Season 1/Episode 3: The Pageant

by Jessica Best

Content advisories for this episode can be found below.

This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Krista D’Agostino as Hazel, Marsha Harman as Dot, Kathleen Hoil as Abbie, Amelia Bethel as Marisol, Abby Doud as Mason, Kat Evans as Stacy, Jeffrey Gardner as Dylan.

 Written by Jessica Best, sound design by Mischa Stanton, 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.

This episode contains:
-Racism
-Discussions of historical atrocities
-Descriptions of diseases

 SCENE 1


BIRDS CHIRPING. THIS DUCKS OUT TO…

WATER POURED INTO A COFFEE POT, THE COFFEEMAKER BEING SWITCHED ON.


ABBIE:                        (SINGING) But the cowboys all took a resolution,

no bankruptcies we’d go…


A DOOR OPENING, SEVERAL, SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS.


…so we left that drover’s bones to bleach, on the…


LILY:                Morning, Abbie.


ABBIE:            (ABRUPTLY STOPS.)


LILY:    Good, you found the coffee pot. Wasn’t sure where Mom put it away last time.


So anyway, I was sorting the mail, and I had--Uh, what’s this, your business card?


(READING OUT LOUD)


“To whom it may concern, if you’re reading this, it is early in the morning and you are trying to talk to me. I, Abbie Douglas, (they/them pronouns), do not make small talk before 7:30 AM. No, this is not a joke or a “bit.” If you talk to me before 7:30, you will get no answer. No exceptions. Also, please give this back because I only made one.”


Y’know, my phone says it’s literally 7:29, can I get a little wiggle room?


:     Okay, tell you what, I will leave your mail right here for you—


A STACK OF ENVELOPES SET ON A TABLE.

LILY (con’t):    --and I guess do a quick lap of the hallway? Uh, back in a minute.


FOOTSTEPS AND THE DOOR CLOSING.


ABBIE:                        (RESUMES SINGING) Trail of the Buffal


A FEW FOOTSTEPS, RUSTLING THROUGH ENVELOPES.


ABBIE (con’t):             Student loans, student loans, what the hell


Who still embosses stuff?


AN ENVELOPE RIPPED OPEN.



“Dear Abigail Douglas, at 8 PM this coming Saturday, you are cordially invited to the 230th Annual Mount Absalom Founder’s Day History Pageant and Meat Raffle.”


Brew faster, coffee. I need you.


THE COFFEE POT SPUTTERS, ALMOST APOLOGETIC.


DOOR OPENS AND FOOTSTEPS, MUCH FASTER THIS TIME


LILY:                            Okay, the minute has officially ticked over, so-- (PAUSE) You know, the clock on the wall says 7:38?


A CELL PHONE ALARM GOES OFF


ABBIE:            The clock on the wall is wrong.


THE COFFEE MAKER HISSES AS THE COFFEE POT IS REMOVED. LIQUID POURED INTO A CUP.


LILY:                            Good morning, Abbie. Did you also get invited to--


ABBIE:                        A 230th annual pageant for a town founded two hundred twenty-two years ago? Yes.


LILY:                            …I was more stuck on the meat raffle. Is that a punk band? A really gross name for a bachelor auction?


ABBIE:                        Haven’t you been to one of these before? You’re from here, right?


LILY:                            I’m not—I’m kinda from here, but I’m not from-here, from-here.


ABBIE:            (FLATLY) Huh?


LILY:                            My mom took over this place from her uncle when he passed. I was about eight, I used to come visit her for the summer. But—three months a year, for ten years, that’s what, 30 months? It’d be like saying you’re “from” wherever you went to middle school, which, perish the thought, right? I was almost more like a tourist.

    I never know what to say to “Where are you from”, anyway. Do you go with the place you were born? The place you grew up? The place you live now? The place you lived before then? Do you give the whole rundown, of every single place you’ve ever lived?

What are we even looking for, when we ask it? I mean besides the people who are just being racist.

ABBIE:            Of course.


LILY:    Anyway, I must’ve missed history pageant and meat raffle season. You think you’ll go?


ABBIE:            Vegetarian.


LILY:                            I meant, the history part’s up your alley, right?


