Transcript for Episode 17: The Red Line Tea Party

COLD OPEN

CHUCK OCTAGONJeff Van Dreason
What’s your favorite historical fact or story about Boston history?

Male Interview 1
The…Boston Tea Party I think it was? When they dumped the tea in the…in the uhh…ocean?

Chuck Octagon
Mmhmm.

Male Interview 1
So I like that one. And because why is because they relate it to a game? Assasin’s Creed?

[Charlie on the MTA begins playing]

So I…I they…they like you know kinda made — moderate it, kinda? So I kinda [indistinguishable] I really liked it, so. You know kinda I…I remembered it.

Chuck Octagon
Be honest with me. Is the first time you learned about the Boston Tea Party, was it through Assasin’s Creed?

Male Interview 1
Oh, no.

Chuck Octagon (laughing)

Okay.

Male Interview 1
No, it wasn’t, it was during, you know, history class they thought it and I thought it was like, “yeah, okay, that’s…okay,” and then they made it as, you know, a game and I was like, “ooh!” So.

Chuck Octagon (laughing)
Okay.

PREVIOUSLY IN GREATER BOSTON

Julia Propp

Previously…in Greater Boston.

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGE— Lydia Anderson
What the hell was it?

RUSTY THE MBTA DRIVER — Jim Johanson
It was a huge container of molasses. We didn’t have time to stop before the collision.

MALLORY — Johanna Bodnyk
And once I said molasses and they thought about what had just happened at Andrew? They got fucking serious and off their asses.

ISABELLE POWELL— Jessica Washington
I’m in the real estate business, by the way. My name is Isabelle Powell and I want to be your Mayor of Red Line.

EMILY BESPIN — Sam Musher
Ethan sweetie? Pack up your robots. We’re moving to Red Line.

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
Metheuen
This Is
This Is
This Is
Greater Boston

EPISODE CONTENTS

Alexander Danner

This week in Greater Boston, Episode 17, The Red Line Tea Party

[CHARLIE fades out]

[RED LINE fades in. Photographer snaps pictures throughout]

CHARLOTTE AND THE PRESS

CHARLOTTE — Summer Unsinn

This was a deliberate and dangerous prank that put thousands of Red Line lives at risk and slowed commuter times beyond an unacceptable level. Rest assured, we will find those who did this, we will exhaust every avenue, pursue every lead until we know who is responsible. And they will be punished severely. Now I’ll urge anyone with any information to come forth and —

REPORTER 1 — Tanja Milojevic

Charlotte, would you call this a terrorist attack?

CHARLOTTE

No.

REPORTER 1

But some people were hurt and could’ve been killed. The goal was clearly to terrorize and if the goal is to terrorize and —

CHARLOTTE

We don’t know what the goal was, but I personally don’t find molasses very terrifying.

REPORTER 2 — Marck Harmon

Tell that to Jack Almonte and Latayviah Cusup. Both of them have broken bones in the hospital.

CHARLOTTE

While I feel for them and wish them a speedy recovery, none of their injuries have been directly tied to the molasses incident.

REPORTER 2

What about the original molasses disaster? You don’t find that story terrifying?

CHARLOTTE

That was over a hundred years ago and has nothing to do with —

REPORTER 3 — Ben Flaumenhaft

Is it true your wife and baby were victims of the attack?

CHARLOTTE

I — we — we were all victims of the attack, I can’t make that any clear—

REPORTER 3

So you agree that it is an attack, not just a prank?

REPORTER 4 — Alexander Danner

Reports have your wife Gemma and infant son traveling very close to where the train struck the molasses container. If they’re not victims, I don’t know who is.

CHARLOTTE

My wife and child are not victims.

REPORTER 1

So it’s true?

REPORTER 3

What did they see?

REPORTER 4

Is the baby okay?

CHARLOTTE

No more questions.

(Feedback as reporters haring Charlotte with more questions and fade into background. Red Line door shuts).

MELISSA — Tanja Milojevic

You holding up?

CHARLOTTE

I could use a cup of tea.

MELISSA

You got it. Umm. Chuck Octagon is here in your office.

CHARLOTTE

Ugh. I really don’t want to talk to him right now, especially after —

MELISSA

He says it’s off the record. And..there’s a favor he wants to ask.

