Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: A Gun for Dinosaur
Date: Mar 07 1956

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
RIVERS, good-natured but tough Englishman
SELIGMAN
BARTENDER (1 line)
JAMES, obnoxious and spoiled
HOLTZINGER, quiet
RAJA, Rivers' older partner, also English
TECHNICIAN
NBC ANNCR (2 lines)

NBC ANNCR:

In just a moment, "X Minus One." But first--

No one can deny that spring is in the air and to prepare for the new season, NBC's "Weekday" brings you some timely and useful features. One is a new series with [?] on gardening tips for both city and country dwellers. The second feature brings you hints for the best use of leisure time. And you can also bet that Jo Copeland, famous dress designer, will enlighten you on the spring fashion picture when she appears on tomorrow's show. Listen in and hear it all on NBC's "Weekday" tomorrow morning.

And 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's story, "A Gun for Dinosaur" by L. Sprague de Camp.

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION

SOUND:

BAR BACKGROUND ... GLASSES CLINK, DRINKERS MURMUR, ET CETERA

RIVERS:

Uh, just whiskey, please. No soda.

BARTENDER:

Ice, Mr. Rivers?

RIVERS:

(CHUCKLES) Good heavens, no. I have been in America for some time, but not that long.

SELIGMAN:

(A TOAST) Well, to a fine dinosaur, eh?

RIVERS:

Well, now, just a moment, Mr. Seligman. I won't take you hunting Late Mesozoic dinosaur.

SELIGMAN:

Why not?

RIVERS:

How much d'you weigh? About nine stone?

SELIGMAN:

One hundred and thirty pounds.

RIVERS:

Yeah, I thought so. It's not heavy enough.

SELIGMAN:

But your advertisement! You said, "Safaris arranged to any time period."

RIVERS:

Well, I'll take you to any period in the Cenozoic. I'll get you a shot at any entelodont or even mammoth or mastodon; and they have fine heads. But I'll jolly well not take you to the Jurassic or the Cretaceous. You're just too small.

SELIGMAN:

Well, what's my weight got to do with it?

RIVERS:

Now, look here, old boy, what did you think you were gonna shoot those dinosaur with?

SELIGMAN:

Well, I--

RIVERS:

Well, look over here in this case. That's my own gun, a Continental six hundred. That shoots a pair of Nitro Express cartridges the size of bananas. It's designed for knocking down elephant -- not just wounding them, but knocking them base-over-apex.

SELIGMAN:

Well, now, I've handled guns--

RIVERS:

Oh? Look, I've been guiding hunting parties for over twenty years. But I've never known a man your size who could handle the six-nought-nought. It knocks him over.

SELIGMAN:

But people have killed elephant with lighter guns, even a three-seventy-five.

RIVERS:

Ah, yes, but consider. An elephant weighs-- Well, let's say, from four to six tons. You're planning to shoot reptiles weighing two to three times as much as an elephant. No, I'll tell you, Mr. Seligman, I won't take anybody hunting dinosaur who can't handle a six-nought-nought. Look, let's pour another drink and I'll tell you why.

MUSIC:

IN ... TO FILL A BRIEF PAUSE ... CONTINUES IN BG, OUT AT [X]

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) You see, I went into the partnership with the Raja about five years ago. I call him that because he's the hereditary monarch of Janpur; it means nothing, of course. We both wanted to do a bit of hunting again. And Africa's all played out; it's too civilized now. So when we heard of Professor Prochaska's time machine at Washington University, we caught the next plane to St. Louis. The foundation administering the machine had worked out an arrangement splitting the time between scientific parties and hunters who wanted to try their luck at prehistoric game. (CHUCKLES) Hunters paid through the nose, of course, to support the project.

