Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Marionettes, Inc.
Date: Dec 21 1955

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
HENRY SMITH
BARTENDER (3 lines)
WALTER BRALING / BRALING TWO, a man and his marionette
GLORIA, Walter's wife
NETTIE, Henry's wife
MR. ZEIG, at Marionettes, Inc.
TELLER, at the bank
NBC ANNCR (1 line)

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 Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction, presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, a Ray Bradbury story, "Marionettes, Incorporated."

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

By the year Nineteen Ninety, we should see many amazing technological advances. And yet, in many ways, life will be very much the same. A husband will stop off at a bar on his way home and perhaps unburden himself a little to a friendly bartender. [X]

SOUND:

BAR BACKGROUND

HENRY:

(EXHALES AFTER A BIG DRINK) Ah, that's good. Almost feel as if I could go home and face Nettie now.

BARTENDER:

Wife trouble, Mr. Smith?

HENRY:

Yeah, wife trouble, Sam. If only she'd relax a little bit. Look, you see this bruise on my lip?

BARTENDER: Mm.

HENRY:

She kisses me. For an hour every night when I come home.

BARTENDER:

Can you do anything for it?

HENRY:

Well, I try, Sam. You can't figure them out. Well, I guess I'll go home and feed myself to the lioness. I tell ya, Sam, when Nettie gets finished demonstrating how much she's missed me, I feel like a man who's been stuffed into an electronic washing machine with the dial set at Rinse-Dry. How much do I owe you?

WALTER:

Well, if it isn't Henry Smith.

HENRY:

Huh? Braling! (LAUGHS) Well, as I live and breathe, Walter Braling. What are you doing here?

WALTER:

Having the night out.

HENRY:

Say, does Gloria know about this?

WALTER:

Things have changed, Henry.

HENRY:

I thought she kept you chained to the bedpost most of the time.

WALTER:

Not anymore, Henry, not anymore.

HENRY:

Say, you aren't divorced, are ya?

WALTER:

Oh, no. Gloria's home.

HENRY:

(CHUCKLES) What did ya do? Put sleeping powder in her coffee?

WALTER:

Oh, goodness, no. That would be highly unethical.

HENRY: Well, now, look, I can't believe you just walked out on her.

WALTER:

Ten years of marriage, Henry, and I never had a night to myself. But it will be different from now on. By the way, what time is it?

HENRY:

Uhh, ten o'clock.

WALTER:

Well, I guess I better be going.

HENRY:

(CHUCKLES) Scared?

WALTER:

Don't want to crowd my luck.

HENRY:

Oh.

WALTER:

Although, really, there's nothing to worry about.

HENRY:

Well, I'd sure like to know how you do it, Walter.

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES) Would you really?

HENRY:

Yes. I would.

WALTER:

All right, Henry. Since you've always been a friend of mine, I'll let you in on it. Come on. My car's outside. I'll drive home and let you see how it's done.

HENRY:

Well, that's nice of you, Walter.

WALTER:

Oh, no, not at all. We fellows have to stick together.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

AUTO ENGINE AS CAR DRIVES DOWN ROAD... THEN IN BG

WALTER:

I don't suppose you know how Gloria and I came to be married in the first place.

HENRY:

No, I don't.

WALTER:

Well, one evening she threatened to tear off her clothing and call the police unless I married her.

HENRY:

No!

WALTER:

Oh, yeah.

HENRY: Well, that's a bit extreme, isn't it?

WALTER:

Gloria's a nervous girl.

HENRY:

Oh. I bet you've had a pretty wretched time of it, huh?

WALTER:

Yeah, yeah. Didn't take long for me to become the laughing stock of the neighborhood. "Henpecked Braling" they used to call me, I know that. But things are changing now. See this?

HENRY:

What's this?

WALTER:

A single ticket to Rio on the morning rocket. I have hotel reservations there for a month. A whole month, Henry, to have a fling!

HENRY:

Well, won't Gloria make trouble over that?

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES) Well, that's the amazing part of it, Henry. She won't even know that I'm gone!

HENRY:

Huh?

WALTER:

And I'll be back in a month and no one the wiser! (CHUCKLES) You don't believe it, do you?

HENRY:

Well, frankly, no. Just how are you gonna swing it, Walter?

WALTER:

That's the secret, Henry. I tell you, it is the most wonderful thing ever invented. Worth every cent I paid for it.

HENRY:

Well, what is it?

WALTER:

I'm going to show you. Now, here's my house.

