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19 Nocturne Boulevard


19 Nocturne Boulevard is an award-winning anthology audio drama series that ran from 2008 through 2013, and then went into deep hibernation.

RETURNING October 2020!!

Also the creator of Fatal Girl, Bingo the Birthday Clown, The Deadeye Kid, The Lovecraft 5, The Prisoner of Hancock House, The Decadence of Borrowed Silk, Eternal Dusk Roulette, and Atomic Julie's Galactic Bedtime Stories.                                                        Join our awesome Patreon supporters!

Sep 30, 2021

When eccentric recluse Simon Strong, who lives in a perpetually chilled state, vanishes (leaving some rather suspicious remains behind),
his only known associate—a teenage delivery girl—is interviewed by the police!

Cast List
Amber Sorensen - Krystal Baker
Simon Strong - Joel Harvey
Det. Phyllis Jermyn - Julie Hoverson
Det. Howard Upton - Reynaud LeBoeuf

Music:  Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)
Recorded with the assistance of Ryan Hirst of Neohoodoo Studio
Editing and Sound:   Julie Hoverson
Cover Photo:  (courtesy of Stock Xchange.com)

"What kind of a place is it?
Why it's a police station, can't you tell?"

********************************************

Chillin'

This didn’t actually begin with me choosing to adapt another Lovecraft story (in this case "Cool Air").  Frankly, I really liked the 1999 short film, and have a soft spot for the version made for Night Gallery back in the 70s, so I never really considered Cool Air as a priority for adaptation - it had already been done well.  Plus it was kind of low hanging fruit - one of the simpler, more straightforward stories to adapt.

Previous to this, I had produced Within the Walls of Eryx, and even before that, while studying screenwriting, I had practiced adaptation by playing with The Thing on the Doorstep, turning it into an hour-long screenplay that I eventually re-wrote into an episode of 19 Nocturne Boulevard.

Nope, this started when my niece Krystal and I went to see the film Juno.

We enjoyed the movie, and leaving it I decided I wanted to write a sassy teenage character, and started clicking through plots in my head that I could slap her into.  The irony of sticking a character HPL would undoubtedly loathe into one of his stories did not escape me, and when "Cool Air" crossed my mind, it basically started to write itself.

I hammered out the script in less than a week and sent it to Krystal and asked if Amber sounded reasonably authentic, since Krystal was right about that age herself.  Her response was "Could I please play her?"  She did, and did a great job.  I really love working with and encouraging kids in the arts.

Sig and Laurie (mentioned in the story as Amber's folks, but in reality my own dad and stepmom) came to watch the recording session with Krystal and be supportive, and Laurie at least can be heard in the bloopers in the end. 

I also owe great thanks to my friend Robyn who helped with the punk rock details.  She knows rock history back and forth and I knew I just needed the right comment or two to make the character really pop. 

The story adaptation is extremely loose - in the original, a writer moves into a flat below a doctor who keeps his rooms unnaturally cold, and finds out that the doc has maintained his life, long past standard death, by keeping himself perpetually chilled, presumably at least in part to prevent decay.

Rather than going the doctor/science route for my version, I went with magic and reanimation.  I did work a little hint into the story that Simon might be considering some further hocus pocus to preserve himself, but which might involve harming Amber, and he decides he can't.  On the other hand, Amber's slightly guilty concern about having her backpack possibly searched and her disregard for the missing "spooky books" might just indicate that she's not quite ready to let go yet.

The original story "Cool Air" is also notable in that a female character is actually quoted as speaking - the landlady of the flats.  Of course, this is only so she can be a terrible ethnic stereotype, but at least she actually talks, and may be the only female in all of HPL's major works who does. 

Stay tuned at the end of this for a short clip of the German version of Chillin' (retitled "Eiskalt") from Contendo Media!!!

********************************************

CHILLIN'

Cast:

Olivia (host)

Amber Sorensen (16), punky teen

Simon Strong (60s), aged punk rocker

Det. Howard Upton (30s), tough cop

Det. Phyllis Jermyn (30s), nice cop

Bouncers

OLIVIA     Did you have any trouble finding it?  What do you mean, what kind of a place is it?  Why, it's a police station, can't you tell? 