ABBIE:                        Adjacent to it, maybe. Not big into...pageantry.


LILY:                            We’re the only ones in the area who got invites. You, me, and mom. Is that weird?


ABBIE:                        How would I know? How do you even know who’s invited?


LILY:                            The mailman talked to me.


ABBIE:    How did he know?


LILY:                            The Delphics have distinctive stationery. Sorry, the Delphic Order, it’s--


ABBIE:            Mount Absalom’s answer to the Masons, I know. A gaggle of grown adults playing pretend in a sweaty VFW hall somewhere, occasionally pausing long enough to plan a parade in honor of themselves.


LILY:    Sometimes they host potlucks. (TO HERSELF) I’ll be the only person there between six and sixty.


ABBIE:            Then don’t go.


LILY:                            If I snub the Delphics, everyone in town’s gonna give me the owl-eye the whole rest of my stay.


ABBIE:            The what?


LILY:                            You know, the owl-eye. It’s like the stink-eye but with more staring. The owl-eye, it’s a thing.


ABBIE:            Not a thing.


Do you want some coffee?


LILY:                          Oh, that sounds great, th—


ABBIE:                       Good, you can make the next pot. I only brewed one cup.


LILY:                (FINALLY LOSING HER COOL) Who does that?


ABBIE:            Didn’t know I’d want more.


DOOR, FOOTSTEPS AND CRUTCHES.


DOT:                           Morning, Lily. Morning, Abbie.


LILY:                            Hey, mom.


DOT:                           Ooh, is there coffee?


ABBIE and LILY:         No.


LILY:                            Hey, the Delphics invited us to a thing—


DOT:                           A history pageant and meat raffle! We haven’t had one of those in probably a decade.


ABBIE:            Can anyone in this town count?


DOT:    Hm?


ABBIE:    How is it annual if you don’t even do it every year?


DOT:                          Founder’s Day is annual. The rest of it happens whenever the Delphics feel like it. One year, they held a pageant-and-raffle every Thursday for something like nine weeks in a row. The whole Town Hall smelled like sausages for months.


So, what do you think you’ll wear?


LILY:                I’m not sure I’m going.


DOT:                Really?


LILY:    Don’t you think it’ll be kind of awkward? I haven’t seen most of these people in over a decade.


DOT:                Y’know, they still ask about you?


LILY:    They do? (A BEAT) What do you tell them?


DOT:    Oh, you know. Where you’ve been living, what you’ve been doing for money. The last I’ve heard, at least. (AWKWARD PAUSE) Y’know, if you stay home like a bump on a log, the whole town’s gonna give you the owl-eye.


LILY:    I know. Tell you what, I’ll go, with the understanding up front that if it gets too weird, we can leave early.


DOT:    Abbie? How about you?


ABBIE:                      Oh, I’d rather be anywhere else on earth.


DOT:                          Well, that’s a shame. It’d be a great opportunity to really rub shoulders with the people of this town.


ABBIE:                      I wasn’t sent here to rub shoulders. I’m here to work.


DOT:                          Well, see, the librarian’s a member of the Delphics. And the librarian controls who can access all the special collections. Including the restricted collection.


ABBIE:            Sorry, the what?


DOT:                         Gosh, I guess I don’t know anything more about them. They’re restricted. Really old and delicate stuff, I guess, and rare. Blueprints and journal entries and things. (TROLLING) They’re, what’re they called, preliminary sources? Primavera? No, that’s spaghetti--


ABBIE:            Primary? Primary sources?


RAPID FOOTSTEPS OUT OF THE ROOM


LILY:                          Where’re you going?


ABBIE:            (DEFEATED) I’m putting together an outfit.


DOOR SWINGS.


LILY:                            Hey, are you still smoking?


DOT:                           I’d like to think I could turn a head or two. (LAUGHS)


LILY:                            I meant, I thought I smelled smoke last night.


DOT:                           I might have had a cigarette.


LILY:                            “Might”?


DOT:                           Could’ve happened.


LILY:                            Mom.


DOT:                           Lillian.


LILY:                          In the middle of all of this, you start smoking again?


DOT:                          Well believe it or not, I’m under some stress right now.


LILY:                         Please, can you make an effort to quit?


