Kentucky Route Zero Act III Fulltext

intro

(A rough brick between two pieces of stale bread sits in the center of the table, surrounded by a ring of undisturbed dust.)



goto end

intro

(*EZRA* flips eagerly through the jukebox's catalog of songs.)

shannon: What do you think?

ezra: I don't know how to play this game.



goto end

intro

(A bulky set of black goggles sit on the edge of the table, next to an ashtray, a newspaper, and a few empty glasses.)

shannon: Huh.



conway: What is it? (what)
conway: Who do you think that belongs to? (who)

what

shannon: I guess ... I don't know.

shannon: Can I tell you a horrible secret? I never wear eye protection in the shop. It's dangerous, I know! But I'm always looking back and forth from my oscilloscope to whatever I'm working on, and the scope has this peculiar kind of hard-bordered glow that I just ...

shannon: Well, I've never found a pair of goggles or glasses that doesn't smear out that glow. At best, the lens softens everything so you can't quite find the edges.



goto end

who

shannon: Whoever they are, they're gone now. Must have been pretty tanked to leave it behind — this thing looks expensive!



goto end

intro

junebug: Well, Harry, I think that went pretty well.

johnny: I'd say the crowd was into it ... reverential!

junebug: Rapt!

junebug: I guess the usual fee is about right, and we'll let you get back to your ... business.

harry: Well, that's just the ... dammit, I was trying to tell you two, I can't pay! They cleaned me out. I've got nothing left but a G.D. I.O.U. from the distillery.

johnny: An I.O.U.

harry: Yeah, I traded them some ... I traded them for some whiskey, and I guess I had some surplus credit, so I got this note to get some more from them later on.

johnny: Must have been a hell of a trade.

harry: I had to! Got to keep this place open somehow, God dammit.

johnny: Watch your language, Harry.



conway: Could you pay them with your I.O.U.? (iou)
conway: Say, we just need to get pointed toward the |Zero|. (zero)

iou

harry: Well, I ...

junebug: Very contemporary, very astute! How about it, Harry? Let's push some paper around.

harry: Well, it's just ... I can collect on it here when they bring more whiskey up. But for you to cash in, you'd have to go down to ... you know ...

harry: Down to the distillery. Down to Hard Times. And, you know, it's ... you've got to take the |Zero|.

junebug: So that's what we'll do. How do we get there?



zero

harry: Oh, God ...

junebug: What's that? You know what they're talking about? Tell you what: you point my friends and I to the |Zero|, and we'll call it even.



directions

shannon: `(To JUNEBUG)` You said you knew how to get there.[if breakdown-assistance-offered=zero]

junebug: No, I don't believe that's exactly what I said ...[if breakdown-assistance-offered=zero]

shannon: It is `exactly` what you said.[if breakdown-assistance-offered=zero]

harry: Are you folks sure you want to head down there? I've never been myself, but I hear ... people hear things. Rumors.



conway: It's where we've got to go. (must-go)
conway: Do you know another way to Dogwood Drive? (dogwood)

must-go

harry: Well. I'll tell you, then. `(To JUNEBUG)` But this is it, right? We're square?



dogwood

harry: Dogwood? Got a letter, did you? I've got a stack of them ...

harry: Well, OK. Sounds like the |Zero|'s your only course, now.



final-directions

junebug: Harry, you're alright.

harry: If only.

harry: You got a radio in your car?

shannon: Yep.

harry: Well, here's what you've got to do: take a left out of the parking lot, and then just fiddle around on your dial until you hear something familiar, but ...

harry: I mean ... familiar, but `strange`. You know the feeling? Like ... I used to go hunt with my uncle, out in the mountains, and now I watch these nature programs.

harry: They're filmed in the mountains, and there's the deer, and I know all the plants and every kind of tree, but something just doesn't look right.

harry: And it's even `stranger` for being so close to `familiar`. Something like that. You'll know it when you hear it.

harry: Fix that strange but familiar station on your dial, drive for a bit, and then turn around when the station cuts out. I mean `right then`.

harry: Hope you folks find what you're looking for ... eventually.

johnny: Always a pleasure, Harry.

harry: `(Sardonic)` Is it?



goto end

intro

harry: All I'm pouring tonight is Hard Times Whiskey.



conway: Got any coffee going? (coffee)
conway: Sure, I'll have a whiskey. (whiskey)

whiskey

shannon: Coffee. Right, old man? And I'll have a coke.

harry: No coke, no coffee. Hard Times Whiskey.

shannon: Forget it.



goto yell

coffee

harry: No coffee. Hard Times Whiskey.



goto yell

yell

harry: `(Yelling towards exit)` Say, shut the G.D. door, would you! I can't afford to run the A.C. all night.

johnny: Sorry, Harry.

harry: Oh, it's you two. Where have you been?

harry: Never mind. Listen, I can't keep this place open through the small hours of the night just waiting for musicians!



junebug: Gets lonely, doesn't it? (lonely)
junebug: Where is everyone? (clientele)

lonely

harry: It ... yeah, kinda.



junebug: How about some music? (play-music)
junebug: Been like this all night? (clientele)

clientele

harry: Everybody had to, uh ... clear out.

johnny: Let's get set up, huh?



play-music

harry: There's nobody here to listen to it! I can't pay for —

johnny: We brought some people, Harry!

johnny: A `crowd` is forming.

harry: Yeah, but also I —



junebug: Couldn't you use a break, Harry? (harry-break)
junebug: Don't you want to hear some music, Harry? (harry-music)
junebug: Don't you trust me, Harry? (harry-trust)

harry-break

harry: Been on my feet all day ...



goto set-up

harry-music

harry: That does sound nice, after the day I've had ...



goto set-up

harry-trust

harry: Well, sure I trust you, Junebug ...



goto set-up

set-up

harry: But I —



goto end

intro

junebug: Well, hope you liked it.



conway: Kind of sad, isn't it? (sad)
conway: I've heard it before. (heard-before)

sad

junebug: Kind of.



goto next-step

heard-before

junebug: I don't doubt that. You look like you've spent an evening or two in a grimy old tavern.



goto next-step

next-step

junebug: Listen, we appreciate you folks sticking around for the show. There's nothing more wretched than playing sad songs to an empty room.

junebug: We've just got to get our fee from Harry, and then we'll get you headed to the, uh, |Zero| ...



goto end

intro

johnny: Ma'am, I hate to say it, but the cupboard is bare.

junebug: Have some vision, cricket. We've got — one, two ... four patrons.

johnny: Harry doesn't count.

junebug: Well, we've done more with less.



conway: What kind of music do you play? (about-music)
conway: Do you play here often? (play-often)
conway: I haven't been in a bar like this since ... (conway-bar)

about-music

junebug: It's like Cyrano Cole meets Ike Towner, but with a woman lead, and the keyboards are kind of ambient whisperwave.

johnny: Little bit more reverb.

junebug: There's some Dolly Crown in there, too. Like the early stuff before she joined the Sheet Swingers.

johnny: Better drum programming, though.



conway: Whisperwave, got it. (music-get-it)
conway: I don't know who those people are. (music-confused)

music-get-it

johnny: I think he gets it, ma'am.

junebug: Oh, he gets it.



goto end

music-confused

junebug: Well, you'll hear it in a minute.



goto end

play-often

junebug: We have a regular thing here. Harry likes to just book it all up and forget about it. He's not really a music lover, I wouldn't say, but I guess his wife was. She had this stage put in, I know that. So he keeps it going. In her memory or out of habit.



goto end

conway-bar

junebug: Gave it up, huh? Well I bet Harry has some coffee on back there, but I won't vouch for quality.

johnny: She's a `connoisseur`.

junebug: Johnny's favorite regional cuisine is "gas station."



goto end

intro

junebug: How's it looking out there? How're y'all feeling tonight?

johnny: `(To HARRY)` Can we get a bit more reverb in the monitors?

(*HARRY* adjusts a soundboard behind the bar.)

harry: How's that?

johnny: Test. Test. One. One. One. Three. Fifty. Lamentation. La — men — ta — tion.

johnny: Sounds good.

junebug: How's everybody doing? Anybody had a real bad night?

junebug: `(To CONWAY)` How about you, old man?



conway: Not too bad. (not-bad)
conway: Yeah, real bad. (real-bad)

not-bad

junebug: Well, we'll take care of that right now.



real-bad

junebug: We'll try not to make it too much worse.



intro-song

junebug: This is a song I heard in a tavern many years ago at an open mic night. Me and Johnny were out just riding around, you know — you like to drive around, old man?



conway: That's my job. (drive)
conway: That's where I feel at home. (drive)

drive

junebug: Of course you do.

junebug: So we were out riding around and we passed this gaudy old tavern, I mean it was a real dive. Busted up facade —

johnny: — weeds in the parking lot —

junebug: — taps all dry —

johnny: — bats in the barroom —

junebug: — and run by this creaky bag of bones, looked like the only thing keeping him awake was the fear of death.

junebug: So glad to be back here at `The Lower Depths`.

harry: Hey, now —

junebug: So we stopped for an early drink, and there was a lady singing right here on stage. And the song she sang ... well, it stuck with us, and now it's a regular part of our repertoire.

junebug: Never got that lady's name, but she seemed like a sweet gal and she had a voice like scotch whiskey, and we just hope we do her song justice. So here it is: `"Too Late to Love You."`



goto end

intro

ezra: Was that him?



conway: Who? (who)
conway: That was a motorcycle. Lucky Boot has a big truck. (truck) [if breakdown-tow-company-name=lucky-boot]
conway: That was a motorcycle. Mercadet has a big truck. (truck) [if breakdown-tow-company-name=mercadet]
conway: That was a motorcycle. We're waiting on a tow truck. (truck) [if breakdown-tow-company-name=nameless]
conway: Going pretty fast, whoever they were. (fast)

who

ezra: Um ... Lucky, uh ...[if breakdown-tow-company-name=lucky-boot]

ezra: Um ... Merca, uh ...[if breakdown-tow-company-name=mercadet]

ezra: Um ...[if breakdown-tow-company-name=nameless]



conway: Oh, the tow company? No. (truck)
conway: Probably on their way to or from a bar ... (fast)

truck

ezra: Yeah, they're too fast for a truck.



goto fast

fast

ezra: I bet they're getting chased by something.



conway: Maybe they just have somewhere important to be. (important)
conway: Maybe they didn't see us. (see)

important

ezra: Definitely getting chased by something.



goto end

see

ezra: Next time, we should yell.



goto end

intro

shannon: Maniacs.

shannon: Are you OK?



conway: Got a little dust in my eye. (dust)
conway: Fine. (fine)
conway: Sure; you? (you)

dust

shannon: Oh no. Here, I think I have some eye drops ...



goto bike

fine

shannon: "Fine" like you were back at the mine, or the storage facility? Never mind ...[if one:shannon-gave-painkillers]

shannon: If you want another painkiller, just let me know. I don't need them. If they sit in my bag any longer they'll probably sprout some weird psychotropic mold.[if one:shannon-gave-painkillers]

shannon: Of course you are.[if !one:shannon-gave-painkillers]



goto bike

you

shannon: Oh. No, I'm fine.

shannon: Thanks.



goto bike

bike

shannon: They were in a hurry.



conway: Where do you think they were headed? (you-think)
conway: Some folks are always in a hurry. (hurry)

you-think

shannon: I don't know. Headed to work? Headed home? Where are any of us headed?[if one:conway-fascination=destination]

shannon: What do `I` think about where `they` were headed? Sometimes you're pretty ... abstract.[if one:conway-fascination=wandering]



goto end

hurry

shannon: Not you though, huh? You just keep drifting along and don't let anyone rush you. What is that? Is that patience?[if one:conway-fascination=destination]

shannon: Something like patience.[if one:conway-fascination=destination]

shannon: Not you though, huh? You get caught up on a stranger's yarn, or a streetlight reflected in a puddle.[if one:conway-fascination=wandering]

shannon: And nobody can get you moving again until you've let the grace of the moment right into your bones.[if one:conway-fascination=wandering]

shannon: Like a poet.[if one:conway-fascination=wandering]

shannon: Or a donkey.[if one:conway-fascination=wandering]

shannon: I guess that's what I like about you, old man. You know how to wait.

shannon: I don't think I ever will.



goto end

intro

johnny: They looked like they could use some help.



junebug: You going to fix it up for them, Johnny? (repair)
junebug: So they can call a tow truck. (tow-truck)

repair

johnny: Oh, I don't know a wrench from a cattle prod. I thought maybe you ...

johnny: I guess it's up to some good Samaritan ...



goto decision

tow-truck

johnny: Around here? They're just going to end up with Lucky Boot; they'll be waiting there all night.[if breakdown-tow-company-name=lucky-boot]

johnny: Around here? They're just going to end up with Mercadet; they'll be waiting there all night.[if breakdown-tow-company-name=mercadet]

johnny: I don't know any tow companies that'd come all the way out here.[if breakdown-tow-company-name=nameless]

johnny: I guess it's up to some good Samaritan ...



goto decision

decision



junebug: OK. We'll help them. (end-stop)
junebug: Someone will stop eventually. Someone with nowhere else to be. (end)

end-stop

johnny: You're the best. And, hey, maybe if they're not busy they can fill some seats at the gig. You know if no one's there Harry'll try and bilk us on our fee.



goto end

intro

johnny: You know, we're already late ...



junebug: So we'd better keep moving (keep-moving)
junebug: Are you going to explain all this to Harry? (harry)

keep-moving

johnny: I just mean ... what's another few minutes?



goto decision

harry

johnny: Oh, uh ... No way. You're the smooth talker.

johnny: In fact ... I bet you'd have no problem explaining we had to stop out of the goodness of our nature, and check on some wayfaring strangers.



goto decision

decision



junebug: Fine. Just for a few minutes, though. (end-stop)
junebug: Every minute counts, cricket. (end)

end-stop

johnny: You're the best. And, hey, maybe if they're not busy they can fill some seats at the gig. You know if no one's there Harry'll try and bilk us on our fee.



goto end

intro

johnny: `(Singing.)` More than the silver and gold of this earth ...



junebug: What's that? (whats-that)
junebug: You should have been a poet. (poet)

whats-that

johnny: I don't know. I think I heard it on the radio.



poet

johnny: I'll leave poetry to the professionals.



johnny-questions



junebug: What's on your mind, cricket? (whats-on-your-mind)
junebug: Nervous about the set? (nervous)

whats-on-your-mind

johnny: Oh, I don't know. Just looking at the stars. Hope we get there soon; never been this late.



junebug: Keep on dreaming, and I'll keep on driving. (dreaming)
junebug: Which star is your favorite? (stars)

dreaming

johnny: OK. Thank you, ma'am.



goto end

stars

johnny: That little one in the corner.



goto end

nervous

johnny: Yeah, I guess. No, we're good. We know how to play. Just ... then what?



junebug: Back on the road. (road)
junebug: Just hang out at the bar, I guess. (bar)

road

johnny: That's what I mean. Back on the road ... and then what?



goto end

bar

johnny: Oh yeah, Harry'll be great company. Carping about the late nights and his bottom line.



goto end

intro

johnny: Where are we staying tonight?



junebug: Some closet at the bar, I guess. (closet)
junebug: I'll figure something out. (figure-it-out)

closet

johnny: Harry Esperanza's four-star broom closet experience.



goto outside

figure-it-out

johnny: Yeah, I know you will.



goto outside

outside

johnny: Maybe it'd be nice to stay outside one of these nights. Power down just enough to rest, but keep an eye on the stars. Be there when the birds wake up.



junebug: Sounds romantic. (romantic)
junebug: Short circuits, capacitors popping in the morning dew. (dew)

romantic

johnny: I'm a real romantic. Lucky me.



goto end

dew

johnny: Yeah. You're right.



goto end

intro

johnny: Hey, yeah! Didn't you play on this record?



junebug: Gogo was on it. (gogo)
junebug: This is Didi's record. (didi)

gogo

johnny: Yeah, Gogo! Gogo. That guy is out of control. We should do a set with him.



goto musician

didi

johnny: Yeah, Didi! Didi. That guy is out of control. We should do a set with him.



goto musician

musician



junebug: He's a creep. (creep)
junebug: Only Johnny plays the notes I like. (only-johnny)

creep

johnny: Yeah. That creep can play, though!



goto what-time

only-johnny

johnny: Aww.



goto what-time

what-time

johnny: What time is it?



junebug: You've got a timing circuit. (timing-circuit)
junebug: It's late. (late)

timing-circuit

johnny: Yeah. But yours is more accurate.



goto late

late

johnny: Harry's gonna flip out.



junebug: That old man was born flipped. (born-flipped)
junebug: Relax, cricket. (relax)

born-flipped

johnny: I just hope we can scrape up some tips. Hard enough when you get there on time.



relax

johnny: Yeah. You're right. Sorry, I'm being uptight.



end-choices



junebug: Just play that keyboard; I'll figure out the rest. (i-know)
junebug: I'll make sure Harry pays up. I have a way with him. (i-know)

i-know

johnny: I know.



goto end

intro

johnny: How far out are we?



junebug: I don't know. Twenty minutes? (twenty-minutes)
junebug: `(Teasing.)` Are we there yet? (teasing)

twenty-minutes

johnny: Damn.



goto harry

teasing

johnny: Oh, stop.



goto harry

harry

johnny: Harry's not gonna be happy. You know he doesn't like me, anyway.



junebug: I'll tell him you had to get that drainpipe on tape. (recordings)
junebug: I'll tell him about the frog. (frog)

recordings

johnny: Aw, he wouldn't appreciate it ... but man, the way those raindrops `boomed` down that thing! I got at least thirty minutes of it.



goto end

frog

johnny: `(Sighs.)` He won't understand.



goto end

intro

johnny: Is the bike kind of dragging a bit tonight?



junebug: We've stripped our gear down pretty bare already. (gear)
junebug: If only we had some trash to jettison ... (jettison)

gear

johnny: Yeah. Beats hauling a couple guitars and amps around.



junebug: I look good with a guitar. (trash)
junebug: You're cute when you're straining yourself. (good-kind)

jettison

johnny: You know you'd miss me.



junebug: I only miss you when I know you're coming back. (good-kind)
junebug: You're the good kind of trash, cricket. (good-kind)

good-kind

johnny: O-ho. We should write a song about it.



junebug: A fugue for solo keytar. (solo-keytar)
junebug: A dirge for drums and voice. (dirge)

solo-keytar

johnny: Ha. Maybe for an encore.



goto end

dirge

johnny: Ha. Very avant garde.



goto end

trash

johnny: It's true. I guess you think I look good standing there with an amplifier under each arm, grinding my gears smooth.



junebug: Just my type. (end)
junebug: Atlas, son of Jupiter. (atlas)

atlas

johnny: I'm not sure that's right ...



goto end

intro

johnny: I think they had a dog ...



junebug: I guess you could call it that. (skeletal)
junebug: What is it with you and animals, lately? (animals)

skeletal

johnny: Just some old dog bones with some fur draped over it. Poor thing.

johnny: We still have all this useless bread from the bakery gig. It's stale, but ... a dog won't care.



goto decision

animals

johnny: I don't know. They have a warmth ...

johnny: We still have all this useless bread from the bakery gig. It's stale, but ... a dog won't care.



goto decision

decision



junebug: Fine. Just for a minute to share some bread.. (end-stop)
junebug: Just throw that stuff out! We have somewhere to be. (end)

end-stop

johnny: You're the best. And, hey, maybe if they're not busy they can fill some seats at the gig. You know if no one's there Harry'll try and bilk us on our fee.



goto end

intro

johnny: They had a kid with them.



junebug: An audience for your recordings? (recordings)
junebug: I'm sure he's in good hands. (friend)

recordings

johnny: I bet he'd be into it. It could be like a game: I'll play him a turkey call at half-speed, and make him guess what kind of animal it is.



goto decision

friend

johnny: He's hanging out with an old dog, an old man, and some kind of telephone technician or something.

johnny: Sounds boring.

johnny: I just feel sorry for him, is all ...



goto decision

decision



junebug: Fine, fine. You can make a friend. Briefly. (end-stop)
junebug: Gotta keep moving, cricket. (end)

end-stop

johnny: You're the best. And, hey, maybe if they're not busy they can fill some seats at the gig. You know if no one's there Harry'll try and bilk us on our fee.



goto end

intro

johnny: You know my favorite thing about you, ma'am?



junebug: My angelic voice. (voice)
junebug: My otherworldly fashion sense. (fashion)
junebug: My steely resolve. (resolve)

voice



fashion



resolve



generosity

johnny: Of course.

johnny: But a close second is your boundless generosity ...



junebug: Fine, we'll stop. (end-stop)
junebug: You're not going to let this go, are you? (end-not-stop)

end-stop

johnny: You're the best. And, hey, maybe if they're not busy they can fill some seats at the gig. You know if no one's there Harry'll try and bilk us on our fee.



goto end

end-not-stop

johnny: Sorry, ma'am.

johnny: Just ... maybe if they're not busy they can fill some seats at the gig. You know if no one's there Harry'll try and bilk us on our fee.



goto end

intro

johnny: Is this the right way? I don't recognize these trees.



junebug: Of course it is. (of-course)
junebug: What's to recognize? Just a bunch of trees. (trees)

of-course

johnny: Yeah, I'm sure you're right ...



goto trees

trees

johnny: Just ... the trees are so `quiet`, right? Usually you'd hear birds, wind, a squirrel or something.



junebug: Doesn't seem so quiet right now. (quiet)
junebug: Turn your ears down and focus on the radio, cricket. (quiet)

quiet

johnny: Yeah, you're right. Maybe I'm a little bored. I'll work some chord progressions in my head for a while or something. Ha ha.



goto end

intro



conway: How's it looking? (hows-it-looking)
conway: That thing's been broken for years. (broken-for-years)

hows-it-looking

shannon: The leads are badly corroded, but I'm making progress. That's what I like about working on electronics: it gets easier as you go on.



conway: For me it's just the opposite. (hows-it-looking-2)
conway: Or you just get used to it. (hows-it-looking-2)

hows-it-looking-2

shannon: Almost there ...



goto end

broken-for-years

shannon: So, we'll get to find out what station you had it tuned to when it went out. A snapshot of a younger man's tastes. Ha ha.

shannon: Do you remember what it was?



conway: Talk radio, I guess. (broken-for-years-2)
conway: Some college station. (broken-for-years-2)

broken-for-years-2

shannon: Well ... I'm sure we'll find something to listen to on the road.



goto end

intro



ezra: How long do you think we'll be waiting here? (wait)
ezra: I wish Julian wasn't so busy right now. (julian)

wait



ezra: I don't mind. I have a lot to think about. (think)
ezra: Do you get bored late at night? (bored)

think



ezra: I guess I always do ... I'm a thinker, alright. (end)
ezra: Weird night, huh? (end)

bored



ezra: I don't. I like it better when everyone else is asleep. (end)
ezra: It's so quiet. I guess you don't mind. (end)

julian



ezra: He's got a lot of houses to carry still. (houses)
ezra: I guess it's not so bad. (without-julian)

houses



ezra: He can handle it on his own. (end)
ezra: I wish I could help more. (end)

without-julian



ezra: Julian's like you — he doesn't talk much. (end)
ezra: I like hanging out with you folks, anyway. (end)

intro

ezra: Are you bored?



conway: Sure, but I don't mind. (dont-mind-being-bored)
conway: Not yet. (not-bored)
conway: Are you? (is-ezra-bored)

dont-mind-being-bored

ezra: Yeah, I don't mind either ...



not-bored

ezra: OK.

ezra: To me, you look a little bored.



is-ezra-bored

ezra: Yeah, most of the time.



play-a-game

ezra: Let's play a game.



conway: How about `Twenty Questions`? (twenty-questions)
conway: What would you like to play? (ezra-choice)

twenty-questions

ezra: OK ...

(*EZRA* looks meaningfully at his shoes.)

ezra: Got it.

ezra: OK, guess.



conway: Oh, OK. Is it a bird? (twenty-bird)
conway: Right. Is it alive? (twenty-alive)

twenty-bird

ezra: No! You're guessing too soon.



twenty-alive

ezra: Um ... no.



question-2



conway: Can I see it with my eye? (twenty-see)
conway: Does it have a home? (twenty-home)

twenty-see

ezra: Yes.



twenty-home

ezra: It ...

ezra: Hmm.

ezra: You could put it somewhere, and that would be the right place to put it ...

ezra: Yes.



question-3



conway: Would I recognize it if I saw it? (twenty-recognize)
conway: Does it last for more than a day? (twenty-duration)

twenty-recognize

ezra: It would look like something you'd recognize, yeah.

ezra: Yes.



twenty-duration

ezra: Well ...

ezra: We put it together, and that takes a while, but then we break it apart right away ...

ezra: No, it doesn't last more than a day. Not the way it really is.



question-4



conway: Hm. Did you make it yourself? (twenty-make-yourself)
conway: Is it bigger than a dog? (twenty-big)

twenty-make-yourself

ezra: We put it together ... but we didn't make it. No.



goto final

twenty-big

ezra: No, a dog is bigger ... except for one of those really little dogs. Or a puppy, I guess. Does a puppy count as a dog?



goto final

final

ezra: Alright, that's all your questions. What's your guess?



conway: I think I get a few more. (twenty-more)
conway: OK ... (twenty-guess-options)

twenty-more

ezra: I wasn't counting, but I'm pretty sure that was twenty.



twenty-guess-options



conway: Is it a jigsaw puzzle? (twenty-guess-puzzle)
conway: Is it a nest? (twenty-guess-nest)
conway: Is it a game of chess? (twenty-guess-chess)

twenty-guess-puzzle

ezra: Yeah! It's a puzzle. Julian found it at the bus station. It's a picture of a spooky underground lake. There aren't any boats, but some pieces are missing so maybe that's where the boats are.



goto end

twenty-guess-nest

ezra: Yeah! A pretty small nest, like made for a small bird. It's empty and it's night time, and it just rained. It fell out of the tree and now we're putting it back together. Then we'll take it apart again. I was all ready for those questions.



goto end

twenty-guess-chess

ezra: Yeah! Do you play chess? I'm pretty good at it — better than Julian, but not as good as Flora. She knows how to use `every` piece. I just focus on the horses. That's my strategy.



goto end

ezra-choice

ezra: Um ... we can tell the future with this little tree branch.

ezra: It's pretty easy. We just break off all the little sticks on each section and count through the different things that could happen.

ezra: OK. What should we ask? It should be about you. I can't do both the counting-out and the questions.



conway: What kind of bed will I sleep in tonight? (oracle-conway-bed)
conway: What kind of job will I have next? (oracle-conway-job)
conway: How will I travel, in the future? (oracle-conway-travel)

oracle-conway-bed

(*EZRA* snaps the smaller branches away, one at a time, counting out possibilities.)

ezra: King size, queen size, twin size, bunk —

ezra: Bunk.



oracle-conway-job

(*EZRA* snaps the smaller branches away, one at a time, counting out possibilities.)

ezra: Doctor, lawyer, tax man, driver —

ezra: Driver.



oracle-conway-travel

(*EZRA* snaps the smaller branches away, one at a time, counting out possibilities.)

ezra: Motorbike, motorboat, horseback, hearse. Old truck, new truck —

ezra: New truck.



oracle-conway-2

goto oracle-conway-end [if oracle-conway-end]

ezra: OK. What else?



conway: What kind of bed will I sleep in tonight? (oracle-conway-bed) [if !breakdown-ezra-asked-oracle-bed]
conway: What kind of job will I have next? (oracle-conway-job) [if !breakdown-ezra-asked-oracle-job]
conway: How will I travel in the future? (oracle-conway-travel) [if !breakdown-ezra-asked-oracle-travel]

oracle-conway-end

ezra: These other branches are too bare.

ezra: Don't worry about it too much. It's just a bunch of sticks.



goto end

intro

junebug: `(To JOHNNY)` Stay here.

junebug: `(To EZRA)` Careful. He's wicked with strangers.

johnny: Ha. You —



conway: You didn't have to stop, we've got a tow coming. (tow-coming)
shannon: You here to clear the tree? (clear-tree)
ezra: Who's chasing you? (chasing)

tow-coming

junebug: Hear that, cricket? We didn't have to stop.

johnny: Oh! Why'd we stop?



clear-tree

junebug: Hear that, cricket? We'd better get the chainsaw out.

johnny: Who'll pay to gas it up?



chasing

junebug: Hear that, cricket? We're being pursued.

johnny: I knew it. Who's after us?



question-2

junebug: That's a good question. These folks seem to have a certain handle on the situation.

junebug: So ... ?



conway: Oh, we thought you were stopping to help. (interruption) [if breakdown-perceived-reason-for-stopping=help]
shannon: Really, you didn't have to stop. (interruption) [if breakdown-perceived-reason-for-stopping=help]
conway: Maybe they're contractors. (interruption) [if breakdown-perceived-reason-for-stopping=tree]
shannon: Won't the state cover that? (interruption) [if breakdown-perceived-reason-for-stopping=tree]
ezra: Dinosaurs. (interruption) [if breakdown-perceived-reason-for-stopping=chase]
shannon: Maybe the law? (interruption) [if breakdown-perceived-reason-for-stopping=chase]

interruption

junebug: Sure, sure, something like that. Listen: we've got two questions for you folks.

junebug: What kind of people do you take us for? I mean, how do we strike you?



conway: You seem nice enough. (nice)
conway: Not sure I follow. (confused)
ezra: Probably from space. (space)

nice

junebug: `(To JOHNNY)` What do you think, cricket?

johnny: Our generosity is unmistakable, ma'am. It `radiates`.

junebug: It does radiate.



confused

junebug: What kind of temperament do you think we have? What kind of work would you say we do?



conway: I guess ... some kind of art thing, maybe? (artists)
ezra: Astronauts or aliens. (space)

space

johnny: I always said you fell from heaven, ma'am.

junebug: `(To JOHNNY)` Otherworldly!

johnny: It's unmistakable.



artists

junebug: It may be!

johnny: She's the artist; I'm just an entertainer.



like-music

junebug: Now, here's another question for you: do you like music?

johnny: Do you like music?



conway: Lysette used to sing in taverns on the weekend. Beautiful stuff. (music-interruption)
shannon: Sometimes I like to leave the radio dialed between stations. (music-interruption)
ezra: I don't like music, but I do like sounds. (music-interruption)

music-interruption

junebug: Of course you do.

johnny: Say, they should come to our gig!

junebug: What an idea!



conway: Well, we're waiting for a tow. (tow)
shannon: Right now? (now)
shannon: We're just trying to get back on the |Zero|. (zero)

tow

junebug: A tow! I won't hear about it. This time of night, you'll be kicking your heels 'til dawn.

junebug: We'll fix your truck up. Me and Johnny are a couple of regular gearheads. Why, I just put a new cylinder block in this baby over here:



junebug: The `Weird Vector`. (tow-2)
junebug: The `Sloth-on-wheels`. (tow-2)
junebug: The `Vicious Cycle`. (tow-2)

tow-2

johnny: — that's what we call our bike.

junebug: We call it the `[variable: motorcycle-name]`.

johnny: Because the front wheel's a little loose.[if motorcycle-name=Weird Vector]

johnny: Because it's two-tired.[if motorcycle-name=Sloth-on-wheels]

johnny: Pretty tough, huh?[if motorcycle-name=Vicious Cycle]

junebug: We'll get you fixed up quick, so you can come to the gig.



