Season 1/Episode 11: The Celery Festival

by Jessica Wright Buha

Content advisories for this episode can be found below.

This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Kathleen Hoil as Abbie, Amelia Bethel as Marisol, Joshua K. Harris as Rudy, Marsha Harman as Dot, Christopher J. Wilson as Tony, Jillian Leff as Selene, Lisa Burton as Marsha, Michael Turrentine as Wes, and Cara Ehlenfeldt, Vishnu Venugopal, Mel Ruder, Eleanor Hyde, and Philip Gaissert as festival attendees.

The Stalks are Sadie Rogers, Joe Griffin, Clayton Faits, Dan Schaeffer, and David Schaeffer.
Wes’s Banjo and the Curly Stem String Band songs are by Gunnar Jebsen
The Third Street Warblers are Randy Palmer, Merri Palmer, Betsey Palmer, and Jeffrey Nils Gardner

Written by Jessica Wright Buha, sound design by Alexander Danner, directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner, music composed by Stephen Poon, recording engineer Mel Ruder, Unwell lead sound designer Ryan Schile, Executives Producers Eleanor Hyde and Jeffrey Gardner, by HartLife NFP.Content advisories:

This episode contains:
-Profanity
-Frightening soundscapes and screams
-Seizures
-Discussion and portrayal of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Transcript:

SCENE 1.

BOARDING HOUSE KITCHEN. CAT CLOCKS

MEOWS. A PHONE BEING TAKEN OFF THE

HOOK. DIAL TONE. PHONE HANGS UP.

PHONE IS PICKED UP. DIAL TONE. A FEW

NUMBERS ARE DIALED. PHONE HANGS UP.

LILY: Dammit.

FOOTSTEPS.

DOT: What're you / messing--

LILY: Ahh!

DOT: What?

LILY: Don't sneak up on me.

DOT: I'm just walking. In tennis shoes. Like a cat burglar. No

more clunk-clunk of the boot, now I'm free to rob old ladies

and scare my daughter. Boo.

LILY: Can I have some space?

DOT: You gotta commandeer the whole kitchen?

LILY: I have to use the landline. I'm afraid my cell phone will

cut out.

DOT: Oooh. Important call?

LILY: Maybe.

DOT: To an important record store owner with importantly

impossibly / beautiful eyes.

LILY: Hey--hey, don't start. She's just a friend.

DOT: Bout time you started getting out there. Go mount some abs

in Mount Abs.

LILY: MOM.

DOT: I certainly did.

LILY: Oh my God.

Wait, who? Are you seeing someone?

DOT: He's gone. But he was wonderful.

LILY: Why'd you guys break up?

DOT: He's dead, Lilian.

LILY: That's not funny.

DOT: It wasn't.

Sometimes, people die.

Life lessons.

LILY: Hey. Um. Speaking of death. Or... difficult conversations--

so, uh remember you said you needed help the other day?

DOT: Everyone needs help.

LILY: Yeah, but you were serious, so I think we should schedule

you an appointment.

DOT: Sure, sure. I'll go see Dr. Peters next week, get my blood

pressure meds tweaked.

LILY: I / don't--

DOT: I've been feeling screwy since he put me on the little /

diamond pills, I need the orange ones back.

LILY: Mom, you said you couldn't remember. You seemed

scared, and you said you couldn't remember.

DOT: I'm old.

LILY: You're sixty-two.

FOOTSTEPS AS ABBIE ENTERS.

DOT: Are you gonna call her, or you want me to call her?

LILY: I will in a second.

ABBIE: Just go over there and ask her in person. I assume you're

talking about asking Marisol out.

LILY: If I go over there, and she says no, then it's like, huh, this is

a cool record I guess, let me linger awkwardly, okay bye.

ABBIE: The phone can also be quite awkward.

DOT: You can always pretend the call was dropped. Like, "what?

Can't hear you? Good talk! Bye!"

LILY: I'm just going to call.

THE DIALING OF A LANDLINE PHONE.

LILY: (practicing) Hi.

