Search
  • swheatpodcasts

Episode 10: Mute

ROCHELLE:

Hey everyone, Rochelle here.

V:

And V.

JONAH:

And Jonah.

ROCHELLE:

(Tired, unsure) This will be the last broadcast of… whatever this is. Unfortunately, Barb is no longer able to...

JONAH:

Barbara has lost her voice. We think it may be permanent.

V:

(Matter-of-factly)That government ass-kisser, Louise, did it to her. So much for civility, right? I bet she came here planning to do that to Barb.

JONAH:

What a butthead.

V:

(Kind of funny, kind of sour?) Butthead? That’s the best you can do?

ROCHELLE:

(Recovering, continuing over them) You see, there was an incident a few days ago. The militia from the shelter decided that they’d had enough of her broadcasts and wanted to put an end to them. I guess she was causing too much unrest for their liking.

JONAH:

What’s wrong with butthead?

V:

You have the entire English language at your disposal, and you choose butthead?

JONAH:

I have to taste food with this mouth, you know. I’d rather not dirty it up with foul language if I don’t have to.

V:

I guess… but she’s still an ass-kisser and she’s also a disgusting government weasel so I think she’s warranted the use of “foul language”.

ROCHELLE:

Hey, can you guys shut up for a second? I’m trying to do something here and you’re making it really hard to focus.

JONAH:

Of course.

V:

(Abashed) Sorry, Roche. Please continue.

ROCHELLE:

Anyways, she managed to get a recording of the incident. I’ll play as much for you as I can today. She told me that she wants you to know the truth. She wants you to know how she was silenced by your leaders. She wants-- (Like reading a bad news broadcast? Not emotionally, but stoically?) she wants you to finally understand for yourselves how brutal and controlling your dear leaders are. So… here goes, I guess. (Off-mic) V, can you pass me the portable recorder please?

V:

Yeah, here.

ROCHELLE:

Thanks. Well, listeners. Here you go…

SFX: tape winding up

SFX: the sound of many people walking through the grass.

ROCHELLE:

Why are you bringing the recorder along? It’s just going to be a distraction.

BARBARA:

(Passively) I don’t know, I just have a bad feeling about this. I trust Louise, but I definitely don’t trust the higher ups, and there’s no way she got the approval to come out here without their cooperation. I want to catch whatever happens today on tape. Then there will at least be some kind of proof in case-- just proof of whatever’s about to go down, I suppose.

JONAH:

(Warily) What do these people want from us? Why are we having a parlay with a group of people who want us dead?

BARBARA:

(Willfully hopeful) Maybe they just want to negotiate. I mean, their motto isn’t exactly conducive to armed stand-offs...

V:

(Matter-of-fact, but not cheerful) Unlikely. They probably just want you to shut your mouth. Or they want you dead. Or both, really. I suppose it wouldn’t matter to them either way, so long as you stop broadcasting.

BARBARA:

Fat chance. They’d have to rip the recorder from my cold, dead body if they want me to stop broadcasting.

ROCHELLE:

(Warningly) They might just. Look over there.

JONAH:

(Softly fearful) Oh dear. Those are big guns.

V:

Shit. This isn’t a parlay, this is an ambush! Jonah! Jonah, go back to the camp.

JONAH:

No! Why should I? We’re all here, so we’re all going to fight.

ROCHELLE:

Jonah, we both know you’re useless with a gun. And I’d hate to lose my best chef --

JONAH:

Your only chef.

ROCHELLE:

-- so please just go back to camp while you still have time.

JONAH:

I think I should stay. There’s a lot of them, you might need backup. (Wanting to help but not knowing how) You know I’m handy with knives, I could always—

V:

(To Jonah, quietly) Jonah, please. Please... just leave. I don’t want to lose you, too.

JONAH:

Oh… I…ok. Good luck, V. (SFX: two people hugging) Roche, Barb? Mess them up, alright? Don’t let them walk away with -- just… give them hell from me.

