(Transcripts may vary slightly from the published recording, because, you know, improvising. Also, grammar and punctuation may be imperfect…because…umm…Astral Plane.)
Jared: Please stick around till the end of the episode for a special announcement.
<Guitar Strumming Slowly>
Mac: (Singing): And maybe that’s why Skylarks never die
Mac: Well, whadya think?
Mac: You don’t like it.
Tendy: No! No. it’s not that. I mean, when was Mr. Harris here? Twelve travelers ago? You’ve barely had any time to practice.
Mac: Yeah, maybe you’re right. Bill Harris. Now that guy could reeeally play.
Tendy: Nice of him to teach you some chords
Mac: Yeah, it was nice. Not that it’s doing much good. Maybe Drystan was wrong. Maybe the guitar wasn’t supposed to go to me.
Tendy: Don’t say that. Keep up with your practice and you’ll be strumming along in no time, isn’t that right Cash?
Cash On Sound
Tendy: I was just saying that Mac’s practice is going to pay off and he will be an excellent guitar player in no time. Don’t you agree?
Cash (Dryly): Yes, Attendant. I am in total agreement. I have heard it said that practice makes perfect, and while I believe that this is not entirely accurate I do believe that practice will indeed result in the Mechanic being an entirely competent musician.
Mac: What makes you say that it’s not accurate?
Cash: Why what is not accurate, Mechanic?
Mac: That practice makes perfect
Cash: Oh, that? Well, it’s just that perfection is a concept rather than a reality.
Mac: I beg to differ. Have you tried my shack juice? I mean, basement juice?
Cash: You know perfectly well that I haven’t, Mechanic. I’m incapable.
Mac: How can I know perfectly well if perfection is a concept rather than a reality?
Cash: Because perfection is…I mean…what I meant to say…I misspoke
Mac: Well, I learned something new today
Tendy: What’s that?
Mac: That computers can misspeak. I didn’t think that was possible. Maybe you got a virus Cash. Cash
Tendy: I don’t have a virus mechanic. I’m functioning precisely as I should. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going into sleep mode.
Mac: Hey! What crawled up your electrical cord? I wasn’t trying to be mean. Was I bein’ mean, Tendy?
Tendy: Cash, I don’t think Mac was trying to hurt your feelings he was just being..Mac. Cash?
Mac: Tendy, can I talk to you outside?
Tendy: Sure. Cash, when you’re ready to talk just let me know.
Mac: Tendy, She’s been acting a little strange lately, ever since Mesonia visited. Maybe she misses Shirley. They were gettin’ along pretty well.
Tendy: Maybe. It’s definitely strange. Perhaps we just take it easy on the joking for a bit.
Mac: That’s going to be hard for me on account of how many amazingly funny things pop into my head at every possible moment, but I’ll do it for Cash.
Tendy: Your generosity and compassion never cease to amaze me.
Mac: I know you’re being sarcastic but it should amaze you.
Tendy: I was just joking.
Mac: Better be.
Tendy: The purr of an engine. Sounds like it’s time to get back to work.
Sound of Buick Arriving
Mac: (Guitar Strumming Poorly and Singing) Another traveler approaches, arriving on the Astral Plane, will they turn into a burrito, and if they do will they be plain…
Tendy: Put a plug in it, Mac.
Mac: I can’t. It’s acoustic.
Car Door Opens
Tendy: Greetings traveler! Welcome to Desert Skie.. (Guitar Strums) stop it, Mac
Mac: See. I told you! You don’t like it
Freddie: What is this place?
Tendy: Well, traveler, your time on the physical plane has come to an end. This is the Astral Plane. I’m the Attendant and this is the Mechanic.
Mac: Yo. Call me Mac.
Tendy: It’s our job to help prepare you for your trip across the celestial spheres so you can reach the next plane of existence. The next life.
Freddie: So I’m dead and you’re going to help me to get to the next life?
Mac: Gosh, it’s always so nice when they’re like, fine with it.
Freddie: I mean, I’m not exactly fine. I’m not super excited about it.
Tendy: I would hope not.
Freddie: I’m just gl-glad it didn’t hurt? I always thought dying would hurt.
