Nov 3, 2022
Rookie newshound Theo Walsh is sent on his first job for the World Bugle (provider of hard-hitting news about Elvis, aliens, and the paranormal) Oh, my!
Written and produced by Julie Hoverson
Theo Walsh - Henry Mark
Leona Pope - Robyn Keyes
Selena Hempstead - Karena Fredrick
Chief - Julie Hoverson
Child - Chandra Wade
Truth - Melissa Pang
Justice - Jerry Bennett
Hygiene - Gwendolyn Gieseke-Woodard
Bruce, the Bounty Hunter - Joel Harvey
Sidekick - Reynaud Leboeuf
Awesome Guest appearance by Bryan, Dave, Wes, and Uncle Randy of Drunken Zombie Podcast as the other reporters!!!
Episode Music: Josh Woodward (www.joshwoodward.com)
19 Nocturne theme - Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)
Recorded with the assistance of Ryan Hirst of Neohoodoo Studio
Editing and Sound: Julie Hoverson
Cover: Brett Coulstock
What kind of a place is it?
Why it's a bullpen - this is where the NEWS happens.
CULTISTS STOLE MY BABY!
[Opening credits - Olivia]
Selena Hempstead, the mother
Theo Walsh, cub reporter
Leona Pope, jaded old hand photographer
Justice, older male cultist
Hygiene, stern female cultist
Truth, sweet female cultist
Chief, Editor of the Monthly Bugle
Reporters Bryan, Dave, Randy and Wes
Bruce the bounty hunter
Thug, his sidekick
OLIVIA Did you have any trouble finding it? What do you mean, what kind of a place is it? Why, it's a bullpen, can't you tell? This is where the news happens.
SOUND PASSING THROUGH A NOISY NEWSROOM
REPORTER BRYAN [on phone] We can't do anything about that unless Elvis actually spoke to you. He did? Can your dog verify that?
REPORTER WES [on phone] Right, I got that, but the beans - you have to eat them raw for the diet to work? Isn't that kind of crunchy?
REPORTER RANDY Do you have any pictures? Was the alien wearing the leather bunny suit while it was impregnating you?
REPORTER DAVE How do you know the post-it was placed on your fridge by aliens?
SOUND DOOR OPENS, NOISE CONTINUES UNDER
THEO Hello? Boss?
LEONA Come on in.
SOUND DOOR SHUTS, NOISE CUT OUT
THEO Hey! I'm super excited to have this chance to--
LEONA Save it. I'm not the guy. Editor'll be back in a moment.
THEO Oh! Well, I'm Theo.
LEONA Whatever you do, don't stare.
SOUND DOOR OPENS, HANDS WIPING ON TOWEL
CHIEF All right - oh you're here, good.
THEO Um - yeah, I'm so excited to have this chance to--
CHIEF Save it. I got your resume. Right, Theo - Theo....
SOUND PAPERS BEING SHUFFLED
CHIEF You don't sound all that sure. Not a bad name, though kinda normal. How about we give you a nickname - Flash! No, that doesn’t work with Walsh. Zip?
LEONA I'll see what fits. What's the job?
CHIEF Yeah, yeah. Ok, Theo Walsh with a journalism degree from West Podunk Community College, meet Leona Pope - she'll keep you from hurting yourself or making the Bugle liable.
LEONA Mostly I just take your photos.
THEO So, what are we going to be working on--?
CHIEF Theo. Leona. E-O. There you go. You're the E-O team now - no, no - even better - Team E-O.
CHIEF All business, eh, doll? Right, then. Look, Theo, my family has run this magazine for three generations.
THEO [eager] Oh, yes - I know!
LEONA [heavy sigh] Newb.
THEO This newspaper brings the most cutting edge stories to life every week!
LEONA You actually believe that?
CHIEF Shut it. Go on.
THEO Well, I've followed the World Bugle for years - and I do realize that a lot of the material in here is puff - or straight out made up stuff--
THEO [backpedaling] No! no - let me explain! I understand completely - to be able to print the hard cold truth about the really controversial topics, like UFOs and the paranormal, you have to fill in the bulk of the magazine with implausibilities, just so that the real truth only reaches the people who already understand!
