Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Chain of Command
Date: Nov 21 1956

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
CHARLIE, working class, shy
GEORGE, a pleasant, gentle soul
CLARA, George's worried wife
ADAMS
CHIEF
GENERAL, brusque, paranoid
and a few OFFICERS at the Pentagon

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 --

VOICE:

(HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, "Chain of Command" by Stephen Arr.

MUSIC:

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

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) This is about George. He's a friend of mine, lives right here at the Brookside Atomic Laboratory with his family. My name is Charlie Boyle, by the way. I'm a security guard here at the lab. Been here now for -- oh, well -- twenty years, I guess. Course, they don't use the lab any more. Lots of weeds and things and-- Well, I stick around. There really isn't any place to go.

Oh. Well, I'm getting away from it. After all, this is about George. Some of it I knew myself; a lot of it he told me after it was over. It began-- Well, let's see now, uh-- Well, it began the morning after George's wife lit into him. [X]

CLARA:

I think, George, the least you could do is complain. After all, are you a mouse or a man?

GEORGE:

Clara, what's the point of complaining? It will just start trouble.

CLARA:

We do live at the laboratory. We have some rights.

GEORGE:

The best thing we can do is just stay right where we are.

CLARA:

But it's dangerous.

GEORGE:

There's nothing dangerous about it, just so long as we know what we're doing.

CLARA:

I'm not thinking about us; I'm thinking about the children.

GEORGE:

The children know where they mustn't go.

CLARA:

George, I will not go on like this without a moment's peace of mind. If you had the slightest concern for my welfare or for the children's, you'd--

GEORGE:

All right, all right. I'll go talk to old Charlie, the security guard.

CLARA:

Why not talk directly to the superintendent?

GEORGE:

Because of the complications. Now, I promise you I'll explain the situation to Charlie. He knows me; I've talked to him for over a year now.

CLARA:

And he hasn't the slightest influence.

GEORGE:

I'll impress the seriousness of the situation on him.

CLARA:

All right, but do it now.

GEORGE:

I will.

CLARA:

And be firm!

GEORGE:

I'll be as firm as I can.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) I was at my desk in the hallway. The place was deserted. I've always worked the night shift [alone], except for my supervisor, Mr. Adams, who was in his office down the hall workin' late. I remember I was sort of dozing off when I heard George's voice in my ear. [X]

GEORGE:

(GENTLY) Charles? Sst! Charlie?

CHARLIE:

(WAKES, HALF ASLEEP) Huh? Hm?

GEORGE:

It's me -- George.

CHARLIE:

Ohhhh, yes, yes, George. Yeah, how are ya?

GEORGE:

Fine. Can I have a chat with you?

CHARLIE:

Chat away. I got all night.

GEORGE:

Good. It's about the trap.

CHARLIE:

The trap?

GEORGE:

The one outside our door.

CHARLIE:

Oh, that trap.

GEORGE:

Clara, my wife, says it's dangerous.

CHARLIE:

Well, now, uh--

GEORGE:

She'd like it removed.

CHARLIE:

Removed? Oh, no, George. (CHUCKLE) That can't be done.

GEORGE:

Regulations?

CHARLIE:

Regulations.

GEORGE:

Suppose you just -- removed it without telling anybody.

CHARLIE:

Oh, they'd fire me, George.

GEORGE:

I see. Clara's afraid one of the kids might get hurt.

CHARLIE:

Oh. Hm.

GEORGE:

How 'bout taking it up with the supervisor?

CHARLIE:

Mr. Adams?

GEORGE:

Why not?

CHARLIE:

Well, it never occurred to me.

GEORGE:

Why not give it a try?

CHARLIE:

Oh, I don't know. Mr. Adams doesn't even know you exist.

GEORGE:

Maybe it's time he found out.

CHARLIE:

Hmmm, well-- (CLEARS THROAT) Hmm. Well, it - it might get a bit sticky.

GEORGE:

Give it a try.

