Transcript for Episode 25: But Perhaps there is a Key

THE BIG LOOP promo – Alexander Danner

Hi, Alexander here to tell you about a fiction podcast that Jeff and I have been really enjoying lately. Now, Jeff and I both love a good dramatic monologue–and if you’ve made it this far into Greater Boston, I’m going to assume you do too. So you need to give a listen to The Big Loop by writer Paul Bae and engineer Steve Jin. You might already know Paul’s work from The Black Tapes, but trust us, The Big Loop is a whole other experience. From the tribulations of a professional grief surrogate to an unlucky assassin frustrated by the one that got away, these stories are deep character portraits of humans in crisis, all told with a captivating confessional intimacy. Season 2 has just started, but you can jump in anywhere—every episode is self contained. That’s The Big Loop—stories of finite beings in an infinite universe.

 

COLD OPEN

CHUCK OCTAGONJeff Van Dreason
So without telling me your name, or what you do, who are you?

INTERVIEW 1

I am a writer. I am a lover of music. I am…someone who tries to do their best but doesn’t always succeed. I’m someone who works hard to take care of my family. I’m someone who’s gone through a lot but has come out on top and is working towards self improvement. 

CHUCK OCTAGON
That’s an excellent answer. Follow up question?

INTERVIEW 1

Okay.

CHUCK OCTAGON
Why do you think you’re here?

INTERVIEW 1

Umm. That’s something I’ve actually struggled with a lot. I think I’m here because…I think I’m here to just like help people. I’m here to experience life in a way that maybe other people don’t so I can give a new perspective to things?

[Charlie on the MTA begins to play.]

INTERVIEW 1
I’m here to live my true self and even if time gets hard and I feel like giving up, there’s always a way out and there’s people who will help me get out and then I can help other people who have gone through similar things come out as well.

 

PREVIOUSLY IN


JAMES JOHNSTON

Previously in Greater Boston.

REPORTER — Eli Barraza

What’s it feel like to be the man who discovered DB Cooper? You’re about to get your Fifteen Minutes. What do you plan to do with it?

DIMITRI STAMATIS — James Johnston

I honestly hadn’t thought about it at all. All I want to do is go home.

LEON STAMATIS — Braden Lamb

I’m sorry Michael. Keeping you safe seemed like the right thing to do. But then you came up here. And he locked you in. And kept you at his mercy.

DIPSHIT POLETTI — James Capobianco

I’m owning up to these crimes on the condition that the man you wrongly arrested in the aftermath is set free.

 

S3 TITLE SEQUENCE

Multiple Voices

Fields Corner
Hyde Park

Want it in character voice or real voice?
East Boston
Alright
Malden
Red Line
Dorchester
Salem
Somerville
West Roxbury
Hanson
Worcester
Malden
This..

Somerville

Revere
…is
Uhh…I’ve lived in Lemonster my whole life
Brighton
Uhh…I live in Milton, Massachusetts
Roslindale
(That’s where I’m from)

East Boston
I’m from Dorchester
This is…

South Boston
This is…
In Brockton

Medford, Massachusetts

[Laughter]
Red Line

Dorchester

This is…

This is…

This is…

Greater Boston

 

THIS WEEK

NARRATOR—Alexander Danner

This week in Greater Boston, Episode 25: But Perhaps There Is a Key

[Music fades out]

 

IRISH GOODBYE

[Evening. Crickets. Distant party noise. A back door swings open and shuts. Someone steps quickly down porch stairs.]

 

LEONBraden Lamb

Dimitri.

DIMITRI James Johnston

Jeez — Leon! What are you doing back there?

LEON

Waiting for you, obviously. The guest of honor slips away towards grand adventure at the height of his goodbye party, leaving everyone to wonder where he’s gone. I anticipated your tendency to give the Irish Goodbye.

DIMITRI

We’re Greek.

LEON

As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s just an expression. Plus, there is a small percentage of Irish in our ancestry.

DIMITRI

You came out here to work on that puzzle box, didn’t you? Slip away to work on it so as not to be rude? Plan to waltz back into the party with it solved, like it was nothing at all?

LEON

No, I came out here to wait for you. Please don’t force me into redundancy.

DIMITRI

You’re not going to talk me out of leaving, Leon.

LEON

I don’t intend to. I know you’re determined to go this time. Attempts at dissuading you would be a futile waste of time and energy.

DIMITRI

Then what —

LEON

Nica. You need to say goodbye to Nica.

DIMITRI

There’s no need to.

LEON

She’s not going with you, Dimitri.

