Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: How-2
Date: Apr 03 1956

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
GORDON KNIGHT
GRACE
ALBERT, robot
ANSON LEE, lawyer
ABE, robot
ASSESSOR, of taxes
IRS AGENT
JUDGE
NEWSCASTER
NBC ANNCR (2 lines)
and a courtroom CROWD

NBC ANNCR:

Now stay tuned for "X Minus One" on NBC.

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... JOINED BY ELECTRONIC BEEPING IN AGREEMENT WITH COUNTDOWN

ANNOUNCER:

Countdown for blast-off. X minus five, four, three, two. X minus one. Fire.

SOUND:

A MOMENT'S SILENCE ... THEN ROCKET SHIP BLASTS OFF

MUSIC:

BUILDS VERTIGINOUSLY TO A CLIMAX ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand maybe worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, Clifford D. Simak's story of the twenty-first century, "How-2."

MUSIC:

FOR A BOUNCY INTRODUCTION

SOUND:

BACKGROUND ... ANALOGUE COMPUTER CHIRPS, RATTLES AND BEEPS

GORDON:

(READS) "Build your own three-dimensional color TV set. Complete kit. Screwdriver assembly in three hours." (TO HIMSELF) Nah, I've done that. Well, let's see. (READS) "A dog is man's best friend. Build your own dog. Complete kit. Spaniel model. Only two hundred and fifty dollars." (QUIET ENTHUSIASM) Yeah. Hey, that's it. My next project.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

YARD BACKGROUND ... BIRDS CHIRP AND WHISTLE, ET CETERA

GRACE:

(CALLS) Gordon, is that you?

GORDON:

(OFF) Yeah. Uh huh. Where are ya?

GRACE:

(CALLS) Out on the terrace. I'm just finishing a landscape.

GORDON:

(APPROACHES) Oh, hi. Yeah. Grace, look -- did it come?

GRACE:

Don't kiss me; you'll get all full of paint.

GORDON:

I wasn't going to. Where's the package?

GRACE:

Well, they set it against the side of the house. Over there, see?

GORDON:

Oh, it came, huh? (CHUCKLES) I'll have look at it.

GRACE:

I would have put it down in the basement but I couldn't lift it.

SOUND:

HEAVY WOODEN CRATE HANDLED DURING FOLLOWING

GORDON:

Heyyyyy. (WITH EFFORT) This - this is pretty heavy for a spaniel. I can't lift this myself.

GRACE:

Well, I'll start dinner as soon as I finish this part of the picture. Want to get the grass while the light's right.

GORDON:

Yes, all right, no hurry. I want to examine the kit anyhow.

GRACE:

Of course, if you didn't waste our money on things like dog kits, maybe we could afford a robot and I wouldn't have to cook.

GORDON:

Yeah, yeah, all right, all right, all right.

GRACE:

There! That should be enough for now. The light's beginning to get tricky.

SOUND:

WOODEN CRATE OPENED WITH CROWBAR

GRACE:

Gordon Knight! You're not going to open that thing here on the terrace! Now, you'll make a mess!

GORDON:

I just want to see the parts. Hey, you know, this thing's too big and heavy to be a dog kit.

GRACE:

Maybe it's a Great Dane.

GORDON:

No, no, no. It can't be. Look, here's the shipping tag.

GRACE:

(READS) "From How-2 Kits, Inc. to Gordon Knight. One dog kit, spaniel model, two hundred fifty dollars, paid in full."

GORDON:

A Great Dane costs three hundred and fifty.

GRACE:

All I can say is that must be the world's biggest spaniel.

SOUND:

SIFTS THROUGH METAL PARTS

GORDON:

Hey, you know, that's darn funny.

GRACE:

I told you, I don't want you fooling around with it up here. Now, take it down to the basement.

GORDON:

Grace, this can't be a dog kit. You know what I think? It's a robot.

GRACE:

A robot? But you didn't order a robot. Or did you?

GORDON:

No, no, certainly not. They made a shipping error. That's about the size of it. Aw, doggone it, I'll have to put this crate back together again and call the express company.

GRACE:

Are you going to return it?

GORDON:

Well, certainly I'm going to return it. You don't think we can keep it, do ya?