V:

(Internal battle) Jonah! Wait…

SFX: Grass moving under feet. JONAH and V kiss. I’ll sort out the sounds later...

ROCHELLE:

Now’s not the time, you guys! Save it for later!

BARBARA:

(Whooping) YES! Finally!

V:

Ok, NOW you can leave.

JONAH:

Don’t die. Any of you. I mean it.

SFX: one person running away through tall grass.

BARBARA:

(Singing) V and Jonah, sitting in a tree…

V:

Stuff it.

ROCHELLE:

V, you’ve got the scope, right? How close are they now?

V:

About 100 meters and closing quickly. We need to get ready for the worst.

ROCHELLE:

Ok. Barbara, you stand here. V, you get on her side. I’ll stand here.

SFX: weapons chambers being checked, velcro being torn apart, etc.

ROCHELLE:

Does everyone have all their stuff?

BARBARA:

Yep.

V:

Yes.

ROCHELLE:

Now… we just wait, I guess.

(Pause)

SFX: several people approaching in the grass. Louise and the rest of the militia have muffled voices, like they’re wearing protective helmets. The background chatter should be produced by the current cast!

BARBARA:

Hello, Louise.

LOUISE:

Hello, traitor.

BARBARA:

If you’re trying to insult me, you’ll have to try a lot harder than just calling me a “traitor”.

ROCHELLE:

What do you want? Why are you here?

LOUISE:

I’ve come to deliver a letter.

V:

So why did you bring half the militia with you if that’s all you want to do?

LOUISE:

Protection, of course! We’ve all heard Barbara’s lovely stories about what happens up here on the surface. Well, I couldn’t risk coming up here without some form of protection. Just like Barbara and her two stooges.

V:

I’m not a stooge!

ROCHELLE:

Easy, V.

BARBARA:

Ok, give me the letter, then. (SFX: paper unfolding) This? This is a cease and desist letter.

LOUISE:

You must understand, we can’t have you continue broadcasting into our system, can we? We’ve spent years getting the population under control, making sure they never question us.

BARBARA:

We? Us? I thought you enlisted in the militia. There’s no way they’ve given a lowly radio producer any power.

LOUISE:

You were always slow to notice things, Barb. I’m not a radio producer, and I didn’t enlist.

ROCHELLE:

(On guard) Who are you, then? I thought we agreed to meet with Barbara’s old producer.

BARBARA:

(Befuddled) No, she is my old producer -- you are a radio producer!

LOUISE:

Didn’t you hear what I just said, you simpering dolt? I’m not your producer. I never have been. My name is Louise, yes, but I’m not one of the insipid cockroaches that I graciously allow to live in my shelter.

V:

Your shelter? Barb, what’s she talking about?

LOUISE:

Yes, my shelter. I’m the one who designed it.

BARBARA:

I don’t understand.

LOUISE:

You don’t need to. All you need to understand is that I’m giving you a very rare opportunity, Barbara darling. I’m letting you walk away for free -- provided, of course, that you promise to stop broadcasting forever.

ROCHELLE:

Fat chance, Lou.

LOUISE:

(Hotly) My name is Louise and I would appreciate it if you referred to me as such. (Returning to her silky, ominous tone) In any case, this is not your decision to make. In fact, it’s only because of my ceaseless good will that I haven’t already killed both you and your other companion.

V:

(Growling) You could try.

BARBARA:

(Cautiously) You want me to stop broadcasting, and if I agree, you’ll let me live up here? Unscathed? And you won’t try to hunt us down again?

ROCHELLE:

Don’t do it, Barb. Is it really worth it if it means you’ll be censored for the rest of your life? (Aside) Besides… I can take these dweebs no sweat.

BARBARA:

But it also means that we can sleep peacefully again and then nobody has to get hurt! Compromise, right?

V:

She’s lying. She’s planning on killing us either way, isn’t she? Why else would she have brought backup?

LOUISE:

(Mock offense, but subtle) I’m offended that you would think that -- what’s your name?