SOUND:

CAR SLOWS TO A STOP AND ENGINE OUT, BEHIND--

WALTER:

You notice the lights are all out?

HENRY:

Uh huh.

SOUND:

NIGHT BACKGROUND ... CRICKETS CHIRP, ET CETERA ... CAR DOORS OPEN & CLOSE ... WALTER & HENRY'S FOOTSTEPS TO FRONT PORCH, BEHIND--

WALTER:

(LOW) Sh sh sh sh. Now, we'll wait here on the front porch.

HENRY: Say, Walter -- you haven't gone off your rocker, have you?

WALTER:

(LOW) Sh sh sh sh. Let me see. Oh, I meow twice. That's it. (CLEARS THROAT, LOUDLY) MEOW! MEOW?! (LOW AGAIN) Now, watch the window in my bedroom.

HENRY: It looks as if somebody's-- Hey! There's a man up there! He's looking out.

WALTER:

Good. He sees me. Now, he'll be down directly.

HENRY:

Oh, well, now, look, isn't this a bit embarrassing for you, Walter?

WALTER:

No, no, not at all. You'll find out. Here he comes.

SOUND: FRONT DOOR UNLOCKS AND OPENS

WALTER:

Hello, B-2.

BRALING TWO:

Good evening, Mr. Braling.

SOUND: FRONT DOOR CLOSES ... NIGHT BACKGROUND OUT

HENRY:

Either I'm going out of my mind or there are two of you! You never told me you had a twin brother.

WALTER:

I don't.

HENRY: Well-- If this fella weren't in pajamas, I couldn't tell you apart!

WALTER:

Well, that's the secret, Henry. Uh, everything go all right, B-2?

BRALING TWO:

Uh, just fine, Mr. Braling.

WALTER:

I suppose my wife was in her usual good form this evening.

BRALING TWO:

Why, as a matter of fact, we spent the evening playing Gin.

WALTER:

No screaming? Shouting? Accusations?

BRALING TWO:

Uh, no, sir. No, it was a very quiet evening.

WALTER:

Well! This is even better than I thought.

BRALING TWO:

Well, Marionettes Incorporated aims to satisfy, sir.

HENRY:

Did he say -- "Marionettes Incorporated"?

WALTER:

That's right, Henry. Now, look him over. Isn't he excellently fashioned? You wouldn't dream he was a robot, a marionette.

HENRY:

No, I don't believe it.

WALTER:

Heh! Well, it's against the law, of course, to duplicate a human like this but it's well worth the opportunity.

HENRY: I still don't believe it. You can't tell him from a human.

WALTER:

Well, only one way. Put your ear next to his chest.

HENRY:

Huh?

WALTER:

That's it. Now, listen.

SOUND:

TICK-TICK-TICK! OF CLOCKWORK IN A HOLLOW DRUM

HENRY:

Machinery! Walter old man, how long has this been going on?

WALTER:

Well, I've had him a month. I keep him in the cellar in my toolbox. And, tonight, I told Gloria that I'd like to be excused for five minutes to run down to the cigar store. She agreed. I went down to the cellar, took out Braling Two, and sent him back upstairs to sit with my wife till I got home.

HENRY: That's miraculous. Of course, Walter, it, uh-- Well, it doesn't seem quite ethical somehow.

WALTER:

Oh, nonsense. It's highly ethical.

HENRY:

Huh?

WALTER:

I've been home all evening. I shall be home with her for the next month. In the meantime, another gentleman named Walter Braling will be in Rio having the time of his life!

HENRY:

Well, can he walk around without fuel for a month?

WALTER:

He refuels himself.

HENRY:

Oh.

WALTER:

He's built to do everything -- eat, drink, sleep. You'll take good care of my wife, won't you, B-2?

BRALING TWO:

Well, your wife is rather nice. I've grown quite fond of her.

WALTER:

(LAUGHS, DELIGHTED, TO HENRY) There! You see?!

HENRY:

Yeah. Walter, old man, how long has this Marionettes Incorporated outfit been in business?

WALTER:

Secretly for two years now. Why?

HENRY:

Well, I wonder, uh-- Do you suppose there's a possibility that I might get in touch with them?

WALTER:

You?

HENRY:

Mm.

WALTER:

But your Nettie is madly in love with you.

HENRY:

Well, I know that, but, even so-- Just a little respite, you know? A night or two once a month, huh?

WALTER:

But she loves you dearly.