CHIEF Hmph. Yeah. Something like that.
LEONA [wicked chuckle]
CHIEF Anyway. I've got a sauna and massage, followed by a mani-pedi at noon, so let's get you moving-- I have an informant in room 3. Have fun.
THEO I'm so excited about this--
LEONA Come on.
SOUND PHONE PICKED UP
CHIEF Yeah, Sergei? Oh yeah, that sounds real nice...
SOUND DOOR OPENS, NEWSROOM NOISE
SOUND DOOR SHUTS
THEO Wh-what did you mean, don't stare?
LEONA At the Chief.
THEO He looks just like any other big newspaper editor.
LEONA You missed it?
THEO You mean the comb-over and five o'clock shadow? The mole? The flabby man-boobs?
THEO [shuddering] Oh....
SOUND FOOTSTEPS STOP
THEO After you.
LEONA You're the reporter. You go first. [ominous] Always.
THEO You make that sound like a bad thing.
LEONA I've been in the biz for 20 years and I've been teamed up 73 times. You do the math.
SOUND DOOR OPENS
THEO Hello. Um, I'm Theo--
THEO [boggled] What?
LEONA Trying out nicknames.
THEO Not right now.
THEO Yes, sorry. I'm Theo. This is Leona.
SELENA Is it safe here?
SOUND DOOR SHUTS
THEO [shrug] Yeah. [brightly] So you have a story for us?
SELENA Yes, but - there's a life at stake.
THEO [eager] Really?
SELENA [trying not to cry] My... baby.
THEO Oh! Here--
SOUND TISSUE BOX GRABBED AND MOVED, TISSUE PULLED
SELENA [blows her nose] They took him--!
SELENA No. Worse.
SELENA [dry, not crying] Oh, please. [sniffling again] Cultists.
THEO Other cultists?
SELENA [annoyed] Yes - are you--? Um, is there another reporter I can talk to?
THEO Sorry, I'm just trying to make sure I get my facts straight.
LEONA [musing] Straight. Arrow. Shooter.
LEONA Nothing. But I think you got your first headline right there.
THEO I do?
LEONA [important] CULTISTS STOLE MY BABY!
SELENA [over music] Did you say his first?
SOUND CAR NOISES
THEO [narrating] So team E-O made their way to the lair of the cultists.
THEO They have a whole town?
LEONA Were you narrating?
SOUND TAPE RECORDER TURNED OFF, HIDDEN
THEO Me, no. Why? Is that bad?
LEONA I worked with a guy who narrated once. Once.
THEO [gulp] Oh. Well. What's the name of this town?
LEONA Where were you during the interview?
THEO I was there - I even took notes.
LEONA How many shirt buttons did she have open?
THEO [dreamy] four.
THEO Right, um--
SOUND FLIPPING PAGES
THEO Wow. [reading] I don't remember any of this.
LEONA Automatic writing?
THEO How do you think I got through college?
SOUND FLIPS ONE MORE PAGE
THEO Aha! Sorry - nope. I didn't get the name. Just wrote "Town."
LEONA The name was "town". Apparently they're big on using the "true names" of things.
THEO Bet that's easy to find on a map.
LEONA [flat] Wow. [sucks in air] Just... wow.
THEO It's so...clean. And everyone looks kind of ... normal.
LEONA What were you expecting? Black robes and facial tattoes?
THEO Um... yeah.
TRUTH May I help you?
LEONA All yours.
THEO [gulps] Right. [deep breath, blows out] Right. We're ...uh...
LEONA Smooth. That should be your nickname. Smoothie.
THEO ...scouting for a new smoothie bar. Our Smoothie bar company...um... Groovy Smoothie ...is looking for new locations.
LEONA Not too dusty.
TRUTH Wow. That would be lovely. But you'd have to use all natural ingredients. We're very back to nature here.
THEO I noticed. The all-cotton clothes. The non-synthetic shoes and accessories.
TRUTH Are you sure you just noticed, or have you been doing your homework?
THEO Um... While I'd love to say I was bright enough--
LEONA So would I.
THEO --to look ahead, I really just noticed.
