Transcript for Episode 29: Hit It With A Tiny Mallet

COLD OPEN

CHUCK OCTAGON – Jeff Van Dreason
What do you think the value of professional sports in the Boston community is?

INTERVIEW 1

Oh, it’s — ohhhh. (laughs). Ugh. It’s valued very highly. Everyone loves sports in Boston. Ugh. I mean —

CHUCK OCTAGON
Do you?

INTERVIEW 1
No.

[Charlie on the MTA begins to play]

CHUCK OCTAGON (laughs)

INTERVIEW 1

Anytime there’s a game, like, because I take the train a lot, anytime there’s a Red Sox game, or like a hockey game, like …I know, because everyone looks exactly the same. (pause). Yeah.

CHUCK OCTAGON (laughs)
And they’re all acting the same too —

INTERVIEW 1
Yes. Very drunk.

CHUCK OCTAGON
Yeah (laughs).

INTERVIEW 1
Yes.

PREVIOUSLY IN

MIKE LINDEN

Previously in Greater Boston.

SALES  — Rick Zieff

Down the rabbit hole, Mr. West. Down to Wonderland!

NICA STAMATIS  — Kelly McCabe
The Yard Goats! We could own it. Make a deal with the team, commit to the stadium.

LOUISA ALVAREZ – Julia Propp
Whoa. Missing person.

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGE – Lydia Anderson
Spray-painted over the whole Big Red.

LOUISA
Who’s the resident?

GEMMA
It’s the Bespin’s place!

LEON STAMATIS – Braden Lamb
Do I need to show you everything? So be it. I’ll show you.

 

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 29: – Hit It With a Tiny Mallet

[CHARLIE on the MTA music fades out]

 

OLIVER IN WONDERLAND

[Excessive tinkering. Cheese robots speaking in a mixture of different cheeses and technical specifications. Broke Yeti and drum track plays].

OLIVER WEST – Mike Linden

Hello?

[Cheese robots stop speaking. Tinkering noise ceases.]

CHEESE ROBOTS (simultaneous)

INTRUDER! INTRUDER! INTRUDER! GRATE HIM! GRATE HIM!

OLIVER (simultaneous)

Wha — what’s the — you all have the same face? Why are you — NO! You are on my property, gentleman. If you even think about chasing me out of here, I will be forced to call the authorities and investigate your presence.

ETHAN BESPIN – Jordan Higgs

Stinking bishop!

[Mechanical switch. The cheese robots halt].

ETHAN

Go on. Call the authorities.

OLIVER

Hmm. But they stopped.

ETHAN

Clocks stop but still tell time.

OLIVER

What?

ETHAN

I stopped them. And I can just as easily start them again, if I get bored. The security protocol hasn’t been tested yet and this seems like a perfect opportunity. Plus, from where I see it, if I let them proceed, the one serious threat preventing me from continuing my research here will be completely eliminated. Perhaps even in a grand, grotesque manner. That might be fun to watch.

OLIVER

They’re all made in your likeness? That’s incredible. Wait I — I recognize these. From the San Francisco fire exhibit. I recognize you! You’re Emily’s husband. You’re Ethan!

ETHAN

We’ve been losing our exits. One by one.

OLIVER

What?

ETHAN

Oh if only you were a simple machine and could understand code. I yearn for the time when people could be programmed.

OLIVER

Well forgive the ever-blasted heck out of me.

ETHAN

You turn me good and God fearing. I’m missing something.

OLIVER

You and me both!

ETHAN

I assume you’re here to take back what’s yours, but I also know you won’t call the authorities. Breaking and entering and criminal trespassing is what they’d charge me with, possibly a few other minor misdemeanors. But if they knew the extent of what you’ve done —

OLIVER

They don’t.

ETHAN

You could have been a legend but you became a father.

OLIVER

I beg your pardon.

ETHAN

I’m growing more bored with every passing second of this conversation just as much as I’m growing more curious about the effectiveness of my security protocol.

OLIVER

If the authorities knew what I’d done as Oliver West, I would be in scalding hot water, yes. But Oliver West is no more. I am now … (checks paper) … Carington Vandermonte. A brand new identity and a squeaky clean record, conveniently hot water proof.

ETHAN

Gripping a beast by the teeth. You’re no lion tamer.

