Transcript for Episode 18: Breaking Kayfabe

COLD OPEN

INTERVIEW 1

I think…I can’t think of what exact name I would pick, but definitely a name other than “Matt” because everywhere I go, it’s like “Oh, here’s Matt and Matt and Matt and Matt and Matt.” It’s like, alright, let’s all start going by last names, because there’s WAY too many Matts.

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason

Your last names pretty cool sounding too.

INTERVIEW 1

Yeah…yeah it is.

INTERVIEW 2

It has a kind of a gothic feel to it.

INTERVIEW 1

Yeah, it’s especially great working in a haunted house, where everyone got excited. They were like “we have a person with that last name working here! This is AMAZING!” It’s like…okayy.

INTERVIEW 3

You could spell Matt with three Ts instead of two.

MULTIPLE

Matt..t..t..t..t

[Charlie on the MTA begins playing]

CHUCK

You could change the last letter to “math,” err, “h” and you could be Math.

INTERVIEW 1

Yeah…eeeehh.

CHUCK

Ha ha, not a popular one? Okay.

INTERVIEW 1

[Big sigh]

INTERVIEW 3

Then no one would like you ever again.

CHUCK
Then you could become the least popular person in the Greater Boston area.

INTERVIEW 3

Then you’d be really scary.

INTERVIEW 1

Then my girlfriend would understand me even less.

INTERVIEW 2

Ohh, no.

CHUCK

Wah wah.

PREVIOUSLY IN

JOHANNA BODNYK
Previously in Greater Boston:

EXTINCTION EVENT POLETTI—James Capobianco
The biggest cutback we’ve had to make is our monthly squeezy stress ball allotment.

MICHAEL TATE—James Oliva

On a bad day, I can reduce one of those balls to a crumbling mess by lunchtime.

RUSTY THE MBTA DRIVER—Jim Johanson

These balloons, they exploded, and now I’ve got dried tea bits all in the controls, covering the window

LOUSA ALVAREZ

Ah! I can’t see! It…it…it…got in my eyes!

MALLORY—Johanna Bodnyk

Hey, your friend’s in line. The dippity douche who controls the sandwiches?

NICA STAMATIS—Kelly McCabe

He’s not my friend.

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

THIS WEEK

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner

This week in Greater Boston, Episode 18: Breaking Kayfabe

DEAR EDITOR

MULTIPLE

Dear editor…dear editor…dear editor

MAYFLOWER JOHNSON—Lauren Shippen

Dear Editor,

I have been very impressed with your coverage of forthcoming events in the fledgeling city of Red Line in recent issues. I admit, when you first predicted that Red Line would be subjected to a dangerous prank that would evoke tragic events from Boston’s past, I was skeptical. But after the molasses bomb was detonated, I could no longer deny the perspicacity of your prognosticators.

As one of the original Fixie City claimstakers in Red Line, it is a great comfort to me to know that at least one publication is reporting on the state of our community not just as events happen, but before they happen. I am now eagerly awaiting your revelation of the “promising new candidate” you have predicted will soon enter the mayoral contest.

Mayflower Johnson,

Red Line, MA

MULTIPLE

Dear editor…dear editor…dear editor

DIXON C. HAMMERSMITH—Austin Beach

Dear Editor,

Please: Do your damn job.

I have been deeply disappointed in recent issues of Political Prognostication, due to your ever-expanding focus on events local to Boston, particularly the founding of this functionally incomprehensible “Red Line” community. You consistently try to position this absurd occurrence as some sort of grand metaphor for the future of the nation, as though we can interpret broad national events through the lens of railway mismanagement, sensationalistic real estate repurposement, comical governance by an unemployed children’s cartoonist…

Actually, never mind. Now that I consider the absurdities of the recent presidential election, I see exactly what you’re getting at. Carry on.

