Transcript for Episode 16: Extinction Event at the Olive Garden

COLD OPEN

VOICE 1
Several years ago, out back of one of the clubs in Boston, I saw a rat that was the size of a small dog.

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason
I have definitely seen rats that size.

[Charlie on the MTA begins.]

VOICE 1
Yeah. And it…it was funny because as we were walking out, the lead singer of one of the bands we were watching, like, saw the rat and just freaked out, he’s like “OH MY GOD!”

PREVIOUSLY IN

Johanna Bodnyk
Previously, in Greater Boston:

OLIVER WEST—Mike Linden
Don’t I know you from somewhere? The news, maybe?

NICA STAMATIS—Kelly McCabe
Nope.

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner
And they began their descent.

MALLORY—Johanna Bodnyk
Thanks for this opportunity! I appreciate your still considering me after..well, fuck, you know.

I like traveling around, seeing different parts of the city. Delivering food is perfect for that.

EMILY BESPIN—Sam Musher
I never gave those molerats permission to use my likeness, my photographs, my wedding, to sell more of the same on Red Line. So it’s time for a lawsuit.

TITLE SEQUENCE

Multiple Voices

Red Line
Arlington
Cambridge
I’m from Dorchester.
Jamaica Plain
Revere
Uhh…I’ve lived in Leominster my whole life.
Hanson
Wellesley
(hate that town)
Lowell
Lexington
Red Line
Worcester
Uhh…I’m from Somerville
Peabody
Tewksbury
Hyde Park
Roslindale
Andover
Dorchester
Newton
Framingham
Medford, Massachusetts
This Is
Lowell
Fenway Park
Red Line!
This Is
Revere
Methuen
This Is
This Is
This Is
Greater Boston

THIS WEEK

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner
This week in Greater Boston: Episode 16: Extinction Event at the Olive Garden

INTERVIEW MONTAGE

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason
What’s the grossest thing you’ve seen in Boston?

VOICE 1
[Distraught laughter]
You told me to share the first thing that comes to my mind, and I don’t even want to share. Uh..

VOICE 2
Okay. I don’t think I can say that one. [Nervous laughter.] I don’t think I can. Can I?

CHUCK OCTAGON
You can say anything you want.

VOICE 2
Jesus Christ, okay.

VOICE 3
A diaper flying out of a street sweeper.

CHUCK OCTAGON
Ha ha ha….what?

VOICE 4
In the alley…someone pooping in the alley…I guess?

VOICE 5
I mean, I’ve seen fecal matter on the side of the road, that I know wasn’t from like a dog or anything. There’s um…there’s areas were—especially like on trash day, you see trashes that leak everywhere, and it just totally reeks up a whole, you know, ahhh street or alley or whatever, and…

VOICE 6
Um, when they throw their trash out. They try to like shoot the trash, try to make it like a basket or something. And they just leave it there.

VOICE 2
Umm…wait, people are walking by, I can’t.

VOICE 7
What I seen was a man jus throwing up everywhere on the side, going up to the Orange Line. As I kept walking away, I could still here him puking up, it was just like…eugh.

VOICE 1
Um, on Blue Hill, a guy pulled out his penis and was peeing on the sidewalk.

VOICE 8
I saw someone lying face first on one of those benches with the slats in it, and peeing through the slats.

VOICE 9
Oh!

VOICE 8
Like, I try to be an open-minded person, but that kinda…

CHUCK OCTAGON
That’s rough.

VOICE 8
…crossed a little line for me there. That was a little…

VOICE 9
Is it odd, that that wouldn’t be the first time I seen that either?

VOICE 8
Yeah, no, it wasn’t the first.

VOICE 2
I was walking past a guy in his car one day, and um…he was doing things that he should have done in private. And it was the most embarrassing thing, because when he saw me he like, frantically tried to fix himself, and I’m like there’s no point, just keep going. Have your jolly ol’ time. Just forget it.

VOICE 10
Euch, we used to leave late, probably about 2:00 in the morning, after the bar of the restaurant would close. And the alley would be filled with rats, literally climbing the walls.

THE MOLASSES INCIDENT

[Traffic and street noise]

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason
Excuse me, Miss, were you there, did you see… Oh. You’re you.