OLIVER

What exactly is that godforsaken gogglabook you insist on sputtering out every other sentence?

ETHAN

See, if you were clever, you’d refer to my speech as something of a cryptick. You know, a cryptic tick. But you’re not clever, Mr….Vandermonte was it? If you were you’d realize you don’t have a leg to stand on. The legs who owned this amusement park belong to Mr. West. And as you so readily just admitted, you are no longer Mr. West. No Mr. West, no Mr. West’s legs. No standing. No outrageous moral authority, and thus no call to the authorities. Nothing.

OLIVER

You’re correct. Calling the authorities would only be counterproductive in my case. That being said, there is someone else I could call to inform about your presence here. Someone I suspect you’d very much like to keep in the dark about your present whereabouts.

ETHAN

Sleeping without a dream.

OLIVER

Who is? Emily?

ETHAN

She never asked my opinion on any of this. She just …saw the opportunity and rushed right in.

OLIVER

Mmhmm. And you rushed right out.

ETHAN

Ah! We speak the same tongue, just at varying speeds.

OLIVER

I quite agree. So allow me to propose a detente to our frosty introduction and suggest something of a partnership. Why did you come back here, after all? You must have known the risks involved with sneaking into your old workshop. You couldn’t have possibly hoped to get that ridiculous amusement park back up and running without anyone finding out. Although I must say, I did fancy your San Francisco fire re-enactment.

ETHAN

Why thank you. The truth is, I know my creations need work. I know they’re not complete yet. I knew that before we re-opened Wonderland, but Emily was pressuring me about recouping our losses. So I rushed things. Mistakes were made. I felt bad when Emily told us we had to move to Red Line. That’s not true, I didn’t feel bad, I never feel bad, but I indulged her all the same. But this is where I’m happy, in my workshop, not some tiny tin can train car bumping into the walls. I need space to tinker. Space that doesn’t move all the time. I need my stationary tinkering space! And once I iron out the wrinkles, my machines will never make mistakes. Can you imagine that? A world without human error?

OLIVER

In this moment, looking at you? I cannot. But I do have an idea of what to do with these fascinating little tin men of yours. And I’ll put them to great use for our mutual benefit and allow you to keep your workshop here. If you help me.

ETHAN

If is a word as wide and as deep as the sea.

OLIVER

Far too many as’s in that sentence, but pish posh. For your little tin men to be useful, we need Red Line. And if we need Red Line, we need Emily to win. And for Emily to win, she needs money. My money. But as previously discussed, my reputation is tarnished and it’ll be best if there’s no visible, traceable connection to Emily. Your estrangement complicates things, but —

ETHAN

But I’m her husband. So it wouldn’t look unusual for me to walk into her home with a briefcase full of your cash.

OLIVER

Precisely. And all your little robots will soon find a home working in Red Line, ensuring it ticks along like a perfectly designed clock, as meticulously mechanical as your marvelously make-believe men. So. Do we have a deal?

ETHAN

I recommend fire instead of the fool.

OLIVER

Given your handshake, I’ll take that as a yes.

ETHAN

Oh yes, Mr. West. Oh yes indeed.

[Broke Yeti / Drums fadeout]

 

THE YARD GOATS

[Old time bluegrass plays. Large, enthusiastic crowd discussing sports. Mic bump / feedback. Corresponding cheer – mild chatter throughout]

EMILY BESPIN – Sam Musher

Hello Red Lineans! Thank you all for coming out today! It is an absolute pleasure to be here today, to see my wonderful supporters. It’s fitting that my support comes from such intelligent, respectable people. The best the city of Red Line has to offer. That’s who you are, and I want you to know that I see you!

Next week is the big week! Election day is almost here. And I’m not worried. I’m not here to ask for your vote. I know how you’ll be voting. No, today I’m here to tell you about the good things waiting for you on the other side of election day. The bright future that awaits Red Line!

I have a grand announcement. A plan, if you will, to satisfy the big question many of you have been asking. To slake the thirst you all feel. There is one thing the people of any city need, in order to experience the full pride of place, the tribal joy of common cause. And that, my friends is a simple thing: we need a sports team.

[Large enthusiastic response / cheering from crowd. “Woohoo!”]

EMILY
Now, this is not a new request. Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge knows your desire. She investigated the options, drew up plans, walked right up to the edge of action, and then said: “nah. Never mind.”