MUSIC    MODERN COP DRAMA STING

SOUND    THUNK OF TAPE RECORDER TURNING ON. 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM - WHIR OF TAPE RECORDER.  OCCASIONAL SCUFFLE OF CHAIRS

UPTON    Name?

AMBER    [mocking] Sorensen. Amber.  S-O-R-E-N-S-E-N.  O-N is Norwegian.

UPTON    What?

AMBER    [said a million times] O-N is Norwegian, E-N is Danish.

UPTON    So you're Danish?

AMBER     [disgusted noise] Do I sound Danish?  Uch.  Like my great great great great great was. 

UPTON    Then why--?

JERMYN    I understand.  My name gets misspelled all the time.  Let's move on.  Present are detectives Howard Upton and Phyllis Jermyn [pronounced "german", pause] J-E-R-M-Y-N, and Amber Sorensen, with an E-N. 

UPTON    Age?

AMBER    I have the right to remain silent.  I have the right to an attorney.  If I cannot afford one, one will be ... assigned?  Allotted?  I should know this - I watch enough Law and Order. 

UPTON    [sigh] We don't read witnesses their rights.  That's for suspects.  Age?

AMBER    [sullen] You got my I.D.  What does it say?

UPTON    Hmm.  You don't look 21.

JERMYN    [sympathetic] You really don't.

AMBER    Fine.  So it's a fake - I want to speak to the D.A., like trade my information in return for a slide on the bogus I.D., can I‑‑??

SOUND    PHONE BEEP

UPTON    Oh, turn that off.  Not just silent, either.  Off.

SOUND    PHONE BEING TURNED OFF

JERMYN    We're really not interested in prosecuting you.  We just want to know about Simon Strong.

UPTON    The alleged Simon Strong. 

AMBER    Dude.  He was the full meal deal, you know.  I watched videos of his band, from like before I was born, and it was totally him.

UPTON    Then who was the deceased?

AMBER    Like I said, it was him.  What?  Do you ride the short bus?

UPTON    It couldn't be him, because you said you spoke with him recently, and--

JERMYN    [cutting him off]  Let's start at the beginning.  How did you meet Mr. Strong?

AMBER    [miserable]  He hates being called Mister.  [deep breath, blasé lies]  I was making a delivery--

MUSIC

 

SFX    HEAVY METAL/PUNK MUSIC FADES INTO THE BACKGROUND, AMBER BECOMES VOICE OVER.

AMBER [v.o.]    --of, some box or other.  I got inside, took the wrong turn--

SFX    MUSIC IS MUFFLED BY DISTANCE, BUT CLEARLY LOUD

SOUND    AMBER'S HEAVY BREATHING UP CLOSE - SOUNDS LIKE ECSTASY, BUT IT'S JUST PANIC AND EXERTION.

AMBER    Oh, shit!

AMBER [v.o]    I was supposed to go to the manager's office--

SOUND    HEAVY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH AT A RUN

SOUND    AMBER'S BREATHING QUICKENS.  HER FOOTSTEPS TAKE OFF QUICKLY.

BOUNCER    [off] Get back here, dogmeat!

AMBER [v.o]    And I just knocked on the wrong door.

SOUND     HEAVY FEET ARE DISTANT, BUT APPROACHING. 

SOUND    AMBER'S FEET GET CLOSE.

SOUND    SLAM OF BODY AGAINST DOOR.  POUNDING ON DOOR

AMBER    Let me in!  They're after me!!!  Please! 

SOUND     POUNDING CONTINUES.  HEAVY FEET GET CLOSER

AMBER    Please!  I - I'm having a heart attack!  Let me in or I'll totally die!

SOUND    SLIDING DOOR OPENS

AMBER    Whoa!

SOUND    STUMBLING STEPS FORWARD, BODY FALLS, SLIDING DOOR SHUTS. 

SFX    MUSIC CUTS OUT COMPLETELY.

AMBER    Oh.  Shit.  Look, I'm--

SOUND    SCUTTLING ACROSS WOOD FLOOR

SIMON     [filtered, mechanical sounding]  Look into the camera please.

AMBER    Camera--?  Oh.  [shivers slightly] 

SOUND    A COUPLE OF HESITANT FOOTSTEPS

AMBER    Hi!  Look, can you just tell me how to get out of here?  There's no need for --

SIMON    [filter] What was that about a heart attack?

