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Lesson Six

TEXT A

The Monsters Are Due On Maple
Street (Act I) Rod Serling

Pre-class Work I

Read the text once for the main idea. Do not refer to the notes dictionaries or the glossary yet.

CHARACTERS

Les Goodman Sally
Mrs. Goodman Man
Don Martin Second Man
Steve Brand Woman
Mrs. Brand Five Different
Voices

Pete Van Horn First Figure
Charlie Second Figure
Tommy

It is Maple Street, a quiet, tree-lined, residential street in a typical American town. The houses have front porches where people sit and talk to each other across their lawns. STEVE BRAND polishes his car parked in front of his house. His neighbor, DON MARTIN, leans against the fender, watching him. A Good Humor man rides a bicycle and is just stopping to sell some ice cream to a couple of kids. Two women gossip on the front lawn. Another man waters his lawn.
At this moment one of the boys, TOMMY, looks up and listens to the sound of a tremendous roar from overhead. A flash of light plays on his face, then moves down the street past lawns and porches and rooftops, and then disappears. STEVE BRAND, the man who has been polishing his car, stands there speechless, staring upwards. He looks at DON MARTIN, his neighbor from across the street.
Steve: What was that? A meteor?
Don: That's what it looked like. I didn't hear any crash, though, did you?
Steve: Nope, I didn't hear anything except a roar.
Mrs. Brand (from her porch): Steve? What was that?
Steve: Guess it was a meteor, honey. Came awful close, didn't it?
Mrs. Brand: Much too close!
(People stand on their porches, watching and talking in low tones. We see a MAN screwing in a light bulb on a front porch, then getting down off the stool to turn on the switch and finding that nothing happens. A MAN working on an electric power mower plugs in the plug. He turns on the switch, on and off, but nothing happens. Through the window of a front porch a WOMAN is seen dialing her phone.)
Woman: Operator, operator, something's wrong with the phone, operator!
(MRS. BRAND comes out on the porch.)
Mrs. Brand (calling): Steve, the power's off. I had the soup on the stove, and the stove just stopped working.
Woman: Same thing over here. I can't get anybody on the phone, either. The phone seems to be dead.
First Voice: Electricity's off.
Second Voice: Phone won't work.
Third Voice: Can't get a thing on the radio.
Fourth Voice: My power mower won't move, won't work at all.
(PETE VAN HORN, a tall, thin man, is seen standing in front of his house.)
Van Horn: I'11 cut through the back yard . . . see if the power' s still on on Cherry Street. I'll be right back!
Steve: Doesn't make sense. Why should the power and the phone line go off all of a sudden?
Don: Maybe it's an electrical storm or something.
Charlie: That doesn't seem likely. Sky's just as blue as anything. Not a cloud. No lightning. No thunder. No nothing. How could it be a storm?
Woman: I can't get a thing on the radio. Not even the portable.
Charlie: Well, why don't you go downtown and check with the police, though they'll probably think we're crazy or something. A little power failure and right away we get all excited.
Steve: It isn't just the power failure, Charlie. If it was, we'd still be able to get a broadcast on the portable.
(There's a murmur of reaction to this. STEVE walks over to his car.)
Steve: I'll run downtown. We'll get this all straightened out. (STEVE gets into his car, turns the key. The engine is dead. He then gets out of the car.)
Steve: I don't understand it. It was working fine before—
Don: Out of gas?
Steve (shakes his head): I just had it filled up.
Woman: What does it mean?
Charlie: It's just as if. . . as if everything had stopped. ( Then he turns toward STEVE.) We'd better walk downtown.
Steve: OK, Charlie. ( He turns to look back at the car.) It couldn't be the meteor. A meteor couldn't do this.
(He and CHARLIE exchange a look. Then they start to walk away from the group. TOMMY, a serious-faced young boy tries to stop them.)
Tommy: Mr. Brand...you'd better not!
Steve: Why not?
Tommy: They don't want you to.
(STEVE and CHARLIE exchange a grin. STEVE looks back toward the boy.)
Steve: Who doesn't want us to?
Tommy (jerks his head in the general direction of the distant horizon): Them!
Steve: Them?
Charlie: Who are them?
Tommy (very intently): Whoever was in that thing that came by overhead. I don't think they want us to leave here.
(STEVE walks over to the boy. He kneels down in front of him. He forces his voice to remain gentle. He reaches out and holds the boy.)
Steve: What do you mean? What are you talking about?
Tommy: They don't want us to leave. That's why they shut everything off.
Steve: What makes you say that? Whatever gave you that idea?
Woman (from the crowd): Now isn't that the craziest thing you ever heard?
Tommy (persistently): It's always that way, in every story I ever read about a ship landing from outer space.
Woman (to the boy's mother, SALLY,): From outer space yet! Sally, you'd better get that boy of yours up to bed. He's been reading too many comic books or seeing too many movies or something!
Salty: Tommy, come over here and stop that kind of talk.
Steve: Go ahead, Tommy. We 'll be right back. And you 'll see. That wasn't any ship or anything like it. That was just a... a meteor or something. (He turns to the group, now trying to sound optimistic although he obviously doesn't feel that way himself.) Meteors can do some crazy things. Like sun spots.
