Transcript for Episode 10: Vox Populi

TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 10 VOX POPULI

COLD OPEN

Male Interview 6
Oh, Boston is great city. Diversity. You know, there’s a…people come together. Before, when I’d just started school in 1988 I remember, I was, I was one of the guys, young guy, that went to South Boston to demonstrate, ’cause there were kind of, Irish didn’t get along with the Italians, you know, and there’s feud back in the days. Now it’s good. So Boston, diversity is best here. The people get along. And I’ve travelled all over the country. I travelled to West Virginia, where I saw some of the poorest people. And there are people who don’t know what it is to be poor, but I’ve been to a lot of places where people never know what a city is. And this is America! And Boston…you can go anywhere. You can go anywhere and get anything. Any type of food you want.

[Charlie on the MTA begins]

So Boston is a place where you’re hard to lose weight! Because if you need Chinese food, you got the best down…Italian food’s in the North End. You can get Jamaican food down in the Jamaican area. So this is one of the best places to live! I’ve been all over. Florida—you’ve got to drive far to get something in Florida! But this is one of the best places. If you can’t live in Boston and make it in Boston…you can’t make it nowhere.

PREVIOUSLY IN GREATER BOSTON

Marck Harmon
Previously…in Greater Boston.

Narrator—Alexander Danner
A new event appeared on Leon’s calendar. Saturday from three to three-fifteen PM.

Leon Stamatis—Braden Lamb
Retrieve belongings from Louisa’s apartment.

Nica Stamatis—Kelly McCabe
You were both on the news that night. The boy who almost died and the fearless brother who saved him. I didn’t even help.

Mallory—Johanna Bodnyk
And then the next thing I know, that crazy-ass pregnant lady is jumping down onto the tracks. And she’s saving a frat bro’s worthless hide. If that crazy badass bitch is out here telling me she wants me to vote. I’m getting my ass to that voting booth.

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

Alexander Danner
This week in Greater Boston, Louisa and Nica wait for a mysterious visitor in “The Beekeeper,” Chuck Octagon talks to Greater Bostonians about the Red Line Referendum in “Man on the Street,” and Nica gives her farewell performance in “Open Mic.”

[Music ends]

All of that in Episode 10 Vox Populi.

VOICEMAIL FOR Louisa

[Ringing telephone]

[Voicemail beep]

Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge—Summer Unsinn
Hi, this message is for Louisa Alvarez. My name is Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge and I’m working with the Mayor of the RedLine on passing Proposition 2? We’re wondering if you’d be available to take some publicity shots of the Mayor, possibly surrounded by a mock-up of a happy family inside a train car. We’d need your expertise to make it look — I don’t know. Uhh. Normal. If…if that’s possible. We don’t want to make him out to be a savior or anything. Maybe just a local politician popping in for a visit to a happy Boston family who…who lives on a train! Anyway, if you’re interested, please give me a call back at your earliest convenience. The election is coming up, so we’d appreciate a prompt response. Thank you.

CHAPTER 1 THE BEEKEEPER

[Muineira de la Ruada begins playing]

Leon Stamatis—Braden Lamb
Make your own laundry detergent. Separate whites and darks. Research more efficient washing machine options. Discard mismatched socks. Old clothes to Salvation Army or Good Will. Research superior organization Salvation Army or Good Will?

Narrator—Alexander Danner
Louisa put down her phone and poured herself a glass of wine, assuming she’d need it no matter who showed up between 3 to 315pm. Leon’s box of personal items sat at the same spot by the door where they’d been since she collected them. Such a strange phrase, personal items. It didn’t really matter how personal they’d been to Leon. His death made them feel more personal, more meaningful, clues searching for a mystery. The way they were all arranged together, neatly but with just a dash of chaos, the toothbrush upright in its blue holder along the spine of the Collected Works of Sherlock Holmes, made Louisa feel like the box was a symbol of Leon’s life somehow, a symbol that made absolutely no sense and perfect sense simultaneously. Kinda like Leon.

Leon
Grocery shopping need eggs, bread, cheese and coffee. Feed nearly-moldy bread to ducks. Clean garbage receptacles or request new ones from the city. People-watch along the river. Attend movie, something light and fast, ninety minutes, nothing for babies, teens or tweens.

