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The Plot (Continued)
A couple of days pass, and Mr. Harley (with his ever present briefcase) return. And the news is not good. Country A will attend but only if the meeting is held in country B. Country B will not attend unless the meeting is held in country C. And country D will not attend unless the meeting is held in country A. Klaatu is annoyed and angered at the child like behavior being displayed, and astounded their very existence would take a back seat to their petty bickering. Mr. Harley make one more pitch for his president. “Now that you understand the situation more clearly, perhaps you’d like to discuss the matter with the President”. Klaatu still refuses to speak with the leader of any one nation. And to a certain degree he loses his temper. “I am impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it”. Mr. Harley verbally wishes his people could do the same.
Klaatu moves to the window, looks the people below, and begins to really wonder if all the people on Earth are really so narrow minded. In a last ditch attempt to get his message across Klaatu makes a request of Mr. Harley. “Before making any decisions, I think I should get out among your people — become familiar with the basis for these strange, unreasoning attitudes”. Mr. Harley balks at that idea. “Under the circumstances I’m afraid that will be impossible. I must ask that you don’t attempt to leave the hospital. Our military people have insisted on this. I’m sure you’ll understand”. After Mr. Harley departs Klaatu shakes his head in wonder at the level of stupidity of this planet. He chuckles as he hears his door being locked.
A few hours later a nurse delivering medication and a military policeman stand outside the room where Klaatu is. The MP tries to unlock the door, but finds it already unlocked. He the and the nurse rush in. The bed is unmade and the room is empty. Klaatu has vanished. It isn’t long before word leaks to the press. Banner headlines about his “escape” are on newspapers all over Washington.
Radio announcers chatter wildly warning people of the escape. Mothers corral their kids, and usher them off the street. Commuter trains are stopped and searched.
At night we see a very ordinary looking man carrying a suitcase walking on the sidewalk. It isn’t long before before we see it’s Klaatu. As he passes the houses we hear radio and television reports about the escape, and about the alien. One report has him at eight feet tall. Another is a report of sightings in Chicago, Florida, and Des Moines. Another is drowned out by the sound of very nervous people chattering. He stops to observe sometime, and notices his coat has a tag on it that identifies its true owner. He tears the tag from the jacket and disposes of it
He notices one of the houses has a small sign in the window that says “room for rent”. He approaches the house now using the name “Mr. Carpenter”. A number of people are huddled around a television set. They are too engrossed in TV reports to notice him. He stands in the hallway waiting to see the owner of the house.
All of a sudden one the people who has been watching the TV report turns it off. A woman, a Mrs. Crockett, and owner of the boarding house, complains that all the reports and tension are driving her crazy. Another person – a young boy, notices a stranger standing in the hallway. Klaatu, now going by the name of Mr. Carpenter, says he’s looking for a room to rent. Mrs. Crockett finds everything in order, and introduces Mr. Carpenter to the rest of the house guests. Mr.Carpenter is introduced to to everybody, and after the appropriate hellos and shaking of hands Mrs. Crockett is satisfied Mr. Carpenter will make a fine addition to the house. Of the people Mr. Carpenter meets that evening he will have the most interaction with Helen Benson (played by Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (played by Billy Gray). Bobby starts peppering Mr. Carpenter with questions. He’s a bit excited by al the “space man” news and his mother sends him to bed.
The next morning everyone in the boarding house communes around the breakfast table. Mrs. Barley, a heavy set no nonsense woman, is plowing through the paper when she happens upon a cartoon in the paper.
She is far from amused. The radio is reporting, but does not report fact. It’s reporting pure conjecture. Where is the space man, why is he here. One theory is that he’s hiding out in the sewers which displeases and annoys Mr. Carpenter. Only Helen Benson offers any opinion of any importance. “This space man — or whatever he is. We automatically assume he’s a menace… Maybe he isn’t at all. After all, he was shot the moment he landed here. I was just wondering what I would do”. Mr. Carpenter makes a comment of his own which leads to some hilarity. “Perhaps before deciding on a course of action, you’d want to know more about the people here — to orient yourself in a strange environment”. Mrs. Barley crows sharply “There’s nothing strange about Washington, Mr. Carpenter”. Mr. Carpenter counters with “A person from another planet might disagree with you”. A small degree of tension is relieved, and for just a small moment thought are not on the space man.
Mrs. Crockett, who left the kitchen a few minutes earlier returns, and tells Helen Benson, that Tom Stephens is waiting for her in the hall. Tom Stephens sells insurance, and is fond of Helen and Bobby. Helen and Tom had planned to picnic together but admits to Tom he hasn’t got a sitter for him. Tom’s smile all but disappears. Then Mr. Carpenter volunteers to look after Bobby. Tom is all smiles again. Mr. Carpenter adds “Bobby and I had a fine time yesterday afternoon. We talked — and listened to the radio. I thought today he might show me around the city”. Helen is surprised, but given his optimistic attitude at breakfast, gives her consent. Mr. Carpenter suggests they ask Bobby what he thinks. Helens likes Mr. Carpenter a bit more because he wanted to include Bobby in the conversation.
Stay Tuned for part 4 !
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