Don: Sure. They raise Cain with radio reception all over the world. And this thing, being so close-why, there's no telling the sort of stuff it can do. (He wets his lips, smiles nervously.) Go ahead, Charlie. You and Steve go into town and see if that isn't what's causing it all.
(STEVE and CHARLIE again continue to walk away down the sidewalk. The people watch silently. TOMMY stares at them, biting his lips and finally calling out again.)
Tommy: Mr. Brand!
(The two men stop again.)
Tommy: Mr. Brand. . .please don't leave here.
(STEVE and CHARLIE stop once again and turn toward the boy. There's a murmur in the crowd, a murmur of irritation and concern.)
Tommy: You might not even be able to get to town. It was that way in the story. Nobody could leave, except—
Steve: Except who?
Tommy: Except the people they'd sent down ahead of them. They looked just like humans. And it wasn't until the ship landed that—(The boy suddenly stops again, conscious of his parents staring at him and of the sudden quietness of the crowd.)
Sally: Tommy, please, son, don't talk that way—
Man: The kid shouldn't talk that way... and we shouldn't stand here listening to him. Why, this is the craziest thing I ever heard of.
(STEVE walks toward the boy.)
Steve: Go ahead, Tommy. What about the people that they sent out ahead?
Tommy: That was the way they prepared things for the landing. They sent people who looked just like humans... but they weren't.
(There's laughter at this, but it's a laughter that comes from a desperate attempt to lighten the atmosphere.)
Charlie (rubs his jaw nervously): I wonder if Cherry Street's got the same deal we got. (He looks past the houses.) Where is Pete Van Horn, anyway? Didn't he get back yet?
(Suddenly there's the sound of a car's engine starting to turn over. LES GOODMAN is at the wheel of his car.)
Sally: Can you get it started, Les?
(GOODMAN gets out of the car, shaking his head.)
Goodman: No.
(As he walks toward the group, he stops suddenly. Behind him, the car engine starts up all by itself. GOODMAN whirls around and stares at it. His eyes go wide, and he runs over to his car. The people stare toward the car.)
Man: He got the car started somehow. He got his car started!
Woman: How come his car just started like that?
Sally: All by itself. He wasn't anywhere near it. It started all by itself.
(DON approaches the group: He stops a few feet away to look toward GOODMAN's car and then back toward the group.)
Don: And he never did come out to look at that thing that flew overhead. He wasn't even interested. (He turns to the faces in the group.) Why? Why didn't he come out with the rest of us to look?
Charlie: He was always an oddball. Him and his whole family.
Don: What do you say we ask him?
(The group suddenly starts toward the house.)
Steve: Wait a minute... wait a minute! Let's not be a mob!
(The people seem to pause for a moment. Then, much more quietly and slowly, they start to walk across the street. GOODMAN stands there alone, facing the people.)
Goodman: I just don't understand it. I tried to start it, and it wouldn't start. You saw me. (And now, just as suddenly as the engine started, it stops. There's a frightened murmuring of the people.)
Don: Maybe you can tell us. Nothing's working on this street. Nothing. No lights, no power, no radio. Nothing except one car—yours!
(The people pick this up, and their murmuring becomes a loud chant filling the air with demands for action.)
Goodman: Wait a minute now. You keep your distance—all of you. So I've got a car that starts by itself—well, that's weird—I admit it. But does that make me a criminal or something? I don't know why the car works—it just does!
(This stops the crowd, and GOODMAN, still backing away, goes up the steps and then stops to face the mob.)
Goodman: What's it all about, Steve?
Steve (quietly): Seems that the general impression holds that maybe the people in one family aren't what we think they are. Monsters from outer space or something. Different from us. You know anybody that might fit that description around here on Maple Street?
Goodman: What is this, a practical joke or something?
(Suddenly the engine of the car starts all by itself again, runs for a moment, and stops. The people once again react.)
Goodman: Now that's supposed to make me a criminal, huh? The car engine goes on and off? (He looks around at the faces of the people.) I just don't understand it... any more than any of you do! (He wets his lips, looking from face to face.) Look, you all know me. We've lived here five years. Right in this house. We're no different from any of you!
Woman: Well, if that's the case, Les Goodman, explain why—(She stops suddenly.)
Goodman (softly): Explain what?
Steve: (cutting in): Look, let's forget this—
Charlie: Go ahead; let her talk. What about it? Explain what?
Woman (a little reluctantly): Well... sometimes I go to bed late at night. A couple of times... I'd come out here on the porch and I'd see Mr. Goodman here standing out in front of his house... looking up at the sky. (She looks around at the circle of faces.) That's right, looking up at the sky as if... as if he were waiting for something.
Goodman: She's crazy. Look, I can explain that. Please... I can really explain that. She's making it up anyway.
(He takes a step toward the crowd, and they back away. He walks down the steps after them, and they continue to back away. He's suddenly and completely left alone. He looks like a man caught in the middle of a menacing circle.)