Mac: Yeah, the painful stuff seems to always precede the dying part. At least that’s what travelers have told us.
Tendy: What’s your name, traveler?
Freddie: Freddie Pruitt.
Tendy: Well, Freddie. It sounds like you’ve got a pretty good handle on the situation. Any questions so far?
Freddie: Yes, one. You said it’s your job to help me reach the next life, is that right?
Tendy: That’s right. Mac’s going to take a look at your Skylark, make sure it’s in tip-top shape, top it off with some astral-grade fuel, and while he’s doing that I’ll share some information about the trip you’ll be taking. Now, I have a map inside that we can look at together, and you’ll need to pay really close attention because apparently some portions of the highway are missing..
Freddie: Can I die here?
Tendy: Die? On the Astral Plane? No, you’re already dead.
Freddie: And the next life, can I die there?
Tendy: Ummm. That’s a good question. I don’t know.
Freddie: Great. I’m not going
Tendy: I’m sorry. Come again
Freddie: I’m not going. I’m not leaving here.
Tendy: That’s not really an option.
Freddie: I’m sure you’ll figure it out because I’m not going down that road.
Mac: Like hell you ain’t! I’ve taped a travelers hands to a steering wheel before and I’ll do it again, without hesitation, because it is funny to me.
Freddie: Listen, I’ve spent the last 62 years of my life avoiding any untimely death, and I survived it.
Mac: Haha. No ya didn’t.
Freddie: Not the right choice of words, perhaps, but you know what I mean. I made it through somehow, to whatever this is, and if you can’t die here, and if you can maybe die in the next life, I’m not goin’.
Mac: Well, when you put it that way, maybe we should let you stay.
Freddie: Really? Oh that’s…hey! Hey! What are you doin?
Mac: Grab his other arm, Tendy!
Tendy: Mac, no
INTRO PLAYS – INTERIOR SCENE
Tendy: I’m so sorry Mr. Pruitt. Mac, what has gotten into you?
Mac: I’m sorry. I think I’m just a little stressed and all. Shirley’s been gone a while now. The stuff Mesonia said was nuts. And now I’m worried about Cash.
Freddie: You’re worried about money?
Mac: Oh, Cash. No, Cash is our Computational Assistance And Service Help Register, haven’t you been paying attention?
Freddie: Paying attention? But you never said anything about a….
Tendy: I’m sure Cash is fine, Mac. Regardless, our priority right now is our traveler.
Freddie: Haha. Not a traveler. Your new resident.
Mac: This guy.
Cash: (Sigh) Yes attendant.
Attendant: I’d like to request a traveler bio for Mr. Pruitt.
Cash: Sending request now, Attendant.
Fax Machine Sounds
Freddie: What’s that? What’s a traveler bio?
Tendy: High level overview of your life on the Physical Plane. Might help us to understand how best we can serve you.
Freddie: You mean how best you can get me out of here and onto the next life.
Tendy: Well, yes. That’s my job. Here’s your report now.
Mac: Hand over you know what.
Freddie: What is you know what?
Mac: Nuthin. Just a small assemblage of short stories pertaining to the more tender years of your existence expressly as it concerns those moments of considerable social faux pas
Freddie: A small whatzit?
Mac: Embarrassing childhood memories. Very..very important stuff.
Freddie: What in the world would you need that for?
Mac: Not for my own amusement if that’s what you’re implying! Now, excuse me while I skim this.
Tendy: Mr. Pruitt, this says you were an accountant?
Freddie: That’s right.
Tendy: Did you ever do anything else?
Tendy: And did you like your job?
Freddie: No, I can’t say that I did.
Tendy: Then, why did you keep doing it?
Freddie: Well, for starters, I was good at it. I’ve always preferred to work with numbers. Numbers are safe. They make sense to me.
Tendy: Fair enough.
Freddie: Something you should know about me, Attendant, I am not a brave man. I’m scared pretty much all of the time. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.
So, when it was time for me to decide what I was going to do for a job, accountant seemed like as good an option as any in terms of safety. I even started my own business.
Tendy: Well, that’s impressive.
Freddie: Yeah, but I did that because the idea of having a boss was pretty scary. Like what if they got mad at me?
