4. Bang! Bang! Transcript

Transcript by Raina Harper
[Music plays, ‘Quest Friends! Hereafter Theme’ by Miles Morkri.]

Kyle
Hello, guests and ghouls! Welcome to Quest Friends! Hereafter, an improvised fiction podcast using the Under the Neighborhood roleplaying system. I am Kyle, he/him, and today I, my four best friends, and some dice are going to tell you a story about what the Scooby Doo crew might be up to 20 years down the line. But, before we get started with that, we gotta introduce all of our players today.

Tom
Hi, I’m Tom. My pronouns are he/him. I play Hilda Miszkiewicz, the guardian who pulls pranks, who is she/her.

Ari
Okay, it’s my turn. Hello, I am Doug Dimmadome, owner of the Dimmsdale—

[Laughter.]

Tom
Well, we weren’t having…

Ari
I didn’t want to go first because it would be funnier if somebody else went before me and then I said that. Anyways.

Hallie
[Amused grumbling.]

Ari
Now that my job is done… Hello, I am Ari. My pronouns are she/her, and I play Quique, pronouns he/him. He’s the opportunist who adapts.

Emily
I’m Emily. My pronouns are they/she. I play Irene Hawthorne, the Necromon Trainer who overextends. Her pronouns are she/her.

Hallie
I’m Hallie, she/her, and I play Sparky Malarky, also she/her, the intuition who investigates.

Kyle
As I said, my name is Kyle, he/him. I am your game master today which means, for the most part, I play anyone and everything else. We’ve got a fun adventure for you today, and I want to jump straight into it, but first I have an apology to make. Hit the apology music.
[Totalus Rankium apology music begins.]
So, our system that we play uses something called Adventure Points, or AP. You can get Adventure Points many ways. One of them is with failed rolls. I didn’t reward AP for failed rolls. You all have so many points on the table. So, to make up for that, everyone is going to start this adventure with 2 AP unless you already had 2 AP banked in which case you will start with 3 AP.

Ari
Three AP?

Emily
Ha-ha-ha.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
But, with that out of the way, like with all episodes, we gotta talk about Slice of Life Complications. In this one, you were all able to give a complication to as many other people as you wanted provided it wasn’t zero. So yeah, what complications do we got?

Ari
I had a complication. At first it was just for Irene, because the complication was that there is this movie premiering specifically today that Irene has watched the trailers for this movie and she has been super excited about this movie coming out and everything. She of course wants to go to the premier of this movie so that nobody else spoils it for her and so that she can spoil it for everybody else. But, there’s two problems.
The first one is that her parents and her siblings and all of that stuff are too busy today to take her to this premier. The second and most important problem is that the movie is PG-13! So, that’s why I asked her age, because this town has a really strict policy of PG-13, and if you’re not 13 you cannot come to this movie. She either has to find an adult to go to the movie with or she has to sneak in somehow, because she really has to see this movie premier today. That is my complication.

Tom
That’s so fucking good.

Kyle
Fucking… exquisite. Beautiful.

Tom
Well, time to go home. Pack it up. No topping that.

Hallie
No.

Emily
Okay. I cannot follow up that one well, but my complication is that Booker has been getting jealous of Hilda’s textbooks and he ate her homework.

[Emotional laughter.]

Ari
He ate her homework! That’s so cute!

Tom
Aww, no~!

Hallie
My complication works really well with that because my complication was for Hilda. She’s missing her first library book, and there’s a fee for it now.

Ari
I love that we’re all putting complications to the children.

Tom
Why has this happened?

Hallie
We got them last time!

Kyle
Yeah. Last time it had to be Quique or Sparky, so you’re just letting out the excitement for the other characters.

Hallie
Mm-hmm! We’re just spreading the wealth here.

Ari
It’s true.

Tom
[Grinning.] Fuck you~

Kyle
Alright Tom, what’s yours?

Tom
Um… Mine is for Irene.

[Laughter.]
[00:05:00]

Ari
Oh my god! It’s only the kids!

Hallie
Throwing stones!

Tom
Eh… It was channeling some recent Poké-rage, but one of the science teachers at school has been wasting Irene’s time recently trying to go over Necromon-related science facts which Irene is already aware of.

Emily (as Irene)
The problem with this class is that I know everything.

Tom
Unfortunately, this is part of an assignment, so Irene needs to turn in a total of 15 new Necromon-related observations each week, and this is the last day with which to accrue them before the next batch needs to be turned in.

Emily
Oh dear.

Kyle
So, any favorites among that list?

Hallie
Movie.

Tom
PG-13, for days.

Hallie
Obviously.

Ari
Oh, I’m so happy you liked it.

Hallie
Yeah.

Tom
Leagues above.

Hallie
Leagues.

Ari
I really liked Booker getting jealous and eating books.

Hallie
However, we do have a penchant for just deciding to do all of them all the time.

Kyle
I can already think of ways to throw in the other ones. The Booker thing has happened in between, or, part of the reason Hilda can’t go is because she’s been grounded so Sparky is under orders not to let her go in as the adult and the reason is because Hilda’s grounded because her book is late.

Hallie
Hilarious they trusted Sparky Malarky with this task.

Kyle
It’s a test for both of you.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Anyways. Before we start, let’s figure out some details about this movie. It’s a Lucas Bang movie, obviously.

Hallie
Obviously.

Kyle
Because Lucas Bang is a bit of a celebrity in The Valley, which we’ll get into more detail about that later.

Tom
I need to look it up. What actually is the criteria for something being PG-13? Hold on.

Hallie
They’re allowed one F-word.

Kyle
Yeah, one F-word. My first thought is mild sexual content. So, the name of the movie is ‘Bang! Bang!’, with two exclamation points.

Ari
[Smiling.] Bang! Bang!

Kyle
It’s a Lucas Bang theme movie, and for reasons related to Sparky, I want mild sexual content to be one of the reasons that it is bad.

Hallie
[Drawn out, ending in a shriek.] Nooo~

Emily
[Smirking.] So Sparky wants to see that movie.

Tom
I feel like the movie needs to include some spicy scenes featuring Lucas Bang.

Kyle
Oh yeah, shirtless.

Ari
What if, since you wanted Quique to be there because he’s taking Yunuen to that place, what if Yunuen also wants to be in this movie despite she being really small?

Tom
No~

Ari
And him being like “okay, I guess… I’ll just cover your eyes during the mild sexual scene parts.”

Kyle
Amazing.

Ari
Actually, thinking more about it, I feel bad Quique taking an 8-year-old to a PG-13, so he would probably just take her to another movie that’s more kid-appropriate. I thought about it. “Wait a second, that’s probably not okay.”

Kyle
That’s fine, because in either case the event is still gonna be Lucas Bang is getting signatures.

Ari
Right.

Kyle
So like, “yeah, go see your hero, the Aggressive Bandit, and then we’ll go watch, um… Bennifer’s Garden.”
[Chuckling.]
Bennifer is like the NSYNC of our universe.

Ari
Yes. Back together. Guess who’s back! I know that’s Backstreet Boys, but I don’t care. Back again!

Kyle
They’re like the NSYNC and they’re a bunch of fucking skeletons.

Ari
Tell a friend!

Kyle
The B is for bones.

Ari
B is for bones! Oh, B-ennifer.

Tom
And they sing songs the equivalent of My Shiny Teeth and Me.