HENRY:

Oh, yes. So much she can't bear me to leave her for half an hour. You know that, lately, she's taken to calling me up at work ten or twelve times a day -- talking baby talk?

WALTER:

Your Nettie?

HENRY:

My Nettie. So now what do you say, old man, hm? As a favor to an old buddy, huh? A fellow lodge member?

WALTER:

Well, I - I could put you in touch with the man who makes them. Of course, you'd be pledged to secrecy once you learn where he's located.

HENRY:

Oh, well, naturally, naturally.

WALTER:

Very well, then. Uh, here's his card.

HENRY:

(READS SLOWLY) "Marionettes Incorporated, W. Zeig, Proprietor and Owner. New humanoid plastic Nineteen Ninety models guaranteed against wear. Our motto -- No Strings Attached. Address -- The Jumble Shop, Forty-Three South Wesley Drive."

WALTER: Mr. Zeig'll take care of you. He's a charming fellow. A real craftsman.

HENRY: Say, that's wonderful, Walter. I'll see him first thing tomorrow. Well, I better be getting home now. Nettie is probably splitting a gasket.

WALTER: See you around, old man, after I get back from Rio. (CHUCKLES, THEN SERIOUS) Oh. While I'm gone, you might drop around regularly, just as you always have. Treat Braling Two, here, as if he were me. Otherwise, Gloria might be suspicious.

HENRY:

Yes. Fine. I'll do that. Oh, uh, before I go, these marionettes are-- They're safe, aren't they?

WALTER:

Oh, absolutely. Tell him, B-2.

BRALING TWO:

Oh, we're guaranteed.

HENRY:

Uh huh. Well, that's fine. Well, good night, Walter. Good night, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) B-2.

BRALING TWO:

Good night, Mr. Smith.

WALTER:

Good night, Henry.

SOUND:

FRONT DOOR OPENS ... NIGHT BACKGROUND BRIEFLY ... HENRY'S FOOTSTEPS EXIT ... DOOR CLOSES

WALTER:

(SIGHS, SATISFIED) Well I'm glad someone else will have a chance at a little happiness and freedom. All right, Braling Two. It's back into the cellar box for you. Come on, down the steps. That's it.

SOUND:

CELLAR DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS DOWN STEPS, CONTINUES IN BG, OUT AT [X] ... DOOR SHUTS ... (SLIGHT ECHO ON VOICES IN CELLAR)

BRALING TWO:

It's very damp down here, Mr. Braling.

WALTER: Bad plumbing. Here we are. [X]

BRALING TWO:

Braling?

WALTER:

Yeah?

BRALING TWO:

Uh, before you put me back into the toolbox, could we have a word?

WALTER:

Certainly, old man.

BRALING TWO:

Now, this toolbox--

WALTER:

Yes? What about it?

BRALING TWO:

Well, I don't like it, Mr. Braling.

WALTER:

Why not?

BRALING TWO:

It's cramped.

WALTER:

Oh. Well, I'll try to fix up something more comfortable when I get back from Rio. All right now. Before Gloria gets worried, back into the--

BRALING TWO:

Marionettes are made to move, not keep still. How would you like to lie in a stuffy old box most of the time?

WALTER:

Oh, I didn't realize you fellas were that sensitive.

BRALING TWO:

Well, you wouldn't like it at all. I keep running. There's no way to shut me off. I have my feelings, you know.

WALTER: Well, day after tomorrow, I'll be off to Rio and you won't have to stay in the box for a whole month. You can move upstairs.

BRALING TWO: But when you come back from Rio, I'll go back into the box.

WALTER: (SIGHS) Mr. Zeig didn't tell me at Marionettes Incorporated that it was possible to get a difficult specimen.

BRALING TWO: Oh, well, there's a lot he doesn't know about us.

WALTER:

Look - look - look here, B-2. This has gone far enough.

BRALING TWO: I'll never get to Rio--

WALTER:

Come on, come on, now. Into the box.

BRALING TWO:

And another thing.

WALTER:

Well?

BRALING TWO:

Your wife--

WALTER:

Yes, what about my wife?

BRALING TWO:

I've grown quite fond of her.

WALTER:

I'm glad that you enjoy your employment. You'll have the whole month--

BRALING TWO:

I'm afraid you don't quite understand, Braling. I've fallen in love with her.

WALTER:

Yes, well, all right-- You what?

BRALING TWO:

Well, you see, you just don't appreciate her. Maybe if you hadn't acted so meek and apologetic about everything, well, she'd have a little more respect for you as a man.

