Kentucky Route Zero Act II Fulltext


shannon: End of the line?

conway: Seems that way. (seems-end)
conway: Maybe it's still under construction. (construction)


shannon: Not for us. I hope.

goto end


shannon: Hm. Well, work seems to have stopped for the moment.

goto end


carrington: Hello, my friends. I'm relieved to run across you again. Hello, [variable: one:dog-name].I see the hound is still following you. No better place than the road for a hound.

carrington: I'm afraid I've been unsuccessful in my search for a venue for my play. Have you found anything in your travels?


conway: The old Elkhorn Mine. (elkhorn)
conway: There's a self-storage facility not far from here. (storage) [if !bureau-suggested-storage-facility-to-carrington]
conway: I think you should do it back at the gas station. (gas-station)


carrington: Ah, there's an idea. Not `in` the mine, surely — such a constrained space would have dreadfully oppressive acoustics. But at the surface of the mine. Just before sunrise.

carrington: The resonances and reverberations of an old mining tipple ... it's tragic even to think.


carrington: A storage facility? That doesn't sound particularly intimate.

conway: There's a church inside of it. (storage-church)
conway: No, probably not. (venue-options)


carrington: Ah, how desperate. How earnestly spiritual. Just to imagine a choir resonating and reverberating through a concrete storage facility ...


carrington: `Equus Oils`? By the interstate? It had never occurred to me ...

carrington: It does sound compellingly desolate: the roar of cars and trucks, resonating and reverberating through nearby overpasses.


carrington: Yes, the psychoacoustics of the space are of prime concern.

conway: Psychoacoustics, definitely. (explain-psychoacoustics)
conway: So, you think it'll work? (confirm-choice)


carrington: Psychoacoustics is a field of perceptual study: how do we `perceive` sound? What does it do to our souls? How do sounds work through us? The play must `resonate` through my actors in their performance. And then it must `reverberate` out from them, and again `resonate` through the audience. Theater is mostly acoustic, you see.


carrington: Yes, I think the exterior of the mine will do wonderfully. Truly, I expect, a tragic vision.[if carrington-play-location=mine]

carrington: Yes, I think the self-storage facility will do wonderfully. A humble and intimate production in the belly of industry.[if carrington-play-location=storage]

carrington: Yes, I think Equus Oils will do wonderfully. I can already hear the desolate cry of the road.[if carrington-play-location=gasstation]

carrington: You've been immeasurably helpful. If you have time later this evening, I'd love to go over my production notes with you. Just meet me there in a few hours, if you like.

carrington: Many thanks.

goto end


conway: Didn't we just pass this place? (road)
conway: Maybe someone here can point us in the right direction. (directions)


shannon: I don't think the |Zero| operates like the roads we're used to. I don't understand it either.

shannon: So, what is this place?


shannon: Yeah, looks like they're still open. Must be the night shift. What do you think they do here?


conway: It looks like an office building. (office)
conway: It looks like a cathedral. (cathedral)
conway: What do you think? (what-does-shannon-think)


shannon: Yeah, an office building in a cathedral.


shannon: Yeah, a cathedral with an office building in it.


shannon: When I got my electrician's license, I had to go to this government building in Frankfort. Kind of low to the ground, a bit older ... didn't really `look` like this place, I guess, but they all have that same feel. Bureaucracy in the air. Too much concrete.


shannon: This is weird, but ... do you think we're `inside` or `outside` right now?

conway: Inside. (inside)
conway: Outside. (outside)
conway: Both. (both)


shannon: Yeah, inside a cave, I guess. Just feels like it's still "outside," since it's not man-made ...


shannon: Yeah, outside any man-made structure, I guess. Just feels like it's still "inside," since we can't see the sky ...


shannon: Ha. OK. Very poetic.


shannon: Well, maybe someone around here has a better sense of direction ...

goto end


This crab is wearing a pencil cup as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing a can of spray adhesive as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing four smaller crabs as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing an empty inkjet cartridge as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing a manila folder as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing a roll of scotch tape as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing a hollowed-out plastic radio as a shell.

goto end


This crab is wearing a dense chain of paperclips as a shell.

goto end


Shannon: Mary Ann should really have a look at that elevator, it's really acting up...

goto end


shannon: OK, her office is down on the first floor.[if bureau-current-floor-goal=1]

shannon: Archives and records ... so, fourth floor.[if bureau-current-floor-goal=4]

shannon: She's on the fifth floor, right?[if bureau-current-floor-goal=5]

`(CONWAY scans a column of elevator buttons.)`

conway: Fifth floor. `(Diagrams and drafts.)` (five)
conway: Fourth floor. `(Archives and records.)` (four)
conway: Third floor. `(Bears.)` (three)
conway: Second floor. `(Conference room.)` (two)
conway: First floor. `(Clerks' offices.)` (one)
conway: Lobby. (ground)


goto end


goto end


goto end


goto end


goto end


goto end


clerk böhm: Howdy. Here for an ingestion carda transient sheet? No problem.

`(He rummages through some papers on his desk.)`

clerk böhm: ... happy to help.

`(He opens a few folders and quickly closes them.)`

clerk böhm: Um. Looks like I'm out, but I know there are some back in the archive. You'll have to put in a special request with Clerk MacMillan. She's the documents czar.

clerk böhm: Straight back at the end of the office there, by the file cabinets.

conway: OK. (end)
shannon: This is just a run-around. Where's Lula Chamberlain? (lula)


clerk böhm: Oh, no, it's ... I mean ... that's her right there. In the cardigan.

goto end


Clerk MacMillan: Documents request?

conway: One "ingestion card," please. (doc-request) [if bureau-looking-for-document=ingestion]
conway: One "transient sub-sheet," please. (doc-request) [if bureau-looking-for-document=transient]
shannon: This is absurd. Where's Lula? (lula)


Clerk MacMillan: Happy to help. Please just put your requisition form in the inbox and I'll get to it as soon as possible.

conway: Requisition form? (requisition-form)
shannon: This is absurd. Where's Lula? (lula)


Clerk MacMillan: Lula? Right there in the middle. The woman with cardigan.

goto end


Clerk MacMillan: Yes. You don't have one? Shouldn't be a problem: they're quite easy to fill out. Just ask Clerk Metzstein and she'll get you sorted.

goto end


goto requisition-form [if requisition-form]

Clerk Metzstein: Hi, how are you. Fine, thanks. I just need your ingestion card and a list of your last five permanent addresses.

conway: Ingestion card? (ingestion-card)
conway: I don't think I've had five permanent addresses. (addresses)
shannon: Let's just skip it. Which one of you is Lula Chamberlain? (lula)


Clerk Metzstein: Requisition form. No problem. I'll just need your ingestion card to mark it "outgoing" in my logbook.

conway: I don't have an ingestion card yet. (ingestion-card)
shannon: We're done here. Can you point us to Lula? (lula)


Clerk Metzstein: Oh, no ingestion card. OK. That's OK. Just go talk to Clerk Böhm first, and he'll get you set up with one.


Clerk Metzstein: Oh ... my sheet has five address boxes, and it says to fill everything out ...

Clerk Metzstein: Maybe if you fill out a "transient" sub-sheet, we can still get it processed. Go talk to Clerk Böhm and he'll get you set up with one.


Clerk Metzstein: Clerk Böhm is just over there in the corner. Happy to help.

goto end


Clerk Metzstein: Oh, sure. That's her in the cardigan.

goto end


rick: Hello? Are you lost?

conway: Very much so, yes. (lost)
conway: We're looking for Lula Chamberlain. (lula)


rick: OK. Well, let's get you pointed in the right direction then ...


rick: Oh, no, she's much too busy. Let's get some of our junior clerks to sort your paperwork first, so we don't waste any of Ms. Chamberlain's time.


rick: It's a pretty straightforward process. First, you'll need to get a case number assigned. Talk to Clerk Metzstein about that. She's just over there at the end of the room.

rick: Happy to help!

goto end


`(GREG is hard at work examining some diagrams, measuring angles with a plastic protractor and occasionally scribbling numbers in a small leather notebook.)`

greg: Can I help you? Don't answer that.

conway: Are you Lula Chamberlain? (lula)
conway: Sorry, we're looking for an "ingestion clerk". (ingestion)


greg: Um. No.


greg: Oh, no, I'm an interior spatial analyst. I can't help you with that.

greg: I think the ingestion clerks have all gone home for the night. Lula might be able to help you; she's pretty senior.


greg: You just missed her, actually, she was up here about an hour ago. She's probably back at her real desk now, on the first floor.

greg: She barely made a dent in these diagrams. Must have been distracted.

greg: Speaking of which ...

goto end


`(GREG is hard at work examining some diagrams, measuring angles with a plastic protractor and occasionally scribbling numbers in a small leather notebook.)`

greg: Can I help you? Don't answer that.

greg: I'm extremely busy with these charts. Maybe one of the clerks on the first floor can help you. They're probably just looking at cat pictures.

goto end


The television is playing a silent video of an empty theater. A microphone sits in the middle of the stage. The lights are slightly dimmed. The speakers hum impatiently.

goto end


The television is playing a closed-circuit security feed of a housing project. The feed switches mechanically between locations: a hallway, a disused plot of grass, a stairwell, a mailbox.

goto end


The television is playing what looks like a nature documentary. A hermit crab scuttles across a beach. Its shell is an awkward shape; it must have once belonged to a different crab.

goto end


The television is playing an instructional video on elevator design. It is crucial to maintain proper lighting in an elevator. In the absence of sight, passengers' sense of motion is greatly enhanced. The passenger should never feel as though they are physically ascending or descending: the elevator should create the illusion that the building is flat. This is the mark of a successful elevator design.

goto end


The television is playing a cartoon about a bird. The cartoon bird collects pieces for its nest: a scarf, a plastic shopping bag, a bit of a young girl's hair. The nest is warm, but precariously fragile.

goto end


conway: Get a good rest in the truck? (rest)
conway: This leg is getting kinda stiff now, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. (leg)


conway: Yeah, I know you love a drive. (drive)
conway: Sorry about all this walking. (walking)


conway: I do too, usually. (end)
conway: The wind in your ears. Yeah, I saw you back there, [variable: one:dog-name]! (end)


conway: Maybe we could both use the exercise. (end)
conway: I'm sure it's hard on your creaky paws, too. (end)


conway: I don't know if that's a good sign. (good-sign)
conway: Maybe I just need to walk it out. (walk-it-out)


conway: Well, I hope it is. (end)
conway: I'm no doctor, not by a long shot. (end)


conway: Well, I hope that's the case. (end)
conway: Yeah, a walk's good for a lot of things. (end)


shannon: Damn, this place is a mess. OK.

shannon: Hmm ... take a look through that logbook, I guess? Maybe there's some kind of system to all these boxes. I'll just start digging.