[Audience boos]

EMILY
Why? Why would she so blithely toss away the opportunity to make her constituents happy? We may never know. And Powell…Powell has no desire to please you at all.

[Audience boos]

EMILY
She’s said as much over and over. No, you can’t have a stadium at Braintree. No, you can’t have easy access to your homes and transit systems. No, you can’t keep criminals locked up where they can’t hurt you.

Well, I have a very different view of things. I believe the people of a city should be happy. I believe they should have the institutions they demand.

[Crowd builds up to a clapping cheer]

EMILY
I believe Red Line should have a baseball stadium atop the Braintree Station park & ride! And not three years from now, like Linzer-Coolidge’s tepid plan would offer. Not even two years from now. When I am elected mayor, stadium construction will begin immediately, and that stadium will be complete in only one year’s time! It can be done. I have found the contractors to do it. I have the plans drawn up, the schedule worked, out, the construction crews ready to get to work just as soon as I have authority to give the order.

[Emphatic cheers / fan reactions]

And that’s not all. It’s all fine and good to have a stadium, but what then? What major detail has been left out of this equation, left out of Linzer-Coolidge’s planning?

FAN

A team! A baseball team!

EMILY

That’s right! Who is going to use the modern state-of-the-art stadium coming soon to Red Line? Who will play there?

SOX FAN

Red Sox!!!

EMILY

Oh no, not the Red Sox. That’s retrograde thinking, my friends. That’s a move backwards. We are not Boston. We are Red Line! And we deserve our own champions. And in that spirit, I am delighted to introduce you to my new friend, Bruce Bosley, general manager of Connecticut’s Hartford Yard Goats!

[Cheering / “Yaaaard Gooooooooats.”]

BRUCE BOSLEY — Kenny Garcia

Hello! Hello everyone! I’m Bruce Bosley, and for the last four years, I have been managing the Hartford Yard Goats, a minor league baseball team from Connecticut. The Yard Goats are a great team! Full of heart. Full of spirit. Just itching to get their chance at the big time. But there’s been one problem standing in our way: we’ve got no stadium. We’ve been told time and again that a stadium is coming. Yet it never does. We need a new home.

This right here is a *signed* contract that becomes binding immediately upon Emily Bespin’s mayoral victory. And the terms of this contract state that upon Mayor Bespin’s swearing into office, the Yard Goats will officially relocate to the city of Red Line, to play in the new stadium at Braintree station, to be built within one year’s time.

[Cheering / fife version of Battle Hymn of the Republic plays]

EMILY

That is right my friends: if you elect Emily Bespin mayor, then one year from election day, you will be eating popcorn and sausages at the first home game at Braintree Stadium, cheering on your very own Red Line Yard Goats!

[Cheers]

SCATTERED CRIES

Yard Goooooats!

EMILY

Thank you Bruce! As you can see, we are all very happy to have you here, and very excited to welcome the Red Line Yard Goats!

And thank you all for coming out today! And remember: a vote for Emily Bespin is a vote for baseball!

[Huge cheering / more “Yard Goats chanting. Music fades out]

 

INT – “What’s the value of professional sports in the Boston community?”

CHUCK OCTAGON — Jeff Van Dreason
What’s the value of professional sports in the Boston community?

INTERVIEW 2
That’s one I wouldn’t be able to answer. (laughs).

INTERVIEW 3
People love it. Fans love it. Especially the Red Sox and, like, watching Football.

INTERVIEW 4
There will be times when like riots and stuff will break out if their te– their home team doesn’t win, or if the opposing team loses, there will be celebrations out in the street loud enough to hear from three towns down.

INTERVIEW 5
I feel like it plays a very huge role in the city of Boston given it’s history of success.

INTERVIEW 2
I think it would be one of unification. Something that allows the — the city in the greater area to feel rejoice together and — or feel pain together. (laughs). Depending on the year.

INTERVIEW 5
It reflects on how — how Bostonians are winners. You know? We — we just — we’re hard workers, it reflects really good about us.

INTERVIEW 6
Uhh, I don’t know a lot about sports. My brother lives near Fenway Park and that’s about as close as it gets.

INTERVIEW 7

I lived next to Fenway for a while and it was the worst because my commute would be horrible. And I wanted to ban baseball forever. Umm. (laughs)

INTERVIEW 8
My dad really, really, really wanted me to be into sports when I was younger. And so we went out to a lotta baseball games and — I don’t remember any particulars of the games. But I know I value the memories I made with like my dad and my friends.

