892 – Album Drops Goofs | Otter Things E3
Emma Otter and her friends feel like they are chasing goose feathers until a slow meander swings them like a wind chime.
Get some masks or shirt and support some great causes via Ashley Slade Art
on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ashleysladeart/
Black Lives Matter. I cannot create a safe place for everyone without stopping to pause and look at what changes I need to make to support that fact. When I say “you deserve a good night’s sleep” it means black lives matter. I have a lot more work to do to back up my words with my body, mind, heart, and spirit. I am trying to gather more resources here- https://linktr.ee/dearestscooter
Here is a list of Anti-racism resources- http://bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES Here is one place you can find support during this or any crisis. If you have more please share them! https://www.crisistextline.org/
(Become a patron https://www.patreon.com/sleepwithme – the story starts at about 20:00) Commission a song from the Mystery Bard or check out his podcast “As It Happens : A Song a Day” over at http://www.jonathanmann.netYou can find all of our sponsors on our website http://www.sleepwithmepodcast.com
EPISODE 892_Album Drop Goofs – Otter Things E3
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary…my patrons, it’s time for the podcaster who’s wearing a lemony kerchief to give you a lemony balm for your ears and who’s been told that lemon balm and lemon are not the same thing, but hopefully it’s…I give you balmy loves like a…I don’t know, but thanks for supporting the show, patrons. What do you say we get on with the show?
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. It could be thoughts, things you’re thinking about, things on your mind, feelings; so, any emotions coming up for you related to the feelings or the thoughts or they’re just emoting. They’re just there…or physical sensations, it could be changes in routine or time or temperature. Whatever it is, it could be many, many, many things. But whatever it is, I’d like to take your mind off of that. What I’m gonna do is, or what I propose to do, is…whatever’s keeping you awake I’d like to take your mind off that. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna send my voice…is there another part?
Whatever keep you up…tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep…I can’t remember the next part. Forgetfulness; that might keep me up later. Yeah, whatever is keeping you awake, I’d like to take your mind off of that. That’s exactly what I’d like to do. I don’t think I can do it in a straightforward way but the way I’m gonna do it…and I did get distracted because I was supposed to remember something and now I can’t remember what I was supposed to remember so I got to apologize to the listener who tried to remind me. Hopefully, I’ll remember what they told me to remember but I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I’m gonna go off-topic, I’m gonna get mixed-up and confused. Oh boy, all of those things upcoming on this episode of Sleep With Me; pointless meanders, creaky, dulcet tones, holy moly, superfluous tangents…ideally creating a safe place to take your mind off of stuff as you drift off.
Now, a few important things to know if you’re new; one is if you’re new, is that this show does not work for everybody though there are a few people it has worked for immediately. Like, 90% of people say that the first two or three tries, they didn’t like the show or they were feeling ambivalent or uncertain or skeptical or they just weren’t into it. Sometimes that’s ‘cause you have expectations of something different and sometimes it’s because you’re just waiting to see what happens, and then the second or third time your…well, nothing’s really happening. If you’re having any of those reactions, that’s totally normal. You say, how many other podcasts have creaky, dulcet tones? You say, I don’t know. The Barn Door Cast has creaky, dulcet tones, the Old Garage…Old Wooden Garage Door Podcast has them, that one podcast from the swamp…I don’t know which…I can’t remember what it’s called, though. What else? The Creaky Dulcet Cast…actually, they have the sweetest voices but they talk about…I think that’s just a tribute cast.
Yeah, I’m not really sure. Okay, what was my point? I don’t know about that one either, Scoots. Oh, so the first thing to know is yeah, this podcast does not work for everybody but for 90% of the people that it worked for took two or three tries which…that’s kind of actually 100% better than most sleep solutions. I’m not trying to brag but maybe even more than that. I’m not good at math, either. Because usually for me, it’s the opposite; I try something once and it works or…and I try it again, it might work, and then the third time I try it, it doesn’t work anymore. Or whatever the other things…you say oh, it made me groggy the next day or oh, I woke up…you know. Sleep With Me actually works the reverse of most sleep solutions. You say most of the time, the first time it doesn’t work. It drives you up the wall. But then the second or third time, it gets more effective. That’s what I’m saying. That’s why I’m laughing ‘cause I didn’t realize the irony. Made almost 900 episodes or this may even be around 900. I don’t even know.
That’s pretty funny to me. I’m sorry, but it is. I say wait a second; this is one of the few sleep solutions that doesn’t really work initially but then it starts to work regularly. Give it a few tries ‘cause there’s really no investment other than your time so just kind of see how it goes. Also, don’t try to…this kind of piggy-backs on that; don’t try to make sense of it. It’s another thing I never thought of that doesn’t go with bedtime but I gotta point it out; piggy-backing. No piggy-backing…well, okay, there are exceptions leading up to bedtime but we’ll get into that. Yeah, give it a few tries and don’t try to figure the podcast out. It’s best consumed in a loose, out-of-focus way ‘cause it doesn’t make any sense initially or later on. You say wow, as soon as I realized it doesn’t make any sense, I got…that Scoots…if Scoots was heading towards a point, he would go in a different direction. Building on that, it’s a podcast you don’t need to listen to. You could just barely listen.