Well, it was about our fifth safari that Courtney James showed up. He's what you chaps call a playboy -- a big bloke, handsome in a way, florid, beginning to turn to fat. He was on his fourth wife -- and, when he showed up at the office with a blonde, I assumed that this was the fourth Mrs. James. He left her in the outer office and corrected my assumption. [X]

JAMES:

Bunny? Oh, no, she's not my wife. My wife is in Mexico, I think, getting a divorce. But Bunny here would like to go along--

RIVERS:

I'm sorry. We don't take ladies. Not to the Late Mesozoic.

JAMES:

If she wants to go, she'll go. She skis and flies my airplane, so why shouldn't she--?

RIVERS:

There are enough risks at eighty-five million, B.C., without adding to them. I'm sorry but it's against the firm's policy.

JAMES:

Now, look here, I'm paying you a lot of money. I'm entitled--

RIVERS:

You can't hire me to do anything against my best judgment. Now, if that's how you feel, get another guide.

JAMES:

(UPSET) All right, all right. But let me tell you--

MUSIC:

HARSH ACCENT INTERRUPTS JAMES ... CONTINUES IN BG, OUT AT [X]

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) Oh, it ended with my telling him to get out of the office or I'd throw him out. I was thinking sadly of all that lovely money that James would have paid me, when in came another sahib, an August Holtzinger -- slim bald chap with glasses. [X]

HOLTZINGER:

Mr. Rivers, I don't want you to think I'm here under false pretenses. I'm really not much of an outdoorsman, and I'll probably be scared to death when I see a real dinosaur.

RIVERS:

(CHUCKLES) Well, most of us are frightened at first but-- Ah, it doesn't do to speak of it.

HOLTZINGER:

Well, you see, I've always run a grocery store till my uncle died and, uh-- Well, I've got a great deal of money now.

RIVERS:

Uh huh.

HOLTZINGER:

I'm building a new house. I'm engaged, you know, getting married and, uh-- Well, I'm determined to hang a dinosaur head over my fireplace or die in the attempt.

RIVERS:

(SIGHS)

HOLTZINGER:

A ceratopsian, I think. That's the one with the big horned head and the frill over the neck, isn't it?

RIVERS:

Well, uh-- You want to think twice about that, you know. If you put a seven-foot Triceratops head into a small living room, there's apt to be no room left for anything else.

HOLTZINGER:

I know it's ridiculous but I'm determined to do something big for once. Since there's no more real big-game hunting, I'm going to shoot a dinosaur and hang his head over my mantel. I'll never be happy otherwise.

MUSIC:

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

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) The Raja and I decided to make it to the Middle Cretaceous. That's about-- Oh, eight-five million years ago. It's the best period for dinosaur in Missouri. So we drove Holtzinger into the country to let him try the six-nought-nought. [X]

HOLTZINGER:

It's rather heavy.

RIVERS:

Look, you look out; there's quite a kick.

HOLTZINGER:

Couldn't you fire it prone?

RIVERS:

Oh, not a gun that big. There's not enough give. You'd break your shoulder. All right -- uh, take the safety off.

HOLTZINGER:

Er, like this?

SOUND:

GUNSHOT

HOLTZINGER:

(REACTS TO FALLING BACKWARD AND HITTING THE GROUND)

RIVERS:

Here, take my hand. I'll help you up.

HOLTZINGER:

(SHAKEN, STRUGGLES TO RISE) I - I-- Thank you. I - I think I better try something smaller.

MUSIC:

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

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) Well, he took a fancy to my Manchester seventy, chambered for a three-seven-five magnum cartridge. That's a little light for elephant and very definitely light for dinosaur, but we were in a hurry. And then, of course, just before we were ready to trek, James showed up and apologized for insulting me. He'd had a run-in with the girl and he wanted to go along. And so we were off on safari. [X] (TO THE SAFARI) You all ready, gentlemen?

HOLTZINGER:

Why, yes, I suppose so.

RIVERS:

Now, Mr. Holtzinger, you've met my partner, the Raja of Janpur.

RAJA:

How do you do, sir?

HOLTZINGER:

How do you do?

RAJA:

Well, shall we get cracking? After you, Mr. Holtzinger, Mr. James.

HOLTZINGER:

Thank you.