MALLORY—Johanna Bodnyk
Of course I’m me. Who the fuck else would I be?

CHUCK
I really shouldn’t be surprised. I assume you witnessed the molasses incident?

MALLORY
Which one?

CHUCK
Uh…there was only one. Wasn’t there?

MALLORY
Well, if we’re talking about molasses incidents, the first one has to be the flood of 1919. I mean, that took out the whole North End. Two million gallons of molasses flooding out the whole neighborhood like some fucking shit-brown tsunami. It took down the elevated tracks. Twenty-one people died! Can you imagine? Drowning in fucking molasses? What a donkey-balls way to go right? But anyway, if we’re going to call anything a molasses incident, it’s gotta be that. This one down on the train was babyshit by comparison.

CHUCK
You sure know a lot about the molasses flood.

MALLORY
I work in the North End. When I get bored, I read the plaques.

But anyway, I get that you’re not asking if I was at the Molasses Incident of 1919. I mean, I’m not even old enough to drink legally, obviously I wasn’t surfing the molasses wave through North End a hundred years ago.

CHUCK
Obviously.

MALLORY
But I think it’s important to get the facts straight. For the official story. The first molasses incident happened in 1919. I mean, those 21 unlucky fuckers who got their asses candied like life-size gummy-bears deserve to have their memories fucking respected, right?

CHUCK
Uh…sure.

MALLORY
But what you really want to know is whether I was at the second molasses incident. The Molasses Incident of Andrew Station.

CHUCK
Right.

MALLORY
No, I wasn’t there.

CHUCK
Oh. So…

MALLORY
But I *was* at the third incident.

CHUCK
Uhh…there was no third incident.

MALLORY
Well, yeah…thanks to me.

CHUCK
Oh…kay. You know what, let’s just start at the beginning.

MALLORY
Well, this was on Tuesday, the day after the Andrew Incident. And I’m at Downtown Crossing with Pazito, this tagger I know who does these amazing conceptual murals. Like, you know those murals where there’s a little bit of the image on one building, and then another little bit on another building, and it’s spread out across like twenty buildings, and you have go stand at just the right spot, look at it from just the right angle to see the whole thing, but then once you see it, like really see it, it suddenly turns into this amazing balls-out artwork that just fills the whole city block, and you’re just like…fffffuuuuuuuuck. Cause what else can you say, right? Well, he does shit like that.

I was kinda seeing Pazito at the time, so we were running around Downtown Crossing together, looking for shit to get into.

CHUCK
At the time? Wasn’t this like two days ago?

MALLORY
Yeah? Two days is a long fucking time in teen romance. Keep the fuck up, Grampa.

So, anyway, we decide we’re done with downtown, and decide to hop the subway over to Cambridge to get a bowl of Ramen at Porter. Not that super trendy place around the corner from the square, where they yell at you if you don’t finish your soup. You can’t even get in there, and I’ve got enough shitheads yelling at me for enough bullshit, without having some soup-douche bite my asshole for not finishing my noodles. No we go to the old place, in the Exchange building.

Or anyway, that’s where we would’ve gone if we’d ever actually gotten on the train, but we never did, because I got sidetracked down in the station. Before we got through the turnstiles, I noticed something weird up the hall. Like, there’s this parade of subway rats, right out in the open, middle of the day. And they can be brave little fuckers, but not usually like that. Not so many of them.

So I’m like, come on Pazito, we gotta go see what those little guys are up to. And he’s like, “what the fuck, Mallory, we’re gonna go follow a bunch of rats though the subway?” And I’m like, “well yeah. Duh.” And I just go, and he comes with.

And we follow the rat parade down the hall to where there’s this door to like a maintenance closet, or that’s what it looks like, and it’s obviously supposed to be locked, but the lock is broken and the doors just kind of open a little. And the rats are pouring in there.

So naturally, I’m like “Aw, dude, we gotta see what’s going on in there! Like the rats are having some kind of crazy rodent rave or something, and I’ve gotta see it.”

But Pazito’s being a little bitch about the whole thing, like he’s all “no fucking way, Mallory. No fucking way am I walking through an underground door in the subway that I know leads to some dark disease buffet of filthy, sewer-crawling plague rats.” And I’m like, Pazito, shut your fuckhole, these are my friends.” And he’s like “no Mallory, they’re fucking rats.” And so that’s when I told him that if we was going to be that much of a little dick-shit, then he can just fuck off out of my life. So then I went into the rat closet, and I haven’t talked to him since.