It’s not so much meant to fall…to put you to sleep as to be here as you fall asleep, to keep you company as you drift off. It’s more of like, your bedtime companion. I try to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-bud, your bore-bestie versus something more grand. But though, being a bore-bestie, you can’t really do better than that, can you? Which is like, your best bore-friend. Best bore-friend; BBF. BBFs, best friends, right? BB…best…how come…isn’t there three letters in best, best, friend? Best BBF. Don’t they say BBF or they just say BF, my best friend? Yeah, I’m your BBF, your best bore-friend. I may be missing something in there but…so, that’s one of the keys to the podcast. Those are a few things to know. The other thing that can get…throw people off is the structure of the show. I guess the reason…someone reminded me recently…they were like Scoots, can you remember to mention in the intro something? I said, no problem. You might have to remind me again.
I think it’s that some people the podcast works for the first time but it could be something else and I’ll try to find their e-mail and re-read it because…but yeah, do this part of the show for everybody because then…I don’t know. If you’re new, those are some things to remember. The other thing that could throw new listeners off but regular listeners like it, is the structure of the show. The show starts off with a few minutes of…show starts off with a greeting; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends beyond the binary so you know you’re welcome here. Then we go into business. That’s how we bring the show out twice a week. Then there’s an intro and the intro’s around twelve to eighteen minutes of me rambling about nothing but I try to introduce the podcast to new listeners and give regular listeners a chance to get ready for bed, to get in bed and get comfortable. Yeah, so, there’s…’cause a lot of new people say why is the intro so long? It doesn’t make any…what are you talking about, business the whole time?
I say, no. I guess technically you’d say it’s like housekeeping. How come there’s no reality house…well, Marie Kondo. You got me already. I said, how come there’s no reality housekeeping shows? That’s what one of my…part of my brain said. Now, another part of my brain is thinking of fifty…I say, okay, this old house…tidying up, all those fixing and remodeling shows. I guess if I had a show, I would combine it with a spiritual show or a value space show. You say, bless this mess. I don’t know, is there a show called that? ‘Cause there should be. You say well, we go to people’s…house and I don’t know what we would do. We’d say, great job. Maybe we’d give out awards for people’s houses as they are. Bless this mess. We filled in a universal message and a universal truth in every episode of Dignity, Hope, and Courage: Bless this Mess. Or it could be We Go [00:10:00] Around…I don’t know. Anyway, what does that have to do with anything? The intro’s kind of like this, where I go off-topic.
For a new listener, you kind of get an idea of what you’re in for but for a regular listener, they’re getting ready for bed, they’re winding down, or they’re already in bed, comfortable. Then about 2% of listeners skip the episode. Maybe this is another thing some people have to remind me of, that there is actually more than 2% of people that listen during the day or listen to the whole episodes to relax or for a little break or whatever. Then, there’s the people that can’t sleep. This is actually the only…that’s the other thing about the show, why it’s an hour; if you can’t sleep, I’m here to keep you company and also to remind you that there’s no pressure to fall asleep. That’s the intro. Then there’s some business, then there’ll be our episodically modular serial series Otter Things, O-T-T-E-R T-H-I-N-G-S, about Emma Otter and her friends, a real nice series. Then there will also be some thank yous and stuff, so that’s the structure of the show. There’s no need to listen, no pressure to fall asleep.
There’s a reason I make this show and the reason I make this show is twofold; one, you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place of respite where you can relax and feel good. Two, I’ve been there. I know how it feels tossing and turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. All those things. I want to help if I can. Then I guess I mentioned piggy-backing at bedtime but I guess there’s the picturesque piggy-backing which would be either you’re the…I don’t know how…I don’t even know why they came up with that term. It sounds like a problematic term to me, to be honest. You could be the carrier and you’re carrying someone into bed and you’re saying hey, toss you into bed now. Have fun, goodnighty-poo. Or you’re the gleeful youngster. Believe me, I’ll get into the…it could be two grown adults and it could be part of your operational procedures, your warm-up. That’s different. But this one would be…yeah, you say oh, fun, I can’t wait to go to sleep.
But I guess that’s the only time I’d be good, so I guess piggy-backing is more like getting ready for bed ‘cause you couldn’t really piggy-back someone in bed. That would be…it would be counterproductive ‘cause you say well, my back’s tired. Why can’t I just put you down? You’re already in your bed. But maybe it’s like an extended…well, I just want to hold onto your back while you read me a bedtime story. I say okay, fair enough. I get it. I guess that didn’t really go anywhere. You can’t go very far piggy-backing anyway unless you’re someone that’s in phenomenal shape. Even then, I don’t know. Okay, so that’s about it. I guess that’s everything. I’m glad you’re here. Give the show a few tries. I just really hope it can help you. That’s why I make this show but I appreciate you coming by and checking the podcast out. I really yearn and I strive. I really want to help you fall asleep. Thanks again and here’s a couple ways we’re able to bring this podcast twice a week.
Hey everybody, this is Scoots. Welcome to our episodically modular and somewhat serialized series Otter Things, O-T-T-E-R T-H-I-N-G-S. Actually gonna turn things over to the host of Otter Things but I just want to let you know it’s a serialized, episodic series which means that at the beginning of each episode, you’ll get caught up on everything that’s happening so you can listen to it in any order. I’ve found that actually the recaps put a lot of people to sleep, so some people listen starting at the recap on other nights ‘cause they say well, just the recap itself is enough. I sleep just fine during the recap. That way, I can sleep through the whole story. If you need to or you’re thinking well, this is Episode 3, it’s okay. You’ll be fine. You won’t get mixed-up. Or, you will get mixed-up but you won’t miss anything. If you miss anything, you could re-listen. Then if those of you that listen during the night ‘cause you can’t sleep and you want some company, you’ll get caught up on the story and then you’ll hear the next part of the story altogether. I’ll be here to keep you company to the end. Without further ado, I’m turning things over to Emma Otter.
