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Content Starts Chapter 7 – The Long Pause

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

Mac Singing Along With Radio – Station Suddenly Changes to Smooth Jazz

Mac: Hey, why’d you do that! I love that song…

Huehue Growls

Mac: Yeah, you’re right, I have been hoggin’ the radio. I think I’m just nervous. This is the farthest away I’ve ever been from Desert Skies and what if somethin’ happens to us? Tendy’s gonna be so worried. I should have said somethin’.

Huehue sounds

Mac: I know. I am kind of a grown up, but Tendy’s still my best friend and I think I’d be pretty upset if he just up and left without sayin’ goodbye. But hey, you’re my pal too and I know you got my back if anything happens. I don’t know why I’m so worried. Lots of travelers have gone down this road before. I just hope we can find out what to do with this key. 

Hey there’s a sign! “Now leaving the Desert Sphere.” Okay, deep breaths. I got this. Just leaving the only place I’ve ever called home and have no idea what to expect and…HueHue! Where’s the rest of the highway, it just ends. We’re gonna crash if we keep going. Why in the hell are you speeding up??? Aaaaaaaa—


—ahhhhhhhh. Can I open my eyes now?

HueHue sound

Wow, would you look at this place? The trees HueHue, I’ve never seen a tree that tall before. Those are pines ain’t they? They’re tall as a mountain.

I’m gonna roll down the window for a sec, you don’t mind do ya

The air is so…cool. And Deep Breath In that smell is unbelievable. Like a pine air freshener but, but, not disgusting.

I’m sorry, I know I’m gushing a bit here, it’s just that…..

Tire Popping Sound

Mac: What in the heck was that?

Car Exterior

Mac: Tire popped. Was that a pothole you hit? 

HueHue: Bark

Mac: That don’t make no sense. The Astral Highway doesn’t have potholes. Oh well, no worries, every 1986 Buick Skylark is equipped with a compact spare. And you’re in luck, this one also came equipped with a ME-chanic. Get it? ME-chanic. Hey, you hear that?

Sound of Approaching Car Coming to a Stop, Door Opening

Mac: Hey! It’s Tendy! And he looks mad. Oh, he looks real mad. Save me HueHue!

Tendy: Mac, what in the hell were you thinking driving off like that? And to the second sphere? You abandon the station, you abandon your responsibilities and your friends, you abandoned me!

Mac: Now wait just a second, Tendy! I wasn’t abandonin’ nobody! I knew if I told you I was leavin’ you’d never have let me gone. I found somethin’ back at the station, Tendy, a key..

Tendy: Save it, Mac. We can’t do this right now. I borrowed this car from a traveler. Cash and Shirley are back at the station alone and we have to….

Mac: Shirley knows how to run a gas station and I’m sure she can keep a traveler occupied until we get back.

Tendy: It’s not up for debate. We are heading back now!

HueHue: Bark

Tendy: Not now, HueHue. Oh, and thanks a lot for taking my mechanic

Mac: Don’t be rude to him, he’s trying to say somethin’. What is it HueHue?

HueHue: Growl Bark

Mac: You hear something? What is it?

Tendy: Probably a malevolent being, and one that doesn’t like to play boardgames either. We need to get out of here now!

Mac: I hear it too. Listen, Tendy.

Tendy: Is that….music?

Mac: Yeah! And I think I smell some kind of food too, and it’s (sniff sniff) ….not a burrito.

Tendy: Probably a trick, not worth the risk. Let’s go, Mac.

Mac: Nuh-uh, I ain’t goin’ back just yet. I need to find out what this key belongs to, and it might have somethin’ to do with that music.

Tendy: No, Mac. We’re leaving. Get in the car. Now.

Mac: I said no, Tendy! You go back if you want to, but I’m stayin’!

Tendy: Get in the car!

Mac: No!

Tendy: Yes!

Mac: No! 

Tendy: Yes!

Mac: Tendy, look out there’s a malevolent being shaped liked a dragon behind you!

Tendy: What? There’s a…wait….there’s nothing there. Real grown-up of you, Mac. Mac? Where’d you…

Mac: (Yelling from afar) You’ll never take me alive, Tendy!