Narrator
She peeked out the window, looking for Nica. She’d invited Leon’s sister because no matter what happened, she wanted witnesses. Witnesses and wine. Plus, if someone was impersonating Leon and using his calendar, Louisa figured his sister would want to know. And if he was back from the dead as some kind of organization-obsessed boogeyman, she assumed Nica would want to know that too.

She finished her first glass of wine five minutes to three when Nica knocked on the door. Louisa let her in and spewed out a string of apologies about how ridiculous the whole situation was. Nica nodded her head slowly, sat on the couch and hugged her knees. Louisa grabbed the wine bottle and offered her guest a glass.

[Wine glasses]

[Wine pouring]

Nica winced and said she didn’t drink but then reached for the glass anyway. Louisa poured, refilled her own glass and sat on the floor, watching the front door, waiting for something to happen.

Which is why she jolted in surprise when behind her, Nica warned her that she didn’t think anything was going to happen at all. Louisa asked her why she felt so certain. Nica only sipped her wine.

[Nica sips wine]

Leon
Order oil, pay electric. Investigate cost of switching to gas. Investigate solar panels. Investigate wind. Investigate geothermal. Investigate biomass. Schedule interview with 7 news, only two minutes or the ducks will go hungry.

[Music ends]

Narrator
If Nica was right, if nothing did happen, she would find the person responsible for this, even if it was a vapor, an apparition. She would get a photograph of them. A collection of photographs until she had a complete image.

She turned to Nica, realizing she was being rude.

Louisa Alvarez—Julia Propp
Why don’t you think anything is going to happen?

Nica Stamatis—Kelly McCabe
Because I screwed something up. And I think Leon is angry at me.

Louisa
Nica. Leon is dead.

Nica
I know.

Louis
He can’t be angry at you if he’s dead.

Nica
He can’t be scheduling things in your calendar if he’s dead either.

Louisa
We can’t be certain it’s him.

Nica
True. But even if it is, he won’t show up today. I just know he won’t. Not anymore. (Pause) You’re a photographer, right?

Louisa
Yes.

Nica
Has there ever been a time when you really wanted to take a picture? I’m talking a once in a lifetime photograph. Maybe you catch a glimpse of the last sliver of the most beautiful sunset ever. You don’t grab your camera in time or you run out of batteries or you’re not quick enough. You’re just too late. The sun sets and — it’s not bright anymore, it’s too dark. Have you ever missed an opportunity like that?

Louisa
Sure, all the time. But there was no opportunity for you to save him. There was nothing you could have done. It wasn’t your fault.

Nica (urgent)
Who told you?

Louisa
What?

Nica
Who told you about that?

Louisa
About what? You — you’re spilling your wine.

Nica
Did Leon tell you about what happened? Did he tell you about Park Street? Did he schedule it in your precious little shared calendar?

Louisa
I — I don’t know what you’re talking about. There was nothing you could do about Leon. It wasn’t your fault he died. He just died, that’s all.

[Loud knock on door]

Nica (quieter)
303.

Louisa
Not like Leon to be late.

Nica
That sounds like a Leon knock.

[Second loud knock]

Louisa
Nice and firm.

Nica
He’d never knock twice.

Louisa
You’re right. Inefficient. Are you ready?

Nica
Yes. I think so. Are you?

Louisa
Not in the slightest. Here we go.

[Door opens]

Beekeeper
Louisa Alvarez?

Louisa
Yes?

[Kazoo fanfare]

Beekeeper (Singing)
You captured the memories of our honey-sweet day,
we look at them fondly and can honestly say,
nobody else could ever hope to compete,
with your wonderful magic, Louisa, you’re neat.
Oh, where have the bees gone, where have they gone?
Wherever they go, our love follows too.
Oh, where have the bees gone, where will they go?
They’re captured forever, and all thanks to you.

Louisa
Umm…uh.

Beekeeper (Singing)
Each snap and each shutter, each angle and lens,
Captured the magic, your photograph sends
Our hearts all a-flutter with tears down our face,
Louisa, you’re magic, your art’s full of grace.

Louisa
Uh…

Beekeeper (Singing)
Oh, where did the bees go? Have they all disappeared?
If they all vanish, our hive remains home.
Oh, where did the bees go? Is the end near?
If the answer is yes, then we won’t die alone.