Dixon C. Hammersmith

Hampden Sydney, VA

MULTIPLE

Dear editor…dear editor…dear editor

SAMUEL ST. EBERHAUSER—Mike Linden

Dear Editor,

In your latest issue of Political Prognostication, you discussed recent speeches by Red Line mayoral candidate Isabelle Powell, including her oft-repeated line referring to Red Line as an “underground railroad” quote unquote. And yet, you did not call out the blatant inaccuracy of this description. I do not live in Massachusetts, and yet even I know that the Red Line runs only partially underground. Even if we ignore the elevated portion of track spanning the Charles River—which I am NOT inclined to do—there is still the major portion of the Southern leg of Red Line, which runs almost entirely above ground. Surely, you must have some fact checkers on staff competent enough to identify this basic geographic fact.

Furthermore, if it is true, as Ms. Powell claims, that she herself resides in Red Line, then it is beyond comprehension that she herself has not noticed the sight of open sky through her windows at any time since taking up residency. One must conclude that she is either lying, catastrophically unobservant, or prone to the vice of metaphor, which is, of course, redundant of lying.

[Green Valley Waltz fades in.]

I hope that in future analysis, you will endeavor to determine which of these possibilities is the true case.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Samuel St. Eberhauser

Nashua, NH

BREAKING KAYFABE

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner

Once again, Michael found himself struggling to write an article about Red Line. This time, he was trying to make sense of how the Lottery, that strange series of pranks that had been sowing chaos in the city, would impact the mayoral race. It was a perfectly reasonable topic for his magazine to address—Political Prognostication discussed exactly these sorts of issues. When Michael first accepted the position at ThirdSight, he’d really seen the magazines as entertainment rags, not news media. If he didn’t believe in the efficacy of his predictive games, so what? It was all harmless, an obvious put-on, like pro wrestling. Everyone knew it was fake, but it didn’t matter so long as everyone had fun, and no one broke the illusion.

LEON STAMTIS—Braden Lamb

But that was before Louisa had been injured in one of the attacks he was supposed to be reporting on.

NARRATOR

But Louisa was fine. Should he really be worrying about an injury that hadn’t even happened?

LEON

It did happen. She’s wearing an eye patch. Yes, she’ll recover in a couple of days, but if instead of that absurd rain of tea leaves that had poured down on everyone in that train car, the perpetrators had chosen to spray actual hot tea—everyone could have been seriously scalded.

NARRATOR

It was useless to worry about such could-have-beens. Wasn’t it?

LEON

But where are these lunatics going with their antics? What’s their next move? What’s their endgame?

MICHAEL TATE—James Oliva

What if someone gets hurt?

[Pneumatic thunk]

NARRATOR

And now he’s got another message from the publisher. He wasn’t even sure when the pneumatic tube had been added to his office. It wasn’t there a month ago, and now it was. He’d never even seen a construction crew. But the boss had been giving Michael more and more specific instructions, leads, unnamed sources. It eventually made sense to start sending messages to Michael directly, instead of routing everything through Extinction Event.

[Music cuts out]

[Oliver theme plays]

OLIVER WEST—Mike Linden

Michael, I understand that you are concerned about the potential for injuries in future Lottery events. Our contact with the spirit of Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln has revealed to us that you are correct to worry. Please warn readers of this fact in your next article, but also, you may inform them that hanging an unused railroad spike horizontally above any emergency exit window in commuter homes will help to protect family members against such resulting ill fortune.

[Oliver theme stops]

[Green Valley Waltz resumes.]

NARRATOR

So here he is, publishing articles about using luck charms and the power of positive thinking to avoid serious injury! It *wasn’t* a game to his readers. It was serious business. They cared about who he covered and how he covered it, and used his absurd recommendations to make real life decisions. Real political decisions!

Christ, he’d received a phone call from an actual sitting senator who had read one of his articles and called him up to ask for additional details! He was crafting a bit of legislation about infrastructure management, and after reading an article on contextual para-linguistic feng shui, he’d wanted Michael’s input on whether his bill’s language was optimally structured to channel proper chi for legislative passage.

MICHAEL

None of that even makes sense! And that’s not even how actual feng shui is supposed to work.

NARRATOR

But people ate it up. They loved it. They arranged significant portions of their lives around it. So long as Michael kept up the pretense that it was all real, every one of his readers was eager to go along with the ruse. No matter what it cost them.

MICHAEL

How am I supposed to feel good about doing something so…so predatory?