Tendy: Sigh

Mac: Get it? You’ll never take me alive because I’m…

Tendy: I get it, Mac. Because you’re already dead. 

Mac: It’s because I’m already dead, Tendy! Get it? Get it, Tendy?

Tendy: Sigh

Intro Theme Plays

Tendy: I’m sorry for getting angry, Mac. I was just really scared. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.

Mac: Ah, that’s alright. And I’m sure you’d be fine if something happened to me. Y’all got Shirley now.

Tendy: Shirley’s great. She’s been a real help, and as long as she’s here I’m sure she’ll be a benefit to the team, but she’s not going to replace you, Mac.

Mac: I dunno, sometimes it feels like you and I aren’t hardly friends anymore. Since Shirley showed up you and her are always working on somethin’. I’ve already been having a hard time with, I dunno, I don’t wanna talk about it I guess.

Tendy: A hard time with what?

Mac: You know? My purpose. 

Tendy: But Mac, I told you…

Mac: I know. I know. I do lots of other stuff like make Cash laugh, and help ease travelers etc..etc…, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m the mechanic. Hell, it’s in my name, or my name’s in it. Mac-canic. But when’s the last time I did mechanicin’? Like we talked about before, the Buick’s almost never need work, just a light service. Not like I’m swappin’ out transmissions. Stupid perfect cars.

I guess I just don’t feel like me and my title go together all that well, and that’s causin’ a little bit of a crisis in me. And maybe that’s why I left the desert sphere. I feel like I’m lacking purpose, Tendy. So I guess I got somethin’ to prove. And when that key came to me…

Tendy: We can talk about the key later. What you just said, about not having purpose, that’s just not true. Forget about the title. You and I have been in this thing together since I found myself standing behind that counter. Our purpose is and always has been to help travelers reach their destination. I can’t do that without you.

Mac: That’s the thing, Tendy. You’re the attendant. I think maybe you could do this without me.

Tendy: Mac…

Mac: Look, Tendy, lights ahead. Is that Neon?

Tendy: I’m not sure about this, maybe we shouldn’t be here.

Mac: Aw, c’mon. Let’s at least get a closer look

Sound of Footsteps in the Dirt – Leaves Rustling

Tendy: The Long Paws

Mac: Yeah, but p-a-w-s. Sounds like a place you’d like, HueHue. HueHue?

Tendy: There he is!

Mac: Did he just go inside? C’mon Tendy.

Tendy: It might be dangerous, Mac.

Mac: You think HueHue would stand outside if he thought we might be in danger?

Tendy: Sigh. Okay. Let’s go.

Door Opens Interior Scene Music Playing

Mac: It’s a bar. It’s a, bear, bar.

Sounds of Bears and Glass Clinking

Tendy: Let’s just find HueHue and get out of here

Mac: On it. You take that side and I’ll take a look over at the pool tables.

Tendy: Be careful, Mac. Meet me at the bar when you’re done looking.

Mac: Got it.

Tendy: Okay, where are you coyote? If I was a benevolent canine warrior where I would have gone first? The bathroom? No, he’d go outside. He does like music, maybe he’s…

Crashing glass sound

Oh, no! Oh God, I’m so sorry, sir, ma’am, be-bear. Please let me get you another one, I’ll be right back!

Excuse me, bartender! Can I get some help over here.

Drystan: You’re gonna have to speak up if you want any help around here. Normally bears have great hearing, but unfortunately that’s not the case for Jerry.

Tendy: You’re a human!

Drystan: So I’ve been told. Name’s Drystan.

Tendy: Tendy, uh, the Attendant. I’m from Desert Skies

Drystan: Desert Skies, huh? I remember that place. I don’t remember you, though. When I passed through your gas station, the uh, the man there, what’d you call it?

Tendy: Attendant

Drystan: That’s right. The Attendant I met was a bit older than you, bit of a Southern drawl.

Tendy: That’s my predecessor.

Drystan: Is that, right? It’s been some time then, hasn’t it. Jerry!