INTERVIEW 6
Even when, like, I don’t really watch sports, like, I remember getting into, like, a bit of a — like, a tiff with someone from New Jersey. And I was like, “The Red Sox are the best! They beat a curse! In 20–like, what have you done?”

CHUCK OCTAGON (laughter)
I like the idea that they’re actually beating a curse. Like there’s — (unintelligible).

INTERVIEW 6
Yeah. Yeah, exactly, like 2004? They won a World Series after Babe Ruth cast a literal curse on them.

INTERVIEW 9
I don’t know. It’s hard to say because it’s too expensive, so I think it excludes a lot of people. I mean I guess the value is it’s something for everyone to cheer on together, and that is something, but I don’t think that involves everyone.

 

DANCING WITH LEON

[Digging through files and boxes and papers. Spy music plays. Red Line trains run underneath]

GEMMA LINZER-COOLIDGE — Lydia Anderson

Okay, walk me through these numbers. What are these?

LOUISA ALVAREZ – Julia Propp

That’s the purchase agreement for the baseball team.

GEMMA

The Yard Goats?

[Monty coos]

GEMMA

God what a dumb fudging name. How about we just call them the Red Line Trash Eaters?

LOUISA

Sounds like Monty likes it.

GEMMA

Monty likes goats. Charlotte’s mother gave him a stuffed goat, and it’s his favorite thing.

LOUISA

At least “Yard Goats” isn’t racist. That puts us one up on some other cities.

[Paper shuffling]

GEMMA

Does this really say they all get free train-board housing?

LOUISA

Yup.

GEMMA

But there aren’t enough vacant cars to house a whole baseball team!

LOUISA

Not yet there aren’t. Apparently, she expects that to change. So that’s number one.

Now, number two: people love the idea of the Braintree Stadium, but nobody has seen the numbers yet. This is the revised estimate.

GEMMA

God, I can’t believe she’s committing to that. It’s too expensive, there’s no way Red Line can afford it.

[Paper shuffling]

Wait, this can’t be right. This is triple the original estimate!

LOUISA

Your estimate was for a three year plan. She’s promised to get it done in a year. It’s her top priority, and she’s ready to shell out for it.

GEMMA

She’s going to bankrupt the whole fucking city.

[Monty yowls.]

GEMMA

Sorry.

LOUISA

Yeah.

GEMMA

Are you sure this is legit?

LOUISA

I’ve got a reliable CI.

GEMMA

Who’s the source?

LOUISA

The “C” stands for “confidential.”

GEMMA

Come on, Louisa, I have to know where this is coming from.

LOUISA

And I need my informant to trust me if you want the information to keep flowing.

GEMMA

I want to meet them.

LOUISA

That’s a terrible idea.

GEMMA

Why? Are they dangerous?

LOUISA

No, you’d just really hate each other. You’re too much alike.

GEMMA

You think I hate myself?

LOUISA

I…didn’t mean it like that. It’s just, some people can’t really get along with people who are too similar to themselves.

GEMMA

This would be a lot easier if I could get my information directly.

LOUISA

Like how you got your info from Dipshit Poletti?

[Monty howls]

GEMMA

Shh…which information?

LOUISA

You let him out, didn’t you?

GEMMA

Dip…sydoodle’s confession didn’t hold up.

LOUISA

But he still had information. He knew things.

GEMMA

Yes.

LOUISA

And you wouldn’t have let him go if he hadn’t given that information up. Including the name of the man at the top. The publisher.

GEMMA

…uh!

[Music fades out]

LOUISA

Were you planning to share that information with me?

GEMMA

No. No, we’re playing that close to the vest right now.

LOUISA

That’s what I thought.

GEMMA

Louisa…

LOUISA

Look, I’ll ask them, alright? I’ll see if they’re willing to meet. But nothing happens without their say-so. Fair?

GEMMA

Fair.

Do you think this is enough? The way she’s throwing the city’s whole future away for a baseball stadium? When we get this out, does that sink her campaign?

LOUISA

I don’t know. It’ll sway some people, sure. Add in the giant question mark about how she’s planning to free up the carpartments, and maybe we’ve got it. But voters tend to be short-term thinkers on the whole.

