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5.7: The Bully

The Lowlifes meet an…”old friend.”

Transcript is below the cut!

Downloadable PDF Transcript

Transcript provided by Ria Couoh.
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(00:00) INTRO:

HANNAH
Hi, everyone! Hannah here.
A brief content warning and a promo before we begin.

Let’s start with the content warning:

This episode contains a long instance of abusive, ableist behavior (04:20—06:42). As always, you can check our transcript before listening at thegoblinshead.com/listen. Please take care of yourselves!

And now, just to dramatically shift gears, the promo! Stick around after the episode for a new show that is just delightful.

Josie’s Lonely Hearts Club is a fictional call-in show for the lovelorn looking for advice from our smooth-voiced DJ, Josie, also known as Joanne Holtzinger, who’s not exactly lucky in love herself, alongside her faithful engineer, Frank.

The show is semi-improvised so it can get real silly or shockingly human. Josie’s Lonely Hearts Club is sweet and strange in only the way real people can be. You are going to love it.

Now, let’s go to the Inn!

(00:49): PREVIOUSLY ON…
TESSA Previously on Inn Between…

Inn Between theme plays in the background.

MAX
(pleased)
The Inn is following me?

TESSA
(displeased)
Apparently it likes you.

LARKIN
I’ve never been this far up the mountains.

PHOEBE
I have.

YAK
Why does the Inn follow us?

Inn Between theme fades.

(01:50) THE BULLY.

Background sounds of a tavern.

YAK
Okay, explain this to me again.

MAX
Again?

LARKIN
I still have questions too.

MAX
Alright, try to come with me this time. The Inn is alive.

YAK
No, no, I got that far.

LARKIN
Well—I—I actually have a few more questions about that. Uhm. Is it… some kind of giant mimic or…?

PHOEBE
Or a construct?

LARKIN
Should we be worried?

MAX
Don’t be ridiculous, Larkin. It doesn’t smell like a mimic in here.
(thoughtfully)
I don’t know about constructs though, it could be.

PHOEBE
(wondrous)
It would take so much effort to make a construct this big.

YAK
Real challenge, eh?

PHOEBE
A life’s work, but…

YAK
But why does it follow us?

PHOEBE
I was… I was going to say how, but that too.

MAX
I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how, but when I asked Tessa why
(pleased with themself)
She said it’s because the Inn likes me.

RUKES
Us.

MAX
Beg your pardon?

RUKES
The Inn likes us.

MAX
(flatly, unamused)
Tessa specified me.

RUKES
That’s funny ‘cause, uh, when I asked her, the first day we re-arrived at the old Goblin’s Head, she said that the Inn must have taken a shine to the group of us! Didn’t say anything about you.

MAX
You are so desperate to make me seem less amazing.

RUKES
Aw, like I have to try.

MAX
It’s an exercise in futility, Rukes. I can’t become less amazing. It’s impossible!

YAK
If you two are going to go on like this, I need a drink.

LARKIN
(exhausted)
Whose turn is it?

MAX
Uh… Phoebe, I believe?

PHOEBE
Oh!

Crutches clack lightly against floor. Chair drags against floor.

PHOEBE
Okay, uhm, same as usual?

Several “yeah”s and “mhm”s.

Footsteps accompanied by crutches.

RUKES
(derisive)
So you’re telling me that you’re so special that a building has taken to following you around like a puppy.

MAX
(fading out)
(defensive)
Why not? Plenty of people follow me.

Footsteps stop. Chair scoots against wooden floor.

TESSA
Hello, dear. What can I get you?

PHOEBE
A round of the usuals!

TESSA
Of course, coming right up.

Footsteps walking away.
Cloth rustles, muted shuffling of metal pieces. Soft dings. Creaks as screws are tinkered with.

NERO
Now, who…?

Tinkering stops.

NERO
(disbelieving chuckle)
That can’t be Phoebe, can it?

PHOEBE
(quiet, scared gasp)

NERO
It is. It’s Phoebe!

PHOEBE
(nervously)
Uhm, Nero.

NERO
As I live and breathe. I haven’t seen you out of Agglomeraccion since… Well… Gods, never! Look at you, out in the daylight!

PHOEBE
I… Yes.

NERO
Where everyone can see you and everything. I heard about what happened to Miles. I’m so sorry. You must be crushed.
(laughs)
Oh, sorry again. What a tasteless pun.

PHOEBE
(stiffly)
Yes. It’s… awful.

NERO
You must have left as soon as it happened to get all the way out here.

PHOEBE
Something like that.

NERO
You’re not by yourself, are you? Miles always said you were useless by yourself.

PHOEBE
No, I’m… I’m with some friends.

NERO
You have friends! That must be new.

PHOEBE
It is. A little.

NERO
What are you working on? Another one of your… doohickies?

PHOEBE
Uh, yes.

NERO
Your hobbies must bring you a great deal of comfort.

PHOEBE
I… Hobbies, yes.

NERO
Your friends don’t mind carrying you around?

PHOEBE
(a little more firmly)
I can walk on my own, Nero.

NERO
(incredulous)
Not last I saw.

PHOEBE
With my crutches I can!

