonic. I didn't read your mind, of course.
Elizabeth: It's a good thing that I didn't look like I needed a black Russian. (She drinks some gin. She makes a face. She pours a little tonic into the gin, and tastes it. She keeps taking sips and mixing contents, as the play goes on.)
(The doorbell rings.)
Elizabeth: Now who could that be?
Bill: I forgot that you cannot read my mind, not that I can read your mind. I invited Hal and Mary over to play bridge.
(Bill opens the door. Hal and Mary enter.)
Bill (to audience): Elizabeth, my wife, cannot read minds.
Mary (to audience): Oh, poor thing.
Hal (to audience): Is she handicapped?
Bill (to audience): No. It seems that no human can read minds.
Hal: Elizabeth, nice of you to have us over.
Elizabeth (preoccupied by her drinks): Nice to have you.
Mary: Nice to be had.
Hal: So, we thought we would come over and play bridge, since Bill asked us to come over and play bridge.
Mary: Yes, he asked us verbally, not being able to read our minds or anything.
Bill: You know, I don't know how we humans can survive, not being able to read minds.
(Mary and Hal seem to agree. Elizabeth is preoccupied with her drink.)
Bill: Well, let's play bridge. (He sets up a table and four chairs).
(Bill, Hal, and Mary sit down. Elizabeth still experiments with her drink. Bill deals. Elizabeth sits opposite him. They pick up their cards. Elizabeth has difficulty sorting hers.)
Elizabeth (dropping a card on the floor, and having great difficulty picking it up): I wish we had a carpet. (She finally picks up the card.)
Bill: Hal and Mary get 90 on this hand.
Elizabeth: 90? We didn't even bid yet. I don't remember bidding. We didn't bid yet, did we?
Mary: We will end up in two spades, one over. Isn't that obvious?
Elizabeth: No. That is not obvious, because WE CAN'T READ EACH OTHERS' MINDS.
Bill, Hal, and Mary: Oh!
Hal: Bridge seemed like such an easy game, for a second, there.
Bill: But we don't need to read minds. I can see your cards reflected in your eyes.
(Hal and Mary lean over and look into Elizabeth's eyes)
Hal: Yes, I can see your cards, too.
Elizabeth: I need some more gin.
Bill (leaving the room): More gin, coming right up.
Elizabeth: Humans can't see cards in each other's eyes.
Hal and Mary: Really? (They look in each other's eyes) You are right. I cannot see his/her cards.
(Bill comes back, hands a glass of gin to Elizabeth, and sits down.)
(Elizabeth mixes some tonic into her gin and drinks some.)
Mary: Bill, it seems we were mistaken. We cannot see cards in each others' eyes.
Bill: Oh? I though I saw cards in your eyes. Elizabeth, how many points will Hal and Mary make on this hand?
Elizabeth (drinks and thinks): I'll bet they make 90.
Hal and Mary (happy): I'll bet we make 90.
Bill (happy): I'll bet they make 90.
Elizabeth (gulps down a swallow of her drink): Woah! I don't feel so well. (She is drunk.)
Hal (stands up quickly, throwing his cards into the air. He begins to walk around the room, stiff legged, like a robot or like Frankenstein's monster): A superior intelligence is controlling my brain.
Bill (stands up quickly, throwing his cards into the air. He walks around the room, almost stepping off the stage): Oh no! I think there was alcohol in that gin.
(Mary stands up and throws her cards into the air. She walks around the room. The three people don't run into each other as they walk around, changing directions at random, it would seem.)
Elizabeth: Stop! (That didn't help.) Stop! (She stands up and staggers around the room. None of the four run into each other.) Stop!
Elizabeth (to audience): I wish they'd stop. (All three instantly stop, in mid-stride. There is silence.)
Elizabeth (to Bill): What is going on here? (No response.)
Elizabeth (to audience): I wish they would tell me what's going on here.
Bill: We are being controlled by your superior intelligence. Your intoxication has increased the power of your brain beyond anything that we have seen, throughout the galaxy.
Mary: Please do not destroy our orbiting space craft, with your mental powers. We just wanted to enslave the human race.
Elizabeth (to audience): I wish they would bring my real husband back.
Mary, Hal, and Bill: Right away. Your wish is our command. Do not destroy us. We are your slaves, forever.
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