AMBER    Oh, that.  That was - that was bullshit.  [joking]  I had it removed - years ago.

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM [CUTS IN SUDDENLY]

UPTON    Was your relationship with this Mister Strong, sexual?

AMBER    Ew!!!  He was like my great grandad's age - like, even older than you!

JERMYN    [coughs away a laugh]  You say you made the delivery and just happened to "make friends" with Strong?  Everyone else says he was a complete recluse.  Didn't like people.

AMBER    Nah.  He liked people, but he was really sick.  I mean, like ill, not deviant.

SIMON    [on filter]  Step through.

SOUND    DOOR SLIDES OPEN

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE     COOL ROOM - THE HUM OF A HEAVY FREEZER UNIT

AMBER    [gasps at the cold]  Whoa!  Um, can I just go?  I promise not to try any --

SIMON    [unfiltered, but rough and almost a whisper]  What WERE you trying?

AMBER    I ... really just wanted to hear the band, but your guys caught me.  I mean, I assume since you're here, they're yours--

SIMON    I own the club, yes. 

AMBER    [after a slight silence]  Okay, is it just me or is your heater broken?  [brr noise]

SIMON    [dry chuckle] 

AMBER    [noticing something] Dude! 

SOUND    A COUPLE OF EXCITED FOOTSTEPS

AMBER    Can you watch, like, the whole entire club from here?

SFX    ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR SHIFTS

SIMON    [disinterested] I can--

AMBER    Omigod!  Do you have sound?  Is there a button?

SIMON    --but it gets boring after a while. 

AMBER    They're totally bumping uglies in the bathroom, right there!  Look!  Look!

SOUND    SWITCH

AMBER    [annoyed]  Hey!

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM CUTS IN

UPTON    Sick?  What kind of disease did he have, Ebola?  The state of that body--

JERMYN    We really shouldn't go into that yet, Howie.

AMBER    What time is it?

UPTON    What?  Why?

AMBER    Just asking.  You made me turn my phone off.  I have a curfew. 

JERMYN    Would you like us to call home for you?

AMBER    [shrug]  Nah. 

UPTON    And your parents, they approved of all this?

AMBER    My folks are...  Cool.  They don't care--

UPTON    Like they don't mind that hair cut?

AMBER    Sig and Laurie let me do dumb stuff cause they know I won't do anything stupid. 

UPTON    Like spending all your time hanging out in a bar?

AMBER    It's a club.  And, for a rocker, Simon was pretty uptight about underage boozing and ...stuff. 

UPTON    [leaps on it] Stuff?  What kind of stuff?

AMBER    What?  Stuff.  Just ... stuff.  Dude, you need to switch to decaf.  Or valium.

UPTON    Did you ever see this man with any illegal substances?

AMBER    Well, he had all kinds of medications - being sick and all, and I [sounding mock sorry]  I guess I forgot to look them all up in the handy dandy book of all things illegal. 

UPTON    I thought prescription pills were the latest thing these days. 

AMBER    Only with the kind of freak whose parents go to shrinks and who have time to sit around and stare at carpet lint.  I got better things to do.

JERMYN    Like what?

AMBER    Plus it's dangerous.  You know what viagra can do to--  What?

JERMYN     What kinds of things do you like to do?

AMBER    I-- like music, I write. I function as a higher organism.

UPTON    She means what do you plan to do with your life, Amber Sorensen with an E-N?

JERMYN    Actually I was just--

AMBER    What do you want, a mission statement and a business plan?  Dude, I'm 16. 

UPTON    I knew what I wanted to do at 16.

AMBER    [muttered] But your ass is so tight it whistles. 

JERMYN     [tries not to snicker]

UPTON    Hmm?

AMBER    [louder] I bet your dad was a cop.

UPTON    So?

AMBER    Nothing.  Just you seem like maybe you grew up with it. 

UPTON    Are you gonna follow in your folks' footsteps?

AMBER    [flat and sarcastic] Oh, yeah.  Weddings are my life.

JERMYN    We don't want to keep you here all night - curfew, and all that.  What was wrong with your friend?

AMBER    Simon said he had some kind of wasting thing --

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COOL ROOM

SIMON    Munoz syndrome.  I have to carefully regulate my body temperature.

AMBER    So you're, like, Mr. Freeze?  Not exactly Ahh-nold, there, string bean.

