I wrote Morgan's Organs in the early eighties, in a feeble attempt at satire. It's a fifteen minute radio play which I never submitted to a radio station or for publication. It appears here for the first time anywhere, and is one of my few attempts at humorous writing.
(Muzak. A soft, piped voice in background: "Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Morgan's - the store that offers you more." And: "Check our extensive new range of interior metabolic accessories at competitive prices, now...")
Official: Next! (Beat) Please take a seat.
Jones: Ah, very good of you.
Official: Name, age and citizen code?
Jones: Jones, Edward, Thirty-five, XC11 325a.
Official: And what can we do for you, Mr Jones?
Jones: I'd like to sell my-
Official: Please, Mr Jones! If you please! We are not in the practice of buying at Morgan's. You donate, and we purchase.
Jones: In that case I'd like to donate-
Official: Did you say Jones? XC11 325a? One minute, please.
(Sound of typing on a keyboard, notes are heard.)
According to records, Mr Jones, it is less than five weeks since you last paid us a visit. In the interests of customer safety we advise that our donation facility is used sparingly, say four times a year? And let me see...
(More tapping, notes.)
Yes, you have been donating on a rather regular basis over the past year. Four times already, according to our files.
Jones: I lost my job last year, and, well... things have been rather hard this winter...
Official: In that case, under the circumstances... Perhaps we might come to some arrangement. What exactly is the donation you have in mind?
Jones: I'd like to donate my liver-
Official: Your liver? Ah, now... that is a rather large organ, is it not?
Jones: Fair sized, I suppose, though compared with the lungs-
Official: And speaking of lungs, you donated those three months ago, if I'm not mistaken.
Jones: That's right. The rent was increased on my cubby. I tried taking out a loan, but as I was unemployed...
Official: I see...
(Tapping, more notes.)
Jones Is anything wrong?
Here we are. A-ha! You're in luck. With the implantation of an synthetic liver - a Morgan Blood-Sump Mk II - you'll be just eighty-three percent artificial. I can therefore advise you to go ahead with the donation!
Jones: I'm relieved.
Official: Now, down to business. Your medical records state that you are in tip-top physical shape, your liver is - or was, the last time it was examined - fighting fit, and your family lineage is free from cirrhosis...(ETC...). In which case I can make you an offer of four thousand credits. One thousand down and three on delivery.
Jones: Four thousand? But I was hoping for at least six...
Official: Come, come, Mr Jones. There has been, after all, rather a glut of livers on the market of late. The going rate for a healthy specimen is the aforesaid four thousand credits
Jones: Five thousand...
Official: (Sighing) I'll tell you what I'll do, Mr Jones. I'll give you four thousand five hundred, with two thousand in advance. I can do no fairer than that. My final offer.
Official: You're a man I can do business with, Mr Jones. Now, if you would be so good as to sign this standard contract and take the receipt to the cash desk by the exit... Oh - and no doubt you'll be warned, but I might as well tell you here and now. In the interest of the healthy maintenance of the Morgan Blood-Sump Mk II, kindly refrain from the consumption of alcohol after the operation.
Official: You'll be notified when a hospital booth is available. Good day to you, Mr Jones. Next!
(Muzak. A soft voice: "Morgan's bargain of the week, kidney's of every blood type just 7,000 credits plus VAT at Morgan's Organs...")
(Street sounds. Traffic, crowds. Jones sighs and presses the buttons of the Personal Alcohol Booth, with musical accompaniment.)
Booth: Good morning, sir. I am your Personal User-Friendly Alcohol Booth, at your service. Please step inside and be seated.
(Door opens and closes. Traffic noises fade.)
Before you is the panel which displays the various refreshments, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, which I dispense. Please speak your preference into the microphone, insert the appropriate coinage, and await service.
Jones: I'll have a large whisky and soda, please.
Booth: That will be £25, sir.
(He inserts five coins.)
Jones: That's right, but how can you possibly-?
Mega Byte: I have my sources, Jones. Let's just say that I'm plugged in where it matters. Now, tell me, have you ever thought of becoming Mandroid? That is, crossing the dreaded 85 percent barrier and shedding your precious humanity?
Mega Byte: Don't look so aghast, Jones. Mandroids aren't monsters, you know. As a matter of fact, I'm one - though I prefer to be known as a Womandroid.
Jones: You... ? But you look... that is...
Mega Byte: Sure, I look all girl to you, Jones. And why not? All the artificial bits are inside. But I'm ninety-eight percent Womandroid under the skin-
Jones: Ninety-eight percent-
Mega Byte: Heart, brain, - all micro-mechanical simulacra. So why the big deal? You wouldn't be able to tell if not for the voice, but we're working on a digitilised larynx that'll sound as smooth as honey.
Jones: Tell me, which part of you isn't artificial?
Mega Byte: (Laughs.) Wouldn't you like to know, chum. But let's quit beating about the bush and get down to basics. As I said, we've been watching you for a while now. You've been donating organs like you got them to spare. Hard times, eh?
Jones: It's the economic recession. But I intend buying real organs just as soon as things improve and I get a job. You'll see...
Mega Byte: Yeah, yeah. That's what they all say, to begin with. Aren't you satisfied with your artificial organs?
Jones: (Muttering.) It's not the same...