NARRATOR

And yet: this was where Leon had wanted him. Leon had made this happen.

[Music ends.]

How could he second-guess Leon’s intentions?

LEON

It was never supposed to be forever. Michael, please: don’t do this forever.

INTERVIEW MONTAGE

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason

If you could pick any other name to have, what name would you choose, and why?

INTERVIEW 4

Leonardo. Or Raphael. The reason I chose Leonardo is because of Ninja Turtles. And…the same thing as Raphael. And also it’s because my grandfather—he passed away. So, I would have his name.

INTERVIEW 5

But the reason I always liked George as opposed to my actual name is because my grandfather…both of my grandfathers were Georges. And they were, ah…very influential people in my life.

INTERVIEW 6

I think Brianna. I think I look like a Brianna. I think like Brianna’s such a sassy name. And I’m such a sassy person and dramatic.

INTERVIEW 7

Daquan. ‘Cause it’s thug.

INTERVIEW 8

Olivia. I feel like I’m more kind of an “O” because I like to always say “Oh my gosh,” or “Oh” something.

[Drums fade in.]

INTERVIEW 9

John Michael. Or Michael. I don’t know, it’s just a…heh. It’s just a name that I use when I’m…you know, I’m messing with people. And they ask me what’s my name, and I want to be a clown, I usually say Michael. It sounds cool. “John Michael.” “What’s your name?” “John Michael.”

INTERVIEW 10

I would go with something that would throw people off. Denzel. I would go with Denzel, because it would throw people off, but Denzel Washington is like wicked attractive. So I would name myself Denzel, it’s like a powerful name.

INTERVIEW 11

I do not know what other name I would have. I haven’t thought of that. I just am who I am and I beg to differ, so…

CHUCK

You just want to be you.

INTERVIEW 11

Yup.

Suggestions of New Names for Extinction Event Poletti, as Submitted by Employees of ThirdSight Media

ROGER—Rick Coste

Dipshit Poletti

EXTINCTION EVENT POLETTI—James Capobianco

Dipshit Poletti?

JONAS—Jim Johanson

Tofurkey Poletti

EE

Tofurkey Poletti?

WANDA—Tanja Milojevic

Tofuckery Poletti

EE

Tofuckery Poletti??

MICHAEL TATE—James Oliva

Maybe just be Pandabear again.

TRYELL FREDERICKSON—Arun Sannuti

False Friend Poletti

JONAS

Embarrassment to Vegans Poletti

MICHAEL
Pandabear…fuzzybottom. Pandabear…Pandabear Fuzzybottom. Maybe.

JONAS

Bring Back Gemma.

EE

Bring back Gemma?!

JONAS

She was kind of an asshole, but at least she was a normal asshole instead of a Poletti asshole. Poletti.

WANDA

Dipshit Poletti

JONAS

Dumbshit Poletti

ROGER

Dumbass Poletti

EE

Dumbass Poletti?

ROGER

Jackass Poletti

EE

Jackass Poletti

JONAS

Asswipe Poletti

EE
Asswipe Poletti

WANDA

Ass Poletti

EE

Ass Poletti

MICHAEL
You should do Pandabear again, that I’m certain of.

WANDA

Eat a fucking hamburger and choke on it, Poletti.

EE

Eat a fucking hamburger and choke on it, Poletti?!?

TYRELL

You used to be a better person, Poletti.

[Office Ambiance fades in.]

[Drumming ends.]

EE

You used to be a better person…

MICHAEL
Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t go with like a…like a…like apocalyptic Pandabear. That’s what you shouldn’t do.

EE

And once again

JONAS

Dipshit Poletti

IF THE NAME FITS

[Red Apple Rag plays]

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner

They couldn’t be serious. Could his subordinates really think so little of him? These were not at all the sorts of suggestions he had anticipated when he took Mary Wollstonecraft’s advice to seek public input on his new name.

LEON STAMATIS—Braden Lamb

I hope that we all understand that Mary Wollstonecraft had nothing to do with any of this.