JAMES:

(IMPATIENT) Let's get going.

RAJA:

All set!

RIVERS:

We'll slam the hatch and off we go.

SOUND:

HATCH SLAMMED AND LOCKED

HOLTZINGER:

What happens?

RIVERS:

Uh, nothing, till the force field is built up.

SOUND:

TIME MACHINE HUMS

RIVERS:

Ah, there she goes.

SOUND:

TIME MACHINE HUMS LOUDER ... CONTINUES IN BG

JAMES:

What happened to the lights?

RIVERS:

Well, there's no current while we're in transition.

HOLTZINGER:

I don't feel well.

RIVERS:

(CHUCKLES) There's usually a touch of vertigo. I shouldn't worry about it.

JAMES:

Look, where do you shoot for? I mean, with dinosaur. What is the best shot?

RIVERS:

Well, you don't try for his brain, you know. They don't have any. Well, to be exact, they have a little bump about the size of a tennis ball on the top of their spines, and you're not likely to hit it when it's imbedded in a six-foot skull.

RAJA:

Try for the heart. They have big hearts, over a hundred pounds. An exploding shell in the heart will slow them down, at least.

HOLTZINGER:

Oh. Oh, I see.

JAMES:

Why do we have to go so far for game? Why couldn't we just go back fifty years and shoot lions in Africa?

RIVERS:

Well, the machine won't work more recently than a hundred thousand years ago.

JAMES:

Why?

RIVERS:

Well, I-- Look, I'm no four-dimensional expert on the subject; but it has something to do with what they call "time paradox." You know, if people could go back to recent times, they might do something to affect history -- or kill their own grandfather, you know. And there's also some kind of taboo about sending people back to the same time again. Eh, it's paradoxes -- mustn't have 'em.

HOLTZINGER:

What would happen?

RIVERS:

I'm not sure but the university isn't taking chances. They've got about a billion years to cover; they won't run out of eras.

SOUND:

TIME MACHINE HUMS LOUDLY

RIVERS:

Hallo! Here we go! Now, cheers, eh?

SOUND:

HUM OUT WITH-- BIG CRUNCH! OF TIME MACHINE LANDING

RIVERS:

Well, that's done it. April twenty-fourth, eighty-five million years B.C. Now, then, careful. Keep the safety on your gun. And don't shoot unless I give the word.

JAMES:

(UNHAPPY) Why? Why should we have to wait for you?

RIVERS:

(STERN) Because I'm responsible for everything you do. Especially if something goes wrong. (CASUAL) I say, Raja, open the door, will ya?

MUSIC:

FOR OPENING A DOOR ON THE DISTANT PAST ... THEN IN BG

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) In this period, the time chamber materializes on top of a rocky rise. At the west, you see the arm of the Kansas Sea that reaches across Missouri and the big swamp where the sauropods live. To the east, the land slopes up to a plateau; it's good for ceratopsians. The finest thing about the Cretaceous is the climate. It's balmy, like the South Sea Islands, and not so muggy as the Jurassic.

Oh, we sent the time chamber back off and looked about. It was spring, with the dwarf magnolias in bloom all over. Down towards the Kansas Sea, cycads and willows grew, while the uplands were covered with screw pine and ginkgoes. Yeah, well, I'm no ruddy poet but I can appreciate a beautiful scene.

While I was looking through the haze and sniffing the air-- [X]

SOUND:

BANG! BANG! TWO LOUD GUNSHOTS INTERRUPT

JAMES:

(OFF, EXCITED) I got him! I got him!

RIVERS:

What the devil--?

JAMES:

Did you see it there?!

RIVERS:

Confound it, you idiot! I told you not to shoot without word from me! And what happened?

RAJA:

An ornithomime -- wandered out of the copse. (WITH DISGUST) Mr. James gave him both barrels. Missed.

RIVERS:

Now, look here, James. One of the biggest dangers on a safari is trigger-happy sahibs who get panicky. You're not to shoot unless you're told, do you understand?