V:

V.

LOUISE:

Just… V?

V:

Just V.

LOUISE:

Very well. You certainly keep… interesting company now, Barbara. But they change nothing. I have backup because you are a group of raiders. They’re here for my safety, you see. The offer, however, still only extends to you, my dear. Will you take it?

ROCHELLE:

Don’t do it.

BARBARA:

I-- I-- I need to think.

LOUISE:

I’ll give you 60 seconds. (Please also record 70 seconds and 80 seconds. I’ll use whichever one fits the actual recorded timeframe)

BARBARA:

60 seconds?!

LOUISE:

Starting… now.

BARBARA:

Can I ask a question first?

LOUISE:

(Sighs) Fine. One question.

BARBARA:

Why are you so concerned about me? Surely one radio show can’t really be causing enough trouble for you that you feel the need to shut it down?

LOUISE:

Oh but Barbara -- you haven’t realized, have you? Your voice -- your free voice -- is causing much more unrest than you could possibly imagine. People are starting to ask questions. Stray from their schedules. And we certainly can’t have that, now can we?

I tried to take that gift and use it to keep the population under control. I tried to use your gift for good. But you chose to squander it on rebellious ideas and ridiculous notions of freedom. But nobody is truly free. We all have a master somewhere. At least in the shelter, your master tries to keep you safe and alive. Out here, your master is death. (Beat) You’re running out of time, Barbara. Which will it be?

BARBARA:

I-- I--

V:

(Warningly) Don’t do it, Barb.

BARBARA:

I don’t know...

LOUISE:

10 seconds left, my dear.

V:

(Bristling in anxiety) I said don’t do it! What are you, stupid or something?

BARBARA:

(Beat, then calmly) No thank you, Louise. I don’t want to accept your offer.

LOUISE:

I was afraid you’d say that. (Sighs) So be it--

ROCHELLE:

Now!

SFX: gunfire, people fighting, a few bodies falling

LOUISE:

Get back here!

V:

Barbara, run! I’ll hold them off!

BARBARA:

No way! I’m staying here and finishing this!

LOUISE:

(As she reaches for Barbara) Allow me to finish it first, my dear!

SFX: a grapple, flesh being sliced

ROCHELLE:

Barb! No!

SFX: more gunfire, bodies falling to the ground.

ROCHELLE:

V, I need your help! Please!

V:

I’m a little (grunt) busy at the moment!

SFX: a neck is broken, a final body hits the ground

ROCHELLE:

Radio. The radio. I can use the radio.

SFX: walkie-talkie crackling

SFX: sound of LOUISE running away through the grass, cackling in delight and triumph

V:

(Murderous) LOUISE! GET BACK HERE! (Record a bit away from the mic, and I’ll have it fade out accordingly)

ROCHELLE:

(Battlefield calm) Jonah, I need you! Please, it’s urgent! It’s Barb, she’s been injured. (To Barb) It’s alright, Jonah’s coming. He’ll get you home safely. You’ll be alright.

SFX: sound of another person running away through the grass

ROCHELLE:

Barb? Barb? Stay with me. Look at me. Hey, look at me. Everything’s going to be ok. I promise. I’m going to make everything ok. See, look? You’re already all bandaged up!

SFX: sound of one person running towards them through the grass

ROCHELLE:

Jonah. I need you to carry Barb back to camp.

JONAH:

Oh-- oh my. Barb--

ROCHELLE:

Will survive. That-- that snake certainly knows her way around a neck -- she missed all the major arteries, but we still need to hurry. Jonah, can you grab her?

JONAH:

Here, help me get her on the blanket. (Softly) I’ve got you… I’ve got you.

SFX: a body being lifted

ROCHELLE:

It’s alright, Barb. Jonah will get you back safely.

JONAH:

(Suddenly realizing, worried) Where’s V?

ROCHELLE:

They’re chasing down Louise. She’s the one who did... (Cracks) this. (Recovers) They’ll be fine. They’re tough. V will come it back in one piece, I’m sure of it.