SOFT RINGING OF THE OTHER LINE.

LILY: (practicing) Hi. Hello. Hello.

ABBIE: Your voice works.

LILY: (practicing) Hello. Hi.

DOT: Lily, stop talking. It'll be weird if she picks up.

LILY: Go do something else--Hi! How are you? It's Lily Harper.

(Pause) Oh, right. You recognize my voice. (Pause) And

caller ID, sure.

ABBIE: You wouldn't have been this awkward in person.

DOT: Abbie's right.

LILY: Anyway, how are you? Good! So I was calling, ah, I was

calling to ask...Jesus, the cord better reach over here.

DOOR CLOSES. LILY'S CONVERSATION IS

MUFFLED.

DOT: They grow up so fast. One moment, they're taking their

first steps. The next, they're hiding in a stairwell asking a

girl on a date.

Sweet. Well, good for her.

MUFFLED VOICE STOPS. DOOR OPENS.

ABBIE: I'm / proud of you.

LILY: She said yes! Oh. What?

ABBIE: No matter what her answer was, I wanted you to know that

I'm proud. It's a brave thing. Zebra cake?

LILY: I'm good. Thanks.

ABBIE OPENS THEIR ZEBRA CAKE,

CELLOPHANE RUSTLING, AS THEY GO UP

THE STAIRS.

One thing--Mom, can you hang out with Spikes during the

Fest? I kinda just... you know. Some alone time?

DOT: Sure. We'll watch the costume contest and get stoned

LILY: Great. Don't actually do that.

FOOTSTEPS DOWN THE STAIRS.

This is exciting! This is great. Is she too cool for me?

DOT: Maybe. Depends on what you wear.

LILY: Oh my God, I don't have anything to wear.

WES: The flowered dress looks nice on you.

LILY: No, it has a rip in it--I don't-- I guess I

could wear--

WES: I never noticed a rip.

LILY: Wes, just don't.

DOT: Oh, don't get upset. I'm teasing you-- you look good in

everything.

LILY: Thanks.

DOT: Except that blue shirt.

LILY: Thanks!

DOT: It washes you out.

LILY: I said thanks, Mom. That'll do.

DOT: I'm just joking.

LILY: I never liked your "jokes."

DOT: Oh, stop. You love me. You love living here.

LILY: It's a blast.

DOT: Well, I don't know what happened, because I haven't

changed. You used to love it here as a kid.

LILY: Yeah, I was a kid. All you had to do was give me a garden

hose and I'd be thrilled.

DOT STARTS UP THE STAIRS.

A HAPPY TEN-YEAR-OLD IN THE SUMMER IS

PRETTY HARD TO MESS UP.

DOT: (off) Whatever.

DISTANT DOOR SLAM. LILY SIGHS.

WES: Hey.

LILY: What.

WES: There's some necklaces and things in the basement. If you

look in the green leather trunk--it's against the wall--it has a

false bottom. Just pull the strap. There's a ruby one, and a

moonstone one--lots of stuff.

LILY: Thanks.

WES: Please put them back in the same condition you found

them.

LILY: Okay.

SCENE 2.

BASEMENT. FOOTSTEPS DOWN THE STAIRS.

RUDY: Welcome.

LILY: Oh, hey.

SWIRL OF A RUSTLY DRESS.

That looks nice on you.

RUDY: A-line skirts flatter anyone. But thank you. I think green is

my color. Maybe I'll enter the costume contest.

LILY: There's a costume contest?

RUDY: Oh, yes. I could be Mary Todd Celery.

THE CREAK OF A LID OPENING.

Don't open that one--a mouse nest.

MICE SQUEAKING. THE LID SNAPS SHUT.

Made of old newspapers and nudie photos from 1893.

Looking for something in particular?

LILY: Rudy, how many times have you been through these

trunks?

RUDY: A few.

We're all snoopers. That's why we wanted to live in a

RUDY (CONT'D): boarding house. It's not for the clanking radiators, or Dot's

three-can casserole. What're you looking for?

