[Charlie on the MTA fades in.]
CHUCK OCTAGON–JEFF VAN DREASON
This is Chuck Octagon for News 7 Boston reporting live Boylston St. Station, in Red Line, where commuter service has just been restored in the wake of Red Line’s incorporating referendum which transformed the this once essential segment of Boston’s failing transit system into a bizarre and ill-conceived failing city. I’ll be talking to commuters passing through Red Line on this first day of service about the commuting experience.
Excuse me, ma’am, can I ask you about your commute?
[Sigh] Yes you may.
Uhh…how was it?
It was unpleasant.
In what way?
There were these people there trying to tell me what to do.
Do you mean the people in the red vests?
Those are city employees. They’re supposed to help you figure out what to do.
Yes, that is so.
And what was unpleasant about that?
Well, they kept talking to me. You know? Ma’am, welcome to Red Line. Ma’am can I help you through the turnstile, like I am cripple. Ma’am, would you like a cup of tea? Pfft. Ma’am, can I offer you a seat here in the reserved section. Ma’am, here is the latest issue of the Metro, if you would like something to read on your commute. Ma’am, I hope you enjoy your trip. Acch. It was all just terrible.
I couldn’t sit down. There weren’t any seats.
You mean like in a Big Red car?
No, the chairs were there. But no seats. Like, the upholstery was gone. It happened after the referendum, right? Some guy went through a bunch of the trains, stealing all the seat covers. Well, I was in one of those cars. They haven’t replaced the seat covers, so it’s just this open nasty plastic. A couple of people tried sitting on it, but when they got up, they had grease stains all over their pants, like they’d sat on a mechanic or something. After that, we all kept clear, but as the train filled up, it got harder and harder. Eventually, to make room, while trying not to actually touching the seats, those of us standing closest had to just hold onto the hand loops, and kind of dangle over the seats. My back is killing me.
I was very confused.
Why were you confused?
There were photographs of children all over the walls, and I didn’t recognize any of them. They were somebody else’s grandkids, that’s for sure. Not a one of ‘em was one of mine.
I think one of them might have been might have been that kid from that show. You know the one. Fred Sausage. That was a nice show.
Thank you sir, have a good day.
TIMOTHY DANE-BRISBANE–JAMES OLIVA
Well, my name is Timothy. Timothy Dane-Brisbane. And the thing about being named Timothy is that trains are naturally going to be very interesting to you. There’s just no helping it. Timothy’s are just drawn to trains. And so, of course, I was first in line to get on the trains this morning. As soon as the doors slid open at 5:33 AM, I was right there ready to slip inside, first one boarding. By 5:34, I was pressed all the way to the wall on the other side by the crush of people behind me. It was very crowded. And the thing about being a Dane-Brisbane is it’s very difficult to deal with large masses of people. Dane-Brisbanes are accustomed to having our own space. Even in trains. We own a lot of trains. Fortunately, I’d brought my pepper spray.
Anyway, that’s why the first train ended up not leaving the station until 6:47.
Oh, I don’t actually take the train. I just come down to watch the crazies. You ever come down here and just watch people? They get on the trains. They get off the trains. They do the craziest things. Sometimes, a train is full, and somebody still wants to get on the train. And it’s like—hey buddy, the train’s full! You can’t get on! But they keep trying. Just pushing and shoving, and then the door closes, and he’s not on the train. Yeah, people do the craziest things. Makes me laugh.
EXTINCTION EVENT–JAMES CAPOBIANCO
It was exactly as I expected. Exactly as we predicted in the all-knowing pages of Political Prognostication magazine!
The astrology rag?
Sir! How dare you! Political Prognostication is not a “rag” of any sort! It is a dependable window into the future of our local and national system of governance!We said Red Line’s first day of services would be a chaotic mess—and it was! We said everyone would ultimately get where they needed to be—and they did! We predicted that acting Mayor Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge would provide adequate rudimentary leadership during the interim period before the selection of a proper Mayor, and she has!
Has your two-bit local news media proven half so accurate in your reading of the city’s future? Did you even accurately predict that the referendum would pass?
Well, to be fair, polling never suggested that the referendum had any kind of real…
Polling! POLLING?! Hokum! Pseudoscience! We have no need of your polling claptrap. We have the power of true divination!
You have no comment on your commute?
I’m sorry, I’m not a disinterested party. I work for the city.
In what capacity?
I’m acting Mayor Linzer-Coolidge’s assistant.
You work directly with the mayor? I’ve been trying to get a sit-down with her for weeks!
Well, Mr. Octagon, she’s been very busy, as I’m sure you can imagine. But if you give me an hour to get into work and consult her schedule, I’d be happy to see if I can make arrangements for an interview.
That would be great, thank you.
It might not be soon, mind you. Like I said, she’s very busy. Running this city is a complex task. But she does want to address the press just as soon as is prudent. Be patient, and I’ll be sure that you’re the first one to see her.
In all of your coverage, you’ve never said anything shitty about her parenting.
I’m not interested in her parenting. There’s no story there.
Good. That’s why you’re getting the interview.
[Train sounds fade out]
[Charlie on the MTA plays]
Greater Boston is written and produced by Alexander Danner and Jeff Van Dreason.
- Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon (he/him)
- Tanja Milojevic as Jelena and Melissa Weatherby (she/her)
- Micael Melia as Phil (he/him)
- Mike Linden as Walter and Marlo (he/him)
- James Oliva as Timothy Dane-Brisbane
- and James Capobianco as Extinction Event Poletti (he/him)
JEFF VAN DREASON
This is Chuck Octagon for News 7 Boston reporting live from Boylston St. Station, in Red Line, where commuter service has just been restored in the wake of Red Line’s incorporating referendum which transformed..Jesus Christ, Alexander! [Multiple people break out in laughter.] News copy’s not written like this!
It transformed into Jesus Christ!
This is like…the sentence doesn’t end!
Okay, I can revise that.
There’s also a typo in the very beginning.
Of course there is.
This is Chuck Octagon for News 7 Boston reporting live Boylston St. Station
in Red Line, where commuter service has just been restored in the wake of Red Line’s incorporating referendum which transformed..this…THE THIS…once essential segment of Boston’s failing transit system into a bizarre and ill-conceived failing city.
Whew! That’s gonna take some work.
My name is Jelena. I hate my life. Get me off this train, please.
[Multiple people laugh.]
I think Jelena might be coming back.