Read the text a second time. Learn the new words and expressions listed below.

Glossary

atmosphere
n. 大气;气氛

awful
adj. terrible, shocking; Here it functions as an adv. = very, terribly

bulb
n. 灯泡

chant
n. words that are repeated again and again by a group 齐声的不断质问

cherry
n. 樱桃

comic
adj. funny, humorous; ~ book (AmE): 儿童连环画杂志

concern
n. worry, anxiety 忧虑

conscious
adj. aware, knowing 意识到的;明白的

crash
n. a sudden, loud noise as made by a violent fall

criminal
n. a person who has committed a crime 罪犯

deal
n. treatment 对待

desperate
adj. ready for any wild act because of loss of hope 绝望的;不顾一切的

dial
v. to make a telephone call 拨电话号

electrical
adj. relating to electricity

exchange
v. 交换

fender
n. (车辆的)挡泥板

flash
n. a sudden burst of light

gossip
v. to talk about other people's behavior and private lives or about other things that do not concern you 东家长、西家短地闲聊

honey
n. (AmE) darling, sweetheart

horizon
n. 地平线

hush
n. a peaceful silence

impression
n. effect produced on the mind or feelings 印象

intently
adv. with fixed attention 专注地

jaw
n. 颚,颌

jerk
v. to move suddenly 猛然一扭;一抬

kneel
v. 下跪

laughter
n. the act of laughing or the sound of people laughing

lawn
n. an area that is covered with short grass (经过修剪的)草坪

lighten
v. to make more cheerful 使轻松

likely
adj. probable, expected 可能(发生)的

maple
n. 枫树

menace
v. to threaten 威胁

meteor
n. rock-like object hurtling through space 流星

mob
n. a large, noisy crowd especially one that is angry and violent

monster
n. 妖怪;恶魔

mower
n. a machine to cut down grass 割草机

murmur
n. a soft low sound

nope
adv. (informal) no

obviously
adv. clearly

oddball
n. a person who behaves in a strange or an unusual way

operator
n. a person who works on a telephone switchboard 电话接线员

optimistic
adj. hopeful about the future, believing that things will happen in the best way 乐观的

outer
adj. of the outside 外面的;~ space: 外屋空间

overhead
n. , adv. over the head

persistently
adv. continuing to do or say something although other people warn you not to 固执地;坚持地

plug
v. , n. 插;插座

polish
v. to make smooth and shiny by continual rubbing 擦亮

porch
n. a doorway or an entrance to a house, covered with a roof 门廊

portable
adj. easily carried or moved 手提式的

precisely
adv. exactly

quietness
n. silence

react
v. 反应

reaction
n. the act of reacting

reluctantly
adv. unwillingly

residential
adj. mainly of the part of the town or street where there are private houses and very few offices or factories 住宅的

roar
n. a continuous loud noise made by a machine or a strong wind

rooftop
n. the top of the roof

rub
v. 摩擦

screw
v. 拧紧

sense
n. a meaning 意义

sidewalk
n. pavement 人行道

space
n. 空间;太空

speechless
adj. unable to speak because of deep feeling 由于某种原因而说不出话的

spot
n. a small and round mark 点;斑点 black ~s (太阳)黑子

stool
n. a seat without a back, usually for one person

stove
n. 火炉

stuff
n. things

thunder
n. a loud noise following lightning 雷鸣

tone
n. 语调

tremendous
adj. very big or powerful 巨大的(数字、爆炸声等)

typical
adj. 典型的

upwards
adv. going up 向上

weird
adj. strange; difficult to explain, usually because one has not seen or experienced before

wet
v. to make wet

whirl
v. to turn around very quickly

TEXT B

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (Act II)

