Writer Wrong

SPINES Director's Cut

November 19, 2020 FBT Productions Season 1 Episode 7
Writer Wrong
SPINES Director's Cut
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

A commentary-free presentation of SPINES in its entirety!

Produced by Patrick Emile and Marlo Mysliwiec
Written, Directed, Scored, and Edited by Patrick Emile

CAST: Joavane Caamaño as Jasper, Cameron Casey as Rory Millerson, Cody Dry as Markie Pon de Lancie, Courtney Dyamond as Bethel Bridgers and Taysia, Patrick Emile as Detective David Chalmers, Kris Kelly as Madame Bianca and (Nana) Catherine Millerson, Jon Murrell as Narrator, Mindy Neuendorff as Tina, and Evan Michael Woods as Tom and Angry Drunk Driver

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/writerwrong)

Writer Wrong Episode 7

SPINES Director's Cut

11.19.2020


Note: Writer Wrong is designed and produced for your listening enjoyment. If you are able, we recommend listening to the audio for your initial experience. All transcripts are generated by human transcribers and may contain errors. Please refer to the corresponding audio episode before quoting in print.

Writer Wrong
and “SPINES Director's Cut” are copyrighted works under Title 17, USC. No part of these works may be reproduced or used in any manner without written permission from the copyright owner.



WRITERS ROOM      00:00

     [MUSIC: WRITER WRONG THEME]

Patrick Emile:
Welcome to Writer Wrong, brave listeners. I am your host Patrick Emile and this is the Director's cut of Spines. That's right, a commentary-free presentation of Spines in its entirety. So buckle up, you're in for a wild ride. Here comes Spines. Peace ya'll. 

     [MUSIC: WRITER WRONG THEME OUT]
     [BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP]



SPINES - Chapter One      00:37

     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME]

NARRATOR:
For Rory Millerson, this Tuesday begins like any other.

     [SOUND: ALARM GOES OFF]

NARRATOR:
Today is release day, and they know that they have some work ahead of them before opening up.

     [SOUND: RUNNING OF WATER, BRUSHING OF TEETH]

NARRATOR:
Rory is a proud and mildly struggling independent bookshop owner. At 28 years old, and with few prospects ahead of them, they somewhat expectedly inherited their grandmother's beautiful southern craftsman-style home. You see, they had always been her favorite, and she made no illusions to this fact upon dying: "Rory gets the house, and the rest of you can go to hell." And so it was that they decided not to live there, but to go into business for themself. The house is perfect for a bookshop, really: old and creaking, but sunny and with a lovely porch. Now three years in, Rory is fully aware that a killer space does not a wealthy book tycoon make; but, they get by and enjoy the lifestyle. The shop is situated well in what has become a touristy district, and what they lose in online competition, they gain in enjoyment from being "the person that owns the bookshop in town." And today is release day, so they better hop on their cliche bike and get the hell to work.

     [MUSIC: SHORT CYCLING INTERLUDE]
     [SOUND: BICYCLE BELL]

NARRATOR:
"
Spines Chapter One" written by Patrick Emile

     [SOUND: BICYCLE ON GRAVEL]
     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME OUT]

NARRATOR:
On their way in, Rory decides to pop into Bean Scene, a neighboring coffee house.

     [SOUND: MODERN DOORBELL]
     [SOUND: COFFEESHOP AMB.]

MARKIE:
Oh fuck me, Rory Feldman you slag!

NARRATOR:
Now as we know, it's Millerson, not Feldman—but you get the joke. This is Markie, and he has a particular way with words. He and Rory are mostly friends, over the years sometimes more, sometimes less. I'll leave any further introduction to him...

RORY:
Hey, Markie. What's going on?

MARKIE:
Oh you know, just (loudly to his boss who probably isn't even there) single-handedly propping up business here at Bean Scene! But whatevs, you want an iced coffee?

RORY:
Yeah, that'd be great—

MARKIE:
I had my first orgasm in 17 days this morning. Part of a two-week spiritual cleanse. The extra three days are because I'm like really into edging right now.

RORY:
Oh shit? Damn, that sounds in—

     [SOUND: STEAM WAND]

MARKIE:
(loudly over steam wand) It was amazing. I feel like I've been fucking drip-drying all shift. You want almond milk?

RORY:
...yup. Yes to almond milk.

MARKIE:
We should hang out again. That wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but now that I'm out of this cleanse...

NARRATOR:
Rory and Markie had, in fact, hooked up one night a few months ago. After getting a bit over-served at Big Ol' Kitties a couple of blocks over, they ended up at Markie's and had a really nice time.

RORY:
Um, yeah, totally! Maybe catch a movie? Taysia and I were talking about going to see—

MARKIE:
Oh, a group thing! Fuck yeah, I'm into it. You want a lid?

RORY:
Uh yeah, please. Thanks.

MARKIE:
Cool cool cool cool, just text me or whatever. Let me know the plan and play rules ya'll come up with.

RORY:
Ok yeah, um, sounds good. Take it easy, Markie. Dig that shirt.

MARKIE:
Oh fuck you, you know this is just my post-cleanse bitch lewk. Mmm. Text me!

     [SOUND: MODERN DOORBELL]
     [MUSIC: SPINES TRANSITION]

NARRATOR:
And so Rory exits and makes their way down a slight hill to Spines, their soon to be-bursting-with-new- titles little shop. There are a few boxes waiting on the porch for them already. Mostly independent press, but with a few bangers in there that Rory hopes will bring in some business this week. Between sips of iced coffee, they box cut and merchandise their way to some pretty decent looking displays, if they don't say so themself. And, they're only twenty minutes late in getting the doors open! They settle down behind the register and begin flipping through one of the new titles. After about an hour of this, they finally hear the door.

     [SOUND: SHOPKEEPERS BELL]

NARRATOR:
It's a whirlwind of five people. Four encircling one, and the one wearing very expensive-looking sunglasses. They are talking all at once.

ENTOURAGE:
Oh my god, it's perfect already!

Find me the light.
 
I can see it. I can fucking see it.

What's that smell?

RORY:
Hey, ya'll. Welcome in. Just so you know, over in that corner is the new book by—

NARRATOR:
Rory trails off as the group completely ignores them and continues moving through the shop. It's as if, as a unit, they are looking for something, and all the while listing aloud everything they see.

ENTOURAGE:
Windows—books—more books. I love the floors. Oh, I read that one!

Books—books—tables? Hate the floors, but we’ll make them work. Oh, I love the drapes.

What's that smell?

RORY:
(over them) Is there something I can help ya'll find? (to themself) or are you just a bunch of assholes…

NARRATOR:
The entourage continues to pay Rory no mind. They begin to move displays around, picking up books and putting them down anywhere but where they found them, playing with the light switches, even putting together their own little tableau using some of the furniture Rory has placed here and there for polite customers. Rory finally moves from behind the register and starts towards the group.

     [MUSIC: BETHEL UND.]

RORY:
(angrily) Yo! Can I help you? Any of you?

NARRATOR:
Finally, someone holding a clipboard breaks off and approaches them.

BETHEL:
Hi. Bethel Bridgers. Are you the owner?

RORY:
I am.

BETHEL:
Awesome! Great, that's great. Can we chat for a sec? What's your name?

RORY:
...Rory.

BETHEL:
Rory, I love it. Sorry about them, we're all just very excited. And caffeinated! We just came from that cute place around the corner. Bean Palace? Or something?

NARRATOR:
Markie! Rory thinks to themself noticing the cup in her hand.

RORY:
...Bean Scene.

BETHEL:
That's the one! Anyways, we are just thrilled with this little store. Again, I'm Bethel, and I'm the PA for BZB Productions. We're scouting locations, and I think we're in love. We're just dead over this place.

RORY:
...ok?

BETHEL:
We were at Bean...

RORY:
...Scene.

BETHEL:
Scene! ...having a meeting, about to just kill ourselves frankly, and this insane barista practically screams at us that if we're looking for a cool location we should check out this funky bookstore down the block.

NARRATOR:
Fucking Markie.

RORY:
Oh. Well...cool. Welcome. Yeah, this is my place. Are you filming a movie, or...?

BETHEL:
No, no, no, just a little industrial. But the director wants a specific look.

RORY:
Industrial. Like a music video?

BETHEL:
Oh my god, that barista is so right—you really are like an adorable, less muscle-y Sperry model. (laughs)

RORY:
What the—

BETHEL:
An industrial is just a short explainer shot for in-company purposes.

RORY:
(trying to act "with it") Oh right, cool. So, yeah I have rented the space out a few times here and there…

BETHEL:
How does $12,000 sound?

NARRATOR:
Friends, that sounds really great to Rory.

RORY:
$12,000? Wow, ok that sounds...really great, actually.

BETHEL:
Perfect! We do need the space after hours. Are you comfortable with that?

RORY:
Yeah, I think so. (pause) Like how after hours?

BETHEL:
11pm to 1:00am. Ish. Give or take. Sound good?

RORY:
Oh, so pretty late…

BETHEL:
Great! Let me just get you to sign this waiver, and do you have like an alarm code? Should we leave the keys at the Palace afterwards? What works for you?

RORY:
(confused) Bean Scene. Wait, I'm not sure I get it. Um, I'll have to be here. Sorry, this is just my place and all. You understand...

BETHEL:
(surprised, as if Rory is a square) Oh! Okaaaay. Um, just one sec.

NARRATOR:
Bethel grabs her clipboard and scurries over to her group. The crew listens intently, and Rory sees who they believe to be the director making some animated gestures in their general direction.

BETHEL:
(from across the shop) Corey, do you have like representation or anything?

RORY:
It's Rory. I mean, I'm a member of the Independent Booksellers Association...?

NARRATOR:
Rory points to a frame behind them, next to their certificate of occupancy.

BETHEL:
(with a short laugh) Ok, great great great!