TRUTH That's still good. Why don't we walk and you can tell me more about your smoothies?
LEONA I'll just snap some pics. For the folks back home. You two kids talk.
THEO Yeah. Sure!
AMB IN CAR, DRIVING
LEONA [exasperated sigh] I sure hope you were taking notes. She was too cute for your ears to work.
THEO If she's an example, I can't believe they're any kind of BAD cult.
LEONA Just addressing your thinking end.
THEO No, I'm not... that kind of guy! She's sweet. [beat] I'm really not!
LEONA Yeah, yeah. What did miss pretty poison have to say?
THEO No, her name's Truth. They go in for--
LEONA Those literal names, right.
THEO Yup. Anyway, I couldn't ask about kidnapped kids, being in the smoothie business, but I think I got some good notes about the layout of the place.
LEONA Where do they keep the kids?
SOUND FLIPPING PAGES
THEO Well, they actually take in a lot of foster kids in this town. Apparently, they think of it as a holy cause - working with troubled children.
LEONA Vulnerable and open to manipulation. Or already so messed up, they can't complain.
THEO No! They work on healing their psychic wounds.
LEONA Her words?
LEONA Did she try and sell you on the religion?
THEO [trying to change the subject] Uh, is it much further to the motel?
LEONA [resigned, commanding] Show me.
SOUND PAMPHLET PULLED FROM POCKET
THEO It's research.
LEONA Right. Cuz they'd want a smoothie shop run by a non-believer.
THEO I actually told her that the company's policy was to bring in a manager, but hire everyone else locally - then, if someone local was able to take over, the company would be happy to--
LEONA Where you worked your way through college?
THEO Oh. Yeah. Actually ...um... let's just say I can't stand the smell of coffee any more.
SOUND CREEPING THROUGH BUSHES
THEO Thanks for coming along!
LEONA Are you joking? This is how I get my best pictures. You go first.
THEO Right. This should be about where the orphanage office is--
SOUND INDISTINCT VOICES
THEO [whispered] Just a bit closer.
HYGIENE [normal, but off] ...utterly unruly. We have had to use... very stringent techniques.
THEO [whispered] Brainwashing!
LEONA [whispered] Listen now - talk later!
JUSTICE [normal but off] You have all my faith, Hygiene. You know how vital your part in this is.
THEO [whispered] I wish I had a tape recorder.
LEONA [whispered] Hand.
THEO [whispered] Huh?
SOUND SLAPS SOMETHING INTO HIS HAND
SOUND THUMP ON MIKE as it segues into a recording.
EVERYTHING NOT NOTED IS ON THE RECORDING
LEONA [whispered] It's already running.
THEO [whispered] But it's so small--
LEONA [whispered] I'm gonna slap you.
THEO [whispered] Right!
SOUND FUMBLING WITH THE MIKE
LEONA [now] I still plan to slap you.
THEO [now] Um, OK. [bracing himself] Go on.
LEONA [now] Uh-uh [no]. More fun if you don't see it coming.
BACK TO THE TAPE unless noted
THEO Which end do I-- Ow!
LEONA See? Just get it near the window. [fading out] It picks up everything.
THEO [off] okay.
HYGIENE [fading in] running all over the place, breaking things, and causing havoc.
JUSTICE That WOULD be more predictable.
HYGIENE But Lucifer just sits and stares wrathfully! He is completely placid when you move him, but he won't respond to commands!
THEO [real] Lucifer? What happened to the whole true names thing?
JUSTICE Docility has its place.
LEONA [real] Maybe he has to graduate first or something.
HYGIENE It is unnatural in a child this age.
JUSTICE Perhaps it is time for... extreme measures.
HYGIENE Give me one more week before we subject him to that?
JUSTICE There isn't time. We have to break him, Hygiene. Make him ours.
HYGIENE Very well, father justice. Your word is my command.
SOUND TAPE CLICKS OFF, BACK TO REAL
AMB HOTEL ROOM. THUMPING NOISES AND BEDSPRINGS FROM NEXT DOOR
LEONA Yeah. [beat] They've been at it for nearly an hour now.
THEO No, I mean the tape. [beat] It sounds horrible.