CHARLOTTE

Do I owe him favors? He hasn’t exactly been charitable to our work here.

MELISSA

No, he hasn’t been. But just because he doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean that he’s your enemy. His criticisms have been professional. There are a lot of sleazy muckrakers like those creeps out there, ready to drag you through the mud because they don’t like the color of your dress or your choice of pet name you’ve chosen for your son. Octagon’s not one of those.

CHARLOTTE

You make it sound like you have a list of every reporter who’s ever been mean to me.

MELISSA

No. I have a detailed spreadsheet of every journalist who’s ever written about you at all. It’s how I decide who gets access to you and how much, and which topics are on the table for which journalists. And it’s how I keep the total scum out of your office entirely.

CHARLOTTE

I… had no idea. I mean, obviously you’ve been managing my schedule, and doing an amazing job. But I didn’t realize you were corralling assholes so…meticulously.

MELISSA

It’s part of my job, Charlotte. I’m your first line of defense. I take that seriously.

CHARLOTTE

Can I be honest with you about something? Something personal.

MELISSA

I hope so.

CHARLOTTE

I haven’t had a lot of people I could rely on in my life. People who really looked out for me. And I think, because of that, I’m sometimes a little slow to realize when I have people who do.

MELISSA

You have a lot on your mind. Legitimately. It’s okay.

CHARLOTTE

Don’t let me take you for granted.

MELISSA

I’ll try not to. But I feel I ..I have to say…Gemma looks out for you too. She really does.

CHARLOTTE

Yeah, I know.

MELISSA

More than you know. And I realize I’m butting into personal stuff here, and maybe being presumptuous. But that’s going to be part of my job too.

CHARLOTTE

Melissa…Personal stuff is officially on the table. Between us. Deal?

MELISSA

Deal.

CHARLOTTE

Good. Now, let’s go see what kind of favor Chuck Octagon is looking for.

[Red Line doors open]

OCTAGONUPTIALS

CHUCK OCTAGON — Jeff Van Dreason

Ms. Mayor.

CHARLOTTE

Mr….Octagon.

[drum track begins playing]

Chuck

I wanted to apologize for how I behaved during our interview.

Charlotte

Don’t. We’re off the record, yes?

Chuck

Of course.

Charlotte

I’ve met quite a few reporters since taking this job. You’re one of the least bothersome. You’re even the least bothersome I’ve dealt with today. What can I do for you?

Chuck

I’m getting married.

Charlotte

Oh. Congratulations! Who’s the lucky bride?

Chuck

Groom.

Charlotte

Oh. Oh! Jeez —uhh, oh god, my gaydar is seriously busted, I’m sorry.

Chuck

His name is Andy. Andrew Wood. What do you think sounds better, from one, you know, fellow hyphenated to another? Chuck Wood-Octagon or Chuck Octagon-Wood?

Charlotte

How much wood could a wood Chuck chuck if an octagon could chuck wood?

[Pause]

Chuck

What?

Charlotte

Eh. Forget it. You could always drop the Octagon, maybe?

Chuck

Change it to Chuck Wood? Yeah. That sounds kinda newsy, doesn’t it? Or wait, Charles Wood? Oh, I like that. I’ve always hated Charles, but with the Wood added? That’s not bad.

Charlotte

Uh, can I ask—where did Octagon come from in the first place?

Chuck

What do you mean? It’s my name.

Charlotte

It’s your — given surname?

Chuck

Yes.

Charlotte

Octagon?

Chuck

I come from a long line of proud Octagons’. Why?

Charlotte

No reason. Uhh — you mentioned a favor?

Chuck

Right. Well, we announced our nuptials at work the other day. I met Andy in the control room and everyone is very happy for us. But my boss? He — well, I think I told you this before, he’s a bit of a dick. He wants us to get married on the Red Line and televise it as a special 7 News event.

Charlotte

Wow.

Chuck

Yeah.

Charlotte

So — you want me to marry you guys in Red Line?

Chuck

No. I want you to refuse.

Charlotte

I don’t understand.

Chuck

I don’t want to get married on the train. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you’ve done wonders with the place. But it’s the M-fucking-BTA. I’m sure there are unclassifiable diseases down here, stuff scientists haven’t even created cures for yet. Uhh —you know,  no offense.

