Brotherhood of the Scarlet Cloth

Scarlet Monk

 

S&L Postcard 3: The Brotherhood of the Scarlet Cloth

Music Bed

Opening greeting:

   STEVE

  Hello, and welcome to the Steve and…

   [HALF-BEAT]

   LUCY

[RESIGNED, SIGHS]Lucy

   STEVE

  …audio postcard!  We’re getting some traction here, right honey?

   [BEAT]

Ok!

So!  Greetings from Butchers Hill!  It’s taken some time, but we are getting settled in!  Trying to get through the last boxes…

   LUCY

  Trying to find the last boxes…

   STEVE

  Some… of the boxes might…

have gone… amiss.

   LUCY

  Amissing.

   STEVE

  But we are neither dismayed nor hampered…

   [¼ BEAT]

   LUCY

  That’s not funny.

          STEVE

  Because

   LUCY

  Yes.  Because we now need something in which to put our dirty laundry.

   STEVE

  But overall, most of the things are unpacked, and it is so nice to be able actually live in the house, rather than merely occupy!

   [¼ BEAT]

   LUCY

  The basement is much nicer with the open floor space, rather than as it was, populated by those corrugated box skyscrapers.  Every time I needed to navigate the area I felt like that class four that made it’s way through San Fransisco.

   STEVE

  That was an uncharacteristically delicate kaiju… picking its way through the harbor area like it was trying to tiptoe…

   [HALF-BEAT]

Tip-talon?

   [HALF-BEAT]

   LUCY

  It was almost sad when they took her down.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  How…

How do you tell gender on those?

   LUCY

  If you don’t know by now, [I’m not getting into…]

   STEVE

  Nevermind.

So– as Lucy mentioned we are missing a couple boxes… things we know we loaded onto the truck…

   [HALF-BEAT]

And quite frankly I’m not sure what to think.  Unless Mike skulked off with one… he’s ornery, that one.  And devious.

   LUCY

  No… I kept an eye on him.

   [HALF-BEAT]

I was thinking it could be a micro-localized anomaly.

   STEVE

  You mean…

   LUCY

  Yes.  We shouldn’t have taken that short-cut.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Ohh!  That’s what those hazard signs meant! Wait– what does a watch with wavy lines have to do with the anomalies?

   LUCY

  That’s not a watch.  It’s a compass.

   [HALF-BEAT]

   STEVE

  That makes more sense.

   [BEAT]

So!  Friends, more-so than Family… if you see any wayward moving boxes that look rather lost and incredibly disoriented, well… those are probably ours.  And we’d like our coffee maker, and LPs… and

   LUCY

  Laundry hamper…

   STEVE

  Right!  Those!

Ok– so, we were talking the other day about our area’s history, and how it came from being [known as Pattersons Knob to…]

   LUCY

  Steve.  While I’m sure we’re all very impressed with the work you’ve put into your history research, perhaps our Friends and Family would like to hear of the progress you’ve made towards finding a new job?

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  Well… as you’ve brought it up…

I have put in several applications, and I remain optimistic.

   LUCY

  Applications…

   STEVE

  Well, I don’t want to jinx myself…

   [BEAT]

…but I think I have a good shot at an opening at Madrigal’s.

   LUCY

  Madrigal’s Gallery… on Main?

   [¼ BEAT]

And you are qualified, how?

   STEVE

  The one on Main, yes.  And I did my minor in art history, thank you very much, a background that has served me well all these years.

   [HALF-BEAT]

The owner said that it’s between me and one other fellow; and he lives out of state… can only make it in on dates that add up to primary numbers… and he’s grey.  So I feel I’m a strong candidate.

   LUCY

  Grey, like ‘old’?

   STEVE

  No… grey like ‘grey’.  Apparently it’s some kind of condition where light doesn’t reflect off him normally, and he looks like he’s just stepped out of a film noir.  I’m told it’s very off-putting.  So, advantage me!  Wow…

I would… LOVE to spend my days there… surrounded by all that art… and, culture… and hopefully, someday, maybe even have the opportunity to curate [a selection of…]

[SFX: PHONE RINGS]

   STEVE [CONT]

Excuse me.