[Clears throat]

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

(Pause)

Singing telegram courtesy of Mr. And Mrs. Steven and Rose Turner.

Louisa
Um. Thanks.

Nica
I like your beekeeper outfit.

Beekeeper
Most appreciated! If your’e ever interested in a costumed singing telegram, my other outfit options include a Bell Hop, Captain Ahab and Fiona from Shrek!

Nica
This might sound strange but do you know Leon?

Beekeeper
Nope. Says right here. Mr. And Mrs. Steven and Rose Turner. Have a bee-utiful day, ladies.

Louisa
The Turners, right. They got their wedding pictures a few months back. They had a living beehive at their ceremony. Honeycomb for dessert. Quirky couple of folks.

Nica
Sounds sweet.

Louisa
More sticky than sweet.

Nica
I’m sorry about earlier. The wine, my little freakout. I was thinking about something else.

[Muineira De Ruada resumes]

Louisa
It’s okay. Do you want to talk about it?

Nica
Maybe some other time. (Pause) I’m performing at the Someday Cafe open mic night tonight. In case you’re interested. Sure to be quite the show. I’m trying out new material. A little more dramatic.

Louisa
I’m sorry, I have this photoshoot with that Mayor of the Red Line guy. Let me know when you’re doing it again, though, I’d really like to make it.

Nica
This might be the last time for a while. Thanks for inviting me. Thanks for the wine, too. I think I like wine.

Louisa
Nica. I’m going to figure out who this is. Someone keeps scheduling items into Leon’s calendar and I am going to track that person down. I am going to find them and once I do, they’re going to need to schedule some time to explain to me just what the hell is going on.

Nica
I think it’s Leon. I really do. I just don’t think he can help himself. He always liked to be organized. And maybe this is his way of dealing with death. Maybe he’s trying to schedule his way back to us. But he won’t be able to, I know that now. And maybe I could have helped him. Maybe I couldn’t have. It doesn’t matter. All I know is I had a chance to do something good and I disappointed him.

[Music fades out]

VOTE NO AD

Vote No Voice 1—Michael Linden and Voice 2—Jeff Van Dreason
Think of a city.

[Electronic rhythm]

Voice 2
Maybe it’s a dangerous city.

[Creepy breathing rhythm]

Voice 1
Or maybe that city just has dangerous neighborhoods. A dangerous section of town you know you need to avoid.

[Ominous bell rhythm]

Voice 2
Now imagine that city is also your commute. That city is how you get to work. That city is how you visit your friends, get to the airport, get to your son’s ball game.

[Animal grunting]

Voice 1
That city that you need, that you rely on daily — is wild and unpredictable. Every time you step into that city, you’re not sure of what section of the city you’re in.

[Train rumbling fades in]

Voice 2
Is this a bad neighborhood?

Voice 1
Who knows? Every time you step into that city, you’re not sure if it’s dangerous or not. You can’t prepare yourself. There is no preparation for this city.

Voice 2
What lies on the other side of the double sliding doors? A group of muggers?

[Violent whoosh]

Voice 1
Or a group of something far, far worse?

[Bell rhythm ends]

[Blood curdling shriek]

[Frightened breathing]

Voice 2
The Red Line has it’s problems, but at least those problems are predictable and relatively harmless. Vote No on Question 2.

[Train squealing into station]

Voice 1
Before the red line becomes more than just the name of a train.

[Animal noises fade out]

[Electronic rhythm ends]

Paid for by Citizens who Hate the Red Line.

[Frightened breathing fades out]

CHAPTER 2: MAN ON THE STREET

[Environmental street noise]

Chuck Octagon—Jeff Van Dreason
This is Chuck Octagon, 7 News, asking average citizens of the greater metro Boston area the question of the day.

Sir, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Redline Secession referendum?

Male Interview 9
Uh, I would have to do a lot of research, but I like the idea of uncoupling the Red Line from all the NIMBYism and all the bullshit that they have to wade through all the time.

Female Interview 9
I don’t know it seems a little extreme. I mean, I’m wanting better improvement for the T, but I don’t necessarily think totally separating is, is the right thing. For the, you know, for the Red Line or for the people.