DOT:                         This is me making an effort. I’m only human, Lily.


LILY:                         Did you take your pills yet?


DOT:                         What’s with this Spanish Inquisition?


LILY:                          I don’t like doing this any more than you do, so can you please answer the question and we can move on? Your pills, did you take your pills?


DOT:                           Why?


LILY:                            Because I’ve got your pill caddy right here and it’s full of what looks like murky water.



LILY PUSHES A CADDY ACROSS THE TABLE


DOT:                           Oh, thanks for that, by the way. It’s great for rinsing out my paintbrushes.


LILY:                            Mom.


DOT:                           Why even ask if you thought I hadn’t taken them?


LILY:                            Did you?


DOT:                           Yes!


LILY:                            Where are they? Is there an old paint-streaked jar upstairs with all your meds in it?


DOT:                         That plastic pill thing made me feel like such an old fogey. Wes made me a box for all my medications. It’s in my room.


Oh, don’t make that face, he’s a good kid. Actually, you should see this box, he did something with the lid, it looks almost tie-dyed.


Did I ever tell you about the time I saw Hendrix live in ‘68?


LILY:                          What, when you were twelve?


DOT:                           (LAUGHS) I guess some of us can count, after all.


LILY:                            I don’t remember a restricted collection in the library.


DOT:                           Me neither. C’mon, a little socializing will do them good.


LILY:                            Will it, though?


DOT:                           At the very least, it’ll be funny.

A THRUMMING NOTE OF MUSIC TAKES US INTO THE NEXT SCENE



SCENE 2


A CAR CRUNCHING ON GRAVEL, ENGINE HUMMING. WE’RE INSIDE THE CAR.


ABBIE:            Are these clothes alright?


LILY:                           Your outfit’s fine, don’t worry.


ABBIE:                        How do we even know for sure that this is going to be at the Town Hall? I cannot believe the invitations didn’t even specify a place.


DOT:                           Where else would it be, the pond? The auto shop?


LILY:    Mom, speaking of Town Hall…


DOT:    Here we go…


LILY:    Can I get a promise you won’t throw a water balloon at the mayor this year?



THE “VVVVP” OF A SEATBELT AS DOT TWISTS AROUND


DOT:    I was aiming for the gargoyle on the side of the building. Not my fault he left the window open.


LILY:    See, that sounds suspiciously unlike a promise.


DOT:    For Christ sake, Lily, I’m an old woman, I no longer need to get my kicks chucking balloons at Town Hall every Summer.

   

    I pay a neighbor kid to do it. Helps the local economy.


LILY:    I feel like I used to be able to tell when you were kidding…


DOT:    Well, here we are!


THE CAR STOPS, IS TURNED OFF.


ABBIE:                        How do I make a good impression with this librarian?


DOT:                           Ooh, you’ll want to be careful with Hazel Gibbons. Not much is known about her, but she’s got a temper that’s legendary around here.


LILY:    Hazel? Happy Hazel?


DOT:                           It’s an ironic nickname, like calling a big guy Tiny.


Now, be a little careful when you talk to her. Don’t mention trains, the weather, or the time of day. Don’t make direct eye contact when you shake her hand. And whatever you do, don’t ask what happened to her eye.


ABBIE:             Why, what happened to it?


DOT:                           We don’t know, Abigail. We just don’t know.


ABBIE:             Uh…


CAR DOOR OPENS


DOT:                           (LOUDLY) Hazel! Good to see you!


HAZEL:                 Hey there, Dottie!


DOT’S CAR DOOR SHUTS, LILY AND ABBIE’S DOORS OPEN AND SHUT AS THEY EXIT.


And this must be Lily, it’s simply wonderful to see you again.


LILY:    Hi, Hazel.


HAZEL:     And you are?


ABBIE:                        (STIFFLY) Abigail Douglas. It’s an honor to meet you.


HAZEL:     You too! So, Lily, looking forward to that speech!


LILY:             Speech?


HAZEL:                 After the pageant and before the raffle, if you could get up for a few minutes and talk a bit about what it’s like to be back home again after so long. Just a very spontaneous, off-the-cuff affair, nothing to worry about.


LILY:             I’m giving a speech.


HAZEL:     Said so on your invitations.