Mac: Well, Tendy’s kind of my boss, and he gets mad at me all the time. The secret, I think, is to find a boss with noodly arms. They’re not scary at all.
Freddie: I’ll keep that in mind. Not that it matters now. Anyways, uh, I worked mostly with seniors. They usually don’t take as many risks with their money as young people do. And that was my job, until today.
Tendy: Any hobbies
Tendy: Ever travel?
Tendy: Love interest?
Freddie: Are you kidding
Mac: You’re like the human version of a plain bagel.
Freddie: Listen, Attendant, Mechanic. You seem like nice fellas. And this seems like a nice quiet place. You have that little booth there, the music’s…fine. I can just sit here and read the nutritional information on the backs of your packaged products, and maybe venture outside occasionally, maybe.
Tendy: Have you ever been in a desert before?
Freddie: On a horse with no name. That’s a joke. No, I’ve never been in a desert.
Tendy: I get the feeling you wouldn’t like it. Have you ever heard of a Tarantula King?
Freddie: A Tarantula King?
Tendy: Mac, are you doing okay?
Mac: What? Why?
Tendy: You look like you’re about to cry.
Mac: Uh, no. Cry from laughter maybe, these childhood memories are heee-larious.
HueHue Barks from Outside
Mac: HueHue’s here!
Freddie: HueHue? What’s a HueHue?
Mac: HueHue’s an incredibly power astral being and a benevolent sphere mover who wields nearly unmatched power and cunning in the Astral Plane. He’s also my close friend and only I can understand him.
Mac and HueHue talk in background
Freddie: This place is weird.
Tendy: Sure you wanna stick around?
Freddie: I’ll get used to it.
Tendy: We’ll see.
Mac says goodbye to Huehue in background
Mac: HueHue says he needs to show us something.
Tendy: Show us what?
Mac: He wouldn’t say, only that we need to climb to the top of the mountain to see it.
Cash: Attendant, Mechanic?
Cash: Surely it would be unwise to climb the mountain. You have a traveler to attend to and climbing the mountain is a dangerous and unnecessary risk.
Tendy: Cash is right. I mean, what would we do with Freddie? Mac, can’t you just ask HueHue to tell us what it is?
Mac: He says we both need to see it. Freddie can just come with us.
Freddie: No. No, I’m not doing that. I don’t like mountains, climbing, hiking, or seeing things. I’m just going to stay here and make myself at home.
Mac: Suit yourself. Hey the tarantula kings are swinging by a little later to pick up some shack juice for a dance they’re havin’. You don’t mind giving it to ‘em do you?
Freddie: What is a tarantula king?
Mac: You know, like, a bunch of tarantulas working in unison to create one giant tarantula. It’s really quite remarkable, and after they’ve had a little shack juice, really really funny.
Freddie: I have no interest in interacting with a tarantula king, so if it’s all the same to you I’ll just lock the door until you come back. I’m sure they can wait.
Mac: But then they won’t get it to the dance in time. And besides, if you lock the door they’ll just disassemble, and drop in through the vents in the ceiling. At least, that’s what I would do if I was a thousand spiders.
Freddie: You know what, maybe a hike would be okay.
Mac: Fantastic! The mountain’s just behind the station a way. It’ll give us a chance to talk a little more.
Freddie: Sounds great. Now, can we get out of here before the spiders show up?
Mac: Sure thing. The Tarantula Kings should know where to find the juice. And if not, Cash can help ‘em. Right, Cash? Cash?? Seriously? I don’t like the gettin’ the cold shoulder. It makes my tummy hurt.
Tendy: I’m sure she’ll be fine. She just needs some time to work through whatever this is.
Mac: Freddie, one of the first things you should know when making your way through a desert, is that it isn’t friendly to visitors not native to its delicate ecosystem.
Freddie: Put plainly?
Mac: Put plainly? The desert is always trying to killllll you.
Tendy: Mac. C’mon.
Freddie: What do you mean, trying to kill me?
Mac: Well, the first thing to remember is that this desert can’t kill you on account of you bein’ dead, but it caaan hurt you.
Mac: Tendy, quit coddlin’ him. He needs to know. You don’t want him gettin’ hurt out here do ya?
