Transcript for Episode 22: Chuck Octagon’s News 7 Wedding Special, Live from Red Line, with Special Guest Andy Wood

COLD OPEN

MALE INTERVIEW 1

Soo…my buddy got married. And…I ended up being the best man by default. And, of course, being the best man, having to make a speech, I decided to get really drunk ahead of time.

FEMALE INTERVIEW 1

Ohhh…

MALE INTERVIEW 2

Oh, no.

MALE INTERVIEW 1

And I asked my girlfriend, and beforehand, I’m like, “what should I do, I’ve never made a speech before,” and she goes, “eh, just ad-lib it.” So I took that to heart and before the wedding went out and bought a Mad Libs book.

FEMALE INTERVIEW 1

Ohh, my goodness!

[Charlie on the MTA begins]

MALE INTERVIEW 1

At least it was Star Wars-themed. We were all nerds. And uhh…

CHUCK OCTAGON

So you didn’t ad lib it, you Mad Libbed it?

MALE INTERVIEW 1

Mad Libbed it. It was the story…It was the story of my friend Devon and my friend Susan, using their names to replace Han Solo and Leia.

FEMALE INTERVIEW 1

Everyone must have loved it though.

MALE INTERVIEW 1

Ohhhh, no, because I should’ve gotten the answers ahead of time instead of during the speech.

PREVIOUSLY IN

MARCK HARMON

Previously, in Greater Boston:

MALLORY—Johanna Bodnyk
I’m taking early start courses in veterinary science at CCSCCCC. I have to learn to disentangle tumors from a mess of guts that look like a blob of angel hair spaghetti packed into like a baby mitten.

MELISSA WEATHERBY—Tanja Milojevich

No one has ever designed a convertible subway car before.

ISABELLE POWELL—Jessica Washington

I have this nephew, Isaiah, commutes to Tufts in Somerville, all the way from Dorchester.

ISAIAH POWELL—Mario DeRosa

I’m just wondering if it’d be good to tell people. You know…about your condition.

NICA STAMATIS—Kelly McCabe

I’m not sure I can do this anymore.

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 22: Chuck Octagon’s News 7 Wedding Special, Live from Red Line, with Special Guest Andy Wood.

[Charlie on the MTA ends.]

INVITE ONLY

[Subway train noise.]

MALLORY

Yeah, I know Chuck Octagon. Good Ol’ Chuck-O. He almost changed his name, you know. ‘Cause he’s getting hitched. Thought he should take his dude’s name, be all Chuck and Andy Wood, like that. Chuck Wood. I was all like, no way dude, might as well call yourself Chuck Bonercock. So, but I talked him out of it. I told him, “Chuck-O, you’re in *media.* You’re your own product, right?

[Hand-washing]

Chuck Octagon is the brand, and you don’t fuck around with an established brand.”

[Water turns off.]

Hey, you didn’t scrub your cuticles. Get your ass back at that sink. You don’t come into my OR those half-scrubbed shit-wipers. You get the fuck back in there and scrub like no one ever invented TP, got it? Good.

[More washing with serious scrubbing]

So, anyway, I told him, like…imagine if Coca Cola just suddenly decided to change Coca Cola. Like they just stopped making Coke and decided to make something completely different. And he looks at me, like he can’t believe what I’m saying, and then he’s all “you know they did that, right? They changed the whole recipe, cancelled Coke, made New Coke, and were just like “This is what you get now.”

And I’m all, nawwww, no way they did that, and he’s all “yeah-huh,” and I’m all, well that’s just some fuckin’ stupidcide right there. Like I bet everyone just lost their shit. And he said yeah, it was exactly like I thought. Long story short, Chuck O’s still Chuck O, and he’s gonna stay Chuck O. Thanks to me.

[Water off]

Yeah, you’re good now, let’s get in there.

[Subway door opens and closes.]

[Enters OR. Medical sounds]

Let’s see, what we’re working on today. Awww, a bunny rabbit! Well, he’s a little cutie, isn’t he?

