by Steve Thomas

 

Music Bed

Opening greeting:

   STEVE

  Hello, and welcome to the Steve and…

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  [OFF MIC]

  C’mon… please?

  [BEAT]

   LUCY

  [DEADPAN, BEGRUDING]

  …Lucy

   STEVE

  Audio postcard!  The second one!  And we are just thrilled to be doing this!

   [¼ BEAT]

   LUCY

  Thrilled?  Are we?

   STEVE

  Tickled, even!  It’s been an exciting month, and we’ve lots to tell you about!

   LUCY

  [FEINGED ENTHUSIASM]

  Like Steve’s new job.

   STEVE

  [OFF MIC]

  Ok, I’m working on that.

  [ON MIC]

No… I haven’t found what you would call ‘gainful employment’ yet… at least in remunerative terms…

   LUCY

 …“remunerative” being a five dollar word from someone who can’t afford a two dollar coffee.

   STEVE

…but I have been keeping myself occupied!  I’ve been to the library!

   LUCY

  Bully for you.

   STEVE

  Thank you.  So– I’ve been doing a little research on the background of Butchers Hill, the town we have newly inhabited… and quite frankly, it has a [fascinating history!]

   LUCY

  Very intriguing.  Thank you, Steve, for all you’ve done in that regard.

   STEVE

  But…

   LUCY

  Look.  If you want me to do this we’re going to discuss something of interest to me.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  So, Lucy… what would you like to share with Friends & Family?

   [1/4-BEAT]

   LUCY

  Steve… thank you for asking. As my responsibilities at work have increased, I’ve been assigned an assistant.

   STEVE

  [OFF MIC]

  You have an assistant?

   LUCY

  Her name is ‘Liza, and we’ve developed an immediate, and perfectly mutual appreciation for each other.

   STEVE

  Oh… that’s nice.

   LUCY

  Yes… we each think the other is a curs’ed blemish upon this earth.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Wait… what?  I thought that…

   LUCY

  We hold each other in the same esteem?  We do.  That’s not necessarily a charitable sentiment.

   STEVE

  Oh.  Well… how can you be so sure that ‘Liza [doesn’t like you?  I mean…]

   LUCY

  I think it’s short for Lizard.

   STEVE

  [PRESSES ON]

  … that ‘Liza doesn’t like you?  I mean [first impressions can often a little…]

   LUCY

  I’m pretty certain I saw her sloughing in the bathroom the other day.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  First impressions notwithstanding, it can take a long time to get an accurate measure of another person, and she may just be shy.  That can come off as aloof.

   LUCY

  She’s not aloof.  She made it very clear that the position that I currently occupy is the one that she’d anticipated getting, and that she would, and I quote, “cheerfully crawl through my flaming carcass to get the job that she should’ve had in the first damned place”.

   STEVE

  Well… yeah.  Not a lot to misinterpret there.

   [BEAT]

But you know?  You can always kill them with kindness!

   LUCY

  I was thinking blunt-force trauma, but, whatever…

   [HALF-BEAT]

  So, as I was saying… she’s been with the company for more than ten years, all but two of them in the position she currently holds.  However, there’s no question of her ambition.  I did some poking into her HR files…

   STEVE

  Aren’t those supposed to be confidential?

   LUCY

  …and the past three supervisors, the people who held my job, either went missing, or were terminated under mysterious circumstances.

   STEVE

  Oh.  That can’t be good.  Doesn’t that worry you?

   LUCY

  Not especially.  Ambition equates to neither intelligence nor cunning.

   STEVE

  Tru dat.

   LUCY

  [OFF MIC]

  Don’t do that.

  [ON MIC]

But, no, in fact… you’re familiar with the adage ‘keep your friends close…

   STEVE

  …and your enemies in a constant state of terror and paranoia.

   LUCY

  What?  No– closer.  It’s “closer”.

   [BEAT]

But I like where your head is at.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  So, Butcher Hill has a very [rich and fascinating history…]

   LUCY

  Additionally… I have discovered in town… a purveyor of goods that satisfies some specific… and very personal needs. An establishment that I am rather keen to visit.

   [HALF-BEAT]

The Agave Doughnut.  They craft doughnuts… and tequila.

   STEVE

  But…

   LUCY

  Often in the same creation.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Wait…

   [BEAT]

doughnuts are a breakfast food.

   [DOUBLE  BEAT]

   LUCY

  And?