GEMMA

God, this would be so much easier if Charlotte had just stayed in the fudging race. She would have won. I know she would have.

LOUISA

But if that’s not what she wants, then what good is it?

GEMMA

Is wanting things what matters? Look—you’ve been doing this investigation. And you’re good at it right? You’ve found this special skill you have.

LOUISA

Um. Sure, I guess. Though considering I spent four months literally dating one of the people I was supposed to be rooting out, maybe don’t give me too much credit just yet.

GEMMA

Well, okay, but you’re good at a lot of it. Certainly the paper trail part of it. And so you have to use it, right? You can’t have this amazing skill and not use it. It’s a moral imperative.

LOUISA

Oh, god no. I mean, I was a fucking great wedding photographer. I was. But, jesus christ, weddings. Hell if I’ll ever go back to that. I mean…

I’ve told you about Leon, right?

GEMMA

Your ex. The same guy I tried to hire at ThirdSight, before I left.

LOUISA

Yeah, that was kinda weird. But anyways, yeah Leon…

[Organ music plays – Lloyd Rogers]

LOUISA
Leon was the best dancer I ever dated. I don’t know if it had something to do with his sense of time, or if he had every move just perfectly mapped out in his head or what. But he had rhythm like you wouldn’t believe. And grace, and perfect anticipation of his partner’s movements. He could melt into the music like they weren’t even separate things.

I loved when we’d go dancing. It was my favorite thing to do with him. And so he’d take me. Not that often, but he always put it on his schedule, every now and then. But here’s the thing: Leon hated dancing. I mean, he absolutely loathed it. Even just being on the dance floor, around all that chaos, all that spontaneous movement. That was just not…well, to say it was not his thing would be the understatement of a lifetime. But he did it. Because he was good at it, and he knew how happy it made me. But it became an obligation. But doing it took so much out of him. It drained him. Every time, the day after, he’d be completely useless. He wouldn’t do anything. For hours, he’d just lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, like he couldn’t cope with anything less predictable than that solid blank surface, until he’d put everything inside himself back in order.

I mean, I don’t know, we go through life, we all have to do things we don’t like. But, I don’t know. I think there’s a whole other price to being that good at something that makes you miserable.

I mean, somewhere out there, somebody is the world’s best shit-shoveler. That doesn’t obligate him to spend his whole life shoveling shit.

[Music fades out]

GEMMA

It’s still better than not being good at anything, though. Isn’t it?

LOUISA

You’re good at things Gemma, come on. Don’t be melodramatic. And even if you weren’t, there are plenty of people perfectly happy doing jobs they’re bad at.

GEMMA

They may not be good at it, but at least they’ve found something they’re passionate about! I don’t have any passions. Not like Charlotte. She’s known what she wanted to do from the time we first met. She had something in her that needed to come out. That’s never been me. I never had these big dreams that everyone talks about. I just wanted to go to work and come home and take care of the people around me. Why can’t that be enough?

LOUISA

It can. For lots of people, it is. But for you…it’s just not. If it was, you wouldn’t be this unhappy. But that doesn’t mean you have to chase some monumental passion. You don’t need to find some grand ambition. I mean, look, becoming a private investigator was never some deep burning need I had. It’s just something I think I’ll like doing. You know?

GEMMA

… I’ve been thinking.

LOUISA

Go on.

GEMMA

After all this. Everything. We’ve got nothing waiting for us. Charlotte and me. We’ll need jobs. And I was thinking…if you’re okay with it…maybe I could come work at your PI agency? I mean, we’ve already been working together, doing kind of the same thing. And I think we’ve liked working together. I know I have. So, it just makes sense. To me at least.

LOUISA

We’d be flipping roles, though. I mean, I’d be your boss.

GEMMA

I can be completely fine with that.

LOUISA

I…I’m open to it. I don’t want to promise anything, Gemma. But I don’t know if I’ll even know if I’ll be able to have employees. Not at first. It’s not like I’ve got a waiting list of clients. It’s a brand new business. But if I get some clients, if the money is there…then yeah. Yeah, I’d like to keep working with you.

[Monty coos and farts.]

GEMMA

Monty says he’d like that too.