JAMES:

(DEFIANT) Who do you think you are to tell me when to shoot my own game?

RIVERS:

Now, look here. Firstly, if you shoot off all your ammunition before the trip is over, your gun won't be available in case of a pinch. And secondly, if you empty both barrels, what would happen if a big theropod should charge before you could reload? And finally -- it's not sporting to shoot everything in sight. Is that clear?

JAMES:

All right. All right.

RIVERS:

Well, now, then. First task is fresh meat.

MUSIC:

FOR HUNTING FRESH MEAT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) As I told you, Holtzinger wanted a ceratopsian head. James insisted on a tyrannosaur. Then everybody would think that he'd shot the most dangerous game. The fact is, the tyrannosaur's overrated. But everybody's read about the "tyrant lizard," and, well, he does have the biggest head of the theropods. Oh, and he'll snap you up if he gets the chance, no fear.

Well, we started off searching for meat. The Raja and I put the sahibs in front. We tell them it's so they'll get the first shot. Which is true, but another reason is that they're always tripping and falling with their guns cocked, and if the guide were in front, he'd get shot. [X]

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... ANIMALS CHATTER, ET CETERA

RAJA:

Sh! Boneheads.

JAMES:

Where?

RAJA:

See? Crouching over there, feeding on those cycads. About the size of a man.

HOLTZINGER:

They look intelligent.

RAJA:

No, not likely. That bulge on the head is solid bone. (QUICKLY) Now, then, hold on there, James. You've had your shot for the day. Hold your fire until Holtzinger shoots.

JAMES:

(UNHAPPY) Yeah, sure, sure.

RAJA:

All right, go ahead, Mr. Holtzinger.

HOLTZINGER:

Doesn't matter which one?

RIVERS:

No. Here. Try that one by the rock. There's a good clear shot. Well, take your safety off.

HOLTZINGER:

Oh.

SOUND:

CLICK! OF SAFETY

RIVERS:

Go ahead now.

JAMES:

(AFTER A PAUSE, IMPATIENT) Well?

RIVERS:

Ssshh!

JAMES:

Ah, nuts! I've had enough of this.

RIVERS:

James! Don't--!

SOUND:

BANG! BANG! TWO LOUD GUNSHOTS INTERRUPT

JAMES:

(TRIUMPHANT) I got him clean! Right through the heart! First shot! How was that?!

RIVERS:

(COOL) I thought you were going to give Holtzinger the first crack? It's his turn.

JAMES:

Well, I waited. Took so long I thought he'd gotten buck fever.

RIVERS:

(QUIET BUT FIRM) Very well. But if this sort of thing happens once more, we leave you at camp the next time we go out.

MUSIC:

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

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) The next couple of days we trekked around the neighborhood. And then headed over to the sauropod swamp, over to the west. We were staked out along the edge of the lake, watching a big beggar out in the swamp, waving his head about. And they're the big ones. They look something like the Brontosaur. [X]

SOUND:

DISTANT FOG-HORN LIKE CALL OF THE SAUROPOD

JAMES:

Can't we shoot him?

RIVERS:

I wouldn't.

JAMES:

Why not?

RIVERS:

Well, there's no point to it, and it's not sporting. Look, if you kill one in the water, he sinks and can't be recovered. And if you kill one on land-- Well, the only trophy is that little head on the top of that long neck. You can't bring that whole beast back because he weighs thirty tons or more.

HOLTZINGER:

That museum in New York got one.

RIVERS:

Oh, yes. But they sent a party of forty-eight to the Early Cretaceous with a fifty-caliber machine gun. They spent two solid months hacking and sawing the carcass apart and hauling it to the time machine. I know the chap on the project, and he still has nightmares in which he smells decomposed dinosaur. And they also had to kill a dozen big theropods who came in for the party. Then they had them lying around, too. They lost three men.

RAJA:

(WHISPERS, FROM OFF) Reggie! Duckbill!

JAMES:

Where? Where are they?