NARRATOR:
After a bit more discussion, Bethel breaks off and again floats back to Rory.

     [MUSIC: BETHEL UND.]

BETHEL:
Awesome! So yeah, that's no problem! We'll just need you to, you know, be out of the way or whatever. Actors, am I right? (laughs)

RORY:
Yeah, sure no problem.

BETHEL:
Super awesome! Ok, just sign this and we'll get out of here.

NARRATOR:
Friends, Rory is not a lawyer. Not even close. They are, however, a small business owner, and business owners have a peculiar ability to think of themselves as legally savvy. After what seems to them an appropriate amount of time for perusal, Rory signs.

BETHEL:
Oh, it's Rory! My bad, Rory. Ok babe, we're going to dash. We'll be here like...10:30? That cool? It'll be us, plus a couple actors and camera and lighting ops. Maybe some wardrobe.

RORY:
(still a bit bewildered) Um, sounds good. I'll be here! And thanks! Let me know if you need anything, or—

BETHEL:
Nope, we'll have it all covered! See you then, Rory!

     [SOUND: SHOPKEEPERS BELL]
     [MUSIC: SHORT INTERLUDE]

NARRATOR:
And with that, the entourage leaves. Rory looks around, surveying the minor destruction the crew left in their wake. But Rory doesn't care. They're rich, bitch.

As Rory continues through the rest of their day and begins planning what they will do with their millions, Markie is at Bean Scene getting off. From work.

     [SOUND: COFFEESHOP AMB.]

MARKIE:
Ok, bye my little demons! I'm going home to get high and rehydrate. If a cop shined a light in my bedroom right now it would read "help me" in body fluids, I fuck you not. Besos!

     [SOUND: MODERN DOORBELL]

NARRATOR:
And that's exactly what Markie does. He goes home, eats a gummy, drinks a Gatorade, and cruises through what remains of the rest of season two of Star Trek The Next Generation.

     [SOUND: STAR TREK EPISODE UND.]

NARRATOR:
Markie is a huge fan, and quite proud of it. In a parallel reality, he owns a malti-poo named Q. Unfortunately, around 9:00 pm this relaxation comes to an abrupt end.

     [SOUND: TEXT PING]

MARKIE:
(aloud to himself) New phone who dis? This better be fucking Rory, that Sperry bitch.

NARRATOR:
It isn't. Instead, it's the new hire at Bean Scene, completely panicked about a line to the door and being out of half and half.

     [SOUND: TEXT TYPING]

MARKIE:
(speaking as he texts) All...good. Deep...breaths. I'll...grab some...and come help...bust down that line. It will be...ok. (blows raspberry)

     [SOUND: TEXT SEND]

NARRATOR:
Markie really did prop up business at Bean Scene.

MARKIE:
(to himself) Fuck me. Ok, here we go.

     [MUSIC: SHORT UND. TO FADE OUT]

NARRATOR:
Wishing he had eaten two gummies earlier, Markie sets off to save the day. Meanwhile, Rory has spent the entire evening at Spines, awaiting the film crew and the $12k. True to Bethel's word, they arrive at 10:30 on the dot.

     [SOUND: SHOPKEEPERS BELL]
     [MUSIC: BETHEL UND.]

BETHEL:
Where's my Rory? There you are! Awesome, awesome, awesome! So we're just going to load in and do a bit of set dressing over in that corner there is that cool with you and FYI there will be nudity but that's all in our little waiver. Do I make the check out to...? What is this place called again? Book Palace? (giggle) Kidding. No, but for real what is the name of this place.

NARRATOR:
Rory is surprised as their perusal of said waiver was mostly for show. However, while they may be quieter about it than Markie, they are absolutely ok with some unexpected nudity.

RORY:
Oh yeah, definitely. That's the reading corner, so totally cool. And um, it's called Spines. Just make it out to Spines. Or Spines, LLC. Or oh, wait, wait, just Spines is perfect. Whatever you want...Spines.

BETHEL:
Spines, amazing. Awesome! Ok, remember per the waiver talk to no one but me, and we'll need you to be completely out of sight by exactly 11:55 pm, ok? Do you have like a bathroom where you could squirrel yourself away?

RORY:
I have my office right over there.

BETHEL:
Hmm. Ok, but no peeking...Rory. (giggle) Great great great, here is the check, and we're off to make some magic! Thanks, kitten! Talk to no one!

RORY:
Thanks! Yeah, it'll be like I'm not even here.

NARRATOR:
Bethel is no longer listening to Rory, but they don't care. They sit behind the counter and stare with awe at the check-in their hand. Over the next hour, and with perfectly choreographed execution, the crew transforms the reading corner into a scene of rich rugs, tall candles, deep red lights casting long shadows. There is even a haze machine that Rory finds most impressive, and they push two display tables together and drape them with a lush, heavy black velvet bolt of fabric.

Books are everywhere: in piles on the floor, some closed, some open, others still in tall, meticulously formed pillars almost six feet high. Rory is tickled by this but also dreading the clean-up. They highly doubt the crew knows how or cares to replace all that inventory back to where they belong. But again, $12,000.

Eventually, there is a call of "action" from the expensive shades we saw earlier. Rory, nestled behind their laptop by the register, looks up from coolbikestuff.biz to see two figures in fluffy white robes and, to Rory's hopeful eye, not much else. The shorter of the two has long curly hair, and she has a large statement necklace visible. Classy, not tacky. They are flanking a handsome woman in a suit. She is looking over her shoulder towards the camera and then turns around to face it.

TINA:
Oh, why hello there! Still with us, I see. (giggle) That's a good sign, and we're thrilled you've made it this far in becoming part of our family. Let's recap, shall we? Up to now, we've learned about the three sixes, as well as our patented system of member accountability: Sin...Actualizes—I'm sorry Tom, can we just fucking cut for a second, please?

DIRECTOR/TOM:
Hold! Tina, what's up, honey?

TINA:
Am I supposed to do something with my goddamn hands here, or what? I don't want to go through again what happened last time. That was bullshit, and you know I just can't with the bullshit, Tom.

TOM:
Bethel?

BETHEL:
Tina, oh my god you're so on point. It was total bullshit. This time we have it all figured out. After each word there's going to be graphic displayed of its starting letter. It'll flash onscreen right beneath you. So no hands needed.

TOM:
Super cool, funky font, right? So funky, right? Bethel?

BETHEL:
Oh my god, so funky. You're going to love it. You're going to die.

TOM:
You'll love it, Teen-o, right? Ok, so it's just...word. And then slight pause. And then the next word, etc, etc, etc, right? Is that cool? Are we cool, Teen-o?

TINA:
(sighs) Yeah, Tom. We're cool.

TOM:
Who's my girl? You're my girl, right? You want some water? (to anyone) Can we get her some fucking water, please?!

TINA:
No, no. (big exhale) I'm good. I'm ready. Let's go.

TOM:
You're beautiful, you're perfect, right? From the top of "sin." Let's kill, baby! ...Action!

     [MUSIC: DARK UND.]

TINA:
...(to herself) our patented system of member accountability: (with long pauses) Sin...Actualizes...The...Adversary's...Needs. Or, as we like to say around the office, "If it's not for Him, it's just a whim!" (chuckle) Now take a moment to review that in your workbooks and come join us in a few. We'll be right here!

TOM:
...aaand cut! Teen-o! TEEN-O! That chuckle—I'm dead. It was perfect, right? I'm dead, right? Bethel?

     [MUSIC: BETHEL UND.]

BETHEL:
Oh my god, Tina that was great, great, great, great. Great, great, great, you're the best.

TINA:
(feigning a scratchy throat) Is that water coming...or?

TOM:
Can we get her some motherfucking water, please!?

BETHEL:
Ok, everyone, that's break! Reset for scene 2!

NARRATOR:
Friends, to say Rory is confused by what they just saw would be, well, pretty accurate. Sitting in their coolbikestuff shopping cart is an ethically sourced, full-grain, heritage leather saddlebag. But have they checked out yet? No. Indeed they haven't. They have a few questions...

RORY:
Um, hey Bethel?

NARRATOR:
Should they go over there? They try a stage whisper.

RORY:
(whispered) Hey, Bethel!

BETHEL:
What is that? Why do I hear my name?

NARRATOR:
She looks around to see Rory waving to her, aglow in computer light.

BETHEL:
Oh my god, Corey, that laptop hasn't been open this whole time, has it? Oh, wait—kitten, it's 11:45. Time for bye-bye!

RORY:
Oh, right. Yeah, hey I just wanted to ask—

BETHEL:
Here we are. It's time! Remember the waiver!

RORY:
So are ya'll like a...what kind of company are you, exactly?

BETHEL:
I told you, BZB Productions. It's all in the waiver, sweetie.

RORY:
Cool, it's just like, what do you do—

TOM:
(from afar) Bethellll? Jasper isn't getting hard. We need him fucking hard for the next fucking sceeeene!

BETHEL:
Oh fuck, that's me...

NARRATOR:
Bethel slides a ponytail holder off her wrist and waves it in a shoo-ing motion towards Rory.

BETHEL:
...anyway, it's all in the contract. You want your money, right? Into the office. Off you go!

NARRATOR:
Rory of course very much wants the money and dutifully slinks into their office. They shut the door behind them and draw the blinds down.

     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]
     [SOUND: BLINDS SHUT]


NARRATOR:
Still, curiosity will get the better of us all, and Rory is certainly not immune. After flip-flopping for several minutes on antique brass or brushed nickel for their saddlebag hardware, they gently twist the wand of the blinds. A tiny slit. No one will know.

     [MUSIC: SOFT UND.]

NARRATOR:
Tina, still in her smart suit, is standing in front of the cloth-covered tables. However, the now robe-less couple is positioned on them and...well, they're fucking. Like actually fucking. And covered almost entirely in what Rory thinks is some red lube. The statement necklace moans quietly.

