7. Mr. Elmo's Mysterious Game (Part 2) Transcript

Transcript by Raina Harper

Kyle
Previously on Quest Friends! Hereafter…

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

Kyle
You and everyone else are at the Bring Your Job to School Fair.

Tom
All of Irene’s 2B pencils have been breaking lately.

Emily
[Chuckling.] It’s because she’s angry.

Hallie (as Sparky)
If you are looking for a position where you could plant rutabaga seeds, you know, you could always try investigative reporting.

Emily (as Irene)
No. I just don’t like to settle.

Ari (as Quique)
Eh, you know, those other kids did not deserve to learn all of the chemistry secrets that you three will learn.

Tom (as Hilda)
I would be happy to be an apprenticed alchemist chemist… -ist person.

Kyle
You take one picture of that figure before the camera is covered up by the ball pit balls.

Hallie
Everybody, ruin my life. Go for it. I want that.

[Theme song swells and carries into the episode.]

Kyle
So, Quique.

Ari
Yes?

Kyle
You hear a muffled bombardment of tiny plastic balls. They just hit your face and whack to the side, (rapid-fire thuds), until suddenly they stop. You look around and you can see that the surroundings look completely different.
[Mysterious music begins.]
At your feet are colorful plastic balls. Above you, the sun shining through them because they’re pretty thin, are colorful plastic balls. And, in every corner around you, are colorful plastic balls. You’re not “in” a ball pit, it’s open air around you, but you’re in probably a small office room and the floor, the ceiling, and all of the walls are ball pit.

Ari
Okay. Can he see anybody or is it just him in the ball room?

Kyle
Roll me Understand to see.

Ari
Alright.
[Music ends. Rolls.] Ooh, what is this? Oh, that is a 1.

Hallie
Snake eyes! Kneecaps!

Ari
It’s the… yeah.

Hallie
Kneecaps~! That’s the first time we’ve gotten to say it.

Hallie & Ari
Kneecaps!

Kyle
A critical failure. You don’t get AP for this failed roll, but you do misunderstand something vital about your target. I had you roll Understand because you had a question. What question is in Quique’s mind?

Ari
My question was just if Quique could see people in the vicinity, so maybe he could think that he sees people if you don’t want him to—

Kyle
That’s a good point. Let’s cut this. I had adapted it more to “are there people around him,” so let me cut that. That was a bad excuse for a roll. I was just trying to get more rolls out there. So let’s cut that, go back.

Ari
I’m glad that you’re cutting out my snake eye roll.

Hallie
Yeah, wait a minute. Wait a minute! Ari rolls a critical failure and we cut the roll?

Kyle
Well, I realized I should have asked her what the question was beforehand.

Hallie
Yeah, but Ari rolls a critical failure and you cut the roll…? All of mine get in.

Ari
Is this, like… am I the opposite of Tom in this context? Even when I lose I also win.

Tom
Even when I lose, I win.

Ari
Yeah.

Hallie
Yeah! All my failures are in there, but all of Ari’s critical bad failures are just like “uh, we’re not gonna do that now, because of… here’s a valid reason.”

Ari
All of mine? I’ve only had one!

Hallie
[Furious stammering.] Oh! “I’ve only had one!” And it’s not even in the show, because we’re cutting it! Because you’re cowards! You’re cowards, that’s why. For fuck’s sake… Worst night of my life.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Anyways. You look around and there is… Nope. You don’t see anybody.

Ari
Okay. So this is an office. Can he see a door or anything? Is it stretching to infinity?

Kyle
No. It’s the space of an office, but it is completely empty. From floor to ceiling, it’s probably two meters, a couple more, two to three meters, and then a handful of meters the walls are apart from each other, but otherwise it is a completely empty room with ball walls.

Ari
Okay. And it’s all quiet I guess. So, Quique first is just pleased that there’s finally some silence here.

Ari (as Quique)
Ugh, finally!

Ari
And then maybe, I don't know if there can be echo because of the balls. I don't know if the balls are…

Kyle
It’s the opposite. It’s almost haunting. The balls absorb the sound immediately.

Ari
Oh Jesus.

[00:05:00]

Ari (as Quique)
Well, I don't think this is part of the job fair. Well, at least it’s quiet now, so that’s a plus.

Ari
Quique’s gonna try and see if he can… He’s gonna touch the balls, see if… Yeah, I guess that came out wrong. What I meant is—

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Hilda, you are covered in a ball pit. It feels like you’re in a ball pit. Suddenly, a cold skeleton hand grabs you on the shoulder.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Shouts in fear.]

[Silly music begins.]

Ari (as Quique)
AH! … Hey, kid, is that you? Can you hear me?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah, Mr. Quique. It’s me, Hilda, and Booker.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Kyle
Following his voice, you’re able to make it out of the wall.

Ari
Oh okay, perfect.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Gasps for air.] I didn’t, I don’t… ew. I don’t like ball pits. They’re gross.

Ari (as Quique)
Yeah. I don’t really… I’m not a fan of them either. I haven’t been in one in a long time. Yeah, well, what do you say we try and find a way out of this place?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah.

Ari
Quique will try to see if he can get through other parts of the wall to see if he can squeeze.

Ari (as Quique)
Do you think we can squeeze through this wall? [Effort sounds.]

Ari
And just try to squeeze there to get out of the place.

Tom (as Hilda)
Wait. I might actually have something for this.
[Whoosh sound.] Ta-da!

Tom
Hilda is going to spend an AP to activate Pulls Pranks. I’m going to say Hilda is pulling out one of those infinite handkerchief things from the sleeve.

[Laughter.]

Tom (as Hilda)
We can use this as a rope to make sure that we don’t get separated from each other if we try and go back into whatever that is.

Ari (as Quique)
Ah. Okay, yeah, that seems like a good idea. Let’s see.

Ari
He’s gonna tie one of his good knots, because I guess I’m applying the same skill that I applied on the first episode to tie Hilda.

Kyle
You’re using your ability. You’re flashing back. The original time you flashed back to some memory, now you’re flashing back to tying Hilda to a tree to remember this skill.

[Music ends.]

Ari
Yeah!

Hallie
It’s all coming together.

Kyle
Incredible.

Tom
Beautiful.

Ari (as Quique)
Alright. Let’s get going then. Let’s see what we find here. I know you don’t like ball pits. I don’t like a lot of things and I have to deal with them almost every day of my life. So listen, there’s just some things that we have to deal with.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay.

Ari (as Quique)
That’s not a rule of chemistry, that’s just a rule of life. If you want to, in your little book there, have a Rules of Life section to write that, you can have it.

Tom
Hilda notes it down. “Rules of Life: Sometimes you deal with things you don’t want to.”

Kyle
Right next to “you can’t use alchemy to revive people.”

Tom
It’s right below it, yes.

Kyle
Perfect. You’re gonna walk in there. Who’s doing what?

Ari
I’m assuming, if Hilda is okay, Quique is leading the effort to try and find a way out of this ball pit by squeezing himself into the wall of the ball pit.

Tom
Yeah. I feel like Hilda will follow at the end of the handkerchief rope.

Kyle
Sounds good. So, Quique pushes through the wall and Hilda follows soon behind. As you two walk through, we can just hear the balls start to shuffle and move.
[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]
Sparky! You are on the ground, and you can feel someone warm on top of you.

Hallie
I push them off.

Emily (as Irene)
Ow!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh god, it’s you.

Emily (as Irene)
It almost sounds like you’re not excited.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hmm. Perceptive, aren’t you?

Emily (as Irene)
Very. If I wanted, I could be an investigative reporter.

Hallie (as Sparky)
We’ll see about that.

Hallie
I wanna consult my camera. I assume it’s an old-fashioned camera that doesn’t load pictures right away because that’s how Sparky Malarky is as a person. So I actually, again, played myself on this one. I cannot see the picture of the person I just took a picture of, but I would like to describe that person to Irene, so I need that person described to me.

