2.11 The Cascade
[[SFX: Music fades in. Benny’s voice growing louder as he opens the front door of the lighthouse. Closes it.]]
BENNY: Look. This place, we’re in between places and I doubt we need the lighthouse to go somewhere else. But she doesn’t see that.
[[SFX: Piano notes strike.]]
BENNY: She doesn’t get it, Mo. I know, I’m being hard but… look, that lady in the diner was right. Peri’s the one who wants to find him and she’s not even really looking! Half the time I have to drag her outside. I’m sorry, I’m just tired is all… and that isn’t fair of me to talk about her that way.
[[SFX: They walk along a sidewalk, . Benny yawns.]]
BENNY: You know, I’m usually the one who wakes you up to drag you out of bed.
PERI: Oh. Um. I felt like getting a headstart on the day. The weather is gorgeous… I thought I saw a comic book store around town.
PERI: Maybe we could see if they have any vintage Gardenia Plex?
PERI: Ooo, look at that bar. Wanna stop by on our way back. Maybe grab a drink?
BENNY: Neither of us drink.
PERI: Well. You don’t drink, I’ve never tried it.
BENNY: Whatever you wanna do.
[[SFX: Peri and Benny enter the bar. A few patrons, not a rowdy place. Music plays in the background.]]
PERI: Okay, his prices were outrageous!
BENNY: They were.
PERI: And who even buys Gardenia Plex anymore?
BENNY: Apparently not us.
PERI: Because his prices are ridiculous! And that cover had a tear, I saw it. Mint condition, my good sir, that copy is not.
[[SFX: They pause.]]
PERI: So. How do we do this.
BENNY: You take a seat at the bar. Order. Pay. Tip. Drink. Leave.
PERI: You say that with such panache.
[[SFX: They sit on the bar stools. Peri bangs the table, uncertain of how to behave in this environment.]]
PERI: HELLO THERE.
EDDIE: Just a second.
PERI: THANK YOU.
BENNY: You might want to tone it down a little?
PERI: Tone it down? The bartender’s got their nose in some some notebook, how else was I supposed to get their attention? I don’t know bar etiquette!
[[SFX: Eddie closes his book to turn his attention to Benny and Peri.]]
EDDIE: What can I get you two?
BENNY: Water for me and um--
PERI: Whiskey… on the rocks.
EDDIE: What brand?
PERI: Ah. Oh. Hm.
BENNY: Second cheapest.
EDDIE: You got it.
[[SFX: Eddie fills a glass of water for Benny then pours Peri’s drink.]]
EDDIE: Keep the tab open or--
BENNY: Peri, that means they keep the card to keep the tab running.
PERI: I-I know that. I know some things.
[[SFX: She hands over the card then lifts her drinks. Eddie opens the notebook again and continues writing.]]
PERI: To…. an uneventful outing. For once.
[[SFX: They clink glasses. Sip. Peri immediately coughs and spits it out. Benny laughs.]]
PERI: Oh my god what is that.
BENNY: Whiskey. You ordered it.
PERI: You knew it tasted like that and you let me drink it?
BENNY: Figured I’d see where it went.
PERI: You’re a monster.
BENNY: I know, your next drink’s on me. What do you want.
PERI: A martini.
BENNY: You don’t want that.
PERI: How ‘bout a 7&7.
BENNY: You wanna chance another whiskey drink?
PERI: Ummm. A Long Island Iced Tea. I can handle something with tea!
BENNY: That is… not what that is.
[[SFX: Eddie walks over. Opens a bottle. Sets down a glass bottle of cider.]]
EDDIE: You want that, kid.
PERI: What’s that?
EDDIE: Cider. Tastes like apple juice with attitude.
PERI: I thought cider didn’t have alcohol?
EDDIE: It’s hard cider.
BENNY: Sorry, she’s new.
[[SFX: Someone knocks over their drink on the other side. ]]
EDDIE: That’s it, Kristoff, out.
KRISTOFF: Fine! I’m sorry I—
[[SFX: Eddie walks away.]]
EDDIE: Nope, you spill beer on my shit, you get the hell out.
BENNY: Geez, you’d think they spilled on the family secrets.
[[SFX: Peri takes a huge sip.]]
PERI: This has alcohol? This is amazing.
BENNY: Oh boy.
[[SFX: Peri and Benny open the lighthouse door. Peri stumbles around, singing.]]