Bear Sound

Drystan: Let’s get a couple beers down here.

Loud Walking Sounds

Drystan: Thank you, my fine furried friend. Here you go Attendant, why don’t you take that over to Arthuretta and make nice with her?

Tendy: I will. Hey, thanks for the help.

Drystan: Don’t mention it, young man. I recommend watching your walking in here from here on out. 

Tendy: I definitely will.

Walks Back Over to Arthuretta

Tendy: Here you go ma’am. Again, I’m so sorry.

Bear Sound

Tendy: I don’t know what that means, but I’ll be careful moving forward

Mac: Tendy! You find him?

Tendy: No, no luck. 

Mac: Well, shit.

Tendy: But Mac, I found a human. I didn’t get a chance to ask but, I think maybe he’s a traveler. 

Mac: Maybe he heard the music like we did and came to check it out.

Tendy: I don’t recognize this guy. And he was talking about the old Attendant.

Mac: The old Attendant? That means…

Tendy: That means he’s been here for a while. I think we should talk to him. Find out what’s going on.

Walks back over to bar

He was here. Wonder where he want.

Mac: Hey, lookie here. It’s HueHue.

(You found my furry friend! Click here to claim your prize!)

Where you been hidin’, bud? Really? Where is it? Okay. C’mon, Tendy. HueHue’s got somethin’ he wants us to see. Says it’s behind the bar aways. Let’s use the back door.

Exterior Scene

Mac: He says it’s at the bank of the creek just a little ways ahead

Footsteps in Dirt

Tendy: I don’t see anything.

HueHue barks

Mac: It’s under here. Help me these branches Tendy.

Sound of branches moving

Mac: Oh, my god. Is that a…

Drystan: A 1961 Buick Skylark, yes sir it is.

Mac: Whoooaaaaa

Tendy: Drystan, how long have you been out here?

Drystan: I’ve been out here a very, very long time.

Mac: Is your car broke down? Maybe I can take a look at it

Drystan: Nah, not broke down. Just parked.

Tendy: Under a bunch of branches.

Drystan: Listen. I know what you’re gonna, and you can save your breath. If I remember correctly, it’s an attendant’s job to make sure a traveler reaches his destination safely. Well, take a look around Attendant, I have reached my destination, and I don’t intend to drive a foot further.

Mac: You’re just going to spend an eternity sitting around in a bear bar

Drystan: That’s the plan, compadre

Mac: But, that sounds awesome

Tendy: Seriously, Mac?

Mac: What?

Drystan: Don’t you fellas remember what it was like back then, back when we were alive? Hell, that was nothing but a nightmare for me. Life is pain, my friends, nothin’ but pain. And then I die, and I come to the Astral Plane. What do you think’s the first thing your old Attendant tells me?

Tendy: What?

Drystan: He says there’s another one. Just go down that road he says, and you’ll arrive at your destination. Calls it the next life. Why would I ever want to try my hand at life again. Look, I don’t know what that next life is, but I can tell you this, they’re better off without me there. 

Tendy: But you don’t know that. The next life, it’s a new opportunity. I don’t know what’s past the 33rd sphere either, but I know whatever it is, it’s life. And that means that you don’t have to do it the same way you did before. It could be different this time

Drystan: Yeah, but you don’t know that do you? Listen, some of us just aren’t meant to be around people. You see people like me, we get hurt so much in our lives that it gets to a point we can’t walk into a room without the lights dimming a little. After a while you start to figure the world’d be better off without you.

Mac: The world wouldn’t be better off without you, and I’m the lights don’t dim when you enter a room either.

Drystan: That’s easy for you to say. You and your friends here, see, you serve a purpose. I don’t serve any purpose but to spread a little sprinklin’ doom and gloom wherever I go.

Door Opens From A Distance – Bear Sound

Drystan: Speaking of which, time to spread some now. 

Tendy: What are you talking about?

Drystan: Got to earn my drinks around here somehow. Stick around and you’ll see.