     [SOUND: TABLE CREAKING]
     [SOUND: WOMAN MOANS]

TOM:
This looks good, right? Ready, Teen-o?

TINA:
Ready.

TOM:
....aaand action!

TINA:
Well, hello again! Welcome back. So you want to sacrifice a willing whore for the glorification of our lord, The Enemy—

TOM:
CUT! Bethel! Jesus fuck, Jasper isn't hard enough. Bethel!

RORY:
What the fuck?!

NARRATOR:
...Rory thinks loudly to themself.

     [MUSIC: SHIFTING UND.]

MARKIE:
What the fuck?!

NARRATOR:
...Markie says loudly to no one in particular. What was intended to be a good deed has turned into a closing shift for our poor barista.

     [SOUND: COFFEESHOP AMB.]

NARRATOR:

He doesn't know it, but that new hire will never forget Markie coming to the rescue like that and will pay that kindness forward years later in prison. But that's another story. Right now, it's time for Markie to peace. It's after midnight, after all.

MARKIE:
You got this from here? Don't answer that, I'm cutting myself like a fucked up teen. You did great tonight! Buh!

     [SOUND: MODERN DOORBELL]

NARRATOR:
Now Spines happens to be on Markie's walk home. It's not unusual for him to pass by after closing, hoping to see Rory doing some late-night bookkeeping or such. It never happens, but it's an easy beginning to a fun fantasy. But oh, what do have we here?

     [MUSIC: PULSING UND.]

NARRATOR:
The lights are on at Spines. Fantasies aside, this is very unusual. Markie mutters to himself:

MARKIE:
Oh shiiiit? Wait, what the fuck it's like fucking midnight thirty...

NARRATOR:
Markie hops up on the porch steps and sees the door ajar.

     [SOUND: FOOTSTEPS ON STAIRS]
     [SOUND: DOOR CREAK]

NARRATOR:
He enters, eyes darting around. There is a smell.

MARKIE:
Hello? Rory? You in there, you boat shoe bitch? If you're doing that group thing and didn't text me, I swear to God—

     [MUSIC: UND. INTENSIFIES]

NARRATOR:
He is unable to finish that threat. This is, in fact, not the group thing. Instead, it's horror: Rory is kneeling on the floor. There is blood on their face, their arms. They're hyperventilating and their hand hovers above a small, naked woman. She is in an unnatural position, entangled in the heavy black velvet that still partially clings to the tables she had been lying on before. The statement necklace is now mostly red on her unmoving chest, framed by her matted hair. Her jaw is broken, nightmarishly hanging to one side, held together only by skin.

     [SOUND: HEART PULSING]

RORY:
(in shock) please be ok, oh, please, please, please...

MARKIE:
Rory?? Fuck, Rory what's going on? Oh my god. FUCK. RORY!

RORY:
...Markie?

     [SOUND: HEART PULSING FASTER]

NARRATOR:
Rory vomits.

     [SOUND: VOMITING]

MARKIE:
JESUS, Rory!

RORY:
HELP ME!

      [SOUND: HEART PULSING FASTER]

MARKIE:
WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUU—

     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME]
     (END OF SPINES CHAPTER ONE)


     [BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP]



SPINES - Chapter Two      20:07

     [MUSIC: ETHEREAL UND.]

BIANCA:
(mysteriously) Do not fear, Mrs. Crumley, for fear is simply one of the many ways your aura responds to the infinite new connections we make every moment of every day. Through these powerful talismans, I will be guiding your true form into the spiritual plane. It is there that you can call out to your loved one—and he will hear you. Now...what was his name?

MRS. CRUMLEY:
Mister Biscuits.

BIANCA:
(chanting) Mister biscuiiits...

MRS. CRUMLEY:
...sometimes Mister Biscuits-face. He liked that, too.

BIANCA:
(still chanting) Which one do you preferrr...

MRS. CRUMLEY:
Mister Biscuits.

BIANCA:
Mister Biscuiiits...with me now, Mrs. Crubmley, from your soul...

TOGETHER:
Mister Biscuiiits...Mister Biscuiiits…Mister Biscuiiits...Mister Biscuiiits…

     [SOUND: STORE PHONE RINGING]

BIANCA:
(cheerfully, much less mysteriously) Oh, well how's that for timing? My goodness. Excuse me just one moment. Go ahead and continue calling out.

MRS. CRUMLEY:
(in the background) Mr. Biscuiiit...faaaace…

     [SOUND: PICK-UP PHONE RECEIVER]

BIANCA:
(answering the phone) Thank you for calling Crystal Breath, the oldest metaphysical outpost in Griwerrtown, this is Madame Bianca…

     [SOUND: MUFFLED CHATTERING FROM RECEIVER]

BIANCA:
...Mm-hm, that's correct...
...I see...
...Absolutely, that is something we can definitely help with...
...Are you familiar with our Breath-head Program?...
...Wonderful. You can do it all through the website: register, book your first appointment...
...Excellent! We look forward to helping you reach your spiritual goals...
...Ok, great. Thanks for calling. Lightness to you...
...Mm-hm, bye-bye now.

     [SOUND: HANG-UP PHONE]

MRS. CRUMLEY:
(still in the background) Mr. Biscuiiits...

BIANCA:
(to Mrs. Crumley) I am just so sorry about that. Where were we—

     [SOUND: STORE PHONE RINGING]

BIANCA:
(amused) Well not again! I guess I wore my popular pants today! Keep on going, Mrs. Crumley. I'll be right back.

MRS. CRUMLEY:
(in the background) Mr. Biscuiiits...

     [SOUND: PICK-UP RECEIVER]

BIANCA:
(answering the phone) Thank you for calling Crystal Breath, this is Madame Bianca…

     [SOUND: MUFFLED CHATTERING FROM THE RECEIVER]

BIANCA:
(delighted) Oh well hello, darling!...
...What? What do you mean?...
...Are you ok?...
...Are they ok?...
...Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.  Well, no surprise there. I've been warning them for years about their dusty
chakras...
...(laughing) Oh stop it, you! (gasp) How are the floors?
...Oh, now that's a shame. Mother was always so proud of those floors...
...Ok. See you in a bit?...
...Okie dokie! But would you be a dear and bring me a chai?...
...(kissing sound) See you soon!

(back to Mrs. Crumley) Oh I’m so very sorry about that, Mrs. Crumley. Someone was murdered at my child's bookshop last night. Why I'm just hearing about it now is anyone's guess. To think I held that kid in for two extra weeks to bathe them in the light of a new moon at birth. (sigh) A mother knows no gratitude, I suppose. Anyway, where are we with Mr. Biscuits…

     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME]

NARRATOR:
"
Spines, Chapter Two" written by Patrick Emile.

      [MUSIC: SPINES THEME OUT]

NARRATOR:
Rory and Markie are sitting on the porch of Spines, awash in the red and blue lights of police cruisers and an ambulance. Rory has an icepack on their head, and they are quiet and far away. Markie is pacing back and forth. It has been about an hour since Markie found Rory with the body.

     [SOUND: ECHOING ATMOSPHERE, VOICES FROM CHAPTER ONE FADE IN AND OUT]
     [SOUND: OUTSIDE, NIGHT AMB.]

DET. CHALMERS:
Mx. Millerson? You there? Rory, can you hear me?

MARKIE:
Rory? Honey, the detective is still talking to you.

RORY:
What? Yes. Sorry, what did you say?

DET. CHALMERS:
Now, I was saying is there anything else you can remember?

RORY:
No, that was really it. Like I said, I took my laptop into my office and must've left my phone out by the register. When I saw what was happening, I immediately went for it, but it wasn't in my pocket. I looked back out and this woman, Bethel—

DET. CHALMERS:
The production coordinator...

RORY:
—right, she was just staring at me and waving my phone like "ah-ah-ahhh..."

MARKIE:
Fucking creepy.

RORY:
Right? Anyway, that's when I tried to run out of the office. Next thing I know I'm waking up on the floor.

DET. CHALMERS:
Ok, well you let me know if you think of anything else. You have my card.

RORY:
And you have my check.

DET. CHALMERS:
Unfortunately, that is now evidence, but it might be returned to you at some point. Doubtful, though. Doubtful.

RORY:
Awesome.

DET. CHALMERS:
You call me now if anything comes to mind, ok?

RORY:
Yes. Yes sir, I will.

DET. CHALMERS:
And you call Madame Bianca. She'll be wanting to hear from you—

RORY:
What—

DET. CHALMERS:
—and tell her I said hello. She's a fine woman, your mother.

RORY:
I'm sorry, what? How the hell do—

MARKIE:
(swooping in) Yes, officer. We absolutely will. We'll just go inside now. Come on, Rory. Here we go.

NARRATOR:
Markie guides a bewildered Rory back into Spines and shuts the door behind them.

     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]
      [SOUND: SHOPKEEPERS BELL]

RORY:
What. The fuck. Was all that about?

MARKIE:
What?

RORY:
How does he know my mother?

MARKIE:
Rory, she's a very influential person in the community. ...I knew she was seeing someone, that sneaky bitch!

RORY:
Have I ever told you before how uncomfortable it makes me that you have a standing appointment with her?

MARKIE:
(speaking quickly) Yeah, yeah, yeah, many times, many times, so I'm having a bit of a brainstorm...

      [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND.]

RORY:
None of this would've happened if you hadn't told them about Spines in the first place.

MARKIE:
Huh?

RORY:
They had just come from Bean Scene. They said some crazy barista recommended shooting here.

MARKIE:
I remember them. ...but I didn't tell them about Spines.

RORY:
What?

MARKIE:
What?!

RORY:
WHAT?

MARKIE:
HOLY FUCK.

     [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND. INTENSIFIES]

RORY:
Why did they say that? What does this mean?!

MARKIE:
Ok, ok, ok, ok, I'm having even more of a brainstorm now—

RORY:
Markie, but what—

MARKIE:
—you know the girl? Who just died?