[ANSWERS PHONE]

Hello? Yes? Really? Ok! Fantastic.

[SFX: PHONE IN CRADLE]

   [HALF-BEAT]

Yeah.  Jinxed it.

   LUCY

  Well then.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

   So, Lucy– tell us about your yoga classes!  How have they been going?  And give the studio a shout-out!  What’s the name?

   LUCY

   [OFF MIC]

  Don’t– don’t call it a shout-out.

   [ON MIC]

The studio is called Nidra to the Groin Combat Yoga; classes are going well… thank you.  They let me keep the certification I earned back East… you know, those things don’t always transfer.  But I have full access to all classes… so I get to do the sparring… both corporeal and psionic.  In fact, during a binding session, I was able to get my opponent into a full chakra lock.

   STEVE

  Oh…

   LUCY

  Mm.  I’d nearly dislocated his sense-of-self before he tapped-out.

   STEVE

  Oh my!

   LUCY

  And I’ve been invited to guest instruct.

   STEVE

  Wow!  That’s pretty cool!  Do you think you will?

   LUCY

  I don’t know… Boulder yogis are so frail [and pretentious]

   STEVE

  Alright!

   [BEAT]

  • …so, many of you have been asking about the kitties… some, more aggressively than others… I’m looking at you, Lianne.  And they have acclimated better than we could have hoped. They have their nap spots all mapped out…

    …the, uh… kitty dunny is well established.

    And they have deigned receive ownership of the dwelling. Or maybe it’s lordship… I’m not quite sure how kitty law works.

   [HALF-BEAT]

   LUCY

  But there is the issue of the Old Man’s condition.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Was that a pun?

   LUCY

  [FLAT] No.

   [BEAT]

So, while the cats are both hale and hearty, the Old Man is weeping.  Every morning.  In copious fashion.

   STEVE

  It’s just a… it’s just a slight discharge from his tear ducts; no need to be concerned…

   LUCY

  I’m not worried about him

it’s that crap that he’s smearing all over the house.  I’m not sure what that is coming out of his face, but it’s like runny tar.  Everything he rubs against takes on an EYEchorous stain.  I mean, we just got those drapes!

   [HALF-BEAT]

And he’s starting to look like Alice Cooper.  That’s just off.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  I’m sure it’s him getting used to the place… or maybe allergies.  It will taper off!  And I’ll clean the drapes.  And the carpet.  And your coat.

   LUCY

  What.

   STEVE

 Right.  So… what, uh… what else have we been up to?

   [TRIPLE BEAT]

   LUCY

   [QUIET AND SLIGHTLY MENACING]

 We did go to that play house…

  STEVE

 That’s right!  We exposed ourselves to a bit of the local culture and went to the Hephaestus Theater downtown where we saw Incident on Pork Chop Ridge.

   LUCY

 What a contrived piece of egocentric b[ullshit]!

   STEVE

  [CUTS HER OFF]

  [A TOUCH SNIDE]

 I rather liked it.

   LUCY

 You would.

   STEVE

 I thought the metaphor of rape served to underline the inherent mistrust, and frequent abuse in relationships built on necessity and desperation.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

 It was a gritty retelling of The Three Little Pigs.  Which one did you think got raped?

   STEVE

 I guess I just saw it a little differently than you did.  But the production was solid; the acting was all very good.  I especially liked the scale model of the Battersea power station as the third little pig’s fortress of brick.  Inspired set design.

   LUCY

 Ok… but I thought the denouement in the nuclear facility was a little overkill.

   [BEAT]

I did, however, enjoy the synthesis of folk music and industrial metal for the score.  That helped make the incongruous setting more seamless.  But making the ‘wolf’ a land developer?  Trying to gentrify the area?  I’d say it was ham-fisted, but I don’t want to because of the association of pun.

And the Rasta ‘pig’ was a bit over the top.

   STEVE

 Agree to disagree.

   LUCY

 But the theater was nice.

