Act I, Section 2 of Louis Slotin Sonata:


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. . . . (Slotin rotates the screwdriver, just as he describes it, twisting the shaft to turn the head flat and bring the top shell within a blade's width of closing. The indicators go wild. Then Slotin twists the screwdriver back on its edge again. He repeats this action a few times until the two halves of the shell close with a CLICK.

A bright blue glow fills the room for an instant. Slotin quickly yanks off the top shell and then shakes it from his thumb, letting it clatter to the floor.

He turns to look at the men behind him, who all stare back at him-- frozen, stunned.

Suddenly, Cleary bolts out the main door. In an instant, Cieslicki, Kline, and Young run out the same way, while Perlman and Schreiber evacuate through a door on the upstage left.

Slotin and Graves turn to each other. Slotin shakes his head. They exit, at a normal pace, through the main door.

Blackout.

Lights up on Slotin in a tight special, center.)

SLOTIN: When Niels Bohr first postulated Quantum Mechanics, with all its inherent randomness, Einstein retorted that:

(Slotin extends his hand to an unlit area of the stage. A special lights Albert Einstein.)

EINSTEIN: God does not play dice.

SLOTIN: When Robert Oppenheimer witnessed the first atomic shot at Trinity, he supposedly mumbled to himself a personally treasured passage from the Bhagavad-Gita:

(Slotin extends his other hand to an unlit area on the opposite side of the stage. A special lights Robert Oppenheimer.)

OPPENHEIMER: I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

(Slotin begins to conduct the two great men, cueing them like soloists in a double concerto.)

EINSTEIN: God does not play dice.

OPPENHEIMER: I am become Death.

EINSTEIN: God does not play dice.

OPPENHEIMER: I am become Death.

EINSTEIN: God does not play dice.

OPPENHEIMER: Destroyer of worlds.

(Lights out on Einstein and Oppenheimer.)

SLOTIN: Good evening. My name is Louis Slotin. And I'm dead.

YOUNG & SCHREIBER (shouting from offstage) : Louie?... Louie!

SLOTIN (shouting) : In here.

(Young enters through a door upstage.)

YOUNG: Hey. Are you all right?

SLOTIN: I'm fine. Where is everyone?

YOUNG: Spread out. I just saw Kline and Cleary running up the road.

SLOTIN: Great. Just great. All right. Call 'em all back down here. We'll meet outside the crit lab.

YOUNG: I wasn't imagining it, was I? There was a blue glow.

SLOTIN: Yes.

YOUNG: Christ.

SLOTIN: Ok now look.

(Schreiber enters.)

We gotta map out our relative positions for the dosage calculations while they're still fresh in our memories. You gotta get everyone back down here.

Hello, Schreib.

SCHREIBER: Louie, are you all right.

SLOTIN: I'm fine.

(to Young)

Dwight, go.

(Young exits.)

SLOTIN: Schreib, I... I--

SCHREIBER: Louie, please, concentrate. Where's Dr. Graves?

SLOTIN: In the john. Look, Schreib, you know I hate to ask this of you, but you were furthest from the core and probably had the least exposure. I think we're gonna need--

SCHREIBER: A hot reading? Say no more. I'll do it this moment.

SLOTIN: There's film badges in the lead box. I'm thinking maybe try and place them at our relative positions in the room.

SCHREIBER: All right.

SLOTIN: And for godsake, Schreib, don't dawdle.

SCHREIBER: I won't.

(Schreiber turns and goes. Slotin shakes his head and mumbles to himself:)

SLOTIN: Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid...

(Scene bracket.)

SLOTIN: Ok then: for the purposes of argument, let's say I'm dead. For the utility of the dialectical discourse, let's simply assume that the event you and I witnessed however many minutes, days or decades ago actually occurred at some point in time... and space, or-- if you will-- more accurately, time/space (thank you, Dr. Einstein). Is that it then? Shall we leave it at that, with all the questions begging? How did it happen? Why did it happen? What was I thinking? When won't it matter anymore?... All these hungry questions. Shall we leave them all begging? Not very scientific of us. No, not very scientific at all.

(Slotin crosses to a post and picks up a telephone that happens to be mounted on it.)

SLOTIN (into the receiver) : Philip Morrison's office, please . . . .

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