`(The small logbook has a smart leather cover. A few notes are scribbled on the inside covers. Most pages are just lists of titles, names, and dates.)`


conway: Inside front cover. (front-cover)
conway: Page 1. (page-1)
conway: Page 14. (page-14)
conway: Page 63. (page-63) [if bureau-logbook-read-note-about-antiques]
conway: Inside back cover. (back-cover)
conway: Put the logbook away. (complete-logbook)


note in logbook: Document staff: please do not transfer any more records from the storage unit until we get the new file cabinets in. We're up to F, and that will have to do for now.

note in logbook: Instruct clerks to focus on activities beginning with the letters A, B, C, D, E, or F — or activities most likely to involve research on subjects beginning with those letters. For example: "cars" is OK because it involves Automotive, Driving, Brakes, etc., but "air quality" is NOT OK because it relates to Health, Safety, Pollution, etc.


note in logbook: "Failing antique shops" folder missing? Listed checked in on pg. 63, but not present.


`(Several documents relating to sporting competition venues were quickly checked out and back in over a period of a few days: basketball courts, baseball fields, alleys, and parking lots.)`


`(A single set of documents relating to coal mining operations was checked out and back in by several different people within a few hours.)`


logbook: Check-in: Failing antique shops. Monday 3pm. Signee: Ed Böhm.


shannon: Nothing? Me neither. Half of these boxes aren't even labeled, and the rest are all from the first few letters of the alphabet. I couldn't find anything with an "O" or a "G" or an "S."

shannon: Maybe that clerk knows somewhere else we can look.

goto end


lula: Nothing? That's unfortunate. Well, they must still be in transit.

lula: You see, we've only moved into this new venue somewhat recently, and it's all a bit in-progress. This was a cathedral not so long ago, can you believe it?

lula: And then the Bureau reclaimed it. The old congregation has been directed to one of our storage facilities for their activity.

lula: That's where you'll find the street name records, I expect. At the church. Mary Ann at reception can give you directions. Just come back here when you have the files, and we'll begin the necessary paperwork to have the information analyzed.

lula: Oh, and while you're out on the road, you might want to stop and see Dr. Truman about your leg. He's a specialist regarding ailments of the joints and limbs, and I know he works at night. His home office is in a small neighborhood on the east edge of Bowling Green.

lula: Here's his card. Do stop and see him. That leg is a miserable sight.

lula: Take care of each other.

goto end


goto sketchbook-carrington-appears [if sketchbook-carrington-appears]
goto rick-appears [if rick-appears]
goto proposal-carrington-appears [if proposal-carrington-appears]
goto rick-appears [if rick-appears]


`(RICK clears his throat.)`

rick: Busy?

lula: It's not important. (rick-not-important)
lula: Buried. (rick-buried)
lula: How are you, Rick? (rick-how-are-you)


rick: Oh OK. Great. Really great. I mean, sorry, that's not what I meant ...

goto rick-note


rick: Yikes. Um ... Hey, Lula ...

goto rick-note


rick: I shouldn't complain. So ...

goto rick-note


rick: Um. Did you get my note?

lula: About the office party? I'm going stag. (rick-office-party)
lula: About the proposals? I've just finished them. (rick-proposals-finished) [if bureau-proposal-count-read>0]
lula: About the proposals? I'm still working on them. (rick-proposals-working) [if bureau-proposal-count-read=0]


rick: Oh, yeah, that's — I didn't mean ... Hey, I'm probably not going anyway. Lots to do, you know. A lot of new drafts, so ...


rick: Oh, great, OK. I'll tell Diane. I think she was waiting on ... I don't know ...


rick: OK. Gotcha. Well.

rick: Hey, I'm not here to rush you.

rick: So ...


rick: So ... how did your application go? I was in the mail room and I saw you got a letter back ...

rick: Sorry, I don't mean to pry, I just ... saw.

lula: It's fine, Rick. I'm not going anywhere.

lula: How's your goldfish?

goto end


`(CARRINGTON clears his throat.)`

carrington: Busy?

lula: It's not important. (carrington-not-important)
lula: Buried. (carrington-buried)


`(CARRINGTON clears his throat.)`

carrington: I apologize; I thought you were on the telephone. Are you busy?

lula: It's not important. (carrington-not-important)
lula: Just thinking out loud. (carrington-thinking-out-loud)


carrington: I doubt that. You do important work here now. Maybe it's not sublime art, but it's ... do you know the famous dramatist who visited Mexico and said, "here there is no art: things are made for use"? You've been to Mexico, you've seen the murals, you know about all that ...


carrington: Colorful. The death motif is so common in our speech at this age; we always seem to become morbid whenever we bring up work, home life, the weather ...


carrington: There's no shame in it. After all, speech is a kind of thought ... at our best, we think `before` speaking, but we rarely think `while` speaking, so where do our thoughts go then? It may be that they reverberate out into the room, dissipating in hallways or getting trapped in some resonant corner of ...


carrington: So, my own thoughts are wandering, clearly. I've got a lot on my mind. Clearly. Well. I'll come straight to it, then:

carrington: The clerk upstairs tells me you've been assigned to my proposal. I've heard nothing in weeks, and I assumed it had been swallowed up by some dragon of administration, but ...

lula: `(Interrupting.)` I've received your proposal, and I'm afraid it's impossible. (carrington-proposal-no)
lula: `(Silence.)` (carrington-play-continue)


carrington: Lula, my situation is desperate. I have hours. `Hours`. I must find a suitable venue for my play in time for its sunrise debut, or the last decade of my life will have been a vision within a dream. A fragment.

lula: I've received your proposal, and I'm afraid it's impossible. (carrington-proposal-no)
lula: I ... haven't had a chance to review it, to be honest ... (carrington-proposal-maybe-later)


carrington: Of course.

carrington: I'm ... sorry to have bothered you, Lula. I'll go now.


carrington: I see. Of course, you're quite busy. I ... understand completely.

carrington: I'm sorry to have bothered you, Lula. I'll go now.


carrington: Oh, Lula. I thought you might like to know, I saw Joseph this evening just after sunset. We sat for a bit, drank some cold coffee, and talked about university days. Better days.

lula: Maybe for him.

goto end


letter: ATTN: Lula Chamberlain, RE: Your application.

letter: Thank you for your application to the `Gaston Trust for Imagined Architecture`'s annual fellowship. We received a record number of applications this year — over 100 in total — and regrettably we can award only one fellowship position per year. As you know, our review process includes a multiphase blind committee analysis of portfolio submissions, as well as a careful review by a panel of subject matter experts on each applicant's notability and relevance in the field.

letter: We must be extremely selective in our process so as to maintain the standards we have established over our thirty-five years in operation. Our panel did not select your application.

letter: We encourage you to consider re-applying next year. Many young artists and architects re-apply for a few successive years before being accepted.

letter: Sincerely, Dr. Karl Stone-Norden, Architect, Gaston Trust for Imagined Architecture

`(Below the printed text is a hastily-handwritten note.)`

note: sorry for the condescending form letter. love your work. unfortunately, i just do the mail here.

note: - your obt. svt., robert

: `(LULA throws the letter in the wastebasket.)` (after-letter)
: `(LULA folds the letter up and puts it in her handbag.)` (after-letter)


: `(LULA opens a folder on her desk labeled "Proposals.")` (proposals)
: `(LULA opens a folder of writing paper on her desk.)` (sketchbook)


goto proposals-interruption [if proposals-interruption]

`(LULA sorts through documents, all printed on a fading letterhead reading "Bureau of Reclaimed Spaces.")`[if bureau-proposal-count-read=0]

proposal #1: SITE: Hospital. PROPOSED USE: Auto dealership.[if !bureau-proposal-1-read]

proposal #2: SITE: Distillery. PROPOSED USE: Graveyard.[if !bureau-proposal-2-read]

proposal #3: SITE: Basketball court. PROPOSED USE: Kennel.[if !bureau-proposal-3-read]

: `(LULA reviews Proposal #1.)` (proposal-1) [if !bureau-proposal-1-read]
: `(LULA reviews Proposal #2.)` (proposal-2) [if !bureau-proposal-2-read]
: `(LULA reviews Proposal #3.)` (proposal-3) [if !bureau-proposal-3-read]


proposal #1: Hospital closed due to repeated sanitation violations. Auto Dealership sanitation requirements comparatively lax. Small operating rooms could be repurposed into offices. Large cubicle-style administrative offices could be repurposed into showrooms.

: `(LULA stamps the proposal "Endorsed.")` (proposals)
: `(LULA stamps the proposal "Opposed.")` (proposals)


proposal #2: Distillery still active, but scaling down operation to less than half of site. Distillery built on top graveyard originally. Hybrid distillery/graveyard could share resources. Chapel once repurposed into bottling facility could be repurposed into chapel.

: `(LULA stamps the proposal "Endorsed.")` (proposals)
: `(LULA stamps the proposal "Opposed.")` (proposals)


proposal #3: Basketball court abandoned due to hazardous increase in stray dog population. Already full of dogs.

: `(LULA stamps the proposal "Endorsed.")` (proposals)
: `(LULA stamps the proposal "Opposed.")` (proposals)


lula: `(To herself, quietly.)` Dearest Robert, thank you for your kind note. (sketchbook-to-robert)
lula: `(To herself, quietly.)` ATTN: Dr. Stone-Norden, RE: Your own imagination. (sketchbook-to-karl)


lula: Though it has been years since my name appeared in a gallery program, except as an occasional, dusty curiosity in a group show or as the impertinent subject of some misguided retrospective, I continue to ...

lula: ... something, something, gratitude ... yours in situ, Lula.


lula: Thank you for your most informative letter. I was ecstatic to hear of your record-breaking success in receiving over 100 applications. What a triumph.

lula: As you know, my application process includes several minutes of photocopying, undertaken on my lunch break. Regrettably, I must be extremely selective in my fellowship applications so as to leave enough time in which to eat my lunch, and in the successive years I will no longer be contributing to your illustrious submission count.

lula: Yours, etc., Lula Chamberlain, Artist, Bureau of Reclaimed Spaces.


goto end


goto end


lula: Having fun in the paperclip labyrinth? Well, you made it eventually.

lula: You look exhausted. I'd offer you my seat, but my ankles are turning on me.

conway: I'm fine. (fine)
conway: Arthritis? (arthritis)
shannon: The receptionist said you could point us in the right direction. (directions)


shannon: No, you're not.

lula: How stoic. Or is it romantic? Are you a suffering artist?

conway: Oh ... I'm no artist. (no-artist)
shannon: The receptionist said you could point us in the right direction. (directions)


lula: Good for you. It's a tedious pursuit, rewarded by an arsenal of useless skills and a touch of arthritis.

goto arthritis


lula: Doctor Truman says my joints are eroding one another. They've been collaborating for decades; it's only natural they want to kill each other now.

lula: Well, enough about my hateful wrists and ankles.


lula: This concrete bunker of an office is just a waypoint for you, I'm sure. Where is it you're trying to go?

conway: We're looking for "5 Dogwood Drive." (dogwood)
conway: We're having trouble navigating the |Zero|. (zero)


lula: Just navigating, apropos of nothing? The |Zero| doesn't work like other roads. You can't just drive and expect to find yourself somewhere. You must be more deliberate than when driving on surface roads.

lula: And, in a way, much less deliberate ...

shannon: We're looking for Dogwood Drive.

goto dogwood


lula: Hmm ... "Dogwood Drive" ... That's funny, do you know I used to live on a Dogwood Drive? This was years ago. A grimy old house ... basement full of insects, attic full of birds. I had a few roommates. We all worked at the university. I had a dog. I drank whiskey and beer, and made sculptures.