   STEVE

 And next month they have The Red Riding Hood Diaries!

   LUCY

  [SLIGHT DISDAIN]

 I’m pretty sure that’s a burlesque.

   STEVE

 Don’t be so dismissive.

   [BEAT]

Right.  As I was saying– or trying to–

   [HALF-BEAT]

I found out a little more about our town; something a little more current.

   [HALF-BEAT]

The 1930s, known as the Renaissance Era, is when Butchers Hill truly came into its own.  In the stranger than fiction category, a persecuted religious sect looking for succor found the area shortly after all their supplies had dwindled, and they, mere days away from starvation…

   LUCY

  Sorry– but your source for this is?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Mountain Tales and Tall Men, Carper Hollins, 1963.

   LUCY

  Are you sure you got that title straight?

   STEVE

  So, the group, the Righteous Brotherhood of the Scarlet Cloth…

   LUCY

  Nice branding.

   STEVE

  Apparently they had flagellation issues.

   LUCY

  Again…

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  The Brotherhood, as they were colloquially known, were well North of the Darkmoor Creek, and several days out of water.  As the story goes, when the last horse died, they sent a healthy child in each direction with instructions to not return until they found water.  Obviously, the child sent south came back in short time… the other three…

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  Didn’t make it back.

   STEVE

  They were devout.  But not terribly bright.

   [HALF-BEAT]

So, yes… St Brandon [returned and led…]

   LUCY

  Sorry– St Brandon?

   [HALF-BEAT]

   STEVE

  They canonized him after he led them to their salvation.

   LUCY

  They canonized him for dumb luck.  It should be St South.

   STEVE

  St Brandon returned and led them [to the Darkmoor Creek…]

   LUCY

  Or St Darkmoor!  That’s what saved them.  They could have sent a dog south… the creek would still have been there.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  St Brandon led them to the Darkmoor, and the Brotherhood settled.  They called it the Promised Land… though, in fact, there’s no evidence in the scripture that prior to then, they were promised anything beyond punishment.

   [HALF-BEAT]

It was a dour sect.

   [HALF-BEAT]

But they recuperated and started to build.  Naturally, the first thing they [erected was a slaughter…]

   LUCY

  Church?

   STEVE

  You would think so…

   [HALF-BEAT]

…but no.  A slaughter house.

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  Pardon?

   STEVE

  They were hungry?

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

 So, the Brotherhood began to [rebuild the town in their…]

   LUCY

  Wait.

   STEVE

  Rebuild the town [in their own meager fashion…]

   LUCY

  No– wait.  You said they had to rebuild.

   [HALF-BEAT]

   STEVE

  Right.

   LUCY

  What happened to the buildings that were already there?

   [BEAT]

You said the people disappeared… but the buildings… they wouldn’t go anywhere…

   [HALF-BEAT]

Why would the… Brotherhood… have to build anything?  I’m sure there would be environmental damage, but why couldn’t they merely repurpose… any of the buildings?

   [¼ BEAT]

   STEVE

  I don’t know!

   [HALF-BEAT]

It’s what’s in the literature.  I’m merely a vessel, relating what other’s have said.  You want to talk to them?  Have a séance.

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  No.  I like the furniture where it is.

   [¼ BEAT]

   STEVE

  The Brotherhood rebuilt the town [DRAWS THIS OUT IN AN INVITATION FOR REPLY] in their own meager fashion…

   [BEAT]

…and crafted the environment to suit their needs.

   [BEAT]

The fountain in center square?  The Brotherhood built that.

   LUCY

  What… the one with the serpent eating the child from the leg up?

   STEVE

  Right.  They did that, they did the  hospital– you know… the one with the really cool gate-house?  They built [the other…]

   LUCY

  The abattoir.  That’s interesting… let’s focus on that.

   [¼ BEAT]

Now that you mention it, I do recall the plaque that reads oldest licensed building of the Brotherhood. That did seem kind of… odd.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Well… for what ever reason, it suited their purpose.  After that, they built the church.  The [one up on Grapevine Hill…]  

   LUCY

  The abattoir?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Gesundheit?