CHARLIE:

(RELUCTANT) Well, uhhh--

GEORGE:

Come on, Charlie, be a good fellow. Haven't we been buddies for a long time?

CHARLIE:

Oh, we've been buddies all right. But, well, when it comes to somethin' like this--

GEORGE:

Will you try at least? Clara isn't gonna let me alone unless something happens.

CHARLIE:

Oh. (HEMS AND HAWS, THEN RELENTS) Okay, George. I'll give it a try.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES, NERVOUS) I - I - I straightened my tie and I brushed off my uniform real neat and I went into Mr. Adams' office. I could see the light under his door, and I hear him on the phone, so I knew he was there. [X]

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Edgar? Adams, up at Brookside Lab. ... Uh huh. ... How are things in Washington? ... No, no, no, nothing serious; just want to have a fingerprint check on one of our scientists. ... Uh huh. ... Yeah, number seven-X-four-five-eight-two. ... That's right. How's the missus? ... Ah, good.

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Oh, excuse me a minute, will ya? Somebody at the door. (CALLS) Come in, come in.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

ADAMS:

Oh, hello, Charlie.

CHARLIE:

Hello, Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Edgar, can I call you back? ... Fine.

SOUND:

ADAMS PUTS DOWN PHONE RECEIVER

ADAMS:

Yeah, what is it, Charlie?

SOUND:

CHARLIE'S FOOTSTEPS IN

CHARLIE:

(STAMMERS) Well, I'd like a word with you, Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

Well, Charlie, I'm on the phone to Washington. Is it a security matter?

CHARLIE:

Well, in a way, Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

(BEAT) Well?

CHARLIE:

(STAMMERS) I don't know how to tell you, really.

ADAMS:

Just tell me.

CHARLIE:

Well. (CLEARS THROAT) Sir. (EXHALES) There's a mouse named George down in Room Four Hundred and Twelve who doesn't want the trap outside his door.

ADAMS:

Well, that's just too-- (BEAT) What?

CHARLIE:

A mouse. In, uh, Room Four Hundred and Twelve. He objects to the trap.

ADAMS:

Look, Charlie, I'm busy. Is this a joke or something?

CHARLIE:

Well, I guess maybe it is--

ADAMS:

(INTERRUPTS, LIGHTLY) I mean, I like a good joke as well as the next fella, Charlie, but-- Well, I mean it's late and I got a lot of work to do. Do you mind?

CHARLIE:

No, Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

Yeah, well, that's fine. You just get back to your desk, huh?

CHARLIE:

Okay, Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

And, Charlie, uh--

CHARLIE:

Yes, sir?

ADAMS:

(GOOD-NATURED) Next time one of the mice complains, tell him to come in here and speak to me himself.

CHARLIE:

Yes, sir.

ADAMS:

(LAUGHS)

SOUND:

CHARLIE'S FOOTSTEPS OUT ... DOOR CLOSES ... ADAMS PICKS UP PHONE

ADAMS:

(CHUCKLES, INTO PHONE) Edgar? Edgar, Adams here again. I'm sorry, one of the security guards, playing a little joke on me. (CHUCKLES) He came in to say one of the mice here at the lab is complaining about the trap outside his door. (CHUCKLES) ... You got 'em down in Washington, too, huh? Yeah? What do you do about it? ... Traps, huh? Yeah. Yeah, it's the only way I guess. Yeah.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) Well, I went back to my desk. George was there, waiting. I could tell by his expression that he knew the answer before he even asked me. [X]

GEORGE:

No soap, huh, Charlie?

CHARLIE:

No soap, George.

GEORGE:

I guess I'll have to tell Clara.

CHARLIE:

Yeah. I'm sorry, George.

GEORGE:

What'd he say?

CHARLIE:

Well, he said if you've got a complaint, see him yourself.

GEORGE:

He said that, huh?

CHARLIE:

Yep.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) Of course, I didn't know what was going to happen. George didn't tell me till it was all over. I mean, really really all over. Then it was too late for me to do anything. It turned out, though, that Clara -- that's George's wife -- told him that if he didn't go talk to Mr. Adams, she'd up and leave him. (BEAT) Yeah, leave him. And the kids, too. So him and me, we - we went. [X]

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) And nothing negative on his record, eh, Edgar?

