Transcript for Episode 7: Divinations

 

COLD OPEN—INTERVIEW CLIP

Male Interview 2

It would still be a horrible nightmare, like…everything train-wise, budget-wise, like the winter. We buy, we buy trains with like the equivalent of like 500,000 miles on them. Like way out of their service range. Everything…they’re like complete junk. Every single thing on them will be still breaking down. We spend more money on expanding things. Like, for example, that could be like more realistic than actually just fixing anything. Because we spend way more money on expansions than actual maintenance for trains, and that’s a lot of the reasons why the trains are always breaking down. I don’t know. I think it would be a terrible idea. I think…

[Charlie on the MTA plays]

I think the living situation or whatever would be cool, living, I guess, in the train community. But you guys would all be stuck together, so it’d be funny. Like you know, like it would be a jail. It would be a Red Line jail, pretty much. And everyone would never get to work on time, and people would lose their jobs every time it snowed, so. Something like that.

PREVIOUSLY IN GREATER BOSTON

Kelly McCabe

Previously in Greater Boston

Louisa Alvarez—Julia Propp

I never asked Leon to help me move. So that leaves two possibilities, you know? Either he showed up spontaneously, knowing I was in need. Or he scheduled my move into his calendar without telling me.

Gemma Linzer-Coolidge—Lydia Anderson

Notice my office has one of the pneumatic tubes that carries messages to the publisher’s office. The tubes are for him to talk to us, not the other way around. Usually he talks to me and then I talk to you so that he doesn’t have to talk to you.

Narrator—Alexander Danner

Now, who would tell Michael not to down another shot? No one would. And there it went, while the ghost of Leon shook his head.

TITLE SEQUENCE

Multiple Voices

Braintree

Arlington

Peabody

Haverhill

Lowell

Alright.

Fall River

Cambridge

Quincy

I can’t say that one without a ridiculous accent, it’s just impossible

Arlington

Framingham

Newton

Lynn

Worcester

This is

Framingham

Waltham

Quincy

Arlington

Revere

Waltham

Somerville

Arlington

Leominster

This is

Haverhill

Medford

Brookline

Somerville

Cambridge

This is

This is

This is

Greater Boston

EPISODE CONTENTS

Narrator—Alexander Danner

This week in Greater Boston, Louisa updates her calendar in “Louisa Beyond Leon.” Gemma takes time for a gut check in “Gastromancy with Gemma.” And Michael discovers a source of ancient wisdom in “Thunder Over Thunder.”

This week in Episode 7: Divinations

YOUR FUTURE

[Tense mysterious music plays]

A Fortune Teller—Jeff Van Dreason

I will predict your future for you — yes, you, listening to my words in this very moment. But you need to do exactly what I say or the future will be impossible to read.

First, make sure you have a dollar or two. A five. Two singles. A larger bill is fine.

Next, find the closest corner store. Walk to it. Purchase something. Purchase something small that you need or want. A pack of gum. A carton of milk. A newspaper.

Make sure the purchase will not round out to a full dollar, or even .99 cents.

Give the cashier your bills for the purchase. Take what the cashier gives you in return. Put it in your left pocket.

Walk home. Clear your coffee table. Reach into your left pocket. Grip what the cashier gave you. Bring it out of your pocket. Drop it on your coffee table.

[Sound of coins falling on table]

Observe carefully. Focus on the solar system of dimes, quarters, nickels and pennies.

What do you see? Look closer at their strange assembly. Observe their chaos. Focus.

[Coins rattling ominously]

Do you see it, there? Can you see it?

This is your future. This is what’s coming for you. Any day now. And every day until the end of your days.

[Music crescendos then ends]

CHAPTER ONE: LOUISA BEYOND LEON

[Smartphone chime]

Narrator—Alexander Danner

Louisa woke to the sound of her phone chiming three times.

[Moody music plays]

Her phone was reminding her of an event in her calendar.

She yanked the phone off the charging cord, remembering the time Leon lectured her about doing that exact thing.

Leon Stamatis—Braden Lamb

You’ll disrupt the fibers in the cord and damage the battery.

Narrator

…he’d said. It’d been early and they were lying in bed and Leon wasn’t awake, but as soon as she’d yanked her phone, he’d lifted his head, made his brief announcement, and then immediately fell back to sleep. He hadn’t scheduled himself to wake for another thirty-six minutes.

