Transcript: Halloween Special – Spite House of Springfield

SPITEHOUSE OF SPRINGFIELD

INTRODUCTION

[Welcome to Town – creepy music plays]

Narrator—Alexander Danner

Welcome, dear listeners, to a world apart from our own—a world of tiny rooms built only to cast shadows upon our neighbors’ lives. A world gone wrong, where humble office furniture may hold dark secrets, where the deathly utterances of the afterworld echo through long forgotten tunnels, and where even lifting a curse is no guarantee of peaceful rest.

Settle in friends and fiends, for three tales straight from a world of… well, perhaps not so much “What If?” as simply… “Why Not?” Welcome! To Spitehouse of Springfield!

[Music cuts abruptly]

Springfield? I have to go to Springfield?

Jeff Van Dreason [outside the booth]

No, no, no. Don’t worry about it. Just keep going.

Narrator
But if the stories are in Springfield…

Jeff
No, no, nothing’s in Springfield. The title doesn’t mean anything, we just liked the way it sounded.

Narrator

Oh. Alright, if that’s what you want. Seems a little misleading, if you ask me, but what the heck. That’s Halloween, I guess. Where was I? Ah, here we are.

[Music back]

Welcome! To Spitehouse of Springfield!

[Music Cuts}

The script says “evil laugh” here… isn’t that particular bit rather cliche?

Jeff

It’s a pastiche! You can’t do a pastiche without doing the thing you’re… you know… pastiching? Pastichifying?

Narrator

That’s going to be awfully harsh on my throat. I’ll tell you what, how about we record the rest first, then you can edit the “evil laugh” in later?

Jeff
Okay, fine. Whatever. Can we get on with it?

Narrator

Of course, of course. Okay…

[Music cuts back in]

Welcome! To SpiteHouse of Springfield! 

[Lightning Crash / Obviously Edited Evil laugh.]

[Creaky front door}

Now, step into the foyer of Spite, kick off your shoes, and follow me into our Living Room of Spite, where the radio is always turned up just loud enough to incessantly irritate the people next door. Here we find our first story, a little tale as pure of spirit as America’s Pastime, where the newly employed Lily of The Small Urban Community Garden just wants to head home for the day. But when a damn Yankee turns up, she soon finds that she won’t be going anywhere until she learns a little something about curses. I present for your pleasure: The Bambino at Braintree!

BAMBINO AT BRAINTREE

Lily of the Small Urban Community Garden—Ishanti Kanetkar 

I wasn’t there for this part, but I imagine it went something like this…

[Lightning crash. Red line thunder. “Stop requested” beep.]

[From the rainy cab of the train] 

Operator Harry—Charles Gaustine

Stop requested? Stop requested? I thought we were empty! (brief pause) Fucking ghosts.

Operator Harry [ver intercom] 

Pulling into Braintree Stadium. End of the line. All off- human, demon, ghost, ghoul, or otherwise. 

Lily

But that was just fine for George Ruth. Braintree was his destination.

[A ghostly aura emanates from the gaseous train. Two heavy boots with a baseball bat dragging behind it echo through the cavernous parking garage, as Bambino assends.]

Lily 

But where was I? Phhh, where wasn’t I? It’s just a minor league team, I said—how hard could it possibly be to be the stadium operations manager, I said? Well, other minor league stadiums don’t have the trains literally dropping off floods of fans at your gates. This job is a nightmare on game days, sure. But it’s twice as bad when the game gets rained out. I just had the unenviable task of getting four thousand angry, drunk, non-Bostonian Bostonians out of a baseball stadium and making sure my vendors weren’t trashed or stampeded on the way out. Trust me, it isn’t my dream job, but it supports the family, and that’s all that matters to me. I use my operations and project management skills to help keep them fed—which, incidentally, is how I got my name—Lily of the Small Urban Community Garden—organizing, managing, doing the work, getting people fed. AND getting people to leave when it’s time to go. 

[The sound of loud wet boots and a dragging bat has been getting louder as Lily has explained this.]