   STEVE

  Why do they serve tequila?  The menu seems a little disparate.

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  Have you ever had fruit for breakfast?

   [¼ BEAT]

   STEVE

  [CAUTIOUSLY]

  Yes.

   LUCY

  And fruit juice?

   STEVE

  Well… of course.

   LUCY

  Agave is a fruit.  That basically makes tequila fruit juice.  What’s the problem?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  And the doughnuts?

   LUCY

         [DISMISSIVE]

  I don’t know… we haven’t been yet.  But the content on the website looks like a tour through Wonkaland.  And the baker seems suitably pedigreed, so… I’m cautiously optimistic.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  Ok.  So, as I was saying…

   [¼ BEAT]

I’ve been to our local library…

It’s a lovely place; just past the slaughterhouse… very near that incredibly ornate building on the hilltop, you know the one?

   LUCY

  On the cor[ner of Catastrophe and…]

   STEVE

  Right that one.

Anyway… they, the library, have a local history section.

   LUCY

  ‘Has’.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  I believe that a synecdoche is in the privilege of using [ee]-ther, or.

   LUCY

  [LIKE “I”] ‘Either’.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

… is in possession of a local history section.  And the history of our adopted area dates back to before the European settlers… that is, prior to the 16th century.

The coverage is a little spotty in places, at least based on the resources I’ve found so far, but I’ve discovered some really interesting records… such as, believe it or not, reports of a peaceful accord between the native occupants, and the immigrating settlers!  That’s pretty remarkable, right?

   LUCY

  “Specious” is the word I’d use.

   STEVE

  So, apparently, the natives had a temporary settlement very near where we are now, near the Darkmoor Creek.  They called it the Daqum’yr, which, apparently, meant “mysterious current”.

The homesteaders negotiated [the transaction and settled in…]

   LUCY

  In what language?

   STEVE

  What?

   LUCY

  In what language does Daqum’yr mean ‘mysterious current’?

   STEVE

  I… I don’t know… I guess the language the india… the natives spoke.

   LUCY

  So what was the tribe?

   STEVE

  I don’t know.

   LUCY

  Well I guess this little exhibition will have to be postponed until you can correctly attribute the name of our native American friends.  We don’t want to do this halfway, right?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  I guess… I guess not.

   LUCY

  So… then, can we discuss the elephant in the room?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Oh.

   [BEAT]

I –was- hoping we wouldn’t get to that.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

 Aunt Evelyn?  Lovely though the elephant leg umbrella stand looks…

   [¼  BEAT]

we find it a bit impractical.  And… a bit tasteless.

But, mostly impractical.

   [HALF-BEAT]

It appears to be infested with rhino beetles that… quite frankly defy the rules of practical space…

   STEVE

  No!  It’s great!  We love it!

   LUCY

  After the first dozen scarabs erupted from that malformed stump you call a gift…

   STEVE

  It looked really [nice in the sitting room…]

   LUCY

  We tossed it in the backyard.

   STEVE

  We… we did do that…

   LUCY

  And… while I’m sure… it wasn’t those… adorable… skittering… ¿flesh eating? …critters that I am positive did not eviscerate the neighbor’s cow…

   STEVE

  You know?  I’m sure Ol’ Bessie had just…  deflated… and the beetles happened to be wearing her skin, you know, after the fact…

   LUCY

  We really need them to be not here…

   [BEAT]

…and I can not emphasize enough how they keep hemorrhaging out of this thing you call a gift.

   STEVE

  The neighbors are beginning to notice…

   LUCY

  It’s a serious liability.

   STEVE

We did try to send it back… but the beetles consumed the packaging.

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  You’re not going to say it?

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  And the Post Master.

   LUCY

  And the Post Master.  So… thanks for that.

  [HALF-BEAT]

   STEVE

  Ok…

  [TRIPLE BEAT]

 Well then!  We invited you to write in and let us know what you’ve been up to…

…and we’ve heard from Eric– hey buddy!  And he asked about the anomalies we spoke of in our last postcard.

   [BEAT]

  So– Butchers Hill is kind of near the front range of the Rocky Mountains, very near the Veil of Sanity… which as everyone knows is the fringe of peaks that serves as the apron to the Rockies… but is also a region of metastable geology…

   LUCY

  I believe they call it ‘hyper geomorphology’.

   STEVE

  Right.  So, basically, we get these periodic land shifts… sections of the topography that are sort of… migratory, as it were.