Yeah, hey, this is Emma Otter here. I just wanted to make sure I was recording. I was a little bit nervous. I’m here to tell you the story of Otter Things, the story of my town and my friends, my family, and the residents of our town here. We live in a swamp. I’m trying to think of everything I need to tell you. Once upon a time, there was a town in a swamp filled with swampland creatures. It was a sleepy little town, a nice town to live in, not like the hustle and bustle of places like River Bottom or Hensontown. No, this is just a nice place to live and that’s where I grew up and I was born; Emma Otter. I live there with my parents and my brother Teffe and my youngest sibling. My best friends are Willow, Vaughn, and Elijah. Not in any particular order. You probably know which of those three is my best, best friend if you’re listening to this. Particularly if you are my best friend, you say well, I know which one of those three is my best…Emma’s best friend; I am.
You’re correct in that assumption. Those are my friends and who else do you need to know? Let’s see, Emma and Teffe; that’s me and my brother. My parents…my parents aren’t that important, you know? I mean, to me they are. To you, yeah, they’re…it could be considered the chorus. Willow has a sister Dari and her mom is Frances. They all live together. They do play a part in this tale. Bull the bullfrog, Leon’s his name but we all call Bull Bull. There’s probably other people I’m forgetting that are really important but I just wanted to set the stage. Once upon a time, we all lived in our town, we went about our lives; middle school, Bards and Big Bunnies. That’s our roleplaying game we play. We all like to play music but we also, deep down, knew that everything would be well, so keep that in mind when you hear this story because sometimes stories take a while to…it takes a whole journey of life…I think my Uncle Emmett once sang a song about that, how many journeys of life it takes to realize oh, all is and all will be well.
But I want to tell you that right up front in case you say well, it doesn’t seem that way, Emma. I say yeah, I’m looking back and telling you this with more knowledge than you have and much more knowledge than I had at the time. When, one day after a game of Big Bunnies and Bards at my house, LJ, Vaughn, and Willow went home and they all headed home except for Willow. Over the next period of time, we wondered where did Willow go if Willow didn’t go home? Did Willow go on a goose chase following geese? Did, as Vaughn would say, Willow get caught up in some sort of comic book adventures with creatures from another world or friends…friends from another world? Yeah, you’re right. Was it something like Big Bunny and Bards? ‘Cause we had played a game where Emma…I’m sorry, Willow. I’m not used to being the character in my own story but where Willow…did Willow say well, there’s a big bunny coming to take all the town’s food; maybe I’ll protect the town in a game of Big Bunnies and Bards?
Or was it something else like Emma just went for a walk? We found out last episode Emma did not go to visit her dad in River Bottom ‘cause Dari, Babs, and Teffe had driven there. Actually, that’s probably a good place to start. I’ll catch you up as we go on, too. But this is the most famous resident of our town; actor, philanthroper…philanthropist, Mr. Antonio Banderas. Thank you, Emma. The ladies, the gentlemen, the boys, the girls, the friends beyond the binary, residents of swampland and every land, this is an episode of Otter Things. Yeah. [00:20:00] Did you remember to take the notes I gave you, Antonio? Oh yes, this is an episode of Otter Things. Splish…this is an…oh yeah, this is an episode of Otter Things. Splish, splash.
That was great; you didn’t…there was no sibilance on that. This is an episode of Otter Things. I’m Emma Otter. I guess you could say I’m reporting but not…I’m reporting to you, dear listener, on the fact that when we start out, my brother Teffe, Willow’s sister, and Willow’s best friend Babs had headed out to River Bottom to talk to Willow and Dari’s dad Lenny about…where was…if Willow had come there, maybe either to visit or to start her career as a busker in River Bottom, but Lenny said no. But then when Dari got back to the car, she found that Teffe and Babs were K-I-S-S-I-N-G-ing. Dari probably doesn’t want anybody to know this but Dari kind of has some feelings for Teffe which is a mistake. If we would have sat down…but Teffe just has…I’m just rolling my eyes right now. I don’t know what to say but to tell you that that’s a fact, unfortunately.
Dari was a little bit upset that she’d found Teffe and Babs kissing so she drove home and then she pulled over because she was so displeased she was gonna…’cause Teffe had borrowed our Uncle Emmett’s truck and Dari was gonna throw the keys in the swamp near the tunnel that goes to the place beyond the swamp that we’re not allowed to go to. Then Teffe apologized to Dari and said hey, let’s not throw the keys in the swamp. It was my bad. I know you’re going through a hard time with Willow. We’re not sure and we thought Willow might be at your dad’s, but we’ll figure this out together. They went back to the car to find that Babs wasn’t there. They kind of noticed some goose feathers, slimy goose feathers, but they thought that Babs probably had that on her shoe and headed off and walked home. That was only partly true because what had happened was Babs waited for Dari and Teffe. Then naturally, Babs said well, what if they’re kissing now?
I’m not sure how I’ll feel about that, and Babs headed out to find them on a path ‘cause they had kind of parked in actually, another place that’s popular for teens that are doing that. Then Babs kind of got…took a path, then she heard a noise and she said…she thought it sounded like a bunny, then she thought she saw bunny ears. Babs started to follow the bunny. It was like a forced-perspective situation so Babs thought it was a small bunny far away but really it was a larger bunny that was closer. But she started following the bunny and I can tell you that just like I said, all will be well with Babs. But at the time, Babs said hey, bunny, bunny, are you lost? Don’t go that way. ‘Cause as far as Babs knew, that bunnies really weren’t meant to be swimming around in the swamp; maybe hopping around the edges of the swamp. Babs was a very caring person. Then she got close to the bunny and she realized that the…it was a different bunny than she had seen. It wasn’t a pure bunny; it had goose feathers in addition to fur.