Tendy: Fine. Just, slow your roll with some of the “trying to killlll you.”
Mac: I don’t talk like that! Anyways, like I was saaayin’, there are a few ways you can get hurt in the desert.
Freddie: Such as?
Mac: Well, such as gettin’ pricked by a cactus, stung by a scorpion, bit by a rattle snake, bit by a Gila monster, bit by a black widda, bit by a brown recluse, fallin’ in a hole, encountering a flash flood or gettin struck by lightin’ when Corson visits, stung by a tarantula wasp king…
Freddie: Tarantula Wasp King?
Mac: Yeah, that one paralyzes ya. Anyways, don’t interrupt. Tripping on a rock, tripping on a snake, eating Carolina Jessamine…
Tendy: Okay, okay, okay. That’s enough. I’m sure he gets the point.
Freddie: Why would anyone choose to stay in the desert? What on earth would possess someone to resign themselves to occupying a place that exists to cause them harm?
Mac: Uh, cause it’s cool as shit. Anyways, point of all that was just to say, watch your step.
Freddie: Why didn’t you just say that?
Mac: Can you guys just let me do me, please? (sigh) Anyways, we’ve arrived at the mountain. Any questions before beginning our ascent?
Tendy: Yeah. HueHue. Can’t you just tell us what’s at the top of the mountain? It would save us so much time.
Mac: HueHue says nuh-uh.
Tendy: And why not?
Tendy: What did he just say?
Mac: He says you have a lot of nerve speaking to a sphere mover with so much disrespect.
Tendy: Seriously? HueHue, I’ve seen you try to breakdance when you were drunk. I think we’re way past engaging in formalities at this point in our relationship, sphere mover or not.
Mac: Got it.
Tendy: What? What’d he say?
Mac: He said he’d prefer that we take a look at it with our own eyes rather than just hear about it. Plus, he needs someone strong. And, maybe he needs your noodly arms for something.
Mac: What do you mean that’s hilarious.
Tendy: Okay. HueHue, I’m done pressing.
Mac: Alllllrighty, Let’s. Start. Climbin’.
Freddie: Don’t look down. Don’t look down. Don’t look down.
Mac: Dude, we’ve only been climbin’ for like 10 minutes.
Freddie: That’s about 10 minutes longer than I’ve ever climbed.
Tendy: Are you being serious?
Tendy: That’s not a very nice thing to say.
Freddie: I’ve never been into climbing, running, swimming, working out. Too dangerous. People get hurt doing those things all the time. Fall off the treadmill, crushed by barbells…
Tendy: Well, what were you into besides, ya know, work?
Freddie: Watching cooking shows.
Mac: You like to cook? I love to cook. Gotta a hotplate in my basement.
Freddie: Me? Cook? No way. Way too dangerous.
Mac: How’d you eat?
Freddie: Canned tuna, mostly. Cereal. On Sundays I’d eat at Bennigan’s. I’d get the Killkenny’s Country Chicken Wrap even though the honey mustard gave me a little heartburn.
Mac: You like to live dangerously.
Freddie (Yelling): Hey! Watch it!
Mac: Whoa! That was a close one. I’m usually pretty good at finding my footing. You uh,..
Tendy: Freddie. You just saved Mac from falling.
Freddie: I did?
Mac: For a guy who’s scared of…everything…that was a pretty gutsy move grabbing a heavy guy like me.
Freddie: Yeah, well, I may be a little anxious when it comes to…everything…but I…I don’t know. Adrenaline kicks in. And, I dunno, even when we’re scared we gotta help, right?
Mac: Yeah. Yeah that’s right.
Mac:: Hey, it’s flat here. Let’s take a little rest.
Freddie: Do you mind if I ask you guys something?
Tendy: Not at all. What’s on your mind?
Freddie: You seem hellbent on sending me down that road, and I’d just like to know why. What’s the benefit to you, or to me, especially if you don’t know for sure what lies down there? Doesn’t it seem kind of wrong, to send people into the unknown? At least here, they don’t die.
Tendy: Is that the goal? To not die?
Freddie: I don’t know. Isn’t it? What could be more important than surviving?
