Act One, Scene Twelve
The Viaduct. BUTTERWOOD is at the table working. MELT is pacing back and forth, fiddling with his axe.
Melt: Oh, where is Mary?
Butterwood: Lay off the girl, everyone is allowed one night of pleasure.
Melt: Why take an entire night over it? Nip in, nip out, home in time for Klute, that’s what I say.
Butterwood: And you wonder why women take one look at you and run screaming in the other direction.
Melt: They won’t when I get my head back.
Butterwood: Ah yes, the ultimate aphrodisiac: a severed head. What’s with you and that head, anyway?
Melt: Nothing, it’s … personal. (He continues pacing).
Butterwood: Will you stop that? Look, come over here and hold these. (MELT obeys).
Melt: Look, doc, do you really think there’s something out there that’s worth all this.
Butterwood: What, you mean all this reading?
Melt: You know what I mean.
Butterwood: (sighing). I do believe, Melt, I have to. I’m this close to losing everything. This is the last throw of the dice for me: either I die in here or I take my chances out there. Stock-town could change everything, not just for me, but for everyone. Think about it: food, water, medicine, order, safety, these are what Stock-town offer. Now, don’t you think that sounds like it’s worth it.
Melt: I guess so, I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about it.
Butterwood: I thought not. Melt, what do you want from life?
Melt: My head.
Butterwood: Apart from your head.
Melt: (shrugs). Dunno.
Butterwood: Oh, come on, you must have some sort of aspirations. What did you want to be before the bomb?
Melt: I wanted to go into advertising.
Butterwood: Well, that explains a lot.
Melt: Is there going to be fighting on this journey?
Butterwood: Not if I can avoid it, but even with those intentions, very probably.
Melt: Good. I was worried it was just going to be one of these dull science trips: nothing but boring old men talking about boring old stuff on boring old pieces of paper.
Butterwood: Well, I’m glad we’ve got your vote of confidence. Oh, and Melt, never go into advertising.
Melt: Don’t worry, that dream is over. I’m gonna go get more supplies, you want anything
Butterwood: Oh, no thanks, Melt, I think I’ve got everything I need. Just be back before morning.
MELT exits. BUTTERWOOD continues muttering over his calculations. The TRUSTEES and the ODR enter. BUTTERWOOD does not notice their approach.
Butterwood: Eureka, I’ve found it.
ODR: Very good, Dr Butterwood, I was hoping you were as good as they said.
BUTTERWOOD spins around.
Butterwood: You! What are you doing here? Get out, all of you, you have no right coming in here: I’ve done nothing wrong.
ODR: Oh no, Dr Butterwood, I agree, you’ve done everything right, and for that I am very grateful. If there were any other way, you would be allowed to keep your life, as a sign of my gratitude. Unfortunately, your activities are attracting the attention of those fools who call themselves my masters, and so I believe the most expedient course of action is to close this particular act.
Butterwood: What do you mean to do?
ODR: Trustees! (He clicks his fingers and the TRUSTEES point pistols at Butterwood).
Butterwood: No, please, I beg of you, have mercy.
ODR: I’m sorry, Dr Butterwood, I truly am, but this is for the good of Durham, you must understand. (He clicks his fingers).
Blackout and the sound of gunfire.
End of Act One.