Lily 

HEY! MISTER! EXIT’S THIS WAY!

[Wind, a reverse echo as Babe Ruth’s ghost charges down the hallway towards them, ghostly baseball commentary about the runner sliding into home as Babe Ruth belly slides down the hallway and through Lily’s corporeal form. Babe Ruth lets out a ghostly laugh.]

Babe Ruth—Josh Rubino 

HOME RUN!!!!!!

[A ghostly cheer from the crowd, cacophonous almost, that snaps into a silence.] 

[Lily lets out a little bit of fear and trembling in her response.]

Lily 

Look, I don’t know who you are but…

Babe Ruth 

Don’t know who I am? Don’t know who I AM? THE SULTAN OF SWAT! THE PRINCE OF POUNDERS! THE WIZARD OF WHACK! THE BEHEMOTH OF BUST! BARON VON BOP! THE KING OF SWING! THE TITAN OF CRASH! THE COLOSSUS OF CLOUT! THE MAULING MASTODON! THE MODERN BEOWULF! THE TYCOON OF TYPHOON! BLUNDERBUSS! BAM! NUMBER THREE FOR THE YANKS! THE GREEEEEAAAAATTTTTT BAMMMMMBINOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

[The ghostly crowd cheers again and then snaps to silence.] 

Babe Ruth 

Does that ring any bells?

Lily 

Ummmm, not really…

Babe Ruth 

Babe? Babe Ruth?

Lily 

Ohhhh! Like the candy bar!

Babe Ruth [under breath] 

Every time with the fucking candy bar, haunts me and I’m supposed to be the ghost… [heated] NO, not [mimicing] like the candy bar! Like the baseball player! The home run legend! One of the first five players inducted into the Hall of Fame! 

[Nothing.]

Babe Ruth 

Don’t you work at a baseball stadium in Boston? How do you not know who I am?

Lily 

Oh! Oh wait a minute! You’re that guy! The curse of Bambi or something?

Babe Ruth 

Bambino! I just said it a minute ago!

Lily 

Sorry, I tuned out after the Baron Von Bop. You made that one up yourself, right?

Babe Ruth [ashamed] 

Yeah, just trying something new out. The same nicknames for a hundred years get pretty old. 

Lily [back to their earlier impatience 

Well… Mr. Baron… Bambi… Baby… Ruth…

Babe Ruth 

Babe, just [squints in frustration] Babe.

Lily 

Whatever—what the hell are you doing in my stadium?

Babe Ruth [trying to act all big and scary] 

I came to this stadium to—[deflated] catch the baseball game.

Lily 

Catch the…? Well, too bad. It’s rained out. 

Babe Ruth 

Rained out? But it’s a beautiful day! 

Lily 

It’s raining cats and dogs out there! Thunder and lightning too!

Babe Ruth 

Is it? So hard to tell the weather without a corporeal form…

Lily 

Don’t you have some haunt to be haunting or curse to be cursing or something?

Babe Ruth 

Oh, that whole curse gig was up in ‘04. Thank. God.

Lily 

Thank god? Weren’t you the one doing the cursing? 

Babe Ruth 

Me? Oh, hell no! Ehhhh, Back in 1920, when I left for the Yankees, the Red Sox fans were pissed.

Lily 

How little has changed…

Babe Ruth 

How little indeed. Well, a group of them were so angry that they got together and cursed my soul to forever remain in Boston so that the Red Sox could win the World Series and—more importantly—the Yankees couldn’t. That curse was their doing, not mine. 

Lily 

Wait, so how did that…?

Babe Ruth 

You know those stories of musicians trading their soul to the devil for superhuman musical abilities?

Lily 

Yeah…?

Babe Ruth 

Well, my soul was trapped in Boston, and when I left, all that soul space got filled up with really, really good baseball skills. I became the greatest baseball player of all time! The Red Sox never stood a chance! 

Lily 

That sounds great for you? And the opposite of what the Red Sox fans wanted? 