Tendy: You tell me. You spent your whole life on the physical plane just trying to survive. And you’re here anyway.
Freddie: Well, sure. Death got the better of me eventually. But not here. Like you said, it can’t.
Tendy: Here, it always does. This isn’t life. It’s the in-between. We’re not meant to stay here. Not forever. What would it even look like for you? An eternity of sitting at a gas station booth? Hiding from Tarantula Kings? Freddie, I have reason to believe that what lies at the end of that road is good, but I can’t prove it. And isn’t that kind of the point? Pursuing something better at the risk of being wrong? Think of everything we’d miss out on otherwise.
Freddie: I don’t know if I can do it. Hey, where’s your friend?
Mac: Tendy! Freddie! Come here!
Tendy: Oh, God. C’mon. ….A rattlesnake?
Mac: Tendy! Don’t try to help me. As you know, if this snake bites you, you’ll be paralyzed for eternity and you’re too important Tendy! Someone has to care for the station.
Mac: Freddie. You have to help me. There’s no other way.
Freddie: Can’t we just throw rocks at it?
Mac: No! No rocks! That will just make it angrier.
Freddie: Then what do I do?
Mac: See the dried up ocotillo branch behind you?
Freddie: This thing?
Mac: Use it to pick up the snake gently and move it away from me.
Freddie: Oh, God. I can’t do that! No way.
Mac: Freddie. Freddie. I need you to help me, Freddie. I know you can do it.
Freddie: Okay. Please don’t bite me snake.
Mac: Real gentle now.
Freddie: Please don’t bite me snake. Please don’t bit me snake. Please don’t bite me snake.
Mac: Hey! Look at you. You really did it.
Freddie: I, I did?
Mac: That’s twice now Freddie. Remind me to fry you up the burrito of your choice when we get back to the station.
Tendy: Mac…I don’t…
Mac: Tendy, I’m sure you have something important to say, but maybe later. Okay?
Mac: HueHue says this is it. He heard a beeping sound coming from inside, but we’ll have to move these rocks to get in.
Tendy: I’m seriously not trying to be rude but how is it you can move a sphere but not rocks.
Tendy: I’m going to assume that means shut the hell up. Mac, can we save some time by not pretending that I’d be a help moving these?
Mac: Smart. That’s why you’re management. Oh, and one more thing. HueHue says that we should be ready to fight whatever’s on the other side, just in case it’s something dangerous.
Tendy: Are you serious? Why wouldn’t he tell us that before? I would have brought more than a flashlight.
Mac: Like what, Tendy? Guns?
Tendy: We don’t have any guns.
Mac: Then what in the hell are these two weapons pokin’ out of my sleeves?
Mac: They’re guns, Tendy. My arms are guns.
Tendy: Yeah. Freddie, I guess you’re going to want to stand back in case whatever it is isn’t happy to see us.
Mac: Freddie? What do you think? Stand back or back us up? Which is it?
Freddie: You know what? Neither.
Freddie: I want to go first. I should go first.
Mac: You don’t gotta to do that, Bud.
Freddie: But I do. If there’s something bad in there I can’t let you get hurt. I can’t let somethin’ like that happen again.
Freddie: It was my fault. I could’ve done something. Something to help. I wasn’t brave enough. Attendant, I didn’t spend my whole life trying to stay alive. I spent my whole trying to make sure that I was never in a situation where I would be responsible for someone else getting hurt ever again. Because it’s my fault she died.
Mac: That’s not true.
Tendy: Mac, what is he talking about?
Mac: His embarrassing childhood memory.
Freddie: My dad was at work. He was a firefighter. I looked up to him so much. He was so brave. He wanted me to be brave too.
Tendy: What happened?
Freddie: It was night. He was on shift. I heard it first, someone trying to come through the door. So I woke my mom up, she told me to go to my room and lock the door, and she told me not to open it for any reason. I begged her to come into the room with me, she just kissed me on the head and closed the door. Whoever it was came in, they wanted money or jewelry, probably. Whatever it was, she didn’t let them have it. They must not have been happy. I never left my room, not till my dad came home and it was too late. And he s-said…
Mac: He said it was your fault. He said you could have called the cops and got her help. He never talked to you again. Not unless he had too. You were so ashamed.
