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© Copyright 1998, Jim Loy
a short (one act, one scene) play by Jim Loy
Martin (loudly): Drink up everybody. The drinks are on me. (To the Bartender:) Put it on my tab.
Bartender: You don't have a tab.
Martin: I do now. Name's Martin Fogerty.
Margaret: So, what's the occasion?
(Bartender starts putting drinks on the bar, as the crowd grab them).
Martin (sits at the bar): I'm going to be famous. I just invented the time machine.
Margaret: Isn't a time machine impossible, paradoxes and stuff like that?
Martin: Nevertheless, I, Madame, have, as I have said, invented, discovered actually, just that, the time machine.
Bartender: You don't say.
Martin: I can prove it. I'll be right back. (Rushes out the door).
Margaret (to the Bartender): He probably wants us to invest in his time machine.
Martin (rushes back in): Here, read this. (Holds out an envelope).
Margaret (takes the envelope and reads it): This man really did invent the time machine. Signed, your humble servant, Abraham Lincoln. P.S. Would I lie?
Martin (smuggly): There you go!
Bartender: How do we know Lincoln actually wrote that?
Martin: Wait here. (Rushes out).
Margaret (to Bartender): What do you think? (Hands envelope to Bartender).
Bartender (studying envelope): Hard to say. Hm. Blue ink, seems to have been blotted. That's not done much anymore. Envelope's unused. Very nice paper. (Hands the envelope back). Hard to say.
Martin (rushes in and holds out a sheet of paper): Here, read this.
Margaret (takes paper and reads it): This man really did invent the time machine. But, that's not so amazing, as there are scads of time machines here in the 23rd century. Signed Zoltan O'Shawnessy, President, United Federation of Planets. P.S. Would I lie?
Martin: How about that?
Margaret: Hard to believe.
Bartender: VERY hard to believe.
Martin: Hey, I can prove it. How long was I gone?
Bartender: About a minute, bar time.
Martin: Well look at my watch. (Holds out his arm).
Margaret: So? It says 10:30.
Martin: Well? That's almost an hour ahead of that clock. I've been traveling in time for an hour, while only a minute went by here. Q.E. (Hesitates).
Martin: Right. Q.E.D.
Bartender: There are other possible reasons that your watch might be an hour off.
Martin (frustrated): Oh. OK. Here, I'll prove it. (He takes out a notebook and pencil, and writes in the notebook). Let's see, it's 9:30. (He looks at the clock). 9:31. What's the phone number here?
Bartender (intrigued): 555-1234.
Martin (writing): 555-1234. (Finishes writing). OK. I have just written a note to my future self. I have instructed him, me that is, to go back in time, and call this bar at 9:31.
(They wait, staring at the phone, then the clock, then the phone).
Martin: Maybe something came up.
Bartender (answers phone): Ed's Bar. No, there's no "Ed." That's just the name of the bar. Mm hm. (Turns to Martin). Says he's your future self. Sounds just like you. He says "Hi."
Martin (waves): Hi.
Bartender (into phone): He says "Hi." Nice talking to you. Good bye. (Hangs up).
Martin (smug): Well?
Bartender: Could have been you.
Martin: Could have been?
Margaret: I didn't hear him.
Martin (angrily writes in notebook): This ought to prove it. I'm telling my future self to come to this bar. You'll see.
Margaret: Wait a minute. I heard that a time traveler can't be in the same place in the same time as himself.
Martin: Really, where'd you hear that?
Margaret: It was on TV, some movie. The two copies of the time traveler saw each other and were wiped out. They melted away in a blinding light.
Martin: Wow! (Writes, while dictating to himself). Make sure and perform some experiments on Simba.
Martin: My dog.
Bartender (answers phone): Ed's Bar. I just like the name, "Ed's Bar," OK? Hm. (Turns to Martin). He says Simba melted away in a blinding light. (Back to the phone). Yeah, OK. Good bye. (Hangs up).
Martin (writing): On second thought, don't perform any tests on Simba, because of melting, et cetera. Go buy a gerbil.
Margaret: That's amusing, using a gerbil for a guinea pig.
Martin (writes more): Correction, go buy a guinea pig.
Margaret: A gerbil would probably work fine.
Bartender: How about white mice.
Martin: For a guinea pig?
Bartender (answers phone): Ed's Bar. Yes "Ed's Bar" does sound kinda tacky. OK. Good bye. (Hangs up). That was your future self. He says he'll be right over.
Martin (upset): Right over? What a moron! What about Simba? Maybe he didn't get my last note. I'm out of here. (Rushes out, saying:) Blinding flash of light.
Martin2 (walks in): Where am I?
Bartender: Ed's Bar.
Martin2: No. I mean, where is my other self, the little weasel?
Bartender: He just left. He was saying something about Simba and a blinding flash of light.
Martin2: Oh that? (Sits at the bar). I think that Simba was hit by lightning. The white mice survived.
Bartender (answers phone): Ed's Bar. Well that's the kind of ambience that I prefer. No he hasn't left yet. It seems that the white mice survived and Simba was struck by lightning. OK. (Hangs up). He'll be right over.
Martin (walks in, and addresses Martin2): That's my stool.
Martin2: I know. It IS my stool.
Bartender: Yes, and "Who's on first." Which one of you gentlemen is going to pay for all these drinks.
Martin (sits at bar): Sorry, I'll have to pay you later. (Looks to Martin2).
Martin2: Sorry, we don't use money in the 23rd century.
Margaret: I can see where that would come in handy.
Martin: Well are you convinced now?
Margaret: Could be twins.
Martin: Oh for God's sake. (Writes in notebook).
(One by one, a dozen or so Martins walk in. The crowd becomes noisy. The curtain falls.)
Author's note: The real cast list (below) ruins the story, as the audience must have doubts about Martin's story, right up to the very end.
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