[Sinister mysterious ambient music begins]

Kyle
It is a figure about 5’10, 5’11”, something like that. Their shoulders seem to be pretty broad. Either they’re built that way or they had a suitcoat on. There was a variety of weird things adorning them, specifically there was this this big circle on one of their shoulders.

[Music/SFX ends.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
We’ll see if you have the stuff for investigative reporting, kid.
[Silly mystery music begins.]
Did you see a person about 5’10”, 5’11”, broad shoulders, could be from a jacket, could just be the way the person looks, adorned with a lot of trinket things with a circle on the side of the jacket?

Emily
Have I seen this person, Kyle?

[00:10:00]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes, have you seen this person?

Kyle
It sounds vaguely familiar.

Hallie
[Smiling.] Oh, you were asking Kyle. I thought you were just repeating it to Sparky. I’m sorry.

Emily
Don’t mind me. I’m just going to see if there’s a basic move… Understand?

Kyle
Okay. You wanna roll Understand?

Emily
I think maybe… I wanna remember it.

Kyle
So what question, what thing do you wanna know?

Emily
I wanna know who Sparky is describing.

Kyle
Okay. Give me a roll. Roll me Books.

Emily
Okay. What if I wanted to use AP?

Kyle
You can use 1 AP to have advantage. You can use 2 AP to insta-succeed.

Emily
I’ll use 1 AP to roll with advantage.

Kyle
Okay.

[Music ends.]

Emily
[Rolls.] I rolled a 5 and a 5.

Kyle
A full success. You’re thinking, you’re thinking, you’re like “I have seen this figure.” You remember, “wait, that was the guy who was talking to me, the guy who was talking to me who wasn’t taking the Scantron.” From beneath you, Sparky, you hear:

Kyle (as ???)
[Very muffled.] Mr. Elmo!

Hallie
Sparky has been muttering to herself.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Hushed.] Maybe it’s Maybelline…

[Laughter.]

Hallie
Then she hears that and starts kicking the balls around to see who’s under there.

Kyle (as ???)
[Humorous cough-grunt.]

Hallie
[Laughs.]

[Rambling guitar and accordion music plays.]

Kyle
You hear a little noise and then you hear a honk-honk, honk-honk, honk-honk, some clown nose honking.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Heavy exhale.]

Kyle
And Alina pops up.

Kyle (as Alina)
[Trills her lips, shaking it off.] Still got the kicks, Sparky.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Never lost them.

Kyle (as Alina)
That sounds like Mr. Elmo.

Emily (as Irene)
That’s what I was going to say. We both knew it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Are you sure? Because actually, it’s Alina who said it, and when you don’t say things first you’re not right.

Emily (as Irene)
It’s not my fault that you were smothering your friend and she had to say something to get out from under you.

Hallie (as Sparky)
The balls were smothering Alina.

Emily (as Irene)
You were on top of the balls.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Under her breath.] For god’s sake…

Kyle (as Alina)
Now Sparky, play nice.

Emily (as Irene)
Yes. I’m a helpless child. Why would you not be kind to me?

Kyle (as Alina)
That’s a helpless child, Sparky! Don’t take that whole thing about speaking first seriously, okay? That was something our friend Elliot always said.

Emily (as Irene)
I have never known a good Elliot.

[Music ends.]

Tom
[Laughs.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
You know, I am really sorry. I owe you an apology. I forgot that you are a helpless child and you need all the help from an adult you can get. So, come on, honey, we’ll help you through this ball pit.

Kyle (as Alina)
Now that’s more like it, Sparky!

Emily
[Grinning, seethes.] Irene is beside herself.

Kyle
Alright. What are you gonna do?

Hallie
I got the kicks. I kick the balls. I kick all of them. I kick them good.

Kyle
Roll me Take a Swing.

Hallie
Okay, okay, what if I auto-succeed at the roll with 2 AP? Because I have 5.

Kyle
What is your goal with kicking these balls?

Hallie
I wanna show Irene how fucking strong I am and that this is what you can do when you’re an adult who has her shit together. You can kick your way out of ball pits. That’s how life works. I want to just:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh honey, it’s okay. We’ll get out of this. I know that you’re worried because you’re a helpless child, but the adults have it. It’s okay.

Kyle
Is your goal more to impress Irene or to actually succeed? Because those are gonna be different rolls.

Hallie
You know what? It might be. It might be more to—well, not to “impress” Irene, but make Irene feel bad feels too mean.

Tom
To assert dominance.

Hallie
Yeah, establish dominance. I like that one best.

Kyle
Okay, so this is actually gonna change to Convince Somebody.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
Okay.

Emily
The problem is, I don't know that she would be impressed by Sparky Malarky kicking some balls.

Hallie
No. I’m not trying to impress you. I’m trying to get under your skin with succeeding in a thing and doing that.

Emily
Oh. Yeah, you could do that. You’re already doing that. That would not be a difficult Convince.

Hallie
Okay. In that case, I think I might just roll for kicking the balls aside, because I am genuinely trying to carve a path out. I wanna get out.

Kyle
Yeah. How about let’s do a nice in-between. You’re kicking the balls, and as you kick them up, you notice that some of them stick to the wall, and they’re all the ones of the same color.

Hallie
Okay… Okay. I would like to make a stairway of balls that stick to the wall to get a higher vantage point to see what’s what, to see what the haps is. What’s the 4-1-1? Before I attempt this roll, which I will argue Spelunking gives me an advantage on, I want to turn to Irene and say:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Don’t worry, honey, I have a plan.

Emily (as Irene)
Is it a good one?

Hallie
I do not respond. I show her it’s a good one by succeeding my roll, but I won’t use all of my AP to succeed, because that’s really boring, so I’ll save these 3 AP. I might use 1 for an advantage, so I have two advantages, but I still roll because that’s exciting.

[00:15:00]

Kyle
Yeah, so double advantage means you roll four and you get the top two. This will be Keep Your Cool, so it will be Slick. This is more you trying to keep your cool, keep your composure, make sure that you are doing this efficiently and effectively. Sure enough, when you pick up the red ball and stick it to the wall, it stays there.

Hallie
Okay.
[Rolls.] Hmm… Hmm! I rolled four threes!

Emily
[Laughs.]

Tom
[Pained.] Oh…

Hallie
I rolled four threes!

Kyle
But you get a +1! It’s a mixed success!

Hallie
Oh boy! I rolled FOUR threes!

Tom
Oh boy, those dice sure are aggressive.

Ari
Oh boy!

Hallie
[Frantic.] Oh boy, these dice sure are aggressive!

Kyle
Oh boy!

Hallie
Oh boy, we cut out Ari’s critical failure, but here are my four threes! Here are my four threes!

Tom
You know, 7 is the most likely result to get when rolling 2d6.

Hallie
Oh shut up, Tom. Get out of here with your math. This isn’t the right character to impress with mathematics. God!

Kyle
Alright, so you keep your cool, mostly. Choose a drawback. For example: you’re sloppy, you’re loud, or you’re unimpressive.

Hallie
I think unimpressive is probably the way. I get up there and I’m using my Spelunking… You know when someone in a cartoon hits the windshield and then slowly slides? It’s like that, but I’m succeeding in spelunking up walls, stuck to a wall. That doesn’t make any sense at all, but it’s like, yeah, I’m getting up there.

Kyle (as Alina)
Sparky! Sparky, are you sure you don’t need help?

Hallie (as Sparky)
No. This is how spelunking always goes. This is how it’s supposed to look.

Emily (as Irene)
Not well?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Not everything is glamorous. It’s fine!

Kyle
As you’re slowly walking up, Alina just leans back and taps you on the shoulder, Irene.

Kyle (as Alina)
So, uh, mother to rival, how is Hilda doing in school? Is she making friends? Is she getting along with other folks?

Emily
[Emotional.] Mother to rival!

Emily (as Irene)
She has friends. They are fine. They are nice to her and she is nice to them. But, coming from someone who does not see friends as necessary, I cannot say that I rate them highly. She is doing, I believe, averagely in her classes, which it would be more fitting if she was also my academic rival, but that’s fine. We can’t have everything we want in a rival. She’s coming along with her Necromon training, but she needs to really buckle down.