ABBIE:             Where?


HAZEL:                 Right on the back, underneath where it said to bring a dish to pass…


DOT:                           Tell you what, Hazel, whatever we win at the raffle can be our contribution.


HAZEL:     An optimistic lady. I like it! Right this way—


DOUBLE DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE


LILY:    A speech. Do you think that’s really on the card, or am I being gaslighted right now?


ABBIE:    Y’know, statistically, they say people fear extemporaneous public speaking more than death.


LILY:                Really?


ABBIE:    So on the bright side, you could always get an aneurysm first?


LILY:                Thank you, Abbie.


ABBIE:            Anytime. Shall we, then?


DOUBLE DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE.

SCENE 3.


MARISOL:                  (INTO A DEAD MIC) Test one two, test three four. Nope.


LILY:                            Hang on, I think this needs to be in a little tighter—


‘BZZT’ OF A CORD PLUGGED INTO AN AMP


MARISOL:                  (INTO A WORKING MIC) Thank you, uh—


LILY:                            Hi, I’m Lily.


MARISOL PUTS THE MIC DOWN


MARISOL:                  Hi Lily, I’m Marisol. Thanks again. I’ve been screwing with this thing for fifteen minutes, so I’m feeling just a little foolish right now.


LILY:                            Oh, don’t. I was a roadie, very briefly. I have--honestly, I have about four tricks up my sleeve.


MARISOL:                  What was the band?


LILY:                            Couldn’t tell you.


MARISOL:                  It’s all a haze of glorious bad decisions?


LILY:                            No, they broke up because they couldn’t agree on a name.


MARISOL:                  The age-old struggle.


LILY:                            So, have you been to one of these before? How does it work?


MARISOL:                  No idea. I’m just here to work sound and support Stella. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Bright kid about this tall? She volunteered to film the pageant tonight, and let’s just say she’s got a vision.


LILY:                            Very cool. Well, I hope it all pans out for her.


MARISOL:                  Like a young Latina Werner Herzog.


LILY:                            I’ll be sure to get her autograph. It was nice to meet you—


MARISOL:                  (HALF-WHISPERED) Hey, do you actually mind if I stick close to you for a sec?


LILY:                            Uh, not at all, what’s—


MARISOL:                  (HALF-WHISPERED) Later. (NORMAL VOICE) Yeah, Stella’s a really neat kid.


LILY:    I take it she’s your daughter? You’re not just a fan?


MARISOL:                  Oh, no no no. She’s my niece. She’s staying with me this summer while her parents travel.


LILY:    (RELIEVED) Oh. So you’re the cool aunt?


MARISOL:      Kids don’t really respect you if you try to be cool. But yeah, I am.


LILY:    Hey, I believe it.


MARISOL:      Sorry for that weirdness there. It’s just, I thought I saw Eugenia Hewitt.


LILY:                            --and she keeps trying to set you up with her son Daryl?


MARISOL:                  Okay, Lily, you really should’ve led with your psychic powers.


LILY:                            She’s been doing that since he was about Stella’s age. She used to tell me what a great couple we’d make, meanwhile the main thing I knew about this kid was he ate glue. Not, like, a drug thing. That white school supply glue.


MARISOL:                  Yeah, I don’t know if he’s kept that up, but like, there’s only so many polite ways I can tell an old lady, “Hey, good morning, I am in fact still a lesbian.”


LILY:                            I hear that.


MARISOL:      So, Lily. How long are you staying?


ABBIE RUNS OVER


ABBIE:                        Lily! I found an empty hallway if you want a place to practice your totally off-the-cuff speech.


LILY:    I don’t think there’s time…


MARISOL:                  Yeah, I should probably get going, too. Gotta make sure all the kids know how to talk into a mic. But maybe I’ll see you later?


HAZEL:     Okay kids, places!

A SHUFFLE AS EVERYONE TAKES SEATS.  THE SCREECH OF FEEDBACK


SCENE 4


HAZEL:                 Hi everyone. Hazel Gibbons here, head librarian for Mount Absalom. I want to thank you all for coming. This day commemorates the 230th Founder’s Day pageant, 200 years ago today! We have a great night ahead of us, but first, please rise for the town anthem.