Babe Ruth 

Yeah, funny thing, curses—and it was great! I was great! Until… 

Lily 

Until you died and you didn’t make it to… wherever…

Babe Ruth 

Bingo—I lived an incredible life! And my afterlife? An eternity at Fenway Stadium, just waiting, year after year, for the Red Sox to FINALLY win one measly pennant. It only took ‘em eighty-six years to put together a winning team…

Lily 

But then, after they won, why… why didn’t you leave?

Babe Ruth 

It… I… can I be honest? I don’t… I don’t know. Fifty-six years in Boston, it… it kinda grew on me. I was BIT-TER in the beginning—but—this city has got its charm, you know? The people are a bit more stern, a little bit ruder—

Lily 

A little bit?

Babe Ruth 

A lot bit. But there’s a pride that grows in you when you spend enough time watching its people weather loss after loss, cold winter after cold winter. When the Sox won I stuck around ‘cause… I was kinda hopin’ they’d do it again. 

Lily 

And they did, if I’m remembering correctly. 

Babe Ruth 

They did! Oh, I was so proud of ‘em against the Dodgers. What a show! [  Emphasizing each word] What—a—show!

Lily 

And you’re still here.

Babe Ruth deflated again] 

Yeah… yeah, I’m still here. 

Lily 

No, I mean you’re still here. In Braintree Stadium. It’s time to go. The stadium is closing, and as much as I appreciate a good comeback story, you’re the only thing standing between me and a hot bowl of tortilla soup.

Babe Ruth [realization dawning] 

I… I need to leave…

Lily 

Yeah, for the umpteenth time, I said…

Babe Ruth 

No, listen. I need to leave

Lily [pausing] 

Oh…

Babe Ruth 

What… what am I doing with my afterlife? I spent years, decades wanting to leave this place! It was all I could think of for year after year until… until it wasn’t any more. Until I didn’t want to leave. Until I couldn’t! But… I guess this is it. The game is rained out. It’s time to go home.

Lily [voiceover] 

He walked slowly out the vomitorium, towards the field.

Lily 

Hey—Bambi, wrong way. Out the way you came in!

Lily [voiceover] 

He froze and looked over his shoulder with that wry, knowing smile only a New Yorker knows how to give…

Babe Ruth 

Out the way I came in.

Lily [voiceover] 

He raised his arms to his sides like some sort of messianic figure and floated three feet in the air, gliding down over the seets to home plate. I heard a snap!

[Baseball hit.]

Lily 

And a part of his right shoulder broke off like a crumble of a cookie, flying up and over the back wall and exploding like a firework, lighting up the sky with a dazzling, deep blue. The stadium erupted with applause, as seat by seat was filled with ghostly beings, glowing with choleric yellows and greens, up on their feet cheering. Another snap—

[Baseball hit.]

Lily 

And it’s a chunk out of the left side of his face. Up and over the back wall! Boom! Cheers! Snap—his right foot! Up! Over! Bam! Cheers! Snap! His left foot! Up! Over! This one lets out a long slow fizzle and then… BANG! The loudest one yet! The crowd is going wild. Piece by piece, the projection of Ruth’s corporeal form is taken off in home run after home run, until all that remains is a bright beaming light. A hush fell over the ghostly crowd… 

[A singular stomp from the audience. Then another. Then another. The rhythm slowly gets faster and faster.] 

Lily 

To the ghost army’s march, the last remaining light of Babe Ruth made its way toward first, gaining a little speed as it rounds the back of second, at what I can only imagine is the incorporeal light version of a sprint as it swiped past third, and then a full blow run, leap, and slide into home, where the light shot up into the sky and BOOM—the biggest explosion of them all! The ghost audience went crazy! AHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH!!!! WOOOOO!!!!! YEAHHH!H!!!!!!!

[The sound of the ghost audience dies out and Lily is the only one person left cheering very quietly to themselves, and then catches themselves in the act.] 

Lily 

Anyways, that’s what I saw! Quite a story huh?