Rose—Sally Heckel
Oh, my goodness. Did you see that incredible pregnant woman lift that potato sack of a man off of the tracks? When I saw it on the news? I won’t lie to you, I cried. It was inspiring. More people should do things like that. And believe me, there’s truth to what they say about being stronger when you’re pregnant. I’ve had four children, believe you me. One time I lifted up our Saturn so my husband could change the tire. Yep, all by myself. But strength is one thing, bravery another and bravery is something we simply don’t have enough of these days.

Chuck
Does that mean you’re voting yes?

Rose
Don’t be ridiculous. It’s a rubbish idea if I’ve ever heard one. I’d vote Democrat before I vote for this nonsense.

Rusty—Jim Johanson
The referendum, huh. The T thing? The Red Line? I’ll tell you what… I’m against it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I been working for the T ten…uh, hell 12 years. Uh, you lose track working for a shit-show like this. It is run by cats and dogs practically. It is just a disaster. I, uh…you know. You ride it? Yeah, you know.

Chuck
Yeah, sure.

Rusty
Yeah yeah. Yeah yeah.

Stoner Student—Michael Melia
I’m voting yes. Everyone I know at the University is voting yes. Which one is Question 2 again? Not that it matters. Voting yes to all. Question 1 is for the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts. Question 3 guarantees affordable living options for all college students. It’s way easier to remember to vote yes for all three. Of course I wouldn’t really want to live on the Redline and I’m getting a little too old for the dorms. Oh well, as long as Question 1 passes, I’m good. Roll those trains right along, dude. Ha ha.

Female Interview 4
Umm, as long as there’s a job for everyone, and everyone’s well-being, I would say go for it. And let’s do it. If there’s not, if it’s only for the rich people, well…think about it.

Rusty
Although, I’ll tell you what: the people that run it is what makes it a mess. Right? It’s all these bureaucrats, all these bigwigs up on capitol hill, telling us how to do this, how to do that. They don’t know. They don’t ride the trains. They don’t know what they’re doing. Pff. I…you ever seem them on the trains? I’d like to seem them trying to run one of their board meetings on the Green Line, sitting outside Fenway Park during a Sox series. Disaster. I’ll tell you, what, that would get the funding, if they could do that.

Male Interview 10
The first thing I think of when I hear “secede,” you know. It’s a word with a lot of connotations, but I think like “slippery slope.” And so, um…that’s my two cents. I don’t have much more.

Female Interview 3
Well, it kind of makes sense, although I do think you might get a little bit of a civil war between the north side of the Red Line and the south side of the Red Line.

Chuck
Why’s that?

Female Interview 3
A little bit of different demographics, I think. I think if the Red Line seceded from the whole area from…Charles Street’s on the Red Line Right?

Chuck
Yeah.

Female Interview 3
Charles Street up. That would make sense.

Chuck
Why is that?

Female Interview 3
Because you’ve got Cambridge.

Emily Bespin—Sam Musher
Oh, it’s just preposterous. And the timing is particularly suspect, don’t you think? My honey-booboo, Ethan, and I get married on the Red Line, and a mere two months later they’re suddenly going to let everyone do it? Absurd.

Chuck
You…you were married on the Red Line?

Emily
Of course. The Bespin wedding? You’re a news man, surely you’ve heard of it.

Chuck
Uh, yeah, maybe I did. Anyway, that sounds like a neat idea and all, but this doesn’t have anything to do with weddings so much as it…

Emily
Of course it does! Once people live down there, they’re going to get married down there too. Don’t you see? I can picture it now: grotesque little chapels with neon lights and fake plastic flowers, leading to a Red Line altar where Keytar Bear plays “Here Comes the Bride” and that monstrous green fellow from the baseball games performs the ceremony. Simply disgusting.

Rusty
Ooh! I’ll tell you what though: If we take over…I run the trains right? The train is a city? That means I run the city! I’m the fucking government! That’s no good! I can’t run the government! That’s like, my worst nightmare. That sends a shiver right down my spine. Ooooooooh, boy. I don’t like that at all!

Male Interview 5
It’d be interesting. It’d definitely be interesting. Cause cont….uhh…constitutional rights of invading, invading another person’s home. I’d probably support it just to see how horribly wrong it goes.

Male Interview 1
I don’t know. Cause I’ve seen…have you ever played BioShock? You know about BioShock? I think it would be like that. Cause it’s dirty in there. It takes so long to clean it. And then it’d be chaotic getting to, like, if there was an emergency. What would you do? How would you get down there? And like—it would be cool. I think it would be cool, but I definitely think it would be like BioShock or something. Splicers.