SIMON    And I have to avoid excitement. 

AMBER    [pause]  That's a hint, eh?  Can I at least get out without going through the American Gladiators?

SOUND    SLIDING DOOR OPENS

AMBER    Thanks.  Hey, if you get completely bored or anything, my I-M is--

SIMON    No.

AMBER    Um, ok.  You just seem kinda lonely.

SOUND    HER SLOW FOOTSTEPS

SFX    WHEELCHAIR SHIFTS AGAIN

SIMON    Perhaps you could come back tomorrow, during the day.  I could use someone to run errands for me.  The pay would be reasonable. 

AMBER    Could I watch the band?

SIMON    You could watch from here, but you'd have to dress warmly--

AMBER    I'll bring a parka!

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

UPTON    Are you adopted?

AMBER    [flabbergasted] What?  Whoa!  I think there are some low-flying non sequeters in here.  Did you see where that came from?

JERMYN    Uh... no.

UPTON    You call your parents [checks notes] um, Sig and Laurie.

AMBER    Doh, everyone does.  [slow and condescending] Those are their names, Billy.

UPTON    Most kids your age still call their folks mom and dad.

AMBER    Maybe most kids your age.  Most of us would rather be cremated.  [shrugs] mm.  Except to their face.  The folks still like to think we're all the same little rugrats they knew and love.  [snort]

UPTON    So you make a point of lying to your folks?

AMBER    There's that non-sequeter again.  You should really get a bug zapper.

JERMYN    You probably think of it as "humoring them" rather than lying.

UPTON    Two faced is two faced.

AMBER    If you can't be two-faced, you shoulda found a better one to be stuck with.

UPTON    Look here--

AMBER    I bet you never get to play good cop. 

UPTON    What?

JERMYN    Howie, maybe we should take a break.  Get some water. 

UPTON    [growl] I'm fine.

JERMYN    Would you get me some?  Amber?

AMBER    Uh, sure.

UPTON    [annoyed noise] 

SOUND    STOMPS OUT, DOOR SLAMS

AMBER    Wow.  Where do I get one?

JERMYN    Don't be fooled - I'm not always the good cop.

AMBER    Oh?

JERMYN    You say you don't do drugs.  We could test you--

AMBER    [disgusted noise] pssh.

JERMYN    --and go through your backpack--

AMBER    [worried] Huh?

JERMYN    But I'm going to trust you on that, because you walked right past one of our drug dogs on the way in, and I don't think you're the type to get caught in a stupid lie.

AMBER    [thinks, then] You think I'll get caught in a smart one?

JERMYN    Let's just agree that I won't underestimate you, and you do me the same favor.

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COLD ROOM

SOUND    DOOR SLIDES OPEN

SIMON    You can leave it there.

SOUND    FOOTSTEPS

AMBER    Hey.  Wassup?

SOUND    WHIR OF WHEELCHAIR TURNING

SIMON    [annoyed] What?

AMBER    Just making conversation.

SIMON    "Wassup" isn’t conversation.

AMBER     It is if you answer.  Besides, with most of my friends, I-M-H-O, O-M-G, L-O-L is conversation.  Wassup is practically a monolog.

SIMON    [snort, then painful noise, trying not to cough]  Well.  [dismissive] Now that that's settled--

AMBER    [overly casual] If you want me to go, just say.  [shrug] I got stuff to do.

SOUND    a MOMENT, then FOOTSTEPS GO AWAY

SIMON    [calling] You... you wanted to watch the band?

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

SOUND    DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS

UPTON    Your water.

SOUND    WATER BOTTLES GET SLAMMED DOWN, ONE BY ONE

JERMYN    Thank you. Howie.

UPTON    [makes disgruntled noises]

AMBER    Yeah.  Cheers, Howie.

UPTON    [disgusted noise] Huh. 

AMBER    Look, my parents actually like me to use their names - makes them feel like they're helping me assert my personhood or something.  I do it to humor them.

UPTON    Fine.

UPTON    [trying to sound unconcerned] We need a physical description of the alleged Mr. Strong.

AMBER    Watch a video of Madness Machine on Youtube.  Then figure older.  A bunch older. 

UPTON    How very...specific.  How tall was he?

AMBER    That's kind of a pickle.  I never saw him stand up - he was always in his bumper car.

UPTON    What?