Impromptu lectures were one of the few things Leon didn’t need to schedule, especially if they were about his least favorite subject: inefficiency. And he never repeated his little lectures. He didn’t need to. He’d mastered the art of giving looks, somehow communicating…

Leon

I told you, you’ll disrupt the fibers and battery.

Narrator

…with only his face. Leon had a lot of faces, especially for a guy who was normally so rigid.

Leon

You should re-hang that painting and find a more secure stud in the wall for it.

Narrator

…said one facial expression.

Leon

If you don’t sweep up those breadcrumbs from the toast you made, you’ll get ants

Narrator

…said another.

Leon

You should run a load of laundry with a tablespoon of baking powder and some vinegar to kill any bacteria in the drum of your front-loading clothes washer.

Narrator

…said yet another Leon face.

Louisa hated this. Not his face-lectures, although they’d been annoying too. She hated that she was still thinking about Leon. She’d forget for brief periods of time and then there’d be another reminder triggering a domino game of memories racing through her skull. He’d made some kind of an impression. So much so that Louisa hadn’t even noticed herself scrolling through the calendar on her phone, sailing by weeks, months at a time, her finger sliding up and down the screen, looking for events Leon had added before his death.

She re-focused, shook her head, checked the notification that had woken her in the first place. She had a meeting with another bride. This afternoon. At some stupid upscale sew-your-own gown shop on Newbury St. That’s where the bride insisted on meeting. She wanted shots of the dressmaking.

Louisa thought about canceling, and by the time she’d finished having the thought she realized she’d already done it. Her hands acted all on their own. Cancelled. No more dressmaking bridal shoot. No notice to the bride, even. Fuck her. One click, then gone. Just like Leon.

She kept going. A new client meet, bride and groom. Cancelled. Bachelorette party—why would you even document that? Deleted. Another new client meet, lesbians this time, bride and bride, god, like one bride was bad enough. Cancelled cancelled. Then a whole string of weddings, three, four, five weddings, all her obligations, the crux of her career. Cancelled cancelled cancelled cancelled. No more. None. Nothing.

[Music stops]

She had probably just fucked up her whole life, she realized.

[Music resumes]

She jumped out of bed and grabbed her Nikon D810 from her dresser. Time to be proactive. Time to be spontaneous. Time to do something that would help her move past him.

The brown box holding all of Leon’s possessions was waiting at her front door. He’d scheduled to pick-up the belongings before they’d even broke up. Leon had even scheduled the break-up. Louisa supposed she should be furious about that. What kind of sociopath schedules a break-up as if it’s some kind of predetermined thing? But she wasn’t even sure if Leon scheduled it because he wanted to break up with her or because he sensed that she wanted to break up with him. Maybe he had planned the breakup for her sake. At least he got the time wrong. The fight, the break-up, they didn’t happen exactly when he predicted. Close. Not exactly.

And it wasn’t like she hadn’t felt it coming. She probably could have taken a stab at scheduling it herself. Wasn’t that the same for every break-up she’d ever had? There was always a sense, like the air gets heavier, like gravity pulls your heart to the earth with more force.

[Music fades out]

When she was five years old, Louisa’s sister told her that old people sagged because the devil was trying to drag them all to hell and she’d cried for a week.

She got on her knees and popped off the camera lens, sizing up the box in a close-up that made Leon’s belongings look like a landscape, a mountain range of forgotten minutia. She snapped a few photographs, moving into slightly different positions to get fresh angles and better lighting.

[Camera shutter noises]

Then she sat next to the box and called Nica. The call went to voicemail.

Louisa Alvarez—Julia Propp

Nica, hi. It’s Louisa. Listen, I’m not trying to be insensitive, but I still have some of Leon’s things here? And… it’s just weird. He scheduled in his calendar to pick them up on the 21st, from 3:00 to 3:15pm and obviously that date came and went because we were all — busy. With the… the funeral. Anyway, I know this sounds stupid but somehow keeping these things here despite the fact that he scheduled to pick them up? Somehow it feels…

[Sad music fades in]

I don’t know. Disrespectful? Like, I think it would really bother him. I’m sorry, I’m being nuts. I know you’re going through a lot. Whenever you have a chance, that’s all. Thanks.

Narrator

She sank back into the wall, lightly tapping the box with her foot and scrolled through the calendar events. Events stretched on for months and years after Leon’s death. Small patches of inactivity and then his calendar would be crammed and colorful again, overflowing with order.