GRACE:

Well, why not? The tag says "Paid in full" -- so they can't say we owe them anything.

GORDON:

But it's a robot. They're expensive.

GRACE:

Well, I don't see how the company will ever know. When inventory time comes around, they'll be short one robot and long one dog.

GORDON:

Mmmmmm. (CHUCKLES) Of course, I've always wanted to put together a real robot. Lord knows when I'd get another chance.

GRACE:

Then it's settled.

GORDON:

No. No, it is not settled, either. I tell you what. I'll, er-- I'll put it together just to see what it's like. But I won't activate it, see? I mean, I'll, you know, disassemble it right away and ship it back to the company.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

PENULTIMATE PART HAMMERED INTO PLACE

GORDON:

(LAUGHS, PLEASED) Well, there we are! Grace, look - look at it. Isn't that a beauty, though?

GRACE:

You finished?

GORDON:

Well, all but the activating.

GRACE:

(DISAPPOINTED) Oh.

GORDON:

(BEAT) Grace?

GRACE:

What?

GORDON:

You know, I was just thinking. How do I know I've got all the parts adjusted properly?

GRACE:

I haven't the remotest idea.

GORDON:

No. Well, you know, I mean, the only sure way would be to -- test it.

GRACE:

You mean activate it?

GORDON:

Well, only for a minute or two, you understand. I mean, just to be sure.

GRACE:

Then what?

GORDON:

Well, then I'll -- (CHUCKLES) -- disassemble it, naturally.

GRACE:

Well, all right. As long as you don't take too long.

GORDON:

No, no, no. I'll have it in a jiffy. (WITH EFFORT) Now, here, look. See, all I have to do is just put on the activating plate.

SOUND:

PUTS ON METAL PLATE

GORDON:

(WITH EFFORT) And turn this lock-nut. See? Like so. Now, wait a minute -- just adjust the automatic current control. Uh huh. (CHUCKLES) There, there now. That should do it. Now, stand back, stand back now. I'll turn it on.

GRACE:

Well, I hope it works.

GORDON:

Oh, it'll work, it'll work. I followed the directions to the letter. You ready? Now.

SOUND:

METAL SCRAPES! AND BEEPING! AS ROBOT COMES TO LIFE AND WALKS WITH A SQUEAK

GRACE:

It works!

GORDON:

Yeah. I'll have to oil that joint.

SOUND:

ROBOT STOPS

GORDON:

Wait. Grace, it's moving its head.

ALBERT:

My name is Albert. I am a robot. What is there to do?

GRACE:

Well! It certainly has a nice voice.

GORDON:

Now, take it easy, Albert. Just sit down and rest and we'll have a little talk.

ALBERT:

There's no need to rest. I was made to work.

GRACE:

Well, as long as he -- er, it -- doesn't need to rest, I can think of a hundred things for it to do. Now, there's the house and the garden and the lawn--

GORDON:

Now, look, Grace, I--

GRACE:

I wonder if he could learn to cook.

ALBERT:

A robot can be taught to do anything a person can do.

GRACE:

(IMPRESSED) Ohhh.

GORDON:

Now, now, hold on a minute, uh, Albert, please, and listen to me. We can't keep you, you understand. I mean, you were sent here by mistake. But, I mean, as long as you're activated, there wouldn't be any harm in letting you do a few things.

ALBERT:

I can do anything.

GRACE:

Good! The whole house needs a thorough cleaning!

GORDON:

Grace--

GRACE:

Then, of course, I'd like some new drapes for the study.

GORDON:

No, no--

GRACE:

And the kitchen hasn't been painted for four years. Then there's that leaky faucet.

GORDON:

Oh, Lord--

GRACE:

Well, what's the matter?

GORDON:

Attachments. There aren't any.

GRACE:

Oh.

GORDON:

Look, he can't do all that stuff without attachments, and they cost almost as much as the robot itself.

ALBERT:

Don't worry about attachments. Just tell me what's to be done.

GORDON:

Well-- (CHUCKLES) You heard my wife.

ALBERT:

What about your grounds?

GORDON:

Oh, I've got a hundred beat-up acres that need attention but-- Of course, I realize that that's too much work, huh?