So, anyway, I’m his go-to girl when he needs a story. Like, when that guy died at Wonderland last year? I was there for that. I was his scoop. And when the Mayor rescued that jack hole down at Park Street? I got him that one too. So now he’s getting married, and he’s all like “Mallory. I want you to come to my wedding.” And I’m all “whaaaaat?” because, you know, I like the guy and all, but it’s not like we’re fuckbuddies or anything. But then he’s like: “You’re my designated witness, Mallory. And I’m about to have the most ridiculous debacle of a wedding anyone’s ever seen, and after it’s all over and done, I need someone to tell the story. And I don’t know anyone better suited than you.”

Go ahead and apply the anesthetic.

[Gas]

So what could I say after that? Like I’m gonna say “no.” So I told him, yeah, sure thing, I’ll come be his fucking wedding recap. Gonna be animal wrangler too. They’re having doves and shit, gonna release them right when they say “I now pronounce you married as fuck.” But I’m gonna keep the doves happy in the meanwhile. Make sure they’ve got food and water, and no asshats try to feed them booze.

Okay, the bunny’s out. Let’s get up in this bitch. That splenic margina zone lymphoma ain’t gonna cut itself out. Scalpel. Making first incision.

So that’s what I’m doing tonight. Going to Chuck Octagon’s News 7 Wedding Special, Live From Red Line, with Special Guest Andy Wood. And I’ll be doing the after show pundit shit, laying down the play-by-play of the whole damn thing.

Oh, man, would you look at that tumor? Don’t you worry, Mr. Bun Bun. We’ll get you all fixed up, good as new.

REDLINE WEDDING REDUX, PART ONE

[News 7 stinger]

CHUCK OCTAGON—Jeff Van Dreason

This is Chuck Octagon reporting live from Chuck Octagon’s News 7 Wedding Special, Live From Red Line, with Special Guest Andy Wood

SPECIAL GUEST ANDY WOOD—Marck Harmon

Uh. Hi. I’m Andy Wood. I’m marrying Chuck. Thank you all for coming.

[Wedding processional music. Train sounds. Blips of Charlotte officiating. Drumming. Birds tweeting in a cage. Weird machinery. Cries of panic. Cotton Eye Joe. Gushing noises. Screaming. Scraping. Birds flying off. Crashing. Utter chaos. Train/scraping fading out. Crying. Camera flashes.]

[Silence.]

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGE—Lydia Anderson

Okay, tell me exactly what happened.

[Red line environment]

CHUCK

What happened? What happened was…I got married. I’m married now. That’s the important thing. The rest of it? The rest of it was what the military would refer to as a “clusterfuck.” Combining the words “cluster” and “fuck.” It’s used to describe a spectacularly mishandled situation.

[Emergency response environment]

LOUISA ALVAREZ—Julia Propp

Well, I’m not even supposed to do weddings anymore. But these weddings were my idea in the first place. From that time I photographed what’s-her-face’s wedding. Bespin. So I was there. With my camera.

GEMMA

I’m going to need copies of all the photos.

LOUISA

Of course. Anyway, it all started well enough. It was nice, actually. No brides, right? Makes everything easier. We did all the bullshit pre-ceremony posed shots at South Station, where you’ve got that wrought-iron canopy for the upstairs dining. It’s really pretty up there, not all froufrou. So we had the grooms up there, the wedding party, the families, all that shit. And Bespin.

GEMMA

Why was she there?

LOUISA

Photo ops. Why else?

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY BESPIN—Sam Musher

Yes, I attended, despite the busy schedule I keep as Red Line’s foremost candidate for city mayor.

GEMMA

That’s not what the polls say, Emily.

EMILY

Not yet, Gemma. But like my raspberry sugar dumpling Ethan always says, you don’t really know what the code’s doing until the program compiles.

GEMMA

Is that what Ethan says? Or robo-Ethan?

