Marnie, Ernie, and the Key to Safe Driving

Sammy C

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[Lights up on a car, or the idea of a car (decision up to props master) downstage center on an otherwise blank stage. A single actress, MARNIE enters upstage left and walks towards the car. MARNIE opens the car door, and enters. Once settled, she pulls out her phone, and begins the all too familiar task of scrolling through social media. A few moments of silence before a disembodied voice speaks, as though coming from the car.] VOICE You really should turn that off you know. [Startled, MARNIE screams and outlandishly throws her phone into the air. Frightened, she looks around for the source of the voice before speaking] MARNIE Hello? VOICE Hi. I didn’t mean to startle you. I was just saying you should probably turn off your phone before you start driving. [MARNIE, still visibly upset and confused, continues to search for the voice] MARNIE God? VOICE (chuckling) No, it’s me silly! MARNIE Yeah…that…that doesn’t help very much. VOICE It’s me, Ernie! MARNIE (processing this, still bewildered) My car? ERNIE Yeah! MARNIE My car… is talking to me right now? ERNIE Yup! MARNIE You’re my car…and you’re telling me to turn off my phone? ERNIE Yes I am! MARNIE (a beat) And you’re my car? ERNIE I thought that we’d gone over that already, but yes. I’m your car. MARNIE (shaking her head) How on EARTH are you talking to me right now? ERNIE Well, there’s a really fun backstory to that, but the author of this script only has about 345 more words left before she fills her word count, so we’re gonna skip that for now. DISEMBODIED AUTHOR’S VOICE It’s true. MARNIE (once again shaken) What the- ERNIE (quickly) Nevermind that. I really AM trying to tell you something. MARNIE (recovering from her shock) Oh yeah. Sorry, what was it again? ERNIE That you should turn off your phone before you start driving. MARNIE Do I really have to turn it off? I mean, it’s not like I’m gonna look at it while i’m driving. I’m not THAT stupid [turns to stare deadpan at the audience on the word “THAT”. Holds for a few seconds before turning back]. ERNIE Well, see, that’s the thing. Even if you don’t look directly at your phone, the temptation will still be there. As long as you consciously know that the phone is on, you may be tempted to check it at stoplights, or other moments of pause. Not only that, but you will still hear your notifications, further enticing you to check, or even respond to them. MARNIE I guess, but I’m a safe driver. I trust myself not to look, even at stoplights. ERNIE That may be the case. But what happens when you’re concentrated on the road and you suddenly hear a ding or vibration from your phone? Can you trust yourself not to take your attention away from the road, even if only for a second? MARNIE I see your point. ERNIE So. Are you gonna turn off your phone? MARNIE Yeah. I can see how it’s just safer. Besides, it’s not like I’m missing out on much for the next half hour. I’ll live. ERNIE Living is key here. [A beat of silence] MARNIE So. Are you gonna be here the whole time…or? [Lights Out]