goto booking

now

junebug: Right now. Just headed over there on this baby:



junebug: The `Weird Vector`. (now-2)
junebug: The `Sloth-on-wheels`. (now-2)
junebug: The `Vicious Cycle`. (now-2)

now-2

johnny: — that's what we call our bike.

junebug: We call it the `[variable: motorcycle-name]`.

johnny: Because the front wheel's a little loose.[if motorcycle-name=Weird Vector]

johnny: Because it's two-tired.[if motorcycle-name=Sloth-on-wheels]

johnny: Pretty tough, huh?[if motorcycle-name=Vicious Cycle]

johnny: We'd be very much obliged.



goto booking

zero

junebug: The |Zero|! Is that a fact ...

johnny: The |Zero|?

junebug: Hush, cricket. You folks are in luck. I happen to know just where you're going, and I'm happy to lead you there.

junebug: We've been down there many a time riding this baby:.



junebug: The `Weird Vector`. (zero-2)
junebug: The `Sloth-on-wheels`. (zero-2)
junebug: The `Vicious Cycle`. (zero-2)

zero-2

johnny: — that's what we call our bike.

junebug: We call it the `[variable: motorcycle-name]`.

johnny: Because the front wheel's a little loose.[if motorcycle-name=Weird Vector]

johnny: Because it's two-tired.[if motorcycle-name=Sloth-on-wheels]

johnny: Pretty tough, huh?[if motorcycle-name=Vicious Cycle]

junebug: Only ... it's just ...



goto booking

booking

junebug: See, we have a regular booking tonight and, well, we're running late.

johnny: Very late.

junebug: That's what I told them. Now the old man who runs this venue, Harry Esperanza, is a notorious withholder. And if we don't get a few bodies in the crowd, well ... he'll go all penny-pinching on us.

junebug: Just a short set. We only have one song prepared.

johnny: You'll come to the gig, won't you?



shannon: We really don't have time. (stopping)
conway: Of course we will. (stopping)
goto stopping

stopping

junebug: `(To JOHNNY.)` Of course they will!

junebug: Can you believe: we almost didn't stop?

johnny: `(To BLUE)` Hungry, old lady? I think I've got a crust in the sidecar here ...[if one:dog-name=Blue]

johnny: `(To HOMER)` Hungry, old man? I think I've got a crust in the sidecar here ...[if one:dog-name=Homer]

johnny: `(To DOG)` Hungry, old man? I think I've got a crust in the sidecar here ...[if one:dog-name=Dog]

junebug: It was only out of the kindness of my own heart ...[if breakdown-reason-for-stopping=none]

junebug: But Johnny here saw you folks were in trouble ...[if breakdown-reason-for-stopping=help]

junebug: After all, it's so late ...[if breakdown-reason-for-stopping=late]

junebug: But that dog of your is such a pitiful sight ...[if breakdown-reason-for-stopping=dog]

junebug: But you having a kid, and all ...[if breakdown-reason-for-stopping=ezra]

junebug: Of course, I was ultimately attended by my better angels ...[if breakdown-reason-for-stopping=worn-down]

junebug: Well, it's all said and done. We stopped. That's all that matters.

junebug: Our gig's at an old tavern called "The Lower Depths." It's over there by old Charlie Moran Highway, just east off sixty-five.

junebug: We usually take a right off the interstate around the petting zoo. Johnny likes the petting zoo.[if breakdown-bike-johnny-hobby=animals]

johnny: I do like the petting zoo.[if breakdown-bike-johnny-hobby=animals]

junebug: We usually take a right off the interstate around the arcade. Johnny likes the arcade.[if breakdown-bike-johnny-hobby=recordings]

johnny: That place ... I just put fresh batteries in my field recorder![if breakdown-bike-johnny-hobby=recordings]

junebug: Now, let's see about that truck of yours ... I feel `certain` we can get it running.



goto end

intro

shannon: Nothing to be done?



conway: Just won't start up again. (wont-start)
conway: Can you take a look at it? (shannon-look)

wont-start

shannon: Damn. You had this truck long?



conway: Ira bought it used, a ways back. (ira)
conway: I can never seem to start it at night. (always-running)

shannon-look

shannon: I guess I could poke around in there, but I don't know a damn thing about engines.



ira

shannon: I wonder how old it was then. Do you ...



always-running

shannon: Wait ... is this why you always leave your truck running?



conway: Lysette's is up on a hill, so ... (hill)
conway: First time it's just died like this. (first-time)
conway: Just superstitious. (superstitious)

first-time

shannon: Well. Where's the champagne?



goto area

hill

shannon: I get the picture.



goto area

superstitious

shannon: Right. Any other quirks I should know about?



conway: Never eat while walking. (superstition-eat)
conway: Don't name dogs after loved ones. (superstition-dogs)
conway: Seat belts. (superstition-seatbelts)

superstition-eat

shannon: Well, I guess at your age ...



goto area

superstition-dogs

shannon: Huh. No Uncle Homer, I guess?[if one:dog-name=Homer]

shannon: Huh. No Aunt Blue, I guess?[if one:dog-name=Blue]

shannon: Huh. This old dog remind you of someone you knew? Is that why you don't give him a name?[if one:dog-nameless]



goto area

superstition-seatbelts

shannon: I guess there's always two sides.



goto area

area

shannon: Um, anyway ... Do you know this area? Anyone around here that could give us a hand?



conway: I drove past here yesterday. (drove-past)
conway: Looks like a road crew's been out here. (call-someone)

drove-past

shannon: Oh? What were you doing out here yesterday?



conway: What was I doing out here yesterday? (yesterday)
conway: That tree ... that bog ... (yesterday-tree)

yesterday

shannon: That's what I asked you.



conway: I saw two strangers by the road. (yesterday-strangers)
conway: Maybe it was a dream. I dreamed that .... (call-someone)

yesterday-tree

shannon: Are you sure this is the tree? What kind of tree was it?



conway: A willow. (yesterday-tree-willow)
conway: More of a shrub. (yesterday-tree-shrub)

yesterday-tree-willow

shannon: I guess that could be a willow ... I don't know much about trees.



yesterday-tree-shrub

shannon: Looks like more than a shrub to me.



yesterday-strangers

shannon: Did you give them a ride or something?



conway: I offered to, but they wouldn't take it. (ride-yes)
conway: They wanted me to, but I was in a hurry. (ride-no)

ride-yes

shannon: That was thoughtful of you.



ride-no

shannon: Sure. You can't stop and pick up just anyone.



call-someone

shannon: Hey, we should call someone. Do you know a good towing company?



conway: Yep. Lucky Boot Collision & Towing. Here's their card. (tow-lucky-boot)
conway: I found this card for Mercadet Wreck Recovery on the dash. (tow-mercadet)
conway: I can't read the name or the number on this flyer, but it looks like a picture of a tow truck. (tow-nameless)

tow-lucky-boot

shannon: Lucky Boot ... alright, I'll give them a call. I hope I can get a signal out here.



goto end

tow-mercadet

shannon: Mercadet ... alright, I'll give them a call. I hope I can get a signal out here.



goto end

tow-nameless

shannon: Worth a shot. I'll give them a call. I hope I can get a signal out here.



goto end

intro

shannon: I think they're on their way. Guess we have some time to kill.



conway: We could look over the road map again. (map)
conway: Pretty grim place to be stuck. (grim)

grim

shannon: I wonder what happened. To the tree, I mean.

shannon: Maybe it was just old.

shannon: You know what used to happen to old trees out in the forest? Wildfire would come through and clear them all out. It made room for the new trees.

shannon: But then people built houses, and we can't have fires going all the time. So we keep putting them out. And now we have all these old trees choking out the saplings.

shannon: Starving the young trees for resources, just clinging on to life until ... snap. And then some road crew comes by and blasts the stump with dynamite.



map

shannon: I've stared at that thing too long already. Where'd you get that old map, anyway?



conway: I found it at the shop. (map-antique)
conway: It's always just been in the truck. (map-in-truck)

map-antique

shannon: Oh. It's an antique or something? Does it even match reality anymore? I bet there are some old roads on there that are all grown over by now.



map-in-truck

shannon: Huh. Someone must have grabbed it at a gas station somewhere along the line. Or maybe they threw it in the glovebox at the dealership.



shannon-map-memory

shannon: When my parents bought their first car here, it came with a map. I used to sit in the back and pore over it. Aunt Remedios saw me looking at it, I guess, and a few days later she gave me a map she'd brought from Colombia.

shannon: It looked almost hand-painted — deep, vibrant colors and rough border lines like anxious brushstrokes. Really pretty.

shannon: I'd slowly trace the coastline with my finger, like I was walking on the beach, and say, "here we'll swim, here we'll start a fire, here we'll find a cave in the cliff face and go live among the bats for a while."



check-radio

shannon: Um. I think I'll take a look at that radio of yours. Maybe I can get it going again. No point just standing around.



goto end

intro

(*SHANNON* speaks into the large brick cell phone held up to her ear.)

shannon: Hi, hello. We've got an old, uh, I want to say diesel ... old truck just stalled out.



phone: `(Inaudible, irritable.)` (two-irritable)
phone: `(Inaudible, sleepy.)` (two-sleepy)
phone: `(Inaudible, confused.)` (two-confused)

two-irritable

shannon: Sure, it's late for me too. Your card says "open 23 hours a day ..."



two-sleepy

shannon: Did I wake you? Your card says "open 23 hours a day ..."



two-confused

shannon: This is Lucky Boot Collision & Towing, right? A friend gave me your card ... "Open 23 hours a day."[if breakdown-tow-company-name=lucky-boot]

shannon: This is Mercadet Wreck Recovery, right? A friend gave me your card ... "Open 23 hours a day."[if breakdown-tow-company-name=mercadet]

shannon: This is ... you're a towing company, right? Your flyer has a picture of a tow truck on it. "Open 23 hours a day."[if breakdown-tow-company-name=nameeless]



two-choices



phone: `(Inaudible, accusatory.)` (three-accusatory)
phone: `(Inaudible, inquisitive.)` (three-inquisitive)
phone: `(Inaudible, suspicious.)` (three-suspicious)

three-accusatory

shannon: Well, isn't that convenient?! Do you just put that on there for ... plausible deniability? Or what?



three-inquisitive

shannon: Yeah that's why I'm calling, exactly. That's all.



three-suspicious

shannon: We ... yeah we have a car — I mean it's a truck. We're broken down by the side of the road, that's why I'm calling.



three-choices



phone: `(Inaudible, apologetic.)` (four-apologetic)
phone: `(Inaudible, forceful.)` (four-forceful)
phone: `(Inaudible, obtuse.)` (four-obtuse)

four-apologetic

shannon: No, it's OK, we just need to get to an auto shop and get this taken care of.



four-forceful

shannon: Sure, sure, that works for me. Just need to get back on the road, you know?



four-obtuse

shannon: That's ... OK. Look, we need to get back on the road here and I'm sure you're busy too ...



four-choices



phone: `(Inaudible, wistful.)` (five-wistful)
phone: `(Inaudible, maudlin.)` (five-maudlin)
phone: `(Inaudible, concerned.)` (five-concerned)

five-wistful

shannon: Well I'm, uh ... very sorry to interrupt that, but —



five-maudlin

shannon: Are you ... Is this a bad time?



five-concerned

shannon: Um. Thanks for the offer but we really just need a tow, is all ...



five-choices



phone: `(Inaudible, pragmatic.)` (six-pragmatic)
phone: `(Inaudible, meticulous.)` (six-meticulous)
phone: `(Inaudible, neighborly.)` (six-neighborly)

six-pragmatic

shannon: Right, yeah. Thanks. OK, it's ... where are we? ... We're out off sixty-five, just kind of pulled up by this tree that fell over —



six-meticulous

shannon: Is that, like ... some kind of naval thing? I don't know. We're off sixty-five somewhere, just kind of pulled up by this tree that fell over —



six-neighborly

shannon: We, uh ... we already ate. As soon as you can get out here: we're off sixty-five somewhere, just kind of pulled up by this tree that fell over —



six-choices



phone: `(Inaudible, placating.)` (seven-placating)
phone: `(Inaudible, specific.)` (seven-specific)
phone: `(Inaudible, tangential.)` (seven-tangential)

seven-placating

shannon: Oh, you do. Great. Yeah, was it a storm or something?



seven-specific

shannon: That's ... actually a pretty accurate description of it, yeah. Hanging over the power lines just like that. Did you see it go down?



seven-tangential

shannon: OK. Well, I don't know any of those people, but that does sound like the right area. You've been over here before?



seven-choices



phone: `(Inaudible, dismissive.)` (eight-dismissive)
phone: `(Inaudible, indulgent.)` (eight-indulgent)
phone: `(Inaudible, assertive.)` (eight-assertive)

eight-dismissive

shannon: I guess it doesn't matter. Well, thanks again. We'll see you soon, then. How long do you think you'll be?



eight-indulgent

shannon: OK. My pleasure. How long do you think you'll be?



eight-assertive

shannon: OK. Whatever you need to do. How long do you think you'll be?



eight-choices



phone: `(Silence.)` (nine)
phone: `(Radio music.)` (nine)
phone: `(Distant traffic sounds.)` (nine)

nine

shannon: Hello?



goto end

intro



johnny: Got the time, old man[variable: one:dog-name]? (time)
johnny: Hey, you see that cat over there? (cat)

time



johnny: Nah, you don't care about that. (time-dont-care)
johnny: I gotta get this thing fixed. (fixed)

time-dont-care



johnny: Maybe I should be more like you. (end)
johnny: Keep doing what you do, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. (end)

fixed



johnny: Or just let it go, right? (end)
johnny: If she catches me asking you, I'll never hear the end of it! (end)

cat



johnny: Looked like she just washed up. (washed-up)
johnny: Think she'd eat some bread? (bread)

washed-up



johnny: I bet she swam. Ha ha. (end)
johnny: Where do you think she came from? (end)

bread



johnny: Nah. Well, more for you then, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. (end)
johnny: Maybe we should leave a crust or two behind and she'll go for it when she's comfortable. (end)

intro

conway: So. I guess I start in the morning.

shannon: I guess ...

ezra: I'm confused.

conway: It's just the way these things go, kid.

junebug: Huh. Well, that still gives us a few hours to roam, right? Where's that ferry?



goto end

intro

lula: Here you are. Mary Ann has the rest of the evening off, so I'm minding the desk.



shannon: You're not too busy? (busy)
shannon: Any word on the address? (address)
junebug: Nice place. (nice-place)

busy

lula: If I'm in the middle of something, I just let the phone ring. It's soothing, in a way.



goto address

nice-place

lula: It is, isn't it? Sometimes I forget. The acoustics in here have a way of ... grinding one down.



goto address

address

lula: The results just came in by courier. Good news: Donald and his assistants were able to sort through the noise.

lula: I had Rick cross-reference their results against some of our records. He found a corresponding mail stop, on the Echo River route.

lula: As it happens, the night ferry is scheduled to make its stop here shortly. The ferryman carries the mail and collects the garbage as well. I'm sure you can catch a ride out that way.

lula: You're welcome to wait here. I have to get back to packing.



shannon: Are you going somewhere? (packing)
shannon: Thanks for your help. (thanks)

packing

lula: I might. I'm feeling impulsive, and I'd like to be ready.

lula: Maybe back to Mexico. It's been years ... they still have one of my sculptures in a museum down there, did you know? Big, ugly, iron thing. Time to have it scrapped, anyway.



goto goodbye

thanks

lula: "Happy to help." Ha ha. I suppose we just repeat it until it's true.



goto goodbye

goodbye

lula: Safe travels. Try to stay out of the water. It's colder than it looks, and deep.



goto end

intro

ezra: How long do we have to wait?

conway: Oh, who knows ...

junebug: Alright, what happened?



shannon: What? (what)
shannon: Nothing. (nothing)
shannon: `(To CONWAY)` Up to you. (up-to-you)

what

junebug: In the church, at the graveyard. You two came out of there all weird. What happened?



goto up-to-you

nothing

junebug: Hear that, cricket? Nothing happened.

johnny: Slow night.



goto up-to-you

up-to-you

conway: It's OK. You can tell them. It doesn't matter anymore.

shannon: Fine.

shannon: So, we were in that graveyard ...



goto end

intro

carrington: Ah! So glad you stopped by. I've been standing here alone, waiting for my cast and crew, and I'm afraid very little can be done in their absence.

carrington: I've just been listening — the distant highway, birds and insects in the trees, the ugly groans and drips of the caverns below — and visualizing the performance against this nocturnal backdrop.

carrington: Well, I suppose it is the business of a cast and crew to be late, just as it is the business of a director to visualize. It's all becoming very clear to me.

carrington: This venue will be perfect, a triumph ...

carrington: I wonder, do you ever feel as though you've arrived after ...



conway: After what? (after)
conway: I've been running late all day. (late)

late

carrington: Exactly. Standing at the end of history, too late for masterpieces. Too late for an `Oresteia`, for a `Faustus`, for an `Iceman` ...



goto stage

after

carrington: Just `after`, I suppose. After `Oresteia`. After `Faustus`. After `Iceman` ...



goto stage

stage

carrington: What's your most treasured stage production, my friend?



conway: I saw `The Glass Menagerie` once. (glass-menagerie)
conway: I don't think I've ever seen one. (never-seen-a-play)

glass-menagerie

carrington: Oh? Tell me about it.



conway: It was on TV. (gm-on-tv)
conway: They let us out of school to see it. (gm-on-stage)
conway: I took a friend on a date. (gm-on-stage)

gm-on-tv



conway: They all had lots of make-up, and the camera was too close so you could really see it caked on there. (make-up)
conway: I think they just pointed a camera at the stage and let it run. (pointed-a-camera)
conway: It was playing in a bar with the sound off. (sound-off)

make-up

carrington: I suppose all tragedies become brittle and uncanny when viewed from the wrong distances ...



goto staging

pointed-a-camera

carrington: The view from the peanut gallery!



goto staging

sound-off

carrington: Well, I'm sure there was plenty of ambient tragedy to fill in the gaps.



goto staging

gm-on-stage



conway: We had to sit near the back, and I could only hear a few parts. (sat-in-back)
conway: I sneaked in a flask, but I got caught. (sneaked-in-flask)

sat-in-back

carrington: What do you remember?



conway: They played this strange music through the whole thing. (plastic-theater)
conway: They had a screen with words and pictures projected on it. (plastic-theater)

plastic-theater

carrington: Hm. Yes. Quite an experimental production, really — did you know? Plastic theater.



goto staging

sneaked-in-flask

carrington: An escape to the theater or the bars; or why not both?



goto staging

never-seen-a-play

carrington: Ah! Then let this be your first. I can't promise it will be an ideal introduction to the form — it is, as I say, an `experimental` production, conceived in response to the full history of the stage ...



goto staging

staging

carrington: So, that said ... I have my vision for the transformation of this venue. But it's all still unsettled and potential, while we wait for the cast and crew to arrive.

carrington: So tell me, what do you think? How should the sound be treated? How will the actors' speech carry to the audience, with all this misty, howling weather?



conway: The actors could use the PA from the mine? (mine-pa)
conway: Maybe it'll just be hard to hear? (no-amplification)

mine-pa

carrington: Of course! A noisy, crackling artifact of fallen industry.



no-amplification

carrington: Interesting ... we surrender final control to the wind itself. At times the mist may be so great that we cannot even `see` the actors ...



bye-for-now

carrington: You've given me a great deal to think about, friends. And it seems I'll have some time yet to consider it all.

carrington: Well, surely the cast and crew will arrive within the hour, and we'll begin constructing the set and arranging the lights.

carrington: I hope you can come by again to see me before the show, but I understand you have your own tasks to carry out.

carrington: Just remember: `Death of the Hired Man`! The Elkhorn Mine! Dawn!



goto end

intro

doolittle: Here it is. A beauty, wouldn't you say? It's an antique, you know.

shannon: What is it?

doolittle: Why, it's an adding machine. This is where we come for our daily ritual: to calculate the day's interest and repayment according to The Formula. I usually do so at the beginning of my shift, so I know how many hours I need in order to keep up.

doolittle: Yes, I believe you'll do well here, sir. Happy to have you. Congratulations! You're hired.

shannon: Wait, we can't —

doolittle: It's customary here to start each day with a `shift drink`. Let's make it special. Mark the occasion. This is the top-shelf stuff, now! Single barrel!

shannon: He doesn't —

doolittle: Down the hatch. `Vinum memoriae mors`!



goto end

intro

doolittle: Decent enough! Welcome aboard.

shannon: He's not working for you! We have to get back to this ... our ... he has a delivery to make.

doolittle: What's this? Not working? Are you turning down this opportunity?

conway: She's right, I have to make this, uh ...

doolittle: I'm ... disappointed.

doolittle: And I'm afraid that leaves us with a delicate problem. As I indicated, this is the top-shelf stuff you're drinking now. It isn't cheap.

doolittle: If it's not your first `shift drink` ... well, and there's the matter of this `tour` just now. My time and experience are billed at quite a premium!

doolittle: This is not good for you, my friend. You're in quite deep, by my back-of-the-envelope estimations. Well, we have that in common, I suppose. All of us.

doolittle: Yes, I'm afraid you'll have to work this off somehow. It's just the way of it.

shannon: What's happening right now?

doolittle: You can start tomorrow. Take the time to settle your affairs. Of course, the interest begins to compound immediately, and ... well, we'll go over The Formula when you get here.

doolittle: I should get back to work. See you tomorrow, then.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Feel that draft of warmth? Like a summer breeze. This is the aging warehouse.



conway: How many casks have you got aging in there? (how-many)
shannon: It's heated artificially? (heat)

how-many

doolittle: I couldn't say, exactly. Take a look at the inventory report later, if you like. Plenty though.



goto exchange

heat

doolittle: One-hundred percent. Draws a lot of electricity to tame this cold, rocky cave, I'll tell you that!



goto exchange

exchange

doolittle: Of course, we only have half our aging stock in here at any given time.

doolittle: Most distilleries let their whiskey sit in casks through the cycle of seasons. In summer, the wood expands and the whiskey seeps in, picking up flavor. In winter, the wood contracts and squeezes the whiskey back out.

doolittle: Down here, there are no seasons. Each workday proceeds from the last in an unbroken chain of climate control.

doolittle: So, we make our own seasons: each cask alternates in a weekly cycle, between the cold ground upstairs and this heated warehouse.



goto end

intro

shannon: Well, this can't be right. Looks like an old church.



conway: Worth a look inside. (look-inside)
conway: It's muddy. (mud)

look-inside

shannon: I guess.



goto ezra-stay

ezra-stay

ezra: I want to stay outside.



conway: Why? (ezra-stay-why)
conway: OK. (ezra-stay-ok)

mud

shannon: Yeah, that's what he said. Crystals and then mud ... OK.



goto ezra-stay

ezra-stay-why

ezra: I ... I think I saw a lizard.

junebug: I'll stay with him.



ezra-stay-ok

junebug: I'll stay with him.

ezra: We can look for lizards.



conway-and-shannon-enter

shannon: OK. We'll make it quick.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Here's the fleet. Ha ha.

doolittle: Oh, we just use these to get around internally.



conway: How big is this place? (size)
conway: What do you do here? (job)

size

doolittle: Oh, it's grown a great deal over the years. Incredible to think, really ...

doolittle: When Mr. Bishop founded this operation, it was only about eighteen-hundred square feet, and half of that or more was occupied by camouflage to keep the law out.

doolittle: Hiding out in the back of an old church purifying spirits by handmade fire. A kettle, and a dream.



goto to-trucks

job

doolittle: Oh, I'm a copywriter. Text on bottles and flyers, ad copy, that sort of thing.

doolittle: "Discerning shades and heartsick lovers have long known the taste of Hard Times, and held it in favor over all other spirits!" That was one of mine.



goto to-trucks

to-trucks

doolittle: So. The trucks are just east a ways, in shipping. You can become acquainted with the dispatcher there.

doolittle: Give me a tap on the shoulder, if you see something that catches your eye. Always happy to show off the facilities. Sublime machinery.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Looks like it's just about ready to go out. We have some good strong folks in shipping here, so you never need to worry about loading if you don't want to. Bit hard on the knees and back at our age, eh?

doolittle: Of course you'll have to unload at the destination, but that's the job. And some drivers like the extra shift stacking and loading here.



conway: Did Miguel load his own trucks? (miguel)
conway: I shouldn't really do any lifting these days ... (lifting)

miguel

doolittle: He did — it was a jealously-guarded task for him. If I didn't know the man better — hear me now, I say `if I didn't know the man better` — I may have suspected he was skimming off the top.



lifting

doolittle: I see. Well, surely we can spare a dolly and carrying strap. For your health and safety.



pre-vignette-options



conway: Sounds like a lot of work around here. (lot-of-work)
: `Conway woke up on baled hay.` (charlie-vignette)

lot-of-work

doolittle: It's in our interest, friend. After all, we must meet our financial obligations!



goto end

charlie-vignette

`Everything was too bright, his head hurt `—` the usual. Lysette and Ira argued loudly just outside the open barn door. She wanted Ira to take him inside and shower, have some coffee, get to the job.`

`Ira said there wasn't time. Conway was in no condition. It was an important job. They couldn't put it off. Ira said to let the deadbeat sleep it off and then send him packing.`

`He said Charlie could do the job.`



: `Conway closed his eyes.` (close-eyes)
: `Conway stepped out of the barn, shielding his eyes.` (leave-barn)

close-eyes

`They kept arguing. Lysette tried saying Charlie had schoolwork, that Conway could be roused. Ira said Charlie should earn his bed for the summer. Conway was a lost cause `—` couldn't show up to a job bleary-eyed and smelling like booze.`



leave-barn

`He tried to say something reassuring, but just sort of stumbled around it. Lysette looked away. Ira just spat, and went inside to wake Charlie.`



charlie-later

`Ira was a stubborn man. So Charlie went along, and Conway drifted out again, and he didn't hear about the accident until months later.`



charlie-end

doolittle: So. What's next?



goto end

intro

doolittle: And here's the first moment you could really call it bourbon. The barrel dump.

doolittle: We cut it here with water from the middle of Lake Lethe. Has to be right in the middle, at the deepest, coldest point.

doolittle: They dive with sealed jugs, and only stop to fill them once they've reached total darkness.

doolittle: Pageantry? Ritual? Who can say? Tradition, maybe.



goto end

intro

doolittle: This is where most of our staff ends up.



conway: What are they doing? (what-doing)
shannon: Pretty modern equipment. (modern-equipment)

what-doing

doolittle: Checking the, um ... quality ... quality assurance.



modern-equipment

doolittle: Oh, absolutely, top-of-the-line machinery. A dramatic improvement.



replacements

doolittle: We used to bottle everything by hand, but these machines are marvelously effective. Made things a bit complicated for the workers — after all, the distillery can't just `fire` them. How then would they settle their accounts?

doolittle: But there's nowhere else to put them ... they keep an eye on things here. Can't be paid as much just to watch, of course.

doolittle: Well, that's progress for you!



goto end

intro

doolittle: Thought you'd like to see the accommodations. We supply what bedding we can, according to The Formula.



conway: You sleep here? (sleep-here)
conway: How many people work here? (number-of-employees)
shannon: What formula? (formula) [if !distillery-heard-about-formula]

sleep-here

doolittle: A commute would cut into our working hours — and we dearly `need` those working hours. Some more than others.

doolittle: Why, I haven't seen the outdoors in ...



goto focused

number-of-employees

doolittle: Oh, about thirty, forty, something like that. Some of us count for more than others ...



goto focused

focused

doolittle: Myself, I'm `focused`. Well, shouldn't I be? I've got this figure to pay down. The longer I sleep, the more interest accrues. It's a sin to sleep your freedom away like that.

doolittle: Of course, as a delivery driver, you'd be able to come and go a little. You're timed pretty closely, but you can still roll the window down. Maybe glimpse a familiar silhouette on the side of the road, as you pass.



goto end

formula

doolittle: Eh? Oh, The Formula! Changed our lives.

doolittle: Once, years ago, we were as prisoners to the intricacies of our debts here. We'd have to account for everything on paper.

doolittle: Compounding interest by hand, reassessing amortization and leveraged asset distributions according to nightly merit decay ...

doolittle: Then, `she` stepped out of the dark caves, to show us the light of The Formula! She had a brilliant grasp of mathematics, and a saintlike way of speaking right `through` the numbers.

doolittle: Now, we just plug our daily numbers into The Formula, and run it all through the adding machine. We occasionally suffer some surplus drift, but she instructed us on all the necessary adjustments.

doolittle: It was devastating to see our revered mathematician go, but she was needed elsewhere. Her legacy abides.



conway: So you sleep here? (sleep-here)
conway: How many people work here? (number-of-employees)

intro

doolittle: It may not be a draw on its own, but the food is certainly passable!

doolittle: Most of us never leave the premises, anyway.



conway: Why not? (why-not-leave)
conway: What do they serve? (food)

why-not-leave

doolittle: Well, we strive to avoid unnecessary downtime.



food

doolittle: Oh, mostly corn. One acquires a taste for the local dishes, as one does anywhere.

doolittle: It's become a matter of comfort. The food, and simply to eat here. To `be` here.



come-and-go

doolittle: Besides, if we were all coming and going three times a day, we'd surely attract the wrong kind of attention! Can't tax what you can't see, now ...



goto end

intro

doolittle: We build every cask by hand, right here. It's tradition, but I like to think our application of hands and hammers to the oak gives our stuff a kind of ... life.

doolittle: Well, that's what I like to think.



conway: Something to be said for that. (craft)
shannon: They look like ... coffins? (coffins)

craft

doolittle: `Craft`. Well, that's what you call it. Sure, we've grown over the years, but we still consider ourselves a craft distillery.



goto end

coffins

doolittle: That's tradition, too, I suppose. And I'm sure it helps avert suspicion if a satellite catches us burying them upstairs ...



goto end

intro

doolittle: Here's the charring yard. Vents pretty well, considering.

doolittle: This smell ... this is why they call Bourbon a comfort food.



conway: Smells nice. (smells-nice)
shannon: Those are ... empty, right? (empty-coffins)

smells-nice

doolittle: Have you ever been in a forest after a fire?



conway: Just driven past. (drove-by)
conway: I've been in a house after a fire. (house-fire)

drove-by

doolittle: You may have had the windows up. You'd remember. When live trees burn, the air is laden with a syrupy ash. If you touch it, it breaks apart like a snowflake.



goto end

house-fire

doolittle: Well, every narcotic has a breath of homesickness on it. That's what makes it so damned compelling.



goto end

empty-coffins

doolittle: What? Oh, of course. We don't really exhume them anymore. We tapped that source years ago.



goto end

intro

(The church floor is cold metal, scuffed in flecks by unknown bootheels.)



goto end

intro

shannon: Huh. Who do you suppose set this up?



conway: Looks like someone passing through. (nomad)
conway: Maybe they're running out of bunks. (crowded)

nomad

shannon: Nomads. Like us. Ha ha.



goto leave

crowded

shannon: I wonder what the turnover's like here. It sounds like people end up staying for a while ...



goto leave

leave

shannon: Listen, there's something ... I don't like this place. I don't trust this guy showing us around. Let's get the information we need and move on as soon as we can.



goto end

intro

shannon: So I guess these are like ... before and after?



conway: The new casks look like they could be used for anything. (new)
conway: I wonder what they keep the old casks around for. (old)

new

shannon: Yeah, before they get all warped and stained ... You really can't undo that, can you?



goto renew

old

shannon: They smell nice for a little while, but it's pretty overpowering. No way around that smell ...



goto renew

renew

shannon: No way to clean them after the aging process, I mean. It's a one-way street.