EMILY

I can’t imagine what you’re talking about. But as you know, Ethan and I also got married on the Red Line. *On* the Red Line, mind you, not *in* Red Line. This was before the referendum, you see. Back when weddings on trains still ran smoothly. Before incompetent management turned transit matrimony into the debacle it is today.

But what do you expect when the mayor spends her time orchestrating celebrity weddings instead of doing her job? She leaves all the real work to that Weatherby girl.

GEMMA

You mean Melissa. Charlotte’s assistant.

[Red line environment]

MELISSA WEATHERBY—Tanja Milojevich

I was overseeing most of the organization, the caterers, the musicians, the whole structural monster. Charlotte was officiating of course, while you and the baby were walking the perimeter.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

I can’t believe you brought a baby. To a wedding! Who does that? It’s a good thing I was there, or who knows what would have happened.

GEMMA

Yes. You have my begrudging gratitude.

[Red line environment]

MELISSA

I had a good view of the ceremony, which was lovely, by the way. Charlotte is getting very good at officiating. And working under the direct scrutiny of both her rival mayoral candidates! Though at least Ms. Powell had the courtesy to arrive at the ceremony, rather than crashing the family photos like Mrs. Bespin did.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE POWELL—Jessica Washington

I arrived right on time. Even remembered to silence my phone first thing. Everything seemed very nicely organized, with a proper usher to show me to my seat. And the grooms were a handsome pair in their matching tuxedos. It’s funny, you get into politics, and almost right away, you start to see the press as some kind of monsters. It was good to see Mr. Octagon up there with his man. Reminds you that we’re all human.

GEMMA

I know what you mean.

ISABELLE

But then I noticed that canopy you had on that train car. I never knew train cars could come with a convertible option. I wasn’t expecting that. So I was a little distracted, thinking about “when is this thing going to open up?”

It started right around when the grooms were exchanging sips of wine in honor of their mothers. That was a nice gesture. Hadn’t seen that in a wedding before. But then the canopy started to open, and I just wasn’t sure what to make of it. I confess, I got out of my seat at that time. Moved to the back of the car, back where the that little girl with the…impressive vocabulary…was watching over that cage full of doves. Just had to see how that whole canopy mechanism worked.

And at that time, all I saw above us was the ceiling of the tunnel. We were still inside, still enclosed. But I knew, we’d get to Charles MGH eventually. We were headed for the bridge, just a few stops off. Soon enough, all there’d be over our heads was open sky.

[Emergency response environment]

LOUISA

That was one of the reasons I agreed to shoot the wedding. I mean, how often do you get to shoot photos from an open-topped subway train? I was around the middle of the car, positioned for the ceremony, but I also wanted to be able to pivot at the right moment to get a shot of the doves being released once we hit the Longfellow. So I was in the perfect spot to see everything from start to finish.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

When I wanted to put a convertible top on my wedding train, they told me no. Apparently, that’s a special privilege just for the media.

[Red line environment]

CHUCK

It should have been so beautiful. The idea was beautiful. But instead…instead, whatever. Andy and I are married. My husband and I are going to pack for our honeymoon. Sorting out the clusterfuck…that’s someone else’s problem. Im on vacation. I’m out.

THE GOOD NEPHEW 1

[Phone ringing.]

AUTUMN WEST—Beth Eyre

You’ve reached the voicemail of Autumn West. I’m not here right now, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If you’re looking for Oliver, please call his office at ThirdSightMedia. I would tell you his number, but he prefers that you “intuit it from the stars.” So good luck with that.

[Beep]

[Kentucky Mule plays]

PHIL WEST—Michael Melia

Hey, Aunt Autumn. It’s Phil. Haven’t talked to you in a while, thought maybe I should check in. See how you’re doing. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Uncle Ollie. I mean…I’m sure you know that. He keeps me busy. Odd jobs and the like. He’s been working really hard lately. Harder than ever. Harder than is probably good for him.

You remember that thing he had me do last year? Getting that crystal ball, down in the subway? And you told me not to. But I can’t say no to Uncle Ollie. And that wasn’t such a big thing, really.