WALTER:

You aren't supposed to behave like this, you know--

BRALING TWO:

I think I could be very happy if I were married to Gloria.

WALTER: Aren't you forgetting that you are nothing but a big, overgrown puppet?

BRALING TWO:

Now, careful, Braling. I'm sensitive.

WALTER:

I'm sorry. Look, uh, you wouldn't mind waiting here a moment, would you? I have to go upstairs and make a phone call.

BRALING TWO:

To whom?

WALTER:

(UNCONVINCING) Nobody important. I - I, uh, uh-- I have to call Henry Smith about something.

BRALING TWO:

You're lying. You're going to call Marionettes Incorporated and tell Mr. Zeig to come and get me.

WALTER:

No. Really, I'm - I'm not. I - I was - I was-- B-2, stay away.

BRALING TWO:

Just stand where you are, Braling.

WALTER:

Now, B2, take your hand off my arm.

BRALING TWO:

No, Braling.

WALTER:

What are you going to do?

BRALING TWO:

Nothing much. I'm just going to put you in the toolbox, lock it, and lose the key. Then I'll buy another ticket to Rio and Gloria and I can have a wonderful vacation.

WALTER:

You're insane!

BRALING TWO:

Oh ho! Am I?

WALTER:

Now, wait a minute! Hold on, B-2! Don't - don't - don't be rash now! Let's talk this over!

BRALING TWO:

Goodbye, Braling!

WALTER:

No, B-2! Stop it! Don't! Don't! Let - let go! (GRUNTS IN PAIN)

BRALING TWO:

Into the box, Braling.

SOUND:

WALTER FORCED INTO WOODEN TOOLBOX

BRALING TWO:

There.

SOUND:

TOOLBOX SHUT AND LOCKED ... WALTER POUNDS ON BOX FROM WITHIN

WALTER:

(MUFFLED) Let me out! Let me out!

SOUND:

WALTER'S POUNDING STOPS

GLORIA:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Walter?! Walter?!

BRALING TWO:

Yes, Gloria?

GLORIA:

(OFF) Well, what in the world are you doing down there at this time of night?

BRALING TWO: Why, nothing, lover. Uh, the pipes were knocking and I'm just making sure the boiler hasn't exploded. Now, you go to bed and I'll be up soon.

GLORIA:

(WARMLY) Hurry, won't you? We had such a nice evening. I'm lonesome for you.

BRALING TWO:

(LOW, TO HIMSELF) Well, you won't ever be lonesome again, darling. Never again.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

KITCHEN DOOR CLOSES ... CLATTER OF KITCHEN UTENSILS

HENRY:

(ABSENTLY) Good morning, Nettie.

NETTIE:

(LOVINGLY) Good morning, darling. How are you? Have a nice time last night? I - I missed you so.

HENRY:

Mm hm. Is breakfast ready?

NETTIE:

Well, aren't you going to kiss me good morning?

HENRY:

Huh? Oh, uh, yes, I suppose so.

SOUND:

LONG HUNGRY KISS FROM NETTIE ... UNCOMFORTABLE MURMUR FROM HENRY ... AFTERWARDS, THEY BOTH EXHALE

NETTIE:

You're so wonderful, Henry. I - I guess I'm the luckiest person in the world.

HENRY:

Mm hm.

SOUND:

COFFEE POURED INTO MUG

NETTIE:

Now, here's your coffee. How would you like your eggs?

HENRY:

Oh, any way at all.

NETTIE:

But I want to please you.

HENRY:

Look, skip the eggs this morning.

NETTIE:

But you have to eat to keep well, darling.

HENRY:

I'm very healthy. I-- (SIGHS) I have an early business appointment this morning.

NETTIE:

Oh?

HENRY:

Yes, it's a - friend of Walter Braling's. I met Walter last night.

NETTIE:

(DISAPPOINTED) Oh.

HENRY:

Yes. So, uh, I'd better be off. (BEAT, SIGHS) Well, now, Nettie, don't look as if I were on my way to - Rio or something.

NETTIE:

Well, it's just that I miss you so. I want to be with you all the time.

HENRY: Oh, dear, do I have to go through this every morning? I'll be back at supper.

NETTIE:

(STARTS TO CRY)

HENRY:

Now, there's no need to cry now, is there?

NETTIE:

No, darling. (STOPS CRYING) You - you aren't displeased with me, are you? I try so hard to do everything just as I think you like it.