There was some slime on it. She may have seen even geese…she was like okay, maybe I’m seeing something. You’re not a bunny…you’re a big bunny-goose-type thing. Now, it’s interesting that Dari and Willow’s dad’s named Lenny because what happened was very reminiscent of a different Lenny but not totally like that Lenny from a famous book, because the bunny actually swept Babs and said…reversed what Babs was doing and said oh, are you…now, the bunny didn’t speak. It kind of just communicated without words but Babs could…was immediately relaxed as the bunny swept her up in its arms or paws or wings and said oh, are you…oh, look at this little creature here. Oh, let me care for you and take good care of you and take good care of you, and bring you home. But this bunny-goose was actually pretty gentle, so it did sweep Babs away but then it started hopping and Babs said where are you hopping to, bunny? The bunny didn’t really answer. It went to the place beyond the swamp where we’re not supposed to go but Babs was also falling asleep, so Babs fell into a deep sleep.
The bunny kind of hopped off a little bit like Babs was a pet which is not exactly the reality ‘cause Babs is a sentient being with free will. But maybe the bunny didn’t know that. They hopped off. Like I said, all will be well eventually. But I just can’t tell you everything, right? Actually, I can’t even remember it ‘cause the way my memory works is I have to remember things in order as they happened, kind of. Not everything; I can kind of go backwards but…just work on my memory when I’m telling stories that I can’t jump ahead…I mean, I can jump around in the story, you know what I mean? I get mixed-up. Now, meanwhile back at the car, Teffe and Dari had said well, maybe Babs must have gone home. She must have been frustrated with both of us. They started driving home and as they drove home, neither one of them was really sure how to feel. They had their own feelings so they were unaware that Babs had been swept up in the arms of a goose-bunny. They were more concerned with awkwardness or did they want to kiss?
Isn’t that a little…they’re teens. Being a teen is not easy. It’s confusing. Dari didn’t really want to talk about it; Teffe did. Actually, I think Teffe was more on the strong side of hey, I think I was kissing Babs but thinking of you or something and Dari said, let’s not talk about it. Remember, I’m dealing with stuff with Willow. Maybe we’ll talk…Teffe said, are you gonna come to school tomorrow? Dari said well, maybe. I don’t know. Teffe said well, I hope I see you at school tomorrow. I’m sorry again. Then Dari went inside. Dari thought she was gonna try to sneak inside. It was early in the morning and she was like, maybe I’ll catch a couple hours of sleep before school. Meanwhile, as she snuck inside, she snuck down the hall to her room which is across from Willow’s room and her mom’s room was in another…the other side of the house so she was like, I think I’m covered. As soon as she put her foot down to open her door, she realized that Willow’s door was open and her mom was there, talking.
Of all things, she was talking to a windchime. It was actually a famous windchime from…I mean, I don’t want to brag, but it was a jug band windchime with all these members of a jug band. She was saying Willow? Okay, Willow. Okay, tell me more. Willow, are you there, Willow? Play one of the jug band windchime instruments. She hadn’t perfected this one; each windchime was supposed to kind of sound like an instrument from a jug band, like a washboard or a jug which is tough. She was still crafting it. Frances is a bespoke windchime-maker, or wanted to be. She didn’t just sell…one day maybe she would be the most famous windchime maker in the world and hopefully she’ll sponsor my productions. She was saying…and then she looked over and she saw Dari trying to sneak in. She said, did you just get home? Dari said, [STUTTERING]. She said, come in here and sit down next to me. Dari was like oh boy, I’m busted. But she said listen, listen. Your sister’s here. She said, where?
She said in this…within…she’s talking to me through the windchime. Just like anyone, it’s not something you hear every day so you say wait a second, so Willow’s talking to you through the windchime, mom? She was holding the windchime and she said yeah, yeah. Willow, your sister’s here. She just snuck in. Don’t know where she was. Where were you? I went to dad’s. Willow’s not visiting dad. Okay, we’ll talk about that later. Willow, I know you’re not at Lenny’s ‘cause your sister looked for you there. Talk to your sister now, too, and tell her [00:30:00] we’ll also discuss consequences later. Nothing happened. Dari said mom, have you been talking to the windchime all night? She says, I’m not talking to the windchime. I’m talking to your sister. Dari said mom, please go to bed for a little while. Let’s lie down here together. They got in Willow’s bed and they snuggled up. While it might not be fair, Dari tried to hold and comfort her mom but she felt held as she held and comforted her mom.
They did both eventually fall asleep together for a little while. Meanwhile, morning had come and it was at my house. I’d had a sleepover with Vaughn and LJ and my parents didn’t know that Billie…oh, so this is part of the story you probably have to get caught up on too, is that at some point, we were looking for Willow. Instead of Willow, we had looked in the swamp and we had said well, if Willow went on a wild goose chase after Canadian geese or Canada geese, we’ll find her. We found this other being who we call Billie which was…maybe at the time, we thought Vaughn might be right; is this a being from outer space? It was a duck’s bill, but not a normal duck bill color, on a beaver with webbed feet. It was a being we had never seen before named Billie. Billie seemed to be lost. We took Billie home to my house and dried them off. Then we realized that Billie had come from the place beyond the swamp. Billie also said, I know where…I think I know where your friend Willow is.
