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Content Starts Chapter 5 – Stupid Little Rock Thingy

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

Desert Skies Episode 5

Video Game Noises

Mac: That’s it. I’m done. Can someone tell me what the point of this thing is? I thought I was going to get to save the Astral Plane.

Tendy: Yeah, I’m a little underwhelmed with it too. How far have you made it?

Mac: I dunno. So far, all I’ve done is service a dozen Buicks and helped reunite a scorpion with his tribe. It’s weird, Tendy. It’s all the stuff I already do.

Tendy: Sounds like you’ve got it better than me. I’ve only played once and it had me reorganizing the burrito freezer and mopping.

Mac: Whoever thought that what goes on at an Astral Plane Fuel and Service Station would be entertaining simply does not understand entertainment. I think I’m done with this.

Tendy: Same. Hey, at least it was something new. We don’t get a lot of new anything around here.

Mac: Yeah, speaking of new, do you think Shirley plans on stayin’? It’s been nice having her around here.

Tendy: It has, huh? Did you see what she did to the hot dog warmer?

Mac: Nah, what’d she do?

Tendy: She got it working! The dogs are hot, mac. 

Mac: Well, hot damn!

Tendy: I just don’t know how we can ask her to stay. No idea how that would even work. We only have the two positions here, and as long as she stays at the station we can’t receive new travelers.

Mac: That’s true. We never get two travelers here at the same time.

Tendy: And besides. It’d be wrong to ask her to stay. We’re here to help travelers reach their destination, not keep them from making the journey just because we like hot hotdogs.

Mac: You’re right, Tendy. I hate to see her go, but it’s the right thing to do. You want me to tell her?

Tendy: No, I think I should do it. I mean, unless you really want to.

Mac: Of course I don’t! She likes it here, Tendy. This place feels like home to her. But like you said, we got a job to do. How about we tell her together? Where is she?

Tendy: Last time I saw her she was rewiring the fluorescent lights under the canopy.

Mac: Sweet! That light’s been out forever! That’ll make it a lot less scary out there.

Tendy: Yeah it will. C’mon Mac. Let’s get this over with.

Exterior Scene

Tendy: Where’s the Skylark? Did you move it?

Mac: Nuh-uh. You don’t think…

Tendy: That she left? I can’t imagine she would. Not without saying goodbye.

Mac: Should we go looking for her?

Shirley: Looking for who?

Mac: Thank God, you’re alive. We thought you were dead.

Tendy: No, we didn’t. And she is.

Shirley: But I’ve never felt so alive. Being back here seems to have woken something up in me. Something I thought was gone. I got some of my spring back.

Tendy: That’s great to hear, Shirley. But there’s something we need to talk about. 

Shirley: I have something I want to talk with you about as well.

Mac: What’s that?

Shirley: You two have been wonderful, and I can tell you care a lot about the work you do here.

Tendy: Thank you for saying that.

Shirley: But there’s some things you just aren’t very good at. Routine maintenance being one of those things.

Mac: She’s got us there, Tendy. We suck at routine maintenance.

Shirley: A gas station has to be kept in impeccable condition. It’s an oasis along the highway, a place of respite and refreshment. Travelers who have endured a long journey look to the gas station as a moment’s reprieve from the cares of the road. And the travelers you serve, they’ve been on a very long journey haven’t they? Shouldn’t the first place they arrive after that journey really be something special.

Tendy: Shirley, I know what you’re going to say, and we just can’t…

Shirley: You need me here. At least long enough to show you greenhorns some of the ropes. 

Mac: It’s not that we don’t want you here. It’s just that we’ve never had more than one traveler at the station at the same time. As long as you’re still here, the Skylark’s quit showing up.

Shirley: That shouldn’t be an issue.

Mac: Why’s that?

Shirley: Because I parked mine in that empty area on the other side of the highway to make room.

Tendy: I’m afraid that’s not how it works.

Shirley: How do you know? Have you ever tried it?

Tendy: No, but…

Sound of Approaching Skylark

Mac: Well, I’ll be damned.

Shirley: What’d I tell you?

Tendy: Shirley, that doesn’t change the fact that you don’t belong here. The Astral Plane is an in-between kind of place, and we have a duty to make sure you reach your destination.