RIVERS:

Up there -- at the shoreline. Now, keep your voices down. You see? With the crest on the back of their heads?

HOLTZINGER:

Mr. Rivers, I've been thinking over what you said about those heads. If I could get one of those duckbills, I'd be satisfied. It'd look big enough over my mantel, wouldn't it?

RIVERS:

(CHUCKLES) I'm sure of it, old boy. Well, let's be off. Raja? You wait here with Mr. James. Shouldn't take us long.

MUSIC:

FOR HUNTING DUCKBILL ... THEN IN BG,

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) Holt and I crept along the shoreline, narrowing the range to the duckbills.

HOLTZINGER:

I think I can make the shot from here. I'll be ready in a minute; my shoe is loose.

SOUND:

BANG! BANG! DISTANT GUNFIRE ... DUCKBILLS AND OTHER ANIMALS PANIC AND RUN

HOLTZINGER:

He's getting away! I - I won't get a shot!

RIVERS:

(WEARILY) I'm afraid Mr. James has fired both barrels again.

MUSIC:

MILD ACCENT ... THEN OUT

HOLTZINGER:

James, that's the second time you spoiled my shot. I ought to--

JAMES:

Don't be a fool. I couldn't let them wander into camp stamping everything flat!

RAJA:

(ANNOYED, TO JAMES) There was no danger of that. You can see that the water is deep offshore. (TO RIVERS) It's just that our trigger-happy Mr. James can't see any animal without shooting!

RIVERS:

And if it did get close, all you have to do is to throw a stick of firewood at it. They're perfectly harmless.

JAMES:

Well, how was I to know?

RIVERS:

I believe I mentioned it.

JAMES:

Well, what are we on this miserable trip for, except to shoot things?

RIVERS:

There are certain rules, you know.

JAMES:

You call yourselves hunters! I'm the only one who's hitting anything!

RIVERS:

Now, just a moment, old man. You're behaving like a confounded skite with more money than brains. I should never have brought you along.

JAMES:

If that's how you feel, give me some food, and I'll go back to the base by myself.

RIVERS:

Now, don't be a bigger ass than you can help. That's quite impossible.

JAMES:

All right, I'll go alone! (MOVING OFF) I wouldn't want to pollute your air with my presence!

SOUND:

JAMES TRUDGES AWAY

RAJA:

That's an attractive thought, Reggie, but we can't let him go. He'd get lost or starve. (BEAT) All right, I'll go after him.

MUSIC:

FOR A TREK ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) We stumbled along for several more days; James on his good behavior, for a change. And on the first of May, we broke camp and headed north to the hills. Ah, it was hot and sticky. We were soon panting and sweating like horses, when I picked up the smell of carrion and heard the thrumming of the flies.

SOUND:

FLIES THRUM NOISILY, IN BG

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) We found a huge ceratopsian lying dead in a little hollow on the edge of the copse. He must have weighed six or eight tons alive. [X]

HOLTZINGER:

Why couldn't I have gotten him before he died? That would have made a darned fine head.

RIVERS:

Look, on your toes, chaps. The theropod that's been at this carcass is probably nearby.

JAMES:

How d'you know?

RIVERS:

You see how the hide's been ripped off and the bones are scattered? Theropods will hang around a carcass like this for weeks, gorging and then sleeping their meals off for days at a time.

HOLTZINGER:

What do we do?

RIVERS:

Well, that's what we came after. Raja, you take Mr. James through that way and we'll parallel you forty feet distant. Now, keep your eyes open. He'll be hard to see in these woods unless you're right on top of him.

MUSIC:

FOR HUNTING DINOSAUR ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) We pushed through the edge of the copse, looking for the huge flesh-eater who'd been at the carcass. I could hear James and the Raja pushing ahead on my right. We were separated by a gully when I heard a noise ahead on our left. [X]

HOLTZINGER:

What is it?

RIVERS:

I don't know. Take the safety off your gun.

HOLTZINGER:

Oh, there it is. It's one of those boneheads.