lula: But that Dogwood was a surface road. With a name like that, it would have to be. What are you doing on the |Zero|?

conway: A gas station attendant told us we'd need to take the |Zero| to get there. (gas-station)
shannon: My cousin, Weaver, sent us this way. (weaver)


lula: Gas station attendant? I see. Friendly blind man, about my age, hangs out with an old cat, likes to pretend he's a poet?

conway: His name is Joseph, do you know him? (joseph)
conway: Old cat? (old-cat)
conway: Pretend? (pretend-poet)


lula: Oh. No cat anymore? Sorry to hear it.

goto joseph


lula: No, you're right. I shouldn't be so spiteful ...

goto joseph


lula: Joseph and I used to work together. And we lived together ... we were friends.

lula: But that was a long time ago. We haven't spoken in years. Do you know why he's pointed you this way?

lula: It's because he's still in love with me, of course. And now he's implicated you, quite inconsiderately. And in your condition ... it's appalling.

lula: So, I'm very sorry for wasting your time, but I'm afraid you've been misled. Excuse me.

goto misled


lula: Your cousin Weaver? Weaver Márquez? I hadn't expected to hear from her again.

shannon: Do you know her? (lula-knows-weaver)
shannon: What does that mean? (weaver-missing)


lula: She came through here as an intern. One of my old colleagues must have referred her ... do you know, I never asked?

lula: Anyway, there's not much challenging work here ... much less for a gifted mathematician. She helped translate some notes on architectural plans I picked up in Mexico. She was very bored. We used to sit on the steps by the river, on our lunch break, and talk about geometry.


lula: We used to exchange short emails, just these terse descriptions of things we saw throughout the day. It was sort of a joke between us ... but they stopped. I assumed she'd found something better to do with her time.


lula: I hope she wasn't in trouble. I lost touch with her so suddenly. I had recommended she go see some old friends of mine at the university about a new acoustic surveying venture. I often worry she became wrapped up in some tenured professor's quixotic research project. You know the type: gray-haired, intellectual, narcissistic ...

lula: Well, that is ...

lula: I guess she sent you here because she respected me — thought I could help. Weaver's a dear girl, but I'm afraid you've been misled. Excuse me.

goto misled


conway: But where's the Dogwood Drive you lived on? Maybe it's the same one? (same-dogwood)
shannon: Get over yourself. (get-over-yourself)


`(LULA pauses, taken aback.)`

lula: Well. I guess that's fair. Alright, maybe I can help you. For JosephWeaver.


lula: No, it's not possible.


lula: The "Dogwood Drive" I lived on is now called "Pale Dogwood Drive." They've renamed all the streets, you see. Too many streets with the same names. It was never a problem before, but now we have these databases, and it's all too confusing for the computer.

lula: The computer has no sense of ambiguity, so it proclaims an error. "Name collisions," they call them.

lula: So my "Dogwood Drive," is "Pale Dogwood Drive," and another might be "Large-leafed Dogwood Drive," or "Himalayan Flowering Dogwood Drive," and so on. But one of them is still just "Dogwood Drive." Or so we might hope?

lula: It's really a matter of consulting records, of which we have an abundance here ...

conway: Do you have a record of those streets? (street-list)
conway: Where's the computer? (street-computer)


lula: I expect we must. They'll be up in `archives and records`. Fourth floor.


lula: Computer? Oh, that's all handled off-site. We write up a formal request for analysis, provide the necessary data, and then send the whole thing out by courier.

lula: So, first you'll need the data. I expect you'll find the road name change log up in `archives and records`. Fourth floor.


lula: It'll be filed under "O" for "odonyms," probably. Or "G" for "generic," or maybe "S" for "specific." Depending on which part of the street name was changed.

goto end


goto intro-return [if intro-return]
goto surface-confirm [if surface-confirm]


mary ann: Back so soon?

conway: Can we talk to Clerk Lula Chamberlain again? (lula)
shannon: We need to get to the interstate, sixty-five. (surface)


mary ann: I'm afraid she left. In a big hurry, actually. Something happen with your meeting?

conway: She seemed pretty interested in the gas station attendant. (meeting) [if bureau-mentioned-joseph-to-lula]
shannon: She seemed pretty interested in my cousin, Weaver. (meeting) [if bureau-mentioned-weaver-to-lula]
shannon: We need to get to the interstate, sixty-five. (surface)


mary ann: I don't know who that is. But she did seem distressed.

mary ann: Well. Heading back to the interstate?


mary ann: Lula filed your papers, so you're in our system now.


mary ann: I can process you whenever you're ready to go back. Just let me know.

mary ann: Just remember: it's a difficult transition, and never symmetrical. It could be tricky to get back.[if bureau-receptionist-mentioned-difficult-transition]

conway: We've got a few more things to see down here, I'd say. (end)
shannon: We're ready to be processed. (check-out)
goto end


shannon: `(She hands the receptionist Lula's card.)` Can you tell us how to get to this address? We're looking for Dr. Truman.

mary ann: Of course. This is in a neighborhood just outside of Bowling Green.

mary ann: Get on sixty-five going southwest. Take a right just past the observatory, just before the river. If you continue north, you'll be there shortly.

mary ann: Happy to help.

goto end


mary ann: Get what you need?

conway: Lula said you could direct us to the ... church? (church)
shannon: Be straight with me. What is this place? (what-is-this-place)


mary ann: Just another office, lady. Just another job.

shannon: But you kicked out a congregation to set up your office? (congregation)
conway: Lula said you could direct us to the church? (church)


mary ann: I wasn't here for that. But, yeah, I get where you're coming from. Still, I wouldn't judge until I'd seen everything. They've got a new church now, the Bureau set it up for them out of some of their old storage space. I'm sure it's very nice.

mary ann: Go see it for yourself.


mary ann: Oh, sure. The old storage lot.


mary ann: Just get back on the |Zero| and drive until you hit the crystal. Then turn around.

mary ann: It'll make sense once you get on the road. You can handle it.

goto end


mary ann: Oh, good. I thought you'd left. People can be so impatient; you never know.

mary ann: Well, I have you meeting with Lula Chamberlain. She's a senior clerk and doesn't usually handle the ingestion process, but she's the only one with room on her plate this evening. My schedule says she's on the fifth floor, reviewing some diagrams.

mary ann: The elevator is just back to the left there. Fifth floor.

goto end


mary ann: Well, here you are. Better late than never, I guess. Just unload the whiskey over there by the elevator. I'll figure something out.

conway: We're actually a bit lost, ma'am. (lost)
shannon: Is this place `inside` or `outside`? (lost) [if !bureau-intro-shannon-inside-outside-discussed]
shannon: Wanna settle a bet? (shannon-bet) [if bureau-intro-shannon-inside-outside-discussed]


mary ann: I'm actually pretty busy, but ... sure, what's up?

shannon: He says we're inside, but I think we're outside. (inside-outside) [if bureau-intro-shannon-inside-outside=inside]
shannon: He says we're outside, but I think we're inside. (inside-outside) [if bureau-intro-shannon-inside-outside=outside]
shannon: Can you be both inside and outside at the same time? (inside-outside) [if bureau-intro-shannon-inside-outside=both]
conway: Oh, it's nothing — just a joke we had on the road. (joke)


mary ann: Wow, OK. Um. Is that, like, a philosophy thing? Or are you just lost?

shannon: Yeah, I guess it is a bit philosophical. (philosophy)
conway: We're just lost. (lost)


mary ann: Huh, OK. I wouldn't say you're dressed like a philosopher.

shannon: Oh, how am I dressed? (how-is-shannon-dressed)
shannon: I wouldn't say so either. (shannon-not-philosopher)


mary ann: You work, like me. I take care of the heating and cooling, and watch the front desk. You know, at first I thought you were here delivering whiskey for our little celebration. But you don't look like one of the boys from the distillery, either.


mary ann: Just a hobby, then. I get it. I take care of the heating and cooling here, and watch the front desk, but at home I do watercolors.

goto shipment


mary ann: OK. Sure.

goto shipment


mary ann: You're lost. So you're not the ... sorry, honest mistake.

goto shipment


mary ann: We're supposed to have a little celebration here at the office, but the whiskey never showed up. I saw your truck and thought ... but you don't really look like one of the boys from the distillery, anyway.


conway: What are you celebrating? (celebration)
conway: What do the boys from the distillery look like? (distillery)
conway: What is this place? (what-is-this-place)


mary ann: Oh, the less I understand the better. When I'm here, I keep the fans turning and the furnace hot, and listen for the bell. When I get home, I'm a different person; I don't have to think about it. I just paint.


mary ann: You've never seen the boys from `Hard Times`? Well, count your blessings. They cut a grim profile.


mary ann: Well, it's clear you're new to this territory. I expect you just mean to be passing through.

conway: We're looking for Dogwood Drive, do you know where that is? (dogwood)
shannon: That's the idea. (passing-through)


mary ann: Dogwood ... nope.

goto clerk


mary ann: It always is ...

goto clerk


mary ann: You're going to need to talk to someone upstairs about that. One of the map clerks. But first we've got to get you in the system, so you'll need an appointment with one of the ingestion clerks. Now, let's see ...

mary ann: Rick is booked proofreading drafts all afternoon, and Wanda's out on a site ... Hmm ... Let me go make some calls and see if we have anyone free. There are some books over there in the waiting area. Or just take a look around.

mary ann: Have you seen our grotesques?

goto end


A parade of disconnected images: obscure corners of nameless interiors, astronomical diagrams projecting the distances between celestial bodies, a painting by Giorgio de Chirico, a list of "unpopular anagrams."

goto end


Three books are piled on the table: a service manual for a sewage pump, some architectural plans for a bungalow, and a slim collection of Japanese death haiku. An envelope is protruding from the bottom of the stack.[if !bureau-found-secret-tourism]

Three books are piled on the table: a service manual for a sewage pump, some architectural plans for a bungalow, and a slim collection of Japanese death haiku.[if bureau-found-secret-tourism]

: Conway picks up the envelope. (envelope) [if !bureau-found-secret-tourism]
: Conway leaves the books. (end)


The envelope reads *BUREAU OF SECRET TOURISM*. It contains several small, handwritten brochures with ritualistic directions to bizarre locations.

goto end


A large dirt parking lot surrounds the bait shop. A sign is vaulted above the road on a thin steel bar.

Bright but unsteady lights throb from the windows of the shop's back room.[if one:overworld-visited-shannons-workshop]

goto end


The flayed hull of a country home smolders in the night. Parts of the property are obscured by smoke.

goto end


A country church with a pitched roof and a three-story spire. A large LED display glows in the parking lot.

Behind the church are several dusty metal trash cans, a few of which are opened.[if one:overworld-visited-country-church]

Behind the church are several dusty metal trash cans, all closed.[if !one:overworld-visited-country-church]

goto end


An all-night diner by the side of the road.

The lights are on.[if one:overworld-visited-diner]

The lights are off.[if !one:overworld-visited-diner]

goto end


From above, the huge swaying tipple looks like a small wooden lattice framing the edge of the mine entrance.

goto end


From this angle, the building looks strange and abstract, like a pile of intersecting boxes and triangles.

goto end


Five people hurriedly carry large objects from an apartment building into a van. The larger two are hauling beige shapes nearly their height. The smaller three clutch brightly colored objects under their elbows. Most of the lights in the building are dark, the yards empty, the windows boarded shut.

goto end


A tiny gray figure walks along the side of the road, carrying what appears to be a guitar case. He is followed closely by a smaller shape. A dog?