ABBIE:            Towns don’t have anthems.


LILY:                            Are you sure?


ABBIE:            This is not a thing!


LILY:                            Okay, Abbie, it’s not a thing.



ALL (but ABBIE):        (SINGING)

Twixt the hills of Appalachia,

and the flats of Indiana,

Lies the jewel of America!

Mount Absalom, Mount Absalom,

How blessed now are we,

For in thy hale and verdant arms,

We have everything we need!

By our lakes and homes and halls

And our celery standing tall,

We survive while the others fall!

Mount Absalom, Mount Absalom,

How may we best thank thee?

For in thy green and growing arms

We have everything we need!



HAZEL:                 Thank you, that was lovely. Tonight, we have a real treat for you. To commemorate that first-ever Founder’s Day pageant, we have a pageant of our own, performed by our very own Junior Order, also known as the Cricket Scouts. So sit back and let yourself be transported back to 1796…


FOLKSY MUSIC ON THE PIANO.


HAZEL:                 … in a valley in what would someday be Ohio. Back then, it was just called Ohio Country--


DYLAN:              (BLURTING) Because Ohio wasn’t a state yet!


HAZEL:                 That’s right, Dylan, and a group of settlers—


DYLAN:              (BLURTING) It didn’t become a state until 1803!


ABBIE:    Wow, what an annoying kid.


HAZEL:                 Haha, yes, that’s correct, Dylan. Now what does the Cricket Scout motto say about interruptions?


DYLAN:              Um…


MASON:              It says to quit being such a know-it-all, Dylan!


HAZEL:                 It says to always show the proper respect, to the proper people, at the proper time. And does that mean you should apologize to Dylan, Mason?


MASON:              (DEFEATED) Sorry, Dylan.


HAZEL:                 And does that mean we should respect the audience and perform the skit we wrote for them, Dylan?


DYLAN:             (ALSO DEFEATED) Sorry, Ms. Gibbons.


HAZEL:                 That’s okay; a Cricket Scout is…


DYLAN and 2:    Always watching and learning.


HAZEL:                 That’s right. (WHOLESOME CHUCKLE) Sorry about that, folks. Just a little teaching moment there.


“Back then, it was just called Ohio Country, and a weary group of settlers were looking for a place to rest for a while…”


DYLAN:              I’m so tired and thirsty.


MASON:              Let’s take our oxen to that stream over there.


STACY:              Boo-hoo, boo-hoo


DYLAN:              Why is that strange man crying?


MASON:              Pardon us, Mister, why are you crying?


STACY:                      My name is Reverend Silas Lodge. We were going to build a town.


DYLAN:              Who was going to build a town?


MASON:              You’re all by yourself.


HAZEL:                 This only seemed to make the Reverend sadder.


STACY:                      I used to lead a traveling party once, but they’re all gone.


ABBIE:            (WHISPERING) My money’s on Cholera.


LILY:                            Shh.


HAZEL:                 You see, a tribe of angry Native Americans had rode in and scalped everyone at the campsite. Everyone, that is, but the Reverend.


ABBIE:            (WHISPERING) What the actual hell—


STACY:              And now here I am, a leader with no flock.


DYLAN:                          Jumping Jehoshaphat! We just lost our Reverend, to Cholera!


MASON:              We’re a flock with no leader.


DYLAN:              Will you be our new Reverend?


STACY:              I don’t know…


DYLAN and MASON:    Pleeeeease?


SCATTERED INDULGENT PARENTAL LAUGHTER


STACY:              Maybe a higher power brought us here today.


DYLAN:              Maybe so.


STACY:              I think it’s trying to tell us something.


MASON:              I agree.


STACY:              We shall build a town, right here.


DYLAN and 2:    Huzzah!


DYLAN:              But what should we call it?


MASON:              I don’t know. Let’s sit and think on this hill.


DYLAN:              What’s its name, again?


MASON:              Mount Absalom?


STACY:              That’s it! We’ll call our town Mount Absalom!


DYLAN:              But won’t that get confusing?


STACY:              No.