RORY:
(pause) Yes!

MARKIE:
You know how she was wearing that fucking fab necklace?

RORY:
It really was—but whatever, what is your point?

MARKIE:
It was ICKY.

RORY:
Huh? Yeah, it sure fucking was, Markie.

MARKIE:
No, no, no, no ICKY: I-C-K. Italian Chef's Kiss. (kiss sound)

RORY:
Dude.

MARKIE:
No good? I'm trying it out.

RORY:
So stupid.

MARKIE:
You're stupid, but anyway that necklace—

RORY:
Wait, are you on coke right now??

MARKIE:
...no?...Should we get some, or—

RORY:
No!

MARKIE:
Right, right, right, bad idea. But that necklace, did you get a good look at it?

RORY:
Not really. I mean, maybe.

MARKIE:
Did you see those symbols?

RORY:
(thinking) Yeah, kinda.

MARKIE:
Rory, you bitch, I have seen that shit before!

RORY:
Where?

MARKIE:
At Crystal Breath!

RORY:
Motherfuc—

MARKIE:
We're going. Tomorrow.

RORY:
I'm not calling her.

MARKIE:
I know! I am! Tomorrow!

RORY:
Fine. Whatever. She'll be even more pissed if I don't tell her, anyway.

MARKIE:
Tomorrow like...ten? Meet me at that little bench across from Bean Scene?

     [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND. THINS OUT]

RORY:
Why not just meet at Bean Scene?

MARKIE:
Because tomorrow is my day off, I already worked a double today, and I don't want to step foot in that bitch.

RORY:
Ok, yeah.

MARKIE:
Perrrrrf. Do you need anything before I go? You ok?

RORY:
I'm good. I just need to make a sign for tomorrow. It's not like I can open until the city cleans this all up.

MARKIE:
Your floors are so fucked.

RORY:
I know.

MARKIE:
Ok, see you mañana!

      [SOUND: SHOPKEEPERS BELL]
      [MUSIC: SOFT UND.]

RORY:
Hey, Markie. Thank you. (a bit emotionally) I really don't know...what, um, what I would've done if you hadn't been walking by...

MARKIE:
It's gonna be ok...

RORY:
...it's just so fucked up...

MARKIE:
(sweetly) I know. You're my fave, Rory. I'm just glad you're ok. Yeah?

RORY:
(collecting themself) Yeah. Yeah, you're right.

MARKIE:
Tomorrow, 10, see you then?

RORY:
(more settled) Yeah, I'll be there.

MARKIE:
Get home safe!

      [SOUND: SHOPKEEPERS BELL]
      [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]

NARRATOR:
And with that, Markie leaves. Rory sticks around for just a bit longer, printing out a "closed for renovations" sign and trying not to look at their blood-soaked reading corner. They eventually lock up, hop on their bike, and pedal home, exhausted but happy to be alive.

     [MUSIC: TRANSITION UND.]
     [SOUND: BICYCLE IN GRAVEL]

NARRATOR:
As planned, our duo meets the next morning at the bench across from Bean Scene. Markie is talking animatedly on the phone as Rory pulls up on their bike about 20 minutes late.

     [SOUND: OUTDOOR AMB.]
     [SOUND: BICYCLE IN GRAVEL]

MARKIE:
...(slyly) Oh, I'd be happy to dust off their chakras!...
...They're fucked! Like I know of no infomercial product that could get those stains out…
...Well, you never know. The city might have some secret blood eraser or something...
...Yeah, like in 45? That ok?...
...Anything for you, Madame B!...
...'K. Buh!...

NARRATOR:
Markie ends the call and turns to Rory.

MARKIE:
Goddamn, I love that woman.

RORY:
(annoyed) I know. Hey, sorry I was late. I would've texted, but I didn't get into the store this morning.

MARKIE:
Oh right, that hellspawn took your phone!

RORY:
Yeah.

MARKIE:
Well, all good. Your mom wants a chai—do you know how she likes it?

RORY:
I don't. Wait, you really won't go in with me?

MARKIE:
I told you, I'm fucking off today. Get a clue, boat shoe!

RORY:
But if you went in, it would all be on the house...

MARKIE:
Make sure to tip fat. They know I know you.

RORY:
I'm a great tipper.

MARKIE:
(condescendingly) Oh of course you are, darling! Just, you know, add a little extra.

NARRATOR:
Rory gets up and makes their way across the street.

MARKIE:
(calling out) She likes it iced with oat milk! No cinnamon! I'll be here! (beat) Hey, hey Rory!

NARRATOR:
Rory turns back while avoiding an oncoming car. Markie is pointing at himself.

      [SOUND: CAR HONKING]

MARKIE:
I'll be right here! At the bench! Over here!

RORY:
(laughing to themself) Stupid idiot.

     [MUSIC: ETHEREAL UND.]

NARRATOR:
While Rory is heading into Bean Scene, Madame Bianca is finishing up at Crystal Breath with her new client, Mrs. Crumley.

BIANCA:
...and once more out with the breath (exhale). And in (inhale, while holding breath), giving thanks to the universe for allowing us to commune with Mister Biscuits...

MRS. CRUMLEY:
(exhaling) Goodbye Mister Biscuits...

BIANCA:
Well done, Mrs. Crumley. You were very strongly connected to your metaphysical self. I'd love to read your cards. Would you like to set up an appointment? Have I told you about our Breath-head program?

MRS. CRUMLEY:
(with high energy) Oh, a Tarot reading I love it! I wish I could, but I have to dash. But this was great! Great, great, great, great, super awesome!

     [MUSIC: BETHEL THEME]

NARRATOR:
Uh-oh, friends.

BIANCA:
Oh, I'm so very pleased that you enjoyed your experience.

MRS. CRUMLY/BETHEL:
It was just the best! But do you have like a bathroom where I could just powder my nose before I get out of your way?

BIANCA:
Certainly. Right down that hall past our talisman section. And if anything catches your eye, please let me know! We're in the midst of our semi-annual "Crank The Thanks" sale, so most everything is reduced. Even some rare items!

BETHEL:
Great, great, great! (giggle) I'll take a little looksie—I just die over a good sale!

     [SOUND: FOOTSTEPS]

NARRATOR:
Who we thought was Mrs. Crumley floats off towards the bathroom. Madame Bianca, completely unaware of the potential murderous danger she is now in, collects the spent crystals and incenses, spritzes some cleansing mist around the lobby, and flips through her appointment book.

     [MUSIC: SOFT UND.]

NARRATOR:
Crystal Breath is in its 35th year of operation and wears that age very well. It was founded after Bianca attempted but ultimately failed to follow in her late mother's footsteps in anthropology. Nana Millerson was an expert in ancient religion with an emphasis on paganism, and she never dreamed that her daughter would forgo a promising academic career to become instead a modern practitioner of such things. 

This put a strain on their relationship, and, as we know, Nana left almost everything she had to Rory, save for a few artifacts in her collection she bequeathed to her daughter. Bianca finds a certain poetry in this: Rory spent much of their childhood in this shop, and she herself grew up in what would eventually become Spines. But truly there is no time for poetry, as who we now know to be Bethel has returned.

      [SOUND: FOOTSTEPS]

BIANCA:
Did anything catch your eye?

     [MUSIC: BETHEL UND.]

BETHEL:
How did you know? Did you read my mind? (laughing) Kidding, no but seriously I have to be off, but I'll be back, I'm just in love with this little store! I'm going to tell my whole crew about this place, I swear!

BIANCA:
Oh, please do! We're always interested in meeting new travelers.

BETHEL:
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Travelers, I love it! Ok gotta go, lots to do. Take care now, Madame...?

BIANCA:
Bianca.

BETHEL:
Bianca, right. Buh-bye now!

     [SOUND: WINDCHIMES HANGING ON DOOR]
     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]

NARRATOR:
Bethel leaves and Madame Bianca goes about making some adjustments to her schedule in anticipation of Rory and Markie. They should be here any minute.

     [MUSIC: SHORT INT.]
     [SOUND: OUTDOOR AMB., FOOTSTEPS]

MARKIE:
...look I'm not saying I'm casting spells and shit, but I do find it rewarding. The gossip alone—

RORY:
But you don't actually believe any of it, do you?

MARKIE:
What if I did? Look Rory, maybe just being open to new possibilities is enough. Instead of always judging.

RORY:
Yeah, maybe you're right.

MARKIE:
What?!

RORY:
I'm just saying after last night, maybe anything is possible.

MARKIE:
(loudly in a bad English accent, to everyone around) Be it this day that Rory Millerson hath admitted their wrongness and submittedeth to their superior—

      [SOUND: CAR HONKING]

DRIVER:
Get the hell out of the road!

MARKIE:
(normal voice) Hey, fuck you too, sunshine!

RORY:
Markie, Jesus, come on.

NARRATOR:
Rory yanks Markie back next to them on the sidewalk. The pair continues on for two more short blocks, and they eventually come up on Crystal Breath. They enter.

     [SOUND: WINDCHIMES]
     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]
     [MUSIC: ETHEREAL UND.]

MARKIE:
Where's my New Age Rage Sage?

BIANCA:
Markie, my love! Oh, I love that shirt, it's super ICKY!

MARKIE:
Isn't it? Don't you think so, Rory?

NARRATOR:
Markie and Bianca exchange kisses on the cheek as Rory looks on holding the drinks, eyes rolling as hard as possible to one side.

MARKIE:
I need to use the little prince's room for a bit of courtly business. Rory's got your chai—brb!

     [MUSIC: SOFT UND.]

RORY:
Hey, Mom.

BIANCA:
Oh, my sweet Rory. Come here, baby.

NARRATOR:
Markie makes his way to the back of the store knowing full well that some privacy is warranted. And he isn't wrong: Rory, despite their embarrassment of, or at least difference in philosophy with, Bianca, is no match for the embrace of a mother in a traumatic time. Their head has been filled with terrible visions for the past twelve hours, and they take great comfort in the soothing tones of their mother's assurances.