We also realized that Billie has magical powers via song, or super powers. It’ll come up more. Just for an example, Billie had sang the song Right Here, Right Now, or made the…not the lyrics, some sort of throat-singing or bill-singing. It made us all freeze right there, right now. Or right then, I guess, in that case. That’s where we were. We said okay, well, if you know where Willow is, we need to find Willow after school again, today and tonight. We were calling it Operation Darken Wood after the famous…some of the more famous campaigns in novels based on Bard and Bunnies campaigns by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. They had written all these amazing novels based on campaigns they had run. Bardenlance was the world they had created. We always liked that lore. There was a place called Darken Wood that was a bit like…we were calling it ‘the place beyond the swamp’, the tunnel we had to go through. We were making preparations, getting spit-ballers, that’s what LJ had…and said yeah, I’m gonna make these giant, slimy spitballs…and then flashlights, and then of course, Vaughn had a lot of snacks.
We said okay, then we realized that Billie couldn’t go to school so I said Billie, okay, we’ll meet you after school in the dry spot a little bit behind my house. Of course, Billie looked unsure and I said, okay. Then I said oh, well, I’ll give you my Marty Moose watch. He said, Marty Moose watch? I said yeah, it tells the time. It was a new concept, a little bit, to Billie. I said, when the little paw is pointing at three and the longer paw is pointing at also three…when those two are both pointing at three, I think that would be the time we’d meet and then we’d…wait a second, are you sure? Then Billie said, what about the tail? I said well, that’s the second hand. Then we talked about the concept of seconds but that got complicated and we eventually said just ignore that, just…and said okay, when the two paws…then we actually show…then I said also, don’t wind the watch ‘cause this is a second mechanism I had to have put in my watch ‘cause I used to over-wind it.
Billie said, don’t wind the watch. Both at three. I said, that’s right, right? 3:15. Then we agreed and then we said okay, we’ll meet you after school. Now, another thing that was going on at the same exact time as we headed off to school was Bull, Leon, the head of our community resource team, and a few members of Bull’s team had headed off actually to the place beyond the swamp which we as kids we really didn’t know about. First, they were gonna just look around but beyond the swamp was this thing called the Visitor’s Center. We had snuck some looks at it but it was just rundown buildings, yet they were bigger than anything in our town. Their size was massive. We called it ruins, just like in Bards and Big Bunnies. But the community lore was so thick that even…none of us…we would dare people to go but no one actually went. People that said they went even turned out they were making it up, that there was no kids that actually would go there. One of the reasons was ‘cause it was separated by a tunnel and a road.
The road would have these vehicles coming that were much bigger than any of our vehicles. Mysterious vehicles; rarely seen but they would be seen or heard throughout our community. The rumor was that there was no animals driving them. Now, most people said well, that’s ‘cause the perspective; you couldn’t see in the window of the vehicle ‘cause it’s so big. But because everyone knew you never know when one of those is gonna come by. A truck, very much like our trucks but much, much bigger that you couldn’t…they were going so fast, again, that that had had consequences before so you would never go on the road ‘cause it was like…then on top of that, to go to a place with ruins and giant, mysterious, rundown buildings was not a good idea. But Leon and the community resource team knew that there was activity beyond the swamp which us kids didn’t know. I guess only authority figures knew.
But first they checked around the road and they found a old street sign that one of Bull’s assistants pointed out and said hey Bull, look at this. Remember these signs used to be up? Do Not Stop at Any Time for Any Reason; Never Stop. He said, what is this? There was other words on there that he didn’t understand. They said alright, let’s go to this Visitor’s Center and check in. They said, do you really think those vehicles that…the trucks go by, the giant trucks, do you believe the stuff people say about them? Bull said, I don’t know. I said, do you really think no one’s driving them? Remember that…he said old Misty Jones, she was up in a tree and she said she looked right in the window and there was no one behind the steering wheel. Then another said, I heard robots or computers or something, some sort of…they’re run by electronics. Bull said, it sounds like bologna to me. They went down to the other side of the swamp which was rare but Bull knew that beyond the other side of the swamp was something called the Bog Walk that was rundown but it led to this Visitor’s Center.
But outside the Visitor’s Center there was a couple of weasels on duty, guard weasels dressed in uniforms. They were part of a larger organization of the swamp in the woodlands, a secret authority run by secret authorities beyond the greater community resources, we’ll say. Leon said hey, how you doing? The weasels said, what do you want? Said well, I’m in town and I need to speak to somebody who’s in charge. They said, don’t worry about it. I said well, I’m worried about it. Can I come in? Can I look around? They said, no looking around. No visitors in the Visitor’s Center, hardy-har-har. Everybody looked at each other and they said yeah, and they said well, what do you got going on in there? Is it true that this is where…one of Bull’s assistants said, is this where they do stuff to keep…are humans real or is that just a rumor? The weasels looked at each other and they said, don’t worry about it.
Bull said listen, can you just check in with somebody that’s in charge here and find out…[00:40:00] we just have this kid Willow and we think she went off…she either went off on a goose chase so we just need any signs that the Canadian geese have been over here so we can…I can go back and figure out if she just headed off to be a busker or start her music career which is what we think happened. We just gotta dot the t’s and cross the i’s and make sure that the gooses didn’t lead her on some goose chase. I don’t know if you have any kids, Bull said to these weasel guards, but you know, what if somebody said these…her friends might have double-dared her to go through the tunnel so we just want to make sure that’s it. They looked and they said okay, okay, let us look into it more. Then they actually got led into the Visitor’s Center. They saw that the inside was not like the outside. The first floor looked rundown and…in case anybody went in there, but they brought them through another door down to the next level which again, kind of looked rundown but was functional.