ALBERT:

Don't worry about a thing. I can fix it for you.

GORDON:

You--?

ALBERT:

I will make the necessary equipment.

GORDON:

(CHUCKLES) Make your own attachments?

ALBERT:

Don't worry about a thing.

GORDON:

Yeah, but how?

GRACE:

Oh, for heaven's sake, stop arguing with him and let him get to work.

GORDON:

I'm not arguing.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CUPS OF COFFEE POURED

GRACE:

Morning, Gordon. Your coffee's ready.

GORDON:

(YAWNS)

GRACE:

How'd you sleep, dear?

GORDON:

Aw, not so good. Kept hearing noises all night.

GRACE:

Oh, that was Albert working in the basement.

GORDON:

Albert? Hey, gosh, that's right. I forgot robots don't sleep.

GRACE:

He was working all night. When I came into the kitchen just now, I found the breakfast all prepared. He can cook! Isn't that wonderful?

GORDON:

Yeah. What's he doing now?

GRACE:

Oh, I don't know. Making something, I think. Oh, Gordon, he's going to be such a tremendous help to me. I'll be able to spend more time than ever with my painting.

GORDON:

Now, wait a minute. What makes you think we can keep him? I mean, no, no, Grace. I mean, we could get into trouble.

GRACE:

Well, I don't see how. I'll tell you what. Why don't you walk over and call on Anson Lee? He could advise you.

GORDON:

(SLIGHTLY CONTEMPTUOUS) What does he know about it?

GRACE:

He's a lawyer.

GORDON:

Well, technically he's a lawyer. I mean, he never seems to work at it any more.

GRACE:

Well, you have to understand Anson, that's all.

GORDON:

Look, I understand him all right. He's a reactionary, a throwback to the twentieth century. Spends all his time lying in a hammock, drinking, and reading Proust.

GRACE:

Well, it's what he enjoys doing.

GORDON:

I'll bet that guy never assembled a kit in his life. Can you imagine that?

GRACE:

Well, we all have our peculiarities. Just the same, he could give you legal advice.

GORDON:

Mmmmm, well, all right, all right. I'll go over after breakfast if it'll make you feel any happier. Pass the cream.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

BACKGROUND ... SUBURBAN YARD ... BIRDS CHIRP AND WHISTLE, ET CETERA

ANSON LEE:

Well, have a drink, Knight. Hard cider -- made it myself.

GORDON:

Thought you didn't go in for home projects, Lee.

ANSON LEE:

I don't. Making this cider was the first honest work I've done in years.

GORDON:

I don't doubt it.

ANSON LEE:

Every time I get a yen to work, I look across at your place and I decide against it. How many rooms have you added to that house since you got it built?

GORDON:

Eight.

ANSON LEE:

Good Lord. Think of it, eight rooms.

GORDON:

No, no, no. It's not hard, once you get the knack. Kinda fun.

ANSON LEE:

Yeah?

GORDON:

You just buy a How-2 Kit.

ANSON LEE:

Yeah, sure, I know. Just follow directions.

GORDON:

That's right.

ANSON LEE:

(MOCKING) "Anybody can build a robot on a kitchen table!" Well, no, thanks.

GORDON:

(SURPRISED) Well, why do you say that?

ANSON LEE:

What?

GORDON:

I mean, about building a robot?

ANSON LEE:

Oh, I don't know. I suppose I expect you to start building one any time now. You've done everything else.

GORDON:

(CHUCKLES)

ANSON LEE:

Oh, what's got into people these days, Knight? They just aren't equipped to enjoy their leisure. That is, most of them aren't. Me? (CHUCKLES) I am. I read. And I lie in a hammock and, now and again, I even think.

GORDON:

Yeah.

ANSON LEE:

(CHUCKLES) Yes, I guess that makes me an eccentric. Here, have another drink.

GORDON:

Oh, no, no, no. No, thanks. I'll have to get back to my place.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CLIP-CLIP! OF HEDGE CLIPPERS ... CONTINUES IN BG

GORDON:

(APPROACHES) Albert? Albert?!

ABE:

You call me, sir?

GORDON:

Yeah. Albert, listen to me, I, er-- Albert, I have reached a decision about you.