Kyle
[Sings, snaps and hums.] My shiny teeth and me…

Ari
Yes.

Tom
About the human body.

Ari
Yes! My shiny teeth and me!

Tom
If I could make up lyrics, I would make up a song right now about the radius and the ulna.

Ari
Oh, perfect, yeah.

Tom
That, I feel, is the kind of quality they’re going for.

Ari
I did once, when I went to the theater to see something else, saw fucking Hector’s voice actor, Kyle Garcia, in the theater. It was before Coco, but he was already famous. He was just there. I didn’t know who he was and I just basically stood really close to him like “why are there so many people in here?” And he looked at me with this ‘what the fuck’ face and then I learned later.
[Laughter.]
But sometimes, you know, famous people are in fact at movie theaters.

Kyle
Okay. Let’s get started.

[Light hearted spooky mystery music starts.]

Kyle (as Actor 1)
Well gang, we’ve made it inside Miss Mictoria’s Manor. It’s time to find the monster that’s been haunting her art collection and make him ‘van go’ home.
[Laugh track plays.]
Because van Gogh was an artist?

Hallie (as Sparky)
You should stop trying to be funny.

Kyle (as Actor 2)
Ah-ha! I just got it! A great one, Elliot!

Kyle (as Elliot)
Thanks, Lucas! I thought for a moment that “someone’s” sense of humor was “Baroque-en.”

[Laugh track plays.]
[00:10:00]

Hallie (as Sparky)
You don’t have to humor him, Lucas. He’ll just keep doing it.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Well, I for one think your boyfriend just has good taste. But, uh… why is he here again?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Because Alina and Chazz are investigating Miss Mictoria’s mausoleum and we need someone else who’s good at finding things.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Oh, you mean besides me?

Hallie (as Sparky)
I mean besides me. Lucas, babe!
[Claps.] Chop-chop, let’s go!

Kyle (as Lucas)
Well you know, Sparky, when you said you needed help, I thought you just needed the ride… I don't know whether I should tag along or anything like that.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Well, in that case, Lucas can stay by the car and I’ll go with—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, no, no! He’ll be fine. Right, Lucas? Right, babe?

Kyle (as Lucas)
Oh, uh… I will?

[Laugh track plays.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, you got this.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Right… Right, I will. Sparky’s right, I can help.

Kyle (as Elliot)
[Uneasy chuckle.] Are you sure? Because I think it makes more sense for us to—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, split up? That’s exactly what I was going to suggest.

[Laugh track plays.]

Kyle (as Elliot)
[Stammering.] Oh, well um, Sparky, I—

[A door slams.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
We’ll see who finds more clues ‘this’ time.

Kyle (as Lucas)
[Stammers.] You know, I just, um…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Lucas. Lucas, babe, babe, calm down. You’re like the dandelion to the Necromouse, but it isn’t cute this time because we’ve got work to do.

Kyle (as Lucas)
[Stammers. Takes a deep breath.] You’re right. I just need to take a moment to get my bearings and—Oh my gosh! That bookshelf moved!

[Laugh track plays.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Intrigued.] Ooh~

Kyle (as Lucas)
Is it a g-g-g-ghost?!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Lucas, you see ghosts every day. Our homeroom teacher is a banshee.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Right…

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s just a secret door behind a bookshelf that leads to a library with an ancient clock that hides a second hidden staircase which we can walk up to get into a dusty old attic! It’s the kind of stuff you’d find at any house, babe.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Gulp!

[Laugh track plays. Different spooky mystery music begins.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Alright. We’ve got us some desks, a bunch of cobwebs, and… hello! Tsarvian nesting dolls! What mysteries do you hold?

Kyle (as Lucas)
Uh… Sparky?

Hallie (as Sparky)
The Piders aren’t venomous, just poisonous. You’ll be fine as long as you don’t eat them. … You didn’t eat them, did you?

[Laugh track plays.]

Kyle (as Lucas)
Uh, no, I think I found something… over here in the desk drawer.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Desk drawer? Well that’s no fun.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Is this a clue? Did I find a clue?

[Paper rustles. Music changes to serious mystery music.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
“If artwork you seek, then you must shed dimensions and become the art.”
The fuck is this kind of clue?

[Music ends abruptly. Laugh track and applause plays.]

Kyle (as Lucas)
I recognize that. It’s a poem, a haiku.
[Gasps.] it’s a hai-clue!

[Music resumes.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hai-clue? Ugh. The real mystery is what literary jackass took the time to write this out. What do you think, melting monster version of van Gogh?

Kyle (as van Gogh)
[Long monstrous groan.]

Kyle & Hallie (as Lucas & Sparky)
Zoinks!

[SFX/Music changes to Scooby-Doo chase music.]

Kyle (as announcer)
Romance isn’t the only thing making these lovebirds’ hearts race. Will they escape van Gogh’s oily clutches? What clues will Elliot unearth? Where will Chazz and Alina’s investigation lead them? Captivating cryptids and capers await next time on The PICLE Pals!

[Music changes to upbeat guitar music.]

Kyle (as Chazz)
Oh man! Chazz Casey here with Scorpion Radio! What you all just listened to was an episode of The PICLE Pals. Now, The PICLE Pals was a little radio play inspired by my times as part of the Private Investigators Corporation Limited Enterprises, or PICLE group in high school. We investigated all sorts of spooky mysteries and stuff like that.
Now, the pilot episode you listened to was done on a bit of a shoestring budget. The only voices came from yours truly and Rhonda from the office, but dang if it wasn’t one hell of a time.
Anyways. We’re playing this episode in honor of our very own Aggressive Bandit, Lucas Bang, who’s back in town not only for the ScubaCorp International Necromon Championship but to promote his brand new film, Bang! Bang!
Before we get to our next rockin’ song, we have… an advertisement from ScubaCorp Unlimited for the ScubaCorp nightly mattresses.
[Music changes to dream-like ad music.]
ScubaCorp Mattresses. Have you ever wondered—

[Music ends.]

Kyle
And there’s a little click as Sparky Malarky quickly turns off the radio that she’s been listening to in her house.
[00:15:00]
So Hallie, tell me a bit about where Sparky Malarky lives and, besides listening to this radio program, what she’s up to in the mornings.

Hallie
Sparky Malarky has a lovely ranch-style single-story trailer van in a junkyard slash graveyard. It is both things, but they are not to be confused with each other.
[Sparky’s theme begins.]
Sparky’s van is actually super dope. It has a lot of hanging beads inside of it. Sometimes full hanging scarves that block the little loft corner that she calls her bed. … No, it’s not a water bed. I thought for a second about making it a water bed, but it’s just… it’s not.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
It was a water bed but then it leaked so now it’s just a very thin mattress that has no support.

Hallie
She had a mouse problem recently. They just chewed straight through it. So now it’s just a flat mattress that she’s augmented with pillows. She’s making do, she’s making do. The kitchen is really just a small mini fridge filled with Skaterade, which is for teenagers, but you know, she skated once so she still drinks it.

Kyle
Skaterade and, let’s not forget, Capri Fun, which is the alcoholic fun summer drink.

Hallie
And there are two coffee makers. That’s because when one is dirty she just uses the second one. Then they’re both dirty and she washes both of them and then goes through the cycle again. This is much easier for her than washing one coffee pot at a time. It doesn’t make sense to anybody else, sure makes sense to her.