There was levels below that level but even on the functional level the head of the…another weasel, but a head of the weasels said well, yeah, I can’t…what I can tell you is that the geese, they’ve gone. Most of the Canadian geese aren’t even around anymore; the Canada geese, they went back to Canada. I don’t think any geese led your kid here. The gates were closed so I don’t think the kid went through the gates of the tunnel, either. Bull said well, how do you know that for a fact? What about…the kid crossed the road? The head of the weasels said well, actually, I know ‘cause we could hear you coming. Bull said, what? They said yeah, we use sound…we monitor all the sound in the area so at the tunnel, we know if the gates went up or somebody touched the gates. We can hear the road and the gravel on the sides of the road. We can hear the trucks coming but we can’t talk about that anymore. I shouldn’t have even brought that up.
What they didn’t say between the lines is we could hear everything in your whole town. But Bull said okay, well, can I just listen to the sounds? Maybe I could hear something that you didn’t hear the night Willow…maybe I could hear them double-daring Willow or swimming near it. They said yeah, sure, sure, come on down to our listening lab which was another level down, more modern. As they walked, of course the other two resource officers were like well, so, we were wondering; do you think…is it true humans evolved…or we evolved from humans? They said, I don’t know. We’re just weasels, man. Do you think if humans returned…? Again, we’re just weasels. You never heard a human on there? Are those trucks driven by…they did say okay, I shouldn’t have brought up the trucks, the weasel said, but they’re not doing anything. They’re just some sort of…they go yeah, they’re just automated trucks permanently running some routes, solar powered.
There’s nothing to worry about other than the trucks coming at unpredictable times. Bull said well, why don’t we work together to form an early-warning system or something? The weasel said, why don’t you just stay off the road? Bull said okay, fair enough. He said, the trucks are just running? They said yeah, just running from the human days. But yeah, there’s no humans. Nothing to worry about. Bull said well, that sounds odd to me. But then they went and listened. They listened and they didn’t hear anything. They didn’t hear anything on the road. They didn’t hear anything near the tunnel to go to the place beyond the swamp or the bog walk or anything. Not really very many sounds, so they left the lab. But as they left the lab and got ready to drive off, they said to the other resource officers, they said well, I guess that’s it, except for that…it’s odd and all that stuff. He said, what phase was the moon a few nights ago? They said, what do you mean?
He said, did you hear any croaking on those tapes? I think if you look up the phase of the moon, you’d realize that that was a high-croaking night and there was no croaking going on. As a frog, even I was thinking about croaking my heart out that night. They said, phases…? They were a bit confused ‘cause they didn’t have this depth of knowledge that Leon did. Now, meanwhile, Dari had gone to school mostly just to check in ‘cause as soon as she got there, the school authorities were like Dari, Dari, shouldn’t you just be home? You don’t need to come in. We’ll send your work home. You don’t even need to do any work right now. Just rest with you and your mom and take care of your mom. Dari said okay, well, I just gotta get some stuff out of my locker. Maybe I’ll just have Babs collect my assignments. The school said okay, okay. But meanwhile Teffe said hey, what if I collect your assignments? I could get your assignments for you. Babs who? Teffe’s on the job, Dari.
Dari said, shouldn’t you be in class? Then actually, one of the authorities said Teffe, shouldn’t you be in class? Babs said yeah; what classes…then Dari said…Teffe huffed and went back to class but really just went to the restroom. Then Dari said well, what class is Babs in? They said, Chlorophyll 104. She headed over there and she said, is Babs here? The teacher said, Babs is out today. Shouldn’t you be home? I thought Babs was gonna get your assignments. Shouldn’t you know where Babs is? Dari said, weird; that’s odd, but thanks. Dari left. Dari got a feeling like huh, that’s weird. She went to the phone and called…now, this is back when you had to pay to use the phone, public phones…ancient times to probably you listening. She called Babs’ house and said hey, is Babs there? They said Dari, is that you? Why are you calling on the phone? Shouldn’t you be resting? Should you even be using your phone? ‘Cause not many people had call waiting in this day and definitely not Dari and Frances and Willow. Dari said no, no. Can I talk to Babs?
I said well, I thought Babs was at your house helping out. She’s not with you? This was something Dari would greatly regret; she used…she said oh, sorry, I’m just so stressed about Willow, I forgot Babs was at my house with my mom and then was gonna go to the library. I went to school. They said oh, yeah, well that makes sense. Well, tell Babs to give us a call when you see her. I understand that…your feelings. Dari said oh, yeah, thanks. The other thing I want you to know is that meanwhile, over there at the Visitor’s Center, they were listening to all this. They were listening in to all these conversations. It’s foreshadowing, okay, that they could hear everything we were saying and they must have had the resources to listen to everything we were saying. They probably weren’t listening as closely to the middle school where myself, LJ, and Vaughn were trying to go to school. We were on recess and we were kind of planning on our journey in Darken Wood and saying Raistlin, Caramon, Tika, Goldenmoon; we were talking about all our favorite characters and saying okay, can’t wait to do that.