NARRATOR

Mary Wollstonecraft was his friend and synergistic spirit. She had certainly not intended to hold Extinction Event up for public ridicule. He’d assumed the first round were just jokes—that his co-workers were having a laugh, and would put in their real recommendations if he just left the box up long enough. So he played along, commended them on their senses of humor, encouraged them to move on to their real suggestions. But if anything, the names had only grown stranger and more horrible.

EXTINCTION EVENT POLETTI—James Capobianco

Tofuckery Poletti?” Really? What is that even supposed to mean?

NARRATOR

Was it a swipe against his veganism? A battle cry in celebration of animal slaughter?

LEON

You’re clearly overthinking it.

NARRATOR

Or was it just some sort of unintelligible personal swipe against him as an individual.

LEON

That one.

EE

I obviously can’t name myself any of these. But I have to pick something. I have to follow Mary Wollstonecraft’s instructions, or I’ll lose her favor.

[Pneumatic tube noise]

LEON

Sounds like someone else has some instructions for you.

EE

Oh, what ridiculous errand is he sending me on now?

[Music cuts out]

[Oliver’s theme plays]

OLIVER WEST—Mike Linden

My dear Mr. Poletti. Please do me the favor of running out to the Olive Garden Food Truck. I would like another of their excellent tuna sub sandwiches. With extra celery, please, though of course, that should go without saying. And while you’re there, please do me the kindness of delivering the enclosed envelope to Nica. Be discrete with this delivery, of course. She will be expecting it.

[Oliver’s theme stops]

[Red Apple Rag resumes.]

EE

Again with the Olive Garden! Why must I run laps to that den of death, that mobile mausoleum of meat! And I’m treated as a courier, no less, to this dour blood merchant, this Nica woman, who has nothing whatsoever to do with the company that I rightly ought to be devoting my time to running!

MICHAEL TATE—James Oliva

Nica’s working at the Olive Garden?

[Music ends.]

EE

OH. Uh. Michael. You’re in my office.

Michael

I was just walking past. Which Olive Garden? Not the food truck one you keep bringing those tuna sandwiches back from?

EE

No?

LEON

Yes.

MICHAEL

Oh, man, I’ve been looking all over for her, I couldn’t find her anywhere! I had no idea you even still knew her.

EE

I don’t. Nica Stamatis? Never met her. No idea who she is. What was that name again?

MICHAEL

Hah, like you’d forget that I’m the one who first introduced you. Thank you so much! Did you say you need a package delivered to her? I can run that over right now. I need to bring her some mail from her brother.

EE

What, this? No, this is, for…my…friend.

LEON

It’s for Nica. Go find Nica.

MICHAEL

You got it, I’ll bring it right over. Thank you so much. You don’t even know what a favor you’ve done me, I’ve been so worried about her!

EE

Uh…you’re…welcome?

MICHAEL

Okay, I’ll be back later.

NARRATOR

And so that bit of discretion went out the window. Perhaps Extinction Event really was a dipshit.

[Pneumatic tube noise]

EE

Oh. I guess he was listening to that.

[Music cuts to Oliver’s theme.]

OLIVER

My Dear Mr. Poletti. As it turns out, you really are a dipshit.

[Cut back to music.]

NARRATOR

Indeed he was.

LEON

I’m not ordinarily fond of rude name calling, but in this instance, I think I’m going to have to join the consensus.

NARRATOR

And if the name fit…so be it.

[Music fades out.]

[Pneumatic tube noise]

[Oliver’s theme.]

OLIVER

My Dear Mr. Poletti. You’re going to need to keep Michael busy. More articles. More side projects. Perhaps we can arrange for some additional letter writers, to give him a heavier mailbag to manage. I don’t want him interfering with activities managed out of the Olive Garden.

In the meantime, as it seems you’ve cleared your schedule for the afternoon, I have another task for you. Another loose thread that needs a bit of tugging. Are you familiar with the newsman, Chuck Octagon? Because you and he are going to have a little chat.

[Oliver’s theme ends.]

MICHAEL’S CALANDER

[Om Chant begins.]

