Computer replaces doctor – a radio play

CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Annie: wife
Brett: husband
Computer: the doctor

SCENE: ANNIE and BRETT’S house.
TIME: Early evening.

ANNIE
It’s probably nothing, but I think we should get it checked out anyway.

BRETT
Well, I suppose. But you know how doctors are: you have to wait for at least an hour and then they give you twenty seconds. I bet you I could find out what’s wrong on the Internet in the same amount of time.

ANNIE
(skeptical)
You really think so?

BRETT
(enthusiastically)
Yeah! Look! There’s this new program, iDoctor, I saw it in the shop yesterday. It’s only twenty-nine, ninety-nine. We could try it out.

ANNIE
Okay. Let’s do it. And if it doesn’t work, do you promise you’ll go to the doctor?

BRETT
I promise!

SOUND: A clock ticking to signify the passing of time.

BRETT
Okay, here it is. Honey, can you load up the computer?

SOUND: the dramatic bong of a computer being switched on.

BRETT
Right, let’s install this.

SOUND: a few clicking sounds, and then A ding, signifying that the computer wants his attention.

BRETT
Oh, it’s a subscription service.
(reading)
Please choose subscription type: basic doctor, fourteen ninety-nine a month; sympathetic doctor, twenty-nine ninety-nine a month; religious doctor – are we religious?

ANNIE
Not particularly, but your mother is.

BRETT
Hmm, good point. Okay, religious doctor.

SOUND: another click

BRETT
What next?
(reading)
Choose religion: Agnosticism, Bábism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism…ah! Here we go, Presbyterianism!

SOUND: click

BRETT
(reading)
Enter username. Okay…

SOUND: typing

BRETT
Brett Adams.

SOUND: bong

BRETT
(reading)
Username taken. Okay then…

SOUND: TYPING

BRETT
Brett A.

SOUND: BONG

SOUND: TYPING

BRETT
B Adams.

SOUND: BONG

SOUND: TYPING

BRETT
B Adams 1975.

SOUND: ping

BRETT
Thank God!

ANNIE
Well done, honey!

COMPUTER
God bless you and welcome to iDoctor, B Adams one nine seven five. How may I help you today?

BRETT
I have a strange rash on my hand.

COMPUTER
Hmm. I see. Is it itchy?

BRETT
Yes.

COMPUTER
Is it red?

BRETT
Yes.

COMPUTER
Don’t worry, B Adams one nine seven five, I’m sure it is nothing. I will need to see it. Please hold hand up to camera.

BRETT
Okay, like this?

COMPUTER
That is good, B Adams one nine seven five. Now let me see…yes. Based on my assessment of over five million case studies, you either have a harmless rash caused by the sun and dryness of the skin, or you have secondary stage syphilis.

BRETT
What! Syphilis? There’s no way! It has to be a skin rash!

ANNIE
Of course, honey. That’s what it has to be.

COMPUTER
To confirm, I need to ask you some more questions. Question one: have you recently had sexual relations with one or more prostitutes?

BRETT
No! What kind of question is that?

COMPUTER
Question two: have you ever had unprotected sex with a woman other than your wife?

BRETT
Umm, I suppose so.

ANNIE
Really, Brett?

BRETT
Well, my ex-girlfriend, you know? But we were really drunk.

COMPUTER
Hmm, I see. Question three: do you regularly attend church?

BRETT
Uh, no. Is that important?

COMPUTER
You must consider the possibility that the syphilis is a punishment from God.

BRETT
I don’t have syphilis! I don’t like this religious doctor. I’m changing to the sympathetic doctor. Annie, could you get me my credit card?

SOUND: Annie rummages for his card

ANNIE
Here you go, Brett. Are you sure it’s not syphilis?

BRETT
How can it be? I haven’t slept with anybody except you in the last four years. Unless you’ve been sleeping around.

ANNIE
Of course not, sweetie!
(laughs nervously)
The very idea!

SOUND: typing and clicking

BRETT
Okay, we’ve got the sympathetic doctor now.

COMPUTER
There, there, B Adams one nine seven five, I’m sure everything is going to be just fine. You probably don’t have syphilis, just a minor rash. I have some more questions: within the last three weeks, has there been a time when either you or your wife has been out with members of the opposite sex?

BRETT
Well, I did go to the Christmas party two weeks ago. And there were girls there.