[Golden Slippers fiddle music plays]

So anyway, the rat closet was fan-fucking-awesome. There had to be a thousand rats in their, all over the place, crawling all up and down the walls, the floor, the pipes, everywhere. Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Like I was really tempted to just throw myself in and let them wash over me, you know? I mean, I realize that’s a terrible idea, and they’d get totally hurt if I actually did that. But it was still super tempting.

Then, the next thing I realize, there’s all this plumbing and machinery in there. It’s got some kind of valve control system, like it’s some sort of water works, and it’s all hooked up to this huge tank. But the tank doesn’t fit, you know? Like everything looks ninety years old, all rust and rat-shit and like that, but the tank looks like it was installed yesterday. It’s brand new. And it’s hooked into he pipes like it’s interrupting the normal flow. Like the usual water supply has been cut, and this tank has been put in its place.

And then I realize two things. First off, there’s this funky odor, right? But like, a familiar odor. I know it. Like I said, I work in the North End, and you can’t spend much time in the North End without learning that odor. It’s fucking molasses, just like we’ve got all over the streets where I work. It’s a huge tank of fucking molasses. And it’s got a crack in it, and there’s some of the molasses leaking out, which is what the rats are there for. They’re all bonkers for it.

And the plumbing it’s hooked into? It’s the goddamn fire suppression system. Like, someone’s cut the sprinklers off from the water supply, and replaced it with this molasses.

And so I’m like, holy fuck-a-roni, I’ve gotta tell someone about this! It’s like the whole, “if you see something, say something,” and I realize that mostly that’s just about them wanting you be racist fuckheads, like they just want you to see some muslim dude praying and be all like dur dur dur. But this is like actually *something* and I’m the only one who’s seen it, so I’ve gotta tell someone before something fucked-up happens. Like, if there were actually a fire, and the sprinklers started raining molasses down, you know what that would do to people? Like Jesus fuck, I can’t even think about it.

[Music ends]

So I went straight to security, and I told them what I found, and they didn’t want to listen to me, like I’m just some stupid kid, how’s anything I have to say gonna matter, but I didn’t let them go, I kept telling them, and once I said molasses, and they thought about what had just happened at Andrew, they got fucking serious and off their asses. So I made sure they knew where to look, and then I cheesed it out of there.

And now here we are, with everyone fine, and no rain of molasses, because I followed the fucking clues.

You’re welcome.

[Street noise fades out]

MAYOR SIGHTING
[Red Line subway environment.]

WANDA—Tanja Milojevic
I swear I saw him one night. We were pulling into Harvard Square. There’s this old red line train on an unused track. Super old, like older than Harvard old. Well not that old because that’s kinda ridiculous, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, I swear I saw the Mayor in there. the Mayor of the Red Line. He was packing. Packing up a suitcase. Swear to God! And he looked right at me and did this weird little bow. You know how slow the Red Line takes that turn. Slow as molass— uhh — oh god, umm, slow as a …uhh, an elephant. A turtle. A tortoise! There we go, a tortoise. It’s a big turn is what I’m saying.

I was always a fan of the other Linzer-Coolidge. The one who was there the day it all went down? The one who led people through the molasses? I used to work with her. She’s the one I want. She’s the one I want as mayor.

[Subway fades out.]

VOICE MAIL FOR MICHAEL

[Phone Rings]

MICHAEL TATE—James Oliva
Hi, you’ve reached the voice mail of Michael Tate, at the editorial office of Political Prognostication. I’m not at my desk right now. Which is pretty unusual really. Most of the time I’m here. Unless I’m at lunch. That’s probably it. You probably called while I’m at lunch. Or sleeping. Or maybe I’m just on the other line. Though I’m not sure who else would be calling me. That’d be wild, right? Me getting two phone calls at once? There are only like two people who ever call me in the first place. Well, just one actually. So yeah…uh…Louisa. I assume it’s you. Go ahead and leave a message, and I’ll call you when I get back from lunch. Bye.