LEONA Course it does.
THEO Can you imagine the leg cramps you would get?
LEONA The tape?
THEO Right. So, we have to get that kid out of there!
LEONA And you've been smoking, what?
LEONA We report the news. We don't make it.
THEO But how can we leave a poor defenseless child in the hands of ... those people?
LEONA Easy. We drive away, file the story, and then come back in a year to file another story about how the kid is growing up in the cult. Then a five year follow up, a tenth anniversary...
THEO No. How about this - intrepid reporter bravely rescues child from abductors? You can't say that's not a prime story!
LEONA Hmph. Yes, but--
LEONA [evil sweet] How about this? Dumbass rookie newshound shot dead trying to break into secret cult enclave.
THEO What do I do here?
LEONA Mingle. Try not to get carded more than once, peach fuzz.
THEO Shouldn't we be getting ready for the drive home?
LEONA [sigh] Local color. Trying to see what the nearby folks think of the people up in Town.
LEONA And half price jello shooters. It IS ladies' night. [commanding] You're driving.
THEO Leona? Leo? Oh, crap.
TRUTH Smoothie man!
THEO Uh, yeah. Yes. Truth. Nice to see you - not the kind of place - um -
TRUTH [teasing] Where you usually find much truth?
THEO Right. [laughs unconvincingly] Yeah. Aren't you supposed to be all holy or something? I mean - darn it - I mean, not drinking and carousing or anything?
TRUTH Carousing? I didn't think anyone used that word any more.
THEO Writers do. I mean, I write. Stuff.
TRUTH Stuff like what?
THEO uh [wobbles] Greeting cards?
TRUTH Lots of...carousing... in greeting cards.
THEO [fumbling, but gaining strength] I don't plan to write greeting cards forever. [shakes himself back to the present] But why are you here?
TRUTH We believe in being as real as possible. Having fun is very real. And no, we don't drink, but we do dance and occasionally even sing karaoke.
THEO [terrified] Karry-[gulp]-oke?
TRUTH Thursdays. You're in "no danger, Will Robinson."
THEO So you don't believe a sense of humor is wrong either.
SHIFT THROUGH THE BAR, MUSIC GETS LOUDER AT THIS END
LEONA [slurry, drunk] Jes one more - green's my flavorite.
BRUCE One more and you're gonna be flat on the floor, babe.
LEONA On top o' you.
BRUCE [chuckles] This floor is dirty - we gotta perfectly nice carpet back at our hotel.
LEONA [a bit sharper] "We?"
BRUCE Me and my partner.
LEONA I don't shwing that way.
BRUCE Nah - not like that! We work together. That's him over there with the redheaded triplets hanging on his every word.
LEONA The viking? What kind of work you do?
BRUCE [sexy whisper] Promise you won't tell?
LEONA Crosh my heart.
BRUCE That's not your heart.
LEONA Oh yeah? I got hearts all over the place.
BRUCE Ooh. Well, we're-- [glances around] Bounty hunters.
LEONA Like the guy on TV?
BRUCE Well I'm single, but yeah.
LEONA You gonna apprehend someone?
BRUCE Something like that. But the only one I want to get my hands on tonight is you.
LEONA Mmm. I gotta hit the catbox. Be back after I scratch.
BRUCE I'll get you more .... green.
LEONA Oh, yeah.
MUSIC SWELLS FOR A SECOND, THEN SLOWS TO A DANCE
TRUTH You're a very nice guy, Smoothie.
THEO It's ...Theo.
TRUTH We like names that describe people.
THEO I'm really not all that... smooth.
TRUTH Feels like it from here.
LEONA [not sounding the least bit drunk] We're going.
TRUTH At least let us finish this dance.
LEONA Sorry, babe. Duty calls.
THEO Smoothie duty.
SOUND DOOR SLAMS
MUSIC CUTS OUT
AMB OUTSIDE, NIGHT
THEO What was all that?
LEONA We need to get out of here. [moving slightly away]
THEO Out of town?
LEONA Out of the line of fire.
SOUND CAR DOOR DOOTS
LEONA It's a setup.
SOUND CAR DOOR OPENS
THEO What? Set up for what?