Sound of Car Door Opening and Slamming. Footsteps approaching.

Michael: HEY!

Tendy: Uh, Greetings…traveler!

Michael: Greetings nothin’. What in the hell’s going on here? I have a plane to catch and heads are gonna roll if I miss it. Your heads.

Tendy: I understand you’re a little disoriented, but let’s just take a deep breath.

Michael: You better start given’ me some goddamn answers or you’re about to be a little disoriented pencil neck.

Mac: Hey! Only I can call him that.

Michael: Oh you wanna go little man?

Shirley: If I may

Michael: Cram it, grandma! Hey, what are you doing? Hey, that’s my ear!

Shirley: And I’m about two seconds away from ripping it off and stomping it into the dirt. Now stop being a little bitch and get your ass inside before I get really angry.

Michael: Jesus, are you crazy

Shirley: I said, inside!

Michael: Owwww. Okay okay. I’m going inside. Damn, that hurts.

Shirley: Now where were we?

Mac:You are terrifying. Please, please, please don’t leave us

Tendy: You’re welcome to stay as long as you like

Shirley: Consider the invitation accepted.

Mac: Now show me how to do that ear thing to Tendy.

Intro Theme Plays

Shirley: Hello, again sir. Have we calmed down a bit?

Michael: I just need to know what’s going on. Why am I in the desert and not at LAX? Why am I in this nasty little gas station?

 And why in the hell am I driving a Buick instead of a Bentley?

Mac: Hey! What’s wrong with a Buick? Get his ear again, Shirley.

Tendy: Mac, no. Sir, can I get your name?

Michael: Michael.

Tendy: Michael…

Michael: Michael Partridge

Mac: Wait wait wait. You’re THE Michael Partridge.

Michael: In the flesh.

Mac: I’m just kidding. I don’t know who you are.

Tendy: Cash.

Cash On Sound

Cash: Attendant?

Traveler bio, please. Michael, this is going to be hard for you to hear, but you’re dead.

Michael: Is that a threat?

Tendy: No, that’s the reality. Your life on the Physical Plane has come to an end. This is the Astral Plane. And it’s our job to help you get to the next Plane of existence. The next life.

Michael: I think I understand

Tendy: That’s great

Michael: I understand that you’re a bullshitter, speaking bullshit in a way that doesn’t make sense, because you don’t want me to get to the airport.

Tendy: <Sigh>

Mac: Michael, nobody’s bullshittin’ nobody. Tendy’s right. You’re D.E.A.D, dead. Let me show you. 

Tendy: Mac, what are you doing?

Sound of refrigerator being opened

Mac: Michael, these are pop rocks and this is soda. Now, consume them both.

Michael: Why would I do that?

Mac: Because on the physical plane, your stomach would explode.

Tendy: I don’t think that’s true.

Mac: Really?

Tendy: It says here in your bio that you started the morning at the gym, where you berated your trainer for implying your glutes needed work.

Michael: That little prick. How’d you hear about that?

Tendy: Then got your haircut and didn’t tip the barber because your sideburns were uneven.

Michael: Mediocre work deserves mediocre pay.

Tendy: You then went home where you cried in the shower for about half an hour.

Michael: Hey, that’s not true! Where in the hell are you getting this info?

Tendy: And then you drove to the airport.

Michael: Which is where I should be right now.

Tendy: But you didn’t make it. Looks like you flipped off a trucker you thought was going too slow and he pushed your Bentley off the stack interchange. Does any of that ring a bell?


Mac: You alright, bud?

Michael: I’m dead.

Mac: Now you’re gettin’ it. See, not so hard.

Michael: Are you kidding me?

Shirley: Calm down, young man

Michael: Calm down? Calm down? Do you have any idea what I had to do to get where I am? How much I had to work, how much I had to sacrifice? Are you kidding me?

Mac: C’mon now buddy. It’s not all that bad. The work’s over. It’s time to get your rest on. Let me microwave you a burrito and we’ll all…

Michael: There’s gotta be a better afterlife than this, I mean, come on! Buick Skylarks and microwave burritos. What in the hell did I do to deserve this? Is that it, am I being punished?