Kyle
Yeah, and I imagine—if it’s alright that I kind of mention things. I imagine you’ve kind of got clothes spilling all over the place.

Hallie
Oh yeah. There’s a closet, but there’s audio recording equipment and a tripod for a camera she doesn’t have and things that aren’t clothes that don’t go in closets.

Kyle
And your cool jean jacket that’s all stiff and angular, I imagine, is just hanging over the slightly-opened fridge.

Hallie
Oh yeah. That’s what it does. It blocks the cold air from coming out because the fridge doesn’t close all the way.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Emily
It makes for great air conditioning in the summer.

Hallie
Yeah! It’s hot in The Valley, so this really serves two purposes. Sparky’s very efficient and resourceful with what she has. There are no seats, there are just floor pillows everywhere, but that’s because she’s cool, and she’s got a vibe, man.
There is a small old-school radio which is the thing that she was listening on. She has a TV, one of those really small ancient ones that’s really thick. It does not belong in this trailer. It is too big. She has to climb over it in order to get to the place where her bed is, but it’s there, and that’s what she watches her things on. She likes that it has a VHS player.

Ari
[Laughing.] One of the complications I have thought about for Sparky was regarding a VHS player and her having to look a specific VHS.

Hallie
She sure has one.

Ari
I’m so upset that she actually has one.

Tom
God help us.

Kyle
Yeah, she’s golden on VHS. DVD? Ah, that’s too new. Blu-ray? Never heard of it.

Hallie
It’s too new. It doesn’t feel as satisfying. Holding a DVD is not as satisfying as holding a VHS tape which has a shape and a weight. You know? She does use the TV to keep up her water mattress. Luckily, the TV isn’t broken after the water mattress leaked. It’s fine. She’s not sure how that happened, but old tech is really reliable.

Kyle
Yeah. Those things above all else are sturdy. Anyways, so you’re thinking about VHSs and DVDs…

Hallie
Yeah.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
…when you’re rattled out of your thoughts by the most conventional, straight-forward, three-pronged knock that you could ever hear on your door.

[Dream-like ad music begins.]

Hallie
I turn the radio back on.

Kyle (as Chazz)
So, put in code… oh Christ… CHZZZ, three Zs for the sleep, at ScubaMattress.com for 15% off.

Kyle
[Knocks three times.]

Hallie
I turn it up louder, but I change the channel so it’s not the radio show I was listening to.

[Music changes to plodding thoughtful music.]

Kyle (as host)
[Flat.] Welcome to MPR Radio, the Morticians Public Radio station.

Hallie
[Giggles.]

Kyle (as host)
Today’s survey, the skeleton of Theseus.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle (as host)
Now, the skeleton of Theseus is a theoretical experiment where, if Theseus loses one of his bones…

Kyle
And eventually you just hear the door open behind you, just a little click as it opens.

Hallie (as Sparky)
So, can you prosecute yourself for opening someone else’s door, or are you just above the law? Is that how that works?

Kyle (as ???)
Sparky, I assume the door would be open for an old friend.

[Methodical silly music begins.]
[00:20:00]

Kyle
Sparky, you turn over and you see an average-looking man with round glasses pressed up against his pale face. He’s wearing a perfectly fitted gray suitcoat and his floppy black hair curls out from underneath a plain homburg hat. If you had to figure out who he was, he wouldn’t really stand out in a crowd because the way I like to describe him is if Waldo went corporate. This is Elliot.

Hallie
Elliot was a member of PICLE. PICLE stands for Private Investigators… Oh no. Um—
[Laughter.]
Private Investigators Corporation Limited Enterprises. It was a group of plucky teens who went around solving mysteries for the local townspeople. Definitely not a la Scooby Doo style, we didn’t just… It’s Scooby Doo. It’s their Scooby Doo gang. It’s their Mystery Inc.

Ari
Did you have a dog too?

Hallie
We did not have a dog. It was just us four and sometimes a fifth person.

Ari
If the gang comes back together, you could have a mouse.

Emily
Hehe.

Hallie
I have that written down, Ari.

Ari
Oh! Yes!

Hallie
Get off of my notes, for god’s sake.

Kyle
So it was typically the four of you. Sometimes you’d be followed along with folks, by Lucas Bang, but the core four was Sparky Malarky, Elliot, Chazz Casey, and then finally your last member, Alina Miszkiewicz.

Tom
Miszkiewicz

Kyle
And yeah, the four of you went down and did mysteries, but you’ve all kinda gone your separate ways. Chazz Casey’s got his radio show.

Hallie
Sellout.

Kyle
Alina got married and had a kid.

Hallie
Weird.

Kyle
And then Elliot, ever the overachiever, he was always the young plucky upstart of the group, went on to be one of the prosecutors for the Bureau of Intermortal Enforcement.

Hallie
He wasn’t the leader, he just made everyone sandwiches and told everyone where to go and did all the work. But, he abandoned PICLE when he graduated from high school and went on to go to college for law or whatever, and now he’s a prosecutor and that just, you know, sucks.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
As Elliot stands there in his nice suit and his nice hat, just brushing one of your random pieces of clothing—some socks and some pants to the side under the table, he looks down and looks back up to you and says:

Kyle (as Elliot)
I assume I haven’t found you at a bad time, have I, Sparky?

Hallie
I don't know how to respond because Sparky doesn’t know how to respond. Instead, she’ll just shrug.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Fair enough. I will keep this visit brief then. I don’t wanna get in the way of any of that…

Kyle
And he looks back at the tripod and the little heist board hidden behind all this stuff.

Kyle (as Elliot)
…investigative work that you do.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You know, it is very important.

Kyle (as Elliot)
I’m sure. I’m actually very curious. What exactly are you working on? Some sort of issue with food processing or something like that?

Kyle
You can see he’s pushed some stuff to the side and is pointing at the image you have in the center of the heist board with the rutabaga on it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
As a matter of fact, I am uncovering a story the townspeople will be very interested in because, you know, rutabagas are a scam, and I cannot legally elaborate any further.

Hallie
She pushes the heist board a little bit further into the closet.

Kyle (as Elliot)
“Rutabaga,” Sparky.

Hallie (as Sparky)
What?

Kyle (as Elliot)
The plural of rutabaga is rutabaga.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Says who?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Says the English language.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, the English language is a bunch of corporate hacks who just want to control the way people speak and think and feel!

Kyle (as Elliot)
[Weary sigh.] Alright, so you haven’t budged on that point, I see. Sparky, the Bureau has everyone’s interests in mind. They’re a natural extension of your work with PICLE.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Natural extension of the work with PICLE? This is the natural extension of the work with PICLE!

Hallie
Gestures to everything around her.

Kyle
He just looks around.

Kyle (as Elliot)
… Right.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You know why? Because PICLE fights for the underdogs. The Bureau? Fighting for everybody who matters by their definition of what matters, which by the way is as constrictive as the English language.

Kyle (as Elliot)
I’ll just cut to the chase, Sparky. You have spirit, something that the old ghosts of the Bureau ironically could use.
[Threatening music begins.]
I just believe you could use your talents in more productive ways.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Breathy, indignant.] Productive ways…
More productive ways? You know, when this rutabaga story hits, you’re gonna be ruing your words. Is that correct? You’re gonna be ruing your words.

