Detection


Place: A neutrino detector just outside the universe

Time: Forever and ever... amen

Characters: Two monitors


(Two people dressed in lab coats stand on opposite sides of a swimming pool. They stare at the water through long tubes. After an interminable moment, one of them calls to the other:)
MONITOR 1: There!

MONITOR 2: What?

1: There. Right there.

2: No.

1: No, yes: there.

2: Where?

1: Right there.

2: No.

1: I’m telling you.

2: No.

1: I’m telling you.

2: I’m telling you no.

1: I’m telling you; you’re telling me no?

2: Yes.

1: You’re wrong.

2: Let me ask you something.... Can I ask you something?

1: Be my guest.

2: How long have we been here?

1: A while.

2: How long?

1: Years.

2: Years?

1: Some years, yes.

2: How many?

1: Quite a few.

2: Quite... a few?

1: Lots.

2: How many?

1: Trillions.

2: Trillions?

1: All right, fine: forever.

2: Forever?

1: And ever.

2: Okay.

1: Amen.

2: And you’re telling me in all those forever and ever amen years just now there’s a there?

1: There! Yes.

2: No.

1: Unbelievable.

2: What are the odds?

1: The odds?

2: What exactly, statistically speaking, is the likelihood of something being there, right now at this one moment.

1: Uh... I don’t know. Trillions to one?

2: Exactly.

1: Exactly!

2: No.

1: Yes.

2: There was no there there.

1: There was so.

2: I’m sorry.

1: What are we here for?

2: We’re here to wait.

1: And what?

2: We wait and see.

1: And?

2: We wait and see if there’s something there.

1: And?

2: And if there’s something there, we give a holler.

1: There was something there.

2: No.

1: Yes.

2: Where?

1: There.

2: I’m not buying it.

1: I saw it.

2: What are the odds?

1: I’m going in.

2: You’re not going in.

1: I’m going in.

(Monitor 1 begins taking his/her lab coat and other clothes off.)

2: You can’t go in.

1: I’m go--

(Underneath all the clothes she/he discovers a swimsuit.)

2: What is that?

1: Uhhhh. Some sort of... suit.

2: For what?

1: For going in, I guess.

2: Why do you have it on?

1: I don’t know. I think I’ve always had it on. Maybe you have one, too.

(Monitor 1 reaches for Monitor 2’s buttons.)

2: Don’t you dare!

1: Fine. Sorry.

2: It was never part of our job description to go in. We wait. We wait and see. We wait and see if there’s something.

1: There’s something there.

2: No.

1: Yes.

2: When?

1: Just a moment ago.

2: How many times?

1: Just once.

2: So maybe an error.

1: There are no errors.

2: Please.

1: Ever.

2: Please, please, please.

1: I’m going in.

2: Please.

1: See ya around.

(Monitor One dives into the water and disappears. Monitor 2 immediately calls out in a formal alarm-sounding voice:)

2: Mayday. Mayday. Neutrino. Neutrino! We have a neutrino in the universe! Neutrino!... Neutrino!... NEUTRINO! NEEEEWWWWWWTREEEEEEEEENOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!...
HELLO! Is anybody listening?! Shit, what are we here for? NEEEEWWWWWWTREEEEEEEEENOOOOOOOOWHOAHWHOAHWHOAH!!!!...

(Monitor One surfaces with a gasp.)

2: Oh, thank god.

1: Three quarks for Muster Mark!

2: What?

1: Proton electron hydrogen. proton proton neutron neutron electron electron electron electron.

2: Hold on.

1: Helium fusion lithium carbon oxygen molecules amines bacteria paramecia colonies invertebrates vertebrates primates prima noctae legislation Louie Prima

2: You’ve gone insane. There’s nothing in there.

1: There’s nothing but everything in there. It’s crammed full of not nothing. You couldn’t fit nothing in there if you tried. Not one iota.

2: Get out.

1: Get in.

2: One of us has to maintain.

1: Both of us have to see.

2: You’re insane.

1: Be with me.

2: Not a chance.

1: You won’t be with me?

2: No way.... I’m sorry.

1: Yeah.... All right. Help me out.

(Monitor 1 reaches up and Monitor 2 reaches down to help him/her out. As soon as Monitor 1 grabs 2’s hand, she/he pulls her/him in. Then they both disappear under the surface.
After a long moment they both resurface, gasping.)

2: That was--

1: Yes?!

2: That was...

1: Yes, that was what?

2: That was...

1: Did you see?

2: That was a...

1: Tell me.

2: Really cheap trick you pulled!

1: You’re kidding.

2: How could you?

1: How could I? How could you ask how could I? Didn’t you--

2: How could you? I wasn’t prepared.

1: No one’s ever prepared.

2: I don’t even know if I have a suit for going in on.

1: You wanna check?

(Monitor 1 swims over and grabs at 2’s buttons.)

2: GET AWAY FROM ME!

1: All right. Fine. Sorry.

2: How could you?

1: Didn’t you...

2: Didn’t I what?

1: See anything?

2: I saw... I saw...

1: What?

2: Something.

1: Yes.

2: Something... I don’t. I don’t think I was prepared. I’m not sure what I saw.

1: But you saw something.

2: Maybe.

1: Neutrino?

2: Maybe.

1: Louie Prima?

2: I’m not sure.

1: But something.

2: How can I be sure?

1: Just be. Just be sure.

2: How can I?

1: Does it matter?

2: Of course it matters. It’s our job to see things.

1: That’s right. It’s our job.

2: Or not. If we don’t.

(Monitor 2 awkwardly climbs out of the pool.)

2: If there’s something there, we give a holler.

1: Exactly.

2: And if there’s not, we don’t.

1: Right.

2: And that’s all there is.

1: If you say so.

2: We were never told to go in.

1: We were never told not to.

2: Now see?

1: What?

2: How is that the point? We were never told not to do anything.

1: What?

2: Nevermind.

1: Okay.

2: And don’t ever do that again?

1: What?

2: Pull me in like that.

1: Okay.

2: Ever.

1: Okay.

2: And ever.

1: Amen. Okay. Help me out?

(Monitor 1 reaches up. Monitor 2 hesitates. Monitor 1 smiles. Suspiciously, 2 pulls 1 from the pool. Once out, 1 kisses 2, and begins taking off the lab coat and clothes. Slowly, sensually, they both fall back into the pool.
End of play.)

De*tec"tion (?), n. [L. detectio an uncovering, revealing.]

The act of detecting; the laying open what was concealed or hidden; discovery; as, the detection of a thief; the detection of fraud, forgery, or a plot.

Such secrets of guilt are never from detection. D. Webster.

 

© Webster 1913.

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