Mega Byte: Of course it's the same - only different, that's all. The sim-organs work just as well as natural ones - but these days it's a status symbol to have real blood and gristle innards, and the rich are the only ones who can afford the luxury. And of course when their organs wear out, they simply renew them - hey presto! And that, of course, creates a second class citizen - us Mandroids. But we plan to do something about it, Jones. We need all the new members we can get-
Jones: Just a minute. if you want to stop organ donations, then why the recruitment drive?
(Sound of buttons being pushed, musical notes.)
Booth: Good morning, Mr Jones. Welcome to Morgan's Private short-stay clinic. I am your personal User-Friendly Hospital Booth. Please step inside and lie on the couch.
(Sound of door opening, closing.)
How are you today, Mr Jones?
Jones: Very well, thank you.
Booth: I'm pleased to hear that. Your liver this time, I believe?
Jones: That's correct.
Booth: Will you kindly remove your gown and, when you are ready for the operation to begin, simply press the panel on the display unit before you marked 'start'.
(Sound of pressed panel.)
Good. Now, just a little injection-
Booth: Following the operation you will be in quick-sleep for three days, Mr Jones. When you awake you will be able to walk from the hospital in perfect physical condition. (Beat.) Now, close your eyes and count to three.
Jones: One... two... threeee...
(Sound of whirring saw and splattered liquid.)
(Street sounds. Traffic, crowds, planes. From overhead: "This is a public information announcement. Citizens! Ever considered donating the tired old sack of flesh and blood you call your body, shedding the whole caboodle and becoming a Chrysler-Benz Cybernetic Somatic-Simulation? Good prices paid for even the oldest bodies at Morgan's Organs, now!")
Mega Byte: Hi, there, Jones. How's things?
Jones: I beg your... Oh, it's you...
Mega Byte: Been evicted, Jones?
Jones: How did you guess?
Mega Byte: Nice tent, pity about the rip. Say, I thought you sold your liver?
Jones: (Sighs) I did. I paid off the rent I owed and then I was evicted. They're pulling down the cubby-stack to make way for a pleasure palace.
Mega Byte: Tough. You can't afford anything better than this? Not even a room someplace?
(Muzak. Soft Voice: Welcome to Morgan's, the store that offers you more. Today's special offers... etc.)
Official: Good morning, Mr Jones. I trust that you're happy with your Morgan Blood-Sump Mk II? Performing to your satisfaction? No hiccups?
Jones: It's fine, as far as I can tell. Of course, I miss the occasional drink...
Official: Just a small price to pay for the price we paid you, Mr Jones. Now, what can we do for you?
Jones: I'd like to enquire as to the possibility of donating my heart...
Official: And you've come to the right place, Mr Jones. Hearts are always in demand. We can pay you fifteen thousand credits, Mr Jones-
Jones: Fifteen thousand... But I was told the going rate was twenty thousand...
Official: That was last week, when we began the advertising drive for heart donations. The response was so good that of course the price just had to fall. Fifteen thousand is still a princely sum.
Jones: Yes, I suppose it is...
Official: And the Morgan Bi-valve Super-Pump Mk IV is the latest in state-of-the-heart technology. (My little joke, Mr Jones.) Guaranteed fifty years, all parts warranty.
Jones: And... if I did donate, then I'd be over the eighty-five percent limit and no longer designated human. I'd be a Mandroid, and eligible for a room and work...
(Sound of print out.)
Official: (Clears his throat) According to my reckoning, Mr Jones, an artificial heart would make you ninety-three percent artificial-
Jones: Which is eight percent over the limit...
Official: Not any longer. This morning's revised figures from the ministry state that Official Mandroid status is achieved only when the subject is over ninety-five percent artificial.
Jones: In that case...
Official: You'd be still two percent short of Mandroid status...
(Sounds of computer.)
Of course, if you really desire Mandroid status... there is something I could suggest...
Official: Have you at any time considered donating your brain?
Jones: My brain!
Official: There is a very high demand for stable, well adjusted brains these days. Citizens with inoperable brain tumours and the like have the contents of their minds recorded, stored temporarily on tape, then transferred to the donated brain after the transplant. We can make you an offer of thirty-five thousand credits for your brain, Mr Jones,
Jones: And just what will I do without it?
Official: (Laughs) Of course you would have it recorded in the Morgan Neural-Synthesis Mk III. You would have your own thoughts and feelings and memories - in fact you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The Mk III is guaranteed for a lifetime of one hundred years, with ten-yearly overhauls as necessary.
Jones: Thirty five thousand New Pounds... I think I need a little time to consider this...
Mega Byte: Cheer up, Jones.
Jones: Cheer up? I don't see anything to cheer up about.
Mega Byte: Not even this room? Beats that old tent any day.
Jones: It's more like a rabbit hutch!
Mega Byte: And what about your job?
Jones: Slave labour! You said nothing about the hours! And the pay... I was better off on the street. Why, I'm no longer even human. I'm a second class citizen.
Mega Byte: We plan to do something about that, Jones. We're marching on Government House today. You coming?
Jones: (Sighs) I can't. I have to work. I need the money...
Mega Byte: But what about the fifty thousand New Pounds you were paid for your donations?
Jones: I owed twenty-five thousand, and the rest went on food and clothing. In fact I still owe ten thousand. And on the pay I get at the factory I'm likely to be still paying that off in the year 3000...
Mega Byte: There is something you could do to raise the cash...
Jones: There is?
Mega Byte: Have you ever considered...
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