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Well, okay. Yeah, excuse me a minute. (CALLS) Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

CHARLIE:

Uh--

ADAMS:

Oh, what is it this time?

CHARLIE:

Excuse me, Mr. Adams. (STAMMERS) Well, it's that mouse. He wants to talk to you.

ADAMS:

(BEAT, INTO PHONE) I'll call you back, Edgar.

SOUND:

ADAMS HANGS UP PHONE

ADAMS:

Now, look, Charlie-- I mean, this has gone far enough.

CHARLIE:

Uh, yes, sir. Um, yes, sir.

ADAMS:

What the devil you got in your hand?

CHARLIE:

Uhhhhh. Well, this is him, sir. It's the mouse I was telling you about.

GEORGE:

(HELPFULLY) George.

CHARLIE:

Yeah, George. (TO GEORGE) This is Mr. Adams, the security supervisor.

GEORGE:

How do you do?

ADAMS:

(PAUSE) Huh?

GEORGE:

How do you do?

ADAMS:

(BEAT, CHUCKLES UNEASILY) Ventriloquism, huh, Charlie? That - that's pretty good.

CHARLIE:

Oh, it ain't ventriloquism, Mr. Adams. He talks.

ADAMS:

(AMUSED) Yeah, sure he does. (CHUCKLES, AWKWARD) Well, look, now you've had your little joke and-- I got a lot of work to do--

GEORGE:

I'd like a word with you.

ADAMS:

(BEAT) What? (CHUCKLES, STAMMERS) George, that's remarkable. It really-- Now, look--

CHARLIE:

George? George, uh, suppose I just leave you here and step outside, hm?

GEORGE:

That might be best.

CHARLIE:

Excuse me, Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

No, now, wait a minute, you can't leave that beast in here!

CHARLIE:

He won't take much of your time.

ADAMS:

But I--

SOUND:

CHARLIE'S FOOTSTEPS OUT ... DOOR CLOSES

ADAMS:

(STAMMERS, DISBELIEF, TO SELF) Well-- Well-- Leaving a mouse on my desk--!

GEORGE:

Can you hear me all right?

ADAMS:

Yes, of course-- Wha - what?

GEORGE:

I said can you hear me? Some people have trouble.

ADAMS:

(LOW, TO SELF) I'm going out of my mind. It's a hallucination.

GEORGE:

No, sir, a mouse.

ADAMS:

Listen to-- Who--? (STAMMERS, TO GEORGE) What are you?

GEORGE:

A mouse. You know -- cheese, rodents, all that sort of thing.

ADAMS:

Do you mind if I touch you?

GEORGE:

Okay, but take it easy. (TOUCHED BY ADAMS, NERVOUS) Careful, don't bend up the whiskers.

ADAMS:

(FLAT) You're real.

GEORGE:

Sure I'm real. Now, listen, about that trap.

ADAMS:

(DAZED) The trap?

GEORGE:

My wife is driving me goofy. Get it away from our front door, will ya?

ADAMS:

Your front door? Yes, yes, of course, I'll-- Are you sure you exist?

GEORGE:

I could bite you to prove it.

ADAMS:

Never mind.

GEORGE:

What about it?

ADAMS:

What about what?

GEORGE:

The trap.

ADAMS:

The trap? Yes, of course. Well, I mean, it's a security problem. Look, would you do me a favor?

GEORGE:

Depends.

ADAMS:

Tell me - how come you talk.

GEORGE:

Simple. My ancestors have been around this lab since it was built. We've gotten a lot of gamma radiation. A couple of 'em were used as an experiment to test radiation endurance. There were surgical operations, grafts of human brain tissue to mouse brain tissue to check the effects of the rays on human brains and so on. You follow me?

ADAMS:

Wait a minute. I remember there were some experiments where human brain tissue was placed in a mouse and then exposed.

