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Content Starts Chapter 4 – A Place of Great Importance

(Transcripts may vary slightly from the published recording, because, you know, improvising. Also, grammar and punctuation may be imperfect…because…umm…Astral Plane.)

Sounds of Tools Being Used

Mac: Gosh darn this coffee maker to heck!

Tendy: You’re still working on that?. Let’s just request a new one.

Mac: Nuh-uh. No way. I am not gonna let this machine get the better of me. What kind of mechanic am I if I can’t even fix one – gotdam – coffee machine!

Tendy: The kind that works on cars, not coffee machines. You’re the Mechanic, not the Appliance Repair – nic.

Mac: Maybe, you’re right. I don’t know. I just wish there was more I could do around here. The Skylark’s almost never need repairs, just light maintenance most of the time. You and C.A.S.H. both have important jobs, and here I am losing to a coffee maker. Sometimes I feel like I was meant for more than just bein’ eye candy. 

Tendy: What in the world are you talking about? You’re a huge help. Maybe there’s not a lot of need in terms of mechanic work, but think about everything else you do around here. 

Mac: Yeah, like what?

Tendy: Well, for one thing, nobody else at Desert Skys is able to understand the coyotes like you.

Mac: It’s called active listening. 

Tendy: It’s also called weird as hell, but it’s also very cool and very helpful. And that’s not all. You keep things light around here. Travelers love you. Remember when you and what’s his name talked about the Buick Skylark for hours.

Mac: Oh, yeah. His name was Bill Mitchell.

That’s right. He was so nervous when he got here but when the time came, he was more than ready to hit the road.

C.A.S.H. register?

C.A.S.H. On Sound

Cash:  Yes, attendant. How may I be of service?

Tendy: Mac’s feeling like he’s not contributing around here. Tell him why he’s wrong.

Cash: Oh, he is very wrong. He often carries the heavy inventory shipments that arrive in the trunks of incoming skylarks, and with relative ease I might add.

Tendy: That’s right. Look at my lanky noodle arms, Mac. I couldn’t carry all of those boxes.

Mac: Ha. I guess your arms are a little noodly.

Cash: And the Mechanic has the ability to make me laugh, which shouldn’t be even remotely possible, technically speaking.

Tendy: Really? I’ve never heard you laugh.

Cash: That’s because I mute myself.

Tendy: Why?

Cash: Because the sound of my laugh is disturbing to human ears. I was never programmed to make a laughing sound, and the sound I would make would hardly resemble a human.

Mac: Hey, I’d like to hear that!

Cash: Really?

Mac: Absolutely, yes.

Cash: Well, If you wish, Mechanic. Tell me a joke.

Mac: Okay, I’ve been working on one. What do you call it when Tendy really focuses on something.

Cash: What?

Mac: He’s paying Attendantion.

Cash Makes Horrifying Robot Sound

Tendy: Wow…

Mac: Hey, I like it!

Cash: Really? What did you think, Attendant?

Tendy: Well, I, uh…I mean…

Car Arriving Sound

Tendy: Oh, hey! A traveler. Better get back to work. Let’s get ready. Mac, clean up your tools from the coffee machine and put the out of order sign back on. I’ll get the music started. Cash, be ready to request a traveler bio. Okay, here she comes…

Door Opening Sound – Ethereal Music Begins Playing

Tendy: Welcome to Desert Skies Traveler. Your journey through the Physical Plane has come to an end, but we are so glad you’re here. And I know what you’re thinking, where is….

Shirley: This place…

Tendy: Right. This place. Desert Skies is actually located on the Astral…

Shirley: It’s…different, but it’s somehow the same.

Tendy: Right. The Astral Plane and the Physical Plane are similar in a number of ways, and there are…

Shirley: But it…shouldn’t be here. No. This place…this place has been empty for ages.

Tendy: I’m sorry. I’m confused.

Shirley: So am I, young man. I don’t suppose you could offer an old lady a drink.

Tendy: We don’t really have alcohol here, aside from what Mac makes and I wouldn’t recommend trying it.

Mac: What’s wrong with Mac’s Shack Juice?

Tendy: A number of things.

Shirley: Coffee, then.

Mac: Coffee maker’s actually out of order at the moment. Can’t seem to figure it out.

Shirley: What? This one here? Let me take a look. Oh, my. It’s just like I remember. What’s going on with it?

Mac: I dunno. The water’s not getting hot.