LILY: Something to wear to the celery festival.

RUDY: There's another dress in here--

SATIN RUSTLES.

It's blue, I think.

LILY: No no, something like a necklace. I have a date.

RUDY: Congrats! Ah, my kingdom for a date. Well, if this dress

doesn't bring the marriage proposals, then I just don't know

what will.

LILY: Wes said there was some jewelry in a green trunk?

RUDY: Oh, under the false bottom. Sure. Nice stuff. It's over here.

RUSTLE OF SKIRTS.

Lemme just get these out of the way.

TRUNKS SCRAPE AGAINST THE FLOOR.

LILY: Hey, is the door here?

RUDY: Nope. Vanished. Again. I've been checking. It's proving

elusive.

MORE TRUNKS SCRAPE AGAINST THE

FLOOR. A METAL CANDLESTICK CLATTERS

TO THE GROUND.

LILY: Careful!

RUDY: It's fine. It was metal.

Here we go.

SCRAPE OF A TRUNK BEING PULLED

CLOSE, AND THE CREAK OF A LID.

LILY: Thanks.

PAPERS AND BOOKS FLOP CARELESSLY TO

THE STONE FLOOR.

RUDY: No prob. These things want to get worn. Old rocks,

dinosaur bones--these things want to be found. They're not

sleeping. They're bored. We're not disturbing them, we're

becoming friends.

Now we just pull the strap, revealing the treasure...

THE SOFT CLINK AND GLOW OF GOLDEN

NECKLACES.

LILY: They're gorgeous.

RUDY: They're happy to see you, too.

SCENE 3

THE SOUNDS OF THE TOWN, CONTENT AND BUSTLING

SCENE 4.

THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE CELERY

FESTIVAL. A CHOIR SINGS.

CHILDREN: (singing) Great Green Mother, who we adore

Be with us please forevermore.

At your love, we ne'er will balk

May we always have your lovely stalks.

APPLAUSE.

ANNOUNCER: (over microphone) Two hundred and third Celery Festival,

I dub thee: OPEN.

APPLAUSE AND CHEERS.

LILY: This is looney.

DOT: This is America.

A BLUEGRASS BAND STARTS TO PLAY.

MARISOL: Oh, it's the Curly Stem String Band! They play every year.

THE WORLD IS FILLED WITH SHOUTS OF

PEOPLE SELLING THEIR WARES.

HAWKER #1: Award-winning Celery shortbread, right here, just twelve

dollars a pound!

SOUND OF CHAINSAWS.

HAWKER #2: Face painting! Stalks, leaves, and crowns! And dinosaurs!

ANNOUNCER: (D) The judging for the celery carving contest will take

place in thirty minutes.

LILY: How big are these celery stalks?

MARISOL: Heirloom ones can be huge.

STELLA: Can we go see the tasting booths, Ms. Harper?

DOT: Let's bleed em dry.

FOOTSTEPS AND A RUSTLE OF FABRIC AS

ABBIE AND RUDY APPROACH.

ABBIE: The date looks like it's going well!

LILY: IT'S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU TOO, ABBIE.

MARISOL: Rudy, your dress is stunning.

RUDY: Thank you. I'm Elizabeth Celery Stanton.

LILY: What are you all up to?

ABBIE: Just some light land surveying. And heavy food sampling.

RUDY: The celery liquor at booth 204 is stupendous. Its umami

tones are unrivaled.

MARISOL: Can't wait to check it out

LILY: See you around!

ABBIE: Wait, let's measure from here--pacing gait. Ready? One,

two, three, four---

ABBIE'S VOICE FADES INTO THE GENERAL

FAIR HUBBUB).

MARISOL: What were they doing?

LILY: Didn't want to ask, 'cause then we'd get roped into

helping.

TONY: Come on, Celene! They have the Pink Plume varietal!

CELENE: NO! Yes!

MARISOL: Oh, we have to do this booth

CELERY FLUTE LADY: I myself like to smear the peanut butter like this--

FAIRGOER: Oh, yes.