Charlotte

Mr. Octagon.

Chuck

Call me Chuck, please. Or even better, call me Charles Wood.

Charlotte

Charles.

Chuck

Charles Wood.

Charlotte

Charles…Wood. Uhh. I don’t think I’m in a position to refuse you. If you don’t want to get married here, don’t get married here.

Chuck

You need to tell my boss that you won’t allow it.

Charlotte

I kinda feel like it’s up to you to say no to your boss.

Chuck

I can’t. I don’t think you understand how precarious my career is. I’m getting older, balder, fatter. Do you know how difficult it is to be image-conscious in this city? To stand out with the constant influx of young talent with perfect, fresh little out-of-undergrad bodies? And with all the fantastic food here? You know, they released this study—every US meal should be thirty percent smaller. Every. One. You know how time consuming it is to cut out thirty percent of every meal? You gotta measure it, proportion it, cut it, set it aside, bag it, tupperware it. And then you’re just dealing with never-ending temptations. There’s just countless thirty percents of wonderful food laying around the house. Andy does his share, he has the metabolism of a fucking hummingbird, the smug son of a bitch. UGH if I didn’t love him so much I’d spend all day pelting him with Baglesaurus bagels. He polishes off a baker’s dozen in a single long weekend, doesn’t gain an ounce.

(Beat)

Anyway, the point is, I’m in no position to say no to my boss. So you need to do that.

Charlotte

But for what reason? I don’t care if you get married here. In fact, it would be fantastic for us. We need the business and the exposure.

Chuck

I don’t know. Make it about me being gay.

Charlotte

I’m gay.

Chuck

Oh, right. Well then make it about the story I wrote about you. Take exception with the angle I took or whatever

Charlotte

That would sound insanely petty and I’ll have created an enemy with one of the biggest news organizations in the greater Boston area.

Chuck

Well you better think of something. I’m not sure if you noticed, but I kept part of the interview out of my story. The little lottery you talked about creating for your residents? You have no idea what the Lottery is. You panicked and came up with complete nonsense. I could have called you on it, dragged your name in the dirt all over town, but with all this going on? I decided to wait and see if you’d help me out or not.

Charlotte

You’re blackmailing me?

Chuck

I’m doing you a favor. And as a show of good faith, here’s another one. Your little molasses disaster could have been much worse. I spoke with a witness that found a tank of molasses hooked up to the water system in Downtown Crossing. It was all set to sprinkle sticky shit all over the damn place. Ugh. Here’s her contact information. I’d talk to her if I were you. And just so we’re clear? Next time I find something out about your little lottery? I’m reporting on it, favor or no favor.

[Boxcat Games track begins to play]

SWIPE RIGHT

Suitor 1 — Marck Harmon

So I’m going through a bit of a “me” phase right now.

Suitor 2 — Michael McQuillken

You don’t snore, do you? I hate snorers. My ex snored.

Suitor 3 — Rick Coste

This place is pretty good, but for a novelty tea shop their stock is somewhat limited. And they prepare the tea in the most rudimentary way. I mean, you know how to properly prepare tea, don’t you?

Suitor 1

Do you know what I mean by a “me phase?” Yeah, I bet you do. You’ve got a me phase going too, don’t you?

Suitor 4 — Michael McQuillken

Hey, it’s great to finally meet you. So right off the bat you should know that I’m allergic to dust. If you have dust in your apartment, I will not go into your apartment.  

S2

What is snoring anyway? It’s a metaphor for selfishness. You don’t even know you do it. If someone tells you to stop snoring? You don’t care. It’s not disrupting your sleep.

S3

No no no, you can’t let the water come to a boil. If the temperature gets too hot it can scorch the leaves, creating a far more bitter taste.

S4

Do you know how pervasive dust is? It’s everywhere. I can’t tell you how much dust is in this restaurant right now. I need to be careful.

S2

CCCCKKKKRRRRAAAA. Like she was dreaming of cutting down trees with her nose. With her throat. With her larynx. Her voice box must have been made of barbed wire and box cutter blades.

LOUISA — Julia Propp

Mmm. Man, this tabouleh and hummus plate is incredible.