Scene One

From the various houses we can see candlelight but no electricity. There's a quiet that blankets the whole area, disturbed only by the almost whispered of the people as they stand around. CHARLIE stares across at GOODMAN's house.
Sally (a little timid): It doesn't seem right, though, keeping watch on them. Why, he was right when he said he was one of our neighbors. Why, I've known Ethel Goodman ever since they moved in. We've been good friends—
Charlie: That doesn't prove a thing. Any guy who'd spend his time looking up at the sky early in the morning—well, there's something wrong with that person. Maybe under normal circumstances we could let it go by, but these aren't normal circumstances.
(STEVE, from several yards away, walks down the steps of his porch, and down the street over to LES GOODMAN's house. He stops at the foot of the steps. GOODMAN stands there. MRS. GOODMAN stands behind him, very frightened.)
Goodman: Just stay right where you are, Steve. We don't want any trouble, but this time if anybody sets foot on my porch—that's what they're going to get—trouble!
Steve: Look, Les—
Goodman: I've already explained to you people. I don't sleep very well at night sometimes. I get up and I take a walk and I look up at the sky. I look at the stars! Mrs. Goodman: That's exactly what he does. Why, this whole thing, it's... it's madness.
Steve (nods): That's exactly what it is—some kind of madness.
Charlie's voice (shril1, from across the street): You'd better watch who you're seen with, Steve! Until we get this all straightened out, you aren't exactly above suspicion yourself.
Steve (whirling around toward him): Or you, Charlie. Or any of us. From age eight and up!
Woman: What I'd like to know is—what are we going todo? Just stand around here all night?
Charlie: There's nothin' else we can do!
Steve (raising his voice): There's something you can do, Charlie. You could go
home and keep your mouth shut. You could quit walking around like a self-appointed hanging judge and just climb into bed and forget it.
Charlie: You sound real anxious to have that happen, Steve. I think we'd better keep our eye on you, too!
Don: I think everything might as well come out now. (He turns toward STEVE.)
Your wife's done plenty of talking, Steve, about how odd you are!
Charlie (picking this up, his eyes widening): Go ahead, tell us what she's said.
(STEVE walks toward them from across the street.)
Steve: Go ahead, what's my wife said? Let's get it all out. Let's pick out every unusual habit of every single man, woman, and child on the street. And then we might as well set up some kind of a kangaroo court. How about a firing squad at dawn, Charlie, so we can get rid of all the suspects?
Don: There's no need getting so upset, Steve. It's just that... well... Myra's talked about how there's been plenty of nights you spent hours down in your basement workin' on some kind of radio.
(By this time STEVE has reached the group. He stands there defiantly close to them.)
Charlie: Go ahead, Steve. What kind of "radio set" are you workin'on? Who do you talk to on the radio set? And who talks to you?
Steve: I'm surprised at you, Charlie. How come you're so dense all of a sudden? (a pause) Who do I talk to? I talk to monsters from outer space. I talk to three—headed green men who fly over here in what look like meteors.
(MRS. BRAND steps down from the porch, bites her lip, calls out.)
Mrs. Brand: Steve! Steve, please. (Then looking around frightened, she walks to ward the group.) It's just a ham radio set. A lot of people have them. I can show it to you. It's right down in the basement.
Steve (whirls around toward her): Show them nothing! If they want to look inside our house—let them get a search warrant.
Charlie: Look, man, you can't afford to—
Steve (interrupting): Don't start telling me who's dangerous and who isn't, and who's safe and who's a menace. (He turns to the group and shouts.) And you're with him, too—all of you! You're standing here all set to find a scapegoat—all desperate to point a finger at a neighbor! Well now, look, friends, the only thing that's going to happen is that we'll eat each other up alive—
(He stops abruptly as CHARLIE suddenly grabs his arm.)
Charlie (in a hushed voice): That's not the only thing that can happen to us. (A figure suddenly materializes in the darkness. In the silence we can hear the slow, measured footsteps on concrete as the figure walks slowly toward them. One of the women lets out a stifled cry.)
Tommy (shouting, frightened): It's the monster! It's the monster!
(The people fall back in a group, staring toward the darkness and the approaching figure. DON MARTIN joins them, carrying a shotgun. He holds it up.)
Don: We may need this.
Steve: A shotgun? (He pulls it out of DON 's hand.) Will you people wise up? What good would a shotgun do against—
(CHARLIE pulls the gun from STEVE's hand.)