LEON (Dates/Times) & MICHAEL (Content items)

February 27th 8:50 — 9:25 AM

[Shove that Pig’s Foot a Little Farther in the Fire begins]

Arrive at ThirdSight Media. Brew coffee in break room. Recite numbers. Resist the bar. Don’t drink. Squeeze stress ball. Bring coffee back to desk. Catch up on e-mail.

[Om chant and Pig’s Foot both continue playing, with volume balance shifting, toward Om for positive items, toward Pig’s Foot for stressful items.]

February 27th 9:25 — 9:30 AM

Potty break.

February 27th, 9:30 to 11:00 AM

Compose article on Red Line Molasses and Tea Party attacks. Call Louisa for eyewitness testimony. Conduct background research on Molasses Flood of 1919 and Tea Party incident of 1773. Consult Leon via I-Ching. Try to interpret vague mystical predictions in a way that is sensitive to victims of attack. Recite numbers. Squeeze stress ball.

February 27th, 11:00 to 11:30 AM

Update calendar. Think through activities for the coming week. Channel Leon. Be thorough. Don’t drink.

February 27th, 12:00 to 1:00 PM

Lunch. Deliver Dimitri’s letters (and Extinction Event’s) to Nica at the Olive Garden. Procure large tuna salad sub with extra celery for publisher.

February 27th, 1:30 — 4:30 PM

Compose article on Red Line mayoral contest: Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge, Isabelle Powell, recently announced third candidate, Emily Bespin. Who is Emily Bespin? Do research toward individual profile of Bespin.

Update: February 27th, 2:30 — 3:00 PM (conflict noted)

Unscheduled meeting with Extinction Event to discuss addition of new duties.

Update: February 27th, 3:00 — 3:30 PM (conflict noted)

Clean break room. Wonder why this has suddenly become my responsibility. Brood over unexpected degradation. Recite numbers. Don’t drink.

Update: February 27th, 3:30 — 4:30 PM

Continue article on Red Line mayoral contest: Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge, Isabelle Powell, Emily Bespin. Develop details provided by Extinction Event. Press EE for information on his sources. How does he know what he knows? Squeeze stress ball. Ruminate.

February 27th, 4:30 — 6:00 PM

[Pig’s foot fades out.]

Respond to Olive in Gardner. Be sensitive. Respond to letters to the editor for Political Prognostication. Attempt to form rational responses to incoherent and petty concerns. Exercise patience. Squeeze stress ball.

[Om chant cuts.]

Don’t drink.

EXTRA CELERY

[Food sizzling]

[Market chatter]

MALLORY—Johanna Bodnyk

Steve! Order up for Steve!

STEVE—Jim Johanson

Uhh…

MALLORY

No, not you, the other Steve. The meathead. Order up for Meathead Steve!

MEATHEAD STEVE—Also Jim Johanson

Thanks?

MALLORY

Next up. What can I get you?

MICHAEL TATE—James Oliva

Uh, hey. Can I get a large tuna sub?

MALLORY

We don’t do tuna. Menu’s right there next to you—we’ve got four breadstick sandwiches: meatball, sausage, fried lasagna, or double-bread bread in a breadstick.

MICHAEL

Yeah, uh okay. But my boss gets tuna subs here all the time.

MALLORY

And you gotta eat what your boss eats?

MICHAEL

No, I’m just picking it up for him. Large tuna sub. Extra celery.

MALLORY

Extra celery.

MICHAEL

Hey, don’t ask me, it’s his lunch.

MALLORY

You work for the dippity-douche.

MICHAEL

That sounds…accurate?

MALLORY

Nica, you’ve got a visitor! What are you creepos even doing?

MICHAEL

What do you mean?

MALLORY

With all your secret agent, “the willow lark fucks a scone by moonlight” creepo bullshit?

MICHAEL

I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m just running an errand for my boss.

MALLORY

Huh. You are, aren’t you? Stay here, I’ll grab your sandwich.

NICA—Kelly McCabe

Michael?!

MICHAEL

Nica! You *are* here!

NICA

How did you find me?

MICHAEL

Extinction Event. I heard him mention you. To himself. He was talking to himself, alone in his office, as he mentioned that you were working here. It was a little weird.

NICA

I bet.