CELERY FLUTE LADY: --but it's a matter of taste.

FAIRGOER: I see.

LILY: What's this?

MARISOL: It's the "build-your-own-celery-flute" station.

CELERY FLUTE LADY: Miss Cabrera! Join us! Where’s your niece?

MARISOL: She’s running around with Dot. Have you met Lily yet?

She's Dot's kid.

CELERY FLUTE LADY: Oh, wonderful! Here, Lily--pick two stalks of equidistant

girth and length.

LILY: (softly) Oh, Jesus.

CELERY FLUTE LADY: These two look fine, and then you just --oh excuse me--

Miss Cabrera, assist her.

FOOTSTEPS MOVING AWAY.

(off) Yes, would you like to make / your own celery flute?

LILY: Okay, so what do I do here?

MARISOL: Just use the peanut butter to stick the two pieces together,

then poke holes down the side--there's a meat skewer

somewhere you can use for that. And there you go.

LILY: Do they actually make noise?

MARISOL: You'll see. This is my favorite booth. Spikes and I do this

every year.

LILY: I can run and get her.

MARISOL: No, this is good. I don't have to stop her from licking the

peanut butter off the communal spoons.

And hers is always better than mine, and then I feel

inferior.

LILY: I do love peanut butter.

MARISOL: Oh, it's the best. I get it.

LILY: My mom used to make ants on a log when I was little--I'd

always just lick off the peanut butter and hand her back the

raisins and celery stick, like, cool plate, thanks.

MARISOL: Aww, I bet Dot thought that was funny.

LILY: Oh, no--this was Cynthia. I guess she's technically my

stepmom, but--no. She's my mom.

THEY GLOB PEANUT BUTTER ONTO

CELERY STALKS. THE SOUND OF THE FAIR.

MARISOL: Then who's Dot?

LILY: People can have two moms. I don't, but people do. Like,

two orbs of--

MARISOL: Orbs?

LILY: Or beacons or fountains or sources. There we go. Sources.

MARISOL: There we go.

LILY: Of happiness. I don't.

I mean, I don't blame her. She couldn't be my source of

happiness or contentment, she was too busy being that for

everyone else. She's always been so busy, always a billion

things on her to-do list, "here honey, talk to me while I iron

this person's sheets," or "tag along as I take a casserole to

blah-blah-blah."

But she still feels the need to keep the charade up. That

we're each other's everything--that she's my one and only

Mom. But she's just this random person.

MARISOL: Well, not RANDOM.

LILY: We have the same eyebrows--or, like, we arch them the

same way, and when I see her do that, it's like she stole

something from me.

This isn't really a first date conversation.

MARISOL: Okay.

LILY: Maybe it is. I don't know, it's been a while. I'm sorry.

THEY BUILD THEIR FLUTES. THEY POKE

HOLES IN THE CELERY. MARISOL BLOWS

HERS.

LILY: That sounds nice.

MARISOL: Thanks.

LILY: How'd you end up here?

MARISOL: It's kinda a weird story. I was trying to find the complete

discography of this saxophonist--Vi Burnside. Have you

heard of her?

LILY: No.

MARISOL: She was huge in the forties. So I go on the internet, and

there was this guy that was like, yeah, I have everything

she ever recorded. But I'm not gonna copy them--then the

sound quality's shit. If you want, you can come here, to

random-town Ohio, and listen to them.

So I came here for a visit, and the recordings were

incredible, and then a few months later I got a letter saying

he was gone, and that he left me his shop. So here I am. I

did rename it, but I still have so much in there that was his.

LILY: Who was this guy?

MARISOL: His name was Paul.

LILY: Why would he do that?

MARISOL: I guess, cause...

I don't know. We just want to be remembered. I mean,

right? And every time I walk in the shop, I think about him,

and I say, "Hey, Paul. Thanks.” I remember him--it's what

he wanted.

Mount Absalom is nice. It has the forgotten things.

SCENE 5.

ELSEWHERE IN THE CELERY FEST.