[Red Line trains]

 

SPRAY PAINT AND VODKA TONIC

[Alcoholic drink preparation]

LEON STAMTIS – Braden Lamb

Emily sipped her vodka tonic and looked at the powered-down facsimile for a husband. His metallic arms hung off his shoulders like dying tree branches overloaded with the weight of too many leaves, too many years. His back was nearly bent in half, his fingers scraping the floor. It reminded her of the apartment in Wonderland, surrounded by fake fire. She thought of Ethan like one of his creations, then. Fake and mannequin-esque, but after living with the real thing…now she knew better.

She wondered what the impulse had been, leaving this little gift behind. Was it out of spite? Did Ethan leave his cheese-loving robotic surrogate to remind her of what she hated the most about the whole Wonderland debacle? Or had he genuinely been trying to ensure she wasn’t completely alone?

[Ice clinking in drink]

EMILY

That’s probably it. Because to him, this would be some great gift. What does he know about being alone, dribbling little fool of a —

NICA STAMATIS – Kelly McCabe

Who — who are you talking to?

EMILY

Oh, you’re still here, Nichole.

NICA

Yes. Where else would I be?

EMILY

Don’t you have a dwelling of your own to scurry off to after a hard day of mooching my money away from me?

NICA

Umm. It’s three in the afternoon.

EMILY

I agree with you, by the way.

NICA

Ah, uhh, you agree that it’s three in the afternoon?

EMILY

No. I agree with you about him. About that — thing. Don’t be fresh.

NICA

Sorry.

EMILY

Oh, I shouldn’t speak so harshly. You did well today. I mean, *I* did well today. You didn’t do anything except place phone calls and… sign some forms, you know, whatever the hireling labor involves. I did all the real work. Whoever knew that speaking this much could be so exhausting? But the idea was yours — the — what is it called again? Team Ball?

NICA

Baseball. The Yard Goats.

EMILY

Ugh. Having to pretend to like athletics. In public. Saying that ridiculous name with my mouth in the form of a smile. “The Yard Goats!” Excruciating fake enthusiasm. Pretending so much, that’s what’s really exhausting. Speaking is something I don’t really have a problem with. But all that pretending. Do you know what I mean?

NICA

Uhh, well —

EMILY

Of course you do.

NICA

I do. I honestly do.

EMILY

Pretending. Yes. I lost myself for a little bit there. He left me that thing and I knew what it was and I just…I just went with the flow for a while. (Pause). The night he left I…I had a hard time with it. It was a night just like this.

NICA

It’s three in the — oh, never mind.

EMILY

I came home from campaigning. And there he was. Sitting just like he is now, in his favorite chair. Upright. Smiling. Turned on. He…he started lecturing me about the best kinds of cheese boards for small social gatherings. And I knew, right then, what he was. And I searched for him, the real him. I called every number I had, contacts and friends of friends. And I drank, just like I’m drinking now. Vodka Tonic. I called the pathetic RLPD and reported that my shopping mall cinnamon bun sugar cake Ethan was gone and some…some robo-interloper was left in his place. Was this kidnapping? Some kind of intimidation move from Powell or Linzer-Coolidge? Do you know what that Red Line officer said to me? It’s too early to file a missing person report. You need to wait at least 48 hours. Missing person? He wasn’t missing. He was taken, that had to be it. He was gone. And he couldn’t be gone. He couldn’t be gone! Why would he be gone? Where would he go? And why would he…why would he leave me that thing? Why would he leave …

[Ice clinking in glass]

So I drank. I drank and kept calling, kept searching. And eventually…I found a can of spray paint in his workshop. The train was parked at the end of the line. Brain-Plant, is it?

NICA

Braintree.

EMILY

And I stepped outside my door. The station was quiet. And I took a swig of my drink and spray painted two words, up and down the length of the entire car. Missing. Person.

NICA

Wow. I, umm —  

EMILY

Oh, don’t look at me as if I’m some roguish vagrant. It’s my Big Red, it’s mine to decorate however I want. My property, mine to do with as I please. And when I was done…I…couldn’t go back inside. I couldn’t face what he left me with. Because that meant I would have to face what it was. What it all was. Do you understand Nichole? It wasn’t just my failure I had to face. It was worse than that. It was a constant, living reminder of my failure. It was what I’d run away from, those stupid fake San Francisco flames. Not real, not hot enough to burn me, but real enough to remind me that my life was going up in smoke.