RIVERS:

Ah, well, they're not dangerous, at any rate. But be careful. That theropod might still be around.

SOUND:

BANG! BANG! TWO LOUD GUNSHOTS ... BONEHEAD COLLAPSES

JAMES:

(OFF, EXCITED) I got him! Got him clean!

RIVERS:

(ANNOYED) Well, he's done it again! He shot the bonehead!

JAMES:

(OFF, EXCITED) I got him!

SOUND:

ROAR! OF ANGRY ONCOMING TYRANNOSAUR

RAJA:

(YELLS) Look out! Look out! Tyrannosaur!

SOUND:

TYRANNOSAUR ROARS! CLOSE, LONG AND DEAFENING

MUSIC:

PULSE-POUNDING ... FOR AN ANGRY ONCOMING TYRANNOSAUR ... THEN IN BG

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) The tyrannosaur heaved his head out of the shrubbery just in front of us. The scientists can insist that rex is bigger than trionyches, but I'll swear that this tyrannosaur was bigger than any rex ever hatched. It must have stood twenty feet high and been fifty feet long. I could see its big bright eye and six-inch teeth.

SOUND:

TYRANNOSAUR KNOCKS DOWN TREES ... AND ROARS! BEHIND--

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) He'd been sleeping off his last meal -- and James fired off both barrels over his head at the bonehead and woke the tyrannosaur up.

SOUND:

ROAR! GROWS LOUDEST

RAJA:

(YELLS) Get back! Get back, you fool!

RIVERS:

Raja can't get a shot. Confound it, there goes the beast in behind those ferns. Holtzinger? (YELLS) Holtzinger! Come back! Your gun's too light for that beggar!

MUSIC:

UP, FOR AN ACCENT, THEN IN BG

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) James came bolting back in a panic and blundered into the Raja, sending both of them sprawling under the ferns. The tyrannosaur came after them to snap them up. Holtzinger began to blaze away.

SOUND:

THREE GUNSHOTS

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) He got off three shots through the beast's body with that little light gun.

SOUND:

TYRANNOSAUR ROARS!

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) The tyrannosaur whirled around to see what was stinging it. The jaws came open, and the head swung round and down again. Holtzinger got off one more shot and tried to leap to one side. The tyrannosaur continued its lunge -- and caught him in its jaws as he fell.

MUSIC:

OUT WITH--

HOLTZINGER:

(DEATH SCREAM, FADES AWAY AS TYRANNOSAUR CARRIES HOLTZINGER OFF)

RAJA:

Reggie? Reggie?!

RIVERS:

Stand clear!

SOUND:

GUNSHOT

RAJA:

Heart! Heart's the only chance!

SOUND:

GUNSHOT

RIVERS:

It's no use! There he goes! Try a long shot.

SOUND:

GUNSHOT

RIVERS:

(DISGUSTED) Ahhh, missed him clean. (BEAT) Poor Holtzinger.

RAJA:

Well -- that's the end. He stopped screaming. Did you notice?

RIVERS:

Oh, yes. Well, I expect we best track the beast. He - he might be dying. We should try to recover Holtzinger's remains.

RAJA:

Yes, there's - nothing else to do.

RIVERS:

No, nothing. A bad show all around.

MUSIC:

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

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) An hour later, we gave up, and went back to the glade looking very dismal. [X]

JAMES:

Where have you two been?

RIVERS:

We were occupied. The late Mr. Holtzinger. Remember?

JAMES:

You shouldn't have gone off and left me. Another of those things might have come along. Isn't it bad enough to lose one hunter through your stupidity?

RIVERS:

What?!

JAMES:

Sure! You put us in front of you, so if anybody gets eaten, it's one of us. That's--

RIVERS:

You stinking little swine. If you hadn't been a first-class idiot and blown those two barrels again, this never would have happened. Holtzinger died trying to save your worthless life! And I wish he'd failed!