   LUCY

  No… I want to hear more about the abattoir they built. Like, why was that a priority?

   [HALF-BEAT]

   STEVE

  Um… no one is really sure.  And what I found doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

   LUCY

  You know that only makes it more interesting, right?

   [¼ BEAT]

   STEVE

  Well… the records were damaged, and they were documented in the 1930s, so the images themselves aren’t the best…

   LUCY

  Stop grandstanding.  Get on with it.

   STEVE

  It seems the slaughterhouse was somehow tied in with tourism.

   [HALF-BEAT]

   LUCY

  What.

   STEVE

  I know, right?  I mean, who wants to plan a vacation around the meat industry? Seems really niche.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  You know what?  I don’t even care anymore.  I’m [going to get…]

[SFX OF CHAIR SCRAPPING]

   STEVE

  The church!  Up on Grapevine Hill!

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

The little one… all overgrown.

   LUCY

  [RESIGNED SIGH]

[SFX OF CHAIR SCRAPPING (LONGER DURATION)]

   STEVE

  So… you’d think the alter of the founding fathers…

   [HALF-BEAT]

Well… the… other founding fathers, would be better preserved.  You know, how towns tend to embrace historic sites and everything. But, yes… that’s the original church of the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Cloth.

   [BEAT]

   LUCY

  Normally, I’d deliver a sarcastic remark here… but that is

   [HALF-BEAT]

…odd.

   [BEAT]

Are the Brotherhood still extant?

   STEVE

  You know?  That’s a good question…

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  And?

   STEVE

  Oh!  Well… umm, no one really knows.  They just sort of… absorbed into the fabric of the community.  I mean, the church was active throughout the mid-twentieth century, but it seems that they just kind of tapered off as time wore on.  No mention of them after the 1950s.

   [BEAT]

But prior to that, they were a community powerhouse!  They basically repopulated and fortified this town.

An engineer named Delapoer developed the street layout… some guy named Shandor designed the Town Capitol…

   LUCY

  Ivo Shandor?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  …Yes…

   [BEAT]

 You’ve heard the name?

   LUCY

  No reason.

   STEVE

  What?

   LUCY

  The Theater in Old Town Butchers Hill… when was that built?

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  I feel like you’re trying to distract me…

                        [HALF-BEAT]

and it’s totally working.  The Hephaestus Theater was originally built in 1939.  It burned down in ’42, was rebuilt, was swamped during the novennial floods of ’57, rebuilt again and promptly fell down.  The contractors responsible for that last rebuild were summarily sacked.

   LUCY

  This is sounding very familiar.

   STEVE

  It’s a very popular story… in fact, they made a movie about it; I bet you’ve seen it.

   [BEAT]

So, the original mosaic floors are still intact depicting various scenes of biblical sacrifice, including the offering of Abel, and also, the offering of Cain..

   [HALF-BEAT]

…but… the, uh… second one.

   LUCY

  Pardon?

   STEVE

  Well, you know… you’ve seen it.

   LUCY

  I wasn’t really paying attention.

   STEVE

  All the offerings in the mosaic are blood offerings, excepting one… and as the first panel indicates, Cain’s first offering was of fruit and grain, and Abel’s was from his flock.  Abel’s was received by the lord, and Cain’s rejected.  Cain was a man what learned from his mistakes, as is illustrated in panel two, and his second offering was that of blood.  It was quite efficacious.

The third panel is the well known sacrifice of Abraham’s son Isaac.  That’s the vertical one that has the water feature, with red viscous fluid bubbling from Isaac’s throat, and down into the Kool-Pop chillers.

   LUCY

  I feel this is becoming needlessly pedantic.

   STEVE

  The fourth, and perhaps most moving panel in the array, is of the self-sacrifice of Patterson.  The others are all blood sacrifice; this is the only burnt offering.  It shows the father of our town lighting himself upon a pyre, in the face of twelve distraught men fighting to take the torch from his hands.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  [INCREDULOUS]

  Really?