None of the scheduled events featured her, none suggested a possibility for reunion. But why hadn’t Leon stopped sharing his calendar with her? She’d kept waiting for it to happen. Louisa was surprised he hadn’t done it mid-breakup. Not doing it at all seemed very… inefficient.

Maybe the more important question was, why hadn’t she stopped merging her calendar with his?

[Moody music fades as sad music fades out]

She missed him. She didn’t want to miss him, but she did. The fact that she couldn’t schedule something with him made her want to schedule something with him. She opened her calendar to add a new event. “Get over Leon” sounded too harsh. Besides, she’d *already* gotten over him, but then he went and died, and now it was a whole other thing. “Move Beyond Leon?” No, that felt a little too… new agey. She named the event “Louisa Beyond Leon” and left it at that, knowing she’d probably change it fifty more freakin’ times before she was done. Leon. Leon leon leon. The start date was today and the event was ongoing, coating her future with a pleasant lavender hue.

Louisa scrolled back to Sunday, September 8th. Leon’s mother’s birthday. He had scheduled buying flowers for his mother’s grave. The following night had been one of their final dates and Leon had brought flowers for her. Buying Louisa flowers didn’t appear anywhere on the calendar. Obviously, he’d purchased them along with his mother’s. But wasn’t that somewhat spontaneous?

Louisa tried to remember how she’d reacted when he’d given her the flowers, but she couldn’t picture herself.

[Smartphone chime]

A new event appeared on Leon’s calendar. Right then, as she watched. For that evening.

[Smartphone chime]

Then another one for the next day.

[Smartphone chime]

And another.

Leon

Water plants.

Narrator

…said one.

Leon

Three month oil change.

Narrator

…another.

Leon

Vacuum dryer lint hose.

Check OKCupid profile for potential matches.

Finish draft of article.

Narrator

And then the one that made Louisa drop her phone, re-scheduled from the 21st to this upcoming Saturday, from 3 to 3:15pm.

Leon

Retrieve belongings from Louisa’s apartment.

[Smartphone chime]

Narrator

Louisa might have been ready to move beyond Leon, but clearly, even in death, Leon wasn’t ready to move beyond efficiency.

[Moody music cuts to drums then fades.]

DEAR PERSEPHONE

[Sitar music begins]

Freshly Fulfilled—Jeff Van Dreason

Dear Persephone,

I’ve recently discovered that I’m an artist. I quit my job to focus on my craft, but my wife doesn’t support my creative endeavors. How do I get her to see the great Satan’s spell of capitalism for what it is?

-Freshly Fulfilled in Framingham

Gemma Linzer-Coolidge—Lydia Anderson

Dear Freshly Fulfilled,

Perhaps you could ask your wife to make art of her own. Some possible ideas and titles to suggest to her: an oil painting of you called “This Free Loader Can’t Be Serious.”

Enlightened—Mike Linden

Dear Persephone,

Your advice recently feels cynical and biting. Might I suggest a long bubble bath mixed with the blood of the Ceratophrys (South American Horned Frog)? It’ll fill your bitter aura with warm chakra light. Soak in it. Soak in it for a very long time.

-Enlightened in Worcester.

Gemma

Dear Enlightened,

There’s only one kind of enlightenment associated with the city of Worcester and that is the enlightenment one feels when they leave the city of Worcester. My advice is take your awful toad bloodbath and get the hell out while you can.

Trapped—Ben Flaumenhaft

Dear Persephone,

I hate my job but I can’t afford to quit. Can you recommend a spell or chant to deal with the daily grind?

-Trapped in Tewksbury.

Gemma

Dear Trapped.

[Music ends]

No.

CHAPTER TWO: GASTROMANCY WITH GEMMA

Gemma Linzer-Coolidge—Lydia Anderson

Charlotte, sit down. This might take a few minutes. Yes, it’s about work. Of course it’s about work, it’s always about work.

[Peppy music begins]

So on Monday, I’m in my office and I get this weird feeling in my stomach, this strange little rumble.

[gurgles]

So I’m sitting there wondering if the chicken salad I had for lunch was tainted and I’m about to die from salmonella or whatever—when I hear it. [imitates pneumatic tube noise]

[pneumatic tube noise]

The pneumatic tube from the boss’ office. It empties right outside my door.