Mac: Uh, that’s offensive.

Michael: You guys better get your shit together. I will not stand for this level of service. I’m Michael Partridge, dammit. I don’t eat microwavable burritos.

Michael Exits Store

Shirley: Well, I never.

Mac: If you’re gonna stick around, Shirley, you’re going to have to get used to the occasional outburst. These aren’t your run of the mill travelers and their unique experiences have to be taken seriously. Tendy, hand over those childhood memories.

Tendy: Here you go. Shirley, anything from your time on the Physical Plane that could help us deal with this Michael situation. Open to new ideas.

Shirley: Very diplomatic of you, but no. When anyone got rowdy we just kicked em out of the store and told ‘em to hit the road. Grab ‘em by the ear kick ‘em in the rear.

Tendy: Yeah, that probably wouldn’t work so well for us. We need to make sure Michael’s prepared for the long road ahead. The trip isn’t especially difficult, but it can be dangerous if you don’t know what to expect.

Mac: Hey, maybe I can help.

Tendy: You’re welcome to give it a shot. You’re not just going to show him the rock labyrinth are you?

Mac: Haha, Tendy. You are hilarious. No, it’s gonna take more than a rock labyrinth to break this guy. You gotta trust me more.

Tendy: Alright, best of luck.

Mac: Thanks, Tendy. Not gonna need it. I know exactly what will help this guy.

Transition Music

Michael: What am I looking at?

Mac: You, sir, are looking at a rock labyrinth.

Michael: A bunch of rocks in circles. What’s the point?

Mac: Michael, you said you sacrificed everything in order to achieve what you’ve achieved in life. Which is what exactly?

Michael: Well, before this happened, I was about to fly to Dallas to interview for the job I’d fought for my whole career. My dream job.

Mac: What was the job?

Michael: Vice President of Marketing for a cereal company.

Mac: That was your dream? Why’d you want to do that? You don’t strike me as a cereal lover. A serial killer maybe.

Michael: I didn’t care about the cereal. The company was huge. The pay was exceptional. A lot of people would kill to get that job. That’s the kind of job guys wait a lifetime to get. That’s the kind of job winners get. That’s the kind of job a guy like me should have. You know what I’m talking about. You work at a gas station. That can’t feel great.

Mac: What do you mean?

Michael: I mean, look at you. You’re older than me I imagine. How old are you anyway?

Mac: I dunno. A billion. We don’t really do time the same way here. At least, I don’t think so.

Michael: Okay, so for the sake of argument, let’s say you’re 1 billion. I, am 53.

Mac: Got it.

Michael: Judging by your clothes, you’re some kind of Mechanic.

Mac: Look at Sherlock Holmes, here.

Michael: I, a 53 year old, drive a nice car, fly first class, eat at the finest restaurants, have assistants that get me anything I want, anytime of day. Women want me. Men want to be me.

Mac: Grammar may not be my greatest strength, but I believe you misspoke just now.

Michael: Oh, please do tell grease monkey.

Mac: Haha, Monkey. Anyways, you’re saying you do this and you do that, people want you, or want to be you. But you got it wrong. You did this and did that, and were wanted and so on.

Michael: Just driving home the fact that I’m dead, huh? That make you feel better than me? Cause you ain’t. You’re nothing. You’ll never be someone. What do you have to show for all the time you’ve been around? Huh, what do you have to show?

Mac: I’m trying to show it to you right now.

Michael: What? This pile of rocks?

Mac: You sir, do not know what a pile is. This is a rock labyrinth. 

Michael: Am I supposed to be impressed?

Mac: Nope. I don’t imagine you’d be impressed unless these rocks were made out of diamonds. To be honest, I thought that’d be cool but I didn’t know where to find any.


You know why I wanted to talk to you?

Michael: Can’t imagine. Enlighten me.

Mac: You’re not going to believe this, but you remind me a lot of me when I first got here. Now, I don’t remember my life on the physical plane. I’ve tried to make educated guesses and as far as I can figure I was either a rockstar or a high powered lawyer.

Michael: Uh-huh

Mac: Whatever it was, it left me angry. I doubt I was a VP of anything, but I must have felt strongly about whatever I did because even though I couldn’t remember, I felt cheated. There was something inside of me that said I was supposed to be somebody but when I showed up, they put a wrench in my hand and put me to work servicing Skylarks.