Kyle
This whole time Sparky is just slowly climbing a wall.

Hallie
You occasionally hear…

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s fine. It’s fine!

Hallie
…from off-screen.

Kyle (as Alina)
Well, thanks so much for looking out for her.

Emily (as Irene)
I am not doing that.

[Laughter.]

Kyle (as Alina)
It’s always helpful to have someone looking out for you. You know, you remind me of Elliot a little bit, a good friend of Sparky and mine back in high school.

Tom
Irene’s face, falling.

Emily (as Irene)
There are no good Elliots.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Emily (as Irene)
… None of them.

Hallie
What is this rollercoaster of emotions I’ve been going on?

Tom
Really appreciating Irene just dunking on one of my moms here.

Hallie
Irene’s been dunking on everybody.

Tom
Just taking everyone to town.

Hallie
“I don’t settle.” I’m still not over that.

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
Quique and Hilda. You two are still walking through the balls. You haven’t seen anything in a little while, but how are you passing the time?

Ari
Eh… I don't know. Quique is not a good conversation starter himself. The only thing I can imagine is just him trying to figure out where he’s going and just being like:

Ari (as Quique)
[Spanish**]. Do you know if we already passed this green-looking ball? I feel like we kind of might have already passed this green one that has a bit of a crack in it.

Kyle
“Have we passed this colored ball,” surrounded by green balls.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
Yeah, that’s why I wanted to, like…

Kyle
The crack was a good addition. The crack was a good detail.

Tom (as Hilda)
I’m not really sure at this point. I’m super lost. This is gross. We’re stuck in balls. I’m trying not to look, but I should be looking more closely. I’m sorry.

Ari (as Quique)
Oh, no, that’s okay. I didn’t ask you to keep an eye on it or anything. Truth is, you know, I’m a chemist not a spelunker, so I really don’t know much. I’ve done plenty of that stuff back in my day, but I just can’t seem to remember at this point any spelunking abilities.

Ari
Since I already, out of character, spent my one skill. But anyways.

Hallie
[Chuckles.]

Ari (as Quique)
I’m sure I’ve done it before, but I just can’t remember anything that would help right now. We’ll get somewhere eventually.

[00:20:00]

Ari
Just to try and do some variations, Quique’s gonna try to punch out of the walls and see if there’s a chance that it’s gonna come up or something every other step of the way. Other than that, he doesn’t have anything else.

Tom
Have we encountered anything that looks like the outside world other than balls, Kyle?

Kyle
Nope.

Tom
So yeah, Hilda has no reason to even think of that idea. Um… Hilda’s just going to say:

Tom (as Hilda)
I’m sorry. I should be better at coming up with plans for getting out of things. I’m not very good at this adventuring thing yet.

Ari (as Quique)
What? Hey kid, let me give you another life advice thing for your little book there.
[Music begins 20:44.]
You don’t need to apologize this much. Okay? Who are you apologizing to? Me? I don’t care. This is not a thing that is your fault in any way, shape or form. It’s probably Sparky’s, and she’s the one that should be apologizing about things. But like, you shouldn’t feel the need to.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay.

Ari (as Quique)
You’re just a kid after all. You know? There’s plenty of time to make mistakes and apologize.

Tom (as Hilda)
I guess that’s true. I don't know. Sometimes I come up with good ideas on the fly and sometimes I can’t think of anything.

Ari (as Quique)
Yeah, well, it’s honestly hard to come up with any ideas when you’re surrounded by this amount of balls. It’s not something that you encounter in everyday life, so this is as good as I got.

Ari
Then he’s gonna try and punch another part of the wall as he’s walking.

[Music ends.]

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
As you punch the ball wall, it feels… open. You feel air.

Ari
I thought you were gonna say like “squish.”

Tom
[Groaning.] No, please.

Emily
[Groans.]

Kyle
[Disgusted.] Ugh! You’re inside the ball pit monster.

[Laughter.]

Ari
“Om-nom-nom!”

Tom
Ugh, no… please.

Hallie
Never do that again.

Ari (as Quique)
Oh! You’ll open.

Ari
Okay, so Quique’s gonna be like:

Ari (as Quique)
I think there’s some free space over there. I punched that thing and I felt open air, so I think we should be heading this way.

Ari
Then he’s gonna walk over that direction.

Tom
Hilda’s gonna surge right up next to him. She wants out.

Kyle
As you walk out, you enter… not the room Sparky sees but one identically shaped.

Ari
What was the shape? Was it a triangle pyramid?

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
A diamond pyramid?

Kyle
It’s a classroom!

Ari
Okay.

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
Sparky, you pop your head up and you hear:

Kyle (as Freddie)
Well Walnut, I think that if you diversify the elements of your Necromon, and you think about what your opponent wants to do for the strategy, that might work better than just attacking them as strong as you can.

Kyle (as Walnut)
But strong monsters win. I wanna hit them with all the strong monsters.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Well, I suppose… but that’s what everyone wants to do, and not everyone has an Ultra Necromon.

[Ambling tuba music begins.]

Kyle
Sparky, your head pops up and you see Walnut and Freddie in a classroom. It is a ball pit, but you notice that the floor is entirely out of the red sticky bits of the ball pit and the desks and chairs, all of those, those are made out of the red sticky balls. This one is specifically a classroom for Home Ec. As you look around, Walnut notices you and turns to Freddie.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Oh, Freddie! Is a lady’s head the answer to your question?

Kyle (as Freddie)
I don’t think so.

[Music ends.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hi, kids. Sparky Malarky, ace reporter. You may have stopped by my booth. It was very popular. What’s happening?

Kyle (as Freddie)
What’s happening?

Hallie (as Sparky)
What are you two doing up here? What’s the haps? What, uh… There are balls everywhere. There’s a large ball pit. What happened to you?

Kyle (as Freddie)
You didn’t read the note?

Hallie (as Sparky)
What note?

Kyle (as Freddie)
About Mr. Elmo’s mysterious game?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Mr. Elmo’s… what?

Kyle
At that moment, you fall back to your ball pit.

Hallie
Ah! No!

Kyle
The red things beneath you fall down, and you just (flump) down.

Hallie
No!

Kyle
All of you find yourselves in a classroom.
[Light-hearted adventure music begins.]
Quique and Hilda, your classroom looks more like a Chemistry lab. Irene and Sparky, yours is more of an English classroom setup.

Tom
Hilda is just sort of stimming a bit, shaking her hands a little bit and just looking around the room.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay, okay… Clues. Clues. We can do this. We can do this. Booker, let’s find some clues.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob…?

Tom (as Hilda)
We’re gonna find out what caused this. Maybe it’s another scary Necromon.

Emily (as Booker)
[Concerned.] Rekoob?!

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes.

Ari
Quique is like, “ooh.” He’s excited and he’s like:

Ari (as Quique)
Hey, I don't know if you are taught this yet or not, but this is a Chemistry lab.
[00:25:00]
This is really where you would begin to delve your adventures in chemistry if you decide to go down that path. Maybe there are some things here that can help us.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob?

Ari
Quique’s going to look around to see what compounds there are scattered, but also, before that, look for a door. He’s excited for the chemistry stuff, but he also just wants to leave if possible. I assume there’s not an easy way out of this room.

Kyle
You find a cabinet door. When you open it up, you see a piece of paper inside.

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Is there an acid we can use to melt through all of the ball pit?

Ari
What I was thinking was Quique looking for, like… You know how there’s…? I think it’s Potassium maybe. I remember there’s some compounds that, if you put them in water, it’s going to explode.

Kyle
Yeah. You open up and inside that dresser, in addition to the piece of paper, there are the elements you need… written on balls. It’s just like, you know, “He” for Helium written on a ball.

Ari
Oh my god.

Ari (as Quique)
Oh! You also, in more advanced classes, get some model atoms like the balls where you can just put them in sticks and then make the little figures and the molecules to help you.