Sometimes I forget anyone is even up there. Sometimes I wonder if there really is anyone up there. I mean, I’ve never seen this guy. You know how weird that is, but ya’ know what’s even weirder to me now? I stopped thinking it was weird years ago. It just became part of the work routine. Pandabear is weird. He’s in my fucking space every day with his hippy vegan voodoo bullshit and it’s made me realize that weird things only bother me when they’re in my face all the time. A boss who only communicates with pneumatic tubes? Weird, yes, but who cares? I can just pretend he doesn’t exist and everyone is hunky dory.

But that means when a message does come, it’s a big deal, right? Like if our dear lord and employer is silent in the heavens, when he does send word down from the mount, us lowly zealots best hop-to, know what I mean?

So I scramble to open the tube A-SAP. Message reads:

Signs suggest a key event will transpire on Friday. Use various methods of divination to predict outcome. Report accordingly.

That’s it. That’s what it says. Keep in mind, whenever we received these messages in the past? Nothing close to anything so frickin’ cryptic. It’s like, “pay these invoices,” “bill these accounts,” “rewrite editorial,” “tuna on wheat sub roll.”

[music fades out]

Yes, I’ve sent plenty of tuna subs up the tube before. One got stuck once and the office reeked of rotting tuna for a month. Had to pay someone to hose out the tube, took three weeks to get the job done. Boss still orders them up the tube, though. Loves his tuna, that mysterious wizard weirdo.

[music resumes]

So here’s this message and I just want to like scribble HUH? — WHAT? on the back of the paper and send it back upstairs toot suite. But no, that’s not a good idea because the boss-man isn’t one to repeat himself.

[gurgling]

Meanwhile, my stomach is groaning something fierce, like GI earthquakes, and I’m starting to feel like I’m getting sick. Did you know that gastromancy is a form of divination? Yes, that’s correct—a way to tell the future via your own abdominal gas.

[bubbles]

I know, I know. But I don’t have regular methods of divination because I think divination is bullshit. You know that, but the boss doesn’t know that, so I’m having these weird gas bubbles and I go to my desk to Google all the various methods of divination because I have no frickin’ clue what I’m doing and that’s one of the methods I see. I mean, I’ve got this gas and I’d rather use it then slaughter a chicken or play with bones or whatever, so I go for it. I try to figure this mystery out solely from my tummy rumbles.

[bubbles]

Except I don’t know what I’m doing, so I go around the office to ask who knows about gastromancy. Michael? That new guy I told you about? No clue. He’s more useless than I am. I hired him because he was a warm body and I wanted to balance out the freak to normal ratio.

[didgeridoo music cuts in]

So I go see Pandabear and I ask him if he knows anything about gastromancy. Idiot threatens to email HR again. Can you believe that? So I try to ask him as sincerely as possible, tell him I know gastromancy is a real thing and I want to read the signs. Know what that little Panda punk does? Flips me off. That little hippy dippy piece of shit! He flips me off and says, [didgeridoo cuts out] ‘read this sign.’

[peppy music resumes]

Except his voice cracks and he looks like he can’t believe what he’s doing, like he’s having an out-of-body experience. I think Mary Wollstonecraft actually did possess that fuzzy little creep because for a brief moment he had a sack of balls made of something other than dead jellyfish. I just laughed and said, “Good one PB” and went back to my office. Probably reported me to Tyrell again, spineless twerp.

So all week, I’m studying up on gastromancy, and, I mean, you know me, you know I think it’s all a crock of crap, but for some reason this is so out there I find it interesting.

On Wednesday afternoon: [imitates pneumatic tube noise]

[pneumatic tube]

Another tube, boss is asking for progress. All I have so far is that the event has something to do with an opportunity. A new adventure. Don’t even ask me how I figured that out. I ate steak bombs for lunch all week just to make sure I had gas. Yeah! Extra onions.

[gurgles]

Anyway, boss responds immediately. Continue. Must be nice pulling a salary sending one-word snotty notes to your subordinates all day while you dine out on tuna tubes. Still, I keep at it. And I go balls-out ballistic on this gastromancy shit.

[protracted intense gurgles]

I get myself a big gulp of Mountain Dew and chug-a-lug right there in my office. I’m burping so loud that Michael swings by and asks if I’m okay.

