Transcript for Mini Episode: Seriously, What’s the F***ing Deal with the Guinea Pigs? Part 3

JEFF VAN DREASON

Hey everyone! In just a few days after the release of this episode, we’ll be appearing at PodCon 2 in Seattle, from January 18th to 20th. And we’ll have a creator table there as well, so come on by and say hello! We’ll have t-shirts and posters and other merch, including some exclusive items we’ll only be selling at PodCon. And guess what? Two weeks from today, we’re back from our hiatus with our next full-length season 3 episode. Episode 32: To Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations. Beam up on January 29th, and be ready for some surprises, including a brand new cast member we’re super excited about.

[Drums & Guinea pigs]

This week in Greater Boston: Seriously, What’s the Fucking Deal with the Guinea Pigs? Part 3.

OLIVER

So there we were, Norbert and I. One-time arsonists, on the brink of greater criminal endeavors.

LEON

You’ve left something out, haven’t you?

OLIVER

I quickly became adept at picking locks, while Norbert studied the techniques for defeating electronic security systems.

LEON

You left all of your father’s belongings in the house to burn.

OLIVER

Breaking and entering became our vocation.

LEON

But his guinea pig cages and feeders and paraphernalia are still sitting in your old hideout.

OLIVER

Petty theft our primary income.

LEON

You never told Norbert, but you went back for it, for all that useless equipment. Why that? Of everything you could have kept as a memento, why choose such useless and tainted junk?

OLIVER

The great difficulty in certain types of crime is not in the theft, but in the liquidation. It’s easy to dispose of a gold watch or a functional stereo for quick cash. But Norbert and I had more refined tastes. We aspired to respectability, even if only a more respectable sort of crime. Several of the homes we invaded contained works of art. Valuable cultural artifacts. It was toward these items that our eyes were drawn.

We have our father to thank for our early success. Over the years, he had been conned by all sorts of grifters and hucksters. Exactly the sort of people who know where to find a good fence. A guy who knows a guy, as it were. Those sorts of people have specializations, you see. But there is always someone who knows how to turn a purloined Picasso into cash on hand.

Thus we funded our education and cared for our families. Our greatest score came in 1990. It was a simple plan. The most effective generally are. We acquired police uniforms , then simply walked up to our target, told the night watchmen that we were responding to a silent alarm, and allowed the guards themselves to escort us past locked doors and motion detectors. Once inside, we drew our weapons, restrained the guards, and went about our evening’s business. That one haul alone was sufficient to launch my media empire.

LEON

The bits you sold, anyway. But you kept trophies from that job, didn’t you? Pieces too fine to part with. Did your brother know? He didn’t, did he? About that, or about the secret hideouts you’d claimed, hidden networks of forgotten rooms and mysterious tube systems, abandoned by the your criminal forebears. You kept all that to yourself, didn’t you?

OLIVER

We were quite comfortable by the time we saw our father again. We found him one evening, in downtown Boston, asleep in the doorway of a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Norbert slipped a dollar into his pocket. I chose otherwise.

LEON

You kicked him in the shin.

OLIVER

That night, Norbert and I made a pact—we were done with crime. We sealed our agreement over half a bottle of Scotch. Forty-five minutes later, we found ourselves amidst the glass flower display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I can’t recall which of us proposed it…

LEON

You did.

OLIVER

…but there we were, on an impulse, with no plan, no escape route, no means to transport the fragile targets of our crime.

We’d tripped an alarm, of course. Escape seemed unlikely, so we settled on evasion. I hid inside the skull of a triceratops. I don’t know where Norbert chose to hide.

LEON

It was a geode. He turned it over on top of himself, hoping to hide in the cavity. But it wasn’t big enough, and he got pinned under it, his legs protruding like the witch’s beneath Dorothy’s house.

OLIVER

He was captured and arrested. I remained hidden until the museum reopened in the morning.

They matched Norbert’s fingerprints to a half dozen of our earlier transgressions. Not even the good ones. We were more skilled by then, more inclined toward wearing gloves. But all the toasters and televisions and shopping mall diamonds suddenly took their toll.

On his way to prison, Norbert only asked one thing of me.

NORBERT

Oliver, there’s one thing you have to do for me.

PAST OLIVER

Of course, Norbert. You need but ask.

NORBERT

Come on, Oliver. Don’t do that thing with your voice. Not with me. Not now.

PAST OLIVER

[Drops affectation.] I’m…I’m sorry. I just…

NORBERT

I know. I get it. But I want to talk to my brother. Not the would-be mastermind.

PAST OLIVER

What do you need, Norbert? You know I’ll do it, whatever it is.