NERO
(mocking)
What, these?

Crutches clack as Nero grabs them.

NERO
That doesn’t count as on your own.

PHOEBE
Nero, give that back!

NERO
Or what?
(with faux concern)
You won’t be able to walk?

PHOEBE
(distressed)
Yes!

NERO
Miles was right, you know? The world is way too dangerous to you.

PHOEBE
(strained, as if near tears or panic)
Nero—!

NERO
(angrily, reproachful)
He’s not even cold, and you run off like you know what you’re doing! How sad.

PHOEBE
Nero, please!

NERO
You’re out adventuring on this piece of junk? I bet I could snap this right in half.

Crutches clack loudly.

PHOEBE
(pleading)
Don’t!

NERO
Or what?
(lowly, derisively)
You’ll fall down on me? Make a gadget to annoy me?

PHOEBE
(labored, anguished breath)

NERO
He worked so hard to keep you safe, and for what? It’s a good thing he can’t see you now. He’d be so…
(disdainful)
Disappointed.

PHOEBE
(upset)
That doesn’t matter now.

Heavy, slow footsteps approaching.

NERO
It doesn’t matter?
(scoffs)
That is cold-blooded.

YAK
You rang for someone cold-blooded?

NERO
Gods’ names. Who’s this?

YAK
Name’s Y’k’ty, and I have this strange feeling that you’re bothering my friend Phoebe.

NERO
(with polite warmth)
No, no, no. You’ve got me all wrong. I’m Nero, an old friend of Phoebe’s.
(pointedly)
Isn’t that right?

PHOEBE
(strangled)
I…
(through a defeated sigh)
Yes.

YAK
That so?

NERO
It is. Now, if you don’t mind, you interrupted our conversation.

YAK
(disbelieving)
Sure, sure. Yeah.
I’d just like to know what you plan on doing with her crutch there.

NERO
What, this?

YAK
Yeah, seems to me like she wasn’t too pleased about you having it.

NERO
Right, well, you know what happens when you assume.

YAK
(in a fake casual tone)
Sure. I’m just thinking if it was me and I needed them to walk, I wouldn’t want to let some creepy acquaintance manhandle them like that.

NERO
(aggressively)
Watch yourself. You don’t know who you’re messing with.

YAK
Don’t I? I think I’ve got you pretty well pegged!

NERO
Yeah, then what am I?

YAK
A bully.
(emphatically)
And I don’t like bullies.
(deep breath)
Phoebe, what do you want your old friend Nero to do?

PHOEBE
(quietly)
Can… Can I have my crutch back?

YAK
You better give it to her!

NERO
Whatever.

Crutch clacks.

NERO
I’ve got my eye on you, Phoebe. Someone ought to be looking out for you.

YAK
(angrily)
Yeah, that’s my job, dumbass.

NERO
Don’t talk to me, snake. You don’t know the first thing about Phoebe.

YAK
Oh, snake, am I?

NERO
I said what I said.

YAK
Oh, yeah? Well, here’s my bite!

Loud, heavy thud against wood. Glass shakes.

NERO
(groans)
(strained with pain)
Ah! My face!

YAK
(with fake cheer)
Wow! Did you see that? Nero is so deep in his cups that he took a header on the bar!
(clicks their tongue)
So clumsy.

NERO
I think you broke my nose!

YAK
Yeah, maybe you’ll think twice next time, bully. Get out of my sight before I show you what I’m really good at.

NERO
This isn’t over!
(grunts)

Footsteps rush away.

YAK
Yeah, right.
(sigh)
People really are the same everywhere. You alright, Phoebe?

Beat.

YAK
Oh, gods! I’m… sorry if I scared you. I just really can’t stand that type of person, and… They don’t listen to reason. I’d never do that to anyone who didn’t deserve it! Promise.

PHOEBE
It’s not that.

YAK
(blankly)
Oh, well… Then, what?

PHOEBE
(agitated)
I… shouldn’t have… It shouldn’t have gone that far.

YAK
Ah, sorry again. Violence is my go-to solution, I’m afraid.

PHOEBE
No, I… should have been able…
(helplessly upset)
Why am I still afraid of Nero?

YAK
Oh. I see.
(pause)
You’ve known him a long time, then?

PHOEBE
He was a friend of my… Yes, I’ve known him for years.

YAK
What a horrible person to have to deal with for years. Sorry.

PHOEBE
(anguished)
But things are different now, don’t you see? I… don’t have to deal with him! I could have…!

YAK
You could have, what? Walked away?
(gently)
How were you to do that? He had your crutch.
(beat)
Look, Nero is right about one thing. I don’t know you that well. I think maybe that’s on purpose on your part.

PHOEBE
(softly)
Yes.

YAK
And you don’t owe me anymore than that, so that’s fine. I just have an inkling about you and I that… maybe we come from similar sorts of places.

PHOEBE
Really?

YAK
Yeah, like maybe there was someone in your life who had altogether too much power? And used it poorly?

PHOEBE
A bully.

YAK
A bully. And sometimes a bully is so powerful that you can’t leave.

PHOEBE
But I should—

YAK
(firmly)
There’s no point in “should”. You’re free of them now, whoever they are. They can’t hurt you here.