GEORGE:

That's it! Those mice -- the ones that survived -- were my great-grandparents.

ADAMS:

Holy smokes.

GEORGE:

So, what about the trap? I mean, we're nice, peaceful mice. We don't bother anybody. We don't eat much. We mind our own business--

ADAMS:

Okay, wait a minute, wait a minute. (STAMMERS) You say your great-grandparents were the first of this talking line? I mean, are - are there many of you?

GEORGE:

(PROUDLY) Three generations, mac. That's a lot of mice.

ADAMS:

Tell me, have you talked to anybody besides me?

GEORGE:

Well, I talk to Charlie.

ADAMS:

No, no. I mean, besides Charlie.

GEORGE:

I tried it with a couple of guys. They wouldn't listen.

ADAMS:

These - these others-- What do you call 'em? Your relatives. Have they talked to anybody? Tell me.

GEORGE:

How should I know? I suppose they've talked to dozens of people.

ADAMS:

Where are these people they've talked to?

GEORGE:

The mental hospitals are full of 'em. It's a problem, see. We can talk to kids and -- you know, the "odd ones" -- but, uh, anybody else, they get scared.

ADAMS:

Uh huh.

GEORGE:

So, what do I tell Clara about the trap?

ADAMS:

Clara?

GEORGE:

My wife, Clara.

ADAMS:

Oh, well, it's a security problem. I think I'll have to take it up with Washington.

GEORGE:

Okay, take it up.

ADAMS:

Yeah, I'll dictate a memo first thing in the-- No, no, I won't. They'll think I flipped!

GEORGE:

(DISAPPOINTED) Okay, I'll tell Clara.

ADAMS:

No, wait, wait, wait a minute. Let me make a phone call. Sooner or later, this thing has got to be dealt with.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Edgar? Edgar, Adams at Brookside. ... Now, Edgar, old man, we have just encountered a rather unusual security problem here at the plant. ... Oh, no, no, no, no, nothing like that. Mice! ... Yeah. Talking mice. ... No, no, Edgar, it is not a joke. I know we were joking a while ago, but it turns out there are talking mice here. Edgar, listen-- Please Edgar, will you listen? I'll - I'll put one of them on the phone. Now, listen-- (LOW, TO GEORGE) Would you--? Here. Would you just talk, please?

GEORGE:

(WHISPERS) What'll I say?

ADAMS:

(LOW) Just say anything. (INTO PHONE) His name is George.

GEORGE:

(INTO PHONE) Hello? This is George. I'm trying to get the authorities to remove the trap from in front of my-- What?

ADAMS:

Here, let me have it, will ya? (INTO PHONE) Edgar? Edgar, listen! I am not kidding and I have not gone mad. This is on the level. In my office, at this moment, there is a mouse who talks. In this Top Secret atomic laboratory, there are several hundred such mice, for all I know. ... Look, Edgar, you don't believe me and I don't expect you to believe me. ... No, I don't want a vacation. Good night, Edgar.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

ADAMS:

He doesn't believe me.

GEORGE:

We keep running into this all the time.

ADAMS:

George-- George are you really interested in doing something about that trap?

GEORGE:

Have you ever met my wife? Oh, of course you haven't.

ADAMS:

(ENTHUSIASTIC, URGENT) Wait a minute, I got it, I got it. I'm going to call for a top-level security conference at the Pentagon. George, will you come down there with me? Will ya? We won't say a word, we'll - we'll just appear.

GEORGE:

Washington?

ADAMS:

(LIKE A SALES TALK) First class accommodations. We'll get you the best suite in town. Do you like cheese?

GEORGE:

(AMUSED) Do I like cheese?! (SERIOUS) Can you get provolone down there?

ADAMS:

Get what?

GEORGE:

Provolone.

ADAMS:

We'll get it. All the provolone you can eat.

GEORGE:

(HESITANT) I've never traveled before.

ADAMS:

George, you'll love it, you'll love it. Chance to get away from the wife for a while, huh? What do you say, boy? You and me, huh? We'll live it up down there. Look, I know a couple of girls. I seem to recall they had mice in their pantry.