Kyle (as Elliot)
More commonly, people would say the phrase “rue the day,” but in either case, Sparky, I’m simply saying that I talked to some of the folks at the prosecution office at the Bureau and… we have an open spot.
[00:25:00]
Even if you don’t want to be in the law room, we’ve got spots for prosecutors, we’ve got spots for investigators… There are dangerous people doing dangerous work out there, Sparky, with—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Rutabagas?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Rutabaga. And substantial things as well.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I don't know if you heard, but there was a huge Necromouse infestation a while ago, and I was at the center of that. I stopped the problem. Just because my work is on the streets and not in an office with a skylight doesn’t mean it doesn’t have, um… What was the word you used?

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Elliot)
Oh. Did you forget? It was spirit.

Hallie
Sparky bites her lip a little bit which she does when she’s really fucking mad.

Hallie (as Sparky)
So you can’t even answer when you’re called out on being a dick?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Sparky, I’m here to offer you a job.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, for like the fourth time. I’ve told you I don’t want it. I didn’t ask you to go around asking for open positions.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Sparky, I just want what’s best for you.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh my god.
[Under her breath, mockingly.] Just wants what’s best…
Maybe what’s best for me is exactly what I’m doing.

Kyle (as Elliot)
What’s best for you? Sitting in a van by the thereport right next to the Hereafter? Do you know how much danger comes from the Hereafter?

Hallie (as Sparky)
I’m an investigative reporter, Elliot! That’s where the job is. I’m right at the heart of the action. I’m on the scoops!

Kyle (as Elliot)
Investigating what, Sparky? Rutabaga? Investigating rutabaga?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Just because you’re too much of a coward to step down from your ivory little tower and wear real clothes.

Kyle (as Elliot)
There are serious matters out there! Fraud, ghost murder—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah-yeah, and you’re not gonna know about them until I crack them!

Kyle (as Elliot)
[Sighs.] I can see this is going nowhere, so…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh? It took you that long to find that out, huh?

Kyle
He tries to find a spot on your table and doesn’t see one so he just lays a business card on top of a pile of clothing.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Think about it. I will keep this position open, but there are lots of people who want it.

Kyle
He opens the door, and before he leaves he turns back to you and says:

Kyle (as Elliot)
I hope you’ll join us someday in the future, Sparky. We’re all waiting for you.

Kyle
And with that, Elliot walks out.

Hallie
He’s out of screen, this isn’t gonna matter, but Sparky’s gonna:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hey, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, because it actually does that. You gotta open it a certain way or it’ll hit you, but you wouldn’t figure that out on your own. [Angry stammering.]

Hallie
Then she goes and slams it shut and jimmies the lock which doesn’t work that well all the time. Then she’s gonna pick up a random pillow from the floor and put it over her face and go:

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Screams.]

Hallie
Then she’s gonna breathe, and she’s gonna take her jacket from the fridge, and she’s gonna replace it with a scarf, and then she thinks closer on it, removes the scarf, opens the fridge, takes a Skaterade, puts that back, takes the Capri Fun, slams it again, sets the scarf back, turns off the radio which was on this entire time because I never turned it off…

[Plodding thoughtful music begins.]

Kyle (as host)
So, in the end, which is the true skeleton of Theseus?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Nothing is the skeleton of Theseus.

Kyle (as host)
The one that has been replaced or the one with the original bones reassembled? The answer may surprise you, after this break.

[Music ends.]

Hallie
Sparky’s just gonna turn off the radio.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Breathy, irritated.] Fucking Theseus. Fucking Elliot. God, just… oh man. “This is what’s best for you, Sparky. I’m a prosecutor and I have suits and I work in an office.” [Stammers.]

Kyle
That’s when your phone dings and you get a text message.

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey Boss. Just wondering what the ETA is. Waiting at the usual spot.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Stammers.] Fuck. Elliot, making me late.

Hallie
She texts…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Important meeting ran long. Coming now.

[Peppy rock music begins.]

Hallie
…and then she’ll set her phone down and fix her jacket, muss up her hair a little bit behind its headband, throw on some sunglasses and she’s out. The door hits her on the way out because she forgets about the fact that it hits people on the way out.

Tom
Hilda just sends a thumbs up emoji.

[Music swells and carries into the announcements.]

Kyle
Hello everybody and welcome to Scorpion Radio! I am not Chazz Casey. I’m still figuring out Chazz Casey’s voice. I am Kyle though, and this is the announcement break.
Hi. Welcome to the announcement break. I hope you’re enjoying today’s episode. There’s not much for you on this announcement break. In fact, normally when we have an announcement break like this where we don’t really have any announcements or any ads, I may end up skipping it for the week, but I wanted to let you know that I might do that before I actually just do it.
So, now that I’ve got you here, I wanted to mention two quick things. The first one is, did you know that our episodes have chapters?
[00:30:00]
If you’re watching on YouTube or you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, you should be able to scroll down and see a list of chapters. These are ways that I have segmented the episode into distinct chunks that usually equate to about every scene or so. These chapters are embedded into the MP3, so with other podcasting apps you might have them, you might not, I’m not actually sure. But, if you do have access to them, it’s just a helpful way of jumping straight to a scene you might wanna listen to, so I figured I’d mention that.
I also wanted to quickly explain why we were laughing at Doug Dimmadome, owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome, a reference to the cartoon show the Fairly OddParents. The reason for that is because Hallie finds it hilarious.
You see, something you have to understand about Hallie is that there are certain jokes that just “get” her. We don’t know why, we don’t know how, but about every half a year or so we’ll discover a new phrase that will just make Hallie laugh uncontrollably. So, if you ever hear us just start saying some random phrase, assume we found another one.
Finally, before we go, I want to try ending each episode with a call to action. So, last episode I talked a lot about things you could do if you want to support us on Patreon, but not everyone can or wants to support us financially. So, what’s the next best way to support us? If that’s something you’re interested in doing. And, it’s to mention the show to a friend.
Before our episode comes out in two weeks, I’d love it if you could just mention the show to one friend. Who knows, maybe you will find a fellow listener to talk about all of the standing in line drama we’re about to get through in the second half of this episode.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Our next episode, Bang! Bang!, Part 2 will be coming out in two weeks on Monday, May 30, but if you’d like additional stories, podcasts, or behind the scenes videos, you can find them at Patreon.com/QuestFriends. I will see you there.

[Silly spooky mystery music carries out of the announcements.]

Kyle
Okay! It has been about a month since your last adventure, since for the most part the time between adventures and the time between episodes is gonna be the same in-universe as out of universe. So, it’s been about a month since Hilda and Irene had their first fight with each other, since Hilda got into the Necromon Dueling Club, and found herself to be rivals with both Walnut, in a very friendly way, and Irene, in a… different way.
It has also been a month since the Necromouse infestation where Quique befriended a Kingpecker named Tucán and Sparky flooded the streets with Necromice and Quique clones.

Hallie
Sparky solved the flooding the streets with Necromice.

Kyle
Right, uh…

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Unrelated, Quique also managed to stop the cloning device after having a heart-to-heart with one of his QuiClones. Sparky, last time we saw her, had a single Necromouse in one of her Necrocards and then a bunch of Necrocards that she owes money for, and I have one hard move saved up for that.

Hallie
Fuck! I forgot about that. Damn it! Alright, yes, fine.

Kyle
But, in the month since all of that happened, what have you all been up to? What’s been going on in the past month?