MICHAEL

Anyway, he had something he needed to deliver to you, but I volunteered to carry it over, since I wanted to come see you anyway. Here you go.

NICA

Thanks.

MICHAEL

Hey, no problem.

NICA

Do me a favor, though?

MICHAEL

Sure, anything.

NICA

Don’t do that again.

MICHAEL

What?

NICA

Don’t bring me any more messages from Extinction Event. Let him bring them himself. In fact, don’t run any weird errands for him. Just…just do your normal job, okay? Don’t get any more involved with them than that.

MICHAEL

Oh. Um. Okay. Sure. Is there…is there anything you’d like to talk about?

NICA

Nope.

MICHAEL

Okay, then. So, uh…I’ve got some mail for you. Regular mail. Uriah Connelly got ahold of me, trying to find you. He had some letters stacking up. From Dimitri. He’s still sending letters to Leon. So I’ve been looking for you. To get you the letters.

NICA

Oh.

MICHAEL

I haven’t read them, this time.

NICA

Go ahead.

MICHAEL

Go ahead…and read them, you mean?

NICA

Someone should.

MICHAEL

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. But I figured you’d…

NICA

I don’t want them.

MICHAEL

Are you sure?

NICA

I’m done reading about his bullshit adventures. If he wants to talk to me, he can come home. He doesn’t even know Leon’s dead, Michael. I can’t read letters to my dead brother. And Dimitri still running around playing his games without a care in the world, while I have to deal with reality all on my own. I can’t. I just can’t. When he comes home, I’ll deal with him.

MICHAEL

How’s he going to find you if you’re in hiding?

NICA

He’ll figure it out. Or he won’t. Depends how much he cares, I guess.

MICHAEL

Are you okay, Nica?

NICA

I’m fine.

MICHAEL

Look…maybe we could get together. Just…go get some coffee or something and talk for a while.

NICA

Thank you. But no. Look, I know it sounds horrible, but…I just really don’t want friends right now. And you’ll be better off if you don’t try to be one. Not to me, anyway. You have other friends, don’t you?

MICHAEL

Yeah. I mean…one, anyway. You remember Louisa?

NICA

Alvarez? Leon’s ex?

MICHAEL

Yeah. We’ve been doing some work together. And it’s been fun. She’s been someone to talk to, in a real way.

NICA

I liked her. Are you two…?

MICHAEL

No, no nothing like that. Strictly…just friends. I’m not in a headspace to think about anything else with anyone right now. But it’s been really good to have a friend again. And working with her has been fun. Mostly. She’s been investigating those attacks in Red Line, which felt all private eye cool at first, but she got hurt in that last one…

NICA

What?!

MICHAEL

The Tea Party attack. She was there.

NICA

And she was injured?

MICHAEL

Well, the eye patch comes off on Thursday…

NICA

She lost an eye???

MICHAEL

No! No, nothing so extreme. Just an irritation. Some tea leaves got in her eye, and got stuck. Her eye was sensitive after that, so she’s been wearing a patch for a few days, while it heals. But it’s nothing serious.

NICA

Oh. Oh, thank god.

MICHAEL

Yeah, no. She’s good. No worries.

MALLORY

Hey, choir boy, here’s your sandwich. Extra celery.

MICHAEL

Thanks.

MALLORY

Who the fuck even likes celery that much?

NICA

Mallory, not now, okay?

MALLORY

Yeah, yeah, you’re the boss, boss-lady.

NICA

Okay. Look…I should get back to work.

MICHAEL

Yeah, of course.

NICA

But don’t come back, okay?

MICHAEL

Did I…

NICA

No, it’s nothing you did. Totally the opposite. I really think you’re a good person, Michael. But that’s exactly why I’d rather not have you in my life right now. Okay? Promise me.

MICHAEL

Yeah. I don’t think I can make a promise like that. I feel like…I think Leon would be pissed at me if I did. But I’ll leave you alone for now.

NICA

Thank you. And tell Louisa…

MICHAEL

Yeah?

NICA

Just tell her that I’m glad she’s okay.