JERMYN    The mechanized wheelchair.

AMBER    He had to avoid exerting himself  [thinking]  OK, so imagine classic Simon, then really thin - like even more than heroin-chic, maybe almost to starving third world skinny.

JERMYN    Could it have been faked?  Perhaps something in the way he dressed?

AMBER    Doubtful, Phyllis.  He usually kicked it in jams.  Not much to hide behind. 

UPTON    Speak English.

AMBER    [sounding british-ish]  The subject in question had a strong tendency to desport himself in capacious yet abbreviated trousers, much as those the predominant choice of American surfboard riders lean toward.

JERMYN    [Snicker]

UPTON    You mean he wore shorts.  In that cold?

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COLD ROOM

SIMON    If it bothers you, I could put something else on.

AMBER    Yeah, 'cuz like you're so tasty, Bubba-Ho-Tep, that I'm gonna totally jump on you if you keep wheeling around half-naked like that.  [beat]  Nah - it's kinda creepy, but I'll adjust.  Like having a weird uncle.

SIMON    [wheezy laugh] 

AMBER    But a cool one.  I mean - not just [brr], but cool.

SIMON    I must be, since you're neglecting your social whirl to spend time here in this arctic wasteland. 

AMBER    Oh, yeah - I have to sneak out the window to get away from the endless line of bimboons waiting to take me to the prom.

SIMON    Bimboon? 

AMBER    It's like someone in a boy band,  The guy equivalent of a bimbo. 

SIMON    [laughs] 

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

UPTON    He scooted around in a wheelchair, wearing shorts, and you didn't think that was odd?

AMBER    Duh.  Of course.

UPTON    But you never told anyone about him?

AMBER    He'd'a been pissed.  Plus people woulda thought - you know - creepy stuff.

UPTON    What if he decided to try something?

AMBER    Beep beep.  I can outrun a wheelchair.  At least as far as the stairs.

UPTON    And what if he could really get up?

AMBER    I doubt it, Billy.  He didn't have any little blue pills.

UPTON    [flustered] I didn't--  I meant get up and walk.

AMBER    Yeah you did.  You're the one who's all worried he's gonna go perv on me.

UPTON    If you were my daughter--

AMBER    Get out of the way of the door.  One of us would probably be dead.

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COLD ROOM

AMBER    The bottles - it's all for your illness, right?  Like the meth lab in the bathroom?

SIMON    [shocked]  It's not a--!

AMBER    Doh, yeah.  I was kidding.  So is it a big secret experiment thing? 

SIMON    I - I keep tracking down recipes for preparations and elixirs that ... that might help me.  Some seem to work for a little while, but nothing ... lasts.

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

JERMYN    [snap] Howie.  Did you have any more questions?

UPTON    What about his hair?

AMBER    [snapped back] What?  It looked pretty much the same.

UPTON    A-ha!  Too clever for his own good.

AMBER    Not every guy over 50 needs canned hair, Billy.

UPTON    And this guy claimed to be THE Simon Strong.

AMBER    I already told you he was.  I didn't even know who that was that first time, cause like I'd never heard of him before, but soon as I could, I googled him and voy-la!

UPTON    Vwa-la.

AMBER    [whispered] Beep Beep.

UPTON    What?

JERMYN    For the record, Simon Strong was the lead singer and songwriter for a punk band called Madness Machine in the mid to late 1970s. 

AMBER    American punk band.

UPTON    Who cares?

AMBER    [earnest] It's important - British punk was British punk and American punk was--

JERMYN    But you'd never heard of this band before you met Strong?

AMBER    [sigh]  Pre-cisely.  Funny sort of six degrees thing, though - once I saw the band name, it clicked, 'cuz my grandad had one of their albums in his LP collection.  Serious.  How's that for whoo-OO-oo [spooky noise]?

UPTON    [disbelieving snort] Your grandpa listened to punk?

AMBER    Duh.  He willed his tattoos to science.  Stay back from the door, Billy.

JERMYN    You said you met Mr. Strong --?

AMBER    Halloween night.  That's why they had such a cool band in the house.

JERMYN    About nine months, then.  And how often did you see him?

AMBER    Most days.  I did his shopping and stuff and stopped in for a chat. 

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COOL ROOM

SIMON    Are you a retard?  The Sex Pistols were totally the Monkees of punk.  They were a made band.  Their manager put them together.