He looks tired.[if one:overworld-visited-guitar-player]

He suddenly winks out of view, perhaps into the woods.[if !one:overworld-visited-guitar-player]

goto end


A chapel and graveyard, disconnected from any road, in the middle of a dark woods. Occasionally it seems that pale, glowing figures, difficult to track with the eye, appear. Sometimes they roll huge barrels in or out of the building. Sometimes they just loiter for a moment, then fade out of view.

goto end


Flying past at this speed and angle, the farmhouse is invisible among the trees. Its location is only marked by Conway and Shannon's memories.

goto end


From this height the museum looks like a blocky crater, slowly filling with rain.

goto end


A shadowy figure drags itself out of the lake, stuffs its limbs into a smart blue suit, and trudges slackly out of view.

goto end


From a distance, from the air, it first looks like a swamp. Vines have grown over the streetlamps. Flower bushes obscure the streets. A few of the houses have slipped partially into the ground, foundations cracked by underground roots.

goto end


A light in the hills, probably a small fire. A few figures are clustered around a crude network of tanks and pipes.

goto end


shannon: Hey. Old man. Wake up.

shannon: You passed out. I guess the sudden speed was ... it made me a little dizzy too.

shannon: But ... look around you! Just look!

goto end


shannon: He's inside, with Dr. Truman. Are you coming in? (coming-in)
shannon: Where have you been? We lost sight of you for a minute. (lost)


ezra: Sure, I'll come in. Dr. Truman lets me watch TV sometimes. My folks never watched TV, but I like the way it looks.

shannon: You said you lost track of your family, earlier? (lost)
shannon: I like the way it looks, too. I fix TVs, you know. (fix-tv)


ezra: Yep. It's easy to get lost. Especially out in the woods like this. I never really get lost though. I just look out for Julian. He's always around.


ezra: Whoa, cool! A TV scientist. I bet you make a lot of money.


ezra: My folks had a really nice house, bigger than any of these houses. But it made them worried all the time. Then the bank took it back.

ezra: We had to sleep at the bus station, but I couldn't ever get to sleep. So I just went out to fly around every night with Julian. We flew really far, and we never got lost, but when we came back in the morning they were all gone.

shannon: They just left you? (left)
shannon: We'll help you look for them. (look-for-them)


ezra: I don't think so. All our stuff was still there. Maybe they got lost somewhere.

goto go-inside


ezra: Yeah, OK. Maybe we can all go looking again, later tonight.

goto go-inside


ezra: Let's go see what's on TV.

goto end


shannon: Do you have any family you're close with? Brother or sister? Kids?

conway: I have a brother, but I wouldn't say we're close. (brother)
conway: Just Lysette's family, I guess. (lysette)


shannon: What does he do?

conway: Some kind of banker. Kind of a jerk sometimes. (banker)
conway: He's about my age. Retired. (retired)
conway: I don't know. Just another drifter. (dont-know)


shannon: Yeah, I know the type.


shannon: Retired. I can't imagine ... Well, I'd probably hate it anyway.


shannon: Lot of that going around, these days.


shannon: You never talk to him?

conway: He's too good for me, I guess. (too-good)
conway: Nah, I burned that bridge pretty bad. (bridge)


shannon: I doubt that.

goto weaver


shannon: Who knows.

goto weaver


shannon: Oh yeah? Husband? Bunch of kids?

conway: Her husband Ira and I were friends. (ira)
conway: She had this great kid named Charlie, but ... (charlie)
conway: Well ... I guess it's just me and her now. (just-lysette)


shannon: Oh yeah, you mentioned him. Your old boss. Fierce-tempered, hard-working, up-by-his-bootstraps kind of guy, right? Sounds pretty intense.

goto weaver


shannon: Sorry.

goto weaver


shannon: Oh. Well, two is still a family, right?

goto weaver


shannon: I guess I was always closest with Weaver. As close as someone can be with a girl like that. She was always on her own wavelength, but we were the same age growing up, and everyone else was so busy.

shannon: When she disappeared, I got pretty angry, and I guess I just stayed that way. I never really `understood` her, but I `knew` her. It's lonely without someone like that around.

shannon: Sorry, I'm ... you're a good listener.

goto end


ezra: Have you ever been here in the winter? (winter)
ezra: Have you ever been over to the lake? (lake)


ezra: I bet it's all snowy. (snow)
ezra: I bet the lake freezes. (lake-freezes)


ezra: And totally quiet. (end)
ezra: And you can just listen to it piling up. (end)


ezra: You can walk anywhere! (end)
ezra: Too bad it gets dark so early. (end)


ezra: I went there once with my folks. (went-there)
ezra: It's really deep. (deep)


ezra: We had some burgers. Pretty great. (end)
ezra: I got in trouble for swimming too far. (end)


ezra: Me and Julian fly over it all the time. We can see it all through the water. (end)
ezra: I bet I could swim to the bottom, though. (end)


ezra: You have a way of falling behind, don't you? (falling-behind)
ezra: I bet you come from a big family of dogs. (family)


ezra: Me, I'm always too far ahead. (ahead)
ezra: Don't be sad about it. (sad)


ezra: It's just the way I am. (end)
ezra: Maybe I should slow down a bit, like you. (end)


ezra: They always wait for you. (end)
ezra: Some folks just move slower. (end)


ezra: Yeah, dogs have big families. I like that. (big-families)
ezra: Well, I have a pretty good-sized family too, I guess. (ezra-family)


ezra: You're always surrounded by family. Sounds nice. (end)
ezra: Seems easier to keep track of them. (end)


ezra: But right now all I need is Julian. (end)
ezra: I guess we'll see the rest of them pretty soon. (end)


ezra: How'd you come to be with these people? (dog-history)
ezra: What do you like to do? (dog-important)


ezra: I bet you were pretty wild when you were younger. (younger)
ezra: Nah, I know. You probably met on a farm or something. (farm)


ezra: When I'm old like you, I'll still be wild. (end)
ezra: Well, I like you anyway. (end)


ezra: I bet the old man herded sheep. (end)
ezra: I bet the lady fixed tractors. (end)


ezra: Chase rabbits? (rabbits)
ezra: Just lay around? (lay-around)


ezra: Sure, so do me and Julian. We always let them go, though. (end)
ezra: Nah, you're too slow. I like you anyway. (end)


ezra: Well, I bet you were pretty wild when you were younger. (end)
ezra: Julian too. He sleeps all day. (end)


shannon: Shouldn't be much farther now. I think I see where the settlement ends over there.

conway: These are some fine-looking trees. (lovely)
conway: This forest is full of shadows. (dark)
conway: These woods go on forever. (deep)


shannon: Ha. Yeah, really nice. You a tree enthusiast?

conway: I like birds. Birds like trees. (birds)
conway: Just nice to have something to lean up on. (pain-question)


shannon: OK ... I can follow that logic.


shannon: You're in a lot of pain right now, aren't you?

conway: I'm just thinking about getting back to work. (work)
conway: I just need to rest. (rest)


shannon: The moonlight helps. Closer to the cities, you don't get moonlight like this. It all gets washed out — "light pollution," you know? I guess it's still there, you just can't see it.

shannon: How are you feeling?

conway: I'm just thinking about getting back to work. (work)
conway: I just need to rest. (rest)


shannon: Well, no forest goes on `forever`. At some point there's always a road or something. A parking lot.

shannon: Don't act so defeated, OK?

conway: I'm just thinking about getting back to work. (work)
conway: I just need to rest. (rest)


shannon: We're almost there. We'll get you patched up and back in that truck. We can handle this.

goto end


shannon: We're almost there. Dr. Truman will have a nice couch or something you can rest on. And ... some medicine or something, I don't know.

goto end


shannon: It's OK. Just take it easy.

conway: We've got to get back on the road. (road)
conway: I'll just close my eyes. (nap)


shannon: We will. But we need to get this leg looked at first. Right now you're in no condition to haul anything out of that truck, even when we do find Dogwood Drive.

shannon: Why is ... why is this delivery so important to you?


conway: It's my job. (job)
conway: It's my last delivery. (last-delivery)
conway: I don't know. (dont-know)


shannon: Yeah, OK. I get that.

shannon: My dad used to say I was born with a soldering iron in my hand. It's just always been who I am.

goto end


shannon: Oh. You're retiring or something? Or ... sorry.

conway: Lysette's closing up the shop. (closing)
conway: I'm just not as tough as I used to be. (strong)


shannon: That's, uh ... Damn.

goto end


shannon: Well just rest up for a minute. I bet you're still plenty tough.

goto end


shannon: OK. Well, who knows why we do anything, right?

shannon: Somehow it seems important to me, too. Maybe we'll figure it out when we get there.

goto end


shannon: I don't think that's a good idea. Just take some strain off your leg for a minute, and then we'll keep going.

shannon: Why is ... why is this delivery so important to you?


dr. truman: ... and, yeah, I think during that exit interview is when I really realized how badly they had me. But how else can you pay for medical school? I have college friends with debts that ... you can't expect to pay that back unless you're planning to sell painkillers on the side or something. Or, you know, some kind of administrative thing?

dr. truman: I don't know. Having seen what arthritis did to my grandmother, and my best friend in high school destroy his wrists building synthesizers — I mean he was, like, seventeen ... ailments of the joints and limbs just seem `important` to me.

dr. truman: I hope that answers your question. Getting a scholarship with that pharmaceutical company had a lot of strings attached, but at least I have somewhere to practice, even if I have to follow their market trends a bit. And, hey, thanks to all those seminars I'm an expert on the medical uses of `Neurypnol TM`. It's not so bad.

dr. truman: So, how about that leg. What happened exactly?

conway: It was too dark to tell, really. (too-dark)
conway: It was like something grabbed my leg in the dark. (grabbed-leg)
conway: My leg was crushed by falling rocks. (crushed)


dr. truman: Ah, stumbling around in the dark. Hey, you might have just twisted it on something, right? Let's take a look.

goto end


dr. truman: Grabbed? Like an animal? Or a piece of machinery? Hmm. That could be ugly. I've seen some joints twisted right out of ... never mind. Well, let's start the examination.

goto end


dr. truman: Ah, crushing injury. Yeah, those can be pretty bad. Everything gets all compressed and there are a lot of little pieces to ... you know what, never mind. Let's take a look — how bad could it be, right?

goto end


dr. truman: ... but it's nothing we can't handle. You might have a few things to look out for in the future: be a bit gentler with the leg or the way you walk. But you'll be OK, I've dealt with similar cases before.

dr. truman: So, the anaesthetic we'll use is called `Neurypnol TM`. It's pretty experimental, but it's more appropriate in cases like yours. The way it works is: I'll count backwards from FIVE, to start the process, and then we'll just have a normal conversation as the `Neurypnol TM` takes effect. Then I'll get started.

dr. truman: Here we go:

goto countdown


dr. truman: FIVE

dr. truman: FOUR

dr. truman: THREE

dr. truman: TWO

dr. truman: ONE

dr. truman: So, let's talk about billing for a moment. The pharmaceutical company I'm contracted with was recently acquired by an energy company that has some different standards for billing and revenue, so it's a bit complex now ...

goto end


ezra: What are they singing about?

shannon: They're singing about travel. (travel)
shannon: They're singing about going home. (home)
shannon: They're singing about hard times. (hard-times)


ezra: Yeah. They're traveling and they want to go home. It's dark and raining, and they don't know where to go, but they're not scared. Do you think they'll figure it out?

shannon: I think so. (positive-ending)
shannon: Maybe not. But they'll figure `something` out. (negative-ending)


ezra: Yeah. They're singing about their home because they're lost right now. It's a scary song.

shannon: It's not scary. It's hopeful. (positive-ending)
shannon: It's scary, but they can still sing about it. (negative-ending)


ezra: Yeah. Everybody has it pretty rough right now. Even if you just want to go home, you'll have problems. Like it'll be too dark and you'll get scared.

shannon: It's hard sometimes, but things have a way of working out. (positive-ending)
shannon: Maybe you can just stay lost in the dark. Maybe you'll be OK with that eventually. (negative-ending)


ezra: Dr. Truman's going to help your friend. He'll be OK.

goto end


ezra: Your friend's in pretty bad shape, isn't he?

goto end


The tunnels are described as "`a series of arterials, excavated by runoff from an underground river which long ago evaporated, now the tangled vessel of marooned echoes.`"

They're surprisingly large. A distant scratching sound catches Conway's attention from a tunnel leading downwards. Another tunnel runs into darkness to the left.