DIMITRI

You don’t give her enough credit. You think she’s too much like you.

LEON

As do you.

DIMITRI

We’ve already discussed a meeting place later on, after I catch my bus. She’s gonna catch up with me in Springfield. She just needs a little more time.

LEON

I’m telling you. She will not meet you.

DIMITRI

What makes you so sure?

LEON

I know her.

DIMITRI

And I don’t, is that it?

LEON

You do, to an extent. But your knowledge of Nica is overshadowed by your knowledge of who you want her to be.

(Pause)

Has it ever occurred to you that this could be the last time you see her?

DIMITRI

Come on, Leon, don’t lay this morbid guilt trip on me. Jesus.

LEON

I’m merely pointing out a fact. Believe me, it irritates me more than you. But consider the suddenness of our mothers demise. Death isn’t something that can be scheduled. It just happens.

DIMITRI

Says the guy who scheduled his funeral into his Google Calendar.

LEON

I spoke to six different actuaries, my personal physician, and two credible psychics to get as close to the approximate date as possible. It’s best to be prepared for these things, even if nailing down specific details is ultimately a futile exercise.

DIMITRI

It’s not like you to be this melodramatic.

LEON

What happens when she doesn’t meet you? How long do you wait for her? How will you react? Will you resent her? Will you blame her?

DIMITRI

I won’t do anything of the kind. Because she’s coming this time, Leon. I looked into her eyes. I believe her.

[Drive the Cold Winter Away begins to play. Waves and surf noises in the distance. Howling wind. Eerie music plays.]

DIMITRI (CONT’D)

Need to skedaddle off to South Station if I’m gonna catch my bus. (quick hug). Good luck with that puzzle box.

LEON

I’ll have solved it by the time you return. Write me. Please. So I know you’re okay.

DIMITRI

I will, when I can.

LEON

And write Nica.

DIMITRI

We’ll write you together. Trust me. She —

[Strange “vanishing” sound.Wind howls bitterly, waves crashing, intensifying, music and clock pick up.]

DIMITRI

What — ?

DISTORTED VOICE (booming)

You might as soon enclose the ocean in a small vessel—

DIMITRI

Leon? Leon?! Where did you go?

DISTORTED VOICE [changes mid sentence]

Might as soon clasp the whole earth in your fist—

DIMITRI

I can’t — I can’t see you — can’t see —

DISTORTED VOICE [changes more, remains distorted]

Might as soon halt the movement of the heavens—

DIMITRI

What the hell is happening? Where did everything — where did everything go?

DISTORTED VOICE [changes form]

—as describe the beatitude of the saints without experiencing them—

[Wind, snow, crashing surf, music builds to a crescendo]

DIMITRI

Why won’t you answer me? Why don’t — WHO ARE YOU?

DISTORTED VOICE

You know who I am. The question is…

[Louder knocking. VOICE becomes Leon.]

LEON

…Who are you, Dimitri?

[Loud knocking, Dimitri wakes up with a freight.]

GREENE Kenny Garcia

Mr. Stigmata, you’re late!

DIMITRI (shaken)

Yes—yes, I’ll — uhh…

[Dimitri dials old rotary phone]

GREENE

We’re ready to shoot you now.

DIMITRI

Okay. Thank you. I’ll be right there.

[Dial tone rings.]

Pick up, pick up, please.

GREENE (knocking louder)

We’re wasting time here!

DIMITRI

(Calling) Almost ready! (To himself) I’ve stalled them as long as I could…

GREENE (pounding now)

We’re behind schedule! Let’s GO!

DIMITRI (slamming phone down)

Okay! (Deep breath) Okay. Let’s shoot.

 

INEXPLICABLE RIDDLES

[Studio lights turn on. Someone calls a shot, says the camera is rolling. Set chatter dies down. Inexplicable Riddles theme plays]

DIMITRI

Since the dawn of time, all of humanity has been drawn to the unexplained, the uncanny, the unsolvable. Stonehenge. The Bermuda Triangle. The Loch Ness Monster. Bigfoot. The identity of Jack the Ripper. Why do these mysteries haunt and taunt us so? Why do so many of us stay up late into the night, obsessively poring over clues with nothing but blind hope that they will find the keys to unlock these …INEXPLICABLE RIDDLES.

[Inexplicable Riddles title noise]

DIMITRI

In 1971, a man hijacked a plane, ransomed $200,000, and then vanished without a trace. That mysterious skyjacker was commonly referred to as DB Cooper, and for decades, professional and amateur sleuths alike desperately tried in vain to solve the riddle of his masterful crime and bizarre disappearance.