PERI: OH MY DARLING OH MY DARLING OH MY DARRRRRRLING CLEMENTINE
BENNY: Alright, let’s get you some water.
[[SFX: He pours her a glass as she sits.]]
BENNY: Here you go.
PERI: Benny. I never wanna feel this way again.
BENNY: Are you gonna throw up?
PERI: No. But I don’t like this. I feel like my limbs are everywhere. Like… like I’m borrowing my own hands.
[[SFX: She drinks back the water.]]
PERI: Wait oh noooooo.
PERI: We forgot the card!
BENNY: Goddamnit, Peri!
PERI: Why are you yelling at me, we both forgot it.
BENNY: I’ll run back. I think there’s enough time.
[[SFX: The door opens and shuts. He’s out.]]
PERI: (singing) You are gone now, lost forever….
[[SFX: She yawns and falls asleep.]]
[[SFX: Benny bursts into the empty bar.]]
BENNY: Hello? I left my card here.
[[SFX: He walks to the bar to find Eddie sitting, breathing heavily through his nose.]]
BENNY: Oh my god, are you okay?
EDDIE: Yep, fine.
BENNY: You’re sitting on the ground behind the bar.
EDDIE: I just like it down here.
[[SFX: Benny walks around the bar. Offers a hand, lifts up Eddie. Steadies him.]]
BENNY: Woah, steady now. You good?
EDDIE: Your card’s right there, gimme a second to print the receipt.
[[SFX: He takes a deep breath and a step, wincing.]]
BENNY: Seriously, you look like you need to sit down.
EDDIE: You might be right.
[[SFX: He sits.]]
BENNY: Do you need me to call someone or…?
EDDIE: No! I just gotta… sit.
BENNY: You sure, I could--
EDDIE: I said…shit.
[[SFX: A quiet tone. His voice changes, going out of Eddie we’ve heard to… someone else.]]
EDDIE-A: Goddamnit, not this again.
BENNY: Do you need a glass of water?
EDDIE-A: Who are you?
BENNY: Oh, um. Benny, my name’s Benny. Here, lemme grab you a water.
[[SFX: He grabs a glass and pours some water in.]]
EDDIE-A: How long have you been here?
BENNY: Uh… I just walked in.
EDDIE-A: Oh, is it a shift change? Do I get to go home now?
BENNY: Are you…?
[[SFX: He sets down the glass as Eddie winces, takes a few deep breaths, his voice resuming after the quiet tone.]]
EDDIE: How long have we been here?
BENNY: You just asked how long I’ve been here.
EDDIE: Not long then, okay, good. Good.
BENNY: Are you sure you don’t want me to call someone?
EDDIE: I’m sure. I just… shit.
BENNY: Here, drink some water.
[[SFX: Eddie takes the glass and gulps back a few mouthfuls.]]
BENNY: Look, I’m… I’m normally not the one that does these things but… if you need to, I-I dunno, let something out, I got some time.
EDDIE: I just… I just was hoping I was special is all.
BENNY: Hey, just because you’re bartending doesn’t mean you’re not special, loads of people bartend.
EDDIE: No, not that. I love my job I just… my family’s got history, like medical history of… the best way I can describe it is losing time? I didn’t really understand what was happening to them until it started happening to me so it’s okay if it doesn’t make sense to you. Ugh. I wish I still didn’t understand it. I was hoping… I was hoping that it didn’t matter that my grandpa and my mom lost time. Like, that it didn’t mean I was gonna lose time too if that makes sense?
BENNY: Yeah, yeah it does.
EDDIE: I mean, I was never in complete denial. I knew there was a possibility but with all I did for them, I was hoping the universe would do me a solid. Like, sorry kiddo we lost the secret family recipe so you’ll never know what it’s like to make grandpa’s favorite stew! Except, y’know, nature decided that Grandpa’s stew is really fucking important so of course mom made sure you got a copy even though the reality is that Grandpa’s stew really just sucks and you wish you could claw the ingredients list out of your DNA.
[[SFX: Eddie takes a breath.]]
BENNY: That why you’ve been writing in that notebook? You kind of flipped your lid when what’s-his-name spilled on it.
EDDIE: Crap, I’m usually better at keeping my shit together. Right, the notebook. Um, yeah, yeah, kind of.