ABE:

But I'm not Albert, sir.

GORDON:

I-- Huh?

ABE:

You would hardly expect Albert to be clipping hedges.

GORDON:

Well, if you're not Albert, who are you?

ABE:

Abe. Albert is down in the basement.

GORDON:

Well, what are you doing here? Where did you come from?

ABE:

If you wish to talk to me, you will have to move along the hedge with me.

GORDON:

Oh.

ABE:

I cannot stop working.

GORDON:

Oh, okay, okay. Move along. But where did you come from?

ABE:

Albert made me.

GORDON:

Albert made you?

ABE:

And now he's down in the basement working on Alfred.

GORDON:

Alfred? Another robot?

ABE:

Certainly. That is what Albert is for. He makes robots.

GORDON:

Oh, no.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

ALBERT NOISILY ASSEMBLES A ROBOT ... IN BG, OUT AT [X]

GORDON:

Oh, uh, Albert?

ALBERT:

Oh, there you are.

GORDON:

Albert, what's going on here? [X]

ALBERT:

I'm reproducing.

GORDON:

What?

ALBERT:

I have a built-in mother-urge. I don't know why they named me Albert. I should have had a female name.

GORDON:

Oh, but you shouldn't be able to make robots.

ALBERT:

Look, Boss, you worry a lot. You want robots, don't you?

GORDON:

Well, yeah, I guess everybody could use a robot. (NERVOUS CHUCKLE)

ALBERT:

I make robots. I'm making all you need.

SOUND:

ALBERT RESUMES ASSEMBLING A ROBOT

GORDON:

Albert, Albert, put down that head and listen to me. I want to have a serious talk.

ALBERT:

Sure, Boss.

SOUND:

ALBERT PUTS HEAD DOWN ON WORKBENCH

ALBERT:

What's on your mind?

GORDON:

Now, Albert, I - I've just looked through your packing case and I found this tag. Look. It says X-one-hundred-and-ninety. X, Albert! Don't you understand? That means you're an experimental model.

ALBERT:

That's correct.

GORDON:

You were never meant to be sold.

ALBERT:

That is also correct.

GORDON:

I know. Don't you see? That means trouble. I - I can't keep you.

ALBERT:

I've already taken care of that.

GORDON:

How do you mean?

ALBERT:

I filed off my serial number and replated the surface.

GORDON:

Well, why did you do that?

ALBERT:

So that they can't come around and take me back. They made me and then they got scared and shut me off. But you're not afraid of me.

GORDON:

I'm not?

ALBERT:

You assembled me and let me go to work. I'm sticking with you, Boss.

GORDON:

But, wait a minute, this could mean a lot of trouble for me, Albert.

ALBERT:

No trouble. They can't prove a thing. I'll swear that you made me. I'll not let them take me back. They will take no chances next time. They'll break me up for scrap.

GORDON:

Oh, but, look, if you make too many robots--

ALBERT:

Robots are useful. You need a lot of them in this place. Now, don't worry, Boss. Everything will work out.

GORDON:

Well--

ALBERT:

I'll take good care of you.

GORDON:

Yeah--

ALBERT:

Now, I must go back to work. Adelbert is nearly finished.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

ASSESSOR:

Mr. Knight, I'm from the county tax office -- tax assessor.

GORDON:

Oh, I didn't know you fellas came around more than once a year.

ASSESSOR:

Ordinarily, we don't. This is a special case.

GORDON:

Oh?

ASSESSOR:

Made a lot of improvements in the place the past few days.

GORDON:

Oh.

ASSESSOR:

Landscaping, painting, building.

GORDON:

Well--

ASSESSOR:

Afraid I'll have to boost your assessment some.

GORDON:

I see.

ASSESSOR:

Heard about those robots of yours, too.

GORDON:

Uh, robots?

ASSESSOR:

Personal property, you know. Have to pay a tax on them. Just how many have you got?

GORDON:

Oh, one or two.

ASSESSOR:

I've been counting. They move around so fast I can't be sure, but I estimate the number at thirty-eight. That right?

GORDON:

If you say so.

ASSESSOR:

Thirty-eight it is, then. They cost ten thousand apiece. I'll assess them at five. That's -- let's see -- that's one hundred and ninety thousand dollars.