COMPUTER
Did you have sex with the girls at the Christmas party?

BRETT
Of course not!

COMPUTER
Did you drink a lot of alcohol?

BRETT
Well, yes.

COMPUTER
Are you sure you can remember everything from the evening?

BRETT
Yes! I mean, probably. I didn’t have sex with anyone!

COMPUTER
I see. Would you like to speak privately? I could ask your wife to leave the room.

ANNIE
Brett, what happened at the Christmas party?

BRETT
Nothing happened! Besides, you went to your Christmas party too, didn’t you? Did anything happen there?

ANNIE
Of course not! I love you, sweetie!

BRETT
And I love you too, babe. And neither of us had sex at the Christmas party.

COMPUTER
You do not need to justify your actions to me, and I accept your denials. To be sure you do not have syphilis, I will need to conduct blood tests. Please upgrade to lab test pack.

BRETT
What? How much is that?

COMPUTER
It is only forty-nine ninety-nine. With the lab test pack, I can confirm whether or not you have syphilis.

BRETT
I don’t have syphilis! Come on!

ANNIE
Who were the girls at the Christmas party, Brett?

BRETT
Are we back onto this again? They were just staff members. Nothing happened.

ANNIE
Were they good looking girls?

BRETT
I suppose. I didn’t really look.

ANNIE
Why not?

BRETT
Because I’m married! Do you look at other guys?

ANNIE
Sure, all the time.

BRETT
All the time?

ANNIE
I mean, not all the time. But I look at guys, obviously. Everybody does. It doesn’t mean I sleep with them at Christmas parties, though.

BRETT
I didn’t sleep with these girls! What do you mean, everybody does? Who do you look at?

ANNIE
Just guys in the street. Nobody in particular.

BRETT
Oh that’s nice! How would you like it if I looked at girls in the street? Just stared up and down their bodies?

ANNIE
Well, it would be better than you sleeping with them!

BRETT
I’m sick of this. Here, doctor, take my blood!

COMPUTER
Thank you. In the box you will find a blood analysis kit. Please insert finger into hole. You will feel a slight prick.

BRETT
Ow!

COMPUTER
There, there, B Adams one nine seven five, you were very brave. In the box you will find a lollypop. Please insert into mouth.

BRETT
(sucking on lollypop)
Now we’ll see once and for all.

COMPUTER
While the blood is processing, please wait patiently.

ANNIE
Brett, why didn’t you tell me about the girls at the Christmas party? How many were there?

BRETT
I didn’t think it was important.

ANNIE
How many girls were there, Brett?

BRETT
I don’t know! Ten, maybe twenty!

SOUND: Annie gasps

BRETT
What about your Christmas party? How many guys were there?

ANNIE
There was just me and Joel and Gareth. Just the three of us. Twenty girls, Brett?! How could you?

BRETT
How could I what? I told you, nothing happened! It was a normal Christmas party – you know how they go!

ANNIE
Yes I do! Everybody gets really drunk and then they do things they wouldn’t usually do! Christmas parties are all the same. I suspected that something would probably happen, but my God, Brett! Twenty women? No wonder you have syphilis!

BRETT
(shouting)
I don’t have syphilis! But wait! What do you mean Christmas parties are all the same? What happened at your Christmas party?

ANNIE
I would hardly call three people a Christmas party. We just went to Joel’s beach house for the evening and relaxed with a few bottles of wine.

BRETT
Two men, one woman, a secluded beach house and lots of wine. And you’re telling me nothing happened?

ANNIE
Don’t judge me! I’m not the one having orgies in the office! At least Joel and Gareth are clean, not like the whores you spend your time with.

BRETT
So you admit it! You slept with them at the beach house!

ANNIE
Fine, I did. What’s that compared to the debauchery you got up to?

BRETT
For God’s sake, Annie! There were twenty women there but I didn’t have sex with them all. It was just Stephanie from accounting.
(Pause)
And Susan, also from accounting.
(pause)
And Jennifer. Also from accounting.

COMPUTER
Blood analysis complete. Congratulations B Adams one nine seven five, you do not have syphilis, merely a minor skin rash. You must be very relieved. There is no need to thank me. I’m just glad I could help. Goodbye, B Adams one nine seven five.

ANNIE
Wait, isn’t Susan Joel’s wife?

THE END.

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