Tom (as Hilda)
Ooh. Yeah, that sounds fun.

Ari (as Quique)
So, I guess this is a good demonstrative introduction. It is very fun.

Emily (as Booker)
[Intrigued.] Rekoob.

Ari (as Quique)
But let’s see. Let’s have the first introduction here to the magnificent world of chemistry.

Ari
Then he’s going to grab a bunch load of Potassium, and I assume that there’s water somewhere.

Kyle
There’s Hydrogen and Oxygen little balls.

Tom
Hilda’s also gonna grab the note from the cabinet as well.

Ari (as Quique)
Okay! So first we do this…

Ari
And he’s gonna put two Hydrogens and an Oxygen, and I assume… I mean, several of them. I don't know, I want water not just a single molecule. I don’t know if it expands. Let’s make a mole of water!
[Laughs.] Just like, six times… I forget what it is, 6.023 times 10 to the something. It’s been a while. But then he’s gonna make enough water, and then he’s going to grab a bunch of Potassium balls.

Ari (as Quique)
Okay. Another rule of chemistry is, in theory, safety first, but if you’re trying to escape this ball thing and you’re a skeleton… this might just hurt a bit for me, but you just go all the way over there because this might be a little bit…

Tom (as Hilda)
[Uneasy.] Okay. Be careful, though.

Ari
He’s going to grab a bunch of the Potassium and throw it into the water so that it explodes and hopefully maybe it’s close to the ball wall so that it explodes and breaks it somehow. I know it’s not like a TNT thing, but I remember that it was really scary when somebody chose that.

Tom
Hilda traumatized as Quique just implodes.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Roll me Take Action, and roll action is Fierce, so add your Fierce to whatever you roll.

Ari
Okay, it’s Fierce…
[Rolls.] That is an 11.

Tom
Ooh~!

Ari
So feel free to keep that roll in.

Hallie
Oh man, THAT roll stays. Isn’t that convenient.

Kyle
Describe how you get out of the way of this explosion of balls that’s about to happen.

Ari
I may be misremembering. I don't know if it’s a very immediate thing or not. Let’s just say that Quique just knows the speed at which this reaction will take place, and because he kind of just knows that speed, he can calculate around it to be able to jump out of the way before it actually explodes. I really hope that I’m not saying—If there’s any chemist people listening, I am not a doctor of chemistry. Well, I am not a doctor of anything yet, but I will not be a doctor of chemistry.

[Hype as hell action music begins.]

Kyle
Quique sets it down and you see it bubble and react. You hear its little skittering sound as it does. You watch Quique like a fucking action movie hero either jumping or walking, regardless, he is not looking at the explosion.

Ari
He’s somehow the coolest he will ever look in his life and Ariel is not there to witness it.

Hallie
[Laughs.] The coolest he’s ever looked in his death.

Ari
That too.

Kyle
This thing just explodes in another geyser fountain upwards, shooting a hole in the sky. You can see the sunlight going down. Then, like a beam, it just cuts down a line through this thing… and you see a little hallway open up, allowing you to get out of this room. The hallway looks very intentional.

Ari
Quique is going to, like, if it was a cartoon, you know how sometimes in anime the eyes of people with glasses when they’re being super cool or sketchy they just—

[00:30:00]

Tom
The glare over it?

Ari
The glare! So like, Quique’s gonna push his glasses up.

Tom
Oh! Fuck yeah.

Hallie
Yes!

Ari (as Quique)
That’s what you can do with chemistry, kid.

[Music ends. Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
Alright. Sparky and Irene. What are you doing in your room?

Hallie
Sparky fell back down into this classroom. As she gets back up she’s like:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Did Inspector Whatever Elmo put us in a fucking escape room?

Emily (as Irene)
What’s an escape room?

Hallie (as Sparky)
A room you have to escape.

Emily (as Irene)
—besides a room that you escape from.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You weren’t quick enough on the uptake.

Emily (as Irene)
Apparently it’s a thing?

Hallie (as Sparky)
It means we have to solve all these infernal little puzzles in order to get out! And I don't know what kind of “event planner” lets this happen.

Hallie
Stares straight at Alina.

Kyle
She just gives you a comically big shrug.

Kyle (as Alina)
It seems fun to me.

Emily (as Irene)
This is not fun.

Hallie (as Sparky)
This is not fun, Alina.

Kyle (as Alina)
Yulia would think it was fun.

Hallie (as Sparky)
What?

Kyle (as Alina)
Yulia knows fun.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Exhales.] Yes, your wife knows fun. We get it, we get it, you’re married.
[Laughter.]
Right, let’s just… look around!

Hallie
She just starts opening cabinets, desks, whatever, for clues, papers, and like throwing them into the middle of the room the way you do for escape rooms.

Hallie (as Sparky)
When you’re in an escape room, you find all these little clues that add up to some way to get out. Now, there are often many puzzles that link together, so not all these clues may make sense at first. That means we have to bang our little brains out until we find a way out.

Emily (as Irene)
Wow. That sounds really fun. Not. Do people pay for those?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes, people pay for this. People who sign up for an escape room pay for this.

Hallie
Looks again at Alina.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Most people who go to Bring Your Job to School fairs do not sign up for a fucking escape room.

Emily (as Irene)
You cursed.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Astute observation as always.

Emily
Irene’s digging through drawers or whatever is in here.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You know honey, if you have trouble reading any difficult words, I, an adult, can help with that.

Emily (as Irene)
You can read?

Tom
[Laughs.] That continues to be Sparky Malarky, 0, Irene, infinity.

Kyle
So, you’re going through, you’re pulling through them as fast as you can…

Hallie
Sparky’s going faster to prove that she can read.

Emily
Well, Irene’s going really fast!

Hallie
No! Not as fast as Sparky.

Kyle
Alright, roll me Take Action. Roll me Take Action against each other.

Emily
I wanna use my descriptor.

Kyle
Overextends?

Emily
Yes! For my descriptor, Overextends, I can contribute 1 AP to an action without spending that AP…

Tom
What?

Emily
…but the GM is able to hold one hard move in response. So, I would like to roll with advantage.

Kyle
Alright. Perfect. Yeah. You’re going above and beyond to kick the ass of this adult.

Hallie
I have a question.

Kyle
Yeah?

Hallie
I’m wondering if my skill in Investigation would be an advantage and whether my inability in perception when really focused on something would be a disadvantage, and so they cancel each other out, and this question wasn’t worth asking?

Kyle
Uh, no, investigation is the right idea. Investigation is you are trying to find something among all of the clues.

Hallie
Yeah.

Kyle
Perception is more general. If you were searching for clues and Alina snuck up behind you to prank you with a hand buzzer or something like that, you’d roll with disadvantage against that because that’s noticing something around you.

Hallie
Oh, okay. I see. I gotcha.

Kyle
Yeah. So no, you get advantage for that as well. We have skills versus gumption. Grudge match of the century! Give me your rolls. Tell me the top two results.

Tom
Good god.

Emily
[Rolls.]

Hallie
I swear to god. I’m gonna get four threes again.

Kyle
So you’re using another thing for extra advantage, Hallie?

Hallie
[Rolls.] Oh yeah. I’m using an AP for extra advantage.

Kyle
Okay, perfect.

Emily
Wait! I wanna use another AP!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
That should be legal.

Kyle
It’s legal.

Emily
No, it’s fine. I already rolled. And then…

Kyle
Take Action is Fierce.

Emily
It is Fierce. Okay. Okay… What did you get, Hallie?

Hallie
Wait. So I also rolled to Take Action?

Kyle
Yeah.

Hallie
Fuck! Alright, um…

Tom
Is your Fierce not positive this time around?

Hallie
No. My Fierce is fucking -2, but I rolled a 10, so I got an 8.

Tom
[Laughs.] Oh!

Emily
[Smiling.] I rolled a 10, but I get a 12, because it’s +2 Fierce.

Hallie
God damn it! God!

Tom
Incredible!