GEORGE:

I don't know. I'll have to talk to Clara.

ADAMS:

Look, look; tell her it's the only way to get action on the trap. Make it sound big. You know -- you hate to go away from her, but it's for the kids. (LAUGHS) What do you say, pal, huh?

GEORGE:

Welllllll. Okay.

ADAMS:

Atta boy!

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Operator, get me the chief of security at the Pentagon. Make it fast, this is an emergency.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) I wasn't there, but, like I said, George told me all about it after it was over. Seems him and Mr. Adams went down to Washington on the morning plane. George got a little plane sick, but he liked flying pretty good anyway. They checked in at the Statler, then went over to the Pentagon. [X]

SOUND:

MURMUR OF OFFICERS ... GAVEL BANGS ... MURMUR SUBSIDES

CHIEF:

Order, gentlemen, order! As chief, I hereby convene the meeting. It's been called as a priority-A Emergency Session by Mr. Adams, who, as you know, is security chief at our Brookville Atomic Laboratories. Mr. Adams?

ADAMS:

Yes, thank you, thank you, chief. Gentlemen, it may come as a shock to all of you -- it did to me -- but I've learned that some twelve hundred English-speaking individuals have been operating freely within our Top Secret laboratories at Brookville without any security clearance whatsoever.

CHIEF:

(PAUSE) You did say -- twelve hundred?

ADAMS:

Actually, sir, twelve hundred and seven.

CHIEF:

Who are these people, sir?

ADAMS:

Mice, chief.

CHIEF:

(CLEARS THROAT) Mice?

ADAMS:

Yes, sir, mice. I have one of them here with me. (BEAT) Some-- Somewhere. George? (NO ANSWER) George?

GEORGE:

Here.

ADAMS:

Geo--? Oh. (RELIEVED) Oh, there you are. (NERVOUS CHUCKLE) George, would you just mind stepping to the center of the table?

GEORGE:

Right.

ADAMS:

Gentlemen, this is George.

GEORGE:

How do you do?

SOUND:

OFFICERS REACT, SURPRISED

CHIEF:

Well, this is most remarkable.

ADAMS:

George is the result of an experiment conducted some years ago in which bits of human brain tissue were grafted into live mice to test radiation effects.

CHIEF:

And there are twelve hundred of these inside the lab?

ADAMS:

Twelve-oh-seven.

CHIEF:

Without security clearance?

ADAMS:

Without security clearance.

CHIEF:

Oh. (TO GEORGE) Sir? (NO ANSWER, AWKWARD) Uh -- mouse?

GEORGE:

Call me George.

CHIEF:

Uh, George. George, tell me - what you know.

GEORGE:

My wife wants the trap removed from our front door. She thinks it's dangerous for the children.

GENERAL:

Has she been cleared?

CHIEF:

Quiet, general.

GENERAL:

Well, a major lapse in security--

CHIEF:

I'm aware of the lapse, general.

GEORGE:

What about the trap?

GENERAL:

I refuse to countenance any act that will aid the entrance of more of these spies and saboteurs into the plant.

GEORGE:

Who's a spy? I'm a mice. (CORRECTS HIMSELF) A mouse.

GENERAL:

Tell me, have you overheard any conferences?

GEORGE:

Maybe a few.

GENERAL:

Seen any documents?

GEORGE:

My kids play in the secret document file. It's the safest place in the lab.

GENERAL:

Have you yourself ever seen any papers marked Top Secret?

GEORGE:

Seen 'em? Heck, I've eaten 'em.

SOUND:

OFFICERS REACT, UNHAPPY

GENERAL:

I believe this calls for some action, gentlemen.

CHIEF:

Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams, if you and this, uh, rodent will retire to the next room, I think we'll have a brief caucus.

ADAMS:

Yes, sir. George?

GEORGE:

Okay.

ADAMS:

Yes. See you later, gentlemen.