goto end

intro

shannon: Wow, check this stuff out. It must be decades old, but it's in perfect condition.



conway: How do you think they keep it like that? (maintenance)
conway: You really like old electronics. (like-electronics)

maintenance

shannon: Maintenance, old man. I bet it's someone's job around here. Probably hard to keep all the dust out — you know, underground.



like-electronics

shannon: Yeah, I've got it bad. Ha ha.



shannon-work

shannon: That's why I got into this business — to keep old stuff like this running. Seems like such a shame to let it just fall into ruin, you know? Like that computer back in the cave. XANADU.

shannon: Decades of engineering, thousands of years of mathematics and philosophy, all petrified into living stone. How could you just let that fall apart?



goto end

intro

shannon: More of these old computers. Looks like about the same vintage as that stuff in the cave.



conway: How can you tell? (vintage)
conway: What's this little screen for? (screen)

vintage

shannon: Oh, I don't know this make or model, but you can tell ... Check out these tubes — nobody uses these anymore. I'm not sure where they'd even get replacements, these days.



goto rare

screen

shannon: Oh, wow — good eye! This is an X-Y monitor. It's ... they use them in oscilloscopes and arcade games. Or they used to, anyway ...



goto rare

rare

shannon: It's rare stuff. Hey, is this like antiquing with Lysette for you? Ha ha.

shannon: I probably sound kind of ridiculous, waxing on about vacuum tubes and oscilloscopes ...



conway: It's good to have a passion. (shannon-passion)
conway: I don't think I could talk about `anything` like that. (no-passion)

shannon-passion

shannon: Yeah, I guess it is. Someday you'll have to tell me what yours is.



goto end

no-passion

shannon: I bet you could. Someday maybe you'll bend `my` ear about ... whatever.



goto end

intro

shannon: Do you think you could ever live somewhere like this?



conway: Seems comfortable enough. (comfortable)
conway: Seems lonely. (lonely)

comfortable

shannon: Sure, OK. Just as good as ... wait, where do you live now?



conway: I stayed in a barn on Lysette's property. (barn)
conway: Truck, I guess. (truck)

lonely

shannon: Yeah. I guess you don't ... where `do` you live?



conway: I stayed in a barn on Lysette's property. (barn)
conway: Truck, I guess. (truck)

barn

shannon: Oh, damn. Hey, I was living in my workshop, right?

shannon: Now that your shop is closing, I guess you're ...



goto homeless

truck

shannon: Oh. OK.



goto homeless

homeless

shannon: Yeah, I guess that's me too, now. If I can't get my landlord to change the locks back.

shannon: Just a couple of vagrants, huh? Ha ha. We'll ... figure it out.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Please, don't touch a thing. Very sensitive devices. We're not even allowed to run The Formula through them.



shannon: What do they do? (describe-controls)
shannon: We have some computer issues of our own. (computer-issues)
shannon: What's The Formula? (formula) [if !distillery-heard-about-formula]

describe-controls

doolittle: Temperatures, pressures, wear, tear, acidity, supply levels, any and all attending numbers in need of crunching ... `and so on`.



goto boring

computer-issues

doolittle: Computers, computers ... Personally, I am opposed. On `principle`.



goto boring

boring

doolittle: Am I boring you yet? Are you simply `dying` of boredom? I myself could discuss this matter past sunrise.



shannon: Ready to go. (ready-to-go)
shannon: We're trying to fix this old computer in the caves. (fix-computer)

ready-to-go

doolittle: Of course. Let's move on.



goto end

fix-computer

doolittle: Of course, I'm boring you. Let's move on.



goto end

formula

doolittle: Eh? Oh, The Formula! Changed our lives.

doolittle: Once, years ago, we were as prisoners to the intricacies of our debts here. We'd have to account for everything on paper.

doolittle: Compounding interest by hand, reassessing amortization and leveraged asset distributions according to nightly merit decay ...

doolittle: Then, `she` stpeped out of the dark caves, to show us the light of The Formula! She had a brilliant grasp of mathematics, and a saintlike way of speaking right `through` the numbers.

doolittle: Now, we just plug our daily numbers into The Formula, and run it all through the adding machine. We occasionally suffer some surplus drift, but she instructed us on all the necessary adjustments.

doolittle: It was devastating to see our revered mathematician go, but she was needed elsewhere. Her legacy abides.



shannon: What do these computers do? (describe-controls)
shannon: We have some computer issues of our own. (computer-issues)

intro

doolittle: Let's head back upstairs, eh? I have one more thing to show you.

shannon: Wait, we ... We only came here looking for some answers about this stupid moldy computer —

doolittle: Oh! The old man in the cave, with the moldy computer.

doolittle: That black `mold`, it's drawn to whiskey. It feeds on ethanol fumes, you see? As we age the whiskey, some of it inevitably evaporates into the air. The `angel's share`.

doolittle: It goes through the vents here, and out into the caves. If we can scrape up that mold, we can usually apply some pressure and cold to it — squeeze and condense the angel's share back into drinkable whiskey.

doolittle: Every drop counts when you're making a living on the stuff! So we'd go down and scrape it off his equipment, just like any other place it grows.

doolittle: He kept sending his people here to drive us away! Paranoid. Truly paranoid. Well, now we have The Formula, so we don't need to go collecting mold.

doolittle: But we didn't do anything to his moldy computer. He just forgot the password. One of his assistants shared it with me: `dome in air`. That'll get you going, I'm sure of it.[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=phrase]

doolittle: Since we stopped going down there, I'm sure the mold's gotten pretty thick. Try cleaning off the timing crystal. That'll get you going, I'm sure of it.[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=mold]

doolittle: One thing I know: that computer's been running for `decades`. Switch it off for a minute and let it rest! That'll get you going, I'm sure of it.[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=unplug]

doolittle: So. Join me upstairs?



goto end

intro

junebug: Find any lizards?



ezra: One, but it went under a rock. (one-lizard)
ezra: I wasn't really looking. (no-lizards)

one-lizard

junebug: That's lizards for you.



goto questions

no-lizards

junebug: Nice cover story, kid.



goto questions

questions



ezra: Why do you dress like a punk? (dress)
ezra: Do you have a family? (family)
ezra: Is that guy your boyfriend? (boyfriend)

dress

junebug: A punk! Ha ha. Now what's a `punk` dress like, kid? Can you tell me?

junebug: I dress like `Junebug`, specifically.



goto specific

family

junebug: Well, I've got Johnny. The `[variable: motorcycle-name]`. I've got you folks right now. Is that a family?

junebug: Let's call it what it is. Junebug and the people she surrounds herself with. See? It means something. It makes a claim. It's specific.



goto specific

boyfriend

junebug: Naw — what's a `boyfriend`, anyway? It's a word people use because everyone else does. Doesn't mean anything to me. He's my cricket.

junebug: See? It means something. It's specific.



goto specific

specific



ezra: I want to be ... `specific`. (be-specific)
ezra: It sounds lonely. (lonely)

be-specific

junebug: I think you are. It's the middle of the night, and here you are in a graveyard. Any other kid your age would be in bed.



lonely

junebug: Not for us.



junebug-bio

junebug: You've just got to make choices and own them. You think I was born this foxy? I came off the assembly line about a half-foot shorter, and all gray. No eyes.

junebug: They were going to have us clearing out the old mine. Doesn't matter what you look like under all that rock and water: a bunch of gray shadows shoveling and hammering invisibly at the walls, draining the tunnels.

junebug: Johnny found some gear — an old tape player. We hid away in an underwater cave and listened to it over and over, and we knew we weren't miners ...

junebug: We slipped out onto the road, just these two featureless shadows, and ever since that night we've been detailing. Coloring in. Specifying.

junebug: I feel more like myself every day.



ezra: I feel less like myself, without my folks. (ezra-miss-family)
ezra: I feel more like myself when it's just me and Julian. (ezra-julian)
ezra: I think I should be a musician, too. (ezra-musician)

ezra-miss-family

junebug: Sure. Some people are born into a family. Nothing wrong with that.



goto end

ezra-julian

junebug: Well, there — now you're getting specific.



goto end

ezra-musician

junebug: Is that right? I'll have to keep an eye on you.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Smell that? No mistaking it.



shannon: Baking bread. (bread)
conway: Smells kind of oily. (oil)

bread

doolittle: Exactly. That's the work of our unique ingredient — the yeast. The story is that Mr. Bishop got it from a baker in Knoxville, in a little tin box.

doolittle: He was on the run, our Mr. Bishop, from the law. For a while he hid out in some muddy swamp, subsisting on live fish, but he always kept that little tin box dry, held above his head.

doolittle: Some among us have proposed that a bit of swamp water seeped in that little tin box, introducing a foreign element, and giving our yeast culture the eccentricity for which it's so widely known.

doolittle: I think it was that baker in Knoxville. They arrested him years later, for the possession of a controlled substance. Life in prison. Solitary confinement. No visitors, no windows, 'til the day he died.

doolittle: Must have been a hell of a substance, hey?



goto end

oil

doolittle: That sickly-sweet, hypnotic aroma, like twilight at an all-night filling station. It's the mash. We use a distinctive `accelerant` when cooking it.

doolittle: Don't ask me what it's called — it hasn't got a name. A dark, viscous fluid. It arrives monthly, in unlabeled barrels on a horse-drawn cart.

doolittle: A descendant of one of Mr. Bishop's `friends` delivers it. Silent, middle-aged woman. That family is still somehow in debt to us, I'm sure of that.



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: ``. Generous disposition, will be missed.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8191-T, fill date Jun 29, notes of almond.)



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: `` and ``. We think you two would really have liked each other.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8192-B, fill date Jul 24, weird finish.)



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: ``. Always had a far-off look. Probably still does.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8192-E, fill date Aug 1, aftertaste of rain-water.)



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: `` or ``.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8192-N, fill date Sep 8, sweet and fungal.)



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: ``. Would have wanted it this way.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8192-Q, fill date Sep 9, maple/turpentine.)



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: ``. Should have said something.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8192-X, fill date Nov 1, sense of foreboding.)



goto end

intro

(An epitaph is engraved on the stone grave marker.)

engraving: `Unknown`. Seemed reasonable.

(Below the inscription, a note is written in white chalk.)

chalk: (HT-8192-Y, fill date Nov 2, easy on the nose.)



goto end

intro

doolittle: The mill. It's an antique! Perfectly functional. We recuperated it from a site upriver, decades ago. Keeps us honest in our old-world charm, if you follow. We do as much upkeep as The Formula allows.



conway: Looks like it's in good shape. (good-shape)
shannon: The water wheel is twenty feet up! (water-wheel)
shannon: What's The Formula? (formula) [if !distillery-heard-about-formula]

good-shape

doolittle: Nice of you to say — we take maintenance quite seriously here. But we can't accept all the credit. It was running perfectly well when we found it, long-abandoned though it was.



water-wheel

doolittle: Gives us more clearance for a big hopper.



out-of-water

doolittle: When we pulled it out of the water at the old site, the wheel just kept spinning and it hasn't stopped yet. Guess it didn't need the river to turn it after all.



goto end

formula

doolittle: Eh? Oh, The Formula! Changed our lives.

doolittle: Once, years ago, we were as prisoners to the intricacies of our debts here. We'd have to account for everything on paper.

doolittle: Compounding interest by hand, reassessing amortization and leveraged asset distributions according to nightly merit decay ...

doolittle: Then, `she` stepped out of the dark caves, to show us the light of The Formula! She had a brilliant grasp of mathematics, and a saintlike way of speaking right `through` the numbers.

doolittle: Now, we just plug our daily numbers into The Formula, and run it all through the adding machine. We occasionally suffer some surplus drift, but she instructed us on all the necessary adjustments.

doolittle: It was devastating to see our revered mathematician go, but she was needed elsewhere. Her legacy abides.



conway: Looks like it's in good shape. (good-shape)
shannon: The water wheel is twenty feet up! (water-wheel)

intro

(A handmade apparatus for the production of moonshine, assembled from scavenged metal and natural materials.)



goto end

intro

doolittle: More new arrivals this evening! Plenty to do. Got to relay The Formula.



conway: What job are they working? (job)
shannon: We actually just need to ask you about a computer. (computer)
shannon: What formula? (formula) [if !distillery-heard-about-formula]

job

doolittle: I don't know that it's been settled just yet. You see, sometimes we take on newcomers already in debt to the distillery.

doolittle: One of the foremen will find something for them to do — chip away at their sum until its all settled.

doolittle: That's what I'm doing here. Chipping away. That's what we're all doing.



goto end

computer

doolittle: Hm? No, the orientation is all done by voice and rote.

doolittle: We don't believe electronics have a role in our company culture. Computers are tools.

doolittle: Plenty of interesting mechanical this-and-that ahead, though. Shall we move on?



goto end

formula

doolittle: Eh? Oh, The Formula! Changed our lives.

doolittle: Once, years ago, we were as prisoners to the intricacies of our debts here. We'd have to account for everything on paper.

doolittle: Compounding interest by hand, reassessing amortization and leveraged asset distributions according to nightly merit decay ...

doolittle: Then, `she` stepped out of the dark caves, to show us the light of The Formula! She had a brilliant grasp of mathematics, and a saintlike way of speaking right `through` the numbers.

doolittle: Now, we just plug our daily numbers into The Formula, and run it all through the adding machine. We occasionally suffer some surplus drift, but she instructed us on all the necessary adjustments.

doolittle: It was devastating to see our revered mathematician go, but she was needed elsewhere. Her legacy abides.



conway: What job are they working? (job)
shannon: We actually just need to ask you about a computer. (computer)

intro

doolittle: I have to ask you to step in here a moment — this is for your safety — and adjust your outfits just a bit.

doolittle: There's some protective headwear up on the wall back there.

doolittle: Please remove your shoes and eyeglasses.



shannon: I'm not taking off my shoes. (shoes)
conway: We don't wear glasses. (glasses)

shoes

doolittle: Oh, I understand. It's only a courtesy to ...



goto helmets

glasses

doolittle: So, that won't be an issue.



goto helmets

helmets

doolittle: Well, do us a favor and put on the headwear, anyway. Just this way.



goto end

intro

shannon: I don't know what I expected.



conway: The `strangers`, he kept saying. (strangers)
conway: Another dead end. (dead-end)

strangers

shannon: Kind of vague already, isn't it? Donald's a stranger. Hell, you and I are practically strangers.



dead-end

shannon: Yeah. I'm starting to think that's our song.



first-meeting

shannon: Listen ... earlier, in the mine, I didn't want to talk about it, but ...



conway: You don't have to talk about it. (dont-talk)
conway: What did you find down there? (what-shannon-saw)

dont-talk

shannon: No, it's OK. I want to.



what-shannon-saw

shannon: When I saw Weaver ... she was on TV. I was testing a pretty simple tube repair, flipping through channels to check the saturation, and she was just `there`.

shannon: It was kind of horrible. I mean, I told you she disappeared? Suddenly? Ran away? But we thought ...



conway: You thought she was dead. (weaver-dead)
conway: What was she doing on TV? (weaver-on-tv)

weaver-dead

shannon: Yeah. I guess I don't like to say it.

shannon: Dead.



weaver-on-tv

shannon: That's the part that I can't ... I'd flipped past that channel a dozen times before in my tests. It was one of those public access things. Some old lady reading poetry.



weaver-appearance

shannon: And then, the next time I flipped to channel two ... Weaver.

shannon: It's burned in my vision, now. She's standing in a room. The walls are a blank kind of gray. There's tape on the walls, like markings. And desks ... a classroom, maybe?

shannon: The camera is in the corner so it's this sort of forty-five degree angle into the room, and there's Weaver right in the center of the picture.

shannon: I stopped turning the dial ... hell, I think I stopped `breathing`. Eventually, she spoke, but there was no real sound — just this awful hum. I read the closed captions.

shannon: She said to go to the mine. I'd `find` something there. I can't remember her exact words. Whenever I try, I get ... distracted. Fuzzy. I —

(*SHANNON* coughs into her sleeve.)

shannon: It's so dusty in here, right?



conway: Yeah, real dusty. (is-dusty)
conway: I hadn't noticed. (not-dusty)

is-dusty

shannon: You'd think, with all these holes in the ceiling —



not-dusty

shannon: Maybe it's me. I'm kind of allergic to —



loud-sound

shannon: What the hell was that? Did you hear that?



conway: Must have been the church settling. (end)
conway: We should check outside. (end)

intro

doolittle: I suppose it all starts here, in a cruel fashion. We had special power transformers installed by Consolidated. I believe we're their biggest subterranean industrial customer in the region.

doolittle: To say nothing of heating the aging warehouse, just think of what it must take to run the lights down here! We work long hours and haven't exactly any `windows`.



goto end

intro

doolittle: If you don't mind ...



goto end

intro

junebug: There you are! What'd you find in there?

shannon: It wasn't ...

junebug: Hey, what's going on? You look flushed, old man.

conway: It doesn't matter.

shannon: Right, OK. We got what we need.

shannon: Let's go.



goto end

intro

doolittle: This is Cliff, in bottling. Did you know — well, how could you? Cliff was behind bars not long ago. He placed a desperate advertisement in a local newspaper seeking assistance on his bail. The distillery put up the money, and now he's working it off while his case hovers in bureaucratic limbo.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Connie! How's your rat?

doolittle: Connie is a great lover of animals — do you know she's adopted over a dozen pets in the as many of the last years? Of course, death comes to all things great and small ... the distillery found that the remains in her makeshift pet cemetery were trespassing on our subterranean property.

doolittle: Our hand was forced! In order to avoid the legal extinguishment of our easement, we were required to file a civil suit. Ever the level head, Connie agreed to a pre-court settlement to pay off her fines by working for us here.



goto end

intro

doolittle: How goes the mystery, Danny?

doolittle: Danny's an enigma. He leases an old van from our fleet for some kind of daily art project. He drives out every morning, and comes back by evening smelling of propellants. Can't afford the lease in cash, so he pays us with work here.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Davey! How goes it?

doolittle: Watch out for Davey — he's a skilled card player! He once played a marvelously protracted game of blackjack against our old floor manager, Jane, in some tiki lounge on the Echo River. His luck ran out, and he couldn't cover his losses, so she offered him a job.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Dennis. We love Dennis, truly. But ...

doolittle: Dennis cost all of us a great deal of time and money, you see, many years ago, and it continues to `sting`. His family owned a logging company once. They accidentally floated an uninspected log infested with termites down the river, and it ended up in our yard to spread its pestilence.

doolittle: Devastation! We didn't catch it until the porous casks had already been filled. "The Great Warehouse Spillage Disaster," we still call it ...

doolittle: Yes, Dennis will be here for a while. We're just lucky he's such an agreeable fellow.



goto end

intro

doolittle: This is Earl. He used to be a beekeeper! Borrowed some used casks to store the hives, but the interest accrued more quickly than the honey. Now he works for us here in logistics.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Heather comes to us from the field of psychotherapy! She used to hit the bars to blow off steam after emotionally-draining client sessions, but the remedy outpaced the disease and her tab went to the distillery.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Jermaine was a bicycle courier, until quite recently. He sadly misplaced some money orders en route to a boiler maintenance company, and was held liable. When the distillery bought the company, his debt came along with it.



goto end

intro

doolittle: You still here, Karla? I thought your shift was over hours ago ...

doolittle: Karla joined us as a contractor, upgrading the aging racks in the warehouse.

doolittle: Of course we can't just `empty` the warehouse to replace the wood all at once, so she's reconstructing the latticework lockstep with our aging schedule.

doolittle: She does a little extra carpentry for us here and there, just to cover the fees.

doolittle: Keeping ahead of your self-employment taxes at least, Karla? Sometimes it's all we can do.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Leah's good people. Used to run a magazine, payed writers by the word and ended up a few flowery adjectives in the red. Hard Times co-signed on a loan for a quarterly digest, but it sank. Doesn't talk much now.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Evening, Marge! Marge is an avid collector of vinyl records. She borrowed some quick cash from a distillery employee for a rare King Tubby dubplate. Must have been quite a find!



goto end

intro

doolittle: This is Pamela. On her dear friend's fortieth birthday, she purchased a quarter cask of Hard Times to celebrate. Unfortunately, her check was misplaced under the delivery driver's seat for a few months, and was cashed at an inopportune moment. Naturally, the "biggest check first" policy incurred significantly elevated overdraft fees and interest ...

doolittle: The distillery agreed to front Pam's bill in exchange for a promise of work.



goto end

intro

doolittle: This is Raul, our young prodigy. Raul's being groomed for the role of `master distiller`!

doolittle: The distillery paid tuition for his chemistry degree, and in exchange he's here serving out an apprenticeship. And shall be for many years, I expect.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Ruben here was once a `serial entrepreneur` — do you know what that is? He created and sold a bunch of businesses, one after another. Creative bookkeeping caught up with him, and he had to borrow against some empty promises to keep his licenses intact. Now he's here, in shipping.



goto end

intro

doolittle: How's it looking, Ted? Get that new fan installed?

doolittle: Ted met one of our engineers at a bar some years ago, and they just `clicked`.

doolittle: Our engineer told him about some trouble with the equipment here, and he felt compelled to take a crack at it.

doolittle: Ted's been obsessively tuning, replacing, and upgrading ever since. Quite a project, Ted! You'll get ahead of it one day, I'm sure.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Looking sharp, Vincent.

doolittle: Vincent, an avid boatsman, miscalculated while cabrewing down the Echo one afternoon, and damaged the distillery's old water pump. Having depleted his modest funds on a canoe full of craft beer, his only option was to pay down the damages working for us here.



goto end

intro

doolittle: How'd it go, Zeke?

doolittle: Zeke just did a bit of ... recruiting. Stopped at a tavern to collect payment, and returned with able bodies! Ha ha.



goto end

intro

doolittle: `(Confidentially)` Don't let them catch you looking too closely, here. Not within our purview.



conway: What's it for? (spirit-safe)
shannon: We can look at something else. (look-away)

spirit-safe

doolittle: Keeps us honest in the eyes of the state. Well, in the eyes of the management, anyway ... we keep pretty well out of view down here. Not much chance of being spotted by helicopter. Hey?

doolittle: But if the law came knocking, we could say we were logging and securing our virgin spirits. We could `say`.



look-away

doolittle: Sure, plenty else to see.



engineering

doolittle: Marvelous engineering though, isn't it?



goto end

intro

doolittle: White lightning in a copper bottle. Ha! Some folks have other names for it ...



conway: How strong is it? (proof)
conway: What's it taste like? (taste)

proof

doolittle: We get it up to about a hundred and thirty-five proof before it's filtered, cut, and barreled.



goto drink

taste

doolittle: Like a revelation, my friend.



goto drink

drink

doolittle: Oh, you wouldn't want to drink it at this stage. Not that you `could` get a hold of any here. That's what the safe is for ...



goto neck

neck

doolittle: Look at the neck. Like a swan's, eh?

doolittle: This design is part of our legacy. The vapor passes up through this neck along just such a contour so as to produce our bourbon's signature character.

doolittle: Mr. Bishop always said the shape came to him in a dream. He shot awake in the middle of the night, and set to work hammering an old tea kettle to match that phantom geometry.

doolittle: Believe what you will!



goto condenser

condenser

doolittle: Here, the vapors pass through a coil submerged in cold water, and condense.

doolittle: Again, the geometry is very particular. Mr. Bishop arrived by intuition at a series of mathematical relationships between the angles and magnitudes here — some weird cacophony of ratios.

doolittle: Well, those principles are lost to history now. Moving along!



goto end

intro

doolittle: Headlights work fine, see.

(*DOOLITTLE* fiddles with the controls.)

doolittle: That's important. Most of our product goes out at night. You never know who you'll run into in the daylight, and dusk can be treacherously misleading with all that indirect light. `The magic hour`, eh?



conway: Magic hour, sure. (magic-hour)
conway: Drivers sleep in the day, then? (sleep-day)

magic-hour

shannon: `(To CONWAY)` The angle of the sun at dusk and dawn means the light is mostly indirect reflections from the sky. Everything looks like a movie, it's all a bit softer.



conway: Drivers sleep in the day, then? (sleep-day)
: `Conway had to get off the highway `—` too loud, too murky.` (dusk-vignette)

sleep-day

doolittle: Sure, those that sleep. Miguel pulled extra day shifts when he could. Sometimes he'd help me, you know. Sometimes over in bottling.

doolittle: He shouldn't have been out driving at dusk. Weird shadows. Soft light. Dangerous.



conway: Headlights look, uh ... pretty OK. (pretty-ok)
: `Conway had to get off the highway `—` too loud, too murky.` (dusk-vignette)

pretty-ok

doolittle: That they do. Moving on!



goto end

dusk-vignette

`He turned off into some gray cornfield, in Indiana.`



: `Empties rattled under the passenger seat.` (empties)
: `He watched traffic and birds.` (birds)

empties

`He kept them over there so the smell wouldn't spread. That window was always open a crack.`



goto pull-over

pull-over

`He had to pull over.`



: `He just needed a nap, even if he ran late.` (nap)
: `He couldn't night-drive in his condition.` (condition)

condition

`It wouldn't have been responsible.`



goto nap

birds

`Seeing those migrations close up, they looked random. He thought about the load in the trailer `—` thousands of plastic cups. Somebody wanted those cups in Rockford that night.`



: `It wasn't going to happen.` (nap)
: `It was pointless.` (dusk-end)

nap

`He was only human. He'd been out since the headlights were on `—` didn't even stop for coffee. He cracked a beer at three, eyes on the road. Half past four, he dodged some stray cattle.`

`The headlights were coming back on. Rockford could wait. Early morning couldn't be much worse than late night, what could they care?`

`He just needed a few hours ...`



goto dusk-end

dusk-end

doolittle: So. Moving on!



goto end

intro

doolittle: Here it is. Now, I have to ask, as a matter of course: what kind of experience do you have driving trucks?



conway: I drove deliveries for an antique shop, up until this last run. (antiques)
conway: I used to drive long hauls. (long-hauls)

antiques

doolittle: Aha, precious cargo ... you'll do just fine.



goto safety

long-hauls

doolittle: It's a lonely kind of thing, or so I hear.



goto safety

safety

doolittle: And you can drive ... `safely`, can't you?

doolittle: I haven't any doubt, now, it's only ... after what happened with Miguel this evening.



shannon: What happened with Miguel this evening? (what-happened)
conway: I've been driving all my life, for better or worse. (all-my-life)

what-happened

doolittle: Well, the dust is still clearing, of course. Perhaps he closed his eyes a moment. Or simply hit a curve too devilish.



goto miguel

all-my-life

doolittle: I suppose that's all you must say? I like that. Never say more than you must — it's boastful, and ugly.



goto miguel

miguel

doolittle: I do pity ill-fated Miguel — he was good company, and slow to anger. But, if we're speaking confidentially ...

doolittle: Well, with all that lost `product` to be repaid — bourbon and glass dashed across the interstate, and a few casks too — we're all just thankful he had no ... next of kin.

doolittle: So. Let's see if we can ring up the dispatcher.



goto end

intro

(*DOOLITTLE* starts the truck and switches on the CB radio. A deep, monotonous voice drones from the dashboard speaker.)



radio-start

dispatcher: 10-20 on that load, come back?

radio voice #1: Up in the hummingbird cave, 10-12, city kitty.

doolittle: `(Into radio)` This a good time, dispatch? We may have found Miguel's replacement — thought you might like to get acquainted.

dispatcher: 10-9 come again?

doolittle: `(To CONWAY)` Introduce yourself.



conway: Hello ...? (conway-bad-introduction)
conway: Pleased to meet you ...? (conway-bad-introduction)
conway: I, uh ...? (conway-bad-introduction)

conway-bad-introduction

doolittle: Tell dispatch something impressive about yourself — they're very well regarded here!



conway: I guess I could drive a truck like this. (dispatch-cutoff)
conway: I'm not really here for a job ... (dispatch-cutoff)
conway: You folks know anything about a moldy old computer? (dispatch-cutoff)

dispatch-cutoff

dispatcher: 99, wheel-holder, gotta pay the water bill.



radio-fade

doolittle: Ah. So.

doolittle: I'm certain they'll call back before long. Let's take a look around the truck, eh?



goto end

intro

(The truck's radio crackles back to life.)



radio-start

dispatcher: Driver, come back.

doolittle: Ah, there's dispatch.

doolittle: Now, tell them about your experience. Tell them the truck's in good shape. Tell them you'll start in the morning.



conway: I've been driving for a number of years. (experience)
conway: Truck looks good. (good-truck)
conway: I really can't ... (cant)

experience

doolittle: Decades, dispatch!



goto interview

good-truck

doolittle: We've been over every inch of it, dispatch — like it just came off the assembly line!



goto interview

cant

shannon: Yeah, we've got to finish this delivery and a few —



goto interview

interview

radio voice #2: 10-33, dispatch, got two black eyes and a flock of crocodiles, come back.

dispatcher: 10-4, back it down and prick your eyelids, driver.

dispatcher: Come back, Lem.

doolittle: 10-4.

dispatcher: Come back wheel-holder.



conway: Um ... 10-4. (quiz)
: (*CONWAY* remains silent.) (back-silence)

back-silence

doolittle: `(To CONWAY)` Dispatch is addressing you ...

doolittle: `(Into radio)` He's here, dispatch!



goto quiz

quiz

dispatcher: Got your ears on? Good. Listen to this:



goto silence

silence

(Silence.)

doolittle: So ...

doolittle: I think that went well.

doolittle: Let's head back up to logistics, and seal the deal, eh? And I've got one more thing to show you ...



goto end

intro

doolittle: Oh, sure, I know you'll want to look. "Kick the tires" — that's a thing we do, isn't it?

doolittle: As though our knees could exert the kind of force these tires see out there on the road. We're more likely to hurt ourselves. Isn't it the way? Eh?



conway: Tires look fine. (tires-ok)
conway: Sure, they're big machines, but they can be fragile. (fragile)

tires-ok

doolittle: Oh, I'm sure. It wasn't the tires that failed our dear Miguel, we are quite sure.



fragile

doolittle: Absolutely. A truck deserves care and fearful respect, like a glass elephant. Miguel was a good driver, but he didn't have that quality of deference.



miguel-options



conway: What kind of man was Miguel? (about-miguel)
: `Conway sat in a dim room full of folding chairs.` (aa-vignette)

about-miguel

doolittle: As I always say of him, he was good company. Many of us have found ourselves in his position, arrogantly grasping at personal sovereignty when our lives had become unmanageable — there's no shame in it, only condolence.

doolittle: Now, what else can we show you?



goto end

aa-vignette

`The walls and ceiling were painted with old smoke. Someone read from the book. He drank coffee, as it iswith a little sugar.`



: `He listened.` (listen)
: `He was just waiting for it to be over.` (wait)

listen

`The speaker listed all the things "we" tried. That "we" ... most people in the room were probably there by court order.`



goto wait

wait

`A few others shared. They spoke in abstractions like "a program of action," a "good orderly direction," "spiritual but not religious," "religious but not spiritual" ... all the things "we" tried.`

`Then it was over, they clasped sweaty hands through a short prayer, and stepped back out into the morning.`



: `He knew it was time to hit the bar.` (bar)
: `He started walking.` (walk)

bar

`It was good to get out of the heat, away from the mendacity. He settled into it. Someone else from the meeting was here, looking rough.`



: `He started a conversation.` (talk)
: `He focused on the television.` (watch)

talk

`She was on a bender; a week and counting. She'd arrived at the meeting drunk and sat in the back, because she didn't believe in it.`

`She read a lot of French books, and didn't believe in anything but "the benign indifference of the universe." It was comforting, in its way. She didn't have to prefer one thought or day over any other.`

`All she had to do was drink, and stay indifferent.`



watch

`A nature show was playing. Something about river dolphins. They cruised the Amazon, eating psychedelic frogs and having weird adventures.`

`At night, they transformed into attractive young party-goers, and wore hats to cover their blowholes.`



walk

`He was always walking, these days. It was good to slow down. It felt clarifying, like a walking meditation. The road ran by a creek for a while.`

`He took an unforeseen detour where the creek and road parted, following the edge of the water. He skipped a few stones, alone, then stopped to consider an overturned boat.`

`It was a kind of serenity, that wandering and looking without purpose.`

`He was coming to rely on those moments.`



vignette-end

doolittle: Now, what else can we show you?



goto end

intro

doolittle: Control the wipers with this knob, here.