NICA

Emily, I’m…I’m really sorry. I — I know this isn’t the same thing, but — not too long before I started working for you? My — my brother died very suddenly. He was kinda like a father to me and I was with him when it happened. And for a long time, I pretended that I was okay. And then one day, it hit me. All that pretending I was doing? It was like a weight I was holding up over my own head. And it just collapsed all over me like an avalanche. I think pretending can be good for people sometimes. But when you need to do it to make you happy? That’s different. That’s dangerous. And if that’s what you’re doing with this election? Maybe think about switching it up. Stop pretending a little. For your own sake.

EMILY (bitter laugh)

Switch it up? What, be myself? Yeah, the plebs would just love that, wouldn’t they?

NICA

Who cares if they don’t?

EMILY

Nichole. This is politics. Getting people to like you is how you win at team-ball and become the….king of the Yard Goats or whatever their grand title match entails.

NICA

What makes you so sure they won’t like you if you just be yourself?

EMILY

Ahah! You know why.

NICA

Not really.

EMILY

Please don’t be dense, Nichole.

NICA

It’s Nica and I think you know that and I’m still not sure why —

EMILY

Because *nobody* does. The only person who came close was Ethan and he — he left this piece of shiny, cheese-loving trash behind. As if that was enough for me. As if it were what I deserved!

(Pause)

Nichole. (Pause). Nica. I’m — I’m sss —I’m so — I’m sor sss — I’m suhh — sor — I’m sss — I’m s — I’m sor — ssss — I’m sor — sss — suhh — I’m — I’m sor sor ssss — I’m sor — sorr — I’m ss — I’m sorry. About your brother. Now. Get rid of this thing. I’d say burn it but…that resonates too strongly. Hit it with a tiny mallet until it’s just gears and screws and sparks.

NICA

Okay. Are you sure?

EMILY

Positively.

[NICA drags robot Ethan towards the Red Line door, metal scraping, Nica grunting. Red Line doors open]

ETHAN

Journey from the East has brought spoils for the spoiled!

NICA

You!

EMILY

Ethan!

ETHAN

Hi honey. I’m home! And boy do I gotta hot proposition for you…

[NICA drops robo-Ethan]

ETHAN

You fetid china-shop bull! Take shape or sweep yourself to the side!

NICA
Sorry!

 

CRYSTAL CLEAR 3

[Low rumble of track. The Red Line? No. A roller coaster. The Whirl-la-don. Ambient music plays].

LEON

Michael. I’m asking you, one more time. Please put down the crystal ball.

MICHAEL TATE — James Oliva

To be blunt, the future terrifies me, as does anything unfixed, unknown, or unpredictable.

LEON

I’ve been keeping this from you. This memory. This feeling. This moment of my life.

MICHAEL

Tuesday, September 3, 5:00 — 5:15 PM.

Evening commute—lessons on railroad history with The Mayor of the Red Line. Inquire about impact of the child was born before the nation existed.

LEON

If we’re to use your metaphor, it is the farthest drop of water in the pool which you insist on swimming in. You’re connected to it, but distantly.

MICHAEL

To veer away from established plans is unconscionable to me, a fact that may frustrate my friends, but which never supervise outing to local play facilities.

LEON

You’re with me now. On the roller coaster. On the Whirl-la-don. Look to your left and see Nica. She’s smiling at you…in excitement and anticipation.

[Chain pull of roller coaster climbing up track]

MICHAEL

Exercise caution—conditions hazardous. You see, I’ve done something I regret. I gave up on something important — I — gave up — (repeated, overlapped)

LEON

Say goodbye to Nica. Like I had to. Like I have to say goodbye to you now. Feel the dread in my stomach. Nerves ready to split in half.

MICHAEL

Incorrectly. A stamp. A river.

LEON

I’m thinking of ending my relationship with Louisa. Thinking of applying to Third Sight Media. Thinking of Dimitri and Nica opening Christmas presents for me when I was a child.

MICHAEL

I’m barely able to act on those plans. The few attempts I have made to create order —  have done anything but create more chaos.

LEON

Thinking of anything orderly to minimize the unknowable anxiety I’ll find at the top of this agonizing track.

MICHAEL
Incorrectly.

LEON
The sound of the coaster car bumping along like a ticking clock.

MICHAEL
Incorrectly. The Letter M.