SOUND:

OFFICERS MURMUR QUIETLY AS ADAMS AND GEORGE EXIT

GEORGE:

(MOVING OFF) Listen, what about the provolone?

ADAMS:

(MOVING OFF) Never mind.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

CHIEF:

Well, I think we should try to forget for the moment that these creatures are mice and deal with them as security problems.

GENERAL:

Concur.

CHIEF:

Now then, the first question is one of loyalties.

GENERAL:

I raise a question at this point.

CHIEF:

General?

GENERAL:

Are these - American mice?

CHIEF:

Well, I assume that--

GENERAL:

Well, but do we know?

CHIEF:

You have a point, sir. Perhaps we ought to get immigration in on this.

GENERAL:

Immigration? I'd say extermination.

CHIEF:

Before we do anything rash, general, I think we ought to learn more about these creatures -- who they are, what their habits are, their loyalties, how much they know.

GENERAL:

Suppose this George creature won't tell us.

CHIEF:

We'll have to use every trick in the book. Now, I would suggest we first try the velvet glove. The full treatment.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) George told me about the velvet glove later. He said he didn't really suspect anything at first, what with all the excitement of being in Washington and so on, but after a while he got wind of what they were doing. [X]

SOUND:

PHONE RECEIVER UP

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Room Service, this is Mr. Adams in Seven-Twelve. Will you please send up a pound of, uh--? Of, uh--?

GEORGE:

Provolone.

ADAMS:

(INTO PHONE) Provolone, please. ... Cheese. ... Cheese. ... Yes, and some more wine. ... Yes, fine. Uh huh, right away, please.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

ADAMS:

They'll have some more right away, George.

GEORGE:

I can't get enough of this stuff. Really delicious.

ADAMS:

George, have a little more wine.

GEORGE:

(A LITTLE DRUNK ALREADY) Don't mind if I do.

ADAMS:

(CHUCKLES)

SOUND:

BOTTLE AND GLASS CLINK AS WINE IS POURED

GEORGE:

Yeah, this is the life, all right.

ADAMS:

It's a great town, isn't it, George?

GEORGE:

Stupend-u-ous. (PRONOUNCED stoo-PEN-joo-us)

ADAMS:

By the way, George, those documents you mentioned eating. Do you remember what they said?

GEORGE:

(MOUTH FULL) Mm, something about nuclear weapons. Listen, Adams, what about those girls you mentioned -- the ones who had mice in their pantry?

ADAMS:

Oh, yes.

GEORGE:

How 'bout givin' 'em a call, huh?

ADAMS:

Well, George, it's a little late, don't ya think?

GEORGE:

Ohhhhh. The night's just beginning.

ADAMS:

All right, George, I'll give 'em a little call.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP ... DIALS PHONE

ADAMS:

(TO SELF WHILE DIALING) Six. (LAUGHS, EXHALES, SATISFIED) If my memory serves. ... (INTO PHONE) Hello, Gail?! (CHUCKLES, TO SELF) My memory serves. (CHEERY, TO GAIL) Bob Adams, hi! Just - just down on a quick business trip. ... Uh huh. ... How are tricks, Gail? ... (CHUCKLES) No, no, no, no. Not a thing. By the way, do you still have mice? ... Mice. ... Yeah-- You what? ... You extermin-- Oh. Oh, I see. Uh huh. No, no, no, no, I-- No, I don't think I'll have time this trip. I just wanted to call you up and say hello. (CHUCKLES) Yeah, maybe next trip. ... Fine, my dear. So long.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

GEORGE:

What'd she say?

ADAMS:

(EXHALES, AWKWARD) Unfortunately, the superintendent has a - cat.

GEORGE:

(SADLY) I see. Wiped out?

ADAMS:

Wiped out.

GEORGE:

That's something I want to take up with my congressman before we leave town.

ADAMS:

We'll do that, George. George, have another sip of wine.

GEORGE:

Don't mind if I do.

ADAMS:

That's it. Now then, George, about those documents.

GEORGE:

Will you stop about documents? I thought we were in town for a good time.