Michael: Is this story going somewhere?

Mac: You in a hurry?

Michael: No, I guess I’m not, am I?

Mac: Anyways, This traveler was here once, from New Mexico I think it was, and we got to talkin, and she says, you know what you need? And I said, what? And she said, you need a rock labyrinth. 

I thought that was stupid and let her know as much, but the old attendant said it couldn’t hurt. So we walked out here and she helped me make this.

Michael: And then what?

Mac: She said start walkin’. So I did, I started right here. And I thought, boy this is dumb. Labyrinths are supposed to be tall and hard to figure out. This was flat and a baby could find their way to the middle.

But I did it anyway.

Michael: And…?

Mac: And you’re about to find out. Start here.

Michael: I’m not doing this. This is dumb.

Mac: You want me to grab Shirley?

Michael: Is that the old lady?

Mac: Uh-huh

Michael: Alright, I’m walking.

Mac: I’ll walk with you. Slow down now. Take your time. Not everything’s a race.

Michael: That’s it? Just walk?

Mac: That’s it. Just walk, you’re welcome to think if you’d like.

Michael: It’s quiet out here.

Mac: It is.

Michael: I don’t remember it ever being so quiet. It’s…unsettling.

Mac: Why’s that?

Michael: Because I’m not used to it is all.

Mac: There’s nothing wrong with quiet. After a while you get used to it. You even start to like it. Let’s be quiet together the rest of the way. Give it a try.

Music plays

Michael: That was…different.

Mac: Did you like it?

Michael: No. I mean, not at first, but I think I could get used to it. Is that it? What now?

Mac: I’m going to say the same thing to you that woman said to me.

Michael: Which is?

Mac: Take a deep breath, and look up.

Michael: Why do I need to look u– oh my God.

Mac: They’re beautiful aren’t they?

Michael: I’ve never seen anything like it. 

Mac: You never looked up at the stars when you were on the Physical Plane.

Michael: Where I lived I don’t think you could have seen stars. Even if you could, I’m not sure I would have noticed them.

Mac: Michael, if you take nothing else from this experience, try to remember this. You didn’t lose anything when you left the Physical Plane. You were losin’ the whole time you were there. You were losin’ stars, and you were losin’ quiet. You never looked down at the path, you never looked up at the sky, you just kept looking to the next thing.

Michael: I, I just wanted to be somebody.

Mac: Sure. We all want to be somebody, but sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we’re becoming that we start to forget who we are, and where we are, and all the wonder that surrounds us.

Michael: I wish…I wish I could go back.

Mac: Nah, you don’t need to go back. You just need to be here, right now.

Michael: Do you think I could hang out here for a little while? I think I’d like to walk the labyrinth again.

Mac: There’s no rush, bud. Take all the time you need.

Transition Music

Tendy: Wow, he’s still out there. I take back what I said about the rock circle.

Mac: You oughta give it a try sometime.

Tendy: Maybe I will. Looks like we still have some time. You want to submit the traveler report?

Mac: Really? Can I? I’ve never done that before!

Tendy: Go for it. You’ve earned it.

Mac: Cash, I’m ready to submit my traveler report.

Cash: Ready to receive your report, Mechanic.

Mac: And what do I do, just talk?

Cash: Just talk.

Mac: Right on. When Michael Partridge first showed up, he really got under my skin. He was so angry and mean, and I started to feel all defensive and what not. And then I remembered back when I felt really angry, and how what I was feeling wasn’t angry at all. I was feeling sad. Like I’d been cheated. Like I’d lost something important. But rather than mourn my life on the Physical Plane I turned all that emotion into something ugly. I know Michael Partridge still has a lot to figure out. A walk around a rock labyrinth doesn’t cure anybody of those kinds of feelings. But I think he’s starting to realize that maybe he didn’t lose all that much that he couldn’t replace with something better. Something we already have but don’t realize.

That’s my report Cash.

Cash: One to be remembered, Mechanic.

Sound of Car Doing Doughnuts Outside

Mac: What in the hell is that?