Ari
Quique, in the meantime, has fixed the hole in his fence caused by this bird, Tucán, but the way that he has fixed it is that he builds a little cabin slash nest. One of the walls is the side of the fence and the other part is just a little nest for Tucán to come and live there whenever he can. There’s even a little sign that just says “bird,” except it only says “ird” because part of it has been eaten by Tucán, so it’s just like a bite and it says “ird” in it, but it’s supposed to say “bird.”

Kyle
I love it. Inside the little thing there’s—you know how cats have scratching posts? Hanging up, there’s just a cylinder of cement for Tucán the Kingpecker to just jackhammer into at all hours of the night.

Ari
Yes! There’s a lot of bricks. There’s a lot of things that Quique thinks Tucán might want to eat.

[00:35:00]

Kyle
You found some nice stuff in your neighbor’s house.

Ari
Yes. Definitely. Definitely from the neighbor. Tucán isn’t strictly Quique’s pet, he sometimes leaves and sometimes comes back, but that’s part of his house. Sometimes he’s just there. That’s mostly what has been happening.
Also, Quique, because he had a little bit of an existential crisis when speaking with the QuiClone, he painted a little, like… It’s not a tattoo, because it can be removed, because Quique doesn’t want to commit to actual tattoos, but it’s a little swirly hair-looking thing in ink or whatever on his scalp or whatever.

Hallie
Aww!

Ari
It can be looked under the beret sometimes as a way to try to look cooler for Ariel, which I don't know if it has worked or not, but he is certainly trying to be more cool that way.

Hallie
God bless.

Kyle
They acknowledged it. That’s the most you got was neutral acknowledgement that it was there.

Ari
Perfect. Anyways. That is all that has happened of relevance in a month for Quique.

Kyle
Alright. Anything else notable in anyone else’s lives?

Tom
Hilda has spent much of this month trying to get used to the new school, get used to new friends, spend some time continuing to attempt to bond with Booker…

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~

Tom
…and learn the extent of these new Necromon powers and how to be a skilled Necromon Trainer.

Kyle
Something interesting you’ve learned that perplexed you, Walnut and Freddie is that… You know, most Necromon are a little bit stronger in the battlefield, they’ve got that protective covering, but typically Necromon can pretty much do the same thing. Mallea, while small, could still grow pretty much to his size outside of it. Booker is different, though.
Not only did Booker get significantly more powerful within that battle arena, but once he left the arena he was pretty much back to how he was beforehand. He can scuttle around, he can do things, but he can’t shoot out paper blasts or anything like that.

Tom
Hmm…

Kyle
Then, those extra blue ethereal pages Booker got during the fight are now back to being just ripped-out spaces where pages have been removed.

Tom
That makes it difficult to train, and as a result, Hilda has spent a significant amount of her allowance on buying large quantities of printer paper to use as practice darts for Booker to throw at little targets set up in the backyard.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~!

Ari
Does he sometimes eat the paper?

Tom
I don't know. Does Booker eat paper?

Emily
Booker ate her homework.

Tom
Oh yeah, that’s a good point, so yes.

Emily
Booker eats things that he shouldn’t be able to eat.

Kyle
Yeah. We’re not sure whether it’s because of jealousy or because he’s gotten a taste for tree flesh…

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
…but Booker has been messing with Hilda’s textbooks. Hilda actually is currently grounded because Booker messed up a bunch of her textbooks including one that became a late library book that Hilda had to pay for.

Tom
Hilda cried a little bit having to go to the librarians and say that the book was ruined.

Emily
[Smiling.] Booker felt kind of bad about it. Kind of.

Kyle
He was too busy staring down all the other books in the library, like “don’t you all fucking try. I’ll take on all of you.”

Emily (as Booker)
[Grumbly and fierce.] Rekoob…

Tom
Of course, as part of training, Hilda also needs to teach Booker the basic skills of survival. You know, how to set small ambushes for people, like sticking a bucket on top of a doorframe to fall on people, or obtaining flowers that will squirt out water… just, you know, some really basic survival skills.

Emily
Booker has taken to scuttling up and perching on the tops of doors where the bucket is supposed to be and just flopping off. It’s quite dangerous.

Tom
Aww! It’s so adorable~! Aww.

Hallie
That sounds like a weird alt version of Alien, on top of doors and then just waiting until your prey arrives.

Tom
Does Booker enjoy face hugs?

Hallie
[Laughs.] Paper cuts? More like paper hugs!

Kyle
No!

[Laughter.]

Hallie
I said it. It’s out there. That’s Booker’s philosophy now. I’m in charge of that.

Kyle
Anyways. A month has—

Emily
Oh… Irene’s been overachieving, as per usual.

Kyle
I didn’t even feel the need to ask for Irene and Sparky. What is Irene doing? Overachieving and training. What is Sparky doing? Who the fuck knows. It’s the same every month.

Hallie
Rutabaga!

Emily
Irene has walked into some of Hilda’s pranks, potentially, and she’s really, really mad about it.

Tom
Oh, don’t you worry about that.

Emily
Oh, great, cool.

Tom
Don’t you worry about that.

[00:40:00]

Kyle
Alright. Let’s talk about where you all are.
[Peppy rock music begins.]
Hilda and Sparky, you walk through downtown Valley which is starting to get Necromon fever. You can see that there are ads for Necromon things all over the place, ScubaCorp ads, a lot of places have new Necromon themed drinks or Necromon themed discounts. “Discount if you’re a Trainer.”
You walk past the construction site for this building like the size of a sports stadium but you can see the scaffolding reaches up far above anything you can see. It reaches high, high into the sky. You can see the sign says “under construction, the ScubaCorp Spacescraper.”

Hallie
[Tearful.] I love it so much.

Kyle
[Chuckles.] But you walk down and you make it to The Valley Theater which is just packed in a massive line. You’re probably waiting outside for probably a good while, like a half hour already, until you eventually make it indoors.
You know how theaters sometimes will adorn their walls with specific posters of movies? All of these are the same movie. There’s banners. “Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!” The word bang is all over the place. Everybody is here for Lucas Bang, or as he’s better known, the Aggressive Bandit, the man who at the age of 17 became the first and only Champion of the International Necromon Championship from The Valley.
Inside, the crowd is aflutter. The folks working here are trying to balance taking tickets while also trying to get people ready for the signing, because you can see not a lot of people are actually in the theater. Instead, there is a line of kids leading up to this table like you would have for signatures for a book or something.

[Music changes to crowd ambience SFX.]

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob?

Tom
When we get in there, Hilda’s gonna be excitedly bouncing up and down a little bit.

Tom (as Hilda)
So Boss, I didn’t know that you were a fan of the Aggressive Bandit too. Did you start following him after the Necromon Championship?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hmm? Oh, no, no. Honey, he’s been following me.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Astonished.] What?

Hallie
She fixes her jacket.

Hallie (as Sparky)
No-no-no, me and “the Aggressive Bandit” go way back.

Tom
Hilda just grabs onto one of your sleeves.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Hushed.] You have to tell me everything!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, you know PICLE, that very high-tier exclusive company that I ran in high school.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, he was part of it sometimes. He was like, um… a temp if you will.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Gasps.] So he was part of the mystery solving investigative part too?

Hallie (as Sparky)
He was.

Tom (as Hilda)
And also a Necromon Trainer.