JAMES:

Why, I oughta-- (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT BEHIND--)

SOUND:

JAMES PUNCHES RIVERS

RIVERS:

Now then, my lad, I'm glad you did that! It gives me a chance (WITH EFFORT) I've been waiting for!

JAMES:

(GRUNTS IN PAIN AS--)

SOUND:

RIVERS PUNCH JAMES REPEATEDLY ... UNTIL JAMES FALLS IN SAND

RIVERS:

Now get up! And I'll be glad to finish ya off!

SOUND:

JAMES SQUIRMS IN SAND, GRABS RIFLE

JAMES:

(PANTS HEAVILY, DEADLY SERIOUS) You won't finish anybody off. All right, put your hands up. Both of you.

RIVERS:

Put that gun away! Don't be an idiot!

JAMES:

I won't let anybody do that to me.

RIVERS:

You can't get away with murder.

JAMES:

Why not? Won't be much left of you after you're hit with a six hundred explosive shell. Nobody could prove anything. They can't hold you for a murder eighty-five million years old. The statute of limitations, you know.

SOUND:

CRUNCH! AS RAJA HITS JAMES IN HEAD WITH A ROCK

JAMES:

(GROANS)

SOUND:

JAMES COLLAPSES INTO SAND

RIVERS:

Nice work, Raja old chap!

RAJA:

Yes. Cretaceous rock. Doesn't quite have the balance of a cricket ball, but - it's a bit harder, what?

RIVERS:

Well, suppose we tie this chap up and take him back to camp.

MUSIC:

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

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) When the time transition chamber finally arrived, we fell over one another getting into it. We dumped James in a corner, and threw the switches. [X]

SOUND:

TIME MACHINE HUMS ... CONTINUES IN BG

JAMES:

(STILL DEADLY SERIOUS, MENACING) You two should have killed me back there.

RIVERS:

(DRY) Why? You don't have a particularly good head.

RAJA:

(EQUALLY DRY) You wouldn't look at all well over a mantel.

JAMES:

You can laugh -- but I'll get you some day.

RAJA:

(CHUCKLES, TO RIVERS) Close quarters, isn't it?

JAMES:

Some day, I'll find a way. I'll find a way and I'll get off scot-free, too.

RIVERS:

My dear chap! If there were some way to do it, I'd have you charged with Holtzinger's murder. Look, you'd best let well enough alone.

JAMES:

No. No. I'll kill you. Both of ya. Somehow.

RIVERS:

(YAWNS) Cigarette, Raja?

RAJA:

Thanks.

MUSIC:

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

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) When we came out in the present, we handed him his empty gun, and off he went. We paid everybody off and found that we were broke. But quite luckily, a steel manufacturer turned up who wanted a mastodon head for his den. Well, we were standing in the laboratory at the university, waiting for the time chamber. The technician -- he's a bookish chap, a theoretical temporal physicist -- was watching his dials and scopes. [X]

SOUND:

LAB BACKGROUND ... BUZZING AND BEEPING GIZMOS, ET CETERA, WHICH BUILD SLOWLY, REACHING A PEAK JUST BEFORE THE BIG EXPLOSION

TECHNICIAN:

Oh, by the way, Mr. Rivers, you just missed him.

RIVERS:

Hm? Missed who?

TECHNICIAN:

That last client of yours, Mr. James.

RIVERS:

(CHUCKLES) Well, that's good luck. What was he doing here?

TECHNICIAN:

Oh, he told me quite a tale. Said he'd lost his wallet back there. That it contained some very valuable papers.

RIVERS:

(SCOFFS)

TECHNICIAN:

It must have been valuable. He paid the university fee of five thousand dollars for the use of the chamber. He's on his way back there now.

RIVERS:

Back where?

TECHNICIAN:

Well, he told me to send him back a few minutes before you arrived the last time. Then he could see himself drop the wallet.

RIVERS:

(LAUGHS) He's gonna stand there and watch himself come out? (MORE SERIOUS) Yeah, but, um, doesn't that create what you chaps call a - a paradox? What happens when a man tries to occupy the same time twice?

