Capitalism In Action
Russia has announced that, beginning in 2006, there will be no more free rides for American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
So here's what you might see on TV about that time:
ESTABLISHING SHOT -- SPACE
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft approaches the International Space Station and docks with it, the curving horizon of a beautiful Earth in the background.
INTERIOR -- SPACE STATION
There are two astronauts, RUSSIAN and AMERICAN, in the space station. The Russian is seated at a console. The American hovers over his shoulder, an anxious look on his face.
RUSSIAN: Docking is complete.
The American breaks into a broad smile.
AMERICAN: Whoo-hoo! My ride home! Finally! Lemme just get my bag!
The American floats across the space station's interior and picks up a small suitcase. He turns around and moves toward the hatchway.
However, the Russian has left his seat and is now standing in front of the doorway. He holds a hand out, palm first.
RUSSIAN: Not so fast, comrade. Have you forgotten? Today is January the first. Russia's new policy has gone into effect.
The Russian shifts his hand to flat out, palm up. He rubs his thumb across his fingers.
RUSSIAN: Payment for goods and services. Is that not the American way?
The American looks aghast and stunned. He glances frantically around the statioon for several seconds, then stops, looking suddenly thoughtful. A smile breaks out on his face.
The American opens one of the many pockets on his uniform, and pulls out...
CLOSE-UP SHOT -- AMERICAN'S HAND, EXTENDED OUT
... an American Express card.
MEDIUM SHOT -- THE RUSSIAN
The Russian's face breaks into a pleased smile as he reaches for the card.
EXTERIOR -- SPACE
We see the Soyuz capsule heading back towards Earth. We hear the American's voice, fading as the Soyuz grows farther away.
AMERICAN (OFF-SCREEN, FADING): Whoo-o-o-o-o-hoo-o-o-o-o-o-o!
NARRATOR (VOICEOVER): American Express. Don't leave home without it.