But now there’s this new project I’m helping him with. It was okay at first. It was exciting. But…I don’t know. It’s getting out of hand. Uncle Ollie’s made some decisions that…he can’t take these decisions back. And I think he’s going to want to.

I don’t know. Maybe he needs to hear from you. You need to talk to him, Aunt Autumn. Get him to step back and look at what he’s doing.

Anyway, that’s all. I’ve got some errands to run. A package to deliver, then back to the tunnels again.

I’m getting really tired of those tunnels.

Love you, Aunt Autumn. I’ll talk to you later.

[Draggin garbage cans]

[Clumsy sounds of climbing. Lots of rattling, like a bag of empty cans.]

[Window opening]

[Phone ringing]

[Person crashing to the floor. Grunts and heavy breathing.]

[Beep]

[Oliver theme—drums & guinea pigs]

OLIVER WEST—Mike Linden

Are you there?

PHIL

Yeah. Yeah, I’m in the apartment. I don’t know why first floor apartments have windows six feet in the air. Jesus Christ. I had to make a staircase out of garbage cans.

OLIVER

I applaud your ingenuity. You’re sure the boy won’t come back?

PHIL

I slipped a note under the door, sent him all the way down to Downtown Crossing, or elsenthere’d be consequences. Lit right out of here. He’ll be gone a good hour at least.

OLIVER

Well done. Let’s get on to proper business.

PHIL

So, I need to get these cans out to the kitchen?

OLIVER

No, no, that wouldn’t be nearly suspicious enough. That’s where someone would normally leave empty cans. Does he have a study, or a workshop you might leave them in?

PHIL

He’s got a bedroom, Uncle Ollie. He’s a nineteen-year-old with three housemates. No, he doesn’t have a study.

OLIVER

Housemates! Be careful they don’t hear you!

PHIL

Of course they hear me. Trust me, they won’t care. College kids don’t investigate weird sounds from their housemates’ bedrooms. That’s a strict policy.

OLIVER

Very well, then. Maybe just leave the empty cans under his bed.

PHIL

You got it.

[Ridiculous clatter of empty cans pouring to the floor.]

OLIVER

And leave the tools on his desk. Now, do you see any identification that will lead directly to him? A birth certificate perhaps? Or citizenship award?

PHIL

That’s not something people walk around with, Uncle Ollie.

OLIVER

What are you talking about? I would never leave home without a copy of my birth certificate.

PHIL

Ah, here we go. Student ID. Photo and everything.

OLIVER

Ah! Ideal!

PHIL

You’re sure about this?

OLIVER

Yes, it’s perfect.

PHIL

No, I don’t mean the ID. I mean the plan. What we’re doing.

OLIVER

Yes, yes, I’m certain. Now, get down to the tunnels, Phillip.

PHIL

Alright. On my way.

[Oliver theme fades out.]

A NEW PLAN

[Dripping, tunnels]

[Humming machine]

[Metal ladder being positioned & climbed.]

NICA STAMATIS—Kelly McCabe

Okay, how do I get this…ow! That’s hot. Why’s it so hot? Dammit, I can barely see.

PHIL WEST—Michael Melia

Hey!

NICA

Shit.

PHIL

Hey, can you come down from there!

NICA

Nothing wrong here! I’m with maintenance! Just doing…my maintenance!

PHIL

Nica, right?

NICA

How do you know my name?

PHIL

Oliver sent me. I’ve got a message for you. Look, just come down from there. A train could come any time.

NICA

I’ve got to finish this.

PHIL

If you don’t come down, I’m going to knock the ladder over.

NICA

With me on it?

PHIL

I’ll knock it over slowly.

NICA

That’s not how gravity works!

[Ladder falling]

PHIL

Okay, here I go. I’m knocking the ladder over.

[Ladder rattles]

NICA

Stop!

[Ladder tipping.]

PHIL

Nope, it’s going. It’s…wait…ack, that’s getting away from me, whoo shit…

[Ladder toppling, Nica hitting the ground.]

NICA

OW.