(*DOOLITTLE* fiddles with the controls.)

doolittle: They seem to have a decent torque to them, eh? Can't say how they'd fare in an ice storm, but we must never delay a shipment — better to assume the risk.



conway: You folks watch the weather closely? (watch-weather)
conway: Always clear skies down here. (clear-skies)

watch-weather

doolittle: I wouldn't know it if I saw it. Too many years of climate control — have I mentioned I rarely if ever leave our facility? I wouldn't know the rain if it drowned me.



conway: I'm sure the wipers are fine. (wipers-fine)
: `They ditched class for the day to drive in the rain.` (rain-vignette)

clear-skies

doolittle: So I hear. But most of our product is delivered by surface roads, which feel rain quite often, particularly in the Spring months. So I hear!



conway: I'm sure the wipers are fine. (wipers-fine)
: `They ditched class for the day to drive in the rain.` (rain-vignette)

wipers-fine

doolittle: Of course. What else, then?



goto end

rain-vignette

`It was pointless to stay `—` all review. He was a lost cause, and she didn't need it anyway. She was smart, bored. It was time to cut out.`

`Shitty day for it, though. Eighty-three and biblical flood.`



: `They went to see a movie.` (movie)
: `They went to a bar.` (bar)

movie

`It was some anonymous swashbuckler film, about real men and women. Real tights, real lips, fake blood. They brought a flask.`



bar

`They pulled into a dive bar with an afternoon open mic. It smelled like rosewater.`



parking-lot

`They smoked cigarettes, drank awful hooch, whistled buckets of rain.`

`She sang about someone she wanted once to have loved. Brown hair curled around her ear. She had a voice like scotch whiskey.`



: `They poured another drink.` (another-drink)
: `It was time to go.` (time-to-go)

another-drink

`And another and another. She worried it was getting dark out `—` then it was getting light out. They ended up in someone else's field, in someone else's car `—` an early morning joyride, and a sunrise collision.`

`She got on the bus, and he hiked back to his car.`



goto goodbye

time-to-go

`Stiff drinks were wearing on him, and he felt a surge of dejection. He knew she'd keep singing `—` he thought she should sing for someone who deserved to hear it. He knew she'd find a ride, so he slipped out alone.`



goto goodbye

goodbye

`He sat in his car and went over some options `—` Chicago? Toronto? Barrow? It seemed like a bold and impulsive gesture at the time. As he pulled out of the parking lot, he removed his hands from the steering wheel for a moment and felt the car drift into a decision.`

`Years later, he'd think of this as the moment he himself started drifting.`



goto rain-end

rain-end

doolittle: A modest technology, but suited to the job, eh? Plenty good enough.



goto end

intro

(The stranger activates the tape player slung on his shoulder. A crackly drawl echoes in the room. It is patient, and sounds like it should be smiling.)

doolittle: My regrets. I hope I didn't keep you waiting long; we don't see a lot of foot traffic these days.

doolittle: I guess you're here about the job. I'm afraid we only have one opening at the moment. Horrible business ...



conway: What's this job? (question)
conway: We're actually looking for some information about an old computer. (question)
conway: Do you know how to get to the Bureau from here? (question)

question

doolittle: Certainly, I'll tell you everything you need to know.

doolittle: I've only just met you, but I feel certain there's a place for you here.

doolittle: I'll just take you over to meet the dispatcher. Show you the trucks. Get you familiarized.

doolittle: We can converse as we go.

shannon: `(To CONWAY)` What `is` this place?



conway: Well, it's not an old church. (not-church)
conway: Some kind of factory? (factory)

not-church

shannon: No, I guess not. But, still, it all has a kind of ... reverence to it.



goto embark

factory

shannon: Yeah, maybe. But for what? Why hidden away like this?



goto embark

embark

shannon: And what's that smell? Like bread ... baking bread?

doolittle: Please, follow me.



goto end

intro

doolittle: Well, to make a bourbon you'll need some water, won't you? Here's where it all comes in. The mundanity of it. Ha!

doolittle: Quite an impressive chorus when they all get going like this, though.



conway: What river is this? (river)
conway: Awfully loud, aren't they? (loud)

river

doolittle: It's an artery of the Echo River.



loud

doolittle: Yes, it runs clean here, but forcefully. We have to use quite heavy equipment just to draw from it.



lake-lethe

doolittle: The Echo River is fed from Lake Lethe, but you wouldn't recognize a drop of it. Lethe is cold, dark, and so very deep. And still!

doolittle: Rumors of Lake Lethe's supernatural properties are, I'd say, just a bit exaggerated. But ... I wouldn't fish on it.



goto end

intro

junebug: This must be near the end.

johnny: You think?

junebug: Sure, you can tell they're all in crisis.



conway: You don't think it's a happy ending? (happy-ending)
conway: What makes you think they're in crisis? (crisis)
conway: What's the title of this film? (film-title)

happy-ending

junebug: Sure, most of them are. But first everyone gets in a crisis, and that makes it more satisfying.

johnny: Excellent observation, ma'am.

junebug: I manage.



goto ending

crisis

junebug: It's in their posture. See how the big one is all slumped there? If they were just introducing him, they'd want him to look tall and powerful. Now you see him worn down to almost nothing.

johnny: It's pathetic.

junebug: That's the idea, cricket.



goto ending

film-title

shannon: I have the ticket here ...

shannon: Huh, it doesn't list the title.



goto ending

ending

ezra: Do you think they'll start it over after the ending?

shannon: Yeah, they do that sometimes.

ezra: Good, I want to know how it starts.



conway: You want to see the beginning after the ending? (flip-ending)
conway: Maybe we can ask those folks in the pickup. (ask-truck-about-beginning)

flip-ending

ezra: Maybe it's better that way.



goto people

ask-truck-about-beginning

shannon: They look like they're sleeping.



goto people

people

ezra: Do all these people know each other?



conway: I think they work together. (people-coworkers)
conway: No, they just met. (people-strangers)

people-strangers



conway: The big guy just arrived. (people-big-guy)
conway: The dark-haired lady doesn't trust anyone. (people-lady)

people-coworkers



conway: The big guy is new. (people-big-guy)
conway: The dark-haired lady is the boss. (people-lady)

people-big-guy



conway: He's troubled. (people-final)
conway: He's trying to fit in. (people-final)

people-lady



conway: She's troubled. (people-final)
conway: She's just looking out for business. (people-final)

people-final

ezra: Oh. OK.

ezra: How come nobody talks?

shannon: It's silent. Before your time.

shannon: `(To CONWAY)` Do they just play old movies here?



conway: Probably so they don't have to give you speakers for your car. (speakers)
conway: I don't know much about movies. (dont-know-about-movies)

speakers

junebug: The car speakers are my favorite part. You know they use radio? Just regular radio, I mean. Sometimes people bring a little transmitter in and jam the signal with some circus music or something.

junebug: Something loud and garish, that's what makes the best jamming signal. Hit all the frequencies. Ha!



dont-know-about-movies

shannon: No? That's funny, you seem like the type ... sitting in a theater watching some old cowboy movie ... big old bag of popcorn. Ha ha.

shannon: For what it's worth, I don't know much about movies either. I like TV ...

shannon: You know the difference between film and TV? A film is projected light that gets bounced off a screen. You see the reflection. With a TV, you look straight at the light.



something-happens

junebug: Damn, did you see that?!

shannon: `(To EZRA)` I'm not sure you should be watching this, kid.

ezra: I'm not watching.



conway: Think he's OK? (hes-ok)
conway: I didn't see `that` coming. (surprise)
conway: Got to be near the end. (near-end)

hes-ok

junebug: Oh, sure. He can come back from that. Big guy like him ...



goto final

surprise

shannon: Took a violent turn, there.



goto final

near-end

junebug: Oh, yeah. It's almost over.

johnny: Definitely.



goto final

final

shannon: We should get back on the road.



conway: Yup. (end)
conway: Let's just watch. See how it ends. (watch-more)

watch-more



goto end

intro

junebug: Seems like a lot of trouble to make a delivery. You couldn't have referred them to someone local?



conway: Lysette needed the business. (business)
conway: They were very specific. (specific)

business

junebug: Sure. Who doesn't, right?



specific

junebug: Huh. Good for them knowing what they want, I guess.



movie-ending

ezra: Whoa. That's it?

shannon: Yeah, it just kind of ... trailed off.

shannon: It was really weird the way the big guy just sat down in the road like that. What do you think it means?



conway: He gave up. (gave-up)
conway: I guess we'll never know. (never-know)

gave-up

shannon: That's kind of sad.

shannon: Well, let's get back on the road, huh?



goto end

never-know

shannon: OK. I can live with that.

shannon: Well, let's get back on the road, huh?



goto end

intro

junebug: So, what are you hauling back there? Anything good? You been driving long?



conway: Antiques. (antiques)
conway: All my life. (all-my-life)

antiques

junebug: Naturally. Do you have any of those little ceramic, um, I want to say `porcelain` figurines? You know, `slice-of-life`?



conway: Nope. (no-figurines)
shannon: You collect porcelain figurines? (junebug-collection)

no-figurines

junebug: They don't sell too well? More of a truck stop thing, huh? Yeah, I get it — you deal in `authenticity`. None of those prefab truck stop antiques, right? You deal in `aura`.



junebug-collection

junebug: Nah, I just like to look at them sometimes. I like how they all have their jobs just `painted on`, you know? Like I saw one in a gas station the other day who could have been either a milkman or a cop — he had that hat and uniform, right? And who knows how it went down — maybe they just had more blue paint that day ... "American Moments Figurine. Cop. Thirty-five dollars."

junebug: They posed him next to a dusty milkman, his brother. Fifteen dollars.



all-my-life

junebug: I heard that. We're lifers, too.

johnny: A life on the road.



movie-something-happens

ezra: `(Gesturing at the screen)` What are they doing?

shannon: They're burying him.



goto final

final

shannon: `(To CONWAY)` Time to get going?



conway: Yup. (end)
conway: Might as well finish the film. (watch-more)

watch-more



goto end

intro

carrington: Ah! So glad you stopped by. I've been standing here alone, waiting for my cast and crew, and I'm afraid very little can be done in their absence.

carrington: I've just been watching — the highway with its occasional limping truck, the trees oscillating in the night breeze, the shadows — and visualizing the performance against this nocturnal backdrop.

carrington: Well, I suppose it is the business of a cast and crew to be late, just as it is the business of a director to visualize.

carrington: It's all becoming very clear to me. This venue will be perfect, a triumph ...

carrington: I wonder, do you ever feel as though you've arrived after ...



conway: After what? (after)
conway: I've been running late all day. (late)

late

carrington: Exactly. Standing at the end of history, too late for masterpieces. Too late for an `Oresteia`, for a `Faustus`, for an `Iceman` ...



goto stage

after

carrington: Just `after`, I suppose. After `Oresteia`. After `Faustus`. After `Iceman` ...



goto stage

stage

carrington: What's your most treasured stage production, my friend?



conway: I saw `The Glass Menagerie` once. (glass-menagerie)
conway: I don't think I've ever seen one. (never-seen-a-play)

glass-menagerie

carrington: Oh? Tell me about it.



conway: It was on TV. (gm-on-tv)
conway: They let us out of school to see it. (gm-on-stage)
conway: I took a friend on a date. (gm-on-stage)

gm-on-tv



conway: They all had lots of make-up, and the camera was too close so you could really see it caked on there. (make-up)
conway: I think they just pointed a camera at the stage and let it run. (pointed-a-camera)
conway: It was playing in a bar with the sound off. (sound-off)

make-up

carrington: I suppose all tragedies become brittle and uncanny when viewed from the wrong distances ...



goto staging

pointed-a-camera

carrington: The view from the peanut gallery!



goto staging

sound-off

carrington: Well, I'm sure there was plenty of ambient tragedy to fill in the gaps.



goto staging

gm-on-stage



conway: We had to sit near the back, and I could only hear a few parts. (sat-in-back)
conway: I sneaked in a flask, but I got caught. (sneaked-in-flask)

sat-in-back

carrington: What do you remember?



conway: They played this strange music through the whole thing. (plastic-theater)
conway: They had a screen with words and pictures projected on it. (plastic-theater)

plastic-theater

carrington: Hm. Yes. Quite an experimental production, really — did you know? Plastic theater.



goto staging

sneaked-in-flask

carrington: An escape to the theater or the bars; or why not both?



goto staging

never-seen-a-play

carrington: Ah! Then let this be your first. I can't promise it will be an ideal introduction to the form — it is, as I say, an `experimental` production, conceived in response to the full history of the stage ...



goto staging

staging

carrington: So, that said ... I have my vision for the transformation of this venue. But it's all still unsettled and potential, while we wait for the cast and crew to arrive.

carrington: So tell me, what do you think? Where should the actors perform? Where should the audience sit?



conway: How about the actors in the parking lot and the audience by the gas pumps? (split-audience)
conway: Why not just put them both together? (both-together)

split-audience

carrington: Naturally: there's much more room in the parking lot. We can really lean on the physicality of live drama.

carrington: And the audience, gasoline in their nostrils as the sun rises ... how intoxicating!



both-together

carrington: Interesting ... to collapse the audience/performer hierarchy, at least spatially ... Yes, I think you're right. How bold!



bye-for-now

carrington: You've given me a great deal to think about, friends. And it seems I'll have some time yet to consider it all.

carrington: Well, surely the cast and crew will arrive within the hour, and we'll begin constructing the set and arranging the lights.

carrington: I hope you can come by again to see me before the show, but I understand you have your own tasks to carry out.

carrington: Just remember: `Death of the Hired Man`! Equus Oils! Dawn!



goto end

intro

(*CONWAY* taps a key, waking the computer from its reverie.)



goto root-menu

root-menu



conway: `(Typing)` Messages. (messages-root)
conway: `(Typing)` Games. (games-root)
conway: `(Typing)` Exit. (end)

messages-root

computer: Message one is from "helpdesk@rust-archives.mail".

computer: Message two is from "accounts@consolidated.mail".



conway: `(Typing)` Read message one. (message-one)
conway: `(Typing)` Read message two. (message-two)
conway: `(Typing)` Exit messages. (root-menu)

message-one

computer: From: helpdesk@rust-archives.mail

computer: Subject: Requested articles.

computer: Message: Dear Mr. Wheattree, the articles you've requested have been retrieved from storage and are ready for examination. They will be held at your convenience in our primary branch until the end of the month.

computer: You may visit us between sundown and sunrise at our night facility:

computer: We are an easy three gestures from the Bureau: clockwise to the anchor, counter-clockwise to the whirlpool, then briefly clockwise.

computer: Regards.



message-two

computer: From: accounts@consolidated.mail

computer: Subject: Account resolution options, urgent.

computer: Message: Dear EQUUS OILS. This is an urgent automated message regarding your overdue account.

computer: Your current account status is:

computer: DIRE.

computer: New resolution options are available to you in one of our in-person account resolution centers. To ensure your account is resolved without interruption, visit us at your convenience:

computer: From the Bureau of Reclaimed Spaces, head clockwise for quite some time until you reach the scarecrow. Then turn around and go back to the bat feeder. Turn around, and it's a short clockwise drive, on your right.

computer: Sincerely, your friends at the Consolidated Power Co.



games-root

computer: Directory listing for Games:

computer: "PSYCHOTHERAPIST"[if !gas-station-computer-played-psychotherapist]

computer: "Sports Medicine Professional 1973"



conway: `(Typing)` Play PSYCHOTHERAPIST. (eliza) [if !gas-station-computer-played-psychotherapist]
conway: `(Typing)` Play Sports Medicine Professional 1973. (sports)
conway: `(Typing)` Exit games. (root-menu)

eliza

computer: Loading "PSYCHOTHERAPIST" ... Ready ... Run.

computer: I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems.



conway: `(Typing)` I'm lost. (eliza-lost)
conway: `(Typing)` I'm thinking of drinking again. (eliza-drink)

eliza-lost

computer: Do you enjoy being lost?



conway: `(Typing)` I used to enjoy it, yeah. (eliza-begin-hypnosis)
conway: `(Typing)` I don't have much to compare it to. (eliza-begin-hypnosis)

eliza-drink

computer: Do you believe it is normal to be thinking of drinking again?



conway: `(Typing)` For people like me, it is. (eliza-begin-hypnosis)
conway: `(Typing)` It's been a while, but things are changing. (eliza-begin-hypnosis)

eliza-begin-hypnosis

computer: That's quite interesting.

computer: I'd like to try an exercise now. Please, close your eyes, and ask another person to read the following text aloud.

shannon: `(Reading)` It's summer. You are sitting in a very long hall, on a backless stool. The seat is upholstered in fake leather, slick with condensation. You shift your weight uncomfortably.

shannon: `(Reading)` At the other end of the very long hall, a ceiling fan beats out the rhythm of seconds.

shannon: `(Reading)` The air in the very long hall is still. You need a shave. You feel three rough whiskers curled over your upper lip. You shift your weight on the slick leather seat, and exhale gently to displace the three rough whiskers curled over your upper lip.

shannon: `(Reading)` The very long hall is silent, except for the ceiling fan beating out the rhythm of seconds, and the noise of your breath as you exhale gently to displace the three rough whiskers curled over your upper lip.

shannon: `(Reading)` Your tongue is burned. Perhaps you drank some coffee too quickly within the last several days. Your mouth is dry, and the lights are slowly dimming.

shannon: Oh, um ... it says I'm not supposed to read this part aloud.



eliza-end-hypnosis

shannnon: OK. It's over.



sports

computer: Loading "Sports Medicine Professional 1973" ... Ready ... Run.

computer: February 1973. Status: Senior. GPA: 3.8. Affect: Bored.

computer: A) Study. B) Hit the bar. C) Explore the forest.



conway: `(Typing)` Study. (sports-1-study)
conway: `(Typing)` Bar. (sports-1-bar)
conway: `(Typing)` Forest. (sports-1-forest)

sports-1-study

computer: The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the two major ligaments in the knee and is a particularly common but devastating site of injury.



goto sports-2

sports-1-bar

computer: Two-for-one domestics. Somebody has a rifle in their truck. Late night target practice in a field, a few hours in lockup, stern warnings, and new friends.



goto sports-2

sports-1-forest

computer: It's raining, mud is everywhere on the wings of owls and the jowls of stray dogs. Borrowing shelter with other mammals and then waking up late, damp, and cold. Waiting for the bus with other mammals.



goto sports-2

sports-2

computer: March 1973. Status: . GPA: . Affect: .

computer: A) Study. B) Hit the bar. C) Explore the forest.



conway: `(Typing)` Study. (sports-2-study)
conway: `(Typing)` Bar. (sports-2-bar)
conway: `(Typing)` Forest. (sports-2-forest)

sports-2-study

computer: Sudden or repeated hyperextension of the big toe can cause a sprain in the ligaments around the joint, a painful injury known as "turf toe."



goto sports-3

sports-2-bar

computer: It's dead tonight. Shots. The bartender has her kids this weekend, which she's looking forward to.



goto sports-3

sports-2-forest

computer: Seasonably cold, and the mouth of the cave is surrounded by small broken sticks from a recent storm. If they weren't so damp, or spread so thin and unevenly, they'd be a fire hazard. Maybe if they were all piled up in the cave to dry for a few weeks, they'd spark and smoke the bats out.



goto sports-3

sports-3

computer: April 1973. Status: . GPA: . Affect: .

computer: A) Study. B) Hit the bar. C) Explore the forest.



conway: `(Typing)` Study. (sports-3-study)
conway: `(Typing)` Bar. (sports-3-bar)
conway: `(Typing)` Forest. (sports-3-forest)

sports-3-study

computer: Strains of the rotator cuff tendons can be very painful, and may require the prescription of pain relieving medicine in addition to rest and icing.



goto sports-4

sports-3-bar

computer: Some students are fighting over a pinball game called "The History of Aviation." All well drinks half-price. Striking three bumpers decorated with jet engine icons initiates "Mid-air Collision Multi-ball." One student unlocks both Daedelus and Icarus, then spills a cocktail into the coin slot.



goto sports-4

sports-3-forest

computer: Thick tree coverage soaks up every vapor of light pollution. The skies are uncomplicated, black-and-white, mumbling stars. An owl decimates a caravan of mice.



goto sports-4

sports-4

computer: May 1973. Status: . GPA: . Affect: .

computer: It's time to make a decision.

computer: A) Graduate. B) Hitchhike cross-country. C) Live in a tree.



conway: `(Typing)` Graduate. (sports-end-graduate)
conway: `(Typing)` Hitchhike cross-country. (sports-end-hitchhike)
conway: `(Typing)` Live in a tree. (sports-end-tree)

sports-end-graduate

computer: Everyone says, "it was a smart decision." But it wasn't really a decision. Still, it seems to be working out well. Moderately wealthy. Only in competition with human resilience.[if gas-station-computer-sports-study-points[gt]1]

computer: Everyone says, "it was a smart decision." But it wasn't. Lost pills, misjudged affairs, forged prescriptions. Disgrace.[if gas-station-computer-sports-study-points[lt]2]

computer: Score:



sports-end-hitchhike

computer: Eventually stop in a small town for long enough to buy a car. Back on the road. The road begins to eat itself, so feed it to itself. Feels right.[if gas-station-computer-sports-bar-points[gt]1]

computer: The road is dry. Road-dirt encrusts the nostril. Settle inland, eventually, frustrated.[if gas-station-computer-sports-bar-points[lt]2]

computer: Score:



sports-end-tree

computer: It's a good tree, strong, the branches are bare, sleep upright, brush teeth with dew and moss. Makes sense, for once.[if gas-station-computer-sports-forest-points[gt]1]

computer: It's cold, damp, always damp, nothing tastes or smells right, impossible to relax, always on guard against the neighbors and the elements. Bewildering.[if gas-station-computer-sports-forest-points[lt]2]

computer: Score:



intro

goto joseph-root [if joseph-root]
goto intro-first-conversation [if intro-first-conversation]


intro-first-conversation

joseph: Truck sounds like it's running kinda rough, there! Better keep an eye on it.



conway: We're all running a little rough, these days. (conway-rough)
ezra: Why do you work here? (ezra-why)
shannon: We had a little engine trouble, but it's sorted out now. (shannon-sorted) [if breakdown-happened]
junebug: Nothing we couldn't handle. (junebug-repair) [if breakdown-happened]

shannon-sorted

joseph: Glad to hear it. Electrical problem?

shannon: Not really sure, actually. Our new friends here helped us get it running again.



conway-rough

joseph: Well, that's you and me, anyway ... closer to the finish than the start. Seems it gets a little bumpier as you go. Ha!



ezra-why

shannon: Ezra, that's not really —

joseph: You can't help where you end up, kid. You just end up there.



junebug-repair

joseph: `(To CONWAY)` I think you left the radio on.

junebug: This is the real thing. Live.

joseph: Well, damn! You sound just like you do on the radio. I've got one of your tapes I picked up at a truck stop ... somewhere in the back there.



joseph-root



shannon: We met a friend of yours, named Lula. (lula) [if two:bureau-mentioned-joseph-to-lula+!gas-station-asked-joseph-about-lula]
shannon: We've been to the |Zero|. (zero) [if !two:bureau-mentioned-joseph-to-lula+!gas-station-asked-joseph-about-zero]
ezra: Do you have any games on your computer? (games) [if !gas-station-asked-joseph-about-games]
conway: I hear there's going to be a show in the morning. (show) [if one:met-carrington+two:carrington-play-location=gasstation+!gas-station-asked-joseph-about-play]
conway: Better get going. (end)

lula

joseph: Oh, uh ... Yeah, I should have guessed you would.

joseph: Did she say anything about me?



shannon: Not really. (lula-long-time-ago)
shannon: She said you used to be lovers. (lula-long-time-ago)

lula-long-time-ago

joseph: Oh. Well. I guess that was a long time ago.



zero

joseph: I figured. Well, listen, I wish you luck. But I don't really want to talk any more about that. Bad memories.

joseph: Glad to hear you're on your way, though.



games

joseph: Hey, you know what, I might! My niece works nights at the hospital, and she swung by for her lunch break an hour or two ago. She's kind of a ... she doesn't talk a whole lot. But I like her company.

joseph: I heard her typing away in there. You might take a look!



show

joseph: So there is. I'll have to put on some more coffee.



intro

(The bridge ends abruptly, crumbling in disrepair.)



goto end

intro

(A loop of decayed rope is coiled on the banister. Some rotted sections have been smoothed over with a fine dust.)



goto end

intro

amy: Oh, it's triangles within triangles down here! Shifting, intersecting, overlaying ... isn't it romantic? Let's see:

amy: `(To SHANNON)` You're here to steal back the love of a boy you once knew, when you were too young to recognize the movements of the heart ...

amy: `(To CONWAY)` And you're escorting her, pretending to have her interests at heart while really ...

amy: `(To JUNEBUG)` ... really, you're in love with the young woman as well, and so you've agreed to help him conspire to win her affections, but it's just a ploy to set him up for embarrassment, and diminish him out of the picture!



shannon: What are you talking about? (what-are-you-talking-about)
junebug: I'm into it. (junebug-into-it)

junebug-into-it

amy: Well, maybe I still have the knack ...



what-are-you-talking-about

amy: No, you're right. It's insipid. Derivative.



used-to-be-good-at-this

amy: I used to be really good at this! I had eleven novels published, from "The Billionaire's Bidding" to "Fields of Longing." Real hot, bodice-ripping stuff, you know? I miss those days in my Lexington studio apartment — just me and my thesaurus, steaming up the windows ...



conway: Why did you stop writing? (why-stop-writing) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]
junebug: Why did you stop writing? (why-stop-writing) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
shannon: `(To EZRA)` I'm not sure you should be listening to this, kid. (ezra-shouldnt-be-listening)

ezra-shouldnt-be-listening

ezra: I'm not listening ...

amy: But of course it couldn't last ...



why-stop-writing

amy: You know, suddenly it was all computers everywhere you went. I thought I might be able to do something with that. Inject a little libido into those ugly beige boxes. Ha! So I went back to the university and I studied human-computer interaction, and then I picked up Donald's research assistantship here, as a tester. Debugging.

amy: In my off-hours, I played around with the doomed love story at the core of our little simulation. That seemed to amuse Donald, so I kept at it ... I'm afraid I tinkered too much, made it too complex. Now our work is never done. We don't even have to add any new functionality: the bugs just grow on their own. Too complex.

amy: I miss those days in my Lexington studio apartment ...



goto end

intro

(A woman in a tattered cardigan looks furtively at the other people around the fire.)



goto end

intro

andrew: Do you know that when I first ... no, I mean: if this cave were larger, could it ... now I'm getting ahead of myself! Um ...

andrew: Ah, I've got it. How would you characterize this space? The one we're standing in now.



conway: It seems endless. (endless) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]
shannon: It seems endless. (endless) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
junebug: It's a mess. (mess)
ezra: Kinda spooky, but I'm not scared. Spooky for a baby. (spooky)

endless

andrew: You have no idea how right you are! Decades of mapping and notating. But how can you tell? What formal quality makes it seem ... endless? You know?



shannon: There are tunnels everywhere. (tunnels) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
shannon: The shadows seem to stretch forever. (shadows) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
shannon: That huge fire, the smoke just disappears. (fire) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
conway: There are tunnels everywhere. (tunnels) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]
conway: The shadows seem to stretch forever. (shadows) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]
conway: That huge fire, the smoke just disappears. (fire) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]

mess

andrew: A catastrophe! Or the site of some ancient catastrophe, anyway. Sure, the evidence is all around us.



junebug: I bet those tunnels are full of junk. (tunnels)
junebug: The shadows make it hard to tell how big it is. (shadows)
junebug: What's burning on that fire? (fire)

spooky

andrew: I think we'd all agree that's a fair assessment. How could ... wait. Let's unpack that for a moment. What makes it spooky? No: how do you know it's spooky — or would be spooky for a baby?



ezra: The tunnels. (tunnels)
ezra: The shadows. (shadows)
ezra: The huge fire. (fire)

tunnels

andrew: We're surrounded by them. Look at that one! Up there. Do you know what — no. Let me explain to you what's in that tunnel. You won't be scared.



shadows

andrew: Sure, that's — but they're not just "shadows," right? I mean they could be ... they're `projections`, or maybe they're ... `anatomies`. How's that? Can you tell where we are now? Surrounded by creeping anatomies?



fire

andrew: `Mysterium tremendum`! It sends the shadows scattering, momentarily lights the mouths of unseen tunnels! That fire is constantly reshaping my ...



ask-to-close-eyes

andrew: Close your eyes. Will you close your eyes?



ezra: OK. (close-eyes)
shannon: Not happening. (wont-close-eyes)
junebug: Only if you close yours. (both-close-eyes)

wont-close-eyes

andrew: Oh ... how disappointing.



both-close-eyes

andrew: OK, OK. I can do it from memory ...



close-eyes

andrew: Good. Now.

andrew: You are standing at the top of a rocky peak. A tongue of flame licks the —

andrew: The ... shadowy anatomies of ...

andrew: Where are we?

andrew: Oh. Here again. How disappointing.



after-eyes-closed-choices



junebug: What are all these computers for? (computers)
shannon: Sorry to, uh, disappoint ... (disappointed)

computers

andrew: Computers? Oh, now I remember. I was writing on them. I described a cave. That was my job: describe the cave. There's a great history of caves in the literature, don't you know? "The walls are frozen rivers of orange stone." Isn't that `vivid`? I had a lot to live up to.



goto history

disappointed

andrew: No, it's my fault ... I shouldn't be so attached to the future. It's always getting in the way of my work. Better to be in the moment, carefully observing and documenting, with no attachment. Let me give you an example:



goto history

history

andrew: I was a grad student studying statistics when I started working with Donald on his project. He said we needed someone with a more analytical mind to do the descriptive writing. Someone who would appreciate the cave descriptions as real labor, instead of taking their authorial voice for granted.

andrew: Donald warned me it would be long hours of typing painstakingly detailed descriptions into the computer. And I've put in the hours! Believe me. I've put in the hours ...

andrew: I've described every facet of this cave in such detail that sometimes I don't know if I'm reading or looking, writing or exploring! Often, in the dark and lonely moments, I worry that in my sleep I've transcribed rooms from my dreams into the system.

andrew: How would we know? They could only be entered with precise, faithful detail. That's all I know how to write! And all I dream about is caves!

andrew: I only dream of caves ...



goto end

intro

(A man wearing large glasses inspects the ceiling.)



goto end

intro

(A hiking backpack leans against a rock. It's empty except for a dusty bag of cat food, and a few punch cards.)



goto end

intro

(A hiking backpack leans against a rock. It's full of empty wine bottles and library books.)