Charlie: No more talk, Steve. You're going to talk us into a grave! You'd let whatever's out there walk right over us, wouldn't you? Well, some of us won't!
(He swings the gun around to point it toward the sidewalk. The dark figure continues to walk toward them. CHARLIE slowly raises the gun. As the figure gets closer, he pulls the trigger. The sound explodes in the stillness. The figure lets out a small cry, falls forward first onto his knees, and then on his face. DON, CHARLIE, and STEVE run over to him. STEVE is there first and turns the man over. The crowd gathers around them.)
Steve (slowly looks up): It's Pete Van Horn.
Don (in a hushed voice): Pete Van Horn! He was just going to go over to the next block to see if the power was on.
Woman: You killed him, Charlie. You shot him dead!
Charlie (looks around at the circle of faces, his eyes frightened): But. . . but I didn't know who he was. I certainly didn't know who he was. He comes walkin' out of the darkness—how am I supposed to know who he was? (He grabs STEVE.) Steve—you know why I shot! How was I supposed to know he wasn't a monster or something? (He grabs DON.) We're all scared of the same thing. I was just tryin'to. . . tryin'to protect my home, that's all! (He looks down wildly at the body.) I didn't know it was somebody we knew! I didn't know...
(There 's a sudden hush in the group. Across the street all the lights go on in one of the houses.)
Woman (in a very hushed voice): Charlie... Charlie... the lights just went on in your house. Why did the lights go on?
Don: What about it, Charlie? How come you're the only one with lights now?
Goodman: That's what I'd like to know.
(There's a pause as they all stare toward CHARLIE.)
Goodman: You were so quick to kill, Charlie, and you were so quick to tell us who we had to be careful of. Well, maybe you had to kill. Maybe Pete there was trying to tell us something, to tell us who there was amongst us we should watch out for—
(CHARLIE backs away from the group, his eyes wide with fright.)
Charlie: No... no...it's nothing of the sort! I don't know why the lights are on. I swear I don't. Somebody's making a joke or something.
(He bumps against STEVE, who grabs him and furns him around.)
Steve: A joke? Charlie, there's a dead man on the sidewalk, and you killed him!
Does this thing look like a gag to you?
(CHARLIE breaks away and screams as he runs toward his house.)
(A man breaks away from the crowd to run after CHARLIE. The man tackles him and lands on top of him. The other people start to run toward them. CHARLIE gets up on his feet, breaks away from the other man's grasp and jumps up on his front porch. A rock thrown from the group smashes a window alongside of him. The broken glass flies past him. A couple of pieces cut him. He stands there, blood running down from a cut on his cheek. His wife breaks away from the group and throws herself into his arms. We can see the crowd moving in on the porch.)
First Voice: It must have been him.
Second Voice: He's the one.
Third Voice: We've got to get Charlie.
(Another rock lands on the porch. CHARLIE pushes his wife behind him and faces the group.)
Charlie: Look, look, I swear to you... it isn't me... but I do know who it is. I swear to you. I know who the monster is here.
Don: All right, Charlie, let's hear it!
Second Man (screaming): Go ahead, Charlie; tell us.
Charlie: It's...it's the kid. It's Tommy.
Sally: That's crazy. He's only a boy.
Woman: But he knew! He was the only one who knew! He told us all about it. Well, how could he have known?
(People in the crowd take this up and repeat the question aloud.)
First Voice: How could he know?
Second Voice: Who told him?
Third Voice: Make the kid answer.
(Sally grabs TOMMY and starts to run with him. The crowd starts to follow, at first walking fast, and then running after them. Suddenly CHARLIE's lights go off, and the lights in another house go on.)
Man (shouting): It isn't the kid...it's Bob Weaver's house.
Woman: No, it's Don Martin's place.
Charlie: I tell you it's the kid.
Don: It's Charlie. He's the one.
(Various people shout, accuse each other, scream. House lights go on and off.)

Scene Two

In a nearby field sits a space craft in darkness. An open door throws out a beam of light from the inside. Two figures appear.

First Figure: Understand the procedure now? Just stop a few of their machines and radios and telephones and lawn mowers... throw them into darkness for a few hours, and then just sit back and watch the effect.
Second Figure: And this effect is always the same?
First Figure: With little difference. They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find. . .and it's themselves.
Second Figure: Then I take it this place...this Maple Street...is not an exception.
First Figure: By no means. Their world is full of Maple Streets. And we 'll go from one to the other and let them destroy themselves. One to the other...one to the other...one to the other...