S5 — Ben Flaumenhaft

Yeah, I had a feeling you’d like this place. So. Have you ever read any Ayn Rand?

LOUISA

Bye!

S1

Like I’m just taking care of me right now. And it’s hard. Don’t you think? Isn’t it just so hard sometimes? To sit back and think — what about me? What about what I want? I bet you think that too. Right?

LOUISA

Uhh, sure, I —

S1

Right, yeah, of course you do.

S4

Dead skin cells. You know how many skin cells there are? Know how many of them die? They die all the time. There — you — you just scratched your nose. That’s like a skin cell genocide right there. You are a God to a whole new breed of dust. They’re praying to you now.

S2

Don’t — no, don’t order that, she doesn’t want that. That’s not good for your — you’ll get really bad phlegm. Trust me. Your sinuses will go straight to hell. Get something spicy, clear all that out. Order the chimichangas. She’ll have the chimichangas.

S3

I mean, they don’t even serve pu-erh here. No gunpowder, no blue rose, no Mediterranean white. Please. What’s your favorite, by the way?

LOUISA

Uhh…Lipton’s fine, I guess.

[Pause]

S3

Are you insane?

S1

So what I’m thinking is that if I’m going through a me period and you’re going through a me period, let’s not make this complicated, right?

LOUISA

I totally agree.

S1

Where are you going?

S2

You’re leaving? But the chimichangas!

S3

Wait, I’m sorry I called you insane. Wait. Please?

S4

You’re just gonna go buy a dust buster? Now? That’s such obsolete technology.

S3

FINE! HAVE FUN WITH YOUR LIPTON!

LG INVESTIGATIONS

[BOILER background noise / rattles]

GEMMA — Lydia Anderson

He did not say that.

LOUISA

Hand to god. I get mansplained on a regular basis, but tea? It’s hot water and a bag of leaves. Should have walked out as soon as he started talking about it.

GLC

Have you thought about switching teams?

LOUISA

Seriously considering it.

[Photography noises. Rat noises. Monty cooing]

GLC

God. There’s rat shit everywhere. I probably shouldn’t have brought Monty in here. At this point I feel like my flesh and this baby Bjorn are about to converge, forming some nordic carrier/mommy super-hybrid.

LA

You should give yourself a break.

GLC

[Laughs]

Yeah.

LA

Seriously. When’s the last time the two of you went out and did something? Baby-free?

GLC

I think about that a lot. For a while I was looking for Chelmsworth with some naive thought about dragging him back because I just wanted this all to be over. I wanted to free her from it. But Charlotte doesn’t want to be free. And who am I to insist that she should?

I think about how irresponsible I was. Third Sight was a never-ending string of constant torment, but — we were having a baby, I let it all get to me. I got fired and we didn’t have health insurance. I mean, if not for Red Line? We’d be up to our eyebrows in debt.

So it worked out and I’m grateful it worked out, and as much as I love to talk about how hard this all is on Charlotte? Charlotte loves this. Or she loves enough of it. She must, right?

LA

Just go out for one night. Clear your heads. He seems relatively benign. I’ll watch him for you guys.

GLC

You’d do that?

LA

Of course.

GLC

Thanks. He likes to be worn, apparently. It calms him.

LA

I’ll remember that. Hmm. Look at this.

GLC

What is that?

LA

It’s a coupon. Looks like someone dropped it. Maybe you can take Charlotte here?

GLC

An Olive Garden food truck?

LA

Buy one never-ending pasta bowl, get one free.

GLC

If the pasta-bowl is never-ending, why would you need two?

[Knocking]

MICHAEL — James Oliva

You guys inside?

LA

Come on in.

[Door opening. “Trenchcoat” bass and drums begins playing].

GLC

Why — why —  why are you wearing a trench coat?

MT

Uhh – I — I don’t know. I thought it kinda fit the scene. Like in the movies, when cops meet their sources under mysterious circumstances? Hmm?

LA

I’m not a cop, I’m a forensic photographer.

GLC

And I’m the chair of the city enforcement oversight committee. And according to your little scenario, shouldn’t we be the ones in trench coats?

MT

Maybe, yeah, I guess so. Look I’ve had it for a while, it’s weather appropriate and just really wanted a reason to wear it, okay guys?