Interior Scene

Bear Sounds – Music Starts to Play

Drystan: How’s everybody doin’ out here? Thank you, Jerry, for the warm introduction. Not sure how necessary it is since you all know how I am, and I know who all you are. I’m supposed to remind you, don’t forget to try the tried-and-true fried fish balls. Delicious as always. And the special right now is the Pizza Paradox, which for those not in the know, is a pizza that looks terrible but tastes good for some reason.

This here’s one I’ve been working on for a while, and in light of some of the conversatin’ I’ve been doing recently seems like now’s a good time to share it. 

The world I thought I’d left behind

I’m still livin’ there in my mind

Why would I ever

Go through it all again

The pain, I carried through my life

It’s still here on the other side

So tell me what is the point in

Taking that highway

Memories, Memories, plague my mind

Oh, Telling me, Telling me, I’ll never find

Paradise, Paradise, it’s sure to be 

A, Paradise, Paradise, but not for me 

Transition Music

Mac: I think it might be the one Tendy, I can give it to him and see what he says.

Tendy: That’s the only thing that makes sense anyways.

Door Opens

Tendy: Hey, look who it is! Drystan, that was, that was…

Drystan: Depressing

Tendy: Amazing. You’re incredibly talented.

Drystan: You’re just sayin’ that.

Mac: No, he’s not. How in the world could you even think that. You got a gift. I mean, seriously.

Drystan: Alright, alright, I can pick a guitar and sing a little, but like I said before, there’s nothing I did in there that lit up the room more than it brought it down. I’m just a lost traveler slingin’ sad songs for his keep.

Mac: That’s not what you were doin’. Not at all.

Tendy: Mac’s right. I feel, I don’t know, a little lighter. I may not agree with everything you said in that song, but I do know one thing.

Drystan: Oh, yeah. What’s that?

Tendy: You have a purpose. Let’s see, how do I put this. We spend a lot of time at Deserts Skies trying to help people process the pain that they’re bringing with them from the physical plane. Right, Mac?

Mac: Yeah, lots of folks we meet come over to this side all beat to hell. Somethin’ in the first life must have really put ‘em through the ringer.

Tendy: And when we try to dig into the root of their experience we almost always run into the same issue. People just don’t have the words for the sad they feel. S

Mac: Tendy’s right. But what you did in there. It was magic. Sad, but powerful. 

Tendy: Drystan, a musician who plays a sad song, or an artist who draws a sad picture, they’re giving a voice to the pain we often don’t have words for, tapping into a part of our experience we might not be able to access ourselves. I think in a very real way, it allows us to process the pieces of ourselves that need it the most.

Drystan: Huh, well, that’s a positive way of looking at it I guess.

Tendy: Drystan, I think there’s people in the next life who would appreciate you and your gift. I think you’ll find purpose there.

Drystan: Maybe you’re right, Attendant. I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.

Mac: I can help get your car ready to go. Astral Fuel in the tank should still be enough to get you where you need to go, as long as you haven’t been galavantin’ around the spheres.

Drystan: No, no galavantin’, but when I got here I tossed the key to that car in the creek. Doubt you’d ever find it.

Mac: I think this might be yours.

Drystan: Well, I’ll be. The key. Same shape and everything, but this one’s different. It says Token 2 on it.

Mac: You wanna give it a try. See if it starts up?

Drystan: You know what? No, not right now. But thank you. You know, you fellas have given me a lot to think about. It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that someone could do the world a favor by, you know, singin’ about their troubles. That’s a wild thought.

Tendy: It’s wild, but I believe it.

Mac: I do too. Ya know, I’m envious of you Drystan. 

Drystan: I find that hard to believe.

Mac: Nah, you can believe it. I think Tendy’s right. I think you do have a purpose, and a gift, and that’s a good combination to have.

Drystan: You’re saying you don’t have that?

Tendy: Of course he does. Mac, I’ve told you…

Mac: Tendy, you’re my best friend, but I need you to stop telling me how I should feel about things. I need you to trust me when I tell you there’s somethin’ that I’m meant to be doin’ but I’m not doin’ it. 

Tendy: I’m sorry, Mac. I trust you. I just wish I could help.

Mac: You do help, Tendy. You help just by bein’ my friend. 