BACKSTAGE AREA. THE COSTUME

CONTEST CONTESTANTS DO THEIR LAST

FINISHING TOUCHES. MUCH MUTTERING.

DOT AND STELLA WANDER AROUND

COSTUME PEOPLE: Can someone zip me up? / Has anyone seen a three foot

celery stalk? / What are you supposed to be? / It's not

OBVIOUS??

STELLA: Are we allowed to be back here?

DOT: Sure! Wasn't a lock on the gate. Go snag us some free

water.

ATTENDANT: Costume Contest Contestants, two minutes. Two minutes.

FOOTSTEPS AND CRINKLE OF WATER

BOTTLES.

STELLA: I got four.

DOT: Perfect.

STELLA: So much green makeup. Have you ever entered the costume

contest?

DOT: Thrice. Never won. Flashed five hundred people "on

accident" one year. Still didn't win.

DOT PICKS UP A HEADDRESS. IT'S VERY

RUSTLY.

DOT: Oh my God, look, someone braided celery into--here, come

here.

STELLA: What is it?

DOT: Put it on.

STELLA: Like on my head?

DOT: Yeah.

STELLA: Okay--

DOT: Here, lemme help.

RUSTLE OF THE HEADDRESS. QUICK

FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

MARTHA: Hey, don't--oh, Dot! Crazy old so-n-so, get your mitts off

my headdress.

DOT: Hey... you! What's shakin'?

MARTHA: Just going to kick some butt in the costume contest. You

look good!

DOT: Still above ground.

MARTHA: I heard you weren't doing so well.

DOT: Who said that?

MARTHA: Was it at the bank? Don't remember, but someone said,

"That Dot Harper, she's not doing well," and I thought,

Dottie?

DOT: Nope, right as rain. How're you, how's... everything?

MARTHA: Can't complain. Ray and the grandkids went off to Julian

the other day to see a movie. I had to work at the plant.

DOT: Sure. The plant?

MARTHA: God, Dot, you're funny. The soda plant--the bottling works!

DOT: I was just busting your balls. (TO STELLA) You see how I

bust her balls?

STELLA: Nice.

RUSTLE OF A HEADDRESS BEING PUT ON.

MARTHA: All right. Guess who I am.

DOT: You're the statue.

STELLA: The Statue of Liberty.

MARTHA: That's me. "Celery Enlightening the World."

ATTENDANT: Costume contest participants! Assemble by the

grandstands!

MARTHA: Oooo, I gotta ram-scram-wiggle. Nice to meet you, ah...

DOT: Oh, this is...

STELLA: I'm Spikes.

MARTHA: Spikes. Toodle-o, Dot!

DOT: Toodle-o.

FOOTSTEPS GOING AWAY.

DOT: Why'd she act like she knew me? These people are all nuts.

All right, grab some water, and let's get out of here.

STELLA: I--[already got some]

DOT: You already got some. Great. You wanna get more

samples?

STELLA: Yes.

SCENE 6.

ELSEWHERE IN THE FEST, MARISOL AND

LILY STROLL THROUGH THE BOOTHS. LILY

PLAYS HER CELERY FLUTE.

LILY: I can't believe this actually works.

MARISOL: That's pretty good. Can you play?

LILY: I mean, not really. I was a camp counselor in high school

and got roped into teaching music. I'm pretty good at faking

it. Just for music--everything else in my life, I'm very

sincere.

MARISOL: I like that about you.

LILY: Thanks.

ANNOUNCER: (d) Give another hand for the Gummies!

LILY: What are they saying?

MARISOL: I can't hear.

ANNOUNCER: (d) What a great jingle! Next up, we have the The Stalks.

THE STALKS, IN THE STYLE OF AN

EIGHTIES HAIR BAND, PLAY.

LILY: Shit, are they doing the jingle contest? Come on.

THEY RUN THROUGH THE FAIR. PEOPLE

SHOUTING THE PRICE OF THEIR WARES,

SNATCHES OF FAIRGROUND MUSIC,

LAUGHTER.