Chuck Octagon—Jeff Van Dreason 

Indeed. Emphasis on story. Fictional. Adjective. Even a bit recondite, another adjective, meaning beyond ordinary knowledge or understanding. Esoteric. Quote, out there, end-quote. I normally get my stories from my good friend Mallory. Even when outlandish, one gets the feeling that she is truthful. You, my friend, are not my good friend Mallory.

Lily 

Right. Like I told you. I’m Lily of the Small Urban Community Garden. Fuck you!

Chuck 

And I’m Chuck Octagon, reporting… so to speak… for The Underground. 

[Back in Town plays back]

Narrator

Oh my, what will become of that poor man? We may never know! But for now, follow me further, now to The Kitchen of Spite, where a never-ending supply of microwave popcorn forever wafts clouds of malodorous vapor into the neighbors’ windows. 

[Microwave popcorn noise – and a scream from a neighbor] 

But we have further still to go, through a flimsy wooden door, to a darkened stair, leading us down into The Basement of Spite! It is a damp, infested pit that sends colonies of vermin into the neighbors’ basement, through holes carefully drilled into the walls.

This offers us a perfect venue for our second tale! You see, far below the streets of Boston, below even the tunnels of our modern Red Line, lies old Park Street station, burrow of the first subway, and lair of… well, I’ll let Mallory tell you all about it herself in our next terrifying tale: Those Tunnels are Haunted as Fuck!

[Microwave dings, and one more pop]

Those Tunnels are Haunted as F*&%

[Creeping Doom music plays]

Mallory—Johanna Bodnyk

So, the tunnels under the Boston Common? You ever hear of them? Of course you have. Well, I’m here to tell you that they are haunted as fuck. Yeah, I said it. I don’t usually go for that heebie-jeebie ghost crap, but I’ve been in those tunnels, and let me tell you, I’ve seen some shit. So buckle up buttercup because I’m about to blow you teeny tiny skeptical little mind. 

Now listen, I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m not afraid of most fucking things except, like, actual goddamn problems like the far-reaching effects of late-stage capitalism and voter suppression. Now that’s something to be fucking afraid of. Which is to say, I’ve been in the tunnels, like, a lot. Some people are freaked by the dark and the rats and shit, but to that I say ovary the fuck up, bro. First off, rats are chill, cute little dudes just trying to make it in this crazy world. And second, the dark isn’t that dark if you just let your eyes adjust or bring a flashlight or something. Fuck. All I’m saying is, don’t let fear be an excuse to not experience some cool-ass old tunnels.

And these tunnels are OLD AS BALLS. Like, super old. Like, this is the first subway system in AMERICA. These tunnels were dug out in, like, 1890-whatever. Wicked old. And when these old-timey Bostonian yahoos were planning their epic fucking train adventure, they didn’t give a hot damn who they upset in the process, and that included THE DEAD. Yeah, that’s right: no longer fucking breathing, heart-stopped, decomposing, super-dead-ass corpses. 

Tunnel construction for this newfangled subway ran RIGHT UNDER the Boston Common, specifically under the Central Burying Ground, an old-as-hell cemetery established in, like, the 1750s or something, which even at that time was still, like, over a hundred years earlier. Like dudes, what the fuck?

Now, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, but like don’t fuck with dead bodies, man. It’s never a good idea. Just, like, let them rest in their well-deserved super-dead peace. But the old-timey government was like, “FUCK YOUR PEACE. BULLDOZE THAT SHIT.” Don’t worry, we’ll just take all those body bits and dump them into one mass grave, easy-peasy lemon-fucking-squeezy.”

Which, as you might expect, probably didn’t please the interred very much. So yeah, there’s a giant mass grave just chilling in the middle of the Boston Common. Super casual. And obviously haunted as fuck.

So my cousin Jojo and I were walking in the tunnels, just shooting the shit, as you do. Jojo didn’t really want to go down in the tunnels, but I told him to stop being a little bitch and climb down that motherfucking ladder or I would never shoot another video for him ever again. 