Hallie (as Sparky)
He was. He was both. Just like you might be some day.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes. Yes! Whoa, I don't know if I can actually… What are you supposed to say to someone at a signing event? I don't know what I’m supposed to say when I get up there. How do I tell someone that I would like to do those things like they had done?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, luckily for you, you have me who goes way back with… I’m going up with you. I’m going up with you to see Lucas Bang.

Tom (as Hilda)
You’ll introduce me to the Aggressive Bandit?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Hallie
She takes her shoulder and guides her into the line.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, I’ve got you, kid. I’ve got you, kid. I’ll introduce you and you can ask all the questions to your little heart’s content.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh! Thank you, Boss! I don't even know where to start. Oh man.

Emily (as Booker)
[Concerned.] Rekoob?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah, we should start with you, Booker.

Tom
Hilda will take Booker out and pat him.

Emily
Booker seems pleased.

Tom (as Hilda)
Maybe he knows more about your type of Necromon. We can learn all about Ultras and why your powers are different in the arena and where you came from… all kinds of things.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob! Rekoob!

Hallie (as Sparky)
There are now things about… about what?

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh! Well—

Kyle (as ???)
Well you start by getting your ticket…

[Silly music begins.]

Kyle
You look and you see you’re at the ticket booth, and in front of them you can see a very familiar face of a very tired teen in glittery glamorous makeup. Ariel looks down and says:

Kyle (as Ariel)
Hey, it’s uh… it’s you.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh wow! Ariel, do you work… Do you work everywhere in this town?

Kyle (as Ariel)
Pretty much.

Tom (as Hilda)
That’s really cool.

Kyle (as Ariel)
Anyway. If you’re gonna go get the Bandit, make sure you grab one of these sleeves.

Kyle
They take a little card sleeve with a little thing at the bottom saying “oh, it’s owned by ScubaCorp, it’s for the ‘Bang! Bang!’ movie.”

Kyle (as Ariel)
You don’t want a complication of ownership or anything like that.

Hallie (as Sparky)
A… A what?

Kyle (as Ariel)
You know, a complication of ownership.
[00:45:00]
So, we know who’s linked to a Necrocard by signing it. If two people sign the same card then everything gets all confused. Sometimes it’s fine and the Necromon chooses one or both trainers, and sometimes… poof.

Kyle
They grab a little bit of confetti from their pocket and lackadaisically throw it in the air.

Kyle (as Ariel)
The card can’t handle it and explodes. So… use one of these sleeves, and yeah. Ma’am, you can just wait over there while—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh. Oh, I was going to, uh, to go with her. She needs me, and you know, Lucas Bang and I go way back actually.
[Music ends.]
Speaking of which, I didn’t realize that signing cards was going to be a problem, so could I actually have, um… 249 of those card sleeves?

Tom
[Chuckles.] Actually, I wanted to clarify, is this a card sleeve or is there also a book cover sleeve for Booker?

Kyle
There is not a book cover sleeve for Booker. They only have card sleeves.

Tom
Okay. Hmm…

Tom (as Hilda)
That’s okay, Booker, we can just have him sign something else.

Emily (as Booker)
[Content.] Rekoob.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You could have him sign these two hundred and—well, if I get 249 card sleeves, you should have him sign those.

Kyle (as Ariel)
[Sighs.]

Tom (as Hilda)
You can have mine, Boss.

Hallie (as Sparky)
That’s very kind of you, Hilda, but just one won’t fetch a price.

Kyle (as Ariel)
Only six sleeves per trainer, ma’am, and—

Kyle (as ???)
Ariel! Ariel, darling! You can give them all the card sleeves they need! We want to impress everyone.

Kyle
Next to Ariel you can see this woman wearing a ScubaCorp trench coat.

Hallie
[Grunts angrily.]

[Peppy glamorous music begins.]

Kyle
Around this, you see the normal people working here, but you also see lots of folks from ScubaCorp and then a handful of Undertakers, a handful of Rons serving as security. You could actually hear Ron-13 and Ron-12 as you went in just saying to each other…

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Ron-13!

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Ron-12!

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Ron-13!

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Ron-12!

Kyle
…but like, chest-bumping each other.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Kyle
But, in addition to that, again, a handful of ScubaCorp employees. This woman looks a bit different though. She is so shockingly pink. She’s wearing the white ScubaCorp trench coat, but underneath she’s wearing a fitted pink suit and a pink pencil skirt with high pink heels. She’s got bright pink lipstick, hot pink specifically, and then makeup covering the lids of her eyes. She has long fake pink nails with little white hearts on them, and her hair even spirals out into this curly pink and white cotton candy shape.
This woman has her hand on Ariel’s shoulder and is just clicking with the ends of her fingers. Ariel starts speaking and is like:

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Ariel)
… I mean, I guess, but the rules specifically—

Kyle (as pink woman)
Oh, the rules! Pish-posh. We put those aside for little cuties like you.

Kyle
She grabs the tips of her fingernails and just pinches your cheek, Hilda.

Tom
[Thoughtful uncomfortable hum.]

Kyle (as pink woman)
And then, ma’am, did you say you needed to speak to the Aggressive Bandit as well?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Ah, yes, I’m going with the child that I brought, and we’re going to—

Hallie
That sounded really creepy and I’m X-carding that.

Ari
[Laughs.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes. Yes. I am her guardian, and I will be going with her to speak to the Aggressive Bandit.

Kyle
Ariel puts their head in their hands and just murmurs to themselves.

Kyle (as Ariel)
[Sighs] No mames wey, neta?

Ari
[Giggles.]

Kyle (as Ariel)
Ma’am, I’ve already told you the rules—

Kyle (as pink woman)
Oh, don’t worry about the rules, Ariel! After all, we allow both the young and the young at heart. Teehee.

Kyle
And she gives you a wink.

Kyle (as pink woman)
And we know what Mr. Bang’s demographics are, after all.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Uh-huh… Uh-huh. Yeah, yeah, I bet you do.

Kyle (as pink woman)
By the way, your jacket is so chic. It’s got that kind of, I don't know, rustic retro aesthetic to it. I’m sure Lucas would love that. Anyways, you don’t want anyone to scoot in front of you, Sparky and Hilda! So, go next up in line, and if anyone gives you trouble…

Kyle
And she hands out a glittering, glamorous, heavily pink—it’s like the text is pink on pink so you can’t see what it says—business card to you.

Kyle (as pink woman)
If anyone gives you trouble, just tell them Maybelline sent you! Teehee.

Kyle
And she gives you a wink. You can swear glittery stars come out as she does it.

[Glitter SFX.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Lucas does like this jacket!

[00:50:00]

Kyle
[Laughs.] She’s gone. Her back is gone. She’s walking away as you yell that.

Hallie
Sparky’s really good at post-walkaway zingers.

Tom
[Chuckles.] Hilda’s just gonna say:

Tom (as Hilda)
That’s a tough break, Boss. I was gonna impress you with a new scheme to get all of the card sleeves, you know, through conning.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Smiling.] Really?!

Hallie
We have all the card sleeves, right? So she’s gathering them up in her arms.

Hallie (as Sparky)
No-no, tell me what your plan was.

Tom (as Hilda)
Well, you see, I actually came here earlier this week. When I was here, I saved this little box over there in that hallway, shoved in a corner, and inside that box are a bunch of imitation papers…

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~

Tom
I figured this was just gonna cut out while Hilda’s explaining the intricate details.