LILY: Sorry, can I grab your hand? Is that okay?

MARISOL: It's great.

THE BAND GROWS LOUDER.

THE STALKS: (singing) Celery. You spice me up! Oooo! And give me

shivers.

LILY: Whoa.

MARISOL: That's not a jingle.

LILY: It's something.

THE STALKS: (singing) When I touch your leaves, oooh, hoh. Everything

is clearer.

Celery / I love you. Celery. You love me.

THE SONG ENDS. APPLAUSE ERUPTS

AROUND THEM.

LILY: Hey, Rudy!

RUDY: Hey.

LILY: Did Abbie go yet?

RUDY: Not yet.

ANNOUNCER: Next up on the jingle stage--Wes the Troubadour.

LILY: Holy shit, that's Wes.

MARISOL: Is it?

RUDY: Oh my God it is.

BANJEAURINE PLAYS.

MARISOL: He's good.

RUDY: Shhh.

WES: (singing) Celery (oo ooo ooo)

Fresh as a daisy, green and amazing

Celery.

WES (CONT'D): (singing) Sparkling water, touch of sugar, get your greens

and tell your mother

Celery, Celery, oo oo. Celery.

Celeric Bottling Works, Mount Absalom, Ohio.

APPLAUSE.

LILY: That was great!

ANNOUNCER: (d) Wonderful! Our next contestant goes by DJ Asterisk.

LILY: Oh, that's Abbie.

MARISOL: Is that a Theremin?

THEREMIN WARBLES.

ABBIE: (chanting) Celery-spicy, celery-cool. Celery-spicy, celery-

cool.

ABBIE: (over the AUDIENCE) What/ Bubble /Fizz/ I need that.

What/ Bubble /Fizz/ I need that.

What/ Bubble /Fizz/ I need that.

Soda soda soda soda soda fizzzzzzzz.

ONE LAST NOTE ON THE THEREMIN. THE

AUDIENCE IS SILENT.

ABBIE (CONT'D): The pride of Mount Absalom.

THE AUDIENCE EXPLODES IN APPLAUSE.

MARISOL: Wow.

FOOTSTEPS.

WES: Did you--

LILY: Hey, Wes!

ANNOUNCER: (V.O.) Very / modern! Next up, the Third Street Warblers!

WES: Did you hear me?

RUDY: You were great.

WES: Abbie was great. Oooh, I'm exhausted. I was so nervous,

but it was really simple. It went just like I practiced it.

Why was I nervous?

LILY: Oh, honey, your lips look pale. Sit on the ground.

RUSTLE AND GENTLE CLANG AS WES AND

HIS BANJEAURINE SIT.

You were so great! You should be proud.

THE THIRD STREET WARBLERS, A POP

COUNTRY BAND, PLAYS.

LILY (CONT'D): These guys suck--you're totally better than them.

WES: I don't feel well.

MARISOL: I've got some water.

LILY: Thanks (to WES) You might be overheated. The sun's

setting--it'll get cooler. Here, drink this.

WES: Okay.

WES DRINKS. HE SPITS IT OUT

LILY: Wes, it's okay.

WES KEEPS MAKING A HORRIBLE NOISE.

IT BUILDS IN INTENSITY, SOMETHING VIOLENT

What that alcohol?

MARISOL: No, just water.

THE SOUNDS OF THE FAIR FALTER. THE

WARBLERS SKIP NOTES. FAIRGOERS STOP

LAUGHING, AND BEGIN TO MUTTER. SOUR

SOUND AS THE BANJEAURINE IS KICKED

TO THE SIDE. DIRT RUSTLES AS WES

STARTS TO SEIZURE.

LILY: Wes! Does he have epilepsy?

RUDY: I don't know. I've never / heard anything--[about it.]

LILY: Someone go find my mom. Abbie! Abbie, go get Dot!

Wes, you're okay.

MARISOL: We have to get him out of the dirt.

LILY: Don't touch him! Just get something under his head. Rudy,

gimme your shawl.

RUSTLE OF A SHAWL.