AMBER    [teasing] I suppose you met him too?

SIMON    Once.  How much respect can you have for a guy who also created Bow Wow Wow?

AMBER    Bow Wow What?

SIMON    You must ride the short bus.  Beep beep, Billy, don't stand in the way of the door.  [wheezy chuckle]  The Ramones, now, they were the real thing.  They lived punk.

AMBER    You're pretty feisty for an old crip who's s'posed to keep frosty.

SIMON    [dry chuckle]

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

JERMYN    When our people searched the "residence" over the club, they found a number of, um - unusual items.

AMBER    Like?

JERMYN    The enormous refrigeration unit that apparently kept the place fairly, um--

UPTON    Meat locker-ish. 

AMBER    [wry]  So he was cool.  So?

UPTON    According to electric company records, he was using enough energy to be frozen. 

AMBER    And?  What, didn't he pay his bill?  It's his business what he does with his juice.

UPTON    There are a lot of things you can do with that much juice.  Things, for instance, that the narcotics squad would be very interested in. 

AMBER    [exasperated] Beep beep.

UPTON    I am getting really sick of--

JERMYN    Amber.  Can you shed any light on the occult paraphernalia he apparently collected?

AMBER    It's not like I had the run of the place.  We'd just hang in the main room - where all the video consoles are.  He talked about some old books, though.

JERMYN    Did you ever see anyone else with him?  Did he talk about other visitors?

AMBER     Oh, heck no.  He didn't like people to see how sick he was, but like, since I already knew, he had somebody to talk to, right?

AMBIANCE    COOL ROOM

SOUND    DOOR SLIDES SHUT

AMBER    Hey! 

SIMON    [anxious] You're late.

AMBER    [aping his wiped out voice] "Hi Amber, so glad to see you."

SIMON    I was exp-- [slight chuckle, sigh]  I am.  Yes.

AMBER    You worried about me or your [singsong] Special Delivery!?

SIMON    It's here?

AMBER    No, it's a phone book I wrapped up and sent the long way, let's see, through - wow.  Egypt and London?  That's tight!

SIMON    Open it, please.

AMBER    'kay.

SOUND    PAPER UNWRAPS FROM LARGE BOOK.

AMBER    Oh, jeez - you got so ripped off.

SIMON    What do you mean?

AMBER    This is such a gag gift.  It's like from that movie - "I'll swallow your soul!  I'll swallow your soul!"

SIMON    Give it here.  [pause]  Ah.  No, this is the real thing.  The dark jewel of any occult collection.

AMBER     [sniffing] Ok, so it smells older than Bruce Campbell, but still --

SIMON    I need to be alone.  Come back next Wednesday.

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

AMBER    He did burn incense and drink weird stuff.  I figured it was alternative medicine, or maybe Kabbalah - that's all the rage with the red carpet crowd, right?

UPTON    Did he ever say what was wrong with him?

AMBER    Mun-yoes syn-drome, Billy.

UPTON    Stop calling--

JERMYN    But what is Munoz syndrome?  Did you ever, say, Google it?

AMBER    Well, yeeah.  There were a couple - but they had longer names, and were like degenerative eye diseases, so I figured, you know, that wasn't it.

UPTON    Did you ever ask him?

AMBER    Well, right off I asked if it was catching, and he said no, so I figured that's all I care about, and if wants to talk about it he'll say.

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COOL ROOM

SIMON    Munoz syndrome is extremely rare.  I contracted it almost thirty years ago--

AMBER    Ooh!  Let me guess.  When you [reporter voice] "vanished from the public eye"!

SIMON    Where--?

AMBER     Wikipedia.  Shh.  I'm shushing.

SIMON    My band was in New Orleans, when this came on.  Normal medicine couldn't help, so I turned to the uh, folk practitioners.

AMBER    Like Voodoo?  No wonder you're buying all creepy books and incense.

SIMON    It's a lot more serious than movie voodoo, but that's close. 

AMBER    And the cold?

SIMON    It slows my metabolism. 

AMBER      Mine too - Brr.

SFX    THE HUM OF THE FREEZER DIPS FOR A MOMENT

SIMON    [gasps and holds his breath until the power returns]

AMBER    Wha--?

SIMON    [very tense]  The wiring's getting old. 