      [SOUND: VOICES FROM CHAPTER ONE FADE IN AND OUT]

BIANCA:
(gently) Shh, shh, shh, I know my sweet. It's ok. You're ok now.

NARRATOR:
After his courtly business is completed, Markie pokes his head out to see Rory and Bianca talking quietly. He doesn't want to interrupt, so he makes his way over to the talisman section. This is what he came here for after all. High up in one cabinet is a dusty blue necklace display with a distinct, un-dusty outline of what used to be hanging a fabulous statement piece.

      [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND.]

MARKIE:
Oh fuck. (calling out) Hey, Madame B, where is that bitchin' necklace you used to have right here? Did you sell that shit?

BIANCA:
The one on the top shelf?

MARKIE:
Yeah!

BIANCA:
No, that was my mother's. It wasn't for sale.

MARKIE:
Well, she gone.

BIANCA:
What?! That can't be, I just saw it earlier today.

MARKIE:
Rory, that was the necklace. It had those same symbols.

RORY:
Mom, when exactly did you see it last? Who has come in today? Anyone weird?

      [MUSIC: BETHEL THEME]

BIANCA:
I had a new client. Mrs. Crumley. She was so pleasant, I don't think she would ever—I just can't believe it's gone!

RORY:
You said it was Nana's...?

BIANCA:
Yes, it's a Thespis Medallion. She had two. Markie, dear, bring me that book over there. The big one that says Agrippa.

MARKIE:
On it.

BIANCA:
I need to text David.

RORY:
Who's David?

BIANCA:
David Chalmers. Detective Chalmers.

NARRATOR:
Markie locates the book and drops it on the table that the trio is now situated around.

      [SOUND: TEXTING]

MARKIE:
Oh shit, I forgot we met him last night. (knowingly) He says, "hello" by the way.

BIANCA:
(texting, but interested) Oh, does he now?

MARKIE:
He's pretty hot.

      [SOUND: TEXT SEND]

BIANCA:
He has very pleasant features, yes.

MARKIE:
(stage whisper) Are ya'll fucking?

RORY:
Gross.

BIANCA:
We have experienced an exchange of radiance, yes.

      [SOUND: PHONE VIBRATE]

MARKIE:
(singing) I fucking knew it!

RORY:
Can we focus please?

BIANCA:
Yes, dear. David says he'll be here soon. Ok, let me see...

      [SOUND: BOOK PAGE TURNS]

NARRATOR:
Bianca flips through the large tome. It is one of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Agrippa. Written in the 16th century, it is a wealth of information about various ancient magicks.

      [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND.]

BIANCA:
Here we are. The Thespis Diavolos.

NARRATOR:
Madame Bianca turns the book around for Rory and Markie to look. They immediately see similar symbols from the victim's necklace last night. It seems as if Markie was right, after all.

BIANCA:
Thespis Diavolos was a greek death cult that originated around 500 BCE. They were known for their performances: they believed that theatre was a conduit to commune with other realities, dimensions, what have you. Agrippa writes that their performance rituals were centered around these medallions that, when paired together, could open portals into the underworld. In fact some, like your Nana did, Rory, believe that Comedy and Tragedy masks were historically used to ward off the dark magic of the Thespis twin medallions.

MARKIE:
Holy hell.

RORY:
And that was a Thespis medallion? That was just stolen from your shop?

BIANCA:
Well, there were many. Few existing pairs, but mother had a set. She left me one of them, although I always assumed it was a Victorian replica. She was buried with the other one.

      [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND. INTENSIFIES]

NARRATOR:
Rory and Markie stare at each other for a moment and then begin to pace around the room.

MARKIE:
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit...

RORY:
Mom, I don't think Nana is buried with it anymore.

MARKIE:
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit...

BIANCA:
What do you mean?

MARKIE:
Is she in Griwerrtown Cemetery? Come on, Rory, let's go.

RORY:
Mom, that girl was wearing it last night.

BIANCA:
I told you, there were many examples.

RORY:
And now one is suddenly missing from here? Down the street from where someone was murdered wearing one that is really fucking similar—right, Markie?

MARKIE:
The goddamn twin, I'm telling you.

BIANCA:
Ok, calm down. David will be here any minute. Let's just wait for him.

NARRATOR:
Rory looks at Markie who is shaking his head vigorously.

RORY:
We're going to the cemetery. Just...look, Mom, text Markie to let us know what Chalmers says. Keep us posted. Ok?

MARKIE:
I'm calling a car. Later, Madame B! (kiss sound)

     [SOUND: WINDCHIMES]

BIANCA:
Ok, I will. But this is what I'm talking about Rory. You need to find your center, strive for alignment. Just breathe, child.

RORY:
I know, I know. I will, Mom. I promise. Just text us, ok?

     [SOUND: WINDCHIMES]
     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]
     [MUSIC: TRANSITION UND.]

NARRATOR:
Rory and Markie don't say much during their ride to the cemetery. Markie is taking selfies and posting to social media: hashtag SpookyShit, hashtag GriwerrtownGroupThing. Eventually, they arrive at the cemetery and make their way up the path towards Nana Millerson's headstone.

      [MUSIC: SOFT UND.]

It's quiet, like graveyards typically are, and it's quite beautiful. The trees are old and solemn. And today they cast long, blanketed shadows, as the sun is high and bright, belying the crisp temperature. Rory feels their own pulse with every step as they climb the gentle hills of the grounds. Together with Markie, they search for several minutes for the gravesite with no luck

RORY:
Shit, I can never find it. This happens every time. I know it's right around here. By this willow.

MARKIE:
(calling out) Rory!

NARRATOR:
It quickly becomes clear why Rory was struggling to find the grave. Markie is crouched down by a mound of recently turned-over earth.

      [MUSIC: DRONE UND.]

NARRATOR:
Next to him is a toppled headstone, leaning forward as if an attempt to prop it up didn't quite take. Markie peers beneath it and looks to Rory. They do not need to see Markie's face to know that it does indeed read 'Catherine Millerson.' As Markie snaps a picture of the headstone, Rory notices a new shadow sliding slowly across the scene. This is no tree. Rory turns slowly and fearfully to face it.

Meanwhile, at Crystal Breath…

     [SOUND: WINDCHIMES]
     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSE]

BIANCA:
David, thank goodness you're here. You won't believe what's been happening. You actually just missed Rory— (noticing someone else entering) Oh, hello there! David, is this your partner, or...?

TOM:
You're perfect, she's perfect, just fucking perfect, right? Love the super cool, eclectic vibe, right? Here's what I'm thinking, Chalmers: roughed up, but not mangled, right? Let's rip some earrings, break her nose, but nothing too mauled-by-a-bear-but-survived. That cool? Are we cool, Chalmers?

DET. CHALMERS:
Oh yeah, Tom. We're cool.

BIANCA:
...David?

     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME UP AND OUT]
     (END OF SPINES CHAPTER TWO)
     [BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP]



SPINES - Chapter Three      41:55

     [MUSIC: CATHERINE UND.]

CATHERINE:
...and so I write to you with a warning. I know I wasn't the best mother to you. You might think that I disapproved of your career choices, and you would be correct; however, the reasoning behind my objections may not be what you assume it to be.

It is all real, Bianca. Everything. The grimoires, the cults, the talismans, the spells—all of it. As you matured and began the journey of your studies, I eagerly awaited the moment when I could finally reveal to you the truth of these obscure paganisms. Perhaps I should have trusted in the fact that there would never have been a perfect time and ripped off the proverbial bandage. But as you might imagine, it is a difficult subject to broach.

But then the unthinkable happened: you began to believe on your own. While I do find your particular brand of monetized new age advice to be...tacky, that opinion pales in comparison to the gravity of my fear for my own daughter dabbling in magicks that I know to be actual, misunderstood, and most certainly dangerous. I do not have much time, and by now you know that I have left the house to Rory. This isn't out of spite but, rather, necessity.

The medallion you will inherit, as well as its twin that I wear now in these final moments, are indeed authentic artifacts of the Thespis Diavolos. I have had many strange calls (and even visitors) over the past several months, and I am convinced that they have somehow tracked the pieces down. What they do not know is that I have tied their power to the house using a Hermetic protection spell. Because of this, they can never work if not together and used at the house at the same moment.
 
CATHERINE AND TOM OVERLAP:
As an academic, I am ill-equipped for spell casting, and I am quite sure my bumbling attempt has accelerated my sickness. Forgive me, daughter. You must know that I was always proud of you...

     [SOUND: INDOOR VOICES AMB.]

TOM:
...blah, blah, blah, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I'm trying to get you there, right? Put you in that perfect headspace. Confused, but not shocked. A little closure, but still scared to die. Right? Are we cool, Bianca? Oh wait, what did mom call you?

     [SOUND: STRAIGHTENING PAPER IN AIR]

TOM:
Bibi, riiiiight. Are we cool, Bibi?

BETHEL:
(laughing) Oh Bibi, I love it.
 
TOM:
Our people in the mail intercepted this a while back, right? A few years ago. Bethel?

BETHEL:
You're so right, Tom. Three years ago.

TOM:
And it just sat in our offices, right? Like, which fucking intern read this and filed it away? But it doesn't matter, right? Bethel discovered it and here we are. Tech went well last night, and now we're coaching up our newest star. Right, Bibi? Who's my girl? Are you my girl? ...alright Chalmers, work her fingers a bit. We're almost there, but not quite right, yeah? I need more...more broken, defeated, fucking crushed, right?

CHALMERS:
You got it, Tom. Alright Madame Bianca, just you and me now—

     [SOUND: DOOR CLOSING.
     [MUFFLED SCREAMING.]