: Go left.Conway and Shannon go left. (left)
: Climb down.Conway and Shannon climb down. (down)


The tunnel widens a bit. The air is cooler here.

: Go left.Conway and Shannon go left. (left-2)
: Climb down.Conway and Shannon climb down. (down-2)


A faint mewing reverberates through the tunnel.

: Go left.Conway and Shannon go left. (left-3)
: Climb down.Conway and Shannon climb down. (down-3)


A small, ragged cat sits on a ledge carved into the wall. Seeing Conway and Shannon, it darts into another tunnel.

goto end


The tunnel narrows a bit. The air is warmer here.

: Go left.Conway and Shannon go left. (left-2)
: Climb down.Conway and Shannon climb down. (down-2)


Shannon has the sense that something is hiding just out of sight.

: Go left.Conway and Shannon go left. (left-3)
: Climb down.Conway and Shannon climb down. (down-3)


Three gray-furred cats sit on a piece of driftwood, tails coiled. They regard the intruders for a moment, and return to their indifferent leisure.

goto end


The brochure describes this place as a "`gallery of mislaid futures, abandoned on lonely highways as American industrial design shifted its gaze to the intangible.`"

It is a large warehouse, full of oddly-shaped vehicles. Blimp-like, rusted vessels, mostly painted in a dull green that has now faded toward brown. No path has been carved to navigate between them, and many have been damaged enough to leave menacing bits of metal running jaggedly through their small open spaces.

It's all a visitor can do to stand at the edge of the building, neck craned, trying to get a glimpse of something.

goto end


Someone stopped here, once, and built a humble camp site. The fire is still going, hundreds of years later. They must have used a bit of that strange cave moss the locals say can burn indefinitely.

Other evidence is scattered around the camp. A spiral shape re-drawn a few times on the walls in chalk — from memory? From a dream? A wooden pipe carved to look like a toad. A bag that may once have held dried fish, nuts, other food for a long journey.

Whatever this traveller was looking for, whether they found it here or not, this was the end of their journey. Their bones are piled neatly by the fire, arranged later by some unknown passerby.

The campfire burns on as the truck pulls away.

goto end


As described in the brochure, these mineral springs "`radiate with vigor`" and "`sweat youth from the pores of the cave walls, its sweet dampness evaporating and then recollecting on the ruddy faces of rejuvenated bathers`." The air does have a warmth and fragrance to it that seems to relax the nostrils.

Shannon encourages Conway to rest his leg in the water.

: Rest for a while.Conway rests for a while. (rest)
: Leave. (end)


The water is warmer than it looks, and strangely soothing.

: Think about the day's work. (the-day)
: Think about the night stars. (the-stars)
: Leave. (end)


Conway closes his eyes and reflects on the day's work. He awoke at five. He moved some of Charlie's old books from the barn into Lysette's living room — she liked to look at them sometimes, and he knew this would be a difficult day. He fed the dog[variable: one:dog-name].

He made a few other small deliveries, picked up a package Lysette had waiting for her at the post office, and then drove out to look for the last address on his manifest.


Conway leans his head back, eyes closed. It still feels like night, down in the cave. Not just the darkness, but the lateness of it. Somewhere on the other side of this rock, the stars are still drifting along indifferently.

He remembers some of Charlie's homework, from when he first went to college. Charlie was home visiting Lysette and Ira for the weekend, and had some book about ... astronomy, or physics or something. Maybe math. Watching the relative speeds at which different stars pan across the sky, and using it to determine their distance.


Leaving the spring, Conway finds a few small aquatic insects nestled in his pant leg. He leaves them behind.

goto end


The brochure for these mossy tunnels recommends taking them "`as a site for meditation ... an introspective labyrinth through which to walk one's concerns, slowly, like a breathing exercise.`"

goto tunnel


A narrow tunnel extends to the right, and another to the left.

: Left tunnel.Conway and Shannon go left. (tunnel-2)
: Right tunnel.Conway and Shannon go right. (tunnel-3)
: Close eyes. (end) [if underworld-moss-tunnel-counter>4]


Conway and Shannon enter a cramped passage. A narrow tunnel extends to the right, and another to the left. The moss begins to glow.

: Left tunnel.Conway and Shannon go left. (tunnel-3)
: Right tunnel.Conway and Shannon go right. (tunnel-4)
: Close eyes. (end) [if underworld-moss-tunnel-counter>4]


Conway and Shannon crawl on hands and knees through a slick passageway. The moss is glowing more brightly now.

: Left tunnel.Conway and Shannon go left. (tunnel-4)
: Right tunnel.Conway and Shannon go right. (tunnel)
: Close eyes. (end) [if underworld-moss-tunnel-counter>4]


Conway and Shannon step out into a large open room. The glow of the moss is almost blinding.

: Left tunnel.Conway and Shannon go left. (tunnel)
: Right tunnel.Conway and Shannon go right. (tunnel-2)
: Close eyes. (end) [if underworld-moss-tunnel-counter>4]


shannon: Hey. You're looking kinda tired there, old man. Want me to take the wheel for a bit?[if underworld-nap-counter=1]

shannon: You almost went off the road for a second there. Can I take over?[if underworld-nap-counter=2]

shannon: Yeah, I saw you yawning. Here, let me drive.[if underworld-nap-counter=3]

shannon: We can probably get some coffee around ... never mind. I'll take over if you want?[if underworld-nap-counter=0]

conway: I'm fine. (end)
conway: Yeah, maybe that's a good idea. (end)


What the brochure calls an "`epic laceration to the very heart of the world, certainly left by some great power — perhaps a casualty in a battle between god and dinosaur`" is more of a rocky valley separating the road from a sheer cliff-face.

It's difficult to see how deep it runs, as the rock slopes into shadow, but the few dozen lanterns strung across at an interval suggest its scale: larger than a basketball court, but smaller than a financial district.

goto end


shannon: That's odd ...

conway: What? (whats-odd)
conway: Let's keep moving. (end)


shannon: Just ... you know, deja vu.

conway: Same here. (me-too)
conway: It's just this weird road. (weird-road)
conway: Let's keep moving. (end)


shannon: I always feel kind of embarrassed when that happens. Like I'm in a play, but I don't know my lines.

shannon: Oh well.

goto end


shannon: No, you're right. Just this weird road.

goto end


shannon: Is that it ... over there?

conway: I don't see any congregation. (congregation)
conway: It's dusty in here. (dusty)


shannon: Maybe it's after-hours. Let's see what the janitor knows, I guess.

goto end


shannon: You work with antiques, you should be used to a little dust, right?

goto end


shannon: Jesus! Are you alright? What the hell.

conway: I'm OK. (intro-ok)
conway: My leg is stuck. (stuck-leg)


shannon: I've got you. You're alright. Shit. Your leg is pinned. I'm going to pull you out; we have to get you out of here.

goto pull-out


shannon: Shit. OK, I'm going to pull you out; we have to get you out of here.

goto pull-out


shannon: There you go. OK. Are you hurt? Can you put any weight on that leg?

conway: It's all messed up. (broken-leg)
conway: It's fine. (leg-ok)


shannon: Just try to stand up. Careful. I'm right here.

shannon: Damn! Don't worry, I've got you. That leg is in bad shape.


shannon: Here, let's get you onto the tram.

shannon: There you go. Now, let's see if this thing has power.


shannon: Hey. Old man. Look at me. Can you hear me?

brandon: What happened?

shannon: I don't know. He collapsed. I think he blacked out — he was mumbling about the old mine for a minute. The old mine where we met.

conway: I'm OK. (conway-ok)
conway: Can we listen to another one of those sermons? (conway-sermon) [if storage-listened-to-homily]
conway: Don't let me keep you, you have work to do. (conway-sermon)
conway: I think I need to see that doctor. (conway-doctor)


shannon: Bullshit. We're going to see that doctor.


shannon: Yes, you do.


shannon: What the hell are you talking about? We're going to see that doctor the clerk recommended.


shannon: `(She hands BRANDON the doctor's card.)` How do we get to this address from here?

brandon: Um. I don't know. It's pretty tricky going back and forth between ... you know: `here` and `there`.

brandon: The Bureau's the only way I know. Some of those folks do it all the time. "Commuters."

brandon: Just go back the way you came. Find the crystal, and then turn around.

goto end


brandon: Oh! Here for the night mass?

conway: What kind of mass is it? (what-kind-of-service)
conway: Where's the congregation? (congregation)


brandon: Tonight, it's a homily on ... "work and need."

brandon: Huh, I haven't heard this one before.

conway: Are you the preacher? (preacher)
conway: Where's the congregation? (congregation)


brandon: Oh. I'm the janitor ...


brandon: I guess this must look pretty strange: a church without a congregation. When they first moved in here, man, this place was packed. They had a mass every night, two on Sunday.

brandon: But it got a bit awkward to fit everyone in, and the numbers quickly dwindled. Once folks started to see it as a thing that was falling apart, they lost their center of gravity, and just started ... wobbling.

brandon: Then the preacher stopped coming too, but he left his old tapes. Same with the organist. And I found some old acetates in the Bureau archives, photos of people in churches. So I keep it running.

brandon: You do what you have to, right?

conway: We've all got a job. (job)
shannon: Right now we have to find some Bureau documents. (documents)


brandon: "Work is play for mortal stakes." That's the title of the evening's homily, in fact.

brandon: So I guess if you folks aren't here for the mass you must be looking for the old Bureau records. I moved them down to unit C315, to make room for the mass. It's down at the other end of the building. Same floor. I need to get the night mass started, but you can borrow my keys.


brandon: Oh, you're from the Bureau. I moved all those documents to unit C315, to make room for the mass. It's down at the other end of the building. Same floor. I need to get the night mass started, but you can borrow my keys.


shannon: I'll go. You wait here. Rest your leg, you're looking kind of pale.


brandon: Nice lady.

brandon: Well, I'd better get this running.