But really, we were hoping to find out friend Willow, right, and cover up our other feelings or distract ourselves with the feelings of adventure. But two of these River Bottom wannabes from our school that weren’t nice came up and they said oh, look who it is; one short of…a quadrant of something. I don’t even know what they said. We said, be quiet. They said L-O-Z-E-R or something. We said, what do you mean? They said, don’t you know? Your friend Willow ditched you all. We said no, she didn’t. They said yeah, yeah, we…my dad said that Willow went out to River Bottom and tried to start a career…‘cause without you three dragging her down. She was the most talented but she’ll be back. Or maybe she won’t; she’ll [00:50:00] just be a busker tap-dancing for nickels. They thought that was the funniest…we were like, what are you talking about? They said listen, your friend Willow was…thought she had potential without you three. With you three? No potential. We said, what?
They said yeah, she always used to tell us you were holding her back in her career. We said no, that’s not true; she was our friend. They said well, she just needed you for rehearsal only. We said, but we played Bards and Bunnies. Then they said, that sounds like kids’ stuff; change your diapers or something. We said, ugh. They headed off. Now, back at my house, Billie was there and she was kind of looking around our house. She was bored and she actually snuck into Teffe’s room and looked at Teffe’s otter oils and actually saw a picture of Teffe, Dari, and Babs. She kind of paused and looked at Babs and had a sense of something. She even touched Babs’ picture and it gave her the chills. Then she went down and she actually turned on the TV and was trying to watch TV. She wasn’t super familiar with TV. At some point an ad came on with this music, a really popular song at the time, and it was for…they said, it’s time to pump up the jam with Dino Puffs, Jam Edition. Pump it up.
But Billie started looking and then Billie started to drift into her own memories. She remembered a moment from not that long ago where she was in the Visitor’s Center, in one of the lower levels with Dr. Max and other scientists watching her. They were asking her to pump up…puff up the cereal and sing Pump Up the Jam. She was; she was singing it through her bill and her throat and puffing up the cereal to like, thirty or forty times its size until some of the marshmallow jam-filled puffs popped and covered everybody with jam. But they were very impressed. But she said, why am I doing this? I’m just a kid. As she drifted back from that memory, she kind of felt forlorn and wondered when it was gonna be 3:15, or the two hands were gonna be on the three.
Back at Frances’ house, she was putting up windchimes and then she went to her work and bought more windchimes. Then she bought teacups and spoons and forks and fishing line; anything you’d use to make…bamboo…everything you could use to make a homemade windchimes too, and a new phone. She told her boss just let me…just put it on my tab. Give me a break. She started putting up windchimes all through the house, just randomly, and then trying to make windchimes. Then my mom showed up to kind of make small talk and bring her some lunch and dinner ‘cause my mom’s like that. She’s caring. My mom also wanted to stick around and check in. She said, that’s a lot of windchimes. Frances said yeah, yeah, Willow loved windchimes when I would make them. I’ve been thinking about taking it back up to…meanwhile, my youngest sibling followed the windchimes into Willow’s room where the windchimes started making this ominous noise.
Then she thought she saw bunny ears outside the window. The bunny ears were trying to open up the window with the ears which was weird, so she ran off but meanwhile Frances had run in there and run into her. Frances was a little bit bent; she said, did you see bunny ears? She said [MUMBLES]. My mom said, we gotta…she said, I think it’s time for you to head out with your casserole. Thank you. I need to do stuff. She left it at that. Now, back with the…they had headed to the library where actually, someone that Leon used to date was there and not too pleased. But they said, we gotta do some research. They said, knock yourself out. They started looking into the stuff like the trucks and the road and the Visitor’s Center. They found out the Visitor’s Center was run by Dr. Max and that it was funded to find out if humans were…not only if humans were real but what if humans came to our swamp and that they weren’t just using soundwaves to listen into things, but what if soundwaves could be used to keep humans?
There’s studies about skeeters and stuff, and soundwaves. What if the song of young…that some people had these young, powerful sonic sound abilities, like magic powers? What if those were real? She said whoa, whoa, this is interesting stuff. Then the two hands were on the three so Billie had headed out behind my house to wait for us. We were headed there but Billie had a little while and saw these ferns just growing and started, again, to drift back to when she was back below the Visitor's Center, alone with the fern. Dr. Max had told her to start singing the song by BBD; Bovine, Beavers, and Ducks, a band that we were…again, a very popular one that was like, P-O-I-S…something, stuff not good for plants, something in full effect. It had different cow sounds and duck sounds and beaver sounds. You ready to slap your tail? That kind of thing. Did a slap, did a slap with your tail. Then she remembered that she was supposed to use that song to make some of the leaves fall off the fern.
She said no. Dr. Max said, darn. Go to your room and be escorted by these two weasels to your room. No dinner. Just like any kid sent to their room without dinner, especially for doing what they felt was within their value system, Billie was not happy. She started to sing to the two weasels that were supposed to escort her. Young Fun, the famous movie about the west and these young beings that had fun with one another. She sang the song Lie Down in a Haze of Glory. She sang that song and then this bright light came that increased…immediately increased the weasel’s melatonin production so much that when the light went away, they fell sound asleep. Dr. Max watched all this and then swept Billie up in his arms and carried her off to dinner and bed. He was very happy and pleased with her. She didn’t know if he was pleased with her by accident or pleased with her on purpose. It created a level of mistrust. Then we showed up and she came back. We said, are you okay?