[music fades out]

He finds me sitting there with my piss-yellow neon tub of soda acid and a stethoscope up to my stomach. Another average Thursday afternoon for Gemma Linzer-Coolidge.

That’s why I was late coming home that night. Because of what my stomach was telling me.

[intense gurgles end]

An exciting opportunity. A whole new way of life for a whole community of people. Including me, including you.

So Friday, I come in, I send my findings up the tube, I send all my research, I explain my methods. I wait. All. Frickin’. Day. Pacing back and forth near that clear little tube. I send up a Tuna Sub at lunch, extra celery. Want to make sure my work didn’t get stuck, you know? Plus a little brown-nosing never hurt.

An hour before closing time, a tube comes down. Thump.

[pneumatic tube]

I open the tube—and find my severance package.

[Intimate sad music]

I’m getting laid-off. The boss recommends I take my accrued vacation and sick days and leave immediately.

And you know what the crazy thing is? I’m terrified but… but I think we’re going to be okay. I know we’re going to be okay. Even crazier? I know I was right about my stomach. I just… I just know I was right. I didn’t want to fight with him, I didn’t want to explain it but I just… I feel it. I—I grabbed this before I left. It’s this crystal ball and I can’t fucking stand it and I never thought of it as anything more than a paperweight. But after I got fired, I sat at my desk, feeling defeated and picked this thing up. And you know what I saw? Us. The baby. Together. Smiling. Happy. So I took this with me because… because I’m scared shitless, but if you forgive me for screwing up my job, if you tell me you still love me, I know we’re going to be okay. I mean that. I feel it in my stomach. I feel it in the stars. I see it in this crystal.

And that’s all that matters.

[Music fades out]

DEAR DIARY 2

[a book opens]

Diary Entry — 10/9/15

[writing]

Tyrell Fredericks—Arun Sannuti

My insistence on putting others on a pedestal has proven to be my downfall yet again. My silly personal narrative for PB ended up being counterfeit as some of his horrid fake protein supplement. Tofurkey, indeed.

He seemed so different. So genuine. So uninhibited, possessed with vitality so dense you could taste it in the air around him.

And initially, everything was better. I threw three parties in the span of one week. Three! A welcome party for the new guy, another for PB’s promotion and a goodbye party for that party-pooper of a woman (she wasn’t invited). With the party-pooper gone, the office was filled with laughter and music — bongos, mostly, and some light pan flute, both courtesy of PB of course.

I can’t even call him PB anymore. He’s EE now, the initials standing for something as odious as his newfound behavior. Days after his promotion, he started treating me like a lowly subject, or worse, an intern. He even asked me to write an article for him, 500 words predicting stock tips using a form of divination I’m sure he made up solely so I would clean out the office refrigerator. Fungimancy, he called it.

I recognize this is my own doing. Friends always told me to scale back my projections. Don’t hold people to such high standards. Embrace reality.

But under the surface, their advice told me something awful about human nature. “Don’t trust people.”

And so I’ve lost trust in myself. Very soon, I may take one last walk over the Longfellow, where our two cities meet. I’ll be carrying you in my breast pocket, diary, over my heart. May we dive down and kiss our old friend Charles together.

-Tyrell

[book closes]

Thunder over Thunder, Thunder over Water

[cheerful music]

Narrator—Alexander Danner

Michael needed to write an article for Political Prognostication but the one thing he knew less about than psychic powers was politics. What was he doing here? Third-Sight didn’t seem like a very friendly work environment.

[chaotic music gradually fades in over cheerful music]

The woman who’d hired him had just been canned, the editor-in-chief had apparently never been seen by anyone on staff, Extinction Event stared at him all day with a pen in hand, apparently taking notes on Michael’s every minor screw-up, and the HR director had been scowling at Michael every time they passed, ever since Michael declined Tyrell’s invitation to the afterwork office social, a Margarita-thon last Friday.

Tyrell Fredericks—Arun Sannuti

Michael, come to the Margarita-thon! The Margarita-thon!

Narrator

Like it hadn’t been hard enough to turn down the Margarita-thon even without Tyrell’s disapproval.

Tyrell

Come to the Margarita-thon!

Narrator

Margarita-thon sounded fan-fucking-tastic. But if Michael went to Margarita-thon to be social…

Tyrell

Margarita-thon!

Narrator

…he would surely drink so that meant he couldn’t go.

Tyrell

The Margarita-thon!