[Voice mail beep]

LOUISA ALVAREZ—Julia Propp
Hey, Michael, this is Louisa. I’ve got kind of an odd question for you. You know I’ve been looking into some things for Gemma Linzer-Coolidge, mainly trying to find that lost paperweight…

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGE—Lydia Anderson
Crystal ball!

LOUISA
Anyway, that’s not what I’m calling about. I’m actually calling about some of the articles you’ve been writing for Political Prognostication. Gemma’s been following them..

GEMMA
You’re not half the fuck-up I’d hoped you were.

LOUISA
And she’s been impressed with the quality of your work. But we were wondering about your sources. And I told her that I know you, and said I’d see if you could talk about it. I know you use, like…

GEMMA
Bullshit!

LOUISA
…Divinatory

GEMMA
Divinatory bullshit!

LOUISA
Divinatory…stuff. To write your articles. But a couple of weeks ago, you wrote about how Red Line was about to find itself in a “sticky situation.”

GEMMA
Fucking puns! I would never let you get away with fucking puns if I was still your manager!

LOUISA
And that was meaningless, like that could be anything, right? It’s just this vague…silliness. But then the thing with the molasses happened. And obviously, that was just a coincidence. Right? I mean, it has to be. But it was a weirdly specific coincidence. You know?

And now in this latest issue, you’ve got this article about a third candidate. Someone who’s new entering the race for Mayor of Red Line. And you don’t name anyone specifically…

GEMMA
Of course he doesn’t!

LOUISA
…but you have a lot of other details. Like you give the date that they’re going to announce their candidacy. And you say that “Red Line will recognize a familiar face entering the fray.”

GEMMA
It’s fucking Chelmsworth, isn’t it? Coming back to screw us again.

LOUISA
So we can’t help wondering if this is legit. If you’ve got some actual source for this information. I mean…is this the usual random nonsense, or do you actually know something? Because here’s the thing—we know there’s been money moving around. And at first we thought it was supporters for Isabelle Powell, but we can’t find any connections to her. It’s someone else.

GEMMA
Please tell me it’s Chelmsworth, so I can find him and punch him.

LOIUSA
There’s a PAC, calling itself The Face of Red Line PAC. So again, that phrasing.

GEMMA
I’ll punch him right in his tweed fucking face of Red Line.

LOUISA
It could just be coincidence. But it’s a weirdly specific coincidence. So yeah, if there’s anything you could tell us, especially if you’ve got some leads on who else might be entering the race…we’d appreciate it.

GEMMA
Yeah, it was great catching up with you, Michael, I hope things are going well for you at ThirdSight, please let us know if you can tell us anything.

LOUISA
Uh. Yeah. I’ll talk to you later.

[beep]

NICA WORKS AT THE OLIVE GARDEN NOW

[Charlie on the MTA, sad version]

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner
These days, Nica was managing an Olive Garden.

[Food sizzles]

NARRATOR
Obviously. Of course. That’s where the rest of the Weimeraners had ended up, her long-ago bandmates who had failed to make anything of themselves. So why shouldn’t Nica expect to find herself working at the very same metaphor for absolute failure as the rest of the never-weres in her life? At least she’d avoided landing in New Jersey.

To compound her bottoming-out, she wasn’t working in just any Olive Garden.

[La Tarantella plays]

NARRATOR
She was working in the food truck Olive Garden. The mobile Olive Garden that roamed Boston, stalking drunk tourists and drunk students, and other drunk people who had somehow made it all the way to adulthood without ever learning what chicken parmesan is supposed to look like.

She had to laugh, thinking of how Leon had once described Olive Garden to her:

LEON—Braden Lamb
It’s where you take your family for an Italian dinner, because you secretly hate them.

NARRATOR
Leon was as much of a stickler about food as he was anything else, but she had to give him credit: he was a stickler for quality. And he was a hell of a cook.

She missed his cooking. Even the beets.

LEON
Plenty of dietary fiber in beets. They’re great for keeping you regular.

NARRATOR
Today she was stationed in the North End, Boston’s historic Italian district, home to dozens of Italian restaurants owned by actual Italian people. It should have been a nice place to be. She’d have loved to take a break for some marzipan rainbow cookies at Mike’s Pastry, except that Mike’s Pastry wouldn’t let her through the door. Nica and her rolling Olive Garden were not welcome in North End. When North Enders came yelling at her to get out, asking if she wasn’t thoroughly ashamed of herself, Nica answered them honestly. That mostly just left them confused, but at least they took their disgust and went home.