SOUND DOOR SLAMS
LEONA [in car, something unintelligible]
SOUND WINDOW ROLLS DOWN
LEONA I'm leaving. You can climb in or stand here.
SOUND DOOR WRENCHED OPEN
THEO I thought I was supposed to drive! [ends in a squeal as she yanks him in]
Amb In car
THEO Where are we going?
LEONA Back to headquarters.
LEONA [sigh, drums fingers] Bounty hunters.
THEO Are you on their hot list?
LEONA Not me. Dammit, kid - think! What are the odds there's a fugitive in this area? Anyone they might be hunting other than-- [tails off, hinting]
LEONA How can you be so dense?
THEO [finally getting it] Oh! The kid!
LEONA Bingo, Smoothie.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
THEO We need to go back.
LEONA You're an idiot.
THEO I'm not.
LEONA You're smitten, ya weenie.
THEO I'm not-- [gives up] Yes. Yes, I'm ... in love with Truth.
THEO But I'm even more in love with the idea of catching bounty hunters in the act.
LEONA [wobbling a bit] No.
THEO [spinning the story] Breaking into a religious compound.
LEONA [cracking a bit more] No.
THEO [seductive] Maybe using extreme force. Carrying off a kicking and screaming toddler.
SOUND CAR BRAKES TO A STOP
LEONA [ground out] You little shit.
AMB NIGHT, OUTSIDE
SOUND CREEPING THROUGH BUSHES
LEONA [whispered] Well, Déjà my vu, kemosabe.
THEO [whispered] I think we beat them here. We have to warn Truth.
LEONA Hell to the no, as they say. You can play hero all you want - AFTER I get the shot.
THEO What if they have guns?
LEONA Stop, drop and roll. I'll be in the bushes.
MUSIC TIME PASSES
THEO [yawning, dozing off]
SOUND A DISTANT CAR PULLS UP
THEO another big yawn
THEO [gasping and choking, suddenly muffled]
[note: Leona sprayed breath freshener in his open snoozing mouth then slapped a hand over it when he woke up]
LEONA [urgent whisper] Shh! They're here.
THEO [finally gets control of himself, gulps] WHY'D you do that?
LEONA Nothing like waking up minty fresh! They're over there, far side of the-- oh boy.
THEO What? It's so dark.
LEONA [tsks] Looks like three of them, skulking across the lawn.
THEO [amused] Skulking.
LEONA What's wrong with skulking?
THEO Truth would be amused--
LEONA Fine! But later, all right?
THEO Oh. Yeah. Skulking now. Can we-- um-- head them off at the pass?
LEONA They're heading directly for the orphanage building.
THEO [uncertain] Oh, good. Um....
LEONA [sigh] Over there.
AMB - STILL OUTSIDE
[another whispered conversation - unless otherwise noted]
THEO Did you see them?
LEONA Two of em went in- the third must be a rear guard.
THEO How can you be sure you saw three?
LEONA Watching stuff. It's sort of my job. You're getting slapped again.
SOUND DISTANT COMMOTION INSIDE BUILDING
THEO lights! They're gonna be running!
LEONA I got it.
SOUND THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE SCENE, SHUTTER CLICKS A LOT AS SHE TAKES SNAPS
SOUND DOOR SLAMS OPEN, RUNNING FEET, DOOR SLAMS SHUT
BRUCE [hissed order] keep him quiet!
THUG He bit me!
CHILD No no no no no!
SOUND DOOR OPENS AGAIN
JUSTICE [to the back of the concert hall] Stop!
SOUND FOOTSTEPS HESITATE
SELENA [off, but also loud] Bring me my child!
BRUCE You heard the lady.
TRUTH We must do something!
JUSTICE No. This is now in the hands of the lord.
HYGIENE I can only pray we've done enough.
THEO [standing and declaring himself] No way - this is just wrong!
LEONA I'll be in the bushes.
SELENA [a bit closer] You're here? I thought you morons had bailed on me!
THEO Of course not-- morons? [offended] The hell you say!
SELENA Very likely. [to justice] You thought you could stop my dear little baby from fulfilling his destiny, eh? [evil genius] From wiping you and your kind from the entire world?