GLC

Whatever floats your boat, Deepthroat.

LA

Did you figure anything out about that PAC?

MT

I tried but I got nothing but the runaround. Whoever’s behind it has enough cash to obstruct the hell out of themselves. I do think whoever this new candidate is, they’ll make their announcement very soon.

LA

What makes you think that?

MT [hesitant]

Leon told me.

GLC

Oh, enough with this Leon shit.

MT

I’m telling you, that’s my process. You wanted to know how I was coming up with this stuff? I’m channeling Leon.

 

LA

Michael. Think back carefully to when you wrote the piece on the new face of Red Line. Did you get any kind of editorial feedback on that?

MT

Yeah. In fact, I never wrote the “familiar face of Red Line” bit, that line was all straight from the man upstairs.

LA

And who’s that?

GLC

He doesn’t know. Nobody knows.

MT

He just sends word down the pneumatic tubes.

LA

Seriously? How do you guys stand to work there?

GLC

I couldn’t!

LA

Would you consider digging around the office? There probably isn’t any connection but just in case.

MT

Yeah, of course. Did you guys turn up anything here?

GLC

Just an Olive Garden coupon.

LA

An Olive Garden food truck coupon.

MT

There’s an Olive Garden food truck?

GLC

In the North End of all places.

MT
Ugggh.

GLC
There oughtta be a law or some shit.

MT

Huh.

LA

What?

MT

Extinction Event. He’s been sneaking takeout into the office in an Olive Garden bag. Not for himself, though. He sends it up the tubes.

LA

You work with a guy named Extinction Event who sends Olive Garden up pneumatic tubes? Of course you do.

MT

What about the name you got from Charlotte?

GLC

Some woman named Mallory from Revere. We were heading to her address next. Wanna come?

MT

I think I might swing by that food truck, see if I notice anything off.

GLC

It’s an Olive Garden food truck. What isn’t off?

[Music cuts]

INTERVIEW MONTAGE — FAVORITE BOSTON HISTORY?

Chuck Octagon — Jeff Van dreason
What’s your favorite historical fact or story about Boston history?

Male Interview 2
Oh, you know, the Boston Tea Party and the whole Paul Revere…you know, uhh…situation. ANd uhh…

Female Interview 1

My in-laws were here and we went on the uhh…Boston Harbor Cruise. And we just learned about the North End and what did is it, maple syrup? Or uhh…

Chuck Octagon
Molasses?

Female Interview 1
Molasses, yeah, we just learned about that. That’s pretty…cool. Horrifying if that…if that’s how you died but, but that’s a pretty cool one.

Chuck Octagon
Yeah.

Female Interview 1
The great molasses flood of the North End of whatever year that was.

Chuck Octagon
Exactly. 19….18, I think?

Female Interview 2
My school used to be…used to be a place for artists to come paint and practice their work. And I thought that was really cool ‘cause when you start to look at my school you notice like this is not…this is like an art school.

Male Interview 2
And and also that but how we represent our history, how we uhh like to…keep it relevant? Like that we have, you know, the Mayflower — or, uhh, that’s that’s more in Plymouth isn’t it?

Chuck Octagon
Yeah.

Male Interview 2
Yeah but umm. But like. And then like the uhh…what’s the boat? Ummm.

Chuck Octagon
The Constitution?

Male Interview 2
The the …boat that they did the…the — or the harbor. The harbor for the tea party, yeah.

Male Interview 3
Yeah, just all the witch history in Salem. But I do think it’s funny when people ask me if I went there on a pilgrimage. I’m like, no I lived there.

Female Interview 3
I think the most interesting thing is how we kinda built up the swamp areas to create land? And how the Charles River used to be very tidal and more salt-water? And since we dammed it off, you know, it’s no longer tidal, we can decide how high we want the river and that is just really fascinating to me that we really shaped the actual physical land.

Male Interview 3
It’s just like, “oh did you go there on a pilgrimage?” No. I lived there. It’s terrible! (laughing)

Male Interview 4
Learning that there were people who were trying to fight umm…slavery? And one more thing is how they used to ask, how they used to test slaves to see whether they were from Boston or not is they asked them what was on top of umm city hall. What was the statue on top of city hall and there was like a grasshopper I believe? And if you didn’t know so they would assume you weren’t from Boston and arrest you and drag you back to the South.