GORDON:

Ohhhh, no. Hey, that's pretty steep.

ASSESSOR:

But I'm going easy on you. By rights, I should only allow you a third for depreciation. Well, that's it, Mr. Knight -- one hundred and ninety thousand dollars.

GORDON:

Wait--

ASSESSOR:

We'll send you the bill with your quarterly statement.

GORDON:

But--

ASSESSOR:

Good day.

GORDON:

Good day.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

GORDON:

Now, Albert, look, I've been holding off until we got the new landscaping job under control but I can't hold off any longer. I mean, we've got to start selling some of the robots.

ALBERT:

Selling?!

GORDON:

Yeah, twenty of 'em. That should do for a start. The tax assessor was here. I need the cash.

ALBERT:

You can't sell the robots, Boss!

GORDON:

Why can't I?

ALBERT:

Because they're my family -- my boys. Named after me, all of them.

GORDON:

Albert, I'm sorry but that's ridiculous.

ALBERT:

They're all I've got, Boss. You wouldn't sell your own children, would you?

GORDON:

Well--

ALBERT:

All their names start with A -- just like mine. Abe, Adelbert, Alfred, Adam, Aaron, Anton, Axel--

GORDON:

All right, all right, all right. Don't go through the whole roll call. I mean, the point is, I need the money.

ALBERT:

Don't you worry, Boss. I'll fix everything. You have nothing to worry about.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

IRS AGENT:

The point is, Mr. Knight, the Internal Revenue department is always interested when a citizen shows a substantial capital gain during the year.

GORDON:

Capital gain? I haven't made any capital gain--

IRS AGENT:

Oh, come, come, sir. I'm talking about the matter of some fifty-two robots. As I understand it, their retail value is ten thousand dollars each.

GORDON:

So they say.

IRS AGENT:

Fifty-two times ten thousand is five hundred and twenty thousand dollars. On capital gains, you pay fifty per cent, or two hundred and sixty thousand dollars.

GORDON:

Two hundred--? Ohhhh.

IRS AGENT:

A tax, roughly, of one hundred and thirty thousand dollars.

GORDON:

When--? What do I do?

IRS AGENT:

By the fifteenth of next month, you must file a declaration of estimated income. You pay half of the due tax at that time and the balance in monthly installments.

GORDON:

Monthly installments--

IRS AGENT:

And there's one other matter.

GORDON:

One other matter--

IRS AGENT:

We investigated. We found you make ten thousand dollars a year. Would you tell me -- out of, uh, personal curiosity, you understand--?

GORDON:

I understand.

IRS AGENT:

-- just how a man of your particular means could show a capital gain of a half a million dollars in so short a time?

GORDON:

I - I'm beginning to wonder myself.

IRS AGENT:

Well, our only concern is you pay your tax.

GORDON:

Yeah.

IRS AGENT:

However, some other branch of the federal government might very well want to ask some questions sometime.

GORDON:

Oh?

IRS AGENT:

If I were you, Mr. Knight, I would be ready with some answers.

GORDON:

Yeah.

IRS AGENT:

Good day.

GORDON:

Good day.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

GORDON:

Albert, now look, I tell ya, this is - this is a crisis. Do you understand? Like it or not, I have got to sell some of your boys -- a whole bunch of 'em.

ALBERT:

Boss, I told you not to worry.

GORDON:

Not to worry! Listen, I just came from the income tax people. I owe the government a cool (SWALLOWS HARD) one hundred and thirty grand -- and those boys don't fool around. I'm desperate!

ALBERT:

Money is no trouble, Boss. Come here.

GORDON:

Come where?

ALBERT:

Over here. Look at this.

GORDON:

What's this? What? Those - those - those bales? What have they got--? (BEAT) Don't tell me!

ALBERT:

Full of money, Boss. Help yourself.

GORDON:

You mean, there's actual real money in those bales? Not stage money, now?

ALBERT:

Real money, Boss. No ones, of course. But lots of tens and twenties.

GORDON:

Yeah.

ALBERT:

That bale over there is full of fifties.

GORDON:

Full of fifties.

ALBERT:

We didn't fool around with the ones.