PHIL

Goddamit, I cut my finger!

NICA

OW ow ow.

PHIL

Are you okay?

NICA

Shut up.

PHIL

Look, here’s the note from my uncle.

NICA

Your uncle.

PHIL

Oliver.

NICA

Oh. Fine, give it here.

[Oliver Theme]

OLIVER

Nica,

Thank you for your fine work these past few months. You have been a true asset to the cause. I’m sure you will be glad to know that I have given serious consideration to your request that we cancel the current operation, and have concluded that you are correct. Please discontinue your current efforts and return to the surface.

[Oliver Theme ends]

NICA

Cancelled?

PHIL

Looks like.

NICA

But…now what?

PHIL

Now nothing.

NICA

But…we had a plan.

PHIL

And now there’s a new plan.

NICA

What new plan?

PHIL

Do nothing. Sit tight. That’s the plan. You’re off the hook.

NICA

Why do you do this?

PHIL

Uh…just…family, I guess.

NICA

That’s it?

PHIL

That’s not exactly a small thing.

NICA

No. You’re right.

PHIL

Why don’t you get out of here? I’ll clean this up.

NICA

Okay. Be careful if you work on the thing. It’s gotten really hot for some reason.

PHIL

Don’t worry about me.

[Nica exits]

[Phone ringing]

[Oliver theme]

OLIVER

Philip?

PHIL

She’s out of the way. We can go ahead with this thing. If you’re sure. If you’re completely sure.

OLIVER

You’re not having doubts, are you?

PHIL

I’m worried about you, Uncle Ollie.

OLIVER

But will you do what I’ve asked you?

PHIL

I’ve got the student ID right here. I’ll drop it right now. If that’s what you want. But this is it. There’s no going back from this.

OLIVER

It’s what we need to do, Philip. Please proceed.

[ID card lands on the ground.]

PHIL

Done.

OLIVER

Thank you, Philip.

[Environment fades]

RED LINE WEDDING REDUX, PART TWO

GEMMA

What was the first thing you noticed to suggest that something might be wrong?

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

It was that smell.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

It was the noise from up ahead in the tunnel.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

It wasn’t until I saw people starting to freak out.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

It was that boy who tried to crash the wedding. We had just stopped at Downtown Crossing, and they’d opened the doors to let in late arrivals. Invited guests. But there’s this kid there, demanding to get on. Black guy, very agitated. Obviously not on the guest list, not even dressed for a wedding. He’s in a freaking Tufts sweatshirt, like Tufts is anything to be proud of. Safety school, people.

And at first, I figure this kid just can’t accept this isn’t a public train. Like he thinks he’s too important to wait for the next train. Just your usual entitled plebeian. You understand.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

I first noticed the odor during the processional. Kind of a burning smell.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

I never noticed the smell. Red Line cars always smell like they’re on fire. That’s just one of those things you get used to.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

But this odor had a particularly sweet quality to it, like burnt sugar. Reminded me of my grandmother making peanut brittle.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

No, I never noticed the odor. I wore extra perfume, as a personal bulwark against subway odor.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

The odor got much stronger as the canopy opened. I even thought maybe it was the canopy engine making the smell.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

That’s when I started to hear some mechanical sounds, from down the tunnel. Kind of a high-pitched whine and a revving sound, like…like something revving up.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

I did notice the noise. I’m accustomed to the sound of machines, as you’d imagine. My darling pumpkin-spice pop-tart Ethan has introduced me to all sorts of mechanical devices. And naturally, I’ve developed an ear for identifying them. And so I figured out that I was hearing two distinct mechanisms: A pump and a fan.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

We were just coming up on Park St. at that point, but slowly. We had it timed out so that we’d hit the bridge right when Mayor Linzer-Coolidge was pronouncing Mr. Octagon and Mr. Wood married. You know, for the bird release.