Narrator

Here he was, two weeks into the new job, already the office asshole.

[Music cuts out]

Leon Stamatis—Braden Lamb

Focus, Michael, I arranged for this opportunity. Sit-up straight, do the work and you’ll be fine.

[cheerful music resumes]

Narrator

Michael knew Leon’s disembodied voice was right. He took a deep breath, pictured Leon, and grabbed the first book off his shelf, an ancient Chinese method of divination, the I-Ching.

[chaotic music fades in]

Except the book was big and dusty and complex, and some of it written in Chinese. He started to panic again, feeling sweat drip down his armpits.

[music cuts out]

Leon

Look it up online. You know how to do that. Come on, Michael, don’t be your own worst enemy.

Narrator

Another deep breath.

Leon

Eight

Narrator

Eight

Leon

Eleven

Narrator

Eleven

Leon

Five

Narrator

Five

Leon

Four

Narrator

Four

Leon

Nine

Narrator

Nine

Leon

One

Narrator

One

Leon

Seven

Narrator

Seven

Leon

Six

Narrator

Six

Leon

Ten

Narrator

Ten

Leon/Narrator

Three. Twelve. Two.

Narrator

Michael looked up the rules to using the I-Ching.

[Cheerful music resumes]

They were actually fairly straightforward. Take three coins, shake them up and count the results after six throws. Heads are worth three, tails are worth two. You draw an unbroken line if the number is odd, a broken line in the center if the number is even. Six lines in total in ascending order, and you write the number of your throw after each.

Michael Tate—James Oliva

It’s like a game. I can do this.

[Chaotic music + Chicken Dance cuts in]

Extinction Event

You’re doing it wrong. You’re using all different coins. The coins need to be the same. They need to match.

[Chicken dance stops]

Narrator

Michael was following the instructions word-for-word, and there was nothing about all the coins having to be the same, and this goddamn office had a full service bar in the break room for anybody to use anytime they wanted, because it helped with the prognostication, but Jesus Christ, how does anyone get anything at all done when there’s an entire cabinet of top shelf liquor free for the asking just twenty feet away…

[Music cuts out]

Leon

Stop that train. Derail it.

Michael

Derail it.

Leon

Say the numbers.

Michael

Eight eleven five four nine one seven six ten three twelve two

Leon

Use matching coins if he wants you to. Who cares? It’s a game. Keeping your job is a game.

Narrator

So Michael borrowed three of Extinction Event’s matching Sacagawea’s and Extinction Event seemed so very pleased and Michael seemed so very grateful.

He tossed the coins.

[coins landing on desk]

[cheerful music]

Michael’s I-ching chart started with one unbroken line followed by two broken lines, then another unbroken line followed by two more broken lines.

An unbroken line followed by two broken lines means thunder in the I-Ching, so two patterns in a row meant his future contained nothing but thunder over thunder, Chapter 51.

[distant thunder]

It sounded apocalyptic, but it turned out Thunder over Thunder wasn’t as bad as he thought:

[storm and meditative chanting]

Leon

The shock of unsettling events

brings fear and trembling.

Move towards a higher

truth and all will

be well.

Narrator

The I-Ching explained:

Leon

Those who maintain a reverence for proper principles and an inner commitment to higher things are unperturbed by shocking events; they simply concentrate on deepening their understanding. If you find yourself feeling threatened by circumstances, withdraw into stillness and meditation. The only remedy for doubt and fear is a reconnection with higher truth.

Shock is an important and a beneficial teacher to those who follow the path of the Sage. Make good use of this new beginning and good fortune results.

[Storm and chanting fade out]

[Cheerful music]

Narrator

Michael wrote all of this down and took strange comfort from it. While he had no idea what this meant about the Redline, he liked playing the I-Ching. He had been through some shocking events lately, Leon’s death being the biggest he could think of. And lines like, “The only remedy for doubt and fear is a reconnection with higher truth” put him at ease, even if he wasn’t sure what his higher truth was.

Michael sat straighter in his chair and read the rest of the rules, which called for inverting every changing line to their opposite meaning. Changing lines were drawn from rolls of six or nine. Michael redrew his chart, changing the one nine and six he’d received in the first two lines and rechecking their pattern.

Number 41. Thunder over water.

[storm]

This section was meant to expand on the results of Thunder over Thunder, hinting at further steps that should be taken.