Hallie
I hate this game! Ah! Why do I play roleplaying games? They just make me mad. Because god and the universe hate me. Mother fucker! Ugh! God! UGH!
[00:35:00]
First Ari’s critical failure doesn’t get in, then I roll four threes, then I lose this! What more can happen to me? What more is there? Who benefits? Not me. Everyone but me.

Emily
Oh, you’ve got a date set up with Lucas Bang.

Hallie
No! Not— [Laughs.]

Tom
And Hilda knows about it.

Hallie
God!

Emily
Everyone knows about it!

Hallie
[Grumbles.]

Emily
The only person who doesn’t is Quique.

Tom
Quique wouldn’t care.

Emily
No.

Ari
It’s true.

Emily
Irene might care now that she’s become mortal enemies with Sparky out of the blue.

Hallie
This is like in Crusader Kings when you’re like “ooh, I have a rival,” and it’s a 7-year-old and you’re like god damn it.

Kyle
This is the true rivalry that is formed with Irene. Irene versus Sparky—

Hallie
[Screams.] The worst part is I still owe her money. Sparky hasn’t forgotten that. She just hasn’t brought it up.

Emily
[Delighted.] You do!

Kyle
The best part is this is also furthering Alina’s assertion that Irene, being a rival, is helping push the people she rivals against to push themselves harder and better.

Hallie
Well isn’t that just fucking great for Alina and her unasked-for hypotheses. Just… just great. Just great, Alina. Go to the science room. Nobody wants you here.

Emily
Making hypotheses? That sounds like something that investigative journalists do.

Hallie
They don’t make hypotheses, they make… something that means the same thing but is a different word. Keep up.

Kyle
Anyways. Hallie, how does it feel to get your ass handed to you by an 11-year-old?

Hallie
It doesn’t feel good, Kyle! How do you think it feels? It feels like what my voice sounds like! It feels like when I’m yelling! I’m so mad! Sparky’s so mad. She bites her lip again, and it’s bleeding again.

Ari
A Hallie character once again is getting its ass handed by an 11-year-old, once again.

Kyle
In Hopper’s defense, Lorraine was like 13. That’s a whole two years’ difference.

Ari
Okay. Okay.

Tom
I think we’ve just shut down Hallie entirely with this.

Hallie
Do you remember last time when I had to throw up for 20 minutes and I was focused and stuff? This is worse than that. It is harder to play through these emotions than it was through my actual nausea. I hope you’re all happy with yourselves. I hope my dice are happy with themselves. I hope the world is happy with itself. Sparky’s mad. What clue does Irene find?

Emily
Should I go for the ultimate pain?

Hallie
Why the fuck not? At this point, it would be an insult if you held back, quite frankly.

Emily
Irene by chance went and looked in a drawer that Sparky had already looked in.

Hallie
No! Don’t do this to me! Don’t make me Tom!
[Sobbing.] No! No…!

Tom
Wow… Alright, sure.

Hallie
Don’t make me Tom…

Kyle
See, I was gonna do a Hallie attack. The time we did an escape room and there was a purse. I was like, Hallie, did you look in this purse? And she said yes, I did.

Hallie
No, that’s the same one! That’s—Tom looked in the purse!

Kyle
Oh, that was Tom?

Tom
That was me. That was my fault.

Hallie
Yeah, that was Tom!

Ari
Yeah, that was Tom. It was Tom.

Hallie
That was Tom!

Tom
It was me. You can’t pin this one on Hallie. This was explicitly me.

Ari
No, that was Tom. Tom didn’t find a fucking thing.

Tom
I searched it but didn’t search it completely, and we missed the clue that would have gotten us through it. If we had just looked for that clue, we would have done that escape room, and we lost.

Ari
And we lost.

Tom
I am consistently the weakest link in all of the escape rooms we have done, and that’s holding true in this session as well. Hilda has not rolled once. Hilda has contributed very little to the escape so far.

Kyle
Irene, you proudly take this piece of paper.

Emily (as Irene)
Wow. Sparky, didn’t you look here?

Hallie (as Sparky)
As a matter of fact… I left that for you.

Emily (as Irene)
So you weren’t the one who left it half-open?

Hallie (as Sparky)
That was Alina.

Kyle
Alina just quietly points to Sparky and mouths “it was her” but doesn’t wanna make a big deal out of it.

Emily (as Irene)
I know.

Hallie (as Sparky)
What do you know? You’re 11.

Emily (as Irene)
I know how to search a drawer.

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s “so” easy.

Emily (as Irene)
You know what’s a skill that this would be great for? Investigative journalism.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Measured and gritted.] Isn’t that peachy keen…

Emily
I would like to read it, Kyle.

Kyle
As you go to read it, Sparky doesn’t notice this because she’s so enraged.

Hallie
Fuck!

[Unsettling piano music begins.]

Kyle
Alina’s brow furrows a little bit because she notices after you moved so quickly, faster than we’ve ever seen Irene move before, she notices that your movements have gotten a lot slower and a lot stiffer.
[00:40:00]
The hard move is that any physical actions for the remainder of this session are gonna be one step harder.

Tom
You overexerted yourself. No~

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Anyways. The letter says:

[Fun sneaky music begins.]

Kyle (as Mr. Elmo)
Welcome to Mr. Elmo’s Mysterious Game! Based on your Scantron results…

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Under her breath.] Oh fuck.

Kyle (as Mr. Elmo)
…you have been paired in specific teams of two. The first team to successfully escape my mysterious game will get a prize far beyond the results of some pitiful competition for best stand or best costume. Those who get out last or fail will find themselves with consequences graver than death itself.
[Music changes to scary musical sting.]
Which, admittedly, death is not much in this world, but it’s still pretty bad is what I mean to say.

Tom
Can we say Hilda has also read this? Because she grabbed the note but we just blasted our way out before it really was relevant.

Ari
Oh yeah~

Hallie
[Laughs.] I forgot about that.

Kyle
Yeah. I’m gonna… When we cut back to you, I’m gonna actually end with your part of the note as well, because you have a different part.

Tom
Gotcha.

[Fun sneaky music resumes.]

Kyle (as Mr. Elmo)
You are Scantron Team Chaos. Your results rambled randomly and had no real emphasis other than extreme force. You do not understand yourselves and you seem to refuse to understand others. Therefore, to get out of this room, you have but one simple puzzle to solve. What is the answer to the question lying in your partner’s heart?

[Music swells and carries into the announcements.]

Kyle
Hello and welcome to the most important part of any game… the sponsorships!
We don’t actually have sponsorships for this episode, but we do have announcements. We have two of them, actually. The first one is that Under the Neighborhood, the game that we play for Hereafter, is on sale as part of itch.io’s summer sale. It’s going to be 20% off for $15 until 10 AM on July 7 on itch.io only. Ten AM what time zone? I actually don’t know, but it will be until… If you get it by July 6, you will reliably have the game while it’s still on sale.
Just a reminder that every time you buy a copy of Under the Neighborhood on itch.io, a community copy becomes available for somebody who would not be able to afford the game otherwise. Additionally, we’ve talked about it and we’ve decided that all of the money that we get from selling Under the Neighborhood during this summer sale will be donated to the Abortion Fund of Arizona. You can find a link to them and all the stuff they do below as well.
Additionally, I did another bonus episode with another show. This one was with a show called The Vampire Journals. By their description, their premise is: A Vampire Diaries super-fan forces their three best friends to watch the show and answer the age old question… Is the Vampire Diaries actually good? Together this team takes a look at the baffling choices that made this CW teen drama – yes, it’s one of those – a mesmerizing hit.
If you like trash drama, and let’s be honest, you probably do, this hot mess has everything. It’s got drama, romance, an ongoing referendum on 2010s fashion, and of course brooding men talking so close to each other they might as well be kissing.
The crossover episode we did with them which should have just come out stars a group of vampires in the world of Hereafter trying to get into a party so that they can feed. I had a lot of fun with them. I love hearing about trash things like these. I much more prefer to hear other people talk about it than engage with it myself. It’s just a really fun group talking about a really fun premise, so I would encourage you to check them out.
You can find The Vampire Journals at @JournalsPodcast on Instagram and Twitter and then also at www.JournalsPodcast.com.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Our next episode, A Tag-Team Duel!, will be releasing on Monday, July 11.
[00:45:00]
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.