But then I heard Emily shout “close the canopy.” And I got it right off. The molasses. The tea. And now this open canopy. I’d seen the controls earlier, up front of the car, so I ran for that.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

That girl with the birds pushed me under the table. Practically tackled me to the ground, tucked me up under the table, behind the table cloth.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

And then everyone was getting under cover, under chairs, tables, whatever was available. And that sound was getting louder as we got closer to it. Then Melissa had hit the canopy control, so that was closing again, but it’s a really slow mechanism.

And I guess I went full journo-mode, cause I just started shooting all of it, the chaos, the canopy closing, the people diving under tables, and you out there in the middle of it all, giving orders, telling people where to go, what to do, all with little Monty still strapped to your chest over your gown.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

Charlotte took care of the grooms, got them under the table that had been placed for the wine ceremony.

And I’m trying to call you to get down, get to safety with Monty, but you’re just focussed on getting everyone else where they need to be. And now I can see, I can see the thing up ahead, through the open roof, there’s this nozzle out there, and it’s shooting I don’t even know what, but it’s steaming, it’s HOT.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

And I’m under the table, so all I see is Emily’s feet, but then she’s moving, fast as anything.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

And I see Emily throw a tarp over you and the baby, and I don’t even know where she got a tarp from, I guess maybe it was for the birds, but she’s got this tarp and she gets it over them just in time, because now there’s shit spraying all over the train car. She pulls you both under a table with her, and you won’t believe the shots I’ve got of the whole thing.

GEMMA

Yeah, yeah. Please don’t remind me who I owe my life to right now.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

And I realize at that point what this stuff is. Once I’m under the table, I can see it hitting the ground around me, splashing off the floor. It’s beans. Baked beans.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

And then I hear this clatter above me, and the birds go nuts, they’re just flapping like crazy, and I can’t imagine what that crash was, but then I realize I don’t see that girls’ feet anymore, the one who helped me. She’d been standing there by the bird cage, and now she’s gone, and I realize that instead of getting *under* the table, she’s just jumped on top of the bird cage, she’s just draped her whole body over it. And she’s says, “I gotta protect the birds.”

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

And things were about to get even worse, because the canopy was partially closed, but that just meant that it was up in the air. If it had been fully open or fully closed, the canopy would have been fine, but halfway between, it’s high enough to catch on the pump. The canopy’s spokes caught the nozzle, and one whole side just tore right out.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

Right after that is the first time I heard someone really scream. Like not just in fear, but like someone was hurting. Someone had been damaged.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

And it’s that girl. The one on the bird cage. She’s shrieking. She’s in pain. She’s been hit by that stuff, the beans. And they’re hot, in that sugar sauce that baked beans have.

GEMMA

Mallory. Her name’s Mallory.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

Mallory was all the way at the end of the car. She was the last person at risk. After that, the pump was just spraying beans onto the roofs of the other cars.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

But there was still the canopy. Swinging from the top of our car. Shooting sparks off where the spokes were scraping the walls of the tunnel.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

But then we were out, into the open air. I was still under the table, but I could tell from how the light changed. The light came through the tablecloth. And then I heard the flapping again, right before the birds went quiet.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

She released the birds. I saw her do it. Her whole back was covered in scalding beans, with all that molasses, but she still hit the release once we were at the Longfellow bridge. She let all the birds fly.

THE GOOD NEPHEW 2

[Phone Ringing]

ISABELLE POWELL—Jessica Washington

Hello, you have reached the telephone of Isabelle Powell. I’m not able to come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you just as soon as I’m able. If you’re calling about apartment listings, please try my office line at Powell Real Estate. If you’re calling to support my Mayoral campaign, please try my office line at Powell for Red Line. Either way: Make the Right Move with Isabelle Powell!

[Beep]

[Kentucky Mule plays]

ISAIAH POWELL—Mario DeRosa

Hey, Aunt Izzy. It’s Isaiah. Listen, I know you have that wedding today, but there’s something going on you oughta know about. I got this note slipped under the door, had my name on it. So, already, that’s pretty weird. No one I know is sending me notes under a door. So I open it, and there’s this just an index card inside with a message. No greeting, no signature, like this guy’d totally have failed that professional communications class they make us take.