[Frier noise fades out]

WOULD CHUCK WOOD

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason

This is Chuck Octagon reporting live for News 7 Boston, from the North End, where cleanup crews have finally been dispatched to clean up the last remnants of the hundred-year-old disaster that left a sticky residue across the local terrain and architecture. The year was 1919, when unexpected fermentation caused a tank rupture that sent more than two million gallons of molasses gushing down local streets, killing 21 people, and injuring more than 500.

The remnants of that disaster have remained to the present day, as a memorial to those lost lives, and as a permanent testament the hubris of uncooled molasses storage. But today that reminder comes to an end, as Boston has finally committed to a full cleanup in the wake of the recent Red Line attack that left dozens of people frightened and slightly tacky. As the most readily available supply of molasses, many fear that the molasses used in the attack may have been simply gathered from the streets of the North End, leading to public outcry in favor of greater control of the tasty substance. But at what cost?

Sir, what do you think about the city’s decision to remove the North End’s historic molasses coating?

HOMELESS BEN—Ben Flaumenhaft

Well, I don’t think they’re considering homeless people at all. This is the one part of the city that smells nice. Once the molasses is gone, where will we be able to spend some time smelling nice things? Where we supposed to bring a girl out for a romantic evening?

CHUCK

Are you saying that this is where homeless people come to have sex?

HOMELESS BEN

What? Hell no! That’d be like rolling around on fly paper!

CHUCK

But you said…

HOMELESS BEN

I said “romance,” not sex. It’s a nice place to do a little wooing, like with a good ambiance. That don’t mean we gotta seal the deal right there. When you take someone out to a nice restaurant, do you try to bed them down right there on the table?

CHUCK

No, of course…

HOMELESS

No, that’s where you go to set the mood, and make sure you really like each other enough to want to get squishy. Then you take them back to your pad for the extraparticulars. Well, it ain’t no different for us. Think a little, man. Christ.

WANDA—Tanja Milojevic

Oh, I’m glad. Not that I think it will prevent any future molasses attacks, but it’ll certainly make walking around North End much easier. It’s nice cardio, but sometimes I just don’t have time and the extra effort it takes to walk around here.

MARLO—Mike Linden

Well I think it’s a damn shame, that’s what I think. People don’t like having sticky streets, they can’t walk through a little molasses, like that’s too much work? Maybe they shouldn’t be walking around so much. My Ford Taurus, it rolls right over the molasses, no problem. Maybe more people should get themselves a good truck, then they wouldn’t have these problems.

And I’ll tell you another thing, if molasses is outlawed, then only outlaws will have molasses. And then what’ll we do for cookies or brown bread or baked beans? Tell me that. Mm. I just don’t think they’ve thought this through at all.

CHUCK

I don’t think anyone’s talking about outlawing molasses. They’re just washing the streets.

MARLO

Oh. Well that’s not as bad, I guess. But I’ll tell you, I still just don’t like it. It smacks of change, and change is never good. Never ever never. No sir.

CHUCK

And that’s the word from the street. Back to you Rod.

Okay, everyone, that’s a wrap!

DIPSHIT POLETTI—James Capobianco

Excuse me, Mr. Octagon. We need to have a private conversation.

CHUCK

Who are you?

DIPSHIT

Dipshit.

CHUCK

Excuse me?

DIPSHIT

Dipshit Poletti.

CHUCK

I…your *name* is Dipshit?

DIPSHIT

It’s…it’s new. Look, never mind about my name. It doesn’t matter.

CHUCK

Do I know you?

DIPSHIT

We’ve met, but that’s not relevant. My employer sent me to talk to you. About a private matter. Your wedding, specifically. And where you’re going to hold it.

CHUCK

I don’t see what business that is of yours.

DIPSHIT

I agree, actually. But my employer sent me to talk to you, and I have to do what I’m told.

CHUCK

Look, we’re not taking sponsors. It’s a private event, and we’d like to keep it that way.

DIPSHIT

That’s unfortunate, because my employer has sent me to make sure you agree to have it broadcast live from Red Line.

CHUCK

Linzer-Coolidge sent you, is that it?

DIPSHIT

It doesn’t matter who sent me. I just need you to agree to my employer’s conditions.

CHUCK

Do you really care that much about my wedding?