But whatever. She had a job.

She had a purpose.

LEON
She had all free flash frozen fried lasagna nuggets she could stomach.

[Tarantella fades out]

MALLORY—Johanna Bodnyk
Hey boss-lady, I could use some help here! The lunch mob is about ready to climb through my ass to get to the slop trough!

NARRATOR
And she had an employee. This frenetic little tornado of vulgarity and enthusiasm who did a far better job of keeping the customers at bay than the food did. Nica made no attempt to rein Mallory in; on the contrary, when the girl dropped a half dozen f-bombs in the interview, Nica hired her on the spot.

LEON
Best decision Nica’s made in a long time, frankly.

[Lighter sound]

NARRATOR
So Nica set Mallory up at the window, while she herself handled the cooking, and occasionally just hid out in the truck’s cab, away from the public window.

MALLORY
You’d better not be getting baked back there again!

NICA
I’m not!

LEON
She is, but she crushes it out at Mallory’s scolding.

NARRATOR
Nica hadn’t counted on this kid’s irritating diligence and puritanism about minor narcotics.

LEON
Mallory already lost one job to second-hand exposure. Why should she jeopardize her medical career just so my sister can wallow?

MALLORY
Hey, your friend is in line—the dippity-douche who consoles the sandwiches.

NICA
He’s not my friend.

NARRATOR
The dippity-douche was a guy called Extinction Event Poletti, an editor as some bullshit fortune-telling publisher. But she got up as soon as she heard he was in the line. He wasn’t there for food, which he never touched. He was there as a go-between.

[Street chatter through truck window fades up]

LEON
He works for Oliver West.

NARRATOR
He worked for that guy, the man on the roller coaster, who had interesting work to be done. Interesting work for Nica. Work that could change things.

Work that had purpose.

LEON
Oh, Nica.

NARRATOR
Mallory stared poison into the guy’s heart from the counter. She’d taken as instant a disliking to Extinction Event as Nica had ever seen one person take to another.

MALLORY
So are you her dealer or what?

EXTINCTION EVENT—James Capobianco
No, I’m not her dealer! You think I look like a drug dealer? That’s outrageous. Shame on you. Don’t you even realize that you’re the dealer here? A death dealer! You’re a meat-slinging death merchant.

NICA
Okay, Extinction Event, leave my employee alone.

EE
Your employee is in desperate need of an astral realignment. Have you even seen her aura? It’s puce!

NICA
What?

EE
PUCE!

LEON
A sort of purplish brown.

MALLORY
Yeah, dude whatever. You’re face’ll be puce once I put my knuckles though your shit-nibbling teeth enough times. You want to go or what?

EE
Violence! You’re calling for violence! I shouldn’t even be surprised. It’s to be expected from someone bound into this sort of occupational environment. But I suppose I just have a bad habit of expecting better of people. I expect people to do more to rise above their circumstances.

NICA
Oh my God, just stop. What do you want?

EE
You need to take a meeting.

LEON
You don’t have to take the meeting.

NICA
Who with?

LEON
You can say no. You can do something else.

EE
I haven’t the slightest idea. Info’s in the envelope. When you’re done, you can drop your report in one of the tubes.

NICA
Alright, I’m on it. Mallory, can you handle things on your own here for a bit

MALLORY
Fuck, no.

NICA
Great, I’ll be back later.

[Tarantella finale]

AD FOR RED LINE WEDDINGS

[Classy wedding music/Te Deum]

Wedding Pitchman—David Rheinstrom
Do you crave elegance?

Voice 2
I do.

Wedding Pitchman
Do you crave a unique wedding memory to cherish for the rest of your life?

Voice 3
I do.

Wedding Pitchman
Do you crave a wedding that reflects you, your home, your city?

Voice 4
I do

Wedding Pitchman
A wedding that moves at the speed of life?

Voice 5
I do.

Wedding Pitchman
Red Line is proud to offer civil ceremonies for any budget, in the station or car of your choice, whether you’re looking for a Boisterous Big Red Blowout or a refined Harvard Square Processional.

And for that extra touch of prestige, the first ten weddings booked will be officiated by Acting Mayor Linzer-Coolidge herself.