Chuck Octagon
Is that Faneuil Hall? The Grasshopper?

Male Interview 4
Faneuil Hall. Yeah.

Chuck Octagon
Yeah, yeah.

Male Interview 3
Oh just the whole hysteria of it. And also too the fact that the entire, like all the legislation of Salem is like, “No, we don’t want that to be part of our history anymore, we want it to be maritime history,” and like, “no that wasn’t what happened in Salem.”

Male Interview 5
I guess it’s the fact that the American Revolution and the..the entirety of just that war itself is …legendary. Especially with the battle of Bunker Hill and the various other battles that happened. Just for the…you know, just for independence here.

Male Interview 2
And…I just take pride in it I think more than anything. I can’t really think of a favorite story or a favorite…thing personally, but I think just the history itself.

Male Interview 5
It all, yeah, it all came from Boston. And…I think that’s something…that’s something to be proud of for…for Bostonians, like, yeah. We started all this.

THE RIGHT MOVE

[Entering Office, bell]

EMILY BESPIN

Oooh. Cramped in here. Is this an office or have I wandered into a dead end?

ISABELLE POWELL

Can I help you — Ms.?

EB

Ah, Mrs. Emily Bespin. You’re Ms. Powell?

IP

At your service. What can I do for you?

EB

You’ll have to excuse me, I’m a bit taken aback. I saw your advertisement in the paper and it was quite eye catching. I particularly liked the tagline: “Powell Real Estate. Make the Right Move.”

IP

You’re too kind.

EB

Yes, well you may change your mind once I unleash my candor. You’ll forgive me Ms. Powell, but this …modest little office doesn’t scream “right move” to me. For a woman in real estate, I’d think you could afford a more comfortable establishment.

IP

I understand it’s not to everyone’s tastes. I don’t need much, don’t want much. Most of my work is done in the field. What I tell clients is — you’re hiring me so you don’t have to live in a place this small.

EB

Very well, if you feel you’re up for the task. I’d like to hire you. I need a new home. In Red Line.

IP

Red Line? Really.

EB

Here is our list of requirements. [Hands over paper file]. The workshop should be on a lower level. Ethan makes lots of noise when he’s working on all his cumbersome mechanical toys. Our budget is on the top and as you can see, it’s considerable. You’ll work out most of the details, yes? We were thinking of the Kendall Square station, if it’s available. It has great sentimental value to us.

[Rolling chair, typing on computer]

IP

And what size unit were you thinking about in Kendall?

EB

Don’t be silly. All of it, of course.

[Typing stops]

IP

The — the entire station? If you forgive the intrusion, how big is your family?

EB

Just myself and my Ethan-boo-boo-bear.

[Rolling chair]

IP

Mrs. Bespin, I don’t mean to tell you how to engage in your affairs, but the spirit of Red Line is more about sharing space than consuming space. I’ve placed several families in homes where they routinely open their doors to fellow commuters. Asking for ownership of an entire station, even if that station were available, would effectively displace a whole population of residents and commuters. I know space is important to you but if that’s the case, maybe Red Line isn’t your best option.

EB

Space is a commodity, Ms. Powell. I know that may be hard for someone like yourself to understand, what with your breadbox of an office. But space goes beyond status, beyond property. Space needs you to fill it with whatever you desire. It’s the ultimate opportunity. The masterpiece aching for paint. You should try space some time. I feel that space would do you a world of good.

But perhaps you’re correct. Perhaps it’s wise to listen to your expertise, reduce expectations. I don’t want my neighbors to resent me, after all. Far from it. How about a Big Red?

[Rolling chair, typing again]

IP

Hm, those are mostly sold out. Might be difficult to find an available car on the market.

EB

I don’t mean an available car. I’m talking about the entire Big Red train.

[Stops typing]

IP

Mrs. Bespin. Are you sure you want to live on Red Line?

EB

100%.

IP

Very well. Let me see what’s available. [Typing]. While I’m looking this up, do you mind if I ask you what appeals to you about living in this new community?