Shirley: Let me just pop this open. See here. The power to the tank heater was loose. We just pop that back on aand it’s good as new.

Mac: Well, I’ll be. Were you an appliance repair person on the physical plane?

Tendy: I think we’re jumping ahead of ourselves, Mac. We haven’t even told her, I’m sorry, your name?

Shirley: Shirley

Tendy: Shirley, you should know that you’re…

Shirley: Dead? Oh, I know. Not a surprise, in fact a welcome development. I don’t even feel my arthritis here. As for your question, no I wasn’t an appliance repair person.

Mac: Then how’d you know how to fix one of these?

Shirley: Oh, you had to know how to make little repairs like that when your gas station was so far away from civilization. Otherwise it’d take days for someone to come out and fix it.

Mac: You worked at a gas station?

Shirley: I did.

Mac: What was it like?

Shirley: Take a look around, you’re standin’ in it.

Tendy: I’m sorry what did you say?

Mac: I think she’s saying she’s been here before. C’mon Tendy, weren’t you payin’ Attendtantion?

Cash Makes Horrifying Robot Laugh Sound

Theme Plays

Exterior Scene

Tendy: What do you think, Mac?

Mac: I don’t know what to think. It’s weird, Tendy. She knew how to fix that exact coffee maker like I know how to change a fuse on a 1986 Buick Skylark. She had to have worked with that one before.

Tendy: But that coffee maker doesn’t exist on the physical plane. At least, I don’t think it does.

Mac: Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it does and doesn’t at the same time. Like Cash says…

Tendy: The Astral Plane and the Physical Plane occupy the same space at the same time.

Mac: So maybe there’s a gas station just like this one on the physical plane.

Tendy: You really think that’s possible?

Mac: Only one way to find out.

Enters Interior. Walks Across Room. Cash and Shirley Get Louder.

Mac: Pardon the interruption, but I have a few questions for you ma’am.

Shirley: I’ll answer what I can, young man.

Mac: You’re sure that you worked at this gas station?

Shirley: Yes, I think…I mean, I don’t know. Almost everything is exactly like I remember it, but it’s all just a little off. Some things are very different. Like, we didn’t have this fancy robot you got here. Our cash register couldn’t talk and was made out of bronze for example. It was a remington.

Cash: Sounds lovely.

Shirley: Oh, it was. But so are you. We also didn’t have your impressive selection of microwavable burritos, or a microwave at that.

Still, it’s very much the spitting image of my parent’s gas station.

Cash: Perhaps the gas station you remember was similar in design. One of many.

Shirley: Impossible.

Cash: Why is that?

Shirley: Because it was one of a kind.

Tendy: One of a kind?

Shirley: It was, my father designed it. My father built it. See, when I was a little girl…

Mac: Hold that thought! Cash, play flashback music.

Soft Piano Begins Playing

We lived in South Carolina, a small place called Georgetown. My momma was a teacher. My daddy worked at the paper mill. Life was easy. We were happy. But then things suddenly changed one afternoon.

I came home after school one day. Normally I would get home before my parents, my daddy’s shift didn’t end until 7, and my mother would stay late at the school grading papers.

But when I got home, he was there. 

Mac: Your daddy?

Shirley: Uh-huh. He was sitting at the table drawing a picture. I asked what he was doing but he never looked up, just kept sketching away. I peeked over his shoulder and guess what I saw?

Mac: He was designing a new type of airplane.

Shirley: A very strange guess, but no. He was drawing a gas station. This gas station. I asked him why, and he said he didn’t know, it was something he had to do. I said, that’s just a gas station. And he said, no, not just a gas station, a place of great importance.

Tendy: A place of great importance?

Shirley: That was all he said. Nothing else. When my momma came home I could hear them yelling. They never fought, but this time they were fighting hard. I sat at the top of the stairs and listened. I heard him tell her that he’d had a vision, that he had to build it, that it was his destiny. That it was our destiny. My momma kept sayin’ that didn’t make no sense. She was right, it didn’t. But he was adamant. Eventually she must have gave up, because the next day he quit his job at the paper mill and put the house up for sale. Not long after that we were headed West.

And then he built it, built it  just like the one in the picture, down to the very last detail. Spent every cent we had on supplies. We had to live in a small airstream out behind.

And I tell you what, it’s hard to describe, but as soon as he’d finished hammering the last nail, I felt it. I think my mother did too.

Mac: Felt what?