TOM:
(sigh) Alright, Bethel, where are we on the fucking lights…

     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME UP]

NARRATOR:
"
Spines Chapter Three" written by Patrick Emile.

     [MUSIC: SPINES THEME FADES]

NARRATOR:
At Griwerrtown Cemetery, Rory and Markie have discovered Nana Millerson's grave to be hastily put back together after being robbed of the medallion buried with the body. A shadow creeps onto the scene, and Rory frightfully turns to face it.

RORY:
Oh shit! Markie, run!

JASPER:
No, wait, wait...!

MARKIE:
Jasper?!

RORY:
It's him! He was there last night! Markie, run!

MARKIE:
What? Rory, hold on. It's just Jasper.

     [SOUND: JASPER UND.]

JASPER:
Hey.

RORY:
(breathing heavily) You...you know him??

JASPER:
Markie, girl, that shirt.

MARKIE:
I know.

JASPER:
It's icky as fuck.

MARKIE:
I know. What the fuck are you doing here, Jasper?

RORY:
Time out, please. This guy is a murderer, Markie. How do you know him?

JASPER:
Murderer? I'm a designer.

MARKIE:
He's not a murderer.

RORY:
How. Do. You. Know. Him.

MARKIE:
You know, just like around town or whatever—

JASPER:
Thursday nights at Yummy Bears Truck Stop. More like fuck stop, right Markie?

MARKIE:
(not wanting Rory to know this) Shut the hell up, Jasper!

RORY:
Someone explain something right now or I'm calling the cops.

MARKIE:
He's an actor...

JASPER:
Excuse me, I am a designer. I'm currently accepting various roles while my label is getting off the ground.

MARKIE:
...and he's for hire for other jobs.

RORY:
What?

JASPER:
Look, I came to tell ya'll something. Do you want to know or do you want to discuss my CV in more dih-tail?

MARKIE:
Spit it out, Jasper.

JASPER:
(aside) Not what you said last Thursday. (to Rory) Yes, I was at your cute little shop last night, but I don't know those people. They wanted someone beautiful, and, well I'll let you look for yourself...

RORY:
...is he for real? Is this real life right now?

MARKIE:
Jasper!

JASPER:
That was me fucking that girl with the necklace, but once they knocked you out I was like, "uh-uh, this demon shit is too much for me." But that's when they wrote me a check and told me that's all they needed from me. I said thank you and pranced my ass out that door. But then I saw ya'll outside Crystal Breath earlier and followed you here on my scooter. I just wanted to see if you were ok. You're such a sweet little thing. Like a tiny Swedish fish.

RORY:
The fuck?

MARKIE:
So BZB hired you for the sacrifice video, but you didn't do any of the sacrificing...ing?

RORY:
They killed that girl.

JASPER:
Do what now?

NARRATOR:
Rory and Markie proceed to explain to Jasper what occurred last night following his departure from Spines. After much incredulous flailing about, Jasper calms down enough to key our duo into some important details.

JASPER:
The thing is, it was supposed to be a two-day job. Now obviously as fuck I'm not going back, but Rory, honey, I think they fully intend to be in your bookshop this very evening.

RORY:
What?!

MARKIE:
Jasper, are you sure?

JASPER:
Sure as silk, baby.

MARKIE:
What does that mean—

RORY:
Markie, call that detective. Here…

NARRATOR:
Rory hunts through their wallet and locates the card of Detective Chalmers.

JASPER:
Well, ya'll, I'm just gonna scoot on home. I don't mix well well Griwerrtown PD for reasons that shall remain permanently sealed by the court.

RORY:
Wait, they might want a statement or whatever! You could help bring this whole thing down!

     [SOUND: PHONE DIALING]

JASPER:
Beauty, if it's possible that I can actually play some heroic role in all of this, then your boyfriend here has my number.

MARKIE:
(on the phone) Yes, hello. This is Markie Pon de Lancie. You might remember me as Rory Millerson's super hot and helpful friend. There have been some developments, and Rory would very much like to speak with you. Please call us back at this number. Buh. (to Rory) Well. No luck. But he's probably with your mom, right? I'll text her.

RORY:
Jasper, please. Can I tell them to call you, at least? I don't even know if this detective believes me that there was a cult at Spines. You could really be the key, here.

JASPER:
I told you. Text me if I can help, but I can't wait around for any cops. See you Thursday, Markie?

     [SOUND: SCOOTER ENGINE STARTING]

MARKIE:
Yeah.

NARRATOR:
Markie shoots a quick lookup from his phone to Rory.

MARKIE:
I mean, maybe. Probably not. Whatever. Keep your phone on, you Vespa bitch!

JASPER:
I will! Ciaoooo....

     [SOUND: SCOOTER DRIVING OFF]

RORY:
Is everyone you know weird?

MARKIE:
Logically, that would include you.

RORY:
Yeah. Yeah, I know.

MARKIE:
So...

RORY:
I need a drink.

MARKIE:
Oh my balls, me three!

RORY:
Kitties? At this point, all we can do is wait for Chalmers to get back to us.

MARKIE:
That might be a while if he's, um, with your mom at Crystal Breath. Have you tried any of her oils? They are intense! Wait. Intense. Incense. Intensity. InCENsity. That's good, I need to remember to tell her that one.

RORY:
I hate you.

MARKIE:
I'll get us a car.

     [MUSIC: SHORT INTERLUDE]

NARRATOR:
And so Rory and Markie wait for a car to ferry them to Big 'Ol Kitties for a well-deserved drink. As the afternoon stretches into early evening, Spines is alive with the BZB Productions crew while they busy themselves with preparations for tonight's events. Detective Chalmers stands, arms-crossed, in font of Rory's office-turned-torture-chamber, as Bethel follows Tom about with her clipboard. Tina emerges from a curtained-off area near the non-fiction section, presenting a small box in front of her as if holding a dead mouse.

     [MUSIC: BETHEL UND.]

TINA:
Excuse me, Tom? Can we chat for a sec?

TOM:
Tina, you're beautiful. What's up, honey?

TINA:
Do you see what I'm holding?

TOM:
Bethel!

BETHEL:
It looks like lozenges, Tom.

TINA:
I specifically asked for Coughin' Often. This isn't Coughin' Often.

TOM:
(to anyone) Can we get her the correct motherfucking lozenges, please?!

BETHEL:
Tina. I am so sorry. We'll get right on that for you.

TINA:
(sigh) It's fine. I guess. (beat) Can we talk about tonight? The script is a lot different than what we discussed, Tom.

TOM:
Teen-o, it's better. So much better, right? You'll be perfect, it will all be perfect, right?

TINA:
It's just—I don't know why we have to change it so much. I'm used to them fucking behind me. That's how we always do it, and I see no reason to disrupt my process like this.

TOM:
Bethel!

BETHEL:
Tina, you're so on point. It's so different. Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy different. But, corporate really wants this change. They think that sacrificing an actual blood-owner of the medallions will increase our chances of portal success by 27%.

TOM:
It's portal-time, baby!!

TINA:
Yes, but—

BETHEL:
And so we altered the spell just a tad to accommodate a medallion carrier instead of a willing whore.

TINA:
Ok, but—

BETHEL:
And since it's now Mabon, we can begin the ritual just as soon the moon begins to crest over the horizon. We're aiming for 6/6:30.

TINA:
I know, it's just—

TOM:
It's gonna be glorious, Teen-o. Just fucking glorious.

BETHEL:
Oh, so glorious. You're going to die.

TINA:
I...I just prefer the fucking.

TOM:
We all like the fucking, Teen-o, right?

TINA:
Can't we just have them behind me while I use the conduit spell on the old woman?

NARRATOR:
Tom and Bethel look at each other and consider this.

TOM:
Teen-o, TEEN-O. You're a fucking genius, right? Bethel!

BETHEL:
Oh my god, Tina. You're just the best. On it, Tom. I'm texting Jasper right now. We'll just need to find a girl.

NARRATOR:
Tom points to a young wardrobe assistant across the store.

TOM:
That one. Make it happen, Bethel, right? How's that, Teen-o. Cool? Are we cool, Teen-o?

TINA:
(sigh) Yeah, Tom. We're cool.

BETHEL:
Great, great, great, great, super awesome!

TINA:
Should I wait here for the Coughin' Often, or...?

TOM:
(to anyone) Can we get her the goddamn motherfucking lozenges, please?!?

     [MUSIC: SHORT INTERLUDE]

NARRATOR:
While the crew continues preparing for the sacrifice of poor Madame Bianca, Rory and Markie are making their way into Big Ol' Kitties.

     [SOUND: FOOTSTEPS]
     [SOUND: OUTDOOR STREET AMB.]


RORY:
...I'm just saying I don't care what you do with your time, Markie. It's really none of my business.

MARKIE:
Ok, fine. I'm just. Ugh, you're such a bitch, Rory. I just want you to know that just because I'm into some of those things doesn't mean - you know what, whatever. We can talk about it later.

     [SOUND: DOOR SOUND]
     [SOUND: BAR MUSIC]

TAYSIA:
Sorry, we're not quite open yet. Wait, Rory? Oh pancakes, I was beginning to worry. You weren't at public-radio-and-foreign-film trivia last night, and people were freaking out. I've texted you like 100 times. We lost, by the by. Way to represent the bar at a home game.

NARRATOR:
Taysia slips out from behind the bar and gives Rory a welcomed hug. Rory doesn't breakaway, and the lingering embrace begins to approach an awkward amount of time.

TAYSIA:
Roar? You ok, sweetie?

RORY:
Yeah. Sorry. Lots to tell you.

MARKIE:
Yeah, we've had ourselves quite the night. And next day.

NARRATOR:
Taysia peers at Markie from over Rory's still hugging body.

TAYSIA:
Good evening, Markus.

MARKIE:
And a fine evening to you, Tatortots.

