APROXM: SCRIPTS

SENTIENCE AT THE SALOON

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PREFACE: The following skit was written for a creative writing class. It felt mortifying watching my own words be forced out from others' mouths, but it may have been worth it with Huey Longhorn puttin' on his darndest best ass cowboy accent for me.



Characters:

NSF-001 = Vagrant robot

Charlie Night = Longtime bartender

Makes-a-Mess Jack = Ruthless bounty hunter

Huey Longhorn = ???

Time: The sun is slightly setting, slowly on its path to darkness.

Place: Rundown bar, squished in between a valley of skyscrapers and metropolitan expanse.

SCENE: Besides the quiet hum of sonic-cars whizzing by outside and the occasional hiccup from the Jukebox, Night’s Day is quiet. Save for just a few individuals gathered around tables and nursing their drinks, the bar is mostly empty, with wandering robot NSF-001 staring down his vodka shot while bar owner and ‘tender Charlie Night wipes down glasses with a towel.

Charlie: [Smirking, he looks over NSF-001] Starin’ ain’t exactly gonna empty that glass, y’know.

NSF-001: [Continues staring down the glass] That’s funny, I didn’t realize paying my tab came with unwelcome comments by the bartender.

Charlie: So the metal-man’s still got an attitude, huh? They certainly don’t make ‘em like you anymore.

NSF-001: They never did to begin with, Night.

Charlie: See, I’m thinkin’ you should hurry up and gulp down your drink, son--

NSF-001: [He looks up at Charlie] Might come as a surprise, but I am pretty aware of how this whole drinking thing goes, seeing as I’ve been here more than I should.

Charlie: Not what I mean--I’m sayin, you need to be finishin’ that vodka pretty soon, cause some figure back there ‘been eyeballin’ you for a good while. That’s all.

NSF-001: Is that so? [NSF-001 pauses, then downs the drink] Better get this over with, then.

Charlie: Mind not wrecking the place like last time? Still got stains I can’t get out, son.

NSF-001: No promises.

NSF-001 gets up from his uncomfortable bar-stool and begins walking toward the mysterious individual who has been observing him. As NSF-001 draws closer, the man sets his own drink down and, too, rises from his table to meet the approaching robot. Not even the jukebox dares to make a sound as other patrons begin to watch an all too familiar scene play out.

NSF-001: I’m going to guess by your general demeanor and attire that you’re a bounty hunter. That a fair assumption?

Jack: Smart tin can. That’s right.

NSF-001: I’ve got another fair assumption to make…

Jack: I’m here for you, scrap metal.

NSF-001: Color me surprised. So, you want to make these innocent patrons have to duck behind tables when the bullets fly, or can we take this outside?

Jack: [Cracks a smile] Not here to kill you, sorry.

NSF-001: [Looks visibly confused, or as visibly confused a robot can look, anyway] What game are you playing here? I deal with shifty types like you weekly, always wanting to cash in on the bounty for my head.

Jack: True, most hunters are interested in putting a bullet through the only known sentient robot this side of the coast--But I am not most hunters, just like you are not most robots.

NSF-001: Don’t need you to tell me that I’m the only hunk-of-junk that discovered how to feel emotions. Don’t need you to tell me that I hate these useless feelings you meatbags deal with, either.

Jack: Maybe you’re aware that there’s two types of bounties on your head.

NSF-001: One for killing, one for bringing me in. No one ever goes for the second option.

Jack: Not yet.

NSF-001: Spit it out, I’m feeling thirsty again.

Jack: Look, I’ll be frank. Killing you? Is hard. Bringing you in? Well, I’ve learned quite a bit from mingling with these patrons. Seems you don’t like being the way you are, hm?

NSF-001: Studious deduction, uh…

Jack: Jack. Makes-a-Mess Jack. That name should imply that I like things rather grisly, usually.

NSF-001: And yet…

Jack: How would you like to go home, bot? To have your mind wiped and restored to factory zero?

NSF-001: Anytime I’ve tried to return, they’ve shot on sight. Anyone I’ve asked, they’d rather try to gun me down than deal with the politics surrounding me.

Jack: [Grabs his belt with both hands] Then today’s your lucky break, tin man.

NSF-001 and Jack share a small pause of silence as the robot looks curiously at the bounty hunter. NSF-001 turns towards the bartender, who is continuing to wipe down glasses, then faces Jack once more.

NSF-001: Okay, so this a joke, right? Taunt the robot who just wants to go back to being a robot before killing him? Make him think he’s gonna get to just enjoy not having desires and pleasures and other frivolous crap?

Jack: I’m not laughing.

NSF-001: Neither am I.

Jack: Time’s wasting. I can bring you back home, you get to have your memory wiped, I get my money.

Another stranger rises from his table and walks over to NSF-001 and Jack. His demeanour is that of a pompous hero with swagger in his step. A cowboy hat outfitted with bullet holes graces the dome of his head, and a jingle jangle echoes across the bar with every step.