ADAMS:

We are, we are.

GEORGE:

Well, round up a couple of mice, man, and let's get with it!

ADAMS:

Mice. I'll tell what, I'll tell you what, George. You wait here, I'll go out and I'll see what I can do, okay?

GEORGE:

Okay, but make it snappy, huh? I'm rarin' to go!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... RAUNCHY JAZZ ... THEN MELLOW, IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) Next morning, Adams woke George and told him they were scheduled for another conference at the Pentagon. [X]

ADAMS:

George? George, wake up, huh?

GEORGE:

(GROANS) Oh, what a head.

ADAMS:

Come on. Come on, George, we're due at the Pentagon.

GEORGE:

Easy! Don't talk so loud. Whoa. Where did you get those white mice last night?

ADAMS:

Over at the National Research Lab.

GEORGE:

Whoo! They must have been feedin' those girls wheat germ.

ADAMS:

All right, come on, come on, George, come on. You can sober up in the taxi. Come on.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

CHIEF:

All right, George, we've been beating around the bush long enough. Who are you?

GEORGE:

I told ya. I'm a mouse. My name is George. I live in a hole at the Brookville Atomic Laboratory.

GENERAL:

We know all that. We want to know who's behind you.

GEORGE:

Nobody's behind me. Listen, you guys don't have to be afraid of me. I'm only a mouse.

GENERAL:

It's the perfect fifth column. The ultimate weapon.

CHIEF:

Do you realize that you and your family are living inside a secret government installation without any security clearance whatsoever?

GEORGE:

I'm willing to be investigated.

GENERAL:

How do we know you aren't an agent for a foreign power?

GEORGE:

How do we know you aren't an agent for a foreign power?

GENERAL:

Preposterous!

GEORGE:

It'd be the perfect fifth column.

GENERAL:

Gentlemen, I will not remain here to be insulted by this creature.

GEORGE:

And I will not be insulted by you, sir. Gentlemen, good day.

ADAMS:

No, George! Wait! Come back! George! George, wait!

SOUND:

OFFICERS RISE, MURMUR, AND HURRY AROUND ROOM ... IN BG

CHIEF:

Where is he?! Where is he?!

GENERAL:

He went that way!

CHIEF:

Head him off!

GENERAL:

He's going into the wall!

CHIEF:

Grab him.

ADAMS:

George!

GENERAL:

Too late! He's gone!

SOUND:

OFFICERS STAND STILL AND SILENT

CHIEF:

Well, men, this is it. We'll have to decide on a course of action. We've got to recapture him.

ADAMS:

Look, I think the first thing to do is get a cat.

GENERAL:

He's too smart for a cat.

CHIEF:

Well, something's got to be done.

ADAMS:

Something's got to be done.

CHIEF:

After all, these creatures have access to every secret file in the country.

GENERAL:

Not to mention eavesdropping on our private lives.

ADAMS:

The thing that bothers me is, gentlemen, they multiply. In another three generations, there will be some twelve billion talking mice -- six times the human population of the earth!

CHIEF:

It's no matter for fooling around. Kill or be killed, gentlemen!

ADAMS:

The problem there is -- how?

GENERAL:

We have reason to believe they're concentrated in Brookville. I say evacuate all humans and blow up the plant. Use the H-bomb if necessary.

CHIEF:

I'm afraid you're right, general. We must exterminate.

GENERAL:

I'll phone Strategic Air Command and alert them.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP

GENERAL:

(INTO PHONE) S-A-C, please. (BEAT) Hello, Bill? This is Ed. Listen, fuel up a couple of big ones. ... No, nothing serious. But we may want to use them in the near future. ... Just stand by. That's all.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

CHIEF:

I'll call Chemical Warfare and get the best information on exterminating rodents.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP

CHIEF:

(INTO PHONE) Hello? ... Hello?

SOUND:

RATTLES CRADLE

CHIEF:

That's funny. It's gone dead. (INTO PHONE) Hello? Hello?