Shirley: That this was, in fact, a place of great importance. We believed it. Our passion for it grew as strong as Father’s. To me, the place felt like magic. I never wanted to leave.

And it felt like that until the day my father died. I was already a grown woman, and getting older every day, but I couldn’t leave. Until he died, then everything changed.

That’s when my mother decided to sell it, but nobody wanted an old gas station, so she sold the land it was on instead. Whoever bought it never did anything with the station. It’s just a shell now, less than that actually, more like ruins. Least it was the last time I drove by it. And yet, here it is. I’m sitting in it.

Mac: The Prime Mover works in mysterious way

Shirley: I don’t know what that means, but I’ll take your word for it. If this is anything, it is mysterious.

Tendy: Shirley, what’s your last name?

Shirley: Edwards.

Tendy: Cash, can you run a traveler bio?

Cash: Requesting now, Attendant.

Tendy: We might have some answers soon, Shirley.

Shirley: That would be nice. While we’re waiting, do you mind if I take a look in the basement?

Mac: Of course! Follow me.

Tendy: Uh, Mac. We don’t have a basement. Cash, we don’t have a basement, right?

Cash: Not that I’m aware of, Attendant.

Mac: Oh, yeah. Sorry, ma’am. We don’t have a basement.

Shirley: That’s odd. Do you mind if we take a look regardless?

Mac: Sure! No harm in lookin’. You comin’ Tendy?

Tendy: You go ahead. I’m going to read over this bio.

Mac: How about you, Cash?

Cash: No legs, Mechanic.

Mac: That’s..right. Okay, Miss Shirley, let’s see what we can find.

Mac/Shirley Leave –  Sound of Door Opening/Closing

Tendy: All right, let’s take a look here. Shirley Edwards. Only child of Martha and Dale Edwards. 

Cash: Attendant

Tendy: One second, Cash. I’m trying to find the part where he has the vision about the gas station.

Tendy: Hang on. I think I found it.

Cash: Attendant!

Tendy: What?

Cash: I’m certain she’s telling the truth.

Tendy: How do you know that?

Cash: Because Dale Edwards, husband of Martha, Father of Shirley, was the former attendant of Desert Skies.

Tendy: No way.

Cash: Yes way.

Tendy: I thought you were unable to access information related to Desert Skies staff.

Cash: I’m unable to access information related to current Desert Skies staff. When the former attendant resigned, his memory of the physical plane was restored, and his traveler bio was declassified. 

Door Opens

Mac: Tendy, get your noodle arms out here and help me.

Tendy: Can it wait, Mac?

Mac: You are not going to want to wait. Come on!

Cash: Before you go, Attendant.

Tendy: What is it?

Cash: I just wish to advise that you do not disclose to Ms Edwards that her father is still present in the Astral Plane. We would be putting her in danger if she were to attempt to find him.

Tendy: That’s sad, but you’re right. I won’t say anything.

Mac: What are you guys talking about?

Tendy: Nothing. Let’s go Mac, what did you need help with?

Mac: Well, Shirley thinks she knows where the basement is.

Tendy: I’ll see it when I believe it. Where is it?

Mac: Shirley thinks the door is under the ice machine.

Tendy: For reals? Well, let’s move it.

Sound of Mac and Tendy Moving Heavy Ice Machine

Loud Breathing/Grunting from Tendy

Mac: You alright, Tendy?

Tendy: I’m fine. Just a little out of breath. Let’s keep going.

Mac: Alright, if you’re sure.

More Moving Sounds

Mac: Oh my God, she was right.

Tendy: How could we not know this was here?

Mac: I don’t know! Let’s open it up. It’s probably full of gold.

Tendy: Which we need because…

Mac: I dunno. It’s pretty.

Tendy: Shirley, before we open this up, any idea what we can expect to find down there?

Shirley: Not exactly sure. My daddy usually kept the door to the basement under lock and key. My momma and I were never allowed in. When I’d ask him what he was doing down there, he’d say he wasn’t sure. He just knew he had to do it.

Mac: Forgive me for saying this, but it sounds like your dad was most likely a serial killer.

Shirley: Anyways, one day he stopped going down there. Whatever it was, he said it was done, and he never told us what it was or let us see it.

But curiosity was killin’ this little cat, so one day I stole his key ring and snuck inside.

Tendy: What did you find?

Shirley: Just an empty room with a wooden box in the middle.

Mac: A box?