Chuck
Mm. Splicers.

Extinction Event—James Capobianco
My thoughts on Question 2? My thoughts. These are my thoughts.

[Silence]

Chuck
You — you have no thoughts?

EE
Of course I have thoughts. Do you take me for a fool? You asked for my thoughts, sir. I am thinking them. The question is, are you in tune enough with the aura of the ascended eye to hear them? In any case, it makes no difference what my opinion is on the referendum. The aura of the ascending eye has decided it shall pass. A colleague has foreseen it using the ancient tool of divination known as the I-Ching. Therefore, I will vote for what has already been written in the air, in the stars, in the music of the imminent deviation.

Rusty
Ohohohoh…Here’s the other thing, though! Here’s the other thing that might make me come back around! I would get to live on the trains if this passes. I work for the trains. The Mayor said people that run the trains—we get first dibs on housing. I’ve always kinda liked that idea. Riding the rails. Living free. That has a lot of appeal. Ohhh, that’s a toughie.

Marlo—Mike Linden
Hey, I’m all for it. It’s about time the Redline succeeds. The way the whole city shut down during all the blizzards last year? A few flakes and Boston turns into nothing but a chicken coop. BAWK BAWK! My Ford Taurus got buried eight times last winter. Know how I got it out? Shifting gears, revving the engines, elbow grease, pure horse power. The T? They got trains. You’re telling me trains can’t get through some stinking’ snowflakes? What is snow, anyway? Cold water, is all it is. Trains can’t run through some cold water? What’s next, we gonna shut down the city during some rain? I mean, please. Who’s the idiot that won’t vote for this? Everyone thinks the T needs to run better and this here has it right in the name of the thing. Redline Succession.

Chuck
Did you — did you say “succession?”

Marlo
That’s what it’s called, isn’t it? Like—like a successful thing? Like a concussion but like—with success?

Chuck
It’s a secession. If it passes it would effectively turn the Redline into it’s own city.

Marlo
Well, that’s a crazy idea. That’s crazy talk. But I’ll still vote yes. I never change my mind once it’s made up. Bad juju. Bad, bad luck. Oh well. I’m sure it won’t pass anyway, it’s a crackpot idea that’s what it is.

Michael Tate—James Oliva
I’m sorry, what is this? Who are you? I’m not seeing it on my schedule.

Chuck
You just scheduled it with me. Two minutes ago.

Michael
Ah, you’re right, there it is. But it looks like those two minutes are up. Now I’ve got something else coming up. “FEED DUCKS NEAR MOLDY BREAD.” And after that I need to pick up dry cleaning. God, it’s hard to keep up with a schedule. Those ducks are gonna be pissed if I’m late. Uhh, I don’t know. Yes. Maybe. Yes.

Chuck
Your name and place of residence sir.

Homeless Guy—Ben Flaumenhaft
Ain’t got one. Where you’re standin’.

Chuck
You — you’re homeless? I’m really curious about your thoughts on Question 2, then. This will undoubtedly effect the homeless population. Would you take residence in the Redline?

Homeless Guy
Hell, no. Sounds like that Snowpiercer movie I seen on the Netflix.

Chuck
You have Netflix?

Homeless Guy
Of course, who doesn’t…

Chuck
But you’re homeless.

Homeless Guy
Yeah, homeless. Not Netflix-less. Why is it all you boobs can’t wrap your heads around the simple fact that having a home ain’t the end-all be-all of existence? I’m out here around people all the time. I’m living and breathing this community. I see everything, I smell everyone. I don’t have a home. Don’t mean I got nothin’ else. It’s everything, right here in front of my eyes.

Male Interview 11
I think if there’s no first class car, I’m not interested.

Chuck
So as long as it’s not like Snowpiercer?

Male Interview 11
Wellll…as long as it’s like Snowpiercer, but I’m in the first class car.

Chuck
And that’s the message from the people. Also interviewed? The Mayors of Boston and Cambridge as well as Governor Hutchinson. All three politicians shared the same sentiment. To quote the Governor, “Please. By all means. Take the entire MBTA away from us. And good luck to you once you do.” Chuck Octagon, 7 News.