[Quique’s badass rock music carries out of the announcements.]

Emily
Irene sighs, deeply.

Emily (as Irene)
Wait. This says we’re supposed to be in teams of two. Who’s the extra?

Tom
Alina confirmed for the mastermind.

Hallie
[Laughs.] Ultimate Party Planner.

Kyle (as Alina)
Well, that didn’t look like my answers. My answers were all very precise and very, very consistent. I’ve done the Scantron a couple of times with Yulia. She just makes up her mind every single time and she gets a completely different answer. But, god, that’s what I love about her. They’re all so different yet all so consistent in their own ways.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Then why are you here as a third person?

Kyle (as Alina)
Well… I thought this would be fun!

Emily (as Irene)
Did you do a background check on all of your venders?

Kyle (as Alina)
Of course. We do a background check on all of our venders. All of our venders have a very specific list of questions, some of which come from ScubaCorp, some of which come from BITE, and then of course a handful come from me.

Emily (as Irene)
Was one of—

Kyle (as Alina)
And Yulia. Some of them also come from Yulia as well. Of course, Yulia always works with me on these matters.

Emily (as Irene)
Was one of the questions “will you trap children in a ball pit themed escape room?” Because you should have apparently screened for that.

Kyle
She thinks for a second.

Kyle (as Alina)
You know… I think there was!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
Hilda! We are cutting over to you and Quique. You’re walking through the hall and you’re reading this. Your section says:

[Fun sneaky music begins partway in, as if entering mid-monologue.]

Kyle (as Mr. Elmo)
You are Scantron Team Undecided. Your team was so inconsistent in their answers, or so absent in their answers, that you seem to lack the confidence in yourself. You seem to lack a sense of focus and where you are going. Well, as my assistant Rocco and I have learned on our own occasions, sometimes you need to work alongside someone else to truly succeed. You will have to use your individual talents to aid your partner in getting out of this maze.

Kyle
As you look up from the paper, Hilda, you and Quique notice that you are in… honestly, what looks like the gymnasium.
[Mysterious music begins.]
It’s a space about as wide as the gymnasium, about as tall. It’s essentially the balls trying to make what looks like a wide-open air space without actually giving you any open air.

Tom (as Hilda)
Hmm… Well, if we got out of the lab because you used those molecules, I guess that means it’s my turn to do something special that only I can do.

[Music ends.]

Tom
Um, hmm, hmm… Do any of the areas in here look like the setup for the Dueling Club? Does it look like there is a ball pit facsimile of a dueling ring?

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob?

Kyle
Yeah. You look up and you see that, in the center, the red things are raised like a dueling ring.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay. In that case, it’s up to you and me, buddy.

Emily (as Booker)
[Affirmative.] Rekoob.

Ari (as Quique)
Don’t hesitate asking for help, though.

Tom (as Hilda)
I appreciate it, Mr. Quique, but now I’m going to show you what Booker and I have been working on.

Emily (as Booker)
[Enthusiastic.] Rekoob!

[Necromon duel music begins.]

Tom (as Hilda)
[Clears her throat.] Great Detective Elmo… and Rocco… I challenge you to a duel!

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~!

Tom
She’s gonna do a less awkward point than the one during the duel with Irene.

Emily
[Grinning.] Is that the part she’s been practicing?

Tom
But attempt to channel up that blue light from the facsimile dueling arena around Booker.

Kyle
The dueling arena—you can see that there is a line of blue balls around it, so it turns into that blue light although it doesn’t make Booker superpowered.

Tom
Eh, well…

Kyle
But in front of you, you see some of the red balls rise to make the shape that Sparky and Irene saw, so a shape of a man with broad shoulders and this circle on his left shoulder.

Tom (as Hilda)
Booker! Even if you can’t use the Page Turner Twister, it’s time to take them down.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob!

Tom (as Hilda)
Let’s use the teleports behind you technique.

Tom
For Booker to just skitter around real fast behind someone. Not actually teleporting, just going quickly.

Emily
I was gonna say, Booker hops into Hilda’s hands and waits for her to throw him.

[Laughter.]

Tom
Hilda’s gonna yeet Booker at the statue.

[00:50:00]

Kyle
[Chuckles.] Uh… What do you think this is? I’m torn between Take a Swing—Well, because you want to hit the ball. Let’s say Take a Swing. You throw a fucking book.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Emily (as Booker)
[bracing himself, then drawn out like flying through the air.] Rekoooob!

Tom
[Rolls.] Uh… this is a 4.

Ari
I wanted to say if I could use my Loaded Dice to apply my 8 so that it is at least a mixed success.

Tom
Oh!

Kyle
Hell yeah, Quique! How do you do that?

Tom
[Gritted but delighted.] Oh my fucking god.

Hallie
[Indignant.] I’m sorry. Does nobody else fail a roll tonight? Does nobody else get a low roll? Is that what’s happening?

Tom
Look, this is perfect storytelling.

Kyle
Yeah, it’s fantastic. A+ storytelling.

Hallie
I call this discrimination. That’s what I call it. This is ridiculous. This is a ridiculous course of events. Ridiculous…

Ari
Well, I would actually call it dice-crimination.

[Music ends.]

Tom
[Laughs.]

Hallie
[Smiling.] Fuck you. Get out.

Ari
No, because I need to justify my helping Hilda on this. I cannot get out at the moment.

Hallie
[Grumbles angrily, but it devolves into silly sounds.] I’m so mad at all of you.

Ari
I think probably… Well, tell me first how it fails? What exactly—You were trying to hit a ball, right? Or something. With Booker?

Tom
Was just gonna smash this ball statue.

Kyle
Yeah. What would have happened on a failure, I’ll tell you. On a success, a mixed success, what Tom will do is he’ll hit his target and he’ll take one benefit and one drawback. On a failure, he would have missed and he would have just taken the drawback. If you want, Tom, what I can do is I can send you the benefits and drawbacks and you can let me know what drawback you wanna choose. Then, we can from there be like this is what would have happened if Hilda failed.

Tom
Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Ari
Okay. All I can think of is, whatever happens, Quique would just be like:

[Triumphant historical documentary music begins.]

Ari (as Quique)
Another rule of life, kid, is that you shouldn’t feel sorry for your mistakes. You should learn from them and then correct for them for the next thing you do.

Ari
So it’s kind of a thing for her and Booker to be like, oh, I made a mistake on calculating or whatnot, so I’m learning from this so that I turn it into a less dire situation. Does that make sense?

Kyle
Yeah, that makes sense to me.

Tom
So, I have what I think I want the drawback and then also the benefit to be.

Kyle
Okay.

Tom
It might suggest more aid in a different way from Quique, and I apologize both out of character and, in a moment, in character.

Ari
Okay.

[Music ends abruptly.]

Tom
I think I want the drawback to be ‘you hit someone or something you didn’t intend to.’

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
Oh my god~!

Tom
And the benefit to become ‘you take +1 forward against your target.’

Ari
Why?! I helped you! And then this is how you repay me?

Tom
No. This isn’t like an in-character repaying.

Ari
We’re having a bonding moment and then a fucking book just hits Quique in the head.

Tom
[Pinched, apologetic.] Here’s the thing I was thinking…
Booker is sailing through the air. Quique is giving this life lesson about mistakes. Booker hits the statue and ricochets off. Just like “rekoob~” spinning away.

Emily (as Booker)
[Distressed, wobbly, drawn out.] Rekoooob~

Tom
And Quique’s like “don’t worry, kid, you gotta learn from this.” Booker hits Quique, but ricochets off again and strikes the statue, this time successfully.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
Quique will just say, like:

Ari (as Quique)
[Exhales.] Y, I’m torn. I told you that you shouldn’t apologize for things except for things that matter, and now I’m a little bit torn because—

Tom (as Hilda)
This does matter! I am so sorry, Mr. Quique! Oh my gosh!