The I-Ching’s Judgment read:

[chanting]

Leon

DELIVERANCE. The southwest furthers.

If there is no longer anywhere one has to go,

Return brings good fortune.

If there is still something where one has to go,

Hastening brings good fortune.

Narrator

Michael nodded. He still had a ways to go.

Michael

Return brings good fortune.

Return.

Return of Leon.

Narrator

Leon’s death had been his shock, his memory was Michael’s higher truth, his Sage, a man who maintained reverence for proper principles.

Michael opened the laptop Leon had left at their apartment. He flipped through some files and then opened Leon’s Google Calendar. The laptop had been left at the apartment for Michael, no password protection to deal with.

[lonely sad music fades in]

The apartment had been left for Michael. This job and been left for Michael. Leon had left for Michael.

[chanting fades out]

Leon wouldn’t have needed the I-Ching. Leon was the I-Ching.

[storm and chanting]

Michael read some of Leon’s entries in his calendar, most of them fairly inconsequential, reminders to iron his clothes, water his plants, run laundry. Then he started planning events of his own, copying Leon’s style and voice, starting with tonight, after work, 6:00: Get to a meeting.

Not enough. He was missing something. What wasn’t right?

Michael

Of course.

Narrator

He looked through the calendar from the last couple of weeks and rescheduled all the events that hadn’t been completed due to the inconvenience of Leon’s death.

Leon

Water plants.

Narrator

Water plants.

Leon

Three-month oil change.

Narrator

Three-month oil change.

Leon

Vacuum dryer lint hose.

Narrator

Vacuum dryer lint hose.

He resisted the temptation to click on today’s date and enter an entry that would be forever ongoing. “Be Leon.”

[railroad drumming fades in]

Then a thought struck him. Thunder over Thunder. The Redline train. It sounded like thunder. Thunder over water. Red line trains ran over the Charles River at MGH station.

What did this mean? There would be a shock, but it would bring calm.

[drumming ends. Chanting resumes]

Michael

Shock to the system.

Narrator

The secession would shock people, but out of that shock would come peace.

Michael

Alewife to Braintree, Braintree to Alewife, Alewife to Ashmont.

Narrator

Deliverance, Michael thought and pictured trains moving underground all day, leaving and returning to stations in an endless cycle, a constant return for those without anywhere left to go.

Michael

Thank you, Leon.

Narrator

He scheduled an event in his calendar.

Michael

Send thank-you card.

CREDITS

[cheerful music resumes]

Narrator—Alexander Danner

Greater Boston is written and produced by Alexander Danner and Jeff Van Dreason with recording and technical assistance from Marc Harmon.

Please consider supporting the show through our Patreon campaign. We’ve recently revamped our Patron levels with new rewards, including a chance to receive handwritten Postcards from Dimitri.

You can also help the show by leaving us a review on iTunes or social media.

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

Alexander Danner as the narrator

Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis

Julia Propp as Louisa Alvarez

Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge

Arun Sannutti as Tyrell Fredericks

James Oliva as Michael Tate

James Capobianco as Extinction Event Poletti

Also featuring Jeff Van Dreason as the Fortune Teller and Freshly Fulfilled in Framingham, Mike Linden as Enlightened in Worcester and Ben Flaumenhaft as Trapped in Tewksberry.

Interviews recorded with Greater Boston residents

Charlie on the MTA” is performed by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede.

“Lowell, MA” by Marck Harmon.

Red Apple Rag,” “Blackberry Rag,” and “Circus Music” by Adrienne Howard, Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede.

“On Questions of Responsibility: Act II” by Lloyd Rogers. Drum tracks by Jim Johanson.

Some sound effects and music used from public domain and creative commons sources.

Episode transcripts will be posted online at GreaterBostonShow.com.

Greater Boston is written in part at The Writers’ Room of Boston, a non-profit workspace for Boston-area writers. Find out more at WritersRoomofBoston.org.

[music ends]

COOKIE

Arun Sannuti

[laughs] Sorry… I have never been to a Margarita-thon!

Jeff Van Dreason

Me neither! I don’t think they actually exist.

Alexander Danner

I don’t know if that’s a thing, but…

Jeff Van Dreason

Alexander made it up. You’re doing great. Do a couple more of those, and then we’ll move on.

Arun Sannuti

Michael! Come to the Margarita-thon?

 

Content Notes:
  • Course Language
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Alcoholism
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