Transcript for Mini Episode: Passes for the Classes

PASSES FOR THE CLASSES

[Charlie on the MTA]

MULTIPLE VOICES
This is

This is

This is

Greater Boston

[Upbeat Corporate Muzak]

CHEERFULLY POSH BRITISH VOICE (VICKI) — Tanja Milojevic

Hello, and welcome to Red Line! I’m your Vocally Interactive Concierge Kiosk Innovation, but you can call me Vicki! I’d like to show you the new beauty of Red Line as brought to you by The Face of Red Line herself, Mayor Emily Bespin! As you’ll see, the Red Line of today is very different from the one you may remember. Gone are the frustrated masses of hurried commuters, the horrid cacophony of station buskers, the stench of transit workers.

Today’s Red Line is an elite, upscale destination, where commuters of merit ride in style and arrive on time. How did we achieve this remarkable feat? Through our revolutionary inverted sliding scale pricing structure. I’m not just a fully automated ticketing machine–I’m also an impartial arbiter of every commuter’s social and fiscal value!

Each time you purchase Commuter Cash, I will evaluate your potential for subversive or antisocial behavior through careful analysis of your credit rating and financial history, then assign you a level in our tiered pass structure based on the degree of risk you present. By requiring higher risk commuters to pay higher fees, we ensure that only those people who will respect the privilege of access will join us in Red Line. We call our system “Passes for the Classes.” It’s not just a clever rhyme–it’s the law!

[Transition from ad to station environment. Train, crowds, calm muzak.]

MELISSA WEATHERBY — Tanja Milojevic
God I wish I didn’t have to listen to that every single time I come through here.

VICKI 1

Please insert your credit card to begin your personal value evaluation.

[A card is inserted and sucked into the machine.]

MELISSA
That’s redundant. What jerk wrote this?

VICKI 1

Thank you…

A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT VOICE
Melissa Weatherby

VICKI 1
…how may I help you today?

MELISSA
I need to add funds to my Prole Pass.

VICKI 1
I would be happy to add funds to your Prole Pass. How much would you like to add?

MELISSA
Twenty-five dollars.

[Error chime]

VICKI 1
I’m sorry.

DIFFERENT VOICE

Twenty-five

VICKI 1

…dollars is below the minimum threshold for this type of transaction. How much would you like to add to your Prole Pass?

[Footsteps as Wanda approaches.]

WANDA MCINTOSH — Tanja Milojevic
The fuck’s all this? What happened to the Charlie machines?

MELISSA
Fifty dollars, Vicki. [To Wanda.] They put in this new system. 

[Error chime]

VICKI 1

I’m sorry.

DIFFERENT VOICE

Fifty

VICKI 1

…dollars is below the minimum threshold for this type of transaction. How much would you like to add to your Prole Pass?

VICKI 2

Red Line’s automated ticketing kiosks have been upgraded! I will be happy to help you! Please insert your credit card to begin.

MELISSA
The whole thing is a mess. Just completely awful. 

[Error chime]

VICKI 2
That is an unpopular opinion!

MELISSA

Seventy-five dollars.

WANDA
You sayin’ Charlie’s gone? That’s a shame. I liked Charlie. He seemed like a good guy.

[Error chime]

VICKI 1

I’m sorry. 

DIFFERENT VOICE

Seventy-five

VICKI 1

dollars is below the minimum threshold for this type of transaction. How much would you like to add to your Prole Pass?

VICKI 2
Fun Fact: The name “Charles” means “a common man?” Here in Red Line, we are anything but common! Please insert your credit card to begin.

[Wanda inserts card]

MELISSA

Whatever. Put a hundred dollars on my pass, VICKI. 

VICKI

…your line of credit has qualified you for Prole-level service. How may I help you today?

[Another commuter enters to use the kiosk to Melissa’s right and inserts card.]

WANDA
I just wanna get my  monthly Charlie pass.

YELENA SERGEIVICH — Tanja Milojevic

This Red Line, this is joke!

MELISSA

Christ, I’m going to be late for my meeting with Mayor Siddiqui.

YELENA

Look at this! Nobody clean!

MELISSA

[groans]

YELENA

All dirty!

VICKI 1
Fun Fact: Cambridge Mayor

DIFFERENT VOICE

Sambul Siddiqui

VICKI 1

wishes she could be just like Red Line’s Mayor Emily Bespin in every way! It’s true!

YELENA

Everything Dirty! Dirty…no people, dirty still! What? Pigeons shit all over this place? Disgusting! Euch!

VICKI 3

Thank you…

DIFFERENT VOICE
Yelena Sergeivitch

VICKI 3
…how may I help you today?

YELENA
[Scoffs] You can eat poison and die, lousy machine.

MELISSA
I said one hundred dollars, VICKI!

[Error chime]

VICKI 2
I’m sorry, Charlie passes are no longer one of our offerings. Would you like to sign up for a Prole Pass?

[Error chime]

VICKI 3

I’m sorry,

DIFFERENT VOICE

“eat poison and die”

VICKI 3

…is not one of our offerings. How may I help you today?

[Error chime]

VICKI 1

I’m sorry,

DIFFERENT VOICE

one hundred

VICKI 1

…dollars is below the minimum threshold for this transaction. How much would you like to add to your Prole Pass?

WANDA

What the hell’s a prole?

YELENA
Is proletariat! Working class! All us people at bottom of empty well, with none of the money and all of the troubles!

[Error chime]

VICKI 3

That is an unpopular opinion!