TECHNICIAN:

Well, we don't know. It's never been tried before. We tried to warn him but he insisted.

RIVERS:

Yes, I know. He's a headstrong chap. Still, you wouldn't think he'd chance it just for the sake of a wallet. (BEAT, REALIZES) Was he armed?

TECHNICIAN:

Yes. He had a three-seventy-five Express.

RAJA:

Three-seventy-five? That's odd. He's knows it's too light for dinosaur.

RIVERS:

Yes, but not too light for a man! I say, Raja, you don't think Mr. James is lurking behind a bush back there until we show up again, and planning to pot us as we step out?

RAJA:

That's impossible. We already did step out of the chamber and nothing happened.

RIVERS:

Yeah, but that was before Mr. James was waiting with an Express rifle cocked. Hey, doctor?

TECHNICIAN:

You mean, he's - he's planning to murder the two of you?

RIVERS:

Mm, I wouldn't be a bit surprised. I, uh, I don't suppose there's anything you could do to stop the process now?

TECHNICIAN:

No, it's too late. The chamber's in transition now. Look, hadn't you better get out of here before he kills you?

RIVERS:

Well, there's no point in running. If Mr. James' theory is right, we've both been dead for eighty-five million years. We might as well wait and see what happens.

TECHNICIAN:

Transition point coming up!

RIVERS:

(WRY) Well, it's been quite a world up to this point -- eh, Raja?

RAJA:

(DISMAYED) Yes. Quite.

TECHNICIAN:

Here it goes!

SOUND:

BIG EXPLOSION

RAJA:

Reggie, are you all right?

RIVERS:

I - I seem to be. What happened?

TECHNICIAN:

The time chamber. It's back. We'd better get it open.

SOUND:

HATCH UNLOCKED AND OPENED

TECHNICIAN:

(GASPS IN HORROR)

RIVERS:

Good Lord, look at that.

RAJA:

Ghastly, isn't it? Where did it come from?

RIVERS:

I'm not sure. But I rather think it came from the Middle Cretaceous era. It wasn't here a moment ago.

RAJA:

Ghastly mess. Looks as if every bone was pulverized and every blood vessel burst.

RIVERS:

I dare say. But that's his gun all right. It's James; there's no doubt of it.

MUSIC:

MOURNFUL BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG

RIVERS:

(NARRATES) So, that's the story, Mr. Seligman. Of course, I don't understand the mathematics but the idea's rather easy to grasp. Nobody had shot us when we first emerged on the twenty-fourth of April, eighty-five million B.C. -- so, of course, that couldn't be changed. The instant James started to do anything that would make a paradox, the space-time forces snapped him forward -- and ripped him to bits.

Well, they know a good deal about that now and there's a safety margin of five hundred years between each trip. You - can't have paradoxes, you know; just isn't done. And, you see, I'm a lot more careful now. I shouldn't have taken James when I knew what a spoiled, unstable sort he was. Or Holtzinger, either, when I saw that he was too small to shoot a dinosaur gun. With a heavier gun, he'd probably have knocked the tyrannosaur down, and saved his own life.

So, Mr. Seligman, that's why I won't take you to that period to hunt. I'm sorry but you're just too light. You're not big enough to handle - a gun for dinosaur.

MUSIC:

TO A 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 the story of a man who develops a spaceship that travels so fast that its pilots vanish mysteriously into thin air. Read the Vaughan Shelton story "Point of Departure" in Galaxy Magazine, on your newsstand now.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN UNDER FOLLOWING--

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you "A Gun for Dinosaur," a story from the pages of Galaxy written by L. Sprague de Camp, patent consultant and one of our leading authors of science fiction. It was adapted for radio by Ernest Kinoy. Featured in the cast were Alistair Duncan, Wendell Holmes, John Gibson, Donald Buka, Warren Parker and Alan Hewitt. 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:

Let's visit lovable "Fibber McGee and Molly" tonight on the NBC Radio Network.

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES ... THEN OUT