CHARLOTTE LINZER-COOLIDGE—Summer Unsinn
Hello, I’m Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge, Acting Mayor of Red Line, and I want you to experience the wedding of your dreams here in Red Line, where we keep dreams on track.

Wedding Pitchman

Do you want *your* matrimonial dream to come true in Red Line?

Multiple voices
I do/I do
I do/I do
I do/I do

[Music fades]

The Red Line Bride

[Broke Yet electronic music and Drums]

[Click]

ROBOT
Wensleydale

[Click]

ROBOT
Edam

[Click]

ROBOT
Gorgonzola

[Click]

ROBOT
Camem-burt

[Ratchet adjustment]

[Click]

ROBOT
Camem-burt

[Metal compartment opens]

[Electric drill]

[Click]

ROBOT
Camem-burt

[Door opens—Emily enters]

[Various tinkering noises continue throughout]

EMILY BESPIN—Sam Musher
Well, Ethan, that lawyer was perfectly useless. Perfectly. I explained the whole thing to him, how that horrible person had taken our photos, our wedding photos, our personal images, and sold them to the government to blow them up for commercial purposes, to promote their absurd Red Line Weddings service. He says we signed a contract that grants full ownership of the images to the photographer, that she can use them however she likes, because she’s the artist, and they’re her images.

Artist! As if! It was *our* weddings, *our* decorations, *our* beautiful faces. If there was any artist involved, it was me, I’m the one that created the whole bridal-scape that she photographed. She didn’t create anything, she just took pictures of what *I* created.

But that useless lawyer tells me it doesn’t matter, I signed a contract, I don’t have a case. As if I don’t know that I signed a contract. As if I wasn’t there with the pen in my hand, personally signing the contract, that he feels he needs to remind me that I signed.

So I patiently explained to him, it’s not just the images. It’s the weddings. They’re renting out the trains for weddings. To *anybody.* But that was *my* idea. Marrying on the subway—that was *me*.

[Click]

ROBOT
Camem-burt

EMILY
Well, *us,* sweetie, of course. But mostly me. The point is, it’s our original idea. Our intellectual property. I explained it to him very clearly—if anyone else wants to get married on the subway, they need to license that idea from *us*. And maybe we’ll let them, and maybe we won’t, depending on the particular couple, and whether their association will tarnish the dignity of our own nuptials. But the point is, the city can’t just go letting randos using our wedding concept willy nilly without compensating us.

And do you know what that perfectly useless lawyer did? He laughed at me! The nerve on him. So we’ll just have to keep looking. Don’t worry, sweetie, it’s just a matter of time. We’ll find the right person to take our case.

[Knock on door]

[Door opens]

Can I help you?

NICA STAMATIS—Kelly McCabe
Emily Bespin?

EMILY
Yes?

NICA
I have a letter for you from a party interested in your legal case against the City of Red Line.

EMILY
How does this party know about my legal case? I haven’t discussed it publicly.

NICA
He has a complex network of informers all over the city.

EMILY
How very sinister. You smell like pot. Are you some sort of bike courier?

NICA
Uh…I took the bus, actually.

EMILY
Eugh.

NICA
Do you want your message or not?

EMILY
Who’s it from?

NICA
No one you’d know of. But you should really just read it. I think you’ll find it addresses a bunch of your recent problems.

EMILY
Very well, you might as well come in. Please use the hand sanitizer by the door before you touch anything, and please only sit on the blue furniture. Pink is for family.

NICA
Maybe I’ll just stand.

EMILY
Suit yourself. Now, what’s this message.

NICA
Here you go.

[Tinkering/Broke Yeti stop]

[Oliver’s drums/squeaks]

OLIVER WEST—Mike Linden
Dear Ms. Bespin,

I have been following with great interest your efforts to file legal proceedings against the city of Red Line, pursuant to the appropriation of your wedding photos and matrimonial service concept. I can certainly appreciate your reluctance to see your image and ideas coopted in this way.

Of course, these efforts are undoubtedly going to fail. You are clearly intelligent enough to see that you have no legal standing, and only the most tenuous ethical standing. You know this. It is only your precarious financial situation that prevents you from seeing it clearly. A situation that drives you to desperate action. I urge you to abandon this course before you find yourself publicly embarrassed, lampooned on some late night talk show, branded the Red Line Bride who thinks she can lay claim to the right to hold weddings. It will benefit you not at all, and you will regret this course deeply. I tell you this as a would-be friend.