[Street noise fades out]

CHAPTER THREE: OPEN MIC

[Cafe noise fades in]

Nica Stamatis—Kelly McCabe
Hello, again, it’s Nica. A few weeks ago, I spoke to you about deciding to be famous. My brother Leon was with me then, he always came with me to these things and he never made me feel stupid for wanting to be famous. Once on the walk over here I asked him if he thought I should prepare more, you know, not be so—off the cuff. Juggle, magic, tell jokes or amusing anecdotes. He asked me if it made me happy, talking to you about my brushes with fame. I said it did.

But I’ve decided to stop. For several reasons. One of them being that in the weeks since my last visit, Leon has died. I was with him when it happened. We were on a rollercoaster.

And I know what you’re thinking. Keep going, Nica. Don’t give up, Nica. Leon would have wanted you to keep pushing, Nica. People are always saying encouraging crap like that. And I’m sure you’re all trying to be supportive, but maybe not everyone is supposed to pursue their dreams, you know? Like Hitler! Did people tell him to keep going and not give up on his dreams? I certainly hope not. We might all be better off if people were more discouraging towards Hitler.

[Background coughing]

[Cafe noise is fading out]

[Background crowd chatter is fading in]

I know a few of you, I’ve heard your open mic performances from time to time. It’s hard, standing in front of strangers and trying to believe in yourself, trying to reach someone with your story. I’ve always liked coming here because all you other strangers get it. You know how difficult it can be. But—and don’t take this personally—sometimes I wonder if we’re all too focused on how hard it is, all too focused on the stress of telling our stories, all too stressed about whether someone will listen that we forget to listen to anyone else.

If I dropped on the floor right now, if I started shaking uncontrollably, if I managed to breathe out, “help me, help me I can’t stop shaking,” between gasps for breath, would you? Would you climb on stage and see what you could do? Or would you assume that I was nuts? Would you think, oh this is all part of her act.

[Irritated groaning in background.]

Since Leon’s dead, I’m going to share with you a story he tried to tell me after he died.

[Impatient groaning.]

Yes, I know how that sounds.

I know you’re nervous. Please. Listen to what I’m trying to say.

I went to this seance the other day. It was pretty weird. We were holding hands and this guy named Extinction Event was calling to Leon and reading from this old book that smelled like musty spider butt.

But then the weirdest thing happened. Leon spoke to me. Well, kinda. He spoke through a note that came through a pneumatic tube. I know what you’re thinking. That could’ve been anyone, Nica. Trust me, if you knew Leon, you’d know it was definitely from him. On the front of the note was one word. “Danehey.”

That’s the park where my other brother Dimitri almost died when we were kids. I did nothing. I watched him fall into an ice mountain, frozen still as the snow. I watched Leon save him. So when I got Leon’s message at the seance, I thought I knew what he was trying to say. He was warning me. Someone would need to be saved and this time, I couldn’t afford to be frozen. He also wanted me to send word to Dimitri. So I had this idea of going to the Charles and tossing in a message in a bottle. A mostly useless gesture.

Audience Member—Jeff Van Dreason
Would you shut up already?

Nica
Pretty hard for him to hear me when an ocean lies between us. But I hope someday. Somehow. He gets it.

[Train noise fading in.]

Intercom—Alexander Danner
This is a Braintree train. Braintree train.

Nica
When I left the seance, I was determined to throw my message in a bottle into the Charles. I transferred at Park Street. The Mayor of the Red Line was having his press conference, it was quite the nutty scene. And then those two kids tried to jump the divide.

[Squealing brakes]

One made it. The other one didn’t. I saw him fall into the tracks right in front of me. He was bleeding from his temple. His body look crumpled. Like dirty laundry on your floor. I was the closest person to him, near the front of the tracks. And I could hear a train coming. And I was screaming at myself in my head: go, go, go. But every inch of my body felt like a fist.

And then I watched that pregnant lady, the one who’s been all over the news, the one who’s working for the Mayor of the Red Line. The one who’s a hero now. She saved him. She lifted him up and tossed his body over the yellow third-rail paint.

And I got so angry that she could do what I couldn’t. And I was angry at myself for freezing up the way I did. And I was angry at her for taking the opportunity from me. And then I got angrier at myself for getting angry with her at all. She deserves the attention. I’m glad she saved him. Mostly I’m just angry that I wasn’t strong enough. And after all these years, I’m still nothing but a coward.