PHOEBE
(dryly)
Except Nero.

YAK
Hey, I’m the one who hurt him. I’ll help you out. That’s why I’m here.

Beat.

PHOEBE
Thank you.

YAK
No problem.
(beat)
Anyhow, I came over because we realized you might need help carrying drinks back.

PHOEBE
Oh, right.

TESSA
Here you are.

Glasses clink and thud against hard surface.

TESSA
Thank you for taking care of that, dear. I was about to take my club to him myself.

YAK
(laughs)
Glad to be of assistance.

Glasses clink together.

YAK
Shall we?

PHOEBE
Yes.

Footsteps, one set accompanied by crutches.

MAX
(fading in)
I’m telling you; he was hitting on Phoebe!

RUKES
I’m sorry, which of us is the cleric of a goddess of love?

MAX
Oh, I’m sure you are well practiced, too.

LARKIN
Gods! Phoebe, please just… Can you tell them whether or not you knew that person so we can…
(exhausted)
… resolve this conversation?

Glasses clink against the table.

PHOEBE
I did.

Chairs drag against wooden floor.

PHOEBE
Old family friend.

MAX
Was he hitting on you?

PHOEBE
No.

RUKES
(laughs mockingly)

YAK
Sometimes people are just terrible.

MAX
(sulkingly)
Fine.
Well, settle something else for us now. Can constructs and warforged and such feel… emotions?

PHOEBE
Oh, um. Sometimes. Warforged usually can.

RUKES
What’s the point of making a killing machine that can feel regret?

PHOEBE
Because it’s a killing machine. Don’t you want it to have some moral misgivings?

LARKIN
And what about constructs?

PHOEBE
Not usually. They’re much simpler to build most of the time since they’re generally designed for only one function.

MAX
But… warforged are designed for the sole purpose of being soldiers.

PHOEBE
Being a soldier is a set of commands. You have to know how to fight in formation, how and when to take prisoners, how to do tactics…

LARKIN
Right! As opposed to a construct, which maybe gets told to “guard this door” or something, yeah?

PHOEBE
Yes! Exactly.

YAK
Good to hear you talking, by the way, Phoebs.

PHOEBE
(warmly)
Good to be heard.

RUKES
So is the Inn a giant warforged, then?

TESSA
(faraway)
The Inn is no such thing!

RUKES
(calling out)
Then what is it?

TESSA
(hotly)
An inn!

MAX
Hah! Mystery solved.

YAK
Glad that’s sorted.

Background sounds of tavern fade away.

(13:18) OUTRO:
(13:19) NEXT TIME ON…

Inn Between theme plays in the background.

TESSA
Next time, on Inn Between…

YAK
Whatever happened to those goblins you were talking about?

MAX
I promise that there were goblins in the area!

LARKIN
I hope you’re wrong.

YAK
Ah, don’t worry, goblins aren’t serious.

(13:39) CREDITS:

HANNAH
This episode, “The Bully”, was written and directed by Hannah Wright with assistant director William Wright. The show is produced and edited by Katherine Ayers.

The voice of Larkin is Mason Amadeus. The voice of Max is Malcolm Jay. The voice of Phoebe is Soulara Jane Joslin. The voice of Yak is Emma Laslett. The voice of Rukes is CJ Tanuan.

This episode featured the voice of special guest Brandon Nguyen as Nero. Check out more of Brandon’s work on Starfall, Among the Stars and Bones, SCP Archives, and The Dead.

Our theme song is by Eli Hamada McIlveen, and our artwork is by Gabrielle Buxman. Our transcriber is Ria Couoh. Special thanks to Emma Wright for foley assistance.

Transcripts for this and every episode can be found on our website, thegoblinshead.com.
If you like the show…
(gleefully)
Punch a guy!

Or leave us a review. Thanks for listening!

Music ends.

HANNAH
This story was created in the traditional territory of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples, and edited in the unceded territory of the Salish, Kootenai, and Kalispel peoples.

(14:49) POST-CREDITS:

Background sounds of tavern.

TESSA
No, that special’s over now, I’m afraid. We’re sold out and I don’t have time to go resupply.
Listen, if you want frog’s legs so badly, go track down that hag and find another rude adventurer.

Background sounds of tavern fade away.

(15:10) PROMO: JOSIE’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB.

Slow, moody music led by an electric guitar.

JOSIE
Goodnight, cuties, and welcome to Josie’s Lonely-Hearts Club. I’m your host, Josie Heller. Let’s spend the night together.

So, when was the last time you craved something? Something you can’t think about too much, because wanting it so bad almost hurts? See, that’s how I feel about romance.

Oh, my lonely hearts, I know. It is trite but it is true. I want it, and I’m not ashamed! I dream big, mushy dreams scattered with rose petals, but they wouldn’t call it “falling in love” if it… didn’t hurt a little.

So, how about you give me a jingle, and we can lick each other’s wounds?
Frank, who’s up first?

FRANK
Josie’s Lonely-Hearts Club, a new fiction podcast. New episodes every week, wherever you love getting your podcasts.

EPISODE ENDS.

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