[Laughter.]

Ari (as Quique)
You should apologize for this, but this also did get us where we wanted, so I’m really just really torn about what the lesson is here. Eh…

Tom (as Hilda)
I think the lesson is—are you okay?

Ari (as Quique)
This is not the worst I’ve been hit.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Tearful.] Okay…

Ari (as Quique)
This is really, you know… just don’t repeat this. Okay?

Tom (as Hilda)
I won’t. I promise.

Ari (as Quique)
Try to learn from your mistakes and build upon them to not involve hitting “me” in any way, shape or form.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Pinched, guilty.] I will.

Ari (as Quique)
If you do that, we might have an understanding here.

Tom (as Hilda)
It’s a deal.

Tom
She’ll extend a hand for a handshake.

Ari
He’ll do it. He’ll extend the hand back and shake it very formally. It did hurt to have a book just yeeted at him.

Tom
[Groans apologetically.]

Ari
He’s trying his best to be polite and nice to this kid.

Kyle
As you’re having your little moment, you notice that the ball, the one that was on the fake Mr. Elmo’s shoulder…
[Frantic silly animal chase music begins.]
[00:55:00]
You see these little actual crab legs reach out from that ball, and you see this little critter skitter away.

Hallie (as Rocco)
Ohcar! Ohcar! Ohcar! Ohcar! Ohcar!

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~!

Hallie (as Rocco)
[Growling angrily.] Ohcarrr!

Emily
Booker is giving chase.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob!

Tom (as Hilda)
Get ‘em, Booker! Come on!

Emily
Booker’s hungry.

Hallie (as Rocco)
[Growls angrily.] Ohcarrr!

Kyle
Roll me to Take Action. Fine, give me a roll.

Tom
I’d like to spend an AP to Help Out. I’m gonna use Pull Pranks again to flavor it at least, because Hilda is just making balloon daggers and flinging them at Rocco to assist in Booker’s chase.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~!

[Music ends.]

Emily
[[Rolls. Giggles.] I rolled a 5 and a 6.

Hallie
[Claps sarcastically.]

Emily
Which, it’s really great that you had me roll with advantage because the other one was a 1.

Kyle
[Smiling. Stammers.] We’re gonna cut back for a second, because I just realized the ramifications of what you all just did, so we kinda need to cut away right now.

Tom
Oh yeah. Because I know how this is. We find the Necromon, we shut this down.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Sparky and Irene!
[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]
You are in a room. You have your goal. What do you do?

Hallie
Sparky crosses her—

Emily
So… Oh, go ahead.

Hallie
No, you go ahead.

Emily
You go ahead.

Hallie
No, you go ahead!

Emily
You’ve been consistently beaten down this entire session.

Hallie
Don’t pity me!

Kyle
I’ve decided that this in in-character, by the way. They’re just being like “you go ahead, you go first.”

Hallie (as Sparky)
Show me your investigative reporter skills.

Emily (as Irene)
They include the skill of staying on track. What is your deepest desire?

Hallie (as Sparky)
I’m not gonna tell you my deepest—This is an invasion of privacy.

Emily (as Irene)
Well, that’s what the note says!

Kyle
By the way, while you two are talking, Alina’s just sitting there with her hand on her chin just looking back and forth between each of you like watching a fucking tennis match.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Right now, my deepest desire is to get out of this room.

Emily (as Irene)
Well, that’s all you had to say.

Kyle (as Alina)
Hmm…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Are you taking notes?

Kyle (as Alina)
Oh! Well, mentally, yeah. I’m always taking notes. You knew that about me. But no, no notes, nothing physical.

Emily (as Irene)
You sound like my psychiatrist. She thinks that it makes people more at ease to only take notes afterwards, but it doesn’t. Would you like to contribute?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes, Alina, tell us. What’s “your” deepest secret? Deepest desire. Whatever.

Emily (as Irene)
That’s not what I meant.

Kyle (as Alina)
Oh, well I mean, I just don’t… I don’t mean to interfere. I don’t mean to pry.
[Chuckles.] You know, it’s um… it just doesn’t seem right. That’s all. It doesn’t seem… It isn’t the answer I would give a client with all the information they gave me, so…

Hallie (as Sparky)
A client?

Emily
Tell me what the note said again, Kyle?

Kyle
The note?

Emily
Irene rereads the note.

Kyle
I don’t remember what it says word-for-word, but it’s essentially for Sparky to prove her investigative prowess and for Irene to prove that she can understand and help other people you need to first figure out the question at your partner’s heart and find the answer to it.

Emily (as Irene)
I also want to leave. However, it seems like, since we both want to leave and have expressed this, that is not the answer. That makes me uncomfortable.

Kyle (as Alina)
Ah~

Hallie
I stare daggers at Alina.

Kyle (as Alina)
Sorry. Sorry.

Kyle
She apologizes to Irene and just kinda gives you a little grimace look as she shrugs her shoulders up.

Emily (as Irene)
I believe that you should participate in the conversation.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I agree.

Kyle (as Alina)
Well, it just seems to me like Sparky… Well, it seems like Sparky may have some feelings that she’s struggling to deal with.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I don’t have thoughts.

Kyle
She turns over to you, Irene.

Kyle (as Alina)
In an adult way, honey. You’ll understand in a few years.

Emily
Irene looks at her with just dead eyes.

Kyle (as Alina)
And Irene, Hilda says you’re always very, very punctual and articulate and—

Emily (as Irene)
Yes I am. It’s important.

Kyle (as Alina)
And your paper was covered in splotches and kind of erratic, so something must have been causing that.

Emily (as Irene)
My pencils keep breaking.

Kyle (as Alina)
Irene’s pencils keep breaking! There we go. There’s a question.

Emily (as Irene)
That is not the question deepest in my heart, though. It’s just—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Why “do” your pencils keep breaking?

Emily (as Irene)
I don’t know!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Why not?

Emily (as Irene)
Is that a good enough question to answer? What judges the best question?

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s what she told us to do.

Emily (as Irene)
Okay. Why do my pencils keep breaking, Sparky?

Hallie (as Sparky)
I just asked you that question, like literally two seconds ago.

[01:00:00]

Emily (as Irene)
You’re supposed to figure out the answer.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Because you’re pushing too hard. Your pencils keep breaking because you’re pushing them too hard. Even an unbreakable pencil is breakable at some point.

Emily (as Irene)
I don’t push them any harder than I was, though.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Show me your normal writing. Do you have a pencil? Give me the pencil that you are definitely writing with, Alina. Give me the pencil.

Kyle
Alina gives you a squeamish look and then pulls a pencil from behind your ear.

Hallie
Slowly, Sparky reaches out to take it, pulls it down and then slides one of the papers that they were looking at, takes Irene’s hand and just shoves the pencil into it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Here. Show me how you write.

Emily
Her writing is tiny and cramped… and angry.

Kyle
Sure enough, after a few seconds, it snaps.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I can’t even read that.

Emily (as Irene)
Yes you can.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I can’t. Your writing is too small and cramped and angry. Do you not…? You have to—

Hallie
Then she takes the pencil back and writes like a normal person except that Sparky’s handwriting is very bad.

Emily (as Irene)
Well, I can’t read yours.

Hallie (as Sparky)
At least it’s big enough to try. And it didn’t break.

Hallie
Well, I guess I took her broken pencil.

Emily (as Irene)
You could read mine if you had better eyesight.

[Sad breakup music begins.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Sighs.] Listen. I know that it is important to be the best at everything, because if you’re not, nobody wants to keep you around. When you lose the thing that you’re best at, you don’t know what goes forward, and maybe you don’t want to try anything new because you were happy with where you were. Maybe when people don’t get that, they don’t seem to understand what you want from them, it’s very, very frustrating… but you do not have to be the best, every single moment of every single day.
If you have better eyesight than everybody else, that just means you’re not letting them see what you have to offer.

Kyle
That’s when the room around you collapses.
[Music ends. Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]
Could we get some rekoobs and some ohcars in the house for a second please?