AMBER    So get a new fridge.

SIMON    No, the building's wiring.  Between music and lights and all, it carries quite a load.

AMBER    You should move, then - and before summer.  Seriously.

SIMON    How can I go anywhere?  I have to stay a constant level.

AMBER    I dunno.  [thinking]  Hey, ice cream truck - I once saw this movie where they were carting a corpse around in the back--

SIMON    [strong]  No.  No.  Tomorrow, maybe you could look at generators. 

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

JERMYN    But he was well off - according to the IRS.

AMBER    He spent a buttload on his creepy books and exotic bags of dirt and stuff.  [catching herself]  Or, that's what he told me. 

UPTON    And he trusted you to carry around these expensive packages?

AMBER    I didn't know what they were.  I'd probably have freaked and got all paranoid.  He said other people were after them, too.

UPTON    [eager] Other people?  Do you think they might have taken the books after Strong disappeared?

AMBER    Tscha.  He didn't disappear.  He's dead.  Beep Beep.

UPTON    [takes in an angry breath]

JERMYN    Ok, let's go back--

UPTON     No, let's talk about this.  You're saying that the corpse you discovered in that - what you call "the cold room" - was the person you knew as Simon Strong.

AMBER    It had to be.

UPTON    Then pray explain to me how it could be that that body had been dead for well over a decade?

AMBER    [shrug, statement]  You're wrong.

UPTON    So all our experts are wrong.  And you know better.

AMBER    [trying] Your experts obviously aren't familiar with Munoz Syndrome.  That's all.

UPTON     Right.  So you know better.  You know what I think?

JERMYN    [warning]  Howie...

UPTON    No, Phyl.  Not this time.  I'm getting tired of this little girl, trying to live in a dream world.  She needs a dose of harsh reality.

AMBER    [hysterical laughter]  Harsh reality?  [can't stop laughing]  You don't have a clue how harsh reality can get.  [breaks down into tears]

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    COLD ROOM

SIMON    Turn the thermostat down a bit, would you?

AMBER    Down?  Dude, my eyeballs are already icing over. 

SIMON    [pause] Maybe you shouldn't come here any more.

AMBER    [upset]  What?  [beat, then blasé]  And lose the school credit I'm getting for looking after the elderly and infirm?  Uh-uh.

SIMON    [slight wheezing laugh, turns into cough, then deep breath]  I... I probably won't last much longer.

AMBER    No way!  You're fine!  Well, not fine, but‑‑

SIMON    It's been coming for a long time.  And the elixirs aren't working any more.  Nothing is working.

AMBER    The book can't--?

SIMON    I thought there would be things I could ...bring myself to do, but it's not worth it.

AMBER    It's always worth living.

SIMON    When I'm gone, take it and burn it.  Promise?

AMBER    If you can't use it, sell it!  Use the money to get more colder.  You'll be fine.

SIMON    No. 

SFX    POWER DIP, THEN HUM RETURNS

SIMON    [long shaky breath]  I always think it will be the last one. 

AMBER    I'LL buy you a generator.

SIMON    Have you seen the gas prices recently?  Cooling takes too much energy - even if you get one, I won't be able to afford the gasoline. 

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

AMBER    [still breathing in little gasps, coming down from a crying jag]

SOUND    WATER BOTTLE OPENED

JERMYN    Drink.

SOUND    PLASTIC BOTTLE SET ON TABLE

UPTON    [annoyed] Are you through? 

AMBER    [cough, sniff]

UPTON    So, here's what I think is going on.  This guy has been trying to establish himself as Simon Strong, famous recluse and mysterious celebrity.

AMBER    That's too dumb even for the short bus.

UPTON    Oh, yeah?  Dumb to the tune of half a mil a year.  Between the club, which the real Strong did purchase in December of 1979, and the royalties on his old music - particularly the musical um, chunks, or segments--

JERMYN    Riffs.

UPTON    Yes, whatever, that people used in their own--

JERMYN    Sampled.

UPTON    [deep annoyed sigh] During the 80s and 90s-- [waits, but there is no interjection] --he had pots of money rolling in.

AMBER    Which he spent on books and crud.  I told you.

UPTON     Kid, no one spends that much on books.  Did you ever actually see these books, or did you just bring him book-shaped packages?

AMBER    [silent for a beat]  No, I guess I never actually saw them.