   [BEAT]

But the unstable areas are mostly well off the foothills, pretty far from where we live.  And even when the anomalies creep near, the radio stations do their best to keep us on top of the changes; we get geology reports with traffic and weather… so if the grocery store has shifted a mile west…

   LUCY

  Or completely vanished…

   STEVE

  That hardly ever happens.  Anyway, as things shift, we are kept abreast of events… almost as they occur.  Or, at least, every 15 on the hour.

   [BEAT]

Buuut– the local infrastructure has taken the phenomenon in stride, and it’s become something of a local attraction… much like a gravity hill… or– or…

   LUCY

  A Roanoke.

   STEVE

  Yes.  Much like a local Roanoke.  Which!  Brings things tidily back around to the history of Butchers Hill!

   LUCY

  [QUICK- and FLAT]

                Ah-ah-ah.  Have you come up with the tribe name?

   STEVE

  Different era.  So… in the seventies… the eighteen-seventies that is, this area became very popular with mineral speculators.  Gold had been discovered in the area around 1850 or so… primarily in the creeks and streams… and settlers turned prospector chased the water courses to the source.  As prospectors followed the Saffron Creek north and west, they approached our area, which because of its unstable and potentially dangerous properties, had been avoided by, well… pretty much everyone.  But the gold diggers realized that because of the geomorphic nature of the topography, it would cut their work almost in half.  If a prospector was mining a barren plot, it was only a matter of time before a shift would occur, and either new earth would be in place for the man [to work, or just as likely, a  huge…]

   LUCY

  …person…

   STEVE

  …person… to work… or just as likely, a huge portion of the area would simply migrate elsewhere, revealing fresh ground to search.  Either way, new surface to till on the same plot.

In fact, during what they called the ‘Tidal Shifts’ of the 1890s, the anomalies were so frequent, and the ground so fluid, that the prospectors would walk the perimeter of the transitional area with screens stuck in the ground, capturing the nuggets as the ground flowed through the mesh!  That was the [height of the gold rush period…]

   LUCY

  …Excuse me.

   STEVE

  …the height of [the gold rush period in the area, and…]

   LUCY

  [WHAP]

  …Excuse me.

   STEVE

  Yes?

   LUCY

  What about rocks?

   STEVE

  What?

   LUCY

  How is it that the screen stopped only gold, and not rocks?

   STEVE

  Umm… fluvial dynamics?

   LUCY

  You don’t really know what that means, do you.

   STEVE

  Uhh…

   LUCY

  I didn’t think so.

   [HALF-BEAT]

Why don’t we discuss our new house a little?

       [BEAT

   STEVE

   [CAUTIOUSLY]

  Ok…

   [HALF-BEAT]

So… we’ve had some time to settle in, get to know it a little better…

   LUCY

  Find all the broken things the realtor neglected to mention…

   STEVE

  Oh yeah!  A great big thanks to Sur Reality! They really stuck with us through the whole process, and helped us find exactly what we were looking for! Sur Reality! A knight amongst the commoners… also– they can find you that extra closet space underneath the Penrose stairs.

So–

   [HALF-BEAT]

one unexpected asset is the Hell portal in the laundry room.

It just warms the house right up!  We haven’t used the heat since we’ve been here!

   LUCY

  [MILD EXHALE]

  That is a nice off-set… but as the weather starts to warm, we’re going to have to look into insulating that.  I certainly don’t object to a toasty laundry room in February, but come August?  That’s going to be a furnace.

   STEVE

  That is true...

We’re going to have to… um…

   [BEAT]

  Honey?  The portal door is locked.

   LUCY

  Naturally.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  Do we have a key for that?

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  Shit.

   STEVE

  Alright!  Something to look into!  But overall, we are quite enamored with the place… especially… compared to some of the others we were considering!

   LUCY

  “Considering” is a generous word.  Some of those places were disaster areas with a Jenga roof.

   STEVE

  But they each had redeeming qualities!  Remember the one on Mockingbird?  A stellar view of the lake…

                 LUCY

  …that had a sign reading “beware of creature’.  And the house had a basement that looked like a second unit set from Hostel.

   STEVE

  There was the two-story over in Lubbetts…

   [HALF-BEAT]

   LUCY

  Lovely house; fireplaces on each floor.  The one in the master bedroom had a heavy metal grate propped up against it, and when I went to look inside, this precocious little moppet, straight from a Norman Rockwell painting, said, “don’t do that.  That’s where the bats come out.”