EB

You think you know me, Ms. Powell. You think you have me all figured out simply because I choose not to live like you, because I yearn for more.

IP

Now hold your horses, I didn’t imply any —

EB

Yes you did. Your questioning tone and attitude imply plenty. More than imply. And all your pesky, condescending questions reveal a mass of misconstrued assumptions about me, about what I want. That’s the sign of very limited thinking. People love to pretend they have all the answers. It’s very easy to know it all when you’ve only had to worry about the four or five feet surrounding you, ignoring the rest of the great, big, wide world out there.

IP [Rolling chair back]

Mmm, and what a great, big, wide world it is. I so wish I could help you, but there are only a handful of Big Red units available right now and they’re all limited to one car only.

EB

You’ve seen my budget. Would I be able to afford to buy out adjoining Big Red units to give myself more space?

IP

You could in theory, if those residents were willing to sell.

EB

What if you were willing to arrange that for me? Pay them whatever it takes to give me the space I require? If you do an adequate job, you can keep the remainder of our budget for yourself. As a bonus.

IP

A bonus.

EB

It could certainly give a big boost to your mayoral campaign.

IP

You’ve heard about that.

EB

Of course I have. I would think this through carefully, Ms. Powell. Follow the advice you promote with your own company. Make the right move.

IP

I have to confess the money would be helpful. But money isn’t everything, Mrs. Bespin. If I bust in there and try to throw my weight arou — sorry, throw your weight around — push people out their homes in exchange for a few dollars? I’m not a leader. I’m not mayoral material. I’m under someone’s employ. And that kind of thing is fairly transparent to Red Line voters. No matter how big a space you accumulate for the sake of obscurity.

EB

So. It seems like you can’t help me.

IP

It seems that’s so, yes.

EB

Then I’m off to find someone who can. Someone who knows how to run a business. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon, Ms. Powell. We’re going to be neighbors after all.

[Door opens, bell].

IP

Mhmm. Welcome to Red Line, Mrs. Bespin. And good luck to you, you’ll need plenty. If only luck were available for purchase.

[Door shuts].

VOICEMAIL FROM LEON’S LANDLORD

[Phone ringing. Beep.]

This is a message for Michael Tate. My name is Uriah Connolly, and I own the property at 17 Orchard St. in Cambridge. You used to squat in this unit illegally until I evicted you under what I consider to be generous circumstances. I hope this message finds you well and in a new residence that you are occupying legally with the lease in your name and not that of a deceased former friend.

Speaking of Leon, my current tenants have accumulated some of his mail, including several letters from his brother that have arrived in all manner of interesting apparatuses. I have tried to contact Leon’s other family members to no avail. Therefore, I’m down to you.

If you’re still in the area, I’d appreciate if you could stop by and pick up his mail and a few other scattered personal items left behind in a unit, including something that appears to be a toy puzzle box.

Further, if you would contact anyone who still believes Leon to be alive and inform them that future correspondence should be more, uhh, metaphorical in nature: visits to his resting place, prayers, other forms of spiritual chants, I would very much appreciate it and so would my tenants.

Thank you and God Bless.

[Tea coming to a boil. Boxcat Games music plays again, Red line / cafe noise].

PHILIP — Michael Melia

So what happened when you went to her house in Revere?

LOUISA — Lydia Anderson

Nothing. She wasn’t home.

PHILIP

She was intimidated by the popos, more like it. You guys shoulda brought a warrant.

LA

Shut-up. We’re not cops. And even if we were, you wouldn’t want to call us popos, nobody says that anymore.

PHILIP

5-0? The Fuzz? The Man? Pigs? Constable Blue Meanies?

LA

All of those are super bad, but you especially shouldn’t use “pigs” for an occupation you just accused me of holding.

PHILIP

Shit. I did that, didn’t I? Man, I’m really bad at this.

LA

Trust me, you’re the first normal date I’ve had in forever. It’s…it’s a funny coincidence that we’re even here. Very deja vu. The last godawful date I had was at at Tea Time on the Red Line? It ended very abruptly after the guy called me insane for drinking Lipton.

PHILIP

Well, that’s bizarre. I’m surprised you picked it for another date.

LA

What do you mean? You picked the location.

PHILIP

No I didn’t.