But whoever it is says they’ve got information about you, Aunt Isabelle. Something that would embarrass you. And like, there’s only one thing I know of that that might be. But they’re saying they’re going to tell people if I don’t come meet them, come discuss some “arrangement.”

I knew you shoulda just been straight with people about that. It’s not even that big a thing, it’s only even a thing because it’s a secret.

But anyway, they gave me a time and a place to meet them, at Downtown Crossing Station. They told me not to tell anyone, but like hell I’m going off to meet with who knows who and I’m not telling someone. I think you’ll be passing right by there though. If I see your train, I’ll try to get to you.

I’ll tell you more when I know it. Love you, Aunt Izzy. Talk to you later.

AIDING A VILLAIN

[Melancholy drums]

LEON STAMATIS—Braden Lamb

I’m sorry, Michael, but I’ve made bad decision. All this time, I’ve tried so hard not to. But he had your fate in his hands, Michael, and I just couldn’t just abandon you. Even if it meant aiding a villain. And until now, most of what he demanded of me wasn’t terrible: Spy on Emily Bespin; Spy on Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge. He used me as a political tool, but for stupid politics, so that I was blinded to the harm in it. What does it matter who becomes Mayor of Red Line? The whole absurd debacle is only going to collapse back into itself in short order no matter who’s in charge. How could it not?

So keeping you safe seemed like the right thing to do. Even with the cost.

But then you came up here, and he locked you in. And kept you at his mercy. Not just your job, but your very life.

And so he finally made a bigger ask: To spy on someone innocent. Someone decent. And to bring back information that will bring that benevolent enemy down.

And I did it. I got him what he needed. Information that will hurt someone, information that will cause real harm. And he’s going to use it, Michael. I don’t know how, exactly, I don’t know the scope of the harm this information will do. But whatever happens is my fault.

I can’t say I had no choice, Michael. Of course I had a choice. There is always a choice.

I could give him what he wants, the ammunition he needs to ruin a stranger, someone who means nothing to me.

Or I could abandon you.

I chose, Michael.

I chose selfishly.

[Drums fade out.]

And I’m afraid that I chose wrong.

RED LINE WEDDING REDUX, PART THREE

GEMMA

What happened after Longfellow?

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

The train just kept going. For everything that had happened, no one had bothered to tell the driver. So we’re still passing through stops, and we’re going faster now.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

The plan was full-speed to Alewife, so we’d clear the track for regular commuter trains.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

So we’re barreling through Kendall, Harvard, Central. And then we get to Porter.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

Pathetic, rickety, disaster waiting-to-happen, total abdication of responsibility Porter.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

The structures there were only ever meant to be temporary.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

Are we even going to call the residences at that station “structures?” That’s stretching the definition rather far, isn’t it?

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

They were a flimsy, two-story play tent. The fact that Linzer-Coolidge had the gall to put people up in such a flytrap and call it urban planning is proof enough of her qualifications.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

Michael was living there. I don’t think he was home at the time, thank god. I mean…he’s been missing for days. You know that right?

GEMMA

I’ve been looking into it.

LOUISA

But at least…I don’t think he was there.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

As we hit Porter, that canopy swung out from the train again. With those metal spokes, those claws, just reaching out for something to grab. And here’s this giant net with canvas walls, just strung up through the station. Of course, it snagged. Of course the spokes grabbed hold of that spiderweb, and tore the whole ramshackle thing down. Please. Who couldn’t have seen that coming?

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

It all fell. All those homes. And the people inside them. It’s a wonder no one was seriously hurt. I don’t even understand how that happened. Some kind of miracle. A few bumps and bruises, a sprained ankle or two, and the grace of god. But that’s it. We literally pulled away people’s homes right out from under them, like a magician pulling out the tablecloth without spilling the wine.

[Emergency response scene environment]

LOUISA

The weirdest thing was the stress balls. Thousands of them just fell into the train car. Practically filled it up, like the world’s sketchiest ball pit.