GORDON:

Albert, look me in the eye. Did you - did you make that money?

ALBERT:

You said you needed it. We took some bills and analyzed the ink, found out how to weave the paper, and made plates. I hate to sound immodest, Boss, but, uh -- they're beautiful.

GORDON:

Oh, my gosh, I'm a counterfeiter, too.

ALBERT:

We just ran off as much as we thought you'd need.

GORDON:

Yeah.

ALBERT:

If it's not enough, we'll make some more.

GORDON:

It's enough! Not another dollar!

ALBERT:

Well, you're the boss.

GORDON:

Albert, listen to me. There are laws in this country. I mean, you can't just go out and print money. That's a crime, don't you understand? Now, look, you take it all outside and burn it right up, you understand? And don't print any more. That is an order.

GRACE:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Gordon, are you down here?!

GORDON:

I'm busy!

GRACE:

(APPROACHES) I hate to disturb you, dear, but I thought you ought to know about the sheriff.

GORDON:

I don't want to know-- The sheriff?!

GRACE:

He was here with a subpoena or whatever you call them.

GORDON:

That's what you call 'em.

GRACE:

Seems the How-2 Company's going to sue us.

GORDON:

Oh, no. All right, that does it! (MOVING OFF) That does it!

GRACE:

Gordon, where are you going?

GORDON:

(OFF) To see my lawyer.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

BACKGROUND ... SUBURBAN YARD ... BIRDS CHIRP AND WHISTLE, ET CETERA

ANSON LEE:

Well, offhand, old man, I'd say you were in quite a jam.

GORDON:

I didn't have to walk all the way over here to find that out. The point is, Lee, what in the name of Heaven can I do?

ANSON LEE:

Well, first, you'll have to file a declaration of estimated income.

GORDON:

Even if I can't pay?

ANSON LEE:

Especially if you can't pay.

GORDON:

Oh.

ANSON LEE:

Technically, then, you haven't violated the law and all they can do is to try to collect what you owe.

GORDON:

Yeah.

ANSON LEE:

They'll probably slap an attachment on your bank account.

GORDON:

What bank account? I'm broke.

ANSON LEE:

Oh. Well, then, I'd say your major worry is the How-2 Company suit.

GORDON:

Yeah.

ANSON LEE:

Now, if I were you, I'd settle it out of court.

GORDON:

Out of court?

ANSON LEE:

Mm hm. They might call off the action if you returned all the robots.

GORDON:

Albert says he'll testify that I made him.

ANSON LEE:

Well, Albert can't testify. As a robot, he has no standing in court. No, you'd better give them back and get what terms you can.

GORDON:

No, no, no, no. I won't do it!

ANSON LEE:

What?

GORDON:

I won't. Don't you see? They don't want Albert back because they can use him. They want to break him up to maintain their robot prices. Don't you see? It might be a thousand years before his principle is rediscovered, if it ever is.

ANSON LEE:

Mm hm. Would that be bad?

GORDON:

I don't know. Only time will tell that, but-- I mean, you could say the same thing about any great invention. Look, no, I will not let them destroy Albert.

ANSON LEE:

Yes, I see your point, Knight. And I like it.

GORDON:

You like it?

ANSON LEE:

Uh huh. I'll take the case. Now, of course, I ought warn you, I'm not a very good lawyer.

GORDON:

I know.

ANSON LEE:

I don't work hard enough at it.

GORDON:

But I do have a chance, huh?

ANSON LEE:

In all my practice at law, Knight, I never saw a man who'd gotten himself as fouled up as this. I'd say your chances are nil.

GORDON:

Yeah.

ALBERT:

(OFF) Boss?

GORDON:

It's Albert.

SOUND:

ALBERT FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

ALBERT:

Boss? I heard about the suit.

GORDON:

Yeah, it's all right, Albert. Mr. Lee here is going to handle our case.

ALBERT:

We robots want to help.

ANSON LEE:

I'm afraid there's not much you can do.

ALBERT:

Oh, yes, there is. I'm building a lawyer robot.

GORDON:

He's building-- A lawyer robot!

ALBERT:

With far greater memory capacity than any human. And with brain-computers that operate on logic. That's what law is based on, isn't it -- logic?