She said yeah, just thinking about stuff. They said well, let’s go find Willow. Then we started going and we were telling her about how the kids at school said that Willow…LJ and Vaughn were like, are you sure Willow…you know where Willow is? I said yeah, yeah, just this way. Willow’s here. They said well, our friend’s…everybody’s saying that Willow just moved away to start her career. What if that’s the case? We’re just wasting our time. I said, yeah. She said, they’re just trying to upset your feelings. I said yeah, they’re J-E-R-K-Ss. Yeah, we talked about it. She said no, no, no, Willow is your friend. She wouldn’t leave without telling you to start a career. Or if you weren’t on…she would have helped you be better musicians if she thought that. I don’t think LJ and Vaughn bought it but I did. I said, you’re right. She’s our friend. She said yeah, let’s go find your friend. Now, I’m not a music theorist so this next part…but, so back at Frances’ house, Willow and Dari’s house, Frances was there and she was working at tuning all sorts of windchimes and waiting.
Then finally, the windchimes started to ring. She said Willow, are you here? Ring…[01:00:00] Willow, play Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do if you’re here or you’re…if you’re really there. She did, across all the windchimes. Then Frances said, talk to me. She just kept playing Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. Then she played other things. Then Frances went to a lot of work which I can’t get into, but arranging all the windchimes and trying to do it by note. Like a giant windchime piano is the best way I could describe it. Then she said you know, I gave you piano lessons, Willow. Play piano for me. Now unfortunately, Willow did start playing songs which were clearly songs by windchime-piano for her mother or some other being did. She played four different songs but Willow…Frances didn’t know what songs Willow was playing. She was like, I don’t know what these songs are. What are you trying to tell me? Then the radio started fuzzing but it could only fuzz. She said oh, I’ll turn the radio on. Oh, okay.
She turned the radio on and then she had to listen to the radio for a long time, ‘til the songs happened to come on which I think probably Willow maybe had control over but not full control over. It was like, a two-hour period of just listening to the radio but eventually she said okay, the first song is Here I Am, Baby. Oh, okay, so you are here. Then the next song, she said oh, you’re thinking about me and I’m thinking about you…Thinking About You. Then the next song was Oh, I Just Wanna Hold You Tight. Oh, so do I, Willow. I just want to hold you tight. What should I do? Then the last song was called Rush, Rush. She said rush, rush where? Rush rush…then it felt like a bunny was jumping outside the house; a big, big bunny rumbling, rumbling. She just kept playing the chorus ‘rush, rush, rush, rush’ over and over again on the windchimes and the radio in fuzz and windchime-piano. Then Frances realized okay, I better rush outta here. She rushed out of the house.
Now meanwhile, Dari had gone to, again, kind of retrace her steps with Babs. She did find where they had parked and maybe where Babs had gone off. She followed Babs’ steps and then she found some bunny goose-feather goo. Then Babs’ steps ended and then after that were bunny…gigantic bunny feet hopping off into the swamp and towards where the tunnel was. She said oh, no. She ran home to her mom and we…meanwhile, we were right on the edge of their property and we realized…we said, this is Willow’s house and that’s where Billie had led us. Then Vaughn and LJ got really upset. They said, this is Willow’s house. She said yeah, she’s here, Billie said. They said, she’s not here. We know that as a fact. Why did you bring us here? You’re just trying to make us happy so we’ll be friends with you. We said, why did you bring us here? She’s not here. We even checked; this was before…after Frances had run out of the house so there’s no one there.
There was no bunny there, either. Then we were all arguing very loudly when we heard the sounds of the community resource…said hey, community resource meeting. We followed it and we all arrived at the edge of town at a place that says, No Dumping. No one’s supposed to dump any of their garbage there. Dumped at the bottom of this No Dumping sign…it was a former dumping ground but you say okay, we’re restoring this dumping area…there was this gigantic pile of material. This was when cassette tapes and CDs and records, they were all in production. It was records and cassette tapes and CDs and ripped-open boxes and waterlogged. Everybody was gathered around, chattering. They got there just at the same time as we did. I had ambitions in the past of being a lounge singer and a failed career but I don’t want to get into that. They picked one up and saw that it was Willow on the cover of this big record, singing, and then flipped it over.
They frowned and threw it on the ground ‘cause…had already been through something and gone and moved to the big city and moved home, not in a positive way. We saw it throw down…we said, what record is it? What is going on? Then we each started to pick one up and everybody went quiet. We looked at it and it was Willow on the cover of the album and she was singing. Then we flipped over and looked at the listing of the tracks and every single song was…it was her first album or something but it had been dumped. They were all songs about our town and us and non…it was not a comedy album but it was like a breakup album. It said Our Town Stinks, I’m Better Than…I’m Best, You’re the Rest, Dari and Teffe Sitting in a Tree, Goodbye Mom; Hello City, Bologna. There’s songs…I can’t even tell you what it said about Vaughn and LJ and I. Never Be the Best and then parenthesis (Friend). Then, Consider This the End; I Won’t Be Back. That was the last song so I dropped it from my hands.
Of course, we were all very frustrated with Billie for leading us there because we said, why’d you lead us here? Why’d you tell us our friend…the weasels, they were right. How could Willow do this to us and how could you tell us that Willow wasn’t gonna do this to us and move away to the big city? I was so upset, I ran all the way home crying, I’ll be honest with you. My mom was there and I told her Emma really did move away and start a album and it was totally…the album was about her angst around all of…my mom just held me. Meanwhile, Frances had run out of her house while Dari was running home to tell her mom that she thinks Babs was in a pickle. Her mom ran into her and was like well, I just…they just held each other beyond words. More Than Words is what was going on between the two of them. Then, everyone held one another and said let’s go to bed and let’s just hold onto those we care about ‘cause it’s such a precious reminder that all will be well. The loving embrace or the memory of a loving embrace of our family members. So, we went to bed. Goodnight.
[END OF RECORDING]