RUDY: Wes! Can you hear me!

LILY: Gentle noises--Wes, Wes, it's okay. I think you're having a

seizure, but you're safe.

MARISOL: Should I call someone?

LILY: Yes! No one's called yet?

WES GETS SOFTER.

Wait.

Wait. Wes, don't worry. You're safe. Can you hear me? I

want you to know you're safe.

THE UNHOLY SOUNDS STOP. WES

BREATHES.

LILY (CONT'D): How do you feel? Are you okay?

WES: I'm okay. I'm okay.

LILY: Wes, do you have epilepsy?

WES: I don't know. I want to sit up.

LILY: Okay. Do you want help?

WES: No.

RUSTLE AS WES SITS UP.

LILY: Have you ever had a seizure before?

WES: Yes.

LILY: What happens?

WES: I'm out for a minute, then I'm okay.

MARISOL: Should we call an / ambulance?

LILY: (to MARISOL) Wait. (to WES) Wes, do we need to call an

ambulance?

WES: No, no. This happens. I just need to rest.

MARISOL: Should we just call one?

LILY: I'm not sure.

WES: This just happens sometimes!

LILY: Okay. Let's just go. Marisol, can you drive my mom to the

house? And find Abbie--I don't know where they went.

MARISOL: Sure.

LILY: Thanks. Wes, we're just going to go to the car, okay? Rudy,

grab his--his whatever-it-is.

RUDY: One banjeurine, check.

WES: Where are we going?

LILY: I'm gonna drive you home. What was your address? Oak

street, right?

WES: No. Two-oh-one Route Nine.

LILY: Did you forget something at the boarding house?

RUDY: Maybe you should just go home.

WES: Two-oh-one Route Nine.

LILY: Okay. You can rest up in the spare room, then I'll drive you

home.

SCENE 7.

THE TOWN- CHAOTIC, DISTURBED

SCENE 8.

THE BOARDING HOUSE. THE DOOR OPENS.

THE TYPICAL HOUSE SOUND CACOPHONY

IS HEARD. FOOTSTEPS IN.

LILY: And, in we go. You want help up the stairs, Wes?

WES: No--I got it.

LILY: Okay, well, go slow. That was scary, what happened back

there.

WES: What did I do?

LILY: You had some spasms, and you sounded very upset.

RUDY: Like a tea kettle going off. Not in a bad way. It was very

expressive.

WES: Sorry.

LILY: No no, it was fine. Go rest.

WES' FOOTSTEPS UPSTAIRS. DOOR OPENS.

FOOTSTEPS IN.

LILY: Hey, Mom. Don't worry, Wes is fine. Are his seizures

normally under a minute?

DOT: What's she talking about.

MARISOL: Ms. Harper, why don't you just go upstairs and lie down--

it's been such a long, hot, day.

STELLA: Bye.

DOT: Why're you saying "bye." You're staying.

MARISOL: She has to go home, / Ms. Harper.

DOT: This is her home.

LILY: Mom--

DOT: Lily, tell her that this is your home.

LILY: MOM.

DOT: (to LILY) Shut up. (to STELLA) Lily. Don't you want to

stay?

STELLA: Oh, um...

DOT: You just got here. It's summertime. This is our time.

MARISOL: We'll come back and visit.

DOT: I'm her mother.

Lily--Lily. Lily! Tell them you want to stay. Lily, just say it

and you can stay.

STELLA: I want to stay.

DOT: That makes me so happy. I just want to make you happy. I

just want to be a good mom.

STELLA: Yes, you are. You're the best mom.

DOT: Oh, Lily.

I try so hard. But I'm so tired.

STELLA: You can go to bed, if you want.

DOT: Okay. Will you be here in the morning.

LILY: Yes. She will.

DOT: Thank you. Thank you. You're all good people.

DOT GOES UPSTAIRS. DOOR CLOSES.

STELLA: Was that okay?

MARISOL: That was so brave of you, Stella.

STELLA: I was pretending she was Great-Grandpa Jay. Remember

how he would get confused?