Shirley: Looks like young Michael is no longer standing in your rock thingy.

Tendy: What in the world is he doing to that car?

Door Opens

Michael: I think you guys better get out here and see this.

Mac: If you’re here then who’s driving your car?

Michael: Nobody. My car’s still parked at the pump.

Exterior Scene 

Michael: So am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?

Shirley: A coyote doing doughnuts in a Buick Skylark. Yep, you’re seeing it or it’s a shared hallucination.

Tendy: Shirley, did you leave the keys in the car?

Shirley: Why wouldn’t I? Who on earth was there to take it?

Tendy: You’re looking at him.

Mac: Yeeee-haw. HueHue you crazy son of a bitch. God, I love that coyote.

End Credit Music Plays

Wind – Lighting – Rain

Creepy Music Plays

Corson: Bitches, I’m hooome.

Imp #1: Lord Corson, you’ve returned.

Imp #2: Welcome home, master.

Imp #1: Your lordship has been greatly missed.

Imp #2: The eight sphere wasn’t the same without you

Corson: Yes, alright, thank you, thank you for the warm reception. Stop groveling. 

Imp #1: Was our esteemed sphere mover successful on his quest?

Imp #2: Where is he, Lord Corson?

Imp #1: Where is the one called mechanic?

Corson: Well, about that see. I had a change of heart. Why bring the mechanic here when I’m already surrounded by so many wonderful and interesting friends?

Imp #2: Friends?

Imp #1: Who are these friends, my lord?

Imp #2: But, forgive me for saying, the master of the sphere has no friends.

Imp #1: No, not one.

Imp #2: No, not ever

Corson: Shut up. Shut up. I’m talking about you, you idiots! My impish, despicable friends.

Imp #1: But we are not our Lord’s friends.

Imp #2: As you’ve told us many times your majesty.

Corson: Of course you’re my friends. That is why from now on you’ll be the ones to play games with me.

Imp #1: No, master, not the games!

Imp #2: Please master anything but the games!

Imp #1: We’d rather be banished, Lord Corson.

Imp #2: Rather liquified and drank with supper.

Imp #1: Oh yes, liquified.

Imp #2: More dignified.


Imp #2: Someone at the door?

Imp #1: I’ll get it.

Corson: Who in the hell could that be? 

Imp #1: Master, you have a visitor.

Corson: You? What in the blazes are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in a dungeon somewhere on the 23rd sphere.

Dale: And you’re not supposed to be visiting spheres where you don’t belong.

Corson: What are you insinuating, Attendant? Why, I haven’t left my sphere in ages. Too much work to be done. 

Imp #1: But master, you’ve just returned from the Desert Sphere.

Imp #2: Having failed to procure the mechanic I might add.

Corson: Oh, you little shits. Oh well, I don’t have to answer to you, Attendant. What business is it of yours where I’ve been?

Dale: The name’s Dale, not Attendant. And it’s every bit my business. Your business too. I know you had to have seen it when you were out there. Something’s changing.

Corson: No concern of mine.

Dale: It should be. The Astral Plane is in danger. 

Corson: Look, if it puts you at ease, I did not take the Mechanic and I have no intention to. I’ve actually grown a little fond of that station and its staff.

Dale: If that’s true, then help me save it. Save the station, save the plane.

Corson: I don’t follow.

Dale: You don’t have to. You just have to help me.

Corson: What are you asking me to do exactly?

Dale: Help me break into Xochilique’s palace.

Corson: That’s why you were imprisoned! No wonder she locked your ass up! Are you insane, man? Breaking into the home of a sphere mover? What on earth for?

Dale: There’s something in there that I have to….borrow.

Corson: Borrow my ass. What could be so important that you’d risk your very existence to steal it?

Dale: I don’t know, but it’s something, of great importance.


Greetings Travelers!

I’m Jared Carter, the creator of Desert Skies. We’re almost halfway through the first season, and I’ve enjoyed getting to hear from you as much as I’ve been enjoyed making this show. I’m on twitter and would love to connect with you there. Just follow @desertskiespod. And as always, if you like the show, please think about rating and reviewing wherever you listen.

Desert Skies will be back soon with Episode 6. Until then, this is Jared Carter wishing you safe travels.