Now these tunnels are mostly abandoned. Like, are they probably a safety hazard? I mean, yes. But we’re careful, and I won’t go anywhere it looks like might cave in and have us join the dearly departed, you know? Urban exploring is all about using your goddamn brain.

[Dramatic / techno type music builds]

Anyway, besides being old as fuck, these tunnels are works of fucking art. Generations upon generations of people have graffiti’d all over these fucking tunnel walls. There’s even stuff on the ceiling. Like, how did they get up there? So cool!!

So, Jojo and I are being cultured as fuck, taking in all this street art and talking about life and shit, kicking around an old beer can, when all of a sudden our flashlights blink out. Like I swear to fucking god I am not making this up. Just boom, flashlights out. Total darkness.

Jojo screams basically immediately and I kindly tell him to get his shit together or I will get it together for him and add a swift elbow to the ribs for good measure. Then suddenly, it starts to get cold, like stroll-into-a-god-damn-walk-in-freezer cold, like jump-bare-ass-in-the-Atlantic-Ocean-in-the-middle-of-fucking-February cold, like Jack-motherfucking-Frost-has-whipped-up-a-nor’easter-JUST-FOR-YOU-and-is-blowing-ice-straight-up-your-asshole COLD. FUCKING COLD. And I gotta be real with you, I was nursing a very healthy nervousness at this point. 

So, we both sort of freeze and stare around, and Jojo starts banging his flashlight, trying to get it turn back on. And I swear to all hell I can SEE my breath. Like, I know that is some cliche-as-fuck ghost-hunters-ass bullshit, but it HAPPENED. So my little teeth are chattering and all of a sudden we see this blurry, smudgy-looking thing looming ahead of us. And it’s dark, but my eyes are adjusting, and Jojo looks like he is about to piss his pants. 

The smudge starts to, like, come into focus, and it looks like a lady? But her clothes are old-fashioned, and she’s holding like a parasol or something? Like, straight out of a history book or some shit.

So I say hello, and Jojo nudges me in the ribs and is like, “yo, don’t talk to it.” But I ignore him and walk towards her and say “hi” again. And I swear to god, this ghost lady fucking smiles at me and waves like we’re old friends! Like we’re pals who meet up in dark tunnels all the fucking time. So we’re looking RIGHT AT EACH OTHER, and I’m basically holding my breath. I mean, this ghost lady looks like she’s going to lay some profound-ass wisdom on me from beyond the grave. 

[Music fades out]

Now, let’s hold up for a second: I know what this sounds like. I mean, I get it. I’m a rational, sensible human being. This whole sordid-ass tale sounds bugnuts batshit bananas. But it’s me! It’s Mallory. You know me. Nothing is worth saying unless I 100% mean it, and you may have heard “No Bullshit” is my middle name. So when I say I shit you not and tell you what happens next, you have to take it on faith that I am not and would not be shitting you. I mean, what would be the fucking point? Like, there’s millions of dime-store ghost-adventure-whatever ouija-humping wannabes out there. Why the fuck would I want to join their shitty ranks? No way! Fuck that shit. 

[Music slips back in]

SO ANYWAY, I shit you not, this transparent as fuck old-timey ghost lady with her little ghosty umbrella and giant ghosty hoop skirt looks me dead in the eye and just says “potatoes!” She gives me an amused-as-fuck little smile and vanishes into thin fucking air! Poof motherfucker! Jesus Christ. Potatoes! Can you fucking believe it? Like, the fuck does that mean? Was it a warning? A premonition? Advice to get really into gardening? Hard to say. 

Anyway, bing, bang, boom ghost lady vanished and flashlights are back on. Totally normal. Like, HOLY SHIT WHAT?! So Jojo is like, “let’s get the fuck out of here.” And I’m like, “fiiiiiine,” because honestly I was a little freaked but also a little curious you know? Like I kind of wanted to keep going but Jojo was really losing his shit, so we backtracked and went back up the ladder. 