[Oliver’s theme stops]

[Robot theme returns]

EMILY
This fellow’s concept of friendship is rather brusque, isn’t it?

NICA
I wouldn’t know. I’m just an employee.

EMILY
Yes, of course.

[Robot theme stops]

[Oliver’s theme resumes]

OLIVER
I hope you’ll forgive my brusqueness. But it is essential that we dispense with this silly lawsuit business before we move on to more serious prospects. Because that is what I am contacting you about today: serious prospects.

I am very much aware of your financial needs. And I am also aware of your ambition and intelligence, your education and pedigree. What’s more, I am very acutely aware that you have accidentally become one of the most visible faces in Red Line, due entirely to the purloined imagery that adorns so many billboards throughout the city. There are only a handful of people who could lay claim to being the face of Red Line, but Ms. Linzer-Coolidge’s subway wedding service has made you one of those people. Ms. Bespin—you are the face of Red Line.

And so it is a much shorter journey than you might think to expand that title into something greater, something with real power, and real prestige. Red Line is in disarray. It is a disaster. The City’s mayor abandoned it before they’d even finished counting the votes. The current frontrunner for mayor was merely an assistant, an unemployed cartoonist dabbling in politics to occupy her idle hands. And she is ill-equipped for the mantle of leadership, and she is tainted by her association with the betrayer who left the city to eat itself.

So who will oppose her? Only one challenger has stepped forward so far, an uneducated agitator with no qualifications. And is that all? Is that the only competition she will face?

It would be a travesty if it were true. If she faced no serious opposition. If no qualified opponent stepped up to face her. To offer a real alternative, a woman with real vision, and real understanding of systems of power.

Can you think of anyone who might make a preferable candidate for this newly-formed political office? Because I can. She is reading this letter right now.

You are already the Face of Red Line.

I intend to make you the Mayor of Red Line.

I will underwrite your campaign personally. I will secure your new home, a luxury Red Line apartment, to establish residency in your Mayoral district. I will provide you with the necessary staff and resources. Most vitally to you in the immediate, I will take that entire Wonderland debacle off your hands entirely, covering all your losses. I can make this happen.

But I need your decision today. Give your answer to my agent. She is waiting. You need only speak one word of affirmation. And then…

[Oliver’s theme stops]

OLIVER
…we will begin.

[ROBOT THEME RESUMES]

NICA
Well?

EMILY
Ethan, Sweetie? Pack up your robots. We’re done with Wonderland.

We’re moving to Red Line.

[Click]

ROBOT
Camembert

CREDITS

[Golden Slippers]

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

You can support the show through our Patreon campaign or by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes.

This episode featured:

  • Tanja Milojevic as Wanda
  • Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon
  • Johanna Bodnyk as Mallory
  • James Oliva as Michael Tate
  • Julia Propp as Louisa Alvarez
  • Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge
  • Kelly McCabe as Nica Stamatis
  • James Capobianco as Extinction Event Poletti
  • David Rheinstrom as the Red Line Wedding Pitch Man
  • Summer Unsinn as Charlotte Linzer Coolidge
  • Sam Musher as Emily Bespin
  • Mike Linden as Oliver West
  • With Marck Harmon, Tanja Milojevich, Lydia Anderson, Jim Johanson, and Rick Coste as additional wedding voices.

Interviews conducted with real greater Boston residents.

  • Charlie on the MTA, both versions, recorded by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede
  • Golden Slippers by Adrienne Howard, Emily Peterson, and Dirk Tiede
  • Drums by Jim Johanson
  • Tarantalla performed by the US Air Force Band
  • Discordant Electronica by Broke Yeti

COOKIE

JOHANNA BODNYK
They just want you to see some Muslim dude praying and be like….wait. Like, they just want you to see some Muslim dude praying and be like…DURRRRRR DURRRRRR DURRRRR!

[Stifled laughter]

[Uproarious laughter]

JEFF VAN DREASON
Alright, that’s good.

Content Warnings
  • Strong Language
  • Drug use
  • References to public urination/defecation/masturbation
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