MARISOL: Yes.

Lily, you think she'll be better tomorrow? Or do you want

us to come over in the morning.

LILY: We'll be at the doctor in the morning. So. No. Thanks.

MARISOL: It was probably just sundown syndrome--she was walking

around all day, and it was so hot.

LILY: Yeah.

MARISOL: Can I give you a hug?

LILY: Please.

RUSTLE OF CLOTHES AS THEY HUG.

MARISOL: I'll see you soon. Call me if you need anything.

LILY: Okay. Thanks, Spikes.

STELLA: No prob.

DOOR CLOSES.

SILENCE. HOUSE SOUNDS.

LILY: Oh.

Oh, no.

RUDY: Everything's going to be fine.

LILY: What's sundown syndrome? Well? Professor Psych-major?

ABBIE: Minor. It's a state of confusion occurring in a person

with dementia. These increased dementia symptoms--

LILY: Stop saying that word.

ABBIE: These increased X symptoms only show up at the end of

the day, when they're exhausted and it's nighttime and the

world looks different.

LILY: You think she has that?

ABBIE: It's unethical to give theoretical diagnoses.

LILY: Abbie?

ABBIE: I think so.

LILY: Will she get better?

ABBIE: Are you asking if there's a cure for dementia?

LILY IS SILENT FOR A LONG TIME.

LILY: Okay.

Good night.

RUDY: You want to have some dinner?

LILY: No.

RUDY: Or just talk about it?

LILY: No.

RUDY: Lily?

LILY: Goodnight.

FOOTSTEPS TOWARDS THE STAIRS.

RUDY: What's a happy memory of Dot from when you were small?

LILY: There's none.

It was all just shitty. From first to last, just shitty as far as

the eye can see.

ABBIE: What did she smell like, when you were a little kid?

SILENCE. LIVING ROOM SOUNDS. HOUSE

SOUNDS.

LILY: Like cigarettes.

Like smoke. Like a campfire. Like the ocean. Big and

salty--she sweated a lot--I don't know--she was always

moving. Always planting a thing or pulling up a thing or

painting a thing or hauling a thing.

She used to take me on hikes through the forest at night,

and she'd turn the flashlight off, and we'd stand there in the

darkness, and she'd hold my hand, and we'd listen to the--

you know--the whatevers. The crickets. The owls. Night

sounds. It was just us, then.

Unlike every other millisecond of the day.

I felt jealous cause I guess I wanted her only project to be

me, but she was like the ocean, and she had all this other

stuff going on. I was always so small in her world--like this

small, tiny piece. I just didn't ever want to be forgotten.

ABBIE: I won't forget you.

RUDY: You have a certain je ne sais quoi that sticks in the mind.

And I can't forget good people. Celery liquor?

LILY: Thanks. Lemme grab a glass.

RUDY: Just drink it from the bottle.

LILY: Okay.

LILY TAKES A SWIG.

Whew!

Spicy.

ABBIE: Celery-cool.

LILY: Hey, did you win that thing?

ABBIE: Yeah.

LILY: Awesome!

Awesome.

A THRUMMING BASS NOTE AS THE CREDITS START

This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Kathleen Hoil as Abbie, Amelia Bethel as Marisol, Joshua K. Harris as Rudy, Marsha Harman as Dot, Christopher J. Wilson as Tony, Jillian Leff as Selene, Lisa Burton as Marsha, Michael Turrentine as Wes, and Cara Ehlenfeldt, Vishnu Venugopal, Mel Ruder, Eleanor Hyde, and Philip Gaissert as festival attendees.

Written by Jim McDoniel, sound design by Alexander Danner, directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner, music composed by Stephen Poon, recording engineer Mel Ruder, Unwell lead sound designer Ryan Schile, Executives Producers Eleanor Hyde and Jeffrey Gardner, by HartLife NFP.

In the early 1800s, it was a Mount Absalom tradition to plant celery on the graves of departed family members. Stalks would be tended all spring and summer and then served at a special dinner dedicated to the memory of those they loved.