So that’s a ghost I saw one time. She seemed nice. I still haven’t gotten into gardening, but who knows? It’s under consideration. Anyway, you don’t have to believe me, but every word is the goddamn motherfucking truth. I mean, I don’t lie in general, but why the fuck would I lie about this? I mean, fuck, man. Those the tunnels under the Common are haunted as fuck by nice, sad ghosts. So next time you’re over by the cemetery just go say hey and apologize for the general dumbfuckery of city government. I mean, those poor dudes. RIP.

[Dramatic techno music crescendos and cuts off. Back in Town plays again]

Narrator

Ahhahaha, what a terrifying tale! How that specter came to haunt those tunnels is a mystery, but I’ll tell you this—she may very well have died of… tuber-culosis. 

[Laughs. Realizes no one else is laughing. Music cuts off] 

No? Look, I’m just trying to get into the spirit of this thing? Geez. Moving on.

[Music plays again / creaky noise / microwave popping distantly heard]

Speaking of moving on, follow me once more, back up the stairs, past the kitchen, and up another flight to a plain and practical room at the back—yes, we have arrived at The Home Office of Spite! 

[Distant scream]

A perfect location for eavesdropping on the neighbors so as to file a noise complaint in response to every peep! But for now, let’s focus on the task at hand—our final tale! We present to you the troubled waking of Melissa Weatherby, precisely where she always is: at work. Settle in, dear listeners, so that you may hear tell of: The Desk.

[Distant creak – Impending Doom music plays again]

The Desk

Leon Stamatis—Braden Lamb
Melissa owned two desks. The first, she kept in her makeshift office, which was really just three pieces of propped up plywood in a corner of the old Wonderland haunted maze. The other was at her home, which was a modest room on the top floor of the ticketing station at the front gates. There was enough room for a bed, a dresser, a mirror, and yes, a desk. Having lived previously in a crowded Red Line car made Melissa used to not having that much stuff. The desk was a newer addition—a new necessity, really. Melissa had a hard time working in bed. It was too comfortable, too close to the familiar routine of sleeping for her to be productive. And whether she was at work or home, she had to be productive. Wonderland depended on her being productive. 

[Sound of typing, filing, stapling, desk drawers opening and closing]

The desk in her office was larger. U-shaped, made of dark wood, packed full of supplies she barely ever used—thumb tacks, staples, paperclips. Office materials that seemed to never run out. They mysteriously multiplied and accumulated over time. Even when Melissa did try to actively use one type of supply for a week straight, there seemed to be no way to exhaust whichever product she focused on. There was always more. Just like the work that kept coming. She typed until her fingers were sore, hunched over her computer until her back ached. But still she pressed on. If she got up and stretched she might like it enough to stop for the day. Her stretch break might stretch into a stretch day. No. There was too much to do. 

[Typing noise intensifies] 

Melissa zero-inboxed. Melissa did not procrastinate. Melissa kept her desk tidy. Plenty of room for proper filing. Plenty of time to finish her task list for the day, for the week, for the weekend. Plenty of time to work. People were depending on her. She could do this. 

[Creaky noise mixed with subtle sound of flesh]

Melissa Weatherby—Tanja Milojevic
Ouch! ooooh!

Leon
The pain started on a Thursday. While typing her fingers felt stiff. Heavy, even. Worse, they were difficult to pull apart from one another, which made typing difficult. At times she felt like she had to manually pull at them to get her work done, which, of course, slowed her down. Was this carpal tunnel? Arthritis? Some other kind of strange ailment? She considered Googling her symptoms. She brought out her phone and scrolled through her contacts until she came across her primary care physician. Doctor Linaski.

Melissa
Hmm. It’s probably nothing. Just a cramp.

Leon
But on Friday, the other hand felt the same way. And her back hurt.

[Creaky noises}

Melissa [pained]
Ahhhhhh! Owe! Must have slept on it funny or something.

[Creaking sounds – cracking wood and flesh]

Leon
At first, she tried to straighten her posture in the hopes that would help offset the pain. But she soon realized that she needn’t bother. Her posture was straightening by itself, not only without her own effort, but painfully so. This couldn’t be due to a bad night’s rest. This was… something else. It was as if her spine was… solidifying. And… spreading. Thickening.