SOUND RUSTLE IN THE BUSHES
SELENA Yes! I did it! The whole nine yards. Did the rituals, wore the lederhosen, slept with the devil. My child is the antichrist!
THEO Woh! I didn't see that coming.
CHILD [trying to get her attention] Mommy!
SELENA And all your pathetic humanistic attempts to destroy him have come to naught!
CHILD [more urgent] Mommy!
SELENA He will grow into his destiny and rule over all of creation!
CHILD [sharp] Mommy!
SELENA Honey, mommy's busy. And throw the entire world into chaos!
CHILD [almost crying] Mommy!
SELENA All right, mommy's done now. [babytalk] Woochie wanna, wittle son of evil?
CHILD Wanna see what I can do?
SELENA Isn't he cute! Whatcha gonna do, my baby beelzebub? [eager] Gonna spin your head around? Gonna spit fire?
CHILD [teasing] Nooo.
SELENA Gonna rend these naughty nice people into tiny itsy bitsy bloody wittle chunks?
SELENA Whatcha gonna do then, my tiny tormentor? Show mommy!
CHILD Okay. I try and rerember. [breath, noise of concentration]
SELENA oh, his first evil gesture! Anyone have a videophone?
THEO Why aren't you and your friends running?
TRUTH It wouldn’t help. Why aren’t you?
THEO Leona'd kill me if I lost the scoop.
SELENA Do you need help lacing your fingers together honey?
CHILD No! I can do it myself.
SELENA [brimming over with pride] Of course you can. Of course you can!
CHILD There. Now mommy watch!
SELENA I'm watching hun. Oh, if only your father could see you now!
THEO His father--? Ohh.
CHILD See my hands?
SELENA Yes! Knotted together like one big fist. Will you smite your enemies?
CHILD Whass smite?
SELENA I'll explain it later - go on and show me what you wanted to show me
CHILD [starts speaking, but very quiet]
SELENA Honey, can you speak up? Just a little? Mommy can’t hear you!
CHILD [deep sigh of exasperation] Listen! This is the church. This [small noise of effort] is the steeple. Open the doors and [more effort, then triumphant] see all the people!
SELENA [horrified] What?
CHILD See all the people, mommy? My finners are the people in the church!
SELENA [big screamy accusation] You! You've ruined him!
CHILD Mommy! See the people in the church!
SELENA [breaking into sobs] All that hard work! The lederhosen! Nooooo!
SOUND RUNNING AWAY, nooooing
BRUCE [yelling after her] Hey? Hey lady? Are we still getting paid?
THEO [end of a story] So sister Hygiene took him back in for some milk and cookies and a round of kumbaya.
SOUND RATTLE OF 8x10s
Chief Nice work Leo. We'll have to touch up the pics, maybe give the kid some horns--
LEONA Nah put em on the mom. She earned it.
THEO Next you'll want an artist's rendition of Selena in lederhosen cavorting with Satan--
CHIEF [avid] Great idea! Very sexy! I like. I want the copy on my desk first thing tomorrow.
SOUND DOOR OPENS - NEWSROOM NOISE IN BG
THEO [weakly protesting] But- but we just got back--
SOUND PHONE DIALING
CHIEF Hello? Victoria's Secret?
LEONA [trying to keep from shuddering] Come on.
SOUND DOOR SHUTS, AMB NEWSROOM AGAIN
THEO How can I get something done by tomorrow morning?
LEONA Same way you got through college.
SOUND DOOR SWINGS OPEN
CHIEF Hey, Leo - you ever come up with a nickname for the kid here?
LEONA Oh, yeah.
THEO You did?
LEONA Smoothie. Smoothie Walsh.
THEO Oh, no way-- [arguing, trails off as the sound pans back across the room.
REPORTER DAVE So the potato shaped like Princess Di saved your life? How did that--
REPORTER RANDY How could you not notice the minute she took her clothes off? Oh, a hologram field? You never mentioned--
REPORTER WES And that was when you saw his third eye? Are you sure that it was Dick Cheney?
REPORTER BRYAN [screaming] We have a ratboy sighting!