Planet Of The Socks

A sixty-second play

The scene is any combination of a washing machine, a blackboard with diagrams of socks and washing machines and equations on, and lots and lots of socks. A young professor is talking to an older general, with a big moustache. Both are standing.

PROFESSOR: Well, general, we've finally scientifically confirmed why socks disappear in the wash. By putting some sensors inside this washing machine, we found that if you spin a stainless metal drum at a few hundred RPM, then inject a flow of ions in the form of a stream of hot water, it's the ideal way to create a miniature wormhole. A wormhole which does indeed occasionally swallow up a sock. One sock every seven point four loads, to be exact.

GENERAL: This is fascinating work, professor.

PROFESSOR: I wouldn't start celebrating yet, sir. We've discovered something rather alarming. You see, on some of our test runs, our washing came back not with a missing sock, but an extra one.

GENERAL: Are you sure you didn't just lose one?

PROFESSOR: Yes, sir, we count extremely carefully.

GENERAL: Was it one of ours?

PROFESSOR: No, sir. We ran tests. They look exactly like human socks. And they're always disguised to look like whatever socks are nearby, so until now nobody has ever counted carefully enough to notice that they've gained a sock instead of losing one. We think this has been happening for years. All over the world. They've been infiltrating their way into our sock drawers and onto our feet. Waiting for the moment to strike together. They're aliens. Dormant alien larvae. It's an invasion, general. And it could already be too late to stop them.

During this, the general has turned away casually. Unseen by the professor, he slips a large red football sock over his arm.

GENERAL: That's a very interesting story, professor. How many people have you told?

PROFESSOR: Just you, sir.

GENERAL: Excellent.

He lunges for the professor's throat and chokes him with his sock-covered hand.

This play was performed as part of Gone In Sixty Seconds 2006 in Harrogate on 6 May 2006. You can download a video of the performance here.