Adorable.

   STEVE

  Oh!  Remember the one by the forest?

   LUCY

You mean the one with the really elegant architecture?  By that enchanting river?

   STEVE

  Right!  And we went downstairs and saw that furry beanbag chair?

   LUCY

  The beanbag chair that unfurled its legs and scuttled off into the sub-basement?

   STEVE

  That was… where?  Mirk something?  Mirk…

   LUCY

[ENUNCIATE TO GIVE SLIGHT SEPARATION BETWEEN ‘WORM’ AND ‘WOOD’]               Worm wood… Forest.  I have no idea where      you’re getting “mirk” from.

   STEVE

  Ok, remember the farmhouse?  That one was nice.  Had a barn, lots of land…

   LUCY

  Right.  That one was thirty minutes outside of town… it had well water, and what else?  Oh yes.  It was haunted.

   STEVE

  I like to think of it more as a mischievous house guest.

   LUCY

  Not without paying rent, it’s not.

   [BEAT]

You know… we’d have had a greater spectrum of options if we’d have qualified for a larger loan.

   STEVE

  But then we’d be longer paying it off!

   LUCY

  Paying [off a nicer place…]

   STEVE

  Alright!  Lucy took me out to breakfast the other day… and we visited the Crêpe Êpe!  It’s a little shop…

                 LUCY

  Understatement.

   STEVE

  It’s a very small shop in Oldtown Butchers Hill, tucked away down the alley off of  Outré Blvd. [Oo-tray]

To be honest, we weren’t too sure what to expect, based on the Yelp reviews, but our experience was very positive!  Lucy, you got the Banana Barb’era Supreme, right?

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  Mm.  Bananas infused with peanut butter wrapped in a puffed crêpe smothered in a caramel-[yay-toast] cheese sauce, with sidecar of crème fraîche.

 [RELUCTANT, BUT BOUND TO TRUTH] Inspired.

   STEVE

  Indeed it was!  And the contrast of textures really let the flavors play well together.  I got the special… the What’s Eating the Grape Gatsby!  A crêpe cornucopia Ouroboros of pedigreed grapes, nestled in a wreath of chocolate funnel cake, topped with a champagne sauce and garnished with a 24 caret gold filigree, topped with a sprinkling of deep fried kale.

   LUCY

  A little Baroque, perhaps?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Maybe.  But it was interesting… and who knows when I’ll be able to try something like that again?

  LUCY

 You know ‘specials’ are just a means to obviate expired food for an up-charge.  You know that, right?

  STEVE

 So, outside criticisms notwithstanding, my breakfast was quite appealing.  The crepes were an exquisite affair… they tasted like decadence, vanilla and jazz… and the sauce?  A bit like unrequited love… and …manslaughter… I think that was the kale.  But it was, undeniably, a unique food experience.

  LUCY

 Undeniably profligate.

  STEVE

 Other things we want to try next time!  The Cheese Blintz Krieg… I thought that looked amazing!  And maybe the Beagley Bagel!

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

 The blintz krieg looks obscene.  I will not be party to that.  But the Crepe Suez sounded marginally appealing… a thin pancake canal bisecting a meat isthmus composed of sausage, bacon and… goat…

   [DOUBLE BEAT, while Lucy makes deep, gutteral “mmmmm” sounds]

   STEVE

Ok!  Back to our topic at hand!  So, during the Gold Rush, our little town didn’t have a name…

at least in English.  If it had a name in the native tongue, that’s been lost to history…

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

                [EXASPERATED]

  Fine. Continue…

   STEVE

  And, in fact, the people that had discovered the area were trying to keep it a secret from others, so they didn’t have to share the easy yield.  As such, they refrained from giving it a nominative designation.  This [helped keep the area off the map, as…]

   LUCY

  A name?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  …refrained from giving it a name.  This helped keep the area off the map, as it’s difficult to get directions to a place you can’t ask for.  So the residents were reasonably happy in that regard.  But they had other problems…

Such as: there were no supply lines.  To get provisions and materials, they had to go forty-five miles southeast into Denver, which was even more of a hassle than it is today.

Now, Patterson Smyth [was gentleman of dubious intent…]

   LUCY

  Who?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Patterson Smyth.

   LUCY

  You haven’t mentioned him yet.

   STEVE

  I just did.