NARRATOR:
Taysia and Markie are friends. Or at least in the sense that, if put into a room full of strangers, the two would be fine interacting with each other over making small talk with a bunch of normal people. They in fact have a lot in common, but that commonality includes a particular affinity for Rory. They both care deeply for our hero, and this has lead to a bit of a rivalry. Taysia respects her opponent's style and wit, and Markie is wary of Taysia's social standing as the successful owner and operator of the chillest bar in Griwerrtown. Now as we know, Markie is into a group thing if it ever happened. What he doesn't know, is that Taysia feels the same way. If it were ever to come up, of course.

Rory finally breaks away and the trio heads to the bar, with Taysia resuming her post.

TAYSIA:
Gin and soda, Roar?

RORY:
Yes, please please, please.

TAYSIA:
Any particular gin?

RORY:
That one? Starts with a B? I can never remember it.

TAYSIA:
I got you. What about you, Markie?

MARKIE:
I'll do a Tuacan' In Memphis to sip on, aaaand, yeah fuck it, also a Tamagotchikaze.

RORY:
Oh, two of those, please. Thanks, Tay.

TAYSIA:
Coming right up.

     [SOUND: TEXT ALERT/VIBRATE]

MARKIE:
New phone who dis. (beat) Oh shit? BZB just texted Jasper!

RORY:
What?!

MARKIE:
Ok, ok, (reading) so they need him back on set...tonight. Holy fuck.

RORY:
"Set"...meaning Spines?

MARKIE:
Yuuuuuuup. Oh shit, what do we do?

RORY:
Call Chalmers again. Have you heard back from my mom? No word from either of them.

MARKIE:
Nada.

     [SOUND: GLASSES CLINKING]

TAYSIA:
Ok, here we go, three Tamagotchikazes because why not? To your fitness!

     [SOUND: GLASSES CLINKING TOGETHER]
     [SOUND: GULPING]

RORY:
(finishing the shot) Shit, I needed that. Ok, call Chalmers. And then I say we make our way back to Crystal Breath.

TAYSIA:
So is anyone going to tell me what's going on, or what? It's not like I—(begins to cough)...sorry, It's not like (coughing)—

RORY:
You ok, Tay?

     [MUSIC: BRAINSTORM UND.]

NARRATOR:
Suddenly the lights in Big Ol' Kitties begin to flicker. The bar rumbles beneath our duo's arms. Bottles are rattling on their mirrored shelves, some falling, and breaking.

     [SOUND: BOTTLES SMASHING]

NARRATOR:

An impossible gust of wind blows through the lounge, sending cocktail napkins fluttering everywhere. A distinct perfume fills the room. Taysia is levitating slightly, gently bobbing up and down in mid-air. Her eyes are rolled back and she speaks with a voice not her own.

CATHERINE:
Well, this is an unpleasant experience, at best.

MARKIE:
What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck...

RORY:
Taysia?! Taysia you're floating!

CATHERINE:
You're looking well, Rory. But of course, Millersons tend to retain strong bone structure for much of their adult lives.

MARKIE:
Blood of the fucking martyrs...

CATHERINE:
Is this a friend of yours, Rory? He has a terribly vile mouth on him, doesn't he?

RORY:
...Nana?

     [MUSIC: CATHERINE UND.]

CATHERINE:
Well, I should think that would be obvious by now, child.

RORY:
What? How? I don't understand.

MARKIE:
Begone, demon!

NARRATOR:
Markie throws his Tuacan' In Memphis at Taysia's now Catherine-inhabited body, but it inexplicably sails right through her, shattering against the wall.

     [SOUND: GLASS SHATTERING]

CATHERINE:
Silence!

MARKIE:
I'm sorry.

CATHERINE:
Rory, while seeing you truly warms the cockles of the heart—

MARKIE:
(laughs)

CATHERINE:
Quiet, boy!

MARKIE:
Sorry...(lightly) cockles...like cock...

CATHERINE:
Rory, there is no time to explain how I am able to appear before you as I am. Just know that the universe is filled with arcane mysteries, and many of them are extraordinarily perilous. And this peril has enveloped your mother in a most immediate way.

RORY:
Huh?

CATHERINE:
Your mother is in trouble, Rory!

RORY:
Mom? We just saw her earlier today. She's with a detective. Who she is dating, by the way.

CATHERINE:
Her life choices continue to disappoint, I see. That detective is a member of the Thespis Diavolos, Rory.

MARKIE:
Oh fuck! Madame B!

RORY:
No. No! What do I do, Nana?!

CATHERINE:
You must destroy the medallions.

RORY:
How?!

CATHERINE:
They will attempt to open the portal this evening. If they succeed, all of Griwerrtown will be consumed by darkness, and your mother will perish. However, if you can send the medallions through the portal before it is fully expanded, then they will be lost to the Thespis Diavolos and the portal closed forever.

RORY:
Shouldn't we call the cops? I mean they'll have—

CATHERINE:
No. They have been compromised, Rory. They cannot be trusted. You must do this yourself. Do you have anyone who could help you?

MARKIE:
(sniffing) Sorry, is that Chanel? No. 5? You have excellent taste for an old dead person, just saying.

RORY:
...yes, I can find some help.

CATHERINE:
You will need it. I will try to assist further if I can, but I cannot guarantee I will be able to. This possession spell is very unpredictable, and (begins to cough)..and...(coughing)

     [SOUND: BOTTLES SHAKING]

NARRATOR:
The lights stop flickering and Taysia beings to drift downwards. The cocktail napkins, no longer swirling about the space, settle onto the bar and floor.

TAYSIA:
(coughing subsiding, clearing throat) Sorry. I was trying to say it's not like I can read ya'll's minds or whatever. What's the deal? (beat) Did that flasher come back to Spines?

NARRATOR:
Rory and Markie stare at her, unable to summon any words. Markie reaches slowly across the bar and grabs a newly broken bottle of vodka and begins to carefully sip out of it.

     [SOUND: BOTTLE SCRAPING AGAINST BAR TOP]

TAYSIA:
Hello? Anyone home? Wait...what the fuck happened in here?!

RORY:
Taysia.

TAYSIA:
Was there a goddamn earthquake or something—

RORY:
Taysia!

TAYSIA:
WHAT?!

RORY:
We need to tell you something, and it's gonna be weird, and there isn't much time. I need you to trust me.

TAYSIA:
You're scaring me, Rory.

RORY:
I know. Just, look I'll explain everything. I just need a minute. (beat) What are we going to do, Markie?

NARRATOR:
Markie is turning the vodka bottle over in his hands. It's surprisingly more empty than it was 30 seconds ago.

MARKIE:
So I'm having a bit of a brainstorm...

     [MUSIC: SHORT INTERLUDE]

NARRATOR:
As plans are being formulated at Big Ol' Kitties, BZB Productions is moments away from their much-anticipated performance ritual.

     [MUSIC: SOFT UND.]

NARRATOR:

Once again they have transformed the space into a meticulously designed scene of stacked books, rugs, an altar, and even blood-stained floors thanks to their technical rehearsal the night before. Jasper and the newly promoted wardrobe girl are situated on the same two tables as before.

Tina is quietly rehearsing lines in her trusted power suit, and Tom is in close discussion with Bethel. Madame Bianca is in a very poor state. Her face is unrecognizable. Her eyes swollen shut, her nose at a brutal unnatural angle. Her mangled hands are tied behind her back, and she is on her knees a few feet downstage from the altar. She does not have the will or energy to kneel of her own volition, however, as Detective Chalmers keeps her upright by a fistful of her own hair—the cruelest of leashes. In his other hand, he is holding a long, curved dagger with an old blackened blade. Tom leans down to have a chat.

     [SOUND: INDOOR VOICES AMB.]

TOM:
Bianca? Can you hear me in there? How are we, Bibi? Bibi, baby! You look perfect, right? Just fucking perfect!

BETHEL:
It's time, Tom.

TOM:
Teen-o? How's my girl? Are we ready?

TINA:
(sigh) Yeah, Tom. I'm ready.

TOM:
Here we go, people!

BETHEL:
Quiet! Quiet, please!

TOM:
Go for fucking. (beat)...aaaand action!

     [SOUND: TABLE CREAKING]
     [SOUND: WOMAN MOANING]


TINA:
Oh! Hello again. For those of you that have made it this far into the training, we applaud your devotion. Now it's time to put all that hard work into action. Watch me closely, and remember to pause if you need to reference your workbook.

NARRATOR:
Tina raises both of her arms.

TINA:
"Lift up your shining trespasses against The Liar."

ALL:
"May the blood rain forever upon us."

NARRATOR:
Quietly, and unbeknownst to the cast and crew, a window near the reading corner is slowly pushed up from the outside. Tina begins her incantation.

     [MUSIC: INCANTATION UND.]

TINA:
Diavolos ashk skator ze vas lat. Huna za ruktu agh li latob kreznit mubi lat threntori anthrokus.  Brus izishu!  Brus izishu!

NARRATOR:
An unimaginable shift appears in the air to the side of the ritual scene. A ripple in space that begins to bend like something is pushing into it from an unknown source. Reality is being pierced from behind, and a thin sliver of evil blue light begins to spill out into Spines. It grows into a small circle with a swirling edge. The bookshop begins to vibrate with malevolent energy. This is it, friends.

TINA:
...Diavolos ashk skator ze vas lat. Huna za ruktu agh li latob kreznit mubi lat threntori anthrokus...

      [SOUND: BOTTLE FALLS AND ROLLS]

NARRATOR:
Suddenly a bottle is tossed from the open window, landing on the stained floors and rolling towards Jasper.

NARRATOR:
Bethel drops her clipboard.

BETHEL:
Tom?

TOM:
Cut! Wait, wait! Don't cut! Fuck! Tina, keep going baby, we can't let that portal close! What the fuck is that?!? Jasper, bring it here!

TINA:
...skator ze vas lat. Huna za ruktu agh li latob kreznit mubi...