`(BRANDON presses "play" on an old tape machine.)`


: `(CONWAY listens to the homily.)` (listen-homily-1)
conway: Is your whole family Catholic? (is-brandons-family-catholic)


: `(CONWAY listens to the homily.)` (listen-homily-2)
conway: How do you like working here? (brandon-working-here)


: `(CONWAY listens to the homily.)` (listen-homily-3)
conway: My leg is killing me. (leg)


: `(CONWAY listens to the homily.)` (listen-homily-4)
conway: So, this is like a ... hobby? (hobby)


preacher: ~There are many days on which we proclaim the value of labor, and celebrate the piety of the hard-working, through feast or abstinence, recognizing St. Joseph the worker, who was foster father to our lord Jesus, and who trained him in carpentry and in the merit of sweat. And this is one such day.~


preacher: ~On this day, we celebrate with the feast of St. Joseph the worker, and, on this day, other workers are also celebrating, workers who do not attend mass, or even one like it, even workers who do not attend a Church at all, but who toil with clarity, with dedication, with perspicacity, who do as we do here in our Church, inasmuch as they reflect the activity of God. As we do, they cultivate the earth, and, at sundown, they call the fruit of their labor "very good."~


preacher: ~Beyond the Church, this day is celebrated in remembrance of a violent protest in Chicago, and to honor the four martyrs who were unjustly persecuted in its wake, having not only pursued their vocation in their daily labor, but also having pursued their avocation in the form of protest, activism, community-building, radicalization, scholarship, and finally martyrdom. Their, and our, avocation being, as it should be for us all, as members of the Church or otherwise, to secure for our fellow workers the right to labor with dignity.~


preacher: ~So, just as there is no dignity without sacrifice, there is no vocation without avocation, just as the left eye perceives that which is to the left, and the right eye perceives that which is to the right, and these images are summed, differentiated, and incorporated, and we find in our minds eye an after-image of divine light, only where love and need are one, and the work is play for mortal stakes, is the deed ever really done, for Heaven, and the future's sakes.~


brandon: Oh, no. We're not religious. I just watched and listened while the congregation did all this stuff, and ... I probably don't understand as much of it as you might think. Anyway, I know how to run the overhead projector and the tape player. At least I know enough to keep it going, right?


brandon: It's OK. I don't really know what else I would do. I used to play a lot of card games, you know, in high school. Some of my friends went to college, but most of them just got jobs. Maybe in a few years we'll be hanging out in bars, playing darts or something. You're not allowed to play cards in the bar, because it looks like gambling.


brandon: I bet everyone's telling you to go see a doctor. Hey, I get it: too expensive. My dad cut his arm pretty bad on a job, but he stitched himself back up because we didn't have health insurance. But then his hand didn't work very well, and he got pretty depressed, and eventually he just sort of ...

brandon: Well, I guess I don't know what he should have done. Who knows, right?


brandon: If you asked me what my hobbies were, I'd say "card games, science fiction, and perspective geometry." But I run the slide show, and I play the tapes, and I don't get paid for it. I take it pretty seriously, but nobody's telling me I should. Is that a hobby? Seems like there ought to be a more serious word for it.


brandon: OK, that's it. Next, there are some rituals that you and I aren't allowed to participate in, I don't think. And I don't remember them anyway.

shannon: Hi. Got it.

conway: Got what? (conway-confused)
conway: We were just talking about work and hobbies. (conway-confused)
conway: We were just listening to the sermon. (conway-confused)


shannon: What? I found what we came here to get. The file on street name changes.

shannon: You don't look ... good.

shannon: Let's head back to the Bureau and get this straightened out. And then maybe we should go see that doctor the clerk recommended.

goto end


The side of the van is painted with the image of a cartoonish housekeeper, effortlessly carrying a mountain of cleaning supplies balanced in one hand. The words painted below the image are too faded to read.

: Look inside the van.Conway looks inside the van. (inside-van)
: Drive away. (end)


Peering through a dusty window, Conway and Shannon can barely make out several piles of paper stacked in the back of the van. Some are piled on boxes, some loose. All of it is sheet music.

goto end


The neighborhood at the address on Lula's card has been demolished. In its place is a large museum, still partially under construction.

goto end


The wind howls around the mine entrance. Shannon is anxious to leave.

Carrington won't be here for another few hours.[if bureau-talked-to-carrington+carrington-play-location=mine]

goto end


Joseph has fallen asleep in his chair.

Carrington won't be here for another few hours.[if bureau-talked-to-carrington+carrington-play-location=gasstation]

goto end


The farmhouse is silent and empty. The barn is still gone. So is the cave. A few horses graze in the empty field.

goto end


A dirt road runs into the forest. The path is worn by large tire tracks. A sign is posted but the lettering has been smudged away by rain. It might say something about a grove, or a stockyard.

: Drive down the path.Conway and Shannon drive down the path. (down-path)
: Get back on the highway. (end)


The truck's headlights briefly glimmer on unknown surfaces between the trees. Ahead, the path winds to the right.

: Drive ahead.They drive ahead. (ahead)
: Get out of the truck and walk into the woods.They get out of the truck and walk in the woods. (woods)
: Get back on the highway. (end)


Conway and Shannon pull up to a small hill with a view onto a clearing.

goto graveyard


Conway and Shannon push aside collapsed branches and spiderwebs. The material of the forest gives way to rusty, painted metal.

goto graveyard


Dozens of corroded pickup trucks, some broken into pieces by years of seasonal heating and cooling, clog the forest floor.

goto end


A roughly circular cluster of narrow radio towers sprout from a muddy field. A ragged chain-link fence strung up around the field would do very little to keep out vandals. Birds and other animals avoid the area. It is forcefully silent.


: Walk into the center of the cluster.Conway and Shannon walk into the center of the cluster. (walk-in)
: Try to tune the truck's radio.Conway and Shannon try to tune the truck's radio. (truck-radio) [if !overworld-tried-radio]
: Drive away. (end)


The chain link fence easily folds out of the way. Shannon holds a corner of it off the ground as Conway crawls under. Inside the fence, a subtle but perceptible hum disturbs the air.

: Listen.They listen. (listen)
: Walk farther in.They walk farther in. (walk-in-farther)
: Leave. (end)


The hum is inaudible — it's more like a current of wind or a feeling of uneasiness.

: Walk farther in.They walk farther in. (walk-in-farther)
: Leave. (end)


At the center of the circle, Conway notices a tremor in his vision. His left eyelid twitches. On the ground nearby, a few empty beer cans surround a circle of scorched earth, like candles.

goto end


The truck's radio hasn't worked for years. Not so much as a whimper of static.


A line of cars extends down the road in a late-night traffic jam. Conway and Shannon can faintly see and hear some construction on the road ahead.

: Get out of the truck and walk ahead.They get out of the truck and walk ahead. (walk-ahead)
: Drive away. (end)


Most of the drivers in line are reading magazines, or lightly dozing.

: Walk ahead.Conway and Shannon walk further ahead. (walk-ahead-2)
: Try to start up a conversation.Conway and Shannon try to start up a conversation. (conversation)
: Return to the truck and drive away. (end)


Conway taps on a window, trying to get an older woman's attention. She snaps awake suddenly, but ignores him, focusing on a point just ahead on the highway.


The road ends abruptly. A small crew of highway maintenance workers have been laying down a ten-foot stretch of road. They complete their project and step out of the way, as traffic briefly resumes. The cars stop again, and the maintenance workers begin on the next section.

goto end


conway: Been a while, eh? (past)
conway: Not sure about this place. (not-sure)


conway: I guess you never saw the inside of one of these places. (inside)
conway: I spent a lot of time in places like this. (places-like-this)


conway: Yeah, you're more of a lay-in-the-shade type. Good for you. (end)
conway: You might enjoy the jukeboxes. (end)


conway: Too much time. (end)
conway: Still miss it, though. (end)


conway: Never seen it before. (never-seen)
conway: Looks like trouble. (trouble)


conway: Thought I knew most of the bars up and down this road. (end)
conway: Probably for the best. (end)


conway: Just has a dangerous look to it, I guess. (end)
conway: Trouble for me, anyway. Ha. (end)


shannon: Strange. Sounds like music coming from inside, but the sign says "closed."

conway: Maybe they're cleaning. (cleaning)
conway: I probably shouldn't be going into any bars, anyway. (leave)


shannon: Yeah, just sounds ... I don't know. This place kind of creeps me out. It's OK, I'll just get a coke on the road somewhere.

goto end


shannon: Oh, yeah, of course. Sorry, I just wanted a coke.

goto end


The trash bin is filled: several pairs of working shoes, a few hats, a small zip-loc bag with three pairs of eyeglasses.

goto end


shannon: I came out here on a date once. (shannon-date)
conway: Nice night. (nice-night)


conway: Oh. Ha. Good memories?

shannon: Not really. (shannon-not-really)
shannon: Yeah, actually. (shannon-good-memories)


conway: Oh well. Next time you can say "I came out here once, driving around with an old friend."

conway: Maybe that'll be better.

goto end


conway: Yeah, these nights ... it's mostly kind of a haze for me now. Just smells and sounds.

conway: This is nice, though.

goto end


shannon: It's not bad.

conway: You've seen better? (better-nights)
conway: That's a start. (a-start)


shannon: I think so ... not for a while, I guess.

shannon: But this isn't so bad.

goto end


shannon: Yeah. Maybe it is.

shannon: Thanks.

goto end


Young man: Well, that's all very interesting, but my cousin works for a TV station and he says they drop about two, three satellites a week. They just fall out of the sky.

Old man: More like `government` satellites!

Young woman: All I know is it wasn't a bird. That's all I care to know ... let's go check the scanner.

goto end


Young man: Well I never heard of a bird so heavy or hot as that, no I don't think you're right about that one, I —

Old man: You haven't heard of much, I knew that already! I can tell you right now —

Young woman: You don't tell him a thing! If it was a bird how'd it burn up like that? My father-in-law —

goto end


Old woman: Not one of you know a `thing` about weird lights in the sky. But I'm gonna tell you anyway.

Old woman: About nine months back, I was out sorting the cans and bottles, and I saw three flashes that took up half the sky. They flashed in order, a few seconds apart: Red. Green. Blue.

Old woman: Then about a few months later, I was fixing my lawnmower and I saw them again, but faster: Red, Green, Blue. Now just a week ago, I was microwaving some steam-in-the-bag broccoli, and I looked up, and there it was out the window: RedGreenBlue.