HENRY:

I know. No, I'm not displeased. Now, goodbye, dear.

NETTIE:

(BEAT) Henry?

HENRY:

Yes?

NETTIE:

You forgot to kiss me goodbye.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... HENRY'S FOOTSTEPS ON SIDEWALK

HENRY:

(SINGS QUIETLY, TO HIMSELF) "No strings attached. No strings attached. A very nice puppet with no strings attached." (SPEAKS, TO HIMSELF) Uh, let's see now. Jumble Shop, Forty-three South Wesley. Oh, that should be about, uh-- Ah! Here it is!

SOUND:

TRAFFIC BACKGROUND OUT ... RINGS BUZZER ... STORE DOOR OPENS

MR. ZEIG:

Yes?

HENRY:

Mr. Zeig?

MR. ZEIG:

Yes.

HENRY:

Walter Braling recommended me.

MR. ZEIG:

Enter.

HENRY:

Thank you.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

MR. ZEIG:

Your name?

HENRY:

Henry Smith. Fifty-five Evergreen Place.

MR. ZEIG:

And what can we do for you, Mr. Smith?

HENRY:

Well, uh, Mr. Braling showed me his marionette last night. I, uh-- (CLEARS THROAT) Well, I was intrigued with the idea. Not that my wife is anything like that female meat grinder he's married to, you understand, but, uh-- Well, I'm a man who enjoys an occasional evening with the boys, you know, without complications.

MR. ZEIG:

Naturally.

HENRY:

Yeah, so I thought, uh--

MR. ZEIG:

That I could duplicate you?

HENRY:

Exactly.

MR. ZEIG:

Oh, I - I think it might be arranged.

HENRY:

Uh huh. Oh, yes. How much?

MR. ZEIG:

Nine thousand dollars.

HENRY:

Nine th--?! (WHISTLES IN AMAZEMENT)

MR. ZEIG:

Oh, I have an inferior model at seventy-five hundred but--

HENRY:

Oh, no, no, no. If I go through with this, nothing is too good for Nettie. Uh, Nettie's my wife. We've been putting money aside to buy a summer home in Westport but, er--

MR. ZEIG:

(LIGHTLY) Well, sometimes we must choose.

HENRY:

(CHUCKLES) Yes. Well, uh, perhaps I could just slip out nine thousand. It's a joint account. Um, how soon could I have it?

MR. ZEIG:

Oh, I could construct the mannequin in about two months time.

HENRY:

Good.

MR. ZEIG:

Shall I consider the order placed?

HENRY:

At once.

MR. ZEIG:

Of course, er, you will have to report here for a body mold...

HENRY:

Mm hm.

MR. ZEIG:

... color index of your hair, lips ...

HENRY:

Uh huh.

MR. ZEIG:

... skin, et cetera. And I'll have to do a complete electro-emotional calibration.

HENRY:

Uh huh. Now, you guarantee that these models are foolproof?

MR. ZEIG:

As foolproof as I can make them, Mr. Smith, and I have had years of training.

HENRY:

And there's no chance of detection?

MR. ZEIG:

None whatever. I've never had a complaint.

HENRY:

Very well, Mr. Zeig. I'll get the money from the bank and send it to you.

MR. ZEIG:

I am sure you won't be sorry, Mr. Smith. You will be just as satisfied -- as Walter Braling.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

HENRY:

Oh, uh, teller?

TELLER:

Yes, Mr. Smith?

HENRY:

I'd like to cash this draft on my joint account, please.

TELLER:

Yes, sir. (BEAT) Nine thousand dollars, sir?

HENRY:

That's right.

TELLER:

Oh, I'm afraid that's impossible, Mr. Smith.

HENRY:

Impossible? Why, my wife and I have a good fifteen thousand dollars in our account.

TELLER:

You're mistaken, Mr. Smith.

HENRY:

Well, I know---

TELLER:

Here's your card, sir. You see? Mrs. Smith withdrew ten thousand dollars recently.

HENRY:

Ten thousand dollars? Without even telling me?

TELLER:

I remember it distinctly, Mr. Smith. She said it was for a surprise for you.

HENRY:

Oh, good lord -- she's bought that house in Connecticut. My birthday is next week. She-- Oh, no, no, no. I've got to borrow it somewhere. I've already contracted--

TELLER:

(AMUSED) Yes, sir. Quite a surprise for you, hm, Mr. Smith?