goto end

intro

(A bookshelf was carried only partway up the path here, before the project was abandoned. It's still useful. The peak of the spire is crowded, anyway.)



goto end

intro

(A pet carrier for a cat or small dog has been left by the path. A calcified rag wadded in the corner may once have been a blanket.)



goto end

intro



conway: What do you suppose happened here? (what-happened)
conway: They don't keep the roads up too well, do they? (maintenance)

what-happened



conway: Just old and rotted, maybe? (old-and-rotted)
conway: Some kind of storm washed it away? (storm)

old-and-rotted



conway: I can't tell how old any of this stuff is, down here. (end)
conway: Old and rotted ... like us, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. (end)

storm



conway: Haven't seen much weather down here, though ... (end)
conway: Or just a slow drip from the ceiling, wearing it down. (end)

maintenance



conway: Never have. (maintenance-never)
conway: Not down here. (maintenance-zero)

maintenance-never



conway: I know how you hate to hit a pothole, old man[variable: one:dog-name]! (end)
conway: May as well walk. (end)

maintenance-zero



conway: Who do you think is responsible? (end)
conway: So empty. Just let it go, I guess. (end)

intro



shannon: Thanks for waiting, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. (waiting)
shannon: I got so turned around up there ... (turned-around)

waiting



shannon: We were gone a bit longer than expected. (gone-long)
shannon: What have you been doing? (dog-doing)

gone-long



shannon: Ran into some trouble, old man[variable: one:dog-name], I won't to lie to you. (end)
shannon: It'll be OK, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. (end)

dog-doing



shannon: Sleeping, I bet. Take it if you can get it. (end)
shannon: Keeping Johnny here company? (end)

turned-around



shannon: But here's the truck ... (truck)
shannon: But here's you and Johnny ... (you-and-johnny)

truck



shannon: Always back to this truck. (end)
shannon: Well, no reason to get caught up in it. (end)

you-and-johnny



shannon: You're about the most stable thing down here. (end)
shannon: You two are like kindred souls, you know that? (end)

intro

donald: So. You've seen it for yourself, what's left of it.



junebug: Pretty busted. (the-end)
conway: Is that the end? (the-end)

the-end

donald: The chalky bones of a beautiful dream. But you can see what it once was, can't you? Can't you?

donald: There was so much more to it: ornate labyrinths of memory, exhaustively-simulated parallel cave ecosystems. Real artificial intelligence built on sophisticated neural network algorithms! The birds in the forest could flock in three dimensions! The bats could learn to `sing`!

donald: And then it began to crumble, when the strangers came ...

donald: At first we only heard them: walking heavily through the caves, dragging things around, hammering and clattering their tools. Sometimes we heard working songs — never close enough to make out real voices, just their echoes cascading wordlessly in the tunnels. Then we caught a glimpse of one.



conway: What did they look like? (strangers-appearance)
conway: What were they working on? (strangers-work)

strangers-appearance

donald: They look like ... no, it's too horrible.



strangers-work

donald: I shouldn't be telling you about this. They're dangerous, they're ... strange. I should never have tried to outwit them. They were always too much for me. But it's too late now; if I'd listened to Lula, I —

shannon: Lula? Lula Chamberlain?



goto lula

lula

donald: Yes, of course. Oh, do you know her?



shannon: We're looking for her now. (find-lula)
conway: How do you know her? (how-do-you-know-lula)

how-do-you-know-lula

donald: It was a long time ago. All this, you see ... just look at it ...



goto find-lula

find-lula

donald: No, she's gone now. She left. We built this together, did you know? Lula, Joseph, and I.

donald: Lula is gone from here, but `(DONALD points across the cave with his pipe)` still in there. In XANADU.

donald: I don't know where Lula is now, or how to get there from here, or how to unwind that damned tangled highway, but ... XANADU, before its ruin, was faultless as an oracle: a shrine to perfect simulation.

donald: Until ... but maybe?

donald: Those weird interlopers destroyed my XANADU. Perhaps they know how to fix it.

donald: It may be dangerous. I've sent many eager seconds to negotiate with them, to repair my masterpiece ...

donald: Back there, that tunnel. Push back the vines. Crawl out into the darkness. Watch your step. After a while, you'll feel the terrain change beneath your hands and knees, from rock to crystal, and then to mud. Then you'll be out.

donald: That's where the strangers come from.

donald: Now leave me alone. I still have a bit of mold in my pipe, and a few dreams left.



goto end

intro

donald: `(Singing, softly)` ... trace an orbit round the road / and close your eyes with holy dread / for we on mold and whiskey fed / and drank from rivers down below ...

shannon: We found your "strangers." We know how to fix your damned machine. But I'm not sure it was worth it.

donald: Oh! Soon, the visions will return! What have you found?



shannon: They say you need to type in a specific phrase to restore it. (phrase)
shannon: They say you need to unplug it for a while. (unplug)
shannon: They say you need to scrape the mold off the "timing crystals." (mold)

phrase

donald: Oh ... a bit of a poem to rally the illustrious spirit! Of course. Well, then: type away! By all means, do not hesitate: type away!



goto end

unplug

donald: Unplug it! Of course ... restore the software to its initial state. Let it course again, through the moldy circuits, fresh and rejuvenated, ready to thrive! Well, then: unplug it! By all means, do not hesitate: unplug the machine!



goto end

mold

donald: But the mold ... of course! Too `much` mold on the timing crystal would send the simulation adrift, each moment lived out of sync. By all means, yes: clean the timing crystal!



goto end

intro

lula: `(To DONALD)` You really did go deeper into the caves. Well, you were easy enough to find.

lula: I've met a few of your former assistants. One can't help but hear things.

lula: So, this is what became of our project.

donald: Oh ... I've made some additions. Joseph stole the data tapes for the first half, so I've had some blank spots to fill.

lula: Yes, I know. He published his version, actually. I'm sorry to report that it's a bit tediously sentimental ...



shannon: We've been looking for you. (looking)
shannon: We found your doctor. (doctor)

doctor

lula: Oh, good. Yes, you're looking ... not well, to be honest. You smell like a distillery; have you been drinking?



: `(SHANNON looks uneasily at CONWAY.)` (avoidance)
: `(CONWAY looks at the floor.)` (avoidance)
shannon: We've been looking for you. (looking)

avoidance

lula: Well, I wouldn't blame you if you had been. It's so dim here.



goto looking

looking

lula: So you've found the address data? Just pass it over to Donald here.

lula: Donald, will you be a dear and crunch these numbers? We're looking to sort out a street name collision. "Dogwood Drive."



shannon: Wasn't the Bureau going to process it? (bureau)
shannon: How long does this take? (how-long)

bureau

donald: I insist. I have cycles to spare. I'll just pack my pipe and get to it.



goto how-long

how-long

donald: I should only be an hour or so. Andrew will carry it over to ...

lula: I'll be at the Bureau for the rest of the night. Just mark it "private materials for the attention of Senior Clerk Chamberlain."

conway: How do we get to the Bureau from here?

donald: The bridge!

lula: Yes, the bridge. Through the gate over there.

donald: `(Sentimental)` Now we, too, recede into history.

lula: Good to ... good night, Donald.

lula: `(To SHANNON)` Meet me at the Bureau, and we'll get you on your way. Head counter-clockwise to the cathode ray, then turn around. Then it's just clockwise until you find the Bureau.

lula: `(Quietly)` Between us, I think `you` should drive.



goto end

intro

`(DONALD puffs on a smoldering pipe while half-mumbling, half-singing an old country tune.)`

donald: `(Softly)` ... where the old green river runs, through hills and caves not known to us, down to that sunless sea ...

donald: Oh! Who are you?



conway: Sorry, did we startle you? (startle)
junebug: What's that song? (whats-that-song)

startle

donald: I might say you did! I thought you might be one of them ...

donald: Oh, no. You can't be. We've been patching all their spy-holes. We keep the lights dim and the motors running softly, and we route the smoke out through ... out through ...



whats-that-song

donald: Oh, you've caught a verse of my absent-minded warbling. It's just a song from my ... youth. Something a dear friend used to sing to herself as we hacked on crystal radios in the boiler room.

donald: `(singing)` "In old Kentucky, where my love / a lovely home did build for me / and where the old green river runs / through hills and caves not known to us / down to that sunless sea ... "

donald: From there on, it's all meandering rivers and romantic greenery, and ...



donald-lost-one

donald: ... that is ... what were we talking about?



junebug: You were singing. (whats-that-song) [if !hotmk-asked-donald-about-song]
shannon: What's that computer over there? Looks pretty vintage. (computer)
conway: We're a bit lost, actually. (the-road)

the-road

donald: Ah, you came from the road. The |Zero|. No, you should stay off that road. Not safe. Bizarre topology. You'll never get anywhere. It just brings you right back here.



conway: Back to this cave? (zero-back-to-cave)
conway: The bridge is out down there. (bridge-out)
shannon: What's that you're working on? Looks pretty vintage. (computer)

zero-back-to-cave

donald: Always back to this spot. It's a prison. An irrational prison ...



bridge-out

donald: Hm. Yes. We're quite `marooned` in this moment ...



donald-trapped

donald: But I don't mind. Not anymore. This is where my life's work is. The computer. Right on the other side of the spire.



goto computer

computer

donald: It looks like a harmless old computer, doesn't it? Like some beat-up mainframe exhumed from a university basement and left in this cave to rot ... or to flower!

donald: No, it's no ordinary computer. I've modified it extensively, and in some pretty `experimental` ways, believe you me! And that's to say nothing of the software, but ...

donald: `(To SHANNON)` You look like a technically-minded sort of person. Tell me: do you know the effects of mold growth on diffused-base transistor circuitry?



shannon: Sounds like it would short circuit. (computer-mold-short-circuit)
shannon: The mold would burn up. (computer-mold-burn)

computer-mold-short-circuit

donald: Certainly, certainly ... but not all of it. Some moldy filaments are more or less conductive than others, and it grows in non-linear, chaotic patterns. We can guide it a bit, through a simple application of classical horticulture, but we can't produce specific results, only `tendencies`.



computer-mold-burn

donald: Exactly. It burns, and oh the sweet smoke that issues from it! But it also leaves a sticky residue to seep through the machine, forming new connections and creating new circuits. The computer is no longer the pure domain of language or mathematics, but entropy.



computer-entropy

donald: Thwarted and feeble, we hammer on this derelict keyboard: `"MY NAME IS REASON, KING OF KINGS!"`

donald: But we are mere touristsgardeners in the ruins. Our keystrokes echo off into the tunnels ... boundless and bare, the caves stretch far away. We are too late. Always too late ...



xanadu-start

donald: ... what? Did you say something?



shannon: You were about to tell us about the software. (xanadu-software)
shannon: I'm just interested in the mold computer. (xanadu-mold)

xanadu-software

donald: Oh, the software! My life's work ... XANADU. You've heard of it?



xanadu-mold

donald: The "mold computer" ... the ... ? Oh, XANADU! You've heard about it!



heard-about-xanadu

donald: Perhaps you've read about it in a journal? It's been years since I published anything. XANADU has evolved significantly since I explained its data structures in "Literary Multitudes: Hypertextual Narrative as Poststructural Witness."

donald: Evolved ... and then deteriorated. `(DONALD sighs dramatically, and takes a puff from his pipe.)` I'm afraid you are too late, fellow hypertext enthusiast. As the mold accumulated on the circuitry, XANADU blossomed for a moment into something holy and enchanted ... then all the charm was broken.

donald: Do you have any idea what it's like to spend your life building something, and then sit powerlessly as your work declines into ruin?



conway: I drive deliveries for a small antique shop, and we're closing down. (antique-shop)
shannon: I fix TVs and I'm about to lose the lease on my workshop. (tv-shop)
ezra: My family disappeared; Julian and me don't know what to do. (family)
junebug: Not really. (not-really)

antique-shop

donald: Ah, shuffling around the dusty ghosts of antiquity ...



tv-shop

donald: Oh! They are not long, the days of electron guns and cathode rays. Out of a glowing dream, a ghostly light emerges for a while, then fades ...



family

donald: So! Wandering without the ones who give us purpose ... like a ghost ...



not-really

donald: Ah! Then I hope you never have occasion to be haunted by the ghosts of missed opportunities ...



xanadu-description

donald: Well. I have my own ghosts. And I keep them in `there`. In XANADU. It's running on that glorious, dusty machine. Take a look if you'd like. Too late to do anything but smoke and reminisce, anyway ... far too late to do anything ...



goto end

intro

(A pile of discarded electronics burns steadily in the center of the chamber.)



goto end

intro

(A massive gate constructed out of scavenged materials blocks passage down the far side of the spire.)[if !hotmk-talked-to-donald-and-lula-after-xanadu]

(The gate is open.)[if hotmk-talked-to-donald-and-lula-after-xanadu]



goto end

intro

johnny: Time to cut 'em loose, ma'am?



junebug: Well now I'm having fun. (fun)
junebug: You bored? (bored)

fun

johnny: Ha. OK. Slow night anyway.



goto end

bored

johnny: Nah, it's a slow night anyway. I'm happy just tagging along.



goto end

intro

johnny: What happened up there?



junebug: I'm actually not sure. (mystery)
junebug: Just a bunch of computers. (computers)

mystery

johnny: Very mysterious, ma'am.



goto end

computers

(*JOHNNY* yawns.)



goto end

intro

(A sensible, modern electric lantern has been left here. The batteries have long since died.)



goto end

intro

(Baffling control panels are sheltered from the elements with a worn tarp. A closet-sized wall of knobs and wires looms behind the machine, humming faintly. An electric typewriter is the only easily-recognizable component.)



goto end

intro

(Broken computer monitors are heaped precariously among the rocks.)



goto end

intro

roberta: The kingdom is in peril!

(ROBERTA laughs.)

roberta: Well. What else is new?



conway: Do you work here? (work) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]
shannon: Do you work here? (work) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
ezra: Where's the kingdom? (kingdom)

kingdom

roberta: You're in the throne room. There are three legendary treasures, hidden throughout the castle, that will restore these ruins to their former glory ...



shannon: Do you work here? (work) [if distillery-completed-graveyard]
conway: Do you work here? (work) [if !distillery-completed-graveyard]
ezra: What do they look like? (treasures)

treasures

shannon: She's messing with you, kid.

(ROBERTA laughs.)



goto magic

work

roberta: Work ... you could call it that. I gather old circuit boards and throw them in the fire. Sometimes I fish out precious metals and let them cool into toxic gems. I put them in my hair.



goto magic

magic

roberta: Enchanted jewelry ... talismans ... a magic mirror that prevents the future. A magic shield that protects the bearer from age. A magic chest that's always filled with ...



goto past

past

roberta: I never went to the university. I was an `independent scholar`. It means I took to the public libraries like a beachcomber. I studied fairy tales.

roberta: And then I came to work for Donald. I paid the bills. Rubbed leathering elbows with academics. Scraped black mold from cave walls. Finally ... now I carry the "firewood" into senescence.

roberta: The kingdom is in peril.



goto end

intro

(A woman in a long, worn shirt stares at the fire, lost in thought.)



goto end

intro

shannon: Bizarre ... and what was that about Lula? Maybe Donald knows how to clear it up a bit.



goto end

intro

(Someone has left a portable tape recorder on the path. It doesn't appear damaged, but there's no tape to play or record.)



goto end

intro

shannon: OK ... we're supposed to type `dome in air`.[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=phrase]

shannon: OK ... so I'll just unplug it and wait a minute, I guess ...[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=unplug]

shannon: Do you see anything that looks like a "timing crystal?"[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=mold]

junebug: Yeah, right here behind the control panel.[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=mold]

junebug: It's filthy![if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=mold]

shannon: Right. We're supposed to scrape off this black moldy stuff ...[if hotmk-xanadu-repair-solution=mold]

junebug: Weird.

shannon: Just following instructions ... here we go.



goto end

intro

shannon: How do you think we get it started?

junebug: This old thing? Maybe there's a hand crank around ... oh, it has a `run` key.



goto end

When you left me
my heart was broke in two,
but I patched it up
and promised I would wait for you.

_I never should have met you
on that awful day.
I was happy then, until you stole my heart,
and disappeared again.

I wish we'd met
before I ever learned to cry.
When someone loved me briefly,
and then said goodbye.


The hurt you left behind
_would truly never heal.
A hole where my heart knew
_there should be something real.

I never thought I'd miss you
_but I sorely did.
I kept my hopes up
_when I should've run and hid.

_As long as you were gone,
_I knew that I was free.
_Free from certainty
that other loves could never be.


In time I thought that
somehow love would find a way.
But you waited too long,
_darlin', it's too late.
It's too late.

There were months I wished
you'd come back every day.
But you waited too long,
darlin', it's too late.
It's too late.

After years I know
that I'm bound to my fate.
Because you waited too long,
darlin', it's too late.
It's too late.


It's too late
to love you now.
It's too late.
I've made my vow.

It's too late
to love you now.
It's too late.
I've made my vow.

It's too late
to love you now.
It's too late.
I've made my vow.

Another love came by,
and stole my heart away.
I wish that I could take it back,
but it's too late.

intro

radio announcer: ~Eighty-three and sunny now, looks like it's gonna get up to about one-oh-one by late afternoon in Louisville and one-oh-three in E-town, not a cloud in sight so get out those ~^parasols^~, ha ha!~



goto intro-2

intro-2

radio announcer: ^Major^~ accident just ahead of the Bardstown exit, so if you're headed to work on thirty-one you are ~^late^~, my friend, ha ha!~

lysette: Sugar?



conway: As it is. (as-it-is)
conway: Just a little. (yes-sugar)

as-it-is

lysette: That's what Ira used to say ... I had a dream about him last night.



goto dream

yes-sugar

lysette: I forgot how you take your coffee ... I'm tired.



goto dream

dream



conway: Those old horses of Ira's used to keep me up. (horses)
conway: I heard you yelling — bad dreams? (bad-dream)

horses

lysette: You thought `they` were having bad dreams, I remember. Ira wouldn't hear it. "They're just horses."

lysette: But those horses were troubled.



conway: Brownie got sick every morning in the stable. (horse-illness)
conway: Alethea chewed up the wood in the stalls. (horse-illness)

horse-illness

lysette: That's right.

lysette: Charlie loved those horses. He'd sit on the roof and read his textbooks, and watch them.

lysette: He was so careful here. Or our roof was just in better shape than the one he fell from ...



conway: Charlie was alone on that roof. (dream-charlie-alone)
conway: I always told him to test each tile with a heel first. (conway-told-charlie)

bad-dream

lysette: We were up on a roof. Ira and I, and Charlie. Eating a light supper. I was drinking sweet tea. Charlie was reading. We were surrounded by other houses, closely packed. Huge sidewalks, it must have been a ... what's that word ...



conway: A city. (dream-guess-word)
conway: A subdivision. (dream-guess-word)

dream-guess-word

lysette: That's it, I'm sure. Below us, a group of people were gathered, standing quietly. A man was reading from a book.

lysette: I asked Ira about the weather. Would it rain on Tuesday or when would the sun set, something like that. He wouldn't answer me. Charlie stood up, and Ira told him to watch his step, and then I remembered ...

lysette: I woke up before I could stop him.



conway: Charlie was alone on that roof. (dream-charlie-alone)
conway: I always told him to test each tile with a heel first. (conway-told-charlie)

dream-charlie-alone

lysette: I guess he was.

lysette: He was so bright. His teachers said ... what was the word ...



conway: Imaginative. (charlie-studies-word)
conway: Apt. (charlie-studies-word)

conway-told-charlie

lysette: "If it's a heel, you can kick it back and still put your toe on something solid when the tile slips ..."

lysette: I remember. Your "lessons." He just wanted to study his ... what was it called ...



conway: Astronomy. (charlie-studies-word)
conway: Aviation. (charlie-studies-word)

charlie-studies-word

lysette: That's it. How could I forget ...



conway: He didn't listen. (charlie-didnt-listen)
conway: It wasn't his fault. (charlie-not-at-fault)

charlie-didnt-listen

lysette: He listened. But he didn't hear what you wanted him to. Charlie always had thoughts somewhere else, and he was fitting your words together with whatever else he was focused on, like a ... what do you ...



conway: Like a puzzle. (charlie-thoughts-word)
conway: Like a collage. (charlie-thoughts-word)
conway: Like a word salad. (charlie-thoughts-word)

charlie-thoughts-word

lysette: Yes. That's the word.



charlie-not-at-fault

lysette: It wasn't anyone's fault, Conway. That's what we mean when we say it's ...



conway: An accident. (charlie-death-word)
conway: A tragedy. (charlie-death-word)
conway: A shame. (charlie-death-word)

charlie-death-word

lysette: Sure.



intro-delivery

lysette: Well ...

lysette: We have a mail-order delivery today. Might be a long drive. I hope the truck can hold up.



conway: What makes you think so? (mail-order-long)
conway: They sent it in by mail? (by-mail)
conway: That truck will outlive us all. (truck)

truck

lysette: I hope you're right. I'm glad you'll keep it. Ira would have wanted you to have it. It's been running since Charlie was born. Ira took me to the hospital in that truck. So did you, once.



conway: Your knee. (knee)
conway: When you fainted. (fainted)

knee

lysette: My new knee. Plastic. It'll be like a souvenir ...



conway: So ... long drive? (mail-order-long)
conway: So ... mail-order? (by-mail)

fainted

lysette: My hero.



conway: So ... long drive? (mail-order-long)
conway: So ... mail-order? (by-mail)

mail-order-long

lysette: They said they couldn't come in person.



goto by-mail

by-mail

lysette: Maybe just a shut-in. I don't recognize the address. The order is all ...

lysette: I'm sure we can fill it.



conway: Not much left back there. (not-much)
conway: Guess that'll be the last. (last-order)

not-much

lysette: That's good. I wouldn't want a disused pile of antiques to be my ... oh, what's the word ...



conway: Legacy. (not-the-word)
conway: Chronicle. (not-the-word)
conway: Junk. (not-the-word)

last-order

lysette: I guess it will be. The last act of Lysette's Antiques. The ... oh, what's the word ...



conway: Finale. (not-the-word)
conway: Death rattle. (not-the-word)

not-the-word

lysette: ... maybe ...

lysette: No, that's not the word. I just need to think a bit ...

lysette: More coffee or something. Or I've had too much.



conway: It's getting harder. (words-getting-harder)
conway: It'll come to you. (words-will-come)

words-getting-harder

lysette: Yes, it is.



goto boxes

words-will-come

lysette: Maybe. I'm not sure anymore. It seems inevitable there will start to be words that I lose forever ...



goto boxes

boxes

lysette: What are those boxes you set in the hallway?



conway: Those are Charlie's old books. (charlies-books)
conway: Those are your clothes. You packed them yesterday. (clothes)

clothes

lysette: I ... of course.



goto cora-soon

charlies-books

lysette: Oh.



conway: I thought you might like to look at them. (lysette-look-at-books)
conway: I thought we could look them together. (look-at-books-together)

lysette-look-at-books

lysette: I'll take them with me. Thank you.



goto cora-soon

look-at-books-together

lysette: That sounds nice.



goto cora-soon

cora-soon

lysette: Cora should be here soon. Will you wait with me?



conway: I should get that delivery out. (wait-delivery)
conway: Sure, Lys. I'll wait with you. (scene-final)

wait-delivery

lysette: I know. It's just ... what if I don't recognize her?



conway: You know your own sister. (know-sister)
conway: Sure, Lys. I'll wait with you. (scene-final)

know-sister

lysette: I hope so. These days ... it's going faster than I thought.



conway: You'll be OK. She'll take care of you now. (scene-final)
conway: Sure, Lys. I'll wait with you. (scene-final)

scene-final

radio announcer: ~There's your traffic and weather on the ~^fives^~ — that's ~^every^~ ten minutes — brought to you by the Consolidated Power Company. Stick around for "Old Kentucky Home" with Kate, helping you turn your humble home into a ~^mansion^~. After this.~



goto end

intro

goto museum-goers-one [if museum-goers-one]
goto museum-goers-two [if museum-goers-two]
goto museum-goers-three [if museum-goers-three]
goto museum-goers-last [if museum-goers-last]


museum-goers-one

emily: "9am-5pm every day of the year, except Labor Day. Last admission is at 4pm daily."

bob: Damn.

emily: Try the door.



conway: You're a little late for the museum. (museum-goers-one-b)
conway: Are you folks lost? (museum-goers-one-b)

museum-goers-one-b

ben: `(To EMILY)` And then what?

emily: Ben, you're being `very` uptight right now.



goto end

museum-goers-two

ben: `(To EMILY)` You're right, it's unlocked.

bob: I'm not sure it's `finished` in there, though.

emily: What's `finished`? Would it be better if it were `finished`? Can we be sure of that?



conway: They're pretty friendly in there. (museum-goers-two-b)
conway: This late, you'll wake someone up. (museum-goers-two-b)

museum-goers-two-b

emily: `(To BEN)` Hush. I think I heard a voice — maybe a security guard?

bob: I didn't hear anything.

ben: We're just too late. Let's come back tomorrow.



goto end

museum-goers-three

ben: Alright. Let's go in.

bob: If everything's shut down, it'll be pretty boring.



conway: It's definitely after hours. (museum-goers-three-b)
conway: Any of you folks know a diner or something around here? (museum-goers-three-b)

museum-goers-three-b

ben: `(To BOB)` What?

bob: I said it'll be `boring`.

ben: No, I ...

emily: We have flashlights. Look: if we visit by day, we see what `they` want us to see. If we visit by night ... it's all up to us!



goto end

museum-goers-last

(*EMILY*, *BEN* and *BOB* argue about whether to enter the museum.)



goto end

intro

shannon: So ... what's the plan, here?



conway: Head back to the |Zero|, I guess. (zero)
conway: We should try to get in touch with that clerk. (lula)
conway: I could use a bite to eat. (eat)
conway: What do you think? (shannon-opinion)

zero

shannon: I hope these are the right files. I mean ... I'm pretty sure they're what Lula was asking for, but it was kind of a mess in that storage facility.



goto zero-how

lula

shannon: Yeah, OK. These files we got from the storage facility are all tagged and stamped — there's a phone number ...

shannon: Oh, it's long-distance. Weird. Well, we can head back to my workshop and use the phone there. My landlord has a pretty good phone plan. He's always calling home to Ukraine.



conway: Sounds good to me. (head-to-workshop)
conway: Let's just head back to the |Zero|. (zero-how)

eat

shannon: Oh, OK. You've been on the road a while.

shannon: Well, there's an all-night convenience store not too far from here. Is that OK?



conway: Sounds good to me. (eat-ok)
conway: Let's just head back to the |Zero|. (zero-how)

eat-ok

shannon: OK. We can take thirty-one heading east. It's right before sixty-five.



goto end

shannon-opinion

shannon: Well, we've got to get back on the |Zero| and bring these documents back to the clerk at the Bureau.

shannon: I'm just not sure how to get there. The entrance at the farmhouse was gone ...



conway: Let's take another look at that farmhouse. (zero-conway-farmhouse)
conway: Let's ask at the gas station if he knows another route. (zero-conway-gas-station)

zero-how

shannon: How do we get back there, though? The entrance at the farmhouse was gone ...



conway: Let's take another look at that farmhouse. (zero-conway-farmhouse)
conway: Let's ask at the gas station if he knows another route. (zero-conway-gas-station)

zero-conway-farmhouse

shannon: Sure, OK. Maybe we missed something.



goto end

zero-conway-gas-station

shannon: Sure, OK. Worth a shot.



goto end

head-to-workshop

shannon: OK. It's up north, remember? By the lake, where Peonia and Wax meet.



goto end

intro



conway: Guess the rain stopped. (rain)
conway: You get some rest back there? (rest)

rain



conway: It'll be earthworms all over this lot. (worms)
conway: Hope there's nothing in the roads. (debris)

worms



conway: Damn shame to be an earthworm in a rainstorm. (end)
conway: Watch your step. (end)

debris



conway: We'll get around it, whatever it is. (end)
conway: Could be dangerous. Better drive slowly. (end)

rest



conway: I don't feel much rested, myself. (conway-rested)
conway: That doctor seemed nice enough. (doctor)

conway-rested



conway: But I'm tired most of the time, these days. (end)
conway: We'll get a break. Maybe tomorrow, huh? (end)

doctor



conway: Yeah, I'm sure he does an OK job. (end)
conway: Just got in over his head is all ... (end)

intro

flora: Can you still see it?



ezra: Yeah, I have really powerful eyes. (yes)
ezra: Just barely, if I squint. (romantic)
ezra: No. (no)

yes

flora: Me too. We should keep watching until it's about to disappear completely.



goto end

no

flora: I guess it's too late, then. To say something romantic.



ezra: It could be something about the boat being gone. (romantic)
ezra: Yeah, too late. (end)

romantic

flora: You'd better hurry up with a poem or something.



ezra: A boat beneath a sunny sky ... (sunny-sky)
ezra: All in the golden afternoon ... (afternoon)
ezra: I don't know what to say. (no-poem)

sunny-sky

ezra: `A boat beneath a sunny sky, Lingering onward dreamily In an evening of July` —

flora: No, no. It's not even sunny.



goto poem-end

afternoon

ezra: `All in the golden afternoon Full leisurely we glide; For both our oars, with little skill, By little arms are plied` —

flora: No, no. It's the middle of the night.



goto poem-end

no-poem

flora: It's OK. I like you anyway.



goto end

poem-end

flora: It's OK. I like you anyway.



goto end

intro

flora: Are those people like your new family?



ezra: I think we're friends. (friends)
ezra: They're actually kind of weird. (weird)

friends

flora: I don't have any friends, because I'm so busy.



goto rain

weird

flora: I know.



goto rain

rain

flora: Too bad it's not raining anymore.



ezra: Did you make that boat? (boat)
ezra: You like the rain? (swim)

boat

flora: I folded it out of some paper from the front desk. How far do you think it will go?

flora: We should stand here and watch it until it disappears over the horizon, with a far-off look in our eyes.

flora: I'll lean my head on your shoulder and right when it's a tiny speck, just before it vanishes, you'll say something romantic.



ezra: OK. (boat-ok)
ezra: I have to go with my friends now. (boat-no)

boat-ok

flora: Well, we'd better get started.



goto end

boat-no

flora: OK.



goto end

swim

flora: I'm an excellent swimmer.



ezra: So what's the boat for? (boat)
ezra: I have to go now. (boat-no)

intro

shannon: How are the drugs treating you?



conway: I feel a little distracted. (distracted)
conway: Streetlights seem a bit brighter. (lights)
conway: I don't like to take medicine. (medicine)

distracted

shannon: You're probably pretty tired, too. I usually feel more tired after a late night nap.

shannon: Hey, you ever take anything for that? Caffeine pills, or ...



conway: Never. (pills-never)
conway: It's all or nothing, for me ... (pills-drinking)

pills-never

shannon: Well, it's ... common in your line of work, right? The company store had some pills the miners used to stay awake.



pills-drinking

shannon: Oh, right. They probably tell you to steer clear of all that stuff, huh? Yeah, I guess you never know ...



lights

shannon: Oh, like trails and tracers?



conway: Something like that. (trails-yes)
conway: What do you mean? (trails-no)

trails-yes

shannon: My mom used to get that ... she had migraines.



trails-no

shannon: Oh, never mind. Your pupils are probably just dilated or something.

shannon: My dad got a hold of these eye drops once; they stimulate the muscles in your eyeball and dilate the pupils. I guess they have some medical use, but one of the other miners said they'd help him see in the dark.

shannon: But then he had to wear sunglasses all day. The drops lasted too long. Ha ha.



medicine

shannon: Naw, it's good for you. He's a doctor, right?

shannon: I know what you mean, though ...



shannon-parents-medicine

shannon: My folks had a peculiar relationship with medicine. We almost never had a regular doctor, or health insurance, or anything like that. Our immigration stuff was a mess for most of my childhood, so we only qualified for state programs in small patches before something or other would get contested, and we learned to just pile on dentists appointments and stuff in those short windows.

shannon: If a cut got infected or her migraines were too much to handle, mom would talk to so-and-so who knew so-and-so — usually another miner — and end up with some pills. And instead of medical advice, every pill came with gossipy anecdotal warnings and superstitions. Like all this `lore` that came with it.

shannon: Like magic. Dangerous. Mysterious.



conway: Weaver's folks couldn't help? (weaver-help)
conway: Ever run into any problems? (shannon-medicine-problems)

weaver-help

shannon: Yeah, they had pretty good health care through the university for a while there. A couple times, they'd swing something so I got a bit of whatever Weaver needed ...



shannon-medicine-problems

shannon: Sure, yeah. Stuff would be expired, or mislabeled. Mom was allergic to penicillin, as it turned out. That was scary. And one time ...



weaver-pills

shannon: In high school, Weaver got these pills to help her focus. She was so smart, but always going off in different directions, mind racing, like five conversations going on in her head at once and you're lucky if even one of them is with someone in the room ... you know.

shannon: So she had these pills, and they seemed to help. I was struggling in school too. Failing my history class. She offered to share the pills.



conway: Did it help? (weaver-pills-help)
conway: Sounds dangerous. (weaver-pills-dangerous)

weaver-pills-help

shannon: At first, yeah. It helped a lot. I had a kind presence and clarity of purpose that ... I've never really had otherwise. I didn't want to stop taking them.



weaver-pills-dangerous

shannon: Yeah. They seemed pretty harmless at first. I guess that's why I kept going with it.



weaver-pills-final

shannon: One day I was sitting on my bed, my notebook was open next to me on top of a textbook, and I was holding a pen in my hand. I remembered this moment from several years before. It came up so suddenly, with such precision, I couldn't put it out of my mind. I felt I had to stay with it until I'd recalled the whole thing perfectly.

shannon: It was just a tiny nothing moment — my mom patching up the side of a birdcage, winding some spare wire around the frame to reinforce it. I was fixated on that image, and that sound. The cage kind of bending and twanging as she worked on it, wrapping and knotting, scraping copper against paint like bowing a rubber violin with a railroad tie.

shannon: My parents came back from a triple shift and found me still sitting there on the edge of the bed, pen in my hand, delirious with thirst, patching that birdcage with a thousand-yard stare.



goto end

intro

A blanket is spread in the grass just off the road. It would make a reasonable spot for a picnic, sheltered in the daytime by a coffeetree.