Melissa [pained, feverish]
Mmm. I just… I just need to rest. I need to go to bed.


Leon
And so, Melissa stumbled home, helped along by various members of the Wonderland community. 

[Sound of Melissa struggling to sleep, tossing and turning. Creaking / cracking / flesh noises continue. Melissa moaning from the feverish pain.]

Leon
And for the first time in a long while, she took a sick day and tried not to think of the work piling up in her absence. It hurt, knowing so much wasn’t getting done. Or maybe that was just her fever—or whatever this was. She tossed and turned in her bed, her body stiffening, contouring in unnatural ways, arms and legs straight out in the air in front of her. It was the only thing close to comfort. Her back flat against the bed. She felt like she was changing. She tried to get out of bed, to get to her desk, to at least let someone know she had to take some time to herself, but all Melissa managed to do was topple out of bed and land on the floor with a thud. And then finally, she slept. 

[Melissa falls out of bed and howls in pain. Awful sound of flesh slowly stretching into wood]

[Music fades out]

Melissa
When I wake up, I’m not in pain. Good. That’s good. Soon I’ll be able to get back to work. But it quickly hits me that things have changed. I can’t move. I can’t even see. Not really. I can sense. I can feel. Weighty objects are placed on my back. All of them flat. A heavy flat circle. 

[Noises set on Melissa – and distant echo sounds follow]

A heavier flat rectangle. Or are they rectangles? A larger rectangle, but light as air, almost tickling me. Another one the same size, but much heavier.  It hits me, what all of these things are, in quick waves.  Books. Files. A laptop. A printer. But what about the first shape? The circle. The— 

[A desk lamp clicks on.]

A lamp. A desk lamp. The light switches on and I know. I know what I am, sure as the soft  heat now bearing down on my wide, wooden back.  I… I’m a desk. I try to say it out loud, try to speak, but that’s another sense that’s been robbed of me. Thoughts. I have thoughts. Thoughts, smell, feeling. My legs on the ground, the supplies on my back. I wonder where my head has gone. My brain. It’s everywhere now, coursing through the solid dark wood that makes up my skin, my organs, my… flesh. But the biggest feeling is… longing.

I… long… to be used. I long for someone to sit at me. And work. 

[Piano music – sad and creepy – plays]

And that longing stretches on for days. Aside from the light, I am ignored.

It doesn’t take long for people to look for me. My guess is, while the work was piling up, people got concerned. I try not to think about it. I try not to wonder if this… condition… is reversible. I know it’s not. I feel like screaming, but I can’t, so what’s the point? Attempting to would just be… counterproductive.

[distant / distorted knocking on the door – the voices also distant and distorted.]

23 Skidoo—Julia Schifini
Hello? Melissa? 

Freed Friend Poletti—James Capobianco
She doesn’t appear to be here.

23 Skidoo
So weird. Why does she have two desks?

Freed Friend
Yes. There’s barely enough room in here for the one. And they seem to be…

23 Skidoo
Matching. Even the supplies are the same.

Melissa
More people come. More people look for me. For… Melissa. Weeks go by. Months. But eventually someone else moves into this space. My things are packed up. Even the supplies on top of me.

Melissa is forgotten about enough that they assume I’ve moved on. And in a sense, I have. The new tenant changes some of the furniture out. A new bed. A bookcase. But they keep the desk. They keep me. They keep me, but something about me must frighten them. Because they don’t use me. They don’t sit at me and work. They don’t even put fresh supplies or a laptop on top of me. I feel more useless than ever. 

[Distant sound of new tenant milling about]

I try to whisper to them as they sleep. Please. Sit and stretch your laptop out on my back. Pound the keys until your fingers go numb. Sit back in your chair and put your feet on me as you plan your day, as you consider your next move, as you daydream your to-do list. Use me. This is what I was born to be. Functional. Useful. 

But no. I’m neglected. Day after day I hear them, whoever they are, my new occupant, my new owner, waking up, leaving, going to work, coming home, changing, reading, but never do they sit at my base and use me for what I was meant to be. 