Hallie
Sparky is thrilled. She is so proud. She looks like a proud parental figure as they walk into the line. She’s still fixing her jacket, which is very cool… Maybelline.

Emily (as Booker)
[Uncomfortable shrinking sounds.]

Kyle
So, you’re waiting in line, Hilda’s doing that, some people are going in to see ‘Bang! Bang!’ which I forgot to mention is a PG-13 movie for adventurous violence, mild sexual content, and one F-bomb. You’ll be surprised to learn who says it.
[Snickering. Crowd ambience SFX begins.]
You hear people talking about that. Some of them are openly talking about the movie as they walk out.

Kyle (as movie-goer 1)
Can you believe when Lucas Bang, the Aggressive Bandit, did this?!

Kyle (as movie-goer 2)
Oh boy! He’s real aggressive. Ha-ha!

[Laughter.]

Ari
He’s real aggressive!

Kyle
But you’re seeing the other people in the lines. It is a mixture of teens who came by their own, and they’re in hoodies and trying not to look too nerdy because, you know, they’re cool teens, to little over-caffeinated children who are just hyping up and down, just bouncing. The one that is probably vibrating the most is this small child who is holding a forearm cane in her left hand and is grasped onto a skeleton man with her right arm.

Ari (as Quique)
You’re sure excited about this, aren’t you, chapulín?

Kyle
Yunuen, or as Ariel calls her, Yuna, looks up to you and you could swear there’s a bright light as she smiles. She lets go of your hand and she motions to the lanyard on her chest which has a little Pik Pik card on it.

Ari
Aww.

Kyle
She excitedly motions to it and she motions to Lucas Bang who you’ve been waiting to see. Then she just bounces a little bit, and you can just hear the vibrating almost as hard as Tucán does when he does his jackhammer thing.

Ari
[Laughs.]

Ari (as Quique)
Alright. Alright. We’re almost there. Just hang out a little bit, okay? We’re gonna see him. Do you want him to sign your card?

Kyle
Her mouth opens wide and then she gives you a stern look, like “duh!”

[Laughter.]

Ari (as Quique)
Alright! Alright. We’ll make sure that he signs this card of yours, okay princesa?

Kyle (as Yunuen)
[Delighted chirp.]

Kyle
She makes a little excited noise, and she turns over, and you can see she’s looking at something else… and Hilda, you see as this girl who you’ve been sitting next to on the bus each morning turns and points at you and waves her hand.

Tom
Hilda will wave back.

Emily
Booker pokes up his little eyestalks.

Kyle
She does another wave for Booker.

Emily (as Booker)
[Pleasant, soft.] Rekoob.

Ari
Quique will turn his head to see what she’s waving.

Ari (as Quique)
Oh! Is it one of your school friend—Oh. Okay… Hello, kid.

Ari
[Laughs.] Because he has noticed Hilda, but obviously behind Hilda is also Sparky, so he’s gonna just wave very half-heartedly at Hilda to be polite.

Hallie
Sparky lowers her sunglasses, in the process dropping the cards that she was holding, and then not breaking eye contact with Quique, leaning down and goes:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique~? I didn’t know you liked—

[Silly music begins.]

Ari (as Quique)
Alright! The line has moved. Let us go forward!

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Smug.] I didn’t know you liked things that are fun!

Ari (as Quique)
We don’t want to lose any minute!

Kyle
The person in front of you is like:

Kyle (as movie-goer 3)
Hey dude, what’s your problem?

[Laughter.]

Ari (as Quique)
Ah, sorry. Sorry. Sorry, man.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique! Quique, you should come back here, back in this place in the line. It’ll actually get there faster than the front… for mathematical reasons.

Ari (as Quique)
Sorry Sparky, I’m so far ahead in the line that I actually cannot hear what you’re saying. Oops! Well, anyways, I hope you reach this place sooner but not sooner than us.

Kyle
I want to note, the line loops. It does the thing where it zigzags back and forth.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
God damn it!

Kyle
So you two are literally standing right next to each other with a barrier in between you.

Ari
Well, the line won’t change. He will still say those exact words.

[00:55:00]

Kyle
[Smiling.] I know.

Tom
While this is happening, Hilda has taken out Booker to play with Yunuen…

[Music ends.]

Emily (as Booker)
[Excited and playful.] Reh-Reh-Reh-Rekoob! Rekoob~!

Tom
…and is excitedly taking a look at the Pik Pik card.

Kyle
Yeah. She’ll take out her Pik Pik to play with Booker.

Emily
Oh no. Wait. I play the Pik Pik too. I already forgot what its voice is.

Several
[Sweetly.] Kip-kip!

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip… Kip-kip!

[Gentle music begins.]

Ari
Quique would smile because he just really likes seeing his niece having fun…
[Music changes to plodding silly music.]
…but as soon as Sparky speaks to him that smile is going to slowly go down into a grimace.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
His mood is shifting like a coin being flipped through the air.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique, did they give you a hard time about joining the line to see Lucas Bang?

Ari (as Quique)
Why would they give us a hard time to join the line?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Uh-huh… Okay.

Ari (as Quique)
Maybe they give you a hard time joining anything, Sparky, and that’s just more of a you issue.

Ari
He’s making sure that Yunuen isn’t listening to this.

Hallie
[Laughs.] Listening to her uncle.

Ari
Snark. Because she’s…

Hallie
You’re a terrible example at dealing with humans. Sparky has now collected all of her cards and is trying to put them in a stack, but there are so many of them that a stack is really hard to make. She’s doing her best with it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, people don’t really like investigative reporters snooping around, that’s true, but…

Ari (as Quique)
They sure don’t.

Hallie (as Sparky)
…I was just wondering.

Ari (as Quique)
Wouldn’t know anything about that myself, would I?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. You know, things do get a lot easier if people would just answer questions. Things don’t have to be this hard.

[Music ends.]

Ari (as Quique)
You know what also would get easier? If people didn’t ask so many questions. That way, you know, maybe people would be nicer to investigative reporters if they just didn’t break into somebody’s house and flooded it with mice.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Interesting.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh, that’s right! If you don’t mind me interrupting, Mr. Quique.

Ari (as Quique)
What’s up, kid?

Tom (as Hilda)
You were part of Boss’s big operation to clean up all of those Necromice that started swarming the street, right?

Ari (as Quique)
Uh… yeah.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, but he didn’t really do anything.

Ari (as Quique)
It was me and Tucán, yeah.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah! That’s what I heard. You had some kind of bird Necromon.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You kept that?

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob?

Ari (as Quique)
I didn’t keep any… Like, he’s not mine. He can come and go whenever he wants. But I don’t have it in a card or anything like that.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah. I think that’s really cool. It’s really interesting to see Necromon get to wander around their own places.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Booker doesn’t really have to stay with me, he just likes to.

Ari (as Quique)
I guess it’s the same for Tucán. Thanks…? I guess your book is pretty cool too.

Emily (as Booker)
[Indignant.] Rekoob!

Ari
He’s gonna say, as he tries to be more of a cool man saying cool things.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Whispering.] Don’t worry, you’re a very cool book.

Emily (as Booker)
[Quietly, pacified but almost pouting.] Rekoob.

Ari
He said it earnestly. I guess it didn’t come across that way.

Hallie
But you’re an adult, so it’s not cool when you say it.