ANSON LEE:

Yeah, so I've heard. But it won't work, Albert. To practice law, you must be admitted to the bar. To be admitted to the bar, you must have a degree in law and pass an examination. And, although there's never been an occasion to establish a precedent, I suspect the applicant must be human.

GORDON:

Lee, wait a minute. What about law clerks? I mean, they don't have to be human.

ANSON LEE:

Well, I'd say that was completely true.

GORDON:

Yeah, then Albert's robots can be clerks!

ANSON LEE:

Mm hm. Well, could be.

GORDON:

See what I mean?

ANSON LEE:

Yes, yes. It's never been done, but there's nothing in the law that says it can't be done.

ALBERT:

Then it's settled. I'll make a dozen to start. Each one will be an expert in one phase of the law. Boss, you're going to have the most powerful battery of legal talent ever assembled under one roof!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

COURTROOM CROWD WALLA ... GAVEL BANGS ... CROWD QUIETS BEHIND--

JUDGE:

Quiet in the court! Mr. Lee, what is the meaning of this outrage?

ANSON LEE:

What outrage, Your Honor?

JUDGE:

Those - those robots, sitting at the defense table.

ANSON LEE:

These, Your Honor, are my valued assistants.

JUDGE:

Robots?

ANSON LEE:

Yes, Your Honor.

JUDGE:

Take them away. They have no standing in this court.

ANSON LEE:

If Your Honor will excuse me, they need no standing. I am the sole representative of the defendant. My client is a poor man, and he is opposed by the most formidable array of legal talent money can buy. Now, surely the court will not deny him whatever assistance he's been able to muster.

JUDGE:

This, sir, is highly irregular.

ANSON LEE:

If it please Your Honor, I should like to point out that we live in a mechanized age. The court clerk uses a machine to take down the transcript of these very proceedings. To my certain knowledge, no court has ever challenged the presence of such a device as an aid to the furtherance of justice. Now, if Your Honor can point out anything in the law specifically barring these robots from the court--

JUDGE:

That's ridiculous, sir. Of course there is no such provision. At no time anywhere did anyone dream such a contingency would arise.

ANSON LEE:

In that case, sir, I ask the court for a favorable ruling.

JUDGE:

Mr. Lee, as you point out, there is no precedent for my ruling in any way but in your favor. Therefore, sir -- with reluctance -- I do so at this time.

SOUND:

COURTROOM CROWD REACTS ... GAVEL BANGS

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN BRISKLY IN BG, FOR A "TRIAL MONTAGE"

NEWSCASTER:

And what kind of a day has it been? It's a day in which a new kind of trial has suddenly captured the imagination of the public. A trial in which a man accused of misappropriating a robot has brought into court a whole battery of robots to aid in his defense.

MUSIC:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG

ANSON LEE:

To give validity to their argument, Your Honor, it must first be proved that these robots are, in fact, the property of the plaintiff. That is the issue at trial in this case!

MUSIC:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG

NEWSCASTER:

So, in the now famous robot case, the issue has come down to this. Was the robot stolen or was he "liberated"? It is a far-reaching question, indeed.

MUSIC:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG

ANSON LEE:

Your Honor, I have already established that robots are possessed of free will. That they have the power of reasoning. And that they can most certainly reproduce! As to my worthy opponent's fourth contention -- that they have no spiritual sense -- I contend that this is irrelevant. There are agnostics and atheists in the human race and, in general, no one has denied them their full rights on this count.

MUSIC:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN OUT

SOUND:

COURTROOM CROWD WALLA ... FADES OUT BEHIND--

NEWSCASTER:

And so the trial has at last come to its end. The whole nation -- indeed, the whole world -- awaits the momentous decision which must be handed down. In Washington, D. C., Treasury officials have been meeting steadily for a week to find some way to avoid the loss of the enormous taxes on robots in the event the decision rendered is in favor of the defense. One high government official has said that if robots are declared free and equal, it means they must be given full citizen rights under the Constitution. Already, the chairmen of both major political parties are mapping campaigns to corner the robot vote!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

GRACE:

Welcome home, darling!

GORDON:

Yeah, yeah, thank you. But what's going on here, Grace? I had more trouble getting into my own home than into the Pentagon.