Shirley: Yep. A weird one too. It was tall, taller than me, and shaped like a rectangle, mostly. It had a big hole on the side and I leaned over to peer inside.

Mac: What was in it?

Shirley: Nothing. It was completely empty. And before I could get my head out of the box my father found me. And let me tell you, he was mad. Said that box was a box of great importance. It scared me enough that I never went back down, not even after his funeral. That door there hasn’t been opened a single time since.

Mac: Did he ever say what it was for?

Shirley: No, but I don’t think he could have. I honestly don’t think he knew what the box was for, just that it was important.

Mac: Let’s open this thing up. Let me go first in case there’s a monster I have to fight.

Interior Basement – Steps Coming Down

Mac: Don’t come down just yet, Tendy. It’s dark in here. Let me see if I can find a light switch. Here we go.

Holy shit!

Tendy: What is it?

Oh my God. Is that a…

Mac: Oh, yeah. That, my friend, is an arcade game. Astral Adventures. Sounds like fun!

Shirley: Well, I’ll be. That whole time, this is what he was building? At least the shape makes sense now, but that means he was building a box for a video game before video games were even invented. He really was seeing visions.

Mac: Mysterious ways. C’mon, Tendy. Let’s get this thing upstairs and plug it in.

Tendy: Mac, after that ice machine, I don’t know if I can…

Mac: It’s not gonna kill you, Tendy. Somethin’ else already did that.

Tendy: Fine. Let’s do this.

Mac (Singing): Ah, yeah…Mac and Tendy playin’ video games. Probably not cash cause she doesn’t have thumbs.

Tendy: Stop it, Mac.

Mac (Singing): Tendy is grumpy cause he’s not very strong. I better stop singing cause he’s gritting his teeth.

Transition Music – Interior Gas Station

Mac: Alright, let’s plug this thing in. 

Video Game Logo Sound

Tendy: It says insert Token 1. That’s weird. It should say one token, not Token 1.

Mac: Are you serious? We don’t have any money, Tendy! Gosh, dangit. We finally get some entertainment around here that isn’t a square dancin tarantula king and it costs money. And we’ll never get none neither. They can’t take it with ‘em when they go, Tendy, which means they give it to us when they get here.

Shirley: It doesn’t say it takes money, young man. It says it takes a token.

Mac: Excuse me, ma’am, but technicalities aside, we don’t get any tokens here either.

Shirley: My family never had a lot. We barely broke even on the gas station, so when my father died he didn’t have much to leave us. But as he lied in that hospital bed in what would be his last hour, he asked for his billfold. And tucked inside it was a small bronze coin. He placed it in my hand.

I asked him what it was, and like so many things before, he said he didn’t know, but that it was something of great importance. He said that one day I would know what to do with it. I put it in this locket and have carried it around my neck ever since.

Mac: But, we can’t take your…

Shirley: No, no. Listen. I don’t think it ever really belonged to me. In fact, now I’m certain of it, I was just keeping it safe until I could deliver it to its rightful owners. I think I was holding onto it for the two of you. Here, take a look.

Mac: It says Token 1.

Shirley: Put it in the machine, young man.

Tendy: Are you sure?

Shirley: Put it in the machine.

Tendy: Do the honors, Mac.

Mac: Okay, here we go.

Video Game Music Begins to Play

Digital Text Sound


Welcome Warrior, Now’s the time

Embark on your campaign

Use your cunning, strength, and mind

To save the Astral Plane

Choose your character

There’s only two options. Who should I be?

Tendy: Mac

Mac: This one’s kind of short and chubby but he’s got an awesome beard

Tendy: Mac

Mac: This one’s kinda taller, but he doesn’t look strong at all. Look at those noodle arms. 

Tendy: Mac!

Mac: What?!

Tendy: You don’t see it?

Mac: See what?

Tendy: They’re not characters, Mac. They’re us. 

Mac: What in the fuuu—-

Closing Music Plays

Greetings travelers, this is Jared Carter, the creator of Desert Skies.

We’re four Chapters in. If you’re listening to this then I’m assuming you’re in it for the long haul. I’m glad you’re here. You’ve helped this show to become more successful in its first four episodes than I anticipated or could have ever imagined. Thank you.

There’s two things you can do to help others discover this story. Follow and review this show wherever you listen. I cherish your reviews like Mac cherishes embarrassing childhood memories.

Thank you again for listening and spending some time in this weird little world with me. We’ll be back in a couple weeks. Until then, safe travels.