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

DOORBELL RINGS ... FRONT DOOR OPENS

GLORIA:

Yes? Oh, hello, Henry.

HENRY:

Hello, Gloria. Is Walter home? I'd like to speak to him.

GLORIA:

[Well, he went down to the Travel Bureau ... We're going to Rio, you know.] He should be back soon. Will you wait?

HENRY:

Yes. Yes, I'd better.

GLORIA:

Oh, say, Henry, as long as you're here, maybe you can help me with something.

HENRY:

What?

GLORIA:

I went downstairs to get an old suitcase a little while ago and I heard the strangest noises near that old tool chest of Walter's. He mentioned that the boiler was acting up and-- Well, I'm afraid to go down there again. I wonder if you'd take a look.

HENRY:

What kind of noises?

GLORIA:

Like a - a thumping sound.

HENRY:

Uh huh. Well, maybe I'd better go down, Gloria. You stay up here.

GLORIA: Should I call a plumber, do you think?

HENRY:

No, no, no, I'll take care of it.

GLORIA:

Well, it's right down those stairs.

HENRY:

(MOVING OFF) All right, I'll have a look.

SOUND:

HENRY'S FOOTSTEPS DOWN STAIRS

HENRY:

(TO HIMSELF) Good lord.

SOUND:

HENRY'S FOOTSTEPS TO TOOLBOX ... WALTER'S TAPPING FROM INSIDE BOX

HENRY:

Hello?

SOUND:

TAPPING GROWS MORE RAPID

HENRY:

Hello, in there?

WALTER:

(MUFFLED) Let - let me out! Let me out!

HENRY:

Ssssshhh! Just a minute. Keep quiet for goodness sake.

WALTER:

(MUFFLED, DESPERATE) Let me out!

HENRY:

I'll have to smash the lock.

SOUND: SMASH! OF BROKEN LOCK ... TOOLBOX OPENS

HENRY:

Now, what--?

WALTER:

(GASPS FOR AIR) Henry! Thank - thank God you've come!

HENRY:

Well, what's the--?

WALTER:

I've been in there all night! I thought I'd suffocate. He tried to kill me! He tried to murder me!

HENRY:

Who? Which one are you?

WALTER:

Oh, don't be an idiot. I'm Walter!

HENRY:

Well, what happened?

WALTER:

B-2 -- the marionette -- he stuffed me in the toolbox and left me to suffocate!

HENRY:

What?!

WALTER:

Fortunately, I found an old file in there and managed to get an air hole through the wood.

HENRY:

Good lord. He's taking Gloria with him to Rio.

WALTER:

Have they left yet?

HENRY:

No, he's gone downtown for the tickets.

WALTER:

Good. We may have time.

HENRY:

For what?

WALTER:

To get down to Marionettes Incorporated and tell Mr. Zeig to stop him.

HENRY:

You're in no condition to--

WALTER:

Don't worry about me. We can't waste any time. Now, come on!

HENRY:

Yes, but what about Gloria?

WALTER:

I'll sneak out. Tell her that you fixed the plumbing. Tell her -- anything! I'll meet you outside.

HENRY:

All right.

WALTER:

What a fool I've been!

HENRY:

Oh, what a fool I almost was. I went down and ordered one of those things today!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

FRONT DOOR SHUTS

BRALING TWO:

(CALLS) Gloria?! Gloria, love?!

GLORIA:

Yes, darling! Did you get the tickets to Rio?

BRALING TWO:

Ahh, right here in my wallet! Honeymoon for two under the Pampas moon.

GLORIA:

Oh, Walter! It's so nice to have you like this.

BRALING TWO:

Oh? You like the change?

GLORIA:

I don't know what did it but whatever it is, I'm in favor of it. I hope it's permanent.

BRALING TWO:

Well, I intend to see that it is. Uh, by the way, darling, do you happen to remember where that old pistol of mine is?

GLORIA:

(UNEASY) Pistol?

BRALING TWO:

Yeah, I just thought since we're going to be traveling in strange countries, it wouldn't hurt to bring it along.

GLORIA:

Well, I - I think it's here in the sideboard.

SOUND:

OPENS SIDEBOARD ... RUMMAGES

GLORIA:

There. You know how frightened I am of these things.

BRALING TWO:

Well, I'll be very careful of it. In fact, I think I'll go down to the basement and practice. Not really shooting it, of course; just to make sure it's in good working order.

GLORIA:

Well, now, do be careful, darling.