Old woman: So don't tell `me` about burning birds, lights in the sky, flying saucers. I know already.

goto end


Young man: Old William! That old man must see a flying saucer every night, and two on the weekend! I never —

Old man: Now, didn't I say that earlier about flying saucers? You heard me! You know just a week ago, up by the lake —

goto end


A smoking hole is carved impressively into the ground. Whatever caused it must have burned up.

goto end


sadie: The moment I now recall most clearly from their short visit was the birdcage exhibit.

sadie: The old man stopped to rest — or maybe to think. The young woman had been anxious up to that point, but she stopped as well, and examined the birdcage more closely.

sadie: It seemed to elicit a tenderness from her. She ran one fingernail along the bars of the wire cage, marking out a tuneless scale, like a child's xylophone.

sadie: And then they moved on.

goto end


fred: We ought to get some real chickens in that coop. Do some homesteading. None of these folks know how to live off the land. You know what I mean?

museum staff: It's just a display. Another kind of "dwelling." (dwelling)
museum staff: Sure, we'll ... look into it. (end)


fred: Yeah ... no offense against you guys, I mean. I appreciate what all you've done for us.

goto end


james: I guess they must have gone through some papers here. It was in some disarray and a few folders were pulled out and left on the table. I mean it wasn't `too` bad; I only notice cause Diane is such a stickler. She's real organized, I mean.

museum staff: What folders were they looking at? (folders)
museum staff: Was anything missing? (missing)


james: Yeah, uh ... mostly stuff about the building site, I guess. They had a list of all the homes we relocated here. A list of original residences before we leveled the neighborhood. I'd guess they were looking for one of the old residents.


james: Uh, nope.


james: They pulled out a list of the folks who didn't take the offer, folks who moved elsewhere, but they filed that back — out of order — so I guess they didn't find what they were looking for there.

goto complaint


james: Hey, uh, while I have you here ... work's kind of slowed down, and it seems like — I know you folks know what you're doing, but it seems like the residents are just kind of ... settling in?

museum staff: That's the idea. (the-idea)
museum staff: We'll get your boys back to work soon. (back-to-work)


james: Yeah, I get that. Just — how about that roof, huh? You just write us a check and we'll finish it right up! I know you've got this museum thing going on, but you don't want to be slumlords, now ...

goto end


james: Yeah, sure, I get you ... ha ha.

james: You happen get that last invoice ... ?

goto end


george: We were working in the greenhouse, and I saw them come up in the elevator. They were lost, obviously.

annie: It was obvious.

goto end


thomas: That dog was in nearly as bad shape as the old man, just sort of shrugging along. They found some treats in the doghouse exhibit. That seemed to cheer them up a bit.

goto end


ivy: Oh, of course, I saw them looking at that odd-shaped building, the ...

museum staff: Sure, the rounded metal one. (dymaxion)
museum staff: Did they go inside? (inside)


ivy: No, they just looked at it for a bit. I don't know that I'd feel safe setting foot in there, personally. It always looks like it's about to ... take off.

goto romantic


ivy: Yeah, that one. "House of the future" sort of thing. I've always thought it looked more like a grain bin ...

goto romantic


ivy: Actually, I guess it's sort of romantic. Anyway, they seemed interested in it. Tired, huddling under their umbrellas, they still stopped to examine this strange building.[if museum-umbrella-is-open]

ivy: Actually, I guess it's sort of romantic. Anyway, they seemed interested in it. Tired, soaked from the rain, they still stopped to examine this strange building.[if !museum-umbrella-is-open]

goto end


ezra: I saw you folks drive up. I like your truck! What kind of truck is that?

conway: It doesn't belong to me, I just drive it. (just-drive)
conway: We've got a couple of them at the shop, but this is the only one that runs. (only-one-that-runs)
shannon: Do you know where Dr. Truman is? (dr-truman)


ezra: Yeah, I knew you were a driver! What's the biggest haul you ever did?

conway: I moved a pool table once, in that same truck. (pool-table)
conway: I moved a couple horses once, in a different truck. (horse)


ezra: Me and Julian move whole houses, every night! That's a lot bigger than a pool table.


ezra: Me and Julian move whole houses, every night! That's a lot bigger than a couple horses.


ezra: Oh yeah, with a truck you've got to keep it up. That's why me and Julian don't use a truck. We just carry the houses!


conway: That sounds very impressive. (impressive)
conway: Who's Julian? (who-is-julian)
conway: Where do you take the houses? (where-houses)


ezra: Yeah, it's a big job.


ezra: Julian's my brother. He's a lot bigger and stronger, and he has more feathers than me, but he's still my brother.

conway: Where are your parents? (where-are-parents)
conway: Where do you take the houses? (where-houses)


ezra: Well, I don't know where they are. Me and Julian were looking for them for a while, but ... Well, now we have a job to do: got to move these houses.

conway: Where do you take the houses? (where-houses)
shannon: Do you know where Dr. Truman is? (dr-truman)


ezra: Me and Julian take them out to the forest every night. And then we bring them back at dawn, before the museum opens.

conway: Why do you take them to the forest? (forest)
shannon: Is Dr. Truman in the forest? (dr-truman)


ezra: Yes, ma'am. He's out in the forest. Me and Julian took him out there a few nights ago and he didn't want to come back. He lives there all the time now.

goto forest


ezra: This museum is an OK place to live in the daytime, but it's no good at night. Folks just can't sleep in a place like this; or when they do it gives them nightmares. So we take them out to the forest to sleep, and then bring them back in the morning.

conway: Is your family out in the forest? (ezra-family-forest)
conway: I'm getting pretty tired myself. (conway-tired)
shannon: And Dr. Truman is in the forest already? (dr-truman-forest) [if !museum-heard-truman-is-in-forest]


shannon: He hurt his leg. We're looking for Dr. Truman to help him out. Is he out in the forest?[if !museum-heard-truman-is-in-forest]

shannon: He hurt his leg. We're looking for Dr. Truman to help him out.[if museum-heard-truman-is-in-forest]


ezra: Yes, ma'am. He's out in the forest. Me and Julian took him out there a few nights ago and he didn't want to come back. He lives there all the time now.[if !museum-heard-truman-is-in-forest]

conway: Is your family out in the forest? (ezra-family-forest)
shannon: Can you tell us how to get there? (forest-directions)


ezra: Oh, no, they're ... I don't know where they are. Me and Julian were looking for them for a while, but ...

ezra: Anyway, we have a job to do here now, taking these people out to the forest at night so they can sleep. And maybe if the rest of them will be like Dr. Truman and want to stay out there, we'll get back to looking.

shannon: Can you tell us how to get to the forest?


ezra: You have to follow the Green river way out east, and then hop over Lake Cumberland! The roads don't go there.

ezra: But me and Julian can take you. We were just about to go anyway.

ezra: I've just got to call him over:

ezra: `(Yelling.)` KUK-*KUK*-KUK-*KUK* Hyyyyyyyyy-*aaaaaaa*!

goto end


pearl: I heard a shout from downstairs. The old man had stumbled in the rain. I stayed inside with the lights off. There's no sense in my getting involved.

goto end


flora: I was playing in that empty cabin, and they came by. They asked about Dr. Truman. I know where he went, but I didn't tell them.

museum staff: Did you talk about anything else? (anything-else)
museum staff: Where did Dr. Truman go? (dr-truman)


flora: It's a secret. Ezra told me, and I can't tell anyone else.

museum staff: What else did the strangers say? (anything-else)
museum staff: Who is Ezra? (ezra)


flora: He's my age. He doesn't really live here. He's just passing through with his brother, Julian. First they're going to help us, but I can't say any more about that. We have a lot of secrets.


flora: The lady asked me about my parents and I told them they were upstairs in the greenhouse. Do you want to hear a weird story?

museum staff: I'm a little busy. (no-weird-story)
museum staff: Of course I do. (weird-story)


flora: OK. Bye.

goto end


flora: The old man asked me about the cabin. He said it looked like another house he knew, and he wanted to know where it came from. I told him nobody lived there, so he went inside. He took a long time exploring. When he came back out he told me all about it.

museum staff: Where was the other house he knew? (other-house)
museum staff: What did he find in the cabin? (inside-house)


flora: I don't remember. He seemed sad.

museum staff: Was it the home he grew up in? (childhood-home)
museum staff: Was it the home of a friend? (friend-home)
museum staff: Was it a place where something sad happened? (sad-place)


flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there with his mom. She was sick. She stayed in her room all the time.[if one:conway-family-illness=mother+one:conway-family-illness-quality=paranoid]

flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there with his mom. She was sick. She was always sweeping, she said the dust was trying to smother them.[if one:conway-family-illness=mother+one:conway-family-illness-quality=obsessive]

flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there with his mom. She was a painter. She only slept in the daytime.[if one:conway-family-illness=mother+one:conway-family-illness-quality=artist]

flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there with his dad. His dad was sick. He stayed in his room and always kept the curtains drawn.[if one:conway-family-illness=father+one:conway-family-illness-quality=paranoid]

flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there with his dad. His dad was sick. He collected things, and all the rooms were full of stuff.[if one:conway-family-illness=father+one:conway-family-illness-quality=obsessive]

flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there with his dad. His dad was a writer. He wrote about sad stuff, and slept a lot in the daytime.[if one:conway-family-illness=father+one:conway-family-illness-quality=artist]

flora: Yeah, I remember: he lived there when he was my age. He was happy then, but now he's sad.[if one:conway-family-illness=none]


flora: Yeah, I remember: his friend lived there when they were younger. He moved away for a while and when he came back she was married and had a new house. He's still friends with her but it makes him sad.


flora: Yeah, I remember: he woke up there one morning and he didn't know where he was. He was alone. He waited all day for someone to come and tell him why he was there, but nobody did, so he left at sundown.


flora: He went upstairs and he also looked around the other rooms. I played with the dog.

museum staff: What did he do upstairs? (upstairs)
museum staff: What did he do in the kitchen? (kitchen)
museum staff: What was the dog like? (dog)


flora: He looked in some boxes. He looked out the window. He could see the museum better than when he was downstairs — he could tell how it was all put together. And the cabin, too, he could see the shape of it better from up there.


flora: He just stood still for a while. He said he likes kitchens. He feels safe in the kitchen.


flora: His name is Homer, and you can almost see his skeleton. It's pretty cool.[if one:dog-name=Homer]

flora: Her name is Blue, and I fed her some crackers. She drools a lot.[if one:dog-name=Blue]

flora: The lady said he just follows them around. I wish I had a dog that followed me around. I'd name him something really cool like `Vladimir` or `Estragon`.[if one:dog-nameless]


flora: Now, the part that is weird.

flora: He said he went into the basement.

museum staff: That cabin doesn't have a basement.

flora: He said he found a staircase in a closet. (basement)
flora: He said he found a secret door in the floor. (basement)
flora: He said he dug through the ground to get there. (basement)


flora: Then he found a rope leading down a long pit, and he climbed down. (pit-rope)
flora: He was surrounded by giant aphids. (aphids)


flora: It was so long, his arms got very tired, and he fell in the dark. (pit-rope-fell)
flora: The walls were covered in a glowing moss. (pit-rope-moss)


flora: He didn't get hurt, though. (pit-rope-find-ground)
flora: He hurt his other leg, and he couldn't walk at all. (pit-rope-couldnt-walk)


flora: He crawled through a tunnel, where he found a hidden garden. (garden)
flora: But he was surrounded by giant aphids! (aphids)


flora: He tried to eat some of the moss. (pit-rope-eat-moss)
flora: He used the light of the moss to find a lake at the bottom of the pit. (rivers)


flora: So he crawled until he found a garden. (garden)
flora: So he crawled until he found a river. (rivers)


flora: It made him fall asleep. (weird-story-end-wake-up)
flora: It made him confused, and he wandered around until he found a garden. (garden)


flora: The garden was very beautiful. (garden-beautiful)
flora: The garden was very dangerous. (garden-dangerous)


flora: He felt so calm, he fell asleep. (weird-story-end-wake-up)
flora: He found a tunnel leading back upstairs. (weird-story-end-navigated)


flora: But he escaped, because he is very tall. (weird-story-end-navigated)
flora: He was trapped for a long time, a prisoner in the garden. He had to sleep there. (weird-story-end-wake-up)


flora: But the aphids were friendly, and led him to a secret garden. (garden)
flora: He ran away from the aphids, into a river to hide. (rivers)


flora: The water swept him around until he didn't know where he was, and finally he fell asleep in the water. (weird-story-end-wake-up)
flora: He was a good swimmer, so he found his way back to the cabin. (weird-story-end-navigated)


flora: So then he came back out of the cabin, and we said goodbye, and I didn't talk to them anymore.