JONAH:

You’re probably right. Come on. Let’s take you home.

ROCHELLE:

I’m right here, Barbara. I’m right here.

SFX: tape recorder winding down.

ROCHELLE:

After that, it’s just about 5 minutes of silence.

JONAH:

And V made it back safely, of course.

V:

I did indeed.

JONAH:

And V and I are actually dating now!

V:

We are. Whatever that means when there’s nowhere to actually… date?

ROCHELLE:

Barbara’s very excited about it, of course.

V:

Well, as excited as she can be given her… state.

JONAH:

Roche did a really good job with those stitches, considering the situation. And we found a mini chalkboard for her to use, so she can still communicate with us.

ROCHELLE:

V’s even teaching us all sign language -- which is another thing I didn’t know about them until now!

V:

Once she’s all healed up, I think I’ll give her access to my garden.

(Several seconds of stunned silence)

V:

What? She deserves a good smoke after an ordeal like that.

ROCHELLE:

You haven’t even given me access to your garden, yet. Only Jonah so far.

V:

I haven’t? Oh… well, you can go to my garden, also.

ROCHELLE:

Wow, you finally decided that I’m worth trusting?

V:

(Reasonably) You could have handed her over. She could have handed us over. But instead, she let herself get stabbed in the vocal cords. And you brought her back safely.

ROCHELLE:

Jonah brought her back. (Beat, softly) Thank you for doing that, by the way.

JONAH:

Of course.

ROCHELLE:

I think if she could, she would probably rant about how much she loves weed and how mad she is that you’ve hid it from her for months.

JONAH:

Ha, yeah… that sounds like her.

(Long pause)

ROCHELLE:

Anyways. I think it’s time to shut this thing off for good. After all, Barb-- (clears throat) the normal host of this show is now permanently incapacitated for this particular form of media...

V:

(Matter-of-factly?) Damn asswipe government stooges got what they wanted. They’ve shut her up for good, and they didn’t even have to kill her to do it.

JONAH:

But she’s safe, and she’s alive, and she’s free. Despite what those (struggling to get the words out) b-bastards did to her.

V:

(With a new flavor of compassion and care) She wanted to keep broadcasting! And now she can’t.

JONAH:

I know. But she’s alive, and as long as Barbara is alive, she’s thinking up a way to make herself heard. And at least Louise is gone now.

V:

(Darkly) Killing Louise was too easy. She should have suffered -- she didn’t deserve civility.

ROCHELLE:

If we’re gonna start talking about all the “treason” that we’ve committed, perhaps we should turn off the broadcast now.

JONAH:

Good idea. I’m gonna go make some Barb some tomato soup. I know it’s her favorite.

V:

(Kindly) I’ll help.

SFX: two chairs scoot out, two people walk away

ROCHELLE:

(Resignedly) And I guess I’ll… sign off. This is Rochelle Montgomery, signing off in place of Barbara Walker. This was our final broadcast. Good-bye.

END

This episode of the Nuclear Solution was created by me, Dallas Wheatley. It was created in Washington County, Vermont, the territory of the Abenaki people. Barbara Walker was also played by me. Shade Oyemakinwa played Rochelle, Erin Kyan played Jonah, Whitney Johnson played Louise, and Tara Santora played V. All of the music and sound effects used in this show are available under Creative Commons licenses -- you can find more information in the show notes. If you like the show, please rate and review it on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser! It helps other people find the show. If you want to know more about this show or other projects I’m working on, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @swheatpodcasts. This was the last episode of The Nuclear Solution, but if you're looking for more shows, check out Monsters Out Of the Closet, a queer horror story anthology podcast. I’m also making another show that will be coming out in May 2020 called Fireside Folktales. Follow the account on Twitter @Fireside_Folk for more information. Thanks so much for listening and remember: civility is NOT the key to survival.

©2019 by Dallas Wheatley. Proudly created with Wix.com

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now