Transcript: Down the Tubes

[Music: Charlie on the MTA]

MULTIPLE VOICES
This is
This is
This is
Greater Boston

[Music: Ruffles & Flourishes]

NARRATOR: Alexander Danner
It turned out, being the boss was actually pretty fun.

[Music: Hail to the Chief]

Extinction Event wasn’t sure why this surprised him. It was only natural that with greater autonomy and power came greater life satisfaction. As managing editor over all of ThirdSight Media, he now had the power to make positive changes throughout the company, as well as to delegate responsibilities to free himself to focus on bigger picture issues. He had tackled so many of the office’s major problems in the past few months, though the responses from his subordinates was strangely unpredictable. Most everyone had applauded his decision to install a unisex bathroom, for instance. Yet hardly anyone had appreciated his purge of back-wrecking chairs from the office, in favor of ergonomic kneeling stools. A few of the older employees had even quit in protest! He couldn’t understand it. It was like people enjoyed back pain or something.

But it hardly mattered. Extinction Event was used to having his efforts under-appreciated. He reminded himself that doing good rarely earned acclaim—you just had to press on, secure in the satisfaction that doing good is its own reward.

There had been some downsides of course. Taking over Gemma’s office was a mixed blessing. The extra space and privacy were certainly welcome, not to mention direct access to the publisher him or herself, via the pneumatic communication tubes. Extinction Event could finally be sure that his thoughts and suggestions were getting through to the person at the top.

The very first thing he’d done was send a thank you note up the tube:

EXTINCTION EVENT: James Capobianco
Dear Mr./Ms. Publisher,

I am greatly honored that you have seen fit to elevate my status to that of managing editor over all Third Sight publications. I have no doubt that you will find me a more earnest and devoted leader than Gemma ever was. I intend to delight you with the vigor and efficacy of my efforts to educate ThirdSight readers, and spread our edifying message to the ignorant masses.

With humble regards,
Extinction Event Poletti

[Pneumatic tube–up]

NARRATOR
And a response had come back, practically immediately.

[Pneumatic tube–down]

EXTINCTION EVENT
It just says “Good.”

[Music: Hail to the Chief]

NARRATOR
Extinction Event appreciated the confidence in his competence exuded by that one-word response. What more needed to be said after all?

[Music fades out]

Next he’d begun the more odious task of dealing with Gemma’s leavings in the office. It was a disaster of paperwork, piles of half-proofread article drafts leaning against the walls, some of them dating back decades.

[Rifling through papers]

Her actual file cabinets might well have been alters to the gods of chaos, all divided up according to some labelling system he could discern no meaning from. There were file drawers labelled “crank” “loon” and “cuckoo bird,” and other drawers labelled “never mind” and “who gives a shit,” and one drawer just cryptically marked “purple.” It seemed that once Gemma had filed something away, she had no interest in ever being able to find it again.

Her desk was no better. Laid out on it were a number of unanswered Dear Persephone letters that Gemma had abandoned when she left the company. Extinction Event had passed those over to Michael, handed him the job of writing the official advice column.

[Drawer opens.]

Extinction Event had larger issues to concern himself with. In one of the desk drawers, he’d found several boxes of earplugs, a walkman with crumbling foam headphones, and several audiocassette collections of “the best pop hits of the 70s and 80s.”

[Drawer closes.]

In another desk drawer, he’d found a strange handwritten list that sounded like the inner monologue of a would-be murderer:

[Music: Ominous drums]

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGE: Lydia Anderson
Fire
Sledgehammer
Bowling Alley
Hippopotamus
Trash Compactor
Lob
Acid bath
Bread loaf
Shooting gallery

NARRATOR
For some reason, of all of those, the single word “lob” made Extinction Event more anxious than any of the others. He’d shuddered, and thrown the list away.

[Drums fade out]

He decided the rest of the files should follow. There was no making sense of any of it, so Extinction Event decided it was best to just start fresh. So he called Tyrell into his office, gave him instructions to dispose of everything, and took himself on a walk around the whole office, to survey his new domain.

[Music: Hail to the Chief continues]

There were nearly two dozen people under Extinction Event’s purview. Line editors and copy editors and layout editors, and researchers, and graphic designers, and one young woman who was apparently the official ThirdSight podcast producer. He figured he probably ought to find out what was up with that. He observed all the people at their work, in their offices, in the break room, at the copy machine.

[Music fades out]

He saw problems in their auras. Dissatisfactions manifested as swirling blots amidst the pools of color. Loneliness, and exhaustion, and boredom in fungal shades of plum and avocado and pumpkin.

He returned to his office, intent to get to work, to draw up plans, to solve problems. He was pleased to find Tyrell just finishing with the expunging of Gemma’s detritus. He was pleased to have such a diligent and eager assistant. Sometimes over eager, sometimes a little clingy. But so be it. Tyrell’s aura was refreshing at least. Always such a lovely sunshine yellow, eternally cheering.

Extinction Event settled in at his desk, ready to begin his task…

[Pneumatic tube–down]

…but was very quickly interrupted by a canister arriving via the tube to the upper floor. He fetched it immediately, eager to see what essential instructions his patron had for him.

EXTINCTION EVENT
He wants me to buy him a sandwich? Tuna salad? He can’t really expect me to procure animal flesh for him. He can’t expect me to serve as his mule of carnal sadism!

[Pneumatic tube–down]

EXTINCTION EVENT (reading)
“Yes you. This is your job now. Don’t forget the extra celery.”

Oh.

NARRATOR
Oh, indeed.

[Music: Hail to the Chief continues]

Extinction event retrieved his coat from the coat hook, and headed out the door, on his first official task as managing editor of ThirdSight Media.

[Music concludes]

CREDITS

[Music: Charlie on the MTA]

Alexander Danner
Greater Boston is written and produced by Alexander Danner and Jeff Van Dreason.

This episode featured James Capobianco as Extinction Event Poletti, Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge, and Alexander Danner as the narrator.

Charlie on the MTA demo track recorded by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede.

Drums by Jim Johanson.

Ruffles and Flourishes and Hail to the Chief are performed by the US Army band.

Now more listening recommendations to enjoy through the Greater Boston Hiatus!

First up: The Infinite Now, with dispatches from across the timestream. This is a really weird one, I’m not even going to try to describe it, but we love it and we want you to go listen.

Next up, Wynnabago Warrior from Audioblivious Production. It is a clever contemporary Western pastiche, and very funny.

And finally, Lily Beacon’s Post-Apocalyptic Awesome Fun-Time Podcast fully lives up to that name with weekly broadcasts by a very pregnant mother-of-a-demon reporting live from the post-rapture world.

So that’s three fun podcasts that we hope you’ll check out. And we’ll see you again in three weeks!

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