Tendy: That’s your embarrassing childhood memory?
Freddie: I was..I was…
Mac: You were just a kid. Freddie, you were five years old.
Freddie: But he was right. I was too scared.
Tendy: You’ve been carrying that around your whole life?
Mac: Freddie, what your dad said. It was a lie. Yeah, you were scared. Can you imagine a kid that wouldn’t be? You didn’t know what was going on. You just did what your mom told you too. The last thing she ever did was try to keep you safe and she did, because you listened.
Freddie: Doesn’t change the fact, Mechanic. I’m just not a brave man, and I refuse to put myself in another situation where someone gets hurt because I was too afraid.
Mac: I’m gonna say something and it’s gonna sound harsh. Your dad. He was an asshat, and a bit of a shithead. He didn’t know what to do with his own grief so instead of trying to deal with it he just put it on you. It’s not because he hated you, it’s cause he hated himself.
Tendy: Mac’s right. We see it all the time. Parents are complex imperfect people and they have a way of burying their kids under the weight of their own experiences.
Mac: Yeah, cause kids can’t fight back.
Tendy: I don’t know if this is helpful or not but regardless of the particulars, almost all of the parents who did this to their children have one thing in common.
Tendy: The second I say the words “You’re dead” that’s the moment they realize that they’ll never get the chance to apologize. They always thought there would be time.
Mac: It’s a hard thing to acknowledge you were wrong.
Freddie: It’s hard to imagine believing that he wasn’t right. That I’m not like him.
Mac: Seriously? Freddie, when I almost when tumbling down the side of this rocky mountain, who grabbed onto me?
Freddie: I did.
Mac: And when I almost got bit by that snake, who moved it out of the way?
Freddie: I guess I did.
Mac: And now, who was willin’ to step into this dark mountain cave without thought to what he’d face on the other side?
Tendy: Mac’s right. You don’t even know us and you’ve stuck your neck out every chance you had. People are safer with you around, traveler.
Mac: And the next life’s gonna be better with you in it.
Freddie: You really think so?
Tendy: We really do.
Freddie: Can I ask you something?
Freddie: I’m not trying to imply you were lying, but were you really about to fall off the mountain, and were you really afraid that snake was going to bite you, because, and I know this sounds crazy, I could’ve sworn that snake was smirking. Were those things real?
Mac: Are you implying that I’d ask that snake to pretend like it was going to bite me because I knew that snake personally and he owed me a favor?
Freddie: Should I be?
Mac: Who can say if it was real? Does it make you any less brave?
Freddie: I guess not, but it’s still kinda not okay.
Mac: Agreed. Now let’s pop this cave open and see what happens.
Freddie: Flashlight, please.
Tendy: Here you go.
Freddie: This place is bigger than you’d think. It’s pretty empty and… Holy mother of God!
Sounds of Flashlight Dropping
Tendy: Where’s the flashlight?
Mac: Don’t panic. I got it right here. Let’s see…Holy mother of God!
Freddie: Who is that??
Tendy: I have no idea. Ma’am! We’re from Desert Skies and we don’t mean you any harm…..ma’am?
Mac: I’m going to get a closer look.
Tendy: Mac..be careful
Mac: Don’t worry, Tendy. I’ll be careful
Freddie: Those look like military fatigues. Some kind of soldier?
Mac: Tendy, HueHue, get over here.
Mac: Tendy look, this isn’t a woman. It’s a…a robot.
Freddie: A mean looking robot.
Mac: HueHue says there’s something on the neck but he’s not tall enough to see it.
Tendy: Are you?
Mac: I’m not dignifying that with a response.
Tendy: Okay. Let’s see. It’s some kind of manufacturer’s imprint.
Mac: What’s it say?
Tendy: Let me see. Astral Plane Robotics Division. Model A1. Computerized Astral Security Humanoid.
Mac: Computerized Astral Security Humanoid. Tendy. But that doesn’t make sense. That acronym. That’s the same as…
Tendy: As Cash.
CASH ON SOUND MIXED WITH WHIRRING SOUNDS
Cash: Yes, Attenda…oh shit.