BRALING TWO:

Oh, I will. If you should hear a shot, now don't be frightened. I may fire it into a block of wood just to test it. Perhaps I'll fire it into that old tool chest of mine. That should absorb it.

GLORIA:

Oh, speaking of that tool chest--

BRALING TWO:

Er, what about it?

GLORIA:

It reminds me that Henry Smith was here.

BRALING TWO:

Oh?

GLORIA:

Yes. I heard some noises downstairs and he went to fix the plumbing.

BRALING TWO:

Oh. Is he - still down there?

GLORIA:

No, no, he left. I really don't understand it. He seemed so anxious to see you before he went down to the cellar, and then he just - left.

BRALING TWO:

Did he - stop the noises?

GLORIA:

Well, he must have. I don't hear them.

BRALING TWO:

Hmm. I see.

GLORIA: What is it, dear?

BRALING TWO:

Well, I have to go out for a while, darling.

GLORIA:

But, Walter, we have to pack if we're leaving!

BRALING TWO:

I'll be back soon. There's something very important I have to attend to.

GLORIA:

What is it?

BRALING TWO:

Well, just some personal business with Henry Smith. Now, please, excuse me, darling. And don't worry. When I get back everything will be fixed once and for all. Then, we can enjoy the rest of our lives just as though the old Walter Braling never existed.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

BUZZER RINGS ... STORE DOOR OPENS

MR. ZEIG:

Oh! Mr. Braling and Mr. Smith. Come in, gentlemen. Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

MR. ZEIG:

What brings you?

HENRY:

Mr. Zeig -- you told me your marionettes were foolproof.

MR. ZEIG:

They are. My personal guarantee goes with each one of them.

HENRY:

We know all about your personal guarantee -- except that Mr. Braling's dummy knocked him out, stuffed him in a toolbox to suffocate, and is making plans to run away with his wife.

MR. ZEIG:

Oh, dear.

HENRY:

Yes. Well, Mr. Zeig?

MR. ZEIG: Well, I - I really don't know what to say, gentlemen.

HENRY:

What Mr. Braling and myself would like to know, Mr. Zeig, is -- exactly what are you planning to do to stop this overambitious robot?

MR. ZEIG:

Well, of course, we shall have to recover B-2 first. And then I'll simply dismantle him--

WALTER:

He doesn't seem to want to be dismantled, Mr. Zeig. In fact, I think that you'll have trouble catching him.

SOUND: STORE DOOR OPENS

BRALING TWO:

Maybe I can save you the trouble, gentlemen.

WALTER:

B-2!

HENRY:

Look out! He's a gun!

BRALING TWO:

I thought I'd find you here when I discovered the tool chest empty.

HENRY:

Now, you look, B-2. Whatever you're planning, you won't get away with it.

BRALING TWO:

Oh, I think I will.

WALTER:

Mr. Zeig, can't you do something?

MR. ZEIG:

I'm afraid I can't think of anything.

BRALING TWO:

I'll save you the trouble because I'm going to kill the three of ya.

WALTER:

No! Now, you won't get away with it.

BRALING TWO:

No?! You forget that Gloria and I will be on a plane to Rio in a few hours. All right, Mr. Zeig. You first.

MR. ZEIG:

Now, see here! This isn't fair! I created you! I-- You can't! You--

SOUND:

TWO GUNSHOTS

HENRY:

Grab him!

WALTER:

I - I've got him!

HENRY:

Quick! That hammer!

WALTER:

Look out!

SOUND:

WHACK! OF HAMMER AGAINST METAL ... BOING! GOES A SPRING ... B-2'S BODY FALLS TO FLOOR

HENRY:

Whew! (SIGHS) Well, that's the end of Braling Two.

WALTER: But he - he got Zeig, though.

HENRY:

Yeah.

WALTER:

Right through the--

HENRY:

(BEAT) Hm?

WALTER:

Holy jumpin' catfish, Henry.

HENRY:

What's the matter? Hm?

WALTER:

Look at him. Look - look at Zeig.

HENRY:

(STUNNED) It's nothing but a mass of coils and springs. Just like Braling Two! Why, he's nothing but a marionette! He's no different from-- (BEAT) Braling, do you know what this means?

WALTER:

Oh, this is incredible.

HENRY:

A marionette -- building other marionettes?

WALTER:

But someone must have built Mr. Zeig originally. I wonder--

HENRY:

Perhaps Mr. Zeig turned on whoever built him the same way Braling Two turned on you.

