February 13, 2020 by thewashingteenian
By apollosbones, Staff Writer
A play in ten minutes
CAST OF CHARACTERS
M1L0: A teenage robot with a top hat.
Professor “Lily” Lilith: An evil robotics scientist, “mother” of M1L0.
Place Professor Lily’s lab, somewhere in the South.
SETTING: A cheap, but futuristic, lab, full of failed experiments and bottles of alcohol. There’s a low hum, coming from the various generators. It’s a sad looking place, very gray and unpleasant to the eye.
AT RISE: M1L0 stands by a counter, hands plugged into a charging block in front of him. He’s sulking, but singing rather quietly to himself. PROFESSOR LILY hurries on stage, dropping papers and such, she’s trying to carry too much. She looks angry.
PROFESSOR LILY: –my God, where is that piece of junk–singing? Are you singing?
(M1L0 jumps at the sudden loud noise.) M-one-L-zero, what did I say about singing?
M1L0: That humans do it, and I should not, because I am not human. I know, you’ve told me.
PROFESSOR LILY: That’s what I thought, Robot. You are not human, and you need to start acting like it. You’re just a bucket of bolts, got that?
M1L0: But, Mom–
PROFESSOR LILY: What did you just call me, M-One-L-Zero? I know for a fact you didn’t use the ‘M’ word. We’ve been over this.
M1L0: Nothing, Professor Lilith. Nothing. (PROFESSOR LILY scurries around the lab, looking for something.) Actually… uhm, ma’am, I do have something to ask.
PROFESSOR LILY: Well go on, I don’t have too much time.
M1L0: Can you start using my real name?
(PROFESSOR LILY stops in her tracks, slowly turns towards M1L0)
PROFESSOR LILY: What do you mean? I use your name all the time. That’s the name I gave to you.
M1L0: That’s exactly what I mean. You call me a bunch of letters and numbers, Mom–Professor Lilith, I want to be called an actual name. The other kids get to have names, they get them when they’re born, studies show that 99.4 percent of the time, newborn babies are given names at the hospital–
PROFESSOR LILY: M-One-L-Zero, you are the .06 percent. And you know very well you aren’t a kid, you are a seventeen year old robot, a standing pile of bolts and oil. You weren’t born in a hospital, you weren’t even birthed. I created you, here. And this is where I named you, right here.
M1L0: Right… I just… thought that it would be cool if, you know, I had a name. Something that’s… that’s mine. You know, Kevin 3.0 has a name, the only numbers are at the end, and–
PROFESSOR LILY: It would not be cool, M-One-L-Zero… it would not be cool for me, that is. What name would you want to go by, anyways? Kyle?
M1L0: Milo. (PROFESSOR LILY pauses, her mouth is open but she doesn’t
say anything.) You won’t even have to change any of the numbers in my name, they already look like an ‘i’ and an ‘o’, isn’t that cool? I really think that–
PROFESSOR LILY: No-no-no, you absolutely cannot have a name, that is the last time I’ll tell you, Robot. You cannot have a name, and you will not have a name. Now, disconnect yourself and go have a seat by the generator, you have lots of homework to finish. (M1L0 removes his hands, but stands still. PROFESSOR LILITH shoos him with her hands.) Go on, now.
M1L0: It’s not even really homework, it’s just stuff you don’t know how to finish–selling parts isn’t even that hard, Mom. And why can’t I have a name? I’ll be around forever, I think the least you can do is allow me to call myself Milo. That’s all I ask for. (PROFESSOR LILY looks shaken, angry and about to cry.) Just one name.
PROFESSOR LILY: No… you won’t be here forever.
M1L0: (excitedly) We’re moving? Where? Will I have my own room? A brother? Will I get my own charging station? That would be awesome! I can imagine it, having my own little space–I can decorate it and–
PROFESSOR LILY: M-One-L-Zero… you’re going somewhere else… many places, all at once.
M1L0: What do you mean? Am I uploading data again? It wasn’t that fun, you know, I really had a hard time readjusting to those computers–
PROFESSOR LILY: (to herself) Maybe you’ll be in France, or Britain… Mexico, maybe…
M1L0: Professor, what do y-
PROFESSOR LILY: (cutting him off, to herself) I think your eyes will go the farthest…maybe your heart will. I think “Doctor” Rhinehart wanted that…
(M1L0 covers his eyes, then his heart as they are named.)
M1L0: My eyes? My heart? I need tho–
PROFESSOR LILY: Oh the money people are willing to pay for your hands, your joints, for your head–oh, or for your cooling fans… they’d just kill each other for one of your knee caps, maybe even pay extra for a joint… (PROFESSOR LILY smiles evilly, she turns to look at M1L0.) But the price of loneliness I’ll have to pay in your absence… (M1L0’s dials start to malfunction, the lights flicker. PROFESSOR LILY wipes her tears away.) Is worth it.
(walks over to the outlet on the counter, starts to unplug M1L0 from it. She looks money-hungry, almost.)
M1L0: Wait! Please!
PROFESSOR LILY: (pauses) What?
M1L0: Just once, before–before you take me apart… please–
PROFESSOR LILY: (agitated) What? Please, what, Robot? What do you want? (long pause, gets more agitated.)
M1L0: Call me Milo, once, please, Professor. (PROFESSOR LILY tightens her grip on the plug, starts to loosen it. M1L0 grows weak, words sound more robotic as M1L0 speaks.) It-it-it is-is the least-least you can-can-can do.
PROFESSOR LILY: You were of… use to me, Milo.
(M1L0 falls to the floor, metal clanging as he hits the ground.)