NARRATOR:
Jasper retracts himself and picks up the bottle. Naked and swinging, he brings it over to Tom, who inspects it closely. It is filled with a liquid and has a rag trailing out from the opening.

TOM:
Is this. (sniffs) Is this gasoline? What the fuck? Chalmers, is this—wait, what does this say?

NARRATOR:
Tom reads a makeshift label that has been slapped to the outside of the bottle.

TOM:
“B-U-H." What the fuck does that mean?

     [SOUND: SPINES DOOR OPENING]

RORY:
It means "buh," you cult cunt! Now get the FUCK away from my mom!

     [MUSIC: DRIVING BEAT UND.]

NARRATOR:
Rory, Markie and Taysia, holding a shovel, a handful of crystals, and a baseball bat respectively, are framed in the doorway of Spines. Markie has a dusting of white powder all over his face.

MARKIE:
(coked-up) It's actually more like, "buh," but that's cool yeah whatever you did great I'm proud of you—

RORY:
NOW JASPER!

NARRATOR:
With an incredible elegance, a still-naked Jasper reaches behind himself and skillfully produces a lighter. He torches the rag and knocks the bottle down to Tom's feet, causing the director to become engulfed in flames. He screams and runs down the restroom hall, out the backdoor, and into the night. Bethel calls out.

     [SOUND: SCREAMS]

BETHEL:
Chalmers get them!

NARRATOR:
Chalmers drops Bianca and the dagger, draws his gun, and rushes towards the trio.

TAYSIA:
We got him, Rory! Get your mom!

NARRATOR:
It's chaos. Rory dives out of the way as Chalmers lunges towards Markie and Taysia and begins firing.

     [SOUND: GUNSHOTS]

NARRATOR:
Most of the crew runs out of the house in all directions, having not signed up for this. Tina continues to chant, and the portal increases in size and swirling intensity—now almost to the ceiling. Markie throws his handful of crystals into the eyes of Chalmers.

MARKIE:
That's for Madame B, you bitch!

CHALMERS:
Argh!

NARRATOR:
Taysia swings hard into the detective's left knee, crushing it, and causing him to fall and drop his gun. Together with Markie, she grapples violently with Chalmers. In the melee, the gun is kicked and slides across the floor towards the altar.

     [SOUND: SKITTERING GUN]

NARRATOR:
As Tina chants, Bethel grabs the dagger and brings it to the throat of Madame Bianca.

RORY:
Mom!

NARRATOR:
Rory tackles Bethel and they wrestle with the shovel between them. Rory is able to land a glancing blow to Bethel's head and makes their way towards Madame Bianca. Rory removes the medallions.

RORY:
I've got you, Mom. I've got you.

     [SOUND: GUNSHOT]

NARRATOR:
Another gunshot rings out, and the dull thud of Detective Chalmers' large body can be heard hitting the floor. Jasper stands, shaking, with both hands holding the discharged weapon.

JASPER:
I told you I don't mix well with cops.

NARRATOR:
Jasper runs out the front door, and the two remaining BZB crew members, being true believers, pounce on Markie and Taysia.

MARKIE:
I'm all out of crystals, and that shit is expensiiiiiiive...

NARRATOR:
As Rory helps Madame Bianca to her feet, they catch a sinister glint of cold metal in the glowing light of the growing portal. The dagger.

RORY:
Ahhhhhh!

NARRATOR:
Bethel has slashed them across their face. Blood flows into Rory's eyes and the pain is immense.

BETHEL:
(maniacally) Keep going, Tina! We're almost there!

TINA:
...skator ze vas lat. Huna za ruktu agh li latob kreznit mubi...

NARRATOR:
Bethel, now holding the dagger and twin medallions in one hand, wrenches Bianca's head back and begins to draw the blade across her neck. Faint shadows can be seen moving in the portal, now radiating a wicked heat.

     [SOUND: SMALL DOG BARKING]

BETHEL:
Mister...Biscuits...?

NARRATOR:
An energetic shih tzu is romping about on the other side of the now enormous, pulsating portal. The dog has red eyes, and is half decomposed, but appears quite happy. Bethel drops Bianca and stands to peer into the hellacious window.

BETHEL:
It is you, Mister Biscuits!

NARRATOR:
An ethereal voice echoes from the other side.

CATHERINE:
Rory! Do it now!

RORY:
Nana?!

CATHERINE:
It's the best I could do! Do it now, child!

NARRATOR:
With heroic realization, Rory wipes the blood from their eyes and runs full force towards Bethel.

RORY:
Ahhhhhhhh!

BETHEL:
(screams)

NARRATOR:
Rory puts all of their small weight into the shove. This is for Mom! This is for Spines! And Bethel, still holding the medallions, screams as she is sucked into the portal. Immediately, and with the sound of wet fingers pinching a lit match, the portal disappears.

     [SOUND: PINCHED MATCH SIZZLE]

RORY:
(panting)

MARKIE:
Rory?

NARRATOR:
Tina trails off with her chanting and attempts to run. But Taysia, now armed with a massive volume from the biography section, knocks her out with a single swift blow.

TAYSIA:
Bitch, sit down.

NARRATOR:
Rory looks over to the crumpled form of Madame Bianca.

RORY:
Mom?

NARRATOR:
They heave themself over to her. The blood stings their eyes, and their head is very light.

RORY:
Mom? Are you...ok...?

NARRATOR:
Rory faints as the shouts of Taysia and Markie fade into blackness.

MARKIE:
Rory!

TAYSIA:
Rory!

     [MUSIC: SOFT TRANSITION]

NARRATOR:
Friends, I'd like to tell you that it all works out. That Griwerrtown doesn't get eternally enveloped in evil. That our unlikely band of heroes—Taysia, Madame Bianca, Markie, and Rory all survive their traumas and injuries and live to tell the tale for years to come.

So that is exactly what I will do.

     [MUSIC: SPINES CHAPTER ONE INTRO UND.]

NARRATOR:
Over the next two weeks, things begin to settle into a sense of normalcy for Rory and company. Madame Bianca, having suffered the worst injuries, remains in a rehabilitation facility, although she is quite a strong woman and is counting down the days to being cleared for release. She has read the cards of all her therapists and some have signed up for the Breathe Head program. She continues to work on the others.

Taysia spent a day restoring Big Ol' Kitties to its chill state, and has enjoyed listening to the profoundly normal stories of her regulars. Griwerrtown at large, of course, has no idea how close it came to doom.

After many hours of explanation, Griwerrtown PD chalked up the events to drugs and eventually sent the city in to clean Spines as best they could, leaving the floors only slightly reddened. This is not the only reminder Rory carries with them of the Thespis Diavolos, however. But today is release day, so there's no time to dwell.

     [SOUND: SPINES DOOR OPENING]

MARKIE:
"You cult cunt!" (chuckle) You know, I really didn't think you had it in you.

RORY:
(laughing) Hey, Markie. Yeah, I guess you've been rubbing off on me.

MARKIE:
Don't tempt me, that scar on your face kinda gets me going.

     [MUSIC: CHEERFUL UND.]

RORY:
Gross. (beat) I'm still shocked when I look in the mirror. I guess it will fade over time? I don't know.

MARKIE:
I hope it doesn't! You look like a hot anime character. (beat) Soooo, what now? Business as usual? The floors look pretty good.

RORY:
I'm actually considering writing everything down. Like it's a way to process it all, or at least compile it while it's fresh. It's a hell of a story, right? Is that crazy?

MARKIE:
Rory Feldman: novelist. It's not crazy. I wouldn't put anything past you at this point, Rory. Speaking of, I really want to go out on Saturday. I was thinking about talking to Taysia, seeing what's what. What do you think? Get a little weird? Ehhh?

RORY:
You really have that in your head, don't you? Fuck it, why not. We could just...see what happens.

MARKIE:
Holy shit! Folks, it's a new dawn! Ok, I'm gonna hold you to that—I have to get to work, but I'll text you!

RORY:
Ok, sounds good.

     [SOUND: DOOR OPENING]
     (OVERLAPPING)

MARKIE:
(singing) It's a Griwerrtown Group Thing!

RORY:
Love you, Markie.

MARKIE:
...what?

RORY:
Nothing, it's...nothing, forget it.

MARKIE:
(gently) Hey, you know what? Taysia's probably working Saturday anyway. So, maybe just you and me? Is that... cool?

RORY:
I'd like that. A lot.

MARKIE:
The things I'm going to do to that scar, I swear to fucking god—

RORY:
—Markie, go to work!

     [SOUND: SPINES DOOR CLOSING]

NARRATOR:
And with that, Rory continues unboxing the new releases. They are looking forward to the weekend.

     (END OF SPINES CHAPTER THREE)



CREDITS      1:10:38

Jon Murrell: "
Spines" produced by Marlo Mysliwiec and Patrick Emile. Written, directed, edited, and scored by Patrick Emile with Cameron Casey as Rory Millerson, Cody Dry as Markie Pon de Lancie, Courtney Dyamond as Bethel Bridgers and Taysia, Evan Michael Woods as Tom, Kris Kelly as Madame Bianca and Nana Millerson, Mindy Neuendorff as Tina, Jovane Caamaño as Jasper, and Jon Murrell as the Narrator



OUTRO      1:11:17

     [MUSIC: WRITER WRONG THEME]

Marlo Mysliwiec
: Writer Wrong is created by Patrick Emile and Marlo Mysliwiec.  This episode’s story was written by Patrick Emile with music and sound design by KCKSRV. Cast your vote on our website at WriterWrongPodcast.com and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at Writer Wrong Podcast. If you like what you’re listening to hit the subscribe button, write us a review, and be sure to tell your friends to share the stories. Until next week, keep writing.

     [MUSIC: WRITER WRONG THEME OUT]

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WRITERS ROOM
SPINES - Chapter One
SPINES - Chapter Two
SPINES - Chapter Three
CREDITS
OUTRO