Drystan: Maybe you to need write a song about the pain you’re feeling little man.

Mac: Callin’ me little man makes me want to punch you in your face, but, yeah, maybe I could write a song. Heck, maybe I could come back here and you could play your guitar and I’ll sing.

Drystan: You know what? I think I got something for you. Looks like we can test this key out after all.

Mac: You’re gonna start the car?

Drystan: Nah, I’m gonna unlock and open the trunk.

Tendy: The trunk?

Drystan: A long time ago, when I got to Desert Skies, your old attendant started servicin’ this here car, filling her with up and gas and what not. And then he opened up the trunk and I asked why, and he said that sometimes supplies and inventory came in the trunks of Skylarks like this one here. He didn’t find no supplies, but he found somethin’. Somethin’ weird.

Mac: Weird how?

Drystan: Well, your…predecessor, he reaches inside the trunk and he pulls this out.

Mac: A guitar? But why?

Drystan: I couldn’t tell you why. The attendant asked if I played, I said I did, and he told me to keep it. I asked what the reason was if I was, you know, dead, and he said he didn’t know,  maybe I’d find a reason.

The bears see, they make guitars and all kinds of instruments, and that’s where I got mine when I got here, so I just left this one here in the trunk. Never been touched. Still got the same pick here lodged in the strings.

Anyways, maybe you’re the reason I got this guitar. I’m not sure if there’s any intention behind anything that happens in this place, but I’m always hopin’ there is. Here, take it. You can write your song.

Mac: But I don’t know how to play.

Drystan: I’m sure you get guitar players comin’ through you gas station all the time. Musicians are rarely the most health conscious of people. Someone can teach you the basic chords, I’m sure of it.

Mac: The pick, Tendy, look at it.

Tendy: Token 3

Mac: Token 3. Drystan, I don’t know what to say. Thank you. 

Drystan: You’re very welcome, and thank the two of you for givin’ me something to ponder a bit. I better get goin’ back inside. Adios amigos.

Tendy: Safe travels, Drystan.

Mac: Hey, Drystan, wait a second. Before you go, you said the old attendant serviced your car when you came through.

Drystan: That’s right.

Mac: Where was the mechanic.

Drystan: Well, I don’t think they had a mechanic. I didn’t meet no one but the old man when I was there. Anyways, I gotta get goin’ guys. There’s sad songs that need playin’.

Drystan Walks Away

Tendy: Desert Skies didn’t have a mechanic? That doesn’t make any sense.

Mac: No, no it doesn’t.

Tendy: You want to ride with HueHue or me? 

Mac: Well, I’m pretty sure you don’t know how to drive but you’re probably a safer bet than HueHue.

Tendy: I’ll let you pick the music.

Transition Music

Tendy: It’s so good to be back. The Forest Sphere was pretty but there’s just something about the warmth of a desert breeze.

Mac: Like someone gently wiping a warm blanket across your face.

Tendy: Exactly! Wonder how the traveler’s holding up.

Door Opens

Mac: Is that him?

Tendy: I guess so. Uh, greetings traveler!

Jonathan: I don’t want to talk. Please, just fill up the tank and let me go. If I have to listen to one more minute of another story.

Mac: A story?

Jonathan: From that old lady. Story after story after story. That woman’s voice has become like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. Give me those keys. I’ll sit in the car. You tell me when I can drive.

Tendy: Ohhhh-kay

Mac: Wow, that guy really doesn’t like Shirley.

Tendy: Yeah. Hey, maybe you should give him the guitar. He could write a song about all the pain Shirley’s voice caused him.

Mac: Laughs

Tendy: C’mon Mac, I know I’m hilarious but it’s not that funny.

Mac: No, it’s not that.

Tendy: What is it?

Mac: Bear-tender

Tendy: I’m sorry what?

Mac: Back at the bar. Servin’ drinks. He was a bear-tender.

Tendy: Oh, you’re right. That’s funny.

Mac: He was a bear-tender, Tendy.

Tendy: Yeah, I got it.

Mac: A bear-tender.

Tendy: Seriously, Mac?