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob! Rekoob~! Rekoooob!

Hallie (as Rocco)
Ohcar! Ohcar!

Kyle
Quique—

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob!

Hallie (as Rocco)
Ohcar!

Kyle
[Laughs.] —and Hilda.
[Frantic silly animal chase music begins.]
You are seeing this crab-on-crab fight.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoooob!

Hallie (as Rocco)
Ohcar!

Tom
I want to imagine they’re sword-fighting crabs now with the little balloon knives.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
As they’re fighting, you hear the balls around you start shaking, but its deep and calamitous like when they first came out. It is an enormous amount of balls shaking.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah, that’s it! Get them, Booker! Shatter their concentration!

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob!

Tom (as Hilda)
Break the prison! Free us all!

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~!

Tom (as Hilda)
We have nothing to lose but our chains!

Ari
Quique is going to, if in this room there’s a pillar or a desk or something, he’s going to just stand behind it just in case this book’s trajectory somehow gets ricocheted again into his body.

Kyle
And yeah, there’s no need to be overdramatic, but the balls fall. It’s just a rain, a shower.
[Music changes to Ave Maria.]
We can imagine this. Maybe it’s slow-motion and there’s dramatic (choral) music as this house of balls falls apart.

Emily (as Booker)
[Long and drawn out, but triumphant.] Rekoooob~!

Kyle
Just like when you first entered this horrible haunted maze, you are all covered by the ball pit.

[Music changes to excited victory music over loudspeakers.]

Kyle (as Mr. Elmo)
Congratulations, Team Scantron Questions! Or whatever your name was.

Tom
Can I do something in this moment?

Kyle
Yeah.

Tom
Can Hilda just surge up from beneath the balls and tip one of the stands over onto Elmo?

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
Like a shark emerging from beneath the waves, just SLAM!

[Music ends.]

Ari
Can I spend an AP to help? Maybe he raised Hilda on the, like-

Tom
Yes. Yes! Yes, together!

Ari
He just raised her.

Tom
This fucker. “Congratulations, Team—“ WHAM!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Emily
Booker is chewing on Rocco.

Tom
[Laughs.] Yes.

Ari
If Booker is chewing on Rocco, you can see some pieces of Hilda’s homework still in his teeth as he’s chewing.

Kyle
The first thing everyone sees when they come out of the ball pit is an attractive older man with slick, combed back white hair that glistens against his bronze scalp.

Ari
Oh, so it’s George Clooney.

[Fun sneaky music begins.]

Kyle
His smirked lips are sandwiched between a thin curling mustache at the top and a goatee at their bottom.

Ari
Oh, never mind.

Kyle
He glistens in part from sweat, since despite the temperature he’s wearing at least three layers of clothing:
[01:05:00]
A fully buttoned up white collared shirt with a pressed tie, vest and suitcoat, all of which are a dark amber color. On top of that, he has a variety of random tools and gadgets including a rock where the spherical possession Necromon, Rocco, normally resides, but at this point doesn’t. Essentially, he looks like a tan Pierce Brosnan.

Ari
Ah! Yeah, that’s the other one I was thinking of. I was like, if it’s not George Clooney, it’s Pierce Brosnan.

Kyle
The second thing they see is this man getting fucking crushed by his own stage.

[Music ends. Collapsing stage SFX.]

Hallie
[Fails to restrain giggles.]

Kyle
[Emphatic.] Unless anyone has anything, I think we can call the session there.

Tom
There is one last thing before we call it. I want Hilda to stand there amidst the balls and just pump her arms a bit and go…

Tom (as Hilda)
YEAH!

Tom
…and then try to high-five Quique.

[Ghostly credits music begins.]

Emily
Aww.

Ari
Quique will, like… I imagine there’s still a bunch of balls, right? There’s a pool? You see the skeleton hand there, just being ready to high-five.

Tom
Fuck yeah.

[Music swells and carries out to the bloopers.]

Tom
I have an unrelated thing that I’m just gonna get off my chest now before I forget. Have any of you ever heard of TriangleBob TrianglePants from Sesame Street before?

Kyle
No.

Hallie
[Laughs.] No! What?

Tom
This is a fever dream that I once again was reminded of. First, it’s because every time I think of Triangle Strategy I think of the TriangleBob TrianglePants song.

Ari
And that’s not a SpongeBob reference of some sort?

Tom
Well it is. It’s of course a SpongeBob reference.

Ari
But from Sesame Street on your childhood?

Tom
Yeah. They got SpongeBob’s voice actor to go on and play TriangleBob TrianglePants as a fictional show in Sesame Street.

Hallie
Sesame Street is very good at that. It’s actually very funny.

Kyle
As soon as we’re done with this recording, I will pull that up so we can watch TriangleBob TrianglePants.

Ari
I love that, if you look up TriangleBob, the second result on the image is Bill Cipher as SpongeBob.

Kyle
God bless.

Ari
And it’s an Alex Hirsh post too.

Tom
A true Walter Weiss moment, from the hit show, Taking Sad.

Ari
Taking Sad…

Kyle
[Laughs.] That was actually made by clowns. It was a sad clown. It was a clown movie.

Ari
Oh no, 1:07:53}.

Kyle
Because, as I’m sure you have gained from this, clowns are just a thing in the world now.

Ari
That’s fine.

Kyle
I mean, clowns are a thing in our real world.

Ari
They’re not just clowns. There’s an entire circus.

[Laughter.]

Tom
You just accept…

Kyle
That’s what they say during wedding ceremonies. “You are now not just a clown…”

Ari & Tom
“…you are the entire circus.”

Kyle
“…you’re part of our circus too.”

Hallie
Christ.

Tom
[Emotional.] Aww! Oh no!

Ari
It’s a really emotional moment.

Tom
Does that mean the wedding takes place under one big tent?

Ari
Yes.

Kyle
Yes, absolutely. We’re just talking about Hilda’s moms’ wedding now. This is everything that happened at their wedding.

Ari
Oh my god.

Tom
God damn it!

Kyle
You know the little prank flower that Alina has? In addition to “you may now kiss the bride,” it’s “you may now spritz the bride.” You just have the little flower and you just squeeze out the water from it.

Tom
No-no-no, they don’t acknowledge it directly. It’s like, normally it’s “you may kiss the bride,” but they both immediately spritz the other’s face as they lean in.

Emily
And then when it comes to the time to cut the cake they both go to get their knives and get pies instead and hit each other in the face with their pies.

Tom
God damn it.

Kyle
It was real adorable.

Tom
Anyway. Yeah. This is the lead-in to both of Hilda’s moms are clowns. We moved here from Clown Town.

[Laughter.]

Ari
This is why Hilda is so good at tricks and stuff.

Tom
Maybe! Maybe.

Kyle
Yep, they came from Clown Town. Clown Town is a real location. You will go to Clown Town at some point.

Hallie
Yes!

Kyle
Not only has Quique dyed his hair, he has now gained a fear of books.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
He’s not “afraid,” he just, like… if he could avoid being hit again tonight, he would rather not be hit again tonight. It’s not that he’s scared of the book, he just doesn’t want to be hit again.

Kyle
All I can think of is…
Quique, “I’m not afraid of books.”
Sparky, “there’s a library.”
“AH!”

Hallie
I really want that as an animatic! Just like six seconds, like a Vine. “AH!” Then it just stops.

[01:10:00]

Kyle
I really like that this has become Hilda and Quique get along alright, Irene becomes Sparky’s most hated nemesis.

Hallie
[Laughing.] I hate her!

Kyle
As Hilda’s mom just watches. She’s watching a murder happen.

Tom
Just watches a child murder her old high school friend in front of her. I don't know how Hilda feels about this.

Ari
Yeah, I was gonna say. How do you feel about your mom being the biggest asshole?

Tom
I can’t wait to fight with my mom later on. “Mom, did you seal everyone in a life-or-death maze at school? And then bully Irene and Sparky?”

Hallie
I hate all my former friends. I hate them.