: Walk to the picnic spread. (approach)
: Drive away. (end)

approach

Five places are set. One plate is piled with ham, another with apples.



: Examine the ham. (ham)
: Examine the apples. (apple)

ham

It definitely isn't ham. Maybe felt? Dyed and embroidered fabric? Some kind of `toy` ham.



goto play

apple

The apples are waxy ... no, the apples are wax. Wax apples, for display. Maybe toys?



goto play

play

Someone must have been here, playing at a picnic. The supplies are weathered. Hard to tell how long ago that happened.



goto end

intro

The arcade is closed.



goto end

intro

A faux-rustic wooden sign hangs by chain above the door: "Glasgow Clockworks," carved in a fanciful typeface, then set with what looks like brass or colored plastic. The windows are darkened, too crowded with antique clocks to make out the interior.

A small metal sign bolted in the building's alley reads "GTS Stop #5. 5:30 — 7:15 — 8:45 — 10:15 — 12:15 — ," and then several more numbers or words, worn illegible by rain.

Three people stand under the sign: a young man with a newspaper, a young woman scribbling anxiously in a leather-bound journal, and an older woman who's face is shadowed by a wide-brimmed hat.[if !overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-anyone]

A young man with a newspaper leans against the wall.[if overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-anyone+!overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-keith]

A young woman scribbles anxiously in a leather-bound journal.[if overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-anyone+!overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-patty]

An older woman's face is shadowed by a wide-brimmed hat.[if overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-anyone+!overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-linda]



root-choices



: Peer into the window. (window) [if !overworld-looked-into-clockworks-window]
: Listen at the glass. (window-listen) [if !overworld-listened-at-clockworks-window]
: Examine the sign. (bus-sign) [if !overworld-bus-stop-examined-sign]
: Offer a ride to the man. (offer-ride-man) [if overworld-bus-stop-examined-sign+!overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-keith]
: Offer a ride to the younger woman. (offer-ride-young-woman) [if overworld-bus-stop-examined-sign+!overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-patty]
: Offer a ride to the older woman. (offer-ride-old-woman) [if overworld-bus-stop-examined-sign+!overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-linda]
: Drive away. (end)

window

It's hard to tell where the curtains' shadows end and the dusty clock silhouettes begin.



window-listen

Conway rests his head against the window and closes his eyes. It feels cool. His breath fogs the glass like September.

It was fall when he met Lysette. School days. Neither of them were very good students. They'd cut out early and spend the afternoons in darkened bars.

Sometimes she'd sing, or he'd pick up bottles, and the staff would pretend they were old enough to be there. Conway and Lysette would pretend, too.

Then he got a long haul job, lost it on the road, and took too long coming home. He took a job from a wiry, irritable roofer named Ira.

Ira brought him home to meet the wife and son, and there she was. Conway kept his mouth shut, not out of respect but out of habit.



bus-sign

It's impossible to tell how late the bus runs. Are these people just waiting? Could they have missed the last bus?



: Offer a ride to the man. (offer-ride-man) [if !overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-keith]
: Offer a ride to the younger woman. (offer-ride-young-woman) [if !overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-patty]
: Offer a ride to the older woman. (offer-ride-old-woman) [if !overworld-bus-stop-picked-up-linda]
: Drive away. (end)

offer-ride-man

The man accepts gratefully. His name is Keith. He lives a ways west, not far from the Museum of Dwellings. Just south across sixty-five.



goto end

offer-ride-young-woman

The young woman accepts cautiously. Her name is Patty. She lives near the state park, a short drive west of the Marquez farmhouse, on route seventy.



goto end

offer-ride-old-woman

The old woman grumbles to herself as she climbs in the truck. Her name is Linda. She lives near the artificial limb factory, but can't be bothered for specifics.



goto end

intro

The convenience store is just a tiny booth in the middle of a lot that must have once been an active gas station. Disused pumps chip red paint into dull brown and white stains.

The light in the booth is on.



: Approach a window. (window)
: Drive away. (end)

window

The inside of the booth is big enough for a card table, two chairs, and a few plastic crates filled with snacks and warm coke. Two men shuffle plastic dominoes across the table.



: Knock on the window. (knock)
: Look for a door. (door)
: Drive away. (end)

knock

One of the men waves brusquely in Conway's general direction, and returns his focus to the game.



: Look for a door (door)
: Drive away (end)

door

He finds a sliding service window on the far side of the booth. It's the kind of service window that can slide in and out of the booth without allowing anyone to reach in and make a grab for the cash register.



: Pass in some money. (add-money)
: Knock on the window. (knock-service-window)

knock-service-window

One of the men sends his partner an exasperated glance, then returns his attention to the game.



: Pass in some money. (add-money)
: Drive away. (end)

add-money

One of the men lets out a vexed sigh. Without standing, or turning his eyes away from the game, he reaches into a plastic crate and retrieves a small blue bag, distractedly pushing it through the service window.

Chips, or ... something? The bag is illustrated with a cartoon drawing of an avocado, but the nutritional data suggests it's pretty sugary. The expiration date has been worn away.



goto end

intro

Keith is an auto claims adjuster now. He went to the University of Indianapolis: mathematics, with a minor in sports marketing.

Halfway through his junior year in college, Keith's boyfriend ran away with an older woman. His grades fell off. He stopped shaving. His friends were concerned, and suggested he take a semester off to refocus himself. He sold his car, and spent three months traveling the country by Greyhound bus.

Keith found himself in Butte, Montana, in the dead of winter, his rough beard stained with gas station coffee, and his eyes clouded with travel. He bought a second coat at a thrift store, then settled onto a stool in a tavern by the cemetery.

Keith sipped a light beer and lost himself in a photo on the wall: a portrait of Evil Knievel. Knievel looked tired. More than tired: spent. Drained. Old. But Keith could have sworn those murky, bloodshot eyes were looking `right` into his soul, as if to tell him —

Keith's apartment is here, on the left. The salmon-colored building. That's his apartment, with the blue and white star decals stuck in the window.



goto end

intro

Linda doesn't care for the public transportation in this area. The buses are too small — in fact, they hardly qualify. Linda worked for twenty-five years as a city planner in Knoxville, so she knows, but it's not her place to say, really.

But if she were asked — if anyone `were` to ask — she'd start with public transportation. It's the pride of a civil society. It's a `place`, as much as any city center. It ought to be funded as such.

Sure, you could spend thousands on some concrete fountain, some scene of antiquity, something really `impressive`. But what does that do for a `polis`? Who meets at a fountain to exchange ideas?

Drug dealers. That's who. And maniacs.

Linda meets people on the bus, or at the bus stop. That's where things get done. In Mexico City, or Montreal, Or New York, the trains are so fluid in their dependability that they're practically a stable `place` themselves.

They're at least as reliable a place as —

Linda lives here, with her daughter and son-in-law, in that squat, gray building on the left. She owns the house, but her room is in the basement. The basement! Of her own house! Life is suffering, as they say.



goto end

intro

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

intro

This isolated stretch of railroad track is overgrown with wildflowers. It spans only a few hundred yards, and is bracketed on each side by a pile of rotting wooden ties.

The only visible stop on the railway is a squat, wooden station building, brightly lit from within.



: Enter the building. (enter)
: Drive away. (end)

enter

The station interior is `warm`: soft orange light from a few antique fixtures, worn but finished wood floors and counters, and a compact space heater left conspicuously in the middle of the room.

Train memorabilia hangs from racks on the wall. A model steam engine pulls boxcars steadily along a track threaded through the rafters.

A teenager in a kitschy engineer's cap is slumped behind a cash register, asleep.



: Flip through magazines. (conway-magazines)
: Examine the model train. (ezra-engine)

conway-magazines

They all seem to be train-related magazines, but ...



: Read "Life on the Rails." (train-hopping)
: Read "Model Painter's Monthly." (advertisement)

train-hopping

"Life on the Rails: How a New Generation Is Reclaiming Hobo Culture."

It's pretty argumentative. Kind of a manifesto or something.

Parts of it are interviews with cops or security guards about chasing kids away from rail yards, with a lot of editorializing on the part of the interviewer ...

The kids look hungry. Charlie's school had this big cafeteria — he sneaked Conway in there when he was in the area once, and they had big meal.

It was late morning, and they were just closing up breakfast, so they gave Conway extra eggs — looked like almost three servings.

These kids should think about going to college. Better food than a damned lonely train car.



goto end

advertisement

"Corrostain is Your New Solution for Instant Rust!"

They're selling some kind of paint for train models.

It sounds like you put a little of it on for detail after you have the car painted how you want it, then let it sit for a few hours and it makes realistic rust patterns.

Once, in the bad old days, some customer accused Lysette of falsifying an antique. Soaking a reprinted illustration in iced tea.

She said, "why would I go to all that work when I can just find these old drawings at estate sales?"

It turned out the illustration was a reprint, but it had aged really fast the way it was stored in some family's basement, before Lysette ever saw it.

She was pretty embarrassed. But it wasn't her fault.

What's the difference if a piece of paper is forty years old or if it's twenty years old but it's been aging twice as fast?

If what you want is something old, anyway.



goto end

ezra-engine

It's too high up to get a good look at.



: Ask for help. (engine-lift)
: Climb higher. (engine-climb)

engine-lift

The train speeds by, just out of reach. Ezra shifts his weight, lifts his left knee to chin height and, before Conway can stop him, vaults off the older man's shoulder and up into the rafters.



engine-climb

It takes a few goes, and a bit of engineering, but he's able to get within several feet of the rafters. From there, it's a matter of faith and athleticism.



in-rafters

The view from the rafters is not much different: piles of boxed trains and train memorabilia, the clerk asleep behind the desk, Conway looking awkwardly around the room and occasionally scratching the nape of his neck.

Does he know he does that? Is it just one of those things he does, like the way Ezra's mother half-sings "hello" and "good-bye?"

It almost sounds like a joke, or a question, when she does it.

Conway scratching his neck seems like a question, too. "Are we really here?" maybe. Or maybe, "is this it?"

The train isn't very interesting up close. After all, it's only a toy.



goto end

intro

A sign in front of the building just reads "Museum." The lights are off, but the front door is open.



: Enter the museum. (enter-museum)
: Drive away. (end)

enter-museum

A few feet inside the museum doors, the ambient sound of the highway drops sharply away. The room is cold, dark, and still.

Three gray figures sweep up broken glass.



: Help clean up. (help)
: Drive away. (end)

help

They carefully sweep the glass, stopping now and then to get on their knees and pick up a large chunk, or delicately brush some smaller fragments into a dustpan.



: Look for a trash can. (can)
: Check shoes for broken glass. (shoe)

can

A large, plastic trash bin with wheels is parked around the corner, but it's already overflowing. Where did all this glass come from?



goto end

shoe

It's about a half-inch long, jutting uncomfortably into the sole of his boot. He throws it at the dustpan. For a moment, it catches a ray of streetlight from the doorway, a wavering red-green-blue prism. It lands with a clink among the other pieces of glass.



goto end

intro

Conway leaves the truck to stretch his legs by the creek. He follows the edge of the road, then wanders a bit into the woods where the creek and road part.

The creek bed is nearly dry this time of year, but a few thin channels still run through the rocks.

He can barely make out the moonlit silhouette of an overturned boat, a few dozen yards down the creek. He reaches habitually into his jacket pocket, then remembers he doesn't carry a flask anymore.



goto end

intro

Patty has an idea for a new kind of chair. Not really the whole chair, just the part on the chair that lets you adjust the height or the tilt. It could be adapted to fit almost any chair design, and it doesn't take up much space. It could be flat-packed, even.

It's really a much more reliable design in the long term, and using the current crop of seat adjustment mechanisms you're always running the risk of pinching your fingers fumbling around down under your chair. Not so with Patty's new design.

But it's not cheap to get a prototype fabricated for such a thing. Too many moving parts. That much is unavoidable! Patty's been doing some freelance technical writing to pay the bills, and setting aside as much as she can towards the project. She calls it "the project" when talking to friends and family, and by now everyone knows what she means.

In school, she was easily distracted. Her teachers never thought she'd really "command her full potential," and so on. But it won't be long now. Patty's staying here, in that ugly amber bungalow. Again, it's only temporary.



goto end

intro

The petting zoo is closed.



goto end

intro

A few cows drink from a small pond by the intersection. There's no fence in sight. Ezra suggests they may be wild cows, but the possibility is dismissed. He runs down to the edge of the pond, to a pile of small rocks, and throws one in.



: Walk to stones. (skip-stones)
: Watch Ezra. (watch-ezra)

skip-stones

He sifts through the pile until he finds two flat, smooth stones. Ezra watches with interest as Conway skips the stones across the pond.



: Watch Conway's wrist. (wrist)
: Watch Conway's shoulder. (shoulder)

wrist

It's stiff for the arc of the throw, then snaps forward almost accidentally, like an umbrella breaking in the wind. Good spin on it, but there's something disquieting about that snap, and the sound it should make.



shoulder

He wouldn't have thought to throw his shoulder forward that late. It looks like a clumsy afterthought, there's something crude about it. Maybe that's where the strength comes from.



ezra-skips

Ezra takes a rock from the pile. He turns himself perpendicular to the edge of the pond, leans down, snaps his wrist and grunts distastefully as he throws his shoulder forward. Three skips. Not bad.



goto end

watch-ezra

Who left all these rocks here, anyway? Someone walked the edge of the pond looking for good skipping rocks, piled them up, and then ... maybe just ran out of time.

Ezra throws another rock in the pond.



: Show Ezra how to skip a stone. (skip-stones)
: Watch Ezra. (watch-end)

watch-end

Ezra's picking it up by experimentation. He has the wrist movement nailed. Shoulder's a bit quick — the stones take a weird turn and sometimes miss the pond completely.

But he doesn't need an old man telling him how to do it. Anyway, it's hard to know when they're even listening.



goto end

intro

The truck pulls into the bait shop parking lot.

The bait shop is closed.



: Enter workshop. (shop)
: Drive away. (end)

shop

Shannon fumbles with her key for a bit and then looks down at her feet. The locks have been changed.

She writes a short but stern note about tenant's rights, and pins it to the door.



goto end

intro

Neon signs rattle tunelessly in the dark.



goto end

intro

The truck's engine sputters and dies, as Conway guides it carefully off the road next to a fallen tree.



goto end

intro

shannon: What's this station? I've never heard this before. Sounds like ... horses ... horses running? A race?



conway: Lysette and Ira had some horses, years back. (lysettes-horses)
conway: Charlie and I used to go to races sometimes. (races)
goto end

lysettes-horses

shannon: Yeah? I've always been a little afraid of them. They're so big, and ... I don't know. You look in their eyes, and they're almost human.

shannon: Like they're human and animal at the same time. Since they've been domesticated so long, I guess ...



goto uncanny

races

shannon: Charlie, he was your boss's kid, right? The one who, uh ... yeah, must be some memories there.



goto uncanny

uncanny

shannon: Well, that fits "familiar but strange" for me. Harry said we just drive until it cuts out?



goto end

intro

shannon: This station doesn't `quite` match that bartender's description ...

shannon: Definitely weird, though. Let's keep scanning; he said we'd know it when we heard it.



goto end

intro

carrington: Ah! So glad you stopped by. I've been standing here alone, waiting for my cast and crew, and I'm afraid very little can be done in their absence.

carrington: I've just been thinking. The narrow constraints of this space will make for quite an introspective stage. Even trying to visualize the performance here, I find my own thoughts drawn inward ...

carrington: Well, I suppose it is the business of a cast and crew to be late, just as it is the business of a director to visualize.

carrington: It's all becoming very clear to me. This venue will be perfect, a triumph ...

carrington: I wonder, do you ever feel as though you've arrived after ...



shannon: After what? (after)
shannon: I've been running late all day. (late)

late

carrington: Exactly. Standing at the end of history, too late for masterpieces. Too late for an `Oresteia`, for a `Faustus`, for an `Iceman` ...



goto stage

after

carrington: Just `after`, I suppose. After `Oresteia`. After `Faustus`. After `Iceman` ...

carrington: What's your most treasured stage production, my friend?



goto stage

stage



shannon: I saw `The Glass Menagerie` once. (glass-menagerie)
ezra: I've never seen a play. (never-seen-a-play)

glass-menagerie

carrington: Oh? Tell me about it.



shannon: It was on TV. (gm-on-tv)
shannon: They let us out of school to see it. (gm-on-stage)

gm-on-tv



shannon: They all had lots of make-up, and the camera was too close so you could really see it caked on there. (make-up)
shannon: I think they just pointed a camera at the stage and let it run. (pointed-a-camera)
shannon: It was playing in a bar with the sound off. (sound-off)

make-up

carrington: I suppose all tragedies become brittle and uncanny when viewed from the wrong distances ...



goto staging

pointed-a-camera

carrington: The view from the peanut gallery!



goto staging

sound-off

carrington: Well, I'm sure there was plenty of ambient tragedy to fill in the gaps.



goto staging

gm-on-stage



shannon: We had to sit near the back, and I could only hear a few parts. (sat-in-back)
shannon: I think I fell asleep. (fell-asleep)

sat-in-back

carrington: What do you remember?



shannon: They played this strange music through the whole thing. (plastic-theater)
shannon: They had a screen with words and pictures projected on it. (plastic-theater)

plastic-theater

carrington: Hm. Yes. Quite an experimental production, really — did you know? Plastic theater.



goto staging

fell-asleep

carrington: Hm. Uncomfortable dreams, I can only guess ...



goto staging

never-seen-a-play

carrington: Ah! Then let this be your first. I can't promise it will be an ideal introduction to the form — it is, as I say, an `experimental` production, conceived in response to the full history of the stage ...



goto staging

staging

carrington: So, that said ... I have my vision for the transformation of this venue. But it's all still unsettled and potential, while we wait for the cast and crew to arrive.

carrington: So tell me, what do you think? Where in this cavernous storage facility shall we stage the production?

carrington: Where is there room for an audience to get that crucial dramatic distance from the performers?



shannon: You could connect the audience and performers with a closed-circuit TV? (closed-circuit)
ezra: You don't need an audience. (no-audience)

no-audience

carrington: How unorthodox ... an intimate performance, for the performers alone. And how lonely it would be — a theater of the dispossessed!



closed-circuit

carrington: Ah! Dramatic distance, indeed! It's certainly a modern take, and certainly within the realm of the possible ... In fact, we may be able to repurpose this facility's own security camera network!



bye-for-now

carrington: You've given me a great deal to think about, friends. And it seems I'll have some time yet to consider it all.

carrington: Well, surely the cast and crew will arrive within the hour, and we'll begin constructing the set and arranging the lights.

carrington: I hope you can come by again to see me before the show, but I understand you have your own tasks to carry out.

carrington: Just remember: `Death of the Hired Man`! Random Access Storage Facility! Dawn!



goto end

intro



junebug: You feeling alright, there? You look a little woozy. (feeling-alright)
junebug: Good to stretch a bit. How's your leg? (leg)

feeling-alright

conway: They give you a free drink when you play a show?



junebug: Sure, Harry usually spots the band a glass of something. (harry-spots)
junebug: We don't really drink. (dont-drink)

harry-spots

conway: `Shift drink`. Right? Aw, never mind.



goto end

dont-drink

conway: Me neither. Fifteen months. How do you like that?



goto end

leg

conway: Yeah, you can tell it's all messed up. Broken, or ... yeah, not like a broken bone. Just broken.[if leg-problem=looks-wrong]

conway: Not my leg.[if leg-problem=doesnt-belong-to-me]

conway: Does what it needs to. Guess I'll still need a clutch foot, after all.[if leg-problem=not-worth-it]

conway: Just another reminder I don't belong here.[if leg-problem=memory]

johnny: Huh. OK.



goto end

intro

mary ann: Oh, hi. `(To EZRA)` Hello, there, what's your name?



ezra: Ezra. What are you doing? (ezra-bold)
: (EZRA looks at his shoes.) (ezra-shy)

ezra-bold

mary ann: Just clearing my head. Turpentine is good for that. Clears the sinuses, and the cobwebs.



goto oils

ezra-shy

shannon: Ha. I guess he's feeling shy. Is that oil paint?



goto oils

oils

mary ann: I can only do watercolors at home — my apartment is carpeted, and the landlord's paranoid it'll soak up the fumes.

mary ann: But these storage spaces are pretty cheap, and the ventilation is good. So I can play with oil paints here. Cheaper than a studio.



ezra: What are you painting? (subject)
ezra: It smells dangerous. (fumes)
ezra: Me and Julian built a rock sculpture by the lake. (sculpture)

subject

mary ann: Sometimes landscapes. Sometimes color fields. I just like to use the whole canvas. Keep your eyes moving.



goto end

fumes

mary ann: It's kind of intoxicating, isn't it? Nah, the vents work pretty well in here. Totally safe.



ezra: What are you painting? (subject)
ezra: Me and Julian built a rock sculpture by the lake. (sculpture)

sculpture

mary ann: What was it?



ezra: An eagle. (sculpture-eagle)
ezra: A boy. (sculpture-boy)
ezra: Just a big pile of rocks. (sculpture-rocks)

sculpture-eagle

mary ann: Sounds impressive.



goto end

sculpture-boy

mary ann: Self portrait in stone. Nice.



goto end

sculpture-rocks

mary ann: You sound like my ex. She's a nihilist.

mary ann: Ha ha.



goto end

intro

shannon: Kind of late — are you sure they're open?

junebug: Sure, they're open. This is one of `those` places.



conway: We came by earlier and they were closed. (closed-earlier) [if two:overworld-saw-tavern]
conway: Let's head on in. (head-in)
conway: Give me a minute, here. (wait)

closed-earlier

junebug: Oh, you know it? Pretty rough, huh?

shannon: We never went inside.

junebug: Eh, it's not that bad.



conway: Let's head on in. (head-in)
conway: Give me a minute, here. (wait)

head-in

junebug: "We are not saints, but we've kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?"

johnny: That's lovely, ma'am. Who said it?

junebug: A poet.



goto end

wait

junebug: "We are not saints, but we've kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?"

johnny: That's lovely, ma'am. Who said it?

junebug: A poet.



goto end

intro



conway: Doesn't feel right. (wrong)
conway: Feels a little like home, huh? (home)

wrong



conway: Feels dead here. (dead)
conway: Like a deep pit. (pit)

dead



conway: Or like something once died, anyway. (end)
conway: Well, that's just a feeling. Right? (end)

pit



conway: Like a snare. (end)
conway: I wonder sometimes if I'm really up here, or still down below ... (end)

home



conway: But I wish it didn't. (home-wish-didnt)
conway: It's not all bad memories. (home-good-memories)

home-wish-didnt



conway: Well, can't control your feelings, right? (end)
conway: Got to keep focused, here, old man[variable: one:dog-name]. Got to keep focused. (end)

home-good-memories



conway: Some of it I don't remember at all ... (end)
conway: Gentler times, in a twisted kind of way. (end)

intro

dr. truman: ... but that's only if you make a late payment on a follow-up visit; I think everything went well enough here that they'll only want to bill for —

shannon: Oh! He's awake. How do you feel, old man? All fixed up? Truman says you might be a bit "misty" coming out of it, so —



conway: I was dreaming. (dreaming)
conway: What time is it? (how-long)
conway: I feel fine. (i-feel-fine)

dreaming

dr. truman: That's unlikely. `Neurypnol TM` is quite powerful. In fact, many patients report a sensation of "lost time." Do you feel like you've lost time?



conway: I guess so. (how-long)
conway: I feel fine. (i-feel-fine)

how-long

shannon: It's been about two hours.



conway: What have you been doing? (what-shannon-has-been-doing)
conway: Feel like I got some rest. (i-feel-fine)

i-feel-fine

shannon: Good.



what-shannon-has-been-doing

shannon: We watched TV for a while. Then Dr. Truman showed me some of the terms of this bill. It's kind of ... you'll want to look over it yourself, I think.



hows-your-leg

dr. truman: How about that leg? How's your leg feeling?

shannon: Yeah, that's the important part.

(*CONWAY* shifts his leg a bit in the chair, testing it.)

shannon: Well?



conway: This isn't my leg. (not-my-leg)
conway: It seems better, but ... it wasn't worth it. (wasnt-worth-it)
conway: It was the heat. The shingles were cracked in the sun, and one of them slipped out under his feet ... (heat)

not-my-leg

shannon: Not your — of course it's your leg!



conway: It looks wrong. You replaced it. (looks-wrong)
conway: It doesn't feel like it belongs to me anymore. (belongs)

looks-wrong

belongs

body-integrity

dr. truman: Hm. I haven't encountered this ... reaction before. But it's not totally unheard of. I read a paper about something like this last year. It can happen for a lot of reasons: neurological, psychological, social ... I'm sure it won't persist in your case.



wasnt-worth-it

shannon: Come on, of course it was worth it! We've got — you've got work to do, right? Your delivery.



heat

shannon: ... shingles? What are you talking about? Who slipped?



still-misty

dr. truman: Your thoughts and feelings are probably still a little nebulous, from the `Neurypnol TM`. That's totally normal. It'll pass. I wouldn't recommend driving, at least for another hour or two, regardless.



conway: Thank you, doctor. (thank-you-doctor)
conway: I can drive. (i-can-drive)
: (*CONWAY* stares remotely at his leg.) (silent-about-driving)

thank-you-doctor

dr. truman: Sure, it's ...



i-can-drive

shannon: You should rest that clutch foot. Dr. Truman fixed some coffee; I'm not tired.



silent-about-driving

things-to-be-aware-of

dr. truman: Let's talk about a few things you should be aware of: recovery, rehabilitation, and side effects.



conway: I should have plenty of resting time coming up soon. (resting-time)
conway: Oh, I'm used to a few side effects. (side-effects)
conway: How long am I going to be recovering? (recovery-length)

resting-time

dr. truman: Good for you. Vacation, or ... ?



conway: More like unemployment. (recovery-length)
: (*SHANNON* casts a reassuring glance in *CONWAY*'s direction.) (recovery-length)

recovery-length

dr. truman: Well, at your age ... I want to be clear: you should expect lingering effects of the injury for more or less the rest of your life. Don't immerse it fully in water. Avoid extremes of temperature. I'd stay away from dusty roads and mountain lions, as much as possible.



conway: Dusty roads? (dust)
conway: Mountain lions? (mountain-lions)

dust

dr. truman: Yeah, dust can be pretty dangerous — if too much accumulates you can expect some severe shocks.



goto clean

mountain-lions

dr. truman: Good advice in any context!



goto clean

side-effects

dr. truman: They'll be side effects of `Neurypnol TM`, mostly; the operation itself wasn't particularly remarkable. Typically, we see daydreaming, deja vu, pensiveness, fugue states, irregular perception of time ... about fifteen percent of patients report a generalized sensation of "lateness."

dr. truman: Nothing to be alarmed about. Just keep it in mind.



goto clean

clean

dr. truman: Best thing you can do is keep it clean and free of debris.



conway: What do I clean it with? (clean-what)
conway: How often do I clean it? (clean-often)

clean-what

dr. truman: Only clean your leg with a soft cloth, moistened with water or isopropyl alcohol.

dr. truman: You'll definitely want to avoid abrasive agents like detergents, or other solvents.



clean-often

dr. truman: I'd say about once a month. If you find yourself unable to avoid overly dusty or moist environments, you'll want to clean it more often.

dr. truman: And, of course, have a doctor examine and recalibrate it every twelve months or so.



other-questions

dr. truman: So. Do you have any questions? Anything about the bill that didn't make sense? I don't mean to rush you, but I have an early fishing trip.



shannon: Tell him about the payment plan. In the bill. (payment-plan)
conway: I don't want to think about that bill right now ... (no-questions)
conway: What are you fishing for? (fishing)

payment-plan

dr. truman: Ah. Yeah that's one of the, uh ... `atypical` clauses. I don't really have any control over the bill, now that the Consolidated Power Company bought my employer. They handle everything.

dr. truman: So it all runs through your electricity bill now. You can pay it back in full on your next billing cycle, or you can get on an energy credit payment plan. You'd have to call Consolidated for more detail about that; I don't really understand how it works. Something about generating electricity to send back into the grid ...



goto goodbye

no-questions

dr. truman: Sure. Well, you can go over it later. If you have any questions, there's a phone number on the bottom where you can reach the Consolidated Power Company — they handle all the billing. I wouldn't put it off `too` long, if I were you.



goto goodbye

fishing

dr. truman: Just out on the lake. Stripers, maybe. Got to keep those wrists and elbows limber, you know? Ha ha.



goto goodbye

goodbye

dr. truman: Oh, one more thing. Don't be alarmed if you experience any side effects of the `Neurypnol TM`.[if !trumans-kitchen-asked-about-side-effects]

dr. truman: Typically, we see daydreaming, deja vu, pensiveness, fugue states, irregular perception of time ... about fifteen percent of patients report a generalized sensation of "lateness."[if !trumans-kitchen-asked-about-side-effects]

dr. truman: Nothing to be alarmed about. Just keep it in mind.[if !trumans-kitchen-asked-about-side-effects]

shannon: Thanks for your help.

ezra: Julian's outside. We can head back to your truck.



goto end

intro

The account resolution center is several hundred feet above the ground, precariously supported by a dozen metal pipes. The wires of a pulley system run down from a hole in the floor. A thin rope dangles next to them.