DIPSHIT

Me personally? No. Frankly, I don’t even believe in marriage. It’s an outmoded bourgeois propertarian ritual that celebrates the oppression of love.

CHUCK

Uhhh…

DIPSHIT

That’s why I live in a cruelty-free mixed-gender free love commune with my seventeen domestic partners. It’s an ideal community, with all the domestic benefits of of long-term romantic partnership, as well as the sexual benefits of Marxist eroticism.

CHUCK

You know what? Let’s move on.

DIPSHIT

Right. So, your wedding. You’re going to have it in Red Line.

CHUCK

No. I’m not. And you can tell the *acting* mayor that she can shove her conditions up her…

DIPSHIT

Or else your employer is going to receive detailed documentation of how your “research” trip to Hartford last June was actually a romantic getaway with your fiancé that you illicitly billed to the company.

CHUCK

Now, hang on…

DIPSHIT

Including photographs of you dining at the restaurant where you claimed to have met with a story source, and later having a sexy pillow fight in your hotel room that evening.

CHUCK

How would they even know from a photograph where the sexy pillow fight happened?

DIPSHIT

Yeah, the restaurant photos are probably more damning. I guess my boss thinks the other one would just embarrass you if it were released.

CHUCK

Seriously? Who doesn’t like a sexy pillow fight?

DIPSHIT

But the rest of it would be problematic for you if your employers got hold of it.

CHUCK

Yeah. Okay. Wow, you must be really proud of yourself.

DIPSHIT

So, that’s the information I was tasked to deliver to you. On a personal note, I’m really sorry about this. I…honestly, I don’t feel good about this at all. I really try very hard to live a morally righteous life. I’m vegan, after all. But…well my job is on the line. I don’t have a choice.

CHUCK

Sure, I understand. I’m really sympathetic to your situation, except for that, wait no, fuck you.

DIPSHIT

That’s fair.

[Market fades out.]

CREDITS

[Red Apple Rag fades in.]

ALEXANDER DANNER

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

Content warnings at end of show notes.

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.

You too can support Greater Boston through our Patreon. Patrons can receive early access to new episodes, transcripts annotated with production details, and bonus audio.

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

  • Lauren Shippen as Mayflower Johnson
  • Austin Beach as Dixon Hammersmith
  • Mike Linden as Oliver West, Samuel St. Eberhauser, and Marlo
  • Alexander Danner as the Narrator
  • Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis
  • James Oliva as Michael Tate
  • James Capobianco as Extinction Event Poletti
  • Arun Sannuti as Tyrell Frederickson
  • Jim Johanson as Steve and Meathead Steve
  • Johanna Bodnyk as Mallory
  • Kelly McCabe as Nica Stamatis
  • Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon
  • Ben Flaumenhaft as Homeless Man
  • Tanja Milojevic as Wanda

Also featuring Jim Johanson, Tanja Milojevic, Ben Flaumenhaft, and Rick Coste as ThirdSight Employees.

Interviews conducted with real Greater Boston residents.

Episode transcripts are posted online at GreaterBostonShow.com

Be sure to check out the wonderful shows produced by our special guests, including Lauren Shippen’s The Bright Sessions, and Austin Beach’s comic Western Wynnebago Warrior.

Charlie on the MTA,Green Valley Waltz,Red Apple Rag andShove that Pig’s Foot a Little Farther in the Fire performed by Adrienne Howard, Emily Peterson, and Dirk Tiede.

COOKIE

JEFF VAN DREASON

And this has been…Greater Boston Spoilers. [laughs]

ALEXANDER DANNER

Oh, did we record all that?

JEFF

Oh yeah, it’s all recorded.

ALEXANDER

[Laughs.]

JEFF

Don’t…don’t put this as a credit cookie.

ALEXANDER

Noo.

JEFF

The lazy dog fell on the nude cat. Oh, rude cat! The lazy dog fell on the rude cat. That’s what somebody told me to say. As a warmup. On Twitter. So…

 

CONTENT WARNINGS

  • Strong Language
  • References to alcoholism
  • Sexual references
  • Blackmail
  • Discussion of historic Disaster
  • Communist propaganda?
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