       STEVE

      He’s seen as the father of the  region.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  Hmm.

   STEVE

  I know!  Anyway, the theater is a registered historic landmark.

   LUCY

  So… does this in anyway relate to the renaissance of Butchers Hill… or is it the renaissance of Pattersons Knob.  You kind of blew over that transition.

   [BEAT

   STEVE

  Oh… right.

   [HALF-BEAT]

Yeah…

   [BEAT]

Wow!  I hadn’t noticed that– funny.  You know [what?  I’ll look into that…]

   LUCY

  Ok.  In other news…

   [HALF-BEAT]

we, that is, SI… have been working on a new means to monitor society on the broad spectrum.  It’s a bio-network that tracks the movements and interactions of large groups of people.  The medium– working name is SKRynet– uses the host’s body as both power supply and antenna.

   STEVE

  Skrynet?

   LUCY

  Symbiotic Kinetic Response Network.

   [DOUBLE BEAT

   STEVE

  Isn’t there a “y” in the word ‘scry’?

   LUCY

  We’re spelling ‘response’ “r-y-s”

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Why not drop the ‘y’ and just call it ‘Scar-net’?

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   LUCY

  This is why you don’t work in marketing.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  Are you having trouble getting people to volunteer?  I think I might be a little uncomfortable with that level of scrutiny.

   LUCY

  We’re not using volunteers.

   STEVE

  How’s that?

   LUCY

  Have you been to MacDougall’s lately… say in the past two weeks?

   STEVE

  Oh, yes!  I just love their double beast patty with the bloodworm relish!

   [HALF-BEAT]

   LUCY

  Did you get french fries?

   STEVE

  Well, naturally.

   LUCY

  Congratulations… you’re in the program.

   [DOUBLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  Oh.

   LUCY

  The problem we’re having is the medium won’t work with small groups; in order to generate a cohesive network that will transmit to the satellites, there needs to be a group of greater-than 50 subjects of average mass.

   [BEAT]

We tried increasing the strength of the medium, but it produced adverse reactions.

   STEVE

  Like what?

   LUCY

  Rash, inflammation… organ inversion…

But we’re working on mitigating that and we’re really trying to get the base group down to less-than 15 child-sized subjects.

   [BEAT]

   STEVE

  I’m sorry… did you say ‘organ inversion’?

   LUCY

  Did I?  Anyway, we’re hoping to have the product available for marketing before the Hibernal Solstice.

   STEVE

  Because it will make a nice gift?

   LUCY

  No– because… the [GARBLED Secret Police] want to track social patterns during a period of depression.

   [TRIPLE BEAT]

   STEVE

  Ok!  So… we’re going to be away for a bit.  Lucy and I are going to be observing our eighth anniversary, and we’re going out to the Shifting Dunes National Park, on the coast of the Blind Sea!  So called, because it’s the smallest body of saltwater enclosed by land, and it’s really hard to find… also swimming in it will take your sight.

And I can not wait to get out there and check     out those feral cacti!  I’ve only ever seen photos,     and you know images can’t do justice to      something so magnificent!

Also… [SOUNDS GIDDY] we might fly a kite!

   LUCY

  Don’t be weird.

BEGIN END THEME

   STEVE

                So!  Until next time, this is Steve…

   [BEAT]

…and…

  LUCY

 Lucy.

  STEVE

 Anyway, 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… and hopefully our adventures on the Shifting Dunes!

  LUCY

 [OFF MIC]

 You know I’m not doing this if you don’t make it back.

  STEVE

 [OFF MIC]

 Of course.  I wouldn’t expect… wait– what?  Why wouldn’t I make it back?

  [BEAT]

        [OFF MIC]

Lucy?

         END

This has been Greetings from Butchers Hill. Steve and Lucy were voiced by Steve and Lucy. You can follow the postcard on Twitter @79butchershill. Visit Lucy Ann Clark dot com to see her blog. Visit 79butchershill.com for this script, and for more episodes and information. And to all our Friends & Family, thanks again for visiting! See you next time.