Kyle
It’s true. Anyways. If it’s alright, I’m gonna move on.

Tom
The line shifts and they’re now slightly farther apart.

Ari (as Quique)
Oh! What a bad coincidence now. The line is moving for real now! Sorry, Sparky! Oh!

Hallie (as Sparky)
The thing about loops is that they come back to it. That’s okay, we’ll circle back, Quique. We always circle back!

Tom
[Laughs.]

Ari (as Quique)
Oh! I’m sorry, I can’t hear you! I’m too far away! Goodbye~!

Kyle
So, you go back and forth for a good while…

Hallie
[Laughs.] Doing this little shtick.

Kyle
…doing this thing for a couple of hours. Yunuen and Quique obviously get there before you do.

Ari
I wanna say that, if at any point she gets tired, he’s gonna carry her on his shoulders.

Hallie
Aww.

Kyle
Aww. Yeah, she will partway through. But you go up, she talks to Lucas Bang, shows the little card on the lanyard. He signs it. It’s super cute. But you make it to the front of the line, Hilda, and you notice that the Aggressive Bandit is talking to someone you haven’t actually seen in line.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Alright then, little partner. Who should I make out this signature to?

Emily (as Irene)
Make it out to Irene Hawthorne, please. Don’t add the please.

Kyle (as Lucas)
I sure won’t. I appreciate your specificity, though, ma’am. Now, I can—

[Irene’s theme begins.]

Emily (as Irene)
Can you actually put “the great” in front of Irene Hawthorne?

Kyle (as Lucas)
I certainly can. The great what?

Emily (as Irene)
The great Necromon Trainer, of course. The greatest.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Of course. Of course, the great—the greatest Necromon Trainer. Now, I got your sleeves, but what cards am I gonna be putting these two? I gotta know what Necromon we’re making friends with.

Emily
Irene hands him a blank card.

Emily (as Irene)
I don’t use cards. I just want your signature. I admire you greatly, but also, it will be a good example of what I am striving to surpass.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

[01:00:00]

Kyle
I want you to roll Convince Somebody with Fierce because I want to see if Lucas Bang gets intimidated.

Hallie
Oh my god!

Emily
Okay, so… if I have 2 Fierce, I roll two dice?

Kyle
You always roll two dice and then you add whatever your value is to that.

Emily
Okay.
[Rolls. Laughs.] I got 4.

Tom
Four in total?

Emily
Yes.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
So you failed.

Tom
So it’s snake eyes?!

Emily
Snake eye?

Kyle
Did you roll—

Emily
Oh! I didn’t add the 2! I didn’t add the 2. I’m sorry.

Ari
So, 6.

Kyle
Okay, so you got a 6. That’s still a failure. You get 1 AP. Your target is not convinced, he is not afraid, and I get to choose one drawback to try to get in your way. They demand something in return, they make a vital misunderstanding, they’re very upset with you for a long time…

Emily
[Pleading, hopeful.] Don’t make him mad at me.

Tom
I feel like a vital misunderstanding is the only logical conclusion here, because Lucas Bang is not upset with this child.

Kyle
No. He’s gonna see that and he’s gonna think that Irene doesn’t have any ‘mon.

Kyle (as Lucas)
[Chuckles.] Aspirations. That’s very, very good. It was a pleasure to meet you, Irene.

Kyle
And he gives you a big smile.

Emily
Irene looks at him with this dead expression. She was rocking on the balls of her feet, she was so excited, but at his comment about aspirations she took it as “oh, you could ‘try’ to get there,” because she’s very confrontational. “You can try to get up to my heights.” Now she’s got another rival.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Emily
She stares him down and takes her card sleeve and leaves.

Emily (as Irene)
Oh, Hilda… you’re here.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh! Hi, Irene.

Emily
There’s a long silence.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You two know each other or what?

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh, yeah, Irene is the strongest Trainer in the Dueling Club at school.

Emily (as Irene)
I am.

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s not you?

Tom (as Hilda)
No. No, not yet.

Emily (as Irene)
Hilda is my rival. Have you been training, Hilda?

Tom (as Hilda)
I have. I have a pound and a half of blank printer paper with me right here in my backpack for more training, and possibly to sign something if any of the other things I brought were not valid to be signed.

Emily (as Irene)
That doesn’t sound like efficient training.

Tom (as Hilda)
I thought it was very efficient to bring training materials with me while I go out to a signing event.

Emily (as Irene)
I feel begrudging approval, but you should try harder.

Tom (as Hilda)
Well, thanks I guess. You should try… walking away harder. Yeah.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Uh, hey—hey, uh… Excuse, um, hey… Excuse—

Emily (as Irene)
I walk very hard!

Kyle (as Lucas)
Excuse me?! Excuse me?

Kyle
You can hear a creek of the table and chair as Lucas Bang is leaning over to you.
[Gentle western music begins.]
To describe what he looks like, Lucas Bang is a man probably somewhere in his 40s. He’s wearing a suit, but the suit doesn’t have a tie, it’s open-collar. He’s built like an ox. I like to think of him as being literally the size of two doorframes wide, just this big bulky guy. He’s got short brown hair and a patch of dark brown 5 o’clock shadow. Essentially, he’s Bob Parr from The Incredibles if you put Arthur Morgan from Red Dead Redemption 2’s face on him.

Hallie
[Giggles.]

Ari
Oh my god.

[Music changes to ghostly credits music.]

Kyle
This face, which is really gentle and kind, is looking at the kids… but turns into alarm when he looks up and sees the other person. Lucas says, a little bit afraid:

Kyle (as Lucas)
Uh… hey there, Sparky.

[Music swells and carries out to the bloopers.]

Kyle
I’m curious. Did Lucas Bang star in this movie? Because if so, I imagine Sparky just wants to hear him say fuck because Lucas Bang, like Emily, would cry if he said fuck.

Hallie
I’m imagining the Lucas Bang movie like those movies they did with Elvis and also the movies they did with the cocoa guy where it’s just an excuse to have a famous person on a screen and the story isn’t very good. But it’s like, hey, we got Lucas Bang to be in this. Look at the way that we switched a story to be about the thing that he’s good at.

[01:05:00]

Kyle
And there’s a young actor—

Ari
Mancy Drew.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
Holy shit.

Kyle
Mancy Drew, the famous actor slash investigator…

Tom
Singer?

Kyle
…and singer, plays young Lucas Bang.

Hallie
I would love that.

Kyle (as young Elliot)
Well gang, we’re gonna have a fun time today. We’re gonna have a good old… good old—

Kyle
This voice is inherently evil. This is just an inherently evil voice.

Hallie
Inherently! I do not trust that voice.

Kyle
But I feel like he would always be the kind of guy, even in high school, who would over-articulate the things he would say.

Hallie
I imagine him, as a child, looking like—it’s tricky because there are real ghosts around, but I imagined him looking like the ghost of a child that died in the blitz. He’s got hair like this, or like an orphan who was maybe drowned in a well behind a Victorian manor. He’s just… you don’t trust him. He looks scary. He looks like an Addams Family child but it’s just…

Kyle
[Doing the voice.] I could even go more posh if you want it.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
And then yeah, Maybelline, she’s here.

Tom
I had another follow-up that I didn’t get to use. “Now that’s a Necromon Trainer, Boss. You can tell by the outfit.”

[Laughter.]