So, Patterson Smyth was a gentleman of dubious intent, who [had been spending time in Denver…]

   LUCY

  He was a con man?

   STEVE

  Patterson Smyth was a con man who had been spending time in Denver, and in 1882, he found it prudent to retire from that metropolis.  Using his resources, he scouted about for a new locale of potential, and managed to find his way out here.  To… you know, the settlement with no name.

   LUCY

  But a thriving economy.

   STEVE

  So to speak.

It’s hard to say what Patterson’s motivations were when he set out… but when he arrived, it’s clear that he saw nothing but raw opportunity.  Within a month of his arrival, he’d built a boarding house and a trading post.

Once he was established, he set up a bar and gambling house… and while he was having the general goods [store built, he arranged for…]

   LUCY

  Did you read a book on this?

   [BEAT]

    STEVE

  News paper reports.  I had some time…

   [BEAT]

So, he arranged for regular deliveries of goods to stock his general store. He even set up a post office and a bank!  And within months, what had been a rough settlement of itinerant prospectors bloomed into a full-fledged town!

Naturally, as everything on the hill belonged to Patterson, the locals began to refer to the area as Patterson’s Knob in spite of themselves.  That’s how the town, as it was incorporated in 1884, got a name!  And with a name… and amenities, the town grew.  But not just prospectors… blacksmiths, laborers, prostitutes… all the essential elephants [of a functional society…]

   LUCY

  “…elements…”

   STEVE

  Elements of a functional society.  And while the Tidal Shifts occurred, everything went along pretty smoothly; prospectors brought in the gold, Patterson fleeced them out of a percentage they found acceptable, the merchants and service folk wallowed in the largesse… and everyone got rich.

   LUCY

  Getting bored.

   STEVE

  But when the shifts ebbed, that harmony began to fray!

   LUCY

  Back in.

   STEVE

  So, initially, it was a slow recession… the shifts would occur more regionally, rather than globally, in the case of the area.  People took it as an anomaly… in the… um, anomaly… and they rode out the drier spells.  But those “spells” increased, and grew in breadth.

   [HALF-BEAT]

That’s when the smart rats left the ship.

   LUCY

  Was that in your ‘resources’?

   STEVE

  No… editorial aside on my part…

So, in the summer of 1895, the fields hit a period of inactivity so broad in expanse and long in duration that the locals named it the Doldrums.  The locals that were left, that is.  By the end of 1895, the population of Pattersons Knob had dropped precipitously.

But there was still a core group of new arrivals that was determined to make a go of it, and prospect in the traditional means while they waited the spell out… but– according to… the San Fran Harold, “the ground was as barren of precious materials as it was the tumult that made those materials available.”

   LUCY

  A bit florid for journalism.

   STEVE

  So, with nothing coming in, all they did was consume resources and incur debt.  Even Patterson was becoming stretched out; he was owed a fortune by the remaining prospectors, but with no gold coming in, they had no means to settle.

   [HALF-BEAT]

Tensions… began to rise.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  And?

   STEVE

  Well… that’s kind of where the stories taper off.  I wasn’t able to find anything else that covered the era… it’s like the records dried up.

Everyone just kind of… disappeared.

   LUCY

  That was anticlimactic.

   STEVE

  There’s more on the later eras…

   LUCY

  Too late.  It looks like we’re running a little long here, folks, so it’s time to wrap it up.

   STEVE

  But… this… this isn’t a tv show.  We don’t have a time limit.

   LUCY

  Yes. We do.

   [¼ BEAT]

   STEVE

  Oh.

Um… Ok– So!  Until next time, this is Steve…

   [BEAT]

…and…

   LUCY

  [FLAT DELIVERY]

  Lucy.

BEGIN END THEME

   STEVE

  And you’ve been listening to the Steve & Lucy Audio Postcard!  So, please subscribe, and rate us on iTunes… and join us next month, where we’ll catch you up on what we’re doing, what’s going on…

   LUCY

  [OFF MIC]

  How long do you think this little ‘hobby’ will go on?

   STEVE

  [OFF MIC]

  What?  Well… ’til the next one?  And so on?

   LUCY

  [OFF MIC]

  So on?!

CREDITS:

  Steve & Lucy were performed by Steve & Lucy. For more information, or a transcription of this show, visit 79 Butchers Hill dot com. You can follow our Twitter feed at 79 Butchers Hill. Music by Scott Brooks. You can visit his website at www dot scott c brooks dot com.

         END