HAZEL:                 So the settlers got to work, sawing and carrying and nailing until they had a row of tidy houses, a real town hall, and a boarding house. Before they knew it, Mount Absalom was exactly the town that the Reverend had always dreamed it would be. And although he never forgot all the friends he had lost, he could always visit them at the local cemetery. And he knew he could always make new friends too, here in the town built from tragedy.


STACY:              Who wants to be my friend?


DYLAN and MASON:    I do, I do!


HAZEL:                 Because Reverend Lodge knew, as beautiful as this land is, here in the lush, green Ohio Valley—


STACY:              The most important part is the people!


HAZEL:                 And so life continued, in quiet, peaceful Mount Absalom, until one day…


MASON:                          Hey, is it just me or is this the perfect place to grow some celery?


HAZEL:                 But that is a story for another time. The End.


APPLAUSE.


HAZEL:            Let’s hear it for our Cricket Scouts!


MORE APPLAUSE.


LILY:                           Abbie, are you okay?


ABBIE:    No.


HAZEL:                 Alright, to wrap things up, a few words from one of our newest citizens, Lily Harper!


LILY:                            (INTO THE MIC) Oh, I’m not—I’m just visiting.


HAZEL:                 It is so lovely to have you.


ABBIE GRABS THE MIC


ABBIE:                        (INTO THE MIC) Lovely to be here, Hazel. Is it time for me to say a few words?


HAZEL:                 I—


ABBIE:                        Thanks. So basically, I’m here to study the local architecture--its past, its present, and hopefully its future. But like that kid said in the play tonight, a town is really defined by its people. The things we build are always gonna contain an imprint of us.


Before I got here, I did a little research on the early days of Mount Absalom. Some of you might know the name Hezekiah Bennington. She was one of the settlers who first met the Reverend Silas Lodge in 1796. In fact, the Ohio Historical Society has a copy of a letter she sent to her brother, Ezekiel Bennington in Cincinnati, later that year.


She says the party found Lodge surrounded by some 50 dead men, women, and children, but she notes that not a one of them seemed to have a mark on them. The way she describes their husk-like bodies and sunken, blue-ish faces is much more consistent with sickness, specifically Cholera.


Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine. Not a pretty way to go. Basically, you drink some dirty water, and spend the next week shitting yourself to death.


HAZEL MAKES A GRAB FOR THE MIC


HAZEL:                 For the love of—there’s children present!


ABBIE GETS THE MIC BACK


ABBIE:                        There are, and you were fine telling them about a brutal massacre that almost certainly never happened.


HAZEL:                 We have sources! We have eyewitness accounts!


ABBIE:    Are any of your accounts reliably dated back to 1796? Or are we dealing with a bunch of people who “suddenly remembered” something twenty or thirty years later? Maybe when those friendly townsfolk needed an excuse to not feel so bad about that whole Trail of Tears thing?


HAZEL:    If you have objections to the way we handle our history, you can feel free to write a letter to the local History Club, instead of disrupting a pre-scheduled event to sling accusations--


ABBIE:                 What tribe supposedly even did this?


HAZEL:    Well, unfortunately, they didn’t manage to leave a calling card, so--


ABBIE:                        Because in the eighteenth century, there had been about a half dozen tribes who lived off and on in this area. But they were forced to sign the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, and that ceded all this land to the U.S. Now, there were stragglers here and there, but I have to think that murdering 50 white settlers a year after signing that treaty would’ve been something of a big deal.


I can’t believe you don’t even have a tribe name. If you’re going to invent your history from whole cloth, at least get the details straight.


HAZEL:     Marisol, cut their mic!


MARISOL:    Nah, I’m good.


ABBIE:    It’s okay, I’m done. Guess I can go ahead kiss that restricted collection goodbye, but whatever. Enjoy your meat party, I am outta here.


RAPID FOOTSTEPS.


DOT:     Abbie, come back!


DYLAN:    It’s a meat raffle!

DOUBLE DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE


CRICKETS. WE’RE OUTSIDE AGAIN.



DOUBLE DOORS AGAIN. DOT COMES OUT.


DOT:    Hey. Abbie, I’m sorry about how that all went.


ABBIE:    Why? It was a perfect history pageant. A little song, a little dance, a little forging your own mythology on the backs of the people you’ve crushed.


DOT:    (PAUSE) Want a cigarette?