I don’t know how long it’s been anymore. I don’t remember what it’s like to be human. My arms feel like they could burrow into the hardwood underneath, like I’m a plant stretching roots into the soil. 

And then finally. Finally.

[A desk lamp is set on the desk. The lamp turns on..]

Melissa 

[Sighs.] A lamp. They set a lamp on my back. They turn it on. And that’s just the beginning. Supplies. Files. Paper. A printer. A laptop. They set me up. It’s so close. It’s so close I can feel…

[Sounds get set down and then typing soon follows – echoes.]

Melissa [sick/obsessed]
Yessssss. YESSSSSS yesssss yessss yesss. Use me. Use me. Use me. Use me!

[Fingers on the keys of a laptop. Faster.]

Melissa
It lasts for hours. Elbows on my back. Feet up at one point. Glasses of water. I can feel the ring stains settle into my flesh. I take it all and whisper… more. Please… please, more.

But soon. It’s over. My owner? They stumble off to bed. I hear them snore. And through their ragged breaths, I whisper.

[Whispering… sounding increasingly evil]

You have work to do. You have work to do when you wake up. You have so much work to do. And you will use me to do it. I am here for you. I am here for you to do your work. I am your desk. I will always be your desk. (evil laugh) And may your work never end. 

[Music fades out]

CONCLUSION

Narrator

Uh…wow, okay. That was actually pretty awful? She became a desk? She became a desk. Jesus. I thought these were supposed to be funny! We went from a ghost shouting “potatoes” straight to panic-inducing anxiety-nightmare body horror? Christ! Give a narrator some warning next time, okay? I think, uh… I think I should take a few days off. A little break. You know. Just to be safe. If you need me, I’ll be out in The Back Yard of Spite, sipping some bourbon and running the lawnmower at inappropriate hours.

[Back in town plays again]

Anyway, happy Halloween, Greater Bostonians! And remember… if you go trick-or-treating past the Spitehouse of Springfield, just because the porch light is on doesn’t mean you should come knocking!

[Evil laugh that devolves into a coughing fit.]

[Music cuts out – and then back in with Leon]

LEON
Happy Halloween, everyone. 

[Evil laugh]

CREDITS

Greater Boston is written and produced by Alexander Danner and Jeff Van Dreason, with additional support from T.H. Ponders, Bob Raymonda, and Jordan Stillman.

Spite House Tour written by Alexander Danner and produced by Jeff Van Dreason. 

“Bambino in Braintree” written and produced by by T.H. Ponders.

“Those Tunnels are Haunted as Fuck” written by Jordan Stillman and produced by Alexander Danner.

“The Desk” written and produced by Jeff Van Dreason.

Recording and technical assistance from Marck Harmon.

In order of appearance, this episode featured:

Alexander Danner as The Narrator.

Jeff Van Dreason as… himself, I guess? And also Chuck Octagon… later.

Ishani Kanetkar as Lily of the Small Urban Community Garden.

Charles Gaustine as Operator Harry.

Josh Rubino as… [deep breath THE SULTAN OF SWAT! THE PRINCE OF POUNDERS! THE WIZARD OF WHACK! THE BEHEMOTH OF BUST! BARON VON BOP! THE KING OF okay look he’s Babe Ruth, alright? 

Johanna Bodnyk as Mallory.

Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis.

Tanja Melojevic as Melissa Weatherby.

Julia Shifini as 23 Skidoo.

and James Capobianco as Freed Friend Poletti.

[Music fades out]

COOKIE

[Heavenly chorus singing.] 

Babe Ruth echoey 

Huh, so this is what heaven is like. Looks kinda just like…

Jimmy Hoffa 

HEY! Bambino! How the hell are ya? It’s me! Jimmy Hoffa! Welcome, or should I say, welcome back, to Yankee Stadium!

Babe Ruth 

Gad dammit.

Published by Jeff Van Dreason

Writer, college professor, blogger, amateur cinephile, and music nerd.

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