NORBERT

I fucked up. Just like Dad. I never wanted that for Philip. I didn’t want him to see me this way.

PAST OLIVER

You’re nothing like Dad. You gave your son a home. A life! Dad never accomplished anything. Never gave us anything.

NORBERT

Someone needs to be a father to him while I’m gone, and it has to be you.

PAST OLIVER

Of course, Norbert. But you won’t be gone long.

NORBERT

Five years is a long time for a kid, Oliver. A long time to not have a father.

PAST OLIVER

It won’t be as long as that. You’re not a troublemaker. You’ll keep your head down, stay clean, and you’ll get parole. Nobody wants to keep you there forever. You’ll see. You’ll be back in no time.

NORBERT

Maybe. I hope so. But all the same, watch out for him. Stick to the plan. Go straight. Give him a better life.

PAST OLIVER

Of course, Norbert. I’ll give him the best life I know how.

OLIVER

[Present] Norbert’s five years turned into a life sentence rather abruptly. Not even a year into his time. Heart disease. He dropped dead mid-transaction while purchasing a packet of instant ramen from the prison commissary.

I have carried that responsibility ever since. The care of my nephew. The ensuring of his future. I thought I could teach him success. Achievement. Like Norbert wanted. But now he’s in hiding, in some squalid apartment, imperiled by the role he played in my own dubious scheming.

[Oliver’s affectation slips.]

I sometimes worry I have not done so very well.

LEON

Ya think?

OLIVER [Resumes affectation]

But it will all come out well in the end. Success is a series of ebbs and flows, advances and retreats. Check is not checkmate. I still have my queen on the board. Emily Bespin. She is still my piece to play. My strategy resides in the long game, as it always has. I can see through the chaos of circumstance to the intricate order I have orchestrated.

Philip is in no true danger. Norbert would understand. I have safeguards in place. Contingencies. Norbert would trust my plan, because he knew, my plans always work. Always come together in the end. You’ll see. Ada, Philip and I? We’ll all be taken care of.

Just as Norbert wanted.

CREDITS

JEFF VAN DREASON

We hope you’re enjoying Greater Boston as much as we enjoy making it. With the new Year coming, we hope you will consider helping us to keep making Greater Boston, by contributing to our Patreon, if you’re able. These funds help us to pay our amazing actors and musicians, to upgrade our equipment, and to keep the show sustainable. Even as little as $1 a month is a tremendous help. And in exchange, you can get great rewards, like early access to every episode, Discord voice chats with the creators, and even a monthly tour of one of the stops in Red Line. And if you can’t donate, you can still help us out, but telling a friend about Greater Boston!

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

This episode featured:

  • Mike Linden as Oliver West (he/him)
  • Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis (he/him)
  • And guest starring Jamie Price as Norbert West (he/him)

Drums by Jim Johanson.

Want to hear more of Jamie’s wonderful voice acting? You can find them in the wonderful drama, The Strange Case of Starship Iris, as well as in What’s the Frequency? Go listen!

Full episode of Greater Boston return on January 29th, with episode 32: To Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations. You don’t want to miss it!

COOKIE

JEFF VAN DREASON

Is that good enough for those?

ALEXANDER DANNER
Yeah. Yeah, you don’t need to do those again.

JEFF

And I’m not doing the minis, right? We don’t do those?

ALEXANDER
Uhh…no, I guess we don’t do we?

JEFF
Should I do it, just because it’s got such a great title?

ALEXANDER
Yes.

JEFF
Alright. What do I say, though? This week in Greater Boston, Seriously, fff…what’s the fucking deal with the guinea pigs?

ALEXANDER

[Giggles] Yeah!

JEFF

Alright.

This week in Greater Boston: Seriously, What’s the Fucking Deal with the Guinea Pigs? Part 1.

[long pause]

Both break out in hysterical laughter.

JEFF
Oh yeah.

ALEXANDER
I was not even expecting that!

JEFF

Well, yeah, I gotta do the “part 1!”

ALEXANDER
I know you do, but [indecipherable] that just made it so much more ridiculous!

JEFF

Of course it does! It’s three parts! Of “what’s the fuckin’ deal with the guinea pigs!”

[both crack up again]

Now we have to title that…I mean we’re definitely keeping that now.

ALEXANDER
Yeah.

JEFF
I like that there’s a narrative there. Like, that I’m getting more annoyed.

ALEXANDER

I know, tell me already!

JEFF
Will you just explain it, Oliver? For Christs’ sakes, why is this three parts?

Content Warnings

  • Strong Language
  • Prison
  • Death of Sibling/Parent
  • Homeless abuse
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