I’m Dimitri Stamatis. And I’m the man who found DB Cooper.

FAKE NICA — Kristen DiMercurio

And I’m Nica Stamatis, Dimitri’s big sister. Together, we plan to travel the world in an attempt to solve other great mysteries. We hope —

DIMITRI

Naaaaaaaaaaggh? Noooooo. No. Nope no no no no, uh-uh. What the…uhh, CUT!

[Theme cuts]

GREENE

KEEP ROLLING! Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?

[Theme cuts back in]

DIMITRI

What am I doing, what are you doing? Who is that?

FAKE

I’m Nica Stamatis, Dimitri’s big sister. And together, we plan to —

DIMITRI

No, I’m sorry, no. We had an agreement about who was going to play my sister. Nobody was going to play her. It was just going to be her.

GREENE

Listen to me Mr. McStasis —

DIMITRI

Stamatis.

GRENNE

I’m the director of this over-budgeted, under-scheduled goddamn travesty, which means I’m the one who yells cut, not you. Me and the rest of my crew just wanna shoot this shit, collect our checks and make it home in time for pizza night. So if you wanna keep being a big shot Hollywood diva, you go right ahead, but you do it on someone else’s set. On my set? We keep rolling ‘till I say so. You got it Mr. Semantics?

DIMITRI

Stamatis. Look, I’m a consulting producer on this show and it’s in my contract. My real sister plays my sister, and that’s final.

GREENE

All due respect? Consult this. We’re already behind three weeks on this piss-poor, plagiarized Unsolved Mysteries.

FAKE

Give him a break, Spencer.

GREENE

You know I met Robert Stack once? I was a PA on Airplane. Beautiful man! I bet once his corpse catches wind of this bullshit, he’ll spin in his grave so goddamn much the St. Andreas fault splits open and sends us all down to Davey Jones’ locker.

FAKE

Sorry, he can be a bit dramatic. He used to be a Scientologist.

GREENE

That’s private!

FAKE

Look, kid. Here’s the deal. The producers hired me yesterday because this shoot is delayed beyond belief. Time is money and they don’t like wasting either. They warned me my co-star might be a bit…taken aback, was the term they used, about my casting. Fine print on your contract gave you a month to find and cast your sister. A month’s passed. It’s in the producers hands. So they cast me and they asked me to smooth things over. So here I am. Smoothing.

DIMITRI

Do I seem smoothed over to you?

GREENE

You’re wrinkly as an old folks home during bath time. Tick tock, we’re wasting time here!

DIMITRI

If Nica isn’t cast, I’ll walk. I’ll quit.

GREENE

You walk and you’ll be in breach of contract. Suits will own your ass.

FAKE

What’s the deal? Isn’t doing this show what you wanted?

DIMITRI

This was all their idea, the producers. Capitalize on the DB Cooper thing. And at first I laughed it off, turned them down. But…but my sister—

FAKE

Nica.

DIMITRI

Yes.

FAKE

Me.

DIMITRI

Right. No! I mean —

FAKE

“Real” me.

DIMITRI

Yeah!

FAKE

Let me guess. She always dreamed of being an actress.

DIMITRI

She used to put on little shows for us in our living room. I would shine three taped flashlights on her. I was her spotlight man. So the day after I turned the producers down, I called them back and pleaded with them. I told them I’d take the job only if my sister could be my co-star.

FAKE

So where is she?

DIMITRI

She’s back in Boston. I — I can’t find her.

FAKE

She’s missing?

DIMITRI

No. Before I left we…we had an understanding. She was coming with me. But then, when I left, she said she needed more time. She was going to catch up with me. So I waited for her. She never showed. I was pretty angry. And I haven’t talked to her since.

FAKE

How long has it been?

DIMITRI

Little over two years.

FAKE

Shit. Two years?

DIMITRI

Yeah. And…I figured if I came to her and offered her something, like a part in this show? It might… help her forgive me for taking so long.

FAKE

Fuck, dude. That’s a lot. (Pause) Okay. I’ve got an idea. I think you need some practice, get it out of your system. Spence, we’re ready for take two.

GREENE

Oh, what, you’re calling the shots now Fake Nica?

FAKE

We’ll be shooting nothing but the shit all day otherwise!

GREENE

We’re still rolling because I never said cut, so whenever you’re ready, your highnesses. Start over, mark 1, take 2. Action!

[Inexplicable Riddles theme music plays again]

DIMITRI

What’s happening?

FAKE

Just follow my lead. (Slight pause). Over two years ago, my brother Dimitri came to me and asked to go on a grand adventure with him. I said yes, then blew him off and didn’t meet up with him. He then disappeared and I didn’t hear from him for over two years. Until today. Today, we will finally reunite. Will there be forgiveness? Tears? Bitter arguing? Shit hitting proverbial fans? Who knows…? The… INEXPLICABLE RIDDLE!

[Inexplicable Riddles theme noise plays]

FAKE

I’m Fake Nica Stamatis. I’m not Dimitri’s sister, but I play her on TV. (Pause, whispers) Go on!

DIMITRI

Uhh. I’m…I’m Dimitri…Stamatis?

FAKE

Do you have anything you want to say to me, Dimitri?

DIMITRI

I don’t think this is a good idea…

FAKE

That’s it? You don’t talk to me for two years while you stumble-fuck your way through the Alaskan wilderness meeting crazy old kooks in ice fortresses —

DIMITRI

I wasn’t…stumble-fucking through the Alaskan—

FAKE

Then you fall ass backwards into solving one of the biggest mysteries of the 20th century, and you still don’t bother to get in touch with me? Don’t tell me where you are, what’s going on?

DIMITRI

Hey, you never tried to contact me either.

FAKE

I knew you were disappointed in me. And your silence cemented that.

DIMITRI

We both made mistakes, but at least I’m trying to make it up to you now.

FAKE

Oh, right, swell apology. “Hey Nica, I know you were scared to go on adventures with me and I punished you by not talking to you for years. Uhh. Can I make it up to you by forcing you to co-star in my bullshit late night cable crock-fest glamorizing all my adventures? Because haha guess what sorry I already did.”

DIMITRI

Fine! You’re right, it’s a stupid idea. But the least you could do is LET me apologize. Don’t I deserve that at least? You won’t even let me see you. Not you, not Leon, you’re both just gone.

FAKE

Well now you know how that feels. When someone you care about just up and vanishes.

DIMITRI

But that’s just not like you two. I mean Leon? He hates moving! He’s been in that apartment forever. And and and — the Red Line is a city now? There’s a boycott, the trains hardly move, everything is…so different.

FAKE

You take off for two years and you expect everything to be exactly the same? What, did you think we were just going to be waiting for you, right where you left us?

DIMITRI

Of course not, but would it be too much to ask to expect my siblings to miss me? To look forward to me coming back?

FAKE

You know what I think? I don’t think it’s really that hard to find me and apologize. I’m standing right in front of your face, after all. And you haven’t said you’re sorry. Not once.

DIMITRI

Stop.

FAKE

You don’t really want to apologize, you just still expect one from me. Apologizing would be too hard for you, wouldn’t it?

DIMITRI

I don’t like this, this isn’t helping—

FAKE

You just used this show as an excuse and then disappeared back into it, back into your own little fantasy. Just like last time. Because you were too fucking scared to—

[Inexplicable Riddles theme fades out]

DIMITRI

SHUT UP! You don’t know me and this — this isn’t funny! This …this is mean and immature so just shut the fuck up. You’re not my sister. And this is a family matter. Okay? (Quieter) Okay?

[Pause]

GREENE (quietly)

Cut.

FAKE

Well, now I know why she might have been scared to go with you. Nice talking to you, little bro. Smoke break, Spence.

[Crash bar, emergency exit door].

 

UNRELIABLE NARRATION

[Sounds of muffled Michael struggling in his chair. Quiet drumming]

NARRATOR Alexander Danner

The weeks had been long for Michael. His plan had seemed so clever. Trick Oliver into a lapse of judgement, allow himself to be carted up to the secret offices, where the hidden information could surely be found. And that much had been true—he learned a great deal about Oliver’s machinations, his relationship to Emily Bespin, the purpose of the Lottery. But he’d assumed he’d find a way back out again. A way to get that information to the people it would benefit. But no. Instead, he was still there, still up in Oliver’s apartments above the ThirdSight office, alone, abandoned.

[Urgent drumbeat plays whenever Leon speaks, contrasting to the quiet, measured drumming accompanying the narrator]

LEON

No. He isn’t alone. He isn’t abandoned. I’m here.

NARRATOR

He’d grown accustomed to the sound of the pneumatic tubes, the hollow “thunk” through the wall. And so he’d known something significant had happened when he heard that same sound, only larger, grander, the sound of an enormous cylinder being launched through a giant tube. He’d seen that one strange tube when he’d first arrived here, the one with the man-sized canister, with the chair inside. Like the old Jetsons people mover.

He understood that Oliver had gone.

LEON (sighing)

I think we can speed this up.

NARRATOR

He knew he had his opportunity. His moment to escape.

LEON

Yes, obviously. The door was locked and reinforced, but he figured out that Oliver, half-assed villain that he is, hadn’t reinforced the wall around the door. Michael took a few good runs at the wall, and burst right through the sheetrock.

NARRATOR

Yes. Right. So then…

LEON

So then he went to the kitchen, cut the ropes around his wrists with a steak knife, and tore the duct tape from his mouth.

[Drawer opens, knife sound, cutting noise, tape tearing sound]

MICHAELJames Oliva

Ow!

NARRATOR

And then it was on to the next order of business—finding a way out.

LEON

He didn’t.

NARRATOR

That…that’s it? “He didn’t.” That’s what you want to boil that entire sequence of events down to?

LEON

It’s the essential information. We don’t need to belabor it. There are only two exits—the giant tube, which no longer has a capsule, and the secret elevator, which is locked with a digital pass code. So he’s still here. Done. Next bit.

NARRATOR

There’s more to it than just essential information. There’s…style. And tone. There’s a process —

LEON

This is my friend. I’m not here to set a tone. I’m here to help. I’m here to take care of him. And that’s what I’m going to do. So, I’m sorry to say this so bluntly, but…fuck your process. He doesn’t need you. He’s got me.

NARRATOR

Really? REALLY?! You know what? All these interruptions, these intrusions, this arrogance…I’ve had enough. You want to do my job? Fine. But you don’t get to pick and choose. You want to do Michael, then you’ve gotta do all the rest of it too. Knock yourself out. I’m done.

[Mic bump noise as NARRATOR storms out, knocking things over in his wake, eventually slamming the door. Gone. For good? Silence].

LEON

Well. Okay then. Good. I’m sure it’ll be nice to be employed again.

Now. Michael. Let’s see if we can more efficiently get all caught up to where he is today.

[Casual swing drum beat plays]

He broke out of his room. Escaped his bonds. Tried to find a way out, but failed. After that, he took stock of his resources. He found the notes to Oliver from Autumn and Ada, and quickly pieced together the reasons for Oliver’s abrupt abandonment of his command center.

MICHAEL

He’s got a kid? Christ. That poor kid.

LEON

He took seriously the likelihood that Oliver wasn’t coming back. He inventoried the food in the kitchen, and found it spare, but not barren. Enough for a week or two, at least. He also found Oliver’s liquor cabinet, and evinced only the briefest hesitation

MICHAEL

Eight eleven five four nine one seven six ten three twelve two.

LEON

…before determinedly carrying every bottle to the kitchen sink and dumping the contents out.

He looked for means of communication. There were the tubes, of course, and he did send some pleas for help through that network, but nothing came of it. He suspected there was no one at the ends of most of them, or possibly just more of Oliver’s agents—the latter suspicion confirmed when canisters began arriving through the tubes with a variety of groceries.

[Pneumatic tube noise]

LEON
Fresh milk and eggs, meat, macaroni and cheese, and stalks upon stalks of celery. So, starvation, at least, was not a concern.

There was also a computer, an old one, with no web browser or e-mail capability, no access to the internet. In fact, the only software it seems to have at all was Minesweeper, Solitaire, and the ThirdSight banking and payroll application. That last, he realized he could use. Not for communication or calling for help, but to offer up a bit of justice at least. He saw that Oliver had frozen payroll for all of ThirdSight. The company had ceased functioning entirely, it seemed, and all the employees were just cut off. Michael fixed that. He unfroze every employee’s payroll, and gave them all fifteen percent raises while he was at it. There was more than enough money in ThirdSight’s accounts to cover that for a year or more.

And then, Michael set about finding a way to live in a locked room. He played solitaire. He read Oliver’s books. He watched Oliver’s television. He caught a recap of the Ocdebacle, and realized that after his own disappearance, his home had similarly vanished. Followed by the company he worked for.

MICHAEL

Oh my God. I…I don’t even exist anymore. I’ve been completely erased.

LEON

And it was amidst that last realization that he finally noticed the crystal ball sitting on Oliver’s desk.

MICHAEL

Huh. I wonder — I wonder if that’s what —

LEON

He reached out for the crystal, picked it up and —

[Strange noise, cracking sound, breaking glass, static, monks droning]

MICHAEL
What’s happening?

LEON [Echoey, in ball]

Michael?

MICHAEL

What — what’s happening?

LEON

Michael. It’s me. It’s Leon!

MICHAEL

Where — where are you? I can’t see you but I can hear you and — is this real?

LEON

It is real, Michael. It’s difficult to explain but I’m here, inside this crystal ball.

MICHAEL

No — this can’t — this can’t be real. This can’t be…(pause. crying) Oh god, it’s so good to hear your voice again.

LEON

I’m sorry. I know this is very emotional for you, I…I know you’ve been through so much. I’m so proud of you.

MICHAEL

I’m going crazy. I’m going crazy, yeah! That has to be it. I’ve been left alone, my life has been wiped from existence and now I’m just completely losing my marbles. [strained laughing]

LEON

You are not alone, Michael. I’ve been looking out for you this whole time, as much as I can. I — I have so much to tell you.

[Drumbeat mixed with cacophony of LEON narration from the past, explaining key plot points, building, layering, becoming overwhelming]

MICHAEL

Wait. Stop. Too much. That’s too much, too loud! I can’t — I can’t think! STOP!

LEON (heavy sigh)

After touching the ball, Michael grew completely overwhelmed with the amount of information he received from — well, from me. He pushed the ball away….sat down on the floor. And cried.

[Sound of MICHAEL pushing the ball away. And crying.]

LEON
This might be more difficult than I originally feared.

 

INTERVIEW MONTAGE

CHUCK OCTAGON — Jeff Van Dreason

Have you ever been trapped or stuck somewhere, literally or metaphorically?

INTERVIEW 2
Uhh. At times I do feel stuck or trapped at times, sometimes I…I have a hard time focusing or concentrating on uhh stuff that needs to be done.

INTERVIEW 3
Uhh. It’s definitely felt like that metaphorically? Umm. I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in my own head sometimes.

INTERVIEW 4
One time it was…I was stuck between what I wanted to do with my life. It just…it’s just one of those times where you would like sit there and think for days, you just what…what am I here to do? Just…what am I supposed to do?

INTERVIEW 5

I was literally trapped in an elevator once.

INTERVIEW 6
Well that day that the red line just wasn’t moving. I mean, but that could be anyday.

INTERVIEW 7
Yeah I’ve been…I’ve been locked up before, so I guess you could say I’ve been stuck. I couldn’t leave. So yeah.

CHUCK OCTAGON
Yeah. That counts.

INTERVIEW 7
Yeah, definitely. Heh.

INTERVIEW 4
And I came to find out that I wanted to be a photographer. And I wanted to portray stories out there for people, capturing stories every moment and stuff like that. I love how photography can explain more than words can do.

INTERVIEW 5
The power went out and it was terrifying and I hated it.

INTERVIEW 3
I know what I want and I know that I can get there, it’s just the how and the motivation, sometimes I just get stuck.

INTERVIEW 8
Literally, probably once or twice as a child, like, sneaking into beds and behind cabinets and things, although I can’t remember any very specific instances.

INTERVIEW 9

It has once in my life. But it was mostly just the challenge of some issues I was dealing with. After it passed, I didn’t feel trapped anymore.

 

VISITING HOUR

[Distant train noise. Prison soundscape, cell doors swinging open, prisoner chatter.]

LEON

Dipshit Poletti was busy writing a note to the man in the cell opposite his, inside Shawmut Jail in Red Line. He planned to flick the note across the floor, past both sets of bars without the guards noticing. Isaiah Powell was supposed to be released by now. What was taking so long?

That’s actually an excellent question. When I gave Mr. Poletti the information concerning Oliver’s plan, I had hoped he would reveal all of it to the authorities and it would be sufficient evidence to release Isaiah, investigate Oliver, and free Michael. I didn’t anticipate Mr. Poletti would take it upon himself to own up to several of the crimes he didn’t do. I greatly underestimated his guilty conscience.

But back to the matter at hand. Mr. Poletti was about to flick his note to Isaiah when —

GUARDKenny Garcia

Polletti. Got a visitor.

DIPSHITJames Capobianco

A visitor? Oh, maybe it’s Fox Fossil!

LEON

It was not Fox Fossil.

[Dipshit sits and picks up a phone]

DIPSHIT

You’re not Fox Fossil.

LAWYERRick Zieff

Quite right, Mr. Poletti! I’m Lawyer, it’s wonderful to meet you. I’m here to pass on some valuable information.

DIPSHIT

I — I haven’t hired an attorney.

LAWYER

So you haven’t! Nevertheless, I think you’ll be interested in what I have to say. It involves the land your commune uses in Brookline. A development firm I work with has been thinking of purchasing it for brand new condominiums affordable only for those employed in high ranking tech positions, pharmaceutical labs, or owners of Japanese Sushi Bowl franchises.

DIPSHIT

What?

LAWYER

Apparently, the land your little group rents is owned by an estranged sister of a deceased local liquor store magnate. The sister currently resides in Wyoming and is unaware of the overall value of local real estate. My firm plans to make her a substantial offer on that land, one which will seem generous to her, but will actually undersell the value by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Perhaps even millions!

DIPSHIT

Why would you do something like that you exploitive gentrifying vultures!

LAWYER

Well. We don’t have to. And we won’t. We’ll leave the land and your commune completely alone. We won’t inform your absentee landlord about the quote – value of her land -unquote. And we won’t develop it for maximum profit. We don’t need it after all. At a certain point, wealth accumulation becomes a preference. Like …choosing additional sides at a Steakhouse. We could hold the baked potato, in this instance. All you need to do is one simple thing. Tell the truth. Tell the authorities the truth about your real involvement with The Lottery. Or lack thereof.

DIPSHIT

The publisher sent you.

LAWYER

I know not who you refer to, sir.

DIPSHIT

And what of Isaiah Powell? He’s innocent!

LAWYER

So he is. And rest assured, your confession will not affect his jail sentence in the slightest. I hope you’ll consider our offer carefully.

DIPSHIT

Being an attorney, I assume you have all of this in writing?

LAWYER

Oh, I’m not an attorney. Lawyer is just my legal name. I’ve changed it, like you, to represent who I really am. But just because we represent who we are doesn’t mean that representation is accurate. Isn’t that right, Mr. Poletti? Do have a wonderful stay in your cell and remember, you can rejoin your commune at anytime. Just as soon as you embrace the truth.

[Hangs up phone]

 

AUGUSTINE DREAMS OF JEROME

Door opens, closes.

LEON

Dimitri slipped into his dressing room and slumped down in front of the vanity mirror, exhausted after his first day shooting Inexplicable Riddles.

[Slumping in a chair]

LEON

His head ached, echoing with the sound of the slate board slamming shut.

[Slate board]

LEON

All the takes they did of the same action, same movements, same repeated lines. Repetition. Replication. Redundancy.  Set-up shot. Hit marker. Lights. Sound. Roll film. Action. Cut. [Slate board echoing repeatedly] Cut. Cut. All day, he wanted to run through the stage doors, run all the way to the airport, fly back to Boston, vowing not to leave until — until —

He was so tired he didn’t notice his answering machine. Two messages. He…he reached out and pressed…he pressed…

Oh. Oh, Dimitri…

[Dimitri presses answering machine button]

DARBY Greg Shea

Hey there, buddy. Got your care package and letter. Thanks for the sweets, awfully thoughtful. Too much sugar for me to tackle on my own, but I split them up among the guards. They’re good folks, treating me nice. They deserve a little something extra for their sweet tooth’s. Sweet teeth? Nah, that ain’t right. Anyway, they’ve been looking out for me. Been telling them lots of stories. About the war. About Alaska. Uhh, about you.

Sorry you’re having a tough time. You should know, I don’t got no hard feelings or nothing. This is preferable, to be honest with you. I did a lot of thinking before I let you go. I thought…mm, I thought about just walking away, surrendering. But when a man spends so much time inside his own head, he gets real stubborn. And stubborn men are just prisoners with invisible chains.

Least this way, I can talk to folks again. Hopefully, uhh,  you can soon, too. Take comfort that you didn’t spend so much time away. What’s left of my family is gone and I — oh, I never really got to make amends. But you’ve got time, buddy. You’re not frozen in that Alaskan ice anymore. Make the most of it.

If you ever find yourself in Oregon again, swing by the penitentiary, say hello. They say I’m allowed visitors. Eh! Only people come by so far have been the news. Hang in there and take care.

[Hang up. Answering machine beep]

LEON

Dimitri, I — I didn’t…I didn’t want you to —

URIAH

This message is for Dimitri Stamatis. My name is Uriah Connolly and I own the property at 17 Orchard St in Cambridge. My current tenants recently returned from a two week vacation to find a written contract hand delivered by you and made out to your sister, accompanied by a note for your brother and my former tenant, Leon Stamatis. I would have given you this news sooner but they did not bother to inform me of this —misunderstanding — until they slipped a note into their rent check, which I received yesterday evening. So — so I — I just found out that you — you either don’t know? Or you’re choosing an extremely peculiar way to deal with your grief.

[Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch begins to play]

DIMITRI

What?

LEON

I wish I could be there with you. I wish you could…

URIAH

Assuming it’s the former, I — I’m really sorry to be the one to tell you this, and especially in such a crude, informal manner, but your brother, Leon Stamatis, passed away about a year and a half ago. I don’t know much of the details other than the fact that his death somehow involved a roller coaster.

DIMITRI

No…no…

URIAH

Several of your attempted correspondence have appeared here since his death. I attempted to contact your sister, but she was impossible to reach. Eventually, a squatter illegally occupying this apartment, a man named Michael Tate, professed friend of your brother, collected your letters. I do not know why your sister or this man Tate haven’t bothered to inform you of this tragic news, and I’m deeply saddened that this responsibility has fallen to me. I hope this concludes our correspondence, or in the very least, ends the repeated practice of letters to a dead former tenant plaguing my current tenants. Thank you and God Bless.

DIMITRI

(Under his breath)

Augustine dreams of Jerome…

LEON

I wish you weren’t alone in your grief.

DIMITRI

Leon…Leon…I —

LEON

You or Nica…

DMITRI

Oh god, all — all this time…Nica…ohmygod…

(Knock on the door)

FAKE NICA (distantly)

Hey, man. You in there?

DIMITRI

I— I can’t —

FAKE NICA

I just wanted to apologize about what went down earlier. It was a shitty thing to do and I’m sorry.

[Door opens]

DIMITRI

It — it wasn’t shitty. It wasn’t shitty, you weren’t shitty, I was shitty.

FAKE NICA

Whoa. Oh-okay. Are…you okay?

DIMITRI

Nica. Nica, oh god, I’m so sorry.

FAKE NICA

Wha?

DIMITRI (sobbing)

I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry about Leon. I wasn’t — I wasn’t there.

FAKE NICA

Dude you — you’re kinda —

DIMITRI (sobbing)

Please. Please, just — just be her now. Please be her now, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, please be her. Please be her. Please be her.

FAKE NICA

I mean, what do you —

DIMITRI

Leon is dead and I wasn’t there. My brother! And I wasn’t there, I wasn’t there for either of them!

FAKE NICA

Okay. Shh. Shh, okay. It’s okay.

DIMITRI

I’m so sorry.

LEON (overlapping)

I’m so sorry, Dimitri.

FAKE NICA

It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m going to forgive you. It’s okay. Someday, you’ll find me again. And I’ll forgive you.

DIMIRI

What did I find? Oh god, what did I find after all this?

FAKE NICA

It’s okay. I’m here. I’m here. It’s okay.

[Archibald MacDonald fades out]

 

CREDITS

JEFF VAN DREASON
Hello, uhh. Credits? Oh. Right, he — he left. Uhh.

[Door opens, closes].

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

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

  • Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis
  • James Johnston as Dimitri Stamatis
  • Kristen DiMercurio as Fake Nica
  • Alexander Danner as The Narrator
  • James Oliva as Michael Tate
  • And James Capobianco as Dipshit Poletti
  • Also featuring:
  • Kenny Garcia as Greene
  • Rick Zieff as Lawyer
  • Greg Shea as Darby
  • And Ben Flaumenhaft as Uriah

Interviews recorded with Greater Boston residents.

Charlie on the MTA is performed by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede. Drive the Cold Winter Away performed by Adrian Howard, Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede. Inexplicable Riddles theme by Dave Fernandez. Drums by Jim Johanson. Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch by Dirk Tiede.

Some sound effects and music used from public domain and creative commons sources.

Episode transcripts will be posted online at GreaterBostonShow.com.

If you enjoy Greater Boston, please consider supporting our Patreon campaign or leaving us a review on ApplePodcasts or spreading the word through social media.

Episode transcripts are posted online at GreaterBostonShow.com and you can follow us on Twitter @inGreaterBoston

 

COOKIE

 

JAMES OLIVA

(theatrical cough, a-hem). I was told somewhere not to do the “ahem.” That it was uhh, bad for the vocal cords. But, I’m gonna say, with vocal cords like mine? (laughs) You can’t damage those. Oh, they’re too, they’re just too precious. Okay.

BRADEN LAMB

[Singing Gregorian chant]

ALEXANDER DANNER & JEFF VAN DREASON
(laughter)

BRADEN LAMB
[Continues to sing]. Everyone join in!

JEFF VAN DREASON
Sorry, that was lovely! I think usually we go the buddhist monk route? But — (laughter)

BRADEN LAMB
Oh, oh, oh.

JEFF VAN DREASON
But I loved that!

ALEXANDER DANNER
Yeah!

[Laughter]

 

CONTENT WARNINGS

  • Strong language
  • Scenes set in prison environments.
  • Severe emotional distress and instability
  • Sudden, severe grieving
  • Belief in Scientology

 

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