GEMMA

Those were Michael’s.

[Quiet room environment]

ISABELLE

And then we reached Davis. That’s where we finally stopped.

[Red Line environment]

MELISSA

The doors opened, and all those squeezy stress balls just poured out onto the platform.

[Street traffic environment]

EMILY

And the police were already right there waiting to provide assistance, as I’d had the foresight to call them while we were all hiding under the tables. I gave them the description of that kid I saw trying to force his way onto the train. I called my butterscotch pudding-pop with rainbow sprinkles Ethan right after it all happened, and I told him, I bet it was that kid.

[Quiet room environment]

GEMMA

I have to tell you something.

ISABELLE

Oh, I don’t like the sound of that.

GEMMA

The police have made an arrest. A witness described the suspect attempting to force his way onto the wedding train. The police found this same suspect’s student ID down on the tracks, by the device. They went to his apartment, and found a stash of canned beans, dozens of empty cans. And tools, like someone would use to build the device that sprayed the beans on the subway.

ISABELLE

That oughta be good news. They caught the person who did this. But you’re not saying any of this like it’s good news.

GEMMA

The suspect’s name is Powell. Isaiah Powell.

ISABELLE

What?!

GEMMA

He’s been arrested.

ISABELLE

No. There’s no situation on God’s green earth where my Isaiah did this! That is not the truth! There’s no way. No way this is what happens to my family. No way. You think he did this? You think my own nephew did this?

GEMMA

I don’t know.

ISABELLE

You don’t know? You know. You know! He’s innocent. My Isaiah is innocent. You know!

GEMMA

I’m sorry. I don’t know. I…I don’t. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m…I don’t know.

[Slow Charlie on the MTA plays]

CREDITS

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

Follow us on Twitter @InGreaterBoston or on Tumblr at GreaterBlogston

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

Johanna Bodnyk as Mallory

Summer Unsinn as Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge

Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon

Marck Harmon as Special Guest Andy Wood

Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge

Julia Propp as Louisa Alvarez

Sam Musher as Emily Bespin

Tanja Milojevic as Melissa Weatherby

Jessica Washington as Isabelle Powell

Beth Eyre as Autumn West

Mike Melia as Phil West

Mike Linden as Oliver West

Kelly McCabe as Nica Stamatis

Mario DeRosa as Isaiah Powell

and Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis

Also featuring Iri Alexander, Laura Bramblette, Rick Coste, Sean Howard, and Eli McIlveen as panicked party-goers.

Interviews conducted with real Greater Boston Residents.

Charlie on the MTA (both versions) and Cotton Eye Joe recorded by Adrienne Howard, Emily Peterson, and Dirk Tiede.

Kentucky Mule by Tate Peterson

Drums by Jim Johanson

Additional music and sounds used from public domain and creative commons sources.

Transcripts are posted online at GreaterBostonShow.com

[Music fades out]

COOKIE

JEFF VAN DREASON

And, and then I love like…this this is just the most insane stage direction or whatever it is, like: Wedding Music. Train sounds. Blips of Charlotte officiating. Weird machinery. Gushing noises. Screaming. Scraping. Crashing. Utter chaos. It’s like, “Wow.”

JOHANNA BODNYK

Okay, the bunny’s out. Let’s get up in this bitch. That splenic marg…[laughs]

[everyone laughs]

How…okay, how do you say this?

ALEXANDER DANNER

Ah…Ss…splenic…mar…mar

MARCK HARMON

Oh my god.

ALEXANDER

margina? Zone lymphoma. [Laughs] I don’t know!

JOHANNA

Splenic margina zone lymphoma

JEFF

You know what? As long as you own it, it doesn’t matter.

JOHANNA

Yeah.

ALEXANDER

Yeah.

Content Warnings

  • Surgical imagery
  • Racial profiling
  • Crowds in peril
  • Sounds of panic/distress
  • Sudden loud noises suggestive of violence
  • Public disaster/destruction
  • Scald injury
  • Strong language
  • New Coke
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