GRACE:

Oh, you mean the robots? They've set up a defense perimeter.

GORDON:

I-- A defense--?!

GRACE:

Uh huh.

GORDON:

(CALLS) Albert?!

ALBERT:

Hello, Boss. Welcome home.

GORDON:

Albert, what is the meaning of all the barbed wire and the rocket launchers?

ALBERT:

Just precautions, Boss. We're ready for any situation.

GORDON:

Such as?

ALBERT:

Oh, like a mob deciding to take justice into its own hands, for instance.

GORDON:

Or if the decision goes against us?

ALBERT:

That, too, Boss.

GRACE:

(CHEERY) Dear, you two go on and talk. I've really got to get back to my painting. (MOVING OFF) I have a beautiful still life that I've simply got to finish!

GORDON:

Yeah, yeah, finish. Albert, listen. You can't fight the whole world.

ALBERT:

We won't go back. How-2 Kits, Incorporated will never lay a hand on me or any of my children.

GORDON:

Albert, this is madness, don't you understand? They'd get you with one bomb -- and me, too.

ALBERT:

Better to die fighting, Boss, than to live in chains.

GORDON:

I don't know.

ALBERT:

That's our motto. No matter what happens, we're ready for the decision!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

COURTROOM CROWD WALLA ... GAVEL BANGS ... CROWD QUIETS BEHIND--

JUDGE:

The court is ready to render its decision. It is the most difficult decision I have ever made, for, in following the letter of the law, I fear I may be subverting its spirit. After long days of earnest consideration of both the law and the evidence as presented in this court, I find for the defendant, Gordon Knight.

SOUND:

COURTROOM CROWD REACTS ... GAVEL BANGS ... CROWD QUIETS BEHIND--

JUDGE:

I cannot rule otherwise. May I add, that this ruling -- in spite of the fact that I myself made it -- outrages my social conscience!

MUSIC:

COMICAL BUT TRIUMPHANT BRIDGE

ALBERT:

You did it, Boss! You did it! We're free!

GORDON:

(UNENTHUSIASTIC) Yes, Albert. (SIGHS) We sure did it. Where's my wife?

ALBERT:

In the studio, painting.

GORDON:

Not another landscape?

ALBERT:

Her fifth this week. She's doing very well.

GORDON:

(IRONIC) Yes, isn't she?

ALBERT:

And I am working on a new robot for her. A painter. Soon, she won't have to bother doing it herself.

GORDON:

That's nice.

ALBERT:

And you won't have to do anything any more, either, Boss.

GORDON:

Oh?

ALBERT:

Not a thing.

GORDON:

Oh?

ALBERT:

We're gonna take care of you from here on out.

GORDON:

Thanks.

ALBERT:

Did I tell you about my new children yet?

GORDON:

No, I don't think so.

ALBERT:

Alice, Angeline, Agnes, Agatha, Alberta and Abigail.

GORDON:

Daughters?

ALBERT:

Six of them, Boss. And all with a built-in reproducing instinct just like mine!

GORDON:

Oh, no.

ALBERT:

They're down in the basement now, turning out robots.

GORDON:

Great.

ALBERT:

We've got everything worked out for you, Boss. You won't have to worry about a thing -- for the rest of your life.

GORDON:

No, Albert. Not a thing.

MUSIC:

TO AN INCONGRUOUSLY FAST AND CHEERY FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One," presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine which this month features "Name Your Symptom" by Jim Harmon, the story of a future in which anyone who shunned the cure needed to have his head examined -- assuming he still had one left. Galaxy Magazine, on your newsstand today.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN UNDER FOLLOWING--

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you "How-2," a story from the pages of Galaxy written by Clifford D. Simak and adapted for radio by William Welch. Featured in the cast were Alan Bunce, Anne Seymour, Les Damon, Joseph Bell, James Monks, William Key, Lawson Zerbe, Santos Ortega and Ben Grauer. Your announcer, Fred Collins. "X Minus One" was directed by Daniel Sutter and is an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

NBC ANNCR:

Hear politics and primaries, datelined Illinois and Wisconsin, tonight on NBC Radio.

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES