Transcript for Episode 27: Doors, Knocks, Keys, Locks

COLD OPEN


JESSICA WASHINGTON

I am a….young, vibrant female trying to make it through…the rays of life. Umm, the ups and the downs, trying to figure it all out, and trying to learn as much as I can before the time ends.

[Charlie on the MTA plays]

JESSICA WASHINGTON
And I think I’m here…well, I think I’m still trying to figure out why I’m here. I think that the more I go along within the journey, I’ll figure it out and hopefully I’ll be able to achieve whatever that purpose is.

PREVIOUSLY IN

MARCK HARMON

Previously in Greater Boston.

CHARLOTTE LINZER-COOLIDGE — Summer Unsinn

This is it, proof that Powell was framed, he had nothing to do with any of it. We’re letting that poor kid out.

LAWYER — Rick Zieff

Tell the authorities the truth about your real involvement with the Lottery.

DIPSHIT POLETTI – James Capobianco

What of Isaiah Powell? He’s innocent.

LEON STAMATIS — Braden Lamb

After touching the ball, Michael grew completely overwhelmed with the amount of information he received from…well, from me.

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

JEFF VAN DREASON

This week in Greater Boston, Episode 27: Doors, Knocks, Keys, Locks

[CHARLIE on the MTA music fades out]

 

ONE SENTENCE

LEON STAMATISBraden Lamb

Isabelle Powell was at home. Isabelle Powell hasn’t left home for weeks, standing in public protest of her nephew’s wrongful arrest, and protesting injustice against the disenfranchised in general.

[Rocking chair noise. When Isabelle speaks, you can hear her voice life and through the echo over the intercom]

ISABELLE POWELLJessica Washington (Intercom)

Good morning people of Red Line.

LEON

Her campaign continued, full steam, but she campaigned right there, right from her own home. She made the media come to her, she issued her speeches from this spot, directly to everyone in the city via the integrated intercom system.

ISABELLE (Intercom)

This is Isabelle Powell, your candidate for city mayor. And it’s time for our morning chat. And today I’d like to talk to you about a little thing called “justice.”

LEON

The community was behind her. The disenfranchised portions, anyway. The poor, the powerless, the historically neglected. They all saw a compatriot in Isabelle. She had their votes.

ISABELLE (Intercom)

We have a funny way of thinking about justice in this country. We confuse justice with the law. We confuse justice with the act of punishment for transgressions against law.

LEON

And she was almost angry at herself for still caring about votes. Even now, while she still didn’t have the one thing that was everything. While she didn’t have her nephew. Her Isaiah. But even so, she couldn’t stop. Her campaign was bigger than she was, her cause bigger than just her nephew.

ISABELLE (Intercom)

That is not what justice is. And that should be so easy to see. Was it “just” that an escaped slave should be captured and returned to captivity and whipped for his transgression against the law? The law said it was.

LEON

The commutity cars shut down in quick succession. Homeowners locked their doors, hung “Free Isaiah” signs in their windows. And let’s be honest—commutity car-dwellers hadn’t exactly been thrilled about the parade of strangers through their homes in the first place.

[Red Line door heard / Red Line train runs]

ISABELLE (Intercom)

Is it “just” that someone born to rich parents should have the best medical care as reward for his skill in inheriting money? Is it “just” that a person working three jobs just to scratch together enough money for food and rent should never see a doctor, because they haven’t worked hard enough to earn their health? The law says it is.

LEON

It didn’t matter if they believed in Isaiah’s innocence or not, they were just glad for the excuse to reclaim their privacy.

ISABELLE (Intercom)

Is it just that children should be exiled for the crimes of their parents–a crime of simply stepping across an imaginary line onto an expanse of land that we claim by right of having *stolen* it from the ancestors of those same children? The law says it is.

LEON

She collected endorsements, from civil liberties foundations, privacy foundations, the National Organization for Women, the NAACP. Money flowed into her campaign.

ISABELLE (Intercom)

Legality does not make an act just. *Rightness* makes an act just. That is what justice is. It is the act of moving our society toward what it properly ought to be. If we truly believe in justice–if we truly believe that Red Line can be a just city–then we *must* keep that single brilliant truth at the center of our minds.

LEON

And she directed all that money where it needed to go. To advertising, subway posters, radio spots, direct mailings, even local TV commercials. And she did all of that from home, in her rocking chair, next to her phone. Her old phone, the one that still had a handset that rested in a cradle. The one whose number only a handful of people know.

ISABELLE (Intercom)

Thank you for your time. I will speak to you again this afternoon, when I’ll have a little something to share with you about prison reform. I’m Isabelle Powell, and I am your candidate for mayor of Red Line.

[Hangs up intercom]

LEON

And as she did everything else, moved money, planned advertising, developed policy, met with supporters, spoke out to the people of Red Line, she also, every minute, every second, consciously waited for that phone to ring.

[Phone rings. Rocking chair stops]

LEON

Finally.

ISABELLE (picks up phone)

Isabelle Powell speaking.

 

CHARLOTTE LINZER-COOLIDGESummer Unsinn (over phone)

Isabelle, it’s Isaiah. I mean well, — it’s Charlotte. It’s —

ISABELLE

Charlotte. I hope you understand that if I pick up my phone, and I hear your voice, there is only one sentence I’m interested in hearing.

CHARLOTTE

Isaiah’s free.

Isabelle?

ISABELLE

Say that again.

CHARLOTTE

Isaiah’s being released. We’re still processing him out, all the paperwork, all that…bullshit. But he’s free. He’s going home. On behalf of the entire city of Red Line, I’d like to apologize to you and Isaiah, perhaps in person, soon.

ISABELLE

You finally believe he’s innocent.

CHARLOTTE

I always believed he was innocent.

ISABELLE

Didn’t believe hard enough, though, did you?

CHARLOTTE

I’m holding a press conference. They’re pulling it together now. I’ll announce his release. I will make very clear that it’s not just my belief anymore. We *know* he’s innocent.

ISABELLE

Do you now? And what, pray tell, do you know now that you didn’t know before?

CHARLOTTE

There’s forensic evidence. Fingerprints. Linking all stages of the crime to a different suspect. Someone with no ties to Isaiah at all. Someone who wanted us to believe it was Isaiah.

ISABELLE

You know who did this? Who aimed this tragedy of injustice directly at my nephew?

CHARLOTTE

We know the identity of the stooge at the bottom. The guy who did the legwork. But he’s just the…the bullet. He’s not the one who did the aiming.

ISABELLE

So who is?

CHARLOTTE

We don’t know. Not yet. But we’re going to find him.

ISABELLE

And that will make you feel better about all this.

CHARLOTTE

It’s my job. That’s all. Catching him is my job. For now at least.

ISABELLE

Not for much longer though. Unless you’re rethinking that little announcement you made.

CHARLOTTE

No, I’m out of the race. That’s done. All I’ve got left to do is announce my endorsement.

ISABELLE

I see.

CHARLOTTE

I’m endorsing you, Isabelle. At this press conference? After I announce Isaiah’s release…I’m announcing my official endorsement for you as Mayor.

ISABELLE

Why? Why would you do that? Is that supposed to be some kind of apology? Am I supposed to forgive you?

CHARLOTTE

No. It’s not an apology, and I don’t want your forgiveness. But I do want Red Line to be a better place. A better city. I’m not the person to do that. I couldn’t see what Red Line really needs. But you can. You’ve convinced me, Isabelle. All of this has convinced me. You’re the right person to be mayor of Red Line. I want you to be mayor of Red Line.

ISABELLE

Well. That’s fine, then. You’ll do what you think is right, I suppose. You always do.

CHARLOTTE

I…

ISABELLE

Now may I ask you something else? You say you’re supporting my campaign. But did you support my boycott?

CHARLOTTE

No. We did not. Since we’re still acting as Red Line officials, we thought it was best to use our Rail Home and offices to handle as many of the commuters as possible. Plus, Gemma needs to be able to respond to some emergency situations with her connection to the RLPD, so —

ISABELLE

I see. I see.

CHARLOTTE

How else can I support you? What else can I do?

ISABELLE

You’re not asking me the question.

CHARLOTTE

What question?

ISABELLE

“Will this stop now that Isaiah’s released?” My boycott. Do you assume it will?

CHARLOTTE

No. And although I’m not participating in it, I’m also not pressuring you to stop it.

ISABELLE

Charlotte. I’ve just had a thought.

CHARLOTTE

About?

ISABELLE

The intercom.

CHARLOTTE

What about it?

ISABELLE

I thought I was so clever, getting access to that. And every day, feeling so pleased that you still hadn’t figured out how I did that, that I was still getting away with it.

CHARLOTTE

Sure.

ISABELLE

I’m not so much “getting away” with that, am I? You could have cut me off at any time.

CHARLOTTE

Officially? No. We just…”never found the time” to investigate that particular problem.

ISABELLE

Hm.

CHARLOTTE

(Pause) But…out of …general curiosity. Will you stop the shutdown, now that Isaiah is free?

ISABELLE

I honestly don’t know. Isn’t that funny? I thought I knew. Now I’m not so sure.

CHARLOTTE

You have time to decide. For now though, better get moving to Shawmut. Trains are moving slow these days because…well, you know.

ISABELLE (laughs)

I do.

CHARLOTTE

Good luck, Isabelle.

 

EXONERATED

[Prison environment noises, swinging cell doors, etc]

LEON

When they said he was getting out, Isaiah Powell thought they’d unlock his cell, escort him down the hall, up the stairs, and into the light of day. And that all did happen. Slowly. Ploddingly. That lady, the mayor’s wife, had told him this was it, he was going free.

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGELydia Anderson

As fast as we can make it happen. We’re expediting this.

LEON

And then she left to “start the process,” while he sat in a cage another three hours before anybody showed up with keys.

[Keys jingling. Cell door swings open]

And then there were the forms to sign, but not right away, he had to wait his turn, sit in an uncomfortable chair another two hours, until he finally got his chance to identify himself to Officer-Desk-Jockey-With-Mustard-on-his-Cheek.

ISAIAH POWELLMario DaRosa Jr

Yes, I’m Isaiah Powell.

Yes, that’s my correct phone number.

Yes, I live in Dorchester.

LEON

Then he had more paperwork to get his stuff, everything he’d had on him when he was arrested, his real clothes, the stinking unwashed laundry that’d been sitting in a plastic bag for weeks. But whatever, he had a door open to him, and permission to walk through it.

DESK JOCKEYKenny Garcia

Don’t even think about going out there.

ISAIAH

Why not?

DESK JOCKEY
You got any idea what’s happening on account of you? You step out onto that platform, that crowd is likely to tear you apart. Linzer-Coolidge said we gotta call someone to pick you up. We can escort you onto a train too and manage the crowd. After that, you’re on your own.

LEON

Isaiah needed his aunt. But he didn’t have a train schedule, and his phone was dead after all those weeks locked in a box. The desk jockey took pity on him loaned Isaiah a phone charger, then sat watching with hawk eyes, like Isaiah was desperate to steal the cheap-ass thing right there in the cop shop. He waited until he was at 14%, then the Desk Jockey and another guard accompanied him on both sides. He felt like he was being marched back to his cell, but no. The guards walked him to the door to make his call. He could hear the yelling from the other side.

[Through closed doors: yelling, screaming, people chanting “terrorist!”and other horrid things. Phone dials / rings]

ISABELLE [through phone]

Hello?

ISAIAH

Aunt Izzy?

ISABELLE

Isaiah, baby, where are you?

ISAIAH

I’m here! I’m about to go out on the platform at Shawmut! I’m out!

ISABELLE

Oh, I’m at Savin Hill, baby, I’ll be there in two minutes! You’re really out?

ISAIAH

Almost. They have me waiting for the train on account of all the protestors. They’re gonna guide me on, send me on our way.

ISABELLE

Well you just sit tight. I’m past Field’s Corner now! I’m almost there. Oh, I’m gonna have to cook you dinner, something special. What’ve you been wishing for?

ISAIAH

Aw, I’m not looking to put you to work. I’m uhh — I’ll just be happy to be home.

ISABELLE

It’s not work, it’s a celebration! What do you want? Milk gravy? I know you love my milk gravy.

ISAIAH

I can’t say no to that.

ISABELLE

Biscuits and gravy, I’ll start just as soon as I’m done hugging you. Oh, I see Shawmut now! Oh my — word.

[Red Line train arriving]

DESK JOCKEY

Let’s go. Get the door.

ISAIAH

We’re heading out now.

[Keys]

ISABELLE

I’m coming into the station. Baby, you’re almost home.

[Large door opens. Yelling intensifies. Mob shouting. People throwing things. Train stops]

PROTESTER 1
Send him the hell back!

PROTESTER 2
Send him back!

PROTESTER 3
Send-Him-Back!

PROTESTER 1

WE DON’T WANT HIM!

PROTESTER 2

Keep-Redline-Safe!

PROTESTER 4

We don’t want him in our city.

DESK JOCKEY

Back! Get back! Other side of the yellow line, or I’m dragging you all back in with me.

ALL

KEEP REDLINE SAFE!

PROTESTER 4
GET OFF MY RED LINE!

CROWD (chanting)
THROW THEM OUT! THROW THEM OUT! THROW THEM OUT!

ISAIAH

Aunt Izzy!

ISABELLE

Right here, baby! Over here!

[Someone throws large drink at Isabelle. It hits her Red Lien car with a smack]

ISABELLE

[Yells]

ISAIAH

Aunt Izzy!

ISABELLE

It’s okay! I’m okay, move your butt and get in here.

DESK JOCKEY

CLEAR OUT THE WAY, MAKE SPACE, COME ON!

ISABELLE

Come on you damn door.

[Red Line doors open, then quickly close. Crowd noise cuts off. Protestors beat against the door before it drives away]

ISABELLE

My baby!

ISAIAH

I’m here! I’m here.

[They embrace.]

ISABELLE

Yes you are, baby. You’re here.You’re back.

[Red Line train rides away and fades out]

 

SING LITTLE BIRDIE

[Jail environment, handwriting]

DIPSHIT POLETTIJames Capobianco

Dear Particle Physics,

I hope all is well with you and the Family. I am just writing to see if you have any new information regarding the association I spoke about with Fox Fossil and 23 Skidoo when last they visited. As I have continued to meditate on the existential threat posed by this shadowy menace, my fears have only grown. It would ease my spirit to hear back on your own investigations, and whether you have made any progress uncovering the nature of of our oppressors.

GEMMA

Dipshit!

[Cell door opens up slowly]

DIPSHIT

Speaking of oppressors, my local oppressor is demanding my attention. I will write more anon.

[Reels plays]

GEMMA

Hey Dipshit!

DIPSHIT

Gemma.

GEMMA

I got news for ya. Get your ass off that cot, let’s talk.

[Moving off cot noise / red line train heard distantly]

DIPSHIT

Unless you’ve let Isaiah Powell go free, I can’t see that we have anything to talk about.

GEMMA

Oh…I did. It’s done. He’s out.

DIPSHIT

Wait…really?

GEMMA

Yup. Got all sorts of exculpatory evidence. And an ID on a real culprit.

DIPSHIT

Oh. Oh! That’s wonderful!

GEMMA

Thing is, this evidence also exonerates you. You weren’t at any of those places you said you were. You didn’t touch any of the crap related to this asinine plan.

DIPSHIT

So that means…

GEMMA

That means we haven’t got you on terrorism, but we’ve still got you on aiding and abetting and on obstruction of justice.

DIPSHIT

Oh. I guess…I guess I can’t really deny any of that.

GEMMA

You really can’t.

DIPSHIT

Well, still. I promised you the name once Powell was released. I will honor my word.

GEMMA

Yeah, hold up on that.

DIPSHIT

But don’t you need…

GEMMA

Is the name “Philip West?” Just “yes” or “no.”

DIPSHIT

What? No.

GEMMA

Good. Because that name isn’t worth anything. We’ve already got that name, so it’s no good as a bargaining chip.

DIPSHIT

Bargaining?

GEMMA

But if the name you have belongs to someone *above* Philip West, someone at the top of the food chain…

DIPSHIT

Yes. I know who’s behind all of it. His name’s…

GEMMA

No, no, no, shut, shut, shut, shut, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Good. That’s the information we need. That’s the bargaining chip you’re holding, and we want it. But what is it you want? Powell’s out, and it has nothing to do with you. You’ve gotta bargain for something else.

DIPSHIT

Like what? I don’t have anything…

GEMMA

Don’t be a dipshit, Dipshit. What do you want? Right now, what would make you happy?

DIPSHIT

Protecting my Family.

GEMMA

Not…the answer I was expecting.

DIPSHIT

They’re being threatened by a developer. Eviction.

GEMMA

Where?

DIPSHIT

Brookline.

GEMMA

Station?

DIPSHIT

Town.

GEMMA

Sorry, out of my jurisdiction.

DIPSHIT

What if it pertains to your investigation?

GEMMA

Then you’ve got great motivation to tell me everything you know, *after* we make our bargain.

DIPSHIT

What bargain? I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be asking for.

GEMMA

Think more immediate. Right now, right here, for you personally, what would you like more than anything else?

DIPSHIT

Well…I’d certainly like to not be in jail.

GEMMA

Oh really? You’d like that? Is that what you’re demanding in exchange for the valuable information you can offer us?

DIPSHIT

Uh…yes?

GEMMA

Great! Sign this.

DIPSHIT

What…

GEMMA

Full immunity from prosecution for any crimes you’ve committed in relation to the activities you’ll be informing us about. You’ll be free to go. Just don’t say anything until after you’ve signed it.

DIPSHIT

Why would you do this?

GEMMA

Dipshit…I really fucking hate you. You know that. The worst torture of my life was working with you.

DIPSHIT

Likewise.

GEMMA

But I don’t want to see you in jail. I mean…you really put yourself in harm’s way, for some kid you don’t even know. You offered yourself up just to make things right for him. Whatever I may think of you…I have to respect that. And I can’t let you go down for the one truly decent thing I’ve ever known you to do.

DIPSHIT

That’s…the least insulting thing you’ve ever said to me. I’m…touched?. Goddess help me, I actually mean that.

GEMMA

Oh shut the fuck up and sign it.

[Signing]

DIPSHIT

There.

GEMMA

Excellent. Now: Sing little birdie.

DIPSHIT

Wait…I have to sing it? Was that in the contract I signed? Is this some form of forced debasement? Humiliation as the currency of freedom?

GEMMA

What? No. I meant like, you know…a stool-pigeon. A snitch?  Just tell me the guy’s name.

DIPSHIT

Oliver West. His name is Oliver West.

[Reels completes]

 

CRYSTAL CLEAR 1

[Monk chant. Low volume continuous flow of Leon and Michael monologuing from previous scenes, catching up via streaming mental link]

LEON

It took some time, a day or two of minesweeper while watching soap operas and game show reruns on Oliver’s TV. But eventually Michael picked up the crystal ball again. And this time, I prevented myself from getting overly excited. I concentrated on explaining the situation as clearly and concisely as I could. And we started to…communicate. Slowly, carefully, I gave him a fuller picture of events as I understood them, including insight into all I had witnessed in my spectral state. I even confessed to my reluctant involvement with Oliver’s blackmailing attempts in order to keep Michael free from harm, a plan that Michael himself unintentionally sabotaged.

[Background monologues fade out]

MICHAEL TATEJames Oliva

So…uhh, if I hadn’t volunteered to go up here, your plans to keep me safe would have worked?

LEON (in crystal ball)

Possibly.

MICHAEL

But then…but then I wouldn’t have found you!

LEON

Yes, but —

MICHAEL

So it all worked out! It all worked out! And Nica, oh god, we have to help her. It all makes sense now, why she acted the way she did — the way she was just…I don’t know, she was just being WEIRD.

LEON

Michael, I think you’ve been —

MICHAEL

I can’t believe Oliver has been manipulating everything going on with Red Line. We need to — we need to tell people…we need to…

[Thunder. Music shifts to something more ambient and strange]

LEON

Michael, are you okay?

MICHAEL (sounding Leon-like)

Of course. I momentarily…lost myself. But I’m fine. Now, where were we?

LEON

I was catching you up on everything you missed. You should now be caught up.

MICHAEL

Yes. The enormity of all that information is leaving me feeling a bit hazy. How about a game of chess to settle my mind?

LEON

I’m not sure if that’s —

MICHAEL

Come, now. Surely you can’t find fault in playing one game of chess. Besides, what else do we have to do? Isn’t it preferable to fill the time with mind-clearing activities rather than waste it doing nothing?

LEON

Michael, we’ve been talking for three hours. You haven’t eaten. It’s late. You need to sleep.

MICHAEL

Good old Leon, always looking out for me. (Pause) One game? It’s just good to hear your voice again.

LEON

Okay. A quick game before bed.

MICAEL

Excellent.

(Simultaneous)

I’ll be black.

LEON (simultaneous)

I’ll be black.

(music fades out)

 

THAT ONE

[Red Line train noise, cooking sounds, dishes, etc.]

ISABELLE

Visited your school while you were gone. They were so glad to hear you were okay. Got a bunch of work for you to catch up on. At first those college professors thought this was some kind of pattern of behavior for you. Figured you were in the habit of up and ghosting all your classes, but once I filled them in on the particulars of the situation, they became much more agreeable.

[Beat]

What’s the matter Isaiah? Did I overcook it?

[Beat]

You know, it’s funny how smart these professors are but they barely know what’s going on in cities right next to theirs. Some of them didn’t even know the Octabacle happened, let alone anyone was arrested, let alone the person they arrested was — well, was you, one of their best students. Guess they got larger concerns in mind being so …professorial and all that mess.

[Beat]

You want some dessert? I’ve got an apple pie in the fridge. Awfully quiet. Your daddy used’a say, “Must be good, no-one’s talking,” but you’re lifting that fork like its an anvil.

ISAIAH

Not that hungry.

ISABELLE

C’mon now. I gotta believe that food is better than what you were getting served inside.

ISAIAH [bitter laugh]

Inside. Yeah, the food is better.

ISABELLE

What is it, baby? You can talk to me. Did something happen while you were in there?

ISAIAH

What are you gonna do now, Aunt Izzy?

ISABELLE

I’m gonna tell you about the pumpkin-pie ice cream in the freezer to go along with your apple pie.

[Refrigerator opens]

ISAIAH

Please. I’m not — talking about the food. What are you going to do about the boycott?

[Refrigerator closes]

ISABELLE

Well. I don’t know yet. We’re changing up the campaign a little bit with a new focus and direction. I uhh — I expect you’ll have mixed feelings about this, but I hired Linzer-Coolidge’s communications director, Melissa Weatherby. I know, I know — but I think you’ll be impressed with her once you meet her. She’s got some good ideas that don’t stray from our mission and —

ISAIAH

What is our mission? The commute-ity cars are locked down. What’s next? The platforms? The stations?

ISABELLE

We — we can’t barricade the entire city, Isaiah.

ISAIAH

Why can’t we? (Pause) I said, why can’t we?

ISABELLE

I know you’ve been through a lot and I’m no spring chicken, but my ears still work just fine.

ISAIAH

You’re still not hearing me, though.

ISABELLE

You’re angry. I know. I am too. I always have been. I probably always will be. It’s like the ocean. There are tides and waves. Sometimes it pulls at me. Sometimes it pushes. Sometimes it drowns me. Sometimes I can float on the surface just enough that it feels like I’m blessed, like I can walk on water. But no matter what, calmest seas or raging storm, it’s always there. And more often than not? It erodes at me. Slowly. Like an old beach stone. And that’s not fair. That’s not right. But that’s what it is.

ISAIAH

You know, the whole time I was sitting in that cell, I could only think about getting home, about the things I was gonna do once I was free, about not taking advantage. But as soon as I hit the platform today. Saw the look in all those commuters eyes. “That’s the one.” That look said. “Those two. This is their fault.”  

Same looks on the day of the newsman’s train wedding. I came to warn you and that Emily Bespin woman gave me that same look. Aimed those cops right at me. Looked me in the eye, pointed a finger and said, “That one.” Called me a terrorist, still calling me one, calling you one too. Never said “accused” or “suspected.” Just straight to “guilty,” like she thought she’d pulled the truth straight out of my heart.

And then they’ve got their guns pointed at me. A half dozen, a dozen, I don’t even know. All I saw was guns. And I thought that was it. I thought, “there’s no way not one of these guys panics.” Thought there was no way I wouldn’t panic and cause them to panic. Not with all that chaos going on. But none of them did. Not that time. I don’t know how I got that lucky. Some kind of miracle put me in that cell.

And that Bespin woman. Looking me in the eye the whole time with that look. I thought I was gonna die. She was smiling at me.

When I stepped onto the platform today, all those commuters giving me that same look? You know what I wished for? I wished I was back inside. I wish I was never released.

ISABELLE

No. Don’t say that —

ISAIAH

Yes.

ISABELLE

Baby, you just need a little time to —

ISAIAH

It’s not about what I need, Aunt Izzy.

ISABELLE

Don’t you see I did this all for you. I had to, I put everything on hold so —

ISAIAH

But that’s the problem! You did it for me! You did this huge, rule-breaking, world-changing thing, but it was only ever just for me. I wasn’t the only innocent black kid sitting in that jail. Getting those no-good looks on subway platforms for no good reason. You know that. And I won’t be the last. But you were so focussed on me, you let all the rest of it go. I heard you on the intercom, having your little chats. And you spoke truth, about justice. But you only ever said one name. My name. There are more names that need to be spoken for, Aunt Izzy. More kids rotting in jails, who don’t have aunts to shut down the city for them.

You gave it all up. You sacrificed it all. For what? (Pause) It can’t be only about me. It can’t.

ISABELLE

That’s why we have to win, Isaiah. I can’t help anyone else if we don’t win.

ISAIAH

And you think shutting down an entire city for the sake of your stupid fucking nephew is the best way to win, huh? And what if we can’t? What if there’s no winning? What if we make all the sacrifices, do everything right and be good and proper, play by their rules and convince the people who hate us for no reason that we have no resentment about how horrible they are to us — and then we still lose? What then?

ISABELLE

Number one, do not curse at me like that again.

ISAIAH

You’re right.

ISABELLE

Number two. To answer your question, if we lose, we go back to work and we don’t stop until things change.

ISAIAH

Okay. Say we eventually win. Then what? We “change the system from the inside?” When has that ever worked? Who has ever changed the system, instead of getting changed by it?

ISABELLE

So if we lose, it’s all useless, but if we win, it’s all useless too? What do you suggest, we give up?

ISAIAH

Can’t give up on a game we could never win, Aunt Izzy. I’m telling you what you already know, but you insist on rolling the dice anyway. We cannot play by their rules. Their rules don’t work for people like us. Because they’re always gonna give us that look. They’re always gonna have an excuse. Whether you play nice or piss them off? We. Always. LOSE. We’re always gonna be “that one.” So maybe the best answer is just to knock the board over and stop believing the rules might magically become fair if we simply pretend hard enough.

[Chair scrapes back. Isaiah rushes for the door. Red line train. Pause]

ISABELLE

*Ahem* Not much for a dramatic exit.

ISAIAH

Yeah. [Pause] This is…uhh. This is awkward. [Pause]. Planning on storming out of here but, well you know.

ISABELLE

Train living cuts down on at least some of the drama. Gotta time door slamming just right. [Pause]. I know you’re angry at me. And I understand why, now. But I wouldn’t have done a damn thing differently. You’re out. Maybe that’s selfish. Maybe I’m naive, a fool. But you’re out. I care about everything else. But not enough. And if that makes you hate me? Then it comes with a big sacrifice. But it was still worth it. [Pause] Where you going?

ISAIAH

Gonna try to meet up with someone.

ISABELLE

A friend?

ISAIAH

I don’t know yet. Maybe. I hope so.

[Train pulls in. Red Line door]

ISAIAH

I’ll talk to you soon, Aunt Izzy. Thanks for the meal.

[Red Line door closes]

 

FAMILY IS LOVE

[Phone ringing]

FOX FOSSIL (on phone)

Hello?

DIPSHIT

Fox Fossil?

FOX FOSSIL

Dippy? Is that you? I didn’t think you had a call coming today! Hang on, let me call everyone in…

DIPSHIT

No! Fox…Fox Fossil!

FOX FOSSIL

Yeah, Dippy, I’m here.

DIPSHIT

Maybe…maybe don’t call the others in just yet. I’d like to just talk to you for now.

FOX FOSSIL

Sure. Of course.

DIPSHIT

Something…something good has happened. They found evidence. They let Isaiah Powell go.

FOX FOSSIL

Oh! Well, that’s great, right? That’s what you’ve been waiting for. Does that mean…

DIPSHIT

It means I’m out. It was more complicated than I’d thought through, but…I’m free.

FOX FOSSIL

Oh my god! Oh Dippy! That’s huge! I can’t believe…you’re coming home now, right? I can’t wait to see you! Oh, that’s the best new!

DIPSHIT

No…no that’s the thing. I don’t think I’m ready to come home yet.

FOX FOSSIL

What?

DIPSHIT

I confessed the truth. The actual truth I mean, not the fake truth I gave them in my first confession.

FOX FOSSIL

Well that’s good right? You’re free. And you did what those people wanted.

DIPSHIT

Yes. But…not until after Isaiah was exonerated. I don’t think they wanted that. I don’t think the Family is safe yet. I need to find out who they are. And how to fight them.

FOX FOSSIL

You can do that here. We can help you.

DIPSHIT

But it’s not just them. The media isn’t done with me. I’m not going to jail, but I’m still part of the investigation. I’m still news. And the Family has enough problems with oppressive mainstream patriarchal heteronormative monogamistic biases. The Family can’t afford for me to bring all that attention home. Especially not while this association is still a threat.

FOX FOSSIL

You’re still Family.

DIPSHIT/FOX FOSSIL

And Family is love.

FOX FOSSIL
Yes.

DIPSHIT

I know.

FOX FOSSIL

I want you to come home.

[Childgrove begins to play]

DIPSHIT

I’m not asking what you want right now. I’m sorry. But I’m not.

FOX FOSSIL

Where will you go?

DIPSHIT

I don’t know yet. I guess I’ll just wander the land for a while, and trust that nature will provide.

FOX FOSSIL

I don’t like it.

DIPSHIT

I know. Neither do I. But it’s necessary. It’s the right thing for me to do.

Fox Fossil?

FOX FOSSIL

Yeah?

DIPSHIT

I love you.

FOX FOSSIL

Oh, I know that, baby. I know. I love you too.

 

CREDITS

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

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis
Jessica Washington as Isabelle Powell
Summer Unsinn as Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge
Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge
Mario Da Rosa Jr as Isaiah Powell
James Capobianco as Dipshit Poletti
James Oliva as Michael Tate
and Jake Del Rio as Fox Fossil

 

Also featuring:
Kenny Garcia as Red Line Desk Jockey
With:
Bridge Geene
Amanda McSweeney-Geehan
Michelle Nickolaisen
Paul Miscavage
And Jack Pevyhouse

as: Red Line Protestors

Interviews recorded with Greater Boston residents.

Charlie on the MTA is performed by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede. Reels performed by Adrienne Howard, Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede. Childgrove performed by Adrienne Howard and Dirk Tiede.

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

Episode transcripts will be posted online at GreaterBostonShow.com.

Special thanks to our Greater Bostonian level Patron Bridge, who appeared in this episode, and edits the fantastic audio drama Tides, which recently wrapped up their first season. Check it out!

 

COOKIE

ALEXANDER DANNER

Do you have any notes, or just run it again?

JEFF VAN DREASON

When you yell? Imagine, like…ahh…how do you react when someone sneaks up on you and scares you?

JESSICA WASHINGTON
I swing.

ALL
[Laughter]

JEFF VAN DREASON
Great answer!

 

CONTENT WARNINGS

  • Strong language
  • Depictions of institutionalized racism
  • Racist protesting
  • Racism
  • Scenes set in prison environments.
  • Possible depictions of PTSD

 

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