A dusty, dirty antique book store.
Ribboned light streams into
the store from a skylight
exposing the dust and uncleanliness
of the store.
On the left of the stage is a
long book shelf filled with
comic books in no discernible
order - Superman, X-men,Batman
and The Avengers are spread out
together in noparticular order.
Opposite the large bookshelf
is a long, glass counter.
Stood behind the counter is
BARRY a man wearing
old clothes, in particular
a stain-covered wool tank top.
At the rear is the front door of
BARRY is reading a comic.
The door opens.
The antiquated sound of a bell
ringing sounds to indicate the
door has been opened.
Barry doesn't raise his head
from his reading.
A woman enters.
She is dressed in a suit and
carries a briefcase.
She looks like a mother buying
for her child - completely out of
place in a comic book store.
She looks at the long book shelf
for a limited time and turns
to face Barry.
He doesn't raise his head.
MARY - Good morning.
Barry turns another page.
He pretends not to hear her.
MARY - I said, good morning.
Barry pauses as he turns a
page. He doesn't look up.
He turns over the page.
Mary steps up to the counter
in front of Barry.
MARY - Good morning, I'm here to buy a comic book.
Barry stops turning and
looks at her like she has
caught him on the toilet.
BARRY - Really? In a comic book shop? I'd never have guessed.
MARY (nervous) - I... I'm sorry but I'm looking for...
BARRY - Something for your son?
MARY (sternly, in control) - No. I hear you have a Spiderman, Number 1.
BARRY - Yes. The last one in existence.
MARY - The last one? I thought there were two left in the world?
BARRY - Well, strictly speaking there are two left in the world. But! One of them has been lost for over thirty years so our copy is generally regarded as the last one left in the world.
MARY - I see.
BARRY - But you don't want to buy it.
MARY - I don't?
BARRY (patronizing) - No. Buy some up to date comics (pointing) on the shelf behind you.
MARY - Thank you. But I'm here to purchase Spiderman, Number 1.
BARRY - Ok. Well I didn't want to do this but you can't because... you can't afford it. It is the last Spiderman, Number 1, left in the world and it is very expensive.
MARY - I would expect nothing less... if it truly is unique.
BARRY - Oh it's unique alright. Unique to the tune of one hundred thousand dollars.
MARY - Ok. May I see it?
BARRY - Ok what? But, you know, I like your persistence. I'll just get it from out back. So we can both have a look.
Exit Barry stage right.
Mary picks up the comic Barry has
been reading. She flicks through
it and throws it back on the counter.
MARY - Now I see who reads this trash.
Enter Barry stage right.
Barry is holding the comic.
It is sealed in a protective
He places it carefully on
BARRY - Behold. The legendary, last surviving copy of Spiderman, Number 1.
MARY - Allegedly, the last copy.
BARRY (smiles) - The last known copy.
Mary moves to pick it up.
Barry stops her.
BARRY - No, no, no. What do you think you're doing?
MARY - I want to have a look at it.
BARRY - You can see it just fine from there.
MARY - How much is it again?
BARRY - One hundred thousand dollars.
MARY (looking closely at the comic) - Wow.
BARRY - Yes, expensive. It would be more, a lot more.
MARY - Really?
BARRY - As long as the other copy is out there, even though it's been lost for years, this comic is not unique.
MARY - Not unique?
BARRY - As you have pointed out, this cannot be called ?the last one in the world?. The last Superman, Number 1, comic is now worth over a million dollars.
Now that truly is the last ever copy.
MARY - I'm not interested in Superman.
BARRY - No, me neither. Too much of a goody-two-shoes. It is a shame though.
MARY (not listening) - Really?
BARRY - Well, now that comic is stored in some vault. In a bank or someone's personal safe buried deep in their basement. It will probably not see the light of day again.
MARY - Hmmm. I'd like to have a closer look at this one, if I may?
BARRY - I have already explained that you'd have to buy...
As Barry talks, Mary moves
her briefcase onto the counter.
She opens it and turns it
BARRY (continued) - ...it for... PAUSE How much is that?
MARY (now in complete control) - One hundred thousand dollars. In cash.
Barry is open-mouthed.
He shakes his head in
BARRY - Ok.
Not taking his eyes off the money
Barry pushes the comic to Mary.
Mary picks the comic up.
Barry picks up a stack of money.
Mary gazes at the comic with
the same love Barry is gazing at
Mary unseals the plastic jacket
and slides the comic out.
This wakes Barry from his trance.
BARRY - Be careful! I know you just paid all this beautiful money for it but remember it is pretty unique.
MARY - Not quite unique.
BARRY - Ha, yes. I suppose we won't go over that again. Is there anything else you want?
MARY - No, no. I'm fine. (holding the unsealed comic) This is all I came for.
BARRY - Good. I hope you don't mind then if I just go and put this money away. In my safe.
Barry greedily picks up the still-open
briefcase, turns and walks out.
Exit Barry stage right.
Mary takes a deep breath and lovingly
strokes the front of the comic.
Mary then tears it up with her hands.
She tears the comic into strips.
And then those strips into smaller pieces.
Just as she is finishing Barry
crashes back into the shop.
Enter Barry stage right.
BARRY (shouting) - What are you doing?
Mary finishes tearing.
The small pieces are all over
the counter and the floor.
Barry is speechless.
BARRY - But... but... but... you can't.
Barry picks up some of the pieces
of paper and they fall through his fingers.
Mary stands triumphant.
MARY - Do you have a waste basket?
BARRY (wide eyed) - I can't believe you did it.
MARY - You just don't get it, do you?
Mary leans towards Barry.
MARY - Now... my copy is unique.
Barry's eyes widen even further
with the realisation of what
MARY - There can be only one!
Mary turns and leaves the shop to
the rear of the stage.
Barry frantically searches
through the remnants.