LEON

We’re at the top, Michael. I want you to know that I love you.

MICHAEL

Silence.

[Click. The roller coaster has reached the top. Wind. Distortion.]

LEON

Look down, but not all the way.

MICHAEL

Nothing.

 

LEON

Just take a peek.

MICHAEL

Tomorrow.

LEON

Please, look. And know just a taste of the price of my decision.

MICHAEL

The coffin.

LEON

Feel it. Feel the drop, but don’t drop Michael.

MICHAEL

The coffin. The — coffin. (repeated)

[Roller coaster rides intensify — track building up steam]

LEON

Don’t drop. Drop the ball or you’ll go straight down. Into the earth, your roller coaster pod shattering around you, and your body shattering with it. Don’t drop!

MICHAEL

It’s so far too far it — it goes straight down — don’t —

[Roller coaster noise intensifies. Laughing screams]

LEON

Drop the ball and don’t drop.

MICHAEL

Don’t drop the ball…

LEON

Drop the ball!

MICHAEL
Don’t…drop…the ball…

LEON
Drop it!

MICHAEL
Don’t …drop…the ball..don’t…don’t…drop — Drop the ohmygod the drop — drop drop the— ball

Na — no no no ohmyGOD — AHHHHRRRGH!

[Michael rushes to the pneumatic tube and shoves it inside, sending the ball rolling through the tubes and outside to the parking lot. The ball rolls and pops out of the other end of the tube. It lands in the parking lot. Distant traffic. Bird noise. The ball rolls against concrete and knocks into the curb].

LEON

Well. Well, it appears as if someone found my letter to Nica and Dimitri. So that’s a plus.

[On Questions of Innocence and The Naivete of Flowers Act I plays]

 

CREDITS
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:

Mike Linden as Oliver West
Jordan Higgs as Ethan Bespin
Sam Musher as Emily Bespin
Lydia Anderson as Gemma Linzer-Coolidge
Julia Propp as Louisa Alverez
Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis
Kelly McCabe as Nica Stamatis
And James Oliva as Michael Tate

Also featuring:
Kenny Garcia as Bruce Bosley
With Anthony Geehan, Bridge Geene, Jesse Hall, Erin King, Amanda McSweeny Geehan, Paul Miscavage, and Jack Pevyhouse, as Cheese Robots and Baseball Fans.

Interviews recorded with Greater Boston residents.

Charlie on the MTA is performed by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede. Drums by Jim Johanson. Broke Yeti by Ryan Estrada. On Questions of Innocence and The Naivete of Flowers Act I by Lloyd Rogers.

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 also appeared in this episode AND edits the fantastic audio drama Tides, which recently wrapped up their first season. Check it out.

And special thanks to our sponsor Porter Square Books. Remember to take 20% off with coupon Greater18 at PorterSquareBooks.com. Buy someone you love a new book. Even if that someone is you.

 

COOKIE

JORDAN HIGGS
I wish that had been the choice I’d made for Ethan now. That all Ethan’s lines were like that?

[Laughter]

ALEXANDER DANNER
Just like that?

MIKE LINDEN
Right.

JEFF VAN DREASON
Schwarzenegger? (Arnold impression) GET OUT DON’T YOU KNOW THERE’S A FIRE!

JORDAN HIGGS (Arnold Impression)
GET OUT. I STOPPED THEM AND I COULD EASILY START THEM AGAIN! IF I GET BORED. THE SECURITY PROTOCOLS HAVEN’T BEEN TESTED YET AND THIS SEEMS LIKE THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY!

JEFF VAN DREASON
It’s almost Marvin the Martian! There’s a little bit of Marvin the Martian in there!

JORDAN HIGGS
PLUS FROM WHERE I SEE —

[ALL: Laughter]

JORDAN HIGGS
WE’VE BEEN LOSING OUR EXITS ONE BY ONE!

JEFF VAN DREASON
Tempting! We’d have to – we’d have to re-record everything else we did, but I’m still tempted!

JORDAN HIGGS
IT MIGHT BE WORSE SO DO IT THIS WAY! DO IT THIS WAY!

 

CONTENT WARNINGS

  • Strong language
  • Political Manipulation
  • Alcoholic consumption
  • Possible functional alcoholism
  • Unintentional hypnotism
  • Description of “death” / near death experience
  • Abandonment
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger Impressions

 

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