[Yelena spits at machine.]

YELENA
*You* unpopular opinion! You should jump in river with snakes in your pockets and see which kills you first!

[Error chime]

VICKI 3

I’m sorry,

DIFFERENT VOICE

“jump in the river with snakes in my pockets and see which kills me first”

VICKI 3

…is not one of our offerings. How may I help you today?

WANDA
Proletariat, huh? Funny word, but that’s me alright. Ass-broke with all the fuckin’ troubles.

VICKI 2

Excellent, I would be happy to sign you up for a Prole Pass.

DIFFERENT VOICE

500

VICKI 2

…dollars in Commuter Cash will be added to your new Prole Pass.

WANDA
Five hundred dollars! I can’t afford that!

YELENA
You should climb high mountain until you find big mountain goat. Then, stand by edge of cliff and throw little rocks at goat until he is very angry. Then learn what happens.

MELISSA
How about you just tell me what the minimum threshold is?

[Error chime]

VICKI 3

I’m sorry,

DIFFERENT VOICE

“climb high mountain until I find big mountain goat, then stand by edge of cliff and throw little rocks at goat until he is very angry then learn what happens”

VICKI 3

…is not one of our offerings.

YELENA

[Laughs menacingly. You will learn!

VICKI 3

How may I help you today?

YELENA

Once and for all!

VICKI 2

With the additional five hundred dollar new card fee, this brings your total for today to

DIFFERENT VOICE

one thousand

VICKI 2

dollars.

VICKI 1
Commuter cash may be added to your Prole Pass in increments of

DIFFERENT VOICE

250

VICKI 1

…dollars

DIFFERENT VOICE

500

VICKI 1

…dollars

DIFFERENT VOICE

1,000

VICKI 1

…dollars, or

DIFFERENT VOICE

10,000.

VICKI 1

…dollars. How much would you like to add to your Prole Pass?

WANDA

Christ, fuck no, I ain’t paying you a thousand fucking dollars!

MELISSA

Those are terrible options!

[Error chime]

VICKI 1

I’m sorry,

DIFFERENT VOICE

“a thousand fucking”

VICKI 1

…dollars is not a recognized quantity. How much would you like to add to your Prole Pass?

MELISSA

You’re listening to the wrong person! Cancel transaction!

[Error chime]

VICKI 1 & 2 SLIGHTLY OUT OF SYNC

I’m sorry, once this transaction has been initiated, it cannot be cancelled.

WANDA

What!

VICKI 2

Thank you…

THE AUTOMATED VOICE
Wanda McIntosh

VICKI 2

…your transaction is complete. Please take your credit card and Prole Pass.

WANDA

I…I ain’t gonna be able to pay my rent now.

YELENA

We should flip ticket machine like car after baseball game.

WANDA

Yeah. Yeah! We should do that!

MELISSA
What? No! No you shouldn’t!

[They both move toward the central machine–Melissa’s.]

WANDA

You get that side…

YELENA
Da, da.

MELISSA

Ladies, please don’t do this.

WANDA
Okay.

MELISSA

I’m meeting with a mayor in an official capacity!

YELENA

From back corner, yes?

MELISSA

I can’t be in the middle of a riot!

WANDA
That’ll do the job.

[They are rocking the machine.]

MELISSA

This is not helping the situation!

WANDA

Hey, lady, you should stand back. This shit’s heavy.

YELENA

You would not like to be crushed under tool of oppressor.

MELISSA

Okay, standing back.

[The machine crashes to the ground.]

YELENA

Ohhhh!

WANDA

Fuckin’ A!

MELISSA
Oh boy.

YELENA
Machine, cancel transaction and give back card.

VICKI 3

Transaction cancelled.

[It ejects Yelena’s card.]

WANDA
Hey, we’d better cheese it.

YELENA

Yes, let us run now.

[They run.]

MELISSA (defeated)

We’re supposed to discuss converting decommissioned bumper cars into self-driving Cambridge to Wonderland taxis.

VICKI 1 (Voice distorted by damage and facing directly down into the concrete)

Excellent! I will be happy to add

DIFFERENT VOICE

10,000

VICKI 1

…dollars in Commuter Cash to your Prole Pass.

MELISSA
WHAT???

VICKI 1

Thank you…

DIFFERENT VOICE
Melissa Weatherby

VICKI 1

…your transaction is complete. Please take your credit card and Prole Pass.

[The machine grinds as it attempts to eject the cards, but it is face down on the ground.]

MELISSA
I can’t.

[Environment fades into corporate muzak.]

CREDITS

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

This episodes features:

  • Tanja Milojevic as the Vocally Interactive Commuter Kiosk Innovation (VICKI)
  • Tanja Milojevic as Melissa Weatherby (she/her)
  • Tanja Milojevic as Wand McIntosh (she/her)
  • and Tanja Milojevic as Yelena Sergeivich (she/her)

Charlie on the MTA is recorded by Emily Peteron and Dirk Tiede

[Music fades]

COOKIE

YELENA

[Menacing laughter.] Da, da. People like me, we make no money, but we clean! We know how to garden, we know how to dig! And dig, and dig and…what, these rich people, they don’t know shit! Don’t know shit. Is proletariat. Working class. All us people at bottom of when the empty well…with no cows…and all of the money and all of the trouble. No cows in well. Not fit. They do not fit.

Content Warnings

  • Strong Language
  • Financial insecurity
  • Classism
  • Uncooperative computers
  • Vandalism