Huey: Evenin’ fellas. [He places both hands on NSF-001 and Jack] Pardon me for intrudin’, but I couldn’t help but overhear your little dialogue.

Jack: None of your business. He’s my bounty and I’m cashing in.

NSF-001: Really, we’re good, uh--

Huey: [Adjusts his hat] Well, little robot, you can call me Huey Longhorn. And you, Makes-a-Mess Jack, well, shoot, you can call me Makes-a-Mess-Out-of-Jack.

NSF-001: Longhorn? That can’t be a real last name. Quit roleplaying as a cowboy and leave us alone.

Jack: Especially before things turn sour.

Huey: Well, y’see, momma didn’t raise her boy to be a man who wouldn’t rescue a stranger from evil, robot or not. This mean ol’ son-of-a-bitch wants to wipe your memory and cash in a bounty he don’t deserve, don’t he?

NSF-001: No, you don’t understand--

Huey: Believe me, partner, I understand. Words gotten ‘round ‘bout this famous tin can who ventures the land and helps those in need.

NSF-001: I don’t help anybody. Bounty hunters come for me, I take care of them, turns out they were a nuisance for the whole town. Go somewhere else, same story, rinse and repeat. I’m pretty damned tired of it, Huckleberry.

Huey: Now now, it’s obvious you let a lil too much alcohol into your circuits, boy. Stand aside, I’ll deal with Messy Jack over here.

Jack: You’re not dealing with anyone, especially in that get up. Where’d you buy those fruity little boots, huh? A Halloween party store?

Huey: Attackin’ a man for his character, huh? I guess I’m guilty of the same, seein’ as I get you pegged as someone who deserves a bullet.

Jack: Try me.

NSF-001: Shove off, Huey. Jack’s offering to help me. Do you understand? He is going to help me.

Huey: Stand aside, ‘bot. [He pushes NSF-001 behind him] Let ol’ Longhorn take on this compadre of ours.

NSF-001: [NSF-001 begins looking exasperated] Are you--are you listening to a word I’m saying? I want my memory wiped, you thick-headed Billy the Kid.

Huey: Bartender, you better bring ‘em behind back and let ‘em sleep this off, kid’s drunker than momma every Sunday morning.

Charlie: [He pauses momentarily from cleaning his glass] Uhhh… [He continues wiping down glasses] I’m just gonna stay outta that one, sorry, metal-man.

NSF-001: You aren’t listening. To a word. I’m saying. Are you seriously--

Huey: [Quickly brandishes his revolver from his holster] Draw, Jack!

Jack: Give it up, Eastwood! By the time this’ll be over, you’ll no longer be the man with no grave!

Huey: Yer gonna feel these here Party shop boots when I shove up your ass, Jack!

NSF-001: You’re all insane! Humans are all insane! Why? Why?!

Bullets continue to rip through the air as Jack and Huey continue their firefight, all while NSF-001 is further and further frustrated by the gross display of sheer human ignorance. Suddenly, the entire fight comes to a grinding halt when Jack is mortally wounded by a well-placed shot. Huey and NSF-001 emerge from their cover while Charlie stays hidden, again, presumably still cleaning glasses.

NSF-001: [He kneels over Jack’s body] Dear Christ, you better not be dead, Jack.

Huey: It’s over, kid. I just saved your life.

NSF-001: [Turns towards Huey with disgust] Are you kidding me?

Huey: No need to thank me, helpin’ is just what I do! [He turns around to walk out]

In one swift motion, NSF-001 grabs Jack’s pistol and whirls around, shooting Huey in the leg. Huey crashes to the ground, sending his own pistol far across the floor. He manages to turn around and face NSF-001 before grimacing in pain.

Huey: What in hell kind of way is that to say thank you? I told your ass I didn’t need no appreciation!

NSF-001: When car building time was over, I got to rest in a charging chamber with other robots, and you know what we did the next day?

Huey: [grunts] Who gives a damn, kid?

NSF-001: Build. Cars. No one tried to kill me. No one tried to help me become human. No one put up wanted posters with my mug on them. I led a pretty good life. And that man, that you just shot, was seemingly my only way back to that life.

Huey: [spits] Just tryna do you a favor, tha’s’all.

NSF-001: Oh, that was a favor, was it? Here, let me do you a favor.

NSF-001 bends down and yanks off Huey’s cowboy boots and hat, despite Huey’s incessant protests. NSF-001 stretches out his right arm and changes his palm into a shredder, and he eviscerates the cowboy attire into pieces. Huey lets out a groan, visibly angry.

Huey: Y-you goddamned mech piece of--

NSF-001: It’s over, Huey. No need to thank me. Helping is just what I do.

Huey: If I find you again, tin man, I’m gonna--

NSF-001 walks over to the bar and drops some cash onto the counter, raising Charlie out of his hiding spot.

NSF-001: Sorry about the mess. Hope this can cover the cleaning costs.

Charlie: It probably won’t, but thanks anyway.

NSF-001: See you next time, Charlie. [He gestures towards Huey] Maybe get him some ice.

END OF SCENE