LA

Yeah, you did. You sent this very old fashioned invitation. Charming by the way. Online dating can be —

PHILIP

You mean this invitation?

LA

Wha — wait, I didn’t send you that.

[Man approaches].

COLONIAL SINGING TELEGRAM — Mike Linden

Louisa Alvarez?

LA

Yes? Wait — are you — do I know you?

PHILIP

What’s with the balloons, man? And the colonial garb?

COLONIAL

December 16th, 1773

Patriots gather with boxes of tea

Tossed overboard to challenge the Brits

Can’t tax us into silence without a fit.

LA

Oh god, not again.

PHILIP

Again?

COLONIAL

So we hope you’re enjoying your tea

Do not forget our important history

Representation is needed or else you will see

The bitter revenge of the Lottery.

[Dozens of balloons popping throughout Red Line car & train, tea spraying like confetti. People shouti].

[Red Line rain screeching brakes, stopping short]

LA

Ahh! I can’t see, it it it got in my eyes.

PHIL

Here, take this.

COLONIAL

Oh. Oh god, I — I’m sorry, they just said to deliver these to you I had no idea — I didn’t know the balloons would explode. Is that, is that gunpowder?

PHIL

It’s tea you idiot.

LA

Look, it’s in the next car over too, everyone is on the floor.

RUSTY [over intercom] — Jim Johanson

Hey there folks. Sorry for the full stop. The window is covered with tea leaves, can’t see a thing. Had this delivery at work, all these balloons? Thought it was a bit odd. Said it was for my birthday. Figured some considerate kind person was thinking of me early.

Anyway, it seems like I was right to be suspicious because these balloons? They exploded and now I’ve got dried tea bits all in the controls and covering the window. Can’t see the signals, can’t see a damn thing. Might be a bit before we proceed to the next stop. So apologies about that. Sit tight, check your phones and if you’re on the way to work, make sure to submit your travel expenses to the lead car for compensation.

[Intercom hangs up. Snow Ban begins to play].

LA

You need to tell me everything you know about who hired you. Everything.

COLONIAL

I — I had — I had no idea this would happen, I’m sorry.

LA

Start talking. And so help me god if you do it in the form of a song I will reach down your throat and crush your voice box in my fist.

CREDITS

Alexander Danner

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

An enormous thank you to the Alexandria Archives, a podcast of Southern weird horror, for their generous support of Greater Boston. You can find them at alexandriaarchives.com.

And thank you to all of our Patreon supporters. You really help keep Greater Boston going.

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

Summer Unsinn as Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge
Tanja Milojevic as Melissa Weatherby
Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon
Julia Propp as Louisa Alvarez
Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge
James Oliva as Michael Tate
Sam Musher as Emily Bespin
Jessica Washington as Isabelle Powell
Michael Melia as Phil.
Mike Linden as the Colonial Singing Telegram.
And Jim Johanson as Rusty the MBTA Driver

Also featuring Tanja Milojevic and Alexander Danner as reporters, Marck Harmon as a reporter and a Louisa suitor, and Ben Flaumenhaft as a reporter, Louisa Suitor and Uriah Connolly. With special guests Michael McQuilkin and Rick Coste as Louisa suitors.

Be sure to check out Michael’s wild, inter-dimensional comedy Hadron Gospel Hour and Rick’s latest mini-series Charlie’s Mailbox.

Interviews recorded with Greater Boston residents.

Charlie on the MTA is performed by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede. Love of My Life by BoxCat Games, Trenchcoat by Jim Johanson and Jeff Van Dreason, Solo drum tracks by Jim Johanson. Snow Ban 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.

COOKIE

Mike Linden
Iuhh–I guess we can do the song in another take.

Alexander Danner
Sure.

Mike Linden
We’ll see if I can try it in a different musical styler. (coughs).

[Singing Dylan parody]
December 16th, 1773,
Patriots gather with boxes…of tea.
Tossed overboard to challenge the Brits…

I can’t do it. I can’t finish that.

[Laughter]

Alexander Danner
Like a rollin’ stone.

[Laughter]

Content Warnings:

  • Strong language
  • Sudden non-violent explosions
  • Comic mayhem
  • Self-shaming body image
  • Class entitlement
  • Ayn Rand
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