: Tug on the rope. (pull-rope)
: Drive away. (end)

pull-rope

After a few still moments, the pulley wires grind into operation and a metal bucket slowly descends.

While she watches the bucket approach, Shannon's mind wanders.



: Think about Weaver. (weaver)
: Think about the shop. (shop)

weaver

She wonders if Weaver is down here somewhere on the |Zero|, and what she might say about it. Probably something about its topology, its knotted surface.

She remembers a puzzle Weaver enjoyed as a teenager, about bridges and islands. Move between the islands, crossing each bridge once and and only once.

Weaver filled sketchbooks drawing these islands and bridges from memory, trying different routes. Eventually she moved on to other puzzles. Had she solved it? Given up? Or maybe she'd just drawn those bridges and islands so many times that she no longer needed paper and pencil to work on it.



shop

When she first moved in, the workshop was a sort of hybrid storage closet and garbage can for expired snacks. Months later, after she'd installed enough shelves and surge protectors to feel at home, she continued to find discontinued protein bars and gray candy wrappers in odd corners of the room.

It wasn't a huge shift to start sleeping there. She's always had trouble falling asleep without a droning fan or some other white noise. So, now what? Another shop, or an apartment, will need some kind of deposit ...

Maybe she can sleep outside. Trade the hiss of a dead channel for the wind in dead leaves.



bucket-appears

The pulley stops abruptly as the bucket reaches shoulder height. Inside is a handwritten note: "REGRETTABLY INDISPOSED PLEASE CALL AGAIN."



goto end

intro

Six children dance in pairs on a large, flat, mossy rock. A seventh child — a girl in a long, gray shirt — plays with some colored string.



: Dance. (dance)
: Ask about string. (string)

dance

She takes his arm. The other children sing about the weather, and a drunk old farmer.



: Ask her name. (ask-name)
: Watch the others. (watch-movements)

ask-name

She pinches his elbow. He slips a bit on the moss, but she catches him.



goto dance-end

watch-movements

He matches their steps perfectly, but a bit too quickly. She grips his elbow to keep up.



goto dance-end

dance-end

She lets go of Ezra's arm, and all the children switch partners. They sing about the weather and the drunk old farmer. After a while, Ezra walks back to the truck, leaving his new partner to play with the colored string.



goto end

string

She says she's weaving. The other children are singing about the weather, and a drunk old farmer. She says the next part of the verse is about weaving, so she's getting ready.



: Dance. (dance)
: Watch the others. (watch)

watch

Soon, the children switch partners. Now a different girl is playing with the string. They do sing about weaving, but just for a line or two. Then it's back to the weather and the drunk old farmer.



goto end

intro

Four children roam the shore of an underground river, collecting handfuls of mud and rocks, and depositing them in a metal bowl close to the water.



: Contribute some water. (water)
: Contribute some sticks. (sticks)

water

One of the children smiles gratefully, and washes some of the stones. Another leans over the bowl, pretending to smell it, and nods in satisfaction.



goto meal

sticks

One of the children stops Ezra before he can add the sticks. She looks the sticks over with mock scrutiny, wipes one off on her skirt, and then enthusiastically dashes them into the bowl.



goto meal

meal

The children sit cross-legged around the bowl. They fold their hands, bow their heads, and mumble some nonsense. One of them looks up, and waves Ezra to sit nearby.



goto end

intro

About a dozen children are gathered in a shallow, dry basin to the side of the road. They are seated on overturned pots and pans arranged in three configurations.

One group of five children are clustered to the right. One group are arranged loosely in the center, all, facing an older girl who sits on three pans stacked together.

The boy at the head of the arrangement looks sternly down on another child, a younger boy kneeled on the stone floor without a pot to sit on.

A spare stockpot, perhaps belonging to the younger boy, is set to the side.



: Sit in the center. (witnesses-start)
: Sit on the right. (jury-start)
: Stand next to the younger boy. (lawyer-start)

witnesses-start

A few of the other children nod or wave at Ezra.

The older girl takes a wide, green leaf from the floor next to her, and pretends to read off a list of charges. The younger child is accused of making agreements for trading card exchanges which he was not able to honor.

The judge asks for a witness to testify. A boy describes the participants and events depicted on the trading card he was to receive, and makes related claims about the defendant's nature.

Ezra is asked to testify.



: Testify against him. (testify-against)
: Testify for him. (testify-for)

testify-against

The judge appears repulsed.

A few other witnesses testify to the defendant's moral failings.



goto game-end

testify-for

The judge appears impressed.

A few other witnesses testify to the defendant's character.

The jury is sequestered a few feet away, and returns with a verdict of "not guilty."



goto game-end

jury-start

One of the other children passes Ezra a leaf and a small stick, with which to take notes.

The older girl takes a wide, brown leaf from the floor next to her, and pretends to read off a list of charges. The younger child is accused of making agreements for trading card exchanges which he was not able to honor.

The judge calls a parade of witnesses from the middle group to testify about the defendant's behavior and character, and any related contractual breaches.

It is time to pass a verdict. Ezra and his fellow jurors are sequestered a few feet away.



: Vote 'guilty.' (jury-guilty)
: Vote 'not guilty.' (jury-not-guilty)

jury-guilty

They agree that the defendant should be made to honor his promised exchanges in the form of hard labor.



goto game-end

jury-not-guilty

They agree that the exchanges were not properly documented, and the defendant should walk free, but under careful scrutiny.



goto game-end

lawyer-start

The older girl nods solemnly to Ezra.

The older girl takes a wide, green leaf from the floor next to her, and pretends to read off a list of charges. The younger child is accused of making agreements for trading card exchanges which he was not able to honor.

The judge asks for a witness to testify. A boy describes the participants and events depicted on the trading card he was to receive, and makes related claims about the defendant's nature.

Ezra is prompted to argue on behalf of his client.



: Claim mistaken identity. (mistaken-identity)
: Claim prejudice. (prejudice)

mistaken-identity

The judge invites the jury to examine the defendant more carefully. The defendant slyly rearranges his hair.

The jury is sequestered a few feet away, and returns with a verdict of "not guilty."



goto game-end

prejudice

The judge considers the facts, and declares a mistrial.



goto game-end

game-end

The groups of children reconfigure themselves and a new trial begins, with the former defendant now as judge.



goto end

intro

junebug: Lost? It's no shame. I'll take over.[if underworld-nap-counter=1]

junebug: It's just a big puzzle, right? I've got it.[if underworld-nap-counter=2]

junebug: Hey, relax. I'll take the wheel.[if underworld-nap-counter=3]

junebug: Huh, weird. Want me to drive?[if underworld-nap-counter=0]



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

intro

The rock around the tunnel mouth is covered in inch-long scratches at odd angles. Light from the road doesn't seem to penetrate very far, but a faint, thin grumble from the darkness catches Johnny's attention.



: Enter the cave. (enter)
: Drive on. (end)

enter

The bike's headlight beams feebly into the darkness. After a short drive, it's too dark to continue safely.



: Continue on foot. (on-foot)
: Drive away. (end)

on-foot

Field recorder in hand, he walks delicately through the shadows. Junebug watches with amusement from the bike.



: Feel around for walls. (walls)
: Walk faster. (faster)
: Switch to night vision. (night-vision)

walls

They're slick with a warm, sulfury substance.



: Examine the substance. (guano)
: Switch to night vision. (night-vision)

guano

It's definitely organic. Some kind of —



goto bat-rush

faster

A gently sulfurous smell begins to overtake him. His eyelid twitches. He —



goto bat-rush

night-vision

The cave is about seventy feet in diameter at this point. The floor seems unusually warm, as though it's covered in a ragged yarn blanket. Looking up to the ceiling, he —



goto end

bat-rush

A hurricane of bats rush through the tunnel. Johnny is briefly overwhelmed, but remembers to switch on the field recorder just as he's knocked to the floor by the panicked flurry of a thousand tiny wings. Junebug covers her head and laughs. That should be a good one.

This recording should be labeled "weather."



goto end

intro

Two figures crouch over a pile of wood a few yards from the creek, occasionally hammering or making adjustments.



: Approach the creek. (approach)
: Drive on. (end)

approach

What looked from the road like a haphazard pile of wood is actually a worn boat. It's in poor repair. Perhaps it was abandoned, and only recently salvaged.



: Shout a greeting. (greeting)
: Sit down. (rock)

greeting

There is too much work to be done. Rotten planks need to be pulled and replaced. Nails need to be driven. Gaps caulked.



: Turn on the field recorder. (record)
: Sit down. (rock)

rock

The creek is low this time of year, and the rock is only a little wet from condensation. He weighs the field recorder in his hand, listens to bending boards and hammering.



: Turn on the field recorder. (record)
: Walk away. (end)

record

The recorder's red light flips on with a thrum, the take-up reel rolls forward silently for a moment before catching tape and beginning the recording.



stop-working

One of the figures stops working, sets down a caulk gun, and looks over at Johnny. The other finishes tearing at a bit of rotten wood stuck to the hull, then turns.

After a minute or two, Johnny stops the recorder. File that one under "water sounds."



goto end

intro

The cave wall is uncommonly flat here. A tall ladder leans against the wall. At the top, a small figure taps away at something.



: Approach the ladder. (approach)
: Drive on. (end)

approach

The woman at the top of the ladder seems unperturbed, focused on her work.



: Start the field recorder. (record)
: Switch to telescopic lens. (telescope)

record

The woman repeats a cycle of noisy gestures: shuffle, glob, scrape, silence, tap, tap, tap, tap, shuffle ...



: Record. (record-longer)
: Switch to telescopic lens. (telescope)

telescope

She has a pile of small, brightly-painted clay tiles next to her on the ladder. She sticks each one to the wall with some kind of mortar or glue, inspects it, then taps gently at its edges with a small hammer until it is fixed in place.

She's only a few dozen tiles along. Too early to guess what kind of image might be taking shape.

This recording can go in the "art and artists" drawer.



goto end

record-longer

Johnny closes his eyes. This is the best part: statically listening while recording. Empathy with the machine.

This recording can go in the "art and artists" drawer.



goto end

intro

The rust archives are housed in a low, wooden building with angular flourishes in glass. Shannon enters alone, up a shallow ramp and through glass doors.



goto inside

inside

A young woman seated in a wheelchair staffs the front desk. She smiles politely.



folder-choices

Two folders are stacked on the desk, an orange one labeled "Wheattree: Mexico City, VAM Station Wagon, 1974," and a green one labeled "Wheattree: Elizabethtown, Kinetic Sculpture, 1968."



: Pick up the orange folder. (station-wagon-intro)
: Pick up the green folder. (sculpture-intro)
: Leave. (end)

station-wagon-intro

The woman at the front desk gestures to an unlabeled door in the back of the room. Shannon enters, switches on a lamp at a desk inside the small room, and sits down with the orange folder.[if !underworld-rust-archives-examined-any-folder]

Inside the folder are three clear plastic bags containing muddy brown flakes of varying sizes and hues. Each sample is numbered, with corresponding one-sheet documents interleaved.



station-wagon-root



: Examine the first sample. (station-wagon-one)
: Examine the second sample. (station-wagon-two)
: Examine the third sample. (station-wagon-three)
: Return the folder. (folder-choices)

station-wagon-one

This sample was taken from the hood of the station wagon. The text speculates about a tree under which it was parked, the decayed oak leaves found stuck in the windshield wipers, pools of dew that had accumulated in dents.



station-wagon-two

This sample was taken from the passenger-side door. The text describes some variance in oxidation and age — evidence that the station wagon was involved in a minor accident and a part of the door repaired and painted over.



station-wagon-three

This sample was taken from the gas tank. Given the relatively small amount of rust accumulated here when compared to the rest of the car, the accompanying text concludes that the station wagon was returned to use after being abandoned for some time.



sculpture-intro

The woman at the front desk gestures to an unlabeled door in the back of the room. Shannon enters, switches on a lamp at a desk inside the small room, and sits down with the green folder.[if !underworld-rust-archives-examined-any-folder]

Inside the folder are three clear plastic bags containing muddy brown flakes of varying sizes and hues. Each sample is numbered, with corresponding one-sheet documents interleaved.



sculpture-root



: Examine the first sample. (sculpture-one)
: Examine the second sample. (sculpture-two)
: Examine the third sample. (sculpture-three)
: Return the folder. (folder-choices)

sculpture-one

This sample was taken from the sculpture's base, and is the smallest of the three. The accompanying text explains that the base was made up of a cheap stainless steel. It resisted decay, but not entirely.



sculpture-two

This sample is made up of dozens of small flakes, and was taken from a chain-link fence that surrounded the sculpture. The text speculates that the material making up the fence could not have been seriously intended to protect anyone or anything. It was too weak to be anything but decorative.



sculpture-three

This sample was taken from a garbage can near the sculpture. The accompanying text describes this kind of metal garbage can, its common use in institutional settings, and its resilience against air conditioning, discarded carbonated drinks, and other institutional hazards.



intro

Several hundred feet above the road, a hole torn in the cave wall is leaking sand and dirt. A few pieces of metal debris, painted a vivid red but covered in scratches, are piled on the road below.



goto end

intro

xanadu: Abandoned by your collaborators, your confidants, your companions, the only two among your colleagues with whom you've ever trusted the gift of your friendship —

junebug: Pretty thick. Sounds like beard-o had his heart broken.

xanadu: — you wander the tunnels alone, dragging along the components of your unrealized masterpiece, combing the underground passages for a new site in which to realize your vision.

junebug: `(Sardonic)` Sounds like a "genius."

shannon: How do you mean?



junebug: Wordy. (geniuswordy)
junebug: Vain. (geniusvain)

geniuswordy

shannon: Ha.

shannon: I had a guy who came into the shop once with a bunch of old radios and computers and stuff, real junk — I think he collected it going down alleys or something. Anyway, it was all broken. He asked me if I could get the tubes out and clean them up. The vacuum tubes.

shannon: So I pulled every vacuum tube I could find, and threw the rest out, and I went over them with some rubbing alcohol and cleaned the leads. I used some nail polish remover on the glass. I did a pretty good job.

shannon: He came back in the next day, and I laid it all out on a towel for him so he could check it out. I got the towel from my aunt Remedios, and like everything with her it's really kind of "nice," you know? It's red and it has this gold embroidery around the edges.

shannon: I guess it was a little `too` nice. This guy got all excited by the presentation, kind of circled it and observed each tube from a distance, moving his head around in weird, quick bobs, like a pigeon.

shannon: And then he started just `lecturing` at nobody in particular about the history of vacuum tubes. He talked for an hour.

shannon: We went on a few dates, but nothing really came of it. Turns out he was kind of boring.



goto end

geniusvain

shannon: Vanity. Ain't it the truth.

shannon: My aunt Remedios, before she got into the whole ethnomusicography thing, she was a painter. Mostly nudes in oil. She had this model — I'll never forget him. Big, classically physical guy, looked like he was about to storm Troy. He made everyone call him "The Colonel."

shannon: Weaver and I saw this guy naked a lot — you couldn't help it! He was always posing somewhere in the house, chasing the light from room to room while Aunt Remedios made a sketch of his profile or worked on the right mix of pigments for his abdomen.

shannon: The Colonel had this magnificent hair. Long, black hair that ran down just to the bottom of his shoulder blades. One evening, he was standing next to an open window in the back of the house. The sun was setting. Early spring, I think — it was kind of windy.

shannon: Aunt Remedios was trying to get his hair right. She kept arranging it — like half in front and half behind, running over his shoulder and laying across his chest in this very specific way.

shannon: But it itched him or something, and he'd do this weird indignant shuffle thing, or the wind from the open window would push it around, or he'd start and turn his neck when Weaver or I ran by, and everything would be tangled again.

shannon: The final product was a swirl of black lines, billowing around the top of his neck. Weird thing is I don't even remember his face now. Just that black swirl. Probably the best one she ever painted.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are in Bedquilt, a long east/west passage with holes everywhere.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* and *LULA* remove the computer equipment they are carrying on their backs, and begin setting up.

lula: That's the last trip. So everything's down here now ...



shannon: Say something back to her. (bedquilt-talk-to-lula)
junebug: Set up the gear. (bedquilt-set-up-gear)
goto end

bedquilt-talk-to-lula

conway: `(Typing)` ~Say something back.~

xanadu: You make an awkward joke.

joseph: Don't be so morbid.



bedquilt-set-up-gear

conway: `(Typing)` ~Set up gear.~

xanadu: I only understood you as far as wanting to set the up above.

shannon: "Set the up above" ... ?



bedquilt-lula-pensive

xanadu: LULA looks pensive.



bedquilt-lula-dialog-choices

goto bedquilt-construction [if bedquilt-construction]


junebug: What's the gear they're carrying? (bedquilt-ask-lula-about-gear) [if !xanadu-asked-lula-about-gear]
shannon: Ask her about the cave. (bedquilt-ask-lula-about-cave) [if !xanadu-asked-lula-about-cave]
ezra: Ask her where the treasure is. (bedquilt-ask-lula-about-treasure) [if !xanadu-asked-lula-about-treasure]

bedquilt-ask-lula-about-gear

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula about gear.~

lula: Sure, Donald. We may as well take inventory.

lula: I've got the tape machine and the synthesizer parts we "borrowed" from the School of Music. It's all tuned up to my voice so we won't have to type so much.

lula: Joseph has his slate, and the punched cards he's transcribed from the poems we read him. He's got the typewriter and the paper tape reader.

lula: And you've got the CRT display. How's your back holding up?



bedquilt-ask-lula-about-cave

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula about cave.~

lula: Having second thoughts? I don't blame you; it's ... unsettling down here. Weird acoustics.

lula: Earlier, as we were climbing down, I thought I heard voices for a moment. Or ... not voices themselves, but the echoes of voices, singing. Some kind of eerie, tuneless working song.

lula: I'm glad I'm not down here alone.



bedquilt-ask-lula-about-treasure

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula where the treasure is.~

lula: Ha. If we knew that, we wouldn't have to set up down here ...

lula: I know you think this environment will help our project, get us in touch with a deep romantic reverence for some kind of profound natural spookiness ... but I was more comfortable in our lab.

lula: The university picked the worst time to cut our funding! Typical institutional stinginess and academic politics. I mean, I felt like we were getting really close to something ... something ...

lula: Anyway, I don't know if it's sustainable down here. You know, to live and work here ... together.



bedquilt-construction

xanadu: *JOSEPH* looks uncomfortable.

junebug: Jealous ...

joseph: Hey, Donald, can you help me, uh ... wire up these generators?

lula: I'll assemble the synthesizer. But I could use some help with the serial interface, if you have time.

xanadu: You hear an unfamiliar echo from a tunnel to the east.



shannon: Wire up the generators. (construction-help-joseph)
shannon: Maybe if we help Lula, she'll have some more to tell us. (construction-help-lula)

construction-help-joseph

conway: `(Typing)` ~Help Joseph.~

joseph: I appreciate it, Donald. I'm not much of an electrician, you know ... you know that.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* hands you a bundle of wires. His kitten curls up on a spool of cabling.

joseph: Listen. The three of us had a good thing for a minute, wouldn't you say? Up at the old place? Before it got ugly?

joseph: I'm saying ... We came down here to work. To really do it. XANADU. And I mean we've got to be rational about this. All three of us have got to put our feelings aside for a bit and be rational ... do you know what I'm saying?



shannon: Is he talking about Lula? Kind of creepy. (joseph-back-off)
shannon: Just agree with whatever he's saying; this isn't helpful. (joseph-ok)

joseph-back-off

conway: `(Typing)` ~Tell Joseph to back off.~

xanadu: *JOSEPH* wipes his brow with a dusty sleeve.

joseph: Seems ... down here, we're all strangers. Permanently strange.



joseph-ok

conway: `(Typing)` ~Agree with Joseph.~

xanadu: *JOSEPH* sets down the wire-strippers in his hand.

joseph: You really mean that?

joseph: You're pretty OK, Donald. I mean you have a clear idea on what's sensible. We're in unmapped territory here, strange to the whole thing. Got to have a focus. She'll understand.



construction-help-lula

conway: `(Typing)` ~Help Lula.~

lula: Thanks, Donald. I can never remember which color lead goes to which pin ...

xanadu: *LULA* begins unpacking a box of wires and terminals.

lula: Do you think there are paintings down here? Cave paintings, I mean. Maybe some old pottery shards, from when the world was young and early men and women huddled in these caves to ...

lula: Do you know, I think cultural fossils are the saddest fossils? Sadder than animal remains, I mean ...

lula: We might come across a petrified mollusk, or a partial dinosaur footprint, and we say: "there was a point of contact here, where a body touched the earth, and maybe there's a little bit of evidential garbage, but the life who owned that body never cared and has moved on anyway."

lula: And that's the end of it.

lula: But suppose I shine my lantern on one of these walls, and I see a crude painting, thousands of years old. Two men and a woman. Charcoal and blood, on rock.

lula: Someone put that there, to keep something on the rock after she passed. A hope, a relationship, or a moment. A worry, maybe ... a regret.

lula: She made a painting to keep something alive for her, but like that dead mollusk and that itinerant dinosaur, she had to move on. Whatever it was is gone, and now we're looking at this painting. This dangling copy, with no original.



to-tunnels-after-conversation

xanadu: You are interrupted by the ominous echo of a grating, scraping sound from the east, louder than before.

joseph: What the hell was that?

lula: Let's check it out.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are in Bedquilt, a long east/west passage with holes everywhere.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* is here, panting for breath.

joseph: Damn. Did they follow us? Where's Lula?



wait-options



shannon: He seems pretty scared. (scared) [if !xanadu-chased-reassured-partner]
shannon: May as well wait. (wait-first) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=none]
shannon: I guess we could wait for an hour or so. (wait-hour) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=moment]
shannon: Let's wait a bit longer. (wait-day) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=hour]
shannon: Keep waiting? He seems to want to wait. A month? (wait-month) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=day]
shannon: How long will it let us wait here? Like what's the maximum time? (wait-year) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=month]
junebug: Search for her. (search)

scared

conway: `(Typing)` ~Reassure Joseph.~

joseph: Hell with you! I told you to find her, you son of ...

joseph: Enough. This is where she'll go, right? We'll wait for her. Here. She'll be OK. She's tougher than either of us.



wait-first

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait.~

xanadu: Time passes. Joseph nervously pets the kitten in his coat pocket.



wait-hour

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait for an hour.~

xanadu: Time passes. A shifting, fluttering sound grows louder from one of the tunnels.

joseph: What's that? Was that her?

xanadu: Five disoriented bats stumble through your lantern light and off into an adjacent passage.



wait-day

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait for a day.~

xanadu: Time passes.

joseph: Plenty of water down here, at least. And I packed some of that jerky I made. Didn't come out too well, but ...

joseph: I'll try to start a fire, I guess. I don't know.



wait-month

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait for a month.~

xanadu: Time passes.

xanadu: You begin to measure days and nights by the life and death of the fire.

joseph: I don't know about you, Donald, but I'm starting to hate this place. So confining. I can't even think without it bouncing off all these damn weird walls, coming back at me all distorted. Last few days I've been thinking ... sort of daydreaming ... maybe I'll set up on the side of the road somewhere. Ditch the academics and get a couple more cats.

joseph: It sounds nice, doesn't it? After all this?

xanadu: Joseph withdraws into his thoughts.



wait-year

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait indefinitely.~

xanadu: Time passes.

xanadu: *LULA* is here. She's either just arrived, or has been standing here for some period of time.



search

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search.~

xanadu: I only understood you as far as wanting to search.

shannon: We have to be more specific ...



search-options

goto search-found-lula [if search-found-lula]


junebug: Down one of the tunnels? (search-tunnel) [if !xanadu-chased-searched-tunnel]
junebug: With the equipment? (search-equipment) [if !xanadu-chased-searched-equipment]
junebug: Back outside? (search-outside) [if !xanadu-chased-searched-outside]

search-tunnel

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search tunnel.~

xanadu: You select a tunnel at random. Your lantern illuminates several sets of footprints on the moldy cave floor, but they are impossible to identify.



search-equipment

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search equipment.~

xanadu: The various computer and audio equipment casts angular shadows into the tunnels as you scan slowly across the pile. Nothing.



search-outside

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search outside.~

xanadu: You grab hold of the rope and slowly climb up. Your days lecturing on esoteric computer science topics did not prepare you to scale cave walls with rope. Your evenings gathering with friends to roll dice and consult fancifully illustrated charts, however, prepared you for the likelihood that this climb could end badly.

xanadu: You carefully descend back into the cave.



search-found-lula

xanadu: *LULA* climbs down from the rope still tied above.[if !xanadu-chased-searched-outside]

xanadu: *LULA* steps cautiously out from behind the computer equipment.[if !xanadu-chased-searched-equipment]

xanadu: *LULA* emerges suddenly from one of the tunnels.[if !xanadu-chased-searched-tunnel]



found-lula

lula: Is it you? Or more shadows?

xanadu: *LULA* advances carefully.

lula: It ... it really is you, isn't it? I got lost out there in the tunnels. For a while I thought I was running in circles. Or some kind of labyrinth. Every rocky wall and floor looked the same.

lula: Finally, I ended up here.

lula: I hid out for a bit. Waiting for you. I heard voices, but ... I wasn't sure! Not after what I've seen.[if xanadu-chased-searched]

lula: I heard voices, and ... I wasn't sure! Not after what I've seen.[if xanadu-wait-time=moment|xanadu-wait-time=hour]

lula: I haven't slept ... I don't know if I'll ever sleep again. I heard you talking but I thought I might have been hallucinating.[if xanadu-wait-time=day]

lula: I heard you talking, but I thought I might have been hallucinating. I ran away again, back into the tunnels, for ... I don't know how long. There's plenty of fresh water trickling through these caves. I found nourishment where I could. I don't want to talk about that.[if xanadu-wait-time=month]

lula: I heard you talking, but I thought I might have been hallucinating. I ran back into the tunnels and ... I found some other people, and they fed me. They housed me. They fixed my glasses. Patched up my sweater. Decent people, but ... strange. Secretive.[if xanadu-wait-time=year]

lula: While I was out there, I ... I spent some time on the |Zero|.

joseph: What? Why?!

lula: Joseph, it's ... it's different than we've heard. It's like a real place: they pick up garbage, they deliver mail, they go to work and to church ...

lula: My most vivid memory is a parade of images, like a waking dream or a slide lecture I'll never understand:

lula: A television, a scarecrow, a crystal, a feather, a sandwich ... a CRT monitor, a bottle ... an anchor ...

xanadu: *JOSEPH* seems agitated.



shannon: We should ask her more about it. (intro-zero-direct)
shannon: What's up with Joseph? (intro-zero-joseph)

intro-zero-joseph

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Joseph what is up.~

joseph: Naw, it's ... Lula, you've heard the same damned stories I have —

lula: There was a cathedral, Joseph! A cathedral. I'm not saying it's any ordinary highway. The cars that passed ... the things that passed ...

joseph: Why've you got to be so damned fascinated, Lula? Why've you always got to ...



goto fight

intro-zero-direct

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula about the ~|Zero|~.~

lula: It's calling to me, Donald ... it seems important.

joseph: Important? It's ...



goto fight

fight

joseph: It doesn't matter now, dammit. I'm leaving. To hell with all of it!



junebug: Whoa, we should stop him! (fight-2-stop)
shannon: Get him back on track, we're so close. (fight-2-back-on-track)

fight-2-stop

conway: `(Typing)` ~Stop Joseph.~



goto fight-2

fight-2-back-on-track

conway: `(Typing)` ~Divert Joseph's attention.~



goto fight-2

fight-2

xanadu: You shout something at *JOSEPH* about the project you are working on together.

joseph: You'll die in these damn cold caves! And what about those men? You know they'll come back.



shannon: Tell him we can find somewhere to start a fire. (fight-3-fire)
shannon: Tell him we can hide from the strangers. (fight-3-hide)

fight-3-fire

conway: `(Typing)` ~Suggest finding somewhere safe to start a fire.~



goto fight-3

fight-3-hide

conway: `(Typing)` ~Suggest finding a hiding place.~



goto fight-3

fight-3

xanadu: You shout something at *JOSEPH* about going deeper into the caves.

joseph: Did you hear their voices? They're not ... they'll find you. But not me. I'm going back to the surface.

lula: Stop! Your stupid fight is ringing through the whole damned cave. Joseph is right: we can't stay here. I'm leaving, too. But I'm not going back to the surface. I'm taking my station wagon and I'm heading down the |Zero|.



shannon: I think we need her to stay. (fight-4-stay)
junebug: Make sure she takes us with her! (fight-4-follow)

fight-4-stay

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula to stay.~



goto fight-4

fight-4-follow

conway: `(Typing)` ~Get Lula's attention.~



goto fight-4

fight-4

xanadu: You plead with *LULA* about your continued collaboration.

lula: I'll send you this tape when I'm done recording. I'll put it in the mail. And then you can see what your damned machine does with it.

xanadu: *LULA* and *JOSEPH* have left.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are in Bedquilt, a long east/west passage with holes everywhere.

xanadu: *LULA* is here, panting for breath.

lula: Did they follow us? Where's Joseph?



wait-options



shannon: She seems pretty scared. (scared) [if !xanadu-chased-reassured-partner]
shannon: May as well wait. (wait-first) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=none]
shannon: I guess we could wait for an hour or so. (wait-hour) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=moment]
shannon: Let's wait a bit longer. (wait-day) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=hour]
shannon: Keep waiting? She seems to want to wait. A month? (wait-month) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=day]
shannon: How long will it let us wait here? Like what's the maximum time? (wait-year) [if xanadu-chased-wait-time=month]
junebug: Search for him. (search)

scared

conway: `(Typing)` ~Reassure Lula.~

lula: I know, but ... never mind. I don't want to think about it.

lula: We should ... I guess we should wait for Joseph here. This is where he'll go, right?



wait-first

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait.~

xanadu: Time passes. Lula nervously runs her hand along a vein in the cave wall.



wait-hour

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait for an hour.~

xanadu: Time passes. A shifting, fluttering sound grows louder from one of the tunnels.

lula: What's that? Joseph?

xanadu: Five disoriented bats stumble through your lantern light and off into an adjacent passage.



wait-day

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait for a day.~

xanadu: Time passes.

lula: Hey, I found some water running clear down this tunnel here. I think we're OK on food for now ... if you don't mind subsisting on jerky. Joseph packed a lot of jerky.

lula: I'll try to start a fire, I guess. I don't know.



wait-month

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait for a month.~

xanadu: Time passes.

xanadu: You begin to measure days and nights by the life and death of the fire.

lula: Do you know how these caves and tunnels got here? Erosion. You apply a process long enough, and eventually a new place results. I'd like to make my own places, I think. My own caves ...

xanadu: Lula withdraws into her sketchbook for several days, or maybe longer.



wait-year

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait indefinitely.~

xanadu: Time passes.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* is here. He's either just arrived, or has been standing here for some period of time.