UPTON    I say he's been salting it away, staying around long enough to move everything to the Caymans and then - Voy-la - take a powder.

AMBER    But the body--

JERMYN    [sadly] WAS the real Simon Strong.  Dental records have confirmed it.  But Amber, he'd been dead for a very long time. 

UPTON    Which explains the cold.  The fake didn't want the - uh - deceased stinking up the place.

AMBER    [muttered] Yeah, easier to freeze the whole place, than just pack a corpse in a chest freezer.

JERMYN    Are you up to telling us how you discovered the body?

AMBER    [very subdued] Sure.  I got to the club, and everything was dark.  I freaked-- Well, I got really worried, and ran up to his room.  The body was just... there... and it was...

JERMYN    --In an advanced state of decomposition.

AMBER    Yeah, that.

MUSIC

 

SFX    NO SOUND OF FRIDGE, JUST DISTANT STREET NOISES. 

SOUND    DOOR SLIDES OPEN WITH DIFFICULTY.

AMBER     [Grunts] Dammit, open!  damm---it [squeaks through]  Simon!  Simon?  [almost chokes] What is-- oh jeez!

SOUND    HESITANT FOOTSTEPS

SOUND    SQUISHY MOVEMENT NOISE

AMBER    What the he-e-e-ll?

SIMON    [Almost inaudible]  Turn off the flashlight. 

SOUND    CLICK FLASHLIGHT OFF

AMBER    I'll get you some ice, I'll ---

SIMON    Damage is done.  Don't go.  I wasn't sure if I wanted you here or not -- for this.

AMBER    Can I--?  Do you need--?

SIMON    Don't... touch me.  Please.  Just listen.  Listen!  Take the books and burn them.  I need to know you will.

AMBER    Yeah, sure.

SIMON    I- I've willed the club to you.  Don't get your hopes up, the police aren't going to .... [trails off] 

AMBER    Simon!  [breaking down] I don't want you to die.  You can't die! [etc., sobbing]

SIMON    This isn't -- I... haven't... been living...  for a long time.  Let me go.

AMBER    No!

SIMON    Shh! 

AMBER    [controls herself] Shushing. [gasp]

SIMON    In 1977, I O.D.ed on heroin and, [gasping cough] -- I... died.  It was never reported because a local Bocor brought me back...

AMBER    [small voice]  Like a zombie?

SIMON    [sigh, not quite a chuckle]  I knew you'd understand.

AMBER    But we can do it again, right?  Bring you back?

SIMON    [dying, trailing off]  Beep Beep.  Get out of the way of the door, Billy....

AMBER    [sobs]

MUSIC

 

AMBIANCE    INTERVIEW ROOM

AMBER    Guess I'm glad it ain't him - the ... borscht.  But he was cool.  For an old dude.

UPTON    If he contacts you in any way--

AMBER    [dryly sarcastic] Oh, sure.  I'll be right on the phone to you.

UPTON    Do you understand the meaning of accessory to fraud?  Harboring a fugitive, maybe?

AMBER    Well, I do watch a lot of TV.  Besides, it's not like I'm getting anything out of it.

UPTON    The club has been transferred into your name, Amber Sorensen with an E-N.  The heirs of the real Simon Strong will probably contest it.

AMBER    Pff.  Don't care.  Are we done?

JERMYN    You'll have to wait a few minutes while your statement is typed up.  Once you sign it, you're good to go.

AMBER     Sure.  Hey, did your CSI guys really not find any books or anything at the scene?

JERMYN    Nothing of any importance. 

UPTON    And no clue to his offshore account.

AMBER    Hmm.  Oh well.  [grunts with effort]

SOUND    CREAK OF LIFTING A HEAVY BACKPACK ONTO HER BACK

JERMYN    You going to be OK without a coat?  It's a bit chilly out tonight.

SOUND    DOOR OPENS. 

SFX    OFFICE NOISE. 

SOUND     COUPLE FOOTSTEPS

AMBER    Really?  [laughs]  Nah.  I'm cool.

SOUND    FOOTSTEPS LEAVE.

MUSIC    MODERN COP THEME, FADE OUT

CLOSER

OLIVIA    Now that you know how to find us, you'll have to come back.  Maybe next week?  Don't be a stranger - we have enough of those already...  

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