goto end


flora: He woke up on the floor of the cabin. He came back outside, and we said goodbye, and I didn't talk to them anymore.

goto end


fred: I just assumed they were from the power company. You know how they're always coming by unanounced and messing with this or that. I just shut myself up in my room to wait it out. No sense getting involved.

museum staff: How did they get in? (get-in)
museum staff: They definitely weren't from the power company. (power-company)


fred: Must have been one of the kids who left the front door unlocked. Something's got to be done, they run around like animals. You know that Flora left a can of soda on top of my shelter door and I almost killed myself slipping on that sticky mess the next morning?

fred: Something's got to be done.

goto end


fred: Well I wouldn't complain if they were, really, with that storm going on. I know they have to do their business. Doesn't affect me, I've got my generator, but you know some of these folks around here: unprepared.

fred: Totally unprepared.

goto end


thomas: Oh yeah, he was talking to his dog. Guy was a weirdo.

museum staff: What did he say? (what-did-he-say)
museum staff: Doesn't seem that weird. (weird)


thomas: Just small talk, you know, like you talk to your buddies or something. Like you talk to a dock worker. Just like: "damn, this is a lot of rain; I haven't seen rain like this since that storm a couple years back that took out Lysette's herb garden."

goto stay-long


thomas: You didn't see the guy. Tall, kinda stooped over, limping bad. Looked like an old drunk if you ask me. I bet they were both drunks; breaking in here looking for a place to sleep it off.

goto stay-long


thomas: I just feel bad for that old dog, getting dragged all over by a couple of drunks. Old dog like that should be sleeping on a porch somewhere. But that's loyalty for you.

thomas: Well, they didn't stay long anyway.

goto end


flora: I heard the man and the lady talking when they first came in, but they didn't see me.

flora: He had his umbrella open `inside`![if museum-umbrella-is-open]

museum staff: What were you doing up that late? (up-late)
museum staff: What were they talking about? (talking-about)


flora: Mom lets me stay up late all the time, she said it's OK. I was just looking for frogs.

museum staff: You should be careful with frogs; they'll give you warts. (warts)
museum staff: What were the man and the lady talking about? (talking-about)


flora: I don't care, I want warts: I think they're beautiful. Besides, that's not true anyway.

goto end


flora: The man said his leg was hurting him. They were looking for Dr. Truman, but he was already gone. But they didn't know so they kept looking around.

goto end


annie: Flora was playing down on the lower level, and we'd been having a glass of wine in the greenhouse. We ducked out of the way when he came in. After all, they were complete strangers.

george: We didn't know them.

museum staff: Did they seem dangerous? (dangerous)
museum staff: Did you overhear them talking? (talking)


george: No, nothing dangerous about them. But you just can't know, can you?

annie: How could you?

goto talking


annie: Well, I heard the young woman ask her friend about his job. He's some kind of furniture collector or dealer, I think. It didn't sound like things were going well. Maybe they were here looking for a buyer?

george: Yes, definitely some kind of furniture collector or dealer. I heard him talking about antiques.

annie: Must have been looking for shelter; he was carrying an umbrella, but not using it.[if !museum-umbrella-is-open]

george: Odd that he wasn't using it.[if !museum-umbrella-is-open]

goto end


walker: Sure, I talked to them for a bit. Actually, we talked for quite a while. I wasn't busy. I was happy for the company. Can't sleep in a storm like that; I never could.

museum staff: Did you see how they got in? (how-they-got-in)
museum staff: What did you talk about? (talk-about)
museum staff: Why can't you sleep in a storm? (sleep-in-storm)


walker: They came right in the front door, it wasn't locked. Your security here is kind of ... kind of shitty. I wasn't going to say, but ...

museum staff: What did you talk about? (talk-about)
museum staff: It's a work in progress. (security)


walker: Hey, doesn't bother me. I don't think it really bothers anyone: a locked door on your neighborhood is a pretty weird idea anyway. I'd like to see a bit more work done on that roof, though!

goto roof


walker: Bad memories. Besides, it leaks back here! You have got to fix that roof.

goto roof


walker: There was a steady stream running down the back wall and right through my, uh ... this little exhibit thing ... anyway it was just going like a river all night!

walker: It's a damn hazard; you've got wires everywhere! Don't you people have anyone to look at this stuff?

goto end


walker: I told him to put his umbrella away: I get great shelter right here.[if museum-umbrella-is-open]

walker: I had a bottle in my coat, and I could see the old guy looking at it, and his leg was hurt pretty bad so I offered him some. He got real awkward about it. I bet he's in a program.

walker: Anyway, they were asking about Dr. Truman. I remember him: he was here for a bit, and then he left.

walker: So that's what I told them.

goto end


hudson: Difficult to see or even hear, storm like that. But I was awake and alert, studying the week's forecast. It should even out shortly, I'd say.

museum staff: Did you talk to them? (did-you-talk)
museum staff: You pay close attention to the weather. (weather)


hudson: Yes, we had a short conversation. The young woman heard my radio crackling from the cabin and asked about it. The old man was a bit disoriented.

museum staff: What did she want to know about your radio? (radio)
museum staff: Disoriented how? (disoriented)


hudson: She thought she recognized the model, just from the noise it was making! I didn't even know the model myself. She told me many old radios from the period had badly-designed tuning circuits that caused a kind of resonant feedback in certain spots on the dial. Easy to pick out, if you have the ear for it. Smart young woman, and I always love to chat with an artisan.

goto they-left


hudson: He asked the most inane questions about my boat. Whether I took it out fishing often ... nonsense like that. I tried to explain to him that I lived aboard, that I'd lived in a small apartment on this land before and been kindly offered an opportunity to live here in a sailboat when the neighborhood was razed, and so on ... difficult to communicate in a noisy storm like that. I think he may have been a bit hard of hearing, to boot.

goto they-left


hudson: Hard not to, up here. The strangers wanted to know how I coped with the exposure. I guess some people will never understand the appeal of life on a sailboat. It's tragic, I'd say.

goto they-left


hudson: Well, then they had to leave. Looking for a doctor, I think — the old man was having a bad time. It was a short conversation.

goto end


ivy: They wouldn't come in. Just rushing around — you could tell they were worn, and it was late at night, but ... just rushing around.

ivy: Well, there was some urgency to the older man's injury, so it's understandable.

museum staff: How was he injured? (injury)
museum staff: What were they looking for? (looking-for)


ivy: His leg. It was twisted or something. He held it while he walked, and made these painful little sounds in his throat.

ivy: Oh, `how`? I don't know. I didn't ask. It would have been rude, I think.

goto dont-know


ivy: They were looking for Dr. Truman, but of course ... I had nothing to say. The man was hurt, you know.

museum staff: Where is Dr. Truman? (dr-truman)
museum staff: How was he hurt? (injury)


ivy: He ... left, of course. We've talked about it before. He left and we don't know how, or when, or what happened to his charming house.

goto dont-know


ivy: Well, we just don't know. I suppose we never will.

goto end


sadie: Do you know, at first I thought it might be Hudson walking up to visit? I'd heard him working on his boat just a bit earlier, before the storm started.

sadie: But then I saw the stranger's limping gait, and the young woman with him, and I knew it couldn't be. I invited them in for a glass of bourbon, which they politely declined, so I just talked to them on the porch for a bit.

museum staff: What did you talk about? (talk-about)
museum staff: What was the stranger like? (stranger)
museum staff: What was the young woman like? (young-woman)


sadie: Oh, we talked a bit about the neighborhood. I told them about Hudson and his sailboat, and the nice young couple in the greenhouse, and the charming Dr. Truman who used to live here. They were very interested in him, but of course ... well, I don't know where he went.

goto house


sadie: He was in a bad way. He seemed confused. He was asking about a basketball game ... I thought he might be joking — after all, it's not the season. It made his friend uncomfortable, and she changed the subject. She asked about my house.

goto house


sadie: She was very sharp, and mechanically-minded. We talked a bit about the construction of my house. She was worried for her friend.

goto house


sadie: Do you know, I don't believe either of them had ever set foot on a houseboat before? I don't know that the older man had ever seen an ocean, in fact.

sadie: It has always been my fondest dream to retire on a houseboat. That's why I accepted your offer and moved in here. It isn't perfect, but what home ever is? I only wish the house would sway a bit — I find that it settles my nerves. Well, if we have another storm like that last one ...

sadie: In fact, he had his umbrella open indoors. It wasn't leaking `that` badly.[if museum-umbrella-is-open]

goto end


fred: I heard them banging around out there, and I just stayed quiet. I don't know what they wanted.

fred: I just put my headphones on and tried to ignore them, to tell you the truth.

goto end


flora: I think you need to get some real horses in the stable.

museum staff: Do you like horses? (like-horses)
museum staff: Did the strangers go in the stable? (into-stable)


flora: Not anymore. Now I like jungle cats. You should get some real panthers in the stable.

goto end


flora: No, they just poked around a bit, and talked about barns. They were pretty boring.

goto end


burt: I didn't see or hear a thing all night. I was in the back doing inventory when they came by. I got thirty cases of candles in, and each one of those has got to be individually labeled, you know?

burt: But I heard from some of the other neighbors that they weren't up to any harm. Just passing through.

goto end


walker: They were hollering at that empty tent you folks have on display. Ha!

walker: Hey, if you ever need anyone to stay in there ... I've been in worse positions.

goto end


thomas: Yeah they came by and knocked on the window, and we had a bit of a talk through the glass. I would've come out, but, you know: shady characters.

museum staff: What did you talk about? (talk-about)
museum staff: They seemed suspicious? (shady)
museum staff: Did you see them poking around anywhere else? (poking-around)


thomas: They were asking about Dr. Truman, and I told them what all I know about that, which is not very much.

museum staff: What do you know about Dr. Truman? (dr-truman)
museum staff: Did you see them poking around anywhere else? (poking-around)


thomas: I told them: he moved in here with the rest of us when you folks bought up the neighborhood, and then one day his house was gone. That's all I know about that. I don't want to talk about that anymore.

goto end


thomas: Oh sure, they were into everything. Walking around, looking at stuff, talking to people, talking to each other ... I guess that's just what it's gonna be like now. Living here.

goto end


thomas: I already told you: weirdos. Walking around door-to-door asking about Dr. Truman? This late at night? I told them what I know, but ... in this weather?

museum staff: What do you know about Dr. Truman? (dr-truman)
museum staff: Did you see them poking around anywhere else? (poking-around)