SOUND:

RATTLES CRADLE

CHIEF:

Something's wrong here. Sounds almost as if the line had been cut.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

GENERAL:

Adams, get out an alarm for that mouse!

MUSIC:

WHIRLWIND BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) Well, that was only the beginning, of course. Things began to happen pretty fast right after that. You bet your sweet satchel they did. [X]

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... ADAMS' FOOTSTEPS IN

CHIEF:

Well, Adams?

ADAMS:

Yeah, I've been talking to Edgar. The FBI has located several hundred field mice, all of them non-talking. No trace of a mouse corresponding to our description of George.

CHIEF:

I see.

ADAMS:

A team of Secret Service men have been combing the Pentagon and the White House. We've got fifteen hundred traps baited with imported provolone in the Senate chambers alone. So far, no luck.

CHIEF:

What about cats?

ADAMS:

The American Feline Fanciers have volunteered a hundred mousers.

CHIEF:

Oh good, good. Any more telephone wires cut?

ADAMS:

I'm afraid so, Chief, yes. He managed to gnaw through the private wire from the President's suite to the Pentagon.

CHIEF:

I see. Well, get it spliced. What about the Top Secret file on that new chemical warfare agent? Is there any trace of that?

ADAMS:

They found the file but he's managed to chew out the key symbols. I'm afraid it's useless.

CHIEF:

Well, keep tracking him down! Sooner or later we'll get him!

ADAMS:

Yes, sir, yes, sir. Only one thing, sir.

CHIEF:

Well, what's that?

ADAMS:

I hate to mention it really.

CHIEF:

Well, go on, man.

ADAMS:

(HESITANT) Well, sir, the damage has appeared in such widespread places recently that--

CHIEF:

Well, go on, go on.

ADAMS:

Well, there must be more than just George. In fact, we're afraid he has reinforcements right here in Washington.

CHIEF:

But that's impossible! How?!

ADAMS:

I don't know how, sir; unless--

CHIEF:

Unless what?

ADAMS:

Unless-- Well, it seems, sir, that there were a couple of female white mice from the National Research Lab.

CHIEF:

(BEAT) You mean--?

ADAMS:

Yes, sir. I'm afraid so, sir.

MUSIC:

DOOM-LADEN BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) I guess maybe you know the rest. Within a couple of weeks, every cable, telephone line, power line -- every telegraph line in the United States had been cut. Also the wires in every plane, tank, train, ship. They'd also destroyed every file in the country.

That was only a month ago, and you can guess what's happened. Most everybody has left this part of the world. In this whole atomic laboratory, I'm the only human. And I'm not so sure I'll be around much longer.

Yes sir, the only human. Not that they need a security guard but, well, I'm just used to bein' here...

GEORGE:

(QUIETLY) Sst!

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES) ... I wouldn't know where to go. [X]

GEORGE:

(QUIETLY) Sst! Charlie?

CHARLIE:

Why, George! George, is it you?

GEORGE:

That's right, Charlie.

CHARLIE:

Well, you look awful. Where've you been?

GEORGE:

Well, I was down in Washington, Charlie -- about the traps, remember?

CHARLIE:

Oh, yeah. That was before all the trouble started, over two months ago. Well, whatcha been doing all this time?

GEORGE:

Well, you know we've been pretty busy protecting ourselves. Cutting the lines and stopping transportation and such.

CHARLIE:

I figured it was the mice done it, yeah.

GEORGE:

Yeah, we didn't like it but it was them or us, so we did it.

CHARLIE:

Hmmm. Well, how come you look so terrible though?

GEORGE:

Well, we stopped the trains and the planes, you know, so-- Well, I had to walk back. That's one heck of a walk -- for a mouse.

MUSIC:

WHIMSICAL ... FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG

CHARLIE:

(NARRATES, WITH A SHRUG) Like I said, this is about George.

MUSIC:

TO A WHIMSICAL FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One," presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine [...] Your announcer, Fred Collins. "X Minus One" was an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH ... NBC CHIMES ... THEN OUT