ABBIE:    I don’t smoke.


DOT:     Young people these days, I tell ya.


ABBIE:    Think I changed anybody’s mind in there?


DOT:    It’s a little early to say.

ABBIE:    Yeah, me neither. If there’s one thing this country’s good at, it’s forgetting. That, and believing its own bullshit.

DOT:    You don’t have to tell me, I lived through Nixon. (PAUSE) Kidding. Kind of. Hey, if you really believe that, why do what you do?

ABBIE:            I don’t know. It’s the only thing I’m really good at.

DOT:                Well, don’t count yourself out yet.

ABBIE:    I just wish I had those goddamn primary sources.

DOT:    Hm. About that. There is no secret collection. I was just having a bit of fun.

ABBIE:    What?

DOT:    Abbie--

ABBIE:    Yeah, hilarious. You lied to me.

DOT:    You were so set on not going, and I thought, here you are, you came all this way to study the town, and you’re not even trying to meet anyone. And that’d be such a shame.

ABBIE:    Don’t try to paint this like you were doing me a favor.

CRUNCHING FOOTSTEPS.

DOT:    Where are you going?

ABBIE:    Call me when you guys need a ride back. Until then, I am not sticking around.

DOT:    See you.

CAR DOOR OPENS AND SLAMS.


CLICK OF A LIGHTER.

(MUTTERS) Okay, Dorothy, time to enjoy your very last cigarette, before you quit for good. The last one ever, right here.

THE DOORS START TO OPEN.

DOT:     (under her breath) Gah!

THE SLIGHT CRUNCH OF A DROPPED CIGARETTE BEING GROUND INTO THE SIDEWALK.

DOORS OPEN FULLY.

LILY:                Mom? What are you doing out here?

DOT:                Uh. Ready to go?

LILY:    Actually, I was gonna ask if you’re okay staying a little longer.

DOT:    Why, what’s--

MARISOL:            Hey, Dot.

DOT:    Marisol, how’s it going? (TO LILY) Marisol runs the record store, did she tell you?

MARISOL:    We weren’t really talking business. But, uh yeah. Can’t miss it, we’re like 25 percent of Main Street. Not because we’re enormous or anything, just, like--

LILY:                No, I’ve been to Main Street, I get it.

MARISOL:            Yeah, our address is “Get to Main. Look around.”

LILY:                “No, not the auto shop, the other one.”

MARISOL:            You should stop by sometime, Lily.

LILY:    (A LITTLE TOO SINCERE) I’d love to.

MARISOL:    Let’s go back inside, we’re missing the raffle. Dot, are you coming?

DOT:                I--yeah, no problem.

DOORS, CRUTCHES AS DOT HEADS BACK IN.

CRICKETS CONTINUE; WE’RE STILL OUTSIDE.

THE DOORS OPEN AGAIN AND SHUT

SEVERAL FOOTSTEPS.

HAZEL:    Hello? Chester? It’s Hazel. I know I said we’d have the pageant under control but we’ve got a bit of a situation.

No, the children remembered their lines, that’s not--

    I need to ask you--no, no, it wasn’t a disaster. There was a minor scene. It’ll be the talk of the town for a few days, and then somebody will get drunk in public or bring a dry cake to the bake sale, and the talk will move on. I just need to ask you, what did you say to the children?

I’m not implying anything, I’m only saying, you know how kids talk.

     Nothing? Are you sure? Then how’d Abigail Douglas find out about the special collection?


THE THEME SONG COMES IN- STOMPING FEET, RHYTHMIC GUITAR, AND PRONOUNCED BANJO.

CREDITS:        This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Krista D’Agostino as Hazel, Marsha Harman as Dot, Kathleen Hoil as Abbie, Amelia Bethel as Marisol, Abby Doud as Mason, Kat Evans as Stacy, Jeffrey Gardner as Dylan,.

MUSIC BREAK- A HAUNTING SUNG NOTE    

        Written by Jessica Best, sound design by Mischa Stanton, 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.

THE STRANGE BASS NOTE RETURNS

The Fenwood House was originally the Lyle Homestead and was built by one of Mount Absalom’s founding families, the Lyle’s, two hundred and twenty-two years ago… today.