Y’know, my, um, my grandfather couldn’t remember when his husband died. He was… he was in a different time, he kept asking about Harry, he said Harry knew, Harry would know what was going on. So we figured the best thing to do was to write letters from Harry like he was on some trip. My step-grandpa, his name was Joseph but he had this huge beard and thick hair so we thought Harry was just a nickname. Anyway, my grandpa passed away. I was fifteen. It was my turn to write the letter from Harry but I, um, I didn’t send it on time. I felt guilty, after that, but I ignored it because at least it was over.
[[SFX: Eddie winces. The tone again. His voice move into the one from before.]]
EDDIE-A: Horrible? I know. Shit, I was thirteen and I… damn it, again?
BENNY: Again what?
EDDIE-A: Guess I should be old hat at this by now but multiple episodes still throw me off. What’s the name of this bar.
BENNY: The Cascade.
EDDIE-A: Mm. Harry always did want to call it that. Pity neither of us are around to enjoy it. I don’t know who you are but… take care of this kid. It’s not their fault I keep--
[[SFX: Eddie winces again. Breathing. Inout. Inout. Inout.]]
EDDIE: Shit, my head. I’m sorry.
BENNY: It’s fine.
[[SFX: They sit a moment.]]
BENNY: So the notebook?
EDDIE: Same idea as what I did for my grandpa and…. And my mom.
BENNY: Oh, she’s...
EDDIE: She’s gone. Last year.
BENNY: I’m sorry.
EDDIE: It was… it was tough. First my dad got sick. Heart stuff. So he was in the hospital a lot. And then one day, my mom doesn’t pick him up so he calls me and y’know, I had time before work so I drive him home. And we get there and we find my mom. And she’s just sitting in her chair and she asks what we’re doing in her home. Only, she sounds confused, like she’s not sure it is her home. And then her face, it twitches, kinda like a flicker and she’s back. She jumped a little, startled, because, she said she didn’t realize we were home or that it was so late.
I did a lot of driving after that, to make sure they both got to all their appointments. I’m an only child so, y’know. It’s my responsibility. And I’ve never regretted it. I still go to their… I leave flowers for them. And letters. In the end I was sending letters to my mom from my dad because. Yeah. She was the one who came up with the idea for my grandpa. Her dad. Part of me wonders if my great-grandparents needed letters and it’s just one long chain of lost memories and the letters that tried to bring them back.
BENNY: Is that all that’s in the notebook? Your grandpa and your parents?
EDDIE: This bar too, I suppose. I thought about… I thought about lying. In the notebook. Filling it with things that weren’t true. I remember my grandpa and my mom talking about this waterfall, see. And I was always hoping to have time to go see it, maybe bring someone special. I don’t know about anything romantic but at least… at least special. But I was always helping out and then all of this started happening to me so quickly. Faster than I expected and half the time I don’t know where I am. Sometimes I even… sometimes I even think I’m at the waterfall, I wanna be there so badly. Away from all this. I just wish I had… grabbed the opportunity any opportunity to get out. Even for a little while. Find my people, y’know? So that I wouldn’t need...
[[SFX: Eddie gives himself a moment to collect himself.]]
EDDIE: I’m good, I’m good. I shouldn’t have taken up so much of your time. Just, take your card. I’m not gonna charge you.
BENNY: Oh, no, it’s fine, really.
EDDIE: Take it.
[[SFX: Benny takes the card.]]
EDDIE: Look, I see you care about your friend a lot. But… just don’t forget to take care of you, okay? Helping people is good but you’ve got your own life. Can’t keep picking up someone else’s tab.
BENNY: I’ll… I’ll think about it. I’m sorry, again. Are you sure I can’t… pay the bill or something?
EDDIE: Here. [tosses the notebook over] Screw it. Not much worth remembering in there for me anyway.
BENNY: Are you s-
EDDIE: Yep. Just… get out. Please.
[[SFX: The door to the lighthouse opens. Shuts. Locks. Benny walks over to fill a glass of water. He drags a chair and sits in it. Letting out a long breath. Takes a sip. Another breath. Music fades in.]]
The Far Meridian
Created by Eli Barraza, produced by Eli Barraza and Mischa Stanton.
This episode was written by Eli Barraza. And directed by Eli Barraza and Danielle Shemaiah.
Performed by Eli Barraza as Peri,
José Donado as Benny,
And Cesar Muñoz as Eddie.
Editing by Anna Rodriguez. Sound design by Mischa Stanton. Music by Masato Abe.
For more information and transcripts, visit thefarmeridian.com, or find us on social media @thefar meridian. You can also help support us on Patreon, Patreon.com/thefarmeridian.
Until next time, may you always find your way.