Intercom
This is a Braintree train. Braintree.

[Environmental train noise grows louder.]

Nica
Hours later, I finally managed to move and make my transfer. Only one stop. The T crawled like a dying slug, jerking us all back and forth. I walked to the bridge, scribbled Dimitri my letter and flung it into the water. I’d fling it right into his face if I could. That’s how I threw the bottle.

Intercom
This train is going to Braintree. This is a Braintree train. Braintree.

Nica
On the T ride home, I walked to my seat, stared at every face I passed. I stared at them until they were uncomfortable, until they judged me for looking. And I needed their judgement. I stared at them all and wondered to myself — if it came right down to it, would I be able to save them? Would they be able to save me? Do any of us deserve to be saved?

Audience Member—Alexander Danner
NO.

[Train pulls out of station]

Nica
Being here tonight reminds me of being on the T. You can hear it underneath us. The Davis station is below the floor. We’re like passengers here. We sit in our seats and quietly watch one another, making decisions and assumptions about our lives. We’re politely aware of each other even when we’re daydreaming or starring into our phones, bored and distracted. We perform for one another, and all the other strangers judge how convincing our performance is. Maybe that’s why we’re so quiet on the train. We’re too busy pretending that our stories are the only ones we can hear. When you’re a passenger on the T, you’re an audience member and performer at the same time, surrounded by strangers who are all pretending to be alone.

[Passenger chatter grows louder]

I feel more like a ghost than Leon probably does, He keeps managing to affect people’s lives even after he’s dead. I’m alive and I couldn’t save someone. I’m alive and I’m surrounded by people all the time and I can’t even bring myself to talk to them. Only you guys.

[Train accelerating]

Which is why I’m not coming to open mic night anymore. It’s too comforting, surrounded by the types of strangers who understand me. I think I wanted to be famous because everyone automatically loves famous people. It’s so easy. If you ever want to be liked, just step right outside your door, and some stranger out there will like you, no matter what you’ve done.

[Station noise]

Passenger
Um, excuse me?

Nica
But for all us unloved cowards…

Passenger
Excuse me.

Nica
…incapable of saving someone?

Passenger
I’m sorry, excuse me…can I just get…get by.

Nica
(Quietly) Help me.

Passenger
Excuse me.

Nica
Help me. I can’t stop shaking. I can’t stop shaking.

Passenger
I need to…

[Beeping]

[Doors Close]

Passenger
Oh, okay. Nevermind.

[Passenger sighs.]

[Muineira de Ruada fades in]

CREDITS

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 Greater Boston on Patreon. We are nearing the end of Season 1, with just two more episodes to go. We plan to keep producing monthly mini-episodes while we’re on our between-season break, but if we can hit our next milestone goal on Patreon before the season finale airs, we’ll double that schedule to deliver a new mini-episode every other week until the show returns in full.

You can also help the show by telling your friends to listen or by rating us on iTunes.

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

Summer Unsinn as Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge
Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis
Alexander Danner as the narrator
Julia Propp as Louisa Alvarez
Kelly McCabe as Nica Stamatis
Mike Linden as The Beekeeper, The Ford Taurus Owner, and a Citizen Who Hates the Red Line
Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon and a Citizen Who Hates the Red Line
Jim Johanson as Rusty Libertarian MBTA employee
Michael Melia as Stoner Student
Sally Heckle as Republican Saturn Lifter
James Capobianco as Extinction Event Poletti
Sam Musher as Emily Bespin
James Oliva as Michael Tate
and Ben Flaumenhaft as the Homeless Man

Interviews recorded with Greater Boston residents.

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

Muineira de Ruada by Adrienne Howard, Emily Peterson, and Dirk Tiede.

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.

COOKIE

Child Interview
My favorite part about it is…that it goes very, very fast. And my least favorite part of it is that my Mom and Dad never let me stand!

[Adults laughing]

Jeff Van Dreason
That’s for your own safety, I bet.

Male Interview 11
So you’re in favor of living on the Red Line? Yeah?

Jeff Van Dreason
That’s a yes? Alright, a future citizen!

CONTENT WARNINGS

  • Strong language
  • Brief alcohol consumption
  • Reference to illegal (for now?) drugs
  • Severe emotional distress
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