WALTER:

Well, at any rate, we'll never know.

HENRY:

No. Say, I wonder how many of these things are walking around among us.

WALTER:

Oh, I shudder to think of that.

HENRY:

You know, some of our best friends might be--

WALTER:

Ooh. Yeah.

HENRY:

Come on, we hafta get out of here.

WALTER:

But the police--?

HENRY:

Now, don't be a fool, Braling. There's been no crime committed here. All the police will find is two oversized puppets with the springs coming out of them.

WALTER: And they seemed so - so lifelike.

HENRY:

Yes, I know, and they were only machinery. Now, you've got to remember that.

WALTER: Yes. Well, what'll I tell Gloria?

HENRY:

Well, if I were you, Braling, I wouldn't tell Gloria a thing. I'd simply pick up that other ticket to Rio and take her on a honeymoon, just as she's expecting.

WALTER:

What about you, though, Henry? What are you going to do?

HENRY:

Me? Well, I'm going home and give Nettie a kiss that'll singe her hair. Oh, you know, when I think of what might have happened if I'd gone through with this marionette thing-- Well, it makes a fella realize how lucky he is to be married to a decent woman. Come on, let's go.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

HENRY:

(CALLS) Nettie?! Nettie?! Where are you, sweetheart?

NETTIE:

(OFF) In here, darling.

HENRY:

Oh ho, I've missed you today. Come here.

NETTIE:

(CLOSE, LOVINGLY) Oh, Henry.

HENRY:

(GIVES HER A BIG HUG, WITH APPROPRIATE MURMURS)

NETTIE:

(MURMURS OF HER OWN) Oh, you look tired, darling. Can I do something for you? Just tell me. I'm yours to command.

HENRY:

(AFFECTIONATE) Ohhhh. A man's a fool to jeopardize a nice home and a loving wife like you. Oh, you do love me, don't you, Nettie?

NETTIE:

Oh, you know I do. Here. Let me get your slippers on.

HENRY:

Oh, it feels good to sit back on the sofa and relax. Oh, you don't know what a trying day I've had.

NETTIE:

I can see you're all upset. It isn't anything I've done is it, dearest?

HENRY:

Oh, no, no, no. Well, in a way, something you've done is connected with it, yes.

NETTIE:

What's that, darling?

HENRY:

The money.

NETTIE:

Money?

HENRY:

Now, I know you wanted to surprise me with the house, darling, but really you shouldn't have taken that money out of the bank without consulting me.

NETTIE:

Henry, I don't even know what you're talking about.

HENRY:

Now, now, Nettie--

NETTIE:

But I don't.

HENRY:

Nettie!

NETTIE: Oh, you're so upset, darling. If it's anything important, let's talk about it later. Meanwhile, why don't you just put your head on my shoulder and rest?

HENRY:

Well, I must admit, that sounds enticing.

NETTIE:

Here. Let me make you comfortable.

HENRY:

(MURMURS FOR SNUGGLING)

NETTIE:

There. Now, you just close your eyes.

HENRY: (SIGHS)

NETTIE:

That's it.

SOUND:

TICK-TICK-TICK! OF CLOCKWORK IN A HOLLOW DRUM ... FILLS A PAUSE ... CONTINUES IN BG, OUT AT [X]

HENRY:

Nettie?

NETTIE:

Yes, darling?

HENRY:

Do you hear something?

NETTIE:

No, darling.

HENRY:

You sure?

NETTIE:

Like what? [X]

HENRY:

Like the - ticking of a clock.

NETTIE: No.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN, CONTINUES IN BG

HENRY:

Strange. I don't hear it now but - when I had my ear against your chest-- (TO HIMSELF) Oh, no. Oh, no, she couldn't have done that to me. Not Nettie.

NETTIE: What are you talking about?

HENRY:

I'm talking about-- No, I won't believe it! You're my Nettie, aren't you? You're real, live, flesh and blood? But I hear it. And it's coming from you. It's coming from you!

MUSIC: UP, FOR A WRY FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One," presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction. Tonight, by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you "Marionettes, Incorporated," written by Ray Bradbury and adapted for radio by George Lefferts. Featured in the cast were Les Damon, Dick Hamilton, Karl Swenson, Theo Getz, Arthur Kohl, Bob Hastings, Freddie Chandler, and Ginger Jones. 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:

Pro football championship, Los Angeles Rams versus Cleveland Browns, Monday -- NBC Radio.

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES ... THEN OUT