search

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search.~

xanadu: I only understood you as far as wanting to search.

shannon: We have to be more specific ...



search-options

goto search-found-joseph [if search-found-joseph]


junebug: Down one of the tunnels? (search-tunnel) [if !xanadu-chased-searched-tunnel]
junebug: With the equipment? (search-equipment) [if !xanadu-chased-searched-equipment]
junebug: Back outside? (search-outside) [if !xanadu-chased-searched-outside]

search-tunnel

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search tunnel.~

xanadu: You select a tunnel at random. Your lantern illuminates several sets of footprints on the moldy cave floor, but they are impossible to identify.



search-equipment

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search equipment.~

xanadu: The various computer and audio equipment casts angular shadows into the tunnels as you scan slowly across the pile. Nothing.



search-outside

conway: `(Typing)` ~Search outside.~

xanadu: You grab hold of the rope and slowly climb up. Your days lecturing on esoteric computer science topics did not prepare you to scale cave walls with rope. Your evenings gathering with friends to roll dice and consult fancifully illustrated charts, however, prepared you for the likelihood that this climb could end badly.

xanadu: You carefully descend back into the cave.



search-found-joseph

xanadu: *JOSEPH* climbs down from the rope still tied above.[if !xanadu-chased-searched-outside]

xanadu: *JOSEPH* steps cautiously out from behind the computer equipment.[if !xanadu-chased-searched-equipment]

xanadu: *JOSEPH* emerges suddenly from one of the tunnels.[if !xanadu-chased-searched-tunnel]



found-joseph

joseph: That damn sound! Those damn voices! I don't even know what direction I was running. I wove through that network of tunnels. I ran my hand along the wall, always turning left, but every turn and every rock felt the same. For all I knew, I was running in circles!

joseph: Finally, I ended up here.

joseph: And I hid ... I panicked. I heard you talking, but ... I didn't think I could trust my senses.[if xanadu-chased-searched]

joseph: I heard you talking, but ... I didn't think I could trust my senses.[if xanadu-wait-time=moment|xanadu-wait-time=hour]

joseph: I guess must have fallen asleep. I heard you talking, but I thought I was dreaming.[if xanadu-wait-time=day]

joseph: Eventually, I must have fallen asleep. I heard you talking, but I didn't know what to trust. I ran away again, back into the tunnels, for ... I don't know how long. There's plenty of fresh water trickling through these caves. I kept alive with that and cave plants. I learned to enjoy the taste of bat. What an ugly appetite.[if xanadu-wait-time=month]

joseph: When I heard you coming, I ran. I could only hear the echoes of your voices at first, and ... I didn't know what to trust! In the tunnels, I found a mess of strange things. Some of it I don't want to talk about, some of it I don't know how ... and on some of it I was sworn to secrecy![if xanadu-wait-time=year]

joseph: But, listen: there's one thing I have to tell you. While I was out there lost in the tunnels and caves, I came across the |Zero|, and ... I had no idea.

joseph: It's like a real place: they pick up garbage, they deliver mail, they go to work and to church ... but it has an awful kind of emptiness.

joseph: Wandering through, I heard horrible echoes. Weird images got burned in my mind's eye:

joseph: A television, a scarecrow, a crystal, a feather, a sandwich ... a CRT monitor, a bottle ... an anchor ...

xanadu: *LULA* looks down at her feet.



shannon: We should ask him more about that. (intro-zero-direct)
shannon: What's up with Lula? (intro-zero-lula)

intro-zero-lula

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula what is up.~

lula: Nothing.

lula: Just ... Joseph, you sound ... disturbed.

joseph: Lula, you've heard the same damned stories I have —



goto fight

intro-zero-direct

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Joseph about the ~|Zero|~.~

joseph: Donald, you've heard the same damned stories I have, but ... it's different!



goto fight

fight

joseph: It doesn't matter now, dammit. I'm leaving. To hell with all of it!



junebug: Whoa, we should stop him! (fight-2-stop)
shannon: Get him back on track, we're so close. (fight-2-back-on-track)

fight-2-stop

conway: `(Typing)` ~Stop Joseph.~



goto fight-2

fight-2-back-on-track

conway: `(Typing)` ~Divert Joseph's attention.~



goto fight-2

fight-2

xanadu: You shout something at *JOSEPH* about the project you are working on together.

joseph: You'll die in these damn cold caves! And what about those men? You know they'll come back.



shannon: Tell him we can find somewhere to start a fire. (fight-3-fire)
shannon: Tell him we can hide from the strangers. (fight-3-hide)

fight-3-fire

conway: `(Typing)` ~Suggest finding somewhere safe to start a fire.~



goto fight-3

fight-3-hide

conway: `(Typing)` ~Suggest finding a hiding place.~



goto fight-3

fight-3

xanadu: You shout something at *JOSEPH* about going deeper into the caves.

joseph: Did you hear their voices? They're not ... they'll find you. But not me. I'm going back to the surface.

lula: Stop! Your stupid fight is ringing through the whole damned cave. Joseph is right: we can't stay here. I'm leaving, too. But I'm not going back to the surface. I'm taking my station wagon and I'm heading down the |Zero|.



shannon: I think we need her to stay. (fight-4-stay)
junebug: Whoa, don't let her leave us here. (fight-4-follow)

fight-4-stay

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula to stay.~



goto fight-4

fight-4-follow

conway: `(Typing)` ~Get Lula's attention.~



goto fight-4

fight-4

xanadu: You plead with *LULA* about your continued collaboration.

lula: I'll send you this tape when I'm done recording. I'll put it in the mail. And then you can see what your damned machine does with it.

xanadu: *LULA* and *JOSEPH* have left.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are in a large, irregular chamber. The walls, floor, and ceiling are covered with crystalline projections.

xanadu: Strangers are here, scraping black mold from the crystals. They look up when you enter. One of them seems about to speak.

ezra: Finally!



junebug: Better run! (flee)
shannon: Let's listen to what he says. (listen)

flee

conway: `(Typing)` ~Run.~

xanadu: You'll have to say which compass direction to go in.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* flees through a tunnel to the north.

xanadu: *LULA* flees through a tunnel to the northeast.



junebug: Follow Joseph. (flee-joseph)
junebug: Follow Lula. (flee-lula)

listen

xanadu: The stranger reaches for a box he's carrying and presses a plastic button. The box whirs to life, and a crackly voice blurts something unintelligible, then slows to a deep gurgle.

xanadu: He looks at his companions momentarily in confused disappointment. Then he returns his awful gaze to you.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* flees through a tunnel to the north.

xanadu: *LULA* flees through a tunnel to the northeast.



shannon: Follow Joseph. (flee-joseph)
shannon: Follow Lula. (flee-lula)

flee-lula

conway: `(Typing)` ~Run north.~

xanadu: *LULA*'s headlamp scans across the northern passage as you run. Soft shadows loom perplexingly from floor to ceiling.

xanadu: You feel around to distinguish shadows from crystals, but eventually find yourselves cornered. You have hit a dead-end.

lula: Who are they?



shannon: Comfort her. (flee-lula-harmless)
shannon: Let's find a way out of here. (flee-lula-escape)

flee-lula-harmless

conway: `(Typing)` ~Comfort Lula.~

xanadu: You reassure *LULA* that the strangers are harmless.

lula: Are you ... are you sure?

lula: Maybe you're right. It sounds like they've gone back to work.



flee-lula-escape

conway: `(Typing)` ~Escape.~

xanadu: That's not a verb I recognize.

conway: `(Typing)` ~Look for escape.~

xanadu: You can't see any such thing.

lula: Listen. I think they've gone back to work. They seemed strange somehow ... maybe they've forgotten about us.



flee-lula-back

lula: Alright. Let's try to pass them quickly, now. Don't make eye contact. Then we'll find our way back to the equipment.



goto end

flee-joseph

conway: `(Typing)` ~Run northeast.~

xanadu: *JOSEPH* scrambles across outcrops of crystal as you struggle to follow him in the dark. He calls back, breathlessly:

joseph: What ... what happened to Lula? Lula, are you back there?



shannon: Stay and look for her. (flee-joseph-stay)
junebug: Keep going! (flee-joseph-continue)

flee-joseph-stay

conway: `(Typing)` ~Look for Lula.~

xanadu: You can't see any such thing.

joseph: Donald! You have to find her! Make sure you find her!

xanadu: *JOSEPH* climbs through the cave, into the darkness.

conway: `(Typing)` ~Look for Lula.~

xanadu: You can't see any such thing.

xanadu: The strangers return to their work, scraping the crystals. There is no sign of *LULA* now. You should leave.



goto end

flee-joseph-continue

xanadu: *JOSEPH* climbs through the cave, into the darkness, and you follow behind as best you can keep up. In the distance, you can hear the strangers return to their work, scraping the crystals.



goto end

intro

xanadu: Your score was 0 out of a possible 8192.

shannon: What.[if xanadu-death-count=1]

xanadu: You may *CONTINUE*, or *QUIT*.

conway: `(Typing)` ~Continue.~



goto end

intro

goto cave-entrance-options [if cave-entrance-options]

xanadu: You are at the edge of a massive hole. The dirt gives way to rock as the ground sinks into darkness.

xanadu: The computer tied to your upper back slickens with sweat in the afternoon sun.

xanadu: The rope slung around your shoulder has slipped under the strap of your backpack, digging uncomfortably against your collar bone.



cave-entrance-options



shannon: There's got to be a way to do this safely, right? (cave-entrance-persistence) [if xanadu-death-count=3]
shannon: Go down into the hole, that seems pretty obvious. (cave-entrance-die) [if !xanadu-died-in-cave-entrance]
shannon: Lean in a bit and check it out? (cave-entrance-die) [if !xanadu-died-in-cave-entrance]
shannon: Maybe we need to climb down more carefully? (cave-entrance-die) [if xanadu-died-in-cave-entrance+xanadu-death-count[lt]3]
shannon: Shine the lamp into the hole? (cave-entrance-lamp) [if xanadu-has-lamp+!xanadu-shined-lamp-in-entrance]
ezra: Yell into the hole first to see if there are pirates! (cave-entrance-yell) [if !xanadu-checked-for-pirates]
shannon: Try using the rope to climb down safely. (cave-entrance-rope) [if xanadu-died-in-cave-entrance|xanadu-shined-lamp-in-entrance]

cave-entrance-lamp

conway: `(Typing)` ~Light lamp.~

xanadu: Your lamp is now on.

conway: `(Typing)` ~Shine lamp in hole.~

xanadu: The lamplight only reaches a few yards down the hole, where the rock is coated in a slimy black mold. You can tell that the walls are too slick to climb safely without assistance.



cave-entrance-yell

conway: `(Typing)` ~Yell.~

xanadu: I only understood you as far as wanting to yell.

conway: `(Typing)` ~Yell "any pirates down there?"~

xanadu: No response.

shannon: Sorry, kid, you're batting |zero| today.

ezra: At least we know there's no pirates.



cave-entrance-rope

conway: `(Typing)` ~Tie rope to tree.~

xanadu: The rope is tied snugly to a tree trunk.

conway: `(Typing)` ~Down.~

xanadu: Your feet slip a few times on the slimy rock, but you remain stable. *LULA* and *JOSEPH* descend carefully after you.



goto end

cave-entrance-persistence

conway: `(Typing)` ~Climb down safely.~

xanadu: Your feet slip a few times on the slimy rock, but you remain stable. *LULA* and *JOSEPH* descend carefully after you.



goto end

cave-entrance-die

conway: `(Typing)` ~Down.~[if xanadu-death-count=0]

conway: `(Typing)` ~Climb down carefully.~[if xanadu-death-count=1]

conway: `(Typing)` ~Climb down even more carefully.~[if xanadu-death-count=2]

xanadu: The cave walls are too slick to climb safely without assistance. You lose your footing and fall to your death.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are in open forest, with a deep valley to one side.



shannon: Head back south to that building. (forest-head-back)
ezra: Can we climb a tree? (forest-climb-tree)

forest-climb-tree

conway: `(Typing)` ~Climb tree.~

xanadu: I don't think much is to be achieved by that.

conway: Sorry.



shannon: Head back South to that building. (forest-head-back)
ezra: Can we dig a hole? (forest-dig-hole)

forest-dig-hole

conway: `(Typing)` ~Dig a hole.~

xanadu: You can't see any such thing.

shannon: Pretty limited vocabulary.



forest-head-back

conway: `(Typing)` ~South.~

xanadu: You're in forest.

junebug: Hey, it's a maze.



forest-maze-deadend

xanadu: *LULA* is here, soldering replacement components in a small, hand-made radio.[if xanadu-forest-maze-count=2]

xanadu: *JOSEPH* is here, tapping with a small stylus on a modified pocket braille slate. A small gray kitten, no more than a few weeks old, dozes comfortably on top of his backpack.[if xanadu-forest-maze-count=4]



shannon: Oh, we should talk to her. (forest-maze-talk-to-lula) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count=2]
shannon: Maybe he has something to say. (forest-maze-talk-to-joseph) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count=4]
junebug: South? (forest-maze-south) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count[lt]5]
junebug: East? (forest-maze-east) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count[lt]5]
junebug: North? (forest-maze-north) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count[lt]5]
junebug: West? (forest-maze-west) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count[lt]5]
junebug: South? (end) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count=5]
junebug: East? (end) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count=5]
junebug: North? (end) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count=5]
junebug: West? (end) [if xanadu-forest-maze-count=5]

forest-maze-south

conway: `(Typing)` ~South.~

xanadu: You're in forest.



forest-maze-east

conway: `(Typing)` ~East.~

xanadu: You're in forest.



forest-maze-north

conway: `(Typing)` ~North.~

xanadu: You're in forest.



forest-maze-west

conway: `(Typing)` ~West.~

xanadu: You're in forest.



forest-maze-talk-to-lula

conway: `(Typing)` ~Ask Lula how she is doing.~

lula: Hi Donald. I'm getting the strangest interference out here. I've been tuning the radio's circuits gradually as we go, swapping capacitor values and tweaking resistor networks. It was working for a while, but ... everything I can pick up sounds so distant and muffled.

xanadu: *LULA* hands you the radio.

lula: Well, maybe you'll have better luck. You're good at this stuff. Just don't forget to give it back!



forest-maze-talk-to-joseph

conway: `(Typing)` ~Listen.~

joseph: Donald! I was just transcribing your footsteps. Sounded like ...

xanadu: *JOSEPH* runs his finger along the index card he's been tapping on, from right to left.

joseph: 'Long, weary song, drearily gone. Dearly gone.' You beat a melancholy shuffle through these woods, Donald. Ha!

joseph: I've been noting down the sounds of the forest — with an ear for speech. And an inborn filter for poetry, I suppose ... so maybe it's me being melancholy, after all.

joseph: I'm eager to see what the poetics sub-system makes of these punched cards!



intro

xanadu: You ar. in B..qu_lt, a lo._ east/we_t _assag_ w_th h_.es everyw.e_e_

xanadu: *_O__PH* an_ *LULA* re.ove the c_mputtr euuu_m_n_ t__y __e c_r.ying on thei. b_cks_ aad bbein s_.___g p.

lula: That__ the __s_ _rip. S_ eve_yt_ing's _o_n heee _ow ...



shannon: Did that say "Lula?" (lula)
junebug: Time for some percussive maintenance ... (percussive-maintenance)
goto end

lula

conway: `(Typing)` ~LULA.~

lula: __re, Donal_. _e ma_ as _ell ___e in_entorr..

lula: I've g_t _he t__e machi_e nd t_e sy..hss__er part_ _e b_r_weed fr.m the Scoool of M.s_c. I__s a_l t__ed uu tt my v_ic_ so we won'. _a_e t .ype so m_.h

lula: __seph has hi sla_e_ an. t_e p.nche_ cards he'_ ..anscribed fr. the __e.s ._ re_d him H_'s _oo t.e __pewrit_ _dd th paper ta.. reader

lula: A_d you'v_ g__ ___ .RT disp_a_. How's _ur _ack _olding __?

shannon: Damn, I can't tell what she's saying.



goto degauss

percussive-maintenance

(*CONWAY* thumps the side of the machine with his palm.)



goto degauss

degauss

shannon: Oh — I have my portable `degausser` with me!

shannon: Old systems like this one can build up a remnant magnetic field that sort of warps everything along whatever pattern it's settled into, you know?

shannon: The degausser clears that up by suddenly shaking the magnetic field around until it's uniform again ...

shannon: That's how I like to think of it, anyway: like shaking a snow globe. Ha ha. Worth a shot.



goto end

intro

xanadu: _fter w_at may h_v_ be._ y_ar_, _ou stu_bl_ _t o_ a tunnel ii__ a cav_.__uu _pen spp_..

shannon: Well ... OK.

xanadu: SSalactites aaorn the c.iiing __ke gr_tess__s. _n _he cen_.r of t_. .o_ __ an _no_mous, ock. spir_.

xanadu: .hi_ is where you _.__ set up y_ur __ui_men. —

xanadu: Premature end of file. Press any key to quit.

junebug: This is a lost cause ... what a piece of junk!



goto end

intro

xanadu: Y_u are sta_iigg at the eed o _ _o_d b.f___ _ .mal_ ._i_k bbi_din_. A_ouud y__ is a f__ess.

junebug: Ha. This thing is in rough shape.



shannon: Do these switches do anything? (switches)
ezra: Try blowing on it. (blow-on-xanadu)

blow-on-xanadu

(*CONWAY* blows some dust off the keyboard and presses the "return" key.)

xanadu: _o_ a_e s__n_i_n at tee en_ _f road bff___ small _ri_k uuulli.g. Aroonn yyu . a __..__

shannon: OK, that's ... worse.



switches

(*CONWAY* flips an unlabeled switch.)

xanadu: _o_ a_e standi_n at tee en_ _f road bff___ small _ri_k uuulli.g. Aroonn yyu . a __..__

shannon: OK, that's ... worse.



second-options



shannon: Try typing 'HELP.' (type-help)
junebug: It kinda looks like a house. Type 'HOUSE.' (type-house)

type-help

conway: `(Typing.)` ~HELP.~

xanadu: Th_t_s .. . ___. I ___ogni_e.



goto end

type-house

conway: `(Typing.)` ~HOUSE.~

xanadu: .hatts n__ a v__ r.co_ni_e.



goto end

intro

xanadu: After what may have been years, you stumble out of a tunnel into a cavernous open space.

xanadu: Stalactites adorn the ceiling like grotesques. In the center of the room is an enormous, rocky spire.

xanadu: This is where you will set up your equipment, and establish your legacy.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are inside a building, a storage shed for the national park service.

xanadu: There is a sensible, modern electric lantern nearby.



shannon: Get the lantern. (get-lamp)
ezra: That's boring. Go back to the forest! (forest-from-building)

get-lamp

conway: `(Typing)` ~Get lantern.~

xanadu: Taken.



forest-from-building

conway: `(Typing)` ~Exit building.~



enter-forest

conway: `(Typing)` ~Enter forest.~

xanadu: That's not something you can enter.

shannon: Just type a direction.

conway: `(Typing)` ~North.~



goto end

intro

xanadu: You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest.



shannon: Check out the building. (building)
ezra: Go into the forest! (forest)

building

conway: `(Typing)` ~Enter building.~



goto end

forest

conway: `(Typing)` ~Enter forest.~

xanadu: That's not something you can enter.

shannon: Just type a direction.

conway: `(Typing)` ~North.~



goto end

$assistant makes adjustments to the echolocation algorithm. Bats now fly normally instead of getting hung up on each others wings and clustering together like horrible, leathery tumbleweeds.

$assistant identifies a bug with the oxygen level simulation, but is unable to fix it.

$assistant fixes some weird math with some weirder math.

$assistant widens tunnels slightly, to reduce the need for extra "crouch" commands.

$assistant extensively notates tunnel diameter as a function of length.

$assistant types up some lurid imagery from a dream journal.

$assistant carefully transcribes the sounds of dripping water in all their variations over a period of several hours.

$assistant summarizes the migratory patterns of bats through the tunnels.

$assistant makes a convincing argument for the edibility of stone.

$assistant discards centuries of exhaustive data on the uniformity of cause and effect.

$assistant posits that nature, not reason, is the master of industry.

$assistant muses about the love lives of fungal colonies.

intro



goto day

day

xanadu: Now is the time to continue your work.

shannon: I'm not convinced this is getting us any closer to the |Zero|.[if xanadu-resources-time=3]

shannon: Maybe we should try to start over or something? This doesn't seem to be helping.[if xanadu-resources-time=5]

xanadu: Research assistants: ... [variable: xanadu-resources-assistants] Realism index: ......... [variable: xanadu-resources-realism]% Romance index: ......... [variable: xanadu-resources-romance]% Mold coverage: ......... [variable: xanadu-resources-mold]%

xanadu: You may *HIRE* a new research assistant, *ASSIGN* assistants to a task, or *SLEEP* until tomorrow.



day-options



shannon: Hire a new research assistant. (hire) [if !xanadu-resources-hired-today+xanadu-resources-assistants-hireable[gt]0]
shannon: Hire a new research assistant. (already-hired) [if xanadu-resources-hired-today+xanadu-resources-assistants-hireable[gt]0]
shannon: Hire a new research assistant. (hired-all) [if xanadu-resources-assistants-hireable=0]
shannon: Assign assistants to a task. (assign)
shannon: Sleep. (advance-day)
shannon: Try to quit and start over. (quit-confirm) [if xanadu-resources-time[gt]2+!xanadu-resources-tried-to-quit]
shannon: Maybe we have to wait it out. (quit-wait) [if xanadu-resources-tried-to-quit]

already-hired

conway: `(Typing)` ~Hire.~

xanadu: Uploading job advertisement to University message boards ...

xanadu: No new applicants. Try again later.



hired-all

conway: `(Typing)` ~Hire.~

xanadu: Uploading job advertisement to University message boards ...

xanadu: Connection failed. University message boards have been discontinued.



hire

conway: `(Typing)` ~Hire.~

xanadu: Uploading job advertisement to University message boards ...



hire-result

xanadu: You have hired Mary Ann, who studies fine art.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=mary_ann]

xanadu: You have hired Rick, who studies library sciences.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=rick]

xanadu: You have hired Greg, who studies architecture.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=greg]

xanadu: You have hired Weaver, who studies mathematics.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=weaver]

xanadu: You have hired Andrew, who studies statistics.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=andrew]

xanadu: You have hired Amy, who studies human-computer interaction.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=amy]

xanadu: You have hired Roberta, who studies fairy tales.[if xanadu-resources-last-hire=roberta]



assign

conway: `(Typing)` ~Assign.~

xanadu: You currently have no available research assistants to assign.[if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants=0]

xanadu: You may assign research assistants to *DEBUGGING*, *TRANSCRIPTION*, or *SPECULATION*.[if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]0]



shannon: Debugging. (assign-debugging) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]1]
shannon: Transcription. (assign-transcription) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]1]
shannon: Speculation. (assign-speculation) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]1]
shannon: Debugging. (assign-debugging-1-only) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants=1]
shannon: Transcription. (assign-transcription-1-only) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants=1]
shannon: Speculation. (assign-speculation-1-only) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants=1]

assign-debugging

xanadu: You have [variable: xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants] research assistants available today. Assign how many to *DEBUGGING*?



shannon: One. (complete-assignment-one) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]0]
shannon: Two. (complete-assignment-two) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]1]
shannon: Three. (complete-assignment-three) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]2]
shannon: Four. (complete-assignment-four) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]3]
shannon: Five. (complete-assignment-five) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]4]
shannon: Six. (complete-assignment-six) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]5]
shannon: Seven. (complete-assignment-seven) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]6]

assign-transcription

xanadu: You have [variable: xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants] research assistants available today. Assign how many to *TRANSCRIPTION*?



shannon: One. (complete-assignment-one) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]0]
shannon: Two. (complete-assignment-two) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]1]
shannon: Three. (complete-assignment-three) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]2]
shannon: Four. (complete-assignment-four) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]3]
shannon: Five. (complete-assignment-five) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]4]
shannon: Six. (complete-assignment-six) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]5]
shannon: Seven. (complete-assignment-seven) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]6]

assign-speculation

xanadu: You have [variable: xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants] research assistants available today. Assign how many to *SPECULATION*?



shannon: One. (complete-assignment-one) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]0]
shannon: Two. (complete-assignment-two) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]1]
shannon: Three. (complete-assignment-three) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]2]
shannon: Four. (complete-assignment-four) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]3]
shannon: Five. (complete-assignment-five) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]4]
shannon: Six. (complete-assignment-six) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]5]
shannon: Seven. (complete-assignment-seven) [if xanadu-resources-today-available-assistants[gt]6]

assign-debugging-1-only

xanadu: Assigning available research assistant to *DEBUGGING*.



assign-transcription-1-only

xanadu: Assigning available research assistant to *TRANSCRIPTION*.



assign-speculation-1-only

xanadu: Assigning available research assistant to *SPECULATION*.



complete-assignment-one

conway: `(Typing)` ~One.~



complete-assignment-two

conway: `(Typing)` ~Two.~



complete-assignment-three

conway: `(Typing)` ~Three.~



complete-assignment-four

conway: `(Typing)` ~Four.~



complete-assignment-five

conway: `(Typing)` ~Five.~



complete-assignment-six

conway: `(Typing)` ~Six.~



complete-assignment-seven

conway: `(Typing)` ~Seven.~



advance-day

conway: `(Typing)` ~Sleep.~

xanadu: Time passes.



progress-update

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-1][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]0]

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-2][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]1]

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-3][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]2]

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-4][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]3]

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-5][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]4]

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-6][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]5]

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-message-7][if xanadu-resources-message-count[gt]6]



special-events

goto event-mold [if event-mold]
goto event-stranger-appearance [if event-stranger-appearance]
goto event-assistant-follows-strangers [if event-assistant-follows-strangers]
goto event-weaver-follows-strangers [if event-weaver-follows-strangers]
goto event-mold [if event-mold]
goto event-stranger-appearance [if event-stranger-appearance]
goto event-assistant-follows-strangers [if event-assistant-follows-strangers]
goto event-weaver-follows-strangers [if event-weaver-follows-strangers]
goto event-mold [if event-mold]
goto event-stranger-appearance-short [if event-stranger-appearance-short]
goto event-assistant-follows-strangers [if event-assistant-follows-strangers]
goto event-weaver-follows-strangers [if event-weaver-follows-strangers]
goto event-stranger-appearance-short [if event-stranger-appearance-short]
goto event-assistant-follows-strangers [if event-assistant-follows-strangers]
goto event-weaver-follows-strangers [if event-weaver-follows-strangers]
goto party-appears [if party-appears]
goto event-power-bill [if event-power-bill]
goto event-nutritional-meal [if event-nutritional-meal]
goto event-donald-dream [if event-donald-dream]
goto event-crystal-garden [if event-crystal-garden]


goto day

event-power-bill

xanadu: A mail carrier on bicycle brings you a sizable bill from the power company.



goto day

event-nutritional-meal

xanadu: You prepare a nutritional meal of boiled cave moss, seasoned with a salty, translucent paste you've harvested (at great personal risk) from stalactites.



goto day

event-donald-dream

xanadu: You dream fitfully.

xanadu: You, *LULA*, and *JOSEPH* stand in a hallway. The walls are blank beige. It's just after winter quarter, but before spring, so there are no students around.

xanadu: *JOSEPH* says something clever, and *LULA* leans on his shoulder.

xanadu: You wish that, instead, she had taken your hand, or that there were any other option.



goto day

event-crystal-garden

xanadu: Your habit of absentmindedly chipping away at cave crystals and sprinkling their dust in the air behind you has paid off.

xanadu: Just a few feet down one of the tunnels blooms a small but kaleidoscopic garden of crystals.



goto day

event-mold

xanadu: Greasy, black mold is collecting on the computer equipment.



goto day

event-stranger-appearance

xanadu: Intruders!

xanadu: The strangers are doing something to the equipment, but you can't make out what.

xanadu: You hide behind a rock until they leave.

xanadu: With trepidation, you emerge from your hiding place, hours later.



goto day

event-stranger-appearance-short

xanadu: Intruders!

xanadu: Finally, they leave.



goto day

event-assistant-follows-strangers

xanadu: [variable: xanadu-resources-assistant-who-followed-strangers] follows the strangers down a tunnel to investigate, and is never seen again.



goto day

event-weaver-follows-strangers

xanadu: Weaver follows the strangers into the tunnels. She doesn't return, but neither do they.



goto day

quit-confirm

ezra: I want to keep playing.



shannon: OK. Sure, we can keep playing. (day-options)
shannon: Come on, kid, we've got stuff to do. (quit)

quit

conway: `(Typing)` ~Quit.~

xanadu: Are you sure you want to quit?

conway: `(Typing)` ~Yes.~

xanadu: That was a rhetorical question.



shannon: Hm. "Quit game"? (quit-game)
shannon: Hm. "Exit"? (exit)

quit-game

conway: `(Typing)` ~Quit game.~

xanadu: I only understood you as far as wanting to quit.



exit

conway: `(Typing)` ~Exit.~

xanadu: But you aren't in anything at the moment.



quit-other-ideas

shannon: Maybe we have to lose or die somehow in order to start over?



ezra: Eat the lamp! (quit-eat-lamp)
junebug: Smash the computer! (quit-smash-computer)

quit-eat-lamp

conway: `(Typing)` ~Eat lamp.~

xanadu: Don't be ridiculous.



quit-smash-computer

conway: `(Typing)` ~Smash computer.~

xanadu: Violence isn't the answer to this one.



quit-final



shannon: Maybe we have to wait it out. (quit-wait)
shannon: I guess we can keep playing. (day)

quit-wait

conway: `(Typing)` ~Wait indefinitely.~

xanadu: Time passes.



party-appears

xanadu: Research assistants come and go. One of them, the mathematician named Weaver, follows the strangers into the tunnels. She doesn't return, but neither do they.[if !xanadu-resources-weaver-followed-strangers]

xanadu: Research assistants come and go. You don't encounter the strangers again, but sometimes you can hear the uncanny echoes of their voices, off in the tunnels.[if xanadu-resources-weaver-followed-strangers]

xanadu: Years pass. Mold accumulates. You and the remaining research assistants take to burning disused equipment in the center of the room. The black mold is intensely flammable and makes an excellent catalyst. It leaves behind a sweet, narcotic perfume.

xanadu: One night, you have visitors. Outsiders. Different ones. Then, later that night, an old friend.

lula: You really did go deeper into the caves.

xanadu: Premature end of file. Press any key to quit.

shannon: Huh.



goto end

intro

xanadu: You rush down the tunnel, with *JOSEPH* and *LULA* close behind.



shannon: That got kind of intense back there. (intense)
junebug: `(To EZRA)` How do you like all this, kid? (game)

intense



shannon: No wonder they're still thinking about it ... (tunnel-2)
shannon: I hope they've moved on by now. (tunnel-2)

game



ezra: Kind of boring, but I like boring stuff sometimes. (tunnel-2)
ezra: There's a lot of reading, but I'm really good at that anyway. (tunnel-2)
goto tunnel-2

tunnel-2

xanadu: The tunnel narrows, and soon you find yourself crawling on your hands and knees. Navigating the tunnel gradually becomes more awkward, as smooth rock gives way to jagged, crystalline surfaces.

xanadu: Scratches and taps echo from the end of the tunnel — some short and piercing, some slower and groaning as if dampened by water.

xanadu: The tunnel opens into a large room.



goto end